Category Archives: Friendship

Can’t Wait To Check In

After yesterday’s serious blog I just had to post the following which was sent to me today via email.  Don’t know how true it is but it is certainly worth a good laugh.

“A friend went to Beijing recently and was given this brochure by the hotel. It is precious.
She is keeping it and reading it whenever she feels depressed.
Obviously, it has been translated directly, word for word from Mandarin to English.
Getting There:
Our representative will make you wait at the airport. The bus to the hotel runs along the lake shore. Soon you will feel pleasure in passing water. You will know that you are getting near the hotel because you will go round the bend. The manager will await you in the entrance hall. He always tries to have intercourse with all new guests.
The Hotel:
This is a family hotel, so children are very welcome. We of course are always pleased to accept adultery. Highly skilled nurses are available in the evenings to put down your children. Guests are invited to conjugate in the bar and expose themselves to others. But please note that ladies are not allowed to have babies in the bar. We organize social games, so no guest is ever left alone to play with them self.
The Restaurant:
Our menus have been carefully chosen to be ordinary and unexciting. At dinner, our quartet will circulate from table to table, and fiddle with you.
Your Room:
Every room has excellent facilities for your private parts. In winter, every room is on heat. Each room has a balcony offering views of outstanding obscenity! .. You will not be disturbed by traffic noise, since the road between the hotel and the lake is used only by pederasts.
Bed:
Your bed has been made in accordance with local tradition. If you have any other ideas please ring for the chambermaid. Please take advantage of her. She will be very pleased to squash your shirts, blouses and underwear. If asked, she will also squeeze your trousers.
Above All:
When you leave us at the end of your holiday, you will have no hope. You will struggle to forget it.”

 Whether true or not, I love it and am suspending belief in light of the fun I am

having sharing it.

“It sounds plausible enough tonight, but wait until tomorrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning.”
H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

Very Sick Dog, Very Scared Owner

Thursday was a normal day.  The sun was shining brightly and all was well with my world.  Just another Thursday, that is until about 2pm.  Lotte was lying contentedly in the sunshine, the painter across the road was listening to his quietly playing music and I had just sat down for a cup of tea after lunch.

Suddenly, the air was filled with an unholy screech coming from Lotte. my Tibetan Spaniel.  I rushed outside to see her and she was lying limply on the ground with her eyes way back in her head.  Once before she had suffered a seizure from being too hot and the vet I saw then said to sit with her for a while until she came out of it.  However, this time, she shrieked again and I knew she had to see our own vet Dr Michael.

Michael took one look at Lotte and rushed her into the consulting room.  There he agreed that I had a very sick little dog and when he checked her heart rate was 20 compared to the usual 136.  Very sick indeed, and when he looked in her mouth he declared that she was going blue and promptly rushed her off.  I was left to sit and wait for a verdict.

When he returned he asked several questions such as had there been any big changes to her diet, did I have problems with a neighbour who didn’t like dogs (apparently there have been a couple of poisonings in the neighbourhood);  had she wandered off and could she have eaten something poisonous; did I have any poisonous plants in the garden?  etc etc.  Well Lotte is confined to the premises and doesn’t go away unless it is with me, she rarely eats what I put down for her so she is unlikely to eat anything else, she doesn’t scavenge, my neighbours all make a fuss of Lotte and  so the answers to the questions were not at all helpful.

Dr Michael said he had given her adrenaline, oxygen and intravenous fluids as she was dehydrated.  He thought that she had suffered an anaphylactic shock caused by an insect sting, and said he would keep her in for the afternoon to monitor her.  As you can imagine it was a very subdued owner who went home without her dog.

Several hours later following a call from the surgery, I picked up a very docile, Lotte having been given the after-hours contact in case of an emergency and also was asked to bring her back the next day for a further raft of tests.  The evening and the night were spent with Lotte lying close to me, but thankfully there was no cause to call the emergency number.

Lottte with coloured boots

Lotte sleeping after her visit to the Vets

The next day she went back for a series of tests including a”blood tests, fluid therapy, radiology, ultrasonography and histology”.  The outcome of all these tests was the verdict that she had suffered a heart attack and as we knew had been very close to dying when I brought her into the clinic.

So now I have a very quiet little dog, who is not allowed any exercise and is confined to “House rest for 10 days”.  We are just spending the next few days quietly with each other – two best friends looking out for each other.

“If you’re alone, I’ll be your shadow.
If you want to cry, I’ll be your shoulder.
If you want a hug, I’ll be your pillow.
If you need to be happy, I’ll be your smile.
But any time you need a friend, I’ll just be me. ” Author Unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

..And here’s a rainbow in case you need one today

Rainbow

My rainbow

`

A Day in the Life of…

 

Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leave you speechless, remain that way. Say nothing, and listen as Heaven whispers, “
Do you like it? I did it just for you.”
Max Lucado, author, writer and speaker 1955 –

OK, time to throw off the absolute indolence of holiday time and get back to the serious business of blogging.  I see it is exactly two weeks since my last missive and I think it’s high time I started to write regularly again.

Looking back to this time last year, I see that I was still writing/blogging on a daily basis and in fact, on one day 12 January 2013, I posted two items.  How very clever of me.

Noah's ark

I think that my favourite post written last January was headed All I Need to Know. This listed all the things I learned from the Story of Noah and the Ark.  I really enjoyed writing that post and have also enjoyed re-reading it (https://growingyoungereachday.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/all-i-need-to-know/).

Book cover - Professor and madman

And exactly one year ago today I wrote about Dr Minor, an American Civil War veteran, convicted of murder and condemned to live his life in Broadmoor Asylum ‘Until Her Majesty’s Pleasure Be Known’.  During his incarceration, be became actively involved in compiling the Oxford English Dictionary.  If this is of interest to you here’s the link – https://growingyoungereachday.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/madman-murderer-and-words/.

But now it is 2013 and we can’t rest on our laurels, so here is today’s post.  The post is titled A Day in the Life so perhaps that’s what I should be writing about.  But nothing worth writing about has happened today except a visit to a friend who is confined to a rest home as she convalesces following breaking a hip shortly before Christmas.  She is rather bored and desperate to get home to her own apartment but unfortunately, the fall has rather knocked her confidence and I suspect/fear that it might be several more weeks before they will let her leave.

This is an interesting place to visit.  Several, or is it many, of the inhabitants/clients/patients, are suffering a form of dementia.  Today one man called out to me in the belief that I was his daughter.  It is pitiful to see these people just sitting in lounge chairs nodding off or occasionally talking, but to whom and about what?  They say that the long-term memory stays with one well into the various stages of dementia, so are these men and women remembering the useful and full lives they lived.  Are they perhaps remembering loved ones lost to sickness or even war and are they wondering why these people are not around to visit them?

I remember when my Mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s she could clearly remember what happened and what she had done 30 years before, but she had difficulty in remembering who her two visiting daughters were.  Although on one occasion she did remember that we each had a son and could remember their names.  What a sad way to end her long and busy life.

However, my friend is not suffering from dementia and we had a lively conversation about what I had been doing and who had been visiting her since my last visit.

2013-01-16 17-49-16_0001

Then when I returned home I opened a street map given to me by a friend who recently visited London.  Apparently, he saw this “A Street Map of Jewish East London” and thought of me.

If you have read any of my posts about growing up you will recall that I was born and brought up in the East End of London in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood.  With the exception of those of us living in our gentile apartment block everyone else was Jewish (or so it seemed).  They were mainly Hasidic Jews, and from Wikipedia, I learned that “the Hasidics is a sect of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith.”  These people did not relate/interact at all with us or it seemed, with anyone outside their own strict community.  They were/are easily identified as the men wore their side hair in curls that fell to the jaw and always wore a round fur hat, called a shtreimel.  I was always intrigued by these men (for it was mostly the men we saw walking in our neighbourhood) and wanted to learn more about their particular area of the Jewish religion.

As an aside, my parents’ house was purchased by the local government for street widening and in part payment, they were rehoused into an apartment complex.  The question is what great mind devised the plan to drop a handful of Christian families in the middle of this enclave of Judaism.  One will never know the answer to that riddle.

So back to my map.   I have always been fascinated by street maps.  Not for me the wide and wonderful world shown in an atlas but give me a map of the streets of any town anywhere in the world, and I can happily entertain myself for hours.

Of course, I immediately honed into the area in which I was born showing that less than 5% of the population in 1899 was Jewish.  So I then had to find out what happened between then and when I was born to change this area from being so sparsely populated with Jews at the end of the 19th Century into an enclave of Judaism.

Stamford Hill (where we lived) is now home to Europe’s largest Hasidic Jewish community  The small Hasidic  community was increased dramatically by the influx of pre-war refugees and survivors of the Holocaust. The population has grown with arrivals from Israel and America.  Now within an area of  little more than a square mile, there are no fewer than 74 synagogues, or shuls, 32 orthodox schools, kosher supermarkets, butchers, fishmongers and a multitude of other businesses.  Growing up I remember the bakers, butchers, fishmongers and while there were no supermarkets, I remember the general food store and the fabulous and tantalising smells that came forth from it.

When I was last there I was reminded of my childhood by the sight of groups of mothers uniformly dressed in the mandatory dark coats and long skirts.  They, of course, were wearing the wigs that are obligatory for married women, many were pushing prams with a handful of children in tow.  Family is of great importance to the Hasidic Jews and families are mostly large keeping the women busy all day.  There were also groups of men, but seldom would we see men and women together.

Modesty is paramount to the Hasidics, and the mingling of the sexes is strictly regulated.  Unmarried boys and girls will have little contact with the opposite sex outside their families.  At social gatherings such as concerts and wedding parties, men and women will always be separated.  An Hasidic man will avoid making eye-contact with any woman other than his wife, and would never shake hands.

While I could find nothing to support this, I think because of this segregation of the young, marriages are probably arranged by the family.  How are young men and women ever going to meet?  I wonder if there are still marriage brokers as Yente in The Fiddler on the Roof.

As you can see there is still much research for me to do in this area.  That will wait for another day.


The purpose of all major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts.
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

..Related Posts

Judging a Book By Its Cover

Opening my emails from blogging friends has taken on some of the qualities of Christmas morning.  They all purport to come from Lenore Diane so the excitement builds as each surprise package is opened.

Today I opened one that came from my blogging friend Val at Arty Old Bird.  She talked about accepting that one might be different to others and coming to terms with it..  Do go over to read her blog post.  I am sure you will find it interesting/illuminating.

About two-thirds of the way into the post she directed us to Israel who sings Somewhere Over the Rainbow with such feeling that it brings tears to the eyes.  Most of us have heard this version of the song and loved it.  And yes he does look different to most of us.

And then there was this – Jonathon and Charlotte .  This odd looking couple competing in Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year.  Just look at Jonathon; at the time of the audition  he was 17 years old and Charlotte was 16.   As you can imagine Simon Cowell et al dismissed him but that was before he started singing.

Look at the faces of the judges and the audience and then look them as Jonathon starts to sing.  Who would have thought this young man had such a voice.  And how many would have dismissed him because of his size and the way he looks?

We are all guilty of judging a book by its cover and in doing so how much do we miss.  We know that first impressions are important but …  We may miss out on a great friendship because of judging somebody by the way he/she looks.

This couple totally wowed the audience and the judges.  Simon Cowell has now signed them to a GBP 1million contract and admits he was wrong in his first impressions of this duo.

As a footnote do you believe that this couple with those voices, were beaten in the final by a performing dog?  What were the British people thinking.

Related post –    Seeing is Believing or Is It?

Saturday Again

Six word Saturday button

Once again it’s Saturday and time for six word Saturday.
Today my six words are

Man in the kitchen making dinner.

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 above or  click here for more details.

My friend has been talking about using his slow cooker for ages.  We have had discussions about what one cooks in it and yesterday he announced that he was cooking corned beef in his slow cooker.

I am very impressed.  He chopped the vegetables and put them in the pot together with the beef and he has now left it to cook for 8 hours.  Meantime he invited his sister-in-law and her husband to join us for dinner.  My only contribution is to make the white onion sauce for the meat.  Easy peasy as they say.

Pot roast

For over 40 years I was married to a chef aka man who loved to spend time in the kitchen and in later years when he had retired, we had a reversal of roles when entertaining.  He cooked and I poured the drinks.  I wonder if this is going to happen again tonight.

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”
Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright,
Pavarotti, My Own Story

 

More on Weddings

This is the post I originally wrote on Sunday and then after it was posted, I got cold feet and changed it.  However, I do know that some of you read the original before it was deleted and don’t appear to have been offended by it.  So I thought I would re-post it. The changed bit comes after the wedding quotes. It might be a little different to the original but you get the idea.

“I asked him what kind of a wedding he wished for,
He said one that would make me his wife.”
~Author Unknown

For several years I acted as the Wedding Coordinator at an historic church here in Wellington.  New Zealand is a very young country, so historic in this instance is only some 140 years.  However, I enjoyed my time there and loved being involved with so many brides and grooms.  Each year we had around 90 weddings, so there were plenty of people for me to interact with.

For whatever reason, today I found myself looking through some of the poems that had been read at the ceremonies.  Of course, there were those that were used again and again, eg  from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

“….Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree and not two…”

and the Apache Blessing

“Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness,
for each of you will be a companion to the other.
Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you….”

and of course 1 Corinthians 13

“… Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…”

And many others.

And then I wondered about synchronicity being at work.  When I opened my emails today I found this. I apologise wholeheartedly to my blogging friends in Virginia but it is posted without malice.

Have a good day

Happy Independence Day

I do know that many if not all my American blogging buddies will write about Independence Day the celebrations and what the day means to them.  So what, I asked myself could I possibly add being an Englishwoman?  And I answered myself “Nothing”.

So I decided to look up the definition of Independence/Independent in my Colllins Dictionary, and saw that it gives 10 definitions.

Independence – n  the state or quality of being independent.

Independent – adj

  1. free from control in action, judgement etc; autonomous
  2. not dependent on anything else for function, validity etc; separate
  3. not reliant of the support, especially financial , of others
  4. capable of acting for oneself or on one’s own; a very independent little girl
  5. providing a large unearned sum towards one’s support (especially independent means, independent income)
  6. living on an unearned income
  7. Maths (of a system of equations) not all satisfied by the same set of values for the variables
  8. Logic (of two or more propositions) unrelated
  9. an independent person or thing
  10. a person who is not affiliated to or who acts independently of a political party.

Having followed many bloggers for a little over a year I can attest to the fact that most, if not all, are certainly free from control in action, not reliant on the support of others,  capable of acting for oneself and an independent person.

We all like and probably need support of others in our lives, but we can and often do manage without any.

So to my sister living in Los Angeles, my adopted sister in Virginia and all my other American blogging buddies

Happy 4th of July“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” ~Erma Bombeck, 1927-1996

The Bonnets – Part 3.

The day of the party dawned….

The two girls were very excited.  They had all the right clothes, including hats, handbags and shoes, and were really looking forward to the party.

The day seemed to drag by.  They met for lunch and some desultory window shopping but all the time they were willing the hours to pass until party time.  It was agreed that Charlotte would come around to Daisie’s to get ready and then they would be driven to the party by Hudson, the chauffeur.  It was also agreed that they would call the house when they were ready to be picked up again, or if it was after midnight, they would get a taxi home.  Charlotte was to spend the night and so the girls would be together at all times.

And now it was time to get ready.  Much giggling and hilarity accompanied the getting dressed and Juliet, Daisie’s mother joined in.  Some of clothes that came from Maisie’s she remembered seeing all those years ago when her mother dressed to go out.  And she was a trifle wistful remembering when she too was excited about going to a party with her friends.

The car was brought around and Hudson was given strict instructions by Juliet not to leave the girls until he saw them safely into the house.  Juliet was a little concerned at the thought of the two girls in an unknown house in an unknown district.  But she consoled herself with the thought that while Daisie might appear to be flighty she was really a very sensible young woman.

When they arrived the party was in full swing. Loud music and very loud voices. So many people were there that it was difficult to hear oneself speak and as for finding anyone in the throng..well that was almost impossible.

Almost immediately, the two girls got separated and each was pulled into a group, given a glass of suspicious looking punch, offered cigarettes and some other dubious things and didn’t see each other again for some time.

There was dancing and somebody had produced a karaoke machine with 1950s songs and everybody had to take a turn at the microphone.  The two girls were really enjoying themselves.  Around 1am Daisie, being the most sensible of the two, thought they should go home.  But Charlotte was with a group who were going on to a nightclub and she wanted them both to go with them.

Somewhat reluctantly, Daisie agreed, and the group set off in several cars.  Once again the girls were separated.  The noise at the club was even louder than it had been at the party and Daisie quickly developed a headache and decided that she just had to go home.  But Charlotte was not ready to leave.  There was a slight argument between the two.  Daisie was well aware that her mother thought the girls were still at the party and didn’t know how she would react if she knew they were at a somewhat sleazy nightclub.

After some pleading, Daisie managed to persuade Charlotte to leave with her.  They declined the offer of a lift home in somebody’s car – how much had they all drunk that night – and called for a taxi.

It duly arrived and the two girls climbed into the back….

Photo thanks to Sallyann at Photographic Memories.
Click on photo to go back to Sallyann’s Post.

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Hats On; Hats On Again; New Hats; The Beach

Just Thinking

“Friendship makes prosperity more shining
and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.”
Cicero, 44 B.C.

It’s a Wet, Windy Wellington Wednesday night and I have plenty of thoughts running around my brain but nothing cohesive to put into a blog.  Oh how often I have started a blog with similar words over the past couple of weeks!

As it is Wednesday I have just returned from dinner with two of my grandsons.  It was rather special because neither of the parents were there and so I had the boys to myself.  James, the eldest at 17, has now moved through the monosyllabic stage and talks to his Granma about many things.  He kept me entertained while I prepared dinner for the three of us.  He still is undecided what he will do when he leaves school at the end of this year and is investigating several things but none with any great intensity.

His younger brother is getting over his knee operation and spends most of his time lying on the bed watching TV or sending messages via text or email to his many friends.  Strangely at 16 he hasn’t been monosyllabic in fact, if anything, he has always talked too much.  But he is still sad that he has had to leave his school in Auckland to be at home while he recuperates.

Then on the way home I tuned into A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.  I have written about this before and how I really enjoy this programme.  for the uninitiated it is set in a fictional town Lake Woebegon  where “the women are strong, the men are good looking and the children are above average.”  Tonight it passed the time very pleasantly while I drove through the rain with several stops for road works.  The road I use to come home from my son’s house is State Highway One and they (whoever they are) are constantly working on this road.  Hardly ever do I come home without encountering road works somewhere.

Earlier in the day I sent Andy onto his next destination.  Patti at A New Day Dawns gets to host Andy in Virginia Beach.  I do hope the weather is better for him there than it has been while he has been with us.  We have had some really glorious and warm days but we have also had many days of rain.  And the last couple of days have been ghastly!  So farewell Andy; travel well and take care.

What else?  I had a conversation with a man in the supermarket car park.  He was objecting vociferously about people parking badly and making it difficult for others.  Although why he was carrying on in this way was hard to tell.  There was plenty of parking available for all.  Well perhaps he was miffed because he couldn’t park really close to the store and so had to get his nice shiny shoes all wet.  And why he chose to tell me his problems is beyond me, although I have said before that I talk to people and they usually end up telling me their life stories.  But today I didn’t want to stand in the rain learning anything at all about this miserable man.

And now it is 11 pm.  Time for all good women to take themselves off to bed with a final cup of coffee, a good book and their trusty companion.

Lotte in bed

Goodnight from Lotte

The Joy of Receiving

I did my Life Coach training through an organisation in Sydney owned and run by Anne Hartley.  And I keep in touch with her by email, sometimes phone and a very occasional visit.

Anne keeps in touch with her newsletter, phone calls and emails.

Today her newsletter was headed The Joy of Receiving and I should like to share it with you:-

“Last week I put my car in to have some maintenance work done and based on the quote I’d been given I expected to have to pay a hefty bill. When I picked up my car later that day I was delighted to find that the bill was $600 less than I expected and I just assumed that the mechanic didn’t need to do as much as he originally thought.

A couple of days later I noticed that one of my tyres was really black and I wondered if the mechanic had put some blacking agent on it, however, as I walked around my car I noticed that all of my tyres looked brand new. When I saw my dad on the weekend I asked him to check out my tyres to see if they were new and he said, ‘There is no doubt, there is no wear on the tread, these are brand new tyres’. When I told him that I hadn’t asked for them, or paid for them, and that I thought the mechanic had given them to me as a random act of kindness dad said, ‘No-one would do that. There has to be some mistake. Maybe he put someone else’s tyres on your car’.

That’s when doubt set in and I started to question. Should I thank the mechanic and embarrass myself if he really didn’t mean it? Should I offer to pay for the tyres? Do I come across as poor? And as I tossed these possibilities over in my mind I became aware, once again, at how easy it is to resist receiving and most of the time that is because our ego gets in the way.

I chose to accept the gift graciously. I waited a couple of days so that he could contact me if he had made a mistake and when he didn’t I called in and thanked him for the tyres (and I suspect the reduced bill). He said, ‘Tyres, what new tyres? I didn’t put new tyres on your car.’ And that’s when I knew without doubt that he had because I saw him turn away in embarrassment and the corners of his mouth turned upwards. And that’s exactly how I used to act when I would send people money anonymously.

As I turned to walk away I said, ‘Your random act of kindness is very much appreciated and I will make sure I pass it on’ and I saw him smile. That simple gesture not only made my day, it’s made my week and possibly my month. Every time I think about it I feel good.

It’s important for all of us to learn to receive graciously, when we do this we feel good and then we pass those feelings of goodwill along to others. We shift our focus off what is wrong with the world, people, or in our own lives and onto what is good. Since then I’ve noticed how often people do give to me, sometimes it’s a simple act of courtesy, of someone going out of their way to reassure me, or the lovely girls I buy my coffee from who brighten my day just by being happy to see me.

Give by all means and at the same time be open and receptive to receiving from unexpected sources.”

Source Hart Life Coaching – anne@hartlifecoaching.com.au.

Several months ago I wrote about paying it forward and I think that Anne will be doing just that to thank her benefactor.

Nobody can do everything,
but everyone can do something.
~Author Unknown

And here’s my rainbow for Anne and her mechanic and of course, for all of you.

Rainbow

My rainbow

Related posts

Paying it Forward – A Cascade of Giving