A couple of weeks ago I arranged to meet my son in town for dinner. I’ve written about the drama of travelling the one kilometre to our meeting point, and how stressful I found being in gridlocked traffic for around an hour. However, on the bright side, I did manage to snap a few photos along the way.
I spent about 20 minutes travelling along Wyndham Street and couldn’t help noticing how peaceful and welcoming the church appeared; lit in white and gold against an inky sky.
Once the most prominent buildings on the landscape were religious or civic structures. Now we celebrate capitalism with ever-taller towers and apartment blocks. I do like the way the Sky Tower changes its colour scheme though. The purple felt very reassuring as my car crawled up Hobson Street.
This week is Challenger’s Choice at Sally’s Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge. I’m not sure quite how to categorise my contribution; it is architecture, shot at night, from the street . They could have been travel photos, but I wasn’t travelling too much, so maybe still life would be a better description?
Here are some other’ bloggers contributions that I liked:
Here are some other bloggers contributions that
“In the 15 years since Columbine, more than 43,800 children have been shot to death. ”
In the farce that was the 2008 campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin, one of the main fools was played by Joe the Plumber. Well, his name wasn’t Joe. And he wasn’t a plumber. But that was the stage name of Samuel Wurzelbacher of Ohio. He was the hood ornament on the Fox-sponsored GOP clown car that year.
Last Friday, a deranged man went on a slashing and shooting rampage, killing six young people near the UC Santa Barbara campus. He then committed suicide, leaving behind a video and a 140-page manifesto that expresses a shockingly demented hatred of women.
Just days later, the country is still reeling from the savagery of this crime, the killer’s unhinged misogyny and the soul-numbing reality of yet another mass shooting of young people in America. But today is the day that ‘Joe the Plumber’ published an “open letter to the parents of the victims” of the Santa Barbara spree…
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“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Here are some other Wordless Wednesday’s I’ve enjoyed:
Six Word Saturday is a blogging prompt from Cate at Show my Face. Here are some other Six Word Saturdays I’ve enjoyed:
I’ve lived in my house for 14 years, one month and three weeks. That’s the longest I’ve ever lived in any one place – over three times longer in fact.
When I was a child my family moved frequently; by age sixteen I had lived in eight houses in three towns in two countries. My son has lived in three houses in two countries – two of them between birth and age two. He’s sixteen now.
This neighbourhood is a living map of my son’s life. Even the office in which I sit to write this was his bedroom for the first few years. We chose this house – over any of the other 40 or so that we viewed – because it had an enclosed back yard, visible from the kitchen window, where a small boy could play in his sandpit, ride his trike or use the mini-workbench and tools he so loved. The large flat front lawn has been perfect for impromptu games of soccer and rugby with the other children in our neighbourhood.
Because this is a family neighbourhood. The local primary school has educated several generations of locals, there are parks, nature reserves and a thriving PlayCentre community. When we moved in, the first generation of children had grown into teenagers and we endured a few noisy parties before those families began moving out, to be replaced with others in the same stage of the family life-cycle stage as us. Next door, across the road, in the cul de sac opposite – over the years the neighbourhood has filled with children around our son’s age. As I write this, I’m watching a man help his child learn to ride their first bicycle in exactly the place we took the boy-child when he got his first bike.
We live in a cul de sac; at the end of which are a couple of walkways. One leads to the main road, shops and bus stop – the other to another set of cul de sac. This is a village on a tiny peninsula on the edge of a city. Although I can’t see it because of trees and houses, a branch of the upper Waitemata Harbour lies about 500 metres from my house.
Over the years many of the houses in the houses in this street have been bought and sold, and almost all have been extensively renovated – including ours. It’s difficult to remember now, walking to the local store, what places looked like before the extension, re-clad, re-paint or front fence. It’s easier to remember the slow dawdle to pre-school with an inquisitive two-year old in stripey trousers and a little back-pack. I can still feel the ghost of a tiny, soft hand in mine and the echo of a little voice asking questions that always seemed to come out of nowhere and often had me stumped. “When granddad bought his tractor, how did he get it home Mummy?” “What colour are tastebuds?”
Later, when the boy-child went to the local primary school, we took a different route; past the War Memorial Park (which doubled as a soccer training ground). Every day he would walk along the top of the fence and I still instinctively want to reach out and grasp a small hand at the places where the fence rails are wobbly.
These days his urge to balance on a fence-top has been replaced by one to skateboard down the – usually quiet – road. I preferred the old days.
Our village has changed so much in 14 years. The petrol station has gone- demolished along with the old local store to be replaced by a parade of shops and other businesses. The store itself is larger, brighter and has a better layout, but I miss the old days when it seemed as though – come the end of the school day – half the village would cram itself into that tiny, dark Aladdin’s cave to buy the kids an ice-cream and catch up with the neighbours, the soccer mums and that woman from the PTA whose name I could never remember. Playdates were organised, lunches arranged and babysitting arrangements made in the tiny aisle between cat food and toilet cleaner.
In our early days here, I often seemed to find myself half way through cooking dinner when I’d realise I’d run out of something. I’d phone the local shop, and somehow they always had one tin of coconut cream or one bottle of rice vinegar – or whatever it was I needed. I’d arrive a few minutes later to find it waiting for me on the counter.
This year, we have begun to seriously talk of selling the house and leaving the neighbourhood. The boy-child attends school in the city and – despite a brand new skatepark opening in the village – his time is largely spent elsewhere. He will finish school at the end of this year and a new phase of his life will begin.
Houses are being bought and sold again and the neighbours we have been closest to have all moved on. Once again the street is full of strollers, tricycles and kids starting primary school. Ours hasn’t quite turned into the noisy party house, but I can’t help feeling we aren’t far off.
So it is time to go; to seek new parks and pavements and to imprint new memories on new everyday places.
The Daily Post Writing Challenge asked us to look at our neighbourhood with new eyes and for me that has involved re-living so much of my son’s childhood. I didn’t realise how much I would enjoy that.
The Oxford Dictionary online defines art as:
The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
While it’s true that we can experience art anywhere, in anything we find beautiful or moving, I have a particular love of the fine arts. I am most passionate about sculpture and film, and am incredibly lucky to work with an arts organisation. I help organise NZ Sculpture OnShore, a biennial sculpture exhibition which raises funds for New Zealand Women’s Refuge. This stroke of luck means I am able to experience wonderful “expressions and applications of human creative skill” on an almost daily basis.
My role within the organization is to market the event; to bring as many people as possible through the gates to view and enjoy some of the best contemporary New Zealand sculpture. The equation is simple: more visitors = more money. More money means more that Women’s Refuge can do to help women and their children escape from abusive relationships and build new, better lives.
So far, we have donated $1.34 million dollars to the cause. We have funded a respite house, educational materials, special packs for children entering refuges – sometimes in the middle of the night with only the clothes on their backs – Continue reading
In the language of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori people, our country is called Aotearoa.
The original derivation of Aotearoa is not known for certain. The word can be broken up as: ao = cloud, dawn, daytime or world, tea = white, clear or bright and roa = long. It can also be broken up as Aotea = the name of one of the migratory waka that travelled to New Zealand, or the great Magellenic Cloud and roa = long. The common translation is “the land of the long white cloud”. Alternative translations are ‘long bright world’ or ‘land of abiding day’ referring to the length and quality of the New Zealand daylight (when compared to the shorter days found further north in Polynesia). [Wikipedia]
I particularly like the alternative “long bright world” translation. Living in Auckland — NZ’s largest city — I tend to forget how many different landscapes the country contains just a few hour’s drive from home. My recent trip “down country” to visit my dad was a lovely reminder of how much of this land is still vast open space.
I’ve been home now for almost a month and feel the busyness of the city oppressing me. I can’t escape again yet, so in the meantime will have to be happy with a few stolen early morning moments at the estuary a few minutes from my home.
Here are some other blogger’s take on the theme that I’ve enjoyed:
Of all the Photo Challenge themes set by Sally at Lens and Pens by Sally, the one I sometimes struggle with is Macro. My phone just doesn’t take great close-up shots, or – more likely – I don’t take great close-up shots with my phone.
I love macro photography, especially since I gifted myself a DSLR for Christmas. But it’s too big to always have by my side, so my phone camera tends to be used to capture spontaneous moments with friends, cool things I see on the run, and most of all, it has become an aide-mémoire; a replacement for my notebook, shopping and to-do lists. Text has become image as I snap the “we’ve run out of …” list on the fridge, the sign with a shop’s opening hours, a cool quote in a book. My life has become more organised, but my hand-writing – without practice – has become even more illegible.
Actually none of this has much to do with a photo of my TV remote. It just happened to be sitting there, minding its own business when I was dispiritedly trying to capture a macro shot worth sharing. The basic image is ok; I could have posted it but I like this edit. I like the fact that it looks a bit less real; a bit more like a painting. I like the slightly dystopian colour-scheme and the scratched, mottled finish. It fits my mood right now. If I could hit pause on my life right now; if I could step outside of the everyday and figure out why it’s not quite working, this is the remote I’d do it with.
Now check out how some other bloggers have risen to the Macro challenge: