#455 A smaller Mother’s Day

I had this fleeting thought cross my mind sometime Friday, or Saturday. I was thinking of the upcoming Mother’s Day, and how we had ALL this stuff we were planning to do… go to the shops and buy outfits for ourselves for my parents’ upcoming wedding anniversary; go to visit my MIL on the other side of town; AND of course, visit my Mum also on the other side of town.

This was meant to happen after a late Saturday night, a normal sleep-in, and trying to get a never-sit-still baby girl to go along with it ALL.

Yep. It wasn’t likely to go smoothly.

Still, that was the plan. And yet, with all this impending busy-ness on the horizon, and knowing it was all for fun, a little voice inside me said ‘wouldn’t it be nice to just have a little Mother’s Day, just our family?’

Just baby girl, Hubbie and I. No running around. No 15 tasks. Just us.

Sometimes, you need to be careful what you wish for. Sometimes, little voices make a large ripple.

In a quite funny turn of events: my MIL stayed back late on Saturday night, and with her own plans for Sunday, we kind of had our unofficial catch up with her late yesterday evening; and my sister and bro-in-law were under the weather, and having had an up and down baby girl and Hubbie battling cold symptoms as well, we all decided to keep away from Mum and Dad, especially in the lead up to such a big event next week – which suddenly meant, that on Mother’s Day it was just –

Me, baby girl and Hubbie. Just US. As I had thought, so, so innocently.

And as much as I missed seeing my Mum and my sister terribly today, the quiet was quite nice:)

We had a lovely sleep in – no rushing around trying to madly get out of the house. We took some photos at home, drove to the shopping centre, then spent almost ALL DAY there. Not a brief 90 minute session.  I’m talking over 5 hours. Hubbie got some sneakers and shoes, baby girl got some toys, and I got not 1, but 2 outfit possibilities for next week.

That’s because I’m a Mum, and for us Mums, we can’t just go shopping when we like, and likewise, finding something we like in the limited time we have, is even HARDER. As it was it took 3 hours just to find those 2 outfits, so next time we have another event, at least I know I’M SET.

So, this year, a different kind of Mother’s Day. But it seems like my thought came true…. so a word of warning… be careful what you wish for…!

P.S Happy Mother’s Day to all Mums out there 🙂

#416 A Writer’s Dream

Today, I officially became a writer.

This is because I lived out a dream. The dream, of all wannabe writers out there.

It all started a few days ago.

During the week my boss had asked me if I could do a 9-5er on my next shift, being Saturday. I usually work early shifts on Saturdays, for 2 reasons:

Getting to work early means I get out earlier, therefore having more time to spend with my family later, going out/shopping/dining/coffee-ing/

Also, leaving the house so early means that baby girl is still sleeping when I leave. She wakes up, MIL is there, they cuddle in bed, and all is good in the world. Hubbie and I both usually work Saturdays, and this routine is great. There are no tears, no tantrums, no pathetic displays, from ANYONE. And baby girl is unfazed too… because she doesn’t see us leave.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Likewise, don’t rock the boat. Having her still asleep when I leave the house is MORE than perfect.

Working a 9-5 shift however, posed a conundrum. Would I get up later? Undoubtedly so. This would cause possible issues. Would baby girl cry as she watched me leave? Would she have a hissy-fit, therefore making the rest of my MILs day exceptionally hard?

Simultaneously, as all this was circling around in my head, a work friend of mine was telling me about how she loved the bakery, Banjo’s. Being Tassie-born, the bakery there is prevalent, a part of most people’s upbringing, providing her with much nostalgia and sweet (and savoury) memories. However where her old grounds has a Banjo’s on every corner, in Victoria there are only two: one in regional Victoria, and the other in the town of the Morning, my new home turf.

I was telling her how I would bring in some special requests next time we worked together, saying I would drop by the bakery before my work shift to satisfy her Banjo cravings, when suddenly, an idea started to emerge.

It crept up and up, like a flower rising to face the sun’s beams, ’til suddenly, everything was perfect and the thought was standing there, alone, shining in all its immaculate glory.

This morning, I got up with Hubbie, and left the house almost as normal. By 6:30, I had parked minutes away from home.

Across from Banjo’s.

And inside I walked, with my…

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Laptop.

Ding!

It has been my long-held, deeply sought after ideal to write in a café. This dream of mine was so strong, it was there even before I realised I wanted to be a writer. I mean, the dream kind of came with the lifestyle choice. The vision of being cosied up in a café, writing to your heart’s content, eating food and sipping on coffee while the world rolled on by, and idling there like you had nowhere pressing to go, well that just looked so absolutely unreal and fantastically special for me.

I didn’t think I could get to do anything like that, ’til long long long after I had another kid, and then they were both in school. So like, 5 years or something.

But, it happened.

I sat in Banjo’s for over an hour. It wasn’t the kind of café I had dreamed of writing in, but today, for my first time, it would have to do. I ordered an egg and bacon toastie and while I waited for it (they were still opening so they couldn’t make my order straight away- I had been warned) I sipped on some oj, and I typed.

And typed. I wrote personal stuff. And I reviewed my story, squinting at the screen critically and re-reading several passages 15 times, ’til I realised, I NEEDED TO EAT.

Driving to work on an empty stomach is far different to writing on an empty stomach. The former is a default activity that requires little effort when it is a regular route. The latter requires the head.

Head requires food.

I didn’t have a coffee either (some coffee snob I am) since I can’t drink it on an empty stomach  – the beans just rattle my head. When my toastie did come, I scoffed the deliciousness down, and then all was good.

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I had still been productive though, and written about 45 minutes of the time. As I headed off I took some things with me: some snacks and some lunch for work… and also, a 6 pack of hot cross buns for my work colleague.

They’re currently sitting at her desk, waiting for her surprised face to turn up. She didn’t work today, but she sure as hell will get a lovely Happy Easter surprise tomorrow on her work shift.

And there you go, 3 events coincided brilliantly together this morning to create a happy harmony. I left the house early as preferred to keep baby girl in her happy routine; I got some memory-making buns for a work colleague; and I lived out my fantasy of writing in a café.

Gratitude done, by 7:50am. Is that a record? No, of course not 🙂

Now that I’ve broken the café-writing seal, I think a lot of re-occurrences will now follow… I may just volunteer for more 9-5 Saturday shifts… and I do have to get the café food arrival timing correct, and make sure I get coffee next time, and a proper window seat…

We can’t get these things right the first time… that would leave out the fun now, wouldn’t it? 😉

#387 MILs help

I am grateful for my MIL.

Yes, you heard that right. I am grateful for my mother-in-law.

Wait. I think the earth just shifted. MILs aren’t often high up on most women’s appreciation list.

But today, I was. And on many days, I am. There are many grandparents who are neither willing or able to babysit their grandkids. Even if they are willing, many times due to ill health, or other circumstances, they are just not able.

My MIL, is both willing and able.

Which makes us lucky indeed.

I was able to drop baby girl off at her place today, as I had a much-needed hairdresser’s appointment. It was so nice to leave baby girl in a familiar place, not have to worry about the company she was in, if she was looked after adequately, or if she would get up to mischief.

The MILs take care of all that when kids are in their care, after all.

And it was easy. It always is easy with her. She is always more than happy to look after baby girl, not only for some works shifts, but when we have appointments every now and then. Distance is clearly an issue, so I can’t get her to watch baby girl all that often, but when there is something and I really need help, I know where I can turn.

I often wonder about women whose parents live far from them, or with whom they don’t have the best relationship with, and I get sad. In a perfect world, each woman would have a safe place to leave their child when and if circumstance arose, and a grandparent is just about the best babysitting option there is. The fact that mine looks after baby girl, but also after me – as I dashed out of her house late to the hairdresser’s, she handed me a foiled packet of lunch for the road – is really, truly, a God-send.

Yes. I know I’m lucky to have a great MIL. I won’t shout it too loud though, or else the earth’s tapestry may just unravel…

#354 Cinnamon Plums with French Toast

There’s nothing like a warm, fulfilling and sweet breakfast to start your Sunday morning. And when I prepared the cinnamon plums days ago, little did I know that on the day I would be eating them, the weather, cold and grey and windy, would be especially inviting for the meal.

All the better.

I love this Nigella Lawson recipe that I first had the pleasure of experimenting with last year, when I was trying to work out what to do with all these plums my parents and MIL were giving to me. Because they were from their yards, or the yards of someone they knew, I really wanted to put them to good and proper use, and salvage the natural and chemical-free aspects of the fruit, making them shine in a truly special way.

I loved the Nigella recipe, because the use of plums was

  1. simple
  2. was in conjunction with another fave meal of mine (French toast), and
  3. was able to be frozen

That was a BIG positive. With a fair bit of plum compote made from the one batch, I was happy that not even that would go to waste, as I could freeze any remains and easily defrost for use on a future Sunday.

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It really is a good Sunday morning breakfast meal.

I made the compote on Thursday, before freezing it and defrosting it overnight. It worked a treat, and anything that is delicious and the prep is fast and simple, well I’M ALL FOR.

And if you want the recipe… well, you know the drill.

#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.

#331 Somebodies to love

I was having a really shitty morning. Even for a glass half-full gal like me, when I am upset at something, or as was the case today, when I am upset at a NUMBER of things, even I struggle to find a piece of good in it, or something to be grateful for in the day.

But, I try. As bloody shitty as I am.

And pissed off as I was, running around being a taxi driver, people not working with me, feeling like a failure, feeling like I had to answer to people, feeling like everything was up in the air, feeling confused, feeling AHH!…

I had a thought. And suddenly, I realised I was lucky.

Here I was, running around for baby girl.

Here I was, running around for my parents.

Here I was, with my mother-in-law who was dropping plans her own plans to help me with baby girl.

Here my sister was, helping amidst her busy family schedule, to help me, and help our family unit out.

And all of these people, who were helping me, or were the recipients of help, I realised were part of the ongoing help cycle that is “US.”

I help them often. And they help me, much, much more.

And then Freddie Mercury came to mind.

“Can anybody find me…. somebody to love?”

I had so many people to love. And they loved me.

Suddenly, running around didn’t seem like such a chore anymore.

Suddenly, running around for those I loved, no matter how trying or frustrating some moments were, and knowing that those people in my ‘unit’ had run around for me too, so many times before, and probably would until the end of time, well, it became a blessing.

And just like that, my frown turned upside down.

It’s amazing how a change of perspective can change a situation, instantly.

Now for some genius… Freddie Mercury. 52 seconds.

You’re welcome.

 

#309 My town folk and Rain / Bestie’s surprise tree painting

A special edition. I had two interesting and special incidences today, and so I absolutely have to post both.

Lucky me. Double the gratitude:)

Part 1: The Rain.

I had just driven through the most hellish storm imaginable. I actually had thought to come to a complete stop while on the freeway going home from work. Many, many times, I found it almost impossible to see from the white sheets of rain in front of me, sweeping  across my car and enveloping it in a blurry fog of white. It was scary to endure, and I was relieved when after the longest drive, it started to lighten up.

And this, after the most incredible sunset last night. Ahh Melbourne.

Nearing home, the rain lessened. Finally. It had been a tense drive. I had to stop at the shops first, and got out of the car to light, wispy rain settling on the edges of my stray pieces of hair. I walked calmly into the centre.

After my post office stop and before I got to the supermarket, I heard it on the roof: the intense rattling.

Surely it wasn’t raining so hard, again, so soon after the hour of intense downpour I had just experienced on the way home?

15 minutes later with my bag of groceries in one hand, I was standing under the shelter out the front of the centre, looking in dismayed disbelief over the buckets of ran being heaved upon the car park.

My car was so close, yet so, so far.

I stood with others also holding out for the rain to ease. There were about 7 or so other shoppers, and I looked out at the car park, wondering just when and how long it would be until the rain gave out. It was heavy, and unrelenting.

The rain slowed, but only the slightest amount, not enough to brave the weather and walk through it… and yet, people did. Almost all the people who had been waiting decided to head on out to their cars. I watched, curious, as one by one they left, while I stood there, waiting, watching the Rain.

And then more came. I observed as people wandered in to the centre, soaking wet from the car park; and vice versa, as people exited the centre, and after a brief pause, a reshuffling of bags or searching of keys, kept on walking into the heavy rain towards their car.

The rain had lessened, ever so slightly. But I could tell what kind of deceiving rain this was, what with its big drops and generous weight. I wasn’t going out there, and getting soaked in 3 seconds time. I would keep waiting.

A man walked out of the centre with his son. They walked out and into the rain with little hesitation. A young couple walked out towards the car park as if they were taking a leisurely stroll.

Holiday-stayers, I observed. They don’t care if they get wet – they’re on holiday time.

An older man walked past me from the car park in his shorts and singlet, losing his thong in a deep puddle of water. He slowly stopped, walked back a few steps, his bare foot splashing through the puddle, before grasping the thong with his toe and balancing it back on. A nearby man smiled and they exchanged some words and a laugh before the man walked on, feet soaking, into the centre.

Ok, he mustn’t be driving. He can’t drive like that.

A woman walked out with her son. Flowy dress, telling him “now, don’t run!”

Run, why would you run? Ok it’s easier for her, he’s like 10, she doesn’t have to put him in the car herself.

Still I watched with how casually they made their way into the rain.

They’re all on holiday. I stood there in my wedges, pondering this fact. Skinny black jeans and a stripy singlet top. I was coming home from work. I had to drive home. I wasn’t on holiday time, not yet. These guys were not fazed at all if they got wet. They were moving about without a care in the world. I considered every justification possible.

Then, a woman walked towards the centre from the car park. As she moved forward, she too like the man earlier, lost her sandal in a puddle of water. She paused, her other foot hovering, as she fished it out of the water. I heard the splosh as it was brought forward and onto her foot. Her long flowy dress barely touched the deep puddles beneath her as she kept on going.

It hit me. My justifications were suddenly unworthy. These weren’t ALL holiday-makers. More than half were locals. And here I was, newbie in town, the girl from the ‘burbs looking on and wanting to avoid getting wet.

Screw that shit.

I waited for a slight break in traffic in front of the busy centre, and then started forward. Within seconds I could feel the warm drops sinking into all parts of my clothing, and it squeezed itself between my toes. My car was barely a minutes walk from the shopping centre shelter, and yet by the time I got to the car and plonked down in the driver’s seat, I looked down to rain splattered dark drops all over my clothes, saw the water on my arms as if someone had thrown a bucket on me, and felt my matted hair sticking in sections to my head.

And I loved it! I felt invigorated, refreshed, and alive.

Why the hell did I not do this earlier? We had moved to the beach for the lifestyle, which meant I had to live, LIKE the lifestyle. The locals had inspired me.

I wanted to live on the beach? Then live like I’m on the beach.

I genuinely, do love rain. And I also love my townsfolk 🙂

 

Part 2: The Painting.

I headed over to the parcel as my MIL was putting down baby girl for a nap. I had noticed it before getting changed out of my wet clothes, but hadn’t bothered to investigate further, feeling sure it was the coasters I had ordered a long time ago. Surely, most definitely, it was them. But as I picked up the parcel and the envelopes that read “card only” indicating the late Christmas arrival, the name at the head of the label jumped out at me.

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Hmmm. I didn’t remember putting down my author’s alias when I had ordered the coasters. In fact, I don’t remember putting it down anywhere at all. As I looked at the parcel some more, with my actual name and address underneath my alias, the writing grew so familiar to me, that by the time I had turned the parcel around to see who the sender was, I was absolutely definite on who it was from, even though I had no idea what it was.

Sure enough, I was right.

I first opened the Christmas cards, wanting to save the intriguing and exciting surprise package from bestie ’til last. As I opened it, my very slight suspicions, and my judgments based on the weight and size, were confirmed.

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My very talented best friend has recently started painting again, after a long hiatus between high school and now. I actually had NO IDEA how talented she was until she started posting her work on facebook. I had commented on a painting she had done of a similar tree, as I love trees, and all symbols and images associated to them, as mentioned here, and here. However I didn’t think she would ever send me an actual, original painting of hers.

I immediately fell in love. It was perfect. The vibrant colour was reminiscent of our friendship too, an ode to high school, Prince, Purple Rain, and so much more. It was so personal of her to give me something so beautiful and creative of hers, and I immediately felt emotional.

I called her up to express my profound thanks, and later I placed it up high in our bedroom, until we find a more permanent home for it.

…When I walked into the room hours later, the painting of the purple tree was a sight for sore eyes. I didn’t realise how much colour was lacking in our room, in our house, and I was sick of seeing beige boxes shoved into corners all over the place, only I didn’t know how much until this masterpiece entered our home.

I love it. I am really grateful for this personal present gifted to me by a very dear friend, the heartfelt meaning behind it, and the sincere generosity of bestie to even think of giving it to me in the first place.

 

Dancing in the rain amidst friendly townfolk and purple trees by bestie. Not a bad day. Not a bad day AT ALL. 🙂