Monthly Archives: July 2016

Art and Inspiration

More thought from another time, another place. What a lot can change in four short years. This is what I was thinking about on this day in 2012

I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

One of the bloggers I follow is Val Erde at Arty Old Bird.  Val is a very talented artist and generously allows us to use her art in our posts.

In a recent post Val asked Are You a Fan of Anything? and this was the piece of artwork that accompanied the question:

Painting - Quite a fan
Val saw this image as a fan obviously, but I saw it as a woman running  towards her future.  But on looking at it again and in further detail I see a woman swimming towards her destiny.  There are red, wild and dangerous waters behind her but mostly clear blue seas ahead.  What do you see in this painting?  I would love to hear from you and do go over and read the post from Val and all the comments.  Very illuminating.

Almost a year ago Val set us a challenge in one of her posts –…

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All or Nothing Day – July 26, 2016

Listen. are you breathing just a little
and calling it a life,
Mary Oliver

Several days ago I received an email from a young woman whom I didn’t know.  Her name is Heather Von St James and she told me she was a 10-year survivor of a rare cancer called mesothelioma, given just 15 months to live upon diagnosis, then and there she decided it was all or nothing from that day on.

Having read her story I wanted to get involved in Heather’s most recent campaign for All or Nothing Day. She asked if I would help spread the word.   Those of you who have followed me know that this is absolutely what I approve of and so of course I agreed.

I claim to Choose how I will spend the rest of my life and some of you have accompanied me through a few pitfalls followed by picking myself up and starting again.

At the ripe old age of 60, I found myself Suddenly Single after my husband of 41 years died, and had to learn how to live life on my own.  A couple of years later I was diagnosed with breast cancer, but a lumpectomy and some radiation therapy quickly sorted that out.  Then when I was getting used to life on my own, I met and reconnected with an Architect with whom I had worked many years previously.  And yes, we got together and decided to spend the rest of our lives together.

Just over a year ago he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and 8 weeks later he died.  My 2 year Magic Carpet Ride came to a halt and once again I was living life on my own.

Well, you just have to get up and get on with it.  I was doing well on my own when suddenly in April this year I had an accident that resulted in major brain damage.  But hey – I’m alive and things are gradually getting back to normal.  Every day is a bonus and I am so grateful for the medical team and the rehabilitation team who brought me to the stage I am today.

I’m going out walking with my physiotherapist when she visits each week and last week I had a walk on my own and did some Retail Therapy.  I’m lucky and blessed with a supportive family and friends and I will continue to Choose how I spend the rest of my life.  However long that may be.

I shall continue to be the best friend I can be, the most loving sister, mother and grandmother offering and accepting the love showered on me  And because some of my independence is lost until I’m allowed to drive again, I’m working on accepting the help offered graciously.

And also this from Mary Oliver

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.” ~ Mary Oliver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Retail Therapy

“Sometimes I need
only to stand
wherever I am
to be blessed.”
Mary Oliver, Evidence: Poems

 

I went into town today to meet a friend for coffee.  Unfortunately for me but fortunately for her, she had promised to take her grandson to the movies, so it was a very short meeting.  After she left, I had another coffee and thought about what I would do until my driver picked me up one hour later.

So here I was out on my own for the first time in 12 weeks.  It seemed like some retail therapy was called for.  I made it to only one department store almost opposite where we had coffee, but I felt pleased with myself for trying this.

I bought some tights, some makeup and a new perfume.  So al in all a good use of an unexpected free hour.  And to finish off,  while I waited for the driver, I bought some handmade chocolates from the chocolate shop.

Then home again with my caring and careful driver.  I’m so lucky that I have access to these women in Driving Miss Daisy.  They are all in their 50s and 60s and really look after me.

A quick lunch and then onto the bed for a nanny nap.

Another milestone reached and overcome.

 

 

 

 

 

I Went For a Walk

I went for a walk today – doesn’t that sound so very basic and normal.  But for me it isn’t normal yet.

I’ve been getting around, being taken places by family friends and a great organisation here called Driving Miss Daisy.  This organisation is quite different to cabs – they come to the house, walk with me to the car, take me wherever I want to go for coffee, lunch,to visit friends or to attend appointments.

But having said how great all these people are there’s nothing quite like being out on your own two legs, walking outside after so long being confined to walking only around the garden.  Yesterday my youngest grandson walked with me to the end of the drive.  It’s uphill and so a bit of a challenge.

Then today, my lovely Physiotherapist took me for a short drive to the next suburb. We parked the car and then walked a short distance to a cafe for coffee.  Suddenly, I felt as if I had some control.  It’s amazing what a difference something as small as a walk away from the house can make.

And looking back a year.  I was totally involved in being with and supporting The Architect as he fought and lost his battle against the imposing tumour.  How different life was then and how it brought home to me once again, that life is short and can be taken in the blink of an eye.

Then I looked further back and remembered this day five years ago –With a Little Help From My Friends.  What a lovely day that was and that is the grandson who walked with me yesterday.  How he has grown in five short years.

And on this day four years ago I was thinking about the names we give our children, and the effects they can have on them  in later life. – Samarra.

This time three years ago I was getting excited about the next stage in my long and lovely life. 

On July 13 2014 the Architect and I were in Edinburgh.  We wet to a restaurant for brunch and I ordered a Bloody Mary but as it was 11.15 am we had to wait until 11.30 am for the bar to be opened.  Strange Scottish alcohol laws. But we spent much of the rest of the day in and around the castle.  Of course, I had lived in Scotland for 8 years at one time but my partner had never been there, and of course as an architect he was fascinated with the old and new buildings.

L1150130

High Street, Edinburgh

Scottish parliament building in Holyrood Edinburgh

Scottish Parliament Building

So lots of happy memories on this day interspersed with a few not so happy.

But I say I choose how I’ll spend the rest of my life and I choose to look forward.–

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Granma’s Day

Looking back over my blogging years, I have found several that I really like.  This one from July 2012 is a favourite.  I hope you don’t mind reading it again.

The boys are all older now but they still give me much joy.

Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends – and hardly ever our own grown children.  ~Ruth Goode, author 1902-1997

I particularly like the quote from Ruth Goode.  She was an author who , according to her obituary in the New York Times “wrote about subjects as disparate as the scenic attractions of Maine, advancements in medicine and the life of the impresario Sol Hurok…..”  And she obviously loved her grandchildren.

Three boys

Child labour?

I’ve had a really special day today.  Three of my four grandsons have been here and what a joy they are.

They range in age from 12 to 16 and still get on well.  The 16-year-old is particularly careful to include the youngest one in everything, although he is well able to look after himself.

Having picked one up from his mother’s office and the other two from the train station we set off for the garden center to collect the final two bags of stones for the patio.  I was planning to use some of their time with me (and their energy) to get this job finished eventually.  It’s never too early to learn there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Well…Granma was so busy talking that she got onto the motorway by mistake and had to drive miles out of her way before arriving at the garden center.

Here we were greeted like long-lost friends.  Lotte and I have been regular visitors to the center since the patio was fist thought about.  And they recognized Jae (the youngest) from our last visit.  So, purchases made the boys loaded the bags into the back of my car and we set off for home.

They came in for a drink and biscuits before starting – don’t all workmen?  They certainly do here in New Zealand.  And for the next half hour the street rang with their laughter as they spread the stones, filling in the blanks that Jae and I had missed last week.

Two boys working

James and Jae – the oldest and youngest working together

Lotte helping too

And four extra hands/paws are welcome

Rob

Rob beavering away but can’t we afford shoes?

James and me

Sharing his muddy hands with Granma!

Soon it was finished and everybody had a great time.  Isn’t it so true that many hands make light work?  And what joy to be surrounded by happy, laughing, young folk.

Then lunch.  Easy to feed growing boys.  Plenty of sausages, buns, mayo and tomato sauce and the boys made their own hotdogs.  I demurred.  Hotdogs are not among my favorite things.

Sausages

Now what to do for the afternoon?  They couldn’t make up their minds.  Of course, they were slightly constrained by the fact that Jae still had his leg in a cast.  So I made the decision.  Sir Peter Jackson and Weta, the animation and special effects company – Lord of the Rings, The Last Samurai, King Kong, Xena Warrior Princess among others – are based in Wellington and they have the ‘Weta Cave” a museum open to the public.  Strangely none of us had been there before and so we took ourselves off.

Weta Cave

Weta Cave photo Scoop

This was very interesting as it had models from all the films Weta and Sir Peter have been involved in and of course, they had many collectibles for sale.

Three very well behaved brought up young boys asked for nothing.  A big change from when they were younger.

Of particular interest to me was the short movie/DVD giving a behind the scenes look at Weta and interviews with the founders and directors of the company.

Roxy Cinema

At the opening of the Roxy Cinema in April 2011

And then on to the Roxy Cinema.  This is another of Weta’s projects.

The old cinema had been abandoned years ago.  It was derelict and had been so for some years, following a brief period as a shopping center.  The shops were very sad and there was no good reason ever to go there.

Several years ago the building was bought and saved from demolition by Jamie Selkirk, best known for his role as editor on the Lord of the Rings films. The building lay empty for several years during which time Selkirk won several Oscars.  He then enlisted the help of Tania Rodger, manager of Weta Workshop, with a view to rebuilding. And the final product can only be described as stunning.

In April, the ‘cream’ of Wellington society was invited to a gala opening.  The theme was 1930s and as you can see from the photos even the cars were authentic.

The Roxy has a rather pleasant cafe on the ground floor.  So after touring around the cinema we sat for a breather – tea for Granma (well, I am English after all), coke for one boy, hot chocolate for another and for the third, and eldest and so sophisticated, iced coffee.Iced coffee

James has just finished a six week course through school on making coffee – Barista training.   Apparently this was an elective and he will get eight points for doing this course. When questioned he said he thought it was really for those boys who would not stay on for another year and might get a job making coffee.

Then, with his new found knowledge, he regaled us with how one makes iced coffee and assured me that no, we couldn’t make one in the blender at home.  We need an espresso machine to froth the milk.  Don’t have one and am not about to get one.  Sorry James.

So our adventures ended.  A trip home where they watched a DVD.  My son and his wife joined us for dinner and then later my daughter and her eldest son came in for a short time.  Drew had been competing in a water polo tournament in Auckland and Cate had picked him up at the airport and thought she would call in not only to pick up her younger son but also to catch up with her brother, his wife and their boys.

It was lovely to have both my children and all their children together.  A rare happening and a fitting ending to my lovely Granma’s Day.