November and all the new things!

I cannot believe it is November already and that Thanksgiving is just around the corner! We will be celebrating in our own way this year and really missing our Thanksgiving get together in Oakland with our good friends. We will have to Facetime with them and share some love.

There were lots of new things happening over the last couple of weeks as my daughter was invited to go ice skating with her class. So, a school friends Dad drove us all to Docklands O’Brien ice rink for the afternoon. It was such a great opportunity to go ice skating! I have roller skated and roller bladed but I have never ice skated. Even when we were in California, we did not get around to it, even though the ice rink was in the next suburb. So my daughter got on the skates and no problem – she was even helping her friends get around. I got on with a very slow start and eventually I felt my balance on the skates and it was so much fun!! We are so looking forward to going ice skating again but at $50 for the two of us, it will only be on special occasions.

I have been volunteering at my daughters primary school to teach sewing to the kids. The art teacher at her school is doing textiles for the last term of school and I am helping out with the kids felt animals. This is what I used to teach the kids when I was in Mountain View California in the parent volunteer led Arts Focus classes. For the kids in years 5/6 we are doing the whole project from scratch where the kids trace their animal onto felt, cut them out, embellish the animal and this week they will be stuffing the animal learning the blanket stitch and whip stitch. It is so good to see how enthusiastic the kids are about the felt animal project. They want to keep the animal for themselves as they did have the option to make them for their prep buddy, instead now that they have practiced their own felt animal they will be given the opportunity to design another smaller one for their buddy.

The other good thing I have been becoming aware of now is the amount of fish that I am not eating. After watching the film Artifishal it has really changed my mind about consuming fish. Not only are fish stocks depleted, the fish farms pollute water, also what I found out on this documentary is that fish hatcheries in America breed fish to be distributed into local rivers where these fish breed with the wild fish. What happens to wild fish is that they become less resilient and disease spreads. This is an interesting site to check out for aquaculture in Australia.

So I have been slowly adding more plant based foods to our meals every day – which means soaking the chick peas, beans and eating lentils – there are so many varieties. There is still goat cheese in my bowls and I am not fully vegan but it is mostly vegetarian we are consuming at the moment. On the left is a couscous BBQ rub baked chick pea bowl with roasted beets and goat cheese. On the right is a deconstructed Japanese hand roll with sushi rice, vegetables, kimchi, and baked Tamari and SMALT BBQ rub tofu topped with Nori and a miso mayo sauce – yummo! Cooking dinner does require a bit of imagination and planning but I am making it work.

The huge excitement for our house is that the carpenters have been real busy and getting the framing in place and the house is starting to take shape even putting the second floor floor joists in as well. When we walked down the alleyway to check out house from the back we saw there was even a wall in place where the laundry and pantry will be. To see all this progress is fantastic and we are surely counting down the days until we move in.

The weather has been crazy here we are out on a balmy 25 degree evening flying the drone at the local park, it was beautiful. But today we have a high of 15 degrees and it is super cold. So the winter coat is still hanging at the front door and the beanie is there too for those cold southerly winds. Have a look at that gorgeous sky, its stunning!

Portland is keeping it real!

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.