Thursday, 11 July 2013

The "BIG" Birthday...

I’m having a birthday soon and it’s safe to say that it can be called a “big one”.  I remember when turning 18 was the “big one”.  And that disappeared in a cloud of smoke as soon as they lit the fuse on the Flaming Lamborghini cocktail I sculled in “Cocktails and Dreams” on the Gold Coast.  You know you’re in trouble when you’re stumbling into the toilets to throw up said cocktail, and you hear someone say “that girl is FARKED!”.  You also know it’s not going to be a great night when you spend the night lying in the backseat of your girlfriend’s car parked on Orchid Avenue while your friends skip back into Cocktails and Dreams without you.  Their only concern being that I might vomit in the car.  But they cracked open the back window a touch, like good friends do, asked the bouncer to keep an eye on me and headed back into the club.  Love those chicks.


So here we are 22 years later and I’m staring down the barrel of another “big” birthday.  Suffice to say that it will be vastly different from my 18th.  There will be daylight.  There will be a backyard.  And there will be children.  Lots of children.  Yes people, one of my celebrations will be with my book club, and it will be during the day in the backyard.

Nice.  Quiet.  Sedate.  Responsible.  Another celebration I’m having will be later that night with the same girls who left me in the backseat like a dog all those years ago.  Not that there’s any ill-will.  Hand on my heart - I would have done the same thing were I in their shoes.  And did I mention that we had only been there about ten minutes when I had that damn cocktail?  Totes ridic.

So where was I?  Oh yes.  These celebrations will be different to the 18th birthday celebrations, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Some may want to relive their youth and be out til the sun comes up.  But to me that just sounds horrific.  I plan to do what makes me happy, and that is to be surrounded by friends I love and who love me.  Sans the flaming cocktail.

For you crazy cats wanting to relive it, here's a how-to tutorial on how to make a Flaming Lamborghini.  Can I just say that the one I drank did NOT look like this towering inferno - mine was just in a martini glass, but good luck to you!

So here’s cheers to all my class of 1990 who are turning 40 this year.  Happy Birthday everyone xx

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Book Review: Bay of Fires, Poppy Gee

Bay of Fires is situated on Tasmania’s east coast.  It received its name from Captain Tobias Furnes in 1773 when he sighted many fires lit along the coast, leading him to believe that the area had a large population.  It is this gorgeous part of Australia that Poppy Gee sets her first novel, a murder-mystery.  The body of a backpacker washes ashore in the Bay of Fires, a small, close-knit community and so begins our journey with Gee.  Sarah Avery is a local, returning to the Bay of Fires after a stint running a prawn farm up in North Queensland.  Her reasons for returning are a closely guarded secret, but as you continue reading, you realize that she isn’t the only one with secrets.

The body of the backpacker serves as fodder for the locals to gossip, speculate and rekindle old prejudices.   There are many potential suspects and Gee keeps you interested and guessing all the way through.  For me, the part of this novel I enjoyed the most was Gee’s character descriptions. Every single character in this novel is flawed, deep and innately human.   There is no glossing over and no beating around the bush with Gee's writing.   She brings you a real view of humanity and all its potential ugliness.

Gee lost me a few times moving quickly from being in one scene in one paragraph, and in the next sentence being in a totally different time in a different scene.  This left me feeling somewhat disjointed, almost like watching an avant garde movie.  But perhaps I’m used to be being molly-coddled and having my hand held throughout other novels.

Overall I enjoyed Gee’s first novel and I look forward to reading the next one!


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

One year on...

What a difference a year makes!  Last year I made a New Year's Resolution to blog once a week.  Back then, starting a blog was a huge deal for me.  But I loved it.

And so I blogged.  I blogged once a week, sometimes twice a week.

Bloggity blog blog...

And from the blogging I found confidence.  And as the year went by, my confidence grew.  Tentatively, but still - it grew.

Then in August, clearly drunk on my own self-confidence, I dared to dream: could I start my own business?  Would anybody pay me for my professional skills and knowledge?  Turns out they would.  And they did.  And they still do.

And I thought "well shit, this is pretty good!"

So I enter 2013 with my whiteboard covered in scribbled quotes ("There is no elevator to success - you have to take the stairs") and goals ("attend one networking event per month").  Behind me I have an army of supportive friends and family and I look forward to the journey that 2013 will bring me.  I'm gaining in self-confidence and the sky's the limit when you believe in yourself.

Happy New Year everybody :)


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Time is of the essence...

Anyone who has a child that still needs a nap during the day will know that that sleep is important.  Most other Mums I know who are in the same situation, don’t even need to say anything about timing.  It’s a given that we have a window between 9am and 12pm for playdates, shopping, or catching up with our friends.  And then at midday – boom!  We’re all hermits.  The parks and shopping centres of Brisbane all become bereft of toddlers and babies.  Off we scurry home, secretly hoping that bub will fall asleep in the car so we can just transfer straight to bed (if you’re one of the lucky ones).  For about two hours we are housebound, and then re-emerge between 2pm and 3pm.  Those of us who have older ones in school, this means that we spend the two hours preparing for whatever after school activities that have been planned.  Ballet, gymnastics, swimming lessons, playdates and the list goes on.

When I was pregnant I remember someone saying to me “please don’t turn into one of those Mums who can only do one thing a day”.  I scoffed and swore that I wouldn’t be.  And yet here I am.  My ‘one thing’ a day, HAS to occur between 9am and 12pm in order for Little Warrior to be a nice Little Warrior in the afternoons.  And if we have a nice Little Warrior, then we generally have a happy Mummy.  And if we have a happy Mummy, then as we all know, everybody’s happy.

If by some chance, I’m still stuck out at midday, I can feel the anxiety rising inside me.  I’m watching my little man for signs of complete meltdown and may as well be looking in a mirror when I see him start to yawn and rub his eyes.  We are both so conditioned to his midday sleep that whenever something happens to change it, we don’t function very well.  As with anything, you get through it.  It doesn’t happen often when we’ve had to drop his sleep, but I keep reminding myself that it’s only every now and again and it won’t kill us.

Nobody gets it less than people who have never had, or don’t have toddler children anymore.  It’s funny.  I assumed because my friends had had toddlers before, that they would remember the days of getting bub home for a sleep.  But recent experience tells me otherwise.

I have a friend who is from India.  She's the loveliest person and also happens to make the most delicious food.  I always enjoy eating there, so whenever she invites us over, I say yes.  She has a daughter the same age as the Polynesian Princess, so for her it’s been about four years since there’s been a toddler in the house.  She invited Little Warrior and me over for lunch and we arrived at about 10am.  It was going to be an awesome morning.  Gorgeous Indian food, then home in time for the little one’s sleep.  Not so.  The universe had different plans for the Diva and the Little Warrior that day.  By 1pm my friend was still cooking and I saw the window of opportunity for Little Warrior’s sleep ticking by.  Surrounded by delicious aromas coming from her numerous pots and pans bubbling away, my anxiety levels were rising.  I was mentally calculating how long Little Warrior would get to sleep if we left in 30 minutes, in one hour.  Such was my worry that he wasn't going to get a decent sleep.  As it was, he got an hour’s sleep and didn't wake up when it was time to pick up his sister.  I carried him like a rag doll up the steps of the school and he stayed that way until I put him back in the car for the return trip.  The poor little thing was just shattered.

Another friend was recently trying to organise a lunch BBQ for a group of us.  The other three families coming all have toddlers, and so I suggested a 10am start.  Most of my friends with children would understand that a 10am start means lunch at about 11/11:30 and then home by midday or thereabouts.  Just in time for a sleep, albeit a late one.  But for this friend, it’s been a long, long time since she’s even had to think about, let alone remember babies who need a sleep.  She was mortified at a 10am start!  It’s now been pushed to 2pm, which sits on the other side of our nap-time and hence helps all us Mums a little more.  I know.  It’s complicated – but for those of us who like our kids to sleep, it’s innate.

I can’t tell you how much I long for the day when we are not ruled by his midday sleep.  Some people would tell me to just drop it.  To forget about it.  And believe me, I have tried.  But he continues to fall sleep during the day.  Lately, if we’re at home, he’ll take himself to bed and sleep for two hours.  So this tells me he still needs/wants it.  So for now, we work around it. 

One day in the not-too-distant future, the midday sleep will be dropped and we will emerge, blinking into the midday sun.  That will be a joyous day!  And no doubt, worries about sleep will be replaced with something else.  But until then - time is of the essence.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

What I should be doing, what I've been doing and what I miss...

Right now I should be reading my book club book.  This book is enormous, and we’re meeting in five days.  I’m sure when Barbara Kingsolver wrote La Lacuna, she didn’t intend to have someone feverishly flicking through it in three days in order to meet a deadline.  I have 472 pages to go, which, if you’re as anal as I am, works out to be approx 157.7 pages per day.

So that’s what I should be doing.  What I am doing is venting.  Sharing.  Purging.  Expunging.  It’s been too long between blogs and I have missed it.  I’ve been busy working on my Hardcastle Social Media business and vaccilating between exhiliration and terror in equal parts. 

I continue to get immense (I repeat: immense) support from The Architect.  Some nights, when the demons come, and I am flooded with self-doubt, he’s there to prop me up and remind me why I’m bound to succeed.  It’s endless, the support he gives me.  And it’s endless, the gratitude I feel.

I’ve been making progress in my business, in that I’ve been successful in procuring a few clients and I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying this journey.  Yes,  I have my moments of self-doubt, but I know that I’m exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing.   I just wish I could be doing it with an IT Support person.  Oh how I miss having IT support...

In my previous life, working in a recruitment company, we had IT support on tap.  I knew the IT phone number off by heart and would happily swing about in my chair while they remotely accessed my computer and fixed whatever ailments I was suffering at the time.  Not so when you work from home alone.  When you’re the sole employee, YOU are the IT Support.  And if you’re as clueless as I am, then you can say hello to the emotions of anger and frustration as they march on into your day and make themselves at home, swinging about in their chairs.

Oh grrrrr!!  Grrrrr to the disappearing emails.  Grrrrr to the printer constantly pausing itself .  Grrrrr to my webhost’s server being down or overloaded.  Grrrrr to it all!  But in my usual fashion of trying to turn things around and look at it in a positive light, I welcome the opportunity to practise my patience.  Over and over again.  Breathe it all in and love it all out...

I should probably get started on my allotted 94 pages reading for today.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

International friendships...

In a galaxy far, far away called my early twenties, I lived in Scotland.  Glasgow, to be precise.  I was there for two years and did the normal Antipodean backpacker things.  Drank, travelled, drank, travelled, drank…you get the drill.  And along the way I met the most wonderful people.  I still miss them today.  Alison, Lorraine Prentice, Gil Harvey, Charlie Kearton, Brenda, Eva Jacob, Brian O’Rourke.  An endless list of people who made me feel welcome in their rough, working class city.  A city I fell in love with.  I will forever be glad that I got off the bus a little early in Glasgow instead of Edinburgh.  If by chance, anybody reading this happens to know any of these people – please let me know how I can find them!

Anyway.  This post was meant to be about international friendships.   So I made a lot of friends and it was gut-wrenching to say good-bye to everyone.  I’ll always remember how sad I felt as the bus pulled out of the Glasgow depot and all my friends were waving me good-bye.  I was homeward bound.  And I was miserable.

My bus was headed for London where I was going to fly out for Brisbane the next day.  My friend Alison said she cried all the way home from the bus depot, and begged her boyfriend to drive down to London with her so she could see me one last time.  That’s how close we had gotten.

That was 17 years ago.  And now I’m the one who is befriending people who have moved here from another country.  I have met some wonderful people who, inevitably, will move back home.  For isn’t that the way it is?  Doesn’t everyone eventually go home?

And when they do.  When these friends eventually leave and return home.  It will be me wanting to drive to the ends of the earth to say one last good-bye.

But they're still here now.  And we'll always have Brisbane :)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Buzzword Bingo

I hate meetings.  Despise them.  And I don’t mean one-off meetings that you have when meeting somebody for the first time.  I’m talking about the recurring meetings that would pop up in my calendar in my previous life when I was in full-time work.  The Monday morning meeting.  The Wednesday afternoon meeting.  And then the Friday meeting.  They drove me insane.  I know I’m not alone when I say that these kinds of meetings are, for the most part, tedious and pointless.  I read once that some people would conduct their meetings standing up, which I thought was pure genius!

In a galaxy far, far away, when I worked in recruitment, there was a game that went around called Buzzword Bingo.  I don’t recall having ever actually played this game, but in my head, anytime I heard a buzzword or buzzphrase I would make a mental note of it.  Words or phrases such as:

  • Cherry picking;
  • Moving forward;
  • Take that offline;
  • Slippery slide
  • Deliverable;
  • Quals;
  • Touch base.

The list is endless and can vary from industry to industry. Whatever industry you're in, there was a perception that if you used these words, you do you say it.  Well, you were considered a bit of a wanker.  And seriously – I wish somebody had actually provided bingo cards in our meetings, I think I would have paid more attention.

Re-entering the workforce and having some meetings recently, I found myself going to use some of these buzzwords and being physically unable to get them out of my mouth.  On the fly, I replaced “touch base” (which is what I went to say) with “give you a call”.

But the buzzword bingo of yesterday would be vastly different today, surely.  All my bingo words would date me back to when Friends was on TV every Tuesday night at 7:30pm.

So could you please enlighten me.  What are the buzzword/phrases of today?