Tag Archives: grandsons

That Was The Year That….

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
Alfred Lord Tennyson,   Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland
August 1809 –  October 1892

And now this is the last day of the year.  The sun is shining brightly after several days of dreary rain, and we are looking forward to the New Year.

This has been a year that has been very eventful for me and will be long remembered. A snap decision to sell the house and travel, meeting a new special person (again), adventures in Florence, the excitement of melding two families and so much more.

The decision had been made to go away – if I didn’t do it now when would I? And having no idea how long I would be away it was decided to sell the house and put my belongings into storage rather than buy another house.

Sold

Packing up the house to put everything into storage went well.  My son and daughter have their own houses and didn’t want my furniture, except one particular chair that went to my daughter-in-law (she had always wanted it) and a desk and a sofa table that went to my daughter.  All the rest was packed by the removers and taken to storage.  That was interesting.  I had downsized considerably when moving into that house and was very surprised to note that I needed three storage units to house my belongings.

During the decision making to move and go away on an extended trip, I met up again with an acquaintance from years before.  We spent a lot of time together during the sales process and when the settlement took place, I was invited to join him in his house in the beech forest.

House in the trees

Then it was time to start my travels.  Three grandsons and my daughter came to the airport to see me off.  None of us knew how long I would be away although I did have a return ticket for February 3, but my family were used to my going to visit my sisters on the other side of the world and changing the return date

Wellington Airport

How fast and how large they have all grown

I had a lovely time spent catching up with my younger sister in London.  The plan had been for her to come to Florence with me but that didn’t work out as she had a health scare that meant she couldn’t fly.  But we had a lovely time visiting friends and family and revisiting museums and places of interest, not as a tourist but as a returning Londoner.

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 2013 090

And then it was off to explore Florence on my own.  I rented an apartment out of the centre of town in an area where I appeared to be the only English-speaking resident.  But how happy to help me were the Italians I came across when I used my faltering Italian to communicate with them.  In all the time I was there I encountered only one surly bus driver who couldn’t or wouldn’t help me.

Duomo 2

But as often happens, homesickness or rather the longing to be with friends and family again, overtook me and I decided that it was time to cut short this adventure.  So back to London for another week with my sister and then I returned home to New Zealand.

And what a happy homecoming that was.  I was met by my special friend in Auckland and we drove together down the North Island to Wellington stopping on the way to catch up with friends in Taupo.

http://www.greatlaketaupo.com/new-zealand/interactivemap/

Then a new phase in this long and happy life began.  It was decided that we would spend the rest of our lives together, both having had long and successful marriages cut short by the death of our spouses.  So I moved into this house in the forest and we set about making memories of our own.

House

The new house is almost complete – well the roof is on, doors installed and the glazing is in.  But of course, this is holiday time here in NZ and all the builders and contractors are away.  It’s very peaceful without them but we will look forward to their return on January 6.

Breakfast Pinehaven Style

Breakfast Pinehaven Style

But we are making use of the new house already. G & Ts taken looking into the forest and the photo shows breakfast cooked on the barbecue yesterday and eaten in the almost complete house.

Sisters

Sisters, sisters

To round off another eventful and adventurous year, my younger sister in London has taken up my invitation to come and visit us.  She has never been to NZ.  In fact, none of my family has, and so I am looking forward to showing her where I make my life; introducing her to friends and reintroducing her to her niece and nephew and their families.  So this will be a great start to 2014.

Christmas came and went in a flurry of activities as usual.  Friends have called in for drinks, barbecues etc and on New Year’s Eve, we shall have dinner with my Special Friend’s son and his partner and their two little girls.

What a fantastic year 2013 has been for me.  I hope you can all say the same and if not, my wishes for a fabulous, healthy and safe 2014 are sent to you all.

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The time has come

The walrus and the carpenter

via wikispaces

“The time has come” the Walrus said, “to talk of may things;
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings”
Lewis Carroll – From “Through the looking glass”.

Well the time has most certainly come for me to stop mooning around and get back to the discipline of writing my blog.  So what to write about?  How many times have I asked myself that question over the months and years that I have been writing my blog.
There is a big hole of course, where Lotte used to be and the hole I guess will always be there.  But it’s time to move on.  And now Miss Bella is making her presence felt and helping to close the hole.
I had one of my grandsons staying with me last week and what a joy that is.  He it was who arrived with his young brother the day after Lotte died complete with flowers and chocolates for Granma; they made my bed and kept me supplied with cups of coffee throughout the day.  He was  staying  here last week while his younger brother and their mother were at a rowing competition – the Maadi Cup, the premier rowing competition for schools in New Zealand.  The team did very well reaching the semi finals.
One of the things I really love about having time with my grandsons is the scope of topics we discuss.  Dinner on night was enlivened with talk of the war – that is World War 2 and what it was like to actually live during a war.  It then moved on to Vietnam, the Cuban crisis and the war in Iraq.  How knowledgeable these grandsons are.  We discussed what had caused the two World Wars – how well read this boy is – the futility of war, how really there are no winners, each side loses and what a waste of life all wars cause.
We then went on to discuss the favourite subject of all boys – technology and how far we have come and how much things have changed not only in my life time but also in his.  I just love talking with and listening to these lively young minds at work.  And I conclude that the world can be a better place if the leaders of the future are drawn from the likes of these young men.
And yesterday I picked up my eldest grandson from University.  He has just started and is doing a Network Engineering course.  We had a lovely hour driving in the car together while he told me about his course and his observations on the difference between school life and University life.   He has decided that one night a week he will come to stay.  It takes him about 1.15 hours to get to University and if he has a late session followed by an early morning one he thinks it makes sense for him to stay here.  And I must say I wholeheartedly encourage this.
And now it is almost Good Friday.  Once again we will have the shopping debacle/fiasco of which retailers may open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday and which must remain closed.    Every year there is a number of retailers who are fined for ignoring the trading hours rules.  But as we are definitely moving away from a totally Christian nation into one of many faiths, questions are being raised about the rules governing these holidays.  No doubt the controversy will rage for many more years.
happy_easter_bunny-13452
So I wish you all a Happy Easter whether you celebrate in the traditional Christian way,  or in your own faith or however else you choose.  May it be all that you wish for.
Bella Day 1-1
I shall spend it getting to know more of my new friend.

One Down, Three To Go

Success sign

Another milestone in life.  Yesterday was the last day at school for my Number One grandson.  Apart from going to sit four or five exams, his connection with school days is over.  And now the rest of his life, with all its adventures and excitements is opening in front of him.

This is one laid back almost 18 year old kid.  When I saw him on Wednesday he was getting ready for the leavers’ dinner,  unfazed by the fact that this huge change was about to take place in his life.

How exciting the next few years will be for him as he discovers an independent lifestyle through university and his other activities.  Since he got his own car a year or so ago, he has become fairly independent of his parents, but now…..

And I wonder how his late grandfather would react to this strong, charming young man who was only a toddler when he last saw him.  Would he be proud of how his grandson has grown and is maturing.  I am sure that the answer would be a resounding yes!

So go forth into the world young man, knowing that anything and everything is possible.  It’s your choice what you do from here on and what you make of yourself.  But know always, that you are greatly loved my No 1 Grandson.


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, 1905-1997

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It’s Just Another Day

When we lose somebody we love, certain days take on special meanings for us.  Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas etc all become so much more than just days.  These are the days when we don’t want to be with other people and just want to wallow in memories and maybe self-pity.  But after many years of this, one suddenly realises that yes these are just days.

Today is my Dashing Young Scotsman’s birthday.  Had he lived he would be 83 years old.  I ask myself how would I feel living with an 83-year-old and answer great.  Every year on this day since his sudden death in 1998, I have spent time only with the family.  In the beginning, the small boys helped bring me out of the “slough of despair” and I was so very grateful to them and their parents.

But yesterday I decided that enough was enough.  November 1 is just another day and as I remember my DYS every day of the year, I don’t need to make this day any different or any more special.

But this is a special day as this is the first day of the rest of my life. and so…A few months ago I wrote a poem which I think sums up where I am now and how I choose to live the rest of my life –

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 here’s my rainbow to help those of you battling with the after effects of Sandy.  My thoughts are with you all in this dire time.
Rainbow

My rainbow

Aren’t Grandsons Wonderful?

Monday afternoon.  Ping – a text arrived from my No 3 Grandson – “Do you by any chance have a set of poker chips.” Excuse me.  This from a 15-year-old to his 74-year-old Grandmother.
I remember I did have something that might or might not be poker chips.  So after some consideration and much digging and hunting I found what I was looking for.
My response – “I don’t know if they are poker chips but I have some things that could be”
Grandson – “Are there many and could I possibly have them for the weekend”.
Me – “Yes darling.  I don’t know what they are.  There are red ones, blue and green and white.  There are 16 of each colour.  If they are any use you may keep them.  How shall I get them to you?”.
Gr – “Sweet I may ask mum to pop by on the way home”
Me -“Good.  See you soon”
Gr – “Sweet”
2 hours later. Me – “What sort of time will you be here?”
Gr – “I don’t know maybe not today”
Me – “OK  I’ll drop them into Mum’s office tomorrow or bring them when I meet her for coffee later this week.”
Gr – “Thanks”
3 days later.  Gr – “Is it today you said you would drop off the poker chips?”
Me – “Yes.  I’ll give them to Mum when I see her this afternoon”
Gr – “Thanks”
6 hours later Me – “Mum has the chips”
Gr – “Thank you so much.”

I wonder why my 15-year-old grandson would think that his grandmother has poker chips?  He didn’t discuss this with his mother just decided that I was the best bet (ooh an unintentional pun).  He is going away for the weekend with the rowing team and so I imagine that poker will be one way they will amuse themselves during their waiting time.  I wonder where and when he learned to play.

I don’t send many text messages.  I would much rather pick up the phone and speak to somebody, but we know that all the young of our species are glued to their smart phones sending and receiving many,many texts daily.  I was pleased to see that Grandson No 3 was not using ‘text speech’ obviously either realised that I wouldn’t be impressed or else he thought that I wouldn’t understand what he was trying to tell me.  Over the past few years texts seem to be the only way that my grandsons communicate with me when we are apart,  So I am learning the art of “texting” although I am firmly convinced that text is not a verb, but in today’s changing world, I shall probably be proven wrong in this.

I just thought I would like to share this with you and see your reactions.

One Year On

 

“What a bargain grandchildren are!
I give them my loose change and they give me
a million dollars worth of pleasure.”
Gene Perret, American Comedy Writer

One of the reasons I started on my blogging journey was to record my thoughts and activities for my grandsons so they would know what the Granma was about in her later years.  One of things I love about blogging on an almost daily basis is that it gives me the ability to look back and clearly see what I was doing and thinking earlier.

Today, July 20 I looked back a whole year ago and discovered Happy Granma’s Day.  Did you read it when I was a very new blogger with few followers – here’s the link in case you didn’t.

Re reading this post made me smile.  What a lovely day we had all together.  The boys enjoyed it as much as their Granma did I am sure.

The patio is now completely finished of course, and looks totally different and I am so glad that I had the boys to help.

Three boys

Child labour?

Rob

Rob beavering away but can’t we afford shoes?

Two boys working

James and Jae

Lotte helping too

And four extra hands are welcome

The boys are all a year older.  The eldest is leaving school this year and going on to University, the others are all moving through their school journey.   All four of them are busy and active in a variety of sports, and some times, when they are playing close to home, I even get to watch.

I enjoyed this look back one year to experience once again that fabulous day.  Thank you boys for making it so special!

Thanks

“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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a Wonderful World

Crying baby

Still feeling a bit under the weather and sorry for myself.

So instead of writing a blog post I thought I would share this advert from the BBC that was sent to me by a friend today.  Click here to listen and watch
David Attenborough at his best.  Enjoy!

And this is what makes my world wonderful

Three boys

Child labour?

James and me

James sharing his muddy hands with Granma!

Two boys working
James and Jae

In Wellington Today

After our totally abysmal summer we had thought that an Indian Summer might be on the way.  But that wish/thought has been dashed over the past few days.

Tree

A walk in the bush

It’s now autumn with all the lovely sights in nature that brings to mind – falling leaves, golden sunsets etc,  but all we can see here in Wellington is rain.

Ray Charles might have meant it when he sang –

“I’m old fashioned
I love the moonlight
I love the old fashioned things
The sound of rain
Upon a window pane
The starry song that April sings”

but frankly, enough is enough.

Boat on rocks

Boat adrift in Wellington Harbour copyright Fairfax

And according to the DomPost – our daily newspaper:

“Southerly gales are expected to ease in Wellington this morning and have been downgraded from severe.

The low will fade out on Friday ahead of a Southern Ocean low which will bring a strong to brisk westerly change across the country this weekend – and more rain this weekend.”

So it’s not going to get any better by the weekend.

What else?  A new Armani Store is opened here in the capital. Again, according to the DomPost:

“Already awash with suits, Wellington’s corporate image is about to be further stitched up as Armani Collezioni has chosen the capital for its first made-to-measure service in New Zealand.

Men will be able to go to Vance Vivian and pay from $2895 for a custom-made Armani suit – or duty free ($2450). With 150 fabrics to choose from, including super fine wools, wool crepes, silks and linens, the suits will be made in Italy.”

Apparently just down the street from this new store a man can purchase a suit for $795.  So do some men have more money than sense – or do they just have more style?

And  today we also are told that the worldwide surge in the theft of metal to feed the scrap metal market appears to have hit the Wellington region  with thieves stealing more than 30 heavy stormwater drain grates  from suburbs in Wellington.  “Wellington City Council is urging residents and motorists to keep an eye out for suspicious activity around the suburbs to help prevent more thefts.”  I think that cyclists should be keeping an eye out so that they don’t end up thrown from their bikes.

And a man “regrets” leaving his 23 month old baby girl in a car outside a tavern while he went in for a drink.  Apparently, he was drunk as he drove to the tavern, having already left two children aged 10 and 11 at home alone.

And on a better note we hear that a nun has been awarded a Local Heroes Medal for her ongoing work at a local soup kitchen.  On being told that she had been nominated  by fellow soup kitchen worker her response was “I’d like to wring his neck.”

The medal was awarded for seven decades as a nun,  primarily in the Wellington Soup Kitchen.  So all is not gloom here in Wellington.

Off to Paekakariki to play Granma – I shall finish the post on my return.

It’s 9.30pm and I have just returned.  My son and his family live about 50 kms away from me, that is less than an hour’s drive.  But it could have been in a different world.  I arrived from soggy Wellington to be met with brilliant sunshine and hot weather.  I, of course, had on my winter sweater and they were all getting around in short sleeved shirts,  When the boys got home from school they changed out of their uniforms into shorts and tee shirts.  And all the windows and doors in the house were open to catch what little breeze there was.

It was very pleasant sitting on the patio in the sunshine drinking the cup of tea brought to me by my No 2 grandson.`

But now back in Wellington where it is still raining and windy.  On days like this I wonder why did I move back.

Lambton Harbour, Wellington

The Harbour, Wellington

More Meanderings on a Monday

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.”  ~Erma Bombeck

No Stress

Well it’s Monday again and now that I am ‘retired’ it is just like any other day.

Mondays have been blamed for many things including comparatively minor things like absenteeism and major things like a school shooting.

The song “I don’t like Mondays” was written by Bob Geldorf and became a number one hit in the UK for the Boomtown Rats.  Geldorf has said that he wrote the song after reading a report about 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer,   On 29 January 1979 Spencer opened fire from her house across the street at children playing in a school playground at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California.  She killed the headmaster and the custodian and injured eight children and one police officer. Spencer showed no remorse for her crime and her full explanation for her actions was “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.”

I have never been pushed to act in this way even on the occasions when Monday and another working week loomed.  I admit to having occasionally considered a Monday morning “sickie” but quickly dismissed this because as we all know this is the first hint of problem drinking or drug taking.

What else is lurking in this brain on this Monday?

No SPAMWe all hate SPAM but what I hate as much is finding comments made by regular readers and commenters sitting in my Spam folder.  And I really hate that comments I make end up in someone else’s spam folder.

I spent one whole day last week playing catch up – reading and commenting on your blogs and felt very pleased with myself until none of my comments would appear on your blogs.  Perhaps because I made so many comments Akismet thought I was a spammer.  May I ask you to please open your spam box to see if my non-spam comments are lurking there.

Recently Elizabeth at Mirth and Motivation wrote about this and it is clear that I am not the only one to suffer this way.  I have written to both Akismet and WordPress as Elizabeth suggests and am awaiting an answer.  In the meantime, I do hope that you will check your spam box.

French onion soup

Image via Wikipedia

Today the sun shone but it was more like an autumn day than a late summer day.  So after working with my Real Estate Agent friend, we went off for lunch and each had a steaming bowl of French Onion Soup at a local French bakery/cafe.

It was exactly what was needed after a busy morning and certainly set me up for the follow up things I had to do in the afternoon.

cup of latte

Then a call from my daughter found me having a cup of coffee at a coffee shop near her office.  She is so busy that I usually have to make an appointment to see her but today she had time and so did I.  As an added bonus I got to see my two youngest grandchildren, 14 and 12 years old, known by and to their Granma as Darling No 3 and Darling No 4.

Earlier my daughter had told me about her youngest son.  He had been badly behaved yesterday and she had set him a task to clean the inside of the car in retribution.  He didn’t do this and so she took away his mobile phone and told me that he was grounded until his 15th birthday.

It was such a funny tale and improved with her telling of it.  His final riposte was that he was reporting her to the police and she would end up in court for stealing his phone.  Apparently he had bought the phone and so in his mind, she couldn’t take it from him.  I laughed so much as she told me the story that the tears ran down my cheeks and I arrived at my friend’s house to work with mascara runs down my face.  What a good look for a Monday!

So nothing really changes.  I remember the same kind of discussion and penalty (not of course a mobile phone but some other thing necessary to his well-being) when my son was that age.  Children continue to back themselves into a corner that they can’t get out of and it’s only as they grow a little older that they see what they are doing.

So another Monday comes to a close.  And tomorrow we start all over again.

And if tomorrow never comes

“If tomorrow never comes will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day that she’s my only one
And if my time on earth were through and she must face this world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes” sung by Garth Brooks.

It seemed that this was the song playing on every radio station on the day my husband died. For years when and if I heard it played I would immediately be transported back to that dark, awful day and would be close to if not in, tears.  I can now listen without the tears but still, remember that day.  Fast forward 14 years….

And  I have to ask how is it that we recognise other people’s children growing and becoming wise and not our own?  Do we still think of them as “our children” even when they are grown and have children of their own?

Recently I was discussing my late husband with a grandson aged 15.  He said that he hadn’t known Grampa but he knew from his parents and his aunt and uncle that he was a ‘good guy’ and that he would have liked to have known him.

Feeling in a rather playful teasing mood I responded that he wasn’t to be trusted as he had promised to love me forever and this wasn’t forever.  My son rapidly jumped in to tell us both that this was his father’s forever. He had loved me until he died and would continue to love me forever. Well, I can tell you that brought me up very short and in rapid time.  How come this child of mine now knows and sees things that I don’t?  All this time I thought I was the teacher and here he is teaching me.

I have had this thought with me for some 14 years – and yes, at the beginning it was an angry thought that over the years has mellowed to be a thought that I had from time to time.  My son has now put it into perspective.   I have always known that “when the student is ready the teacher will appear” and I know that the teacher can be our special other, friend, peer or as in this case a son.

Although my son doesn’t read my blogs I would like to thank him for this insight.   And I really love this quote from Walter M Schirra Sr.  His son is much more famous having been on all of America’s first three space programs (Mercury, Gemini and Apollo).  But I should like to know more about WMS Snr.

“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons.
And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out
to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.”
Walter M. Schirra, Sr.