Monthly Archives: June 2015

Tired

 

I am tired.

Tired :(

Tired ūüė¶

Tired from a miserable cold,

but, most of all, tired of the lacklustre thinking which pervades  social policies, and by implication economic policies. I am tired of a welfare system which is itself tired and past its use by date, and is plain. just. not. working for the benefit of us all. I am tired of policies which divide us into deserving and undeserving,  and which are more concerned about balance sheets  than supporting real needs. I am tired of a system which has a built-in  unemployment rate, and  which then adversely judges the unfortunate unemployed or unemployable. In that number I count my daughter who is too unwell to work, and my sister who saves the State thousands and thousands of dollars a year by voluntarily caring for our elderly parents. [ Yet, social and economic policies deem them  both worthy of only a pittance for their living costs and well-being.]

In the US, we have just seen a landmark decision which confirms people are equal in love. Before I die ( let that be a long way off! ), I would LOVE to see that same unconditional, equal LOVE¬† extended to¬† decisions which confirm we are equal in our right to a basic guaranteed (living) income; which confirm we are equal in our right to be free of the gnawing¬† anxiety of how we will pay for the necessaries of¬† life. ( You may say I’m a dreamer… ūüėČ )

How this can be achieved I am not sure,  but one way  which is currently being researched  is the Basic Income Guarantee. My nephew writes about this concept in his excellent, thought-provoking  post,  Money for Free, http://radicalblues.com/2015/06/27/money-for-free/

His post begins ” Check out this great new documentary on Basic Income (BI) from Dutch current affairs program Backlight. ….The documentary presents a series of vignettes on BI that provide a good sense of what‚Äôs been tried in the past, what‚Äôs being done today and what might be possible in the future.”

And if the idea of BI seems too radical or too preposterous,¬† here’s a little reminder that one of the most important books of¬† the 20th century, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, was made possible because the author¬† was given a year’s guaranteed income, so she could complete her novel.

Okay, time to stop sniffling about tiredness ; time to sit in the sun and have another cuppa, and re-energise. Oh, but one thing which makes me less tired is knowing  there are young people in the world who care about achieving justice in our societies.

© silkannthreades

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Welcome, stars of the New Year

If you were to look at a New Zealand calendar, there’s a good chance you would see 18 June marked as Matariki ~ 18 June being the official start of Aotearoa’s New Year. I have written previously about Matariki, the traditional Maori New Year and its connection to the star cluster, Pleiades, as well as its connection to¬† my life.¬† You can find the post at this link.

https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/matariki-and-my-mothers-birthday/

This New Year, instead of a re-hash of my own limited knowledge of Matariki,¬† I¬† invite you to join me over at Juliet Batten’s¬† blog, http://www.julietbatten.co.nz/musing-on-matariki/ , where you can see the wonder of one of New Zealand’s own seasonal events through a different pair of eyes.¬† Juliet is the author of¬† ‘Celebrating the Southern Seasons, Rituals for Aotearoa’. In her book, she writes with wisdom and clarity about our inherited ( Pakeha )¬† festivals, and how we can attune them to the seasons of New Zealand, and the traditional observances of the Maori calendar.

Despite Juliet’s clear instructions¬† on locating Matariki in¬† our southern skies ( “start with Orion, move diagonally down to the left, past Taurus and look low” ), I have failed to do so: mostly because I am functionally illiterate when it comes to reading the stars, but also because, this year, the weather has, so far, been distinctly unhelpful. Like this, in fact, ~soggy ~

Soggy boggy rhubarb

Soggy boggy rhubarb

with both night and day cloaking themselves in the same dark, dense, water-logged fabric.

Now, whilst I may be failing at star-craft and Pleiades-tracking, I have¬† spotted the return of another visitor, this Matariki. It’s none other than SOFIA, the ultra sophisticated and ultra modern star-gazer, from afar.

Sofia, a stratospheric observatory, is a joint venture  between Nasa and the German Aerospace Centre and will be based in Christchurch until July 24th. There will be 18 missions during the six-week deployment, each lasting ten hours. Although the main focus this year is Pluto, I am sure the crew on Sofia will get some fine glimpses of the Pleiades.

This is a photo I took of Sofia during her visit in July 2013. My old post on Sofia can be found on this link. https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/2408/#comments

Sofia

Sofia

If it weren’t for the dripping state of the landscape,

Dripping Nandina

Dripping Nandina

I would have been out getting you a new photo of Sofia. But, as it is, I  prefer being indoors,    salivating over   gazing at the stars of my kitchen laboratory:

Tarte Tatin ( the first I have made );

Golden Tarte Tatin

Golden Tarte Tatin

Apricot and Feijoa Cobbler;

Sundrop Cobbler

Sundrop Cobbler

Poached Quinces;

Celestial festive quinces in honour of Matariki

Celestially arranged festive quinces in honour of Matariki

Piping hot pumpkin soup;

A little sunshine dips into the pumpkin soup.

A little sunshine dips into the pumpkin soup. (Do you see the pink monster at the window waiting for her turn at the soup bowl?)

Hmmm……looking at my kitchen creations, does anyone else get the impression that I am hungry for the sun? Thank goodness, the solstice and the rebirth of the sun are nigh. ūüôā

Happy New Year. ūüėÄ

© silkannthreades

 

You can’t keep a good peony down

Kerry’s beautiful¬† peony retrospective the other day, and her query about peonies in New Zealand, sent me scurrying into my own peony archives .

This is what I found: 6 posts with photos and/or references to peonies. My peonies were one of the first subjects to feature on my blog when I began Silkannthreades in 2012.

Back then I was looking for a way to see this ~

Paeony at the Back Door

in the midst of a physical and mental environment like this ~

Bedraggled as a winter- worn peony

Winter- worn peony plant

 

https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/be-it-ever-so-humble/#comments

https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/for-you-dear-mother/

https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/moments-of-whimsy/

https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/3238/

https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/3472/

https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/3971/

In my archives, I re-discovered that one of the first people to help me  start my journey of  blogging transformation  was   Cindy Knoke.

Unfolding opulence

Unfolding opulence

Another paeony at the back door.

 

 

Welcome back Sweet Peony

Welcome back Sweet Peony

Making the most of one sweet peony

Making the most of one sweet peony

 

Since those early days in 2012, Cindy has liked and/or commented on almost every one of my  approximately 360 published posts. Many of you are friends with Cindy, too, so you will know  I am not the only one she supports and encourages and enjoys spending time with on WordPress. She is a phenomenal blogger and friend.

So this post I dedicate:¬† to¬† Cindy, for being a stalwart¬† from the beginning; and to Kerry , for inspiring me to dig deep into memory roots, and reflect on her words:¬† “nothing keeps the peonies from blooming again.”¬† (You just can’t keep a good peony down. :D)

Some readers will know from Kerry’s latest post that her neighbourhood is feeling the anxiety and stress of having two escaped convicts in the area. Please keep Kerry and her community in your thoughts.