30th Post for November

At the beginning of this month, I decided to challenge myself to make a post every day for November. I thought this would be relatively easy in Perth, where the internet is fast and the pace of life is slow ( for those on baby-time, any way). For the day I flew home I scheduled my post ( once Zoe told me how to do that…). Now I’m home, trying to re-adjust to time zone and duties, and sloooow internet – and I’m kind of relieved that this is the last day of my self-set challenge. There’s so much to do in the garden, for starters…

Shirley Poppy

This ethereal beauty is growing beside the back door step. I’ve taken dozens of photos of poppies – more every spring – but they are so lovely, and so variable, that I don’t think I’ll ever tire of them. Plus they self-sow, er, generously,  and once you’ve got them, you will always have them somewhere you didn’t especially want them. And that somewhere, will often turn out to be the perfect spot – if only you’d known… I hate having to pull out seedlings, because…What if it’s a really special one – an unusual pink, or double, or white instead of red, or pink and white and double? And I’ll never know.

Friday Poem: Master Song

Bill's pageThere are some poets
Whom I would wish
To kneel and kiss
Their holy feet,
As a student at
My master’s feet.

There are some poets,
If I had the chance,
I’d want to kiss
Their sacred hands;
A reverence,
A thank-you kiss;
I would not kiss them
On their lips.

There are some poets-
Leonard Cohen is one-
Whose light is bright
In the Tower of Song,
Whose feet I’d kiss
As a chela would
The teacher they’d waited for
All along.

The photo for today’s post was supposed to be of a section of my poetry book shelf, but my computer wasn’t in the mood…and I don’t have time for dealing with it’s hissy fit, so Bill’s page in my Sukie’s Life’s Journey scrap book it will have to be…

I  now have sponges that must be filled,

and a play to go to before I sleep…

Daily Prompt: To Boldly Go…3 Quotes

Today’s Daily Prompt asks us to think about the coming year, giving rise to reflection and goal setting – what bold plans we may have. I’m not much good at the “lose weight/get fit/learn to jive etc” style of resolution. My resolve may be to sit in cafes fomenting revolution of the peaceful kind, hinted at in these three quotes…Tara -embodiment of compassion

“What we are teaches  the child more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become.”

Joseph Chilton Pearce

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

Pema Chodron

“A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated and diminished, when others are tortured and oppressed.”

Desmond Tutu

Being what I want my society to become, embodying as much as I can compassion and Ubunto seems especially important in the current political climate in Australia. Policies on education, asylum seekers, the oppressed generally are rapidly devolving. There is little that any one person can do against this tide of uncaring, only stand up and repeat “Not in my name – never, ever in my name.”

My goal is to stand up.


Weekly Photography Challenge: Unexpected

One more post for this weeks challenge…My garden looks like Sleeping Beauty’s castle grounds. I’ve been away for 11 weeks of spring, and although it’s been unusually cold here, everything has sprung up in the time-honoured manner. Usually I spend at least half an hour a day on keeping things in order, and, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting my husband to apply himself in the same way. He’s not ‘A Gardener’. But I wasn’t expecting the paths to be so overgrown as they are…

I’ve already filled the wheel barrow, and made some piles…lots more to go, but it’s a bit warm today. I’m (sensibly) not keen on wading through long grass when I can’t see what else is in there. Neighbours have had snaky visitors, we might too…

It’s not all weeds and reptile-havens, though. I gathered these flowers as well. spring bouquet

Weekly Photography Challenge: Unexpected II

By the time this post appears, I’ll be well on my way back home. So this will be a quick one,  magically published sometime on the 26th, in order to keep up my ‘post-a-day’ for November challenge. Not everyone would find these chips “unexpected”, but for me…I was so amazed that anyone had thought of such a thing, I just had to whip out my camera, there and then. Fishy chips



Last Post From Perth

This is my last day in Perth – maybe  ever. I’ll have no particular reason to visit once Zoe, Matt and Juniper have moved Over East.

So, this morning I took a last walk up Hobart Street, around by Hobert Deli to post some letters, past all the now-familiar gardens with their roses and bougainvillea, across Shakespeare Street with the thick-trunked old peppermints marching down the sides of the road, past the now completely desiccated Halloween pumpkin, still on it’s fencepost, all the way to the greengrocer’s shop, for a last punnet of luscious local strawberries.frangipane

In the just-under eleven weeks I’ve been here, I’ve used up a whole bottle of dish-wash, hung out, brought in, folded dozens of nappies/diapers (and changed a few…), enjoyed coffees in cafes ( but less than one a day…), eaten an (almost) vegan diet, and made two dresses and six pairs of overalls for Juniper. I’ve filled a hand-made book with images and mementos of my stay, taken lots of photos, haunted the op-shop/thrift store, made 51 blog posts and made a Sukie’s Original page on Facebook (please ‘like’!).Alas, poor pumpkin...

In short, I’ve had a good time, getting to know baby Juniper, watching her distinct personality begin to unfold.She sleeps, sometimes

Tomorrow morning (indecently early in my opinion), I have to get up and go to the airport, and get on a plane back to Melbourne, then catch the shuttle bus to Southern Cross Station, then a train to Ararat (I hope) where my husband will be waiting to pick me up. Back to ‘normal’, whatever that is…..Steeples

Daily Prompt: Playtime








The daily prompt for today is “play” – what does play mean to you, what do you do? My play this week has been making pairs of  little over-alls (which are sometimes called ‘playsuits ‘) for Juniper. It’s been hot here in Perth, so any more than a nappy/diaper and a whisp of cotton is too much for a small baby. They should fit her for another month or so…

Last year, I had a lot of fun playtime making this beaded goddess – something that had a long, long lead up time while I collected the necessary pieces. Making it was a lot of fun, and photographing it was more playtime again. I wanted an image to put on a Christmas card, and figuring out how and where to get what I wanted occupied the best part of a day (off and on).

Children’s play is all about figuring out how things work – physically and socially – and no matter how trivial it seems to us, it is vital for their development and their understanding of the world. That’s why I’m passionate about not fencing growing minds in with baseless gender stereotypes. I don’t want my granddaughter (or yours, for that matter) to believe at age four that girls are limited to pink shoes and cupcakes (and the boys can’t share them), any more than I want little boys to get the idea that only mummies have what it takes to care for children. And I want grown-ups to feel free to play as pointlessly and  significantly as children.Juniper


Weekly Photography Challenge: Unexpected

This weeks photography challenge is “Unexpected”. Today we went along to a West Australian Handmade and Designer Market (Christmas is coming!), and I took the camera along, in hopes of spotting “the unexpected”.  We saw lots of fabulous work, and collected a few business cards for future reference, but I didn’t take photos of stalls. I did however, snap a few shots of the Christmassy entertainment – very tall angels, a clown wearing tiny Converse shoes on her stilts, and Santa himself, dressed for Perth’s weather. Unexpectedly, he was in a hurry to be somewhere else, and nearly dived out of the shot…

If you are in Perth on Sunday 8th December, there’s another one…I’ll be back in Victoria, at the Ararat Farmer’s Market.


Friday Poem: At the Bodhi Tree

I’ve spent quite a lot of time in The Bodhi Tree Bookstore And Cafe, a few blocks from my daughter’s house. Its the perfect place to go and write, whatever I’m writing – to-do lists, drafts of blog posts, poems…There’s coffee for fuel, and shelves of books for inspiration. I’ve been here in Perth for over 10 weeks, and I haven’t been there every day for coffee (or a pot of chai)… I’ve eaten several Portuguese tarts (yum), bought a couple of the hundreds of books*, written so much and so often that one of the girls asked me about it.( I gave her one of my postcards, with my blog address on the back). I wish I could transport the whole place home with me next week…
Coffee at the Bodhi TreeHere in the coffee house
my cup of coffee
Crowned with a heart
Rich and warm
Surrounded by books
A clatter of crockery
And a babble of conversations
One at every table
Weaving and murmuring, bubbling
Each distinct yet all together
Some formal, some casual,
Some mute – such as that
Between my notebook
And myself.

There are, to date, no cafe’s handy to my home in a ‘rural village’, but my plan is to recreate a tiny corner of ‘Bodhi Tree-ness” somewhere at home, and settle there with a cup of something and a trusty notebook for around half an hour on most days. I have the books, I have the cups – just need a little table and the right spot!

*The books I’ve bought- and read –

 James Geary’s I Is An Other – The Secret Life Of Metaphor And How It Shapes The Way We See The World

and John Medina’s Brain Rules For Baby – How To Raise A Smart And Happy Child From Zero To Five


I don’t know what Kurt Cobain understood by “empathy” when he signed off his last note with “peace love Empathy”, and it’s too late to ask. But in the almost twenty years since, the importance of empathy, it’s place  in our evolution and central role in human happiness, is becoming increasingly clear. It has gone from an airy-fairy and slightly suspect notion to being well-researched and of primary importance.art box

I’ve been reading “Brain Rules For Baby – How To Raise a Smart And Happy Child From Zero To Five”, by Dr John Medina. His number-one rule for growing baby’s brain during pregnancy? Empathy practised between the parents. And his Brain Rules for after baby is born include breastfeeding, no TV for two years, and Empathy.

Happy parents = happy baby = smart baby.

Empathy as defined by “growing and robust research literature” means:
Affect Detection – see the emotion in the other
Imaginative transposition – know how they feel
Boundary Formation – know it’s not you

Medina advises making empathy a reflex in your primary relationship – making a habit of describing  the emotional changes you think you see, and making a guess at where they came from . It only takes a few seconds. Then carry on as you wish. You will wish to be kinder than you might otherwise have been. Empathy reduces hostility, on both sides of the equation.

“Along with the ability to regulate emotions, the ability to perceive the needs of another person and respond with empathy plays a huge role in your…social competence…Empathy makes good friends. To have empathy, you…must cultivate the ability to peer inside the psychological interior of someone else, accurately comprehend that persons behavioural reward and punishment systems, then respond with kindness and understanding. The outward push of empathy helps cement people to each other, providing long term stability in their interactions.” (My italics)

Brain rules For Baby – How To Raise a Smart And Happy Child From Zero To Five”

Dr John Medina

Empathy might be a newish idea, but it has always been present in the human brain – we can know that because other mammals display empathy. I wonder what else is waiting to be found once someone thinks to look for it?