#549 Making the most of a special day

Let me tell you, birthdays can be deceiving.

There is a whole heap of expectation placed upon the ‘special’ day, to be better and greater and more superb than any other day.

This ‘deceptive’ day is placed in the same category as any large celebration, also including Christmas, Easter, and MOST ESPECIALLY the most cunning culprit, NEW YEARS EVE.

We think we must have some kind of exceptionally amazing day, and then when it is just… ordinary, at best, we feel sad.

Disenchanted.

Frustrated.

Mad at the world.

Pitiful.

Glum.

Today the winds were raging like hell. It was cold. I had an argument with Hubbie that brought me to tears. A small one, but I was pissed nonetheless.

I spent a good portion of the day packing, and then unpacking as we came back home from our San Remo short stay.

Hubbie was still suffering side effects from the antibiotics he took after removing a tooth, so he was pretty lowly and flat himself.

We hadn’t eaten proper healthy meals in days, and felt crappy as a result.

And it was my birthday.

The expectation of amazing, compared to the dismal reality, wore me down HARD.

I did feel sorry for myself for a while. But then when I realised that a Birth-day, is just like every other day, I dragged myself out of the rut…

You see, all days are the same. Birth-days, Christmas-days, New Years-days. All require you to do something about it.

We can’t be sitting around and waiting for stuff to happen. Or waiting for people to come in and make our life and day better. We need to do it ourselves, but also be mindful, that sometimes, life goes up…

and life goes down…

and sometimes this happens on a ‘special’ day.

And that’s ok.

There was nothing remarkable about my birth-day today, and yet I spent it the best way I could, enjoying my downtime with Hubbie and baby girl.

And in the end, my changed mindset, made the day better. That’s all it was. A changed, and accepted mindset. Because I realised that although I was going to make the most of the situation in the day as it was, I was also accepting of the fact that sometimes days don’t go to plan, and we don’t get what we want, and we just need to breathe in…

Breathe… Inhale

and breathe out…

Breathe… Exhale

and say “tomorrow’s another day.”

And in the end, I ended up having a lovely day 🙂

(But just saying, I have a party this Saturday and I’m going to rock it mofos. Like, watch out).

 

 

#532 An injection of Pink

Pink napkins.

Pink balloons.

Pink flowers.

Pink cookies.

Pink hearts.

PINK PINK PINK.

I took home some Pink today, because I was at a dear one’s Baby Shower.

IMAG5139

I think it’s a beautiful thing when people get together to celebrate the future meeting of a brand new person. This little bub will be a new member of our family, another girl to have fun with, dance with, laugh with, watch grow, and be a huge part of her life.

We need to celebrate like this, much much more. A new job. A new house. A new… anything! We need to call our loved ones over, crack open some bottles, and just celebrate life and appreciate all the beautiful things in it, the things that we are so lucky to have, the things we are ultimately, blessed with beyond words.

Life can be so dark sometimes. We definitely need more Pink.

And this lovely lady with Bub, is my younger cousin, who I consider like a little sister to me. I am so excited for her and this new chapter in her life, and I only just realised a beautiful coincidence tonight…

She and I are 4 years apart. When her bub is born, baby girl and this new baby girl, will be…

4 years apart.

Ahhh. Ain’t history brilliant in its ability to recreate itself?!

#482 My sister’s birthday

There are some days, lo and behold, that I get as excited by as I do my own birthday – and apart from Christmas and Easter, these other days are the birthdays of my immediate family.

I mean, who doesn’t want to celebrate one of the most important people in their life, to commemorate the day they were brought onto this earth, and immediately made all things better with their presence?

The day I was so excited to commemorate today was that of my sister’s birthday.

The day was cold and crisp, but the sun was glorious in its strict denial of taking on any Winter gloom. Perfect for her. The rays shone bright on her special day, just as her vibrant and uplifting presence fills those around her with constant joy and happiness.

There were select family and friends. A medium group, but one that knew each other well. Casual combo, sometimes serious, sometimes light, sometimes banter, most times shit-stirring. Food, plenty of cake, drinks and then the few ‘shots,’ a throwback to all the parties we used to down years before we had kids, when we’d go one, after one, after one, after one…

We’ll get to that stage again, I’m sure. This is my family after all.

And then the night ended happily, as is the norm, with baby girl and sister sharing a ride on the egg chair…

IMAG4388

Weee! they went! Round and round, ’til the movements grew slow, the hand went past midnight, and baby girl’s head leant against her aunty’s, eyes drooping as she still tried to watch her fave Explorer on Netflix.

And it was another great night, to celebrate an amazing woman in my life.

Happy Birthday big sis :*

#462 Cake for dayyysss

When one goes to a celebration, one gets to enjoy cake.

When one goes to a close friend/family’s celebration, one gets to take home, some cake.

When one throws a celebration…

One has cake… for DAYS.

In case you missed it, we celebrated our parents 50th wedding anniversary this weekend. And once the balloons start to deflate, dust gathers on the decorations, the wine glasses are washed and the leftover food is dished out amongst us all, there is one thing remaining that just stares at us from every angle of the kitchen.

CAKE.

And in today’s edition of this special series, we have ‘Prespani,’ a soft and crispy blanket of delicious pastry encasing a ground walnut mixture, surrounded by lots of icing sugar;

IMAG4234

we have Cake Pops, finished off in white chocolate and an edible golden dust (for a Golden anniversary);

IMAG4235

we have a slab of Continental Cake (it is much larger than what the photo shows, much like your side car mirror);

IMAG4236

and lastly, a little plate of miscellaneous, some as mentioned above, with the addition of a mini pavlova cup, a chocolate nutty cake, and a vanilla slice.

IMAG4237

DROOL DROOL DROOL.

(And I’m eating a cake pop as I write).

Zumba help me. I’m going to need it this week.

This week, of cake.

🙂

#461 Celebrating their 50th

I can’t tell you how grateful I am now that it is ALL OVER.

There was sooo much work. And besides that, sure, there are even regrets for the night. I wish I had taken more photos. I wish I’d have spoken to my parents that bit more. Mingled more. Danced more (no, my feet don’t think they could take any more…) drank more.

But what we gained tonight is a true blessing compared to all that.

Because finally, after months of planning and organising, and then a final rat race to the finish line in the last week, we celebrated our parents 50th wedding anniversary tonight.

It felt like a WEDDING in the lead up. That was the pressure and intensity we felt to succeed and get everything just right.

And I think, we did. But not without a lot of work.

IMAG4222

See that? Those cakes are made by European woman. Hours upon hours goes into making them.

Anytime a wog European woman offers you cake, do not waste it, do not reject it, and by all means please, saviour it, because it’s a freaking task and a half to make.

We don’t want our creations half-eaten and sitting on a paper plate getting old somewhere. Not after all the work that has gone into it.

Those cakes are representative of the effort that went into tonight. All that hard work. Hours upon hours.

But you know what? The hard work and effort and planning that went into tonight, well, that’s not even the tip of the iceberg for all that our parents have gone through, and done, for us.

And so, we are bloody blessed, to have been there tonight, celebrating with them, yelling the house down in glee, and sharing in such a special moment on their 2nd Wedding Day/50th wedding anniversary.

For that, I am truly, truly, deeply, grateful.

#453 Photos

My sister always says, that it is so worth taking heaps of photos, for the memories that will come to you later as you look back on them.

She speaks with a lot of experience. She takes, HEAPS of photos.

She doesn’t have many photos of when she was a baby, and so I think she has spent the majority of her life, kind of making up for that fact, and making sure that her kids, will have tonnes of them.

I think I’ve kind of taken that from her. I too, love photos. Currently there are approximately, no exaggeration, 2000 of them waiting to be filed into photo albums at my less than likely leisure. I fell behind before baby girl was born, and thinking like the stupid parentless ‘know-it-all’ I was, that I would catch up while on maternity leave with her…

Yeah, right. Like that ever happened. 3 and a half years later and they’re still PILING UP.

But anyway. I love them, and in the most old school way – hard copy in a PHOTO ALBUM.

I’ve been doing heaps with photos lately, and it’s just reminded me how amazing and beautiful these snapshots into time can be.

In just over a week we’ll be celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary. We’re doing a few special things on the night, and one of them, to highlight their 5 decades together, is the photo collage I’m putting together, of one decade each per large cardboard sheet of paper, with as many photos as I can possibly muster crammed into all 5 sheets.

When I took my usb stick of anniversary photos over the years to the photo centre, there were 647 files.

647 photos.

I knew I had to scale that back, BIG TIME.

I told myself I’d only select 150…

then I got to 150 and said I’d select up to 200…

then I got to 200 and said 250 MAX.

Which is how I ended up at 255. Close enough.

Today when I took the developed photos to my sister’s place, for our little debrief over the anniversary party (who would sit where, what we would say, what would go where, what time that would occur, etc, etc), she flipped through the photos quickly, grinning and letting out “oh wow!”s, complimenting the broad selection, and happily going back in time to as far back as the late 60s, as she saw my parents journey again from start to current day.

Seeing the reaction on her face was great, and later at home as I trimmed the photos back, removing blank spaces and tightening it up so I could surely fit 50 photos per large page, I couldn’t help but pause and smile several times, observing my parents youthful looks, almost laughing out loud when my parents were too laughing in the photos, grinning with fondness at family photos through the decades, and just generally reminiscing with warmth in my heart.

I know, I sound like a hallmark card. But really, I loved it. I love photos. And I think the guests at the party, my parents’ family and friends, and my parents especially, will really enjoy the snapshot through the ages.

50 Golden Ages. 🙂

#299 The Saint Nicholas Tradition

On my mother’s side of the family, there is a custom. A long-serving and deep-rooted family tradition. My Mother’s Father, and most likely many before him too, celebrated the saint day of Saint Nicholas, referred to in our native tongue as Sveti Nikola.

It’s a generational thing, and men pass it down to their sons and so on, so that the tradition of Sveti Nikola lives on. My Mum’s brothers have celebrated it, and passed it on to their sons, my cousins… and that’s exactly what we were doing tonight, on December the 19th. Celebrating the Saint who is the inspiration behind Santa Claus.

😉

There are many traditions upheld on this Saint day. They involve food and drink, but perhaps most importantly is the tradition of family unity, of love and peace and togetherness. I haven’t seen my cousins for about 4 months, and it was 4 months too long let me tell you. There have been so many life-changes of late, that I just wanted to see them, talk to them, and be in their company, if only for a little while. And what better time to do it than at a family union celebrating a tradition from our Forefathers.

When I looked into the tradition of Saint Nicholas this time last year, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he was the basis of our modern day Santa Claus, with his image, meaning and celebration date slightly modified over the years. Nicholas himself was born in the 3rd century and raised as a devout Christian by parents who unfortunately died while he was still quite young. He spent his life giving all he had to the poor and unfortunate and helping those in need, leading to stories and legends about him as a protector and helper of humankind.

One story tells of a poor man with three daughters, who had no dowry, nothing of value to offer prospective husbands for his daughters. And this was a horrible fate, for not marrying would mean they were destined to be sold as slaves. However on three separate occasions, bags of gold were mysteriously and conveniently thrown into an open window, providing the much-needed dowry, apparently landing in a stocking drying by the fire. This is the basis for the tradition of children hanging out stockings for Saint Nicholas to put gifts in.

I find it beautiful, and highly convenient, that the patron Saint in my family is based on the man who today’s Santa Claus is inspired by. And it’s something to remember at this time of year. Whereas today there can often be an unnecessary focus on expensive gifts, people rushing about and not taking the much-needed time out, not to mention those whiners who just CAN’T WAIT ’til this year is over with, I much prefer the relaxed approach that this Saint day brings: unyielding family tradition, sharing love and happiness, and giving to help others, rather than giving so you can boast about how much you have.

I guess you can do those things on Christmas Day, which we do… but when you celebrate a Saint and have his picture in mind, and then remember all those before you… it makes it all the more personal.

saintnicholas

I love this time of year. 🙂

If you are interested in the rest of the world’s early portrayal of Saint Nicholas, and more info on how Saint Nicholas came to be the Santa Claus that we know and love, I found a great resource at this website with a tonne of really interesting facts:

https://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/

Actually… I do love Santa, but after reading from the above link, I think I love Saint Nicholas more.