Marica's meanderings

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Shiny sinks

2006 has got off to a flying start - writing, work, work, work, tragedy, unplanned family get togethers, questions about life and living (far too many actually), study, research, writing, plotting and scheming (or is this goal setting?????), and more writing - and I am still pondering 2005 - what happened last year and what I hope to achieve this year!

Every now and again I buy a Saturday newspaper. I do this for only one reason - to read the Recruitment Section. I never seem to read it on Saturday though. It usually sits there until Sunday morning as I am having my breakfast or a cup of coffee. I sit on the floor and spread out the pages in front of me. I still think this is the best way to read a newspaper. I tend to do a cursory glance over the various sections. I usually find nothing of interest so I head straight for the pull-out Recruitment Section (which by the way had nothing of interest in it today!).

This morning I did pick up something I want to share with you. It was tucked away in the corner of the Your Weekend page in another pullout section referred to as The Dominion Post Indulgence. Under the heading of web site I found a picture which caught my eye. The web site being reviewed was and this is what Simon Kilroy wrote on page 22 :
The road to redemption begins, it seems, with a shiny sink. Or so this site would have you believe. It's designed as a not quite do-it-yourself guide for the desperate to removing clutter. Signing up, which is free, sees you getting emails sent to you each day giving you reminders of the tasks you need to carry out to live an orderly existence. There can be anything up to 20 a day from the FlyLady - aka Maria Cilley, whose sobriquet comes from her devotion to fly-fishing. The shiny sink is designed to give you something to feel good about among the squalor, and there are detailed instructions on how to achieve just the right degree of gleam. The site links to FlyLady forums around the world, including a New Zealand branch. It also includes a bragging area where users can send in their favourite throwing-out stories. One woman was particularly proud of having thrown out her husband's fingers, which had been severed in a lawn mower accident. He had been keeping them in the freezer as an interesting conversation piece. It's hard to know what is more disturbing: his belief that showing them off was a fun thing to do, or her glee in disposing of them.

I had to pay this web site a visit and you should too!
What is a woman to do?
Are YOU living in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) like Franny in the pink sweats? Do you feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overdrawn? Hopeless and you don't know where to start? Don't worry friend, we've been there, too.

How can anyone resist an invitation like this. Especially those of us that do feel like Franny!

Everyone needs help at some point in their lives to get through each day. Isn't it great the things we can learn from each other - even how to make your sink shiny! I love the way this site tries to motivate you about doing the ordinary everyday things while at the same time teaching important strategies that would otherwise come under the headings of time management, goal setting etc.

To be engaged and excited even about the most mundane things is something I would love for my learners. Learning is not always about the exciting. There are so many things we need to learn about that cannot be glamourised. They are the fundamentals. They are perceived as boring but without which other things doesn't make sense.

The Internet offers huge possibilities for us to engage our learners if only we can think differently and not be stuck in the models of the past. There is obviously a need for this type of thing and people are now able to just go out and do it for themselves at relatively little cost. If you have an idea you can give it a go online. To share ideas, resources, to sell products, to create, and by the looks of it to have fun in the process.

By the way males are not excluded either. For the male perspective there is Hey Tom.

I feel inspired. Have a wonderful week and don't forget to:
Day 1: Go shine your sink!

More words

As I was reading about data analysis today I came across this quote.

A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in colour and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

An interesting point to consider in light of the current controversy over James Frey's book A Million Little Pieces. I am still formulating my opinion on this one. Were the people really duped? Doesn't this happen on a daily basis in the popular media anyway. We don't see a song and dance act about that. In the long run we probably pay more for our newspapers, magazines, online news etc. than it costs us to buy a single book. Maybe we just need to accept different interpretations and get on with it. Reality may simply be that which is real to the person describing it. Maybe we should subscribe to the philosohy of believe what you want and forget about the rest. I'm not sure if I can do this though.

Ironically this all relates to the research I am writing up because I now need to analyse the words I have collected (my data) and interpret them, but eliminating bias from that interpretation is challenging.

I had better get back to it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

People who give unconditionally

Angels are everywhere when you open your eyes to see themBefore getting on to what I am really supposed to be doing (yes, you guessed it, my research!) I decided to read some of my regular blogs. In light of my recent meanderings about life, I couldn't wait until I wrote again to draw your attention to this post from Trevor Romain.

Yesterday my cousin told me how fantastic the Victim Support people had been over the past week. The discussion veered to how do these people do it, and where do they get their strength from to face all these sad situations on a daily basis. I made the comment that it is not all about giving and being drained because you get so much more back in return. This is what keeps these people going. Everyone looked at me. Imagine my surprise when I read what Trevor had to say on this topic. He says it so much better though.

There are angels on earth. They come disguised in many different shapes and sizes.

Blog Hui, 17-18 March 2006, Wellington, NZBy the way, Trevor is coming to Wellington in March for Blog Hui. I cannot wait to meet him. Why don't you come along too?

Those left behind

Leslie Fay Visser
Yesterday was a day of stories. These stories were about a life lived to the full and they were rich with expressions of love for a special woman who has touched the lives of many. This is a woman who thought she wouldn't have a 40th birthday party because she didn't believe she had enough friends to invite to it. Yesterday was testament to how wrong she was. The church we sat in to farewell Leslie was overflowing with people who felt a strong need to be there to show respect, and to say good bye. Men and women cried to the point where they could barely speak as they tried to share what Leslie meant to them. There were also many untold stories in that church. Stories that remain within and may never be heard by the rest of us.

Gavin and Leslie, and Millan(9), Leslie and Ryley(6)
We are pilgrims on a journey
We are travellers on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load

Words from the hymn The Servant Song which we sang at Leslie's funeral

Yesterday was not an average day 'at the office' at all. From the minute I opened my eyes early in the morning to get ready to catch a plane to Christchurch, through to arriving back home late last night I felt such a wealth of emotions and not all of them bad. These situations are grounding. They change you. Suddenly you look at your own life through different eyes. You want to be different. We learn so much through these experiences about life and how to live it.

What do we learn? Life is fragile. Life is short and our time here is precious. Every day matters. We shouldn't take anything for granted. We need to tell others what they mean to us. Why do we wait for an occasion like this to say the things we wish we had said to the person directly? Being happy is not something far away and mystical. It is not elusive. It is there for us to reach out and grasp. It is about looking at the riches that surround us in the ordinary every day things. After all, the only difference between 'ordinary' and 'extraordinary' is the 'extra'. We are in charge of the extra. Life is not about the 'work' we do. This is a minute component of living. Life is about everything else. So many of us equate the value of our lives through our jobs, the money we earn, and the things we own. When you are dead none of these things matter. Those left behind deserve more from us when we are alive. We owe it to them to be fully present.

So many thoughts and feelings have been racing around in my mind. As I am writing this I still feel an intense sadness while at the same time I feel a peaceful calm. Being with all my extended family helped. I flew down to Christchurch with my husband, my mother, and my youngest sister and her husband. We were greeted at the airport by two of our cousins (there are six of them in total here in New Zealand). From that initial hug, until we parted, I felt priviledged to have had the opportunity to be with my family. We all spent the afternoon together with Gavin and the kids. We hadn't seen each other for quite some time yet we were all there for one another as though no time had passed. We talked and talked. Our bond is so incredibly strong. We have something very special.

James Blunt CD 'Back to bedlam'My cousin Gavin chose a song by James Blunt from his album "Back to Bedlam" ( a great CD by the way which I strongly recommend) to farewell his beloved wife, entitled Goodbye My Lover. The lyrics of this song say so much. As I have reread them today I am stunned how I never really listened before. Isn't this so typical? We hear but we don't listen. I have played this entire CD so many times in the past months. Ihave really loved a number of songs on the album (including Goodbye My Lover) but this heartfelt message saying good bye to a loved one had eluded me. I focused on the sounds and not the words. Now the situation is reversed. Today, as I listen it brings tears to my eyes - not just out of sadness but also from joy because I am so lucky to have my lover still here with me and walking beside me.

Death always leaves loved ones behind who have to pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives. Yesterday was the beginning of a brand new life for Gavin, Millan and Riley. As Gavin said at the funeral:
Our team is a little smaller without you, we love you so much.

The new Visser family: Millan, Gavin and Ryley

The Star, 11 January 2006

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The power of words

Words have no legs, yet they walk.
Mali proverb (Bambara people)

I couldn't write about this yesterday. Today I have a need to write about it. Something has happened which has taken me back in time - a flashback of sorts - to a morning when I was sitting in bed after coping with a devastating personal crisis. I was exhausted. I hadn't been sleeping. So many people were relying on me and I had to get my act together. Someone handed me a newspaper. I read a headline. It was like someone had hit me on the head. I couldn't believe what I was reading. The words on that page turned a hideous situation into a nightmare. Those few words affected me deeply and yesterday it was happening again. This time the words when I read them were on a screen and not on paper. The feeling was the same - one of utter disgust! This time the words before me were not directly connected to my immediate family but they were about members of my extended family who I cared about and loved.

On November 17, 1847, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote the following:

Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become, in the hands of one who knows how to combine them!
The power of words

Yesterday, when I heard the news of Leslie's death I did what has become a new habit for me when I want to check something in the news - I went to my regular newspaper web site, Stuff. The first headline I read relating to the accident was:

Woman killed on jet ski near Twizel
09 January 2006

Later in the day I was greeted by this headline on the same site:

Husband kills wife in jet ski collision
09 January 2006

Then today I was greeted with:

Man's bid to save wife fails
10 January 2006

All three headlines related to the same event; the accident which claimed Leslie's life. All three headlines relayed the writer's interpretation of bits of information they had received about an event that had happened out there on that lake in the South Island. The messages I received from each report were completely different. As for the headlines - well?????

You can see from the example above how words can be used to evoke completely different emotions and a completely different understanding of a situation. Depending on the interpretation you take from what you read you use this information to form your own judgements about what happened. This then gets embedded into our memories. We continue to absorb all the post event information that we are exposed to. We take on board a bit of this and a bit of that. Eventually we have a memory which we believe to be true. Even if the information upon which it was based was incorrect. This is what every single person does. This is how the wrong information gets perpetuated. This is how rumours start. This is how lives get destroyed. This hurts people. Where is the social responsibility of the writers in all of this?

Communicating information, which in one way or another affects people's lives, is a huge responsibility. A simple inappropriately worded message can have dire consequences. I wish those wordsmiths we rely on to convey information in the form of 'News' would remember this. Why don't they have consciences? Why do they have to sensationalise everything? Where do ethics and professionalism fit in here?

As a teacher I abide by these very core principles of professionalism and they are non-negotiables for me in my practice. We are all dealing with the lives of fellow human beings. I wish we all respected each other and valued each other in a way that reflected this.

In a conversation with my aunt this evening I heard about another aspect of this scenario. She told me how various newspaper reporters were phoning the house for information, and one reporter even asked if they would release a photo of Leslie to put in the paper. What made me feel even sicker was that my cousin had to read these stories when he is currently reliving the reality of what happened over and over again. This seems so cruel.

I'll leave it up to you to work out which headline made me physically ill. The article associated with it didn't even mention that they were reporting on an 'accident'! sadly they happen every day.

I now know why I stopped buying the newspaper. I don't need to be bombarded with this every morning.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The day it all changes

I am not sure where to start. I am still in shock from the phone call I received this morning at work. Bad news always takes you unawares and this morning was no exception.

My youngest sister could barely talk as she told me that our cousin and his wife, who live in the South Island, were involved in a jet ski accident yesterday while on holiday. My cousin's wife, Leslie, died at the scene. Even as I write this I can't believe it. I have tried to hold myself together all day and yet the pain I feel inside is consuming me.

Death is a vast mystery, but there are two things we can say about it: It is absolutely certain that we shall die, and it is uncertain when or how we will die. The only surety we have, then, is this uncertainty about the hour of our death.

Sogyal Rinpoche in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

It appears that my cousin and his wife were travelling side-by-side on their respective jet skis when Leslie went off course and veered in front of him. They collided and the result is that now she is no longer with us. This is a horrific tragedy.

You read about events like this in the paper on a daily basis, yet how many of us connect with the fact that this is happening to 'real' people. They have families and lives we know nothing about. We can only imagine the impact of what has happened by putting ourselves in their shoes. We feel, but can we ever really understand what it is like if we haven't experienced it for ourselves. Who would want to experience any of these things anyway - certainly not by choice? Life really throws curve balls to keep us on our toes. It makes us pinch ourselves and say "aren't I lucky to be alive". Today's little snippet in the paper, and on the evening television news, was not about someone else. It was about someone close to me and my family. It was about someone with whom we have shared many special moments and memories. We are all grieving and we feel a need to be together.

My heart goes out to the many people Leslie left behind who had the priviledge to know her and love her, especially her husband and her two beautiful children who are so incredibly young. I cannot imagine growing up without my mother. I feel so blessed that my parents are still alive and well.

I know only too well that all encompassing pain when life changes forever. My experience was different. Everyone's experience is different. Yet there is an understanding, an empathy that is unique amongst everyone that shares the common bond of life changing events that are completely beyond their control. I would never wish this experience on another human being. Unfortunately, I can't do anything to change any of this and today others that I love are going through this agony.

I ask myself often: 'Why is it that everything changes?'
And only one answer comes back to me: That is how life is.
Nothing, nothing at all, has any lasting character...

This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds.
To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance.
A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky,
Rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain.

Sogyal Rinpoche in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

The sun has set for Leslie. I wish her peace as she travels on this new journey. Goodbye.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Natural flow

Why is that we always equate natural flow with moving forwards? It has permeated our culture and our beings. This is typified in sayings like 'onwards and upwards'. We always focus on moving forward. This is the power of positive thinking and is great. However, if we continually exclude going backwards from our psyche we deny an unavoidable reality that faces all of us at some time in our lives. If going forwards is the 'right' way then going backwards is perceived as the 'wrong' way. Is this really true?

I was reminded of this when Lynsey asked me this morning to look at the picture I posted the other day of Huka Falls and describe to him how I would navigate down the river. I looked at the picture. I realised straightaway that it wouldn't be happening in a nice, organised and gentle straight line, and that I wouldn't necessarily always be moving in only one direction. I would be curving in out and out as determined by the natural course of the river which isn't always visible. There are so many things to consider like the amount of water flowing, the many obstacles in your path like rocks, bushes and trees. I may find myself swirling around, maybe even going under the water, or possibly moving backwards. Eventually, I would get back into the natural flow that would lead me towards my destination. It may not always be the destination originally intended but it will be a destination - a short break, before embarking on the next adventure, the next destination.

Life imitates nature in a myriad of ways only we don't realise it.

I have just been reading about experiential learning and how we only learn from experience by ascribing meaning to that experience. The most common way to do this is to reflect on the experience. How many people really learn from their experiences? The thing is it takes time and skill to even know how to do this effectively. Do we teach this to our learners as a valuable life skill? Are we actually equipping people to navigate the river of life through what they learn in compulsory education? Are we enabling them to live full and fruitful lives in the 21st century? Maybe we all need to learn the skills of white water rafting to help us along the way.

I had a very special friend Nola who lost her battle with cancer back in August. Nola had a list of things she wanted to do before she died and she was busy trying to work her way through that list. Unfortunately, she never had the pleasure of crossing the last item off. Maybe there would never be a last item anyway because as we experience things we always think of new things we want to experience. The pursuit of these things often brings the greatest joy. Nola believed we should all have a list like this and that we shouldn't wait until we're sick to create it. She also believed we shouldn't wait to start doing the things on this list.

One of the things I am going to put on my list is to try white water rafting!

Going forwards isn't always the best option - experience has taught me that. Learning to let go of the things you can't control and accepting those you can is a painful lesson I always struggle with.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Water, water everywhere

Huka Falls
I think I should re-title this blog posting to: Paper, paper everywhere!

Over the last three days I have concentrated on nothing else but my writing. I am now getting excited. The thoughts are flowing as are the words. All the reading, the thinking, the discussing, the agony, the fear, is all coming to something. I have to admit though that navigating the flow is more challenging than I would ever have imagined. I keep asking myself how could something so straightforward be so difficult. Then I stop and think about the rest of my life experiences and wonder how I could have been so naive. Anything worth doing takes time energy and lots of work. I am not one to give up, so I am paddling as fast and as hard as I can.

My life is almost totally focused on one thing these days - getting this research written and handed in. Then I might be able to start my year properly by celebrating in style. This feels like baggage from last year that I need to deal to as soon as possible. It is a bit like my suitcase, from my trip to Brisbane in December, which is still not fully unpacked. Maybe I have left it there on purpose - to remind me of the dream I have to visit friends who are living in New York. Yes, the dreams are popping up now and then when I give them some space and I acknowledge their exsitence. However, the reality is that life has been so busy there are lots of little things that have had to wait. I am working from a priority list at the moment and anything that doesn't feature on it has been put on hold.

Today was my first day back at work. There were very few people there. Most of the staff are still away on holiday. The place was almost deserted. I wanted to be home writing. Things were whirling around in my head. I was on that river only I didn't realise it. I had my first phone conversation of the year with a student. It was great to know someone else was out there studying. One of the emails that awaited me was from a student working on her assessment on New Year's Eve. I had an immediate connection with her. Now how many people would have been doing that - she was and so was I. The year has definitely got under way.

Huka Falls, New Zealand
Just look at the power in that water. Little would you know what lies beneath that calm surface as it meanders its way to its destination. I am getting there and it feels great.

These photos are of Huka Falls, Taupo, New Zealand. Huka Falls are situated within the heart of New Zealand's geothermal region. More than 220,000 litres of water tumbles over this cliff face per second. It is a beautiful place to visit. The noise of the water alone surprises you. The breathtaking beauty is clearly visible. You can go on jet boat rides down the river. The challenge of navigating this river has been the dream of many.

For many years people have been looking and longing to conquer the awesome power and beauty of the Huka Falls. For many paddlers, "Huka" has seemed the ultimate challenge - the last remaining dream. Read the rest of the story...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Lynsey and I are home alone. The kids have gone away on holiday together. We have stayed behind so I can work - mind you Lynsey is busy working too, but on other projects. It is so exciting that the kids get on so well and care for each other as they do. I don't remember ever going away with my sisters for a holiday like this so I have suggested it - a girl's adventure now that we are older and wiser sounds like so much fun. My suggestion was greeted with a mixed reaction. This has not deterred me because a seed has been planted so who knows where it might lead.

While visiting Auckland Zoo my daughter took this photo for me. She obviously reads my blog! She saw this quote painted on a wall of corrugated iron in the section of the zoo devoted to animals from Australia, referred to as the Aussie Walkabout.

Dreaming is a source of wisdomMessages are everywhere when you open your eyes and minds! I find it interesting how things connect together.

As I was writing this post I was reminded of George Siemen's Theory of Connectivism. This is worth a read for anyone interested in learning and the changes technology are bringing to that process.

Connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired. The ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. The ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday is also critical.

Principles of connectivism:
  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.

  • Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.

  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.

  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.

  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.

  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.

  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.

  • Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.

The starting point of connectivism is the individual. Personal knowledge is comprised of a network, which feeds into organizations and institutions, which in turn feed back into the network, and then continue to provide learning to individual. This cycle of knowledge development (personal to network to organization) allows learners to remain current in their field through the connections they have formed.

Monday, January 02, 2006


Someone asked me last year: 'What are your dreams Marica?' I looked incredulously at the person, thought about it, and replied: 'I don’t have any!'

As I said the words, I was thinking: 'How sad.'

When did I lose, or more correctly give up, my ability to dream? I suddenly realised I had become so focused on getting through everyday that the simple pleasure of having dreams for me and my life had escaped me.

I tried to remember the last time I had a dream. I couldn’t.

The only thing that stands between a person and what they want from life is merely the will to try it and the faith to believe it is possible.
Richard M. DeVos

I tried to start creating my dreams. I struggled.

I realised I had goals …
Goals are dreams with a deadline

I remembered using this statement in my teaching. We have all had the concept of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, relevant and Time-bound) goals indoctrinated in us. I was okay after all - I had my goals. Phew, I must therefore have some dreams.

Then I realised all my goals related to my professional life. The irony is I am starting 2006 feeling very vocationally challenged. I now need to ask myself have I set goals that truly express who I am and that relate to what I want to be doing?

Look at me. I'm Mickey Mouse!

If you can dream it, you can do it. Don’t forget this whole thing started with a mouse.
Walt Disney

What has sparked this train of thought for me? Two things really: an electronic newsletter I received in my InBox this morning, and thinking about the year ahead.

A while ago I subscribed to Cheryl Richardson's weekly newsletter after reading some of her books. Some newsletters speak to me more than others, and today's really struck a few chords.

As I think about the New Year and making resolutions, I wanted to offer you a few suggestions... This year, you might resolve to:

1. Care more about what your soul longs for than what other people think.

2. Make your health a priority, not just because you want to look good, but because it stops the self-defeating "inner critic crawl" that runs like a ticker-tape in your head telling you how awful you are.

3. Spend more quality time with loved ones. A quick chat over dinner doesn't build soul-nurturing relationships like a good, long evening spent talking about the deeper issues of life, or better yet, a weekend. Invest your time and energy in the people who matter.

4. Embrace a desire that keeps pulling at you and do something about it.

5. Dream big! Rather than keep your most important dreams secret, have the courage to step out and give something big a try.

Once you've chosen your resolution (or focus) for the year, create a slogan to keep you inspired. It could be straightforward and direct, or funny and silly. Here are a few examples:

Healthy and Fit in 2006
Financially Strong and Rollin' Along
Dreaming Big and Dancing a Jig
Self Employed and Overjoyed!

I said on the last day of 2005 that I wanted to focus on nurturing my 'garden' this year. One thing I am not good at is looking after me. I need to remember that there is more to life than my work. I really like Cheryl's slogan of 'Healthy and Fit for 2006'. It has a ring to it and I can see that by spending this time nurturing my own being it will have spin-offs to many other aspects of my life. maybe I'll give this a try - that is once I have finished my Masters!!!!!!

I wonder if my learners have dreams for themselves and their lives. I don't get the opportunity to talk to them about such things. When they communicate with me it is simply regarding a question they have about their learning materials or their assessment. Sad really.

This random information made me smile today as my daughter read it out to me:
2006 in a nutshell
The new lawn bowls is darts.
The new Italy is Germany.
The new scrapbooking is baking.
The new sushi is burritos.
Courtesy Cleo Magazine, Jan 2006

What more can I say!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Impossible.Yeah Right!

Sretna Nova Godina.
Happy New Year to all of you.

It is the 1st of January and what am I doing - I am at my computer. I am meant to be working on my Masters research but instead I want to blog. In the past month I have jotted down so many ideas that I have wanted to write about and they haven't yet surfaced where I want them to be - here in my blog! In the meantime I am determined to write more frequently in this space instead of on bits of paper which I accumulate and which never seem to go any further. As for my Masters research - well, it took a bit of a backwards step over most of December. The flow was definitely not happening at the rate necessary to finish it. Instead I am now punished. I start back at work on the 4th so I have three days to write. The final deadline is fast approaching and at this moment I feel it is all impossible and pointless.

The Oxford Dictionary defines impossible as:
'not able to occur, exist, or be done'.

I am reminded of a tee-shirt my nephew Mario was wearing the other day.

Front view
Impossible is nothing
Back view Impossible is nothing

I was fascinated by this message. Here I am wasting time convincing myself this challenge I have in front of me to finish writing up my research was impossible and I needed to change my thinking. I must mention that my husband has also being completing his Masters and he managed to get his over and done with before the end of 2005. A week before Christmas he received his result for his research paper - an A+ nonetheless - and it was all over for him. As for me I continue to drag this agony out.

A short while ago we had an MSN video conversation with close friends of ours who are currently living in New York. They finished the conversation so I could get to work and Colin said I need to stop prevaricating and get on with it. I looked up prevaricate in the dictionary as well. Am I acting evasively? Maybe. Am I going astray or transgressing? Definitely! I keep wondering who this person is that is doing this. I normally attack challenges but this one is truly getting the better of me.

It is New Year's Day. A New Year has begun. We are now in 2006. As I write I now think: Impossible. Yeah Right!

In New Zealand the Yeah Right billboards have almost become a cultural icon. These billboards are the product of a hugely successful marketing campaign for Tui Beer.

Yeah Right! Tui Breweries

The funny, topical, but almost always tongue-in-cheek, messages have been running on billboards around the country for almost seven years and have attracted a huge amount of interest.

A book has recently been produced off approximately 100 of the most popular billboards over the years. The public can also create the slogans by entering the Yeah Right Competition.

I love reading these billboards. I must admit though that I don't go out and rush and buy bottles of Tui beer. These billboards do have an impact on me for a brief moment in time in my day when I initially read them or when I think about what I have read later on. As for the phrase Yeah Right - it has entered our NZ vocabulary as a part of our everyday language. I am a marketers nightmare in one sense because I am not spending money on the product but in another sense I now automatically think of 'Beer and Tui' at the same time. My subconscious is indelibly affected.

Impossible. Yeah right!

I have to go do some academic writing. Maybe what I need to help me along the way is a beer.