Every dog has their day

Dogs and Days. This idea has been flitting around my mind the last couple of weeks. It provides me with hope for the future, yet reminds me that life has its ups and downs, and to be grateful for the wonderful things that come my way, while they are around.

An old clock my sister used to have said “Good times and bad times have one thing in common. They never last forever.” Quite appropriate being on a clock.

Having to be different, I look at the dog saying in another way – not just in terms of ‘your success will come,’ but the meaning for me personally, has always been ‘every one will get a bad day.’ I know it’s not meant to be interpreted that way, and is probably a rather odd interpretation for a glass half-full gal, but if you just think of the way people say it: it’s always a mellow “every dog has its day,” rather than a chirpy “Every Dog Has Its Day!!!” – complete with cartwheels and a full cheerleading routine.

It depends on which way you look at it. You could be dismayed by the thought of good times ending, or be relieved by the promise of a rainbow at the end of hardship. Having gone through a rather difficult year, which has, as it’s gone on become better and better, especially with the meeting of our baby girl, I have to say that the thought of each dog having their day actually makes me feel ok, and grounded.

As much as I’m loving Motherhood (really, it’s cliché but so true what they say: It’s the best, and you don’t know ’til you’ve done it), I see and hear my friends and family out enjoying their lives, being free from major responsibility, and just generally doing whatever the hell they want to do AT THE MOMENT THEY WANT TO DO IT. And I can’t help myself, but I think: ‘That’s ok. They will have their day.’

I’m not trying to be cruel. I don’t mean it in the way it probably comes out. In fact, I can’t wait for all my family and friends to be in the fortunate position we are in and know what a blessing it is to have a beautiful family you are so, so proud of. I’m so happy, I’m rapt. But I guess sometimes I feel like, ‘they don’t understand,’ and it’s probably what our own family and friends with kids wished for about US, before we had kids, and I see all the childless couples out there living it up, and I remind myself ‘we used to live it up,’ and then I say ‘we’ll live it up again’…

We will get our days too. The good doggy days I mean.

I think what really frustrates me, is that if I’m wanting something else, does that mean I’m not happy now? No. It just means as normal, that we want too much. I want too much. I want what I used to have, while still having what I have now. I don’t think I’m that unique, I think it’s the natural order of things to be thinking like this, especially for us Mums. We don’t get many breaks (every sense of the word) and we just wanna every now and then let our hairs down and out and get smashed on cheap wine because we haven’t had alcohol in over a year but then we still wanna come home and be watching our babies sleep before running off to barf up yellow and green bile in the toilet.

But it’s still annoying. Because, as society tells us, we should be content with what we have, and if we’re not, we’re bad.

You know what other discoveries I’ve made in Mumhood? You really do find out who your friends are. And family. I’ve learnt who really cares, and in the case of my cousins, who would drive across town to come see me and baby girl, time and time again… while that ‘close’ friend I thought I’d reconnect with, because she all loves kids and stuff? Well yeah. Just that.

But you know what I think about her? ‘She will have her day.’

I won’t be a bitch, as somewhat gratifying as it would be. When she has her day, I will be there for her. Not saying “I told you so.” Just being. Because I wouldn’t want anyone to feel the way I’ve felt in the past.

I know that Hubbie and I have had a rather big year. A couple of huge ones in fact. And when you go through heavy shit, people tend to leave you alone, and give you space. But they don’t realise that after a little while, you want someone around, you want someone to reach out, and you want to know that someone cares and is thinking of you.

Same goes for having a baby. Apart from the never-ending 1-2 hour visits to meet baby girl, people then leave you alone. They think you need your space – and too right you do. But then they continue giving you that space, past the 2 month, 3 month, 4 month… 7 month marks. And you’re like ‘really? I do still have a life you know.’

And then you realise they don’t yet know. It still hurts a bit, but you realise they don’t know. And that’s ok, because one day they will. They will have their day too.

Advertisements

Ducks with a side of Dukkah

Rivers Café and Providore
28 Kurrak Road Yarrambat

The first time Hubbie and I went into Rivers of Yarrambat was because we were looking for plants. Hubbie used to drive by it on his way home from work, and noticed signs alerting to the fact that it was a nursery. Upon going there a couple of times and falling in love with the interesting variety of flora, along with the beautiful homewares shop housed there, we also noticed there was a café on the side of the premises.

Then we started going to Rivers: more for the café, than the nursery.

I have been to Rivers Café and Providore many, many times since. It was the first café/eatery we went to after having our daughter, in those early days where I was scared to leave the house in fear she would cause a scene and in embarrassment I wouldn’t know how in the world to settle her, while simultaneously feeling like if I didn’t leave the house I might die of cabin fever. I now know that’s a thing, a REAL thing.

I’ve been there for coffee, I’ve been there for scones. I’ve been there for brekkie, brunch, lunch, dessert and everything in between. I would have been there for dinner if they catered for it, and the only thing I haven’t had there is the high tea: that I WILL most definitely do sometime in the near future.

So I guess this is a bit of a prelude to this review: in writing of my most recent visit there I feel it would be slightly unfair to solely score it on this one experience, being that during this one my brunch friend was not too enthusiastic about her meal, yet every other time and with every other person, it’s been fairly consistently fantastic.

Being early Winter, it was actually fairly lovely weather as we arrived, and upon waiting to be seated were offered either to eat outside in the covered dining area overlooking the nursery grounds and ducks swimming about in the pond, or inside. I wanted to sit outside for my friend to get a better experience of her visit, but she was cold, so that kind of made up our minds fairly quickly.

Something I have to mention here is that most times when I’ve gone there to eat, when a waiter has gone to sit us they’ve usually asked if we have a booking. Every time, we reply “no,” however every time they still manage to sit us, no matter how busy they are.

On this day, they were very quiet. You’d probably think that going on a weekday would usually present you with a fairly deserted restaurant. When we went, although quiet, there were a few large groups of ‘Mums with Bubs,’ prams everywhere, to the point that you wouldn’t be mistaken to wonder if Wednesday’s were a special day for those maternally inclined to step out and get a free babycino for their littlies or something.

On other days, you’d think it was a special Pensioners day. This place attracts all kinds of people, but generally more of the nicer-dressed, upper-class variety, if you know what I mean. The kind that are more inclined to tip.

I ordered The Moroccan – poached eggs on grilled flatbread with feta and dukkah

2014-06-04 11.25.55

while my friend ordered the Rivers Berry Crepes

2014-06-04 11.26.01

I really enjoyed my meal: it was to the same standard of every meal I’ve had there. The produce is fresh, and you get excited just looking at the adjoining garden to the café, wondering how much of it gets into the kitchen. Some part of the menu is seasonal, so there are always a few new additions and interesting combos popping up to make the dining experience lovely. My eggs were poached perfectly, the warm flatbread was beautiful, while the lemon and pepper gave a zest and flavour exactly as it stated it would in the menu, so what I ordered was exactly what I got. The dukkah gave a lovely crunch, however though I love sesame seeds it got a bit much to me towards the end and I shoved the remainder to the side to keep them from getting stuck in my teeth. All in all, really yummy, and very presentable.

My friend wasn’t a fan of hers. I think I would have liked it, in defence of Rivers; she’s recently back home from the States, and said her berries were too sour – she’s used to her berries “sherbet.” LOL. Enough said.

The waitress who picked up our plates on completion did ask if anything had been wrong with my friend’s meal, and it proved again to me how polite and keen the staff there are to right any wrongs and make sure the customers always leave happy.

As usual I ordered my coffee as our meals arrived, and it was great. They use Dukes there, which I love, and although when I first sipped it there was a bit of a different taste to it, it faded away quickly and I enjoyed the rest of my lukewarm coffee (I’d been busy scoffing my eggs on flatbread).

I’m going to try and generalise my scores based on all my visits there, so here goes.

Food: 9.5/10. Fantastic, as usual. Fresh, seasonal, and appearance-wise, very attractive as far as food goes.

Coffee: 9/10. Dukes, what else is there to say?

Ambience: Generally, fairly mellow, even when it’s busy it doesn’t get very loud or raucous; the only ones making the noise there are the kids getting hyper on their babycinos, and that’s if you get a massive group of pram-pushers like we did. Normal café noise I guess.

Staff: Always aiming to please, very smiley. On a previous occasion I ordered a very weak flat white for my Mum; the waitress came to check if the strength was appropriate, adding that she could bring extra milk if required. Tick and Tick.

People: Of the ‘nice’ variety. You won’t catch a horde of uni students here, unless they’re dining with their parents. There’s still a very relaxed vibe. Laid-back country style mixed with $$$.

Price: Speaking of the dosh. It’s a few dollars more than some other places you may go to grab brekkie, or lunch, or dessert. Having said that, with the presentation, quality of food on offer, surroundings and the service, it’s definitely worth it.

Advice: If it’s a lovely day and you want to eat with a view or you wish to dine there on a public holiday, maybe best to phone ahead. Yes, they are open on public holidays. Funnily enough, it appears they’re open bar a few select days a year, which makes it so much more hilarious that they don’t do dinner. I guess they need a break somewhere, right?

Oh yeah, and you berry eaters? They’re sour, because they’re fresh. On a previous visit Hubbie had the same crepes as my friend did and also didn’t like the sourness. Fuss pots ;P

In a nutshell: I’ve been going back for years now, so there really isn’t any question, sour berries or not.

Rivers Cafe on Urbanspoon

Things that shit me… #1

First in the line of a LONG series.

You know what happened today? There I was, sitting down for a coffee at my local shopping centre with baby girl and my parents. I positioned the pram fairly close to our table, making sure I wasn’t encroaching on any mini passageways around the several tables and chairs around us.

And these two women arrived, squeezing past the space between my pram and another table, and they look over, expecting me to move the pram over some more.

Firstly ladies:

– move it to where, my lap?
– there is sufficient room where you’re walking
– one of you is on the elderly side, and the other is on the heavy side, so wouldn’t it be smarter to walk on the other side of our table, where the pram isn’t?
– and lastly, the path you chose was in no way more advantageous over any others, as all you were doing was selecting a table. Seriously. You just tortured yourself and pissed me off en route.

You can say what you will, but honestly, if it is going to be difficult for you in any reason to move around, why do you already choose a path half-inhabitated by a pram?! This has been happening so often lately, people will just gravitate towards my parked pram, and then want to squeeze by.

Why are there so many stupid people? Why don’t they think?

Argh!!!

Whatever will be… will be?

Every so often I find myself getting deep on the same question: how much of our lives are pre-destined, and how much of our lives are, well, in our hands?

It’s usually some hard decision I find myself having to make, or something rather huge happens, and I’m there thinking ‘did I attract this? Or was this fate?’

It’s a really hard topic I find myself thinking about, and the thoughts and possibilities go around and around in my head until I come to the same conclusion every single time: that I don’t know anything, other than what it is I believe in, and that is –

-that there is a portion of our lives that we can’t escape from, and

-there is a portion of our lives that we can choose to do what we like.

It’s a bit of me, doing what my Mum says I can’t do, and that is sit on both chairs at once. You might too think I’m sitting on the fence with my viewpoint, but it’s the only way I find it to be true. In my life I have felt times where something happened out of the blue, completely out of my control… and then there have been other times where something has eventuated from my hard work, determination and focus.

I haven’t always had the ‘destined-determined’ outlook though. In my earlier years I naievely believed that everything that happened was meant to happen, and even if you didn’t try, if that tree was meant to fall down, it would split in half without you even bringing an axe to it.

There is a sense of relief in the belief that we are not accountable, and that no matter what we do, it won’t make a difference. However as freeing as it may sound, being removed from any responsibility, we have no freedom in this scenario, and is this really a way we want to be living?

I confuse myself at times. I remember when I chased down a part time job back in my uni days, and wonder if I had still gotten it if I hadn’t called the area manager several times, showing him how keen I was. Then another voice in my head said ‘maybe that was meant to happen.’

I remember the hours-long debate I had with then my pre-Hubbie, about the philosophy subject driving me bonkers – that we had no free will, and that all of our present actions were a result of our past deeds, therefore eliminating freedom of choice. I remember the night clearly, because we went round in circles for hours in his lounge room, and even physically went round, as I have a clear recollection of sitting on the top of their couch, and I have no idea why.

 At the end of the day I believe a larger part of our lives, are left in our hands. Working out what part that is though, as you’re living it, is a whole other series of questions.

I’d love to know other people’s thoughts…

 

Custard at the Corner Store

Red Door Corner Store
70 Mitchell Street Northcote

Our fair yet weather-unpredictable city allowed Autumn to put on its finest show as I ventured along to the tucked away Northcote café, off the busy High street one Saturday in late May.

The weather was mild as it had uncharacteristically been the last few weeks, yet the season was evident, in the picturesque leaves lying scattered around each tree lined up on all sides of the street surrounding the corner café, with hues of green, yellow and orange colouring the ground.

Although not far from the busy High street, there was a strong neighbourhood and tucked-away vibe as I happily discovered parking not too far from the corner store, and realised with even more relief that there were no parking meters. What? I had even bought my stash of loose change just for the occasion. That would go back into my coffee change tin thanks.

The woman passing me with her milk as I set off with baby girl in pram, saying a friendly “hello,” only added to the lovely everybody-knows-your-name feel. And how true it is, don’t you wanna go. Tick and tick.

Arriving as I do everywhere with pram, I was happy to see there was only the slightest step leading into the café where my friend was waiting for me. However backing into the busy and crowded place was another story, and it was only after a polite woman waiting for her coffee held the door open for me that I was able to actually get both me and my girl in.

I’d happily read a review before going there that seating and parking were plentiful. Parking, yes. Seating? Not with pram. Maybe the reviewer meant the amount of seating, rather than the space surrounding the seating. I’d wondered if perhaps, on a lovely Saturday Autumnal morning, we should have phoned ahead. Inside it was tight with my pram, and only after shifting spots after a more abundant amount of space became available, did I become more at ease. There was seating out the front of the cafe, which would have been good, and my friend visited the loo which was out the back, where there was also more seating – apparently that was packed.

Get to the damn food, you say! Well I had the lovely
Brioche French toast, baked quince, rosewater custard, pistachio praline.

2014-05-24 10.58.36

To no fault of their own, I ate my meal lukewarm because I tended to baby girl’s own food of apple and pear puree for a good while, after she stopped with her “mmm!”s. (Means more). Even so, it was slightly warm, the custard rosewater with quince, all melting together in the middle of the brioche. Not too sweet for brekkie, so it didn’t leave me with that sick feeling making me feel like I should have gone the savoury brunch route. It had praline that almost immediately reminded me of the praline atop the never-forget blueberry pancakes I had at Dukes sometime in the year 2012. Yes, I still remember. And the pistachio was sharp and crunchy, sweet, candied even? Yummo indeed.

My cappuccino was ok, it was only warm once I got to it (again, no fault of theirs) and as any Mum would attest to, the experience of drinking a fresh hot coffee while in a busy café entertaining your little one is akin to keeping your brand spankin’ new white heels clean on a rainy day. However my friend did tell me her first coffee before my arrival was cold, so her second was ordered ‘extra hot,’ and was happily, so she reported. I’ll forgive them for the lukewarm coffee, if only for the fact that the beans are Proud Mary’s.

I did love how virtually everything on the menu was using ingredients sourced from around our beautiful state. Massive bonus points in my book. Little pegs held descriptions of sandwiches and tarts in one display case, while another row of cute peg-descriptors (we’ll go with that) were in a cute row in front of the cash register, tempting you to cheekily go “oh, I’ll have one of those too please!” regarding the delicious cupcakes on offer. I resisted, my brekkie was sweet. And they were presented in a lovely looks-like-it-came-from-a-second-hand-shop chic jewellery display case. Kewl.

The only slightly annoying thing was when it came time to pay up front, the guy putting through our order took just a tad long, especially when he went away and came back with a whole bag of cash to put into his till. Fair enough mate, busy Saturday and all. However he took sooo long doing it, almost like there wasn’t a 6 person line behind me (and that took up half the space in the café). Maybe they’re going for the ‘look how busy we are look’ and want a line like that… but it was like that pretty much the whole time we were there.

Food: 8/10

Coffee: 7/10 (Points removed because food/coffee was lukewarm – not their fault I know – but it did remove from the experience, and I can’t give points for what could have been).

Ambience: Noisy, which suited me just fine with my girl doing a few rounds of vocal acrobatics.

Staff: Friendly and accommodating, especially with helping us move seats, answering our ingredient queries politely and offering ‘side’ options (when I wasn’t sure on going the ‘savoury’ route and was considering removing avocado from a meal – I like it, it just doesn’t like me), and of course anyone who comments on how cute my girl is gets extra ticks.

People: Mix of uni students, lovely people who moved out of my way with my pram (it’s all about the pram don’t you know), couples, and quite a few with little-ies, but those that were already walking. There was an older couple there, who fortunately left and gave us the fantastic seating when we moved. Cyclists came in too, and went straight for the paper hanging over the ladder near me. Checking if Autumn will keep up? Who knows.

Price: All up my meal was $19.60. Under 20 and it’s a great feed especially with the quality of the food on offer.

Advice: If going at a busy time of day (or just a busy day, like a weekend) maybe phone ahead. I saw a table with a reserved sign, so fairly sure that means they take bookings. Also, if you have a pram (or a posse, you may be P. Diddy) it’d be good for them to give you a spacious spot. We got lucky. If you’re a coffee snob (and let’s face it all the best people are) order your coffee extra hot. And lastly, ask for them to bring the bill to the table, and then let them pick up your tab so you don’t have to wait in a line up the front – unless you want to be tempted by the cupcakes. You do, don’t you?

In a nutshell, will I go back?: The café has character, sources local ingredients, has great parking close by, and I wouldn’t mind relocating to one of the many beautiful Edwardian houses nearby. Looking forward to going back with Hubbie.

Red Door Corner Store on Urbanspoon

My whole life I’ve been living a Season’d Lie

A few weeks ago while taking a leisurely Autumn walk around my neighbourhood, paper cup harbouring warm coffee firmly in my hand as I pushed the pram with the other, it suddenly hit me:
It was all a lie.

I don’t think I fall into the unusual category when I say that the weather impacts majorly on my moods. I live for warm days spent outside in the sunshine, doing absolutely anything at all, as long as it leads to sun blindness to the point that re-entering any interior results in having green vision for about 30 seconds. And on the flipside, I once worked with a guy who expressed that his hatred for Winter led to him wanting to hibernate throughout the entire season. I could certainly feel for him. In my opinion the only time cold weather is good, is when you don’t have to leave the house, with your only job to stay cuddled on the couch drinking warm teas. In that world where time stands still and your life waits for you to get ready – yeah right.

So I was there, walking with coffee as I often do, when I realised just how much I was loving Autumn. It had started out as the kind of sunny day that still made you reach for your jacket with the freshness of a Winter’s chill soon approaching, however as the midday sun beat down on me I was able to remove my jacket, and really enjoy the sensations, sights and sounds that this season had to offer.

Yes, we were having an unseasonably warm Autumn. Weather reports constantly declared new records being broken, and the fact that Winter was so near and yet the weather was pretty damn acceptable, was further proof of that.

But no, it wasn’t just that this Autumn was better than previous ones. I thought of Spring, and then ‘Summer,’ and thought ‘lies, lies, lies.’

Look, this is how it goes: (in case this is the first thing you’ve ever read and you have no idea about climate)

Winter: June, July, August
Spring: September, October, November
Summer: December, January, February
Autumn: March, April, May

Right? Wrong.

I guess this June it’s a bit of an exception, with El Nino or whatever warm spell it is that’s going to be passing over Melbourne making it a warmer than normal Winter, but then again I think ‘ever year it’s a freaking exception!’ With Melbourne weather, biggest joke ever. We’ve had a warm Autumn, and now we’re expecting a warm-er than normal Winter.

This is how it should really go:

Winter: the very end of June, July, first half of August
Little Winter (aka Winter but with more sun): second half of August, September, October, start of November
Spring: end of November, December up to Christmas time
Summer: New Years (it’s always 30 degrees+ at clock striking twelve point), January
Big Summer (aka mother-f!*king scorching Summer): February, start of March
Autumn: end of March, April, May
Win-tumn (aka false pretences Winter that makes you think ‘this Winter won’t be so bad, it’s so sunny…’ then BAM!): start of June

I’m just hoping that this El Nino dude sticks around for a while so this Winter is much more bearable than others. Having said that, being on maternity leave and all, and not having to get up for work like poor Hubbie, I can’t whinge too much. Winter is so freaking bad when you’re getting up five in the morning, and shivering in the car waiting for it to warm up 20 minutes later in the darkness, then walking to work, in the cold, and darkness…

How I miss that, NOT.

I look forward to the warmer months so much, I find I end up starting to dread Winter as early as January, while we’re still in the midst of actual Summer (according to my new climate guide) to the point where sometimes, I can’t even enjoy Summer. Horrific I know. And then at other times, I’m often so peaking in fantastic stinking heat, I have to think hard to remember how it feels like to be cold, and shivering, and even ask myself the stupid, stupid question: “is Winter really that cold?”

Fast forward to today and putting on the heater 6 times during the day. Yes, yes it is.

I hate knowing Winter is just around the corner, knowing it’s ‘coming for me;’ yet when it’s here, there’s almost a sense of relief, like ‘ok, let’s get this over with.’

I’ve survived the first 9 days of Winter, so I should be ok. Sorry, I mean Win-tumn.

Freedom, the ugly face of

I’ve recently come to the terrifying realisation that I can do whatever I want.
It’s rather an odd thing to be fearful of, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, I am no ‘natural’ pessimist: I am a self-proclaimed glass half-full gal, I’m infinitely inspired by the beauty of nature and stunningly warm days (of which a plentiful amount of posts will be subject of here no doubt), and just in general I like to smile, have fun, go out and socialise. The ability to do whatever it is I want to do should be something desirable, especially from a person of positive nature. It should be a good thing, right?
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my future career goals. A lot. Doing-my-head-in A LOT. Having been on maternity leave for 10 months, I really don’t want to go back to my old job. The reasons?:
– I need a change
– I don’t see myself moving up in that field
– I want a more flexible workload, work that can fit in around me and my family’s needs
– I want part-time work (and I don’t know if my old employer can offer it)
– I promised myself I’d never go back.

That last line was what I said to myself on my last day there, as I entered into my year-long maternity leave. It’s no secret to people that know me: I want to write for a living. It’s my love, it’s my passion, and it so conveniently ties in with the lifestyle and the life that I want to live.

Do I go back to my old job, requesting part-time work, or do I move onto other, more flexible projects… like the direct sales position I’ve been researching?
I never in a million years dreamed that I would want to go into direct selling. But it fulfils my ‘flexible life’ requirements, it means I’d be my own boss (and don’t we all want that?) and I’d actually be promoting a product that’s been popping in and out of my head for years, something I’m actually genuinely passionate about.
Look, my old work may just tell me they have no part-time positions… I’m kind of hoping they do. Because then they’ve made up my mind for me. That’s what it is I’m looking for you see. A sign. A universal sign that will tell me which path to go down… the old familiar path working part-time at my old job, or the new, more flexible path promoting a product I know nothing about in strangers homes, while also continuing my writing dream in my other spare time?

Yes, I could write in my spare time at my old job too. But, but, but… I’m looking for excuses. I think my time there is up. I just need to be sure. I need to get a sign that this is it, and I’m making the right decision.

I’m so scared of making the wrong decision. Either way.