#589 Signs of Spring no.2

I was looking forward to something special in particular. I knew the time of year was upon us, and so as I waited for the familiar ‘sign,’ I took snapshots of some other bits of garden beauty:

And soon, as I did this, one morning I went out to my car, and there it was.

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The tree had started to bloom.

It’s not even our tree. It’s our neighbour’s tree, but the branches tip over into our driveway, and welcomingly so… I had been thinking of this tree for a while in the lead up to Spring, as I remember distinctly this time last year, we had bought the Sea change house, yet we still didn’t have the keys as settlement was still weeks away… but we couldn’t stay away from it nonetheless.

On one visit, I was astounded at the brilliant bright colours this tree produced, and back then, especially so since everything was so novel and exciting and fresh, it really felt other-worldly.

And it wasn’t even our tree.

This year, each day I see it it grows fuller with beautifully flowering petals. Close up you would say there are only two colours, but from afar, I can see three: white, pink and the elusive lilac. It is so colourful, so uplifting, so vibrant.

(Left to right, shows the progression of the flowering tree over a span of days).

I know it is not my tree, but I love it like it is so. And yes, I know the expression, “the grass is always greener on the other side…” but with this tree, peeking over onto our side, I just happen to think we have the best view 🙂

 

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#570 Running through the Rain/Pain

Every so often we just need to dance in the shit storm that is Life…

 

I could have just gone to work. I mean, I saw the dark menacing clouds up ahead. I thought “I have 5 minutes, tops.”

But I love coffee too much. I stopped at the café that I always pass on my way into work mid-week.

I stood near the counter after my order, shifting weight from foot to foot, every so often glancing outside and wondering, how long would it hold off…

My coffee didn’t take long. The lady behind the counter called out “medium cap with one sugar?” and I was off…

And I literally took 10 steps towards the pedestrian crossing outside, when it started to plummet down.

As Melbourne is so temperamental in its weather, so too is it temperamental in its rain.

I knew it couldn’t last that long, and also, knowing I had occasional shelter along the way, I decided to risk it.

Just as I had risked the coffee.

I walked briskly. I couldn’t run, coffee in hand. Even so with my quick steps, occasional light jogging, the coffee rose up through the spout and lid hole, spilling out around the edges.

I slurped it up, hastily threw a beanie on my head, and kept on going.

I DID have shelter along the way. But still, when exposed under the skies, it coincided with the constant stream of water coming out of the darkened heavens, so I got wet.

But I realised, as the water poured on me unrelentingly, my jeans starting to stick to my skin, and the coffee splashing out of the cup mixed with the water from above, that it was FUN.

Invigorating. I felt alive. And I think getting rained on, is not such a bad thing…

So long as you dance in it 🙂

 

Dance through the storm, and the world will smile with you 🙂

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#555 Mindful swinging at the park

Baby girl has just learnt how to swing on her own. Today was the second time she had the opportunity to practice it as we headed on over to the local park.

We had just had a babycino and cap, and a salted caramel ‘something’ to share at the nearby cafĂ©, so we were properly fuelled. As we got closer to the park, I let go of her hand and said “go, run. Be free. Frolic. Be 4.”

Soon she was headed over to the swing, the place of her new-found confidence and extension of never-ending playfulness. She wanted me to give her a big push to get started, and then said “let go Mama.”

(Oh darling. I will never let go).

But then as life would have it, as our children grow up, she wanted me beside her. ( 🙂 ) She motioned to the swing beside her and told me to “sit.”

Soon we were both swinging, sometimes going back and forth simultaneously, other times in opposite directions. It was a still day, the sun sometimes coming out from behind the prevalent clouds of the day. We were silent for the longest time, going back and forth at our varying paces, and my mind wandered over to something I had read the other day.

Mindfulness. What was the quote?

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”  – Bil Keane.

The article had mentioned 7 habits to cultivating a happier life. And one of the points that had captivated me had been the act of living in the present. Not worrying about what had passed, and not stressing about what may, or may not come… but concerning oneself solely, with the NOW.

The technique mentioned was to be aware of your palms and feet, and clenching both while becoming aware of your surroundings. It said to try and concentrate on where you were, and if your mind naturally wandered, to not judge yourself too harshly, but to simply gently steer your attention back to where it needed to be.

So that’s what I did. As we swung back and forth, in the quiet of the local park, I clenched the hands that were around the swing chain, and tensed my feet below me that were swinging back and forth in my white sneakers. I observed my body in the almost-too tight swing seat, breathed in the fresh air, felt the warmth on my face, and tried to think of NOW.

A young teenager was nearby, walking home from school in their uniform, and the image before me made my mind go elsewhere. Suddenly baby girl was also a teen, and there were a multitude of concerning issues flooding my mind. How would I help her with her problems? Would she ask for help? Would she be happy? Would she like school? Would she like her Life?

I suddenly realised my scattered thoughts, and ever so gently removed myself from them, taking myself back to the present.

The beautiful present. Of me and baby girl, swinging at the park, with no concerning cares in the world.

🙂

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#464 A new way to Write

I had it REAL good when baby girl was in fact, a baby.

I mean, aside from the not-knowing what the hell I was doing, second-guessing every decision, crying a fair bit, being sleepless and fatigued most of the time, and just wondering when this confusing and struggling never-ending stage would pass.

But then, came the naps. That’s how I had it good.

During her day naps, baby girl would sleep for hours. Sometimes her day naps combined, would equal about 5 hours of sleep time for her, and non-baby time for me, a day.

This was really good. At first it was all catch up on this, maybe I should meal prep for dinner, pay an online bill, make that important phone call I’ve been putting off for 3 months, and wash that pile of soiled baby clothes that will re-fill by the day’s end.

But then, she settled a bit…. while the naps remained.

And as she settled, so did I. I relaxed into Motherhood, and so began journalling again.

I really wanted to capture as much of parenthood and her early months and milestones as much as I could, and so recommenced a fave past-time of mine that I hadn’t done for quite a while, a past-time that I both love and loathe simultaneously. I feel like I HAVE to do it, and that is exactly WHY I loathe it. Because I feel it needs to be done.

And I can’t stop.

And then, I relaxed MORE into Motherhood. And I began to do some food reviews, here and there, read some books, start notes on them that would eventually become my book reviews… and hell, I even started my parent blog, SmikG.

And years later, that followed with this one.

Now as the years have passed, her nap durations, as her naps, have significantly reduced to just one a day. It’s still allowed me some great ‘me’ time, to do whatever I need to do, and yet I always try to do what I feel I need to: write in some capacity, however I can.

However recently, I’ve come to a realisation. With baby girl getting cheekier and cheekier at bed time, her hyper-activity shooting through the roof, I decided I had to do the only thing that made sense.

Drop the nap altogether.

It was doing me good, because it meant she was more tired (or so we hoped) at bedtime, since she hadn’t napped at all during the day, and would be ‘out’ quicker. Well yes. She is ‘out’ a bit faster, a bit less reluctant to drink 15 sips or water, go to the loo 7 times, jump on the bed 10 times, and then ask for a tummy, hand, arm, leg, foot and back massage, following her 3 books read to her by lamplight.

Yeah, a bit less.

But anyway, bedtime routines are somewhat better. She does go to bed slightly earlier now. But it means my writing time during the day, IS GONE.

R.I.P precious writing time.

Or so I thought.

She’s 3 and a half, I thought today. Often, she is quite happy to play on her own, build some blocks, or watch some Paw Petrol.

Surely she would let me do some writing. She’s not 2 and climbing over me to grab at the laptop as I pay a bill or buy the one concert ticket I’ll be going to that year.

A year and a half, makes a difference.

And so, today, I tried. We had had our coffee/babycino/cake break, she was fuelled, she had Nickelodeon shows on in the background, a whole family room full of toys including her new Sofia the First mini figurines, and I sat in the same room as her, and began to do what I started all those years ago, so tentatively, while she was out cold in another room –  I began to write.

Journalling in fact. And there were times I stopped, and she called my name, repeatedly, and I looked back over my shoulder. Repeatedly. And she left the room and came back, and even walked on over and yelled “O” multiple times after looking at the keypad. But after about 90 minutes, I had written 3 pages long.

3 pages! I was a bit surprised, yet pleasantly so. Had I just learnt a new way to write? Multi-tasking, with child in room, interrupting me every so often?

And I did it?

I did it. Yes it wasn’t smooth sailing, but it was done. My quiet writing time may be over, but that’s not to say, I can’t write if I don’t want to.

Where there’s a will there’s a way.

No excuses people. That’s what I take from this. No excuses. And I’m pretty chuffed with that 🙂

 

#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 BeyoncĂ©’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 🙂

 

#347 How we make up

I thoroughly enjoy the dynamic relationship I share with Hubbie. I thrive on it. It excites me, and keeps me on my toes. We are different, but essentially, at our core, the same.

We are exceptionally loyal to one another. We are passionate in our diverse and pursued interests, and encourage each other to strive for greater heights.

We love spending time together. Time, never seems to be enough. We can be with each other for days on end, and still find ourselves walking through the house, looking for the other when they’ve been absent for 15 minutes.

Also, we are especially honest with each other. Often, brutally so.

We can argue, REALLY well.

Like most couples I guess. On the surface we seem really easy going and happy. And, that is true. One of our closest friends think that we must never fight.

Oh dear. How wrong, wrong, wrong they are.

We pull each other up when the other is misbehaving – constantly.

We tell each other off when we feel disappointed by the other.

We freely tell the other to ‘snap out of it’ ‘move on’ and ‘don’t be so sensitive’ when there’s too much whining going on.

Most of the time we get on with one another, really well. But sometimes, occasionally, infrequently but still big enough to make a momentous dent on our memory bank, we have a decent fight.

Like last night.

After being cranky and shitty with each other most of the night, butting heads and just being in completely different zones to the other, I headed upstairs to bed, after I put baby girl to bed and wrote my gratitude post (yes I am bipolar and can be in an appreciative yet simultaneously horrid state of mind) with one thing in mind:

TO LET HIM HAVE IT.

I woke him up, and even that was enough to make him shitty. Rightly so. For the next hour we proceeded to aggressively, emotionally and yet somehow almost rationally break down why we were upset with each other, who had done what wrong, and what could be done to fix it.

Well, nothing could. It was 2am by the time we were done. And like I said, we were in two different states of mind. I am always the one needing to discuss it NOW, whereas he always needs to sleep on it. That in itself creates a mountain of problems, making any arguments we have at the end of the day that much worse. We had talked it out, but still lay down facing away from each other. I closed my eyes, my cheeks wet.

What I also love about us, is our constant and everlasting willingness to make up. To see it through, talk it out, and make amends to move on, happy again.

I woke up cranky and flat. He had gotten up earlier and gone for a long walk along the beach to clear his head. He came back, bright and chirpy. I was still –

Grrr, argh.

When I’d finished the usual morning routine with baby girl, he pulled me up and said “Let’s sit down, say what we have to say, and move on so we can enjoy the rest of our day.”

Ahhh. Exhale. I love this part.

And so we did. We talked, and talked, and by the end of it, were both relieved.

Why?

Because we do ‘content’ much more easily and willingly and happily, than we do angry.

All is good again in the world. 🙂

Having a partner that is as willing as you are to compromise, find resolve, and get back to that happy state, is about as important as any other thing in a relationship I think.

I think that’s definitely the advice I would give baby girl when she is older.

“Find someone, who would rather have peace, than be right.”

#315 Holiday time

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I saw the above poster on holiday in Phillip Island many years ago, and photographed it, loving the sentiment and everything it encapsulated.

That short trip has been with me for many years now, and now that we’re somewhat closer to the area, I can’t wait to go back. It’s the place where my creative juices were flowing prior to the commencement of my first book, where I sat and read at the beach, pondered life, and started to create a small universe inside of my head.

Maybe that’s why the quote remains with me; or maybe it’s because it beautifully captures real life, while on holiday.

My personal definition of the quote is to live without routine, take things slowly, and live completely in the moment.

It’s what I said to Hubbie yesterday, but in our own personal terms: “Relax, you’re on holiday time now.”

If you’re not on an actual island, well holiday time will have to do. Same same. And today I’ve taken even more of a backseat as I sink deeper into holiday-mode.

All general stuff, nothing specific. Which makes it more of a holiday time, as everything has been inhabited by the holiday vibe, rather than one thing. You need to throw yourself into holiday time, you know, and really live it, not just apply it to one thing. I think I’ve done well today, by:

*Aimlessly shopping on whim

*Running through the cactus sprinkler with baby girl

*Coffee times two

*Ice cream, not because I wanted it, but because ‘why not?’

*Sipping on cider on the front porch as I stared at the water at 8pm, thinking I really should start preparing some food to eat

*Easy leftovers for lunch and dinner

*Putting my feet up after dinner, because, I never actually do it, AND

*Generally inhabiting a bit of a lazy tone.

Because I can. I’m on holidays, this is holiday time, and I will milk it for all its worth.