Snippets of Conversation #4

I haven’t done one of these for a while. I gotta start paying more attention again.

I was driving with the window down today, slowing down as I approached a round-a-bout.

Two elderly people, a man and a woman, were about to cross the road after I passed. As I drove by them slowly, I heard from the woman –

“Like I said to you before, there’s someone up there looking out for me…”

Boy would I love to hear the story behind why she thought that.

But I like where she’s going. I too believe there are people up there, looking out for us.

Some days it may feel like they’ve gone on holiday… but other days, I swear you can feel them.

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com
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What I would say

I did something similar many years ago. I wrote an open letter to those that I loved, or at least that was the heading.

This one is a bit different. These are just random thoughts I have many times a day, some less frequent, but nonetheless they inhabit my brain.

Some thoughts have permanent seats in there.

These thoughts are for the everyones in my life.

And they are things I think of saying… and one day, I plan to say…

But for now, I DON’T.

For whatever reasons. It’s not the right time. I’m not ready. It’s still too close to me.

Some things I may never say, and you can rightly guess at those from the list below… they are more a fantasy, like the things you wish you could say without consequence.

So, without revealing too much, here goes…

“You have no idea.”

“I’ve had more pain than you can imagine.”

“Just fuck off already… and don’t come back.”

“Are you going to care already, or do you not realise other people exist?”

“I will not chase you.”

“I’ve been waiting a long time to tell you this.”

“I am so sorry I didn’t include you all those years ago. I hope you can forgive me.”

“I so wish it was you instead of her.”

“Run while you can.”

“All those years ago when we suddenly got weird with each other, I always cared about you. I was never upset.”

“Sit down… I have a story to tell.”

“Stop sticking up for them.”

“I wish I could tell you, but it’s not my business to say anything. But what you suspect, is ALL TRUE. And I 100% support you.”

“Don’t be nosy… your life isn’t perfect either.”

“Your friendship fills me up.”

“Thank you for not asking me about it. From the bottom of my heart (๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ข) thank you.” ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ™

What are some things you wish you could say, but feel you can’t for whatever reason?

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Things that shit me… #20

OMG, this is the worst one yet.

Get ready, hold your horses…

Things that shit me…

Cafes that stop making coffee, WAY before their closing time.

This one is WAY serious, more so because we are still in lockdown.

We have a local cafe that we go to, and we love it because all we need to do is walk there. There is a park nearby as well, and if you go a tiny bit further, you can even see the water.

But ever since lockdowns began last year, their trading hours have permanently changed to the closing time of 2pm.

That is such a sad thing for us, because we have our afternoon coffee at 3pm. Sigh. ๐Ÿ˜’

Anyway. The other day we noticed the signs out the front from the new kids on the block. Not even a year old, there’s a new cafe, just doors down from our dependable one. Its sign says, it closes at 3pm.

GREAT!

We headed on down the other weekend, all 3 of us, to grab an arvo coffee and try out these new guys.

We would give them a shot.

The whole time, Hubbie was like, “let’s get there quick, they’re gonna close soon.”

We were minutes away at 2:30pm. “No way!” I said.

We walked in literally at 2:33pm.

It was open! There were cakes and really delicious pastries and pies. We got excited ordering, and then another woman came over to the coffee machine right up behind the front counter, and removed the tray from it.

Hubbie was immediate. “Oh, are you not making coffees anymore?”

Their faces told us EVERYTHING.

But we had just chosen sweet things. There was silence. The coffee machine woman paused. Then after what seemed like an eternity of nobody saying anything, she said with extreme reluctance.

“Ok. I’ll make the coffees.”

WHAT THE ACTUAL F$#K????

It was probably 2:35pm at that stage. A full 25 minutes before closing time. The lady who had been getting our treats tried to smooth things over, saying “oh, we’ve had a quiet afternoon which is why we cleaned up earlier…”

Yeah, sure lady, then change your sign if you wanna do that. Don’t advertise ‘closing time at 3pm.’

Instead try a sign that says ‘closing and cleaning the coffee machine whenever the hell we feel like it.’

I tell you, the anger was rife and growing the more time wore on. That day. The next day. Throughout the week. Every time I thought of that coffee lady’s face as she begrudgingly decided to grant us some caffeine and provide us the opportunity to give them a chance, I just wanted to scream.

We will not be going back.

You know this happens a lot. So many times, if a cafe is closing, they will make it their mission to make you feel as uncomfortable as possible if you decide to order a coffee (takeaway remember!) in their last 30 minutes of operating time.

This isn’t the first time it’s happened to us. In fact, it is so common, that when we ordered coffee at The Butchers Daughter Cafe in Mornington within the last 15 minutes of their day, the girl there told us so surprisingly:

“We are closing soon so don’t mind the tables and chairs, but please take your time and enjoy the coffee.”

OMG, what? Massive points earned, MASSIVE!

I recently came across a social media post displaying another cafe’s opening hours during lockdown. Have a look:

Note, coffee off at 1:55. 5 minutes before closing time! What a realistic time to stop making coffees! I don’t expect them to take my order at closing time, hell no… but 25 minutes earlier?

HELL YES!

A coffee does not take long to make as these guys know, yet begrudged face lady can’t put on a smile long enough to make an impression on new customers!

Tsk tsk tsk. I am so angry, woof, I could name and shame SO easily.

But I won’t. Instead if you DM me, I’ll tell you that way. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mornington Peninsula cafes, you have been warned!

A photo of a coffee that wasn’t made begrudgingly

My ‘No’ List

Every so often you come across a realisation that makes you stop and think, and it literally blows your mind.

You discover yourself in a whole other way.

I came across a blog post on Instagram recently, by author Sally Hepworth. She had been interviewed on a podcast and had happily shared her list of no’s… that is, things she says a firm NO to, time and time again.

Her list was so surprising, so long, so wide and varied, that she was asked to share it again… the short version, I believe. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Here are some (emphasis on ‘some’) of the insane things on her list that she says NO to:

  1. Entering the school grounds of her kids for ANY reason

2. Cooking dinner

3. Remembering birthdays

4. Entertaining at her home (apart from her close friends, and then it’s only takeout ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ)

5. Talking on the phone (unless it’s work or an emergency)

6. Dancing

7. Playing with her kids – not like park outings or play dates, she means more like hide and seek or dolls ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

8. Going to the supermarket

I KNOW! MIND BLOWN, right?

I was freaking out, because firstly she has 3 kids. And secondly, I do all of those things, sometimes daily!

It must be said here that Sally has a very supportive husband who pretty much does all the things she doesn’t as she goes about supporting the family with her day-job, i.e. writing.

Nonetheless, it was an enlightening and thought-provoking piece, and it left me with the ultimate question…

What is on my ‘no’ list?

I went to Hubbie the next day, a little upset. I actually felt like I didn’t have much of a ‘no’ list! Sally was so badass, sure of herself, laying down rules and foundations, etc etc.

And Hubbie said to me “that’s not a bad thing!”

Awww. Trust him to make me feel better.

He assured me that not having a big no list was not bad. It meant I was easy going and chilled about things, and that was great in itself, just as Sally is awesome for setting her boundaries!

We can all be awesome, and are awesome… just in different ways. ๐Ÿ˜

So, I must ask, and I bet you’re already wondering, counting, pondering… what is on your definitive ‘no’ list? This is the list that you are very clear-cut about, no umms, maybes, sometimes yes, sometimes no.

This is dead set, NO.

Now that’s not to say that you aren’t allowed to ever change your no list. In fact I would be a little disappointed if you didn’t change at least some through the years. That’s life, and we are always changing and evolving, shifting as we enter different life stages and come across new realisations.

Do you wanna know what’s on my list? (But you have to promise to share some of yours!)

Here’s my very small ‘no’ list, and I’ve been sitting on it for weeks now so I know it won’t get much longer, despite my hardest to be super badass ๐Ÿคฃ

  1. Ironing. It is overrated, time wasting, and I hate it. I admit, if I have to do it (pre-fancy occasion), I begrudgingly pull out the iron… but I curse the whole time, and still think it’s shit when I’m done.
  2. Super high heels. Like, why would I want to risk killing myself, and buckling my toes in the process? And walking like a baby horse that’s just stood up for the first time?
  3. The cold, and cold activities. The snow can wait for me, like all my life.
  4. Sucking up to people. I physically can’t do it. I recoil. If you think you need to suck up to someone, news flash, you don’t, you just need them out of your life.
  5. Coke. Never. Ever. I found my kindred spirit without meeting them in my uni days, when scrawled along the outside of a building I saw the graffitied words “coke is great toilet cleaner.” Now when I ask baby girl what coke is good for, she says happily “cleaning toilets.” Case closed.
  6. Any messy activities baby girl engages in, like play doh, glitter, glue, paint… must have newspaper underneath, and must be supervised! (Not so much a ‘no’, as a ‘no buts’). I’ve even been known to set her up outside on sunny days, on the grass, just so I have less mess to deal with.

That’s it. That’s my minuscule list, but I guess looking over it I’m a little badass about it. ๐Ÿคฃ It’s really easy to go the easy route and start listing food and drinks you don’t eat, but that’s cheating a bit, and unless it’s something truly shocking, I don’t think it counts as one to put on the ‘no’ list.

So now, share! Please tell me yours. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ“ฃ

Photo by Daniel Herron on Unsplash

Expand your horizons

We live so much of our life looking in.

In the day-to-day, and even in the wider aspect.

I realised this after walking to a nearby cafe this morning to grab a coffee. I placed my order, went outside to wait…

And immediately pulled out my phone.

I scrolled, I scrolled. After some time I realised there was nothing fascinating on it, and remembered the days of pre-mobile devices, and how when you waited for something, well you just WAITED.

(Yes I do remember the days of pre-mobiles, even though it was a long time ago).

I initially looked around me. The groups of people, partners and those with dogs on leashes, sitting around at the tables out front, sipping on hot beverages, talking, making company.

Still, I was only focused on what was in front of me.

I made a conscious effort then, to look UP. Around. At the crisp blue sky, the houses in the neighbourhood that I just walked by without a second glance. The trees, and which ones had branches that seemed to touch the sky, and which housed nests for all the bird-life by the bay.

We focus inwards and on the little details so much, that we become consumed by them. They become our all, our life, our everything. And we forget about the bigger picture. The trees that loom in the background, providing us context of place. The sky that is so vast and huge that we forget it is even there. The sun that sets, and rises, its predictability so guaranteed that we take its warmth for granted.

We live our lives in this superficial manner. We become obsessed with trivial things, believe our problems are the greatest, and try to control all the storylines within our life path.

We must be more like nature. Going with the ebb and flow of it all. Shifting with the Winter breeze, or dancing under the Summer sun.

Take stock of what is going on in your life, sure. But also remember your place in the scheme of things. Instead of asking, “how will this affect me?” and trying to control the outcome, perhaps ask instead:

“How can I change me, and the world in doing so?”

Look at the bigger picture. Remind yourself of the sky, the stars. Look up. Look around.

And then take a step forward.

Photo by Jill Burrow on Pexels.com

Baby girl says the darndest things #11

I had to share this beautiful moment from earlier tonight, even if just so it’s stored away somewhere, a back-up against unreliable memories, worries and useless facts.

Baby girl and I were watching The Babysitters Club on Netflix. When it first came out I was excited: I thought it’d be a good thing to share with baby girl, and I could relive the book series I loved so much all those years ago.

It HAS been a good thing.

Watching a scene tonight between Dawn and her mother, baby girl turned to me lovingly, with a wistful look in her eye:

“Mama, when I grow up… I can’t wait to look after you.”

Awwww!

Before adding sweetly “now you tell me that when you grow up, you’ll look after me!”

๐Ÿคฃ

Darling, I’m getting there. I’m still trying to ‘grow up,’ whatever that means. โค

The 500 club

So, yay! I reached a milestone with my blog the other week…

My other blog.

Carcrashgratitude to be precise. This blog that I created, birthed from my parent blog, this smikg.com, has now amassed over 500 followers.

519 to be exact, as of this writing. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

And it’s great! My offshoot blog has almost doubled the followers of my original writing blog, and I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER.

And why? Because gratitude, that’s why.

I just wanted to write and celebrate my little win, my ‘happy progression’ as it were, but also speak to you about how I came to be here, and place some perspective, some thoughts on this experience, and maybe even offer some advice for some of you who may be starting out…

So how have I managed to exceed the number of followers with my second blog when it arrived on the scene two years after my first one?

  1. Consistency is key. I blog every single day about an item of gratitude. Looking at my latest title, you will see that it’s at 1887 days of consistency.

That’s 1887 days of gratitude in a row. If I said it was easy, I would be LYING. I’ve almost given up many times, and all those hard times was when life got really, really hard. But I was proving something to myself, more than anything else.

So, I’m still here.

2. Second. Photos help A LOT. I can’t tell you how often a well-placed photo gives me more likes.

Clearly, I don’t do it for the likes. We’ll come back to this one in a moment. But people are a visual species, and seeing something, even if it isn’t your photo (the Pexels free photos option via WordPress is great) encourages a person to click on your post sooner. The photo tells them the story, before your post does.

Also, food photos tend to be really popular. Just saying for any would-be chefs.

3. Don’t just follow for the sake of getting likes back, please. That is so trite. Be original for goodness sakes.

Just be honest. I think we’re all immune and desensitised to commonplace, fence-sitting ideas and thoughts. Be yourself. No one else will be.

4. I haven’t overly promoted myself in all this time. I haven’t promoted myself, really at all. In the WordPress world, I’ve liked blogs that I genuinely like, and let the blog grow organically from that.

Just remember… I have been doing this carcrashgratitude blog for 5 years now. So 500 followers in 5 years, is really not much…

That’s about 100 a year. Less than 10 a month. Of course more recently my reach has grown exponentially, but we are talking averages.

5. Why don’t I care about followers? Well let’s be honest, I do, kind of, because it means that people are appreciating what I’m saying and my words are having an impact. So that, I care for, greatly.

But if you are a writer, you are going to write, because you love writing. It’s something in you, and no matter how much you write and you write and you write, you will never ever get it out.

The writing bug that is.

Therefore, people clicking like or follow, is just the icing on the cake, the sugary sweet, superficial stuff.

It’s not the bread, the carb, the density of the cake. The whole piece that just took you hours to bake and get out of the oven.

So, if you’re a writer and just starting out, keep going. You’ll be glad you did.

If you just wanna join the ride, my carcrashgratitude blog can be found here, with a little story about how it all came to be, here.

And yes I am being cheeky and all self-promoting, I’ve done that before too, here.

Ha ha ha. Now I am being too much.

Anyway, thanks for joining me on this ride.

To quote a masterful genius…

“We are gathered here today, to get through this thing called LIFE.”

๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–

Photo by Tessa Wilson on Unsplash

What I can and can’t read

I had a revelation the other week.

Not really a full-blown knock my socks off lightbulb moment, more this was a slow burn, a gradual dawning and coming to understand what it is I should read, and what I should not…

This idea cemented itself in me as I had sat on the couch before midnight, finishing the last 20 pages of the novel The Light Between Oceans, while CRYING MY EYES OUT.

I can’t do sad stories. Not now. Maybe even, not ever.

I realised it first when I was reading Burial Rites. A deeply haunting, fascinating tale, but ultimately one that made me sick to my stomach as I finished the last chapter. Actually, sick, in a gagging way.

Following on from that with my latest read, The Light Between Oceans, and though I didn’t feel nausea, I was deeply anxious for the characters from the second half of the novel onwards.

At one point I nearly stopped reading when I thought there was the possibility that MY IDEAL ENDING wouldn’t eventuate.

But I convinced myself, surely it would, surely there weren’t people raving about an amazing book, when it left you on such a sad note?

Well, guess what?

IT DID.

Really, it broke my heart. I have no bad words to say about the writing, the plot, the setting… the author describes the characters and place so poetically, and with such elegance, that to know this book received many awards is absolutely not a surprise.

Even the plot, which ebbs and flows, growing gradually at first, that becomes a can’t-put-this-down, edge-of-your-seat page-turner that you must keep reading towards the end. No faults, at all.

But, I have to question, and I ponder, and I think, again and again and again…

What kind of frame of mind does one have to be in to write this kind of story? How can you feel any sense of satisfaction, knowing readers won’t be satisfied?

And what kind of frame of mind does a reader have to be in, to actually LOVE this type of sad story?

It is driving me crazy.

I’m still IN the novel, the feelings and the melancholy and the feeling of loss still following me, and I feel I will never read an award-winning book again…

Because they all seem to deal with huge, hard, really difficult and sad emotions, and I can’t do sad.

It reminds me of another book I read many years ago, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. She wrote something I still remember to this day. She always felt she had to read a certain type of genre book, but those kinds of books brought her no joy.

They brought her no happiness. So she was going to stop reading them, accept that they weren’t for her, and choose ones that brought her happiness.

This decision brought her a huge sense of liberation, and I think I need to do the same.

Maybe if life was all going to plan, and there were no dramas in my life, and I had no problems… maybe then.

Maybe then I could read a sad story, just to know, awaken the senses.

I get that life will always have it’s problems, but I seriously believe that maybe if my life was devoid of confusion, deep frustration, and things were generally more peachy than keen, then maybe, maybe then I could be happy about a sad ending that made me heave with sobs, my pjs becoming wet from my stream of tears.

Like, if I was bored. Life was so good, it was boring.

Yeah, if I was bored. Like that’s ever going to happen. ๐Ÿ™„

I need to know how you feel. Can you read sad stories? Have you read this one? Am I just overly empathetic and feeling too much?

You know what it made me realise though? I wanted to read stories of youth, of drama, crazy days, love and lust and gossip and secrets, revelations and family, friendship, coming-of-age and acceptance.

All bundled up into a nice little off-the-beaten-track package.

I wanted to read, MY STORY. And you know what they say?

Write the book you want to read.

Well, I better keep on then…

Slow steps are still steps

“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” – Paulo Coelho.

This quote greeted me today as I sat down to work from my desk at home. I managed to smile somewhat amused, while wondering –

“Does the same apply if you’ve fallen 216 times… and it wasn’t just in this COVID year?”

“Shouldn’t getting up then, be harder?”

The answer came to me, like a whisper in the air…

‘Falling down that many times should make it easier.’

Tonight’s sunset. Possibly the last I will snap for this year. A year that has been rife with drama, heartache, loss, sadness, frustration, and SO much sickness.

I, like many, are heading into the new year VERY cautiously. I do like the idea of a fresh slate, but remember, the construction of life, of time, into days weeks months years, is a human construction.

One digit in the year date changing, does not mean things will magically change.

We, US, have the power to change our life and our state, every day, every hour, and every minute with our decisions.

Scary stuff, right?

As a kid I always wanted to know SO BAD, what was going to happen to me in my life? Where would I end up? What would I do? Who would I be surrounded with?

I’ve come to realise that we just aren’t meant to know.

Life can be seriously scary, and the last few years have shown me that. Tell a person the obstacles, hardships and frustrations they will encounter over the next few years, and they will likely collapse and die… and I am not even exaggerating. People would just give up. Cry mercy and throw their hands in the air, throw in the towel as it were.

Nothing.

So instead, we know nothing. This is how it is meant to be. This is how we get through life.

Slowly. Minute by minute.

Hour by hour.

Day by day.

Step by step.

Living in the present moment. Being in it wholeheartedly. Dedicating ourselves to the nature of just being, and by being in that space, finding that slowly, but surely, we are inching forward.

That is my plan for the new year. Really, my only plan.

We can’t guess, nor can we assume to know what will happen. It would be ridiculous to. And this past year has shown us ALL, how we really do know nothing.

It might be good. It might be bad. Likely, it will be both.

But how much of either, and when, and how?

Don’t fret.

As the sun soon sets on the day which many people will celebrate the end of, remember…

It’s all in your head. Sure, have fun in the moment. God knows we deserve it.

But remember, each day…

Step, by step.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Getting to Christmas amidst a pandemic

I had to question myself the other day, only days before the big festive day.

“Why was I so behind in Christmas preparations when we had been in iso over half the year?”

Why wasn’t I prepared?

Why didn’t I get to it earlier?

What was I doing ALL THAT TIME?

It’s enough to make you feel down and unaccomplished, especially in comparison to those that share their Christmas achievements, way from, I don’t know, OCTOBER.

But it’s been a tough year. A tough year for many. A tough year for ALL.

Like something I read on social media… we have all been in different boats. Some of us went through the pandemic in a fully-manned yacht… others were swept up in the storm from within the rickety confines of their dinghy.

Everyone has had such a different journey, so it’s important not to compare their covid boat ride, with yours.

Just like all of life, really.

We are all on a different life journey. Things will happen at different times for ALL of us.

We will be sad when others are happy, and vice versa.

We will be well when others are sick.

And vice versa.

Personally, I had both good and bad. Good in that I was fortunate enough to get a job just as the lockdown began.

Bad in that I experienced a bevy of health problems that manifested physically, and then caused me a great deal of mental stress.

When you throw in the worries, routines, and schedules of all those around you – children, partners, parents, family, friends…

No wonder we have barely held on.

I am here to tell you.. if you’ve managed to get to Christmas by the skin of your teeth… it’s ok.

This is your journey, remember. Be easy on yourself.

Look after yourself this holiday season. Be kind to others, but most importantly yourself.

You are here. You have survived. That is more than enough.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’ช