How I miss her!

Below is an extract of a blog post I wrote a little over two years ago. I will explain a little later why it’s fitting for me to share it today.

”Today, exactly two years ago, I got the news that you had succumbed to the cancer that ravaged your body and you were gone. You were in your early forties. And a part of me broke in a way that nothing has ever broken before.

I type this, and I can’t stop the tears. I have to stop typing every now and then, because my vision is blurred and my nose needs blowing. How is it, that after two years, I can be reduced to this much pain and heartache for a friend?

I found the small tribute I wrote to you that day :

RIP, beautiful Tessie bear. You taught me SO much about grace, peace and unconditional love…not just during this difficult journey, but every day in the 25 years I knew you. You loved me so much, despite me being me when it was tough for others to ‘see’. You believed in me in a way no one ever did, and ever has since you’ve been gone. That’s a gift more precious than any other. So many wonderful memories, so much love and laughter. I’ll see you again one day, when we’re walking all the dogs in heaven. Till then, precious soul. Love you always, your Meggie.

I didn’t see you every day. We didn’t talk every day. We didn’t need to.

The amount of ‘little things’ moments of happiness we shared could fill more than 500 pages. Because we were strange like that.
And the tragedies and difficulties, another 500, I’m sure.

I remember the time we were mistaken for a couple. We laughed about that for years afterwards. Nothing could be further from the truth with regards to our romantic interests and sexuality.
But if I could have chosen a ‘partner’, without sex and romance, to live the rest of my life out with, I would have chosen you.

You were the first person I ever saw who brewed actual tea and used a strainer to pour us each a cup. (My mother used a teapot all the years, but with teabags.)
I still can’t get my veggie and feta stir fry to taste like yours did. I have followed your recipe exactly… maybe it truly was you that made the difference.
I am still not persuaded that pink is my colour, just because it was yours 😛 But I wear those ridiculous pink pyjamas you forced me to buy with pride and a smile as often as I can. (You’ll be please to know that I bought a pale pink top last year in the weakness of missing you, and made a pink beaded necklace to match it. My wardrobe is no longer all black. I hope you’re happy 😉 )
I still don’t like spending hours on the beach like you did, but every year you made me spend the morning there for your birthday celebration – breakfast on the beach – and I’d go, in my jeans, ha ha ha! I went last year on your birthday – yes, in my jeans. This year, the beaches are closed 😥 so I couldn’t go. But because I was outside in my own backyard with my breakfast, celebrating you, you finally got me in a pair of shorts! 😉
The weather outside today is windy and overcast – you’d think it’s miserable, and I can picture your horrified expression when I tell you once again how much I love it. You always loved the sunshine and heat. Today, it seems even the sun has disappeared in it’s longing for you.
I remember fondly the lengthy visits where no words were exchanged, other than the occasional offer of something to drink, as we sat in the same room, engrossed in the books we were reading.

Coleske; most books (although mostly crime thriller), Midsomer Murders, Chinese food – as much as possible on our budgets); freshly brewed tea on the veranda in the sunshine; Pharaoh and Age of Empires computer games – oh my gosh, and the time you got my son addicted to Mall Tycoon!; Camembert, Brie and Cranberry Cheese with crackers as a treat; all the scarves I knitted that we shared; love and devotion to dogs; movie nights with ice cream and popcorn and biltong and cheese, whatever we could afford as much as we could afford – these are, but a few, of OUR favourite things. (How many times did we watch The Sound of Music together, anyway??!!)

I celebrate you and everything you are to me, and the person you were. There are a lot of smiles and laughter in my memories and I promise I still smile and laugh when I think of you. I know you’d be upset to find me crying, but I can’t help feeling this sad. You’d understand though. And you’d love me anyway.

To say that I miss you is not adequate.
Thank you for the memories.
I love you always and forever, my Tessie Bear.
Your Meggie

Why do I think this share is fitting for today?
On this day, four years ago, I said my final goodbye to the amazing lady I wrote about above.
I have lost far too many people in the last few years, but none impacted me like Therese did (I called her my Tessie bear, or Tess).
When I think of those I have lost, I feel sad.
Every time, to this day, when I think of the loss of Tess, I don’t just feel sad. It makes me cry all over again.

Here’s what is incredibly weird for me…

My friend was gentle, kind, compassionate. She was non-judgemental in every way. She accepted everyone as they were, without expecting them to be how she wanted them to be. Even in the most dire circumstances she held onto a hope that seemed completely and utterly ridiculous at the time. She was always excessively grateful, even for the smallest of things. She had a warmth about her that drew people to her. She truly connected – even on the internet.
The incredibly weird part for me is that all of the above seems to have intensified within me in the last three years! 😮 😮 😮
(Again, I am probably a psychologists worst nightmare 😛 )

I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I find myself, every. single. day, pausing and thinking, ”I wonder what Tess would have done/said/thought”. And most times, as I go about my day, I can hear what I heard for so many years when she was alive, ”I’m so proud of you, Meggie.”
It’s not about mimicking her, or actually wanting to be her. It’s about appreciating the abundance of value she brought to life, and striving to continue to shine her light, in my own unique way.

When I first met her, at the age of 14 (ah, youth!), I was so in awe of her, ha ha ha! I remember saying to her, ”You are so cool! I hope I’m like you when I grow up!” (She was already 18/19 at the time – I don’t remember! Age is just a number 😉 )

And I can still only hope that I will continue to adopt her amazingly positive attributes, and live a life that would have made her proud. The funniest part? She was always proud of me, just for being me!

If she could read this right now, she’d probably phone me and say, ”Hello, my Meggie. Great blog post! But you still haven’t written that damn book I said you must write!” 😛

Today I will make myself veggie stirfry, with just a sprinkling of feta, while Coleske plays in the background. And tonight I will watch Midsomer Murders in my ridiculous pink pyjamas – but with no snacks, because I have to watch my cholesterol!

Cherish the special friends in your life who impact you in the best ways, my blogging friends. Time is far too short.
Thank you for reading, and for being here ❤

Is it conditional?

Photo credit : Pinterest

I am well aware of the detriments of having a soft heart, and being willing to practice kindness on a level where your immediate response is to give/help. There have been plenty of naysayers in my life, who make enough noise about it, for me to not know.
I suppose this is where my stubbornness (and rebelliousness, ha ha!) comes in…
I still choose, and want, to have a soft heart, and give to others, and be kind.
I still choose to sometimes sacrifice self and ‘nice things’ in order to that.
I am not looking for a pat on the back here, and I do not expect anyone to ‘follow in my footsteps’ in any way.
We are all different, and the world needs each and every one of us and whatever contribution we make to it. We are not all the same, and this is not always a bad thing.
I am, however, setting the stage for ‘something’ that is close to my heart, and it’s something that I wish more people would at least consider… because there was a time that I didn’t.

Growing up, everything for me was conditional. Including love and acceptance. But that is a story for a book, and not a blog post.
I am going to focus on one particular thing though, and I’ll explain at the end of this blog post my ‘why’ for today.

The something? The one thing?
Well…. I was always taught that you never give money to beggars/street people.
”They will just waste it on alcohol or drugs. You are causing them to sin.”
(Nope… we are not even going to discuss religion here… suffice to say I am fed up with religiosity in general. Another book topic, ha ha!)
And I carried that with me my whole life… that attitude… that refusal to give any of my hard earned money to the beggars and people on the street so that they could purchase drugs and alcohol.

Until about six or seven years ago… I can’t recall the timing of it exactly, but I remember what happened.

An acquaintance of mine was on holiday, in a very cold place, and posted a picture on Facebook of her sipping a very full glass of sherry, captioning it, ”This seems to be the only way I can get warm tonight!”
We were also experiencing a bit of a cold spell then, and I smiled as my mind went to all the people I knew who were probably doing the same.
It was only the following evening that I had an epiphany and ‘my world changed’.

It was really cold, and had started raining, and I realised that I had forgotten to buy bread. I grumbled and moaned at myself as I drove up the road to the 24 hour convenience shop, to pay extra for a loaf of bread – my complaints were chastisement at the small amount of extra I’d be spending, ”how could you forget bread?”; and having to be out, again, in the cold and rain. I left the shop, climbing into my car and still grumbling because now I was wet as well…

And then I saw him. And something inside me broke.

The old African gentleman who was one of our homeless people, snuggling as close as he could get to the wall in order to try and take advantage of the small roof overhang to shield him from the rain.
I was suddenly so ashamed of myself! It definitely stopped me in my tracks.
I watched him pull a bottle of a well known brand of cheap alcohol around here from inside his coat, and take a long sip. And nowhere in me could I find that response, ”Typical. Probably starving, but bought alcohol instead.”

It was more like my mind screamed at me : ”If you lived on the street? If you had to stay exposed to this cold and rain all night? What would YOU do, Meg? Would you not have also opted for something to ‘dull’ the experience and hopefully somehow keep you warm, if possible?
I left the warmth of my car to give him the last of my cash that night – we were in for a cold spell with more rain for the next few days.
And I went home and tearfully told the story to my children, and since then all three of us have different attitudes regarding this particular thing.

(I am well aware that we all make choices, and suffer the consequences thereof. But something I am very sensitive to as well is that sometimes there may seem to be NO other choice : the drug addicted street lady who sells her body, for drugs and not food? What if she ended up there because someone repeatedly robbed her of her innocence from a young age for years, until she ran away? What if the drugs help her forget that nightmare, because no one else has even tried? What if… what if… what if…
Do I know their whole story? Who am I to judge?
Sorry! *covering my eyes with my hands* These are things I am incredibly aware of, sensitive to, and passionate about!)

I can’t explain fully, because it needs another book… but the situation around here is dire, to say the least.
My town no longer has a ‘government’ children’s home – the privately funded non-profits are full to capacity, and some overflowing. We also don’t have a homeless shelter. (Our current unemployment rate is more than 50%.)
On any given day, in the short distance of just 2km (about 1.2 miles) I drive past at least NINE ‘street dwellers’ begging for food or money. And those are just the ones I notice when my eyes are not fixed on the road. I travel roughly 90km per day…. I see a LOT of people in need.

Yes… my soft heart wants to help every. single. one.
But I know my reality, and I know it is not possible for me.

But I have got ‘my people’ – specific individuals that I help – who live in my area. One older lady, I only encounter once a week.. so when I don’t see her one week, I get concerned and am always relieved to see her the following week. There’s a kid of about 13 that I see a couple of times a week. etc. etc. etc.

I mentioned earlier I would explain my ‘why’ for this post…. so here it is :

There is a guy who begs at the traffic light up the road from my house – I drive through there possibly six times most days. He’s a little bit wild looking, ha ha! His dreadlocks are mid neck level, and stick out all over the place most of the time. He has a lot of personality, and sometimes even does a cartoon-like jig for people waiting at the red light, to entertain them. Most ignore him, but every now and then I see someone hand him a coin or two for his effort. He has the biggest smile on his face most of the time too!
He’s been hanging out there, every day, for the last 2 years.
And I’ll admit it, initially I was a little afraid of him, because he really does look crazy. Nowadays, my kids and I affectionately refer to him as ‘our crazy friend’. And even though he sees me six times in a day, he knows he only gets something from me once in a day.
He always says thank you… even if it’s a ‘drive by drop off out the window’…. he shouts it to me while I am driving away in traffic.
He interests me, I wanted to know his story… and so I asked ‘my friends’ who work at the petrol station right there about him, about a year ago.
All they could tell me was that he is actually a ‘clever man’… he finished high school and so he has some education. But his house burned down. And he lost his family. And had ‘bad friends’ and started using drugs. It made me sad.
A couple of times, I have actually stopped and sat and chatted with him. Unfortunately, his way of living means that he doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense anymore. And we battle a huge language barrier – my Xhosa (the African language spoken in this area) is extremely limited! So our chats were always very animated – lots of pointing and gesturing, ha ha!

This morning I popped onto Facebook for a quick scroll. And I burst into tears.

I drove past my crazy friend at 5:15pm last night. He waved at me, and gave me the biggest smile.
At about 6:30pm last night, some horrible person doing a STUPID speed, drove into my crazy friend. And drove away!!!!!!! Yes, it was a hit and run. And they still don’t know who that person is.
The report is that my crazy friend is in very bad shape, and his chances of survival are slim – he was unconscious with severe head injuries at the scene.
I know that if doesn’t survive, in a way it’s merciful, because his life on the street was extremely hard… especially here.
But I am still sad. And angry with that careless individual who could just drive away!

And I know I am making myself vulnerable to all the thoughts of ”how ridiculously silly that this could affect her”, ”good grief, she’s way too soft”.

Perhaps it does make me weak... perhaps I deserve judgement for it…
It doesn’t matter to me, either way.
And I am not complaining about the sadness things like this bring to my life because yes… this IS the way I want to be, and what I choose. My consequences for my choices, I guess. Ha!

The take-away from all this? The thing I am ‘really trying to say’?

Perhaps the key to trying to ‘change the world by changing ourselves’ is to reflect on our giving?
Are we giving, sharing, and being kind to only those who ‘deserve it and have earned it’, or are we willing to step forward and break out of the ‘box of conditional’ and give, share and be kind to those who ‘don’t seem to deserve it’?
Can we change things if we stop expecting something in return, and stop demanding that people meet certain requirements in order to be loved?

(I don’t know what the right or wrong answer is in any of this!
I just know I need to keep being me.)

Hoping that whatever the outcome for my crazy friend, that somehow he knew that he mattered to someone… he mattered to me!

Meg ❤

A bicycle and a boat

Picture it: a little girl with freckles on her face, her hair in pigtails sporting pink bows (ugh! 😛 ), pedalling as fast as her little legs will allow along a long straight, on her red BMX bicycle.
Now picture the same little girl, only five years later. Her hair loose in the wind as she ‘tears up the tar’, racing against the two boys who are along for her afternoon bicycle outing.

As I am sure you have guessed, the little girl was me. When I was a child, it was still safe for us to ride our bicycles in the street. And we took advantage of every opportunity to do so! Ha ha!
In the area I grew up, we were a crew of six, when we could all be together. Four boys, two girls. I still remember every side road, every shortcut, and every little bump in the road.

I also remember the tree at the bottom of a small hill when I was nine years old. 😛

It was a warm Saturday afternoon, but a gentle, cool breeze prevented it from being too uncomfortable. I had waited out the required 45 minutes after lunch, set by my mother, and had just surfaced from an underwater length of the pool, when another freckled face appeared before me, giving me such a fright. Brown eyes laughed at me as I clutched my little chest, and my friend, Brian, asked, ”Wanna go for a ride?”

We cycled to two other ‘crew members’ houses, but neither one was home. We went past the old couple sitting on their verandah having their tea, but we didn’t stop to chat that day, just waved at them and cruised by 😉 We rode to the park (in those days they still existed and were fully functional, and they were safe too) and see-sawed, had a swinging competition, and ended with trying to see how fast we could make the roundabout go! A few sips of water, and a few biscuits from Brian’s backpack, and we were on the road again, this time home to my place for a quick swim before Brian cycled home to his own house.

We got to the junction of the road with the small hill, and Brian stopped. I stopped next to him, and grinned. I waited as he rode a little further, then turned. Perched on his bicycle, he rubbed his hands together, and then gripped his handlebars tightly. Then his legs pedalled furiously and I whooped as he made it around the bend at the bottom of the hill, skidding to a stop. I clapped my hands in delight, and he beckoned to me that it was my turn.

There’s very little fear in youth, ha ha! I repeated his process. And I have no idea how… but I got a speed wobble (technical term : a quick oscillation of primarily just the steerable wheel of a vehicle). I ended up skidding and falling in a most ungraceful manner, landing against the big tree at the bottom – no bend for me. Brian dropped his bicycle and came running, concern on his face. I looked down at my bloody knee, and the scrapes and blood on my forearm, and had no reaction. Brian lifted me off the ground, and I tested my legs and the mobility in my arms. Then I dusted myself off, and asked him, ”Oh man! Did you see that?” We both burst out laughing. And then we pushed our bicycles back up the hill, and up the road to my house. We didn’t get to swim – my mother was furious, ha ha!

Speed wobbles happen. And so do ’emotional wobbles’.

Life happens, and sometimes there’s that overwhelming moment when it has all happened at once, and it’s all been rather negative, and it causes a bit of a wobbly in our emotions. Not a full on crash… but more of a ‘stop and breathe, think, retreat for a bit’…. and I like to add, ”and if you can find a steady supply of chocolate, it helps!”
Some emotional wobble’s can even leave us feeling like we’re bleeding. Those are the worst kind. Those moments are the ones where it’s important to have someone to step in and lift you off the ground – wait while you dust yourself off, and then remind you what it is to laugh!
Reality is though that sometimes there isn’t anyone to help you get up. And then these next two things are very important to remember :

It is not only okay to have that wobble… it is also okay if you take some time to recover, in whatever way you need to. For some, it is escape into a book or a few movies that distract them from their reality; for others, it might be a long lunch with a group of uplifting friends, where you all ‘don’t talk about it‘, but find laughter in something entirely different.
This is not about ‘ignoring it and maybe it will go away’. It’s just about building strength emotionally so that you can try and deal with it when you’re not feeling so wobbly. (Well, that’s what it is like for me, anyway.)
The other thing to remember is that nothing is permanent… not even the seemingly never-ending issues you might be facing. ”The only thing constant is change”.
Yes, the light at the end of the tunnel may well be another train coming BUT who knows what will come after? 😉

You guessed it! I had a rather serious wobbly the other day, ha ha! I retreated, to try and balance my emotions (by reading a book about black ops specialists and assassins, ha ha ha!). Interestingly enough, it reminded me that life really does seem to be full of plot twists – but experience has shown me that they are not always bad. There cannot be magnificent views from stunning mountain tops, without there also being valleys – some for just plodding along; some with rough terrain and very little sunshine. But if we stop in our tracks in the valley, how will we see the view from the mountain? And how will we get to the next mountain top, which may have an even better view than the one that preceded it?

I’ll close with this image I saw on Facebook :

As I look at the world as a whole, I can see that we’re in one huge storm – but the repercussions differ from country to country.
As do our boats. I found myself so very grateful for my canoe! Yes, sometimes my soul may feel like it’s drowning… but I have a canoe! I get to feel the storms differently to those who have neither a canoe nor a yacht!
Some days it feels like I am stuck at the train station, waiting for my ship to come in 😛
BUT AT LEAST I HAVE A CANOE!
It is important for me (and maybe you) to remember that some people don’t even have that! And maybe there isn’t space in my canoe… but I sure can reach out a hand of kindness and clutch theirs, and try and help them stay afloat!

I hope you all have a great week ahead! Thank you for reading!
Meg ❤

Memorable Friends

I don’t remember when Facebook introduced the ”Memories” / ”on this day” page. Google says it was in 2015.
What I DO remember is that there were a lot of memes thereafter, basically complaining about it and mostly because people ‘didn’t want to be reminded’.

I’d love to be able to tell you that my memories of my life as a whole are all amazing and wonderful. But I can’t. I have some really bad memories. (And as I am getting older, I seem to just have a bad memory in general 😛 – Yes, I know… ”ugh, Meg, just ugh!” 😛 )

What I have discovered with my Facebook Memories though is this : because I did not use the public platform to vent anger or hurt (other than the odd post from the first three years I was on there), or share things my older self would chastise my younger self for 😛 , MY Facebook memories actually bring me a lot of joy! Not always, because there ARE memories of a failed marriage, or losing a friend to an illness, along the way etc.. BUT I’d say that 90% of the time, scrolling back through my memories ‘on that day’ in years gone by give me wonderful food for thought, or have me laughing out loud as I remember ‘way back when’.

There is usually a connection somewhere in that memory to something unpleasant. And I find myself sometimes having to be mindful of sticking only to the good parts 😉

This morning I had a memory from 14 years ago that had me thinking, ”What were you thinking?” 😛

It was a status update and I had said this : ”I am ready to go. Not sure how ready I will be when I get home though.”

Confusion reigned in my mind – what on earth was I talking about!?!? I was relieved to see that there were comments! Perhaps that would shed some light? And it definitely did! Because I found myself (14 years younger than I am now 😛 ) replying to someone else’s comment and saying this :
”I just got home. Did a 5km walk/jog to the beach and back. Will be repeating tomorrow. And tomorrow I will have a swim too. It’s supposed to be a daily repeat after work each evening… if I CAN still walk in a few days time 😛 So grateful to have (not their real names) Tina and Paul in my life!”

My heart leapt for joy at the memories that came flooding back! And I suddenly yearned for that couple who were such an active (pun intended 😛 ) part of my life! ❤
(And the days that were a bit safer around here too… sigh.)

Tina was British. I don’t remember if Paul was or not. Tina was simply amazing! Both were about 15 years older than me, and became my closest friends very quickly. Tina had a no nonsense way about her… and she was quite hilarious!
(She’d sometimes read to my daughter if I was still busy changing from work clothes into exercise clothes, to keep my daughter occupied. Tina’s daughter would babysit for me so that we could go exercise! And Tina’s stories were always ‘added to’ versions of old favourites. Example? ”And the Prince found her shoe on the steps.” Tina would then say, as if it was actually written there in the book, ”which was the silliest thing ever because what woman in her right mind leaves a shoe behind?” And she would just continue reading – there was a flow to it all – and every now and then my daughter would accuse me of not reading the story properly because ‘Aunty Tina’ read ‘xyz’ and I had left it out. Ha ha ha!)

Every time I was sad, or upset, or wanted to be miserable, I’d hear, ‘hosh posh, come along then!’ from Tina… and along I’d go, to whatever she was dragging me to 😛
She also couldn’t be bothered with gossiping, or judging others. Everyone was beautiful to her. She never got offended. If I remember right, she used the word ‘ridiculous’ a lot. Ha ha!

Paul was the exercise driven one. And he was always around. He was honest, and sometimes I’d say to him, ”You really have no filter, do you?” because he’d have no problem telling me, ”yes, that makes you look fatter” when asked, ha ha ha!

Together, they were just magic! We only had about six months together – then life took us in different directions, and they moved away. I guess life got busy for us all… as so often happens… and we lost touch! I vaguely recall an invitation at the beginning of 2020 that if I was ever in their area, I was to come for a visit. It was a quick post on my Facebook wall, and I don’t even remember if I ever responded!

So… I saw the memory this morning, yearned for them, and then began to go about my day. But they were all I could think about, and an hour later the yearning had intensified! I needed to reach out!
We’re Facebook friends, but I discovered that Tina’s profile seems dormant. I popped off a quick message, but it wasn’t delivered. I don’t give up that easily though 😛

I found their daughter’s profile, and sent her a message too! She explained that Tina is not actually on Facebook anymore. So I gave her my email and my cellphone number, and asked her to please ask her Mum to get in touch!
From what I can glean, they’re all in the UK now… which is very far away!

But not far enough that if Tina and I get on a phone call, she will somehow lovingly hit me upside the head despite the distance 😛 and I get the feeling we’ll be good friends again! (And this time I will make sure that we don’t lose touch again!)

With that in mind, and because I am sometimes patiently impatient 😛 I wondered if Paul wasn’t maybe still on Facebook. So I took a chance, and popped off a message to him. An hour later, I had an inbox! As a result, I am now communicating with Paul, who has passed on Tina’s number but says she’s quite busy at work and will be in touch later today! I wish later would come sooner! Ha ha ha!

I’m sharing this for two reasons.

One (another pun) some memories can be really great to remember!
and two :

I am appreciating more and more each day how much we lose along the way because, well, life! It seems that as much as we try to slow down, the pace of it doesn’t seem to want to let us! It is so easy, even when we have free time, to be caught up in the busyness of everything around us!
A true, good friend is rare. We should cherish the moments we can! ”Life” should never be so busy that we forget to set aside time for those who are in it with us!

That said, I am truly grateful for my fellow bloggers, who not only give me great reading material 😉 but likes and comments on my mishaps and motivations too! 😉

Yours, counting down the hours, 😛

Meg x

Hot Egg

In 2017, around about this very same time of year, in Queensland, Australia, a policeman fried an egg on his car hood! I am not joking! From what I understand, the temperature that day was around 46­°C (about 114.8°F)!

My country shares the same seasons with Australia, and so currently I am in the hottest Summer month! The town I live in is on the coast, and while I don’t experience the same very high temperatures as my Aussie family, I still think the humidity I experience is a lot worse than what they do!

Plus, I don’t have aircon.

Most houses in my town don’t. Businesses, hotels, offices, most retail stores – yes. But housing is a no. The few who do have are more those who are considered ‘wealthy’. Suffice to say, I don’t qualify! 😛 but I am far from being alone in this!

When February rolls around, even those who hate their jobs can’t wait to go to work! Ha ha! I’ve even known some who have put in unpaid overtime to snatch an extra couple of hours in the company aircon! Crazy, right? But we all get pretty much desperate to escape the humidity!

Typically, it goes like this : your sleep is disturbed around 2am because you need to scratch a few new itches… the mosquito’s have been busy! There isn’t a breath of wind and even though the thermometer clearly says that’s it’s only 27°C (80.6°F), it feels like you can’t breathe because of the heat. And then you confirm it! The humidity is 96%. No wonder you’re gasping for air!
(AND your area is experiencing loadshedding (where they take your power for three and a half hours at a time), and your electricity will only be returning at 3:30am, and so the small fan next to your bed isn’t even circulating the hot air because it needs power to work!)

OR…

It’s 1pm. Lunchtime. Maybe the shade of the tree will help? You step outside into the garden and your breath is actually taken away – nope, better off inside the house, even without aircon!
Because outside there is still no wind, the sun is beating down at about 35°C (95°F) and the humidity is 88% – hey, at least it’s dropped! 😉

OR…

Oh man! This is great! The wind has picked up and it looks like a storm might be rolling in! That lightning in the distance looks promising! (I love storms, and we have some serious electrical ones here… that sometimes take away our electricity and it takes 7 hours to fix and get it back on! Which is annoying, to say the least!!! But I still love storms 😉 )
And then it happens! The first raindrops begin to fall. Your heart flutters with excitement…. but you’re about to get a lesson in disappointment 😛
Oh…. it rains! Hard! And you actually go out and stand in it because it cools you down! (Yes, we do that!)
But it doesn’t last long. And as the storm passes, the wind disappears.
And all you’re left with is a rapidly climbing humidity percentage!

Perhaps now you will understand why I say I don’t like Summer. I was made for Winter, and the cold! Ha ha ha!

This girl is not designed for the heat!!!! 😛

It’s also quite a stressful time because of all the creatures that come with it! Moths the size of my hand, other creepy crawlies that I have yet to identify (I probably don’t want to know 😛 ), bees and wasps and hornets that need to be chased as soon as possible because my dogs are forever trying to catch them, and my two big frogs who seem to have taken residence here (although I still can’t find where they hibernate) and produce lots of little babies, who are really small and very cute – and I get to watch them grow up which brings me some happiness – but I also have to be on constant alert for snakes.
I am on call for the kids – my adult son and teenage daughter both squeal, and not with delight, and off I go to ‘catch and remove’ whatever creature they have discovered! (I still think I have a mini heart attack every time I have to catch one of those large moths, ha ha!)

BUT!!!!

I get the opportunity to practice PLENTY of gratitude during all of this, especially when we are given the most wonderful opportunities of experiencing a little bit of coolness. Everyone notices the instant happiness that pretty much floods my being! Ha ha ha!

And the absolute best part of it all?

I truly love butterflies. I once visited a butterfly sanctuary with the purpose of a picnic lunch in the botanical gardens after. I wanted a few more minutes with the butterflies, and before I knew it, everyone had finished their two hour relaxing lunch and it was time to go… and I was still standing with my butterflies! Yes, I was very hungry by dinner time! 😛

This horrible heat and humidity that is brought by the month of February also brings plenty of butterfly sightings! I sometimes see four or five, all in one day! And a couple of days ago, the most exquisite black and bright blue one followed me in to my house when I had finished hanging the washing on the line. It sat on the wall above my bed, and actually looked more like a sticker than a living creature! I reached for my phone to take a picture, but it was clearly camera shy and fluttered away, back out of my bedroom door (that leads on to my patio). And as strange as it sounds, that just made my day!

Yesterday was just plain strange! I popped in at ‘the shop up the road’, which is a small supermarket, and while I was standing looking at the fruit, I heard a buzzing sound. I looked to my left and there was a bee hovering next to me. I put some banana’s in my basket, and hurried off to the first aisle, only to discover that the bee had decided to go with me! And would you believe it, he continued to follow me, and hover next to me, throughout that whole darn store! Ha ha ha ha!
There was an old lady in the checkout queue ahead of me, and my bee friend was still next to me. She turned to look, and I laughed and explained ‘he’s been following me since I arrived, silly bee’! She laughed and said, ”it’s your brightly coloured aura and the positive energy you exude, he thinks you’re a flower!”
I just laughed even more and replied, ”or probably because today I actually put on perfume!” 😛

What is my point? (Other than complaining about the heat and humidity? 😛 )

Well? It’s a miserable time for me 😛 The weather we are having makes me sticky and uncomfortable, and sucks the energy out of me. It will slowly begin to move on though, and I imagine that by the end of April, I will be feeling a whole lot better about the weather 😉
(And no, I won’t be complaining about the cold!!!)
But I will miss my butterflies!
(And so long as the bees stay away from my dogs, and don’t sting me, I might miss having one as my companion too 😛 )

It’s a very effective reminder for me that even in uncomfortable circumstances, there is always something good to be appreciated, even if it’s as small as a butterfly!

And I also remembered a dialogue… I don’t remember where from, but it may have been something I watched last year :

”Will the storms ever stop?”
”Perhaps not. But neither will the rainbows!”

Thank you for reading 😉

Go to the Trees!

I’ve mentioned before that one of my all time favourite movies is ”You’ve Got Mail”.

Whenever ‘bad’ things happen, I can hear Tom Hanks doing his ”Godfather” impression in the movie, telling Meg Ryan to ”go to the mattresses”. ”GO TO WAR! Use ruthless tactics, if you must! But fight fight fight!”

When I get off my mattress in the morning though, I go to the trees! 😉 (and I am ruthless about focusing on positive self talk 😛 😉 )

Somebody once told me that their peaceful place is a beach – the rolling waves and the cry of seagulls, the sand between their toes… it instantly calms them.
I smiled, because that isn’t my sedative 😉 and told them, ”I’m a forest and waterfall, mountains kinda girl.”

Neither option is safe for me to run to for some solitude in my area. BUT there ARE trees!!!! And I always feel a sense of silent wonderment when I gaze upon them!

I am not a tree hugger in the sense of ‘campaigning for the environment’… but I have been known to hug a tree once or twice, ha ha ha!

And when things go wrong, as they so often do; and when I am feeling sad or angry or overwhelmed…
I go to the trees! Sometimes this means finding a place to pull over in my car where there is a tree, so that I can just look at it!
And most times I am amused when my brain reminds me : you’re feeling down, and now you’re looking up 😉

I have no idea where this fascination or appreciation comes from – I do think it’s a culmination of many things, and people. But I do remember that as a child we had a large garden with big trees – some I would climb, and some I would hide behind. I’d use the large trunk to support my back, and read ”The Enchanted Wood” series. Hmmm, perhaps I have Enid Blyton to thank 😉

And then there was the garden next door!
It was huge, and the side section was made up of a maze of pathways in amongst the lilies, daisies and clivias, and what to this little girl seemed like giant Weeping Willows!
The couple who lived there were grandparents – not mine – but they might as well have been, ha ha! I would often go there for tea – freshly baked scones with jam and cream, or whatever batch of homemade biscuits/cookies had just been baked! And then I would go and help Uncle Ian in the garden, while Aunty June rang my mother to let her know I was with them (because sometimes I just went there without seeking permission to! Ha ha!) Tea was always after the garden!
Uncle Ian knew how much I loved my Enchanted Wood books, and would let me drone on about the interesting characters, never once getting impatient with me!
And one day when I arrived unannounced, he told me he had known I was coming and he had a surprise for me. Looking back now as an adult, I am still filled with such fondness for that dear old man!

As we approached the Weeping Willows, he put his finger to his lips and whispered, ”You need to be very quiet. Maybe you will spot a fairy!” My eyes were suddenly the largest they had ever been, and they glistened with excitement as my lips made an excited oval! He smiled, and continued whispering, ”I think the fairies have come to live here because of you. Be careful where you step, because they have made little beds in places on the side of the path. Off you go now! I’ll wait here. They might run away if they see me!”
And he waited and watched as I tiptoed along the path, being extra careful where I put my feet, my eyes searching the area for fairy beds, and fairies!
The fairies were afraid of me, and stayed hidden… but oh! I found some of their little beds!!! Tufts of canopy foliage all bunched together – and some even slept with a small daisy as a pillow! (I grew up and realised he had made those little beds, especially for me! I think my heart did cartwheels the day I realised that!)

Inwardly, I squealed with delight upon every discovery – but I remembered what Uncle Ian had said about scaring the fairies, and so I would look back at him with a huge smile, my eyes dancing, and a finger to my lips, nodding that I understood. And he would be standing there, in the same spot under the shade of a tree, smiling back at me.
We had eight magical months of fairy seeking (despite my mother being extremely unhappy about it because he was filling my head with nonsense!) – and my imagination being what it was, I even caught a glimpse of a few fairies in that time 😉 And then Uncle Ian got really sick, and a few days later he passed away.
I snuck back into the garden one day, without first seeking out Aunty June because I knew she was sad. I couldn’t find a single fairy bed, and I remember curling up on the path, staring up at the Weeping Willows, and weeping!
I wasn’t there for very long when Aunty June found me. (My mother had rung to say I was missing and Aunty June knew where I would be.)
Over tea and scones she explained to me that the fairies had gone with Uncle Ian, to look after him. And I actually remember that that made my heart happy!
I’m guessing Uncle Ian played a big part in my love for trees too!

Why all the tree ‘bark’ (talk)? 😛

I saw something on Facebook, and it actually made me cry! Thinking back on the last 40 plus years of my life, I identified with every single word of it! The ending was an epiphany of sorts!

Trees help me breathe! Not just because they produce oxygen! They truly stop me in my tracks… they force me to pause in their magical beauty… they remind me to BREATHE!

I don’t know what works for you…. I don’t know what it is that reminds you, in pain and sorrow and anger and confusion; in moments where you just want to give up…. TO BREATHE….

But my hope for every single one of you reading this is that in the coming days whatever that thing is, it will find its way to you somehow, in immense amounts, so that whatever you are facing, you will be able to remember to ‘just breathe’!

Oh my goodness gracious!

Seriously?!?!?! I had a look at when last I blogged and just shook my head sadly and thought, ”Oh my goodness gracious!” I knew I had been neglecting this side of my soul’s creativity, but didn’t realise how much!

Life happens, and my time gets eaten up by things I have to do, as opposed to things I would rather do. I know I don’t have to apologise for being MIA (if I’ve been missed 😛 ) but it still makes me feel ‘bad’.

The title of this post is my ‘go to statement’, ha ha! I say it a lot, and it’s applied to most things. Sometimes I shorten it to ‘Goodness Gracious’, sometimes I add a ‘Me’ at the end. But it’s all about my tone! I’ll say it sadly if something terrible has happened to someone I know, I’ll say it with a bit of defiance when someone has been wronged, I’ll say it with an excited laugh if it’s something good!

And when it comes to children, I usually express it in an overly exaggerated, animated way in response to them telling me things like, ”And then the cup fell over and there was juice everywhere; and then he found me and it was my turn to get sprayed with the water gun” etc.

My neighbours little boy has just turned eight. I shake my head in disbelief when I see him, and hear him talking, and I wonder where the little 4 month old boy has gone, who once snuggled in my arms (he and his brother are adopted). I spent a lot of time with the two of them in their early years, and so by the time ‘my baby’ was four, he had adopted quite a few little sayings from me! And in true kid tradition where they have their own vocabulary, he would see me and shout, ”Goodness Grapejuice!” 😉

Yesterday, I pulled up into my driveway, and the boys were playing in their yard with water toys because it was just so very hot and humid. Their mom called to me, and I went across for a quick driveway chat. She told me a bit of exciting news they had to share, and I responded with an excited tone of my own, ”Oh my….” and there was a little voice that interrupted me, shouting as loud as he could, ”Goodness Grapejuice!” I laughed out loud and saw him roll his eyes and shake his head slowly, so I asked, ”What’s up with you?”
He gave me the most stunning smile and said, ”I’ve been saying it like that forever, and it still makes you laugh. You’re silly!” and then he rushed off to go play with his brother again.

I pondered his words as I prepared for bed last night. I found myself shaking my head and smiling, because once again I was back at, ‘‘it’s the little things that make the biggest difference”!

Please take a moment, pause and think, what little thing from the past still makes you smile? (If you want to share it in the comments, please do!)

Here’s hoping you all have very happy ”Goodness Grapejuice” moments this week! ❤

(off to do what I have to, hopefully this week will present more opportunities for what I want to do 😉 )

Paying attention to good stuff

3am. A little dog panting and jumping on me. ”I need to go, Mom!”
I stumbled around in the semi darkness, finding my glasses on the floor (how did they get there?), reached for the keys to open up, and dropped them… twice.
All the while, little Miss was running in circles… ”Hurry up, Mom, hurry up!”
Thankfully, she was quick. And my brain was just foggy enough still to not want coffee! 😉 I slept another hour and a bit, and woke to my 5am alarm.
Yes, I groaned. 😛
Sipping on my second cup of coffee, my mind started waking up properly, and as it always does, it produced a blog post.
(This is the part where I admit to the following : I write blog posts in my head a lot! They’re usually pretty good, ha ha! Then I find that peaceful gap where I can sit and type one out, and they’re all gone! Disappeared! Bermuda Triangle stuff! Mysterious, indeed!)

6am found me sitting at the computer, determined to type the ‘brilliant’ post in my head, but first I needed to catch up on a few blogs.

The following is not what I was going to blog about!

If we can start our day with a giggle or a smile, a little bit of happiness, it changes things. Well, it does for me anyway. It’s a small thing, a small difference, but it somehow makes something in me a little bit stronger – as if it equips me for whatever might come my way.
Yes, admittedly, when really bad stuff happens, I may falter. But for the most part is helps.

Wic from Letters to Pogue always seems to speak to me in one way or another – soul food and thoughts to ponder! Inspiration and encouragement more often than not! A worthy blog to visit if you have not already done so 😉

This morning I was catching up, and it was his Monday Musing for today that made me giggle. (Not to detract from serious thoughts in there – there was definitely food for thought – I’ll be contemplating after this 😉 )

Please do go and read it : I think what I am saying is that the things that often make life rich and bring a smile to our faces are the ‘little’ things.

In the meantime, here’s the ‘little memory’ that made me giggle :

For some odd reason, when I was younger, the Tooth Fairy never visited my house. My teeth were whisked off to a magical place, with a shiny coin to replace them, by the Tooth Mouse.
There were discussions about this amongst my little peers, with the boys being of the opinion that it was simply because I wasn’t dainty enough for the fairy – conversations that took place in whatever tree we were climbing at the time 😛 (My mother eventually stopped sending me to pre-school in pretty dresses 😛 The strange thing was that I liked being girly, and dresses made me feel like a princess, but I simply couldn’t resist climbing the tree! Ha ha!)

When I had a loose tooth, the money I could get did not attract me in the least – I tried hard to hide that loose tooth! Because if my cousins found out (the three girls), they were delighted! My aunt would double check that it was loose enough, and then one of them would sit on my chest, one would hold my arms, and the third my legs. And they’d wiggle it right out of my mouth for me! (looking back, this was definitely a better alternative to tying string to my tooth and a doorknob and slamming the door, ha ha ha!) They’d send me home, tooth in hand, delighted at the thought that soon I’d have a shiny coin!

One day while I was munching on some Crackerbread, alone in our large kitchen (oh! How I miss having a big kitchen!), I caught a glimpse of the Tooth Mouse!
Unable to contain my excitement, I ran out to the garage to tell my dad! He smiled, but I remember some concern too.
We made our way to the kitchen, to find my mother there, putting the kettle on for some tea. I was delighted to share my news with her, and somewhat confused when she shrieked and ran off to her bedroom! (Dad refused to set mouse traps – it would be too traumatising for me.)

But I suspect the Tooth Mouse had seen and heard it all, because none of us ever saw him again!
I did still get a shiny new coin when my next tooth got retrieved though 😛 😉

I hope your week is FULL of little reminders of happy memories from the past! Have a great one, everyone! ❤


Feeling dim?

I saw this on Facebook this morning. I had a whole other blog post in mind, but it stopped me in my tracks. It was one of those : ”oh my gosh, this is a very worthy re-share!” And so not to leave my blogging friends out, here it is :

Nobody’s perfect, all of the time. (I linked the song by Mike and the Mechanics because it is one I really like.

In many of my moments of imperfection, I was cast aside by the very people who were ‘supposed’ to love me. I know EXACTLY how it feels to be in that dark place (sometimes even because it really was my own fault that I was there) and be cast aside, judged unfairly, treated as unlovable.

I wasted many years allowing the anger and bitterness of that influence my words and actions. I excused myself with the ‘why should I’ attitude : why should I be considerate of him when he did xyz; why should I be kind to her when she did xyz? And on and on.
And sadly, I allowed it to form a part of me that became the very thing that had hurt me so much. It didn’t consume me, but there were too many times where I sat myself on a throne of my own making, and cast others aside for what I now realise were actually just honest mistakes and poor choices, because the choices they had to choose from were not so great to begin with.

I now realise.

Intensely painful self reflection, and a soul growth spurt that was remarkable in so many ways finds me in a very different place to ‘way back when’. It has been difficult (because my rebellious side still enjoys a little bit of ‘wickedness’ 😛 ) and my thoughts are not always very well controlled! But true changes only really emerged when I put in the effort to feed the right wolf 90% of the time (old blog post linked for the wolf story… if you want to skip the actual post, the wolf story is at the end 😉 ) – nobody’s perfect, hence my inability to achieve 100%! 😛 😉

These days I choose to dish out my attention, affection, acceptance and compassion. I am happy to help with direction too, if I have anything to offer. Sometimes I even find myself extending this to the very people who didn’t give it to me. (nobody’s perfect though, please remember, so I have to be honest and say that it isn’t always done without some grumbling and if there was someone close enough to read my mind, they’d be shocked! 😛 )

Sharing my light is important to me.

We all know that being the change we want to see in this world does have a positive impact, because the ripple in our immediate area often times gets carried and becomes the most beautiful wave.

But sometimes I think we need to also be who we needed when we were younger (for me, that means the period of my life from birth to my early thirties, ha ha!).

Here’s to a week of sharing our lights! 😉

Thoughts Doing Love

That really is how it sometimes goes! 😛 There are even times where I find myself nodding in agreement when I see this :

I remember a conversation with someone a couple of years ago where they made a comment : ”you sure do think a lot!” It was said as a tease, based on the topic we were discussing, and there was not a single bit of malice in it. But it made me pause for thought later in the day 😛 (I am shaking my head at me too right now, don’t worry, ha ha!)

The question that came to mind as I sat petting my dog was : Am I really a thinker?

Right up until my early thirties, I definitely tended more towards being a doer – often times with not so pleasant consequences. While I knew what my next step was, I usually didn’t think much further than that, and had a tendency to just ‘jump right into’ whatever it was that was going on.
As I’ve said many times, it’s possible that life experience has made me the way I am now : a sudden awakening of age (I’m old before my time 😛 ), a dash of wisdom and an abundance of caution have all resulted in some major changes the last few years – most of which have been positive changes, much to my delight!

But had I really suddenly become a thinker, as opposed to a doer? Had the thoughtful side of me really grown enough to be the dominant part of who I was?

Something else I say often is that I am very glad I am not a cat! The nine lives part is great, I guess… but curiosity apparently kills the cat – and I am a little too curious by nature! Ha ha! 😉

Curiosity got the better of me this time again, and off I went to do a little bit of personal research! (Because I am not a cat, and therefore I did not die 😛 )

I was so surprised at all the information out there – www. you did it again! 😉

Apparently ‘are you a thinker’ falls into all sorts of different categories, and is based upon what the comparisons are. For example : if the choice is between a thinker or a feeler, then I am a feeler, and not a thinker! (Which shouldn’t surprise anyone, ha ha!) But apparently you get thinking feelers too!

I discovered, to my surprise, that I was indeed much more of a thinker than I thought 😛 and that although I was still a doer, my mind won hands down! I found it interesting that being a thinker has its own classifications too! And my end result of that was this :

My natural thinking style leans most strongly towards being both a connector and a coach! As a connector, I like to build and strengthen relationships, bringing people together around shared interests and for mutual benefit. And as a coach, I like to work with people one-one-one, helping them see their potential, overcome barriers and achieve their dreams.
I am also classified as an ‘Intuitive Thinker’. Inner knowledge is apparently what I draw from to guide me. I process information and facts, but ultimately rely on intuition to make decisions and choices. I’m creative, imaginative and emotional – and I can’t be confined to the limitations of logic. I draw on past experiences to develop foresight.

Upon further exploration I was extremely amused to learn that intuitive thinking is a mystery to the science world, but that scientists believe that it happens in a region of our brain that is close to the pineal gland (lines up with the middle of your forehead between your eyebrows).
Two sources of amusement : I am a scientific mystery – insert a VERY loud laugh here! – and I may have discovered the source for one of these daily headaches of mine 😛
(I am convinced my offspring cause two of the others I experience 😛 )

All of the above may or may not be correct. As far as I know, I am not part of a scientific experiment and there has been no major testing done on my brain 😛
It could all be true though – especially since I know within myself that a lot of it really is me! That whole ‘I definitely identify with this’ thing that we so often experience in life! (As well as the : ‘how do they know me so well’ aspect 😛 )

Two reasons for this blog post : The first being that I happened to find my notes on all of the above tucked away in the back of a book I just pulled from my bookshelf for a reread (the book, in case you are interested, being : Motive, by Jonathan Kellerman – how funny that I stuck those notes in a book with that title! – well, funny to me, anyway – ha ha ha!)

The second being a theme I have noticed so far in this New Year. We’re only on the sixth day of January, and I have been asked three times by three individuals who have no connection to each other : So, Meg, what are you going to DO in 2022?
To the one I replied stating a goal/dream that I have for this year, and they said ”great, are you doing what you need to in order to achieve it?” (In case you are wondering, yes…. I am. The parts I can do, and can control – the rest is requiring a lot of patience! Ha ha!)
To another, the flippant response ‘same procedure as every year, James’… (if you have not watched Dinner for One, you might want to – I know I laugh, every time! And it’s only the introduction that is in German – the rest is English 😉 ) Their reply? Noooo…. you need to add some excitement to your to DO list!

By the third, I had carefully considered this whole DOING thing, and I replied : I am going to love more. (kindness, compassion, mercy, patience, honesty)
The response was a sweet laugh, and ”Oh Megs, but that’s not doing anything! You know what I mean!”

And I smiled and simply said, ”Believe me, it’s DOING a lot of things. Love needs action. I can’t help everyone all the time, but I am sure as heck going to put more effort into helping those I can, and DOING practical things along the way!”

(Speaking of which, I am supposed to be DOING my children’s laundry right now 😛 )

The little things make big things happen, remember?
So here’s hoping you will all join me and let’s DO something together to be that change we want to see in this world! ❤

I THINK I need another cup of coffee before I DO the washing 😛 😉