a life well lived

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Aquarian 09/30/00

So many thoughts today that connected to water, starting simply enough – with taking a last, lingering look at September of our Mary Engelbreit calendar.  Although it is the last day of the month and I have seen it every day, for some reason it was as if I saw it with new eyes today.  It is a picture of children swinging out over a pond on a rope swing.   

I was suddenly back at the pond with the older children, watching them swing out over the water and back and out over the water and back, then finally swinging out and letting go and dropping - kersplash! - into the pond.   

There seems to be something universal about rope swings.  Do they have them in Darkest Peru and Deepest Africa?  I am sure they do. 

The most recent youngster I saw swim was Karen.  Karen has a lithe and lean body, well suited for swimming.  She swam in Sydney's Olympic Pool, which was already built when I was down there in 1995 – five years before their Olympics!  What I would give to  watch her make a splash and slice through the water.  That lass took to swimming like a duck to water.   

Speaking of the Olympics, late this afternoon Elsa shouted up from the den and turned to volume up so I could hear The Star Spangled Banner. 

It was frustrating that these antiquated legs cannot scootle down even a relatively few steps, that I had to be satisfied with her description of what sounded like a fine sight -  American yachtsmen being presented with gold, the American flag in the foreground and the glory of the Sydney Opera House in the background.  They raced right there in the harbour.  My harbour.  Oh, that must have been an incredible sight. 

Finally, as Elsa was massaging my face with Oil of Olay, we started talking about Connie Rosenquist who introduced me to my nightly ritual and who took me down to Bermuda several times to keep her company.  A water baby such as myself was right in my element on that beautiful island.  I will write about it sometime, but not tonight - bed beckons and I must obey.

Love to one and all, especially to Donna and Jason.  Nite nite and God bless - Grandma L

Monday, September 29, 2014

mean, raw and nasty 09/26/00

Starting yesterday and all the way through today, the weather has been mean, raw and miserable.  Last night sort of perked up a bit, if for a not-so-wonderful reason.  Elsa had a disheartening day at work and called to ask if both John and I could meet her at Barnes & Noble/WG.  

When Elsa hopes both of us will join her, it is a sure sign that the day has been rough. John loaded "Barb" (my walker) into Silver Bullet and off we went to meet our gal.

The last time the two of us went over to meet Elsa it was raining - torrential rain, that time - and we had the great good luck to run into their dear friends, Hutch and Linda.  We had the same great good fortune on this go 'round. 

Hutch looked different, although I could not put my finger on why.  No glasses!  He recently had cataract surgery.  

It was good talking to someone else undergoing the same procedure at roughly the same time.  We talked about how great it was to read again.  For the first time in ages, I can read newspaper and magazine articles.  Think how things will be after both eyes are done and I have new glasses.  Amazing.

Today's weather was just plain nasty.  It did bring to mind when the children were young.  It was the type of day that I would have made hot cocoa.  Have any of you made hot cocoa from real cocoa, not from a mix?  I had to be careful not to let it get too hot or it would get a "skin" on top.  Of course, we had to have marshmallows.  Cocoa without marshmallows seems somewhat lacking, don't you think? 

Another warm and toasty thought on a day like today is the smell of homemade bread baking.  I loved to make bread for my family and they certainly enjoyed eating it.  It seemed like an entire loaf could disappear in a matter of moments.  We all loved the "nose" (the ends) of the bread.  How we ever came to call it "nose" I knows not, but then "heel" is not all that understandable either and lots of people call it that. 

What do you call the ends of a loaf of bread?  I know that one thing I call it is delicious. 

What interesting taste and smell memories to go off to sleep with ~ toasted bread with butter and a steaming mug of hot cocoa, topped with a coverlet of marshmallows.  Yum!    

Warm and loving thoughts on a raw and nasty night - Mom L.

of love & loss 09/29/00

This is a happy weekend.  I do believe, if my calculations are right, that it is Donna Heldon's wedding day as this posting is posted, it being afternoon in Australia. 
Donna was just a tadger when I first clapped eyes on her 25 years ago, on my first trip Down Under.  I do not know what is more shocking - that she is old enough to be getting married or that it has been 25 years since my first visit to the Hurstville society.  Lots of loving thoughts and best wishes to the happy couple from a loving Grandma L'.

More Southern Hemisphere happiness - a dear-to-my-heart friend from Brazil just announced her engagement to a Bryn Athyn lad, which delights me for several reasons. 

I am happy for Claudia.  I remember the first time I met her and asked how to pronounce her name - it is CLOUD-YA.  If you know Claudia, you understand when I say that I connected to her instantly. One short talk and she was in my heart.  

 Kelly-Carolyn-Natalya-Claudia were a special circle of young women in my life.   Having their friendship in my life is a special grace. 

Adam is a lucky man and I thank him for keeping such a special woman stateside.

My thoughts turn to another Claudia - Claudia Cranch Gladish and to her sisters and family.  I am still getting used to the thought that their sister, Nora, is gone.  It does not seem possible.  It was just a blink of an eye ago that she was packing up and heading off to the West Coast.  I am grateful for Galadriel’s wedding, which brought me back into contact with Nora, and for our women's discussion list, to which she belonged. 

A friend who attended memorial celebration shared her impressions.  It was held in the beautiful Wayfarer's Chapel - the reading from the Gospel of John about the Samaritan woman at the well, the soaring piano piece, a recording of Louis Armstrong singing "What a Wonderful World" and closing with the “Laughter” song from Mary Poppins.  As the woman who shared it said,  it was a "celebration of a wonderful woman's short life on earth, beautiful, touching and inspiring." 

I head up the wooden hill with a sense of joy and sadness and joy  - Grammie Kay

what a wonderful world 09/28/00

Subj:  what a wonderful world (long and a little meandering)

To start, the following was written by a young friend yesterday and it so beautifully describes that day's weather - following a couple of mean, raw and miserable days - I had to share it...

"Today the sun is shining in brisk, clear blue-sky air, the flowers are still blooming as though winter weren't just around the corner, and we are basking in the scents of late roses and marigolds, mingled.  One's woolens feel like new clothes, as they haven't been out much since the last of last year's late winter, and the world in general looks crisp and freshly made after its soaking bath of the last few days.  Amazing what a difference a day makes."

The last few weeks have been shiny bright to this Gramster.  I've talked to Michael and to Scott, who called the other day. 

Scott sounds so different, so grown up, it makes me homesick for the little boy and wistful to see the full grown man. 

I have received several e-mail messages from Karen, a lovely note from Leanne Mahy (the Australian lass touring the USA), and I've had the profound happiness of hearing "Advance, Australia Fair" several times during the Olympics. 

Last Sunday was the BA Theta Alpha tea, which was so special to this Gramster.  Moments I especially remember include Mira presenting a box to her daughter.  Thoughts of Ruth, her mother and my dear friend, came to mind and I thought of Mira and her brothers and sisters as the children they were. 

As you grow older, life becomes an interesting time warp and the past can be as vivid - sometimes more vivid - than the present.  There were mothers whose mothers I knew as babies.  Of course, being in Cairnwood, where I spent so many happy times and where Gay always seems just around the corner, is always dear to me.

If I have already mentioned the following, forgive me repeating myself.  Last Sunday morning, Elsa had "prep" duty for Contemporary Service.  That means she helps get what she calls "nibbles and sips" ready for the social time after the church service.  I heard her head out around 8:20 a.m.,  then a few minutes later heard a car come up the drive, someone get out, the front door open, and Elsa's voice ring out upstairs to a sleeping John, "Get dressed as if it was an emergency, but it's not."  A few seconds later, "Slippers will do."  A moment later, he was headed down the stairs and she was telling him to trust her. 

I was intrigued - who would not be?  About 5 minutes later, a car pulled up, a door opened and a door closed, and the car backed out and was gone.  When John padded his way upstairs, I could not resist asking what it was all about. 

Background - John loves spiders and spider's webs.  He's given Elsa "Miss Spider's Wedding" for an anniversary present, she's given him a stuffed Miss Spider for Christmas.  As she drove down Sandpiper, she saw way high over the street, hanging from a telephone wire stretched across the street, an exquisitely executed spider's web hanging free, like a piece of fairy cloth, clearly outlined by the morning dew, and had run home so John could see.  There are very few things I have known John to rouse himself from his slumbers to see, but watching him describe it to me, I knew seeing it was a treasure to him.  I liked that, I liked it a lot.

I did not know that mentioning homemade cocoa and bread would strike such a deep cord in so many people.  My goodness, I got some lovely notes talking about similar experiences and delight in the scent and taste of hot cocoa and toasted bread.  I have them printed out to read in my quiet times.

So many of my treasures arrive via the Internet.  I received a wonderful posting from Lois Furry that has me talking to myself about another trip down to visit her and Bob.  I have read it at least twice.  When I read it, I am down in their wonderful Florida home, having a cup of coffee and checking out the back yard to see if any 'gators meander out of the high grass.  Bob and Lois are hosts without peer and she can write a truly tantalizing letter. 

Perhaps the most wondrous thing of all is that it was just a year ago today that I went crashing down on the bathroom tile at 3:00 a.m.  I remember heading into the bathroom, facing the window, then having the sensation that I was falling and thinking, "Oh no, my goodness!  What is..."  I was not aware of Elsa and John pounding down the steps from the "Tower Bower" to my bathroom, of them trying to open a door that I was bang up against.  I do remember Elsa coming in and John staying behind me.  I remember not knowing what the problem was but knowing that whatever it was hurt.  I remember the sensation of relief when the ambulance crew arrived and did such a great job getting me out and how courteous they were, not using the siren until after they got out of our residential area.  

Interesting story - Elsa, like Pete before her, is notorious for letting her gas gauge get too low.  She might have paid the price that night - how many gas stations are opened at 3:45 a.m. - if it had not been for the kindness of Gretchen and Andrew Glover.  Answering an intuitive voice that said, "Now you're in for it!", as she headed down Buck Road, she parked the car outside the Glovers and nipped in to see if she could borrow their car.  Imagine what thoughts went through Gretchen and Andrew's minds hearing someone at their door in the wee small hours of the morning.  Staunch and loyal friends that they are, they handed over the keys and Elsa and John were off. 

I overheard the ER staff telling a story they heard from the ambulance crew of a couple who started off the hospital in one car and arrived in another!

My thanks and love to Gretchen and Andrew.  Paraphrasing a quote from Marlene Dietrich, it is the friends you can rouse from a sound sleep at almost 4:00 a.m. to borrow their car that matter.

It is a wonderful world.  A year later, there were no ill effects of my stroke.  My inability to get out of bed is related to my arthritis, not the "episode" as the doctors called it.  My speech is fine, I can walk about as well as most 90 year olds, with the help of "Barb" (my walker), and my appetite is back in fine fettle.  I have more contact with more loved ones that I could have imagined possible a year ago. 

It is iffy that I could have made the recovery I did if I had not started my spiritual questing the year or so before.  I was spiritually and emotionally tougher and that helped get me through a lot. 

My thanks and love to all of you.  Being somewhere out there gives me a
cosmic strength.  That sounds terribly New Age, but this Gocky/Nan/Mum/Mom/Grammie/ Kay/Grandma L'/Cybergram/Aunt Kay/TechnoGram/Katharine Reynolds Lockhart/ Mrs. Raymond Lewis Lockhart, ADPO really and truly does feel blessed with a new age, a new awareness, a new lightness and love of being. 

You have helped make it possible, my "higher power" has made it possible, and it all starts and ends with the Lord, who makes all things possible.

Love and hugs (and, to quote a cat-loving friend, licks and purrs) - GK