Monthly Archives: November 2011

Just Another Scam

I rarely go onto Facebook.  I just don’t get it.  But I signed up so that my blogs could perhaps reach a wider audience.

Today I received an email saying that a person had accepted my request to be a friend.  I know the person so I went in and responded that I was happy to be his “friend” but that as I so rarely go into Facebook  he shouldn’t expect to hear from me.

Scam posterSuddenly I was in a chat conversation with this man person.  In the role of my acquaintance, he  said he was in Bolton in the UK.  He had been mugged the night before and all his credit cards, money and cellphone were stolen.  This chat came accompanied with the icon of my acquaintance.   When I clicked on the icon I saw pictures of he and his family. and so I assumed it was from who it said it was.

After enquiring after his health and getting a response he asked me for my cellphone number as the cellphone had been stolen along with the other things.  He then asked if I could do something for him.  Yes – he wanted money!!

His story was that he was leaving to ‘fly home’ shortly and he was having trouble paying the hotel bill.  “Please trust me” and “You know you can trust me” and “I’ll pay you back as soon as I return” followed this plea.  Of course my response was NO!

I tried calling my friend/acquaintance to be met with his answerphone message so maybe he is away.   I then sent him an email advising him that this scam was being perpetrated in his name.

My lesson from this is that anyone seems able to get into a Facebook identity and use it to promulgate a scam.  I wonder how many people are actually conned in this manner each day, week, year.

I have had the usual scams including the Nigerian guy with the money to share, the widow whose husband has left money in an account that can’t be accessed from wherever she happens to live at the time.  I have had emails telling me that I am due a tax refund (ha ha) and others all  requesting details of bank accounts, but this is the first such scam I have received.

I shall stay away from Facebook in future and urge you to all be aware and alert for such scams.

Saturday Brunch With Friends

I have just discovered Six Words Saturday and while I am not totally sure that this is what I am expected to do, here is my first attempt.

 Saturday brunch, French conversation with friends.

I posted earlier on a group of new friends who have been in a conversational French class and now meet on a regular basis to practice.  I so enjoyed my first visit with them that I intend to meet them again.  While there has been no official invitation to join them I have been told where they will meet this week.  So I guess that’s as good as an invitation.

I love the idea of something new and this Six Word Saturday appeals.  I shall try it out again at a later date.


Another Wedding

I dreamed of a wedding of elaborate elegance,
A church filled with family and friends.
I asked him what kind of a wedding he
wished for,
He said one that would make me his wife.

~Author Unknown

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary.  If my late husband was still alive we would have celebrated 54 years!    As it was we had only 41 years together.  What a lot of years to devote to one person.

I have a nephew who celebrates his wedding on the same day but it is nowhere near as many years as ours.

Yesterday was Thursday and lunch at Mary Potter Hospice.  I love Thursdays.  I come away filled with hope and admiration for the folk who are facing the end of their days with such equanimity and peace – well usually they are.  I am sure in the dark of night they maybe are not quite so calm, but the face they offer to the world, in this case a volunteer, is one of acceptance.

So yesterday….I went into one of the rooms and hanging on the rail around the bed was a long dress carrier.  One of the visitors apologised and took the carrier down.  I commented that it looked like a wedding dress, whereupon all the visitors laughed and said that was exactly what it was.

Lunch orders were forgotten for the next few minutes as they told me that there was to be a wedding in the hospice chapel that night.  The patient and his partner had decided to ‘just do it’.  Of course, I asked if I could see the dress.  I not only saw the wedding dress, but in the carrier were the dresses for the bridesmaid and for the mother of the bride. What a symbol of hope and acceptance that was.

I told them it was my anniversary and they all congratulated me.  Hugs all around (except the frail patient of course).  His son and daughters were there and there was excitement in the air.  About 30 people were expected to attend and a small reception had been planned.

So at this time of grief there was also a ray of hope.  I don’t know the patient’s name – we use only first names – nor do I know where he and his family live, so I shall have to check next Thursday with the staff to find out how the wedding went.

And to this couple I wish only the best for the time they have now together.  We know that life is transitory and who knows whether tomorrow will come.  And if tomorrow never comes?

“Love is a symbol of eternity.  It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.”  ~Author Unknown


My rainbow

More Than The Spoken Words Can Tell

For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell

It’s 7.30am; I am sitting at the computer in tears.  They have just played Roger Whittaker singing The Last Farewell on the Radio.  I have written before about music and how it takes us back to another time and place in our lives.

I seem to go to many funerals these days.  My friends are mostly my age and so it is to be expected.  But this song immediately takes me back to the most moving and beautiful funeral that I have attended.  I have no recollection of my husband’s funeral although I am told by family and friends that it was beautiful and moving.

My husband’s closest friend died after a long fight over several years.  I saw him a few days before he died and we talked about Bob (my dashing not-so-young Scotsman) and of the fun the four of us had over many years.  And even though the death was not unexpected it was still hard, particularly for his wife who was lost without his guiding hand that had been there for more than 40 years.

His family had been involved as undertakers for many years and although the business was no longer in the family’s hands the funeral was conducted in that chapel.  I was given the supreme compliment of being asked to read a poem at the funeral.  My husband of course, would have been asked if he had been alive. The poem was Death is Nothing At All by Canon Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

So on this lovely summer day here in Wellington, on the 54th anniversary of my wedding day, I am once again reminded that life is transitory and we must make the most of each and every day.

“…Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other that we are still……
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well.”

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

“She told me the best time to plant
a tree was 40 years ago.

The second best time is today.
Don’t waste even one minute of your day”
Robin Sharma from
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.

You may know that I have been reading books and acquiring knowledge on Personal Development for many years (since I was a young wife and mother with time on my hands).  I run courses on the subject and I have a library of books from many of the greats in the field including Zig Ziglar, Wayne Dyer, Jack Canfield, Louise Hay, Debbie Ford, Bob Procter and Deepak Chopra.  Amongst the books I have read time and again, is this one by Robin Sharma.  


The book tells the story of a lawyer, Julian Mantle, who is forced to confront his life choices after an almost fatal heart attack while appearing at a trial.  His physical collapse makes him look closely at his life and how out of balance it is.  He has been busy collecting the trappings of life without considering the consequences of his lifestyle to both his health and his spirit.

He decides to look for happiness and fulfillment and determines that this will/can be found in India.  The book follows his ‘odyssey’ as Mantle describes it to a younger lawyer.

While it is told as a fable about a spiritual journey it’s based on Sharma’s own search for “life’s true purpose”.  We are shown how  encouraged to stop acquiring things and instead, to embrace destiny, live life to the full and discover joy.  On his journey Mantle meets with a group of Himalayan gurus and through them and his sojourn with them, discovers a powerful system to release the potential in him – mind, body and soul.  He learns to live with greater purpose, passion and peace.

In the book Julian Mantle learns to:

  • Develop joyful thoughts
  • Cultivate self-discipline
  • Value time
  • Nourish relationships

In turn, he learns to live fully one day at a time.  These things are what he wants to share with us, or at least those who will listen.

This may be a fable but it is worth reading because of the insights it gives as to what is wrong with consumerism and the relentless search for things.

If you have the chance, pick up a copy at your local library.

“The Constitution only guarantees the
American people the right
to pursue happiness.
You have to catch it yourself. ”
Author unknown, often attributed to
Benjamin Franklin

Gift Time

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say “thank you?”
William A. Ward, American writer 1921–1994

We know that Christmas is only 39 days away as I write this.  And by the time you read it, it will be even closer – click here to see just how close.

Image via Wikipedia

The shops here are full of decorations and Christmas carols are being played over their sound systems.  For those who work in those stores, I guess that this will all quickly pall.  And we have Christmas in the summer so the scenes of snow, sleighs and houses with firesmoke coming out the chimney make even less sense.

Here in New Zealand nature has given us our own Christmas Tree – the Pohutakawa that blooms from November to January – so it’s nickname is the NZ Christmas tree.  It survives all around New Zealand, is  evergreen and has these amazing bright red flowers that shout out Christmas! to us.  By the way it is pronounced just as it is written po-hu-ta-ka-wa.  Try it.

Pohutukawa tree

Image via Wikipedia

Of course the reason for the music and decorations is to get us to spend our hard-earned money on gifts that we (possibly) can’t afford and the recipients (probably) don’t want and (also probably) don’t need .  But year after year we continue with this mad gift buying, giving and exchanging.

Man with gifts

In our family we have cut down on a lot of this giving.  We give to children but not adults, except in my case as I just can’t ignore my children and their spouses.  But I have been given a strict limit of how much I can spend on each person (adult or child)  by my daughter.

I have also cut down the number of friends to whom I give gifts.  This number is now down to only two or three.  See comment above about recipients of gifts.

And of course, for those of you in the US you have Thanksgiving looming. Do you exchange gifts on this day?

So I began to think about some gifts that cost nothing but are well received whenever they are shared.


    • The Gift of Listening-  But you must really listen.  Don’t interrupt, don’t daydream, don’t plan your response.  Just listen.
    • The Gift of Affection- Be generous with hugs and/or kisses (where appropriate) and pats on the back.  Let these small actions demonstrate the love and respect you have for family and friends.
    • The Gift of Laughter – Share funny articles and stories.  Send cartoons that have a meaning.  Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”
    • The Gift of a Favour – Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.  This is one of my favourites.
    • The Gift of a Written Note – A  simple “Thanks for the help, dinner or whatever” note.  A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a long time.
    • The Gift of a Compliment – A simple and sincere, “You look great in red,”  ”You did a super job,” or “That was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day.

Gifts don’t have to cost the earth; they don’t have to add to our credit card debt; they don’t have to be big and fancy; they just have to be well thought out and given with love.  No doubt you will be giving gifts to your nearest and dearest family and friends this Christmas, but think about these six gifts that you can give at any time during the year.  No special occasion.  Just a gift of sharing.

The only gift is a portion of thyself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
American essayist,
lecturer, and poet. 1803 –  1882

Happiness is…

” …he was discovering happiness in the present.
When he sat reading in the library or playing Mozart in the music-room, he often felt the invasion of a deep spiritual emotion, as if Shangri-La were indeed a living essence, distilled from the magic of the ages and miraculously preserved against time…”
From “Lost Horizon” by James Hilton,
English Novelist 1900-1954

Book cover

Dust Jacket from the first edition. Via Wikipedia

Have you read this classic? It was a must when I was growing up.  The Second World War was just over and we wanted to believe there was a Shangri-La aka Utopia.  Perhaps we thought one would even be the outcome of the peace between the nations.

The book tells the story of a disenchanted member of the British diplomatic service stationed in Afghanistan.  To escape a revolution the white residents of Baskul are being evacuated to Peshawar, Pakistan but the plane is hijacked and Conway, the diplomat and his 3 companions disappear.  The plane crash lands, the pilot is killed and the four passengers seek shelter at a monastery named Shangri-La high up in the mountains of Tibet.

The book was published in 1933 so some of the prose is archaic outdated but it is well worth reading.  It caught the imagination of the populace and in fact, Camp David, the presidential hideaway, was originally called Shangri-La by US President Franklin D Roosevelt.

So what does Shangri-La mean to you?

  • Do you seek a peaceful and unhurried place to live out your life?
  • Do you want a serene environment with a place for everything and everything in it’s place?
  • Do you want to be surrounded by good friends who support you and who you can support in turn?
  • Do you want a world without war and aggression?

Some of these things are within our ability to achieve, if not 100% then pretty close to it.  Remember Lord Marks of Marks and Spencer fame said “The cost of perfection is too great.  Close enough is good enough.”  Imagine how you would feel if you could invent your own Shangri-La even if it was only 90/95% perfect.

  • We can slow down the pace of our lives.  We can determine how much we want to do (notwithstanding the fact that most of us have to work to live).  Do we have to be so involved in the myriad of things we have chosen.  Remember to slow down and smell the roses!
  • We can achieve a serene environment by de-cluttering (is there such a word) our home and office and getting rid of all the extraneous baggage that we have accumulated over the years.  If you haven’t used it or worn it in the past six months, chances are you never will.
  • We can reach out to friends offering our support and accepting their support in return.  If we surround ourselves with like minded people there is no room for the toxic folk who try to invade our lives and minds.
  • A world without war and aggression is not so easy to accomplish but let’s start in a small way.  Let’s try really hard not to react aggressively when confronted with something or somebody we don’t like.

I would love to hear your take on Lost Horizon and of course your thoughts on Shangri-La and how to achieve your own Utopia.

PS – I once stayed at a hotel called  Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort in Penang, Malaysia.  And it lived up to it’s name in all respects.

Power, Passions and Positive Belief

Polar bear falling

I am currently running a six week course entitled “The Power of Positive Belief” for a Women’s Centre some 60 kms north of here.   I have run this course and several others a few times for them before. This current course has 9 attendees and last Monday was the first session.

Of course, I have an outline for each session and we build on it as we go through the session.

Session One is headed “Believe in Yourself” and we talk about the power of believing in oneself.  I always give several examples of those who really believed in themselves and achieved:

  • Roger Bannister the first person to break the 4-minute mile
  • Maxie Fowler who gained his law degree in California at the age of 61 after having sat and failed the exam many times
  • George Dantzig who, arriving late for class, thought that the formulae on the board was homework.  He solved two ‘insolvable’ equations that had stumped Einstein
  • David Baldacci author of countless best sellers, had a drawer full of pink rejection slips before his first book was published, and many more.

We talk about the five Ps – Passion, Priority, Practice, Performance and Purpose and how we can use these to get what we want.

Everybody is encouraged to participate and Last Monday’s group took on board the 5 Ps and we ended up spending much of the 2 hours talking about passions and how to identify them and build on them.  Most of them couldn’t identify a passion and so I agreed to send them a worksheet to help and they agreed that they would work on this during the week and we would pick up again on Monday.

So I had to come home and devise a worksheet.  Over the years I have produced many worksheets but I have never had a group so interested in finding their passions before and I am very excited about it.

So tomorrow’s session will be on Passions and Self Limiting Beliefs – all I have to do now is put the session together.


If you can conceive it
and believe it
you will achieve it.”

Have You Met Mrs Malaprop?

Let me introduce you.  Mrs Malaprop is a character in Richard Sheridan’s play The Rivals, described as “a comedy of manners’.   It is generally thought that Sheridan devised her name from the word malapropos defined as

malapropos is an adjective or adverb meaning “inappropriate” or “inappropriately”, derived from the French phrase mal à propos (literally “ill-suited”).   The earliest English usage of the word cited in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1630. Malaprop used in the linguistic sense was first used by Lord Byron in 1814 according to the OED.”

Malalpropisms are quite different from Spoonerisms in that the words are used in a wrong or inappropriate way.  Here are some examples from Sheridan’s play:

  • “…promise to forget this fellow – to illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory.” (obliterate)
  • “…she might reprehend the true meaning of what she is saying.” (comprehend)
  • “…she’s as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of Nile.” (alligator)

But before Sheridan and Mrs Malaprop, Shakespeare had some of his characters speak using wrong or inappropriate words:

  • In Much Ado About Nothing,  Constable Dogberry says
  • “Comparisons are odorous” (odious) and
  • “Our watch, sir, have indeed comprehended two auspicious          persons.” (apprehended and suspicious)
  • In The Merchant of Venice, Lancelot says
  • “Certainly he (Shylock)  is the very devil incarnal…” (incarnate)

Obviously these comments were not mistakes on Shakespeare’s part.  I think they were added to lend a little levity to the play.

And there have been some wonderful malapropisms made by people in the public eye:

  • “We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile.”   George W. Bush.  – I wonder what he meant to say.
  • And my favourite of his – It will take time to restore chaos and order” – Well gee whiz
  • “Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.”    Former Dan Quayle, Vice President – Oh really!
  • Allan Lamport, former mayor of Toronto said, “Keep this up and we will have a vicious triangle” – Interesting idea a triangle rather than a circle
  •   “If Gower had stopped that [cricket ball] he would have decapitated his hand.”.   Farokh Engineer , Indian cricketer – That would have been worth seeing.
  • “And then he [Mike Tyson] will have only channel vision.”   Frank Bruno, boxer – Will he see underwater then?
  • “Marie Scott… has really plummeted to the top.”    Alan Weeks,  British television sports reporter and commentator and
  • Sarah Palin posted on Twitter a call to “refudiate”
    the proposal to build a mosque on the site of the World Trade Center.

Of course, we can go on and on, and George W Bush seemed to have been the absolute expert on this form of speech.

But here we will end today’s English lesson.  Hope you are not bored with my sharing my love of English with you.  And a thought for you

Think Positive

More Words To Play With

A man, a plan, a canal – Panama!

So far this year, as far as dates go we have had 10 palindromes.  We put the day before the month in writing dates – so 11/1/11; 11/2/11 and so on for the following months.

Today is the 11th day of November 2011.  A perfect palindrome – 11/11/11 and to make things even better this post will be published at 11 am.

The word palindrome is derived from the Greek palíndromos, meaning running back again  A palindrome is a word, phrase or number which reads the same in both directions, hence

  • Madam I’m Adam
  • Do Geese See God
  • Never odd or even
  • I did did I
  • A Toyota’s a Toyota and of course probably the most famous
  • Able was I ere I saw Elba
  • And the numbers as above.
  • Some single words are also palindromes – level, radar, nun and civic.

No doubt you can come up with many more, as can I.

Thinking of palindromes I thought then of spoonerisms.  What is the connection?  I don’t know but I love spoonerisms.

Spooner caricature

Spooner as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, April 1898

Spoonerisms are named after  William Archibald Spooner who was famous for making these verbal slips.   Some of his famous slips of speech are :

  • On raising a toast to the Queen “”Three cheers for our queer old dean!”
  • We are told that he once enquired “Is the bean dizzy?” on a visit to a college
  • He apparently lionized Britain’s farmers as “ye noble tons of soil.”
  • He once referred to a well oiled bicycle as “a well-boiled icicle.”

There have also apparently been some blunders heard on radio:

  • A British radio announcer, talking about a royal visit, informed his listeners that the visitor would be greeted with a “twenty one son galoot”.
  • Another radio announcer made one that seems to have stuck: “one swell foop”.

And apart from these, some of my favourites are :

  • Fighting a liar (lighting a fire)
  • Go and shake a tower (go and take a shower)
  • Lack of pies (pack of lies)
  • Beeping sleauty (sleeping beauty) and many more.

I really do love playing with words and have written several posts on this subject in the past.

So do go and have some fun with words, palindromes and spoonerisms.  Let me know your favourites.

“By words we learn thoughts, and by thoughts we learn life.”
Jean Baptiste Girard

Note – Caricature of Spooner via Wikipedia