#414 The Crew unites

Tonight, Good Friday Eve. It’s not often that me and my high school friends get together. I mean, the original group. Although the last time it was December, before that, it was years. And before that, more years.

You know when you are so busy, that pre-confirmed plans just bug you? Well sorry to say, that’s how I felt about tonight.

The house is a mess,…I need to get ready for weekend work… I need to clean… I need to put clothes away… and I have a tonne of Easter baking to do…

These were my thoughts. They kept whirring around my head up until about 4pm today.

And then I went ‘screw that.’

I got dolled up, embraced the girl club spirit, and headed on over to the Fitzroy Social to meet up with the other 5 gals of the crew. It was a great catch up, and we of course had the required end of night photo, both smiley, and goofy faces present.

IMAG3744

18 year old me would have been in shock horror at my stupid excuse of ‘the house is a mess’ to even contemplate not going out for a catch-up… and yet my 33 year old self was just feeling like it was all too much.

But I realised something as I drove home later from this great night out. I thought:

If my house is a mess…

If I’m late getting ready for work on the weekend…

If my house remains dirty for a day or two longer…

If the clothes hang around unfolded a while longer…

And even if I don’t bake all that I intend to for Easter…

IT WILL BE WORTH IT, because I had a great night catching up with dear friends. My time will feel well-spent, as I would have had fun in my precious time – not spent doing some boring household chore, but instead, reconnecting, bonding and having the bestest of convos and laughs with my high school friends.

I am still baffled by how our minds and thoughts change as we grow older. Sometimes for good, sometimes for stupid! I mean, worried about a clean house as opposed to a catch-up? Come on.

We need to think more like teenagers, like children. Then maybe the world’s problems would be solved. Then maybe the world would be a happier place 🙂

The boring stuff can wait. The boring stuff should always wait.

Screw the responsibilities. Have fun!

#374 Reclaiming the past with Besties

Tonight, Bestie and her Hubbex came over to visit us in our new ‘hood.

It was a pretty rad night.

We have a pretty awesome history, us 4. I often wonder if the looks we get from other ‘friends’ are that of jealousy: I mean, bestie and I are of course, LONG-TIME besties, and when we get together, our Hubbies become equally as tight and crazy as us.

We were an integral part of their bridal party when they got married, which was right before I got pregnant with baby girl. It was an amazing day, and so special to be sharing it with them both, in such a close and intimate way.

But that was not the beginning, and it sure as hell won’t be the end. No. Our times together have many prior years and years on their wedding day… from after our high school years and through all of our twenties, birthdays and events, days out, dinner, catch-ups and plenty of laughter here, there and EVERYWHERE. I’m talking Hubbie and Hubbex jumping out of our semi-moving car after midnight singing “How Bizarre” at the top of their lungs on a Saturday night. I’m talking funny dress-ups, and stupid faces to the point that when we look back on them now, we laugh ourselves so silly that we do unintentional ab crunches from our laughter, our breath soundless and eyes all screwed up from the mad laughter that we are expressing.

I’m talking wine, I’m talking shots, and I’m talking plenty of D&Ms in-between. When I think of our long-standing history together, and think back through all of those years, I then realise how varied, vast and deep our friendship and experiences with one another are.

And generally speaking, I am proud of the maturity I’ve developed in response to the friendships and relationships in my life. Nothing remains static, stagnant. Things are ever-changing, and so too do many friendships take on a temporary ‘on hold’ spell, while life takes over, other things become more of a priority, and you move in different directions.

I love that quote, that says something like you know you have a true friend when you don’t always see each other, but when you get together it’s like no time has passed. Nothing is truer for this awesome-foursome.

Although all our lives are extremely busy, and we all have differing passions and interests and jobs that keep us entertained and out of trouble, we still make the time for each other, when we can. And tonight, while eating and drinking, listening to a whole variety of musicians and getting extremely excited over them, talking the deep philosophy of Beyoncé’s image, pruning roses, allowing baby girl to do multiple renditions of Let it Go, turning our staircase into ‘ice’ as she stamped down on the landing, and shooing off cats, we had a smashing time.

We have matured, we are older, and we have more responsibility present in our lives… but it is still us. And US, has still got IT.

Take care of your true friends, because it takes a long time to gain an ‘old friend.’ They are precious and much sought after.

After tonight, I think our future together looks just as happy/funny/silly/meaningful/profound/bright, as ever 🙂

 

#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. 🙂

 

#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 😉

 

#260 Letter from bestie

Still shitty. But when I came home frustrated, poking my sad face into the mailbox, I saw a familiar flowery-printed letter, and subsequently familiar writing on that letter.

About 2 hours later I took the letter from my bestie and plonked myself on the carpet in our Rumpus room – because we have no proper furniture there yet – with a cappuccino and a peanut butter and chocolate chip protein ball, and proceeded to read, smile and unwind my worries through the written words of one of my closest friends.

imag1810

We started this letter-writing business through the old-fashioned hand, can you believe, earlier this year, between the group of us original school friends. There are 6 of us, and some are more fluent in their letter-writing than others. I haven’t been so present in the artform, but now that we’ve moved I will definitely stay on top of it.

You know how sometimes, you’re just having a really shit day/days, and it’s like someone calls you or you get contacted by them somehow, as if through divine intervention?

Yep. Today. So I’m grateful.

#126 Burgers with bestie

2016-06-29 12.31.01

It wasn’t particularly the burgers that made today such a standout moment for me (although they were fairly delish, and will be making an appearance in an upcoming Food Review post on SmikG… at this rate in about 3 months time); no, not that, but the fact that I was sharing them with an old, tried and true, loyal and devoted bestie, is what was the icing on the cake (or should I say bacon in the burger).

Bestie and I have been in each other’s lives for about, oh, 24 years. Going on 25. We were in the same class in grade 2, and though we shared a different set of friends, we always had mutual respect and gave kindness to one another even back then.

It was in high school when we really started to have each other’s backs. Being the bottom of the pecking order, and knowing very little people upon entry other than those who had also come to the high school from our primary school, we learnt very quickly that we could rely on each other through thick and thin. We could trust each other with our deepest secrets, and build each other up when the other was down.

We sure could laugh too. We’d sit in the back of class and cack ourselves stupid with private jokes about really random shit. And the best part was, we got away with it. We did our homework, we never really disobeyed our teachers, so they couldn’t say boo. We laughed our way through the whole of high school.

We had a lot of shared interests, but even through our varied creative endeavours (she was into music and dancing, me writing and creating) we supported each other and had a tremendous amount of deep of meaningfuls for girls our age. We were so incredibly deep, dissecting Bon Jovi songs, looking between the lines of Prince lyrics, and even trying to make up songs ourselves! The goal was, I was going to be her songwriter, and she the singer who performed them.

Then school ended. We both went to uni, studying different interests. We both finished with different degrees. We both sought out work in varied fields, luckily for us though, in our chosen places of employment. We both succeeded. We both had guys, and married those same guys (ha ha). I had a baby girl. And yet, through all this varied work, and study, and PLAY, and widening directions, we’ve still remained in each other’s lives.

Today was so evident of that. We haven’t sat down across from each other in about 5 months. It’s been a long overdue catch up. I left baby girl at home with Hubbie, to get some much needed alone time, but also so I could dedicate myself properly to the task of catching up with my old bestie.

No. Correction. My still bestie.

And it was great. We had burgers. They were brilliant. The surroundings were cosy. For two and a half hours we gasbagged. I think if we had stayed there ’til the sign on the doot turned around to ‘Closed,’ we still would have been talking. Put us in the car park, and you could have found us chatting into the night in our cars.

Back in the day, after spending the day together at school, we would still call each other at night, talking more about the days events, what we felt about this, what we thought about that. We just talked. I wish I could listen to one of those conversations, but I have no recollection about what we spoke about. I can only guess… Boys. School. Friends. Music. Pranks. Annoying People. Crushes. All of the above and so much more.

Two and a half hours is not a lot of time. But time is never enough when you’re with a loved one. I was so happy to see that after all this time, we could still talk each other’s ears off, and if we were to spend time with each other for the next week, month, year,  even lifetime, I think we would constantly find new material.

And that my friends, is the sign of a true friend 🙂

I’m grateful that I have a friend like this. When you have one like this, you don’t need many more.

 

#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.