#97 May 31st

This is a weird one for me, very unusual being that here in Australia, May 31st is the last day of Autumn. This in itself is not particularly unusual, but the fact I am happy for the fact of it being¬†the end of Autumn, means that I may just be consequently happy for the start of Winter…

Right?

Right?

Right???

???

Let’s take things one step at a time folks. I’m not entirely sure I will ever be happy, or feel overly joyous at the thought of 3 plus months (because Melbourne Weather, that’s why) of freezing cold, windy and just stupid hell-bent crap weather. But since I’ve been doing this gratitude thing, it’s as if I’m seeing things in a newer, different light. Suddenly, parts of Winter don’t seem so bad. Suddenly, parts of Winter I’m becoming appreciative of, and even, maybe, grateful for.

Woah. Hold on there. Appreciating, Winter? I know I know. No, no one has slipped anything into my drink. I only had one glass of red for dinner, it’s alright. My little ideas of Winter not being so bad will follow in due course. Maybe it’s only because of this challenge, and being aware of thoughts of gratitude, that I’m even feeling this way inclined towards this most miserable of months. But even if so… isn’t that the point? Doesn’t it then mean, that this whole thing is actually working?

And that, excites me ūüôā

But, I am happy, and yes, relieved, even slightly grateful, that today is May 31st… only because the damn waiting and dread leading up to June 1st will soon be over. That’s one of the worst bits you know. Knowing something dark and cold is looming around the corner, and just waiting for it to hit. That’s what I’ve been doing these last few weeks… on edge… just waiting… bracing myself.

But, in approximately 1 hour 14 minutes, Winter will be here. The wait will be over. And then we can just put on our coats, turn up our heaters to full-ball, and get on with it.

I have my sleep socks on, my flannel pyjamas, and my cuddly sleeping gown as I write this on the couch… yep Winter, I’m ready for you.

1 hour 13. Who’s counting?

#96 We’re all cats, and we all love the sunshine

I don’t care if you are a dog lover ONLY and you despise cats (harrumph, sad human you are), but if you like going outdoors on a sunny day, then you fit into the above category. You are a feline, and there is no denying it.

I took my lunch break while at work today to go to the local Woolies and buy some stuff for dinner tonight – aptly, ingredients to make some tomato soup, as the recent colder weather definitely promotes it.

I work in a part of the city, that frankly put it, can appear dead on weekends when the 9-5 Monday to Friday is over… and also, when it is cold. On these days, you wonder where all these work people are – what kind of jobs do they do? What kind of offices do they inhabit? Are they sad like me, that it is so miserably cold? Is there any kind of life here at all? Am I just kidding myself that I’m the only one at work?

And then, on days like today, they all come out to play. Like pussycats.

2016-05-30 13.32.38

It’s not Winter yet, however the weather has taken a biting downward turn. Despite this, and the brisk air as I described it today (nicely put instead of icy), when the sun came out, so too did the people.

And I was appreciative for this. I was appreciative that we live in a society where generally, people do want to mingle. They want to get out, they want to get some vitamin D… if they are cranky, the light makes them feel better. If they are sad, the warmth fills them with something that nothing else can. If they are restless, a walk outside can reset their heads and make them brand new again. If they are over-worked, gossiping with their colleagues outside will free their worries.

It’s lovely to be a part of a thriving and bustling work scene. Because no matter how hard the day may be, whether you are a tabby, a Maine Coon or a Siamese, when we all meet out in the sunshine, we’re all joint in mutual play, free from work, if only for a small portion of the day.

Yet that portion makes all the difference. I love to be amongst this animal variety, and I love that this majority, rules. How gratifying and inspiring it is, to know so many gravitate towards the sun?!

 

#95 2 years of Word

I’ve been practicing the written word for as long as¬†I can remember… in grade 2, copying my favourite story in class, word for word…through my teenage years, capturing the angst and desperation of those turmoil-fuelled¬†days, with words in my diary… and in recent years, trying to take in all the words of books written by authors from all around the world, while trying to capture my own unique take on the word, via the creation of fiction, more personal writing, and blogging.

I’ve been doing all of the above for well over 2 years; many, many more in fact. But it’s my anniversary with joining WordPress that has come to the number 2 today.

I do have another, unread blog still floating around in cyber-space that was my primary outlet of online expression prior to this one, but it’s only once I joined this online community that I said ‘Ok. No more anonymity (well kind of…) time to express myself and say “Hello World. This is SmikG, your writer speaking.”

Which is how my first WordPress blog, SmikG, came to fruition: my online writing presence as a writer, where I could write about the things that pleased or angered me. Personal pieces, book reviews, and a hefty portion of food reviews abound this blog that I’m still building up. I’ve got much more I’d love to do with it, but all in good time.

Then, in late Feb of this year, I decided to jump on board the expressive gratitude bandwagon and start a project that had been milling around my head for ages… which is how this blog, carcrashgratitude, came to be. I’m now so close to the¬†100 mark, and knowing that I’m reaching yet another blog/writing/gratitude milestone makes me happy and grateful.

There are days when I think, this is the easy bit. It’s still so early into my gratitude ongoing life challenge, that I worry there will come a day where¬†there is just nothing absolutely new or fresh or novel to write about for that current day. Say on day 95, today, that isn’t such a problem. However when I’m up to day 1195, I might be struggling to find something I haven’t already explored in some capacity.

This thought keeps the wheels turning in my head. I don’t want to think of having to call it a day due to lack of content… but seriously? That day is inevitable, right?

And then glass half-full gal kicks in.

No!

The whole challenge of this, I remind myself, is to try and find a little piece of gratitude, no matter how small, no matter how specific, no matter how seemingly insignificant it may appear to others… as long as it is something I am appreciative for, then it totally matters.

It’s my challenge to be grateful for things, often the exact same thing, but in a million different ways, from a million different perspectives. (Take how many times I’ve already posted about coffee here, for example). That’s not just my challenge as a writer, to find ways of being creative even when I am lacking in any writing juices, but it’s my challenge as a person, to find things to be happy for, even on low days, dark days, sad days, and boring days. It’s a hard challenge, and I haven’t even hit the hard part yet. I’m a happy person, and my heart sinks thinking of the hard parts. But I have to try. Hope is the song of my heart, so I will have that to help me through.

So today, I’m grateful that I’ve reached the 2 year milestone with WordPress, yes… but I’m also grateful that I have had the material to keep me blogging for this period of time.

And you know what? As a writer, if I didn’t have the material to blog…

I’d bloody go and find it.

#94 Favourable company

We’ve had a lucky spate of guests today. So lucky, I’m writing post 12am.

You know it’s been a good day, when you don’t get a chance to sit down and write until it’s 12:44am.

Anyway. The first lot came at midday. They were my cousins, a.k.a. ‘The Sisters’ – sound like a Quentin Tarantino movie much? – and baby girl and I had a ball with them.

Then, quite spontaneously, we ended up with our besties, our good ol’ faithfuls, a.k.a. ‘Best Man and Fam.’ (Now we most definitely sound like we belong in a Kill Bill sequel).

2 and a half bottles of red were consumed within the day. Which, really, isn’t THAT much since we’ve been entertaining the whole day. One of them was this beauty

2016-05-28 22.45.08

which is the wine I bought in Spring of 2015 when I visited Panton’s. The review from that most marvellous of sunny days can be found here.

Maybe because we’d been drinking all day, maybe because we’d eaten all we could, maybe because we didn’t pair it with the recommended ‘duck’… but¬†the¬†Pinot¬†was slightly underwhelming.

Nevertheless. The party went on, and the wine was made pleasurable just by the fact that we had awesome people with us today. People that I will definitely speak about individually in future posts, but today, with their presence in our house, when the home was made most beautiful with them being around it, I am grateful for them all.

I love being with great people. Surround yourself with those you love, who inspire you, who you want to be like, and who are doing the things you want to do. Just that act in itself, is a gratifying one on its own.

You’re fortunate when you have a handful of great people in your life who you can call your true friends. I was pretty lucky today, in that a good number of them came to see us. I’m going to sleep, a very content lady. ‘Night.

#93 Cold (Winter) walks in the Sun

Brackets, because really, we’re not into Winter yet. But if you had been in Melbourne two days ago, you would have been forgiven in thinking we were in the depths of this most gloomy of seasons.

But you know, I’m finding more and more reasons to find Winter NOT so gloomy. Maybe it’s in an attempt to not feel so down about it not being Summer. Maybe it’s because I’m a forever glass half-full gal. Maybe it’s because I have nothing to really complain about, and so I should look for positive and inspiring things. Nonetheless, there’s something refreshing and awakening about a cold walk on a sunny day.

Every thing is still. Everything is peaceful. Random cat in a driveway, sleeping peacefully under the watchful eye of the sun’s glare. Dogs aren’t barking when you pass on by. Every so often, it’s not just grass, but a bright yellow flower amongst the footpath shrubbery, and baby girl gasps.

Oh yeah. And there’s this amazing creature right here.

2016-05-27 15.08.29

She smiles up at me in obvious contentment as we begin our walk. She takes my hand eagerly, but then slowly draws it away when she sees our neighbours dog sniffing the pavement up ahead, her hands clawing together in imagination of what she’d like to do to him.

She is headstrong, and doesn’t want to hold my hand, but I make her do it nonetheless. And when she’s too busy looking around at the peaceful surroundings, and misses a rise in the footpath, I’m there to hold her upwards and catch her stumble.

She laughs as I over-exaggerate the chill in the air: “Brrr! It’s cold!” She tips her head back, overjoyed. She deliberately crunches on the dead leaves on the ground, and then we copy each other the rest of the way home: jogging; stomping; walking backwards; and even galloping on the side. Before we know it, our house is in view again.

It’s blissful moments like today, that make Winter days pretty damn good. But it’s not even Winter. But I’m grateful already. Take that snowman.

#92 Candle inspiration

Today I wrote. By candle light, I wrote, and created.

2016-05-26 17.32.54

Inspired by something I had read in Rubin’s The Happiness Project, I liked the idea suggested by her of using something such as a¬†candle, as a common ritual when starting to write, and used time and time again can help you write and get into the right headspace.

Today, something was telling me to do ‘my book.’ Not catch up on my blog, my food reviews or book reviews, not even to write letters… but to work on my first work of love and dedication. I’ve been fearful that the idea had left me (an idea suggested by Gilbert in Big Magic, a book to be reviewed in the near future), but I think it was more that I was stuck in a chapter where I didn’t know where else to go. And today, by the light of my Mozi candle light, I started a new one.

Coconut and Pineapple. That’s the scent. It’s fresh, gentle and sweet, refreshing and calming yet uplifting too. I’ve used it when I’m either editing or writing ‘my book,’ so as to associate that smell solely with my most personal of writing projects. I use it when I need to get down to business. So far it’s worked.

So, what am I grateful for today? I’m grateful that the idea has not left me; I’m grateful that the writing flowed as it did this evening; I’m also grateful for my little writing space, in the corner of our kitchen looking out onto the greenery in our yard; but also I’m so grateful that a little candle helped me find my way.

Because even though I didn’t know where to go, when¬†I started writing, the words came. And that’s the moment when I breathed a sigh of relief.

#91 Eating Out

I love eating out.

I also love creating and preparing food, discovering new recipes and then putting them to the test in my kitchen. I even don’t mind doing the dishes. I’d much rather do that than another chore. But still, I love being able to go out.

Is it a time-off thing? Well yes, in some respects. I get time off preparing and cooking and then cleaning up, but in turn I need to watch out for baby girl and try keep her busy and entertained for the time we are at the restaurant.

Is it a luxury thing? Well yes, of course. There are people in the world who don’t eat out very much, or at all, compared to us Westerners… hell, there are Westerners who don’t eat out ever. Whatever their reasons, I am grateful that we can do it as often as we do.

But it’s actually more than that. It’s the change. The varying scenery. Eating different food. Mixing things up. Having dinner at home night after night can become monotonous, so going out for a bite can be the breath of fresh air you need. Things become stale if they stay as is… it’s so important to just be spontaneous and do something novel.

For the time-off, the luxury of it, and the change, I am grateful for eating out. It saves me on many days.

And yes we did eat out tonight. It was fantastic ūüôā

#90 Kind old lady advice

Today I was doing the weekly grocery shop with baby girl in tow. Or should I say ‘in tow,’ most of the time. ‘In tow,’ only eventuates after repeated repeated repeated repeated instruction, pleading, bribes, and threats.

“Baby girl, come and follow Mummy, come on.”

“Baby girl, please come on be a good girl for Mummy, come on.”

“Baby girl, if you sit in the trolley I’ll give you a biscuit.”

“Baby girl! No Thomas train ride for you!”

So, you know, the usual.

I’m trying to get her to follow me into¬†Woolies and to stay close to me, away from the wayside walkers and treacherous trolleys in abundance everywhere. As I’m manoeuvring the trolley and trying my damn best to keep her beside me, she suddenly darts to the right and off to those merry-go-round ride things in shopping centres¬†that all parents despise. Even if you do pop in $2 for a minutes ride, you’ll still spend another 5 minutes at least begging to get them off it after it’s stopped, and if you just pick them up and walk off, you’ll have to contend with endless whinging and screaming and crying. So, it’s a lose-lose situation.

As she runs off to that thing, I notice an older lady behind me also pushing a trolley, who’s now pulled to a stop because I have. I pull over to the side near a chicken shop, saying “sorry!”

As I watch baby girl clamber over the ride from a distance, the lady comes to pass me but stops, and as we’re side by side, she leans in and says “you should never apologise for kids. They’re children.”

I smile as she starts to move on. “I know,” I add, “but some people…”

I don’t have to continue. She shrugs, as if she understands, and adds something about¬† them learning.

We exchange something else, and laugh, and I thank her and go towards baby girl.

That’s some damn good advice. I know that baby girl is learning. I know that she doesn’t mean to be rude when she cuts someone’s path because she’s just seen a Peppa Pig ride. I appreciate this woman’s words, and man I wish there were more understanding people like her. I’m sure there are, but I wish they would speak up more too.

I’m just trying my best to teach this girl of mine manners. I know I’ll be repeating myself endlessly ’til the cows come home… but I hope one day it’ll just ‘click.’

Also, I’m fearful of that stereotype, the ‘don’t give a shit’ Mum. I know I’m not one, but¬†I know how people feel about Mums who let their kids do whatever, wherever and whenever they like. Hell, I know what I think of those Mums. I don’t want anyone to ever mistake me for one of them.

My reasons for pulling her in line are part teaching manners, part avoiding judgment. Which is shit, I know. But it’s how it is.

But that woman today… her words hit the nail on the head. I loved it. Not just her words, but her understanding. She really struck a cord with me. Sage words lady. Sage words.

#89 6 stack CD player

One of the things that excited me most in getting my new car was not the speed. Yes, it’s awesome, but initially I was like ‘cool.’ Just cool.

It’s not that it’s red – the best car colour going around. I love that, but it didn’t really thrill me.

It’s not that it has little lights AND mirrors for both passenger and driver (usually the driver has to use the rear-view mirror to check themselves out) – in this beauty I get both, and I can re-apply lipstick with ease. But no, my convenient beauty bathroom was not the reason for my happiness.

I was super-excited, and super-grateful, for my 6 stack CD player.

Woah. What now? I’ve been living in the 90s? Excuse me while I catch up.

Having 6 CDs in your car at once, is almost like having a personal DJ. You don’t like this song? Not quite in the mood for this artist… but damn I’m on the freeway –

Wait! Just press a button and pick from anyone of many more artists for your listening pleasure.

It feels like such a luxury. I probably sound so pre-historic right now. You’re all probably with your¬†20 stack¬†CD players, flying past me in your ultra-bright red, super lit-up interiors with your personal make-up stylist blowing your hair¬†plugged into¬†the remote electric socket nearby. I get it.

(I mean, you can have close to unlimited music with an ipod or¬†mp3 player – mine has those¬†connectors too… tee hee hee)

But there’s just something about being able to have several CDs in your player at once… it feels like cheating. You’re not meant to flit back and forth between artists, but these amazing devices let you commit adultery on them in the most horribly fantastic way.

Ricky starts singing “Jaleo”… sorry Ricky! – button press. Some George please.

Mr Michael starts with “I’m never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got – “ – sorry¬† George! button press. Me feels like some Beyonc√©!

And on and on it goes.

I’m bloody loving it.

Just for some extra fun, the 6 CDs currently in my car are my top 6 fave artists, plus one. The esteemed albums are:

Ricky Martin – Almas del Silencio

George Michael – Twenty Five (disc 2: for loving)

Prince and the Revolution – Purple Rain

Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience (the first one)

Madonna – Rebel Heart

and my plus one, Beyoncé Рself-titled

ūüôā

 

#88 Warm Welcome

What can make me more grateful, than coming home from work on a Sunday, it’s already dark out, I’m tired, I’m hungry, and in need of some TLC, and as I walk through the front door, hubbie and baby girl start to run excited laps around the house in happiness over my coming home, resulting in a run-up, and then huge bear hugs from them both.

I swear. If your day can’t be made better, than your two loves, running towards you yelling “Yeah, Mama’s home!” with their arms wide¬†open, well I don’t know what will.