and breathe…

drinks were served under this tree at our wedding – almost 15 years ago(!)

The entirety of Chef’s clan headed off to a family friend’s farm for the long weekend. It was noted that a family of five is now a family of 17 AND stable at that, unless M & J decide to adopt a baby from a developing nation and round out our very own Modern Family.

Awesome family, useless yabby catchers

I love this family. This white bread, straight-up, suburban family. It’s risen to life’s curve balls more than once and done so with grace, good humour and tears.

compulsory artsy shot

I am so so blessed to have become a part of this clan.



A good day. A very good day.

This morning the boys were being suitably arduous and tiring and exasperating and any other adjective which says fucking annoying in a polite way.

Then the neighbour called over the fence that all t.h.r.e.e. of the guinea pigs were in HER yard, as opposed to the most glorified cage known to man. Sure enough, there they all were, mowing her lawn quite nicely. So there was me and Felix (and then Oscar, Jasper and Grover) clamboring through their tick-infested rainforest inspired garden trying to catch some tailless rats our precious pets.

They’re slippery little suckers let me tell you. We caught Harriet but had to admit defeat on Cocoa and Matilda as they had vanished and we had visitors coming over.

The visitors arrived and a lovely morning was had, except that small section when all their children were playing beautifully outside while my four were inside fighting like feral cats. Seriously, Grover was attacking Oscar on the lounge while Felix and Jasper were wrestling on the kitchen floor. Class.E.

These are the same friends who we went to Putt Putt Golf with last week which ended with Jasper and Grover having an EPIC meltdown because Felix’s best friend had bought him a slushie and I refused to buy one for them. Well actually, it didn’t end there. It ended with me SMACKING Grover in the doorway of the Pro-Shop, dragging him to the car by one arm and then tearing shreds off both of them for embarrassing me so thoroughly in public and how selfish they were and so on and so forth. Let’s just say I wasn’t using my quiet yelling whisper voice.

What can I say, I do white trash well.

Thank GOD these friends are friends with whom I can compare rage ratings.

Anyway, they all departed and I started getting some emails, texts and facebook messages from friends doing the whole ‘OMG YOU WON’ caper. And indeed I did.

Thank you one and all for your votes for me – I will be attending the Disability & Carers Congress in Melbourne as a ‘Social Media Champion’ for the Every Australian Counts campaign.

This means so much to me – it’s been a while since I was involved at this kind of level in disability services. When Oscar was wee I was on the committee for the Association of Genetic Support of Australasia and was heavily involved in securing funding for a support service we used for Oscar about six years ago so it’s been a while between drinks.

Then I had to knuckle down and get some stuff written for a request I’d received.

Then I took some deep breaths, downed a couple of imaginary valium and took all four boys to the Mall to find some winter clothes for Oscar and Felix.

When we arrived I did the standard ‘we’re at the shops’ pep talk. There are other people. BE GOOD. There’s a quiz – what does ‘be good’ mean? To which they all reply in various states of resignation enthusiasm ‘don’t run’, ‘don’t yell’, ‘don’t fight’, ‘don’t touch ANYTHING’, ‘NO RUNNING’, ‘stay close’. And so on and so forth.

It stands to reason then that as soon as the doors to Target swoosh open the two younger ones tear off into the shops as if they’re horses leaving the gate and the decree is given, ‘let the games begin’!

Between eleventy gagillion COME HEREs and STOP RUNNING and SO HELP MEs there was schlepping to the other side of the store to for Felix to try on some jeans. Hey ladies, trying on jeans on a boy is just as soul destroying as trying them on yourself!

Grover and Jasper were having an awesome game of locking themselves in a changeroom, one of them dragging themselves out under the door then banging on it with great hilarity while Oscar flapped and did his ear-piercing squeal and O.M.G. someone SHOOT ME NOW.

There were some more COME HEREs and STOP RUNNINGs and then a yelp. As Jasper slammed into a woman WITH A LIMP. I swear to GOD it now rates as one of my best I TOLD YOU SO mothering stories of all time.

Then there was a brief dalliance in the boys clothing section where I laughed at myself for even thinking anything in that department would be more than a leg warmer on the bigger boys, so back we went to the men’s section, found another pair of jeans we hadn’t seen, went and tried them on and HOOLEY DOOLEY success.

So, we’re heading for the check-outs when I pull my phone out thinking Chef may well have been ringing me to find us (joining us there as he was after work) when I see these tweet messages expressing congratulations and general excitement and more Oh Em Gees.

Then my phone rings and there is much squeeing (granted I was trying to whisper squee because by now – NOT A WORD OF A LIE – the security guard was following us) and for reals folks, I am a finalist in the Sydney Writers’ Centre Best Australian Blogs 2011 Competition in the Lifestyle/Personal category.

How FRIGGIN’ awesome is that. I’m a LIFESTYLE people, a LIFESTYLE.

Needless to say, you can still vote for me in the  People’s Choice category – because clearly my ego needs more stroking.

And then, as we’re all licking our collective wounds of virtually being kicked out of Target my phone rings and it’s my mother-in-law.

Something has been going on folks and I haven’t told you about it because it’s been early days and not really my story to tell.

But at my MIL’s annual mammogram they found a lump. That lump was malignant. That lump was lumpectomied last week. That lump was 10mm bigger than the mammogram had shown it to be. It was not there last year. They thought that lump was a particular kind of cancerous lump. The worst most aggressive kind. It was not there last year and this year it was already 16mm in size.

The proposed treatment plan was confronting. Three months of chemo, TWELVE months of this other treatment that could damage her heart and the value of which (and the best duration) were still not established and THEN radiology. We were all reeling.

Then the call came in today with the final blood test results on The Lump which were confirming – or not – that it was the worst, most aggressive kind. Negative. The Lump – while still a cancerous bastard of a lump – is not the worst, most aggressive kind.  Chemo still stands, as does the radiology but that other nasty 12 month component is no longer on the table. Her surgeon has told her she is the poster girl for early detection, that she will make a full recovery.

And that, my dear beautiful readers, is a good day.




Master of teh House


The last two days of my life have been somewhat awesome in the weirdest way.

There was intense boredom (due to lots and lots – as in 13 hours – of waiting around yesterday and 11 hours today) coupled with exhilaration (at being where I was) , stress (about what I had to do) and excitement (at just being a part of it).

Is the cryptic-ness of it all driving you all mad?


Does that help?

I got an audition for the inaugural Australian Master Chef.
Yesterday was the first round.
I was there at 7.30am and finally went into the culling room at 8pm.
It was a long long day on two hours sleep and a hell of a lot of adrenalin.
They rang me at 9.45pm last night to say I’d been selected to the next round.
So from the 200 chosen in NSW I had got to the Top 50 of the State.
I was back there today to cook for the judges.
Again, 7.30am start.
I went in to the studio for filming at 6pm.
Again, another long day with a lot of adrenalin.
Two of the judges didn’t like what I’d cooked – not as in it was bad but just that it wasn’t good enough.
The third judge loved it.
Go figure.
I was given the arse.
Of course, after all the excitement, adrenalin and waiting my immediate reaction was a lot of crying.
When it airs in Australia just look for the fat sweaty red-faced woman blubbering and that will be me.
Anyway, it was an absolute blast.
I was just stoked to get to today.
Quite frankly, the thought of being away from my family for up to 12 weeks was not high on my list of life goals.
It was a great deal of fun, I got to meet a stack of wonderful fellow foodies and I have a fridge full of vanilla creme, chocolate mousse and lemon curd (which was left over from yesterday’s dish we had to take with us – for which I did a trio of tarts) to ease my wounded ego (not).


In far more important news, Felix had his first day today at his new school. There were a LOT of tears last night when he realised I wouldn’t be able to take him this morning but my big brave boy sucked it up and soldiered on.

He had an AWESOME day. Played handball with some boys in his class, found out one boy in his class lives a few doors down from us AND loved it.

When I got home tonight the bigger boys were all over me and Felix said, ‘Don’t worry mum, you’ll always be the best chef in the world to me’.