28 October, 2009

Mood Picker Upper

I dare you not to smile!

27 October, 2009

Smart Design

Just love this minimalist nativity set by artist Oliver Fabel. The set is available in German and in English. Oddly, I was talking to my daughter yesterday about how much she is looking forward to Christmas. She does live in a household of Scrooges, which doesn't always make it easy for her to live out her Xmas fantasies. Unfortunately, she's not old enough to get the joke, if I was to give her this nativity set as a gift. It would cut too close to the bone of our inadequacies to fulfil her expectations.

24 October, 2009

Lost Luggage Claim #1

Loneliness and alone

Passenger’s Name
: Dr. Political Exil
Date: 06.06.1990
Point of Departure: outside the Damascus police headquarters after a 24-hour interrogation
Final Destiny: Lahti, Finland towards a vague promise of employment at the Lahti General Hospital

Listing of “Then” Luggage Content:

  • Certificate of General Medicine from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Stamped governmental form allowing Bulgarian citizen the permission to marry a foreigner from the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Marriage certificate issued by the civil status official who held the ceremony at the Sofia civil wedding hall
  • Wedding photo of bride, groom, mother-in-law, father-in-law and grim looking civil status official holding obligatory glasses filled with champagne
  • Airplane stub from flight back to Damascus, Syria
  • List of invited guests, who attended celebration of passenger’s return after finishing his 8 years of university studies in Bulgaria
  • Passenger’s grandmother’s engagement ring and gold bracelet presented to the young bride of her much-loved grandson to welcome his bride into their family
  • A map of Bulgaria with all the train routes drawn in detailed and miniature red flags pinned to all of the trains his father-in-law rode as chief locomotive driver in the national railway company.
  • Confirmation of a full-time position in the internal medicine department at the Central Hospital of Damascus
  • Copy of mother-in-law’s travel itinerary for her first visit to Damascus
  • Bank statement of available funding for down payment on their new home

Listing of “Now” Luggage Content:

  • Nightmarish memories of 24-hour interrogation at police headquarters
  • Unfathomable relief for being released temporarily, mixed with the dull certainty that the police would take him into custody again soon
  • Intense guilt, knowing that his wife’s premature labour was caused by her panic that he’d be taken and transported to one of the detention centres in northern Syria, never to be heard from again (as happened to three of his fellow students who studied with him in Bulgaria)
  • Joy and relief of the successful birth by caesarean of his darling daughter
  • The terror of having to leave the country 3 days later to avoid further interrogations
  • The endless tears shed by his parents and siblings upon the announcement of his departure; knowing he could no longer communicate with them for risk to their lives
  • The stone weight on his heart not knowing whether he would ever see his family again
  • A letter of intent from the head of administration at the Lathi General Hospital assuring the immigration authorities about their willingness to employ Dr. Political Exil
  • A letter of sponsorship from fellow Damascus doctor living in Lathi to immigration authorities

Passenger’s Complaint:

“Now” luggage piece became permanently lost when my wife stepped out of the train in Rostock, as it waited to board the ferry to Finland. She just needed a bit of fresh air, after being cramped in their train department for over three days while travelling through Europe. She was ignorant of the fact that by stepping on German soil she voided any possibility of us immigrating to Finland.

Officer’s Statement:

Passenger and family were transported back to Germany from Finland immediately after it was made known of passenger’s wife having stepped out of train in Rostock harbour. Passenger and family claimed political asylum. Luggage was lost at this time.

The following situation ensued: 6 years as political refugees, 8 years working as nurse on closed ward in a geriatric facility, 2 year re-qualification program of medical certification, 3 years of temporary hospital postings, recent entry into specialty studies at University Hospital of Rostock.

Luggage never retrieved. Claim case closed.

23 October, 2009

My friend, Ann

The reason that I love my childhood friend, Ann, is because while I am a porcupine in my extended family, a fierce mother bear in my immediate family, a chicken with my head cut off at work, but, Ann, she calls me a lamb. A lamb. What is nicer than that?

18 October, 2009

Not Gone as much as Not Available

Things are picking up with various projects. The funding for two further workshops in Kimilili at the end of the month is assured. We have two business and economic graduates, Millicent and Ericah, offering to be instructors for the two best business practice workshops in Kimilili, Kenya. We also are blessed to have two local supervisors, Wilfred and Samuel, to oversee the farming and garden training afternoon sessions.

My Lost Luggage series is in the works (new computer!).

As is various activities for a radio-dial-up mobile phone news update system, I have been working on for the last six months. So, please know that I may not be available at this time, but I am very much here!

15 October, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009


I remember a time when I could blissfully board a plane and fly down to the country of my heart, Grenada, or another country of my dreams on a whim. I remember a time when riding to work every day on my bicycle was an alternative lifestyle rather than a ecological political statement. There was a time when being a vegetarian was about salads and stir-fried vegetables and not about the environmentally wasteful complexities of producing meat. There were ocean crossings and long coastal cruises where I believed in the omnipotence of nature's divinity and punitive influnences of the human race.

Yet, in the proceeding decades so much has changed. So much is at risk. So many of us need to make sacrifices. We need to change our practices big and small. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all just stepped up to the plate. Why can't all of us; politicians, corporations, organizations, groups, family, and individuals, just study the wealth of information available and translate it into practice?

11 October, 2009

Glitch in the Works

My computer (MacPro) is having serious problems these days. It all started last year about this time, when I spilled a glass of bitter lemon over the laptop. Miraculously, after some "blow drying it while turning it upside down" it continued to work, though admittedly with some serious hiccups. I've been keeping my fingers crossed that the sticky keyboard and the kaputt DVD player were the only bugs. But, some major glitches have occurred. Most notably, my dear Photoshop program is not working, and thus my work on Lost Luggage collages is going to have to wait. Sorry guys, will let you know if anything changes (i.e., I win a lottery and can afford to buy and new laptop).

10 October, 2009

Rainy Autumn

Blue Sea

Rainy cold autumn weather. Brunch in my favourite café with a good friend and my kids to boot. Long leisurely conversation about everything and nothing. Sat an for hour watching the passing pedestrians wrestle with their umbrellas and wrestled with our own dilemma of whether we should order another pot of tea or brave the elements. Tea won out.

08 October, 2009

06 October, 2009

Lila Lily

Lila Lily

This is one of the last of my flower series. I have one, perhaps two, more and then I will start on my Lost Luggage series. It is, at least in my mind, taking on form.

04 October, 2009

Flash Warning


I just had an inspiration for another series of collages and related stories. It is called "Missing Luggage". It will probably take a week or so to set up (lots of work on the table at the moment), but hopefully it will be worth the wait. The idea stems out of a dream I had this morning,

The dream takes place in some terminal (border crossing, bus terminal, airport) where a mixture of people are given the task of identifying and claiming their luggage from a large pile of missing luggage. No one is allowed to leave the room until all pieces of luggage have been identified. The mystery is, all people in the room believe they checked in one piece of luggage, but they also, unknowingly, brought one more piece of hidden luggage along as well. On each luggage there is a tag “now” or “then”. Depending upon their traveler's frame of mind, they are willing, even eager to claim one piece of luggage. Conflicting emotions arise when each passenger finally realises, or is forced to claim, the second piece of luggage.

03 October, 2009

Victorian Lace

pink flowers

Can anyone tell me the name of this beautiful flower?

02 October, 2009


A few months ago, I saw the film above and it really tickled me, because we happen to know The Dude personally. He works at our local video store and he actually signs the stores slips with The Dude. I thought I would surprise him by ordering him a t-shirt of Dudeism.

So, after a bit of a search, I managed to find a site, chose him one in "serene green", paid by credit card, and entered in my address. The order was dutifully processed, the company sent a confirmation that the order went out, the money was booked from my band account... and that was the last I heard of the t-shirt.

After a month or so, I finally decided to tell The Dude about the t-shirt, which he though was nice gesture, and we philosophised that maybe the whole point of Dudeism is to order the t-shirt, pay for it, and not get it in the end. Detachment.

Yesterday, I learnt that the whole point of Dudeism is to order the t-shirt, pay for it, and not get it, and just when it has all left your mind, it appears on your doorstep. The address sticker on the envelope did not have any space for country, so in hand writing there is "USA", and then "S. Africa", and then mysteriously, an official German "Priority" sticker. The Dude has really gone global.