#1072 Maznik coin

I’ve never been so grateful to find $2.

But it’s all in how it came about. And the tradition that comes with it.

My MIL makes a dish called Maznik, true to the Macedonian culture. It is a pastry with fetta cheese and it is oily, and that is all you really need to know other than it is DEE-LICIOUS.

Oh, and it pairs well with some home-grown fresh garden tomatoes, simply cut up.

The seasonal tradition is that with the coming of the ‘old’ New Year (that of the Orthodox New Year) she makes this Maznik, and somewhere within its circular shape places a $2 coin wrapped in foil.

The coin is meant to represent good luck for the coming year, and if you are the lucky recipient of it, well then a good 2019 year to you.

Tonight after much ado (it’s been in our fridge for a few days, tsk tsk tsk) we took the huge pan out, set it in the middle of the table during dinner, and cut it into 4 pieces. One for each of us, and the 4th for ‘the house.’

Hubbie and I went mad. We were going through our allocated pieces something shocking, from first peering down the ends of the tubular pastry to then not holding back and ripping it apart, pushing down hard to feel something, anything other than fetta cheese. Baby girl sat there patiently, chatting away about how it is so delicious (thinking surely that is why we were tearing it apart) while we went through all 4 pieces in order.

But we couldn’t find the coin.

“Tell your Mum she forgot to put the coin in.”

My hands were greasy, almost dripping from the oil and cheese. I was trying to keep some kind of order within the pan and keep each piece away from each other as we finely dissected it.

“Tato, your Mum didn’t give us the chocolate coin,” baby girl chimed in. She was convinced it was chocolate, and not gold. Ahh, kid life.

I had gone through 3 of the pieces, perhaps 3 times over already. Mine, baby girl’s and the ‘house’s one. I pressed repeatedly on hers again, looking and feeling and pulling apart. I was starting to feel sorry for the pastry… it had looked so beautiful, and now it was reduced to pulled parts.

It would still end up in our bellies though.

I moved on to my piece again. “There is no money in here.” I pushed down hard on the pointy soft end of the Maznik, filled to the brim with cheese. I looked down the tubular crust end. “Honestly where the hell is this?” I kept simultaneously pushing down and pulling the pastry away, until –

“It’s here.” It was a flat tone, but I pulled out the little piece of foil with satisfaction.

Hubbie said a traditional congrats to me, while baby girl went “Ohhhh.”

“It’s okay honey, you’ll still have a good year…” I grinned.

I had gotten lucky. 🙂

I know it was only $2, but that little gold coin represented so much more, and I hoped it would bring abundance, more than any monetary value it held…

We then proceeded to eat the Maznik we had torn to shreds. Nom nom nom.

 

#1045 Christmas at a different place

As far as I can remember, I’ve celebrated every single Christmas in the same place.

My parents’ house.

There was that Christmas my Dad caught a stray canary, which ended up being Hubbie, then ‘boyfriend’s pet bird aptly named ‘Chrissy.’

The Christmas it hailed golf balls and our cars and the backyard pergola got a beating.

Or the Christmas we went mad throwing water balloons at each other all over the yard, and got told off by my Dad… (oh that was in recent years 😬 )

All those warm Christmases, dancing in the garage, walking to the park, eating, drinking, memory making…

The Christmas I snuck off to see Hubbie-then-boyfriend for a bit. 🤫

The Christmas we drank too much vodka in the first hour. 🥃

The Christmas I drank nothing – with a precious new 4 month old. 😍🤱

The Christmas some of my friends came, and some of my family could not handle the extra crazy. 😜🤪🤩

34 Christmases.

Today was Christmas number 35.

But… it was spent at my sister’s house.

I thought I would feel more nostalgia going into the day. All of these years of tradition, of memories, retreating to the same backyard post-lunch… and it was all changing.

But very quickly, something became apparent to me.

It wasn’t the location. It was all about the people.

Sure the house was different. The decorations would be different. The food and drink would be a bit different, and sure, the location was completely different.

But different didn’t mean bad. It was different, but it was still beautiful. And of course, there was a lot of love.

All of this was present, the beauty, the love… because the people were the same.

As long as I am with my loved ones, I am happy.

Merry Christmas to all. I hope yours was spent with loved ones, no matter where you were. ❤️🎄🙏🎅

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#958 Family comfort in team loss

Well, THAT didn’t go as expected.

It is terribly, horribly hard to watch your team lose.

The lead up, the anxiety, the anticipation and nerves and hoping and wishing and praying… it ALL comes to a head when the siren goes off.

To then watch a game where your team is winning for almost the entire time, and then lose by a measly 5 points in the end… IT IS HARD.

We went from screaming in happiness from the first 10 minutes in the game, to walking out of the room and the atmosphere going silent, bar some choice expletives aimed at the biased umpires, in the final 90 seconds.

It is HARD. Soooo hard. But what makes it somewhat easier, is the unity.

The strength in numbers. Because family gives you strength through bad times, and knowing that your pain is also their shared pain, makes it somewhat easier to bare.

We are black and white through and through. We will barrack for them when they are winning, AND when they are losing… and for us and all the other fans, it just didn’t happen today.

It is shit. But we will still take our doughnut, and eat it. Because we are the Magpie Army, and we will rise again.

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#951 The Rosemary Tradition

See a couple of rosemary bushes out the front of a house? Don’t be surprised if there are Croats living there.

It comes with the territory. Having rosemary in your garden is synonymous with being Croatian, just as making their own tomato sauce is common amongst Italians, and the Spanish are known for their post-lunch siestas.

So the fact that the fellow elderly couple two doors down who reign from Balkan Adriatic seas have half a dozen LARGE rosemary bushes adorning their front yard, and I DON’T, doesn’t sit right with me.

It was perfect then, that my parents gifted me with some sprigs of rosemary while at their house yesterday, all ready to go. Perfect for 2 reasons:

  1. It comes at the perfect time of year. I am getting into gardening more and turning my attention there as Spring makes things all pretty and bright again, and let’s face it, it’s a much cheaper hobby than renovating your kitchen (thank God that is pretty much over with).
  2. I can be a proper Croatian Euro now God-damn it, with my own pot of rosemary. That hails from my parents garden no less… what can be better than that?

I planted them today, and I have to say… they have the best roots 😉

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#879 Wiggly World Cup

The Wiggly tradition continued today.

Us BIG kids (sis and I), took the little kids along the beachside for yet another mid-year intimate (1500 kind of ‘intimate’) Wiggles Show. It was amazing as usual, and every time I see this group I just love them more and more.

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The karma they are getting from making so many children and their parents happy… that power will be able to bring peace on earth in the near future.

It is, truly something special.

And although there were new memories made, like baby girl handing her bouquet of flowers to Lachy, and my nephew getting his own special signed card from all of the Wiggles themselves… something else is at the forefront of my mind, a small moment, that is actually a pretty BIG moment, that nonetheless has me feeling super grateful and happy.

It also, like the Wiggles shows we attend so reliably, has to do with tradition, family, and love… but this moment can perhaps only happen every 4 years, and even then it is not guaranteed.

This lack of opportunity and the fact of pure chance, is what trumps the other moments of the day.

I am of course, talking about the World Cup 🙂

I was awake early this morning for yet another nail biter, though I didn’t anticipate it was going to turn out that way. Croatia were playing against England, and they were down 1-0.

From the way they were playing, I honestly didn’t have high hopes. I was feeling under the weather, super tired, and was questioning if I should have a TV in the bedroom rather than only the lounge room, just so I could fall asleep easier after the fact… when Croatia suddenly levelled when they scored a goal.

Immediately, things changed. Fast forward to extra time, and they scored yet another goal, bringing them in front of England.

I lost my mind.

Goals are hard to come by in soccer. I jumped up on the couch, throwing the cushion around, whispering “yes yes yes!” in a high-pitched tone. Hubbie had just joined me for his breakfast before heading off to work, and looked incredulously between my out-of-control display, to the TV, his luck at having walked in on exactly the right moment to see the winning goal.

There were 11 minutes to go. It wasn’t over. But like I said, goals are hard to come by in soccer.

As we sat there, Hubbie and I, staring at the screen in stupefied shock and all of my World Cup dreams realising before me, we heard some movement behind a door.

We stared at the closed door off towards the bedroom side of the house, and then saw as the handle slowly turned, and baby girl stick her head out from behind it.

She had found us. My celebration as quiet as I had tried to be, had woken her. It was super-early for her to be up, but there was no chance in hell I was going to put her back to bed when there was history-making soccer to be watched.

So in true responsible parenting-style… she stayed up with me.

I rugged her up with throws and blankets, she stared at Hubbie at I in a kind of shock at us sitting on the couch and reacting to TV as strongly as we were, so early in the morning… and then as I explained to her that Croatia were winning, and what was going on, and that Mummy didn’t always get up at crazy hours to jump on the couch over a ball on the TV… she relaxed a little, started mucking about a bit more, and took it all in.

And it was then, that I realised.

She is almost 5. This will surely be her first World Cup Soccer memory. Walking in to find Mum and Dad excited and Mum losing her shit on the couch, over one of the countries she resides from.

And that there. What a beautiful memory. And it means so much to me now, as I know what it will mean to her in the future. Because I’ve had those same memories, and I continue to.

As I’ve said it before… the outcome really doesn’t matter… because it’s the memories that WIN over everything ♥♥♥

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Photo by Davor Denkovski on Unsplash

#794 Family Reading

When baby girl first brought me the book while we were out at the library, and we were waiting for our regular cappuccino and babycino order (with smiley face bikkie) I didn’t think much. She would often browse the shelves and grab any book, judging it PURELY by its cover.

She brought the large hardcover and placed it on the table, smiling. The book was facing her, therefore upside down to me. It wasn’t a book I recognised at all, and I thought to myself, just another to add to the ‘borrowing’ collection. As she opened the first page casually, she said slowly

“That’s Not Mine.”

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I balked. Even from my upside down position of the book, I could see that the title indeed, was that: That’s (Not) Mine. I paused, thoughts flying through my head as I tried to process it all.

Baby girl was 4.

Did she know how to read?

Had she somehow taught herself?

Was she a genius with an extraordinary IQ?

Did I have to start looking up specialist schools from now?

And then, just as quickly, a reasonable thought crossed my mind.

“Honey, do you have this book at kinder?”

“Yes,” she replied still smiling, turning another page.

She then proceeded to read the book to me. Page by page. Sure not every word was exact, and she was going off memory. But I could see she was roughly repeating the story as it was told, and was so happy to share this story, this very simple and funny story about sharing, with me.

It was a joy to watch. Needless to say, we took the book home that day.

We have had it at her bedside ever since. Every night we read it. When the return date was up, she refused to let me take it back, so I had to renew it: I fear I need to find a copy of the book and purchase it before my repeated renewals expire, or else she will go into a frenzy.

It is the simplest premise, and yet so fun and silly for a child to read, hell even parents to read. And she has wanted it read to her, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

Or should I say, she wants US to read it with her. What started out as the both of us sharing the two main roles of the book and acting them out, has since progressed to Hubbie listening in, and offering the last and third viewpoint of the book that comes in right at the end.

Without even meaning to, without even planning, or realising what was happening, we have created our own little family tradition.

I realised it tonight as baby girl and I headed into her room. I got into bed with her, and she picked two books, the same two-book combo she has been picking for over a week now: That’s (Not) Mine, and The Very Sleepy Bear. Tonight, knowing that Hubbie wouldn’t be able to join us immediately, I told her we would read the latter first, before moving onto her pride and joy book last.

And so it was…

Baby girl: “Mine!”

Me: “Mine!”

Baby girl: “Mine!”

Me: “Mine!”

Baby girl: “Mine!”

Me: “Mine!”

Baby girl: “Get off, it’s mine!”

Me: “Go away, it’s mine!”

BOTH: “IT’S MINE!”

Baby girl: (“Crash!”)

“I’m sorry.”

Me: “I’m sorry too.”

Baby girl: “Wanna go play?”

Me: “Yeah!”

Hubbie: “… mine!”

♥♥♥

#741 Wedding Family Fun

In the car driving today – Question: When was the last time we went to a wedding?

The reason for the query was that we were on our way to a wedding.

Answer: A good 2 and a half years ago.

It is a LONG time between those delightful happy union-filled events for us, and because of that, also my first blog post on the subject.

We attended one today, and isn’t it just rad, awesome-nest of awesome things, and just freaking un-bloody-believable when you go to one, and a lot of your family is there?

Isn’t that just, like, ideal?

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Well, it happened. We had a beautiful time with all involved, and right now, my feet are resting in bed, but really, really sore.

Too much dancing? Ouch shoes? How about BOTH.

Goodnight world from this Gratitude Girl 🙂