Friends

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From my 101 Things in 1001 Days project: items #82 and #85

I don’t know whether you guys have noticed but it’s been way too quiet over there on my 101 Things in 1001 Days list.  As usual, dumb life stuff has gotten in the way of this project and it’s time to course correct before I run out of time to finish it.  After all, I need this thing completed by 28 September next year!

I don’t doubt that I’m going to meet my deadline, but in order to catch up I’m allowing this funny-looking octopus to tick off two items on my list: #82 – Sew something using the sewing machine; and #85 – Make a soft toy.  It’s the closest I’ve ever come to bending the rules.

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This little guy was made with my Gran’s old sewing machine, and it was our maiden voyage together.  When I began I had no idea how to thread the machine (or any machine, let’s be honest) and so things started out pretty rocky at first.  There were at least three Facetime calls with my Mum to get things moving but after a little bit of practice on scrap fabric I was off and running.

Tim gave me a beautiful book of soft toy patterns called Hop Skip Jump by Fiona Dalton for my birthday earlier this year, and I’ve been dying to make one of her cute little softies ever since.  I was lucky enough to find the stripy fabric while I was raiding the remnants bin at IKEA one day, and it was worth the effort of cutting out the tentacle pieces from different sections of fabric so that he had eight different coloured “feet”.  That’s the closest thing I have to a pro-tip; the rest was just following the instructions and calling Mum when I needed to know how to sew a dart!

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I finished him up a couple of months ago, and ever since then he’s been waiting for the little lady above to have her first birthday and begin his new life!  We spent today celebrating with her (and 50 of her closest friends) and six hours later – after party food, presents and a giant inflatable waterslide –  this tiny party animal was still going.  She didn’t want to miss a moment of her big day.

(Also, her birthday cake was a showstopper!)

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Happy birthday to the world’s sweetest girl, Georgia Mae!  xxx

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The friendship contract

by Elizabeth on March 23, 2013 · 6 comments

in Friends, Life, Music, Videos

About a hundred years ago I had a best friend who I adored with all my heart.

The two of us were inseparable throughout high school and she became like the sister I never had; we were almost adopted into each others’ families.  As teenagers we could walk into the other’s house like we belonged there, help ourselves to the food in the pantry as though it was our own.  Her parents pulled me into line when I deserved it and celebrated my successes with me too.  As we got older her dad vetted the boys I dated and made sure they were up to scratch, and my dad checked the water and oil in her car every time she parked it in my driveway.

We laughed all the time.  We took personal responsibility for each others’ crises and wrote pages of letters in class.  I shared a level of intimacy and comfortability with her that I’ve never really known with anybody else, at least until Tim moved in with me a decade later.

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We both moved to different cities after finishing school, and as you’d expect our relationship started to change.  We made new friendships, and both of us had big grown-up experiences that didn’t include the other.  We were best friends still, but our lives didn’t overlap so much anymore.  The years passed and over time our best friendship was a more symbolic one.

She moved to my city when we were in our early twenties.  I had naively assumed that our friendship would once again become as close and easy as it had been when we were kids, but something wasn’t right between us right from the start.  She would say things that assured me of my place in her life, but then do things that made me doubt whether we were ok.  It was a confusing time for me and we never really talked about it properly.

Something terrible happened between us around that time that brought it all to a head.  There was a huge fight, and when we couldn’t patch things up we went our separate ways.  I don’t think we’ve seen each other since we were about 25, and although there were good reasons for my hurt and anger I have missed her every day since.

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Every so often I get tired of missing her and I reach out, hoping like hell that she misses me too.  Each time my efforts have been met with relief and excitement, but whenever it has come time for tough conversations about what happened things have always tapered off into silence.  She told me recently that the guilt she felt made it too difficult, it was easier to give up than to suffer through an autopsy.

But if we can’t talk about what’s broken, what am I to do with these fears of being hurt badly again?  Is it better to protect myself, even if it keeps my old friend at arm’s length?

Am I the one preventing us from moving on?

 

 

I reconnected with another wonderful old schoolfriend recently.  Kate and I went our own ways when we finished school, and although nothing terrible happened between us we drifted apart when we went to uni.  Sixteen years later she recognised my photo on Twitter, reached out to say hello, and now we’re making up for lost time.  It’s such a blessing to have her back in my life and I’m so glad to know her again.

Kate shared an article on her blog that resonated with me deeply: The Friendship Contract.  The author Kate Fridkis writes about her experiences with female friendships and the way that they so often end – in silence.

And the whole thing made me think about how female friendships work. How different they are from romantic attachments, much of the time. We share our souls with each other, our most secret secrets, sometimes, but so often, we don’t know how to fight. We don’t learn how to be hurt by each other and keep going.  […]

I have always had close girlfriends. My friendships with other girls and women have often been profound, supportive, fulfilling, and desperately needed. For a lot of my life, I’ve had a best friend. And inevitably, something has gone wrong, and too often, we have split immediately apart, injured, trailing long filaments of messy emotion, but without attempting to bind ourselves together again. We simply don’t know what to say to each other when things fail. It would be intensely awkward, maybe, to admit that we are angry, fed up, that our feelings are hurt, that we feel neglected or offended. So instead, we just leave. Sometimes, years later, we come together again, once we are fully, separately healed. We politely avoid the subject of our former downfall.

This article was an aha! moment for me.  The uncomfortable truth for me is this: I do know how to fight well – especially with the people I care about.  I don’t seek out conflict, but if something is wrong between me and somebody I love I would rather lay it out and examine it than let it fester in silence.  My ability to put my thoughts and feelings into words are both a gift and a curse, as sometimes I forget that others aren’t quite so willing to fight, to endure a process so painful and risky.

My old best friend and I are trying this conversation again right now, for the first time in years.  I don’t know what to expect, and with so much at stake I’m torn in the knowledge that this conversation could end things for good if we don’t get it right.  I’m trying to balance this love for my old friend with my need for self-protection, and in doing so I’m asking her to engage in a conversation that she might well decide is all too hard.

I’m asking her to let things get worse, in order for us to have a chance to heal.  The difference is that now, finally, I will understand if she says no.  I will know that I did the best I could, and so did she.

The Friendship Contract is something to aspire to for the new relationships I will build as an adult, but Kate’s article made me realise that I can’t ask somebody to simply know how to do this.  There are other needs that must be met, not just my own.

Wish us luck.

 

JAMES BLAKE – RETROGRADE from martin de thurah on Vimeo.

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Balance

by Elizabeth on September 3, 2010 · 2 comments

in Art, Cool stuff, Family, Friends, Life

This canvas was created by Stephanie of Geezees, for the very awesome Megan Duerksen (who also took the photo above).

There is a post that has been sitting in the back of my mind, half-written, for a large part of this year. I’m not sure why I haven’t been able to put it into words for anyone else to read yet, but when I came across the little verse above something just clicked and said, “here you go! I did it for you!”

Those words up there describe pretty closely the change in attitude that I’ve noticed in myself this year. It definitely wasn’t a conscious decision to start being more positive; in fact, I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty positive person. At the same time I’m really sensitive, and I’m a thinker, so I’ve always tended to consider the pros and cons of any situation.

And perhaps I’ve gone looking for the what could go wrong? of situations more often than I needed to.

Out of nowhere, my brain has begun to reject pointless negativity that I hear from people around me. It’s not even conscious – I’ve just stopped letting it settle into my thoughts. I’m not looking for fault in people or situations quite as often, but nor am I ignoring fault where it exists. Meaningless criticism of people or ideas exhausts me now so my mind has developed a filter that stops them at the gate.

Clever little brain!

It seems to me that a lot of energy gets wasted on negativity when it’s not constructive. I’m not trying to be Pollyanna and pretend that life is perfect, but I do think that I’ve had a healthy adjustment of perspective. I have freedom, I have a terrific family, quality friendships and a special person to share my life with. I have enough to eat and enough money for the necessities (and extra for shoes!) and a job that makes me laugh and cry. There is also plenty of room for growth, and that’s exciting too.

I know that it’s still important to look critically at the world around us, and to a degree we need to concentrate on the negatives to provide impetus for change. That’s constructive and healthy and I know I’ll be doing it for the rest of my life. I guess I’m just learning to realise that the good things in life deserve the same amount of real estate in my thoughts.

All I know for sure is that by focusing on what is good what works and what is within my power, the negative aspects just don’t seem to matter quite as much. They’re still there, but they don’t feel as overwhelming as they might have otherwise been.

What I’m learning is not blind optimism, it’s balance. Perspective. And those words up there helped me to put some shape to the changes I’ve been noticing in myself.

Happy Friday, everyone <3

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My neverending birthday

by Elizabeth on March 22, 2010 · 3 comments

in Friends, Life

Birthday festivities continued to roll on this weekend, thanks to my lovely friends April & Joe.

I’ve never had to match my accessories to my wings and tiara before!

Dinner was incredible, and topped off with – get this – a cheesecake icecream cake. Two of my favourite things put together! With butterflies!

And wings!

I am so spoiled. Thank God my friends don’t require me to act my age…

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Roses from Mum & Dad


Belgian Chocolate and Red Velvet cupcakes, from the incredible Little Cupcakes on Degraves St


KitchenAid Artisan, in Almond Cream



“Diamonds by the Yard” necklace from Tiffany, by Elsa Peretti


Soft leather handbag by Kate Spade, from Tim’s parents


Beautiful Georg Jensen cheese board and knife


Laguiole cheese knives (ok everyone, I think I’m equipped to eat cheese now!)

A six-course banquet at Flower Drum, a hand-carved swan (with a sparkler), and a bunch of strangers singing me Happy Birthday!

And weather-permitting, this is what I’ll be doing tomorrow morning:

I am feeling very lucky, and very spoiled.

I was given lots of other little bits and pieces as well. Shoe clips, an evening bag, a little bottle of Chanel Cristalle and some sparkly jewellery. My parents also sent me a few pieces of furniture that we needed. Is it sad that I was most excited about finally having a pantry?

So I guess being thirty isn’t so bad, so far. Please cross your eyeballs that we have good weather tomorrow morning! If all goes well we’ll be sailing over the Yarra Valley at sunrise, followed by breakfast at Balgownie Estate winery.

Of course, my friend Sally anticipated that all this attention might go to my head, so she did her best to find me a present that would drag me back down to Earth. I am so lucky to have a friend to remind me that the clock is ticking!

I’m sure this present had something to do with my 101 List, and that it wasn’t purely sadistic. She’s been such a champion where my list is concerned, and we’re celebrating my 30th properly in June when she joins me for a trip to the (remaining) 12 Apostles.

And now we’re off to our friends’ place for another birthday dinner. I have been promised a ridiculous birthday hat, so perhaps I should leave the camera at home!

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Ah, fresh starts. Aren’t they great?

Here are a few little habits I’d like to improve upon in the month of March.

01. Make the bed every morning
02. Put away my clothes once a day
03. Walk the dog 5 days/week
04. Stop eating as though it’s still Christmas
05. Go for a run twice/week
06. Write something in my journal every day
07. Focus on one room of my house at a time, and completely unpack it
08. Take some photos of my pretty new home
09. Make a nice, big dent in my 101 list
10. By the end of this month, cease being in my twenties

That last one isn’t exactly negotiable, but the others may take a little bit of concentration!

I must say, life is treating me well right now. Our new house is finally starting to feel like home, and we’re gradually finding solutions to all its little problems “quirks”. Like the fact that it has no pantry, and no cabinet in the bathroom, and…

… it turns out that it’s all fine, and nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a bit of clever shelving. Our new home has got so much style and charm, and although it has one less bedroom than the last place it manages to look very spacious. We have incredible sunset views every afternoon, a constant breeze and brand new paint and carpet. As much as I loved our previous house, it’s nice to not have cracks in the ceiling that actually let through sunlight!

On top of all of that, several people have answered my call for butt-kicking me into finishing my 101 Thing in 1001 Days list! My friend Sally deserves extra credit for planning a 10-day visit in which we’ll visit the Great Ocean Rd, do the Neighbours tour, see fairy penguins at Philip Island and maybe even fit in a ghost tour. She’s already orchestrated the Yarra river cruise and taught me sign language, and I owe her a great deal of credit for encouraging me throughout my silly self-imposed challenge.

And later this month I’ll be waving goodbye to my twenties. The big Three-Oh seems to big a big deal for some people, but for some reason I’m not all that excited about it! I’m not dreading it either, I guess I just don’t see it as much of a landmark occasion. My new “chapter” began when I moved to Melbourne I think, perhaps it’s just too soon for another one.

Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind about this during the next two weeks. My family has begun to make a bit of a fuss of me, so perhaps it will rub off!

So, there’s lots to look forward to in March, and beyond. My favourite seasons are approaching, my favourite boy is close enough to snuggle, and work has been very rewarding. Life feels so much better when you’re in the driver’s seat, zipping through the traffic and singing along to the radio!

Have a lovely March. I know I will!

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We’re home!

by Elizabeth on December 21, 2009 · 0 comments

in Family, Friends, Life

We’re home again, after one of my favourite holidays of all time!

Last week was filled with simple pleasures that truly recharged me after a huge year at work.  It was a special chance for Tim and I to spend some time together, and we had so much fun exploring the Sunshine Coast at our own speed.  It was especially great to share my childhood playground with him, and to rediscover it myself as an adult.

My Mum & Dad gave us this little trip away as an early Christmas present, following ma petite cousine’s wedding in Brisbane two Saturdays ago.  We feel very lucky!

It would have been great to spend Christmas itself in Brisbane with my family, but with the puppy in Melbourne it was hard to be away any longer than a week.  It feels strange that Christmas is only a few days away – such a contrast to our last one!  This time last year we had Tim’s parents out from the USA, and my family were almost due to arrive.  We hosted an enormous Christmas dinner at our place, our families met for the first time, and the house felt Christmasy through-and-through.

This year feels very different, perhaps because we haven’t had to plan it so far ahead of time.  I’m sure I will be in Christmas-mode by the 25th, but today I’m blasting carols from my office in the hope that it puts me in the mood ahead of time!

Spare a thought for my coworkers today.  I hope they are enjoying the Bob Dylan Christmas album!

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Holiday love.

by Elizabeth on November 29, 2009 · 1 comment

in Family, Food, Friends, Life

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Last night’s belated, antipodean Thanksgiving was heaps of fun. I was too busy enjoying the company and incredible food to take any other photos, so tonight I am forced to relive the memories in the form of leftover pumpkin and apple pie.

It’s a tough job, but I’m just trying to get through it without complaining. I hope nobody minds if I blog with a full mouth.

Tim took complete ownership of the food for yesterday’s event, cooking a red currant glazed turkey in the BBQ (sooooo good) and a bunch of “family recipe” side dishes that his mum sent him during the week. A trip to USA Foods last weekend sorted out some last minute ingredients, including fried onions for the green bean casserole and Reeces peanut butter chips for his amazing chocolate cookies. Our talented guests provided the pumpkin and apple pies, and the wine floooowed!

The SingStar fairy visited a couple of hours after dinner, and didn’t leave again until about 3am. I woke this morning to the smell of bacon & eggs, and the last of our guests headed home at about 1pm today!

Post-Thanksgiving depression set in at approximately 1.04pm, so I began pestering Tim to help me put up the Christmas tree. We agreed to give it a couple more days to get the turkey coma wear off before kicking off Christmas, so instead of my tree I thought I’d show you Naomi and Josh’s tree from last year!

(If you’re not already following the adventures of Naomi and Josh via their blog, you really should. It’s basically the happiest place on the Internet.)

Maybe Tim would have been more excited if I’d suggested a more contemporary tree this year?

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Panty Tree by VSPink.com – thank you for the link, Dooce!

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Almost forgot…

by Elizabeth on March 22, 2009 · 2 comments

in Cool stuff, Family, Friends, Life

I had a birthday!

Thalassotherapy, along with a pony, are among the many things that I did not get for my birthday. However, I did get three bouquets – one of them chocolate!

The gorgeous Crumpler camera bag that I’ve been lusting after for about 2 years, from Tim:

A shiny jewellery tree from Mum & Dad (plus some Pandora beads!):

And – from the “you know me so well” files…

A vintage book from Sally, re-bound with lots of blank pages to use as a journal or sketchbook. Every so often there’s an illustration or page from the original novel – it’s really beautiful. Created by Aunty Art Studios, check them out!

Thanks to everyone who got in touch on the day – turning 29 was pretty grand.

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The art of SMS

by Elizabeth on June 26, 2008 · 3 comments

in Friends, Life

My phone’s inbox filled up today, so I’ve just spent a few minutes backing up my text messages on my PC. Sometimes it’s fun to look back through old messages and be reminded of the dumb stuff my friends and I talk about, and tonight was no exception.

Most of Tim’s are best taken out of context…

Your dog is a wreck when i come home without you

Today I’ve seen 3 people with eye patches, none of whom were pirates.

Hey i like your boob

Well excuse me for buying you nice things

Do blind german albinos turn you on? Cuz if so I’ve got the perfect guy for you

I’m a great boyfriend, you jerk!

Got your stuff and it didn’t make my penis fall off or anything!

I wonder what girly crap I’d asked him to pick up for me that day? ♥

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