Last Christmas, I gave you my heart

I think I must have blacked out for a bit there. And now I’ve come to, Christmas – that sneaky, emotion-charged season – is in full swing. Do you know what that means? It means it’s a whole year since I looked up from making pom poms (those bastard little school fete pom poms) to realise that my marriage was toast.  It also means I can legitimately buy myself (I mean the kids) an enormous tiger soft toy and listen to soppy Wham songs.

I’m doing those things right now.Wham. Tiger. Me

Yep. Last Christmas was positively craptastic.  There’s nothing festive about sucking it up and holding it together for the kids, when all you want to do is crawl under a large rock. I was lucky, though, to have my sturdy support crew, who propped me up through December and January while I stomped my feet and cried bucket-loads. Whatever it took (wine, inappropriate jokes, nose blowing) they had my back, and helped me stumble through the season in a pretty rock ‘n roll fashion.

This Christmas is so much better.

Some marriage break-ups stretch out over a bumpy, painful road for years. Mine felt more like a gut-wrenching supernova at the time. But once the shell shock subsided, I realised that not only was I still standing, I was starting to feel a little inkling of something good. It felt like one of those stinking hot Melbourne days we have, after the rain washes all the heat and stink away. When everything feels fresher and newer, and suddenly you can breathe properly again.

I won’t sugar coat it and say it was a walk in the park from there on. Some of this year was absolutely, mind-numbingly, face-palmingly frustrating.

And here’s what really blows about being a separated parent. It’s the stupid (and not so stupid) little things:

Stupid little thing 1

The school uniform that got left at the other house.  And by the way, it doesn’t make any difference how many sets you buy – they always end up at the other house.

Stupid little thing 2

The Goddamn Tuppaware and drink bottles and homework books that you need right now, this very morning, but are also at the other house.

Stupid little thing 3

The freaking 20-pack of kids socks and undies you bought last week, which seems to have migrated, on mass, to – you guessed it – the other house. Or the grandparents’ house. Or their beach house. Or ANY HOUSE OTHER THAN THE ONE YOU’RE IN RIGHT NOW.

< Deep breathing >

(not so) Stupid little thing 4

It’s when you’re in the car, absentmindedly fielding questions about McDonalds / why you shouldn’t play with your doodle in public / why the lady on that song just said shit… And then the littlest one hits you up with:

‘Mumma, can you explain again why Daddy had to go and live in another house?’

It’s the little things that make your heart feel like it might just implode. Because you realise that these questions are just floating around in their subconscious all the time, and it’s only every so often that they rise up to the conscious level and bubble out as words.

At times like these, about the only thing that can save you from unravelling then and there, is a really funny motivational meme.


But the good news I have is that at this point, I’m still relatively sane. And on the whole, things have been pretty awesome this past year. Being mindful of attention spans and word count, I’ve decided to loosely classify the good bits into the following neat categories:

People. Dancing. And The Universe.


This year, from the comfort of my lounge room, and thanks in part to this little blog, I’ve met people from all over Australia. They made me laugh out loud, and reminded me I was fun again.  They saw me travelling to Byron Bay for 5 days of yoga, mindfulness and slightly raucous gin and tonics.   And to Darwin, for my first crack at a long distance relationship. And two stops on the train, for renegade dietitian meetings. These beautiful new and old friends helped me start picking up the pieces and sticking them all back together again.

And the kids – my little people . They’re just as baffling, and high maintenance, and hilarious as they ever were. I can’t help but be happy when I look at their precious faces and sturdy little bodies. Sometimes I want to eat them.  I mean like literally devour them. And sometimes, when they’re arguing (which is a large percentage of the time), I also want to knock their bloody heads together.


I dance a lot these days. I’ve always danced in the kitchen and on big nights out. But six months ago I twisted the arm of a new buddy into taking me dancing (it didn’t take that much twisting – just a few scotches).  I’m talking beginner swing dancing class.

It was equal parts excruciating, exhilarating and hilarious.   Not unlike year 10 dance classes, except this time we didn’t have pimples or bad ’80s hair. We walked out with two huge grins plastered to our faces, and were hooked.

Dancing is nice because it gets you touching other people (albeit sometimes strange and sweaty people), and laughing and being a dork. In the words of Amy Poehler – dancing gets you out of your head and into your body. And by the way, I am totally in love with Amy Poehler. She has a lot of piss-funny and wise things to say about life and divorce. One of them is this:

‘Someday you may be in a happy couple again. Someday you will wake up feeling 51 percent happy and slowly, molecule by molecule, you will feel like yourself again. Or you will lose your mind and turn into a crazy person. Either way, let’s just hope you avoided tattoos, because most are pretty stupid anyway.

Oh crap.  I wish I read that last bit earlier…

Amy Poehler

The Universe

The Universe is a funny thing.  Sometimes it knows stuff you don’t, and puts you in funny places at funny times, to show you that stuff.  Sometimes it taps you on the shoulder, and then when you don’t listen the first time, it gives you a big old shove.  And then it slaps you square on the bum and grins.  Kind of like this:

Universe: Hey – look over here

You:  Ah – c’mon.. That’s ridiculous!

Universe: Yeah, I know. But trust me – I’ve been doing this a long time you know?

You:  That’s outrageous!  It’d never work.  Surely you can’t be ….. ?

Universe: Yes I can. Just shut up and go with this.

Sometimes you just have to stop overanalysing and defer to The Universe.  Because it knows stuff.  And maybe there just aren’t enough newly tattooed, swing-dancing, bar-tending, biker mole dietitian types these days.

Simples 😉

2014 – The Year That Shocked the Pants Off Me

Okay, no doubt you’re thinking it’s a smidge late for a 2014 Year in Review type post. And I wholeheartedly agree.  I realise all the Serious Bloggers had this one mapped out by November and scheduled to go in time for festive season reading.

I also realise that Serious Bloggers write for their target audience.  They don’t jump wildly between travel, cake decorating, fashion, nutrition, parenting, and flowery reflections on life, as the mood takes them.  And they fo’ shiz don’t disappear for months, without tacking the virtual equivalent of a ‘We are experiencing life difficulties – back in 5 min’ sign on the door.

Oops. But then I never claimed to be a serious blogger.

And the beauty of that, is that I can disappear when I just don’t have anything interesting to say, or when it all goes pear-shaped, as life often does.  And if I’m getting all excited about my revolutionary new system of Lego organisation, then I’ll bloody well write about that next (stay tuned folks – it’ll change your life).

But it’s true.  Last year did shock the pants off me.  And I think it quite apt that my first post for 2015 is written sans pants, from the shelter of my doona cave. It’s quiet, warm, safe… and there’s a whippet at my feet.

And so, let’s cover the good bits first, shall we?

In Blogging News…

2014 was the year I cracked the shits with celebrity chef Pete Evans and his ridiculous brand of food-wankery (you can read the post here).  Fortunately, this turned out to be the best move of my blogging career to date, as far as stats and follows go.  But more importantly, it got me writing about what I know as a dietitian.

So I’d just like to say thanks to Pete for the inspiration.  Thanks for making my blood boil every time I heard your name, and for introducing my blog to search engines around the world.  It was great while it lasted, but I’m kind of over you now.  You see, positive body image and moderation are the new sexy, and Rick Kausman has recently ousted you as top dog on my stats page.  Not sorry.

rick ousts pete 2

In Crafting News

For much of 2014 I crafted my arse off in preparation for the school fete – making some dear new friends and earning a few new frown lines in the process.

In the name of Hartwell Handmade I did things with parachute cord that I never knew existed, and discovered a plethora of uses for an enigmatic substance called Modpodge. I literally developed furballs while handcrafting 400-odd pom poms and then stringing them onto garlands.  And in hindsight…  I learnt about the dark side of Pinterest, and the virtues of delegating, and Ryan Gosling craft memes.


In Pet News

2014 was the year we adopted Billie the whippet puppy.  We mopped up lots of wee, and watched her grow from a needle-toothed little teddy bear into a sleek, speedy supermodel of dogs.

Billie was very busy in 2014.  She dug up the lawn, tortured the children’s beloved soft toys, and created her own doggy door by clawing and chewing at the back door until… it just wasn’t really there any more.  You see, Billie has persistence.  And mad DIY skills.

billie one year

And in other news

I’m not quite sure how to say this.  But I’m just gonna rip that bandaid off.  2014 was the year my marriage ended.

To me it was sudden.  Nonsensical.  Flabbergasting even.

‘I just think we’ve grown apart’


‘I have feelings for someone else’


And there I was, suddenly contemplating life as a 41 year-old single mother of two. And wondering how on earth it happened to me.

Rest assured I won’t be delving into the details here.  Firstly because no-one wants to read a 50,000 word thesis on the subject of my marital issues.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  And secondly because I might be tempted to use the term conscious uncoupling, and I’m pretty sure that doesn’t go with the type of expletives I’ve been using lately. I don’t think Gwenyth would approve.

So… What’s on for 2015 then?…

Ah!  Thank you – Great question!

Well, there will undoubtedly be a lot of refocusing, rebuilding and being strong this year (combined with a good measure of wine-drinking).  I’m also going to have to learn how to deal with scary spiders in the house, and inexplicable computer issues.  And my awesome friends and family will be there every step of the way.

Of course the two most important people in all of this are my beautiful kids.  I’ll be snuggling them tight, and trying not to miss them too desperately when they’re spending time with their dad (gulp).

Who knows?  Maybe I’ll throw myself into yoga, or meditation? Or swing dancing!  I already have the perfect wardrobe for the latter.  Or perhaps this year I’ll realise some deep, previously-untapped love for endurance sports or rock climbing. (No. That was a joke people).  What about a sweet (little) rockabilly-inspired tattoo? Why the hell not?

However it pans out, I’ll be sure to let you know along the way.  And I promise to think of a smashing topic that has nothing** to do with my marital issues, for the next instalment.

**well.. maybe just a little, if I’m keeping it real

This is me.  Being all positive and 'bring it', in front of a lime tree.

This is me. Being all positive and ‘bring it’, in front of a lime tree.

(my laptop’s on a) Midnight Train to Georgia

Hello!  I’m back.  And I hope you’ll see me posting a little more frequently (and certainly more succinctly) from now on.  You see, I’ve been to a blogging workshop this weekend, and for the first time – well – ever, I’ve had the time and space to focus on what I want this blog to be.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have been mentored for a few days by Melbourne writer Karen Andrews, of Miscellaneous Mum.  And now it’s over to me to put all of that wisdom imparted into practice right here.  

No pressure to be brilliant or anything…

My hello! coffee, West Village, NYC

My hello! coffee, West Village, NYC

As a few of you will know, I’ve been writing about my experiences as a parent, and as a 30-something-turned-40-something woman for a little while now.  In fact, it’s been almost a year since my first nail-biting, bumbling foray into the blogiverse.

This time last year I was floating around on my own little cloud 9, looking ahead to two wonderful, child-free weeks in New York City.  The blog was merely a seed of a thought, and my anxieties around leaving our two children for that length of time had taken shape as my own personal guilt-gremlins (who were prodding me at regular intervals).

Sadly, there’ll be no international jet-setting for us this year, but with school and kinder now up and running, I find myself with just a fraction more time to myself, and a hankering to be creative.  I figure it’s time to put some concerted effort into Life is a Minestrone, and see what comes about.  You’ll be pleased to know that I also plan on putting a concerted effort into drinking coffee, and indulging in the occasional nap on the couch.  I figure I deserve at least that, after 7 years of having to go to the toilet with an audience. 

Many of you have been generous in reading my verbose accounts so far, and have made me feel so encouraged with your liking and sharing (ooh, and I do love the comments!).  It’s gratifying to see that people are reading my musings, and that they’re eliciting the odd chortle from time to time.  

So here ends my little Hello speech.  But I’ll leave you with a valuable life lesson I learnt this weekend on my way home from blogging school:

It turns out that you (that is, I) don’t need to be drunk, or otherwise incapacitated, to do really stupid things on public transport.  For example, disembarking a train carriage carrying only a telephone and a water bottle, and failing to remember that when you boarded the carriage, you were in possession of a bag (containing laptop and credit card).  Oops.  Double oops.

Flinders St Station

Bye bye laptop bag….(Photo: Omer Ziv)

The good news story is that I was saved from my stupidity by a very nice end-of-line station-master, and a very forward-thinking husband (who immediately threw the children into the car for ‘a big train chase’), after my panicked call.  He was on the platform at Lilydale when the train arrived, and had said laptop bag delivered straight into his arms.  Computer, credit card, cash, all intact.

I did have a good forty minutes or so though, to ponder my idiocy, and imagine all the ways I was utterly screwed if someone did decide to adopt my bag as their own.  There were many self-inflicted mental slaps about the face, during that time.

View from Melbourne train

An idiot’s view (Photo: Yuyang Rihcard Lu)

As a result, I am in the process of drafting a policy document for myself around the use of smart phones and various (very engrossing) social media on public transport.

If you’re so inclined, you can join me in my sheepishnes, and tell me about something equally stupid that you’ve done in recent times.

It can’t possibly be just me… Can it?



Escape To New York

So in just under a weeks’ time, my husband and I will be saying good-bye to our beautiful progeny, and our white station wagon, and embarking one of those enormous jets bound for New York City.  I can’t quite believe we’ve pulled it off, to be frank.  How did we manage to talk our parents into this? They live-in at our house in order to feed, bathe, ferry around and clean up after our monsters, while we skive off to distant lands, where we can entertain grand delusions that we’re young and unencumbered.  Sheer brilliance, is what it is!

It will be spring in New York City, and it will be the first time in ten years that I’ve left Australia.  It’s intoxicating (lordy – imagine the freedom), weird (and again – how on earth did we get away with this?), and somewhat stressful (sheesh – only fourteen days to catch up seven years of spontaneity, adventure and sleep-ins).

And my plan is even more fabulous than at first glance.  In a combination of happenstance (and, let’s be honest here, a little scheming), it happens we will be in Manhattan at the same time as a pair of our dearest friends.  That’s you Sally and Jon.  Imagine the opportunities that await us;  The shopping-running-into-long-luncheon type opportunities.  The stopping-for-a-wine-at-three-pm-just-because-we-can type opportunities.   The.. The.. Oh it’s all too much!

It seems it’s also all a little cliché, being a ‘significant’ birthday for me this year. I actually think I may have borrowed the idea of this trip from a school-mum friend, who is also staring down the barrel of the forty.  But once the seed was planted, it kind of took on a life of it’s own.

And yes – okay – it’s also possible that I’ve watched a little too much Sex And The City in my time.  I’ll own up to that.  So how best to document this trip, than to dive head-first (or more accurately – stumble blindfolded) into the blogosphere?

I’m hoping it will help alleviate my compulsion to bombard Facebook friends with CONSTANT updates about me being fabulous in New York.  Because we all know how irritating it is to be notified that ‘Marnie checked in at Magnolia Bakery’ again.  Just like she has EVERY OTHER DAY FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS that COW!  (And in that photo, is it the lighting, or do you think she’s porked up a bit after all those lavender donuts?….)

Anyway.  If you’d like to stop by in the coming weeks, I imagine that this space will entertain:

  1. Gratuitous images of my fashion forward moments in NYC
  2. Much crapping on about food – gluten free and otherwise
  3. Rather too many shots of me with wine-in-hand and rosy cheeks
  4. More wine!
  5. And so as not to come across as shallow, I’d better add that we plan to fit in a bit of culture around the necessary shopping and face-stuffing.

Right then.  I best get packing…