Birthday musings

I turned 60 last Friday and it was a time to reflect on friendships. I feel so lucky to have friends that I have now known for 50 years. My favourite card is from my BFF. We go back before bras and periods and sex and video tapes and lies. She is one of those people  I could phone at 1 am in the morning and ask her to come and she would. (From Christchurch!).


This is a poem I wrote about her a long while ago.

To My Friend Rose

You are reading a trashmag and your eyes are in shadow.
An observer would not see your green, green eyes.

You are flicking through the pages, scanning quickly
As you drink your tea from your china rose blue, blue mug.

“Oh for god’s sake, she’s not pregnant”, you exclaim.

An observer might note your leading lady beauty mole
And your blue mug, your slimline skirt, your high heels,
Your shirt pulled taut across your sporty shape,
But not see
The loyalty, friendship, generosity
Love dammit, in those green eyes
But I do (lucky me)

Sue Heggie

I spent lunch on the big day with my Auckland wing woman-generous, funny and kind, Deb (and a lot more besides). I came home the other day to find my lawn clipper fairy had dropped by and tidied up my lawn.


We went to The Tasting Shed which I can highly recommend.  Enjoyed everything, including the kangaroo and the churros were divine.

We didn’t need instructions on how to eat there…we are experts.

I have spent my birthday month eating. I went with a friend to Sidart last week as well. Their degustation during the week is pretty special and you can choose from between 5-9 courses. As the plates are small you can kid yourself you have hardly eaten a thing. I think I practically lost weight there.

Provenance (was Bees on Line), part of the hip group is pretty fab too and I consider it my local flash lunch venue. Thanks to another friend…

It isn’t about the food but the sharing of the food, well okay it is quite a bit about the food. I’m excited to be going to the Sugar  Club next Friday too.


The other lovely thing about birthdays is the flowers. They make you feel loved.

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And the jar of quince jelly that appears in the letterbox, now on the bench with the sun shining through its pinkish light.

And the beautiful linen tea towel because a sister knows I’m crazy about linen.


and cards actually in the mail, real cards with messages of friendship.


I hope you don’t think I’m a dick for putting these up, but I am grateful for all kinds of friendship and for the effort friends have gone to, to remember the decade I’ve reached. Every time I wear my new earrings, or use my linen tea towel I will think of that person and corny as it sounds, it really isn’t about the gift but the giving.

As you know I adore Leunig and even though I am irreligious and he is not, I still love the sentiments. I sent this to a friend of mine a while back and she sent it back to me because it’s always worth repeating.

We give thanks for our friends.

Our dear friends.

We anger each other.

We fail each other.

We share this sad earth, this tender life,

This precious time.

Such richness. Such wildness.

Together we are blown bout.

Together we are dragged along.

All this delight.

All this suffering.

All this forgiving life.

We hold it together.



It is in his book When I Talk To You and published by Harper Collins.


Cheers to friendship.

Thanks everyone. FG  xx










Trust Yourself

Trust yourself. At the root, at the core, there is pure sanity, pure openness. Don’t trust what you have been taught, what you think, what you believe, what you hope. Deeper than that, trust the silence of your being.”


I found the above in my notes today, no idea who Gangaji is but more and more I am wanting to do my own stuff. Another dear friend of mine has become quite ill and it just reinforces the old “carpe diem” message or at least do what makes you feel alive.

I read an email from another friend today with some envy as she and her partner are going off to walk in Europe again this winter. not that I necessarily want to travel but I want to just be and do my own thing. I’m never lonely at home but I may have made a mistake….in buying a house that is three bedrooms, three toilets and two bathrooms as well as two living rooms when there is just me. Not really living simply I guess and also I have to do the W word –work because of it.

However, I love being here so I’m just going to sit still for the moment and see what happens. Today is an at- home day and pure bliss. I get up when I want, (ironically it is usually early) and I eat when I’m hungry (well okay then, all day). I also do what ever I like. This morning I changed the furniture around so I have a more comfortable seat in front of the TV and then I started this blog.

One of the things I’m reading is  Brene Brown’s Rising Strong and I worry that people will think I’m a self-help addict/ flake, always writing down pithy little meaningful quotes and yet it is so easy to be a critic, cynical, making fun of me I suppose. Writing poetry and sending it out to people is certainly a risk, it’s hard to put myself out there. Brene Brown says that we are brought up to be brave and vulnerable but there is a tension between these things and what you end up with is bravado- a fake bravery, a cynic, a mocking person.

The video above about her work is about an hour long but I think worth the effort.

The myth is that vulnerability is weakness and yet there is no creativity without vulnerability. I like that she says that unless you are in the arena getting your arse kicked too then she isn’t interested in your feedback. I think of the two old guys in the balcony seat in The Muppets, just criticising and judging.

However, if you don’t care what anyone thinks you lose the capacity for connection and if you are defined by what people think you lose the capacity to be vulnerable. Brene Brown’s solution is to write on a teeny piece of paper the names of people whose opinion actually matters. They are the people who do not love you despite your vulnerability and imperfections but actually because of them.

The other idea she mentions is gas lighting. The term owes its origin to the 1938 play Gas Light and its film adaptations.

The plot concerns a husband who attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment, and subsequently insisting that she is mistaken, remembering things incorrectly, or delusional when she points out these changes. The original title stems from the dimming of the gas lights in the house that happened when the husband was using the gas lights in the attic while searching for hidden treasure. The wife accurately notices the dimming lights and discusses the phenomenon, but the husband insists she just imagined a change in the level of illumination.

Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favour the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.[1][2] Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.

This rang some bells for me where people have said things to me and if I felt hurt or questioned them on it, they would say I was too sensitive or imagining things or worse still I shouldn’t feel hurt as you can choose how you feel and no one can hurt you if you don’t let them.

The other aspect is the damned with faint praise, the dig, the back hander. You have two choices, it the relationship isn’t that important to you, terminate it, if you want to continue it say something like, “That felt really loaded to me”, or something similar and deal with it.

So I am working on the phrase, “What people think of you is none of your business” and putting myself out there with the Fluffy George poetry posts. It might fail but then again it might not and it just might bring lots of pleasure to people.

Brene Brown also writes intensely about shame and the damage it causes. Like many of you I have done loads of shameful things in my life. I am going to try to turn that shame into guilt, yes I did a bad thing and I’ll try not to do it again, but I’m not a bad person (shame).

Well that is today anyway. Tomorrow I’ll likely fall on my face again and have to regroup but that’s tomorrow.

I’ll sign off with a poem that I found today while looking for something else. It’s by Wystan Curnow and I wish I was the Sue he is writing it for but hey I think I’ll leap into the leaf heap anyway. FG

Leap (for Sue)

yes, let’s                                                                        leap

into a











‘Wise understanding sees that suffering is  inevitable, that all things that are born die. Wise understanding sees and accepts life as a whole.

With wise understanding we allow ourselves to contain all things, both dark and light, and we come to a sense of peace. This is not the peace of denial or running away, but the peace we find in the heart that has rejected nothing, that touches all things with compassion.'”


– Jack Kornfield 

Fluffy George Poetry Post

Nothing like a bad back to make you mindful of how great it is to be healthy. My illnesses are always soo much worse than everyone else’s. But while lying around feeling sorry for myself I have been thinking about my idea that I’ve had for a long time and am going to finally get it off the ground.  Not many people buy whole books of poetry, partly because they like just one poem in the book. It’s a bit like knitting patterns. Lots of people also had bad experiences with poetry at school and think they don’t care for it much.

However! I’m an optimist and think that an accessible poem can bring laughter, romance, politics and lots of other things into your life so I am launching Fluffy George Poetry Posts. The other part to this is that I love getting real mail that isn’t a bill or a sale being advertised. So I am planning on sending a poem a month to anyone who subscribes to Fluffy George Post. Some will be written by me but others will be my favourites from other NZ poets who have agreed to allow me to use them. They will come in the post in pretty paper and envelopes and might be lovely for a person in an old people’s home, a family member overseas, an addition to a book club,  a gift that gives on giving to a friend and so on. They could then be framed, regifted as a postcard, a birthday card, made into a calendar, put on the fridge until the next one, the possibilities are endless.

Below is my letter that will be going out to any friends whose address I already have along with the first poem which will be free. If you would like to subscribe and I don’t have your address please email me and I’ll put you on the list.

Fluffy George Posted Poems


Dear Everyone,

Welcome to the first edition of Fluffy George posted poems. I’ve been thinking for a while that many people enjoy poetry but don’t necessarily want to buy whole volumes. So to revive the art of getting real mail, I am going to post poems out in the lovely snail mail way once per month to those of you who would like to subscribe to FG Poetry Posts.

Please find enclosed my first sample completely free of charge (no steak knives sorry) to help you decide if you would like to subscribe or gift to a friend or relative.

I hope to post love poems, political poems, fun poems, any kind of poem written by moi but with guest poets included on a regular basis.

The poems will be nicely presented on good quality paper so they could be sent to someone else as a postcard, birthday card, framed for posterity or read at your book club, they are also on ideal paper for worm farms.

Now…the cost including postage for the rest of the year, for 8 more poems taking us through until Christmas is $10 per month making it 80 dollars per subscription or 4 poems for 45 dollars every second month. 

If you would like to join up for one of these options please email me on If you would like an overseas subscription please also email me  as the postage for Australia is $2.70 from July and UK and France is $3.30. This is for an A5 envelope as I don’t want to fold them. It might be a nice gift for family and friends living abroad.

I hope you are okay with receiving the first one as a free, no-obligation sample if I already have your address.

Sue Heggie

aka Fluffy George

I’m off to Invercargill this week for a Press My Buttons seminar which I am taking for Allison Mooney. Big Mooney Boots to fill!

She has been entertainer of the year a few times so no pressure then…. FG