#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 🙂

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#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.

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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…

#341 Hubbie’s home/work proximity

After our holidays in early Jan, Hubbie started a new job, right in town.

It’s fantastic. Rather than spending 2 and a half hours driving to and fro to work, every day as he used to, he now spends a total of 20 minutes.

Return trip. That is awesome.

And as he has an hour break for lunch, he surprised us today by coming home for it.

Even though it was constant as we quickly ate, had a coffee, and shared some words over the kitchen table… it was so nice to see his face mid-day, and know that it was only a matter of hours ’til we would see it again.

Ahhh 🙂

#337 Food Truck festival fun

The Mornington Food Truck festival runs from now, up until Sunday the 29th of January. We ventured over this evening with the MIL, to check out the digs and of course, grab some food truck food.

I had the meaty paella:

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Honestly, for $12 it was underwhelming. (Foodie SmikG is coming out now) I only had one prawn in my container, the portion was meagre at best, and though it was spicy and had some good kick, seriously for that price I expected more than two spoonfuls with a sprinkling of rocket on the side.

Yes, I know we’re eating from trucks, people. But the quality of food FROM food trucks has increased substantially in the last few years, something most people in Melbourne would be well aware of. Anyway.

Baby girl had some chips, Hubbie a steak sandwich, and the MIL also went the burger route, as we sat within the greenery alongside the racecourse, under the shelter of the grand old trees, feeling the cool evening breeze sweep in.

There were rides as well, which baby girl and I participated in yet again… yep, the teacup ride. And baby girl saw some clown heads moving slowly side to side, which she wasn’t too sure about so she just let Mum and Dad win her a prize. Those open clown mouths are pretty scary.

It was a pleasant evening, and to be honest despite the paella, I just wanted to be out and about amongst people enjoying MY town. Nothing gripes me more than seeing people from out of town enjoying our precinct, knowing that we can’t due to time restrictions and work commitments! So just by being there tonight, I was happy.

Grateful. 🙂

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And to top off the night? We took home some Nutella-centred churros from another food truck, and had them at home… they were still deliciously warm and crunchy, nom nom nom.

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(Apologies for the photo, the churros tasted a 1000 times better than what is actually shown).

It was the food highlight of the night, and a lovely way to end our evening adventure.

#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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#323 Post New Year’s Countdown with Best Friends

Saturday January 12, 2017.

It is almost 10pm. On the dot. Coincidentally.

Music is BLARING. (Sia).

Scene? Best Man and Fam’s house.

The kids have just finished going through a box of sparklers. They have been looking forward to lighting them up ALL night.

Party atmosphere is turned ON.

Suddenly, someone mentions that it feels like New Year’s Eve. We’ve spent it together before, but not the one that just passed.

Hubbie decides a countdown. And the older kids join in.

“10, 9, 8” (Just a few of them)

“7, 6, 5” (Some adults join in)

“4, 3, 2, 1” (We’re all chanting now)

“Happy New Year!”

Everyone yells and jumps around. Out on the alfresco part of the yard, they all begin walking to one another with kisses and hugs, wishing each other a Happy New Year. They do it with love and happiness, yet so seriously, like it is REALLY Happy New Year.

Even the kids start going around and shaking hands with each other. Like we are talking two 3 year olds, a 7 and a 9 year old.

When they come to me to kiss me Happy New Year, I am laughing so hard I can barely reciprocate. “What are the neighbours going to think?”

10pm on Jan 12 it’s New Year’s?

I reciprocate the kisses and hugs, still laughing.

“It actually feels like New Year’s!” Someone exclaims.

THIS IS SOME OF THE RANDOM SHIT YOU DO WITH YOUR BEST FRIENDS.

And it totally rocks.

What makes it more awesome is our kids are in on the act too.

I am so happy, and grateful for these memorable moments. 🙂

 

#312 A bit of everything for the first day of 2017

It was a good first day to the year.

It involved

*a sleep-in

*late-night takeaway

*white wine

*running amuck with baby girl in the supermarket

*a late coffee with cake

*making baby girl laugh uncontrollably during playing ball

and although it may not please others, the task of

*getting washing done, tidying the house, putting stuff away, and finding homes for bits and bobs that have been staying in random corners since our move over 2 months ago

really makes me satisfied. When I am organised, I feel better about getting other stuff done, and I just feel free.

And let’s not forget the simple and beautiful luxury of

*having Hubbie home with us so we are one, as family, united in our shared relaxation and productiveness of the day

So, for a Jan 1st, it was not too bad. Not massive, but still, it had enough of everything that I feel good about the days ahead.

And you know what? Even if I didn’t have a good day, Jan 1st is not in any way indicative of what the year ahead will hold. Each day is a clean slate, a new opportunity to start fresh and make a start to whatever plans and hopes and dreams you cherish.

You know what is indicative of your year ahead?

Your Attitude.