See you later…. Canada

The Ojibway people do not even have a word for goodbye. I really like that. Instead they say ‘See you later’ or ‘See you next time’.

So, see you next time Canada. It has been an absolute pleasure. Dad always told me it was one of his favourite places to travel and it is now one of mine! With friendly, inclusive people and breathtaking scenery how could it not be?

As we embark on the final leg of our trip, I am blown away by the things we have seen and done. By how lucky we are to be able to have done it and how grateful I am to my husband’s suggestion of hosting an exchange student. It has broadened our outlook in so many ways. Giving a little something to others can really lead to receiving so much.

I am also grateful I was able to carry one of my passions with me to Canada. On my travels over the years I have swam in pools, oceans, seas, lakes, rivers and most recently freshwater lakes that were frozen only 6 weeks ago! We also visited a local 50m pool in Sudbury and I traded swimming caps with a lovely girl who was training to swim a 20km swim in Lake Erie. She told me she just loves to swim, I can identify!

So as we arrive at the airport to head to Los Angeles I am feeling happy and relaxed. No stress (apart from a brief period when trying to get my daughter moving this morning!).

And guess what…….. today the universe was on my side. We saw the elusive bear! Just 4 hours before flying out, on the side of the road and it was a cub!! So cute.


P.S. Ok a tad stressful getting through Toronto airport. Apparently my finger prints don’t work!

Days 1-9: Glorious food – USA and Canada

As we go off the tourist beaten track and head into the Canadian wilderness, I wanted to reflect on the happiness of my stomach!

I had this notion that while on this trip, we would be eating burgers and chips every day. Boy was I wrong. I had completely underestimated the multi cultural background of these giant cities.

From street food (a whole different entity to that which I have encountered in other travels of Asia for example), to Restaurants of all kinds, to hotel breakfasts, to pubs, we have been utterly spoilt.

Now, unfortunately I have no photos of food (shame my sister isn’t with us, she loves to image food). But, I will have a go at describing some of my favourites.

Night 1: Times Square. Shredded Peking Duck crepes from a street vendor. Thick, succulent pieces of duck with plum sauce and fresh crunchy cucumber and spring onion. Teamed with an ice cold beer. Yum.

Day 1: Ellen’s Stardust Diner. Broadway. This place actually didn’t rate that highly for the food but as I have not previously mentioned it, here is as good a place as any. Here we had a traditional American breakfast of Eggs, Bacon and tater tots (kids super happy with that). But, the special bit was the entertainment (another moment when my son’s jaw dropped and his eyes popped out of his head) as the waiters broke into song as they served you. A special highlight was the rendition of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ (both kids know this song from school and weirdly enough we have now heard it in several different places on this trip!).

This Diner lost 17 waiters to Broadway shows last year, so you can imagine the quality. Was so much fun!

Day 2: Fresh Strawberries from a street vendor in the middle of Manhattan. Juicy, sweet and plump. The family all agreed one of the best Strawberry experiences ever (and we eat a lot of them!).

Night 4: Sbarro. Times Square. Most amazing Italian buffet. Charged by weight this place had yummy bright fresh salads, pastas, meat (including amazing but heavy meatballs!) and pizza. With a glass of red in hand, I was in heaven.

Night 5: Family Restaurant. Niagara Falls. Baby Back ribs and Buffalo wings. My son’s introduction to baby back ribs. He was actually speechless. He mumbled something about why had we not told him about these before!! (Probably because we don’t see them too often). Also a very funny moment here worth mentioning…….. our son asking our waiter if he could please get Dad drunk so he will spend more money in the Arcade!! The waiter thought it was hilarious and did proceed to constantly offer more beer (although Dad resisted!).

Day 7: Poutine. Street vendor Toronto Waterfront. A local delicacy we had previously been told about, fresh cut chips, gravy and cheese curd. Simple but so good (probably our daughter’s favourite). Perfect while sitting on a wall watching a French speaking rock band!!

In addition to all this we have had huge buffet breakfasts (not every day!), sushi, Thai, burgers and chips (had to be done at some point!) Lebanese kebabs, salads, fruit and ice cream!

The next 10 days we actually have cooking facilities so no doubt my skills in the kitchen will not live up to the last week or so. However, the bank account will be grateful for the break!



Why don’t people think the way I do? Why do they not ‘get’ what I am going through? These are questions I have asked myself and my husband on a regular basis in recent months. The answer is…….. because I haven’t told them!! I haven’t told them because doing so is admitting I am struggling and to me that seems like failure. But, at the end of the day everyone can see that I am struggling and by not admitting it, it comes across as me being a grumpy and inflexible b#*^@.

I am realising that admitting our short comings and identifying things to others that cause us stress and anxiety, is actually a display of strength. Not weakness. It is showing them that you have identified something and are trying to change and improve it. People respect that and are more than happy on most occasions to actually help you with whatever you are struggling with.

I have always been particularly bad at asking for help. I would prefer to struggle on than admit I can’t do everything. Yet, on the converse side, I love to help people. If one of my friends or family ask me for help, I relish in the opportunity (maybe because it makes me feel important) and guess what…………. I bet that means my friends would relish in the opportunity to help me, if only I gave them the chance.

At the end of the day, despite what is displayed on the outside, most of us have at least one struggle or insecurity we are dealing with. So, why do we not tell people and accept help? We are actually all the same, our struggle might be different but we would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have one.

Perfectionism is tiresome. I am not perfect and you are not perfect. It is time for me to stop trying to be perfect, to speak up and ask for help. If I don’t, people start to make assumptions and sometimes these can be worse and have more repercussions than just admitting your shortfalls.



Why is it that we make ourselves feel guilty? This is a common theme amongst women I know and are close to. We feel guilty for taking time to ourselves. Whether it is cooking, cleaning, playing with the kids or exercising, there always feels like there is something we should be ‘getting done’. For example, it is currently Saturday afternoon and I can not sit still, there is this restlessness inside me telling me sitting is wrong somehow.

Guilt for me is a big thing. It seems as well as my issue with the word ‘important’, I have an issue with ‘guilt’. I know that I am particularly masterful at making myself feel bad. Instead of looking at the things that I have achieved in any one day, I look at the things I didn’t get to. This is common in almost all my walks of life, but it isn’t right.  I should absolutely be looking at the things have I achieved each day.

I read articles, books and threads on Facebook that say we need time for ourselves, we need time to be still and reflect. We need time to just be us and do things we enjoy doing. But, how many Mums actually do that?  and of those that do, how do you quieten that voice in the back of your head reminding you of the chores and responsibilities awaiting your attention?

This is a pertinent discussion with Mother’s Day here in Australia tomorrow. A day where the family ‘gives back’ to the Mother to show appreciation for all the things she does and sacrifices for them. My kids and husband will give me some lovely gifts and a breakfast in bed (if I am super lucky) and we will spend a lovely morning with my Mum and my Mother-in-law.

However, this year I need to consciously give myself a gift. I need to tell myself, it is ok to sit back when I need to. It is ok to rest and listen to my body. It is actually not my family that needs to give me permission to rest, I need to give that to myself………….because a healthy and happy Mum is more valuable to a family than an overworked and stressed out one.


Cortisol overload.

Today was one of those days, where I really wonder what I am doing to myself. This is nothing to do with wanting to feel important. This is to do with the fact, on top of my desire to constantly take on too much, I work in a job that is known to be high pressure. I work in a healthcare role where, not only are we always trying to fit in more, we are dealing with human emotions when people are at their most vulnerable.

By lunchtime my cortisol had spiked countless times. I was finding it difficult to find ways to drop it down. I could feel it in my chest, everything felt tight and tense. I know I should do some controlled breathing, stretching, or walking, yet I didn’t allow myself time to do it. Today, I was relying solely on my aromatherapy and it wasn’t cutting it.

More to the point though, I need to find strategies to avoid it happening in the first place. Today, a great deal of it was in my own head. I was rostered to work in a different practice. I was out of my comfort zone and working on unfamiliar equipment. On the drive there I was uptight and thinking about how difficult my day was going to be……………so it was.

Instead of telling myself I am capable and I could handle whatever was thrown at me, I chose to tell myself it was going to be hard. My parents will tell me I have always been a pessimist. I have always liked to think I am just preparing myself for the worst case scenario, so that I can handle it and I have already thought through my options. But, the mind is a powerful thing and often what we think might happen, does happen, because we make it happen.

The worst part about this whole scenario is, I still feel the effects now. I finished work 2 and a half hours ago and I still feel uptight. So, what have I done? Reached for the bottle of wine…………….



I turned 40 ……..

So a few months ago I turned 40 and just like the cliche suggests, not long later I had a ‘midlife crisis’ (well at least that is what I am calling it). I lost the plot, I couldn’t go on, I couldn’t cope with work, with sporting commitments, with the kids, with cooking, with running a house. I GOT SICK. I GOT SICK IN THE HEAD!

But, I am kidding myself to think that this was just because I had turned 40. No, this had been coming for a long time. This was the perfect storm mostly by my own creation. It is a long story of how I did this to myself and how I really, really want to change my brain and the way I think (which is too much, too often, too negative, blah blah) .

I want to write and share this blog because I really want to change, before the same thing happens to my kids. I realised yesterday,  I ‘leak’ my stress and anxiety, my family feel it, absorb it and take it on. I want to change so that I don’t die young (I am now getting physical illnesses because of my mental illness) and I want to help other people who feel like me.

P.S Forgive me, while I work out how to use this blog thing!!