love

The Return Of The Bluebird Of Bitterness

The Return Of The Bluebird Of Bitterness

The Bluebird of Happiness, as I remarked to a friend, was well and truly back in Bluebird of Bitterness territory, and any attempts at landing on my shoulder and singing a happy tune would undoubtedly have ended in me giving it a lesson in just how unlucky it is for a bird to crap on someone, despite beliefs within the Jewish faith to the contrary, as there's no good luck in having your feathers used in a new and interesting headpiece for the racing season.

But as I lie here now, post Weekend of Whoah, mulling over this pile of Prussian blue plumage-related poo, and daring that bloody BOB to whistle anything other than Johnny Cash's 'When The Man Comes Around', I recognise the following self-evident truths.

Despite all the sorrow, all the anger, the truly heart-shattering words, encounters, and elements that made up the last 72 hours, I couldn't say I didn't find gratitude in them... nor grace.

Because both were present in so many small gifts I am grateful for.

In An Unguarded Moment

In An Unguarded Moment

I realise that this is rapidly sounding like an ingratitude post but it isn't. I just need to state, for the record, that things aren't necessarily rosy.

Which is why it's all the more important to be grateful for the everyday bits of bliss.

It's the unguarded moments, the 'sneak up on you and hug you' good things that happen which we need to learn to appreciate more.

Alias Grace

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.
— Nora Ephron

I am, I realise, more and more every day, a fortunate woman.

I am living where I wish to live.

I am, if not healthy, on the path to health.

I am able to do the work that I love.

And above all else, I am truly blessed in the amazing women that I am lucky enough to not only plot and scheme with on a professional level, but also call my friends. This has been very much brought home to me in the past few months, when times have not been so great, and the solidarity and support which they have shown me has been beyond description.

And the standout sister - for me, and I know for so many others - of these fabulous females, is having a birthday today!

Happy Birthday Janine.

When I thought about writing this post, and saying how grateful I was to JG, I thought "oh, this will be simple - I know how much she means to me, I'll just say it". But as it turns out I'm a little bit flummoxed. How do you express your gratitude to someone whom you have so much respect for without sounding cheesy? How do you say that their guidance, and enthusiasm, and simple passion for what they do manages to lift you up when things are really grim, without it being just words on a page?

I suppose I can only say what I feel, and hope Janine doesn't roll her eyes (not that she would, because she's far nicer than me), and understands the message behind the meanderings.

Janine, I don't think you understand the impact you have on so many, many people. And yes, especially women - of all walks of life. You give out absolutely everything, without expecting anything in return. I'm constantly floored by your energy and fire for making things better. It's extraordinary. You make me laugh like an absolute idiot (I'm so not going there with the stories), and you make business fun. You and your rock star hair!

I am grateful for your friendship. I am grateful for your grace. I am grateful for your strength. I am grateful you are you. You have taught me more about being a strong woman, without lecturing or bossiness, than anyone I have ever met before. The gratitude is ever present, and always will be.

If you are lucky enough to be a part of this extraordinary woman's life, don't undervalue her. And make sure you tell her how fab she is.

Because I guarantee she tells you on a regular basis.

Happy Birthday JG.

I hope it's been a good one.

Hymn To Her

“My mother... she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her.”

— Jodi Picoult

Last Mother's Day I wrote about my grandmother because it was very close to the date that would have been her hundredth birthday. Not out of any lack of love or respect for my Mama - quite the opposite - she would I know agree that without my Gran'ma she would (literally, ha, ha) be half the person she is.

But I definitely owe the P a post. She is going to kill me for putting this photo in, so I may as well go hell for leather and embarrass her totally.

She is my best friend. If you are a grown up (or semi grown up in my case) woman and you are able to say 'my mother is my best friend' consider yourself very, very fortunate indeed. As a teenager - forget it. You are going to scorn everything your mum says, wears and does - and then as an adult probably end up saying, wearing and doing all the same things (in my case yes, sort of and yes). You will scream 'I hate you' and then if you are smart, apologise.

But as an adult - yay. The thought of not talking to P on a daily basis is one that frightens me so badly that I stick my fingers in my ears and go 'la, la, la' until the bad men go away. She is the still, calm voice in the centre of the hurricane that constitutes my brain.

She is my inner eye.

My mother is an amazing woman. She would be the first to scoff at this. She is incredibly unassuming and very modest. She has no idea of the quiet impact she has on all those she comes in contact with. Her employees, her friends, her family. Me. Always me. Even when we have fought. If I am in a strop, I really do try to stop and think 'how would P handle this?' - because invariably it would be with better grace and humour than myself.

She has handled blows that would fell strong men. She has watched her children mess up time and again - and sadly had to watch one of them go through illnesses that I know in her heart she blames herself for, despite there being no reason for it. It's not her fault. As the one going through said illnesses, I say this with certainty. But I hear that little voice inside her saying 'yes it is' and as that same voice ticks inside me I will not attempt to shut it up, but simply say this.

Mumsy, Mama, Big P.

You are my sanity and my succour. You are the first person I turn to - always - even if I am narky with you. You are the snort at the other end of the phone when I need to let off steam. I laugh til I cry with you about stuff which nobody in their right minds would find remotely amusing, or understand, and that is fantastic. The fact that we have had a running joke of one word for well on twenty years is testament to both our combined sense of the ridiculous and what can only be called deep, deep love.

I actually find it hard to put into words the respect that I have for you, both as a mother and as a woman. So let me just say I am grateful for you, I will continue to be grateful for you, and I will try to show it every day.

Happy Mother's Day.

Gratitude and love overflowing.

And 'hello!'

Snort.

The Star-Splitter

“How is it they live in such harmony the billions of stars - when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds about someone they know.”

— Saint Thomas Aquinas

I have posted before about my love of astronomy and mythology and the way the two intertwine, and since moving north it has already given me a great deal of pleasure to get my geek on with my favourite iPad app (StarWalk) and watch the stars - and the man-made bits and pieces in the heavens - in their infinite variety.

As someone who is pretty much bewildered by the whole 'what happens afterwards' question, I am, I think, particularly fascinated by the stars for a very romantic reason.

Maybe, just maybe, there is something in the tales of the gods and heroes - and we do end up looking down on our loved ones from millions of miles above as a tiny part of a cosmic creation; not with the kind of consciousness we have as humans, but perhaps in some way aware of life continuing on. This to me makes as much sense as an old man with a beard letting people through a set of pearly gates, and I quite like the idea of being part of Draco, or Andromeda - or for that matter Lux Katrina.

We have watched the stars for millennia. Men have written odes to them; charted courses by them; princes have decided the fates of nations through their cold impersonal blaze. Why do they continue to fascinate us so much? If they are just large bodies of dust and gas and rock, why do they exert such an amazing pull on our hearts and minds?

I think it's because of their mystery. They are inexplicable, and whatever mankind cannot explain is always irresistible. Much like anything we cannot have, the stars have an intangible beauty - and although at times they seem close enough to reach up and pluck out of the sky, they will always remain out of reach.

This may seem like a strange thing to be grateful for, but as I was sitting outside last night and watching a satellite hum across the sky, and doing my nerdy best to absorb as much as I could about a new (to me) constellation, I realised something.

I am very grateful that the stars retain said mystery.

Because much like the things, and people, that I love most in this world - a little mystery only adds to the desire to keep learning more about them.

And my advice? Don't necessarily look with a telescope. Because the naked eye means you look a lot deeper at those celestial trailblazers.

And at the people you care about too.

Little Star.

I really do wonder what the hell you are - with a great deal of gratitude in the wondering.

An Awfully Big Adventure

“She asked where he lived. ‘Second to the right,’ said Peter, ‘and then straight on till morning.’”

— J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

This post really belongs in two sections. Hmmmmm... actually, three. Because there is a lot of gratitude, quite a bit about shoes, and it sits nicely in the 41 bucket list items for the year.

Multi-tasking!

What a woman.

How is it involved in the 41 Steps? I am glad you asked (even if you didn't). Step Number Five: Live Somewhere You Have Never Lived Before. So that I am. I am about to grace (they may disagree with that term) the fair shores of South East Queensland. To feel the sand between my currently broken toes on a daily basis, and to further my ambition of NEVER GOING THROUGH A CANBERRA WINTER EVER AGAIN.

EVER.

So off I head to the Land Of The Long Orange-Skinned Meter Maid. Where ugg boot and bikini combos are considered the height of fashion and my paleness is a weird attraction for Japanese tourists on the Main Beach at Surfers. Where people watching is more than a hobby, it's a way of life, and where the best coffee and pork belly in the Southern Hemisphere can be found if you don't think like a tourist.

If there was a bookshop closer than Coolangatta (sorry - Gold Coast) Airport, all would be for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Thank goodness for the interwebs.

As for the shoes - well, I am having to pack them. Which involves much effort. Much, much effort. And multiple pauses to appreciate just how lovely my shoesies are.

I am certain they will love their new home.

There are built in shoe racks in the wardrobes.

Mainly though, this post is about gratitude. Gratitude for those people who have made my time in the Can pretty damn amazing. Who have made me laugh until I've had to cross my legs and hope for the best; who have held my hand in some fairly spaztacular moments, several of them involving various hospital visits; who have cried with me, drank, eaten, cried, not cringed whilst I've sworn at the rugby and netty and AFL on TV, again when I've sworn at live rugby, cried some more; who have propped me up and been inspiring, irritating, huggable and horrible.

Who have loved me and been my friends.

Gratitude is not quite a strong enough word for the emotion I wish I could express for what you have given to me. But it will just have to do.

And as I set off on the reverse of the road trip that my gorgeous sister Oonagh and I made about six months ago, this time with a very suss Thelma to my Louise in tow (Thelma as far as I know didn't have a 5 o'clock shadow), I am happily aware that in a few days time, I will be crunching through said sand. And also, that not too far up the road from my new abode, a buccaneering boyo will soon be home from adventuring to help make my life well - interesting. To say the least. God help the Gold Coast.

I don't know why P. Pan was so keen on popping off the twig.

Life is a big enough adventure for this little duck.

And her several trillion pairs of shoes.

All That Is True

All That Is True

But for me his work has never been about the Eldorado cabaret posters of Bruant, or the cynical twisted grin of Mlle Weber as she enters a restaurant on the arm of her sister. It has always been about his fascination with the demi-monde and his - and I mean this - respect for the girls who made their living sleeping with men for money.