What’s with your cheerful ‘MORNING!’ greeting and your desire to chat about tea or coffee or toast. WHO ARE YOU STRAGE BEASTS?
Please, for my sake, and your own safety go far, far away. Preferably to your own island of shiny happy morning people and leave me alone.
Mornings are not really my thing.
Sure, I get up, eventually. After pressing snooze just one more time. Sure I make kids lunches and do morning stuff. But it is a well known fact in this house that these things are done with the absolute minimum of talking. Eye contact is not advised.
Don’t tell me I’ll feel better after a shower and a cup of tea. I will not. I will still want to be in my bed, in the dark, happy space of snoozing. Mornings are for chumps.
In my world nothing would start until midday. Ever.
No talking, no getting ready, no need to make with the smiling and chit chat.
In a perfect world mornings would consist of hushed tones, heads lowered and polite passing of each other in the hallway. Monastery style.
When one needs to leave home before the desired time of midday, partners would know to not talk. They would however, make a travel mug of earl grey and without a word spoken, hand it to the bleary eyed commuter. On the tea handover, there may be a slight nod of the head to indicate, have a good day, but do not attempt actual bodily contact.
If feeling brave, the tea maker may also attempt the higher level quick kiss and love you combination. This is ill advised for the beginner. Eyes can be lost, testicles must be protected at all times if this is attempted.
Mornings have nothing to offer. I can get breakfast at cafes all day, so what’s the pre-dawn rush? Tea can be made just as easily after midday, and family members are less likely to be turned to stone with an icy glance.
Mornings. They should be banned.
Now, I’m off to make another cup of tea and glare at the sun shining through my window. If you’re feeling brave comment before midday. But please, do it quietly.
Some days things get the better of me. Usually just about the time I take a moment to stop and think, well isn’t everything going well. Murphy’s Law 101. There have been times when my answer to anything remotely hard is an overwhelming urge to bury my head in the sand.
As life would have it, this is never really the wisest of solutions. As much as hiding away would be the quickest and easiest solution, it’s not going to get anything sorted. So, onwards it is.
This is why I was up at a somewhat early hour yesterday morning tackling an issue. It is why I made a flurry of notes, researched, found old notes and texted some people with an SOS. It is why by 10am I had six hand written pages, about as many tabs open and a cold cup of tea.
It is also why that afternoon I had time to bake. Anzac biscuits and another batch of bread. The problem had not gone away. Rarely, if ever are things so easy to solve. But I am underway. I have information, resources and a way forward.
I have some space in my head for other things. My shoulders are not as high and tense. My neck, not so achey. There is a way to go, but for now, there is a plan. So while I mull over ideas, think on what has been planned and where to go now, I medicate with the simple movements of mixing and stirring, forming and baking.
Things are rarely all going well, but there is always time for baking.
It is no secret I love nail polish. Currently my favourites are dark blue and grey (sorry Mum.) Each time holidays roll around one of the first things I do is apply my most recent favourite shade. I am careful. I take my time. There is even a timer involved between coats. When the top coat has been applied and dried, I sit for a while admiring my new nails.
As the days go by I wonder in awe at the staying power of the carefully applied polish. I obsess over tiny chips. I think about new colours. I remove and reapply. Frivolous yes. Enjoyable, definitely.
Before long the holidays come to an end and back to work I go. This is where things start to go wrong. Well, from a nail polish wearing perspective anyway. While part of my time is spent in an office, planning, assessing, filing, most of my working day is with a group of twenty five fantastic four and five year olds.
There is sand. There are sticks, stones, pinecones and shells. There is mud. Not to mention paint, play dough, clay, blocks, bikes, and any manner of items that are not all that nail polish friendly.
I know. Get a real problem.
At the beginning of each term I bravely arrive at work, nail polish intact. By the end of day one, it is in tatters. One may think that after all these years I’d be wise and just not apply said Midnight Blue, or French Quarter For Your Thoughts Grey (the name alone is reason enough to own said polish.) But I am not.
I live in eternal hope that one day my lovely nails will stay the colour I have painted them for at least eight whole hours. I am the eternal optimist.
Tell me, are you a nail polish lover?
*this is not a sponsored post. I just like nail polish. A lot.
There is something to be said for the quiet mixing of ingredients for birthday cakes. Something soothing in the closeness of bent heads while choosing the one.
There is love, in all its schmaltzy glory, stirred into every layer. Be it mother for child, or wife to husband.
Between the beginning of March and the middle of April there are three birthdays in our house. All but mine are this time of year. As the years have passed I have come to love the making of the cakes.
When children were younger, work was full time and sleep was in short supply it was not as pleasant. There were many disasters. A blue banana cake. A melted horse paddock, plastic ponies sinking into the green icing like quicksand.
But now, as children become older, I look forward to the ritual of choosing, making, assembling and ultimately eating the cake. I am not suggesting we should all strive for the perfect cake on the perfect day. I am a realist, and time is not always on my side. But there is comfort in the doing. Beauty in the making and love in the layering.
Sentimental it may be. But making a cake for those I love, adorning it with candles and singing badly before it is cut and shared; there is greatness in it. Not the greatness of legend, but the quiet greatness of family and friends. The untold greatness of home.
And in the words of Donkey… cakes! Everybody likes Cakes!
1. Crêpe, Cointreau and chocolate ganache layer cake.
It has been quiet around here hasn’t it. Very quiet.
There are piles of drafts, in varying stages of being written. Some, finished save for me pressing publish. I don’t think I will though. I am just not sure what to say or how to say it really.
So, in the place of a post, I have made a list of sorts. A compilation of the past two weeks. It is said, by the great They that lists are an effective blog writing tool. That dot points draw people in. That people like a good list. So here is mine.
The holiday list of a blogger with writers block.
Comedy bingo is only as funny as the people at your table.
Last weekend I took a long run along an old familiar track. A place I called home not all that long ago. I realised I missed this place. But only when I am there to be reminded.
I sat quietly in a sister’s house. Sipping tea and looking at the grey sky. Rain fell softly.
Hobart. With friends. With family. We gathered quietly in kitchens to talk. It is the way of things.
The hum of domesticity was our background noise. A washing machine, the TV, the radio.
Hobart offers me quiet, as clouds hush over the mountain.
The babble of a babe. The rapid on and off of teen talk. The pattern of adult conversation about everything and nothing.
Movies with friends, meals out.
Quiet nights and walks down well known streets.
Warmth from the sun and the comfort of cloud.
Birthdays and a soccer match.
Wine on a deck.
Family. In all its forms.
The return journey. I gathered my kids, point the car north again. We sailed through the night and be home.
I am tired. Holidays do that to me. The constant being on the go. The pointless convincing of kids and self that a trip on a large boat across Bass Strait won’t be so bad this time. The unpacking that I never like to do. And the slow moving back into routine. It all takes time.
The weather is decidedly autumnal now. It is marking a point in the year. What point, I am not quite sure. But I know there is change coming. Best meet it head on. Perhaps I’ll make a list of things to do, not things done next time.
Today is our 17th wedding anniversary. I wrote the love story last year.
We were married in a small church on top of a hill in the Huon Valley, Tasmaina.
There was rain. There were friends. There were flowers.
The priest who married us dropped the rings. A good sign, as this is what had happened at my parent’s wedding. Earlier this month was their 43rd wedding anniversary.
My dress was one I’d seen in a bride magazine with a huge price tag. We had one similar made for $120. It was a joint effort. A parent whose youngest daughter I taught made the dress. My sister made the roses and my mother-in-law embroidered the gold work.
My flowers were a gift from a family friend.
Children from my combined Kinder/Prep class from a local school came and watched the ceremony. As I got out of the car, a child from the class ran towards me, jumping into my arms in her excitement. Her mother was embarrassed by her five year old’s muddy gumboots. I on the other hand was delighted.
In a show of the times, 17 years after our marriage I now pretty much have the same hair cut Hubby had then. What goes around comes around.
I can still remember Hubby’s speech at the reception word for word too – “I don’t know most of you, but thanks for coming anyway.” A man of few words.
Some days I want to stab him repeatedly, but I know in the end I’d miss him. I know he often feels the same. So, happy anniversary Hubby. I’ve known you more than half my life now, and that’s OK by me.
When I head out for a run I am also, without doubt, heading out to process stuff. All the stuff from all the days. Sometimes the stuff is easy. Other days I would run out of tracks and road before I came to any conclusions.
Closure is not a concept I like really, unless it’s the closure of a door on a cold day. Some things, some stuff never goes away. It sits, quietly waiting for a least expected time to surface again. Running away doesn’t work, no matter how hard I try. The way of the world, the way of life. So, I turn around and run home.
A run can also bring out the good stuff. The little things not seen when driving. The first autumn leaves, the wash away on the roadside track, the first signs of cooler weather toadstools. A run can take me away from the stuff that weighs heavily. Make me lighter again. Comfort in the rhythm of feet and arms. The steady in out of breath.
It can also send good thoughts my way; like the greatest love story I know. One that will not be written or told. But is no less for it.
It is time, just me, a well known playlist and my thoughts. And the stuff, it comes and goes through my mind and I run, keep on running until, until home is in sight again.
Sometimes there is so much to say it hurts just thinking about it.
Sometimes the things not said speak loudest.
I may wear my heart on my sleeve, but for now, I’ve covered it in a button down shirt, keeping it safe.
When words seem just not enough, when the inside of my mouth is bruised from biting down hard to stop tears, I wonder what anything is for.
Sometimes a miracle is not the answer. Sometimes the miracle is life itself.
Sometimes I’m not fast enough to outrun myself. And then, just when I think I have, a lyrebird flies past and stops, just at my feet as if to say slow down, there are some things you can not outrun. Hold fast.
Sometimes a song just won’t leave my head, and so I will share it. Because sometime even the songs people say are the happiest have something worthwhile to say.
Ah blogging. You funny beast. While I have been away you have trundled on without me. As you do. As is the nature of the online animal. But when I was not here (and let’s face it, it wasn’t exactly an extended holiday) there has been time to think. Lots.
Here’s just a random selection of thoughts, fleeting or otherwise from the past week.
Work started again for another year. New kids, new staff, new ideas. There is a good tired at the end of each day.
I have been running again. Lots. It feels good, physically and mentally.
We are still an organised house. Who knew that could happen?
I watched the first Q and A last night. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. It’s an election year, please get it right Q and A people. I know you’re the ABC and you need to show impartiality. But I am fairly sure you can do that and still ask the really good questions of politicians.
Actually, even when the really good questions are asked, perhaps some more pushing for the actual answers would be good. It is Question and Answer, not Question and Avoid.
I have some things almost ready to say. But I think for now they are still works in progress, and this year I have decided to take my time, slow and steady.
So, while I mull over them a little more, bake a cake for afternoon tea and a little homework incentive, here’s a song that I just can’t get out of my head. It is more than just words. And I wish, actually, that this was the kind of heart we got from politicians.
I may be a dreamer. But words they are powerful. Say it like you mean it politicians. Then I may actually believe you.