#525 Small portable heaters

Today I’m loving this girl

IMAG5081

This guy is super awesome too

IMAG5082

I like this black one

IMAG5080

And this emanating one rocks in a real chilled out, undercover way

IMAG5084

This other identical white one is much appreciated

IMAG5085

And even this ancient relic, that DOES blow warm air, while at the same time simultaneously releasing some kind of cold gust from the sides, making you need to turn it off because you just can’t take anymore cold air, well even this one is somewhat liked. Somewhat.

IMAG5083

All of this because our ducted gas heating broke down on us last Friday morning.

I spoke about my love for our ducted gas heating when after ages of trying to get it fixed here after Sea changing (the gas pipe leading into the house had rusted, having had no occupants in here for years before we moved in) we finally got it working after repeated, repeated, repeated visits from our gas heater/ plumbing guy.

Back then he said it was old, but the unit was really good. It was dependable.

Dude, the thing has shit itself half-way into Winter. I don’t call that overly reliable.

When it worked though, it was the BOMB. It heated us up so efficiently and quickly, that honestly, baby girl would be left red-faced as she strolled around the house with no socks. I loved the heater, and it treated us well, until I turned it on one chilly morning last Friday, and waited…

And waited…

And waited…

And then went, “Oh Damn.”

All I can hope is our heater can get fixed soon, and for the smallest amount of $$$ possible. Make it just $. In the meantime though, those above beauties are gold, and actually doing a decent job of keeping various main rooms, bathrooms and bedrooms around the house, cosy.

They are saving us immensely, especially this cold-hating girl. And yet I have to wonder…. who else in this world today, is writing a post about being grateful for a portable heater, huh? I bet you NO ONE.

Challenge: Prove me wrong!

Advertisements

#435 New library

I think, when we collectively call ourselves avid readers and writers, surely then we must be a member of more than a few reading institutions?

The first library membership I got was when I was about 10, and that was a school incentive since they had built a local library in our suburb, up in the North.

I loved it, and thrived on my library membership, for ages. I would bring home the maximum amount (back then 10 books only) of Goosebumps, The Babysitters Club, and then Sweet Valley High series books, up until my mid-teens. This phase lasted long, and had me happily perusing through the library shelves for years on end, maybe until I was 15 or so.

Then boys kind of became more prominent. I would still visit, but much more infrequently, and later in Uni days, a lot of material from my essays would come from those aisles. I would walk up and down, and reminisce about the good old days, where I could read 10 books well within a few weeks time, and come back to borrow more earlier than I needed to, thirsty for more.

Fast forward many, many years, and a brand-spanking new library opened near my work. It is a work of art, and it is my belief even a non-reader would find interest, solace, and a renewed sense of appreciation for the written word, in here.

Of course, I became a member. I borrowed a few books, and then when I realised that reading, taking notes, and then reviewing the book within a few weeks span became a bit too much to take on, I kind of stopped borrowing from there.

It’s temporary, and it’s only because I’m awaiting the day I can devote much more time to fiction books.

However, today baby girl and I ventured to our new, local library. The first time we went there was right after we moved, and so I didn’t have the proper I.D. with my new home address to subscribe. Today however, different story.

At the Mornington library, I am told I can borrow unlimited books at any one time. Woah. Up to 10 DVDs, and there’s a bunch of other benefits of becoming a member too. Baby girl enjoyed the kids nook, sat in a reading booth, and I just happened across (this stuff seriously jumps out in front of me) a couple of books that I just HAD to borrow.

IMAG3898

You can totally tell which are for me, and which are for baby girl, right? I mean, I’ve been hanging to read Dr Seuss’ take on fish for yonks now.

ūüėČ

Seriously though. Am I the only writer that has tonnes to read and write, a whole book shelf at home just crying out to me “read me! read me!” and yet I still go out and borrow/buy MORE books?

I think the novelty of the library, is the fact that if you do not read a book in your borrowed time span, not to fear – just re-borrow, or read it at a later stage. There is no commitments, and I think in my case, for now, with so much fiction for me at home just STARING at me whenever I go past my shelves, I can happily borrow reference books and the like, and then pick what content will serve me best from within its pages.

And while there, I registered baby girl for the ‘1000 books before school’ challenge, where she will aim to read up to 1000 books, and track her progress on a chart with stickers, with little incentives as she hits big milestones along the way. This number can include any books read at home or school or her¬†grandparents house, and even the re-reading of favourite books. They can all be counted, starting from today. If you’re interested in doing so for your littlies, I understand many libraries are partaking in the challenge.

The end of the challenge is either the commencement of school, or when she hits 1000.

Do you seriously think I will let baby girl, the daughter of a writer, not get to 1000 books within these two years?

To answer your question… she already has 4 stickers today.

IMAG3899

God Bless the Library.

#267 Beach day – #1

Today I was officially made a beach gal. Since I am now permanently beach-bound, how many times do you think I can find appreciation for the beach, in a blog where I find a new and different piece of gratitude each and every day?

???

LET ME COUNT THE WAYS.

Today for example. At Mount Martha, with baby girl and my big sis. Today I was extremely¬†appreciative of the endless water views and breathtaking coastline…

imag1864

 

imag1874

 

imag1877

Challenge accepted. ūüôā

#106 It’s over!

I surprisingly got some fabulous news today! I had started to believe¬†I would never hear any news back from the insurance company, and if I did, I was sure it would be a bad result… and despite how frustrated and over it all that I was, I knew that if it came out against my favour, I would still try to contest it. It wouldn’t be fair, it wouldn’t be right. Anything other than ‘in my favour,’ was not moral.

What am I talking about you ask? Why, the incident that sparked my whole carcrashgratitude blog, that’s what! My car accident, from 3 and a bit months ago, that now feels like ages ago. If you are new or just need a refresher, my How this all started explains the shit-ass event that happened right after I got my new car.

Anyway. Hours after my Mum asked me earlier today “have you heard anything from the insurance company?” and I frustratingly replied back “no,” adding that she should probably not ask me again because the whole drama just puts me into that negative state of anger and sadness…. I noticed a missed call on my mobile. When I saw who had called, I was nervous. Did I really wanna call back and find out what they had to say? I was feeling spent already from today’s activities… did I want to argue with them that I was in the right, and not in the wrong?

To hell with it. I’d just get it over and done with.

I didn’t even set up baby girl with a DVD as I usually would making an important phone call. I immediately dialled the number provided, and after a little while of waiting, a lady answered.

I explained that I had a missed call from them, and provided her with my reference number for the claim. Baby girl had noticed the pen in my hands with the scrap piece of paper I had grabbed just in case I had to note anything important down. As the woman on the other side checked the notes to see why I had a missed call, baby girl climbed up onto my lap, grabbing the pen and starting to draw long lines.

“Oh!” I heard suddenly. “I can give you good news!”

Before I had a chance for my hopes to rise up too high, she confirmed with the following “We can pay you your excess back!”

“Oh, great!” My mind was whirling. We had paid the excess a while ago in order to fix the car as it had been gathering dust in the garage. It was insured, had registration, and we didn’t want to wait until the verdict was handed to get it fixed. Who knows how long that would have taken. We went ahead and had gotten the door replaced, and had been enjoying the car in the meantime, while we not so patienty waited, and waited, and waited.

And then waited.

And then waited some more.

(Insert more waiting).

Waiting.

More waiting.

And more.

Wait! More waiting.

Some more waiting to rub salt in the wound.

Might as well throw in some more waiting, waiting, waiting.

Wait. Wait.

Wait!

Waiting.

You get the drift.

She started talking about how I wanted the money, and in between all of this, and baby girl’s pen encroaching onto the tablecover underneath the scrap paper, I asked “sorry, can I just ask: does this mean the other driver has been found at fault? Am I getting the full excess? Because we haven’t received any other news regarding the accident other than this call…”

She checked a bit more, and sure thing, getting paid the excess meant that the other driver was being held responsible for the accident.

After all the official stuff¬†was noted, I told her “Thank you, you’ve made my day.” (Note yesterday’s post). She went off to most likely get a mocha, and then I got off the phone to jump up and down excitedly with baby girl, doing high-five’s, and shouting “baby girl! It’s over!” We celebrated with chocolate, and then later, I made myself a coffee, which smelled so damn sweet.

I’m still in a state of disbelief. Is it over? I kind of expected an official phone call or letter from the insurance saying “we are sorry for our initial verdict. We are wrong; you were right. Here is¬†$10,ooo in mental damages” or something along those lines. In lack of that, I’m still pinching myself.¬†I am so grateful and appreciative that the Universe worked this one out. I was frustrated for the longest time, calling the insurance company repeatedly at one stage, to the broken record answer of “we’ve got it under control, you don’t have to call, we’ll call you.” Many times I questioned them: “if you can’t get in touch with the other driver, it comes to assume that he may be avoiding you, because he knows he’s guilty!”

I eventually let it all go, particularly when the car was repaired, and tried to forget. I would let them work it out. I would see what happened. And in the meantime, I would enjoy the car, and try to forget the horrible details of what had happened the first time I drove it.

I am elated. I am grateful. I am proud of myself for sticking to my guns and telling the insurance company on their first verdict, that they were in fact wrong. I wanted another opinion. And I got one, and that opinion was on my side.

I am grateful, that I trusted in myself. I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, yet the words of the other couple haunted me, making me doubt my memories and point of view of the accident. But I scared those demons away, focused on the facts, and reminded myself that¬†I was moral. I was¬†honest and¬†he was not. He was lying, and one way or another, he would not get away with it.

It’s been a hard slog, and a very trying, difficult one during those first few weeks. For some reason, the accident happened. Maybe it was to teach me a lesson. Maybe it was to teach the other driver a lesson.

Maybe it was to start this blog.

And now? I will still continue with this blog. This blog wasn’t ever meant to be a temporary event-based blog, only in existence while the ongoing saga of the car accident was in debate. No. I decided, based on that day, that I was going to look for gratitude in each and every day, to try my hardest to seek it out, no matter how hard, or boring, or sad, or frustrating the day was. I would do my damn best. And for as long as I can, I will continue to.

This will always remain, my carcrashgratitude. 106 days in, and the saga is over. (Woo hoo!) But the gratitude journal will continue on, continuing on…

ūüôā

Damn I’m happy!

 

 

 

#100th post!

I am pretty darn rapt that I’ve made it to the 100th post of my gratitude blog. Not that I didn’t think it would happen, but I’m grateful that it happened with very little drama, negativity, or lack of grateful days on my part.

I’ve been lucky. This has been the easy part.

I’ve found it interesting how I’ve been able to find moments of gratitude, in people, events, and things around me, and in doing so these things have placed a mark of importance on my life. It sounds weird, but think about it. I might just be having a quiet day with baby girl at home, washing and cooking and cleaning… but then when I take her to two, not one park, I go ‘hey. I’m pretty fortunate we can do this when one park is housing frog-throated coughing children.’

Or my morning coffee walk at work with my colleagues. (I had to mention coffee, didn’t I?) Most work days blend in and out of each other, all the same hue, but that day we walked to get coffee which I later re-posted, in doing so capturing a fun memory of all of us gossiping and purging ourselves of our work sins.

Suddenly these ‘everyday’ days, become so much more. I’ve captured not just one memory, but in doing so, reminded myself that there is so much more of that. I do coffee runs ALL THE TIME. We alternate between parks. I know I look for different things to be grateful for each day, but how lovely is it to be continually grateful for the same things? That’s what this blog does for me.

I know there will be hard days. Long days. Sorrowful days. I just hope that by the time those days come, I will have gathered enough gratitude, and practiced looking for it in the tightest of corners, that even if I feel that I just can’t, I will be able to at least Hope for gratitude in future days… because Hope in itself is something to hang on to, and to be truly appreciative of. In the absence of nothing, Hope is everything.

(If you need a reminder on how this all started, click this link¬†which takes you to the aptly named ‘How this all started’…)

#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.

(#66) The A-Z April Challenge: Z – Zenith of this challenge!

We have reached the flag-bearing point of our journey… looking high into the sky, at the primary goal of our trek, after searching and climbing and often crawling clumsily through the earth, we are now finally at that peak – the zenith of the A-Z challenge.

And I’m grateful for it.

But not for the way you might think. I was already posting once a day for my gratitude blog, so it wasn’t much of an exertion to do it still for this challenge. I’m grateful for reaching the end of it all, sure, but I’m also grateful for what I learnt along the way.

I learnt that sometimes it was interesting to have the direction of a letter to keep you focused on what to be grateful for. Prior to that, I’d be going through my day asking myself ‘should I write about this?’ With the A-Z challenge, knowing I had a certain letter, such as ‘C’ coming up, I’d be running through things in my head as the day approached, to try and prepare myself for something ‘C’ popping up.

That was another thing too. I completely winged it, going day by day and seeing what interesting things would pop up in my life. There were probably only 2 days where¬†I knew more than a day in advance what I’d be grateful for, that being W for Wind and ‘Z for Zenith,’ actually (it makes it easy there not being too many Z words!) Although this can be seen as particularly hard, and even somewhat limiting as I was fearful of, I was surprised to find that it wasn’t too bad overall, and felt promise that even though my goal was to be grateful for something of a certain letter on a particular¬†day, something that may sound forced, all the things I wrote about were genuine and relevant to that day. It made me think that there is so much to be grateful for, only we are generally too oblivious to realise it. Overall, this provided me with hope. There is hope not only for me, but for everyone out there.

Having said that, it forced me to get creative. I went slightly abstract with A for Absence, and Y for Yonder… and also, with Prince’s passing, I was desperate to get my feelings out in a post, and searched for songs of his that I loved beginning with S – there were some I didn’t mind, but in honest gratitude blog fashion (and SmikG fashion) I just couldn’t fake it. So¬†I got crafty with one of my favourite songs of his, and posted “Star, Baby I’m a.” You sure are you Purple genius.

I did get stuck, undeniably, and ran to Google and the good old dictionary for help, churning out my V and X – hey, I didn’t even know what Xylography was until I came across the definition, but¬†I sure as hell am grateful for it! Coffee was mentioned a few times, as was food, and my V showcased my everyday appreciation of baby girl with her Vigour – these posts displayed part of what I generally think about, what I love and what inspires me. It represented a few facets of me, and all I was doing was presenting different aspects of appreciation for them.

I had to question whether I would have normally had Quiet time on my Q day, and whether it was just the letter of the day forcing me to sit down and take a photo with my feet up on my favourite chair. But, I didn’t mind. I mean, I needed it, 1. And 2, I was genuinely grateful for those moments. That was the point, right?

I’m grateful overall that I’ve reached this point. In fact, I think all A-Zers should be grateful and thankful for this process. I did write after midnight on some days, coming in a tad late, and¬†I don’t know if that counts as a fail or not… personally I don’t think it does. Whether it was me doing it, or you doing it and you couldn’t get your post in on time, I think the point here is that you got your post done AT ALL. Life happens, shit. Sometimes we fall behind. Getting up and trying to get the job done is the hard part, so if you did it, but did it late, well good on you. You did awesomely.

And for those of you who stopped the challenge without reaching the end? I respect you. I know how hard it is to admit it’s too hard and stop a project half-way, or to realise it is not for you… but I will tell you something. That takes guts. It’s hard to even start something and give it a shot in the first place, to commit to a new goal or a plan or just something completely left-of-centre for you. That’s credit in itself. I’ve never done something like this before, so I’m pretty pleased with myself I won’t lie, but even having the balls to start it to begin with, is plenty in itself. And to stop something and realise it’s not working, is just as hard. Remember, you tried, which is more than a lot of people can say. That’s brilliant. You should be proud of yourself.

Would I do¬†the challenge¬†again? Life is ever-changing, fluid, in a constant state of shifting, so that answer is… I don’t know. Who knows where my life will lead me by next April. But in the meantime, I’ll keep on with my blogs. I’ll keep doing my writing. And I’ll keep¬†looking for things to be grateful for. That I will try with all my might.

I hope you can stay on for my journey. If not, I wish you well in yours.

XOXO