Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Some people thrive at the bottom of the pit---they prey on those who are vulnerable---if we let them!

Just over three years ago, I underwent Bariatric Surgery, in order to gain a 'tool' to change my life. I was heading for a grave that was not ready for me. I wont go into details about the process as I am sure you can Google the procedure to find about about it. I attribute that operation to saving my life, especially given more recent events, that had I not had it, things would have 'gone south!' Within a few months of the operation, I formed a support group on Facebook. I called it--- Bariatric Support Group---simple enough name, eh! Initially, the group was for those in NZ, but very quickly it 'expanded' and now most of the members are in the USA. That's fine, because all of the members are united by a common theme. We support one another with our words, our very different journeys and yes---the love.WE never 'tell' other what they must do, we just let one another know how we handled a situation, be it with a doubting partner or re a fear. We know that we are all different, and it is that diversity of personality, of situation and of health needs, that lends a richness to the stories we tell. I am sure people have met as a result of 'meeting on the site.' Our membership at this time is now over 230! BUT---we have attracted the interest of some devious people---who would prey on us with bogus offers of help,sometimes 'financial ' in nature. It is relatively easy to see that their constant badly written offers are bogus or at the very least, dubious in nature. We collectively say to these people---'leave us alone. We support each other via our words and thoughts. That is enough!'Fell free to contact me if YOU want to set up a support group, and maybe I can save you some 'grief re the people who would 'prey on us, instead of praying for us!'

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bariatric support group---3 plus years on.

Just over three years ago, I had a procedure to give me a 'tool' to control my burgeoning weight issue. My doctor told me at around that time, that I would possibly not reach the age of retirement. I was working through (That's a nice way of say 'self-inflicted) a range of health issues, including: Sleep Apnea, High blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 Diabetes. I did not realize this at the time, but I also had Atrial Fibrillation, something that has reared its now controlled head, more recently. So, in a sense I had the Full House, re health issues and I was just 63 years of age. Why didn't I do something about it,' you say. Well-----I did. You name the diet, the gym and the 'help' I paid out copious amounts of money, almost as much as the weight I continued to pile on after each 'effort' to relive me of the globular fat tissue! I helped to balance the bank accoutns of mnay businesses, as I followed what for me was an impossible dream. To those again who say, I was weak, or 'what goes in muct be balanced by what goes out,' I say---pull your head in! There is plenty of evidence that I am sure some of my lovely readers can point us to, that suggests that mnay people are on this treadmill of 'yoyo dieting' and that they are doomed to failure. I know---that flys in the face of those of you you who attend many hours a week at the gym, following strict regimes, that most of us, either do not have the time, money or the 'make-up to follow. Good on you---if it works for you----go for it. I admire your resolve, but for the rest of us---- we need----well, let's speak for 'me,'-----I needed an 'intervention,' and that eventually came in the form of Bariatric Surgery.I agonized about this procedure---for just a few days. You see---I had done all the thinking for several years and the 'suggestion;' a very strong one, from my doctor was just the culmination of bringing to the fore of what I had struggled with for all those years. I could not tap into the excellent Public health system in New Zealand, that funds this operation for those under 50, but I was able to partially use the health insurance I had at the time. (I cancelled it, once they put up my premiums, post operation) I 'extended my mortgage, by around the cost of a new car---a really cheap one, (the operation cost about $NZ18,000) and 'invested' in the life-changing procedure. After the operation, I decided to start a Bariatric Surgery Support Group on Facebook. It stared slowly, mainly with NZ members. Then the USA kicked and and numbers grew. Now that we have almost reached 200 members (I suspect that by the time this is posted---we will cross the line and head for our first 1000!) it seems that the sky is the limit. I am floored by the wonderful support you all provide each other. I love the way you reach out, encourage, answer questions and 'be there' for one another. Long may that ethos continue. This is the place for verbal hugs, and where possible--to meet. Those of you who are about to undergo the operation, need support as there is a risk involved, albeit it a fairly small one, and there are complications at times. Above all---it is NOT a cure---it is a tool, whereby we can achieve some 'control' back in our lives. Let's keep this special group going. Love to you all.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Another Thames Coastal yarn!

It's not a particularly cold day on the 'coast,' today, but it is grey and sticky. My excuse to have the fire going on it's lowest setting was to 'bring bout a good cheer, built upon a nice dry and warm home.' I have succeeded, but the wood pile is diminishing in size and nearing a point that requires attention.Being the multi-skilled, person that I am, meant that going on the car, accompanied by Perdy, to yonder town and beyond, would bring about a solution to several issues; the wood pile, baking needs and a bit of business at the AA---that's the Automobile Assignation. I pulled into the establishment that sell---wood. I had noticed a little trailer at the entrance with 'much processed pieces,' that would go up in smoke, wit hon minutes. NO----not for me---I wanted the unprocessed chunky stuff, that God ordained specifically for Kent fires! 'Yes, of course we have that, ,' the cheery young lady replied when asked about the former God-blessed wood. I inquired about delivery. 'Just bring our truck in,' she said. 'Ah---I don't have one,' I replied, somewhat 'Aucklandy' in nature.' She looked at my little Hyundai in the yard and said, 'You got a tow bar?' I answered in a manner that inferred my car was quite capable of towing a smallish load but no---I didnt have a tow bar, like ai guess most people in Thames---do. Hey---she was speaking to the guy who way back in the early seventies used to employ a Morris 1000 to tow a trailer with a heavy piano. It did of course require several clutch replacements. We just don't do that sort of thing these days, eh! I suggested that I would ring back, after I had sought the assistance of my neighbour, who 'knows' people and things movers.' I guess today was another 'welcome to life on the Coast.' kinda day.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Solving NZ's 'problems.' Do it Thames-style,' whilst walking the dog!

We don't need politicians, we don't need big business, we don't even need the UN, all there to resolve the issues facing New Zealand---and the world. The above can go take a great leap---into the Firth of Thames, where they can converse with the 'sea-creatures!' Maybe they will get a better hearing and sound way less 'fishy' than they do 'on-land!' I propose a more creative solution---call in the 'Thames Dog walkers!' It seems that every morning, I meet up with this group of illustrious locals and sure, I forget their names, but remember the canine 'attendees,' which was something I noticed down at the Bay in Auckland. There is a particular spot, where two pathways intersect, near a retirement village in Thames, along the coastal walkway, where all the action occurs. (Some say--cycle way---but that's another issue!) Most of the 'discussees,' are ageing ---or----ancient! I feel the presence of many stories and I can almost certainly predict that some of their stories will feature on this blog in the near future. The collective wisdom and that special mix of cynicism and up-front honesty, combined with a tolerance that I did not expect to feature re my new place, leads me to believe that I shall soon have an accurate handle on how things work down here, in Thames. Extrapolate that out to the bigger picture of New Zealand and the issues we face, and hey----these people have the answers. Yeah, I know, such 'meetings of great minds,' exist in all places--hell---even in Auckland, once the ' natives' battle their way through permanent gridlock, just to go to the dairy!I remain hopeful that when people take the time, to meet, to talk, to share ideas in a non hurried open way, then anything is possible. I am still serving my 'apprenticeship,' re my new place, and without a doubt, I shall be informed when my opinions are 'part of the whole!' I don't mind waiting, as my new friends share their stories. Damn---where has the morning gone?!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

There's a few 'bugs' re living on the Coast!

Beautiful----idyllic----transforming---just a few words to describe living on the Thames Coast. Life is such that one puts on the fire, even if it's not particularly cold, because it seems to enhance the experience of---taking time. I find myself sitting in front of the fire, with Perdy snuggling up to me while we watch it grow, forming shapes and weird apparitions. I tell her fantastical stories and she obviously listens, because I see her twitching as she dreams later in the evening. I suspect those dreams are rather different from mine. The fire sometimes inspires blogs; failing that---it sends me to sleep. This morning, the fire place (it's a Kent) was bare, as we had swept it out and thrown the ashes onto the compost pile---it's OK---we only use 'untreated wood, , so no need for any of you to 'go off!' So, there I was, writing a few responses to messages online, when I noticed something in the periphery of my vision; something 'small and scuttly!' OH no---a bloody cockroach! That's all we need---a damned infestation of those little critters. Where the hell did that come form? Then 'rationale thoughts gently entered my inquiring mind.Just look out the front window--- there's a huge great expanse covering hundreds of square kilometres, just full of 'life,' as it has always existed. Why would the creatures feel constrained by human sensitivities to their presence? Then I remembered that dude form Holland--the 'Insect Man,' Rude (no he's not obnoxious---just clever---Rude is his name, even if I have not spelled it correctly---I like it that way) and I have often heard him explaining that these little cockroaches are harmless, they are not dirty and do not represent any issues for humans, so just eave the critters alone, they will find a way out. OK--that's fine. I know how they got into the lounge---they hitched a ride, along with the odd spider or two---on the wood we bring in from the garage. All we need now is a Weta or two. to complete our 'Critters' 'welcome to the Coast.' Perdy is still waiting, of course to meet her first RAT! I think she is feeling 'neglected.'

Lazy afternoon in Thames.

Yeah, I could have given in to that mid-winter feeling and just stayed inside by the fire, reading or playing on my computer---or---just snoozing. But--the great outdoors and a bored Jack Russell demanded action of a different sort. So---it was in the car and up the coast to the beautiful bays and valleys, just north of Thames. We stopped at several beaches, where Rio took photos and Perdy accompanied me onto the sands and shells, sniffing and digging and doing her utmost to get me to let her off her lead. Sorry girl---you are still in 'off-leash Purgatory, after your last attempt at 'freedom running,' something akin to the ban on Freedom Camping in this area. We headed up a narrow road and came upon a meandering---not it was a gushing stream, with crystal clear, yet somewhat temperature challenged waters--great for a dog and clean enough to---drink? One never knows anymore re the streams and rivers of NZ! I imagined myself casting for trout, while Perdy did what she does best---she jumped in and buggered be the coolness---hey she's a dog! I made my wish to re-visit this magic place, complete with swimming shorts and a delectable packed lunch. Thee is so ,much to explore on this Jewell in the wilderness
. I shall----take my time---Thames style.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A guy with his Jack Russell--just sliding into Coastal time!

When I arrived at this idyllic place on the coast, it took me a while to change time zones; not the ones that you all recognize---no something more--from another time, but one that is not totally divorced from---now. Initially, I was a tad concerned that I would not fill my days and the there were the 'financial concerns--that I would not quite meet the demands re all the usual bills. Of course, I sorted them out by 'reducing' my perceived needs; taking away some of the old 'dependencies' and stripping spending back to basics, with the premise that I could always add 'needs' as and when they made their presence felt--within the budget. The one day a week returning to Auckland was the 'icing on the cake of additions!' Now---I feel like I have slipped into this new time zone; one that fits like an old slipper; that allows me to---take time. Ten minutes stretches into an hour, while Perdy patiently (yes that's a real move on her part!) waits while I chat to all the other dog walkers. Yes, in many ways, Perdy is instrumental in my settling in, being accepted. She 'breaks the ice, connects me with people; some even asking for my card! I never expected that to happen. I have already alluded to the change that has occurred, re the manner in which I approach my day---the actual day seems to matter less---it's more about letting the 'day take me wherever it wants.' Can a 'day do that?' I'm not sure, but I am ---OK. Yes, I came here to try to find a more gentle way of living. The health issues are still there, but I am 'riding with them,' not letting them control me. I get the feeling that Thames is going to be a journey that lets me participate in life in a way I never imagined. The Jack Russell seems to be making her way too.

Hairy tale from the Coast (as 'reported by Perdy Jack Russell)

"It's not often I get the chance to put paw to keyboard, so expect a few barking glitches in my blog!' You all know I've shifted from Mt Roskill and now run with the birds on the coast just north of Thames. Oh my pooch in the sky---things are very different. Even 'he who thinks he's boss,' is more relaxed, taking more walks and even allowing me to escape from time to time. BUT---you should see him when I disappear out a gap he didn't know about. I ain't telling him about the others. 'He' takes me on lots of trips---damn---some of them are 'long gaps between weewees' away. There's gonna be puddles if he keeps that up. Take yesterday, for example---he wanted to go to a place called Morrinsville---I think it's named after a famous Jack Russell called Morris---well anyway---off we go and---I have never seen so mnay moocows---hell---some looked like Jack Russells, but even I don't eat that much grass. Buggered if i know why he won't let me loose---I'd chase the buggers till the dogs come home!They would love it. Well---we eventually arrived at that town---he left me in the car---what a mean sod! He only went to 'bank a bit of paper'---cause he said that Thames didn't have the right bank. THEN--he turned the little blue Hyundai around---oops---they even had colourful moocows in the main street---what's with this lot donw here---are moocows important or something. maybe they worship them, like I saw something about on TV. Didn't he know that I wanted another pee. Hey---he read my thoughts--hopefully not ALL OF THEM! That would present---issues. He took me to a park. Cute little place, with lots of leaves to roll in. I think he even took moving pictures of them and let you all know. I quite like acting for those events. Wouldn't ya know it---he travelled back to Thames on the same road---he could have gone another way---to show me the sights, but no.Then to rub it in, he stopped at a cafe in a tiny little place that must have got lost when the big guy in the sky made towns, and brought a pie----a pork and watercress one. Man---that smelled so good. Did I get any? NUUUUUP! Great trip---DAD!!! He must have felt a bit guilty because after he had finished mowing the lawn with his flash new self-propelled mower (I reckon he pretends he's pushing it and puts this look on that says---'hey---I'm so tired after all that pushing'---but the lazy sod just follows behind it--what a laugh! I heard him using the 'F' word heaps when the roses attacked him----lol. He tells me off when I use it!He did take me out for another walk, after he had recovered from his'work.' It was just going to be a ten minute one, he said. Yeah right---that's not possible in this town. He runs into someone and---yeah, you guessed it---he gasses away with all these people. I sniff the bits and pieces of the other dogs but hey---one can only sniff so much and then--let us off the lead to do our thing. But no---he doesn't trust me now to go off leash---all because he had to wait while i conducted a census as to where all the cats are in the vicinity of the park. Such fun, such fun!He was really pissed though, because he had one of those 'turns' he has from time to time. Now-----light the fire dude---you know I love that! Life on the Coast is just dandy---just make sure you remind the 'boss' who really IS!!!! Hey---I used spellcheck so I didn't do bad, eh. PERDY!!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Tales from the Coast---Green Acres all over again!

If you are either 'elderly' or just love those really old black and white comedies from 'yesteryear, you will be able to relate to this little gem. Do you remember the rich couple from the city (Zaza Gabor?) was the delightfully over-the-top lady of the house, who with her husband decided to leave busy and somewhat stressful life of the city, to settle in the country. You know the rest, if I have hit the spot.Picture me minus a few of her obvious 'qualities---yeah, I'm not as pretty and certainly not on the rich list or a few more-----below it! BUT, I have been accredited with a few of her other eccentricities. I most certainly posses her ability to bugger things up, even though I try hard!How about this little observation from the Coast. Today, I decided to use the new lawnmower. I have not mowed a lawn for more than 20 years. Now to put you in the picture, I decided that I needed to 'future-proof myself, health-wise---that is, I did not want to stress myself re mowing a big lawn (it'a only about 700m2 and all flat, but with a shite-lode of fruit trees, sharp roses (which are in the most silliest of places, requiring one to manoeuvre any mower around etc---I prefer my dearly departed Dad's solution---I am going to gradually accidentally mow the bastards down! Prickly things!!!! So I went out out and purchased a lawn mower with all the bells and Whites; one that key started and yes---self propelled. My excuse---it was so I did not take a heart turn, given the experiences of late. I have of course since learned that exercise is not going to bring on one of the AF(Atrial Fibrillation) attacks---it seems that I am regularly 'out of rhythm---no news to most of you who know me---lol. Indeed, if anything, exercise is really good for kicking me back into 'normality. Picture me again, taking out my flash new mower, wondering if the bloody thing would set off on its own down the road towards the town centre!It did not---it was a superb experience. I did my best to make it look like I was actually pushing it, looking like a fit and energetic new addition to the 'Coastal' population of Thames. Imagine how hard it was to keep a straight face (extremely hard for me!) when a neighbour across the road, aged in excess of 80, came out with his mower to attend to his lawn. Not for him, a flash self-propelled, key started piece of machinery. NO---he had an old fashioned PUSH MOWER---yip---non petrol! PLUS he had a walking stick. I shall be watching to see when he goes away before I attempt any front yard mowing action in future. I could not stand the SHAME. Oh well---such is life for an ex-city bloke, who decides to adopt the past! Perdy of course, watched from the window, wondering what the hell IO was doing. I swear she was laughing.

Semi-retirement in Thames?----no----I need to redefine the term to---'Mostly retired!'

When I arrived in Thames, I thought that I would slide into a sort of semi-retired state, whereby I would return to Auckland for at least two days a week to see up to 6 clients. I assumed that I would find this challenging enough, re keeping my hand in the 'counselling/supervision world and to meet any financial needs. Let's face it---the 'Superannuation,' that the State pays is not meant to satisfy all of the wants, that one previously felt were--NEEDS!' Two weeks down the tracks, I have undergone a shift re those 'assumptions.' Once the expensive tasks, re setting up house in a 'new land,' on the 'Coast,' as it is called, and the inhabitants---Coasters,' are nearing comfortable completion, then one can take a look as to whether the same need as previously believed, to constantly return to the 'big smoke,' with all the attending stresses of battling the traffic and finding places to stay, with or without a camper-van, still exists. Two weeks into this new journey, I have come to the conclusion, that I love it down here, next to the Firth of Thames, where my day starts with a walk with Perdy along the shell-strewn shoreline, being intermittently reminded by noisy and somewhat nosy feathered friends that this is where I belong, along with my hairy four-legged companion. Do I need a lot of extra income to supplement the State's contribution (one of course that I have worked for for 40 plus years---just saying!) to my approaching dotage? I guess that depends on what each of us decides is 'necessary' for our needs. I have arrived at the conclusion, that as long as my basic needs are met, that I do not need a great deal 'extra!' Given that 'epiphany' (Yeah OK--- I am prepared to admit, that if a 'financial bomb hits re health or other unforeseen needs, then that stance could change) I am quite content to return to the source of the 'add-on' income, only when necessary. My return on a regular basis to Auckland is as much influenced by the need to remain 'connected' to friends and family, but even then, it seems that I may well be the recipient of more visitors than I ever had in the little flat in Mt Roskill. The next few weeks will be crucial in the 'testing' of what I have written. Will I remain constant down here on the Coast? Watch this space.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Monday?----Tuesday---hey this is the 'COAST!'

There is a strange readjustment going on for me re knowing or even caring what day it is! I woke up this morning and thought---'today the handyman comes, because he told me he would three days ago. Somewhere, in my conscience, I knew it was Tuesday, but that in itself seemed unimportant. Yes, I was aware the tomorrow (Wednesday) I shall be travelling back to Auckland to see three clients---yip---that's work for the week, followed by some more days on the coast----not Thursday, Friday and whatever comes after that---just more days, walking the dog, contemplating setting up the garden and walking the dog, reading, walking the dog---get the picture. Am I bored? Hell no. Hey, I can always go into town, lose my car again, and chat away the day. before planing a lovely dinner----oops---I forgot----the other day we broke our stupid ceramic top stove and had to order a new one----no, not another ceramic top, but a conventional one that actually has control that operate between simmer and full----not just full bloody on! Mind you, cooking here is an adventure too: Remember all of those purchases from 'As Seen On TV?' Well, they really are coming into force as I employ them to cook tasty offerings. I have the storage here so I actually know where they are. In case you are wondering: There has been a distinct lack of 'political ravings' of late! Do not despair. They will be back, as I adjust to this more gentle pace of life, I am sure that my 'true self will emerge and combine again with the 'outside world.' Just hang in there for me and I will balance my outlook between the Coast and the other shires---eventually---when I feel like it!What day is it --now?---who cares.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Coastal Yarns rises again---for real this time!

About 5 years ago I ventured into the realm of self-publishing and I wrote Coastal Yarns, a collection of short stories, some of which are 'partly true!' Now I am a real coaster and I am going to be 'thinking of, living and hearing tales from the Coast, so you can look forward to some 'offerings from the Coast in the near future. Don't forget my other STORIES: 'Roskill' and 'Talk To Me.' Both books are available from my website. Follow the links and download them. I need you to share this and to write reviews if you have read the books. If I get more sales. I can think of publishing more books.

Escaping Auckland!

It has been about ten days since I moved to Thames. Why did I head out of the big smoke? Auckland is a wonderful place and it had been my home for the last 55 years. I had witnessed it growing form a city of 450,000 in the early 60's to one of over 1.5 million. I watched and lived through massive growth in the traffic and the increased diversity of its people. I enjoyed the beautiful beaches and the long summers and relatively short and mild winters. Auckland provided me with employment for all of my adult life, but finally I threw in in the towel and headed to another part of the Hauraki Gulf---Thames. About two years ago, I started looking on-line for a quieter place, one by the sea and one whereby I could enjoy a 'slide into retirement.' I remember a dozen or so years ago dreaming about living on Dominion Rd, and I managed to make that dream come true. I loved our little flat at the end of Dominion Road and although it did not measure up to all of the words in that famous song about Dominion Rd, it certainly hit the spot for us---for ten plus years. But the dreams recurred, this times about the Thames Coast. I let them come and go but eventually, a raft of contributing factors emerged, leading me to a new decision. I felt that I had reached a time re my work in a busy high school was coming to an end---a natural one and that after a health scare, that it was time to look for a quieter pace on my life journey. I had gone through the 'Bariatric Surgery process and that gave me hope for an 'extension' of life, but the 'heart' of the matter was ---just that--- the heart was giving me some warning signs that could not be ignored-----so I knew it was time to listen to my dreams and head for the coast. Things moved incredibly fast. People have commented on my impulsive nature---yes---that is me, be it for purchasing 'As Seen On TV,' products or other life changing decisions---I DO NOT MUCK AROUND, when it comes to making changes! So---- I had been looking at real estate on the Thames Coast for quite some time and I only needed two visits and a second visit with my parter to make the decision to sell the Mt Roskill home and but the little cottage in Tararu, Thames. Sure I had a few 'cardiac episodes,' during and after this hectic time, but here I am, starting each day with a walk along the rocky beach near where I live and planning all sorts of adventures for the future. Yes, a camper van may come, but I am not in a hurry. Sure, I still work---maybe one part-day a week, back in the big City of Sails, but I am experiencing a whole new way of life, taking time (so much that I forget where I have parked the car!) to think, read, write and enjoy LIFE!~ I miss my friends and former workplace, but I know you are all still up there and no doubt you will be coming my way at some stage. You can look forward to a few postings about the mischief I get up to and some pretty tall tales. It's up to you as to whether they are true or not! Hell, I have time to make up OR LIVE some real beauts!