Category Archives: Living

Welcome Spring

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

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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?

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

“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 the 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

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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.”

 

 

All or Nothing Day – July 26, 2016

Listen. are you breathing just a little
and calling it a life,
Mary Oliver

Several days ago I received an email from a young woman whom I didn’t know.  Her name is Heather Von St James and she told me she was a 10-year survivor of a rare cancer called mesothelioma, given just 15 months to live upon diagnosis, then and there she decided it was all or nothing from that day on.

Having read her story I wanted to get involved in Heather’s most recent campaign for All or Nothing Day. She asked if I would help spread the word.   Those of you who have followed me know that this is absolutely what I approve of and so of course I agreed.

I claim to Choose how I will spend the rest of my life and some of you have accompanied me through a few pitfalls followed by picking myself up and starting again.

At the ripe old age of 60, I found myself Suddenly Single after my husband of 41 years died, and had to learn how to live life on my own.  A couple of years later I was diagnosed with breast cancer, but a lumpectomy and some radiation therapy quickly sorted that out.  Then when I was getting used to life on my own, I met and reconnected with an Architect with whom I had worked many years previously.  And yes, we got together and decided to spend the rest of our lives together.

Just over a year ago he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and 8 weeks later he died.  My 2 year Magic Carpet Ride came to a halt and once again I was living life on my own.

Well, you just have to get up and get on with it.  I was doing well on my own when suddenly in April this year I had an accident that resulted in major brain damage.  But hey – I’m alive and things are gradually getting back to normal.  Every day is a bonus and I am so grateful for the medical team and the rehabilitation team who brought me to the stage I am today.

I’m going out walking with my physiotherapist when she visits each week and last week I had a walk on my own and did some Retail Therapy.  I’m lucky and blessed with a supportive family and friends and I will continue to Choose how I spend the rest of my life.  However long that may be.

I shall continue to be the best friend I can be, the most loving sister, mother and grandmother offering and accepting the love showered on me  And because some of my independence is lost until I’m allowed to drive again, I’m working on accepting the help offered graciously.

And also this from Mary Oliver

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.” ~ Mary Oliver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Granma’s Day

Looking back over my blogging years, I have found several that I really like.  This one from July 2012 is a favourite.  I hope you don’t mind reading it again.

The boys are all older now but they still give me much joy.

Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends – and hardly ever our own grown children.  ~Ruth Goode, author 1902-1997

I particularly like the quote from Ruth Goode.  She was an author who , according to her obituary in the New York Times “wrote about subjects as disparate as the scenic attractions of Maine, advancements in medicine and the life of the impresario Sol Hurok…..”  And she obviously loved her grandchildren.

Three boys

Child labour?

I’ve had a really special day today.  Three of my four grandsons have been here and what a joy they are.

They range in age from 12 to 16 and still get on well.  The 16-year-old is particularly careful to include the youngest one in everything, although he is well able to look after himself.

Having picked one up from his mother’s office and the other two from the train station we set off for the garden center to collect the final two bags of stones for the patio.  I was planning to use some of their time with me (and their energy) to get this job finished eventually.  It’s never too early to learn there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Well…Granma was so busy talking that she got onto the motorway by mistake and had to drive miles out of her way before arriving at the garden center.

Here we were greeted like long-lost friends.  Lotte and I have been regular visitors to the center since the patio was fist thought about.  And they recognized Jae (the youngest) from our last visit.  So, purchases made the boys loaded the bags into the back of my car and we set off for home.

They came in for a drink and biscuits before starting – don’t all workmen?  They certainly do here in New Zealand.  And for the next half hour the street rang with their laughter as they spread the stones, filling in the blanks that Jae and I had missed last week.

Two boys working

James and Jae – the oldest and youngest working together

Lotte helping too

And four extra hands/paws are welcome

Rob

Rob beavering away but can’t we afford shoes?

James and me

Sharing his muddy hands with Granma!

Soon it was finished and everybody had a great time.  Isn’t it so true that many hands make light work?  And what joy to be surrounded by happy, laughing, young folk.

Then lunch.  Easy to feed growing boys.  Plenty of sausages, buns, mayo and tomato sauce and the boys made their own hotdogs.  I demurred.  Hotdogs are not among my favorite things.

Sausages

Now what to do for the afternoon?  They couldn’t make up their minds.  Of course, they were slightly constrained by the fact that Jae still had his leg in a cast.  So I made the decision.  Sir Peter Jackson and Weta, the animation and special effects company – Lord of the Rings, The Last Samurai, King Kong, Xena Warrior Princess among others – are based in Wellington and they have the ‘Weta Cave” a museum open to the public.  Strangely none of us had been there before and so we took ourselves off.

Weta Cave

Weta Cave photo Scoop

This was very interesting as it had models from all the films Weta and Sir Peter have been involved in and of course, they had many collectibles for sale.

Three very well behaved brought up young boys asked for nothing.  A big change from when they were younger.

Of particular interest to me was the short movie/DVD giving a behind the scenes look at Weta and interviews with the founders and directors of the company.

Roxy Cinema

At the opening of the Roxy Cinema in April 2011

And then on to the Roxy Cinema.  This is another of Weta’s projects.

The old cinema had been abandoned years ago.  It was derelict and had been so for some years, following a brief period as a shopping center.  The shops were very sad and there was no good reason ever to go there.

Several years ago the building was bought and saved from demolition by Jamie Selkirk, best known for his role as editor on the Lord of the Rings films. The building lay empty for several years during which time Selkirk won several Oscars.  He then enlisted the help of Tania Rodger, manager of Weta Workshop, with a view to rebuilding. And the final product can only be described as stunning.

In April, the ‘cream’ of Wellington society was invited to a gala opening.  The theme was 1930s and as you can see from the photos even the cars were authentic.

The Roxy has a rather pleasant cafe on the ground floor.  So after touring around the cinema we sat for a breather – tea for Granma (well, I am English after all), coke for one boy, hot chocolate for another and for the third, and eldest and so sophisticated, iced coffee.Iced coffee

James has just finished a six week course through school on making coffee – Barista training.   Apparently this was an elective and he will get eight points for doing this course. When questioned he said he thought it was really for those boys who would not stay on for another year and might get a job making coffee.

Then, with his new found knowledge, he regaled us with how one makes iced coffee and assured me that no, we couldn’t make one in the blender at home.  We need an espresso machine to froth the milk.  Don’t have one and am not about to get one.  Sorry James.

So our adventures ended.  A trip home where they watched a DVD.  My son and his wife joined us for dinner and then later my daughter and her eldest son came in for a short time.  Drew had been competing in a water polo tournament in Auckland and Cate had picked him up at the airport and thought she would call in not only to pick up her younger son but also to catch up with her brother, his wife and their boys.

It was lovely to have both my children and all their children together.  A rare happening and a fitting ending to my lovely Granma’s Day.


MIA (Missing In Auckland)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hans Christian Andersen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Up on Rant.

Oh dear me.  I set that last post to be posted today – February 16.  Wordpress decided in its wisdom to post it yesterday.  Ho hum.

And following on the rant – no word from any source about the furniture.  I did call the carriers again today (they were supposed to call ME yesterday) to be told that the furniture was on its way to Wellington.  Hurrah!  But when will t be delivered.  Apparently the driver will call me tonight and tell me when.  Oh really.  Not hanging by my thumbs waiting.

End of follow up rant.

But the sun is still shining and all’s well with the world.  Unless that is, you have been waiting for furniture delivery for weeks.

I have so very little to complain about when I look around me.  Several friends drifting into dementia, some battling life threatening illnesses, one battling and helping her son through depression – and I am fit and well.

End of another post. 

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If it seems too good…

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

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

Brochure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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