Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Imagine ....

Imagine way back at the start of 2009 that you wrote in the journal of sorts that you keep when the mood takes you, that this year you'd like to make a coat.  You thought to yourself that it would be a lovely coat with beautiful lining. You imagined yourself wearing such a coat. You thought it might look a little like this.

The only trouble is that when you imagine something there is frequently a very large gap between what you see in your mind's eye and reality itself.  Somewhere in the imagining the voices of commonsense and reason come knocking at the door.  Of course you don't answer it and certainly don't listen when they ask 

" Excuse me ma'am, do you actually know how to sew a coat?"
" Have you had much sewing experience?" 

So you forge ahead - you attend the course that helps you sort the pattern out.. you buy the fabric... you imagine the coat... you imagine the coat some more. You put the fabric away  so you don't have to look at it any more ... and then your sister Maryanna   

suggests you bring the coat stuff with you when you come up to Miri's for Christmas because she will be there too. 

Here they are the miracle workers. Maryanna who generously gave up 3 days of her holiday to give a personalised sewing tutorial on coat making and Miri (with Jude who slept in the tent so the Aunties could have a room to sleep in) who supplied endless amounts of  home baking, good company and wonderful hospitality.

The gap has been closed. What was imagined became real!  I have a coat with beautiful lining.  It is better than what I imagined.  Thank you everyone.

I wonder what I might imagine for myself in 2010??

Happy wondering and dreaming to you all as we move into 2010.

Cheers Marg

Friday, December 18, 2009

A parcel of my own !!

 Today something very exciting happened.!! Tom rang me at work to say that a parcel had arrived - it was from America! Who could it be from? Let me tell you - it was from this amazingly talented  artist called Christy.  You can find out all about her here:

You know I'm not even supposed to get this parcel yet. I'm paying it off in installments. That's how I buy art. In fact when my hot water cylinder was leaking and close to blowing up I went and made my first deposit on a screen print by Dunedin artist GillianPope.  The woman who let me pay off the painting said she was proud of me for choosing art over hot water.( she is saleswoman through and through) I have never regretted that choice although my power bills were exceedingly high that winter.

I really loved this painting when I saw it on Christy's etsy shop but I can't tell you how lovely it is in real life. The colours have a depth and intensity that you can't really see from the photo and the painting has a prescence that's also hard to describe. What I really love about it is it reminds me of the collection of old irons my dad had scattered round his place - it connects me to times and places I remember from my childhood and I love the domesticity of the iron. ( not that mine gets much use) So thank you Christy - I will get so much pleasure from this painitng.

Finally  and just because it's nearly Christmas - here's my knitted nativity set out on show for the festive season. Did you notice the knitted santa propped drunkenly beside the shepherds. Like he's had too much to drink and fallen out of his sleigh and landed with a thud beside the sacred scene. He was a bargain today for just $2 at the St Vincent de Paul shop. I was ostensibly out on a work based errand and just had to pop in on my way back to work.  Luckily at this time of year my colleagues are willing to be be generous towards my failings. 

So what an exciting day and it's not even Christmas.  Enjoy a light hearted, looking forward to Christmas fun- filled week. Marg

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why are endings always harder ?

Well I just had to show how my garden progresses and I have to say I'm getting more than my share of enjoyment out of my tiny plot. It's over planted and there is no coherent plan or record keeping going on just lot's of planting and some watering. And  I'm proud to say we ate all of the first spinach crop this weekend just gone. Spinach and feta fritters. Very tasty.

This week I've been overwhelmed with trying to finish things and been thinking a bit how often beginnings are spoken of as being difficult but in my experience it's the endings that are messy and hard to navigate. This year I got a small scholarship to find out about the experiences of teachers as they move into late career. While I was on leave for the first 6 months of the year and working for what is known as the "dark side" I got to travel a lot and had plenty of time to think and  read and get onto this study. Since I've been back at my real job  I have found myself so unmotivated and almost at the point of mental paralysis when it comes to writing up my findings. I have not done what I need to and in the process have also not done what I want to do . Now it's crunch time. The report has to be submitted by Friday. Finishing this thing, getting it onto paper and ending it is like a refined form of torture. It's not that the topic hasn't been intriguing and relevant it has - it's just not done. That's the problem.

It reminds me of another form of torture I subjected myself for a lot longer than I ought to have simply because I couldn't bring myself to end it. That was when I used to get a monthly massage from a naturopath who was not only poorly qualified but also terrrible at the art of massage. It was not relaxing, or refreshing. It was awful. The person in question used to talk all the way through the session - there was no soft relaxing mood music , no nice oil burning in the background and no soft lights. No - there were hard hands and  bad monologue. I heard all about the bad mariage, the arsehole of an ex , the troublesome teens and I lay there like a slab of meat being pounded for the barbeque  month afer month. Finally I got stronger in myself to ask the question? Am I enjoying this? Is this fun? Is this in my best interests?   I had my answer and after that I never went back. 

That's another question I've been pondering a lot lately. Asking myself which of all the things I do and agree to do are in my best interests. That is a hard one and one that sometimes people around me resist as I try to do   what is right for me .Recently I have been called selfish and heartless because I declined an invitation to do something with some people. I'm getting better at living with criticism as well. So much so that when the young girl told me recently that the machine had diagnosed my skin age as being that of a 47 year old and how terrible that was and that now I had to buy expensive products to repair the damage I just laughed and told her but of course my skin is 47 years old as am I!! And no thanks to the skin products.  Sunscreen will do the trick.

So make this week one in which you put your own best interests first.  You'll be glad you did. Cheers Marg

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Routines ,Rituals and Regular Events

In our early childhood curriculum there is a learning outcome which states that "children will become familiar with the routines rituals and regular events of their learning environment". 

For a long while I think I thought that routines were tedious and dull but I was very aware while away recently of all the many routines that govern my life. Like, I realise I do not especially enjoy breakfast conversation and I really hate breakfast TV. Mostly because I work all day long in a place where I have to talk frequently to a great many people and so I relish my morning solitude. In the same way I like some time by myself at the very end of the day and so have always stayed up late after the household is at rest, reading and often listening to the radio or current  favourite cd. 

Then there are all the rituals which go with Christmas approaching. This week Jenny wrote about making christmas cakes. In our house we always make elderflower cordial at this time of year. The flowers bloom for just a few weeks and you have to pick the heads not to soon and not late to get the best flavour. Getting them just right involves following your instincts and peering at the bushes intently as you dawdle your way to work and back. Then you wrench the flowerheads off and try not to look as if you are stealing someone's prize roses. It's ok though because elderflower bushes really are considered a weed around here. Not precious at all but the cordial is wonderful. Heres the recipe if you want to give it a go.

Elderflower cordial

25 heads of elderflower
1.5litres boiled water
1.5 kg sugar
2 lemons thinly sliced
50g citric acid

Dissolve sugar and citric acid in water. Cool  then add lemons and elderflower heads. Leave in a covered bucket or bowl for 2 days. Strain and bottle.   Put your feet up - get someone to get you  a glass, add some cordial and top up with soda water.  Is an  amazing fizzy fragrant drink on a hot day. It makes you feel like Christmas, relaxing, sunshine and everything else that goes with summer - even in Dunedin!!

On a final note it is fabulous to have our home internet back. I was surprised how much I missed it when it wasn't around. How quickly we learn to rely on technology!!

Happy Christmas rituals to you.  Marg

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

a westcoast wedding and wretched technology.

Can it be done I ask myself?
 What's that you say?
Well is it possible to make a blog entry with no photos?

Im going to try.
The wretched home computer has a fault. We can't use our internet and therefore I can't post any photos because they are all deleted from my camera and stored on our old cranky hunk of junk which doesnt even have a cd writer!!
So I had to come into work tonight to clear some urgent emails and also put in a couple of hours on a report due way to soon and now distracted want to write about the wedding of my good friend Pauline who got married to Dave this last weekend at the Brunner mine just a minute before her 50th birthday. 

If Pauline were a plant I'd call her a rare desert cactus which flowers once or twice in a lifetime. So it was a special occassion to be virtually the only guest at the wedding  who wasn't family.( I was the witness, reader and ring bearer) The wedding group numbered 12 in all including bride, groom and vicar and his wife. Pauline and Dave rode their mopeds to the wedding( old bikes with motors attached) and we trailed behind in a couple of cars. They both wore old jeans and tee shirts and we all got wet under the drizzly rain. Later we went back to their house - feasted on mock turkey ( Pauline is vegetarian) and real west coast smoked chickens ( dave's secret recipe)  and drank plenty of wine. More  wine than 12 people should, I suspect. It was such fun!! And so inspiring and amazing to see the two of them together - they found each other by chance and later with much patience and persistence by Dave he finally won Pualine over. I know they will be  happy together.

I also totally loved the trip over to Greymouth. I got a lift to Chirstchurch - stayed in a squalid backpackers overnight and caught the bus over Arthurs Pass.  I really enjoyed sitting back and taking in the scenery. At one point while I was listening to my ipod I looked up at the mountains and it was as if at that exact moment there was a perfect fusion of sound and scenery. In that split second  I felt I didn't need to die to go to heaven - it was like I was already there. Words cant do the experience justice - you had to be there and even if you were I guess you had to be me to feel that way. Still I'm holding that moment. It's going to be crazy here over the next  2 or 3 weeks. So I'll revisit the memory to preserve my wits in the coming days.

Well enough unaccompanied words already. Have a great technologically perfect week. Marg