Sunday, March 2, 2014

Savouring my Sunday

This week, I have been grateful for:

1. Hosting no fewer than three birthday parties to celebrate my daughter turning fine: one with her friends, one with my family and one with my husband's. I'm so glad we're continuing the tradition of multiple celebrations, even though it was pretty exhausting this time around. It was also the first time we'd hosted a party for her friends and there were a few constraints that had to be handled delicately (e.g. no provision for younger siblings to tag along, limited numbers of adults permitted to attend without incurring extra costs, potential postponement if inclement weather). But everything went very smoothly, everyone was very understanding, the weather was perfect and -- the main thing -- my daughter had a brilliant time.

2. Submitting my manuscript! This was a huge milestone for me and one that I would not have reached had it not been for the deadline set for unsolicited manuscripts (despite having a more obvious deadline next week! Did I ever tell you the one about how my sister submitted my doctoral thesis for me while I was in labour with my daughter? And I am not usually a last-minuter as a rule...). I am so grateful for the opportunity, regardless of what does(n't) happen. And thank goodness I picked up that I'd spelt the heading on my Synopsis page "synposis" just before pressing send.

3. This great article on opportunities for unpublished writers in the Australian publishing. It was written by a lass I went to college with who is now a highly successful journalist and has a novel coming out later this year. As an emerging writer, I would like to add that opportunities to submit unsolicited manuscripts do not necessarily signal cause for unwarranted optimism but can be provide excellent motivation to keep going.

4. Beck's new album Morning Phase. Sasha Frere-Jones, reviewing for The New Yorker, described it thusly:

After listening to 'Morning Phase' almost fifty times, I can't find  a single thing wrong with it. Even if you listen to popular music all day, every day, you don't get many albums like this in your lifetime. The relationship between the musician and the listener here is as simple as the outcome is intense: only the artist knows exactly how such an album is made, but only the audience can verify that it is perfect.

I don't know that I'd go that far. But it is a beautiful album. Beck's work has been pretty eclectic over the years but I reckon if you liked Sea Change, you'll love this one.

5. This beautiful blog post from my friend Brandee. I love the way she describes an experience that, she later remarked on twitter, was one of the best things that has ever happened to her. It was an absolute privilege to be a part of. All props to Jennifer, who instigated the whole thing (she's a good egg, that one!).

6. Having four lovely colleagues come and meet me for lunch during the week. Lots of belly laughs and gentle gossip and friendly ribbing and earnest conversation. I feel so blessed to work with a small number of truly superlative human beings... who genuinely care about me.

7. Discovering Bettie Sue bathers (via Clementine Ford). These are totally and utterly delicious and I am so getting myself a pair... of Darlas... once I have the opportunity to measure myself sans bump. And speaking of fabulousness in bathers, did you see this beautiful selfie that Vivienne McMaster took of herself this week? I am so in awe of that girl. By shining a light so bravely on herself, she truly illuminates the way for us all. Love.

8. This fantastic article from the inimitable Martha Beck. A resting revolution is what we all need, methinks. I could give birth any second and I still suck at taking it easy. Sigh.

9. Ticking off more and more items off the To Do list. Finding that everything is getting a lot harder due to a couple of last-minute growth spurts on the part of the little dude. But, somehow, things are not too overwhelming, emotionally. I feel like my space is being very well respected but also that I am well supported by my nearest and dearest, particularly when it comes to practical matters. I have so much gratitude to my husband, especially for handling most of the cooking in the evenings, and my daughter for doing her best to understand why I am less available for her than usual.

10. My gorgeous little one-month-old niece started smiling this week! Above is a picture of her in her best party dress at my daughter's birthday, absolutely mesmerised by my husband. (The photo was taken with my Dad's camera phone and unfortunately the quality is not the best, but you get the idea.) Happy times.

What have you been grateful for this week?

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