Saturday, January 29, 2011

Almost Thai

Just ate a delicious dinner, I am liking the simplicity...
Lamb steak cut into strips and browned
added in some
Red Onion bulb and greens from my garden-sliced
Garlic finely chopped
and sautéed it
zest of a lemon and two kaffir lime leaves(from my garden...yaahh)
sprinkle brown sugar
dash fish sauce
A chopped yellow chili (little guy was quite hot!)
some lime juice and some water to simmer
then maybe a couple Tbs of peanut to be Pics peanut butter it's the best.
Finished it off with some coconut milk and chopped fresh basil yes you guessed it from my garden..YUM
Served it with some some Organic brown Jasmine Rice
And steamed cabbage(from the exciting to be picking and using stuff...mmmmmmm.
Topped off with a good dose of Jon Foreman on the stereo.
At the moment my Garden is just starting to produce again..I have been a bit out with my planting with going to Samoa and Gary's Surgery.So some things have grown and some things just looked pretty..not many bees around.
I am snacking on carrot thinning's, Baby runner beans, spinach, new spuds, basil cherry tomatoes, zucchinis,cabbage ,red onions nothing in huge abundance but enough.
Coming on is more brassica, corn , pumpkins that get larger daily.

Guru Gaz and the applique pieces

First patch for Mackers Quilt

hanas patch


my sparrows

Friday, January 28, 2011

home again home again jiggity jig

Well we set off for Otematata today, car packed, dog tucked under the seat and one small thing to do before we left..check out Gary's arm.
 It has a red raised area..lump like, and it felt warm and with all things like this now as his body cant fight back we have to be vigilant.
Popped into A and E.. hahaha no such thing as 'popping' down there..four hours later two very tired people left Dunedin hospital and we drove home.
The staff were great, very efficient and thorough,it just took a while to be seen by the oncology registrar and do all the paper work required..good grief the Paperwork could cover the Vatican.
He had fluids and IV antibiotics and they were getting ready to settle him in for the night when I very clearly and out loud said ' no I don't think so'.
The registrar was quite surprised and thankfully seemed amused as I explained that 'that' wasn't happening and we felt ok with going home and that I was happy to sign anything required and no I didn't feel worried and yes I would bring him straight back in if any problems arose and yes I would be VERY vigilant.
And yes I would get him antibiotics and watch him take them even though I questioned the necessity of them and growled that they would make Gaz feel yucky and he didn't need any more yucky!
I dont think many people say no down there and I don't think many people want to go home.There is dark attraction to the idea of Hospital..all the drama and the story that comes out of it.the possibility of new pajamas and a bunch of flowers..all very seductive really.And once upon a time in a far way land I might too have thought like that...but not now.The prospect of home is true.
Young Emily Haile wrote a poem on my fridge when we holidayed in Ote over new year..I liked it so much, I thought I might have to chop her hands off.

here it is

she wrote a yellow answer
you follow time like rain
start each day with home

kim and kaths

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Just a little update

I think I am suffering withdrawals from not going to Parachute this year..for the last three years we have as a family trekked up Island to Hamilton to attend Parachute Music Festival.
It fills me up until at least July when I need a wee top up.
This year with Gary's Chemo schedule it doesn't fit. It has sun, music, worship, freedom, food tents and books  mmmmm
Gary's hair is leaving his head today right on schedule..he has a lovely shaped head. We are heading up the valley tomorrow to the crib for some reading and sun hopefully..there hasn't been too much this summer..
I gardened today for the first time in a week and planted Astelias and hydrangeas..white and pink lace caps.
It is Arihanas birthday and she looks like a birthday girl all sparkly and happy..My mums birthday too and we went for lunch at Rhubarb.
The new chickens are starting to settle in and the old ones are not picking on them as much..time to clip their wings and give them a bit of freedom.I realize this sounds contradictory but as soon as I let them out of their cage they fly into my vege garden for a snack, a small clip will sort the flying out and teach them to forage by foot.
We were in Christchurch early this week for a check up with The surgeon and all is looking expected so we will keep this healing train right on track.
Christchurch is still very rubbly and fenced is areal juggle heading into town..lanes are closed, traffic diverted..shops all was very quiet apart from a Bicycle band which was playing ooompapa music, brass instruments and drums.
There were penny farthings as well...They would play a song bike along and then play another tune,,it was very entertaining..

I have been thinking about my stone for today and as I havnt written for a week it is a series of images that stand out, not moments of stillness and acute observation but things strung together like beads or sheep on hill.

The  in their red and indigo coats with polished brass tubas
A tuft of Gary's hair between my fingers
carrot thinnings
the small shiny black speck that scurried on my dogs coat
a Leonard Cohen poem

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

in the last week

morning porridge

clean sweep

mangos nose he was scared of the clippers

Sues Ikea bargins

maxi cat and deb

Plain noodles

was a book my children read over and over at their Nana Alisons. They loved it. I have pictures of them fresh out of the bath in pajamas with that book firmly clutched.
It has been stormy and cold here for most of the past week.Today Mackenzie made porridge and it felt like a snow day.We were all tucked up inside breakfasting together and one of my old favourite songs was playing..I want to be a mysterious woman off 'philo so far' a compilation album. It was a moment that took me back and made me feel joy and sadness simultaneously.
I have been dreaming of my old house when the kids were small and grieving for all the change that has occurred in this year. I am not one to ever want to go backwards and I don't mind has its benefits. But I miss the small bodies that tucked into mine and the smell of warm pajamas and snow days when I stopped the clock and we stayed inside and played. Routines abolished.
That sense of forever and wishing the days away because I thought I had so many to spare.
Last night the darling Sue asked us over and she cooked noodles which were delicious. She made me my own special bowl of rice noodles and I felt cared for. I made them for myself tonight and they were still yum..
Rice or udon noodles cooked
I dressed mine with a little sesame
I minced lamb steak because thats what I had and browned it then added in some homemade tomato sauce Kecap manis, a dash fish sauce and some kataia Fire(hot sauce) spinach and wilted it and some cilantro..
Sue used soy and sweet chili
So simple and so yum.
For my girls I would use tofu
Not quite plain noodles

My small stones for today are things not so much on the outside of me but observances on the inside.
How i am a bit raw and unfiltered at the moment with my speech
how i am a text book example of Elizabeth Kubler Ross's grief process and how I can almost watch it as a projection
and how things I see that stand out are almost always about light and colour
the lilac of the hosta flower that I bought with phili
the end of day sun on the macrocarpa trunk- it is indian yellow
my chickens bright apricot foot in the dirt next to the wood pile I was shifting
My sons paint it I need cadmium orange red oxide and the tiniest bit of umber..

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Latham bay blues

It would be better if I had a camera
but today I stood in mary's new studio space
and looked at the harbour whose tide line was just below the sill
I was surrounded in Latham bay blue freshly painted
Its the colour I want for my sons room and she said I can copy
Mary mixed the blue herself and the sea and the hills and the
art look mighty fine against it
It was an ancient faded and alive blue
It said come in and see me
Put work on my walls for people to buy

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Today was definitely an inside out hotty day. Gary sad and muddled in the morning and I didn't know what to do or what he needed. The dog had to be taken to the vet and I had to leave early. This wasn't a good thing and Gary got stressed.
We have since worked out that I need to be around in the mornings until he feels better. Its good to feel some sense of order..things change all the time.
I bumped into Annie and we discussed flowering Pohutakawa's and how ducks paddle. She likened life to a dance and I said that I am not a very good dancer..I am too clumsy. I also said I need a Dance teacher and we are working on that.

Today I bought

A pill organizer
some bifidus yogurt
Organic apricots
and Kumara
Irish moss because I was at the chemist and its a must
Vanilla bean ice-cream for gary's sore throat
a new hotty, old-fashioned pink
anti-inflammatories and valium for the dog (sounds handy)
ginger beer
organic chicken pieces and a fragrant bunch of cilantro

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mr/s Blackbird

This Bird started coming in our back door to snack on the dog food. He would hop in, have a few biscuits, stash some in his beak for later and then hop off. The interesting thing is that he never left the way he came. He would have a hop through the whole house past the bathroom down the hall and out the front door.I was amused for a while until I realized that the blackbird suddenly developed a social network of friends that were calling around and it got expensive and messy. So I have positioned food in a bowl on the window and am trying to keep the back door shut. They are quite fearless and have been scaring the cat..good grief!

I also gardened and moved wood and read some more

small stones for me today are the ones that lie on paths at night in fairy tales and light the way for travelers lost in the woods. The everyday stories that can be be held lightly and make sense of oddities that occur..the inside out hotty days. Lynn my friend who is in a different cycle of treatment for breast cancer and her husband came around today. Gary and Lynn chatted about about what was helpful and what was working from oxygen and exercise to hypnotherapy for tension. Chris and I had a glass of wine ( I also fitted in a corona).
It is a funny thing that cancer is so very commonplace now..that a part of me feels I shouldn't talk about this as it happens all over and I shouldn't make a fuss and the other part is the horror and disbelief and surrealism  that goes with it.
Gary and I both find that we look to movies and stories to describe how things are to others who ask us questions that require a fresh perspective. Today I am Sam in lord of the rings and it doesn't feel like a cliche..although it should - the bit where he's carrying Frodo up mountain and his feet are bloody..I am looking forward to the giant eagles at the end.
I said in my last post I would talk about an experience my sister-in law and I shared was good. It is a tricky one to put into words as it is one of things that you experience and 'know' and words cannot  make sense of it unless they are told to someone who also knows.
I shall try.
The third day I went to the hospital, I walked into Gary's room and I sat down and out my hands on him and was drawn into prayer. I was praying for healing for him and asking God to help. When I put my hands on people in prayer I sometimes see pictures..At times I think it is because I am visual and this is how I think, at others time I know they they are from somewhere else.This time I saw all these wee men in overalls inside gary giving me the thumbs up..they seemed to be more concerned with the wound sites than anything else..and an image of tadpoles around vegemite came up. I wasnt led to any dark areas.
My next image as I asked for light and healing in garys body..was a little startling..a mens urinal.It was a shiny stainless steel with a continuous water sheet running over it..I tried to change the image to something more aesthetically pleasing like a waterfall..but the urinal was fairly persistent...After I took my hands off Gary and sat with him I thought about what urinal does and how it is a continuous flush and washes waste away. I am starting to recognize when these images mean something when they stay with me and nag at my head.
I shared this image with my Sue and she said she was praying at home and got scripture about living water and saw it washing through Gary and cleansing him.
When she said this the image made sense I just didn't have the words to grow my picture.but when Sue said that it was very affirming.And very cool:-)...I have to admit I get thrill when Gods speaks and I have actually heard.
So now I am going read all I can on living water..nice to have some homework again.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

For today

it is the orange and yellow glow of the marigolds in my vege garden. These can be picked out against all the plants grass and trees that darken as the black arrives.

 I like the peace of my studio in the evening when the light is traveling elsewhere and the colours outside don't make sense.The top fingers of macrocarpa are swaying lightly with wind and my chickens are well silent.
The rest of the day passed with housework, reading, district nurse visits, food prep.
Gary feeling sad and yucky..struggling with loss of mobility and the dependence on me again.
Some days I feel like I am trying to turn a hot water bottle inside out. Today wasn't one of them, but that thought is there.
Sue and I shared two corresponding thoughts about living was a boost to share with her and have my picture validated..will write this story tomorrow

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Heart of stone

Lake Aviemore below the Dam
A memory from holiday keeps reminding me to write it down as my stone for the day
It had been raining alot since we arrived in Otematata. I hadnt really noticed as it was still warm and I was getting out walking.lots of mushrooms to keep me occupied..very exciting.

On the second to last day with Ruth , Jack and Em..the sun blazed in the afternoon and Zac was inspired to walk up to a great swimming spot on the river. It was fantastic.We took the inner tube up and all played and floated down rapids.At first it was freezing but as the sun warmed the rocks the water traveling over them grew warmer and after a few hours we just jumped in again and again.
At the side of the river we sat for a while and poured hot sand over our limbs to warm them.We ate ready salted potato chips and hunted for miniature rocks for Ruth and the kids to take home as small pieces of Otematata. I found a Greywacke heart for Ruth that she is going to make into a ring. A perfectly shaped Boulder the size of a pea for Emily and a curiosity for Jack.While I was finding things for others my son handed me a heart at the same time I found him one....
There is a poem by ee cummings that I particularly like called

maggie and milly and molly and may

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

And I keep thinking of this verse from Ezekial which imprinted on me after Parachute last  year...

 “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

A heart of flesh is a good thing..tricky but good.
When in Samoa I found a black lava fitted in right in the centre of my palm.It isnt perfect but for the moment its mine and it reminds me of Gods promise.

Friday, January 14, 2011

for today

I write in the dark and it is late. A piece of Moon is visible through runny glass and the bent branches of a Wattle.Its cast light is pale Violet.

I bring Gary home tomorrow after his first round of Chemo.It has felt safe in the hospital a good team in oncology.
Our days have been spent holding hands sleeping chatting and reading. Gary eating lots of fruit. Off to the Farmers market tomorrow to stock up on more organic fruit and vege.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2nd stone just arrived home

From the roof of the public hospital metal funnels curve out. Periscopes through which steam escapes.
Seagulls  glide and wheel from higher rooves and dive amongst this heat which rises.
From the 8th floor I am almost level with the birds at play and the sky which stretches in ripples of clouds towards the ocean.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

the coloured pebble for today is

the syringe that pushed Doxorubicin into Gary's arm. Nicknamed the 'Red Devil' for its colour and its side effects, an artificial brightness that flooded my husbands veins and tissues today..
Red for stop
Red for Danger.
the first colour our eyes see in the spectrum
Red for family and heart.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Journal - a visual journey I guess.My life feels more trippy.

Lynn sent me a blog that is recording small stones..pieces of daily writing. For anyone one interested here is the link.
I need a bit of encouragement to follow thru on things that light me up at the moment.My creativity is getting smaller but more manageable each day. I have started a journal..which seems to be an extension of the art school visual diary and scrap-booking as I am cutting and pasting words and images from magazines.
I am trying different ways of expression on the page as I particularly like drawing and scribbling with colour ..ooohh and don't forget glitter..but it is good to try different materials in order to break certain patterns or rhythms.
I am finding journalling satisfying in the sense that if I do something in my Visual Dairy I feel it then needs to be something else..turn into a painting or textile piece and if I don't complete it there is sense of failure.But with a journal each page is a work in itself and it can be altered added to or torn out and it all works.And I can write and stick it down and see it..I love this. Words and pictures my favourite.
As Gary heads into Chemo this week..small projects seem sensible.
I am going to do my CAP course this year,,return to nursing and IDT and somehow hopefully these things will merge..cutting and pasting paper seems a good thing to learn.

So my small stone for the day is a reflection on a Quote out of Anne Lamotts book Bird by Bird.
It has guided me through so much. I find it visually a very appealing image.
Annes younger brother when they are children is sitting at the Kitchen table with a history assignment in front of him. There are one hundred birds to catalogue and write about. He is feeling rather overwhelmed and his Father puts his hand on his shoulder and says 'Bird by Bird Buddy,just take it Bird by Bird.

I am sitting at my desk drinking out of My bird by Bird Cup which I bought in Christchurch when Gary was having surgery.Out my window are blackbirds, Thrush, sparrows and finches eating all my raspberries and currents, they are sneaking under the netting. They seem very intent on nipping all soft green bits of plants as well.
My chickens are glaring balefully at me thru their wire.I am only letting them out in the afternoon now once they have laid..they are a bit grumpy.
It time for me to stretch my wings and grab a garden fork.