Friday, 31 March 2017

Day tripping: Arthurs Seat

I have a stack of new books to read, one of which is 'How to Live a Good Life' by Jonathan Fields. I've only read the introduction (standing on a packed trained tucked under a stranger's armpit), but I just loved loved this paragraph for a bit of end-of-the-week inspiration:

There is a vitality, a life force, energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.  The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is not how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep your channel open. 

It came at the perfect time when I'm wrestling with various options for working more flexibly so that I can do all the things I want in my limited 24-hour pockets of time. Keeping my channel open means spending more time with Immy, reading more books, exploring new places, planning big and small adventures, and still taking a Sunday every now and again to stay in my pajamas watching Netflix and eating corn chips and guacamole if that's what I feel like doing. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the simpler things - opening brown cardboard packages from Book Depository on busy days at the office, strong coffee and good conversation with a friend, a walk in the sun to Haigh's to buy a single dark-chocolate rose cream wrapped in a tiny bag with a gold sticker, building a puzzle with Immy, crawling into bed on a rainy night and falling asleep within seconds of my head touching the pillow.

Oh! And Immy's started writing stories so who knows - maybe she's also finding her channel.

**

Family outings continued. It was Labour Day not long ago, so we took advantage of the public holiday and took a drive to Mornington Peninsula with two objectives: to see the coastline from a cable car and to find Sorrento Back Beach and swim in the natural tidal pool that I'd only even seen pictures of.

The cable car ride was beautiful. And chilly. By the time we got to the top, our priorities had rearranged themselves into finding coffee immediately, and drinking it at a table in the sun. We sipped our coffee and shared crumbly, custardy yo-yos (which I mistakenly called HO-HO's at work the other day - a mistake not to be repeated) while the gondolas rolled by.

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There are a number of walks and trails you can do, but we opted for the shorter walk to the Matthew Flinders cairn to take in the view. I walked behind Immy and Rob, their conversation washing over me - chatting, practicing numbers and counting and all the school-related things that I should really be better at doing but rarely have the patience for. I am always grateful that there are two of us in this parenting gig, that I get to pass the baton on things I'm not great at (and vice versa I guess) so that Immy mostly gets the best of each of us.

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Next stop: Sorrento Back Beach. We got there at high tide, which meant the tidal pool was invisible but oh! the waves! Immy was in heaven. I can't understand it - the water is icy cold, but this is her happy place. Also my happy place as long as I can stay out of the freezing water and be dry and encouraging from the beach.

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It was a long, full day. We couldn't find a place to eat - everything was either closed, or we just couldn't face the long queues. So we headed back to Melbourne and ended our day with our favourite burgers on our home turf.

We fell into bed, dreams backlit with end-of-summer colours.

Writing this post, the sun and sea seem like a distant memory, with winter stealing into the early mornings already. It's weekend again at last, and tomorrow we have plans for a steam train adventure.

Happy Friday.

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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Reunion

It's been just over a month since we folded my mom and dad into our small apartment and our daily routines. That one sentence is made up of layer after layer of Immy and I being taken care of, loved, parented, looked after. My house is spotless, fridge stocked, meals simmering on the stove when I walk in at the door after work, laundry washed and ironed, Immy fetched and carried. My mornings are slow, deliberate: no rushing around preparing school lunches, timing school drop offs, coaxing a sleeping girl from bed to get her dressed and ready for the day. I walk to the train station, nose buried in a book, looking up only to inhale the morning and watch the leaves herald the changing seasons in small daily increments.

On weekends, we explore. I've taken less pictures than I would have liked. Even to that there is an easiness, a balance between being fully present in a moment, and taking a photo to preserve a memory. Saturday was the French Fete - a phrase that we have heard bubbling out of Immy a thousand times in the last two months. The preparations were endless: chocolates for the Choc Toss, plants for the Plant Stall, cupcakes baked and raffle tickets bought. Red, blue and white ribbons wound through plaits, the French flag painted on her small cheek.

Rob and I manned the ticket desk, and my mom and I signed up to assist with Crafts. Immy ran around with her gang, three excited little girls relishing the freedom and independence of money in their purses and no parents telling them what to do. The day was hot, loud, exhausting, and a massive success. I am profoundly thankful that we have twelve months to recover before the next one.

*
In pictures then, some of our adventures.

:: A visit to the Shrine of Remembrance at the Botanical Gardens. We found Sponge Bob hanging in the tree when we arrived. No idea how he got there, or who took him down before the day came to an end.
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:: We wandered through the gardens, under hot sun and cool dappled light. While Immy explored bamboo thickets, and ran across the lawns collecting acorns and flowers, we rested.

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:: Immy took this photo with my phone. It's a favourite, even though apparently my dad doesn't have feet.

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Reunion: an instance of two or more people coming together again after a period of separation. 

The air feels lighter, and everything seems that much sweeter. It's been a beautiful month in our gentle, blue-skied bubble. We have quite a few more adventures planned, and I already have two more posts already waiting in the wings.

See you soon.

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