24 November 2010

on life

(Hoping that this is not breaking copyright, but there were no repercussions from my previous Adcock post so I will post the text with much respect for the poet and the poem).

A poem by one of my favourite poets, Fleur Adcock.

For a five year old

A snail is climbing up the window-sill
Into your room, after a night of rain.
You call me in to see and I explain
That it would be unkind to leave it there:
It might crawl to the floor; we must take care
That no one squashes it. You understand,
And carry it outside, with careful hand,
To eat a daffodil.
I see, then, that a kind of faith prevails:
Your gentleness is moulded still by words
From me, who have trapped mice and shot wild birds,
Your closest relatives and who purveyed
The harshest kind of truth to many another,
But that is how things are: I am your mother,
And we are kind to snails.

nothing is impossible

Some of you will remember my links to "Chris will Walk" - a young man who was badly injured in a swimming pool accident, paralysed, told that he would not walk again, and with a young family to support. Financial problems arose as he was not insured at the time of the accident. Family and community rallied around, but the most amazing effort was from Chris and his wife, Christy.

One year after the accident Chris walked in a community 5k race with his children, a race he had completed with them only a few days before his horrific accident. View the video on Youtube, or go to the Chris Will Walk website.

Today I am also very grateful for positive outcomes.

t u f f tough

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. That's what I learnt, a long time ago. A much loved friend, in her 70s at the time, used to tell me as I struggled balancing work, home, farm and a young family, that she and I were "Tough. T U F F Tough!" Bless you, Nana Jean. Yes, I am tough, t u f f tough. (Maybe not in capitals yet though!)

While it has had its highlights, this has been a really tough year. So much so that in November I am already looking forward to next year. I have even, occasionally, doubted the wisdom of my choice to live in this part of Italy, but I have never doubted the choice itself.

The biggest stresses and problems have all been the result of my big project, Legato. I have absolutely no doubt that it was right inviting all who were interested to participate, but oh how much easier it would have been for me if I had selected only a few artists and worked closely with them instead of accepting all-comers with the resulting problems, some of which continue with customs and the return of works. Still, I look back at comments on the blog and emails from families of veterans and I know that it was the right thing to do.

There have been days when I haven't felt so tough, when the road looked too long and my heart was weary. But a smile from a stranger, a kind word from a friend, a photo from overseas can turn the day around, put a spring in my step, pull my shoulders back and head upright, and on I go again. It is good to be strong, but wise to remember that we are all a little vulnerable too.

We get back what we put in to life. Truly sincere actions, coming from the heart, will always have a positive result. Sometimes it seems that the wait is too long, that the balance is unequal. It is then that we must remember that every action has a reaction, every good deed is passed on and eventually comes back to you, possibly in ways you couldn't possibly imagine. If it seems that there is too much paying forward happening in your life, that you are pouring too much of yourself out with no support coming inwards to keep you afloat, just picture what it will be like when all that you have done for others finally comes back to you!

Today I am grateful for time to think.

23 November 2010


Today a blog that I follow had an "it's over" notice. The blogging, that is. The blog writer had completed what she set out to do, run the races (literally) and decided that she was too busy living the rest of her life to blog about it. I'll miss the blog, but really, I spend too much time at the computer anyway. I'll certainly miss the blogger's witty and astute observations and prose though!

This coincided with notice of a comment on a post I had written in January this year. It always surprises me that people read my blog, and when they stumble upon an old post it surprises me more. Did it turn up in a random connection via google? Was someone actually READING my blog? Occasionally I stumble across one I like and have read back several months of posting. You can learn a lot about a person, but knowing how I write my own blog I know that only a tiny part of the story is put out there for the world to read.

I had noticed that I am too busy living life to write about it too, and that is a shame. The truth is, I like blogging. It is almost a kind of meditation for me. In those random moments during the day, walking the dogs, washing the dishes (who am I kidding, that's every three days), I enjoyed thinking about what I might write in the evenings. Now my evenings have disappeared, and I am not quite sure where. Learning and teaching and meetings take up at least four nights a week.

In my big re-evaluation of my days here I have decided that blogging is coming back into the picture. Exercise and reflective thinking are two essentials for me.

Today I am grateful for the people who take the time to read blogs and validate random bloggers like myself.

19 November 2010

christmas is coming

so you might need to know

how to get superglue off your hands!

Today I am grateful for helpful hints!

13 November 2010

meeting and greeting

Life keeps on changing, yet staying the same. There will always be new adventures, new people, new things to learn.

Today I am grateful for the new people who come into our lives.

9 November 2010

with folded arms

This evening, tucked up warmly with my computer, I am contemplating folded arms. No, not mine, and not here. In general.

We fold our arms to put up a barrier, to be defensive, to assert a position, to state that we are not budging in an argument. We fold them to keep warm. We fold them to establish an authoritative position.

I wonder, do we fold them more often in cold weather, giving out messages different from what we are really feeling? Or does our communicativeness close down in the winter months as well?

Body language is a favourite subject of mine, but I had almost forgotten that until watching a short video this morning. Here is a website which has some interesting observations about folded arms blocking and defending (read the section heading "Crossing").

Today I am grateful for arms that fold and hold.

5 November 2010

three months on...

Happy three months, little one. Miracles really do happen.

Love conquers all.


4 November 2010

nearly over them

I was enjoying picking olives. I am still mostly enjoying picking them. But now that there is a deadline to meet and the weather is changing and they are ready to press (booked them in at the press) I am soooo over picking them! Tomorrow, with a little help from cheerful worker, I hope that the trees will all be stripped. That means that I can get the crop pressed on Saturday, which is as late as I would want it done.

Somewhere between now and then I need to sift out most of the twigs and leaves, and have a presentable crop to take in.

Then I will need my wits about me. I am going to a different press this year, now that I know the owner and his wife. But it is big, and there were maybe twenty people there when I called in this evening. You stay with your crop, and don't let the progress out of your sight until the oil is made. In the smaller presses I had almost got it mastered, but this one was a bit overwhelming for me tonight. Oh dear, wish me luck on Saturday.

Then it is time to preserve the table olives. I have learnt how to do the oven "wilted" black olives, with hot peppers, garlic, mandarine zest and salt, preserved in sunflower oil. Last year it was the green ones split then treated with boiling water, with the addition of fennel seeds and garlic preserved in light oil. Next year I'll have to find another to try. I don't put them in brine, they are so cheap to buy it is not worth the effort. But the added extras are definitely worth doing.

Today I am grateful for a helping hand.