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Kangaroo Spotting

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

I Went On A Trip Without My Daughter And Didn't Miss Her

Well…that’s not entirely true. I missed her a teeny, tiny, bit but only at the beginning.

I went on a girls trip to Nashville with one of my best friends, for three nights, the longest I have ever been away from my almost-two-year-old tot.

My trip to Hobart early this year was the previous record holder- two nights away. 

This time I flew the full five hour itinerary alone which was something I looked forward to. In transit...just like the old days when I traveled so much airports calmed me, like home.

Dressed, hair did, makeup on, I felt good about myself that day. When I walked downstairs my Mother said to me, “Wow, you don’t look like a Mom today,” which I took as a huge compliment.

I didn’t 'feel' like a Mom even though I chatted about my daughter with the coffee lady at the airport.

The first leg to Baltimore was too short, I barely had time to finish my iced latte and a few chapters of the new David Sedaris novel. Hot tip: If you want strangers to talk to you, dye your hair purple.

On that next flight from Baltimore to Nashville I turned on some relaxing music and closed my eyes. I pictured taking a bath while Lavinia roamed the bathroom. She got bored and wanted to climb in with me so I let her. She was affectionate, hugging me with her perfect little body and little pink arms. It was almost as if she knew I would be leaving in a few hours.
She stayed in the water patiently while I finished getting ready- which is unheard of. I sang to her to ensure she remained distracted.

Speeding though the clouds those images played in my mind I felt a physical pang in my heart. I missed her voice, smile and determined (bossy) attitude. Usually it takes about 24 hours before I'm craving time with her and I wondered if I would miss her during the whole trip.
I missed her again when my Mom called us on Facetime the next morning, other than that, I wish I could have easily added a fourth night to my stay. Me time!!!

Nashville was “excessive fun and madness” to quote our Jamacian-born Uber driver. My girlfriend and I spent an entire day cowboy-boot shopping, experienced the legendary Grand Ole Opry, saw tons of live music, and ‘Honkey Tonked’ our way down Broadway.
Me and my purple hair and new tattoos fit right in. Nashville is full of musicians, producers and artists trying to make it. Even though I could not carry a tune if it had a handle on it, I felt at ease surrounded by the buzz of creativity, inspiration and ambition.
I guess it's all about finding a tribe as I circle back to my first passions in life, painting and story-telling. I'm incredibly lucky to have found a supportive community of bloggers who share advice, experience and ideas with one another.

Not only does it feel good to share knowledge with these talented people but I think it comes back around, adding to the collective creative community. 

Conclusion: If you are away from your kids and you don't miss them, it does not make you a bad Mom, in fact it makes you a good one (if you do miss them you're also a good one.) It's important to make time for your non-mama self and carve out a little place in your identity that belongs to only you...At the very least it's something your children can look up to.

Here is a tiny sample of some of the wonderful blogs I follow by women I am honored to call friends. Rock on.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Skinny Cauliflower Carbonara

I'm always looking for creative ways to get more veggies in my life. Generally I'm not a fan of white sauces or even soups because I don't like the feeling heaviness of cream in my guts (that and I'm lactose intolerant.) This dish is not only healthy and naughty-tasting, it won't leave you with that uncomfortably-stuffed feeling.

Cauliflower is so versatile---Have you tried cauliflower crust pizza yet?  Deeeeeelicioso.

I haven't done much cooking while stateside and made this dish before I left Australia. It's worth sharing now because it's one of those trans-seasonal meals that can work in just about any weather (it's winter there and summer here.) Light but comforting, healthy yet satisfying. Easy too! I'm making myself hungry....


  • 1 Head Cauliflower
  • 4 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
  • 4 Ham Slices
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • Handful Fresh Basil (For Garnish)
  • Few Shakes White Pepper (or Red if you're braver)
  • Giant Pinch Parmasean Cheese
  • Drizzle Olive oil

Cooking Directions

  1. Boil cauliflower head and garlic in a pot until tender. Drain and save the stock in case you need to thin the sauce.
  2. Add coconut milk and blend using an immersion blender or regular blender.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and add diced ham until desired crispness.
  4. Add cauliflower/ garlic mixture to the pan to keep warm and turn down heat.
  5. Before serving add raw egg and mix thoroughly.
  6. Pour over pasta and top with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.
  7. Devour, guilt-free!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Taking Stock

I’m more than halfway through my visit here in Buffalo and I’m starting to worry that it won’t be enough time.  Not sure it ever will be.

My trip to Nashville last week was incredible and draining and now I’m hibernating and resting up- which seems odd to do in the Summer weather. I'm in a strange, flat, post-party headspace even though it sort of feels like I'm still on vacation. Because this is technically a visit. I think.

I thought I would do a little Stock Take below to get my brain waves flowing. If you want to 'Take Stock' too- just copy the list at the bottom of this post and share your link in the comments here.

Making : Paintings.
Cooking : Not much while I’m a guest at my Mom’s house. A nice change.
Drinking : Emergen-C today and water. Need to rehydrate.
Reading: Just finished 'The Opposite of Loneliness' and I highly recommend it.
Wanting: To feel more rested.
Looking: Like a new person with purple hair and new tattoos!
Playing: Horsey with Lavinia. She thinks it’s hilarious.
Deciding: If I should extend my USA trip a tad bit longer….
Wishing: I could squeeze my hubby.
Enjoying: Having help so I can go out and do things that make me fee like, well, me.
Waiting: For inspiration (or just energy.)
Liking: My new playlist of the country songs I discovered in Nashville.
Wondering: Should I stay, should I go?
Loving: The sun and summer weather
Pondering: If the best is yet to come.
Considering: Making business cards- I’ve handed out a few scrawly scraps of paper recently.
Buying: All the things before I leave The States.
Watching: ABC’s Nashville, Season 1.
Hoping: To get an art business going.
Marveling: At how much Lavinia has changed in the last few weeks.
Cringing: At how much money I’ve spent so far on my trip.
Needing: More veggies in my life.
Questioning: If I will ever have 'enough' time.
Smelling: Piles of laundry.
Wearing: A new soft V-neck Tee and comfy shorts.
Following: Austin Kleon on Twitter.
Noticing: That my life will always be about balancing extremes.    
Knowing: Little buggy will be awake soon so I better wrap this up!
Thinking: About shipping my (material) life over to Australia now that I will finally have space.
Admiring: The talent of my diverse group of friends.
Sorting: Rather, dreading sorting, through my stuff in the basement.
Getting: New Glasses from Warby Parker- 95 dollars for frames, lenses and delivery!
Bookmarking: Quotes about creativity.
Coveting: My new cowboy boots (2 pairs!)
Disliking: How little exercise I’ve had lately.
Opening: Files with blog post ideas.
Giggling: I’ve become a Country music fan, my younger self would be horrified.
Feeling: Worn out.
Snacking: On naughty American snacks. Pretzels, Mac N Cheese, bagels, toooo many carbs.
Helping: Clean up the messes my tot makes in my Moms house.
Hearing: “Kiss You in the Morning” by cutie Michael Ray. Check him out!

Making :
Cooking :
Drinking :

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

So Little Time

I want to do all the things while I'm home. Buffalo, New York has had a makeover, well at least the waterfront has, and I needed to check it out.
Monday I got to see some of the changes first hand and I felt like I had been transported to a different city entirely. It's common knowledge Buffalo always turns on the charm for Summer. (I always say, you will never find a population of folks who appreciate the sun as much as they do.) But this new Buffalo actually feels like a real destination, not just something locals can appreciate.
There were bars, restaurants, public artworks, green grass, lawn chairs, cobbled streets, historic monuments, a stage for live music, kayak rentals, boat tours, mini sailboats, a giant sandbox and more. Um hi, am I in Charleston or something? Nope. Buffalo. I want to come here a million more times before I fly back to Australia.
It’s been a whirlwind three weeks (I cannot believe I’ve been here that long already.) We have had out of town guests, parties, concerts, dinners- all fun, fun, fun, but it's taken a toll. I felt physically drained before heading to the waterfront and to be completely honest I was in a rotten, run-down mood. Somehow though, being there in the sunshine, experiencing the progress of my beloved home city, it just perked-up my soul.
It’s so hard for me to find that balance between self care and letting loose on a normal day but it's near impossible when I know there is a time limit like there is on our visit. Usually I run around like a lunatic but since becoming a parent, I don't have the energy to keep up the way I used to and I need to remember to take a step back and rest, for the sake of my daughter and myself.
I'm glad we went to the water and had a little fun because the next day was an intensely emotional one. We buried my dog's ashes in the backyard then drove my brother to the airport. I didn't know when I would see him again. On the way home I wished out loud that he could stay longer, just a little more time, now that things are quieting down.

I went to dinner with my Dad afterward and while we were eating and he got a phone call from my brother. Turns out his flight was cancelled and he got to spend one more night at home. Maybe the universe heard my pleas. A few more hours with my brosef- I'll take it. I'm one grateful sister.

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