Tag Archives: living

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.

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Dust if you must

Dear-mother-nature-quote

If this is your copyright, I apologise for using it.  Please let me know.

I have no doubt you have heard of our earthquake.  7.7 on The Richter Scale – yes, it was a big one.  While we celebrate the fact that only one death was directly attributable to the earthquake, that of a man who was killed when a historic homestead collapsed and a woman who died of a heart attack; we mourn for the two lives lost. The man’s 100-year-old mother survived.

And those of us affected by minor damage in our houses try to get back some sense of normalcy into our lives.  Added to the damage caused to roads and buildings, has been the torrential rain that we have experienced since the quake.  Many buildings in Wellington’s Central Business District have been damaged, shops, offices and schools are closed while the result of damage to the properties is evaluated.

But down south at and near the epicentre things are so much worse.  Some places are cut off entirely as roads are impassable.

It is at times such as this when we thank the powers that be for our being unhurt by a disaster of this magnitude that we take stock of our lives once again.

Shirley Conran told us that Life is too Short to Stuff a Mushroom” but this poem by Rose Milligan says it for me:

“Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better
to paint a picture ,or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
with rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
Music to hear and books to read,
friends to cherish and life to lead?

Dust if you must, but the world’s out there,
with the sun in your eyes and the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
this day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go (and go you must)
You, yourself will make more dust.”

Wikipedia tells me it was originally published in 1998 in “The Lady” Britain’s longest-running weekly women’s magazine. It has been in continuous publication since 1885 and is based in London.

So dust if you must, or stuff a mushroom but for me, this has been yet another wake-up call.  So I’m off to see what other adventures await me.

Godwits en route

 

Freedom

 

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful
and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”
~ Mary Oliver

In October three years ago I was in Florence, knowing nobody and not speaking the language.  But what an adventure that was.

Have you ever thought of doing something like that?  To know nobody; to walk through the streets and not see a familiar face; to hear people speaking without understanding a single word they are saying and to not know where you are or where you are going; no familiar sights to guide you.  It’s total freedom.

For once, you can just be you.  There’s nobody who knows you and can comment on your behaviour.  We all like to think that we are independent and not moved by others’ comments on our actions, but here I was, totally alone like a ship that had been untied and left to float.

Oh, how i loved Florence and the feeling of just being me for the time I was there. Never before have I been in such circumstances and I suppose I never will be again.

When I returned to NZ many people commented on how brave I was to do that on my own.  But it didn’t seem like bravery to me.  At the time it was something I wanted to do and so I did it.  I wonder if I would have done that had I been younger or was it just the right time for me to stretch my wings and fly?

I’m very pleased that I had that adventure.  That I made the decision to go on my own and see that part of the world through different eyes.  I had not spent time in Florence before and like a child in a candy store, I delighted in all that I saw.  And I delighted in the people I met in the suburb where my apartment was.  Nobody spoke English and my Italian is almost non-existent but we managed to communicate and enjoy each others company.  And when I returned a couple  of years later with my late partner, those neighbours remembered me and were happy to see me.

So much has happened in the three years since that adventure.  Life has changed as it will and must.  Plans made that cannot be carried through; promises made that cannot be kept; other and different adventures to enjoy or just get through.  But that’s what this life of ours is all about.

So as Mary Oliver asks:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your
one wild and precious life?”
~ Mary Oliver

More Walking

“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, 
“and what is inside them,
for words have the power to change us.”
― Cassandra Clare, American author of young adult fiction,
1973 –

Many years ago I discovered Julia Cameron and her book The Artist’s Way.  Through this book, her suggestions and in particular, her Morning Pages, I found that what I really wanted was be a life coach.  I then discovered a special Life Coach, Cary Volmer in Minnesota, and found out first hand what a life coach does.  She encouraged me and subsequently I took a Life Coach course in Australia  and became certified.

So why am I telling you this today, many years after the event?  Well, today I purchased Julia’s next book – The Artist’s Way for Retirement.

As usual, I’m spending the weekend with my son and his family.  Today my son was asleep as he works as Night Manager at a Wellington Hotel, my grandsons and their mother were all working and so I took myself off for my walk and ended up in the local mall.  The bookshop, as always, drew me to it and I saw this book.  I picked it up just to look at it, you understand.  The book fell open and the first thing that jumped out at me was the paragraph that included:

Walking makes” a quilt out of the silken patches of our experience.
So yes, it’s important that we walk.”

For me, walking has broadened my life, making me more independent than I have been for several months -4 or 5 kms a day makes all the difference to my life.  So of course, I had to buy the book.

As I’m almost completely recovered I now have to decide what to do with this life of mine and so I’m starting the 12-week course covered in this book to find out where I’m going next and what I am going to do.  So as we say,and if you’re interested, watch this space.

Butterflies

Still Hiking Into My Old Age

I dream of hiking into my old age.
I want to be able even then
to pack my load and take off slowly
but steadily along the trail.
~ Marlyn Doan

I used this quote as the title to my post way back in June 2011 when I was  a very new blogger. I loved the quote but at the time I knew little of Marlyn Doan and have found very little about her since.  However, I found that she was the author of 3 books and was a member of the Higher Education Consultants Association up until the time of her death.  In recognition of her work HECA founded a scholarship in her name.

I’m glad to have found out something about her, although the reason for the search was my walk through the bush this morning in the company of my Occupational Therapist.

img_0760

 What is ‘the bush’? In New Zealand, it is the native forest, which once covered most of the land. Dense and dark, it was alive with birds, insects and lizards, but sometimes impenetrable to humans.

Much of it was cleared by the settlers but here in Wellington we are fortunate to have the Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton’s Bush Reserve.  This is the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to New Zealand native plants.  I have written about this bush in the past – A walk in the bush.

It has rained quite lot over the past few days and so it was wet and muddy underfoot, but that didn’t deter us.

The bush walk

The native birds were singing, the sun decided to shine for a short time, the water was gushing in the stream and I was told that I could retire my walking stick as I was doing so well.  I have now acquired some Nordic Hiking poles which I have yet to try, so maybe when the physiotherapist comes to visit next week we can try them.

How lucky am I that I have both an Occupational Therapist and a Physiotherapist looking out for me. Two completely different women with different training,  but both so caring and encouraging of my efforts.

 

img_0765-1

And now as it’s Tuesday, I shall have lunch and get ready to meet with my friend.  We shall probably hve a short walk and then go to her house for our usual game of Upwords and a cup of tea.

toward the sushine

Words and More Words

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long,
difficult words
but rather short, easy words like
“What about lunch?”

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Posted letters are few and far between these days as so many of us use email instead. So when I arrived home the other day to see an envelope with my name and address handwritten, I became quite excited.  That is until I opened it and found a business card inside setting an appointment date with an Otolaryngologist.  Well, I had no idea what an Otolaryngologist did so I went to our trusty friend Google to find that it is is an ear nose and throat surgeon.  Suddenly the card and appointment made sense.  Since the accident, my hearing has markedly declined and this was a follow up to a hearing test I had recently with an audiologist.

Note – I am now referring to the accident as my latest adventure.  Sounds better don’t you think and it gives me lots to look forward to.

Goofy-Riding-A-Bike Not ready for bike riding but who knows where this adventure will take me.

So another new word and yesterday while reading Elizabeth George’s novel Just One Evil Act I came across another word new to me -” ..that chain of thought led him ineluctably to the Pakistani professor…..”

The Oxford Dictionary tells me it is an adverb meaning inevitable, not to be escaped, impossible to avoid etc etc.  So we get the meaning and see how it fits in the Elizabeth George sentence.

By the way, are you a follower of her books.  They are about Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley of the Metropolitan Police and his sidekick Sergeant Barbara Havers.  An amazing writer of whom I am totally in awe, and if you haven’t read any of her books I suggest you hurry off to your local library and pick up one.

Having returned from the mall where I had a facial and bought my own copy of Upwords, the game I play with my friend on Tuesday afternoons.  I can now introduce it to another friend who is almost housebound.

Upwords

I shall continue to read Elizabeth George’s book.I’m at page 493 of 719.  Will I finish it this afternoon?

book-tea

I found this on Pinterest. I hope I’m not impinging on anyone copyright.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Year On

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness,
is a way to honor those we lost,
a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”
President Obama in a 2011 radio address

On the eve of 9/11 many of us here in New Zealand are thinking of that tragic day in 2001 when so many lives were lost, so many lives were changed and the world as we knew it changed suddenly and forever.

Even though we are told that there was some indication that a major action was about to unfold, nobody could really have imagined the extent or the effect that it would have.

Here in New Zealand we watched in disbelief as the drama unfolded.  Having heard the news on the radio we switched to the television and saw the events as they happened. We saw the unforgettable images of the planes flying into the tower, the bodies falling onto the ground and the faces of the rescuers, working against all odds to rescue anybody at all. These images and words spoken by the firemen, the policemen and other volunteers will stay with us forever.

And in the 15 years since that attack what has happened?  Horror mounts almost daily with reports of innocent people being killed or forced to flee their homes, people living in daily fear of what will happen next.  We hear of young girls being kidnapped by Boko Haraam, many of whom are still missing years later.  Journalists and Peace workers are being murdered and video reports of this are sent around the world.  Fear and belief that all Muslims are evil is escalating and we see evidence of this all around the world.  Where will it end?  And how can it be ended?  Not with more violence and hatred because we know that this only feeds itself.

Perhaps it’s naive to consider that we should or could give peace a chance as John and Yoko Lennon suggested in 1969. But how could this be achieved?  Are any of the “Powers that be” putting any thoughts in this direction, because somebody with some authority has to have the intestinal fortitude (read guts) to begin.  I fear that there is nobody brave enough or committed enough to be the first.

“Imagine there are no countries, it isn’t hard to do
No need to kill or die for and no religions too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”
From the song Imagine by John Lennon and Yoko Ono

So on this day each year, we will remember the folks who died on that tragic day and remember all those who are still suffering because of it.

May I share my rainbow with you in honour of those people?

Rainbow

My rainbow

 

 

.Note – First paragraph changed – see Erratum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meandering on Monday

Pluviophile

Pluviophile  – I learned this word from a blogging buddy, VivinFrance, who I’m sorry to say is no longer with us.  Still miss her.

I’m English so I like the rain and walking in it – that is of course if I’m properly dressed. And today it’s pouring down.  So I’ll get properly attired and face the rain. I’m so thankful that I am able to walk again on my own.  Until recently I had to have somebody with me when I walked but two weeks ago I was given the all-clear.  So another thing to add to my gratitude list.

Then shortly before 1pm, the rain stopped and the sun came out.  Just to be expected in the NZ summer.  So I decided that rain gear wasn’t necessary and I would go for a walk.  But once I started I didn’t know when to stop.

I started up our long drive and put on the MapMyWalk Ap. Up the drive to the road and then down these 132 steps, then along to the village for coffee. I decided to come the other way home forgetting that it was all uphill.  There were some steps on the way but far fewer (36).   So 3.4kms in 57minutes. Very pleased with myself

Quetta Street Steps.jpg

Once I got home I realised how out of practice I am, so have to do more of this walking to get back into shape.  So a cup of tea, Stacey Kent on Pandora and my book and all was very well with my world.

Books tea

And today I have been given the date for my driving test.  When one suffers from brain injury following an accident, one’s licence is immediately suspended for six months.  My friendly ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) Case Manager set this up for me.  So on October 6, I go for an off-road test and then when I pass that, I will have another test driving my own car around the streets.  Hooray – the final hurdle in this latest “adventure”.

Oh, and those of you have hung in since 2011 will know that this will be my fourth driving test.  I wonder if it will be as easy as the others.

 

 

 

 

 

A Few Days or The Rest of My Life

Early in the year for a few days following my accident I didn’t know who anyone was or indeed who or where I was.  Quite frightening but fortunately for me, it lasted a very short time.  But what of those suffering from say Alzheimer’s?  I’ve written several posts on this subject and for that very short time I could totally bond with my fictional character Jane:

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?

Adventure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alone At Last

100-word-challenge

This week’s 100 word Challenge from Tara at Thin spiral notebook calls upon us to use the word QUIET in a story of 100 words.  And as she says “No more, no less”.

So, here goes:

What struck her most was the quiet.  After the caterers had cleared up and left and all the mourners had said their goodbyes, she was left in the empty house.

Ever since the accident there had been friends and acquaintances visiting or phoning to offer help and sympathy and now suddenly she was alone

Everyone said how brave she was but really she was just managing to keep her emotions in check.  She knew that she wasn’t brave.  She just knew that if she let go her grief would overwhelm her and she would never get out of the hole.

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