The Funny Side of Ageing

My Grandparents are amazing people.

For the following reasons

  • They have been married for 68 years.
  • They are in STILL in love
  • They continue to add new digits to their age

My Nan celebrated her 92nd Birthday on Saturday the 3rd of November, and my Grandfather’s age is a mystery ( I would hazard a guess he is turning 89 in Jan, 2013…but he won’t confirm it…likes the secrecy!)

Despite not knowing the exact age of this man, one thing is true…My Nan is officially a cougar…she married a younger man….a tradition that my Mum also followed….Perhaps I will do the same?!

Back to the story….

My Nan and Grandfather are amazing people for they also remember key dates such as my birthday.

And this year, as I made a phone call to thank them for their gift…the conversation we shared was far more special than their thoughtful present.

‘Hi Grandfather, it’s me. I just wanted to thank you for the lovely card and gift’

‘Not a problem darling’

‘I put the money you gave me towards buying a new pair of shoes’

Brief pause

‘ You brought a parachute?’

Giggling as I reply ‘A parachute would have been more exciting….no, a pair of shoes’

‘Oh, that’s lovely….I’ll put Nanna on so you can tell her’

Priceless

It had me questioning my purchase….Grandfather was so right! Does’nt every birthday girl need a parachute?….Live a little, buy something outrageous, go a little crazy every once in a while…Shoes….how boring!!

Yet honestly is the best policy…. and the shoes are pretty cool!!

But a parachute….now that’s another story!!

Unexpected Gifts…The Best Kind

A few weeks back I took a lunch break by myself.

I left the office uncertain of the direction I would take, where I where go, what I would do.

When I arrived some 20 minutes later at a charity shop on Broadway, Sydney…I knew this was where I was meant to be.

I had fun rummaging through clothes racks, eying dresses and tops up and down, before deciding on the purchase of a jade green denim skirt. I did not even try it on…I had faith it would fit me.

Whilst paying at the counter, the sales assistant informed me that clothing items with an orange tag where half the marked price. My skirt purchase came to a grand total of $3.00.

Feeling the need to offload a little more cash, I bent down and started looking through a stack of cd’s that where gathering dust.

As a kid who once owned a walk-man, listened to cassettes and did not get a mobile phone till 2003….I have always felts slightly behind these technologically advanced times.

I have not joined the Apple revolution, and whilst I no longer listen to cassettes…I am a cd girl through and through.

Rumour has it no one buys cd’s anymore…..music is downloaded, or uploaded, side swiped or something!!

The cd I was to buy was  Bic Runga’s second solo album of 2002  ‘ Beautiful Collision’….Yep ,10 years behind the times in getting into this particular jem…but when you listen exclusively to cd’s  you get used to being behind the times!

I had seen Bic sing in May of this year at Sydney City Recital Hall, and 6 years prior to that at the Basement, Sydney.

She is by far one of the most beautiful performers I have ever had the privileged of seeing live.

I had only ever purchased one of her cd’s, her debut album ‘ Sway’ in 1999, and I remember thinking at the concert in May of this year…it was time to acquire more of Bic’s tunes.

Sometimes, without trying too hard, things just happen, come to you….they appear out of no where…true gifts.

I was meant to wonder aimlessly that lunch break, through the tree-lined park, past a bakery and into that charity shop….all the stars had aligned, it might have taken 10 years, but on that particular day I was ready.

Ready to take on board lyrics and melodies that have since struck a chord with the place I currently find myself residing…a happy place, one of certainty, self-assuredness and beauty.

Listening for the Weather- Bic Runga

So I’m listening for the weather to predict the coming day
Leave all thought of expectation to the weather man
No it doesn’t really matter what it is he has to say
‘Cause tomorrows keep on blowing in from somewhere

All the people that I know in the apartments down below
Busy with their starring roles in their own tragedies

Sunlight sends you on your way
And those restless thoughts that cling to yesterday
Never be afraid of change

Friendship Fire Starters: Compliments

Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.

This week I received compliments about my writing, and as the quote below by Mark Twain implies, such kind words have made my world brighter….and will continue to do so for some time…

I can live on a good complement for two months.

These compliments came via facebook, email and phone…they made me feel great, 10 feet tall, made an average week awesome…made me aware of the power of kind words and the importance acknowledging the good  in the people we have in our lives.

As I have not asked the people who bestowed such kind words upon me, anonymous they will remain- names withheld:

* I love when I see a CUWAM update ( reference to my blog) and read every one. Please keep writing!

* I do read your escapades every now and then. You are prolific so I can’t sat I catch it all! I do like your honestly, and I know that takes courage so well done.

And prehaps the most magical of all was my future sister-in-law, asking me on the phone to give a reading at their wedding service in June 2012.

* Your writing is beautiful. We would like you to write something and read it on our wedding day

Yikes! Pressure..I thought I would be handed a passage specially chosen my the bride and groom, to read aloud to the 160 strong wedding guests…But no, I will write and read my own creative piece!

The joy I get from writing, it would appear, resonates with others….and that makes me happy, inspires me to keep going

This feeling is universal….Everyone likes to feel like what they do matter, makes a difference, contributes to the happiness and well-being, of not only themselves, but others

So if you see in others something that makes you smile, brightens your day…let that person know, pay them a compliment….

And if you find that your personal efforts go unnoticed…I once more quote Mark Twain : If you can’t get a compliment any other way, pay yourself one

Mark Twain

Friendship Fire Starter: The self bought gift

I have been a bit slack of late….I have lost track of which blog is hosting Write on Wednesdays and my Friendship Fire starter posts have failed to ignite for 3 straight weeks…Time to redeem the situation…

Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.

To be able to harvest a good friendship, one must first be friends with themselves.

And as it common when you like someone as a friend, you buy them gifts from time to time to remind them of how much joy they bring to your life.

Well, I have turned to focus inward of late, and the gift to be purchased is for me.

In September of last year I was fortunate to be in NYC,  a city that owns a piece of my heart.

A request from a friend back home….to purchase of a piece of Tiffany jewellery. I took to the mission with gusto.

I marched from the Bowery region, lower East side, into the epicentre of the city’s shopping district…to 5th Avenue, the Tiffany flagship store….and with my little Australian credit card purchased the silver necklace for a mate. It was promptly gift wrapped, complete with white bow and  packaged into the signature turquoise shopping bag.

It was then and there that I took the liberty to use the Tiffany’s Lavatories….located on the 4th floor of the store….in a room 10 times the size of my Bowery accommodation. With thoughts of stowing away in the bathroom swirling around my head, I dragged myself from the luxurious surrounds, and re-entered jewellery heaven.

Never if my wildest dreams did I ever think I would purchase something from this jewellery giant…it just ain’t me….But something strange happened on that NYC  autumn day….Call it what you will, the bright lights and  the lure of the big city, the smell of money in the air….I simply had to have a souvenir!!

With much trepidation I scoured a few jewellery displays…and I thank my lucky stars that I was fortunate to be looking at items priced within the $50-$500 USD range…I had been spared the misery of perusing the $30,000 plus item…or maybe security had seen me and deemed me ‘unworthy’ of viewing such jewels.

And like magic, this little piece of silver revealed itself to me:

Tiffany Ring

Tiffany Ring

And here is where the story should end…I should part with the $300 USD and walk away, smiling from ear to ear…Taking no precautionary measures to look my person as  I take to the NY streets, eyes glued to my left hand index finger, gift wrapt with a miniature bow  silver…

But…I did not part with the cash…Rather I left the story and the memory of the ring faded into the background.

Fast forward 6 months….and the Ribbon ring, and the momentary joy it had brought me all those months ago, resurfaced…I HAD TO HAVE IT!!

A visit to the Sydney Tiffany store proved futile, a 6 week waiting list…No, I needed this little gem immediately.

Frantic facebook messaging to a friend on holidays in the US, where the ring could be purchased at a bargain price….also failed to bring me closed to my prize….Not availible in your size came the message via facebook messenger…

And as my cousin prepares to depart on a US / UK holiday, the baton has been passed on yet again…Bring home the Silver ring Cousin…My happiness depends on it!!

And if you have stayed with this post to this point….one might ask, the point?

Treat yourself once in a while, be spontaneous and / or if that is not your thing, remember the things that bring you joy and chase them!!

You are after all you own best friend and deserve to be treated every now and then…..

Friendship Fire Starter: Words, the written, the said

Words…the written, the said….communication, an integral part of any friendship.

This week words made me smile, laugh out loud, chuckle to myself, words made me think, ponder, and question. The beauty of language, at is simplest and its most complex…I had a week were I was aware of just how important communication is, of its power to inspire to and to change moods….and it was through my friendships that I realised this beauty.

There was the phone texting…..After a wonderful weekend down South, and a Sunday swim at the Hyams Beach, on the outskirts of the Jervis Bay National Park.

Hyams Beach, its claim to fame : It has the whitest sand in the WORLD…Who am I to argue? …It is simply divine, a paradise a mere 3 hours drive South of Sydney.

A day after this delightful beach frolic I received a text from my friend Colleen, who I had been swimming with that day.

‘Hyams Beach was closed at noon yesterday as they spotted 6 sharks near the shore, amongst them a tiger shark’

I could hardly believe it as Colleen and I had finished up our swim at 11.59am that very day, and headed off to the Hyams Beach cafe for an early lunch

‘Lucky! Looks like we escaped an early death’ was my response and to that Colleen replied ‘ We would have died happy’

And I laughed to myself…I would never have expected such a reply…but it could not have been more true…Our Sunday swim was just heavenly….Colleen had a total of 3 swims, I had two….We were like kids again, bobbing up and down in the clear blue sea, not a care in the world.

I smiled as I typed my response ‘ Agreed!’

********

Then there was an email from an old friend, a lovely guy I meet 10 years ago when I was a backpacker, living in Edinburgh, Scotland.

This guys first language is not English, but Spanish. I admire anyone who can speak another language for I struggle with just one. The beauty of words was evident in a compliment he gave about my recent venture into the world of writing / blogging.

‘ You surprised me!! Continue!!’

These words sprang out on the computer screen, it read like a dare, a challenge, the words will me on…to keep at it….to write, and write and write.

An English speaker who enjoyed my writing would have said ‘ I really like you work, keep going’ and whilst that sounds nice, for me it does not inspire like the words penned by my friend.  As my 2012 motto is to   ‘Expect the Unexpected’ this is the best of compliments….who knows what is around the corner….but one thing is for sure….I will just continue to document it!!

The beauty and meaning behind the written and the said….Go on, start a conversation with someone you love, someone you know, the stranger sitting next to you on the bus…go on, I dare you!!

And now for a song…Bee Gees : Words

I

Friendship Fire Starter: Gift Giving

Tis the season of gift giving, and there is nothing nicer giving or receiving a gift when time, effort, thought and love has gone into the process. Yes, this weeks friendship fire starter is based around the concept of the gift.

I love giving gifts, pondering over the purchase, often wishing that the gift would stay with me on a permanent basis…choosing the wrapping paper, the ribbon and then there is the home-made gift tag or card and  the real fun starts!! Out comes the coloured paper, the sticker collection. the pencils, the glitter, the glue, the creative process in full swing!!….The home made card completing the parcel, a well dressed package, a unique parcel tailor-made for that special someone.

Over the years I have both received many wonderful gifts, the gift great family and friends, wonderful pets, holidays near and far, toys, books, hot meals…I could go on and on. But to narrow it down I will reflect on the last 5 years…and two gifts stand out…let me tell you about them….

The Ring: On my ring finger, left hand I wear the most divine ring. It was given to me by my wonderful friend Jess, a person I could not imagine going through life without….To put it simply, Jess is the best ( She will love me saying this!!)

The Pink Ring…plus other bling on Jess’ finger!!

Through a sea of tragedy, much despair and sadness, the gift of the ring was given to me as a thank you gift, the ring was Jess’ was of saying thank you for being her friend through tough times…But if I was honest with her, and I always am, the gift was not necessary…I would have been there regardless….

But I LOVE the ring, I get complimented on it at least once a week, the ring makes me HAPPY, I just have to look at it and it makes me feel stronger, reassures me of the good people in my life, reminds me of Jess…It is a beautiful piece of jewellery and I feel so proud to own it.

A friend admiring the ring

The other gift I have received over the last 5 years, was given to me on my recent holiday to NYC….a handmade card that accompanied a small gift given to me on my 33rd birthday. The gift was from my friend Magda, an aspiring film maker and self-proclaimed women of the world.

The card was written as Magda took to subway from Brooklyn to Union Square, NYC,  where we met for my birthday dinner. Yes, there was the usual ‘ Happy Birthday’ message, but other words jumped right off the page…Magda had captured a the essence of who I wanted to me, who I need to be in the written word:

‘Be open to love and remember that were ever you go there will always be someone waiting for you’

As a person far from home on my birthday, and as a person to who loves travelling abroad, this special message was tailor-made for just for me..I felt extremely lucky….I remember asking my friend if I could use part of the message in my blog, the reply was ‘ Sure go ahead..I can’t even remember what I wrote!!

So heres to gift giving and the joy it brings to the person giving the gift, and the person receiving.

Gifts don’t have to cost a lot of money, they don’t have to cost a sent…but a well thought out gift can help cement all that is wonderful about a friendship.

Tis the season to give gifts, with a little thought and a lot of love, may you be on both the sending and receiving end of many joyous parcels!!

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