Tag Archives: dogs

Making and Saving Memories

Family together

Week before David’s wedding – March 1990

Our memories may be happy or sad, joyful or tearful or just plain funny.  Sometimes they are of earth-shattering moment – I clearly remember when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.  On July 20th, 1969 I was sitting in the Holiday Inn at Dorval in Montreal and I watched spellbound as a man walked onto the moon.

Memories may be of such momentous events, or a special event in our lives; a wedding, birth of first child or grandchild, or even the unimaginable death of a loved one, but mostly our memories are of our everyday life and this is what we need to record and preserve.  What happened to us and how our lives have been changed by what has happened.

My father told me I could be and do anything I wanted.  That has had a profound effect on my life and how I have lived it.  Many memories are of Father and his influence.

And getting back to everyday activities.  A visit to a friend, spending time with a friend’s dog, a walk in the park, meeting new people and making new friends, moving to a new country. or a different part of the country.  All of these are worthy of recording.

I am currently in Tauranga on the East Coast of the North Island dogsitting for a friend while she skis in Canada. You may remember this little dog. Back in 2013 following the death of Miss Lotte, I was given a poodle by an acquaintance, but then I decided to go to Florence so Bella was left with a friend and here she has remained. So we dog- share and whenever I feel the need of some dog time, I come to visit her. So more memories being made of time spent with friends in this lovely part of our country and particularly with this little dog.

bella

And now I should like to share a memory of some 20 years ago.  I wrote this in February 2012 and I still laugh about it.  Funny now but not at the time.  I’m not the only one.

And for my friends in the Northern Hemisphere from a beautiful hot, sunny Tauranga

hands in snow

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Writing 101: Serially Found

This is Wednesday’s challenge and today is Thursday.  But the days have been so full of visitors and trips we have made that I am so far behind.  And I am cheating somewhat.  I think this is easier for me to do than yesterday’s Dark Clouds on the (Virtual) Horizon so I shall go back to that one later.

On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today, write about finding something.

Tell us about the time you retrieved your favorite t-shirt from your ex. Or when you accidentally stumbled upon your fifth-grade journal in your parents’ attic. Or how about the moment you found out the truth about a person whose history or real nature you thought you’d figured out. Interpret this theme of “finding something” however you see fit.

Today’s twist: if you wrote day four’s post as the first in a series, use this one as the second installment — loosely defined.

You could pick up the action where you stopped, or jump backward or forward in time. You might write about the same topic, but use a different style, or use the same style to tackle a neighboring topic.”

Losing Lotte was a big hurt and left an enormous hole in my life and my home.  My daughter and her boys said I must immediately get another dog and in fact, the boys who were on holiday from school, took me to the local SPCA centre to look at dogs.  But how could I replace my darling with another dog.  There would always only be one Lotte and I determined that I would not have another dog.

Bella Day 1-1

Fast forward a few weeks and the Beautiful Miss Bella came on the scene.  This delightful little poodle wormed her way into my affections and into my life.  She was in every way different to Miss Lotte.  Lotte’s gentle nature (and wandering ways) made her an instant favourite wherever we went.  The boys (my grandsons) loved her and were very sad when she had to be put down.

But Bella was a dog of a different breed; different temperament and different habits.  Oh yes, she quickly picked up Lotte’s habit of taking her meat from the bowl and putting it on the Persian rug in the dining room.  No matter how often I replaced it in the bowl it would be taken out immediately. She wouldn’t sleep in a basket and while Lotte had to be lifted onto the bed, Bella found her own way onto it the first night I had her.  And she loved to walk.  Unfortunately she had been born with hip dysplasia caused her to occasionally lift her back leg and run on three only.  This looked very funny and caused much comment. But she could walk for miles/kilometres and particularly loved the beach.  Poodles are water dogs so she would run into the sea at any opportunity as opposed to Lotte, a Tibetan Spaniel, who would have nothing at all to do with water.

Bella followed me like a shadow.  From the first moment we met she determined that she was coming home with me.  And she did.  And she made herself at home.

Now fast forward two more months.  At this time I decided that I would go away for a while.  Life was going nowhere and I needed a change.  Miss Bella would go to my friend and would be loved and cared for in my absence.  I did doubt whether I would ever get her back again.  And as things have turned out, she is now adopted by my friend and lives a life of luxury with her.

So Miss Lotte was lost and Miss Bella was found.

A Voyage of Discovery

After reading and commenting on Noelene’s blog today I trawled back to the very first blog I wrote on March 1, 2011.  This was an introduction of me to you (or anybody out there who wanted to read what I thought) and this post attracted no comments, no visitors and so I guess no interest.

I then went on to read some more of the early posts.  But writing a blog (and re-reading earlier posts) has been a learning process for me.   Clearly I was growing more confident in what I was putting out to the blog and because of that I was attracting more readers, comments and almost unbelievably, followers.

Many blogs that I follow focus on one or two aspects of life, themes or particular interests.  Mine just simply meanders around, aimlessly following the many and mixed pathways of this elderly woman’s mind. Note here – according to my grandsons the two words one doesn’t use around Granma are ‘Old” and “Age”.  When my No 2 grandson was about 9 I had a fall and an ambulance officer asked how old I was.  Robbie quickly jumped and told the guy that we didn’t use that word around Granma but he knew that Granma was 39 plus GST (Goods and Services Tax).  The ambulance man was delighted and asked if he could use that phrase.

I have dwelt at some length on growing up in London during and after the war.  There are many posts on this subject and no doubt there will be many more.  These are written particularly for the four young men collectively known as my grandsons.  As my son has said on several occasions, and particularly when the boys were young , words to the effect that if he and his sister couldn’t understand what life was like then how could we expect the boys to understand.  So the series of posts on growing up was introduced.

I wrote about my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) and our travels, our children and our long and happy life together.  Then about his sudden death and the catalyst for writing my book ‘Suddenly Single’.  I told about the support and love that I received from family and friends at this time.

I have written about my love and friendship with my two sisters.   Although we live impossibly far away from each other we are still best friends.  During the riots in London in August 2011 and after speaking to my sister there, I penned this Ode to a Sister.

I have shared some of what I learned and passed on to clients during my time as a Life Coach.  I truly believe that I learned more from my clients than they ever did for me.

I introduced to you my programme called Memories – writing your memories for those who come after you.  This is where I coined the phrase – ‘To live in lives we leave behind is not to die”  So I wrote my memories and shared what I learned in so doing with others.  And this was easy and enjoyable.  I am currently working on putting the process into a book to share with others.

I told some tales of when I was the Wedding Coordinator at an historic church in Wellington.  Many more tales linger in my brain from this very happy time.  I said this was the best job I ever had and I meant it.

And I have let loose a few rants at what I consider to be the ridiculous behaviour of some people; the unthinking attitude of some in power; the naivety of some and the penalties they pay for being so, and on and on covering anything at all that takes my mind on that day and at that time.

I almost forgot my foray into writing fiction.  I received a postcard from my sister in the US and this led me to write the first in a series about hats.  Then Sallyann at Photographic Memories wrote a post about Cars and I read a challenge in that post.  So a continuation of the hats saga was embarked upon and we had lots of fun looking for the bonnets.  This saga took another turn when Thomas Stazyk  introduced the ‘the swarthy gent in the Panama hat’ in a comment on one of the posts.  This saga is continuing.

And I cannot forget my darling Lotte; the Tibetan Spaniel who shared my life, my walks and my adventures until her untimely death a couple of months ago. She left a huge hole in my heart .  And now my new companion, the Beautiful Miss Bella is working her way into my heart.  She has a totally different attitude to life than Miss Lotte but she leaves nobody in any doubt that she loves me.  She is fiercely protective of me even though she weighs all of 5 kgs.

So in the two years in which I have been blogging I have learned plenty.  I have met many friends in the blogosphere, have learned that I really like writing and would like to do more of it.  I have enjoyed my foray into fiction writing and have started writing poetry.

And just to forewarn you, I plan to keep blogging.  And a warning!

“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me……………..
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.”
From “Warning” by Jenny Joseph, English Poet, 1932-

Book cover

One Year On

Andy arriving at the Hospice

Checking he is in the right place and looking for his friends

The highlight of the day as always on Thursday is the visit to the Hospice.  Are you all getting bored hearing about this?

This year is the 100th anniversary of the death of the Venerable Mary Potter and many celebrations of remembrance are proposed.

And looking back on last year’s blog I see that on this day Lotte and I were Looking for Andy.  Do you remember the armadillo and the adventures he had (we had) when he was visiting us?  I wonder where the little fellow is now and if he has arrived back home with Lenore Diane.

Well now on to today.  This is my lovely daughter’s birthday.  We don’t go overboard for birthdays in our family which is just as well because she had taken off today with the basketball team she coaches for a competition this weekend.  So there will be no riotous celebrations, she has to keep these young men in control.

Her own boys are spending the weekend with their father.  This all seems to be working out well for the family.  When they are with their father, apart from driving them to the various sports fixtures (they can’t get there easily from his house) he devises all sorts of interesting things for them to do together.

And lunchtime at the hospice today was rather a hectic affair.  Clients/patients choose what they want for lunch shortly after breakfast each morning,  Well today something went wrong and we had the wrong food for a couple of people.  No problem really; it just meant my going to the kitchen and reorganising the lunches.  This of course, takes time and throws the timing out.  So that by the time we got back to the first people with their desserts some had gone to sleep having become tired of waiting.

The lady from the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) usually comes on Thursday with one or two dogs in tow.  These dogs are those available for adoption and most clients are pleased to see her each week.  Well, today she didn’t turn up and one elderly lady asked plaintively where the dogs were.  Obviously they derive a certain comfort and normalcy from the animals.  One man who has been there for several weeks has his wife bring in their dogs – two very large dogs from South Africa.  They could eat my Bella in one chomp but they are very quiet and placid.

Bella is settling down, barking less and accepting my friends and family when they come to visit.  She is still my shadow and doesn’t like me to leave her but today she slept in the car while I was in the hospice.  I do think she prefers that to being left at home, and as the weather is becoming cooler (by the day almost) it is not too hot for her to be left in the car.  She joins us on the terrace for lunch on sunny days and so doesn’t spend too long in the car alone.  Of course her exuberance and delight when I return has to be seen to be believed.  She reminds me of the Energizer bunny jumping up with all four feet in the air.

And from my little book of dog wisdom* :-

“Life is a precious gift.
Treat it delicately and be grateful for it,
but most importantly celebrate and enjoy it”

* dog wisdom to lift your spirits and brighten your day.  Published by Blue Angel Gallery, Australia.

Progress? I wonder..

The other day my blogging friend Linda posted about her new, beautiful deck.  See how amazing it is here.  When asked “Can you please send your contractor here to do my front deck?” she responded “Yes, Judith, for the price of airfare for him and his trusty and loving assistant, plus materials, he will be there whenever you like!”

Well I did the sums and decided that the airfare for two from the USA plus (obviously) accommodation, materials etc would make my front deck aka patio, far too expensive.  And who knows, Linda and Rick may not even travel coach!!

So it was back to my original plan.  The contractors arrived this morning but as it poured with rain very shortly after they arrived, this is what my front patio looks like at present.

Ready or not

Ready for the paving

Ready for the paving?

Here in New Zealand few contractors appear to work on Saturday and so I am faced with this lovely view from the living room for the weekend.

As you can see, weeding has been put off while awaiting the contractors but if it doesn’t rain over the weekend I will get into the weeding.  I am no gardener so of course I shall be looking for excuses – see my earlier blog on this.

Lotte will have a great time in the quagmire – it has been pouring with rain for four hours now.  And can you imagine that long, silky fur once she realizes how much fun it is to roll in the mud?

“Mud, mud, glorious mud
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood
So follow me follow, down to the hollow
And there let me wallow in glorious mud
from The Hippopotamus Song
by Flanders and Swan.

Anyway, take a look at Linda’s front deck – mine won’t look like that even when it is finished, but my patio will look a heck of a lot better than it does now.

Lotte has had a short walk in the rain and is ensconced in front of the fire, with her friends around her.  I don’t think I shall be hearing much from her until dinner time.

Lotte at the fire

And for no reason other than I think this child is cute with my dog, I am showing you Caleb with Lotte.  Caleb is almost three and the grandson of a close friend.  As you can see he just loves Lotte.

Caleb shares with Lotte

Caleb with Lotte

Wake up and play with me

“The dog was created especially for children.  He is the god of frolic.” Henry Ward Beecher 1813-1887, US abolitionist and clergyman.