The Changing Seasons: March 2017

First light on Mt Ruapehu, Central Plateau, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

First light on Mt Ruapehu, Central Plateau, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

I’m being a bit metaphorical with this Changing Seasons post, focusing on my road-trip with the boy-child last weekend.

Since he left home last June, I’ve only seen my child for more than a few hours at a time when he has been ill; in need of that special “mummy” care.

Last weekend we visited his grandfather in Whanganui; a road-trip of around 700km together. While it’s far from the first time we’ve traveled together, it was the first time we could share the driving and the costs. More importantly, as I quickly realised, we also had to share the decision-making.

My son is an adult now and the seasons of our respective lives have changed.

His road-trip ended at New Plymouth airport; with a flight back to Auckland and work. Mine involved a few more hours in the car (about half of them in Auckland traffic) — and a chance to get all nostalgic about New Zealand’s beautiful rural hinterland.

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge hosted by Cardinal Guzman. Please visit to see the Cardinal’s month, and find links to other participants.

There are two versions of the challenge:

Version 1 (The Changing Seasons V1):

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

Version 2 (The Changing Seasons V2):

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

Normal service has resumed

Back to reality. Coffee, lists and bill-paying. Close-up shot of morning activity. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Back to reality. Coffee, lists and bill-paying. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The boy-child and I have been on a little road trip to visit my father.

I had intended to keep up with the blogging world while away. But truly, we were having too much fun exploring.

The boy and the mountain. Mist-shrouded Mt Ruapehu from the Desert Road, with boy-child taking photograph. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The boy and the mountain. Mt Ruapehu from the Desert Road. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

So apologies for my slowness in engaging with your posts and responding to comments. It’s gone on my “to-do” list.

Daily Post Photo Challenge: a good match, take 2

A good match: raspberries and chocolate. Dark chocolate cake with white chocolate ganache topping, filled with berries and ganache. Image (and cake): Su Leslie, 2017.

A good match: raspberries and chocolate. Dark chocolate cake with white chocolate ganache topping, filled with berries and ganache. Image (and cake): Su Leslie, 2017.

It was the boy-child’s 19th birthday yesterday, so I made him this chocolate raspberry cake to share with friends and workmates.

I’m not a particularly confident cake-maker, but am told this one went down well.

Close up shot of chocolate cake, with white chocolate ganache topping and raspberries. A good flavour match. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Raspberries and white chocolate, definitely a good match. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Daily Post Photo Challenge | a good match

DP Photo Challenge: a good match — the boy and …

… his skateboard

Skateboarding boy airborne. Image: Su Leslie, 2010

The boy-child and his skateboard; inseparable. Image: Su Leslie, 2010

… snow

Boy building snowman, Mt Ruapehu, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2011

Having fun at Mt Ruapehu. Image: Su Leslie, 2011

… food

Boy eating in a restaurant. Image: Su Leslie, 2009

The boy-child enjoying Peking Duck at Auckland restaurant, Love a Duck. Image: Su Leslie, 2009

… his dad

Father and son. Image: Su Leslie, 2009

“two peas in a pod?” The big T and our boy-child. Image: Su Leslie, 2009

Apologies for posting some old images to this challenge. The boy-child turned 19 yesterday and I’m feeling nostalgic.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | a good match

DP Photo Challenge: path

Path through urban bush, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

A change of direction, and an unknown path. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

When I was a child, my parents had a very clear path mapped out for my life; university, profession, marriage, children.

Although I’ve reached  some of those way-points, I’ve done so by following — sometimes just stumbling across — very different pathways to those that my parents envisaged.

Path through urban woods, Auckland, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Safe, flat, easy terrain. A clear path, but perhaps not the right one. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

For many years now, I’ve been navigating a series of trails called “motherhood.” I’ve fallen over quite a lot and got lost far too many times, but when I look back, it’s with some sense of achievement.

Now that the boy-child has left home, those trails are less and less meaningful, and I need a new direction.

Trail through bush at Blue Lake, Rotorua, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Unsure what’s round the corner. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

I’m not sure what path 2017 will take me down. I’m not even sure there will be an actual route — I may have to make my own. I’m pretty sure I’ll stumble around, complain loudly about not having a map, and I will certainly lose my way sometimes.

But I hope that whatever path I make, it takes me to places where I can live simply and do good. But most of all, I intend to enjoy the walk.

Clearing in native bush, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

A clearing in the woods, but maybe no path. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

A contribution to the Daily Post Photo Challenge on the theme of path.

 

 

 

DP Photo Challenge: Anticipation, take 2

Wrapped Christmas presents. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Christmas and anticipation seem to go together.

And I don’t mean the anticipation of boundless joy and togetherness portrayed in popular culture’s ubiquitous imagery of shiny children beaming over shiny gifts, or huge happy families gathered around tables laden with food.

I’m thinking instead of how that imagery, which equates Christmas joy with rampant spending and over-consumption, also serves to heighten — for many of us — the anticipation of loneliness, isolation, inadequacy, fear.

In Auckland (and many other places), people are queuing all night outside the City Mission in the hope of a food parcel and perhaps a donated gift for their children. (Stuff, Dec 16 2016)

Police and Women’s Refuge say that incidents of family violence will rise over the Christmas period, and that only a small proportion will actually be reported (NZ Herald, 10 Dec 2016).

Those who have extended family can turn to newspapers and websites for advice on “how to survive the family Christmas” (Stuff, Dec 10 2016) — some consolation perhaps for  those already struggling with loneliness and social isolation.

In my little family, we have developed and evolved our own Christmas rituals and coping strategies. Yet I still feel anxiety that as the principal architect of our family’s social structure, I will somehow get it wrong and engender disappointment rather than joy.

And as much as I want to create something special for those I love, I am eagerly anticipating Boxing Day, when I can just relax and read my book.

This is a contribution to the Daily Post Photo Challenge. The theme this week is anticipation.

 

It’s not this time of year without … portraits of my son

The boy-child. Monochrome portrait of a young man with mirror reflection. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

The boy-child. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

When he was little, the boy-child loved the camera and it loved him right back.

As he’s got older, the relationship’s changed in one fundamental respect. These days, he feels he belongs behind the lens rather than in front. So it takes something quite special — like his grandmother’s desire to have a “nice picture” for Christmas — to persuade him to be photographed.

And with no disrespect to my son’s very real talent as a photographer, I think the camera still loves him.

The boy-child, take 3. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Portrait of a young man, with reflection in the mirror.

The boy-child, take 2. Image: Su Leslie, 2016.

The by-child, take 2. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Portrait of a young man, with reflection in the mirror.

The boy-child, take 3. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge. This week we’re asked to show something without which the holiday season would be incomplete.