Tag Archives: thoughts

When all hope seems lost…

My heart is sore. I never thought I would feel so saddened by a country. I never thought I would feel so disillusioned with the people of New Zealand. I never thought I would ache with sorrow for the way New Zealand has become a country of people who worry more about their pockets than the future generations to come.

Last night I had decided to stay away from the news, but inadvertently [well maybe not] found myself seeing New Zealand sink in to the mire. The people of this once great country voted for another term of corruption, another term of money and profits for the big corporations above the health and welfare of this land, its people…its very heart.

To those of you considering immigrating to New Zealand I say this.

This land called Aotearoa is dying. We are not clean and we are not green. We do not look after our weak and vulnerable.

Our waterways are so polluted children can no longer swim in many of them. You see keeping the commercial farmers happy is so very important. We must allow them to run our rivers dry for their irrigation. We must allow their cattle effluent to drain in to our rivers and choke the life out of them.

We do not value our fauna. Commercial fishing interests are far more valuable to our government than our Maui dolphins, whose numbers sit now at 55. I imagine that in my lifetime this beautiful creature will become extinct while commercial fishing continues to practise methods that fill their boats but rape our oceans. Commercial fishing interests are also more important than the every day kiwis whose fishing quota has been reduced, who must also catch fish much larger than the commercial interests.

We allow commercial interests to plunder our wetlands to sell swamp kauri to other nations. Just ask Judith Collins whose husband’s company does just that. After all…as she said…she doesn’t care about wetlands.

While we are at it…do not try to protest against the government. They will simply pass laws to shut you up. Then they will run off in secret and meet with oil and mining companies to work out deals to mine in national parks or drill so deep in the sea that should a spill happen it will make the Gulf spill look like a minor mishap.

We allow over 250,000 children to exist below the poverty line. That’s a lot in a country of just over 4,000,000. Many go without breakfast, or lunch. Many live in cold damp houses that make them sick. But our government minister who oversees this portfolio says it is all not true. Those kids who rely on the charities that provide breakfast in some of the more vulnerable areas…why they are just lying when they said they didn’t have breakfast at home. And anyway…according to the same minister…it is not the government’s job to feed the poor children of New Zealand. It is their parents, who generally are either on drugs or spend all their money on booze and cigarettes. They are only poor because they make the choice to be.

So – if you want to come to a country that has sold its soul to America…by all means apply to immigrate to New Zealand.

The following belief system is a prerequisite for coming here and living a happy life these days:

  1. You must believe that corporations should be able to tell the government how to run a country. They know best and need to be able to keep governments in line with their ideology.
  2. You must believe that corporate profits are more important than the environment. Big business need to be able to protect those profits by any means available. For instance the TPPA will provide profits for decades to come. Either big business gets its way or it can sue the crap out of the government and those pesky tree-huggers if they interfere with the money-making capabilities or profits. It is the only fair way.
  3. You must believe that corporate profits are more important than the needs of the people. They are just tree-huggers or bludgers after all. It is the only way to stop them breeding. It is not right that governments or big business should have to ensure that the little blighters they birth should be kept fed, educated or God forbid come to expect that they might have a right to grow up and have a say in how their country is run. No…make it harder for them then there will be less of them around in the future to start demanding rights. Rights !! I say !! That is just silly.
  4. You must believe that politicians know what is best for a country. Remember they have the big corporations behind them advising them at all times on what is best.
  5. You must believe that the people who disagree with the government are all ignorant, tree-hugging bludging fools who should just shut up and mind their own business.
  6. You must believe that anyone who needs a helping hand at any time from the government is a bludger and should be made to feel like one at all times. Our best way of dealing with them is not to help them re-educate themselves. No, no, no. Ship them off to another country and let them deal with them.
  7. You must believe that American interests should always come before New Zealand’s interests. After all America is the greatest power on Earth. Look how much money they spend on beating other countries in to submission so that they do what America tells them to do. And how else would any Prime Minister from New Zealand get to play golf with the likes of Barak Obama, or have a holiday house in Hawaii ???
  8. You must believe that sarcasm and behaving like a childish fool is a good look for a Prime Minister, as is name calling.
  9. You must believe that rising power prices are great for everyone, especially the elderly or the infirm or the poor…and shutting their power off because of unpaid bills is nobody’s fault but their own.
  10. You must believe that insurance companies are operating fully within their rights with the people of Christchurch. Those that still live in damp, overcrowded garages four years later are just whiners. What do they expect actually, that insurance companies should actually pay up so that they can rebuild their lives ? And just because they are making record profits does not mean they are being unreasonable is raising premiums.
  11. You must believe that although New Zealand is a farming nation it is fine that basic foods are more expensive here than most places in the world.
  12. You must also believe that no politician should ever have to keep any promise he or she made during election time…ever. After all, their memories are a bit wonky, they can’t remember, let alone put in to action everything they said to get your vote. That would not be reasonable now would it ?
  13. You must believe that any politician has the God given right to lie at any time, and say that he can’t remember.
  14. You must believe that it is just foolish to believe that you should be able to own your own house any more. Do not be so silly. Unless you live overseas. Then it is fine.
  15. You must believe that people who invest in real estate should NEVER, and I mean never have to be made to pay one cent of their profits [especially if they own tens or hundreds of houses] in tax. Come on now…that would be silly.
  16. You must believe that earning a liveable minimum wage is another idea those tree-hugging bludgers came up with and is just not workable. It will most definitely send millions of workers to the unemployment line.
  17. You must believe that the more money you earn the less tax you should pay. Once you reach the top…well why pay any at all ? Hell we should be paying you for granting us the pleasure of you company.
  18. You must believe that being sick is just not a good look in this country. So don’t bother us with it. If you do we will think about sticking you on a waiting list for treatment. If you are lucky that is. After all we didn’t make the criteria for getting on waiting lists for treatment when you are sick so difficult for nothing fella. So unless you are dying, well maybe even then, do not expect help from the health system. That is not what we are here for ! As for getting drugs. Ha !! You should be so lucky. We will of course provide the ones the drug companies tell us to, at a price of course. Now just because they are not as good as the other drugs at fixing your problems is no reason to complain. The drug companies need to make a profit remember, so selling us the cheap stuff that is less effective makes perfect sense. We will of course need to make a profit too, so upping the cost of supplying it goes without saying.
  19. You must believe that mainstream media should tow the line at all times. They should never tell the people the truth, because we all know they can’t handle the truth. But keeping the big corporations that own the media happy is the way of the future. Bribe them with tax concessions and they will tell the general populace whatever you want, which is a good thing. This way you can make up stories and everyone will believe them. They will all think you are telling the truth when you say you give your salary to charity, even if you didn’t technically say that at all.
  20. You must believe that convincing the general public that there is a terrorist hiding under every bed is a good thing. This will allow you to pass laws that let other countries such as America, and if you are sneaky enough even your own spy agencies to reach in to their homes and gather information that you can them store and share with anyone you want to when it suits you.
  21. You must believe that no person should ever think that getting an education should do anything but bury them under a mound of debt. It is much better to give millions to charter schools than make sure that state schools are funded in a way that provides better teachers, smaller class sizes and healthier learning environments. That is not necessary. After all…those of us with money can send the kids to private schools. Why educate the masses…that might lead to trouble in the future as they might do the unthinkable and learn to think for themselves. By burying them under debt they are just too tired and worn down to cause government and big business any trouble in the future. This we call forward thinking.
  22. You must believe that selling of a nation’s assets is a good thing. After all what idiot thinks that keeping those profits in the nation’s coffers is sensible. No !! Much better if rich people and overseas corporations get them. Spreading the wealth around in the country itself is such a silly idea. As is keeping costs down. Profit is what it is all about. Profit above people every time.

Now if you agree with all of the above…then Maybe New Zealand as it is at the moment is the place for you.

Personally, well last night I told The Daughter to stay away. I never thought I would say that to my child. To The Son…I will say hurry up and leave. Go find a country that cares about its people, its environment, its future. Go find a better place. Because this country is headed down a path that will make it a terrible place for future generations.

As for me…well I will stay. I will hope that in the future this country will remember what made it so great in the first place. There are people here who want change. Who want New Zealand to be clean, green and caring again. Just not enough to make it so at the moment.

My Best Friend

My best friend took a long time to get to know. She…yes she is a she…is a rebel [in her own way]. According to Jung she fits the rebel archetype that he ascribed to. You see she  sees injustice everywhere and wants to shake up the entire system! According to Jungian psychologists, this type believes rules are made to be broken and is driven by the desire to shock and provoke people. She is deeply principled but still possesses a free spirit with few boundaries. I believe she has the potential to really change things, if she learns to reign in her rather extreme tendencies.

IMG_1666 copyYou might be surprised to learn that the colour of her aura is…

IMG_0320White – the colour of Perfect Balance – surprising I know, but the longer her I know her the more I realise that her strongest qualities are more spiritual than physical.

If I had to think of a quote that fits her it would be this…

“It is during our

darkest moments that

we must focus to see

the light.”

Any idea who said that ??

Day 37 - 8.3.2013She hasn’t had the perfect life experiences. At times she has been broken…but never it seems beyond repair. She’s had more than her share of heartbreaks, conflicts and disappointments. It was hard, but she always tried to see the bright side of things. When she looks back, I remind her that those experiences helped her become the person she is today. She is living proof that no matter what, the human spirit can always evolve and find happiness!

th_tigrrr

I have heard people describe her as unique, different. She reminds me of  Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter. Always marching to the beat of her own drum.

IMG_1953 copyPeople tell her that she is incredibly clever [she has her doubts], but she sees things in a completely different perspective to most other people and I think sometimes that does give her some valuable insights. Although most would describe her as an extrovert, they are not right. In reality she is still a shy little girl and is actually a bit of an introvert. She is incredibly comfortable in her own company. Over the years one thing she has learned is that being yourself is much more interesting than being someone else.

IMG_1662-2 copyHer favourite Luna Lovegood quote: “Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”

Astrologically she is a lion.

Photo163 copyBut deep down she feels much more in tune with Pegasus.

Pegasus by 'thedrawinghands'
Pegasus by ‘thedrawinghands’

She has been there with me since before I knew what memory was. She laughs at my jokes, she cries at my losses…she even tells me when I am wrong sometimes. Not that we always agree on that.

IMG_5799copy

I have loved many friends [and still do] in my lifetime. But learning to really know her, to understand her, and to love her as my best friend has been the longest journey of my life. Because she makes it hard sometimes…to know the woman behind the mask.

P1100021Luckily she stuck with me while I make my way on this journey of self discovery. I sure hope she’s around for a while longer because every day with her is a surprise.

Day 160

“Love

yourself

first

and everything else falls in line.

You really have to love yourself

to get anything done in this world

- Lucille Ball

Oh…and late at night when she can’t sleep, when the characters on the page won’t do what she wants, when the photo images all seem blurry and not very good – she does way to many stupid quizzes. Even she admits that !!!

She also goes looking for hilarious videos. Just to make you smile !!!

Part of the Weekly Photo Challenge.

 

 

 

Share your world – 2014 Week 16

I really liked the questions in Cee’s challenge this week. Gave me an opportunity to play with photoshop again. Here we go then…

How many places have you lived? You can share the number of physical residences and/or the number of cities.

  • I was born in Sydney, Australia
  • I lived in Wollongong, Australia until I was about eight, then moved back to Sydney where I lived all over the place…it is a big city. Some of the suburbs I lived in were: Fairfield, Guildford, Matraville, Kensington, Randwick, Tregear, Yagoona, Sylvania Waters, Bexley, Canley Heights. There were more, but those are the ones I remember.
  • Bennekom in The Netherlands became my next home. For three years I lived there in the eighties.
  • During that time I also lived just out of the town of Boppard, working at a camping ground on the Rhine in Germany for six weeks.
  • Back to Australia after that and I moved to Childers in Queensland where we had a lychee farm. We also grew longans, mangoes, tropical peaches and nectarines, We even grew okra…goodness how I hated that stuff.
  • After Queensland it was back to Bennekon for nine months.
  • Next stop New Zealand. For a month we lived in Martinborough with friends while waiting for our container to arrive from Australia. Then we moved to Napier [where I hope to move to again in the future] for a couple of months. I loved it there. Our plan was to buy an apple orchard, but the ex was colourblind. This meant he could not see when to pick the apples, so we moved to Katikati. I am still here 20 years later…the longest I have lived anywhere.

What type of music relaxes you the most?

That is a hard one to answer because it really depends on my mood. At the moment I have these on my computer for when I write.

  1. Adam Lambert
  2. Queen
  3. Altiyan Childs
  4. Bon Jovi
  5. U2
  6. Florence and the Machine
  7. Gin Wigmore
  8. Fleetwood Mac
  9. Midnight Juggernauts
  10. The National
  11. The Beach Boys
  12. Iron & Wine
  13. INXS
  14. The Eagles
  15. Jim Croce
  16. Rodriguz
  17. The Beatles
  18. Melissa Etheridge
  19. Mumford and Sons
  20. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  21. Michael Jackson
  22. Cat Stevens
  23. Modern West
  24. The Who
  25. Elvis Presley
  26. Eurythmics
  27. Bowie
  28. Frank Boeijen Groep
  29. Aerosmith
  30. Kings of Leon
  31. Curtis Stigers
  32. Janis Joplin
  33. Justin Timberlake
  34. Donovan Frankenreiter
  35. Jeff Buckley
  36. The Police
  37. The Rolling Stones
  38. Madonna
  39. Katy Perry
  40. Red Hot Chili Peppers
  41. Johnny Cash
  42. Coldplay
  43. Robbie Williams
  44. Santana
  45. Savuka
  46. Joshua Kadison
  47. Fine Young Cannibals
  48. Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
  49. Tom Petty
  50. Styx
  51. Debussy
  52. The Doors
  53. Procol Harum
  54. Natalie Merchant

If you could instantly become fluent in another language, what would that language be and why?

Italian, Italian, Italian. Because you talk with more than your mouth.

If you could fly or breathe under water what would you prefer?

Hard, hard choice. Being a mermaid would be absolutely wonderful.

Jo MermaidBut you know I have always had a fascination with flying. The thought of having wings, hearing them whoosh as they flap…I can’t choose.

Jo Angel
Wing brushes courtesy of AquaLilia Wings Brushes.

I think I should be another Persephone. I could spend half the year in each world.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Very grateful to have heard from The Daughter while she is away. For hearing the crackle in the light switch and getting it fixed before my house caught fire. For not having any damage to my home in the storm that hit us the day before Good Friday. Two friends of mine did, and they are doing it tough. I never know what is going to happen in the future. A planner I am not.

Thanks Cee…for Week 16 of the challenge.

Don’t forget the animals. They need our voice.

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And a shameless plug for me !!!

BB2014-PCA-vote

Share Your World – 2014 Week 12

I thought it might be fun to play along with Cee’s Share Your World this week after seeing Gemma’s post, so here goes.

What is your most favorite smell/scent?

That is hard because it changes. I love the smell of Chevvy’s belly, and Charlie and Jack’s.

Coffee always makes me feel good, but so does fresh bread.

How do you write: computer, longhand or other?

Computer mostly these days, but I have books that are always there to help me play around with words and fitting them together.

Your favorite blog post that you have written? (add link)

Being someone who never follows the rules…I have to say there is more than 1 at equal favourite. So in that case, in no particular order:

  1. The Pussies Are Taking Over [and from the comments it seems I am not the only one who has pussy trouble !!!!]
  2. So it’s Valentine’s Day [which was also my one year anniversary of blogging - please scroll down to the comments...they are probably the best part of the post !!!].

Maybe you can tell me which one of these two posts you prefer !! I would appreciate it !!

What’s one of your favorite books from childhood?

A Child’s Garden of Verse. I still have it.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week: For my friends, who constantly amaze me with the generosity of spirit and their willingness to put up with my shenanigans.

Coming week: That it is still coming, and if the past is my measure, then it will be as it has been…full of surprises.

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” —Ernest Hemingway

 

P1060701Writing for me developed from a love of reading. There were not enough books in the universe for me to devour. Winnie The Pooh, Daktari, A Child’s Garden of Verses, Rebecca, and Wuthering Heights were all beloved favourites. They taught me so much. They taught me that there are all kinds of stories to be told, in all kinds of ways.

The first thing I remember writing was a poem. I used to love writing poetry, but sadly all those pieces are gone. Everything I wrote was contained in one book, and that book is lost forever to me. Yet I still feel those stories surrounding me. Changing form perhaps, but never completely abandoning me.

Those stories were a way to escape for me. I could dive in to other places than the one I lived in. But they were only for me, at least until I met a childhood friend and for the first time trusted the stories to another. There was only one person who ever got to read anything I wrote. I wonder if that was because I had such little self worth as a child. Was I too afraid I would be mocked for what I said in those first efforts? I think so. I still sometimes feel like that today. It is very hard to put out anything I write, especially my stories.

Poetry…now that is different, and I am not sure why that is. That I can and do share, but my short stories and longer works are difficult to put out there. I try not to let that stop me writing them though. Still, like everyone else who writes, sometimes it is hard to get one word out. At those times it is as if I am wearing gloves. Those gloves cut off the flow from me to the outside world. And I can’t get then off me…no matter how hard I try.

I look in awe upon writers like JK Rowling, who have enough belief in themselves to actually not only finish their projects but to publish them for the wider world to read. I am not sure I will ever be confident enough to contemplate approaching a publisher.

In this moment I shall just put down the stories as they come to me. They come from so many places, and until I have them out and on screen, a little niggle makes itself felt. Write it down, write it down, write it down it says to me. Is it possible I have my own Jiminy Cricket sitting on my shoulder ? I should like to think it is possible, just like I believe in the fairies in my garden, who weave their lives in and out of mine.

Sometimes they come when the night is at its darkest. They push open the kitchen screen enough to scramble through before making their way to my room. From behind my closed eyelids I see their bright, shiny sparks and hear their chatter. They run amok over the covers of my bed. One has a tendency to pull the duvet back, until I shiver and sit up in search of it.

Opening my eyes sees then scatter and with their gentle laughter they leave my awake and staring in to the darkness until an idea begins to form. My slumber is lost to me, but the loss is not felt too keenly as the ideas that hovered in my dreams begin to take a more solid form, and I write them down, I write them down, I write them down.

Related Posts

 

Some thoughts and a few cute fur babies.

Yesterday I told you I was taking part in a march against animal testing. No one from the government in power here bothered to attend any of the marches to address people’s concerns. Though with this government it sadly does not surprise me.

My country is going down the gurgler in many areas and many of the people I think feel they can’t stop it so why bother to try.  Our Prime Minister seems to think that the novel 1984 is a handbook on how to run New Zealand. The alternative isn’t that much better either. What happens to politicians ? Many enter the political arena with high ideals. Very few seem to retain those ideals once they feel the power. The media doesn’t help. Often treating them like celebrities. One of our local MPs is a prime example of ego run rampant.

Greenpeace erected a billboard of this MP after claiming he lied to Parliament about meeting with oil companies prior to a bill being passed that stopped Kiwis from protesting at sea against deep sea oil drilling along our coast.

Mr Bridges reaction…at a press conference he said:

“Ha,” when informed about the billboard. “Well, forests on fire. Actually.”

“Suck on that,” he then so succinctly added.

Mr Bridges then finished his press conference with saying that Greenpeace was picking a fight they couldn’t win, and that they should spend less time erecting tacky billboards and more time “watching the fuck out.”

So mature is our Mr Bridges.

But I digress…as this post was supposed to be about yesterday and trying to fight the government on another very important issue.

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Photo courtesy of Photography by Jossie (another of NZ’s awesome photographers)

1003491_398096916957618_435687363_n
Now how many of you can find me in this one ???

Photo courtesy of Photography by Jossie (check out her work…she is really good)

It was fun. Chevvy was well behaved except for one small incident when she put another dog in its place for sniffing her nether regions. Here are a few of the images I took that hopefully will show you a bit of my day.

Life is funny at times.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the computer will cooperate and this post will see the light of day.

Doing battle with the computer.
Doing battle with the computer.

I am also hoping that soon all will be sorted on the insurance front. It is proving more of a job than I first realised. I think my insurance company must be sick of me. First there was the leak in the kitchen/dining/lounge room. When the inspector came he found that there was also damage from a long ago leak I never bothered to claim. I did not at the time realise the amount of damage it had caused to the flooring under the linoleum in the kitchen. So this then eventuated in a second claim. It took eight months to settle the first claim…now the second is in the works it will be interesting to see how long that takes. I hope it happens a bit faster as I can’t begin any repairs until it too is settled as it seems silly to repair one part of the floor then go back in again.

Then there was the lawnmower. It caught on fire…long story that you really don’t want to hear about, but the repairs came to $700.00+. May as well get a new mower then. Turns out after the excess and the loss of my no-claims bonus it costs me over $700 to claim $700.

It made me a little mad because after years of never claiming…and paying them buckets of money…what do I actually have insurance for I wonder.

But this weekend was a time top put it all aside as The Daughter was home. Which meant I got to cook. I made all the things she likes, and a few extras. One of the extras didn’t quite work.

Day 109 - 19.5.2013

Brown sugar meringues. They came out perfect actually…but a little big. They are supposed to be the size of a biscuit and be joined together with cream. I guess I got a little carried away and this was the result. Next time I will try to make sure they are smaller. In the meantime…I am enjoying an occasional sweet treat.

The break in has seen me going through cupboards and drawers to figure what is missing. During the searching I find myself getting side tracked a bit. I came across a box of old papers/cards/mementos.

With The Daughter home I pulled out a few to show her and she and I had a few laughs over some of the cards she has made me over the years. This one in particular had us both in hysterics. She was quite the little manipulator was The Daughter.

The front...and that is NOT my signature !!!
The front…and that is NOT my signature !!!

Homemade Mothers' Day Card (1)

Homemade Mothers' Day Card

In searching through drawers to figure out what was taken in the break in…and they did take some odd items…I found one item that I had thought gone. It is just a small item. And at the time though it seemed expensive to me it really wasn’t. But that one item has made me so happy to find it NOT stolen.

Day 104 - 14.5.2013

I gave it to my father for his birthday one year. It is old, it is worn, and it does need repair. But it means the world to me that I still have it when so many other items that marked a time in my life are now gone forever. I have decided to get it repaired and cleaned up and wear it myself. As a reminder of that time in my life and that the little stuff counts.

Things such as these make the computer woes seem minor indeed.

Survivors – The Relay For Life.

I have been thinking about IMG_1240 lately. Yes I do think occasionally. About how we take it for granted we will have time to do the things we want…later. Too often we let it slide past us without making each second count.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with two gorgeous ladies at an event in Tauranga to celebrate not only life but TIME as well.

Joanne...you've got to love THAT name !!!
Joanne…you’ve got to love THAT name !!!
Kirsten
Kirsten

Watching the afternoon unfold made me remember an important truth. No length of time seems long enough to accomplish all we want to. But if we make the most of it, live in every second as it happens…it is an eloquent sufficiency we leave behind in the memory of others !!

The Relay for Life happened in cities all over New Zealand.

  • It raises money for Cancer.
  • It is a day of rejoicing for those who have fought and won the battle for more time.
  • It is a day to remember those whose time has come to an end.

Both of my friends are cancer survivors. They are beautiful, bright, feisty women who have made my TIME on this Earth better for their presence in my life. As they walked the SURVIVORS HONOUR LAP I had to run to keep ahead of them.

Relay For Life

That doesn’t happen often with these ladies…me keeping ahead that is. But as I sure have fun trying, for now I will just keep hanging around them !!

Tauranga Relay For Life

Related Posts: Travel Theme: Time

BB2013_Nominee

The Last Text

This video documentary really touched a nerve with me so I wanted to share it with you. Some of you may have seen it…those who haven’t, well you should.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

A while ago I told you about my resolves for this year.

So far I have completed number 2. I made it trhough the month of January with a small stone each day…including a photo.

Yea !!!!!!!!!!!!

I am working on numbers 1,3,4,5,6 and 9. Number 10 is just fun to do !!!

Numbers 7 & 8 are in the planning stages…

But this post is about Numbers 3 & 4, which are also turning out to be fun. Both are 365 day photo challenges. And I am learning a lot. I have started new pages where I add the photos as I take them. You can check them out if you want.

Number 3:

Number 4 [365 day self-portrait photo challenge].

Self-portrait
Self-portrait

This is very challenging for a couple of reasons. Firstly you have to mix it up a lot when you can only take a photo of the one thing over and over again. Secondly it is making me take a look at myself. And find the good. I hate photos of me, so it seemed an odd challenge to take on I know. Yet I find myself changing how I look at the physical side of me. Growing old shouldn’t be about hiding away the physical changes our bodies go through. And yet all too often it is.

Doing this challenge has really stretched me at times. And I am only at the beginning of it.

I am finding things to make me smile though, and I haven’t done that in a long time when looking a recent images of me.

Here are the pages for this challenge:

This is the latest photo I shared for the challenge.

typography face

I have wanted to try a typography portrait for a while. It is not exactly what I wanted but it is a start at mastering GIMP and hopefully by the end of the challenge it will get better.

I used a poem of my own for the words.

Day 6 of NaNoWriMo

Well you may be asking how it is all going.

I had to take the weekend off to wizz up to Auckland…which provided lots of photo taking opportunities. It also provided a chance to get dressed up. Gilly tells me I should make the following photo my gravatar – instead of [as she very politely puts it] hiding behind the camera.

When I mentioned I didn’t like my ‘scrunched up eyes’ she let go of polite with a resounding ‘STOP IT !!!!’. We all have it though…that one feature we don’t really like about ourselves. Well, mine is my eyes. It’s hard to smile and stretch your eyes open at the same time. Believe me I know. Ah well…could be worse. I might have to tuck my boobs in to my belt…oh wait…I do !!!

Shit !!!

I even wore make-up and heels. I ate, I drank, I danced, and I met lots of fabulously fun people.

I arrived home shattered. So yesterday I got back in to it. I have some very pissed off horses at the moment. They recently told Wraith just how pissed they were about being taken in to Gryphe territory as Gryphes love horses…to eat. Wraith wasn’t to happy about it either, being a cousin of the horse.

And so…Scenes II  & III of Chapter I are here for your thoughts. And please…no matter how you think I sound when I reply to comments…I DO WANT your thoughts. If you don’t like something/don’t get it/think it’s shit…say so. I am more than happy to take on board what you say.

A wonderful tutor once told me: “If your readers aren’t getting it, it has nothing to do with them. It is all about you not writing it so that they can ‘GET IT’, so rewrite it until they do the first time they read it…or you’ve lost them forever.” Very wise man my tutor !!!

###

Read on…

“Stop,” I murmur, as we reach the first rise outside the City. Wraith halts and I turn back.

“Brother?” Zak pulls up beside me.

“Is it not a wonder?” I ask. As the gates draw close the city shimmers, moonbeams bouncing off the rooftops back into the air above.

“He does this each time we leave.” Evijan is laughing. “Your brother would have us believe that he possesses no tender traits, and yet I see a softness in his eyes every time we farewell the Elusive City.” As we watch, the city fades until there is no trace of it under the night sky.

“Evijan.” My thoughts are of the missing Stone. “Only one of the Opinouwi can open the City. Whoever took the Stone had help to enter. From one of us.”

“Runolf will discover those responsible,” Evijan replies. “And punish them, while we shall recover it and return it to the Citadel.”

“If they knew who was to track them…they would not have been so foolish,” Zak sounds younger than he looks. His pale blonde hair hangs loose about his shoulders, and his eyes, so like our mother’s, have not been marked with misfortune or sin.

# # #

Silent, I urge Wraith on. It feels good to be out of the city. With the moon out, I no longer need to rely on Wraith to pick a path, and I push him hard. His body relaxes as he hits his stride.

Hold on Deveron, he tells me. We ride hard for many miles and reach the forest before light. I call a halt when we pass the first trees.

Evijan slides to the ground immediately and begins to search. He is an accomplished seeker; I know without him we would waste valuable time. He waves to Zak to join him, and quietly begins to speak as he points to traces only he can see.

“Here,” he says to Zak kneeling beside him.

“I see nothing, old man,” Zak teases.

“Look,” Evijan runs his hand over the ground. “The dust flows back toward the clearing, something has passed over in haste.” He turns to lay his ear upon the earth, and holds up a finger to silence Zak. “There are five of them. No six, two are riding the same beast.” He looks up at me. “They ride toward the Devil’s Den.”

“Then we must prepare.”

I do not like this Deveron. The Devil’s Den can drive men to madness. Some of your men…I do not know if they can make it through.

 I know Wraith.

“Are the stories true?” Zak looks from Evijan to me.

“No brother, they do not begin to tell of the malevolence that lives there.”

“I thought they were just tales, told to scare children,” he swings back on to his mount. “What must we do then, to prepare? Deveron?”

“We shall need to hunt while we are in the forest.” I look about. “If we do not touch the food stores, perhaps we shall have enough to get us through.”

We must find the Phoenix King Deveron.

I look up at Wraith’s words. It will mean a detour that will delay us, but I know he is right. Hidden deep in the forest there rises a solitary peak.

“But first, we must make our way to Fire-Bird Mountain. Come.”

Find us a way there Wraith. The quickest way please.

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Word Count: 8596…which means I need to catch up.

Related posts:

Titles suck – I hate having to think them up !!!

The title in truth has absolutely nothing to do with this post. But after having spent ten minutes trying to think one up…well, that’s what I think of titles.

Today at some point little old Chronicles of Illusions will pass the 300,000 hit mark. That’s me being very presumptuous and going on the usual number of daily visits. It actually blows my mind that I have reached that figure in the 612 days since I started blogging.

This is my 640th post. I have shared photos with you, poetry, stories, personal details, and my dreams as well. I had no idea just how far Chronicles would take me when I pressed that publish button for the first time.

I started Chronicles as part of my plan for world domination. No – I’m not joking. While 300,000 is pretty good I am going to have to up my game if I intend to succeed. Damn it there’s billions of you out there.

But what I have found in reality is worth more than world domination. I found you. You who have shared parts of yourselves with me. You have educated me, made me laugh, sometimes made me cry. We’ve discussed books and films, countries, people [good and bad], recipes, family stories and most importantly little pieces of yourselves.

Recently we’ve been discussing how the anonymity of the internet isn’t always a good thing. And sadly it isn’t. But the thing that I love about the technological changes that have occurred on the net is its reach. Before, I lived in a world that centres on a very small part of this universe. Most of you would never have come within my grasp. And I would have been poorer for it.

Someone once said to me that the internet was a poor substitute for friendship. I disagree. It is just a different type of friendship. Like the pen friends I had as a kid. Yesterday I was talking to a friend about this and they asked me: “What do you get from it though?”

“Other than a lot of free beds when I travel.” I queried.

“But they might be all…weirdos,” they replied.

“Actually I am quite sure some of them are,” I said. “But so I am I so we fit perfectly.”

“But you don’t really know them.”

“Not yet maybe…but I’m learning to.”

So…to all of you I should like to say:

Thank you !!!

For taking the time to visit, to share, to get to know me, to let me get to know you.

And here’s to the next 300,000 visits.

In closing I’d like to share a favourite poem of mine. It says very eloquently how I feel about all of you. My long distance friends.

Invocation – Rod McKuen

It may happen
that in some hidden
middle night

you’ll rise up
and come to me
in solitude or silence.

We will meet
as we have met
on a train or at the end

of some new train of thought.

What happened to being kind to one another ??

Recently I came across something that disturbed me. In my travels on the web I saw a photo that had been put up on a blog – of a woman. Well a woman’s behind actually. When I first saw it I thought ‘WOW’, how cool. A celebration of this gorgeous piece of female form.

Now we females, we come in all shapes and sizes. Some of us have actually been all shapes and sizes. Over the course of 54 years my weight has seesawed more times that I like to think about. There have been times when I was very unhappy with how heavy I was and the shape I was. In a recent post I even mentioned a photo of me on a beach.

There have also been times when I was happy until someone made some unkind remark that hurt. For example, as a young woman one day I was out at the beach with two friends. One male, one female. I was happy, having fun, until my girlfriend made a remark about my ‘flabby belly’ and my happiness meter took a nosedive. I’m sure she meant well. And we were young. Sometimes the young speak before they think of what their words will do.

When I look back at that time – honestly I would kill for the body I had then. So I guess what I want to say is it is all relevant.

Not so long ago I was – well BIG. For years I had battled my weight due to two broken backs which meant a rather sedentary lifestyle for a while. More mobility of late and a healthier lifestyle have luckily meant a reduction in size.

When I was big I tended to hide under both dowdy and large clothing. Most fashion tips tell you this is NOT the way to go. You just make yourself look bigger they say. I never possessed the confidence to wear figure hugging clothes. Trinny and Suzannah would have had a field day with me. But oh how I loved looking at women who did have that confidence. I still do.

With their beautiful bigger bodies they flaunted larger than life colours and clothes that gave them curves. As the mother of a daughter I have from day one tried to make her understand that no matter what shape she is she is beautiful. I have also tried to teach her that she MUST march to her own drum [she does that all right], no matter what others expect of her.

So where am I going with this you ask ?

Why was I disturbed by someone’s photo ?

Along with the photo [in my opinion], came words that mocked and ridiculed this woman’s decisions regarding the clothing she was wearing. With words the blogger invited others to mockery.

Here’s my submission. Be prepared to laugh!

Is what was displayed asking people to visit the blog. But in my opinion worse was to come. Above the photo of this woman’s bottom were more derogatory remarks.

In the past I would have simply done nothing. But the times they are a changing. So I politely commented that I was dismayed at the post and what it represented. An exchanged ensued. I thought it was quite a polite exchange on both sides as to the pros and cons of her stance. I was even complimented on how I look and dress, to which I said thank you.

I made the point that I thought her post a little unkind, hurtful even to this woman. She replied that the woman’s clothing was inappropriate for her size. I responded that I thought it was a little presumptuous of her to feel she should dictate how this woman should clothe herself. Still all very polite conversation.

Now back to the whale [me] on the beach. You see had someone taken a photo like this one [other than the friend I was with] and then placed it in a public forum such as a blog and invited discussion as to whether they should tell me my attire wasn’t as great as I thought it was, I know how that would have made me feel. I am warning you – DO NOT zoom in !!!!

You tried to didn’t you ??? Doesn’t work people. I’m not completely silly.

Which led me to wondering if the blogger has ever thought about; “What if it was me they were discussing…or my daughter?” And what if that daughter came across the post. Read that others were snickering about her. Unlikely ?? Perhaps, but I garner from our conversation these two women live in the same town…so possible. Stranger things have happened.

To cut a longer story short I replied to a comment by this blogger that I thought she was actually missing my point. We are [or should be] free to be ourselves.

She deleted all comments by me – as is her right. But I did send her this comment.

I am sorry that you felt the need to erase my comments on here. I did not think they were disrespectful…just merely pointing out how others may read your words. I am sorry if I hit a nerve.

To which I received the following reply.

There is something seriously wrong with you. You need to see a shrink or head doctor. You are some fucked up broad. Do yourself a favor (and me too) go back into your world of illusion.

Ummm…I should point out here that I never actually leave my world of illusion.

You are probably asking yourself why am I bothering:

  1. To even engage the blogger
  2. To raise this with you

Because it saddens me. It is to me a statement of the loss of kindness and empathy that infects this world. It is a statement about how judgmental we have become as a species. I am reminded of a news item I read recently about a young female broadcaster.

Jennifer Livingston spoke of trying to laugh of the very hurtful attack on her appearance but how her friends and family could not. The blogger I speak of would possibly respond that  Jennifer dresses appropriately. This was one of her points in the comments she later deleted. I have difficulty in seeing any real difference. Both are attacks on the way someone looks.

Livingston replied on air that “the truth is, I am overweight — you can call me fat — and yes, even obese on a doctor’s chart. But to the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that? That your cruel words are pointing out something that I don’t see? You don’t know me. You are not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family…you know nothing about me but what you see on the outside, and I am much more than a number on a scale.”

She also talks about the problem that this type of bullying has become in society and on the internet. Of how the internet has become a weapon. And of how internet bullying is a behaviour that is learned, passed down from the adults who indulge in it, to the children who see Mummy and Daddy using the internet to criticize and ridicule others.

On air she says: ” If you are at home, and you are talking about the FAT news lady, guess what ? Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat.”

She’s right. These children then go on to bully other children on social media websites. Ridiculing their peers and sometimes driving these vulnerable children to suicide.

So for me [like I said - the times they are a changing] it is time to speak out when I see behaviour that is unacceptable. Yes I have always been quite vocal when I see injustice. Now I see I have not been vocal enough. Because apathetic responses to injustice only allow this type of behaviour to flourish and garner an appearance of acceptability within society.

I believe that along with kindness we need to also learn responsibility. And not just for our own behaviour but for those around us. Silence is what allows bullies to get away with it. How often have you stood by while another was bullied and badgered ? I have, to my eternal shame, stood by in the past.

I justified it with: “After all it’s not my problem. Why should I get involved ?” That makes me just as guilty as the bully. I can’t change the past. But I can and will change the way I behave both now and in the future. I will no longer watch – afraid to step up and speak up.

My hope is that my behaviour will teach my children to do the same.

Have my words had any effect ? Probably not going on the blogger’s last comment to me. What I do hope is that by speaking out I will encourage others to do the same in similar situations. And if enough people say: “stop, this is unacceptable”, maybe, just maybe people will think before they do things such as this a second time.

Related post: Kindness need not apply if you’re overweight apparently…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Big

Now I thought about posting a photo of me from 2008/9. Seriously…I was big…like 30 kilos bigger. I was showing someone some photos the other day and just to prove how big I was I zoomed in. You should never…and I mean never…zoom in on a fat lady on the beach. It took a while for her to recover from that one.

But I digress. My BIG this week is from a place I visited on Thursday. The Waihi Martha Mine. Gold was first discovered in Waihi in 1878. In 1979 William Nicholl pegged out and claimed five acres naming it Martha after a family member.

The Martha mine went on to become one of the most important gold and silver mines in the world.

In 1952 the mine was shut down. Many factors made it uneconomical to mine the lower grade ore that was now left. But with the increase in gold price in the seventies, mining became viable and resulted in the first gold being poured in 1987.

Today the mine is in flux waiting for resource consent to go underground in two new areas. If not granted he mine will close. It is still a controversial subject.

Parts of the town Waihi have actually collapsed taking houses with them. Rising and falling water tables during the transition between active to inactive phases causes BIG damage to other structures.  Many in the area want the mine closed. But not all. For the moment we wait.

We wait for a government to actually care about New Zealand’s environment. But while our Prime Minister Mr John Key [in my opinion] lies crooked in his bed – it’s crowded in there, so I think he bends to accommodate – because he shares it with the BIG corporations who want only to rape and pillage like the conquerors of olden times, many of us fear that it has already gone to far.

New Zealand is headed down many paths that are destroying this once proudly environmentally forward country. We were the ones who said NO to a country as BIG as America when it came to allowing nuclear powered ships to visit our land for goodness sake. There was a time when doing the right thing for New Zealand was paramount. When we stood tall and fought for the BIG issues. I hope that time comes again.

Rant over !!!!!

The same day I wandered around the Waihi Cornish Pumphouse.

I posted some photos for the WINDOWS challenge, of the Pumphouse, plus a video of them moving the almost 2000 ton structure in 2006. It is truly an amazing engineering feat to watch.

Visit My Thursday’s Windows if you would like some other views of this wonderful building that has been moved to prevent it from collapsing, like a few of the houses in the town.

Posts that came in to existence because of this week’s photo challenge:

Related posts

Related articles

Kindness, friendship, a poet’s music and happy tears.

Sometimes life still surprises me.

Which in itself is a surprise.

Like the sunrise this morning after long weeks of dreary grey mornings.

Then came an eagerly awaited parcel.

I knew not what it contained – only that both Chevvy and I were to get a belated birthday surprise.

I was so eager to open it I never read the customs form. Had I done that, what peaked at me from the purple/blue wrapping paper would still of been a surprise.

How it is that someone can know your soul when they have never seen the flecks in your eyes ?

Or that a simple gift can blur your vision as you listen to the poet’s words and type what seems like such an inadequate thank you.

For you have been given you a reminder of all that life is.

Stopping, knowing, reaching, out, touching…one soul to another.

Thank you Corina...for stopping to know me.

Chevvy has the tag on but is hiding under the bed.

She does that.

I have no idea why !

Related posts:

Sunday Post: Splendid

Jake’s Sunday Post theme this week is SPLENDID.

The following definition I found led me to what I want to post for this theme.

splen·did [splen-did] adjective

1.gorgeous; magnificent; sumptuous. Synonyms: luxurious, dazzling, imposing. Antonyms: squalid.
2.grand; superb, as beauty. Synonyms: majestic, elegant, first-rate.
3.distinguished or glorious, as a name, reputation, victory, etc. Synonyms: renowned, famed, famous, illustrious, eminent, conspicuous, celebrated, remarkable, brilliant; noble. Antonyms: ordinary, unremarkable, mediocre; ignoble.
4.strikingly admirable or fine: splendid talents. Antonyms: modest, poor.
5.excellent, fine, or very good: to have a splendid time.

So here is my definition of splendid – in honour of the 50th anniversary of her passing.
There has been much speculation over Marilyn’s life and her death to this day. I recently read about the disappearance of the F.B.I. files J.Edgar Hoover had on her and it saddened me that this has become her legacy as much as her work is.
Not so long ago I saw My Week With Marilyn .with Michelle Williams portraying the legend.
Not an easy task as Marilyn herself would probably agree. I was blown away (yes it is cliche…but it describes the feeling perfectly) by Michelle’s performance. At times I felt like I was watching Marilyn herself.
Marilyn is splendid to me. A movie star in every curve of every letter of those words. Yet she was more complicated that what we saw on screen.
She was also the woman who stood up for Ella Fitzgerald. When Ella was not booked to sing at a popular nightclub because of her race, Marilyn stepped in herself:
“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt,” Ella later said. “It was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him – and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status – that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman – a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.” (Sourced from The Official Website of Ella Fitzgerald)
These types of actions and the mesmerizing dance she performs between herself and the person watching her on screen are what I choose to think of when I hear her name.
I am grateful that we had her at all.
And to Marilyn I wish to say: “I am so very sorry that the actions of some of us broke you.”
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I AM HAVING SOME CRAZY COMPUTER ISSUES.
1. I CANNOT VISIT CERTAIN WEBPAGES – INCLUDING BLOGS. HALF OF THE TIME I CANNOT VISIT MY OWN BLOG – Grrrrrrrrr
2. CAN’T DOWNLOAD
3. CAN’T SEE IMAGES AS OF FIVE MINUTES AGO.
SO PLEASE DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY IF I DON’T VISIT YOUR BLOG AT THE MOMENT.
I AM TRYING.
WELL WE ALL KNEW THAT – BUT I AM TRYING TO FIX IT.
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What happens after the moment ?

 

This morning I read a review of Anne Rice‘s Interview With A Vampire. It wasn’t a good review but then the reviewer is a Twilight fan. Yes I know !! I have said I like Twilight and I love Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, but they are two completely different genres…it’s like comparing Brad Pitt and Justin Beiber.

I also went online to read the news. Which lead me to the Stewart/Pattinson saga playing itself out in the media.

Shock, horror…Bella cheated on Edward. Whoops, I mean Kristen cheated on Rob. It is a bit hard to seperate the two at times.

It must be awful to be that young and have your mistakes played over and over again to the public.

Which led me to wondering why it is the public expects these kids to always do the right thing? Because they are kids. Their brains aren’t fully formed. The part that makes it possible for us oldies to understand action and consequence is still trying to forge its links.

At their age I was a baby. Though God help you if you tried to tell me that. In love with a boy who would never love me back. Age has shown me that that was precisely the attraction. My unformed brain took me on paths that often led to bad decisions.

Yet isn’t that precisely what that age is all about? Learning to make decisions, good decisions because of the bad ones that teach us what happens when we get it wrong.

I started thinking about The Kiddywinkles. At 23 and 21 they are right there. Forging their lives, making choices, learning what happens when they make the wrong ones. Celebrating when they make the right ones.

Have you noticed how much of a hurry they are in? At times I just want to say: “Slow down…it will come.” But I think back and realise that I ran about my life just as much back then. I chased every opportunity, convinced that it needed to be caught at that moment or possibly be lost forever.

Waiting, patience, was for people who couldn’t move fast anymore. I didn’t think beyond the moment.

Because in that moment of making the choice there is a certain euphoria. You have picked the path and take joy in planting that first step in your new direction.

Being young is a bit like running around a rabbit warren. Racing forward, crossing paths, turning back, getting lost, and getting lost again. At some point however you will find the right direction and sunlight will be waiting for you at the exit.

It is the getting lost that creates the sustenance for us to live and survive. It takes us from babyhood to adulthood. And we need to remember that.

Us I mean…the adults who have made the mistakes and lived with the consequences of our own bad choices. Because sometimes it is those bad choices that will later define who we are…in a good way.

Mine did. The boy I mentioned earlier – one of my bad choices – was the reason I left Australia to travel overseas.

And just look where that has taken me !!!

 

7 Super Shots…and what I think about them

Dear Gilly at Lucid Gypsy was having a ‘not so lucid’ moment a while ago. You see she got challenged to “choose 7 of your own photos for HostelBookers 7 Super Shots.”

You have to pick one for each of the following categories:

  • A photo that…takes my breath away
  • A photo that…makes me laugh or smile
  • A photo that…makes me dream
  • A photo that…makes me think
  • A photo that…makes my mouth water
  • A photo that…tells a story
  • A photo that…I am most proud of (aka my worthy of National Geographic shot)

Fine so far…but here is where her lucidity come in to question…Gilly picked me as one of the 5 bloggers to pass it on to. So now – ‘I am taking part in HostelBookers 7 Super Shots.

But being a stubborn female and always one to TRY to answer a challenge – well here goes.

I am wondering as I post this…will some of these pass the bar ?

Will some of these surprise you ??

I recently ticked something off a list I have had ever since I broke my back the first time. To make it to the top of Mt Maunganui again. It is not high (232 metres -761 ft), especially when you think I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro…but it seemed an impossible feat while I was making my recovery and could barely walk to the letterbox. So it was a goal I set myself. On the 14th of this month I took this photo from the top…and in everyway possible, both when I took it and now when I look at it it is an image that takes my breath away. It reminds me that all is possible.

Mt Maunganui

I’m a lucky woman. Luckier than most. This photo reminds me of that. And because it does, it always makes me smile if not laugh out loud with joy…for this view is what greets me in the morning. When I get up and about early that is. And when it is not raining in this land I now call my home.

Sunrises don’t get much better than this now then do they ?

Sunrise

Number three was so easy. What do I dream about ? Many, many things…including Brad Pitt’s arse. Did you check out the link ? I just know you wanted to !!!! One dream never changes though. To one day see this from my back yard…to walk out my gate and sink in to the soft sand with my toes. To hear the waves lull me to sleep and wake me in the morning. So this is the one that makes me dream about what is still to come in my life.

beach

Oh – I can’t wait for your reactions to this one !!! A photo that makes me think just had to be this one. You see it reminds me what life is all about. The colours and reflections that are our lives. Mine has had so many. From the burning reds of Australia, the baked browns of the Serengeti plains, the icy white of The Netherlands in mid winter, to the overwhelming greens of New Zealand. But nothing is ever concrete. A change in light, a slight breeze and the colours change and mix and become a kaleidescope of all that we have been and all that we are still to become.

disco ball

After tomatoes there is one food that – well eating it takes me to that place. Seafood !!! Oh how I love seafood. It comes from growing up in Australia where the seafood just tastes better than anywhere else. You know the stories – the tales fishermen tell of the one that got away. Thing is – they rarely get away in Australia. And they are big and tasty and quite frankly…usually more satisfying than sex. And of all the seafood, well these guys are what makes my mouth water.

food, prawns

I love faces. They are – after animals – one of my favourite things to try to capture. Especially in moments when people are unguarded. When their stories play with you. Draw you in and make you want to know more. This is one of those faces. I was fascinated with this man from the moment I met him. His face told not just one but a myriad of stories…with my camera I tried to catch a moment that tells a story.

Copy of Portrait-2012-Jo-Bryant-IMG_1249

So here we are. One to go…the photo I am most proud of. In 1984 I went in search of the Mountain Gorillas of the Virunga National Park in Rwanda. We tramped for hours to find them. Other than the birth of my children…no other moment has come close to how I felt spending time with these guys. If you want to know more about that adventure click here and have a read. This photo has never lost its magic for me. It was taken with a Pentax K1000 film camera with a standard 50mm lens. Their expressions always hold my gaze whenever I look at this image. The little guy on top of his mother later played with my hair.

mountain gorillas

So – that’s me I guess.

Now for the five bloggers.

Well, seeing as I am a pirate and don’t play by the rules anymore I am simply going to throw this open to anyone who wants to take it up.

Vampires, Tom Cruise, Writers’ Group, Religion and Atheism.

What do they have in common ??

Me !!!

Yesterday was a miserable day weather wise here in New Zealand. An inside day. I did some photo-editing.

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***

I did some writing, some cooking, and watched a movie – Twilight. No laughing behind your hands please. I like the first movie.

Who wouldn't like a guy who can hang from a tree this easily ???

It is just a nice little film about teenage love and vampires…WOW…what a sentence to actually write.

But watching it I ended up thinking about conflict.

I’ve been thinking about conflict a lot lately. Conflict and expectations.

You see at 53 I have some expectations of how people should treat me. I like to think I have earned the right to be treated as an adult.

Yet it doesn’t always happen and sometime the results are – well – I am still trying to get my head around it.

I belong to a writers’ group. Have for a few years now. And it fills a need. I love the discipline of writing for the group. Each month new topics and forms are set, and each month every member critiques what you have written.

I thrive in this type of interactive environment.

On Monday it all went South…and when you’re living in New Zealand…well…you get my meaning.

If I really was a VAMPIRE life would be a lot easier.

Easier and well...hmmmmmmm

Bloodier but easier.

But I digress.

It has taken me 53 years to admit something to myself. I have tried. Really, really tried…to believe in God. I have been to church, to retreats.

At age nine I actually wanted to be a Nun. Sally Field was my model…

Which in itself is odd as when I went to live with my mother at age eight she sent me to a Catholic school where the Nuns were…well un-Nunlike.

I think they cloned this one at my school...

After years being raised in an Anglican environment I fell in love with the pageantry of the Catholic faith. I changed my mind when I realised that to be a Nun I would need to marry a guy who had been dead rather a long time.

Children can be fickle…

I’ve read the Bible…actually I have three of them at last count.

But then I have also read the Koran.

In my life I have also looked at

  • Hinduism I liked their dharma (a system of values to live by)
  • Bahá’í faith (I had a friend who walked me through this faith, and I like their acceptance of other religions)
  • Rastafari…but I am the wrong skin tone, and I did enough inhalation for enlightenment during my youth.
  • Spiritualism (Houdini thought it was possible…and who hasn’t messed about with a Ouji board !!!)
  • Other Christian religions such as The Seventh Day Adventist Church (my sister-in-law is a member) and so on.
  • Paganism – which is worthy of its own post…believe me !!!
  • Scientology – how are these people not locked up and in straight jackets. I couldn’t help myself with this…he may be nuts but Tom Cruise is yummy. Think Top Gun…think motorbike, leather jacket wearing Tom Cruise and tell me he isn’t yummy. Go on then…

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In case you're NOT convinced.

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  • Buddhism. I have read some of Buddha’s teachings. I like Buddha…well I like his philosophy. Treating ALL life with respect. And if I am honest, I REALLY like the idea of coming back until you get it right. I figure I might have to give it a few goes before I am considered enlightened. Buddhism is more a way of life though, than a religion, and I find a myself with a deep connection to the main principles Buddhists live by:

(1) to lead a moral life,
(2) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and
(3) to develop wisdom and understanding.

Sourced from BuddhaNet Basic Buddhism Guide

And the Dalai Lama is just about the coolest guy on the planet.

I haven’t finished my investigations…I never will. I just don’t have enough time.

But I do not believe in a supreme God.

I haven’t done so for many years.

Recently I admitted that to myself. I also admitted wanting to believe (I did…really I did), was never going to overrule what my logical brain can accept.

I also made the decision to come out of the closet. To stop apologising for how I think and feel about religion.

Let me be clear.

I have many friends with deep religious beliefs. While we have at times engaged in theological discussions these are never attempts to convert the other. At least on my part.

And again I digress…but you expect that here…right ???

This is...well I felt like it...

Writers Group. Oh yes…

I was told we were to have a lady come along who was thinking of joining our circle. Her husband had been (he’s dead and gone…somewhere…well you know what I think on that subject) a minister.

One lady of the group (and I am now using the term lady ironically) decided that I needed THE TALK.

THE TALK being consistent with telling your three-year-old not to spit food at the table or the dinner guests may never return.

The actual words used were: ‘Watch what you say as we don’t want you to scare her off.’

COME ON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It gets better. Arriving at the meeting I was waylaid at the door…gently directed backwards as the door was closed and given THE TALK again by this month’s holder of the meeting, after she had been drawn in to protecting the minister’s widow from my potential un-christian-like behaviour.

Well…can you guess where this is all going ???

You’d be wrong.

Because what happened next…well I was part of it and I’m CONFUSED.

Still learning…

Sometimes reading a simple message on a social website can and does change not only your day, but your being. That happened to me last night when I went on to facebook and read a friend’s message of condolence.

You see I knew the boy she was talking about. Not well, at least not anymore. He had been a friend of The Daughter’s when she was in primary school. As they grew up they grew apart…he to his world and she to hers.

But I remember the little boy with the wide smile, soft eyes, the gentle heart.

I remember the shine all over his face when he gave her a gift. Plastic earrings that his Dad had salvaged from somewhere.

After I read the message I rang The Daughter. Not just to be sure that she had heard the news, but to hear her voice and know she was safe. Then I rang The Son. I made sure to tell them “I love you” before I hung up the phone.

Because my mother’s heart knows that this is something Jono’s parents will never be able to say to their child again…and not being able to utter those words so that he can hear them, will tear and rent theirs in to a million pieces that can never be reassembled.

It took a long time to find sleep last night. Because I was angry at myself for wasting time. I have wasted so much time in disagreeing with choices my children make. I’ve wasted time in being angry, disappointed, when I could have been wrapping them in love, my love.

It is much harder than I imagined when my belly began to swell, this being a parent.

Because it is not just about feeding them, teaching them, making them ready to go out and grab their space in this world.

Being a parent is about letting them be. And loving them exactly as they are.

Recently The Son had a lucky escape. A car ran over his foot…broke two toes…it could have been so much worse. And I could have known first hand what Jono’s parents know. I guess The Son wasn’t the only one who had luck riding his back that day.

I can’t imagine what Jono’s parents are feeling…because when I imagine something happening to The Daughter or The Son, my body collapses under the mere thought. I can go no further in to it, and I do not want to.

I am sorry it took their loss to make me realise what I have not lost.

What are expectations anyway ?

The dictionary definition: taking something for granted; something expected Synonyms: acceptance, accepting, assuming, belief, conjecture, expectation, fancy, guess, hunch, hypothesis, inference, posit, postulate, postulation, premise, presumption, presupposition, shot in the dark, shot, sneaking suspicion, stab, supposal, supposition, surmise, suspicion, theorization, theory.

Why do any of us presume to expect something from others ?

Haven’t we all experienced the weight of others’ expectations of us ?

And why do we weigh ourselves down in disappointment when others behave differently than we would ?

Isn’t that the way things should be ?

Each one of us is unique. Therefore our behaviour in any situation will be unique, different to how others will behave. As a parent is that not what we work toward ? That our children will confidently stride forward as they map their own path. And yet…when they don’t stick to our plan, we presume to know better.

Why ? Because we’ve lived longer. Does that really mean we know better, or just that we think we do ?

These are some of the questions that kept me awake last night.

No.

I still don’t have all the answers to them…but I found a few.

I won’t be wasting time anymore on expectations. I’ll be using those precious moments to just love my children – exactly as they are.

Unique.

Perfectly flawed.

Questing individuals.

Exactly as they should be.

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