Category Archives: our little rollercoaster

musings about life and all its ups and downs



I went to the bedroom window this morning and opened the curtains and looked out on the street scene that I have looked out on most mornings for the past 22 years. It’s not an ugly street scene. It’s quite beautiful really. But it’s the same street scene.

It’s a drippy grey day. The colours are soft. The rusty ochres of the roofs across the road are greyed and dull. There is a For Sale sign opposite. We have seen that house sell three times now.

I turned 55 today and this milestone has smarted a bit more than others before it. Perhaps because 60 has suddenly appeared on the horizon, my horizon, not someone else’s and I’m damned if I know how it happened.

I’ve been a bit glum.

And a bit tired.

And a bit pissed off with the world of late.

A friend rang yesterday and said “I always get your birthday mixed up. Is it the 26th or the 28th.” I said “It’s the 29th but that’s ok, the family struggle with it too.” But I woke this morning to a text from Madz in NY and a note lying outside our bedroom door from Darce. It’s amazing how a few thoughtful words can turn your head around.

I went on to have a poignant conversation with my friend about relationships. We might all wish for a long relationship but they can be hard at times. That’s not a swipe at Steve. If it was, it could just as easily be a swipe at me. No, it’s just a truth, that when you’re in a relationship for a very long time be it as a wife, husband, lover, mother, father, sister, brother, child …  it can start to feel like it’s not worth opening the window curtains because you know exactly what’s on the other side.

But my friend, whose marriage has stumbled, reminded me how nice it is to wake up with someone next to you, reminded me of all the little things we might take for granted. And how much you miss them … him … her … when they’re not there.

lawn daisies

Steve and I talked last night. Not just about daily events and work and all the usual dross. We were standing at the kitchen bench looking through the windows at a backyard covered in lawn daisies. When we first bought the house there was a rectangle of corn in the centre of the garden with numerous dope plants flourishing within. “Do they come with it?” we asked. They didn’t.

We were thinking back to that moment, laughing and musing about everything that’s transpired over the however many years since.

We were talking about the future and what we really want from it, even if there’s not quite so much of it as there used to be.

Some of us may open our window curtains and look out on the streets of Paris or Rome or a turquoise coastline. Some of us may open our window curtains and look out on an ugly scene in an ugly suburb. Some of us may not have window curtains to open at all.

To be honest, I don’t think it matters where you are, I think at times, we all just dream of something different. Something that’s not the same.

I have another friend who follows the American celebrity astrologer, Susan Miller. “Well I don’t exactly follow her, but I do poke my head in once a month to see what she has to say.” She follows her haha.

She told me on the weekend that according to Susan Miller, Librans the world over, are about to experience their best year ever and it started last weekend. Steve’s a Libran. I’m a Libran. My friend is a Libran.

I think I might start not following Susan Miller too.

One of my nieces gave birth to a little girl today.

She already has a daughter Elizabeth.

I suggested it might be nice to have a Margaret. I mean, what are the chances!

They went with Abigail Rose.

I was gutted haha.

Welcome little one.

Welcome to this crazy, long ride that we all call life. I wonder what it has in store for you.

Sometimes you might not realise when someone’s running on empty. Everyone’s tank needs a little topping up now and then. Look around. Take notice.

I have yet another friend who makes a point of sending someone a handwritten note every day. I’m serious. Every day. And every so often, maybe a couple of times a year, I’m the recipient of one. It’s the simplest of gestures. It’s the loveliest of gestures. One arrived in the mail yesterday.

So 24 hours later, for all sorts of reasons, I don’t feel quite so glum.

Or quite so tired.

Or quite so pissed off with the world.

Little gestures. Little surprises. On the floor outside a bedroom door. Tucked under a pillow. Hidden in a lunchbox. Covered in lawn daisies.


Let’s pull back the curtains and see.

We’re going to give it a bloody good crack. xx


The hibernation and a case of busy head syndrome

bathurst sunset

We’ve had the shades pulled down for the last few months.

Winter. The rainiest, greyest one we’ve had for many years. Paddocks awash with water, dams overflowing. Snuggle down weather.

And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing. After six years in Sydney – at uni and working weekends – we’ve had our 24 year old daughter home with us for three months, working and saving for her next chapter – two years in New York.

She left last Wednesday.

It’s been a long lead up and we were all a big fragmented last week but she’s fallen into the lap of old friends in NY and moves into an apartment next week.

Ain’t skype grand.

Now I’m just getting used to this new concept of being the mother of an expat.

And time zones.

And recovering from discovering the cost of transporting a bed full of gear across.

And from transferring money to the wrong Bank of America account.  oops.

And that was just Tuesday. The day I forgot the bookkeeper was coming.

It’s all good.

But it has been hectic.

And so has work.

So … with the wattle in full bloom, the bulbs all bursting and the days themselves drawing out a new chapter begins.

Turn the page.


Months ago I’d booked into a weekend workshop with Alison’s Art Workshops at Huskisson, a two day tonal workshop with Aussie artist Maryanne Wick, based on the work of early 20th century Victorian artist Clarice Beckett. All new territory for me – Maryanne, Clarice, tonalism and the Jervis Bay area.  I know the far south coast really well but my god, how beautiful is the Bay area. (No pictures. Sorry. I had the camera with me and good intentions but was too busy to get it out.)

Two glorious, solid days of painting. Looking. Wrestling. Pushing. Learning.

Stayed high on a hill overlooking the sweep of still coastline and white sands.

Flirted briefly with the idea of moving down there. As you do. Stopped in front of a for sale sign at Hyam’s Beach overlooking the water. Looked it up. 1.95 million. Looked away very quickly haha.

So Polly (trusty canine) and I and assorted friends and family are back to walking our river.

And after the weekend painting and a few days for thoughts to settle, I’ve come away with a new sense of place. A new respect for place. I’ve realised how intimately I’ve come to know its nuances, its colours, its smells, its sounds.  And how beautiful it can be even when it’s clothed in its winter drabs.

I had a play with the oils this morning.

It’s all a work in progress but that’s part of the whole deal I think.

Exploring. Constantly exploring.

And therein lies the joy. And the frustration!

In all its different shapes and sizes.


Breaking down the fear and letting in a little magic.

I’ve realised in recent months that if I go to my grave never having learnt to play the guitar I’ll be ok with that. Same with jumping out of an aeroplane. Bungee jumping. Not a second thought for any of it.

But I’ve also realised in recent months that if I don’t set aside some time to paint, in 10 years time, that will be an enormous regret.

So I’ve been making some room – physically and mentally – to make it happen.

Getting up early. Stepping away late afternoons.

Doing the do.

River Flats II

Detail River Flats II

I’ve been a bit quiet here because work’s been full on but in amongst that I also committed to driving down to Sydney for 10 Saturday painting classes with John Bokor at the National Art School.

Sometimes I think you can come to the right teacher at exactly the right moment and I felt this with John. I went to Sydney not to paint still lifes, but to find confidence with oils, to understand how to set them up, use them and begin establishing my own process and take the first steps towards finding my own visual language.

And somewhere during those 10 weeks John flicked a switch on for me.

Secret Gully 2016

All of a sudden, I’m not frightened anymore.

I’m on my way.

So John, if you find your way here, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for all of it.

Study River Flats 1

The other thing that’s had an enormously liberating impact is reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. If you have dreams of leading a creative life or simply of bringing more creativity into your life, and you find yourself making excuses about why you can’t do the do, I swear it will make you see things in a whole new light.

A lighter, less burdensome light.

A light that says it’s ok to be playful, to find your joy in whatever form works for you.

But you’ve got to turn up. You’ve got to make it happen.

It’s had a ripple effect through us and a ripple effect through friends. So lovely to see.

River Flats 1

Detail River Flats I

As part of all of this, I made a commitment to myself to enter four pieces into Art Unlimited in Dunedoo in May.  These are they.

I read something in recent days and for the life of me I can’t track down the source. I think it might have come from south coast painter Meagan Jacobs, another lovely find in recent times. It went something like this… “Nothing is ever perfect, we just choose to stop in a good place.”


No regrets. No excuses.

Get out there and do your do.



The River Flats I  95cm x 85cm    $1150.00
The River Flats II 95cm x 85cm    $1150.00
Secret Gully 26.5 cm x 70cm  $520.00
River Flats Study  26.5 x 20cm  $190.00

John Bokor is represented by the King Street Gallery.

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