#493 Emerging light of the shortest day

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Does that picture look like something from a science fiction movie?

In fact, I took the above photo on my way in to work this morning. I had to capture something to mark this most exciting of days, and when I saw the image before me, the soft mist turning the horizon into a hazy dream, boats still and sleeping in the foreground, while behind the tall buildings and bright red lights of civilisation, there shone something more.

Something grand.

Something promising.

Something, to HOPE for.

Because today is the shortest day of the year. From now on out, the daylight in each day can only grow incrementally, and with that increase, comes the prospect of brilliant sunshine-y times ahead.

I know we are only 21 days into Winter. However, a glass half-full sunshine loving Leo as myself needs something to look forward to, and the shortest day of the year during Winter, is about the most exciting thing to happen today.

Exciting, and gratifying.

And so it helps, it fell on a day that ended up turning rainy, grey and miserable.

But that’s ok. Because the only way is up.

#459 Local help

Everywhere I turned, I seemed to run into them. People at the shops, bumping into their friends. Acquaintances. People from down the road. A local they hadn’t seen in a while.

Two women stood in front of the apples talking about how it was when they ‘showed’ so early for their second child. The grocer guy sang out to his buddy stocking up corn, and they chatted loudly about people they knew from other stores.

Another older woman held her arms out in an embrace as she came across another woman, and then the woman being hugged pointed to a third woman and said “this used to be my neighbour.” I saw them picking out groceries together and helping the older woman later on.

Two old ladies stood at the entrance to the biscuit aisle, whispering lowly about God-knows-what, but their faces were so solemn I nearly hung out a second longer to catch a word or two about the latest scandal, I could only assume.

I felt a bit left out. I couldn’t just bump into someone I knew in our town. Not yet. I didn’t know anybody. Baby girl was slowly making friends at kinder – soon she would know people out and about. Hubbie was also now working locally, so he too was recognising faces here and there. I was still based out of town, WAY out of town for work, so I wasn’t really based in any such way in our new town, not yet.

Not yet. I told myself this. I told myself, as I smiled at the exchanges I came across, wishfully thinking that my time would come, and soon enough, I would be bumping into people, and saying “oh hey! How have you been?” Maybe I would talk about how the corn was in season. Or maybe I would indulge in some scandal/gossip or two.

Or maybe all of the above. If I was lucky.

And this I pondered, as I searched for fresh yeast.

It was becoming extremely difficult to find. Back where we used to live in the Northern suburbs, I knew exactly where to find, and where to go for the fiddly, specific, random items I sometimes required. Fortunately for me, where I used to buy yeast was just around the corner from me, at a continental deli in the large shopping centre in town. There were that many wogs, (ahem) Europeans there, of course they had fresh yeast for sale, frequently. It wasn’t odd to look for it.

Here however:

“No we don’t sell it,” said one gourmet deli cashier to me, as she genuinely looked quizzical, adding that she didn’t know where I could buy it while looking around to serve the next person and get rid of me.

“I don’t know where we get it from,” said the bakery lady who had walked out to place bread on the shelves in Woolies, implying that yes they had it, but no, they did not SELL IT.

Where was I going to get fresh yeast from? It almost seemed like I was asking for a Unicorn’s horn, or something. People looked at me like “Wowzee, geez, good luck.” I was making a bunch of bread-like cheese rolls for my parents’ upcoming anniversary, and I was going to make them tomorrow. So I needed to buy the yeast, NOW.

I decided nothing was lost by asking the cashier who had put through my items a previous time at Woolies. She seemed like a really lovely person. As she weighed my apples, I asked, “do you know where I could find fresh yeast around here?”

She thought for a moment, throwing a bit of a clueless look as so many before her had thrown when I had posed my question, and then turned to the Mum with two kids behind me who was placing her groceries on the conveyor belt, and without hesitating asked “where can you buy fresh yeast around here?”

They knew each other.

This Mum was lovely and started rattling off heaps of names. One on the Main street, and then the cashier jumped in and mentioned a grocery store in town.

“My Hubbie works there actually” I said. “I’m just waiting for him to get back to me on that.”

The Mum then remembered a gourmet/organic grocer that was a few shops down in the little centre we were in, and immediately I was like “of course!” How could I have forgotten that little unique and quirky-buys place?

I high-tailed it out of there after thanking them, and upon walking into the gourmet grocer, came across a very smiley lady at the counter.

“Do you sell fresh yeast?”

“You know who would know that? Our chef. And she so happens to be a few doors down. Follow me.”

And just like that, she left her post in the grocer store at the counter, and walked off, me following her with my trolley full of groceries, containing almost everything BUT fresh yeast. She kindly introduced me to the chef who was chatting with another shop owner, and then left to resume her post, while I asked wide-eyed “was there any fresh yeast around here?”

The chef, was super-friendly. She was surprised Woolies hadn’t just given me some, but said to try all the bakeries in the area… she mentioned the Baker’s Delight just several stores down, and Banjos on Main street, and then another fine foods deli off the Main street. She was so friendly and helpful, and placed confidence in me that I WOULD find it.

I still tentatively walked to Baker’s and when it was my turn to be served, asked all high-pitched “do you sell fresh yeast here?”

“Yeah” responded the cashier with no confusion or Unicorn horn- questioned look.

Finally!

And so, I got my damn fresh yeast. The locals had been lovely, and gone out of their way to help me, just as you would expect in a village-type seaside town.

And just as I had been wondering how long it would talk to get it, the fresh yeast came across my path quite suddenly, as it had been there in front of me, all along…

And I realised that like the yeast rising, hopefully so too would my ‘locals’ friend list also go up… much sooner than I expected.

 

#369 Mr Penn

This gratitude thread holds a fair bit of bitter-sweetness.

Let me introduce you to someone.

Mr Judda-Penn.

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He is our Indian Ringneck Parrot. I say Mr, for frivolities sake, but am slightly disappointed that he never took to the Penn name we tried to re-Christen him with when we obtained him from Hubbie’s relos. He would only respond to the name he had known with his previous owners, which was Juddy.

Hence, his hyphenated name was born. I couldn’t let go of the Penn, even if he never squawked back at me when I used it.

He… was our Indian Ringneck Parrot. I hope I can use ‘is’ again, but Hope is not only a survival technique, but a dangerous one at that. I want to Hope, but I am also scared to practice it too much.

We had him for 4ish months. And I didn’t realise how much he was a distinct presence in our home, until today. I didn’t realise how much he amused me. I didn’t realise, that part of me would miss how he would aggressively jump up near his food bowls as I tried to change his seed and water. I didn’t realise that the removal of his 4pm calls would create a silence that was cold. And I didn’t realise that when I found his cage empty this morning, that I would also feel subsequently empty, and a strong desire to move the cage elsewhere so it didn’t remind me that he was not around anymore.

He escaped, sometime this morning. He is a clever bird, and a cheeky one at that – something we are also missing. Hubbie feels betrayed. We fed him, gave him a home, gave him water baths on hot days, and played with him. Even our family and friends were beginning to get to know him. We really enjoyed having him around.

I don’t know what the next chapter in this story will be, but now that he is gone, I realise that I am grateful for his presence in our lives. He was in it for only a little while, but he made an impact. After all, he transitioned in an important part of our lives, with our Sea change.

I am also grateful to the people on the facebook community groups, those from Mornington and the surrounds, who have been sharing my lost bird posts. Even though I don’t know these people, I am amazed at the willingness of people to spread the word of our lost bird, in the chance that someone sees him on a nearby fence, bathing in a bird bath, or pecking away at fruits on a tree.

As I gazed at this view earlier tonight, I wondered, where would Judda-Penn sleep tonight? Would he have adequate shelter? Would he be safe? These thoughts made me sad.

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Goodnight Judda-Penn.

*If anyone reading this is from the Mornington area or surrounds, and comes across a bird looking like this – PLEASE contact me. Baby girl would like to blow him kisses again XOXO*

#269 We went into 3 shops…

There is a whole swagger of gourmet, eccentric, specialty, exclusive and decorative shops running up the Main street. This is kind of like heaven to me. I would do almost anything to spend an indefinite amount of time on this strip, meandering around, taking my sweet, sweet time, thinking of what piece to buy for whom, interjecting it all with regular doses of caffeine and abundantly generous salad rolls thrown in between the designer, one-of-a-kind shops that are so prevalent beach-side.

However I am still, one month after moving here to our Sea change location, waiting to do the above.

In recent months, baby girl has become especially difficult when it comes to shopping. Unless we are going into a toy shop, or I am ordering something along the lines of “babycino with marshmallows” she will just not have it. She’ll outright refuse entry into said shop, will scream, and even has laid down on the ground when I have tried to pull her in.

You can imagine how this scene looks like. Desperate Mum pulling a screaming baby girl into a specialty high-end shop.

Yep. Screaming kid plus $$$ shop = not a good combo.

So half the time I give up. Go home. I’m a hopeful idiot. I swear against going out, and then the next day I think ‘maybe if I let her go on the playground first/go into the toy shop/buy her a babycino, she will let me go into some of those nice shops.’

I wager. I beg. I plead. I threaten. And most of the time, she gets all the above things, plus more, and I get Jack squat. Nothing. No shopping for me. Delaying her wishes of getting a babycino or going to the shopping centre playground doesn’t work either, because if I go into a shop I like first, it’s like she isn’t happy straight off the bat, and won’t do anything. I need to set her up, happy, to get a happy reaction later on.

Only I’m not getting a happy reaction later on. I’m just getting a disobedient one.

It’s really frustrating.

I woke up a hopeful idiot again today. I’ve been thinking about how when she is well-slept and well-fed, she is easier to manage.

So we went to the Main street. And in the car…

“Now baby girl. We are going to the BIG park. The BIG park, next to the beach!”

“Big Park!” she imitates.

“Yes. But you have to be a good girl, Mummy has to go into a few shops first, maybe 5, and you get to have biscuits… then we go to the BIG park, ok?”

“Yeah.” She nods.

“Remember? You have to be a good girl, and LISTEN to Mum… and you get biscuits! Then you get the park after some shops, ok?”

So, like my post title tells you, we went into 3 shops. I could have bought stuff in all 3 of them, but I didn’t. Baby steps. I’ll have to go back with Hubbie so he watches her while I secure those deals. But I did my Christmas research, had my longed-for sticky beak, and even though it was trying as I kept her curious hands from touching too much, instead filling them with mini rice puffs, I got to see 3 shops.

3 out of 300 (or so it seems).

Baby steps. I’m getting somewhere. Baby steps. I should finish my Christmas shopping by next May at this stage…

 

#225 Falling into place – Kinder

I only put in the late application last night. It had been the first kinder we had visited at our Sea change destination, yet it had made an impact on us – the teachers were warm and friendly, the room was filled with kid-fuelled, inventive and funny nik-naks, and I immediately felt like baby girl would love it there.

However, I felt the need to research some more – surely the first kinder we visited wouldn’t be the right one straight off the bat, could it? I had to be sure.

A few drive-by inspections, and another kinder visit yesterday, told me that often you don’t need to do any further research. Sometimes you should just go with your gut, regardless of what else is out there. We spoke to a lovely lady from another kinder who said that spots were tough to come by at this stage of the game, so I took her kindly advice and applied for the first kinder we had seen.

A phone call this afternoon: baby girl was offered a spot. I happily accepted, then got off the phone to jump up and down with baby girl telling her she was going to be painting to her hearts content next year. Her cheeks were rosy and bright, from being outside all day – in my parents yard, and at the park I had frequented so much as a child. The thought of painting endlessly thrilled her.

Later during her nap, as I was being appreciative of how easy it had been in the kindergarten application process, a song came into my head. As I hung her clothes to dry on the inside clothes rack, I smiled as the words filtered through:

Que Sera, Sera

Whatever will be, will be

The future’s not ours to see

Que Sera, Sera

I used to find a strong affinity with the song as a child. Dreaming, imagining, wondering what my future would hold. I would hum the words to myself as I played in the park, thinking deep thoughts that I’m not sure a normal 9 year old would think.

Who would I marry?

What would I become?

How would my children be like?

What would I do?

Being a naturally inquisitive person, the questions posed in the song (will I be famous, will I be rich, here’s what she said to me) reflected my own curiosities and doubts, fears and wonders over life and what would come in the future. But in the end, no matter how much I wanted to know, anything, the words of the song rang truer still:

The future’s not ours to see.

Funny how things work out? Today as I remembered the lyrics:

Now I have children of my own,

They ask their mother, what will they be?

As we are on the verge of so many life-changes, with moving house, moving lifestyle, and now our baby girl going to start kindergarten next year, I wonder what her questions will be? What will I tell her? Will I be honest, or will I put on my rose-coloured glasses and paint the world a vibrant rainbow?

I’ve always swayed heavily between two lines of thinking, two ways that are directly opposite one another and yet BOTH that I believe to be true.

  1. There are things that are ‘meant to be’ in life
  2. We control our actions and our futures

They are highly contradictory thoughts, and yet some things in our life I believe we can’t escape, yet simultaneously I believe we can do what we want to do…

I’ve always imagined having a beach house, but it was always just a silly fantasy, wishful thinking. I never really put any kind of plan or action into it, ’til the start of this year. And in very little time, we made a purchase, and are now moving.

So did we make that happen, or was that meant to happen?

All my beach house, silly references throughout life… was that me attracting the beach house to ourselves the whole time?

Or was that meant to be, and the Universe was throwing me snippets of our future forecast before it happened?

I still don’t know, and I don’t know what I’ll be telling baby girl in years to come. I think I’ll be realistic, yet I’ll inject a good dose of romanticism and wishful thinking, because you know, as I say to her:

Reach high for the stars, and follow your dreams. You can achieve whatever you wish for.

I honestly don’t think that that line of thinking could harm anyone.

I am grateful that so far, things are going smoothly, and this kindergarten process has gotten off without a hitch… almost like it was meant to be.

But, ‘whatever will be, will be.’

 

 

#168 Where I’ve come – 32.11 stage

I had a bit of an enlightening moment today. I consider myself a fairly aware, conscious-thinking and doing individual. I’m aware sometimes to the detrimental point of being overly self-conscious of my thoughts and actions, and find myself having to calm down with all the scenarios in my head, and toughen up to the world around me.

 

Not everything has a point. Sometimes it just is.

Sometimes analyses are best left to the film critics.

Not everyone is concerned about you. People are mostly worried about themselves.

 

These little internal reminders of mine keep me balanced and trying not to stress too much about the small stuff. Although I think, a lot (life of a writer), I feel that often I need to let things come to me rather than trying to make things, and create things that are best left free and unhinged. Letting go can sometimes be the best way to succeed and move forward.

And sometimes when you’re typing away at a computer, awakening moments can also come to you gratuitously.

As is often the case at my work, a tour came through consisting of a group of high school students, led by a resident long-standing employee of the company. The group of teenagers were to my left as I did my thing, being told of all the fabulous and awe-inspiring and exciting (and so, so difficult!) elements that composed the workflow of our greater department. Typing away, sipping on my café-bought cappuccino, I had a bit of an out-of-body experience.

I could see myself in these kids. I could feel their nerves, their excitement, and their anxiety about being in a professional workplace such as mine. I could feel their confusion and hear their internal questions about what they wanted to do in life. I could tell they were keeping their heads forward, while their curious eyes darted everywhere else. I could hear the indecision. I could sense the bewilderment, the wonder… the Hope.

I could tell all of this, because once upon a time I was one of these kids.

And like that, BOOM! I was transported from my teenage-self back into my present body… and I felt accomplished. I felt proud of where I had come to, of all that was in my life, and all that I had with me. Not just the big things I had accomplished, such as a great job, marrying Hubbie, and having a beautiful baby girl with him. But it was the intangible things that made me proud-er.

Not stopping when it got hard.

Persevering for things I wanted when teachers at uni said “very few people get jobs in this field.”

Keeping my morals and not succumbing to workplace bullshit just to ‘fit in.’

Retaining my sense of self and worth and allowing my self-assuredness to find my own path, my own friends, my own vision.

Deciding to NEVER fit the mould.

Deciding to go beyond the 9-5, and create my own hours doing my own thing and making my personal passions come true.

Deciding to reach high, as high as I could for the stars, because that quote:

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Ahhh.

I saw myself through those teenagers’ eyes, and was happy. I had become what I wanted, and who I wanted to be. It was an incredible moment of realisation, one that I was truly happy to grab hold of.

Yet, this is only phase one.

There is so much more to give and become. I am so grateful to Life. But also, I am so grateful to Me.

 

#147 Fondue

My crap ongoing stream of events kept on coming-on today. True, it kind of lessened and waned out for a while, and I was even Hopeful, can you believe, when we took ourselves and a sick baby girl to Max Brenner after lunch.

I repeat: a sick baby girl.

I have been dreaming of chocolate desserts for the longest of times, and when we realised we could actually do it today, I was excited. It’s been a tough week, but still, I was hopefully excited.

This is the photo I took before I had baby girl in a strong-hold beside me because her disobedience was skyrocketing.

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This is the photo I took after I had just yelled at her for being incredibly cheeky and deliberately going against my rules.

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This is the photo I took after I almost lost it and was at breaking point and the verge of tears because she was driving me crazy, the straw on my back from this past week.

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Then I proceeded to eat a lot of melted chocolate and coffee. I dipped my anger into the chocolate, and devoured it. I sipped my frustration from the cappuccino mug, and it was gone. I picked at the fruit and sweet treats with my fondue fork, and stabbed the annoyances away.

When we were done with our shared dessert, and all there was was only melted chocolate left, I was only sad because there was still melted chocolate left, and nothing to damn well dip it in. I tried to eat it with my spoon, and after getting insane mouth-sugar-freezes, decided I should leave well enough alone.

Then I read this on my saucer:

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And smiled. 🙂

Look, I was still shitty. But the melted chocolate had made me feel a little better. And anything that makes you forget the lows of life, even temporarily, is enough to make this post.