#608 1 year on the beach

Today marked exactly one year since we moved across town to live a different life.

A more caffeinated life:

A more explorative life:

A more beach-y life:

And definitely, a more sunset-y one:

It has been an amazing year, and here’s hoping it only gets better.

It started out as a dream, progressed into a waking nightmare as we dealt with moving, unpacking, and adjusting to life in a older house, with things going wrong, no time for ourselves, and endless renovations/to-dos/life changes.

Once that spell was over (and boy was it a LONG one) things went on the improve, bit by bit.

A year later, we can never, EVER look back. We knew, even in those most difficult of days, trying of times and curse-filled moments, that we had made the best decision for US.

And aside from all of the above pros of moving, the other major one has been the closer proximity to most of our family.

So today baby girl was that touch closer in distance to her third cousin, to attend her 4th birthday:

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(Yes they are wearing the same skirt, it was totally not intended yet so cool when we realised they were twinsies. I CAN’T EVEN).

And then later we made an impromptu visit to my sister’s place , something we never used to do, but a favourite new past-time that is becoming more and more common, from both sides.

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(Baby girl and her Aunty making coffees 😉 )

And suddenly, there are so many beautiful reasons to be happy today. Happy for our move. Happy for this 1st Anniversary. Happy for Life.

Cheers 🙂

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#597 A well-read break in the afternoon sun

I had many options.

1, I could wash those growing stacks of dishes that had accumulated in the sink throughout the day.

B.  I could write, in any of my writing projects – just pick an avenue: book review, journaling, updating my SmikG page… I would not be bored.

c) I had emails to send, and phone calls to make, regarding our upcoming kitchen reno project.

8: There were also messages to be sent out, to various professionals and also close friends.

Z – I could even dedicate some learning time to baby girl, or break out the sports bra and Zumba away.

But I chose to do NONE of those things.

I looked out at the GLORIOUS day, as Macklemore sings it, and also, baby girl’s new favourite song to sing…

…and I thought, how could I possibly stay inside on a day like today? I had to shirk all my responsibilities and to-dos, and do something else…

I don’t just love coffee. And aside from baby girl, my family, and shopping, and heading outdoors, and looking at sunsets and dancing in the kitchen, there is something else I love, that I don’t get to do as much as I wish to, but it will always and forever remain an intense, deep, reliable, faithful LOVE of mine.

Reading.

I took a new book from the bookshelf that I hadn’t yet opened, and sat outside on our bench, the afternoon sun warming me right up as I turned a couple of dozen pages.

Baby girl found me and brought out a sticker book, sitting on the concrete before me and getting to work.

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Sure, she interrupted my reading every 30 seconds. Sure, at the beginning I got up more than I was sitting down and enjoying the moment, either to help her or get ourselves some sunnies and hats for protection.

Sure, it wasn’t ALL peace and quiet.

But sitting there with my girl at my side, the sparkling water before us, and with Spring putting on a quite stunning show, I felt so relaxed. So at ease. And so ‘me’ again.

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#584 Beautifully treacherous lookout

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

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They say. And they are right.

Moments before I took this photo, I was crying. Not from happiness at the gloriously serene, glistening, and picturesque bay water before me.

My tears stemmed from fear. Intense, sudden and wild fear, that manifested into acute anger and overwhelming sadness.

It all started after our lunch. We were spending the day together as a family, mid-week, which was reason enough to celebrate. So we lunched of course, on pretty meals like this one:

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and then we headed over to Mornington Park, where baby girl let off some toddler-steam on the slide and swing… and after a while we let our feet lead us off into uncharted territory some more, and followed the sea view, all the way to the point of the pier, heading up up up to the rocky lookout which faced the beautiful image of serenity above.

Hubbie had to go as close as humanly possible to the edge. Baby girl followed him. I instructed firmly, that he MUST hold her hand. I couldn’t keep up with them because I had small heels, and was trying not to break my step in amongst the uneven dirt and rocky path. They headed on towards the edge, as I watched helplessly, yelling out to him “hold her hand!”

He did. But I was slowly dying inside. Here was a 4 year-old, curious toddler, letting go of her Dad’s hand every so often to peer over the rocks at the edge of her feet, rocks that in my mind could give out at any moment. She didn’t understand danger: as a toddler, they are not wired that way. It’s the reason toddlers get into so much trouble, they have an inability to judge what is before them, and the obvious consequences that come with it that usually, adults are equipped with by the time they are, you know, adults.

Usually, adults. I say that because Hubbie, is STILL a child.

This is why I was so concerned. He laughs in the face of danger: hangs over far too much over a 25-storey railing; he’ll walk along a brick wall where one side is a path, the other a dangerously high drop to breaks-ville; he will jump and climb up and off of any kind of climb-worthy apparatus, without so much as a care, second thought or slow deliberation.

Also, he had just had two double-shot coffees – and that with his childish and wild genetic composition, was a BAD combination.

Here he was, with our pride and joy – MY pride and joy – standing casually, a bit too TOO close, to the edge of a rocky drop where the other side of the steep descent was dangerously pokey rocks, and smooth, still, ENDLESS water.

I was dying.

As I approached them, I was in a serious state of panic. They were so calm, so chilled about it all. Peering over the edge, getting closer to the descent. I started to cry. And I yelled out some choice words to him. I painted a stark picture, and it got his attention.

He took baby girl’s hand, and they started to walk towards me. “Come on baby girl, Mama is upset,” he said.

“Sorry Mama,” she said.

“Just go over there,” I said breathlessly, as I ordered them back up the wooden steps and to the stable, safer, lookout point.

I turned back to the water, and breathed.

And breathed.

And soon after, I snapped that picture.

And I was grateful. Because the beautiful image before us, could turn ugly in an instant. l am an eternal dreamer, but a realist too. And though I am a glass- half-full gal, I have seen too much sadness to stick my head in the sand anymore.

Life and everything in it, terrifies me to no end, ever since baby girl entered our world and made it so precious. I am grateful for the beauty in it, but I always look behind me, I always check my footing, to check there are no uneven rocks.

I love views like this. And I will continue to photograph them. But under still, calm waters…

 

 

 

#577 Work freebies

I just LOVE freebies. I mean, who doesn’t? Simply today, I am grateful that I was able to receive some awesome family fun passes to use in a couple of weeks time, from my awesome place of employment…

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The Royal Melbourne show, anyone? The tickets can cost up to $40 per adult at the door, so to get a couple for free?

Yee-ha!

And the cherry on top of this most delicious of freebie cakes?

Baby girl is 4, so she gets in for FREE.

Winning 🙂

#570 Running through the Rain/Pain

Every so often we just need to dance in the shit storm that is Life…

 

I could have just gone to work. I mean, I saw the dark menacing clouds up ahead. I thought “I have 5 minutes, tops.”

But I love coffee too much. I stopped at the café that I always pass on my way into work mid-week.

I stood near the counter after my order, shifting weight from foot to foot, every so often glancing outside and wondering, how long would it hold off…

My coffee didn’t take long. The lady behind the counter called out “medium cap with one sugar?” and I was off…

And I literally took 10 steps towards the pedestrian crossing outside, when it started to plummet down.

As Melbourne is so temperamental in its weather, so too is it temperamental in its rain.

I knew it couldn’t last that long, and also, knowing I had occasional shelter along the way, I decided to risk it.

Just as I had risked the coffee.

I walked briskly. I couldn’t run, coffee in hand. Even so with my quick steps, occasional light jogging, the coffee rose up through the spout and lid hole, spilling out around the edges.

I slurped it up, hastily threw a beanie on my head, and kept on going.

I DID have shelter along the way. But still, when exposed under the skies, it coincided with the constant stream of water coming out of the darkened heavens, so I got wet.

But I realised, as the water poured on me unrelentingly, my jeans starting to stick to my skin, and the coffee splashing out of the cup mixed with the water from above, that it was FUN.

Invigorating. I felt alive. And I think getting rained on, is not such a bad thing…

So long as you dance in it 🙂

 

Dance through the storm, and the world will smile with you 🙂

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#566 Messages from the Coffee cup

I have a LONG history with it.

When I was 10, the day after my sister’s wedding my parents threw a huge, informal backyard party at their place for our closest family and friends. There were a lot of people on that sunny January day, and being the excited kid (and flower girl, thank you very much) that I was, I went ape-shit.

Come the fading hours of sunlight, and my tummy was aching. It was a phase of life where if I jumped or ran about too much after eating, it all came up.

And so it all came up.

While everyone was singing and dancing into the night, the sounds of a folk accordion echoing out to me from the garage, I lay in my room feeling like absolute shit. Not only did I actually feel horrible, but I felt even worse to be missing out on ALL THE FUN.

Oh the agony.

My parents brought me a cup of black coffee. No sugar. The plan?

“Drink it. It’ll make you better, one way or another…”

Yep, it was the other. I threw up some more.

My first taste of real coffee. Coming up.

I grew acquainted with it in another way when I was 13, and on my first overseas trip with my parents. Coming from a fairly superstitious European background (and at that age being absolutely obsessed with what the future would hold) I was delighted to no end to find out that my new most favourite aunty over there, could read coffee cups.

Basically an espresso-sized coffee would be prepared for you, using really fine freshly ground coffee beans, and then it was combined with water and brought to a boiling heat before serving.

This was more pleasant. It had sugar. Sure it was bitter and very strong, but I mean, I had to know if that guy I had just met I was going to EVER SEE AGAIN, so I would have drank a sample of someone else’s saliva if necessary for that information.

My aunty would peer into the base and sides of the coffee cup once it had been turned upside down. You see, the thick syrupy part of the coffee that remained on the bottom once it had all been drank, well that was the bit you worked with. Because you would grab your all-important saucer (they have a use, yes), place it on top of your coffee cup, and then with a swift 180 degree turn flip it over and rest, allowing the thick coffee syrup to gently drip its way down the walls of your inverted coffee cup.

I loved the information I got. It was mostly what I always wanted to hear. Some favourable ‘love’ news. Oooooh! Did it come true? I’m not sure, probably not. But it made me happy, made me believe, and I never stopped asking for coffee readings.

Fast forward to today. I actually drink coffee for enjoyment, not just for the sake of knowing my future. I think it’s better that we don’t know some things… that I’ve learnt the scary way. But tonight while at my parents place, Mum made me, Hubbie and my Dad a coffee, and as I drank it, I just couldn’t help myself…

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Flip!

It’s not that I necessarily know what every sign or symbol means in coffee reading. I try to decipher them based on my own knowledge of dream symbols… I figure they might be the same. You scan the walls and base of the cup once the grounds dry, and try to make out any figures…

I immediately found a person on a motorbike. Leaning forward as if trying to get away. And closely next to it is a sweet dog’s face.

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Can you see what I’m looking at? That cluster of black near the top, that is a person leaning forward in a motorbike. And beside it near the bottom of the bike, are some dots: two perfect eyes, a nose and a mouth, and the nose is even within a darker area, representing the muzzle of the dog. The dog is smiling, which is good.

I looked it up in my parents old-school dream journal (of course they have an old-school dream journal) and I couldn’t find any mention of a motorbike or bike for that matter, but it was noted that a dog was good, and if it was at the base of the cup, it suggested a good friend in your home.

There was also a tiny heart which I was unsure of… look again to the left side of the cup, tilt the photo 90 degrees to the right, and there it is… tiny love heart.

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Also a good sign.

I like good signs.

(Can you see anything else? Let me know!)

Anyway I love it. I love what this little tradition reminds me of. Wonderful events, memorable people, and particularly, one of the best times of my life…

Why wouldn’t I want to keep returning to it?

Yes, it is all a bit of fun, but I do strongly believe that there is some truth to it too…

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See that photo? This was taken a month before I found out I was pregnant with baby girl.

A BIG HEART.

Take that as you will 🙂

#555 Mindful swinging at the park

Baby girl has just learnt how to swing on her own. Today was the second time she had the opportunity to practice it as we headed on over to the local park.

We had just had a babycino and cap, and a salted caramel ‘something’ to share at the nearby café, so we were properly fuelled. As we got closer to the park, I let go of her hand and said “go, run. Be free. Frolic. Be 4.”

Soon she was headed over to the swing, the place of her new-found confidence and extension of never-ending playfulness. She wanted me to give her a big push to get started, and then said “let go Mama.”

(Oh darling. I will never let go).

But then as life would have it, as our children grow up, she wanted me beside her. ( 🙂 ) She motioned to the swing beside her and told me to “sit.”

Soon we were both swinging, sometimes going back and forth simultaneously, other times in opposite directions. It was a still day, the sun sometimes coming out from behind the prevalent clouds of the day. We were silent for the longest time, going back and forth at our varying paces, and my mind wandered over to something I had read the other day.

Mindfulness. What was the quote?

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”  – Bil Keane.

The article had mentioned 7 habits to cultivating a happier life. And one of the points that had captivated me had been the act of living in the present. Not worrying about what had passed, and not stressing about what may, or may not come… but concerning oneself solely, with the NOW.

The technique mentioned was to be aware of your palms and feet, and clenching both while becoming aware of your surroundings. It said to try and concentrate on where you were, and if your mind naturally wandered, to not judge yourself too harshly, but to simply gently steer your attention back to where it needed to be.

So that’s what I did. As we swung back and forth, in the quiet of the local park, I clenched the hands that were around the swing chain, and tensed my feet below me that were swinging back and forth in my white sneakers. I observed my body in the almost-too tight swing seat, breathed in the fresh air, felt the warmth on my face, and tried to think of NOW.

A young teenager was nearby, walking home from school in their uniform, and the image before me made my mind go elsewhere. Suddenly baby girl was also a teen, and there were a multitude of concerning issues flooding my mind. How would I help her with her problems? Would she ask for help? Would she be happy? Would she like school? Would she like her Life?

I suddenly realised my scattered thoughts, and ever so gently removed myself from them, taking myself back to the present.

The beautiful present. Of me and baby girl, swinging at the park, with no concerning cares in the world.

🙂

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