#548 Returning to Island time

I wrote a post very early this year about a photo I took while on holiday with Hubbie at Phillip Island, many many many years ago.

Not only did this photo stay with me due to it being taken at a highly creative and deeply personal awakening time for me, but its strong and subtle message of taking it easy while being on an island, sang an especially sweet song. It spoke of not just relaxing into the moment, but allowing all worries and stresses to melt away as you succumbed to the slow-down pace of a more mindful part of the world.

Well today after about 5 years, we were back at Phillip Island.

Then it had been a still and sunny, though cloudy January day.

Today it had been a grey, incessantly rainy, and hair-flailing windy August day.

Then there had been an abundance of tourists everywhere lapping up the scenery.

Today there had been few overseas people about, the streets mostly empty and quiet.

Then the shops and cafes had been bursting with livelihood and excitement amongst the best time of the year.

Today there were more shops blackened and closed, than were open.

Then I had taken my sweet time to take the best shot possible of my favourite pic, angling the camera just the right way to get the best light, while using the poster’s message to take it slow and take it in, in my task.

Today I had forgotten about the poster on the passing building until we were nearly past it, and I made Hubbie slow down in the middle of the round-a-bout while I made a mad scramble for my phone and took a hasty shot of it again.

IMAG5454

I didn’t even get ALL the words in.

And yet I didn’t care. The people, conditions and comparison didn’t matter to me: all that was important was that the poster, the message was still there. And as long as that poster was in that same spot, that meant it was always going to be island time.

And it forever will be, rain, hail or shine.

(The background tree photo on my SmikG blog is of the Phillip Island iconic trees on the main strip, an ode to the time when an especially important story and group of characters came to life in my head…

#377 She performs ‘Magic’

Keep them young and carefree as long as you can. That is my underlying theme in raising kids.

They will have plenty of time to ‘adult’ later in life.

I don’t see any harm in letting them believe in an over-sized bunny that hops around leaving Chocolate eggs for Easter.

I don’t see any harm in letting them believe there is a fat man with a long white beard and white hair, who squeezes through your chimney/climbs through an open window, and after indulging in some carrots/cookies/milk, leaves you some much-desired gifts.

Let them even believe your little white lies “We have to go home NOW because the park is closing for lunch.”

“The beach is closing! See? It’s getting too cold so it’s closing.”

“If you splash in the bath too hard the spiders will come.”

But don’t even suggest the fantastical idea of boogeymen or scary things lurking under the bed. They definitely don’t exist, but if Santa and the Easter bunny are, this seems just as likely. Anything that leads to an interrupted nights sleep for your littlies, don’t EVEN. Don’t even go there.

Keep them naïve. Innocent. Unknowing. Fresh. Keep them untainted.

Let them even believe, in MAGIC.

I started this a while back, when baby girl fell and hurt herself. She is fascinated with band-aids, but don’t try to put one on her! That is a worse-r hell than the injury she has sustained herself. Don’t even.

So I had to get creative. My forte. I love to imagine, and create, and send wild thoughts into the atmosphere.

“Mummy do Magic,” I had said to her. “Doo doo doo doo doo” like the sound of an old-school phone connecting, as I brought my lips close to her wound. I patted it with alternating hands in quick succession, letting out a “ch!” sound with a big blow, a big kiss and a dramatic pull-back of “Magic!”

She LOVED it.

Every time she was hurt or sore, Mummy had to do Magic. I’ve studied psychology. I know all about the placebo effect. I was fascinated to see the Magic actually working, like Magic I guess (!), on baby girl. Of course, anything serious and I wouldn’t even suggest something like that, I am a Mother, I DO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. A scrape requires Magic. Something more serious, a doctor.

Even if so, some ‘light Magic’ would help ease the woes on the drive over I’m sure.

Since all we are dealing with is little scrapes and bumps, Magic has been a saviour.

And then, when one day I was sore, she performed Magic, on ME.

Awwwww:)

She does it regularly and often now. She will perform Magic on herself. It’s like a self-help tool to assist her in moving on. And it actually helps: she does MOVE ON.

Tonight as I sat on the couch talking about how I wasn’t feeling the best, and how my lower back had been sore yesterday, she promptly finished up drinking her nightly milk, pushed me forward, and tinkled her fingers against my back.

“Doo doo doo doo doo” she went, kissed my back, and then went “Dash!”

Dash, is Magic.

Funnily enough, she has also extended this to when I am mad, and have road rage. I am a much calmer person on the road with baby girl in my car, but still, I will say “what are you doing? Seriously? What a silly, silly person!”

“Can you drive? Come on, move it!”

“Mummy is very angry right now, there is a very cheeky driver on the road.”

And she’ll go “doo doo doo doo doo” a kiss, and “Dash!”

Problem fixed!

I find it hilarious that she does this on me, and in varying situations. She now actually believes that Magic will solve almost anything. Sometimes I will be unwell and I know I am incapable of moving on from it immediately, and when she does Magic, I think ‘how do I get out of this one? How do I fake being healthy again? For the sake of believing in Magic?’

But, it makes me smile… and for a moment I forget I am sick/sore… and I guess that’s kind of Magic in itself, isn’t it? 😉

 

 

#363 Play-doh

You end up doing ALL kinds of things when you are a parent, and participating in ALL kinds of activities to amuse the little ones.

Often you do this, kind of chaperoning and looking out for them during these times, because they are still quite young and naïve, and just need a watchful eye over them as they –

draw on that a4 sized paper with red texta as they lay on your carpeted floor

OR

throw the ball wildly around in the backyard as two of your birds watch above from their cages in slight horror

OR

practice riding their new bike on and around your steep driveway.

You hang around, for their safety, for other’s safety, and also, for cleanliness.

That’s a BIG one for me.

Many of the times I hang around and make sure baby girl is in line is simply to make sure she doesn’t make more mess. Sure, she is rapt and thinks “Mum is playing with me!” And, I am. But I scold myself that I don’t live in the moment more and appreciate the time spent with her, instead watching warily to see if any mess will be made.

I just can’t handle the thought of having more stuff to clean up, when already I am the primary person who cleans up SO MUCH. It bothers me to an infuriating point, to think there is some kind of mess or disorganisation made, and to someone who already spends so much of their day doing it, to do extra when it could have been avoided…

well it just really gets my goat.

Play-doh is one such activity I have to be right there, next to her, ‘helping’ her make creations. I get all OCD and make sure she doesn’t mix up the colours so she can use them again. And then I think ‘these things are dirt cheap, I could buy more tubs at the supermarket if she blends them all into one dough-y heap!’

But then today, after promising her for half the day that we would take out her play-doh, when we did, I found myself not just getting into OCD mode, but Lego mode too.

‘Lego’ mode is when I get soooo into the Lego making, that when she deviates from the instructions and wants to make her own block creations, I get exasperated and exclaim “baby girl! why do you want me here if you don’t want to do it properly!”

So OCD, I know.

But, we had a lovely moment with our play-doh date. I lost a bit of my OCD, and though we were keeping the colours separate, we both got really into the art of making play-doh flowers, play-doh icing, play-doh fruit, and other kinds of cupcake toppers using some tools from a recent set she was given.

She loved it, and I really loved the creativity we both got into, expressing ourselves with colourful, dough. I actually lost myself in the moment, several times.

Doh! Appreciating the Doh.

 

 

 

#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.

 

 

#177 3rd birthday creativity

I’m in bed, my freshly painted pink nails slowly drying, hitting the keypad slowly, s-l-o-w-l-y, and thinking of the creative day that was had.

Yellow bows, Wiggle-Emma style, placed atop whipped milk chocolate ganache on pretty cupcakes. I’ve never made whipped ganache, or to that effect yellow bows made out of fondant! But I did it. I watched youtube videos on the subject, and learnt a little about cake decoration.

Next, I worked with those edible images you stick on cakes, working with yet another batch of cupcakes. Another youtube video, learning about that and how you have to place that atop buttercream (or thereabouts) icing. Tick.

And finally, in amongst that, a lot of cleaning, a lot of tidying, and other baking and cooking projects (Nutella-filled baked cinnamon doughnuts to be made into a whipped cream and fudge tower, anyone?) Hubbie and I stayed up after baby girl went to bed, and set to work measuring, stencilling, carving, and cutting, in order to make a Wiggles Big Red car photo booth cut-out.

I had a moment, pausing from cutting out the yellow circle headlights, to look at Hubbie using a Stanley knife to cut a section from the thick cardboard, and smiled, wondering how we would explain this to baby girl one day: “we stayed up and did this for you!” I thought of all that had proceeded the car, with the baking, and the learning of different techniques, and I felt happy. I felt proud.

No matter how any of it turns out, I think she’ll have a pretty good time at her party tomorrow. It’s all been a hell of a lot of work, but given the rewards, the experimental creativity, the learning of different things, I’m feeling pretty grateful.

That’s enough in itself.

 

 

 

#126 Burgers with bestie

2016-06-29 12.31.01

It wasn’t particularly the burgers that made today such a standout moment for me (although they were fairly delish, and will be making an appearance in an upcoming Food Review post on SmikG… at this rate in about 3 months time); no, not that, but the fact that I was sharing them with an old, tried and true, loyal and devoted bestie, is what was the icing on the cake (or should I say bacon in the burger).

Bestie and I have been in each other’s lives for about, oh, 24 years. Going on 25. We were in the same class in grade 2, and though we shared a different set of friends, we always had mutual respect and gave kindness to one another even back then.

It was in high school when we really started to have each other’s backs. Being the bottom of the pecking order, and knowing very little people upon entry other than those who had also come to the high school from our primary school, we learnt very quickly that we could rely on each other through thick and thin. We could trust each other with our deepest secrets, and build each other up when the other was down.

We sure could laugh too. We’d sit in the back of class and cack ourselves stupid with private jokes about really random shit. And the best part was, we got away with it. We did our homework, we never really disobeyed our teachers, so they couldn’t say boo. We laughed our way through the whole of high school.

We had a lot of shared interests, but even through our varied creative endeavours (she was into music and dancing, me writing and creating) we supported each other and had a tremendous amount of deep of meaningfuls for girls our age. We were so incredibly deep, dissecting Bon Jovi songs, looking between the lines of Prince lyrics, and even trying to make up songs ourselves! The goal was, I was going to be her songwriter, and she the singer who performed them.

Then school ended. We both went to uni, studying different interests. We both finished with different degrees. We both sought out work in varied fields, luckily for us though, in our chosen places of employment. We both succeeded. We both had guys, and married those same guys (ha ha). I had a baby girl. And yet, through all this varied work, and study, and PLAY, and widening directions, we’ve still remained in each other’s lives.

Today was so evident of that. We haven’t sat down across from each other in about 5 months. It’s been a long overdue catch up. I left baby girl at home with Hubbie, to get some much needed alone time, but also so I could dedicate myself properly to the task of catching up with my old bestie.

No. Correction. My still bestie.

And it was great. We had burgers. They were brilliant. The surroundings were cosy. For two and a half hours we gasbagged. I think if we had stayed there ’til the sign on the doot turned around to ‘Closed,’ we still would have been talking. Put us in the car park, and you could have found us chatting into the night in our cars.

Back in the day, after spending the day together at school, we would still call each other at night, talking more about the days events, what we felt about this, what we thought about that. We just talked. I wish I could listen to one of those conversations, but I have no recollection about what we spoke about. I can only guess… Boys. School. Friends. Music. Pranks. Annoying People. Crushes. All of the above and so much more.

Two and a half hours is not a lot of time. But time is never enough when you’re with a loved one. I was so happy to see that after all this time, we could still talk each other’s ears off, and if we were to spend time with each other for the next week, month, year,  even lifetime, I think we would constantly find new material.

And that my friends, is the sign of a true friend 🙂

I’m grateful that I have a friend like this. When you have one like this, you don’t need many more.

 

#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.