the simple act of going for a walk

Mr Cowan said there was no single thing that helped him turn his life around, but it started with the simple acting of going for a walk, which led to meditation and reconnecting with family and friends he had withdrawn from.

A mental health initiative R U OK co-founder Graeme Cowan shares his story of his suicide attempt and what turned his life around. Walking has saved my life in so many different ways – I try to walk everyday.

all the wrong questions

I just finished the ‘all the wrong questions’ series by Lemony Snicket. I love the quirkiness of the writing, and whilst it’s targeted at a younger demographic I enjoyed it immensely.

The world is full of disappointment,” I said.
“Yes,” she said, “I heard him say that. And every creature is simply trying to get what it wants, and to make their way through a difficult world. Do you believe that?”
“No,” I said. “There’s more than that.”
“Like what?”
“Like good books,” I said, “and good people. And good librarians, who are almost both at once.”

“There are times when you’re so wrong that you can’t even be right about how wrong you really are. All my wrong questions came crashing together like a derailed train.”

taking it one day at a time

As life as a whole grows more complicated, we can remember to unclench and smile a little along the way, rather than jealously husbanding our reserves of joy for a finale somewhere in the nebulous distance. Given the scale of what we are up against, knowing that perfection may never occur, and that far worse may be coming our way, we can stoop to accept with fresh gratitude a few of the minor gifts that are already within our grasp.

We might look with fresh energy at a cloud, a duck, a butterfly or a flower. At twenty-two, we might scoff at the suggestion – for there seem so many larger, grander things to hope for than these evanescent manifestations of nature: romantic love, career fulfillment or political change. But with time, almost all one’s more revolutionary aspirations tend to take a hit, perhaps a very large one. 

Some wise advice from Alain De Botton – School of Life #

the map was not the territory

“Shortly before graduation I’d been given a list of people with whom I could apprentice, ranked by their success in their various endeavours. There were fifty-two chaperones on the list. S. Theodora Madison was ranked fifty-second. She was wrong. She was not excellent at her job, and this was why I wanted to be her apprentice. The map was not the territory. I had pictured working as an apprentice in the city, where I would have been able to complete a very important task with someone I could absolutely trust. But the world did not match the picture in my head, and instead I was with a strange, uncombed person, overlooking a sea without water and a forest without trees.

I followed Theodora along the driveway and up a long set of brick stairs to the front door, where she rang the doorbell six times in a row. It felt like the wrong thing to do, standing at the wrong door in the wrong place. We did it anyway. Knowing that something is wrong and doing it anyway happens very often in life, and I doubt I will ever know why.”

Lemony Snicket: Who could that be at this hour?

The map is not the territory. The position description is not the job. The menu is not the meal.

when you have experienced something deeply unfair

“When you have experienced something deeply unfair, make a formal complaint at least once, if not twice, so that it won’t happen to other people.
And then let the whole thing go as quickly as possible.
But if you hold on to the memory of it, you may let new opportunities and experiences pass you by.
With a new heart, focus on the present, not the past.”

Some wise advice from Haemin Sunim in Love for Imperfect Things.


“You come into this world with nothing – and the only thing you can leave behind is your legacy – which means your kids”

overheard in the office today

high-flying all consuming careers

“The great majority of emotionally healthy people do not have high-flying or all-consuming careers; they are not workaholics. In most cases they just have jobs, not careers at all, working in order to live rather than living in order to work. They earn in order to have enough money to meet their real needs – food or housing.”

Oliver James – How to Develop Emotional Health

It’s never too late to develop emotional health and maturity in my opinion. My life is rather challenging right now, but, like all turbulent periods, it has resulted in so much clarity which I am grateful for 🙏🏼

new beginnings

Quite a few years ago we had a frangipani plant that stopped flowering for a number of years. On the day Junior Pixels was born it bloomed the most beautiful flower.

We’re undergoing some life changes at present and we’ve got a frangapani tree in our garden we’ve never seen bloom. Yesterday it bloomed for the first time: a beautiful deep pink flower. I think it’s a sign.

wherever you go, there you are

Wherever you go, there you are

I love this quote, so much I bought an old framed thrift store print and wrote it on it.

I was reminded of this saying whilst reading Austin Kleon’s recent post oh no we’re still us

“I wanted to start over. I wanted a new life. The trouble was, I brought myself with me.”

Dean Ford #

our kids’ quotes 2018

It’s that time of year which means I can finally publish the list of quotes we’ve collected from our boys throughout the year.

This year Junior Pixels was 8 turning 9, Little Bear was 6 turning 7, and Little Whale turned 5 during the year.

As usual it’s hard pick a favourite as there’s so many good ones.

See quotes from 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014.

In no particular order:

Mama: are you comfortable in your overalls Orson? You’ve got shorts too in the cupboard
Orson: I’m ok. I put them on to build my LEGO. It’s what mechanics wear. I’ll change into other shorts when I’ve built my LEGO.

Orson: look at the Captain America Ooshie from today’s advent calendar
Papa: wow those Ooshie advent calendars just keep on giving
Finley: yes they never take

Orson: I just faked my fear of the Grinch
Papa: You faked your fear of the Grinch for 2 years!?!
Orson: no, I said I ‘faced’ my fear of the Grinch

Over heard in bath
Fin: Winnie can I sit near the tap tonight?
Winnie: no!
Finley: I promise I won’t do hurting you… unless you’re a zombie and attacking me

Winnie having a hand massage
Winnie: mama you’re using your squishy hand
Mama: hmm
Winnie: your hand is like a big hill. What if you could walk up it?
Finley: (laughing) I love that Winnie. If there was a little person walking up mama’s hand they could help her skin and stop her hands being so dry and getting sore from dishes and stuff. A little helping person walking around her hand hill.

Winston eating noodles at the dinner table, putting a noodle in a loop at his nose.
Winston: look mama I have a keyring!
Mama (confused): keyring?
Winston: yes. Some people wear key rings through their noses
Mama: ah a noodle nose ring!

Driving to kindy
Winnie: mama why is it that the blind part in an ooshie 4 pack is wrapped in plastic now?
Mama: hmm. I’m not sure.
Winnie: maybe they don’t know it’s bad for the environment. Plastic is bad. They mustn’t watch BTN (behind the news).

Finley and Orson talking in bed when they are meant to be sleeping.
Winston: go to sleep! I’m tired!
Boys keep talking
Winston: go to sleep! Or you will be in deep deep detention. Down to your bones deep detention.

Walking along looking at birds
Winston: mama my yellow binoculars are broken.
Mama: oh really
Winston: yes, the eye lids are very broken

Looking at sprinkles at coles
Winnie: I love fairy bread. Why do they call it that?
Mama: hmm maybe fairies really like it Winnie: (thinking) but I’m not a fairy and I like it…
Mama: maybe you don’t need to be a fairy to eat it and enjoy it
Winnie: Florence likes it (whispering) she is a fairy though
Mama: really? I never knew this!
Winnie: (folding arms down sides and behind back) she just tucks her wings like this under her clothes
Mama: wow! I’m amazed. Have you seen her wings?
Winnie: oh yes. When she was a Baby I saw them. And saw her do a little fly.
Mama: I’ve never seen them…
Winnie: oh part of her powers are that you forget seething them….

Winston: mama I’m not going to do working.
Mama: oh. You’re not going to do a job?
Winston: my wife will do working and I won’t
Mama: oh
Winston: yes I will do looking after our kids. It will be a big job cos we will have so many kids

Winston: mamma cos fin didn’t let me play with his LEGO I’m going to move out of this house when I’m half grown up
Mama: oh no that’s so sad. How old will you be?
Winston: 11. Can you drop off some of my things to me? Like my ooshies and dinosaurs? I will live in the same area but not in this house.
Mama: I will be so sad and miss you
Winston: I will have flowers growing at my house. I will bring some for you. Not all of them though. I will need to keep some for my wife.
Mama: oh. Why is that?
Winnie: Cos that will make her happy.

Lewi: what’s your signature look like?
Orson: it’s a scribble, followed by a D
Lewi: why a D?
Orson: because I’m cra-zy

Mama: Winnie do you know what papa bought for your and his party at the park before the boys come?
Winnie: I know Pringle’s!
Mama: but look he bought the big size! I wonder why?
Winnie: I think maybe because he’s my best friend!

Mama: (opening cup of pineapple lollies) would any one like a pineapple lolly?
Orson: did you go the big pineapple today without us? That’s where these come from!

Winnie doing a poo in Qantas Club toilets:
Mama that Qantas Club toast is much much better than yours. Yours is good but that toast is better.

Orson: mama, what is a Chinese burn?
Mama demonstrates (gently) on Finley
Mama: please never do one. They hurt and are very unkind
Orson: Lucy at school did one and the teacher said you shouldn’t do them
Winston: don’t worry mama. I promise promise to never ever do a Chinese sperm

Driving along In car.
Winston: do you know how much I love fairy bread mama?
Mama: how much Winnie?
Winston: this much (holding hands very wide) same amount as I love hulk and I love you and papa. Same.

Mama running the bath.
Mama: I’m going to put some hot in to make the bath warmer. How do you make warm Winnie?
Winston: you give a hug (hugging himself). That’s how I make teddy all warm.

Mama driving home, putting nav on.
Fin: aww. Mama! Why do we have to use Apple maps?! We have google maps now!

Mama: papa comes home Monday. How exciting is that
Winston: I’m going to tell him we ate all the ice cream cones!

Orson: I’m having a day-nightmare
Papa: oh, what is that?
Orson: it’s the opposite of a daydream but where really bad stuff happens
Papa: what’s happening in yours?
Orson: it’s so bad you wouldn’t want to know!

Winston: excuse me mama
Mama: yes winston
Winston: I am going to all day dream, afternoon dream and dusk dream about getting a hulk mask that is more stronger and can’t break

Orson: imagine if you went up a mountain and there was cloud at the top and you were in it. Imagine if you caught a bit in your hand and squeezed it and it squirted water put in your face. Clouds are water

Winston: can you help mama with my bad dream problem?
Mama– ok. Maybe you could chose something you’d like to dream about. What do you want to dream about?
Winston– my dream from last night
Mama– what was that?
Winston– I woke up first on diamond street. Then I saw a brachiosaurus. I rided on a brachiosaurus to the beach and swimmed in the waves. The I go-ed to gelati THEN I went to tell-o-Porto (bellaporto). Then I headed home. Riding on my brachiosaurus.
Mama– that sounds awesome! You should have that dream again for sure!

(No bad dream problem here)

Winston watching playschool: oh mama they have little animals on playschool at the moment. Today it’s a little piglet
Mama: oh wow, he’s a cutie
Winston: when they’re big they’re just called pigs, not piglets anymore. But mama, when they’re just born are they called guinea pigs?
Mama: um no that’s a different animal but interesting to think about

Papa: you know what fairy floss actually is don’t you Winston?
Winston: yeah, pink stuff
Papa: yeah, but what it’s made of?
Winston: fairies!

Walking around reverse garbage
Orson (Looking at the million stars folded stars to end domestic violence for sale): oh look mama! I didn’t know they sold ninja stars at reverse garbage !

Winston: mama your digger is dead
Mama: oh that’s not good. How did it die?
Winston: too much medicine. Like Michael Jackson

Winston (singing loudly wearing sunnies): do you want a be away from me?! Da da hey! Da nah say!
Mama: wow I love your song
Winston: it’s a rock song and it has guitars and things

Driving along
Winnie: mama what do tummy bugs look like?
Mama:hmmm they are are very small and you would need a microscope to see…
Winnie: but what sort of colours would they be?

Orson: do you know why they call it Kecap Manners? (manis) Because you need to ask for it with please and thankyous

Mama: ok everyone, papa’s plane has been delayed a bit so he will be home about midnight so we will see him in the morning. We will try to do some quiet tv and raisin toast to let him rest in the morning
Finley: but can we all just wake up for a big family cuddle when he gets home at midnight?

Waiting for friends
Finley: mama when are they arriving? Why are they not here yet?
Mama: they should be here any minute
Orson: can you just check on your phone to see if you have any ear mails?

Finley hugging mama
Finley: mama I love you so much. (Thinking hard) sometimes it just feels like a hug just isn’t enough.

Mama talking on way to bushwalking in car
Orson: I was just thinking that same thing mama. Just before you said that! My thinking instinks are working well today!

Winston: mama, why in the olden days was there no colour?
Mama: umm darling everything was coloured but photographs were black and white
Winston: oh

Finley: mama, you could have had a robot arm, but that wouldn’t be as good as your old arm because it’s better to keep your old arm than to have a robot arm.

Finley: mama who is this song by?
Mama: umm ugly duckling
Finley: oh I know that story! There’s a duckling that is born ugly but that’s because it’s not a duckling… it’s actually a turkey?
Mama: a turkey that swims around looking at its reflection?
Finley: hmm
Mama: think of a long necked bird that swims and has a yoga move named after it
Winston: I know! it’s really a ibis!

Driving for school talking about a lady running to catch a bus.
Orson: it would be really hard getting around if you had crouches
Mama: crouches?
Orson: yeah, like poppy had when he had a sore knee, crouches
Finley: you mean crutches?
Orson: yeah! It would be hard to walk to school if you had those!

Winston at swimming
Teacher: why aren’t you swimming very well today Winston?
Winston: my swimming arms on on a holiday, in Byron Bay

Finley– mama which one do you think is my favourite- a fart, sneeze, yawn or burp
Mama– a fart?
Finley– no- a sneeze.
Mama– why?
Finley-Cos all the extra air and spit leaves your body & it feels like everything is getting released and it feels pretty good.

Winston: mama and when you’re driving in the car I only see a head. Sometimes I think you’re only a head.

Mama wearing skux life shirt
Winston: why are you wearing papa’s shirt mama? who is that on it
Mama: I have my own small shirt. It’s Ricky baker I think.
Winston: why is he called Ricky bacon? 🥓

At dinner
Orson: mama do some people have squares on their tummy?
Mama: squares?
Orson: like lots of squares in rows?
Mama: oh do you mean muscles?
Orson: yes! How do you get them?
Mama: umm lots of exercise and things like push ups?

Lying in bed after Winnie came in in the morning
Winston feeling around mama’s neck.

Winston: this is your colour bone (rubbing and pointing at collar bone)
Mama: oh, really?
Winston: yes, papa told me

Driving along in car
Winston: mama I have 3 names: winston, Francis and Scott. Why do I have 3 names?
Mama: well scott is your family name that we all have to show we are in the same family. Winston is your first name.
Winston: why do some people call me Winnie?
Mama: well I guess the people that know you really well and love you call you that… maybe we call you Winnie cos we love you?
Winston: oh so Winnie is my loving name.

Driving home from school
Finley: I have a pimple in my leg pit
Orson: I once had an itchy leg pit
Papa: what’s a leg pit?
Finley: like an armpit but on your leg. Actually it’s called a knee pit.

Orson: Sometimes I think I’m in love with the girls in the ads
Papa: like who?
Orson: like the girls in lipstick ads and things

Winston: I’m just sitting back here and relaxing
Papa: what are you thinking about to relax?
Winston: Christmas ham and my teacher from kindy

Talking about throats and throat infections
Winston staring in mirror down his throat-
“mama why do I still have my tinsels?”

Orson: do you know that blood tastes a bit like chicken?

(Watching bbq haloumi cook- ‘squeaky cheese’)
Winston: mama you have to guess what is squeaky
Mama: ok
Winston: it is grey and squeaky, you can’t say hiptopotumus, that’s grey
Mama: hmm
Winston: you have to say ‘a mouse’

2018 in review

A less traumatic year than last. Clare had a few more operations to help with being able to use her hand. She has good movement and usage and has finished medical treatment, however she, understandably, misses her old hand. We did our first big road trip with the boys in our newish car – all the way from Brisbane to Sydney and back via Tenterfield. This was the year we got the boys doing some longer and more difficult walks; the highlight was the pyramid at Giraween National Park. I personally conquered some challenging peaks with the help from an experienced mountain climber friend. I didn’t change jobs this year but the travel requirement became increasingly difficult domestically, physically and mentally.


Countries visited: 5 USA, UAE, Netherlands, Singapore, UK (up 1)

Books finished: 42 (up 5)

Books abandoned: 9 (up 5)

Mountains climbed: 29 (up 7)

Distance walked: 3269km (up 90km)

Blood/Plasma Donations: 8 (up 3)

Firsts: 6 (up 2) first piercing, first long family road trip, first time to Netherlands, first super tough 1200+m mountain climb (Mount Barney), first time walking an alpaca 🦙, first time riding a camel 🐪

Photos Taken: 2596 (down 2241)