Tag Archives: Life

Another week in the life of..

It has been a week of mixed emotions.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny and as it was Mothers’ Day I was awakened by a visit from my son. A great start to a good day.

On Monday I wrote about a new life, the death of one friend and another friend who was spending time in the local hospice.

Wednesday was another mixed day. My grandson’s graduation and my friend’s Memorial service. A new life beginning and another one ending.

Vic

It’s at such times that I stop and think about all that is good in my life (I hope you do too). How lucky am I to have these four fine, upstanding young men whom I am pleased to call my Grandsons. And how lucky that I have a supportive son and daughter, and daughter-in-law.

Wendy’s life is now over, Drew’s new life is just beginning and I will continue to choose how I will spend the rest of my life – filled with gratitude, adventures, and love.

   Drew Graduation
My grandsons are all so tall – I look like a midget beside Drew.

And of course, no post would be complete without Mary Oliver

“Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another Life Being Well Lived

Have you met Wendy Mitchell? Wendy says “On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with Young onset dementia. I may not have much of a short-term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget.” Wendy was only 62 with a busy full life ahead of her. Please go over to her site to read more about this fantastic woman.

On reading the Guest Post on the 28th I was immediately transported back to a few days early in 2016 when I didn’t know who or where I was. You may remember that post – A Few Days or the Rest of My Life. Fortunately, I have recovered completely; Wendy is still living that life.

wendy

 

This amazing woman has written a book. “Somebody I used to know” I’ve just received my copy and am looking forward to reading it.

Thank you, BethAnn Chiles, at Its Just Life for introducing Wendy to me.

 

 

And now, because it fits in so well with this subject (and if we are allowed to be proud of something we have written) may I once again post “My Name Is Jane, I Think”?

They’re calling me Jane
Is that who I am
I am perfectly sane
but I don’t know their plan.

I look in the mirror and what do I see
Someone who vaguely resembles me
But why am I here and why all the tears
They are beginning to scare me, what is there to fear?

 It seems like only yesterday I knew who I was and
Proud, strong and upright my life in my hands.
But now you tell me that isn’t so
Well if I am not me then where did I go?

 I remember a time when my children were small
But yesterday and last week I know not at all
Where did those days go and why am I here
I wish you could tell me why did they disappear?

This young woman calls me Mother but I don’t know her at all
She looks kind of familiar, lovely smile, soft hands and all
And the young boys with her they are calling me Gran
But again I don’t know them why are they taking my hand?

Perhaps I knew her when I too was young
When life was before me and everything was fun
And losing one’s self wasn’t even thought of then
So how could I have landed here – is this the end?

 I think I know you – are you a nurse
And where are you taking me, I know the way
Well I did before this curse
Came upon me and befuddled my mind
And now I feel that I have left me behind.

But I am still me though I can’t make you hear
I’m still your mother and hold you all dear
What’s that you say my name is Jane
And I really feel that I’m perfectly sane.

But they’re calling me Jane
Are they talking to me
Is that my name and
Who I used to be?

 

That’s all for today. Thank you all for reading and following me. and please check out Wendy Mitchell. A woman to be followed.

 

Another Year Begins

“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel,
stride down there and light the
bloody thing yourself.”
Sara Henderson – From Strength to Strength

Did you make resolutions on January 1?  I didn’t because I know that they won’t last even until the end of January. But I do like these resolutions from Bridget Jones Dairy.

“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”

I began to look back at the posts from January in past years. I started blogging in March 2011, so the first January was in 2012.  During that month I posted about reaching my first milestone of 100 followers. How excited I was on that day. I wrote about crop circles, Friday the thirteenth, the Madman who was actively engaged in compiling the Oxford English Dictionary. At that time I was posting a blog a day and so there are 31 posts in that January. “All I Need to Know” is probably my favourite post of that January.

By January 2013 I was no longer posting every day and so there are far fewer to choose from. In a meandering post, I took a trip down memory lane and wrote about growing up in the East End of London (again). And in that month I posed the question what would you do “If Today Were Your Last”?

January 2014 and I had just returned from my sojourn/adventure in Florence. That month saw only one post – The Kiwi Bach

January 2015  and I was enjoying life with my Late Love, The Architect and wrote about our peaceful corner of the world comparing it to the mayhem and confusion caused by terrorists in other parts of the world.

By January 2016, my life had changed again. Now The Architect was no longer alive and I was moving on alone. I like to think I was going from strength to strength following the path trod by Sara Henderson. Most of the month was taken up with my story about Sandy and the woman who claimed to be her daughter. Those posts were fun to write. Maybe, someday I’ll go back to them.

So to January 2017. By now I was used to living alone again and had completely recovered from my misadventure of the year before. How very glad I was to leave 2016 behind. I wrote about friendship and how much easier it is now to keep in touch through Skype, email and of course the blogosphere. And I compared myself to a vintage car. I too have to be maintained. I’m cleaned, polished and primped.  I have regular services from hairdressers, manicurists, dentists etc, So at my vast age I know I am vintage.

January 2018 found this aged mind taking off in a variety of directions. On the first, I looked back on the year that had just gone and looked ahead to the year about to start. I wrote about “Talking into the Future” with my friends Chris in Ontario and Joss in Cuenca and we marvelled at how lucky we are.

And that brings us to January 2019. Years have passed since I started this blogging journey/adventure. New friends have been made, some friends have died or moved on, Unfortunately, my Late Love was among those that died.  But what a great time I have had over these years. I have visited new places, have proved that you are never too old to dream another dream or set another goal and so I move into 2019 with a joyful, grateful heart. Best wishes to you all and thanks for being my friends.

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, survivor, blogger and friend

 

 

 

 

 

RIP Charles Aznavour

Aznavour
Charles Aznavour1924-2018

It was with deep regret that today I learned of the death of Charles Aznavour. This is a singer who has travelled with me through life, always just singing the right song at the right time.

I remember the first time I actually saw him on stage. It was at The Royal Albert Hall in London in 1967. This was a special treat for me for my birthday. And then later in 1970, we saw him again at L’Olympia in Paris.

In 1970 he topped the singles chart in the UK for several weeks with his rendition of She, but I prefer the Frech version – click here to see and hear him sing in French.

But my favourite Aznavour song has always been and will remain Yesterday When I Was Young. I used his song as the basis for a post in March 2011 at the beginning of my blogging adventure. If you are interested, here’s the link.

What is not so well known is that Aznavour took an active part in his family’s efforts to hide Jews in Paris, risking their lives under the German occupation. In fact, he received a humanitarian award with his sister from Israel’s President Rivlin.  At the award ceremony, he reportedly said,  ‘We have so many things in common, the Jews and the Armenians, in misfortune, in happiness, in work, in music, in the arts and in the ease of learning different languages and becoming important people in the countries where they have been received.’

From its inception, Aznavour lent his name and his energy to the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.  This organisation was launched on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviours.In his memory, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative will launch a new annual scholarship as part of the Gratitude Scholarship Program.

So Rest In Peace Maestro. You will be greatly missed by many.

 

Night Train to Lisbon

 

Thanks to AMK Lakelett, one of the authors I follow I was reminded of this movie.  Have you seen it?  It is based on the book of the same name by Pascal Mercier, a Swiss writer, and philosopher.  Pascal Mercier is the pseudonym of Peter Bieri, who studied philosophy, English studies and Indian studies in both London and Heidelberg.

Raimund Gregorius (Jeremy Irons) is a stuffy academic teaching Latin at a college in Bern.  One day, on the way to work, he stops a young woman from jumping off a bridge.  He takes her with him to the college but she runs off leaving her coat and a book with a ticket for the train to Lisbon.

Leaving everything behind, yes everything, he rushes to the station and when he can’t find the young woman, he takes the night train to Lisbon.  He becomes entranced by the book she was carrying.  Amadeu de Prado, the (fictional) author is a Portuguese essayist and doctor. Through the writings, in the book the author explores the ideas of friendship, love, loneliness, and death.  Gregorius becomes determined to track down the author or at least find out about him and his life.

His investigations take him to the doctor’s home where he meets the sister (Charlotte Rampling), who acts as if the author is still alive.  His further investigations then lead him all over Lisbon as he meets with his teacher and friends, and those who were involved in the author’s life both as revolutionaries and in his professional life.

Through Mariana (Martina Gedeck), a friendly optician who assures Raimund that he is not boring, he meets her aged Uncle Joao (Tom Courtenay), another member of the resistance who rebelled against Salazar’s dictatorship. Prado is quoted” ‘When dictatorship is a factrevolution is a duty”.’

This is a fascinating film, showing what can happen when one man walks away from all that he has known, to pursue a whim. The film was not greeted with much acclaim by reviewers, but I enjoyed it and am now off to get a copy of the book from the library.

 

 

On This Day

I have just been going down memory lane.  I found a box full of letters to and from my Dashing Young Scotsman before and shortly after we were married.  At that time my DYS was a chauffeur for a car rental company and he was away from home for weeks at a time.  In case you don’t remember or are too young to know, in 1957 many Americans came to the UK and then from there, they toured Europe.  Self-drive cars were around but many preferred to be driven.

I was delighted to find these letters from 60 years ago – yes I am that old, particularly as I don’t keep letters, cards etc for any length of time.

So having read one dated 18 September 1957 I decided to look at my earlier blog posts to see what I was thinking and/or doing at that time.

This blogging journey started on March 1, 2011, so the first stop was 18 September 2011.

On that day I talked about My September Years and reminisced about the great life I had lived up until that day.

18 September 2012 I continued the story with Yet More on the Bonnets.  If you were following my blog then you might remember that Sallyann at Photographic Memories found some bonnets sitting in the back of a disused taxi and suggested that I might write a story on this.  Well, I did.  I hope you enjoy it.

18 September 2013 found me in Oxford with my sister visiting with my blogging pal, Sallyann of Photographic Memories fame.  We had a great day and as Sallyann lived in Oxford then, we saw many things not usually seen by tourists.  A great day was had by all and it was particularly memorable because I met a blogging pal In Real Life.

18 September 2014 I was working through Writing 101 and on this day the challenge was to write about loss.  I chose to talk about Miss Lotte my small Tibetan Spaniel and my faithful companion.  Unfortunately, Miss Lotte’s life was short but sweet and I still miss her.

18 September 2015.  This was a particularly hard time for me as my late love, The Architect had died a month before.  So there was only one post in September that year – Missing You.  Oh, how raw were the feelings at that time and how unfair I thought it was that our lovely partnership was cut short.

18 September 2016.  There were few posts in September that year.  I was recovering from my latest adventure aka accident and the closest post to this date is Words and More Words.  The theme is obvious from the title, and I talked about Elizabeth George a favourite author, an appointment card to visit an Otolaryngologist and other meanderings in this ancient mind.

So now to today, 18 September 2017.  What thoughts are going around in my mind?  I have had a pleasant but short interaction with my No 3 grandson.  Oh, how I love to talk with these young men.  He is very solicitous of his Granma and always happy to help in any way. Today he moved plant pots around for me.  Yes, I could have done this myself, but he brought them down the outside stairs and placed them along the front of the hedge.  Now all I have to do is buy plants for them. So a visit later today to my favourite store aka the garden centre.

IMG_1991

Today the sun is shining brightly and all the doors and windows are open.  This follows torrential rain and wind yesterday and we learn that rain, thunderstorms, high winds, and snow are on the cards for many over the next 24 hours in the South Island.  I hope Grandson No 4 is safe and warm in Christchurch.

Rain and snow

We also hear that air travel is disrupted in Auckland as the Airport will be affected after a fuel pipeline from a refinery in Northland was temporarily shut-down.  Auckland is our busiest airport and Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood said some 27 domestic and international flights were cancelled over the weekend.  So I suggest there are many disgruntled/unhappy travellers.

We read that former Napier City Councillor Peter Beckett has been found guilty of the first-degree murder of his Canadian wife following a jury trial in Canada.  Guilty of drowning his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett, on Upper Arrow Lake in August 2010 and was handed an automatic life sentence with a minimum non-parole period of 25 years.

And the good news?  A Catholic priest held hostage for almost four months in the besieged southern city of Marawi has been rescued hours after a deadly battle between Philippine soldiers and Islamic State-allied militants.   Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub was found abandoned with another hostage near a mosque early Sunday, one of three militant strongholds that have fallen to government forces over the past several days.Father Soganub had been held captive since militants attacked his Saint Mary’s Parish during the siege of Marawi on May 23.

So enough meandering on this Monday.  I hope you all have had a pleasant weekend and are looking forward to this new week.

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Found on Pinterest

 

 

 

 

Oh no, I’ve Done it Again

Just when you think you have lived enough years and used a computer for many of those years, you do something that is indescribably “stupid”.

Now I am not saying I am stupid, but what I did today was certainly stupid.

I was looking for an email I received last week, unsuccessfully I might add, when I saw just how many emails were in the boxes and so decided to clear them.  Yes, you guessed it.  This ancient mind cleared all and every one of those emails.  So now I can’t find anything.  So if you have sent me an email you now know why I haven’t responded.

Back in August last year, I wrote a post Can You Believe It? in which I bemoaned the fact that I had lost all the work that I did during my Life Coaching days because I hadn’t saved everything from one computer to the next.  So who would have thought I could do anything like today’s activity.

Well, this crazy elderly lady .is alive and well in Wellington. Note Grammarly suggests using the word old in place of elderly.  You know we don’t use old in this house.

So with no emails to read what shall I do today?

Bowl of soup

I started by making soup.  Mushrooms and broccoli in the fridge so that was the basis and having had some for lunch, I can report that the result was good.

Then after lunch, time to read the blogs that I follow.  I must say the writers of these posts are a fairly eclectic bunch.  I read about a house being built with all that goes with it; another queried and mused reality or not, and another showed us the path of Irma heading to Florida, and yet another thought about the  two monsters with monstrous egos about to shatter our world; and how about a fictional time when children and all they know and are, are decided upon by their parents with the help of a machine/computer. And of course, I continue to follow the progress of Wai the potbelly pig being loved and cared for in a small farm.

A good range of things to think on and comment on.

 

installing-sprng

Image stolen from Jeff at jccsst-random.blogspot.co

But my thoughts for today are closer to home.  We are supposedly in Spring but alas, one good day does not a Spring make or words to that effect.  Monday was Spring.  Since then we have had torrential rain and winds that Chicago readers would be proud of.  The Met Service warns “A strong and unsettled spring-time northwesterly flow lies over New Zealand this week, delivering periods of heavy rain to western areas through to at least the weekend”.  And we are told “unprecedented” rain has burst river banks and forced the rescue of tourists amid a chaotic morning of weather around NZ.”

Two American tourists were trapped in their car overnight. When they awoke their feet were in water and they had to be rescued by the Fire Service.  They are unharmed but wet and miserable.

Tornadoes, lightning strikes, thunder and more rain are forecast for the rest of this week.  We live in a long narrow country, surrounded by water so we expect this.  But not in Spring.

And now the rain has stopped so I shall take advantage of that and go for a walk, before returning to be a beta reader for Joss Burnell.  She is my blogging friend, sister of choice and a published author who lives in Cuenca.  This will be her third book and I am keen to get back to reading about her heroine/protagonist.

 

 

Grief – The Black Dog

Like a thief in the night
Grief slinks silently back into my life
Disturbing the peace I have fought so hard for
It is like a fractious child demanding attention
And as the mother with her child, I give in
And am taken back to the beginning
When days were so long and nights even longer.
When I thought there was no way out of this slough of despair
And I am once again immobilised by it.
But I have been here before
Many times since that April night
And I know I can climb out
And once again put grief back where it belongs
Until the next time.

Judith Baxter, Mother, Grandmother, Sister, Blogger and Friend

Today my nemesis, Grief, decided to call.  Those of you who know me, know that I’m usually a positive, happy person, but just occasionally something drags me down to that terrible time.  Well, both terrible times as since I wrote my poem in August 2011, my later love has also died.

“Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide”.
Edna St Vincent Millay

It’s now 19 years since my Dashing Young Scotsman died and 19 months since The Architect died.   And yes, life is changed, and I’m now making yet another, totally different life.  Soon the grief will move back into the background where it belongs and the sun will rise tomorrow and all will be right in my world.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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 St Vincent Millay

Related posts

Grief;  Missing You;  Learning to Soar in a Changing World;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Walking, Wishing, Wondering on Wednesday

You can have the other words
chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity.
I’ll take grace.
I don’t know what it is exactly,

but I’ll take it. ”
― Mary Oliver

While walking through Ngaio today on a blustery Wellington Wednesday, I thought about Paris.

L1140374

It’s now more than 2 years since we were in Paris and promising that we would return and next time for at least three months.  Oh, the best-laid plans etc.

But notwithstanding all that has happened in the intervening 29 months, the memories are still live.  We had such a fantastic time; we did all the touristy things, Le Tour Eiffel, trips on the Seine, Place des Vosges and Victor Hugo’s house, the Pompidou Centre, La Defence, The Louvre, etc etc.

la-defence

I am sure that La Defense was the Architect’s favourite place to visit.  What a fantastic building The Grande Arche is.

We were told the Arche  is placed so that it forms a secondary axis with the two highest buildings in Paris, the Tour Eiffel and the Tour Montparnasse.

La Défense is Europe’s largest purpose-built business district with 560 hectares (1,400 acres) area, 72 glass and steel buildings of which 16 are completed skyscrapers . Another very wet day but an interesting area to visit.

 

pompidou-centre

 

Of course, he was totally impressed with the Pompidou Centre and the work of the British Architect Richard Rogers and the Italian Architect Renzo Piano.  We had dinner there and I had a hard time getting him out of the museum when it closed for the night.  “Next time” we promised “we’ll come earlier and stay all day”

It rained a lot while we were there, but we managed to see quite a lot of Paris in our 7 days.

 

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We became adept at travelling on the Metro.

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Because he was an Architect we spent time under the Tour D’Eiffel while he looked in total wonderment  at the complicated engineering arrangement that made this wonder.

And in case you’re wondering, no we didn’t go to either Galerie Lafayettes or Printemps.  We were there to enjoy Paris.  Shopping could wait until next time.

So now I have all these lovely memories, backed up by the thousands of photographs the Architect took during our 13  weeks in Europe, many of which are in Paris.

And as Humphrey Bogart said to Ingrid Bergman in the film Casablanca

“We’ll always have Paris”

And Walking, Wishing, and Wondering ?:-

  • Walking is self-evident
  • Wishing we were together again in Paris
  • Wondering if I shall ever go back.