About Maria Matthews

A published writer and avid reader, who likes to take a quirky look at the world about her. Bob is the steady anchor in a house governed by the mayhem of two parents and two grown children who have left home but frequently drop by to either check out the fridge or check in with Bob and Ellie. Maria's free time is divided between family, work, writing and volunteering.

How To Regain Your Balance When Life Knocks You Down

An interesting read for everyone as life is not easy all of the time, Courtesy of Dr Eric Perry

https://wp.me/p7bq2c-9ia

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Tips from our Grandmothers or Great-grandmothers

My kitchen is no different from most with its (sometimes) shining cooker, fridge, washing machine, kettle etc. But have you ever wondered about how life was for our grandmothers or great grandmothers who had only their hands, strength and patience to do everyday chores? Well, I often wonder about their strength and resilience particularly after reading a small Readers Digest book “What our Grandmothers knew.”

Here are a few of their beauty tips:

Treatment for dry skin: apply a face pack consisting of beaten egg yolk with a few drops of lemon juice added. If this doesn’t work they recommended, after washing the mask off your face to rub in a homemade skin cream made up of 1/3 oz of lard mixed with a pinch of zinc oxide.

This one is very seasonal – to get relief from sunburn. Grate a raw potato and spread between two layers of gauze. Apply this to the sunburnt skin.

Another which made me smile – relief for tired eyes: Boil some cornflowers in water, allow to cool. Then make compresses by layering the flowers between gauze. Lie flat for 15 mins with compresses over each eye.

Do you wonder that years ago many dogs lived outside? If they lived indoors they would have dined off the beauty treatments while the lady was wearing them!

 

Bob was always partial to fruit and veg and never considered picking his own to be work.

Lessons Learnt

In our inconsistent world, some of the most powerful lessons we learn come from children and (in my case) our dogs. This is only my opinion before I get a truckload of replies all denying this is the case.

There is a tv program that tracks young four and five-year-olds at play. I love watching it as I am reminded or there resilience and love of basically having fun. They also say what they think, which is also a mind opener. If we say what we honestly think the only thing we often open is a can of worms!

I have had many dogs come and go in my life and they all taught me something different, some times about myself. The poodles my mum had basically taught me:

you cannot make someone do something just because you wish it to happen. Poodle number one often was dragged by me out on a walk and I inevitably arrived home carrying him!

Poodle number two taught me that simply giving someone time and sitting with them, listening or holding their hand is often all that is required.

Poodle number three; fun is important.

However, I was reminded of all of these things when Bob arrived into our lives. He was a great people dog. He loved to sit at the gate and wait for the children to pass by on the way home from school. This feat alone gained him many jelly babies, some crisps and a few extra inches around his middle, and a long list of admirers.  While he did this, Ellie and her collection of tennis balls would appear and she would push the balls through the gate while the children chucked them back.

He was patient, sitting calmly staring at me at 6pm each evening to remind me it was time for his food and meds.

He gave comfort to both Ellie and me whenever we returned from a long search cold and tired, with a wag of his tail and a lick across my hand and on her ear, he appeared to say, tomorrow is another day. 

It has become evident that Ellie continues to miss him but that too is another learning curve – dogs emotions run deep.

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From Ellie I have learnt a different set of lessons, never give up, don’t say can’t without trying. We have done some crazy things like swimming the river Boyne, or on one occasion climbed a great height (in torrential rain)to get around fallen trees and blocked pathway to find a missing person. Taking shelter from a snowstorm in a forest and then hitching a lift back to base in a tractor.

I would love to know what others have learnt from their canine buddies and what adventures they have taken with them.

 

Missing – Dad and Bob.

Of all the things I have ever written this is the toughest.

As this is Bob’s blog I will explain his story first.

On the 23rd of April, my best 4 legged buddy passed away. Bob has always been with me as I type my blog entries. His favourite position was to sleep on my feet and snore softly as I typed. It is an overused statement but – I miss him.

We were told, as many of you know, in March of 2018 that we would be lucky to have him with us for another month or two.

For me my emotions are like a daily rollercoaster as only four weeks before Bob, my Dad passed away. I was starting to come to terms with that loss when Bob left us.

I am still recovering from the shock of losing two strong well-loved individuals, (yes I know that Bob was to most – only a dog) who played such a big part in my daily life. In fact, in the past four years, my life has been centred around them and visits to Doctors and Veterinarians.

For Ellie, life has become a confusing place. She always had Bob with her except when she was working and even then when she arrived back home, he was at the back of the car ready to welcome her. Now when she gets out of the car she tends to stand and look around the yard as though expecting him to amble around the corner to say hello. She is not the only one who does this.

I really don’t want to stop writing the blog as I am still learning and working with dogs, but I am open to suggestions from the few who read my ramblings. But without Dad and Bob, the world has tilted.

I have visited the vets many times, as I stated above, but on that horrible evening, there was something that sort of freaked me out. The only four-legged client at the surgery was an Elkhound pup! Norwegian Elkhounds are not a popular breed here in Meath.

As always any and all comments are appreciated by me, and Ellie.

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Update on Bob

Mr Bob is becoming a grumpy demanding old dog! No other way to put it, I am afraid to say he is relishing the role. If there were a doggy version of Father Ted, he would be Father Jack!

He doesn’t call for whiskey though he did lick some off my fingers with great enthusiasm which would indicate that if a bowl or glass were offered it would not be refused.

Bob still makes everyone smile, as he plods about the house, walking under the visiting Brooke (Greyhound of a very leggy variety) as though she were not there. His meds have increased a little and on each occasion, I call to the vets to get a new batch, they express their surprise and delight that he is still king of the castle. I have attached a few photos of the grumpy, sometimes smiling old dog. Please note I did try bribery to get him to look at the camera, but…

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I am not looking at the camera

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I refuse to say cheese

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Who wrote this book?

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How old we become…

Isn’t it odd how old we become on the outside while inside we still feel like a twenty-year-old? That is my one observation having spent some days visiting with my dad.

His dementia has progressed at a frightening rate. So much so, that we had no choice but to bring him back to the nursing home where he feels happy. For me, it was a tough decision in one way, because I remember his reluctance to consider going in for respite eighteen months ago and his refusal to move mum to a local nursing home. However, I was happy knowing that, he is safer with many carers around him than just one of us with him twenty-four seven.

It is now two weeks since he moved house, and the weight has lifted from my shoulders, years and layers of stress are falling away and I have gained a little weight. Dad too is experiencing a lightening of years as he takes part in musical afternoons, dancing with anyone who is willing to risk getting their feet shuffled on, or squashed. His bright cheery “Hello,” gains him smiles and conversation. He is taking part in art classes, and on Wednesday of this week, he was a baker hoping to enjoy tea and queen cakes which he had helped to whip up and bake.

Just like Bob he is managing to hold on to his good humour and winning ways.

Trouble with Elves

“It is really fortunate that my hair is as white as snow because this would turn anyone’s hair white. What made you do such a silly thing?” Connie stood hands on her ample but curvy hips surveying the mess before her. The barn smelt beautiful except for the odd farting and belching coming from the reindeer. The two elves tried to look sorry but mischief popped from every pore of their bodies, the munching reindeer looked very happy.

Connie knew she should punish them but how? After all, they supposed they were doing a good thing, how were they to know she had not baked all 356 cakes, yet.

Sam and Noel had decided to add a little festive cheer to the reindeer’s breakfast. They had achieved it by borrowing Connie’s large tub of treacle, another of golden syrup, some festive cranberries and cherries (because Sam loved them), and created a Christmas cake for the reindeer. Sam scuffed his toe off the ground releasing a beautiful scent of mixed spice,” Sorry Connie, we just well… we thought they should have something Christmassy, “

“Hmm right. Let’s start your punishment off with a little cleaning up, then you can wash the reindeer and then…” As she set out the full weight of her punishment, the elves lost all sign of twinkling and festive cheer. 

“That stuff is for girls and we are not girls!” She heard Sam moan as she left them to try and create a little Christmas miracle herself by making 56 Christmas cakes out of thin cold air.

Connie busy baking did not notice a lack of noise each evening but Santa did. “Okay, Connie, spill. Have you locked the elves up or sent them off to watch all of the Santa movies? Why is it peaceful?”

Connie decided to investigate. Together they searched the many elf houses and all of the workshops. Nothing, not an elf in sight. “If they have been elf napped, Christmas is in trouble. It may have to be cancelled.” To console himself, Santa tested another Christmas Cake.

However, next morining all the elves were present in the workshop and again that evening it was too quiet. It was the click clack noise that gave the game away. Santa looked at Connie, “should I be worried?”

She smiled. “Only if you are a reindeer.”

This is what they saw..

Mind you, Rudolph did look happy in his Christmas jumper.

Another mystery

LIfe is full of mysteries, like how do they get the fondant fancies so equal and smooth? Some make us smile and some simply leave everyone puzzled.

Dad has been busy. He created a puzzle. One night he fell, gave himself a nasty whack on the head, and we went off to A&E where they were very nice, very kind and despite all we hear about hospitals today, relatively fast at getting him x rayed and examined. He had a fracture above his wrist and it was bandaged and he was admitted to hospital for a few days. Fast forward to his release, all went really well, I mean I didn’t lose him which was great but when I got home I discovered his heavy bandage was missing. I rang the hospital and no one could answer the question. He was brought back and a heavier brace applied. All seemed well until 6 days later, I was woken at 3.30am and found this…..

a perfect cast sitting on his pillow and he seemed relatively happy that it was no longer on. He couldn’t remember how he got it off. To everyone who deals with him, it remains the eighth mystery of the world.

I Should Know Better

You would think I would know better, this is a sentence I repeat over and over. For instance newly married we stupidly believed if we work hard, save a few euro and life will run smoothly. Rubbish. The government simply creates new fiendish taxes and we are caught in a  loop. 

Life is what you make of it – true. But if you keep your life simple and try to help others, everyone thinks you are amazing until you have that one mili second of a slip up and you are the worlds worst ejit.

If it throws lemons – make lemonade. – Difficult but possible. Then the stupid government discovers you made lemonade and they tax it.

Smile and the whole world smiles with you. – No, they simply look at you and wonder why is that idiot is smiling? Is she laughing at me? Either way you, the smiler are in big trouble – Run.

All in all it leads to the same thing – I should know better. In fact I should do what Bob does, nothing  and live in the moment. In other words dream!

Why rush? We all get there in the end. Besides I have a cute face!