31 January 2011

new beginnings

2011 is shaping up to be a year of big changes. Members of my family are moving countries, starting new jobs, facing new challenges.

I am at a crossroad wondering which path to take... the one less travelled has greater challenges, and maybe that is the direction I shall head.

A series of unrelated but life-changing events over the past few weeks has me going back to review my core values, my decision making and my attitude to life hour by hour.

On my computer is research information that is exciting for true historians. I find it interesting, but not so exciting. I enjoy contemplating events that shape us as people, but for the purpose of understanding the end result, not for the history itself. I think I am more a sociologist than an ethnologist, humanitarian more than reformer, and historically have been more pacifist than activist.



Perhaps it is time to have a voice, to be more active, to stand up and be counted.

Takes a deep breath, looks at life through the chink of an opening door, and says to herself (not quite believing it yet) "Go on, you can do it!"

Today I am grateful for the people who believe in me.

29 January 2011

the air that i breathe

There was a lot of traffic in Bethlehem tonight. No, not camels. Painted house buses and fancy cars, lots of folk on foot... all to hear the Hollies in concert at Mills Reef Winery.

The weather was blustery but the rain had gone. I was happy to listen from the comfort of home, although the music did pull me to the window several times.

The Hollies may not have had too many hits in their day, but there were some goodies floating over the road and up to the window. "All I Need is the Air that I Breathe", "Bus Stop", and many other toe-tapping tunes. I would love to put them here for you, links to Youtube, but I am on limited internet so you will just have to find them all yourself. (Now linked, thanks Sarah!)

Today I am grateful for dancing music.

27 January 2011

what makes an identity?

Occasionally I am pulled up and reminded that I am a New Zealander through and through. Yesterday two waiata had me softly singing along, appreciating every gentle note. Today a powerful haka reminded me that the haka is so much more than an opener for a sports match.

Driving the roads and admiring the scenery doesn't do it for me. I am a tourist in my own land, wrestling with memories and missing my Italian home. I enjoy the music of the Italian anthem, and of course the wonderful opera and other concerts make me grateful that I am there.

I appreciate my interesting and challenging life, but will never be really Italian. In New Zealand I'll always be a pakeha New Zealander, but Maori music and dance in an emotion-charged setting stirs me right to my core.

Today I am grateful for my cultural heritage.

17 January 2011

time out

Occasionally it is good to just stop, and look at some of the things that inspire you. One such is the watercolours of the late Andrew Wyeth. I don't have time to paint myself right now, but I can feed on the images that I admire.

Here is one such image, simple, powerful and so beautifully executed with a limited palette.

An artist's blog took me to more images that enthrall.

I am torn between writing and painting, and each must wait its turn. For now curating the two new exhibitions and writing the Legato blog take precedence, and then it will be time to paint again.

Today I am grateful for vivid imaginations in creative people.

16 January 2011

beautiful sunday

It's been "one out of the box"... one of several in fact. Glorious days that feel like spring, but appreciated all the more because winter still could well have a sting in its tail. This afternoon a beautiful moon hovered over the rocky hill face where the rock climbers were out in huge numbers. (How do I get photos from cell phone to computer?)

There is still more to do than hours to do it in, but I am getting better at cutting things off the list and appreciating each day for what it is.

I am really wanting to write, to get lost in words, to create. It is time, but there is no real time until a few more things are sorted. For now my head must remain the creative playground while my hands do other work.

I saw on facebook a comment about someone being bored. I don't think I have ever been bored in my life. How lucky am I to have such a mix of peaceful contentment and exciting challenges.

Today I am grateful for having wonderful things to do.

14 January 2011

to sleep or wait...

The tall one is competing in Challenge Wanaka. It's hard to stop being a mother sometimes. Ah well, it looks like a night for haunting the computer, maybe I'll catch up on some chores between race updates. Or doze off curled up in a blanket to keep warm, more likely!

Today I am grateful for my healthy family.

between skype and emails

I barely seem to have left the computer!

Thank goodness for skype; not only for calling my family, seeing my beautiful grandchildren as they grow and learn, and staying in touch with friends, but in these recent days also for talking to people in NZ arranging the next exhibition. Gmail videochat picks up where Skype isn't an option, and I marvel at how, the time of day not withstanding, I am able to keep in touch and work towards goals for projects which are quite literally on the other side of the world!

I have just noticed, on my exercise beat between the computer and the kettle, that Zacchi is stretched out in a sunbeam, head turned to the house, hoping against hope that I will take the rubbish out soon and walk him at least as far as the skip bins. It's that kind of day; it really does feel like spring, even though logic says there will be another cold snap just around the corner.

The birds are chirping so happily, a full chorus of them, dogs are yapping in the distance, and everything else is calm. The sun reaches well into the kitchen, and it is truly a delightful feeling of peace... uh oh, as I wrote that someone started up a chainsaw, but seemingly changed their mind about using it. It is siesta time, after all.

Yes, winter is still with us. But the day has that lovely crisp feeling that I tend to associate with autumn rugby fields - I can't believe I just wrote that, here in my Italian village! But you know what I mean, I am sure, those days when the sun is wonderful but not at full force, the air is crisp, and it is a pleasure to be alive, out in it, boots on to keep warm but face exposed to the elements.

Today I am grateful for a feeling of tranquility and peace.

12 January 2011

morning comment

It's Wednesday morning, and the sun is streaming in. Zacchi is standing soaking it up on the doorstep. I've ticked off a few more jobs and even tidied myself up a bit.

A comment on a skype call from a friend had me review my recent blogs. Some of them do sound a bit down and negative, perhaps, but in fact it is important to have balance. If I told you that life was just one long series of paintings, concerts, pasta and festas I would be leading you astray.

Life IS one long series of concerts, pasta, festas, visits and visitors, with a little bit of painting when I can squeeze it in. But it is also cold marble floors, steps and cobblestones, power cuts and mail going missing, ringing out the oily rag and waiting for the sun to shine when the skies are grey.

Life is friends, family and fun. It can also be difficult, frustrating and lonely. But I have choices, and I choose to work my way through the difficult patches and stay here to appreciate the wonderful parts.

Life is good, and as my language skills improve it is getting better. I like a challenge, and I love learning. Teaching English slows down my Italian, but gives me other pleasures and a means of support. It does interrupt what I would really like to be doing, and sometimes I forget to be grateful for it and indeed resent it a little. But it puts money on my phone, petrol in my car, and brings internet to my computer.

I guess I am a little frustrated that over the winter I have been less efficient, and am behind my own schedule. But, as a wonderful person once said (the editor of Angle and my daughter) "If it were not for the last minute, nothing would ever get done" (or words to that effect). I find that the "last minute rush" is a very effective way of identifying your real priorities! Some things, in the grander scheme of things, really didn't NEED to be done!

Today is all we have in this life. And here, with the sun shining, Legato works all but sorted, food in the freezer and a list of urgent jobs as long as the page is, I'm assessing my priorities again and think I will turn off the computer, and put the list where I can't see it. Not on the list, but most urgent, is getting the dogs to help me put the washing out and then take me for a walk.

Today I am grateful for caring friends.

11 January 2011

stronger every day

Occasionally there are challenges that take a bit of adjusting to. I faced one such challenge this week, and momentarily questioned my sanity. Why on earth did I choose to live in a culture so different from mine, where I am still struggling to speak the language and cultural differences seem bigger, not smaller, the longer I stay here? Perhaps summers in Godzone are on the agenda?

But this passes very quickly, and a walk around the village, the view out the studio window or a kind word from a friend reassures me that really, I am doing OK. I stretch my vocab further, I review actions and reactions, I count my blessings and I know that I am where I am meant to be.

Besides, what would Zacchi do if I spent too much time away from home? Pickle, little food lover, adores whoever brings her treats, but deep down Zacchi has only one mistress, and to reassure me of that he is becoming increasingly obedient. I no longer have to say "outside" but merely point to the door and he trots out, puts on the most woeful expression, and pulls at my heart-strings.

Pickle and I need to watch our food intake. We have both made the most of winter! I see lots of walking ahead of us... now to find a choke-chain so she doesn't pull me off stride. A visiting friend showed me a trick with her lead that is helping a lot so walks are less stressful for me.

Life! It's interesting, no doubt about it. I'd like to think that challenges keep me young and alert...

Today I am grateful that I am a capable and independent Kiwi ex-pat.

8 January 2011


I am grateful for love, life and my wonderful friends.

6 January 2011


The last few emails between Italy and artists organising the destination of artworks are being sent. The last few trips to the post office (one hopes) and the last few decisions about what to show and what to keep in Italy for another exhibition are being made. The gallery now has four groupings of works of varying size and weight, and no matter how I look at it the now orderly packing is going to be overweight when I get it to check-in.

Legato is a full time job. Sigh. But somehow, one step at a time, I will get there. Today I have a helping hand to pack, and every work must be photographed as it goes into the crate so I am ready for customs.

In the meantime there are eight more blogposts to write so that all artists have been mentioned more-or-less equally on the blog.

Stop procrastinating, Kay, there is work to be done!

Today I am grateful for daylight at the end of the tunnel.

4 January 2011

making progress

Starting to tick off a few jobs for Legato that I had hoped to have done by the end of last year. The new self-imposed deadline is to have them done by La Befana, so I don't get a lump of coal...

Today I am grateful for feeling connected.

1 January 2011

it's 1-1-11

Happy New Year. Bubbly, chocolate, music and the computer. Two little dogs barking at the fireworks that continue nearly two hours after midnight...

No resolutions, just lots of hope that things started in 2010 will come to wonderful and exciting fruition...

Today I am grateful for a feeling of calm optimism.