Stazjia’s Commentary

Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

I’ve always been a very private person and not given to making friends easily. That doesn’t mean I don’t have friends, I just take time to get to know people. I’m a very outgoing person so this reserve isn’t immediately obvious.

Even though I’ve been an internet addict for more than 10 years, I’ve only made a few friends online just the way I have in my ‘real’ life. Now, though, that’s changing. I’ve joined Facebook and mixx.com and a new social bookmarking site that’s still in beta testing. It’s all happened since I joined Squidoo. There I’ve enjoyed visiting other people’s lenses and leaving comments, giving stars and adding lenses to my favourites. I’ve got to know other lensmasters, especially as I visit the forum regularly – like at least once a day.

On Facebook I’ve got into ‘conversations’ with other lensmasters because there are Squidoo groups on FB. I find I’m ‘friends’ with the same people on mixx and the new beta site.

I’m surprised to find that I’m really enjoying it. Perhaps it’s because, as I’m virtually retired, I have more time now for other people. I’ve also got over a deep-rooted shyness that I’ve hidden well behind an outgoing facade.

It’s really interesting interacting with people from all over the world. Although there are differences, we aren’t really all that different.

I’ve started writing a very shortened account of my life on my Lensography. The first section deals with my restless, rootless childhood. I think one of the reasons I like writing about places in England is because my parents found it hard to settle in one place during our childhood. Find out how we went from Windsor to California by way of two London suburbs, Somerset and Devon, all before I was 16 years of age.

In the the next section of my life story, I tell more about my childhood and my parents’ stormy relationship. This is hard to write about, even so many years later. It feels disloyal because, even as children, we never spoke about it although some days we were very tired at school as we’d been woken up during the night.

I’ve quite surprised myself writing about all this because I’m usually an intensely private person. Some people have known me for years and still know very little about me. On the other hand, people I’m close to know all this stuff.

It’s been very hot and sunny here over the last few days, such a change from the rain we’ve had. I went to visit my brother and his family on the outskirts of London on Friday, came home yesterday. I love going to stay with them. His partner is Kenyan and they have a son aged 1 year 10 months, and my brother has two daughters, 14 and 12, from a previous marriage who live with him. They always make me very welcome and we talk endlessly and have a laugh too.

This visit was for a special occasion. My brother was 50 last April but we have a tradition in our family for throwing surprise parties for ‘big’ birthdays so we thought he’d expect one. His partner decided to arrange it for the end of July when he wouldn’t expect anything. He was told she was arranging a Kenyan party for about 40 of her friends and relatives here in England and I was invited as an ‘honorary Kenyan’. In fact, only her sisters and their husbands were invited, the other guests were our mother, my other brother and his family and our uncle and his partner. My brother was very surprised. He didn’t expect anything like that. He was very pleased and happy.

My uncle is 79 and we haven’t seen him for 25 years. He worked abroad a lot and then his wife got Alzheimers Disease and he looked after her for 7 years on his own. He just didn’t want other people to visit. As he lived in west Wales then, it was hard to arrange to see him. He’s happy now with his new partner. He looks frail and he hasn’t been well. He’s still the same person, though. He doesn’t act old.

When I was a little girl, I worshiped him. I thought he was absolutely wonderful and would follow him around like a little dog. Bearing in mind he was a very young man when I was born, he was endlessly patient with me. In fact, he told me that he adored me as a little girl and I’d always been his favourite. We both nearly cried when we met again after so long on Saturday. I’m so glad I’ve seen him, who knows if we’ll have another chance.

It was such a lovely weekend, I really enjoyed it and am so glad I went.

Me at the age of six used on my Squidoo Lensography

Me at the age of six used on my Squidoo Lensography

This is the picture on my Lensography, taken when I was 6 years old. The Lensography is a list of all my Squidoo lenses.

I added another one today – Fruit Harvest Recipes. It has recipes for using fruit from your garden like apples, plums, blackberries and peaches. They are all recipes I’ve used often and really like.

I’ve got a second lens nearly ready, should be live tomorrow (Friday) called Preserving Recipes for Summer Produce – the title might change but the URL won’t. I’m still not sure that title really tells people what it’s about. I’m always saying to people, don’t get too clever with web page titles and I think I might be guilty of that this time. Oh well, I’ll keep thinking about it.

Tomorrow lunchtime I go to London for the family party on Saturday. I finally found time to get out the dress I plan to wear and am relieved that it’s OK, it just needs a bit of pressing.

Next Friday I go to London for a family party on Saturday. This year my youngest brother was 50 and my mother 85 and we’re having a surprise party for the two of them together. I don’t much like going to London anymore but I’m looking forward to seeing everybody. I’ll come home on Monday because I expect I’ll be too tired on Sunday.

I’ve already bought my train tickets. At one time, it was always cheaper to buy a return ticket and when you check the prices online, those are the prices you get when you put in your starting station and destination and the days you are travelling. If you check on the single tickets, though, they are often cheaper. I’m paying £9 each way (about $18 ) for the single tickets whereas I’d have had to pay about £48 ($96) for a return ticket. That is just so silly. Why would anybody buy a return ticket when it’s over double the price?

It’s very strange thinking that I could die at any time. It was brought home to me again yesterday at the end of the Men’s Single Final at Wimbledon when Roger Federer said he’d be back next year. I thought, ‘Oh, good, maybe he’ll win again’ (not that I have anything against Nadel). The next thing I thought about was that maybe I wouldn’t be here to see it. Maybe I’ve just watched my last Wimbledon Fortnight on TV this year.

Because I can’t work now, I don’t have much money. It’s OK, I’m not asking for donations! No, what I was thinking about was getting a Christmas presents over the next few months, maybe making some peaches in brandy as gifts. Then I realised, I might not be here for Christmas. I’m even in two minds about spending money on some wellington boots for when I take the dogs out in the rain. It seems a waste if I’m not going to get much wear out of them.

I’m not walking around being miserable about all this. It feels more like being sensible. I’ve just bought birthday gifts for my two nephews, both 2 years old, one at the end of September and the other 10 days later in October. I’ll give one gift to my brother for his son and the other to my sister for her son. They’ll each have a long lasting gift from me even if they won’t remember me.

The thing about knowing I’m not going to live very long is that it’s a bit like knowing I’m going to miss the ending of a novel or TV series. What is going to happen in the lives of the people I care about after I’ve gone?

I don’t think about this all the time. In fact, I still plan what I’m going to do. For example, I’ve got lots of ideas for new Squidoo lenses. I’m part the way through making a patchwork quilt and I plan to finish it and use it. I still want to get my free bus too and ride the buses free of charge!