I started a blog on Tumblr and have been updating it more regularly than i have over here, usually when i sit down for a coffee in the cafe or when i have a bit of time before dinner. This is the link- genevievejohn.tumblr.com. I’d love to see you there!
Yes, we have moved!
And with that, i must go nurse my bebe and put her to sleep. More to come soon. x
Gosh, it’s so easy to let my writing slide when there are a million other things vying for my attention. We still haven’t found a house but did inspect a beautiful albeit expensive apartment on Saturday. Once i saw the door knocker, white plantation shutters, (big!) kitchen, wooden floorboards, fireplace (not working though), the large-ish master bedroom and (small) bedroom with a (gasp) juliette balcony, i was sold. We were poking around downstairs in the communal yard and realised they had a notice up on the times one was allowed to do laundry in the communal laundry room. That was…i don’t know…i quite liked that. We will put in an application for it and see if we get it. If we don’t, the hunt continues. $650/week IS a lot of money to spend on a fairly small apartment. We’ll see.
In the meantime, here is what i’ve been:
Reading: I’ve started and stopped two books. I just couldn’t get into them. I have Elizabeth Berg’s What we keep, an oldie but a goodie which i’ve read before but will probably read again. I really need to get started on the latest issue of Seeing the Everyday. I love this magazine. Firstly, NO ADS! And lovely writing and photographs. I requested a subscription for my birthday last year and am glad i did. I’m also reading, i guess, all the books i’ve been reading to Beth. Two a day. I’m probably into some of them more than she is but i like the whole book before bedtime routine.
Writing: Nothing apart from this.
Watching: The Company Men on DVD. Great movie about men from a certain company who lost their jobs and were forced to re-examine their lives. It was so real, since Jon lost his job last year a few weeks after Beth was born. That was a very, very hard time during what was supposed to be a special time. But it’s all good now and he has found another job. But it made me realise that everything is temporary and anything could happen at anytime. I’ve also been watching episodes of Felicity while Beth has her afternoon nap. Felicity, with a cup of tea and two cookies, totally makes my day.
Spotting: Buds on my jasmine plant AND magnolias! Spring is near!
Surfing: Food 52. I love this website. Every recipe i’ve tried has been fantastic. I have also really enjoyed reading Joanna’s series on the work/life balance of mums on A Cup of Jo. Very eye-opening. I’m getting to that stage where i sense myself itching to do some work from home and it’s interesting to see how other mums handle parenting and working.
Exploring: The city. Jon, Beth, myself went into the city for the first time since she was born, two weeks ago. Zara and Gap. Need more time in those shops.
I will try to post pictures from our trip to the city soon. Till then, be well.
I will miss the light that streams into the living room every afternoon at 3pm as i sit on my white couch. The winter afternoon sun warms my bones as i sit down to a book and a cup of tea. I will miss being distracted by the shadows of the leaves on the wall. They put on a show for me. Some dance, some wave, some sing. They keep me company as i sit alone, silent. Soon, the sun will get too bright and i will have to face the other way. Even that, i will miss. I will miss the dreams that were dreamt as i sat on the couch, when it seemed like we could conquer anything that was thrown at us. I will miss the days i sat with a pregnant belly, tired and anxious as i awaited the birth of my first child, my baby. Those days were not easy but there was a certain joyful expectation laced with the worry as i sat waiting. I will miss the nights i spent curled up with Jonathan as we watched a movie, that feeling of being home, safe. I will miss the tears and frustration as i learned to nurse my baby, an inexperienced woman fumbling along this journey of motherhood. Yes, even that i will miss. Though this same couch will travel with us to our new home yet to be found, it will be a different couch once it gets there. It will not be a couch in this house. But i will make new memories on this couch. Laughter will be heard, tears will be shed. Life will go on.
Beth and i have started going to the library on Friday evenings. By the time i’ve nursed her, fed her dinner, changed her nappy and grabbed my things, it ‘s a mad rush to get to the children’s library before it closes at 6pm. But i make sure we go anyway, even if we arrive at 5.45.
Last night, we borrowed eleven books for her. I am apparently incapable of borrowing less than 5 books, also evidenced by our trip to the adult library across the room, where i borrowed six books. Six! I don’t know where i’m going to find the time to read all those books. In fact, i am still only three quarters of my way through Tina Fey’s Bossypants and that’s due in a few days.
For me though, it’s the thrill of walking up and down each aisle, slowly, my eyes scanning for interesting titles or book covers (yes, i judge a book by its cover.). And when i find a book i think i might like, i sometimes go past it and read the synopsis of another book and then come back to it. It’s as if the thrill is doubled that way, when i find the book again. Although sometimes, i forget where i found the interesting book and then i just get annoyed.
It is a great hope of mine that Beth will learn to love books as much as i do. Right now, she pats each page and then upon realisation that she cannot put it in her mouth, finds something else to play with. But i know the day will come when i read her a story and just as i’m about to turn off the lights in the room, i will hear her whisper, “Mama, can we read another book?”. And i will say, “Darling, you need to sleep.” But still, i will smile, go to the bookshelf and pick out a book. We will lie in bed together, her little body warm against mine, the glow-in-the-dark stars above watching us. And i will start, “Once upon a time…”.
It’s been a lovely day. Ordinary, but still, lovely. A morning trip to the shops to buy groceries; playtime with my spunky little girl; watching an episode of Glee and an episode of Parenthood while spunky girl napped for two hours in the afternoon; skyping my auntie; an evening trip to the library to get Beth some books; Jon meets us at the library; a stop at the local Thai restaurant to pick up some tom yum soup; a warm shower; grilled snapper and a spinach, avocado, grapefruit and orange salad for dinner; listening to Winter Hymnal by the Fleet Foxes and Rolling in the Deep and Someone Like You by Adele; and soon, sleep.
We’ve had a cold snap here the last few days and it’s absolutely freezing in the morning. I think it’s time to unearth my gloves so my fingers don’t swell like they usually do every winter (except for last winter, when i was pregnant and toasty, thanks to bebe.).
Anyway, this morning, i sent Jon to the train station and walked to About Life to stock up on some fruit and veggies. I didn’t manage to have breakfast before i left the house and was on the lookout for something healthy (which ruled out chocolate almond croissants), tasty and most importantly, cheap (which ruled out most of the food items at Luxe- my go-to coffee place). I spotted a sign for organic porridge with yogurt and rhubarb compote for $5.90 outside the About Life cafe and decided to try some.
Oh, it was yum! I loved the slightly sweet vanilla yoghurt and the beautiful not-too-tart rhubarb, which went perfectly with the oats. I may just have to try making some compote at home over the weekend and hope it helps curb my inevitable sweet cravings later on in the day.
Now that i’ve decided to bake only on Fridays (to avoid overindulging during the week), i’ve been building up a repertoire of baked goods that are weekend-worthy. So far, i plan to make some spelt, chocolate chip and hazelnut cookies (courtesy of Hey, Lady Grey) and oatmeal muffins (via 101 cookbooks). But this may make an appearance again. Because it’s so, so, so good. I will try to refrain myself from making all three this weekend but no promises there. It is the Queen’s birthday long weekend after all (although it’s not the actual date of HRH’s birthday and many countries in the commonwealth celebrate her birthday on various days. Confusing, i know but all i’m interested in is the public holiday anyway!) so maybe it is ok to bake and bake…and bake?
It’s all quiet in the house now, except for the symphony that is on. Beth is having her afternoon nap and i am sitting at the dining table at just the right spot it seems, for the sun is streaming in through the glass door and onto my body. Ah, the sun disappeared just as i finished typing that last sentence and i hear Beth stirring.
It figures, my friends, it figures.
Well, this afternoon, i have been tasked with the very! fun! job of transferring files from my computer to an external hard drive. I may even make the bed (you should know that i am usually a stickler for morning bed-making and i am very particular about the way my bed is made and cannot stand a messy bed so an unmade bed in the afternoon is totally out of character for me.).
And so i really should get a move on.
Until later, be well.
I did a maternity photoshoot for a family from my church this afternoon at my favourite spot in Queen’s park. It felt great to be using my mind creatively and reminded me that i am not just a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a niece. I am also me.
This morning, we went by Central Baking Depot and left with a pancetta and gruyere quiche and a chocolate and almond croissant. They were perfect accompaniments to my soy cappuccino and Jon’s soy chai latte from Luxe.
Yesterday, I had a vision of myself walking along the street with my aunt, on our way to the Depot to buy some pastries. Today, as doubts fill my mind, that vision sustains me.
I am reminded of a verse in the bible that says (and i am paraphrasing here) that people perish without a vision. You know what? I believe that. Visions and dreams give us hope. They give me hope that one day, i will have that big, beautiful kitchen that will host hundreds of morning and afternoon teas- elegant, refined parties with fifteen women eating delicate cucumber sandwiches and lavender shortbread or a spontaneous tete-a-tete with a good girlfriend over English breakfast tea and apple and cinnamon teacake or yes, this- baking chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies with Beth. Mess, mess everywhere. But giggles and bright eyes.
So, a simple, even ordinary vision of myself and my aunt walking down the street to Central Baking Depot to buy pastries? I hold on to that with dear life.
Tonight, I lie in bed with my head on Jon’s chest and i can hear his beating heart. Pa-dum. Pa-dum. Pa-dum. A nice, steady rhythm. I suddenly think of my own heart, my own body. I think of my dinner of grilled salmon, soba noodles and bok choy and how it was being digested at that very moment. I think about how it will sustain me. I think about my cells, muscles, bones. I think about life and being alive. I think about the cookies i will have a little later, warmed in the microwave so the chocolate chunks melt. I think about Beth and wonder if she will sleep through the night. I think about my two hour nap earlier in the afternoon. I think about tomorrow. I think about moving in 13 days and not having found a house.
And once again, i think of life and being alive and at least i have that for today.
Since it’s the first day of winter, i thought i’d share some of my favourite cold weather recipes with you:
I’ve got this cookie on my mind today and will see if i have time tonight to bake. It seems like winter came early this year, what with the cold, cold May we had. I have to admit that while i love the idea of winter, once it gets here, i grow tired of it pretty quickly. My toes have already started to swell up so that’s not a good sign of things to come.
(Spring, i miss you!)
In other news, Beth got her first haircut today- a little bob and side fringe. Oh goodness, she does look very, very cute. I had such a nice time at my hairdresser’s too. There was another lady in there getting her hair done and she took it upon herself to entertain Beth while her hair was being cut. I had such a lovely time chatting with her and my hairdresser, Janet and i had a spring in my step when i left.
That’s what adult conversation does to me these days.
Now, i’m off to pack a few boxes in anticipation of our move to a new home which we haven’t found yet. We’re cutting it pretty close since we only have two weeks left in our current place but that’s how we like to do it over here. I’m also hoping to wash my hair today. Yes, considering how infrequent hair washes have become since Beth was born, it is definitely information worth sharing. I am also hoping to start on the latest Elizabeth Berg book- Once upon a time, there was you, which Jon picked up for me from the library. I recently discovered her blog and it makes me happy to be able to read her more often through it. Hands down, my very favourite author.
Lunch break is over, my friends. Catch you all later.