write

Little Vines: Boxes

Well meaning relatives press their hands tightly around mine, telling me just how sad I must be. In case I have forgotten. Mindless chatter fills the room and one too many egg salad sandwiches eaten out of politeness begin to make my stomach churn. I make my excuses and quietly pad down the dark familiar hallway to the bedroom.

Everything looks the same. Matching bedside tables and lamps, my mother’s glasses neatly folded atop a precarious pile of books, my father’s favourite jacket carefully hung over the back of a chair. The same ruffled brown comforter on their bed for as long as I can remember. I reach down and run my fingers over the worn fabric. It feels like home. Exhausted, I slip my shoes off, crawl into the middle of the bed and lay my heavy head down between their pillows so I can breathe them both in once more. Silent tears fall on the ruffled brown comforter that is no comfort to me at all.

The crowd has dispersed now, all gone back to their regular lives. “Death and taxes,” I hear more than a few of them say. Together we sit at the kitchen table, my siblings and I, as though we are happy children instead of lonely adults. The canary yellow benchtop is strewn with newspapers still rolled in their plastic, bereavement cards and an endless sea of food that won’t fit in the fridge. My brother takes charge and starts making a list. We have only five days to remove all trace of our family from this house and the desperation hangs heavily in the air: “please don’t make me do this alone.” Quietly, methodically, we work our way through each room, pausing to laugh, to cry and eat reheated lasagne on paper plates. Packing whole lives into cardboard boxes.

The bedroom remains untouched until the last day, consciously avoided all week. We enter together as if our communal strength will somehow make this less painful. My sister starts in the closet while my brother pokes around in the en suite. I sit on the edge of the bed with the ruffled brown comforter and stare blindly out the window. Nerves are fraught now and the bickering begins so I slip out of the room unnoticed. This is too much.

I unlatch the flimsy lock on the back door and walk slowly through my mother’s garden, running my hands over the rosemary to release its scent just the way she used to do. The grass is still wet with dew and feels cool under my tired feet. Who will live in this house now, I wonder, who will care for her garden? The carefully planted bulbs will rise on the cusp of winter and spring, a joyous floral symphony that none of us will be here to see. I turn my head in an effort to shake these thoughts from my mind and the smell of the looming pines reaches out to me. The woods. I walk to the edge, where the garden ends and the unknown begins, and listen to the wind whistle through the creaking boughs, finding comfort in the sound. The trees beckon, pleading with me to take just one more step forward. I glance back toward the house, through the window of the bedroom, and see my brother and sister sitting on the floor amongst the cardboard boxes, laughing now. They’ll be just fine. I close my eyes, draw a breath and step into the darkness.


These little vines of mine will pop up from time to time, I do hope you enjoy them.

write

Head + Heart

Head & Heart, "a monthly capture of my feelings and doings, in the raw" was created by the wonderful Helen of Helarious. Helen asks fellow bloggers to join her in sharing a snapshot of life over the last month. *I opted out of last months round so this entry will be a bit of a double-yolker.

WHAT I'VE BEEN GRATEFUL FOR //

As you can see above, things have gotten distinctly floral around here. I am so grateful to live in a world filled with flowers, plants and trees, and in an area with all four seasons that end and begin just when your soul is ready for the change. The high heat of summer, I could do without, but those early days of spring? Be still my heart. Bright, cool mornings and a festival of flowers in our fair city making it a dew-kissed rainbow coloured wonderland. Tulips and daffodils lazily unfurl their finery while the blossom and wattle simply burst to life and the pine trees quietly prepare their boughs for "the most wonderful time of the year". And then October, aka hay fever season, rolls around... Achoo!

WHAT I'VE BEEN THINKING OF //

Our secluded home has been a true haven for me during my recuperation and has given my city slicker husband a good taste of the country life. It has also acted as a barrier to us establishing the community and support system that we have dearly needed, so we have made the decision to say goodbye to our little farm cottage in the windy valley and seek out a new nest. Maybe we'll find it in one of the sweet villages we chat about, maybe it will be in a quiet pocket of the city or perhaps it is hidden option number three. Either way, it is time for a change and I am *almost* ready for it.

"Comparison is the thief of joy". It seems we're all mulling this over lately. Remember how I was going on a trip to New Zealand? In late September? You haven't seen any photos on the blog yet because I have been pouring over the photos of others, comparing mine to theirs and telling myself that I just don't measure up. It is such an easy pit to fall into. I dearly want for you to see the beauty in the world exactly the way I see it in my minds eye but just need to remind myself that I'm still learning (and need to invest in some editing software).

WHAT I'M EXCITED FOR //

The internet! Yes, I know it has been around for some time. What I mean to say is, I am excited about the way these ones and zeroes float between us, giving us space to meet the kindred spirits we might never have known otherwise. I have been putting more effort into connecting with others (hey, Instagram!) and met so many lovely people as a result. Here is to friendship and the possibility of fun collaborations ahead!

Um... Christmas. Please don't look at me like that. I am still staunchly in the "tree doesn't go up until 1 December" camp but one or two festive tunes may have slipped into my playlists and I am already making lists and checking them twice.

WHAT I'VE BEEN DOING //

Eating avocado on everything. Also this salad, that pizza and, oh yes, chocolate cake.
Learning how to make beeswax candles and practicing guided meditation.
Listening to Weezer, Yo-Yo Ma and new Foo Fighters tunes - yes!
Watching Veronica Mars (I have finally caught up to 2007) and Calvary, a great piece of Irish cinema (can someone please watch this so we can talk about it?). Oh, and Hocus Pocus of course!

WHAT I'VE BEEN READING //

Lovely, Dark, Deep. I so wanted to love this collection of short stories but the writing feels too shallow.
Bloggers making plans: Helen, Joni and Megan.
Gabrielle's post about extroverts raising an introvert is something all parents should read. Or anyone really.
Two new (to me) magazines: Darling and Hooray. Both beautiful and positively dripping with creative inspiration.

WHAT I'VE BEEN SPENDING MONEY ON //

Not much actually. Aside from food and wine I didn't buy anything on our trip. Also being at home and staying away from online shopping (except for this sweet calendar) has meant good things for the bank account, relatively speaking.

 

Click over to read what Helen wrote this month and see who else is participating. Thanks for reading and do feel free to join in!

wander

Bean & Grain

Do you breakfast or do you brunch?

My favourite time to dine out is in the morning hours while most people are doing this weird thing called "sleeping in". I've never been able to master that skill. Give me an early start and an afternoon nap any day. I usually label a morning meal out as brunch, but can it be classified as brunch if you are seated, coffee in hand, by 8.15am? Surely that's breakfast territory. The golden rule, I think, lies within the golden arches. If it is before 10am, it's breakfast. If it's after 10am then anything goes, except mcmuffins of course.

All of this is to say, we had a lovely breakfast at the new Dickson location of Bean & Grain last weekend. The coffees are rich and smooth, the eggs are perfectly poached and the new fit out is light, cool and a much needed breath of fresh air in this little pocket of Dickson. Oh, and don't forget to peruse the selection of breads, bagels, pastries and cakes for a sneaky little morning tea treat to take home. The cinnamon scrolls are delicious...or so I'm told ;)

By the way, if you work or study at the Australian National University and have been lamenting the loss of the friendly barista at The Coffee Grounds (previously The Purple Pickle), you will be as overjoyed as my breakfast date was to discover Matt's friendly face over at Bean & Grain. Hurray!

Bean & Grain: Website / Facebook / Twitter
Location: Dickson Shops, Dickson Place, Canberra 2602
Opening hours: Daily, 7am - late afternoon
Contact: bean_grain@yahoo.com.au

Bean & Grain on Urbanspoon

wander

#humanbrochure

Oh, hi there! Remember me?

If you follow me over on Instagram or Twitter you may have noticed that I sometimes sign off with #humanbrochure. Why is that, you ask? About six months ago, 101 people from in and around Canberra were chosen to take part in the second chapter of the Human Brochure, "the world's first living, breathing travel brochure created by real humans". I was very lucky to be picked as one of the 101 and have been tirelessly eating, drinking and generally exploring my way around the city in an effort to show the outside world just how great Canberra is. The photos above are just a sample of my "research". Yeah, I know, it's a tough gig. My waistline and I are not on speaking terms at the moment.

This weekend, 31 October - 2 November, will be the culmination of all that hard work (ahem). Each local human will be hosting interstate guests of their choice, resulting in roughly 500 people soaking up all we have to offer in our fair capital. We'll spend the weekend letting them in on the big secret - Canberra is awesome!

I've got a pretty fun (and delicious) weekend planned for my guests and will be posting regular updates on Instagram and Twitter if you'd like to follow along. You can also search social media channels for #humanbrochure to see what the other local humans have been up to or head over to humanbrochure.com.au to see the entire weekend unfold from 500 different points of view.