About Me

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I am a full-time mama with a passion for writing and talking to fascinating people. I live in a one horse town with a Cowboy and my son. Thank Lord for cyberspace! I lived a colourful life in Sydney for a number of years. Working in advertising and journalism for FPC and the Sydney Morning Herald. During my time in Sydney I competed in a Dragon Boat race, choreographed a dragshow, used the Share Accomodation advertisements as a way to meet men and was told by Noiseworks frontrunner Jon Stevens that I was a bitch! Then came the decision to move back to country for 3 months to help out my Father with newspaper business while he was having treatment. Convinced I was a city girl I was caught by surprise when I fell in love with a farmer (and no, he didn't want a wife... still doesn't it seems!) convinced him that we needed to see the world, popped off to Vietnam to teach english in Saigon - before realising that the "food" in Nam didn't agree with me... turned out to be Monte - my son who is now with the Cowboy and I back in country NSW! I am in a wonderful stage of my life where I am focusing on the things that really make me tick. Including writing these chronicles.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pictures of our weekend

Loading trucks, foreboding clouds,
haggling over kitchen items

1920's lady lamp came home with us
so did undergarments framed
for our boudoir (do you like them?)

A general theme of over-consumption
though it goes against my morals

It was the thing Cowboy and I indulged in to distract us from our quarrels.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Deliver me from Booligal!

(The inspiration to take a trip to Booligal was due to the challenge sent to me by Edwina from Maisie and More - by giving photography a go, my only regret is that my toes look like skanky crab sticks, I took many more photos which I will use over the next few posts - thanks Edwina - though it was a pretty gruelling experience to go to Booligal - I am out there, making the most of where I live - which is why I asked you guys to challenge me!)

Today I gave up mother duties for the afternoon and spontaneously announced to the Cowboy I was joining him in his truck to pick up some rams in Booligal.



The formal name for "whoop whoop"

The town that Banjo Patterson famously detested in his poem "Hay, Hell and Booligal" :

"Just now there is a howling drought
That pretty near has starved us out -
It never seems to rain at all;
But, if there should come any rain,
You couldn't cross the black soil plain -
You'd have to stop in Booligal."

"We'd have to stop!" With bated breath
We prayed that both in life and death
Our fate in other lines might fall:
"Oh send us to our just reward
In Hay or Hell, but, gracious Lord,
Deliver us from Booligal!"

Banjo hit the nail on the head in many ways.

The trip with the Cowboy really made me aware of the drought that surrounds us and it dawned on me that the hot season is definitely upon us... grrrrrrrr

The trip with cowboy confirmed my hatred for flies and dust.

It confirmed that I don't mind living in a small town - but don't make me go out and have flies near me, or dust near me - or heat near me.

It confirmed my continued bewilderment that I ended up with a Cowboy.

We drove for 1 hour on the most boring, flat, straight hot and dusty road on Earth.

I read once that the road here is LITERALLY the flattest on Earth.

Combine that with a Banjo Patterson poem and there are some impressive claims to fame.

We drove in a truck without air-conditioning.

It was just under 40 degrees today.

I was in charge of picking up snacks for our long journey and made 2 fatal errors:

1. I bought Salt n Vinegar Chips
2. Accidentally bought a bottle of Sarsaparilla

Please note, I have NEVER tried Sarsaparilla and no-one had ever told me it was equivalent to drinking a piece of licorice.

So please imagine if you will , driving in a hot truck on a boring road eating salt n vinegar chips - getting damn thirsty and only having a piece of licorice to drink?

Cranky pants.

Scenery included shrubs, dirt, shrubs, dirt, the odd feral cat, bull and a couple of kangaroos.

When we got to Booligal Cowboy loaded the truck up with the rams, while I took photos of their heads and backsides.
I was trying to be creative Edwina - but there wasn't much scope for it!

The old bloke that lived out there came out and started talking to us.

Lovely as he was I just wanted to get back to the civilisation (and air-conditioning) of my one horse town!

The more flies that hovered the angrier I could feel myself getting.

I know it was my idea to come out here but why did it take so long to load sheep?

I didn't know.

Cowboy finished his 'sheepboy' duties and then came out and had a quick chat to the old bloke.

Little droplets of sweat started beading down my face and I thought of my little boy who I abandoned to come out here for the afternoon.

What I would give to be changing a nappy right about now.

Old Banjo came into my head and I muttered under my breath

"Deliver me from feckin' Booligal"

"What?" Cowboy asked.

"I love you" I said swiping the worlds biggest fly out of my eye.

We jumped back into the truck, adorned with flies opting to dehydrate rather than drink Sarsparilla and headed back to Hay which now seemed like the big smoke.

You can read entire Banjo Patterson poem about Booligal (and Hay for that matter) here

Today I posed with then ate a crabstick for a blogger in New Zealand

Dear Nikki,

When you visited my one horse town many years ago - you told me you enjoyed a crab stick from the Fish and Chip Shop.

You looked all over Australia to find one up to the standards... but alas.

You turned vegan when your plight went sour.

So, here, today from my one horse town in Australia - to your one hoof town in NZ - I went to the very Fish and Chip shop - and bought a crabstick purely so I could show it to you.

Here it is.

I hope it is how you remember it.

(Nikki blogs at Learning how to be me)

(please note, I had dilemmas when trying to pose with a crabstick. It is not something in my usual repertoire
and please note again I was trying to photoshop myself pretty but accidentally made the pic look like I spent too long in the solarium - then I accidentally saved it... sorry if you need sunglasses to view)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Horsey Commitments

Further to my post where I asked you for challenges for me to write about in my one horse town I have some major horsing to complete. Thanks so much.

Complete on my to-do list (in between mothering my boy, being a desperate house de-facto, organising house renovations, getting little sleep and writing in this blog)

I commit to the following:

* Visiting the Hay Fish Shop to capture the infamous "crab sticks" that Nikki from Learning how to be me remembers as the major draw-card to this town.

They do still exist and I promise to try and capture them in all their glory in order to convert her back to the world of meat. haha just kidding Nikki - but as a way to stir some nostalgia.

Note - started chatting with this blogger only to discover an old boyfriend of hers was an old classmate of mine - and from my one-horse town the crabsticks were what stood out.

* Interviewing my Grandma (has to be in the top 10 oldest people here)
Heather from Heather Conroy's Verbal Report made some great suggestions including interviewing the oldest person in town. Now the oldest has cracked 100 but just as I and use poetic licence at PT - I have so here.
So - instead of finding the oldest person I am going to interview my Grandma.
She is 91 (next month) and has lived in this one horse town her whole life!!!!
She has an amazing relationship with my son and my goodness - her wisdom - her everything - I need to pick her brain!
Heather has inspired me to do this, inadvertently - and I will also capture some lovely photos of Grandma and my son (her great grandson) -- I have had this in the backburner forever - so cheers!

* Oh, the sewing part that Heather suggested.... it is interesting what comes up in me when challenged to learn to sew.
FEAR? I know that is odd, but you know how I said I had a fear of it at school (along with woodwork and metal work - and for that matter anything 'practical) well I still do!
I know it is irrational - but it is a real fear!
I think some time in my life I was berated for being 'hopeless' at anything to do with making stuff with my hands - and to this DAY - I have a fear of attempting for fear I will be humilated... fear enough to still believe I wouldn't be able to do it.
Did I mention the word fear?
GEEEZ didn't mean to write it that much!
I will keep the overuse of the word there for dramatic effect.
Wonder if there is a technical term for fear of learning to sew?
Perhaps it is NUTTER?!!

Give me some time on this - I might take on the challenge to disprove my long held belief that I am not very good at doing things of a practical nature.

* Streaking as suggested by Alex at WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAH MAMA , I'm afraid will not be happening.

I would have to upgrade my blog to "ADULT CONTENT" and I'm afraid, although am getting into the PT - I am not ready to reveal the masterpiece that is my naked self to you all ;-)

BUT she did suggest asking 10 questions to random people from the one horse town and .... YES I will do this
Question suggestions anyone? Make them out there if you will.

* Finally, Finding Me sorry Finding, not sure what your real name is :-) suggested I hit the playgroups and go from there.
While this is a great and sensible suggestion - i have and I don't like the vibe of them for Monte... BUT agree I need to find social baby things that we can both get something out of - so have added this to the list

* Photography - suggested by Edwina from the hilarious Maisie and More
I'm on it.

So I'm a busy girl.

Who said living in a small country town was boring????

The Cat has not come back

It has been a couple of weeks since I made mention of the fact the Princess... disappeared.

She has not returned.

I know that cats sometimes do this and then frolic back in as though they were never gone, but in my heart of hearts I think she is not coming back.

On top of the sadness I feel, I carry an enormous amount of guilt .

A voice (an unwelcome voice) in my head keeps saying that she left because all my time was taken up with Monte.

How must she have felt suddenly 2 years into her life (on the exact day of her birthday mind you ) when Monte was born and suddenly I didn't have much time for her.

I would give her a fleeting pat - but she would look at me, her eyes piercing straight through my soul whenever I was holding Monte.

I would plead with Cowboy or someone else to please pat her, love her - while I couldn't.

I hope this is not why she decided to go.

On the other hand, maybe it is better if it is.
She could be happy as larry having a holiday with someone who is able to give her the attention I currently could not.

Or is this just wishful thinking?

It is easier to deal with than thinking she has been run over, bitten by a snake, caught in a trap, poisoned...

I have been not allowing myself to go into too much thought about her, blocking my thoughts off with "She will come back" -

maybe it is time for me to start thinking otherwise.

I wrote a story when I first got her that ran in the local newspaper "My cat is a guru" - I always thought there was something spiritual, sixth sense about her.

When I went through my meditation phase - she would always appear when the OMMMMS started and she would just hang around as if attracted to the peaceful energy.

I had a very special connection with her.

I believe she came into my life for a reason

- I just hope she still has that reason and will waltz on back.

I'd be the happiest gal in this one horse town....

Oh and yes, she liked to wear dresses

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Need your help to start horsin' around town

Since I am always banging on about how I don't get up to much (outside cyberspace) in my one horse town..... I was thinking...

Perhaps you could make some suggestions to me about some wacky things I could get up to and then write about?

I acknowledge it is one thing to complain that where I live is "boring" but another to not at least try and liven things up for myself.

I thought you might be able to help.

I get inspired by a challenge.

And I have no-one besides Cowboy to brainstorm these things with so really need your input.

I am looking for things I could do or things I could show you about where I live.

I will then write about the outcomes complete with pictorials to prove them...

I don't mind, make them wacky, daring - silly, fun - encourage me to get out and let loose.... (do remember I have a baby)

Maybe there is something you want to know about my one-horse town, or maybe there is something quirky you'd like me to do - any challenge you can throw at me i will consider.

Now it is your turn to take the reigns

Go on

Giddy up!

* Truth be known Hay is small but there are at least 58 horses here

When the teacher is not looking

Tonight after training I began to realise the way you train when the trainer is away gives insight into what kind of a person you are.

PT has been away somewhere so Cowboy and I were business as usual even in the rediculous heat that has struck the one horse town.

Tonights session really showed how different the Cowboy and I are.

Let me illustrate the different personalities at play here through what happened tonight.

PT normally makes us run (or for me run/walk/run/walk) five laps of the oval.

Tonight I walked, jogged for a few metres, then walked hmmmmm say 3 or 4 laps.
Cowboy ran without stopping - 5. Exactly 5.

(important note: this followed a 12 hour working day where he was mustering or drafting sheep or other such cowboy lingo)

Then after the laps are completed we are to commence our individual routines.

For me this is 5 sets of ab crunches interspersed with oblique kicky things (not technical name)
I do this like a pro.

Actually to toot my own trumpet I am really getting good at these - despite, dear people the fact that my stomach muscles were cut open merely 10 months ago.... to reveal the Prince.

Sorry, off the subject to gloat.

So anyway the Cowboy is off to the grandstand doing squats and other such things to make him into a bulk of a man , or to do something for his knee which is dodgy.

He does it without taking a rest, a breath and I did not hear so much as a whinge about how hot it was, or the flies.

Maybe he was complaining and I just didn't hear him over my own complaints.

No, I know he doesn't. He just isn't the type.

I have not met this type of person before.

One who doesn't complain.

Cowboy is sort of a superhero.

We have to do 5 sets of everything.

So then there is me - running up and down a step for 25, then knee lift thingys for 25.

After about 3 knee lift thingys I decide poetic license is allowed with routine so I stop and go for a little stroll to the duck pond instead.

Meanwhile Cowboy is nearly having a cardiac arrest from the intensity he is building with his routine.

I leisurely stroll back and collect the weights from the car.

Admittedly, I then went on to do 5 sets of 25 weight thingys pretty well...

THEN.... Cowboy does his with much heavier weights - even with his little pile of rocks to count how many sets.

As for me I say to myself 1 set, 2 , set - Cowboy will say "How many are you up to?"
and I will say "This is my last"

I know I am only cheating myself.

I'm all about the shortcut, wagging, making it easier on myself - getting away with it when the teacher is not there kind've thing.

This is why we pay the trainer though.
I know this about me.
This is why we have hired help.

I was always the kid in class that wanted to do something naughty if the teacher had to go out for a bit, and there was always a Cowboy in the class that went on with their work.

Because their motivation and work ethic was so much better than mine.

Cowboy impresses me so much.
He is driven to achieve what he sets out to and never ever takes shortcuts.

If he says he is going to do something, he does it- no matter who is watching or who isn't.

He is true to himself, doesn't make excuses or EVER complain - I am absolutely baffled by him - but in awe.

I am an excuse making, whingy machine who is always thinking "How can I get out of it?" and then complain because the muffin top is not decreasing at the rate I desire.

Just writing that makes me feel like I am being hard on myself because I have been doing well - but just trying to illustrate the differences here.

Tonight I learnt what character traits come to the fore 'when the teacher is not looking'

it seperates the women from the Cowboys... that is for sure.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Animals of All Shapes and Sizes - Book one and two

I wrote a book when I was ten.

It is called: Animals of all shapes and sizes.

It is dedicated to Pop, Briohny (my year 6 bestie) and Mrs Tighe (who was my year 6 teacher)

My Dad took it to his work and asked one of the secretaries if they would type it up for me.

Once it was typed up I had many copies made.

I painted each book cover individually (with Derwent water colour pencils) , some came up better than others.

I distributed them to the who's who of my family and friends - many still have a copy on the shelf!!!!

The prologue reads:

"Animals of all shapes and sizes is a book about all sorts of animals. From a cat that eats beards to a Loud Mouse - it is the first book by Sharni Montgomery"

the back cover has testimonies (which I remember making up, having asked no-one)

Student one: Cool!
Student two: Unpredictable!

Well, yep it was the first book and twenty years later, the follow-up is yet to hit the stands.

I thought I had better get on it.

I had a flick through Animals of all Shapes and sizes.

you know what?

I think it could be the second book.

It could be the first and the second book.

Sure it was self-published when I was ten - but there are a couple of poems in there that maybe could translate into something now.

Maybe I'm having myself on.

I have been daydreaming how it would make a wonderful marketing angle to publish a kids book that was actually written when I was a kid.

I can visualise being interviewed about this by Mel and Kochie


- but seriously, I can

Visualisation is the key is it not?

One of the poems I wrote I will share, because I don't think it would make the cut due to animal cruelty issues:

But just to give you an idea of the style:

The Dog

The dog is at my window
howling for a bone
I wish the dog would go away
and leave poor me alone

The dog is at the window
howling for his dinner
because I just ignore him
the dog is getting thinner

so many of the poems are to this effect, but usually much kinder to animals.

I have zero idea about getting a book published - am purely running on an optimistic instinct here - I am sure there is a lot to consider.

But this is my goal.

My lifelong friend Lucia is an incredible artist and has some time up her sleeve and is working on some illustrations for me for one of the poems.

What do you think? A book I wrote when I was 10 getting made into a real book now I'm 30?

Worth a shot?

No idea what the next step to take is after we illustrate... anybody know?

Monday, October 26, 2009

putting my blogging ideas down before they fly away

Bloody flies.
One thing about living in the one-horse town that drives me up the wall.
I am sitting here trying to blog and god knows how but a flurry of flies have arrived - swooping me in every direction. GO AWAY!!!

Excuse me, did I blog that outloud?

I have been thinking of some things I'd like to do with this blog.
One, i wish I could make my photos look prettier.
A lot of blogs I visit have amazing photos and then some writing, amazing photos and then some writing - how does one accomplish this?
Layouts I admire include - well everybody on my blogroll basically.
I do really like the look of the Maisie and More blog - Edwina has a clean layout.... clear pics - nice fonts and some pretty funny stories to boot.

I know beauty is blog deep but I would like to inject a little bit of botox for my blog, just to smooth out a few wrinkly bits. Is anyone qualified in this area?
You might be thinking - "but you have a fancy banner that looks terrific" alas, I cannot take the credit for the genius of my friend Olena. (more about her soon, hoping to interview my very interesting and talented friend when she returns from Nepal and India)

The Cowboy takes pics at work quite often and shows me sunrises and sheep and dust-storms and dogs and I thought to myself he should be snapping some up for my blog! All this talk about the town but no pics!

So I have challenged him to a photo a day for me - I asked for this to be at 11:11am (lucky time) and he is to snap something different each day.

Truth be known I asked him this about 3 weeks ago, but think he set a reminder to do it today, so I hope to unveil some pics of life in the country soon.

It would be good to have a few more pics in my posts other than crazy ones I google and may get arrested for doing so.

I also have some other ideas zooming around in my head... I have jotted down these random thoughts for my blog:

Speed Blogging - I was thinking about all the blogs I love and thought, I wonder if X blog knows about X blog - they really should meet. So am trying to think up a way of introducing blogs I like to other blogs I like
There are bloggers that need to meet.
I could be like a blog match maker.
What do you think?
Any ideas on how I could do this?

Oh look I have to go these flies are a joke. I finally understand those rediculous hats with the corks hanging off them now. I tell you if I had one, I would be shamelessly sporting it as I type this post.

Corkman image not my own

shhhhhhhe writers

I started an Aussie gang on She-writes.
It has four members.
We call it the Sh's and H gang because well, there is me, Sharni, there is Sheila, Sharon and Heather.
Would you like to be our 5th?
If your name doesn't begin with Sh or H you will be shunned.
Love to have more members to talk all things that she-writers talk about.
She-writers. Sounds like we are trannies or something!
(see pic on my banner, Sharni with a couple of She-Writers haha - sorry just being silly now)
Anyhoo I was talking to Heather on there tonight and we were talking about blogs that we like, successful bloggers and the like - and we have started a discussion on what it is about the really great blogs that make them really great.
Do you want to join our chat? It has barely started... join up She Writes then find Aussie Writers group here
If you are not Australian you could pretend, or if your name starts with Sh or H you will get a free ticket, no need to see your passport. Same goes if you are a man.
Alternatively you could just tell me here...... what is your favourite blog and what makes it so - what makes it reaaaaaaaaally so (not just good writing, design etc.. I want to delve into the psychology of it all)
I really like to be introduced to good blogs, they are few and far between sometimes... but when I stumble across a good one... it's like EUREKA (Gosh I really am sounding like an Aussie She-writer now... ! )
- love to see you on our discussion or read your thoughts here...

Today I had reason to do a little computer chair dance!

Tell me if this is lame, but I am so excited about the interview I read from a lovely blogger, Corinne from A day in the Life .
On my blogroll to the side I can see when new posts are on the blogs I follow - and as a new postie appears, I jump on it and have a read.

So this morning I see that Blog This has New Member Monday interview.
I always like to read these because love to discover new blogs.
I was featured in it a week back which gave me a buzz.
Can you imagine how I felt when this weeks new Member, Corinne was asked what her favourite blog was that she had discovered on Blog This was and she said mine???
Well I nearly fell of my chair!
I am used to the answer to this being Frills in the Hills, or Fat Mum Slim but when I saw the Chronicles of Sharnia there in black and white, I had to readjust the monitor and do a little chair dance. (haha, googled chair dance and the accompanying pic made me laugh. Nothing like my dance but wish it was)
It completely made my day.
Yesterday my pal from She Writes, Heather who blogs about emotions in every day life, paid me a lovely compliment by putting me on her blogroll as "Australia's answer to the Pioneer Woman" - this made me want to get up on the table and dance, because the Pioneer Woman... well, she really is the ducks guts of bloggers. Even has a cookbook to her name!
So what am I trying to say here?
... to write about my life and my thoughts and know that this has the ability to get strangers to laugh and even interested enough to read gives me the greatest of all feelings! The greatest!
This is what I set out to do when I created my blog but really wasn't sure if I could achieve it. To have achieved that just with a couple of people is success to me. So thank-you ladies. Sincerely, from the bottom of my post.

(ps apologies for inconsistent fonts. What is with that)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Blogging is my social life. Is this bad?

Since living back in the 'country', I have oft' been heard complaining that I don't have any friends out here.
It has been a monotonous complaint on my behalf, admittedly - I haven't given it much of a go, convinced that I don't have anything in common with anyone.
Maybe so, maybe not.
Since becoming a blogger, a whole new world has opened up to me.
A world that has literally exhilarated me.
Writing my posts gives me an adrenaline rush - discovering other blogs that I love and keeping up with them is like... the hobby* I didn't know I was missing.
I have become a regular on a few blogs, and I have a few regulars on mine.
This makes me feel so happy!
I asked Cowboy if I had become the world's biggest loser for feeling so happy to have my blogging friends.
He said no and that he thought it was amazing. (see why I love him so?)
Something about Mohammed and the mountain ... he said as he clipped the grass out of the driveway. (see why I love him so?)
I am a social creature. I led the life of a Sydney D-Lister back in the day. Talking, laughing, drinking, dancing were my fortes.
Lately my social life - is contained to... blogging, emails and facebook.
I have very little in the way of "real life, can see and touch" friends.
(NB I have lots of them, but none of them live in this one-horse town)
AND I feel content with this.
I do have a couple of mates who I see every now and then for coffee - I am not a complete loner... but all in all, the net is where it is at.
My question is.... is this unhealthy?

* I do not like the word hobby - couldn't think of a better one. Put this here to remind me to think of a better one, if the word hobby is still there, I did not think of a better one, but you know what I mean.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lost and Found

This is probably the most 'from the heart' you will get from me.
I have been feeling nostalgic because my little boy is growing, rapidly - and I wanted to capture , somehow - how much I have changed and what I have felt these last 10 months since becoming a mama.

This just wrote itself then.

I had a baby and I lost my sleep.
I had a baby and I found my nurturing side

I had a baby and I lost my energy
I had a baby and I found my motivation

I had a baby and I lost my wine and ciggies
I had a baby and I found confidence in myself

I had a baby and I lost my friday nights
I had a baby and I found my saturday mornings

I had a baby and I lost my time to be bored
I had a baby and I found so much to treasure in every moment

I had a baby and I lost my vision from tiredness
I had a baby and I found new eyes to see the world through

I had a baby and I lost my ability to be 'alone'
I had a baby and I found a reason to never be lonely

I had a baby and I lost my waist
I had a baby and I found my heart

The Prince's first 10 months

I wish I could lay this out in a more desirable manner.
But please see the beauty in the pictures rather than how they are set out with 2cms of text squeezed in for dear life to the side!
(Oh you, yes you whose blog looks so aesthetically pleasing with your photos, just so -How do you do it?)
it with great nostalgia and pride i put together some of my favourite pics to celebrate 10 months of my wonderful baby boy - Monte.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Training, Renovating and Sheep Introductions

I feel like I am morphing into the Incredible Hulk.
I hope not, I want lean lavish toned arms - if I look like I could play fullback for the local rugby team next year I am going to sue the P.T
Having said that we have completed week 5 of our training.
PT says should expect to see some results between weeks 6-8.
If that means I will start turning a shade of green shortly I will bring training to an abrupt end!
(In all seriousness - I am feeling strong and fit and happy, I fit into a dress that didn't fit me before I was pregnant so that is reassuring!)

In other news, we are starting the process towards our kitchen renovations.
Exciting, have never been involved in such a grown up pursuit.
Hoping to have new kitchen and open plan living area complete before Christmas.
We'll see.
The Prince woke up every hour on the hour last night.
I had just acclimatised to sleeping again, so feeling VERY knocked around today (particularly after pumping iron last night.)
Cowboy is going to a sheep sale in town today.
I am putting on my best inappropriate shoes to head down to the dusty sheep yards with Prince in tow.
It is stinking hot and flies a-plenty - but I would like our boy to meet , sheep.
Like seeing his reactions to seeing animals for the first time!!!
That is news from my headquarters for now.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

100 Random Facts for my 10(5) post!

oooh I just read on someones blog that when you get to 100 posts you are meant to do a ditty: 100 things you didn't know about me.
Oops I am up to 105 or so, so you'll get 105 from me.
Incidentally the Prince is 10 months old today - but that is one thing you didn't know about him, til now.

1. I have a collection of random songs that have been in my head for years.
They are not songs I like - they are just songs that get stuck and get played on random - seemingly... forever.
Hits include: When my baby smiles at me I go to Rio (de janeiro), Mama's Making Kantong (I insist Kantong should pay me royalties for this), I'm going to walk Wa Wa (sing lala and clap my hands are the next lines)

2. When I hang the washing out, I physically feel nauseous. Not sure why and if it is linked to my hatred of hanging washing out or not.

3. I like the theme song from the Bear in the Big Blue house (the one he sings with the moon)

4. I only ever drink half a glass of anything. (it is half full though) annoys all and sundry

5. I don't think I will ever be a domestic goddess.

6. I am obsessed with setting goals and planning. I have books all over the house with plans all over them.

7. My notebooks are never neat. I write on one page then the next note will be , like, 30 pages later or something. I wish I could just be neat and then I wouldn't have as many notebooks. Obsessive about notebooks though.

8. Letting my baby "cry" has been one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life

9. I never really thought I would have babies. But now I have one, it has completely changed everything about me - for the better

10. I am in love with blogging. I feel like I have found my niche or at least my passion.

11. I am a cat person even though we have 3 dogs

12. I thought I was a city girl - but I think I just liked the city because of all the "stuff" that I could hide behind and give me excuses not to be the real me. Now my life is 'simpler' it is more fulfilling.

13. This is the first time in my life I have really committed to an exercise regime it is so challenging but I am gaining traits I previously lacked: discipline and commitment and I'm proud of that.

14. I worry about a LOT bringing up my boy. Consumerism, TV, media all that.

15. Maybe like to live in Japan for a year and teach english

16. If my hair looks good I am happy, though it doesn't look good much lately

17. I can type really fast and without looking. I can have conversations with cowboy and write a page. He teases me about this. Thinks I am smug about it

18. I used to be the world's best sleeper. Now I hardly sleep, but oddly have adjusted.

19. I feel a strong calling to something meaningful - I try to explore meditation etc... my intuition is strong

20. I love meeting bloggers and reading other blogs

21. Gee I love food. Miss nice restaurants living in the sticks

22. Every cat I have ever had ends up being called "Blurt" against my wishes

23. I have been to uni twice but don't have a degree

24. I was involved in an armed robbery(not involved - ! but someone that was told to get on the ground , while a gun was shot next to me- SCARY STUFF - oh and I laughed about it at the time... go figure! Read about it here in the SMH )

25. I went around Sydney answering share accomodation ads as way to try and pick up men

26. I was obsessed with JD Fortune from Rockstar INXS (embarrassed about this now, especially as he has been sacked and is now living in a car!) and met him when he was performing for Sunrise.

27. I bought Greedy Smith from Mental as Anything a redskin when my sis and I saw him in Hay when we were kids.

28. I went to the ARIA awards and met all the rockstars I wanted to, and partied with them - and lost my aunties camera with all the evidence on it. (bought her a better one though)

29. I sat next to Jean Kitson at the relaunch of Spectrum when I worked at the Herald. She was really nice.
Then I emailed her once to ask her some advice about column writing and she ignored me.

30. When I lived in Bondi, my brother and I saw Keanu Reeves on the street having a coffee, we walked past him 8 times

31. I do not like swimming in the ocean. I don't like water that moves.

32. Living in Bondi made me feel ugly

33. I am still great friends with 4 girls that I went through kindergarten to year 12 with

34. I should be cooking dinner now but am doing this. I am a bad house de-facto

35. Oh , yes I am a de-facto.
I have had baby and the marriage thing hasn't happened. Didn't think this was how it would be.

36. I like to wear dresses. Wish I had more. But less fashion obsessed now. It'd be nice though.

37. I'd like to meet in person a lot of the people from blogs I read.

38. I find push-ups incredibly difficult

39. I used to walk on my toes as a kid. Still do when I am barefoot in the house sometimes

40. When it is cold I have heaps of baths but I don't stay in them very long. Lie in them til the water fills up and then I am hot and get out.

41. I could sell ice to the Eskimos. Selling advertising was my old profession

42. I worked on farm with Cowboy and drove tractor, tip truck (see footage here) and a ute. Things I never thought I would do.

43. I thought Angkor Wat was overrated

44. I had one night in Bangkok

45. Since being a Mama I have more patience and less vanity - less sleep and less sanity

46. I have a lovely family and I do feel lucky to have a wonderful partner in Cowboy

47. I never thought I would end up with a Cowboy

48. I really should be cooking tea it is nearly 8....

49. I want to get to 50 though

50. I am currently doing an online course in Writing Meditation - it is challenging

51. I like to wear earrings

52. I need to cuddle a pillow when I sleep. One pillow? Forget it - I need minimum 2 in bed if sleep is going to occur. (and they say it is hard to get babies to learn to sleep on their own)

53. I wrote a book of poetry when I was 10. I am going to try and get it published now I am 30.

54. We are getting a wall knocked out in the house and putting a new kitchen in

55. I am going to see ACDC in February (Cowboy likes them - I ... appreciate them, I think/hope)

56. I still can't believe I am someones Mum. Scary

57. I get worried about Prince going to school and the competitive nature of kids and the whole world of consumerism.

58. Would love to raise our boy somewhere removed a little from that? Hilltribes of Vietnam???!

59. My Dad and I are so similar that we get frustrated with each other - but love him dearly

60. My grandma is 90, my Mum is 60 I am 30 and my son is 0 - how amazing is that.

61. I am the youngest of 3. My sister is moving to Canada next year with her family on a teaching exchange

62. When my baby, when my baby smiles at me I go to Rio

63. When I first met Cowboy's family (still haven't met them all) I had massive anxiety attacks. Guess a sign I really liked him?

64. I used to get bad panic attacks when I lived in Sydney

65. I met Evan Dando from the Lemonheads - and it was so exciting to me. I love the Lemonheads.

66. I used to be incredibly star-struck as you may have gathered.

67. I miss my friends - have made some great friends through blogging but miss the real life ones
don't have many in this town - acquaintances but miss my besties

68. Better stir the spag bol

69. I have only been to one musical and it was the Lion King with my friend Seph. He was working for them. It was great!

70. I love thunderstorms. We don't get enough of them here

71. I used to be a massive binge drinker and smoker. Now don't do either. But think I could get back into the wine now

72. Sometimes when Cowboy is talking in his sleep (which he does A LOT usually about sheep - he is a farmer not a kiwi) or something equally as fascinating I go along with it and throw in strange comments to see what he will say. like: "the sheep are going to a disco tonight" mean but funny

73. My cat has been missing for a week and I am SO upset and pray she will return

74. The pasta is boiling over

75. I am the most content and confident I have ever been in my life

76. I am not sure if it is Mamahood or the transition to 30 that has done it

77. I love Indian Food with all my heart

78. I don't have a mobile phone

79. I don't have many people following my tweets. Would like more. Would you like to follow me?

80. I love Sex and the City

81. I love Anne of Green Gables

82. I love - Love my Way

83. Dinner is nearly ready it is nearly 8.30pm

84. I will check the pasta whilst trying to think of more riveting facts

85. I have only just gained enough confidence to reverse park.
Though don't do it if there is a car waiting.

86. I lock myself out of the house more times than I care to admit (not so great now I have a baby I might add) but I still don't have spare key cut

87. I am not big on talking on the phone

88. Social media is taking away my face to face skills a bit. Come to think of it probably why I don't like talking on the phone. Sometimes I worry because I used to work in a proper organisation and be outgoing that being a stay at home bloggin' mama in a small town I might lose the ability to converse to people altogether!!!

89. I have boring lunches because I can't think of nice ones.
I need help with healthy and tasty and easy lunch ideas. Anyone?

90. I check my email far more than necessary

91. There are many books I want to buy / read - I didn't read many books at all in my 20's (too drunk) but feel the need to do so now

92. Mama's making Kantong, it doesn't take long for the word to get around

93. I am very excited that my Aunties from Sydney are coming here for Christmas

94. I'd love to have a holiday house on the beach (oh wouldn't we all)

95. I have spent a lot of money on ebay. I have about 2 things that are useful from those purchases.

96. One is a pair of boots, the other is Love my Way boxset

97. I would love to study now. A pity I didn't when I was at uni twice -but I did learn about other stuff, like life outside of the country

98. Cowboy and I like to watch All Saints and pay it out the whole way through

99. Especially Von (god love her)

100. I really like it when people comment and interact with me on my blog. I really love it - hope to talk to you on here. Thanks if you read all this

I know I said I'd do 105 but that is just silly.

If Success is just showing up then I've got it goin' on

Just back from not sure what session of personal training, but we obsessively did 2 sessions on the weekend. So pats on the back to us.
I was discouraged to note I have put on 3kgs - it better be muscle I tells ya!
I weighed less when I did no exercise? Surely muscle right? Oh well jeans feel big so that is all that matters.

So - how I am feeling?
Let me give it to you straight:

* Calf muscles have graduated into Cow Muscles - they even MOO when I run
* My jelly belly is turning into something more like icecream belly - still squishy but not as wobbly - there is a hardness behind the jelly that I just want to drift closer to the surface (note to self a magnum a day not helping with trip to surface)
* My tuck shop arms are now arms that could be easily owned by someone who works in a cafeteria - not a real trendy one, but one you don't mind going to occassionally because they do a good chai latte
That is how I am physically changing I think. I look at Cowboy and he is morphing into Arnie Schw. a little scary. I can massively see him changing- though his training is different.
Mentally? It is really pushing my boundaries - I get whingy and wanting to die each time - BUT I turn up.
And I think it was Woody Allen who said that success sometimes is just showing up.
I'll take that.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Part two - from Cold Call to Dream Job

If you haven't read Part One this story might not make sense. Read it here

Months after the now infamous 'Staffie' presentation, things went South for me.
I broke up with the boyfriend I had been seeing, got some horrendous flatmates who did the 'runner' on me and had all but had enough of the fast pace of life in general.
- A quarter life crisis of sorts.
I took weeks off work and returned temporarily to Hay for some R'n'R.
In this time I didn't know where to turn, what to do.
I didn't feel like working for FPC anymore, didn't really feel like Sydney much anymore - - it was a transitional period where... I just didn't know.
Wallowing in self-pity and being waited on hand and foot by my parents was what I felt I needed.
Then, most unexpectedly I received a phonecall, at my parents house in Hay , from... Frank.
I couldn't mistake that posh english accent, but hearing it at my parent's house in Hay caught me offguard.
"What the bloody hell are you doing in Hay," the voice said " I wondered why no-one had rang me to harrass me for ad-copy?"
I explained to Frank that things were a bit crook for me.
Although he was my 'client' he had gradually made the transition to 'friend'.
I found myself opening up to him about an array of things - often only to get a rush of advice, laughed at, or told how ridiculous I was being.
Usually the latter.
On this occassion he sensed things were not so rosy for the Staffie and told me to stop wallowing in it and to get on with becoming his 'brush with fame'.
I shook my head and laughed.
Why did this man think I was so wonderful? He unnerved me a bit.
Two days later I received a phonecall from a stranger named Sonia.
She also sounded posh.
Said she was calling from the Sydney Morning Herald because her client Frank had said I was someone that she 'needed' to talk to.
Again, I was offguard.
I had been at my parents indulging in self-pity.
I didn't feel like being upbeat or trying to impress anyone.
What was going on?
Sonia asked when I was to return to Sydney.
I said "In a couple of weeks"
"Well, I would just love to meet you. Frank has told me all sorts of wonderful things about you and we have a job opening up. Could you come in for a chat?"
" Yes, yes - I would love to" I said - faking the happiness til I made it.
And so, without any effort on my part - I had an interview lined up at the Sydney Morning Herald.
Wow, thanks Frank!
He really was morphing from just the posh man on the phone to an absolute guardian angel.
A couple of weeks of self-pity came to a quick end and soon I found myself back again in the hustle and bustle.
Soon I found myself nervously pacing the foyer of the Fairfax building awaiting a lady named Sonia.
"You must be Sharni," a lovely Indian lady with an English accent smiled warmly
"Oh , yes, Hi" I said
"Frank has told me so much about you," she said as she lead me to the elevator.
The interview was so comfortable - I felt I didn't need to say much - my praises had already been sung - and Frank's company were one of the Herald's major advertisers - so they listened to what this man had to say.
Within 2 days I had a job as Advertising Account Manager of Spectrum in the Sydney Morning Herald.
I could hardly believe it.
I had no university qualifications and this sounded as though it would have been a terribly competitive job to get.
It all seemed so easy.
At the SMH my nick-name from Frank evolved from Staffie to Top Cat and Frank continued to be looked after by me and his business increased with the SMH by about 60%.
I put together another presentation for him.
This time, it seemed fitting to do it in the theme of Top Cat.
What fun I had with this presentation.
Again, the bosses thought I was mad - until the presentation came off and they were more assured that employing me on this man's recommendation was the right thing to do.
Never in my life did I think I would ever be given a job at the Sydney Morning Herald.
I worked there for about 3 years.
The vast amount I learnt during this time about the media, advertising, client relations, marketing - you name it - was absolutely invaluable. I also made friends that I will treasure for life.
The icing on the cake?
It had been my lifelong ambition to be a writer and from this job at the Herald I even had two stories published!
You can view them here and here
- The possibility of this happening for me had been beyond my wildest dreams.
An incredible line up of events were all made possible by this man's belief in me.
When I decided to leave the Herald, and Sydney - Frank invited me to his showroom where he allowed me to choose any piece of furniture to take with me as a parting gift...
Can this bloke get any nicer?
Well yes, it seems it is just part and parcel of him. Since being back in Hay he has donated furniture to the Drought Relief, advertised in our paper in Hay (probably thinking will I EVER escape this Staffie???) gave us a fantastic deal on our furniture which now proudly adorns our house AND continues to be my friend to this day - now as a Stay at Home Mum - with NOTHING TO SELL him he must be breathing many sighs of relief!
Oh - and he still says I will be his Brush with Fame -
so do me a favour and help me prove him right. He deserves it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A very important date?

I was looking through old emails to see when I first got my cat.
Would you believe...... what I wrote in the email to my friends (about never being able to be a mother haha)

but wait for the real kicker...

Received: Thursday, 22 December, 2006, 5:07 PM

I got myself a kitten yesterday, a little ginger and white one - I have named him Boy George, he is a little bit of a mummy's boy and an entertainer haha mad name, it may change tomorrow... I tell you one thing, i don't know how I'd ever be a mother in real life - one night with him meowing all night and i'm yhhhhhh (that was him walking on keyboardyyyyyyyyy1q AND again...

the day I got her (turned out to be her) was the EXACT day my son was born 2 years later.

Do you think that is spooky????

She still isn't home

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The People's Princess

There are some people who prattle on about their cats and it gets boring.
I know.
But please hear me out.
My cat has gone missing.
It has been 4 or 5 days since I saw her.
I need to prattle on, I am hurting.
I love her.
For the uninitiated her name is Princess Baby.
I don't know why.
She started out as "Boy George".
I then found out he was a 'she' (although same could almost be said for Boy George - could be a drag cat?? )
Her name, strangely, morphed into Princess Baby.
Sometimes Baby Girl.
Sometimes Blurt.
I won't go there. It is a family thing.
Although she has many names (which made it hard when I put an ad on the radio this morning) She is super, super special.
Not a fancy breed or anything like that.
Just a tabby cat I was given from a litter of ten.
She chose me as her Mama and then she prepared me for Mamahood.
People that saw me with her all said "I have never seen a cat like her!" - even cat haters seemed to find something to like in her.
All she wanted was to cuddle, or sleep on your head (see Cowboy's pic - someone who doesn't like cats mind you.)
She was obsessed with jumping up and cuddling me.
She wanted me to carry her everywhere.
If I was standing up she would jump up like a dog would so I would pat her!
Forget the imagery you have of cats with their arrogant independent air.
Princess Baby broke the mould.
She was a people-cat.The people's Princess if you will.
A couple of years into her life and the Little Prince (my son) was born.
Ten months into mothering a person and I admit I have felt super guilty at times.
I haven't been able to give her the cuddles that she had become accustomed to as much.
She looks at me sadly sometimes and then at the Prince with such contempt.
Now, she is... gone.
I cannot imagine how people feel when their children go missing.
I am laying awake at night wondering if she has been caught in a trap, bitten by a snake - or if she simply ran away because she was heartbroken.
I hope she is just on an adventure chasing birds and having a lovely time.
How awful is this not knowing.

(please note I jump tenses here, I don't know if she is still with us or not so forgive my grammar - I'm tense confused.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pamela Tsigdinos - Inspiring others through her story

Through joining shewrites I have had the opportunity to liaise with lots of writers at different stages of their 'careers.'
Many of these inspirational in their own right.
One such writer I had the fortune of chatting with is Author, Columnist ,Blogger and Californian Gal Pamela Tsigdinos
Pamela has recently had her personal story, 'Silent Sorority' published.
She has inspired me by showing how writing from a place of pain and honesty we can connect and help others.
I asked Pamela questions about being a published author and columnist - but discovered more about her story than just the nuts and bolts of being 'published."
Thanks so much Pamela.

You are a published author and columnist! Tell me, what was the secret for 'sealing the deal' in both positions?

Dedication. Unwavering commitment to your projects. Discipline. A willingness to knock on as many doors as it takes to get where you want to go. Oh, yes, and moxie coupled with the ability to write persuasively enough to get others interested in your ideas.

Tell me about your book and who you are a columnist for?

My book, Silent Sorority, was five years in the making and followed nearly 10 years of trying lead a conventional life while in the throes of trying to solve a medical mystery. Each day I'd get up and go to work, doing my best to pretend everything was normal. What my extended family and most friends didn't realize was that I had become a science experiment. You can find out more by reading the book!
I don't want to give away the punch line. As for my column, well, here's a clue. It's called Barren Not Beaten and it's one of five featured on a site called Fertility Authority.

What do you believe are key ingredients for being a successful columnist?

The most important element for being a successful columnist (or blogger for that matter) is to have a distinct point of view.
Let your personality come through in your writing.
People aren't interested in milk toast topics or imitation.
Be creative and find your voice.

How did you go about getting your book published?
Was it difficult?

I'm not going to mince words here. It was brutal. A strong ego and a drive to succeed are essential. That's because rejection and long periods of waiting and wondering if anyone is ever going to embrace your work comes with the territory.

How do you FEEL now that your story is out there?

It's surreal, really. Until recently I was a very private person. At the same time I now feel a bond, a connection to readers and a sense of legacy.
I like to think that some time a hundred years or more from now someone will stumble across my book and gain insight into a difficult experience told from a candid, humorous and poignant perspective -- much like we read and contemplate diaries of those who came before us. I don't have to wait a hundred years though. I also have the immense satisfaction that comes from readers thanking me for sharing my frank story and telling me that I've touched their lives. One recent reader email in particular stands out.
She wrote: "I just wanted to let you know how much your book has helped and is still helping. I am in a good place at the moment and thought you should know (since reading your book). My mom has read the book as well and it has opened up a line of communication that we did not have before. I really can not thank you enough!"

Any advice you would give to somebody with ambition to achieve what you have?

For anyone starting out today I would strongly encourage them to do exactly what you're doing, Sharni.
Get to know other writers and editors.
Figure out how to build a following by leveraging the social media tools that allow your writing to get from your computer to readers.
There are writing platforms out there that will allow you to test your ideas and experiment with what works -- they range from Open Salon to BlogHer.
The best advice though, while maddeningly cliche is still true: follow your dreams, and write what comes naturally, write what you know.