Tag: family

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 a.m.er 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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The Little Triggers

The Little Triggers

Every so often, things happen in life that become little triggers for memories.

The older I get, the more those little triggers fire up a memory. The trouble is, often, the memory is not in full coloured detail. More likely, it’s a fleeting “oh, yeah, I remember…. Um… how did that go again?” type of picture. Other times a little trigger can transport me back to a place, and I experience a full re-enactment of a long-ago time.

Of the five senses we possess, it appears that smell is the most dramatic.

A smell can trigger all sorts of recollections and recapture moments in vivid detail.

To give you an example.

There is a particular supermarket here in Tauranga. It’s not one that I regularly frequent as it is some distance away. But on the odd occasion that I do, as soon as I walk in, I am immediately transported to a specific supermarket in Arcata, California. I would go there with my daughter whenever I visited her. Sometimes even going on my own driving her American ‘truck’ with its column change and steering wheel on the wrong side – my adventure!

But why does this one N.Z. supermarket remind me of the one in Arcata and not other markets? It’s definitely the smell that is exactly the same the moment I step inside. I believe it could be how both of them are laid out. The N.Z. one has a café with the coffee smell to the right, the produce to the left, and that includes the bakery. The Arcata one is laid out slightly differently, but the combination of the smell of the coffee, the bakery and the produce is the same and this is the trigger.

So on the odd time when I am missing my daughter, especially during this last year when neither one of us can visit, I go over to the city and saunter into this supermarket. I close my eyes, and I’m right there with her.

And just so you know it’s not only me. Her father has the exact same reaction.

little triggers








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Moved Out …. For Now

Moved Out …. For Now

My time with Ginge has come to and end.  Well, for the moment.

I’m now home and back with my view. Loved being on my own, but also enjoy the company of my friend. Nice to have someone to have a wine with.

It was a great sit and Ginge was real easy to look after. We became good friends, even to the point that he’d come into my room in the morning and make himself at home …. on my clothes!

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Bless Him!!!

He’s not a cat that jumps on your knee, but he’s loving just the same.

cd_56d397404e717The drive to work was a tad longer, but not too bad. Although coming down a hill to be faced with a queue … not exactly fun. But I always got to work on time.

At least the weather stayed fine, and I was able to hula hoop every day – up to 10 minutes without pause (pats self on back).

Home now for about three weeks before I sit again and the good news is that I’m booked up until mid September and this three weeks is the longest I’ll be here at my digs.

Of course, the highlight was not Ginge, but having my daughter, Amy, home from Sydney for about five days. The joyous news was that she and her partner climbed the Mount to welcome in the dawn and there he proposed to her …. ring and all! How romantic.

Had a wonderful day out with her on Monday and checked out the op-shops at Greerton.  Did you know there’s a piano in the street? Super fun and loved the fact that Amy sat down to play a little – that’s my girl!!!!

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I will leave you with something I saw the other day on the side of a van …. love it.







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Super Proud Mum!!!

Super Proud Mum!!!

That’s right I had a right proud night last night.

My oldest son, Sam and his gypsy swing band played in Tauranga and it was awesome!

The band, Black Spider Stomp had a great day in my little city with very profitable busking at the Mount before setting up at Imbibe Bar and giving us a ripping great session of gypsy swing and jazz.

facebookThey had played in Auckland to a big crowd at Britomart then in a little jazz bar in Hamilton filled with young ones. Tauranga didn’t really have the audience, but then that’s Tauranga for you, but those who were there enjoyed it immensely – I could tell, they actually listened, some danced and most clapped at the solos and all clapped and the end of each tune.

They’ll be in New Plymouth tomorrow night then back to Wellington. Sure hope they come back – maybe Jazz Fest.

If you want to listen to their music – click here:  Black Spider Stomp and you’ll get through to their website … you can actually hear all the music from their three albums.

Oh, yeah, one very proud mumma!!!







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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.



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