Category Archives: Australia

Numbers

Are weird things. Mine keeps changing and I keep changing with it. I just had my 40th and I’ve been thinking a lot about what that means. To me, and to people around me, and how we all have such different ideas on life, and who we are and what impact we want to have on the world.

I’ve really and truly reached and accepted the fact that I am now middle aged. The reality is that most of us live until we’re in our 80’s. 90’s if we’re lucky..some of us may even see a hundred, and hopefully we’ll be lucky enough to still be inside our own brains when that happens.

Growing older has always been a challenging concept for me. There have been many points in my life where I truly thought I wouldn’t make it past certain ages. I have struggled with depression for most of my life, and every year that I survived it for awhile felt like a victory. It still does, but…now it’s just easier. Now instead of wondering if I’ll make it, I’m able to realise that I have, and I like my days, I like my life, I like where I live. I like living.

I’ve lived a life, and it’s one I’m mostly proud of. There are definitely things that I’m super not proud of, but I know I’m not alone in that, so I’ve learned to let them go.

So what have I learned in my 40 years on this planet? Shit, so much. And I know that there’s still so much left to learn.

I’ve learned that people are just people. They’re all messed up and scared and fighting their own battles. Some are more successful than others, some understand things better and are built for things others find really hard to deal with. But everyone has a history, a past that makes them who they are, and a life that’s filled with love, and loss, successes and failures. Because all of us? We all have hopes and dreams.

I’ve learned that having friends in all age brackets is really important. Everyone has something to teach you. Even the people who waste your time. It’s definitely easier to pick these people out as you get older.

I’ve learned that trying new things and proving people wrong is still pretty much the best feeling in the world. Every time someone said I couldn’t, I did. And maybe I didn’t do it amazingly, or stick with it, but I still did it. Trying is really important. Failure happens.

 

You know what, I could go on and write a fucking novel and bore you all to tears, or I could just tell you that getting older is a blessing. I love myself more now than I ever have. I am so proud of who I am, as a 40 year old woman.  And in the words of the magnificent Roald Dahl “Never grow up, always down!”

Because this shit? It goes really fast. And don’t believe what anyone tells you you should be. At ANY age. All you ever have to be, is yourself. People can like you, or they can not. And exa fuckin’ exa to those guys. You don’t need them anyway. Here’s a picture of me being a responsible 40 year old woman.

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40 is amazing you guys. Roll on the next 10 years. And the next, and the next… 🙂

Special thanks to these two amazing human beings for making all my dreams come true. hehe <3

 

Walks With Thor

I can’t even begin to describe to you how awesome this dog is. He’s so brave and lovely and ridiculously silly. Taking him on adventures in Australia is one of my most favourite things to do.

He’s such a good walker, and he just loves exploring. It makes him so happy to be out in the wild getting to smell everything. Australia is such an interesting country too. It’s so dry and fierce and full of things that could literally kill you dead. Despite this, we totally brave the hills and aside from a few koalas, kangaroos in the distance and a freakin’ echidna!! I mean, how cool is that?! We haven’t come across anything too scary. Lots of snake warnings though. But if you stick to the paths, you could see them coming. I recommend sticking to the paths at all times.

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We walked up to the site of an old farmhouse. Right at the top of the hill, there’s nothing else up here, and the view was amazing.

I just love this country! It’s so beautiful, and wild and dangerous. I miss soft, green grass and the smell of New Zealand sometimes, so badly. But the harsh, dryness of this country has a really lovely smell all of its own.

too long

I feel like people might have expected a 3 year quake memorial post. I didn’t write one, not because I haven’t been thinking about this day, or remembering what happened, I just sort of didn’t.

Ollie spent the day with Siobhan, and I spent the day, and the evening at the Fringe Festival with wonderful friends, who filled the night with amazing food, circus acts, friendship and hilariousness. It was lovely and eventful.

I shared my story with them over hot chocolate and dessert, and I guess that’s why I didn’t really think to share it here.

It was so wonderful to have so much support and love from friends and family the world over, and we definitely appreciate it. It’s also so wonderful to be here, amongst friends and family in a city that offers us so much. Including dreadful heat and horrible bugs. But you know, that is really nothing in the scheme of things.

This is a great city and we love this country. It feels like home – until I open my mouth and the Australians look at me puzzled because they don’t understand a world I’m saying.

Such is life. It’s hardly their fault they don’t know how to speak proper English. 😉

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I first heard about Amanda Palmer through Neil Gaiman. It was just before the Christchurch earthquake hit that I got my first album of hers. One was certainly not enough and my love for her music just grew.

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Not long after this, Ollie was crushed in his building, and during his long recovery, Amanda Palmer became my solace. I nursed him back to health while listening to her music. I received visitors and well wishers, cards, flowers and meals and I helped him shower, helped him dress, fed him and reminded him to take his medicine with her words in my ear. Ollie did not want a nurse, even though he was entitled to one. So I gave up work and spent 3 months at home with him while he relearned how to walk and how to take care of himself. It was long, and sometimes really difficult, but ultimately it was what I wanted and needed to do for him, and what he needed me to do too.

I listened to her music while EQC came to assess the minor damage to our house. I remember the two men who came vividly. The older of the two, in his late 50’s was enthralled by her voice. He kept stopping to listen and asked me who she was. He wrote down her name and said he planned to go buy the album when he finished up that day. By this stage, I was following all her social media sites and had fallen in love with not just her voice, but who she was and what she stood for. It felt good to share someone that had helped me so much, with someone else.

Music has always been the most driving force in my life. I am a lyrics person and I listen to music that speaks to me and my beliefs, and who I am. I look for connection, and understanding because I quite often feel like I’m alone. I know I’m not of course, but I bond very deeply with music because of this. It’s my religion in a sense. Songs are my sermons. They give me hope when I need it most.

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In the two years following the earthquake, Ollie and I decided it was time to leave Christchurch behind and move to Australia. To leave behind all that we’d been through together in that city, now buried along with people we loved. It was not an easy decision to make, but it was the right one – for both of us. Watching your husband startle awake in the dark, crying out when another quake brings back those memories is heartbreaking. We chose Adelaide, because a lot of his family are here, and it felt like the right place.

I am always up for a challenge, and I love to travel. I also love his family, so it was not a big deal for me to do this, but the more we thought and planned, the more I ached to leave the place that had been my home for the past 15 years. A place that had fallen down around us and changed our lives irrevocably. I spent a lot of time soul searching in the 6 months previous to our leaving. A lot of time walking through places I’d come to love, all changed now, broken if not gone completely, alone with my headphones on listening to Theatre Is Evil.

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I remember hearing about how Amanda had come to Christchurch after the quakes and put on a free concert. I had not been able to go – for obvious reasons.

No one really ever came to Christchurch, and no one EVER went to my hometown, so I am not particularly concert savvy at all. When we moved to Adelaide though, all these concerts opened up right here in our city and Amanda was one of them! I bought my tickets as soon as they went on sale and counted down the weeks until she’d be here.

It has been at least 15 years since I have been in a mosh pit. I wasn’t exactly sure that’s where I wanted to be until the concert started. The opening acts were so fantastic and funny and the crowd was gentle. No one pushed or shoved and very few people tried to sneak in in front of you. At least, until Amanda got on the stage. She came down into the crowd immediately, and they all surged towards her like a human wave. At one point, I had her back pressed against me, and then she was gone, lifted high overhead and passed from hand to hand through the crowd and back on stage.

I had gone from five people from the stage to the third row. By the end of the concert I was at the front. The ebb and flow of people around me had pushed me up there. I’d forgotten how intense the feeling of being so close to people was. How deeply their feelings reflect your own and how you all become one part of something huge and warm and amazing. How suddenly, you’re not alone anymore, because the people with you are all there for the same reason you are. Because this musician has also touched a place in their hearts.

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For me though, the most intense experience, was watching how much Amanda gave of herself. Without reserve. She held nothing back and put her full trust in the people who’d come to see her. She didn’t just give us her voice, she gave us her body, her soul and she trusted us to hold her and touch her and give her back again. I cannot imagine that kind of giving. Or that level of trust. Her faith in her fans inspired me so deeply. The entire concert was just one big party. It was inclusive and passionate and amazing. When we left, I couldn’t really find the words to describe how I felt. It was like being part of a surrealist dream. It’s taken me three days to figure out how to put this into words.

Seeing the woman who had helped keep you sane through her music during the toughest time of your life was incredible on it’s own. But seeing her give herself up, watching her climb into the crowd and trust us, watching her give her fans herself fully, watching her kiss them and be part of them was an experience that I needed so badly right then, that I just don’t really know how to describe it. She humanised herself in a way that so few artists do.

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I love you Amanda, you’re amazing. Thank you for being such a wonderful inspiration. Thank you for your music, for your humanity, your humour and your humility. Thank you for helping me when I needed you most. Thank you for your understanding and your trust and for the selfless love you give back to your fans. You give me hope and because of you, I am writing again.

with love,
Kelly xo

worst blogger in the world award

Goes to me right?

I thought so.

Here are some random facts to entertain you for the next month. *sigh* I will get better at this I promise.

  • I currently have 8 windows open on my laptop. Of those 8 windows, one is called All About Cannibalism, and one is called Ancient People, The People of Ireland. I will let you make your own judgement calls on this one.
  • It rains in Australia. A LOT. Like, a lot a lot. So much so that I actually forget I’m in Australia until that freaking bird starts up at 5am and reminds me, that no birds in New Zealand ever sounded like that, ever and none of them were rude enough to do that noise EVERY DAMN MORNING!!!!!! I’ve never hated a bird before in my life…UNTIL NOW!
  • I got a job working at Ollie’s cousin’s dessert cafe. It’s so much fun! And so full on, and at the end of the night, they feed me dessert! This does not bode well for my waistline, but it certainly bodes well for my tastebuds and my sanity and my mental health. You probably don’t understand this, unless you’re a dessert person in which case, I don’t need to tell you anything else.
  • Now that I’ve spoken about that bird, I am imagining I can hear it barking/grating its nails down the blackboard/screaming/burping in my ear. If I had to describe its noise, that would be it. You have no idea how much I wish it would die. We were looking up buying an air gun, that’s how bad it is! Alas…these are illegal in Australia, but slingshots are not!
  • Back to the weather! Right now, it’s raining so hard I’m  having trouble keeping my eyes open. It’s also massively windy. It’s like mother nature is having a really bad trip at her rave party and crying and throwing up everywhere. *rubs her back and holds her hair out of the way for her*
  • My writing is coming along, very ponderously. Slowly does it. That’s the way. But I have a feeling its about to start picking up again soon. I can’t tell you why…because my husband is very private about things and would prefer I didn’t tell the world he just got a JOB!
  • Whoops. How exciting though!!!! He starts on Monday! YAY!
  • Oh! And I cut off all my hair. New beginnings and all that. I feel very Marilyn Monroe some days. When I manage to take a non-derpy photo, I will share it with you.

Eventually

What am I doing?! Not a lot internet. Not a lot at all.  Nothing particularly interesting. It’s all been about settling in here, finding our feet, working out routines, trying to figure out how to be a full time writer and actually, you know…writing.

That’s been quite hard, because things have not been as exciting here as first imagined they’d be. Life is pretty much the same as ever, except the ground here is solid and unmoving which makes a lovely change.

My book is currently with my editor and instead of writing other things, I’ve been reading and procrastinating. I also got myself a part time job at Ollie’s cousins dessert restaurant, which is amazing, full on and a lot of very scary fun. It’s nice to do something different and see other faces.

Hopefully we’ll settle into a proper routine some time soon, because that’s my biggest problem really. No real routine. Eight months on, we’re still figuring it all out. I do have to say, Australian winters are amazing. It’s cold here, but cold in the sense that you need to put on a jersey. I’m not sure that this place understands what frost is. It has certainly never heard of snow. Thank god!

It does however, know what rain is. Rainy Australian days are the most beautiful days in the world. I love them so much.

Our lovely little house turns out to be not so lovely after all however. Too hot in summer, too cold now it’s winter. Our loft sucks for sleeping…it’s very disappointing on quite a few levels. I really, really miss having a proper bedroom. We’ll be moving again at the end of the year. I guess this knowledge sort of ends up making it feel very impermanent here. Like we’re just waiting until the real stuff starts.

I had a lot of hopes and dreams for our move here, and so far things just haven’t worked out that way. I keep being promised that they will – eventually, and I’m so tired of that word. Still, the eventually’s always do work out in the end. Eventually we were going to leave Christchurch – we did. Eventually we’d start doing things we wanted to – we are. Eventually, we’d travel – we did. Eventually we’d make a new start in a new country – we are.

Eventually, things will sort themselves out, and those eventually’s will turn into now’s.

Eventually. *sigh*

chat roux

So most of you know that we brought our cats over with us from New Zealand to Australia. They were in a cattery for about a month I think, and it was pretty stressful on them. Greebo, our oldest especially. Lily was flown to us from my sister in the North Island, she’s an old hat at this plane travel business.

We were so worried they’d go missing, but luckily (even though it was brutal at the time) for us, the weather here was SO HOT, all the poor cats could do was slug out on the floor, panting like dogs. They barely left the house, and when they did it was to slink around in cat harnesses (tee hee! So funny!), at night before racing back in, with big black eyes and mortal terror all over their wee faces.

Greebo is in his golden years now. He’s the equivalent of his late 80’s and it’s starting to show too. He’s definitely retired from the rigors of fighting every night and bringing me home dead magpies. He goes out to the toilet, but spends all day in his inside box or meowing at me until I pay him the required amount of attention and love that he deserves and/or feed him.

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He’s still very handsome though.

So when he wasn’t waiting at the door yesterday morning to come in, we were a little concerned. We took turns calling him to no avail. As the day went on, so did his lengthy absence. I started to get a little worried. After all, Australia is a big place, with many weird things in it – and not just the people, who promise you that there are no huge spiders here at all, are you kidding? Nah, no giant spiders….and then the very next week – what’s that casually parked outside your kitchen window? Yeah. A GIANT FREAKING SPIDER! As big as my hand! There one minute..gone forever the next.

If you think I’m ever going to stop checking my bed or my shoes before I get into them, you’re mistaken. So I’m thinking “what if he’s hurt? What if he’s trapped somewhere? What if he’s been eaten by giant spiders? Or snakes?” And all this thinking starts to make me teary eyed and hyperventilatey. So I stop thinking.

Siobhan went outside and called and called, and shook his food and still no Greebo.

It’s about 5pm by now, and Aleeya tries. Nothing. So I put up his photo on facebook and ask people to keep an eye out for him, and as soon as I post it, all angsty and teary eyed again, he comes home! Meowing as loudly as possible and looking almost as haggard and unkempt as he did when he got off the plane 5 months ago.

But man, was he ever pleased to have finally found the right house! The love and cuddles and motorised purring was so intense that it was as if he’d been gone for years.

2013-05-26-22.06Look at he! He missed me so much he was crying. And he would NOT let go. He clung to me desperately all night long. As he should! Making his own mumma worry that way.

This boy was almost born on Siobhan’s knee when she was 4 years old. He’s been with us for his whole life. We watch as he came into the world and ugh! He’s just my babe.

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Fresh

DSC_2002This is my life right now.

I used to hate going grocery shopping, and to be fair, I still do. But the Adelaide Markets have made this less of a chore and far more of a pleasure.

I’m the first to admit that I get a little anxious in crowds. I don’t care for it really. I’d rather not have to be in places where there are a lot of people. I’m impatient and I always have a plan. I go out with a purpose and when you go to the supermarket, you are always held up by people with their trolleys who don’t seem to understand that some of us have better things to do with our time, than wait while they spend an hour choosing which toilet paper they like best. For your information, I already know which toilet paper I like best, and I get very cranky if people come home with the wrong kind (it never happens anymore).

But the markets here are just such a pleasure. There’s so much to see and do, and try. I’ve eaten so many strange things here that are probably very commonplace for most people, but which were virtually impossible to get in Christchurch – especially after the quakes.

I decided last week, that I wouldn’t make a list of what I want to get, and that I’d just go and get whatever was on special. I came home with a giant bright yellow melon (of which I’d never seen before), rock melon, avocados, red peppers, pineapples, onions, kale (my new found favourite green vegetable), pumpkin, potatoes and mushrooms. I’m just making up a lot of things as I go. We’ve been eating a lot of soups which I’ve been madly creating buy just throwing things into the pressure cooker and hoping for the best.

I think my favourite so far has been curried pumpkin and potato with coconut cream. I’m making it again tonight with red peppers thrown in too.

I know. It’s all very exciting! Aside from food shopping and dance, there’s not a lot else going on in my life!

Except writing. Oooh ooh oooooh! I’m so excited about my writing!

 

On bravery and editors.

Look! Two posts in one month! I know, you’re very spoiled. I hope that you’re paying attention to how much I love you all.

I realised what my real problem has been in terms of finishing my book. I got lost. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, and couldn’t stop thinking about all the plot holes and the many things I wanted to say but hadn’t. That has been making finishing the book extremely hard. So instead of waste my time idling away days in the way I have been (playing computer games, sleeping in, rolling around like a slug watching tv and angsting over life, the universe and my place in it) I did something about it!

I took some serious research steps and starting thinking about what it is I really want. What I need to do and how I’m going to get there. I read and read many different blogs and sites and learned all about the different kinds of editors and what you’re supposed to do, and how to get published and where to start, and I contacted an editor.

A pretty big name editor. An editor who I’d been reading about for some months and who I’d decided was way out of my league. Why, I wondered, would someone with such big name authors under his belt want to work with little old me?

Anyway, I left a question on one of his posts, and he replied! So I emailed him and told him my story idea, and felt pleased with myself for being so brave. I never expected to hear back from him at all, but an hour or so later, there in my email….is a response! A positive response! A ‘please send me your manuscript’ response!

Oh my gosh! What? Totally taken aback I sat there making weird noises at Ollie, and eventually worked up the nerve to send off my manuscript. Two days later he got back to me and told me that he’d like to work with me, and I rolled around all over the place in shock and surprise and total excitement.

He had a lot of things to say, and I’ll be meeting with him early next month to discuss where to go and how to fix the very many things that have gone wrong in my novel and I am so excited! I was starting to doubt myself and to have someone who has worked with some very big names out there tell me my ideas are good and that he’d like to work with me is such a huge boost!

I’m super proud of myself for following through, even though I was certain that someone of his caliber wouldn’t take me on. This being brave business suits me, I think.

Good job Kelly!

I am really bad at this blogging thing Internet.

I think it’s just because my life is uncommonly boring at the moment, which is odd, since I have moved to a new country and one would imagine that my life is full of riveting things to tell you. I’m not sure what to say in response to that, except that…it kind of isn’t.

Same shit, different city really. The thing about having decided to write full time is, I don’t have any hilarious work place stories to share with you. Because I’m working from home.  So I’m going to talk to you about how that’s going.

Most of you know that I’m a huge procrastinator. I found this great post by this super interesting guy called David. He wrote about procrastination on the Thought Catalogue. He writes: “It turns out procrastination is not typically a function of laziness, apathy or work ethic as it is often regarded to be. It’s a neurotic self-defense behavior that develops to protect a person’s sense of self-worth.” – It’s a great read, I encourage you all to go on over there and read it.

Anyway, I have been using my neurotic self-defence behaviours to protect my sense of self-worth for quite some time now.

I am so close to having the first draft of my novel done. Like, seriously close. What happened is, way back when I decided to really give this a proper go, I worked like a demon on getting the ending written, and then hated every little bit of it. It was a total cop out. It was a forced ending to a story I wasn’t entirely sure how to finish, and it made me really frustrated and unhappy. But I was finished right? So it was all going pretty well.

That meant that I could realistically take myself back to the beginning of the novel and start to fix up a few typos and errors and all those boring bits that repeated themselves. But the whole way through, I’ve been unhappy with the ending. So I deleted the whole thing when I made my way back there, and am currently in the process of rewriting it.

It’s great, I’m liking it, and I hope you will too. It doesn’t feel forced any more, and it’s working itself out into a slow progression of proper endingness. I’m happy with it. I am enjoying writing it. So, why am I still procrastinating?

Good question.

I got back into it today, and I was checking out the last time I’d written anything on it. I’d been very impressed with myself for having finished a chapter and having written another good 1700 odd words. The date was 14 March and I sat here today, congratulating myself on having written so much only four days ago and then getting back into it again. I was quite surprised that those four days had felt so much longer than they really were.

And then I checked the date and realised that today is actually the 18th of April, not March and it’s been an entire MONTH since I last wrote anything! Ahh procrastination. Ahh the joys of working from home! Days all blend together and the next thing you know, a whole month has gone by and you’re still procrastinating over finishing your work. It’s really hard you know. I love to work to deadlines. As much as I always say that I don’t, I do. Because I have always completed my work by the due date – well, on the due date. Usually with only a few minutes to spare.

The problem is, I’m only responsible to myself right now, and I am the Queen of irresponsibility. For goodness sake, I had my first child when I was 19! I am far more likely to get up in the morning and decide to spend the day faffing around online, playing computer games and if you’re lucky, baking something less than extraordinary.

There’s also this dog…for the past two weeks, it’s barked incessantly from about 9am to well after sundown. Every damn day. And, now it’s the school holidays, so the kids are home. And, Ollie’s home all day everyday too. I have housework to do, and people to feed, and music to listen to and gardens to pretend to work in, and spiders to imagine are lurking in every crevice. Oh, you have no idea how exhausting it all is!

Yeah, see? Are you seeing my problem now?

I have a feeling that once I have this first book out of the way and thrust out into the world for people’s reading pleasure/horror, this whole writing thing will become a little easier. It’s just this first time, you know? My fragile self-worth is completely tied up in this first novel, and I’m scared to death that it’s not going to come out reading like all my hopes and dreams.

So it’s a lot easier to sit and procrastinate on it, and wander through life blissfully doing all manner of other things.  But I promise it’s coming. I’m about two and a half chapters away from having this end completed. It reads really well, I’m happy with it.  I’m giving myself a couple more months to go through the second and third edits before I start handing it out to beta readers and once I’ve gauged an opinion, I’ll be working towards finding an editor – I have three potential people here in Adelaide I’m considering right now, and then hopefully, hopefully it will be ready to release into the world.

Thanks for sticking with me. You guys are all awesome.

Much love
Kelly x