Monthly Archives: August 2013

Is it Still 2013?

It seems as if the year 2013 is determined to beat me into submission or something. I’ve been lucky thus far in my life as far as my nuclear family being still all here and alive. We’ve had a couple of health scares with my parents in the last twelve months including two strokes (one kind of big and one small) for my mom and a quadruple bypass for my dad that doesn’t seem to have worked and now he has to have another procedure but they are both still alive and active and I’m blessed in that way.

Sadly, this has been a year of death for friends though. My dear friends have lost family members and some way too soon. One was a seven year old and one was forty-eight. The other lawyer in my office passed away at age sixty-three. I truly have had my share of funerals and sadness this year. My heart hurts for these families who are dear to me and I wish there was some comfort for them. So much of their heartache comes from the suddenness and inexplicableness of these losses.

The most recent one was from a bee sting. One sting was all that was found on his arm but he went into a coma about ten minutes after it happened and never regained consciousness. One minute, he was working in the yard and ten minutes later, he was non-responsive and effectively brain dead by about twenty minutes later.

This hit me hard. You know, you always hear that there are no guarantees of tomorrow and we kind of just gloss past that old adage but for some reason (and maybe it’s because I’ve known this person since I was 11 and he was 7) this one really hit home for me. I can’t seem to shake it off. One minute you’re here and loving life and the next, BAM, it’s over. No more playing with the kids, no more tinkering with your old truck, no more talking to your mom or sister and no more laughter.

I admire that he was an organ donor and others are being helped as a result of his gift but I know he’s going to be so missed here. He was always so full of personality and fun. From this loss, I’m taking on a new appreciation of the people I love, what I have in my life that’s good and how short our time really is here on Earth.

Hold your loved ones close and laugh with them as much as you can. Suck every second of joy you can out of your life. I love all you guys on this blog and hope you all know that. When my life is done, I sincerely hope that my loved ones and friends (same thing, right?) realize that I tried (even if sometimes I’m a grouch) to make my life one of thankfulness. I may not be perfect but like my friend who had such an outpouring of love at his funeral, I hope that my efforts to make this world just a tinier bit brighter won’t fail. His didn’t. He will live on in memory as someone who always brought joy with him into the room. Would that we all could leave such a legacy, right?

Taking A Virtual Holiday

For the past 16 years I’ve managed to cope with winter with the thought and anticipation of a holiday abroad each August with my two sisters and our mum. Except for this year. We had no holiday planned for a variety of reasons and with nothing to look forward to, I found I was becoming more and more withdrawn and melancholic, had little get up and go and increasingly restless for some fun in the sun. It was, I realised, my Season Affective Disorder (SAD) continuing throughout winter and on into June. Bad vibes indeed. I hate being indoors and needed some warmth on my arthritic bones – all in all, a good dose of vitamin D that doesn’t come in a pill or bottle. The weather in the UK showed all the signs of being another washout. What was a girl to do?

Then, hallelujah, summer hit us. Three glorious weeks of hot, and I mean hot, weather, so I decided to make the most of it even if I couldn’t go away. Instead, I had a virtual holiday – all the thrills except without the swimming pool to dip in or the sounds and smells of the oceans. I decided to live a few weeks just as I would if I was on holiday. On holiday, we are always up early, often just before sunrise, take a coffee outside and sit and relax and watch the world come awake. I couldn’t hear the sea so pretended the sound of the motorway was waves, and slowly let the warmth of the sun warm my body. (I think I must have been a lizard in a previous life!)

After, whilst it was still relatively cool, I would do all the little chores around the house so the rest of the day could be spent relaxing outside. With good weather it was a joy to hang out the washing on my collapsible rotary line. As I pegged out each item with a warm breeze blowing across the patio, I felt as if I were on holiday. Jobs done, I’d make another coffee, pour a small glass of brandy, and sit outside and enjoy. A small glass of brandy is how in Spain, my brother and I like to start the day, so again, I was on holiday.

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Working in the garden is bliss!

My husband had bought me a new patio table and sunshade so that I could work outdoors instead of being cooped up in the office upstairs. Such bliss to type whilst at the same time enjoying the sights and sounds and smells of the garden.

On holiday, another favourite time of day is late afternoon, when we sit around in companionable silence and read as we enjoy a glass of sangria or a G&T. I couldn’t run to sangria but I could do the G&T bit, so indulged myself before I went inside to prepare our evening meal. Sadly, on this virtual holiday, I had to cook, whereas on holiday I would have been getting ready to go out for a meal in a restaurant, but this was a small price to pay and I didn’t mind.

After champagne came the wine as we wait for food to cook

After champagne came the wine as we wait for food to cook

Our holidays always start and finish back home with a girlie weekend so that is what I did this weekend. The four of us chilled out in the garden on Saturday with a couple of bottles of champagne, a bbq, a late night and a few more bottles of wine listening to Andrea Bocelli, and lunched out yesterday. When we have our weekends, we each bring a contribution to the Saturday meal and I’m always under instruction to bring the dessert. This time I took a box of assorted cakes. We were too full after our bbq to eat them so we were really naughty and had them for Sunday morning breakfast. A pleasant change from croissants or toast – I can highly recommend!

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Cakes for breakfast! Naughty but nice!

Ah well, weekend over, and it’s almost like the holiday is over as today it is raining. At least it is not cold and, unlike my real holidays, this year as soon as the sun comes out again, I can go back outside and enjoy more days on my virtual holiday.

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The Cassini Spaceship Studying Saturn

by Theresa Scott I was astounded to learn recently about a space voyage to Saturn that has been in motion since it was first launched in 1997 from Cape Canaveral. The voyage is called the Cassini Mission, named after the … Continue reading