December 2022 Blog

December is coming to an end and so is 2022. It’s that week between Christmas and New Year where there seem to be more public holidays than normal days. Here in Australia, we’ve just had a 4 day Christmas weekend.

Yesterday I was blessed to have a friend visit from Brisbane. She lives just over the other side of Brisbane river and spent a few hours on the highway to get here. Such was the pull of Ricks Garage and Diner wings, and my dads home made mince pies. We had a great time together. We always have. I first met her almost 18 years ago. Feb 10 2005. She was my first Aussie friend and is my most loyal friend. Whenever we get together it’s always fun.

As we head to this weekend, (another 3 day weekend this time), I’d like to take the time to thank you for your support this year. Next year we have lots to come. I will be posting a personal blog twice monthly which will talk about my writing, why I do what I do and a few updates on different sections of the website. Each month, I will be posting on the WidowLife blog. A topic/schedule has been sorted for the year and I will move forward with that. I will also post monthly on my Cowdens Syndrome journey.

Personally….what’s happening next year? No doubt there will be a few trips to write up. Everything I started in 2022 will roll over to 2023 so I will continue with foodie reviews and my media work. I will be continuing my freelancing for The Funeral Directory. My articles can be seen there. There will also be book reviews through the year. 

Happy New Year and welcome 2023…….let’s see what you’ve got!

December 22 2022

That baking session of mince pies I was talking about last week…..well, last Saturday, my very own pastry chef got straight into it. 4 jars of Robertsons mincemeat, a kilo of flour, 1/2 a kilo of butter, sugar and eggs,  and 42 mince pies were made.

They are perfect. Much better than anything you get in the shops! The funny thing was, we could not locate the cutters. We searched everywhere and came to the conclusion that they got chucked out when cupboards were cleaned after mum. 

We had to source new cutters. That was the hardest thing. Traditional kitchen shops – nope! Nothing. A cheap shop – yes! (Thank you ‘Choice of Chancellor Park!). Nevertheless, they are done and tasty. They are residing in the freezer in packs of 4 ready to be cooked. 8 have gone already so I can’t see them lasting long. 

This week would have been my lovely mums birthday. This photo was taken on the last birthday she came to my house for dinner. She chose the dish she wanted and I cooked it. Her present this birthday was a jar of memories. Notes of all of my favourite memories of my time with her over the previous 40+ years. 

The rest of this week is a Christmas Eve treat for my dad. I am taking him out. Then on Christmas Day, I turn 51. Christmas dinner, mince pies, an afternoon film or two, some wine and peace and quiet. Thats the plan. 

There will be one last post at the end of the year, so for now,  Merry Christmas and enjoy the day.      

Dads Christmas Hamper. Thank you
The first 6 out of the oven

December 15 2022

A massive storm earlier this week saw us without power for 9 hours and a clean up needed of the back patio. It was like a freight train had run through the centre of Buderim. The wind and rain were phenomenal. Bit of a clean up and all was right again.  

This week was supposed to see me  heading down to Fulcher Road in Brisbane, to one of my favourite haunts. The Brisbane Broncos Leagues Club. A few old friends meeting for Christmas and my birthday. These are friends that have been there for me since the week I landed and started work at Sinnamon Village. 

Almost 18 years ago, we got to know each other and we’re there for each other, always.  Through two of us becoming widows. Two of us losing parents. One of us gaining grandchildren and more. We’re all there together. But….covid put paid to that this week. Not to me, but to one of those joining us. With my thyroid surgery looming soon, it’s not worth any risks.

This week, I got a call from my geneticist. While my Cowdens Syndrome was clinically diagnosed from bowel and thyroid issues & a large head, I have my blood test result now too. I have the mutation in the PTEN gene. That cements the diagnosis firmly into place, not that there was doubt.

This last fortnight has seen me working on a new character piece for my Band of Brothers writing. 

My research has proved fruitful and I have had so much enjoyment writing this piece. With input from my subjects daughter, two other veterans relatives and a quote from the actor that played him (taken from his memoirs), I am very proud of this one. 

Sometimes, it can take a while to pull things together. Sometimes it proves to be hard work mentally to get a piece over the finish line, but this one has been such a pleasure from start to finish. 

It’ll be up by the end of the weekend. 

Back to the Christmas planning. I have made gingerbread cookies today, and everything is ready to go for a marathon baking session of Barry Beckhams mince pies. Anyone that knows him, knows they are legendary. Now we just need the Christmas music….Fairytale of New York springs to mind…….

December 8 2022

Blogs can be about anything and by anyone. I have a few. My website has a personal blog. It has one covering my journey with Cowdens Syndrome and it also has a Travel Blog. From Jan 2023, I am introducing ‘WidowLife: the blog’. Every blog I have has a schedule for the year, subjects to discuss. 2023 is ready to go.

But we aren’t there yet. We are still in the tail end of 2022. Already in December, several pieces of work have landed on Madhatterpress for your perusal. There is an interesting piece on my WidowLife section called ‘to have or not to have – that is the funeral’ where I talk about Marks decision to not have a funeral. Of course having a funeral is an individual choice, but I have shared my experience and how his wishes played out. I have unpacked and reviewed all five series of Handmaids too. There  is also a character piece for The Handmaids Tale, my first. Aunt Lydia is my character piece. There will be more to come.

It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas too. We had 34 degrees for a few days this week. No matter how long I live here (next Feb is 18 years) I’ll never get used to a warm Christmas.

We had a massive storm last night and an 8 hour power cut which made for early rising today and a warm night as the fans went off when the electricity did, at about 1am. I’m sure we’ll see more storms, it’s normal for an Aussie summer.

All that needs to be done now is the post storm clean up. Power washing the tiles,  and pool cleaning. Add in food shopping, washing and a few other chores and that’s the rest of my day.

December 1 2022

I thought that this week, I would share about my writing. When I am writing, I have a list on my iPad journal. Article ideas, interview wish list, book reviews, every idea I think of, I write down.…you get the drift. But the problem I have, is that the list is big, not just big…it’s huge. I have so many ideas that I’ve had to be ruthless and  cut some ideas out.

My ‘Band of Brothers’ and ‘The Pacific’ work will always be ongoing. I have been starting work on some character pieces and articles relating to The Handmaids Tale. Book reviews will be ongoing. I also have a few article ideas. Some may deem them controversial subjects but I call that a challenge.

My first Handmaids Tale Character Piece dropped today. I have a travel blog underway. I have a Band of Brothers article underway, but the subject of that is proving challenging in several ways. Plenty to keep me occupied.

I find that I have to write daily. It’s part of me, part of who I am. So whether it’s an email, a poem, writing a chapter of a book, researching an article and making notes…whatever it is, writing daily is in my genes. I write anywhere. Home sitting in a recliner. Laying in bed in that last few minutes before you turn out the light. Sitting at the table. Sitting outside (but then my gaze diverts to the blue sky and the pool). I’ve been known to write while sitting in the front seat of the car waiting for dad to finish taking his pictures. I use every available moment I have.

That’s me and writing.  What’s coming up for me? Christmas! Birthday! A Christmas Do at Dads camera club. A catch up with friends in Brisbane for my birthday & Christmas. It’s going to be a busy month.