Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nov 22nd

So, each post of every day, for the last 364 days has been about the day.

But for some reason, posting about *today* doesn't seem adequate enough for *today*.  But in the very least I can start with today, no?

Today is the birthday of one of my most favourite people in the whole world.  The woman I have called my best friend for the past sixteen years.  I love that we were growing arms and legs and lungs at the same time.  I love that our mothers were labouring to bring us into the world (merely hours apart), at the same time.  I love that we were experiencing the craziness of our brand new environment at the same time.  I love that our lives were synching in most things round about the same time, up until the point the Universe decided in her wisdom to plonk us alongside each other, in the same tertiary course, studying hospitality at 19 years of age, where we finally got the opportunity to meet eyes and say 'hi'! 

I love that, despite husbands and children, divorces and alternative countries, we are still as connected to each other as we were the moment our lives crossed paths.  And I will forever love that she's older than me and will remain that way until eternity swallows us up! *laugh*  Happy, happy birthday my beautiful friend, sister of my heart, keeper of my soul.  No words, no sentiments, no gesture can ever, ever articulate the extent of the gift I treasure you to be, from the deepest core of my being.  I wish you so many birthday blessings today <3.

My birthday gift to myself was a little piece of art.
Something conceived by one gorgeous goddess and delivered by another treasured sister.  Something I could appreciate every second of my birthday with a mere glance.  And I'm told it's her best work yet!  It was spectacular freshly done - but with the crust off and the dye remaining - simply stunning.  Thank you sweet sister.  I simply cannot stop looking at it <3.

On check in to our favourite hotel, the room was not quite ready.  I jokingly mentioned a bottle of bubbly for the room would go a long way in alleviating my inconvenience.  The receptionist grinned and said she'd be right back with vouchers for complimentary drinks for the lobby bar while I waited for the room to be ready.  Did I mention she remembered me from last time we were here in Easter?!  Astonishing!  She remembered that I did yoga and that I knitted.  The woman is incredible!  She even asked I show her what was currently on the needles.  Love it.

Half way through my glass of Moet et Chandon and the man arrives.  A second glass is ordered, courtesy of the house and before long, another two more to be added to our tab... birthday celebrations have begun in earnest *grin*.  A while later we venture up into our corner suite, only to find a bottle of bubbles on ice, complimentary of the house, in celebration of my birthday *swoon*.

With this blog post lingering in the periphery of my headspace and a bottle of bubbles under my belt, it was time for some fresh air and coffee!  We grabbed the cameras and ventured out into the cosmopolitan landscape that is our fair city of Melbourne.  I still have next to no idea what I'm doing with that beautiful beast of mine, but I have lots of fun pretending.

When I first set the intention to blog every day for a year, I was under no false assumptions that it would be a simple feat.  What I didn't anticipate was the amount of time I would spend formulating and writing a fair number of the posts!  I look back on posts for the first few months - a couple of lines at most, accompanying an image - and compare them with a few posts of late, which I have been told many friends glance over, estimate the mammothness of the read ahead and make a note to come back to once the children are asleep.  A lot in recent weeks haven't even had images to lighten the visual load!  And for that I apologize.  Sometimes, if I'm completely honest, the posts take on a life of their own.  Mostly, I have an idea of what I'm about to write before I start - and mostly it ends up along those lines.  But sometimes, a twist and turn is born before I'm even aware it was a concept in my head and a journey begins.  I have found I have shared in these posts, more detail in the complexities of the workings in my head, than I do with most people in deep and meaningful conversation!  I'm not sure if you're thankful for that - or wanting an apology! *laugh*

Whatever the case may be, this journey has been many things for me - revealing, cathartic and therapeutic amongst the list.  So, for the force-feeding of my incessant ramblings, I ask your forgiveness.   But for the opportunity for my own personal growth through clarification that sometimes can only come through writing, I thank you, with deep gratitude.  As I have mentioned many times before, without knowing you were there, a constant (and/or intermittent) presence, holding me accountable for daily posts (and playful pressing reminders when they weren't coming daily!), who knows if I would have kept up the commitment that has become one of my most awesome achievements to date.

So while I am very grateful to be regaining my evenings once again!  I am so blissfully grateful to have a written account of one whole year of my life!  I highly recommend it.  I am reminded of many things that happened this year, that I may have forgotten, had a visual reminder not been recorded.  I am reminded that I learned to crochet this year - and made myself a wrap and a friend, a blanket, not to mention the gorgeous flags we made for solstice.  I am reminded that we celebrated three out of the four seasonal changes with lavish gatherings of our nearest and dearests.  I am reminded of all the dinner dates and crafting gatherings enjoyed with so many gorgeous women.  I am reminded of the bellies we blessed, the babies we met and the birthdays we celebrated amidst our gorgeous community.  I am reminded of the beginning of the transformation of body, mind and spirit I embarked upon when taking up regular practice of Bikram yoga.  I am also reminded of the huge journey that was completing the 30 day challenge!!  I am reminded of the adventure into raw foods we took and how revitalised I felt during that time. 

I'm reminded of how tiny my button looked 12 months ago - even six months ago!  And how long her hair has grown (and how short mine has become! *laugh*).  I am reminded of the manifestation of Apples and Ovaries, how she got her name and the many variations the future business model as undertaken in the short time she has been in existence.  I am reminded of the huge leap of faith I took in leaving my paid employment to pursue my passion, with zero income to begin with.  I am reminded that a caterpillar transforming within a chrysalis, emerged as a butterfly and dried her wings on my kitchen window ledge on the very first day I did not go into work.  I am reminded of the most massive blessing I have in my beloved, in his trust, his faith and his belief in all that I am capable of achieving - and his patience and unending support and devotion in helping me make my dreams a reality.  

I am reminded of our exploration of and almost move to the country, to live amongst the gum trees with lots of plum trees - a sheep or two and a kangaroo - apparently! (To all non-Australians, please forgive the not so subtle ditty reference.)  And how a re-frame of reality, finances and priorities helped us change our minds and stay right where we were.  I am reminded of my foray into cooking that begun in earnest this year - not least because of the ease afforded by the magnificent beast that is Suzie, our thermomix (heavens bless Suzie).  I am reminded of all the fantastic raw desserts we have whipped up due to the ease Suzie handles raw nuts and dates *swoon*.

I am reminded of the lives lost this year, of men close to my heart that could see no other way out of the heartache so entrenched in their souls.  I am reminded of the need to connect with loved ones in my life, to send love and thoughts for no other reason, than because they crossed my mind.  I am reminded of the many craft projects I undertook, unraveled, sought help for, and attempted again and again, only to complete them with numerous imperfections - to then be reminded by my community that only God is perfect and that they are SUPPOSED to look like that *smile*.  I am reminded of the day our fluff balls entered our world.  Sometimes it feels as though they have been with us forever!

I am reminded of my first introduction to poi - well, since the age of 11!  And how it's fast becoming a brand new favourite obsession.  I am reminded of the courage I summoned and the perilous undertaking I accepted in pursuing a change of given name.  I am reminded of the generosity of acceptance and love I received from those close to me when said change of name was announced. 

The most common thread throughout my daily gratitude mentions, are people.  My beautiful friends, my gorgeous family, my precious wee button and my divine beloved.  Not surprising, really.  We know the most important *things* in our world, are the people in our lives.  We know how hollow and somewhat meaningless our lives would feel without being able to share the small and big things with someone who knows us, who cares for us, who understands us.  I treasure every single person in my life.  For the gifts of love, of acceptance, of honesty, of confrontation, and simply just of presence.  Of just being there.

But most of all - the person I treasure most, is me.
The person I am most grateful for, is me.  This somewhat clumsy, work in progress, fake-it-till-you-make-it woman, that mostly sees the beautiful things the world has to offer, that works freakin' hard to re-frame the shitty situations to see some benefit to the crappola life occasionally dishes up, that refuses to carry the legacy of the past into the present or future, that sees each day as the cup half full.

A gratitude blog is a wonderful way to maintain presence with this way of thinking.  But it's not strictly necessary.  A running commentary in your head can achieve the same benefit.  I have never been afraid to modify a thought, take back a sentence - even after it's been said, or ask for the option to change my mind.  I have found these small gestures to be the tiny steps that lead to the big changes.

So, although this blog ends today (*sniff*), the rose-tinted glasses through which I view the world will not.  And I invite you to join me *smile*.  Thank you for sharing this year of my life with me.  I have enjoyed every single one of your comments - with some of you sharing deep insights into your souls, a privilege I cherish immensely.  There will be another blog... not a daily one and not specifically gratitude, but one with my particular flavour of seeing the world *smile*.  I haven't yet decided on a name, but leave me a comment here with your email address and I'll forward you on a link once I take up the new blogging journey.

I wish you many, many blessings and lots of cups half full throughout your lives.
Until next time ;o)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nov 21st

I feel well and truly in birthday party mode.

Work was so far from being on my agenda today.  Ben finished the mezzanine yesterday.  I wanted some fabric to billow from the underside of the framework, so when lying in the bed below, our view would be one of a colourful canopy, rather than slats, a mattress and edges of sheets.  I found just the thing within five minutes of walking into the store.  Love that.

The beach started calling from about three pm, so we grabbed the canopy, our bathers and towels and wandered on down.  Three hours of vitamin D replenishment felt wonderful.  I am so grateful to be living so close to such a magical playground.

The letterbox yielded three very exciting things, today.
My new drivers license, my new medicare card and a birthday gift from my sister in NZ.
To receive mail in the name of India, feels wonderful :o). And to have it before my actual birthday is such a bonus.  Of course, the traffic authority and the government sending me mail in a new name because I updated it officially is not as thrilling as receiving mail from my blood, in my new name.  

An acknowledgement of acceptance - no small thing.  And one I am very grateful for.  And this particular sister of my blood makes me laugh so much.  Today's case in point:

Bless *grin*

I rounded off my day by indulging in a little teenage fantasy fodder (that's still acceptable at almost 35, right?!).  The fourth Twilight film was as kitsch and gorgeous as all the others, for me.  I will never consider the films as good as the books - that rarely happens with any translation - but I enjoy them for what they are - a fun couple of hours of visually beautiful entertainment *grin*.  I hope like crazy we don't have to wait as long for the final installment.  

Off to the city tomorrow to enjoy two nights in my favourite hotel.  I hope to find some time to spend in Morris and Sons, the yarn store to top all yarn stores, and maybe a little book reading.  For once, I'm actually considering NOT buying any books - rather reading a few new ones sitting on the shelf that have yet to have their spines creased.  One in particular, that was gifted yesterday, is calling to me...

Until then beautiful ones.
Until tomorrow, the final blog post for this epic journey (can I really call sitting on my butt, writing every day for a year, epic?  Not sure, but it certainly feels epic!).  Starting to feel the pressure to write something significant!  Eep!  You'll forgive me if it's casual, no?
Until then.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nov 20th

The day of my birthday lunch with my women has finally arrived!

I have been so looking forward to this day.
I even went out and bought a party dress.  I think I told you that already.
The consensus seemed to be I rock green.  Will remember that for future.  It's not a colour I have gravitated towards in the past, but I'm really enjoying it at the moment.  Perhaps it's the freshness of spring... all those thriving vegie seedlings in the garden... or perhaps it's an India colour.  Is such a thing possible?  I do feel like I'm leaving so much of my old self behind.  But this isn't a recent thing or something that has *just* occurred since the name change, or even since the consideration of the name change.  It's been a slowly evolving thing.  Growth with maturity, perhaps... it was bound to happen at some stage ;o)

Thirteen women joined me today.  Many leaving at home wee breastfed babes.  I felt immensely treasured and loved by each and every one of them.  I had such a wonderful time.  I will let the (many) images speak for themselves <3

There were so many more images, but I don't want to crash your browser ;o).
These are a collection of my favourites.  Images of me with some of the most amazing, important women in my life.  And images showing so much love, connection and intimacy.  I do not, for one minute, ever take for granted the love that overflows in our community.  I am grateful for these women and all they bring to my life, each and every day.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nov 19th

Many fun and exciting things happened today.

A collection of the women and buttons gathered in my kitchen today for more milk making.  A remembered to get a few pics for you!  I discovered the most delicious blend of brown rice and cashew milk - by adding five dates into a recipe to make two litres, and halving the amount of coconut oil.  Oh my heavens!  Perfect sweetness, coconuttiness and creaminess.  

Two beautiful souls moved their worldly possessions into a corner of our home today, officially making that space their own and becoming part of the family.  We're still awaiting the addition of their feline who decided last night was a good time to go walkabout and wasn't back in time for the move.  It is hoped he'll be back Wednesday when the final visit to the previous abode is conducted.

But the best and most exciting part of my day?
The moment a familiar motorcycle rumbled down the drive, carrying the most delicious man I've ever seen.  And not a moment too soon.  There was much craziness and busyness happening in the house at the time, and for much of the day and eve - so we are looking forward to a leisurely breakfast out together, tomorrow morning.  Time to drink each other in and reconnect after what seems like a short lifetime apart.

Then of course, it will be off to indulge in sisterhood and celebration, in light of my birthday this coming Wednesday.  I plan to have lots of photos.  I truly hope to fulfil that plan!
Until tomorrow xx

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nov 18th

Grateful for the perfect timing of friends.

Who bring me beloved gifts of theirs, to entice and excite my soul.

Grateful for the Universe delivering me the perfect person (of the perfect height!) in which to lose myself in for 60 seconds or so, before pulling myself back together and ordering a very large coffee.

Grateful (for the most part) for the insights into my soul that my child so freely gifts to me, just by being her.  So completely different, so sensitive, so introspective, so concerned, so deep-thinking, so seemingly melancholy at times.  I would never have thought that trait possible in a child, until knowing my own.

Grateful for the journey so far, in parenting myself as well as my child.  In the lessons learned, sometimes the long, hard way.  Grateful for the clarity that comes (eventually!) with field experience, often as a bang over the head in my case, as it can take me a while to see and understand something so intrinsically close to my heart. 

Grateful for the time away from my beloved.  Not because I need an absence to know at a heart foundation level how much I adore him, how much I value his presence in my daily world, how much I miss his company, his touch.  But for time alone with me.  Time for stillness.  For quiet.  For thoughts to become as loud as the spoken word.

Grateful that today is Friday and he's home tomorrow.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nov 17th

A day of quality time and giggles with my girl.

I was preparing lunch when these wee creatures came to say hello!

I crept round to find out where they were coming from and saw this:

She cracks me up.
I have such a thing for baby toes.

Although she informs me they're not baby toes.  They're five-year-old toes.  She's right of course, but I told her she would always be my baby.  She said, "even when I'm 74?".  "Yep."  I love how abstract her brain is getting.  She saw an upholstery head for the new vacuum sitting on the bench and told me this gorgeous convoluted story about how... god, I can't even remember now.  But it was imaginative and funny and very descriptive!  It is a freaky looking head, granted.

I can see why the imagination was inspired.

Lots of time in the garden, pulling weeds, getting nudie for our vitamin D shots.  Lots of reading stories, more fairytales (goddess help me, they're Grimm - Disney doesn't get past the front door - but still, they're not these kinds of fairytales, a collection I would very much like to get my hands on.).  And a trip to the stores to return a brand new dress in favour of a thrifted one (first brand new item of external clothing I have bought myself in months and months - it just didn't sit right, I'm quite curious about my reaction being strong enough to actually take back to the store a perfectly reasonable dress... will investigate further another day).  Plus the thrifted one is much more gorgeous.  Lucy said so.

Oh and a curious encounter in the food court, as we stopped for sushi.  A collection of about five young men around the ages of 13 to 15 sharing a table with us, trying to gather as many coins as they could find between them, to cover a sushi handroll.  As I was watching this play out beside us - much to my utter joy and delight, I saw two older young men, say 16 or so, walk past with a McDs soft drink and soft-serve.  This was the food I was expecting our youth to be indulging in when Mum wasn't cooking - so to see these young men trying to find enough money to buy sushi, when the amount they had would have covered a soft serve, soft drink, fries or a hamburger, gave me such delight.

One of the younger ones noticed me watching them, smiling, and politely asked me for 30 cents, the amount they were short.  I eagerly handed it over and told them if I hadn't just spent the last of my cash on my child's lunch, I would have bought them all sushi, such was my joy at seeing them consciously choose to put vital foods into their bodies, when faced with many choices of the opposite.

Interestingly I noticed from that moment on, one would haul the other up when profanity was spoken, which hadn't been a consideration until that point.  How sweet!  Speaking of awesome things-sushi inspired.  Today, I noticed this!

Throughout my 12 or so years of studying nutrition and loving sushi, I have always fantasized about sushi being made with brown rice.  Apparently only found in the larger Sushi Sushi bars.  If shopping in my local, that would be the bar upstairs.  Downstairs near Aldi don't offer this option.  I am stoked about all things sushi today.

And my girl.  Totally rockin' my world.