Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Year of Finishing Things

The blog has been neglected for the last few months. That's because we had housing issues going on, and have spent most weekends looking at houses - seventy in the past year. And now we are all ready to move (well, as ready as we are going to be). Over the year, I have been trying to finish off as many unfinished projects as possible, as part of my decluttering in preparation for a move.

These little quilts have been sitting around way too long. They were a project for an online creativity group that I am part of. At the time I conceived this idea, we were taking turns to set a weekly creativity exercise which we called "Tea and Cookies". So when I saw the teacup block in Quilters Newsletter Magazine, it seemed like a good project to make for the group. I asked each participant (not all sewers) to sign a set of cream coloured triangles, and return them along with a half metre of fabric of their choice. I didn't realise quite how much work was going to be involved. The notes that came with the fabrics tell me that it was started in the year 2000. Thirteen years to completion is better than never finished!

There were twelve people when I sent them out, but the group has shrunk, so there are seven small quilts in the final set. I made each one different to make the project more interesting. The last of these will be mine and is not yet finished. The rest have all been sent to their new owners.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday Poem: Palm Trees in a Hotel Garden

Palm Trees in a Hotel Garden
... palms fan out
their fingers on the night glass
like starving children
- Susan Wicks


We stand against dark skies.
Behind a transparent wall
unnatural day where strange trees
on forked roots come and go
bearing translucent fruit
beaded with drops of water.
Sometimes they lift it
to their crowns. They are
shifting groves of many colours.
And one slumps low,
rakes his boughs
across a bank of white and black
releasing a flock
of invisible birds.

We wonder how it is
to be so rootless
not to know
those same old familiars
are always by your side.
We fan out our fingers
on the night glass
in invitation:
“sink your roots in soil
lift your branches to the cool air
always and forever
not alone.”

© Catherine Fitchett

"Palm Trees in a Hotel Garden" was first published in Takahe magazine, issue 78, earlier this year. It originated in a class by Joanna Preston, in response to the poem by Susan Wicks from which the quote at the beginning is taken.

The blog has been very quiet lately, as I have had other things keeping me busy. But with National Poetry Day fast approaching, it seemed like a good time to come back to posting a Tuesday Poem.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Wellington Earthquakes

My youngest daughter was sick of the state of the city down here, what with all the city still being in a mess nearly three years after our first quake.
And ever since she has been there, nature has been going crazy. Storms that cut the power to her flat for two days, more bad weather, and now - earthquakes since Friday, working up to a 6.5 late this afternoon.

Fortunately, a bit further from the city and a bit deeper than ours, so no injuries so far. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday Poem: Matariki, by Kiri Piahana-Wong

Matariki

It is winter and the new year
opens its arms before me

The moon is gone
The sun has fled

I am bathed in darkness
A woman with no moon

I wander the land alone
My blood quiescent, stilled

In the darkness my words sink
like stones
Spiral into the deep

The ground is hard
My footprints leave no trace
I am witnessing the sky's
rebirthing, in the dark of the moon

His dance with the depleted earth
Her bones pressing
against the curve of the bay
Longing for the sky

I walk as if my passing matters
I walk as a witness
I let my tears fall
spiral down my arms
fall from the ends of my fingers
Anoint the earth
with the salt of the sky

And I think of the words
of my tupuna -

Tukua mai he kapu nga
oneone ki a au hai tangi


Send me a hadnful of earth
that I may weep over it

- Kiri Piahana-Wong

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises just once a year, in mid-winter – late May or early June. For many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year.
Matariki celebrations start with the first new moon after the first sighting of the Pleiades - this year, on 22 June.

I posted a poem by Kiri Piahana-Wong a few weeks ago, but I saved this one for this week, as it seemed the most appropriate time to post it. Thanks to Kiri for permission to post her poems. Her book, Night Swimming, is available from the publishers, Anahera Press.

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday Poem: Inland, by Edna St Vincent Millay

Inland

People that build their houses inland,
People that buy a plot of ground
Shaped like a house, and build a house there,
Far from the sea-board, far from the sound

Of water sucking the hollow ledges,
Tons of water striking the shore,--
What do they long for, as I long for
One salt smell of the sea once more?

People the waves have not awakened,
Spanking the boats at the harbour's head,
What do they long for, as I long for,--
Starting up in my inland bed,

Beating the narrow walls, and finding
Neither a window nor a door,
Screaming to God for death by drowning,--
One salt taste of the sea once more?

- Edna St Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

Lately we have been house hunting - so when this poem showed up in my inbox (via the daily poem e-mail from the Academy of American Poets), it seemed like a perfect choice for my Tuesday Poem this week.

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in Rockland, Maine. She produced a large body of writing, including some of the best-known sonnets of the twentieth century, while pursuing a Bohemian lifestyle in New York City's Greenwich Village.

This week's poem at the Tuesday Poem hub is by Sam Rasnake. Also check out the sidebar there for posts from other members of the Tuesday Poem community.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday Poem: Of books and bookcases, by Kiri Piahana-Wong

Of books and bookcases

My boyfriend says that
the one new thing he's
learnt about me since
we moved in together
is that I leave my
books lying around
all over the house.

It's true. I like to
be surrounded by
books, all their
different colours and
sizes, a wall of
words.

I tell him that the one
thing I've learnt about
him is that, for a
cabinetmaker, he
doesn't own much
furniture.

I remind him of how
he won my heart by
promising to build me
bookcases for all my
books. He just
smiles, arranging the
books in towering
piles against the
wall.

- Kiri Piahana-Wong

Kiri Piahana-Wong is a New Zealander of Maori, Chinese and Pakeha ancestry. She has degrees in law and English literature from the University of Auckland, and has had a varied working life, including roles as a legal editor, sailing instructor, freelance writer, event manager and publisher.

Her book night swimming , published by Anahera Press, was recently launched in Auckland. My thanks to Kiri for permission to use Of books and bookcases as my Tuesday Poem this week. I chose it, not because it was necessarily the most representative of the book, but because it made me smile, and depicted a familiar problem - where to put all the books?

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site, along with all the other Tuesday poets listed in the sidebar there.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Tuesday Poem: Song of the Moth

Song of the Moth

Half the world is mute, or we are deaf to it.
What untranslated conversations are hidden from our ears?
Does the earthworm croon subterranean loves songs
as it tops and tails with its hermaphrodite mate?
What does the butterfly hear
through its beautiful delicate knees?
The column of ants marches without music
while silverfish, reducing paper to lacy fragments
consume words but have none of their own.

Sailing ships crossed the oceans where whales
sang arias, backed by a silent chorus.
The pioneers carried little. Tools broke,
clothes wore out. Our forebears with their meagre luggage
having to turn common things to uncommon uses
gathered bag moss cases, stiff and lichened,
to pluck the strings of their autoharps.
It was the only way they knew
to hear moths sing.

© Catherine Fitchett

Song of the Moth was published in Takahe 78 which came out last month. It was inspired by a bizarre piece of trivia that I encountered in a book on insects in the Mobil New Zealand Nature Series: the bag moth was "sometimes used by early settlers as a plectrum for playing the autoharp". I was looking for details for a different poem, but as soon as I saw this, I knew I had to use it somehow.

For more Tuesday Poems visit the main hub site.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

And the Winners Are...

Thanks to my daughter for finding random numbers for me.
When I have your addresses, a copy of "The Nature of Things: Poems from the New Zealand Landscape" will be heading to Ron Lewis

And a copy of "Flap: The Chook Book 2" goes to Susan Rich (and a big thanks to Susan for hosting the giveaway this year, so it seemed especially appropriate to draw her name)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls

The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveller hastens toward the town,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
The day returns, but nevermore
Returns the traveller to the shore,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 - 1882

I have been doing a lot of clearing out recently, anticipating that sometime (supposedly quite soon, though one never knows with EQC) we will have to pack up everything and move ourselves and our belongings out of our house for two months or more while our earthquake repairs are done.

Going through old exercise books, I discovered one in which I had written poems to read to the children (long since grown up). Among them was this one.

Henry Longfellow is now regarded as a minor poet, but was enormously popular and successful in the nineteenth century. He is perhaps best known now for his Song of Hiawatha, which, along with other long narrative poems, played a major part in his success in his lifetime. This small gem above is less narrative and more lyrical. The repetition of sounds in it appeals to me - the rhymes for "falls", alliteration such as the "steeds in their stalls" which "stamp" and so on.

Tuesday Poem has been celebrating its third birthday over the past few weeks, and many of the Tuesday Poets have contributed a stanza to the birthday poem which can be found on the main hub site. Check it out, and check the side bar for more Tuesday poets' blogs.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Poem: Invention of Everything Else, by Susan Rich

Invention of Everything Else

Once a man offered me his heart like a glass of water
how to accept or decline?

Sometimes all I speak is doubt

delineated by the double lines 
of railway tracks; sometimes

I’m an incomplete bridge, crayon red Xs extending

across a world map.
A man offers me his bed like an emergency

exit, a forklift, a raft.

The easy-to-read instructions
sequestered in the arms of his leather jacket.

Sometimes a woman needs

small habits, homegrown salad, good sex.
Instead, she cultivates cats and a cupcake maker,

attempts enlightenment— prays to leaf skeletons on her deck.

The woman and the man say yes –
say no, say maybe, perhaps.

Neither one knows what they will do
to the other.

Perhaps they’re acorns falling

on the roof, a Sunday paper, this all-embracing
ocean view.

Once a man offered me his fortune
in drumbeats and song

tuned to some interior window; something buried in blue.

-Susan Rich, first published in Cura Journal



Susan Rich blogs at The Alchemist's Kitchen, where she is hosting the Big Poetry Giveaway this year - one of many projects which celebrate National Poetry Month in the USA. Over fifty bloggers are participating in the giveaway. Leaving a comment on any of their giveaway posts will put you in the draw to win a poetry book, mailed free to anywhere in the world.

Susan is offering a copy each of two of her books, The Alchemist's Kitchen and Cures Include Travel along with one from another poet in her giveaway post here.

Susan Rich is the author of four books of poetry, including Cloud Pharmacy and The Alchemist’s Kitchen, and co-editor of The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Writing Across Borders. A recipient of awards from the Times Literary Supplement and Fulbright Foundation, she teaches at Highline Community College (Seattle). Besides her blog linked above, you can find her web site at http://www.susanrich.net.


A reminder that I am also participating in the Big Poetry Giveaway - leave a comment on my giveaway post if you want to be in to win a free poetry book from me. Remember your e-mail address or I won't be able to let you know if you have won!

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Tuesday Poem: Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, by W B Yeats

Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

- William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

A short poem this week, but one I have loved for a long time.

For more Tuesday Poems, and an ongoing group effort to celebrate our third birthday, visit the main hub site.

And to participate in the Big Poetry Giveaway, scroll down to my previous post.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday Poem and the Big Poetry Giveaway

For the last couple of years, Kelli Agodon has celebrated National Poetry Month (yes, the United States gets a whole month, compared to New Zealand's National Poetry Day) by organising the Big Poetry Giveaway. This year it is being hosted on Susan Rich's blog, The Alchemist's Kitchen.

I decided to join in the fun, so leave a comment here with your contact details (e-mail address), if you would like to go in the draw. Edit: Some commenters seem to have forgotten the e-mail address, I will contact you if I can, either by e-mail or by leaving a comment on your blog, but if your only contact is Facebook or Google groups, I have no way of getting in touch with you as I am not on either.
I have two books to give away - posted free to anywhere in the world. Winners will be drawn in the week of May 1st.
1) Flap: The Chookbook 2 by myself and three friends
2) The Nature of Things: Poems from the New Zealand Landscape, a gorgeous anthology which has poems from a range of New Zealand poets along with beautiful landscape photographs from Craig Potton.

And here is one of my poems from Flap:

Gridlines

The city is a spreadsheet
laid on the plains block upon block.
There are some in their airless offices
who affect nothing.
Don't count on it.

In the hidden mathematics of the city
there are unexpected connections.
You might add a small number
at a crucial junction
and buses run late all over town.
Hum a tune and you might see
a single bird fly over,
or dancing break out in the streets.

And watch that girl with the blue hair,
when she enters the equation,
how it changes everything.

copyright Catherine Fitchett

For more Tuesday Poems visit the main hub site.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday Poem: In the Wood of Finvara, by Arthur Symons

In the Wood of Finvara

I have grown tired of sorrow and human tears;
Life is a dream in the night, a fear among fears,
A naked runner lost in a storm of spears.

I have grown tired of rapture and love's desire;
Love is a flaming heart, and its flames aspire
Till they cloud the soul in the smoke of a windy fire.

I would wash the dust of the world in a soft green flood;
Here between sea and sea, in the fairy wood,
I have found a delicate, wave-green solitude.

Here, in the fairy wood, between sea and sea,
I have heard the song of a fairy bird in a tree,
And the peace that is not in the world has flown to me.

- Arthur Symons (1865-1945)

Books still have advantages over the internet. One is that on google you find what you're looking for, but unexpected things may pop up more readily when leafing through the pages of a book. This was one of those finds. I wasn't familiar with Arthur Symons before I happened on this poems while looking for something else. More on him here.

I have been a bit remiss in posting Tuesday Poems lately, but many other Tuesday poets have been posting faithfully every week. For links to their sites, visit the main hub site. You will find a great range of contemporary and older poems.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Peter Donnelly: Sand Artist










I've been wanting to see this man at work for ages, but could never quite manage to find out when he would be creating his art at a time when I was free. So yesterday morning I grabbed the opportunity. The local Japanese community had organised an event to commemorate the second anniversary of the East Japan earthquake. I didn't stay until the art work was completed - it takes about three hours - but apparently they were going to hold hands around the completed art work. They were also making a video to send to the children of Fukushima, as well as collecting donations.

I had hoped to link to a completed view of the art, but I can't locate one on the internet. However a google search will readily find much more about Peter Donnelly and his art, including videos of him at work. I was surprised by how dance-like his process is.

Actually, when I say I "grabbed the opportunity", I have to confess - I got up early as planned, and then sat around for a while thinking "I don't want to". Finally, realising I would regret it if I didn't do what I had planned, I made myself go. Once there, I was glad I made the effort. It was a little chilly, but the fresh sea air did wonders for my mood and alertness.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Census Day

The census in New Zealand is usually held every five years. Half the census forms had been delivered when the 2011 Canterbury earthquake struck. The disruption caused was so great that the census was postponed for two years.

We have just been filling in our census forms. I was very intrigued to find that there are special instructions for those living in Canterbury, to cover unusual situations.

For instance, my insurance company is paying my rent, do I say "yes" to paying rent?
Do I count money received from the Red Cross as income?
If I am not living in my house because it is damaged what is my "usual" address?

A full list of the instructions is here.

As a genealogist I am particularly interested in census forms because I make use of hundred year old census records in my research. Unfortunately this only applies to records from the UK and USA, as legislation in New Zealand forbids individual forms ever being released to researchers.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Two Years On



The peaches on my daughter's peach tree are ripe, so today we are bottling peaches. Which reminded me that two years ago we did the same. The photo above was taken on 21 February 2011. The next day at work, when the city shook and everything came tumbling down, one of my thoughts as I drove home was of the jars of peaches on the kitchen bench. I fully expected to arrive home and find them smashed in pieces all over the floor. They weren't. The lack of damage to the contents of our house seemed to me, and still seems, a minor miracle.

Damage to the structure of the house is another matter. We are still bogged down in insurance claims, about which I have said little here, because although we are worse off than many, we are better off than many, many more. And because the situation is still quite unclear.

Yesterday, the actual two year anniversary, there were memorial services around the city. I thought of going, but didn't. I felt rather low all day, which may have been because of the anniversary, or it may have been the bronchitis I've been battling for several weeks. I have aching chest muscles, probably strained from all the coughing. Bronchitis in one of the best summers we have had for years is unexpected. On the other hand, it hit me just when our street was dug up to replace the earthquake damaged sewer pipes. The old pipes were cut through to connect the new ones. There was dust everywhere due to the dry weather (there still is - the road works started on January 7th and are not finished yet). Many Christchurch residents have reported increased respiratory problems since the earthquakes. There is no proof that it is related, but it does seem like a big coincidence if it is not.

While there was no Tuesday Poem on my blog this week, I was editor at the main hub site, where I posted Joanna Preston's poem Fault in memory of the earthquake. It's a great poem, and I am grateful to Joanna for letting me use it.

My daughter's earthquake anniversary post is here.

We have had more than 11,000 aftershocks in the two and a half years (since the first earthquake on September 4, 2010). They are settling down - we have only felt a few this year, but yesterday, late in the evening, we had a good jolt, as if to say "don't think it's over yet".

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday Poem: An Inward Sun, by Emma Neale

An Inward Sun

A small, pale circle
shimmers on the kitchen bench
darts to the wall,
drops back to the floor
where it pulses
quick with fear and warm life.

The cat tries to pat it and pluck it:
sniffs, perhaps thinks
of the furred, golden heart
of a field mouse; butter-fried yolk;
round of Gouda; scrap of Sunday pancake.

The baby wants to work the trick
it thinks the cat in its catness can't:
tries to pinch the sun spill up
between finger and thumb;
licks at the honey trickle look
as it pools on the back of his hand,
and so grows the belief
that if he could touch his tongue to the sun
it would taste of popsicle melt,
beach grit, hind-milk, skin-salt
and a whiskery, shadowy,
trace element of cat.

copyright Emma Neale 2012

My thanks to Emma and to Otago University Press for permission to post "An Inward Sun" as my Tuesday Poem this week. It is included in Emma's collection The Truth Garden which won the Kathleen Grattan award for poetry in 2011. It was also the first place getter in last year's Poems in the Waiting Room competition. It is not to late to enter this year's contest, which closes at the end of the month. There are some good prizes on offer for poems suitable for inclusion in poetry cards to be distributed to doctor's waiting rooms, rest homes etc, and the entry fees help to fund the printing and distribution of the cards - a very worthwhile cause, in my opinion.

Emma Neale is a poet and prose writer who lives in Dunedin. She has published a number of novels including Night Swimming and The Fosterling, and three collections of poetry: Sleeve Notes,How to Make a Million, Spark and The Truth Garden.She has also won a number of awards and prizes including the Kathleen Grattan award, and is the judge for this year's Poems in the Waiting Room competition.

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site.

Monday, February 04, 2013

January

A quick photo summary of the last month


Road works in our street, repairing damage to the sewers from the earthquakes (the road works are a huge nuisance, but the repairs are very necessary)


The bird on the neighbour's sunflowers is a greenfinch

I made a quick trip to Wellington - through Wellington, really, for a family funeral





Kaikoura peninsula from the air - I keep meaning to get a disposable film camera when I fly, so I can use it while taking off, when we are told all digital devices have to be turned off.


Back in Christchurch, an artist has decorated the fence in front of one of the remaining buildings in the city so that it looks like a reflection of the building, if you stand in the right spot.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday Poem: The Ambassador's Blonde Daughter

The Ambassador's Blonde Daughter

The ambassador’s blonde daughter
has dark eyebrows which she dyes
with potions flown in from Europe –
one week chestnut, the next mahogany.

The ambassador’s daughter is studying gravity.
She speeds downhill on her bicycle
the chain snaps
parts fly
she swerves past potholes,
tumbles to a halt on the verge
at the foot of the hill
dusts herself off
blowing kisses at all the passing boys.
The young men fetch ice creams
and bicycle parts. She sits on the pavement,
licks up the drips while they perform repairs.

A blessing on the ambassador’s blonde daughter!
May all your ice creams be hokey pokey
your life be ruled by levity
may young men walk tightropes for you
gypsy violins serenade you
in all the countries of Europe
may you dance in the streets
garbed for the fiesta, your skirts frilled and flounced,
your eyebrows striped green red and blue.

(c) Catherine Fitchett

Tuesday Poem returns this week from a summer break. I thought I would start the year with one of my own poems, which was published in JAAM at the end of last year. The inspiration for this poem came from a school friend of mine who was, indeed, the "ambassador's blonde daughter" - though there is nothing in the poem which is strictly untrue, it somehow seems to have become heightened and glamourised along the way!

"Hokey pokey" is New Zealand's favourite ice cream flavour, it is vanilla ice cream with chunks of hokey pokey in it - a sort of honeycomb toffee. Delicious on a hot day.

For more Tuesday poems visit the main hub site.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2012 in Photos: the Final Two

These two unrelated images have been sitting on my desktop for a week or two waiting for me to post them. Since I am now back at work and hence well into 2013, I thought it was time to post them and move on.


The epitome of Christchurch as it is now - a small boy peers through the fence at the end of the Restart Mall, which separates the cordoned off parts of the city from shoppers. The cordoned area is gradually shrinking, but we have a way to go yet. It reminds me of our childhood trips to the zoo, but instead of peering through the fence at wild animals, children now peer at cranes and diggers.


This one was taken in the middle of the North Island. We stopped at a lookout to admire, and photograph, the view, but instead of the magnificent vistas in the distance, my eye was caught by this bottle perched on a fencepost. Despite not being able to satisfy myself with the right composition of the diagonal lines of the hills and fences, the image lingers with me, as I'm still wondering who left it there, and why.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Through the Window

This is the view out of my living room window


Looking at this reminds me that I am going back to work on Monday, and all the gardening that I planned to do over the break is far from completed. Such as those weeds in the paving stones. The plum tree is in need of pruning, so we can get in and out of the front door easily, but I won't do that until it has finished cropping for the year.

And then there is the view through the other window:


Roadworks are a part of life in Christchurch. This lot are replacing earthquake damaged sewer pipes. We can't drive in and out of our street during the day, so my car is parked a block away.

I have been making inroads into a group of small patchwork quilts that I want to complete and send off to their intended recipients. It's a project that has been sitting around for quite a few years. I found when I set up for machine quilting one of the quilts that I couldn't figure out how to do it from the manual. I knew how, once upon a time. I think I will have to take my sewing machine to the dealer on the other side of town for some instruction, and to figure out if the problem is with the machine or the user. But as soon as I step outside the door, the hot wind blasts in my face, and then there is the issue of having to carry the machine to the car.

At least it's not as hot here as in Australia where they had to add new colours to the weather map to show how hot it is, and in some areas they had to stop serving petrol because it was evaporating.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

2012 in Photos: On the Wall

Looking back over my photos, I have quite a few which show the ways locals have attempted to brighten the city, which otherwise would look very shabby and depressing with all the demolitions going on since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes

This building had windows boarded up with hardboard, so someone decided to make large photographic murals depicting various activities apparently going on in the empty apartments



Unfortunately efforts to save this building failed, and it has since been demolished. No buyer could be found who was willing to pay the huge cost of restoring it.


On the road to the beachside suburb of Sumner, shipping containers have been installed to protect the road from rockfall.


The containers have been converted to a gigantic outdoor art gallery.

And then there are the more conventional sorts of murals:



Finally, our newly reopened local library complete with red steel emergency earthquake bracing, all decorated for Christmas:














Thursday, January 03, 2013

2012 in Photos



I was looking over my photos from 2012, many of which I intended to post here but never quite did. Here are a couple of wee guys from Hamilton Zoo - these were among my favourites.

I haven't linked to Thematic Photographic for a while, but this week's theme is favourites, so it seemed a good time to go back there. I'll be posting more 2012 photos in the next week or so, I suspect. Some of them are favourites, and some of them - well, I can't judge the photographic quality, as I can't see past the subject matter, born out of a need to document what is going on in Christchurch as more and more buildings are pulled down, and new ones start to take their place - rather slowly. Next week, the march of the road cones reaches our street. I may have to get out and take more photographs, just to escape from the inevitable construction noise.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Welcome to 2013

I've been pondering the direction I want the blog to take this year, though I haven't come to any conclusions as yet. My earlier posts were quite varied, then I joined Tuesday Poem and found myself posting a poem a week, which eventually became almost my only posts.

I'd like to get a bit more variety back, and I haven't yet decided whether to keep up with the Tuesday Poem. I haven't been writing enough poems to post one of my own every week, and getting permission from other poets can be a bit time-consuming at times.

I haven't made any New Year resolutions. I haven't chosen a word for the year. (I thought I might try that one year - it seems a popular idea in the blogosphere. I chose "open". And then we had a rather large earthquake, and the word took on meanings I hadn't really anticipated. Such as all the buildings that were literally "open" after walls fell down, even rather private rooms such as toilets being on public view.)

I have been reading Oliver Burkeman's book The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking. It's a very interesting and apparently well researched read, which calls into question the benefits of many aspects of popular psychology such as goal setting and affirmations. More in another post - perhaps.

One thing that he does seem to support is the benefits of mindfulness. So I am trying to mindfully keep in mind some of my unfinished projects, and actually do something about them.

It's been a quiet New Year for me, on the whole. I didn't even stay up till midnight. It occurs to me that it is a strange way of celebrating new beginnings - to party like crazy until the old year is finished, then spend the first day of the new year too hung over and blobbed out to do anything! (That's my excuse, anyway).