Tag Archives: thanks

All or Nothing Day – July 26, 2016

 

mary-oliver

 

Several days ago I received an email from a young woman whom I didn’t know.  Her name is Heather Von St James and she told me she was  a 10 year survivor of a rare cancer called mesothelioma, given just 15 months to live upon diagnosis, then and there she decided it was all or nothing from that day on.

Having read her story I wanted to get involved in Heather’s most recent campaign for All or Nothing day. She asked if I would help spread the word.   Those of you who have followed me know that this is absolutely what I approve of and so of course I agreed.

I claim to Choose how I will spend the rest of my life and some of you have accompanied me through a few pitfalls followed by picking myself up and starting again.

At the ripe old age of 60 I found myself Suddenly Single after my husband of 41 years died, and had to learn how to live life on my own.  A couple of years later I was diagnosed with breast cancer, but  a lumpectomy and some radiation therapy quickly sorted that out.  Then when I was getting used to the life on my own, I met and reconnected with an Architect with whom I had worked many years previously.  And yes, we got together and decided to spend the rest of our lives together.

Just over a year ago he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and 8 weeks later he died.  My 2 year Magic Carpet Ride came to a halt and once again I was living life on my own.

Well you jut have to get up and get on with it.  I was doing well on my own when suddenly in April this year I had an accident that resulted in major brain damage.  But hey – I’m alive and things are gradually getting back to normal.  Every day is a bonus and I am so grateful for the medical team and the rehabilitation team who brought me to the stage I am today.

I’m going out walking with my physiotherapist when she visits each week and last week I had a walk on my own and did some Retail Therapy.  I’m lucky and blessed with supportive family and friends and I will continue to Choose how I spend the rest of my life.  However long that may be.

I shall continue to be the best friend I can be, the most loving sister, mother and grandmother offering and accepting the love showered on me  And because some of my independence is lost until I’m allowed to drive again, I’m working on accepting the help offered graciously.

If you want to learn more about Heather click here.

And also this from Mary Oliver

“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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Remembering

On this day three years ago I wrote about helping my daughter move house –A Tiring Day.  I note that I said “Never want to move again”.  Well the best laid plans and all that.

Since that day three years ago I have moved twice and am saying once again “Never want to move again”.

And the help I gave my daughter at that time has been returned in so many ways, particularly helping me after the death of The Architect.  I count my daughter amongst my most treasured blessings.

thanks

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.
Oscar Wilde

 

ANZAC Day 2012

“Those heroes that shed their blood, and lost their lives …
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side,
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries …
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, they have
Become our sons as well.”

A memorial containing those words was unveiled by the Australian Veteran Affairs Minister on 25 April 1985.  The cove has been named ANZAC Cove by the Turks.

I wrote about ANZAC Day last year in quite some detail. From being a day of remembrance for those who fought and lost their lives at Gallipoli, it has now moved into a day of  remembrance for all those who have lost their lives in war and honours those who served and returned.

The story starts in 1914 when cabled reports from Britain – the Homeland – reached Australia and New Zealand forecasting that Europe was teetering on the edge of war.

When Britons returned to work after the August Bank Holiday, war was declared on Germany and involved the whole British Empire.  All the colonies were quick to jump in and offer their young men in service to the Empire.

Australia was in the middle of an election campaign.  The leader of the opposition offered Britain  “Our last man and our last shilling” in any war against Germany, and the Prime Minister responded with “Our duty is quite clear – gird up our loins and remember that we are Britons”.  How the young men loved that.  And how they rushed join up.  Many of them falsified their age to be in the army.  And I wonder how many would do that today.

Excitement was in the air and all around and the young men seemed to think this was a great adventure.  Many were concerned that they would miss out on the fun because this war was  ‘going to be over by Christmas”.  Alas, as we know this was not true and so many of those young men lost their lives on battlefields far from home.

On April 25th 1915 the ANZACS  landed at a cove in Gallipoli (now named Anzac Cove) and the Turks were ready and waiting for them.  On the first day in excess of 2,000 of these young Australian and New Zealand men were killed.  They were forced to retreat.  A further advance against the Turks was made in August but with the same miserable result.  On December 20th the force was evacuated and this evacuation was the only successful operation conducted at Gallipoli.

Anzac flag

Now these young men and their bravery are commemorated on April 25th every year in both New Zealand and Australia.  It is a Public Holiday with shops being closed until 1pm in New Zealand.  And each year thousands of people attend the dawn service held at 5.45 am all around our country and in Australia.  Many of those attending wear the medals won by relatives in many wars.  Anzac Day is not just for the  failed Gallipoli campaign but to remember all those who fought for their country.

What a terrible waste of so many young lives.  But isn’t all war wherever and whenever it is fought.

The word ANZAC has become part of the culture of New Zealanders and Australians. There are ANZAC biscuits and rugby and rugby league teams from the two countries play an ANZAC Day test.  And people talk about the ‘spirit of ANZAC”.  The Spirit of ANZAC was suggested by official war historian C.E.W. Bean to have ‘stood, and still stands, for reckless valour in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship and endurance that will never own defeat.’ ”

Click here for scenes from the time and to hear The Pogues singing “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” the song that was played as the ANZACS sailed away on that October morning in 1914 on their way to ‘the war to end all wars’.

Anzac Poppy

ANZAC Poppy

Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’  – the fourth verse of which is so familiar to us today was quoted by Sir Winston Churchill,( 1874 – 1965), British statesman and politician, Prime Minister of Britain during the Second World War:

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

Trumpeter sounding the Last Post

Photo Mike Bowers, Sydney Morning Herald

R.I.P.

Alec Campbell
Last Gallipoli survivor from Australia
(died May 2002 aged 103)

Alfred Douglas Dibley
Last Gallipoli survivor from New Zealand
(died 18 December 1997 aged 101)

It’s That Day…Again?

Birthdays are good for you

It doesn’t seem a year since I blogged on my birthday, but friends, it is.  Another year older but any the wiser?

Another year of enjoying where I am in life; enjoying my family and friends and if I have lost a couple of friends through death over the year, I have made a couple of new ones.  The friends who die still remain friends although they are not physically here any more.

So what to write about on this momentous day.  War is still waged in the same countries as this time last year, children are still suffering, the homeless are still homeless and those living in poverty are still poor.  So what you might ask is there to celebrate?

We, the lucky ones who live in our war-free lands, with food and water readily available to us,  can celebrate so many things in our lives.  I celebrate and am grateful for:

  • My family, son and daughter and their families
  • My sisters both on the other side of the world
  • My good and supportive friends
  • My ongoing good health
  • My active mind
  • My special friend – Lotte
  • My comfortable and warm home
  • The fact that the sun rises and then sets each day
  • The friends I have made in the blogosphere
  • The money in my purse and in the bank
  • The food in the larder and the refrigerator.

And for all the other things on My Gratitude List.  I really do know just how lucky I am and have been in my life.

So I will celebrate this birthday; hoping that perhaps I have learned something in the preceding 12 months and look forward with joy and anticipation to the next 12.


“A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip.”  Anon

And Now For Today’s Shower

No the plumbing isn’t playing up but …

Somehow, when I encased my foot in its big red Santa boot in a green City Council recycling bag this morning I either (a) didn’t seal it properly around the leg or (b) ripped it somehow.  Because … when I got out of the shower my foot in its boot was swimming in water.  Well that’s a slight exaggeration.  There was water in the bottom of the bag.

This of course, is very uncomfortable when said foot is encased in said red Santa boot.  So a call to the hospital orthopedic department at the hospital followed.  I spoke to a delightful (young) woman who told me that a nurse would call back and give me a time to come into the clinic.  A couple of hours passed with no phone call. I then made another call working on the assumption that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, to be told by the same (young) woman that the nurses were (a) very busy, (b) had been given the message and (c) would call me back “if they could” today.  Whereupon I told her that the foot was wet, the plaster was wet etc, etc and that I needed to speak to somebody TODAY!

Some two hours later I received a call from the supervising nurse who said that they couldn’t fit me in today but she suggested that if somebody else were around, I get them to direct the heat from a hairdryer on low, down into the space between the foot and the cast.  I did point out to her that in the pages of literature I had been given about caring for a cast, directing heat from a hairdryer was a definite NO.

Hairdryer

She countered this by saying that I was a sensible woman and would know if I was damaging the cast with the heat.  How?  She also said that if this didn’t work I should call her in the morning and make a time to come back to the clinic to have this fibreglass cast removed and replaced with a full plaster cast.
As I have only 7 more sleeps before the cast comes off I asked why they wouldn’t replace it with another fibreglass cast.  The response?  Because of the type of fracture I have the bone could have moved and they would want to be sure that it stayed in place for another week.

That makes absolutely no sense to me.  She also commented that if the bone had moved they might have to perform surgery – my response to that is NO WAY.  If surgery was to be performed why didn’t they do it five weeks ago at the time of the accident?

So my ever patient friend has just sat with me directing a stream of heat down into the cast.  I don’t know just how I can repay him for the care and attention that has been lavished on me over the past five weeks.  And I don’t know if applying the heat has worked but it certainly feels better than it did before the hairdryer was applied to it.

Boy will I be glad to see the end of this cast.

Waking up

Photo -Agnieszka Pastuszak - Maksim | Dreamstime.com

Hooray – only seven more sleeps until it comes off.

Celebrating a Milestone

This was yesterday’s blog but for whatever reason WordPress didn’t publish it so there will be two posts today.

Posted – January 11, 2012

Today I had no hesitation when I sat down at the computer to write my blog. No problem with water aka thoughts rushing to find a safe place. I knew exactly what I was going to write about.

When I started on my blogging journey way back on March 1, 2011 I didn’t know how much fun I would have in writing every day or how many friends I would make in this blogging world.

Milestone celebration

Well today, I have reached 100 followers and I would like to thank you all for reading and following and commenting from time to time. I really appreciate all of you. Many of the blogs I follow have a greater number of subscriptions but I am very excited at reaching this milestone.

Over the months I have read blogs from people whose lives are so different to mine. Most live in other countries and are of a different age group (well how many have reached my VAST age?). Many have young children and their days are taken up with all the busyness that accompanies families. Some are looking at retirement and how they will fill in their time once they do retire. Some are battling demons either within themselves or from actions of others, and others are living their daily lives with vigour and excitement greeting each day with enthusiasm. I do know that some have health problems and in one case in particular, these problems are the basis of his daily (and sometimes more than once daily) blog posts.

There are a number of writers that I follow and some of whom follow me. Some are writers of fiction and some of fact, and in a couple of cases have had books published this year. Congratulations to each of them.

So to all of you who follow my blogs and those of you whose blogs I follow thank you for the support offered unconditionally over the past months. Here I have to say that in receiving over 3,000 comments on the posts I have only ever received one that I didn’t want to publish – apart that is from all the spam.

Thanks

And today I received another award – thank you Linda Cassidy Lewis for the nomination. Have you read Linda’s book “The Brevity of Roses”? It’s a great read and should be on your reading list.

Liebster blog award

In accepting an award I am called upon to nominate others to receive it and also to tell some things about myself. Well I have so many wonderful blogs that I follow that I will once again, just direct you to my blog roll. If any of these are new to you please do visit them. I always find something new in their blogs. And as for me, I have told you about myself in my posts and on my page Meet Judith Baxter, so I really think there is nothing more to add.

And because it’s a lovely day of celebration and sunshine. And because I have only 2 more weeks tomorrow to wear my big red Santa boot, I offer you once again, my special rainbow. Please accept it and make it yours. And if anybody wants to use it in a blog post, please feel free to do so.

Rainbow

My rainbow

Similar lives

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.
Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Albert Camus, 1913 – 1960
French author, journalist and philosopher

Since I started blogging in March I have come across many people whom I like to call friends.  We may never meet in real life, but through our blogs we are sharing our lives, thoughts and feelings with each other.  It’s great to see how many people have different takes and attitudes on a variety of things.  And it is also great when you come across someone who could be living your life.

Several of these come to mind Susan at Coming East, Dor at Technicolor Day Dreams, Val at Absurd Old Bird, Chris at Bridges Burning, Debbie at My Quest and Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way.  Maybe because we are of a similar age, although I am of course, the oldest.   And of course the many younger ones Sharon,  Patti, Patricia, Elizabeth, Suzi Cate, Jacquelin and many more.  All of these have many years to live before they reach my ripe age.  And I apologise if you are left off this list.  There are just too many of you to mention.  Thanks for being my friends anyway.

In one particular post entitled The Waiting Game Debbie told of a visit to the hospital.  It could have been written by me.  So similar were our experiences.  Around the same time and on opposite sides of the world.  Read Debbie’s version and then compare it to mine.  This is my comment to Debbie on the post:

“A few weeks ago I had a similar experience. I fell up the step between living room and kitchen with a fine china bowl in my hand. The bowl shattered and sliced into my thumb.

Blood literally pumping up so a call to my daughter who fortunately lives very close, and we were off to the after hours emergency clinic. They were very accommodating and said I would be attended to shortly.   Yes, you guessed it.  I waited for a short time in the waiting room – that’s why it’s called that of course – then saw a nurse who said ‘Mm a think you need stitches’ and ‘come through here’.  Through here was a brightly lit cubicle and there I waited.

Another nurse appeared who said she would have to get the doctor – I waited and the doctor eventually appeared. She then told the nurse to give me a tetanus shot and a shot so they could administer the stitches.  More waiting, the doctor appeared again looked at the hand, asked the nurse to stitch it and you guessed it, more waiting.

A different nurse appeared and started sticking needles into my very sore thumb. I waited and then she returned to say she would do the stitching as the doctor was attending to another patient.  More injections to dull the pain, stitches eventually in and given instructions to go to GP in 10 days to have the stitches removed.”

The two incidents are so similar that it is hard to imagine them not being stage-managed.

And sorry guys.  This post was about the women who have become my friends through blogging.  More about you in another post.

When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, whoa nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest nights.
So sang James Taylor

Miss Lotte and her best friend

The Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Drawings on cave wall

A frieze of horses and rhinos near the Chauvet cave’s Megaloceros Gallery, where artists may have gathered to make charcoal for drawing. Chauvet contains the earliest known paintings, from at least thirty-two thousand years ago.

I have become quite addicted to movie going of recent times.  Just this last week I have seen Oranges and Sunshine, Incendies a French film about twins searching for their father and brother (more on this movie in a later blog) and yesterday I saw The Cave of Forgotten Dreams.  Click here to see the trailer.

The International Film Festival is on at present and we are spoiled for choice.

But back to yesterday’s movie.  It is a documentary about the finding of the cave in 1994 by three spelunkers and it takes us into the cave to see the fantastic drawings made by primitive man; but drawings that are not at all primitive.

Directed and fronted by Werner Herzog. the acclaimed German film director and producer,  it is a powerful insight into a life so far removed from ours in time and distance.  On the subject of the art Herzog says “Art … as it bursts on the scene 32,000 years ago, is fully accomplished. It doesn’t start with ‘primitive scribblings’ and first attempts like children would make drawings,” Herzog says. “It’s absolutely and fully accomplished.”

Herzog was first alerted to these cave drawings by Judith Thurman who wrote about them in her Letter from Southern France in the New Yorker in June 2008.

The cave has been named the Chauvet after one of the three men who discovered it, and it  is in the Ardèche valley in Southern France.  We are told it is about 400 metres long with many huge  chambers. The floor of the cave is littered with archaeological and palaeontological remains, including the skulls and bones of cave bears, which hibernated there, along with the skulls of an ibex and two wolves. The cave bears also left innumerable scratches on the walls and footprints on the ground.

Of particular interest in the movie, is when Dominique Baffier, archaeologist and curator of Chauvet Cave, tours the drawings . Each one tells a story.  She points us to a hand print that clearly shows the owner has a bent little finger on his right hand.  Further into the cave she shows this same print at one of the drawings.

In another mystery, only one human form was drawn. On a rock pendant, the bottom half of a woman with Venus of Willendorf proportions appears. The team mounts its camera on a stick to reveal the upper half of the image for the first time. It is a bison head.

The cave is not open to view and Herzog considers himself particularly lucky to have been given this opportunity.

The 3-D camerawork brings viewers more deeply into the cave. Herzog’s offbeat narration and  metaphysical musings keep the film lively. A sacred feeling is evoked in kinship with the ancients.

Only a small camera and four small, portable panel lights were allowed. Filmed under strict limitations to protect the delicate ecology, the scenes inspire awe.

Pont d'arc Arch

Pont d'Arch Arch below the cav

I have spent all day so far, on the internet fining out more about this cave and the drawings and now I leave it to you to further research if you are interested.

More on the cave by Craig Packer and Jean Clottes – When Lions Ruled France. and here’s a link to the official Chauvet Cave site


A Different Wedding

I dreamed of a wedding of elaborate elegance,
A church filled with family and friends.
I asked him what kind of a wedding he wished for,
He said one that would make me his wife.
~Author Unknown

I have used this quote in an earlier post on weddings because it is my absolute favourite.  Over the four years that I acted as Wedding Coordinator at Old St Paul’s I heard many, many verses and sayings about weddings and ceremonies; this is the one that has stayed with me.

During that time I  attended and coordinated more than 340  weddings.  We had weddings conducted in English (of course) Maori, German, Russian, Dutch, French and Italian.  In each instance, part of the service had been in English and so has been relatively easy to follow.

On January 24, 2009, we had a beautiful Chinese wedding.

Chinese Wedding Program

The bride duly arrived to the peal of bells. A fitting start to this lovely ceremony.

The bride was a perfect picture so tiny and delicate in her beautiful white wedding gown.  The bridesmaids complemented her so well in their deep pink gowns.  Bride and bridesmaids each carried a bouquet of summer flowers.  What a great picture.

The groom and his groomsmen were also a joy to behold.  All had on dark suits with white shirts and a pink flower in the lapel.  Very smart and didn’t they all look so good standing awaiting the arrival of the bride.

The Priest was resplendent in his white robes with a rich red sash.

 

At the wedding rehearsal there had been a lot of talk in Cantonese/Mandarin but never was there a suggestion the whole ceremony would be conducted in other than the English language.

The bride told me she was ready and so I had the bell-ringers stop playing and the organist began playing the processional for the entry of the bridesmaids followed by the bride.

But before the bridesmaids entered, the MC said a ‘few’ words in Cantonese or Mandarin and then indicated to me to start the ceremony.

The bridesmaids entered on my cue and each walked slowly down the aisle to their designated place.  Then, when all three were in place, I brought in the bride.  She was radiant but a little tearful.

The bride and her father walked slowly down the 34-meter aisle – the train of her dress following behind and showing off its snowy white perfection against the deep ruby red of the carpet.

The father handed the bride to the groom, the chief bridesmaid fluffed the train, the father took his seat and the ceremony commenced.

I can only assume that the priest welcomed the couple and guests in a speech in Chinese.  Then the ceremony took its usual course.  But all in Chinese so that I didn’t understand one word of it.  The affirmation and vows; the introduction of the candle ceremony and its significance, the homily from the priest; two Anglican hymns were sung, and all in Chinese.  I joined in the hymns, singing in English of course.  The hymns were “Joyful, Joyful” and  “To God Be the Glory”. Beautiful music and great words.

The Director of Music was a bit confused as he had to play music for the candle ceremony and signing of the register and he can’t see around the organ up to the altar.  Usually, he gets his cue from the words of the priest or celebrant.  This time he had to rely on my signals from the back of the church.  A bit like the blind leading the blind.

Then just as I was getting ready to cue the organist, a man stood and proceeded to address the bride and groom and the assembled guests.  Obviously, once again, I had no idea what was being said.  Then he waved to me that the recessional could begin.

Then the service was over.  The bride and groom started to walk back down the aisle and stopped and hugged parents and friends on the way.  The bells started to ring as they left the church.

All in all a great ceremony and full of emotion and feeling, even though I didn’t understand a word.

Following the ceremony, the bride’s mother was in tears so I gave her a tissue from the box kept always at the back of the church.  That seemed to set off a chain reaction as so many of the other women then took a tissue.

Photographs were taken in the church grounds.  Congratulations from me to the happy couple and hugs from the happy couple to me.

A fabulous summer morning wedding.

Love is a symbol of eternity.  It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.  ~
Author Unknown


Progress? I wonder..

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

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

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

Ready or not

Ready for the paving

Ready for the paving?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lotte at the fire

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

Caleb shares with Lotte

Caleb with Lotte

Wake up and play with me

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