31 January 2010

sunday, reflecting

This morning I woke to a lovely email from a New Zealand artist who will be in Cassino in May. Our exhibition is about Remembrance and Peace. We are remembering a war that ended in this area 66 years ago in May, a little later in other parts. The message is that we must all work for peace, in whatever way we can.

Peace is not just the absence of war. It is about the equal distribution of resources, about everyone being able to achieve their full potential no matter where they are, what type of government they have, what their religious beliefs are.

In my work here I meet many young soldiers, wonderful young men doing what they see as their duty for their country, for eventual peace in other countries. The stories from today are equally moving. Just now, on Facebook, I read about Red Friday, wearing red to show support for British troops past and present. The author wrote a touching account of a scene at an airport as troops were leaving for Afghanistan. If you want to read this for yourself, I have posted a shortened version of it in the comments section below.

While these young soldiers march off to war, my friend Bruno travels the world working for international peace. Here is his website, well worth bookmarking to check back on when you need information, or have time to reflect.

Peace starts at home. While looking for my earlier references to Bruno in this blog I found something that I had written in February 2008. It was timely for me to read it again. Now, not only do I have something to say, I have a place to say it. No matter who you are, you can make a difference. The comment at the end of this post (also February 2008) is valid for all artists. Thank you again, Bruno.
"Peace is what happens when all peoples are free to develop themselves in the way they want, without having to fight for their rights." (Bruno Picozzi)
If only we could send as many peace workers around the world as we do troops...

Today I am grateful for international peace workers.

30 January 2010

wit and wisdom

that's what I would like to be adding to the blog today. Sometimes climbing real mountains looks easier than the metaphorical version. Wit and wisdom? Maybe tomorrow?

Instead, here is a line from Bob Marley.
Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?
For me, the answer is a resounding yes, even on days like today when I am too tired to speak much Italian and everything is taking four times the effort it should do. But the house is looking good, the dogs are well behaved, there is food in abundance and I am not too cold.

Racing around in my head are a hundred and one things, so the best option was to sit by the fire and listen to Anthony Way singing what I call "Sunday music". It's not exactly meditation, but I think it comes close.

Today I am grateful for my CD player.

29 January 2010

bmi still 26 and 11+ a day is not easy

Day of reckoning coming up. No exercise (climbing up and down ladders doesn't count if you eat sweetened condensed milk to reward yourself) and eating as you please does not a trim Nonna make.

Darn it.

It's winter, it's cold, and hot chocolate is tempting. Soups are great... but not seven days a week.

Christmas food has now all gone. The fruit bowl is full. The carrots and celery are on the table, not in the fridge. Work has progressed well enough to allow a little exercise time.

There are no excuses left!

The goal of a BMI of 23 shouldn't be too hard to achieve, should it?

and friday came along too

Today: the entrance hall is quasi finito. I have done all that I can reach with my portable scaffolding cot, and on Monday if safe scaffolding is built over the stairs I will finish all except touching up oddments in the ingresso.

Today I repainted a part that I had slaved over months ago. The plasterer, new to the job, simply saw a piece of old wall under the chipped stone he was repairing, and slapped white stucco all over my handiwork. Sigh! I'll take it as a compliment: it must have been convincingly old and integrated to a young eye.

On the home front my new second-hand kitchen cupboards have arrived. I am continuing with my kitchen rebellion, using tall upper hanging cupboards down on the floor. It gives me a great "sorting papers" benchtop, or a bar leaner, from which to gaze into the fire as I sup my vino... I justify my breaking with tradition in the kitchen layout by simply saying "It works for me!"

Today I am grateful for a huge bear hug from a cuddly-bear friend.

28 January 2010

and then thursday?

work is going well, despite the cold.

Today I am grateful for
a healthy family.

27 January 2010

how did it get to be wednesday?

photo update shortly.

Today I am grateful for helping hands.

26 January 2010

leap of faith

One of the artists I admire and have mentioned before is Katharine Cartwright. Just as I feel that my life is changing, and I am contemplating the same, a link to a new painting by Katharine arrived in my emails. The title of the work?

Reinvesting our Nest Eggs: Leap of Faith.

Thanks Kathy... I am definitely getting the message that it is time to push forward with my dreams!

Today I am grateful for positive energy and affirmations being sent my way.

25 January 2010

beads of courage

This morning, following links on the website of Lisa Jane, I discovered Beads of Courage.

What a wonderful idea this is. Sometimes when we look at the sad news and stress all around, and think about the ongoing battles for resources, economic and political supremacy, we forget that quietly in the background people are working small miracles of love.

Today I am grateful for the generosity of the human spirit.

24 January 2010


I'm not sure if this is good or bad. Before one set of ideas has fully developed another series of paintings flies in... I want to paint them ALL!

No post today, I have images to catch as they whizz by!

Today I am grateful for emotionally touching emails, helpful emails and fun emails from other parts of the world.

23 January 2010


I have gathered all my resources to start dreaming my work for May... shhh, don't tell the clients for whom I must paint first!

So... my head was spinning in four different directions before (so that's why I have a sore neck - I was blaming the vaulted ceiling) and now it is in five or six different places.

It's no wonder artists are hard to live with! Painting or dreaming for ever, food, housework, shopping... almost never!

Zacchi had his first bath in ages today. He gave the obligatory growl then sat up like a little champion and enjoyed the attention!

Today I am grateful for the warm weather that arrived instead of the predicted cold.

who knows?

From YouTube, the song from the film Westside Story ,"Something's Coming" by the original cast, (singer dubbed) or, as I prefer to hear it, the version with the light-hearted introduction by Barbra Streisand and Lauren Frost or as a solo by Barbra Streisand.

And now, after a musical start to my day, it is out of memory lane and onto the road to the future!

Thanks Helen :-)

PS For link to Lauren Frost's website click here.

22 January 2010

just putting it out there...

There were soldiers from 32 nations fighting along the Gustav Line. There are 32 little towns along the Gustav Line.

That would make 32 venues for peace exhibitions with 32 twinned towns and countries...



Bless my excitable friends. I rang a friend at the comune to test the waters about extra space for the May exhibition. When I told him about the overwhelming response from New Zealand artists with connections to Cassino and the interest from the New Zealand media he became so enthusiastic I had no hope of understanding more than half of the rest of the conversation.

I think I can safely say, though, that this exhibition is only the start...

Right now I am struggling to balance things and have taken a day off to reflect, to rest, and to book my ticket back to NZ for a trip later in the year. I decided yesterday that I am not safe up in my scaffolding with my mind racing all over the place.

Here are my thoughts from last week, in case you are wondering what I am doing:

Here, in tourist destination Italy, I live in a country that was destroyed. The battle front stayed in this area for 5 months. It is unthinkable how the people suffered, and still do live with this history in their daily lives. I see museums showing the military side of things, the strategies, the equipment, but it is the photos and stories of emotional pain and suffering that touch me most.

I work as a volunteer with visiting veterans groups, with memorial museums and as a battlefield tour guide. Many veterans share their stories, and all say sorrowfully that we must never let such events happen again. To share time with these old soldiers, and then see what is happening still all over the world, leaves me feeling that I must try to do something, however insignificant it might seem.

I see curating an exhibition with peace and commemoration as a theme as a way of passing on the message from the veterans that I meet, that war must end. I also see it as a great opportunity for NZ artists to exhibit in Italy. I appreciate that side of it as I had a similar chance in 2005, but more important to me is keeping the peace message alive.

We see Anzac Day parades growing in strength. I believe the time is right for artists to reinforce the peace messages coming from the soldiers who fought in this battle. I think that artists have a responsibility to reflect what is happening in society, and in fact they do that whether they are conscious of it or not. The immeasurable, unrecorded history is that of the returned soldiers, the waiting families, the changed lives in far away New Zealand.

How far did the events in Europe ripple through our culture, contributing to the society we have now? What effect did the trauma of battle have on the young men returning home to families who could not begin to understand what they had been through? What was the effect of the waiting, the pain of loss, on the families that remained behind? If giving artists this opportunity gets them talking to their family and friends then I think that the movement towards peace has already become stronger, and this movement will be recorded in their future works.

If we all do a tiny part in a move towards international peace we must eventually reach a tipping point where we can change nations and governments. One British veteran talks about "pax in spinus" (peace from thorns) and I see that as being appropriate here. If we let this continue, never learning, then there is no sense in sending soldiers out believing that they are contributing to peace. While I believe that no war ever brought real peace, we can't ignore what has happened either. Peace comes from a different place, but war history and commemoration is a place where we can start to talk about peace.

Cassino was completely destroyed and is recognised as a martyr city. It has a lasting place in New Zealand history, so where better place is there to call NZ artists together to work for peace? It is my hope that these artists will continue to learn more about what happened here, and in other places, and continue to produce works and form friendships that further the work of peace movements throughout the world.

Today I am grateful for links with peace workers from all nations.

21 January 2010

a strange day

My life is changing again. I can feel it. I don't know how it will change, just that it is changing. On the surface things are the same, but inside me there is more heart, more light, more happiness.

That's all.

Today I am grateful for life itself.

20 January 2010

feeling a tad provocative

relax, I'm not becoming a sexy Italian, just playing with words.

I read a post on one of my favourite artist blogs and decided to enter the conversation from a different perspective.
uh hem. Clears throat. Deep breath.

What IS a successful painting?

According to my very addled brain there are paintings we like, and paintings that we don't like. There are paintings that conform to accepted painterly conventions, and those that don't. There are paintings that achieve what we set out to achieve, and paintings that don't.


There are paintings that break all the "rulz" yet still touch a nerve, stir a heart, pierce into that thing we call emotion.

I wonder, what is this thing we call "success"

I am sure that I will be challenged when Mike next checks his blog! (She chuckles at her computer, it was time for some fun!)


I have a free counter on my website. I hardly ever check it, think about it, or even go to my own website. But in light of recent publicity I thought I had better see just how out of date the site was, put more recent work onto it and (OOPS) do something about removing the remaining "Website under construction, please visit again soon" that slipped through unnoticed and has been there for five years! I noticed that I had had the counter there for nearly a year. About 15 minutes ago it ticked over the year. (And no, I haven't updated the site yet - I can't remember how to!)

In the past year there have been 1234 individual hits and 2193 reloads, making a total of 3427 visits to my website. Thankyou, my unknown, unidentified and untracked visitors, whoever you are, for taking time to drop by!

Occasionally I google my own name, or those of family members, just to see what is out there in cyberspace. Seeing how easy it was to pop into Facebook and see my friends, photographs and other information about me had me scurrying to put my page into English for ten minutes, change a few things I thought I had already changed, and become a little more of a recluse.

I like the fact that the world is shrinking, that we can work small miracles at the click of a button, that we can raise funds, organise events, share blogs and visit websites. But I like to have some control over what is available about me and what photos are accessible to people I haven't met. I read somewhere that what other people think about us is none of our business. I'm still pondering that one. Whether that is true or not, I would still like to choose what is public and what is private in my life.

Delightful happening today? Zacchi, once allowed back inside (door through to wet concrete safely shut), danced on his hind legs as I have never seen him dance before, so happy to be with me but knowing that muddy paws were not welcome on my black jeans. Oh for a video to share, but he is afraid of cameras since I used a flash for a photo.

Today I am grateful for
the pink of the sunset on snow-capped Monte Cairo.

19 January 2010

over the road

How can you not enjoy going to work in surroundings like this?Over my head...
and under my feet!
And during the lunch break, time to look out from the kitchen and enjoy a beautiful winter's day!

just when

Just when I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the speed and scale of things happening for the exhibition in Cassino this arrived in my emails.
Anyone can find peace in a cave, but bringing that peace into the chaos of the world is the issue. And it is necessary to find that peace within the world in order to know the true self, in order to discover your true relationship with the world.
—John McAfee

I wonder, does real world peace arrive only when we all have the opportunity and means to find the true self? Back to my old mate Maslow again...

Today I am grateful for my place behind the scenes.

18 January 2010

attitude is everything

Beautiful or ugly?
I keep being reminded that attitude is everything. Recently I find myself pulling away from anxious people, preferring to be alone if it means that I can enjoy the beauty in the sunlight and the stars. Even in times of darkness there is always a tiny spark of light, of hope, if only we would look for it.

Attitude is a state of mind, and gratitude and intention make a great starting point for turning things around. I think that this blogger puts it beautifully, in a very personal and touching story. Thanks to Melissa for the permission to link to her Artist's Journey blog here.

Today I am grateful for positive attitudes.

can you spare 8.33 minutes for reflection

Can you spare 8.33 minutes for reflection on this incredible but sobering artwork, a sand drawing by Kisenya Simonova?

This video shows the winner of "Ukraine's Got Talent", Kseniya Simonova, 24, drawing a series of pictures on an illuminated sand table showing how ordinary people were affected during World War II.

(Video has sound as part of the work).


17 January 2010

Peace exhibition in Cassino, Italy, May 2010

Seeking Expressions of Interest from NZ Artists.

We are currently seeking expressions of interest from NZ Artists who are interested in an exciting opportunity to exhibit in Italy in May 15 - 29th 2010. The vision of this exhibition is to spread the message of world peace. The theme is "Peace" and "Remembrance" in memory of the fallen soldiers and civilians in Italy, particularly those involved at the Battle of Cassino where many New Zealanders fought and lost their lives during World War II.

Please contact Sophia Elise by 29th Jan 2010 - exhibit@nzartguild.co.nz (Cassino as the subject) if you are interested in being involved with this project and if you require more information.

Thanks to Sophia Elise for her enthusiastic support formally through the NZ Art Guild and informally via her blog and Facebook.

16 January 2010

no work today

This morning was the meeting to confirm dates for an exhibition of New Zealand art in Cassino. Getting mentally prepared, finding the right thing to wear, putting on make-up and fussing with my hair so I didn't present a "bruta figura" on New Zealand's behalf took far longer than the meeting did. Losing my touch, I am!

In the office all my Italian went out the window. Where are my friends when I need them most? But all is well, the dates are set for 15 - 29 May, and as soon as I exited the City Hall I bumped into a friend who works there and my Italian came flowing back.

That effort, I thought, merited a walk in the sunshine up to my favourite spot behind the village.

The day has been glorious, the third or fourth in a row with cobalt skies and clear air. It really was short sleeves on the mountainside today. I wandered up in my tracksuit, forgetting that under the top I had only a long-sleeved merino undergarment. Fortunately New Zealand undergarments look a lot like Italian outer garments so I pushed up my sleeves and enjoyed the sun for an hour or two, watching the rock climbers. (Click to enlarge photos).
As the sun went down there was more foot traffic on the hillside than cars on the road below.This rock (below) isn't going to fall soon... click on the photo to see the safety measures taken to keep us safe!
Today I am grateful for my comfortable tracksuit and footwear.

15 January 2010

freedom or prison?

This wasn't here yesterday!But the other day we went out here...Nope, that was a dead end! But I've got an idea...
If we go up a level I'm surethere'll be a way out somewhere.
It's too far to jump but I'm sure I saw a ladder
Are you crazy? We can't lift that.
I'd rather just go back inside
and wait for mum to turn the heater on!
Happiness is!


At home...and at work.
I have sore shoulders, knees, wrists and terribly dry and battered hands... but I'm as happy as can be! I continue to wake with a song in my heart (punctuated by "No, Pickle, down Zacchi" the minute they realise I am awake!

Today I am grateful for digital images.


why have my posts suddenly developed little uninvited links to non-existent pages? Sorry folks, hope it is only my computer it is happening on.

Grrrr... technology. Love it, sometimes Grrrr it!

14 January 2010

6 months in a lifetime

Check out the Chris Will Walk blog if you haven't lately (a link to it is on the right). Chris has blogged here. He mentions spiritual and emotional healing... the things that are unseen, and, I think, the things that are most important.

We will never understand why some things happen to us, and some things we can't change. But what we can change is our attitude, our approach to life, the way we deal with challenges. A friend reminds me occasionally to "never give up". Another says that it is adversity that brings out the best in us.


This morning I woke with a song in my heart for no particular identifiable reason. The song was "Happy talky talk..." from South Pacific, which goes on to say "You gotta have a dream, if you don't have a dream, How you gonna have a dream come true?"

The short term dream, coming true with help from those who share the dream, is to host a Peace exhibition with work by New Zealand artists here in Cassino. Art with a message, rather than for decoration, is my goal.

The real dream, the dream of world peace, is a little harder to arrange. That doesn't mean it is not worth working for! There are several challenging peace protest songs out there, but these simple lyrics in One Man's Hand really say it all. (Click on the speaker to hear the song). You tube has the song as well, sung by a massed choir. The written lyrics on the link above are different from both choral versions. My preference is the sung version on the first link. What a wonderful expression of hope is in the words "if two and two and fifty make a million, we'll see that day come round, we'll see that day come round."

And, once again, when in thoughtful mood, I come back to the wonderful song reminding us to light a candle in the darkness.
Light a candle in the darkness
You will see a tiny glow
Ask a friend to light another
And watch the light begin to grow
Others soon will come to join you
Bringing candles of their own
As the light and the warmth start spreading
You'll no longer be alone

A ray of hope
Is only a shaft of light
And a ray of hope is all you need
Deep in your heart.
(Songwriter unknown).

It always amazes me, how far a tiny light will shine. Nothing we do is too small. While I am still not convinced that a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a tempest, I am sure that one smile or good deed can lead to another...

Have a GREAT day!

not kidding!

(Ignore the date above, it's Thursday here).

The fog, down below me in the valley, is blue! The sky is a beautiful Thursday morning pink, and the the fog is blue!

Drove to the next village to pick up my worker (no camera, darn it) and the snow is much closer than I thought. But, snow or sunrise or whatever has caused it, the fog and mist was a lovely powder blue!

I pinch myself regularly. The magic never ends. I found myself repeating in amazement (nearly three years down the track) "I live in Italy. I really, do, live in Italy!" Sometimes I am completely bewildered as to how it happened, or why it feels so right.

Today I am grateful for a beautiful sunrise.

13 January 2010

everything is relative

Suddenly, thinking of the damage caused by earthquakes in many parts of the world, life seems even more precious. I wonder, how many lives are lost unnecessarily because of shortcuts taken with building structures? If we don't get the basics right we endanger everything.

Yesterday I looked at a piece of furniture that I could use in my house. It was simple yet versatile, but a little expensive so I didn't buy it. I would have enjoyed using it but, really, it is not so important. Far better, I think, to recycle, make do, and value the necessities of life rather than get back onto the path of wanting things of a quality that I don't really need. Instead the money will go into the cement for the floor, the fence for the dogs, the basic essentials for health and safety.

Where I am working I am adding the decoration. This structure, although damaged by earthquakes, abandoned and exposed to the weather, has survived for 500 years. Somebody got the basics right.

In the face of tragedy it is important that people's homes are restored before their businesses. We need our personal spaces to be safe and secure so we can face the challenges outside. Safe and secure does not mean full of precious objects and beautiful furniture. A warm fire, hot food, and good company is all that anyone needs.

Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.

Today I am grateful for music and laughter.

12 January 2010

let's not forget

How easy it is for us to say "I'm tired". But really, all we lack is passion and drive. How few of us crawl into bed at night really mentally and physically exhausted. It isn't sleep we lack!
Passion makes the old medicine new:
Passion lops off the bough of weariness.
Passion is the elixir that renews:
how can there be weariness when passion is present?
Oh, don't sigh heavily from fatigue:
seek passion, seek passion, seek passion!

Today I am grateful for inspirational writers.

11 January 2010


Work is going well and the boss looks happy, the floor of the cantina is progressing steadily, and plans are underway for an exhibition of work by Kiwi artists in Cassino. Dinner with old friends tonight, and pizza with new friends tomorrow night.

2010 just took one great big positive turn!

Today I am grateful for the company of the rascal.

10 January 2010

the next painting

Between renovating my home and working in the palazzo I have a couple of paintings to do. The first is a bit tricky; it is a landscape with as much as possible of the mountainside, and our village centered in it. It will be a long painting, in proportions a little unusual for me.

The details of the village have to be perfect, every window, every wall, so that the person requesting it can imagine himself back where he grew up. I am not so keen on such precise work, but it will be a good challenge. Luckily he is prepared to wait for it! I would prefer to do it in watercolour, but it is to be an oil. Tiny brushes, magnifying glass... I have a collection of photos to work from, but I suspect that by the time I have completed the buildings the poppies will be out in their full glory and I will be able to go down and paint amongst them to get the foreground as I would like it. For now, however, it is enough to be planning it, looking at the details, and getting my head around some of the compositional problems.

Today I am grateful for patient clients.

9 January 2010


This little fellow was hibernating behind the canvas that pretended to be a curtain. I removed it to let the light in and foundYou can probably make him out here... just below the window. (Click on photo to enlarge).
When you live below road level the materials have to be shovelled or carried down... (no, definitely not shovelled by me, the sand was wet and heavy!)

The plastic panels have feet which allow air to move and they insulate from any dampness from the ground. Concrete and reinforcing came next, then it will be the tiles which I have yet to choose. The amount of moisture that finds its way in now should be minimal, and easily taken out with the dehumidifier.

Today I am grateful for a warm fire.

8 January 2010

making 11+ more interesting...

This made a very tasty lunch. No oil needed, it was so sweet it was the perfect follow up to a hot vegetable soup.

Today I am grateful for the simple things in life.

7 January 2010

around and about

Work is about to start (again) in the cantina, this time putting down the flooring now that I am content that I understand as much as I can about where any damp is coming from, and how much there is likely to be over a wet winter.

Buying such materials is a mission, so I go with my "minders". They are a delight, one big and burly who dents a car when he leans on it, the other as thin as a rake, with broken teeth and scruffy hair, earrings and tattoos, but a fantastic worker. I feel very protected as, when prices quoted are too high, they simply turn to me and say "andiamo" and off we go, on to the next place. This morning the bigger guy took the wheel of my little car, and we splashed and bumped our way along the back roads. The other protested at the treatment of my car. For a moment I was young and carefree again...

I can explain my needs well enough, and they understand everything I say. But when they fire back at me ideas and arguments in rapid dialect I am completely lost. Thank goodness for hands and facial expressions, pen and paper and quick sketches!

Today I am also grateful for protective friends.


If you can spare a minute or two, watch


by Dony Permadi (copyright 2006) currently on Youtube.

Just so... so kiwi!

popcorn for breakfast

This morning I read "Five Bold Tips for Every Artist" by Doc Waller. It was the affirmation that I needed. I am who I am, and, accepting that, I make my own way in this world.

I am sure I should write more here... perhaps I will later. Or in another post... the still unwritten one about potential?

I am also sure that it is no coincidence that such articles arrive at precisely the moment I need them.

Last August I saw a little of Doc Waller performing in a bookshop during an artsfest... or should I say, I saw the heads of all the people who were many rows deep in front of me. And a very little of the performance of Doc Waller. I had no idea then that he would influence my approach to life in my "less confident" times.

Thank you Doc.

And yes, having looked at the packet of cornflakes (sugar added) and the bowl of popcorn (freshly popped yesterday for munchies by the fire), I really did have popcorn for breakfast.

Today I am grateful for energetic and enthusiastic people.

6 January 2010


no post for now.

Sometimes, I think, it is better not to think.

Today I am grateful for paracetamol and gentle voices.

5 January 2010

it's tuesday 5 january

... and time to review progress with the word for the year. Discipline? I have it sometimes. Yesterday was too cold to work (paint wont stick etc) so I studied in one form or another all day. But on the exercise and the 11+ front, a big "did not achieve".

Achievement of yesterday was (cringe) reading a Barbara Cartland romance from cover to cover... but give me a break, it was in Italian. Romance stories still make me sad though, so it's back to the grammar exercises today.

In this morning's in box - you'd think someone was watching, really - was this quotation:
"No stream or gas drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined."
~Harry E. Fosdick

Ok, I'll try to do better today. This quote does, however, beg the question "What makes a life great?" And that takes me right back to an unfinished post from last year, about achieving one's potential.

Today I am grateful for layers of New Zealand merino.

4 January 2010

it's cold outside

and Pickle would love to come in, but we are playing musical dogs until I am sure that she is no longer in heat. Poor Pickle has to sleep in the garden shed (where she has chewed up things I forgot to put out of reach)
as one
comes in
the other
goes out...
like the folk in the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in Munich. That was, I must admit, one tourist photo-event that was disappointing. Munich itself was great, the beer was good, the food was... um ... German, but the clock was less spectacular than I had expected. Never mind, the whole Munich experience was quite wonderful.

But I digress. In my inbox today was this wonderful quotation:
Of all the earthly music, that which reaches farthest
into heaven is the beating of a truly loving heart.
—Henry Ward Beecher

I think that that sentiment is pretty special, whatever "type" of love it be... parental, filial, romantic or simply the love of life! How many of us have resolved to be better people this year? That, I think, involves loving unreservedly. Let the music play!

Today I am grateful for snatched minutes with a friend in transit.

3 January 2010

busy day

My day began with the promised study.
Although it was Sunday I worked because the weather was great again.
Caught up with friends, took visitors to the station.
Home to clear up a bit, then I will be out and about in the predicted cold early tomorrow.

No time to post, must get on...

Today I am grateful for left-over pizza.

2 January 2010

a day of two halves...

This morning was glorious, a beautiful cobalt blue sky, warmish, good working conditions. A friend cut the grass between me and the fountain, and cleared away some of the mess that Pickle had made.

This evening (from 8pm onwards) we are having strong winds, squally showers, and the temperature has dropped. By Monday we should be very cold!

I was hoping for faster progress at work, but the morning started slowly. By afternoon things were moving at a better speed. If it is not too damp tomorrow I would like to put in another full day, then take Monday off as my holiday.

I had visitors to look at paintings, and I am hoping that they may purchase another (they have chosen one already). I am keen to start on the oil village-scape, but it has to wait a little longer. Watercolours... when will there be time?

Today I am grateful for clementine mandarines.

1 January 2010

on the first day

...of the new year I woke, a guest in a comfortable home, and at 6.30am snuck downstairs to clean up after the dinner party of the night before. It was a fun thing to do, knowing that it would be appreciated.

Now when I wake, instead of rolling over and enjoying the lie-in, I will get up, check my emails, and then study for an hour.

2010. My new word is discipline. But I wont throw out the old word; my 2009 word was gratitude. I hope that I never lose that word... but one day I will happily discard discipline :-)

The last two days had seen conversation with friends from France, Italy, England, Belgium and Scotland. I love it when the conversations slide seamlessly between Italian, French and English.

Today I am grateful for a multi-national group of friends.