Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Me (in blue) and my sister (in pink) on Australia Day 1988

I have some extremely close friends, I almost consider them sisters – almost.  There is something else, an indefinable element that makes my relationship with my sister different.  She is among my best friends, but more than that we are sisters.

When she was about 2 and I was about 4 I learnt how to get her out of her cot. On Saturdays would I make her breakfast and we would watch cartoons while our parents had a sleep in.  A few years later when I was at school and she was at pre-school I would sneak technically out of bounds to visit her through the fence.  When I finally got my drivers licence, the first thing I did was drive to the bus stop to pick her up so that she didn’t have to walk home.

I don’t want to sound like it was all sweetness and light.  We had a definite love/hate relationship, particularly when we were teenagers.  I can clearly remember our mother in desperation saying "I wish you two would just love each other" after one of our fights.  At the time I was confused, of course I loved my sister - we just could not co-exist in the same bathroom!

Our bathroom wars were epic.  They would generally start when someone didn't clean the bathroom on their week.  This would lead to a mexican standoff where we would both refuse to clean till it got so grotty that generally I caved or Mum yelled at us.  We had plenty of other fights, there were tears, tantrums and stony silences, but if anyone had injured either of us, we would have been standing by each other in a second.

As we grew older, and in particularly once we stopped sharing a bathroom, the fights died out and we have become closer and closer friends.  We talk or email most days.  Go shopping or have lunch regularly.  At one stage when we were working at the same place she used to come and hang out in my office all the time.  She is my sounding board on the gamut of life's quandaries and my stylist on many occasions.

Yesterday my sister flew out of the country on her honeymoon.  She will be gone for 2 months.  We have only been apart this long once before and that time I was the one doing the travelling.  Being at home her absence feels all the more significant.  Today when something happened she wasn’t there at the other end of the email to consult with.  She won’t be there to advise me if I should get the dress I’ve been eyeing off.  My lunchtimes feel all the emptier.

I know she is going to have a wonderful time discovering Europe but you know, I’ve discovered something too.  In just one day I’ve realised what an integral part of my life my little sister is.  How much I love her and how I do really miss her when she is away.  I’ve been reminded just how important it is to treasure the ones we love because not everyone is as lucky as me.  My sister will be home in 2 months with stories and photos and presents (hopefully!).  Other people have lost their sister forever.

So if I can say anything, I say this.  Treasure those special people in your life.  Let them know that they are loved and never take them for granted.  Hug your sister close, there is no relationship like it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Much as I love Vietnamese food it wasn't until I actually went to Vietnam earlier this year that I finally had that most traditional of Vietnamese dishes - Pho.

Pho is made of a fragrant master stock which is poured over extremely thinly sliced beef (or chicken) and rice noodles.  It is served with fresh herbs and often bean shoots, fresh chilli, lime, chilli sauce and other condiments depending on the particular venue.

The bowl in the picture was my first ever bowl of Pho which I had in the night market in Ho Chi Minh City on my first night in Vietnam.  It was fantastic and it started a love affair with Pho which I enjoyed over and over again throughout my stay.

But since I got home, I haven't managed to find any pho and boy oh boy I've been missing it.  Finally, however, today I met up with some of the Vietnam travel family and we headed to the Fyshwick Markets.  We had heard a rumour of good Pho there and the rumours were correct.  Soon we had delicious steaming bowls of fantastic soup in front of us.  Oh how I have missed it and it was exactly what I needed.  I think we will be back - soon!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Saving - how not to do it

In theory I'm on a savings kick.  I say in theory because somehow I keep forgetting and my savings aren't doing that well at all.  I blame internet shopping.  It is so easy to just have a little browse over lunch and with the strong Aussie dollar everything seems like such a bargain.

So while the savings plan may not be working well, but my mail is very exciting as I much prefer the packages that arrive to the the credit card statements that follow.

This week a lovely package arrived from ASOS.  One of the things I love (and hate) about internet shopping is opening the package with bated breath to work out if what I ordered is as good as it looked online.  This week's ASOS package was filled with winners, brilliant items that really do look great.

Image from ASOS - this is a model not me!

Today I'm wearing this ASOS Ponti fit and flare boat neck dress.  It is so gorgeous.  Of course being Canberra in winter I'm wearing it layered over a thermal top with some lovely Jonathon Aster lace stockings and an ASOS bow belt.  I adore having a new outfit to wear, it is so exciting it just puts me in the best mood all day.  Maybe saving is overrated!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dinner with Mao's Last Dancer

Last night I was lucky enough to be a guest at a dinner at the National Portrait Gallery where the after dinner speaker was Li Cunxin - better known as Mao's Last Dancer.  It was a fantastic night.

If you haven't been to the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, it is a striking building filled with amazing works of art.  The foyer had been transformed into a dinner setting but we could wander a limited selection of the galleries prior to sitting down.

With my past in event management, I have eaten at more than my fair share of corporate events.  I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the catering at the Portrait Gallery is some of the best there is.  If you get invited to an event there - say yes!

Canapes included oysters and semi-dried tomato tartlets - both delicious.  Entree was a smoked trout souffle or smoked duck salad.  Both were again delicious.  Mains were a medium rare beef fillet with a tiny beef pie, mushrooms and potatoes dauphinoise or pork belly with sauted brussel leaves and chestnuts.  Again, all was beautifully cooked and presented and absolutely tasty.

Between main and dessert Li spoke.  If you haven't read his book or seen the movie, then I highly recommend that you do.  His story is just fantastic.  He was transformed from a simple, starving peasant to a world renowned ballet dancer through sheer determination, an amazing work ethic and just a touch of luck.  He told stories that would be familiar to those who read the book but his message was that we all have the power to create the life we want.  He asked if you only had an hour left to live and you wrote the achievements of your life down, would you be happy?  Would you be satisfied that you had done all you could?  I think it is a rare person who could say yes to that.  I know that personally I could procrastinate for Australia and if faced with some of the choices he had to make I don't know that I could have made the brave ones he did.  But it is an inspiring thought - what would I want that piece of paper to look like and how can I go about achieving that.  I don't think you have to be a world renowned leader in your field of endeavour to have a life that is happy and fulfilling but it does take some thought and effort, something I think we could all do.

Li finished his talk by showing some footage from his final performance.  If you know the story you will know that he worked extremely hard on his turns and leaps - well let me say, even right at the end of his career, all that work was paying off, he was fantastic.

Inspired and in awe we turned back to our table to find that dessert had arrived - what a perfect way to finish the evening.  Thank goodness S is a sharing kind of guy because I don't know how I could have chosen between the chocolate, hazelnut dacquoise with raspberry poached rhubarb or the vanilla pannacotta with poached quince.  Stuffed beyond any reasonable measure, I did manage to try the petit fours - passionfruit marshmallow.  I've never quite understood why people make marshmallow but having tried this unbelievably light, fluffy delicious confection, I think I"m prepared to give it a go now.

What a brilliant evening!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Under the weather

Sorry for the absence of blogs, I've been sick. Right now I'm curled up on my couch under a doona.  It has been grey and rainy all day, but the clouds have parted and my lounge room has filled with sunshine.  It is beautiful and makes me feel a whole lot better.

There are lots of things that make me feel better when I'm not well, so I thought I would focus on that rather than my swollen tonsils.  Here is a list.  Let me know what makes you feel better.

A cup of tea - its an oldie but a goodie.  Everything does seem better with a nice cup f tea in hand.

Chicken Soup - especially the chicken soup S makes me.

Chocolate - need I say more?

A snuggly doona - curling up comfortable and warm is good at any time, but when you are under the weather, it is even better.

Distracting television - be it a period drama, a thriller, or a mystery.  As long as it is engaging it works wonders for passing the time (I am terrible at staying at home sick - I may or may not have done several loads of washing, cleaned the bathroom, organised the pantry and made lemon bars - oops)

And the ultimate - Hugs - a good hug and the whole world is a happy place.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I like to think of myself as a bit of a handy woman.  I can put up a painting - even space them evenly along a wall.  I can put together furniture, paint a wall, work in the garden.  But when it comes to actual construction, well that is a bit beyond me.

Recently I noticed that my pergola had suddenly sprung out with rot.  It must have been hiding under the paint because the whole structure was riddled with it.  What to do?  I knew the job was beyond me but I have some very handy friends so I put out the call and today, three of my fantastic friends turned up to help me demolish then rebuild.

A bit of the rot, it was much worse at the base.

Demolishing turned out to be very easy as it really was covered in rot.  We all agreed that it was basically being held in place by "structural" shade cloth and paint!

The super construction team!

And then the construction began.  Power tools were brought out, I even got to play with the power drill!

The crew worked really well, in just a few hours we went from piles of splintered, rotten timber to a brand new, solid and stable construction.  I couldn't have done it without them, they were brilliant and I'm so thrilled with the result.  It still needs to be painted and have shadecloth added (which is just for shade not structural integrity now) but it no longer threatens to fall down on anyone.

What a fantastic day's work.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Never too old

My gorgeous sister has bought me the best impromptu present - a Carmen Miranda cut out paper doll set.

I'm in my (gorgeous bejeweled) underwear - put some clothes on me!

It comprised of Carmen Miranda in all her cardboard glory and five fab cardboard outfits with tabs to hold them on.

What to wear?

I haven't seen a cut out doll since I was tiny.  You know the type, you get a doll in her underwear and various outfits that you attach by folding tabs over the doll.

Is the hat a little much?

Well Carmen is particularly flash, you actually even insert her through various parts of the cut out to get a better fit.

Working those ruffles

I've had so much fun playing with my doll (who now resides on my office desk along with the shoe calendar and gin/water bottle), I think that it truly proves, you are never too old to play with dolls!

A little more appropriate for the Canberra winter.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bare branches

One of the many things I love about winter is the look of bare branches against the sky.

In some ways, the starkness emphasises the cold.  They are often grey and you look through them to the frosty sky.  Birds sitting in them look exposed, and the wind whistles through rather than rustles as it does in summer.

I love being able to see the structure of the tree, how different they all look without their leaves.  I especially love it when you can suddenly see a bird's nest exposed that come spring will disappear once again into the foliage and be filled with babies.

The lack of leaves changes the view too.  Longer vistas open up.  New perspectives on old scenes.

Experiencing things like this is one of the joys of living in a place which really does experience all four seasons.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


In our ongoing search for Canberra's best burger, I finally managed to get S out to Brodburger during its opening times.  It is open for lunch from 12-2 Tuesday to Sunday and dinner from 5.30 till late Wednesday - Saturday.

Brodburger is a small red caravan that serves delicious burgers by the lake.  The thing that they are particularly known for is the quality of ingredients and the choice of cheeses as topping.  You can have swiss, brie or blue cheese.  I really like the blue cheese, but it isn't S's favourite, so we opted to share a Brodburger with brie.

You go to Brodburger for great food, not speedy service.  I think we waited about 45 minutes but as S says, it was totally worth it.

Waiting gives you a chance to wander down to the lake, where the inquisitive swans will come over to check out if you are going to feed them burger.  Actually the availability of burgers and fries attracts large numbers of birds, mainly magpies and seagulls.  As we were some of the last customers eating our burger we ended up with quite a surrounding, it was a little like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" and in fact I was gesturing with some fries and mentioning this when a magpie flew between us, snatching the fries from my fingers which was somewhat of a surprise!

When finally our number - lucky number 8 - was called and our Brodburger and fries was ready we were super ready to eat it, having been sniffing the delicious smells of other burgers for quite some time.  The fries were thin fries, quite tasty and well salted, but not particularly remarkable.  However the burger, oh the burger.  A gorgeous juicy beef patty, covered in gooey melted brie, accompanied with aioli, tomato relish, fresh tomato and gourmet lettuce makes for one amazingly delicious burger.

Brodburger has been a source of much consternation for the National Capital Authority.  For some reason, the little red caravan and the swarms of happy patrons do not fit with their idea of an appropriate thing to have by the lake.  For years, it has been threatened with being shut down and customers have been signing petitions etc.  Just recently however they announced that come Spring, the owners will take over the cafe at the Glassworks and the red caravan will be retired.  They promise shorter waiting times and actual tables to sit at rather than the coppers log car park markers, however I will miss the caravan and the lake surroundings.  I say, get in while you can, but then follow them on.  Those burgers deserve a following!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Alice's Bucket List

I don't know that this strictly qualifies as "happy" but it certainly is inspirational.  Alice's Bucket List is a blog that has made headlines around the world.  It started on Monday as the bucket list of ambitions for Alice, a 15 year old from England who has just been told that the cancer she has been fighting for 4 years is now terminal.  To her surprise, her blog has gone viral, her first post had 1773 comments and people have donated over £10,000 by sponsoring her sister in a fun run.

Top of her bucket list is getting people to sign up as bone marrow donors.  I did this a few years ago and lots of people were surprised.  I'm more surprised that everyone doesn't do it.  What is to lose?  A little bone marrow that will re-grow.  What is to gain?  The ability to save someone's life.

Her blog is so inspirational.  There is no trace of self-pity just a wish to experience as much as she can in the limited time she has left.  I cried reading it, but I highly recommend it.

And everyone, if you can, sign on to become a bone marrow donor.  To do it, next time you donate blood (hee, hee, double shot I'm getting you to donate blood too) let them know in advance that you want to do it.  All you have to do is fill in some paperwork and they will take a couple of extra blood samples.  Then you are on the register and if by a slim chance you match someone needing a donation, you will be contacted.  Go on, how often do you get to save a life?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

For the love of dance

The first of my top decisions was learning to dance.  I love it for a load of reasons, but I thought it would be interesting to ask my dance friends why they dance.  Here are some of the answers courtesy of Facebook:
Leonard - fitness, friends, fun. Dance for Life. :)

Tova - I started for rotator cuff rehabilitation! I have full range of motion now thank you, instead of my predicted 30% maximum. I stayed for the friendly people, the challenge and the chance to do some exercise indoors in winter!

Wendy - i got the music in me, i got the music in me, i got the music in meeee. Oh and it helps with my rusty hips. :-) i love dancing with my hubby too..so many reasons!

Lauren - Fun, friends, fitness and fabulous fashion! Lots of good 'f' words! 

Kylie - It got me out of my shell and talking to new people when I first moved to Canberra and didn't know anyone; after that it became an escape from the world, everything goes away when the music starts!! 

Mark - It gives me a reason to go out, meet people, talk to people and have fun with people. It forces me to relax from cogitating, and I get some moderate exercise as well!

Lee - It's my Zen time... I just live in the moment, feel the rhythm, the only things to think about is your connection (hopefully) and the music... Transendance! 

Shannon - First you learn ze dance, then you get ze women

Freya - The endorphins from a good dance and/or a fun dance take away the pain from the medical issues aggravated by my doing it :P  As Lee said, it's also a moving meditation, a moment where you forget about double-thinking everything and just enjoy said moment.  And there's so many lovely people I would never have met were it not for dancing, so many many friends...

All my reasons have been covered in what my friends said.  I don't think I could have put it any better than Freya's "moving meditation" or Lee's "Transendance" (I think I want that on a t-shirt).  There are moments when the music, your movement and your partner's movement all merge into one and it is like you have moved to a different plane.  I love all sorts of music and the feeling of being able to move my body to it is brilliant.  It doesn't even have to be a formal dance style, or with a partner.  I get a huge amount of joy from my random twirlings around the house - although nothing beats a great connected dance with a special partner.

Life is busy, sometimes stressful, but when I dance I can shut down that ticking, talking part of my brain.  While I might feel physically tired after a good dance session, I will often feel hugely mentally refreshed.

For a variety of reasons I never really did much physical activity as a kid or teenager.  So dance has had an enormous physical impact on me.  It has helped with my back issues, got me stronger and now the feeling of moving my body makes me feel great.

But the best thing about dance, is the people.  The wonderful, gorgeous, supportive people who enrich my life in so many ways.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Top 5 Decisions

Inspired by Katetakes5 I’ve compiled a list of my best 5 decisions.  Writing them has been quite an interesting introspection exercise.  I've thought deeply about what things have changed my life and of those, which were because of decisions I've made, versus circumstance.  After composing them I realised that they all have one very important thing in common, each one involved taking a chance, a step into the unknown.  There were other options, safer, more conventional routes but each of these decisions has enriched my life.

The thing I’ve realised over recent years is that you can’t live your life in fear of failure.  Some things work great, some things are a big massive flop but to try nothing for fear of things going wrong is to only half live a life.  I have faith in myself that I can survive failure, that if it happens I will grow and become stronger from it.  So when I make a decision, start something new, give something a try, I jump in boots and all. 

So here in no particular order is my list of top decisions, what are yours?

1. Learn to Dance
Isn’t it funny how sometimes you really want something, but manage to give yourself all sorts of reasons why you can’t do it?  I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn’t want to learn to dance, but I always found a reason not to do it.  In high school it was that I was too unco and not cool enough to try out for Rock Eisteddfod.  Later it was that it was expensive, or you needed a partner, or that I was too unco (a reoccurring theme, I really am very unco). 

In reality, I was just too scared!  As I now know, it doesn’t have to be expensive, you definitely don’t need a partner and if I can learn, no one is too unco to learn to dance.

It took till I was 24, but taking the plunge and learning to dance has absolutely changed my life for the better in so many ways.  I’m fitter than I’ve ever been with better posture and actual stomach muscles.  I have a hobby that makes me smile and laugh and fills me with joy.  And it has led me to the most amazingly wonderful people, my brilliant friends and of course S.

2. Working for my Dad
I know lots of people think this was probably an easy decision, it wasn’t, it was really hard.  Working for my Dad has made it harder to develop an independent professional identity.  I’ve had to prove myself over and over that I’m in my position based on merit not family ties.  I care, worry and feel more responsible for the business than I ever would in similar positions working for others and my Dad is a hard task master.

But you know, every one of those hard things, is actually what makes it so rewarding.  I care, I work hard, I want to achieve my best.  And I get to work with my Dad who I love.  He might be a hard task master but he is great fun and I love our working relationship.  He is an amazing and inspiring mentor and I’ve developed a range of skills that I would never have in any other position.

3. Going to South America in 2009
In early 2009 my (now) great friend A asked if I would go with her to South America.  There were lots of reasons I could have said no.  She was a friend but I didn’t know her that well, it used up all my savings and leave in the middle of a massive year from a professional point of view.   I had never backpacked or been away from home for longer than 2 weeks.  But I said yes and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Not only did I achieve my life ambition of visiting Machu Picchu, I saw the most magnificent things and it reignited my love of travel.  The other great thing about that decision was that we chose to do independent travel.  I’m sure our families would have been much happier to have us on an organised tour but the things we did and got to see would just not have been possible if it wasn’t for that decision.

4. Staying at home and saving for a house deposit rather than renting
When I was in my early 20’s all my friends started moving out into their cool little apartments and group houses.  By my mid 20’s even my little sister had moved out with her boyfriend.  My parents are fabulous and didn’t impinge on my life at all, but still there were times when I felt like my life was never going to move on.  I felt like a little girl locked in her childhood bedroom.  I felt so stuck that I even instructed my mother to kick me out of home if I was still there when I was 30.

But all that saving and an inheritance meant that when I did move out, I moved into my own place.  Every day I come home I feel proud that I achieved and that much as it is a struggle at times to pay the mortgage, I’m doing it.

5. Deciding I’m responsible for my own happiness
I think like many girls, Disney had me fooled.  For a long time there I was waiting for my knight in shining armour to come and make my life perfect.  Without ever consciously thinking it, I assumed that other people would point me in the right directions and I kind of floated along like that till I was in my 20’s.

It might sound ridiculous, it certainly does to me now, but it took me an awfully long time to work out that if I wanted something, I had to make it happen, I couldn’t just hope that it would work all by itself.  I’m almost blushing as I type this to think of how many years I daydreamed away waiting for something to happen, without doing anything to make it happen.

I’m not sure when I started to consciously realise that I was in charge of my destiny, it was a sort of gradual awakening.  I’m not sure that I’m even really there yet, but I feel it is almost as if I’ve stepped out from a fog, into a clear blue day, where there are paths before me and I choose which ones I take.

This blog is one of those paths.  It is a conscious step on into the Pollyanna Syndrome.  Focusing on happy things has made me happier.

I’m still working on it and I think I will my whole life, but I think this decision, this realisation, has made everything I’ve achieved in recent years possible.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pushing Daisies

The term "feel good viewing" in my experience usually signifies the kind of super sweet, syrupy tripe that basically makes me want to throw up.  Yes, I am an extremely girly girl, and I love a happy ending, but all that sentimental, emotionally manipulative clap trap just leaves me cold.

However, I have recently found a television series that makes me feel so good, I quite literally squeal with delight when watching it.  My reaction is so full on that it is actually a little embarrassing but it is absolutely guaranteed to make me smile and feel good so I guess why not express my enjoyment?

The series is called Pushing Daisies and it is about a guy who can bring people back to life - but only for a minute at a time.  That probably doesn't sound heart warming, but trust me when I say it is totally gorgeous.  From the clever storylines and great dialog, to the fantastic production, brilliant costumes (I covet Chuck's entire wardrobe) and excellent acting, the only thing I can fault is that only two seasons were made.

I'm a little late on the Pushing Daisies bandwagon, it aired between 2007 and 2009 but I'm wholeheartedly embracing it now.  If you are looking for something to brighten your day, I suggest you get hold of this gem of a show.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ninjabread Men

Everybody was kung fu fighting ... with gingerbread!

How awesome are these?  Using them would really result in kickass biscuits!  I shall be giving a set to a friend this weekend.  As a keen baker with a husband who teaches wushu and a 2 year old who will no doubt imitate him, they seemed appropriate.

Happy weekend everybody!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Food Porn

Do you like food porn?  You know, those gloriously perfect photos of amazing food.  I love it.  I'm well known for whipping out a camera or phone to take photos of people's plates.  In fact my subscription to Gourmet Traveller is basically to allow me to drool over detectible dishes that I have little intention of ever making.

As regular followers of this blog will know, in the last year I have developed a deep and abiding love for a Canberra bakery called the Flute.  I thank the lord that it is located inconveniently and has limited opening hours or I may be on first name terms with the wait staff, however I did spot its truck outside a cafe just near my work yesterday - oh dear!

So please, enjoy some delightful food porn of fabulous baked products. (Note most of the shots are taken still in the box.  This is because once they come out of the box, they never last long enough to take a photo of!)

Macaroons.  I'm still not 100% on the macaroon bandwagon, but they were pretty tasty.  Chocolate cherry and vanilla and raspberry flavours.

Chocolate mud cake - sooooo rich, yet somehow without that heavy stoginess that I don't like in mud cake.

Pear galette - the perfect flaky pastry
Jaffa dome - a base of crunchy chocolate feuilletine, followed by flowerless orange cake, then layers of orange and chocolate mousse.   So intense - I got a migraine from it the first time I had it and overindulged!

Mixed berry tart  with frangipane

 An arty shot of the caramel and pear cake - don't be fooled by the name, it also contains serious amounts of chocolate!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Happy birthday little blog!

Well time has flown, but today marks a year since I started writing this blog.

My inspiration came from a happy day.  You know one of those days where you are in a great mood, everything is right with the world for no particular reason?  I had a fantastic one, so great that I was pretty much dancing along instead of walking.  I jumped in my car to head home, turned on the radio - and they were discussing depressive thought cycles.  Oh I thought, not right for today's mood, so I switched on some music.  But then it occurred to me, if you can have a depressive thought cycle, can you have a happy thought cycle.  Can I made this fantastic mood last by focusing on the positive?

It was worth a shot, after all who doesn't like to be happy?  But I knew I needed something active.  I needed a challenge to really make me find the happiness in every day and thus Blithe Moments was born.

And I've done it.  Every day for a year (aside from the odd blogger issue or the two weeks when I switched over to my travel blog, but those were certainly happy entries) I've found something happy to write about.

It has been tough going at times.  I didn't know it when I started the blog but I was not picking an easy year.  In the past year I've had a really bad bout of glandular fever - so bad I would just start crying from the pain.  I've had significant work and life stresses, to the point where I've lost both sleep and hair.  There have been periods where money has been tight.  And worst of all my Mum's best friend, my "Aunty" Sue died after a relatively short (although it felt like eons at the time) but very painful battle with ovarian cancer.  On some of those days finding something happy to write about has involved some serious creative thinking and the ability to take note of even the smallest good things.

But on the other hand, it has been a pretty fantastic year too.  I've been more aware and grateful for the good things in life than ever before.  I've paid attention to the happy stuff, focusing on it, seeking it out for this blog.  And I've fallen head over heels in love.

At the end of this year of happy moments I know that even when times are tough, there are rays of light that illuminate my life.  I am an extremely lucky person and and my life is blessed.

So the blog isn't going anywhere, but in the past year I've also become an avid reader of other blogs and there are a few things I want to do.  I want to take more photos, spend longer on posts.  As a result, I might not post every day, but Blithe Moments will continue.  Let me know if there is anything you would like to see, or what you already like or don't.

One thing I can say is that I think the experiment has worked.  Even with the stresses of life around me, I feel happier, more positive, better able to deal with challenges and generally content.