Life, it happens.


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What a month it has been. There you are, minding your own business, attempting to keep your home, career and life in order, and a big pile of manure is dropped from afar. I had eight further titles planned, ranging from children’s books to adult fiction and also an historical novel set in Sydney. That one is particularly interesting, having interviewed some real characters a while back, who told me some unknown goings-on in the city of sails. Will I continue working on these titles until they are ready to be brought into the light? You bet! They came into my mind for a reason, and I will see it through. I have to find a publisher, and I have to believe that it shall happen.

After my publisher folded, life became dark and heavy, as though I were cocooned in a grey film. I am a butterfly, dammit! I fought hard to metamorphose from a caterpillar! Back to the drawing board, back to the beginning. I have done it before, many times. Spending weeks in Intensive Care units at thirteen years of age, learning to walk again, starting a new cycle of IVF… I can do it; however, it doesn’t mean I like it. How many times can you dust yourself off? Hundreds of times, as it turns out.

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We lost this little guy this morning. His name was Snowball, and he was a real character. My daughter found him in a store where rescue animals are sold, and fell in love. I did too. He would look at me in disgust when I fed the other guinea pigs corn silk, and grab the juicy corn cob from my hands and run off with it. He broke into the girl’s side of the yard (partitioned off), and when I witnessed him “hugging” one of the girls, I asked him what he thought he was up to. I thought he was just being a bit full-on with his affections. He impregnated every girl, and soon we had lots of his babies. He was the Garfield of Guinea Pigs, either sleeping or eating. We would set him on the floor and whilst the other piggies would run, he would walk a few steps, then plonk down. He was poorly two nights ago, and we rushed him to the vet. They operated that night, as he was unable to pee. For two days we waited for news of his recovery. Bless you Snowball. You filled our lives with joy for the time we had you. The vet refused to take any money, which was incredibly kind.

I am sitting up in bed, sick with a bad virus. So much to do but with no energy to do it. I think it’s my body’s way of saying I have to stop for a while. Stop running and stop over-committing. Of course, as a mum home schooling her child, I can’t just crawl into bed and build a blanket fort, but I can slow down. I can plan our next house move whilst doing so, and I can dream at the same time. As I wrote in my book, just as I thought my story was winding down, I find it has only just begun. If you are going through hell, my advice is to keep going. Eat well, hydrate. Do only what is necessary. Let the world wait for your second-wind and recovery. This is exactly what I intend to do.

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Awards!


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The amazing Dear Kitty has nominated me for the Real Neat Blog Award. Please check out her thought-provoking content!

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?  The USA, Australia, Spain and the UK today!

2. What is your favourite sport? I am not much into sport!

3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2015? So many! Going away for a friend’s 40th was special, as were the friendship’s made at a home schooling camp. Seeing love in action has made my heart glad.

4. What is your favourite quote? ‘Do not be sad that you have suffered…be glad that you have lived.’

5. What was your favourite class when still at school? English and Art (when I started Correspondence School after my back was broken). The Corro School believed in me and it showed!

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier? How to be assertive. How to say no and not give all of myself away.

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My fellow home schooler, A Momma’s View has nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thankyou my friend! If you haven’t checked out her blog, you have been missing out on some wondrous content.

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My questions to you are:

  1. What was the last concert you’ve been to? I saw a lot of theatre this year, more than concerts.
  2. Your favorite song? Too many to list, but included has to be anything by Sia, John Lennon and ‘Candy’ by Iggy Pop and Kate Pierson. Actually, most songs by Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Marianne Faithful and Cream.
  3. What annoys you the most? Don’t get me started! Greed, arrogance, narcissism, gossip, and selfishness in general.
  4. Your favorite food? I love vegetarian food, which is why I am one!
  5. What freaks you out? Heights.
  6. Fashion or sport? Fashion, darling! It has to be your own individual style though.
  7. What can you hardly say no to (or whom)? My daughter, birds and guinea pigs!
  8. Sweet or sour or both? I am more a savoury girl.
  9. Red, white or bubbly? I prefer a good hearty red.
  10. Would you rather be the superhero or the sidekick? Superhero!
  11. What kind of superpower would you like to have? To make people behave decently!

I nominate the following:

Confessions of a Broccoli Addict

My OBT

Honey Quill

Albinssons Foto

Ordinary Adventures

Lovely Wounded Lady

Nicodemas Plus Three

Inside Charlotte’s Mind

Listful Thinking

Eat 2 Health

The Dreamery

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O at the Edges

dream big often

Learn to Love Food

In Depth

Telling the Truth

Holes in my Socks

Homemade with Mess

La Whimsy Writer

My Questions:

  1. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  2. Favourite colour?
  3. What are you reading at the moment?
  4. What is your favourite animal?
  5. What do you dream about?
  6. What makes you laugh?
  7. Do you prefer silence or music?
  8. If you had nothing stopping you, what would you do?
  9. If you could talk to somebody who has passed away, who would it be?
  10. What would you say?

 

 

Weeping Angel


My life ramped up the busy and the stress in the past few weeks, and I haven’t gotten here as often as I wanted. Hoping to have a little spare time soon! I wanted to share my angel with you.

 My friend sent a picture of her whilst she was shopping, and asked if I wanted her to pick up one for me. I collect angels, gnomes and fairies, so of course I said yes. It turned out that my golden angel isn’t posing in an exasperated fashion due to my antics. She is a Doctor Who Weeping Angel! Goodness! When I read the story of her origin, I was a little startled (you can tell I have never watched Doctor Who). I am keeping her regardless, and will repurpose her to be an exasperated angel, perched at the top of my Christmas Tree! My friend thought it funny that little Raphie saw a photo of a glittery golden angel and immediately yearned for her, unaware that she turns into a monster. Pretty much sums up my naiveté! I am learning the gift of discernment though, and perhaps viewing this angel throughout December may help remind me.

The Weekend


My daughter and I were delighted to attend The Love is Huge by artist Jodie Whalen. We had no idea what to expect. We discovered the following on our seats;  a pink flag, a party popper and instructions. We were asked to surprise a man called Heath by waving the flag and cheering when he arrived in the theatre. We certainly did, and he blushed and laughed, before sitting on the stage. Jodie came sauntering out in a gorgeous gown, and took us through a thirty minute performance. It was her declaration of love to Heath, and was intimate and profoundly moving. Much to my surprise, I found out that it was Jodie’s first time singing in public. During the finale, we set off our party popper’s and applauded as scores of pink balloons (with Heath’s photo on them), were released from the ceiling. My daughter was enchanted by the performance, even though she posed like this for my photo. “Romance, yuck!”

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We then made our way to the 21st Birthday party of Casula Powerhouse  (as a designated art space). It is an extraordinary place; large and filled with hope. David Capra did a splendid job of curating this event. There was techno music, a huge birthday cake, photo booth, karaoke, performers and more artists than there are angels spinning on the eye of a needle.

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Artists are the dreamers, the visionaries and the ethereal of this world. Stepping into their realm is akin to splashing iced water on your face and falling asleep under the coercion of a fairy potion.

To our delight, on Sunday, there was a Blessing of the Animals at Ashfield Uniting Church with Bill Crews. It was organized with WLPA, the World League for the Protection of Animals. It was a service which greatly resembled an episode of the Vicar of Dibley. There were cats and dogs, ducks and guinea pigs. If I had known it was on prior, I would have brought our pets along! It was a very moving service, and we said a prayer for a lady who had lost one of her little dogs to old age that very morning. The hardest part of having animals is found in the dreadful day that they die.

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It was a beautiful service, filled with love, for both the humans and animals. A majestic Police Rescue Dog made his voice heard by the end of the service. Bless the animals of this world. They have a lot to teach us, as my canary taking on an Indian Miner bird (from behind the safety of the window), can attest.

Dyslexia Empowerment Week


It is Dyslexia Empowerment Week, and the movement in Australia is getting bigger, our collective voice, louder. Munchkin and I attended Light it Up Red last Thursday night in Sydney. The State Library, Sydney Town Hall and the teeth on the iconic entrance to Luna Park were lit red for the occasion.

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I struggle to find words to describe what it meant to the kids to see our beautiful landmark’s lit up in honour of them. I have heard many stories of the hell these families have endured. I know first-hand. I know what it is to be called stupid, and be dismissed. I know what it takes to rebuild yourself. I talked with a teacher who had been educated overseas, and she said that Australia is around thirty years behind the rest of the world regarding awareness of dyslexia in our schools. We started off at the State Library, and walked around to Sydney Town Hall. The kids walked ahead as a group, all dressed in red, having snatched the colour  away from the entrenched symbolism of the dreaded corrective red pen. I saw these kids make a bus out of a discarded cardboard box, and then turn the cardboard into a plane which was sound and actually flew. These kids are creative and downright extraordinary. Things are slowly changing, and I am proud to bear witness to the advent of a new way of educating these kids. Early intervention in our schools, more funding and installation of programmes that have been proven to work overseas… These are some of the steps required to ensure that these kids aren’t left behind. It was a magical night out in Sydney, made more so by the following interaction. There was a big event on inside Sydney Town Hall, and a red carpet had been rolled out on the steps leading to the grand venue. When we showed up to see the red lighting, some of the kids posed at the top of the red carpet. A fellow smiled and said that they must be important. “They are mate,” one of the dad’s smiled. “These are dyslexic kids.” It isn’t a label for these kids. It is a title to be proud of.

Please Read the Following…


Josh has posted two courageous stories over at his blog. Stories I wish he hadn’t had to endure…

Supporting a friend through AA as a teenager, I met many women, young and middle-aged, who found themselves in the grip of alcoholism. The beginnings of this cruel disease were pretty pedestrian. A bottle of spirits shared at a party with mixers, wine shared with friends at dinner, sipping a glass of alcohol whilst studying late at night. It’s not like you need it, right? Only if it’s there. Hard times hit, and the anxiety chews away at your mind. Adrenaline racing and unable to sit still, you reach for alcohol. Perfect, huh? It is a depressant, thus ideal to soothe a raging mind. Ah, that’s better! You remember how you relaxed the previous night, and instinctively reach for another bottle. Able to function during the day, you look forward to your nightly elixir. Trouble is, it is hard to gauge the damage being done internally, and the horrific rebound affect the alcohol shall have on your mind. Depression and anxiety heightened, you need more. You have heard the recommendations of having several alcohol-free evenings each week, and also the advice to never have more than two standard glasses… As the ice melts in your glass, you quickly refill. Automatically, in response to a nagging thought that if one glass felt good, another will feel better. Here is Part 1 of Hannah’s Story.  With a heavy heart, I bring you Part 2. It has given me pause for thought and made me question why so many social events revolve around alcohol, why we instinctively reach for it after a hard day. Hannah’s story could be so many of ours, in particular women. We are good at concealing our struggles, to our own detriment. I commend Josh on his bravery and also his generosity in sharing the above.

Sailing Away


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I wrote the following for Siren Empire before we left for our trip. There is nothing like the shock, disbelief and depression which accompanies betrayal. Some people do indeed live in fancy apartments bought with other people’s money. Even more astonishing is the fact that they sleep at night. I would rather be me than them. Karma catches up to the cheaters in this world. Anyway, I am rambling. I wasn’t in a great place before we departed for our ocean voyage. In fact, I don’t recall packing. Come to think of it, I didn’t. I merely threw clothing into a case. The seasoned travellers amongst you would be appalled.

We drank a toast to the birthday girl before departing. Now this softly spoken angel is turning forty this month. She retrained as a nurse the past couple of years, whilst bringing up her three kids. She works hard in ER, and desperately needed time-out. A wonderful group of women gathered, telling silly jokes as we refilled our champagne glasses. My friend’s sister had just had a baby, so couldn’t come. She had t-shirts made for us all which announced who we were celebrating and why. We climbed aboard the shuttle bus, and I felt my shoulders relax. At the terminal, I was startled when I saw that I had to walk over a high drop, which was visible through the Perspex walkway. My daughter saw my apprehension before I could even voice it. “I don’t think I can!” I exclaimed. An officer stood to the side and asked if I was okay. I explained that I didn’t like heights. Of course, its more than that. I was thrown off a freakin’ building! I soared through the air and smashed onto the ground. I had to be rebuilt. Not liking heights is what I had experienced before that time. “Just look straight ahead,” he advised. My daughter ran in front, encouraging me. When I saw her elfin face, with its dimples, I felt strong. I made it onto the ship! I did something I never thought I could.

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There is something thrilling about taking off via Sydney Harbour on a ship. White smoke and lights streamed forth and my daughter delighted everyone with her cartwheels and dancing. We were both exhausted by  8.30pm, and so I bid my friends goodnight. In the morning we walked around the ship, and munchkin uncovered a candy shop with treats as big as her head. It was a great mini-cruise, as we met up with our friends, my daughter could go to kid’s club and activities and I could spend time looking out to sea, without having a thousand things on my mind. On Saturday evening there was a Great Gatsby party, and munchkin loved being a part of it.

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I had some smashing cocktails whose main ingredient was gin. I tried dancing, but ended up throwing my walking stick and hitting a man next to me. Oops! Time to sit down! My daughter elected to go on the flying fox over the ship, and enjoyed it so much, she did it three times.

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As the sun set, we raised a toast to our friend, Trish. We talked of the past and of her future dreams. None of the ladies’ present had been set an easy path, filled with even surfaces. Hell no! Collectively, we had all tripped on cobbled, uneven and treacherous surfaces. We have the scars to prove it. I didn’t do things like this in my younger years. Even going camping would have meant purchasing equipment. Life was reduced to having enough funds for surgery and IVF, and then to make sure I had everything my baby needed. I have learnt that adventures are necessary, for the mind and the soul. Decisions are made, minds are eased and fun is had. Life can’t just be a tedious, painful trip to the grave, can it? I want more for my child. I want to show her the big wide world, whilst sheltering her from con-artists. I want to show her oceans and fields of lavender, rainforests and castles. I am sick of stuff, and all it represents. I want experiences, as does she.

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The only way is up from here, kid. I am so glad that I got to spend time with these remarkable women and this remarkable child. I cringed as my phone came back into range and was flooded with texts, missed calls, emails and Facebook messages. Unless it can be arranged to have me cloned, all will be seen to in good time. I have bags to unpack, washing to be done, stories to write and a child to school. I have a friend who turned forty by heading to the ocean, the negative ions cleansing all our psyche’s. One of the single ladies in our group made a new friend on the ship, and they are going on another little cruise in April! Yes! That is it! I want to be like Bronwyn! I want to smile and be open to new possibilities, and to say yes to things I haven’t done before. I want to force myself to consider that there are more honest, decent people in this world than foul. I want to one day believe it again.

 

 

Light it Red for Dyslexia in Australia


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Dyslexia Support Australia are a wonderful group of supportive people who have been through it all. I know from personal experience the immense frustration and heartache in sourcing adequate help for a dyslexic child, and it was behind my decision to home school. Many parents would dearly like the following to be a priority within the education system.

  1. Diagnosis at the earliest age possible.
  2. Science/evidence-based interventions and school’s guiding parents rather than the reverse.
  3. In order to support the above priorities, make available further training so that teachers can identify dyslexic students and provide effective reading instruction.

Light it Red is a wonderful initiative where landmarks and monuments around Australia shall be lit red. The dreaded red pen used to mark work at school is well-known to dyslexic students. It has been a symbol of corrections and crosses through their work. It is being reclaimed as an empowering colour, a colour of hope and support. Wear red, and get along to one of the events taking place on October 15th! Upload your pics to https://www.facebook.com/DyslexiaAwarenessAustralia

Behind the Smile  has written an exquisite piece on what it is like to be dyslexic here.

Back Soon.


It has been a very big week here, and I am having a little break away. Looking forward to coming back soon, and getting back into the business (and joy), of writing. I have had my heart not only broken, but ground into the dirt many times throughout my life. I have been deceived, played and used. I have often wondered how I could possibly go on. Somehow, I do, just like you. My child smiled at me this morning, as we chatted about what we were going to pack for our adventure. My little canary, Setrena flew to the kitchen window. He sat atop an agate and stood his ground as four Indian Miner birds tried their best to peck him through the glass. Now these birds are pests in Australia, and attack our native birds. Setrena didn’t back down. He opened his beak, puffed out his feathers and went mad at them. I loved seeing this plucky little bird take on the bullies. A friend insisted on making me a cup of tea. I am starting again. If my little bird can stand his ground, so can I. The following from Afternoon of Sundries is simply stunning. It says it all. I will see you next week. xxx

Update from Raphaela


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I received some devastating news last Friday. It came in the form of a group email, stating that my publisher had gone into receivership the previous Monday. I read and re-read the email, unable to take it in. I worked hard for two years, promoting my book and also planning eight further titles. The room spun as I tried to gather my thoughts. It meant that I wouldn’t receive royalties, and that the income I hoped to receive whilst home schooling my daughter wouldn’t be forthcoming. Life had to continue, even as I struggled to process what had occurred. I took my daughter to a friend’s home, as she was going to go to an ice-skating party with a bunch of girls. I didn’t talk about what had occurred. Instead this mum and I laughed about all manner of things until tears streamed from my eyes. It was such a release. I found it hard to leave and go back home to try to do the practical things necessary in this crisis.

On the Saturday, I attended a 40th birthday party for a courageous friend. I have watched her create a wonderful life for herself and her girls over the past eight years. It hasn’t been easy, but she has done it. There was a fire pit, and I sat mesmerized as the flames danced. I haven’t been sleeping since this occurred, feeling as though I am in limbo. I can’t do anything until the receiver’s get in touch and let the author’s know about their books. I am stunned that we were told in such a manner, and angry that the publisher didn’t live up to many parts of the contract. I had to trust that they would, as we have to do on many occasions. Trust a person’s word. Trust them on face value.

My daughter was asked if she could climb a glorious tree in a friend’s backyard and thread through lighting and mirror balls in preparation for a house-warming. She is an avid climber and had a ball helping out. I sat underneath this beautiful tree, and it reminded me of the one in The Magic Faraway Tree.

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The light shot out and changed colour every minute. It turned the tree into a kaleidoscope of luminescence. The kids chased each other and threw water balloons, and I listened to the band singing ‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles. At that particular moment, all was calm in my world. There were tears as I talked with friends, but there was also laughter. I feel the need to display to my daughter how one can bounce back from betrayal and disappointment. It helps to sit in a lush backyard with a beautiful community of people on a Spring evening. A galah joined us, and to our surprise, regaled us with a stream of profanities! It was perfect in its whimsy. I am so tired that I can’t think. I am so anxious that my stomach is in knots and my body is shaking. I feel a cacophony of emotions and dread the thought of starting again.

Start again I must, for there is a little girl watching; a child that I have to provide for. There are friends and magic trees and visiting galah’s with rude vocabularies. There is music and sunshine and giggling and water bombs.