When you’re the older generation

Yesterday I visited someone who I had been fond of; a strong, sweet, determined woman. We’d been tangentially related by marriage for a time (too complicated, let’s not go there – and not my story to tell). I visited as part of seeing some relatives. Today she passed away in that sudden-but-not-totally-unexpected way the 90+ sometimes do.

She was, I think, the last of her generation in that family, and certainly mine. Mum and Dad had me at 40, so I sit between generations. All the same, when Mum died 6 years ago I became, at 48, one of the older generation in my family. A history keeper, story teller, someone meant to remember all the threads and be able to tie them together.

It’s not a role I felt ready for then, nor do I now. I love scrapbooking so I’m a history keeper and story-teller in that sense. But the “who used to live where” and what was great Uncle Whatsit’s son called?” is beyond me. I’m not good with genealogy or remembering how distant relatives tie in. If, in 40 years’ time, I’m the old lady in the rest home and my great-nieces and great-nephews come looking for answers, I hope Google is ready – because I won’t be…

Shirley – Mum and Dad were very fond of you. You were always kind to me, and welcoming. Rest well.



Being an adult means self-care

Self-care. It’s not all yoga, warm baths and getting your nails done with your bff. It can mean harder stuff, like cervical smears (thank goodness I don’t have to anymore), mammograms, exercising even when you don’t want to and a squillion other ‘not so fun’ things. 

A couple of years ago my Dr and I talked about a ‘thing’ on the side of my face. Should we cut it out? Well, maybe, but very near the nerve that controls your face, and also right by my ear so it would sound yuk! We opted to try a topical treatment used for cancer spots. Yeah nah!! It didn’t budge even a millimetre. 

I did what any sensible adult would do. I ignored it. Only now it’s got worse. I can hear my mother saying, “I told you so”.  

Trouble is a few years back I had a lump cut out of the back of my thigh. Five minute job, Cath, you’ll be fine. Except the Dr couldn’t get to the bottom of the lump and, 35 minutes in, had to inject more pain relief so he could keep digging. So, I have good reason to be a sook about it, kind of…


Anyway, just now I have logged onto managemyhealth and made an appointment with my fa Dr to get a referral to a skin specialist so it can be removed. Can anyone recommend a favourite brand of brave pills?


A little history, a lot of food

Tony can’t walk very far these days, so we plan things where we can sit a lot, take frequent breaks, and so on. Not that I’m all that mobile some days either! At least we can still enjoy good food together.

We slept in, then headed to Bordeaux for brunch. I had chicken and Camembert with cranberry, he had a ham, cheese & tomato loaded croissant. Tony had a lemon meringue tart. I got a chocolate one but didn’t eat it because it was quite solid, and I was expecting soft and gooey.

We went to Te Papa and checked out the new permanent exhibition, Te Taiao/ Nature. There was so much to love about it; diverse ways of presenting information, some amazing specimens, plenty to do and touch. I loved one very busy display that reminded me of a daft Victorian house … the photo of marine stuff with a dark grey background is one small section of it. The other thing I loved was that everything was bilingual, with Te Reo first – what a great signal about the value of our language. I could even read some bits for myself.

We also went through the Gallipoli exhibit too. I’ll blog about that when I’ve had more time to consider it. Suffice to say, Tony said he was pleased he’d seen it but wouldn’t do it again.

We went to Ombra for lunch – a tapa style restaurant with Venetian food. We had a tomato, mozzarella and stracciatella pizza which looked runny but was delicious. Followed by beef polpette on polenta with Gorgonzola mousse. Tony tried a fairly strong Italian beer, then a tiny and very strong short black. Then, just because we could, we had an orange pannacotta with honey and pistachio. Tony’s comment – I could come back here for dinner, it was just like being back in a Rome.

We went out to Porirua to the mall but neither of us likes shopping for the sake of it and, really, seen one mall, you’ve seen ’em all! Unless it’s a giant one in Dubai, I can’t be bothered these days.

Tonight we’ll probably go to Spruce Goose here in Island Bay, because there’s a Hurricanes game on at the CakeTin so going into town would probably be awful. Now Tony’s watching tv to rest and I’m fluffing round online. It’s been a good day so far.

A wee break

Tony and I are in a Wellington for two nights, Sandra and Bruno are petsitting Faith and Goldie. I’ve been away a bit but felt Tony and I needed a break together. The trip from Otaki to Lyall Bay was terribly slow but, as always, the view from the Airport Motel is great. Our room is teensy but we don’t expect to spend much time here so it doesn’t matter.

We had dinner at La Boca Loca. We started with Quesos Fundidos – baked cheeses with corn chips – one of my absolute favourites. Then I had a beef and mushroom burrito and Tony had pork tacos.  He had a mojito and I had a couple of sips…good thing I don’t drink  alcohol now. Then we shared churros with chocolate sauce – basically long deep fried donuts sipped in sugar and cinnamon. We finished with Mexican hot chocolate with orange liqueur and, again, I had a couple of sips.

We both love Mexican and had a good evening. Now we’re channel cruising while I blog. Happy Friday everyone.

Faith and trust

For the last two nights I have woken up and been able to smell a woman’s old-fashioned perfume – pansies or African violets maybe? And the smell of a man, from decades ago, who smoked, mixed with something else I couldn’t quite identify. My brother-in-law is a fragrance aficionado and strongly connects smells with memories. I thought I knew what I was smelling so asked him tonight, without saying why I was asking.

Sure enough, I’m describing Roger and Tony’s Mum and Dad. She wore Coty Lily of the Valley, he sometimes smoked a pipe. Tony helped me identify the rest of the smell, probably leather and leather work dyes etc. That feels right to me.

Why are they visiting us (me)? Not sure. Probably just to let me know they’re around and everything is ok with Tony.

Done in my large Dylusions journal. Inks: Slate grey, Crushed grape, After midnight, White linen. Paints: Crushed grape, Laidback lilac. Stencils: Shutters, Diamonds in the rough, Squares. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet. Other: Pitt Big Brush pen, Distress ink, Archival ink, Distress collage medium, white gel pen, black Uniball pen.

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Love is love

I talked with a friend today about love and friendship, and responded to a FaceBook post about gay and lesbian love. My comment, as always; love is love.

I sometimes comment to my staff that there’s infinite variety in the human condition. We don’t all share the same taste in music, shoes or tattoos, thank goodness. And we don’t all want the same things in a partner or lover – thank goodness again!

Tonight I talked to my brother-in-law about a past unrequited love, and the way his feelings for the person have changed over time. Sometimes passion is fleeting – burning bright then burning out – other passions transcend time and what life throws at us along the way.

Time and life’s challenges change us too. We age, get sick, need something different from our partners than when we were younger. That’s just life it’s ok. It’s still love.

You love a man? Great. A woman? Nice. A man *and* a woman? Good on you! If we spent more time loving others and less time worrying about what others do, the world might be a safer and happier place. Love is love.





A balancing act

Recently someone contacted me regarding the local newspaper and I felt the need to explain I have little spare time (not that they had pressured me at all – the need was in my own head). That said, my life is a bit of a juggling act, and I’m fortunate to have the support I need to keep the balance. Tony has always supported me to do my art and be involved in the wider library profession, and my family and friends support me in myriad ways.

What’s going on in my life? Here’s a snapshot of most, but not all, the things:

  • I work fulltime as Libraries & Cultural Services Manager at STDC; I manage 7 libraries, the museum and an arts position
  • I’m Chair of the Professional Registration Board with LIANZA, which means I’m also ex officio to the LIANZA Council
  • I’m 3/4 of the way through the Papa Reo course with Te Wananga o Aotearoa
  • I mentor a couple of librarians around the country
  • I have a month long art exhibition coming up October with the lovely and talented Dimmie
  • I travel for work, and art, fairly regularly
  • I teach art classes locally, and am teaching in the South Island in July
  • Tony and I publish the local monthly newspaper
  • I have some ongoing health issues, and am waiting on a 3rd MRI (2nd on my spine)
  • I’m a food addict and, following weight loss surgery, need to make sure I do the right things every single day
  • Tony has some serious ongoing health issues which are increasingly restrictive
  • Tony has PoA for his cousin who has dementia, and I support him in this

Don’t get me wrong – Tony and I have a good life; we’re fortunate and this busyness is my (our) choosing. But the health issues are an unwelcome complication that mean I make sure we both get enough rest, and there’s “uh oh” flexi-time built into our schedules. Taking anything else on just isn’t a goer for now.

Tony & I 20190504


I’ve got a friend who constantly wishes their live was different, but can’t quite take the steps needed to make the changes they want. They tried to change their life more than a year ago but didn’t fully commit to it, so of course it didn’t work out. I firmly believe the Universe can only act when we are 100% committed in words and actions. If we’re unclear, the Universe can’t act. So often, the things we want are quite ordinary and well within our grasp if only we’d step out in a mindset of trust.

This page was done in my Dina Wakley mixed media journal. Supplies: Golden fluid acrylics (Teal, Paynes Grey, Indian yellow, Alizarin crimson), Derwent Artbar, Stampendous Aged Embossing powder, Tim Holtz stencil, Ranger Distress collage medium, Pitt Big Brush pen (walnut), Tim Holtz collage words and figures.

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Years ago we did some training at work that included Johari’s Window. I won’t go into all the details, except to say it struck a chord and has stayed with me. I’m fairly open on social media but that doesn’t mean I share everything, just that I choose to share more than some might. Yet there *is* a hidden part – parts of me that I know and others don’t (or only a few people know).

Why don’t I share everything, given I share most things? Same reasons as for others, no doubt. Fear of judgement, of being made to feel wrong, that people won’t like or approve of the hidden parts of me. And, in today’s world of strong judgment via social media, fear of starting a “Twitter pile on”.

This is the last page in my small Dylusions journal; I have had such a great time filling it up. It’s ok, though, because I have lovely new one waiting in the cupboard!

Stamps: Dy’s alphabet, Heads n Tails. Stencils: Diamonds in the rough, Sugar lumps, Blocks. Paints: Polished jade, Lemon zest, Periwinkle blue. Other: Ranger Distress collage medium, Archival ink, Distress ink, white gel pen, clear alphabet stamps, Pitt Big Brush marker, black Uni pen.
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