#419 Spaghetti bolognaise

Phil Collins again. “I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life…”

No, not really. About a week. But I could look forward to it EVERY DAY.

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I love pasta. I was craving a simple spaghetti bolognaise since last week, and I knew this would go down well with baby girl, as she too, LOVES pasta.

She insisted on it plain, which doesn’t faze me much I have to say. I like her preference for simple things, the fact that she doesn’t need much hoo ha, much salt, much sugar… yeah, she’ll still eat it. But her first preference is plain.

Plain and simple.

Yet even she too, upon later tasting the ‘saucy’ pasta, rubbed her tummy and did “mmm” sounds to confirm that it was, yes, YUM.

Beautiful spaghetti on a weeknight, a glass of red, Prince’s Purple Rain in the background with next-generation-fan baby girl swaying to and fro, surrounded by my family… that’s a pretty perfect night for me 🙂

#388 Babycino break

In order to set a successful tone for a shopping trip, it is essential you pack in the vital vibes early on.

That is, first, coffee.

And in the case of shopping with baby girl, a babycino with two marshmallows please – pink and white.

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(One of each or dramatics will ensue).

It was this simple act of sitting down with her before we started going through shops, that helped us forge ahead and make the trip a great one. And though many parts of our trip were fun and exciting, it was this little act, this little break, this moment in time with my ‘love’ sitting across from me, drinking her babycino like a boss, a seasoned professional, and enjoying that moment with her with the sunshine streaming through the side window, that really made an impact on me.

It was a truly simple, but grateful moment.

And for those playing at home, some of our exciting purchases were these:

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I don’t think I need to tell you what item was for who. Clearly Hubbie had the Prince cd, I had the Wiggles one, and baby girl is totally into 90s Jordan, so…

😉

I mean, Prince in a g-string. How can one get more grateful than to see that?

(Aussie humour – I am LMAO here)…

#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.

SmikG.

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. 🙂

 

#306 George Michael – his role in my life

I stared at my mobile in shock. “What?!” I demanded the word, my eyes popping at what was before me.

Hubbie was concerned “what happened?”

I stared at the message bestie had written to me. ‘George Michael passed away.’

It was sadly fitting that the message came from her. George Michael was a favourite and prominent musical figure in our teens. Careless Whisper, Too Funky, Freedom and I Want Your Sex were regular sing-a-longs. I even think I have the handwritten lyrics to Careless Whisper given to me by bestie, stored away somewhere in my old room at my parents’ house.

What a year. First the shocking passing of Prince – and now, George Michael? I had always believed I would see him one more time, at least…

So many memories, so many life anthems. Each of his songs brings a different vision, a different story or place to mind.

But first, the memory my sister tells me. She is a teen, in the 80s. She and her bestie are at the airport. Wham steps out of a car; they turn, and wave up, to a large group of them. Directly at them. A swarm of fans push up against them, squashing them against the front rail they are up against. Later that night, she is in a fan picture on the news behind the newsreader who is reporting on Wham’s appearance in Melbourne.

She was the first George Michael fan in our family. I naturally followed.

Bopping to the beat of Too Funky. It was my internal anthem as I walked, my inner music that I used to repeat to myself to raise my confidence as I went through my early teens.

Then as I got older, that anthem got replaced by Flawless. In the car, volume on full, powering through the streets with George beside me ( 😉 )

Faith. Like seriously, who in this world looks cooler than George in his toe-tapping skin-tight jeans and aviator sunnies. I don’t care his sexual orientation (um, Ricky Martin obsession anyone?) but that man is damn! good looking.

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My Twisted Lyrics series over on SmikG is inspired by a misheard Careless Whisper lyric, posted by an online writer who wrote that instead of hearing the correct “Guilty feet have got no rhythm!” they heard “I must admit I have no rhythm!” That error made me LOL so much, and stayed with me for so long that many, many years later, I decided to implement that misheard lyric thread into my parent blog.

My first few months of coffee. Maybe 5 years ago now. On a Saturday morning, making myself a fresh cuppa as I watched George Michael music videos, and literally jumping out of my skin with dance to the song “I’m Your Man.”

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I LOVE that song. I can’t explain to you how much the beat lifts me up, quite literally.

Amazing. When I bought the single, I played it on repeat, for an entire weekend non-stop. I could not get enough of the melody, his voice, and the words

“I think it’s amazing, I think you’re amazing.”

2010. His first Melbourne concert in 20 or so years. Bestie is with me. Our teenage dream fulfilled. He calls us Sydney, multiple times. We scream, in both horror, and shocked amusement at him, jumping on the first raised level of Etihad stadium, with 1000s of others, the concrete slab actually rocking against our pressure.

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(A photo I took on March 3rd 2010 at Etihad Stadium)

That night he sang many of my favourite songs. We rocked to the classics, he did awesome club-versions of Flawless and Spinning The Wheel, as well as his Wham, I’m Your Man 80s fuelled dance-hit. He also performed a song that I had not as yet fallen in love with…

 

When I later, only days after the concert, fell deeply in love with A Different Corner, I was shattered. I had heard the most beautiful voice singing the most heartbreaking and beautiful words to the most dreamlike and woeful music, and yet I hadn’t appreciated it fully at the time, because I had not yet fallen in love with everything about the song.

I always thought I would hear him perform that version live again. I was convinced I would, and that I would cry, as that song has made me cry so many times before.

53. Only 53. I’m still in a huge amount of shock. People are talking of 2016 as a shocker of a year, and until this happened today, I was a staunch defender. Yes, every year has its ups and downs, and yes, another of my faves, Prince passed earlier this year… but I was adamant that this year wasn’t a write-off, and that there was good, much good to be taken from the past 12 months…

It’s too early for me to make a call. 4 days until the end of 2016, and I just don’t know what to say. Two musical legends have passed, and life just isn’t the same. The world isn’t the same without them in it. The genius, the amazing talent that inhabited this world, is gone.

George Michael will live on, there is no question about it. In our hearts, in our memories, on our screens, and on our radios…he will not fade away.

But we are sad. I am sad. So, so sad.

Because he, is Amazing. Too Funky. And quite simply, Flawless.

“I think it’s amazing… I think you’re amazing.”

R.I.P George Michael 1963-2016

georgemichael

 

 

#243 Unexpected refund

It’ll be an ongoing job of mine, for a little while anyway, to update our address and change plans/policies where required, with the various people who service us: banks, insurers, mobile companies, etc.

As I called our main car insurer today, I can’t say I was expecting a huge surplus. I knew we would get some money back in cancelling an old policy with them, but when the very lovely lady told me we would be receiving a refund for all our cars, I was so shocked I actually asked “why?”

Our new area is considered more low risk than our old one. So not only are we getting $$$ back, but safety is coming back too.

Lol. What about sexy? Is sexy coming back?

That’s right, as Prince was proclaimed to have said, it never left…;)

#201 Internet access at work

😉

So, people often are like “ugh, desk job.” I can see why the foul expression for it exists. Stuck in a dimly-lit office space, partitioned work spaces, windows visible only very far in the distance on the other side of the room, the advantage of their windows into the world given to the privileged individuals who feel the need to close the blinds on them constantly: rain, hail or shine.

The shine part is the one that hurts.

Air con that spreads coughs, colds and any other beautiful diseases that you can so do without. Also, keeps you at a frosty 4 degrees in Winter, 2 degrees in Summer.

Fighting over the food, fridge space, and microwave time in the kitchen. Signs on the 7 tubs of margarine in the communal fridges all read “keep away!” and other unidentified objects remain wrapped in plastic, slowly gathering frostbite and some other unsightly green form in the corner of the freezer.

And let’s not forget the HR complaints. Not for your colleagues, although you wish it were that easy. (No, the ‘foul’ ones receive special ‘interest’ and 15 strikes before they are politely escorted from the building with ALL their benefits, and then a box of wine too). HR is brought over constantly to deal with the damn chairs and consequent back/leg/arm complaints.

Sit straight, adjust your posture. Arms at this angle. Foot rests.

Now this is where things start to turn interesting.

Because of the common body ailments due to desk positioning and extended hours at the computer, you are advised to take short breaks. Often. Stretch your legs. Go for a walk. Have a chat to your colleague. I know people who stand while at their workstations still performing their duties; others stop to do exercises while their amused colleagues watch on by; and then there are those who take it upon themselves to take a ‘walk’ 7 times a workshift.

The downfalls brought on by the work desk, lead to deliciously get-out-of-work possibilities.

So too is it beautiful to have a computer in front of you. Albeit, one with good internet connection.

(Angels sing!)

Do you know what that means?  You can youtube. Send personal emails. Email your colleague, not even a metre from you, and smile in delight when they snort after opening that clip you just sent them of James Corden’s latest carpool karaoke. You hear their laugh as you ask ‘coffee time?’ with a pic of a cat sniffing at the caffeinated beverage, rugged up in a fluffy scarf and mittens.

You can google. EVERYTHING.

What do I eat tonight? Hmm let me look up my pantry ingredients…

That concert goes on sale next Tuesday, how much are the tickets?

What are the session times for the latest Bourne movie?

How do I catch a train from work to my cousin’s place?

THE POSSIBILITES ARE ENDLESS WHEN THE WORLD IS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS.

Do you know what I like to do with this master of technologies at my disposal?

Well of course, I will preface by saying I only do non-work related stuff during my lunch break…

(*coughbullshitcough*)

I email. I commbank. I used to realestate.com A LOT, before we purchased our Sea change home. I look up whatever it is I currently need to urgently look up.

Is a virus contagious?

Who is that actor in the midday movie and where have I seen him before?

What’s the difference between an oven and a cooker?

Melbourne weather tomorrow? Radar? Will it rain as I walk out of the building?

Lyrics to Free by Prince.

Which cinemas are showing The Secret Life of Pets?

Peter Alexander pjs.

and so on and so on.

But do you know the best reason why I love the internet and my computer access at work?

I can write.

I can have an affair with my writing, as per what Elizabeth Gilbert says in ‘Big Magic.’ I can type up 500 words in 10 minutes while sneaking looks over my shoulder. I can journal my private most innermost thoughts and then shoot a copy to my personal email for ‘later.’

And I can blog. I can write things that have inspired me in the last few minutes and hit ‘post’ for all to see.

I will take a desk job any day. Aches, pains, small kitchens, ungrateful window seaters, bacteria-spreading Antarctic air con, and so, so much more.

Desk jobs to writers, are what the sun’s rays are to Sunflowers.

Vital, necessary. Can’t turn away.

 

#180 Prince and the sun and driving

So, as mentioned minutes ago, my gratitude today came from a moment, a realisation.

It was unexpectedly sunny, though rain was expected to pummel down sometime today. I was driving, feeling like I should have dressed lighter… but I didn’t mind too much. Winter was fading, and I was glad to be warm.

Baby girl was yelling out at random intervals in the back seat… postman – yell!… dog being walked – yell!… plane – yell! I repeated the things she saw and took joy in the simple objects around us with her.

Prince was singing. 1999. Extended version. My stereo volume, on 16.

And just like that: baby girl in one ear, Prince surrounding the car, the heat emanating through the car and the sun beckoning from outside, in the aftermath of a huge party-filled weekend, with thoughts of our beach house looming to us in my mind, only months away…

I was really happy, and content. It was a moment, but a very cool, a very special one. I know to take pleasure in things like this. We are now in ‘anticipatory delight.’*

(*Definition comes at the end of my Jam and Cream food review)