#336 Moorooduc to Mornington steam train

With the school holidays still around for a few days more, the silly season has meant the addition of some extra events and festivities to keep the littlies amused… and one of them is the January Moorooduc to Mornington steam train.

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I’m led to believe that the steam train runs the first 3 Sundays of each month, however with the school holiday season upon us, a few sessions were introduced each Wednesday in January, with the final day being today.

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When I heard about the idea I knew it would be absolutely perfect for baby girl. She is a girly girl in some respects: she carries a bag around, likes to wear dresses, and will let me put bows in her hair; but on the other hand, she will throw and catch a mean ball, run you up and down until you are exhausted, and will play the hell out of her lego blocks and trains.

She LOVES trains.

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We headed over to Moorooduc station for the departure at 11:45am today, with the approximately 15 minute train ride taking us to Mornington station, and then back again to Moorooduc, once the engine had come around and joined onto the other end of the train carriages.

We had as much fun as baby girl. Where she gained an immense amount of happiness and pure joy from the tooting of the train, the steam sound being released, and the side to side, back and forth rocking motion in the carriages, we gained a deep appreciation of the vehicle that had been used to transport people in the carriages, so, so many years ago. To think that people generations ago had been in the carriage we had sat in, and travelled to various places, had been doing various things, and had been living a totally different life to what we live now, is almost mind-boggling. We were in a train that was built in 1941! That in itself is incredible. It is humbling. At one point I turned to Hubbie and said “I feel like I’m in Back to the Future… part 3.”

:):):)

My favourite moment of the trip came when I had my head out the window here:

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It gave me such a sense of relaxation, freedom, and a whimsical remembrance of childhood and all the frivolity and fun it embodied, that I was brought to tears, in thinking of how lucky we were to be living and experiencing a beautiful part of our state, and appreciating life in a whole new way now.

The drive home afterwards was slightly unnerving, and as much as I love my car, being in a vehicle lacking all character, doing 100 on a highway, felt alien. I had felt alive on the steam train, connected with life and nature and being, and I wanted to go back to that moment. I thought of all the things I wanted to do on the Peninsula, and which I had already done but wanted to revisit  – Arthur’s Seat chairlift; wineries; coastal walks; beach days – and realised this was something my soul was yearning. I had to connect to the world, to nature, to life, to a general sense of honesty, and my trip in the steam train this morning had certainly woken me up to that.

We had a truly terrific day today, even following our steam train ride, and although much of the later part was spent doing groceries and house jobs, I felt so happy and invigorated, that really, I believe our steam train ride put us in the right frame of mind this morning.

It set us on track. Pun intended.

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#300 Gratitude amidst Gingerbread and Grave news

Number 300. Well there you go.

Gratitude has to be mentioned prominently. Well of course, it is a gratitude blog. But more so, it was certainly felt deeply today, and it was by chance that it was so poignant on my number 3oo post.

It was chaotic today – let’s just say that much. No, we’ll say more. We’ll say that baby girl wanted to potty train, which meant I was bargaining with her, which meant she skipped her nap, which meant I kept an eagle eye on her as I made my annual gingerbread men bikkies to take to work tomorrow…

and then I had my MIL arriving, I had to do dinner, I dropped a metal bar on my foot (part of the bargaining, set up an outdoor playset for baby girl) my nephew called me mid-dinner prep to talk Angel (I could not by any chance refuse THAT call) and it just went on and on and on.

I was exhausted. My foot was sore. Baby girl was playing up big time, due to no nap. And the end of the night felt so far away. I couldn’t wait for it.

And then my sister called. And she sounded concerned, which naturally, made me concerned. She basically told me that my youngest nephew’s teacher has been diagnosed with a pretty grave condition – hearing it made my heart sink. I listened to her and she read something out to me that she wanted to get my thoughts on, something she wanted to send to this teacher to lift her spirits. I hid in my closet listening and talking until baby girl found me. I was rushed. There was yelling in the house. The kitchen was a pig-sty, from dinner prep and earlier baking. I was mentally and physically exhausted. But suddenly, EVERYTHING was put in perspective.

I was happy to have all those little annoyances in my day. I won’t even call them problems.

So happy to have food to mess up my kitchen.

So happy to have a daughter that is responding to potty training, and happy to have a daughter, full stop.

So happy to have a workplace to bring gingerbread men to.

So happy to have a steel rod that sets up my daughter’s outdoor table set, even if it does give me a bruise for days to come.

All of these things make my life beautiful. Let’s not forget during this busy Christmas period, that there are people who are sad, lonely, and suffering. Let’s spare a prayer, a thought, a wish for them.

And when you are rushed off your feet this Christmas season, just be aware.

Be aware how damn lucky you are. We all are.

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#296 What he said

His Dad died. He was 31 when his Dad passed away at 61. Healthy and fit, vibrant and strong. His Dad passed away, and though the battle was long, it still took everyone by surprise.

I know he was a grown man when he lost his Dad. With a wife, and soon, a baby. But still. It was his Dad. And when his Dad passed, he lost not only his Father-Figure, but a best mate. An idol. A drinking buddy. A shared car enthusiast. A shared music lover. A shared dancing partner. He lost, a lot.

It was really, really, really hard.

It still is.

So when he speaks now, know that he’s gone through a lot. He sees life differently. He says,

Life will never be the same.

He will never be the same.

He doesn’t take crap anymore. He makes the most of everyday. “We’re all gonna die one day,” he says nonchalantly. He says it so neutrally, yet he lives each day as full as possible, with wishes, hopes and dreams, thinking BIG while working long hours, making lists of what he wants to do with his life, and looking forward to coming home to his family at the end of each long workday.

“I don’t need anything,” he says to his Mum tonight. “Those cars I love – I’ll sell them tomorrow. This great job – I’ll find another one if I have to. We just moved house – but if I have to, I’ll move in another 2 years.”

He goes on. “All those things are replaceable. I can change them whenever I want. After seeing what happened to Dad, I wanna change things as much as I can.”

“But,” he says with a hand raised in the air. “There’s one thing I don’t ever wanna change. My wife.”

I smile, and all of my soul smiles inwardly. I peek into the lounge area where Hubbie is sitting with his Mum. Grinning my face off.

Our eyes meet, and I nod in shared acknowledgement.

#232 This moment is perfect – no. 1

About how I found a truly beautiful moment to feel utterly grateful, taking the time to be thankful for the present, and not basing my happiness on “when this happens I’ll…”

Despite the fact I was snowed under when it happened. When appreciation dawns on you, take heed.

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Insane crazy day. I was packing like I never packed before. My sister and Mum even joined in. Then they left, and I had to take baby girl to an appointment. Because that’s what you do the day before you move your life across town.

I jumped in the car. I was tired. But I was tense. Stressed. In a state of desperation and rush, my thoughts whirring at 200 kilometres an hour. Do this, do that, don’t forget that, I need to still do that, and on and on and on and on and ON. Baby girl was also tired, and I was willing her to make it through the appointment with very little hiccups.

Then. Something occurred to me. Despite everything that was going on, despite the crazy, the madness and the never-stop-moving that seems to always happen with us, I realised it was a perfect moment.

I looked back at baby girl in the car. We were happy. We were healthy. I had this beautiful baby girl in the car with me, and she was amazing. My baby girl. We were about to embark on a life-changing journey, and it was the fulfilment of a long-held dream that was COMING true. Baby girl was at a precious age, and would not be so dream-like and naïve for much longer.

This moment was beautiful.

My eyes actually welled up with tears at the realisation, and I took the moment to pause, and reflect. I was really grateful for that special ‘dawning’ moment, before the chaos set in again.

Be aware, and look for the good in everything. It is here.

#226 The keys

Today, I received these:

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So many emotions have been had today. Sheer joy. Relief. Tiredness. Elation. Appreciation. Excitement. Wonder at the World.

Deep Heartfelt Gratitude.

Because although we now have the keys to our Sea change home, I am even more grateful for the things behind the home that really, truly matter: health, family and happiness. Those three important things, both prevalent and intact in our lives, are what really matters and what is making the obtainment of our special keys, that much sweeter.

They are the real keys to life. Every other key is just a bonus: whether it be a car key, house key, holiday key, or work key. Or any other key. All these keys are sweeter when you have your top 3 present in your life.

So, I’m rapt with the house keys. Of what they mean to us. And they mean so much more because I know how lucky we are to have, what we have…

I am expressing a profound sense of gratefulness today. I really am humbled.

#186 Brekkie with friends

I haven’t had brekkie out in a while. Minus when we’ve been away, we kind of have been avoiding it since the kind-of-manoeuvrable days when I’d take a baby girl, then actually a baby, and feed her pureed apple and banana or mango or whatever fruit of choice while we waited for our poached eggs/big brekkie meals to arrive.

It’s hard to travel in the car with a hungry child. I won’t do that to her, just for my sake. I put brekkie out, on hold. We put brekkie out, on hold.

But then, last night happened. At a family function Hubbie found his best mate, and within 5 minutes they had hatched a plan that our two fams would breakfast out the next morning. This morning.

We were all tired this morning, all wondering if the other party would still be willing to go through with the proposed plan. Baby girl was with snotty nose, having come down with something in the last few days. Little sleep was had. Cold. But still, with thoughts of cooked breakfasts beside a fireplace, we all soldiered on.

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It was an interesting brekkie! A review will come in due course. And next time, we will be better prepared and actually book in advance. But it was so nice to not only be ‘breakfast-ing’ again, but doing it with dear friends… who also have kids, so that our scallywag bunch can amuse each other somewhat.

Life is about enjoying each moment as much as you can. Life is even better when you can share those moments with people you love. That, I am grateful for.

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#168 Where I’ve come – 32.11 stage

I had a bit of an enlightening moment today. I consider myself a fairly aware, conscious-thinking and doing individual. I’m aware sometimes to the detrimental point of being overly self-conscious of my thoughts and actions, and find myself having to calm down with all the scenarios in my head, and toughen up to the world around me.

 

Not everything has a point. Sometimes it just is.

Sometimes analyses are best left to the film critics.

Not everyone is concerned about you. People are mostly worried about themselves.

 

These little internal reminders of mine keep me balanced and trying not to stress too much about the small stuff. Although I think, a lot (life of a writer), I feel that often I need to let things come to me rather than trying to make things, and create things that are best left free and unhinged. Letting go can sometimes be the best way to succeed and move forward.

And sometimes when you’re typing away at a computer, awakening moments can also come to you gratuitously.

As is often the case at my work, a tour came through consisting of a group of high school students, led by a resident long-standing employee of the company. The group of teenagers were to my left as I did my thing, being told of all the fabulous and awe-inspiring and exciting (and so, so difficult!) elements that composed the workflow of our greater department. Typing away, sipping on my café-bought cappuccino, I had a bit of an out-of-body experience.

I could see myself in these kids. I could feel their nerves, their excitement, and their anxiety about being in a professional workplace such as mine. I could feel their confusion and hear their internal questions about what they wanted to do in life. I could tell they were keeping their heads forward, while their curious eyes darted everywhere else. I could hear the indecision. I could sense the bewilderment, the wonder… the Hope.

I could tell all of this, because once upon a time I was one of these kids.

And like that, BOOM! I was transported from my teenage-self back into my present body… and I felt accomplished. I felt proud of where I had come to, of all that was in my life, and all that I had with me. Not just the big things I had accomplished, such as a great job, marrying Hubbie, and having a beautiful baby girl with him. But it was the intangible things that made me proud-er.

Not stopping when it got hard.

Persevering for things I wanted when teachers at uni said “very few people get jobs in this field.”

Keeping my morals and not succumbing to workplace bullshit just to ‘fit in.’

Retaining my sense of self and worth and allowing my self-assuredness to find my own path, my own friends, my own vision.

Deciding to NEVER fit the mould.

Deciding to go beyond the 9-5, and create my own hours doing my own thing and making my personal passions come true.

Deciding to reach high, as high as I could for the stars, because that quote:

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Ahhh.

I saw myself through those teenagers’ eyes, and was happy. I had become what I wanted, and who I wanted to be. It was an incredible moment of realisation, one that I was truly happy to grab hold of.

Yet, this is only phase one.

There is so much more to give and become. I am so grateful to Life. But also, I am so grateful to Me.