I stayed over at my sister’s house last night as she and my brother-in-law had a rare night out. I was minding my nephew who has to be the easiest kid to babysit (once you’re used to his routines as if they’re the Order of Service at a wedding :)) and he asked his Mum, my sister: “Is Ah-yee (meaning your mother’s younger sister in Cantonese) living with us?”
Now, for those among you who are cynics, he wasn’t asking the question in a whiny way. He was serious. That was a precious moment – he wants me to be there all the time. Ah, that is a proud aunty moment, for sure, and one that I will treasure for as long as I can before he becomes a grumpy teenage boy! Lol
After receiving a phone call last week from an old friend’s sister-in-law to inform me that my friend had passed away suddenly from a motorcycle accident, then attending his funeral 2 days later, I needed some good quality family time. My friend was only in his mid-30s and has left behind a wife and four young children.
So I am keeping this short and sweet. Go and hug (and maybe kiss – if appropriate :)) someone you love. Tell them you love them and show them you appreciate them for being in your life.
Do it. Now.
If you ever need a reason or motivation to do it, just watch this wonderful video – Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon University. I have watched this a couple of times and have also read his book. It is powerful stuff.
I love youse all! xox
In four weeks’ time, I will be celebrating my birthday, and there’s nothing like being reminded that you’re another year older to make you reflect on the little things in life.
Since I am not one to be backwards in coming forwards, so to speak, I thought I’d share with you some of my little “pearls of wisdom”, if you will. You may not agree with them but that’s OK. I’ve learnt to accept that I can never please everyone 🙂
These are a mish-mash of things that came to mind but are in no particular order, and by no means an exhaustive list. However, you can probably guess why I have chosen to list forty 🙂
So here goes nothing!
- My mother may not always be right, but she always has my interest at heart.
- Family always comes first and will always be.
- You can choose your friends but not your family, so it’s best to accept them as they are.
- Words are mightier than the sword, so choose yours wisely. The saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is rubbish.
- There will always be idiots doing and saying idiotic things. It’s better to ignore them and walk away. Don’t let them ruin your day.
- Choose your battles carefully. Some are just not worth the effort.
- Look at the big picture but don’t ignore the details
- Common sense is not common, otherwise there would be no such thing as planking or the Darwin Awards
- It’s not nice to call someone stupid, no matter how much you want to. People do stupid things. There’s a difference.
- I believe in God. Having Faith helps get me through the days – good and bad. Continue reading
It is often said that there are two types of people in this world when it comes to how they perceive life: those who look at it as the “glass half full” or the “glass half empty”. Before you run away screaming “Oh my God, Valerie is killing us with clichés!” and stop reading, I want to assure you, in the best Stephen Fry voice I can out on, that I will try my level best not to kill you with clichés (can’t promise anything on puns, innuendos or just pure boredom though! :D).
As many of you who are regular readers of my blog will know, the past few days have been a very emotional time for me with the loss of a school friend, Mary, who I had only recently reconnected with. The news hit me hard, much harder than I ever expected, and I was surprised by it. A few moments ago, I got a text message from my Mum telling me my Dad picked up his new hearing aid, much more high-tech than the very basic government-subsidised model he had been wearing for the past few years. Dad was overwhelmed with emotion by this new device which is allowing him to hear music again. My Dad is a natural musician – with no formal training, he could pick up any instrument and start playing tunes. With the hearing loss, his quality of life deteriorated and caused a lot of angst and frustration amongst the whole family. So with this latest news, I was once again brought to tears, this time from joy.
Less than two weeks ago, I wrote about a friend of mine, Mary, who married her long-time partner, Rodney, in a beautiful, yet simple, ceremony in Sydney (see “Picture of Love, Togetherness and Strength“). Last Friday, I was so proud of myself for using my new-found Windows Movie Maker skills when I made a short wedding video with the photos I had taken at their wedding and put it to music with a couple of Bruno Mars songs. It was my little gift to Mary for her 39th birthday. She had replied back, via Rodney, to say the video had put a smile on her face. Rodney was excited about being on YouTube.
Mary and Me in Adelaide, Nov 2009
Sadly, today, I awoke to the news that Mary had passed away this morning in Adelaide, having lost her brave battle with cancer. The news has greatly upset me all day for many reasons and I have been trying to find the right words to express this. The passing of a loved one is never easy to accept. The loss of one so young – a contemporary, well, actually younger than me by several months – with a young family and so much to live for, just adds to the craziness of how the world works. Perhaps the most frustrating (is that the right word?) part about this loss is that I feel like Mary and I only just “found” each other again 2 years ago after having only seen each other once or twice since we finished high school. When we caught up in November 2009 in Adelaide, we had even talked about meeting up in Melbourne one time when my football team, the Sydney Swans, played hers, Collingwood Magpies.
For most of the past 18 Christmases, the special day was celebrated at my sister’s house. Although not so much the biggest fans of dinner parties, my sister and brother-in-law would host the Christmas Day lunch as they had the biggest house to accommodate both sides of the family. Lunch was traditionally the good ole Aussie BBQ with a touch of side salads and variety of cold meats and the like – the usual fare that would leave you thankful for wearing pants or skirts with elastic waistbands. Cleaning up was always the “fun” part and that was another good reason to have the luncheon at my sister’s since they have a dishwasher (I, on the other hand, AM the dishwasher). My sister has two pieces of household machinery that she swears she cannot live without: the washing machine and the dishwasher (I suppose you could say the refrigerator is pretty important too but if the fridge dies you could just eat out). So it came as no surprise that she went into hyper-crazed mode when her dishwasher died just before Christmas a few years ago.
That year, I spent Christmas Eve at my sister’s and she suddenly proclaimed: “My God! My God! Why have you abandoned me?” Now, I have to point out that I am from a pretty spiritual and religious family, so for her to say that was pretty serious (for the non-Christians who may not be familiar with this phrase, these were the words uttered by Jesus Christ at his Crucifixion)! So I stopped and reminded her that there were people in the world who were homeless or had no family to celebrate Christmas with and that a broken-down dishwasher would be the least of their worries!
Do you remember the last time you were disappointed by something or someone? Do you remember who/what it was and why? Well, I can remember it as if it happened yesterday…wait…it was yesterday!
After nearly 2 months of anticipation, the night had finally arrived for my friend and I to go and see the legendary John Malkovich’s performance at the Sydney Opera House as Giacomo Casanova in the Sydney Festival 2011 highlight piece Giacomo Variations, a chamber opera play based on the life and times of the infamous playboy of the 18th Century. I even had to miss out on an evening of White Collar for this! But it was a rare opportunity to see Malkovich in action doing live theatre and singing a little opera. And tickets had been sold out almost as quickly as they had been released so what could possibly go wrong?
My 7 yr-old nephew began playing Junior AFL (Australian Football League) in the Under 9s team this year. He had been playing Auskick for the previous 2 years and loved every moment of his Sunday training. He was very excited and we were all very proud. My sister is their team manager despite never having been involved in anything of the sort before.
There is nothing more exhilarating than watching a bunch of kids running around a field, whatever the sport, learning some skills and discipline while having a great time. At my nephew’s first ever training session, I watched his interaction with other kids he had never met before. Ever the sociable character that he is, he was soon getting to know everyone’s names and soon having a kick with them. When they played a mini game, there were times when he was so busy talking to the other kids standing at the goal square with him that he barely noticed when the ball was coming his way.