Limes drying

This morning I woke to the smell of limes – a spicy, sweet, pungent aroma that filled the house, leaving me feeling relaxed and content. 36 limes in 1cm pieces had spent the night in the dehydrator, the steady hum of the machine lulling me back to sleep when I woke in the wee-smalls.

It’s often the little things that make the difference to how the day pans out. As often as not they remain unremarked, so today I thought I’d try to notice some of the things that made me smile.

  • a house that smells like a combination of spiced tea and mulled wine (drying limes)
  • puppies that snuggle up and make little wuffling noises on my shoulder
  • a friend explaining a crochet pattern and making it all seem super simple and much less scary
  • knitting in public in the library with like-minded people, all of whom thought my vanilla cake with carrot cake marmalade was super-delicious
  • shopping for our mid-winter feast (next weekend) and planning all the things
  • coffee in the winter sunshine with Himself and the dogs
  • the decorative plum tree all pruned and the prunings tidied away > success
  • a hot toddy to sooth my (suddenly) sore throat – thank you Sandy. (I confess to altering the recipe slightly to accommodate what’s in my pantry, but it definitely works anyway. Turns out lemongrass is tasty with ginger and apricot liqueur can substitute for scotch)
  • the thought of a bubble bath and an early night

Writing this up, I found that the more things I listed, the more smiley-things I thought of. I guess that’s the whole mindfulness thing, right?

Winter’s well and truly here. We know this at a core (and rather chilly) level as a result of our ongoing crack-of-dawn excursions to the great outdoors. At four months, the puppy still needs encouragement (aka company) to use the lawn rather than the laundry floor… We’re winning, but our feet come inside well and truly chilled.

Despite the cold mornings and drizzly weather over the past few weeks, Perth winters aren’t all doom and gloom. There’s sunshine for part of most days. Admittedly it is sometimes a rather weak and pallid sort of sunshine, but the contrast between the crisp air and the few precious hours of warmth is glorious. Getting out into the sun on those days, even if just for a little while, makes a huge difference to my general sense of well being. I can see why the dogs go and roll around on the grass in the sun, or just lie out there and look contented.

This week I took Cassie-puppy down to the river on the pretext of going for a walk in some of that lovely winter sunshine. In reality I was catching up with a friend I haven’t seen in since January. Even then we didn’t spend much time together as we were both super busy at a conference. It was more of a hug-in-passing and a promise to get together soon. But life seems to roller-coaster everyone along at an increasingly crazy pace these days and sometimes important things can get lost in the cracks.

Fortunately for me, this particular friend decided that the cracks weren’t going to win and emailed me to organise a meet-up. We chose the nearby river café as it has a dog-friendly verandah and garden area. Cassie and I arrived a little early in order to have a pre-coffee stroll to get rid of some of her energy, then annexed a good spot – in the sun, close enough to the grass for puppy convenience, but not too close to the bevvy of small children in the play area.cassie at loquay_8june16

The puppy had to take a back seat while we chatted, but as I am wise in the ways of distracting small children (and puppies), was happily distracted by a rawhide bone I’d brought along.

It was a good catch-up. We talked about everything and nothing, setting aside the years in which we’ve had little in the way of direct contact and anchoring our time together in our shared history, genuine caring and humour. Future plans were explored and promises made not to space our catch-ups so far apart in future.

We only spent an hour or so together, having coffee and then taking the puppy for another quick walk along the river, but it was a shiny, happy time and made my week.

Note to self: don’t let the cracks win!


I was going to make the Saturday #BlogJune posts about nothing in particular – or, more specifically, about everything in a random sort of way. Creating a series of mini collages using photos to represent what I’d been up to, what I was planning or where I’d been, sounded like it might be fun.

And then… the other night I had a bubble bath, the first this winter. The first this year, actually. I try to save water, so I keep to the 4 minute shower regime as far as possible. Sometimes though – when it’s really cold or the day has been particularly stressful (or both) – a bubble bath really hits the spot.

Settling down into the grapefruit and bergamot scented bubbles, I felt myself give one of those deep, heartfelt sighs. You know the sort? The ones that come from some place deep inside, releasing tension and allowing you to finally relax.

It’s not just the bubbles – or the fact that I can make them come back bfavourite bubble bath_croppedy simply turning on the spa pump, although both of these things are a factor. It’s the peace and quiet, settling down to read a book (carefully!), sipping some tea (or red wine, depending on the day), listening to the rain and enjoying some solitude (for about 45 minutes), once in a blue moon. Bliss.

Of course,  in this household, the sound of dog/s with separation anxiety  on the other side  of the bathroom door does tend to be a distraction. But I can tune them out – for a while – sometimes – for one of my favourite things. What are yours?

This week I received a most beautiful and unexpected letter in the mail. Opening the plain brown envelope, I found an actual thought-out, pen-to-paper wonder that left me speechless and teary. It was from a fabulous young man, one I love dearly and who has been part of my ‘pack’ for almost two decades. When I first met him, he was finding his way – uncertain as to his path and about his prospects for the future. It was a joy to watch him become confident in so many different spheres, not the least of which was his welcome in our home. We witnessed him start to build a secure footing in the world and then embarking on journeys both emotional and intellectual that have shaped him over the intervening years. He always showed such promise – and this letter, this beautiful and moving missive, is indicative of just how very far he has travelled. My heart is full.

The postman knocked on the door this morning, delivering my mail in person instead of trying to stuff it into our rather small mailbox. He does this from time to time, but it’s a courtesy that always takes me by surprise. This is mostly because our previous Postie tended to simply lug the parcels over the wall into the garden – where they might only be discovered days later… sometimes by the dogs, often after the sprinklers.

Waving my thanks, I scuttled back inside to quell the dogs and check out the mail. At the bottom of the pile was a small carboard covered package addressed to me.  This was an unexpected surprise since most packages that arrive are for other family members, so I was super-curious as to what it might be.

A quick rip and tear later – and there it was: an actual physical book with my name on it… my proof copy of Girdle of Bones, a week earlier than expected. Huzzah!

*does happy dance*   *a lot*

I’m still grinning – and no matter how many little layout glitches I come across as I go through it, I suddenly feel terribly grown up and like a real-proper-actual author 🙂

girdle-the book proof