#438 Kinder days no. 3

A week or two ago I was looking up local cafes, and came upon an awesomest of awesome cafes, with the most awesomest of awesome-looking meals, that had me immediately concocting how I was going to eat said meal.

The idea came to me quickly: ‘next time I’m free after dropping baby girl off at kinder, go there and EAT.’

Today, I went. And I ate this:

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It tasted as extremely beautiful as it looked. This acai bowl had me in love at first sight, and though I got brain freeze when I took in more than necessary in my first spoonfuls, of the icy blend beneath the surface, I very quickly learnt my lesson and ate the rest of the meal, s l o w l y.

Although I love socialising, I often need the timeout to recharge and refuel, and yet I never would have thought, 10 years ago, that I would now look forward to eating out on my own.

Hint to my future Food Review from today’s experience? ‘In a nutshell,’ I will be back. 🙂

Acai bowl made me happy and grateful this morning. Goal accomplished.

#417 Easter egg hunt

One of the most rewarding parts of the day…

was not when we had hot cross buns for brekkie, that had been baked fresh in the oven minutes earlier (they were delicious but this new oven I’m working with, actually, OLD oven, burnt the bases of all my buns so that they had to be sliced off – minor annoyance)

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was not when I surveyed the satisfying end result of 2-3 days of baking and preparing, all my lovely cakes presented on pink plates to be taken to family and friends (I spent a lot of that time also being grumpy, stressed and rushing about like a mad woman)

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was not when we arrived at my parents place later in the day on time (we had been driving around for hours already)

was not when we cheers’d as a family and had a good swig of the strong stuff to commemorate yet another beautiful family Easter dinner together

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… But, it was in the morning, during our Easter egg hunt with baby girl. Because even though we did it with her last year on Easter morning, she did it then in surprised awe, like she was still working things out. It was more wonder at why all these little eggs were in our front yard, more so than excitement.

Today was much, much different.

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Hubbie scattered little eggs around the front and back yard, and then showed baby girl where he saw the Easter Bunny hop about, thereby directing her to the right spots.

She carried her green Easter bag with her, excitedly filling up the bag with chocolatey goodness, exclaiming in excited happiness, popping the eggs confidently into the bag, and listening ardently as her Dad and I seriously spoke about where else the bunny had hopped to, and what else we might find…

and then we came to the ‘piece de resistance,’ which, hidden amongst a bush, was this

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A Frozen-themed tin chest. Filled with more chocolate eggs of course.

Seeing that smile on baby girl’s face, why, we could almost do an Easter egg hunt every day, just to see that beautiful face light up with happiness the way it did.

Happy Easter All 🙂 Hope yours was a special and memorable one.

#416 A Writer’s Dream

Today, I officially became a writer.

This is because I lived out a dream. The dream, of all wannabe writers out there.

It all started a few days ago.

During the week my boss had asked me if I could do a 9-5er on my next shift, being Saturday. I usually work early shifts on Saturdays, for 2 reasons:

Getting to work early means I get out earlier, therefore having more time to spend with my family later, going out/shopping/dining/coffee-ing/

Also, leaving the house so early means that baby girl is still sleeping when I leave. She wakes up, MIL is there, they cuddle in bed, and all is good in the world. Hubbie and I both usually work Saturdays, and this routine is great. There are no tears, no tantrums, no pathetic displays, from ANYONE. And baby girl is unfazed too… because she doesn’t see us leave.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Likewise, don’t rock the boat. Having her still asleep when I leave the house is MORE than perfect.

Working a 9-5 shift however, posed a conundrum. Would I get up later? Undoubtedly so. This would cause possible issues. Would baby girl cry as she watched me leave? Would she have a hissy-fit, therefore making the rest of my MILs day exceptionally hard?

Simultaneously, as all this was circling around in my head, a work friend of mine was telling me about how she loved the bakery, Banjo’s. Being Tassie-born, the bakery there is prevalent, a part of most people’s upbringing, providing her with much nostalgia and sweet (and savoury) memories. However where her old grounds has a Banjo’s on every corner, in Victoria there are only two: one in regional Victoria, and the other in the town of the Morning, my new home turf.

I was telling her how I would bring in some special requests next time we worked together, saying I would drop by the bakery before my work shift to satisfy her Banjo cravings, when suddenly, an idea started to emerge.

It crept up and up, like a flower rising to face the sun’s beams, ’til suddenly, everything was perfect and the thought was standing there, alone, shining in all its immaculate glory.

This morning, I got up with Hubbie, and left the house almost as normal. By 6:30, I had parked minutes away from home.

Across from Banjo’s.

And inside I walked, with my…

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Laptop.

Ding!

It has been my long-held, deeply sought after ideal to write in a café. This dream of mine was so strong, it was there even before I realised I wanted to be a writer. I mean, the dream kind of came with the lifestyle choice. The vision of being cosied up in a café, writing to your heart’s content, eating food and sipping on coffee while the world rolled on by, and idling there like you had nowhere pressing to go, well that just looked so absolutely unreal and fantastically special for me.

I didn’t think I could get to do anything like that, ’til long long long after I had another kid, and then they were both in school. So like, 5 years or something.

But, it happened.

I sat in Banjo’s for over an hour. It wasn’t the kind of café I had dreamed of writing in, but today, for my first time, it would have to do. I ordered an egg and bacon toastie and while I waited for it (they were still opening so they couldn’t make my order straight away- I had been warned) I sipped on some oj, and I typed.

And typed. I wrote personal stuff. And I reviewed my story, squinting at the screen critically and re-reading several passages 15 times, ’til I realised, I NEEDED TO EAT.

Driving to work on an empty stomach is far different to writing on an empty stomach. The former is a default activity that requires little effort when it is a regular route. The latter requires the head.

Head requires food.

I didn’t have a coffee either (some coffee snob I am) since I can’t drink it on an empty stomach  – the beans just rattle my head. When my toastie did come, I scoffed the deliciousness down, and then all was good.

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I had still been productive though, and written about 45 minutes of the time. As I headed off I took some things with me: some snacks and some lunch for work… and also, a 6 pack of hot cross buns for my work colleague.

They’re currently sitting at her desk, waiting for her surprised face to turn up. She didn’t work today, but she sure as hell will get a lovely Happy Easter surprise tomorrow on her work shift.

And there you go, 3 events coincided brilliantly together this morning to create a happy harmony. I left the house early as preferred to keep baby girl in her happy routine; I got some memory-making buns for a work colleague; and I lived out my fantasy of writing in a café.

Gratitude done, by 7:50am. Is that a record? No, of course not 🙂

Now that I’ve broken the café-writing seal, I think a lot of re-occurrences will now follow… I may just volunteer for more 9-5 Saturday shifts… and I do have to get the café food arrival timing correct, and make sure I get coffee next time, and a proper window seat…

We can’t get these things right the first time… that would leave out the fun now, wouldn’t it? 😉

#361 The note

I didn’t realise there was such a thing as a ‘sad surprise’ until it was staring me in the face early this morning.

It was a really weird feeling.

After spending 20 minutes going through work emails, at about 7:30 I headed on over to the communal kitchen with my cereal container and fruit to organise my breakfast. Alone in there, I set about getting a bowl, spoon, knife, and then opened my container with my weetbix inside….

And staring back at me was a note.

I just stared, shocked. I read it. And then I read it again.

I stood there, still waking up, still unsure of how to react to this surprising note Hubbie had left me.

After standing like that for what seemed like a while, I finally took out my phone and took a quick snap before anyone ventured in to see me photographing my dry breakfast biscuits.

It was this:

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And my bittersweet feelings and confusion were so, because when I traced back the events of last night, I realised with a heavy heart, that Hubbie must have written the note and snuck it into my container…

before we had our very decent argument.

Sigh.

It made me so sad. I loved surprises like these. I lived for them. I do things like this for Hubbie, setting up unplanned events and leaving notes and gifts for him in places I know he’ll find them, sometimes to see his face when he discovers it, and other times with the knowledge that even though I’m not there, a smile will spread over his face and will touch his heart with the realisation that I’ve gone to such effort to make him happy, even when I am not around.

I couldn’t even enjoy the note properly, because as it was, we hadn’t really resolved anything from our disagreement. We had gone to bed dissatisfied and angry, and really it wasn’t a lovely way to go to bed on a Saturday night.

Still, I sat back at my desk with the note, my phone, and my breakfast, and messaged him a heartfelt thank you, expressing my surprise and love. Despite the fact we had not cleared the air, I was still touched.

And hours later at the end of my shift, when I got home, we solved things fairly quickly… that’s because we compromise well and choose peace, over our stubborn stances of being right… but maybe the note that ‘Future’ Hubbie left me had a role to play in that too.

It was as if ‘Future” Hubbie had gone back in time, planted that note to help ease our future woes, and then jumped back into the present to wait for the air to clear.

A bit Back to the Future-esque I know, but an interesting thought none the same.

It certainly explains why he added an ‘e’ to the end of ‘wait’… you know, ‘Future’ Hubbie rushing and all to leave the note before present-day SmikG and Hubbie walked in, making an unforgivable spelling error that all partners of writers should NEVER make.

But, I forgive him. The note. I had felt sad when I first saw it, but earlier as I dated it and tucked it away to keep forever, I cherished the thought of love and happiness that he put into it.

And I am so grateful.

It is the little things… for they are, the big things.

All is good again 😉

#355 A Frozen morning

Mornings at our household, even when work or appointments or commitments are not in the near horizon, are usually spent in the ‘keep-on-going-on,-going-on,-going-on’ stage.

Meaning it just keeps going on. In fact there is NO STAGE. We are in constant movement of not dawdling, ‘we-are-done-here-onto-the-next-thing,’ ‘let’s-not-waste-time-let’s-fill-up-our-days-with-as-much-productivity-as-we-can-muster,’ type thing.

We don’t give ourselves much chance to rest.

But today, it was cold. And baby girl wanted to watch some more Frozen. She has been really getting into the popular kids movie lately, and I don’t lie one bit when I say that when she is singing Let It Go, I’m actually finding it adorable.

I pressed play on the DVD player and it picked up where she last left off in the film. We sat in front of the TV, eating brekkie. And although I’ve seen bits of the film, and I know the ending, I happened to see the last 3o minutes of the film uninterrupted, as baby girl and I munched on butter and vegemite on toast, and I found my analytical switch, first awoken  by my Media Studies course back in my uni days, immediately turning itself on to critique, and discover, ‘just what was good about this film?’

I found, I really liked it. It actually is a great kids movie. It even made me almost cry at the end, at a most poignant moment, that made me initially go “woah – heavy much for kids?”

Of course any heaviness displayed in a Disney movie is short-lived. And I admit, I am that Mum, who will be the one instigating any animated films I take baby girl to in the future, because I LOVE THEM SO MUCH, but still….

I thought this movie was pretty great. And I found myself relishing the change in routine.

I didn’t push myself onto the next task, with my keen eye on the clock, getting baby girl on to hurry up, and rushing us out the door.

No. I let myself sink into the couch, I allowed my analytical switch to stay on as I simultaneously enjoyed this movie, and I glanced outside at the cloudy, windy weather, the branches on the trees outside being thrown about, and I thought

‘No thanks. I’ll stay here a while longer.’

I’d rather deal with MY Frozen, than that Frozen.

#354 Cinnamon Plums with French Toast

There’s nothing like a warm, fulfilling and sweet breakfast to start your Sunday morning. And when I prepared the cinnamon plums days ago, little did I know that on the day I would be eating them, the weather, cold and grey and windy, would be especially inviting for the meal.

All the better.

I love this Nigella Lawson recipe that I first had the pleasure of experimenting with last year, when I was trying to work out what to do with all these plums my parents and MIL were giving to me. Because they were from their yards, or the yards of someone they knew, I really wanted to put them to good and proper use, and salvage the natural and chemical-free aspects of the fruit, making them shine in a truly special way.

I loved the Nigella recipe, because the use of plums was

  1. simple
  2. was in conjunction with another fave meal of mine (French toast), and
  3. was able to be frozen

That was a BIG positive. With a fair bit of plum compote made from the one batch, I was happy that not even that would go to waste, as I could freeze any remains and easily defrost for use on a future Sunday.

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It really is a good Sunday morning breakfast meal.

I made the compote on Thursday, before freezing it and defrosting it overnight. It worked a treat, and anything that is delicious and the prep is fast and simple, well I’M ALL FOR.

And if you want the recipe… well, you know the drill.

#211 The blue car

You know the measure of a moment when it comes unexpectedly to you.

In my pyjamas, moving slowly this morning, I left my breakfast preparations and walked into the lounge room to see why baby girl was calling me – placing stickers all over the coffee table, our little Picasso – and looked through the window to see a blue car in the driveway.

My parents. I was all frumpy, hadn’t eaten, felt bleh, and had a full schedule of things to do for the next 4 hours. But I was rapt they had stopped by.

Brekkie was delayed, I stayed in my pjs chatting to them for another hour, and then by the time they left and baby girl and I went to the shops, it was practically lunch time.

But I didn’t care. The appearance of their blue car, of them, had brought me unexpected joy, and just knowing that I won’t be seeing that car arrive unexpectedly at my doorstep in a few months time (our meetings will need to be long-planned, what with the distance between us) it made it all the more sweeter.

Screw schedules, when you get a surprise 🙂