Friday beauty spot

For a bit of a change I’ve decided to show some of my favourite photographs, and some words to go with them – I hope you enjoy!

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Luke 12:27

Morning Song

by Sylvia Plath

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s.The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

A Country Shaped like a Butterfly’s Wing

Beneath this giant pohutukawa
the cares of the world seem to cease.
Concrete steps zigzag from the street to a sandy beach
where rusty boat sheds stand on stilts
and women whose bodies are shaped like gourds
walk miraculously into and out of the sea.
You talk but I only half listen…some minutes since
you left me at a bay where the sun like a sword
plunges between the horns of blue breakers.
Beneath this summer’s slow travelling clouds
I am reminded that we both have ancestors
who once upon a time sailed across the world’s biggest oceans.
In their webs of latitude and longitude
like fishermen flinging a net
they caught this solitary planet
floating in blue space like a chrysalis.
Thank you for bringing me here
where the roots of a pohutukawa
like handrails lead down a cliff –
where the flight of seagulls is as eternal as hunger is.
Perhaps we should be like those Persians
beneath a swaying branch with a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine –
watch clouds like a caravan of camels sauntering across the horizon.
Should we stay here until the night has fallen into the sea –
in the morning council workers
would find the imprint of our bodies
close together on a quilt of leaves.
I talk but you only half listen
as we lie beneath this tree
through whose branches life is whispering.
Its roots run right through the spicy earth to Spain.
As we lie beneath blossoms tinged with Garcia Lorca’s blood
do you dream of a country shaped like a butterfly’s wing?

Bob Orr, Valparaiso (Auckland University Press, 2002)

Have a good one!

I’m a member of the Friday fanclub!

A long weekend beckons – Manly Jack is going to Stewart Island, and the camera gear is lined up ready to try out some off-camera flash (strobist if you’re into jargon).  Go here for some info on Strobist – lots of fun and not quite as difficult as the shots would suggest.

If you’re not a Kiwi, the significance of this weekend will be somewhat lost – it’s Queen’s Birthday Weekend, celebrating Her Majesty’s birthday, but not on the actual day.  I have no idea why, but this link might help you… It means we have an extra day off on Monday, and there are lots of pictures of corgi’s and crowns in the adverts.

Truly amazing the images you can find on the internet!
These ones you won’t find anywhere else though…
dark circles

favourite disease

Taonga (treasures) from our Southern Summer Safari

Two images I took during our trip to the Catlins. Sadly we didn’t make it to Rakiura (Stewart) Island, they had swells of four meters (I cannot even think of that without feeling queasy…) and rain by the bucketful, so we spent more time in Te Anau, Gore, Moeraki and Oamaru… For those of you who have absolutely NO idea where these places are – take a look at this map, or go Google!

Anyway, here are two images – the first is a fern I saw in a place called ‘Long Hilly’, or ‘Round Hill’. Long Hilly was the name given to it by Chinese miners in the late 1880’s. It’s reasonably close to Clifton, but a little further south.
Fern at Long Hilly
Head to here for more information on the Chinese goldminers…
This one is one of the most photographed waterfalls in New Zealand I swear – Purakaunui, which is in the Catlins (here for more information). My shot doesn’t really do justice to it I’m afraid, but I did have fun!
Purakaunui Falls

If you ever get a chance to travel to see these places – you won’t regret it!

A fortnight of no fixed abode…

One of my favourite things is to be able to take my watch off, turn my phone off, be away from town – and go bush. For the next fortnight I’ll be somewhere in the lower half of the South Island, New Zealand.
Manly Jack and I are taking off in the 4WD to meander where the GPS takes us, with only two destinations really firmly in my mind – one is the Catlins, and the other is Stewart Island, or Rakiura.

For just a tiny hint of the gorgeous scenery we’ll be taking in (and nothing of the nasty bitey sandflies, midges, mosquitoes either!) take a look below…

If you’d like a personalised account of a visit to the South Island, this site has some stunning photography and great descriptions. Tom Dempsey has pulled together some tips on what he experienced and enjoyed – and the site has been updated as recently as December 2008. Thanks Tom, you’re a great ambassador!

When I get back, I expect to be tanned (or rusted, there is quite a bit of rain out there!), bitten (by at least a 1000 biting things – none poisonous, and no we have no snakes to worry about!), and hopefully will have seen a kiwi in the wild!

In the meantime, you have plenty to read and ponder if you take some time to visit some of the sites listed on my blogroll…and I look forward to getting back refreshed and ready to get writing! It’s going to be a busy year.

Age can be a thief

Although I talk of my peace and contentment with my age (I think I’ve become so much more comfortable with myself as I get older), there is no doubt that being very old and having memory loss is a real tragedy.

I was wandering through the internet, winding down after gardening most of today, when I came across one of the most touching sites I have ever seen…
Phillip Toledano is a photographer – and a son. This site is called Days with My Father and is a tender, touching account of his time with his aging and forgetful father in the days after his mother died. Sadly, Phillip’s father can’t remember that his wife has died, and Phillip pretends that she has gone to Paris…
With the poignancy of a son who is incredibly close to his father – but has a photographer’s eye and a poet’s words, this site is one to take some time over. Plan on spending a good 20 minutes or more as you view the stunning photographs and read the words as Phillip describes his father in what I can only describe as a gem in the many horrible sites you can view on the internet.

A ramble through some blogs

It’s Friday here in New Zealand – last day of my working week – so in the tradition of many places, I’m having a ‘casual Friday’. ‘Cos you can’t see what I’m wearing, you’ll have to take my word for it, but I’m dressing down, and chilling out in preparation for a relaxing weekend. To get you in the mood for it, I thought I’d take a ramble through some interesting blogs you may not have read before.

First up is neurophilosophy which is written by someone who doesn’t give his name, but says he (I’m guessing it’s a he OK!!) is studying for a Masters in neuroscience at UCLA. He says his blog is about ‘molecules, minds and everything in between’….
Today’s post is about mind music, or music generated through brain waves. Check out his post and watch the YouTube video of music by James Fung who has a PhD in applied engineering. Geeks is all I can say!

For fun, Musings of a Distractible Mind which is a blog written by Dr Rob who says he is a primary care physician from the Southeastern United States. He also gives some curious facts about himself – he doesn’t like mushrooms, they’re too slimey, he plays multiple musical instruments, Llamas and goats have mysteriously become an important part of his blog. He is not sure who invited them, but they keep showing up. So I’m guessing he has a good sense of humour. Anyway, his post yesterday is a joke – enjoy!

Now a group of people that I have ultimate respect for are the librarians. Keepers of all that wonderful information, organisers of the universe – and here’s a blog by one of them! He uses words even I haven’t heard of (what is nugacity??) and writes eloquently and today’s post is all about handwriting them. A wonderful piece of reminiscence and foresight.

My final one today is for people who love photography and want a visual treat.
Once a day, every day, Zing posts a photograph. And wow! What wonderful photographs they are. Zing lives in Hamilton, and we have never met – but we communicate via Aminus3 photoblogs. If you’re a photographer and don’t want to use Flickr, but have photographs to share, think about joining Aminus3. It’s free, and there’s a great community spirit there – and some awesome inspiration. Have a wonderful browse through Zing’s work today.

There you have it, a quiet stroll through the varied world of the internet – take a few moments time out from being incredibly busy and efficient and professional, kick back, and chill. Have a great weekend everyone! See you Monday.

Pictures – and geocaching… (not really a painful topic!)

Read what you like into these two shots – photographs from my holiday to West Coast’s fabulous hidden corners, courtesy of geocaching. If you don’t know what geocaching is, it’s treasure hunting for grownups. Basically you log onto find the GPS coordinates of a hidden cache (often creatively and incredibly well-hidden!) of small swaps and a logbook. The GPS coordinates will get you within 4 – 6 metres of the spot, whereupon you need to look – and look pretty hard too!! The cache container could be as big as a 10 gallon drum, or as tiny as a thumb-nail magnet. Some of the containers are cunningly disguised as rocks, or hidden as treestumps, or inside hollowed-out signs, while some are in plain sight – just difficult to get to without being ‘muggled’. Being ‘muggled’ means someone from the general public, who isn’t a geocacher spots you in the process of finding and wants to know what you’re up to, or it can refer to when a cache container is plundered by someone who is not part of the game. Once you’ve found the cache, you simply log your find on the book in the cache (and later brag about it on the online log!), and if you’re keen you can swap one of the bits and pieces from inside the cache. Some caches are temporary homes for ‘travel-bugs’ or ‘geocoins’ which have a unique number on them enabling them to be tracked as they move from cache to cache around the world.


Some of the caches are quite demanding, because to get the coordinates of the final location, you may need to complete a puzzle, or carry out certain tasks, or have some general knowledge. And the physical demands of some cache locations are quite extreme – up hill, down dale, and further away from civilization than is normal for townies!

But the real pleasure of geocaching for me is the location of so many caches – wee places that even for a true blue Cantabrian like my partner (who has lived in Christchurch all his life) are unknown. Many are truly pristine, quite a number mark historical spots or geological formations or just plain gorgeous.

What does this have to do with pain? Nothing (except the pain of being the second to find a brand-new cache!), or if you’ve been bush-bashing through 12 foot high gorse only to find the cache has just been archived the weekend before you went to look for it!
A balanced life, however, helps with all things – and with geocaching you can get out and about, see some wonderful places, be taken on some fantastic walks, solve some incredibly difficult puzzles, and if you use it for travelling, get to stop every 30 minutes or so ‘just got to get another cache’! A great way to see the country at a pace that even I can cope with!

Oh, and photographers – there are some truly awesome photographic opportunities…settlers-gravestone-gillespies-beach-medium-web-view.jpg

Welcome to the first post! Values

You can talk to Merrolee about this blog, it was seeing hers that ‘inspired’ me to get around to starting this blog. An idea that had, I must admit, been kicking around in my brain for quite a wee while…

Finally I got around to it…

This will be a ‘from time to time’ blog, just as my photography one is. Every now and then inspiration hits and away I go!!

But for today – values in health.

Almost all health professionals have a code of ethics in which there is something about ‘respect’ for the client/patient/consumer. All throughout health care we are asked to compromise our values (How much therapy ‘should’ we offer this person? How much time can I afford to spend with that person? Should I tell this person about this therapy – when I know they won’t be offered it here…).

Personal and professional values are challenged directly and indirectly every day we work with people. If it’s about equity in funding (in New Zealand, the difference between funding for accidental injury and health conditions can be vast), about whether a person wants to engage in new behaviour, or how much we compromise our own beliefs about what is and is not important (documenting patient statistics versus spending time with a person?) we make decisions about what is important to us in our practice.

On the NZAOT Values Exchange , participants are asked whether equipment should be offered to an individual with obesity, initially described as developing before the diagnosis of osteoarthritis was made, but later described as being diagnosed at the same time (and presumably as a result of the OA). Ministry of Health determines that equipment needed because of obesity cannot be funded, while equipment needed because of disability from other health problems can be funded. A value-laden judgement suggesting that obesity is a choice, while disability from other causes is not. Perhaps not a value judgement that is explicit, but nonetheless, a judgement about what is and is not important. Is this respectful?

In cognitive behavioural therapy we are often called to ‘challenge’ the beliefs or assumptions of the person we are working with. Some cognitive therapies are very direct, calling the beliefs ‘maladaptive’ or erroneous. To the person hearing someone say ‘your thinking is wrong’, is this respectful?

Can I suggest some things to consider:

  1. Spend some time with yourself to work out what your values are both personally and professionally
  2. What are the stated and unstated values of the organisation you work for?
  3. There will be areas of compromise – have you spent time considering the effect of this compromise on you as an individual and as a professional?
  4. Think about offering choices to the people you see – what is important to you (their health status) may not be important to them (their kids schooling may be more important than their diabetes!)
  5. Drawing on motivational interviewing we can be both directive (being clear about our own position on the effects of a course of action), while being respectful of the choices that the person makes (based on what is important to the person).
  6. We can ensure we provide the person with a range of options so that they can an informed decision on what to do next (and the implications of that decision). Done sensitively the person will feel that you trust them, that they do have the resources to draw on, and that you both respect them and will welcome them back.

I hope this first post provokes thought. Comments are welcome!!