#311 She never gives up on me

A quick one post-midnight on Dec 31, but really important nonetheless. Because my amazing big sister, never, ever gives up on me, or us.

She is the kindest, most generous, fun-loving of souls, and is the most inspiring and positive person to be around. Always up for a laugh, good time, but also a person who you can bare your soul to and know that she will cherish and protect your deepest secrets, she is genuinely a one in a million.

However, she would give the Terminator a real run for his money.

Because she NEVER gives up.

When she thinks she knows better, or that you aren’t doing what you should be doing, or you’re passing up on an amazing offer (ahem, New Year’s at the marina) she will repeatedly, with the kindest of words, and the most gentlest of pressures, convince you in 100 different ways, with positive encouragement and happy affirmations, that really you should listen to her.

And she’s always right.

We nearly stayed home for New Year’s tonight. For a variety of reasons. But when she heard my initial plan, several messages and phone calls proceeded throughout the day to try and win me over and get us over to spend New Years with them.

And we did. And it was great.

I thought to myself, earlier today before the night started, how lucky I was.

I was so lucky to have someone that never gave up on me, no matter in which way it was. She wanted to spend time with me that much, and was so concerned about me having a great time, that she would throw herself into the task of convincing me repeatedly in different ways through a variety of means, until I saw the light.

Anyone else, and that would be annoying. But from my sister, all you feel is love.

XO

Happy New Year All 🙂

 

 

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#310 The verge of holidays – Dec ’16 edition

I am soo bloody excited. As simple as that. Today was my last day of work for the year. I am now looking forward to 18 days off! And tomorrow afternoon, Hubbie will join me, and together we’ll have 15 days off together.

What?! A holiday, together? It seems impossible. It feels so long ago…

Our last approved leave requests was during our big house move months ago… and by no means was any of that a holiday. We did not feel settled for ages, things were difficult, and it stayed that way for a while even after we went back to work following that ‘break.’

I know Hubbie has had a week or so during the year, but it must have been at a really busy time, because I have little recollection of what we did. The only holiday I can remember us having fun, like a proper holiday-goer, was almost exactly this time last year when we boarded a plane with first-time flyer baby girl and went to tropical Port Douglas.

Absolutely stunning location and holiday spot, I might add.

So really, that equates to approximately 365 days of no proper down time together.

365 days?! Can you see why I’m so bloody excited?!

We don’t have any plans to go away – hell, we moved to our favourite holiday spot so we could feel like we are away all year round – so we just want to enjoy our town, properly explore it and the surrounds since we haven’t had the time, and just live like a local. A local on holiday.

 

Things I plan on (us) doing:

Breakfast-ing, brunch-ing, lunch-ing, and dinner-ing, A LOT.

But first, coffee. Like on the hour, at every café possible.

Shop ’til I drop.

Beach myself like a whale.

Let baby girl go beserk at parks while we sit on the sidelines sunning it and laughing.

Bed

Catch-ups with friends

Late nights laughing and toasting

BBQ at yours truly looking out at the water

Staying up late with Hubbie

Talking to Hubbie… like, really talking. I miss this man. He’s been working too much.

 

I have specific things in mind, but they very well could end up being individual gratitude posts, so I’ll just keep them close to my chest until the day comes…

And now, it is nearing, so you won’t have to wait long. So grateful right now 🙂

 

 

#309 My town folk and Rain / Bestie’s surprise tree painting

A special edition. I had two interesting and special incidences today, and so I absolutely have to post both.

Lucky me. Double the gratitude:)

Part 1: The Rain.

I had just driven through the most hellish storm imaginable. I actually had thought to come to a complete stop while on the freeway going home from work. Many, many times, I found it almost impossible to see from the white sheets of rain in front of me, sweeping  across my car and enveloping it in a blurry fog of white. It was scary to endure, and I was relieved when after the longest drive, it started to lighten up.

And this, after the most incredible sunset last night. Ahh Melbourne.

Nearing home, the rain lessened. Finally. It had been a tense drive. I had to stop at the shops first, and got out of the car to light, wispy rain settling on the edges of my stray pieces of hair. I walked calmly into the centre.

After my post office stop and before I got to the supermarket, I heard it on the roof: the intense rattling.

Surely it wasn’t raining so hard, again, so soon after the hour of intense downpour I had just experienced on the way home?

15 minutes later with my bag of groceries in one hand, I was standing under the shelter out the front of the centre, looking in dismayed disbelief over the buckets of ran being heaved upon the car park.

My car was so close, yet so, so far.

I stood with others also holding out for the rain to ease. There were about 7 or so other shoppers, and I looked out at the car park, wondering just when and how long it would be until the rain gave out. It was heavy, and unrelenting.

The rain slowed, but only the slightest amount, not enough to brave the weather and walk through it… and yet, people did. Almost all the people who had been waiting decided to head on out to their cars. I watched, curious, as one by one they left, while I stood there, waiting, watching the Rain.

And then more came. I observed as people wandered in to the centre, soaking wet from the car park; and vice versa, as people exited the centre, and after a brief pause, a reshuffling of bags or searching of keys, kept on walking into the heavy rain towards their car.

The rain had lessened, ever so slightly. But I could tell what kind of deceiving rain this was, what with its big drops and generous weight. I wasn’t going out there, and getting soaked in 3 seconds time. I would keep waiting.

A man walked out of the centre with his son. They walked out and into the rain with little hesitation. A young couple walked out towards the car park as if they were taking a leisurely stroll.

Holiday-stayers, I observed. They don’t care if they get wet – they’re on holiday time.

An older man walked past me from the car park in his shorts and singlet, losing his thong in a deep puddle of water. He slowly stopped, walked back a few steps, his bare foot splashing through the puddle, before grasping the thong with his toe and balancing it back on. A nearby man smiled and they exchanged some words and a laugh before the man walked on, feet soaking, into the centre.

Ok, he mustn’t be driving. He can’t drive like that.

A woman walked out with her son. Flowy dress, telling him “now, don’t run!”

Run, why would you run? Ok it’s easier for her, he’s like 10, she doesn’t have to put him in the car herself.

Still I watched with how casually they made their way into the rain.

They’re all on holiday. I stood there in my wedges, pondering this fact. Skinny black jeans and a stripy singlet top. I was coming home from work. I had to drive home. I wasn’t on holiday time, not yet. These guys were not fazed at all if they got wet. They were moving about without a care in the world. I considered every justification possible.

Then, a woman walked towards the centre from the car park. As she moved forward, she too like the man earlier, lost her sandal in a puddle of water. She paused, her other foot hovering, as she fished it out of the water. I heard the splosh as it was brought forward and onto her foot. Her long flowy dress barely touched the deep puddles beneath her as she kept on going.

It hit me. My justifications were suddenly unworthy. These weren’t ALL holiday-makers. More than half were locals. And here I was, newbie in town, the girl from the ‘burbs looking on and wanting to avoid getting wet.

Screw that shit.

I waited for a slight break in traffic in front of the busy centre, and then started forward. Within seconds I could feel the warm drops sinking into all parts of my clothing, and it squeezed itself between my toes. My car was barely a minutes walk from the shopping centre shelter, and yet by the time I got to the car and plonked down in the driver’s seat, I looked down to rain splattered dark drops all over my clothes, saw the water on my arms as if someone had thrown a bucket on me, and felt my matted hair sticking in sections to my head.

And I loved it! I felt invigorated, refreshed, and alive.

Why the hell did I not do this earlier? We had moved to the beach for the lifestyle, which meant I had to live, LIKE the lifestyle. The locals had inspired me.

I wanted to live on the beach? Then live like I’m on the beach.

I genuinely, do love rain. And I also love my townsfolk 🙂

 

Part 2: The Painting.

I headed over to the parcel as my MIL was putting down baby girl for a nap. I had noticed it before getting changed out of my wet clothes, but hadn’t bothered to investigate further, feeling sure it was the coasters I had ordered a long time ago. Surely, most definitely, it was them. But as I picked up the parcel and the envelopes that read “card only” indicating the late Christmas arrival, the name at the head of the label jumped out at me.

SmikG.

Hmmm. I didn’t remember putting down my author’s alias when I had ordered the coasters. In fact, I don’t remember putting it down anywhere at all. As I looked at the parcel some more, with my actual name and address underneath my alias, the writing grew so familiar to me, that by the time I had turned the parcel around to see who the sender was, I was absolutely definite on who it was from, even though I had no idea what it was.

Sure enough, I was right.

I first opened the Christmas cards, wanting to save the intriguing and exciting surprise package from bestie ’til last. As I opened it, my very slight suspicions, and my judgments based on the weight and size, were confirmed.

imag2588

My very talented best friend has recently started painting again, after a long hiatus between high school and now. I actually had NO IDEA how talented she was until she started posting her work on facebook. I had commented on a painting she had done of a similar tree, as I love trees, and all symbols and images associated to them, as mentioned here, and here. However I didn’t think she would ever send me an actual, original painting of hers.

I immediately fell in love. It was perfect. The vibrant colour was reminiscent of our friendship too, an ode to high school, Prince, Purple Rain, and so much more. It was so personal of her to give me something so beautiful and creative of hers, and I immediately felt emotional.

I called her up to express my profound thanks, and later I placed it up high in our bedroom, until we find a more permanent home for it.

…When I walked into the room hours later, the painting of the purple tree was a sight for sore eyes. I didn’t realise how much colour was lacking in our room, in our house, and I was sick of seeing beige boxes shoved into corners all over the place, only I didn’t know how much until this masterpiece entered our home.

I love it. I am really grateful for this personal present gifted to me by a very dear friend, the heartfelt meaning behind it, and the sincere generosity of bestie to even think of giving it to me in the first place.

 

Dancing in the rain amidst friendly townfolk and purple trees by bestie. Not a bad day. Not a bad day AT ALL. 🙂

 

#308 Orange sunset

I’m just gonna post a couple of pics.

Do I need to say anymore? I caught these beauties right from the comfort of my home, before I jumped in the shower earlier this evening. I notice it has been a spectacular night, since many people have posted on social media just how extraordinarily beautiful the Melbourne sunset was tonight after such a muggy and hot day.

After a late start to Summer, our fair city is starting to show off. If you’ve got it, flaunt it I say.

#307 My high school friends

Every few years or so, after much organisation, effort and heavy planning, a certain group of 6 girls get together for a good gas-bag, food, drink and laughter, sometimes accompanied by their partners and kids, and other times without.

Who am I kidding. We stopped being ‘girls’ over a decade over.

Some of us are Mums. Well half. The other half are living life with their long-term partners/spouses, and living a fantastical life not revolving around kids. Which is perfectly great for us Mums, as we get the temporary non-kid break when it comes to conversation starters.

Not that there are conversation starters. Speech just flows when the 6 of us are around. No odd silences. No wanting of ideas. No awkwardness. It’s more of an issue of how one can be heard in a group such as this.

6 girls. 6 friends from high school. We’ve gone through those turbulent high school years, seen each other move through education and jobs, been there at each other’s weddings, and held each other’s newborns with love, hope and admiration.

We are all different. So, so different. Yet we are also the same, uniformed in our shared history, our long-standing bond and friendship to one another. Because of that history, I don’t think we could ever part. And I’ve come to realise, especially tonight, that no matter how much we may differ in other aspects of our lives: our views, lifestyles, choice of friends, morals even – we can never stay mad at each other for long.

We just can’t. We are in each other’s lives too much. We are now way too deep. And we don’t wanna get out.

After our last get together 4 years ago, tonight we came together again. And it was great. Busy with a few of the kids around, and a few of the partners too, but it was truly fun and heartfelt to be in amongst our group again.

I’ve come to appreciate these girls on another level after tonight, and I am grateful for their past, present, and continuing role in my life. Most importantly I think I’ve come to accept them for who they truly are: their own beautiful, unique, fantastic, and individual selves.

I love you girls: Miss Soulful, Miss Bold, Miss Nurturing, Miss Meticulous, and Miss Mischievous.

Love, SmikG -aka ‘Miss Secretly Surprising’… since most of you are unaware of this blog 😉

 

#306 George Michael – his role in my life

I stared at my mobile in shock. “What?!” I demanded the word, my eyes popping at what was before me.

Hubbie was concerned “what happened?”

I stared at the message bestie had written to me. ‘George Michael passed away.’

It was sadly fitting that the message came from her. George Michael was a favourite and prominent musical figure in our teens. Careless Whisper, Too Funky, Freedom and I Want Your Sex were regular sing-a-longs. I even think I have the handwritten lyrics to Careless Whisper given to me by bestie, stored away somewhere in my old room at my parents’ house.

What a year. First the shocking passing of Prince – and now, George Michael? I had always believed I would see him one more time, at least…

So many memories, so many life anthems. Each of his songs brings a different vision, a different story or place to mind.

But first, the memory my sister tells me. She is a teen, in the 80s. She and her bestie are at the airport. Wham steps out of a car; they turn, and wave up, to a large group of them. Directly at them. A swarm of fans push up against them, squashing them against the front rail they are up against. Later that night, she is in a fan picture on the news behind the newsreader who is reporting on Wham’s appearance in Melbourne.

She was the first George Michael fan in our family. I naturally followed.

Bopping to the beat of Too Funky. It was my internal anthem as I walked, my inner music that I used to repeat to myself to raise my confidence as I went through my early teens.

Then as I got older, that anthem got replaced by Flawless. In the car, volume on full, powering through the streets with George beside me ( 😉 )

Faith. Like seriously, who in this world looks cooler than George in his toe-tapping skin-tight jeans and aviator sunnies. I don’t care his sexual orientation (um, Ricky Martin obsession anyone?) but that man is damn! good looking.

gm-faith

My Twisted Lyrics series over on SmikG is inspired by a misheard Careless Whisper lyric, posted by an online writer who wrote that instead of hearing the correct “Guilty feet have got no rhythm!” they heard “I must admit I have no rhythm!” That error made me LOL so much, and stayed with me for so long that many, many years later, I decided to implement that misheard lyric thread into my parent blog.

My first few months of coffee. Maybe 5 years ago now. On a Saturday morning, making myself a fresh cuppa as I watched George Michael music videos, and literally jumping out of my skin with dance to the song “I’m Your Man.”

gm-im-your-man

I LOVE that song. I can’t explain to you how much the beat lifts me up, quite literally.

Amazing. When I bought the single, I played it on repeat, for an entire weekend non-stop. I could not get enough of the melody, his voice, and the words

“I think it’s amazing, I think you’re amazing.”

2010. His first Melbourne concert in 20 or so years. Bestie is with me. Our teenage dream fulfilled. He calls us Sydney, multiple times. We scream, in both horror, and shocked amusement at him, jumping on the first raised level of Etihad stadium, with 1000s of others, the concrete slab actually rocking against our pressure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(A photo I took on March 3rd 2010 at Etihad Stadium)

That night he sang many of my favourite songs. We rocked to the classics, he did awesome club-versions of Flawless and Spinning The Wheel, as well as his Wham, I’m Your Man 80s fuelled dance-hit. He also performed a song that I had not as yet fallen in love with…

 

When I later, only days after the concert, fell deeply in love with A Different Corner, I was shattered. I had heard the most beautiful voice singing the most heartbreaking and beautiful words to the most dreamlike and woeful music, and yet I hadn’t appreciated it fully at the time, because I had not yet fallen in love with everything about the song.

I always thought I would hear him perform that version live again. I was convinced I would, and that I would cry, as that song has made me cry so many times before.

53. Only 53. I’m still in a huge amount of shock. People are talking of 2016 as a shocker of a year, and until this happened today, I was a staunch defender. Yes, every year has its ups and downs, and yes, another of my faves, Prince passed earlier this year… but I was adamant that this year wasn’t a write-off, and that there was good, much good to be taken from the past 12 months…

It’s too early for me to make a call. 4 days until the end of 2016, and I just don’t know what to say. Two musical legends have passed, and life just isn’t the same. The world isn’t the same without them in it. The genius, the amazing talent that inhabited this world, is gone.

George Michael will live on, there is no question about it. In our hearts, in our memories, on our screens, and on our radios…he will not fade away.

But we are sad. I am sad. So, so sad.

Because he, is Amazing. Too Funky. And quite simply, Flawless.

“I think it’s amazing… I think you’re amazing.”

R.I.P George Michael 1963-2016

georgemichael

 

 

#305 Christmas at my parents’

Today was a long-awaited, yet weird Christmas Day. Definitely not a normal one. But these unusual ones come every so often. Like that one year there were freak hail storms which damaged too many cars, houses and general premises alike. Or that Christmas where we caught a canary, which became Hubbie’s pet “Chrissy” for a good few years. Or that other one, where we threw water balloons at each other in the yard, and made such a mess that Dad told us all off and we got in big trouble.

Hold on, that was last year.

Anyway, we were clearly due again this year.

All my life we’ve spent Christmas Day at my parents’ house. That’s 33 Christmases in a row. That’s a lot of Christmases. They were filled with a lot of family, relos and friends when I was growing up… nowadays our group is intimate, consisting no more of my sister, bro-in-law, 2 nephews, hubbie, baby girl and I, and our parents.

And today, amidst the usual food, cake, opening of presents, D&Ms, some kind of water activity (this year a cactus sprinkler) and endless photo-taking, there was an at-home doctor’s visit, followed by a trip to the 24/7 medical centre; me scolding Hubbie for drinking more than he was eating, and subsequently throwing him ‘looks,’ and 3 hours plus driving time on the road.

I was a little shitty, and feeling under pressure many times throughout the day. But my realisation was this: I wouldn’t pick any other group of people to spend a tense and stressful day with, even if that unusual day had to be Christmas Day.

The tough moments. The ones who are there for you in the hard times, and who make your life easier then – those are the keepers.

I still loved the day, because I was with my group of number 1s.

I hope you all had a magical Christmas Day 🙂