So this post was inspired by the lovely Dianne Sylvan (you can visit her website here), who reminded me to do something I don’t do enough, but should do more often, and that is to stop, take time and be thankful for different things in my life. This is a great concept, so – as per her lovely invitation ;) – here is my own list, in no particular order. For now.
- Rainy Nights, Overcast Days, Sunshowers & Thunderstorms
When it came to rain when I was a kid on our farm, I’m pretty sure the things I got up to during the big thunderstorms we had, were probably not the safest. But when you’re a kid, for better or worse safety isn’t exactly the first thing on your mind most of the time; as it was then, some of my most precious childhood memories were born under a cloudy sky sometimes in very dubious circumstances. Running around on a beach under the dark, dark grey clouds of an impending electrical storm late one summer afternoon, or going pippy fishing just before one, for enough of the tiny shellfish to make a big boulibase at one of the last holidays we ever spent at one side of our family’s holiday house.
Or out on our farm, watching my grandad run up the hill under whipping gum trees in the wildest, brightest sunshower I’ve ever seen; my sister and I rounding up cattle in the rain with our dad on the bike and driving them in one big mob back to the yards by the front gate, with cold, wet air numbing our faces and the collars of the flannelette shirts we’d borrowed from dad’s drawer turned up against the chill; Laura and I taking our horses swimming in a flooded gully and galloping like crazy people, filling up our boots with water & having to explain how we’d destroyed said boots to mum later. The way mist wrapped around everything when it rained. The way the bushland smelled in and after it.
But there’s other not so specific things I love about it, things not attached to memories or events. I love the sound of it on a tin roof, laying there listening to it on mornings when I get to sleep in, the smell of it in the earth, the sound of it over stones and falling from a height, the way it connects me with the sky when I’m out in it, the noise it makes out in the night when I’m laying in bed wrapped up and hanging on to the sound of it drenching everything…but mostly, the way standing in it makes me feel like I’ve been washed clean of the world a little bit, and takes me home to a place and time that don’t exist anymore. When and where everything was less complicated and hard, and nowhere near as grown up. That alone makes me love it ten times more than the brightest day under the sun.
- The Smell and Promise of Books
If you are a book lover, and you have loved them your whole life, this will make perfect sense. The smell of a new book says that even if the story you are holding in your hands has been read by a million people, over a dozen generations, no-one will ever have gone on that journey with this book. You’re it, the one at the beginning. If it’s a brand new story in a brand new book, the smell is of an adventure yet to be taken in the same way. It’s like a beaten track that you’ve never seen before and you care neither that few others have gone before, or that you don’t even have a map. Like I said, an adventure.
Old books though…the smell of them, the feel of them in your hands as you run your fingers over old school binding and flip back a dozen dog eared pages: this is something that I love in a way that’s sort of hard to describe. To give you an example, someone for my 21st birthday, bought me at auction one of the first editions of a collection of Tennyson poems. In the front, there’s an inscription that dates back, I don’t know, maybe 80 or 90 years. But it was given with love from a man to his wife, neither of them probably ever realising that that same book would one day inhabit a space on my bookshelf here in 2010. The thing about old books that I love? It’s that you get more than one story – the one with it’s name on the cover. You get a dozen stories – a whisper of every other person who has experienced an author’s world through this one, ageing portal bound in old leather with a fraying ribbon attached as a bookmark. One day, my story too will get added to theirs and then, just maybe, my children or someone else entirely will feel what I did. To me, I don’t know…that’s just magic, really.
- Drinks on Friday Night in Summer
In summer, the evening air coming off the Harbour up to either of the foreshores is balmy, tangy and blissful. Standing there in it, watching the sun set and the lights of the city start to glitter under the changing night sky, you would think that nothing could improve the feeling you have in that moment. That is until you’ve tried the killer mojitos at the Opera Bar. Or the Lychee Martini from the Cruz Bar that makes your senses dance. OR the good old vodka and lemonade at the Station Hotel in the North Sydney CBD, guaranteed to be served by any number of hot waiters (there’s so MANY) to you and the girls from work after 5pm on a Friday night when finally you are able to catch up on the stuff that actually matters. You know. Office goss, whether or not the stationery delivery guy is taken because WOW etc. etc. Friday night drinks under Friday night lights in an Australian summer? Dear Rest of the World, thanks for showing up, but you will never beat that.
- The Guy From The Place Who Buys Coffee from That Shop
You are God’s gift to suits and ties, my friend. If this is the only forum in which I ever get to say anything, please know that I maybe…occasionally…hang out a liiiittle bit longer some mornings just in case you come in to get your morning fix, so I don’t miss you. And believe me when I say I’m not the only chick on my street (and at least two of the surrounding ones that I know of) who reckons you are deadset unmissable. Also on behalf of women everywhere, I’d like to thank your parents. Without them, you’d still be a twinkle in your mother’s eye and I’d still be going there just for coffee and peanut butter on toast.
- My Best Girlfriend Melle’s Perfect Taste in Just About Everything
I hope for your sake you have a Melle in your life. She is amazing, kind, funny, smart, wise, gluten free and loves a good shirtless scene. Which in my mind pretty much puts her at Marvel Heroine status for me. Ladies, I don’t know what the best birthday present is that you’ve ever received from your best girlfriends. A day spa, perhaps. Maybe tickets to a Sex And The City Movie (for your sake I sincerely hope it wasn’t the last one.) But I’m sorry: until someone buys you tickets to a Bradley Cooper-starring movie, and sets you up with the best honeycomb and chocolate bar in the UNIVERSE, which she specifically hands you at the exact precise moment when said Cooper removes his shirt to sunbake in an Xtreme screen setting…well. Your best friends may as well have bought you a chicken, a fork and two tickets to the Gumboot Throwing Olympics. But Melle is God’s gift to me. She listens, doesn’t judge, calls me out when I’m being an idiot and reminds me that even in the bleak, beauty can be found. She’s proof that the old saying is true: best friends are the family you pick for yourself.
Also, chick if you read this – yes, I still have your Jason Statham collection & also plan never to give back Moonlight. Kaythanks. ;) xo
- Patty Griffin Singing That Awesome Song I Heard on That Episode of Bones That One Time
My Music-I-Will-Love-Till-I-Die playlist changed forever the day I heard her sing this song.
- Time I Spent With My Mum and Dad
A couple weeks ago I went home and spent some time with my family, a lot of it with my mum working around our house and cleaning up out the back where the newest member of the Brown Family – Buzz, the 6 month old Border Collie with a hate of blow flies, a love of getting sprayed in the face with water, an absolute adoration of my mum and a penchant for retrieving pond scum and putting it at the back door – has been wreaking a little havoc.
I have a really strong, amazing relationship with my mum – she’s my best friend as much as one of my parents – so it was such a blessing to talk to her about stuff that sometimes a girl can only talk about with her mum. Also, she’d just gotten back from South Africa after spending three weeks there with her sister (my aunty) and another lady they knew. She hadn’t just gone over to holiday, either. The stories she told me about the orphanages and hospitals they visited, full of adults and brimming with kids infected with HIV/AIDS, were incredible. They had gone there to deliver clothes and supplies to some of the poorest and unloved people in the world, people whose lives are so far removed from the luxury of my own. Seeing how that had affected her, and learning about her life outside of being my mum – it just reminded me of all the things I love about her as a person, too.
It was great seeing my dad as well. He works so, so hard but has also taken on this other incredible project, working with an organisation called Kairos. He does it through our church, but basically it’s ministering to inmates at a big prison a couple of towns over. It’s been amazing seeing the change doing it has brought about in him as a person, even as a dad in some ways – just because of the lessons about life he’s learned from those men, and then passes on to us as his kids.
He tells me how profound it is to hear the stories of these guys, and to tell them – not that that they’re innocent of the crimes that they’re in there for, or that they should be let go – but that they’re loved. And thought about, and cared for. He was telling me how incredibly affecting that was on such hard and a lot of the times broken men. He was telling me this story about how one of the other guys from the church who worked on the Kairos team had had his house broken into the night before he was due to visit the prison, to talk to them – of all things – about the power of forgiveness. This guy told his story to these inmates that next night, in tears, about how violated and hurt the break in had made them feel, and the feelings of unsafety that were now attached to this house that they’d lived in and loved for years. Later, apparently two of the inmates in the group – who had be incarcerated for robbery – came to him and told this guy how much he’d moved them to feel real remorse for their actions for the first time. Dad said something really profound then about it all, that I’ll never forget.
He said so many men in that prison weren’t men at all. They were scared kids trapped inside a man’s frame. I guess that’s what I love about him. His ability to see past the worst in people, and the worst they’ve done, with a mind that foremost seeks the good, and does so with a forgiving heart. If I grow up to have half smallest portion of that kind of attitude towards life, then I am further ahead than I can be thankful for.
- Tripping Over And Getting Treated by The Best Looking Radiographer in The History Of Ever
Oh, my friend. Between you and coffee shop guy I am SET in the unrequited-date stakes. Please know that if it took an another stack into a sapling to be treated by you, I would seriously consider it. Even if I had to use this same set of bloody irritating crutches I’m on for another month. Why? Because you are the best thing in a white coat I’ve seen since Goran Visji-whatshisname who plays that Luka guy in ER. I mean Holy Toledo Batman. You can crash my heart-cart any day that ends in Y.
- My Sister
Lol, if you read this – this is just a note to say how proud I am of you. You are *amazing* at what you do, and I’m so proud of all the awesome stuff you have achieved. Starting your own business was brilliant; sometimes I know you talk down how hard it is to do what you do, but for the record the videos I’ve seen you put the most into? They put even the best work of others to absolute shame because while they might spend the same amount of time & effort putting it together, ultimately it’s the heart you put into doing what you do that leave anything less for dust. You are a class act, and for the record your cooking has improved out of sight. That said, I am betting if it’s night when you are reading this and Steve isn’t home, I’m guessing you still had Weetbix for dinner. I love you and I think you’re amazing. Despite all those times you come up to me and say ‘I’m going to swing my arm and if your head is still in the way that isn’t my fault’. Cause I’m pretty much thinking till we’re in our 80’s some things will never change.
- Writing, Writing, Writing, Writing, Writing
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t or haven’t loved to write, but it was a very long time before I really published anything anywhere. Aside from my novel (which you haven’t properly worked on in ages, yell the characters in my head), I’ve been doing a lot of stuff on here. So right now, I’m loving blogging like it’s nobodies business. But another thing I’m loving is taking the opportunities provided to me by some amazing people to write about all things fun and, well, Vampire Diaries related for their amazing sites. To some people this might sound, I don’t know, like lip service maybe, and I don’t bloody well care if it ends up sounding like a self indulgent Oscar’s speech, but I know what I mean and how much I mean it; I was raised to know the importance of being thankful and saying it out loud. So, here’s my list of thankyous – and for the record, the one I owe each of you is massive.
- Sharie @ paulwesleyfans.com – Hun, I can honestly say I’ve never bonded with another human being over the perfection of a man’s abs before, but there’s a first time for everything right? You gave me my first shot at writing articles for a big site and for that I’m so much more appreciative than I can ever express. Also, your taste in vampires is spot on. Just so’s you know. I’m talking PERFECTO.
- Red & Vee @ vampire-diaries.net – You two are well known for the brilliant job you do both in not only promoting, encouraging and supporting this show, but also giving fans an awesome forum in which to express their thoughts, ideas and opinions. What people might not get to hear about so much is how genuinely wonderful, kind and encouraging you are as people outside this odd and ever in flux world of fandom. The pair of you are smart, tough, honest, funny and so pithy that quite frankly it disturbs me a little. Thanks for all the ways in which you encourage me to be a better writer. And a member of Team Matt. Now….where’s my perfect ten? Oh look, here it is under this giant pile of Zach Roerig articles.
- Ruthie @ vampirediariesonline.com – Soooo, I’m pretty sure you and me are the people keeping Skype in business, huh ;) Long before you gave me the chance to write for you, you became my friend, and for my part I’m so grateful that I’ve had a chance to get to know you outside all this. But as far as writing opportunities, you’ve given me a couple of whoppers and I am stoked to be working with you. Also, if I die, I want that recap I did for the Season 2 premiere to be on my epitaph. Was a monster to write, but I’m buggered if I’ll ever write a better one, so it’s coming with me.
And to everyone else who encourages me with my writing – my family, my friends, complete strangers, and even that chick who linked to my in her forum post and said I was mental (really, chick? You’re only just now picking that up?). Far out. I really owe you all something a little bit massive.
Speaking of massive, ooh dear. All this loving of stuff turned into a rather whopping post didn’t it. Oy. Well, I guess it’s a good sign when the things you love and are thankful for take up more space than your lament and sadness for things you wish were different.
So, until next time, you lovely person who stayed awake for the three weeks it probably took you to read this to the end. Seriously, in your honour my next one may just a be a haiku.