Monthly Archives: March 2020

Filling Time

“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another
“What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”

― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

I’ve walked, I’ve read, I’ve cooked and I’ve brought out the vacuum cleaner and rapidly replaced it.  Now, what to do?  My sister Christine has the word “noodling’ which she uses to describe moving around on the internet, just looking and maybe learning something new.

So noodling was what I have been doing this afternoon.  Merriam Webster is, of course, a favourite site as I am a Word Junkie (the description my DYS gave me so many years ago). Today I found this on the site.  Go and see what the staff are reading under the heading

M-W Picks: Books for When
You’re Hunkered Down
You too can read like a dictionary staffer.

There’s a good selection and I am sure you will find something to your liking. A new author or protagonist perhaps?

My first pick is from Serenity Carr, Assistant Editor. She chooses – Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson
“This is a psychological thriller about a young woman from London who decides to trade apartments with a distant cousin in Boston. When she arrives at her cousin’s apartment building, she discovers his neighbor has been murdered. There are some huge and unexpected plot twists that kept me completely hooked until the end. Without giving away anything, I’ll just say this book is super murdery, and if that’s your thing, I can’t recommend it enough.”

I can’t get to a bookstore and deliveries of books are on hold, so I went to the local library online, and joy, it’s available in both hard copy and ebook. The library is, of course, closed so the ebook is now downloaded and on my TBR list.

She also recommends The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent and The Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman. Both are added to my want to read list.

I am sure I will go back again during this locked-down time to refresh and just to see what others are reading.

Neil Serven, Associate Editor offers The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai.
‘This novel was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2018, and feels relevant at time when the specter of contagion casts a shadow over us and fear and uncertainty inflame our discourse. The disease in this book is AIDS, and the story concerns its impact on Chicago’s gay community in the 1980s, as well as its lasting impact on the survivors of that community thirty years later.
At the center of the story is Yale Tishman, a young gallery worker who is close to making a major advance in his career by acquiring a valuable collection of art from an elderly, eccentric prospective donor. Yale’s friend Nico has just died of AIDS-related illness, and other friends within their circle are becoming infected. Yale’s strongest support comes from Nico’s younger sister, Fiona; in an interwoven narrative, we follow Fiona thirty years later as she tracks down her estranged daughter in Paris.”

And On the Beach by Nevil Shute. Of this book, he says “When I read this book for the first time, I was a high schooler laid up with my own serious illness, so perhaps I have always associated it with infirmity. I decided to read it again last year, before the thought of being confined against a scourge became reality.
What is striking about this book is how the characters strive to live as though things are normal. Even as fate comes knocking, there are attempts to cultivate relationships, and efforts to live in the hopes of seeing lost loved ones who are almost certainly dead. The story reaches a mood of strange and patient optimism even in the face of annihilation.”

So when you find yourself with nothing left on your To-Do list, take a look at this site. I hope you find something to amuse you while we all stay home and safe

“I have to be alone very often.
I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning
alone in my apartment.
That’s how I refuel.”
Audrey Hepburn: Many-Sided Charmer, LIFE Magazine, December 7, 1953.

DISTANCE

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I enjoy following Tara at Thin Spiral Notebook and have done so for several years. She is a writer of fiction, an artist, photographer and so much more.
She is an inspiration!
And I particularly like her 100 Word Challenge.
As Tara says, use  100 words no more and no less. for the challenge.
This week’s challenge is DISTANCE

********

I am very lucky.  Both of my children live close and so am in constant contact with them and visit regularly. My daughter lives above me and my son and daughter-in-law are only 50 km away. But things have changed. Here in New Zealand, we are living in “bubbles” comprising only those people who live in the same house: the distance between me and my son and daughter in law is too far.

But what of my friends whose children live in other countries and in a different hemisphere. Distance takes on a whole new meaning in a pandemic.

 

 

Five Sentence Fiction

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

As you know, I enjoy joining Tara at The Thin Spiral Notebook and her 100 words challenge. Would you like a new challenge?

Some time ago I also played along in a five-sentence challenge. No limit on words, just limit the sentences. The site no longer exists and so I thought I would re-establish it. Please play along. Each week I will give you one word as inspiration.

To show you what I am looking for, click here to see my effort using STEAM as the inspiration.

So ready to start? Using only five sentences, the prompt word is DIVERSION.

I hope you play along. And please link back to this site so others may see what you write. Good luck. Have fun!

“The trouble with writing fiction is that it has to make sense,
whereas real life doesn’t.”

― Iain M. Banks, Scottish author 1954-2013

LOCKED IN

We talk about being locked-in but are you aware there is a medical condition of being locked in?

Medically known as Pseudocoma, “it is a rare neurological disorder in which there is complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles except for the ones that control the movements of the eyes. Individuals with locked-in syndrome are conscious and awake but have no ability to produce movements (outside of eye movement) or to speak (aphonia). Cognitive function is usually unaffected.” NORD (National Organisation for Rare Disorders

I first came across this disorder while reading The Diving Bell and the Butterfly the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby the editor-in-chief of French Elle and the father of two young children, At the end of 1995, he was the victim of a rare kind of stroke to the brainstem and after 20 days in a coma, he awoke and found his body had almost stopped working.  One eye only was still functioning.

This is a book showing man’s desire and ability to overcome almost anything.  It’s well worth a read. I am going to reread it while sitting in so-called locked-in.

Interestingly, again according to NORD

“The first description of the locked-in syndrome can be found in The Count of Monte Cristo authored by Alexandre Dumas. To describe a patient with a locked-in syndrome, the author used the following words:

‘Sight and hearing were the only senses remaining…. It was only, however, by means of one of these senses that he could reveal the thoughts and feelings that still occupied his mind, and the look by which he gave expression to his inner life was like the distant gleam of a candle which a traveler sees by night across some desert place, and knows that a living being dwells beyond the silence and obscurity. In his eyes, shaded by thick black lashes, was concentrated, as it often happens with an organ which is used to the exclusion of the others, all the activity, address, force, and intelligence which were formerly diffused over his whole body; and so although the movement of the arm, the sound of the voice, and the agility of the body, were wanting, the speaking eye sufficed for all’.

In this way, he brilliantly highlighted the potential that these patients have to maintain a meaningful life despite their extreme disability.

It is amazing where our mind goes when we are looking for things to occupy us.

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Don’t Hesitate

Mary Oliver

From one of my very favourite authors. I think this is appropriate for today’s different world.

“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it.
There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be.
We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happens better than all the riches or power in the world.
It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case.
Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.
Don’t Hesitate!
And a quote from a poet new to me –
“The Joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,
dies young.”
Ann Sexton, American Pullitzer Prize winning poet
1928-1974.
Take great care. Be safe, be kind and remember, this too will pass.
A la prochaine 0r until the next time

A Brave New World

Today we woke to A  Brave New World here in Aotearoa, The Land of the Long White Cloud, New Zealand. We are in lockdown. But I am not going to talk about Covid19; everything has already been said.

But in our new world, we have to find ways to keep involved with others and keep ourselves occupied.

My blogging buddy and sister of choice, Chris at Bridges Burning and I are meeting each morning for coffee and Tai Chi on Face Time.  It isn’t very different for us as being on different sides of the world, in different hemispheres and time zones, we are used to talking via Face Time a couple of times a week. So what’s different? Well, it is now daily chats and includes Tai Chi. Everything is better when done with a friend.

And tomorrow we are meeting for drinks. We will meet with drinks in hand. 3 pm for me – oh yes, the sun is over the yardarm somewhere and surely it’s 5 pm someplace – and 10pm for Chris – she assures me it is not too late for a whisky at 10 pm. Who knows what Canadians get up to on long winter nights? Watch this space.

Yesterday I had afternoon tea with a neighbour. She brought her tea up and perched on her steps and I sat on my deck. We both enjoyed our tea and chat without getting close to each other. But how strange to be eating biscuits without offering her one.

And yesterday I drove ten minutes to the beach for my final beach walk for the foreseeable future. It was a perfect day and everybody was taking advantage of the last day of freedom to go where and when they wanted.

Walking is permitted within the vicinity of our home. While we don’t need permits to leave our house as they do in France, we are not allowed to use the car for other than supermarket shopping and visiting doctors and pharmacies. The police now have the power to stop motorists and demand where they are going. It’s not clear what will happen to those who flout the law. Again, watch this space.

Today’s walk wasn’t nearly as interesting, although I did meet others walking either with or without their dogs. And people working in the garden in the sunshine, children on scooters or bikes and everyone maintaining the 2-metre distance. People finding ways to pass time in this brave new world.

Those of us over 70 have been in lockdown mode since Saturday. It’s Thursday now and so we have six days experience. For most of the nation, it is day one. It will be interesting to watch how this pans out and how good people are at abiding by the stay at home rule.

Remember that now is the time to take care and stay safe. Be kind to each other and to yourself. And as my French Canadian friends in Montreal would say – “A la prochaine” – “See you next time”.

Take care

 

 

 

 

PANIC

I enjoy following Tara at Thin Spiral Notebook and have done so for several years. She is a writer of fiction, an artist, photographer and so much more.
She is an inspiration!
And I particularly like her 100 Word Challenge.
As Tara says, use  100 words no more and no less. for the challenge.
If you want to play along, this week’s challenge is PANIC and here’s my effort.

 

If you saw my contribution from last week, I should tell you that lockdown has been put in place for over 70s since Saturday lunchtime – it’s Monday evening here. So my worst fears have come to pass. The fortress has been erected and all social activities have been cancelled.

And on Wednesday, local time, we are moving to Alert Level 4 and all but essential services have to shut down.

Our Prime Minister’s advice to the nation is “Don’t Panic. We will get through this if we all work together.” Well said, Jacinda Ardern. Hopefully, the populace will listen.

 

SUMMER’S FINAL DASH

I have complained long and hard about our summer this year, or more precisely,  lack of it. Bt now, and for the whole nine days I have been here, the sun has come out of hiding at last.

I am currently dog sitting for my son and daughter in law while they are in Rarotonga for two weeks. They live within minutes of the beach, so this really is a mini holiday.

Theirs is an idyllic setting, Apart from the proximity of the beach they have a pool which is very well used, but not by me. I would rather watch others enjoying themselves.

Tim

Walking Time!

But currently, there is only Daisy Dog and me. She is without a doubt the best-behaved dog ever. When I take her for a walk along the beach, or even through the streets to the store, she just walks along beside me. if only Lottie had been that well behaved/ well-trained.

So in the midst of the drama and confusion around the pandemic, I am enjoying my solitary time here.

I trust you are all well and managing to continue living without too much angst.

Quarantine

I have enjoyed following Tara at Thin Spiral Notebook for several years.
She is a writer of fiction, an artist, photographer and so much more.
She is an inspiration! And I particularly like her 100 Word Challenge.

As Tara says, 100 words no more and no less. If you want to play along, this week’s challenge is Fort and here’s my effort.

Quarantine and self-isolation are words that chill me.  I am one of those people who are out and about most days. The thought of being confined to the house scares me.

For a short six months when I wasn’t allowed to drive following my misadventure, I was dependent on others coming to visit or take me places.

And now each time I read the news or a blog post, these words jump out at me.

In the event we have to commit to this here, I shall feel as if I am in a fort, cut off from the world.

A NEW FRIEND

 

“Travel makes one modest.
You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
― Gustave Flaubert

This week for only the second time, I met a blogging buddy face to face.

Way back in September 2013 I met Sallyann of Photographic Memories and we had a great day in Oxford, together with my sister. We saw things that visitors would not normally see and had a great time.

In case you missed it, or are like me and can’t really remember back seven years, here’s the link – https://growingyoungereachday.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/the-oxford-adventure/

And this week, Lois from Write Along With Me, came to Wellington on a cruise ship. We had a very little time together but how nice just to sit, two ancient ladies, chatting about our lives, so different and in many ways, so alike.  Here’s her latest post – https://loisroelofs.com/2020/03/13/sailing-on-the-high-seas/.

We discussed whether to meet beforehand and decided that because she hadn’t been anywhere there were concerns about Covid 19, we would meet. When were we ever going to be both in the same city again? The likelihood was pretty remote if not non-existent.

So on a beautiful Wellington Tuesday, I picked her up and though we had little time we had a drive around the bays that ring our beautiful city. She admired our pristine and deserted beaches and commented on the fact that the beach was so close to our capital city. While driving around we chatted like two old friends. The cafe I took her to was closed, so we went to my favourite place for lunch. But Lois had been eating a lot on the ship and so it was decided Coke and cake for her, tea and cake for me.

Then a Tiki Tour back to where the shuttle bus would pick her up to go back to the ship. And we were lucky. The next day our Prime Minister declared New Zealand closed to all cruise ships until at least June 30.

When Lois left here they were going to the South Island and then on to Australia. I have heard from her that they weren’t allowed to disembark in Tasmania, so waiting to hear where to next; she is having a real adventure.