I wrote this yesterday on the other blog A World Apart and then reblogged it here. But WordPress was playing up and it has disappeared. So here it is, a day late.
“Easter is joy, hope, love, and renewal. Easter is proof that we can begin again.” Richelle E. Goodrich, American Author, Novelist, & Poet
Growing up all those years ago, Good Friday started with a visit to church with my sisters. Yes, even before breakfast. Then home and later a visit to my father’s father whom we saw not as often as mother’s parents.
Of course, we had new clothes for Easter. It was a very important time in our lives.
Now, here in New Zealand, I don’t go to church but instead I think back on all those years and what I learnt from regular church attendance. I know my life has been built on the lessons I learned then.
Today is a Public Holiday which means most retail outlets are closed. For some reason, dairies (the small Mom and Pop grocery stores) are exempt from the law. Garden centres continue to flout the law. They have worked out that the money they make being open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday far outweighs the paltry sum of $500 which they might be fined.
For most of us though, it is family time. I started this Good Friday with coffee and hot cross buns, some home made and some bought in, at my grandson’s house, with his partner, my son and daughter-in-law and their other son. What a lovely surprise. I hadn’t known Grandson No 2 was here from Auckland.
So now sitting in the sun on this glorious autumn day (19C) all that is left to do is wish you all a very Happy Easter however you choose to celebrate it.
Chris has been busily writing thought provoking posts, while I have been just writing.
So to Sunday; a day for sauntering around. Saunter – don’t you like that word?
“I have met with but one or persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks — who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering, which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre, to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander“ David Henry Thoreau. American naturalist, essayist, and philosopher. 1817-1862
I like Thoreau’s definition of saunter but sadly, all dictionaries and linguists are united in rejecting this notion, but it’s an appealing idea.
So today’s saunter.
I have just returned from brunch with my daughter and her two big, strapping, delightful sons. They have both been in Wellington this past week as their other grandmother sadly died on the December 30. After falling, a few days in hospital and a few days at home, she went to sleep one night and didn’t wake up. A shock to her two sons and grandchildren, but what a way to go!
Of course, the brunch was a happy, cheerful hour or so in the company of three of my favourite people. One grandson Drew the eldest, is constantly making fun of his Granma in the nicest possible way. We all laugh at his nonsense. He left us for a long walk back over the hills to our home.
Then Jae, the other son, accompanied me to a used bookshop where I purchased a copy of Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook. This was not what I was looking for in the shop. However, there was no copy of Marilyn French’s The Women’s Room and the store owner suggested I might like this instead. The Women’s Room had a major impact on/in my life so many years ago and I really wanted to reread it to discover why. Instead and in keeping with my determination to support local businesses, in particular book shops, I purchased and will read the Doris Lessing book and continue in my hunt for the other.
Then home again and the first post I read was from Debbie at Domermom.com. A lovely post about a happy dog. Of course, this led me directly to thoughts about Lotte my sadly missed, little Tibetan Spaniel. She was my friend and companion for a short but happy time some years ago.
Then looking back to January 8, 2012 I note that I posted Dancing with Skeletons. Here I mused about a Creative Writing Course (one of many) that I had attended many years before
One task we were given early in the course was to “Write about your Skeletons”. We were told we all had them and if we could put them onto paper it would be a good place to start. We were required to write them down, not type them into the computer. The tutor reiterated the “known fact” (well accepted fact) that transferring the words from your mind, through your hand to the page gave them power.
Note – Research has shown that hand-writing stimulates a bunch of cells at the base of the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS). The RAS acts as a filter for everything your brain needs to process, giving more importance to the stuff that you’re actively focusing on at the moment—the physical act of writing brings it to the forefront.
This was proven to me in the years that followed, particularly when wearing my Life Coach hat and when running my courses, always encouraging people to do Morning Pages.
Do youknowabout Morning Pages? This is the act of writing first thing in the morning. Strictly consciousness writing any and all thoughts that come to mind. I discovered this in the book The Artist’s Wayby Julia Cameron. It’s a very powerful tool to help you sort out what you want to do and then, how to do it.
And so now, after that long and rambling saunter, there is little else to say – although that’s not true. I have much more to say, but for another day.
And yet another thought for today
–If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.” ― Wes Nisker author, radio commentator, comedian, and Buddhist meditation instructor. 1942 –
“To live In lives we leave behind, is not to die” Judith Baxter, Blogger, Sister, Aunt and friend 1938 –
Now in 2022 I can look back on 2021 and say Goodbye. It was not a good year for our family. During the year, we lost two of our members.
Early in the year my niece succumbed to some underlying health problems complicated by Covid. She wasn’t particularly old or young, the ages we were informed were most at risk. In fact, she would have been 60 later that year. She was a special niece to me. We referred to each other as FN and FA – favourite niece and favourite aunt.
We hadn’t lived in the same country since she was a very young child, but we had this special relationship that was always there and always obvious. Earlier we connected by post or phone and then heavens above, we got the internet. We met only on my infrequent visits to London.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there for her wedding, but I celebrated the day with her from far away. And then one day I heard she was ill, then she was in hospital, and then, she was dead.
At the time her mother was suffering from Covid and so her brother and sister kept the details of the illness as it progressed, from my sister.
Of course, because of the deadly Covid, I couldn’t travel to be with my sister at this dreadful time and had to comfort myself with a video of the funeral ceremony.
If you have known me through my blogs, you will know that I post often about my sisters; one in London and one in Los Angeles. Well, later in the year my elder sister, the one in Los Angeles, had a stroke nd died. She never recovered consciousness. My sister and her daughter had no relations in America and her daughter was left alone to make the decision to turn off life support. Again, I wasn’t able to be with her and all the support I could offer was over the phone. We talked, we cried, we laughed together, and eventually said goodbye to my big sister.
I was very close to this sister being that there was only 14 months between us. In fact, we had that special relationship shared by twins and remarked upon by our family doctor who thought it very strange She it was who had swollen legs during my first pregnancy. A few years later I was woken in the night with awful pains. I advised my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) that I felt as if I had just given birth. The following day I had a call from Mother to tell me that my sister had given birth to a daughter. There were other such occasions, some too personal to share and others too silly. We could finish each other’s sentences; we knew what one of us was going to say even if the question started “Do you remember..”
And today I was thinking of a special time we had together several years ago (could it really be ten years?). We spent five weeks driving around California. She had always taken us to places that tourists , don’t see,and on this trip I saw out of the way missions, small villages,the Danish city of Salvang, and on one outstanding day – The Big Yellow House in Summerland. Today, I found the blogpost I wrote way back in 2012 on that visit.
The last time all three sisters were together was following Mother’s death. We had both gone ‘home’ for the funeral. A sad time but in some ways a happy time. Father could have his three girls together just once more, and we could laugh and exchange our memories of growing up in a home full of love and laughter and enjoy ourselves as we had when young.
Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there; I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond gains on snow, I am the sun on ripened grain, I am th gentle autumn rain…. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die. Mary Elizabeth Frye, American housewife and florist 1905 – 2004
On Friday I had been asked to attend the opening of the Art exhibition at the Karori Arts and Crafts Centre to write an article for the local suburban newspaper. I have had some things published in newspapers in the various places I have lived, but have never been asked to provide an article. So that was a first.
The evening started when I arrived at the Centre to be surrounded by 116 artworks, hanging on all the walls. What an amazing sight. The works were to be judged in three categories, Traditional, Contemporary and Drawing. In addition to the major awards, one further piece was given a merit award in each category. I am pleased I didn’t have to judge. The judge was a well known and much admired Wellington artist who had a long involvement with Karori Arts and Crafts.
A fun couple of hours spent mingling with the winners and also many other artists.
Saturday dawned and as my No 3 grandson was home for the weekend, we had brunch at one of my favourite restaurants. Drew, his mother Cate, his girlfriend Alyse and me. I love spending time with my grandsons and listening to their take on life.
Saturday was also General Election Day and what a landslide victory to the incumbent Prime Minister and her Labour Party. If you have any interest in politics in this far-flung part of the world, you might remember that at the last election in 2017 they didn’t win, but with the assistance of a couple of the minor parties, they were able to form a Government. And Jacinda Ardern has proved her worth through three major crises during her three-year term – the Christchurch earthquake, the Christchurch terrorist attacks and of course, Covid. So she and her crew deserve another term. But already people are saying that the Labour-led government didn’t keep all the promises made in 2017, so what will they not do during this three-year term.
In addition to the General Election, we had two referenda on which to vote – he legalisation of cannabis and the End of life choice. We are told that the results will not be available for two or three weeks.
So to Sunday. After the excitement of the last two days, I was happy to stay home, reading and writing and returning a couple of things I purchased yesterday, one of which was a kitchen trolley. This was a flat pack and I know I cannot put things together, no matter how easy I am told they are.
But all is not lost. The kindly gent in the store offered to replace my one in the box for one he had just made up for display. So another good thing to report for this weekend.
And now it’s time to write a memory for our Memory Writing group tomorrow.
For those of you just starting your day, I hope it’s a good one. Take care and remember to be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can. And as always, remember too –
Sunday, June 11, 1967. 7.40am NZ1 landed at Auckland International Airport. Among the passengers were my 2 children and me. We had a very nice flight from Los Angeles where we had visited with my sister before heading further south to meet up with my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman)
My DYS had been transferred to New Zealand for two years. We knew little or nothing about this country. We didn’t learn about the far-flung corner of the British Commonwealth although I now know that New Zealand children were taught about England at school. I imagined that some of the 3million plus sheep would be wandering down the main street of Auckland to meet us, and in all, in spite of the literature given to us by New Zealand House in London, my impression was that we were going to a wild west type of life.
All those years ago not many people were travelling and certainly not with two small children in tow. The staff on board and most of the passengers were great with the children. One elderly couple (well they seemed elderly to me although in retrospect they probably were in their late 50s early 60s) offered to keep an eye on them while I slept. And the children had the run of the plane; they could go anywhere and were even taken into the cockpit. My 4-year-old son, there and then, decided he wanted to be a pilot when he grew up.
It was winter and raining when we landed in this far off land. The DYS had been here for a few weeks and had made a couple of friends or rather at that time they were acquaintances who later became friends. But I knew nobody.
DYS had arranged our accommodation in one of the only reasonable hotels available at the time. Oh, New Zealand was a very different place then.
On arriving here we found it was not as wild as we had imagined. No sheep wandering down Queen Street (the main thoroughfare in Auckland), the natives were friendly and what’s more, they spoke our language
We did find some of the customs strange. Late night shopping on Friday until 10 pm and then absolutely everything shut down until Monday morning. Bread could be purchased at the local store but no clothes or shoe shops, hairdressers or other shops were open. All very strange to this newcomer.
I do remember that gas was 33 cents a litre and cigarettes 33 cents for a pack of 20.
Another thing that was very odd was that the licensing laws had every pub closing at 6 pm. Apparently, most men would leave their offices at 5 pm to dash to the nearest pub to get a drink or two or three, before closing time. This changed shortly after we arrived but it was apparently well established.
The proximity of the beaches, easy, laid back way of living and all being together made up for any strange things we had to deal with and we all thrived in this new land.
And today June 11 is the 50th anniversary of the day the children and I first arrived in New Zealand. We have left it for a time, as a family and the children separately and me for a time after Robert died, but we have all returned and claim New Zealand as home.
“If I should die think only this of me:
that there’s some corner of a foreign field
that is forever England.
There shall be in that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped,
made aware; gave once her flowers to love, her ways to roam.
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home”
Rupert Brooke. 1887-1915.
PS Rupert Brooks was known for his boyish good looks,
which were said to have prompted the Irish poet WB Yeats
to describe him as “the handsomest young man in England”
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.
IT’S SATURDAY DID YOU FORGET ME?
Since my licence has been suspended for six months and I so cannot drive, my son has been picking me up on a Saturday morning to take me home for the weekend. This is after he finishes work as Night Manager in a local hotel. It entails my being up and ready to leave at 7.40 am. That’s really early for a retired woman.
Once I slept in and was in the shower when he arrived so kept him waiting for a time. So now I set the alarm and jump climb out of bed at around 6.45 so that I can be ready for him. Usually when we speak during the week one of us comments on the Saturday arrangement. This week neither of us did and consequently my son didn’t arrive to pick me up. So here I am dressed and ready but with nowhere to go. I’ll use this unexpected time for ….what?
Never mind. My son was very apologetic when I called him at 8am and he is going to pick me up tomorrow instead, but at a more reasonable time of 12 noon. So back to reading and writing for me.
“I’ve been thinking Hobbes” “On a weekend?” “Well, it wasn’t on purpose”
― Bill Patterson 1958 –
American cartoonist, author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes
And because Ive just discovered Bill Watterson and Calvin & Hobbes I have included this.
Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way.
Say nothing, and listen as heaven whispers,
“Do you like it? I did it just for you.”
Max Lucado, author and writer and preacher
at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. 1955-
Well having got over the blues from yesterday I awoke to anther sunny day. Hasn’t anyone remembered that August is the middle of winter here in Aotearoa/ New Zealand?
And doesn’t the sunshine make everything so much better? The family all left early as is their wont – work, school and university beckoned and I was alone in the house. I remember during the busy years thinking how great it would be to have a day to myself and to decide exactly how I would spend it. Well now I have many such days. And with nothing much to do this started me thinking about some of the posts I have published in the past. One such sprang immediately to mind – My Lot is Cast. I wrote this in February 2012 and now rereading it reminds me of how lucky I am.
My sister in Los Angeles, a prolific reader had introduced me to Josephine Tey and the book To Love and Be Wise and quoted a poem from that book :
“My lot is cast in inland places,
Far from sounding beach
and crying gull,
who knew the sea’s voice from my babyhood
Must listen to a river purling
Through green fields
And small birds gossiping
Among the leaves”.
At the time, I was playing, trying my hand at writing poetry and came up with my own poem about my Lot.
My lot is cast
In different places
Not beside the river or the ocean
But in the city with its life and vitality.
Not in the distant years of my youth
Nor the busy years of family life
But the peaceful years of time for me
To enjoy friends and family.
Time to investigate new things
New activities and new friends
Time to be me.
And this is still my Lot. Even after the awful things that have happened in 12 months, I’m happy with my Lot and have plenty for which to be grateful.
And then after reading and a little writing and lunch I spent several hours with a friend. A short walk, cup of coffee at a new (for me) coffee shop and back to her house for a few rounds of UpWord.
All in all a day well spent. So another day comes to an end.
“Sunsets are the prelude to another beautiful day. And whatever happens the sun will rise tomorrow.”
Judith Baxter, blogger, friend, mother, grandmother 1938 –
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.
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.”
I went for a walk today – doesn’t that sound so very basic and normal. But for me it isn’t normal yet.
I’ve been getting around, being taken places by family friends and a great organisation here called Driving Miss Daisy. This organisation is quite different to cabs – they come to the house, walk with me to the car, take me wherever I want to go for coffee, lunch,to visit friends or to attend appointments.
But having said how great all these people are there’s nothing quite like being out on your own two legs, walking outside after so long being confined to walking only around the garden. Yesterday my youngest grandson walked with me to the end of the drive. It’s uphill and so a bit of a challenge.
Then today, my lovely Physiotherapist took me for a short drive to the next suburb. We parked the car and then walked a short distance to a cafe for coffee. Suddenly, I felt as if I had some control. It’s amazing what a difference something as small as a walk away from the house can make.
And looking back a year. I was totally involved in being with and supporting The Architect as he fought and lost his battle against the imposing tumour. How different life was then and how it brought home to me once again, that life is short and can be taken in the blink of an eye.
Then I looked further back and remembered this day five years ago –With a Little Help From My Friends. What a lovely day that was and that is the grandson who walked with me yesterday. How he has grown in five short years.
And on this day four years ago I was thinking about the names we give our children, and the effects they can have on them in later life. – Samarra.
On July 13 2014 the Architect and I were in Edinburgh. We wet to a restaurant for brunch and I ordered a Bloody Mary but as it was 11.15 am we had to wait until 11.30 am for the bar to be opened. Strange Scottish alcohol laws. But we spent much of the rest of the day in and around the castle. Of course, I had lived in Scotland for 8 years at one time but my partner had never been there, and of course as an architect he was fascinated with the old and new buildings.
High Street, Edinburgh
Scottish Parliament Building
So lots of happy memories on this day interspersed with a few not so happy.
But I say I choose how I’ll spend the rest of my life and I choose to look forward.–