Good Housekeeping

by Penny M

Spring cleaning started in summer this year with a bee-in-the bonnet declutter. In fact, it was overdue by a couple of decades. Love letters were discovered, scanned aID-100369858nd filed. Yes somebody did love me once. Bible study doilies, courtesy of resident fish moths were finger-shredded in preparation for their journey towards oblivion; their notes still play in my heart.

Books found new order. Things hoarded for future family or retirement projects were relinquished to the trash or charity for new homes and hands. My original objective for all this activity was a moving decision and a decision to move. Reality slowed the pace to embrace a vacation strategy. God’s timing is perfect.

Now it really is Spring and the momentum is over, like a candle with a sneakily, short wick.

In comparison, my internal housekeeping is ongoing. With understanding comes forgiveness. Lies are tossed, compassion discovered and hope reborn. The truth is I am changed. As usual, I will celebrate Christmas for the right reason. I will not be listening for reindeer bells and wellingtons, but the scrunch of footprints across the sand. Also, maybe the patter of my granddaughter’s feet as she locates me making the most of my vacation visit.

ID-100156364

For some the promise of a second coming, or death in the interim, induces fear and frantic attempts to get houses in order. For others like me, there’s no rush. Christ is already here and points out the ‘dust’ when I’m ready to deal with it. Peace is part of the ‘furniture’. I am loved and there are no cobwebs in my soul.

Pics courtesy of: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php
“Flowering Apple Tree In Spring” by Vlado
“Young Brunette Woman Standing With Mop” by radnatt

Coffee, cocktails, croissants … ah the good life

by Sue Trollip

This is not my travel blog, but … I love to travel and winter is coming, which means I will be hibernating along with the bears, squirrels and chipmunks. My last fling before the impending snow was to Seattle.

A short flight from my new home, it was too exciting to resist. Not long after landing I fell in love with the java at Seattle Coffee Works and the Moscow Mules at Bookstore Bar and Cafe. I walked up the hill and soon found myself standing on the deck of Columbia Centre, 76 floors up. I surveyed, with giddy delight, the puffy clouds, the sea and the skyscrapers below.

20150907_121220Equal parts scary and exciting, I tried the wheel, just to feel touristy. The scary part kicked up a gear when it stopped … and the sea breeze began to rock the ‘cradle’.

20150907_121208The feel of Seattle is artsy and touristy with a large mish-mash of locals. Using the Lyft taxi system we met a Russian woman who showed her lack of confidence by getting us to set the GPS. Turns out she was new to town and earning some spare money. She got us safely to our destination and then on the way home we met an Ethiopian driver who knew each street by heart.

There was devouring of croissants, coffee, macaroons, and more croissants at a real French cafe.

20150904_163738Watching fish being tossed at Pike’s Place. Then wandering down to Pioneer square, to listen to music and enjoy the quirky shops.

20150905_103958

A visit to Ballard was gorgeously suburban, tree-lined and full of little bars and eccentric shops. We stopped for Tapas and fish & chips and got soaked through.

Food is big in Seattle, and along with the Russian Mules, was the imbibing of the most delicious piroshky at a Russian cafe.

Also, I had my first bloody Mary. I think if you take out the tomato juice you could be onto something.

A spicy vodka salad!

Now that I could do again.

Musing on Memories

By Susan Roberts

I’ve always had vivid memories of my childhood and grew up assuming that everyone else clearly remembered theirs too. Surprisingly, many don’t. So why do I? I eventually put it down to the fact that much of my early life was captured in moving images on film. Before I was born, my father bought a cine camera to film my sister’s early years. When I came along, he filmed me too.

Wherever we went as a family, my father’s camera was like an extension of his right arm. My mother, my sister and I became naturals in front of the camera. Annual holidays, visits to the beach, birthday parties and school sporting events all became prey to the moving lens. “Uh-oh, he’s filming again. Act natural,” one of us would say, and then we’d all pretend not to have noticed, but carry on exactly as before. We’d have been famous if reality TV had existed back then, but it didn’t.

In those days, each film was four minutes long and there was no recorded sound. The spool had to be posted to Johannesburg and processed by Kodak laboratories, which then posted it back – all of which took several weeks. When a film arrived in the post, my father would set up the projector and screen after supper and show us the film in our darkened lounge, so we could all re-live the memory of that event, holiday, birthday or visit to someone’s farm.

It wasn’t until I started school that I was taught the importance of repetition in helping to remember things. We learned things by rote: the alphabet, times tables, poetry lines, words of songs, and so on – pretty much the same way in which we had learned our favourite nursery rhymes in the years before starting school.

Seeing snippets of my life from two or three weeks before projected on a big screen the size of our dining table was a powerful memory aid because it was visual. The nursery rhymes in my childhood books likewise had pictures to help me recall the words, but these pictures were moving. The memories captured on screen were inevitably happy ones, which made the experience of re-living them all the more pleasurable.

If our dad filmed that wonderful moment when we opened a gift, or ran to a puppy that rolled over and presented its tummy to be scratched, then we got to re-live it each time we saw it on film. There was no television in those days, so a form of entertainment for visitors and relatives was to show them the latest films and then we got to re-live it yet again.

IMG_3427

Our dad’s imagination and capacity for storytelling was vast, so it was inevitable that he would expand his filming hobby into that direction. When I was ten years old he joined a film club and soon acquired a reputation for being a good film maker. He won four awards in his first year for a documentary he made about our trip to Johannesburg in 1972. Not long after that, he began using his movie talents to create funny fiction stories. Our family belonged to a local amateur theatrical group, so actors were never in short supply.

Was I was mistaken in thinking that I had an exceptional memory of my childhood? Did I remember things only because of the films? No, it seems not. Before my sister left for Australia, we re-screened some of our dad’s films and tried to catalogue the early family ones into some kind of date order.

Each four minute segment that we screened gave rise to new memories as well, and I realised that my memories of past events were still my own, just as my sister had her own different memories of the same events. Those memories may have been triggered and enhanced by the four minute glimpses that my father captured on film, but we still retained our individual impressions of those times.

In the last few months, during the time I have spent with my sister, we often talk about incidents from our childhood and inevitably we remember different aspects of the same occasion. Unlike me, my sister is more of an extrovert, so she was inspired by different things, but she has the same vivid recall for the happy memories of childhood that I do.

A lot has been written on the Internet lately about how future generations will suffer because too much of their lives are centred on their mobile phones and social media, but I think there’s a silver lining. Modern phone devices have built in video cameras, so memories are being captured for posterity every day, and that can’t be a bad thing. Just like they teach you in school, a little repetition is never wasted, especially if it brings back something worth remembering.

Parking Perks

by Penny M

I drove through the carpark at a local shopping mall recently and my earth shook. No, it wasn’t a quake of rubble magnitude or a sink hole on Rainbow Beach in Queensland. It was a sense of elation at the sight of freshly demarcated parking bays for Pensioners. Yes!!! I kid you not.

Finally somebody had considered that there were others besides the disabled and moms & tots who would benefit from a shorter trip between the undercover section and the front door.
But how will this be policed? I mulled over various potential pitfalls. Mischief grabbed my thoughts. Would my car be towed from such a spot if I was suspected of overage or underage parking? Does one now have to get a Pensioner’s disc from somewhere? Would there be a drop off in highlight sales at the hair salon when a contingent suddenly ceased masquerading as moms & tots (grab-a-grandchild), or aid-assisted walkers?

Would there be fisticuffs or fisti-verbs, if a short-sighted parker selected the wrong space, or one decided that as long as the parking was demarcated it didn’t matter; for example, a mom & tot in a pensioner’s spot? The mind boggles – well, sorry, mine does anyway.

Of course, there will always be those able-bodied narcissists who will park there no matter what you stick on the lines and pillars around them.

I had visions of long queues for Pensioner bays on Pensioner days. Realistically, of course, all categories are allowed to park in un-demarcated bays. I imagine reserving more than four bays for each category could lead to unbudgeted shrinkage; the car park is there for use by shoppers after all and the first hour and a half is free.

All in all, well done to mall management, ‘just up my street’, for considering the lesser-abled-without- tots. I will wait until I am in need before availing of such privilege. Until then, exercise is more advantageous and shopping is my only outlet for this kind of shrinkage. Gone are the days when Gran and I could walk from home to the shops in safety, but at least I can walk from the carpark to the mall.

P.S. How about Parking for Peeps with Pets?