Creating our own good news…Planning for the future…

A fishing boat tied to tree at the beach.

In yesterday’s post our heads read, “Bad news keeps coming and coming… How do we handle the risks?”

After rethinking this negative heading and after watching more bad news on TV, we turned off the news and started thinking positive thoughts as to how we can reframe our thinking during this difficult period in our country, in our world’s history?

It’s easy to get caught up in all the negative press much of which is often over reported, over dramatized and over exaggerated to enhance viewership. How easily we can become entrapped into this cycle!

The way out? Don’t let it get inside our heads! This is not easy, but it’s doable, just like everything else we choose in our lives. We can find joy within the framework of our lives or we can allow ourselves to let outside influences have a profound effect on our daily lives.

The ocean is extremely shallow in this area.

I suppose in part, I’ve become engrossed in the negative news since our arrival in Phuket two weeks ago when we discovered we had English speaking news the TV which we’ve had on all day while we’ve stayed indoors as I continue to recover. That’s easy to do when one is housebound after an illness, injury or surgery.

Although I remain somewhat housebound, in an attempt to avoid the outrageously bumpy roads we must travel to get to the highway, yesterday we had no choice but to get out when our food supply had dwindled down to a completely empty refrigerator.

Tom could probably grocery shop without me, but it’s important for me to get out and besides getting out is uplifting. I’d brought along the camera hoping to take a few photos, but again it was cloudy and rainy. I never took a single shot.

A fisherman looking for a possible catch.

Once inside the huge market, Tom pushes the trolley as we both become engrossed in the shopping mode ending up having a good time selecting from the array of fresh, organic, non GMO foods, free range eggs, grass fed meats and wild caught fish.

During this outing, I started thinking of the last place we lived where we grocery shopped on a regular basis which was the three months we spent in New Zealand living on the alpaca farm from January 19 to April 15, 2016.

We arrived in Bali on April 30th after a cruise.  One month later I was injured, somewhere around June 1st.  Here we are over two months later, while I’m still focusing on recovering. 

How we ever managed all the tours on the Mekong River cruise baffles me when now I gingerly maneuver through each day desperately avoiding bending, twisting and sitting too long. I continue to feel confident that my limited level of activity is contributing toward my attaining a full recovery in months to come.

Close to the shore, this fisherman may be looking for squid.  Fried calamari is a popular dish in Thailand, especially for tourists. These circles are fishing pools.

In time, light exercise and more walking will be appropriate but for now, easy movement combined with rest seems to be most effective. I suppose all the activity on the river cruise may have been detrimental to my condition when there were days that my Fitbit showed over 10,000 steps. 

For now, I stay under 3000 steps a day frequently getting up and down engaging in light household activities that don’t include any bending or lifting. It would be great to get outside to walk the neighborhood, but the ruts in the road are so many and so deep, even the most surefooted of walkers is taking a risk.  Falling would not be good.

Back to yesterday, when we returned from shopping Tom put all the refrigerator items away while I sat at the dining table cutting veggies for our salad and side dishes. 

Island across the bay where numerous boats stop to enjoy the sandy beach.

We purchased two roasted chickens, deliciously seasoned with cinnamon and lemon grass (a Thai thing), one for each of two nights. Adding a huge salad and two side vegetables, fresh green beans and asparagus, rounds out the meal. 

As I chopped, I was thinking about getting my thoughts outside of this news related state of mind.It was time to turn off the TV and start planning again.  Tom loaded his favorite radio podcast on his computer, Garage Logic (from KSTP 1500, Minneapolis, Minnesota), that often has us howling with laughter.

We were able to tune out the limited discussions of negative news to make a point of listening to the endless chatter that easily elicits rounds of hearty laughter from both of us. 

A short time later, sitting at my computer, (the day’s post was uploaded hours earlier) the research began and the first thing I tackled was booking tickets for the Sydney Opera House for March 19, 2017. It’s a good thing we’d booked tickets now. Based on leftover available dates there wouldn’t have been tickets remaining if we waited any longer.

The water is barely ankle deep at low tide.

The tickets and great seats we chose are for a Sunday at 5:00 pm. The day of the week was irrelevant to us. Us retirees find days of the week for activities less significant as when we were working when Fridays or Saturday nights were preferred for most social events. It doesn’t matter now.

Let’s face it, opera is not Tom’s first choice of entertainment although I’ve always been a  huge fan. However, the idea of spending a few hours at the famous opera house is an experience neither of us wanted to miss during the 40 days we’ll spend in Sydney from March 13 to April 22, 2017, while awaiting the 24-night cruise from Sydney to Seattle.

Its this very cruise on April 22, 2017, in exactly 8 months 17 days, that will take us back toward the US. After an Alaskan cruise ending on May 26, 2017 we” fly to Minnesota where we’ll stay seeing family and friends for six weeks. Later we’ll be heading to Nevada to see more family for another three weeks. Then, we’ll be off “for the world” once again!

Phuket consists of hundreds of smaller islands.  For more information, please click here.

The simple process of booking the tickets for the Sydney Opera House reminded me of how much the future holds, especially seeing family and friends for a total of nine weeks and then, the journey continues on.

We can choose to create positive news in our lives, news that can take us away if only for awhile to live life to the fullest in the best way we can.  

Now, we’re back to researching for the future! May you find ways to incorporate good news into your daily lives!

Photo from one year ago today, August 5, 2015:

Boats docked at the marina in Port Douglas, Australia. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…Plas Mawr…A step into yesteryear…A historical home in New Plymouth…A day to remember…

June’s warm and friendly demeanor is a delight to behold.  We feel fortunate to have met her and had the opportunity for this special experience.

As we entered the historic house, Plas Mawr, (which translates to “big hall” in Welsh), owned by June and Simon Moseley, we realized the treasures we found on the grounds continued well into the fine home.

We entered the sun room to find this book, “The Life and Times of James Walter Chapman-Taylor.”

June explained many of the details in the building, upgrading and maintenance of the house while our eyes flitted around the rooms perusing the many amenities the renowned New Zealand architect, James Chapman-Taylor had so thoughtfully included in the design of the home, so well preserved today, over 100 years later.

The home’s Arts and Craft’s woodwork and style is reminiscent of homes, many of us have seen in our past.

Each space had its own personality as the theme of the era followed from room to room never deviating from the concept of his design and the era of the decade and beyond. The popular Arts and Crafts concept was popular in areas of Minneapolis, which we both had seen on many occasions over the years.

This clever seating nook and appropriate narrow table brought visions of “tea time” to mind.

An expensive concept at the time, it required the inclusion of detailed quality, uncluttered woodworking, unique contemporary mechanisms, and the use of nature as a backboard. 

June and Simon have made the historic home comfortable for their needs while carefully maintaining the integrity of the style. 

The Craftsman style of home flourished throughout the world finding its way to New Plymouth, New Zealand by Chapman-Taylor in the early 1900s when he built 80 homes:

“James Walter Chapman-Taylor (24 June 1878 – 25 October 1958) was one of New Zealandʼs most important domestic architects of his time, bringing the Arts and Crafts Movement to New Zealand houses he designed. Chapman-Taylor was also a skilled craftsman, builder, furniture designer, photographer, and astrologer.”

The fireplace behind this copper screen is still used today as the only source of heat in the home.

The world-renowned Frank Lloyd Wright (see below) built many homes of this style in Minnesota and throughout the US:

Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most important and prolific architects of houses in the U.S., was one of the originators of the Prairie School style, which was an organic architecture outgrowth of both the American Craftsman style aesthetics and its philosophy for quality middle-class home design. Wright’s career spanned through the Victorian, Chicago School, American Craftsman, Prairie School, International style, and Modernism movements. The Robie House is an example of his American Craftsman-inspired Prairie School work.”

Do these light switches bring back memories of long ago?

Having spent 25 years of my career as a real estate broker/company owner, I had many opportunities to see and occasionally sell one of these styles of homes. They often sold quickly although they may have been priced higher than homes of the more ornate style of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Their popularity continues today.

The architect-designed these special windows that remain today as practical and functional.

Plas Mawr is a perfect example of the integrity of the style which we’ve attempted to illustrate in today’s photos. June was the perfect tour guide as we wandered throughout the house stopping on many occasions to talk along the way. 

The Arts and Crafts style are clearly illustrating in the design of the ceilings.

After our tour, we settled in the comfy seating in the sunroom as June educated us on New Zealand’s cultural history which we’ll include in a future post. As a teacher, she was able to present the information in a context of great interest to us both. It’s a highly charged topic for New Zealander’s which we hope to present with the dignity and sensitivity it so well deserves.

When replacing kitchen appliances June and Simon included this “antique appearing” style range and oven.

We shared many of our cultural and wildlife experiences throughout the world with June as she listened attentively and with a natural curiosity as to the unusual lifestyle we lead, very supportive of the choices we’ve made to explore the world for as long as we are able. 

The original cabinets were open without doors and drawers which we added at a later date.
We all giggled when June brought out some postcards from Minnesota from a visit to the US some time ago.

Finally, it dawned on us it was time to go. June had guests arriving for the holiday weekend and we needed to get out of her hair. She insisted we stay longer which warmed our hearts but we preferred to let her continue with her busy day.

Check out the electricity running to this original light fixture.
The beautiful wood cabinetry was carried into the bathroom.

We all enthusiastically hugged goodbye at the gate. We hope to meet again in our next over two-month stay in New Plymouth. Its truly been a pleasure. Thank you, dear June! Thank you, Plas Mawr!

Photo from one year ago today, February 7, 2015

Cattle egret are common in Hawaii and many other parts of the world. In Kauai, they often gathered near construction sites, lawnmowers, and gardeners hoping that the processes will stir up worms in the soil. For more photos, please click here.