Simple pleasures in Life #4


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This tree. It’s winter here in Brisbane, and this is a tree on the main street near my house. Every time I go past this tree, even when I’m rushing off to work, uni, or somewhere else, I can’t help but look over to it, smile and feel happy – it’s just so pretty when most of the other trees are bare! So I wanted to share it with you.

This tree makes me happy

Simple pleaseures in Life #3


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After handing this assignment in (first one for semester 2) I nearly caved under the pressure of this 7day/week schedule and dropped the subject. When I got the assignment back tonight I got my usual cringing, sick feeling as I scroll down to the criteria sheet at the end, praying with each page flicking by: “Please be at least a 5! Please be at least a 5!”. Finally getting to the end I see… a 7! So the 3 x 4am and the 1 x 5am nights paid off! Ok, it still doesn’t make up for having no real life, but right now I’m feeling pretty damn chuffed. [Insert Happy Dance here]

Keep on keeping on


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My gosh it’s been so long since I’ve posted – what a whirlwind 8mths that has been! I am amused to see from my last post that I’ve actually come full circle; back to having a sore back.

In the meantime, there was this random sicknesses (C-Diff is really not pleasant, it’s a bit like have sudden bouts of food poisoning every few days for 3mths), starting a new relationship with an old ex, a cruise around the Pacific Islands with lots of cocktails and snorkeling, the dreaded start back at Uni after my 12mth sabbatical and all the doubts that came with it (was I doing the right thing? Would I remember how to write an assignment? How will I cope not having my group of Uni friends there with me to rely on because they’re now a year ahead of me? How will I cope with full-time Uni and full-time work again…??), another change in household flatmates, a negative boyfriend who became jealous of time spent slaving over 9 assignments in 8wks instead of spending time with him, migraines lasting 2wks at a time (but now sorted with some fabulous preventative drugs), deciding the guy should be moved back to ex status, two weeks glorious Uni holidays on which I found out I had torn not one, but two, of my lower spinal discs because I don’t do things by halves… and tomorrow I start back at Uni for semester 2 with a 7days/week Uni/work timetable which I promised myself I would never do again since that very first semester back in 2010.

However, even with all that going on, I pined to have a little time to myself to collect my thoughts and write a few words down. Words that had nothing to do with the sociological background or philosophical theories of education, or how to insert sustainable environmental practices and dramatic art into everyday life within a Year 1 class… I longed to sit quietly and pull apart the million of thoughts and emotions rolling around inside myself over those months. Even though I wrote a dozen or so [totally awesome] posts in my head, the ideas came and went, floating through my brain like leaves down a swollen river, being tossed aside to make room for referencing text books, journal articles and making sure my assignment word count didn’t exceed the allocated 10% margin.

Science teachers on playground dutyRealistically I wont have time to post much this semester either, instead the brain power will need to focus on educational science, classroom behavioral management techniques, gearing up for another prac, and staying calm and collected with the weird and wonderful calls we get as standard in any one night at work (I work for a 24hr banking call centre).

But that doesn’t mean I have to let all the good thoughts pass me by this time! Instead I will aim to capture a few of the positive moments and ideas that happen. Moments to remind myself that everything happens for a reason, so I’d better breathe deep, find a positive slant on the situation, splash a smile on my face, and keep on keeping on!

Instead of full-on posts, I’ll be reminding myself of my Simple Pleasures in Life – the little things that make me smile and remember how lucky I am. So what if I have to work and study 7day/week for the next 5mths and I’ll be frazzled and pulling my hair out in a few weeks time! So what if I have to takes things a bit slower and I have to put off letting my hair down on the dance floor for a while due to my silly back! At least I have a good job and can pay all my bills, I can still walk and it’s not a tumor in my spine – there are people in far worse off situations than me! I will draw on the unlimited strength I know I have within myself, and I will continue to find the positives in life.Bethankful

Now enough about positivity, this Cinderella is long overdue to get some shuteye to be ready for those information packed back-to-back lectures I have first thing tomorrow morning…

Couch-bound. Again.


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I find myself couch-bound for the second time in less then 3mths (the first time was when I had my wisdom teeth out late August). This time I’ve done my back in, so instead of looking like a chipmunk, I now look like a crippled old woman.

How?? Well, I could say it was a rough landing from a skydiving lesson. Or while I was being jostled around during a 2hr horseback ride through the bush. Or that I lost my footing and slipped while doing an early morning trek up Mt Cootha to watch the sunrise at the top… Any of these would make for an excellent story, sadly though, it was none of these exciting things. Nope, in fact it was very mundanely while I was cleaning the bath.

Trying to get my house chores done before heading off to work last Saturday, only I ended up in freezing in pain while doubled over the bathtub in instant agony, unable to straighten up… Through my tears of pain I thought about trying to get myself down onto the bathroom floor, but as I’ve had previous experience with similar pain about 7yrs ago when I slipped a disc in my lower back (that time simply bending over to pick up a shoe), I knew it could be quite a while before my muscles relaxed enough for me to be able to move again. Plus my flatmates had not long left the house; I didn’t fancy staying on the bathroom floor in agony for several hours until someone came home and found me!

So crab-like, kind of half walking hunched over & half crawling, I braced myself for the four meters I had to go to get my mobile phone from the bench in the kitchen, then the six meters back down the hall into my bedroom and onto my bed.

That phone became my lifesaver.

Instead of being stuck there flat on my stomach in agony as spasm after horrific spasm wracked my body for possible the entire day by myself, I was able to call (on loud speaker) one my wonderful friends to come over and help me straight away. I then called my best friend (who just happens to be a GP doctor) who advised heat packs straight away and a couple of over the counter and prescription drugs to relax the muscles. I was then able to use the ‘voice to text’ function from Siri on my new iPhone5 (sorry – this is not a deliberate plug for Mac – even while I was in agony at the time I still took a moment to be excited to be using this feature for the first time! Haha!) to get my friend to drop into the chemist and pick up the painkillers on his way over. Next another loud speaker call to my flatmate to let her know what had happened and to ask if I could borrow some of the prescription drugs suggested to me, which I knew she had a stash of, until I could get a script for my own. Then another loudspeaker call to work to tell them I wouldn’t be coming in today.

By the time my wonderful friend arrived to my rescue 20mins later, I’d managed to multitask and organise quite a lot with just my phone, while not being able to move anything else except for my hand; Thank God I thought to grab that phone!! I need to just say here, if you hadn’t already noticed: I LOVE my new iPhone!

**Disclaimer: I have to give credit to those people on the other end of the phone who were able to decipher what I was actually saying in between copious amounts of heavy breathing, tears, blocked nose from all the tears, and grunting and swearing during the spasms**

So with the help, generosity, love & physical support of my wonderful friends and flatmates who were always there ready to help me stand up, or get something I can’t reach, get me cups of tea/food/tablets etc, combined with the (prescription) drugs, lots of sleeping, and my beloved wheat bag, I’ve gone from 0% mobility on Saturday, to about 20% mobility yesterday (Tuesday), and 50% mobility today. Gosh you really take for granted all the little movements you do everyday with a normally functioning back!

So I’m off to see the physio tomorrow to find out if it’s just a pulled muscle or ligament, or if I have indeed slipped another disc, and how to fix it. After all, it’s my birthday very soon and I’ve got lots of fun things planned with lots of great people this weekend, and I am determined to still go! As my Mum said “even if we have to strap you to a gurney to get you there!”. Hmmm, fingers crossed it doesn’t get to that – the gurney will clash with the dress I’m planning on wearing…

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A hug is worth a thousand emotions


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There’s the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. So then I’d have to take it further and say a hug is worth a thousand emotions. I truly believe there is nothing better in this world than a nice big hug. Not even chocolate! Now from me, that’s really saying something!!

I want you to think of the last big hug you had; who was it with? What was it for? How did you feel?

Hugs can mean so many different things. Whether it’s a child giving you the hug or your parent hugging you, a friend hugging you, a partner hugging you, a colleague, a grandparent, a sibling, a son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, friend’s child, pupil (if you’re a teacher), a flatmate… they all happen for different reasons, and mean different things.

Photo of two people hugging on free h...

There’s those hugs that are a little awkward – maybe from a boss, colleague, relative or friend you’re not very close to consolidating you. But you can tell even through the awkwardness if it’s genuine or not, if the giver truly feels empathy and sympathy. Or whether it’s just because they kind of feel they have to do something.

Then there’s hugs from a parent; unconditional love. I know not everyone’s relationship with their parents is fantastic, but when they hug you it’s still genuine. In my personal experience I feel loved, supported (even those times when I know they don’t know how to make me stop hurting and they feel at a loss as to what else to do), respected, that they are happy for me, that they trust me, that they will always be there for me, and one of my favourites – that they are proud of me.

Close friends hugs can mean similar things to that of a parent – they see and support you through all the rollercoaster ride ups and downs of life too. Sometimes even more so because they’re usually of a similar age and life situation, so they sometimes understand a little easier.

Hugs from a young child – now these hugs just warm your heart through and through. Children have such pure and simple emotions; to show you how much they love you, to get your attention, to forgive you if you’ve scolded them, that they trust you for keeping them safe, or just that there are happy right at that moment and are having a super fun time! Hugs from my niece or nephew (or both at the same time) simply swell my heart! (I just wish they didn’t live on the other side of the world…). I also recall my first Uni prac in a Prep class (4-5yr olds) last year – we had been told not to encourage the children hugging us (a sad sign of the times as it can be misconstrued as something less innocent) which is hard because they’re so affectionate at that age. But on the last day of our 4wk stint when we told the children it was our last day and wouldn’t be back next week, and they all rushed up and flung themselves at our legs. Well I simply could not resist hugging them back! What a special moment, one I will fondly remember forever.

Partner hugs, now these are exactly like close friend hugs, only with the extra element of romance! To share with you their support, their comfort, their friendship, their happiness, that they miss you, their respect and understanding, their encouragement, that they want to look after you, their depth of feelings for you…

Hugs are such a simple thing in life, yet so important. So many different feelings, thoughts and emotions can be conveyed and felt, all without saying a word. Sometimes hugs are given specifically to convey emotions which you might not be able, or ready, to say in actual words for whatever reasons. The message though, will come across loud and clear.

Go and hug someone 🙂

It’s nice to meet you


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My close friends may disagree with me, but I consider myself to be a bit of a shy person. I tend to be quiet around new people; watching how they interact with others, listening to what they say and how they respond to the people around them, watching their body language – excellent for getting a ‘feel’ for someone new. This trait is great for listening to my gut instinct about new people (which is right 99% of the time), however it doesn’t really go hand in hand with actually becoming friendly with new people.

While I’m hanging back observing, getting my bearings on how to take a new person or situation, it can then be hard to break into the current conversation going on around me. Because I’ve stayed quiet up until that point, for some reason some (bigger personalities, louder and/or opinionated) people seem to think this means I don’t have anything to say at all, or if I do, then it cant be very worthwhile and therefore it’s ok to simply talk over me, or just direct the conversation to those beside me exclusively. Sometimes I just feel awkward and can’t seem to find the right words, or timing, to break into the conversation. Consequently this can lead me to pull back even more, because really, what’s the point when I can’t get a word in edgeways?

So meeting new people can be a little daunting for me. In small groups of two or three it’s ok, but larger groups (and sometimes even one-on-one) can be a bit scary – these situations I really need to push myself out of my comfort zone; make an conscious effort to not just sit there observing, but actually interact and talk to people.

In contrast, once the ice is broken and I have a basic measure of someone’s personality, chatting, socialising, laughing and joking with them comes much easier and naturally. And of course when I’m with people whom I know well and trust, I can talk the leg of an iron pot until the cows come home!

Keeping all of this in mind, I do actually like meeting new people. This is why on my personal List which I mentioned in my first post What do I really want, I added ‘Meet new people’.

For me this meant I had to make a conscious effort to be open to new activities which would bring me into contact with new people (after work drinks with other teams, speed dating, going out for drinks with friends to a new bar, go see a live band), and then follow through, (try to) relax, and actually talk to people instead of holding back – chatting to people who may approach me at said bar instead of freezing them out, openly welcoming new team members at work, getting to know my friends’ new partners, getting to know my new flatmate, actually responding to my various neighbours in the street when they greet me instead of just doing the ‘smile & nod’…

While I think this project will be a continuous work in progress, I have successfully met some new people! Some I’ll never see again after our brief conversations, some may become friendly acquaintances, and some may even become friends down the track – who knows? Now that I’m consciously opening myself up to meeting new people, I’m finding there are many people who actually want to chat to me too – and I’m enjoying it!

I’ve learnt it’s completely ok to have a brief chat and laugh with someone, then move on – those brief conversations at the pub or in bars are (mainly) good natured, innocent, and just add to a fun night out and a laugh (not that I go out all that often!). It’s really nice to let go of some of my reserved habits which I’m very self conscious of and am afraid make me sometimes come of as cold, or aloof, which in reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s pleasing to learn something new through the knowledge of a stranger, to discover things, or be challenged to think a new way; see something in a new light. And it’s equally pleasing to have those same people then genuinely want to know about me – where I work, what do I study, where have I travelled to, how do I feel and think about things, what type of herbs and vegies do I grow and how do I keep them alive when theirs seem to always die…? Its really quite satisfying how much fun you can have when you open your mind up to new people! Each new person I meet renews my confidence in myself a little bit more. I feel uplifted and happy. And I think the more I open-minded I am, the more people seem to be attracted to striking up a conversation with me.

I’ll always be a shy person at heart, but it’s nice to allow some new people in behind my reserved barrier; to see the fun, cheeky side of my personality which I usually reserve only for my nearest and dearest.

A picture is worth a thousand words


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I have been thinking of travel a lot lately, so last night I went in search of some photos from a trip in 2008. I plugged in my external hard drive where I knew I had stored them from my old laptop when it broke that same year, and started searching through the dozens and dozens of files within files, within files. After about half an hour of looking through random files I still couldn’t find my old photos – I started getting heart palpitations! This is the only copy of these photos I have (apart from a handful I’d put on Facebook). They just had to be there!

Luckily I’m not one to give up, and I finally found them after about another 30mins – what a relief – by this time I was almost frantic to find them. However, what I found wasn’t just photos from my trip, there’s photos there from as far back as 2005! Of course I spent another 2hrs looking through them all… Wow, what a blast from the past!

There are so many memories contained in these random, unorganised electronic files of photos; so many happy moments captured forever. Birthdays, weddings, dinners and nights out, housewarming parties, graduations, achievement ceremonies, and travelling overseas. And seeing the people who are with me in the photos – old friend, new friends at the time who are now old friends, old friends who are now not friends, friends who’ve moved overseas and interstate to live, old flatmates, old workmates, new babies who are now growing up so quick and are already going to school, and three grandparents who’ve now passed on. The memories which seeing these photos have provoked in me is such an emotional mix: happy, sad, joyful, wistful, and so much more which I can’t even put words to…

Those emotions include amazement. Amazement at just how much my life has changed in the last 6-7yrs. If someone had told me back then some of the things I’ve done since, I simply wouldn’t have believed them.

In that time I’ve found the courage to step away from close friends who were toxic. I’ve found the courage to travel to 12 very different countries, and to try things I would’ve only wistfully dreamed about previously. I’ve found the courage to study at Uni for the first time. I’ve met people who’ve forever changed how I see myself. I’ve experienced things which have changed how I look at life in general – good, bad and amazing. And while I’ve lost three treasured older members of my family, I’ve gained four very precious new members too, through marriage and birth.

In short, while I had no idea all those years ago this is where I’d be with my life now, I’m pretty damn happy to be here! And I wouldn’t change a thing – each and every one of those moments captured in those photos, with all those different people throughout my life, have helped to make me who I am today. I’m so incredibly grateful to have found those photos!

Times are a changing…


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There is an era coming to an end in my life very soon – one of my wonderful flatmates is moving on to greener pastures. No, there has been no big fight, no clashing of personalities, just a pure and simple case of it being time to move on. Move overseas to work/travel/have amazing adventures! And I am a complete jumble of emotions; incredibly sad (I will miss her terribly, and worry about her when she’s over there – even though I know she’s going to be just fine!), so happy for someone to be following their dreams and all the wonderful experiences they will have, proud of their courage to actually do it (live & work overseas is something I always wanted to do, but let fear of the unknown get in my way). And of course, I’m oh, so jealous!

While I can’t be too sad when I know that there is so much happiness coming from this, there is another side: change. The unknown. Who will the new person be to fill the soon to be empty spot in our household? Will they get on with us (myself & my other wonderful flatmate)? Will their personalities jell with ours? Will they do their share of the housework and cleaning? Will they want to socialise with us? Have nice friends to bring around to our house? Be able to pay the bills on time? Be considerate? Be a positive force in our home?

Will we pick the right person…? Because after all, it’s all up to us. We have the deciding vote.

It can be so damn hard to face change in your life; much easier to keep doing the same thing over and over, take the easy way out and put your head in the sand – if you cant see the change, then it’s not happening. Or take the victim’s route; pick the first one that comes along and be damned with the consequences, after all I didn’t ask for this, so it’s not my fault if this next person turns out to be a disaster. It’s not fair – I don’t want things to change! (insert virtual foot stamping here haha).

I wrote this in one of my earlier posts, and I’m revisiting it now as a reminder:

…it’s ok to not have a set plan in life! These last few years have taught me that stuff is going to happen whether you like it or not; it’s more about how you deal with it, adapt to it, and move forward from/with it. I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next 12mths, but I hope to have some more fun and adventures along the way! Life doesn’t have to be so rigid and serious all the time.

Fair? Who ever said life was fair?? Yeah, I can choose to be sad, and get worked up about the situation, about how it’s inconveniencing me, disgruntled about being shoved out of my comfort zone…

Or I can choose to take control. Choose to make informed decisions – my house, my life, my happiness, my choice! An end of one era is just the beginning of another. Nothing can stay the same forever, and I shouldn’t expect it to – how boring would that be?! The same thing day in, day out, for years on end. No challenge.

No thanks.

I choose to keep moving forward in my life. I choose to see this as an opportunity to meet someone new, someone who could potentially become just as important in my life the way another new person has over the last 2yrs, the same person who I’m now so sad to see leave…

Life just keeps reinforcing to me just how much people come into your life for a particular reason. That reason may not become clear until way down the track, in some cases not even until long after they’ve phased out of your life. But there was definitely a reason, and a lesson the Universe meant for you to learn; if you have your head in the sand, how can you listen to what that lesson is? How can you open your eyes and see the new opportunities right there in front of you?

It’s still scary to invite someone new, someone who is a stranger, to live in your home. But as the dozens of emails, text messages, and phone calls continue to stream in and get weeded down into actual faces looking into our rooms, our house, our home… it’s getting exciting; that potential for new fun is starting to surface.

Simple pleasures in Life


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Our lives are so busy, usually with many different things going on at once. Sometimes you need to just stop and appreciate the little things. I’m going to share some of my little moments in life which make me smile, and warm my heart. This is the first of many…

#1 – It feels so good to be able to smile & laugh again, without being in pain.