Pussies Galore

I am so glad that the women’s marches are being held all over the globe, including Antarctica. Since the orange troll was “elected” I’ve felt very threatened on all kinds of fronts- as a mother, a woman, a human being. I really don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that democracy is being threatened. All references to climate change and civil rights have been taken off the White-House website, women are again already experiencing the colonisation of their bodies, taking us all back another 50 years. Trump is refusing to adhere to the constitution regarding his businesses, he won’t release his tax return and of course we all know why that is.  And so so much more.

It was so heartening to walk alongside a couple of thousand people in Auckland yesterday (even better if it had been a couple of hundred thousand) but at least it is a start.  I hope to help make sure that it is the start and not the end of activism against this despicable person and what he represents. As there were more at the Washington march than the inauguration, this gives me hope.

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Auckland Women’s March 2017

 

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Antarctica division. Pussy hats certainly required down there.

Sometimes I think how little has changed- the media still wittering on about what the orange blob’s wife is wearing as opposed to what she is thinking (possibly not a lot to write about there in all fairness), the Washington social media pair in London go into the crowd to interview one of the thousands on the Women’s march and begin with a man… I feel despair when I see young women I know only ever posting pictures of themselves doing absolutely nothing and their friends sychophantically commenting “oh so cute babe” or “liking” plastic surgery for #$%^& sake. Their posts are all about brides and clothes and makeup, how I wish there was a balance on their pages that included some issues or politics occasionally. These are not teenagers but young women in their thirties; competent, clever women. I feel that I have failed these young women in not protecting them from the hogwash of women’s magazines, endless media portrayal of air brushed unreal women in child-bodies and the constant barrage of rubbish that says only the beautiful, young and usually white female is deserved of any attention. How can they help but feel they need to be “beautiful” when so little else is on offer. Maybe they reserve their politics and views for other forums though and I certainly hope so and I know what I see of young women on Facebook is very limited. I love the many feminist views of Sam’s friends and want to support these young ones in their resistance.

In 2017 women are still being paid 14 % less than men. Why are we all still sitting on our hands?

I don’t want to alienate these younger women because it is critical that they stand up for all women and the marches give me hope on that level too as they just may ignite the women’s movement to resist tyranny, bullying, violence against women and all that that entails. It just might encourage them to aim for CEO or go on a board or start their own businesses. It just might allow one beaten woman to seek support  before she is murdered. There is more than one woman per month being murdered by their partners each year in NZ.

Statistics from It’s Not OK-NZ

Partner abuse

50% of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) deaths occurred at the time of actual or intended separation. (9)

1 in 3 women experience physical and/or sexual violence from a partner in their lifetime. (10)

76 per cent of recorded assaults against females are committed by an offender that is identified as family. (11)

In the four years from 2009 to 2012, 76% of intimate partner violence-related deaths were perpetrated by men, 24% were perpetrated by women. (12)

It is estimated that between 2-5% of the older population in New Zealand experience some form of elder abuse. (13)

And the US have elected a President who said this:

Donald J. Trump: You know and …

Unknown: She used to be great. She’s still very beautiful.

Trump: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.

Unknown: Whoa.

Trump: I did try and fuck her. She was married.

Unknown: That’s huge news.

Trump: No, no, Nancy. No, this was [unintelligible] — and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping.

She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture —

I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.

Billy Bush: Sheesh, your girl’s hot as shit. In the purple.

Trump: Whoa! Whoa!

Bush: Yes! The Donald has scored. Whoa, my man!

[Crosstalk]

Trump: Look at you, you are a pussy.

[Crosstalk]

Trump: All right, you and I will walk out.

[Silence]

Trump: Maybe it’s a different one.

Bush: It better not be the publicist. No, it’s, it’s her, it’s —

Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

Bush: Whatever you want.

Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

Bush: Uh, yeah, those legs, all I can see is the legs.

Trump: Oh, it looks good.

Bush: Come on shorty.

Trump: Ooh, nice legs, huh?

Bush: Oof, get out of the way, honey. Oh, that’s good legs. Go ahead.

I know you know all this and while I feel sick reprinting it, I don’t want this fudged and forgotten. I hope that women globally will resist this and all the rest of the bigotry, brutality, misogyny  for all women- daughters, grandmothers, in the US, in India, in NZ, in the Antarctica!

The symbol of resistance on the marches has been the pussy hat. Brilliant! Have pattern, will knit. If you want one, send me the wool and I’ll do it. This post seems so badly written, haphazard, disorganised, unstructured. But I need to say something and do so much more. Hopefully we can do this together. FG

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New year, new me…. not.

 

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I love Patsy’s positivity but can’t quite convince myself. I have started the new year with some fun cycling and playing golf but find to my dismay I haven’t read a thing. I spend far too much time on FB and the like.

My cycling began at Horopito where my friend Jules lives.It is supposed to be “Easy plus” and it wasn’t until later that I realised there was a further category called, “Easiest”. As it was the old coach road, it was pretty bumpy and a bit nerve-wracking and I am not an experienced bike rider but the gel seat was a bonus. Anyway, we made it it quite satisfactorily and the drink at the Ohakune pub helped to make it worthwhile

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After that I tackled the lovely flat cycling all around Napier. Not only is it flat but there are nice cafes along the way. I find I don’t need a challenge to enjoy it and am more than happy with the smooth, flat gravel. I think I even spied a white heron.

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Napier also has some great restaurants like Pacifica where its degustation menu is a mere $50.00. I can highly recommend it!

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I enjoyed Napier so much I admit to browsing the real estate magazines.

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Just before Christmas there was an interesting article on the radio about the David Trubridge lights in the redwoods in Rotorua so I wanted to check them out. The drive there was a bit of a mission as my co-driver decided that the 100 kms of gravel via Lake Waikaremoana would be worth it. It was an experience but I’m not in a hurry to repeat it any time soon.

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We bought the day and night combo for the lights and it was well worth it. The swing bridges are high in the trees and its fun to walk along them and look down at other lighting as well as the Trubridge ones.

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By day it is interesting to walk high among the redwoods and read about the construction of the whole area. As an aside, it was pretty busy and I was thinking something like this in Northland might boost the economy. I’m please to see they have nearly completed a twin coast cycle way up there. The Otago rail trail has been described as a river of gold for that area so it would be great to see some money going into the pockets of locals up north where poverty is a major issue.

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Even the toilets are trendy.

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While in Rotorua we also visited the buried village, a first for me. The Tarawera eruption and the destruction of the the pink and white terraces is a fascinating story. One of the best bits though, was the waterfall that has a cursory mention on a sign basically saying that if you can be bothered it’s five minutes down a track. Totally worth the fifteen minutes or so to explore there.

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On the way home this time we played golf and ate fish and chips at the Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel and Golf Course, no strippers were in evidence. its such a pretty course and then to sit on the verandah of the pub with my fish and chips and a citrus beer was great.

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It’s always lovely to come home though and  I am enjoying the living wall growth that happened while I was away. I’m planning a short trip away next week as well and it is one of my aims this year to make the most of the summer and get away for weekends. Indulgent aim and a bit short on self-improvement…

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Sam gave me a lovely calendar for Christmas though, so I look at it each day. It says for this month- create your own calm. I’m working on it. Happy January. FG

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Perfectionism

I am messy, untidy, and have stuff everywhere. I want to be tidy and I keep de-cluttering and giving stuff away to the hospice but the mess marches on. I long to be a minimalist with a cool clear white house with no stuff lying around but I just can’t do it. There are books, letter, papers, fridge magnets with poems on them, scissors, wrapping paper, napkins, candles, well, everywhere. I know I could take all the poems off the fridge but I quite like looking at them.

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Stuff on the bench.

 

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Stuff on the other bench.

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Even though I gave away nearly my whole collection of books, there’s still a mess.

Help is at hand however. I am doing an online course by Elizabeth Gilbert on creativity and have just listened to a lecture on perfectionism. Perfectionism is, apparently, fear dressed up in furs and high heels. It stops you starting, trying or finishing anything. Furthermore, it’s boring! Yay I don’t even have to try to be perfect.

Regarding my bookshelves, the complete nuttiness I’ve seen “designers” do with books makes me feel better. One of them turned all her books to the pages side because then they looked uniform. It didn’t seem to matter that you couldn’t read the title of the book. Another one covered all her children’s books with the same paper so they would look “nice” and “changed them out each season” to match the decor. Now that’s plain weird.

Very pretty perhaps but completely stupid.

I’m wrestling with trying to do more good in the world. Some days I empty my pockets for the beggars on Queen Street and other days I avoid their eyes and walk straight past. Then I feel guilty about the control I have. I think I need to find my one passion and do that to make a change. I’m jut not sure what that is. I try one day to be frugal and charitable and the next I go crazy for some lovely material or thing. I need to get up off my socialist armchair if I am serious about it.

I gave away most of my Christmas decorations to the local hospice shop but I kept my fairies and one or two other things that I love. When Sam was about 6 he came home from school with the advent calendar below. It even has little pockets to put lollies in. I find it so tender and special in its perfect imperfection. I picture him sticking on the pockets with great care and gluing the precious jewel at the top of the tree. I feel similarly about a bag he made for my knitting when he was at intermediate.

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As Sam was growing up my only request for my birthday was that he made the card. Whenever I come across them, they make me laugh and smile. I’ve no idea what I am going to do with these cards but I simply cannot de-clutter them. I guess I could photograph them but it doesn’t seem the same somehow. Again, their imperfection makes them perfect.

I have never been a perfectionist as my friend Deb will attest to. I mean to fold the towels the same way and have them matching but I just can’t seem to manage it. I love it when other people do it though. So onward in imperfection.

Gilbert’s point is that it doesn’t matter who likes your off skew pottery bowl, or they think your poem is rubbish. It is unique and your imperfect offering and the act of making it was a creative one.  I am not in any danger of becoming a perfectionist but it makes me feel better anyway.

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Gilbert is not the only one who suggests we just get started on something. Vonnegut has a similar point of view.

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FG

Cambridge-who knew?

On Monday my wing woman and I decided to make a trip to Hamilton to visit an old friend and colleague and then go on with her to Tirau as we decided this might be an interesting Chriatmas shopping expedition. As it happens we didn’t make it that far. We got to Cambridge and thought we would stretch our legs and potter about there for a bit. The “a bit” turned out to be about three hours.

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The equine tradition was reflected in these mosaics all around the town.

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The fire station had the old and the new ready for any emergency.

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I coveted a Jeff Thompson sculpture in the local gallery but the price tag was a Lotto-win kind of price.

http://www.jeffthomson.co.nz/studio/studio1.php

0118be6ebcd112d4dbb4c7b1c0b5277e446d47ab26 0161eef80d8f8f3ab63c56af4307ecfe009a83a980There were lots of little antique/junk shops and gift shops to faff about in. I was determined not to spend money but that was an epic fail after about the first shop. The wind had got up so I simply had to purchase a scarf to keep me warm. I justify this on the basis of health and well-being.

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This was closely followed up by earrings in the same shop… with absolutely no justification.

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and I dare not even mention the handbag… however, the next purchase is very easily justified as a friend has just had a little baby boy. How could I not?

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I exercised restraint but only just, in the yarn store below.

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Earlier in the week though I did give away more clothes to the hospice shop, bought some boys’ toys for Caring For Families and donated some money to several charities. This is because I can whinge all I like about Trump and his ilk but I think I’m better to stop complaining and just try to do something local, pathetically small though it might be.

I finally finished the first Ferrante novel between reading other things and can’t wait to read the rest of the series. They are called the Neapolitan novels and the first one is My Brilliant Friend.

i also read a book that I heard about on Kim Hill called when Breath Becomes Air. It is the cheery but true story of a promising young brain surgeon dying of a brain tumour. Well worth reading but possibly not a beach-side book.

Equally grim but an absolute must-see is Ken Loach’s latest and possibly last, film, I Daniel Blake. it is harrowing, all-too-believable but ultimately hopeful film about the human spirit in the face of ridiculous bureaucracy. It would be in my top two films of 2016. I started sobbing about ten minutes in.

I am vaguely attempting to get in the Christmas spirit by assembling my fairies in the shape of a Christmas tree (as always, grateful thanks to my wing woman).

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Halfway stage

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Still smiling

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Finished with lights on.

Unfortunately I can’t see Sam getting overly excited about them so I hope a few angel fans call in before the 25th.

A few weeks ago I was contemplating the dark grey wall on my deck and started some research. Short of the 7k Jeff Thompson sculpture which would look perfect I have had to look at cheaper options and decided on a living wall. They re made from recycled plastic plastic bottles.

I am enjoying mine and have planted flowers in the top and herbs in the bottom so you can lean back and pick some basil for your salad while you eat.

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It also makes for a more interesting view from inside too.

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I’m contemplating Christmas dinner but am not coming up with anything exciting as Sam is a vegan. Hard to get inspired about tofu and chickpeas. Maybe I’ll just skip the main and go straight to dessert. What are you having? All ideas welcome. FG

 

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I can’t write…but there is always a poppy, some basil, and a tomato plant.

I’ve been away helping my sister with the Manderley Fair again but I have also struggled to put pen to paper these last months. I’m supposed to be doing the Iowa Fiction Writing MOOC but have already missed the next two assignments.

Today I have been sitting in the sun, at first listening to the radio but the idea that that racist, violent, sexist, misogynist buffoon could even be where he is beggars belief and cast me in to despair at the state of the world.

Then  I read this in passing on Facebook. I am very happy with my lot but the point he is making is that Tibet, for example can’t get any worse, so anything you do will make it better.

https://www.facebook.com/studybuddhism/videos/329270840771300/

Then when the radio was off, I picked up a poetry book to put away and found myself sitting in the sun and reading it again. It is called Love in a Bookstore or your Money Back.

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I think Sarah Quigley’s The Conductor is one of my favourite books and I put her in the genius category.

If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

Any way I came across a poem called, The Writer and although I will never reach her dizzying heights I felt a little better after reading it.

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So I will wait and think and hopefully get my assignments done.

I have today before working the next two days, and the feeling of being at home is fantastic. Can I survive financially without working at all??

Things I’m appreciating today.

  1. My sister’s handiwork and the  Christmas angel she gave me. (you can buy them at Bee Stitching. )
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She is called a quirky angel.

These are the Miss Prims.

https://www.facebook.com/beestitching/

2.  John Doogan’s beautiful photography. http://www.johndoogan.co.nz/index. I used the image below for one of my Fluffy George postings this month.

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3.A poppy, some basil and a tomato plant.

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4. Also I told a friend who was thinking about having a baby to Facebook post me “You can start knitting now” if she became pregnant. I’m happy to say I received that message last week, so I’ve started. It’s an oldy but a goody and done in alpaca.

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5. I have also just finished the book club book. I found it a really enjoyable read.

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I was thinking of chucking in FG for a while as I felt I didn’t have anything to say but am ploughing on, if rather fitfully. Let me know if you actually read it….not that it matters really. FG

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A breath of country air

You may or may not have noted that I haven’t been blogging. For no particular reason my heart hasn’t been in it. However, today I set off for Waipu and as I got further and further away from the city my breath expanded and ideas and poems started to filter into my mind. I stopped at a little cafe in Kaiwaka, I think it is called Cafe Bianca. It is a treasure chest of tea sets, silver, wool, junk, antique odds and sods as well as offering lovely food. it’s a bit like taking tea in the parlour as it is an old house.

Even though I have brought my knitting I couldn’t resist buying this little kit as I have a friend having a baby in November. Last time I was at the cafe I bought a little woolly hat from the same kit set maker, this time I have bought the little jumper and this will be my project while I’m up here.

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As I sat down to wait for my coffee and delicious homemade Florentine I browsed the books left for customers read. I picked up an older NZ poetry book and spent a delicious half hour reading it. I don’t think I have ever been to a cafe where there were poetry books. It is such a great idea as there isn’t time to read a novel or even a short story but poetry is the perfect pick and dip option.

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One of the poems was a James K Baxter that I hadn’t read before called

‘A Small Ode on Mixed Flatting’, by James K. Baxter

As I was brought up in Dunedin, and flatted there and my mother questioned my morality when I told her I was going “mixed flatting” it made me laugh.

Elicited by the decision of the Otago University authorities to forbid this practice among students

Dunedin nights are often cold
(I notice it as I grow old);
The south wind scourging from the Pole
Drives every rat to his own hole,
Lashing the drunks who wear thin shirts
And little girls in mini-skirts.
Leander, that Greek lad, was bold
To swim the Hellespont raging cold
To visit Hero in her tower
Just for an amorous half-hour.
And lay his wet brine-tangled head
Upon her pillow – Hush! The dead
Can get good housing – Thomas Bracken,
Smellie, McLeod, McColl, McCracken,
A thousand founding fathers lie
Well roofed against the howling sky
In mixed accommodation – Hush!
It is the living make us blush
Because the young have wicked hearts
And blood to swell their private parts.
To think of corpses pleases me;
They keep such perfect chastity.
O Dr Williams, you were right
To shove the lovers out of sight;
Now they can wander half the night
Through coffee house and street and park
And fidget in the dripping dark,
While we play Mozart and applaud
The angel with the flaming sword!
King Calvin in his grave will smile
To know we know that man is vile;
But Robert Burns, that sad old rip
From whom I got my Fellowship
Will grunt upon his rain-washed stone
Above the empty Octagon,
And say – ‘O that I had the strength
To slip yon lassie half a length!
Apollo! Venus! Bless my ballocks!
Where are the games, the hugs, the frolics?
Are all you bastards melancholics?
Have you forgotten that your city
Was founded well in bastardry
And half your elders (God be thankit)
Were born the wrong side of the blanket?
You scholars, throw away your books
And learn your songs from lasse’s looks
As I did once – ‘Ah, well; it’s grim;
But I will have to censor him.
He liked to call a spade a spade
And toss among the glum and staid
A poem like a hand grenade –
And I remember clearly how
(Truth is the only poet’s vow)
When my spare tyre was half this size,
With drumming veins and bloodshot eyes
I blundered through the rain and sleet
To dip my wick in Castle street.
Not on the footpath – no, in a flat,
With a sofa where I often sat,
Smoked, drank, cursed, in the company
Of a female student who unwisely
Did not mind but would pull the curtain
Over the window – And did a certain
Act occur? It did. It did.
As Byron wrote of Sennacherib –
‘The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold’ –
But now, at nearly forty-two,
An inmate of the social zoo,
Married, baptized, well heeled, well shod,
Almost on speaking terms with God,
I intend to save my moral bacon
By fencing the young from fornication!
Ah, Dr Williams, I agree
We need more walls at the Varsity;
The students who go double-flatting
With their she-catting and tom-catting
Won’t ever get a pass in Latin;
The moral mainstay of the nation
Is careful, private masturbation;
A vaseline jar or a candle
Will drive away the stink of scandal!
The Golden Age will come again –
Those tall asthenic bird-like men
With spectacles and lecture notes,
Those girls with wool around their throats
Studying till their eyes are yellow
A new corrupt text of Othello,
Vaguely agnostic, rationalist,
A green banana in each fist
To signify the purity
Of educational ecstasy –
And, if they marry, they will live
By the Cardinal Imperative:
A car, a fridge, a radiogram,
A clean well-fitted diaphragm,
Two-and-a-half children per
Family; to keep out thunder
Insurance policies for each;
A sad glad fortnight at the beach
Each year, when Mum and Dad will bitch
From some half-forgotten itch –
Turn on the lights! – or else the gas!
If I kneel down like a stone at Mass
And wake my good wife with bad dreams,
And scribble verse on sordid themes,
At least I know man was not made
On the style of a slot-machine arcade –
Almost, it seems, the other day,
When Francis threw his coat away
And stood under the palace light
Naked in the Bishop’s sight
To marry Lady Poverty
In folly and virginity,
The angels laughed – do they then weep
Tears of blood if two should sleep
Together and keep the cradle warm?
Each night of earth , though the wind storm
Black land behind, white sea in front,
Leander swims the Hellespont;
To Hero’s bed he enters cold;
And he will drown; and she grow old –
But what they tell each other there
You’ll not find in a book anywhere.

1967

James K. Baxter, ‘A Small Ode on Mixed Flatting’ in Collected Poems (ed. John Edward Weir; Wellington: Oxford University Press, 1979), 396–99.

As I drove over the Brynderwyns, the east coast came into view and the panoramic views were simply stunning. i am now ensconced in my little cabin up in the Waipu hills and this is the view I have as I type this.

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Unfortunately I am also simultaneously torturing myself with watching mad Trump and Clinton debate. My stomach formerly relaxed, is now clenched in a knot as I watch that bullying moron shouting over the other candidate.

Earlier I walked up the track to check on the chickens and to collect the rural mail. What a simple pleasure to admire the camellias, smell the woody scent of the bush and be so glad that I live in New Zealand.

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Listening to that pratt talking about nuclear weapons is chilling. “We got ’em why don’t we use ’em”, I feel very helpless listening to him. Is it possible that this moron could be running America??

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I cannot end my blog on this man.

So, I am doing another MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) at the University of Iowa and it is a joy. https://iwp.uiowa.edu/fiction-2016 There are literally thousands of people from all over the world participating, On that note I’m off to do my homework. FG

 

 

 

Hibernation

It’s been a long, gloomy, grey month in my mind so I have stayed home and hibernated. I’m in the middle of three books, all of which I am enjoying. They are Lawrence Fernley –Degrees of Separation, Maggie O’Farrell, This must Be The Place and  My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.

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I have also bought today and read half of, Dr Libby Weaver’s new book Women’s Wellness Wisdom. I feel compelled to eat more sensibly and get moving.

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She is very encouraging, not about dieting and generally has some new and interesting ideas about wellness. She is definitely not about calorie counting. I am also doing My Food Bag for one every week now as I am sure it is cheaper than making lots of trips to the supermarket. I now only go to the supermarket for shampoo etc. There is always plenty left over for lunch and one of the meals is for two so I often have a friend over. It is extremely well-organised, always arriving on time and food is organic or free range etc. My only complaint is that there is a bit much red meat for my preference.

They recently did a survey about possibly working with Weight Watchers to produce a slimmer’s bag which I would definitely get.

MYOWNFOOD BAG

  • Feeds 1 adult
  • 4 recipes for 5 meals every week (1 of the recipes will feed 2 adults)

Only $18.90 per plate, 94.50 per week

I have been doing Steptember so feel free to sponsor me as it is raising funds for cerebral palsy.

I’m in the KatTrishSue team,

https://event.steptember.org.nz/team/fundraisingtools

Cerebral palsy (CP) is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person’s ability to move. It is a permanent life-long condition but generally does not worsen over time. It is due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

Cerebral palsy affects people in different ways and can affect body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture, and balance.

Did you know, Cerebral Palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood?

For more information on cerebral palsy please visit www.cerebralpalsy.org.nz

I haven’t managed 10,000 steps each day but I have done a few 16000 plus to make up for it.

I have also seen a couple of good movies lately. 

I don’t care what the reviewers say, Bridget Jones’ Baby is funny, well-scripted and a wonderful couple of hours of escapism. If you just want a good laugh, go along, I loved it.

 

I also went to see The Confirmation which, while it may not live long in the memory was nevertheless a lovely film and another film to enjoy on a rainy afternoon. .

This morning I listened to a gripping interview on national radio with Kathryn Ryan talking to  Christine Spring.

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She is an engineer and  heads up two companies but her passion is photography. She went to a Global Women conference and serendipitously ended up sitting by the head of Unicef on a delayed flight home who invited her to Lebanon and the Syrian refugee camps there, (along with Sonny Bill Williams incidentally and I think, Mike McRoberts). The result of that was a photographic book called simply, Hope. Totally worth a listen.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201817548/christine-spring-hope

Skin in the game

It’s been a quiet week. I have a new nickname-Crash. Thanks Patsy. Yes I was in a hurry and no there was no alcohol involved. I “bounded”, sylph-like off a low concrete wall in my car park and did a flying leap into the concrete. I was wearing my glasses and they have graduated lenses so I’m using that as an excuse. Unfortunately I broke them as well as my watch.

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I looked a bit of a wreck but I am amazed at the properties of skin. I suppose that sounds really naive but horrible grazes and bruises have pretty much healed up over a week. Pride of course takes a little longer.

I have enjoyed painting a cabinet, hosting book club and have started knitting more frequently again. I have just finished The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. It was an easy, fun read and it got me all fired up about taking a canal trip in France. Anyone keen?

Friday is National Poetry Day so there are lots of events on around Auckland. I’m going to hear some readers at Point Chevalier Library on Saturday.

It got me browsing my poetry books and I came upon a book belonging to my late husband, Brett Gracie. He was an English teacher like me and loved poetry. The book was by Hone Tuwhare  and in 1998, by chance Hone was coming to Christchurch to do a reading and I was responsible for hosting him at home. Sam was 6 years old at the time and Hone signed Brett’s book for Sam. Finding that tonight and seeing Brett’s familiar signature and then the little inscription to Sam was quite poignant.

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As it seems to be raining so much I picked this short one to include in this post. His other poem Rain is probably his most read poem but I like this one, especially the line, “can bring a mountain weeping to its knees”

Reign Rain
Neither juggernaut
man
nor crawling thing
with saintliness and ease

can bring
a mountain weeping
to its knees
quicker than rain:

that demure leveller
ocean-blessed
cloud-sent
maker of plains

Hone Tuwhare

I remember hearing Hone say how magical it was as a little boy discovering the library . He couldn’t believe that he could just go in and choose books for free. Recently, a young teen living with her family in a van in South Auckland was on national radio saying she really wanted to get out library books but didn’t have an address.

Every now and then the ugly head of charging for library books raises its head. May it never happen. As a child in a family of 8 there would have been no way that I would have been able to read as a child without a library. To this day I can tell you exactly what the covers of the books I loved looked like: My Friend Flicker, The Yellow Fairy Book, Cammie Rides Again, Quarrelsome Queenie and on it goes. There was nothing tame about these stories. I would weep and snivel and fear the dark forests and the evil just around the corner. there was nothing tame about the faraway tree.  Apparently I cried when my mother was reading Noddy. It was probably those naughty goblins.

Mind you I was never keen on that monkey or the skittles. They might have been the precursors to my terror of clowns.

 

I remember walking down the hill to the library in a funny old Dunedin building with my pink library card and then lugging the books home again. I can only assume that some of my siblings were supervising but I don’t really remember that part. I loved that little machine that clicked and stamped the card with the date. There was always a slight anxiety that I might not get the book back on time and get fined. FG

I do remember being smacked for not listening to my father as I was completely lost in a book. I did it again recently on the ferry. The lovely young steward came up to me and quietly asked me if I was going back in to town. I looked up and everyone else had disembarked and I was still there reading my book. I felt a bit of a twit.

The joy of escaping into a book when all else is crumbling around you is fantastic. Long live libraries and poetry.

 

Finding a routine

I feel as though today is the first kind of “normal” day I have had in a long while. I want to get back in to a routine of some exercise, some writing, some knitting, some reading and some meditating.

However, I have spent the first 20 minutes gazing out the window. I like to watch the building progress and I have a good view of some from my kitchen window. (All men wearing shirts in this weather…)

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People often complain about the noise from the trucks but it really doesn’t bother me. I like to think people are out and about doing stuff even though I am totally blissed not doing that. I never get tired of waking on a Monday and knowing I don’t have to go to work. It’s not that work isn’t rewarding it’s just that I like to do my own stuff. Last night I knitted a little Alpaca hat for a friend at work who is pregnant.

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I also got out the Moosewood Cookbook. There might be a few nostalgic sighs of recognition out there. I made my favourite Gypsy Soup, perfect for a cold and rainy day. I had bought some quinoa and sprout sourdough from the Hobsonville Point Market market to go with it.

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I also went along to The Carer at the weekend. It was the perfect kind of film for a winter afternoon, satisfying, no violence or grimness and great acting on the whole. It is a fairly familiar story, think Me Before You or the The Untouchables but I liked it better than both of these. Maybe because I am a fan of King Lear. Brian Cox as Sir Michael Gifford is great and

Coco Konig as his carer is also compelling. It is all fairly predictable but  well, I like a happy ending.

My latest read was a good one too. Different, funny and interesting. I can’t tell you about it without revealing a critical plot twist so I’ll just leave it at that. Suffice to say it is weird but ultimately believable.

How can it be August? I seemed to have skipped June and July. I’m at the stage where I find myself looking at options in the sun. However, they involve long flights, snakes and spiders, terrorists or tsunamis. I think I’m becoming a bit feeble.

I think I’ll just comfort myself with a nice cup of tea.

Unfortunately so far the Olympics have passed me by. I struggle with golf as an Olympic sport, bring back the synchronised swimmers I say. Is it odd to you as well that you only ever see synchronised swimming at the Olympics?

I’ll leave you with my favourite Leunig’s Olympic comment. (Well they did it in cycling) Happy Monday FG

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Home sweet home number two

It’s been a busy few weeks. I managed to shift and put all the paintings and everything up in four day  before my visitor arrived for the film festival. I feel great being here as the size is more manageable. Things I’ve learnt:

I am never going to be a gardener– I love herbs for cooking though so the pots are perfect.

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I love wooden floors and they are much easier to clean than tiles

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I still have too much stuff even though I ditched a lot.

I dithered over my grandfather’s roll top desk as it was left to Sam in my father’s will. Sam showed nil interest in it and I just couldn’t store it so I ended up selling it to a local trader and giving the cash to Sam. I ditched some more stuff at the hospice including all my funny little books and teddy bears etc. I abandoned the lovely Beatrix Potter baby mugs and dishes as I never actually used them for fear of them being broken. Plastic rules with small children.  I still couldn’t abandon the Beatrix Potters though.

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That one open plan space is all I need. At my previous place I had two living rooms and one me. It wasn’t necessary and I love just heating this space and even better it has a void so the bedrooms upstairs are deliciously warm by bed time.

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I understood the advice to buy something that suits what you do most of the time.

I have a guest bedroom but no separate bathroom. Horror of horrors! ( A spare loo though). My guest and I managed perfectly well for her 5 day visit and now I don’t have another bathroom sitting there 90% of the time empty and needing dusting.

I like technology – my new appliances that came with the house are quite cool. Although I did have to replace some of my pots for the induction cook top. A lot to learn but I am actually reading the manual. Despite watching the video and programming the heated tiles I have had no luck so far though. So much for living simply.

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All in all, happily ensconced. It was a mission shifting again so soon and I feel a bit jaded but it is all done now.

I didn’t’ go to as many as films as I usually do as I was busy shifting but here are my one liners:

 Favourite

Obit. – – eccentric New York Times’ writers of the obituary column. Great doco.

Weirdest film 

Author: The JT LeRoy Story

http://www.thehollywoodnews.com/2016/06/02/author-the-jt-leroy-story-review/

So odd I couldn’t help watching. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

Film I went to sleep in –might have been good but I just couldn’t tell you. Neruda.

My latest Fluffy George poetry post was a bit of a mission as i decided the content warranted it being printed on cotton material. Here is the newsletter that went with it.

July 2016 Newsletter Fluffy George Postal Poems

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I wrote this month’s poem when I was thinking about all the women who were made to give up work when they got married, all the voices silenced by drudgery, all the poems and artworks and ideas and inventiveness lost in the day to day work that women have always done. I think of the kitchen drawers with string and cotton and safety pins and snatches of stories and poems among them.

I love Lauris Edmonds’ work. She died at the age of 75 and was the mother of six children, five of them daughters. I am also a huge admirer of Patricia Grace’s writing. While teaching and raising her seven children, Grace joined a writing club and began to publish her stories. How did they do that??

My own mother had six children and made all our clothes and washed, ironed and cooked endlessly. I can recall, in a heartbeat, the smell of the wooden stick that sloshed the clothes around in the grey water of the old washing machine. Her creativity was expressed through sewing as in the three lovely spotted dresses above. I suspect I wore handed-down spotted dresses for some time.  My mother had no ambitions, as far as I am aware, to write or paint.  I wonder how any of the women who had these ambitions ever had any time to themselves, to write, to think, to read?

I think of Sylvia Plath, on a day described by her mother as one darker than the rest, when she left her two toddlers in the other room and gassed herself in the oven. I wonder how things might have been different if some kind neighbour had popped in and taken the children to the park on that dreary London day.

Mary Wesley is my shining light. She published her first novel at 70 in 1983. Her family did not approve of her books. Her brother called what she wrote “filth” and her sister, with whom she was no longer on speaking terms, strongly objected to The Camomile Lawn, claiming that some of the characters were based on their parents.

Mary Wesley

Lauris Edmond

 

I have plenty of time but still manage to make excuses continually for just not getting on with writing; I have nothing but admiration for these women juggling all these things in their lives.

So this month’s poem is paying homage to all those women who wrote and dreamed and finally were published, or not. I think of all the work that may have simply gone up in smoke, or was trivialised or ignored, and never saw the light of day because of the time they lived and the society of men who decided what would or would not be allowed.

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Poem on cotton

All looks easy but my first print run meant the poem was in mirror image when ironed on… thanks to a friend and her Apple Mac she finally got it sorted for me.

Many years ago my late husband gave me a book entitled, A Book of Women Poets from Antiquity to Now, edited by Aliki Barnstone and Willis Barnstone.

In the section called Anonymous Songs from the 15th and 16th century there is a poem that has always made me smile, albeit still tinged with a little anguish. This young woman’s lyrics are surely the precursor to the modern song, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, by Cyndi Lauper.

Since I’m a girl

I want fun.

It won’t help God

For me to be a nun.

Since I’m a girl

With long hair

They want to dump me

In a convent.

It won’t help God

For me to be a nun.

Since I’m a girl

I want fun.

It won’t help God

For me to be a nun.

I don’t want to be a nun.

No.

I am a girl waking to love.

Leave me happy and daring

With my love.

I am a girl in pain.

No!

Possibly not as angelic and serenely content as it seems.

I really hope she didn’t have to become a nun and I hope she had a chance to be daring and happy.

Have a daring and happy week. FG