31 random observations

  1. split ends are the most noticable when bored on a conference call
  2. Jay’s surliness is proportionate to the amount of lapsed time since his last meal
  3. one’s cheerful demeanour is directly related to the number of stupid questions one gets asked during the day
  4. cheese = happiness
  5. Saturday winter afternoons are best spent internesting (nestling in a blanket cocoon while reading the internet)
  6. Harley and possums do not like each other
  7. I am the missing link in Amy Shumer & JLaw’s BFF squad
  8. a red sock will almost always end up in the whites load
  9. Moths operate by osmosis. how else could they possibly end up in the unequivocally-airtight flour jar?
  10. Cow and the Moon gelato in Marrickville deserves a Michelin star
  11. everyone on Instagram has a better life than me
  12. you never correctly insert the USB on the first try
  13. routers only break when the William’s IT support is unavailable
  14. the older you get the more bedgasms you have (that euphoric feeling you get when finally falling into bed at night)
  15. Stating the obvious here, but Australia desperately needs a new Prime Minister
  16. successfully opening a coconut is a distinguished talent!
  17. you’ll desperately need to pee just as the last movie trailer before the actual movie starts
  18. when you have to leave early from work, a senior manager will always bail you up for ‘just a couple of minutes’ as your rushing out the door
  19. life’s greatest epiphanies come when your drinking Old Fashioneds at 1am in the Shady Pines Saloon
  20. there is no situation in which its OK to talk to me about work before I’ve had my coffee
  21. fading chicken pox spots look like acne 
  22. tights are not pants.
  23. zoodles (zucchini noodles) are the greatest health food creation
  24. Russian food is underrated
  25. you can never have too many pairs of ankle boots
  26. three year olds say the darnedest things!
  27. Delta Goodrem is way cooler than she gets credit for
  28. one really does sound awesome singing in the shower!
  29. knuckle rings from Lovisa are the new favourite
  30. the corniest line in the universe is at the end of the film ‘Letters to Juliet’ (“can you move?”…”only my lips”)
  31. cereal makes a perfectly acceptable dinner, no matter what your Mum says!

thirty six trips around the sun

Today is my last as a 35 year old.

While I don’t usually get philosophical about birthdays, I would like to reflect on my last rotation around the sun…

This past year has seen a lot of change in my life and realisation of what changes need to be made in order to reach my/our goals.

Jay and I moved from our beloved rented sky-home apartment in Pyrmont in order to knuckle down and save some money for a deposit to buy our own (overly-expensive) Pyrmont apartment! Seeing a financial adviser was a rude shock in my spending habits; and it’s been very difficult and a daily challenge for me to reign in my spending and not have the ‘I deserve it now’ mentality. It’s a work in progress…

My work has been a constant challenge; from coming out of a project which was a solid year on a client site working exclusively for them, to managing a multimillion dollar global project and then having to audit and remediate 4 projects back to back that were off the rails with hostile clients, it’s been very tough. Some days I felt powerful and confident, and others I would duck into the bathrooms and have a cry. Many sleepless nights on deployments or worrying about my workload, but when I sum it all up and take time to reflect, it’s been character building and has provided me with more experience to be better in my career. My career hasn’t taken the path I thought it would when I was starting out, but most days I like what I do and the company which I work for. I did some study too which was hard but rewarding.

My extended family has had a tough year; My cousins lost their Mum, who I hadn’t seen in years, but who I love and respect deeply.
My father-in-law is almost 2 years into battling cancer, which is terminal however he’s going through palliative chemo and it’s still working although there are good and bad days, like all cancer treatments.
My brother ‘walked out’ of rehab 6 months into a 12 month program and I’ve been so angry with him I haven’t spoken to him since February. I just had enough of all of the lies and manipulation. It’s hard because I just want to magically fix his addiction and the bad choices he makes with his life because of it, but I can’t. I can’t continue to bail him out and have my emotions manipulated. I love him deeply but after trying every way to get through to him, my silence is my last resort.
On the upside I have had a few conversations with my estranged father, which have been good. It’s obvious that our relationship will never be the same as it was, he’s such an oddity, but I have completely let go of the anger and hurt I felt and carried around with me for 10+ years. It’s not so much a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ but rather a ‘soft glow’ that I can see with our future relationship.
I didn’t get to see much of my most darling Mum this year, with her travelling around Australia, but we had a few days here and there which was nice. I miss her terribly and wish she just lived closer dammit.
On the upside, I have grown a lot closer to my sister-in-law this year. It’s always been hard for Jay because he is so much younger than his siblings so it was like they always saw him as “younger” but gradually over time that perception has been changing and this year we’ve had some quality time with one of his sisters and her family and I really love and respect them. As I get older I am starting to appreciate family a bit more.

Jay & I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary earlier this month. I continue to be in awe of my husband, who is just brilliant, kind, caring, funny, so smart and handsome. We’ve been together 19 years (high-school sweethearts) and he still gives me butterflies. I’m very thankful for him.

The dynamics of many of my friendships changed this year; I made new friends, reconnected with old friends and farewelled some too. One of my best friends said something to me the other day about how some people just come into your life for a finite time where your friendship is intense and has a specific purpose. Afterwards you stay in touch and you’re still friends but the need has been met and the intensity has faded. Other friends are always there, in the background, and you know your love and affection will always be constant no matter the situation. I think it’s true and take comfort in that idea.

This last year my fitness declined a little as different priorities took over, but I recently did the Whole30 which kicked off my desire to make my fitness a priority once again. Im going to do the 12WBT again in the lead up to the New Year; with the goal to drop a few kgs before summer and really just get back into a solid routine. I’m apprehensively excited about it!

I didn’t do much travelling this year; we had a week holiday in Byron Bay in April which was relaxing although the weather was disappointing for a beachside vacation. I took a week off in September just to chill. Jay was at work, so I had some alone time to do day trips out of the city, walk with Harley, see some movies and do some cooking. It was therapeutic.

Last night I celebrated my impending birthday with close friends Janine, Ian, Jared, Pete and of course Jay. We went to a fancy bar for cocktails and then to an even fancier restaurant to dinner. It was so much fun! Here’s a few snaps of our night….

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With all that in mind, it’s been a busy year but a good one!

Here’s to a better 36th trip round the sun!

falling in love

People (friends, family, work colleagues) are always telling me that I fall in love too easily. Yes, even my husband says it quite often!

I fall in love with places, books, bands, foods, friends, movies, animals, quotes,
celebrities and historical figures, products, brands and companies.

I fall in love with them and hold on to that love for weeks, months, even years and sometimes, I simply fall out of love in moments.

I don’t think I’m overusing the feeling; it simply is what it is and I am who I am. I feel things all encompassing and I am passionate about stuff.

To quote a line from Gwyneth Paltrow’s character in Country Strong “Fall in love with as many things as possible“; this sounds to me like a life motto that everyone should follow.

While I’ve been fortunate to find my soul mate early on in high school, I’ve also been an adult child of divorce and been smack bang in amongst the horrendous agony of heartbreak. I’ve comforted many a friend through breakups and loss of loved ones. I myself, am still dealing with the total and utter heart-pulverizing of my father’s walk-out from our family. I’ve lost a few beloved friends & family too. Often someone’s response is to close their heart in an attempt to plug the hurt or halt any future possibility from taking seed.

While love comes in many forms (affection, fondness, personal attachment, to take pleasure in, sexual passion & desire) it enriches our lives in many ways. We often find incomparable bonds with complete strangers due to love; think of the cheery rowdy times you’ve had watching your football team at the pub with a bunch of strangers, the camaraderie you have as a nation when watching the Olympics or the relief and acceptance you feel when someone else at the party likes reruns of the dorky original Beverly Hills 90210!

Poets have written about love for centuries, empires have been built and destroyed, revolutionary theories have been invented and artworks that transcend time created. We as humans need to feel love; the soaring highs, the soft blanketing moments and tragic lows. It’s part of our humanity.

Love makes us whole.

Now, who or what are you going to fall in love with today?

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ten rules for a happy relationship

I find it a huge compliment when friends tell me that they think Jay & I have a great marriage.

We’ve been together since we were kids, which is a long time to build trust and love and friendship. Which are all things that I think make a successful relationship.

Not that I don’t sometimes struggle with these myself, but here are my ten rules for a happy relationship

  1. neglect the whole world rather than each other
  2. it takes two to quarrel and if you’re going to fight passionately, make sure you make up just as passionately!
  3. say I love you and share kisses and hugs every.single.day
  4. never hog the remote
  5. if you must criticize, do it lovingly
  6. leave the mistakes of the past in the past
  7. never go to sleep with an argument unsettled
  8. allow time for separate interests & friends, as well as shared adventures
  9. keep yourself right – look your best for your partner (no-one else wants to see you in daggy trakkies so why would your partner?)
  10. in the words of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “be a lamb in the kitchen and a tiger in the bedroom”!
Ever After | photography by Max Wanger

what I’ve learned from O

I have such admiration for Oprah; what she’s achieved, her compassion, her generosity and her joie de vivre.

I don’t remember how or when I started watching Oprah. For as long as I remember there’s always just been Oprah….in light her final three episodes ever last week (and me shedding a tear or twenty) it got me thinking of all the things I’ve learnt from watching the Oprah show.

  • don’t judge a book by it’s cover; people come in many shapes, sizes, ethnicities and have such diverse backgrounds and experiences. I’m constantly learning never to assume you know someone’s values or beliefs simply by looking at them, or knowing where they grew up or went to college, who their friends with or how much money they have in their wallet. People can always surprise you. You don’t have to hold the same opinions to be friends with or respect someone.
  • embrace diversity; how boring would it be to open the wardrobe and only ever wear one colour, or to eat the same food every meal, or listen to the same band on the radio every day? It’s a simple analogy but the same applies to people. Racial diversity brings difference. And difference is the spice of life.
  • to accept myself fully; beauty and flaws and all. I don’t look like a supermodel and there are things about my body that I want to work on. I need to remember that looks aren’t everything. When you look at the bigger picture, like issues in your community or the adversity women face in other countries, then making sure that the cellulite on your butt gets the latest miracle cream just doesn’t seem all that important. As long as your healthy and your body functions for you, then learn to accept and love what you’ve got and not to equate your beauty to that of models and celebrities.
  • your health is important Oprah introduced me to her “women’s doctor” Dr Christiane Northrup. I bought her book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and it is amazing. She has an empowering approach to women’s health and wellness, and having spent over 25 years in obstetrics and gynecology she knows a thing or two about women and they way they work physiologically and mentally. This book changed my view on health and medicine.
  • you are not your circumstance; Oprah is the example of this. She came from very humble beginnings to become the influential woman that she is today. Her message has always been that you have the power to change what you don’t like about your life. Not everyone can make big changes in one attempt, but that shouldn’t stop us from constantly trying to better ourselves and our circumstances to reach our goals. Jay & I are pretty good examples of this. Without going too much into the details, we have both gotten to where we are in our lives and career purely on our own without financial help from our parents. We’re here in-spite of our parents and childhood circumstances. I think of my friends Mandy and Grace who are living their best lives despite their parents and childhood. You just have to make a decision and then keep inching out towards the top. I truly believe this.

I loved what one of Oprah’s guests said during the two-part second to last show. When speaking about what lasting legacy Oprah’s show will leave behind, Madonna said

“the legacy from the Oprah Winfrey show; everything you made us feel, dream, wish, wonder, believe, hope. All of it, felt by women and men in 150 countries around the world.”

To me, that’s what’s most important about what Oprah has given the world through her last 25 seasons of the Oprah Winfrey Show; that you have the power to make a great life possible. You just have to believe that you can. And do it.

with equal intensity

“I cannot cure myself of that most woeful of youth’s follies–thinking that those who care about us will care for the things that mean much to us.”
-D.H. Lawrence

I think at one time or another, we are all guilty of assuming that other people feel the same way about things we care about, with equal intensity.

I feel fortunate that I honestly believe in the intrinsic good of people. That people truly want honest connections with others. That we’re not just random particles drifting around space; that we’re magnetically drawn to one another for honest and real interactions; to build relationships and connections; the quantum theory that we change and react, even in the minutest way, merely by being observed.

While I don’t believe in fate or destiny, I do believe in soulmates. I think it’s beautiful when you find someone with whom you share such a deep and natural affinity that they simply change your life. I am fortunate to have found a few friends and a wonderful husband, just like that.

Les âmes sœurs.


perspiring in perth

It’s hot here at night, lonely, black and quiet
On a hot summer night
Don’t be afraid of the world we made
On a hot summer night
– Billy Idol lyrics

My poor baby brother [when I say “baby” I mean 4 years younger than me!]. It’s been sweltering in Perth; almost 20 days straight with day-time temps above 30°C degrees and night-time temps above 20°C.

He’s a scaffolder too, which means he’s out in the heat all day long. Luckily he’s been driving the crane a bit lately which means some air-conditioned comfort.

Because of the 3 hour time difference, when I spoke to him last night he was still at work, sounding very authoritative shouting orders at his team. He was happy that it was “cooler” than the day before….34°C is so much better than 39°C! I’m thinking of you Juzzy-bear! …while I’m in my air-conditioned office at work or my air-conditioned car….but I’m still thinking of you!

from xmas hols: finding random snaps of my bro on my camera! priceless!

things i wish i didn’t do now that i’m a grown up

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Remember when you were a kid and you’d say “when I’m a grown up I’m going to….” or “when I’m a grown up I’m so not going to…”

Well, I often remember these and quite often I find myself doing exactly what I thought I wouldn’t!

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  • embarrassing myself in public. When you’re a teenager, your parents are monsters whose sole existence is to humiliate you in front of your friends and the general population. I now find myself being my own worst enemy when it comes to public mortification. Name it and I do it; fall over in front of large crowds, skirt blows up in the wind exposing my underwear to people on the street, lose my shoe going down stairs (once it even hit another lady travelling on the escalator in front of me), spill my coffee down the front of my white shirt 5 minutes before a client meeting. You get the picture right?!
  • putting my foot in it. I thought that when I was grown up I’d have a substantial grasp of the English language that would enable me to proficiently and eloquently convey myself through verbal conversation. Although this is usually the case, there are often times I simply say the wrong thing. I get flustered or nervous and words just come out wrong. I’ve asked someone if they’ve just had a baby (they didn’t), I incoherently babble to corporate executives, I repeat inappropriate jokes at inappropriate times and before I can stop myself I repeat things that were meant to be a secret. I generally don’t think before I speak (but I am seriously getting better at this because of all of the above). Open mouth, insert foot, close mouth.
  • not drinking before midday. Right about the time I was binge drinking with my friends, dancing to 2Pac’s California Love and waking up with a hangover every weekend, I remember thinking that I would always do what I wanted even if it included have beer for breakfast. Beer on my cereal for breakfast! Now I’m much too sensible to consider breakfast beers, but I still smile at the 20-somethings at the cafe tables next to me who are all wearing dark glasses, grunting monosyllabic sentences and having a hair of the dog on a Sunday morning.
  • having friendship drama. when I was 15 or 16, and in the throes of teen angst, one of the things I used to tell myself to get me through the friend-fight/boyfriend-trouble/parental-disagreements was that someday, when I was older and more mature, I wouldn’t have friendship drama. My future life would be carefully scripted; I had visions of how grande my future life would be living as an adult! Free to do whatever I wanted and free from drama. Sigh. I wish that were the case! These days instead of screaming bitch fights in the quad, it’s weeks/months of avoidance or “I’ve been too busy”. It was total bullshit then and it’s the same now. You make time for people you care about, otherwise you have to admit to yourself that you just don’t care. (don’t expect anyone to be around after that)
  • never getting a crappy haircut. I remember it vividly. A small hairdresser’s above the gym in Morisset. My mum took me in to get a “trim”. I walked out with a boy’s cut. Gone were my shoulder length locks. Hello to looking like a 11 y.o. small tanned boy. It took many years to grow that cut out and I had to endure the “duck-tail” phase… These days it happens far less as I’m not afraid to give the hairdresser a detailed account of what I want done and what I don’t want my hair to look like. But that doesn’t stop the odd horror fringe cut every so often that ends up with me in tears and Jay saying “it’s not that bad. it’ll grow out by next week”! But at least now I can just break up with my hairdresser!
  • drink out of the milk carton. When I was a kid I did it straight from the fridge when I thought Mum wasn’t watching. I still do it now from my own fridge and this time it’s Jay telling me to get a glass. Mum will still echo the same words when I’m at her place. I’ll probably say it to my kids one day, while still drinking from the carton myself… It’s feral, but who can be bothered pouring a whole glass when you can just have a swig!

attraversiamo

Attraversiamo. It’s Italian for Cross Over.

I’ve mentioned my best friend Gracie and her penchant for self-discovery previously on my blog. She recently emailed me some inspirational thoughts that I’m pretty sure she took away from her last self-actualisation course. This was one of them;

“We can’t bring 2010 back, or the year before that.  Let us cross over to new things: Love, Passion, Forgiveness & Purpose!”

I have to  admit that by nature, I find change really difficult. It’s taken me a long time and a lot of conscious effort to be okay when things, circumstances or relationships change. It’s still not second nature to me but I find that I am a lot less resistant to it now. I have come to understand that through the process of getting older, maturing and developing in both my personal and professional life, I’ve come to look at change as an opportunity rather than a limitation.

But you can’t force a time limit on someone’s acceptance of change. What may take one person a split-second to accept, may take another person a few weeks to accept a change. All people deal with change differently; I for example usually verbally accept and then spend the next few hours/days thinking/worrying about it in great detail until I come back around to fully accepting it and feeling comfortable about it.

Something that is very personal to me is the decline of my relationship with my Dad. When he split up with my Mum (horribly with another woman, his psychologist if you can believe it!) in 2001 I didn’t really have time to mourn their separation for a long time as I was too busy being strong for my Mum who was in the throes of an emotional melt-down and for my brother who went so far off the track that he’s only now just coming back. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my pain manifested in other ways; I became self destructive with my actions in my own life which lead to a (short) breakup between Jay & I (this was a few years before we were married).

Many emotional hiccups and years later, I can honestly say that I am at peace with my decision to cut him out of my life. He’s my father and I still love him, but I have realized that I love the person that he used to be, and that the person he is today is so far removed from that honest loving man, that it’s destructive to me for him to be a person in my life. There came that point (and trust me, the stories that lead to this point are horrific) that I had to decide that for me to become an emotionally healthy person, I had to let him go. That process literally took me 5 years.

Still, there are times when I think about him, usually around his or my birthday, and get teary about the what-could-have-beens, but generally I have accepted this monumental change in my life and am constantly moving on.

You know what they say about us being the sum of our experiences. I often think of this phrase; Never close the book. Just turn the page.

I’m currently…

Watching:

  • Life Unexpected – I spent all weekend watching a now defunct CW show about Lux, a 16 yo girl who grew up in the foster system, finds her 32 yo parents (Cate a local radio star who is engaged to her co-host and Baze a former jock who now owns a bar and lives above it with roommates) who were seniors in high school when they had her and gave her up. Lux is placed with her biological parents instead of being granted emancipation. Teen angst and parental sexual tension ensue!

 

Reading:

  • The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

 

Listening to:

  • feel good album Ripe by Ben Lee

 

Thinking about:

  • how to mute my biological clock, which has just jumped out of the bushes and scared the living sh*t out of me