Friday, June 17, 2022

This and that...

It's a difficult time to be alive isn't it?
It seems like humanity as a whole is having a hard patch. 
I've pretty much stopped watching the news or reading the newspaper.
There is literally only so much I can cope with.
I'm dealing with doing the things that I can in my little corner of the world.
I work hard to make a difference where I can, that's the best I can do.

This week our kittens visited the vet for their jabs
and got a new cat tree which they are so pleased with.
We never planned on these cats but they are the best kind of therapy
for the end of a hard day. They love us more than any other cat 
that we have had. And somehow love from a kitten is the best kind of love.
They don't have an agenda, they don't talk back, they don't make trouble
these kittens just want lots of cuddles.

I've picked up some writing work and I'm loving it.
It also turns out that using your brain for something else is a good thing.
Secondary tax is actually criminal. If I was the government,
I would not make secondary tax so bad for people. 
Maybe make it for people who earn over $100K which is none of us lol.
I mean the combined income in my household would not be $100K.
But anyway money is money and I want to tile the kitchen splash backs.

I've been trying out sugar free products.
They are a mixed bag but it is nice to have a treat sometimes.
The side benefit is that if you eat too many,
you get shiny clean insides.

After a lot of thought, I dyed my hair again.
It's a great change and I feel good about it.
I loved it when it was grey and now I love it now that it is chestnut.
My hair is the only thing I can change about myself
and it's a great change.

I'm still making things here and there,
both hand stitching and machine.
It is slightly trickier because I have less space now,
but being tidy is probably good for me.

I've been missing being in this space regularly
and especially taking photos with my camera.
I've been thinking about dusting it off and getting back into it again.

Anyway here's a bit of this and that.
Here's to keeping warm this weekend 
and finding the little bits of joy in our day.


Thursday, March 10, 2022

How it began and how it is going now...

Last week Annie and I were at the opshop when we found this embroidery hoop. 
We looked at it in astonishment because it was our family as it used to be. 
Even with Mondo (our dog who died) and Kenny who lives with us now. 
It was so weird, we could not work it out, who else had a family just like ours?
 but it was $4 so we took it home to ponder over.

I have been making a conscious effort to talk about the times before with Annie, 
the fun things that we did and things like the camping trips we had.
A 22 year relationship was a mixture of things and now that it is 
seven years in my rear view mirror, it is easier to remember the good things.

I think it is a good thing to be able to recognise the good parts of a relationship.
To notice the times when we had fun together,
and the things that we did that made us a family.

Like the time when we first got Mondo and we took him around to visit all our friends.
Or the overnight tramps that we did before my hips gave up.
We did a lot of renovation projects and ate a lot of microwave popcorn.
We had Nana come every Monday night for dinner,
and she always brought Arnotts Animal Biscuits and a carton of Just Juice.

Speaking of Nana, she is 99 now and a bit poorly. 
She moved to a different room in the rest home.
I think this embroidery was actually hers, and it was our actual family.
I'm guessing they had a clear out and it went to the opshop.

We have just recently starting hanging photos of ourselves on the wall.
It's the first time in seven years that we have and I think it is a sign that
we are feeling like a family again. 
I've hung the picture of our family as it used to be on the wall too.
Because that is how it all began.

It looks a bit different now, but that is ok.
Have no regrets they say, and it is true.
It is also true that things will not always be the same.
They change, both for good and for bad.

But either way, the past will always be part of us
and I think it is a grand idea to make peace with it.


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Thanks to the great women in my life...

Today it is International Women's day.  It might be a day overtaken by businesses using it for marketing, but I for one am so so grateful that I have so many amazing women in my life. For example, today I have...

  • worked with some amazing passionate women
  • talked to women, I listened to women and I advocated for women
  • listened to some excellent advice from my manager (a woman with presence)
  • took some treats to my sister who probably has Covid
  • messaged my women friends
  • took my youngest daughter with me in the car and we did chores together and chatted about stuff
  • listened to my strong wonderful friend talk about women who never found the limelight
I'm not usually that keen to celebrate International women's day, but this year I am working in a new role and I share this role with an incredible woman. I was initially very anxious about what it would be like, sharing work with someone else and I joked that it was like an arranged marriage. I have discovered that it is a wonderful thing to have a coworker in management who listens to what you say and does not feel obliged to belittle you in any way. Someone who truly has your back and that you can trust.  Someone who is working every bit as hard as you are. Someone who you genuinely like and can be honest with. 

So this year, I'm just taking a moment to be so grateful, and to celebrate the truly good women in my life. I know I have always had good women in my life (hi mum, hi to my sisters) but it is a new thing for me to work with women and it's so so good.

(The photo is a picture of my friend Miriam Fisher's work. She has done a thesis that includes hours and hours of handwork. Her exhibition is called A Whakapapa of Faith - conversations in stitch and poetry and you can see it till Sunday March 13  from 10am - 4:30pm every day at the Pūmanawa Gallery at The Arts Centre.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Final Assignment

Today I give my final presentation of my practice framework to my Fieldwork Educator and to the University of Canterbury Placement Supervisor.
It's been a long journey these last three and a half years
and this year has absolutely been the hardest.
But it is worth it.

I've come a long way from that Playcentre mum who was doing the courses
and finding that she could! Up to that point, I was not sure that I had any brains at all.
It was my sister Sharon who suggested that I apply for university.
Such a thing had never crossed my mind.

I wondered what I could give up so that I could fit it in.
I decided to give up sleep and enrolled in a Massey University paper.
I got up at 5am and studied for two hours for a whole semester
and passed with an A.

I was amazed.
So then I made a lot of changes and enrolled part time at University of Canterbury.
During the time I was studying my BA I become a single parent
and then I supported my family writing websites for a few years.

During this time, I was in Pysch Emergency with someone,
and there was an amazing social worker there (I've forgotten her name)
She was so good. I thought, I could do that.
So when I was made redundant from one of my jobs,
I signed up to do my masters.

 And here I am three and a half years later,
about to do the final task.
I've had a lot of support from my friends and family,
or I would not have made it.
It's been truly hard mahi.

But I'm so so grateful to be at today.
I made it.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

A post about my garden because I love my garden

At the beginning of this year we cleared all the rubbish off our back yard
and a friend built some garden beds.
Our neighbour sourced some free bark for the paths
and helped us lay it.
Another friend sprayed the weeds.

Yet another friend gives us plants.
And Annie and I work away at keeping the weeds at a semi acceptable level
and plant as many things in our garden as we can.

Quite a lot of our stuff bolts straight off to seed
or gets infested with white fly.
But we don't care because our chickens and our neighbour's chickens
eat the greens and give us eggs.
We planted 15 fruit trees (thanks to our family and friends
who gifted us $$ to buy them)

We wanted flowers and we have flowers.
We have a beehive too which we love far more than we ever imagined we would.
We eat lots of parsley and mint and silverbeet.
We ate about 70 leeks.
We grow chives and celery successfully.
And lettuce very badly.

But mostly Annie and I just love being out in the garden.
I pull weeds for the chickens and Annie chats about her day.
It's been an absolute lifesaver this year.

It is the cottage garden of my dreams.
It is perfectly imperfect.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Not an argument

I finished my last big assignment this week, a 7000 word research report. 
And now the words that have been wandering around in my head
are starting to collect together and here I find myself at my blog again.

Some of you know that I grew up in a cult. 
I spent my growing up years believing that our way was the right way
and everyone else was going to hell.

I spent my growing up years knowing that we were different from everyone else
and thinking that was the only way to be.

I spent my growing up years, following rules that someone else set
and believing that it was ok to be miserable in this life
because apparently heaven was going to be worth it.

But now I've been out in the big wide world for quite a while. 
Longer than I was in the closed world actually.

I've learned that life is not black and white.
I've learned that even though it is scary to live in the grey areas,
that there is so much possibility and grace there.

And now here we are living through a once in a life time event (hopefully)
a Global Pandemic.

Unprecedented times they say.

It feels a bit like the end times we used to hear about in church to be honest.
Lots of fear and plenty of misinformation.

And I think because I've been living in the wide world for a long time now,
I find I don't want to engage in that kind of fear mongering.

I'm double vaccinated and so are all my family.
I work in social services, my clients are vulnerable.

There are 101 reasons why I think it is a good idea to be vaccinated.

I'd hope if you love me and I love you,
that we can be friends. I just want everyone to be safe.

I don't have it in me to argue. I spent my growing up years doing that futilely.
Sometimes we have to realise we don't have all the answers
and do the best with the information that we have at the time.

And I can't forget all of my upbringing.
Jesus said to follow the rules of the land.
I'm pretty confident he would have been vaccinated
after all his parents went to get counted when they were told to.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Pom pom joy

When I was a child I remember making a pom pom. In my memory it took months and months to carefully thread the wool round and round the cardboard circle, poking the wool through the centre over and over. But it was like magic when mum cut down the centre and suddenly it was a fluffy pom pom.

My mum isn't really into being crafty, although she's a fantastic knitter. But I'm thankful that she made the time to teach my tiny self a few things. There was a cardboard with a seahorse punched in that I "sewed" around. The pom poms, lots of scrap books and lots of playdough.

I can remember mum hammering nails into a cotton reel and teaching me how to do what we called french knitting through the centre of the cotton reel. I can't remember every doing anything with it, but I've always been more about the process than the finished product!

I'd been thinking about making a pom pom for a while. Annie has a half done one lying around somewhere and I had a bunch of little pieces of wool left over from doll cardigans. Last night I used the cardboard box from a packet of disposable face masks (very 2021) and sat down with a basket of wool and a safety pin and made a pom pom.

I was amazed at how much fun it was, and also that I could make five in one evening! These are so random, made from all sorts of odds and ends. I don't know what I'll do with them, maybe a garland; or maybe I'll just hang the on the wall and admire them.

I heartily recommend spending some time on the sofa with some scraps of wool and turning them into a little ball off fluffy goodness.