Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The newness of the everyday

I woke this morning to the sound of cat biscuits trickling against plastic as puss ate her breakfast. I knew it was Spacey as Jerusalem sneaks in at night so as to avoid Mango chasing her. Familiar sounds and recognizing them offer a comfort they can also trigger an avalanche of feelings.
I have a picture f myself as a rain-meter. One of those ones on the side of the house that measures rainfall. Mine is constantly near the top and periodically overflows. The rain just sits there in the bottom it is a given and is becoming familiar in a way that the sound of trickling biscuits has.

When you lose someone and face each day it is all new. Every single thing is different and you face it for the first time. It is exhausting. Grief is exhausting...a steady and relentless letting go and facing new.
I am practicing my mantra of bird by bird and putting good things in place. I can see that there is good things happening and I know them. I expect the feeling that accompanies these things will attach at some time.

I have had had a fresh view of spirit and are starting to connect in again which is a relief really.
 The river that flows through and provides a rich source of life. The well-spring.
Arihana described it as a cold clear mountain stream.
It was such a good picture and took me back to tramping around as a child in Glenorchy, being hot and thirsty and finding a stream. Always a bit too shallow for a swim and made your ankles ache when you paddled. But delicious to drink.

Mandy gave me a good expression, which has been carrying me through this week..Concrete in your boots. I like it. So concrete in my cowboy boots, concrete in my Gumboots. Getting some necessary things done...Concrete in my rain-waders.

Image taken from

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gazzas birthday on the 9th

Some photos, just a few...he would have been 50 and the party would have been huge in true Gary style. Zach and I went to the movies a boys flick and ate some mexican. Gaz would have liked that and I found another tui bottle cap to thumbs up the deal. Shame I don't like to drink it although much better to find them when I need them. The girls were at Waiora scout camp and sent some boats off down the river. Such a hard week to get through. Reminded me of the weeks leading up to scans.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Auckland, Art therapy and variegated threads

At the Symposium weekend, I met some beautiful people with big hopes, dreams and huge passion for making a difference and helping others. Made some good connections. Feel very peaceful now after this process whatever the outcome. Going away and going to the Symposium and the interviews confirmed for me that Art therapy is a good fit. It is a huge commitment and I am getting my head around what all that means.
Its a wait and see from here- many talented people being interviewed. Somewhere around twenty eight with eight places to be filled. Find out at the end of November.

"...his old coat had life in it still. He lifted it out and slipped his arms into its dark sleeves. Now, as when he was a boy, it looked too big, and yet at the same time it fitted him like a second skin. And like a shamans coat, it was easy for him to conjure up spirits and memories of the past it its embrace. He took Daniels hand and drew a deep breath....
Daniel,  the soldiers never found the secret world inside my coat, never noticed the pockets within the pockets. You see this coat has its own magic. But let me start at the beginning.Let me tell you exactly how it happened."

And so it is, the story of the puppet boy..a story within story, that we bring ourselves too. I was sitting at a Cafe table in Kohimarama completely immersed in a Siberian forest when my friend Fifi arrived. She spoke for about 1min I think before I could clear my head from images of forest.
It is a rich full book. Strong metaphor and psychological frameworks. The immediacy of how she started threw me at first. Its not a gentle polished way of starting but tumbles you straight into the book, as you read further, the start makes sense.
It is a book that can travel with you through all aspects of your own life. Being away and negotiating different spaces. Paying attention to my scared self, my without Gary self  and reminding myself of my centre and feeling that strength. I was with the characters. I cried when they lost things. I held my breath as they attempted daring missions outside their comfort zone. It was as if I was child again reading Enid Blyton's Five on Kirrin Island. No comparison to the writing and the sophistication but the ability to transport the reader somewhere else.
I read the Book Thief last year and its way of evoking colour from concrete skies ( thanks to Bic Runga for that) and its rawness came to mind. It is a BIG book. I strongly recommend. And if anyone reading this has my Book Thief  and Potato Pie Society one..time for their return :-).
The Puppet Boy of Warsaw  Eva Weaver

A word that has been in my head all year is  Move
Keep on moving.  I hear Gaz so clearly. I have a picture of him and Zach driving behind me cheering me on when I got back on my bike two summers ago. Gaz was able to bike part of the trip and the rest they drove behind me yelling encouragement. I remember it was hard work and lonely on my bike without Gaz beside me but felt ridiculously pleased to have my own private cheering team.
In the group interview part the facilitator got us to move before we settled to a written and drawing task. Wriggle felt so good and my thinking was much clearer. More peaceful and centered. Bit nervous before that. I have been doing the hokey tokey before I do something creative ever since. It has also reminded me yet again (why do I need so many reminders) of the value of starting your day walking. I have been putting all all these good things in my day when I can but what happened in that session was the connection was made more clearly between mind and body.

It was a privilege to be with Hamish and Amy( nephew and niece) and see them together. Gorgeous young people. Generous and inspiring. They are on a raw food bender and I have come back with a new appreciation of raw and simple.

In one of the classes I attended the tutor shared a wee notebook in which she made a daily mandala. It was something she did to support herself when her friend was dying. I have read about this on many blogs and people are very enthusiastic about its value. I have doodled around a bit with it but never got the hang of what it all meant until this weekend.
Where I tripped up was in the making and the intent....I have started off always traditionally, drawn a largish circle and tried to do even patterns all the way around. I found it ok but a bit boring.
This wee book was filled with circles about the size of a large coffee cup circle and filled with whatever came to mind as the person met the page. From pictures to words to marks..scribbles colour.
It was a way of accessing the subconscious and emptying the mind.  The circle was a given and contained space. So I tried it. Its like IDT and how I journal but small and contained. I love it and look forward every morning to seeing what appears on the page.
I bought the small sized jasart notebook. $1.65. Spiral bound. Easy. I flicked it around upside down and glued a retro postcard on the cardboard back and made the plastic front its back. Good if you doodle in coffee shops and the table gets wet.

 Cover and first page day 1
 Day 2
 Day 3

 Day 4 at PBO coffee shop with Hana


What I also did in my other wee book I carry with me

At church - title of a Laurence Aberhart photo

Pete is painting the house. I have been digging and clearing and gardening around him. Graeme has been repairing and replacing rotten boards and windows. Its starting to feel and look good. Scaffolders in tomorrow and I have a days work this week so far..whew. Pleased about that. Hana and Macker are off to Circulation at Whare flat and Zach has finished school. Some Exams coming up. Mango has had a summer haircut and is very pleased with himself. He looks like a wee bear cub.
My tomatoes are growing well at least three trusses on most plants sometimes more.
Keep on swimming keep on swimming keep on swimming 

The two colours old and new

Petes nifty drainpipe work

Friday, October 18, 2013


Gary put this song on my playlist, that I found a few months back. We had had a plan to do these for each other but it got hard and too emotional. Gary persevered and I am richer for it.

And this ones for CAROL WARNER

There is softer version at the end of his available light album you might like but havnt found it yet.x

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Well after my well thought out post yesterday about holding it all together and being able to compartmentalise, I went to a study day today for work and completely lost it by lunchtime. It was a day of training around physical health and I just wasn't prepared for the indepth approach to heart and lung disease. I went up stairs at lunch time feeling really shaky, talked to a colleague, then went back down to class heard the words lung disease burst into tears and left the room. The very last thing I ever wanted to do. Made a noddy of myself and have been bawling off and on ever since. Cant really predict my days. I don't like to plan ahead for that very reason. Prefer spontaneous activity. I had a lovely colleague who sat with me and talked for a bit, after that and I managed to get home. Picked Zach up some drum skins , ones that dull the beat as the neighbours have had a meeting:-/. Headed out into my yard moved firewood and some dirt behind my shed.Beer and homemade wedges for tea.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Catch up

I am at my desk in my studio which is in turmoil as I am trying to tidy it and sort through stuff to fit in material that I have bought. A habit I have is op shopping for retro fabric which in my head turns into amazing objects and garments. Some of them have eventuated into garments..a hoody for Zach, some felting for my sister.
Eventually they concretize as there is a point in my collecting in which saturation point is reached.
I love collecting and fantasizing about outcomes. It soothes me to have piles of brightly coloured fabric on my shelves. Its like money in the bank.
It has also been part of how I distract myself in town when overwhelm threatens. I scoot to an Op shop and spend about 10 dollars on fabric, sort through buttons and plan projects. At home the computer can fill that same gap of occupation and distraction.

I was at work the other night with a client in the activity room and found myself for no reason I could identify, transported back to Noosa.
Gary and I were standing in the lobby of the Sheraton booking in. I was totally there and I could feel the panic starting. There is a conflict inherent in these situations. If I was at home I would visit that place if I was in an ok space, weep and process. It has to be a place of safe remembering. Not really in the plan at work. I was sitting at the table with my client when the panic made itself known. A split second decision saw me reach for a journal which was beside me and I started writing and wrote a page quickly. In the process I wrote past the panic. It was a valuable tool. The client asked me what I was writing and I explained without detail that I had thought of something that I needed to write down. We had talked about journaling earlier. I showed him that it was my book of ideas where I wrote and collected stuff and showed him part of the writing to reassure him.  I realized it looked as though I was writing about him. Probably not the best habit at work but in that moment ,very helpful.

I have missed writing as I havnt been here blogging regularly. Its like exercise-makes me feel good in the same way. And it takes practice before your body and mind catch up with whats going on.


How am I this month?
I am learning to compartmentalise. I can talk about Gary and use his name without attaching emotion. Sometimes its not possible and usually depends who Im talking too and how long and where the conversation goes. But I can mainly save it for at home and in private. I still avoid places and people where I know its harder and look after myself. I am still holding myself safe.
I move forward each day and do yucky and hard stuff. Things Gaz always did and that I now have to figure out. I hate it and resent it and bawl the whole time I am doing it but know it will get easier..its so hard to even know where to start with some stuff.

What I did do today which feels foundational to order is sorted books and bookcases today, it has taken a whole so necessary. Such a relief to have that job done. It has opened up space in my studio and I have been able to roll and rubber band fabric and shelve it. I can now see the Girls quilt fabrics and can start visualising them. I need to see to plan, things in boxes are tidy but useless really.

Monday, I started digging out the clay behind the shed to extend the back out by a metre and a bit. Hard work and I sweated, very satisfying.
I have been biking.

A tree came down in the big winds of recent and a lovely girlfriend came out and chainsawed it for me. Apparently Wattle do this just tip over. I am thinking Luma Apicualta to replace it.

It was such a good fall, as it just missed my house, could have been so much worse.

My house is being painted and rotten windows and boards replaced.  I have had Pete and Graeme here and feel so grateful for people whom I trust implicitly. Pete has also unstuck windows, mended latches etc. Many strings to his bow.

Macker came down two nights ago and got bitten by a spider in the middle of the night. Wee beast! The spider not Mac, so she ended back at A & E for fluids and antibots. Poor thing. I have since hoozled the room thoroughly and put a big of bug repellent where there are suspicious gaps. She stayed again last night with no mishaps.
Zach last few weeks of school-whew hard work keeping him there this year. Busting to get cracking on his hairdressing.
Hana is working locally at the cafe and the Pub.:-)

I have been working a bit. Enjoying work but get tired very quickly. I realized today as I was hanging out the washing that I havnt stopped for a long long time. I got sick again a week ago- urgh painful. Its a good message -  deal with stuff lying around and rest when you can. The problem with casual is when you are sick, there is no income. Im looking for the right job and in the meantime feel in the right place. I have an interview for Art therapy in a week and am going to the symposium before hand, Looking forward to that :-).
I have nearly finished a Soul Restoration course online. It has kept me well occupied. I loved it. Melody has the right mix of universal and particular and is a great teacher and encourager. I recommend it.

Some pages from my wee book.

Working on my sisters Birthday present

Felted flowers and wrapped wire

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Seed Bombs

My sister gave me a ball of clay last year that was packed with seeds.
The idea is to biff it out of the car window, as you tootle along and a spattering of flowers will grow where the ball lands.
Last night I got muddled with my words and I used the word Encouragement Bomb to describe something.
My friend twigged and said 'oh you mean Random Acts of Kindness'  and yes thats what I was thinking of,  but I am quite taken with the idea of an encouragement bomb.
To place courage in someone like wildflowers -  that will spring up year after year and regenerate clay banks - stop slippage, feed birds, bees and provide beauty.
So all you gardeners out there, redress your selves in your encouragement bombing outfit and go forth and sprinkle some seeds. x

This image taken from

Friday, September 20, 2013

Paradigm shift

This week is coming to an end with the phrase Paradigm shift echoing in my head. Still thinking on that one. I remember being at Art school when the phrase was popularized.
This week - thinking and worlds within worlds shifted slightly in our household. Beautiful collisions in retrospect.
There is some talking and there is some listening from the kids and from me. It isn't a lightening strike change but more of an awakening and a settling all at once. Some good soul work has been done.
I was going to write again about weeping - that hasn't changed. I thought about the nature of it, its purpose, but mainly just wept and got on with life.
I read a comment on Anne Lammots blog from this woman who would find herself sobbing in her husbands clothes and then be able to go out and get the mail and answer the phone and that is how it is. We go on and we function and the tears become part of our daily fabric along with salty skin.

Yesterday I managed a bike ride and sawed all the branches of the tree that fell in the wind. It felt great  to move my much quieter, I have planted a few things and are looking forward to a bath (poor muscles).
The pear is coming out in all its blossom glory and I am trying to write to write a letter of intent for Art Therapy, I can talk it up and talk about it and write to myself all the good words but when it comes to formalizing intent I have a slight resistance. I am paying attention and working on that. Its not about the work..maybe the money to be spent (of course). I am the only one to give permission and I am ultimately responsible..whew.
And the travel, which I will actually enjoy but the leaving home and being by myself..doing this alone.I have always travelled with Gaz.
Permission and courage to do what I want and what I need to do.
I heard someone say ( on tele :-) 'if you aren't scared you aren't sticking your neck out far enough'
Well my neck is like a long necked goose..Honk

Monday, September 2, 2013


So many things in my head to write about. I write for myself and in order to understand, along the way its seems to be reaching others. I have looked at few blogs recently where people are writing in their own voice and telling their story. I find I take something from it each time and connect.

I mowed the lawns over the past two days. Both mowers have been out of action and I just got the hand one fixed. Such a relief as it was haymaking time on my front lawn. I went for a huge bike ride yesterday (well for me). First time back on my bike since I bought it and walked the dog. He was so excited ..poor Mango does it hard when I work.
What I worked through yesterday was turning down work. I was rung in the morning and could have gone in for four hours. Its was a Sunday and the pay is better plus I feel an obligation being casual. I was anxious for about two hours after saying no.
 I need to keep reminding myself I am casual for a reason. Rest and repair repair.
I would have forgone my exercise day which felt crucial -now just sore:) - but good.
The sense of having to be responsible for everything, for myself, for the house is huge. I have had the best mate, we balanced each other perfectly in what we took care of.

I muddle and muddle and remember to trust and have faith and that God is good.

I am thinking about Art Therapy training next year. I need to do some further training to get to where I need/ want to be and it makes sense. It is in Auckland but low residency which means distance learning,  plus weekend workshops.
I have stalked their site for a few years and it feels like the right thing. There are two start dates.
Feb and July. Decisions to be made.
I am not giving up Nursing but will need to figure out how to bring my training more into the picture as I need a placement where Art therapy is part of it.

My word for the week is Permission and yes a capital P.  I now need to give this to myself in every day and way..small decisions and big decisions and be ok with it. I am used to discussing with Gaz and permission coming that way. Self care and owning it is a learning curve.
Permission to make mistakes, accept them and move on. Permission to blab and not hold a grudge against myself for saying stupid things, permission to hole up and rest. Socializing is tiring. Permission to do what is needed. Permission to say no to work when I am tired and feeling yuck..courage to say yes when I want to hide. A big bouquet of permission slips.

Flowers from the clever Catie

Thursday, August 22, 2013


I have been having a few conversations lately with people on being an introvert and here is the perfect article. I often feel the need to over explain myself. this article says it all.I think I will print it and pass it out.  It will save a lot of time.


23 Signs You're Secretly An Introvert

The Huffington Post  |  By  Posted:   |  Updated: 08/29/2013 1:58 pm EDT
Think you can spot an introvert in a crowd? Think again. Although the stereotypical introvert may be the one at the party who's hanging out alone by the food table fiddling with an iPhone, the "social butterfly" can just as easily have an introverted personality.
"Spotting the introvert can be harder than finding Waldo," Sophia Dembling, author of "The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World," tells The Huffington Post. "A lot of introverts can pass as extroverts."
People are frequently unaware that they’re introverts -– especially if they’re not shy -- because they may not realize that being an introvert is about more than just cultivating time alone. Instead, it can be more instructive to pay attention to whether they're losing or gaining energy from being around others, even if the company of friends gives them pleasure.
“Introversion is a basic temperament, so the social aspect -- which is what people focus on -- is really a small part of being an introvert," Dr. Marti Olsen Laney, psychotherapist and author of "The Introvert Advantage," said in a Mensa discussion. "It affects everything in your life.”
Despite the growing conversation around introversion, it remains a frequently misunderstood personality trait. As recently as 2010, the American Psychiatric Association even considered classifying "introverted personality" as a disorder by listing it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), a manual used to diagnose mental illness.
But more and more introverts are speaking out about what it really means to be a "quiet" type. Not sure if you're an innie or an outie? See if any of these 23 telltale signs of introversion apply to you.
1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.
Introverts are notoriously small talk-phobic, as they find idle chatter to be a source of anxiety, or at least annoyance. For many quiet types, chitchat can feel disingenuous.
“Let's clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people," Laurie Helgoe writes in "Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength." "We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”
2. You go to parties -– but not to meet people.
If you're an introvert, you may sometimes enjoy going to parties, but chances are, you're not going because you're excited to meet new people. At a party, most introverts would rather spend time with people they already know and feel comfortable around. If you happen to meet a new person that you connect with, great -- but meeting people is rarely the goal.
3. You often feel alone in a crowd.
Ever feel like an outsider in the middle of social gatherings and group activities, even with people you know?
"If you tend to find yourself feeling alone in a crowd, you might be an introvert," says Dembling. "We might let friends or activities pick us, rather than extending our own invitations."
4. Networking makes you feel like a phony.
Networking (read: small-talk with the end goal of advancing your career) can feel particularly disingenuous for introverts, who crave authenticity in their interactions.
"Networking is stressful if we do it in the ways that are stressful to us," Dembling says, advising introverts to network in small, intimate groups rather than at large mixers.
5. You've been called "too intense."
book nietzsche
Do you have a penchant for philosophical conversations and a love of thought-provoking books and movies? If so, you're a textbook introvert.
"Introverts like to jump into the deep end," says Dembling.
6. You're easily distracted.
While extroverts tend to get bored easily when they don't have enough to do, introverts have the opposite problem -- they get easily distracted and overwhelmed in environments with an excess of stimulation.
"Extroverts are commonly found to be more easily bored than introverts on monotonous tasks, probably because they require and thrive on high levels of stimulation," Clark University researchers wrote in a paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. "In contrast, introverts are more easily distracted than extroverts and, hence, prefer relatively unstimulating environments."
7. Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.
home lounging coffee
One of the most fundamental characteristics of introverts is that they need time alone to recharge their batteries. Whereas an extrovert might get bored or antsy spending a day at home alone with tea and a stack of magazines, this sort of down time feels necessary and satisfying to an introvert.
8. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.
Introverts can be excellent leaders and public speakers -- and although they're stereotyped as being the shrinking violet, they don't necessarily shy away from the spotlight. Performers like Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera and Emma Watson allidentify as introverts, and an estimated 40 percent of CEOs have introverted personalities. Instead, an introvert might struggle more with meeting and greeting large groups of people on an individual basis.
9. When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench -– not in the middle.
sitting alone subway
Whenever possible, introverts tend to avoid being surrounded by people on all sides.
"We're likely to sit in places where we can get away when we're ready to -- easily," says Dembling. "When I go to the theater, I want the aisle seat or the back seat."
10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.
Do you start to get tired and unresponsive after you've been out and about for too long? It's likely because you’re trying to conserve energy. Everything introverts do in the outside world causes them to expend energy, after which they'll need to go back and replenish their stores in a quiet environment, says Dembling. Short of a quiet place to go, many introverts will resort to zoning out.
11. You're in a relationship with an extrovert.
couple having fun
It's true that opposites attract, and introverts frequently gravitate towards outgoing extroverts who encourage them to have fun and not take themselves too seriously.
"Introverts are sometimes drawn to extroverts because they like being able to ride their 'fun bubble,'" Dembling says.
12. You'd rather be an expert at one thing than try to do everything.
The dominant brain pathways introverts use is one that allows you to focus and think about things for a while, so they’re geared toward intense study and developing expertise, according to Olsen Laney.
13. You actively avoid any shows that might involve audience participation.
Because really, is anything more terrifying?
14. You screen all your calls -- even from friends.
iphone finger
You may not pick up your phone even from people you like, but you’ll call them back as soon as you’re mentally prepared and have gathered the energy for the conversation.
"To me, a ringing phone is like having somebody jump out of a closet and go 'BOO!,'" says Dembling. "I do like having a long, nice phone call with a friend -- as long as it's not jumping out of the sky at me."
15. You notice details that others don't.
The upside of being overwhelmed by too much stimuli is that introverts often have a keen eye for detail, noticing things that may escape others around them. Research has found that introverts exhibit increased brain activity when processing visual information, as compared to extroverts.
16. You have a constantly running inner monologue.
business social media
“Extroverts don’t have the same internal talking as we do,” says Olsen Laney. “Most introverts need to think first and talk later."
17. You have low blood pressure.
2006 Japanese study found that introverts tend to have lower blood pressure than their extroverted counterparts.
18. You’ve been called an “old soul” -– since your 20s.
lost in thought
Introverts observe and take in a lot of information, and they think before they speak, leading them to appear wise to others.
"Introverts tend to think hard and be analytical," says Dembling. "That can make them seem wise."
19. You don't feel "high" from your surroundings
concert crowd
Neurochemically speaking, things like huge parties just aren’t your thing. Extroverts and introverts differ significantly in how their brains process experiences through "reward" centers.
Researchers demonstrated this phenomenon by giving Ritalin -- the ADHD drug that stimulates dopamine production in the brain -- to introverted and extroverted college students. They found that extroverts were more likely to associate the feeling of euphoria achieved by the rush of dopamine with the environment they were in. Introverts, by contrast, did not connect the feeling of reward to their surroundings. The study "suggests that introverts have a fundamental difference in how strongly they process rewards from their environment, with the brains of introverts weighing internal cues more strongly than external motivational and reward cues," explained LiveScience's Tia Ghose.
20. You look at the big picture.
When describing the way that introverts think, Jung explained that they're more interested in ideas and the big picture rather than facts and details. Of course, many introverts excel in detail-oriented tasks -- but they often have a mind for more abstract concepts as well.
"Introverts do really enjoy abstract discussion," says Dembling.
21. You’ve been told to “come out of your shell.”
introverts class participation
Many introverted children come to believe that there's something "wrong" with them if they're naturally less outspoken and assertive than their peers. Introverted adults often say that as children, they were told to come out of their shells or participate more in class.
22. You’re a writer.
Introverts are often better at communicating in writing than in person, and many are drawn to the solitary, creative profession of writing. Most introverts -- like "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling -- say that they feel most creatively charged when they have time to be alone with their thoughts.
23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity.
Introverts can move around their introverted “set point” which determines how they need to balance solitude with social activity. But when they move too much -- possibly by over-exerting themselves with too much socializing and busyness -- they get stressed and need to come back to themselves, according Olsen Laney. This may manifest as going through periods of heightened social activity, and then balancing it out with a period of inwardness and solitude.
"There's a recovery point that seems to be correlated with how much interaction you've done," says Dembling. "We all have our own private cycles."