What Makes You Feel REALLY Happy

Happy pose I

Image via Wikipedia

What makes you feel really happy? You know, when you just can’t contain that smile. When the cackle escapes your mouth, but you don’t realise it until after it’s out and realise how loud it was.

Here’s some of the things that make me REALLY happy:

  • Walking in the door after work and seeing my dog bounding towards me. This makes me smile, without fail.
  • Seeing my Mum happy.
  • Good morning kisses from my dog.
  • Going to the movies. There is just something about seeing a film on the big screen, accompanied by popcorn, a coke and a good friend (although I have enjoyed the movies by myself, and it can be just as good!).
  • Seeing my man content and happy. He’s a stress-head like me, so it’s great to see him when he is relaxed and himself…notably when he is drawing.
  • Blogging. It really does. The experience, the exploration, the people I’ve met and the opportunities it has created.
  • Cartoons, my favourite being ‘Monsters Inc.‘ and ‘How to Train a Dragon‘…so much so that I want a dragon just like the one in the toon : )
  • Listening to music I listened to in my teenage years. 
  • An evening out to dinner with friends. Thank you to Lynette whom accompanied me to dinner during the week to a restaurant called Bistro Felix, Subiaco. Lovely. Shame about the shell left in her Morton Bay bugs…
  • My nieces, of course. Hugs, kisses, smiles. 
  • Chilling with my family.
What makes you happy? Share with us – you never know who you might make smile!

Loss at Christmas

Death is inevitable – ‘Just like taxes’ – or so I’ve been told numerous times this year.  But when you lose someone important in your life, it can affect you in all sorts of ways…days, weeks, months and years down the track –  with those special occasions being especially challenging.  I always heard that the onset of Christmas (and the actual day) was one of the hardest.  I guess that’s what my family is experiencing.

It’s been about 6 months since Nan passed on.  In a way it’s gotten easier, but the memories live on, and sometimes the thoughts coming trickling back, or – like yesterday – hitting me like a tsunami.

Nan and Me - Christmas 2009

I know I’m not alone though.  My dear Uncle, who lived with Nan for his whole life, still has the feeling that he will get back from his night shift with a beer waiting for him on the kitchen bench. A nice ‘night’ cap before going to bed.  My Mum has been walking around the shops christmas shopping, with a little tear in her eyes, at it was at Christmas we would always put the most thought into the gifts for my Nan (and her Mum).  Me. I’m also missing that.  I opened my underwear draw the other day – where I place a few special mementos (right next to the bed) – and remembered that’s where I had put what I gave Nan last year. Mum gave them back to me a few months ago.  It was an ornate, silver lipstick holder and a old-fashioned mesh jewellery pouch. Unfortunately she’d never gotten the chance to use them, as she declined rapidly after Christmas 2009.  I loved shopping for my Nan at Christmas.  I still go into shops and see things that I would love to spoil her with.

At least the people that are left can cherish these thoughts – the memory of that beautiful woman – and celebrate Christmas together.

2010 has been a hard year for so many people, but I think nearing the close of the year we should use this time as an opportunity to also come together, celebrate our friendships, family, successes, failures, life, trade a whole load of hugs, and most of all just have a laugh.

Experiencing the World

Through opening up and experiencing the world and the people who inhabit it, we then start to truly understand others, and they understand us.  This breeds tolerance and embodies the true essence of what we call ‘multiculturalism’.

I don’t believe that we should see people first by colour, race, gender, religion, nationality, etc.  We should first see them as a person.

This is something that is close to my heart.  Growing up in a country mining town, I was surrounded by racism, sexism and bigotry.  It would have been easy for me to have adopted this way of ‘thinking’, but I didn’t.  I am blessed to have met some of the most amazing, most beautiful, open-minded people, from all corners of the Earth, who have shared their cultures, their thoughts, their food, their clothes, their friends, their families and their stories with me.  My life is so much richer for it.

I encourage all to do the same as we live in such an amazing world!

Old Friends

Last night I had a trip down memory lane. It was surreal.

My dear friends Charissa and Janine are in town – coincidently at the same time. We all went to Murdoch University together, meeting up in an Introductory Film class in 1996.  In case you don’t know, my name is Janine also.  And funnily enough, the conversation we all bonded over initially was the fact that Charissa was also going to be named Janine when she was born (but escaped!). Thus we became ‘Triple J’, just like the alternative radio station we loved to listen too (well – the two real Janine’s did.  Charissa’s tastes were more eclectic.  She is responsible for introducing me to SADE, the Buena Vista Social Club, and the Backstreet Boys…).

We graduated way back in 1998, and have kept in touch off an on ever since. Janine now lives near Byron Bay in the Eastern States of Australia.  Charissa ended up moving back to Singapore, as she was here to study and had to go home.  I still live in Perth…although I have escaped on many occasions to explore some of the world. None of us have embarked on a career in film, but our creative urges still drive us – even more so at the moment, as we all seemed to have denied it for so long – but now find ourselves on the same path to realisation that it is really what we should be chasing in life.

A lot has certainly changed between the good (and bad) old uni days, and now…except Murdoch University.

Last night, Charissa arranged a catch-up of some of the old uni buddies at the uni tavern. Pulling up in the old car park, all that had changed there was the addition of a lock-up cage for bicycles (and the fact that I now have a better car that actually works).

Embarking from the car, we set off to the uni tav via the old Humanities area, where we spent many a day and night sitting, talking, reading, studying, filming, editing – and rolling office chairs down the hilly paths due to the insanity of late-night editing sessions and the sugar rush of the vending machine hot chocolates. It was still the same.

Heading through to the ‘bush court’, the heart of the uni, the trees and bushes even looked the same. Charissa joked that there could still even be fliers on the pin-up boards from 1998 – as there were loads!

Onwards we walked, remembering now how vast the actual campus was, heading into the heart of where the lecture theatres were – beloved Lecture Theatre 1 (ahhh the memories!), down the stairs, more stairs, and more stairs, heading towards the tav. Passing the bottle brush bushes and the Student Guild building, we discovered that the tav wasn’t there anymore! Noooooo. Now we knew the uni still had one – but had kind of neglected to check it was still in the same place. Luckily we saw a person, who kindly advised us that there hadn’t been a tavern here for years, and that it was now at the front of the uni.

Okay – now this is logical. Our memories of the old uni tav were this – the tav was situated right at the back of the uni campus, and you had to walk a few stairs and a fair way to get there, kind of down hill. By the time you go there, the beers went down REALLY well, and they tasted especially god whilst lounging on the most funkiest, brightest coloured lounge chairs, listening to John Butler, before he was famous, singing to us about saving the trees.  After that – who seriously would want to go to class!

So, the powers that be at the university realised what was going on, as I know we weren’t the only ones who got stuck there, thus moving the tav to the front of the uni near the bush court.

In the end we found the ‘new’ tavern, after passing some current uni students talking in ‘uni speak’ (does anyone really use the word ‘inherently’ in their everyday conversations?). Our first impressions were that it was so much more fancy that the one we used to go to. Janine commented that she felt too bright wearing colours there…but thinking back I don’t think we wore colour at uni – it was black, brown, black, brown…and maybe some grey.

Either way, the tav still had beer. It even had champers! And we proceeded to catch up on about 10 years of our lives, which was absolutely entertaining and enjoyable. Deep down, none of us has really changed that much, which is beautiful to see. I believe that we still all have our essences that drew us together in the first place, and we are all still genuine people, who still love being stupid and laughing REALLY loud (or could it be cackling?). Yes, we have all put on a few kilos, and yes we have all had some not-so-nice experiences in life, but I am happy to say none of us have become bitter and twisted by life, and we all still have – now more than ever – big dreams and big hearts.