wings and things


on February 19, 2015

One of the things I have had to do in all of the recent decluttering is to toss some things into a miscellaneous box to be figured out at a later date. Despite the fact that this box is getting rather full it is good to know that I have one place to put anything that I don’t recognise. I will hold the object out to Dina and say, “Do you know what this is?” (Usually it’s some sort of ancient tool – an artefact from Anthony’s past). If neither of us can figure it out, it goes into the miscellaneous box – perfect. Then it’s over to ‘the Ming’.

I thought it might be quite fitting to write a bit of a miscellaneous post, having discovered that ‘miscellaneous’ is a definite, and quite acceptable, category. So here goes:

Most of the grapes are ripe now and I can just pick them and eat them whenever I go outside. I think it’s just the one vine and the wild birds get to them as fast as I can so there is almost no point picking them. They grow just outside the back door and I’m not sure if Anthony planted them or if they were there before the family came here.


The figs are nearly finished for the year as the heat is getting the better of them – and the butcher birds (which Gar, Anthony’s mother, used to hate). Last year I just let most of them fall of the tree and frizzle in the sun but this year I have given many bags away to friends, family, the local pub, the restaurant where Ming works (my mother and I went there today for lunch and the fig and coconut muffins were a hit), neighbours etc. I have also eaten quite a few with Ants in the nursing home. I also went to another restaurant and asked if they wanted figs and they said YES and I asked what I would get in exchange, suggesting a lunch voucher and they said yes to that too, though a little less enthusiastically.


After lunch with my mother today I went in to the nursing home to spend some time with Ants before my 3 – 7pm shift in the dementia house. I had my camera with me so took some photos through his window of the outlook from his room. This garden area – one of many – is where he often ‘sees’ calves and often asks me to go out and check if they are all okay, which of course I always do and the calves are always okay.


Periodically, I rearrange or change the pictures on his walls. The photo of younger Anthony has pride of place very high on one wall where there happened to be a hook and he rather likes looking up at himself!


Me: You really like looking at yourself don’t you! Such vanity, Ants.

Ants: Men need to love themselves.

Me: Why?

Ants: In case nobody else does.

Okay I am kind of cheating here as the above conversation happened over a year ago. Ants doesn’t articulate so well anymore but he sure as hell likes looking at the photo and so do I. It kind of pulls us both into the time warp of when we first met.

Then there is the oil painting of cattle that I commissioned from an artist friend years ago; a calendar my mother made of moments/months in our lives (e.g.. Ming recovering from his first spinal surgery); and one of the few photos of Anthony and his mother in her latter years, that I had framed for him once upon a time.


Then I took a picture of the rose plant I gave Ants not long ago. Everybody has remarked on their blooms and many people, including Anthony, thought they were real until I finally had to own up to the fact that they were VERY expensive fake roses made of silk. Some people are still fooled though, especially when I spray them with rose perfume – haha!


Well now that all of the ancient rose trees on the driveway of the farm are either dead or dying, the fake rose tree seemed like a good idea. In my defence, I am hopeless at gardening and every time I water something the pump makes the electricity bill soar!


Just before 3pm, after watching Judging Amy with Ants, I went into his bathroom and quickly changed out of my t-shirt into my new uniform, put my name tag on and explained I was going to work. He always only remembers a bit of this new situation so I have to explain again that I am not going somewhere else but will be working just next door and that I might be able to see him a couple of times during my shift. This reassures him and whenever he gets anxious I just tease and tickle him into his new half-smile and all is well.

This afternoon it was a bit too humid to take many people for a walk outside or through the complex and it wasn’t until I took a teary S for a wheelchair walk that I saw Ants again (just as I saw many of the people in the high-care section as S and I did a lap of the gardens and hallways).

S. Who’s that old chap?

Me: My husband.

S. Not bad-looking!

Me: Keep your hands off him, S!

S. (chuckling and sticking her tongue out at me) All right.



43 responses to “Miscellaneous

  1. Love love love all the miscellany in your post! And coconut and fig muffins? Yum! Must try making some of those — though of course, my figs will be store bought! πŸ™‚ How divine, figs, grapes and wild birds in your yard.

  2. ingridrick says:

    I guess you would have to be careful with the miscellaneous box Jules – I’m just thinking I would be tempted to put a lot in the miscellaneous box (another procrastinating tactic) . But you have Dina to keep you on track.
    Also I like the rose tree near the driveway … but it won’t grow much!

  3. To have figs growing outside our door would be such a treat! I love the photos you’ve shared here….. what good memories they must bring. Handsome Ants! πŸ˜‰

  4. I like this miscellaneous post. interesting

  5. Judy says:

    Sounds like you “rose” to your challenges, Julie! Love your pictures – I feel like I’m right there, although I wouldn’t want to feel that humidity. Your post about ordinary life feels beautiful and it’s extraordinary considering the challenges you’ve gone through. Hope Ming (the cat) isn’t pouncing on you too much. I was thinking about that. It’s probably because he misses the way his “paw” used to be!

  6. lensgirl53 says:

    Thank you for allowing a peek into your day, Jules. That handsome hubby is something else! You have a blessed and fruitful life….literally! xo

  7. Terry says:

    I love your compassion for people. You interact with these adults so well. The love you have for each other, you and Ants shines through in every post. What an awesome woman you are

  8. susanpoozan says:

    You write so well and so movingly.

  9. Yum grapes and figs!
    Diana xo

  10. janeslog says:

    I’m quite jealous that you can grow grapes and figs.

    The nursing home looks nice and the Australian flag gives a nice touch. The gardens are nice for the residents to sit in when it is sunny.

  11. Trisha says:

    I loved this post of miscellaneous things and happenings! But now I find myself craving figs…. πŸ™‚

  12. tootlepedal says:

    An excellent miscellany. How lovely to be able to pick a grape as you go out of the door.

  13. artfulanxiety says:

    My parents used to have grape vines hanging at the front of their house, although I don’t think the conditions were quite right for them because I never remember them being nice… a bit too sour/tart for me.
    Love the way you describe everything, makes me feel like I am there.

  14. jmgoyder says:

    These are a bit tart too but edible!

  15. Vicki says:

    Yes, life goes on (in its own leisurely pace) and I think it an important reminder that although life has changed for you, Ming and Anthony, ‘change’ can be positive.

    Many people, as they age, don’t like Change in their lives. But if only they could accept and embrace it as you have, they would come to understand its that its just a different way of living their lives, not something to be anxious or apprehensive about (or even feared).

    Nothing is ever permanent. Be Happy with what you have is my Motto. Love, family and special shared moments are the best that anyone can possibly want and you’re lucky enough to have all three.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Your amazing wisdom is now part of how I see things – thank you Vicki x

      • Vicki says:

        You’re welcome, Julie.

        My debilitating chronic pain and fatigue while working has simmered into acceptance in retirement. And while there are still the odd day when I get a little overwhelmed, on the whole, my life and reading of Buddhist philosophy has given me a sense of feeling more calm and sort of……mellow. I’ve stopped feeling guilty for not being able to do things or be more social.

        I also think the time being on my own suits my temperament more. Whereas you are thriving in your current work in the nursing home.

        I sense that you are feeling a little more relaxed now you can see Anthony regularly in his own space (rather that having that chore of getting him in and out of the car). It was not an easy thing to do.

        You sound ever so much better these days, for which I’m immensely glad. Perhaps you’ve finally got that family, work, social, balance right. (now all there is to do is finish the house re-organising and clear-out).

  16. The pictures in his room are really a good idea. I think at certain times it probably sparks some recognition even if he can articulate it. We put many up in my Mom’s room too…. It really looks like a lovely home according to all the photos and oh how I envy …yes green envy… your beautiful weather…. Diane

  17. I remember walking around in Los Angeles back in the late 80’s and marveling at the number of citur trees just growing willy nilly in people’s front yards; to be able to go outside and pick an orange or a lemon, I thought was the height of stupendous.:) Now I would rate going outside to pick grapes and eat them off the vine on equal par with citrus trees, figs too. I love your daily adventures Jules πŸ˜€

  18. The roses are beautiful, I like the photos in Ant’s room and nice that he still can look outside and see the calves, it is really sad when they just seem to look at nothing and see nothing at all which is often how my nan is now

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