Dropping the Default

Leading up to my birthday, a few revelations popped into my head.

First of all, there’s a LOT of crap that’s in my life – junk food, mindless TV, unnecessary online shopping.

They all need to stop.

Well, they at least need to stop happening by default.

There’s  no real control or conscious effort to switch the off button after a 5 episode marathon of “House of Cards”.

Rather than cave into my lack of will power, I need to listen to my already full tummy and put the rest of the chips back in the pantry.

I figure if I cut the crap, even by a little, I can make more room for the stuff that I’ve always said I wanted to do – read all the Jane Austen books, write my novel(s), run that marathon.

September is around the corner and along with the hope that comes with spring, I’ve decided to set 3 goals – in business, health/fitness and my writing.

I won’t bore you with the business one – just the usual goals about hitting sales quotas, holding back the urge to punch rude clients in the throat, blah, blah, blah.

I am, however, excited about my plans to improve my freelance writing skills.

The lovely Carolyn Tate at Freelance Writers Cartel has invited me to participate in her 8 week Kickstarter Course.

Now, Carolyn is a personal friend I met through these blogging traps. We’ve shared one too many cocktails on a cruise liner, boogied our butts at a friend’s 40th. We’ve even dared to take on the early sunrise one Problogger morning, and ran along the Gold Coast esplanade together.

FYBF - Dropping the default

Aren’t we spunks?

She is all sorts of awesome, funny and witty. But, when it comes to freelance writing, Carolyn knows her stuff.

The 8 week Kickstarter Course starts on the 7th of September. There’s the standard course or the elite level where participants receive extra 1 on 1 coaching.

And yup – Carolyn’s brain is worth picking.

With both courses, there’s 8 weeks worth of lessons (back to homework, yikes!), templates and transcripts but there’s also access to a vibrant Facebook community. People will be sharing contacts, ideas and opportunities, as well as use each other for a sounding board. More brain picking!

If you’re like me and see where your writing skills can take you, maybe it’s worth looking into Freelance Writers Cartel.

Carolyn is also generously offering my readers an introductory 20% discount. Just use the code FWC20.  Thank you, Carolyn!

Now, time to cut the crap. Drop the default and smash some goals.

What goals have you set lately? Are you wanting to take your blogging to something more lucrative like freelance writing? Are you a “House of Cards” addict?

With Some Grace

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

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FYBF – 44th on the 24th

I sat in bed the other night. Actually, it was the mattress on the lounge room with my Swine Flu infested son lying next to me.

Opportune time for random crap to whirl through my tired mind, I started thinking about Jennifer Aniston and her recent nuptials to Justin Theroux. (As you do…)
Why?  I don’t know but the conversation with myself and midnight, kinda went like this:
“So nice she’s found true love. Even at 46…”
“How cute they surprised everyone, thinking they were invited to his 44th”
“Wow! 44! That seems so…”
“Wait…”
*Cue the finger counting*
“41, 42, 43…”
“Yeah, but I’m not 44 until August”
“Wait…”
“Oh, shit. It’s my 44th on the 24th”
No better moment to look back on my life of 4’s.
4 years old:
Unbeknownst to me, my parents were planning the biggest move. Ever. Within 6 months, we boarded a plane, landed in a foreign country where the air was fresh and cool and drinking water came straight out of a tap. A tap!

FYBF - 44th on the 24th(How ’bout dem platforms? Don’t ask about the poster. For some reason I loved monkeys. And Western children. Together)

14 years old:
My first boyfriend! Also my first “proper” pash, he was a brunette with deep blue eyes that turned grey when he was sad.
He played the drums and was oh, so very cool.
When he broke my heart and moved cities I returned to my first love, John Taylor from Duran Duran. He plays the bass but pashing him was only in my dreams.
FYBF - 44th on the 24th.2
(Rejected passport photos. Must’ve been the big hair.)
24 years old:
Living in a small town with a population of 12,000 (and declining) in northern Japan, I invited a whole bunch of noisy Americans, Canadians and Brits, threw a big birthday bash at my beat up weatherboard 2 storey farmhouse and pissed off a LOT of Japanese neighbours.
“Grace-san, pah-tee, OK. But puhreezu. Shut windows. OK?? OK!”
Oops.
34 years old:
Having dated this tall, blonde blue eyed (I do like them blue) surfer dude for 8 months, who knew he was going to be “The One”?
FYBF - 44th on the 24th.3
Sure, I was hopeful but as they say, nothing is definite in life but death, taxes and bad breath in the morning.
But we know how this one turned out. 10 years and twin boys later, there’s been countless bad breath mornings. Not to mention lots of love, laughter and Dutch ovens.
FYBF - 44th on the 24th
44 years old:
Luckily, my company believes in giving employees a day off on their birthday. I’ll be dragging my beloved to the movies to see “Trainwreck”.  And because chocolate isn’t his thing, I’ll just let him watch me indulge in some post- movie Max Brenner treats. Happy birthday to me.
Do you forget how old you are? Who was your first boyfriend? Where was your first kiss? Are you a Max Brenner fan? Are you Team Jen or Team Ange?
With Some Grace

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

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FYBF – What passes, what sticks

It can’t be denied that ye ol’ blog has been suffering from severe neglect.

It certainly isn’t due to lack of thoughts or ideas.

I could always bitch and moan about racking over $500 in speeding fines and parking tickets in less than a month. (Just one of each but yes, a hefty one of each!)

There’s the late night trip to the hospital that resulted from K-Bear’s fever riding high and peaking at 39.5.

The urge to write about business encounters with highly rude people and all the mental strength and integrity it takes to not punch them in the face.

But just as my lounge room space isn’t conducive for me to do much more than look after sick kids and husband and go to work, my headspace is just as cluttered.

FYBF - What passes, what sticks

If there’s anything I firmly believe through the trials and tribulations of parenting is that yes, “This too shall pass”.

But I’ve also been long enough at this to know what sticks.

FYBF - What passes, what sticks 2

And if I can still blog, albeit infrequently, through the eye of this storm, I’m pretty sure all these stories I have piled up will soon each have their place in a post.

To all my fellow bloggy comrades attending ProBlogger this weekend, you will surely come back with plenty of your own. I look forward to reading them! Enjoy!

Are you Problogging it this weekend? How do you deal with randomly rude people? Been booked lately? (I hope not!)

 

With Some Grace

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

 

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FYBF – Bloggeroke

For all the naysayers and those who shudder at the mere thought of accepting an invitation to join along – karaoke is the shiz, y’all.

Almost a decade of living in Japan and spending at least a third of that time in dark, smokey studios, it was the utmost essential form of survival as an expat.

You sang out your exhaustion, frustration, excitement, heartbreak, in top gear, with no…absolutely not an ounce of inhibition.

Completely and utterly liberating.

And back here in the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s George St. the atmosphere was just as electrifying.

Well, me and my home girls thought so.
FYBF - BloggerokeBut I will shut up and let the video do the convincing.

Take a seat, grab an Irish coffee (it’s never too early) and join in the fun, if you dare…

Are you a Karaoke fan? Or one of the naysayers? Let me convert you!
What’s your go to karaoke song? Is it the same one you sing in the shower?

With Some Grace

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

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FYBF – The Non Poker Face

Work’s going well. So well in fact, the job is now a permanent position.

Hallelujah for steady income.

Prior to signing on the dotted line, though there was the discussion of expectations – the number of clients I needed to sign up, the number of weekly visits I needed to make.

In previous roles, I would’ve blindly accepted them, no matter how unrealistic. And boy, would that get me into some sticky situations.

Being in sales, your performance, or lack thereof, is completely exposed.

There were some colleagues who were cunningly clever inflating their projected sales figures or exaggerating business opportunities.

A part of me was kind of jealous.

I was way too honest. And while others were able to hang on to their jobs with their hidden truths, I actually lost mine.

I just don’t have a very good poker face.

What you see, is what you get.

I don’t say that with defensive or defiant intentions.  I am a self proclaimed demonstrative, emotional beast.

I can’t smile without showing teeth (unless I’m stuffing my face with pepperoni pizza).

FYBF - The Non Poker Face

I have eyebrows that arch subconsciously (saved for those “WTF???” moments).

With this job, however, it was time to be up front. Time to put my transparency to good use.

I let my boss know that the expectations were way too high. I’d do my best to try and get there but if these expectations were inded a deal breaker, then they’d best find someone else for the job.

Deep breath.

Hit “Send”

I shouldn’t say I was surprised by the response because coming clean should always be a good thing, right?

But I was.

Ecstatic, even.

My boss’ reply was measured but fair. In the end, we changed some figures around which made me happier.

Not only because the expecations were now a lot more realistic but it was a great example of non- poker face success.

Then came the satisfied feeling of being in control, setting up my own work goals at the pace I can – or care to – handle.

Life isn’t about working towards what others think you should do or be.

A battle at times but being true to yourself and transparent to others sets you up for a life claiming your own successes. Whatever you perceive them to be.

Do you have a poker face? Can you smile without showing teeth? What’s your favourite pizza topping?

P.S NEW FYBF BUTTON!!! GRAB IT!!

With Some Grace

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

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FYBF – Crying on cue

My friend and prolific freelance writer, Catherine asked me a little while ago if I’d be a willing guinea pig for her upcoming article about the health benefits in having a good cry.

As part of the experiment, I needed to watch three sad movies back to back.

Bring it on.

Finally tucking the kids to bed at around 8 on a Sunday night, I lit some candles, burnt some eucalyptus oil incense, propped up the nest of surrounding pillows and prepared for the self perpetuated emotional embroilment.

Why would anyone deliberately open themselves up to raw, painful vulnerability like that, you may ask.

And it’s a very good question.

FYBF - Crying on cue

As strange as it sounds, being asked to cry on cue seemed like a perfect opportunity to clear out unexplainable, emotional cobwebs.

This might sound really wacky – wanky, even – but do you ever feel sometimes doesn’t feel quite right inside? That only a solid session of weeping will help; like your soul needs a complete cleanse?

I took my selection of movies very seriously. I didn’t want to choose anything I had already seen or any of the mainstream tear jerkers.

The Lovely Bones:

This movie started as eerily scary rather than sad. Based on a novel by Alice Sebold, the dialogue is extremely powerful and memorable. With continuous themes of tragic, sudden death, the after life, mourning and letting go – the movie stirred up and woke that underlying grief I constantly hold for my cousin who passed away. Yup. There were lots of tears.

The Prince of Tides:

A recommendation from Mr Surfer, this is a story of a love that’s not meant to be. Going back to certain childhood stories, it talks about facing your past demons and accepting your vulnerabilities. And geez, it sure made me aware of my own.

Terms of Endearment:

Everyone lists this one of the all time saddest movies ever. Curiosity got the better of me and I watched it to understand why. A very long movie, I was wondering what the fuss was all about. By 1:30am and three quarters through, I was ready to switch it off but then the tragedy unfolded, with a huge impact. By the end, I was a complete mess.

Way past 2am, completely drained emotionally, I crawled into bed. My eyes were red and puffy and my head was throbbing. Didn’t help that I had to be up by 6am for a gym session.

Surprisingly, I slept deeply, albeit briefly. I woke up feeling energetic and strangely “lighter”. Thoughts felt much clearer and I remember that my writing seemed to naturally flow that day. By early evening I was exhausted and I slept solid that night.

Watching three movies back to back was intense, I admit. Next time, two will be suffice. And yes, to make sure to let my emotions surface and get some much needed “airing”, there will be a next time.

What are some of your favourite sad movies? When did you last let yourself cry? Was it cathartic?

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

 

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FYBF – Mah sistah from another mistah

Going by the old adage, “If you make friends with yourself, you’ll never be alone”, I love running long distances on my own.

 

Maybe I like the idea of not feeling obliged to try and keep up with someone else’s pace. It comes back to this innate fear of letting people down.

 

And while I’ve made great friends through running, I’ve never had a close buddy who shared the sense of adventure with me.

 

Until last Sunday’s 10 km Sydney Harbour Run.

FYBF - Mah sistah from another mistah

 

Brenda – mah sistah from another mistah – has not only taken up running, but in a short year now loves it more than I ever have.

 

The crazy gal is running her first marathon this year.

 

While I could easily get jealous of that kind of tenacity and determination, it’s actually inspiring.

 

And then, there are the weird and wonderful things you discover on race day:

 

  • For your pre-race jitters pee, you have a friend to run into the men’s toilets because the ladies’ line is as long as the Great Wall of China. Never mind the puzzled look from the users at the urinals, look down, run straight into the loo, do your thang, then run the hell out of there…giggling like stupid school girls.

 

  • Throughout the entire 10kms, she was my cheering squad (“Come on G…just shuffle, shuffle, shuffle…”) and I hers, (“Go, B! Go, B! Go, B!)

 

  • You can both share your love of being camera sluts, hogging every official race photographer with goofy grins and peace signs.

FYBF - Mah sistah from another mistah 2

 

  • The Negative Nellies inside your head will almost succeed in slowing you down in the freezing, blistering cold wind. But then your running sistah will make sure you “move those legs” and get to the finishing line under 65 minutes, damn it.

 

  • You have someone to have jubilant, triumphant hugsies with at the finish line, pretending you just won gold at the Olympics. Then, promptly crash to reality when scolded by the Race Marshal to “Move along now! Don’t block the finish line!”
  • She loves you for you. It’s not just about the run but the chance to share an adventure. No matter how much of a slow poke you are, she sticks to her word and crosses the line with you. Together.

FYBF - Mah sistah from another mistah 3

 

Yup. Mah running sistah from another mistah.

Who’s your sistah from another mistah? What’s the most memorable adventure you’ve shared with them? Have you ever used the men’s toilets?

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

 

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FYBF – Persistence and Portuguese custard tarts

Some of you may recall the time – when work life was still very new – after a sales call I walked back to my car, only it wasn’t mine.

It made great entertainment for the retired old men sitting outside at a café nearby.

Despite all that humiliation, I didn’t close the deal.

I didn’t give up, though. Every time I drove by that particular office, I’d remind myself that the timing just wasn’t right.

So, off I went closing other deals as well as dealing with other rejections.

 

FYBF - Persistence and Portuguese Custard Tarts 3

Dem be the nature of sales.

Wednesday morning proved that timing was everything.

As it happened, I was back in conversation with said potential client.

Emailing back and forth to lock in a time to meet, he hadn’t replied to my last email suggesting a 10:30am meeting.

It was back to being a dud opportunity.

Never mind, I’d just have extra time to work from home until my next appointment at noon.

Or so I thought.

Still getting the hang of possessing two mobiles, at exactly 9:15am – with screaming kids who were nowhere near ready for daycare – instinct told me to check my work phone.

And yup, there was a message from said potential client, confirming we were on for 10:30am and in fact, could we make it earlier, say, 10:15??

Panic stations.

I called him back apologizing that my phone had been recharging…ahem. But yes, of course, I could be there in an hour.

I was still in my PJ’s. His office was at least half an hour away.

Miraculously, I made it – with a minute to spare.

He had no inkling to the madness I had just gone through to get there.

Sales rule #2,567 – fake it till you make it.

My client suggested we have our discussion next door at The Majestic – a once roller skating rink turned theatre turned café/restaurant/grocer and soon to include a wine bar and restaurant.

FYBF - Persistence and Portuguese custard tarts

Over the best Italian coffee I’ve ever had in a long time and the fluffiest and lightest of Portuguese custard tarts, I closed the deal.

In fact, we did 2 rounds of coffee and tarts. You know, to really celebrate.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a change to take photos of the little pastry pieces of heaven. You’re just going to have to take my word for it.

I even went back that afternoon to buy some for take away but they had sold out.

That’s how awesome these babies are.

FYBF - Persistence and Portuguese custard tarts

And that my friends, is what makes persistence worth it.

The Portuguese custard tarts.

Have you ever tried one? Did you have a foodgasm too? When has persistence paid off for you?

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

 

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FYBF – Highs and lows

Once in a while, when the mood strikes and the inspiration thunderbolt hits, Friday comes along and I feel I have something substantial to offer FYBF.

Today is not one of those days.

Monday afternoon was spent being poked and prodded, including my lady bits down there. I’m pretty sure all is okay but just to be extra sure, I also went in for a blood test. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate needles?

Bit of a low on the health front.

Tuesday was my day with the twinions. Fascinated by their butts, they particularly enjoy shaking them  right up to their Mama’s face who couldn’t keep it straight and serious if she tried.

So, I invented the Platypus Pout. THAT was definitely a Mama high.

FYBF - Highs and Lows

Wednesday things were looking up. My contribution post at Her Collective went live. I wrote about me and my family’s migrant story. Well, one aspect of it anyway.

It was one of those “tears at the keyboard” kinda posts, pouring my entire heart.

So, when I actually submitted in to Brenda and the team, I was a little apprehensive how it would be received. Stories about cultural differences, hardships and experiences with prejudice, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I get that.

I had nothing to worry about, though. The sweet, supportive comments received were my personal high for the week.

There’s a really lovely community happening over at Her Collective with lots of insightful, informative articles. Go check it out if you haven’t yet.

HC header big

Thursday came thundering in with three new customer sign ups. Yipee! Reporting the good news to my boss, she had better news to give me.

“Would I be interested in attending an overseas work conference?” she asked.

“Have a think about it, ” she said.

Er, no thinking needed! I’d be going!

Professional high for the week? BIG tick.

Then last night, my blog broke. After three hours of ping pong live chats with techie geeks on the other side of the world who kept telling me the issue wasn’t on THEIR side, we found out, guess what? The issue was on the THEIR side.

Bloggy low!!

HUGE thanks to MummyK who dropped everything – including her game of Hey Day – to help me out. Mwah!

Friendship high!

I’m shouting her a movie ticket to Magic Mike XXL. Channing Tatum’s abs would make a much nicer present but well, she’s going to have to settle for the big screen.

Hummana hummana…

How was your week? Highs? Lows? Do you hate needles too? Are you going to see Magic Mike XXL?

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

 

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Who made the beautiful rainbow

Raised under a strict Christian upbringing, there’s one little song that my mum taught me as a little girl. Moving to Australia not too long after, I was able to sing the English version of it too.

The melody was pure and the lyrics simple:

Who made the beautiful rainbow?

I know, I know.

God made the beautiful rainbow,

That’s why I love Him so.

Who Made The Beautiful Rainbow

Last year, I took great pride in teaching it to the twinions, feeling like I had passed something on to the next generation, kinda thing.

This past weekend, as I watched my Facebook feed light up with rainbow colours, that song came back to my mind and how this time, it had a whole brand new and exciting meaning.

I wish every Christian fundamentalist who was against marriage equality could see beyond the black and white of what depicts a “Christian marriage” – a sanctimonious right exclusively between a man and a woman.

I also wish people would look back at history and see that marriage came into existence long before it was a Christian concept. That in fact, for centuries prior to Christianity, marriage was a business transaction; it was a symbol of social status.

It was a way to make sure the assets you and your family had – livestock, dowries, housing – would safely and rightfully stay put.

As a Christian who truly believes that God is about love, I don’t think marriage is about gender. If it was, then it’s only based on human interpretation.

No doubt that last sentence will upset a lot of Christians.  So be it.

What is consistent and stated with complete clarity is that God is also about complete and unconditional acceptance; that He created all men (and women) equal.

That He also created the beautiful rainbow with equality; with the same freedom and right to love.

Joining Essentially Jess for #IBOT

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