beach sculpture – who can help themselves?

There are times after heavy rain in the mountains or a storm at sea when there is a lot of drift wood on the beach.  Last weekend was one of those times – the mouth of the stream, with its patient whitebaiters in attendance, had changed yet again, and the beach had rich pickings of beach treasure. Never go to the beach without a bag for collecting treasure – or a camera.  If my son hadn’t had his iPhone . . . .Adam started to poke sticks into a receptive piece of wood and before we knew it . . . there was a line of wonderfully weird, balancing sculptures installed along the high tide mark creating interesting shadows.We built a boat to journey to faraway lands just as we had done in childhood . . . surrounded ourselves with a palisade of sticks . . . and ended the afternoon completely tuckered out but still not wanting to go home.All of this was free . . . all of this was priceless.

blessings counted = bliss

The birthday weekend was wonderful – the food fabulous.  Unfortunately no-one took photos!  The cook is a photographer so it’s hardly surprising that she didn’t and I was busy catching up with the girls.

The weather was so brilliant that a lot of time was spent on the beach – the girls were worn out by the end of each day, as well as their Nanna, and they didn’t want to go home – in fact the youngest almost got quite stroppy about it but she was too tired to put up much of a fight and besides, she know when to cut her losses and that returning to Nanna’s house in a given.

A 360 view from the top of a sand dune close to my house (behind the next sand dune) taken on my iPhone using the DMD Panorama app.  Sorry about the wonky horizon, I nearly fell off my perch!

We crossed over the stream and headed north where Jeanne set about picking up horse mussel shells, they’re about 20 centimetres or 8 inches long.  The first thing she did on getting home was to create a maṇḍala on the deck.Horse MusselsMeg practice writing her name on the beach . . .. . . and lunch was al fresco.

On Sunday afternoon we all worked on a line of sculptures on the beach and a sandy boat at the high tide mark – photos to come . . . I didn’t even have my phone on me but fortunately my son did.

As I packed up for the working week and left yesterday morning, I was really happy that it was going to be the last time I did it – it’s hardly surprising that I don’t want to leave here during the week is it?   And it’s the school holidays next week, we have 4 10-week terms here with a fortnight off in between, so I’ll have a fine time making, playing, sewing and painting too perhaps.

Yes, blessings counted = bliss.


a bold move on my birthday

One of the main reasons for returning to New Zealand after almost 7 years of living overseas, was to be in my own home again.  In NZ, home ownership is almost part of who we are, an aspiration we all share, and like everywhere else it’s becoming a more difficult goal to achieve.   Very few Kiwis rent by choice, we want our own place, traditionally, our own 1/4 acre of paradise although most sections are much smaller now.

I have a home at the beach – good luck, good management, whatever – I have it and I love it.  So despite having made this little mid-week rental quite homely I have decided I would rather drive an hour and a bit to work each day and sleep in my own bed, lulled by the sounds of the surf as opposed to the roar of the trains.

So even though the view this Spring morning was stunning and I have made this place as ‘mine’ as I can – I am going home.

While this is a delight to see first thing in the morning, I’d rather wake up to this at my door . . . .It’s whitebait season and until you’ve had a whitebait fritter, you haven’t had one of the most delicious, simple, taste delights ever!  It must be local though – no Chinese whitebait ever tasted the same.

I’ve decided, on this brilliant blue-sky day, my birthday, I have decided.  It is closer to what I want and even just one step closer is better than where I am!

empathy, encouragement and perseverance

Without perverance, nothing will come of my efforts – I’ve been receiving that message loud and clear from many quarters.   Take a step, stumble, fall down, get up, take two steps, trip, fall down, get up . . . . no baby ever gave up on learning to walk!

Encouragement to take the next step is a sure-fire way to get anyone to move on to that next step so thanks for the comments yesterday everyone.    And talking of next steps, watch this little clip One Thousand Steps . . . maybe it should be required daily viewing for me for a while, like medication.    Maybe, because my 4 year-old grand-daughter loves it and watches it when she stays at my house has something to do with my readiness to take on some changes.

Encouragement can come from any quarter, but if I don’t publicise my efforts only I can provide it and that nasty inner critic needs some competition – easy solution, be brave and don’t hide.

Enjoy the clip, it will only take 2:19 of you life.

In her Harvard commencement speech J. K. Rowling said, “There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction.  The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.’  Now along with parents, I think you can lump in teachers, friends, society in general.   Watch/listen if you have 21 minutes to spare while you play at something on your workbench she talks of the value of failure and imagination – it’s full of humour, wisdom and inspiring.

Another quote from Rowling who knows failure first hand and used it to create a magical world and turned millions on to reading for pleasure . . . “It’s impossible to live without some failure unless you live so cautiously that you might not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default.”

So what’s the worst that could happen if I leave the well-worn path?  I could trip over . . . and I have the strength to get up because around me I have wonderful friends and family.

Off the pathway

My inspiration . . . a 2 year-old who continues to explore off the established pathways for the sheer joy of it.   May it last for life!

Imagine a big smile here please.

a BFO strikes again!

I was aware of an earlier BFO (a Blinding Flash of the Obvious) being brought to my attention once more – it was around a line in a meditation that went ‘each day passes whether you participate or not’, Deng Min-Dao, 365 Meditations.

Let me tell you, I think far too much.  Sometimes I write just to see where it will lead me and it helps to quiet everything down.  You see I’m an ideas person my mid is constantly in top gear and I like this about myself.  My ideas are often creative approaches to problem solving or for unusual projects – I have far more ideas than I can possibly carry out.  Or could I?  That’s the thing, that perhaps I could and just don’t because of why?  Because of fear?  Of what?  Of my own criticism?  That it won’t be perfect?  That because it may not be ‘useful’ it is of no use?  These questions plague me, they stymie me and stay me from action on all but the simplest of projects – the ones I know I can do immediately or in one sitting.  I need to break out and try something completely new.  Completely new.

I have an idea of how I would like my life to be.  There I am in my house, light, open, airy, spacious rooms suited to their purpose.  Not making do and wanting something better, it’s simple and well planned.  Sunshine, a garden with flowers and vegetables, trees for shade.  Or rain beating on the roof, the wind howling outside, a cosy fire and music.

And what am I doing in this environment?  I’m . . . I cannot quite see what I’m doing.  I think I’d like to be making, creating, painting, sewing . . . all for pleasure.  But there you go, I’m not certain what I want to be doing.  I know I’d be gardening, talking and eating with friends, relaxing and reading, but with hands busy making things in a workshop/studio that spills over into the rest of the house which sounds pretty much what happens now because the ‘studio’ is more of a large cupboard for storage.  But if I’m too scared to start doing what I think I’d like to be doing, and don’t really know what it is anyway what hope is there for me?  I don’t want to grow old with too many regrets and I’m afraid that if I don’t start now I will – but I do believe I have started by just confronting the issue.  One thing I do know is that I won’t be doing one thing – I’d get bored . . . I think.

Is that what those dreams are about, where I am using my last ounce of strength to save myself and knowing I should care more for myself so I’ll be stronger?  Where I know that I am entering last-chance territory?   You know the dreams, out there on the rocks, the tide is coming in, have to get back to shore.

To continue I need to look at what I have and think about William Glasser’s three Choice Theory/Reality Therapy questions.

  1.  What do I want?
  2. What am I doing to get it?
  3. Is it working?

I need to make a plan – and I do not need to get everything done and dusted, completed, out of the way (of what you might ask), to make all perfect before I start because if I start all will be perfect, unpredictably perfect.  I need to not wait until I have a definitive answer to question 1.

All those photos that need to be sorted, that ephemera from my travels including the 110+ boarding passes, the family photos and family tree – they can be part of it.

I can work out what I cannot move on without doing (finish painting the laundry and bathroom for a start).  Do it and move on simultaneously – the rest can wait or go.  Moving on fearfully is better than staying stuck.  Oh, that’s a BFO!

Dream the I’m possible dream.   Trite but true.

wonderful weekends

I’ve had two fantastic weekends and a Blinding Flash of the Obvious – the BFO can wait until tomorrow.

But the weekends . . . I try to squeeze as much creativity into the day-job as I can and because I work mostly with primary school teachers, supporting their practice in the classroom, I sometimes manage more than a bit of creative problem solving.

I worked with a group of children scraping paint onto A 2 sized paper to make some books.  It was pretty slow so I finished them off over the weekend before last.A2 bookletsI am learning bookletWhile the students will be writing about the skills they are developing in class, mine will be about learning to play again!

I’ve been making these booklets in various sizes in the classroom for years and just in case you want to make one too, here’s an explanation of how to do it that I found for you on You Tube.  They can be made from any size sheet of paper – the booklet ends up 1/8 the size of the page.  I usually glue the pages after I have finished all the folding and cutting.

The painting was so much fun that I decided I would make some more the next time my grand-daughters came to stay – and that was last weekend.  So there we were, a old painting drop sheet on the floor, jars and tubes of cheap acrylic, old credit cards, brushes, corks carved into stamps and some sponges.Nonsense DreamlandBy the end of the weekend, the whole family had had a play, the dining table was covered in supplies and everyone is feeling very satisfied with two watching Milo and Otis. 

The dining table is still covered with bits and pieces . . . one of the few joys of not living there during the week is that I get to walk away and leave it all behind waiting for next weekend’s playtime. And as if having family to stay wasn’t joy enough I had mail! 

Quinn McDonald was celebrating reaching 1500 posts (I’m up to 55) and sent out these wonderful journals . . . where will I send it on to?  Any takers?  I’ve not got supplies here at my little mid-week abode so next weekend . . . there is much smiling going on here!

a travelling journal

This morning I found out that I had won the opportunity to make an entry in a travelling journal.  Quinn McDonald over at QuinnCreative is celebrating 1,500 blog posts!  I’m in awe of that tally.  She posts daily, has great insight, provides on a variety of topics and creative endeavours, and what’s more, she responds to people who comment.  It’s one of the blogs I check in on daily.

So there’s Quinn, a model of consistency when it comes to her blog . . . and here’s me with my sporadic posts.   I bet she’s no less busy than me, in fact I bet the only difference is that she’s got different priorities and probably a tad better organised.

My priorities are fine, family and friends first and work after that – I guess I’m in there too somewhere but where?  I think I need myself up the list and make myself more visible!

Spring is definitely here which is a good time for new beginnings mmm?

And what have I been noticing?  This, I pass by this sign on a regular basis and had to stop and take a photo.

Baby OpenI can see nothing right with this sign.  It is on the end wall of a small grocery shop, the wall itself has been painted as if it belonged on a pre-school or crèche although I can’t see one near by.  There are big advertisements posted for grocery specials in the shop . . . and this!

The figures look happy and excited as they follow the arrows, but the sign points in the other direction!  Why?  A ‘Shop Open’ sign I can understand but ‘Baby Open’?  And no, I haven’t been playing with the photo.  What is it all about?

I guess it would be simple enough to go into the shop and ask if they know, but sometimes puzzlement is a delicious feeling to hold on to.  It makes me smile.