Friendship Fire Starter: The self bought gift

I have been a bit slack of late….I have lost track of which blog is hosting Write on Wednesdays and my Friendship Fire starter posts have failed to ignite for 3 straight weeks…Time to redeem the situation…

Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.

To be able to harvest a good friendship, one must first be friends with themselves.

And as it common when you like someone as a friend, you buy them gifts from time to time to remind them of how much joy they bring to your life.

Well, I have turned to focus inward of late, and the gift to be purchased is for me.

In September of last year I was fortunate to be in NYC,  a city that owns a piece of my heart.

A request from a friend back home….to purchase of a piece of Tiffany jewellery. I took to the mission with gusto.

I marched from the Bowery region, lower East side, into the epicentre of the city’s shopping district…to 5th Avenue, the Tiffany flagship store….and with my little Australian credit card purchased the silver necklace for a mate. It was promptly gift wrapped, complete with white bow and  packaged into the signature turquoise shopping bag.

It was then and there that I took the liberty to use the Tiffany’s Lavatories….located on the 4th floor of the store….in a room 10 times the size of my Bowery accommodation. With thoughts of stowing away in the bathroom swirling around my head, I dragged myself from the luxurious surrounds, and re-entered jewellery heaven.

Never if my wildest dreams did I ever think I would purchase something from this jewellery giant…it just ain’t me….But something strange happened on that NYC  autumn day….Call it what you will, the bright lights and  the lure of the big city, the smell of money in the air….I simply had to have a souvenir!!

With much trepidation I scoured a few jewellery displays…and I thank my lucky stars that I was fortunate to be looking at items priced within the $50-$500 USD range…I had been spared the misery of perusing the $30,000 plus item…or maybe security had seen me and deemed me ‘unworthy’ of viewing such jewels.

And like magic, this little piece of silver revealed itself to me:

Tiffany Ring

Tiffany Ring

And here is where the story should end…I should part with the $300 USD and walk away, smiling from ear to ear…Taking no precautionary measures to look my person as  I take to the NY streets, eyes glued to my left hand index finger, gift wrapt with a miniature bow  silver…

But…I did not part with the cash…Rather I left the story and the memory of the ring faded into the background.

Fast forward 6 months….and the Ribbon ring, and the momentary joy it had brought me all those months ago, resurfaced…I HAD TO HAVE IT!!

A visit to the Sydney Tiffany store proved futile, a 6 week waiting list…No, I needed this little gem immediately.

Frantic facebook messaging to a friend on holidays in the US, where the ring could be purchased at a bargain price….also failed to bring me closed to my prize….Not availible in your size came the message via facebook messenger…

And as my cousin prepares to depart on a US / UK holiday, the baton has been passed on yet again…Bring home the Silver ring Cousin…My happiness depends on it!!

And if you have stayed with this post to this point….one might ask, the point?

Treat yourself once in a while, be spontaneous and / or if that is not your thing, remember the things that bring you joy and chase them!!

You are after all you own best friend and deserve to be treated every now and then…..

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CUWAM- Perth: Pets, People, Places

It’s the pointless things that give your life meaning. Friendship, compassion, art, love. All of them pointless. But they’re what keeps life from being meaningless.  Tim Winton

I feel the need to quote Tim Winton in this post as I spent 9 lovely, sun filled days in his home state last week. Winton, one of my favourite Australian author’s , captures  so vividly the beauty of coastal living in his writing…And Western Australia, you put on a show for me last week….Endless sunshine, fun-filled days spent frolicking at Cottesloe Beach and Rottnest Island…Yes, Paradise is where I was…and I am reminded now that I am office bound, that hell is where I currently reside!!

A one week holiday to break the endless cycle of office administration, house hold chores and pet grooming…A self indulgent week spent with good friends, eating fine food and wine in sublime / breathtaking surrounds….Was there a point to this escapade? Not really…but as Winton say’s….it is these simple pleasures that make the canvas of ones life colourful…

The week is over, done and dusted, compartmentalized in my brain in a section for ‘ happy memories’….But those memories are forever mine…and how lucky I am! My time spent on the West Coast adds another layer to my life story….let me share some of them with you.

My Rottnest Island tale has been told, now it is time to focus on life in ‘ The Hills’ of Perth.

Pets:Ruby and Ollie Stuart-Smith, dachshund extraordinaires and Hills based residents….Won over my heart. This brother and sister combo worked their magic on me…So much so that this cat loving girl has found it hard to adjust to the high-pitched meow of her once trusted feline companion…3.31am cries for food is NOT OK Flora!! Picture don’t do the cuteness factor of these hounds justice…but here goes…enjoy xx

Ruby

Ruby

Ollie

Ollie

People: My friends Lisa and Steve…living the dream in ‘ The Hills’ Perth….As a colleague in the office said ‘ I did not know Perth had hills!’…Truth be told…neither did I! And I am glad they do…I am a convert, a bush paradise awaited me, my home for five days. Thanks L and S for letting me stay.

Lisa and Steve

Lisa and Steve

Places: Lisa and I holidayed in style mid week….A day trip around Kalamunda, lunching and the like, I took myself on a day trip of Perth City, hitting the pavement of Mt Lawley and Northbridge, and hanging out park side  in Perth city. Come the weekend, Steve, Lisa’s husband joined the festivities….As a trio we indulged in Friday night drinks in South Perth and then tackled fine dining at Bathazar, Perth City ( licorice and garlic ice-cream…a winner!!) On Saturday, we upped the anti and continued the high-end dining experience by having lunch at Millbrook Winery, Jarrahdale…Wow Wee…And when words fail, let the picture the story

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And now my time in  Perth is but a dream…a good dream, of the sustaining variety..and so to Rottnest Island, Lisa, Steve, Ruby and Ollie, and the beauty that is WA…thanks for the wonderful memories…xxx

CUWAM- Rottnest Island: Paradise is where I am

The title of this entry should read ‘ Rottnest Island: Paradise is where I was’…for I am back on the West Coast mainland now..still paradise, but of the inland variety.

And after three sun filled days in the sun, I am left wondering…Can paradise be found anywhere? Is this ideal truly only realised when you dare to step on the treadmill that is everyday living, and in doing so, taking a look at the world around you with fresh eyes…

Whilst Rottnest was beautiful, of the happy tear inducing variety, perfect coastlines, white sand, aqua and deep blue seaside, I questioned whether my new-found inner peace was not only made possible be the islands breathtaking environment but from my decision to leave the everyday behind and do something different, experience something new and exciting…Paradise I came to realise was a combination of the two.

When in Rottnest, do as the locals ( of which there are few) do…Swim, cycle and sun yourself….I did all three, over a period of 72 hours. I went to bed early, rising early each morning, and either walked, rode or took the shuttle bus to a beach of my fancy….I was spoilt for choice…I swam at Salmon Bay,Lady Edeline Beach, Geordie Bay….and after numerous dips decided on a favourite, Little Parakeet Bay…

On an island of such beauty, it was fitting to meet beautiful people, like-minded souls who were all taking some time out from the daily grind that is life…We chatted over beers and wine, shared whatever food we had gathered from the general store…took time out to star gaze, for the night sky put on a fantastic display….glistening diamonds danced overhead as we sipped on our drinks and exchanged travel tales from adventures at home and abroad.

It is fair to say I had the time of my life…three very much longed for days away from the pressures of work and home life ( even if I do only live with a cat…Flora is a very demanding!!)…Three days that revolved solely around me. Indulgent? Yes…Do I  feel the need to justify this decision? No…. To put oneself first every now and then…recommended…to put oneself first on beautiful island, surrounded by like-minded people, crystal clear ocean and picture perfect surrounds….highly recommended.

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CUWAM- Numbers Continued….37

And me, I still believe in paradise. But now at least I know it’s not some place you can look for, ’cause it’s not where you go. It’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something, and if you find that moment… it lasts forever…

Alex Garland, The Beach

37 hours…that is how long it took me to get to my holiday destination : Rottnest Island, Western Australia….37 hours to reach paradise.

I awoke on Friday morning…and the outlook was bleak….9 hours of non-stop office administration was in front of me…The very thought of it clouded my vision, and I felt sure that I would never see the finish line.

I arrived at the office at 8am….and settled myself for the monumental task of tying up all loose ends so that I could take a 5 day holiday….Hindsight is a strange thing…There was no way that all my administration woes could be solved in a mere day…but I gave it a good shot….and failed miserably!!

Students whinged and moaned, colleagues cursed, academics ranted and I huffed and puffed through the data processing marathon…Why oh why had I entered this race…For it was by 4pm that day it was clear I was the only competitor…and this was one race I was not going to win

I left the office at 5pm,defeated, with a half eaten sandwich in my handbag, and the onset of repetitive strain injury in my right wrist…The frantic post work conversation with a colleague in a similar situation…Kenny was being summoned for dury duty…and as he put it ‘ Having to do 6 weeks work in 1 day’…tied up further office tasks for me over the phone…Things I had overlook as I dashed to the  finish line….

And then to dinner…A longed for meal with friends from Queensland, Sydney and Wollongong…To Surry Hills for a Nepalese Feast followed by coffee and cake at Gnome Cafe on Crown street. And still I was ever the marathon runner….

My friend Jess, honed in fast…She could tell I was operating on reserve fuel, I had entered a new phase of operation..Hyperactive / autopilot….

‘ Are you on drugs, Speed?’

‘ No’

‘ What ever it is, I want some!!’

Post dinner, the time had come for some shut eye…A chance to rest my head on a pillow for a few hours, before I hoisted my weary body on the 7am flight to Perth.

Rest did not come, I lay down at 11.30pm and awoke at 2.30am…I remained awake for the remainder of Saturday…And it cost me dearly….I caught a 6am cab, then a 7am flight, arriving into Perth at 9am ( yes, I gained 3 hours)

I then wondered aimlessly around a Ferry Wharf for 4 hours….boarded the 2pm service to Rottnest…. On arrival at  3.30pm, I promptly caught the shuttle bus in the wrong direction of my accommodation….Realising this mistake, I boarded the return shuttle, and arrived safe and sound at Geordie Bay Guest House.

And despite the mere 3 hours of rest that separated Friday from Saturday…one thing became unmistakably clear as I set foot onto the island that would be my home for the next 3 days.. I was in Paradise…and from that moment on….nothing else mattered.

To be continued….

CUWAM- Numbers

I have neglected my true calling of late…that of a writer.

As an administrator I have been hit by a tsunami of paperwork, emails, letters, faxes, courier pigeons….complaints, tears, tantrums…the occasional smile…but by and large…the last four weeks have felt like one long, long whinge.

There I said it, got it off my chest…and I feel GOOD.

I actually feel GREAT, for tomorrow I fly to the West Coast of Australia for 7 glorious days of fun in the sun. A three-day self-imposed silent retreat at Rottnest Island, followed by a further 5 days on the main land with my beautiful friends Steve and Lisa.

Looking back on the week that was, well, you would have read about the highlight that was dinner at Jamie’s….and that was pretty much it….Everything else can be summarised in number form…Number of days till I got on the plane ( finally the figure is in single digits) number of times I abused my computer screen ( 127), number of times I am sure my colleagues cursed me and silently wished that I would just get over it (352), number of alcoholic beverages consumed to ease the pain of administration madness ( could not put a figure on it)

Yes, I have said it before and I will say it again….hours have felt like days, days like weeks, weeks like months, month like years…

And while number and digits floated around it my head…the photo essay that I took on Crown Street. Surry Hills on the weekend just past, also captured this theme….

I ate breakfast at FourAteFive cafe…I took a sneaky shot of my favourite Crown Street Pooch, Dasher, who resides at home number 433…who is super cute, ageing and as the signs implies ‘ on a special diet’

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When I next write I hope to be inspired by a boost of vitamin D, energised by the seaside beauty of Rottnest, the calm of the waves, the smile of a local…Paradise awaits…Office maddness can be placed on the shelf for a while…It will be waiting for me on my return…but for now, paradise awaits…..

Friendship Fire Starter: Dinner Date Part Two

Anatomy of an Evening / Location : Stitch Bar, York Street / Jamie’s Italian, Pitt Street, Sydney

If you have asked me in 2008 if I would be prepared endure a 3 hours waiting period for a table vacancy at a Sydney city restaurant the answer would have been a stern NO. The likelihood of me having a group of friends willing to partake in such lunacy four years ago…also highly unlikely.

But transport to the year 2012…not only was I willing, able and above all determined to partake it this culinary endurance test, I had 3 other friends keen to join in the proceedings.

Let me introduce them:

Dinner Guest S

Jamie’s Italian….Jamie Oliver’s Italian…Opened in Sydney 6 months ago….and the buzz surrounding this eatery is alive and well.

A fan of the Naked Chef for many years, my excitement was clearly visible as I waited eagerly for my chariot, the 339 bus to take me to the city

‘You going somewhere ?’ asked the local corner store owner upon seeing me at the bus stop

‘Yes, I am going to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant tonight’

‘ Wow’

‘ I know, at least it is not McDonalds’ ( such was my enthusiasm that I really can’t recall why I even said that)

Luckily, the bus turned up and I was whisked off, city bound.

I meet S, A and B in the queue for the eatery at 6.30pm. A queue some 20 people deep….interesting, slightly unnerving….My posses reached the restaurant lobby, our request was placed : ‘ Table for four please’

‘It will be a 2 ½ hour to 3 hour wait guys’

That is fine’ remarked A

‘Can I have a contact number for the booking?’ and A recited 10 digits quickly, perhaps in the hope it would reduce our waiting time by 15 minutes.

I could not help myself…I had begun to feel slightly responsible for arranging a 6.30pm dinner party that would not touch a morsel of food it seemed, till close to 10pm.

I gathered the strength….and whimpered to the host taking our reservation details: ‘ What time to you open on Saturday night’

The response…’ We don’ t close…we open in the morning and close at midnight’

My brain slowly processed this concept…So to get a 6.30pm booking on Saturday night we really should have placed our names on the list at 3pm that afternoon…Interesting…I would not thought of that….

But the looks on A, S and B’s face said it all…we were in it for the long haul…If the host had said: ‘ Guys, there is a 5 hour wait, is that ok?….More than likely we would have replied ‘ No worries, we’ll just head home, take a nap and when you call us for our 11.30pn reservation we will be here!!’

For as you might have realised…Jamie’s does not take reservations…for bookings under 6 people any way….This was a slight setback, the concept of 10pm dining… but all four of us regrouped and took to the streets, to a nearby watering hold that came the highest recommendations ( You will feel like you are in Melbourne!!)

Stitch Bar on York street…Wow Wee….I do love thee…A cute little basement bar, with a wonderful array of cocktail….So wonderful that my posse helped themselves to three each over the next 2 ½ hours….My fear that the night would not so much be about the food, it would seem, was to become a reality….the cocktail I chose to kick start the night ‘ Elegantly wasted’…I will say no more…It was there and then that the dining experience looked set to take a back seat….

But what was that I heard…the sound of a phone ringing….It was Jamie…He was ready for us….Saving us from certain death by liquid dinner….we took off in the direction of dinner….

Jamie’s Italian…Wow Wee….I do love thee… We were seated upstairs, on the mezzanine level, which enabled us to take in sweeping views of the kitchen, the chefs and the controlled chaos as they pumped out dish after dish, military style…it enabled us to spy on all the other restaurant patrons, but with the clock fast approaching 10pm, our eyes were firmly planted on the menu.

Fast talking, and super enthusiastic Sebastian, was our waiter…I was almost overwhelmed by this guys passion for his job, that I found it difficult to focus on the array of dishes on offer….But as luck would have it, a colleague from my office job, had printed off the menu and scribed down words of advise, wisdom on just about every dish….So really the job was already done for me!!

Sebastian thought this was rather  amusing …here was a group of people who had researched there dinner date….Hilarity aside, we got down to business and ordered…and before you could say, ‘ Wow, it is 10.05pm’ our dinner had hit the table!!!

Pictures tell a story….so I will let the three pictures I managed to take do just that…..I realised in hind sight that I should have taken more, this was after all, meant to be a review….But I think back to the time spent at Stitch bar and the cocktail ‘ Elegantly Wasted’….enough said.

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The food was fresh, flavoursome and at times inspiring in terms of the combination of texture and taste.

All dished looked authentic to the style of Mr Oliver…they were not pretentious….they were simple good quality dishes served with passion and love.

The restaurant layout, décor and design complemented the cuisine perfectly…Throughout the meal, as I gazed around, I was often had to pinch myself that I was still in Sydney…the buzz inside was suggestive of New York, Berlin, Paris, London….as a result I feel in love with the place just that little bit more….

Was it the best meal I have ever had? Was it worth the long wait?

I am yet to make up my mind.

Will I go back for second.

Yes I will, but I might try a mid week lunch…or mid week dinner

At the conclusion of the evening, B and I made up a rating scale, scribbling over the menu with a pen supplied by Sebastian, rating the dished we had tried. I will share it with you, the reader, for I think it will help you to decide whether you will embark on this food odyssey, a dining experience, which at its very heart, remain true Mr Oliver’s mission : love, passion and verve for food, family and life.

Rating Scale

* Not worth 3 hour wait

* * Consider waiting 3 hours

* * * Amazing, worth 3 hour wait

PASTA Reveiws

Prawn Linguine * * *

Truffle Risotto * *

Buffalo Ricotta Raviolo * * *

MAIN Reviews

Tuscan Wild Boar Sausages * * *

Veal Saltimbocca * *

DESSERT Reviews

Tiramisu *

Italian Bakewell Tart * * *

Affogato * * *

WAITER review

Sebastian * * * * ( in a category all of his own!!)

Friendship Fire Starter: Dinner Date

08 Mar 2012 Leave a comment

Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.

And this weeks ode is about two of my favourite things in life….Eating and Friendship…Put the two together and you get a dinner date..

This weekend I am planning on dining out with one of my most treasured friends…half of a twin combo….that I was fortunate enough to befriended at 10 years of age…How could I have been so lucky?…to have not one but two best friends…Someone was smiling down on me when the Lee twins moved to the sleepy South Coast town in NSW many moons ago…

So I have mentioned the friend and now for the eating part.

I cannot remember a time in my life when food or the art of eating was not at the forefront of my mind….Not only have I always loved to eat…But I have loved to cook, to bake…As a 10-year-old I used to play ‘cafes’, turning the family kitchen into a commercial business, making menus and insisting my parents and brother sit down at the dining table and order breakfast items of the order board. My Dad would roll his eyes as I prepared his cereal bowl of corn flakes with muesli….My brother would complain at the time taken to perfect bacon and eggs….But I could not have been happier…

At age 12 I took to holding cake stores street side, selling  cupcakes, slices and biscuits to just about anyone who would part with cash for my humble homemade treats….At age 16, with both Lee twins in tow and one other recruit, the delightful KS, I turned an idea of running a monthly restaurant in a community centre into a reality……Yes, eating, dining out, call it what you want…My love affair with food has stood the test of time.

And it is with must anticipation that this weekend I will ascend onto the newly established restaurant in Sydney’s CBD: Jamie’s Italian….I could, as the song inserted below implies, not be any more excited!!

Jamie Oliver…I am a fan, a groupie….call me what you like….I admire you whole heartedly.

But if I am honest, and this is a quality I want to live by, I was not always a fan…I truely thought of you as just another celebrity chef….But all that changed for me when you launched your Ministry of Food campaign in 2008…then I really started taking notice….Your passion, belief and determination to get everyday people to change bad eating habbits….suggesting change in ways that were both simple and managable…Yes, you won me over.

And then I took time to go back and look and all the other wonderful things you had done thorughout your cooking career…. and my admiration for you just grew and grew and grew…

So it is true to say that I can’t wait to dine with fabulous friends at your Sydney restaurant this coming weekend….Fabulous friends and one of life’s great pleasure, food ( and a couple of glasses of wine)

Next week I will follow up with a review of the dining experience….I will do my best to capture the essence of the restaurant, the flavours of the food, the wine…and of course relay some of the quality conversation that is bound to flow.

CUWAM- Office Warfare/ Weekend Cease Fire

06 Mar 2012 3 Comments

It is Tuesday, and I am a day behind in the weekly Catch Up with a Mate post…

Last week…seems a distant memory, purposefully repressed, compartmentalised in my brain, in a newly sign posted area: ‘ Caution: Danger Zone- Enter at your own risk’

Office warfare, with colleagues, clients ( students) we are designed to serve, with academics, service staff ,IT consultants, bus drivers, dogs off leash in parks…you name it…Warfare on any front..it was ON.

9am-5pm office warfare…from sunrise to sunset ..we assembled each morning, a motley bunch of office admin staff, ready to do battle with 500 eager students, ready to take on the best that Australia’s oldest learning institution had to offer…in learning ( not administration)

It was a bitter battle, a daily assault on the  humble office worker, attempting to assist not wound the moral of the newly arrived student. Paper stacks of academic transcripts, subject approvals and  identification paperwork formed barriers between ‘ us’ ( the worker) and ‘them’ ( the student) Try as we might to promote a peaceful transition for all new students into academic life at our place of work..it was futile…. Our cheerful office worker smiles often induced tears and tantrums….hand gestures that were not of the friendly hand shake variety…. On and on the war went….Each day the humble office workers came back for more…minutes turned into hours, days into weeks, weeks into years ( you get the idea)

Oh I forgot to mention that it rained all week…homes in the Sydney region were forced to evacuate due to rising rivers and risk of flooding…Entire days passed without the sun bothering to grace our summer sky for a mere 5 minutes…..and to add insult to injury….I had the flu..I was sick…the kind of illness that plants a message in your brain that you will only recover if you spend long stints wrapped up in your doona ,, watching ‘ Days of Our Lives’ episodes, whilst sipping camomile tea….S.I.C.K….It was the kind of message I really needed to follow through on…but how could I?? Our office was under attack, troops were needed to keep the enemy at bay…I had no choice but to take my germs to work and spread the misery….

Ah…but there was but one glimmer of hope, ray of sunshine offered last week. A pearl of wisdom was imparted…My manager saying that she could see a future for me at an airport, as a check in assistant for those passengers who had the misfortune of missing that precious flight to Germany, or who lost there passport ‘ somewhere’ in the duty free shopping centre…My manager said I would prosper in a career calming down the hyperventaling, the distressed, the angry, the fatally wounded….and I found peace with this?

Yes I did…For all week I assisted the hyperventalating, the angry, the tear soaked….and I did it to the best of my ability…Sure I copped a bit of abuse whilst I did this…But I was able to provide compfort and care…and in most cases ( not all!!) send the distressed soul on the path to happiness, to locate that lost shoe or student card! Oh….what a F.U.N week

So I guess it comes as little suprise that this week, in the evenings, in my ‘down time’ I took time out to watch the BBC series’ Come Fly with Me’…a mocumentary about a fictional airport in Britian…and the ‘characters’ responsible for making the  experience of flying ‘special’ for each and every one of its customers…Take a look at the snippet…I think we can all learn from this series, produced by the boys responsible for ; Little Brition’:

I guess it is important to advise that the weekend did come…Nursing my war wounds, I took my sorry self out for breakfast on Sataurday morning, to Bills in Darlinghurst..Happiness on a plate…but I sat next to…a student…Oh well….With Mardi Gras Parade on the the city that weekend, the cafe was abuzz with spray tan, sequins and squeals of delight..and I quickly forgot my weekly occupation and got caught up in the party vibe.

Time spent in the garden resulted in a fresh war wound…a palm branch punctured my toe…nothing a coffee with the parents could not fix, then a catch up nine years in the making with the devine Ali, a travel friend of mine, who after 11 years in the UK…has decided to come home ( and I could not be happier)

A catch up nine years in the making was always going to be intense…more coffee eased the pain of racking over nine years of hot gossip in a Paddington Cafe….On Sunday the sun shone, and I decided to spend the day indoors at Bondi Westfield spending money from a wonderful source: credit card

And at the days end, I shed a tear….for office warfare was to begin again….and I found myself feeling slightly uneasy…determined to self settle myself I pressed repeat on the DVD player….an in an instant my happiness returned…’Come Fly with Me’ transported me away from my office based fears to a tropical island in the Bahamas….as the character Precious Little would say ‘ Praise the Lord!!!’

Write on Wednesday: Small Expectations

02 Mar 2012 5 Comments

The Write on Wednesday Spark: Small expectations
As I am thinking about education and learning, kindergarten and university, I have taken this week’s writing exercise from one of my early childhood books. It is an activity I do with small children and one that always inspires so I thought it would be fun to see what the exercise inspires in adults. So, your prompt is: Imagine yourself as tiny as your thumb.Where would you live? What would you do?

I know this might be a difficult exercise but it’s all in the name of exploration. Try and make it work for your own writing needs. Write a children’s story, write a fantasy piece or work it into a fiction or non-fiction piece.Wherever the prompt takes you. Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links. Oh, and enjoy!

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My name is Barbara.

I am 25.

I am a writer.

I was born as tall, some might say as small, as the size of an adult thumb.

Being as tall, or as small as the size of an adult thumb is something I have learnt to live with…It has its ups and down….like any ability or disability…If I cast my attention to my circle of friends, we are all very different…  them is a young man who is as wide as a truck, a young women who is long and lanky, I have to crane my neck to look up in her direction….and she has to get down on her hands and knees to see me….Sometimes her knee joints make a loud ‘ cracking’ sound when she folds herself up on the floor, to enable us to have a conversation face to face…the noise is loud, I cover my ears and laugh….She laughs too.

Then there is Barry, my boyfriend. He is as tall, some might say as small as an adult big foot…Yes, height wise we are an odd match…But Barry is also a budding writer and it was due to his continuous support and encouragement, that I took to writing at a ferocious pace last June.

Barry built me a device that he designed to complement his writing style…He just  modified it for me, for my height and ability….A trampoline type device that I place in front of an average size key board. I then propel myself from key to key, I time each bounce and have perfected the aret of the ‘ double letter hit’…I can type two ‘ E’s in a single bounce. and then thanks to the traction Barry placed under each key…I bounce right back to base camp and plan my next letter assault.

Yes, it takes time to write, quiet a bit…but it is fun…oh so much fun…the local newspaper ran a story on me last month, and I have my own following on facebook and youtube….Bouncing Barbara: The mad typist…google me…it is all true!!

Yes, my height has caused me to make many adjustment in life, but these adjustments only help to enhance a life I have always  loved regardless of my size and stature…Barry, the trampoline key board and my electic mix of friends…happiness in a nut shell….

Friendship Fire Starter: Common Interests- Travel

01 Mar 2012 Leave a comment

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Nothing helps unites two people better than common interests ( CI’s) , hobbies, likes and loves.

I LOVE to travel, and it has been on my many solo trips, local, domestic and abroad, that I have met truly inspiring and creative individuals…People who have become part of my patchwork quilt of friendship that spans to globe.

Sometimes I have been lucky enough to travel with a companion…someone to take on the sites, sounds and experiences in places like Indonesia, Tropical North Queensland, Europe and Asia. Travelling with friends puts the very foundation of that relationships to the test….And I am a firm believer if you can travel together, through the good, the bad and the plain ugly..then lifelong friendship is almost a guarantee….

This will be the first of many friendship fire starts devoted to the topic of travel…It would be impossible to document the importance of one of life’s many luxuries in few hundred words, a single post…Travel has been part of my story since I was 2 …My parents took me abroad…to Toronto, Canada were we lived as a family for one year.

Aged 5 I started school on the NSW South Coast and drew pictures and wrote stories about growing up and moving back to a land where you could build snowman….I constantly looked at the holiday snaps from our time abroad…Me in a stroller being pushed around Paris, my desire to bear hugs all stray cats in rural France, sitting in open fields in the UK, picnicking with my parents….Yes, a love of travel was instilled in me at a young, very young age.

I left home at age 22 for the UK…no set plans…..to backpack, a  right of passage for so many young Aussies…Though my parents did not really want me to go…It was there fault…At age 2 they had introduced to the concept…Now I was going to fly the nest!!

I took with me a friend ( of the lifelong variety) and another joined us 6 months later….It was to be both the best and worst of experiences…All wrapped up into one…a period of my life which really shaped who I am today…A period of time were I could be whoever I wanted to be, whatever I wanted to be….and I collected like-minded people along the way….the patch work of quilt friendship grew and grew.

I want to make reference here to a person I collected in Geneva,Switzerland or was it Nice / Paris?…I really can’t remember…the effect of this whirl wind character truly knocked me off my feet. This person’s energy, sense of humour, ability to live life to the fullest ( and then some) was contagious….Where ever it was we met….it does not matter……I was hooked, in it for the long haul, through thick and thin and all that….I had meet a ‘kindred spirit’…and the rest as they say is history.

Lauren, the adventure was have shared…I do hope to recall some, if not all of them in CUWAM….but I am tired today….and don’t have to strength to start the tale and then have to defend my writing…for I am sure to receive comments such as-‘ That can’t be true, a bar roof collapsing on the two of you beach side in Lagos?’, ‘ You did not sleep on concrete floors and receive sympathy gifts of sunglasses and boxer shorts?’  ‘ It could not be true that one of you was paralysed, hospitalised, visually impaired…presenting more heath problems than a House episode ?”

But they are true..all of them, and more…many, many more…The tales of Kate and Lauren, at home and abroad…Do I dare to tell them?? Yes I do!!

And I will…but not today…But for a bit of kick start…Look back at the 2001 slide show…images that really should never have been made public…Taken at a time when digital cameras were not even a ‘invented’..WOW!! A time when I was 20 kilos heavier…yes, I said it was the best and worst two years of my life..

But travel…solo or with the company of others…a sure fire way to kick-start any relationship.

To be continued…..

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