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Blog-vember post the seventh … process writing

On the seventh day, she went out to dinner.

If I were a more organised and a more diligent writer, I would have written this this morning, or yesterday or even earlier this evening. I am not that writer. I am pantser not a plotter, as they say in #NaNoWriMo. I don’t map out the plot before I start, I trust my gut and I fly by the seat of my pants.

When I wrote essays as an undergraduate, I found I was still under the spell of my early formative writing experiences. In primary school, there was a kind of writing called ‘process writing’. My memory of this is that children were encouraged to not get it right, but get it written. It was extremely tolerant of ambiguity, which was quite good as it happens for my wobbly spelling. Incidentally, my spelling is still wobbly. (Indeed I just spelled incidentally with only one L)

My early essays, I often wrote a few hundred words or even a thousand words, then chucked away the first 500 and started the essay from the middle. The middle then became the beginning and I went on, having discarded the dross I had written to start with.

As it is already really late, I have no time, tonight, to edit. Like NaNoWriMo this post is about word count and getting it written. This post was to be about ‘the dignity of risk’ and about mud. Two topics that were conversations over dinner. The dignity of risk is about being allowed to make mistakes and undertake risk in your engagement with life’s experiences, and the mud is about demonstrating what you are made of; in spite of those who think you will be undone by being made the wade through a few meters of knee deep clay.

Rather than throw out the beginning and start again, molding the clay into a story, I have to stop. It’s late and tomorrow I have to get up and convince myself yet again, that not every day is a fight to the death.

It’s a long road


Blog-vember post the sixth … the fifth year

… they don’t let a woman kill you in the tower of song …

Yesterday I celebrated five years with the ACT Government. This means it’s been five years since I returned to Canberra, something I vowed I would never, never do, and five years since Robert and I met.

That seems a breathtakingly short period of chronological time for what has come to pass since 5th of November 2007. That moment when his shoe collided with my empty filing cabinet and nearly made me fall off my chair, has the clarity of fine crystal. It is fine, and sharp and precious and rare.

It is two years since I wrote one of my favourite ever pieces; open letter to my child about his father.

While you are reading this, I will be eating his roast chicken and we will be talking about everything and nothing.

I will ask about his favourite Leonard Cohen song so I can add it to this post, and he won’t remember any of the names. He will describe about five songs because he finds it impossible to limit the choice to just one.

Luckily I don’t find it impossible to limit my choice to one.
One song, one soul mate, one shared life.

Blog-Vember My Day on A Plate

MT @ @ wha??? @ This is among the most incredible bullshit I've ever seen http://t.co/sVRn953B
Stella Orbit

Inspired by the furore on Twitter yesterday about Pete Evans’ description of his Day on A Plate, resplendent with its activated almonds, here is #mydayonaplate blog. This post may contain traces of gluten, nuts and irony.


7:00 –  Glass of water
7:02 – Two cups earl grey tea – no milk. One straight after the other.
7:17 – Muesli, honey (Honey Delight Spring Harvest), full cream milk, yoghurt (Country Valley) and a seed and fruit cereal topping to stop me dying of boredom – may contain linseed, not sure, but little bits get stuck in my teeth.
8:14 – Water while standing around waiting for coffee (HURRY UP!)
8:35 – Double shot latte

9:12 – Early grey tea

11:04  – More water and earl grey tea
Thoughts turn to second breakfast. Stupid worthy muesli.

11:47 – Two lady finger bananas – because the Cavendish banana is just horrible.
12:03 – At least six Haighs dark chocolate pastilles.
12:29 – More water

12:47 – Lunch of left over chicken, chorizo, olives, potatoes with salad from the garden of sorrel, cos lettuce and parsley.

3:00 – Soda water from my Soda Stream that I take to work every day to stave off the 3 o’clock desk slump. There is nothing so cheering as that PFFFFTTT as the lid turns and my personal carbon sequestration project is unleashed.  The tiniest Cherry Ripe ever.

3:12 – Rest of the soda water – after I found I was still slumping

Narrowly avoided a vile cup of coffee.

5:40 – Vodka, lime and soda.

5:55 – Half of one of toddler’s spicy-ish meatballs – just to make sure they weren’t poison.

6:20 – Nuts (yes really) almonds included!

7:15 – Half of the freshly picked sugar snap peas from the garden on the way back to the kitchen – quietly curse myself for not planting four times as many pea plants.

7:40 – THIS

Haloumi and green salad

Grilled haloumi with a salad made of spinach, sorrel, fennel, parsley, mint, lemon juice and olive oil.

Soda with lime.

Every single thing I ate for dinner except the haloumi and the olive oil grown by me. The olive oil was grown by Homeleigh Grove.

I am reserving the right to eat some more and perhaps drink some more tea. Probably jasmine picked by virgins but I really haven’t decided yet.

Have food trends gone too far? How important is balance and eating well to you?



Blog-vember Sunday Confessional … Lies I tell myself

It’s Sunday. I have a few things to get off my chest!

Sunday essentials
Oceans of tea

It seemed right to share some of my secrets in a cathartic Sunday session for Blog-vember. I will need to pull every stunt in the blogger’s tool box to make it through this month of posts. Here goes (no laughing please!)

Lies I tell myself – just a random sample

1. I need all the more glassware

2. I will have two alcohol free days a week

3. I will put away my clothes and not live out of the washing basket

4. I won’t try to re-hydrate at 10pm on the weekends

5. I will learn to use all the features of wordpress before I cherry pick and launch into stuff before I know what I am doing!

To celebrate the release, the warm sunny Sunday, a musical treat. Deborah Conway embodying how we should all live out our Sundays with joy. Staying in with coffee, toast and chocolate! Amen to that.

Got anything you need to get off your chest?

There’s your Sunday Blog-vember post!

Blog-vember post the third … what sort of story is this?


On Friday, I wore a little black dress all day. I didn’t wear pearls round my neck but I did wear them in my ears.  I was dared by @foxinflats. I find her hard to resist. I did her red lipstick dare too. I wore red lipstick all day, every day for a week! The little black dress dare was called #breakfastattiffanys It was great. I had a lovely day, worked hard and when I got home, I spent a glorious evening watching the movie. Read More

Gin, how I love you, let me count the ways…

I don’t remember my first sip of gin. There is, however, a crystal clear memory of my favourite gin drinking moment and the beginning of my love affair with distilled botanicals in a spirit base.

I was 21. The mother of my then boyfriend took me to lunch for my birthday. I was about the start my Honours year. We went to a restaurant on the North Shore of Sydney. It was just the two of us and it was rather a treat. I was, at the time, a starving student and so lunch out was a luxury. Liz ordered two gin and tonics.

I was sort of momentarily shocked. In the daytime?

It was glorious. Read More

It’s Blog-vember! Post the first

On the way back from Melbourne, I gazed out the window mouching quietly about having missed seeing some fantastic people. There were just too few hours and I really needed a time machine to make it all work. I even missed out on drinking gin in The Gin Palace; that really really hurt. The trip was too short, the family commitments too long to make it work.

I started on a bit of a reverie then. I’m missing people, I’m missing writing, and I’m missing NaNoWriMo!

I tossed ideas around. What if I could do something else? How could I make this work? How could I write and keep the little smouldering embers of love of writing burning? I certainly couldn’t write 1667 words a day! But I could blog every day. I workshopped ideas. What to call it? Blog-a-rama? NoNoNaNoWriMo? Blog-vember? Yes that says it all. It’s November. It’s blogging.

I wrote the post and sent this little idea out into the ether and who should show up?

Only the gorgeous people I missed in Melbourne!  I may have let out a little squeal of delight at the first response.

Here we all are. Drum roll please.

Blog-vember! A little idea to keep my writing spirits up and share the love.

Here are just a few of the people playing along.

Under The Yardarm

Twitchy Corner


Join us. You can still play and catch up and keep your writing spark. A post a day. Every day for November. Blog-vember!




Blog-vember or NoNoNaNoWriMo

No No NaNoWriMo for me. I have come to a sad realisation that I cannot participate in NaNoWriMo this year. As much as this decision pains me, it is the right one for this year. I just cannot commit the necessary time and my experience last year taught me exactly what that commitment looks like. Of course, I am not willing to give up altogether. Too easy to do that.


Instead of NaNoWriMo this year, I give you Blog-vember!

A blog post every day for the month of November. At least that way I have a target and a writing goal. Feel free to leave pull-your-socks-up comments if I start writing about what I had for lunch – unless of course the lunch was at Tetsuya’s then you’ll just have to suffer through a blow by blow description.

For added interest, I will also give myself the end of November as the deadline for my long overdue book reviews that I keep promising and failing to deliver.

Join me! If you are NaNo-ing then go you. But if you are not join me for Blog-vember.

A post a day for November. Who’s in?

When the boot tied to the washing line swings your way …

The other day I had a little chat on twitter about family.

My literary buddy James said ‘Sometimes family is like a boot tied to a rotating hills hoist: it just keeps hitting you in the head if you don’t step out of the way.’

A little while later I replied.

No matter who your family are, they are the ones that land the body blows. There are the ones that catch you in the back of the head when you are quietly just getting on with things, like hanging out the washing. As much as they love and support you, they can also knock you for six. Well mine do. Almost daily.

When my darling toddler wakes up at 10-30pm and has a big roll over and cries; when will that stop distressing me? It undoes me, every night. He is fine, of course, just resettling. But he cries, breaks my heart, turns over and unaware, just goes back to sleep. I stand pathetically at his door, listening.

Family, they can do that to a person!

I could step out of the way. I could avoid that boot. I could re-adjust my thoughts about the roll over. After all, it’s just a sleeping pattern. He’s not really awake. He’s not upset. And yet I can’t bring myself to beat down the instinct that says, he needs me. He doesn’t. Or that a cuddle would make him feel better. It wouldn’t. Or I could think, this happens every night, he’s fine.

But I can’t.

I can’t duck the boot marked family aimed at my head.



My perfect life

This past couple of weeks have been the toughest my family has endured for a long long time.

I am not going to discuss the specifics.

When everything is going to total crap I have one coping mechanism – it is perverse, because it involves a complete mind fuck.

I imagine my perfect life. Not the life I am living, but the life I want to have. This is perverse because it brings into sharp relief how my actual life is going and its manifest physical defects. Read More

Moscow mules for all…

This week it finally cracked 20 degrees! To celebrate I made my first Moscow Mule of the summer.  It’s simple really, vodka, lime, ginger beer and mint. Like all the classics it has a long history, it was created in 1941 in Manhattan but was particularly popular in the 50s during a vodka craze in the US – particularly the East Coast, or so my extensive *cough* research tells me. Originally it was served in copper cups, apparently the famous Cock ‘n’ Bull bar had goblets engraved with the names of the celebrities who drank there. LA Weekly tells me Greer Garson drank hers in a ‘glass of alarmingly huge proportions.’ The Sunset Strip institution closed in 1987 after 50 years.

Anyway back to warmer weather and great drinking opportunities. Last summer I became slightly obsessive about this fantastic cocktail. There were many instagram moments, and even a hashtag #moscowmulesallround

I said on Friday afternoon that I would blog a recipe, so here it is.

Lay your hands on the tallest glass you can find. Smash the mint into the bottom of the glass with some ice.

Add two shots – 60mL – vodka

Add fresh lime -15 to 20 mL (about one per glass)

Top up the glass with ginger beer.

You can use alcoholic ginger beer or soft. If you use ‘beer’ then be sure to have prepared the dinner first – you only need one of these before you won’t want to do anything else for the rest of the day, which is just as it should be.


I’m not going to be Iris Apfel

Iris Apfel, 90, and still looking amazing


I bought new sunglasses today and in the process I had a shocking revelation.

At no time soon, am I going to come close to being Iris Apfel.

That is to say, I tried on some frames approximately 50% of the scale of those pictured above and rejected them immediately they made contact with my face. ‘But they are so ‘IN’ said the optometrist. ‘I have a pair like that’. I re-shelved them as fast as I had picked them up. Essentially I am a chicken. I have my moments of ‘look at me’ but this was not one of them. I came away with modest, tortoiseshell, ordinary sized frames. Before you give up on my completely, I painted my nails blue this afternoon. OPI. Hardcore bright blue. That will last for two days, till I catch myself and it will be gone. (I know, it’s just blue. And it is absolutely nothing to do with the Cutex Blue Opal we used to wear at school.)

Fashion daring, I do not possess. Fantastic at 90? It is debatable whether I will ever get there. I mean, I freak out if I am wearing too much print. By too much, I mean, any, at all.

I will however, have my own hair. I can, at least, whether through sheer laziness, or aversion to the endless wasted time at the hairdresser, claim to have my natural hair colour. All the grey achieve through hard work and ageing. Just pray that when I get my eyes tested on Wednesday that I don’t need reading glasses, or else I shall have to choose ghastly boring reading glasses and disappoint myself all over again.

Are you courageous and fashion daring? Tell me your tricks.