Monday, May 23, 2016

People with great passion can make the impossible happen....

I've written a few times about the Exchange where I work.
It's a lovely space, half cafe and half shared workspace.
I absolutely love working here and the people that share our space.
It feels like a privilege to be part of a place
where people are working do hard at their dreams
rather than financial gain.

Aliesha is the chef at the Exchange.
Aliesha has an amazing attitude which shines through everything she does.
She keeps an eye on every single detail of what happens at the cafe.
She flits about the cafe, checking up on people
and filling their water glasses.

Aliesha works harder than any person I know.
She can make something out of nothing.
I ate a salad once that consisted of cabbage, carrot and seeds
and it was the nicest thing I've eaten in forever.

There is something so different about seeing someone 
who is genuinely passionate about their work.
It flavours their attitude to everything that they do.
And it inspires you to be the best that you can as well.

You can't really stagger into work after morning school drop off
and roll your eyes at starting work for the day
when Aliesha has been there since before the day begun
and greets you with a smile and the smell of fresh baking.
People with passion inject enthusiasm into your day.

Aliesha, keep doing what you are doing so well.
We love you (and your food) xoxox

Sunday, May 22, 2016

a thought or two on self care....

Last week I was bleating to my doctor
on how I was still feeling like shit.

She patiently explained how once your iron stores go very low
it takes a long time for them to get better.

The funny (not funny) thing is that I hadn't realised how bad I was feeling
until it got to the point where I started falling asleep
every time I sat down. 

Silly me. 

Anyway, slowly (very slowly) the iron tablets are working
and I'm starting to feel like me again.

I even asked my friend John for a copy of one of his new patterns
and started sewing on the weekend.

It felt so good to be being creative again.

There is something about mindlessly chain sewing pieces
that makes all the pieces in my head fall back into place.

And then for a side benefit, 
there is something pretty to see after my weekend's stitching.

So the learning is:
 If you have been feeling like shite for more than three weeks,
you should probably talk to someone about it.

Don't leave it for more than three months. 
It takes a long (long) time to get back up to speed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

RIP Renee

On Sunday a beautiful young woman died a horrible death
and her badly damaged body was found on the banks of the Rakaia River.

I do not know her at all. 
But I do know that Renee was a daughter, a sister, a friend.
A girl who had a lot of life to live
and who was busy trying to balance what she wanted from life
and how to get there.

She did not deserve to die.

But the thing that is making me very angry right now,
is that the media is only remembering her
by what they think her day-job was.

That is the only identification they are giving.
Her job was not illegal,
it is a hard, sad job, the oldest profession in the world
and there are many reasons that people work it.

Let's not judge Renee for her work
Let's not make a call about how she died,
It is this judgemental attitude which allows
 the perpetration of violence to continue.

Why don't we stop it right now,
and remember a beautiful life which was taken with violently
rather than identify and judge someone for something
they definitely would not have chosen as a life path.

Renee is not just Renee-the sex worker,
she is Renee the person just beginning her life.

RIP Renee

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Step with care and great tact, and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Dr. Seuss

This weekend I stayed home.
I was so tired after the first two weeks of the school term
that I just couldn't think or be creative because my brain
was so tired and my body was too!

I spent quality time lying on the sofa drinking cups of tea and 
eating Griffins Gingernuts (there are no other kinds)

I vacuumed the house, cleaned the bathrooms
and sorted the kitchen drawers.

I lay on the sofa and admired the light coming in the windows.
I hung more things on the walls.

I opened all the windows and doors and let the fresh air in.

I baked a cake.
And then ate a piece warm from the oven with ice cream.

And then I lay on the sofa some more.

It was just what I needed.
This morning when we got up,
the lunches were made, the dishes were done
and we got out the door with the minimum of fuss.
Here's to a quiet weekend, it makes a great start to the week!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Seeing the world through Preston's eyes....

As I have mentioned before both here and on Instagram,
I share a space at the Exchange in Christchurch.
It is a large, light space, half cafe and half shared work space.

I absolutely love it. It feels good coming here to work.
I love that we all like each other.
We are all working on our individual projects
but it is good just to have other people around you also working on projects.

Sometimes we all work away quietly as individuals
and sometimes we have a laugh and a chat as a group.

There's a good vibe here.

Recently Preston joined the Exchange as the Operator
(in other words the guy who knows how to operate all the stuff
including the heater).

He's from America and full of enthusiasm and joy.

Sometimes I wonder what Preston thinks as he watches us at work.
None of us are making our fortunes yet {apart from maybe Liam}
all of us are pretty much scrabbling around to earn enough money to make ends meet.
There was a bit of a laugh the other day
about how we are all running not-for-profit organisations!

Preston comes from a country which has everything,
from a city full of inspiration and art in North Carolina.

To the Exchange. 
Where passionate, but poor people
are creating stuff with their bare hands and rescued materials.

I sometimes think that we are giving Preston a skewed view
of what we do here. Really we are not representative of corporate
New Zealand!! or even probably of running small businesses in New Zealand.

But then I thought, perhaps it doesn't matter.
Preston is getting to see people everyday,
who have sacrificed financial stability to follow their dreams.

It's probably not a bad thing to see the world through Preston's eyes right now.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. [Newt Gingrich]

Sometimes you can keep all the balls in the air
and flit from one thing to another with no problem at all.

And other days you drag your sorry butt out of bed
and feel like its an achievement when you get showered and dressed.

Most of the time, life is somewhere in between.
 We get things done and it is all good.

I have noticed that sometimes you can just push yourself a little bit more
and finish off your to-do list. It's a great feeling.

And then other times, you push yourself that little bit more
and all you do is get grumpy and irritable.

The trick is knowing when to keep pushing 
and when to just go home at the end of the day,
lie on the sofa with a glass of wine
and know that all that stuff will be waiting for you tomorrow.

Today is a wine day.
And that's ok. The to-do list will wait till tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

a few thoughts on being a full time single parent and working

I regard myself as unbelievably fortunate to be able to do work that I love while having flexibility to be with my children when they need me. The five of us agree that the best thing is for me to be there for the younger children after school and in the holidays and the older kids support me in this where they can.

Choosing to work part time has a direct impact on our lives. Money is very tight. There is a direct correlation between the hours I bill and what we eat, the things we do and how we try and make ends meet. I feel a lot of pressure to somehow balance these needs. I do not always succeed.

But even though this is so hard, so so hard; it is still worth it to be able to really be there for the kids. These last school holidays we have shifted into our new house, we got sick and the kids have come with me to work. I could not wish for better kids to have with me. They are quiet and well behaved and interact politely with the adults we share the space with.

I won't lie. It is challenging to write creatively, keep projects on track and communicate with my clients while sharpening pencils, handing out food, monitoring screen time and listening to stories. But it is not just on me. James has been off work with a wrist injury and has been around a bit for us. Sylvia who shares a space at the Exchange where we work, gives Annie pencils and talks to her about the drawings. Justin the Architect is endlessly patient when Annie talks to him.

It takes a village to raise a child. And that is ok. I'm hoping that when these younger kids of mine grow up, they will look back and have good memories of interesting people doing interesting things all around them. I think this is a great way to grow up. It's not what I planned, but it's still ok.