#713 Beach mornings

Sometimes work makes us do weird things. And forces us to get out and do something, we normally wouldn’t.

Like today. Sure, the beach is fairly close and accessible to us. But getting up early enough to get there, in the AM, just never happens for this lover of sleep (and a certain baby girl who follows in her Mama’s footsteps).

But because I was due to be working tonight, thereby losing my Saturday night with the fam, and the weather was going to be hot, I thought…

“let’s sneak a cheeky beach visit in early on.”

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Hubbie was working so it was just baby girl and I. But a working woman’s gotta do what a working woman’s gotta do… grab that opportunity by the horns and run with it! Don’t wait for anything! Enjoy the moment NOW.

Which is exactly what we did. 3 and a half hour of cheeky beach fun. The weather was actually perfect. Not too hot, and yet somehow, hot enough. No wind. So still. And I reckon they were generally locals around, since it would have been more packed than it already was if the Long Weekend touros were onto us…

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But just imagine. Imagine I missed out on perfection with my daughter, just because I was waiting for the right day. When Hubbie was around. When I wasn’t working. When we had MORE time. When we were all well-slept.

Scoff. Nope.

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It was heaven, it was bliss, and sitting here at work now, I am soooo glad that we did it.

Here’s to more beach mornings, and early rises 🙂

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#712 Family Fun on Jan 26th

Today is a day that divides many people from the land down under.

January 26th – Australia Day. A national holiday to celebrate our achievements as Australians, to recognise how far we’ve come, and to reflect on our culture.

The local park down by the beach ran a huge Australia Day event, and naturally, we all headed on down.

It was a very pro-Australia Day experience. Flags abounded, Union Jacks on clothing, and green and gold was the norm. Massive theme park rides were spaced on the perimeter of the park, food trucks on one end, and a stage for live music on the other.

These people came here to celebrate Australia day – or as was in our case, to take advantage of the free entertainment.

But there is a movement, a wave of people that has been increasing exponentially, that believes we should not celebrate Australia Day on January 26th.

And I agree.

BUT that does NOT mean I am not proud to be an Australian.

January 26th is not the day the First Fleet landed in this country, as many people are led to believe. In fact it is believed to have occurred in 1788, somewhere between Jan 18-20, and the 26th is the day the Union Jack was raised in Sydney Cove, to declare British Sovereignty.

Australia Day was celebrated in Sydney on January 26th in those early days, before other states took on the holiday too, but they did this on different days, like Tasmania’s ‘Regatta Day,’ or South Australia’s ‘Proclamation Day.’ This was the case for 200 years, and only in 1935 did it become nationally recognised and celebrated, even then only being declared as a holiday in 1994.

In that way, Australia Day as we know it today, is fairly new.

The day January 26th, is known as ‘Invasion Day’ or ‘Survival Day’ to these Anti-Aus Day Jan 26-ers. Because it signalled the end of 50,000 years of Indigenous occupation on this land, which then led to brutal colonisation. Massacres of the Aboriginal people took place, land was taken, and children removed from their parents. The stolen generation was born, and many Indigenous descendants grew up not knowing where they came from.

The pain, suffering and loss the Indigenous community experienced is more than profound. And that doesn’t include the repercussions echoing out to this current day. To think of what they have had to endure, not just over years, but decades and centuries, with oppression and hate and discrimination, when all they were doing were living on their land… a sorry will just not do.

But it was done. In 2008 the Australian Prime Minister formally apologised to the Aboriginal community – for the successive laws and policies of previous governments that inflicted severe pain and grief onto their families and communities.

January 26th, the day the Union Jack was raised in Sydney in 1788, is then a representation of all that preceded, and all that was lost to the Indigenous community when the First Fleet arrived. The slavery, the violence, the oppression. It is a day of mourning for many. Rightly so.

My ancestors were NOT from that First Fleet. In fact, in 1788, my ancestors were probably farming cattle in a remote and poverty-stricken land somewhere in the Balkan region of Europe. My parents came to Australia in 1970, for a better life. It is the story of so many European immigrants, and continues to be so to this day. They came from nothing, from having to work so hard just to be able to obtain, I don’t know, a bike… over the span of a YEAR… and the opportunity to come to a “land of plenty,” where stories of filling up a trolley with fruit and vegetables with only $2, and realising after their first pay check working in the factory, that they could achieve so much more here in months, than they could achieve over there in years… that is the history I grew up with.

I grew up hearing, how Australia saved my parents. In doing so, they saved my sister and I. I grew up hearing of the comparisons between my parents’ beloved native country, and the ‘lucky country.’ They have such respect for where they came from, and when you ask them their nationality – they are Australian. Proudly so.

I have seen more of my family come from overseas. They didn’t come here to brutalise and oppress any minority or otherwise group, just as my parents didn’t. No, they came here for a better life, for a chance at something greater, even to escape WAR. They came here because they heard things were good, and they wanted to see things for themselves.

They have all stayed. We ALL have.

The Australia I have lived with, and which has been represented to me, is a good one, a noble one. I know things are not perfect, and there is always something the government must do better. But here, there is democracy. Freedom of speech. There is strong multiculturalism. People are kind. People are friendly. People love to connect.

However, bad things were done, many, many years ago, and despite the fact that we can’t go back, we can try to make things work as a unified community.

A country, united as one.

Both black and white, coming together.

But it has to be a conscious and integrated effort from both parties. There are white people I know that complain of the country we live in, or talk about how shit Australia is, or how that ‘other’ country is soooo much better.

Well move then. Go on, piss off (as a true blue Aussie would say). Don’t hang around here gaining benefits and working and earning Australian coin, when you know of so much better.

You are ungrateful. We don’t want you.

Likewise I have heard some other pretty horrible things today. I have heard of Indigenous people at Invasion Day rallies, saying “F*&k Australia, hope it burns to the ground.”

This makes me terribly sad. Sad for the mourning this person would have experienced to want the country they live in, the country we ALL live in, to burn to pieces.

Like I said, both parties need to want to move forward, peacefully. Slandering will not make things better. And it unfortunately won’t change the past.

Whether like me, my ancestors were not part of that First Fleet, or like other Australians, perhaps they were… the power to want to change the future is out there. People want to make amends for the past, whether they are white or black… but a person living in Melbourne today, should not be blamed for what their Father did in February 1st 1985 for example… just as today’s First Fleet descendants that want to change for the better, should not be blamed for what their ancestors were part of from 1788 onwards.

The idea is out there, that Australia Day needs to be moved to another date, or it is abolished all together and another day that celebrates both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities coming together, is created.

I believe this is the only way forward. I think respect needs to be shown to the original people of this land, and January 26th and Australia Day, are synonymous no more.

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Soooo…..

I went to the park today. I was happy to be amidst our community of proud Australians – Australians that love the country they live in, the people in it, and the culture that lives on.

Was I celebrating Australia Day? Hmm, not quite. I was celebrating the life I live…

But that I do every day. Because I am grateful for the place that I reside in the world.

I am grateful for MY history. I am grateful for the choices my parents made. And I am grateful that change is coming to respect the life and culture of those who inhabited this land 200 years before any white people were on it.

I had my own family fun day, and I enjoyed the fact of some extra time together, with them.

I hope wherever you were in the world, your day of January 26 was great too…

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#709 The spider and the moth

Gratitude can often be found, in the strangest of places…

I have a non-visual story to tell, one that was the briefest of moments, and one that made me gasp in disbelief. But first, let me show you my day in photos.

Some days I stay home and do the washing. Other days are FULL.

This such day, was FULL. And visual.

We did lots of things, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have done them all. The first included a visit to the Circus that is currently in town:

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The first and last time I had been I was 8 or 9, so my visits between have been non-existent. Baby girl has never been, so combined, my desire to see it when the ol’ Silvers sign popped up in town, was deep.

However despite all this and the magic and jazz and what-not, baby girl spent the first half of the show begging me for popcorn after seeing others eating it, and then after the interval as she ate said-popcorn, she then proceeded to ask me repeatedly to go home.

Sigh. That’s my girl for you. Sitting for a couple of hours for Frozen on Ice was difficult for her, and that’s one of her favourite movies.

But the best part of the morning? When I took a handful of her popcorn, and she calmly and firmly said to me “no Mama, no more, that’s enough.”

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Oh how I LOLed and LOLed.

Second up after lunch was a café and park visit. These I love as they are merely a short walk across the road and down a street to a local strip of shops that sit near a park. I feel so local, so integrated in the community when we head over like that. First we stop for a caffeine injection

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And then we head over to the playground to get her play off some steam

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It was hotter than expected though, so we didn’t stay too long.

The evening gave us an opportunity to cool down and unwind, as we got super close to nature. Boneo Maze and Mini Golf are doing a special month-long Summer event that ends in about a week, called Lantasia, which showcases lit-up lanterns and light installations along their park grounds and tree walks, as night falls.

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This was also interesting and inventive, chilled and relaxing too, and would have been more so if baby girl didn’t have to go to the toilet twice while in the middle of one such long walk, and since there is only one lot of toilets in the café, it meant we had to go ALL the way back down the walk to get there. But there was a Vintage Carousel too, so that kind of made us forget the annoying-ness of the former.

 

All of today’s events were super exciting and fun and made for a very tired and spent baby girl by day’s end, leaving me grateful for a multitude of reasons… but one thing stood out to me today, and it was the most unexpected thing, that I am still in awe of the memory in my head.

In between the park and the Lantasia lantern walk, baby girl and I were chilling at home, doing this and that, and I went to head outside and hang some washing. (I even do it on FULL days, you see).

I got to the door, and could see there was a moth sitting on the security door which was outside of the glass sliding door I was about to open. I scrunched my nose in disgust, as saying that I have a strong unpleasant aversion to that gross insect is an understatement, but I also wondered why the hell it was there then, since it was about 5:30 and there was still hours left ’til sunset – they were more a dusk/night insect.

As I opened the sliding door, the sudden movement made it fly away, and I was satisfied until I saw with dismay another moth fluttering crazily nearby the wall of the house, near a window.

What, another one? What was this? I watched it carefully as I stepped out, careful in case it flew towards me, or worse still for the long-term, in case it flew inside the house. It hovered, fluttering gently though erratically as moths do, and I kept my eyes trained on it, holding my washing with me, as I slid the door closed behind me, this moth flying in the bottom corner of the window frame… until suddenly there was a movement of black. And a spider suddenly crawled out of an indistinct hole in the corner of the outside window frame.

I watched as it grabbed hold of the moth – it all happened so quickly I can’t actually believe what my eyes saw – and then the fluttering came to a slow halt. There was a fellow scurrying of black legs, and the spider disappeared with its catch, back into its invisible-to-the-human-eye, hole.

WHAT?!

Had I been 5 seconds later, I would have missed the whole thing. And instead, here I was, watching two insects I care very little for, suddenly become a David Attenborough documentary before my very eyes!

Had either insect been in our house, I would have ‘gotten rid of them’ without concern. Both cause me alarm, more so moths, because with their erratic flying they can cross a room in seconds, and I don’t like that. Spiders are somewhat easier to contain.

But when I saw that spider today, not only catch its prey, but in doing so, rid the exterior door of moths?

I was impressed.

I said to Hubbie later on, as I retold the story, “when you next spray bug killer around the house, avoid that window frame.”

My buddy lives there.

My buddy the spider.

He looks after the moths for me. 🙂

And so concludes the story of the spider and the moth.

 

#678 Carols in the Park

From carols in the car, to carols in the park…

If you’ve just tuned in, clearly we are in the midst of Christmas season.

I knew there might be a decent show of people at the local carol-fest down by the beach this evening, but until I arrived there with baby girl, I had no idea how much.

There were people and cars, EVERYWHERE.

They had brought with them rugs, chairs, takeaway food, picnic hampers, blankets, jackets, and to top it all off were sipping bubbly in champagne glasses.

There were even food trucks lined up nearby for those who hadn’t come prepared or weren’t ready to give up decent coin for an average sized-meal.

Even the park playground was packed out, with about 30 kids trying to go down the slide at once, no joke, and there was an ongoing line of children trying to use the swings too.

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It was an amazing vibe, and I vowed that next year, we would come prepared AND with Hubbie too, who was today working late in the busy lead-up to Christmas. But none of the above was the real reason why we came. They were all bonuses, but nothing compared to the main event drawcard…

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Why, Jimmy Giggle of course!

The ABC Kids entertainer, of ‘Giggle and Hoot’ fame, was born and bred in the Peninsula, hence his regular appearances along the bayside, including tonight of all nights. Our timing was perfect as we arrived, as no more than 5 minutes passed and he appeared on stage, and we were right there for it, singing “Hoot Hoot, the Giggle-mobile!”

Ahh the things you do for your kids. You start becoming a critic of children’s performers, like you’re reviewing Grammy awarding winning artists, instead of a dude that talks to an Owl for most of his day.

But having said that, he rocked the stage, and owned his presence, delighting the kids in the process.

Baby girl was rapt.

And I couldn’t want more than that 🙂

#653 After dinner views

We headed over to Kirks tonight. It’s been a while, but we love it there. The food is great, the atmosphere more so, and the staff are lovely.

The food $ is on the up-side… because you are paying for the view across the road too.

Which is…

Yep. Stunning ain’t it?

We knew we were going to head on over after our meal and walk about a bit, taking in the mild Spring air, and just being.

Also, I am totally a proper local now, I came prepared with thongs!

And then by the water, we just stood, and stared. And baby girl splashed.

I don’t even have to say it out loud. The photos say it all.

#564 Spa ‘me’ day

I have had the most splurgiest of splurgee splurge sessions today.

I went to the Peninsula Hot Springs.

For anyone that doesn’t know what the Peninsula Hot Springs are, they are a collection of thermal mineral waters that flow into pools and private baths in the Fingal location on the Peninsula, that make it the prime real estate of bathing, and other luxurious treatments such as massages.

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I not only bathed today. But I massaged. AND I ate.

It all started with the voucher I received from Hubbie for my birthday… last year. Yep, I am continuing my wait-’til-the-last-possible-second tradition of fulfilling a gift voucher by waiting until the last day possible to use it. And today I used it before its expiry date of tomorrow, so at least I’m being consistent.

Not due to lack of want, NO. I love the Peninsula Hot Springs. I’ve been there once before many many years ago, and now that we are locals and an approximate 30 minute drive away, I’d love to make this as common a luxurious tradition as humanly (and monetarily) possible.

For me it’s always been about the TIME. Finding time to do something for myself, and making sure baby girl is occupied or there is someone to look after her, and simultaneously trying to find ‘me’ time outside of ‘family’ time, because DON’T GET ME STARTED on Mum guilt…

So today I put Hubbie’s voucher to good use. I followed a lovely lady into a hut within the trees occupying this forest oasis, and had an hour-long Peninsula vine massage…

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Followed by a lunch in the Bath House café, where I sat unapologetically in my white robe, with only a pair of disposable knickers underneath, true story.

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Because nothing says relaxation like not removing your terry white robe to eat a very distinguished lunch menu. Tee hee hee.

And then I had about an hour to spare before kinder pick-up, so I went through the Bath House pools, intimate bathing spaces for those only 16+, and tried out some steaming hot baths, one of which was a mere 40-42 degrees Celsius.

Thin branching leaves and trees enveloped the entire Bath House area, so that it felt like a little private piece of watery heaven.

I had been all on my own, and it had been a day for me. I left feeling clear, fresh, rejuvenated, and seriously, those minerals had really changed me. They had done something to me internally, and I felt lighter for it.

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I felt all brand-new. And that is certainly something to be grateful for.

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#555 Mindful swinging at the park

Baby girl has just learnt how to swing on her own. Today was the second time she had the opportunity to practice it as we headed on over to the local park.

We had just had a babycino and cap, and a salted caramel ‘something’ to share at the nearby café, so we were properly fuelled. As we got closer to the park, I let go of her hand and said “go, run. Be free. Frolic. Be 4.”

Soon she was headed over to the swing, the place of her new-found confidence and extension of never-ending playfulness. She wanted me to give her a big push to get started, and then said “let go Mama.”

(Oh darling. I will never let go).

But then as life would have it, as our children grow up, she wanted me beside her. ( 🙂 ) She motioned to the swing beside her and told me to “sit.”

Soon we were both swinging, sometimes going back and forth simultaneously, other times in opposite directions. It was a still day, the sun sometimes coming out from behind the prevalent clouds of the day. We were silent for the longest time, going back and forth at our varying paces, and my mind wandered over to something I had read the other day.

Mindfulness. What was the quote?

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”  – Bil Keane.

The article had mentioned 7 habits to cultivating a happier life. And one of the points that had captivated me had been the act of living in the present. Not worrying about what had passed, and not stressing about what may, or may not come… but concerning oneself solely, with the NOW.

The technique mentioned was to be aware of your palms and feet, and clenching both while becoming aware of your surroundings. It said to try and concentrate on where you were, and if your mind naturally wandered, to not judge yourself too harshly, but to simply gently steer your attention back to where it needed to be.

So that’s what I did. As we swung back and forth, in the quiet of the local park, I clenched the hands that were around the swing chain, and tensed my feet below me that were swinging back and forth in my white sneakers. I observed my body in the almost-too tight swing seat, breathed in the fresh air, felt the warmth on my face, and tried to think of NOW.

A young teenager was nearby, walking home from school in their uniform, and the image before me made my mind go elsewhere. Suddenly baby girl was also a teen, and there were a multitude of concerning issues flooding my mind. How would I help her with her problems? Would she ask for help? Would she be happy? Would she like school? Would she like her Life?

I suddenly realised my scattered thoughts, and ever so gently removed myself from them, taking myself back to the present.

The beautiful present. Of me and baby girl, swinging at the park, with no concerning cares in the world.

🙂

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