Maria’s Stuff: An Introvert Living in a world of Extroverts

My side of the tale.

Having now lived for 50 odd years on this planet I have acquired a disguise of being a sociable person.  Truth is I hate big parties, weddings and events.

Bliss was found at an early age in between the covers of books, old or new I didn’t care. I would home in on a book shelf and find a cosy quiet corner and lose the world and myself in a book. The reasons are not generally known by those I hang out with these days but truth is I seemed to have been born with a sign on my head saying kick me, or target for bullies.

Primary school was a nightmare, I would have been happy to sit in a corner and read or dream but everyone was expected to play with everyone. Teachers were relentless in their coaxing, cajoling and often scolding if you were seen to be not mixing.  When I was spotted writing with my left hand this was blown up into an insufferable event. Teachers tried to convince me to do the normal thing and write with my right hand. A conversation overheard by two teachers about my lack of writing skill still stays with me today, 49 years later.

I found freedom and happiness in unexpected places. The two I loved most were my grandfathers company and the library. Both were a fountain of knowledge about different worlds and experiences.  I learnt to let callous taunts and scathing remarks go in one ear and out the other. I sought refuge in my mind. I learnt that not everyone has to conform to the boxes set out for them.

The point of this post.

Is to ask parents not to push or prod their children into doing the socially acceptable thing. Some of us need time alone, time to explore, learn and most of all let the creative side flow.

If a child asks for sketch pads and crayons don’t feel obliged to run out and buy the newest version of paint for the computer. Let them be themselves.

In Ireland last week a couple were fighting the system regarding home schooling and educating children.  Their eleven year old daughter appeared with them on TV and I admired her for her well-chosen comment. She spoke quietly and well. I sat back and thought, I would vote for her.

I would love to know other introverts feelings on how society functions and how they fit  or didn’t fit into the world they were growing up in. More importantly how did it make you feel? And how did you cope?

Maria’s Stuff: Free on Amazon – Kindle Deal

As many of you know I have taken a giant step for me and self published my 1st book. It was a tough decision to make but I knew I had to start somewhere. Self publishing like blogging is a journey. And I decided the only way to thank those who support me in my blogging journey was to make the book available to you.

The book is available free on Kindle from August 27th until August 30th. The link for American readers is simply: http://www.amazon.com/Moving-On-Maria-Matthews

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The first  chapter is available here to give you a taste of it.

 

As my two readers pictured here are not good at giving reviews, I am asking for reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.

 

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Once again thank you all for encouraging me to keep writing. (I promise I will get better at it as time goes by.)

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Bob’s Diary: I am in this chapter: Moving On. Chapter 2

2. The Meeting

A shout of delight announced the arrival of the third place team across the finish line. Ally noted his happiness and could appreciate how well he had done. She suspected he would have preferred to finish in first place. Taking a deep breath she walked forward in her usual energetic bouncy manner towards Steve. She decided to disregard her stinging hand. She couldn’t prove he had intended to hit her.

Hand outstretched she congratulated him. He ignored her offered hand, saying, “You were lucky this time.”

Ally nodded at him and turned away. She had expected no more from him. She could see the third prize winner breathless and smiling making a fuss of his dogs. He was new to racing but she had the odd sensation that they had met before.

Steve’s next words brought her attention hurtling back to him.”Racing is no place for a woman, but if you were looking for attention to get your dogs noticed. It worked. I’ll take your lead dog off your hands. She is the best of an okay lot. ”

She acknowledged his words with a cool tone in her reply. “I’m not asking for anyone to take any one of my dogs, off my hands, as you so sweetly put it. And they are much better than okay.”

His next words put a chill racing through her, “I’ll wait, you will be glad of the money soon enough but I won’t make as generous an offer the next time. It was a lucky win. You and I know that.”

With his comment swirling in her head Ally said, “Hmm. I suppose it was down to luck that I walked the route earlier and got thoroughly soaked. You should know conditions can change in a few minutes depending on weather and how many races are run before ours.”

His expression became sterner. He moved closer. He towered over her as he began, “now look here.”

He got no further because a smooth warm voice interrupted Steve saying, “I didn’t realise this was a contact sport. If you are looking for an opponent, next time please make an appointment with me. I’d be happy to knock some sense and manners into you, Steve.”

Ally watching Steve’s face recognised the dangerous gleam in his eyes. She looked at the newcomer. She wasn’t prepared for the cold calculating look in his eyes. Turning to Ally he said with a warm smile, “She’s one smart, fast dog and you handled your team like a professional. I, on the other hand, made a mess of the last kilometre especially that bend.”

Steve looked at him and grunted, “Great Tom. You know nothing. Just you remember what we talked about before.” He turned on his heel and left them.

Shoving his sunglasses to the top of his head the man before her said, ‘Now the oaf has left let’s start again. Thanks for a great race. I’m Tom Lynch and I really enjoyed that. It was exhilarating.’

Her cold hand was enfolded in his large warm hand. As they shook hands a ripple of energy coursed through her causing her to let her hand drop from his. Looking up at him Ally discovered she was being watched by the darkest pair of eyes she had ever seen.

“I look forward to racing you again and I hope it will be soon.” Tom said leaning towards her.

Ally felt she might be swallowed up by those eyes. She opened her mouth but didn’t get a chance to reply because the moment was lost as she was surrounded by a group of older men who were loudly congratulating her on her win.

She was aware of Tom standing to one side listening to the murmurs of, ‘well done Ally love,’ and “you have done Sam proud. Good girl.”  Then she forgot everything. The mention of Sam’s name brought tears to her eyes. Ally noticed some of the men wiping their own eyes as they turned away. Ally’s dad, Sam, had been respected and loved in this racing world. She missed him, but racing brought his memory closer to her.

“May I offer my sincerest sympathy?” Tom’s voice was soft but she jumped when he spoke, for a moment she had forgotten him.

The warmth and sincerity in his voice got to her. Ally blinking furiously to dispel the further rush of tears, nodded her head. “Thanks. He got me into this mess in the first place.” All about them people were busy, shouting instructions to others or to barking dogs.

Tom kicked at a tuft of grass at his feet as he said, “Me too. I came to watch a race and met Sam. His enthusiasm encouraged me to pull Mac off the sidelines. He gave me a lot. Tips, advice and his time.”

As he spoke his team had her attention. Ally chewed on her bottom lip waiting for a break in conversation to give him the bad news. She managed to suppress a grin when she saw two of them chewing through their shiny new harness. Her words sharper than she intended, “I think you should rescue your gear. They appear to like the taste.”

Tom glanced behind him and groaned. He was moving towards them as he said, “Thank you and again, I’m sorry about Sam. Watch out for us next time. I’ll be looking for you.”

Ally dripping mud and water looked towards her team who were in a mucky but happy state.  She walked over to them. After giving each dog a hug and praising them Ally became aware that one was missing: Bob.

She hadn’t seen him sitting at the finish line with Bill, her father’s best friend. Puzzled, Ally went in search of her team cheerleader. She discovered he had ditched Bill. Bob was sitting under a golf umbrella, with a lady. Ally noting her grey hair and twinkling eyes and gentle way of speaking to the dog, groaned. He had gained another fan.

The lady was enjoying a drink and a sandwich. Bob, Ally noticed, was being very attentive and appreciative. A sandwich was placed before him. He carefully inspected it, nudging aside the top layer of bread. Thin slices of cucumber and ham were swallowed in a hurry when he saw Ally thundering his way.

“I told you not to go around begging. Bob, what am I going to do with you? Can’t I leave you for a moment? Bill was minding you, what happened?” Ally paused to glance at Bob’s hostess.

“I’m sorry. It’s my fault, I fed him. You look tired and wet. Would you like some tea?” Bob’s new friend sounded concerned.

“No, thank you.” Ally gritted her teeth and reminded herself to be polite. After all, this lady knew nothing about her wayward dog’s love of begging.

“Bill had a job to do. He asked us to keep each other company. I do think you are being a bit hard on Bob.  He has been great fun while my son deserted me to chase some woman or dogs. You know what men are like, always chasing something.” She smiled at Ally. With a flick of her thin wrist she apologized, “Bob reminds me of him. So handsome that you can’t refuse anything he asks. Please don’t scold Bob. He’s a child; look at those soulful sad eyes.”

Ally remembered her manners. “Thank you for minding him. However he’s a bold child. We must go. Come on Bob, up and at ’em.” She didn’t have to say another word, the dog got to his feet with difficulty and lumbered after her. Ally turned to him and said, “I hope the cucumber gives you trouble. You deserve it.”

His loud belch ended the conversation.

Moving On is now on Sale on Amazon.

Moving On – Sample – First Chapter.

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1. The Race

 

 

 

“Hike on,” Ally shouted, leaning forward against the blast of wind as her team of four Irish sled dogs bounced into top speed pulling her around the steep bend.  Their waving tails declared, to those watching the race, their love for doing this work.

She wondered if they would run well across snow. It would make a welcome change from sludge and muck. Running on snow was a dream. Ally wondered about it for a second while noting the amount of muck on the track. In comparison the countryside around her looked green and beautiful but Ally hadn’t time for artistic appreciation. She was here to win.

Shouts of encouragement mingled with the barking of chasing teams reminded her every competitor wanted to win. Once more she asked her team to accelerate. With their thick double coats gleaming in weak Irish sunlight, they obeyed her shout.

“We are all in this together. I won’t let you down,” she promised.

Despite cold air and dirt being kicked up in her face Ally smiled. Luna was lead dog today. Excited noisy barking behind alerted them, another team was getting closer. Luna turned her head to peep back, her dark eyes gleaming. She didn’t need encouragement from Ally to pull harder.

The last hill loomed ahead, a mere pimple in the distance. The wheels of her rig slid all over the track, Ally knew what to do. She jumped off and ran hard, pushing the rig with all her strength.  The thin wheels of the rig bounced about making it difficult to keep a grip on the bar. It was tough to keep up with the dogs. Far behind she could hear a male voice roaring abuse at his dogs. She flinched, recognising the voice but also remembering how John, her ex husband loved to shout. Ally treated her dogs like most things in her life, with gentleness and persuasion.

“Focus Ally.” she whispered knowing this was not the time to dwell on anything but what she had to do.

It was tough not to think of a portion of her past while she was racing. Sam, her father, had introduced her to this sport when she was a feisty teenager. Moving home, because of his illness, was the best decision of her life. She owed everything to Sam. In contrast, she owed John, nothing. Sam’s death had left her feeling isolated and alone.

The biting wind caused her to shiver and pulled her back to the present. Chewing on her bottom lip, she lifted her head. ‘We need to get up and over this damn hill if we are to win.’  With a roar of encouragement she pushed even harder. Like her dogs, she was prepared to put every last ounce of energy into the race.  Once they gave their best, Ally was happy. Hands firmly on the bar before her, she pushed as though her life depended on it. Her feet slid about on the wet heavy ground, making her feel as though she were carrying two buckets of sludge. Her breath came in gasps leaving her ribs aching as she continued to push.

She reached the top, took a deep breath to help prepare her for the treacherous down slope. Jumping back on, she applied light pressure to the brake with her right foot. Ally encouraged them to hold back. “Slow up, Luna,” she shouted.

Droplets of water splashed her as she brushed against coniferous branches lining the steep path. She ignored the wet patch spreading between her shoulder blades. Ally focused on the track ahead, aware of the mix of human voice and dogs barking behind them as they edged closer to her team. She wondered who was catching them. She smiled, ‘doesn’t matter, we will win.’

Arriving at the bottom of the hill in one piece, she had time to notice grey clouds lifting marginally, the sun attempting once again to shine. Her spirits soared until she glanced behind her.

It was Steve, a rival, who didn’t like being beaten especially by a woman. Behind him she saw a sparkling new rig with a shiny new competitor on board. Though his dogs were big and gaining on her, Ally hoped her experience would gain her the upper hand.

The track was level. The outside of it was hard while the inside track, looked to be in a similar state, but was wet and boggy. Ally knew what to do.  In a minute she would discover if Steve knew the course.

He closed up on her. As his dogs came alongside hers, Ally pulled further right. She was as far to the outside as she could get.

He saw her move and grinned taking the inside track. His grin became a smug leer.

Ally acknowledged his mistake with a small smile of her own. She had just beaten him by her knowledge of the track. Steve didn’t know it yet. He believed she was pulling back, letting the stronger team pull ahead.

She grinned and chuckled. ‘If you think I quit that easily you are a mug Steve. You have a lot to learn.’

His mistake surprised her. She knew he was rough with his dogs, now she added arrogant to the list. Her guess was he had not bothered to walk the track as she had earlier. ‘Well, sometimes the best way to learn is the hard way.’ It was harsh but it was the truth. It reminded her of how awful she had been at making life-changing decisions.

To her surprise the new team were close behind them. They, too, attempted to pull to the inside.   As he drew level with her team, he shouted above the wind and howling dogs. “Thank you, honey. We appreciate being let through.” His deep husky voice carried easily in the wind. She ignored the comment. His sunglasses, she noted were as trendy as his flash clothes.

‘I’m not your honey,’ she thought.  Ally bent her head, rounded her shoulders and dug deep as she encouraged her dogs to give chase.

“Hike on Luna. Hike on.” Luna responded swiftly, as did her team. Ally smiled, thinking to herself, ‘you may be small but you sure can sprint! And he is about to find out how fast we can go.’

In comparison her companion’s dogs were sinking in the soft mud hidden on the inside of the track. It slowed them sufficiently. Ally recognized that the newcomer’s team were fighting each other rather than working together.  Luna sped by her eyes focused on the prize ahead.

Steve’s dogs were tired and sliding on the downhill run. He urged them on with a crack of a whip. Then, as she drew level with him, there was another strong crack followed by a moment of stabbing pain. The whip hit Ally’s right hand.  Tears flowed but she kept her hand stuck to the bar.  The roar of protest from the man behind her drifted away in the wind as Ally continued on.

She raced by Steve hoping he wouldn’t take her victory out on his dogs later. Luna stretched out her thin frame as did the others and both men’s teams were left floundering in the soft sticky ground.

Ally passed the finishing line thinking, ‘we did it, Dad. I hope you were watching.’

She wondered what her other competitors would think about her win. They had been quick to dismiss her chances earlier. At the starting line two of them had looked scathingly at her team of two Siberian Huskies and two crossbred dogs.

A particular comment had hit her squarely between the shoulders. “Aren’t your dogs a bit small, love? Maybe you should go home and leave this to the professionals.”

Ally had ignored them. Eyes fixed ahead of her she focused on listening for the starting horn.

It hadn’t helped her popularity when she crossed the finish line in second place in her last race. The prizes today were vouchers for dog supply shops. Keeping four racing dogs and one chunky one didn’t come cheap. In Ally’s world, every cent counted.

She smiled. It would be interesting to hear what those competitors who dismissed her earlier would say about her now.

 

Moving On is available through Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

 

 

Bob’s Diary: I know stuff.

Early morning in the wood I got out and waited,

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while my fluffy friend got out and ran like the wind.

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We had a nice walk

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then I relaxed

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She went off, but I wasn’t worried,

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because she is like a boomerang. She always comes back.

 

 

Maria’s: Moving On

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Illustration by:  Constantinos Thersippos Karentzos –  “Field”, a digital sketch of an original artwork, with model Sofia Doulgeraki

Moving On

 

Ally O’Brien s world has been knocked sideways by the death of her father. The breakup of her marriage leaves her feeling disillusioned about love.  For this romantic Irishwoman being a divorcee is not a trophy.

Ally wishes to move on with her life.

Trouble, she believed had arrived into her life via her inheritance.  Her inheritance consisted of her family home which was in need of repair and her father’s five dogs. Four of the dogs were part of his racing team. Ally returns to the sport of dog sledding, on wheels. She rediscovers the joy of competing and occasionally winning.

Tom Lynch is everything Ally should avoid, handsome and charming, with a different woman beside him each day of the week. He is used to winning. A woman who is indifferent to his charm creates a challenge.

Ally is certain of one thing, love is not for her.

However, Ally is everything Tom has been searching for.

 

It is available on Amazon  in paperback and on kindle.

 

Maria’s Stuff: Children’s story: Betty’s Do-whacky’s.

Betty is a Grandmother who loves inventing things.

“Gadgets, Do-wacky’s” she calls them.

Her inventions hang from the ceiling in her workshop.  Everything will be useful some day, Betty says. Especially, the wind powered dog walker and even the grass-growing timer.

Betty would love to invent a special car just for her.  A car, which will not collect great bumps and dents whenever she tries to park it. Until then, Betty cycles everywhere.

She is easy to find with her hair pulled into a high bun, which perches on top of her head like a small bird having a rest. Her eyes are large and dark brown. When she laughs, stars tumble from her eyes.

Baby-sitting and Bird Watching.

Betty was babysitting Jim.  She watched him carefully because, Jim loves trouble. Betty did not want any accidents.

Betty’s white cat Sourpuss was sleeping on the floor.

“W-h-a-t ?”  Jim, a very yoghurt faced Jim asked. He waved his spoon around. Dollops of yoghurt flew off his spoon and landed on Sourpuss.

“What indeed Jim!” Betty said. She stopped eating and put down her own spoon. Betty said,  “Well done, your first word. Say it again!”

“Whaaaattt?” he shouted.

Betty picked Jim up. She danced around the room hugging him. It was a hop, skip and jump dance over the toys on the floor.

Wouldn’t it be handy if I could just fly over all of this mess?  But I’d need a flying suit or gadget of some sort! Then an idea danced about in her head until a picture of it formed. “What a brilliant idea, – a flying suit.”

Later when a nice clean Jim was back in his own house, Betty began to work on her idea.   “How heavy could it be? ” Betty said aloud waving her hands in the air.  “I can imagine how it would feel to fly high with the birds. Splendid.”

Betty went outside. She looked up at the sky. “I need to study the birds for clues” she said to the blackbird sitting on her fence. He didn’t like the sound of that and flew off.  A floating feather gave her the answer.

“If humans had as many feathers as birds then they could fly couldn’t they?”

The Feather Hunt.

The group of children were fidgeting and whispering excitedly as they stood in Betty’s garden. Something great was about to happen.

“What do you want us to do?” the tallest of the children called Harry asked.  Harry was in a hurry to get back to his game boy.

“I need your help, please. To collect loads of feathers.”

“What type of feathers?” This was from Sara a very nosy little girl.

“Dog feathers,”her brother said digging her in the ribs.

Sara glared at him. “I meant what size? Big ones or little ones Betty?”

‘All sizes, types and colours, but only ones that have fallen off birds. You are not to chase the birds.’ She added this as she noticed Jonathon eyeing up a very fat pigeon waddling across the road.

They set off at a run. Feather pillows suddenly became featherless. The empty pillows were stuffed with the most unusual items, old socks (mostly of the smelly variety), sheep’s wool and Harry had a brain wave of filling the empty pillowcase with a cabbage from the garden.

Hen houses and hedgerows were searched. Trees were climbed and bird-cages were emptied. Betty found some feathers in the hedge where Sourpuss slept and she put them in a box inside her workroom.  She went to sleep that night dreaming of skies filled with flying children. Much safer than airplanes Betty decided before she fell asleep.

 The Flying Suit.

 

The next morning after a large breakfast of cereal, two hard boiled eggs and three slices of toast, all washed down with a pot of strong tea, Betty went to her workroom.

The sight of the large box stuffed with feathers, sitting at the door, was a surprise. Betty dragged the box indoors. She emptied it onto the floor. The feathers were all co lours and sizes, some were bright yellow, others were as dark as a lump of coal. Betty felt a tingle of excitement run through her. Taking her oldest boiler suit Betty began to cover it in feathers. She was no good at sewing so she was gluing them to the fabric. It was a sticky, tricky job.

At one o clock the back of the suit was covered in feathers. The wings were her next problem. Walking around her workroom she glanced up at the ceiling. There was the answer, – two old kites dangling above her.  Betty began to work again.

By nightfall Betty was hopping about with excitement. It was finished.

The suit looked strange but impressive. Betty wondered who might test it for her.

“I’ll do it.” Licking her lips and rubbing her hands together, she sensed an adventure about to happen.

Betty Goes Flying!

 

Betty woke the sun up. She pulled on loads of clothes, because, she was afraid the sun might forget to shine. On went her warmest jeans, thick socks, boots, two tee shirts, a huge woolly jumper and matching hat. Plonking her sunglasses on her head, she said, ‘I’m ready.’

Betty quickly loaded the suit on to her wheelbarrow. Pushing the barrow to the old barn in the field next to her house didn’t take long. She was huffing and puffing harder than any wolf blowing down a house. She looked about her for a moment or two.

‘How, and where, will I land?’ She looked about her.

The ground looked hard. The cows in a field beside her looked lumpy.

‘What I need is a nice soft landing pad.’ Betty opened the door of the barn and

smiled. Hay, lots and lots of hay! ‘I’d prefer to land with a bounce instead of a thud!’ She said making a giant hay bed in the field.

Her next job was to climb the ladder into the hay loft.  She looked from the barrow to the loft. It was a long way up. ‘Best have the suit on just in case I fall.’

Putting on the suit was hard. With a lot of wriggling and groaning, she managed it. Climbing the ladder was tricky. Her flapping wings kept getting in the way.

Standing on the upper floor of the barn Betty pushed open the upper door and looked out at the wide countryside before her. The sun, now awake and interested, was beaming down on her.  The ground looked a long way down.

‘I’m not too sure about this,’ she whispered.

A gust of wind came hurtling in through the doorway. The wind was singing as it neatly collected Betty on its way out.

She was tumbling along. Betty was flapping her arms up and down at a terrible pace.  She realized something important. It didn’t matter how fast she flapped her arms because it was the current of air, which was carrying her.

By now Betty was tired. Oh my, I need a rest, she thought. There was a huge roar beneath her. Looking down she saw a small airplane. I’ll take a lift on that, Betty thought and holding her wings by her side she dropped towards the plane.

Landing was a bit tricky and noisy as Betty kept shouting things like, “Mind my new wings you big galoot!” to all of the birds who came to watch. They were flapping about and getting in her way.

Finally there she was – sitting on the wing of the plane looking about her.  I wonder where my house is? Another question popped into her head. ‘How do I get back?’

The pilot couldn’t understand why one side of the plane was dipping slightly. The co-pilot could as he spotted Betty land. He was trying to speak.  His mouth didn’t work! He tried rubbing his eyes to make her disappear but it didn’t work. Betty was waving at him.

“There’s a granny sitting on our wing!” he spluttered.

The pilot chuckled, “What? A Granny on the wing, nonsense.”

But turning to look out of the window the pilot got a surprise. “Oh my.”

“What shall I do,?” the co-pilot asked.

“Ask her to buzz off, politely though, if she is like my own granny, we will be in trouble no matter what we say.”

He opened the window of the small plane and shouted in his most polite voice, “Excuse me. Would you mind, hopping off our wing and flying away?”

Betty stared at him. Was he stupid? she wondered. If she knew where to fly to then she would not be sitting on his plane. “Could you please tell me how to get to Ballytrickle?”

The pilot shouted back, “Two miles that way.”

“Thanks ever so much,” said Betty as she was sucked underneath the plane by a current of air. Turning towards the sun, which was hiding behind a cloud, Betty headed home. As she neared the barn she spotted a tiny toddler playing in his garden. She swooped down near him. He saw her coming and his mouth opened wide but no sound came from him. His toy car was made from plastic and very round. Instead of crashing on to its side, it wobbled for a bit. He started to cry!

“Sorry baby,” Betty said. The barn appeared before her. Seeing the giant bed of hay she aimed herself at it and closed her eyes. Landing was a very bouncy affair as she bounced from one part of it to another. She ran out of hay and rolled onto the ground. ‘Ouch!’ Betty sat up to look at the damage.  The left-wing was in tatters but Betty was in one piece.

“I did it!” She said to a bewildered looking cow. Then she put her suit back into the barrow and headed for home.

Time for an extra-large brunch, Betty might fly like a bird but she won’t eat like one, she thought.

“Rashers, sausages, egg and tea all for little old me,” she sang, as she walked. This was followed by an extra long nap.

Maria’s Stuff: Reality Check – One year on and still missing her.

The 30th of May was an awkward weird day. I woke remembering but trying hard not to visualise my last few minutes with my mum.

After watching her cope with being paralyzed on her left side, and her ensuing struggle to live on a daily basis I have learnt to recognize, and admire the courage of the elderly and anyone who is ill.

On a stranger note I get angered by the daily flippant changes in our Irish healthcare system which are  devoid of commonsense, logic and business sense.

I do have many regrets involving her last year. The main one being my constant questions (in my own mind) about how we failed in our lack of care. We did everything we could at the time, don’t get me wrong but looking back I see the faults, the areas where I should have demanded more on her behalf.

The reality of a situation like that is though you may be doing the best you can for them, I felt, in this case,nothing I did was good enough. I am left wondering and questioning if I could have done better, more..

For now, I focus on remembering the times we laughed, moaned or groaned to each other .

I have also learnt that a life no matter how long or short it is, is often remembered by moments. These snapshots bring back memories of vivid happiness, fun, grief, nothing escapes but they are all moments to be treasured.

For the first time in my life I appreciate and understand her unspoken philosophy of being involved, doing something no matter how trivial or menial. The size of the gesture or involvement doesn’t matter. It is the act of living, being part of life. And all I can add is for such a small woman she managed to do a whole lot of living.

One hundred years old and climbing

My eyes meader along the grass path which runs in a higgeldy piggeldy fashion towards the one hundred year old beech tree.

This majestic tree commands the sweeping fields beyond it.

Long arching branches bow low in the soft breeze sweeping the tender freshly cut grass. The air around it tingles with expectancy.

Stretching skywards the tip of the tree appears to brush heavens floor.

It’s extravagant size suggests it has regal dealings of a celestial nature.  Fluffy clouds perch on its top, lingering like surreal angels seeking a brief respite from their work.

Truth is this chameleon is hiding an earthly significance. It serves to remind us of natures calendar as it announces the season by the coat it wears.