Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

I am grateful for...

29. mexican food - the Tex Mex version (which I know is probably a major insult to authentic mexican food). I'm a vegetable fajita girl. I love 'em with lots of sour cream and guacamole. I could eat so many of 'em that I could turn myself into a giant vegetable fajita. I love 'em, I love 'em, I love 'em.

30. lists - oh where would I be without my to-do lists? It would be struggle town, population me. That's for sure. I write grocery lists, reminder lists, presents-to-buy lists, people-to-call lists, things to do and even gratitude lists! :-) I just can't help myself. Maybe it's the writer in me needing to put pen to paper, for whatever reason. I don't know. Maybe it's because I can be so forgetful sometimes. Or maybe (and this is probably closer to the truth) I just like to be organised and in control. With lists I know where I am and I know where I've got to get to. Ahh the joy of ticking off a list!

31. J.K Rowling and 'Harry Potter' - I'm gearing up for the release of the second-to-last film next month. Can't wait! But it's not just the films that excite me, oh no. It's the books too, of course! I'm not the least bit embarrassed to admit that as a writer I certainly envy J.K Rowling's success. She did what we all dream of - she dedicated her life to her craft and it paid off. She got to write about what she wanted to, in the way she wanted to, and she was able to inspire us all in the process. I think she is wonderful and I admire her dedication to Harry Potter. I'm grateful for her imagination and how intricately she put that on the page. I'm grateful the world of Harry Potter exists because it has provided me with many, many hours of entertainment.

32. imagination - speaking of J.K Rowling's imagination got me thinking about just how magnificent the whole thing is. The imagination isn't tangible in the physical sense and yet, as any creative person, or child, can tell you; it's as real as everything else in this world. When I'm writing fiction and I'm making up characters and settings in my mind, they become palpable. The world I'm creating in my imagination is just as powerful as the 'real' world. And how brilliant is that?! How truly spectacular is it that we are able to conjure up people or places or events out of nothing, just with the power of our imagination. I'm so grateful for this ability. Without it I would scarcely be alive.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

I am grateful for...

25. incense - I am burning Nag Champa at this very moment. I love its fragrance and, of course, its mood altering qualities. That's right - the resin actually has a mood altering compound; call me stupid but I only just found this out! :-) I always knew Nag Champa had an effect on me. I always knew it made me feel calmer and helped me to meditate. But I never stopped to think about HOW it did this. Again, call me stupid...
I just love the smell. And there is something mystical about the way the smoke rises too. This was something I tried to describe in a poem I wrote many years ago. Maybe I was under a resin-induced 'high' at the time! ;-) Decide for yourself -

Smoke rises, curling like
a mini twister.
Out of the incense it burns,
a fire flame
of bright white hue.

A torch leading upward
until an invisible breath
blows the flame
into a cyclical dance.

Little smoke e’s
spin and spiral
like carvings
on an ancient cave wall.

Puffs dive as stingrays
might glide through clear water.
Or dragons might sneak
across a night sky.

Smoke spirits ascend
high in seamless air
they twist, they fumble
like acrobats of the mystical.

Or prisoners released
from an incense hell.

26. clouds - not the rumbling gray ones that spew rain at us, but the wispy ones that make patterns in the sky. Remember when you were a kid and you lay down on the grass to watch the clouds go by? Even as I sit here now, gazing out my window at the white fluffies floating in the sky, I can recall the wonder of childhood - when everything, even everyday clouds, had the potential to amaze you.

27. fireflies - it might seem strange for me to include these little beetles on my gratitude list, but writing about clouds reminded me of them. I've only seen a firefly once in my life and it was last year during a trip to the US with my partner. It was summer and we'd taken an evening stroll after dinner. As dusk settled around us I saw these tiny charges of light bursting in mid air. I was mesmerised! I felt the glee of discovering something truely amazing and I was instantly transported back to childhood where everything in the world was new and powerful and full of surprise. For that short moment my adult mind stepped aside and I was able to view those little bursts of firefly light with innocent eyes.

28. forests - green scenery in nature makes my heart sing; its as simple as that.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

I am grateful for...

21. Inception - I just saw this movie for the second time and I have to say it really blew me away...again. Of course you wouldn't expect anything less than magnificent from Christopher Nolan, the genius who brought us Memento. I love these types of films - the extraordinarily original ones, the movies that never really leave you. They hang around in the recesses of your mind for hours, days, weeks after you exit the cinema. They perplex you, they inspire you, they amaze you. They change your life. I lost myself in the world of Inception. It was unique and oh so captivating. Now that's the sign of a brilliant film!

22. driving - I love being in the car, either as the driver or a passenger. We were one of those families when I was growing up - the sunday drive type family. Especially when we were visiting my grandparents in Sydney. I have many a memory of driving through the city, my grandfather at the wheel. It was never about going to anywhere in particular; the act of sitting in the car and driving around was enough in itself. Once I grew up and got my own car, one of my favourite pastimes was to jump in my car, heading nowhere, and just drive. I'd sing along to my music and feel totally free. And maybe that's what it's all about - the freedom of movement. You're going somewhere, even if you don't know exactly where that is when you start out. Ahh, the joy of discovery, huh? :-)
Ironically, when I was an infant, travelling with me in a car was nothing short of torture. Just ask my family. Apparently, I would cry and scream from my car seat for the entire eight hour car trip from our home to Sydney. And then I would finally give up and fall asleep...five minutes from our destination!

23. internet - I often find myself saying to others - 'what did we do before we had the internet?' - and shockingly I just as often don't know how to answer my own question. One time I literally forgot how to look up a phone number without internet access. Yellow pages, anyone? It's probably a bad thing right, that we rely so desperately on this virtual world. But I don't know. Is it really? Everything is at our fingertips. You want information, you open your web browser. We have access to everything we could ever need. Surely this is great for our growth, our expansion as humans? Ok, I get that mindless surfing is an addictive and negative behaviour. But something I also understand is how the internet has opened the world to us. My eighty-six year old grandfather is online now. I can see him as I talk to him on Skype. This is invaluable given we live on opposite sides of the globe. And just think, without the wonder of the internet you wouldn't be able to read my blog. What a dreary world we'd be living in then! ;-)

24. dancing - much like my singing, my dancing is average at best. But no one ever said you had to be perfect at something to enjoy it. I know I'm in a good mood when I feel like dancing. And I know that dancing will only make me feel even more elated. Dancing puts a smile on my face! Right as I'm typing this I'm doing a bit of a shoulder sway, and a head bob, in my chair - Prince's 1999 is on the radio. :-)

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

I was away last week so this time it's a double gratitude list!!

I am grateful for...

13. gelato - I have just spent ten amazing days in Lake Como, Italy, where I managed to sample the gelato in many a village along the lake. My favourite is always to get a scoop of chocolate and a fruity type, say strawberry or mango. Love the combination of flavours! My gelato tip - always get it in a cup. I believe you get more gelato that way (which is of vital importance!) and all you get is the scrumptious taste sensation of the gelato itself, uninterrupted by an often stale cone.

14. purple - my absolute favourite colour. It does something to me when I see the colour purple. More than a soothing feeling, it's actually like a coming home, an embrace. It's appealing to my eye, that's for sure!

15. Dawson's Creek - teenage angst at its best! For those who didn't follow this show you might be wondering why I am so grateful for it. All I can say is that it was on when I was a teenager myself; I related to the characters. And the soppy romantic that I am clung to the Pacey-Joey storyline, viewing their developing love with such intensity you'd think it was real life! Embarrassing to admit, or not? I'm sure there are others (women!) out there who know where I'm coming from. Long did I dream of finding my own 'Pacey Witter'...and good news...I have! And my real life version is a thousand times better.

16. singing - I don't have a fabulous voice, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying belting out a tune as often as I can. Music is a wonderful creative gift and I'm so very grateful for it's place in our world. I admire those singers who can bring tears to my eyes with their soulful voice, or can make my heart literally expand in my chest with wonder. It amazes me how powerful an instrument our own voice can be, and how some singers sound like angels to me. Plus - singing is just fun! I love it!

17. The Sound of Music - keeping with the singing theme...I adored this movie as a child. In hindsight it was probably this film that sparked in me a love of singing. But it was more than that - it was actually the first movie that had a powerful impact on me. I remember watching it at a friend's house and just being blown away by the theatrics of it - ohh the singing, the Alps scenery, the love story. It was grand and amazing to my innocent, small-town-girl eyes. I think I wanted to be a part of it all. And so my love affair with movies began.

18. cinema - the whole experience of it! Nothing beats going into the auditorium, the lights going out and the music blasting out at you. Films are life changing for me and that's something I'm not embarrassed to admit. I adore them! I've found hope in a movie when I've needed it, I've been warmed by a love story, I've been broken by a tragedy. I know it's not real life, but on the contrary...if we allow films to speak to us, they will. If we allow movies to do more than just entertain us, we can discover something profound about the human condition - each film is a snap shot of a director's intention, a writer's vision and an actor's creativity. If that collaboration, with all its imagination and skill, is not a perfect example of how truely brilliant it is to be a human being, then I don't know what is.

19. turquoise ocean - last year my partner and I had a wonderful holiday in Zanzibar. The colour of the ocean there blew my mind. It was so incredibly breathtaking. I've never seen anything like it. In fact, words fail me, so take a look at the photos below. They say it all...

20. ladybirds
- they're so cute!! When I was a little girl I went through a bit of a ladybird obsession. It probably had something to do with the fact that they weren't scary in any way - unlike the heaps of poisonous, or hairy, or just generally freaky, spiders that reside in Australia! So one day I caught a bunch of ladybirds from the grass in our backyard and kept them in a hand-made garden; I used a tupperware container that had a lid with ready-made air holes in it and I filled it with grass clippings and twigs and leaves. I enjoyed playing God - creating a 'natural' environment for my new ladybird friends. I spent hours watching them climb up and down the blades of grass, intrigued by these harmless, beautiful little insects. I especially loved watching them take flight, spread their ruby red wings and dash from one side of the tupperware to the other. Spectacular!