I’m Not Too Old

This week’s challenge from Tara at Thin Spiral Notebook is Adventure.  Click on the link to play along.

My response to the challenge is not fiction, but it fits so well that I thought
I would post it.  Hope that doesn’t offend others
who play along with these challenges.  So..

She was about to be 75.  Surprised at this, she decided it was time for an adventure.  Oh, she had had many adventures, had travelled extensively with her late husband and since his death, on her own.  But were those trips real adventures.?  She thought not.

She decided on Florence.  It was a place she had visited before and wanted to spend a few months there.  Knowing nobody there and little of the language she packed and set off.

What fun she had and how glad she was she did this before she thought “I’m too old”

Florence Day 10 031.jpg

Author’s Note.  If you want to see and read more of this real life adventure go to Florence 

Changes

“A man, a plan, a canal – Panama!” ~ Leigh Mercer, 1948″

100-word-challengeTara at Thin Spiral Notebook says “For this week’s challenge, pick two (2) palindromes, or one (1) pair of semordnilaps for your story. Do not include your palindromes or semordnilap pair in your word count – so for this week, you get a 102 word limit.”

I chose diaper and repaid and so.

As I walked into the room, I saw Mother lying on the bed staring into space, showing no interest in anything.  How her life had changed in a few years.  This once vibrant, busy, strong woman was now reduced to this frail old lady lying quietly on the bed.  The illness had taken its toll and would continue to do so.

She was past recognising me and hadn’t for several months. And, as I changed her diaper I reflected on how many time she had changed mine when I was a baby and now she was being repaid as I changed hers.

I Don’t Cry At Funerals

I suppose it is because I was at a funeral yesterday and I was thinking of death and funerals, when this came to me in the shower this morning.  Real stream of consciousness writing.

*******

“I don’t cry at funerals,” she said to herself.  But she must have spoken it aloud as her son gently squeezed her shoulder in comfort.

It seemed that she had been to so many funerals.  She had seen friends some buried and others taken off to the crematorium.  Her young husband had died several years ago and though she had loved him, she didn’t cry even at his funeral.

But here she was watching the young men of the family lift her Grandmother’s casket and walk it out of the church.  And here she was crying.

She thought of that wonderful old lady.  She had been there for her since her mother had been taken away to hospital screaming about ghosts and terrors.  It was she who had taken the young girl into her home.  She was not really the Grandmother; just an older, caring neighbour who saw that the young girl had nobody to care for her.  She told the Social Services people that she was the grandmother.  And they, being overloaded with work and too many children to be cared for, accepted that she was whom she said she was.

The peace and quiet, the loving and caring of this new life totally enveloped the young girl so that memories of her mother, the noise and constant barrage of voices as her mother argued with unknown and unseen imaginary people began to fade and she wished/hoped she could live with Grandmother forever.

She had never known her mother’s family nor indeed her father’s.  There had just been the two of them for as long as she could remember.  And for a long time, all was well.  But then her mother started to abuse people in the street and shops where they bought their groceries. She had constant usually abusive, conversations with imaginary foes often in the early hours of the morning.

For several years, the girl hated going to bed knowing that in a few hours the noise would start and her mother would end up screaming.  And often she would awaken to find her mother standing over her yelling at her.

As her mother became worse, she couldn’t concentrate and found herself avoiding school as she stayed home to be with her mother.  Many times, her mother didn’t recognise her and would abuse her.  The final straw was when her mother picked up a kitchen knife and threatened to remove the girl’s tongue so that she wouldn’t argue with her anymore.

In total fright, the young girl fled to the house next door.  It was very early in the morning but the older woman was up having heard the noise, the screaming, and shouting. She took the young girl into her arms and sat her down in a comfortable chair while she called for an ambulance.  And from that time she had lived with Grandma.

But now, so many years later, she was at Grandma’s funeral.  And she wept openly as the coffin passed her in the church.  “Goodbye Grandma, ” she said “Thank you for loving me for so long.  I shall miss you.”

There is no end.  There is no beginning.
There is only the infinite passion of life.
Frederico Fellini.

Note – There’s a review of a new book  I received from my daughter.  It’s The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe.  Set in Stockholm it’s a must read.  Click here to read it.

 

A New Day Dawns

Today I waved goodbye to my youngest grandson.  He’s on the way to University in Christchurch in the South Island and on the way to the next stage of his life.  I can hardly believe that little boy who wasn’t even born when his grandfather died, is old enough to strike out on his own.

His mother and I shall miss him and his older brother will be lost without him, although sometimes one could imagine that they don’t even like each other.

So good luck Darling No. 4.  He is the last one to leave school and start at University. What a great time he is going to have and as Dr Seuss says:

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
Out there things can happen and frequently do
to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting
So..get on your way!

Two years ago the 13th February was a Friday and I wrote about superstition and then went on to write about my day; a beautiful sunny day in Ohope on the east  coast of the North Island of New Zealand.  On days like that, this certainly is Godzone.  And what was I doing?  I was Watching.  Here’s part of that blog post:

Today I am watching

Judith & Alice

  • The way a newly born baby attracts people and noticing the joy of being allowed to hold her
  • The huge waves rolling onto the beach; they are quite magnificent in their power
  • Surfers battling these waves and some succeeding in standing up
  • Children paddling in the surf
  • Two older couples just enjoying the sunshine, sand, and the water’s edge
  • Puffs of smoke emanating from White Island – New Zealand’s most active cone volcano.  It’s very close only 48kms/30 miles from shore.  It’s puffing away merrily today.
  • And strangers interacting as they meet on the beach
  • A couple walking their dogs
  • A small child clambering onto a tyre strung up to make a swing
  • My partner stretched out on a lounger contentedly reading
  • Teachers from the local school rounding up the pupils
  • A group of teenagers enjoying their lunch on the beach
  • The same group chasing each other and generally having fun
  • The brilliant sun shining down onto our part of the world that we call Paradise.”
So different from today  Again, it raining and windy – oh where has summer gone?
 But some summers are brilliant.  And as a reminder, here’s a photo of the beach in front of our house in Ohope.
Ohope beach
“Abundant sunshine, warm waters and safe swimming make Ōhope Beach the perfect summer holiday destination. Maybe that’s why it was voted NZ’s Most Loved Beach—with 11 km of easily walkable white sand beach from the Ōhiwa Harbour entrance all the way to West End.”  Whakatane.com  Information.
And have you had a chance to look at my new blog, Books&morebooks where I review the books I have read.?  Maybe there’s a book that appeals to you.
 

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.

Deadly Lies

deadly-lies

Well, I just finished reading Deadly Lies by Chris Patchell.  This is her first book and what a good book it was.  I couldn’t put it down – well couldn’t put down the iPad and read well into the night.

The book has it all.  Office politics, adultery (both literally by the wife and thinking by the husband), kidnapping, date rape, sexual abuse and murders, 4 in all and only one was not premeditated.

Alex is a Seattle PD Detective and his wife Jill is climbing the corporate ladder. From the outside, all looks well with their marriage.  Things really begin to go wrong when Alex is called by an ex-girlfriend to find her missing sister.  Meantime Jill is breaking all the rules.  She is committing adultery and with the man to whom she responds.  When he reacts in the expected (by us but not by Jill) manner she is devastated and vows revenge.  His accidental death occurs, or is it her first murder?    She then goes on to meet a newspaper reporter and after his interviewing her she experiences date rape and all her hidden past comes rushing to the fore.  She cannot allow this man, or his awful cohorts to get away with this unharmed and goes on to commit more murders.

Meantime, Alex is searching for the kidnapped girl and finds her murdered.  His life takes an unexpected turn when he is called upon to assist a fellow detective in San Francisco who has two unsolved murders to solve.

This review doesn’t really describe how good this book really is.  You just have to read it for yourself.

Oh and I did receive a free copy of this book but am under no obligation to review it.  I just thought it was so good I wanted to share.

For reviews of more books, visit my new blog Books&morebooks.

Vintage?

 

 

 

vinage-car

Downloaded from Pinterest

Are you lucky enough to own a car like this?  I have never owned one that was more than 5 years old but can appreciate the beauty in this one and others like it.  Close to where we live is the world renowned Southwards Car Museum and I often used to take my son and later the grandsons there when they were younger.

Owners of these beauties really care for them.  They are certainly pampered.  Kept in a warm dry garage away from the vagaries of the weather; they are regularly cleaned and polished, their motors serviced; primped and polished they are very well cared for.

Well now, I’ve become vintage.  I too am kept in a warm dry house (rather than a garage) away from the vagaries of the weather.  I’m cleaned, polished and primped.  I have regular services, hairdressers, facials, manicures, pedicures, dentists and the occasional visit to the GP.

We all know that with regular servicing and maintenance, cars can perform well for many years after their manufacture and so I plan to keep up the servicing and maintenance of me.

Looking on Google for a quote as I have nothing in my many books, I came across this.

“Recent generations seem to consider ‘old-fashioned’ thinking
as out-dated
and without place in the modern world.
I beg to differ. After all, who has greater faith?
He who looks to and learns from the past,
or the man who cares not for consequence?”
― Fennel HudsonA Meaningful Life – Fennel’s Journal – No. 1

Now off to find out some more about this author.

A Wintry Wind – 2

Well, WordPress is having fun.  I wrote this post and published it yesterday but all you can see is an empty page.  So I’ll start again.  Thanks Chris at Bridges Burning for letting me know.

100-word-challenge

This week Tara has excelled herself. She has set us another 100-word challenge.
Well, in fact, it’s two words – WINTRY WIND.
If you want to play along here’s the link to Tara website, Thin Spiral Notebook.

So here goes again:

A wintry wind blew making the washing dance on the clothes line.  The sun had been shining when she hung it but now the wind had taken over. 

She watched as the large trees around the house began to shake and then the small bushes she had planted, took a lesson from the trees and started to move.

And the noise from the badly fitted back door reminded her of the blows she had suffered and she wondered if this new house was really safe from him.   Would he find her here or could she be really free this time?

Now a question – Was it worth waiting for?

And as it still raining here I thought I’d share my rainbow although we haven’t seen any rainbows here recently.

Rainbow

My rainbow

 

To see what Tara and others have written on the subject, go to Mr Linky

 

 

 

 

His Eyes

100-word-challenge

Once again, it’s time for 100-word fiction  I really love the challenge set by Tara each week, and of course, the challenge of sticking to 100 words.
If you want to play along here’s the link to Tara website, Thin Spiral Notebook.
This week’s challenge is EYES.

So here’s my effort:

Her mother had told her always to look into the eyes of the person being introduced.  This would tell that person she was really interested and you could tell about a person by looking into their eyes.

But now that she knew him she saw that his eyes rarely looked at her.  He was always looking around the room for the next interesting person to catch and when they were alone his eyes still wandered, looking at a book, the TV, never at her.

Perhaps she should have listened more intently to her mother. Had she missed an important step?

To see what Tara and others have written for this challenge, go to Mr Linky.   Then write your 100 words and link back so that others can read your effort.  Enjoy!

Friendship

“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another
“What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

This was posted by Darlene Foster on her Facebook page yesterday.  I have known and used this quote for many years.  And recently I have been thinking long and hard on the power of friendship.

I have waxed lyrical (well, I hope t was lyrical) about all the help my friends gave me last year when I was incapacitated.  Friends who offered physical help, driving, shopping, cooking but also the friends and family around the world including the many I now have through our blogging community who offered support.

We are so lucky in this age of technology where we can communicate instantly by email, messages or my favourite, Skype.  In fact, I have a regular Skype call with Chris at Bridges Burning and now we have arranged that on our next call Joss at The Wise Woman in Me will join us.  How great is that!

And then I looked on Goodreads to see what other words of wisdom Lewis had shared and I came upon two more

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art….
It has no survival value;
rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

And I think my favourite is

“What draws people to be friends
is that they see the same truth.
They share it.”

So there you have my thoughts for today.  Thinking of the many friends I have both physically in Real Life and in the Blogosphere.  Thank you all for caring and sharing.

And now, as we haven’t seen this for a while, I offer you my waterfall.  The photo was taken at McLaren Falls, Tauranga several years ago but I still love it.

Waterfall

And in case you are interested in my weather comments.  Today there is no rain, the sun peeked through for a very short time and there is no wind.  Maybe the summer isn’t lost; it’s only been resting.