Category Archives: Healthy body healthy mind

Retail Therapy

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Another milestone reached and overcome.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Stop The World

One of the blogs I have recently started to follow is The Kitchens Garden from Cecilia, a New Zealander now happily living in the US.  Her post today brought back memories of another time and place in my life.

Haven’t we all had a “Stop the world I want to get off” moment at some time in our lives?  Well mine was some 26 years ago – way back in 1986.  It was a beautiful summer morning a couple of weeks before Christmas in Blenheim in the South Island of New Zealand.  My dashing (well by then not so dashing or so young) young Scotsman was in hospital recovering from  a burst, undiagnosed duodenal ulcer.

As was my wont, I arrived at the hospital shortly after 8am to be greeted by the nurses with a strained smile.  By this time we were all on first name terms as he had been in the hospital for some six weeks, and I thought their strained greetings very odd.  I was also concerned because a couple of days before when I arrived, my husband wasn’t in his room and I discovered that they had punctured a lung while carrying out some procedure or other.  Of course at the time, I did know what the procedure was but it has taken itself off with so many other things over time.

Well, when I arrived at his room husband was sitting up in bed reading the daily newspaper.  He too looked a little strained I came in and so I asked the reason.  His response, after telling me to take a seat, was that our son had been admitted to hospital the night before with appendicitis. As we hadn’t a phone at the time (see Paradise, Phones and Phrustration) my son’s girl friend had called the hospital to pass on the news.

Now in other circumstances, I would have taken this in my stride.  But just then…  Not only was my darling in hospital in the South Island of New Zealand, but my Mother was in hospital in London, England and my Father in Law was in hospital in Dunoon in Scotland.  And now my son was in hospital in Wellington in the North Island of New Zealand.

That was really a “Stop The World” moment for me.  Fortunately, my son’s operation was straight forward and he was released on the same day as my husband was released from hospital.  And as my daughter had arrived home from London having been summoned by her brother, we managed a happy Christmas with the whole family in one place.

“Said Mr. Smith, “I really cannot
Tell you, Dr. Jones—
The most peculiar pain I’m in—
I think it’s in my bones.
Said Dr. Jones, “Oh, Mr. Smith,
That’s nothing. Without doubt
We have a simple cure for that;
It is to take them out…..”
From Bones by Walter de la Mare
1873 – 1956 English poet, short story writer
and novelist.

And now I am off to a mid-winter Christmas dinner.  Well it’s hard to take the turkey, ham and all the trimmings on a brilliant summer day.

Christmas dinner

Google image

Happy Christmas to you all

The Way

A good friend walked part of the Camino de Santiago a couple of years ago and when we saw that this movie was being shown at one of our local cinemas we knew we had to go.

Do you know of the Camino?  It is a Catholic pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain.  For more than 1,000 years pilgrims have traveled along the many Caminos/walking trails to Santiago. The trails  originate in various parts of Europe, some start and finish in Spain, and they all converge on Santiago de Compostela .

The most popular Camino walking trail is the Camino Frances. This part of the Camino de Santiago traditionally starts in St Jean Pied de Port in France and finishes some 780 kms later in Santiago de Compostela.  However you can start anywhere and even continue past Santiago to the sea at Finisterre.  Cape Finisterre was thought to be the end of the world in medieval times.

Now to the film.  Thomas Avery (Martin Sheen) is an American ophthalmologist who goes to France to retrieve the body of his son who was killed during a storm while walking the Camino.  After some soul-searching and to honour his son’s wishes to complete the journey, Tom decides to walk the ancient spiritual trail where his son died.  He decides to scatter his son’s ashes at various points along the way.  But he is an inexperienced distance walker (trekker) and he finds the going hard.

On his journey he falls in with three other pilgrims and together they make the journey across France and Spain to their destination.  Each is walking the camino for his/her own reasons and to solve a particular dilemma and during the walk Tom comes to realise that there is so much more to live for than his ‘ordinary’ life back in the States.

This is a movie well worth seeing if it comes to your area.  It is a collaboration between Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez who wrote and directed the movie. Estevez plays the role of the son in the movie. I imagine that it will have an effect on many who see this film even to the extent that some might decide to walk part or perhaps even the whole trail.

The Way is not bound up with religion although it ends in the Catholic Cathedral of St James.  For me it spoke of   finding out who we are and about living our lives in the company of others, fully aware of our surroundings, ourselves and others.

And one of the things that we do see in the movie, and which my friend also witnessed was the swinging of the Thurible – the huge incense burner that takes eight men to swing it.  Apparently this was a necessary piece of equipment in the olden days when pilgrims walked the track with no access to water for bathing and arrived at the journey’s end smiling and smelling.  The smell of the incense was to cover the other smells.

Thurible

For more on the Thurible (or The Botafumeiro) at the Cathedral see
Santiago-online.com

“One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting their bad advice..”
From The Journey by Mary Oliver.

for the rest of this Mary Oliver poem click here.

Saturday

Six word Saturday button

It’s Saturday again so here we go. If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.

OFF TO THE GOLDEN DOOR TOMORROW!!

So today I shall be busy with last minute chores so that I can leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow.  We have to be at the airport at 4am so we shall stay at a friend’s house overnight and then he will take us out to the airport.  What a good friend 🙂

Lotte is going to stay with him for the time I am away.  He is looking forward to that and she seems to settle in wherever I leave her.  She has her coat, her brush, her rug and a couple of toys so she will be fine.

Tai Chi

6am Tai Chi at The Golden Door

When I have been to the Golden Door before I haven’t had access to the internet.  Things may have changed but I suspect I shall not be writing blogs until I return.

And in case you think this is a holiday, here is a typical day at Queensland’s Golden Door:

  • 6.15am   Welcome a new day with Tai Chi Qi Gong at sunrise.
  • 6.45am   Enjoy a guided bush walk on our pink, blue or green courses; or Get wet and wild with deep water running in the bottom pool or challenge yourself with high intensity spinning class.
  • 8.00am  Buffet breakfast of seasonal fruit, Golden Door signature muesli and specialty breakfast cuisine.
  • 9.00am  Morning stretch class held in the gymnasium, a gentle and relaxing way to start your day.
  • 9.30am-11.00am  A health & wellbeing workshop aimed at providing you with the knowledge to make positive lifestyle changes.
  • 10.45am   A healthy and nutritious morning tea served in the dining room.
  • 11.00am – 1.00pm  Take part in the various daily exercise activities and spa treatments available. Try something new or take a challenge.
  • 1.00pm   A sumptuous buffet lunch served in the dining room.
  • 2.00pm-6.00pm    Choose from a variety of activities and seminars available to enjoy. Indulge at the spa where your relaxing massage, refreshing body treatment or luxurious beauty treatment awaits.
  • 3.45pm  A healthy and nutritious afternoon tea served in the dining room.
  • 6.30pm  Be rewarded after a busy day with a mouth watering buffet dinner created by our Executive Chef David Hunter and his team.

But it is enjoyable and I always come back renewed and filled with great plans for the future.  They usually last about two weeks, but hey it’s fun.


Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
World Health Organization, 1948

It’s Here Again

Saturday again.  Do you think they come around more frequently than they used to?  I certainly do.

Six word Saturday button

It’s Saturday again so here we go.  If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.

OLD PASSPORT EXPIRED, NEED NEW ONE

I was talking to a friend about going to a health resort in Australia next month.  We have both been several times before and have decided that we need a treat.  A treat I say – well if being wakened at 5.30 am to do tai chi is your idea of a treat.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi at The Golden Door

One doesn’t have to participate but you have to acknowledge the knock on the door.  Who can go back to sleep after that.

Then various activities are offered through the day.  Following (or not) the Tai Chi one has to walk or run through the forest on a designated path.  these paths are of three levels of difficulty – and I always have the easiest although a couple of times I have done the walk twice at one time.

Then breakfast.  This is a joy to behold.  Tables groaning under the weight of bowls of fresh Queensland fruit, Golden Door Muesli, Smoothies and an occasional poached egg.

The regime is quite strict here.  No cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, cell phones or sweets.  The door closes behind you as you arrive and doesn’t open again for you until you are ready to leave.

Dinner and Lunch are mainly vegetables and perhaps some tofu.  Activities are available all through the day and one can choose to attend or not.  There is a series of wonderful treats available, massages, beauty treatments etc some of which are included in the fee and the rest are add ons.

There is plenty of incremental exercise – all activities are either up the hill or down the hill from your chalet.  Even going to the dining room means a hike up the hill.

The five days that I have spent there on three earlier occasions have passed very quickly and I have definitely felt so much better after leaving there.  Leaving there with great promises to myself to make better food choices, to exercise and to treat myself regularly.  How quickly those promises are forgotten.

Both passports

So having agreed to go to The Golden Door once again I looked at my passport and saw that it expired yesterday!  So first thing on Monday morning I am off to get photos taken and then to the Passport Office to renew it.  And then I looked at my British Passport; that too has expired so that will have to be attended to soon.

And from way back in my childhood I remembered this nursery rhyme.  Do you know it?

The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest, and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they’ll ease
Your will they’ll mend
And charge you not a shilling.
~Nursery rhyme

Another Thursday

MPH LogoToday being Thursday, I went to the hospice to help with lunches.  This was the first time I had been back since my accident way, way before Christmas.  In fact it is now 8 weeks since I was last there.  They say time flies when you are having fun…?

Anyway, back to lunch time today.  Of course, all the people were different to those I had met on my last visit.  Many had gone home, some had moved to more permanent residential homes and unfortunately, some had lost their battle and had passed on.

I have said so many times that I am amazed at the way most people come to terms with their life ending.  Most of them are if not cheerful, at least pleasant to us and grateful for the help they receive at the hospice.  The occasional one is still berating all and sundry because his/her life is ending, but these people are in the minority.

I am also amazed at the care and attention all patients receive from the staff, however, difficult and cranky that patient may be.  The doctors and nursing staff cheerfully undertake their duties in a kindly and caring manner.  Each patient is made to feel important and that they are the only person requiring the attention of the staff member at that time.   The patience displayed by the staff from the doctors, nurses, orderlies and helpers is truly special.

Then this afternoon I went to another medical facility.  Annual check up time – mammogram followed by a visit to my ‘breast man’.  The delightful, charming, wonderful man who performed the surgery to remove my cancerous lump.  I enjoy meeting with him on an annual basis.  We discuss our families and what they have been up to in the year since we last met.  It’s very social and not at all like a doctor’s visit.  After some 15 minutes of chit chat, during which time we have caught up on the fact that his daughter (another Kate) has finished three years of her legal studies and when I first went to him almost 12 years ago, this kid was still at school, he gets around to examining me.

So this is quite a bright spot in the day,  But the mammogram that precedes this appointment is anything but.  The radiographers do try to make this as easy as possible but each year I realise that such a machine could only have been invented by a member of the male gender and I pass the time by imagining which part of his anatomy I would put into the machine.

However, the discomfort aside, I encourage my daughter and daughter-in-law, sisters and friends to have regular mammograms.  My cancer was not palpable, it was so small, but was picked up in this way.

And now I have an apology to make.  I was recently awarded a HUG award by the Island Traveler and did not acknowledge this in my post on Awards. Apologies my friend for this oversight.

If you haven’t heard of the HUG award before do visit Connie Wayne at http://ahopefortoday.com, which promotes hope, love, peace, equality, and unity for all people.  Here you will find guidelines for the award and also for accepting the award and they include:

  • You may only receive this award once.
  • Upon receipt of the award, nominate at least one other person.  The award is not time limited, so you can nominate new people or sites you encounter in the future.
  • Contact your nominees and tell them they have been nominated for the award.

As part of the acceptance I must nominate at least one person for this award and I nominate Suzicate at the Water Witches Daughter.

stylised man with cupBut also, as I have said so often in the past, I am uncomfortable about picking a few out of the many blogs I read and am inspired by, so once again I direct you to my blogroll.  Take a look at each of these blogs.  They are certainly worth your time and see how each of them qualifies for a HUG award.

 

Six Word Saturday

I discovered Six Word Saturday last week and so this is my first attempt.

As I understand it, one has to describe an event in just six words and then expand on it or not as one wishes.  So here goes

WEEKEND WATER-POLO COMPETITION
TIME WITH FAMILY

Water-polo match

My grandsons lives are so busy that we rarely have time to get together.  Two of them are great water-polo players and this weekend they are both in a competition.  So I was invited to go to watch.  Water-polo is quite an interesting spectator sport particularly after somebody (in this case my daughter) explains the finer points to you.

My youngest grandson plays in both the under-12 team and the under-14 team while his brother plays in the under-14.  The youngest one played four games today and will have four to play tomorrow.  But they won all four games – hoorah! hoorah!

Applause

My daughter manages the under-12 team and when I arrived she was in the midst of a confrontation with another manager about the rules covering children playing in two teams for the same club.  Fortunately, the competition convener arrived and straightened things out so that my youngest grandson and three other boys were able to compete in both teams.

It is about a year since I last sat through several water-polo matches, but it is a very social day and most enjoyable.  And so today was spent making more memories!

“The water is your friend.
You don’t have to fight with water,
just share the same spirit as the water,
and it will help you move. ”
Aleksandr Popov
1971 –
Russian Olympic gold-winning swimmer.

And I just couldn’t resist including this quote. So shoot me!

“We swim because we are too sexy for a sport
that requires clothes.”
~Author Unknown

The Massey Memorial

Massey Memorial

Have to go again to get the rest of the words.

The exterior is of the memorial is pale Tākaka marble, resting on a base of dark grey Coromandel granite.

Yesterday, on a beautiful early summer afternoon we took a walk up to the Massey Memorial.  It is sited on a promontory at Point Halswell in the inner harbour in Wellington and commemorates W. F. Massey, prime minister of New Zealand from 1912 to 1925.

Bush walk to Massey memorial

The lovely gentle walk upwards through dappled sunshine gave little or no hint of what was to come.

The harbour

From the site one gets this unobstructed view,  without any of the buildings that usually invade  intrude in shots of the harbour.

Memorial

A little potted history now.  William Ferguson Massey, often known as Bill Massey or “Farmer Bill” (26 March 1856 – 10 May 1925) served as Prime Minister to New Zealand from 1912 – 1925.

Massey was born in Ireland into a family of tenant farmers.  The family  moved to New Zealand in 1869 but he stayed to complete his education and arrived here a year later.  After arriving in NZ he worked as a farm-hand for several years until he acquired his own farm in 1877.  Fie years later he married a neighbour’s daughter.

Massey became prominent in his local community through his involvement in civic activities.  He was invited to stand for election to Parliament i the General Election of  1893 but was unsuccessful.  But the following year he was invited to contest a by-election in the neighbouring electorate of Waitemata, and was victorious. But in the 1896 election he stood for the Franklin electorate, which he represented until he died in 1925.

In 1924 illness forced Massey to relinquish many of his official duties. He died of this illness the following year.  Shortly after Massey’s death  the Massey Burial-ground Act was passed allocating land at Point Halswell to be set aside as a burial ground for him and his widow. Public subscriptions raised funds totalling £5,000 and the government contributed £10,000. One wonders what such a memorial would cost to build today.

Here endeth today’s lesson.

Lotte

C'mon - ready to go home now

“I dream of hiking into my old age.  I want to be able even then to pack my load and take off slowly but steadily along the trail.”
Marlyn Doan

A different walk today

“These boots are made for walking
and that’s just what they’re gonna do.”

It has been a beautiful day here.  Bright sunshine but unfortunately strong winds and so the temperature has never really reached any great height.  But it is most pleasant to take a walk around the shore and take in the sights.

Marine reserve

We started our walk into the brisk wind and found some very interesting houses.

We are told that the woman of this house always wanted to live in a lighthouse, so while she was away overseas on a trip the husband had one built for her.  True or not it’s a good story.

Life boat house

Immediately to the left of that house sits this one.  As you can see it has a life boat built into the facade.  No information on why it’s there or who put it there  is available but it makes another good talking point.

Two horses house

And to the left of that is this house.  Why there are two horses above the garage is anybody’s guess.

The ocean

If you look really hard you can see the South Island in the distance.

All three of these houses sit with their backs to a high cliff and the sea in front.  It would be an exciting place to live when the southerlies blow and the wind whips up the waves.  But today it was relatively calm.

Hazard warning

The road to the quarry

We then drove a little way around to the Red Rocks Scientific Reserve.  Red rocks or Pariwhero in Maori is an area steeped in myths and legends.  The rocks  are ancient pillow lava formed 200 million years ago by undersea volcanic eruptions. Small amounts of iron oxides give the rocks their distinctive red colouring.

There is always more than one story in Maori folklore and the red rocks are no exception.   In one story  Kupe – the famous Polynesian explorer – was gathering paua (abalone) here when one clamped his hand. He bled and stained the rocks red. In the other story, and the one I prefer, the daughters of Kupe, fearing for his safety on a long voyage, they gashed themselves in grief over his absence.  The red is their blood.

Red Rocks

There is an unmanned Scientific Centre that gives historical notes and information on the surroundings and the habitation of the area.  This is one such information tablet.

Another is on the fur seals. These are males who have lost  fights for territory in the breeding colonies at the top of the South Island.  As it is a bachelor colony there are no females and so you are not likely to come upon a seal pup here.

Fur seals

There is also information on early quarrying activity in the area. And I shall write about the quarry and its activities and eventual closure in another post.

Quarry

“I dream of hiking into my old age.”
Marlyn Doan
, 1936 – 2005

Walking Backwards

“Nobody gets to live life backward.
Look ahead that’s where your future lies.
Ann Landers (pen name of Columnist Ruth Crowley)  1907-1955

When I was growing up, my Grandmother (who seemed so very ancient then, even though she died in her 60s) always walked down the stairs backwards.  This seemed in no way unusual to us. We had only ever seen her descending in this way.  And even now, I have no idea of why she did so.  Was she scared to look ahead and maybe lose her footing?

Over the past few weeks I have found myself looking back, sometimes more than looking forward.  There are many things in my life to look back on with pleasure, with gratitude and yes, also with longing.  So am I scared to look ahead in case I lose my footing?

Looking back doesn’t really solve any problems for any of us.  We only have today.  And we have all heard the quote – “Yesterday is the past; tomorrow is the future; today is the present.  So use it as a gift.”  I don’t know when or where I first heard that but it is so very true.  And I wonder who penned it originally.

And we know that today really is the first day of the rest of your life.  Here in New Zealand the clocks go forward an hour tomorrow, so summer is officially here.  Hooray!

“Come to the edge, he said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, he said.
They came.
He pushed them and they flew.

Guillaume Apollinaire (French Poet)