Where there is a will there is a way

Friday, November 25, 2016

Lifegiver - and the power of time

I wanted to post on the subject of working as a parent long ago - but something kept me from doing it.  I wanted to post a photo of a totally exhausted looking mom, black under the eyes - but I am glad I have had the full circle of the experience before sharing it.

When I first started working full-time, with two children, then 8 and 10, I first experienced the thrill of first fear of the challenge, then happiness at success when I did well.  At first I had a lot of stored energy and "hunger" (as they say in MMA).  I gave all my time and energy to my work to make sure I succeeded.  I felt great relief after years of looking for a "proper" job that I was fulfilling my potential after years of education and temporary jobs, building up my skills from home.  For the first time I was providing my own financial contribution to the family.  And, I was growing very quickly in the area of my future dreams (illustration).

But as time went on, I experienced some extreme tiredness at times - when you are working 110%  work and also at home to cook dinner (starting at 7pm) and keeping up with housework on the weekend - and then the guilt creeping in...

At first I did do it all, and well, but eventually my family relationships started to take strain as I spent all available time either at work.  My husband, the most independent one came last.  Definitely no time for friends and helping out in the community.  My family's home in time became more and more dingy and dark, with no Lifegiver giving it new spirit.

I discovered what being time-poor and financially better off was really like - not very glamorous.  Like having a great meal before you, but with no time to eat it.  Wasteful.  I bought quicker, more packaging intense foods (before I had spent heaps of time buying lower packaging / locally sourced food as possible  (e.g. bringing my own containers to whole food stores, my own containers to a butcher who can fill and weigh instead of buying meat in polystyrene trays at the grocery store).  Now that there was little time I sailed past the grocery store on the way home,  grabbing a few expensive things in a rush.  In those moments the needs of my family's survival in that time-poor environment broke my resolve to live better for the future.

I learned for the first time why many families don't take the time to think and make choices that preserve the environment.  Even when you are educated and aware, having no time (being in survival mode) wears you out so you just can't.

No energy to swim against the current, to find new paths - as I always had.  Energy to think..energy to fight.

I am so glad I know this now - the most difficult challenge of all - the choice of balance between making money for your family, and raising one.

In the end, in short - I took a vacation to see family, gathered energy and came back resolved to change my situation before I got worn down again.  I negotiated a more family friendly workweek (only had that courage as I was willing to take any job that allowed me to have more and time with family - even if it was a demotion).

To my surprise my work was accommodating.  I was then able to return my family to a healthy and fun balance when I was able to put my energy back into it (and my husband and I both had a newfound respect for the role of a mother in a family - Lifegiver, I call it).

I also realised the importance of time in people's choices of whether to spend their energy on conserving environment - whether they went out of their way to make new patterns, or to become more aware.  In a way a society which keeps people really busy protects itself from change - people don't have time to think - or grow gardens!  Or whatever...

Life works in mysterious ways. Although I will always feel sadness over any missed time sharing my children's magic childhood years - I am glad I have learned a key hurdle to people being able to make choices beyond everyday survival.  That is, to live in a way, which is (I think a very powerful word - which cannot be overused), sustainably...  for people to really fight for change - in their habits, in our choices, for our society to change we must first fight for balance and space to do so.

Two days ago with mischief I brought two little reusable containers to Sam's Butcher in Silverdale, and as the lady weighed the meat in them and I avoided buying two polystyrene (styrofoam) containers - my heart was ever so light.

These various interactions are small, but they are everyone - and everywhere.

I sincerely wish everyone luck in fighting for some of that golden precious time - life giving space.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The knitted bunny - a few knitting projects

A civilised bunny for a good person at my workplace (well, for her daughter).  you can take the clothes off - and put them on.  There is a special t-shirt under there too.  The jeans have pockets (and a tail-hole).  I wanted it to be fine enough for the recipient.

This has been the result of a long process of making and redesigning - the third bunny.

The first bunny was too goofy for the recipient - as I used rainbow wool for the actual bunny (in the final bunny was just used for jumper arms).  I gave this bunny for a super cute awesome girl I met where we bought our Netherland Dwarf bunnies for Troy and Lucan.  Pure spirit able to appreciate the bunny. 

I really liked this one - what happened was, the pattern (by Clare Garland) was a bit tricky - I lost where I was in the pattern - and actually the head was on backwards.  I was able to alter it into something else - cool - a sloth.  He was really a character guy - so I sent it to a little character niece - the very creative Breanna who lives in North Carolina.  I ended up knitting him a little jumper for when he needs that cuteness of ears.  Mistakes can be great!  And all the learning I did along the way - made me able to find the pattern easy in the end (as long as I don't drift off - it is tedious to follow a pattern!) 

Fun with silhouette fabric dyes (often used in Rarotonga)

After helping Phoebe dye her sheet - I experimented with the Silhouette dyes myself - they are a heatset dye that they use in Rarotonga - where the sun is hot (and here). You can place something on the fabric and it will be lighter where the object outine was - as the sun will help the dye take up more.

I placed branches and an outline of a branch was left -(my favourite) - even as the shadow moved along.

I placed leaves and the outline was left. The hands I did also dryb...rush around a hand stencil to make the outline stronger (I used a stencil as a child would not want to hold their hands still for hours) but the top leaf outline in the photo shows the effect of sun alone. Also some material I had scrunched up and left have wrinkle effects.

It was so fun!

The photos show the dyeing process (after this for Phoebe we cut out a P from upholstery fabric to create a P after the sheet was saturated), and the squares are for a quilted toybox cover I am making from the dyed cotton fabric.

Very cool to make hand stencils from your child hands and date it - I did this for Troy, Phoebe and Georgie.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Learning how to grow a natural, beautiful little garden with plants that attract good insects, crop rotation

I love growing a veggie garden - creating new life, connecting to nature - the cool magic in the garden (and bugs, smells, life). But then when the veggies are produced, it's almost an afterthought and I often don't know what to do with it.  Especially now that I am working full-time - there is only time to have a small, manageable patch.

I learning now to grow what I am going to use, keep it on the right scale - and to plant flowers and things which attract bees and insects which eat pests...like ladybugs. It is so fun! And I am keeping it very small scale so it's just ...fun to go out and snip spinach for a sandwich or dinner or whatever - or kale. Mint repels cabbage butterfly. Marigolds repel pests.

Chillies are easy to grow - and make into sauces and things, so I always grow them now.
Tomatoes shouldn't be planted too closely together AND a tip from my kiwi friend Bridget - never water the leaves, it causes mold and rotting - in this warm humid climate.

I am also cutting away any leaf right away with that white spotty fungus on it (powdery mildew) like courgette leaves - and pumpkin leaves. Then it doesn't spread. Nothing is worse than the wastefulness of suffering, pest ridden life when you are gardening!

I am also practicing crop rotation (prevents disease spreading, and different plants take different nutrients) never planting same type of plant twice, rotating through all 4 types of plants. Although - I started with the best of intentions with sections - but now there are just all these spots I am rotating - a little bit too random. Will need to plan a bit better next time.

Categories you need to rotate:

Group 1: Plants grown for LEAVES OR FLOWERS, such as: broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce...

Group 2: Plants grown for FRUITS such as: tomatoes, peppers, pumpkin, corn, cucumber, potatoes (are you not a root?!! oops learn something new every day)

Group 3: Plants grown for ROOTS such as: carrots, onions, beets

Group 4: Legumes that FEED THE SOIL such as: beans, peas,over crops (such as alfalfa or clover)
I am enjoying my small scale, productive, beautiful, little bit of nature. Learning what conditions the plants thrive.

I have also planted a heap of seedlings of plants that attract bees and beneficial insects (a mix from a special gardening lady at our raft race community day). And comfrey - it's deep root system means that leaves added to compost put minerals in there.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Rewrite the Rules - Ted Turner on Oprah's Master Class

Rewrite the Rules

These links are to Ted Turner's interview on Oprah Winfrey's Master Class series.  (He is the innovative person who started up CNN, the first 24 hour news channel.) 

The link is not allowing embedding so here they are. 

On Youtube, at 4.5 minutes in, "Rewrite the Rules":

On his website:

Fulltext coming soon - I love this clip of Ted Turner's thoughts.  Especially from 4.5 minutes in - about looking after planet Earth.

 i.e. He doesn't poison insects on his lands:  "When you kill insects, you are damaging the ecosystem very badly."  He has allowed natural predators to move back in, and on his extensive lands is allowing it to be natural again.

He feels as I felt, sadness about losing all the buffalo - when he found out - as I did.  He is a thinker.  I feel like we are very similar souls.

Here are his 10 Voluntary initiatives, "a new set of rules to play by" to replace the 10 Commandments. 

1. I promise to care for planet earth and all living things thereon, especially my fellow human beings

2. I promise to treat all persons everywhere with dignity, respect and friendliness

3. I promise to have no more than one or two children

4. I promise to use my best efforts to help save what is left of our natural world in its undisturbed state and to restore degraded areas

5. I promise to use as little of our non-renewable resources as possible

6. I promise to minimize my use of toxic chemicals, pesticides and other poisons and to encourage others to do the same

7. I promise to contribute to those less fortunate, to help them become self-sufficient and enjoy the benefits of a decent life including clean air, and water, adequate food, health care, housing, education and individual rights

8. I reject the use of force, in particular military force, and I support United Nations arbitration of international disputes

9. I support doing everything we can to reduce the dangers from nuclear biological or chemical weapons and ultimately the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction

10. I support the United Nations and its efforts to improve the conditions of the planet

11. I support clean renewable energy and a rapid move to eliminate carbon emissions

Feedback to my company about Enviro Day events it holds

Feeling refocused lately on matters such as this - sludgey efforts of many to become more sustainable.  Recently all the employees were asked for ideas about our company holding their Earth Day or Environmental events.  This is what I said:

I like the idea of the quiz.

1.     I think a huge part of eco living is the time we have to devote towards these things.  Especially with terrible traffic congestion problems of Auckland  The more we can have flexible working arrangements, the more we have time to care and put energy and thought in (instead of being too worn out to do so).  Things like going to bulk food stores, recycling properly, all a challenge if working full time.

2.     Improving transport would be an awesome thing for Downer to cooperate with.  Subsidised public transport, building a path out to that train station behind Kerrs Rd, promoting travelling less.

Those are obviously ideas for the environment, not for Downer’s events. But how can we promote those ends through the events?  Otherwise it’s just pointless having the events. 

I found the photo competition to be totally irrelevant to the environment, as it was judged upon photographic merit.  It has to be judged for sustainability value – either in documenting actions / or in new awareness about sustainability.

How about rewarding IDEAS on how either employees, or Downer, can become more sustainable?  And publishing the best ones?  Like that box competition but for enviro.

Why not teach about the areas which we are currently unsustainable – carbon pollution: transport of selves, buying local; zero waste: info/trips how to waste less, places to buy cool zero waste equipment like sandwich wrappers, or stainless steel, buying less crap, home gardens – education on why? Like plastic in oceans/

Etc etc

This all has to be fun and cool or it’s a no go.  There are really cool reusable nappies out there – really healthy, better alternatives for everything.  I think a Downer tips email which was done in a fun, loving, nonjudgemental way would be the best idea ever.


Nonavee Dale
Graphic Designer - Projects, Downer
New Zealand