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The Open Road


Having a city home and a country weekender, a huge amount of my time is spent on the road…but that’s not a bad thing, in fact I feel very blessed for it! It takes about an hour and a half to go between our city and country homes – that’s 140km garage to gate, 3 tunnels, too many bridges to count, endless grassy and bushy hills, and many opportunities to take different highway exits to explore a different part of the country.

What I love though, what I really love, is how the actual drive down the highway has become some well-deserved “me” time which, let me tell you, is a very rare thing! After making the drive for so many years I’ve come to realise that having a little time to yourself, a little hiatus from the madness of raising kids, succeeding at work and managing some sort of balance in life, is so very crucial to getting to know one’s self. Some people achieve this by going to the gym, others by meditating, others by sitting alone and having a cup of tea. In my case, I find that the only time to be alone, the only time my mind is allowed to wander wherever it wants to go, is when I’m on the open road. It is here where I’m able to dig deep into my psyche to work out what makes me happiest and what scares me the most.

It is a time where my ambitions manifest themselves clearest, where the roots of my fears are explored and where solutions to life’s problems are found. Ok yes I admit most times those issues revolve around minor things like where I’m going to find the time to cook dinner that afternoon, however, other times I’ve found that life changing decisions have been considered and made on the highway. Decisions concerning where to live, how to empower the children and how to help look after our parents have all been looked at and a path of action decided while following those reassuring white lines on the highway.

This time on the road has also become a time of reflection and gratitude – a moment to really think about what’s important to me. To reflect on twenty wonderful years with a loving husband who works so hard not only to satisfy his own ambitions but to make sure our children have every opportunity to follow their dreams. A time to be grateful for having four boisterous, active, healthy kids whose brains are becoming sharper and sharper by the day as they learn to think for themselves rather than look to my husband or myself for solutions. It is away from the madness of everyday life that I remember to be grateful for having them rather than obsessing about them doing their homework and why they can’t put their dirty clothes in the laundry hamper instead of their bedroom floors!

It has to be said though, that the open road also doesn’t mind if you don’t want to think of nothing at all. These times it has to be said are probably my absolute favourites! When turning on the radio and loudly singing to whatever tune is playing is the only thing you really want to do. A time to recover from the stress of living in the city, always being busy, and endlessly negotiating the who, what or where for everyone else….and of course the beauty of this is that it doesn’t matter if your singing is on key or not! The road is very forgiving!!

Then there’s perhaps the biggest question of all – where the hell am I? I think it’s time for a coffee…and maybe a little chocolate…

Amelia #1


Opening the front door, I was welcomed by the distinctly sweet smell of honey boiling on the cooktop. “Mum must be having a good day”, I thought grateful for the delicious aroma caressing my senses. It sure beat the bitter stench of burnt custard which assaulted me when I opened the door yesterday.

Turning the corner into the kitchen, I lightly glided my hand over the etches and stains on the white marble benchtop, thinking of the countless hours watching yiayia prepare food on this surface – cutting home made pasta, rolling out pastry for pies and kneading the daily bread for the family. I took the wooden spoon resting next to the cooktop and stirred the honey simmering away in a saucepan. It had become thick enough to smother the walnut biscuits sitting on the cooling rack. Turning the gas off, I could clearly remember yiayia making these traditional biscuits, “Amelia baby” she would say, “These will be perfect only if you’re happy when you make them”. Smiling as I felt her spirit surrounding me, talking to me, warming my soul, “If food is not cooked with love and respect, it won’t taste right and it’s time completely wasted”.  

Lost in my thoughts, I barely heard the words, “Did you make the earlier bus today Amelia? I wanted to have the biscuits ready for you by the time you got home”.  Feeling the temperature drop as yiayia’s spirit was replaced by the physical presence of my mother, I turned around and saw her spinning around to show me her new dress.

“Do you like it?” she asked, “Do you think Antonio will like it?”

“You look beautiful mum. Did he finally call?” I tentatively asked.

As she smiled and nodded, I felt both relief and sorrow. Relief that mum’s on again off again boyfriend had finally called and that her faith in love had been restored. The sorrow came from a deeper place within my soul, one where I felt pity for a woman who only valued her worth based on the actions of a man. I will never be like her. I will be the judge of what I am worth and who is worthy of my love.

 The phone started ringing interrupting my thoughts, “Hello?”

“Amelia, it’s Antonio. Is Isabella there?”

My mother took the phone from me and soon I could hear her voice becoming more strained and desperate with each sentence. “Please don’t do this, not so soon, not with her. How can you choose her over me again!” I turned to see her abruptly drop the phone and her body begin to heave with uncontrollable sobs. Running across the kitchen her hand swiped across the bench, clipping the rack filled with the biscuits.

Watching them fall to the ground I could not help but be filled with sadness and a sense of loss. Grabbing the dustpan and brush I reflected how easily the kitchen had once again become just a place to satisfy the need to prepare and consume food.