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Spring cleaning and meet ups



One of the Aussie stroke survivors on here and I are trying to get together for a lunch. We keep proposing dates and then one or the other of us has to cancel. I know this is a busy life so I guess that is the reason. It is not a long trip as she lives in Sydney an hour and a half or so from here, maybe two and a half hours if I factor in public transport.. I find it difficult to make a date and a time as that depends what else is happening in my life. I am picking up friends from the past again. They are retiring and moving back to the Central Coast. It is good in a way but these days we are just acquaintances having lived for 40 or more years without seeing each other. It surely must have been much easier a few generations ago when we didn't move around as much, to keep in touch with friends and family.


It is Spring here, hot today, cool change tomorrow. I have been doing some Spring cleaning, mainly changing curtains etc. It had to be done sooner or later. I keep on thinking I will declutter but the most I seem to do is a shopping bag at a time. Each of the precious items I have saved holds a memory. I changed the bedroom curtains today and even that has an impact as it changes the way I look at my room. I still look at it through the eyes of Ray's wife. I still struggle to be "me", sometimes I can do it, be just me without any title but that only lasts a short while. Forty four years is a long time married and only four since so I know in the end I will be able to do it. For now it is as though life is a tree losing it's leaves and I resent each one that drops to the ground.


I had my daughter and her family here for a couple of nights last week so all of that bed linen needs to be washed too. I do the jobs as I get around to them, fitting them in between other parts of my busy life. Today, with a warm wind blowing was an ideal day to start the clean up. I always smile when friends say : "You could do it all in a day if you wanted to." Yes, when there are two of you working side by side it is a lot quicker to tidy a garden or clean out a room but when I am by myself it is so tempting to sit and look at the book you are moving or the photo album you are about to pack away.


I am hoping to get stuck into the garden soon, haven't done any repotting for ages and can't now until the bromiliads slow down again as they are starting to bloom. I have always had a lot of plants in pots. That started when we lived away for ten years while Ray was with Fisheries. As we knew we would only be in any one station for three years it seemed more sensible to put the plants I valued into pots rather than into the garden so they could move on with us. I am gradually accumulating new geranium cuttings which is just as well as some of the mature plants are around twenty years old. I have a deep red ivy geranium that was originally a dance prize in 1983 that I have taken many cuttings from over those intervening years.


One of the things that fills my life with joy is the weekly phone calls from my grand daughter Alice. Sometimes we talk on Skype. I am glad I live in the Facebook/Skype age as I can talk to her when her father has enough credit to allow her to do so. It is nice to have her chirrupping away about Playgroup and Toy Library and swimming lessons and all the other things that fill her time with her Dad. It is strange that as the youngest she is the only one I speak to regularly. With the others I speak to their parents and only very occasionally to them personally. Her Dad, Trevor, is determined she will have that contact on a regular basis as they live so far away from the rest of the family.


I am determined to have happy days. It is not really an actual goal but it is a different way of looking at life. When I go to bed each night I review the day..what has happened, who I've see or talked to, what I have done. From all of that I try to think of things that have given me satisfaction, helped someone, made me feel happy. Some days do not have a lot to recommend them, rainy days, days when plans are changed, days when I get bogged down in menial tasks and don't seem to achieve a lot but there are other days when there is something to make me smile. I love Sunday hugs from some of the widows,a meal out, a day in the garden where I can look back and see a new row of spinach seedlings or a few repotted plants that are about to flower. I think I have always liked the simple things. Just today changing the curtains, tidying drawers, finding some old photos to look at, that is enough to make me happy.


A friend recently asked me when I am going to start taking those trips I have promised myself and you know I doubt I will now. I never did see the value of travel for travels sake and without a partner to travel with I would be alone. I seem to have reverted to the simpler life I lived as a child, short trips always with a person to visit at the end. Maybe that is what your retirement years should be about. There is plenty to do as a volunteer but I like to have days at home now too. I fought the loneliness for so long and now I am more comfortable with it. I don't want people around me all the time as people often mean work as a volunteer. But I do like company so my new man supplies some of that. And so do old friends, the groups involved in church and Lions and Apex40 and the odd groups of ladies who I go to lunch with.


Time to turn some of that washing into ironing. I am moving through the house looking at the curtains, bed spreads etc. It is wash one lot, then the next. Knowing me that will last a day this week then half a day next week etc. I need to give up all the other activities and stick to one job. But that is not when usually happens in my life. As John Lennon said; "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."


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Sue you are always there in my blogs cheering me on I had to come and visit your. It seems like you are learning yourself again and that is beautiful. Once we are more than ourselves we become more of those around us as well. It's not that we neglect ourselves there is just so much more than one to have thought for. I have learned this year after my stroke which is different but the same in a way, that I want to know me again. I am like you the simple things seem to give me peace an happiness. Working and watching my plants or flowers grow up and bloom kinda like watching our children grow up and like I was telling Kelli spread their wings. I appreciate what is around me now, I can place true value for myself better than I could before. It makes it a little easier when I make a change or rid something. I can gauge better what I'm ready to change and what I'm not ready for. It is a journey. A journey for you and a journey for me we are just taking different paths. I think you have learned to look around and see beautiful things right on your own path. What a gift that is. It's like when I first appreciated the smell of the breeze one day and the rustle of the trees as it went through them. I used to find myself so busy that i never smelled or heard anything. Trips I had to say something of trips...I've always loved to travel. Now for the first time I can remember I love when I am here at my house and alone...my mind is quiet and more mindful. Today I think I would enjoy this better than a trip somewhere too. They are usually fast and with a full agenda of things. Sometimes simple is right.

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Tracy, I am glad you agree with me on the nature watching scene.  I have just been out in the garden and with Spring here some of the trees have new bright green leaves, so pretty with the sunlight filtering through them.  The retuning birds too are good to watch.  I think the slower life is the better life now.  I am through racing through the scenery and missing most of what is good about the world. A slower pace for me now.

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