Waltzing Matilda

My family and most of my friends know that my favourite song is I Hope You Dance.  This song sums up my attitude to life and I love it.  And I have chosen it to be played at my funeral.

Imagine my delight then when I received an email this morning with this video embedded – please watch it.

This unbelievable 94-year-old dancing the Foxtrot with a young man.  Whatever she has been doing for the past 94 years I want to do – and whatever she is on I want some.

And here are the lyrics for you to sing along with Lee Ann Womack.  Yes, yes I know I have given you these words before, but in case…

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.I hope you dance….I hope you dance.I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’,
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’,
Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.I hope you dance….I hope you dance.
I hope you dance….I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone.)I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.Dance….I hope you dance.
I hope you dance….I hope you dance.
I hope you dance….I hope you dance..
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone)”
Songwriters: Tia Sillers, Mark Daniel Sanders
Copyright: Soda Creek Songs.

2 old ladies

Maybe this is why I can’t dance like Matilda.

Bears Dancing

But these bears are having a good try

Related posts:

One Year On

Santa boot

I have so many much more attractive shoes!

It is exactly one year today that I broke my ankle when out walking Lotte.  For the next several weeks I endured first a back-strap (absolutely useless as it kept slipping being held in place only by crepe bandage) and then my big red Santa boot.  During these weeks I had to learn and employ patience and acceptance of the help offered.  Obviously as soon as the boot was removed the learned patience and acceptance both few out of the window.

Looking through my notebooks for an apt quote I came across this one from Ambrose Bierce

“Patience – A minor form of despair
disguised as a virtue”

There was no notation as to who this Ambrose Bierce was, when he lived etc etc.  In later books I did make notations against quotes.  So I took myself off to our friends at Wikipedia and there learned that

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (born June 24, 1842; died sometime after December 26, 1913)was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist.

I didn’t know what a fabulist was so once again to the internet where I found a fabulist is a writer of fables.  So another new word to add to my rapidly expanding Lexicon.

Well we are all well aware of Aesop as a fabulist but we can also add Beatrix Potter with Peter Rabbit, Peter RabbitKenneth Grahame with Toad, Ratty, Mole et al

Toad driving

and of course, Lewis Carrol with the White Rabbit.

White rabbit with watch

Copyright Disney

And I can say that when I told my very young grandchildren stories they always were about animals to which I had given human attributes.  James (the eldest) had a very favourite rabbit who got into all sorts of trouble and adventures.  So maybe I am a fabulist. too!

Well another rambling post comes to a close.  Apart from a big rant about computers.  I wrote this blog several hours ago and then lost it.  I know that I should update/save the draft as I work but this morning I didn’t.

Swear signs

From Freeimageslive.co.uk

I am surprised you didn’t hear the expletives from where you are.  But it’s all written again and now will be posted.

Christmas bells

Happy Christmas!

Eleven Hints for Life

And yesterday I received an email with the following attachment.  It does seem to me that at this time of the year, leading up to New Year’s Day when we make all those resolutions, it is good to sit back and consider how we want to live our life.

Eleven Hints for Life

1. It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return.
But what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel.

2. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who
means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was never meant to be and you just have to let go.

3. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a
porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.

4. It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives.

5. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone-but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

6. Don’t go for looks, they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth, even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.

7. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

8. Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts that  person too.

9. A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck a life. A timely word may level stress. But a loving word may heal and bless.

10. The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

11. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you’re the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Butterflies

AS Time Goes By

I am sure that when you saw the title of this blog you thought I was going to direct you to a YouTube offering of the song from Casablanca.  Well, didn’t you?  So not to disappoint you here is the original from the movie.  Go on, enjoy it again.

.

And then there was that lovely sitcom in the UK called As Time Goes By.  It starred Judi Dench (before she was a Dame) and Geoffrey Palmer as two people who had known each other years ago and then reconnected.

But that wasn’t what inspired this post.  Today I read this post from my blogging friend Joss Why Can’t Life be Simple?

Clock on beach

 

This set me thinking about different times in different places.  It was particularly odd when we first moved to New Zealand aka the other side of the world.  We gained a day so when we arrived on June 11 it was really June 10 because we hadn’t adapted to the change in time.  And then going ‘home’ on holiday we always gained a day.  When my daughter was nine she had two birthdays.  One in Auckland, New Zealand and a second one in Honolulu.  How lucky is that?

And when I want to make calls to various friends around the world I have to check what the time is where they are.  But my trusty I-phone allows me to do this easily. I choose the places for which I want to know the time and the phone remembers them and gives me the time.  I do remember years ago starting each phone conversation with “What time is it there?”  I was never completely sure that I had  subtracted the right number of hours.  We are ahead of everyone else in the world so we always have to subtract.  And my late husband (aka DYS, Dashing Young Scotsman) always asked why I called somebody to check the time!

And not only the time is different but so are the seasons.  Here we are in spring while both of my sisters are in autumn/fall.  That’s another strange thing we had to get used to.  We left the UK all those years ago and it was summer (June 1967).  We arrived in Auckland to a wet, cold winter.  We thought we had the wrong end of the deal.  But then, when you are all shivering at Christmas time, hey presto! we have sunshine (usually).

So another rambling blog is coming to an end.  Thanks Joss for the inspiration.

And here a quote from one of my favourite teachers:

“Time is an equal opportunity employer.  Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day.  Rich people can’t buy more hours.  Scientists can’t invent new minutes.  And you can’t save time to spend it on another day.  Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving.  No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow. “
Denis Waitely
,  American motivational speaker and writer.

Spring Fever

I’m as restless as a willow in a windstorm,
I’m as jumpy as a puppet on a string,
I’d say that I had spring fever,
But I know it isn’t spring.
I’m as starry eyed and gravely discontented,
Like a nightingale without a song to sing.
Oh, why should I have spring fever,
When it isn’t even spring?
Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II (1945)

Last year around this time I wrote about the arrival of the Godwits in the South Island – click here to read it again.

Godwits en route

They really do herald Spring in our part of the world.  And they are so predictable.  Each year after spending the summer in Alaska they spend the early autumn in in the mudflats there fattening up for the long flight south.  This in readiness for their long flight to New Zealand , a distance of approximately 11,000 kms.

U.S. Geological Survey Biologist Bob Gill has been following these tiny birds and noting their habits for several years and he poses the question how, while weighing less than 500 grams (approx 1lb) can these tiny birds store enough fuel to fly non stop over these vast distances.

So with the profusion of tulips at the Botanic Gardens yesterday, the Godwits and clocks being moved forward for Daylight Saving on Sunday we can really say that Spring is here.


“It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  “
Mark Twain

Promises To Keep

Do you know Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”?

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely,  dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”

 Robert Frost American Poet 1874 – 196

I first discovered Frost many years ago when we were discussing/dissecting The Road Not Taken in an English lesson at school so many, many years ago and then years later I rediscovered him at University.  Everybody knows the first two lines of that poem - “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both….” but there are many others to be discovered and enjoyed

I was thinking today about the blogs that I had written and ended with the words To be continued.. that haven’t been continued and I thought that I had promises to keep.  Then this poem sprung to mind.  I couldn’t remember all the words but our friends at Wikipedia supplied the second and third verses.

So thank you Wikipedia.  I shall now make good on those promises to complete the various unfinished stories.  So as they say, Watch This Space.

Dreamstime.com Free images

And now
As the water cascades and tumbles
over the rocks in it’s rush
down to join the river
so my thoughts tumble around my brain
looking for an outlet
or a safe place to stop.
Judith Baxter, blogger, writer and friend
1938 -

 

What Are You Reading?

 

“Progress is impossible without change
and those who cannot change their minds
cannot change anything.”
George Bernard Shaw.

I have long been a follower of Dr Wayne Dyer from way back in the 1970s when I first read “Your Erroneous Zones”, “Pulling Your Own Strings” and “The Sky’s the Limit”.  Over the years I have read many of the books he has written, bought videos and CDs and in fact think he is great.

On his behalf, I was upset to learn that his 20-year-old marriage had ended in divorce following closely some major health problems he had suffered.

In 2007 Dr Dyer published the book “Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life after taking himself off on “a year long journey of research, contemplation and application of the Tao Te Ching book of wisdom.”  I have had the book since it was first published when I tried to read it, but up until now haven’t read it all.  So about this book..

Five hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ a Chinese man named Lao-tzu  put together 81 verses that many regard as the “ultimate commentary on the nature of our existence.” The text and the 81 verses offer advice and guidance on achieving a balanced, moral and spiritual life.

Dr Dyer reviewed many translations of the work and has now written an essay for each of the verses showing how we can apply this ancient wisdom to today’s modern world.  Each chapter is devoted to living the Tao and concludes with a section entitled “Doing the Tao Now”.  The titles of some of the chapters are:

Living Without Resentment; Living By Being Here Now; Living By Letting Go; Living By Contentment; Living Naturally etc, etc.

This is not a book to sit down and read as a novel.  It is a whole work to be read slowly, one essay at a time.  As Wayne Dyer says, “This is a book that will forever change the way you look at your life, and the result will be that you’ll live in a new world aligned with nature. Writing this book changed me forever, too. I now live in accord with the natural world and feel the greatest sense of peace I’ve ever experienced. I’m so proud to present this interpretation of the Tao Te Ching, and offer the same opportunity for change that it has brought me.”

So I am starting from the beginning again and this time intend to read all 81 chapters and take time to understand them.  Verse No 1 is “Living The Mystery” and here we learn that “The Tao is both named and nameless.  As nameless it is the origin of all things; as named it is the Mother of 10,000 things”  As I said, not a book to be read to fill in an odd half hour while you are waiting for the dentist.

And because the water in the waterfall keeps moving onwards, day after day, I shall keep this in mind as I work my way through this book.

Waterfall

 

Passing Strangers

“We seem like passing strangers now
Funny how things can change
We were so inseparable
Now you’re acting very strange….”

Are you old enough to remember Billy Eckstein and Sarah Vaughn singing this song?  Click here to listen to it again.

And passing strangers is how I describe all those great thoughts and ideas I have in the shower or driving the car that completely disappear by the time I am near a computer or notebook to jot them down.  It seems that I am brimming with great ideas for a post or a poem that I absolutely must write but poof, it wafts off into the great blue yonder never to be seen or heard from again.

And I guess this is one of the things I do dislike about getting older.  The mind is not nearly as clear as it was; things are not stored the way they were and the memory fails me at times.  I do remember wondering why my Mother would forget something that I had told her just a few days ago.  Now I find that my daughter is saying the same thing to me – But Mother I already told you we were going to be away this weekend or I already told you the boys were playing water polo at the Hutt Pool.

Do you ever find yourself seeking a word – a very normal, everyday word.  This happens sometimes when I am writing.  Luckily, I can go ahead with what I am trying to say and the elusive word just pops back into my head.  But all those great ideas are lost never to return.  So yes, they are like passing strangers

“I think age is a very high price
to pay for maturity”
Sir Tom Stoppard, OM, CBE, FRSL
British playwright, knighted in 1997.  1937 -
and
“Getting old ain’t for the fainthearted”
My friend Phyllis Mills 1914-2006 (?)

Head Weak

You probably remember that old rhyme from school days -

Head weak, brain dumb
Inspiration wont come
Can’t write, bad pen
Best wishes…amen.

Well I have been sitting looking at a blank screen for some time – probably close to an hour – and nothing has come to mind to write about today,  So I thought I would look at what I was babbling on about this time last year.  Well it was this post The First Time I Saw Paris.  If you are interested, please click on the link here.

“The last time I saw Paris
Her heart was warm and gay
I heard the laughter of her heart in every street cafe
The last time I saw Paris
Her trees were dressed for spring
And lovers walked beneath those trees
And birds found songs to sing..”

Pont Alexandre

Pont Alexandre III – Via Wikipedia

How come I never had a problem last year in coming up with something to write about.  But that’s just the way it is.  So please excuse this ‘cop out’ of a post.  I shall do better tomorrow.

“In Paris you learn wit,
in London you learn to crush your social rivals
and in Florence you learn poise”
Virgil Thompson, American composer,
1896 – 1989

Fiction for the Fearful

“If we had to say what writing is, we would define it
essentially as an act of courage.”
Cynthia Ozick, American-Jewish short story writer,
novelist, and essayist. 1928 -

Many years ago when I was completing a creative writing course one of the exercises set for us was to write a letter to ourselves, either our older selves or our younger selves.  The letter would be mostly fiction but of course, interspersed with necessary facts.  I haven’t thought about that course or the task for some years.

ChateauBut today, when I had time to ‘noodle’ ( my sister’s word) around the internet I found some interesting courses being run in France and thought how lovely it would be to attend a creative writing course in a château in France.  Patrick Gale is not a writer whose work I know but I think I would be very pleased to get to know him and his writing by attending a course held in the Chateau Ventenac on the banks of the Canal du Midi in the Languedoc Region.

Note the title of this blog is copied from the title of Patrick Gale’s course in October.

Hunter Building, Vic University Wellington

Victoria University Wellington

But now back to the creative writing course held in Wellington, New Zealand.

Imagine a dark Tuesday evening in the middle of winter.  The course was run at the local University in one of its older buildings.  I seem to remember that it was always cold in the study room; perhaps they turned the heating off once the main body of students had left for the day.  Most of the building was deserted and the cafeteria was closed for the day so no cups of hot coffee for us.

Fifteen of us started the course that was run by  well-known NZ writer Bill Manhire, but in memory only about 11 of us completed it.  This was no holiday course.  It was hard work.  The fact that such a large percentage of people dropped out was disheartening .  Bill was rather a hard taskmaster but he was inspirational.  Praise wasn’t lightly given and so was all the more welcome when it came one’s way.

Anyway, back to the task.  I chose to write as a 70-year-old to my younger self.  Little did I know then how quickly the years would pass until I became a 70-year-old.  I wrote as a fond (maiden) aunt might; praising my young self and encouraging her/me on my life journey.  I don’t remember quite what I said – we didn’t all have laptops then – but I do know that having completed the task I thought how nice it would be to receive such a letter from an aunt or a caring relative.

That then made me think of other letters I might write.  In fact, it encouraged me to write to my parents thanking them for the childhood my sisters and I had experienced and for the love and caring they showered upon us.  I knew, from talking to others, that not everybody had been so lucky and I thought it important to let them know that I appreciated them.  And now that they are no longer here I am so very glad that I did write that letter.

And now I ask you “Is there somebody to whom you would like to write a letter before it is too late?”  I think there is nothing more cheering than receiving a hand written letter from a friend or relative.