Wonderful is waiting lets go out and find it

In the words of Ronan Keating (with a little tweak)

Life is a rollercoaster. So don’t fight it. Just gotta ride it

How big a roller coaster life is often depends more on the choices you make rather than fate and all choices have good and bad consequences and some choices will be smarter than others. You can spend your life beating yourself up over your poor choices but I believe life is too short to do that.

I recently had the pleasure of sitting round the table with a number of like-minded people who have followed diverse career paths at Zoe Routh’s World Leaders Round Table. It was very heartening to see and hear the other people in the room like me struggled at times and continually questioned their capacity to pull off their vision for a better world.

Using Joseph Campbell’s Heroes’ Journey as an analogy. Once I had a cause

“I have a vision for a respected, profitable, innovative, cohesive, and collaborative agrifood sector. A philosophy I hold so strongly that I am totally unwilling to accept defeat,”

that meant more to me than anything else and the mentors arrived in my life I was very excited to cross the threshold


ht Zoe Routh – Source: http://alifetothemax.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/the-hero_s-journey.jpg

But I have always and still do struggle with the ‘threshold guardians’ who form part of the tests and challenges in the graphic above.

The well-meaning one’s (usually family and friends) I understand and appreciate but the henchman aka the Nancies amusingly explained in this Glove and Boots video really occupy my head space far too much

To the ‘Shadows’ I say bring it on. They are the ones who white ant you at every opportunity and in my case I want to thank them. They are the ones who (despite what they perceive they are doing) throw wood on and stoke the fire in my belly when I start to doubt myself

At the moment I am truly enjoying and been inspired by the highly frivolous but beautiful new Myer’s add and when the henchman fill my head space, my other voice comes along and says ‘Wonderful is waiting lets go out and find it’

The add is beautiful and I love clothes and shoes. As you can see from this story in the Weekly Times in Miranda’s column “The glamorous face of farming’


My fav shoes at the moment, including the red ones mentioned in the above article.   

According to Sustainable Fashion academic Professor Kate Fletcher

Fashion feeds our emotional needs- its sets us apart or helps us along

The overlaying of emotional needs on physical goods fuels resource consumption, generates waste and promotes short term thinking as we turn our gaze from one silhouette, hemline and colour palate to the next in search of the next new experience

It also leaves us dissatisfied and disempowered, as physical goods no matter how many of them we consume can never truly satisfy our physiological needs’

I can imagine the Myer add is making Kate cringe and OMG in my endeavours to reduce my footprint on the planet walking away from my love of fashion shopping might be the hardest thing I have ever attempted

Wish me luck. I can’t guarantee it will be on my 2015 New Year’s Resolution list but Jane Milburn has definitely made my list of heroes for 2014

I do want to make a difference in this world like a lot of other people but in this case I am taking one step a time and Myer is doing their very best to be my clothes and shoes fetish henchman but they have given me a wonderful new voice in my head.

Loving this.  Never be afraid to show up before you are ready

ht Fleur Porter

BTW What is my definition of a hero? A hero to me is anyone who makes a commitment (and walks the talk) to add value to the lives of others beyond themselves. As you can see by my definition the world has many many heroes

The things that you find in your loo

I have a frog who lives in my toilet.  To be polite I wont spend too much time talking about the ramifications of that. All I will say is I pay of a lot of attention when I use that room and it certainly is heart starter I can do with out when you don’t see it and it jumps out of the bowl at you when you flush. You can imagine my piercing screams

I was part of a Facebook conversation recently with YFC’s Kylie Stretton and Bron Roberts that clearly showed living in the country often meant you shared your home with diverse array of animals that you would preferred stayed outside where you didn’t want to see them either.

But aren’t frogs fascinating My frog likes to come up the loo and make his/her way  up the hall to my ensuite which is tiled with beige travertine. Sometimes I know the frog is there because it croaks and keeps me a wake at night. Amazingly the frog changes colour to the match the travertine  and most times I don’t see it until I put my shampoo bottle accidently on it and it screeches. Far too many heart starters in my house 


The frog who lives in my bathroom ( when he is not living in my loo)

Cat looking for frog

The cat spotted him and the chameleon capability came in very handy as a life saving tool 

Wow fancy being able to change colour at will when the mood takes you

Color changes like this are created by special pigment cells called chromatorphores. Inside these cells, grains of pigment cause color changes by shifting their distribution. When the grains are packed together in the center of each cell, the frog is light colored. When the pigment grains spreads out within each cell, the frog’s color darkens and intensifies. See http://www.exploratorium.edu/frogs/mainstory/frogstory3.html

And believe it or not humans may soon be able to change colours of their clothes to suit the ambiance of where you can be just like a chameleon?

This could soon be a reality as a textile designers have now come up with an interactive electronic fabric that can change colours in seconds using a number of electronic devices. See more here

OUT OF THE OFFICE aka Get a life

No-one has ever received an I’M OUT OF THE OFFICE office email from me. That’s because I am never out of the office (see footnote) and if I was there is no-one to replace me. Poor me (please send flowers)


Thank you for this great little infographic

Truly – How is that for work life balance?  Not an impressive badge of honour to wear and I don’t recommend it to anyone. Not that this is new.  Its now fifteen years since I worked for some-one else and all I can say is I am glad smart phones didn’t exist then because even when I left the office (which was usually a 90 hour per week gig) I never relaxed nor was I much fun ( and kudos to my family and friends for putting up with me)


Now I am not alone in that there are plenty of people kidding themselves who email back within 5 minutes of me receiving the original OUT OF THE OFFICE message. I will kid myself here and say that’s because I am really important.

Just to show you the how the connected world is keeping us very connected I am finding LinkedIn a great tool for identifying potential Young Farming Champions. To reach as many people who can identify rising young stars I have been building up my LinkedIn connections. Last Sunday I sent 30 Connect with Me requests to agribusiness professionals at 5.30am. Sixteen of these people had replied by 7.30am. Does the agribusiness sector ever turnoff – me thinks not?

So 2014 is the year I reach my ideal weight and get an office assistant and a life work balance, meet new exciting and energizing people and have fun

You will be pleased to know I got off to a reasonable start and I did however manage to find some me-time over the last 3 weeks to relax

That involved making good use of my Kindle iPad app and my new Apple TV ( love it) catching up on all the movies I’ve missed in  the last 3 years ( I mean who doesn’t go to the movies for 3 years – pathetic Lynne) and spending lots of idle time on my front verandah reading


Love my front verandah – all it needs is me and a glass of wine

Now my friends all tend to have very diverse reading habits with only my sister having a similar penchant from crime novels to me. So where does one go to find book and movie recommendations and inspiration from like minded souls. All I can say is thank god for DR Google

Search “Best Books for 2013”

Search “Best Crime Novels for 2013”

Search “Best movies 2010-2013”

and a special thanks to all those bloggers out there who share fav movies and books

So I am going to do my bit (note to book publishers – please send your appreciation reward to my “get a life” fund)

Here’s my list of recommendations and BTW I do read other things beside crime novels but starting with Crime Novels ( note some a lot darker than others )

Now I read anything by Jo Nesbo with Police being a highlight for 2013, Michael Robotham ( Watching You was good ), David Baldacci (note if you are like me and over the Danielle Steele genre – BEWARE every now and then he brings out one of those gut wrenching power of love and determination and miracles story), Robert Goddard, Michael Connelly, Karin Fossum, Nicci French ( loved the trilogy Blue Monday, Tuesday’s Gone and Waiting for Wednesday – bring on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday I say), Camilla Lackberg and a fair bit of Jodi Piccoult stuff.

I love Ian Rankin, am bit over Val McDermid, still fond of Elizabeth George, don’t mind a bit of Grisham every now and then and there are lots of great Scandinavian crime writers of the ilk of Stieg Larsson like Arnaldur Indridason, Ava Larsson and Hanning Mankell

My 2013 highlights have been


Police by Jo Nesbo ( me thinks this has been his best yet)


The Rosie Project by Graham Simsion is an absolutely hilarious, feel-good novel. I read this on the plane.  How embarrassing just couldn’t help myself from laughing out loud and if you have ever heard me laugh you would know what I mean. Whilst the ending is a bit lame I cant wait for the movie.

Thriller with a nice mix of humour

When Will there there be Good News by Kate Atkinson –  I love her sense of humour, ( not for reading on the plane) her sharp eye for the quirks of human behaviour and tales of dramatic events with unexpected twists

The Cuckoos Calling by Undercover J.K. Rowling, aka “new” crime writer Robert Galbraith is a very entertaining move into a new crime novel genre for Rowling.

Very Very dark ( for me anyway)

The Gillian Flynn Trilogy with Gone Girl being the highlight


Sister by Rosamund Lupton  This is a confusing emotive and compelling crime novel that really appealed to me yet I couldn’t get into her next novel Afterwards

Historical Fiction

The Aviators Wife by Melanie Benjamin

This is the story of the relationship between Anne and Charles Lindberg told from her perspective. This book was beautiful. It was raw, and heartbreaking in places; but beautifully done.

A review of the book I related to

It was real. It never tied itself up in a neat little bow. It was complex, and deep. It was unfair, and unresolved. It was life. I liked the stream of consciousness narrative. I fell in love with Anne, the main character, as she copes with the unexpected ups and downs of marriage, fame, and life, while trying to find herself, and figure out what it means to be a woman.

Motivational –  don’t normally read this sort of stuff  but then again it was a year of doing things I don’t normally do

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In Lean In,

She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.”  She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home.
Written with both humor and wisdom, Sandberg’s book is an inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth. Lean In is destined to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can.

A Way Through – The Rick Farley Story by Nicholas Brown and Susan Bowen ( I will write a separate blog post about this book )

Bit of fairly serious Chick lit

In a Moment by Caroline Finnerty is a very emotional read, be prepared to go through all the stages of grief, Denial, Anger, Depression and then Acceptance.

A Beautiful Death  by Fiona McIntosh sees drop dead gorgeous DCI Jack Hawksworth and his team venture into the murky world of human organ trading.

Still on my list of Must Reads is

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, who is of course the bestselling author of truly wonderful and gut wrenching The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns,

Paris Wife  by Paula McLain, which according to the reviews is in a similar vein to the Aviators Wife and a

A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Love to hear what your fav book is and why


When getting a life means I venture beyond my front veranda for more than 24 hours apparently the most polite and most popular Out of the Office email should look something like this

Thank you for your email. I am out of the office from [DAY, DATE] to [DAY, DATE] and unable to respond at this time.

I will review your message following my return on [DAY, DATE]. If you need immediate assistance, contact [Name, phone number and email address].

Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

Your  Name

I personally would prefer

“I have been kidnapped by my friends until <insert date> . They are holding me hostage, but treating me well. A condition of my release is my full surrender of all technology and complete cooperation…I will respond as soon as I am home safe and sound.”

PS Victoria I know you said you couldn’t be friends with anybody who didn’t like Canada by Richard Ford. Please make an exception for me. Whilst this book got rave reviews (you have plenty of new found friends) your current friend Lynne just found this book was all dark and no light – so depressing far too much ‘dirty realism’ for me

Victoria please remember I am with Marlene Dietrich ( and I am very, very confident you are too)

“It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.”

Moo2Ewe and friends

Now I live on a dairy farm where as you can imagine there are a lot of cows who certainly pay their way. A number of diverse animals alive and life like also live on the farm. Some of whom are sometimes a little bit too friendly and eat far too much food 

Last night I answered a knock at my back door but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting

Clover Hill  Sheep  (17) 

I had not one but two visitors who were quite determined to come in

Clover Hill Sheep  (18)

and cute and cuddly as they were

Clover Hill Sheep  (32)

Running round and round the house playing 

Clover Hill  sheep (30)

Visiting Dorper sheep admire the garden 

Clover Hill  Sheep (34)

but I wasn’t too happy when I saw this

Clover Hill  Sheep (25) 

Note the pots of salad greens which were quickly spotted by the sheep

Clover Hill Vegies no more   (70)

and gobbled up. On top of that I would say there is about one hour’s work involved in cleaning up the back laundry where they had obviously spent some time before they knocked on my back door

Clover Hill  Sheep Poo (65) 

Then early this morning I had a visit from some of my rainforest friends.

Clover Hill  (1)

Does it get much better than this. Early mornings and late afternoons often see my house visited by swamp wallabies

and you will notice my very colourful life like cows friends on the verandah have now

Clover Hill Calves (56)

been joined by a cow I am very happy to have ‘living’ in my garden.

Clover Hill Desert Pea  (45)

At least I can be confident she wont be eating me out of house and home


BTW Those who read my previous post will be as pleased as the locals to see the rain has blessed us and we now have grass. My thoughts go out to farmers in NW NSW yet to be receive rain and  those in a similar situation in Queensland

Feel the energy

coffee shop (11)

Yesterday saw the Archibull judging move to the Rouse Hill Town Centre where the cows in the Baulkham Hill Shire have been on display for the last years in the library.

The judging was quite full on with judge Wendy Taylor talking to young Picassos from the schools and assessing their masterpieces

It was great to hear people going past saying “look the cows are back” and popping in to get a sneak peak

Next door was a buzz of activity, music and people having a lot of fun

coffee shop (9)

and we took the plunge and stepped in.

coffee shop (7)

The Coffee Emporium where the website claims

You will be transported to a truly European style coffee house.  Your eyes will be entertained with glossy marble, contrasted with warm timbers subdued lighting and polished glass.  Your sense of smell will be teased with the aroma of freshly ground coffee and a sweet and savoury food menu. Your ears will be delighted with the steady hum of conversation, the hiss of the barista working their magic on the coffee machine and delighted customers returning for more of their favourite coffee.  With just one taste you will know that you have arrived at the home of the “perfect coffee”.

and they were right we could definitely ‘feel the energy’

coffee shop (3)

The Rouse Hill Coffee Emporium is owned by Chadi Issa.  Chadi had worked as a casual at a number of coffee shops over the years in addition to his “day job” as a Sales Rep with a major clothing retailer and always wanted to have his own business. The Coffee Emporium gave him that chance and he opened his store at Rouse Hill in March 2008.

I believe that energy makes a good coffee an outstanding coffee, I do everything with love and passion and my team are trained and operate exactly the same.. Positive energy beams from the shop, because we’re all doing what we love. I don’t see this as work which is why we have so much fun..

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Now the pictures only tell part of the story Check out this footage I took to see just how entertaining Chadi is

An apple for the doctor

I like to think of myself as a glass half full person but I can tell you I spent quite a bit of time first thing this morning doing my damndest to find the bright side

Day 2 of Archibull Prize  judging ended up with me in a hotel in Sydney where I found myself in a disabled room. Often this a good thing, The rooms tend to be larger and for a blind person like me its much safer when you don’t have to climb in and out of a bath to have shower. Though as a tall person the sink at knee level isn’t always ideal.

This room however was a definite after thought with the bathroom being modified by  replacing the bathroom door with a wooden architrave and a concertina curtain door that was not handling the battering by wheelchairs (and to be perfectly honest those wheel chair drivers deserved medals for even fitting the chair through the door)

This morning I got out of the shower bent down to pick up a towel and went ouch, Damn I thought I had caught the side of the architrave and broken a nail. So I grabbed the emery board as all us girls always have at our finger tips and popped on the glasses and was just about to file and noticed the nail was still in place but their was nasty chunk of wood poking out the top.

Just what I needed when we were on a tight schedule visiting four schools in Sydney on day 3 to judge the Archibull Prize before heading up the central coast for day 4 of judging

Now the bright side of all this despite the increasing pain ( trust me it was painful) did surface. As it so happened I had to take a quick detour before I headed out to Menai High School to hook-up with the art judge Wendy Taylor.

Fortuitously (is that the right word here) I had a bit of surgery last week that required having stitches out this morning and if ever I needed ready access to a doctor today was the day.

Then the nurse says I think we may need the surgeon to pull this out (a bit of overkill I thought) but he might not be available for a couple of hours. Scream

Anyway she was my hero and got it out without me fainting and what a relief that was I can tell you

I took a picture  and what do you think the first thing I thought of when I saw it was –  Oh my goodness look at those ratty cuticles

Splinter IMG_8487

You will be pleased to know the rest of the day was filled with glass overflowing moments.  Wow have we got some outstanding Archies this year

Here is just a taste of what we saw today

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