and in other news this week

My next door neighbour died. 

Think about the street you live in. You moved here, what, just over twenty years ago? (That’s too long! Move on!) How many houses in the street? About forty, row houses, I’ve never counted in all this time… A handful of neighbours pre-date you, another handful rolled in around the same time as you. You’re all bunched up, up this end of the street – the houses surrounding you, and across from you, full of the familiar but not actual friends. Down the other end, especially on this side, they come and go. You wouldn’t know them if you tripped over them. 

The ones you know by name – the nodders, the hellos, the little bits of family history divulged…if you’d had to write it on a scrap of paper and slide that into a time capsule way back when you arrived hers was not the name you’d have penned! She was not who you’d expect to go first! (Ok not technically first but those already gone, those four, were all old and infirm). First of us, our age group, inconceivable. 

I spoke to her husband on the weekend. He’s not a nice man, I have to be honest, but I heard love, pain, such grief in his voice. I took the dead flowers away. 

the ghost of summers past


I don’t love summer anymore.

Summer brings out the inner city kids, and their silliness. Drunken voices on their way home from the pub, or just hanging out in the street, make my veins flow with fear.

I hear my son in every group. The difficult years rush back at me. The time before the silence.

When I was younger I lay in the sun and swam for days. Jasmine, fresh cut grass, suntan lotion – smells of summer smiles. By day the box of mangoes on the kitchen table never seemed to empty, and father at the bbq by the pool in the evening.

Summer’s not my season anymore. I keep my balcony doors closed, and increase the volume until the tv’s rhubarb is louder than…



true north?


We went north last week where the days are warm – and the waves, and dolphins, are at the bottom of the garden. That’s no lie.

Six chairs of laughter around the groaning pizza table. Cousins on tour.

The town overflows with people – tourists; and the ferals down from the hills, wearing scent of whacky weed. All lured by the road to promise…

I heard Julia Gillard speak at the writers’ festival, and I met her afterwards. A minute of history with our first female Prime Minister.

Stop the wheel, I want to get off. This rat race feels so very wrong on return. There’s another world of wonder out there…




we didn’t do our learning IN a laneway


Last night I dragged myself out in the cold, out of my apathy and had the best time. Went where the wild things were…

wild thing

Such is the magnetism of Walter Mason. He shared experience, and magic, with a room full of us for just over an hour. I came away with valuable writing, and travelling tips! And a big smile and lightness of being. It’s a tonic just being in his company – something I already knew and, as a community service, I’m sharing that knowledge with you ;-)

Walter is incredibly generous with his time – check his blog for information about talks, workshops, trips he leads…read his books! Many of his talks involve showcasing other authors and are freely given. He’s also an example of how to make the most of social media – again not just for himself.

I’ve been a huge fan since I first discovered Destination Saigon and I hope we cross paths again and again…


(check out laneway learning too)





Change came through the front door like the Hogwart’s bus in the last twelve months. I know that change is the only constant, and I know well the Buddha’s teaching on impermanence…even so, there’s been a lot going on.

For many years it felt like things were stagnant, as mother’s care was front and centre. Life ran by roster and schedule. I couldn’t go to the supermarket without clearing time out with siblings. Someone always knew where I was. It just didn’t seem like it would ever change.

I went to Ireland! I’ve always wanted to stand where my ancestors did and breathe. To know why I feel Irish. The opportunity was thrown at me and it all happened in a rush.

Youngest, yes the ‘sick’ one, moved to America…also unexpected and sudden, and it’s done.

And then BOOM. Mother took her last breath surrounded by, touched by, all her offspring. The roller coaster went way, way down and had to instantly speed back to the peak…

Eldest married that gorgeous guy! Such a happy night under the stars. Smiles, laughter, speeches, tunes, friends, family. LOVE.

And those four major life events took place within two months…boom.

Without pause to process, the calendar flipped over, and work should have chugged along without brain engagement. (Yes, I’m aware of how ridiculous that sounds ;-) – obviously I use my brain in the office, but I know what I’m doing and the day flows..)

Something broke between my boss and I earlier this year, and maybe it’s not my escape anymore – I can see beyond this life.

I sold the old marital home. I’ve long wanted that part of my life gone and in this current ridiculously high market it was snapped up, to be torn down…new life.

The winds of change are swirling. Next?

I begin to think I must be dreaming again, sleeping better, because I have no responsibilities. Nothing to worry about when my eyes open. No need to check in or out.

And so next year I might take two voyages of discovery. Mid year back to the US to my baby’s graduation. Before that – an author friend let me know he’s hoping to lead a writing retreat in Laos. IF it goes ahead who wants to join me….Livonne do you have any travel plans next year? Robert, February in Luang Prabang?

I think I’m going to write the Irish story in Laos.