Wednesday 27 February 2008

The Naming of Parts

This is an old post of mine from Kombai that I wanted to save here as well.

I am 14 years old and my mother's aunt and uncle are coming to visit. I've never met them. They are my mother's father's family - the Scottish Dutch side. My mother has cleaned the house for their visit and I've helped. We have swept and polished and dusted and now the house is beautiful and clean, but we are filthy. My mother is panicking because she wanted to wash and change into clean clothes and our guests have arrived early. She tells me to make tea and entertain them while she gets cleaned up.

I take as long as possible to make tea and hide in the kitchen, but I can't stay there forever. I take the tea through, and the tray with plates of little cakes and biscuits. They make me sit between them on the couch. My great uncle Laurence looks nice. He looks a bit like my grandfather, his older brother, but he's thinner and he smiles more. My great aunt Gertie looks okay. She has bright eyes like a bird and she's staring at me...

She says, "You have cousin Connie's ears. Do you see that Laurence? She has Connie's ears, but that nose… that nose is Doreen's."

Great Uncle Laurence smiles and eats a biscuit. He asks me some simple questions I don't remember anymore.

Aunty Gertie is still watching me. She sips her tea and continues talking, "Your mother now. Your mother has the same eyes as great aunt Ida, but I think her face shape is more like uncle Len's. Not like your aunt. Now she is exactly like aunty Phyllis... although Phyllis has Margery's teeth and that's unfortunate."

As I sit there between them I feel myself disintegrating. I am floating away on a sea of unknown relatives who all have prior claim to my "bits". Who am I? I am a patchwork collection of family pieces. There is no "ME". There is only Connie's ears and Doreen's nose and Gaileen's smile. I always thought I was ME. Unique. Complete. But now I'm finding out that I'm simply a collection of family body parts. Nothing belongs to me. I feel lost and strangely taken apart, like a human jigsaw puzzle.

Many years passed and one day I found myself at Great Uncle Laurence's funeral in Johannesburg. After the service all the family gather at the old family home. They are all there, all my Scottish-Dutch cousins... blonde and built like Vikings, even the girls are over 6 foot tall. I am 5 foot 3 and dark. I feel like a pygmy. I wander around, squeezing between unknown people eating plates of food. I feel lost again. I go to sit on the floor by great aunty Gertie. She is smaller and thinner, but her eyes are still very bright. We sit in the corner and watch five generations of family talking, eating, remembering… An unknown relative asks who I am.

Who are you?

Who ARE you?

Who – are - YOU?

…and Aunty Gertie starts to talk, "This is your second cousin, Michelle. She is your grandfather's brother's daughter's daughter. Can't you see? She has your mother's ears, but when she smiles she's the image of your sister."

As she talks I feel myself being connected. Before I felt taken apart, but here at this funeral I am being woven into the family by my ears and my hair and the colour of my eyes. I start to see things. My cousin Al has his great uncle's jaw and his daughters look like Aunty Gertie's daughter's daughter. And how come I never noticed before that we ALL have the family nose? It is a big nose, it's hard to miss. A long sharp Scottish nose. Cleopatra would have envied that nose! I watch these unknown family moving and talking. Family groups laugh the same and their body language is the same too. I notice, to my embarrassment, that my own personal portion of family stand out like parrots in a flock of chickens. We may look like all the others, but we talk louder and we wave our hands around. My grandmother's Greek-Irish blood shows only in me physically, but all of us carry it in the way we talk. We are louder and more emotional. We are more fun… we are embarrassing. We are something I sometimes hate. We are something I cannot escape.

…and suddenly I understand. This is what family means. It isn't being torn apart - it's being created out of a hundred different people who are all unique and yet... we carry the same ears, the same noses, the same smiles. Wherever we go in the world we will take that with us. We will always have this "home" within us. It lies in our blood and our genetics. We cannot escape it - we are the sum of all those parts. We are family.

Friday 22 February 2008

Song for the Weekend - Solsbury Hill

Solsbury Hill - Peter Gabriel

Climbing up on Solsbury Hill
I could see the city light
Wind was blowing, time stood still
Eagle flew out of the night
He was something to observe
Came in close, I heard a voice
Standing stretching every nerve
Had to listen had no choice
I did not believe the information
(I) just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom boom boom
"Son," he said "Grab your things,
I've come to take you home."

To keepin' silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut
So I went from day to day
Tho' my life was in a rut
"Till I thought of what I'd say
Which connection I should cut
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart going boom boom boom
"Hey" he said "Grab your things
I've come to take you home."
(Back home.)

When illusion spin her net
I'm never where I want to be
And liberty she pirouette
When I think that I am free
Watched by empty silhouettes
Who close their eyes but still can see
No on taught them etiquette
I will show another me
Today I don't need a replacement
I'll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom boom boom
"Hey" I said "You can keep my things,
they've come to take me home."

About Me Tag

Prema has tagged me for this one.

The rules are:
Post 5 links to 5 of your previously written posts. The posts have to relate to the 5 key words given (family, friend, yourself, your love, anything you like). Tag 5 other friends to do this meme. Try to tag at least 2 new acquaintances (if not, your current blog buddies will do) so that you get to know them each a little bit better.

Family: That’s easy; my favourite family post here is My Grandmother’s House.

Friends: I write for friends and my writing has created friendships, but posts about friends? I’m going to pick two posts I wrote about two very unique friends Eunice and Sexy. :-)

About yourself: Like prema said, blogging is all about expressing “me” really, but to pick a post I feel sums up myself or says something about myself worth sharing? I’m choosing Fourth Monkey Tango and Pain of Fame.

Your love: 6000 Steps to Love and For My True Love.

Anything you like: Since prema tagged me I'm picking Almost Two Years Ago and adding an old mugshot passport photo of myself to prove the claim of "Persian eyes". ;-)

I've tried to tag some old and some new bloggers, but please feel free to join in if your name's not on my list, just leave a reply so I know to go read and add you in. Also, any blogger tagged who is too busy is welcome to leave the tag:

Amel, Crystal, Ting, Amias, Mother Hen, Vince, PV and Cliff

Saturday 16 February 2008

Little Me and You

Prema has picked me for a tag to post photos of myself and husband as babies or young children. So introducing...

Mr Alexander Crowsfeet (on tricycle with the sun in his eyes) and...
Mrs Michelle Crowsfeet.
I tag: Amel, Mother Hen, Tint and anyone who wants to join in. If you're single, just post your own baby or childhood pic. If you have kids - post them too so we can compare if you looked like each other as babies.

Remember to return here with your link so we can all go look at the baby you and say "oooohhh CUTE!" ;-)

Thursday 14 February 2008

My Special Valentine

I’ve decided to send a Valentine to someone very special in my life. Nope, not my husband. This is someone I’ve known a lot longer. Someone I was introduced to by my parents actually. Funny how we often take those closest to us for granted. This person is definitely a case of that. He’s always been there for me when I really needed him and yet he’s never made any real demands of me… the way I have of him.

Over the years, there have been those who didn’t approve of our relationship. Amazing how opinionated some people can be about who you choose to love, as if somehow they have the right to tell you how it should be done. It bothered me when I was young, but lately I’ve begun to realise that it doesn’t any more. No-one should be ashamed to say who they love… or why I love… or how I they choose to show that love. So this year I’m sending a Special Valentine to a special Love. 

Happy Valentine’s Day, God

I love You

Saturday 9 February 2008


Crystal of chocmintgirl has tagged me to post a SMILE. :-)

No rules, except to post any picture or image that shows a smile. Here's my choice:

I'm tagging anyone reading this with a blog who is now SMILING. You know who you are - go post your own photo and spread more smiles! :-)

Thursday 7 February 2008

Welcome to the Brown Rat Year.

Welcome to the Year of the Brown (Earth) Rat.

The Rat is the first sign of the Chinese zodiac. If Pig years bring the theme of death-rebirth then Rat years bring us new cycles and fresh beginnings. Rat years are times of change, usually favourable. Rat people are smart, sociable, ambitious, energetic and born survivors and Rat years echo these traits.

It won't be a year for quiet contemplation, but it will be productive, especially anything related to relationships, career or finances. Rat years bristle with energy and activity. Rat people love to experience new things and travel to see new places so this year should see a very high number of people travelling: holidays, business trips, but even more likely changing jobs or towns, moving home or even immigrating. Socialising will be another theme. Rats love to talk, entertain and meet new people, so this year will see more interaction, more visits and more communication. Rat years are lucky, but only to those who are prepared. If any year will hand you that once-in-a-lifetime job offer or chance to seize your dream - it's a Rat year!

This Rat year is Brown – an Earth element year. Earth years are slower and more “grounded”, but Rat tends to speed up every element. There will be exciting opportunities, but you will need to be prepared as well as patient. This will be a year for planned progress and worked-for rewards rather than instant success. A full busy year of socialising, networking, moving, doing and being active in every way.

Wednesday 6 February 2008

What the Year of the Golden Pig Meant to Me.


In December Amel tagged me to do the meme "What did 2007 mean to me?" Since I’m way behind posting this for the 2007-2008 new year I’ve decided to base my reply on the Chinese New year instead.

Today is the last day of the Chinese year of the Fire Pig, the Golden Pig. It’s been an interesting year, but then Pig years always are. Although the Chinese see Pig years as lucky, they are also seen as a time of extremes. In Chinese astrology the Pig is an animal of culture and strong appetites. Pigs love the good things in life - good food, drink, possessions and friends. Pigs want quality... and quantity. Everything is more intense in a Pig year (especially for those born in a Pig year: 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947..)

These extremes can be very good, or very bad, but they are always tremendous rites of passage. This doesn't mean Pig years are bad, but it can feel that way! The Chinese Pig Year is a bit like the Black Sow of Samhain - the Celtic symbol of death and rebirth. In old Celtic legends the Black Pig eats up the physical body to set free the soul. Pig years, just like the Black Sow, kind of devour and destroy you, but all in order for you to be reborn.This past year was "Golden" - a Fire element year. (Chinese years follow a 60 year cycle based on 12 animals and 5 elements) Golden sounds good, but once again it means that things were bound to swing to extremes. As one Chinese website put it – in Pig years the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. that's the kind of extremes you find in pig years. Things are magnified. Basically if you have any hidden problems, secrets or minor ailments you were avoiding getting sorted... they will blow up so big they cannot be ignored in Pig years.

In my case that was quite literally when I was rushed to hospital last February and had to have an operation in March. Typical to Pig years, this small “death” brought several births and rebirths for me. Two of which actually started in hospital. The first was the idea to start writing again and have my own blog. The second was discovering my psychic abilities had made a sudden and unexpected leap forward.

Of course, being a Fiery year, none of my plans for this year went as expected. I’d intended to start a blog to get into writing more professionally and go back to being self-employed. Neither happened, but instead I discovered a whole new world of wonderful blogs and blogging friends. With my psychic leap forward I’d hoped it meant I would find a few answers, help people more. Instead I’m ending the year with new questions and the realisation that everything is connected – that I cannot help others without helping/taking care of myself first.

On a larger scale I’ve also noticed this year has held many death-rebirths for my friends and family. I have never known such a year for the death of outworn ideas, old prejudices, dated dreams and outgrown relationships. So many people I know have been scoured bare by this year, both mentally and emotionally. So what does the future hold? What rebirths are lined up to fill the empty spaces left by this devouring Pig Year? I have a few hunches, but I’ll leave that for my next post on what the new year holds. ;-)

Tuesday 5 February 2008

Do schools today kill creativity?

Utterly brilliant! This is for parents, teachers and anyone who ever was a child...

About this Video:
Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. With ample anecdotes and witty asides, Robinson points out the many ways our schools fail to recognize -- much less cultivate -- the talents of many brilliant people. "We are educating people out of their creativity," Robinson says. The universality of his message is evidenced by its rampant popularity online. A typical review: "If you have not yet seen Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk, please stop whatever you're doing and watch it now."

Friday 1 February 2008

Tarot Quiz

I'm not usually one for posting internet quiz things, but I rather liked this one. You put in your name and it tells you what tarot card you are.

My results:


You represent the ultimate in truth and purity. Insightful and illuminating, you provide guidance for others. You also demonstrate unselfish, unconditional love. You posses many spiritual gifts, including the ability to heal.

Your fortune:

Your future is looking brighter by the day. The near future will be a time of both hope and healing. Luck is about to come your way, perhaps the best luck you have ever seen. Life is about to get a lot easier and much better!

I like that. :-)

Song for two Anniversaries... Mango Groove

Claire Johnston, of Mango Groove, singing "Southern Sky"

This weekend I've picked a song for two anniversaries:

On 4 January, five years ago, I married my husband under a rainy hot Southern Sky


on 3 Feb, six years ago, he proposed to me on the internet, as I sat under a starry Southern Sky.