Monday, September 25, 2006

Bridal Veil Falls

On Saturday (while I was at the craft fair) DH took DS and had a Father-son bonding day. They went to Bridal Veil falls and a few other places. Apparently it all went well, and DS was a really good boy waiting for DH to take photos (of which there were many) and walking along most of the tracks without assistance. Considering he was up at 4am with the rest of us and didn't go back to sleep like I expected him to I was most impressed and relieved. Apart from his nappy falling out his trouser leg on some steep steps, there were no disasters! LOL!

Dh was pretty pleased with his photos too.

Happy husband + Co-operative son = good.

Here is one of the photos DH took.

27 Weeks

The latest belly pictures. Looking at the photos I have of me pregnant with DS I can say I am larger this time. Must be those lax stomach muscles since I was the same weight to start with both times.

Everything is going well. I did the 1 hour glucose test on Friday, and should hear about the results at my midwife appointment this week. I'm not concerned about it as I've not had any problems before with gestational diabetes. I'm meeting the back up midwife this time; hopefully she will be nice. So far I have escaped the constant heartburn I had with DS which is great. Still having problems with sciatica though. Stretching helps.

Monday, September 18, 2006

3rd Birthday

DS turned 3 on Sunday. I just can hardly believe it's been 3 years since he came into our lives. I remember thinking how strange it was to have another being in the house after being just a couple. I spent ages staring at him in his cot just trying to get into my head the fact he existed, that he is a mixture of DH and I.

He's such a precious gift. Oh of course he knows how to stretch my patience to the limit! If there is anyone who can "press my buttons" it is him! But I tell you ... what they say about mother bears and their offspring applies to humans too. If you hurt my kid - be prepared to die. I can't imagine our life without him now.

There is a lot I could write about him. How today he told me he had a puppy at home that was blue and "covered all over with spots". How he thinks the letter "T" belongs to him because his name starts with "T". When I'm typing he tells me, "Don't touch my name!".

I could go on, but instead I'll share some photos of him and his birthday cake. DS is obsessed with power tools. I asked him if he wanted a digger cake or a chainsaw cake. Mistake #1. Of course he chose the more difficult option! Note to self: When giving choices to children, make sure they are reasonable! LOL! Still I think it turned out fine, and it tasted good too. His look of delight when I showed it to him was reward in itself.

Answering my own Library Week challenge

I'm going to answer my own challenge by posting about the books I've read recently or am reading.

Climbing the mango trees : a memoir of a childhood in India / Madhur Jaffrey. London : Ebury, 2005.

This is Ms Jaffrey's autobiography, at least the first volume anyway. I really enjoyed it. She writes in an engaging manner, and I found the differences in her life growing up very interesting. Don't read this one when you're hungry though... I had to make indian food for most of the week while I was reading it. One part of the book covers her experience of the division of India into Pakistan/India. I never thought much about the affect of Partition on the general population in India. It's not something we study at school here so I've not had much exposure to that time in history in that area. That part of the book made me think a little about how effective it is for outside nations to try and solve the problems of anothers.

The last days of Dogtown: a novel
/Diamant, Anita.
New York : Scribner, 2005.

From the author of The Red Tent. I found this one harder to engage with. The story is about the characters from a dying town in "the sticks" and their interactions. It's well written in terms of language and all, but I just found I didn't really engage with it. The characters were interesting and there was sufficient conflict to keep my attention, but at the end of the book I was thinking, "So, what was the point?".
Perhaps the plot went over my head. Having said that, I'm now reading another of her books called Good Harbour ( Rockland, MA : Wheeler Pub., 2001) which I'm enjoying much more. It's about the relationship between 2 women. One of them has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing treatment. There's a few other skeletons lurking around her life too. The other is a writer struggling with writing, her teenage daughter and her marriage. I'm finding it a much more engaging read.

It's Library Week! Toot Toot!

Get Connected for Library Week 2006!

It's Library Week (18th Sept-24th Sept). Do you know where your local library is?

If you have small children you might like to take them along to New Zealand's Biggest Storytime. On Wednesday 20 September 2006, award-winning Margaret Mahy's “Down the Back of the Chair” will be read at libraries all across New Zealand. There is a colouring competition associated with it too. Information can be found here.

If you don't have kids then my challenges to you are:
1. Get connected to a new author! Visit the public library and take out a book by an author you've never read before. If you are unsure about which one to try, most public libraries have a Who else writes like: a reader's guide to fiction authors or a publication similar. You could also be guided by the genre stickers on a book's spine. OR - be brave and ask a librarian. You might be pleasantly surprised.
2. Get connected to your library's web presence! Visit your library's online catalogue from the safety of your own home. Did you know you can check your account this way? Or even place a hold on a book that is out or at another branch?
3. Get connected to your community! Libraries aren't just about books. Most public libraries have access to the databases Fundview and Breakout. If you are looking for funding for a community project, or a scholarship for studying then check out these databases. They can help you connect with some very useful sources of funding.
4. Get connected to other people via your reading! Write a review about the book you are reading or have recently read and post about it on your blog. Many people like to read what another has recommended. If you like the sound of someone else's book, then go and get it out of the library. Libraries have more than books though. Visit the video/DVD section, the music selection, the talking book collection too.

My parents have just bought a new house. One of the comments they made about it was
"Those people haven't a book in the house! We're going to put in a wall to floor bookshelf in the family room once we're in".
This made me sad. So many other pursuits and sources of entertainment take up people's time now. Many folks just don't connect with books or their libraries. In our family it has always been a major past time to read. Up until we were in our mid-teens we would regularly go to the library as a family, usually once a week, and often on a Friday night. I don't mean to sound pompous about this. But I do think reading, books and libraries are Good Things.

I'm so glad DS is turning into a keen book fan like myself and DH. Boys are often tricky to "get into books". But I think it is worth persevering with them for a number of reasons.
  • Firstly, we're still very much a "reading" culture when it comes to studying at school and most tertiary courses. If you're not able to cope with that, you can be compromised.
  • Secondly, as a form of quiet relaxation and escapism, reading is something that can be a lifeline in a busy, noisy world. Sure - boys (and everyone really) need to be active, out and about. Other forms of entertainment have their place and value. But there is value in the skill of taking time to be quiet and read, contemplate and relax. It doesn't have to be fiction. Boys often prefer real life stuff like biographies or non-fiction treatises on travel, technology, animals and so on.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Eventful past few days

This month is normally a busy one for me. Check out the line up:
  • Father's Day 3rd Sept
  • Youngest sister's birthday 3rd Sept
  • Middle sister's birthday 10th Sept
  • SIL's birthday 14th Sept
  • DS's birthday 17th Sept
  • 23rd Sept Pirongia Craft show where I'm helping a friend with a stall, and also making some things to sell at it
  • KS dessert recipe swap deadline 30th Sept *done, done, done!
  • plus have to make a tag book for my uber-boss who's retiring (Oct 6, but need to do it this month)
So you see why I didn't want another baby in Sept.

To make life more exciting, DS woke up last Wednesday with a spotty face and torso. He's had a cold and cough but no fever. I immediately went into chicken-pox-alert-mode and made an appointment with the Dr. By the time the appt time came (12 o'clock) the spots had gone, with the exception of one suspicious one under his arm. The poor Dr. of course couldn't definitely say if it was chicky pox. So we went home none the wiser, and I rang daycare to alert them to the potential.

As it turns out, I was worried all for nothing and now feel like the boy who cried wolf. DS buzzed around doing his normal nearly 3-yr-old stuff. No fever. No spots.

The problem is, I've never had it. I've been exposed a number of times, but Mr Varicella hasn't ever caught me. Being pregnant I had no desire to be a victim now so I got sent for a blood test. Just as well it was a false alarm because the results say I have no antibodies. So guess who'll be getting a jab once this baby is born!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Things that make me happy

Plum blossoms on our tree. The absence of bees is a bit of concern though. Might have to get out there with my soft bristle paint brush and pretend I've a stripy abdomen and pollinate some flowers!

More flowers indicating spring - this time broad beans...

DS's portrait of me!

My picture of him!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Creativity & the myth of talent

DH is a keen photographer, particularly of landscapes. You can see some of his work here.

He is a regular listener of the podcasts produced by Craig M. Tanner of the Radiant Vista website. Recent episodes of the podcasts (#13 & #14) have been discussing a more philosophical aspect of photography and this sparked a conversation with DH and I about creativity. This is something I'm interested in on a number of levels.
  1. For myself, I would like to increase my creativity levels in my scrapbooking and ultimately in the form of art. I have plans to take up painting or some form of fine art some time in the future.
  2. For my professional life. Creativity in the workplace is something I feel passionate about and would like to see more of, experience more of and initiate more of.
  3. To support my husband. DH is a creative person but his natural tendancies to depression and self-criticism often stifle his ability to move or progress.
  4. For my son & unborn child. Children are naturally creative and I'd like to encourage it. One of the reasons is that I see it as a great motivator in education and learning, which is something else I'm passionate about.

What is creativity? Is it something we are born with? Is it something we can cultivate?

I think there are people who have a natural talent for certain activities including creative things. But I also think it's possible to cultivate creativity or at least encourage it. I find that I have times when I don't feel creative at all. Sometimes it's because I'm afraid of my own inability to acheive what I see in my mind.

In the podcasts, Tanner goes through a "creativity ritual" that he believes will enable photographers to get more creative. It's interesting to note that one part of the ritual is to create a journal, and to write down a mission statement to guide the photographer through this process. He does get quite evangelical in these podcasts (edited to add: and some of it is IMO a bit woo woo), but they are interesting to listen to, and I think they are quite relevant to people who want to be more creative in their chosen hobby.

He's also written an article called The Myth of Talent.
In it he talks about the process he went through to become a professional photographer. Much of what he says is also relevant to people who want to become more creative.
Long term, committed, practice powered by the purpose of love leads to amazing
transformations. The bumbling beginner becomes the exalted expert. The trapped anddepressed become the liberated and empowered. So why do we so easily buy into thelimiting mythical idea about talent being nothing but a birthright?

I like this concept that by being productive, I will be able to be more creative ultimately.

He also refers to an article from Psychology Today.
I found much of this article useful. One quote I particularly liked was:

People often fall back in their efforts because they are afraid of making mistakes, which can be embarrassing, even humiliating. But if you take no chances and make no mistakes, you fail to learn, let alone do anything unusual or innovative.

Research suggests that creative people make more mistakes than their less imaginative peers. They are less proficient-it's just that they make more attempts than most others. They spin out more ideas, come up with more possibilities, generate more schemes. They win some; they lose some.

Other quotes I like from this article:

Playfulness and humour encourage creativity.


What we see every day becomes ordinary to us. People, sights, sounds, and smells seem to disappear from our awareness. They lose their distinctiveness. One way of dealing with this is to invent a brand-new pattern, a fresh way of seeing the commonplace.

o Begin with something as basic as water. The idea is to notice the number of times a day you come in contact with it and the extraordinary number of ways it appears in your life: from a hot shower or the delicate beads of mist on the leaves outside your window to the ice cubes clinking in your glass.

This technique of taking things out of their ordinary context and creating a new pattern for them is a way of making the familiar strange and opening them to a fresh and creative approach.

What do you think?

Monday, September 04, 2006

I like to move it move it!

Hee hee - can't resist these guys when I'm at the zoo. We went last weekend and a good time was had by all. Funnily enough DS was mostly fascinated by the rats at the children's zoo, but he did like the other animals as well. It's a shame that there were no tigers (coming this month) because he's very keen on them. He pretends to be one frequently. DH took a great pic of the new cheetahs which DS has now claimed and insisted it was put up on the wall in his room.

NB: Flickr seems to be playing up and won't display pics. Hopefully that will be fixed soon.

Friday, September 01, 2006

List all the things you like to do when you are alone

Another one from Alison...

1. Read
2. "Beauty treatments" - you know the sort of thing... moisturise all parts, pluck eyebrows, nails dadedah
3. Scrap or some sort of craft
3. Sleep
4. Have a bath

Sometimes cleaning the house is best done alone. Though I can't say I "like" to do that.