#1494 Finding the good in a new kind of normal

I remember a line I read in a pregnancy book, a few days after coming home with a very newborn baby girl.

I was in a state of panic and fear and frustration, and this book said something along the lines of:

“Lower your expectations.

And lower…

And lower…

Even lower…

There you go.”

Essentially what I was being told was to not expect much AT ALL. It was a new, confusing and confronting time of our life, becoming new parents and learning how to raise a small human, and the expectations of anything else that life would bring, including this little being herself, was lower than NIL.

It was the only functional place to operate from. Expecting anything higher, would result in severe disappointment, and as a new Mum that is a dangerous place.

I can’t help thinking of that time again today.

Because today, with the PM announcing approximately 6 months of living in self-isolation, avoiding gatherings, unnecessary social occasions, events and the like, well it all feels very sad.

Very lonely.

We need to lower our expectations to a new kind of normal.

And with that, I realise that by lowering my standards of what I expect life to be and look like, I will essentially be raising the bar for this blog.

Because I will be looking for even more simple and inventive ways to be grateful… all without my little every day luxuries.

My catch ups with friends.

Getting my hair done.

Going to the park.

Going to the movies.

Grabbing a coffee at the local café.

Eating out on a Saturday night.

Discovering a new place.

All of this will be, if predictions forecast accurately, put on hold. And sure, 6 months is hopefully the maximum time this will be imposed on us.

Even more hopefully, this will all end WAY BEFORE the 6 months are up.

But in the meantime… lower your expectations.

I’m already thinking of writing. So much writing. And reading SO SO much.

Home improvements.

Movie nights in.

Long D&Ms on the phone.

Running around the yard.

And one that Hubbie and I thought of tonight… talking to our people, via webcam, and skype!

Imagine the full blown catch-ups we can have if we link it up to a computer and cheers! the night away!

We might all end up creating a new and simple way to live our lives, away from the hype, the hoo-ha, the busy busy busy, and the chaos.

Maybe this is happening for a reason.

#1463 So close to royalty at the firies concert

I wish we were in Sydney tonight in the crowd of thousands, watching artist after group after band perform on stage to raise money for the bushfire catastrophe that has gripped Australia and the rest of the world over the last couple of months.

Did I say artists? I meant legends.

We only caught the last couple of hours of the show on tv, but were there in time to watch Adam Lambert and Queen take to the stage.

Anyone following my blogs knows what I think about Queen.

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It was truly something special. My thoughts kept going from “how amazing is Adam Lambert” to –

“How can he stand up to Freddie Mercury?”

“Of course he can’t, he’s his own person.”

“But Freddie was the best.”

“But look how far Adam has come to be performing with Queen!”

To and fro, my thoughts, and my words to Hubbie next to me on the couch.

Then they put Freddie on screen doing his legendary operatic solo bit where the crowd copies him, and seeing him lighting up the darkness of the arena with his yellow outfit, so large and life-like, I swear it was like he was there.

😪

But then baby girl came into the room, and I was a little on edge.

As way of explanation… we haven’t quite spoken about death with her. She knows that if you do something stupid (like run out onto a busy road, get caught in a fire, or don’t put sunscreen on) you can die.

Things like that I bluntly drill into her. Shock effect to make her listen.

But real-life death, death of those around us? As far as she gets it from what I can tell, there are people ‘here’ on earth, and then there are people who are not… the in-between from here to there I think she doesn’t comprehend, and as for ‘there,’ the concept is all a bit cartoon-like for her, like Ursula the sea witch being stabbed to death in The Little Mermaid, or Mother Gothel falling out the tower in Rapunzel.

It’s all a bit exaggerated and other-worldly.

Add to that my first experience understanding death when I was about her age… and the thought of making her as sad and scared as I had been, was devastating to even consider.

So when this rock star princess of ours entered the room to “We Will Rock You,” took one look at Adam and asked “where’s Freddie?” I knew it was the perfect opportunity to break into a discussiom about death with her, and it might even just work, because Freddie, wasn’t part of our extended family.

But then again… with the amount we played Queen around the house, he might as well have had his own bedroom downstairs.

“He’s not here tonight honey…” I shot a confused look at Hubbie, who just shrugged. He’d previously said that talking about the death of a celebrity was the perfect segue into real-life.

But now he was looking as reluctant as I was.

“… he’s not singing anymore,” I ended. I waited for her to ask, but the question didn’t come. She stared at the screen for a few moments, before turning to our cat on the couch.

“Mister F, who do you like better? Freddie Mercury or this guy?”

OH LOL.

“Mama, who do you like better, Freddie Mercury or this guy?”

“Freddie.”

Off she went to the other room to ask Hubbie who had just walked off, and I heard his answer as short, simple and brief as mine: “Freddie.”

“Baby girl, who do you prefer?” I asked as she came back in.

“Freddie Mercury!”

He almost is like a part of our family…. so that conversation will have to wait, for another day.

But for tonight at least… Adam and Queen brought him back to life.

You can still donate to the bushfire relief here: https://firefightaustralia.com/

Thank you. ❤

#1456 Pieces of straw

It crossed my mind today that maybe I should give this whole gratitude blog thing a rest.

It was just one of those days, where everything bothered me.

But somewhere in the afternoon I found some things to grasp onto, and keep me going.

A great cappuccino made by Hubbie.

Chocolate. Many pieces.

And then one of my fave movies. I put on –

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God bless art. ALL FORMS. Within minutes I was laughing as Meryl Streep’s character Julia Child was going ga-ga over buttered fish in a French restaurant.

It is an amazing movie, and Streep’s performance is phenomenal.

I think I gravitated towards this movie, and it’s the kind that always picks me up, because it shows the two stories of women who were in a slump in their life, struggling to find a place to belong, went through much difficulty and hardships to get what they wanted, but in the end…

THEY GOT THERE. THEY GOT IT.

I really needed this movie today. I cried with happiness just as much as I did with emotion.

It was the needle that helped me get out of the stack. ♥

#1306 My Writing Zone

I find myself there often at the moment.

In the zone. The writing zone.

With so much of life’s busy-ness out of the way (a misnomer for sure, as life is always busy, I just feel like a lot of stuff that was holding me up has moved away for the time being) I am dedicating more and more of my time to writing.

Novel writing. Journal writing. Course writing. Blog writing.

Writing writing writing.

I am trying to keep myself focused. Hubbie brought it to my attention a couple weeks ago that I tend to get restless and move away from that which I have set my sights on… instead of staying with it and being patient, no matter what IT is, I tend to get side-tracked and start looking at other things to do, other things to busy myself.

I am trying to look at the bigger picture. The bigger novel picture.

I am enjoying my days. Sure a portion of it is spent in front of my computer. Sure I make myself sit and write and edit and learn, even if it’s sunny out and it hasn’t been that way for so long (I make up my inside time by going out later and doing something like, I don’t know, weeding?). 😉

Even when I step away from the story, it is in my head. I am going through it, dissecting this, dissecting that. Getting ideas for other novels, and so on. My creative juices and excitement for it are at an all-time high, and I am loving it.

I AM LOVING IT.

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Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

 

#1200 5 years

1200 posts of gratitude, a crap load on my parent blog SmikG, and it all started when… ?

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YAY! This blogging journey on WordPress started 5 years ago, and all after I read a book…

How wonderful these pages bound together in a unified spine can be 🙂

#989 The f*&king application

I sat at my desk today, trying to write.

Here is my desk:

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Hold on. Let’s take a closer look, shall we…

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Yep. It was that kind of day.

I had held off on a to-do list item for a while now. And it wasn’t just ANY to-do list item. It was a writing one, one that involved applying for a writing course that I was hoping to put concerted effort into if approved – not only because it was a long-held passion of mine, but because I had to find something to do next year when my 11-year job came to a halt.

In applying for this course, I had to write a cover letter detailing the stage and progress of my novel, as well as include 1500 words of prose.

But, what would I write?

“Uh, so I wrote this book, about 20,000 words too long. And then I sent it out to agents with no luck, so I kept re-writing, and then I got it down (slightly), but then by that stage I had a baby.

I totally went off the ‘pitching book to agent phase’ because you know, said BABY and all, and then found another avenue to express my love of writing – in blogging.

And you know blogging is sooo much easier. No one is there correcting my work or telling me I can’t get published. I write what I like, and when I hit post, the whole world gets to see what I’ve written, whether they like it or not, think it is smart or not, and whether they agree with me or not.

But I really need to get my head out of the sand and start doing something with my novel, hence why I am here. SO. PLEASE. HELP. Accept me into this course before I start yet another blog.”

Or, something like that. Like, how could I actually put into words the last 6 years of my writing life?

I did my damn best. I put something together, I was honest, I added the words “cringe” (because I really was cringing as I put it all together) and prayed that it would be received well.

How horrible would it be to actually be rejected for a writing course? Like can you imagine… you want to pay someone a considerable amount of money to teach you stuff, and they go “no sorry, we don’t want you to pay us.”

Shudder.

To their benefit, the programme wants to make sure that the level you are writing at is best suited to their course, or else they can suggest something else for you. They don’t want to waste your money, which is actually admirable.

Still, I need help. And today I was so glad and grateful that I finally got around to writing those few pesky letters and emails I was putting off for so long, because I couldn’t actually put down in words, what I had been doing with words, all these years.

But I got there… and I hope that I actually, get there.

#975 Baking: blueberry lemon cake

I haven’t baked in a little while, purely for the purpose of ‘just ’cause,’ for AGES. Back in August my mass baking was of an intentional and event-based nature, so when I came across some mouth-watering recipes last week, I decided to schedule in my very own baking day.

I think it was all the more enjoyable because baby girl was at kindergarten. I do enjoy when she is in the kitchen with me… I love that she is curious, that she wants to help, and her sheer excitement at the prospect of the finished product. I also want her to appreciate the cooking process, the effort that goes into making things, so that she may appreciate eating, and the food itself more, since she knows where it came from.

But at the same time, as a Mum… sometimes you just wanna get shit done.

You just want to go at your own pace. No constant questions of

“can I mix?”

“can I add?”

“can I taste?”

“can I put this in?”

Just me and MY kitchen. Putting mess and bowls and utensils and drips of batter, wherever the bloody hell I like.

After a couple of hours from start to finish, I got something like this:

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Do you think I got close? 😉

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I am being cheeky, sure. Yes I created it almost spot-on to the recipe photo, and even styled the kitchen magazine-style in the process (check the cake under the dome).

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But the MOST important question… how did it actually taste?
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Well I can tell you this: it wasn’t to my taste at first. It had a definite tangy flavour, what with all that zest and lemon juice in the batter. Which is fine, but then there was the addition of so much extra virgin olive oil, which led to a superbly moist but rich cake.

The berry layer was made from scratch with real blueberries, but the cream was not so… creamy. In fact, light cream cheese was required instead, which made it slightly biting… however this was not too bad in its small quantity in contrast against the lemony cake and mild blueberry jam.

I didn’t expect Hubbie to like it… but he did. He actually enjoyed it. And being a fussier food critic than I, SmikG the food blogger, well that was a massive tick in my book. √