so they took their places and smote the grey sea with their oars

From an email I wrote, today:

Finally I would like to add a personal story of mine. I was raised in a family of drinkers and drug users. They were “functional”, they worked, they didn’t get into trouble with the law, and they were very stylish (or at least, I thought so!). Nevertheless as a child I felt an intense fear they weren’t “with it”, they weren’t there. After they began drinking they were floating off on a cloud and they weren’t there to care for me. I was aware of this, I had this perception (real or imagined!) at a young age. By the time I was twelve this fear had grown into a spirit of resentment. By this time, I perceived them as indolent, sloppy, lazy, Lotus-eaters and my heart smarted at abuses and neglect I’d suffered.
I became an alcoholic. The thought I might be an alcholic started to occur to me as a young mother, not that long ago really, and I was baffled. I didn’t drug, and I drank less than my family of origin, and my pride smarted at the thought I was anything like them. After all I had a “perfect” family life, we were nothing like those people! And yet I could tell this thing was hooking me. I didn’t want to be an alcoholic. In fact I wished desperately for almost any other kind of problem, because being an alcoholic was intolerable to me!
But one day I admitted to my innermost self and to a handful of people in a room I was an alcoholic. This was my first sober day. I remember it was like the Biblical quote, “something like scales fell away from [my] eyes”, as I perceived in that moment that no matter what my family did, no matter if their dysfunction, however severe or mild, had “caused” my problems, I was the one with the problem. I was living out, or continuing, the Problem within my family, and they could no longer solve it for me. It was down to me. I remember having a vision of being a small child and receiving an inoculation that gave me this thing, this addiction. It didn’t matter where I got it or how, it was as my doctor would later say: “What are you going to do about it?”
I have been sober some time today; I am a medical anomaly if not miracle. Despite this, every day I know less about why I’m an alcoholic or how I “got” it. I used to have fixed ideas on the subject; now I don’t. I am just incredibly grateful I perceived my problem and I took responsibility for it. I’m incredibly grateful this problem changed from something that was “done to” me (as a child) and became something I could do something about.

from NZ

Enc: handwritten letter with currency:

Hey Kelly,

I feel a bit weird writing this, I am after all, a stranger from the internet. I read your blog occasionally, and a while ago you asked for donations for your kids, so you could get them laptops. And oh! I wanted to help, so I wrote down your address with the intention of sending a small something, anything, that might help.

Well, hearts with better resources than I beat me to it, and I see your gorgeous kids have laptops now. 🙂

But I thought I’d write anyway, and include some interesting (I hope!) coinage from New Zealand and Australia. It wouldn’t be helpful in any monetary sense, but it might amuse your children, and spark an interest in said countries out here in the South Pacific. 🙂

[The following coins described were drawn, then taped, to the letter.]

Okay, so I’m not an artist, but these three are from NZ, and are in use. They changed up our currency, and made all the coins smaller, which was good to fit more in your purse, but bad for losing down the back of the couch.

The boat on the 50 cent piece is called the Bark “Endeavor”, which was commanded by Captain Cook, who is the person who “discovered” New Zealand. He’s the first recorded person to circumnavigate NZ’s coast, and to make contact with the Maori people.

The Maori figure on the 10 cent coin is called a Koruru, which generally is a carved wooded head put at the top of a wharenui, which is a Maori meeting house.

The 20 cent coin has a picture of a warrior leader called Pukaki, who was a Maori chief from a place called Rotorua. It’s quite a tourist town now, because it has a lot of geothermal activity. Mostly it smells like bad eggs.

These two coins are old coins, they aren’t in circulation anymore, which is a shame because I have so many 5 cent coins. I quite like the 5 cent coin too, that’s a tuatara, which is only found in New Zealand*. Tuataras are nocturnal, and like to bask in the sun when they sleep. I don’t think they have many natural predators (they have quite sharp spices on their back, & a really viscious bite, I hear). Their main problem is breeding, it takes ages for tuataras to have little tuataras (one litter every 2 to 5 years!), and what’s more, if rats are around, the babies are less likely to hatch! Mostly now-days tuataras are found on rat-free islands that double as animal reserves for other NZ wildlife too.

The other c oins are from Australia. I can’t tell you much, other than those are kangaroos on the $1 coin, and a platypus on the 20 cent coin. [The third coin, a 10 cent coin, shows the image of a Lyrebird.]
Australia’s not far from NZ, about a 3 hour plane ride. I’ve been there a few times, mostly to Melbourne, where my best friend lived for a while, and the Gold Coast, which is a tourist destination with theme parks and nice beaches with white sand. It’s quite a fun place, actually.

Anyway, I hope this was somewhat interesting for you guys. If not, at least the coins are pretty. 🙂

Hope you are all well!



P.S. I should say that iblog too. You can find me at I’m also in the midst of a project to write 100 handwritten letters. This is number four! 🙂

* Upon this reading my daughter became VERY excited, as she new lots of facts about tuataras.