The inspiration for our little getaway over the school holidays was to go to see the Rone exhibition at the Burnham Beeches mansion in the Dandenong Ranges. My friend had shared some of his work on Instagram and as soon as the show was announced here I was on it! So I got a rental car and drove up carefully – the first time I have driven on the left hand side of the road in years to our little Air Bnb for the week.
Our first stop before check in was Grants picnic ground where you can get delicious pies for a late lunch and go and feed some cockatoos for $4 for plate of seed. The kids loved it and so did I and I was blown away to experience so many cockatoos in one place. After our fun with the birds we wandered over to the forest where you can get a glimpse into the feel of the National Park and it was absolutely divine to be amongst the giant Mountain Ash and huge ferns. I have not been hiking in Australia in 12 years and my experiences have been in amongst the redwood forests of Northern California, it was so good to be home amongst the trees again!
I am down to the last 6 days in the United States and it has been a whirlwind of goodbyes to many peeps I love. The sadness is still there but the excitement of going back home is becoming real. I have really been enjoying moments in time when it has been the last time. This is the 2nd last taco Tuesday I am having in California – it is the Kalee-fornia Fish Taco.
Last week I went to my last exhibition night with the school community I have spent the last 9 years with. It was a wonderful experience with the kids presenting their slides on the Native American tribes and seeing their building work presented in the STEAM room with Mr A.
Friday I went out the ballet with my friend to see The Snow Queen and here is the downtown Christmas tree just outside the theatre. That was the last time I would check out a show and it was so fun to be with my friend and see her daughter dance – Thank you for taking me!
Over the weekend I went on a trip to Portland to catch up with some friends and eat and get a tattoo. Here are a couple of dishes from Trinket – a plate of potato hash and duck eggs and avocado. And on the right from Holiday – a seasonal salad with a gluten-free vegetable tart so divine! I absolutely love the food in Portland vegan, gluten-free, seasonal and organic what my cafe dreams are made of!
Sunday evening we had a night out to the Blue Collar Wrestling which was a cultural experience and hilarious! The kids were wondering what happened to their Mum when I told them I went to a wrestling show. After the show, we went to The Alibi a super cool Tiki lounge that had karaoke on a Sunday night. We had our own little karaoke party at our booth while we drank the deadly fancy cocktails and ate burgers and fries. Being inside an original tiki bar is what this place is about, I loved it and had such a blast with my friends.
Monday came around all too fast and my friend took me to Proud Mary Coffee a cafe from Collingwood in Melbourne now in Portland. It was so good to have a flat white before I head on back to Melbourne next week. The food was amazing and I enjoyed this custard brioche pastry along with tastings of the savoury goodness my friends were eating. It was such a friendly atmosphere where we chatted to the owner and general manager about living in Portland, the future of the cafe (opening in Austin) and the cost of living in Melbourne.
After brunch I had an appointment at Scapegoat Tattoo studio with Cody Zeek – he also did my hummingbird tattoo many moons ago. Lying there feeling the pain of a “cat scratching sunburn” as Cody traced the lines of the tattoo. I am so happy with it as a homage to my time here in California.
Oh, and after the tattoo, I was starving so a friend recommended Tight Tacos with the two vegetarian options (he enjoyed a meat one). I had the cauliflower with harissa and the other seasonal veggies topped with the salsa and guac it was delish and the perfect post tattoo feed. Later on, it was time to head on back to the bubble of the Bay Area with tech geeks and no flavour – Portland was keeping it real, Viva la Resistance!
Tuesday I came back and it was all on with the holiday boutique with the kids where my friend suggested I get them to sell my stock at a massive blowout sale and I am glad I did. So then the sales went back to the school, yippee everyone wins and I have no more stock to take with me!
I will miss these little farm animals here as we are enjoying every minute with them as we have one more week and we say farewell to the lovely ladies and the beautiful black barn cat.
And finally, it was time to say farewell to my school community at Stevenson Elementary School, this place will live in my heart for all the inspiration and creativity in education. Inspiring me to become an educator. One of our teachers got the kids to make these cool decorations out of cans the other day. Today on her last day of school for a month, Missy graduated with a quick ceremony with her 5th-grade cohort and her teacher put a cat background on the TV! Super special love for the 9 years of the community at our amazing school, the educational foundation our kids have experienced is something we will treasure forever.