Sunday, August 13, 2006

Remember to Breathe (this IS a meme)

Today is the 19th anniversary of my brother's suicide. I've mentioned his death before (usually on other people's blogs), and I'll keep mentioning it periodically because it is a big part of who I am and what I do. If he hadn't died I'd probably be a research librarian or a high school teacher, both of which are Good Jobs, but I spent a lot of time after his death wondering why I should have to do what everyone else expected me to do, and eventually finding the nerve to do something I liked passionately. I'd like to think that if he'd lived he would have been the Arty One at first, but that I would have got there eventually. I'll just take this moment to add that suicide SUCKS. Don't do it.

Anyhoo, around this time of year I like to think about why I still want to be on the face of the Earth, and it usually boils down to some very simple things. So I'm starting a meme, because I'd like to know what keeps all of you alive too.

The Remember to Breathe Meme (or: 12 simple things that keep me going from year to year)

In no particular order:

1. the smell of Jonquils (or Daphne)

2. a deep blue sky

3. swing jazz

autumn leaves

4. a drift of bright-coloured autumn leaves

cat purrs

5. cat purrs

6. the wonder that humans can still come up with fresh ways to be creative

7. bird song

8. risotto, fresh off the stove

9. sunshine on my face on a wintery day

10. a book that can take me away from it all

cloud streaks

11. Worn paint

12. Looking out over the sea from a cliff

That's today's list, anyway. I could probably make up a new one every day. I haven't included any of the thrills I get from the work I do or from my loved ones, because that's an added bonus. This is what would keep me alive even if I was single, childless and working in an office. But do add that sort of stuff if it's what keeps you going.

I'm not making a list of participants... feel free to take it up or leave it be, but do drop a line in the comments if you do this meme direct from reading this post, because I'm genuinely interested.

So, what about you?


Anonymous said...

I was noting in my blog today about missing the autmn colours and then read your blog. The leaves are lovely.

Anonymous said...


In the spirit of sister-outlawdom, 12 simple things for me;

1. sleep
2. fresh sheets (see sleep, above)
3. little tanks full of happy fish
4. things growing in the garden
5. the daphne by my door
6. my cat being genuinely friendly and not just sucking up for food
7. portuguese custard tarts
8. AFL football on the telly (complex really)
9. big crowds of folks all looking forward to the same thing (whether politics, bands, festival days or footy games)
10. knitting (will start that cardigan soon, dear one)
11. belly laughs - most recent were puns in the staff room
12. um, this is getting hard, walking in the Gully

Enny said...

I'll have a think and give it a go - but wanted to let you know that the leaves pic made me happy - reminded me of when I still lived at home and used to rake up the leaves from the big tree out the front of the house in autumn so I could get some sun and sing along to my walkman - I swear they're leaves off the same type of tree (dodgy me can't remember it's name!).

Ampersand Duck said...

Yay! Thanks gals. Those leaves *are* good, aren't they? They stopped me dead on the bike track, that day. Click the link to see the full splendour.

N - as much as I'm dying to have one of your cardies ASAP, finish the PhD first! You're such a sweetie.

Mick said...

Thanks Ducky.
A timely meme for meme.

Posted here -

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful way to remember your brother.

Twelve things:

- Baby smiles
- Cat purrs
- Doggy pants of enthusiasm

- Parrots on Mt Majura
- Cold Cranberry juice
- Boticelli Angels

- Friendly faces from strangers
- Organic apples
- Raspberry jam

- Big old roses
- Majestic old gum trees
- Well worn patchwork quilts

And one more for luck!
- The smell of jonquils and daphne

ps - did you know that daphne is really easy to grow from cuttings. Just take a 20cm bit off, pull off most of the leaves, and stick it in a pot.

Ampersand Duck said...

Hey, welcome back out of lurking, Mick.

Seepi -- heh, I threw a Daphne into the ground nearly ten years ago, after being told that they are very hard to find a good place for, and the bloody thing took off, right outside my back door! So at this time of year I get a waft of Fruit Loops every time I leave the back of the house. Glorious.

Anonymous said...

Well for this little black duck:
- My kids (most of the time)
- eucalypts
- Mitsuko Uchida playing Schubert
- magpie song
- mandarins
- my sisters (at times)
- objects/images that just are.....
- friends
- a wild garden
- compassion & care
- fabulous writing
- humour of which there is never enough

Take care Ms &duck

Anonymous said...

Oh & I forgot hoity toity overeducated little poofs as Robert Dessaix described himself in this saturday's Good Weekend.

Ampersand Duck said...

Honesty is refreshing, isn't it? ;)

Mummy/Crit said...

Hi Duck, I'm responding to the meme here rather than on the blog, it doesn't fit too well there. It's a good idea, thanks. I find your 'remember to breathe' posts inspiring at the best of times. Way to go!

* reading with kids at school
* D dressing up
* the sun in my lounge room
* pyjama days
* the first spring blossoms (cherry/plum)
* meals with the whole family
* good curries
* watching the favourite tv show of the moment with my beloved
* turning up to work when my fav co-workers are on the same shift
* books (old friends)
* simon&garfunkel
* my homoeopath

Ampersand Duck said...

Mmm... spring blossoms. The ornamental apricots we've got as street trees (one of the nice things about Canberra) are about to go crazy. I just hope it's not too windy when they burst.

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous meme. As soon as I'm done this job application (grumble grumble), I'll post it.

JahTeh said...

I was going to comment here but it ended up as a long blog post. I had to really think about it but got it in the end.

Helen said...

Hello! Your lovely meme made me slow down and think. It was very theraputic. I've blogged my own 12 things. Come visit, and thank you!

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

oh Ducky, this is something to think about, innit? lovely. thinking...

Mindy said...

12 things
- spring
- children
- new babies galore
- finishing the house
- good books to read
- watching the kids change and grow every day
- friends
- family
- the cats
- getting chookies
- blog posts to read
- still too much fun to have

Ampersand Duck said...

See, that last point nails it for me. There's just still too much fun to have.

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog recently. Thought I'd actually leave a comment this time. Here are my 12:

1. family
2. good friends
3. belly aching laughs with family and friends
4. the smell of freshly cut grass
5. the magnificance of the ocean
6. warm homemade chocolate chip cookies
7. traveling the world
8. experiencing new cultures
9. gourmet food
10. coffee on my patio on a nice winter morning (in January for me)
11. my husband
12. God

Ampersand Duck said...

I thought this might bring a few lurkers out of the woodwork!

Thanks Patricia, that's marvellous.

cristy said...

I have been meaning to do your lovely meme since I first read it, and have finally gotten around to it.

Thank you for the inspiration. It certainly lifted my mood.

Kirsty said...

I finally got around to it too.

Drewzel said...

Me too did mine, found it hard though. Of the ones listed here I certainly agree with the pyjama days, curries, magpie song, and "big crowds of folks all looking forward to the same thing (whether politics, bands, festival days or footy games)". So true.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

* the ocean (esp snorkelling in it)
* thunderstorms or even just heavy rain on the verandah
* rockpools
* babies smiling in their sleep
* the comfort of physical touch
* the comfort of friends and family
* texture
* colour
* the garden
* thinking of where to travel next even if you know you won't get there for a trillion years
* live music esp jazz and classical
* knowing that being a drop in the ocean is still important to all the other drops around you

Armagnac Esq said...

Done it- in a double with the book meme that's going round!