If the title of this entry seems a little iffy just bear with me…it’s because I have discovered that after all these months I may now be able to access mobile broadband at home. This will make my working life so much easier. It will make my whole life so much easier!!!

I knew perfectly darned well that not having the Internet at home was a huge downer but had adjusted to the lack because I had no choice. It took some powerful adjusting though and it’s only recently that I have kind of sort of made my peace with it so to suddenly find out that the gadgetry that now gives me full mobile phone reception in the house will also grant me Internet as well has floored me! But in a good way. I’m in a very happy place.

Just have to grab another little gadget and I’m there. Oh joy, bliss and cartwheels!!!

More next week…

So why the big issue here?

So our (Australia’s) new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has selected his team and only one of them is a woman, resulting in several media types and women’s groups in general going into a tailspin and I have never heard so much tripe in all my life. Well, maybe I have, but right now this one is dominating because I can’t get my head around WHY this is an issue!

Last I heard a newly elected Prime Minister could choose whoever he wished to hold the various positions in his/her government, but I don’t remember anything saying that at least half of them had to be women. Like, isn’t the decision his to make? Yes, it is and if he has chosen to fill all those slots, bar one, with men then so be it. What is the problem? Sure, there are women out there qualified to hold those positions but that’s beside the point. The decision was his to make and he chose who he wanted. End of story, Now get over it!

But we were bound to hear from various women’s groups and vocal individuals who have too much funding and time on their hands and who are forever looking for axes to grind because we hear from that lot all the time, especially when they go hunting for perceived slights against women in general. In this instance they are almost howling from the rooftops!

But why is that? Just because Tony Abbott didn’t make at least 50 percent of his team female does not mean he has committed some vile slur against women in general and I believe that those who are determined to make a huge issue out of this need to remind themselves that there are far greater issues facing the world right now and perhaps they should save their spleen for venting on something worthwhile. Well they might if some of those issues somehow involve women but if not, forget it. That’s the problem with women’s groups in general; they get all het up about trivial matters (like Tony Abbott’s almost all-male team) instead of those that seriously affect the livelihood of women in general and this is where they do us girls more harm than good because they upset all the wrong people over the wrong agendas.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in equality in the workforce etc, and for women to have as many choices and opportunities as men, but I refuse to get my knickers in a knot over the number of perceived injustices at which these groups just love to finger-point because in most cases…they are pointless! This includes Tony Abbott having chosen just one woman to be on his team. Seriously! How is this detrimental to women in the general scheme of things? Well it isn’t, that’s why you might be having trouble coming up with an convincing answer for that one.

I almost feel sorry for the guy because he will probably be hounded over this, which in my opinion is grossly unfair. Like I said, there are much bigger issues ladies…!

Lament of the Solitaire Tragic

I know how pathetic this is going to make me sound but I’ve decided to come clean and admit I am addicted to Solitaire; the computer versions. On my desktop I have the normal game and the one called Spider Solitaire and I swear, as soon as I go on to start working I inevitably click on one of them, play a few rounds, click on the other one and play a few rounds and believe me, it’s getting harder to click out of them and actually do something constructive.

Thing is, I don’t know how to stop! I realise I could be substituting one addiction for another because with all the kids moved out now, I have no one to play Scrabble with until they pop home for a visit (when we Scrabble till we’re scrambled!) but when it’s all said and done, it’s a pretty lame excuse. Nevertheless, I’m coming out and owning it and acknowledge that I need to develop some willpower and Not, I repeat N.O.T. click on those icons!

But it’s easier said than done. In a fit of determination though, the last time I was on my computer I took several deep breaths, counted to 20 or something (10 being totally not long enough) and forced myself to ignore the lure of those Solitaire icons and go immediately into Word and it felt really good! Except for the bit where I sat staring at an empty page because I couldn’t think of a single thing to write because all I could think about were those little card games. I suppose it would sound better if I was claiming an addiction to one of the more exciting action type games but then I’d be lying through my teeth. Addicts do that and I’m trying to hang on to my moral sense here so I can’t lie and claim an addiction to something people would have an easier time understanding. With me it’s Solitaire. There. I’ve said it.

But the funny thing is, I have never been addicted to playing it with actual cards! To be honest I don’t think I ever have so what gives with the computer versions? I have no idea but just the thought of getting on and playing is really exciting. See what I mean about pathetic? Like, who gets all excited about playing card games on computers? Maybe I should be worried about this…

On the other hand, maybe not, because let’s face it there are worse addictions out there. Like rabid cravings for things such as soap operas, reality TV shows and blokey sports or those ghastly sour lollies and if I stop to think about it, getting all breathless at the thought of playing computer Solitaire is pretty tame compared to any of those so maybe I shouldn’t be feeling so ashamed of myself after all. Slightly mortified maybe, even embarrassed to a degree but not ashamed.

Well at least I’m honest. I even feel “cleansed” somehow for having come out of the closet and one day I might even tell my children about the Solitaire thingy. I’m sure they’ll understand but they’ll probably ask me not to tell anyone else. Uh oh…I just have.

Don’t let on that I told you, okay!



Thank you Universe!

I noticed something this winter just past. It was something that I didn’t do and which I didn’t notice I hadn’t done until yesterday, yet it’s something I did religiously every year while living through all those icy inland rural winters, so I guess that’s testament to just how different the winter temps are here on the coast (thank goodness!).

You see, the thing I didn’t do was my usual sashay with wild abandon around the heater while rugged up in my winter woolies on the day of the Winter Solstice. That’s not to say I didn’t observe the date because I did, but I did it standing out on the deck in the warm sunshine which was lovely and which completely negated the desire for wild shenanigans because…well, it was warm and sunny!

I am incredibly thankful for that of course but when I was shivering through all those inland winters the Solstice was my lifeline. It meant that even though I still had July and August to  cope with, the sun was on the rise again in our southern skies and the days would gradually become longer and I was just a little bit closer to warmer weather when I could emerge from the cold and all my layers  and bask in the balmy days and nights of spring and summer. Oh joy, bliss and cartwheels etc.

So you can see why the Solstice was such a big deal for me. The thing is, I absolutely abhor cold weather. I’m not into leaden skies and biting winds. I don’t cope with it and always said I would happily hibernate for the whole three months if I could, which is why I’m thrilled to the back teeth with this coastal region. Sure, there were a few cool days and nights but cool is very different to icy cold. I can cope with cool but go down in a heap as soon as the mercury drops to single digits. To be completely honest, I don’t even feel like I’ve had a winter!

This is wonderful and I’m guessing that when the Autumn Equinox finally rolls around I won’t be nicking out on the usual sorties and stocking up on chocolate and other feel-good snacks like I used to (which for the record didn’t really help much because it was just too cold to get excited about anything and besides, while it tasted great, it actually did nothing for my winter doldrums) because I won’t need that kind of support from here on in. This should not be read as a negative reflection on chocolate however. No woman in her right mind would ever say anything negative about chocolate!

But I’ve had almost a year of this heavenly climate and I’m so thankful, especially when I think back to the days when I was shivering myself silly in houses that were inadequately insulated, considering their location, trying to type with fingers that were stiff while dreaming of sunny climes and sandy beaches and wishing to all that’s holy that That’s Where I Was!

Then I downloaded a pretty beach scene as the new wallpaper for my computer and ate a lot of chocolate.

Yes I know, that makes me sound all desperate and pathetic but on the other hand it just goes to show what a bit of desperation and a lot of creative visualising can achieve and in my more spacey moments I can almost believe that I somehow induced the Universe to open the door for me to a lifestyle that would suit me down to the ground.

Well why not? Stranger things have happened…



Surviving sans Internet

Hi again from me!

Following an almost 10 month forced hiatus I have found another way to access my site (oh joy, bliss and cartwheels etc) and will be writing weekly again from now on as I am using a computer in my local Library (why didn’t I think of this before!). But hey, talk about a curve ball!!!

So anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, forced, and I say that because the idyllic semi-rural coastal area to which I’ve relocated (regular readers may recall I was just about ready to sell my soul for such an opportunity) has everything I could possibly want out of life…everything that is except Internet and as spanners in the works go, this one was a biggie for me and in typical spanner-in-the-works fashion, I didn’t realise this would be the case until after I had packed up cats, chooks, kid still living at home (at the time) and all my other wordly possessions and shifted here!

Talk about a dousing with a bucket of icy water! I arrived to find I would have No Internet. No Internet!!! How was I supposed to survive without access to my website, my email account, my Facebook page and every other darned thing I do online???! Did I react like an addict denied her fix? Yes. Burst into a flood of tears and invective? Yes. Throw myself on the floor and have a total Oh-My-God-How-Am-I-Supposed-To-Cope-With-This moment over the fact that this pretty location that was the answer to all my prayers was also a telecommunications backwater where even mobile phone service was iffy at the best of times? Well yes, I did do that too, except I rejected the floor (concrete) in favour of the couch because I was already in enough pain so why add to it with possible physical injury?

Well okay, so I considered a leap from the mezzanine over having no access to Facebook but dismissed it because it might be messy. I hate mess.

So it looked like my only means of communication with the outside world (and its only access to me) was via a non-broadband supporting landline, which would have been fine except that it was so unreliable I eventually had it disconnected. The cables here are shot but not listed for replacement because one day in the far distant future the National Broadband Network (NBN) will find its way here which would make cable replacements obsolete. Fortunately there is a spot on the hill at the back of the property where I can get a signal on my mobile and on a good day there’s even one on the dining table where I can actually pick up a call. I put the caller on loudspeak so I can hear them and shout really loudly into the phone so they can hear me and so long as I don’t otherwise touch that phone or move it so much as half a millimetre from that spot, I can have some kind of conversation. But it doesn’t work all the time.

Funny thing is, I seem to have unexpectedly adapted somehow to living in a world of severely restricted communications. It has been months now since I have felt the manic desire to kill, maim, and/or put nasty hexes on Telstra in general and have even come to (almost) appreciate the peaceful lifestyle experience (having moved past the hysteria) that a communications black spot can offer. The native coastal bushland is very pretty, the beaches are within spitting distance and the wildlife a joy and if I’m not careful I may even find myself out on the deck one early morning…

…chanting Ohm into the first rays of the rising sun…

…to the tinkling of the windchime…

…with no jangling devices to spoil the moment…

(enter incense and temple bell thingies)


Site News

Hello readers!

Lisa Ashurst is currently unavailable for blogging or managing comments. She has since moved house and is having a minor glitch with the areas internet set-up, but she will return soon. She has left me in charge to temporarily manage the site for her and has asked me to tell you all, “I have not stopped writing or blogging, I will return!”

In the meantime, feel free to enjoy her previous blog posts. Thank you for understanding, and sorry for any inconvenience.


Alex Ashurst
Ash Tree Hill Creative Consultancy.


Oh my goodness, this entry is going to be short! I am moving house in about 10 days and I swear, I had forgotten how toally exhausting packing up to move could be! And then there’s the cleaning, much more thorough than the standard domestic job and I am almost dead from fatigue.

I have been packing and sorting stuff for about a week now and am living with boxes and bags and, well, if you can remember the last time you moved house you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Every little thing gets brought to light and then you have decide whether to keep it or bin it and if you decide to keep it you have to pack it! Every time I close my eyes I see boxes and sheets of packing paper and I am seriously over it.

Fortunately I am almost done and am just giving the house a thorough do-over and I’ll be glad once we get to the other side of this move because the pressure will be off and I can unpack sort of at my leisure. No time limit but on the other hand, I’ll be so wiped out after dealing with it from this end it could be a few days before I really do anything constructive at the other. I so hate moving.

The only upside is that I’m going into a really nice place in an idyllic location. If you have been reading these you will have come across entries where I yearned for a cute, quirky house in a coastal location and…I found one! I intend to be there for a long time.

Everything just fell into place when it came to getting this house so I consider it “meant to be” which feels nice to be honest and I can’t wait to actually get into the place, but I just have to get out of this one first! It’s the getting everything packed up to go that I could really do without except there’s no one else to pack it up for me so…

But like I said, I only have about 10 days to go in this place and then it will be load ’em up and ship ’em out! I’m going to try to make that as smooth sailing as possible because I think I’ll be running on empty by the time that day dawns. Seriously, I am so exhausted by the whole thing.

Anyway, like I said, this is just a short post to touch base and I promise that once I am moved I’ll have my mojo back and intend to write heaps. I also want to finish editing my book so I can send it somewhere. I have so many things I want to get back into but right now everything is on hold until I can do this house move.

Honestly guys, I am soooooo completely wiped out!

I don’t do free plugs

Why do some people believe that if they place a link to their website within a flattering comment on mine that I will approve the comment, granting them a form of free advertising? Ditto the online sellers who simply post a comment regarding their product that contains a link to their own website? I mean, would they allow me the same freebie advertising on theirs? I don’t think they would and considering the source of some of the spam that’s showing up on my comment pages lately, I would not really want to advertise with them anyway.

Personally I think it’s a bit rude. I mean, it’s an assumption that it’s okay to send a link to your own site to another and that the other will just approve it, and to put that link into a nice flattering comment as a round-about way of upping the chance is just shallow. It’s not okay to do this. It’s also a waste of your time and mine; yours in writing it because I will just delete it and mine in having to see it and then delete it. See? No point in sending it to me.

It must be a common thing though as I am getting a lot of it lately. But what I’m also getting is multiples of the same thing where it is purely blurb about the product with a highlighted link back to that site. Why so many? Maybe they have a staff of a dozen or so and every one of them sends one of these “ads” to me all on the same day. It’s a possible explanation anyway for why I am getting long runs of repeats of the same thing.

Well listen up guys, I just delete them because I don’t offer free advertising.

But something else I don’t really need to see are woeful tales of love gone wrong (save it for your family and friends), pleas for government grants (like, I would know about these?) and random ramblings that have nothing to do with my website and generally make no sense at all. Frustrated writers maybe? Look, if you want to see yourself in print but can’t break into the print media, start a blog! What I especially don’t need though is the blatant, coarsely-worded descriptive passage by someone out there who has had issues with their sex life and used some medication or other to sort it out. I really, absolutely and most definitely Do Not Want To Know! And who goes public with this sort of trash anyway??! Please do not post comments of this nature to my site! It’s totally tacky!

I guess there’s always someone out there looking for a free ride though, even if it’s only a free link back to their own site but my personal opinion on this is that it’s a bit sneaky. Especially those who go all out to say something super flattering in the assumption that I will automatically approve it, thus providing that free link. I won’t. I pay the fee when I do any advertising therefore, so can you.

The other thing I just don’t get is the attached YouTube videos. Why do I need or want someone else’s advertising video on my website? I am a book editor/journalist/freelance writer/blogger and that is what my website is about…my business and my work, so why on earth would I want to include YouTube videos on random subjects on my writing site? Well I wouldn’t which is why I delete those too. These also tend to come in on comments that are way over the top as far as the flattery goes and again, I assume that’s because the sender reckons I won’t be able to resist such an upbeat comment and will approve it as a result…complete with video. I won’t.

Look, I do like to receive feedback from my readers, I really appreciate that they take the time to leave a comment and in many cases I post a reply but please, bear in mind that I just don’t do free plugs. I wouldn’t ask it of you so please show me the same courtesy.

I don’t think that’s asking to much.


Operating on autopilot

That seems to be what’s happening right now anyway. Like I said last week, I’m moving house and I am so focused on the mechanics of moving that just about everything else is kind of wafting around in the background, if you know what I mean. Like, I’m working on a feature about the state of a local road and I find myself sidetracked by “I need to borrow a cage of sorts to put the chooks in..”.

I know, a journalist of my experience should be able to block out the house move but it’s difficult. I think it’s because it’s been so many years since I’ve had to move house and so have got out of the mindset. But it’s first and foremost in my mind now and it’s a real effort to dismiss thoughts of “should I take the clapped-out lounge or just get rid of it?” while tackling the article on kitchen renovations and I really shouldn’t be mulling over what to do with that spare desk that’s just sitting there while I should be coming up with a topic for my next column.

But that’s what happens when you suddenly have to up stakes I guess. It just takes over your thought processes and everything else gets shoved rudely into second place. As it is, I’m already packing up everything that we are not using right now, along with anything else that I figure we can live without until after the move because if there’s one thing I really abhor it’s packing in a big hurry at the last minute. It’s just way too exhausting and fraught with drama and right now I don’t need either of those things.

It’s a good time to go through stuff though and I am culling as I go. House moves make you do things like that. But it’s kind of cleansing in a way as you end up dumping so much clutter from your life and when it’s all said and done, that is a good thing. Fortunately I’m not a hoarder so the accumulations of the last seven years are not mountainous but…they still need to be sussed out and their status determined. I seriously think I will toss the two-seater lounges though as they really have seen better days and those days were long ago. There are a couple of little file cupboards that can go too. They were a hand-me-down but I can live without them.

Sorting through my clothes is another thing I must do as I know there are items there that shouldn’t be any longer. Lucky for me I don’t have a mile of clothes so it shouldn’t take too long unless I start getting all sentimental. Seriously, I have to toughen up!

Anyway, that’s what’s going on with me right now and I’m trying my best to focus on my work, I really am! On the other hand I have to remember all the places I’ll need to change my address. I’d better start writing a list and it would probably be a good idea to arrange to have any stray mailings that turn up re-routed to my new digs. Honestly, there’s just so much to do!

Now, where was I….? Oh yes, that feature on solar rebate schemes! (…hmm, I need to find some more boxes for the packing…must organise that…sigh…)


A nudge from the Universe?

I’ve mentioned on and off that I would like to move house, right? I may have also added that I would give both arms and legs to head off to somewhere with a more balmy climate and have waxed lyrical about how much nicer life could be if I could pull it off, well I guess the Universe got a bit impatient with me being all talk but not a lot of action in that department because the house I’m currently renting is going up for sale and I have been asked to vacate. So now it’s going to be all action with the moving thing.

I do believe this is one of those cosmic nudges that happen when you get too used to a comfort zone and put off making any real changes, even if you have been talking about it and now, here it is! I have to pack up and move and rather than feeling disorientated, I’m seeing it as the opportunity I had to have and fully intend to take full advantage of it, so I am sourcing rentals in that coastal area I have wanted to move to for a number of years now.

It’s pretty exciting actually and I’m really looking forward to the whole thing. I’m not even put off by the prospect of packing up an entire household, daunting and tedious as that can be, because I am seeing the end result and it’s looking good!

So I’m on the hunt and while I haven’t found something as yet, I’m not too concerned as I have a three month window, and am marking time by packing up everything I am not actually using so that when the time comes I can just load it up and move it out. Nothing like a bit of forward planning and organisation to get everything off to a good start plus it will save a lot of headaches when counting down those last weeks. House moves inevitably cause headaches but if I can manage just a small ache instead of a blazing migraine, all the better, and I think getting the jump on the packing etc is the way to go here.

Might even do a bit of cull too while I’m busy with the packing. We tend to build up stuff when we down stakes in one location, even if just for a short while, so I’m pretty sure I have things tucked away in cupboards etc that don’t have to be there. In fact, I’m sure there are because I’ve been in this house for a few years now and stuff would have found it’s way in here one way or another. Beats me where it all comes from, but there you go.

So there it is! What I have been going on and on about is now a reality because this place is on the market and this is the nudge I needed to make me act and actually Move! I just have to find new digs but I don’t think I will have too much difficulty finding something that suits. The long term plan is to just buy my own place and I believe that will happen one day too. I will find the home I’ve always dreamed of, the price will be right and I’ll have the money there to pay for it and will be dancing around with joy for a least fortnight afterwards. It will happen if I really put my mind to it.

But in the meantime I am up to my ears in boxes and packing materials so that when a place comes up and I have to go, I’ll be the first to dart out the door! This is going to be great!

Thank you, Universe!