What I learned in 2016

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This year, I have discovered that roses reward even a small amount of care with great beauty.  Which, come to think of it, is a good metaphor for the self-care I talk about below.

If I had to boil down 2016 into a single lesson, for the world at large, as well as for me, it would be that you shouldn’t take anything for granted.  Life can knock you down, knock you sideways or just end, when you are least expecting it.  So cling to the things you care about and fight for them!

But it also taught me, personally, a bunch of other things.  These are the ones that come to mind this hot January afternoon…

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New Year’s Notions

safe_image-phpIt’s coming up to a new year, after a year that left a lot to be desired (see previous post) and, as usual and culturally normal, I’m thinking about what I want the coming year to hold.

But I am emphatically NOT talking about New Year’s Resolutions, because we all know that they are not worth the paper or cyber-space they’re written on.

I’m also not going to participate in the annual self-flagellation that marketers love so much to capitalise on.

We (and the mags and websites with content to fill) love to talk about what we should do less of: we should weigh less (always, and quite regardless of whether our health will actually benefit).  We should eat less; less  altogether and especially less sugar/carbs/fat/cheese/meat… or whatever is the bête noire of the moment.  We should drink less coffee or alcohol or diet coke.  We should spend less money and less time on social media.  We should work less – or relax less, depending on who you ask.

It’s a curiously puritanical approach to life, in a culture that simultaneously urges us to indulge our every whim.  Continue reading

It’s Christmas and I’m grateful


This picture was on display in all of our houses.  It’s a few years old now, but still a favourite.

2016 hasn’t been the best of years.  As a family, we’ve had some complicated health issues, and we lost a dear friend, whose spirit wasn’t ready to die, but whose body had finally had enough.  She fought for every one of her sixty years.  I loved her and I miss her dreadfully.

But today, it’s Christmas, and I’m grateful for the good things.  Because I am a believer and it’s Christmas, this has come out in the form of a prayer.  If that’s not your style, feel free to skip the God parts.  I hope that you, too, have things to be grateful for this festive season and that you like it. Continue reading

What’s your weakness?

It’s official.  When it comes to garlic bread, I have no chill.

I always cook more than I need and then the only thing that stops me from eating all that I’ve cooked is manners.

But that doesn’t work if there’s no one else there, or the only one who is has already had enough. Then it’s just me and my certain knowledge that my gall-bladder-less body will punish me violently if I continue.

So far, the fear is winning.  But once my stomach has settled, I make no promises about these leftovers.

What about you? Do you have a food kryptonite?

The Honesty Ferret

So, this return to the blog has been interesting…

I was under the paw of the black dog of depression for a long time.  Well, a long time for me.  Not compared to those who have struggled always, but it took two years out of my creative life.

Recently, I got help and I’m feeling much better (you can read that story here if you want to) and the words are flowing again.

But what words!  Something interesting has happened.  I don’t know whether it’s the relief – make that the unbridled joy – of feeling normal again, or whether it’s opening up about my malfunctioning brain, but it seems my filter has fallen off.

In one week back on the blog, I’ve posted about mental health (mine, as above), music (nothing new there) and religion.  I don’t know what the modern list is for ‘things you shouldn’t talk about at the dinner table’ (or on social media), but I think I’ve hit two of them there!

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George Pell and shame

Fair warning: I’m about to talk about faith and religion, so if they aren’t your bag, please feel free to wander away now.  Also, this post is kind of long and very personal and if any of that, or incandescent rage, offends, you might want to look away.  If you want something lighter, may I suggest the post about what makes a man sexy?  That will be much more fun than this one.

Warning over. Read on at your own risk!

So, a couple of days ago, this happened.

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What I learned in 2015


The majestic Uluru, in central Australia, which I saw in person for the first time this year. Squee! I’ll post more on that later.

It’s February, which means that the year has started – the working/writing year, that is.

I know that for many people, the year starts on the first of January, but in Australia, January is the long summer holidays.  My girl is growing up too fast, so I like to spend as much time hanging out with her as possible .  Also, January is my month for cleaning house (literally), taking stock (of house and self) and making plans for the rest of the year.

This year the taking stock has been both wonderful and painful (and has led to a long post – fair warning!).

Wonderful because, for the first time in two years, I feel normal.  Optimistic, energetic and fired up for the year ahead, instead of sad, exhausted, fearful and overwhelmed.

Painful because I now realise that I could have been feeling like this much sooner if I had just asked for help sooner.

Painful because, in all that time, while I managed to do some things, I could only manage those things by neglecting others, including my friends and family.  I have some making up to do, but at least now, the thought of that is not so crushingly guilt-producing as it was just a few months ago.

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Can we stop talking about bodies?

Last week, a dear friend ended up in the intensive care unit with, among other things, septicemia.  (She is much better now and at home again, before you worry, but thank you!) So I spent several days in the ICU, mostly with her, but also seeing all the other people who were in there, and it makes you think.  Then, when I opened my computer today, I found this half-finished rant about magazines and body talk and it seemed the right time to share it.  I’m not a prude.  I like a nice bum as much as the next woman and I don’t want us to stop looking.  But can we talk about something else?

Dear Magazines:

It’s not me, it’s you.

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It’s been a while between cocktails…

700Ahem. *Clears throat and looks around nervously*

It’s been a while.

If you’ve dropped in while the tumbleweeds were blowing through this part of my online space, I’m sorry I wasn’t here to offer you a cup of tea and a biscuit. Or a gin and cheese twist, if that’s more what floats your boat. If you had been relying on me for party-style sustenance, you’d have faded away to a shadow by now.

And now I’m going to share why I was away. It’s a bit long and a bit sad, so if you have better things to do or just aren’t up for sad, feel free to stop here, with the assurance that I will be around much more reliably in future.

For those who’ve stuck around, here’s the rest…

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Hypocrisy V Compassion

Forgive another reblog but this expresses brilliantly something I have felt many, many times myself as a person of faith. Go Morgan, another storytelling friend. And I love the blessing at the end. St Benedict was a very practical man. It seems appropriate that it comes from a Benedictine nun.

stories in my life

Storytellers are eavesdroppers and liars; we harvest the words of others and transform them into a palatable product for our consumers.  Public places provide ample opportunities for the discerning listener to pluck a phrase, witness a dialogue and record a scene which will find a home in the stories we create for future telling.
So there I was at the gym; yes I drove there to spend half an hour huffing and puffing on a cross-trainer – irony is not lost on my own ‘first world’ actions. It was a quiet morning because I had an early school drop-off, and the cardio area was not reeling under the efforts of mass sincerity. There was only myself, another woman who was plugged in and therefore oblivious to any conversations and two men. It was their conversation I was privy to; or elements of it.
‘Asians.’ This was the word that punctuated…

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