Let us eat

With all the excitement of moving into our new pad I totally lost it last week with getting an assignment in, meeting our architects and builder, going to the chiropractor and the delivery of our stuff from California! Yep it was a big week but at least we managed to go out for lunch with our friend to the Boot Factory for a delicious chai. For lunch, I had Cauliflower Black Turtle Bean Felafels with Beet Hommus and Smoked Bocconcini, amazing – I am so in love with the food there and the bonus is that this cafe is only a 10 minute walk away from our new digs ๐Ÿ˜€

Saturday was my early Mothers Day lunch at Smith and Daughters, a place I have been wanting to visit each time I have visited Melbourne and finally my wish came true. An all vegan menu and so delicious I will so have to go back for the Feast Me set menu next time! This time I enjoyed food from the brunch menu with the Meatball Sub, a Holy Basil cocktail and delightful little balls of sugar donuts, bombolini as a shared dessert – I felt so good after that incredible meal complete with a sugar high!

So on Monday we met our architects and builder to tie up some last minute changes before the contract papers go through. I am so excited that things are moving along – the colours for the interior of our house are above, as well as the black charred timber for the exterior and the white stone for the kitchen with the terrazzo for the bathroom and the colours for the kids rooms in the foreground – whew it is a huge project that is going to take 12 months to completion. And the pic next to the new house is The Great wall from America in our garage from our house in California. We went through many boxes over the weekend and all I can say is that it is time to donate more stuff to the Brotherhood of St Laurence – why did we ship so much stuff back?!? My craft supplies have to seriously be culled, boo hoo or I gotta get making ๐Ÿ˜€

And last Saturday was election day – the first time I had voted in Australia in 12 years! I remember I did a absentee vote for Kevin 07 when I was in Vancouver, Canada but since then I lost the privilege of voting! Anyway we went out to lunch with friends at my favourite place in Melbourne CERES at the Merri Cafe and I enjoyed a lovely flat white and the most amazing bowl of goodness the Merri Poke Bowl, so so good! The kids enjoyed the playground and they took me up into the treehouse and down into the termite hole and bombarded me with bark as a surprise – not cool! The weather was 21 degrees and it was an absolutely divine day.

As for Sunday the results of the election were appalling but sure if the fear drives the masses to vote for conservative governments then we just gotta keep fighting. We have to block that stupid mine up North and make sure the forests and land is taken care of in Australia that is why I have volunteered for the Greens – seriously we need the people power to stop this madness, climate change is real people and we do not need to blast the earth for more coal! Australia has plenty of wind and sunshine, the investment in renewables would be the best thing this country could do – but no, again thinking of the short term gain with no foresight for the future. Well there are enough people who have had enough plus I have seen this madness in America while I was living there when the Dump was elected and how depressing that was! What I saw was the energy in people to rise up in response to the bullshit that was being spouted, we just have to kick against those pricks and the time is now!

Tough times

Well what can I say about last week is that all I got to do was get into my little routine of going to the gym every day except Saturday and study every day! That was the plan but as it turned out the weekend was no study time as we had to run errands on Sunday to get stuff for Missy’s camp at the Yarra Valley and eat ramen in the city. Saturday I had to talk to a builder and get a couch delivered, so good to have a couch that I have borrowed from my friend.

Life has been very boring of late as I have two very heavy subjects and lots of reading. I have assignments due – one this week and one next week and I am trying to get it all done so I can go away for our little Easter break at the Dandenong Ranges to see Rone and play in the forest for a while! I really have to have some goals at the moment as the solo parenting is taking its toll on my mind and time. Lucky for the gym as that really helps with getting out and doing something otherwise the week flies by with study and if I am lucky a bit of crafting at night as it is hard to focus on reading, let along writing something sensible. I went to the craft store on the weekend to get some yarn and supplies so I can craft on a whim.

The kids are doing well at school though they say they are bored so I feel that it could have been better for them if we stayed over in the States, especially at our wonderful elementary school. Thing is if you are used to a progressive approach to education it is a hard to compare it to anything else. As the kids are at public schools here which look good to me but I am not at school everyday so maybe they just need more challenge? It could be that one is a tween and the other is a teen and all they want to do is be on the screen – aaargh my greatest enemy/friend. I use my machine to study each day so it hard for me to model good screen time behaviours but these two are on them as soon as they come home from school and until I turn the wi-fi off at 8pm. I have had to unplug the wi-fi but I need more strategies to get these kids to do something else! They get their chores done but then what? We had a great time when we first moved in to our house and we played Exploding Kittens everyday after dinner until they got sick of it but I think we will have to start again just to have some quality family time.

I still am looking for my peeps and I feel like a stranger in a strange land. Repatriating is tough and I had read about how it feels in books but it is not until you are in the situation you realise that you have to start all over again from scratch. Well at least I have some family and friends here I can call upon, but now that school is happening again the weekends for a lot of them are playing sports. It has been 3 months since I left California and I would like to get out more but I really don’t have time to spare with having to study at every moment I can find. I need to make more goals of hanging with friends for study break times and just get out an about. The kids don’t help as everything I suggest to day trip to they say, “oh that’s boring!” Maybe I was like that when I was young and just wanted to play Nintendo all the time?

At least this weekend we have a plan to go to Fitzroy for Mexican food at Hotel Jesus for Missy’s 11th birthday and go out for some ice cream at Gelato Messina and then to the music shop to get the birthday prezzie of a bass guitar case – good times here we come, now that is a great goal to work towards!

Settling into our new life

Our first week back was extremely productive unlike Mouse the cat (my sister in laws cat) here who is having a great little nap! We decided that we would move back into our yellow house until we get the OK for the builders, this is good in itself as I am gathering paperwork e.g. bills in my name for when we finally go and find a rental property.

Our house is so cute and it was so funny when I walked through thinking – hey this is like looking through a rental property, so why am I looking for a place when this is vacant! It was thanks to my sister in law to help me get my head around it all and relieve the stress of not having to find a rental property in 20 days! Anyway, the kids are pretty bored as I am having to study in between catching up with friends (they play with my friends’ kids) so they are screening it up either on Netflix, the small screens or the computers but I have an essay due on the 16th January so I gotta get into gear!

Last week I arranged to turn on the gas, power and water, bought a new fridge and washing machine and many other household items, organised the insurance for the house, got hooked up to the internet and did a huge grocery shop. There’s still a fair amount to do but I am staying at my friend’s place house sitting while they are in NZ and they have stuff in their house to use until I get back to our house. Starting all over again is huge and the next big ticket item is a car but that requires a fair amount of research and time which I do not have at the moment with my Uni deadline fast approaching.

We stayed at my sister in laws place for a few days before heading on over to my friends house and Missy did a bit of pasta making. She made linguine with my sister in law and it was just delicious with prawns and asparagus in a creamy sauce – yummo! The meat eaters ate a bolognaise mince sauce. The Kitchen Aid Artisan to make fresh pasta is $800 here so we will hold off for a while until all the other outgoing finances to set up are out of the way!

And along came the hottest day we have ever felt in ages! On Friday it went up to 42 degrees and man it was brutal. I found it really hard to focus as it was so hot and could not do my studies as I was wanting to hang out in the air conditioning and do nothing then towards the end of the day the temperature dropped 20 degrees and it was thundering and raining. Since that day the weather has been gorgeous mid-20s and a cool breeze. It has been so fun to hang outside on the deck with friends and drink tea or study.

As I am house sitting for a friend I am checking out a new part of Melbourne and it is great as I have found a library and an excellent Sri Lankan cafe selling pan rolls and many other delicacies – so that was our treat over the weekend. Missy found a meat pie at the amazing grocery market La Manna and we found a cray cray down at the park. This graphic novel Trish Trash is so fun and I could not resist when I found it at the library, hilarious!! I will have to read it once I get a study break.

It has been quiet here but I like it for a change as my mind has been so full of lists and getting organised to leave a country and start a new life. I am enjoying some time out and I feel like my body and mind needs a bit of a rest. Even though I am still studying and organising house stuff the Australians make it so much easier with their relaxed demeanour and their proactive attitude to get shit done that I really miss! Time to get back to business and catch up on my studies as I have a trip to the city tomorrow to meet a friend at the National Gallery of Victoria for a bit of play – yay!

The wonderful world of Oz

It has been only 4 days since we flew into Melbourne and separated our little Peach family as my hubby is taking care of business back in Cali so he can join us in April 2019. He will visit us in February and enjoy the time when the kids start their new schools and we will be in our rental house for the next 12 months. My mission for the first couple of weeks this year is to find a place to live that is close to the schools and the shops.

Bye bye baby girl Bella, this sweet kitty is enjoying all my woollen pieces while I was getting myself organised to head on back to Australia – she will join us in April 2019 when she is free to come here after all her rabies meds have taken effect and she has followed the whole procedure to get back to Australia. She will spend 10 days in quarantine and she will be back home with us, I have tried to FaceTime her but she is a bit confused ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

So many goodbyes to San Francisco even to our lovely little (chicken) ladies protesting for Goji Berries. We had a relaxing 15-hour flight from SFO with Qantas with the sweetest crew as a wonderful intro to our time home.

After a couple of days of feeling out of it we finally got round to New Years Eve with our family and enjoyed a delicious feast of smoked salmon, prawns, salads and pavlova for dessert. We are loving all the animals here with the dogs, cats and the chickens. It is so good to be back and feel grounded back home with my sister in law.

For new years day we all hiked at Mount Macedon and just to be in the bush and smell the trees and air made me feel so good. I realised I was home in nature and am looking forward to so much more exploring this beautiful country. Funny we had not experienced it before as our life was about hanging in the city, drinking at bars and going to the movies. Now with kids life is so different and we are ready for adventures and to replicate the camping and exploring we have experienced in California.

These beauties live on the farm where my sister in laws horses live. I see the unicorn horse, the beautiful pony and the cool horse with the fly mask. We are all looking forward to 2019 with so much excitement in our new lives back in Australia.

Food In LA and Good Times

The best papusa at Saritas at Grand Central Market
Thanksgiving with our friends in O-town
Calligraphy
Matcha Latte in SLO
Inspiration by Murakami
Vegetarian Sushi on Sunset
Sunset at Echo Park Lake
Swan on Echo Park Lake
Exercise with the Swan
Beautiful Coral bark tree
Yayoi Kusama at The Broad
Latte at Grand Central Market
G&B Menuย 
Inside G&B Menu
Finally made it to Grand Central Market
Outside little pine – Moby’s vegan restaurant
little pine – a beautiful vegan restaurant
Dessert with praline at little pine
Gingerbread cheesecake at little pine
Dear animals at little pine
little pine vegan menu
Guisado’s tacos
Palm trees on the Hollywood trail
History of okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki on the hotplate in Little Tokyo
Artwork in Silver Lake
Fam Bam at our friends pad
Avocado toast at Paso Robles
Walt Disney concert hall

A Few Days in LA

For our last family adventure in California, we did a road trip to LA to see what we could find. The itinerary was influenced by the film La La Land and advice from friends about where to go, what to eat and what to check out. 

We decided to do the scenic route on the 101 to find places to stop off and stretch our legs and have a break. The first stop was Paso Robles for lunch and we found this great spot called Brunch where I found some delicious avocado toast with sprouts and balsamic, it was so good. At this cafe, we also bought some treats from the attached cheese shop with a salted baguette made by a local baker and local cheese to take to our friend’s house in LA. 

Saturday: We arrived in LA and visited some friends of ours who moved away from the Bay and enjoyed some time with them and had dinner together – it was so good to catch up! Later we checked into our Air Bnb the Habana Hut in Silver Lake and enjoyed a good nights sleep in a gorgeous spot high on a hill.

Sunday: Waking up the next morning we wandered down to the local 365 by Whole Foods Market to get supplies and have breakfast – just a walk away. In the afternoon we took a Lyft over to Little Tokyo in downtown LA for the kids to check out the fun stuff. I have never seen so many Pusheens in my life! While we were there we got into The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA for free admission on the weekend, so it was a great score. The gallery Space was incredible and I loved the artwork, the rest of the family was a bit undecided as they were saying how is this art? For me, I have been suffering from a huge lack of culture and art so this was super exciting for me that I was chatting to all the staff about the art pieces and the artists. 

Monday: Our plan for was to hike to the Hollywood sign and the kids really did not want to do an 8-mile hike so I did a bit of research and we started the hike from the Charlie Turner Trailhead at the Griffith Observatory car park and we did about 2.5 miles in and out as the kids were bored. The track was lovely and wide but take a hat and a snack as the whole trail is exposed, in the summer it would be so hot! On our way back we took in the view from Captain’s Roost, a selection of fire-charred palm trees surrounded by spectacular succulents including a fire stick bush and massive agave, it was so cool to see them. After we came back to the car park we enjoyed some time wandering around the Griffith Park Observatory (note, it is closed on Monday) to enjoy some photo opportunities and the incredible views of the expanse of Los Angeles. 

Enjoying our relaxing time at the observatory checking out the building and the artwork we found a hummingbird and Ash was very keen to make friends with this guy! I managed to get in for a closeup shot and then an action shot of a hummer giving Ash a flash before flying off into the distance.

After the little hike and wander to Griffith Observatory, we drove down to Los Feliz to the Fern Dell trail. This little trail was briefly featured in La La Land it was a cool location to discover and explore for some interesting foliage and trees and the kids enjoyed looking for goldfish and crayfish in the little streams. The cute red squirrel was a rare sight for me as I only see the grey ones on the redwood tree in my back garden – this guy is praying to be invisible to the dog.  Oh and after a hike, we enjoyed some tacos at Guisados in Echo Park – highly recommended by a local, where the tortillas were fresh and fish and vegetable tacos were delicious. 

One thing I really enjoyed about LA is the street art everywhere – it reminds me a lot of Melbourne with their laneways of murals created by local artists. The kids enjoyed the fact that artists are commissioned to create art for the streets. I love this Audrey Hepburn mural that we discovered when we wandered into the Toy District of DTLA. 

Tuesday: We packed in around four stops on our trip to downtown LA beginning with booking tickets for The Broad a month ago. So before we hit the gallery the plan was to go to Grand Central Market and check out the food and of course, coffee! To get to the market we took a Lyft to Angels Flight – a cute little funicular tram that took less than a minute to travel downhill, the kids enjoyed it very much and at $1 it was just fine! At the market, I found the tastiest latte made with almond-macadamia milk and served in a 10 oz glass, just the way I like it. From our coffees, my hubby and kids had tacos and horchata then we wandered down to The Last Bookstore for lots of fun photo opportunities and an excellent selection of books! The second floor also had many artist studios with artwork for sale. Oh and we briefly wandered into the Bradbury building to get a feel for history and see where some scenes from Bladerunner were filmed and we did all of this before lunch! 

After lunch we had our tickets to The Broad, I was so happy to be there and see the art that I had only read about in art history books for real. Plus the building itself is spectacular outside and in. To get tickets for this gallery is to book in advance where the tickets are available one month in advance and it is completely free! Now, where on earth can you experience this dream of visiting rooms of contemporary artists in such splendour. The huge sculpture by Nancy Rubin outside is by the MOCA and to us, it looked like a chicken. The kids were done with galleries by this time but if you are alone it would be the perfect end to the day.  Though we did zip across the road to see the Walt Disney Concert Hall which is another marvel of architecture – those pics are on my phone which I need to upload soon. 

Wednesday: On our way home we drove by the hills burned by the fires in Ventura and stopped at Rincon Island (a now-defunct oil drilling platform with a super long jetty). I can see why it was shut down due to pollution as the water there is beautiful and clear and full of life with anemones and mussels by the bunch with a beautiful stretch of beach looking towards Rincon Point known for its perfect surf. 

I had no expectations of our trip to LA and I had heard from friends that they either loved it or hated it. My experience is that I loved it and really enjoyed our experience there with so much to see in such a sprawl and from what I did see I really enjoyed the art and food with no shortage of vegetarian options! One standout was Little Pine a vegan restaurant owned by Moby with all the proceeds going to animal organisations (I found out about it on Insta). It was a dream come true for me going to a vegan restaurant, the food was delicious and filling and the desserts were so tasty – so if you ever go make sure you order wisely and save room for dessert.

I have no idea why I have not spent more time in LA in the twelve years I have been living here but hey better late than never.