BFF Weekend

BFF Weekend

A couple of weeks ago, I treated my best friend of 34 years to a weekend away.  CG and I have been friends for so long now, we’ve really become sisters.  I think of her as family.  She’s more important to me than just about anyone.  She’s always been there for me and I can always trust her to support and believe in me.

When we were seven years old, her family built a house on my street.  Long story short, we became neighbours and best friends in a very short space of time.  We saw each other every day, went to school together (our Mums took it in turns to take us to school and pick us up), and then hung out together every afternoon.

In truth, we were, at least superficially, very different people.  I was short and awkward, clumsy and hated sport.  CG was tall and athletic, captain of the sports team, good at everything.  She was fashionable and pretty, I was dorky and a bit clueless where clothes were concerned.  But we bonded over books and toys, music and a love of tadpoling.  We shared hobbies and interests, celebrity crushes and talked about everything under the sun.

I’d never met another kid who knew how to play.  I didn’t have to explain the concept of playing “shop” or “detectives” or anything else.  She knew how to do voices for her Barbie doll and didn’t feel silly doing it.  She was happy to play with baby dolls and Star Wars figures equally.  We built cubby houses together and miniature cities for snails (not one of our best ideas, I have to admit) and dressed our dolls in clothes made from scraps of fabric or tiny sweaters knitted with fine wool on toothpicks.  I had my first proper tea party with her and countless sleepovers.  We sang and danced in my lounge-room with my brother and stayed glued to our radios at night, listening to the Top Ten countdown of chart hits.  We watched “Grease” approximately a million times.  We cried when Johnny Depp’s character was wrongly convicted and sent to jail in “21 Jump Street”.  We stuck posters on our walls and wrote in our diaries and talked about boys.

In year eight, we went to separate high schools.  I thought my world had ended.  I was lost and frightened and lonely and felt sure all my primary school friends would forget about me.  But not CG.  If anything, we were even closer and now had even more to talk about.  We still saw each other most afternoons and started the process of growing up and changing and navigating the trials of teenage-hood.  Throughout high school we remained best friends, even though we had our own separate groups of buddies in our own respective schools.  I was very lucky to have a wonderful group of friends, that I am still close to to this day.  But CG was always by best friend.

Fast forward a couple of decades and here we are – still best friends but with different lives and trials and realities.  CG got married quite young, to her high-school sweetheart (luckily, I approved of him, much to her relief) and went on to have two gorgeous kids.  I did the opposite and got married 15 years later, divorced and remained childless.  But we are still close.  I often say we have nothing in common but, truthfully, we have one major thing in common : each other.  Our core values are the same and I think our hearts beat to pretty much the same rhythm.  Our mothers have remained firm friends over the years and have moved away from each other, only to very quickly move to the same neighbourhood, just streets apart.  My Mum sees CG as another daughter, and I know CG’s Mum feels the same way about me.  We all see each other at Christmas – usually spending Christmas Eve or Christmas night together.  It’s been that way since I can remember.

So, this weekend was a celebration of that bond.  We hardly ever get to spend time together these days.  CG works extremely hard at two jobs, plus she has to coordinate the sporting and social arrangements of her children, one of whom competes at a National level in her chosen sport.  It’s not easy for us to find a window of time that can be spent together.  I wanted to spoil CG and give her a relaxing break and enjoy some time together, like the old days.  This was also a gift for her 40th birthday (which was in December) – I figured the thing she needed more than anything was a rest and some indulgence.

We stayed at the Hotel Rendezvous in Scarborough, overlooking the ocean.  The view was lovely, even if it was too cold to actually go out on the beach itself.  We watched the (crazy) surfers out there on the water and enjoyed the sunset.  We went out to dinner and ate our bodyweight in desserts.  We stayed up late talking and catching up, in our PJs of course, just like we would have done 30 years ago.  We drank tea and relaxed and bemoaned our ever-increasing age (although we think we look pretty ok for two women in their forties) and slept in.  We went to a movie and had afternoon tea (there was a lot of food involved in this weekend – can you tell?) and a delightful couple of hours in IKEA looking at all the pretty things we wanted to buy but didn’t really need.It was so nice just to hang out together with nowhere to be and no one to bother us.

I am so lucky to have had a lifelong friend and I hope we will always be close, no matter where life takes us.

To CG, I will say this : Thank you for always being my friend, through all the ups and downs, through boyfriends and heartache, from childhood to adulthood and beyond, through weight gain and weight loss, from illness to health, babies and career changes – I love you lots and wish you nothing but happiness and contentment all the days of your life.

With love xxx

IMG_9502 IMG_9496 IMG_9501 IMG_9480

Chickadee

Chickadee

A cold, wet and stormy day today.  Best to stay inside and keep dry and warm. It’s thundering and raining and blowing a gale.  I would like to bake cookies and eat the whole batch, drink eighteen cups of tea and watch TV shows about people who spend millions of dollars restoring old buildings.  It’s THAT sort of day.

I’ve tried very hard to be creative and artistic this afternoon. Have succeeded in making a mess and one sad little Chickadee card which took me far longer than it should have. But for some reason he makes me smile and that will have to do for today.

IMG_8786

Back to work tomorrow – am trying not to think about it.  Thinking about it makes me depressed and that doesn’t help the creative process (I’m not Van Gogh after all).  Sigh.

If only workdays could be split up into sessions, like in school.  Or, better still, like in kindergarten, then you could have a nap in the afternoon!  I’d probably look forward to recess and play-lunch too… “Free study” period would be a problem because I would probably waste it trying to decide what to do and then it would be time to pack up.  I wouldn’t nominate to do P.E because, pfft, I didn’t want to do that in proper school, why would I do it now when things are even wobblier and wheezier than they were back then?  Home time would be awesome – I’ve always thought there should be a bell or siren or something to signify the end of the day so you could rush to cram all your stuff in your bag and race out the door yelling “Whoooooooo!” or something.  I don’t know how my boss now would react to that…he thinks I’m weird already.

So, tomorrow, I shall try and break the day up into modules.  It might help the time pass more quickly.  I can swap my lunch with someone and copy my neighbour’s work.  I can keep putting my hand up and asking people if I can go to the bathroom.  I can run around and split my knee open and ask to be taken to the nurse while my friends cluster around me looking nervous because I’ve gone a weird colour.

It’s worth a try.  Do you have ways of making your workday go faster?

Have a good week everyone 🙂

Words to Live by…

Words to Live by…

Good morning!  I am a good girl today – I got up nice and early and went for a walk while it was still cool and quiet.  We have had such a mild Christmas/New Year weather period, it doesn’t feel like Summer at all.  This morning was actually chilly when I got started which is so unusual for this time of year.  Normally it is blazing hot until at least March.

I snapped a few pictures as I walked through the neighbourhood and down to the foreshore.  Lots of pretty flowers and birds, no doubt enjoying the unseasonably cool weather.  I normally take my iPod with me and listen to music, but, as it and my phone were both charging, I took my camera instead.  The sky was pretty grey this morning – a chance of rain perhaps? – and the water on the river was still and glass-like.

IMG_8681

 I got into a bit of a meditative frame of mind (in other words, I was still a bit sleepy and just switched my brain off) and just enjoyed the gentle breeze and relative peace and quiet.  I am trying to be a bit more centred this year, calmer and less anxious and stressed.  I find it very hard to just stop thinking about everything.  So I am now trying to think about good things, instead of worrying, especially about things I cannot change.  I focused on the birds and the water and the city skyline and just breathed (or puffed, depending on how you look at it – I’m not very fit).  It made me think about the Desiderata.  Have you ever read it?

IMG_8694

When I was 12, our teacher’s assistant read out the Desiderata to us at our Year 7 graduation night.  I will always remember sitting there and listening to his voice as he read out those magical words.  As a 12-year-old I can’t say I took a lot of it in, but it has always stuck with me, somewhere in the back of my crowded brain, as words to live by.  I have given it to people as gifts and keep a copy with me.  This year I am going to try and live up to it and remember it’s words more often.  It doesn’t preach and it doesn’t claim to have all the answers.  It’s just perfect.

IMG_8699

If you’ve never read it before, please do now.  I think the world would be a nicer place if everyone knew and believed in these words.

Thank you Mr Rosling – you may not remember this little twelve-year-old girl, but she remembers you fondly and with love and gratitude.

x

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

IMG_8697

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

IMG_8689 

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;

IMG_8686
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

IMG_8679

Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.

IMG_8692

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

IMG_8695

Be yourself.

IMG_8687

Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

IMG_8677

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

IMG_8675

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

IMG_8704

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

IMG_8678

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Life is one big journal entry…

Life is one big journal entry…

I have spent the last few days helping my Mum move into her new house.  So exhausting!  It’s not just the physical side of things – shifting boxes, driving back and forth between houses to pick up yet more boxes, unpacking, cleaning the old house ready for the new people to move in – it’s the emotional stress too that is tiring.  My Mum has lived in that house for 33 years.  I myself lived in it for about 29 years.  There are so many memories there – good memories and bad, happy ones and sad ones.  But leaving it was not the emotional wrench I expected.  We were too busy to get caught up in any soppy goodbyes or sentimental last-minute looks at the garden or neighbourhood.  And anyway, the house is just a house – without my Mum in it, it’s no longer a home to us.  She, and the cats have a brand new house – much smaller and with far less garden to look after – and it already feels like it is theirs.  We may well be unpacking boxes for the next three weeks or more though (now I know where my hoarding tendencies come from!)…

I found a couple of things I forgot I had.  This embroidery my Mum made for my room:

This bunny box I painted years ago (and one of the few things I was quite pleased with, considering I made up the design myself – I was into penny rugs at the time and although I never got round to sewing one, I decided to copy the idea and paint a stylised version of one on this little wooden trinket box):

I also found this lovely mosaic an old work colleague of mine made for me:

In packing and moving, we have had to clear out a lot of stuff, much of it mine (hey, it’s traditional to leave half of your belongings at a parent’s house, isn’t it?).  I was a good girl and threw out or donated loads of stuff.  Some of it was very hard to get rid of but I knew I had to do it.  Mum no longer has the room for it all and I should be a grown up and cull a few things.  I don’t need four hundred magazines.  I don’t need to keep every card I have ever been given (seriously) and I probably don’t need to hang on to my old diaries that go way back to when I was 8 years old.  Or, hang on, maybe I do…they are, after all, a record of my life (dull as it may have been) and reading them brings back memories, some happy and some quite tear-inducing but memories worth keeping nevertheless.

Some choice entries include:

“October 27, 1983 – Dear Diary, Everyone fights.  It’s stupid because they have boyfriends.  We’re not old enough for boyfriends…” (Aged 8, before hormones kicked in)

“January 29, 1986 – Dear Diary, I think I will move down the back with the geese.  Everyone fights. I wish I was a good witch so I could magic anything!” (Aged 12 and obviously still believing in the power of a little magic and it’s ability to put an end to conflict.)

“August 27, 1985 – I have a big crush on John B*.  I wish I was prettier, not so fat and not so boyish so he would like me.  I hope he doesn’t have aids etc (Aged 11.  Already developing awesome self-esteem and not quite grasping the whole AIDS thing and how one contracts it).

“August 13, 1984 – Today was ok.  At school, Matt C* did a bog.” (Aged 10.  A bog, I should point out is a charming way of saying someone passed wind.  Obviously a highly interesting occurrence to a ten-year-old!)

“October 16th, 1986 – Yesterday the circles wore bras, even Christy*! Hah hah! Mum said I don’t need one yet which is dead good!” (Aged 12.  “Circles” were the opposite of squares.  I, luckily, did not fit into either category so was accepted by both sides.  Poor Christy* was terminally flat-chested.  She got a boob job a couple of years ago and leads a full, happy life, unaware of my earlier poo-poohing of her unnecessary underwear choices..)

I’d like to say that my journal entries got better as I got older but, sadly, they did not.  I was still prattling on about boys well into my thirties and bemoaning the fact I was ugly/dumb/fat/etc.  These days I struggle to write anything at all, which is probably a good thing, but I really should try and jot down a few important facts and dates so I can remember them in my dotage.

I would die a thousand deaths if anyone read my diaries but I can’t bring myself to throw them away.  But if anyone does find them, hidden carefully under my bed or in my drawer or on top of a cupboard, I will deny all knowledge of them and refuse to admit they are mine.  Or at least say I was under the influence of some mind-altering drug when I wrote them.  And if John B* is still out there, I didn’t really like you, I was just pretending.  It’s what all the cool circles were doing at the time…

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent!