Monday, December 21, 2009

OLD friends

(the corner of our old house, right where Willow was born)

this last week i reconnected with my past

it was a deliberate act - had to organise schedules and get a bit bossy with my family,during this busy time of the year

but it had become clear that i needed to do something my conscience had been prickling me about ...

(to be read in your best Jimminy Cricket voice)

"It's been a long time. They get lonely. It's not far out of your way. They're good people"

so we went to the Kamo rest home.

We went to see Beth.

Beth was our neighbour when the girls were little - and one of the first people who came to welcome Willow (Willow was born at home and Beth could tell something was up. She was amazed she hadn't been woken by screaming! Beth must've seen too many bad movies.)

She is in her late 90's and used to exhaust me just watching her - she was part of a regular tramping group (hiking to any North American friends reading!) She did her own extensive garden, preserving, walked to the shops, drove all over...She also welcomed my girls into her life with open arms.

Eila used to toddle over to her house, just able to reach the doorbell and cuddle up on Beth's knee, looking at photo albums, eating "peppermint tablets" ("oddfellows" - a big round mint), walking around her garden discussing plants and flowers, picking posies .

Beth got sick with shingles and had to move into a rest home at around the same time as we left our house.

We have been up to visit her but our visits petered out a bit. I have lots of excuses but the last time we went she said, admonishingly "I thought you had forgotten me!"

Then last week, I met one of her carers in the street who said she had deteriorated and that galvanised me.

The look of joy on her face made it worthwhile. Sure she can't find lots of the words she wants, and that is frustrating for her, but she still has her wicked sense of humour and she still loves my girls and the feirce hug she gave us all was so full of love....

She couldn't see us out but we walked through the dining room where other residents were settling in for dinner... and the oohs and ahs and people actually reaching out for my girls and wanting to chat with us chipped a little peice off my heart... their joy at seeing someone young and vital and oblivious to their gift of youth, was palpable and a little overwhelming...

then we went down the hill to my Aunt and Uncle's little unit.

I am ashamed to say i haven't been there in the 4 or so years they've lived there. My uncle is my Dad's oldest brother and we were much younger than their children but they were always kind to me. OK, Aunty Lillian's gap in the front of her teeth distracted me so much as child, that i often found myself forgetting what she was saying. And she had this little girl giggle that sounded so odd on a woman. And their house was so tidy and full of geegaws and knicknacks that i was scared of knocking something over.

But Neville was kind to my Grandma. They loved my Grandma and took care of her so tenderly that they will always have a special place in my heart.

Neville can't walk well anymore. And he can only say a few words. Lillian always said more than him anyway. But the love in their eyes when they saw us was overwhelming.

And they told me a story about how surprised my Dad was when they told him they were getting married. Turns out my Dad had been spying on them. And he had seen their friends kissing under a hat. But the most my Dad had seen Nev and Lillian do was Neville tickling Lillian on the face with a peice of long grass. "That was our courting."Lillian giggled as she told me.

And my heart swelled with their love, days gone by, innocence, the richness of that story, their tenderness for each other.

the stories living in these three, and everyone at the table waiting for their dinner, are as alive as the day they were lived. Pulsing with their need for retelling. Waiting for their chance to return to the world, to show us what they saw....

those stories are waiting for my return.....

and i feel the weight of that in my heart.

but it is a good weight

Friday, December 18, 2009

# best of 09 BEST TEA

Oh yes

i am well qualified to comment on this

the best tea (i know i can only speak of my opinion but i feel there is a deep universal truth here too)


with two sugars

in the morning


Thursday, December 17, 2009

#best of 09 packaging

the best packaging isn't new this year actually it comes from the 1800s but is my favourite, perennially...

it is classy

it describes what is in there

it is clear

it doesn't try to wow you

it is just good

#best of 09 best rush of the year

the best rush i had in 2009 was seeing an orangutan

i was in a long boat

not much freeboard

on the Kinabatangan river in Borneo

sitting between my two girls

it was hot

we had been pouring water on our hats

and our necks were sore from looking up all the time...

and then Gofanm, the guide turned the boat,

and i scanned the treetops - another eagle? more proboscis monkeys?

and then i saw the burnt orange moving in the trees

and i grabbed the girls hands

and tears filled my eyes

an orangutan

one of the few left in the wild

eaking out an existence on the sparce trees alongside this once mighty river and rainforest... palm oil trees sometimes only one tree back from the river....

and if he lurked onto the plantation he will likely be shot

but today he is there

in front of us

calmly picking figs off the tree

and looking for all the world like someone i would love to get to know

and all the begging and hassle and saving for this trip are instantly worth it...

that was my rush for 2009!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

#bestof09 best change to the place i live

( the orchard paddock, this is a spiral in the dew i made for a joy rebel exercise )

the best change i made to the place i live (which i would have to say is usually when the carpet, takes on that mottled look that living rurally with two children, 4 guinea pigs, a poodle, a burmese cat and paddocks right outside the door, gets an occaisional vaccum) is to have planted comfrey...

this means in a year or two the magical comfrey would be thick enough to create a weedbarrier to the rampant kikuyu in our lawn (great stuff kikuyu - hardy green drought resistant vigorous stuff which is a killer to all the other plants one has to mollycoddle along)

this means that i can start planning the orchard for about 2 years time..... with a herbal ley and heirloom trees

it will be right outside my door here...

it will give you enough time to save $ to come and visit me in peach season!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#bestof09 a mashup!

(my favourite place Pataua beach - 20 mins drive from my house)
(apologies for the catch up nature of this list but it is fun to do and i am busy so here goes!


Now this is going to make me seem like and old hippy but what the hell if the cap fits

Carole King - Tapestry - i know it is old as the hills (but that's not necessarily a negative!) but my girls and i sing out loud - like REAL loud to it... - watching an eight year old belt out Natural woman is just a joy to behold AND we bought very costly tickets so we can see her live next year and that is going to be a family memory i can't wait to make - thanks Carole for teaching my girls about joy and lyrics and stories and fun!


i know if you follow this blog you will have seen this before - but Pataua beach always delivers a big dose of something good to me - no matter what the weather, what mood i am in, what i have going on... this place heals me ... God i love Te Tai Tokerau

Best food

Roti chanai from Restoran Zacharia III in Sandakan Borneo

the end!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

# best of 09 challenge

(challenges are fences to climb, right?)

the best challenge i had in 09 was about coming into myself

it is nebulous and vast but when thinking about challenges i want acknowledge my movement in this challenge... putting myself in the picture...

i am making choices that honour me (instead of everyone around me)

i am disengaging from people who fill me with dread (not getting mad or even or engaging so much in those long and victorious conversations in my head with them where i say articulate, cutting things and they are cowed into forever changing their lives)

i am painting

i am doing (a little) silversmithing

in short i am saying NO to what i don't want and YES to what makes my heart sing...

that is a challenge i am proud to be engaged in

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

#best09 moment of peace

my best moment of peace in 2009 was when i was deep in anger

i had had a toxic irritating difficult well worn conversation with my mother - chest bared for all buttons to be pushed...

i took the poodle and hopped in the car

i drove too fast on a very windy road...

shouting all the while in my head with all the things i should have said, how much she hurt me, how much she needs to change, how much she needs to be different, how mean, how hurtful....
and on and on and on
and then we got to Pataua beach (above)
i ran down the steps to the sea and after acting normal walking past a couple wandering around the shells, i stomped down the beach
and then, when i was far enough away,
running under the sound cover of the waves, under the shade of the bright clear sky
i shouted
a gutteral, gut-deep, sound that was full of it all
all the hurt
all the anger
all the dredged up shit
and then there was peace
clean, shiny, smooth
the poodle was so concerned about me she came running over
and i could smile at her - a clean smile, a happy smile...

the lady at the supermarket

(where the tears live)

i was whizzing with my trolley, full of goodies, mind hours ahead, planning, ticking off lists...

and then i looked over and saw her.

She was moving slowly with her trolley.

Not much in there. Small packets. One portion meals.

Her legs, under her calf length skirt, were bruised in that spreading crimson way that only elderly papery skin can be.

Sensible soft shoes.

Pale blue grey easycare fabric top, to match the skirt.

Her hair curled at the front, a perm past it's best. The back still flat. Probably no one sees, it to tell her.

Her shoulders were rounded.

Eyes difficult to see under her glasses.

And i got those tears that always come when i see someone who looks lonely at the supermarket... when i feel the flood of all the years past... the sense of all the things gone.

She was walking past the beer fridge.

There were two big strapping Polynesian men in front of the beer. Bare strong arms, tattoos, dark glasses...chatting, laughing, just resonating life and vigour.

And she walked up to them.

And she changed before my eyes.

She asked for help to lift a 6 pack from the top shelf.

And she chatted and giggled with the boys who were falling over themselves to help her, smiling and engaging with this friendly alive woman.

And i found my eyes filling up again, in celebration of community, of reaching out, of love in all its forms.

tough decisions

Pataua estuary 2009

i find it tough to make decisions about whose needs i should meet...

and usually i make the decision to delay/postpone/ignore my needs

i have great training and credentials in that department, i could probably cross credit to get a masters somewhere...

but i am in a space now, of reflecting on where that has got me...

where all this self denial, craven pandering to other people for approval, wanting to be a good girl, being nice, punishing myself has got me...

and the answer is here... where i find it hard to even identify my needs

and so i am going to make a point of really questioning those decisions from now on...

last night i offered to mind my friend's 4 children while she went to the hospital to try and get some answers from the medical fraternity about her ailing health (she probably has fibromyalgia but doctors don't like that illness much so it doesn't get much airtime - mostly coz they don't have any action they can take... those dis-eases are most unpopular amoungst doctortypes)

i have been concious of her pain.

i have been concious of her exhaustion.

i have been concious of her daily struggle.

But i have actively avoided offering to be a babysitter - oh i am an ear (although she has been doggedly trying to be positive so she just can't entertain the idea of saying just how hideous it all is...)

But i need this time and space to create...

for ME to feel alive

I have done my running around meeting the needs of small children time (and i still haven't recovered fully from the time with my own...)

and Fuck it feels traitorous - to one of my good friends...

but i have to be a good friend to myself... to be the one i choose

i will continue to be here for her when she needs a cup of tea but i will also be here for myself...

this is a tough decision but my gut says YES...

Do you have tough decisions like this???

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


(my girl with a Ruru (native owl) on her shoulder

My daughter has crappy teeth - she has had surgery and numerous fillings but works bloody hard to keep them healthy nonetheless

Yesterday she went to the dentist.

She was so scared during the examination that she cried.

Those big silent tears that you rub away angrily.

But she held it together and let the dentist work away.

And it was all ok.

She was thrilled.

She came home with a trick dental floss gadget, which she happily used for the first time...

and pulled out a filling.

She was almost hysterical.

The fear of going back, the fear of injections, the fear of pain, the fear of having to let someone do something you really don't want them to just flattened her.

But while i was trying to soothe her, and not negate that fact that she was scared, but not let it overwhelm her as well, I remembered.

I remembered that the last time she had work done, on the way home she said "Worrying about it was worse than the actual thing".

And i reminded her about that and she felt calmer.

How often in my life do i wish that i had had that wisdom. That all the fear and worry and difficulty i invented, before something had actually happened was so much worse than the actual event.

Or that staying stuck in a difficult situation was worse than anything i could have imagined happened if i had stepped out of my fear and into a new possibility.

She is so wise.