#488 The tree in Their yard

Still on nature.

There are many things we take for granted in life, and many that we act as if it will be there forever.

For me today, that forever thing is my parents’ home.

It was the place I was brought home to when a newborn, days after coming into the world. I grew up in that house, and only left years and years and years later, when I got married. It may seem confined and claustrophobic to some, but the years I spent there were some of the most memorable and happiest years of my life. I love that house.

Likewise, their yard. I’ve never really taken much refuge, notice of, or practiced much gratitude towards it, only because well, ‘taking things for granted’ note as above. Assuming it will always be there. Thinking that I will be able to visit it FOREVER.

Things don’t always turn out the way we envision them to be in our little fantasy-lands. Often our fantasy-lands are just that, images in our head.

So today while over there visiting on yet another Friday, drinking a coffee my Dad made me out in their yard, from a coffee pod machine I bought them one Christmas (of course I would buy them something coffee-related) I came upon, and noticed for the second time that day, the spectacular nature of a tree.

It’s the only one in their yard that still has part of its leaves on, and visually striking is the fact that it is prime-centre in the middle of the yard, surrounded by all the other leaf-less, stark grey branches around it from neighbouring trees. I looked at this stunning hybrid Pear tree (my Dad is a supreme Gardener and Handy-Man, so don’t ask) and observed to myself, that it was beautiful. Stunning even.

‘Pear, hold on.’

#479 (Un) Expected Parcel

Lately it feels like we are BILL-city. We have payments and fees and unexpected notices and amounts outstanding coming out of our every orifice. So it was nice when I received a package today that I’ve been expecting for a few days now…

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I was so happy and surprised to receive a phone call from Harvey Norman late last week, telling me that the photo print competition I had entered only a month or so earlier, when I was printing 200+ photos for memory boards for my parents anniversary party, well, I had won! Well, one of the prizes on offer, which was the above-posted Bluetooth portable speaker!

What a nice and pleasant surprise! We know how cool it is since my bro-in-law has one and positions it around the house depending on where we’re sitting when we’re over, so it’s awesome to think we now have one, and we got it, for free!

Winning a competition! I feel as excited as I did when I won some comps from a kids mag when I was about 11, and got an Ariel doll in the mail…

I’m grateful for unexpected moments like these 🙂 Helps ease bill-tension and stress, too 😉

#471 The Box of Barbie Memories

“Why don’t you take home that box of dolls you have?” Mum had asked me. “You said when she was younger that you wanted to wait a bit more, but now she might enjoy it.”

I could see where she was going. When she had asked me about a year ago if I wanted to take home with me an old box of Barbies I had packed away at my parents house when I was a pre-teen, I had said that I’d rather wait until baby girl was older, and ‘into’ dolls more. Also, I didn’t want to be adding another box of stuff to our household, when we already had so much ‘stuff.’

But I realised today, that baby girl was not only older, but she was definitely into dolls: she had two of her own Barbies, given to her as pressies over the last 6 months, and she loved the whole figurine, dress-up, pretend-play games she did with them. It was actually, perfect timing.

When at my parents place, they started looking for them in a wardrobe, and it almost looked like they wouldn’t be found for a little while. When they almost gave up, Dad stumbled across the box.

Just looking at the box, brought back memories: both the box, and the packing of it. With the latter, I actually had the faintest memory of packing it – in that room where it was found, my old ‘first’ room (before my sister moved out and then I moved into her room because it was front-facing and bigger), I remembered placing the barbies neatly against one another and on top of each other, before gently packing it all away… for good.

For another day, another time. I didn’t know then what I would be doing with it in 20 years time. That I would be giving it a new lease on life.

Secondly, the box.

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The Kraft box. My Dad worked there for a good couple of decades, and each year for their annual Christmas party, each employee was invited to the party for a lunch, bringing home a festive box full of Krafty goodies – cheeses, spreads, biscuits, and any other new product that wasn’t even on the shelves yet. I was always so excited when Dad came home from these Christmas parties – I’d come home from school, looking around the kitchen and dining room table, hoping to see a Christmas-y coloured box, with tinsel bursting from the sides. And Dad knew I’d get so excited about it, smiling just as much as me when I finally saw the box. Going through the contents of the box, was a happy, pre-Christmas tradition for me.

Even after he stopped working there, he was still invited, along with other long-standing employees of the company, to a former employees Christmas Party… that sadly, soon stopped fairly soon after, after new management came along. I remember the sadness and disappointment I felt in discovering the goodie box, was good, no more. So this box that I was staring at today, was quite possibly, one of, if not the, last boxes he ever received.

And I’d put my Barbies into it. Memories upon memories.

The only way I got baby girl into the car today was the promise of playing with Barbie dolls at home. So once there, I complied.

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Finding all my dolls, some just that, plain dolls, ‘wannabe Barbies’ and others the very real deal, was seriously like stepping into a time capsule that I myself had buried 2 decades ago. I found dolls I had forgotten about, costumes and shoes I didn’t know I had, and also the barbies that I faintly remembered – and then of course Ken. Who could forget when one got a Ken doll? That was a special thing back in the day.

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(Some funky outfits they had)

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(Check out the blonde ‘fro – yeah yeah!)

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(I won this Ariel doll in a kids mag comp, and I was STOKED… but one of her legs broke as soon as we lifted her out, maybe she should have stayed in mermaid form…)

I told baby girl that she must take extra care with these dolls, and pack them away gently as they were found. I think she knows what to do, but still, I have to make sure these Barbies are under supervision by me or Hubbie when she is playing with them. Even he agrees, saying “they’re old enough to go on club reg.”

Too right.

But even though I’m happy for baby girl to play with my cherished old Barbies, there is one thing I think I’m going to have to change – the box. Old and flimsy as it is, and with the addition of a piece of paper that was on the bottom of the box, where my Mum scrawled Dad’s last day of work at Kraft… I don’t know, but I think I need to put away this box, this special box of so much history and memories, and use it for my own good, and get a new box for baby girl to put all her old/new barbies in.

I know it’s just a box, but it’s what it represents that is priceless.

#470 Coffee with Cinderella

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Straight up, that was my coffee experience today.

It was special because my parents have been staying with us for a little bit, and so today while out and about, showing them our ‘hood,’ we stopped for a café latte break.

Parents, baby girl, me… and Cinderella.

Because that’s how the coffee breaks are nowadays. And it’s important that I capture them as they are, now. Because these days of mini figurines, kinder surprises, play-doh creations and smiley-face biscuits, will not last forever. Baby girl will grow out of it, and soon will be way too cool for any of that kiddy ‘stuff.’

The stuff that now makes her clap her hands with unrestrained glee, a wild smile spreading across her face in the moment that she comes face to face with a little packet-ed princess wearing a blue gown.

So, it was a cool little coffee date we had. I share these moments with baby girl, but my parents being there as witness to it all, is extra, extra, cool.

That’s a coolness, I won’t ever grow out of.

#467 A coffee break in my Parents backyard

It’s a lovely full circle moment when you are a visitor in your parents’ house, enjoying it in away that let’s face it, you never really used to enjoy it.

My parents have a pretty beautiful back yard. Lots of fruit trees, lush green grass, plenty of shade from the old trees’ branches to protect you on sunny days, and just a serene place to relax, and appreciate nature.

Do you think I spent that much time ‘taking it in’ when I was a teen? Hell no. Sure, I have plenty of backyard memories, of climbing up trees, jumping in piles of leaves my Mum had just swept into a pile, picking an apricot straight from the tree and devouring it. Playing with my cats, having my friends over, and then ALL of those parties!… the list goes on and on and ON.

But it’s not until you don’t live at your parents house anymore, that you start to really appreciate the little things.

While over near my parents side of town today for an appointment, following that baby girl and I swung on by to visit, and after the customary lunch upon arrival, we all headed out to the back.

The Autumn skies were clear, and sunny. Still, not a wisp of wind. Soon Mum was manoeuvring a garden table into the middle of the lush green grass, positioning chairs, taking out sweets, and I was making coffee.

Dad, Mum, baby girl, and I. All 4 of us, sitting in the middle of their backyard, having a great family moment.

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(Check out original Ridge on that soap opera mug – MINE!)

Of course it didn’t last long. The sitting I mean. I was up and at baby girl, following her or something. But it was still bliss.

Moments with your family are never enough, not for me anyway. I always feel like I need more, I want more, want to appreciate and experience and enjoy and live through MORE. I guess that’s just how it is with those you love. It makes me  grateful for these moments, these moments that are never enough, so much more.

Soon after the skies turned grey, and we all headed inside…

To more FUN. Dancing in your parents house with your loves, well, that’s another gratitude post right there…

#462 Cake for dayyysss

When one goes to a celebration, one gets to enjoy cake.

When one goes to a close friend/family’s celebration, one gets to take home, some cake.

When one throws a celebration…

One has cake… for DAYS.

In case you missed it, we celebrated our parents 50th wedding anniversary this weekend. And once the balloons start to deflate, dust gathers on the decorations, the wine glasses are washed and the leftover food is dished out amongst us all, there is one thing remaining that just stares at us from every angle of the kitchen.

CAKE.

And in today’s edition of this special series, we have ‘Prespani,’ a soft and crispy blanket of delicious pastry encasing a ground walnut mixture, surrounded by lots of icing sugar;

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we have Cake Pops, finished off in white chocolate and an edible golden dust (for a Golden anniversary);

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we have a slab of Continental Cake (it is much larger than what the photo shows, much like your side car mirror);

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and lastly, a little plate of miscellaneous, some as mentioned above, with the addition of a mini pavlova cup, a chocolate nutty cake, and a vanilla slice.

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DROOL DROOL DROOL.

(And I’m eating a cake pop as I write).

Zumba help me. I’m going to need it this week.

This week, of cake.

🙂

#461 Celebrating their 50th

I can’t tell you how grateful I am now that it is ALL OVER.

There was sooo much work. And besides that, sure, there are even regrets for the night. I wish I had taken more photos. I wish I’d have spoken to my parents that bit more. Mingled more. Danced more (no, my feet don’t think they could take any more…) drank more.

But what we gained tonight is a true blessing compared to all that.

Because finally, after months of planning and organising, and then a final rat race to the finish line in the last week, we celebrated our parents 50th wedding anniversary tonight.

It felt like a WEDDING in the lead up. That was the pressure and intensity we felt to succeed and get everything just right.

And I think, we did. But not without a lot of work.

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See that? Those cakes are made by European woman. Hours upon hours goes into making them.

Anytime a wog European woman offers you cake, do not waste it, do not reject it, and by all means please, saviour it, because it’s a freaking task and a half to make.

We don’t want our creations half-eaten and sitting on a paper plate getting old somewhere. Not after all the work that has gone into it.

Those cakes are representative of the effort that went into tonight. All that hard work. Hours upon hours.

But you know what? The hard work and effort and planning that went into tonight, well, that’s not even the tip of the iceberg for all that our parents have gone through, and done, for us.

And so, we are bloody blessed, to have been there tonight, celebrating with them, yelling the house down in glee, and sharing in such a special moment on their 2nd Wedding Day/50th wedding anniversary.

For that, I am truly, truly, deeply, grateful.