In Stitches

March 13, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Australia, Nature, Poetry, Writing | 27 Comments
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I have been occupied with other things than this blog lately. However, I would like to share a poem with you that I wrote a few years ago. It is about the beautiful Lake Macquarie where I live, and how I saw it one day as I walked along the shore.

The poem was recently commended in the Morisset Show Poetry Competition.

 

 

Wangi Bay stretches before me,

a coarse wind-ruffled

grey-green fabric;

patches of dirty brown

rain-stirred run-off

tacked onto it here and there

like jungle-camouflage.

 

Silver sequins

tossed onto the watery quilt

tumble and sparkle among

the grey jetty stripes and squares

and the multi-coloured

ship-shaped pieces

that have been tacked on

with contrasting whitecap stitches.

 

Here and there,

in out-of-the-way places

an occasional dot

of white embroidery –

a bobbing seagull or pelican.

 

A narrow, irregular strip

of breaking waves

marks the inner border

separating the nautical pattern

from its dark green edging

of eucalypt and casuarina

and spiky Lomandra longifolia

 

Today, the lake is a patch-work quilt

that I would like to take home with me.

 

 

© Linda Visman

11th October, 2010

 

Share Your World – 2015 Week #6

February 11, 2015 at 9:46 am | Posted in Gratitude, Writing | 5 Comments
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 Here we are again with Cee’s challengeShare Your World Week 6

 

What was the last time you went to a new place?

Just last week, actually. I wrote about it and posted photos last Friday of our ferry ride to Manly, on the north side of Sydney Harbour. It was a place I had never been to and a ferry ride I’d never taken.

If you were or are a writer do you prefer writing short stories, poems or novels, other? And what type of genre would you prefer?

I am a writer. I love to write, and have written, all those forms and others – poetry, short stories, novels, memoir, biography, essays. Although my novels tend to be historical, and aimed primarily at middle grade and young adult, I am not necessarily limited by genre. My short stories cover a range from contemporary to slightly paranormal to historical. My poetry is about real life and feelings, nature, the act of writing, and occasional humour.

Out of your five senses (touch, taste, sight, smell, hearing) which is your favorite?

All of our senses are windows to the world, and I don’t know that any one is my favourite. They each give me a different perspective that I would lose if that sense were not there. But if I go by the sense that I would least like to lose, I’d say sight. How awful to be unable to see my grandchildren as they grow up, to not see the trees and birds, the sweeping plains and sky, the sea and the mountains that I love. However, I would hate to lose any of my senses – I already suffer some hearing loss, but I hope it never goes completely.

If 100 people your age were chosen at random, how many do you think you’d find leading a more satisfying life than yours?

I would say hardly any of them. Although we are not well off financially and we have a few health problems, we have everything we need to enjoy a full life. We may not be able to travel widely, have a big house and car, or buy whatever we want, but we have a wonderful family, friends we care about, and we can take short holidays in our little camper van. We also have interests that stimulate us and keep us active and aware. We lead a simple but satisfying life.

Of course, there are things we would like to do and places we would like to see. We see many of our friends doing some of those things. But we accept that, for us, they are out of reach. It is that acceptance that probably ensures we are content – indeed, more content – with life than most other people.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week, I was able to catch up with a friend for lunch, and we spent two hours sharing, catching up and supporting each other.

Later this week, we will be on our way to a week’s holiday in our national capital and along the coast. We will also see a daughter and grandchildren, and perhaps other family members, siblings, as well.

(c) Linda Visman

Share Your World – 2015 Week #2

January 14, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Australia, Gardens, Gratitude, Leisure activities | 4 Comments
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Here are my responses to Cee’s Share Your World questions for Week 2 of this year.

 

Are you a hugger or a non-hugger?

I am definitely a hugger. There is something warm and accepting about a hug, and I love to pass that on to others. We all grew up in a demonstrative family, and it was considered normal to hug when arriving and leaving home; and I hug friends as well as family. I carried that into my adult life and my five sons are all comfortable with hugs. I can almost always tell when a non-hugger arrives though, and back off so they don’t get uncomfortable.

 

What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor?

Boysenberry! However it is a rare treat to have ice cream.

 

Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either?

I like to exercise both. Physically, I am quite active. I mow our double house block which is on a slope, do fairly heavy work in the garden and the house, and go (irregularly) for walks. I can’t be a book-chair or computer potato for too long before I need to move.

My reading, writing and extensive work with my reading group has kept my brain active for some years now, and I love crosswords – both regular and cryptic. My scrapbooking also keeps my creative side alive and kicking when my writing falls off.

 

Are you more of a dog person or a cat person? Why?

I am certainly not a cat person, and I am astounded at the fuss people make over cats. It seems in many ways they worship them! Cats are beautiful creatures in every way except for one – they are superb killing machines. They seem to be like humans that way; killing for the sake of killing. Much of Australia’s natural wildlife has been destroyed since cats were introduced to this country, taking millions of small animals every year.

Dogs can go feral too, but they are capable of wonderful relationships with people – unlike cats, who use people as their slaves. I would love to have a dog, but circumstances do not allow it.

 

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for the terrific man I married – that is ongoing. I was glad to see it raining steadily for several days, as we needed it for the garden, and to cool off the summer heat.

Next week? Nothing much planned early in the week, but the Australia Day holiday is coming up on the weekend of the 24-26 January, and a cruise with our sailing club to celebrate. Hoping we will both be okay to get the boat out and join in on at least some of the festivities.

 

Linda Visman

Share Your World –Week 45

November 13, 2014 at 9:16 pm | Posted in Australia | 8 Comments
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Every week, Cee poses us five questions. In answering Cee’s questions, we share a little of our world with fellow bloggers and readers. Thank you, Cee. Here are Cee’s questions for Week 45.

What is your favorite color? 

Kookaburra and blue sky, October 2014

Kookaburra and blue sky, October 2014

Blue has always been my favourite colour. Very predictable I suppose, as it seems about half the world has blue as a favourite! The blue I love best is the deep blue of the Australian sky that we especially see in autumn. Stunning!

In what do you find the simplest of joys?

Both my husband and I find all our joys in the everyday things around us – we couldn’t afford anything more anyway, so it is good that it keeps our focus on the small things.

We love our many kids (8 between us) and grandkids (11 and another on the way), but they all live at a distance from us. So, getting a photo of them at their daily lives and activities, or a drawing from one of the grandchildren, warms our hearts. So does speaking with any of them by phone or Skype. In the meantime, we truly relish what nature shares with us.

Would you prefer a reading nook or an art, craft, photography studio?

My study is crammed with books and scrapbooking materials and albums, as well as my computer desk where I do a lot of my writing. It is rather crowded, but I can get by with the space I have for those.

I have a nice comfy chair in the lounge room where I can read. However that is where the TV is. I rarely watch TV, so when I go there to read, hubby is really good to me and wears earphones to listen to it. It would be lovely if I could have a bigger study so I could have my comfy reading chair in there too.

What is at least one of your favorite quotes?

Be the change you wish to seeYou think you have time

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week we visited an old friend in hospital after a bowel cancer operation. We are always amazed at 92-year-old Jean and her positive attitude to life. We are grateful to have her as a friend.

We are going to visit some of my husband’s kids and grandkids tomorrow, and will also see some of my siblings. I am particularly looking forward to seeing my younger sister, as we haven’t been able to spend any time together for over a year. It will be great to catch up.

Linda Visman

Share Your World – Week 43

October 29, 2014 at 9:39 pm | Posted in Australia, Leisure activities, Mental Health, Reading | 8 Comments
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Cee continues to challenge us to share our world with her great questions. They make us think about our lives, and that is always a good thing. Here are my answers to her questions for Week 43.

What is your favorite time of day?

I think it is the later part of the evenings. That is the time when it is unlikely anyone will telephone. That is when hubby is usually either watching TV or working at his computer. Thus, there is little to interrupt me in whatever I am doing. That may be writing, scrapbooking or reading. A time for myself.

What’s your favorite charitable cause and why?

I have supported many different causes throughout my life, each one relevant to the needs I see around me. These needs are sometimes medical – The Blind Society due to Dad blindness; Breast Cancer research & support groups after my cancer diagnosis; The Australian Heart Foundation, after hubby’s heart attack; and several organisations that support people in financial or other distress.

But there is a limit to the number of charities one can donate to, especially when we are on the age pension. We donate regularly to various worthy causes, but not really to any one particular cause.

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

If it is light rain, it won’t usually stop me from doing some outside things. But when the rain has set in and the best course is to stay inside and wait it out, you have a good excuse to settle in and enjoy the time out; unless you have to do paid work or have other ongoing commitments of course.

Rainy days are good times to relax and do the pleasant things you put off doing because there are more important things to do. I love to read to the sound of rain on the roof, settled into my comfortable chair with a hot drink or a glass of wine (the wine after 6pm of course). It’s a good time to catch up on my scrapbooking too, or read blogs and emails. Anything that would normally carry a sense of guilt if you do it when the weather is fine and you have no excuse for getting out of the house or yard work.

Scrapbook pages

When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?

When we began school, we wrote with a pencil, but in 4th grade, we moved on to pen and ink. It was such a big step, and an indication that we were growing up. To write with a pencil was seen as babyish. It wasn’t until I reached high school that biros became easy to get and relatively cheap. But even then, I preferred to use my fountain pen – the nib with use, fitting perfectly to my style of writing. It is actually rare here in Australia for anyone to write with a pencil once they are older. Those who do, usually use a clutch pencil.

By the end of high school, biros were everywhere, and I always used them to write with. The only time I have written with a pencil is when I can’t find a pen. I even do my cryptic and other crosswords with a pen. Nowadays, with my arthritic fingers, the thicker pens with formed grips are easiest for me to use, but I love the flow of the gel pens you can get now too.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week, with virtually no outside commitments, both my husband and I did what we wanted to do. In my case, it was lots of yard work, scrapbooking and relaxing with a crossword or a book. It has been the first time for a year or two that we have had that length of time to ourselves and we have both been thankful for it.

This week, we still have a few more days of freedom, so we are doing the same and enjoying it.

(c) Linda Visman

Share Your World – Week 42

October 21, 2014 at 8:06 pm | Posted in Australia, Mental Health, Philosophy, Ways of Living | 10 Comments
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Here are my responses to Cee’s  latest questions to get to know each other at Share Your World

What would be your preference, awake before dawn or awake before noon?

Night Owl  I am a night owl, so I find it both hard to go to bed and hard to get up in the morning. I know I get a lot of writing and scrapbooking done in the later hours, but I also miss seeing the sun rise and getting household tasks over and done with early.

I used to be up and about very early when I was teaching in remote Central Australia, starting at school about 6.30am, before anyone else arrived. So I know I can do it if I have to. But it is so hard to stop what I am doing at night!

  1. I think I will have to go with what my body clock tells me and do what I normally do – go to bed around midnight and awake about 8 or 9am.

If you could choose between Wisdom and Luck, which one would you pick?

If you rely on Luck, you put yourself in the hands of blind Fate. However, if you have Wisdom, you can more or less make your own luck. I would rather have the wisdom.

If you were given the opportunity for free skydiving lessons would you take them? Why or why not?Sky-diving

Most probably not. I like to be in control of my life as much as possible. Skydiving is a great example of loss of control. It might be good for me but I would say thanks, but no thanks!

Is the glass half empty or half full? What is in the glass?

It depends what mood I am in. If I am very depressed, it is hard to see the glass at all. If I am a little depressed, I can usually persuade myself that the glass is half full. If I am in a positive mood, then the glass is usually running over.

What is in the glass? Love, friendship, good will, gratitude, empathy, happiness.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week: I am grateful to have had several days in which to finally chill out, after several months with a lot of activity, travel and responsibility.

This week: I am looking forward to planting more Australian native trees. Several lovely trees next door to us were cut down today (Monday), and my husband and I want to plant a tree to replace each of those we see cut down in our neighbourhood. Trouble is, we can’t keep up with them all! L But we do our best on our own little patch of ground.

(c) Linda Visman

Share Your World – Week 37

September 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Posted in Family, Mental Health, Politics, Society | 2 Comments
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Here are my responses to Cee’s latest Share Your World questions.

List three pet peeves.

  1. Politicians;
  2. “Tossers” – those who leave their rubbish for others to clean up;
  3. Splashing water around when washing the dishes.

What makes you unique?

Just about everything! There is nobody in the world who is just like me – in appearance, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. I am the only one of me.

What would be your ideal birthday present, and why?

My ideal birthday present is being taken out to dinner; a day without having to cook or prepare any meals myself.

Which way does the toilet paper roll go? Over or under?

The toilet paper definitely goes over the top! If I find it the other way, I change it – no matter whose bathroom I am in.

There are several reasons for that. The first is that it is easiest to find the end when it is on the side next to you. The second is that spiders and other creatures sometimes hide under the paper if it is hidden behind the roll against the wall (I’m not afraid of them, but who wants to be startled by a spider?). And the third is that if the roll is right against the wall, it can be hard to get hold of – and if the wall is a brick or stone one, then you can scrape your knuckles against it – which I have done.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week, we had several beautiful sunny spring days when it was a real pleasure to work out in the yard.

I am looking forward to travelling interstate this week to visit some of my kids and grandkids.

(c) Linda Visman

Share Your World, Week 34

August 28, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Posted in Culture, Mental Health, Society, Travel, Ways of Living | 1 Comment
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I have joined Cee Neuner’s weekly blog challenge called “Share Your World”, and this is my first post. Cee poses a few questions each week and members share their replies on their own blogs, with a link back to Cee’s page.

The idea is to share yourself and the world in which you live with other bloggers around the world. I hope to find more interesting people through this challenge.

What is your favourite smell? What does it remind you of?

This is a hard one to start with, and I had to go to the other questions before coming back to it. I love so many smells, that it is hard to choose just one. However, I have decided to go with the ozone smell that comes with the first rain on warm, dry ground. It is always so welcome in this country, especially inland, where drought is all too common. It particularly reminds me of the years I spent in Central Australia back in the 1990s.

Name a song or two which are on the soundtrack to your life?

1. You Needed Me”: Anne Murray
During the 1970s and early 80s, I went through a particularly difficult period in my life. I suffered often from deep depression, to the extent that I wanted to leave life altogether. A friend introduced me to the 12-step support and recovery programme called GROW, which helped me to turn in a more positive direction.

GROW Australia

I attended a GROW conference one year as a Leader and there, an amazing young woman spoke to us. Her talk consisted of playing the song, “You Needed Me”, followed by her explanation of how it encapsulated her own recovery through Grow and the mutual support of people in it.
It really resonated with me, and the song has been very special to me ever since.

2. Sometimes When We Touch”: Dan Hill
I remember the strength and beauty of a passionate love. This is the song that was playing when we declared ourselves. We were together for 20 years.

Do you play video/computer game? Which one(s) or most recent?

I have never played video games – I would much rather read a book. Besides, I was already the mother of five sons when they first made their appearance. I used to play Spider Solitaire on the computer, sometimes almost addictively. Now, I have too many other great things to do to waste my time on a game.

Which of Snow White’s 7 dwarfs describes you best? Plus what would the 8th dwarf’s name be? (Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey)

Perhaps a bit of Doc and a bit of Grumpy I suppose, but getting more like Sleepy and Dopey!

seven-dwarfs

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

There are always so many things to be grateful for, and last week was no exception.

1. It was my birthday on the 17th, and I was able to be with my 4 siblings on the day. It isn’t often that the five of us can get together, as two of us live quite a distance from the other three.

2. I’m also grateful that my writing is progressing steadily, with plenty of blog posts, some poetry, and more of my novel written.

In the week ahead, I am looking forward to keeping the writing momentum going, as well as spending some time out in the yard and in the bush – if the rain gives me the chance (the rain is however, most welcome)

(c) Linda Visman

Dobell Park at Wangi, 9th March 2012

March 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Posted in Australia, Nature, Writing and Life | 2 Comments
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  The lake before me is a deep, rich blue that pales and changes to a soft gold where the water shoals over sand and pebbles near the shore. The sky’s lighter blue is daubed with fluffy white clouds that sail slowly up from the south. I see a couple of white sails in the distance – it is a perfect day to be out sailing.

The water lapping at shore has a different resonance today as it washes onto the pebbled beach. Instead of the usual shhh, there is a deeper sound; more like an eddy gurgling and echoing into a large drain, or a giant coffee percolator bubbling away.

A dainty black and white peewee saunters past my foot, and seagulls wait expectantly for morsels that I do not have. An Indian mynah hops about, picking up tidbits from the grass, whilst trying to keep balanced on its single leg.

From a nearby old eucalypt comes the tinkling call of an Eastern Rosella, almost drowned by the fractious squabbling of Noisy Miners.

I hear a rooster crow in the distance; something unusual in town these days. It brings back memories of the many years we kept fowls and relished the freshness of their eggs.

My piece of pumice

I go for a walk along the shore, looking for pieces of petrified wood. There was plenty of it around at one time I’ve been told, but collectors seem to have scavenged it all now. I do find a small piece of pumice though, extremely light and full of bubble holes; the lava must have cooled very quickly when it hit the water aeons ago.

I am constantly amazed and extremely grateful that I live in such a beautiful place. I hope that I will never take it all for granted.

 

Do you live in a place that you see as beautiful? Or is there some other place you would love to live? Do you think we too often take for granted the good things we have in our lives?

Pebbles on the lake shore

© Linda Visman, 9th March 2012

Photos: Linda Visman

 

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