#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.

 

#458 Impromptu Pho

I was busy at home when Hubbie charged through the doors this morning, high on his new hair-cut and wanderings through our humble-yet-bustling town, and declared “we are going to About Thyme for lunch!”

Really, we should have gone out last night, instead of this morning as I hurriedly made sweet treats in preparation for my parents anniversary on the weekend, prior to my late starting work shift this afternoon. So what do you think I did?

Amidst rolling 50 cake balls for my cake pops, I rushed through the batch (with attention-to-detail, of course) got ‘properly’ dressed, before we ran out the door.

We hadn’t been there in quite a while. And I immediately knew what I was going to have on such a still, yet grey day.

Pho.

IMAG4168

I was looking forward to the prawns also listed on the ingredients menu, but alas, I think not in season. Never mind. It was still warming, and tasty, and when I popped in a sliced chilli piece into the broth, so, so, sooooo spicy.

It had me watering at the eyes and gasping for breath, and then Hubbie over-confidently declared he would finish my chillies for me…

30 seconds and 4 chillies later, and HE was gulping down water with watery eyes.

Advantage of almost over-combusting? The heat almost totally cleared up my stuffy nose and sore throat that has been just hanging around for almost a week. So BIG points there.

(Note to self: bite into hot chilli next time I am sick).

A quick bite to eat out, with my family, unexpectedly on a dreary Wednesday before work…. Un-Pho-gettable.

(Sorry, I had to).

IMAG4169

#438 Kinder days no. 3

A week or two ago I was looking up local cafes, and came upon an awesomest of awesome cafes, with the most awesomest of awesome-looking meals, that had me immediately concocting how I was going to eat said meal.

The idea came to me quickly: ‘next time I’m free after dropping baby girl off at kinder, go there and EAT.’

Today, I went. And I ate this:

IMAG3907

It tasted as extremely beautiful as it looked. This acai bowl had me in love at first sight, and though I got brain freeze when I took in more than necessary in my first spoonfuls, of the icy blend beneath the surface, I very quickly learnt my lesson and ate the rest of the meal, s l o w l y.

Although I love socialising, I often need the timeout to recharge and refuel, and yet I never would have thought, 10 years ago, that I would now look forward to eating out on my own.

Hint to my future Food Review from today’s experience? ‘In a nutshell,’ I will be back. 🙂

Acai bowl made me happy and grateful this morning. Goal accomplished.

#435 New library

I think, when we collectively call ourselves avid readers and writers, surely then we must be a member of more than a few reading institutions?

The first library membership I got was when I was about 10, and that was a school incentive since they had built a local library in our suburb, up in the North.

I loved it, and thrived on my library membership, for ages. I would bring home the maximum amount (back then 10 books only) of Goosebumps, The Babysitters Club, and then Sweet Valley High series books, up until my mid-teens. This phase lasted long, and had me happily perusing through the library shelves for years on end, maybe until I was 15 or so.

Then boys kind of became more prominent. I would still visit, but much more infrequently, and later in Uni days, a lot of material from my essays would come from those aisles. I would walk up and down, and reminisce about the good old days, where I could read 10 books well within a few weeks time, and come back to borrow more earlier than I needed to, thirsty for more.

Fast forward many, many years, and a brand-spanking new library opened near my work. It is a work of art, and it is my belief even a non-reader would find interest, solace, and a renewed sense of appreciation for the written word, in here.

Of course, I became a member. I borrowed a few books, and then when I realised that reading, taking notes, and then reviewing the book within a few weeks span became a bit too much to take on, I kind of stopped borrowing from there.

It’s temporary, and it’s only because I’m awaiting the day I can devote much more time to fiction books.

However, today baby girl and I ventured to our new, local library. The first time we went there was right after we moved, and so I didn’t have the proper I.D. with my new home address to subscribe. Today however, different story.

At the Mornington library, I am told I can borrow unlimited books at any one time. Woah. Up to 10 DVDs, and there’s a bunch of other benefits of becoming a member too. Baby girl enjoyed the kids nook, sat in a reading booth, and I just happened across (this stuff seriously jumps out in front of me) a couple of books that I just HAD to borrow.

IMAG3898

You can totally tell which are for me, and which are for baby girl, right? I mean, I’ve been hanging to read Dr Seuss’ take on fish for yonks now.

😉

Seriously though. Am I the only writer that has tonnes to read and write, a whole book shelf at home just crying out to me “read me! read me!” and yet I still go out and borrow/buy MORE books?

I think the novelty of the library, is the fact that if you do not read a book in your borrowed time span, not to fear – just re-borrow, or read it at a later stage. There is no commitments, and I think in my case, for now, with so much fiction for me at home just STARING at me whenever I go past my shelves, I can happily borrow reference books and the like, and then pick what content will serve me best from within its pages.

And while there, I registered baby girl for the ‘1000 books before school’ challenge, where she will aim to read up to 1000 books, and track her progress on a chart with stickers, with little incentives as she hits big milestones along the way. This number can include any books read at home or school or her grandparents house, and even the re-reading of favourite books. They can all be counted, starting from today. If you’re interested in doing so for your littlies, I understand many libraries are partaking in the challenge.

The end of the challenge is either the commencement of school, or when she hits 1000.

Do you seriously think I will let baby girl, the daughter of a writer, not get to 1000 books within these two years?

To answer your question… she already has 4 stickers today.

IMAG3899

God Bless the Library.

#423 Playing alongside plaques

Today was a gorgeous day. After visiting Hubbie at work for lunch, I promised baby girl a park visit. She made sure I stayed on track, that I didn’t detour anywhere else, and that our path led straight to one of our favourite parks in Mornington, aptly named Mornington Park.

The park is vast, there is a huge pirate ship contraption which ideally looks out at the sea beyond it, true to its theme; there are rides and playground activities aplenty; a huge field to play sport and kick ball on; public toilets; many barbeque facilities; and just as many places to feast and relax upon. It is a truly playful, yet serene place to be.

And as we got onto the grounds, walking in the brilliant Autumn sunshine, baby girl happened across a circular brick setting holding a kind of flagpole, and in true toddler style just had to jump up onto it. Placed around the circular bricks were various plaques showcasing some of the town’s prominent people, dates and events, and as baby girl ran around the flagpole, mucking about, I read.

IMAG3884

I just love the fact of being in such an idyllic and historic town where so much has happened before us, so many momentous occasions and historic events, and now we, were also going to be part of its long-standing history.

I also hope, in an idyllic and wonderfully momentous and historic way.

And then, playing on the grounds we went…

 

#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…

IMAG3759

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.

IMAG3760

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? 😉

#369 Mr Penn

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

Let me introduce you to someone.

Mr Judda-Penn.

imag3251

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.

imag3253

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*