Category Archives: Uncategorized

Six Word Saturday

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.

The Day Mother Nature Took Control

Well, today Mother Nature said “Enough is Enough.  I am in control here”.

Wellington at Daybreak Today Photo Courtesy Simon Woolf Photographer

Here in Wellington, we have been enjoying summer weather most days, with no or very occasional rain, while the rest of the country has been battling rain, floods and high winds.  But today MN said “Time to stand up and be counted.  It’s time you got some rain and wind.”

Storm coming into Wellington. Photo courtesy Simon Woolf, Photographer

So late yesterday she acted on her promise(?).  We have been sorely needing rain for the past few weeks and have been confined to using only handheld hoses for our gardens and then only on alternate days.  So we were quite happy to see the rain.

The Interislander battling the seas in the Cook Strait Simon Woolf again

We just got very wet and the wind was very strong at our place.  But now it has moved on.    Other areas of the city were not so fortunate.  Our low lying coastal areas were hammered by rain and huge waves and surface flooding as a strong southerly wind coupled with a high tide.

And then, amongst all of this, there was an Earthquake at 8.12 am.  Quite small, only 4.5 on the Richter Scale.  See how blase we are about earthquakes here.

So another day comes to a close. I have just finished reading The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny.  Watch for my review on my other site in the next day or so.

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Moving Into 2018

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

About this time of the year, I look back on what has gone before and set some goals for the next 12 months.   Not Resolutions as I know that for me they don’t last through the first two months and are usually dead before the end of January.

I use as my guide what I learned from the story of Noah and the Ark.  I first wrote about this in January 2012 and then used it again in December 2014.  The following year, 2015 was not great, my Late Love the Architect died and 2016 was hardly any better.  I had my misadventure in April and then my contretemps with a chair and a rug in December, so I was glad to see the back of that year.

And now it’s 2018 and I am looking back on 2017.  So what dd I learn?

  • I did listen to the voice within when deciding to remain in my little apartment in my daughter’s house.
  • I followed my intuition that I would be safe here
  • I hadn’t made my preparations in advance as originally, this was to be a  stop gap while I found somewhere else to live.
  • My life was built on strong foundations and those foundations are my two very supportive children and daughter-in-law, and the four large grandsons who are growing into fine young men.
  • My possessions were brought from storage and some fitted well into my new little abode.  The rest found new homes via the Salvation Army.  A win-win situation.
  • Once again, I chose my companions well and cut the few toxic people out of my life
  • I still love my companions and fellow travellers.
  • And some of these travellers aka my children I set free once again to return as and when they wish or if they are needed.
  • Yes, I did listen to other people’s opinions but always made my own decisions.
  • I learned that living in a house with two teenage Grandsons is never boring.
  • I make time for quiet meditation which nurtures my soul.
  • I embraced many new experiences since writing the original posts.
  • I was brought up in England and have always loved the feel of the gentle rain on my face.
  • And I also love the sunshine and notice how differently people behave when the sun is shining.
  • I volunteered at another Hospice; the one where my Late Love died and continue to believe I got more from the experience than anyone at the Hospice does.
  • I have learned to accept the assistance offered by others – I hope this acceptance has been gracious.
  • I know that there will be hard times interspersed with the sunshine and light.
  • I have known for a long time that we share this planet with a myriad of other creatures both large and small, and we don’t must share the bounties with them
  • I continue to nurture an attitude of gratitude.  I am very aware of how very lucky I have been all my life.
  • I know that one woman with a strong belief in herself can overcome just about anything life can throw at her.

So with a cheerful heart and a desire to see what this New Year will bring this aged adventurer, I am ready for 2018.

“I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I’ve written for myself,
and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part.” 

― Shirley Maclaine

 

 

Talking into the Future

My heart is warm with the friends I make
And better friends I’ll not be knowing.”
Edna St Vincent Millay, American Poet and Playright.
1892-1950

I found this post in the draft section and have no recollection of why I didn’t publish it.  No, it wasn’t because I had a something else to talk about, it just got put into the wrong box.  It was written on October 14, 2017, and find it just as appropriate today.

October 14, 2017

We had our usual weekly Skype meeting.  Three friends, far removed from each other by physical distance but so very close in friendship.  Chris at Bridges Burning lives in Kitchener, Ontario, Joss at Depth of a Woman, lives in Cuenca and I live in Wellington, New Zealand.Could three friends live any further apart?

We met in the blogosphere.  We all started blogging around the same time, 2011, and soon found we had much in common.  We all write, we all read and we all love finding new friends.

On This week’s  chat, we discussed among other things, the webinar from Hay House that I had just listened to.  And then Joss, as the published author answered some of our questions on publishing.  Thanks, Joss.  As I said I learned more from you than from the webinar.

My book, Suddenly Single was self-published some years ago and was given to clients and friends who found themselves alone. So that didn’t count as it was a first attempt and copies were given away.  We talked about my plan to broaden the book to cover bereavement and grieving in all its forms.

We talked about our plans for the coming weekend – my weekend was very close as our talks are on my Friday their Thursday.  Chris has all her family coming for dinner so has some organizing to do.   We talked about last weekend.  Chris went to visit her son and his family.  She went with one of the boys to a Meet the Teacher event and was surprised and pleased to learn the teacher knew about her.  I took my eldest grandson for his gliding experience.  I bought this for his 21st birthday last year but because of my misadventure 4 weeks later, we’ve never got around to using the voucher.  However,  when we arrived at the field some 2 hours away we were told there could be no gliding that day. A disappointment but we had a great day together nonetheless.  And we now have another date to look forward to.

And talking into the future was Joss’ comment.  She loves the fact that she can talk to me 18 hours in her future.  One question she raised today was what happens to the lost day when you cross the equator and don’t return?  Well, what does happen to that day?  Is it lost forever?  My response, perhaps that’s in the parallel universe we often hear about.

And now it’s Saturday here and another weekend is about to start,  I hope your weekend, when it arrives will be a good one.  We are promised a wet, windy Wellington day, so I shall be working on my book and reading one of the many on my To Read pile on the bedside table, accompanied of course, by copious cups of tea.

So there you have it.  Talking to friends one has never met physically  but who are true friends nonetheless.  And these two women are among my Sisters of Choice.  Different mothers, but sisters.

And now, here’s my waterfall.  I shall see it again next month when I go back to Tauranga for a few weeks.

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, Mother, grandmother, sister,
friend and blogger 1938 –

 

 

When everything goes wrong…

This really started the second day of 2018 in the right way for me. I had to share.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

“Just let me know when you’ve arrived…” Those words are spoken, in the most casual manner possible, by every parent when one of their offspring goes off on an adventure. The apparent nonchalance masks all sorts of worry, panic, imagined scenarios and disasters, even though you know they are no more than chimera.

He’d booked everything at budget prices, so there was no direct flight. At stopover of five hours in Muscat would not allow him to see anything of the place and just added to the fatigue of the journey.  But, when you know they have landed in foreign climes, (because you are watching the live flight updates, and they are now running nearly a further six hours late) and the phone remains silent for an eternity, the real panic sets in. Especially when said offspring is travelling with a wheelchair.

By the time you actually hear from…

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Reflections

 

Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect.  
It means that you look beyond the imperfections 
and smile.” 
Judith Baxter 1938-

 

 

As you know,  here in New Zealand we greet the New Year before anyone else in the world.  I remember the excitement when 1999 became 2000 and we had an influx of visitors from around the world rushing to the East Coast to be the first to welcome in the New Century,  Now though, we are safely ensconced in the century and we greet 2018 as any other New Year.

I am not going to tell you of my Resolutions – they never last the month of January and my Goals?  Well, they are written down and will be looked at no doubt, from time to time as we move through the year.  Instead, I should like to look back on 2017 as a year that was good for me and my family.  No major illnesses, few visits to the doctor and four very strong young men making their way in this world, to a grandmother’s joy. Unfortunately, a couple of friends didn’t make it to December 31st and others are battling life-challenging illnesses.

So I consider my family to be among the lucky people of this world.  But many others have not been so lucky.  Today we heard of several motor accidents, boating accidents and a light plane that fell out of the sky, in this our time for celebrations and fun.

Terrorists were active from Manchester and London, to Paris, Barcelona and several cities in the USA.  These attacks appear to have been carried out by disenfranchised young men who have bought into the story told by ISIS and their supporters.

Hurricanes, heatwaves, earthquakes, below freezing weather, tsunamis, droughts and forest fires have all plagued our world this year.

Homeless people inhabit our capital and other cities and so many children go to school poorly dressed and hungry.

And wars are waged constantly.  Why has nobody woken up to the fact that if you continue to do things in the same way, you will get the same results?  Why can’t we Give Peace a Chance?

Here in New Zealand,  we have a new Government led by a vocal and energetic young woman.   She has already stood up to Donald Trump.  This Government is determined to ease the lot of our poorer people and already in the first 100 days appears to be making a change.

We read and watch in amazement the antics of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un,  Theresa May among others and thank our lucky stars that we live here in our corner of Paradise on the other side of the world.

So what am I looking forward to in 2018?  My family always say that I am like Pollyanna.  But I look forward to

  • Peace being declared among the fighting factions.
  • Safe housing for the homeless
  • Sufficient food for everyone and a
  • Happy and joyous year to you all.

And now to change the tone of this post I share this with you from Bridget Jones’ Diary:

“Resolution number one: Obviously will lose twenty pounds.
Number two: Always put last night’s panties in the laundry basket.
Equally important will find a sensible boyfriend to go out with
and not continue to form romantic attachments
to any of the following: alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobic’s,
peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits or perverts.

And especially will not fantasise about a particular person
who embodies all these things”

 

 

 

 

Intent

100-word-challengeI have enjoyed following Tara at Thin Spiral Notebook for several years.
She is a writer of fiction, an artist, photographer and so much more.
She is an inspiration.  And I particularly like her 100 Word Challenge.

 

This week’s challenge is Intent. ” Using “intent” for inspiration, write 100 Words – 100 exactly – no more, no less. You can either use the word – or any form of the word – as one of your 100, or it can be implied.”  Click on the link to play along.

 

Here’s my offering:

Her intentions were good, always.  But somehow, what she planned didn’t always work out as she had intended.
Why was it when she bought that large box of special chocolates for her mother, she had forgotten she was diabetic?
How had she forgotten that her best friend had a broken ankle when she suggested a walk along the beach?
And taking that rescue puppy to her sister’s when she had forgotten the kids were scared of animals?
And now it was almost New Year,  This year, her Resolution would be to look at the outcome of her actions before acting.

 

The End of the World

Do you remember December 21, 2012, the day, according to the Mayans when the world was going oi end, Just had to reblog this one.

I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

end of the world

So today according to the Mayans the world is going to end.  I’ve given this some thought and decided to

  • Spend all the money in the bank account
  • Buy everything I ever wanted and max out the credit cards
  • Complete everything on my Bucket List that one can do in a day
  • Mortgage the house so that I can do all of the above and more

But then I had the thought – what if the world doesn’t end today?  Oh then I shall be in a whole lot of trouble.  Dug in so deep I may never see daylight.

So back to my normal if humdrum life.  What do I want to talk about today.

Well – there is only 3 days 11 hours and 24 minutes (who cares about the seconds when we are so close) until Christmas.  How about you – click here to see.

And I…

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What a Difference

 

Pohutakawa tree

Our own New Zealand Christmas tree. Image via Wikipedia

What a difference a Day Year makes.

In December 2015 I was bemoaning the fact that my Late Love, the Architect had died and so 2015 was not a great year.  But I was especially grateful for all the outpouring of love and friendship that followed this.  I was looking forward to seeing the end of 2015 and a better 2016.

On this day last year, I was bemoaning the fact that I had a fractured shoulder having injured it on the same date as five years earlier I had fractured my ankle.

Earlier in the year, I had my misadventure, falling over my feet and fracturing my skull.  A visit to hospital and rehab and after several months I was back home and learning to do things for myself once again.

So in all, 2016 was not a great year but I was also very grateful for the fact that my health is good and my body is strong and my mental attitude is in the right place, so that I survived the hiccups during the year. And once again I was moved by  and grateful for  the love and support from my friends both in real life and in the blogosphere  

So on this day, I was looking forward to seeing the end of 2016 and a  better 2017.

And 2017  has been a very good year.  Totally recovered and back to normal, well normal for me.  The family members are thriving, all boys growing into fine young men.  So, as Sinatra sings :

“But now the days grow short
I’m in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life as vintage wine
From fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs
And it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year .”

And here’s to 2018.  May you all have a great year, free of mishaps, sickness, and worries.  That will be my Resolution for 2018 when January 1 comes around.

And do you need a rainbow in your life?  Here’s mine to share.

Rainbow

My rainbow

 

Another view of Christmas

My sister in Los Angeles is as intrigued with new words as am I.  She asked if I knew this word – Conciliabule.  No, I didn’t, do you?    It is a clandestine meeting of conspirators.  So how can I use it in a sentence?  “Obviously, the group of women in the coffee shop was a conciliabule.  What were they planning, and against whom?” Is that OK although it isn’t one sentence but two?

And today into my inbox popped this from Qantas.  That is the Australian National Airline.  As an aside, years ago when we were in New York I had to meet my husband at the Qantas office.  When I told the cab driver where I wanted to go, he asked if that were one of the newly emerging African airlines.  Our friends at Qantas were not amused.

Anyway, back to the inbox

On the twelfth day of Christmas Qantas offered me

Flights to New York from $599 economy one way and

Twelve Big Apples
Eleven junk boats sailing
Ten lions roaring
Nine hibiscuses blooming
Eight roos a jumping
Seven lucky dragons
Six Asian elephants
Five Big Bens chiming
Four koi swimming
Three empanadas
Two merlions
And a koala in a gum tree.

Notes –
1.   The Merlion (Malay: Singa-Laut) is a well-known marketing icon of Singapore depicted as a mythical creature with a lion’s head and the body of a fish
2.   An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries of The Americas and in Spain

A Koala in a Gum Tree

Have fun whatever you are doing today.  I am and enjoying the sunshine here in this most beautiful city.

Courtesy Simon Woolf

Christmas Is Coming

 

holly

“Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat;
If you haven’t got a penny a ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny then God bless you!”
Nursery rhyme and Christmas carol (frequently sung as a round)

When I was growing up in London following the end of WW2 we always had goose for Christmas dinner.  Not for us a turkey.  In fact, I don’t ever remember having turkey at home until long after I was married.  Quite late on Christma Eve father would go to the market and buy a goose.  They, of course, were reduced at this time so that’s when he went.

Later, after moving to New Zealand with my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman), I remember a particular Christmas at home with my family.   By this time, the late 60s, goose had been superseded by turkey and father in company of his son-in-law, took off as usual to purchase the bird.  Well, these two men purchased the bird and then in a festive mood did a round of various pubs on the way home.

When they did eventually arrive home, much later than expected by mother for dinner, they were without the bird.  It had been left in one of the hostelries they had visited.  Mother was less than pleased, she didn’t drink and didn’t think it was at all funny.  I had to decide whose side I was on and while secretly siding with father and DYS I nodded assent and support to mother.

Some time later, and rather more merrier I might say, they arrived home complete with bird.  Mother was placated, a late dinner was served and much laughter followed  And the story of the bird was told on many Christmases that followed.

What happy memories.

And now, did you know?

  • Clement Moore’s 1823 poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” was the catalyst for the reinvention of St Nicholas into the jolly, fat image of Santa we now know?
  • Also invented by Moore, Santa’s travels are invariably connected to reindeer.  In the poem, they are pictured charging through a winter sky complete with strong, elaborate horns.  But in winter reindeer lose their horns so are Santa’s reindeer all female or are they castrated males?
  • Moore omitted to tell us that St Nicholas was Turkish.  He was real and was born in Patara, Turkey.  He was an early Christian and in the 4th Century, he became bishop of the district of Demre where some of his bones can still be visited.  Little fact is known of him, only oral legends relating to his goodness and kindness to children.
  • Another poem, this one by Frank Baum (who wrote The Wizard of Oz) told that Santa lived in a valley called Ho Ho Ho.  American marketers quickly picked up on the poem and Ho Ho Ho became Santa brand’s catch cry.
  • The song Jingle Bells never mentions Christmas and has no connection to Christmas.  It was originally composed for America’s Thanksgiving festival in 1857.
  • Nobody knows when Jesus was born or died. For many centuries people in the northern hemisphere celebrated the winter solstice, the shortest day and the turning point in the long, often hard, cold winter.  Some 300 years after Jesus’ (guessed at) death date, Pope Julius I announced that 25th December would be the date to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  As Christianity spread around the world, this date took over the existing festivities and became “Christmas”.  The word Christmas didn’t come into being until 1032 AD.
  • The bible doesn’t say that three kings visited the baby Jesus but refers to “Wise men from the east”.  They may well have been astronomers (they did follow a star) or Zoroastrian priests and the fact that the three gifts, Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh are mentioned is the possible basis for assuming there were three visitors.
  • And the gifts they brought.  Gold and Frankincense would be acceptable but in ancient times Myrrh was very expensive and used in embalming dead bodies and was burned at funerals to disguise the smell of bodies that hadn’t been embalmed.  Why would it be brought to a newborn child?
  • And everybody’s favourite – Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”.  There have been 14 versions of this story.
  • Four Calling Birds in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.  Originally it was four colly birds, colly being the ancient word for black (as in collier and coal) so colly birds were blackbirds.  As time went by colly fell out of use and didn’t make sense so people started saying four calling birds.  This doesn’t make sense either.
  • Decorated evergreen trees have been part of December celebrations in Europe for many centuries reminding everyone that spring is just around the corner.  The decorated Christmas tree became accepted in the UK when Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the children were depicted in the “Illustrated London News” standing around a lavishly decorated Christmas tree.
  • The use of X as in Xmas is not at all invalid or disrespectful.  The word Christ was never part of Jesus’ name, it is a title assigned by later worshippers in Greek meaning ‘the anointed one’.  In ancient Greece, the letter chi was written with a symbol very like an X and the title assigned to Jesus was Xristos and was frequently abbreviated to just X.  So writing Christmas as Xmas has been considered acceptable for some 1000 years.  Note early publications were charged by the number of letters so using X in Xmas was encouraged.
  • The wassail ritual was an ancient pre-Christian custom of drinking a toast to the sun after the northern mid-winter approximately 25 December and hopes for a bountiful harvest in the coming warmer months. Hence the song ‘Here we come a-wassailing’ was a gathering of friends drinking a toast.  “Waes Hael” in ancient English means “Be healthy” and the usual drink was a mixture of spices, apple juice and eggs.  (Give me a G&T any time).
  • Christmas was cancelled in England in the 1640s when Puritan law forbade churches to open on Christmas Day and banned home decorations, celebrations, carol singing and the creating of Nativity scenes.  December 25 was declared a day of everyday work and fasting.  The outraged populace made Christmas observances in secret until the Monarchy was restored in 1660 and King Charles II restored Christmas.
  • And finally, a horse named Santa Claus won the Epsom Derby in 1964.

So there you have my list – as my son always says I have a fund of useless information.  Enjoy it anyway.