The simplicity of my day to day.
This is where I write my thoughts, feelings and my daily trials, tribulations and happy things
|This is a story of a beautiful, kind and different boy. His name doesn’t matter, he is my grandson and very loved.
Even before he came into the world he was silent and still in his mother’s womb. It was as if he was preparing himself to enter a world into which he knew he wouldn’t fit. The fact he was different made him more special as the family learned to love his quirky nature.
His Grandfather made an observation one day, ‘That boy’s on the spectrum.’
‘We’re all on the spectrum somewhere, John. In fact, he’s very much like you.’ I left my husband to ponder on that.
At school this boy proved to be smart, especially when doing something he was particularly interested in. His mother was a little concerned when he would arrive home unannounced, just because he felt like it, leaving school before time.
She decided to have him assessed, purely to convince herself and others there was nothing ‘wrong’ with him.
The report said he was of above average intelligence but didn’t respond to praise. In other words, he couldn’t be persuaded to do anything he didn’t want to just for an accolade or reward.
He’s a man now. 25 years old and the kindest, cleverest and modest person I’ve ever known. He keeps in touch with us, his grandparents, regularly. He still never brags about any successes even though he has a university degree in pharmacy and buying a home with his girlfriend.
He cannot bear to see any cruelty to animals and has attempted to convince his grandfather and I to turn to veganism. He talks about ethical and environmental concerns which worry him and the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle. That’s why he’s chosen to be a vegan for the last six years.
The world would be a better place if we were all so loving and caring as this person who puzzled us all when he was a child. As much as I love visits from my beautiful grandson and enjoy our chats about ‘the meaning of life’ and other topics just as deep, I struggle with feeding him and never seem to have anything in the house he can eat.
I have recently taken an interest in veganism, and am beginning to attempt a few easy recipes. I hope some of you try this recipe, one of my few successes. I made this for Vegan Boy’s Christmas.
Dark chocolate bark with sea salt, rosemary, pistachios and candied citrus
200g dark chocolate
1 tsp flaky sea salt
2 rosemary sprigs
Handful shelled pistachios
2 tbsp mixed peel or candied lemon, chopped
Bring a small pan of water to a simmer and put a heatproof bowl on top (ensuring the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Finely chop the chocolate and add it to the bowl, then wait 5-10 minutes until it’s completely melted.
Meanwhile, line a small baking dish or container (which will dictate the shape and size of your bark) with baking paper. Put the salt in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar, then finely chop the leaves from 1 of the rosemary sprigs. Grind the chopped leaves with the salt.
Pour the melted chocolate into the lined dish or container, tilting it so the chocolate runs into each corner equally. Put the remaining rosemary sprig on top, then scatter the pistachios, rosemary salt and mixed peel all over the top.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then cover and put in the fridge for 2 hours to set completely. Break into shards and keep in an airtight container for up to a week.
Last Prompt 7
Write a movie review of one of the last movies you watched, on television, online, or in the movie theatre. Make us want to see that movie!
The most recent series I watched was ‘The lost flowers of Alice Hart.’ It was streamed on Prime. I hadn’t read the book by Holly Ringland, although a friend has now lent it to me. Unfortunately the print was too small for my eyes so I have ordered it on Audible.
The story is an Australian one, the setting shows many of the wonderful flora we have here.
The producers cast Sigourney Weaver as one of the main characters, June.
I must say this surprised me as the story is an Australian classic and having an American play June just didn’t sit right with me. However she was fantastic in the part.
The main premise is that June runs a wildflower farm and a haven for women who have suffered domestic violence. Some parts are very hard to watch, especially the first episode when June’s son beats his wife and little girl.
The story is complex, unfolding slowly and the viewer needs to be patient until everything is unveiled at the end of the series. Everything becomes clear and one can breathe a sigh of relief at the ending.
The message is very topical with so many women suffering st the hands of men who profess to love them but really only wish to possess them.
The most interesting part of the series is the language of flowers. The women at the farm could speak without using words as they put bunches of flowers together which tell a story with their meanings.
I think this series would interest women more than men, it was probably written with women in mind. There is certainty a message for men there though, that women are not theirs to own. I’d give this a five out of five rating.
Be as truthful and honest as you can be. Write a Life Will. What do you want your loved ones to know about your last days when you are terminally ill or suffer from dementia? What do you want and what not?
This prompt is a subject my husband and I talk about often. We have totally different views on what sort of funerals we want. He doesn’t even want one. He thinks they are a waste of money. I have told him if he goes first then he’ll have no say in his funeral and we’ll make a big fuss.
We both want to be cremated though. I can’t stand the idea of being underground. I’ve been claustrophobic all my life, I love the air, flying like a bird. So maybe some doves being released, that sounds lovely. Not balloons though they are environmentally bad.
I have also given strict instructions to everyone, many times, not to pick up my ashes after the cremation. I would despise being in an urn on someone’s sideboard. I don’t like ashes. It’s not the person anymore. Then comes the problem of where to scatter them. I don’t have a place where I want my ashes scattered.
My memories of people who have passed are in my mind and heart. I don’t need a gravesite or headstone. My mum used to say while someone speaks your name you’re still alive in someone’s memory.
The only other thing which I really desire at my funeral is for my granddaughter, Beth, to sing. She always sang, even as a child. Her dreams of being famous were abandoned and her other dream of being an actress took over. Now she’s a drama teacher and sings and acts everyday. I’ll miss her more than anyone.
I’d like a wicker coffin or even a composter. Composting is becoming quite common and the idea of being turned to earth in about six weeks appeals to me.
There are some hymns I like but as I’m not really religious I’d hope the family could select some appropriate music. The photos of me on display as a slide show I’d like to select myself. I’m not photogenic but there are a few that can stand a little scrutiny.
If my dog is still alive I’d want her to be at the service. Then as they close the curtains I’d like to have “always look on the bright side of life,” playing from Monty Pythons Life of Brian movie. That’s always been my motto.
As to the actual dying part, whether in hospital or at home I’d like to be as medicated as possible, preferably given the same respect as I’ve given my dogs at the end of their lives.
I listened to Neil Gaiman on the short video and considered his words about being honest and wondered how that pertained to my writing. What is honesty in writing? Does it mean you always fact check? Or maybe one should only write what one has experienced? If that was so most story writers would struggle to write a story or a novel unless of course it was biographical.
I think he meant about making his characters believable, taken from life and their life experiences.
I’ve been writing for only a short time, five years out of my almost eighty and would have found inhabiting the personas of characters I write about very difficult if I was really young. I know there are many fine young writers but are they able to be honest when a character in their story is really old? They have the concept of the aged, but is it a true portrayal? Is it honest? Maybe it would be if they were writing someone who is like their grandparent and as they write they use that honest voice.
I personally love writing dialogue, but often find myself using voices of people I have known, some from decades ago. They are still in my mind even though I’ve not heard their actual voices for so long.
I suppose Neil meant too, we need to know ourselves, not hide behind unbelievable characters. It doesn’t really matter the genre, people are people never mind the setting or era. Basically humans remain the same at the core. Same needs, wants and emotions.
Recently I was asked to write a poem about my failings and insecurities. I immediately turned the page so to speak. But it had set my mind wonder as to what those failings were. So I did what Neil suggested and unrobed to the world, (or just the few who actually read it)!
This is Me (E)
A poem about hidden insecurities
#2299331 by (496)
Prompt number four:
The four prompts were irresistible. How to choose? But as you see the image of the dog won.
I’m a sucker for dogs. Cats not so much. Babies, well who can resist? Turtles are my two year old great granddaughter’s obsession. Don’t ask me why! Yesterday at Father’s Day lunch the whole family had turns in drawing the best 🐢 picture.
But I’ve chosen dogs so hang in there while a wax lyrical about the dogs in my life.
Ok I’ll try not to bore you to tears, so I’ll not mention childhood dogs of which there were many. But the four dogs we’ve had in our lives in Australia were all very special to us and the children. Over 46 years since the first to our current dog each has taken a piece of my heart.
The first one when the kids were little was a rescue from the dogs home. Zak was his name. I wondered why anyone would surrender a beautiful boy like him. I soon found out. He was a destroyer of anything on the washing line. But we kept him until he died at aged ten.
Number two was a puppy GSP. He lived until he was fifteen and needed to be carried into the vets because he could no longer walk. He was a character, an escape artist, a local thief and an absolute charmer.
Number three was another rescue. Mitzy. She was trouble with a capital T. Scared of everything and everyone. She had been kept in a shed for the whole of her one year of life. Poor baby. But with endless patience she grew in confidence. We went on vacation and left her with our daughter. She chased a rabbit and got bowled over by a car. I never saw her alive again. I did write about the day I came back home and went for a walk and the experience I had if anyone is interested in reading a strange encounter.
Our present dog is Lucy. She’s over ten now so I expect we’ll have another sad goodbye very soon. She is a Weimaraner, beautiful in looks and nature. We love her so much.
So as you can see the image of a dog grabbed my attention as I love my dog and all the ones whose t before.
Is Artificial Intelligence (ChatGPT) a burden or a blessing for writers? And what are your thoughts on AI in general?
I love this prompt because AI has been on my mind, and everyone else’s lately I wouldn’t be surprised.
When I first heard about Chatgpt I was shocked. I failed to see how this could possibly help us as a species continue to evolve, to research, for children to use their brains and come up with new ideas. Schools are divided. Some see the inevitability and are accepting work which has been aided by AI, others are banning the use altogether. However everyone agrees it’s hard to prove work handed in has been written by AI.. It’s very unlike plagiarism as the exact words, phrases and formats haven’t previously been written elsewhere by some other author.
I think universities and colleges are getting around the problem by asking more questions of their students to ascertain what they actually know about the assignment
Jobs will certainly be lost. Why pay a person to write ads for real estate, or simple business letters when a request, with the pertinent details, can be given to Chatgpt which will do a great job. Better sometimes than a human.
So what could be the benefits?
AI has the ability to assist with people with profound disabilities, helping them to be understood for instance with speech processing.
AI can use multiple languages
AI never tires, is available 24/7
AI frees up staff to do more productive tasks whilst platforms such as Chatgpt do the mundane tedious work.
AI is quick to answer any question you may have although fact checking is still advisable.
I can understand script writers and authors being concerned about AI when a bot can write a screenplay or a book perfectly adequately.
So what’s the consensus? Only time will tell but the cat is well and truly out of the bag and there is no way back.
The world is in turmoil. There are so many problems nowadays that it’s hard to be optimistic. Choose one crisis that bothers you and think about possible solutions or ways to deal with it.
As this prompt states, there are so many crisis in the world today. But has it been forever thus? Perhaps it is because it’s unavoidable these days to not think the world is on the brink of extinction. Turn on the television at any time of day and you’ll be faced with starving children, refugees drowned at sea while seeking asylum in other countries. There are fires, earthquakes and floods! Oh my goodness I’m feeling stressed already.
Have you ever been anywhere that is beyond the reach of news? It’s a fantastic feeling. You can breathe again, stress dissolves and although in your very soul you are aware awful events are still occurring, somewhere, you suddenly realise they are out of your control. There’s nothing you can do.
If I had to pick one crisis though, for the sake of this exercise, it would be climate change.
Wars? They have been happening since the first man crept out of his cave and decided he needed to protect what was his.
Diseases? We have never before lived so long, so I think we as mankind will continue the fight against illnesses, cancers and keep us all living way past our use by date.
No, I think Climate Change is the one enemy which may bring the planet Earth together in its fight for survival. We will learn to grow food in ways we as yet don’t know how. We will harness the power of the elements, wind and the sun, as never before.
We will build our homes differently, better to withstand winds and rainfall as yet never seen.
We must begin to cherish this earth of ours before it’s too late.
|First entry for
This is my original quote: “Looking in the rear view mirror not only shows where you have been but also guides your future.”
I seem to do a lot of rear-view mirror gazing these days. I suppose that’s because the road already travelled is much longer than the journey remaining.
We have four generations in our family now. My husband and I had three children, we have six grandchildren, the eldest 36 years old, the youngest just nine months. We have five great grandchildren. As I watch all these generations grow, and often struggle, I am in the unique position of seeing how certain childhood experiences have affected their adult lives. It has brought it home to me that how we raise our children is the most important job we as parents have. Children need love, structure, rules and parenting.
Even what may seem to be an innocuous remark or incident at the time, does and can have long lasting effects.
We say things such as: “Aren’t children resilient and adaptable?” Well actually that’s untrue. My 36 year old granddaughter has four children. They are the ones who are suffering from their mother’s mental illness. This illness has stemmed from a feeling of abandonment when she was a child when her father left. This has come as a revelation to us. We didn’t think it had much impact at the time. We as a family were honestly pleased he left. Now her doctor has diagnosed a serious mental illness stemming from childhood trauma.
What happens to these four little ones of hers now? They are being passed around between family members, changing schools and unable to see their mother in hospital? Will they be the future mental casualties?
Of course on the bright side, seeing a child encouraged to pursue her dreams of being a performer and watching her dream come true has been wonderful.
Worrying about a little one who was ‘different’ and watching him turn into the most amazing, kind, clever man has been a privilege and a comfort which I can give to others worried about children who don’t fit the mould.
The trick is to stay alive long enough to see how things turn out!
I’m feeling a little tired today. Soon it will be time to take a rest during the long winter months. Already I’m letting go a little. My leaves are beginning to loosen their grip, their green colour turning gold, red and brown..
The place where I first put down my roots from a tiny acorn, has changed since I was a mere stripling. A family built a big house next to me allowing me to reach my full potential. Some of my friends, especially Hackberry, were removed and I held my breath waiting for the jagged, sharp edges of the chainsaw to slice into my trunk, but I was safe. At least for a while.
The lady of the house actually saved my life on more than one occasion. When her husband, Mike, wanted to build a big shed I heard him say, “That tree needs to go!” But Sally loved to sit under the shade of my canopy and read her book and she told him, “You’ll have to find another place to build your shed.”
That was before the children arrived. A swing was attached to my branches and their laughter rang out over the neighbourhood. As they swung high on my strong limbs, I braced myself to keep them safe. I was more than a simple swing, I was a hiding place for when the children were avoiding the parental gaze. There was no need of metal swings and climbing frames whilst the children had me.
I’m sure in a few weeks when all my leaves have dropped, Mike will complain about the mess as he does each year. He hates anything spoiling his pristine green grass and will be out here with the rake, gathering my leaves into a pile and setting fire to them. The kids love my dead leaves though, they play fight, kicking and throwing them at each other.
The little girl, Sophie, sees my dead leaves as beautiful. She looks for the ones with the reddest colours and makes collages for her teacher.
I don’t suppose the family know I understand everything they say, they think I’m just an old white oak tree, but I will still be here long after they have left this earth. I heard I could live for up to 300 years. There’ll be many more children swinging on my strong branches in this garden. That is if they let me survive that long.
I like to imagine my dog enjoys being with us as much as we enjoy having her live with us.
I’d hate to feel I was keeping anything as a pet which given the chance would run away.
Dogs hardly ever run away, no matter how ill treated they remain loyal to their human.
I can’t really say that any other animal does that. We’ve had a cat and she was so aloof, preferring to sit on the kitchen window outside and observe us from behind glass. Maybe she thought we were her pets as we were the ones trapped inside.
When I was a child we had a cat that refused to move with the family when we sold the house. Twice she returned to our previous home, twice we fetched her back but after the third time we guessed it was the house and garden she felt an affinity with, not us who had looked after her for six years.
Anything other than cats and dogs have to kept in a cage. I hate to see birds trapped in cages, they should be free to fly, live in trees and search for their own food.
My granddaughter had a snake called Sahara. She had to be kept in a special cage with heating. She would eat a frozen (thawed) rat occasionally, other than that interaction she did nothing but sleep mostly. This same granddaughter also had a rat for a pet. Now that’s one animal no one should have as a pet in my opinion.
We’ve tried most things that children like, for a while anyway until they lose interest. Crazy crabs. One really hot day my eight year old boy was lying naked on his bed letting the crab crawl around, he soon found out that crazy crabs nip, very hard too, as it clung to the poor kids scrotum!
Guinea pigs are sort of cute but their cage needs to be cleaned daily to stop the smell and let’s face it no child will take on that job for very long.
Rabbits need to be kept apart from each other or before you know it you will have dozens of them. Then of course there’s the old goldfish. Swimming around in its bowl. Not the best or most interesting pet.
The ownership of exotic animals, such as tigers, lions, bears, or monkeys should be banned in my opinion.