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31 Days of Gratitude – this has been an interesting exercise so far. When I started this theme I thought for sure I’d be focusing on the material rather than the intangible….but it seems my mind had other ideas.

I started off with my creature comforts; then to my job, from there I swung over to another creature comfort, and then I hit the material stuff…and from there it’s gone in the direction of love, experiences and the intangible. So far I’ve been grateful for indoor heating, my job, being able to cook, my laptop, learning how to invest, parental love, walking the Camino, experiencing snow, the love of pets, experiencing enchantment, having opportunities, being able to read….

Today I find myself leaning towards being grateful for awareness. It’s a scary old world with all the new technology we are exposed to; mobile phones, the internet, AI developments, gestural interfaces and now crypto-currencies. Although the latter is not new, in comparison to the others it’s still wet behind the ears, as am I. Since joining up and buying Bitcon my mind (and nerves) have gone through a range of emotions the like of which I’ve never experienced before. This is the only time in my life that a graph has held such a fascination. I need one of those screens like they had in that film with Tom Cruise; the Minority report. LOL

Besides being aware of all the new technology, we have to be aware of the ‘dark web’ so to speak; the scams, and hacks, and viruses that abound along with all that’s marvellous about all these new aspects of life. Daily we read about a new bank scam, or a major hacking attack, or fraudsters making off with millions of dollars. The sheer number of scams that abound today are bewildering and frightening. You have to be super aware. In order to protect your internet browsing you have to pay out large sums of money to keep your equipment safe. You can no longer be polite to someone on the phone who calls purporting to be from your bank (or receiving an email). Someone I’m close to was recently scammed by a very slick operator who managed to deceive her into thinking she was actually dealing with her bank. He had all the right protocols, the right questions and details that only the bank should have known about…..and she was scammed out of £13k+. Thankfully due to a total cock-up by the relevant bank they had to reimburse her all the money, but a great number of other people were scammed in the same way and they haven’t been refunded.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/08/scam-victims-fail-take-reasonable-care-will-not-get-penny-ofcompensation/

Being aware and keeping abreast of news for anything to do with the internet or the latest scam is vital if we are to be safe in our adventures on the web.

Which brings me to a current bug-bear of mine…..plastic. I’ve become very much aware of the devastating effect plastic is having on our lives. Having access to the internet is brilliant at being able to keep up to date with what is happening with raising awareness of this pernicious product. I joined the Plastic Pollution Coalition facebook page last year and have kept myself aware of the latest news; both good and bad. If you watched Blue Planet 2 a couple of nights ago you cannot fail to see how devastating an effect our lifestyle is having on the world’s oceans and our future.

We, as humans, are already eating plastic in our fish. Those microscopic bits of plastic are going to be our undoing.

Although programmes like Blue Planet 2 and organisations like the Plastic Pollution Coalition are doing a terrific job in raising awareness, it is not enough. We have to educate ourselves. We have to become more aware of why so much plastic is ending up in the oceans and what we can do about it.

Disposable plastics are made to last forever. A plastic water bottle takes 450 years to break down. Where does it break down to?Boomerange Alliance - Plastic Doesn't Go Away resizedScreen Shot 2017-06-20 at 1 It goes into the oceans. It’s killing the sea-life that the health of our oceans depend upon…..and finally it is going to kill us.

plastic pollution. raising awareness, blue planet 2, plastic pollution, no straw november, raising awareness

Shared via @nomoresingleplastic #nomoreplastic #breakfreefromplastic #plasticpollutes #marinelitter It’s frightening the amount of single use plastic that we humans use that ends up in the ocean and rivers. What are your thoughts on single use plastic? And what do you do to avoid it? It’s incredibly difficult to find foodstuffs that don’t come in plastic.

plastic pollution. raising awareness, blue planet 2, plastic pollution, no straw november, raising awareness

I’m grateful for these types of organisations and programmes that are bringing the plastic pollution battle to the forefront of our awareness and especially to those companies/organisations that are actually doing something about it.

plastic pollution. raising awareness, blue planet 2, plastic pollution, no straw november, raising awareness

Edible Six Pack Rings

If only our Governments weren’t so fixated on making money, then they would do something rather more drastic about firstly raising awareness of the huge problem we face and secondly, actually doing something about it.

The most important thing to do now, is to ban the use of disposable plastics unconditionally. By doing this, the huge disposable market will disappear. But Governments are slow to act…..this has been a problem for well over 2 decades now and still they are acting sluggishly about actually doing something drastic to curb the growing problem. Organisations are hugely responsible for the production of single-use plastic; bottled water, fizzy drinks (no huge brand names are mentioned here….think!!), plastic straws (Over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day in the United States), plastic cups, plastic cutlery, plastic plates, plastic wrapping, plastic toothpicks, plastic ties, balloons, plastic toys (usually cheap rubbish from China that breaks within a day or so anyway), bubble wrap, plastic bags, plastic carrier bags, plastic milk bottles etc etc etc.

Once I became aware of the huge problem, I started looking at where I could cut plastic out of my ‘diet’. The first thing to go were bottles of water. Then I signed a pledge to never use straws again (last year), I joined the #nostrawNovember campaign,

I stopped buying take-away coffees, and take-away food that comes in polystyrene containers.  It is essential to me that I keep myself aware of these issues and hopefully share my findings with others in order to raise their awareness. The internet is brilliant for research and for raising awareness of the issues we face. Platforms like google, twitter, facebook, instagram and pinterest are excellent sources of information and for raising our awareness of the issues and some of the solutions.

Today I am grateful for awareness. I’m grateful for the technology that allows us to raise our own awareness of the issues that we face in the world today, and the awareness of others.

I’m also grateful to people like this wee lass who at the age of 9 is super aware of the problems that plastic products impose and is not only raising awareness of the issues but actually doing something about it http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/nine-year-old-wants-to-end-plastic-pollution/

Be aware http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/42309891/six-simple-ways-to-cut-back-on-plastic

#nomoresingleplastic #nomoreplastic #breakfreefromplastic #plasticpollutes #marinelitter

31 Days of Gratitude – Day 12

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31 Days of Gratitude and today I’m grateful for reading; the ability to read.

Being able to read is a huge privilege and an incredible practical ability. Although it’s something we tend to take for granted, millions of people are unable to read.

Besides the lack of opportunity to learn how to read, physical disabilities can affect our ability eg dyslexia. “Britain has up to eight million adults who are functionally illiterate. The World Literacy Foundation said one in five of the UK population are so poor at reading and writing they struggle to read a medicine label or use a chequebook”.

Can you imagine that? Reading is such a fundamental function that we use every day. We grow up learning to read and it opens up opportunities we tend to take for granted without a second thought. What if we never had the privilege or ability to learn to read.

Could we apply for a job? Would we be able to write a job application? Would we be able to function in a work place where reading is fundamental to the job?

I was lucky enough to learn to read and write from a very young age. I’ve always loved books; a real bookworm growing up I spent every spare minute with my nose buried in a book….transported to different worlds. A voracious reader I went through school books like water through a sieve. My teachers had a hard time keeping me supplied and I went through the curriculum selection in no time at all.

2015-05-18 21.44.36 987858039044173615_231798962

Going to The Chapel, and we’re…… having hot chocolate with oodles of cream. 🙂 The Chapel is a quirky bar/coffee/book shop. It’s actually a bar with hundreds of books that line the walls, from floor to ceiling in some places, where you can relax with a drink and read a book…you can also buy the books which is super cool.

Fundamental to reading is a good cup of tea and a packet of biscuits….my ideal day.

As a child my absolute favourite books were the Secret Seven or Famous Five books by Enid Blyton. Anne of Green Gables was a huge favourite and so many others. My Mother used to buy me comics every week when I was about 5 years old…I waited with anticipation for the latest to fall through the letter box. I loved all the fairy stories and the Brothers Grimm stories were read again and again. I remember in my teens and 20’s literally reading through the night and finishing a book a night. I used to read at least 2 – 3 books a week; spy thrillers, WW2 stories, conspiracy theory stories, love stories, historical novels, the list of my likes went on and on.

These are some of my latest reads as well as my fantastic collection of books about London. I adore London and love to read about her secrets and history.

 

book review

These days I don’t read hardcover books so much since most of my time is now spent writing, but I still read a lot via the internet – articles on travel – namely walks around the UK and the various Caminos in Spain. I read a lot about health and finance, as well as the occasional gossip column LOL Ergo, most of my day is spent in reading or writing.

Besides loving books, I love the English language; it’s such a rich repository of wonderful words that we’re able to play around with creating pictures using descriptive words to create an image or a story.

Alongside of reading comes writing. To be able to write is as much a privilege as reading. I can’t imagine not being able to read and write; it’s fundamental to my day to day life. My whole working life has involved reading and writing and even today in my current career reading and writing is a necessary ability. I’ve written poems, a short story and 3 London books, one of which is a travel guide.

I had a blind friend once who lost his sight when he was a young boy. He had to learn braille and over the years he managed to obtain a computer on which he could write using braille. He worked in the office of the Courier company I was working for and held down a most fundamental role in the company. But it was always a challenge for him.

If I was unable to read and write I wouldn’t have been able to take up most of the opportunities I’ve had in the past and certainly currently. My blog is a vip part of my day and besides sharing my stories, I’m able to follow the stories of those that I identify with. I’ve been able to follow walkers on the Camino, learn about health benefits and latest research. I’m able to follow articles on finance and learn about trends like Bitcoin and Litecoin…which I might add are bloody exciting.

I taught my daughter to read at a very early age and one of my most endearing and enduring memories of her childhood are the nights when I would read her bedtime stories. One of our favourite books (I still have the relevant book) was The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. An absolute favourite I would read two or three chapters, following the faerie characters on their many adventures. I would also invariably fall asleep…something that happens a lot these days too when I read a book LOL 2 -3 pages and I’m asleep.  Another favourite book was The Neverending Story….still a favourite and I hope to read these two books to my grandchildren one day.

One of the hardest of my possessions to give up when I packed up in South Africa was my books. I had to leave hundreds behind. But sadly I don’t have the space for them. I did keep many of the favourites though. One book I have is The Water Babies. An old book that belonged to my father as a boy….it’s a treasured item.

So today I am grateful for reading and alongside of that I’m grateful I can write. There are millions who cannot and I can’t imagine how debilitating and hindering that must be.

31 Days of Gratitude – Day 11 

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31 Days of Gratitude and today I’m grateful for Opportunity.

Once again it seems I am drawn to something that is non-tangible and today it’s opportunity aka luck. There are hundreds of quotes linked to opportunity and much discussion on the subject of opportunity or lack thereof. Described as “an occasion or situation that makes it possible to do something that you want to do or have to do, or the possibility of doing something”31 days of gratitude, recognising opportunities, travel opportunities,

It may seem quite an odd thing to write about, but I consider myself to be incredibly lucky with all the opportunities I have had in my life. I remember once many years ago, a company I was working for promoted me to Regional Personnel and Admin Manager. Prior to that I had been employed by the company in the position of Debtors Clerk. One of the ladies that had worked with the company for some years, a lot longer than myself got really shirty and on hearing about the promotion said “some of us are so lucky”. Well, luck is just hard work and taking the opportunity to do more than you are paid for. I may have started as a debtors clerk but due to my insatiable desire for learning I set about learning as much about the processes and systems of the company as possible. I investigated, and instigated systems and procedures to improve upon what was already being done. It saved the company a lot of money; ergo the promotion. But it was only because I took the ‘opportunity’ to learn and improve, not only myself but the company too that I got ‘lucky’.

It’s about perception.

On the negative side:

I took the opportunity to leave a very unhappy home life by getting married at 17.

I took the opportunity to get a divorce before I was even 21 even though being alone scared the hell out of me.

I took the opportunity to leave a destructive relationship even though he pursued me with threats of death.

I often look back on my life and see the ‘forks in the road’, the ‘opportunities’ that have come my way. Some I have acted on, others I have ignored. Invariably there are outcomes; both good and bad.

I took the opportunity to buy a house even though I really couldn’t afford it – we made a plan with a lot of sacrifices.

I took the opportunity to move to Cape Town when a good job offer came up.

I took the opportunity to go back to college in my mid 40’s and get a Distinction in Credit Management.

I took the opportunity to travel to Ireland for my sister’s 30th birthday after the company I was working for closed down.

I took the opportunity to apply for my British Citizenship.

I took the opportunity to travel as much as possible rather than have my own rented apartment.

I didn’t take the opportunity to buy Bitcoin when it was $2 a coin LOL – but cést la vie.

I think the point is that so often opportunities arise and because we are distracted, disbelieving, uncertain and afraid, we tend to not recognise an opportunity when it arises.

I’m grateful for the opportunities that I have had. The chance to live in the UK being one of the biggest I could ever have imagined. These days I am far more aware of the opportunities that come my way and endeavour to make the most of them. My job is the perfect example. I could stick within my ‘comfort zone’; have a home of my own with all the comforts that brings and only take jobs that are close to home, or I could take the opportunity that jobs in different parts of the country offer and travel to places I could never even begin to imagine, even though it is sometimes very uncomfortable.31 days of gratitude, recognising opportunities, travel opportunities,

As a result of the opportunities I have had to travel, I’ve started Project 101 and this is taking me to many more fascinating places in the UK and Europe, the most recent of course being the Camino I walked in September.

31 days of gratitude, recognising opportunities, travel opportunities, camino de santiago, walking the camino

scenes from Camino 2017

That has been an absolute highlight of my life, so today, as I reflect on all the wonderful, amazing and extraordinary places I have been and the thousands of awesome, stunning and incredible things I have seen in the last year, then yes……

Today I am grateful for the many opportunities that have been gifted to me.

31 Days of Gratitude – Day 10

 

 

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31 Days of Gratitude and today I’m grateful for cats.

I love cats, I always have. From my earliest childhood memories, it’s always been cats for me. Despite that most of our early years were filled with dogs of all shapes, sizes, breeds and colours; Satan our Alsatian, Jasper our Cocker Spaniel, the 3 Pepe’s our Dachshunds aka sausage dogs, Blackie our mixed breed and many many others inbetween….for me it was always cats.

When my daughter was growing up we had pets of varying shapes, sizes and species; goldfish, hamsters, rats, dogs and cats. We once had 3 Maltese Poodles and 3 cats, a goldfish and a hamster. Then slowly but surely we finally ended up with just cats….

When I bought our house in Cape Town I never imagined we would end up with 5 cats at once. It was an unspoken rumour in the neighbourhood that I was the ‘cat lady’. If there was a stray or a lost cat I would have people at my door telling me they had found this or that stray and would I take it in!!! Obviously I couldn’t take them all but a number found their way into our home and hearts by design and stealth.

We moved to the Cape from the Transvaal in 1994 and took along 2 cats and 3 dogs. The dogs eventually moved house but the cats stayed. In time the number fluctuated; some died others arrived.

Misty – aka Kitty, a beautiful grey Russian Blue, rescued by my sister as a 4 week old kitten along with her sister and hand fed till 8 weeks and then given to my daughter as a gift. She was one of the most chilled and relaxed cats you could imagine. Nothing fazed her and being the matriarch it was up to her to welcome the future members into the family bosom. She never fussed about anything, and as each new member arrived, she would look them over and go back to sleep.

Sascha – a gorgeous tortoiseshell we bought at a pet shop. She cost ZAR 5.00 (less than £0.05 in today’s money). I remember my daughter pleading if we could have her, and me saying oh she’s only R5!!! Well that little girl cost me more than any of the others…she had one mishap after the other and plenty of vets visits. I took her to work with me for the first few weeks…needless to say not much work got done. After we moved into our house in Summer Greens she disappeared one day. We never did find her. 😦

Gizmo – a little black rescue cat with ears that were bigger than her head, saved as a kitten from some horror that was swinging her around in a plastic bag. She adored my daughter and disliked me LOL Whenever a new cat moved in she would flounce up the staircase having a hissy fit as she went, and sit there hissing her opinion. She never quite got the hang of welcoming any new members to the family. Unfortunately in time she had to be put to sleep as she developed a salivary virus that was attacking her system and after months on steroids we had no choice; her kidneys were failing. Poor baby.

Shanwa – my daughter’s little boy. Also a rescue cat he came to us at much the same time as Gizmo although he had a slightly better start that Gizmo. A stunning white and ginger cat, the two of them looked adorable together. He soon surpassed Giz in beauty and stature and grew into a stunning boy. He also adored my daughter but seldom got a look in with Ms Jealousy Gizmo. But he was chilled and just loved being with us. Sadly run over one night by a car racing through the neighbourhood, we heard the thump and when he dragged himself through the window we knew he was in trouble. A desperate race to the emergency vet late at night was to no avail. My daughter held him in the back of the car and actually felt his soul leave his body and pass through hers. A sad goodbye

Felix – one winter’s day as I started the engine of my car a long skeletal cat covered in sores and almost no hair slunk out from under the car…virtually unable to walk he staggered. I stopped the car and put out some food and water for him. This went on a few days, so I started feeding him regularly and as soon as he was able to trust me I put him in the car and took him to the vet. It appears he had been abandoned after his previous owners left the neighbourhood GRRRR. He stayed at the vet for nearly 2 weeks, they bathed, neutered and treated him. When he came home his hair was tough and harsh, the sores on his skin healing. Within months he had filled out and his hair grew soft and thick; the most beautiful ginger boy you could imagine. I adored him. He used to lie on my body, stretched out he tipped my knees to my head. A beauty.

Daisy – I remember one summer evening I was cooking supper and this beautiful little black and white regal princess came tentatively in through the back door. She walked through to the lounge and stationed herself under a high stool, sitting upright and still like sphinx  for about 15 minutes or so and then she left. This went on for a few days and then she brought the family : 2 little kittens. She had been sussing out the place to see if it was suitable for her babies. They were quite big so one of our neighbours offered to take one and we kept…

Tinkerbell – the cutest fluffiest ball of fur you can imagine. She was adorable. Unfortunately the vet made an error when determining her age, despite my comments to the contrary, and before long she along with Mummy was pregnant. Obviously she was way too young to have babies so we had to have her spayed 😦 Poor baby. But she rallied and grew into a most gorgeous girl. Mummy went on with her pregnancy, but it was too soon after the first litter and one weekend she ended up delivering 5 tiny little scraps…virtually hairless and with see-through skin and unable to suckle. Emergency visit to the vet on the weekend and R3,000-00 later we took Mummy home without the babies…they all died. To our absolute distress. But she rallied and before long, now spayed she recovered. They were the closest two cats I have ever known and stuck together like velcro. If you were looking for one, you found them both.

Then there was Patches who crept into our lives one Christmas Eve. I found him sleeping on our laundry. An adorable little boy we loved him to bits. Sadly when he was still but a kitten who loved to lie in the sun, our neighbour rode over his head with their car….I can’t tell you how much I hated that man. It nearly broke me picking up that little body. We buried him in our backyard.

The last of our every changing menagerie before we left the country to come live in the UK was a family of 5; Misty, Gizmo, Felix, Daisy and Tinkerbell. At the time I wasn’t sure how long I was going to be in the UK, so a friend of mine took them in as boarders, but as it turned out I relocated and they were so settled by then that she kept 4 of them…except poor little Gizmo.

We used to go visit them all whenever we went back to South Africa and it broke my heart to leave them behind.

Now 16 years later we have our Elsie. A fabulously fluffy gorgeous little Miss. A rescue cat who had been very badly treated before being rescued, my daughter adopted her 2 years ago. She is a beauty and adores my daughter. She tolerates me LOL. Mind you I hardly ever see her, travelling as I do, so whenever I walk through the door, she’s like ” who are you again?” But if my daughter is not around, my lap does suffice. So long as I don’t hug, kiss or cuddle her. A bit of stroking is fine but not too much. Elsie is the most photographed cat in the world. Hahahaha.

31 days of gratitude, cats, family cats

Our Elsie

At my current assignment I have the joy of looking after a gorgeous wee tiger of a boy; Charlie. Just a kitten, he is a mix of something or other and just stole my heart. I’ve been very bad and let him sleep on my bed. We have loads of fun in the morning and I have the bites and scratches to show for it. Being a yearling he is still feisty as hell and goes from sweet and loving to wild and crazy. I often remind him that it’s not really a good idea to bite the hand that feeds him. But I love him to bits. I shall have to acquire him in time LOL

31 days of gratitude, cats, family cats

Charlie

So yes, cats. They are absolutely the most amazing creatures and I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had to have these beautiful souls in my life.

Today I am grateful for cats and the love of an animal.

31 Days of Gratitude – Day 8

 

 

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Hot on the heels of remembering my Mother on what would have been her birthday, yesterday. “I wasn’t there that morning my father passed away“…….Today I’m reminded of my Father who died 2 years ago.

For many years, probably decades in fact, I had a really fractious relationship with my Father and as yet I find it difficult to mourn for someone that left home when I was just 5 years old and my little sister just 2.

Of course while growing up he was my idol, I adored him and cried many desperate tears when he left after a visit. But in time he moved on, remarried and then the visits became less frequent, birthdays missed and behaviour criticised. The first 8 years weren’t too bad, we saw him on holidays and due to 2nd his marriage acquired a new brother, the same age as me.

But as the years went by, the criticisms grew more frequent and the disappointment began to show, and so the relationship deteriorated. I grew up and wanted to get married, he refused to give me away and I never forgave him for that. He went on to have another son, divorced that wife and married again, having 2 new daughters.

He only ever wanted sons. I got that. But I never got that despite that he didn’t raise me, he still felt it was his place to criticise me and find fault. I spent many years trying to please my father, to no avail. When I was in my 30’s I was promoted to Regional Personnel and Admin Manager for a large Courier Company in South Africa with 5 branches countrywide and the Head Office…..his response “are you sure you can manage that?”. I gave up.

After that I didn’t seek his approval. Time moved on, we grew up, I got older and eventually I moved to the UK. A relationship that was tenuous at best, was further strained by distance. Years went by without any much contact and the last time I remember really talking to him was on my 60th birthday 2 years ago. That was such a surprise, but time, as time proved, was running out. There was to be no opportunity to repair the relationship. C’est la vie.

One of my favourite songs that I love listening to is ‘The Living Years’ by Mike & The Mechanics. I remember how, when I first heard this song, how much it resonated. It reminded me of the relationship I had with my father…or lack thereof.

And so the years go by and although a sense of regret lingers, I feel no pain and no loss, but I think of him every time I hear this song….That’s good. I hope.

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31 Days of Gratitude and today I’m grateful with a full heart for the love of a good woman. Today would have been my Mother’s 86th birthday.

Mom and C as a baby

my Mother and daughter. taken 3 years before my Mom died.

I’m grateful that I was born of a strong woman with good genes. Although many of those genes passed me by (except her good looks of course 😉 ) some of those that managed to find a hold are my love of chocolate, curiosity and reading. My Mother was an amazing cook and baker. Her cheese scones were to die for.

I have wonderful memories of my Mother playing with us, taking us out into the snow in South Africa (a rare phenomenon where we lived then), her wicked sense of humour and her love for her children and grandchildren.

31 days of gratitude, the love of a good woman, love of a mother

My mother as a young woman, me with the dark hair (7) and my sister with blonde hair (4)

She was a brilliant seamstress and made us (4 daughters and 3 grand-daughters) some stunning outfits….she even made both my sister’s and my wedding dresses. She carried on creating gorgeous outfits for people long after we grew up. In fact she was in the middle of creating a stunning wedding dress for a client and an amazing wardrobe of clothes for a lady with dwarfism just before she had the strokes that killed her.  Every tiny outfit she made was perfectly cut, styled and lined and fit like a glove. Sadly she didn’t get to finish those final outfits…..

She died at the age of 52, just 7 weeks or so before her 53rd birthday.

From her I learned to cook, to sew (unsuccessfully)…not because she was a bad teacher, but because I had no patience. She always loved her flowers and gardens wherever she lived; her particular favourite were yellow roses. She had green thumbs and fingers and could grow just about anything….her gardens were always an explosion of colour.

31 days of gratitude, the love of a good woman, a mothers love. remembering my mother

my daughter often sends me yellow roses – she knows how much I love them

I’m grateful that I had the time I did with her, albeit way too short and sometimes fraught with arguments….something you’re inevitably going to get with a house full of strong minded women.

I saw this posted on a friend’s timeline today and the words resonated with me because of course my mind is filled with thoughts of my Mother:

“None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like and after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else”. Anthony Hopkins.

Poignant and powerful words, especially today as my family and I remember the wonderful person who was our Mother and Grandmother who should have celebrated her 86th birthday today. As well as which, today, 3 people on my Facebook timeline; 2 friends and 1 family have posted about the loss of someone close to them. It brings to mind the refrain that we should live every moment with passion and joy. We have only one life, and we’re dead a heck of a lot longer than we’re alive.

My delightful daughter started a thread on the whatsapp family thread; asking what favourite things we remember about her? It’s been really interesting to see what memories each of us have of her….all varied and yet they carry a common thread…love for her family. I’ll list them here.

Things I remembered (amongst many others, but these sprang immediately to mind); her crazy sense of humour, macaroni cheese (I make that a lot – in fact my client is getting that for supper tonight LOL)

31 days of gratituee, learning to cook, preparing healthy meals

one of mine and my daughter’s favourite meals; macaroni cheese. a family favourite.

potato salad (I made one today for lunch in her honour), pea soup, her music tastes, the colour of her hair – burnished gold aka auburn and her eyes – green, her colourful flowing kaftans that she wore all the time, her love of reading – mostly spy thrillers, and her sewing skills.

Memories from other members of the family are; her laugh, her hugs, sense of humour, naughty streak, playing scrabble, love of properly made tea (yes, as my sister said: no guesses where I get that from LOL), love of travel, love of roses, she was a party animal, making Christmas puddings, her OTT Christmas decorating, fabulous birthday parties for her daughters and grandchildren, her love of plants…she had a jungle in her conservatory… and as my one sister said…..the list is endless.

My Mother wasn’t religious but she was a very spiritual person. I remember just a few weeks before she died, her brother who she hadn’t seen for some years, suddenly visited out the blue. I recall how she phoned both my sister and I to tell us about the visit and her chilling words stick in my mind even today “one of us is going to die”. We just didn’t know it would be her. She had a very strong bond with my paternal grandmother and often she would stop mid-sentence and say “Grandma’s in the room”. She could smell the  lavender my Grandmother wore. I remember one time, a few years after my mother died, my sister was making an outfit for one of her daughters and got stuck with a particular section…after trying for ages to get it right she burst into tears and said “Mon, help me please!” And she did. The outfit came together.

My Mother had 4 daughters and she taught us so much.

And even though it wasn’t (she was a strict disciplinarian) and isn’t always a ‘bed of roses’, most of our memories are good. How blessed we were and how well she is remembered.

Today I am grateful for my Mother (I chose well) and the love of a good woman.

31 Days of Gratitude – Day 5

 

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31 Days of Gratitude and today I’m grateful for learning.

inspirational quotes

You are not too old and it is not too late

I was never a very bright scholar at school. I remember my sister usurping me when I was doing homework. When my Mother schooled me in arithmetic my sister would always pipe up with the answers before I had a chance to even think about them. She had a bent for math, I didn’t. I was 7, she was 4. I was pretty average at school, usually scraping through with 60% or so, my favourite subjects were English, Geography and History. They still are. But I can add numbers in my head…impresses my daughter no end. LOL

I left school very young at 16, and started work just before my 17th birthday. Even at work I wasn’t very bright, but I learned as I went and eventually over the years I progressed from being a very bad typist (using 2 fingers which gained me a lot of raps on the knuckles from my manager), to gaining a Distinction in Credit Management when I was 47…only took 30 years!! Nothing slow about me at all LOL

I stumbled into my career and the fact that I ended up in Credit Management had nothing to do with my math skills, but rather my ongoing learning….every new job I got, I took on more duties and learned more and more. My success in Credit Management came from my OCD when it comes to keeping things in order and being specific and having a winning way with people on the phone; persuading them to part with their money (I loved that aspect). I learned a lot over the years and went on to attain a position as a Credit Manager managing the Debtor books for a group of 5 companies and a staff of 10 ladies. I loved every minute of that job (except when my boss was being a shit).

And then just for fun I gave it all up (the company closed down), and travelled to Ireland which is where my real education began. I learned so much about history, lifestyle, and freedom. I loved living there so much I only returned to South Africa long enough to get my Ancestral Visa and head straight back to the UK never to return to SA on a permanent basis (I’m now a British citizen).

My mind has expanded beyond my comprehension and more recently I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ of learning about Crypto Currency. Jeez. If ever you want a learning curve on a big scale, try getting involved with Crypto Currency. My brain!!!! I had such a headache last night when I went to bed.

My daughter recently bought into Bitcoin. Now I had and have been very sceptical about Bitcoin and although I had been invited to buy into it last year when it was still at $200 a coin, I refrained…mostly because I didn’t have a clue what it was and I was afraid of investing in something so new…my loss as it turns out.

However, as mentioned my daughter sprang a surprise on me last week by sending me a message to say she’d bought into Bitcoin. I was like wft?? Seriously!? Anyhow, long discussion/discourse short, after many messages and discussions back and forth and because I trust my daughter implicitly, I decided to take the plunge and buy into it. Especially now that it’s at $8,000 + HAHAHAHA The story of my life. I always end up watching the bandwagon heading off into the distance saying ‘I wish I had of….’ Like the time in the early 1990’s when I had the opportunity to buy shares in a newly fledged Mobile phone company (whose name shall remain unmentioned), and I said “No! They’ll (mobile phones) never last” or when Facebook launched their shares…I was like nahhh. Well the missed lessons of the past haunt me still and I still miss out on technological happenings.

So when Bitcoin first arrived on the scene…I was like “Nope, not for me thanks”. I remember one of my now ex Facebook friends said to me “I can make you rich”. Well alarm bells went off in my head (a carry over from the Tony Robbins era), and I just said sorry not now. He unfriended me. His loss.

But, since I trust my daughter explicitly, and since I know she is very careful with her money, after she invested I thought…okay how much can I comfortably invest without feeling too much angst. I settled on 3.5 days of work and that’s the amount I invested.

All fine and good….and with her help and guidance and downloading apps I’d never heard of, I bought a VERY tiny portion of 1 Bitcoin. And then the learning began. Now I recognise most of the words they use, I understand what they mean individually, but in the context they are used in relation to Crypto Currency, I’ve said ‘wtf’ a lot this last few days!!! LOL. I may as well be reading Russian for all that any of it means anything to me…..

But I’m learning. And it has been fascinating. I learned about how to buy a TINY portion of a Bitcoin, about opening a ‘wallet’, about ‘selling’ (and how they charge a commission that makes my heart skip a beat), about watching the graphs (if you want to have a nervous breakdown…..that’s a good place to start), about buying another up and coming Crypto Currency using a Bitcoin. Holy Moly. Talk about a curve…those graphs have nothing on this. It’s scary, and thrilling and invigorating and I have learned once again that I have seriously latent issues with and about money. Most specifically the loss of money. The ABBA song ‘Money, Money, Money’ springs to mind.

I’m quite happy to take on more difficult jobs, to work and save up £1000 over 18 months so that I can take a walk across Portugal and Spain, but as soon as I watch the graphs and see my investment going down….eish. Painful. Red is bad, Green is good!!

So I’ve now I’m ‘learning’ to not watch the graphs…they change by the second. I check at 8am and make a note of the value (I had a spreadsheet up within hours of buying my first coin), and then at 10pm I make a note of the values and that is it. I’ve learned how to set ‘alerts’ and what a good alert is. I’m now learning about the terminology and how it applies to this crazy world. (okay, so I lied…I check at 1pm too 😉 )

There are apps galore; crypto news, crypto trackers, coin market, binance, crypto signals, bitcoin news, ico market….and on and on. Who knew? It’s a whole new world. I’ve only just learned how to operate instagram for goodness sake!! Oh and if you look at the apps on google play…right next to the crypto currency apps you’ll find an app for ‘meditation & relaxation’ – someone knows their market LOL

Meanwhile I’ve been reading as much as possible on Crypto Currency. Did you know there are over 750 different Crypto Currencies?? With names like YOYO & EOS & QSP & ADA & QTUM and yeah TNT!!! There’s even a SALT!! LOL I mean seriously, it’s insane. But I’m ignoring the lot except for the 3 I’ve invested in.

At 62, there’s only so much excitement a brain and heart can take.

Ever feel like you’re living in a Matrix?

Today, even though it’s doing my head in, I’m grateful for learning…..who knows where it will take me this time!!learning about crypto currency

31 Days of Gratitude – Day 4

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