Take a new path and see where it leads

I’ve been thinking about routine and habits. I have been taking the same route on my morning walk for the last month. So this morning I decided to mix it up and reverse my walk.

It’s interesting to see what you notice when you go in the completely opposite direction. Here’s what I discovered.

A fence library

fence-library

Driveway mosaics

cats-on-driveway

A rainforest

hidden-path

Street art

street-art

Somewhere to sit

chair-by-the-water

The road less travelled

bush-walk

A new path

path

I’m not keen to do this every day (so many more hills in the opposite direction), but it was good to mix it up.

What can you change in your routine? Find a new path today.

The best gluten-free pancakes I’ve ever tasted

I’ve been gluten intolerant for over 20 years and it’s sometimes difficult (if not impossible) to find a great tasting gluten-free equivalent of my old favourites from childhood – pies, pastries, bread and pancakes.

Well readers, a friend introduced me to Hale & Hearty in Waterloo yesterday and my life has been seriously altered by these super fluffy stacks of heaven. Most of their pancakes are gluten and dairy free – and some are even sugar free. I have no idea how these guys do it, but they taste like the real deal and the presentation is out of this world.

pancakes-singular

Banana and Walnuts

All hale these hearty stacks of mind blowing awesomeness. And bless you Hale & Hearty from the bottom of my gluten-free heart (and stomach) for this miraculous recipe. I’ll be back to try the rest of the menu.

Wilhelminas and the joy of having a local

Do you have a local? There is something special about having a local place where you can drop by, hang out, have a drink and a chat.

I’ve had the theme song from Cheers in my head this week. If you grew up in the 80’s, you’ll know the iconic piano intro and the lyrics, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came”. Now you have it in your head (sorry).

The lyrics got me thinking about Wilhelminas, my favourite local bar in Balmain. I often joke that Wilhelminas is my Cheers bar. It’s my third place – you have home as your first place; work as your second place; and then a cafe, club, park or (in my case) bar as your third place.

ginuary

Christopher Peterson (Ph.D.) in his article, Happy Places: Third Places, puts it beautifully:

Third places contribute to the life worth living. They root us; they give us an identity; they restore us; they support us. Bottom line: They allow us to be us. And everyone knows our name.

The team at Wilhelminas have seen me through everything – bad dates, good dates (okay, mostly bad), family dramas, redundancies, birthdays, gin days and just because days. They always remember my favourite drink. They’re friendly, sweet, kind and generous. Some of the team have moved on to other places, but we’ve remained friends. I’ve brought my friends to the local and formed beautiful new friendships with people I’ve met at the bar (in fact, two of them are standing at the bar in the main photo). So many fun times together. Love you guys.

mikey-and-sam

If you’re reading this Wilhelminas peeps past and present, you make life worth living. You ground me; you give me identity; you restore me; you support me. Bottom line: you allow me to be me. And everybody knows my name (even if I forget mine after a few gins). Thank you for being my local.

What’s your third place? It doesn’t have to be a bar. It could be the local cafe where the barista remembers your coffee, a local pool or a bench in the park. It’s simply somewhere you can be you.

May you find your happy place this weekend. Cheers!

Talk to the trees today

All our wisdom is stored in the trees – Santosh Kalwar

There is something truly remarkable about trees beyond the fact that they keep us healthy and alive. I’ve always felt grounded and centred around beautiful old trees.

This morning I stopped to take a #shoesoftheday video of a tree in the park. It reminded me of a trip to the Muir Woods National Monument. I gazed up at the giant sequoias and California redwoods and a perfect leaf fell from one of the trees into my open hand. The tree was communicating with me.

leaf-muir-woods

Muir Woods

After I took my video, I stretched out on the bench under the tree and studied the branches and the leaves. This tree did not talk and a leaf did not fall, but simply stopping to acknowledge the tree today was enough.

balmain-east-park

Balmain East

Talk to the trees. They may not talk back, but the silence may be just what you need to hear.

Main photo of the Muir Woods taken by yours truly.

Why did a grandma poke her tongue at me?

There is a busy pedestrian crossing in my neighbourhood. It’s directly opposite the Woolies supermarket, so it gets a lot of foot traffic.

As I was driving home last Friday, I stopped for an elderly woman and her grandchild to cross the street. The grandma got to the middle of the crossing, turned to my car and poked her tongue out. I know !!! I was just as shocked as you dear reader. What did I do to deserve this angry distain from someone I didn’t even know?

ke-wen-623575-unsplash

Photo by ke wen on Unsplash

The incident puzzled me for the rest of the weekend. And then it dawned on me. I was singing in the car. I was belting out Seasons of Love from Rent. I was up to singing the chorus and the ‘love’ just as grandma was entering the crossing and she must have thought I was poking my tongue out at her for having to stop. Hilarious!

This got me thinking that sometimes we jump to conclusions without having the facts. Perhaps we should stop and pause before reacting.

I may never ever get to tell Grandma that I was practising for this week’s Sydney Flash Mob Choir and that I wasn’t bothered about stopping to allow her and junior to cross the street.

To avoid a similar incident in the future, I’m going to stop and pause my falsetto until I make it safely to the other side of the crossing. Next time she may come back with her cane !

Main photo by Alex Harvey on Unsplash

Some mornings

Some mornings I look at the angle of the light shining through the oak in the courtyard of the old sandstone church.

Picture1Some mornings I watch a small dog nestle under a stool as his owner reads the paper.

Picture2

Some mornings I stretch in the park and feel the day filled with infinite possibilities.

picture3

Some mornings I drink a long black out of a bright turquoise cup and start writing my bestseller in a yellow Moleskine notebook.

picture4

Some mornings I look at the sky over the neighbour’s hedge and feel part of something infinite.

picture5

What did you do this morning?