Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

dutch pairLove, they say, is a many splendoured thing.

Sweethearts kissing is probably the first image that comes to mind!dec2010 147

But “Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward in the same direction”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I had another photo in mind, which perhaps suits the quote better, but I couldn’t find it.

However, they both portray a couple I don’t know enjoying the sight of sunset over the Indian Ocean together.

zoe and alexThen there’s filial love, the kind we share with our family and friends.

Zoe loved Alex before he was even born, and adored him afterwards.Alex and Zoe

Twenty years later, and he’s the biggest.

It’s a different love now, but love it is.


There are many other shades and varieties of love.

I love Indian food.

As Pa-lin said a few times last weekend, I (really) love Nirvana.

Love can also be vast and encompass all beings, as in the Buddhist practice of compassion.

And that’s the kind that I think there’s just too little of, and which I aim to cultivate in myself and encourage in others.



Introvert Holiday

I feel in need of a holiday, an introverts holiday, the kind where everyone else goes away, and I get to stay home by myself and do as I please as and when I want.self portrait

Stay up, sleep in, eat chili-mac three days in a row.

Catch up on cleaning, strip all the beds, clear space in the house and my head and set to work painting or making a book or sewing or all three, more or less at once.

Take the long walk to the post office and exchange a few sentences , just to be sure my voice still works.

Play music at all hours of the day and night.

Watch junk TV or no TV at all.

Dust, vacuum, daydream.

Put every thing in order.

Sleep on clean sheets and wake up when I feel like it.

Unplug the phone if I want to .

Let the wind blow through the house all day and read a whole book in a few days instead of in dribs and drabs over breakfast.

Enjoy myself.lazy lay-about

Be entirely selfish, because there is no-one else I need to consider.

Renew myself, because I am not giving anything away.

Five hours of solitude a day is not too much.

Half an hour is not nearly enough.

I am drained by the company of others, however much I enjoy it.

I am an introvert. I need time alone to be able to thrive, to feel alive, to be.

rainbow wave

True Confession.

I wrote this one day at work when filing articles-about-artists-in-the-permanent-collection had temporally palled, and I couldn’t face another one for a while.

It really is my idea of a holiday though, which is why I love this poem by Joseph Campbell, from his ‘Reflection on the Art of Living’.

It takes courage

to do what you want.

Other people

have a lot of plans for you.

Nobody wants you to do

what you want to do.

They want you to go on their trip

but you can do what you want.

I did. I went into the woods

and read for five years.



What about you? What’s your idea of a ‘holiday‘, where that means renewing yourself, rather than necessarily travelling somewhere?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

Mt William sunset

Here’s Mt William, the not-particularly-big mountain beyond the very small town where I live, and beyond the mountain, the crescent moon, far, far away.

Mt ShadwellHere is Mt Shadwell, the extremely-small-‘mountain’ beyond Mortlake. Those are mobile-phone towers on the top, so you can see how big it isn’t.

Mt HoodMt Hood, a real mountain, beyond Portland, Oregon. I took this photo from the beautiful Japanese garden during our trip-of-a-lifetime last year.Mt Rainier from Olympia

Beyond the lake, beyond Olympia, Washington, and beyond some sixty miles, Mt Rainier, another real mountain, looms into the sky.Hurricane Ridge from the ferry

Looking back toward Port Angeles, and beyond the town and the strait, the (real) mountains of the Olympic Peninsula dominate  the view from the ferry. You can probably tell which of these people have seen it over and over again and which are the tourists and travelers!


space needle by night

On the last night of our visit, I leaned out the hotel window just a little, to take this photo of the Space Needle, beyond the intervening buildings and streets. We had walked to the Seattle Center enough times to know the way, and one of these days, we plan to go beyond Australia’s shores once more and have another (better) look around the Pacific Northwest!

Memoria Merrilyn

me'n'mez 66

It is 21 years ago today since my sister Merrilyn died. She was 27, a bright, creative woman, an artist who loved animals and birds of all sorts. She died 5 weeks after her husband, Den, who died on their first, and only, wedding anniversary.
me'n'mez '69

I was eight and a half when she was born, the surprise extra child, making four of us, two boys, two girls. She was not yet ten when I got married, and , consequently, left home. I was just getting to know her as an adult when she, and Den, became ill, in the late eighties. A lot of people had become ill in the late eighties. It was the time of the Grim Reaper ads on TV.mez

At the time, HIV/AIDS was thought of as a disease of gay men (probably from San Francisco) and intravenous drug users.  It was not a disease of fairly ordinary heterosexuals from country Victoria. Or so we imagined.

Talk about the passion.

Den wanted to go public with their story, to make people aware of the possibility of heterosexual transmission of the AIDS virus, but he was too unwell, and died before it could happen.

The image above is of the quilt I made some years ago as a kind of memorial. There are three poems written on the back of it.

Birthday Obituary

I remember the pink and white bundle behind the glass,

I remember my sister at my mother’s breast;

I remember the last time I saw her, too.

Her head, bald from chemo, tied with a scarf;

Her dangly earrings, her grey goose eyes

That were almost empty,

But she squeezed my hand

As I drank her face for the last time here.

I remember the first time I saw her, and the last;

And in all the years since she left

I have learned to miss her less.

But I have only dreamed of her once,

When we climbed a hill together

And planned to cook a meal.

quilt detail

Missing Mez

I don’t see you any more

But in my thoughts

You are not so far away;

In many ways

you are nearer than before;

But I still miss you.


I’m glad that you were born,

I’m sorry that you’re gone;

Your life enriched

So many other lives,

And people don’t forget

That you have been here.

You might have done

So many other things,

Enriched more lives,

Enlightened other minds,

If you had stayed here.

But God reclaimed you

Although you were so young:

I’m sorry that you’re gone,

But I’m glad that I

Remember you.

quilt detail 2

The quilt was completed on the 12th of May 2000. I have dreamed of her again, though not often.

She never heard that Kurt Cobain quote -he must have said it after she died – but she would have wholeheartedly endorsed it if she had.

So it’s on her quilt, along with a lot of colour, and some beautiful fabric she’d bought to make a skirt and didn’t get the chance to finish.

“Death is not extinguishing the light:”

wrote Rabindranath Tagore,

“it is only putting out the lamp

because the dawn has come.”

I just read this essay by a boy from Belarus – maybe you’ll like it too-


illumination on illumination

LanternThe first photo of my Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination, is a close-up of this little paper lantern, more strongly lit from within. I more or less followed the instructions in the November/December issue of Cloth Paper Scissors (clothpaperscissors.com). Since I read the instructions, made a start, and then didn’t look back at said instructions until I’d nearly finished, mine is definitely my own version!lantern 2

It is made from one sheet of paper, folded and with a slit in the middle, and with four windows cut out and covered with something translucent. Decorate as desired, and put a light inside – battery tea-light recommended – although I guess you’d be safe with a small candle inside a glass votive cup – just don’t leave it unattended.

lantern 3If one used red paper and decorated with hearts etc, it would make a sweet valentine for someone, don’t you think?



Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination.

Lit from within


Well, the weekly photo challenge (dailypost.wordpress.com) subject for this week is “Illumination”, and I love to take pictures of light, so my only problem is choosing. The one above I actually took especially!
smokey sunrise

These next
three I scanned from old prints, taken in the good old days when I had a (working) SLR film camera, and a wonderful macro lens.  The smokey sunrise followed a ‘burn-off’ near our house, and the red sun almost nestling in the agave flower spike was too good to ignore.

heart full of light

This one was a result of playtime – no kids home . I covered the window to allow only one bright ray of sunshine to fall on a spot on the floor, and then fiddled with the wire and crystal hearts to get the effect of radiant illumination.

sunlit gem

A chunk of tumbled stone – the kind sold in hippy-shops   – placed in a bright ray of sunshine, once again, and acting as a crude lens, concentrating the brightness to a pool of illuminationApple blossom

Back to the digital, with it’s auto focus that doesn’t always obey me – hence the soft focus on the blossom. However, I still like the image for the soft illumination of the flowers and leaves. I think it’s quite evocative of spring.

Two Bills of Rights: Quotes

top shot

I just came across this list in one of my numerous notebooks. Unfortunately, I failed to add the source when I copied it into my book, so I apologise to the author, whoever he or she may be. It would appear that it comes from a book on ‘relationships’, of which there are many. Anyway, here it is…

“The right to goodwill from the other.

The right to emotional support.

The right to be heard by the other and to be responded to with courtesy.

The right to have your own view, even if your mate has a different view.

The right to have your feelings and experiences acknowledged as real.

The right to receive a sincere apology for any jokes you find offensive.

The right to clear and informative answers to questions that concern what is legitimately your business.

The right to live free from criticism and judgement.

The right to have your work and your interests spoken of with respect.

The right to encouragement.

The right to live free from emotional and physical threat.

The right to live free from angry outbursts and rage.

The right to be called by no name that devalues you.

The right to be respectfully asked rather than ordered.”

I would like to add that in claiming these rights, one must also accept the obligation to extend them to others. If we could manage such behaviour most of the time, we would go a long way towards countering the Dominator Culture that does so much damage to us, to society and to the Environment, which after all, is where we all live. Extend all those rights to the children in your care, and watch them bloom.

Hoya star

Wish I had known and understood all that forty years ago. Why don’t they teach it in school?!

At least this following list of Rights was given out to my middle son as a first -year Uni student. It’s been on the back of the toilet door for years, hopefully absorbed by osmosis…

“I claim the right…

1. to be treated with respect.

2. to have my own feelings and express them.

4. to be listened to and taken seriously.

5. to decide what is important to me.

6. to ask for what I want (others have the right to refuse).

7. to make mistakes and learn from them.

8. to control my own body.

9. to have some private place to call my own.

10. to take responsibility for my own choices, behaviour, thoughts and feelings.”


There is, of course, some overlap between these two lists, and the idea – and especially practice- of extending these rights to kids can be very challenging. How much leeway you can allow depends on the child’s age and abilities, but love and respect go a long way, and if you want to get them – first you give them out!

be the one


Peace and Love


Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolution

When I read the title of this weeks challenge, I couldn’t imagine anything that would represent ‘Resolution’, even though the New Year has only just begun, and there is much talk of resolutions! I don’t really make them myself, possibly because I’m too lazy. But the prompt suggested a photo that represents a resolution one has made, or even succeeded with, and I thought I could do that, even though my ongoing resolution to ‘be more creative’ isn’t a “New Year’s” one.Dream

So I’ve taken photo’s of a few pages in an altered book I made with the title ‘Escape” and the theme of ‘a creative life’. I guess ‘art journal’ also describes this work.Don't forget

Most of the original text has been obliterated, and replaced with ‘notes to self’ and inspiring quotes, which I am resolved to remember, and to act upon..Camus quote.BlissPassion.

And there’s my favourite quote again.Choose Kindness.Craft Cafe.

I’m not sure if it’s a resolution or just a crazy dream, but I hope to combine a few of my passions in a craft cafe one day…will  you resolve to come and have a cuppa with me when I do?!

Post a Day : Quote Me.

What’s my favourite quote? I’m one of those people (I know I’m not the only one) who keeps notebooks just to write quotes in, ie, I collect them by the dozen. Which means that choosing one favourite is quite a challenge! Do I really have to restrict myself to only one? I don’t think so , after all, Rules are made to be broken (is that a quote, or just an old saw?)

I have pulled out a couple of notebooks that were handy to the computer, and here’s the first one I found-

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”

Albert Einstein.

I particularly like this one, because it’s quite comforting at times to think that what seems to be reality is actually an illusion. Every day when ‘The News’ comes on, generally.

Next in the pile is this one-

“I have no interest in leading people along with some little “here’s what this is about”. Let them discover things on their own – let them decide what they think it’s about. It’s better. There’s a line in Lost Highway, the David Lynch movie, where Bill Pullman says he doesn’t like video cameras because he likes to remember things his own way. I think that’s really important. Music is communication, art is communication. But how it communicates and what you get out of it is anybody’s guess. If you listen to something and it moves you, it doesn’t have to be explained. Why should it. Maybe it’ll ruin it.”

Buzz Osborne, of the Melvins.

And in the next notebook down-

“Most of the lyrics are just like contradictions, and I’ll write a few sincere lines and then I’ll have to make fun of it with another line like I couldn’t be bothered, you know. I don’t like to make things too obvious because if it is too obvious it gets really stale. I s’pose you shouldn’t be in peoples faces 100% all of the time. We don’t mean to be really cryptic or, you know, mysterious, but I …just think that lyrics that are different and kind of weird and spacey paint a nice picture, you know – it’s just the way I like art.”

Kurt Cobain.

I’ve got another one somewhere from William Blake that says something similar – that he wouldn’t explain what his art ‘meant’, because he felt the viewer needed to work it out for themselves.  I too like art- and music- to be at least ‘interesting,’ if not ‘mysterious’, and I  have no desire to have it explained at length,or, as William Blake said, “elucidated”.

And there’s this quote, which I return to frequently and am inspired by in my work (and my cooking – I’ll never be cordon bleu) –

“Punk rock should mean freedom, like in accepting everything that you like, playing whatever you want, as sloppy as you want, as long as it’s good, and has passion“.

Kurt Cobain

Of course  I don’t restrict my sloppiness to Punk Rock.

I may have used this quote in my blog before .

I may use it again..Play with passion