#611 New neighbours, old neighbours

A pair of brothers, primary-school aged, live next door. Confident, direct, interested. They sat perched on the fence bordering our homes as I put up the washing this afternoon, baby girl on the ground floor trying to scale up our side of the fence to reach them.

“Can we play with her?” the younger one asked.

“Ahhh,” I stalled. I didn’t have any reason to say no, but I had a headache, I needed to start dinner, and I didn’t know where they would play… I hadn’t even met their mother, and so I couldn’t just unceremoniously dump baby girl on her to play with some older boys at her house.

“She’s having an early dinner soon, so I’m not sure,” I bluffed.

“Is that because she’s going to bed earlier?” (I told you, interested).

“No, not really…”

“Maybe we can come over and play after dinner?”

“Yeah.” Push things to after. “We’ll see what happens.”

I then took the washing basket in thinking it was all resolved and nothing would happen, while baby girl jumped on her trampoline and let off some steam.

Well then, I actually started on dinner. And about 45 minutes later, with things well underway, Hubbie home from work and now my splitting headache also far along, I was sitting for a moment on the couch, doing a Bold and the Beautiful catch-up, when something caught my eye out of the front window, some figures coming up the footpath towards the house.

Boys. Barefoot. Bowed heads.

But ready to play with Baby Girl.

I turned to baby girl who hadn’t yet seen them, and when I asked her if she wanted to play with them, here and now, she almost couldn’t believe her stroke of luck.

She led them to the backyard and they jumped away like mad, performing all manner of tricks in the trampoline.

The boys came inside, spoke to us. Looked at our nearby photos, played with her toys. They slam dunked on a basketball hoop we have hanging off a nearby door, and we asked them about their primary school.

They were really gentle and kind with baby girl.

They all played together, just perfectly. And the level of respect they showed to her, just blew me away.

Even besides the impressing me part, I was reminded, and led back to the good ol’ days when I was that young kid. At my neighbours’ house – and I had three friendly neighbour houses who I frequented daily back then – that I knew back to front.

I knew their lives and their families. They knew mine. It was the perfect, best upbringing. Four houses in a row, and all four houses with girls of the same age. It was the stuff of stories. Not even writers could write this stuff and get away with it.

But so too, it ended the way stories do. People grow up. Parents separate. Kids go to private schools and remove themselves. And soon they all moved away.

It doesn’t take away from my awesome childhood memories, and honestly, I have too many. I am still in contact with 2 out of those 3 girls, and even went to their weddings, and they mine, so I think that is a fabulous effort considered.

But I sometimes think, and ponder, how nice it would be for baby girl to grow up amongst that kind of setting. Neighbours her age, where they could spend their days together, outside as kids should, running and bike riding and playing hide and seek within a one block radius, ‘park permitted.’ 🙂

Freedom, and yet safety. Where the parents know each other, know the kids, and all can play together, alternating houses, and yet the parents can still tell their kids friends to ‘go home because we’re having dinner now.’ That kind of honest, direct, freedom.

I thought of all that today. I thought of what I had growing up, and I looked at what was happening now in our house.

The noise, the kids, the neighbours. Her new friends 🙂

The ball rolled over to me as I was chopping cucumbers. I kicked it back to the young boy who took it and slam dunked against the hoop.

Later, Hubbie interrupted their jumping party outside and told them it was now our dinner time. Baby girl waved them off, “bye boys!” while he hoisted them OVER THE FENCE.

Now that’s, a real neighbour. I freaking love it :):):)

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Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

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#607 Seeing Red Hair

It’s a lovely thing when you can pick and choose, do this one day and then that.

Go to the shops at a whim, just decide to walk around the block, grab that coffee from that corner café, just because, sunny day.

Have your hair brown one day… red the next.

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Ok so I didn’t actually go a bright red, it’s just a slight tinted sheen that is only really obvious in the sunlight. But the colour of the hair cream the hairdresser used on me today matched my red bag, so much so a passer-by would’ve thought I’d end up like Ronald McDonald.

Not so.

It all boils down to freedom, to do this or that… and something as simple as getting your hair coloured differently, is as good a reason as any to be grateful.

And yes, I know my bag is getting worn out… I am accepting all donations for a Campomaggi bag like this:

 

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Thanks In Advance 🙂

#513 The joy of coming out… as a Writer

This post has absolutely nothing to do with proclaiming that you are interested in the same sex… and yet despite the differences, I think, same same.

Because there is still fear attached.

Fear of being judged.

Fear of criticism.

Fear of gossip.

Fear of being told you’re unworthy.

Fear of people treating you differently.

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I took this pic tonight near my work. I don’t know why. I like the Ferris Wheel symbol – a huge manufactured orb-thing, shining brightly in the night, despite the shadows of black surrounding it. It is huge, and sometimes scary, but always shiny.

Wherever it shines, here it is bright.

And that’s how we should be with ourselves too.

Wherever we shine, here it should be bright.

We should not fear what others think or say about us. It is none of our business firstly, just as it is none of theirs what we think of them.

We all have our own opinions, but simultaneously, we should try and choose our company wisely, and keep those with our best interest at heart, close to us.

We should live our authentic selves, staying true to who we are and what we are here to do, and live this passion of ours as fully as we possibly can. We don’t know how long we are here for, so we should do whatever makes our hearts sing, now.

Where is all this leading?

Well, I’ve been super silent about my writings and my blogs, for many years now. Say 6 years. And in those 6 years, there are 7 people who have known what I was doing.

Only 7 people.

From last Saturday, it was 8. And from the weeks progressing forward, I will hit double digits… and keep the numbers moving up,

And you know why? Because I am ready. I’ve been thinking about telling people for a while now about what I do. But intense fear has stemmed from the almost certain  questioning and criticising that I would undoubtedly receive… and also, having people both close to me, and not so, who know who I am, reading every single one of my private thoughts that I’ve ever posted online… is terrifying.

I’ve been scared. I always knew this day of release would come, and I had to be ready for it, but I always told myself that I would ‘come out’ when I was published. When I had some kind of outside, literary confirmation that my work was good enough, then and only then would I say to everyone “hey! This is what I’ve been doing. This is me, and I am now officially “A WRITER.”’

But this is complete bull. Because you are not a Writer only because your work has been published. You are a Writer because you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and decided that this is where your passion lay.

This is what you would devote your life to.

This is what you want to do, above all else, even if you got no rewards for it.

That, is what makes you a Writer.

So, something I have feared for so long, I am getting really excited by. Because I am choosing wisely. I am choosing people to tell, who either understand and have an appreciation for the writing/reading process; those also doing what I do; and highly supportive family and friends.

I don’t need everyone to know just yet, I just need my circle to know-all. And I think that is what excites me. The fact that supportive people will be ‘in on it,’ and that with the release of the private information I’ve been guarding so closely to my chest, knowing it will be out there, well…

It scares me, excites me, and thrills me, to no end.

I don’t just write food reviews, and I don’t just write book reviews. I write about myself. My family. My fears, and my day-to-day life. My goals, my dreams, and every shit moment I have. I write about all the in-betweens, and knowing that people will be able to access this at whim, without the necessary “how’s things?” question to me at face value, does intensely freak me out and have me palpitating with sweats.

But it has to be done. I have to proclaim myself as a Writer, and I’m damn well excited about it.

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And as I came closer to the Ferris Wheel, I realised there was not much to be scared of, and it was smaller than what it seemed from afar… it was actually quite beautiful.

#358 Kinder days no.1

Today was the second session of kinder where I left baby girl and… ventured off by myself for a couple of hours.

They have been staggered starts to help her settle into the whole kindergarten ‘flow,’ (not that my cheeky monkey needs to go into it slowly, as she charges without hesitation into the playground, touching everything within reach) and next week will be the big one, where she will be there for 5 hours. This will be the norm, week in, week out.

5 hours.

5 HOURS

5 HOURS!

What does one do with oneself after 3 and a half years of raising a princess, where the only time you have to yourself is when you are working, and when you are sleeping (and let’s face it sleep provides no guarantee EVER of peace, especially with kids).

What do I do with myself?! For 5 freaking hours???

Why… EVERYTHING. Starting with hitting the Main street.

I have been putting off buying presents for some people in my life, and I am seriously late in buying these, because baby girl makes it so interesting for me when I try to buy anything that isn’t a toy, or a kinder surprise. So the first thing I did after dropping her off, was go mad on the shops.

I bought all 4 presents that I was planning to. 3 shops for that. Success. Then I decided to do some ‘me’ shopping.

I mean, really, I still had to buy one book present, so technically it wasn’t like I was actively searching for a book for myself… but when a book practically jumps out at you, you have to buy it, right?!

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I purchased the above book for myself, and the Farrell’s bookstore was running a freebie where you could pick up a book containing sample chapters of upcoming releases…

Free book you say? I can’t believe the sales assistant even asked “do you want one?”

So, I’m pretty happy. I ticked off some to-dos, indulged in some ‘me’ time and browsed some beautiful shops, and the photo above makes me so happy because it is representative of all that is yet to come.

Satisfaction. Joy. Simple pleasures.

Appreciation. Yay for this time in my life :):):)

 

 

 

#351 Baby girl’s first day of kinder

I was shocked. I mean, I knew I might have some slight separation sadness in dropping off baby girl, and leaving her, with people who were not her family or friends (yet) and then picking her up at a later time.

It’s normal. But the last few weeks, hell, months, I’ve been eagerly in anticipation of what these childless hours would mean to me – freedom, and much needed ‘me’ time. Every time baby girl has played up in recent weeks, I’ve scoffed and said “wait ’til you go to kinder! You won’t get away with that!”

And then suddenly, it was Wednesday night. I was anxious. Everything felt rushed. How had everything fast forwarded? I wasn’t ready.

How had this happened so quickly? When had baby girl become a kindergarten girl?

Then, Thursday. This morning. I nearly burst out crying multiple times during the morning routine, more so when Hubbie arrived unexpectedly from an impromptu work break, to be there to see his girl off too, on her first day.

She was perfectly fine. She was sooo fine, that she glanced at us as we kissed her goodbye, and then went back to the new toys she had just discovered.

And then we were walking out of the gates and I was sobbing.

I felt lost for about 20minutes. Like I had forgotten something. A part of me was missing.

But then I remembered the things I had been looking forward to. And I realised that this is as much a transition process for me, as it has been for baby girl. She is more skilled than her mother though, as she has already flown through and is at the “let me at prep already Mum” stage.

All in good time.

As mixed as the general feelings were about today, predominantly that of happiness and excitement prevail. And how could they not when I look at this photo?

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Baby girl striding forward confidently, not a care in the world, eager to see and learn and experience and feel a world of NEW.

Let me at it guys!

My baby girl, forever. Excuse me as I tear up again…

#336 Moorooduc to Mornington steam train

With the school holidays still around for a few days more, the silly season has meant the addition of some extra events and festivities to keep the littlies amused… and one of them is the January Moorooduc to Mornington steam train.

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I’m led to believe that the steam train runs the first 3 Sundays of each month, however with the school holiday season upon us, a few sessions were introduced each Wednesday in January, with the final day being today.

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When I heard about the idea I knew it would be absolutely perfect for baby girl. She is a girly girl in some respects: she carries a bag around, likes to wear dresses, and will let me put bows in her hair; but on the other hand, she will throw and catch a mean ball, run you up and down until you are exhausted, and will play the hell out of her lego blocks and trains.

She LOVES trains.

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We headed over to Moorooduc station for the departure at 11:45am today, with the approximately 15 minute train ride taking us to Mornington station, and then back again to Moorooduc, once the engine had come around and joined onto the other end of the train carriages.

We had as much fun as baby girl. Where she gained an immense amount of happiness and pure joy from the tooting of the train, the steam sound being released, and the side to side, back and forth rocking motion in the carriages, we gained a deep appreciation of the vehicle that had been used to transport people in the carriages, so, so many years ago. To think that people generations ago had been in the carriage we had sat in, and travelled to various places, had been doing various things, and had been living a totally different life to what we live now, is almost mind-boggling. We were in a train that was built in 1941! That in itself is incredible. It is humbling. At one point I turned to Hubbie and said “I feel like I’m in Back to the Future… part 3.”

:):):)

My favourite moment of the trip came when I had my head out the window here:

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It gave me such a sense of relaxation, freedom, and a whimsical remembrance of childhood and all the frivolity and fun it embodied, that I was brought to tears, in thinking of how lucky we were to be living and experiencing a beautiful part of our state, and appreciating life in a whole new way now.

The drive home afterwards was slightly unnerving, and as much as I love my car, being in a vehicle lacking all character, doing 100 on a highway, felt alien. I had felt alive on the steam train, connected with life and nature and being, and I wanted to go back to that moment. I thought of all the things I wanted to do on the Peninsula, and which I had already done but wanted to revisit  – Arthur’s Seat chairlift; wineries; coastal walks; beach days – and realised this was something my soul was yearning. I had to connect to the world, to nature, to life, to a general sense of honesty, and my trip in the steam train this morning had certainly woken me up to that.

We had a truly terrific day today, even following our steam train ride, and although much of the later part was spent doing groceries and house jobs, I felt so happy and invigorated, that really, I believe our steam train ride put us in the right frame of mind this morning.

It set us on track. Pun intended.

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#321 Freedom from hospital

I walked in and out of hospital a lot today.

Re-park the car. Get some coffee. Get some food. Make a phone call. Re-park the car.

Repeat repeat repeat.

And in that time, I saw, A LOT. People getting wheeled in on beds, masks over their faces. Wheelchair-bound patients, angry looks on their faces. Elderly people sitting side by side, hunched over in their solitary hospital room. The sound of pain. The look of helplessness. Tiredness. Despondent eyes. Clinical walls and grey grey grey, EVERYWHERE.

My lips did turn upwards too, though. I remembered with weird fondness, as I looked up to the familiar flight of stairs, how over 3 and a half years ago I was in the midst of such pain, only to be met by the most amazing, beautiful and curious eyes in the world, in the immediate aftermath.

I saw babies. I saw mother’s and father’s carrying their own. I looked at little children, the adult hands they were holding, and a part of me was happy.

Despite my thoughts, I was still happy to be able to move in and out of the hospital as I pleased, to not be bound by ill health or medical necessity to require a stay, no matter how short or long, there. And it was twice as nice when I walked out late afternoon, with both Mum, AND Dad beside me.

He was discharged today. An unexpected happiness that we are so happy about.

I know there is a tremendous amount of positivity and amazing acts performed by the medical staff in hospitals all over the world, but seriously, I’m just glad that I was able to leave the premises today. With both my parents.