Tag Archives: well-being

Preparations

In my previous  post, we took a brief look in the rear view mirror. This post goes further back, to the beginning of my blogcation, in late March.

Preparing for my weekend visitor, I fill the vases…..

for the table

Borage, Salvia and Sage

Borage, Salvia and Sage in Blue

Yellow Rocket and Mexican Orange Blossom Leaves

Yellow Rocket and Mexican Orange Blossom Leaves

and for the bedroom

Monet and Chilean Guava

Monet and Chilean Guava

Update:

Today, April 13 is Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. One of my favourite websites for plant information is this one http://www.monticello.org/site/visit . I would like to visit the Monticello gardens, one day.  In the meantime, I looked up sage and borage to see if they featured at Monticello, and they do. I particularly liked this reference to  sage/salvia.

“This Mediterranean shrub has been grown in gardens since at least the thirteenth century. It was thought to prolong life, even “render men immortal.” Sage was a standard item in gardens from colonial times, and was included by Jefferson in a list of “Objects for the garden this year” in 1794. The term Salvia comes from the Latin salveo meaning “I am well,” a reference to its virtuous powers. In addition to being a useful culinary herb, Sage is an attractive ornamental dwarf shrub that attracts bees and butterflies, but is not favored by deer.”

Although I do not have to worry about deer ( snails are bad enough! ) eating my plants, I love that I have a plant in my garden that  relates to health and well-being and healing. How lovely to look back and realise that I greeted my special guest with a vase of ‘well being”.

© silkannthreades

 

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Praise Be

The  swan plant I ordered to replenish my monarch caterpillars’ food supply came yesterday, just in the nick of time. It has been planted,

Praise be for more food

Praise be for more food

and my remaining caterpillars are now busily chomping on their fresh greens. Hopefully, the caterpillars will  have enough food to take them through their fifth  instar and into their chrysalis stage.  Most of them look big enough to be close to their final and complete metamorphosis.

Is this the 5th instar?

Is this the 5th instar?

Whilst the caterpillars are nourishing their bodies in preparation for change, I thought we might do the same. Would you care to indulge?…..

in a taste of the last of summer in this delicious, spicy rhubarb cake

Spicy Rhubarb Cake

Spicy Rhubarb Cake

or, perhaps, in a little something that speaks of cooler mornings and the colder days to come; a gingerbread cake.

Joy of Baking; Gingerbread Cake

Joy of Baking; Gingerbread Cake

But, if you are wanting a lighter indulgence, may I suggest a serving of the apple, instead of the cake.  Again there are two choices; Cherry Gala apples lightly cooked with a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of sugar and a handful of rose petals;

or Royal Gala and Eve  apples , sautéed gently in a sliver of butter and a sprinkle of sugar.

Mmmmm…How was that? Delectable? Are you feeling suitably indulged and ever so glad that we are not limited to one food type like the monarch caterpillar; that we are able to experience so many taste sensations; that we have such variety in our menus.

Praise be to the  butterflies  and bees that make that possible.

~

At 12.51pm today we marked the  third anniversary of the  February 22nd earthquake. At the memorial service in the Botanic Gardens, the Mayor said “Let us unite as we did after the earthquakes. For those of us who have been able to move on, let us reach out to those who are still struggling. .. For those who cannot move on, please do not be afraid to ask for our help… We can get through this together.”

In caterpillar terms, ( because I have this essential life form so much on my mind 😉 ) most of us have made it through the first instar; some of us are almost ready to be butterflies; indeed, may already be  flying freely. Some of us, such as myself, are still  ambling along in the third instar. But there’s no rush. With nourishment and nurture, we will, eventually, be transformed.

( I think I will make a good  butterfly, don’t you?  🙂   Better keep my feet clean, though. Butterflies taste through their ‘feet’! )

© silkannthreades

Confession!

Confession! In common with many of us, these days, I am activity rich and resource poor~ which is simply a fun way to say that I have too much  to do, and/or want to do, and not enough time to do it all. Sound familiar ? And this imbalance is beginning to make  me feel a teeny, little bit crazeeeee!

So, I was very  pleased, this week, to receive a notification from Amazon about a book I pre-ordered last August. The notice said:

“The items listed below will actually be dispatched sooner than we had originally expected based on the new release date:

Stuart, Sophia “How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World: A Modern Book of Hours to Soothe the Soul””

How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World ~Sophia Stuart

How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World ~Sophia Stuart

Aaahh, a message that is music to my ears. How soothing ;). I adore a Book of Hours.
I have made three of them, myself…….

and, thanks to a helpful tip from dadirridreaming , and production help from  Blurb , a fourth book is on its way to me right now

Silkannthreades~ A Book of Days and Hours

Silkannthreades~ A Book of Days and Hours

But these are just little books, like  chapbooks , not real books, with a real International Standard Book Number ISBN, like the one Sophia/teamgloria has…sigh!

Some of you may have noticed that I have mentioned Sophia and teamgloria more than once on my blog, as in  here and  here , and that’s because I think she is glorious, and because I share her love of blue-blue sky and Rumer Godden and labyrinths and, most of all, John O’Donohue;

Which is why I have reserved a special place for Sophia’s book when it arrives next month. It will sit, book cover to book cover, with John O’ Donohue, on the small tower of quiet, gentle reading, which I keep close at hand, on my (blue 🙂 ) bedside chair.  How lovely; how very lovely that will be.

Books by my Side

Books by my Side

And now, here’s something for a giggle… can anyone see, in this photo, how, in my subconscious arrangement of these books for their photo shoot, I made a statement about the imbalance of  my life, at the moment? And, for more smiles, check out the video clip in my sidebar, featuring the book promo for How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World.

© silkannthreades

Amazing words

Earlier in the year I mentioned  in  this post that our health authorities were developing strategies to help us maintain  our well-being in the face of the stresses brought about by the earthquakes of 2010/11. Their latest initiative is the  December/Christmas   All Right? campaign  which highlights the importance of giving things that really matter – time and kindness. To this end, we get daily ‘happy’ messages  in our newspaper, like this one that I read  this morning.

You are Amazing

You are Amazing

Kind of nice, isn’t it? To be told you’re amazing by officialdom; to be given a pat on the back, instead of the usual stern, finger-wagging, ( but important ) public service messages of  ‘Don’t drink and drive”, “Pay your taxes”, “Pay your fines or else…”,  which all hold a note of threat, or impending doom, over our heads if we fail to  comply.

I particularly like the  “Let’s remember it’s often the simple things that bring the most joy” part of the messages…..because it fits so well with the theme of my blog ;), and my About  page which states that “Although the big things have changed and continue to change, the little things prevail and bring joy.”

Little, simple things, such as the Cherry Clafouti I made the other day, or

You're an amazing clafouti :)

You’re amazing Clafouti  🙂

little things, like the delight of discovering a very old, and very lovely, interpretation of one of the most loathed words in our city…LIQUEFACTION…..

Liquefaction, as we have come to know it, (much too well),  is the conversion of soil into a fluid like mass during an earthquake or other seismic event.

Take a peek at this video clip to see how parts of city nearly drowned in the stuff a few years ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6-knLM7MZA

And, then, consider the pleasure and sensuous beauty of this type of liquefaction that I found Upon Julia’s Clothes 

Whenas in silk my Julia goes,

Then, then methinks, how sweetly flows

That liquefaction of her clothes!………

O how that glittering taketh me.

by Sweet Robin/Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

‘Liquefaction of her clothes’; oh, how I love that image as it sashays and swirls through my mind and swishes over those other gray and grim memories. What was Julia wearing , I wonder. Was it Watered Silk?;

Portrait, Princess di Sant' Antimo (1840-1844)

Portrait, Princess di Sant’ Antimo [ in watered silk](1840-1844) by  Francesco Hayez

in the style of a princess?

And, isn’t amazing that with a well-chosen phrase, or a slight change of meaning to a word, we can give our world a whole new look?

So, even if you don’t live in Canterbury, make some appropriate changes to the following messages from the All Right? campaign and give someone a kind word and a little time during the holiday season. You may be truly amazed! You may find you’re truly amazing!

“You’re a wee Canterbury gem.”

‘You’re cooler than pirates and ninjas combined.’

‘You’re strong (even if you don’t always think so).’

‘Your smile is life changing.’

‘You’re lovelier than the summer sun in Hagley Park.’

© silkannthreades

ps The cherry clafouti seems to have a certain liquefacted appearance, don’t you think? It was oozing cherry juice 🙂

What the ‘good fairy’ brings…..

I have a ‘good fairy’ friend who flits by at least once a month. I never  know  exactly when she is coming, or what she will bring with her, or if I will see her, or just a little gift in my mail box as evidence of her fleeting presence. Sometimes her gifts are delicious edibles and, other times, she comes with her window washing wand  or her car washing wand.   One of my favourites  is  her silver polishing wand. Last month, she came with the gift of the company of her daughter and her 5 month old grand-daughter. It was wonderful fun to have a baby in the house again; especially one that only required admiration and smiles from me.

Last week my ‘good fairy’ friend arrived on my doorstep with a wandful of magazines. In amongst the ‘usuals’, like North and South, was a magazine I had not encountered before called FamilyCARE.

It was a fascinating read BUT I was completely stunned to learn from its pages that there are 420,000 (plus) unpaid family carers in New Zealand and that 10% of New Zealand’s 15 to 24 year olds are unpaid  carers of family members.  That’s a very large unpaid work force for a small country like New Zealand.

That got me thinking, and googling, about family carers in other countries, and that is when my jaw really hit the floor.

In Australia, there are 2.6 million unpaid family carers; 300,000 of them are under the age of 24; 520,000 are over the age of 65. In 2010,  these carers provided an estimated 1.32 billion hours of care. The estimated replacement value of their caring roles was $A 40.9 billion in 2012.  Yes, we are talking in BILLIONS.

The situation is much the same in the UK where there are an estimated 6.4 million unpaid family carers providing services valued at  £119 billion  per year. Again, we are talking BILLIONS .

In the USA, there are 65.7 million family caregivers; or 29% of the adult population caring for one or more family members.

The numbers are staggering, and growing yearly, as populations age and social services grow leaner and meaner. In the UK , the lean meanness seems to extend to the introduction of a strange creature called the Bedroom Tax which, somehow, relates a person’s benefit to the number of  bedrooms the Government authorities believe an individual requires. Huh??? I hope the idea doesn’t catch on in New Zealand which is already far too keen to cut and paste (or is it slash and burn?) its social welfare programmes  in to a more eye-catching, voter friendly  system.

In both Australia and the UK, there appears to be some provision for a small allowance for family carers but that is not, currently, the case in New Zealand. Most family carers, wherever they are, undertake their caring duties willingly, and with great devotion, and little complaint. Never the less, surveys show that there are often huge physical, mental and financial costs incurred by family carers which, eventually, will need to be borne by yet more family members or Government support agencies.  Where does it end? What is to be done?

Carers’ organisations are working hard to support family caregivers. Are Governments listening? It’s hard to believe so, when we see the screws being tightened on social policies worldwide, whilst the purses open for banks and motorways and big business, and  goodness knows what else that is supposed to enrich our lives.  Wouldn’t it be amazing, bordering on miraculous, if a Government were to come forward and say to its family carers, “Why, thank you, good people, for giving millions of dollars worth of service to your country, without which our economy and health services would crumble.” Whilst millions wait, with little hope, for an official  vote of thanks, we can take matters into our own hands and thank and bless all those who take care of another. In that category, I will put my ‘good fairy’ friend. She has done her share of caring over the years.

© silkannthreades

Summers by the Sea

Down at the seaside, I discovered a lady who is a very poor advertisement for sun safe practices. She may even encourage other unsafe behaviours which is maybe why someone complained to the Council about her presence in a public park.  She (and I couldn’t find a name anywhere) is, I believe, the creation of Christchurch born sculptor, Llew Summers.  http://www.llewsummers.co.nz/   I haven’t seen a lot of his work but I love the sculptures I have encountered.  They are warm, full spirited and endowed with feeling and exuberance. They celebrate our souls. That’s my opinion.

Here is what I mean;The Lady on the Shore

Sun loverSun seeker

with long sand toned  tresses waiting for hands to caress them. Sandy hair

For some, she may be a fish out of water, like these little creatures nearby, but I think she is fabulous. Still, I can’t help being worried about her lack of sunscreen. Fish out of Water

© silkannthreades

My Garden of Well-Being

Last year, I was meandering through the internet, searching for ways to strengthen my support for those near and dear to me who struggle with mental health well-being.  I came across the Wellbeing Garden on this website    http://www.slam.nhs.uk/wellbeing-garden

According to the website, there are five evidence based ways, or actions, to improve personal well-being. And it matters not if your mental health is near perfect ,or less than, because these 5 actions benefit us all.The five actions  are  Connect,  Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, and Give.

I thought I would make a good start to the New Year by working in my Wellbeing Garden. I decided my action for the day would be Give. I enjoy making bread and, usually, make a good job of it, so I set out  to make a loaf of bread to give away. I make bread by hand and by machine.  I chose the machine option for today and look what happened to my first gift of the year…….Flattened

I felt that not even my very best friend would want an improperly risen loaf, so my bread has been gifted to the birds. Not quite what I was planning but the birds are feasting. Or, as in this photo, they are considering the feasting possibilities.Birds discuss, "Is it safe to eat?"

Now, to start at the end of the list and work backwards which seems to suit my day’s endeavours gone awry:

I gave to the birds;

I learned that even failures have a plus side, even if it’s mostly for the birds;

I noticed that I didn’t take enough notice when measuring my ingredients;

I was active making bread;

I connected with the birds, my fallibility, and the mysterious wonderous art of bread making.

And I feel fine and I think the birds do too.