T’was the night before Christmas…

T’was the night before Christmas, your thoughts drift about,
How to welcome this season: quiet introspection, or gleeful shout?

Christmas touches each of us in different ways, often differently each year. It’s like a many tiered cake with layer upon layer of rich emotion and memories slapped together, producing the most unique flavours and textures only you can truly unravel.

What does your Christmas look like, taste like, feel like?

We, as a society, have progressively changed our views on Christmas to the point where many of us stumble in simply saying the word ‘Christmas’, haltingly calling it the ‘Festive Season’ for fear of causing offence. We succumb to commercialism in celebrating it and place a value on gifts more than thoughts and actions. I’ve fallen victim to this too.

While I’m a firm believer in hunting for just the right gift for the people that mean much to me, I’m faced with some hard realities of late. My bank account isn’t bottomless, and a couple hundred dollars per child doesn’t go as far as it used to. And that feels kind of crappy to acknowledge.

Luckily, I had a timely reminder that the many layers of my cumulative life experiences have meanings and truths I can draw on to take the edge off the ‘craptastic’ and highlight the ‘happy’.

Social media in the hands of my young teens is usually something that scares the bejesus out of me, but today it gave me a chance to open a door called ‘gratitude’. One of my daughters pointed out a post that apparently featured a father who hadn’t met a quota in a much harsher part of the world, his child’s hands and feet amputated in punishment. Whether a true account or not, I’ve no doubt similar atrocities occur in places not high on tourist destinations of choice.

After taking a WTF moment to wonder what the hell my kid is looking at now, despite my incessant reviews of her devices parental controls, I took breath and said, “yeah, that’s horrible isn’t it?”

I tend to have ‘long talks’ with my kids while trying to get my message across. You might call them lectures. Meh. Anyway, I explained that yes, horrible shit like that happens in the world. Humans can be the stuff of nightmares and they can treat other humans callously and viciously. Great Festive Season chat topic, huh? But wait, there’s more!

I talked about refugees and asylum seekers and their sheer desperation to flee tyranny. To not have their child, or their loved ones used as target practice or made a sacrifice as a suicide bomber. As an ex military member, I explained that it was not possible to save everyone, not always possible to know who was friend or foe, and the toll that could take on a person too.

As I navigated my way through this latest talk/lecture, with the Christmas tree lights blinking merrily nearby, decorating a tree sheltering a mound of brightly wrapped gifts, I reminded my children that my fate might have been different had my parents not fled their country of birth.

What does my Christmas look like, taste like, feel like this year? Gratitude.

Perhaps as our thoughts drift this Festive Season/Christmas, we should welcome it with both quiet introspection followed by a gleeful shout.

In the words of Don Draper,

“Make it simple, but significant”.

If you want to spend thousands of dollars on gifts for others, and it gives you joy, then go for it! There’s nothing wrong with that (and if you want to spend some of it on me I sure won’t complain), just maybe take a moment to be grateful for what you have.

Yours in rambles,


Change is a son of a b*tch

Change is one scary son of a bitch. It might work out for the best, but when faced with it, it’s enough to make you break into a cold, cold sweat.
But it can be good too. You just need to look for it.

Change is one scary son of a bitch. Don’t you agree? It might work out for the best, but when faced with it, it’s enough to make you break into a cold, cold sweat.

Our formative years are all about learning, growing, changing. Then one day, most of us suddenly learn to fear it, avoid it, run like hell from it if we can. Is it a nature vs. nurture type scenario? Did we finally have one too many changes; the straw that broke the proverbial camels back?

Then there are the ‘Others’. Those of you who are infinitely patient. Flexible. Unbreakable. Changeable. How do you do it? You make it seem so easy. I envy and admire you. I aspire to be you.

I find myself facing change. You didn’t realise that’s where I was heading, did you? (yes, I am definitely being cheeky and rolling my eyes enthusiastically) 

I’ve hinted in previous posts at the work that I’ve done over the years and my most recent experience has been with a wonderful NFP and an amazing team and CEO. That’s coming to a close more suddenly than expected and at this time of year, not exactly fabulous timing. But then, there’s never a really good time I don’t think.

I’ve fulfilled many different roles over the years, but most of them were with one employer over the span of 24 years. I was in the military, you see. I have a very deep and abiding respect for the military; its traditions, its protocols, its people and the sacrifices they and their families make. Something the military is exceptionally good at is breaking you down to the lowest common denominator, and remaking you into what it needs you to be. This is very, very good. It’s also not so good. You are, in effect, indoctrinated, reprogrammed, assimilated. It’s extremely necessary. And it becomes normal, easy, familiar, a way of life – all parts of your life are affected. Yes, all.

Breaking away from that can be really f*cking hard. True story.

I took the plunge (read: gut-wrenchingly-scary step) and left the military to work for the previously mentioned amazing NFP almost a year and a half ago. My CEO is a woman I hold so much admiration for. She founded the NFP to support the families of frontline members; police, emergency services, military etc. Joining her vision gave me the transition I needed out of the Services while still giving me the opportunity to help the people I served with, in a way.  I understood them. I’d once walked in their shoes. I was still with them. With her care of me and her NFP’s care of frontline families, I changed.

I opened up and I learned how to really empathise. Do you know how hard it is for a military person to empathise? We have rules on how to do that you know. Not specifically, but they’re wrapped in procedures and protocols as a way of dealing with ‘the problem at hand’. I’m not saying military or frontline personnel are unfeeling robots, far from it. They simply learn to internalise many emotions, create a facade, hide behind black humour. Ah, those famous sayings that get trotted out; “build a bridge and get over it”, “suck it up”, “call a chaplain”. We thrive on it. Or rather, survive by it.

When you strip that away, you kind of feel raw, exposed and uncertain. Probably why frontline personnel are reprogrammed in the first place, right? How can you make crucial decisions and face life or death situations if you’re agonising over ‘feelings’? But I digress.

Over my time with this NFP I’ve cracked myself open a little more each day. I still wake up sometimes and agonise over what to wear and how to do my hair (because the military used to tell me all of this) but I listen more, I sure as hell feel more and I even talk about how I feel – sometimes to complete strangers! I really like who I am now, I’m grateful, but it’s made me feel so much more. And when you’re facing an uncertain future of change, feeling more sucks.

What will I do? How will I support my girls? How will I pay the utilities? How will I pay my mortgage? How will I get through Christmas? Will I disappoint my kids because I can’t give them the things they want? How did I get here? Did I do something wrong? Is the universe laughing at me for daring to leave my long, long career with the military? Will I have to move back in with my ex? Will I fail? What should I do? What can I do? What is my worth?

When you’re facing change, my advice is to take a deep breath and look inside yourself. Try not to panic. Find one bit of routine or normalcy in your life – or create it – and then keep doing that while you think through each of those scary questions whirling endlessly through your head. If you can’t find an answer to a question, put it aside and work on the next one. Find positive words about yourself, the things around you, the people around you. Use those words to calm yourself and slow your thoughts while you go through that routine and methodically work through those questions again and again.

I love walking (and I can’t run to save my life, I just kinda shuffle). I’ve been doing it a fair bit at the foreshore and marina nearby. It calms me and frees my brain. I love to look at the world around me as I walk, even if I’ve seen it a hundred times before. The shape of a tree, the grass, the sounds of the wind, the ripples on the water, the crunch of gravel beneath each step, birds perched atop a rock or soaring high, the giggle of small kids playing in the park, the sound of my playlist as I put one foot in front of the other. These things are familiar and calming. They give me something to focus on while not focussing. They give me something to admire, to be happy about, to give thanks for.

That brief respite reminds me that no matter how crappy or uncertain my future is, these things will not change and they are simple and beautiful because of it. And I am a part of that. And I will be okay.

One of my dear friends sent me a link via Facebook today to a post by Harp to Heart Healing reminding me there’s a new moon tonight. It’s a beautiful post about leaving the past behind and moving forward, valuing yourself, treating yourself with great compassion as you create a new story for your life. There’s much more in there and I recommend you check out the page. Whether you’re a spiritual person or not, the message is a kind one. You should think about who you’ve been and who you want to be. Imagine what you want. Wish for it. Reach for it. Why not? There’s no harm in it.

So tonight my friends, I’m going to manifest the shit out of that. I’m going to imagine, wish and reach.

Change is hard and it’s scary. But it can be good too. You just need to look for it.

What changes have you faced that felt like they’d cripple you and how did you overcome them?

Yours in rambles,


Musings of a Heathen

I remember a time growing up where I took an interest in religion. A combination of Religious Instruction at school and a best friend wanting me to attend church with her had me ready to repent my sins and embrace the faith. Until the urge just kind of petered out. I do, however, have a healthy respect for other’s beliefs so long as they don’t harm others. You see, I’m a heathen.

Most of us acknowledge parenting can be a tough gig; we lull ourselves into thinking we’ve got this, we know what we’re doing, we watched our parents so we know what to do, or not do. That’s kind of our road map, isn’t it? Yeah….no. Strangely enough, those little people we’ve created have a knack for throwing every good intention right back at us. Somewhere along the way they start thinking for themselves as they explore the world around them. Apparently I ignored that nugget of reality in the fine print.

I’ve raised three stepsons, now in their late 20’s and early 30’s, and my girls are 13. Surely I have a handle on it by now? Maybe not so much. In fact, some days I’m edging toward running away from home. Thankfully, today is not the day. And FYI? Boys are easier. Just sayin’.

I remember a time growing up where I took an interest in religion. A combination of Religious Instruction at school and a best friend wanting me to attend church with her had me ready to repent my sins and embrace the faith. Until the urge just kind of petered out. I do, however, have a healthy respect for other’s beliefs so long as they don’t harm others.

Thanks to the good intentions of a very dear friend, my daughters’ attended christian youth camp over the last school holidays. The camp lasted under a week yet was long enough for each of my cherubs to embrace christianity. They came back Godified. I don’t mind at all if it gives them something positive to emulate and places them among good people with shared interests. The speed at which they took up the mantle makes me slightly dizzy, but what the hell – I mean heck – as long as they’re not harming themselves or others, I can support them.

There’s a teeny tiny problem though. Okay, not really a problem per se, more like an irritable twitch. I’m a heathen. I’m a very open-minded accepting heathen. But. There’s a part of me that wants me to challenge their belief. Sigh. This parenting thing is tricky. My father and mother passed away when I was 18 and 20 respectively, and I find myself wishing I could ask them how they dealt with my foray into religion when, much like myself now, they weren’t believers. That road map I mentioned earlier? I wish I’d paid more attention when I had the chance.

In an attempt to support my girls as they wander down this path I’ve done what is necessary. I’ve attended church.

It’s a little awkward being a heathen when surrounded by openly adoring exuberant christians. For those of you who have done the same, you understand don’t you? You walk through those doors and immediately you’re enveloped in acceptance and effusive welcomes, ushered into the bosom of the collective, all while wondering if you’ll be struck by lightning and found unworthy. You paste on a smile and hope like he- heck, that you don’t say the wrong thing or cause offence. Then the singing and praising starts. Bodies all around you start swaying as the music swells, scripture is quoted in abundance, and the masses chant ‘Amen’.

As I stood unmoving among those children of Christ, I looked over at my girls and their cautiously joyous expressions, and wondered how we’d gotten there. It seemed like just yesterday we were all happily oblivious heathens. Ah, the things we do for our kids.

I politely passed on participating in communion, thinking better of taking the risk of choking on a dry cracker washed down by a thimbleful of grape juice, and dutifully rooted through my purse for coins to contribute to the tithe. Throughout, I pondered how to answer the next person who asked me how long I’d been a christian and which church I’d attended previously. I didn’t want to alienate my children from the congregation, nor did I want to encourage them into thinking I was on the cusp of conversion. I just wanted to be neutral, no challenges, no theological discussions. I really didn’t want to see their hopeful smiles dim. It’s like scolding puppy.

I wondered what made us different in our beliefs, these shiny happy people. I don’t know them well enough, but I do know myself. Had they experienced tragedy, watched loved ones lose their battle with terminal illness, lost babies to miscarriage, faced injustice? Perhaps they had, yet held true to their certainty that God knew what He was doing and they had but to trust in his wisdom. I admire that. I respect that. But that’s not me. There’s a part of me that refuses to forgive, to simply write it off and trust in His will. There’s a part of me that enjoys being wicked and carnal.

There is good, bad and indifference in the world; it surrounds us in nature and is realised in the choices we make. My beliefs flow more toward the Goddess and the Universe, to a vague ‘something more’, to consciously making the choice to be good, to do good, to respect, to be accountable.

This parenting gig can be tough. It can be confronting, uncomfortable. It can make you twitch with irritation as you bite your tongue. But it can be so damn rewarding when you see happiness oozing from your child. For this reason, this little heathen will continue to support her children as they traverse the road to christian enlightenment. It’s my conscious choice to do good, to respect their choices, no matter how awkward it may feel.

And as ever, I am grateful that I am able to watch my children grow and learn and find their answers themselves, no matter how challenging or hard that is for me, or for them.

Can I hear an ‘Amen’?

Yours in rambles,


Discombobulated by a psychic

What do you do when you disagree with a psychic?

1. Sagely nod while pondering the history and predictions directed at you,
2. Scoff and fervently hope you haven’t incited the wrath of karma into kicking your arse, or
3. Shuffle out of the room while thinking “WTF? She got me mixed up with someone else”.

What do you do when you disagree with a psychic?

  1. Sagely nod while pondering the history and predictions directed at you,
  2. Scoff and fervently hope you haven’t incited the wrath of karma into kicking your arse, or
  3. Shuffle out of the room while thinking “WTF? She got me mixed up with someone else”.

My best gal friend whisked me away for a ‘surprise’ day out recently. It was a workday and while I had reservations about having to use a day of leave, she’s my best gal friend. I made myself available.

Throughout the drive to our mystery destination, we talked through our respective highs and lows of life while I sneakily tried to get her to tell me where we were going. She remained tight-lipped. Frustrating friend that she is, about halfway through the drive, she pointed to some mountains in the distance and gleefully exclaimed we were headed there as if that would finally shut me up. It didn’t. I’m directionally and geographically challenged; you can point in the distance all you like, I still haven’t got the foggiest notion of where the hell it is, or where I am in relation to it. Serves her right.

We arrived at our destination with enough time for my friend to coax me out of the car with the suggestion of a coffee before our appointment. Coffee bribing is always successful. I even felt a stirring of anticipation for the day ahead. What can I say? Coffee.

With my nectar of the gods clutched possessively, positive vibes for the day now bubbling through my veins, we walked up the street and stopped in front of a plain shopfront. I looked at her expectantly and she excitedly revealed we were going to get a reading done by the psychic in residence. Yay?

Don’t misunderstand me, I hold a healthy respect for the mystic arts. But in that instance, I felt off-kilter and a little ambushed. Who wakes up one morning to go out on a mystery outing with their closest friend and expects to end up at a psychic reading? I felt distinctly underprepared. Surely when you go to see a psychic you have to ponder all the things you want answered, the dreams you want clarified, the dearly departed loved ones you yearn to communicate with. I felt cheated not having time to prepare my shopping list of questions.

My friend helpfully offered me up first for a reading so in I went like a sacrificial lamb. (Yes I know, my attitude clearly sucks and I’m not showing my gratitude at all.)

I sat where I was told, gazed longingly at my coffee, wishing I could scull it but too polite to touch it. Maybe that set the tone for the reading? Discombobulated. At least, I was. The psychic wasn’t.

She took charge like an interrogator, demanded the dates of my birthday, my ex’s birthdate (embarrassingly, I had to refer to my phone calendar), and my daughters’. Seems she didn’t actually care what I wanted to know. Perhaps she already knew.

I was told the purpose of my relationship with my ex was to have our daughters who were a reincarnation of relatives in each of our ancestral lines, that I should keep a notepad next to my bed to write down my dreams as I have a guardian trying to tell me a message so that I can ‘move on’ with my life (I rarely recall my dreams and don’t think I actually dream, so I have no hope of writing them down for future analysis), that I should triple-check travel plans for the future, curb my spending for the next six months (story of my life really), that I overanalyse everything (not true, I analyse things just enough, thank you very much), can’t make decisions (she suggested if faced with more than one breakfast choice I would struggle – gee thanks lady, how have I survived 45 years? Besides, I don’t eat breakfast and, yes, I’m sticking out my tongue like a five-year-old), that I needed a creative career to satisfy me such as making cakes or flower arranging (I’m currently the State Manager for an NFP and supremely satisfied with this! No, I am NOT in denial!), and that I needed to give my ex more involvement with the kids.

I’m compelled to point out that my ‘gypsy’ ex (her description, not mine) and I have 50/50 shared care, live about a block and half from each other, the kidlets wander between houses as often as they like, and we still celebrate major occasions and holidays as a family. Seriously, without moving back in with him or giving him 100% custody, I have no idea how much more involved he can be.

Worst of all? It’s predicted I won’t meet my ‘one true love’ until the end of 2019. I’ll know him instantly when I see him, there’ll be a connection straight away, and I’m going to meet him at a family gathering… Considering my ex, the kids and my stepsons are pretty much the only family I see and ‘gather’ with, that’s going to be damn awkward, don’t you think?

Side note here: despite my ranting, I am truly grateful to have such a beautiful friend in my life, who took the time to do something special for me. I am lucky.

What do you do when you disagree with a psychic?

In my case, it seems I stew on it, deny the hell out of everything, panic over my dwindling bank balance, and try sweet talking the Goddess, the Universe, and any other deity I can think of, into giving me a sign that the next 18 months really aren’t going to be as miserable as predicted (still waiting for that sign…).

Oh, and I share all of that in a blog post. After all, I’m lacking a creative outlet. I’ll just have to channel it here. Pfft, cake making indeed!

Yours in rambles,


Words to start with

I started this page a looong time ago. I had the best of intentions! But as with most plans, they were chaotically derailed, just by a few years. You know the story; life, kids, work, relationships all end up consuming your time, like a child persistently tugging at your hand to draw your focus back to them.

So, I started this page a looong time ago. I had the best of intentions! But as with most of my plans, they were chaotically derailed, just by a few years. You know the story; life, kids, work, relationships all end up consuming your time, like a child persistently tugging at your hand to draw your focus back to them. My twin daughters are now teenagers and still perform that trick, just without the hand tugging.

Yesterday, I had one lonely daughter at home while the other was at holiday camp. Despite insisting she was enjoying the break from her sister, she was out of sorts and at a loss for what to do – not even Instagram, Pinterest or Netflix seemed to hold her interest. In a moment of brilliance – or sheer idiocy – I suggested she start a blog. This daughter seems almost desperate for validation and acceptance, she’s struggling to form good friendships and I have to admit, it equally frustrates and scares the crap out of me knowing that she’s going to be the kid that will probably do whatever the ‘cool’ kids tell her to just to be accepted into the inner circle. Oh boy, the clairvoyant had a lot to say about her; it’s never comforting to hear “so let me just say that you’re doing everything you can, and she’ll be fine…when she turns 17”. Have I mentioned 17 is still four years away?

After suggesting the blog and emphasising what she should and shouldn’t share, going over the concept of privacy several hundred times, and what she might get from blogging, I sat back and watched her set up her own page like a pro (on another site), craft her first post, and proudly publish it. I admit to being impressed. And then I realised just how slack I was for not having gotten that far myself. It’s inevitable our kids will show us up, but it sure can smart, despite feeling proud of the little suckers, err, cherubs.

My daughter fearlessly and enthusiastically diving into her own blog has given me a much needed kick in the bum. I’ll do my best to keep my momentum rolling along. I have no set pattern or voice in mind, simply to think, write, and enjoy the process and the words along the way.

What process started you on the road to blogging?

Are you a ‘blogging purist’? Um, what is a blogging purist?

Are you still in your own holding pattern after years of good intentions?

If you have helpful suggestions, want to connect, or share your own story, I hope to hear from you. If not, keep your fingers crossed for me as I need all the help I can get!

Yours in rambles,