#842 Scones and Schnitzel

It’s kinda hard to look for gratitude and try to find small things that make you happy in amongst shitty days, even more so when those shitty days reveal even worser days for others.

How can one complain about smaller issues when they know of family or friends in ill-health or distress?

It actually reminds me of what I used to say after my father-in-law passed away. Here I was, a new Mum to a beautiful baby girl, yet still completely overwhelmed by my new parent role and the life that came with it; and then there was Hubbie, equally besotted by her, while simultaneously still in deep grief over his father’s passing. And sometimes, someone, somewhere, would tell me they were having a bad day.

They would quickly realise their words in my company, and apologise for complaining. They saw in me, in us, in our family, that there were far harder things to go through. To manage. To overcome.

But you know what I would say to them?

“Everyone has their own problems. You shouldn’t feel bad about yours, and feel guilty that they aren’t big enough to cry over. You are allowed to be upset, it’s your life, your problems.”

Sure, little problems in light of big problems become an awareness of the bigger picture, and that enlightenment is major in itself.

But we can’t all be in woe at the same time, can we? Then we wouldn’t have those others around us, less in woe, to pick us up from our sadness…

At this time of my life, I think I’m in a state of ‘less in woe.’

So I’m grateful.

But that isn’t what this gratitude post is about. That in itself is actually huge, more so because I know, and I have felt the comparison of being WHOLEHEARTEDLY in woe.

This is perhaps about the most trivial of things in light of today… baking.

For a week now I’ve been planning on making scones. They seem to make them for any given reason at baby girl’s kindergarten. Parents getting to know each other afternoon tea? SCONES. Mother’s Day? SCONES. Neighbourhood primary school visits? SCONES.

A possum jumps from the gum trees into the yard and shits all over the kids play equipment?

SCONES.

Ok so clearly I am bullshitting with you but you get my drift. I have not made scones in ages, well since we moved here really, and part of that has to do with

  1. kitchen reno, AND
  2. having half my kitchen stuff still in boxes upstairs because I’m waiting on one more damn cupboard (COME ON kitchen guys!) to get made.

I’ve forgotten half of what I do own in the way of bakeware and pans and the like, it’s been that long I’ve seen half of my things. But after repeated reminders by the kinder that both baby girl and I, really enjoy them, well I said to myself “I’ll damn well making them.”

You require next to nothing to make scones after all.

I really wanted to be grateful for them, really I did. And at the end, I was, for some brief moment at the end as I indulged in jam and cream upon pillows on doughy lightness that were apparently ‘café-style’…

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But the ‘before’ was hard, because baby girl was sick you see. I held her back from kinder, quite rich since THAT IS THE PLACE SHE CATCHES ALL HER WEEKLY COLDS FROM.

Not shitty much.

She was weak, tired, and developed a sudden ear ache during the day which had her retreating to the couch often to lie down. I had imagined us making these together with happiness… the most she did was brush the tops with milk.

And then the ‘after’… because as I was trying to enjoy my coffee/scone break, breathing slowly, ALONE, in peace, once baby girl had finished her babycino… I somehow spilt my coffee.

No, it gets worse. ON MY PHONE.

I swore better than a sailor out at sea. OH MY. Baby girl knows her Mum too well, and wasn’t afraid. In fact she came up to me and asked “Mama, you ok?”

Awww.

So instead of being grateful for my scones, the preparation time with baby girl which wasn’t special, and then the clean up which was devastating (I’d let dishes pile up half of the day), I instead became appreciative of something else.

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Hubbie cooked a killer chicken parmigiana tonight. He cooked it fresh, placed passata and ham and freshly grated cheese on top, grilled it in the oven, and it was THE BOMB.

The best part to him making it for us?

I didn’t have to clean it up.

(That wasn’t agreed to from his original contract, but from the day I’d had, there was no other choice).

Every time I complain about something going shitty, really I am grateful… because I do know better… I know better, that there is worse.

P.S My phone survived

#793 Home cooked cheat food

Tuesday nights usually find us not reaching into the pantry or the fridge. It’s our almost mid-week break, where we find reason, any reason to go out for dinner (“it’s a nice day,” “I’m craving that pasta,” “I need or break,” or the good ol’ “it’s Tuesday” simply makes the cut).

When the weather is crap, we need time out from running around, or we are just feeling uninspired, we get takeaway and chill.

So as tonight approached, it was initially option 1 of the above. In fact, we were planning on going out tonight since last Friday, and this decision was probably made more so by my unfortunate late night Saturday shift – we needed something to look forward to.

But then came yesterday, and we both went “it’ll be dark by the time we head out to dinner… why don’t we just take away?”

And so suddenly, option 2. This was great. We would stay home, we could lounge in our trakkies, it was night 3 out of the 4 weekly Bachelor in Paradise eps (only slightly obsessed), and still, we weren’t going to any effort.

But then, between last night and today lunchtime, something happened.

My temperamental husband happened.

“I think I just wanna make a home burger, and some of our home made chips.”

What? This would require cooking? And prep? Cooking every day is something I’m long accustomed to, but when someone tells me I’m not cooking, and then SURPRISE! I’m cooking!” I get a little bit crabby.

However, as the evening arrived, things just flowed. There was actually minimal prep. We shared the kitchen, something we often struggle with as we both need our space in there. He seasoned the chicken, pan-fried it, and cut up the salad fillings, while I did the chips… seasoned with VEGETA, mmmmmm.

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We weren’t rushing. In fact, we were early. We had the music going, baby girl was painting, and then as the volume went up, we got to some good ol’ dancing in the kitchen. Artists today included Amy Winehouse, Justin Timberlake, and The Doors, along with baby girls favourite song “Go Bang” by Pnau, which had ALL of us jumping.

We were really happy, and relaxed. And then as we sat down to eat, things got even better.

Our meal was delicious. Amazing. We had created a version of a cheat’s meals – a junk food meal if you will – and it was more tasty, healthy and clearly, WAY cheaper than anything we would have gotten if we had gone out or ordered take away.

It was just win-win-win all around. We were together in the comfort and warmth of our home, enjoying quality family togetherness. We were chilled. We had saved $$$. We had eaten a dinner that was healthy, which was tasty and as close to being junk food as possible, without actually being junk food… and it was all done by the time Keira and Jarrod arrived on screen.

Score.

 

#704 How to Survive no Air Conditioning at home in 35+ degree heat

Step 1: At the beginning of the day – keep blinds/curtains CLOSED.

Step 2: Same goes for opening doors and windows. Preserve the indoor coolness all you can, while you can.

Step 3: Go and buy some groceries. Decide you need frozen peas, cream, butter, milk… ANYTHING cold.

Step 4: Come back home. Try not to make anything that requires the oven being turned ON. (Doh! my leek and mushroom frittata….)

Step 5: Realise you need stronger relief, in the form of cold treats…

…so you go out for ice cream, and iced coffee. Perfect.

Step 6: Back at home for dinner, don’t put any hot appliances on. Not EVEN the stove. Ok well one pot is allowed, MAXIMUM. Make a salad.

Step 7: Go to the beach.

We may not have air conditioning at the moment, but we do have some other things… like awesome ice cream shop proximity, as well as unbelievable access to some of the best beaches adorning Port Phillip Bay. So if we don’t have cooling at home…

I figure I can still count my blessings and appreciation… because we still have something. AWESOME.

 

 

#526 Blessing in disguise

As it has been for the last little while, we have been thinking and planning for our upcoming kitchen reno. And as I look forward with eagerness to the new, clean, fresh-looking cupboards and benchtops and appliances and work spaces, one little nagging thought has continually entered my mind…

Will I have any more storage space?

Storage for me, is a big thing. I am not just a hoarder. But in the kitchen, I do like to experiment. Cook like this, cook like that. I won’t ever say no to a different recipe, and if I fear a certain way of cooking/preparing/baking a dish, my curiosity and fascination always wins out and I do it anyway.

Curiosity is a powerful force. I find I rarely fail in these endeavours. I’m not saying I’m a Masterchef… but I do well.

So I have bagged up a few or so items/appliances/crockery/servingware in my culinary adventures. And I don’t intend on parting with them anytime soon… in fact, I plan on ADDING to the family.

Sheesh. Don’t tell Hubbie.

Which is why I look with concern as I scan my kitchen, my old, out-dated kitchen, NOW. I stare at it, squint my eyes, and think of the new kitchen… and I honestly don’t think there will be much additional storage.

This is a concern, because as mentioned in a post late last year, I still have about 7-8 boxes crammed-full of kitchen stuff, that currently does not fit in my kitchen. They have been piled into corners elsewhere, but currently are out of action…

Brow-furrowing issue. Hrmmmm….

Cue the inconvenient “gas heater break-down problem,” A.K.A. Blessing in Disguise.

So today, I found out, it probably wasn’t worth fixing our old heater that broke down on us last Friday morning. Sure, it could be repaired…. but after forking out even more $$$, there was no guarantee that another major issue wouldn’t occur for this almost 40 year old (not even exaggerating) heater that was seriously getting on.

Needing a new gas heater throws a spanner in the works, in that it obviously requires $$$, bills are coming in, we are focusing on the kitchen primarily, and also, it will need to be rejigged and refit outside.

Our current gas heater sits inside our house you see, right around the corner from the kitchen. It’s in the hallway, so almost in the kitchen. Ripping the old one out of the cupboard from there, will…

Leave the cupboard bare.

!!!

Despite the $$$ gas heater re-fit bill looming in my head, the storage lover in me could not help but see the beautiful potential.

The potential in turning the old gas heater cupboard, into another pantry/useful cupboard for my kitchen items.

Ta ding!

And just like that, a little bit like when I started this blog and was grateful that when that car hit me that fatefully annoying day in Feb of ’16, I slowly grew to be grateful for the fact that when he hit me, he hit my side, and so the car was less affected, and more easily repaired with just the removal of the back door.

This new gas heater will be a costly and time-consuming exercise, but when it is done, my kitchen will definitely have ample storage… and that, is nothing to squint at.

Grateful for our dying gas heater. Who would have thought?!

 

 

#343 Hubbie cooking

You just need a break every once in a while.

It is a requirement. You don’t need a reason. But if you prefer, you can say you need a change. A breather. Someone else to do ‘things’ for a change while you put your feet up and relax. Or catch up on other jobs, let’s be honest here.

Being a woman, is damn hard. Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Cousin, Colleague… So many people depend of you for a variety of things.

So when Hubbie does the cooking, I don’t even say a word.

No pleases, no thank yous, no “I appreciate that bubs” – NOTHING. I deserve that much. No explanation.

Well, I said a few words, the night before, when I indicated to him that I wanted him to help out this evening: “You should have plenty of time to cook then!”

He pulled one of his classic ‘oops!’ caught out expressions.

What did I do instead? I showered and then set up a new train set with baby girl.

Sometimes, you don’t have to do other things. Sometimes, you don’t even want to do ANYTHING. Sometimes you need to just be. And I’m grateful Hubbie made his longed-for pasta sauce, so I could do just that.

For that, I’m appreciative.

He knows. 😉

#327 Back to routine

I think we were ready for it. Even Hubbie said today, following his first day back at work at a new workplace nonetheless “I was happy to go to work.”

Holidays are amazing. They are freeing. They are a luxury, but also, they are very, very, very much-needed.

But, what tends to happen to us on holidays, is, like in the words of Elsa, we Let it Go.

Wake up early? Let it go.

Cook? Let it go.

Washing? Let it go.

Hobbies? Let it go.

It might seem a normal thing to sleep in during your holidays, but when you are going to bed late and then waking up late, every day, your body comes to expect so much more, until that first back at work morning when your 5am alarm gives you a very unexpected and rude awakening. Not to mention your body suffers.

Eating out everywhere might seem like the most first-world thing to do, the most luxurious of fanciful endeavours. But when you’re over-indulging night after night after night, and taking that extra bit of cake, just because holidays, well by night 12 you might be wondering why it’s so hard to zip up your jeans. Not to mention your body suffers.

Caring about the washing might seem like a fairly tedious and insignificant thing to pay much attention to… but when several week’s worth of everything gather up to the point of having piles on your laundry room floor, well, it’s hard NOT TO notice. Not to mention your body suffers… from lack of clothes.

And when you start to push away your usual everyday hobbies, passions and pursuits, whether they may be playing an instrument, writing a novel, learning a language, or practicing some form of dance… well you start to miss it, while your artform at the creative endeavour also slips. And your body, mind and soul, suffers.

Today was Hubbie’s first day back at work. And though I don’t go back for another 2 days, I like him, was also happy for the routine to recommence. To some degree, you need a routine. You rely on it. It keeps you on track. With just enough of it

*going to bed and waking up at a reasonable hour keeps you more alert

*cooking keeps you healthier, and mindful of what goes into your body

*washing keeps you with a smaller laundry hamper!

*and hobbies keep you happy, and with a sense of purpose.

Hubbie and I have realised that we need some sort of order in our lives. We always need something to do, something to work towards, and something to look forward to. Today I was quite happy getting back into the habit of washing (several loads), cooking (and really being mindful of what I was eating), and getting back into some sort of more regular writing habits.

As for the sleep? Step by step peeps.

I think we went a bit crazy over these last few weeks, because, well that’s what you do on holidays. We knew we would go back to some kind of routine eventually, and wanted to just Let It Go, for as long as we could.

And I mean, if we happened to ever be the recipients of a massive cash windfall, and never had to work again, hey, I WOULDN’T COMPLAIN. Not at all. It just means we would have to set up a regular routine, of looking after ourselves and our life, in amongst the fun of never working again.

Sigh. Dreams.

Random is good. Random is great. But I wanna enjoy my life in amongst the crazy times, you know? So I CAN enjoy those crazy times.

So today, I’m actually happy for the return of routine into my life. Hell, I’m even grateful for it.

 

 

#123 Leftovers

I talk about food a fair bit here, which makes sense since I eat out kinda frequently, yet still enjoy expressing myself creatively in the kitchen. Also, my food reviews over on my parent site are another indicator of this foodie’s slight obsession.

Having said all that, there’s nothing quite so satisfying as having leftovers and not needing to cook at all.

Following my mammoth feast yesterday, the knowledge that I will not have to do much else for the next couple of nights, either than cut up some salad ingredients and put the steamer on, is awesome. You need nights off. And on those nights off you feel that much better when you remember how you nicely killed yourself to pieces to put on a table spectacle on the weekend.

I’m appreciating the cooking break indeed.