Tuesday, March 31, 2009



Photo-Adam Knott

Patricia Piccinini has shown in her Tasmanian exhibition, Evolution, that she possesses a fertile imagination.

Piccinini uses her art to explore genetic engineering and the blurred line between the natural and the artificial. She creates freaks of nature imbued with a disarming humanity.

The Long Awaited

The Foundling

Bodyguard for the Golden Helmeted Honeyeater

Surrogate for the Northern Hairynosed Wombat

Surrogate for the Northern Hairynosed Wombat

Piccinini says that she sees herself as an atypical artist - not observing the world from the outside but feeling it within.

The world hits me, it bowls me over, and art is my way of responding.

The Family


Information sourced from article by Drew Warne-Smith writing in The Weekend Australian.


Monday, March 30, 2009

The Nakasendo Way * Part 3


We have one last thing to do before we head off on the Nakasendo Walk.

We have arranged to spend the day with Johnny Hillwalker, aka Hajimi Hirooka.
Johnny Hillwalker is going to guide us around the inner city of Kyoto so that we can learn more about the culture, the history and the artisans for which this town is famous.

Here he is telling us about the origins of the Nintendo company which began with the manufacture of playing cards like this one here that Johnny gave me.

Hanafuda cards - The name literally translates as flower cards

In 1889, Fusajiro Yamauchi founded Nintendo Koppai for the purposes of producing and selling hand-crafted Hanafuda cards painted on mulberry tree bark. Though it took a while to catch on, soon the Yakuza began using Hanafuda cards in their gambling parlors, and card games became popular in Japan again.

Nintendo is also the majority owner of the Seattle Mariners, a Major League Baseball team in Seattle.

The name Nintendo means Leave luck to Heaven .

The entrance gate to the Higashi Honganji Temple

Johnny's walk begins at the Higashi Honganji Temple, that other LARGE BUILDING that I made reference to last walk. This temple has only recently re-opened after the entire tile roof was replaced. The previous 59,387 tiles were too heavy for the roof structure to support and the roof had become a safety issue.

In a new underground extension to the temple I noticed a plaque on the wall saying:

All the things
we've taken for granted
upon reflection,
wonderfully perfect.

Johnny's walk took us to a bead making store, a fan maker, a shinto shrine and cemetery, the old geisha tea house area and all along the way my camera found beautiful flowers to capture.

How reluctantly
the bee emerges from deep
within the peony


Now we can't leave Kyoto without a quick glimpse at the wonderful garden
behind the Heian shrine.

But we must take extra care when crossing these stepping stones.

Now it's time to have a refreshing cup of green tea...

to wash our hair

pack our belongings,

and have a good rest

because next time we begin walking The Nakasendo Way in earnest.

And we have a long road ahead of us.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

12 Good Reasons to be Thankful for Getting Older


Recently Reya, at The Gold Puppy discussed getting older and what age range now constitutes middle age.
The post made me wonder why getting older has such a bitter taste to it for many people.

What is wrong with getting old? I commented on Reya's blog that I had dozens of good reasons for enjoying getting older.

Later I thought that perhaps I should put my money where my mouth was and set about to articulate some of those reasons. I quickly found the following, and I couldn't stop at just 12 reasons...

If you too are of a certain age and are enjoying getting older, please share with me your reasons for feeling that way...


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Dear Renee



The Mean Mother


Sitting beside the computer is a framed copy of a drawing my eldest daughter drew at kindergarten. Looking at it the other day I was reminded of the Meanest Mother story.

My mothering began in the late 70s. Somewhere at that time I found a copy of the Meanest Mother story written in 1967, which many of you will know.

Each time I admonished the kids for small infractions or cajoled them to co-operate and they grumped I would use the broken record technique and spout...

"But don't you know by now that I am the meanest mother in the world."

Recently I came across the story again on the internet and I was surprised at how dated the content has become. I was going to include it here but while some of the article still has merit, much of it is obsolete.

My children have turned into sensible, reliable, happy, settled adults with partners and jobs and hopes for the future. But best of all, even though she was the meanest mother in the world they love and respect their Mother.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Love Orchid - Leaping Through Life


I am Caucasian, born in New Zealand to parents of Scottish and English descent. My husband is Caucasian, born in New Zealand to parents of English descent. Our three oldest children have inherited our physiology, intelligence, mannerisms, foibles and personality traits in varying degrees.

Our fourth child does not have a trace of our genetic material.

Our youngest child was a gift. A gift of Love.
One of the most profound gifts that can ever be given.
The gift of a new born life.

The one hundred days celebration photo

Our daughter was named Ae-Ran by her birth-mother. We chose to keep her name because none of the names on our short list seemed to match her personality and appearance and also because the name has a beautiful meaning.
Ae-Ran is Korean for Love Orchid.

In retrospect we are extremely glad that we kept her Christian birth name because it is one tangible link that our daughter has with her past.

Foster Mother Mrs Kim, 1990

Our daughter was in the care of a foster mother for the first four months of her life until our paperwork was completed and we were able to travel to Seoul to collect her.

There are no words to describe the receiving of a gift of a baby.

Our first contact with our daughter took place in the office of the adoption agency in Seoul.
Her foster-mother had brought her into the building strapped onto her back in the traditional manner. As they entered the room Ae-Ran rolled her head and shoulders around her foster mother's back to take in the scene.
We were met with a pair of beautiful big brown eyes set in an angelic face
and knew that we had been blessed.

This daughter of ours has leapt her way through life giving the entire family
love and joy and treasure beyond imagining.

Her kindergarten class third birthday, dressed in her hanbok,
a present from her foster mother.

Look how quickly she grew...

at age nine...

then to become a gymnast of state calibre.

Competing on the floor and balance beam

learning to surf

With Foster Mother - Visiting Seoul in 2006

Kyongbok Palace Seoul

and now ready to leap out of the nest and into the future of her own making...

a beautiful Love Orchid...