Category Archives: Living

It’s Wellington on a good day

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It’s Saturday again and time to join the gang at Six Word Saturday. Click on the badge to play along.

This has been the most perfect January day. Temperatures in and around 30 degrees. This is hot in this temperate climate and the pool at my son’s house was in high demand..

Lunch at a friend’s house but we decided it was too hot to eat outside so three elderly ladies ate lunch inside. Much laughter, exchange of stories and general well being. Some three and half hours later we decided that lunch was over.

How incongruous on this hot day the man delivering winter firewood arrived.

Back to lunch and how different was today’s lunch to yesterday’s.  Another beautifulWellington day but this time lunch with a friend who has dementia. Added to that is the problem that she is unable to walk without her Zimmer frame and you can see lunch was not a bundle of laughs.

I picked up my friend and we went to the beautiful Wellington Botanic Gardens. 25 hectares of landscaped gardens, protected natural bush, specialised plant collections and of course the famous Lady Norwood Rose Garden.  Nestled into the Rose Garden is the Begonia House set in a Victorian conservatory. And at the side of the Begonia House under the same roof is a delightful cafe. As you can imagine on such a lovely day it was full of people chatting, laughing and enjoying lunch.

Our lunch was a quieter more somber affair.  My friend who used to be the centre of any gathering was very quiet.  She has trouble remembering. Oh, she remembers names and who you are.  She has difficulty remembering events and words to describe her thoughts and feelings.

How scared she must be and how scared will her family be. She is aware that she isn’t making sense and gets annoyed with herself and there’s no way for me to help.

After a short run around the waterfront (in the car of course) I delivered her back home to her lovely husband.  I made us all a cup of tea and then left once again saying thanks to whichever god is looking out for me.

I really feel for this once vibrant, educated and intelligent woman whose life is now confined to their apartment and who now has to wait for a friend or family member to take her out. When I think of all the ills that could befall one, this would be the hardest to bear.

 

 

If tomorrow never comes – 2

“If tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she’s my only one
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face this world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes”
From If Tomorrow Never Comes sung by Garth Brooks.

I heard the song this morning and thought back to an earlier post I wrote in February 2012 – four years ago, really?

And now another love has departed this life (read died) and more than ever I know that we have to tell those to whom we are close, how much we love them.  Actions tell us/them but words are very powerful

So today please tell your family and friends how important they are to you.  When The Architect was dying, when he was in the final coma, I told him how much I loved him in words and actions.  I helped bathe him, change his bed and just as importantly, always had his favourite music playing quietly in the background and constantly reiterated how important he was to me and how much I loved him.

We are told, or I was told by the caring staff at the hospice, that hearing is the last of the senses to go, so I tell myself he heard what I was saying and heard his music.  And of course, I felt so much better having done this.

I’m becoming maudlin so I’m off for a walk with a friend in the open air and sunshine.  More tomorrow.

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world,
which I find myself constantly walking around
in the daytime and falling in at night.
I miss you like hell.”
Edna St Vincent Millay

American lyrical poet and playwright.
1892-1950  
Gilda Radner

Doctors, Driving and Drivel

We’ll get back to Sandy and her story in a day or two after she lets me know what happened next.

Meantime, this morning I left a warm Wellington to take a six hour drive to Tauranga in The Bay of Plenty.  Supposedly this is the  sunny, hot centre of New Zealand.

Tauranga is on the east coast and is a favourite place for retirees mainly because of the laid back lifestyle and more particularly the climate. Well this year the south is where all the good weather has been. Tauranga and the Bay have been besieged with rain, rain and even more rain.

But before leaving Wellington I had to visit the doctor  I’m one of the lucky ones who take no medication except an anti histamine for an allergy.  So my doctor isn’t going to get rich on me but he’s always pleased to see me   A very sore right shoulder has been diagnosed as a rotator cuff tear/injury.  So no quick fix    A recommendation to a physiotherapist and an X-ray if the physio doesn’t fix it. Then perhaps a cortisone or steroid injection. As my 90 year old friend used to say “growing old ain’t for the faint hearted”.

So back to my journey and the reasons for it.  As if I haven’t only just completed my own move I was off to help a friend who has sold one house in Auckland and is now moving the furniture to her current house in Tauranga   My role in this is to be at the receiving property when the furniture arrives  So an easy role.

The  further north I drove the more the weather deteriorated; overcast most of the time but about an hour before I  reached my destination the skies opened and it poured and  some two hours later it’s still raining.

So I think it’s an early night with my book.  On Friday I wrote about Dead Wood by Dan Ames  I have just bought the next book in the series “Hard Rock”.  With my sore shoulder it’s much easier to read on my iPad than to read holding a book.  Let you know what I think of this sequel later.

“”What is the use of a book “said Alice “without pictures or conversations””                   Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderlans

 

 

 

 

A Pregnant Pause

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”
Lyndon B Johnson, 36th US President

She never opened an email from an unknown address.  So why did she that time?  She couldn’t give you an answer.

The email was from a young woman looking for her birth mother.  Many years ago, far too many years ago, Sandy had been caught up in the headiness of the 60s.  Beads, music and free love.  Such carefree times that she and her friends  really thought would never end.  But they ended when she discovered she was pregnant.  Only 17 years old, estranged from her parents and her only friends were members of this hedonistic set. Where to turn?  There was nobody in her set to confide in or to give her any advice.

Then for the first time in many years she found herself in a church.  She had passed it many times but today when she saw the open door she went inside.  She sat down in a pew at the back and quietly thought about her situation.  How could she deal with it all alone?

A quiet voice intruded into her chaotic thoughts “You are troubled my child.  Perhaps I could help?”  The speaker was an elderly clergyman who had noticed her sitting at the back of the church for a long time.  His quiet voice interrupted her thoughts and she burst into tears.  She then told this kindly gent her problems.  She had no family to turn to, no money and few friends and she was pregnant.

But of course in those times, the clergyman had heard this tale many times.  Young people thinking they were invincible and convinced that nothing bad could happen to them.  He told her of a home for unmarried mothers, where she could stay until the child was born.  She would have to work while she was there in the laundry or the kitchen until her time to give birth was close.  She didn’t much like the idea of institutionalised living but really did she have a choice.

The alternative was crawling back to her parents.  Her mother would have been ashamed and less that supportive and her father?  Well he would have retreated into his study and let her mother deal with the situation.

No, the option being put forward by this clergyman was the better of the two.

He excused himself to make a phone call leaving her alone.  She thought again of the alternatives to what he was suggesting.  Maybe somebody knew of a way to get rid of the unwanted child.  She knew there were people who would perform this operation for cash. But she didn’t have any cash and she didn’t know anybody who would lend her some and most of all she didn’t know who amongst her friends and acquaintances would know where to find such people.  So the home for unmarried mothers had to be the choice.

When the clergyman returned he had on his hat.  He told her the home was a short walk from the church and they could go now.  So reluctantly she left the sanctuary of the church where for the first time in many days she had found some peace.  They took a short walk and ended in front of a two storey house that looked no different from the other family homes on the street.  There was nothing proclaiming its role and obviously those involved in running the home did so quietly.  If she hadn’t been taken there she would have passed it as just another family home.

He rang the bell and the door was quickly opened by a smiling older woman who embraced Sandy and told her welcome.  The house was quiet and comforting.  In the background was the sound of a baby crying but it didn’t disturb the peace she felt in this house.

The clergyman bid her goodbye and after thanks and tears from Sandy, he left her.  She never saw him again.  After the birth of her child she went to the church to thank him but he was no longer there.  He had been transferred to a parish miles away.  So the best she could do was to write a letter to thank him.

A healthy daughter was born and as had been decided the child was offered for adoption.  Sandy knew this was the best/only alternative for this child so after one last hug she gave her up.  She knew nothing of where her child would grow up and with whom.

Through the years she had thought of this daughter.  Where she was and how she was living.  Was she in a loving family home?  Did she have siblings?  What was she doing now that she had finished school?  So many unanswered questions.  But her experiences in those months spent in the care of the women who ran the home, assured her that the couple would have been properly vetted and she just knew they would give her child a good home.

And now, out of the blue this email asking if she could be this woman’s mother.  How did she feel about it.  She had been divorced several years earlier and her only son and his family had emigrated to Canada so she was alone.  Oh they kept in regular touch by phone and Skype.  They visited from time to time and she had been to Vancouver to visit them but apart from a few good friends she was on her own.

Her ex-husband had been told of the adoption but they had never shared the information with their son agreeing that he need never know.  What to do?  Should she/could she ask her ex-husband for help and advice?  She went to bed upset and wondering just what to do….

“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”
Winnie-the-Pooh A.A. Milne

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Again

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It’s Saturday again and so time to rejoin the gang at Six Word Saturday.  If you’d like to play along just click on the badge above.

SO THE SECOND SATURDAY IN 2016

And what a beautiful day it has been.  Summer has kicked up her skirts and her heels and come back to New Zealand where she belongs.

lawnmower

Lawn mowing was the order of the day.  And if you know me you’ll know that lawn mowing is as rare an occupation as silver cleaning.  But it’s a very small garden and so armed with a new, small lawn mower I set to work.  But not before I had to go back to the shop where I purchased the mower earlier this morning.  I couldn’t get the danged thing to work.  Two charming young women at the store sympathised with me, connected the machine to the power, turned it on and hey presto! you guessed it, it worked.

So sheepishly I took my leave and came home.  But I still couldn’t get the thing to go.  Capable daughter to the rescue.  She pushed the switch and again hey presto!  Apparently I had been pathetic and hadn’t hit the button hard enough.  So again, egg on my face but at least the grandsons were not on hand to see the fiasco.

Lawn, mostly weeds after the jungle was cleared, is now mown (mowed?) and things are looking much better.garden storage boxTask  No 2. I had purchased a garden storage box on line and you guessed it, it comes as a flat pack.  Obviously,  I’m not the most practical person around but it looked easy enough to put together – no tools needed read the advertisement.  Well what an impossible task this was.  Grandson No 4 (16 years old) came to the rescue but after about 15 minutes declared he couldn’t put it together. So back to me.  Of  course I couldn’t do it at the second attempt so Grandson No 4 called his mother, the ever capable, but she threw up her hands in disgust.  This is honestly the very first flat pack she hasn’t been able to put together.  So now begins the no doubt protracted dealing with the supplier to take it back and refund my money.

But this is only the second Saturday in the year there are another 51 to get through.  Happy Saturdays.

Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine,
freedom,
and a little flower.
Hans Christian Andersen

Happiness

Another beautiful summer day here in Aotearoa – the land of the long white cloud.  Too lovely to be inside following up on yesterday’s lost post, so I decided to clean the silver.

After my family got over the shock, I sat on the back doorstep in the shade and settled down to my task.  The boys were both out and my daughter was busy elsewhere in the house.  The only company I had for the timebeing was a lazy cat enjoying himself in the sun  and the Tuis and other birds calling loudly in the trees.

And then I thought of the passage from Lost Horizon by James Hilton.  If you haven’t read the book it is about a group of four people who are attempting to escape a civil war.  They are  kidnapped and transported to the Tibetan mountains. After their plane crashes, they are found by a mysterious Chinese man who leads them to a monastery hidden in “the valley of the blue moon”. Here in a land of beauty and mystery life is lived far beyond and out of the reach of the world that is heading into another World War.  It is here, in Shangri-La,that the destinies of these four travellers are unveiled against a backdrop of peace and tranquility..

And now the name Shangri-La has become synonymous with a  place of peace and harmony far from the modern world.

Well back to the passage that came to mind while doing such a mundane task:

“He was discovering happiness in the present.
When he sat reading in the library or playing Mozart in the music room, he often felt the invasion of a deep spiritual emotion.”

And this is how I felt this afternoon.  A feeling of being in the right place at the right time, doing what I was meant to do.  And I think that I was meant to take time out of a normally  busy life and just think about the beauty around me, the sun and the birds and yes, Flash the cat.  Perhaps this was my Shangri-La for a couple of hours this afternoon.

And another Mary Oliver quote:

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

And because I know that many of you are not having the lovely, peaceful summer days I am enjoying I share my rainbow with you.

Rainbow

My rainbow

 

Profound Thoughts

“Tell me,
what is it you plan to do
with your one
wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver

Way back in August 2011 at the very beginning of my blogging journey I wrote a post on Waking in the night.  This was prompted by a post from Peter at Counting Ducks.  Peter says rather eloquently that “Ultimately though it’s what you’ve done, who you’ve known and how you acted when there was no compass or someone to judge your actions that measure how you’re  using your brief time on this planet.”    He adds as a conclusion “Just connect with whats around you and people who matter with you.”

How this resonates with me at this time in my life.  I have no compass to guide me although I have been through this slough once before.  I know that only I can decide how to act and react at this particular time (or at any time) in my life.  I can choose to be miserable and make my family and friends miserable – at least for a time until they get fed up and move on, or I can face life with a smile on my face and a determination to make the most of everything that I have.

I say that “I Choose How I Will Live the Rest of My Life” and I choose not to let this set back (the death of my beloved architect) determine who I am for the next stage of my life.  He would not want me to be miserable and so I am going forth to embrace all that this wonderful world has to offer a woman in the final years of her life.

And because Mary Oliver is without doubt my favourite poet of the 20th/21st Century I offer this :

“…there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.”
―Mary Oliver, 1935 – American poet who has won the
National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

 

 

 

 

Musing and Meandering

“In a world where thrushes sing and willow trees are golden in the spring, boredom should have been included among the seven deadly sins.”
― Elizabeth Goudge, English author of romance novels, short stories and children’s books. 1900-1984

The rush and bustle of the holiday season has for me at least, calmed down. But of course, for most of New Zealand this is holiday time, the time for the family’s annual vacation.

When I first came to New Zealand oh so many years ago, the whole place shut down for at least two weeks over this time. Every business closed on Christmas Eve and apart from retail outlets all businesses stayed closed until well into the New Year. Very frustrating for a newcomer. Now of course, business is as usual except for the statutory holidays – Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and the following one. Retailers operate on every day except Christmas Day.

So if I’m not on holiday (although when one is retired each day is a holiday) what am I doing? Well at last I have seen the end of the interminable/innumerable packing boxes from my move. This has been the most difficult of all 20 plus moves I have made in my life. The moving was exacerbated by the fact that I was moving into a much smaller space. But now that is done and the Salvation Army has been the recipient of many things that I am sure will be of use to others.

The living room is looking more like home and I know that I can be happy here. Of course, added to this is the benefit of having my daughter and her two teenage boys in the house too.

So I looked around for something to do. I tried my hand at staining an old bookcase and am pleased to say that it turned out quite well. I then started on an old table that had suffered severe water damage from a plant having been placed upon it. That too turned out well. Now my daughter and her boys are running from me in case I try to stain them or any of their belongings.

It’s a good thing I tackled that job on New Year’s Day because since then it has rained almost non stop.

On Christmas Eve the SKY TV man eventually came and installed the television. Lucky for me as today has been mostly catching up on programmes interspersed with catching up on my reading.

Perhaps when I’m thinking of things for which to be grateful today’s rainfall will feature. It certainly will for the farmers in the South Island who are facing drought conditions this early in the summer season.

So nothing much changes in my writing. I write on anything and everything that comes into this aged mind. Until tomorrow dear friends, and thank you for reading my meanderings.

A-New-Book-With-Blank-Pages

This particularly  for Chris and Donna

 

 

 

 

 

That’s Done It

The second day of the New Year and the second day after making  my New Year Resolution.  You understand that this is the only resolution I have made – to write a blog post every day.  Well,the day is almost over and I haven’t written one.

I’d like to thank all of you who took  the trouble to write to welcome me back into the fold of bloggers.  So this seems to be  very apt for me to insert here today

Real-Friends-Are...

Photo courtesy lovethispic.com

And while I know it is highly unlikely that I’ll ever meet most of you in real life I appreciate the friendship and support shown to me over the past few months.

And while I also know that New Year is a time for looking forward, I would also like to share this with you.

My-Heart-Was-Not-Ready-For-You-To-Leave

Courtesy lovethispic.com

The Streets of London

“So how can you tell me you’re lonely,
And say for you that the sun don’t shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something to make you change your mind “

This is the chorus from Ralph McTell’s song The Streets of London”.  Do you know it.  Click here to hear him sing this song.

This is one of those songs that remind us just how lucky we are.  Oh we all have something about which to complain but unless one is battling a life threatening or terminating illness, put alongside those who are homeless and without any hope that things will improve, they really are minor.

If you follow my blog you will know that, until I came to live with my partner (the Architect), Thursday was always Mary Potter Hospice day.  Once a week I volunteered and helped serve lunch to the patients or should we now call them clients?

All these patients were battling terminal illness but in the years that I volunteered there,  I only met one person who was rude and ungrateful for the care he was receiving from the dedicated staff.  Of course, it was understood by everyone why he was like this at the time.  And his charming wife told us that he was never rude before coming into the Hospice.  Apparently he was a gregarious, lovely fellow who was finding it difficult to come to terms with what was happening to him.

And then recently, I experienced the other side of the service the hospice offers.  My partner, dying from a brain tumour, was transferred to Te Omanga Hospice close to where we live.  And what an amazing place that it.  The love, care and attention showered upon us both was absolutely unbelievable.  Nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff.  Cups of tea in the early hours of the morning, a friendly ear to listen when it all became to much for me, food brought to me even though I didn’t want to eat and in all an outpouring of love to help me when the inevitable time came for the Architect to leave this world.

And when that day came, the love was showered on our families.

So if today in your travels, you come across an abrupt, grumpy person, give them a smile.  We don’t know what demons they are battling in their lives and maybe a smile will help them.

“If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about,
then I don’t know what is.”
Chad Sugg, –  Monsters Under Your Head