Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 31: Farewell Autumn 2014, you have been…

What an Autumn it has been.

Warm and sunny and lovely.

Climate change is here to see and really, as a city slicker who hates the freezing cold of winter I have enjoyed every sunny afternoon.

We have some old roses that we prune around this time of year - but not this year, they are still flowering and providing beautiful smelling blooms for the house.

These blooms would usually be long gone.

Autumn really is the month of natural beauty isn't it.

Spring may have its blooms, but autumn is where the fun is.

Autumn brings crunchy leaves, the relief of 45 degree days and bushfires that we had in the summer and still no freaking biting wind that we will be getting with the start of winter.

There was a sad moment this Autumn when I dusted off my favourite puffer coat and gave it a wash in the front loader. Don't do this if you have a down-filled puffer, it was straight to puffy heaven for that one. (You can dry them in the dryer with a tennis ball to try and get them back into shape though) I am now on the look out for a new one which, once purchased I will wear every day for the next 90 days of winter.

Autumn 2014 you have been pretty perfect.

Friday, May 30, 2014

May 30: Your favourite photo of the week from around the world

It's from right here in Melbourne from the local newspaper.

This is baby John, born at just 395grams at 26 weeks gestation, today he went home. After 165 days of dedicated expert care from the nursing staff, this family is finally spending the night together.

Can you imagine their excitement...and how slowly they drove home from the hospital.

  The full story is here.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

May 29: A random act of kindness you have received or given.

It's a shame that this part of our lives has a title these days.

Some people tweeting or texting will even shorten it to RAK. As in " I just received/gave a RAK".

Thing is, if you just live your life dishing out random acts of kindness without thinking about the fact you are doing a random act of kindness than you will feel more of the benefits of being a random of act of kindnesser.

If you keep hoping and waiting for a random act of kindness to happen to you then you will never get one. Or you will, but you won't notice it.

You won't notice the driver who let you in, the person who held the door for you, the person who paid you a compliment, the hairdresser who got you a cup of tea, the friend who bought you a coffee, or just invited you over to her house to make you one. You won't realise it when a friend calls just to say hello or you get a card in the mail. But these are all everyday moments of kindness that make up a good life - for the giver and the receiver.

Don't think about it.

Just be Kind. All the time. And then a little more.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 28: A habit I would like to break

I don't speak French. Minor detail.

I am thinking of getting a cleaner.

I've spent a great deal of time thinking about this cleaner, years in fact.

Mainly on Saturday mornings which is my time to race around and get the house perfect so that I can enjoy the rest of the weekend not thinking about cleaning the house.

Every Saturday morning the rest of the house prepares for me to start giving orders. I begin by telling them to pick things up, put things away, get their school bags onto the hooks and tennis racquets in the cupboard.

One room is delegated Mr H, I beg, plead and cross my fingers that he will actually clean it rather than sit in the room playing candy crush while he uses a tissue to wipe a bench and then declare the room 'DONE".

I have the washing machine spinning, the vacuum whizzing and the dishwasher loaded and at the end of it all I feel awful.

I feel like a nagging fish wife, screaming at everyone to just do their bit. I have hoped this habit would change, I have had hope that the rest of the household would start noticing maybe a shelf in the fridge with beetroot all over it might need a wipe, or that pulling out a table every now and then to vacuum behind it is useful.

Even the youngest members of the family know how to hide when Mum is in 'crazy cleaning mode'.

I can see only one way to break this habit. Paying a cleaner.

Perhaps that might be the way to break some habits around here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27: Share a blog that you enjoy reading

The blogs I like to read most teach me nothing.

They don't tell me how to cook, clean, work, parent, eat clean, knit, grow herbs, quit sugar, run a marathon, wear fashionable clothes or ride a horse.

I do read lots of those too, but the ones I always go back to and never miss are just everyday people living everyday lives and doing stuff. I like to read their stories. I feel like they are friends in a creepy, never going to meet them, kind of way.

If you want to box them in with a label than they would be Personal bloggers or the "I have no niche bloggers".

If you don't know Mel from Coal Valley View you should pop over and say hello.

She blogs about her life in Tasmania with her five kids. She knits, she farms, she parents, she writes, she takes photos and some times she is in the local news regarding a huge project that I am watching quietly on the sidelines because it looks so fabulous.

So go on clickity click over to Mel's blog and say hello

Or see her on Instagram to just keep up with her wonderful photography.

What's another blog that you enjoy reading...I could really write quite a list, but love finding new ones. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26: Are ghosts real?

One of the best tourist tours I have ever done, in fact probably only second to my Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, Austria, is the Fremantle Prison Torch Light tour.

I don't know why we ended up on the night time tour rather than a day time one, maybe we wanted to scare ourselves. But here we were, my sister and I in 1995 engrossed in one small part of our country's history. I don't think we had stuck so physically close to each other in many years.

The Fremantle Prison website is quite upfront about the tour including these words:

This experience involves a number of surprises and is not recommended for children under 10 or anyone with a weak heart or other health issues that may be aggravated by scares.

The prison only closed in 1991 so it was only a couple of years after this that I did the tour. I wasn't viewing something that was from 100 years ago, I was walking around a just closed prison.

The stories shared were historical but also of those still living, some in other prisons and some now out in the community.

We went through the morgue and we went to death row and the gallows where the rope was still hanging ready for the next person. There are cells with artwork covered walls and frames stained with blood were prisoners were flogged with a cat 'o'nine tails.

The last person hanged in 1964 was Eric Cooke, a serial killer who murdered an unknown number of people in Perth. After that, the community kept discussing whether or not capital punishment was something they wanted in our society until eventually it was abolished.

Yet there were still others that died within those walls, of natural causes or as the victims of prison life. Their deaths were not peaceful and painless.

And their ghosts remain there. 

There was a particular story about a female prisoner who has been showing her ghostly presence for decades. I can't recall her story or why she remained at the prison, but she is there.

With the right atmosphere, an experienced story teller, the wind blowing just right and the stars twinkling in the night sky, you just might see those ghosts for yourself.

However, it's important to note that ghosts can do nothing to the living.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 25: You can be a fly on the wall at any time/stage of history, where do you go?

I keep re-writing this post because I just can't work out my answer.

I admit it, I am beaten by this prompt. There is no one place that I can choose to be.

I was thinking maybe some place in history but there are none I want to be a part of that are not horror filled.

I considered somewhere that would tell me the answer to a mystery, like who stole the Beaumont children, or Madeline McCann, but what would knowing and not being able to tell be like?

Then I decided it could be good to be in a room where you knew people were talking about you to hear what they really really thought. But then again, there is a reason they are talking about you with you not there.

I then spent all day thinking about it and weighing up where I could be and yet I give you nothing.

So I give up.

I have no answer.

Help me out, tell me where you would be a fly on the wall in history?

Image: I can't find the original source of this image, if it is yours please let me know so I can credit it. (I found it here)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

May 24: The last book you read

I haven't quite finished this one yet. 

It isn't even a new book and the rest of the world may have read this a decade ago, but it is new to me. 

It kicks off with a man going blind with no reason at all, it's a different type of blindness, he can see white, not black. 

And the blindness is contagious. 

How does society deal with a virus that makes people instantly blind? What does the fear of the virus do to behaviour of usually normal people? 

I can't tell you how good it ends (or badly) or if the story stays so addictive the whole way through, but I do suggest you get this on your want to read list.

Friday, May 23, 2014

May 23: Something that you will never write about.

Airing the dirty laundry, sharing the skeletons in the closest and providing too much information is a thing bloggers are often accused of.

My experience would show otherwise.

Most bloggers give quite a bit of thought to what they think is safe to share and what isn't, and while our children may feature on our blogs and social media channels, look carefully and you will notice the difference in the way many blogger kids are shown online compared to those whose parents just use facebook for personal use.

Take a look at your personal facebook feed, you will see the logo of the school that certain kids go to, you will see parents sharing funny photos (read embarrassing) of their kids. You will also see parents freely sharing the images of kids that are not their kids. It might be a birthday party or a school function and it might be a lovely image but did anyone ask the parents if they minded their kids shared online?

I don't write or share images of other people's kids without the permission of the parents.  I don't share the name of the school my kids go to. I don't discuss their personal health issues and I don't ever talk about how they are doing at school, they could be top of the class or receiving remedial help, but that's not the business of the rest of the world.

It could be argued that I sugar coat their lives and show only what I want you to know. And you would be correct. I decide what I want to share, I filter what I think is appropriate for a wider audience, I give considerable thought to the long term effects of what I share might be.

My kids are my life and this blog is a personal blog about my life, it's amazing how much you can write about something without telling everything.

What is it that you would never write about? 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 22: First names


I love them.

I even love to hate them.

My preference is for old names, real names, spelt correctly names.

I don't like having to guess how to say a name, I don't like incorrect spelling. I don't like YouNeek names that you make up.

BUT, most importantly, I don't care what name you give your child. I just like hearing why or how you chose that name. Was it a name you have always wanted or something new you found while pregnant? Did you care what the name actually meant or was the sound of the name most important to you? Maybe there is a family connection? Does your child have a middle name? How many?

See there are lots of things to talk about with names. They all have a story.

Did you know that throughout history Royal names are always extremely popular? We got school photo's back today and let me tell you there are a lot of Charlie, Will and Harry's at the moment - but there is no Diana or Camilla...maybe because they were not born Royal.

A fun question to ask is, If you had a baby tonight and had to name it what name would you pick right this moment? (Because favourites usually change).

For me, if I had a girl it would be Harriet and if it was a boy it would be Clancy.

But ask me again in a year and these names will have changed.

What names would you pick right now?

The best part of this conversation is that you don't actually have to have a baby!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May 21: Write about a journey in your life.

I hate the word journey.

Did I really write that prompt? Apologies, but let us carry on because there are only ten days to go and I will have blogged every day in May. Ha - that's a journey right there, my blog everyday in May journey. But that one is not finished.

This weekend I had to work on Saturday so that left Sunday as a free family day.

We took off to another National Park area for what was meant to be a 20 minute walk. It wasn't, it never is, but it was really fun.

We walked down the big hill to take a look at the Organ Pipes, they are just rocks but they are pretty good rocks. There is a picnic area down there but this log has a much better viewing spot.

We walked along the river until we got to the Rosette Rock.

Do you see the rosette?

Nature is fab.

After the Rosette Rock is the Tessellated Pavement.

Here you are meant to turn around and walk back the way you came. Unless you are Mr H.

He saw the sign that said





And then he said, "Let's go this way."

I was hesitant but Popps was already way out of my view.

Immy had been busy picking bunches of clover, because she had become 'Queen of Clover' and was required to hold a bunch of clover at all times.

Moments later (on our journey) we were on our hands and knees crawling like mountain goats up this hill and we didn't even know where it was going to end up. Mr H kept saying it would bring us to the car but I couldn't see any way through to the car park. All I could think was getting down was going to be worse than getting up. And I was out of breath.

But the view, the view. Always worth it for the view.

The photos don't show the steepness, but note the trees are down there, that is the other side of the river. Straight down is where we had come from.

When we got to the top and I was trying to take a photo of the view, Immy jumped in my way and it was then I realised that she had made it up the entire track still carrying her bouquet of clover. I don't think she lost a single one as she scrambled over those rocks one handed.

Do you take your kids out for a walk in nature much?

You should. You won't believe what you might get out of it and how great you will all feel afterwards. Also, it won't cost you a thing.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 20: Three people walk into a bar…

Three people walk into a bar.

They have not been out for a long time together and they are going to talk and talk and talk and talk. 

They do not care what music is playing, they do not care who else is at the bar nor do they care if this is the latest place to be seen.

They want to be in a place where they will not be interrupted, they want excellent service, great drinks and fabulous foods. They want wait staff that know what they need and to deliver it in a timely fashion.
They are of course, three women who have fled the usual evening of dishes, readers, teeth brushing and bed times.

They have escaped the day time uniform of jeans and a top with sensible shoes. They might have applied a favourite lipstick and an extra squirt of perfume. After talking non stop and barely acknowledging anything else in their surroundings they will have solved the big issues of their lives, possibly cried together over something they can not fix, shared some secrets about their kids (the good and the bad and the bits they think they are failing at). They will laugh at that one time when... and they will laugh and laugh and laugh some more until everything is right in the world.

They will wrap up the night with the promise that next time must be soon, that they really shouldn't wait so long to do this again.

But they will.

Then months later, three people will walk into a bar....and it will all be the same.

True girlfriends are priceless in life, those you rarely catch up with can sometimes be the bestest ever. 

You all know who you are.

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19: Your favourite restaurant meal

French Onion Soup. 

In Paris. 

Somewhere in the red light district.

I have no idea where I was, the name of the restaurant or what else happened that night, simply can't remember. 

But the meal was a three course pre paid type of thing and when I sat down the first thing on the menu to be served was French Onion Soup. 

I had only known French Onion Soup as a powdered packet mix used in casseroles. I was not that fond of onions and was annoyed that I was going to be served what I expected to be dirty water. 


It was simply amazing. I had never and have never had anything like it. 

Maybe it was because my expectations were so low. Maybe it was the fact I had been backpacking for some months and not eaten a lot of good food, maybe it was just a damn good chef who knew how to make a very decent french onion soup. 

I have never tried to make it myself, but have ordered it at other restaurants and never be as impressed. 

Do you have a favourite restaurant meal?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 18: You have $1million to give to just one charity, which one do you choose.

Just one.

We all have a few charities that we like to assist. Usually it's one we may have had to rely on, or a family member had to. Or a charity that we don't ever want to have to rely on.

I love the work that volunteers and charities do. Everyone wins with a charity. People who need it get help and people feel good for helping and our government taxes can be spent on other things, (like school chaplains and stuff).

Since my Dad died, the Leukaemia Foundation has been my charity of choice. They do good stuff and I strongly believe that blood cancer needs a great deal more funding, research and support. But if I had that much cash I think I would be a bit picky and want to tell them what they did with the dosh. I would want it to be spent on Amyloidosis. I would want it to be spent on medications that are available but that are not funded for Amyloid patients. There is nothing more hopeless than a life saving drug sitting in the fridge and the patient not having the cash to afford that drug, it happens every day in Australia.

My Dad's drug was $7000 a pop, he needed two a week. He was lucky and got on the right list, it was like a cruel joke when the doctor said "Yes! You have a double diagnosis, Myeloma patients get the drug, but Amyloid don't, but you have both diseases so you can get the medication!" We were strangely thrilled. It was hope, it was time, it was a possible time buyer.

Not everyone gets the double whammy. Other's are lucky to not be so sick. They need to wait til they are closer to dead to get the drug.

This is the current fundraising event for all Leukaemia sufferers.

So my million bucks would be for a medication fund for Amyloidosis. It would ensure that those few unlucky souls who get such a shitful disease will have access to hope. Access to a medicine that might buy them time, that will buy them the hope they need to live positive days. It might not even last all that long. That much money might be gone in a year a two, or the drug might be cheaper or it might be replaced with another more effective, more expensive option. Who knows what might happen because medical miracles are happening all the time.

Which charity would get your cashola? 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 17: The worst smell in the world

Yesterday I told you all about the best smell in the world so today it is time for the opposite.

There are bad smells and then there is the worst smell in the world.

The worst smell in the world is one that surrounds you like a blanket. It isn't a fart type of smell that wafts past and makes you slightly unhappy before floating further afield.


The worst smell in the world is one you can't remove yourself from in a hurry. Let me describe one of these experiences for you.

It is just a few weeks into Mr H and I moving into the very first house we bought. After discovering the neighbours keeping their many many bird cages at the fence near our house we soon saw the rats that were also in there. I am TERRIFIED of rodents so we quickly threw some rat sack around, including in the manhole of the roof.

A few days later a smell begun to waft around us. A few more days later and we could barely set foot in our new little home.

Our good friend Jim the Builder came over to help out, and had to take the roof off to find the smell.

DEAD RATS festering in our roof in a nest of insulation and cumquats. The stench was awful and no amount of smelly candles or incense will rid you of that kind of smell, you must simply wait out the time until mother nature blows a fresh wind through your path.

Another time I was surrounded by the worst smell in the world was in Borneo.

I expect many other countries have similar places though.

Mr H wanted to explore a local market on the outskirts of town. We walked there and began the wander past fruits and veggies and handmade bracelets and fresh noodles. The smell began slowly.

It looks ok, lucky I don't have smell cam.

We passed baby ducks in cages and then rabbits and guinea pigs in others. Another few hundred metres in and we are now in the middle of a huge local market. There are chicken feet hanging off sticks, meat cooking (possibly dog, highly likely monkey) there are rats eating rotting vegetables and I can not escape. And there are fish, dead fish and half dead fish. The gutters are filled with the rubbish and waste from the stall holders. There is no clean water anywhere. The smell overwhelms me and all I want is to get out of there. I am pretty much vomiting in my mouth and have water running from my eyes. The fresh herbs and spices do not mask any of the blanket of stench that is suffocating me. I am only moments from vomiting into the gutters and the thought of eating anything from this market nearly makes me cry.

Eventually we walk out the other end of the market. The smell does not stop as you walk out, it lingers on your clothes, in your hair and up your nose. It is THE worst smell in the world.

Beware the local market. You may leave with more than braided hair.

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 16: The best smell in the world is…

best smell in world is

If you have been around here long enough you would know that I am very fond of good smells.

I seem to remember smells more than faces sometimes. I can remember my first visit to Lush, when it was only in Covent Garden in London, it's downstairs in a cobble stone alley and the smells as I walked to it were magnetic. I was just drawn to this shop and stayed there for ages.

I know the smell of Nivea cream because of the stories my good friend and old house mate Lizzie used to tell me about what the Nivea cream smell meant to her. If I ever smell it, I think of her. I wonder if she remembers.

Nightclubs in my early 20s smell of men (boys) wearing Cool Water Aftershave and girls with Calvin Klein perfumes.

My Dad's ute is the only thing that still has his smell to it. But the memory glands that live up my nose can smell the lamb curry he used to make and the wet wool of the jumpers that mum knitted him when I was a teenager.

So what is the best smell in the world. That's easy.

It's the smell of happiness.

You know what it smells like. You might have to close your eyes and think about it, but you will be able to smell it. It might be coriander on the dish you served for friends or the smell of mud from a dam when you were yabbying. The smell might be that of your favourite red wine or your grandma's perfume, it could be citronella candles to keep the mozzies away and it could be a big swirl of all these smells at the same time.

Happiness smells good.

Like a marshmallow melting on a stick or the sweaty baby you are breastfeeding. It is the little bit of smoke after your kids blow out the candles and make a wish on their birthday cake or the clean crisp sun dried sheets on your bed. It's the fresh biscuits out of the oven when you walk into a friends house the smell of a book that has just been printed, or the smell of an old book dusty from the shelf with pages thick and well worn.

Whatever it is for you, when you smell these things your insides smile and that is where you find the best smell in the world.

Can you smell happiness?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

May 15: You can only choose five foods to eat for an entire year, what do you choose.

Only five.

That's it.

What are you going to choose?

I considered adding chocolate on here but I really don't think I would want to eat chocolate as a fifth of my diet for a whole year.

I can't live without bread. Bread makes me happy and I eat it every day. I have got fussier with my choice of bread though, I like good bread.

My weakness is cheese. Marinated feta especially and I really love this one from Meredith Dairy, I could use it as a dressing and to cook with and for a spread or just out of the jar...

But I couldn't just eat bread and cheese all year, I wouldn't feel good. I would need some fruit and while apples are not my super favourite (that would be summer berries), apples I can do every day. I can also do baby spinach every day. The greens could be added to my cheese sandwich some times.

Avocado is also a top food, you can use it on your bread, with your salad leaves, have it with some cheese and just eat it straight from the peel.

I could have picked bacon too, I do love a little bit of bacon, but the thought of it every day makes me feel awful.

Would you pick any of these foods for your five foods only to eat for a year?
Could you go a year without chocolate?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 14: One of your favourite images of all time

This is freakin harder than I thought. I want to show you how educated in the arts I am and share some amazing photo that I see which is spectacular and when you saw it you would think, FAR OUT, Clairey had this amazing image on her blog.

Sorry. I am in struggle town with this one.

An image that has always made me think has been this one. I have often thought about the photographer (who took his own life not long after this event) the child - whose fate we don't know. I have thought about how the world we live in exists the way it does.  But it's not my favourite, it's not something I want to look at all the time.

I have lots of images of my kids that I love, but I can't say any of them are particularly more amazing then the rest. Photos of my kids are always lovely. Can you ever have enough photos of your kids?

I do have my favourite artwork ever, I have a cheapie reproduction of it in my lounge room. I will always recall the first time I saw it on the wall at the Museum in London.

If you don't know this image, it's The Bathers by Cezanne. The bodies are not male or female, the colours are perfect. It's peaceful. It makes you decide the story of what is happening and each time you stare at it for a long time you might see a different story, it's busy in its simplicity.

Do you have enough photos of your kids? Can you name your favourite image? 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

May 13: Describe your relationship with your phone – Honestly

My phone - that's what I call it, but I could equally call it my camera, my email widget, my address book, my bank book, my diary.

I use my phone for everything. 

I use my phone at all times of the day. 

It is even my alarm clock and I have not had a watch for five years. 

My phone has everything I need and makes my life have a lot less paper in it, invitations, directions, addresses, agendas. 

I use my phone so much that you would think I might be stressed without it. 

However over the summer time, while I was away from home, my phone just simply died. 

It had been a bit cranky for a few months and then one day it just didn't turn on again. 

Surprisingly, I was ok with this. I had no idea if people were texting me, calling me, emailing me. I really missed not having a camera and I allowed Popps to have the wifi on her iPod which gave me internet access. 

I was still able to check in on facebook and twitter on my computer to tell most of my friends that I was phone less. A few weeks later when I got my new phone I didn't race to get all my contacts on it. The apps I had I have not loaded again. 

My phone is essential for me. It is my work, my link to my kids when the school calls, it's how I organise the lives of all four of us and keep all the balls flying up in the air. It is also a big part of my fun. It gives me great enjoyment to read blogs and see the images of people living in other countries on Instagram. I am fascinated by the beauty that is around the world and all at my fingertips. It's where I read the news and speak to my family and friends. 

But I can also put it on the bench for the day and not be too worried at all. 

AND - if we haven't talked in a few months, chances are I don't have your number in my new phone - text me!

Are you and your phone attached at the thumb?

Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12: The house is on fire, all the family is out, and you can grab 5 more items. What are they?

I would hate to be in a fire. Fire scares me.

Yet I love fire, I love the heat from a fire and the joy of sitting around a camp fire, the initial VUMMMPPPFFF of a bonfire when it is first lit is fabulous.

But if the house was burning down and all the people were safely somewhere else, what would be the five things I would grab?

It takes some thinking about. We don't have our files organised well enough for me to grab a file and simply have all of our essential paperwork, insurance files, birth certificates, it would take me too long to collect that stuff from all the folders and plastic pockets - in fact I don't know where half that stuff is! (Note to self, get paperwork organised)

The first thing I would take is our computer. It has our photos stored on it, lots of videos and years of memories. That one computer holds years of our lives on it.

Second I would grab Immy's stinky blanklets. If the rest of the house was gone and she lost everything she would need to sniff those stinky rags to find her happy place. You might think this would be the best time to just let them go and be rid of them once and for all, but I just know how much happiness she gets from those things.

Popps is not attached to anything at the same level as Immy is, but she has a couple of stuffed toys that have survived since she was born which I would grab as I ran past her room. They were given to her by special relatives and each one holds a little story to her life.

Our wedding photos would be next. The photographer we chose ten years ago was still not keen on using digital photos and only provided real images, a real album. We don't have any electronic files from our wedding and I would hate to lose that album.

With the fire lapping at my heels and the smoke taking over, the last thing I would grab is my hand bag. In it would be the car keys, my phone (with my contacts) and all those little things that I seem to think are so essential that I carry them with me every time I leave the house.

Losing everything else would be just terrible, sure, they are only objects and can be replaced, but the thing is, we all surround ourselves with things that are special to us, things that make us feel good, happy memories. I would hate to see it all go up in smoke.

Have you ever lost everything? What would you grab in a hurry?


Sunday, May 11, 2014

The one skill I have always wished to have

This is easy for me.

I have always wanted to be a writer. Not like every second blogger you read who wants to write novels and stories and be paid to write, no, no, no.

I want to be able to use my hands to write beautiful letters. To scribe a word from my pen to the paper so that it looks like a piece of artwork.

Do not underestimate how tough that skill is. To change your natural style to be that of a specific design takes huge amounts of time, patience, skill, practice.

I did a course once. I was at one of those stages where I needed to fill my time with something and it seemed the perfect time to do a Calligraphy course. I got everything I needed, I spent 12 weeks practicing different fonts and swirls and it wasn't too bad, but as soon as you stop, your hand reverts straight back to it's natural, preferred style. There are hundreds of calligraphy styles, you start with basic ones and popular ones, but the best are just truly amazing, mainly computer generated now, but wow, when done by hand they are fabulous.

I enjoy reading about people who study handwriting, I find it fascinating what your handwriting can tell a professional handwriting analyst.

I follow a couple of hand writers on Instagram and they do beautiful work, but guess what, their signature is still all over their work, I can tell the writer before I even look at who has posted the photo.

Calligraphy and handwriting is an art, it might be dying out just when things like knitting and crochet are coming back, but it is one skill I hope to one day take up and master, once and for all.

How is your handwriting? What do you think about Calligraphy?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The story about your first car.

Once upon a time I was a penniless student. I had no licence to drive and no car to drive if I did.

My Dad told me he would buy me a car but he gave me two conditions that I would need to meet before he would be handing over the keys.

First, I needed to get myself a job, I would be responsible for the petrol, services, insurances and tyres.

I also had to prove to him that I could change a tyre. On my own. This was so that if I needed to change a wheel in the middle of nowhere I could do it.

I ticked both of these boxes and became the proud new owner of a 1980 Datsun 200B. It was baby blue on the outside and baby poo on the inside. It had air conditioning. I was thrilled.

I wish I had a photo of me and the Datsun, I know somewhere there is one of me sitting on the car, spiral perm giving me the 2 minute noodle look of the early 90s. But someone else must have it, I can't find it.

Here is an image of cream coloured one from the interwebs - mine was fancier, it was baby blue!

Tyres were the one thing I didn't have to worry about though. 

I was living at uni, about 450km from my parents house. One morning the car just wouldn't start. I called Dad. He suggested that as he was 450km away it was kind of hard to help me fix it. I dragged the phone outside so he could hear the sound when I tried to start the car (no mobile in 1994 for me). 

Sound's like you are out of petrol he said. I thought the same but as I had only just filled up, I told him it couldn't be that. 

Albert the Datsun was left sitting out the front of my share house til the weekend when my Dad made the trip down to help me. He knew a little trick, if you blow into the petrol tank you can hear the petrol. 

Unless there is none there. 

If it is bone dry you just hear the wind blowing.  Opps! When I said I had just filled up, I did of course mean the usual $10 worth that I managed to usually get by on for the week, being a poor student, I never had much fuel in the tank. 

A couple of months later when the Diff (no idea what that bit is) broke, Dad and I went to the wreckers and got a new one, it was while he was replacing it on my old car that he tripped over the dog and broke his arm! This was also just a couple of weeks before he was to walk my sister down the aisle for her wedding day. 

About six months later, when I got myself a real graduates job, the Datsun went to car heaven. I think my Dad was the happiest person to see that car go.

What was your first car? Did it break someone's arm?

Friday, May 9, 2014

May 9: Of all the icecream in the world, the best flavour is

One of Immy's favourite books is Lady Bug Girl.

Lady bug girl is wise and brave and silly and has a dog and a team of friends called the Bug Squad.

In one book, Lady Bug girl lists all of her favourite ice cream flavours...and Vanilla. It's one of our favourite pages, because LadyBug girls' Mum confirms it is a two scoop kind of day. And we really like two scoop days.

Excuse the poor quality image, it's a snap from the book for you.

When it comes to ice cream flavours I am more fussy about the ones I don't want than the ones I do.

I don't want chocolate. I don't want nuts.

I certainly don't want rainbow.

I do want caramel. I want home made. I want super creamy and while a gelato or sorbet is ok, it never quite goes as well as a super creamy caramel swirl in a waffle cone.

Do you have a favourite ice cream? Have you had to scrub Rainbow flavour from a white dress of a five year old?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8: I am inspired by...

Ok, I don't think this prompt is a good one for today, but maybe all those joining in will do better than me. Inspired by, and mentor which we had yesterday are a bit similar, yes? Apologies for not noticing that when I wrote the list out.

Who am I inspired by?  It's a really really long list.

Most notably there are no famous people on my list. No one you will read about in a newspaper or see on Youtube. I am inspired by every day people.

I like doers.

You know when you meet a doer. They are people who get things done, they are joiners and attenders.

I am inspired by people who are have energy, enthusiasm and positivity. I like to be around them, to be more like them, to learn from them.

I like to see how they handle days of crapness and how they bring a group of people together to make things happen. These kinds of people are busy, they are not people you get to spend a lot of time with because they don't have time to stand still, but when you do, you feel inspired to do more, be more, give more.

Who inspires you?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May 7: I once had a mentor who...

I think having a good mentor is a thing of luck. I was never looking for a mentor and initially didn't even know that I had one.

My mentors are women who have taught me good things, they have helped me navigate through stuff that life throws at me. I have had three mentors, all women.  It took about 6 months for me to realise the first time around. 

For the second, I was 22. I was working in finance and it was a man's world. A really really manny mans world. Most of the females were secretaries and admin staff. The women were in charge of cleaning the kitchens, organising the events and opening the mail. 

My team was managed by a woman. I will call her Vodka Queenpants, because that is her name. Ms Queenpants was a thirty something, smart, hilarious, courageous woman. She stood up for herself, for her team, for me, when I couldn't do it for myself. But she also pushed me to prove my value to the team. I was sent to Sydney to work on projects when I knew the team there doubted my skills (which meant I doubted my skills too). Ms Queenpants gave me work to do that I didn't always want to do. She made me speak in a lecture theatre to 200 men, all stockbrokers, mainly old. I probably lost five kilos from shaking with anxiety.

It wasn't just limited to work though. I was at a stage of confusion about what I wanted from a relationship, there were lot's of opportunities to meet men. I didn't always make the wisest choice. I got burnt, I did some burning. When I went out with Vodka Queenpants one night we played a little game. It was kind of a drinking game. 

For the first hour we were out, we sat at the bar and talked to all the men that came up to us and we told the truth. If they asked what we did, we told them how we worked in derivative markets at the Australian Stock Exchange, we helped develop new trading products, we ran trading groups and clubs, we knew the stock market. Guess what happened. Lot's of men walked away. Ok, pretty much all of them did. A few stayed for a drink.

The next hour, we had consumed a few extra drinks, and when we were approached at the bar, we told people we worked at the ice cream factory. She dipped the ice cream into the chocolate, then passed it to me and I dipped it in the nuts before adding it to the conveyer belt. We loved our jobs, we got great perks with free ice cream and we were having a night out in the big city. We giggled, we were so 'fun'.


The men it seemed thought this was a great job for us. It's all guesses why this happened. Ice cream is more fun, more people understand ice cream, ice cream is not intimidating, ice cream factory girls probably don't earn much and can benefit from a man buying them a drink. But the lesson is there too. Not all men want to hang out with an intelligent woman. Not all men can handle talking about things they don't understand. Not all men are worth going out with, no matter how nice their biceps look or how many pina coladas they buy you. 

Vodka Queenpants taught me that crazy ideas are ok, that last minute suggestions that come to you are fine, you just need to spend all night on it and be ready before the meeting. She taught me to make sure your name is on things you do. It is NOT ok, to just shrug it off when someone else submits your work as their own to the big boss. Have the guts to call the big boss and tell them that the work is yours. Have the guts to mention to your colleague that they seem to have added their name to your work. Be tough, be considerate. Be best friends with those women that do everything in the office because it is those women that hold most of the power and they are the women to have on your team. She taught me the power there is to promote people below you in the corporate food chain. Be that person that helps another woman get a better job. Be the person who notices and compliments the great work of other people. Be the positive comments. Be the change. 

Vodka Queenpants taught me it was ok to be the red high heels among the thick blue ties. 

And she didn't even know she was doing it. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 6: In ten years time I will be…

In ten years time it will be 2024.

Seems like forever away but with kids it seems the years just go like a speeding bullet. One minute you are a sleep deprived nappy changer and than you wake up surrounded by empty lunch boxes, trip over jazz shoes on the floor boards and spend weekends going to kids birthday parties.

I know 2024 will be here tomorrow.

So where would I like to be? Mainly, I want to be alive and surrounded by all the family I currently have. I want us all to have the health that we currently enjoy and the simple yet satisfactory lives we all live.

Popps will be in Year 12 and I hope that we will have navigated her teen years as well as any family and that she is in a good place mentally and emotionally to do as well as she can to take her to wherever it might be that she wants her life to be at the completion of her schooling.

Of course if we are talking wishes I would like a dent in our mortgage, to have won a gazillion dollars, more holidays etc etc, but I really wouldn't give up the happiness and health that we all have RIGHT NOW.  So if wishes equal a trade off, than I wish in ten years we are just as happy and well as we are and whatever other side benefits come our way I will happily lap up, but I know they are just not essential.

Once upon a time I had far greater five year and ten year plans, in fact my life was a series of goals and lists and projects. But here is the secret - rip up the lists and be happy with what you have right this second (unless right this second is a complete shit sandwich) and you might be surprised where you end up anyway.

Fine Print: A little housekeeping for those blogging along each day: 
THANK YOU for joining me. It's a delight to read so many posts and noticing how different they can be with the one prompt.   The linky is with Mister Linky, I am sorry if you can't link up, some other linky options are available but you need to pay for them and this is not a financial blog, so um, well sorry. There are some lovely bloggers commenting and I love seeing you all support each other. Please note that blogging every day is hard work, if you fall a day behind and link up 48 hours late, most of the other bloggers will have moved on and won't be heading back to the previous days. Some bloggers have word verification on their blogs (WHY????) it makes commenting very hard and while I try and try and try, if I fail a third time than I give up, please also note that if you have a word press blog, my comments are likely in your spam.  Lastly, I am working hard to share posts with my own networks for all those I see as I am so thrilled to have you all join me, but I also work, have kids, school council, and a body that needs to exercise and sometimes I can't quite do it all, and I can only hope this is ok.

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5: Your zodiac sign and your thoughts on star signs

I am a Cancerian.

Born just in time to be a tax deduction or a day too early for you to get my gift in the Mid year Stocktake Sales.

The sign of the crab.

With an outside shell harder than brick and an inside so soft and gooey it runs all over your hand.

Cancer the crab is meant to be a homely sort, preferring close family, friends and the comforts of home, while she goes about nurturing and mothering all she meets.

In many ways I am exactly what my star sign suggests, or I can wangle the words I like to hear to make me think I am.

Yet star signs are not something I believe in.

Is my personality really to be set by the day I ended up arriving in the world? It just doesn't make sense at all.

I don't read star signs. I never remember what star sign my kids are.

Yet, oddly, when I read about the personality style of the humble little Cancerian Crab I do think that it describes me accurately in many many ways.

What's your sign? Do you believe in the zodiac signs?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May 4: Your earliest memory

I have a few memories from around the same time, I must be about two and a half in each of these memories but I am not sure of the correct order of things.

We were living in Melton, a Western suburb that was considered a satelite city, it wasn't even city fringe back then. My Dad was air traffic controlling at Tullamarine airport and Mum was home with us kids. My sister was now at school in Prep and we had a baby in the house, I don't recall my Mum being pregnant or the arrival of my brother. I do remember my sister getting a new bunk bed built on the wall and that I had to go into her room. There was Holly Hobbie wallpaper. 

The kitchen was all orange and brown. Bright orange benches and tiles, wonderful and bright. There is yellow 'bottle' glass in the front hallway. 

Next door the neighbours on one side have a big dog called Duncan and everyone sings "I'd like to have a beer with Duncan" to the dog. I can't swing high enough to see over the fence to see the dog but my sister and the other kids in the street can. There are always other kids on our backyard, they are free to roam in and out along the street.

Then one day Mum wasn't there. I didn't know where she was but Dad was around all the time and we had fish and chips and the man up the street worked at a petrol place and because Mum wasn't home he came over and gave us kids ALL THE SMURFS. 

This money smurf was the only one that survived for many years, I expect he is now lost too (the image is from ebay)

I don't recall being too concerned that Mum wasn't there but I do remember feeling so so so excited that we were the only kids to have every single Smurf figurine.

Mum clearly returned after a short stay in the hospital, but I don't recall anything about her return at all. 

What is your earliest memory? 


Saturday, May 3, 2014

May 3: Changing Tracks

I got the idea of Changing Tracks straight from the 774 ABC radio program. Each week they have a segment where someone has written in with a story and as part of the story there is a song. The song was played/heard/sang at a significant time in a person's life and forever more, when they hear that song, that one event in their life is recalled.

It's not a favourite song, it doesn't have to be a good song, it's a song you recall.

"There's no hard or fast topic for the stories featured on Changing Tracks, just "a song that was playing when your life changed tracks".

My Changing Track is 14 years old.

It comes from a time when there was much change in my life. A relationship had broken up, I had moved home with my parents, out to a flat and back home again, I knocked back a huge promotion to move to Sydney and continue my finance marketing career with the Australian Stock Exchange and instead decided to move to Ireland for a year and see what happened. While I was making plans for my future, I was still a bit unsure of myself and where I really wanted to be.

I went out for drinks with some friends to celebrate my last day of work and by chance I met Mr H.

We chatted about how it was my last day and I was soon to leave Australia and go to Dublin.

But one thing lead to another and in the next few weeks we met up a few more times, and a few more times and when we weren't meeting up he was calling me, and when I didn't answer he left all sorts of messages, and when certain songs came on the radio he called my phone and just held his phone to the radio for a few lines and then hung up.

One of those songs was Gwyneth Paltrow singing 'Cruisin'.

It's not a song you hear anymore, but it was on the radio a lot in January 2001 and if I ever hear that song now, I remember those first few weeks when we first met. They were very happy, very carefree days. We had not a worry in the world, other than which bar to check out on the weekend and whose friends to catch up with next.

It was nearly five years later, that we got married and later this year will be our ten year anniversary.

Do you have a song that is your 'Changing Track'?