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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Praise be to Blog

I am in a strange and wonderful place at the moment.
I have this inner sense of calm that I am where I need to be within myself.
God it's a good feeling!
I am running on intuition and it seems I keep meeting the right people at the right time.
It is hard to explain.
I find when I go with my 'feeling' rather than my head I get to where I need to be quicker.
I'm not sure how I am doing it - but I like it.
I just feel blessed to have met so many wonderful people.
No, they aren't in this one horse town (though yes there are some nice people here) - they are the people reading this.
Honestly - the people I have met since becoming a blogger and joining writing networks such as She Writes and Blogher and Blog This- is incredible.
I really hope one day to meet many of you in person.
That would be excellent.
Today Alice Grist who I interviewed here (then cheekily hinted at a tarot reading) came to the party and I received a personalised reading from her.
This was a great honor particularly as I am still yet to get my hands on her book - the High Heeled Guide to Enlightenment.
Would you buy it for me for Christmas please?
I will post about my reading from her soon - but this post is about the wonderful 'stuff' and people that is happening and I am meeting.

The other thing is I have become a contributor (but haven't contributed yet) on a blog called Writers Rising, this was founded by a very inspirational lady - Katherine Jenkins who is the author of the site Lessons from the Monk I married.
It is a site for writers to share their work in a supportive atmosphere.
Let me know if you are interested in joining the ranks!
I am so inspired by Nikki a) because she lives in New Zealand and it looks beautiful (and now the Cowboy and I are seriously considering moving there) and b) because she is going to India.
I have ALWAYS wanted to go to India.
I love the book Holy Cow by Sarah McDonald and I am a new recruit to the blog Lost and Found in India IN SPITE of the fact the author Braja is too busy to be interviewed on my chronicles :-)
I have a friend that OWNS a holiday cottage in GOA - how cool is that? I keep telling her one day, oh yes one day - when I feel confident enough to take Monte to the hectic charms of India - we will stay there.
Oh and Sarah Wilson - popular columnist, tv identity and social commentator has agreed to an interview for my blog - as in Women who do what they love.
I am stoked.... that is coming up soon
There has been heaps of other stuff inspiring me lately.... I can't think of it all now...
But honestly - thank-you because it has been the blogging that has sparked off this sense of contentment and almost.. enlightenment (??!!) in me!

Yes I feel enlightened ( a little)

Praise be to Blog!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Renovations: After and Before

due to uploading pics in wrong order I present to you - our renovations so far:

After and Before!

(who wants another boring before and after?!)


We are doing some ourselves, (by ourselves I mean by Cowboy) and some ... the professionals.

We bought our house for a steal and so it is fun to do it up.

The kitchen was a funny shape, old daggy and yucky -

We are convinced the ghost of the German bloke who built the house is still with us.

He occassionally pops the kettle on and messes with the coathangers in the still of the night.

We hope he won't be too disturbed with the changes.

We have ripped it out and replaced it with a shimmering white model.

We have also had our wall between kitchen and loungeroom knocked for six and it is all open plan

We are getting lavish tiles put down - we were going to polish the floorboards, but alas they had iccky goo all over them : too hard basket.

It will be exciting when it is all done.

Then we will sell the house and move to New Zealand.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Price Check on Customer's Hairdressing Bill

I was minding my own business in the supermarket today when the check out chick said to me "Oh you have gone lighter with your hair again?"
"Yes" I replied - awaiting the compliment that was sure to follow.
" God, it is very orangey" she said seemingly unaware of the implications of this comment.
"Please, please let us not go there." I thought.
With all due respect, it is usually the chicks of the checkout who have this orangey glow.
I am not going to lie to you, since having my hair "fixed" in the two horser I have caught glimpses of this orange she speaks of.
I have kept myself well and truly in denial about it.
I have not voiced this it out loud fearing it might make it true.
Every time the thought crosses my mind I have replaced it with words like "ash" and "blonde".
I think I am actually psychologically scarred from the ordeal.
I am weak, beaten and dishrevelled after hair mishap after mishap.
I feel queasy writing about it again.
I do not have the strength for number 4 right now.
I have been throwing myself into house renos, website design ideas, building cubby houses.
But the orange lurks.
I have been blogging, chatting - going for walks - admiring my fake fingernails.
But it doesn't change the fact that the tinge exists.
I didn't want to bore you with it again.
I swear I didn't.
But it is time for me to admit that there is still some orange in my hair and I need to deal with it.
The mirror doesn't lie
Neither, it seems, do check out chicks.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Inspiring Lady of the moment: Nikki Griffin!

I'd like to introduce you to Nikki.

This gal knows how to make the most of life and of the moment.

Nikki and her hubby recently moved from Sydney to New Zealand on a whim.

They threw out the tellie, grew a veggie garden and are discovering a whole lot about themselves in the process!

Loving the whole living for the moment notion of it all
She lives in a remote part of NZ with even less horses than mine!
NZ looks so beautiful I might whip up and go there myself.

(apologies to Nikki her beautiful photography doesn't pop up in the proper parts of the story - because, well.. I dumb with formatting. )

You can visit Nikki over at her Learning to be Me blog

Tell me a little about where you live and why you decided to move there?

My husband and I live in a tiny little town called Kingston on the South Island of New Zealand. We are a 30 minute drive from Queenstown, (which is where Luke – the hubby - works) but we are quite rural, our town has less than 200 residents and we don't have access to town water or even mail delivery to our house!

We've been here for about 4 months now and so far we really love it. We came to New Zealand for the first time in January this year for our honeymoon, and spent just under a week exploring the area in our little hire car. Less than an hour after our flight landed I absolutely fell in love, the incredible views, the lovely people, everything about the area really appealed to me, so, once we got back home to Sydney in February we started thinking about whether we wanted to move here or do some more backpacking instead.

At the end of April I was killing time at work by browsing through realestate.co.nz and I saw our house up for lease. The moment I saw it I knew I wanted to live here, so I applied online - sight unseen - and we decided that if we got approved for the house then that would be our sign that we should move here, and if not, then we would head to India instead. This may seem like a bit of a kamikaze approach to deciding on such a momentous decision, but it’s quite good, saves a lot of sleepless nights that would normally be spent agonizing over the logistics of each option!

Obviously we got the house and so we both gave notice at our jobs and now, here we are!

You are handy with a Veggie Garden I believe?

I hate dirt under my fingernails (no I'm not a princess) and I couldn't keep a cactus alive - but would love to have a veggie garden - and would love to teach Monte how to look after one in the future.

So, means I need a crash course.

Where do I start? Please inspire one who is not dirt orientated how to start a veggie patch...

I’m not sure I’m the person to ask for veggie garden advice!

This is our first attempt – after 7 years of living together, this is our first house – but I do understand being green thumb challenged, I’m yet to keep a houseplant alive for a significant period of time, even those peace lilies that are supposed to live forever!

BUT, here is what we did:

1. Find where you want to plant your garden and dig! Make sure you pick somewhere that has good sun. We turned the soil down to about 20cm, the quality of the soil was really great (because we are next to a national forest probably) but in your very dusty one horse town you may need to add some good stuff to the soil.

2. Pick your seeds, obviously what you choose depends on your climate and the time of year etc, but all that information is on the back of the seed packets so that is easy enough.

3. Poke holes in the ground and put the seeds in (wear gloves so you don’t get dirt under your fingernails – or, better yet make the cowboy do it!). It will say on the seed packets how to plant, how far apart, how deep into the soil, etc etc.

4. Water everyday, usually as it is getting dark (or in the morning before the sun gets too high if you are a morning person).

5. Wait.

6. Wait.

And then? Well I don’t know from there because we are still in the waiting stage, everything is growing really well and every day we both rush outside to see if we can pick anything yet but so far everything is still too young. If you are too impatient for all this waiting maybe you should go for seedlings instead of seeds. That is what I might do next time!

You aim to live a simple life from what I understand, tell me about life since you threw out the television?

We didn’t have one for the first 4 years of our relationship and then my Mother bought herself a nice shiny new flat screen and so she gave us her old TV, suddenly I realized that so much of our time was being sucked away, and then, to make matters worse we got Foxtel as well!


Suddenly our life was revolving around the TV guide and we were talking about people in TV shows like we actually knew them, it was all very sad.

When we left for New Zealand we left the TV on the side of the road and I’ve never been happier!

Our house is so calm and quiet now, we have music playing more often, we read books, we have conversations about things other than people on reality TV shows. It’s lovely!

Living without a TV has been really wonderful change for me.

We do still watch some tv, we still download our favourite TV shows and watch them on the computer, so we aren’t completely cut off but it’s nice to have some kind of control over what we are watching.

I’ve really noticed how little I’m subjected to advertising these days and it’s really a nice feeling. In Sydney we had TV advertising and billboards and those big ads on buses and in bus shelters and all over the train stations, and we don’t have any of that anymore, as a result I really notice advertising when I see it, even in movies and things like that where it’s all placement advertising, it’s really obvious to me now, whereas before I wouldn’t even notice it because I was so bombarded.

The one not so great thing about not having a TV is that we don’t really have much of an idea of what is going on in the world, we really have to make an effort to keep up with current events (thank goodness for the internet) otherwise we would just live in our own happy little bubble. Which isn’t a bad thing I suppose.

In what other ways have you simplified your life?

Moving house also gave us the opportunity to cut back on a lot of our belongings.

I made the decision to give away 101 things I didn’t use anymore – as part of my 101/1001 day zero project – and so we really made the effort to get rid of all the things we were holding onto that we didn’t use or need (or clothes that didn’t fit!).

We gave some of it away to friends and family, donated a lot of it to The Smith Family.

We have a lot less clutter now!

The next thing, and probably the biggest thing for us, was making the decision to stop shopping!

I watched The story of stuff which made me think really differently about the way that our products are created and the impact on the environment, so we made a pact that we would stop buying things.

Of course not buying *anything* is just unrealistic so we have some rules.

Like, wherever possible we buy second hand stuff (so that it doesn’t end up in landfill) or we buy hand made (Etsy is your friend!!), I am also trying to teach myself how to sew so that I can start making things for myself.

There are other things too, but they probably have more to do with living in an environmentally friendly way and not so much to do with living Simply, like, we only use environmentally friendly washing powder and dishwashing liquid, we carry re-usable water bottles with us (Klean Kanteen!) instead of buying bottled water, cooking all our meals from scratch instead of using processed items etc.

How does living in NZ compare to Australia?

We both really love New Zealand, it is so visually spectacular, which really inspires our creativity, it’s a lovely feeling.

Mostly though, it’s easy to forget that we are living in a different country, things are really similar here.

There are some differences, the biggest thing for me is finding food supplies! I am a vegan, and after living in Sydney where there are so many specialty shops and things like that, I find it SO difficult to find some things that I used to take for granted – like Tempeh!

The one thing that really does stand out is that everyone is so relaxed here, I have to really make an effort sometimes to chill out, I’m the kind of person who is always early for everything, I’m such a control freak like that and I really need to remind myself that things don’t really work like that here, part of it has to do with being in the country as well I suppose, everything seems to run at a much slower pace.

People are much friendlier here as well.

Just yesterday we took a drive out to Invercargill and we stopped on the way home because we saw this Ostrich (!?!?) in someone’s yard and I wanted to stop and take a photo for my blog.

And the owner of the Ostrich came outside and started talking to us, we stood there for almost half an hour chatting with him about his lovely pet.

That kind of thing happens all the time here.

Your blog is called "learning how to be me" what does this mean and what have you learnt?

Originally I had a whole bunch of different blogs, and in each one I would write about different things that were important to me.

It got to the point where I wasn’t investing myself in any of them because I was compartmentalizing these little parts of myself, so I created ‘learning to be me’ in the hope that I would have the courage to put all of these parts of myself together, not just in blog land but in my life as well.

What have I learnt?

I’m not sure!

I think in the end all I’m really trying to learn is how to be more comfortable in my own skin, how to live according to my ethics and to not be afraid of talking with other people about the things that are important to me.

I think I’m getting there, but like it says on my blog “one day at a time” !

Do you find the kiwi accent annoying?

LOL! I used to date a kiwi boy when I was living in Melbourne in my –very- early 20s and when he spoke the hair on the back of my neck used to stand up in frustration (obviously this relationship didn’t have a lot of potential!), so I was really worried about how I would cope with the accent, funnily enough though I very rarely notice it. Practically everyone who lives in Queenstown is an international so we hear other accents much more often than we hear the kiwi accent, which means that when I do hear it’s kind of a nice surprise, I’m starting to find it really endearing!

Thanks Nikki - love it!

Now where are those gardening gloves... I will get onto that right after I finish watching The Apprentice (just joking! I would love to throw the tv away too but Cowboy loves it too much, plus he could say the same about the computer... one day....)

- you'd probably really enjoy reading Eileen's blog which has some great ideas about living simply without consuming (much) if you don't already ...

Blog Post of the Week: The Smoke Detector that broke the camel's back

This weeks Blog Post of the Week comes from Mommy Nanni Boo Boo!! .....who by the way will be my guest blogger next week some time - so this warms you up to her style.

I like it a lot.

Why did I choose this post?

She writes so well, I feel it was me... standing there... freaking out....

Hope you enjoy it too

The Smoke Detector that Broke the Camels Back

There is only so much a person can take.

Human beings (yes, mommies too) are fragile, as much as we don’t like to admit it. We disregard this fact. We push it deep down and pretend to be super heroes. We call it “necessity”, because after all, someone needs to take care of the house, feed the family, change the diapers, walk the dogs, keep the doctor appointments, buy the groceries, enforce nap times, wipe the noses, do the laundry, do the ironing, schedule the play dates, and generally keep the world spinning.

If you follow my blog, then you know that I have had ONE HECK OF A MONTH. With our new apartment falling apart around us, not having heat, Bam Bam getting sick, myself getting sick, and Hot Nerd struck down by the h1n1 virus , my mettle has been tested.

A couple weeks ago, I shattered into a million pieces. My fortitude was reduced to the equivalent of a soft, albeit tasty, cinnamon crumb cake. One touch= an avalanche of crumbly crumbles scattered all over your plate.

What was the culprit you ask? What evil superpower led to my eventual undoing? Two words for you:


Please imagine, if you will:

Hot Nerd is out for the evening with a friend. They are spending a late night at the roller derby (No, you did not misread. I really did say ROLLER DERBY.) At a little after midnight, I am jarred awake by a very high pitched, disturbingly loud, BEEP BEEP BEEP.

I jump out of bed with my heart in my throat and blindly throw my pillow at the… I don’t know… whatever I thought was attacking us at the moment!


I feel around in the dark, breathing very heavily, and switch on the light. I scan the room briefly, and then, three very loud BEEP BEEP BEEPS!

I realize that it is the smoke detector in our bedroom, and become very afraid that it will wake Bam Bam and scare the living crap out of him, like it did me. It is not making a constant string of beeps. Just three piercing beeps, followed by about 20 seconds of silence. You know, just enough time to catch your breath, and remember what silence sounds like, before another round of earth shattering BEEP BEEP BEEPS.

This lack of a continuous string of beeps, leads me to believe that it has something to do with the battery. I thank the powers that be for putting a 9volt battery in our junk drawer, and quickly hop on top of our son’s step stool to change the battery.

I CANT FIGURE OUT HOW TO CHANGE THE BATTERY. I see no button, or hatch, or twisty- pully thing. I know there’s a battery in there somewhere because BEEP BEEP BEEP!

I begin simply swatting at the thing. As if to clear the imaginary smoke from around the device. I must point out, that the thirty days leading up to this point has already left me ill, sleep deprived, and the biggest walking ball of stress you’ve ever seen. So please forgive me when I tell you all that I begin to pry the thing off of the wall. I gotta say, nowadays, they really stick those things to the walls. It would not budge- okay it budged a little. But being on top of my son’s tiny step stool, balancing on my tippy tippy toes just didn’t give me the leverage I needed. BEEP BEEP BEEP. So I start to beat it. First with my flat hand, then with my fist. Magic fist, apparently. Magic fist that makes the battery pop out of a weird, hidden, battery slot. YAY. I change the battery.

I praise the Gods that Bam Bam is still asleep in the next room and begin to climb down from my post.

BEEP. Silence.

Huh, that must be the beep that tells you you’ve successfully changed the battery.

BEEP. Silence.

Okay… that must be the beep that reminds you to perhaps check the batteries in the other smoke detectors...


I scramble back up the step stool and start slapping the thing. I’m also whispering vehemently, right up into what I imagine to be it’s face, “What do you want from me, you mother fucking piece of crap? I will kill you. Do you hear me? I … will… KILL YOU.”

I can not fathom how any of this is possible. How does a nice, new shiny battery produce MORE beeping. It was teasing me. The fucking thing was teasing me.

While I’m up in it’s imaginary face, whisper/yelling at it, I notice a teeny button that says press to silence.

Oh my God, I press it.

I soooooo press it.

It is silent.

Then it is not.


It’s a softer beep. Not a silent beep. The button should say press to get a softer, only slightly less annoying beep.

I, at this point, am wondering what kind of futuristic, indestructible, alien smoke detector this is.

I have also worked up a sweat.

And I’m crying.

I can not think of anything else to do, but to stand there on my toes and keep my finger on the stupid button. I am amazed that my son has not woken up, and if the loud beeps start again, my brain will most definitely explode.

I stand there.

My arm goes a little numb.

I stand there.

On my toes.

On my son’s step stool.

In the corner of my bedroom.

Feeling completely trapped.

Then I jump off, run to the nightstand, grab my phone, run back, and press the button again.

I decide there is nothing else left in me. I call my husband. I tell Hot Nerd that I need him to come home. It’s an emergency. I’m at my wit’s end. My fingers are numb. I’ve got a cramp in my calf. And I’m very, very, very tired.

I give him the low down on the phone. He’s at a bar, they just ordered food…blah blah blah. I don’t care. I tell him I’m about to go crazy and he needs to come home. His friend, jokingly suggests that maybe our place is haunted, and this all being done by a ghost.

I instantly believe that this is true.

There is no other explanation. It is an evil spirit trying to terrorize me.

I begin to sob, uncontrollably.

Hot Nerd says he will be home as soon as possible.

I must add, here, that this whole ordeal has completely fried my two little doggies. They are shaking, and skittering around, and this only confirms my belief that the evil spirits are out to get us.

Hot Nerd takes about twenty minutes to get home.

I spend that time sobbing, stuck in a corner, with my numb finger on that stupid button, tirelessly scanning the room for ghosts, and praying that I don’t become possessed by demons. Our closet doors begin to rattle. Our apartment is so shoddily made, that they rattle when anyone enters the building, but at that moment, I’m pretty sure they are rattling because of pure evil. I truly don’t remember the last time I was so terrified.

Hot Nerd, when he arrived, let me cry on his shoulder for a few seconds, then went through a series of similar tasks with the battery. Every time we thought he had fixed it, a random beep would occur.

Finally, we figured out it was the stand up AC unit that was in our room. We keep the fan on for noise, and the vent was pointed straight up at the smoke detector. At least we think that’s it. We moved it. It didn’t beep. Beep or no beep, I didn’t sleep a wink that night.

The next morning, Hot Nerd suggested in a very gentle way that I might be a little over stressed. He suggested I schedule a massage for the following weekend to relax. This is why he is a genius. And also why he is hot.

I still glare at that smoke detector when I’m in bed. That little, round thing was the last straw for me.

I broke.

I could take no more.

Sometimes the mountains we carry on our backs just keep piling higher and higher. We’re too busy pointing out how high the mountain is on our spouse’s back, or making sure a mountain never gets to start on our children’s backs.

So let this be a reminder to those reading:

Unless you wanna go bat shit crazy on a battery operated device, that is supposed to save lives, and swat at imaginary demons in your bedroom- take some time every now and then to lighten your load.

It’s not hard. A warm bath. A massage. A yoga class. An exorcism.


Because you never know what the last straw will be.

last straw

What do you think? Hope you enjoy her style as I do...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I was trying to quit my sugar addiction when...

I was awarded a fabulous Sugar Doll Blogger Award!

wish I had of at least brushed my hair to accept it.
What a start to the day!
Quix from Quixotic Life (ha ha sorry don't know her name!) has awarded me a most prestigous award for my blog.
I would award it back to her but then this would never end.
So in return I am to pass it on.
Now just yesterday I gave a big shout-out to all my favourites - so looks like I have to go there again.
There are some I plug all the time who I think deserve this so heregoes:

Mommy Nanni Boo Boo this woman is funny. Seriously. (upcoming guest blogger for me..)
Woah Mama - great humour, inspiring fitness regime!
Consumption Rebellion - inspires me to be a better human being in general
Maisie and More - like her style
Girl Gone Child - this blogger is big-time, but hopefully not too big-time to accept award from Sharnia! Her blog is the epitome of cooool mama blogs.

Check out these if you haven't already - I sing their praises almost daily.
I am meant to write 10 things about me here aswell but feel I have done this already (times ten) 100 random facts about me here if you missed them.