#2022 The box cake

Hubbie had a great family idea for us to do today.

I got the supplies accordingly at the supermarket yesterday, but to be honest I didn’t need a lot.

And after lunch today, we all got together to make…

A CAKE.

But… it was one of those super easy, boxed ones. ๐Ÿ˜‰

He thought it would be a good thing to do, minus the 17 steps I usually take when I get motivated and creative to do something out of a Jamie or Nigella book, or as is the case recently, Marion’s socials.

And had we gone that path, I know my OCD would have kicked in majorly, and I would have been bossing them about and then ordering them out of the kitchen like nobody’s business.

But I let go, and let them decide. This was literally 3 steps.

We all took turns adding the bare basics ingredients to a bowl… mixing them with electric beaters… then pouring it all into the pan to bake.

That’s it!

Less than an hour later it came out of the oven, icing was provided, and baby girl went on a frenzy applying sprinkles.

The end result:

TA-DA!

I thought it might be heavy and sickly sweet, but surprisingly it wasn’t, and tasted quite good.

The only problem now is we have all this cake, and no one to share it with!

Anyone wanna move in next door? We can trade food over the fence. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿฐ

#2009 Feeling the birthday love

I felt truly blessed today.

Another lockdown birthday, and yet the surprises, presents, messages, phone calls, serenades and dedications kept me warm and fuzzy from all winter colds and extended lockdown news, keeping me so busy I could barely keep up all day.

But it was even better, because I celebrated it all, times two.

Baby girl and I share our birthdays on the same day. We did what we could, walked the almost empty streets, ate lunch by the water in our cars, and got some takeaway cake, ice cream and coffee.

It was a super splendid day, and you know what?

At a time when things have felt really super shit, I’ve questioned a lot, felt withdrawn and upset by lots in life… this is what I needed. A day where I really truly, felt the love.

I felt it all, and it was so warm, so caring, so welcoming. I was truly humbled to tears.

I know, no matter what life throws at me, there are people out there who care about me.

And that matters more than anything.

Reach out to those around you, let them know how you feel. You don’t even have to wait for their birthday… you may not know how much they need to hear your beautiful words. ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

#1987 The multicultural writing workshop

I was meant to attend this multicultural workshop today in person, but alas, COVID.

It had been rescheduled many times, and by the time today came I think the organisers felt we could all wait no more.

Put it online.

I had my tea ready, my writing tools, position by the window… check. โœ”

We explored using a language other than English within our writing: whether that be a language we’ve lived with at home, a language we’ve inherited, or a language we’ve learned from living in another place. We experimented with techniques and read poetic examples of other writers who have dabbled in this method of the multilingual writer.

We had a couple of writing exercises too, and I wanted to share one of those with you. In exploring language, and what another language meant to us, and how it defined us… my memory led me to a perfect example.

My childhood example:

“My childhood canโ€™t pinpoint the part at which I learnt to speak English or my ancestral tongue. They are both blended and merged, swirled together in a kaleidoscope of colours; mixed together like the Croatian walnut roll, โ€˜orehnjacaโ€™ my Mum made. The walnut filling was a distinct layer, separate from the dough, and yet you couldnโ€™t have one without the other. It was perfect as a whole.

Old footage has me at my third birthday, my mum and godmother encouraging me to repeat the words โ€œspider, yuckโ€ after someone had used a rubber spider to scare my arachnophobe sister, consequently scaring me too in the process. I repeated these words to the camera, my childlike voice coming out clearly tinged with the European dialect I was accustomed to.

In the next breath my godmother was laughing about my fear of โ€œdebeli kumโ€ and she and my Mum broke up in unrestrained laughter. Spoken so I didnโ€™t understand, but I knew precisely what they were saying โ€“ my โ€œfat godfatherโ€ as they had coined him, who I was petrified of, perhaps not so much for his size, but for his warped German accent when he spoke Croatian, and his loud bellowing โ€œmwa ha ha haโ€ laugh as he joined in on their laughter and teasing.”

Thanks for reading. ๐Ÿ™

#1917 A special birthday

Check out the numbers on those cakes:

8-0. 80.

Yes. We celebrated my Dad’s birthday today, a day earlier from his actual birthday.

Wow. What a milestone. It’s what I wrote in the card too. Just think about it… all the things you must go through, pass through, live through, to get to that grand age…

I was feeling grateful and fulfilled that we were together today, able to celebrate as family should.

And though life can be hard, and IS hard, and there are moments where you can see more hardship than good, these are the moments you ultimately live for.

The togetherness. The laughter. The love. The food, the drink, the memories, and the D&Ms through all crazy hours…

These are the moments where you thank God/your lucky stars/Karma/yourself, for where you are in life, and who you are with.

And to celebrate my Dad’s birthday today, was the ultimate icing on the cake. LITERALLY.

Happy birthday Dad. We love you. ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–

#1757 Capping off a great weekend

After so long of seeing no one, it feels like this weekend we have seen everyone.

Well, almost everyone.

Actually I lie, there are still loads of people to see… see, I’m so used to not being social that I’m forgetting about who we actually used to interact with.

So many people.

Today was a great day to finish off a really full, exciting, loving and happy weekend. It was my nephew’s 15th birthday, and can I just say, I think all Sundays should include…

Cake

Drinks

Family

Love

Celebrations.

That is ALL. That’s not a hard list, right?

Yep. All you really need is LOVE.

#1716 Day 218 of getting there: getting better, in 3s

Victoria got some great news today.

Finally, a light. ๐Ÿ’ก

Things will be reopening from this Wednesday!

That was something really great to lighten the day.

On another more personal note… I bit the bullet.

I took a step today, made an important decision to move my life forward.

It hasn’t been easy, but I am finally HERE. I am finally here at the point where I’m done with the bullshit, and I’m ready to get rid of the fear and just jump into the deep end.

There are life rafts anyway.

But, on the surface, more widely and publicly… I am also grateful for Hubbie’s birthday. Clearly, things are not normal AS YET, so it was a very low-key birthday for him, especially since he was working…

We even got a small, low-key cake.

But, like with these last 7 months…

WE’LL MAKE UP FOR IT.

Low-key or not, the cake was kinda perfect. Exactly what we needed, just for us.

Can you see the cheeky monkey in the background, eyeing it off? ๐Ÿคจ

Hmmm. ๐Ÿคฃ

#1715 Day 217 of getting there: Sunday coffee, cake and old tunes

3pm is coffee time in our household.

The sky was grey, the clouds were several. Wisps of rain occasionally flew down on the ground outside.

I looked out the window, and strands of a song from long ago wafted into my head.

Soon, I had rain coming through the stereo, and someone was crying a river.

Or, singing about one. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I left the rest of the album on, Justified it was. An album I listened to SO much as a young adult. Also, one that I haven’t listened to in years…

And yet, I found myself belting out the lyrics, every breath, every “ooh,” every gasp, because it was engrained in me.

As the music filled the house, it put me in a truly happy state, and I sipped my coffee, ate my amazing apple cake, and everything felt really good.

Finding new ways to distract myself, and get there, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

#1645 Day 147 of getting there: The Iso birthdays

I was really surprised to reach the end of today, and find that I felt…

Sad. Bittersweet.

The exact same way I feel after we have one of our big birthday parties.

Only this year was different, right?

What was different…

Firstly, no family, no friends, NO ONE. Just us.

No celebratory birthday outing.

Hmmm….

That’s about it.

What was the same though?

The food. We ate most of the day, and felt absolutely stuffed by it all!

The drinks. I went a little ‘woo!’ in my head.

The presents.

(Even Mister F was amazed there was a present hiding up there!)

The cakes. The candles.

The music. Freddie! Dancing.

The surprises… for both of us.

The love and well wishes that came from everywhere.

I have to say, my family and friends made sure we felt the love today.

During such a weird time in our lives, when we are going through celebrations and momentous life events without so much as a peep on the radar as to its significance, the people around me reminded us today that we are loved, we are remembered, and also…

That we WILL party really really really really HARD when this passes!

And so, it comes as no surprise that I would be feeling sad it was all over.

It was actually, still, a really lovely day. ๐Ÿฅฐ

Everyone was far… but I felt the love.

We felt the love. ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–

#1634 Day 136 of getting there: sweet things

It was one sweet thing after another today. ๐Ÿ’–

I finally made the Nigella cake I’ve been meaning to make for the last two weeks. It’s a lemon polenta cake, and when I went to make it originally, I realised I was missing one key ingredient.

The POLENTA.

Fast forward to today, and I finished the deliciously sugary and citrusy dessert, eagerly waiting to dig into it for coffee time in the afternoon.

And afterwards as I went to casually check the mail… I found another sweet thing.

A sweet surprise… a letter from bestie!

But not for me. For baby girl.

๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

I showed her and she opened it, stunned, but also so happy. Her Dad helped her read it… stories about bestie and her hubbie at home, their gorgeous dog, and questions asking baby girl if she was missing school, and what her favourite song was? (That answer in itself is a whole essay!)

It was the sweetest of gestures to baby girl, and yet in some way, it probably meant a whole lot more to her parents. ๐Ÿ’•

Coffee time came, and the cake was sickly sweet! But really moist and nom nom nom too.

I think Hubbie will be taking pieces to his work mates this week, because let’s face it, we ain’t seeing anyone else to help us with it!

But I will be sure to share the sweetness again, when this is all over.

All in all, a pretty sweet day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

#1476 Together again

I don’t think I realised just how much I missed them all, until I saw them all today.

I’m talking about my family… my WHOLE family.

Cousins, aunties, uncles, kids, people who aren’t my blood technically but who I still faithfully call “cousin.”

And making it sweeter, having my parents, and sis and bro-in-law in the mix.

Age, gender, cultural ethnicity… it’s all irrelevant. We all blend and merge seamlessly into one. I talk to my younger cousins as easily as I do with my uncles, or the 3 year-old birthday girl.

We are all in such different stages of life, and it makes catch-ups like tonight that much more interesting. Either someone is plowing through work, looking for work, or thinking of finishing up work. Some are raising young kids, others teens, while others still are free now that their brood are independent of them.

Some are retired, enjoying the good life in the garden.

Some holiday a couple times a year.

Some are dreaming of their next holiday (um, us? ๐Ÿ˜‚)

We get along, but we also argue. We shit-stir, and we agree to disagree.

And although there’s so much separating our very specific and individual lives, there’s one major factor unifying us all.

And that’s family.

We were together for a kid’s birthday today. And not ‘kid’s birthday’ in the literal sense… although there was rainbow cake, pink balloons, dress-ups and a jumping castle…

But there was so much noise. Rowdiness. Gee we can be f$#&ing loud! Anyone passing by outside would be forgiven in thinking it was anything but a kid’s birthday party.

We are passionate, yet we still have our problems. Health problems, kid problems, work problems and just generally, LIFE problems.

We share all this to lighten our load, then we smile. Eat some cake and drink some wine.

Go home full in our bellies and our hearts.

Because we are family.

And gee, I missed them. โค