The fine art of receiving

Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day… A lot of emphasis is placed on the joy of giving. It’s not surprising, really – there’s almost nothing as heartwarming and love-affirming as giving someone you care about something you know will make them happy.

Birthdays in my family are a big deal. I’ve been known to start squirreling away little bits and pieces months in advance, from trinkets I find at the op shop, to things I’ve made, to small pieces of kitsch crap (‘booby prizes’ to keep it interesting!), to little treasures I discover in odd shops along the way .

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I made this hat out of fabric scraps and cushion stuffing, for my sister, for her 30th birthday.

I get a certain childish joy from pretending I’ve only bought the recipient an economy packet of tissues (beautifully wrapped, of course) then revealing that ACTUALLY I have ONE more thing, which upon being opened turns out to be ALL of the things I’ve collected, all individually wrapped, which spill across the lap of the give-ee who squeals with delight and faux-surprise.

BUT, knowing how to receive is every bit as important – sometimes more so – as giving. Receiving a present is the perfect opportunity for you as the give-ee to make the giver feel good about themselves for taking the time and effort to buy you something – no matter how you actually feel about whatever it is you’ve just unwrapped.

EXHIBIT A: Receiving a puppy.
Now this one is easy. You don’t even need instructions. Who WOULDN’T wail and weep with happiness after opening a box, to discover a warm, fluffy, waggy, licky, fuzzy ball of love inside?

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EXHIBIT B: Receiving a pair of socks.

Now, people like me love a nice pair of socks. Sometimes, the right pair of socks can make an outfit. Other people would rather die (yes, DIE) of boredom than even look at a pair of socks. Those people might unwrap a pair of socks and react like this:

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But what they should do, is react like this:

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EXHIBIT C: Receiving the ugliest, itchiest, most heinous woolly jumper your poor, bleeding eyes have ever been assaulted by.

You may react like this:

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But what you should do, is this:

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So you see, it’s simple. Making people feel good about themselves for giving you a gift is as easy.

All you have to do is pretend you’re unwrapping a puppy, every single time.

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Embarrassment 101: Why you should engage your brain before your mouth

A bald head bobbing in the waves: the man I love, in the sea.

A bald head bobbing in the waves: the man I love, in the sea.

Allow me to set the scene.

It’s 2001: a beautiful, typical, Sydney summer’s day. The sun is blazing, the sky is endlessly blue, the smell of sunscreen is in the air, wafting along on the most gentle balmy breeze that gently caresses your shoulders and butterfly-kisses your face. An ice-cream, having toppled off the cone of some bereft child, melts on the pavement; a casualty of over-enthusiastic licking.

There I am, getting ready for a day at the beach with the man that I’ve been seeing for two months, who I’m madly (secretly) in love with, having already (secretly) marked him as my husband-to-be. Of course I haven’t told him I love him – it has only been two months after all – but I can confess to silently mouthing “I love you” at the back of his perfectly smooth head, willing my words to telepathically enter his brain so he will understand – finally – and say it first.

Anyway. We’re at the beach. The waves are crashing. The sand is glinting. The seagulls are squawking. We have a day of utter smoochy romance, lying on our towels and swimming in the sea. We’re curled into each other, attached like two limpets on a rock,  and all the while I continue with my telepathic onslaught. “I love you,” I say silently. “I love you so much.”

We towel dry and brush off the sand as best we can. Throw on our clothes and head to the Newport Arms for fish and chips. We stand by the fish and chip counter, in an embrace, staring into each other’s very souls.

“Shall we order fish and chips?” I ask.

And this is the moment – the moment at which I could swear he looked into my eyes and said:

“I love you.”

But did he really? Had my ears deceived me? And then the silent, torturous, mental freak out: OH MY GOD! DID THE MAN I LOVE JUST TELL ME HE LOVED ME? I’M NOT SURE IF I HEARD HIM CORRECTLY. WHAT SHOULD I DO? WHAT SHOULD I SAY?

We ordered fish and chips. We carried it down the stairs. I hadn’t responded yet. I couldn’t bear it. And before I had a chance to engage my brain, I asked this question. Blurted is more appropriate. Seven words that rolled off my tongue and fell out of my mouth, before I could stop them.

“Did you just say ‘I love you’?”

Cue long, nausea-inducing, awkward pause.

“Errrm, no,” he said, looking suitably mortified. “I said I’d love to. You know, order fish and chips.”

 

 

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The art of the perfect guilt-trip

By the time I was about 15, I was well-practiced in the art of getting out of trouble (and I was in trouble a LOT. My attitude by then was at an all time high). The secret? Making Tutti laugh. In most cases, laughing made her even more enraged, but it’s very hard to maintain rage when you’re gasping for breath, your upturned mouth betraying your fury.

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Adventures in Metaphysics

After hermitting myself away for the past few weeks, neglecting my bloggy blog, going to work, getting home and working my butt off editing The Guru’s book, (while suffering from preggers-induced fatigue and evil heartburn that would make the fiery flames of hell feel like a balmy breeze ) I am delighted (and relieved) to say I’ve done it! The Cranky Guru – Adventures in Metaphysics by Paul L Bennett is just about ready to unleash itself on the world.

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Tutti and The Guru dressed for a black-and-white night on the town, on Saturday.

It’s never easy working on a project of this magnitude with a parent (especially when you live with them and there’s no escape from the constant barrage of “How are you going with the book? Are you going to finish it tonight? What? It will take two weeks? But I want it done in one! Are you working on it tonight? Good morning – I know you’re still snoozing and it’s 6.30 on Saturday but I was just wondering how the book’s going. So about the book… is it finished yet? Yes I know you’re on the toilet but perhaps we could have a meeting now through the keyhole.”) but we got there in the end.

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And even though I don’t agree with all of the Guru’s esoteric philosophies, I’m pretty proud of the fact that he’s managed to write something that is warm, funny, candid and engaging.

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I can’t wait for you all to go out and get your hands on a copy, but in the meantime, I shall tantalise you with the back cover blurb.

Are we merely victims of circumstance, or can we actually create our own destiny? Does time exist? Are past, present and future happening simultaneously? Are dreams real? Do our beliefs create our reality? The answers to these eternal questions and many more can be found within. Merging humour and real life anecdotes with esoteric philosophy, this book has evolved over thirty years of study and deep contemplation. It has been a journey of discovery unlike any other, offering assistance to all who seek  answers to living effective lives in ‘Earth School’.

Metaphysics, or the art of ‘Acting As If’, is the universal tool of creation. Its mastery, achievable by anyone with an open mind, will open doors you may not have previously imagined. Whether you want to be the master of your own success, heal past hurts, improve your relationships or simply find a greater sense of inner peace, one thing’s for sure: this book will defiinitely change your perspective. It might even change your life.

Love and light, bitches!

Ceci xx

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Moving house in a hurry

I’m not going to lie. Estate agents are not my favourite people (with a few exceptions, like anything in life). But they became even LESS favourite recently when the agent we’re using to rent out our flat (BECAUSE WE’RE MOVING IN WITH TUTTI AND THE GURU FOR A YEAR) only told us the date our tenant was moving in… in his head.
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I’m back after two weeks away. And I’m grumpy.

Hello loyal, lovely (and HIGHLY ATTRACTIVE) readers who I have callously neglected for the last two weeks. “Where have you been?” I hear you ask. “What have you been doing?” You plead. “PLEASE fill us in with all the minute details of your illustrious life!” I hear you cry (er… in my head… as I watch the tumbleweeds roll softly by).

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It might as well be a tumbleweed. AKA The innards of one of Tiggy’s toys. There is fluff EVERYWHERE. I am going to have to teach her to use the vacuum cleaner.

In truth, I’ve had ten glorious days off work. I’ve been the very personification of the Spanish proverb that goes, “Isn’t it beautiful to do nothing and then rest afterwards.” And it is, I tell you. It really, truly is.

For the first five days of my holiday, Matty, Tutti, the Guru, Tiggy and I went to Sky Cottage in Jervis Bay, a gorgeous, simple, two-bedroom cottage, just a five minute drive from Hyams Beach, which according to the Guinness Book of Records has the whitest sand in the world. It was glorious. We lazed by the sea, watched movies, had barbecues at night by the bonfire and played an epic game of Monopoly that spanned three days and ended predictably with The Guru making appalling deals, and Matty monopolising the board until he owned everything and had mercilessly bankrupted everyone with his exorbitant rents.

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Tiggy, contemplating some of life’s big questions at Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay

I just realised I didn’t take any photos of anyone except Tiggy, so you will have to look to her to see how much we enjoyed ourselves.

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“Nothing to see here,” says Tiggy. “Move along please.”

Then we drove back to Sydney, and I spent another couple of days mooching about, and yet another couple, having succumbed to a boring cold that saw me lying in bed listlessly and coughing pathetically.

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Just imagine this is my face, I’m coughing persistently, and being incredibly self-pitying.

Then Sunday night (when I’m writing this post) rolled around, and I had all these grand plans about the fun I would have, and yet somehow, the hours ticked past, I ate a couple of sandwiches, tidied the bedroom, ate some cheese toast and fell down an appalling internet rabbit hole while trying to help Matty change his Apple ID region from UK to Australia. I went round and round in frustrating circles, unable to solve the problem and yet I persisted in vain for over an hour until I started weeping pitifully and declared my Sunday RUINED. And then I made plenty of these faces, a few of which I have captured for you here.

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So there you have it. I may be whinging and whining like a dog in the rain, but I’m back, good people of the internet, and I look forward to seeing all your lovely faces back here again. Now THAT will cheer me up.

Love ya!

Ceci xx

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