Do you ever see your school friends? Social media makes it easy to keep in contact with everyone. It’s been at least a couple of decades since I’ve been at school and most of my school friends are on Facebook, which makes it very easy to keep up to date. We did have a large reunion about five years ago.
Seeing pictures of friends children, holiday snaps from all around the globe and day to day activities makes for an interesting news feed. With all the convenience of social media though, I don’t actually ‘see’ my friends in person.
So when it happens, it really is great! Today I had the pleasure of catching up with a friend. She sent me a text message a couple of days ago saying she was in town and we arranged a catch-up today.
It’s funny how your school friends never change, at least not much anyway. Things that you remember about their personality and character are still there. They might be a little older (and a lot wiser for the life experiences), but when you get down to the nitty gritty, they still are the wonderful friends of your past.
I discovered that my friend is very much interested in many of my current interests. That was quite exciting to learn, so now we can keep in contact not only on a ‘Hi, how are you going, haven’t seen you in ages’ basis, but now we can actually connect on common interests as well.
I am so happy we connected again.
I put this out to the blogosphere today, why don’t you organise a reunion with some of those friends you see on social media all the time, but you don’t actually ‘see’ in person? I am confident you will really enjoy the experience.
Usually my body clock is set to 6am every day even without an alarm sounding it’s disturbing ring. Somehow, this weekend, my body seemed to ‘forget’ the time and allowed me to sleep in.
In my drowsy state, I peeked over the sheet, still noticing that the household was quiet. This was a bonus as usually the kids would be up and that meant I would be up soon. Not even the cat could be heard.
Ever curious even in my sleepy state, I turn to catch a glimpse of what time it is. To my surprise and delight, it was 7:40am!
Well, pleased with my efforts in sleeping in, I smugly turn over, readjust the sheet and quilt and close my eyes.
‘Ah, this feels so nice’, I think to myself with a smile on my face.
I begin to think about how the kids aren’t up yet and that the cat hasn’t started meowing yet. This brings my attention to the newly born ducklings that have found our pool to be the starting point of their lives. I wonder to myself how they were during the night. Were they cold? Did the Daddy duck decide to join them for the night? What food is the Mother going to forage for them? I must buy some duck food. What do ducks actually eat? The list went on…
I turn again, closing my eyes and try to relax and savour this very special time of being able to ‘sleep in’. The bed is getting too warm now; I toss again, gazing out towards the rest of the house.
And that is my undoing. I decide that I’m happy to have slept in until this late time, but now I can start to enjoy the day.
After the first stop at the bathroom, I greet the cat who gleefully rubs herself on me, stretching her belly out for patting. ‘Enough of that’ she says and I put her down. Next stop is checking on the ducklings.
I walk outside to the pool and the eight ducklings along with Mother Duck are sunning themselves on the sandstone rockery garden – what a gorgeous sight to see. Mother duck has got to know me now, after all it is her fourth ‘lot’ of ducklings that she has graced us with in our backyard pool.
The sun is beaming down on my back and I enjoy just standing and watching the tiny little critters. It looks like Mother has told them to keep still, but as fidgety as ever, they are flitting about and then one by one, they decide to waddle to the edge of the pool and jump in. So cute!
Mother duck is happy enough and decides to follow her babies. Pure bliss.
I decide to make my way in, still warm from the morning sun. A cup of tea is calling…
With a cuppa in one hand, I set myself up in my favourite room, the lounge-room, with my laptop, a cuppa and the cat at my feet. This room is absolutely glorious in the morning with the sun streaming through. I begin to write my blog for the day.
Mother duck has her bliss outside and I have mine right now. Purrfect.
The busy weekday morning was in full swing. Rushing to have breakfast, make lunches, get kids clothes ready, bags packed, have shower, feed cat, do hair and makeup - you know, the usual type of thing.
Add in there a few of the usual ‘orders’ I am yelling out while I’m getting myself ready... ‘hurry up and brush your teeth’, ‘have you put your diary in your school bag?’, ‘can you put your shoes on’, ‘can you turn the TV off?’, ‘leave the cat alone’, ‘take your bowl to the kitchen’, ‘leave your brother alone!’ and various other ‘daily’ rituals and there you have a ‘normal’ weekday morning. At home.
In the car, it’s a different kettle of fish. Usually it’s a fight to get through the garage door first to put their bags in the boot. Then it’s a fight to get into the car first.
When everyone is strapped in, it’s automatic pilot for the next few minutes in traffic and dare I say it - some peaceful quiet time...
Usually whichever way I decide to go, there’s a cry from the back seat saying, ‘Mum, go that way for a change’. I can just predict when this is going to be said, and I time it. It puts a smile on my face.
It’s funny how when we’re in the car, I seem to be the ‘expert’ in all things related to cars. The questions range from, ‘Mum, would a Toyota beat a Lamborghini?’ I say, ‘no, definitely a Lamborghini would beat a Toyota.’ Then there’s silence. Obviously happy with that answer.
The next question is, ‘Mum, would a Ferrari beat a Subaru WRX?’. I’m quick to answer, ‘Gosh yes, the Ferrari would beat the Subaru hands down.’ Silence again as they mull over that thought. My little one joins in and asks, ‘Mum, would a sports car beat our car?’. I think for a minute and answer, ‘mmm, what kind of sports car?’. He answers, ‘a red one’. ‘Oh, well, it depends what the engine is like. Is it a V8?’ I ask seriously. ‘yes’ he answers. ‘Then yes, the red sports car will beat my car’.
This is all the usual conversation every day, I find it very cute that they trust my very limited knowledge on cars. Something I’m sure to treasure as the years roll on and they are the experts on cars.
After dropping my eldest son at school, my young son was contemplating something, as I could see his little face was thinking up something else to ask me.
‘Mum, you’re going to be a grandmother when I have a girl, then a boy, then a girl, then a boy.’
Well, I wasn’t expecting that! I am very reluctant to even insinuate that I find that funny for fear of him not wanting to continue the conversation, so I play along.
‘Oh,that sounds lovely. You’ll be married and a big man then won’t you?’
‘So, what will you call your first girl?’ I ask seriously.
‘I don’t know yet!’ he answered as if I should have known that it was a silly question. Silly Mum.I decide to push it even further.
‘What do you want to call your first boy?’. He didn’t have any hesitation in this, he said it would be the same as his name.
‘Oh, how lovely. That’s so lovely to hear,’ I said.
I thought it funny how he had no hesitation in knowing that he wanted to call his first born son his own name, but the girl’s name was completely out of the question to even contemplate at this time.
I was quite smug about this little conversation and filed it away in the ‘Too cute for words’ file in my mind for thinking of at a later date.
Why can’t I write? All day, that’s all I can think of. Even at work, I’m devising my plan for an early night in the hope of doing some writing. There’s also the evening ritual… ‘After I cook dinner, I’ll write. After I wash the dishes, I’ll write. After I shower the kids, I’ll write. After I read them a book, I’ll write. After they go to bed, I’ll write…’ Well, here it is, exactly one hour since they’ve been in bed and not a single word on the page…that is, until I started writing this!
This doesn’t count though. This is just me having a rant, a whinge, a gripe. This isn’t writing my book. This isn’t completing Chapter 16, so that I can move forward and begin Chapter 17. No. This is wasting precious ‘writing time’.
What should I do?
Well, I should just write, but for some reason I can’t. I’ve checked Facebook a thousand times. Instagram has pulled me in too. What about Pinterest and Twitter? Yes, checked them. Everything is up to date. I’ve read everyone’s posts, tweets, Instagram’s and more.
Now, that I’ve done all that, my eyes are getting tired. The cat is now quite comfortably sleeping near my feet. She can feel the electric blanket warming her through the quilt cover.
Hmmm, I wonder if there are any more posts to be read…
Hey, what about my website? I could check that out perhaps.
Yep. That’s all up to date as well.
Seems like there’ nothing to check. Come on…now look! My guitar is calling me, ‘Play me, Play me…’ I must go…I must go, but I’m way too comfortable.
How about, I just put the computer away. Take that expectation of having to write away and just relax. That would be a novel idea wouldn’t It?
My question to the blogosphere is… ‘Is it ever okay to ask someone to pay to attend your own birthday gathering?
This was brought to my attention recently. My friend and her family were invited to her husbands’ extended family birthday gathering. It all sounded good until she read that it was going to cost her family (two adults and two children) at least $150 to attend.
She was shocked as she re-read the invitation and then called me to ask my opinion.
‘You’re asking the wrong person’, I said. ‘You know I how feel about these things.’
We had had this conversation many times over the years, but she was rather rattled by this invitation.
‘Why?’ I figured probing was the answer.
“They make such a big deal over how much they spend on things and then they ask US to pay to attend their party. I think it’s a bit rich. Excuse the pun.”
My response was simple, “Well don’t go.”
“But won’t it look rude?”
The silence that preceded that remark, answered the question. I didn’t need to say a thing.
Generally, people understand the situation. If they are close enough to the person, then they would be happy to spend the money. The other things that got to my friend were: the birthday was not a significant one, you know, like turning 21 or 50 or 100. It was an ‘insignificant’ birthday age. The other thing that my friend was grappling with was the fact that in order to celebrate the birthday, not only did they have to fork out $150, but they had to drive at least an hour and a half to get to the event.
I asked her if the venue and menu would be worth it. ‘Hmmm, the venue would be fine, but the menu was limited.’
I’m sorry. In all fairness, I am backing my friend on this one. The insignificant age; the fact that they had to pay to attend; the distance to travel; bragging about their expensive things and the limited menu.
This gets a thumbs down.
Once upon a time, there were at least eight glorious hours of uninterrupted sleep. Turning off the bedside light at night was the last I saw before the sun sneakily streamed through the curtains in the morning. Stretching and yawning without a care in the world, I would sleepily make my way out of my bedroom and the only thought at that time would be whether to have vegemite or marmalade on my toast.
Those were the days.
Whatever happened to those days? It is like a distant (very distant) memory from a past life.
Let’s take a look at a few things. In the last few days, it’s been pouring with rain and we’ve had the worst rainfall in over 18 years. We have been lucky to have no leaks or damage to our property and relatively no significant repercussions, unlike so many people.
What I’m getting at is, usually on rainy nights I absolutely love the fact that I’m cosy, warm and dry inside, listening to the rain and feeling so comfortable. It makes for really good writing, reading and relaxing. So actually, it should make me relaxed and in a good space for a really good sleep.
My gripe on this day is: why, for the past two days, when I’ve been warm as toast, comfortable in bed, dry and safe would I by experiencing poor quality sleep.
Hmmm. I have to admit, I love listening to rain as I fall asleep. It’s so comforting to know that you are safe and sound and outside is wet and cold. So, why did the sound of the rain keep me awake for two nights?
I feel like I’ve been ripped off. I want a refund on those two nights please. I was supposed to be blissfully asleep in slumber land. Instead I was in ‘turning over restless land’. The sound of the rain annoyed me and didn’t soothe me as it usually would. Why is this so?
Am I not entitled to feel that undeniable feeling of knowing I’m as snug as a bug anymore? What about the long day I just worked and all the morning and afternoon rituals? Don’t I deserve to have a continuous, quality induced sleep? The thoughts streamed through.
As I lay there, totally warm and cosy with the ‘perfect’ atmosphere for sleeping, I still can’t get away from the fact that I’m awake! It’s way too early to get up. If I start writing now, I’ll be in no state to go to work in 5 hours time. So what do I do?
Of course, whilst planning different things for the day and writing a mental grocery list, I wait another three hours for my alarm to go off and instead of dragging myself out of bed 15 minutes later like I usually do, I’m sitting up, slippers on, and tiptoeing in the dark to start the day.
Well, after my morning ritual of petting the cat, eating breakfast and having a cup of tea, I then make the lunches. All this was before 6:30am. I catch up on the latest Facebook posts that came through overnight and then it hit me. ‘I’ll make dinner!’
Being so pleased with myself, I got to work. I started by peeling potatoes and carrots, cutting pumpkin and onions and then cutting up the meat. Yes, I did say meat – and it is only 6:35 in the morning for goodness sake!
I decide a nice slow cooked meal would do the trick on a rainy, cold night. All day at work, I had that smug inner smile that said, ‘dinner is already cooked’. It really did put a smile on my face at random times during the day, in between yawning.
The family enjoyed the meal and devoured a long crusty loaf of bread with it.
It wasn’t until after dinner that the thought of facing another restless night invaded my thoughts. Sooooo, as swiftly as I could, I pulled out all makings for a potentially good night’s sleep. Out came the electric blanket. Tick. A warm shower. Tick. The oil burner with lavender aromatherapy oil burning. Tick. Reading a good book. Tick. Chamomile tea. Tick.
I could hardly wait to get into my cosy bed. It was looking good. All signs pointed to a peaceful sleep.
What can I say, I turned out the bedside light and with the alarm sounding the next morning, I think that I might have had the best sleep since…maybe another lifetime ago.
I don't know why I do it. Every time we have family coming over for a special occasion, in this case it is Easter, I go crazy with all the preparations. It's not like the Queen is coming over, or Mick Jagger or someone like that, it's only family.
Honestly, I stress myself out way too much, and even though I start planning things ahead of time so that I won't be running around like a mad woman, I still manage to be crazed! Why is that?
Is it because I work full time and consequently that doesn't leave much time for preparation? Is it because I plan too far ahead? Is it because I think that planning too far ahead is being way too organised, so I try and be a bit more relaxed about timing and lo and behold before I know it, it's a day before the event!
Easter is somewhat 'different' I guess. Not that I'm making excuses, but having the Friday off with no shops open makes everyone think that there's a famine and so the shops are just packed to the rafters the next day.
Today, I planned on being dropped off at the shops so that I can buy the groceries and a few 'necessary' items and then be picked up. Easy. That was my plan not to spend an hour going around the carparks looking for a place to park.
Well, it turned into a right royal saga, as the traffic heading to the local shops was banked right back and even entering the car park required strategic planning. I wasn't waiting around. A quick bye to my loved ones and I was off.
Was every man and his dog here today? OMG! I couldn't walk in a straight line without having someone nearly bump me off.
Let me tell you, the supermarket was so crazy! Parking my trolley to the side of the entrance near the fruit and vegetables, I went to get my trusty list out. Oh no!!! My list was missing! Lucky I'm a list person and the other day, when I was stuck in traffic I started another list in my notebook (same list, just different days. Yes, I did say I was a list person). Thank goodness I had a spare list. Phew.
First thing I noticed was lettuce. From where I stood, I had a clear view of where the lettuce should be. Oh no! There was no lettuce! I push my trolley like a woman possessed to the empty shelves and like I'm searching for the missing treasure of a million dollars, look at each empty shelf for lettuce. Someone must have been looking after me, because I discovered to my excitement, two packets of mixed lettuce leaves with a decent amount of time on the use by date. Again, phew.
This was not going to be an easy journey. Each aisle was jammed with trolleys and people. It was a case of nearly bumping into someone at every turn, stopping, reversing, apologising, commenting on what a crazy day it was and moving on. Then doing the same thing in each aisle. Well, I think I had more conversations with people I don't know than I have in my whole life.
The checkout was another fiasco. My trolley was over loaded. I had to hold the items on top so that they wouldn't fall out. Standing in line gave me a chance to see everyone else's shopping haul. The lady's in front of me could have been a carbon copy of my trolley. In fact even her clothes and handbag were like mine. Weird. The lady behind me had two trolleys! Another conversation there. Of course we chatted about there being one day of no shops open and everyone thinks that there is a famine.
Just as I had put the last item on to the conveyor belt, my memory kicked in and I had to run and get the toilet paper. That's it. I have officially over loaded my trolley. When I was picked up by my family, my sons actually had open mouths when they saw their Mum trying to steer a very overloaded and heavy trolley with one hand and 20 rolls of toilet paper under the other arm.
Oh, did I mention that when my husband double parked the car to come and help put the groceries in the back, he said, 'are you going to help or just watch?'
Well! Hmff. I got straight into that car and waited for the bags to be loaded in the back. After that traumatic experience, nothing could deny me my comfort in the car.
Next time, I'm shopping early.
I rarely have a sick day. Yes, I know, I'm lucky I don't get sick often, that's for sure. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for my good health, but today, I had the unfortunate call from my body reminding me that it was not going to cope well, sitting in an air conditioned office and feeling achy, cold and miserable.
It (my body) refused to budge at 6am. Blatantly disregarding any thoughts and good intentions of getting out of bed, having breakfast, making lunches, pleading with children to get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, gel hair, pack school bag and not torment the cat.
It definitely was not going to let me go through all of that.
Instead, it (my body) stayed in bed until 7:39am when my bladder was going to explode and only then it allowed me to get out of bed.
So, in my pink dressing gown and fluffy slippers, I trudged to the bathroom, noticing that no-one was awake yet. The cat had escaped the west wing and proceeded to jump in-between my feet, but not my husband, nor my two children were stirring.
Do I usually make enough noise at that time that the household stirs? Are they on a time clock that is synced to my time clock? It is usually at 6am when I have the peace and quiet of the house just for myself. A rare event, but one that is much sought after.
Today I had that event at 7:39am. Something was not right.
My body went from not responding to full on battle mode.
I walked from bedroom to bedroom, opening doors, curtains, making noises, pleading and just as I was about to take the covers down from their warm and cosy bodies, they started to stir.
Well well well. We had movement at the station and only half an hour to get up, get dressed, have breakfast, brush teeth, gel hair, pack school bag and NOT annoy the cat.
It's strange you know. The less time seemed to work well. No pleading was necessary. Just the facial expressions, the body language, the constant looking up at the clock and announcing how many more minutes to leave the house seemed to do the trick.
All was sorted. Quiet and peacefulness was restored and I resigned to my comfy bed, alas with paracetamol to recover.
Find Gillian in a busy cafe or street, scoping the prospect of characters in her latest book.
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