After creating my inaugural “gratitude with attitude” list last year, I thought I would make it an annual event.  I love reading other people list of what fired them up and browned them off for the past year so with no time to waste (we ALL have somewhere else to be and some more tinsel to fling around), let’s do this, starting with the list of LOVE:

1. Family, friends and the ever-expanding Diva Council

More than previous years I really relied on the strength and wicked humour of my tribe.  While I might not have come out and said “I am having a little trouble standing upright in heels at the moment, can I please borrow your awesome to help me through the next few hours”, that is exactly what I did.  Through being around or listening to phone calls from my tribe it made a year that I would politely to describe to people I don’t know as “Ooooh….interesting!” and to those that know me well enough to quote my heel size as “You have GOT to be freakin’ kidding me!”  And I was not the only one.  Within my circle I know of sudden and shocking deaths, lingering illnesses, uncertainty around future work, rising levels of anxiety, a malaise that you can’t quite name and fluctuating levels of energy and inspiration.  I do know this.  Whatever you are going through, whatever is really stretching you uncomfortably, you will do and feel better if you share the ride.  I have a lovely friend whose grandmother’s saying was “Bundle of Sticks….we are stronger together”. She is so very right and I am so blessed I have so many wonderful, strong, wise branches of love to hold tight.

2. Awesome clients and suppliers.

Without either, I am just some tall drink of water with a good idea and no one to implement or action the project.  I never take either for granted and I am so grateful that I have suppliers that will turn miracles to bring to life the visions and the hand waving I present them with and the clients to trust I will deliver on the promise of an A3 rendering and a big reassuring smile.  I can’t believe that I have the good fortune to do what I love  – create art – on a daily basis.  Heartfelt thanks to all I collaborate with.

3. Whacky yoga

Ok, this year I tried out aerial yoga that had me suspended horizontally a metre above the ground in a fabric sheath in the “coffin pose”.  Later in the year I tried out Kundalini Yoga where I the “Lion’s Claw” for 9 minutes opening and closing my arms above my head while creating claw-like tension through my hands.  Sounds easy, feels like OH GOOD GOD NO.  Still processing the insights from both sessions (ie. this is day 7 of unwashed hair as I can’t lift my hands above elbow height, I wonder when I will feel sensation in my arms again) but for some reason, the weirder the yoga got, the more normal I felt.

4.The rowing crew

For those that know me from school and uni days, I think we can all agree by saying I was absolutely and utterly epically bad at sport.  I hated it. I could not run, catch or throw.  When I moved to Melbourne in 1993 and Sydney in 2006 and knowing no one the idea occurred to me that since my grandma was a champion rower, I might share some of her sporting genes.  I gave rowing a try in the hope of meeting some other people who like getting up at 4am and not looking in the direction they are traveling. While still having no natural skill in rowing – truly, I have to fight for every stroke and mutter endless mantras of “tap down stay down / siting UP / early square” – I did re-write the story I had been telling myself about my lack of sporting prowess.  I was in the crew for the 46km Hunter marathon in July, the Head of the Yarra in November (beating our previous time by 5 minutes and being in the top 3 for our category) and finally – I can barely believe this as I type it – I was in the crew that claimed gold for the State Sprint Championship.  Hand on heart, I don’t have natural rowing talent.  But it turns out I have tenacity, a relentlessly patient Koach Kim, a wise zen master cleverly masquerading as Nathan the Demonic Personal Trainer and a squad of funny, inspiring, ladies who will never quite understand the gift they have delivered in teaching me that talent only gets you so far, heart needs to carry you the full distance.

5. I love my jawbone! So great to wake up of a morning and find out I have had only 4 hours and 26 minutes of deep sleep and woke up 3 times.  Oh YAY!

My jawbone and I

My jawbone and I

6. The “War of Art”.  Get your butt in the seat and do the freakin’ work, OK?

7. The Monocle Magazine.  The lovely Becca of Cohen Cellars introduced to me this fine magazine and is perfect for those with wanderlust and curiosity about the world not shown on TV.

I love me some Monocle!

I love me some Monocle!

8. The music releases of Nine Inch Nails / Queens of the Stone Age / Artic Monkeys / Janelle Monae / Mark Lanegan / Pearl Jam.  For all those low flying (I mean totally within the posted speed limit) dashes to the rowing club, this is perfect kick-my-arse-into-gear sing along tunes with the volume turned UP.  Epping Road…you’re welcome!

9. Cake.  I love you, always and forever.  The sugar shunners and shamers can SUCK IT!

I love cake!

I love cake!

10. I am a proud Novocastrian and I could not be prouder of Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox and Newcastle Herald journalist Joanne McCarthy in bringing the soul-destroying stories of child abuse in the Catholic Church and other institutions to light.  Both have fought through death threats, being stone-walled, ostracised, questioned about their professional motives all to bring to justice those that have suffered the unthinkable.  Their efforts – along with many others – in committing to end the cycles of shame and abuse, have resulted in the Royal Commission being called to investigate the claims.  Peter, Joanne, their families and supporters are the best versions of what we can be when faced with unimaginable horror.

Enough of the sunbeams and galloping unicorns of love, let’s done the leather heels and serve up an extra large serve of attitude.

11. The rise of the dickhead.  Oh god, you could not strut 10 metres in heels without tripping over one, could you?!? Justin Beiber? Congratulations, you just booked yourself a first class seat on the Douche Train.  Clive Palmer?  You too sir have right of passage.  Pick any random name from the NRL belting up women / getting a sleeve tattoo / starting a bar fight in the Cross the night before a game….you lot define the term dickhead.   George Pell?  The worst kind, a righteous dickhead.  Miranda Kerr?  New age preachy dickhead.

12. Christopher Pyne.  I don’t think I will ever better the description that Julia Gillard had for him as  “mincing poodle”. He was a mild irritation for me before but now he has his paws all over education, one of the most important government portfolios….I just want to break shit up whenever I hear reference of him.  GAH!

13. Jeststar.  On the rare occasion that I have to fly Jetstar to the Gold Coast, why do I always feel like they have deliberately cranked the seat back 5 degrees forward off vertical so you sit with a Mr Burns like slump?  Add to that the narrowness between each row and you feel that the romance of air travel has well and truly been sucked out by Jetstar.  LE SIGH!

14.  The mainstream media.  Getting more shrill and dumbed down each day.  Turn it all off and go for a walk / pat small furry animals / read a damn good book to your niece instead.

So as I wrap up my 2013 list, I was to add one more to my gratitude list and that is you dear reader.  In these times where you could be doing anything other than reading my blog post – such as raking through hard rubbish collections on the nature strip, baking cheesecakes etc – I am truly grateful for your readership and the emails / calls and comments I receive.  Have a lovely Xmas season and I wish you and your tribe the happiest and healthiest  2014.

My favourite song for 2013.  Crank it!