I wanted to start this post by announcing my birthday 🙂 Yes, happy birthday to me, with a hug and kiss from one of the stars of my favourite TV show White Collar, Tim DeKay 🙂 I have lost count of how many times I have played back this video now – and yes, if you have been reading my blog for at least a year, you will have noticed I got a birthday shout-out from Tim last year, too 🙂 What a lucky girl I am, thanks to two wonderful friends, Julie (in New York) and Carol (in California).
Age is a funny thing. It is just a number but it means different things to different people. Some embrace it. Some are afraid of it. Personally, I belong to the former category – for as long as I don’t look my age and people don’t expect me to act my age, of course 🙂
When you’re a kid, you can’t wait to celebrate a birthday. You want to know how old everyone is and you count your birthdays by the month (“I’m five years and four months old!”). You always want to be older than someone else and there is nothing worse than being “the baby”. As you hit those puberty blues, you just want to get to your “sweet 16” followed by 18 when you’ll be “legal” and considered an adult – you can drink (unless you live in the US, in which case, you can do just about anything else BUT drink – strange!) and vote. Then you turn 20 and suddenly you can say you’re not a teenager anymore but I’m not sure why no-one makes a big deal of that. When you turn 21, that’s another big milestone…a new decade though, strictly speaking, you kick-start a new decade once you turn 20, so again, why don’t we celebrate turning 20 as a big milestone instead of 21? Hmm…
Twelve months ago this week, I dared to annoy and bore my friends and family by starting a blog and then making them read it. It all began because I had always wanted to write and, quite frankly, I was not about to be outdone by my then-seven-year-old nephew who had started his own blog, Kids’ Movie Guide. This is now my 44th post on this site, not counting the two travelogues I wrote for my photo blog Thursday Has A View which I created in March 2011.
It has been a long time since I read my earlier posts but when I look back at the titles of the earliest writings, there is no doubt they were all about how I could put a funny and positive spin on my work life which was pretty much making me miserable. A friend of mine said she liked that my posts were always so positive. The reality was that by writing, I was forcing myself to focus on the positives rather than the negative things that were motivating me to vent in public.
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.
In case you didn’t know, today is Chinese New Year. It marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit. Now, before you go asking me what that means, let me just say I have no idea…will it be a good year? Well, there are a lot of people in this world so I’m sure it is bound to be a good year for at least one person, right? 🙂
As is tradition, I got a red packet (or “lucky money”) from my parents. For the first time this year, I would not be getting one from my Grandmother since she passed away recently (In Loving Memory for my Grandmother). The very thought threatened to bring tears to my eyes but I was determined that I would not start the new year with tears, but rather, I was going to remind myself of the many blessings in my life. And it would seem that I am not the only one to be thankful for my friends of late.
This next story I am telling does not belong to me but it makes me happy telling it just the same. You see, earlier this week, my favourite actor, Matt Bomer (star of White Collar) was appearing on US late night TV talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live. All of us Collars are excited at every opportunity that we get to see Matt. So needless to say it was very exciting for us fans seeing him promoting our favourite show, but of course, not everyone can get to L.A. to meet the man himself. And this is where having great friends makes me “squee”…you see, Christine Antonios could not make it to L.A. to meet Matt in person, but two of her friends were kind enough to go, and here is the best part. Not only did they get to meet Matt outside the studios, but they went, armed with a handmade sign for Matt to hold so they could photograph him with it…and below is the result:
Matt Bomer holding a sign in support of my fellow Bo-mite Christine Antonios
My Grandmother's visit to Sydney June 2004
To be honest, I am not really sure what my earliest memory of my Grandmother was. To my sister, Stephanie, and I, she was “Po Po”, meaning “maternal grandmother” in Chinese. She, and our Grandfather (known as “Gung Gung” – maternal grandfather) used to babysit us before or after school, depending on what grades we were in, until our parents got home from work.
They were the typical grandparents – they spoilt us and they indulged us, or rather, I should say, mostly me, in my bad behaviour. Don’t get me wrong, I was not a bad child, just naughty. I will be the first to admit I was one of those naughty children who liked to push the boundaries of tolerance to see how much I could get away with. Everyone knows that my sister, just over 2 yrs my senior, was the poster child but as they say, if the first-born was a nightmare, there would never be a second one!