Category Archives: People

In the flesh.

In the blogging world we get to meet all types of people. Some we click with, some we don’t. What a blessing it is when we do form a friendship, even if it is in the waves in the air between us. It does not diminish how much these friendships mean to us.

What a joy it can be when there comes a time we can meet up and actually touch.

I experienced that when I was recently in Switzerland visiting my daughter. Many moons ago a lady, with loads of wit, and I connected here through our blogs.

When she heard I was in Switzerland she drove for four hours to meet me. As I saw her sitting on the steps outside my daughter’s apartment building I knew that this was going to be one of life’s better days.

Her laugh, her joy in life, her stories, they all made me walk around with a feeling of happiness.

I so want to thank her for taking the time to add another memory to my trip to Europe. A memory that always brings a smile to my face.

Meet the ever delightfully irrepressible Em.
Meet the ever delightfully irrepressible Em.

Of course we had to have a beverage so we could have a toast or two !!!

Em and I enjoying a Swiss beer.
Em and I enjoying a Swiss beer – photo thanks to my adorable daughter.

You could pop over and meet Em yourself on her blog.

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Wordless Wednesday

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Day two…

Day two of my five photos five stories challenge.

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turbulence

without it we would never find the calm

So who to nominate?

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…please forgive me Sonia.

Now to work on day three.

It is blowing a gale here and looks like rain so I will not feel guilty by hanging out inside with the computer one teeny tiny bit.

Here are the rules for the “Five Photos Five Stories” challenge: “Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.
(Sporadic posting is alright if you’re unable to post each day.)

Relevant Links:

  1. Day 1
  2. Day 3
  3. Day 4
  4. Day 5

Saying goodbye.

Auntie Ed is in the blue. My Auntie Rita's [next to her] wedding day.
Auntie Ed is in the blue. My Auntie Rita’s[next to her] wedding day.
I don’t have many memories before I was eight that did not have my Auntie Ed [short for Edna] in them. Auntie Ed was tiny. Seriously tiny. She was also a force of nature. Not someone you fooled around with. Auntie Ed had a way of looking at you that made your bones rattle when you had done something you knew was wrong. She [as we Aussies like to say] called a spade a spade.

Auntie Ed was the youngest of my father’s siblings. She had one other sister and four brothers. Though I actually lived with my other aunt, every holiday was spent at the home of my grandparents, where Auntie Ed lived. As well as holding down a job, Auntie Ed cared for my grandparents. My grandmother was blind and my grandfather had taken to his bed when retired, so her plate was full.

She never had her own children, as she married late in life. I always found that such a shame. Auntie Ed would have made one hell of a mother.

She loved golf. She was a wizz at gardening. I think the tomato plants were so scared of her biting wit they wouldn’t dare not flourish. As for her peas. I can’t remember a Christmas where I didn’t turn green from eating them. Each day we’d pick a bowl and it would be my job to shell them. Luckily we always picked way more than needed so I ate my fill as I shelled away.

Earlier this year as I picked peas in my own garden I was transported back to that time.

At the back of my grandparents’ house was a neighbour’s mulberry tree. To this day the smell of them sends me in to a tizzy of ecstatic delight. Auntie Ed had little sympathy the day I raided the tree and ate myself sick on mulberries that were still too green. I think she was actually secretly giggling at my discomfit. I learned a lesson that day…or maybe two. Never steal from the neighbours, and when you do make sure the fruit is ripe.

It has taken me years of practise to try to achieve a reasonable level of competency with baking. But I will never reach Auntie Ed’s standard. I can remember standing in the tiny kitchen as she threw ingredients together for her always perfect scones. I don’t remember her ever measuring anything…not ever…yet time after time they came out of the oven…perfect.

Christmas was a special time at the house in Campsie. Auntie Ed made her Christmas cake and the one thing I craved more than her peas…her Christmas pudding. As she sliced it open and served it with a piping hot homemade custard…the only thing that could make it better was knowing that somewhere inside I would find a shining silver sixpence.

Auntie Ed collected spoons. As I do. I am the proud possessor of some of her collection.

In 2007 The Daughter and I went to Sydney to visit with her. I am so glad she got the chance to meet my daughter, and profoundly saddened she never met my son. We stayed with Auntie Ed and I’d like to tell you about something she did…or rather said…that might help you to know this tiny powerhouse of a woman.

The Daughter and I were sharing a room. Sadly [like my father] I snore. This is not a little snurk now and the, rather like a train, an endless train right next to your ear. So at some point during the first night The Daughter grabbed her bedding and moved to the lounge. In the morning when Auntie Ed got up she she smiled at the Daughter. Then commiserated with her about how she had heard me too…all the way in her room.

This morning…my cousin rang me to tell me that Auntie Ed, at the grand age of 99, had passed away. While I understand when people say what a life she had, and yes she sure did…I am sad. So sad. You see, there are actually some people this world is better off because they are in it. My Auntie Ed was one of them. Today the world became a lessor place. It lost one of its best and brightest stars. I lost the greatest aunt a girl could wish for.

My cousin shared with me a couple of things, these things…they make me smile…because I know that there were people who were with her that loved her right until the end. Auntie Ed had been in a home in Australia. When he got the call that she was failing he spent the day with her. One nurse came in to Auntie Ed’s room. She asked him if she could give ‘Auntie Ed’ a kiss. You see they all knew her as I did…she was Auntie Ed…and they loved her.

So…a life well lived. A person well loved. A woman who gave me so much more than just a love of spoons. For all this I am grateful. I just wish Auntie Ed could have lived forever.

Wordless Wednesday

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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!

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

On A Good Day

Yesterday I took my two students from Hong Kong with me…and Chevvy…to Waihi Beach for a walk.

IMG_0639 copyThe girls had fun…writing their Chinese names in the sand.

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Carrie with Chevvy. She told me her Chinese name. We will stick to the English version I think.

Which Chevvy promptly demolished with her footprints as she ran rampant.

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This Is Yuki…at least that is the English version of her name.

Not really great weather for it. But others were out too…having a game of soccer.

IMG_0709 copyWind, rain and pretty chilly at first, though it did warm up once we got walking.

IMG_0659 copyThe birds were out in force off shore having a feeding frenzy.

IMG_0687 copyChevvy had a ball running around.

IMG_0653 copySmelling …

IMG_0614 copyChasing birds.

IMG_0671 copyJumping.

IMG_0613 copyCausing general mayhem when ever possible.

IMG_0612 copyShe made sure that she left her mark in the sand as well.

IMG_0624 copyThe sea was fairly calm considering the wind.

IMG_0631 copyOn the way back home we saw this pheasant running around.

IMG_0716 copyWhen we got home the girls went about cooking me dinner.

IMG_0726 copyWhich was pretty darn good I must say. All in all…a good day.

 

Goodbye my Friend.

This morning Gilly messaged me with the news of Christine’s passing. As I went to her blog to read Stuart’s post I was not surprised to find the tears rolling down my cheeks.

Friendships come to us so unexpectedly at times. We might be sitting in a Chinese restaurant when it walks in, in the shape of another 17 year old. It can happen at a writers’ group when a smile across a cup of coffee cements it then and there for life. My friendship with Christine happened over the internet. One day I opened up my comments and there she was.

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2011…the year I started blogging. As I progressed further, so did Christine. Time and time again she took me home. When I would visit her blog there would always be some sense in me that was awakened. Her photos let me smell the grasses that lined the dunes of the beaches she walked. I could taste the salt spray that the sea breezes left on my lips as she caught a sea bird riding the air currents over blue waves. I could feel the softness of the petals as Christine brought me closer to the flowers in her garden or on her many walks around the land I still call home.

Her visits and comments so often brought a smile. Some were cause for reflection.

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I have read…though not yet commented on some wonderful tributes that have been written for Christine. It is not that I don’t want to…I just can’t yet for some reason.

I know that today…when I speak to some friends here of my sadness, my sense of loss…they will not understand.

We do not always need the physical presence of someone to feel the pull of friendship, the camaraderie of interests or of having shared roots of heritage.

For them blogging is an artificial world.

For me it is the world coming to me. It is what allows me the great joy of finding people to enlighten me, to make me laugh, to make me cry…to connect with on so many different levels.

Christine did all that and more in the three years I have known her. I will miss her wonderful photography. I will miss her joy in her life. I will miss her wise words. I will miss Christine.

I am grateful for the chance to have had her in my life…fleetingly, from afar, but most definitely a presence. I wish I had had the chance to meet her in person…but I met her spirit. How lucky am I.

Perhaps it is fitting that when I checked my comments this morning…the very last comment on the blog is from Christine.

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Farewell Christine. You will be missed.

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.

 

Sometimes you just have to have a go !

I recently decided to enter a couple of ‘biggish’ photography competitions here in New Zealand. Yesterday after a lot of back and forth trying to pick the images I wanted to enter, I finally registered and entered 11 images in the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2014 competition.

I know…reaching for the sky here. But one of the reasons I like this competition is that they are pretty strict on you submitting natural untouched images.

This was after a lot of help from friends narrowing it down. The thing with competitions like these are that they are so subjective depending on the judge/s.

I loved last year’s winners, however the year before I was left stunned at at least one of the choices. Not because it wasn’t a great photo, or that it didn’t perfectly fit the category, but because there were so many better entries.

I am curious.

For those of you who read this blog, and who enter a competition or two, what helps you to make your choice/s about what images you decide on ?

  • Do you go with your gut ?
  • Do you ask for other opinions ?
  • Do you check out the judges and see what their body of work is all about ?
  • Do you look at past winners of the competition ?

There are four categories in this competition. I went all out and entered the lot. I was allowed five entries in to three categories.

These are the images I picked in the end.

  • Wildlife

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  • Landscape

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  • Society & Culture

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And then there was the category Photostory. For this you were allowed to tell a story in six images. Boy did that do my head in. Last year’s winner really nailed it. Not sure I have, but I gave it my best shot. This is my Photostory about ANZAC Day.

I am sure some of you will disagree with some of my choices. I would [as always] love to hear your opinion. Now it is time to get busy on the next lot of entries…due on the 13th of this month.

Oh…completely off base. I started a photography course online. I don’t know if you have heard of the MOOC List.

“MOOC List” is an aggregator (directory) of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from different providers.

There are some big institutions offering free courses in a huge range. You don’t always get a certificate…some you do. But you learn from some of the best institutions in the world for free. I am doing a month long course that is offered through Open Universities Australia. Wish me luck.

 

Wordless Wednesday

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