Saturday, December 31, 2016


It's 2017, the year of positivity.  There, it's official, because it's in writing.  I'm not making any resolutions, because they're silly and bound to fail, and I'm not going to get tied up in that sort of negativity.  I have decided that I'm going to be happy, I'm going to do things that make me happy, and I'm going to do my utmost to make 2017 a great year.

I've got lots of things to look forward to - hopefully Mum & Dad visiting, and a trip home in August, if the leave gods smile in my direction - and I'm in an awesome house, I've got a great housemate and hopefully can find another, and it's going to be good.

I'm going to have lots of beach trips - I had lots last year too, WELL up on 2015's pitiful number, and this year will be even more.  I might even get to travel more!  That depends on my bank balance...

So much to look forward to, and so much to be positive about.  2017, here I come! 


Questions and answers that I found on Facebook...

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?  I built a house, on my very own

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn't make any and may do... we'll see what tomorrow brings.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?  Yes!  Gorgeous babies Caleb & Jacob <3

4. Did anyone close to you die? No

5. What countries did you visit? NZ, Ireland & England

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?  Happiness

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?  February 13, the day that for me, it all truly fell apart.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?  Getting back on my feet again 

9. What was your biggest failure?  Let's call 2016 a learning experience, I don't like the word "failure".  Everything happens for a reason.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing significant!

11. What was the best thing you bought? The house!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? The real question is "whose didn't?" I think (someone else wrote this, and I think it's a good answer)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?  I choose not to answer this question.

14. Where did most of your money go? Very definitely on the house.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?  Going to Ireland and seeing everyone at home.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?  Songs don't really remind me of years.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: 

i. happier or sadder? Happier 

ii.thinner or fatter? Fatter 

iii. richer or poorer? Richer (although my bank account is poorer!)

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?   This is a tough one.  I don't know really.  Loved, travelled, laughed...

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?  Stressing

20. How did you spend Christmas? Double ROK at work.

22. Did you fall in love in 2016?  Not a chance.

23. How many one-night stands? Zero

24. What was your favourite TV program? So many!  OITNB?  the Crown?

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I don't want to hate anyone: some people aren't in my life any more, I choose not to hate.

26. What was the best book you read?  I really don't know.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Heathens - One Twenty Pilots - well not a discovery, I guess I just liked it.

28. What did you want and get? Lily. 

29. What did you want and not get?  To be still married.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?  Hacksaw Ridge.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I flew from Melbourne to Canberra and then back again and then back to Canberra, and I was 29 years young.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Being closer to family!

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?  HAHAHAHA!!!

34. What kept you sane?  Family & God.  Maybe that should be God & Family.  Friends.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?  None!

36. What political issue stirred you the most?  I don't get involved.  I have no voice.  (Not a voter yet) 

37. Who did you miss? My family SO very much.

38. Who was the best new person you met? Amanda 

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016?  People will always be there for me no matter what.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?   Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016


Yesterday was crazy, but awesome !  It's when Christmas came to the House of Kate, and although it wasn't without its moments, all in all it was a wonderful day.  
The table set up... and Lily

We ate far far too much (the bourbon baked ham I made was a definite hit) decorated what seemed like infinite gingerbread houses, opened loads of presents (yay for friends!) and ate yet more.  

Gingerbread houses: mine bottom right with the swimming pool
Lily ran around like a mad thing, usually pursued or pursuing the four year old, and was much more excited about her Christmas treats than her new toy - maybe another day!


I finally kicked everyone out at 2200 so that I could go to bed as today was a long day.  This morning I dropped Lily at the dogsitter's until St Stephen's Day as I'll basically be away 12 hours a day til then, which isn't fair on her.  It's weird to be home alone now... A bit lonely, but it is kinder to her.

I got this photo from the dogsitter:

Which is preeeetttty cute!

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Cake

I had so much fun decorating the Christmas cake today with Amanda.  I made my own marzipan and it turned out beautifully.


The cake wasn't completely flat but I'm ok with that!  The icing came next - bought fondant - I'm not that good.


And then it was time to create!  Amanda made some pretty little presents, a ginger bread man, holly and candy cane.


I made a reindeer, an elf, two penguins, a snowman, a polar bear, a marbled bauble, and my very favourite, a minion. (Which was Hayden's idea)




The polar bear is even coming out of his own little igloo.


All in all it was a very fun morning.


Friday, December 9, 2016


Day 3 of moving house... 1 car load at a time.  Lily has discovered my Christmas bears (2013,2014,2015 and 2016) and is busily destroying them while I unpack.


Little evil beastie that she is.  Everything fluffy is apparently hers.

There is a remarkable lack of chairs in the new house which makes me wonder what humans did before chairs.  Just loll on the floor like me?  

I got some shelves for the garage :


And have started unpacking the kitchen although it looks worse than before


And Lily has found the other bears...


And is incredibly pleased with herself.  wow.

And now I must go and unpack some more...

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The house is finished!

Yesterday I got a house. 

My very own, brand new, house.

It's a bit dirty though.  Apparently builders don't know how to clean houses.  Will was complaining, as we went around the house making sure everything was done right, that he had never had to do so many touch ups in his life.  Pity I'm a perfectionist then!

I did my first pre-handover inspection a week ago, on the 1st, and they were only just beginning to do the touchups and there were blue stickers everywhere marking what needed to be fixed (mainly paintwork), so Will had agreed to do a second one.  My handover wasn't scheduled until Tuesday 13th.

I turned up for the second pre-handover inspection.  Will was holding a big white box with a ribbon around it, and after we walked inside he said "this is for you" and "congratulations" and handed me the keys.  I was shell-shocked.

It took us about three hours to go around the house making sure everything was OK.  I had vaguely wanted to pay for an actual handover inspection to be done by a professional, but had only got around to arranging it yesterday - for the 13th - so it turned out being too late, so I was just extra picky myself.  The builder did have to get an external building inspection done for certification, so that will have to do.  I now have six months to find defects - such as cracking in the corners from drying - and then at the six month mark they will fix it all.

We did write a few things down that Will didn't have time to fix.  He did lots of paint touch ups - such as the front left pillar where the driveway people had scraped it - and around power sockets and such like.  He put silicone under the mirrors in the bathrooms, knocked a little dent out of the sliding door track, and cleaned filler off lots of places.  He couldn't fix the warped laundry cupboard shelf, which the manufacturer has been contacted about, or re-tile the WC sink in time (that contractor comes today). 

I didn't even take any photos.  I think I literally just stood there, unsure of who to tell first, and wanting to dance on the spot.

It was 1400 by the time I left the house, and I hurried back to Zillmere, my mind in a whirl of what to do next.  Having messaged various friends, K&T were keen to go Christmas shopping with me and we headed to North Lakes to find me a Christmas tree (hurrah for Kmart).

We then went back to the new house and while K had to hurry to attend a party, T slept on the floor in the media room and Hayden and I dusted, vacuumed and mopped.  When K got back shortly after, we all put the Christmas tree up together.   For some reason, K thought it would be a good idea to put up an inflatable pool - she says it's for the Christmas party on the 23rd - so we put that in the spare bedroom and sat in it to eat mince pies and chocolate after all of our hard work.  It was such a fun evening.

And now, it's morning (after a very restless night of SO many random dreams about the house going wrong) and I should motivate myself to take another carload up to the house and start organising it!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Archery 2016

Tonight was the club breakup at Lakeside Bowmen.  I invited a couple of friends along who I'm hoping will get in to shooting.  They seem keen - they just don't have any equipment at the moment.

It was a fun night, despite storms hitting just before I arrived.  We sat in our cars - next to each other - for a few minutes before deciding to brave the craziness and make a mad dash for the club house.  Thankfully I had a towel in my car to wrap around me and Kaitlyn had umbrellas - even so our feet and legs were completely soaked in the mere seconds the dash took!  The thunder and lightning was incredible, and I watched the storm roll through on my weather radar, warning people that there was a second larger storm following the first, so we were able to keep some chairs dry until the second had passed!  

Dinner was roast chicken, pork and ham, salads, followed by dessert - I had cheesecake.  Very satisfying and not a bad deal for $13 a head.  I also bought some raffle tickets but didn't have any luck!  There was no auction this year.

Last year I was annoyed to have received first place in my archery category, being the sole participant, as I saw the trophy as a 'consolation prize'.  As a woman, I want to win just as much as the next person - maybe even more so - but it seems meaningless if my gender means I'm not competing against anyone!

This year, I explained to Those That Are In Charge, that I did not want the ladies' trophy.  I knew that once again I was the only woman qualifying for the award, and requested that I be put in the men's group, even if that meant I won nothing at all.

I ended up getting third place, C grade, which I was very pleased about!  The difference between that and second was just 60 points (out of a possible 2400, I scored 1936).  There are 4 grades, A, B, C and D, with A being the best, and I am very happy with my progress!


I also got the shield for the club championship - Ladies Sighted - and although I don't know if anyone else qualified, I am still happy as it is my personal best for the year - 684 out of 800.  It was slightly confusing to see the winner last year got over 1100, but apparently they changed the format from a 2 day shoot to 1 day.



I also got first place (out of one) for the 3D shoot.  Hurrah... lol.

Anyway all in all it has been a successful year, and I look forward to improving next year - perhaps even with IFAA - and I have just increased the poundage of my bow from 36 to 40 - so that gives me a good reason to practise, as I need to re-sight it.

One of my arrows in the 3D pig.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1st, and I haven't even bought an Advent calendar.  It's been that sort of year.  It's hard to feel Christmassy at the minute.  I mean, I even volunteered to work Christmas Day because... well there's no reason to be off, really.  However I have organised a Christmas party on the 23rd to hopefully get a bit more "cheer" into the place, and I am hoping that my friends help me to decorate the new house as soon as I have the keys.  The little white tree here is valiantly trying to remind me of the time of the year, but it's not really working so far.

I had the pre-handover inspection today.  It was a bit of a waste of time.  Amanda went with me, as she is also a perfectionist and I felt she would be very helpful to point out little things!  However, they hadn't done the builders' clean yet, and the painters were only just starting to do the touch-ups so there was just so much to comment on that it was hard to know where to start.  Everything was just small touch ups except for the WC, where they had put entirely the wrong tile on the sink splash back!  However, that shall be fixed, despite the supervisor complaining that he would have to drive the whole way to Rochedale for the tiles.  Sorry mate, but it's written in the contract, so I'm going to get what I paid for! 

He did say that I could go again next week to hopefully do a second pre-handover inspection!

The 13th, aka the Key Date, is drawing ever closer, and I have most things organised now.  Still one blind to purchase - a 2.4 metre media blind which is extravagantly expensive but I can't really see any other option.

And so it goes...

Monday, November 28, 2016

The year of the beach

It's definitely the year of the beach, and I'm loving it.  Lily seems to love it too! 

I made a sand crocodile, with Lily in the photo for size.  Amanda made a turtle.

Lily found a cuttlefish bone and it gave her a couple of hours of entertainment.  Unfortunately there were too many bluebottles (jellyfish) washed up on the sand for us to risk swimming, but we still had fun playing in the sand!  

Bluebottles give a very nasty sting which isn't fatal but causes a lot of pain! I've never been stung by one but want to keep it that way.

There were hundreds of tiny sea dragons on the sand also.  We didn't know if these were dangerous so just stayed away from them.  They were about an inch in diameter.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


2016.  There's a lot I could say about this year, and a lot I won't, but what I will say is that God has been good.  I don't usually post anything "religious" on here, I guess I'm usually afraid of people's opinions, and worrying about what they think of me.  At the same time, it's my space, so I'm afraid you're just going to have to deal. 

I started going to church again at about the time that my life began to completely fall apart, and I have made a few very good friends there.  Having people to talk to, people who understand, and people who, strangely enough, don't judge, has been invaluable.  I have lots of preconceived ideas about church, preconceived from my upbringing, my expectations, and so on, and that's been a bit of a struggle in itself, but it's not about that.  It's not about whether or not I read the Bible, or go to church every Sunday, or remember to pray every night before I go to bed.  At least, for me it's not - I've never been good at that, and I'm all done with striving.

In the midst of everything bad that's happened in 2016, in the midst of all my despair and loneliness, God's still there.  God is still good.  God hasn't changed.  I think a lot about Job, and God-forbid that Job's misfortunes ever happen to me, but I want to believe like Job.  I don't want to experience misfortune like Job, because you know, no thanks, but if I did?  Whether what's happened to me is everything I have to go through, or whether it's only the very tip of the iceberg and my house is going to burn down with everything I have inside, I want to be able to say "God is good." 

I don't claim what Job claimed: I don't claim his innocence or his purity in all his actions, but I do claim that I still believe in God whatever the circumstance.  And in many ways, 2016 has truly tested my belief, and yet I have received so much this year. 

I have friends, who have stood by me through thick and thin.  I have family, who have interceded for me daily.  I have Lily, who has given the best cuddles whenever I've been feeling down, and I have the house, which is causing me a great deal of angst in having to organise, but in general is incredibly exciting.  I even have a new housemate who can be slightly annoying (I thought airplanes were boring, but trains are even more so) but who actually cooks me dinner when I get home from work, and cleaned the house, folks.  Cleaned the house.  I also have work, which can get in the way of life, at times, but pays the bills and is much better than sitting behind a desk.

And as 2016 pulls to a close, and as I plan to actually move into the new house, it is easy to be afraid of 2017.  Afraid of how I'm going to feel when I move in - alone - and even afraid of being happy.  Guilty, perhaps?  I guess what I really need to remember is that I'm not alone.  I might be alone from a relationship point of view, but in every other?  I'm not alone, because God.  I'm not alone, because Friends.  I'm not alone, because Family.  And guess what?  You're all invited to come to my house and Be Not Alone With Me. 


Monday, November 21, 2016


Orion made me feel strangely homesick last night, when I took Lily out for her pre-bed walk.  He was hanging high in the sky, but upside down.  He's always upside down, or at best side-ways on, and it feels odd, and makes me think of home.  Lily didn't notice, bouncing around like a mad thing while I shone my torch ahead of her, carefully looking out for cane toads.

The trees made me homesick this morning, in their quintessentially Australian way.  The road to Woollies is lined with flame trees, and I love their burning glory, but they're not Irish.


The trees in the park by the house are gum trees with their peeling bark, and pale eucalyptus.  The birds are angry plovers, screaming their fury at my invading their turf.  

At home, winter is beginning, and Dad's blog is full of the Autumn foliage, frosted fields, and all round coldness.  Here, it reached 37C last week, the summer storms have set in, and even at 0700 this morning, it was too hot to run.

Lily doesn't know any better: she runs anyway.  When we get back to the house she drips water from her bowl everywhere, and then collapses panting on the cold tiles.


This is home, I know, but home is also thousands of miles away, and sometimes it feels even further.  I'm excited about the new house, and looking forward to moving in, but it also feels like it ties me down even more.  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Camping: home time

Day 3 started much more pleasantly than day 2, despite Tachi feeling the need to swipe a droolly lick across my face to wake me.  The flies seemed to have dispersed, but we still ate inside the tent just in case.  Pancakes (thanks, Sarah, for the recipe), fresh mango and maple syrup.  So good.  We originally planned to pack up camp straight away but ended up taking a walk down the beach.  The sea was crazily rough, with strong currents clearly seen with tangled white caps, and none of us were brave enough to swim.  We stood in the shallows (which became thigh to waist high with occasional waves) to wash the grime from ourselves, but other than that, steered clear of it.  


High tide soon followed, which we hadn't seen before.  Maybe we were sleeping or maybe we were on Rainbow beach, who knows.  Anyway, high tide formed a shallow (knee deep) pool on the beach, sheltered from the waves by the high sand at the sea's edge.  The pool was formed by waves breaking over this ledge, and it was warm and calm.  

Immediately we decided it would be a great opportunity for the dogs to "learn to swim", or rather, become comfortable with water.  Tachi was having none of it, having been well and truly scarred by her paddle board experience of the previous day.  I had bought Lily a life jacket a couple of weeks ago, and being that she is totally in to playing fetch with her blue massage ball, I started throwing it into the water for her.  

Beginning to thrash a little!

Initially she would only just go in and then stand crying - I then grasped the handle on top of her jacket and held her close, swimming her to the ball - which she then grabbed in her mouth and swam back to shore.

Yay!  Good job, Lily!

Swim, Lily, swim!

Soon she was voluntarily swimming to the ball, wearing the jacket, just making slight squeaks every now and then as she remembered she didn't like the water.  I gave her breaks where I threw the ball onto the dry sand for her to chase, and then I took off the jacket.  Wonder of wonders, with lots of encouragement and me walking close by, she swam out to the ball!  Hurrah!  So proud of her.

Am I there yet?

I got it ! 

After this, we did pack up camp, being thankful of the hired tent that we didn't have to rid of sand!  We stopped for a quick coffee in Rainbow on the way out, and then drove the three hours home.  The dogs slept the entire way.  It was so nice to sleep in my own bed again!  

Sleeping the whole way home

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Camping Day 2

Having survived the first night, and also achieved zero sunburn so far, we got ready for breakfast: a fry up of bacon, sausages, mushrooms and eggs.  J volunteered to be cook, which unfortunately meant that I still had to run around organising everything as he didn't know (or didn't look, anyway) where anything was.  (After this, I cooked, it was the same amount of work!!)  The flies were atrocious, a black cloud of annoyance.  They weren't the biting kind, but we still didn't want to end up eating them.  Every plate was carefully covered with paper towel, but still they managed to force their way around the edges. 

I think this is actually Night 1... 

When the food arrived, we sat down at the camp table and wondered how on earth we were going to eat without ingesting at least one fly per mouthful.  I'm not sure why we didn't think of it sooner, but I made a mad dash for the tent and was quickly followed by the others.  It was so peaceful and fly-free in there that we decided to have all of the rest of our meals there as well - and cooking was moved to the boot of the SUV.

L and I went for a glorious swim, it was so nice to wash the fried breakfast, sand and charcoal off ourselves, even if only with sea water.  The dogs amused themselves on the sand, and Lily guarded L's shorts with her life.  When we came back up to the car, we found that J was now sitting in the car, on his iPad, with the engine running.  He stayed there for at least an hour before we finally tried to extricate him.  Did you really come camping to sit in the airconditioned car?  Is it really a good idea to run the engine this long?  It was the flies, he complained.  By this time the flies had pretty much cleared, so we finally managed to get him to rejoin the party.

A glorious morning for a swim 

We then went to Rainbow Beach, had a look at the surf and decided it was calm enough to hire a stand up paddle board - J wanted to take Tachi out on it.  L and I didn't think that was a good idea, but he was pretty determined.  By the time we had a coffee and hired the board and made our way back down to the beach, the wind had picked up and was stirring up white caps in the sea.  L and I decided to skip paddle boarding but J was still determined.  I got some decent video footage on his phone of Tachi falling off and swimming back to shore as fast as she possibly could! 

Too windy to continue 

Rainbow Beach yellow and white sand dunes 

Rainbow Beach is apparently named that due to the different coloured sands.  If we had a proper 4WD we could have driven along the beach to check it out, as it was, both L and I forbade J from doing so.  We did walk a good kilometer or so along, and there were definitely patches of bright yellow sand along side pale white sand, but nothing remarkably rainbow-ey.  Maybe Google has some better shots.

With a wind-swept Lily

L and the puppies on the walk

Being rather hot at this point, we got thickshakes (what Australia calls milkshakes, because milkshakes in Australia are incredibly runny, like milk) and headed back to the camp site.  We skipped lunch, deciding just to snack on doritos and chocolate chip cookies, and I got started on dinner.  Chicken fajitas: as all the individual ingredients were prepared before the trip, everything just got tossed into the pan and cooked up.  They were then eaten with sour cream, salad and salsa.  All sand free and thankfully fly free in the tent. 

The evening was bitterly cold as the afternoon wind didn't die down at sunset like it did the night before.  We managed to get the camp fire lit but it simply meant that our legs were warm and the rest of us were freezing.  

Campfire number 2

We eventually gave up and went back to the tent at around 2130.  I wrapped up with three t-shirts, a dress, shorts, socks, and two towels, and managed to get a much better night's sleep than the first night!  Despite Tachi deciding half way through to lick me wet and slobbery right across the face.  Bleugh!

J took this of us sleeping ! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Camping day 1

What can I possibly say to sufficiently describe our camping trip?  It was amazing.  I've never felt so much in need of a shower in my entire life.  I'm also getting too old to sleep in a tent.  Lily learnt to swim.  

We were supposed to leave on Monday morning, bright and early at 0600.  Having spent the weekend at our archery club championships, I then spent Sunday evening doing food prep for the camping trip.  I took on my sister's mantel of camping organisation and my mother's list making skills, and managed to forget nothing.  Every meal was organised to the n'th degree, with a big Esky of cold food (quiche, fajitas, mangoes, sausages, bacon, chocolate, picnic stuff, etc), a storage container of kitchen stuff (utensils, paper towel, pans, salt, coffee, tea, etc), and a second storage container of non-kitchen stuff (rope, first aid kit, matches, etc).  Added to that, my backpack of clothes, a camping chair, Lily's life jacket, etc etc etc.  

We actually left closer to 0900.  J messaged the night before saying he was tired, L agreed, and I grumpily gave in.  J brought the hired 4wd so I couldn't really leave without him! He also brought a hired tent and camping stove.  L brought an airmattress for us to sleep on, which was invaluable, as was her frying pan.

It took three hours to drive up to Inskip Point, just south of Frazer Island.  We chose there because it's dog friendly, which was a must.  There were four or five campsite options, so we chose to drive around to check them out before deciding on a campsite.  

Unfortunately, the 4wd we hired was more of a city 4wd than anything else, and on the second sandy track we got bogged.  

Waiting for Dave

Having tried to dig our way out to no avail, I had to run back to the highway (for phone reception) to call for help.  Our rescuer, Dave, arrived in just twenty minutes, and set to work.

Dave getting the winch ready

  It didn't take him long, and he recommended the last camp site which had hard packed sand.  However, once there, we decided we didn't like it at all as it was packed with caravans!  We went back to the very first campsite where, despite the soft sand, we had managed to negotiate the tracks.  It was a lot quieter and we got a site right next to the beach.


Unpacking and setting up the site took a couple of hours, after which we headed for a much needed swim.  The dogs weren't keen on the water, despite our trying to get them used to it.  We had a late lunch, early dinner of quiche, ham and chicken rolls, and chocolate chip cookies, washed down by some cold beer.  

After dinner we walked along the beach and watched the sunset, followed by the super moon rising.

Burying Lily

The sunset was glorious

There were butterflies everywhere

Having been 30+ degrees in Brisbane all week, and forecast the same on the coast, I had decided just to bring a sheet instead of my sleeping bag, and didn't have a sweater or anything else warm with me. It was a windy and fairly chilly evening - the campfire definitely helped - but seemed warm enough when we went to bed.  It soon began to cool down, however, and the sheets and pillows quickly became damp with dew.  I covered myself with the two towels I brought but still shivered my way through the night and was glad when the sun finally came up.  J's air mattress also sprung a leak so he had a very uncomfortable night on the uneven ground !  Add to that the fact that Tachi did not want to sleep - at all - and spent half the night jumping on our faces... Made us a fairly tired and grumpy trio by breakfast time!