Nov 29, 2020

How About This Heat, Sydney?

I'm going to say it because I doubt there's a soul in Sydney today who hasn't said it as well.

How.  About.  This.  Heat.  It's energy-sapping and almost soul-destroying in its ability to make everything too much effort.  And it's been relentless in pursuit of all creatures great and small.  Sun  up or sundown, the heat has been with us this entire weekend.  

My inaugural Maccas Iced Latte mostly eased the pain of attempting to shop at a Westfield for gifts on a hot Sunday morning less than a month out from Christmas.

Staff were impossibly kind and accommodating wherever we shopped today.  While there was diligence about hand sanitising, social distancing and safe numbers in store at any given moment, there was also great patience and genuine helpfulness.

This heat-stressed mum just wants to say a huge thank you from the comfort of my cool and airy home for all the care you took earlier today in helping us get presents sorted for the teachers and educators at school.

In-store purchases completed, it was time to head home to make the most of Click and Collect, Shopback and FlyBuys redemptions.  I've finally made a solid start on the toy component of this year's Christmas gifts.

It already feels like a Christmas worlds apart from the one we enjoyed when I packed away the decorations earlier this year.  We will not be home to Perth For Christmas and neither will family be here to celebrate with us.

Each box I opened this weekend was filled with memories as well as the evidence that our tree is not one that follows a tight theme of colour and design.  

Tree decorations made my Master SSG at various stages of his childhood that seemed never ending at the time but now feel like only seconds of my the nearly eight years as a mother.  

Decorations from places I travelled to with relative abandon and ease.  Again,  a practice that is so far removed from my world today that I wonder if I'll ever again venture overseas with my bought from home foreign SIM, very particular range of creature comforts from home (psyllium husk and tea bags in their own zip lock bags, anyone?) and those epic highly detailed itineraries and accompanying print outs from Google Maps.

Bits and pieces from the supermarket and department stores.  Baubles I bought from Target the day I bumped into a friend who was similarly as last-minute fatigued as I was.  Beading from Daiso I bought that last time I ventured into the city in the last weeks of being heavily pregnant.  I remember it all with fondness.

I've decided, like many of you, that this will be a Christmas to celebrate what I do have rather than what the year 'took away'.  There will be new ways of doing things which may become new traditions.  

It will all work out.  Just so long as it's not 40C at 9am on Christmas Day.  That would be #so2020.

Nov 22, 2020

Consciously Un-stressing.

It's just under 4 weeks until I'm off on annual leave and I'm consciously un-stressing in anticipation.  Going for the fuss-free option wherever possible.  Leaving things off my 'to-do' list if they are neither necessary or contributing in a positive way to the un-stressing process.  

Just breathing.  Just being.  Just seeing. 

It's all sunshine and jacarandas above me

and orderly processions of ducks up ahead of me.

My feet are ready for the summer days ahead when I'll be in no hurry to be in any particular place at all.

I'm testing out snacks for the adventures we will have in the city and beyond.

I'm getting back into the knack of catching public transport because the first rule of the annual leave staycation is to leave the car parked at home as much as possible.

I've taken a one thing at a time approach to getting ready for the new year at work so that I won't feel overwhelmed and underprepared when I resurface at the coalface some time in 2021.  'Resurface', 'sometime in 2021' ... just typing those words make my shoulders drop a few centimetres.

A new supply of yellow index cards and card holders arrived this week.  Within a day of my putting the order through online at Officeworks.

Summer holiday care has been booked and recorded in my desk diary and phone.  I'm feeling very fortunate that we're covered by two programmes that Master SSG is familiar with and that his friends will be attending both with him.  Summer Holidays are one of those challenges of school parent life that leave you feeling like you deserve gold medal once you've managed to find a solution that makes everyone happy.

I couldn't write about consciously un-stressing without mentioning a Recipe Tin Eats recipe, could I?  Nagi's Gravy Baked Chicken is a multi-category winner.  It's easy, delicious and involves only one baking tray.  I thinned out the gravy with a little water at the end.  I have a feeling that this will be my roast chicken dish for Christmas lunch...

Are you a matter of weeks from annual leave for Christmas and New Years yourself?  Is consciously un-stressing part of your preparation too?

Nov 16, 2020

Less Than Forty Days Out....

It's beginning to look a lot like summer / Christmas / birthdays / New Years.

To be honest, I was a little frightened that the holiday season glimmer that I usually see this time of the year filtered through would be a no show but fortunately this hasn't come to pass.  I'm a creature of habit.  A determined creature of habit.  A tin of Danish butter cookies from Woolies to herald the beginning of my Christmas planning creature of habit.

Once the sticky tape has been removed (no mean feat in itself!!) and the first 'curly' biscuit has been eaten, it's all systems go for what will be a month and a bit of back to back weekends of celebrations and frenzied gift shopping.

While the feelings will the same as always, the celebrations themselves will be a little different this year.  It won't be a huge family lunch on Christmas Day and Master SSG's birthday will not be a frenzy of energy and party food at a play centre.
I've shamelessly become a mum who outsources that which she sucks at doing herself this year.  The cake pops  for the celebration at school will be expertly made for me.  They're characters from the infamous Among Us game, in case you were wondering.  I've been told by a reliable source, (the Birthday Boy)that the image above is of an Imposter with its Mini.

I'm good at goodie bags, at least, so I'll be making those myself.

We've got ... 39(!!) or so days until Christmas so I'm not panicking, I'm pacing myself.  Don't want to peak too early....

I've started a new crochet project (a bento shopping bag) and rediscovered a favourite picture book with Master SSG.

And I've started growing microherbs.  Actually, that's a lie, I just opened the parcel from Micropod, set up the trays as directed and filled the base with water about 5 days ago.

And woke up to this a few days later.

And this yesterday.  My crops of herbs should be ready for the table by the end of the week.  Also, featured in the photo?  My latest restock of the best breakfast tea from T2 - Morning Sunshine.  It literally is the light of my mornings.  Plenty here to cover me through the busy and fun-filled weeks ahead.

How are you feeling less than forty days out from Christmas Day?

Nov 10, 2020

Spring-Summer. The Familiar Anchors Us.

My favourite time of the year here in Sydney has Arrived.  I've got the last dregs of a cold today, my to-do list of life admin has doubled thanks to the happy addition of end of year events and I'm on the 'one more coffee at 4pm' level of daily caffeine ingestion but when I take a look out the window or step outside, all is briefly forgotten.

I've taken to calling November spring-summer because it's mostly a month of my favourite kind of weather (sunny with some starter tan intensity to those rays tempered with a bit of a cooling breeze under the shade) and my favourite kind of blooms.

You can never have too many jacaranda photos in blog posts written by Sydney-siders.

And you can never have too many 'Havs go with everything' photos either.

It was just as well that I worse those Havs the other day because my next stop after waiting in line for an indulgent mid-Sunday morning solo coffee was birthday party pick up.  Where a fellow mum and I happened upon this 'Cliff Hanger' high bouncy slide.  It took us about 5 seconds each to throw caution and fears of breaking a bone to the wind, whip off our footwear and begin the climb up the ladder.  

Disclaimer.  The slides are much steeper when you look down them from the top than what this photo might suggest.  It's also impossible to climb down the step ladder if you're a middle-aged woman. 

So the only way down was down those slides.....

and we lived to tell the tale!  No broken bones.  Just a few scrapes to prove to myself that I really did do what I just thought I did.

There's only one negative to this fabulous weather.  Having a cold.  That kind where you feel achy, clammy and off your food.  Not to mention that feeling of being ripped off at having to stay indoors post your umpteenth covid swab of the year while the weather seems to have moved on from the whole pandemic thing.

Solution?  A large choc chip cookie for morning tea before you take your next dose of Panadol.

I've made the most of my NSW Health imposed self-isolation while I waited for my swab result (it was negative, thank goodness!!).  I ate the first tomato of the season from my backyard vine in a very satisfying toastie.  I think I have a few more tomatoes coming my way thanks to my getting in early with the bug spray this year.

It was only ever for about 24 hours but that moment I emerge into the world from isolation is always a joyous one.   My ordinary, everyday world.  I see its bins out for collection day, numerous street signs advising of the complex hourly rules on who may or may not park beneath, the sturdy benches at the park that double as equipment for outdoor PT sessions, a local gardener's trailer...  

There's much to be said for the familiar and the way the familiar anchors you.


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