Thursday, 26 April 2012

Oh my, just realised. It's Thursday. Must be creating a habit to write in my BLOG on a Thursday.... yes, with the odd exception.

Last night I displayed the pots and a laptop with a Powerpoint presentation at the local garden centre. What a great night it was. People were genuinely interested. Gave me even more confidence I am doing the right thing. I myself believe in the product. I don't want to convince people to buy, but do want them to see for themselves what an advantage it would be to have healthy plants by caring for them in a more efficient way. Not only was it a great night for me, the sales weren't too bad for the garden centre either. So a win win night.

And now... how further? What really bugs me is the lack of cohesiveness in communication. When I receive a message, txt, mail or whatever I respond with either a complete answer or a acknowledgement with promise to " get back asap". Not everyone seems to think along those lines. Appalling that firms leave their clients " dangling" like fish on a hook. Have just written actually re-written my actions list. Am no longer going to accept being powdered off. Answers NOW! or at least an acknowledgment of contact made. Still, there are sadder things in this world. What am I going on about! This is nonsense given all that life has in store for me.

Like hearing that oom Wim has bowel cancer. Rather advanced so I hear. Hopefully the medical expertise is such that a good programme for treatment is attainable and he will once again survive such an attack on his body. Oom Wim's stomach was removed a number of years ago - round 1997-98. He has been a picture of health since ( as he was before that too).

Oom Wim, an uncle every child ought to have the privilege of having. What a sweetie. No nonsense, fun, serious, sober, logical, easy going, serious, lover of life and devote husband and father. Dearly loved opa! Oh oom Wim, I pray that the road you have to follow is one without pain. That the solution close at hand is and achievable. You were such a support to me 2 years ago when Mitchell died. You were here to hold me, comfort me, keep my feet on the ground. Yet you were compassionate and gentle. How I appreciated your comforting arms around me and soothing words.

I know, people die, people age, life throws curves. Some people live to the ripe old age of 100 or there abouts - and some don't even make it to double figures. I know there is a time for everyone to let go, to leave this world and join our maker in Heaven. It is so hard to let those close go! I want you with us for a lot longer yet. Selfish yes, a natural reaction yes. Prayers answered, who knows!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Tuesday morning. A weather pattern that would fit any season. Sun, heavy black clouds, breezy. Water fowls building nests, mother duck with 8 ducklings learning how to swim and the turtle who decided to find a spot in the sun and out of the wind on a wee platform. I have the privilege of working in a  purely unique environment. Don't you just hate that!

I had a visit from a rep just an hour or so ago with a quote. I needed a price for the plastic lables for the pots. They need translating and making. The translating is fine.... got that covered. Got a bit of a shock at the price though. Still if I was to order 20,000 they are pretty affordable although a huge cut out of my budget.

Slowly but surely the business is taking shape, things are moving gradually to a firm base on which I can proceed to larger waters. Getting to a stage where you have to take a plunge, make firm decisions and stand your ground. Not scarey but definitely with a sense of (healthy) tension. Had a couple fo sleepless nights recently what with one thing and another. Then on the second morning a solution was presented... after lots of prayers about it. I truly am blessed and I so believe that I am doing the right thing and am sure the product can stand up to the scrutiny and competion from more inferior types of pot.

Have a stand at the garden centre tomorrow evening so I can introduce the pot to potential buyers. I have a questionaire for them to fill in so I can gauge interest and start people thinking. Funny thing - you can almost see the plants grow.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Friday 20th of April 2012.

Funny, was just thinking we have just had the Easter season. Starting with Ash Wednesday. A 40 day journey. That number 40 keep re-occurring in things I am doing or experiencing more pronounced at present than I have ever actually noticed.

I thought about it just after New Year. Years with a 2 as last figure somehow stimulate more actively ( not that I have moments where I don't remember- just even more so) my memories of my life as a wife and mum. It was april 1972 that I heard the receptionist from the doctor say, " your test results are positive. You are pregnant". Unbelievable, 40 years ago I was pregnant! Forty years ago I was preparing to become a mum. What a privilege and honour. I was to have a child, love it, raise it feed, cloth and nurture it. I recall being over awed. I even rang the receptionist back and asked her to repeat the test results. She asked " aren't you happy about that?" I hadn't planned to be pregnant, but I was ECSTATIC! I did a Glee dance, couldn't get the smile off  my face and dived into my room to " be happy on my own".

Keeping it a secret was hard. But Bruce was in Wellington and I needed to speak to him before anyone else. Only that was to take a couple of weeks. I was bursting with excitement. I was also nauseous. Mum kept telling me to go to a doctor to see what the problem was. I couldn't keep my food down and she thought I looked " sipped". I told her I was a healthy as could be and there was nothing to worry about.

After telling Bruce we decided we needed time to work out how to "sort ourselves out before telling the parents." I flew to Wellington for the Easter weekend of 1972. We stayed in Upper Hutt in the house of a friend. There we discussed the options- and there were a couple. Our decision:  We would marry. 

We drove back to Auckland via Napier ( Tutira) so we could tell Bruce's mum and step father Roly. Then onward to Auckland. The reactions were, well what would be typical, nothing really. The reactions were the result of who people were at that point in time. A complete mixture of emotions. Happy, confused, bit mad at me of course, disappointed, muddled. Anyway the night had given everyone time for those reactions a place to go. At breakfast all clear headed, dates were set and plans were made. The practical side took over! Planning, that is what we do. We are good at it. Been doing it forever.

Bruce had to return to Wellington so I had the whole task of arranging the wedding. Not big but still a happy occasion. Different than I had always thought it would be, but then, I hadn't planned anything really. What a tumultuous time. A mix match of emotions. What an incredible time it was.

Wow, 40 years ago I was pregnant!!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

It was Easter Monday.
Our trip away..together.
The 3 Fijnekam males and I.

It all started in 2007.
Pa ( opaopa) turned 79.
What to get someone of his age??
Something that is of value to him - TIME!

A holiday destination was easily chosen ( secretly). Zoutelande, a place in Zeeland where the Fijnekam family spend many a summer together. We elected to go for 2 days and one night. Pa wasn't a hotel frequenter at all ( up until then) and due to his needs ( he uses a catheter on a regular basis during the day and with strict timing and hygiene) so we wanted to gently try out our idea - to take him on annual holidays - to places he himself hadn't visited. And for long weekends. So we started gently in Zoutelande.

Needless to say, it was a huge success. Pa LOVED the surprise and a whole new world opened up for him. And our reward- a hugely warm feeling of thankfulness and joy. How wonderful we have the opportunity to share, create lovely memories, but most of all - care for pa and enjoy his company while we are rich enough to have him with us.

To date: after Zoutelande, Volendam, Harlingen, Lemiers-Limburg, Park Hoge Veluwe- Hoenderloo, Zandvoort and 2012: Egmond aan Zee.

All these places had a special meaning for pa. We surprised him each time, getting in the car and not telling where we were heading. Half the fun really! For example - pa hadn't been to Limburg since he was 18 or 19. On his return there he was 82. Youthful memories revisited. Leen and Arie have got to know their dad even more personally now - with all those special memories shared.The weather also played the game and behaved in the most co-operative manner, we have not had a rained out weekend yet!

Volendam (2008)

Harlingen (2009)

3-Landen Punt Limburg (2010)

Zandvoort (2011)

Boer'nKinkel, Hoenderloo ( 2011)

Egmond aan Zee ( 2012)

Leen and I had spent a long weekend in Egmond aan Zee last year with friends. We thought the location was ideal for pa. He can't walk far, loves the sea and especially boats. We decided on a unit this time instead of hotel rooms. And boy was our weekend a success. Beyond all expectations.

The first thing pa organises when we give him a date for our weekend away is his binoculars. I remember what mum's first thing was that went into the boot of the car before she visited; her sewing machine! Funny, memories, they pop up willy nilly. A warm bath feeling. Anyway, a week or two before we leave we inform pa not to make any appointments for that particular time. Then he starts " fishing". He thinks we aren't clued up....hahaha! Small, sneaky comments hoping we tumble in to them. We DON'T!

During our time away I take numerous photos. Knowing pa doesn't get around much in cold weather I make photo albums for him to keep him warm in the winter- reliving the experience. He has quite a library of them now. The latest one already made and ordered.

Having a unit instead of a hotel room, we had more time together and also spent more relaxed time this way. I had organised plenty of yummy breakfast food which we enjoyed at leisure. Also having a wee lounge area gave us opportunity to " hang about" in a relaxed more personal way that in a hotel lounge.

Funny, we started organising these weekends for pa - and I think we look forward to them as much as he does.

I truly value these weekends and hope we are able to enjoy may more in the years to come.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Good Friday- Easter weekend 2012

What an awesome start to our day. A blue sky, frosty lawns, no breeze and a bright sun. Almost picture perfect. Since my return home I still feel a bit at a loss on Good Friday.

Years and years I attended all the Easter ceremonies held in our church, no matter what parish we were part of. Now I don't " belong"  to any parish and don't attend any ceremonies. I do however now create my own ceremonies.

Leen and I don't work on those days for instance. We take time to be together, do "muddle about"  at home but certainly not lawn mowing style chores or the like. You could call Good Friday a sober sort of day, but certainly not dull or gloomy.

For a number of years now Leen ( and I) are responsible for the distribution of 44 Hart Foundation Collection boxes. That is quite a task. Not only do we ensure the collection boxes are assembled and address labelled, we also organise all the envelopes and deliver door to door to the volunteers that spread the envelopes and the other volunteers who do the collecting. That's 88 doors on which to knock!  We have had our numbers cut ( thankfully I may add) to 24. It was a HUGE task- which now has been reduced to a manageable task.Tomorrow morning Leen will deliver the envelopes for the pre-run and next Thursday we will deliver the collection boxes.

Doing this on Good Friday felt good! Spending time thinking about those who have heart/health problems. Spending time remembering those who died due to heart problems like my tante Alie who was far too young and left young teenagers without a mum. Thinking about those who lost their partner, parent, child or friend. Also thinking about all those working with heart patients, those seeking solutions for problems with heart problems. Everything to do with this subject must have crossed my mind.

The task was complete before I was finished " thinking". And why now on Good Friday- well the collection is always held in the same week - Easter weekend moves annually. Hearts keep beating - or not -  every day!

Yes, I think today is HEART day. An appropriate subject for GOOD FRIDAY!!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Well, what do you know. It is BLOG day. Must be Thursday. Holy Thursday at that. The Easter Season is drawing to a close with the most IMPORTANT events yet to happen. Funny how much energy goes into preparing for Christmas as opposed to Easter, whilst Easter is THE BEGINNING! Never mind, like I said it is Holy Thursday and time to reflect on what that day represented. The last supper together as a group! I think we can all imagine a time when we enjoyed a " last supper"  with someone that no longer is a part of "the group". Someone who has died, moved or just taken a different road. We do out- grow dad said so! and I believe him.

The last Supper I immediately think of is the last meal I had with everyone when I left NZ for good. It ended with a carrot cake newly labelled by Bruce in a not so flattering name. That meal was so heavily laden with emotions, anger, questions and yes laughter and memories!! Last suppers are special.

Last might I went to a " last supper". For nearly 3 years I worked closely with Ellen. Ellen was a teacher at my last school. She was to retire. Looked forward to it with enthusiasm and a keenness which was catching. From the school age of 5 till her pensioen, Ellen had been a " schoolgirl".

Her life had been one bearing all sorts of sizes crosses. Some light some hugely ( unfairly?) heavy! The love of her life appeared to have been born with a gen defect that affected his brain. It was hereditary. It manifested itself at a later stage.They had no children because of it. Ellen nursed her husband till it became impossible to do that at home. He was placed in a care home. A young and life loving woman, she took her vow seriously and was a daily visitor and minder of her husband. After he died (2002) Ellen found a new love... someone who had actually been a part of her circle of friends but she had never really " noticed"  him. He had noticed her however. Already longtime divorced and father of 2, he and Ellen started building up a new life together.

Gert worked in Suriname best part of the year as engineer. Twice a year he would spend some time at their home in Gorinchem and twice a year Ellen would "stay"  at their home in Suriname.

Then came the pension period. Ellen and Gert re-organised their schedules...Ellen remodelled their home in Suriname for longer stays. Part of the year in the warm sunny and colourful climate in Suriname and part of the year with family and friends in Gorinchem.

On the 13th of February I received a mail stating that Ellen was in hospital here in Gorinchem. She wasn't well and sought medical advice. Within the week she learned her situation was hopeless. Yes chemo for life extension, but no cure. Last Thursday she slipped into a coma and Saturday her body gave up the battle.

Along with other former colleagues I went to farewell her. The cremation is to take part today with only family. We were given the opportunity to see Ellen and say our personal goodbye which I did.
How beautiful she looked. Serene in a natural sort of way, almost like she was to open her eyes and say " tricked you!" No sign of the health struggle she had endured anywhere in sight.

We sat at tables, drank and ate together. Our last supper.

Thank you for your laughter
for the meals we shared
For the wines we drank
For the secrets shared
For the advice you gave
For your love for the children

Ellen thank you for being you!