#488 The tree in Their yard

Still on nature.

There are many things we take for granted in life, and many that we act as if it will be there forever.

For me today, that forever thing is my parents’ home.

It was the place I was brought home to when a newborn, days after coming into the world. I grew up in that house, and only left years and years and years later, when I got married. It may seem confined and claustrophobic to some, but the years I spent there were some of the most memorable and happiest years of my life. I love that house.

Likewise, their yard. I’ve never really taken much refuge, notice of, or practiced much gratitude towards it, only because well, ‘taking things for granted’ note as above. Assuming it will always be there. Thinking that I will be able to visit it FOREVER.

Things don’t always turn out the way we envision them to be in our little fantasy-lands. Often our fantasy-lands are just that, images in our head.

So today while over there visiting on yet another Friday, drinking a coffee my Dad made me out in their yard, from a coffee pod machine I bought them one Christmas (of course I would buy them something coffee-related) I came upon, and noticed for the second time that day, the spectacular nature of a tree.

It’s the only one in their yard that still has part of its leaves on, and visually striking is the fact that it is prime-centre in the middle of the yard, surrounded by all the other leaf-less, stark grey branches around it from neighbouring trees. I looked at this stunning hybrid Pear tree (my Dad is a supreme Gardener and Handy-Man, so don’t ask) and observed to myself, that it was beautiful. Stunning even.

‘Pear, hold on.’

#467 A coffee break in my Parents backyard

It’s a lovely full circle moment when you are a visitor in your parents’ house, enjoying it in away that let’s face it, you never really used to enjoy it.

My parents have a pretty beautiful back yard. Lots of fruit trees, lush green grass, plenty of shade from the old trees’ branches to protect you on sunny days, and just a serene place to relax, and appreciate nature.

Do you think I spent that much time ‘taking it in’ when I was a teen? Hell no. Sure, I have plenty of backyard memories, of climbing up trees, jumping in piles of leaves my Mum had just swept into a pile, picking an apricot straight from the tree and devouring it. Playing with my cats, having my friends over, and then ALL of those parties!… the list goes on and on and ON.

But it’s not until you don’t live at your parents house anymore, that you start to really appreciate the little things.

While over near my parents side of town today for an appointment, following that baby girl and I swung on by to visit, and after the customary lunch upon arrival, we all headed out to the back.

The Autumn skies were clear, and sunny. Still, not a wisp of wind. Soon Mum was manoeuvring a garden table into the middle of the lush green grass, positioning chairs, taking out sweets, and I was making coffee.

Dad, Mum, baby girl, and I. All 4 of us, sitting in the middle of their backyard, having a great family moment.

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(Check out original Ridge on that soap opera mug – MINE!)

Of course it didn’t last long. The sitting I mean. I was up and at baby girl, following her or something. But it was still bliss.

Moments with your family are never enough, not for me anyway. I always feel like I need more, I want more, want to appreciate and experience and enjoy and live through MORE. I guess that’s just how it is with those you love. It makes me  grateful for these moments, these moments that are never enough, so much more.

Soon after the skies turned grey, and we all headed inside…

To more FUN. Dancing in your parents house with your loves, well, that’s another gratitude post right there…

#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.

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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.

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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.

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God Bless the Library.

#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.

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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!

#362 Her affectionate nature

I was initially going to write ‘her affection,’ but opted for the above title as I’d much rather this adorable characteristic remained in her forever and ever, rather than be a fleeting moment in time.

Baby girl’s tendency for hugs and kisses has been growing at a steady rate. I remember at a young age how much I craved the physical affection of my parents. And they wholeheartedly returned it, however they weren’t the kinds to really initiate it. It’s just how they were brought up, that’s all. And as I developed into a teen, my outward physical affection towards them waned away.

It returned in full force when I embarked upon my most bestest relationship of them all, that with Hubbie. And if I thought I was expressing myself there, well I was in for something else when our baby girl was brought into our world.

I most certainly initiate the affection with her.

And now that she is a bit older, a bit more understanding and aware of things, she has started to really amp up the affection. I think she is feeling it more when I am away at work, and so the days that follow are one big love-fest.

Just these last few days. She will kiss my whole face as she holds it between her hands: both my eyelids, my nose, my cheeks, my forehead… then she will give about 5-10 pointed kisses on one cheek, before giving me another 5-10 pointed kisses on the other.

She will climb up onto my lap and wrap her arms around me, pulling me in close.

She will randomly look at me all squinty eyes and go “ohhh!” leaning in so I can give her a hug.

And today as we walked into the shops, me reiterating the importance of holding hands in car parks as I gently squeezed her hand to make my point, she squeezed back, and then hugged my leg before giving it a kiss.

Oh man this girl. Seriously now. She is gonna break some hearts, majorly.

I am loving this stage. And unlike what happened when I was growing up, I hope that by returning the affection in full force, hers towards me/us, will never wane away. It will not be a stage.

I will eat her up while I am breathing.

#320 3 generations on the bed

A continuation of an earlier post.

Last night Mum stayed with my sister during Dad’s first overnight hospital stay.

Tonight, it was our turn.

We had already passed on our “sweet dreams” and well wishes for the night to her, with baby girl repeatedly confirming that Baka, was indeed sleeping next door to her, and followed that with several hugs and kisses.

I was tidying around the house and went into baby girl’s room when I heard my Mum’s loud laughter. I moved around the room, and it happened again. I grinned. “You ok in there?”

She had done her bid: she had caught my attention.

I went into the dimly lit room and sat on the bed with her as she proceeded to tell me some things that had been on her mind, kind of funny, kind of not, but nonetheless I listened and lended her my ear.

Baby girl soon realised I was missing and came charging into the room. She disappeared during our conversation to bring along some Wiggles figurines to the party, and soon, there were 3 generations on the bed… alongside Emma, Lachy, Simon and Anthony of course. Talking to my Mum like that reminded me of our conversations of old, when I would have 3 hour D&Ms with her on a Saturday morning as a teen, sitting across from each other at our old round kitchen table.

I smiled with much content, as baby girl repeatedly hugged her Baka, watching their reflection in the opposite dresser mirror, while my Mum casually returned the embraces and kissed her while not missing or pausing for a forgotten word. When my Mum laughed, so did baby girl, mimicking her characteristic tone.

I was very happy. It is lovely indeed, when you find precious and beautiful moments amidst such uncertainty. It was heart-warming to see such love between them, and seeing how they related to one another, along with the physical resemblance, makes it all the more appropriate that baby girl is her namesake 🙂

 

 

#306 George Michael – his role in my life

I stared at my mobile in shock. “What?!” I demanded the word, my eyes popping at what was before me.

Hubbie was concerned “what happened?”

I stared at the message bestie had written to me. ‘George Michael passed away.’

It was sadly fitting that the message came from her. George Michael was a favourite and prominent musical figure in our teens. Careless Whisper, Too Funky, Freedom and I Want Your Sex were regular sing-a-longs. I even think I have the handwritten lyrics to Careless Whisper given to me by bestie, stored away somewhere in my old room at my parents’ house.

What a year. First the shocking passing of Prince – and now, George Michael? I had always believed I would see him one more time, at least…

So many memories, so many life anthems. Each of his songs brings a different vision, a different story or place to mind.

But first, the memory my sister tells me. She is a teen, in the 80s. She and her bestie are at the airport. Wham steps out of a car; they turn, and wave up, to a large group of them. Directly at them. A swarm of fans push up against them, squashing them against the front rail they are up against. Later that night, she is in a fan picture on the news behind the newsreader who is reporting on Wham’s appearance in Melbourne.

She was the first George Michael fan in our family. I naturally followed.

Bopping to the beat of Too Funky. It was my internal anthem as I walked, my inner music that I used to repeat to myself to raise my confidence as I went through my early teens.

Then as I got older, that anthem got replaced by Flawless. In the car, volume on full, powering through the streets with George beside me ( 😉 )

Faith. Like seriously, who in this world looks cooler than George in his toe-tapping skin-tight jeans and aviator sunnies. I don’t care his sexual orientation (um, Ricky Martin obsession anyone?) but that man is damn! good looking.

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My Twisted Lyrics series over on SmikG is inspired by a misheard Careless Whisper lyric, posted by an online writer who wrote that instead of hearing the correct “Guilty feet have got no rhythm!” they heard “I must admit I have no rhythm!” That error made me LOL so much, and stayed with me for so long that many, many years later, I decided to implement that misheard lyric thread into my parent blog.

My first few months of coffee. Maybe 5 years ago now. On a Saturday morning, making myself a fresh cuppa as I watched George Michael music videos, and literally jumping out of my skin with dance to the song “I’m Your Man.”

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I LOVE that song. I can’t explain to you how much the beat lifts me up, quite literally.

Amazing. When I bought the single, I played it on repeat, for an entire weekend non-stop. I could not get enough of the melody, his voice, and the words

“I think it’s amazing, I think you’re amazing.”

2010. His first Melbourne concert in 20 or so years. Bestie is with me. Our teenage dream fulfilled. He calls us Sydney, multiple times. We scream, in both horror, and shocked amusement at him, jumping on the first raised level of Etihad stadium, with 1000s of others, the concrete slab actually rocking against our pressure.

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(A photo I took on March 3rd 2010 at Etihad Stadium)

That night he sang many of my favourite songs. We rocked to the classics, he did awesome club-versions of Flawless and Spinning The Wheel, as well as his Wham, I’m Your Man 80s fuelled dance-hit. He also performed a song that I had not as yet fallen in love with…

 

When I later, only days after the concert, fell deeply in love with A Different Corner, I was shattered. I had heard the most beautiful voice singing the most heartbreaking and beautiful words to the most dreamlike and woeful music, and yet I hadn’t appreciated it fully at the time, because I had not yet fallen in love with everything about the song.

I always thought I would hear him perform that version live again. I was convinced I would, and that I would cry, as that song has made me cry so many times before.

53. Only 53. I’m still in a huge amount of shock. People are talking of 2016 as a shocker of a year, and until this happened today, I was a staunch defender. Yes, every year has its ups and downs, and yes, another of my faves, Prince passed earlier this year… but I was adamant that this year wasn’t a write-off, and that there was good, much good to be taken from the past 12 months…

It’s too early for me to make a call. 4 days until the end of 2016, and I just don’t know what to say. Two musical legends have passed, and life just isn’t the same. The world isn’t the same without them in it. The genius, the amazing talent that inhabited this world, is gone.

George Michael will live on, there is no question about it. In our hearts, in our memories, on our screens, and on our radios…he will not fade away.

But we are sad. I am sad. So, so sad.

Because he, is Amazing. Too Funky. And quite simply, Flawless.

“I think it’s amazing… I think you’re amazing.”

R.I.P George Michael 1963-2016

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