Unexpectedly, a village

Unexpectedly, my daughter (25) and her partner found themselves living with us in the last few weeks of her first pregnancy. They weren’t exactly excited about it. In their ideal imaginings, expecting their much wanted first baby, what they did not expect was to be back in her childhood bedroom, sharing a kitchen, bathroom and living area with her parents and siblings. Becoming an adult in our culture generally involves living independently in your own home, not with the olds. Yet, here they were; pregnant, expectant and unable to nest or set up the baby’s room, or any of the other things she imagined she’d be doing at this time, all she could do, in fact, was rest. While honouring their disappointment, I harboured the suspicion that it was possibly the best thing any new parent could ask for, even though they didn’t realise it, yet. How could they? None of us really knows what to expect before that squishy ball of raw human need enters the world from the soft confines of his mother’

A little death

It's like a death not a loss of matter but yet a loss each time they go. although still here taking space and energy. An act against the living incomprehensible by the dead


The conversation in my house is pretty open with few taboo subjects.   I realised this again recently when my eldest daughter’s boyfriend was with us for dinner. He seemed to cope well, and I guess it was an early initiation to his girlfriend’s family.   Over the chicken fettucine, the topics ranged from body parts and their many functions, to drugs, to relationships and the sometimes-humorous misdemeanours of extended family members. Everything was up for analysis and opinion from the youngest (14 years) to the oldest (21 years, 43 if you include the adults). My mum was great at being open to any topic, but even so - I do remember hiding some things I was going through during my teenage years, to protect her; to avoid her worrying, or being shocked.   In hindsight, I imagine I could have benefited from her perspective.   So, my plan as a parent, has been to be unshockable – so I can do my best to be open to the stuff they want to tell me.   I don’t want my kids to filter

I can’t keep quiet

I outed myself this week, on Facebook, as a non-pray-er.  This came as a surprise, as I knew it would to many people I had known for a long time.  I grew up in a traditional (and conservative) church, and have been a very authentic and passionate Christian.  But that has changed, but I had not really told many people yet. This blog is, however, about the non-prayer bit, not the Christian-no-more bit – that might come later. In terms of prayer, even as a Christian I never subscribed to the ‘moving the hand of God’ version of prayer nor the ‘asking God to bring-out-the-sun-for-the-Church-picnic type prayers.  I could see no sense in asking God to bring out the sun in New Zealand, when he didn’t seem to bring the rain for the droughts in Africa.  This wasn’t necessarily cos I didn’t think he couldn't, just that he didn't. It just wasn’t the way he worked, for whatever reason.  And asking God to intervene in the behaviour of others seems closer to witchcraft than God-craft.

Trump may be the best thing that’s happened to the planet

When sleeping women wake, mountains move – Chinese proverb I vowed to remove myself from all forms of media, social and otherwise to hibernate from the Trump winter that was about to descend as of the inauguration.   The women’s uprising (what else can you call it?) saved me from my despair, renewed me with hope, made me feel like I was in my own episode of Star Wars and part of the rebellion and revolution against the dark side of the force.   Cos Trump isn’t evil as much as frighteningly normal.   It’s a side of human nature – and its obviously prevalent. Like an outlaw moving into town, shooting up the locals and scaring people, the Trumpster has run roughshod over many painstakingly fought - one wonders what the fuck is he is thinking – the arrogance of the man to think these things are, what? The inane decisions of years of research down the toilet in 4 short days.  It beggars belief…   Unravelled the state medical care package that provided extra and accessible hea

The Village

It’s the post-Christmas summer holidays.  Our extended family has just spent the week in an environmentally friendly hideaway in the Tararua Ranges.  This eco-house is of straw-bale construction and insulation; situated for sun and powered by solar and wind. Water is provided by an on-site rainwater-tank; and is also process on-site by septic tank and worm/composting ablutions.  As wood-burner stove with a wetback provides a boost to heat the water during winter and low sunlight days.  It’s a great house with high stud and expansive living areas, that not only housed the 10-20 of our holiday-makers, but reminded us that there are different ways to live peacefully on the land.  For a week, we have lived village-style with extra kids, extra adults, cousins, grandparents, sisters, brothers, partners and friends.  We’ve shared cooking, childcare and activities. We’ve eaten together, played games together, fished, swam, sunbathed, ate some more and generally detoxed from our busy lives at

If you're not busy living...

A friend of ours committed suicide this week.  An adult man, mid-forties; two kids and a wife. The funeral is on Friday.  Earlier in the year, a kid in my son’s football team took his life – 13 years old, early secondary school years, nice young man; kind and conscientious.  Many years ago I watched a family deal with the aftermath of their 20-year-old son, brother, grandson taking his own life.  It was a desperate time.  I hope I never have to go through the trauma of losing someone close in this way, especially not a child.  It’s hard to make sense of suicide.  We, the bystanders, need reasons, causes and answers; someone to blame, some thing to blame.  While I don't think its that simple, suicide definitely leaves complexities to add to the grief for those left behind - a dark forrest of scary demons to navigate through - most of them internal; all the ‘what if’s’, and guilt, wondering if I’d been a better parent, better sibling, listened more, loved more, done more.  It’s