To my niece Alaska

I wondered how to capture what I felt when I heard of your arrival into the world and it came to me through song.

Last week I found myself at Waterloo Library, for no particular reason, perusing CD titles to borrow. I chanced upon Triple J’s Hottest 100 2017, skimming the contents there it was, your song ‘ Alaska ‘ by Maggie Rogers.

Fast forward, and I get round to researching this tune on youtube. As I listened it sounded vaguely familiar so I dug a little deeper.

I had heard it before.

A masterclass at New York University in early 2016, Pharrell Williams critiquing the work of aspiring musicians. Maggie’s piece for the workshop is her song’ Alaska’.

The song is played, it is perfection.

Mr William’s critique ‘ I have zero, zero, zero notes for that ‘ ‘Your doing your own thing’ ‘ It’s singular, you could not compare it to anything else. And that is such a special quality’

Alaska, just like this melody, you are a sight to behold. You are perfection. Nothing needs to change. I would never have guessed your name, but now you are here, you could not be anyone else.

Like Maggie’s tune and Pharrell’s reaction to it, you have captured wide and loving audience.

I look forward to watching you grow, learn, play, laugh and love.

You journey will be unique, you will dance to your own beat and there will be countless loving eyes watching on as you do.


This week my lack of this quality has been centre stage. It it makes me smile. Laugh out loud even, because I don’t actually agree.

I consider myself a pessimistic optimist, otherwise known as a realist. I’ve been dealt my fair share of hardships, so much so that when dealt yet another blow earlier in the year, I accepted it.

This was a somewhat new phenomena, the acceptance thing.

My track record with acceptance was dire….having always opted to ignore heartache and trauma. I’d shield myself from pain with layer upon layer of denial, ignoring my human capacity to self-heal.

I’ve come a long way, have begun to accept things on a daily basis, for what they are and not shy away from complex feelings that may surface.

But to be told that I’m not an optimist – it’s just not true.

I’m a pessimistic optimist, other wise known as a realist.

When my best friend called me this week, before she was to board a flight, bound for the  UK, Italy and Iceland. I answer the phone and utter down the phone ‘ I hate my life’.

I’m part way through the delivering an orientation program to group of international students….but I can’t say these four words with enough seriousness and we both start laughing.

‘You are too funny’ smirks my bestie.

‘Just do little things each day that remind you of holidays’ states the beauty who is about to be spa side in Iceland. I swallow hard on that advice and truly mean what I say next ‘ Have the best holiday’

The following day my personal trainer asked post orientation ‘ How are your student group’?

My response ‘ I hate them all’

We both laugh – that is also not true, in fact, this is the first group that I feel totally at ease with. After doing this role for close to 2 years, I finally feel like I have got my role as internship coordinator down to a fine art.

Reflecting on the week that was with my Mum, her advice was to take a bit of optimism from those in my inner circle. Perhaps what she was really saying was to choose my words wisely. Comments such as ‘ I hate my life’, especially to those who don’t know me would be truly confronting. They would not have points of reference for such jaring remarks, that would enable them to appreciate my black humour.

So I’ll take from this self-reflective practice that one must know their audience. And upon careful consideration I am a pessimistic optimistic realist. And a very happy one at that!!



Coming home to celebrate…..

Another year passes by, another number clicks over and I find myself older in the numerical sense.

But I don’t feel it in my bones, my skin might not look as youthful, but my spirit feels lighter. My outlook brighter.

If this is what getting older feels like, I’m a happy camper.

I am trying to imagine the perfect way to celebrate the universal phenomena of ageing but the past celebrations gets in the way….

Midnight ferry crossing from Greece to Italy, complete with birthday cake
Blind date birthday combo in NYC
Flamenco guitar serenade in Madrid
Solo celebrations at the Ubud, Bali Writers & Readers Festival

My younger self prided herself on being overseas for birthdays – in one way it was escapism, in another sense I thought that was the appropriate way to celebrate.

But a yearning to connect is what I crave most, with family, friends, as birthdays approach. I want to look around a table at faces of those who have shared life’s journey with me. To continue to create new memories with those nearest and dearest.

But I think I would have only arrived at this conclusion had I not been privileged to spend so many birthdays abroad. To date my Greece/ Italy & NYC Blind Date birthday remain firm favourites.

So Coledale, Austinmer and Thirroul – South Coast towns that have beckoned me home for the grand occasion, this birthday girl is here to celebrate.

Got you on my mind….Shi pow pow!

Sitting on the train to work today, looking out the window at the splendid beauty of Sydney harbour, I cross the bridge to North Sydney & this song popped into my head.

I was certain it was by Nineties ‘Hit Maker’ Haddoway…. but no, it was by ‘London Beat’ – How could I forget?!

Anyway, this song surfaced for I was thinking about family and friends, the many people scattered around the globe, and as I did I was smiled-

My mate, 5 years passed since he ‘called Australia home’….I think of him each time I venture to the inner west suburb of Marrickville to go to the gym. Marrickville is full of hipsters now, hip bars, hip cafes, hip everything…You should come back….With your beard you would fit right in!

Childhood friends I have not seen for over 20 years….and the catch up I am organising for May this year. Where has the time gone? What have we done with our lives since we last were in the same room together? Our brunch catch up is sure to set the record straight! We will meet new additions to family, partners and reacquaint ourselves with one another. We were a tight group in the late 80’s / early 90’s….2016 will surely cement our friendship once more.

A lunch date with girlfriends who have been part of my life…well….f.o.r.e.v.e.r. I can’t to have them all around the one table. Kids can play outside….there will be serious catching up to do!!

A family getaway….something I have tended to shy away from in the past. But 2016 is the year to embrace family (warts & all) and shack up with the parentals on the South Coast of NSW. Not too far away will be the brother, sister-in-law & niece. I cannot wait. And better still, in a town nearby, a friend I have not seen in close to 4 years- a long overdue phone call last week and a lunch date that weekend is now confirmed.

Yes, I have been doing a lot of thinking…about you…and at the same time, putting plans into action. Watch this space….. there is more on the horizon.

Let it Go….

Ms Mae is four. Ms Mae is four and ever so grown up!

Ms Mae

Birthday Girl –  Mae

What can her family and friends learn from the passing of another 365 days.

As clichéd as it sounds, the Frozen themed cake chosen by the angelic birthday girl was ever so fitting.

In the year it took for Mae to add assume the proud title of ‘ Ms Four’ their have been many a challenge bestowed upon her nearest and dearest.

Health scares, illness, fatigue and mental exhaustion, babies born and new additions on the horizon, friends acquired and departures from this life to the next, house sales and house acquisitions, job changes, challenges and upsets. Many a life lesson learnt, and all of them acquired the hard way, the only way…..

Through the toil and tears, heart ache and heart-break, joy, tears, laughter and sorrow, there has been one constant….Ms Mae and her smile,  a daily reminder for us to ‘let it go’, the stress , the worry, and as best as one can, endeavour to live in the here and now.

Not as easy task when faced with the blizzards and snowstorms of 2014.

But so often the rainbows, sunshine and clear skies of the past year were due to Ms Mae.

So Happy Happy Birthday and thank you…..For your smile, your laughter and the love you give to family and friends…Gifts which you give willingly and freely, making it easier for us all to’ Let it Go’ when the going gets tough.

Let it Go - Frozen Birthday Cake

Let it Go – Frozen Birthday Cake


Life Lessons

There is a man in my life who has taught me so much about life & love. He might only be 3 years old, but he acts as a constant reminder for me to live boldly, love truly and laugh… often as you can.

Yes, Duncan may only be 3 years old, but he has taught me lifelong lessons that I just have to share:

Ask the hard questions– For example, second helpings at meal times. You never know your luck ( odds increase if you say please & thank you)

Be curious– Try new things. This is even better when in the company of a good friend.

Be Creative ( see picture)

Creative DuncanLaugh-  As much as possible. Even my 3 year old mate’s ‘ fake’ laugh is magic. He will do this on request for me. It is the best medicine, better than therapy. I laugh uncontrollably at his ‘ fake’ laugh, which soon morphs into his ‘real’ laugh as he joins me in the giggles! The best.

Love- Say ‘ I love you’ to those you love. Whether these moments arise whilst completing house hold chores together, reading a book or whilst walking the family pet, put simply, if you feel it, say it.

Give spontaneous hugs– because they are unexpected & simply the best.

Ask for support & those who love you will provide it in abundance

Don’t take life too seriously– refer to post ‘The Helensburgh River Dancer

Live in the moment– Probably one of the biggest gift this little man has imparted! When I am with him there is no other place to be.

So Happy Happy 3rd Birthday Duncan. Truly you are one of life’s greatest gifts.I love you so much.


‘ Is that you Cathy, Peggy, Kate?’

Today on my drive to work I had the sudden urge to call my Nan, to chew the fat, discuss the Wimbledon Tennis results, complain about the recent cold snap that has a hold on Sydney ….

Really, there was to be no particular reason for the phone call…..I just wanted to hear her voice.

Nan and I ( with Albert the cat)

Nan and I ( with Albert the cat)


‘ Is that you Cathy, Peggy, Kate?’


‘ Hi Nan, is me Kate’


‘ Ah Cathy, Peggy, Kate…How are you?


‘ I’m good Nan, how are you?


‘ Never better, Kate, truly, never better’


My Nan passed away in her sleep on the 2nd of July.

She was 93 years old.

She was a great lady, a ‘remarkable’ lady….a friend to all.

Put simply, she was ‘ a great Australian’ and I will miss her dearly.

Happy Happy Anniversary

Celebrating 70 years of marriage with a letter from the QUEEN!!

Celebrating 70 years of marriage with a letter from the QUEEN!!

Joan and Bruce Gibson
Click on the words’ Joan and Bruce Gibson’ to see a photo of a couple MOST in LOVE!!

When I was born, my Grandparents, Joan and Bruce Gibson, had already been married for 35 years.
Now I am 35, and my Grandparents have married for 70 years.

On the weekend we celebrated this momentous occasion…their Platinum wedding anniversary….70 years of wedded bliss.
There are’nt words to do justice to the bond my grandparents share….but there is a look, the look of admiration and understanding, companionship, an unspoken trust that needs no explaining.
The look of love on display, evident to all who cross paths with this special pair. It was their at the lunch on Saturday.

So Happy Happy 70th wedding anniversary Nan and Grandfather.

I will never quiet emulate your 70 years of marital splendour ( I’m thus far missing a husband) but I will forever have you as a shining example of commitment, patience and acceptance…an all encompassing view of love…enduring love…the kind that lasts for 70 years….and fingers crossed….many more.

Happy Happy 70th wedding anniversary!!

Princess Mae turns 3


One of my mini best friends appears to be the most loved 3 year old in Wollongong, NSW, Australia.

She is certainly the most loved little girl in her own small universe which comprises of a Mum, Dad, two sets of Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and numerous friends.

All those who make up planet Mae, gathered on Sunday to celebrate her 1095th day on planet earth.

Those who had shared in the wonder that has been the last 3 years of this little girl’s life where there to celebrate. The shirks of delight started at 12 noon, guests walked into a house full of pink helium balloons….and from that moment on the excitement levels remained at fever pitch.

Presents galore, lollies and cake, dancing and donuts, trampoline antics and party poppers. And laughter….lots of it, smiles aplenty….especially from the birthday girl, who has made the world in which we all live a richer, happier place…..just by being her perfect self.

A tiredness that comes from celebrating like a 3 year old when you are 35 eventually caught up with me…and the other adult guests. My Mini best friend had exhausted me by 4pm. But like my other mini bestie’s, there is nothing I would not do for them…and that includes partying like you are a child again. Ms Mae, you have my world just that little bit brighter. Happy 3rd Birthday, lots of love your Fairy Godmother xx

mae 2


Nan and Gradnfather

Nan and Grandfather

My Nan is 92. Her husband, my Grandfather, well his age is unknown, or rather, never discussed!!Family members speculate that he will turn 90 next year.

I love them both dearly and realise I am very lucky to have such people in my life. I am in my mid 30’s and I still have someone I call Nan, someone I call Grandfather.

Catching up with them is always fun…the conversations will twist and turn, take the familiar path of discussing a year spent in Canada in 1981, my Grandfather’s love of Baskin Robins Ice Cream and my Nan’s in depth knowledge of contestants on the reality show the Voice ( ‘ Kate , you know the winner has a stutter. I was just so pleased he won’

Catching up with them is like stepping of life’s treadmill and into a world where time stands still ( literally as the clock in my Grandparents kitchen has stopped working…I paid them a visit at 2pm on Saturday and the clock in the kitchen proclaimed it was 8.45am)

Time spent with my Grandparents is time well spent. We enjoy each other company, take turns telling stories, take turns listening, always sharing a laugh.

And from my recent visit I take away two conversational gems…..

I rang my Grandparents to organise the catch up. I called from work at 5pm and my Nan answered the phone.

 ‘Hi Nan, its Kate’


‘Its me, Nan, Kate’

‘ Oh, its you Kate….I thought you were a telemarketer. They always call at this time’

‘ Would you prefer me to be a telemarketer Nan?’

‘ Oh no, Kate, I am glad it is you cause when the telemarketers call I say down the phone ‘ This is a RETIREMENT VILLAGE’ and hang up on them!!’

‘ Gee Nan, I consider myself lucky to still have you on the end of the line’

Shared laughter

My Grandparents will shortly celebrate Christmas in July at their retirement village. When I asked who does all the catering for the event, my Nan disclosed that their was a committee of 4 village members who did the organising.


‘Oh Kate. we leave the catering to the younger people!’

‘ How old are the younger people Nan?’

‘ 76’ 

Shared laughter

Yes, my Nan and Grandfather, people who have seen so much, know so much, have endured so much, loved and lost so much, are very much part of my life.

 I truly am one lucky 34-year-old.

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