Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hope, despair and anticpation

When Doug and Kath lived with me earlier this year for 7  months , Doug was very fond of the saying  "after hope comes despair" and would invariably have a story ( usually embellished) to prove the truth of these words. For me hope is about the big things in life which make the present day tolerable and is filled with such high expectation that despair is the inevitable consequence when those hopes never eventuate  so I prefer to live with anticipation. Anticipation allows you to enjoy the surprises and quirks of every day life but allows you to look forward to something in the future.It's a softer more compassionate form of hope.

A few weeks ago I got an email from Tonyandelinor in Brunei. "Hi MArg just letting you know a letter is on it's way."  So anticipation of a lovely long letter starts to kick in. After about two weeks I actively start to wonder if today is the day I'll get my letter. Finally 3 weeks later the letter arrives. Now there's the ritual of reading it. ( so much more staisfying than reading an email) Do I read it now or shall I wait till later when I've got more time? No - now wins- but first make a cup of tea and a piece of toast,  open the letter and try to make out tony and elinors scribbles. It's written in fountain pen  and now I remember when Tom and I visited last year and Tony and I drove Elinor crazy when we spent what seemed like hours drooling over fountain pens in a wierd little shop on the border of sarawak and brunei. Finally we each chose one and several bottles of ancient parker pen ink. It's like being on holiday all over again. And what news? None essentially because there's not much to do ever in Brunei but I feel like I'm sittitng down chatting to them as I read.  Now that's the joy of anticipation.

This week there's plenty to despair about. In July our esteemed government cut all the professional development funding  for early childhood services. On the EVE of world teachers day they announced that it is no longer necessary for all early childhood teachers to be trained and registered and last week a small RFP slipped under the radar on a contracts website calling for proposals for universities and other providers  to provide a training programme for early childhood teachers that would be only 6 weeks long.  I hope my colleagues will rise up and take action and protest loudly  - I anticipate that it will be hard to galvanise my colleagues into action - but I won't despair becuase I know that is always the case. I will just rant and rave in the staff room as I am known to do. I will write a letter and make everyone sign it. That's a start.

  first Hope ..........

..................... now Despair ...................................

                                                                                                            ..         Aha ..Anticpation !!!

My balls of clay hold so much promise . After the first lesson I know I do not  have the patience for this. However week 2 shows some signs of improvment. Don't worry you are all safe . No one will receive this as a gift for christmas. You have my word on it.

Have a fun filled week everyone. Marg

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Day after the Night Before (I survived a 21st)

8.45 Saturday morning there is a car honking outside my window. I'm still in bed - barely conscious - I'm supposed to be dressed and ready to go. My friend Toni is picking me up. Off for a day long course on learning dispositions and key competencies. She is getting impatient. I crawl to her car still in my PJs." Give me 2 minutes".I croak "and I'll be right there". I wish I could iron the exhaustion and sleep lines off my face. No luck!! That's what you get for having a 21st birthday at your house the night before.

They tell me they turned off the music about 2.30 AM and after the big ones went to town(Hey do any of you know that town only gets going at that hour?) Tom stayed up and cleaned up the lounge, cleared the dishes and sorted the bottles for the recycling bin. He's a good lad. It was a great night. Thank you so much Miri and Bill and Catherine for being family there with me for Rosies birthday.

It was a night I had in truth been feeling anxious about. Not the having friends and family round for dinner part. I'm good at that. I love that bit. No it was the after dinner bit. The PARTY bit!! That takes me way out of my comfort zone. Any insecurity I ever had culminates in hosting a party. Who would come? Do I know anyone who would want to come? What say no one comes?

As I heard today it was an opportunity for me to practise 'growthmindset' thinking. That is , do something that carries a risk of failure. I need not have worried. It was a really fun night. Some of my friends ,some of Tom's friends and many of Rosies friends were there. Everyone looked like they had a great time, nothing terrible happened and today Rosie said it had been  exactly as she wanted it to be. Very Good. One down and only one to go. Thank goodness I did not have 8 children. My parents were wise. They did not go in for parties. They saved themselves a lot of needless anxiety.  Now that I have mastered the art of Parties it's only dogs and flying that I need to feel anxious about.

Have a great worry free week.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

How renovating has made me a slightly better person.

Ok so we're not finished but if you use use a little imagination you can see the progress and  get an idea of where we headed with this project. Do you want to know something strange? When  we moved nearly 4 years ago, not long after we had settled in I was looking at the back section and suddenly and fleetingly I had a picture of the garden as it is now becoming. At the time I had no idea that this would ever be a reality and neither did I know that it would be someone else who would actually conceive and execute the plan.
It was that fragment of an image which helped me decide to use some of my share of my fathers estate to do the garden and not the kitchen which as you can see is small and awkward and you might think a hindrance in creating gourmet meals and almost certainly in need of a make over. But it works. I kind of like its awkwardness and many happy dinners are cooked in here. 
Along the way with my indoor painting project and outdoor makeover I think I've learned a few things.
1. It always costs more and takes longer than you think.
2. Living in chaos is not very fun and can be stressful. ( next time - move out for a while - or maybe just decide there won't be a next time)
3. Wood does not have to be sacred. My friend Jackie gave me that insight and freed me from my notion of not painting wood in case it lost it's integrity. ( She laughed at my ideas."Marg , don't you see the wood in this hallway has no integrity. It's not Buckingham palace you're living in"!!) The painted hallway is amazing!!
4. The end result if you get someone else to do the work is as good as it gets and good enough really can be good enough. Perfection is exhausting , unrelenting and never permanent. I'm happy to live less than perfectly.
5. When you start moving stuff around there's always too much stuff.  Less has the potential to definitely be more.

This is the last parcel for the year. Tomorrow Rosie will be home  for the summer , take a break of a week then start her summer work. So this week it was gluten free pizza base, cheese and bread from the otago farmers market ,( The farmers market is great and If you want to get a sense of just how corrupt the food industry is able to be, I would recommend you see FOOD INC. I truly felt sick watching it) some more gluten free coconut biscuits and a chocolate bar each.   It will seem a little odd not sending of a parcel every week for the next 3 months but it may feel equally odd having us all at home for 3 months.  Still as always this little house will expand and contract in the ways it so easily does to accommodate as few or as many of us as are here.   Well as Miriam can vouch for there's a lot of tidying up to be done around here. I will go and tidy up. ( later though - there's a coffee to be had first!!)

have a great week. Marg