1. This absolutely trumps every other Thing of Thankful I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing. The Power of the Internet enabled me (and several, more prolific others) to make known the desperate story of a woman (a friend of mine) in a terrible fix, and imminently to lose her children to the clutches of her abusive ex, due to a loophole in the legislations of different states. She needed to be able to pay a lawyer by MONDAY (tomorrow) in order to make the most of the meagre ten-day window to fight him from within his own jurisdiction.
Thanks to the compassion, generosity, empathy and kindness of many of you, and of others, the target has been achieved, and tomorrow the lawyer will be paid and the readied plans can be put into action to ensure that the children stay where they are safe – with her.
I cannot thank you enough for responding to this cry for help. To anyone who shared the post or offered words of encouragement and support, or who donated to the cause, thank you from the bottom of my heart. It has been absolutely gut-wrenchingly awful watching my friend come up against more and more obstacles, and this one was set to be the last straw. I am honoured and privileged to know you, ye who helped.
2. In form of celebration (and just because it’s damn good) I’d like you to take a moment to absorb the wonder which happens when Bobby McFerrin and Yo Yo Ma get together. It’s my ‘happy song’ at the moment, and I’ve been whistling it all week (and probably driving everyone nuts with it).
3. I managed to earn a few compliments about my performance at netball last night, which was lovely. I think it’s because of the health kick I’ve been on (no, that can’t be it – cos I was on the health kick last month and played appallingly. Maybe dumb luck. Or perhaps the team. Yeah, the rest of the team were great) but anyways, I was able to score a large number of goals for my side, as well as executing what can only be described as a ‘pole dance’.
The ball was going out of the court, just by my team’s goal, and as shooter, I was standing *rightthere*, so I unthinkingly stretched out for the ball, grabbing the goal, hooking my foot around the base, and swinging gracefully around it to catch the ball in the other, outstretched hand.
I swung back onto the pitch, grinning, to spontaneous applause from everyone who’d seen, to a ref who tried to disqualify the move, only to be shouted down by everyone for the sheer comic genius of the moment, then scored a goal with the ball I’d just caught…and then had to endure the jibes about ‘being in the wrong career’ and ‘how much for more’ and ‘you’re good with balls then’.
But it. was. awesome. And I’m totally showing off about it.
4. Today was a Niece day, and several Things came out of that. The first being hugs (always generously given) and face-presses (does anyone else get these? Where the kid stares into your eyes and moves onerously closer and closer until your faces are touching, and then they press. HARD!), and later, after running an errand, taking her to one of the parks to collect conkers for her first time. She was absolutely enraptured with the litte brown globes she kept finding, and she listened avidly as I told her about all the times her Mum and I came to this very conker tree as kids to collect them.
Then I discovered that when you stop chucking sticks at conker trees on an annual basis, you pretty much lose the knack. Even though they’re massive.
She watched, wide-eyed as I threw a (reasonably hefty) chunk of stick up at that damn tree again and again and again and missed. I hit a few times, and eventually even knocked a few conkers down for her.
But then a particularly enthusiastic throw made my stick miss the conker tree altogether and land in the tree next door, where it got stuck. 30 feet up.
I gave up at that point, and she kindly placated me “It’s okay – we’ve got enough now”
5. We went to the playpark next, and went on the giant ‘lynch swing’ (as I call it – it’s a giant tyre turned on its side, with a board across the top, suspended from a huge, jutting wooden mast, so that you can climb onto it and swing) and swang and swang reallyreallyhigh until I leaned out, so the tyre would spin, and I’d hunker down and hold onto Niece for dear life as we shrieked and giggled and made ourselves so dizzy we couldn’t walk straight.
6. But the rain showed up and stopped play, so on the way home, we sang sunshine songs (to encourage the sun to come back, because hey, we’re about offering support and encouragement to people AND solar systems here). I discovered that no-one had taught her ‘You are my sunshine’, so I took up the slack, and we sang it, repeatedly, all the way home. She has a beautiful little voice, and was super-pleased to learn the song (and to show it off to Grandma, later on).
7. Lunch was a picnic on the carpet, but Niece got bored pretty quick, so I showed her a funny song. It came via a general recommendation from Christine, as one which her kids can’t stop singing (though she shared the awesome rendition of it by the Ohio University marching band). So (of course, I’d already checked it out, because I figured it was about the right mental age for me to enjoy) I showed Niece and she ADORED it. And we watched it until we were almost word and move perfect – arms only – we were still on the sofa:
Her: Why are they dancing standing up and we’re not?
Me: Because we’re watching it on the LAP top – and if I stand up, I won’t have a LAP.
8.Then we made wine.
You heard. And it was the CUTEST thing hearing her talking repeatedly about the ‘lime’.
A friend dropped round two bags of fresh-picked grapes, so Niece, Husby and I sat on the kitchen floor around a bucket, picking the grapes off their stems, and singing ‘The Wheels On The Bus’ more times than is really healthy in one go, before squooshing the juice out of them in small bowls and decanting it through a clean tea-towel into our Wine-Making Bucket, ready for the next stage – fermentation – to begin tomorrow. Whoot! It should be a merry, merry Christmas…
9. I went running and managed another 8k. I’m thankful that Google Maps allowed me to estimate the distance afterwards (by painstakingly measuring my route with a piece of paper cut to their ‘500m’ scale) when the fancy-schmancy runtastic app on my new phone decided that actually, I was out of GPS range for all but 1.1miles. And that it took me 54 minutes to run that ‘mile’. So I had no measurement of how far the route I took was. Gah!
10. This afternoon, we’re going to be celebrating Neff’s birthday with him, with a family party, silly games and (if I know my family) Pass-the-parcel. I still need to invent a game for the party, and haven’t done that yet, but we’ve got him the most awesome present (as discussed with him over the course of some months) – his own MP3 player, because the kid is SO musical, and has a proper Fanboy issue with Olly Murs, and LIVES to listen to ‘Man Music’ on the radio in the car (which I don’t mind at all, cos he has fabulous taste in music, on the whole). So FINALLY he can have his own mix of ‘Man Music’ and no-one else will have to listen to it, which will be a relief for my Sis, I think.
I hope your weekend has been full of wonderful, and that you go on to have a gorgeous week filled with things to be thankful for.