Category Archives: Living

What were you thinking?

As Einstein said – “There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
I choose the second option.

On this day four years ago, before I had met and reconnected with my Late Love, the Architect, I wrote this post, Waltzing Matilda.

Of course, I had no idea how my life would change in such a short time.

Soon after writing that I decided to make some major changes to my life.  I decided to go to Italy for a few months and I put the house on the market and it sold very quickly.  Meantime I met up with my Late Love again and what had been a friendship quickly turned into a love affair.  But having made the decision to go away for three months (at least) I journeyed to Florence and blogged every day letting my friends and relatives know what I was doing.

Then when  I returned to NZ I moved in with my Late Love, the Architect.  And in October last year, a prompt from Patricia at Patricia’s Place spoke to me and so You Are Beautiful was written.

A 5-week long visit from my sister in the UK had us showing her around Godzone – or Aotearoa (New Zealand).  A great time for us all and my sister and the Architect bonded as I had hoped and they became great friends.

Then 13 weeks in Europe catching up with friends and revisiting places we had been before but with our spouses.  And then

Unfortunately, unknown and unbidden, a tumour was growing in the Architect’s brain and suddenly it took over and won the battle, so ending the life of my Late Love.

And still, “Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world,
which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime
and falling into at night.
I miss you like hell.”
Edna Vincent Millay, 1892-1950

So yet another a new chapter started in my life.  Early in 2016, I had a serious accident (I refer to it as another adventure) which necessitated a stay in rehab where I saw so many others so much worse off than me.  Then fully recovered, one day there was a contretemps between a chair leg and a rug – the result was the chair fell with me sitting on it and so a fractured shoulder.

As we know everything passes and once again I’m back to my normal self.  But the question now arises, what to do with the rest of my life.

I’ve begun to write again and once again have decided to write my blog posts if not daily then more often than I have recently.  I have begun to volunteer at the hospice where my Late Love died and again, I know I get more from this than they do.  Oh and as I have been reading and reviewing so many books recently, I started a new blog Books&morebooks.  Maybe one or more of the reviewed books might appeal to you.

Sorry that this post has been all about me.  This January is confirmed as having been the worst in 30 years.  Rain, wind and very little sunshine.  But yesterday we had summer.  It was just as summer ought to be.  Warm, sunny and no wind.  But alas, this morning it has reverted to what we have come to expect this summer, wind and overcast and now at midday the rain has started. The standard roses are taking yet another battering and some of the pots have blown over.  Summer, sorry not here.

summer

And of course, no post is complete without a Mary Oliver quote

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

These beautiful words, from Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day, remind and inspire me. They remind me that, first and foremost, my life is entirely what I make of it and as I have only one life,  I mean to make the most of it.

Dust if you must

Dear-mother-nature-quote

If this is your copyright, I apologise for using it.  Please let me know.

I have no doubt you have heard of our earthquake.  7.7 on The Richter Scale – yes, it was a big one.  While we celebrate the fact that only one death was directly attributable to the earthquake, that of a man who was killed when a historic homestead collapsed and a woman who died of a heart attack; we mourn for the two lives lost. The man’s 100-year-old mother survived.

And those of us affected by minor damage in our houses try to get back some sense of normalcy into our lives.  Added to the damage caused to roads and buildings, has been the torrential rain that we have experienced since the quake.  Many buildings in Wellington’s Central Business District have been damaged, shops, offices and schools are closed while the result of damage to the properties is evaluated.

But down south at and near the epicentre things are so much worse.  Some places are cut off entirely as roads are impassable.

It is at times such as this when we thank the powers that be for our being unhurt by a disaster of this magnitude that we take stock of our lives once again.

Shirley Conran told us that Life is too Short to Stuff a Mushroom” but this poem by Rose Milligan says it for me:

“Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better
to paint a picture ,or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
with rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
Music to hear and books to read,
friends to cherish and life to lead?

Dust if you must, but the world’s out there,
with the sun in your eyes and the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
this day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go (and go you must)
You, yourself will make more dust.”

Wikipedia tells me it was originally published in 1998 in “The Lady” Britain’s longest-running weekly women’s magazine. It has been in continuous publication since 1885 and is based in London.

So dust if you must, or stuff a mushroom but for me, this has been yet another wake-up call.  So I’m off to see what other adventures await me.

Godwits en route

 

Another Day in the Life of…

Adventure

It’s now midnight as I finish this post.  I determined to post each day from today when writing my Morning  Pages (a la Julia Cameron) this morning.

So having no idea what to write about, I looked at some of the earlier posts – some 758 published since March 1, 2011 and came across this one from January 16, 2013 – A Day in the Life of..

Well, that brought up some good memories and so I thought I’d do the same today. So Another Day…..

A few days ago I wrote about a book I bought, The Artist’s Way for Retirement  by Julia Cameron.  So I’m now writing three pages each morning.  Just anything that comes to mind, first thing in the morning.  We are told to write these pages by hand not on the computer, and we are advised not to re-read our Morning Page.  And now the honesty bit comes out.  I haven’t managed every day since I started last week, but today is a whole new week and the beginning of the rest of my life.

Today I had an appointment with the Otolaryngologist more commonly known as an ENT Specialist and what a waste of time that was.  15 minutes in his office to be told exactly what I had been told on each of the three visits to the audiologist – the adventure I had earlier this year has affected my hearing.  I’m so very glad that I wasn’t paying for his time.  The Accident Compensation Corporation arranged this visit.  Oh, the ACC is the organisation that administers New Zealand’s compulsory accident compensation scheme for personal accident insurance cover.  So all costs associated with my accident are covered.  Obviously, our taxes pay for the service.

An unorganised Skype call to a friend in Ontario was not successful and so will try again in a day or so;  message with another friend in Sydney who is my buddy while we are doing The Artist’s Way, a walk, some reading and the day was over.

I did read and respond to blog posts from my blogging friends, then I looked back to October last year to see what words of wisdom I was spouting then.

I was still very raw following the death of the Architect.  Trying to find my way back to living without him.

Early in that month I reflected on a post from the year before and made some amendments.  The post was from Writing 101 – Personality on the Page.  The challenge was –
“We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of?
Address one of your worst fears.
Today’s twist: Write this post in a style distinct from your own.

My response to this challenge was:

I have breezed through life with very few fears but

  • I have always been afraid that something bad could happen to one of my loved ones
  • I have been anxious about my aged parents on the other side of the world; both now dead
  • I was afraid of cats until I took a course of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or Tapping as it is sometimes known.  Now I am no longer afraid of cats and have even been known to stroke one, but
  • My worst fear was realised at 2.28am on April 22 1998.  My Dashing (not so) Young Scotsman died.

I wondered/ feared :

  • How would I live without him
  • How could I live without him
  • Where would I live without him
  • How could I go through each day knowing he wasn’t waiting for me at home
  • How could I smile and pretend that life was “normal”
  • What was normal anymore
  • When would the “time heals” kick in
  • When would I stop counting the hours, days since he died and move onto the months and years

And I found that while my worst fear had been realised on that ghastly day, I could:

  • Live my life without him though I missed him madly
  • Move house and so find where I could live without him
  • Go through each day with his memories to help me
  • What became normal was different to anything I had expected or experienced
  • Time didn’t heal although the hurt was lessened as time passed
  • Now I say he died 16 years ago.

And now after so long, my whole life has changed as I have a new partner and we are making a new life together.

Then last October I answered the same questions following the Architect’s death. 

And once again,  I found that 

  • I could live my life without him although I missed him madly
  • I moved house again and found somewhere I could live without him
  • I could get through each day without him but have the memories to help me
  • And normal changed yet again
  • And time doesn’t heal, the hurt lessens somewhat as time passes
  • And he has now been dead for 14 months.

Also that month I wrote about 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”.

This is one of those songs that remind me just how lucky I am.  We all have something about which to gripe and complain but unless one is battling a life threatening or terminating illness, they mostly are minor when put alongside those who are homeless , jobless and without any hope that things will improve.

If you have been following me for a while, you will know that for years I volunteered at a local hospice and saw first hand how those terminally ill folk dealt with the end of their lives.  And then later, I saw the hospice movement from the other side, when the Architect spent the last 10 days of his life there.

And recently I following my April adventure, I spent time in rehab where I saw how others were dealing with brain injury and once again I was so very grateful that what could have been an absolute disaster for me and my family turned into a lesser disaster. I saw others who were so much worse off than me; some of whom had done pretty well the same as I had but who had suffered much worse.

My Attitude of Gratitude is set on high  at present.

Last October I wrote about moving on and also about the way in which the Architect proposed that I live with him.

In all, a harrowing month but a year later, all is changed again and I am moving on.

The posts referred to are –

Writing 101: Personality on the Page
The Streets of London
Time to Move on Again
You are Beautiful

I don’t know if that is really a day in my life, but it’s what I’ve been thinking of today as I went about the daily chores, walking, writing and enjoying my life.

 

 

 

Thoughts on Thursday

“It is a serious thing
just to be alive on this fresh morning
in this broken world. Mary Oliver

Just wasting time on Facebook this morning.  The sun is shining and I should go for my walk before I Skype with Chris at Bridges Burning  But I found a post on FB from Suzicate wherein she quoted a favourite poem  of mine from Dawna Markova.

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

 

I used this quote in a post when I was still new to blogging – I Will Not Die.  Re-reading that post and the poem, I realise that the poem applies even more to me today than it did in December 2011.

Following my adventure in April, I have had to:

  • overcome the fear of falling again
  • choose to inhabit my days
  • allow my living to open me
  • learn to ask for and accept help
  • learn to take each day as it comes
  • know that I’m loved and supported by many and
  • to be grateful for the help and support offered.

So now this day is starting.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing and my walk is calling.

“Now shall I walk or shall I ride?
‘Ride,’ Pleasure said;
‘Walk,’ Joy replied.”
― W.H. Davies poet 1871-1940

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is Tuesday

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me
And I’m feeling good”
Leslie Bricusse, The Leslie Bricusse Songbook 

As I was so pleased with myself following yesterday’s walk, I decided to walk again today.

IMG_0739 (1)

This time I found some other steps leading from our road down towards the village. And this time there were not 132 steps to navigate but 154.

So I walked down and found myself in yet another road I had never seen before, then on to the village and a hot chocolate and a scone for lunch, although I was so hot I should really have had a cold drink.

Then back home, this time retracing yesterday’s walk to the village, past the primary school, along two roads and up those 132 steps. I must say this gets easier each day.

A shorter distance today – 2.90 kms and 6.9K steps. I wonder where I’ll go tomorrow.

I’m always thrilled at what one sees when walking that one completely misses when driving.  And if I hadn’t beenUpwords walking to the village instead of driving I wouldn’t have found these roads and would I ever have ventured down these steps.

Later I was picked up by a friend to spend the afternoon at her place, talking but mainly playing a game new to me called Upwords.

It has now become a regular weekly afternoon and I am certainly enjoying this new way of making this elderly brain work.

 

Meandering on Monday

Pluviophile

Pluviophile  – I learned this word from a blogging buddy, VivinFrance, who I’m sorry to say is no longer with us.  Still miss her.

I’m English so I like the rain and walking in it – that is of course, if I’m properly dressed. And today it’s pouring down.  So I’ll get properly attired and face the rain. I’m so thankful that I am able to walk again on my own.  Until recently I had to have somebody with me when I walked but two weeks ago I was given the all clear.  So another thing to add to my gratitude list.

Then shortly before 1pm the rain stopped and the sun came out.  Just to be expected in a NZ summer.  So I decided that rain gear wasn’t necessary and I would go for a walk.  But once I started I didn’t know when to stop.

I started up our long drive and put on the MapMyWalk Ap. Up the drive to the road and then down these 132 steps, then along to the village for coffee. I decided to come the other way home forgetting that it was all uphill.  There were some steps on the way but far fewer (36).   So 3.4kms in 57minutes. Very pleased with myself

Quetta Street Steps.jpg

Once I got home I realised how out of practice I was, so have to do more of this walking to get back into shape.  So a cup of tea, Stacey Kent on Pandora and my book and all was very well with my world.

Books tea

And today I have been given the date for my driving test.  When one suffers brain injury following an accident, one’s licence is immediately suspended for six months.  My friendly ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) Case Manager set this up for me.  So on October 6 I go for an off road test and then when I pass that, I will have another test driving my own car around the streets.  Hooray – the final hurdle in this latest “adventure”.

Oh and those of you have hung in since 2011 will know that this will be my fourth driving test.  I wonder if it will be as easy as the others.

And if you missed those posts and would like to read them, here they are:

The Driving Test 
Driving Test No 2
Driving Test No 3

 

 

 

 

Welcome Spring

it-is-spring-again-ranier-maria-rilke-quotes-sayings-pictures

Today I noticed daffodils in bloom in my very small garden so spring is here.

images

Yes really today is September 1 recognised as the first day of Spring here in New Zealand.  Well, we have had a really good winter this year and so are hoping it will run over into spring.

And Spring brings a new start for everyone.  Here the daffodils are bursting through cheering everyone with their bobbing yellow heads. Wordsworth had the words that I don’t

When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
and

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance”

And for me this is the beginning of the next 12 months of my life.  The past 12 were not great; The Architect died and then I had my accident.  But that is all behind me and I’m looking forward again.

I have so much for which to be grateful

  • A loving and helpful family
  • Kindly, caring friends including my blogosphere friends
  • A good and comfortable home
  • My good health
  • Able to afford to do most of what I want
  • And of course, I’M ALIVE to share in all that this wonderful and enjoy all that is on offer.

And just so I know how far I have come in the past 12 months, here’s the post from September 2 2015 –  Missing you.

 

So if you’re in our side of the world enjoy Spring and if not enjoy autumn/fall because we know that each Season brings us much to be thankful for.

 

 

 

Me – pedantic?

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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!

Six Word Saturday Again!

Wow it’s Saturday again.  Time for Six Word Saturday

Six word Saturday button

You know what to do if you want to get involved.  Click on the above or on the link.  Now you’re all set to join in.

IS LIFE BETTER WITH A G&T?

 

Amongst the things they tell you to avoid following brain injury, is alcohol.

It’s an accepted fact that I’m not a great drinker – my late husband used to say I was the cheapest drunk in Wellington – 2 drinks and I was ready to leave the party.  But just occasionally, on a lovely Saturday afternoon like today’s I would really love a cold G&T.  That would make my day complete I’m sure.

 

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Sitting with laptop on lap (where else) and another cup of tea beside me, I know what is missing is the G&T.

Nobody gives any indication on when alcohol may once again be consumed and so I am   not going there, as they say (who says?).  So until “they” say I can have the odd drink  – is Gin & Tonic odd? – I’ll sip my tea and give thanks that I am able to do so.  After such an accident I could well have been left unable to enjoy tea in the sun.

And of course, as I have said before I’m English So I Drink Tea

cropped-adventure.png

 

You can have the other words-chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity.
I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it. ”
Mary Oliver

Ah That’s Better

I think WordPress is playing tricks again.  I posted this earlier today and several people commented on it but it has disappeared into the ether.  All that’s left is the beginning of the post on Facebook.  Don’t you hate it when that happens? And I just can’t remember all I had written.

Anyway I’ll try again.

After writing my earlier post I looked back and thought about my day:

  • I woke up to a warm,sun filled house
  • I woke up knowing that my friends and family are all on my side
  • I had a walk in the bush with my lovely Physiotherapist
  • We ended up at a local coffee shop where we encountered a friend
  • I have so much for which to be grateful not the least for being alive as i know where my accident could have left me.
  • And I know The Architect would not want me to be miserable today or any day.

Waterfall

And as the water continues in its downhill rush over rocks
and the thoughts continue to tumble around in my brain
with no defined pattern or path,
they eventually find and settle into a safe place
and the void is suddenly filled
and my mind is active once again.

Judith Baxter, Blogger, Mother, Grandmother and friend

 

And from Mary Oliver

“It is a serious thing
just to be alive on this fresh morning
in this broken world.”