What is the pattern?

I’ve been thinking about the pattern of my days through the week, and trying to discern if there is one. Because I work every other week day, and every alternate Saturday, it takes longer than a week for any sequence to repeat (and then my job-share partner and I will probably alter it by swapping days around anyway).

Many years ago my days did follow a predictable pattern, but having a child and then getting sick changed all that.

But I don’t mind that there’s no discernible pattern to my days – I quite like the seeming randomness, and that only I know what’s coming next (as long as I look at the notes in my diary!).


It’s all good

I had such a good time with Master 4, Miss 2 and their mother on Friday. It was a welcome break in the middle of another day getting through more ‘to do’ list items.

One of the reasons it’s so refreshing being with young children is the enthusiasm with which they tackle things. They have no fear of making mistakes. As we were looking at the pictures in the story together I suggested “Find the picture on the wall,” to Miss 2. She pointed to the clock on the wall on another page. “Yes, that’s the clock. Can you find another picture on the wall?” In the end I had to point it out to her. Did that bother Miss 2? Not a bit. Beside us, Master 4 was doing some water painting. He was happily sloshing water around on the page, and the image was messily appearing. It didn’t worry him in the slightest that the green and the orange were merging – he was having fun!

What a wonderful lesson for ‘grown ups’!

Everything I ever needed to know about quilting…

… I learned from these women.

These are some of the members of my stitching group Village Quilters, who meet every Tuesday from 10am to 2pm. The meeting room we hire is part of a renovated church building and it’s lovely and light – just right for a craft involving decisions around colour and placement. I don’t know if it’s obvious to you, but when I look at this picture I see women sharing ideas and knowledge. Everyone is in conversation with someone else, and they may be discussing just about anything quilt-related, and a good deal that probably isn’t.

I have received advice on the colours of fabric that might look good, had my layouts rearranged (for the better) and learned how to join my quilt bindings with an almost-invisible diagonal join. I have had great discussions on books and have a long list of titles I now want to read; I know which current movies to see and which to avoid; and I have learned the recipe for lemonade scones. Above all I have learned that a group like this is a fantastic support network, caring and sharing love through quilts with its members, their families and the wider community.



Two prompts to cover today as I missed out on blogging time yesterday.

#5 was to think about the passage of time, and to look back or forward from the present moment while looking for today’s learning. I actually did both!

Ed was home for the day helping out. He’s always been a good helper:

March 2006 – Ed and Richard processing the timber from pines we had cut down.

The task we tackled today was labelling the new season’s bottles of olive oil, ready to supply our retail outlets and sell at markets. Before we got that far though, I needed to do the grocery shopping, and Ed tagged along, making himself useful throughout the process. Here he is loading the boot of the car:

It’s just possible that the chance to influence purchasing decisions may have provided some incentive to lend a hand (and caused the grin on Ed’s face)!

My learning for today – that we have been fortunate to have had Ed around to help with work on the property and business over the past six (and more) years; but the time is fast approaching when we’ll need to find other ways to manage the work flow.

#6 was to consider the things we are grateful for – big things and small. I have always been keen to approach life with “an attitude of gratitude” – but I realise that the short lists that I used to note at the bottom of my daily journal pages (three or four things I was thankful for from the day) haven’t figured for many months. I’m not sure why.

My learning for today: I want to resurrect that habit, and I’m going to start tonight.

Among the things I’m grateful for today are spring flowers – I love seeing the kowhai flowering and hearing the song of the tuis that flock to enjoy the nectar.

One step at a time

Putting one foot in front of the other is the only way to get to the top of a mountain (with snow, in November!). Taking the first step, and then another, and keeping going (moving forward) is what makes it happen, but it takes time.

In my life right now I think I need to do a bit more of the one step at a time thing. Today I made a list of the things I wanted  to do, and the things I needed to do. I crossed them off as I did them. At the end of the day there are still items remaining, but I got a lot further than I would have done without the guidance and motivation of the list.

Today’s lesson – make a list, highlight the top two and do them first, and then chip away at the rest, one by one.


Influential Teachers

Today’s task for Learn Something New Every Day was to consider the people who have taught us something that still influences our lives today. As suggested, I picked three and thought about what they taught me and what their lasting influences have been.

Miss Anderson was my Standard 3 (Year 5) teacher. At the time I thought she was about 100 but now I think she was probably in her early thirties when she taught me. She may not have been as old as I thought she was, but she was certainly very wise. I hold onto these three things she taught me:

  • read, read, read (she ‘fed’ me book after book, introducing me to Hugh Lofting, CS Lewis and Astrid Lindgren, among many others). I still love books and reading, and they are of course a key part of my job at the library.
  • the importance of content over presentation (I still remember her ‘B’ grade of my project, and the comment that the time I’d spent colouring the front page would have been better spent on the pages behind the cover). What a great lesson to learn so early in life.
  • when you have something hard to do, don’t put it off (naughtiness in our class was met with swift consequences – I don’t imagine it was easy to ‘strap’ children or withdraw privileges, but she didn’t falter – as a result, we all knew exactly where we stood).

Jim Thompson was my boss at the NZ Liquor Industry Council, where I worked as his PA for two and a half years from 1986 to 1988. From Jim I learned:

  • just about everything I know about the political process (this knowledge expanded and refined from ‘the other side’ when I worked for a government department and a CRI);
  • the importance of maintaining good networks – and that the work required pays dividends even when you least look for it
  • never to hesitate to pick up the phone and say hello, no matter how much time has passed since you last got together with the person you’re phoning; they’ll love to hear from you (Jim is the best at keeping in touch).

I was lucky enough to be present at Jim’s 80th birthday on Saturday – here’s a photo of Jim and his younger daughter Ann (Karl du Fresne in the background).

My Mum, who of course taught me lots of things, but the three I picked out especially are:

  • if you don’t know what to cook for dinner, cut up and fry an onion and the family will at least know you have started something. Mum was an excellent cook, especially for dinner parties, but day-to-day cooking didn’t thrill her so much – there’s so much else to do, after all. Her maxim is still at the heart of my cooking – just about everything begins with sauteed onions (or shallots, or leek)!
  • everyone is creative – and making things is enjoyable. Mum made many of the clothes she wore, and dresses and other garments for my sister and me. She was very clever in the way she altered patterns and added embellishments to make each item unique. I am sure I quilt and scrapbook because of her example.
  • it’s never too late to fulfil an ambition. After retiring Mum wrote short stories and was published in The People’s Friend as well as having a story read on the BBC. We were all so proud of her!