Caterpillar Contemplations

"What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly." Lao Tzu

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What is June to you? #blogjune

Thanks sis!  An easy one!

What is June to me …


June is brisk mornings in fragile sunshine.
It is putting on multiple layers so that I can strip them off again in overheated rooms.
June is hot chocolates, red wine, stews and soups.
It is good books in hot baths with bubbles and visits from my boyfriend saying “can I get you anything?”
June is long conversations in front of open fires, or movie nights, or board games.
It is frost that paints the gardens white and rain that releases tensions and washes away the grime.
June is long boots and long skirts.
It is phrases like “winter is here now” and “it was so cold last night” and “shut the door!”
June is … tax … time.
And it is blissfully the end of term!


Well dear sis, what’s in store for you?  How about:




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#blogjune – Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Artwork of the Day” ?

I haven’t clicked on the link from my sister’s blog yet … I’m waiting in anticipation … perhaps, as she suggests, I should make a cup of tea!  In fact … that is exactly what I’ll do – just wait there a second and I’ll be right back.

Where do your thoughts go when you see the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Artwork of the Day” ?

Okay … I’m ready now!  I hope it’s something that I can relate to … or that inspires free flowing thoughts and creative ideas.  In fact, something that triggers an idea for a dramatic story for my drama kids (we’re working with masks this semester and I feel it has been largely unsuccessful).

Hmmmm.  Nope – no ideas for the drama kids.


The artwork for today is Simon Denis’ Sunset, Rome – an oil painting on paper of a sunset with some incredible cloud formations – one of which looks like an eruption.

I love the way that clouds look in the sky at sunset, I don’t often get to experience the wonder in an relaxed setting, sipping champagne (as I would like to do) – but driving toward Ballarat on the Western Freeway.  Often the sunlight and the clouds create some crazy heavenly landscapes that bring to life mythical figures, stories and imaginations.

When I was a kid I would imagine that if I could just find that spot where the shaft of light projecting from the clouds hit the ground, that I would be / could be transported into the heavens.  I would look for a ‘sign’ that it was my time for greatness.  Clearly, I never found the signs …

On a more practical note, clouds at sunset on the drive to Ballarat are helpful for blocking the direct light into my eyes. I like clouds that do that!


Well dear sister … what do I think of now?  See, day three and I’m already running low on ideas – I swear they get all used up with teaching!

How about:

A dinner party with Terry Pratchet would be …


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Letting Go

My second #blogjune challenge topic is “Letting Go” – ever since I got the topic that damn song has been playing in my head.  You know the one, but just in case it doesn’t leap to mind I won’t mentioned it until the end … so at the very least you can read my blog without it distracting you.

From the moment you go into labor, motherhood is all letting go!

A woman from the breastfeeding association (ABA) mentioned that … I don’t know if she got it from somewhere or made it up herself. It has been true for me as a mother … but also as a teacher, as a writer, as a collaborator and as someone who has encountered grief.  The act of letting go is a skill that needs to be developed like cooking or public speaking.  It is a skill that I have learnt through necessity more so than through active application but, now that I am aware of it, I have strategies in place to assist with the process.

So often I feel overly invested in what I do, or an idea that I have, or a piece of literature that I’m working with a student – I’m so invested that I forget to relinquish control and allow others to take over or assist.  However, when I do let go, I often notice that the creative process improves and accelerates.  I release the stress of having to get it right on my own, of having to produce something that is sensational.  It gives me permission to play and workshop and even scrap ideas completely – which is very empowering.

I have found that acknowledging what is important to me has assisted with letting go of extra work or responsibilities that impinge on the time that I have with my family and friends.  I revisit this thought process frequently for many reasons – but in relation to letting go I think it is fitting to mention that sometimes a major creative project, although beneficial for furthering my skill set, may not be beneficial for my relationships or my own need for time and space. I’m learning that it is okay for me to instigate an idea, or be a driving force and then, hand over the reins.

I find ‘relaxing’ difficult … letting go of the things that need to be done, the planning that needs to happen for life to be okay … so … I procrastinate and distract myself rather than giving myself the space to ‘let go’.  It’s something I’d like to work on …

I realise I’ve addressed the topic of ‘letting go’ quite broadly … but I couldn’t really settle on one area of interest.  Although I DID consider doing a review of Frozen, for which the song “Let it go” has made unduly famous. I decided to go with a less inflammatory path (I told my 8 – 10 year old musical theatre kids that I didn’t like the movie and boy was I unpopular). I wonder what my sister’s topic will be for me tomorrow … I’m actually quite excited.  Her topic for today is “Time for Tea”.

Enough about me though, I’m curious:

How do you let go?


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Blog June Challenge

First Blog for June Challenge

I’ve never been one for peer pressure, being able to resist the friendship pull to do things that don’t interest me or involve me staying awake when I should be sleeping … but I’m a sucker for jumping on bandwagons. Got some crazy idea that we can do a two hour walk before sunrise – if you do it, I’ll do it*.  Want to bake a different cookie every day for the month of March – sure why not*!  Want me to cut out carrots and eggs from my diet for three weeks – I’ll give it a go*. So … when I arrived to pick up my son from my sisters house, her idea of attempting the #blogjune challenge piqued my interest, but it was her suggestion of giving each other topics each day that really sealed the deal.

Her ‘topic’ for me today is:

The pros and cons, hopes and nightmares, dark and light of our #blogjune idea.

A well thought out prompt.  Much better than my gift to her:

Babies born with the help of science are NOT miracles.

Not that I articulated it that well to her. I think I rambled something about the overuse of the word ‘miracle’ and how it annoyed me because they weren’t miracles, it was the advances of science and medicine that made so many ‘miracles’ possible.  Anyway … it’s not my topic anymore.  Ha!


CON: There is a strong possibility that my darling sister will give me a curly topic or two during the month.  A topic that I will have little knowledge of or will need to research which will be a strain on my time.
PRO: I respond well to enforced ideas.
CON: I tell myself that I am time poor but really I’m just exceptionally good at distracting myself from working consistently and utilizing my time efficiently.
PRO: I WANT to write regularly but I don’t write regularly. I’m a pick myself up and brush myself off type of girl who knows that multiple attempts are needed to form new, life changing habits. Could this be the one?
CON: I’ll have to think of cool topics for my sister … and I often feel drained by coming up with new ideas all the time for my work.

I sincerely hope that this challenge will give me direction, creative release, stimulate my writing muscle and open up doorways of communication between myself, my friends and my sister. I hope that it will potentially lower my stress levels and introduce me to new ways to source information, network and brainstorm my ideas / lesson plans / recipes / relationships.  But I fear that, like many of my projects and habits – evident on this blog (Project 365 & my 365 days of gratitude) or in my life (Weight Watchers, exercise, writing, getting off the computer at 10pm, taking fish oil every day) – that I will fail!  I know I just gotta keep on trying, new habits weren’t built in a day – although it certainly feels that way sometimes with the bad habits.

There will hopefully be dark humor, dark chocolate, dark wintry nights with dark themes of dark horses and dark carriages trundling along a dark track in a dark, dark forest.  The light will appear at the end of June, when I make it through each blog day – or perhaps when I reflect on how amazing the experience has been and how, it really wasn’t so difficult after all!



* I’ve never actually agreed or attempted to do any of these things … but the cookie one sounds good … if I had the time I’d be tempted to give it a go. Fortunately March is SO far away and no one will a) remember or b) want to do it with me – so I’m safe!