Monthly Archives: April 2019

Making Memories, Finding Friends.

“Lazy Sunday afternoon
I’ve got no mind to worry
I close my eyes and drift away-a”
Small Faces  1960s –  an English rock band from East London 

Sunday afternoon and it’s here before anywhere else in the world. Well, this Sunday was great.

The day started with a late rising, followed by a chat with my daughter and then another chat this time on Facetime with my good friend Chris at Bridges Burning. We regularly chat and although we’ve never met in person, we are firm friends. Maybe if one of us wins the lottery we might get to meet. Waterloo, Ontario is far from Wellington, New Zealand. Aren’t we lucky we live in a time when the internet makes connecting with friends so easy?

Then after lunch, a ‘short’ run to the supermarket for a very few things. As my daughter says “why go to the supermarket on Sunday afternoon when you have all week?” No answer to that one.

Now it was time to sit in the sunshine and relax. So teapot and cup close at hand I logged into my site. I wondered what I had been posting about last year and the year before. I knew there wouldn’t be much in 2016; that’s when I had my misadventure.

Then I thought about the time when The Architect was first hospitalised and diagnosed with the brain tumour. What did I share with my blogging pals then?

I had been nominated by Cat at Catterel to take part in the Five Day Challenge – post a picture each day with some prose to accompany it. Well, I did that and as directed nominated another blogger each day to take part. Unfortunately, very soon after writing those posts, I was taken up with hospital and medical things so I really didn’t give those bloggers the attention they deserved. I have rectified it this afternoon.

Catterel a poet who was born in the UK, spent some years in Germany where she became a German citizen and now, after spending more than half her life in Switzerland, she has decided to apply for citizenship. Join her at Catterel.wordpress.com to see what else she has been up to.

So to Sallyann at Photographic Memories, Darlene at darlenefoster.wordpress.com; Patricia at Patricia’s Place and Granny at Granny 1947.wordpress.com, thanks for joining in and apologies again for not reading and commenting on your posts at the time. I have tried to remedy this but some posts were not available.

And Finding Friends? Well in reading the posts by the above-mentioned bloggers I discovered other bloggers and went over to see what they had to say. And now I have subscribed to some of the blogs.

I have a new friend. Marian Beaman was brought up as a Mennonite girl in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I’ve enjoyed reading about this. Her memories are so interesting: her childhood so very different from mine. Visit her at www.marianbeaman.com.

Barbara at March of Time Books lives in the UK.  Barbara  blogs about all things that interest her, “vintage books, postcards and ephemera” but as she says ‘you will also find me musing on many other topics.” Shoot over to her site to see what she is musing about now.

Barb at www.barbtaub.com Her blog is full of humour and easy reading for a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Chuck Jackson is a retired accountant living in South East Florida. He is a writer, having had three books published. You can read synopses and some excerpts from his books on www.chuckjacksonknowme.com

So another Sunday afternoon came to an end. There’s laundry to fold and dinner to make. But I shall go back to read more from/about these new friends soon.

“Many people will walk in and out of your life,
but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart” 
Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884 – 1962
 American political figure, diplomat and activist.

 

 

 

 

 

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On This Day

“If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.”
Wes Nisker author, radio commentator, comedian,
and Buddhist meditation instructor.
1942 –

On this day in 2012, as a reasonably new blogger, I wrote a Post on a woman who gave a kidney to her immediate supervisor and then shortly afterward was dismissed from her job.  This should be a lesson to all those selfless people out there who are considering offering a body part to an employer or supervisor.  Your generosity will not be appreciated and may even be thrown back in your face, as in this case where the recipient of the kidney said to the donor “Don’t expect to be treated special because of what you did for me”. A strange way to say thanks.

On this day in 1773, The British Parliament passed the Tea Act.  This Act forced Colonists to buy tea from the East India Company that controlled all tea imported into the colonies.  Direct action by a group calling itself the Sons of Liberty in Boston resulted in the tea contained in three trading ships being destroyed.  We are told by Wikipedia that “this was a key event in the growth of the American Revolution”.

On this day in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco opened.  The American Society of Civil Engineers declared it one of the modern Wonders of the World and  Frommers travel guide considers the Golden Gate Bridge “possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world.

On this day in 1989, Beijing students took over Tiananmen Square in China.  In case you are too young to know about this thousands of students and other citizens started gathering in groups large and small, protesting many issues, centered on a desire for freedom and democratic reform.  By mid-May, hundreds of thousands of people occupied the Square.  Chinese authorities responded with a declaration of martial law, and on June 3rd  tanks and armored personnel carriers rolled into the square, killing and wounding many, mostly civilians – estimates vary widely, from several hundred to several thousand dead.

On this day in 2011, a lashing string of tornadoes tore through Alabama smashing buildings, snapping trees and ending at least 58 lives.

On this day in 2013, eight people are killed and dozens are injured after Taliban attacks on election officials in Pakistan.

On this day in  2014, two tornadoes from a powerful storm system killed at least 17 people in Arkansas and Oklahoma on Sunday. Authorities in Arkansas said the twister there killed 16. It touched down about 10 miles west of Little Rock and stretched a half-mile wide.

On this day in 2018,  Bill Gates announced he is giving $12 million for influenza research. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will partner with Larry Page, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, to create a fund of $12 million to support research into  a universal flu vaccine.

So there you have it! And is it tea time yet?

Books - Baldacci

 

Six Word Saturday – Phobias

Really.  You say it’s Saturday again.  Time for Six Word Saturday

Six word Saturday button

You know what to do if you want to get involved.
Click on the above or on the link.  Now you’re all set to join in.

Trump’s phobia is  fear of sharks

We learn that he is Galeophobic which, Wikipedia tells us is “an abnormally
large and persistent fear of sharks.” So now we have found something which the all-powerful President fears.  What do you fear?

I used to be scared of cats – Ailurophobia is defined as “the persistent, irrational fear of cats.”  This fear was alleviated by a series of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and now I can even stroke my grandson’s cat. My late husband – the DYS – would be horrified. I always told him he couldn’t bring a Siamese cat into the house;  if he did so I would leave.

I don’t know that I have any other phobias, but I have an aversion to snow and Wikipedia tells me that is – Chionophobia – the extreme dislike or fear of snow. Of course, I don’t fear it, but having lived with it in both Scotland and Montreal I choose not to go where it is. I much prefer the beach.

“What are fears but voices airy?
Whispering harm where harm is not.
And deluding the unwary
Till the fatal bolt is shot.”
William Wordsworth, English Romantic poet. 1770 -1850.

 

Notes
1.  I see that this post was started on January 27, 2018. I wonder what exciting thing drew me away from it.
And after publishing this post. I find that Six Word Saturday runs no more and the domain showmyface.com is available for sale.

 

 

 

They Shall Grow Not Old

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We Will Remember Them.”
LAWRENCE BINYON 1869-1943,
English poet, dramatist and art scholar.

Last post being sounded at North Beach, Gallipoli.
Photo Mike Bowers, Sydney Morning Herald

April 25 in New Zealand and Australia is celebrated in remembrance of all those who have fought, suffered and died in wars. In both countries, it is a Public Holiday. Services of Remembrance are held throughout both lands. And on this day, in Gallipoli in Turkey, those brave souls who suffered and the many who died are also remembered.

During my recovering period in 2016, my number three Grandson Drew took me to an exhibition on Gallipoli. What follows is what I wrote after attending that exhibition. 

After a nasty accident that caused severe brain injury, I spent seven weeks in hospital and at ABI rehabilitation.  Now thanks to the teams at both places I’m well on the way to recovery. Back home again and ready to post on my blog.

One of the most annoying aspects is that with brain injury driving licences are suspended for six months until a doctor certifies you can drive. So currently I’m very dependent on family, friends and Driving Miss Daisy to take me around.

The entry to the exhibition

 

On Tuesday this week, my No 3 grandson Drew took me to our National Museum, Te Papa (Our Place in Maori) to see the Gallipoli Exhibition  This tells the story of the landings on April 25. 1915

On that day, thousands of young men, far from their homes, stormed the beaches on the Gallipoli Peninsula in what is now Turkey.

For eight long months, New Zealand troops, alongside those from Australia, Great Britain and Ireland, France, India, and Newfoundland battled harsh conditions and Ottoman forces desperately fighting to protect their homeland.

IMG_0700

Larger than life sized models

By the time the campaign ended, more than 130,000 men had died: at least 87,000 Ottoman soldiers and 44,000 Allied soldiers, including more than 8700 Australians. Among the dead were 2779 New Zealanders, about a sixth of all those who had landed on the peninsula.

New Zealand sent more men to fight in the First World War per head of population than any other nation. Of those killed, almost a third were buried half a world away in unmarked graves.

This exhibition tells the story from the standpoint of those young men.  It is incredibly detailed and we are shown where they stood their ground against an incredible army of Turks.  We see how they lived and we hear readings of letters home.

IMG_0699

 

One of the standout officers was Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone (1859-1915) , a Stratford farmer and lawyer, who commanded the Wellington Battalion at Gallipoli. The Wellington Battalion landed at Anzac Cove on 25-26 April 1915. Malone soon began to impose order, transforming weak defensive positions along the Anzac perimeter into strong garrisons. Between June and August, he helped consolidate critical positions at Courtney’s Post and Quin’s Post.  Just one of many no doubt.”

What a terrible waste of so many young lives, and yet, over a century later, we continue to send our young people to war – doing the same things all over again and expecting different results. Will we never learn !

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Remembering

 

”When one person is missing
the whole world seems empty.”
Pat Schweibert, American Author

Twenty-one years ago today, the light went out of my world. My DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) had died. There are no words to tell how I felt for the next few months. Nothing and nobody could fill the void.

I was lucky that there were three young grandsons around to cheer me up. The eldest, three-year-old James, said “Granma, when it stops raining, will you stop crying?’ and ‘Look Granma, the sky is crying because Grampa is dead”.

Of course, he was far too young, as were the others, to understand the devastation that had crept /crashed into my life.

At that time I didn’t know how I was going to go on with the rest of my life;  but it doesn’t come with a choice. One just has to go on living.

I had no friends or family who had suffered such a loss, and while they were all very supportive, I really was on my own on this journey.

But through this, I found a reason for being. I became a Life Coach and directed my energy towards others who were grieving and attempting to survive. My volunteering was (and still is) in a hospice where people were struggling with their loved ones imminent end of life. How quickly I realised I wasn’t the only one on this survival journey.

I wrote a small book Suddenly Single and gave it to my clients and then friends who found themselves in this situation.

And I found I could go on with my life. Even without the person with whom I had grown up, and who was most supportive of everything I did, and eventually, I realised that life could be good again.

Later, I started blogging and through this medium, I met others who had survived and who became friends.

And now, twenty-one years on, I have made a happy life for myself. There were a couple of major hiccups along the way – the death of the Architect in 2015 followed by my disastrous misadventure in 2016 – but in all life has been good to me.

I know that some of you are just starting on this journey, or are new to it. Please believe me when I say there is a way out of this storm of grief and everybody’s journey is different. If you are suffering, please contact me. I should like to send you a copy of the newest version of my book. This edition is called Stepping Stones.

I propose to publish it and put it on Amazon but until then, I’m happy to give you a copy.

End of misery post. Tomorrow I shall be back to normal. As my children always say – Pollyanna is alive and well and living in Wellington, New Zealand.

And for now, as Shirley MacLaine says:

“I think of life itself now as a wonderful play
that I’ve written for myself and so my purpose is

to have the utmost fun playing my part.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Celebrating

“It is a serious thing just to be alive
on this fresh morning, in this broken world.”
Mary Oliver

We know that New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote – 19 September, 1893, and we are vocal in celebrating this.

Now we have more reasons to celebrate. Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has been named in FortuneMagazine‘s list of the world’s greatest leaders.

She came second only to Bill and Melinda Gates, well known and acknowledged for the great charity work they do and in particular their involvement in vaccines for the poor and work against poverty.

Ms Ardern is the only elected official in the top ten. ‘”Jacinda Ardern had already broken new ground as a pregnant woman – and then a new mother – leading a nation. And this year, the 38-year-old Prime Minister showed the world her fullness as a leader as she deftly, empathetically, and humbly navigated New Zealand through the worst terror attack in its history, after 50 were killed at two mosques in Christchurch in March,” the Fortune profile read.

She has also been featured  in Time Magazine‘s list of the most influential people of 2019.

Her blurb is written by London Mayor Sadiq Kahn, who writes how Londoners were “heartbroken to wake up to news of the horrific terror attack in Christchurch, shocked by the callous targeting of innocent civilians for no reason other than their faith”.

Kahn states that Ardern’s leadership since then “has been an inspiration to us all”.

And we find she is also featured in Forbes Magazine’s list of TheMost Powerful Women  in the World. Angela Merkel has remained at the top spot since 2006 and we celebrate this for her. She is, Forbes said  the ”de facto leader of Europe, leading the region’s largest economy after steering Germany through financial crisis and back to growth.”

Our Prime Minister is at 29 and of her Forbes said she had used her platform to “create a path for other women” to follow in her footsteps and, at age 38, was the youngest female leader in the world and New Zealand’s youngest PM in 150 years.

So while she wasn’t my choice for leader of our small nation, she is doing very well and has become a world leader in a very short time. I hope this continues for her.

Applause

End of bragging and politics for today.

Here it is Easter Saturday. When I grew up and when I first came to New Zealand, Easter was celebrated with church services. That was more important than the easter bunny, eggs and buns. But that has changed. Our country is no longer considered a Christian country. New Zealand is home to a diverse range of religious groups, including Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs and Jews, as well as Christians. Twenty five languages are spoken amongst our very mixed community now and the reason for Easter has fallen into the background.

So commercialism once again thrives. Shopping trolleys are full of Hot Cross buns (although last year there was a movement to change the name), Easter eggs and bunnies.

And now I could like to wish all my friends Happy Easter however you celebrate it.

Adventure

 

 

 

 

The Deadly Disease

“Listen, whatever you see and love—
that’s where you are.”
Mary Oliver, September 1935 – January 2019

I have written before on the subject of Alzheimer’s, the Deadly disease. Many of us have suffered with our parents, mother or father, as they struggle through this journey. We have watched them change from the lively, spirited, strong people they once were to this shell of themselves,  trying to make sense of who and where they are.

I wrote about a few days in April 2016 when, following a major misadventure, for a few days I didn’t know who or where I was. I mistook my son for a doctor and didn’t recognise my grandsons. But luckily for me, it was only a few days.  For that short time, I could bond with my fictional character Jane and those people who are living with this full time.

One such person, and someone I have written about before, is Wendy Mitchell. Wendy says “On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with Young onset dementia. I may not have much of a short-term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget.” Wendy was only 62 with a busy full life ahead of her. Please go over to her site to read more about this fantastic woman.

She is living with dementia every day of her life, and is filling it with activity not only to help herself but to help others too. She is active on various organisations, has written a book and writes a blog post daily.

In today’s post she writes about Tove a woman in Finland from whom she received “the most wonderful email”. Tove had read Wendy’s book “Somebody I Used to Know” and felt moved to write to her,

Tove’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 56 and sadly died at 64. But she was a poet and before that ability was taken from her, she wrote several poems. With Wendy’s approval and I trust Tove’s as well, I am sharing  two of the poems with you.

Let me stay

among my dreams and memories
yet a while
Let me see the ocean in the sunset
and the beach
Let me listen to
grandchildrens laughter
and notice one more day, please
Don’t run towards me you cruel reality
Stay. Take another way
So when you finally knock on my door
I’m not at home.
I’m perhaps already gone
Lillemor Eklund 2005
and then this one…
When I no longer can pronounce my name
When the silence is hanging over my thoughts,
like a mountain
Hug me, keep me close. Make me feel safe
Whisper my name over and over again
Til I know who I am
Wish me wild and beautiful dreams
in the darkness that has captured me
Hold my hand follow me some of the way”
Lillemor Eklund 1949-2013.
……
Often, in the face of this or any disease or a terminal illness, we tend to forget the other people who are also affected – Wendy’s two daughters, Tove and many others are suffering along with the sufferers of the disease.  They need our support, a phone call, a letter or a visit to show they are not forgotten; their suffering is acknowledged.