Category: Random

Life’s Lessons

Life’s Lessons

As we journey through life, we meet people who impact our lives. They may stay for five minutes, five years or a lifetime. But while they are within our circle, we learn from them, which is all part of our growth.

Well, that’s the way I see it. Many people have come into my life over the last 70 years. Some stayed only a short moment but left an indelible mark, and each time, be it good or bad, I learned and grew.

But the one who had the most impact was my father (as is often the case). And right up to the day he died, just before his 96th birthday, he was teaching me.

Looking back over the many things he taught me, two stand out.

“Never judge anyone” was probably the main one I grew up with. Everyone is on their own path and has reasons for doing what they do. Sometimes they may not even know the ‘why’, but until you walk in their shoes (which you never can), don’t assume you know and don’t judge their actions or words. There are always two sides to everything (perhaps that was the lawyer in him talking), but he was correct; there is always another side or way of looking at something.

The other advice he would give (often) was to be open to new ideas and constructive criticism and not be frightened or ashamed to change your mind if new evidence shows a better way, a different outcome or a new approach.

A great example of this was in 2007, during the last days of his beautiful life.

He had checked himself into a rest home, and all his grandchildren, most scattered around the world, emailed him constantly. He would receive anywhere from two to six emails daily, and even the office lady would come in on Saturday and Sunday to print them off so dad wouldn’t miss a day.

My daughter, living in the USA, asked me one day what she should write about as she felt she was out of things to put in the emails. I suggested she write about the politics and what was happening in the States (remember Bush and Iraq?). I told her grandpa would be interested to hear her view.

A few days later, I went to visit him. He was waking up, and as he did, he indicated some papers on the bed tray he wanted me to read. Immediately I saw it was from my daughter and began to read.

Now, my father was a supporter of Bush. He believed in the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and the Iraq invasion.
So, I think you can imagine my surprise when I read that my daughter was arguing for the impeachment of Bush, saying that what he’d done was illegal.

The more I read, the more I wondered about my father’s reaction. I put down the email and looked at him. By now he was sitting up, his eyes were bright, and he had a gentle smile on his face. I will never forget the words he spoke.
“She’s right,” he said. “What Bush did was illegal, and I hadn’t seen it that way.” “Your daughter has convinced me by outlining the facts. She has made a good case.”
He went on to say that he doubted Bush would be impeached, but what a legal battle that would be. But at that moment, I saw a man at the end of his life have the courage to change his mind, and that was an incredibly powerful lesson.

I hope to maintain the morals and attitudes my father taught me. They’ve certainly held me in good stead up to now. Long may his words and actions remain in me.






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International Travel Kicks In.

International Travel Kicks In.

Finally, international travel has kicked in, and I’m able to leave N.Z. to go and visit my daughter.

The first step was flying from Tauranga to Auckland. Over the past couple of years, I have seen planes flying over my home, and every time it goes through my mind, that’s where I want to be – on that plane, either coming or going.

I have a love of airports. They signify off on another adventure, or yay, I’m coming home. Both are just as important. The adrenaline and the build-up of excitement are half the fun. Then boarding and strapping in and knowing that I’m on my way always gives me a sigh of relief that I made it.

The pre-takeoff this time was more than just getting excited. I also had to be very aware of where I went, of masking up and not going anywhere there were crowds of people I didn’t know. The last thing I wanted to get was the Vid.

My preparations were rewarded. I was clear to travel. The Australian (sorry, I meant to say I was headed to Aussie) DPD (Digital Passenger Declaration) was a lengthy process. Downloading the app was a breeze, but then filling it all in was not the easiest, and I’d hate to think how elderly folk would get on, especially ones who don’t like using their phones.

Asking for specific vaccine dates meant rushing off to my purse and thankfully finding the wee card I’d been given showing the dates I got injected. The International vaccine passport shows only the third one. So that was one heart-stopping moment for me.

Next, scanning my passport – yes, that worked. But then I also had to take a selfie, and quite frankly, that was not easy. You see, I had to remove my glasses which meant I couldn’t read the instructions as I tried to line up my face to the camera. It took more than a few tries, but finally, the green light appeared, and it was done. On reflection, I could have at least combed my hair!!!

Thankfully I’m familiar with the Air N.Z. app, so that side was easy to navigate, and it seemed I was ready to fly.

My three friend Kathy (you’ve met her before HERE) picked me up, and we had plenty of time to check me in, get a coffee and chat together before she needed to go.

Checking in at Tauranga, it was a blessing that I was checked all the way through to Sydney. Why? You ask. Because I only had one cabin bag, which could only be up to 7Kg. Of course, my ‘handbag’ was oversized and stuffed full of all the heavy things. Realizing I didn’t have to contend with bag weight in Auckland, as soon as I got to the table and while Kathy got the coffee, I transferred most of that heavy stuff into the cabin bag.

Oh, the things we do!

Then we were off.

International Travel

Once in Auckland, it was time to head over to the International airport. WOW! Desolate is how I would describe it. There was just no one around.

International Travel

Checking through security was so much faster than I remember. It took me back to before 9/11 when you just showed your passport and boarding pass and put your bags on a conveyor belt (minus the hoopla of liquids in a plastic bag, laptops visible and coats and hats off).

By now, it was lunchtime, and I was a bit peckish. Nothing was open – I mean, even McD’s was closed – when does that happen? I finally managed to find a muesli bar that was dairy-free in a store that sold magazines, books, soft drinks and lollies. Then, after sitting, eating and looking out at the very few AirN.Z. planes on the tarmac, I headed to the gate.

Oh! So that’s where everyone was! The place was packed. People were reading, on their phones, on computers and doing crosswords. Others were simply sitting in the chairs gazing out the window. Hmmm, so everyone was going to Sydney?

And sure enough, when we boarded the plane, they all were!

International Travel

It was a smooth flight. Then straight through customs without a fuss and out the doors to my waiting daughter. The hugs were immense, and the tears flowed.

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally free to go where I want.

fee figures








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People Watching

People Watching

Are you someone who enjoys people watching? I have to admit doing this quite often when out and about.

And before you say anything – I’m not a voyeur! Heaven forbid that you would even think such a thing about me. No, it’s when I’m out, usually at the cafè. In fact, a cafè has to be the best place to people watch.

The other day I took my computer (which I often do) to my local cafè to do some work. One of the perks of having an online business – you can take it with you.

I got there quite early and settled in with good intentions to complete the tasks on the list. It wasn’t long before a chap in a high viz jacket came in, ordered and took a table within my line of vision.

Perhaps it’s because I have a rather vivid imagination, but this was when my mind started wondering what he did, where he lived and why he was alone.

After a few minutes, I noticed he was sitting there gazing out the window with a faraway look on his face. Then I saw an elderly lady at the table in front of him who was also on her own.

Both tables were next to the window, and both had only two chairs, so they were quite small. Both occupants were on their own, facing the same way and staring out the window. No phones were on their tables, no newspapers or magazines. It appeared that both were perfectly content to be in the moment.

The woman received her coffee and muffin and slowly and quietly began to partake in them. I thought of the song

Eleanor Rigby, although I felt this woman wasn’t in such a sad state as the people in the lyrics. I bestowed the name of Eleanor to her, wondering what was she thinking and what her life was like. She was nicely dressed, her nails painted a pearly colour, and her hair looked like she had blond streaks through it; either she visited the hair salon or was blessed with no greys! I put her in her late 70s or even into her 80s. Here was a woman who obviously took care of herself. Did she live alone? Or perhaps she had an invalid husband, and she was taking a much-needed break? Whatever her life was, she was very content to sit and watch people pass by the window. Was she doing what I was doing, people watching?

My attention then switched to High Viz man (as I had named him), who was still gazing out the window. When I see people in a ‘gaze’, I begin to make up stories about their lives, what they’re thinking, and what they will do when they leave the cafè.

By the looks of what he was wearing, I concluded rightly or wrongly that he was in construction. However, I did think that the boots I was wearing were probably more weather-proof than the shoes he had on. On the other hand, they could have been steel-cap. See where my imagination takes me?

His coffee arrived, and he took a moment to say thank you before reaching for the sugar. I counted three spoonfuls being delivered carefully into his cup. As he stirred the sugary beverage, his eyes were again attracted to the window, and his gaze seemed very contemplative.

Before too long, his breakfast arrived, and his focus was diverted to the meal as he occupied himself with savouring the contents on his plate. I was going to say that I was impressed he didn’t load up his fork until he’d finished what was in his mouth, admiring his lingering process. But he only did it a couple of times, and then it was into the very Kiwi way of stacking the fork with food and shovelling it in. Maybe it gave him something to do, although he did break once and window gaze and, for a split moment, the food seemed to be forgotten.

In the meantime, Eleanor began to come to the end of her refreshments. The muffin was mere crumbs on the plate, and she drained the last of the beverage. As she got up from the table, it was apparent she had hip problems because she was walking slowly. Although she didn’t have a cane, her gait looked so painful, and my heart melted for her. My last thought as she made her way out of the cafè was that I hoped her day would be blessed with people, smiles and laughter.

I continued with my work, and it wasn’t long before High Viz man finished his breakfast and made his way out into the street.

As there were no more people in my line of vision, I reflected that when I see people like Eleanor, should I go and sit with them? But then, I often sit alone in cafès and enjoy the solitude. Mind you, I do have a computer keeping me occupied, although I also can gaze out of the window and be engrossed with people watching.

people watching









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Is There a Winner?

Is There a Winner?

Following on from my last blog post about electric cars, the oil sanctions that Biden has put on Russia doesn’t seem like a win-win at all.

And, at the end of the day is it really worth it?

Pull up the horse and let me finish.

I’m all for putting the squeeze on Putin, but the way I see it, all it’s going to do is ramp up oil production elsewhere. For example. One thing you can be certain of, the US oil industry will start producing more as Biden starts looking for ways to plug the gap.

I’ve even heard they’ll get some of the shortfalls from Venezuela and Iran – both countries currently heavily sanctioned by the US.
But I’m sure it won’t stop the ongoing sanctioning of these countries; just the oil trade will open up. Let’s trust that they will get paid for the oil, and if they do, it will be a win for them.

It appears this crisis has been a bit of a dig at the EU to smarten its act up regarding its dependency on oil and gas. They announced they’ll reduce their reliance on Russia by the end of the year. Great. But no doubt they’ll just shop elsewhere. However, there was talk of increasing renewable hydrogen production and improving energy efficiency in households. I won’t hold my breath there will be any huge developments in those areas, going by past results. But, hey, I’m always open to being proved wrong.

It’s a wait and see.

So why do I think that the oil sanctions on Russia are not a win-win? Russia is the world’s third-largest producer after the US and Saudi Arabia. By my reckoning other oil-producing countries will have to ramp up production putting more pressure on the environment. I’ll almost guarantee more licences will given out for exploration and drilling. The rich will get richer, and the poor will keep bearing the brunt of the increased costs to the pocket and environment.

fee figures

Simply my opinion.








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Married Twice!

Married Twice!

I got married to the same man – twice within a month!

Like many others, my catholic parents held firm to the belief that marriage was for life. So when their youngest daughter came home with a man who was – shock, horror – separated and declared her intention to marry him, you can imagine the reaction.

So, plans were put in place that when the divorce was finalised, we would wed from our home with only close friends around. My two step-boys were to give me away, and my husband’s family would also be there to help celebrate.

But, two weeks before the wedding day, my parents relented and said we could marry in the family home with a celebrant they knew.

A bit of back story. I had my oldest brother to thank for their change of heart. He convinced them that if they disagreed, they would lose me forever. Their hearts melted, and they sort the advice of a priest who, bless his soul, said,

“who is man to say that God will not bless this marriage?”

Now came my dilemma. The caveat of having the wedding at the family home was that it was restricted to only immediate family and no children.

I could have said no but chose to honour my parents because I understood the struggle they would have gone through even to contemplate the idea, let alone act on it with their puritan views.

So, not to be short-changed, we went ahead with the planned, fun wedding with friends and new in-laws, saying our vows to each other in front of witnesses. We just missed out the part of signing the register.

A few weeks later, we travelled to the family home and did it all again, only this time signed on the dotted line.

I never did tell my parents of the first wedding. My siblings finally knew after both parents left us for their catholic afterlife. And to this day, I have no regrets at all.

20 happy years of marriage did come to a mutual end, but we remain the best of friends with fierce family love.

fee figures








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About Me

About Me

Thanks for dropping by, my name is Fee O’Shea. I’m a mother and grandma, an author and an Improver. I’ve got a resource website to help peeps go plant-based, I’ve scribbled six books centred around veganism, and have helped others write and publish their own stories.
But this blog is for my thoughts, my rants, raves, reviews and things that have grabbed my attention. From politics to social media to beauty, health and the environment. Fee’s Ramblings Over Coffee is written to bring you a smile or get you thinking. Enjoy.



Don't be shy, please contact me if you have any questions or what you'd like me to write about.

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