Monday, April 30, 2007

Miss Two and the flower

Miss Two and the flower, originally uploaded by - di.

I was working with the Market flowers we bought on Saturday...

I was working and little Miss Two wanted to ... needed to ... absolutely had to help and so she did and you know, the photographs were so much better with her assistance.

One of the things I noticed about Habib when photographing him at the theatre rehearsal was his physicality. So we tried a few like this ...

Ahhh those French Elections

Tara has written up a surprising post on press freedom in France, linking to this Reporters without Borders advertisement that claims France occupies 35th position in a ranking of 168 countries when it comes to freedom of the press.

Vive la Revolution ...

If you read on down through her blog, you will find another post on the situation in Darfur ...

Important reading if anything is to change there.

The Party in Holland (and local television)

So we arrived at the house-warming/wedding celebration of Diede and Francien over in Holland only to have Gert's phone ring. My daughter wanted to pass on a message that I was to phone a local television station back in Antwerpen as soon as possible ...

I called Katherine from the bathroom at Diede's place and they wondered if I was interested in taking part in a television programme on immigrants living in Antwerpen and how we cope with the language.

My rule, since flying into Istanbul has been that I'll say yes to most things that don't involve drugs or anything wicked simply because life is an adventure and let's see what it throws up.

Mmmm so, they want to film our little blended family and how we deal with communicating with each other ... It seems we will be filmed doing things like conversing while eating dinner and there will be a bit of an interview.

I'll know more on Wednesday ... when they arrive with their camera gear.

I hung up bemused and went back to the party wondering what I had gotten us into this time.

Why a party in Holland?
Well Diede is an old friend who achieved fame in the Di Hall of Friendship when he came over to New Zealand back in 2001 and stayed for a month, traveling all over the South Island with me, impressing my daughter to the point where she asked if he might consider becoming her stepfather ... to which he replied without missing a beat 'Sure I'll become your step father, so long as you get a new mummy'.

That's Diede ... the charming one. However New Zealanders love that kind of humour and we had a superb time, 11 days on the road, tenting our way around South Island New Zealand.

I decided that one of the cutest things about last night's party was the fact that so many people came on bicycles ... there were at least 70 bikes parked out front. The Dutch are so much better about cycling all over the place.

Then there were the guests... and they were absolutely lovely!

I had imagined I might be a little shy amongst this large group of strangers however it seems that exclusion of strangers isn't the Dutch way and I ended up talking with some truly remarkable people. I took over 300 photographs and most startingly, people would occasionally take my camera from my hands and photograph me ... sigh, that's not how it works but what could I do, I was a guest and they did make me laugh.

Wim and Ester had the wonderful story of marrying on a boat in Kaikoura, New Zealand and we spent a long time talking of 'home'. They loved NZ and I would sometimes tug at Gert's sleeve and say 'Did you hear that?', making everyone laugh simply because I am so shamelessly in love with my country of birth and love hearing people say good things about it.

They had been all over New Zealand during their 7 weeks in the country and had some lovely stories of Kiwi hospitality ...

Yesterday's party was a garden party because the tropical weather had continued and we were blessed with lots warmth and sunshine. The food and wines were lovely and the people ... I mentioned the people already, I know it ... it was a grand day out.

We decided to drive home and get back to our little family, perhaps that was our only mistake of the day. It was a 2 hour drive and we left at midnight. 5kms from home and Gert briefly fell asleep at the wheel as we were motorway driving at 110.

We were lucky and I was quite happy to wake and be greeted by little Miss Two and my daughter this morning ... reassured that we really had really made it home.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hayden and

Hayden is a New Zealand friend of mine and a travel agent living in Istanbul ...
He's someone I send all my Turkey-bound friends to. He's good, I've never heard any complaints, only praise ... or surprise when he organises magical things like birthday cakes for his clients while they are wandering the wilds of Turkey.

He's friendly, easy to contact and after years of living in Turkey, he knows what he's doing when it comes to getting each individual around Turkey in a way best suited to them.

So ... if you're interested in visiting Turkey, see his website and email him with any questions you might have.

A glimpse of another life ...

I couldn't resist linking to Shashikiran's latest post after slipping over there to read him this morning ...

An extract: The sun was now diffused by clouds and level with the distant tip of the straight road which rises steadily from the bund. The construction-workers started for home, and walked without looking tired. My colleagues had brought sweets for them which they took silently, and expressed thanks only with a slight shift of lines on their face. A half-moon shone above, and looked vain, his light working only for himself.

A day that ended with good people out on the balcony

Habib III, originally uploaded by - di.

And so it did ...

Miss Two and I read 'The World's Greatest Grandma' (I'm brainwashing her slowly but surely) and then I returned to the balcony where the 'grown-ups' were able to enjoy the first cool air of the day while the sun sunk rather spectacularly on the smoggy horizon.

I love this image.
I guess many won't but there is something about it that I simply adore ...

Tot ziens.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Erin, over at a wandering woman posted this and I loved it so I posted it on ...

"Inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists. There is, there has been, there always will be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It's made up of all those who've consciously chosen their calling and do their job with love and imagination. It may include doctors, teachers, gardeners - I could list a hundred more professions. Their work becomes one continuous adventure as long as they manage to keep discovering new challenges in it. Difficulties and setbacks never quell their curiosity. A swarm of new questions emerges from every problem that they solve. Whatever inspiration is, it's born from a continuous "I don't know."

"....That's why I value that little phrase "I don't know" so highly. It's small but it flies on mighty wings. It expands our lives to include spaces within us as well as the outer expanses in which our tiny Earth hangs suspended."

Excerpt from Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska's Nobel Lecture, 1996.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Irène Némirovsky, Writer

There was an interesting piece in the New York Times a while back ... titled As France Burned .

They wrote: This stunning book contains two narratives, one fictional and the other a fragmentary, factual account of how the fiction came into being. "Suite Française" itself consists of two novellas portraying life in France from June 4, 1940, as German forces prepare to invade Paris, through July 1, 1941, when some of Hitler's occupying troops leave France to join the assault on the Soviet Union.

At the end of the volume, a series of appendices and a biographical sketch provide, among other things, information about the author of the novellas.

Born in Ukraine, Irène Némirovsky had lived in France since 1919 and had established herself in her adopted country's literary community, publishing nine novels and a biography of Chekhov.

She composed "Suite Française" in the village of Issy-l'Evêque, where she, her husband and two young daughters had settled after fleeing Paris. On July 13, 1942, French policemen, enforcing the German race laws, arrested Némirovsky as "a stateless person of Jewish descent." She was transported to Auschwitz, where she died in the infirmary on Aug. 17.

Obviously I wasn't the only person to find her story interesting ... and the definitive website of Irène Némirovsky can be found here

The International Herald Tribune was also running a story here.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Oya lélé and Tarkan's 'Kiss Kiss'

So life has changed ... if I didn't realise it before, I do today.

Here I am, fresh from dancing to Oya lélé with Miss Two. Actually less than fresh - it's about 30 degrees celsius today.

Yesterday was teaching one last time in Brussels and a letter from an annoying administrateur-general in Belgium. Apparently I am required to attend integration lessons here in the city due to a change of rules regarding immigrants ... I blogged it but it was a wee bit sarcastic and so I deleted.

Time passes, the music changed and Miss Two and I just giggled our way through Tarkan's Kiss Kiss, more correctly known as Simarik ... it's delicious. Everyone needs to hear this song once in their life, at very least.

I've been missing Turkey so much in these days. I'm reading a book about it and then watching Tarkan's youtube which looks like it might have been filmed in Istanbul ... sigh.

I'm writing this against all the odds as I have a little person perched on my knees, somehow writing on paper in front of her, pressed over my wrists as my hands touchtype my post, sight unseen.

Tomorrow I'm photographing Eric, the Rwandan model at a park ... delivering photography cds and 'stuff' ... one never knows quite what kind of 'stuff' one might end up doing these days.

I'll leave you with Eiffel 65's 'brilliant' song Blue, a song my daughter and I used to sing along to in the safety of the car driving back along Dunedin's winding peninsula road sometimes ..

It has to be said, little Miss 2 is incredibly impressed by this little blue youtube.
You will be too ;)

Tot straks and happy dancing.

Phil Borges, Photographer

An interesting article on the work of Phil Borges at Pop

Many photographers have documented the difficulties faced by Earth's indigenous peoples, from poverty to prejudice, sexism to outright violence. Few have made as big a difference with their pictures as Phil Borges. Widely exhibited and published, Borges's work has depended on close partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which provide the means to get the photographer to places that concern him. Yet the seed of Borges's latest project was planted on a self-supported project to photograph shamanism around the world. ("There's no NGO that's out to protect shamans," he jokes.) Here, American Photo's Russell Hart recounts Borges's journey.

Thanks to The Travel Photographer .

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

How to get round the Kyoto Protocol 101 ...

Sorry, I went from writing up my blog post on Belgium's pollution into the New York Times, where they are running an incredible story of ... well read for yourself.

In 2005, the European Union, the major market for Gazprom, introduced a cap-and-trade scheme that allows polluters to buy credits that allow them to pollute and nonpolluters to sell pollution credits that they won’t use. That system is now being closely watched as Congress considers a similar mechanism in the United States.

So the big boys want to continue to burn known pollutants by burning the polluting credits of countries that don't create as much pollution ... making places in Europe even more polluted.

And we voted for these people. I can see why, they're so clever, getting around the Kyoto Protocol. I guess working on alternative fuels and etc is simply impossible.

Russia's Gazprom came up with the idea: The company is already testing the market for an innovative combination sale of fuel-and-emissions credits in countries that have undertaken to limit the release of gases that scientists say are warming the earth.

Is this really what the Kyoto Protocol was all about ... Companies in Russia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe are among the world’s big producers of greenhouse gases. But they also stand to benefit under the climate treaty by selling their rights to release carbon dioxide into the air, if they invest in greater efficiencies.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

the actor

the actor, originally uploaded by - di.

The price of fame ... or some such thing

An exhausting night ... I had become a famous blogger and was photographing Martha Stewart under something like the Eiffel Tower.

Tourists kept getting in the way, I had to climb all over things, standing on fences and the tops of gates ... then later, I was photographing her at some kind of evening show.

This morning it was business as usual, breakfast was prepared, Sahara is out 'working' with me and we're off to get medicine for 'mummy's sore throat'... apparently she brought a superbly infected throat with her from New Zealand, according the Belgian doctor she saw last yesterday.

Tot straks.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The worst that can arise between two societies is indifference’, he adds. ‘In the same way that motorways are tedious; roads with intersections produce surprises and reveal new routes to travel down. That is how genuine understanding and wisdom is born.’
Amara Lakhous

There's an interesting interview with Amara Lakhous of in Cafe Babel.
Cafe Babel has some interesting articles on the French elections over here.

'This article is the one I was most interested in ...

The aims of Sarkozy and Le Pen to tighten up immigration and security find little common ground with the Europeans we talked to. This apathy is however not a widespread trend. A study by the Ifop Institute revealed 17% of voters of Italian descent will vote for Le Pen, with around 8% of those of Spanish and Portuguese heritage casting their votes in the ballot boxes of the extreme-right.

The sixties saw a massive influx of migrants from all areas of southern Europe, all hoping to benefit from the booming industry. For them and their descendents, voting for the far right is no longer a taboo. Many of them are in favour of tougher intervention in the suburbs. They are worried that new immigrants could threaten their place in society.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

My crazy excellent life ...

I didn't expect to be a grandma at my age, nor did I expect to have my grandchild move in with my Belgian husband and I because of course, who knew I would be marrying a Belgian after spending 2 years in Istanbul ...

Sometimes I just have to write it all again because I find it all so surprising and amusing but there you go ... life happens and it can happen to anyone, anywhere, anyhow ...

This weekend has been a fantastic one in terms of people ... from photographing the mainly African theatre group yesterday through into today when I spent a couple of hours interviewing a truly interesting man for the new website Erin and I are working on.

I felt very lucky to have the opportunity to be doing what I did this weekend.

But it was also a weekend of marathon housework ... and here I am, fresh from removing the hint of yogurt handswirls from the big windows at the end of the lounge; from vacuuming without sucking up those little animal stickers or hairbands belonging to Miss Two; hanging out washing with tiny little socks using all of my hand/eye coordination skills as I fitted them on the line between little sunfrocks and tops and etc ... the apartment is a place of civilised living again ... for the moment anyway.

Gert's children will roll in any minute for an overnight stay and little Miss Two is terribly excited about helping 'Mama' make toast for EVERYONE in the morning.

Jessie and Gert both have some kind of flu, although the painkillers have kicked in and they're looking much better than they did earlier today and I'm feeling ... I don't know really ... exhausted but happy as I download all the images from today's performance.

Ahhhh today's performance ... it turns out that Miss Two specialises in performing very loud, very performance orientated songs that sounded suspiciously like drinking songs (songs I know she's never heard) ... complete with the dramatically outstretched arms at the end.

I was negotiating with her about singing a little more quietly, as I wasn't sure that the neighbours would find her cute bellowing as endearing as we did ... and anyway, they couldn't see the accompanying expansive hand movements so how could they even begin to appreciate it all.

There was no negotiation ... her songs could only be sung LOUDLY.

And that was a slice from my crazy excellent life ...

I hope all is good in your world.

Tot ziens.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Volunteering ...

the actor acts I, originally uploaded by - di.

By volunteering to work with the integration people here in Antwerpen, I opened doors into worlds I never expected to enter ... worlds I didn't realise existed ... and it's been grand.

Today I had the most remarkable time working around the most remarkable people.

In this image I loved the way that the skin on the actor's arm echoes the shape of the individual 'beads' on the necklace he was wearing.

Antwerpen Saturday ....

It's another beautiful blue-sky day here in the city of Antwerpen and I'm booked (as a volunteer) to photograph the theatre group working within PINA towards their end of year show. It's about people from many countries coming together to perform ... curious I am to see where it's heading.

Afterwards, there's a guy from the Ivory Coast who would like some modelling shots done ... just to get his profile out here in this new world he inhabits.

Yesterdays's to-do list fell over and I have most of it still waiting to be worked on through this weekend although we did deliver personal cds to the people I photographed for the exhibition on language.

Oh and Miss Two revealed that she too has inherited a rather large amount of the mocking gene ... We were riding home on the tram when she began insisting that we were traveling on a bus, with a particular gleam in her eyes and 'that' tone in her voice.

This escalated and went on for some time, with neither of us giving in.

This morning, over breakfast, she told Bompi that she came home on the tram yesterday, then looked over at me and said 'Bus' ... laughing.

And so the day begins.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Metropolitan Museum and the NY Times

The New York Times is offering an interactive tour of the renovated Greco-Roman wing of the Metropolitan Museum, with panoramic images, details on the space, commentary by Michael Kimmelman and a video feature.

For free access to the article you only need to be a registered reader to read it ... sorry about that but it's worth it if you're interested.

Cafe Press and Babysitting

My daughter and I were awake until early this morning, creating our very first online Cafe Press shop. We've been crazy-busy loading photographs and images ... I'll create a link to it as soon as we're done.

Going through folders and folders of photographs has been interesting, as I often use the best of a set of images but had failed to organise the rest in a memorable or efficient way ... the shop opening is surely a timely reminder to organise before this production develops much further.

My colour-coded list for today only has 6 things noted down on it ... it seems possible all will be done in between repeatedly throwing a pink fluffy blanket over the sofa and a chair to 'make ma house!!', as requested by little Miss Two.

I feel like I'm participating in some kind of aerobics step class ... sitting down at the computer to write this then walking over to 'make ma house' each time she wiggles too much and the 'roof' falls on top of her and her toys and her books ...

Talking of my old photographs... the sleepy cat on the window ledge was taken back in my Istanbul days. The store window was in Ortakoy and I had been wandering through the 'Intellectuals Market' that day ... a beautiful market on the edge of the Bosphorous, a place where you can find some of the best baked potatoes in Istanbul.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What I learnt today ...

There are people out there who are going to laugh when they read what follows ... laugh because clearly I don't always think things through.

You see I cleaned all the windows in the house in preparation for my daughter and granddaughter arriving ...

Today Gert noted that there's a new window 'cleaner' in town.

Someone with paws about the size of little Miss Two.
Someone who clearly makes their own potion for window cleaning.
Someone who likes the whole abstract window art look ... swirls and fingermarks, a little yogurt perhaps.

So yes, today I learnt something new today ... that one doesn't clean for a 2 year old guest because 2 year olds don't really care about windows.

More treasure from Tewfic El-Sawy

I wandered into The Travel Photographer's website this morning and was delighted to find a post on Yann Arthus-Bertrand's latest project titled ... 6 Billion Others .

Tewfic quoted Yann directly regarding the project aim which is "to create a sensitive and human portrait of the planet's inhabitants, and attempts to reveal each person's universality and individuality."

It's stunning ... so if you have time, make yourself comfortable and go for a wander through the world of Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

His everyday website is here .

And today ...

My daughter has begun checking in with me in the evenings to create a to-do list for the following day ...

Her list for today is 7 items long, colour-coded to indicate importance, with a profile I have to write about me being the final 'treat' if all else is done. Blogging is for before breakfast or after my list is completed ... (fortunately I'm the mother, I get to do as I please).

To have an idea of how we are when we're together, see The Gilmour Girls and you're halfway there. I get to be the flaky mother ... a role she's happy to cast me in but the conversation is fastpaced (we like to think amusing) and it's definately not for the second or third language speaker :) A man could get lost in the midst of it so Gert is proceeding with caution.

But it's fun.
I see Gert quietly laughing as he eavesdrops on us, enjoying that someone else mocks me as I might have been known to mock him.

So who knew there was a mocking gene ...

Oh, and anyone who has suffered me taking their photograph well ... my daughter is a superb photographer and when my camera isn't focused on Sahara, she 'delights' me with impromptu sessions with me as the subject.

Tot straks.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

About multi-tasking ... (or my inability to do so)

I'm adjusting, slowly but surely, to the rigorous rule of a 2-year-old ...

And she's discovering that I have my own rules that might not quite gell with her idea of how life should be lived but that there's room for negotiation. Meanwhile 'everything else' is waiting for me to return to it.

I've become rather good at writing lengthy 'to-do lists' and on the completion of anything on said list, I applaud myself as if I've just saved a small nation from the brink of destruction. Although there is the constant struggle keep track of the to-do lists and that complicates action ...

So today is about the attempt to write advertising for various outlets ... so varied in audience that my head spins simply from thinking of it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Belgian aerobiological surveillance network ...

I was impressed.

The Belgian pollen and spore monitoring network was created in 1974. Its main objective is to give rapid information about these allergens to practitioners, pharmaceutical companies and allergic sufferers. These data will help determine a diagnosis and the eviction of high risk periods.

Their message of the day ... Birch pollen trees are in full bloom and are releasing huge densities of pollen.

People sensitized to birch pollen have to be very careful now. They should follow their practitioner's recommendations.

Some people sensitized to birch pollen are also allergic to certain raw fruits like apples, kiwis, hazelnuts

Der Spiegel interviews the Prime Minister of Turkey

In an interview with der Spiegel, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan discusses Iran's nuclear program, Turkey's geopolitical role, its ties with the European Union and his difficult relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Erdogan: One could set 2014 or 2015 as a date for our accession to the EU. But above all I am calling on the EU to be honest: If the EU doesn't want us, they should say it now and clearly. If we are not wanted, then both sides don't need to waste their time with negotiations. Is Europe a home for an alliance of civilizations or is it a Christian club? If the former is true, then Turkey should be part of it.

It makes interesting reading and leaves me hoping that Europe will wake up to the big picture of world politics before they completely alienate this powerful country.
It was so incredibly sad to read of the mass shooting that took place in America yesterday and it brought to mind Tara's recent post on gun ownership over on her blog at Paris Parfait.

An extract: They talked about how she'd taken a class to become certified and how they'd shopped for a gun. She said most of the guns were "too big and bulky" to carry, although she'd finally settled on a smaller model - a .38-caliber - and paid an extra $200 for the weapon's red laser sight. Then she talked about walking into an antiques mall and finding a small French "muff gun," - the kind that women in the 18th-and-19th centuries carried hidden inside fur muffs, designed to warm their hands. And how she'd wanted to buy it - she'd gone home to tell her husband: "Now that's a gun I could carry," - but the shop proprietor told her American bullets wouldn't fit the French gun.

v-grrrl also wrote a rather thought-provoking post over on her blog here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Much ado about a few things ...

A new way of looking at hot weather (or an old memory resurrected) ... the child's washing dries just as fast as she can dirty it in 25 celsius plus.

It's been a day of busy-ness.
Housework and then we walked to the playground.
It's hot out there, really hot. We were valiant but left the park just after 12, running for that bus ... managing pushchair and child and bag and ticket clicking, and possibly providing entertainment for the other passengers all at the same time.

I had forgotten the challenges of day to day life with a little person.

Home again, rested some, I caught up with my phone calls. I have a photo session on Saturday, a guy from the Ivory Coast, and there's a multi-national rehearsal that needs a photographer there taking some pics.

Then it seems I might have said yes to being an English speaking immigrant on a television programme on Language ... I'll know more if and when the tv station phones and I can ask more.
That one is still in the slightly surreal basket.

I feel the need for a nice bottle of red and the balcony except it's still at least 25 celsius out there and full in the sun.

Let's see what can be negotiated with my Belgian bloke when he gets home. I think I might have agreed to being his cheap immigrant labourer, helping deliver his party's political newspapers ...

Alberta Ferretti, fashion designer

There's a rather delicious interview with fashion designer Alberta Ferretti in The Independent newspaper.

An extract: Although I love my country, I feel like an international designer rather than an Italian one. My greatest sources of inspiration are contemporary women from different cultures - I take something from each one. I love French women for their frizzante attitude. English women have a touch of eccentricity, Americans are admirably determined, and Italian women are very passionate. If you put together all these qualities, you have a new model of woman, someone who has retained her femininity but who leads an active, productive life.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Photo Friday ... a little late

The Blues c, originally uploaded by - di.

This week's Photo Friday challenge was simply titled The Blues.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
~Anaïs Nin

Thanks to Jane at Jane Poe - Nevermore!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The French Elections

"France has difficulty in deciding where to go next, partly because it avoids talking honestly to itself about where it is now."
Jacques Marseille,
French historian and political scientist.

The Independent is running an interesting piece titled France: A nation in crisis?

Interesting because what France chooses intrigues me. John Lichfield writes of the voting public and how much change they can stand: They are nervous about the kind of radical change that M. Sarkozy appears (sometimes) to threaten. They are unconvinced that Mme Royal offers any coherent change at all. Hence the attraction to the centrist candidate, François Bayrou, who talks of pragmatic, consensual reform but is probably the most traditional and cautious of the front-runners.
After all everybody, that is, everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves in order to tell what is inside themselves. That is why writers have to have two countries, the one where they belong and the one in which they live really. The second one is romantic, it is separate from themselves, it is not real but it is really there.
–Gertrude Stein

Thank you again to blue Vicar

Istanbul as written up by Der Spiegel

"If the city speaks of defeat, destruction, deprivation, melancholy and poverty, the Bosporus sings of life, pleasure and happiness".
Orhan Pamuk, on Istanbul

Der Spiegel have an excellent article on Istanbul here.

Note: the photograph is a Reuters image that came from the 'East Meets West in Istanbul' photo gallery here

Friday, April 13, 2007

New Blog Headers and Tram Rides ...

My life is an odd one ... I'm rarely sure of 'what's next'.

Today I learned that my daughter has talents I knew very little about ... talent and time on her hands as she adjusts to life in a new land.

So yes, writes this bemused mum, my blog has this new header I love, using two of my favourite photographs ... photos I took while wandering through Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome back in 2003.

Of course there is always that moment of crisis in any good story ...
Gert was working at fitting the header into my blog template when he looked over at me and said in a deeply disturbed tone, 'I've just lost a whole section of code from your template!'

But that's not all ... today was also the day of little Miss Two's very first tram ride and she found it fascinating. She also charmed everyone with her singing and chatter, to the point where one man and his wife turned and gave her some chocolate Easter eggs.

My tram rides were often spent lost in a book, it was odd being part of a performing trio of kiwis, clearly led by the littlest one.

Progress in the naming of Gert department ... well she has her 'mum', as always. Then there is me and I am now 'mama' which is her version of 'granma' but specifically for me because Gert was also warmly greeted with 'GRANDMA!' as she ran into his arms when we met him off his after work tram.

He's now working on a renaming, using the Flemish version of grandad ... he's hoping'bompa will meet with Miss Two's approval ... which all makes me giggle as I sit here writing that story up.

Oh the trials and tribulations ... who knew.
I had forgotten how it is to converse with a 2 year old ...

Yesterday's big topic was 'I'm your mummy's mummy.'

'Yes, she's my mummy,'my daughter would say to her daughter.

Ms Two-Year-Old was adamant ... NO! She's my mummy!'
What were we thinking?

And long after we weren't thinking about it anymore, Ms Two was still thinking ... at 6am, so I'm told, the entire conversation was bought up and discussed all over again.

Grandad Gert is slowly coming out of the wilderness of being called Grandma because she already has a grandad back in New Zealand we think.

This morning, after breakfast, she's hanging out with the cartoons in preparation for the big day ahead. So far, she has said nothing about Little Einstein screening in Dutch ... we're not sure if she hasn't noticed or whether cartoons are the kind of thing that the little people 'understand' in any language.

Tot straks.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

‘Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.’
–from The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd, 2002

Thanks to blue

Found in Paris II

Found in Paris II, originally uploaded by - di.

Found in Paris

Found in Paris, originally uploaded by - di.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

-skaterboy, originally uploaded by - di.

Even the skateboarders seem kind of chic ...

Parisian Graffiti

Parisian Graffiti, originally uploaded by - di.

A Small Note About April in Paris

Is absolutely undeniably fabulous!!

Photographs to follow ... so many that you might plead for mercy, or simply choose not to look ;)

Au revoir!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Shashikiran, Blogger

I happened upon a truly delicious blog sometime ago and although I link to him in my links list I sometimes still want to post about the blog belonging to Shashikiran.

His posts are like beautiful slices of reality, that more often than not leave me dreaming about whether a photograph could capture all he describes or maybe a painting?

His writing is a delicate poetic kind of prose and his blog is like a beautiful book that can be picked up and tasted whenever I have need of a glimpse, an experience or a journey to someplace unknown to me.

Thank you for writing your world Shashikiran :)

Joe Klementovich, Photographer

Found a rather stunning photography site today, nice for a wander if you enjoy beautiful photography.

Joe Klementovich is over in New Hampshire photographing everything from bouldering to pottery .

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

Long phone conversation with ex-husband about daughter and granddaughter today ...

It was good. We were married for 16 years and to throw away the friendship with the marriage would have been a crazy waste of years, just for the sake of a divorce. So we're friends who occasionally disagree and don't talk for a while sometimes.

And we chatted about our daughter, her daughter, the journey they're making, about the past and I caught up on news of family back home. It was good.

This afternoon we were out celebrating Pasen with Gert's extended family ... his ex-wife, the children, his parents and brother and sister and etc.

It was a lovely few hours and only a small glass of Sambuca made walking feasible. These Belgians certainly know how to create and eat ... the array of desserts was simply stunning.

Tonight it's all about moving files between Gert's computer and our new secondhand computer. He started it up and it roared into life ... worrying us some but quietening after a few seconds.

Rooms painted, curtains hung, bed assembled, beds made, possessions streamlined, windows almost all cleaned, kitchen lovely and small gifts bought for our wonderful host and hostess to be in Paris.

Tot straks!

The Reuters Blog

The invitation is simple: Join Reuters photo editors and photographers for insight into what makes a great picture as they blog about the most eye-catching images from the hundreds reviewed every day from colleagues and the wider public.

You can visit the Reuters blog here.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Talent renders the whole idea of rehearsal meaningless; when you find something at which you are talented, you do it (whatever it is) until your fingers bleed or your eyes are ready to fall out of your head. Even when no one is listening (or reading, or watching), every outing is a bravura performance, because you as the creator are happy. Perhaps even ecstatic.
Stephen King
from, On Writing

Thanks to Kathleen over at Go crazy, kill a tenor and die: Just a normal Tuesday .

Friday, April 06, 2007

"If you don’t ever make mistakes, you’re not trying.
You’re not playing at the edge of your ability."

Artie Shaw

Found over on Spark of Accident , Essays on Photography.

Thanks Jon.

I keep going back to the photographs I took of v-grrrl on Monday, studying the new background and the way that we used it. I don't often post photographs taken in the landscape format but I love this one ...

There are mornings when ...

I wish I hadn't been riding on the back of the youth group leader's motorbike that day he crashed into the stationary car at over 100km per hour.

I'm glad that we lived.
We were lucky but this morning my body remembers.

I remember the doctor's surprise after the ambulance folk handed me over. He said, 'You've been very lucky, nothing's broken ... however, you will ache more as you get older, you took some impressive knocks'.

I lay in bed for days, waiting for the swelling in my legs to go down, most particularly my knees ... devastated that I couldn't go to a concert; devastated as you can only be at 17 when a concert seems like the most important thing.

I hated the whiplash collar I wore for weeks afterwards but 'older' was a long way away and perhaps I didn't believe him.

Just lately, my body has been on a journey of remembering, or so it feels.

A friend had come to me on the morning of the big motorbike trip, I remember that too. He had borrowed his brother's serious motorbike leathers ... he made me dress in basic clothes, then layered me up. I think it was 1 pair of normal socks, 1 pair of thick socks, and then his brother's fabulous leather motorbike boots.

The impact of the crash meant I had cuts on my feet through all of the layers. Thank you Andrew Finnie, for my feet.

Goodness knows what else he saved with his concern for a friend on that day way back when ...

Like cat who has found a place in the sun, I might sit here at the desk for just a little longer this morning and work out a plan for reclaiming this winter stiffened body of mine.

Tot straks.

Newsha Tavakolian and EVE

I was reading Cafe Babel's Brunch with Newsha Tavakolian, an Iranian photojournalist who has covered Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Lebanon, the invasion of Iraq as well as her own country ...

It was there that I read of EVE, a group founded in conjunction with five other photojournalists from South Africa, Georgia, Brazil, Thailand and Spain.

Newsga said, EVE is "a platform from which we can express ourselves and, through our photographs, give a voice to the problems of the world's women".

I went searching and found EVE's about here.

They had written EVE is the result of a common aspiration: to mobilize each of its member’s photographic approach and interpretation of the world in order to provide an original and powerful series of work.

These six photographers have a specific vision and individual centers of interest; but they also share a passion and strong common convictions about how and why they document our world, providing a different, yet cohesive interpretation of it, in addition to offering eloquent ways to apprehend and decode it.
"Sorrow's beauty cannot be caught in a rush between two planes.
Its truth requires days of waiting and attention. It takes as long to learn to see as to love.

Regis Debray.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bill Hocker, Traveller and Photographer

I have Tewfic El-Sawy's Feedblitz mails arrive in my inbox because he regularly posts news of superb photographers.

Today he posted about Bill Hocker. He wrote: I consider Bill Hocker to be one of the quintessential travel photographers. An insatiable globetrotter, he traveled (and still does) all over the planet to satisfy his passion for photography and his interest in new cultures. He is not a professional photographer, but is passionate about his avocation and makes no bones about it.

I wandered over to Bill's photography website and noticed he had a New Zealand album. I read what he'd written and found him delightful.

I mean, who could resist having their native land written up in this way: Not unlike my California, New Zealand is a place of natural wonders, yet with a tenth the disfigurements and annoyances of human occupation. Half of the population lives in Auckland. Beyond are 104,000 square miles of pristine landscapes linked by 2-lane roads.

It is a man's world of sailing and ranching and clear-cut forestry, an outdoor mecca for hunters, fishermen, trampers and kayakers. It had a whiff of utopia about it, all fitness and sustainability, resolved harmony between colonist and native, a self-contained and defensible place where the pitfalls of human society can, in fact, be overcome. Or was it just my imagination?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Magnum Photographers

Found some treasure over here.

Thanks to Damon over at Photo Induced .


v-grrrl, originally uploaded by - di.

How many lives to organise ...

I was cleaning the house just now ... packing Gert's kids stuff because they go back to their mother's today and then moving on into putting together the room we're creating for my daughter's arrival.

I've been feeling fragmented of late and hadn't really had time to ask myself why, and I had written of 'reclaiming my life' to a friend. There was a smile in her words when she wrote back, asking me to write more of it.

The more I wrote, the more I felt this fragmented feeling of 'so much to do'.

Which life am I reclaiming and which do I already own?
Photographer, teacher, writer, blogger, mother, grandmother, stepmother, wife, friend, immigrant ... to name but a few.

I have so much to do but had been unable to simply work my way through that list in an organised fashion... I've been falling from one thing into the next, enjoying everything but not getting to spend huge amounts of time or concentration on any one thing.

Perhaps realising is the beginning of finding a way of organising this crazy delicious life of mine ...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Today ...

v-grrrl, originally uploaded by - di.

v-grrrl wandered on over from Brussels today and allowed me to photograph her ... she's beautiful, isn't she, writes the happy photographer.

This is her, un-photoshopped.

I feel like these are the days where I tidy up everything that needs done before I fall into time with my daughter and granddaughter ... crazy busy days.

I finished up the exhibition photographs yesterday and handed everything in. Apparently they went to the layout people at 3pm, so I'm curious to see what happens with them. They're making short films now and who knows what else ... all will be revealed when the exhibition opens in June.

Since photographing v-grrl's family back in 2006, I've wanted to photograph the v-grrrl alone, curious to see who she is when she isn't the mother and wife. Despite minimal strike action on the trains between Brussels and Antwerpen, she is coming over today and I get to have a relaxed photo session with someone I've come to count as a friend.

The apartment is still wearing its 'under construction' look. My bedroom wall has has its second coat of paint applied to it and there's more work to be done there. This weekend is all about Gert applying the wished-for red paint to the walls of his kids bedroom.

He matter-of-factly turned down my offer of applying it, explaining that red paint is the most difficult of colours to apply evenly ... I guess the 'cayenne' paint daubs on the white skirting board and that one on the ceiling in our room made him doubt my abilities in the field of paint application.

This week is about building a desk with shelves above it, cleaning windows and making new beds; setting up this apartment so that, when required, all 6 of us can live here without too much trouble.

And not only is all of this happening but I get to finally meet the lovely Paris Parfait next week. My first time in Paris ...

Tot straks.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Once, a long time ago, I kicked a piece of furniture when I was in a very bad mood.

I broke my navicular bone; a bone you shouldn't break because it has its own blood supply.

It healed and I learned not to kick furniture when frustrated.

When I kicked it, I remember lying on the floor, looking up at my ex-husband, laughing because I had been an idiot and knew it immediately ... crying because it was the most incredible pain.

This morning I read 'Mr Bush on Saturday said 'Iran's capture of 15 British sailors and marines was "inexcusable" and called for Iran to "give back the hostages" immediately and unconditionally.'

Making a leap across a chasm that some people might not want to follow me across, I would say 'Mr Bush ... Guantanamo Bay.'

Perhaps the cure is in the youtube I borrowed from Mark's site.
Thanks Mark