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I took myself off to the beach today. I’m now sunburnt behind my knees. I also have a red patch on a thigh. Got to love intermittent sunscreen application.

I had a great time, I just laid on the beach – watched the world go by and listened to Ruby Wax’s Sane New World. Which will be one of my few deep-dive books, along with Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. I’m also going to revisit the Oprah’s 10 part course where you drill down into each chapter. I also remembered I brought Jon Kabat-Zinn Wherever You Go, There You Are and added that to the list.

That’s three. I’ll have a look when I get back home as to what else tickles my fancy.

We’ve got another couple of days here at the beach, then back home and enough hilarity, back to reality.

We’ve put on Order of the Phoenix for Archie, the first time he’s watched it. Not too many questions so far, that Delores Umbridge is truly awful…

I’m on vacation!

Best said in Billy Crystal’s voice.

Last Sunday my brother and sister in law, with our five children, flew from Melbourne’s new(ish) Terminal 4 to Maroochydore, on the Sunshine Coast in QLD. We settled in to our apartments, a stone’s throw from the beach, unpacked, had a family dinner, a glass of chilled white wine and slept like logs. The next morning, we got up, hit the beach with all the rugrats, played in the surf and built sandcastles. In the afternoon, we went to the pool.

Then we did it again, and again, and again.

I’ve read a book and a half, Middlesex and All The Light We Cannot See, if you were wondering. Not watched much TV, we’ve been too busy outside. I’ve been walking around on the beach with my hair mussed up, in a bikini, not giving a flying foo-wee about what other people think of me. It’s not so much that I’ve suddenly become body-confident; more that this is a holiday I’ve desperately needed, so I truly CBA to worry about what other people think of me. Their expectations of a bikini-body, are just that, theirs.

I’ve unwound completely.

Yes, you did read that right. Me. I’ve relaxed. I’ve been too busy with sandcastles and watching the children in the waves or the pool to worry about my to-do list, my in-tray, or any other put upon me pressures. It’s been lovely. Considering five children of varying ages, we’ve had no major breakdowns or confusion, we’ve been in and out of each other’s apartments, giving each other a break when needed. We’ve only had one trip to emergency too, for a bad sprain.

Hubs flew up on Wednesday, he went fishing with his brother on Friday, there was a party for Pa for his 70th on Saturday, on Sunday I ran / walked 4km (it was 21c and 70% humid *puff*) with my girls. 

It is now Monday, we’re heading towards the end of our break now, with a trip to Australia Zoo on our last day. But I’ve given myself the headspace I needed, I can start breaking out my notebook and pens now.

Monday was a good day

Tuesday, was Australia Day, I had an RDO cancelled over the Christmas break so I asked if I could have this Monday off instead. Granted, said BossMan. One glorious long weekend of four whole days out the office. This turned into four and a half, as I left not long after lunchtime on Friday with a stonking headache, but not sure spending the afternoon in bed sleeping counts?

Anyhoo, Saturday we all piled down to Queenscliff to go fishing, the boys were going on Friday, but the weather was awful with a massive front moving across Victoria with thunderstorms and rain (probably the cause of the headache). I suggested to Hubs he looked at the radar before they left, I think he was glad he did, and quickly changed plans. Peanut was upset, he’d been looking forward to fishing with his Dadda, but when we showed him the radar images he understood. He was also pleased that I could come with them on the trip the following day.

We packed up a picnic and left early, driving down I had a hankering for a hash brown. We pulled into the next fast food café that sold them, which was in the same town our landlord lives in. I texted him to say hi and he and his dad whizzed over to have an impromptu coffee with us, which was an unexpected and lovely bonus to the day. We carried on driving, parked up and unpacked the car with kit, rods, bait etc. we walked out to the pier and set up. I say ‘we’, I like fishing, but I don’t do anything with hooks, putting bait on, taking fish off, nothing. Bleurgh. Also Hubs had set up Peanut’s rod with the reel on the wrong side for me, I reel in with my left hand. It meant I couldn’t cast for toffee too, I was getting the line in a tangle, but never to mind. Looking over our shoulders the rain was rapidly approaching. The man beside us caught a ray of some description, he also showed Peanut the salmon he’d caught earlier in the day too. As Peanut was getting fidgety I asked if he wanted a walk, he said yes and skipped along the pier. We’d got about half way back to shore when the rain started, so we turned around and high-tailed it back to shelter on the pier.

Hubs stayed out manfully for about three more minutes, then we admitted defeat, the rain was heavy, there was no breaks on the horizon we could see, we walked back to the car. A handy shelter meant we could change Peanut into dry clothes, we then drove off to go to a museum, it was closed. We decided to have lunch, parking on the main street, Hubs hunter-gathered fish and chips, Peanut and I went to buy drinks. We met back at the car and drove to watch the ships on the bay, eating chips and chatting. As we were finishing, the sun broke through, the temperature shot up and an enormous container ship was edged out the heads by a Pilot boat.

We headed to the memorial chair for Hubs’ Mum, Nanna Helen. Her ashes were sprinkled from the pier we’d been fishing from, but this is where the family come to remember her. Every time we come down, we take a picture of the children on the bench. We had a champagne reception there before we got married too, with all our family and friends who’d come to the wedding. We walked down to the beach, made sandcastles, flew a kite, collected seaweed, paddled and squiged our toes into the sand. When Peanut was soaked through, after nearly an hour we stripped him off, and walked back to the car. I snapped this quickly with my phone:

Sunday we had his swimming lesson, then headed to the zoo. We’ve made a decision to not take Hubs there again, unless it is firmly in school time on a random day, he just doesn’t cope with the crowds. When we left he said he’d nearly had a panic attack, so Peanut and I will just go on our own now, I then don’t have to worry about the two of them and chivvying Peanut along because Hubs is getting twitchy.

Monday, blissful Monday. I had breakfast with Peanut, dropped him off at nursery, then went for a run. My legs were sore, so I walked more than I wanted to, but I still did nearly 5km. That evening I played with my foam roller. I have such a love/hate relationship with that blasted thing. I love it, but have to use it when Peanut is asleep or out the house, the language I use is involuntary and very blue. My bad.

Anyhoo, I got back from my run and dyed my hair. I had a list as long as my arm of jobs to do, but I was in the shower I thought, “Stuff it” – technical term. I looked up cinema times, I wanted to see Room, but it’s not out here yet, so thought about going to see either Star Wars again or The Revenant. But after I’d wandered around and finished my chores at the plaza I borrowed Into The Woods on DVD instead. I quite enjoyed it, although unusually for a musical, I didn’t end up singing any of the songs afterwards for days, although I do want the witches blue dress now. Not like Sweeny Todd ‘Ave a bit of priest!’ Or Phantom, Me and My Girl, Joseph, Spamalot or Rocky Horror, (amongst others, I’ve linked to film versions where I can, rather than theatre versions) where I know all the words. We had a family dinner, I made macaroni cheese, throwing the sauce together in the thermomix while the pasta boiled, it was one of those that you do quickly but taste ‘mazin. I finished off George’s Marvellous Medicine with Peanut. Hubs went to see Star Wars again, I sat up in bed and read Oliver Sacks with repeated cups of tea then sacked out.

Monday was great, because I gave myself permission to stop and just ‘be’ for a while. I need to do more of that.