Failures…were successes

(Photo by Dani of Teddy and Tottie)

“Some of the biggest failures I ever had were successes.”  — Pearl S. Buck

One year ago today, my post was about the beauty that is often present in imperfection.  A couple of weeks ago I had a most unusual experience which underscores the point that some setbacks often turn out to be successful in a unique way.

If you read the comments, you may have figured out that a few of us in the blogosphere recently got together for an online tea time, crossing the international date line so that some participated on Monday evening while others were simultaneously joining us on Tuesday morning.  Time travel via the internet!

Technology being what it is, however, things did not go as planned.  No matter – it was great fun anyway.  Now that I’ve updated my version of Skype, it should go better next time and we’ll all be able to see each other.  But, the interesting part is that the voices came through amazingly clearly, as if we were all in the same room, and some of us agreed that we actually heard the voices more than we would have with pictures to distract us.  With so many different accents going, that made it even more fun.

Afterward I was able to see some of what I missed through the blog posts of other attendees.  I invite you to hop down to Australia with me for a few minutes and see Dani’s colorful photo review of the event, which I’m re-blogging here:


More Lady Edith than Audrey!

Posted on April 8, 2014

OK, so I looked a little more Downton Abbey than Breakfast At Tiffany’s for our big EVENT this morning.

Do you remember last week I was trying to channel my inner Audrey Hepburn, with hats and gloves being a prerequisite for a mysterious EVENT!


Well, I’m the first to admit that in the fashion stakes I was a little off the mark – and so was the weather …

I had a lovely garden setting for the EVENT in front of the veggie patches in The Oasis (not in front of the pond after all because I never did get to tidying it up!) …


… but the weather rained on my parade …

tea table

… or, rather, my super exciting … drum roll, please …

international …

Super-duper, splendiferous …multi-national tea party!

Yes, THE EVENT was a Skype, international, hat-and-glove wearing, poem-reading tea party organised by the amazing Boomdeeadda, featuring bloggers from Canada, the USA, New Zealand and little ‘ol me in Australia.

Somehow Boomdee worked out all the time differences, co-ordinated everyone’s available times and pulled the whole amazing thing together!

My shortbread got a bit soggy …

Tigger took over my high tea table when I moved inside to escape the rain …

And my rarely-worn mascara began running down my cheeks from a combination of rain and laughter as we all valiantly battled our way through a few Skype technical hitches.

We could all hear each other, but most of us couldn’t see each other.

I was one of the lucky ones because I managed, by complete dumb luck on my behalf, to see the gorgeous Gardening Nirvana – all the way over in California, USA! And she could see me! So exciting!

But, at the start, I could only see Boomdee’s stylish gravatar – and only hear the beautiful ladies from The Contented Crafter, Life On The Bike And Other Fab Things and Defeat Despair.

Casper instantly fell for Gravatar Boomdee’s charms – and thoroughly enjoyed the range of accents and conversation …

We all decided that despite technical difficulties – just hearing each other’s voices was fabulous enough – and we talked for ages about all sorts.

Finally, after reading out poems we’d selected for the Skype tea party, the extraordinary organiser of the EVENT appeared before my very eyes.

Yay! Boomdeeadda!

Thank-you for organising such a wonderful, exciting event!

I feel as though I have been on an overseas holiday this morning (without the scary plane ride or the hole in my bank balance!)

Aaah! The wonderful world of blogging just got even better!

via Dani at More Lady Edith than Audrey! | Teddy And Tottie.


Dani, I couldn’t agree more…and thanks for giving us a virtual look at your lovely Australian garden!  The next best thing to actually being there!

One year ago today:

A kind of beauty


  1. What a wonderful idea Julia. How fortunate to spend a day with people from around the world having tea and crumpets. Having met face to face or even voice to voice was quite an achievement and an unforgettable day. Posting this today was just what I needed to lift my spirits and Defeat Despair :o)…….

    • Patricia, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Perhaps as the technology becomes more familiar and glitch-free, these virtual visits will become a trend. I just loved seeing Dani’s photos, especially the one of Casper! Pauline, another of the tea attendees, has posted a lovely photo of her cat Orlando wearing a festive hat. I just saw it for the first time yesterday and it put a huge smile on my face!

  2. Wow, Julia! Thank-you so very much for re-blogging my post. I’m absolutely thrilled. The photos look so much better here somehow. My children are still talking about your gorgeous accent – and the fact that in your blog picture you look like the beautiful Elizabeth Montgomery from Bewitched – one of my favourite shows of all time! Wasn’t our Skype tea party fantastic. I can’t wait to do it all again. You are so right about failures often turning into successes – and I am a huge advocate for embracing imperfection! You are a rare gem, Julia. Thank-you so much for making my week! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

    • Dani, I just wrote a long reply and somehow it disappeared – I HATE when that happens – anyway I really appreciate your allowing me to re-blog your post. I didn’t have a lovely garden setting of my own while we talked since it was dark AND rainy in Alexandria the night we got together. I loved Casper’s photo so much that I knew I would have to re-blog it. Then just yesterday I saw Pauline’s photo of Orlando wearing his dashing hat – how perfect! I guess it’s a good thing I couldn’t see the kitties, I would have been way too distracted. Thanks so much for your kind words – if you believe in embracing imperfection you will enjoy knowing me! 😀 TTFN as Tigger says – Ta-Ta for Now! Thanks again for letting me use your wonderful post.

  3. Carolyn Miller

    Loved the pictures!

    • Thanks Carolyn, I was wondering if you would be able to see them. I’m trying to get to this early today as we hope Matt will be moving out of the CICU to the Heart and Kidney unit (which is more like a regular hospital room) – we will keep you posted!

      • Carolyn Miller

        I haven’t got the pictures of Matt yet. I thought ,I knew how to get on your fb but I haven’t yet. I will try again. Love to all. Glad that Matt is moving out of CICU. I wish him well.

        • Hi Carolyn, I emailed you the photos along with the news that it looks like Matt won’t be leaving the CICU anytime soon. One step forward, two steps back. If you got the email you know the situation – just keep praying with us that his heart gets back in sync before it wears out. Love to you and Terry!

  4. raynard

    Julia it must of been all those years of”watching McGuiver’& ‘The ‘A”Team , where I learned to”make up a plan as I go along”( let me give The U.S Marines some credit, adapt and overcome… If skype is your”go to for video chat, your plan ‘B’ could be what you already have. Google, which has is version of Facebook ( Google Plus) ( owns Gmail) and Google Hangouts( their version of Skype) . They combined it all including Picasa their picture app. One password gets you in and you know they own Youtube also, right.. Their homepage explains it along with a chat page. Just put in another vacation request at work. Looking at taking off around Memorial Day weekend . Your neck of the woods is on my itineary.Going to reach out to George of Virginia Beach from Upper Room. Will keep you posted. Be blessed you and your family.

    • Thanks Raynard, we may be down in that area when you are there – let me know. During our tea time a couple of the attendees were trying Google plus to see if we could switch to that but somehow we couldn’t get it going – although a couple of them seemed quite familiar with Google hangouts. I’m going to leave the techno details to those who are more informed than I am, but we may end up going with either one. I really believe eventually everyone will be doing this, we will have virtual visits with people all the time. I just can’t wait for the 3D holographic version where it’s like actually being in the same room. 😀 Of course then I can’t have as many bad hair days as I do now…Hope you have a great weekend!

  5. Wow, what an absolutely novel idea! How fun and I agree, the reblog was colorful and oh so fun!

    • Thank you, I think Dani did a great job with it. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  6. Julia, I can’t believe I saw this today! I was just thinking last night that there are a few bloggers I would love to do this with if I could Skype from where I am, but I can’t. Anyway, my blogging friends are in Australia, New Jersey, the UK and England! 🙂 I’m glad you got to do that!

    • Yes, it was great fun. Is your connection too slow to get Skype? I was staying somewhere with a slow connection recently when my son was going to Skype with our grandson, and I told him it probably wouldn’t work, but we decided to try it anyway – it was great, I could tell no difference from our supposedly high speed connection. Although I have no idea about this kind of thing. At least you can connect online – that’s great too! Thanks for being here today, and for your comment.

      • Our connection does lag at times. My husband skyped with someone at our library in town. We live out in a rural area about a 45 minute drive away. Maybe someday I’ll get to connect with them that way, but for now, blogging and staying connected is great! 🙂

        • Yes, I like blogging for the same reason I loved email twenty years ago – because with everyone’s schedule variations, we don’t have to worry about coordinating times, yet it is still “instantly” there. Pretty amazing, I think.

          • It is amazing to be in touch with people all over the world! 🙂

            • I agree, I just love it. It’s the next best thing to traveling, and without the expense and inconvenience!

  7. Rene

    And a fun time was had by all! I love the picture of the garden, the gorgeous red flowers (geraniums?) & the yellow pumpkins.

    Julia, I’m glad to hear that Matt will soon begin his journey home!

    • Hi Rene, I’m sorry to say we’ve had a setback and don’t even know now when Matt will leave the CICU, much less the hospital. He is having some bad atrial tachycardia – not unusual for someone who just had the complex surgical procedures he had – but worrisome nonetheless. So far they’ve tried three different medications to stop it, but no luck. We’ll just keep praying he tolerates it, which he seems to be doing thus far. Keep us in your prayers! I’m glad you enjoyed Dani’s post – I thought she did a great job with it.

  8. Amy

    How great. What a fun thing to do and enjoy your new friends around the world. Hope all is well today. Pain managed, parents rested and all that. Love to your boys. A

    • Amy, unfortunately things are not going all that great right now (see my comment elsewhere) – but we’ll just keep praying Matt hangs in there and this gets resolved soon. Thanks for thinking of us!

      • Amy

        I will ramp up the prayers. Are you in need of a relief pitcher? Doesn’t need to be long, just enough you can rest for a bit. Let me know. You can even TEXT me!! I will come. Love you all. A

        • Amy, to paraphrase a famous character from GWTW, “Miz Amy you know I don’t know nothin bout no text messages.” 😀 Perhaps on my tombstone someday it will say “She never even learned to text.” Although I do know how to send a reply from my computer if you email a text to me, hee-hee. Keep the prayer bull pen going, we want to finish this game but middle relief is a great strength for you, the thankless job that somebody has to do, and I’ll keep that in mind if I need someone to come in and clean up all the emotional debris. Or for that matter, if Matt gets fed up with me and wants to call in the one person most guaranteed to spoil him rotten! 😀 Seriously, we know you will come if we call (as you did before), and we love you for it.

          • Amy

            Stephen is amazed that someone as tech savy as you has refused to enter the world of texting. I knew that you did not and we both applaud you for that. When Aaron was in the marching band and they said the main way of communicating with parents was by text I was kind of mad. Oh well. I can do it, I just don’t like to. I would never spoil Matt (not while you and Jeff were watching anyhow 🙂 ) Well I am really praying tonight that all is quite. What a terrible day of rain we have had. I thought of you and Matt tonight on my ride home and wondered if you could see all the rain from his room and if the lightening frightened you. I have a big window in my office and I love to see out. It was so dark at some points today it gave me the chills. Please, please let me know if you need me. Like I said in a different post I will come this weekend if you need or want. Give my love to the boys. Is Drew still here? How is Jeff after his chemo? Keeping ALL of you in thought and prayer. Share this joke with Matt please, one of my coworkers sons shared it with me today. “What did Geronimo say when he jumped out of the airplane?” “ME!!!” I love it!!! 🙂

            • Hi Amy, Drew had to leave the day after the surgery, but we’ve been OK – I PROMISE I will call if I need you. As for texting, I am too verbose and too fast a typist to ever want to play hunt and peck with a touch screen. Even for my Nook HD I had to buy a keyboard. Cre8 a msg in 20 wrds? R U serious? LOL!

              Matt, Drew and I all love the rain so we don’t mind it unless we have to drive in it. Having said that, I did go home for a few hours yesterday and it was near zero visibility at some points – NOT good in DC traffic! I felt like an accident waiting to happen but luckily everyone was being careful and making allowances for me and my GPS which still has no clue about certain parts of town (telling me to turn left at one-way streets, etc.) Jeff is feeling pretty low from the chemo – his WBC is 1.7 again and I’m nervous about having him in a hospital setting but he keeps forbidding me to mention it (luckily he never reads these comments so he won’t find out I just told the world.) We are hoping Matt will get out in a few days and then we won’t have to worry about it. Matt and I loved the joke, especially since we supposedly have Chiricahua blood in us.

  9. What a lovely revisit Julia – I continue to be amazed at Dani’s lovely set-up and her dimples 🙂 It was fun and I am really looking forward to our next get together. Sending you lots of love from down-under for you and your entire family xoxo

    • Thanks so much Pauline, I just found your post yesterday and loved it too! That Orlando was so handsome in his hat, I wish I could have seen him on Skype but then I might have gotten distracted and missed some of the chat. YES Dani’s dimples are so cute. 😀 Thanks for being here with us, we appreciate the kind thoughts and cyber hugs!

  10. Sheila

    Julia, it’s very late and I so hope that Matt has made the transition to the Heart and Kidney unit today. I’m thinking of the anticipation before the surgery and now it’s the recovery phase. I’m wondering, which one seems longer? We are finally at Willow Tree and it really feels so right…. nice and quiet! Bill enjoyed flying his Quadcopter today for the first time. I was his “adoring audience (of one)” and I thought he did a great job and actually had fun with it. He has a video to prove it! 🙂

    • Sheila, I was happy to read of your being at Willow Tree. I have never seen that place, but it evokes a instant feeling of serenity because of the things you have told me about it. WOW, a quadcopter! What fun! Was the video from a camera on the copter itself, or was it made from the ground? Either way I’ll bet it was something to see. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

      • Sheila

        Julia, the quadcopter has a digital camera attached so the aerial videos and photos are quite impressive. I’m excited about the possibilities of capturing everyday beauty, like sunrise over the ocean. I’m sure we’ll share as we learn more. 🙂

        • Oh, how COOL – your own aerial camera! Not only do we have incredible medical care – we have amazing toys as well! 🙂 I’ll look forward to seeing some of your photos and video clips.

  11. Sheila

    Julia, your late night comments that I’ve just read are troubling, to say the least. I’ll pray even harder! I couldn’t go to sleep without letting you know you’re in my prayers.

    • Thank you Sheila! I appreciate the prayers. Tonight will be a night of little sleep for us, as they will be coming in and out all night to check up on Matt. We are so grateful for the kind and often genuinely loving care he is getting here. I am thankful to have trust in his medical team and also in God, to bring us through this with minimal pain. Matt seems to feel pretty good (though extremely fatigued) and that alone is a relief – he has suffered so much the past three days, bravely and without complaint (he actually apologizes when he gets sick or they can’t find a vein). We are so grateful for your prayers and friendship!

      • singleseatfighterpilot

        Julia – some of us are keeping this vigil with you, on this early Lord’s day morning. Apologizing to phlebotomists, when they can’t find a vein in one’s bruised and wounded arm – I know that is a failingly non-descriptive vignette, but it touches me to the core.

        • singleseatfighterpilot

          Please post an update on Matt as soon as you are able?

          • Hi Eric, thanks for asking – we have some improvement this afternoon, as I emailed you earlier. He’s sitting up in a chair now, with a pulse in the normal range and most (though not all) of the worrisome heart rhythm irregularities improved. Still need to get some food and fluids into him, but he has no appetite – very unusual for him as compared to past surgeries, but not surprising given the current situation. He’s on an IV for fluids until he feels like eating. Progress is slow, but seems headed in the right direction. He’ll be in the CICU at least until tomorrow, though.

        • Thanks Eric, it is touching because it’s so indicative of Matt’s overall personality; he tries so hard to be agreeable, wanting to be loved as we all do and yet feeling lonely so often despite his best efforts. He is very appreciative of the kindness of the ICU staff here, as are we.

  12. Michael

    The tea sounds pretty great. Red flowers have me stumped. They look like flattened tulips, perhaps hit by rain. Sorry to hear about the set-backs for Matt. Appreciated your comments yesterday about the ICU folks, their dedication, skill and compassion. I get to see some of this when I volunteer at the hospital.

    • I’ll have to go back and look – I was thinking those were geraniums but I didn’t pay much attention to anything but the gorgeous red color. Perhaps it’s some exotic Australian bloom! We are depending heavily upon the great ICU team here today, and feel so thankful to have such care available. Everybody should spend some time in hospital settings, I think — hopefully on a volunteer basis and not out of necessity. It’s definitely a different world as seen from these halls. I’m glad you volunteer there.

  13. Michael

    I read part of the library article you sent in response to my comment about libraries and the homeless. That was an arresting title chapter,” Deliver us from the temptation to do good.”
    It sounds a little anti Christian, but I think I get the point; if you are going to help, put your monies into something that will have lasting value- and real help; not just throw money at the problem and say I did my part. The roots of homelessness are complex and many of these folks, as you know, are mentally ill to one degree or another. On the home front, here in Seattle Bill Gates has been many times criticized for putting huge sums into the fight against malaria. Well -it is his money and he can whatever he wishes with it. But it would be nice if he could do some things locally once in a while. I guess the point is that sometimes no good deed goes unpunished.
    Perhaps libraries could also include one outdoor facility for the homeless. They could also have a “homeless story night,” where librarians could read stories for the homeless folks. There are all kinds of things they could do. I suppose we are all vulnerable to the temptation to do good.

    • Michael, isn’t it a challenge that even “doing good” isn’t as simple as it may appear? Of course it can be so — the kindness we show on a daily basis is as important in its way as the philanthropy of millionaires — but I agree that responsible planning can greatly increase the good that is done with whatever resources we have available. It’s my understanding that one reason Bill Gates chose to invest in immunization programs is the relative effectiveness of dollars spent to wipe out suffering that is largely preventable with adequate resources. Homelessness, as you know, has no such “magic bullet” vaccination. I think you have some good ideas that you might want to bring up to your local librarians. Most would be happy to meet with you face to face, but if you’d prefer a more anonymous approach, almost all libraries have suggestion boxes that solicit input.

      Though Herbert White is a noted gadfly in the library profession, I think what he is getting at is not criticizing “doing good” per se, but rather, the pervasive tendency to take the path of least resistance, the passive “kindness” that is really reluctance to get involved, wearing the clever disguise of compassion. It may well be that allowing whoever enters the library doors to do whatever they choose is just another way of ignoring people with whom we feel uncomfortable. In such cases, it’s all too tempting to do the easy thing and tell our conscience that we’re “doing good.” Maybe that is part of what White is getting at. Although I do remember that I often thought he took too harsh an approach on various topics. But he always made me think through the issues, and that’s a good thing. Mostly. 😀

  14. 🙂

    • Thanks for being here and sending me a smile today! I send you one back! 😀 It’s great to be able to travel through cyberspace all the way to a farm in Tasmania while we’re stuck in this big-city hospital. Technology can be wonderful.

      • Are you still in the hospital? HUGE hugs from Sidmouth Tasmania at 4.46am on a cold prospectively rainy day. I send you gorgeous warmth to warm the cockles of your heart from Brunhilda the big wood burning oven 🙂

        • Yes, we are still in the CICU today since Matt still has not been able to eat anything…although his heart rhythms have calmed down considerably and his surgeon feels he will be on a regular floor by tomorrow. I love wood burning ovens and the air conditioning in here is too chilly for my tastes, so I am delighted to get some warmth! Thanks for sending it, just the ticket right now.

          • Hugs to Matt as well and hopefully the surgeon is right and you guys are back down to a regular floor ASAP and on the way back out to the real world 🙂

            • So far so good. He held down the applesauce and pudding he ate tonight, hooray! We will hope for the best tomorrow, and I will keep you posted. 😀

              • 🙂 That’s very encouraging. By the sounds of it he will be back to a general ward soon fingers crossed 🙂

  15. I’m just catching up, Julia. It was nice to read your perspective here and to re-read Dani’s post too. What a blissful day.

    • Yes, it was quite a fun experience!

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: