#485 I love Main street, and let me count the ways…

Number 1 ♥. Random babycino stopover leads to fantastic find.

After our lovely library visit only a few blocks down, we headed down the main strip where again I spied upon the gorgeous blue and green scarves with pom poms I had eyed off only an hour earlier. If I hadn’t read that book about minimising your stuff and the challenge of only having 100 personal items, I might just have gone in to purchase it. Oh well, another day.

As I then observed another shop, which through the windows looked amazing with the clothes that seemed to be yelling “SmikG! SmikG!” I turned to baby girl and said “let’s go in here honey.”

Only she was heading for the shop next door. The café next door. And she was fairly intent on one thing.

“Babycino.”

What had we created? Sure, I won’t lie, Hubbie and I are all for cafes, and got her café-savvy VERY early on in the game so we could go to them frequently, often, with no dramas or hesitations from her. But now, she had her own agendas, her own routine, her own requests. She decided, now was the time she wanted a babycino, and there was no getting around it.

I walked over hesitantly, using all manner of excuses.

“Mummy will make you one after lunch.”

“Daddy will be home for lunch soon, let’s go.”

“You need to eat lunch first honey.”

She completely ignored me and placed her library bag full of newly borrowed books on the bench beside her, as she positioned herself permanently there. A waitress from within the café came out to us, holding a bottle of water and two glasses.

“You sitting here?”

“Actually,” I started. “I’m trying to get her to keep walking with me, but I think she’s intent on a babycino.” I sighed and looked at baby girl.

“Do you want me to quickly make one?”

I hesitated for a second before looking back at the friendly waitress. “Sure.”

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And so it was, that we came to be sitting at Dr Fox’s, proverbially smelling the roses, with baby girl sniffing the sprinkled chocolate and marshmallows alongside her drink of choice.

In observing this girl of mine with a mind of her own, I discovered some other little facts. The café was open for dinner a few nights a week; a nearby board told me about their inviting new menu for the colder months; and upon paying inside, I discovered the friendly service continued, with the girl inside being as amazing as the one serving us outside had.

It was only a little place, but it had some awesome character. You don’t need a big space, to make a huge impression. They stole mine and baby girl’s heart today, and we WILL BE BACK.

And the friendly, genuine, and warm nature I’m coming across, from within many of these local cafes, shops and services… I am just loving.

LOVING. I ♥ my town.

#474 A fresh bag of beans

Coffee beans, to be exact.

(Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t name this blog ‘carcrashcoffee,’ or ‘coffeecrashgratitude’?)

Yes, I write about coffee, a lot. About the way it makes me feel. What I’m doing while I’m drinking it, which is usually enjoying life and taking a pause. How it tastes. Great coffee. What happens, due to coffee. Running on time and having a coffee (like it somehow made me early or something), or having coffee with a miniature figurine. It’s all here folks. And there is sooo much more to come, I assure you 😉

But one of the most amazing things about making your own coffee, at home, is that moment when you open up a new bag of beans.

Ahhhhh.

How can I not stick my head in the bag and inhale deeply? It is a sensory experience of erotica, through the nose. The scent of it itself, makes you high on caffeine, and that’s without ingesting any of it.

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The fresh bag of coffee I inhaled seductively today was from a local place we have already tried for beans, called Commonfolk Coffee. We are yet to eat there, but the place looks amazing. Industrial warehouse turned funky hipster café. I know, I know, EVERYONE is doing it. But when they are freshly roasting their own coffee, and proceeds are going towards a sustainable coffee making industry, it just puts them a par above any other dread-head recently turned barista.

The first bag we tried from there, the Progress Street blend, was not to our taste, at all. This one however, the Godfather blend (how can a name like that fail?) proved to be much better on my first try today, but the beans are probably a little mixed with the old ones, so we need a few coffees to go through the machine before we can accurately tell.

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I think I can safely say, the scent of fresh coffee beans, can never, ever disappoint…

#468 Churchies give me coffee and a muffin

Ahhh. Hot, sweet, hot, sweet (did I say hot?) coffee, accompanied by a perfectly executed warm egg and bacon muffin.

I almost didn’t have this. If I didn’t act precautionary and stuff extra coins into my coffee purse (yes I have a coffee purse), I totally wouldn’t have had it AT ALL.

At the usual time this morning, I grabbed my work pass, my phone, and my coffee purse to head off on my coffee walk to get my Saturday morning coffee while at work. Having the scratchy and dry throat that has decided to reappear in my life for a few days now, and feeling also slightly sickly, I looked at the fruit waiting for me on my desk, and decided ‘this will not do.’

Sure, I would eat them today, at some point, eventually. But I needed something solid, something hearty, something to go fantastically with my morning coffee and help me get through the day and way into the night, as we were expecting visitors at our place later on. I threw in a couple more coins from my ‘regular’ purse, into my ‘coffee purse’ (I know, right?!) and with my bomber jacket headed on down the road through the chilly air.

The Asian lady greeted me warmly as I walked up to the counter, smiling happily. I like her. I like my Saturday morning coffee place. I hoped I would like her more in a few moments time.

“Hi,” I started. “I wanted something like a coffee – “

“Yes we have coffee!”

“- yes but, with something like toast? Like a coffee and toast deal?”

Not more than $6.50, not more than $6.50, I repeated in my head. In my quick skim through the contents of my coffee purse earlier, I thought I had that amount for sure, but any more, and I would have to check.

“We have a coffee and egg and bacon muffin for $7.50.”

Hmmm.

“Regular coffee?” I enquired.

“This one,” she pointed to the smallest size, not the medium size as I had anticipated. She repeated regular, and I got confused with the sizes as I started to count out my change.

“Let me check…”

It is usually the case that with coins, there is a tad more than what you initially see with your eyes.

4.50, 5, 6, 7… 7.50!

“7.50!” I said happily. “And for a medium?”

“This one” she again pointed to the small size, and my heart deflated a bit. “It’s a bit extra for medium…”

I started doubting whether I even wanted this egg and bacon muffin. I mean I did, but not enough to sacrifice the size of my coffee. I stared into my much lighter coffee purse, and observed 45 cents worth of coins.

Don’t say more than 45 cents, don’t say more than 45 cents…

“An extra 40 cents.”

!

With 5 cents in my purse to spare!

I emptied all the coins onto the counter like a girl who had just raided the church donation baskets, and minutes later, I was walking back to work very happy. And then at my desk, enjoying my hot coffee, and my warm muffin, I was immediately grateful for all my coins.

ALL THE COINS.

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Don’t throw away your churchies people. You never know when they will make your day.

#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.

#434 A new weekend ‘drop’

This was me an hour or so ago, walking back to work with a coffee from a place I’ve been recently going to.

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I don’t go there when I work weekdays. This is my Sunday café go-to for caffeine fix, since my usual destination is closed on the weekends. I’ve been pleasantly surprised, and find this café is far superior to another rival weekend café, that is both closer yet more expensive than this current one.

So, I’m walking 5 more minutes, for 15 cents cheaper coffee. Also, I don’t have to worry about that initial bitter taste, or arrogance upon ordering at the old place. That all adds up fellow coffee snobs, doesn’t it?

And then there were the people. So many people were out and about on yet another spectacularly still and sunny Autumn’s day. Footy jerseys were out, boys sitting atop their Dad’s shoulders on the way to the stadium, and groups of people getting off buses in order to enjoy the weekend celebrations in whichever fine way they wished to.

And I thought to myself, ‘when will Hubbie and baby girl and I be able to enjoy the entire weekend off, on a regular basis?’

When will weekend (the WHOLE weekend) family time be a given, a normal thing?

I think when that happens, I will know, I’ve had made it 🙂 I’m looking forward to that day…

But until then, I will work when I have to, and take pleasure in seeing the smiles on other happy families as they venture about, as I walk back to work, sipping on my hot coffee…

#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? 😉

#368 Coffee break by the dock-side

So, it is pretty apparent that I love coffee. Also, I love the water. Fortunately for me, the two collided today while doing my Sunday work shift.

Also lucky for me: it was a glorious day. Actually, considering I was at work, you can look at that in either of two ways… I’ll take the former for now, gratitude blog and all.

Since I was sleep-deprived, requiring caffeine, and my pressing work job that had to be done, was done, I ventured out into the sunshine post 10:30am, got myself a coffee and a Cherry Danish, and sat on a bench outside the café, watching the people walk on by, staring at the large boat in front of me, and just enjoying being present.

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It was just a short moment. But the sun’s rays warmed my exhausted soul, and the coffee did wonders for my head… Mill and Bakery has a couple of new baristas, and I got the female one today – she is awesome, she puts extra chocolate on my cappuccino.

Ahh. So I got some pleasure out of my work day even though everyone else was out and about, enjoying their family day Sunday.

Well, what do you know. Gratitude can truly be found, almost anywhere.