Category Archives: Learning

More Walking

“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, 
“and what is inside them,
for words have the power to change us.”
― Cassandra Clare, American author of young adult fiction,
1973 –

Many years ago I discovered Julia Cameron and her book The Artist’s Way.  Through this book, her suggestions and in particular, her Morning Pages, I found that what I really wanted was be a life coach.  I then discovered a special Life Coach, Cary Volmer in Minnesota, and found out first hand what a life coach does.  She encouraged me and subsequently I took a Life Coach course in Australia  and became certified.

So why am I telling you this today, many years after the event?  Well, today I purchased Julia’s next book – The Artist’s Way for Retirement.

As usual, I’m spending the weekend with my son and his family.  Today my son was asleep as he works as Night Manager at a Wellington Hotel, my grandsons and their mother were all working and so I took myself off for my walk and ended up in the local mall.  The bookshop, as always, drew me to it and I saw this book.  I picked it up just to look at it, you understand.  The book fell open and the first thing that jumped out at me was the paragraph that included:

Walking makes” a quilt out of the silken patches of our experience.
So yes, it’s important that we walk.”

For me, walking has broadened my life, making me more independent than I have been for several months -4 or 5 kms a day makes all the difference to my life.  So of course, I had to buy the book.

As I’m almost completely recovered I now have to decide what to do with this life of mine and so I’m starting the 12-week course covered in this book to find out where I’m going next and what I am going to do.  So as we say,and if you’re interested, watch this space.

Butterflies

Me – pedantic?

Pedantic n: excessively concerned with minor details or rules;
overscrupulous.

I have realised that as I’m ageing I am becoming pedantic.  I find myself correcting the newscasters – who instead of whom; less instead of fewer, have two choices instead of a choice, split infinitives, etc etc.

While at the hospital recently I saw a message on the wall that said if you are a woman and between the ages of 17 to 65 – or some such ages, I drew my daughter’s attention to the mistaken use of to instead of and.  She responded with the question did I understand what was being transmitted.  Of course, I answered yes but it still worried me. Well that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Then later in the week, when just thinking about nothing in particular, it came to me that I was becoming pedantic.  The English language and the way it was used was very important in our lives growing up.  Both parents, but my Father, in particular, were very aware of the way we used English and because of this, I guess I have continued to be very aware of language.

So now I am making a definite move to change.  I know it won’t be easy but ….

Change is the law of life.
And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
John F. Kennedy

And for no other reason than because I love it. –

Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world“.
Marilyn Monroe

Red ShoesIf only I were able to wear those heels!

Can you believe it?

Do you ever do something and wonder what you were thinking of?  And even though you know what you were thinking of it doesn’t make it any better.

Shortly after I moved in with The Architect I changed from using Microsoft to Apple.  My Christmas present from him was a top of the range,  very large Apple iMac desktop.  I had an iPhone for manny years then a month after that  Christmas I bought an iPad.  So there I was with three Apples all communicating via Blue Tooth and so it seemed sensible to invest in an Apple laptop.  So a couple of weeks ago I decided to bite the bullet and buy one.

Apple laptop

Over the past many months, even  before I thought of buying a new laptop, I had been copying files from the old laptop to the Apple iMac.  So when my son suggested that he put the Toshiba on Trade Me (our version of E- Bay) I agreed.

At the weekend he picked it up and checked that I had copied everything I needed off it and proceeded to clear the hard drive.  Oh yes, you have guessed.  Today when I was looking for something on the computer I realised that I hadn’t saved any of the work from my years as a Life Coach.  All the programmes I devised  and the courses I had run are now whiling away the time in the ether.

Well I have nobody to blame but me – and as I have spent years advising my clients that what we say to ourselves is what we believe.  So no – I’m not stupid .  I really believed that everything on that Toshiba .was backed up.  Well we all make mistakes and what is the expression about crying over spilt milk.

I’ll probably never need any of that material again but wouldn’t it have been nice to look at occasionally, just to see what I had achieved.  Oh well – back to the drawing board.

“Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.”
Sophia Loren, Italian Actress, 1934-

 

MIA (Missing In Auckland)

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It was a beautiful night for an open-air show.  We arrived early and sat in the sunshine with a glass of wine and a platter of finger food.  And then into the theatre.  This took me back to a visit to The Globe in London several years ago.  It felt just the same. Where we were seated was covered but those standing in the area immediately in front of the stage in the pit, (The Groundlings) were not.

This was the first night of the Pop Up Globe Season 2016 and the first performance was Romeo and Juliet as we have never seen it performed before.  Such enthusiasm that I am sure even William S himself would have been impressed. Each of the actors was well cast.  Of course, in true tradition, there were no microphones but we had no trouble hearing the well-enunciated words from the cast.

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It was a truly magical pairing of actors as young lovers.  Juliet was played by Christel Chapman and Jonathan Tynan-Moss was Romeo. Each was so well suited to their role and they really had us believing that what we were seeing and hearing on that fantastic stage, was happening in real life.  And the magic wasn’t restricted to them.

We are told the play is “Performed by a cast of professional actors brought together into a new, specially-formed ensemble repertory company and working with world experts to bring you the authentic shock of the old: the effect of Shakespeare’s plays performed in the space for which they were written.” and

“Pop-up Globe Auckland is a full-scale working temporary replica of the second Globe Theatre originally built by Shakespeare and his company in 1614, the result of groundbreaking international academic research. With a steel frame ‘skinned’ in plywood, the Pop-up Globe fuses cutting-edge scaffold technology with 400-year-old designs and superb contemporary performances to create an immersive 360-degree experience unlike any other.”

At the end of the performance, the actors all sang and danced around the stage, obviously enjoying themselves as much as the audience.

In all, a great experience and I thank my very generous friend for the gift of a night of Shakespeare.

The next day I returned to Wellington and my friend and our hostess, enjoyed Twelfth Night that evening.  Another great performance from all accounts.

Then on Sunday, I went to the airport to meet the friend in whose house I lived after leaving the house I shared with The Architect and while I was having this small apartment spruced up.  He is the brother in law of The Architect and has been a true friend to me.

From the airport, I took him to his father’s house.  Father is 100 years old and always greets me as if I were one of his family.  He is an amazing old man who still lives alone in his own house.  He has a series of carers who come in to make food, clean the house etc but he is absolutely capable of looking after his personal needs himself. He is an avid gardener and takes every opportunity to go out and pull weeds or whatever small job needs attention.

And wonder of wonders, on Monday morning the furniture arrived.

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So yesterday was spent moving furniture around in this small living room.  And now that I have the furniture, I am pleased with it. Just have to decide where to place it and what else will have to go.

And my generous friend who took me to Auckland for the show, and whom I help on occasions with her Real Estate business, has taken a quick trip “across the ditch” to Sydney for a couple of days.  So today I acted as her gopher, delivering contracts and brochures for her.

So apologies to my Daily Blogging Buddies.  I have been missing for the past few days.

And for no reason other than it is one of my favourite quotes, I give you

“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine,
freedom, and a little flower.”

Hans Christian Andersen

 

 

 

 

 

 

If it seems too good…

Everyone knows the old adage and many have been stung by its inevitable truth.  If it seems to good to be true then it probably is.

I consider myself quite worldly wise – well one couldn’t have lived through this many years and not learned plenty.  We have all read and probably received scam letters by email, but some time ago I received one that was slightly different to the norm.

Brochure

It  was my birthday and when I opened the envelope containing what I thought was a birthday card, I found instead a catalogue from a travel company.  The company was marking nine years in  business and was offering a variety of prizes to  celebrate.  Inside were two scratch pads and so of course, I scratched them and lo and behold I was the winner of the second prize – $US160,000.  Too good to be true?

Bear in mind that this catalogue came in an envelope addressed to me- not the usual scam email.  I was required to call a number in Malaysia which I did and was told that I had indeed won second prize and would I scan and send the scratch card to their office.  I did this and received a phone call almost immediately telling me that while I held the second prize card they couldn’t find my customer number.  Not surprising as I had never heard of the company.  Apparently a mistake had been made on their part and instead of a minor prize being offered to encourage people to use their company, a major prize that should have only been offered to clients, was included in the mail to me.

However, undaunted the folk in Malaysia said that this shouldn’t preclude my being given the prize and several telephone calls from them ensued.  After a couple of days (and more calls) I was told that the sponsors had reluctantly agreed to pay out the prize but before doing so I was asked to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement.  Apparently this was necessary in case any of the sponsors’ clients found out that it was being paid to a “non-client”.  I did so and then was asked to call them in Hong Kong.  I had already checked out both these companies and to all intents and purposes they are legitimate.  The website of the sponsors in HK showed registration number etc and this checked out.

The conversation with the Operation (sic) Manager of the company went well and it appeared that I was to receive the prize, but wait, there was one small hitch before the money could be sent to my account a Letter of Authorisation was required from the HK Government; this to provide me with proof that the money sent to my account was winnings and not the proceeds from drugs or anything illegal.  To obtain the Letter it was necessary for $7,200 to be lodged with the Government Department and my share of that was $3,600.

I told the man at the other end of the line that while this was all very good I should have to break a deposit to produce $3,600 (US or HK it was not clear) and so I suggested that he send me a letter saying that I was to receive this money and then my bank here in NZ would advance the funds.  He explained that because I had signed the Non Disclosure as had he, he couldn’t do this.  When asked what he would usually do in this situation I was told that the winnings would go into the client’s account.  When I suggested that he open an account for me he demurred saying he couldn’t as all his clients “were holders of substantial funds”.  So my dream of winning an unexpected bonus came to an end.

I did email my man in Malaysia who had been so very helpful and explained what had happened.  I told him that while I was very comfortable dealing with his company I didn’t feel comfortable with this other company.  He assured me that the company in Hong Kong was legitimate and then suggested that I get on a plane to meet the “Operation” Manager in person.  Not going to happen.

A day or so later I received a call from him apologising profusely for the fact that the money could not be sent to me but telling me to look out for a “compensation package” that would be sent from his company and would I let him know when it arrived.  Guess what, nothing has arrived.

So while this now is shown to be a scam it appeared to be legitimate:

  • I had received a brochure by mail
  • I had a ticket showing I was a winner
  • I made one call to the number in Malaysia and all other contact with that company was made by them and by phone – so at their cost
  • The requirement for a Non Disclosure Agreement added a degree of legitimacy to the whole thing
  • The only other call I had to make was collect to Hong Kong.  When I did this they called me back so that the call was at their cost.

And because it was a scam I have no problem in breaking the Non Disclosure Agreement I signed.

‘Perhaps that suspicion of fraud enhances the flavour.”
C S Forester, English Novelist 1899-1966

 

 

 

 

 

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Back to School

Have you heard?  Several weeks ago following a rush of blood to the head I signed up to a course to improve my fiction (and any other) writing skills. And then I convinced Chris in Kitchener Ontario to join and she in turn convinced Donna, who seems to live sometimes in Mexico and sometimes in Canada. Well it seemed like a great idea at the time.

But now the countdown is on the course begins on Monday and it’s so long since I studied anything seriously.  So things could get a little hairy over the next few weeks. I don’t quite know what to expect but it will no doubt be a great learning experience.

Meantime, I am still swanning around on my extended holiday in Tauranga where the lovely weather continues and I am thankful that I live in this bountiful land.  We are far from the strife raging around the world but I hope we are not lulling ourselves into a false sense of security.  Terror and terrorists can strike at any time as we read and hear in the media. We must be vigilant even in our little corner of the world.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember,
involve me and I learn.”  Benjamin Franklin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I Need To Know

Way back in January 2012 I wrote a post entitled All I Need To Know in which I said that all I needed to know was in the story of Noah’s Ark.

Noah's arkSince then I have become even more convinced of the wisdom of Old Noah.  In the two years since I wrote that post my life has been totally turned around.  I no longer live alone in my old villa.  Instead, I live in a brand new house with my partner.

I re-read the post and thought how well my life has gone in the past couple of years and how apt Old Noah’s thoughts and actions are still to us in the 21st Century.  We can all learn from him.

In the earlier post, I listed what I had learned and now I would like to comment on some of the items in that list.

  • I did listen to the voice within when friends told me I was making a mistake selling my house and going away for an indeterminate time.  I went to Florence and
  • I followed my intuition.
  • I made my preparations in advance – I put the house on the market, contacted the travel agent and booked an apartment in Florence.
  • My life was built on a strong foundation and my little house had withstood all that had been thrown at it for more than a hundred years,
  • Even though my possessions were in a storage unit that was set alight, the things that were important to me were stored in heavy plastic boxes and they survived.
  • Well I have chosen my companions well and
  • I love my companions and fellow travellers.
  • And some of these travellers aka my children I set free to return as and when they wished.
  • Yes, I did listen to other people’s opinions but always made my own decisions.
  • I learned that it is better to live with somebody else than living alone.  But I also learned to be selective when making such an important decision.
  • I make time for quiet meditation which nurtures my soul.
  • I embraced many new experiences since writing the original post not least being alone in Florence and not speaking the language.
  • I was brought up in England and have always loved the feel of the gentle rain on my face.
  • And I also love the sunshine and notice how differently people behave when the sun is shining.
  • I volunteered at the Hospice and continue to believe I got more from the experience than anyone at the Hospice did.
  • I have accepted the assistance offered by others – I hope this acceptance has been gracious.
  • I know that there will be hard times interspersed with the sunshine and light.
  • I have known for a long time that we share this planet with a myriad of other creatures both large and small, and we don’t must share the bounties with them
  • I continue to nurture an attitude of gratitude.  I am very aware of how very lucky I have been all my life.
  • I know that one wo/man with a strong belief can overcome and succeed in spite of the odds – here in New Zealand we have Beverley Pentland who was an advocate against fireworks sales and had legislation brought to Parliament – raising the minimum age for purchasing fireworks to 18 years – restricting the sale period to four days from 2 November to 5 November – limiting the decibel level a firework can produce to no more than 90 decibels.
  • And I love fish.

This proves to me that I can and will continue to learn for the rest of my life.

Butterflies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Saturday Once Again

So here we are.  Saturday again.  Another seven days has passed and what have you achieved?  For me I can answer very little.  We had only one Open Home last Sunday and the hoped for offer hasn’t yet materialised.  My Real Estate friend arrived home on Monday after visiting Peru and Bolivia  and we spent the day in catch up.  Oh and buying her a new laptop as her one eventually gave up the ghost after about 8 years.  Tuesday as a day spent on database entering – boring but necessary.  Wednesday was good – we went to pick up Major the Afghan Hound from his breeder some 70 kms away.  So we made a day of it, having lunch at a little restaurant where we sat outside in the sun and listened to the river while we ate.  Thursday -at the hospice and Friday doing somemuch needed rubber gloving at home.

Six word Saturday buttonSo now it’s time for Six Word Saturday –

And if you want to play along all that’s necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words – click on the picture on the left  or click here for more details.

Here are my six words –

NO MEN ALLOWED AT WORLD PREMIER

This was the banner headline in the weekend edition of the newspaper.  Apparently a local museum is to host a video display of Muslim women without veils.  What has raised the blood pressure around here is that no men will be allowed in to see the exhibition.   As you can imagine this has raised a protest from various sectors of the community as well as lots of interested and interesting comment.

The work is by Qatari writer and film-maker Sophia Al-Maria.  It is called Cinderazahd – For Your Eyes Only and features members of her family getting ready for the wedding of a cousin and shows them without their veils.  According to a NZ Imam “It would be inappropriate for a male stranger to see a woman without her veil, even in her own home”.

The wearing of veils by Muslim women has been a topic of conversation here for some time, as mostly we don’t understand this custom.  A spokesperson for the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand explained that a veil or headscarf moves the focus away from a woman’s appearance to her inner beauty.  She went on to say that the veil says to the world ” I don’t want to be judged for the way I look but rather by my intellect, my character and my personality.”  This then forces us to look beyond the facial attraction of a woman.

The Museum Director has apparently discussed the fact that men will not be allowed to view the video with the Human rights Commission and he is comfortable with showing the video with the restriction on men.  A spokesperson for the Human Rights Commission has said it advised the Museum that there was “an arguable case” for discrimination based on gender under the Human Rights Act.   However, the Commission cannot act until it receives a complaint from a member of the public.

Somehow the Race Relations Commissioner has also become involved.  He is quoted as saying it was up to the museum to decided whether to display the video.  “If there is a complaint we will explore it” he said.  Although how sexual discrimination falls into the spere of the Race Relations Commission is not clear to me at all.

I am sure that we shall hear more on this over the coming weeks.  I know that I shall make the 20 km journey to the Museum to see what exhibition o get an insight into the lives of some Muslim women.

And will we soon see/hear discussion on the many married Orthodox Jewish women who wear wigs in public as a sign of modesty?

Pesky Weed

Gmail has been having fun with my inbox recently.  There have been days when very few emails have come through and then others when they just keep arriving.  So I have been catching up on my blog/post reading today.  By the way, if I don’t seem to have commented on your posts for a while, please check your SPAM folder.  No SPAMOne of the blogs I follow is Crowing Crone Joss and when I read this post from her today about the Borg Vine, I immediately thought of my pesky weed, the ivy.

Somebody, in their wisdom planted ivy around this house many years ago and it has now reached epic proportions.  It climbs up the side of the house and threatens to enter the bathroom and study widows.

Ivy at bathroom window

Ivy encroaching over bathroom window

Ivy at study window

Ivy at study window

At the rear of the property is a high bank.  A flight of brick steps gives access to a sitting area and here the ivy is rampant!

Ivy at sitting area

Ivy at sitting area

Some months ago I  had a contractor come to kill the ivy but to no avail.  I think he liked the ivy and wasn’t sufficiently ruthless.  So now we are taking really drastic measures.

Ivy

More ivy

As you will see the “branches” of the weed are really quite thick, so we will cut as much of it back and then douse the cut ends of the branches with undiluted woody weed killer.  As soon as we have a forecast for a couple of dry days this will be done.  And then once again we will be in control.

But while writing this blog I have thought about how tenacious this ivy is.  In the face of several  many onslaughts (and those that I have mounted cannot possibly be the only ones over all the years since it was first planted) it has survived.  I then thought about the tenacious people I have met over many years.  They are like this ivy.  They are determined to hang on and thrive and they do.  I have met many people like this in real life, and many more in the blogosphere.  A few days ago I wrote about being in awe of the things that many people have suffered and overcome.  Some people have had ghastly childhoods; some were unwanted by their mother’s second husband and treated very badly; others have lived with alcoholic and violent fathers or mothers, and some have become involved with the wrong people,  but what they have in common is they are survivors.  In my years practising as a Life Coach I met many people whose problem boiled down to lack of self-esteem and often they had often been brought to this state by the way they had been treated.  With time and tenacity on their part, most were able to rediscover their self-esteem, and some keep in touch so that I know how well they are surviving and succeeding.

“Even in its darkest passages, the heart is unconquerable.
It is important that the body survives,
but it is more meaningful that the human spirit prevails.”
Dave Pelzer,  1960 – author of A Child Called “It”

So again to all those who have survived and moved on in their lives I say congratulations and well done and whatever happiness and success you now enjoy you most certainly have deserved it.

But unfortunately for my ivy, it will not succeed. I shall be keeping a close watch on the weather forecast and as soon as two dry days are forecast there shall be War on the Weed!!

Associated Posts

Words, Words and More Words

Words

Isaac Kaufmann Funk ( 1839 –  1912) was an American Lutheran minister, editor, lexicographer, publisher, and spelling reformer.    He is most well known for  The Standard Dictionary of the English Language published in 1893.   We are told via Wikipedia that “He worked with a team of more than 740 people.  His aim was to provide essential information thoroughly and simply at the same time. In order to achieve this he placed current meanings first, archaic meanings second, and etymologies last. ”

We know that he collaborated with his classmate, Adam Willis Wagnalls and the I K Funk company was renamed Funk and Wagnalls and the encyclopedia was renamed Funk & Wagnalls New Standard Encyclopedia in 1931.  It was later renamed New Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia, Universal Standard Encyclopedia, Funk & Wagnalls Standard Reference Encyclopedia, and Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia.quoted the best 10 words in the English language.as :

I read somewhere (?) that Isaac Funk considered the following the best ten words in the English language:

  • Mist
  • Hush
  • Luminous
  • Murmuring
  • Dawn
  • Chimes
  • Lullaby
  • Melody
  • Tranquil
  • Golden

These are in no particular order and I wonder how he arrived at this list of ten.  Certainly they are all gentle words with no harsh sounds or undertones.  Was he a gentle man looking to find equally gentle words?  I wonder

My choice of 10 words would be (again in no particular order):

  • Love
  • Gentle
  • Friendship
  • Family
  • Giving
  • Safety
  • Tranquil
  • Tenderness
  • Acceptance
  • Delight

What would your words be.  It’s fun to limit the choice to only 10.  Of course, there are many, many other words I could have chosen.  Why did I choose these?  They are all gentle words and maybe reflect where I am in my life’s journey now.

“But now the days grow short
I’m in the autumn of the year
And I think of my life as vintage wine
From fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs
and it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year”
As sung by Frank Sinatra – It Was a Very Good Year.

And for me, they have mostly been very good years!

And a final word today from the Greek philosopher Epicurus (341 BCE – 270 BCE)

“It is impossible to live a pleasant life without
living wisely and well and justly.
And it is impossible to live wisely and well
and justly without living a pleasant life.” 

Some recent posts on words –