15 January, 2017

Living out loud



I wrote recently about my wish to partake on a study of the word "wisdom" this year, but what I forgot to do is name this journey. I have gone on such a journey before, so I know it will not be a pleasant meander, but a messy battle.

Viola Davis talks about this messy battle of being an artist so beautifully. During her speech she quotes Emile Zola...

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud."

I realised that "living out loud" is exactly the road I wish to walk this year. So let it begin!

09 January, 2017

Behind your image...


The morning has risen / a lone bird sings outside my living room window / my work week begins / so grateful my calendar is full this month... self-employment is a constant flux between creative fire and sluggish despair / yet / so grateful / how precious / to explore all of the undulating nuanced landscape called life.



08 January, 2017

Promise to myself, my promise to you



The night after the US elections, I promised myself that I would not concern myself with American politics for the next four years. Nevertheless, I want to put this last video in my blog, and then I promise you, my dear and wonderful readers, no more commentary of any sorts about the going-ons in the White House ...

After this post, I will be able to refrain from following obsessively all the twittering and fluttering of the media. This does not mean I will not follow global news: just the other stuff that passes for news from across the ocean.

To this end, I tried to delete my FB account this morning. Only to find out that they only offer the option to "deactivate" my account. I am going to put my son who is a computer scientist and see whether he can't rectify the problem.

07 January, 2017

Wisdom

Years ago, at the beginning of a year I would take one word and plant it in my "heart's garden" to observe and explore the whole year through.


Eight years ago, the word was Trust. This year I decided on Wisdom.

My journey will be intellectual, philosophical, spiritual, and even scientific. It will span readings on the wisdom of crowds to the wise words of the desert mothers and fathers. I will research and study and contemplate and experiment Wisdom the year through.

If you have any suggestions for authors to read or directions my journey could take, please leave a comment.

01 January, 2017

Turning off my autopilot



This new year is going to be one of exploration and adventure... not one of trying to do things better, or becoming more healthy, or undoing past wrongs, or overcoming those constant fears and worries about the future (think Trump)... no, it is going to be about doing things differently... with love and tenderness, with tenacity and boldness.

31 December, 2016

Tar Barrel in Dale



A few years back I wrote about the group Unthanks and their New Year's song Tar Barrel in Dale. The song is lovely and inspiring...

"Throughout the year
When we sing this song
Old friends and new friends
Sing along.
May good fortune be with you,
From all sorrows refrain
Till that happy 
When we all meet again."



It is lovely to see the band has continued to grow and grow.

Happy New Year to all!

Gratitude


It has not been an easy year, this 2016! Last year a friend of mine, who knows something about Chinese Horoscope, said 2016 the Year of the Monkey, would mean a lot of trouble. And that is how it turned out!

2017 year is the Year of the Rooster. I am a rooster and so, I thought... hey, sounds good. But, after a perfunctory search, I found out this year does not bode well

So, instead of brooding about whether the next year is going to be unlucky, I decided rather to express my gratitude for all those persons and events that have made 2016 a better place to live.

I am so grateful..for my life companion (husband): you are the foundation of all my love and joy / to my son: who I am so proud of and wishing a good start in his first job after graduation, to my daughter: you are the sunshine of my existence and the bravest woman I know / Shae: so happy to be a part of your journey / 

friends: those near that lovingly share my day-to-day existence and those far (tiny island in the Philippines, Auckland, Singapore (now Sydney), Willimanstown, Montreal, Vancouver) who reach out over skype and bring joy from all over the world / to my refugee ladies: every conversation we have makes my heart grow / to Joan and Catalina: your art changed my thinking about what is possible and how even something temporary can be eternal / 

for the many trips I took this year / 

and lastly, to myself for being such a good Rooster (we are said to be beautiful, kind-hearted, hard-working, courageous, independent, humorous and honest.)

And to each and every one of you who read this post and have been such dear loyal readers all these years. A very very Happy New Year 2017!

21 December, 2016

Anticipation



Our (grown) daughter and son are both making their way home for the holidays from various parts of Germany!

No snow here in the north, but plenty of good cheer.

We've decided on doing a radically low-key Christmas this year. Parents get no presents. Children get three presents (one from mom, dad, and sibling). No tree. A few candles. Very few decorations. And plenty of music.

It's going to be fun to see if we still experience the Christmas spirit.

17 December, 2016

Walkie Talkie

Years ago, when the children were small, I had this need to escape the chaos of the house on occasion. Inevitably, I would end up calling a friend of mine who lived around the corner and ask her whether she wanted to go for a walk. My husband called what we did, walkie talkies, because there was a fair amount of both of these activities going on.

Here we are now, over twenty years later still sharing the daily going-ons. What a treasure a long friendship is.

(The photo above is taken just around the corner from where we live in the city.)

10 December, 2016

Everyone should be a mentor


I met Marie thirteen years ago, when I was working as a researcher at a university computer science research institute. She was 22 years old and she was very very pregnant. She was looking for a supervisor for her Diplom thesis (similar to a Master's).

I was delighted she asked me to be her mentor, but felt a bit of trepidation as to whether she could meet all the challenges of the next months. Four days later, she gave birth to her daughter. A further three weeks on, she successfully wrote all her final exams. She worked hard and completed her thesis with the highest mark a few months down the line.

Marie came to work with me on the project I was working on for a few years. She was amazing: diligent, flexible, pragmatic, but with a healthy portion of fantasy and silliness. It was a joy to work with her.

Eventually, she decided to move to Denmark with her partner and daughter, so her partner could do his PhD. She was 7 months pregnant at that time.  Within weeks, she found a job working as a researcher to help support the family. (Only in Denmark do they hire pregnant women!)  She gave birth to her second daughter. Continued to work and eventually started working on her own PhD.

Marie came to me whenever she needed some advice or a technical editor for her scientific papers. There were a lot of ups and downs in her life, which occasionally made it hard for her to keep her eye on completing her thesis.

Last week, she stayed with me for a few days, so I could help her prepare the defense of her doctorate. It is hard to describe the sense of fierce pride I felt when she called me a few days later to say she has it in the bag!



08 November, 2016

Dear American voters...



All the people in the world are sitting at the edge of our seats, hoping beyond home you make a momentous decision to elect the best qualified, highly dedicated, candidate out there. Please think about it...

03 November, 2016

A rogue ripple turned tidal wave...

We are all waiting on bated breath for the US to make a sensible decision. All of us living outside of the States, are sitting here helplessly and hoping beyond hope...



I have not wanted to post too many posts during this election. There has been such a glut of impassioned, hateful, hilarious reportage to choose from, but their message appeals to the more base side of my nature. So, I chose to watch passively for the tidal wave to pass over our heads.

Then I listened to this beautiful song written by Sara Bareilles and realised how important it is for us to get her message out there. She writes a story, as President Obama, about this historical moment in time. What an amazing storyteller she is. Please listen closely to the words she weaves so eloquently and Leslie Odom, Jr. sings as magic. 

We all, whether American or not, need to ask ourselves the question, "Is this the best we can be?". 

02 November, 2016

It's exciting to have the first mother in the White House



If you vote for Hilary you are ...

If you vote for Trump you are ...

If you don't vote for anybody, you are ...

14 October, 2016

A slow study of elegance



I don't often publish speeches from politicians or political figures on this blog. But, I enthusiastically do so this morning.

These last weeks and months have been scary ones. We are all waiting with trepidation for Americans to end this electoral escapade. We are hoping they will out-trump Trump, by voting Ms. Clinton into the presidency.

I don't believe the hate-mongering, misogyny, xenophobia, will then come to an end. Rather, the new government will have to face these forces face on. Every single day from now on.

Michelle Obama manages to appeal to our common need for decency and tell us that we need to refocus our efforts. I can not say how touched I was listening to her words. Her speech is not a confabulation of 140-characters of sound bites, but a slow study of elegance.

11 October, 2016

Dear Mister Shakespeare



"Phoebe Boswell riffs on her conflicted attitudes towards Othello in Dear MrShakespeare, which co-stars Ashley Thomas aka Bashy."


Do watch the other seven films in the British Council’s series Shakespeare Lives 2016. All are highly entertaining.

10 October, 2016

There is no single solution



Prince Ea combines history, science, and personal opinion to talk (rant) about our the short-comings of our educational system. Please watch. It is really a really satisfying rant and one that hopefully inspires you towards discourse.

09 October, 2016

I continued to fight...



"I continued to fight. That is what saved me."
Adolfo Kaminksy

This touching video is an adaptation from the book, Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger's Life It is written by Mr. Kaminsky's daughter Susan, who is also in the film. You can find out more The Times.

There is such a need at the moment for all of us, in whatever way possible, to fight for the refugees needing a safe haven. It is inspiring to know Mr. Kaminsky never stopped fighting to make sure the words, "all humans are created equal", are not empty words.  

03 October, 2016

Mother to her daughter



It saddens me greatly to see what an impossibly hard time Ms. Clinton has had during this campaign to be recognised as a strong candidate for president. As far as my memory goes, there has never been a presidential candidate in the last 30 years who has as much political experience and insight as she does. Not only does she understand what true challenges lie ahead of her as president, she has the connections and relationships to world leaders, and their respect, to handle the difficult years ahead.

It saddens me further to know how difficult it is for her and other women of power to make their true selves be known.

26 September, 2016

One more time



Clinton = Aspects were complicated, but not illegal
Trump = Unethically unprecedentedly compromised

May Americans please stop for one moment and listen one more time about the scandals following Clinton and those that should leave massive holes of doubt about Trump.