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Writing Regularly – The Blogging Hour

April 30, 2013

Wow, I am not good at writing and publishing daily blog posts. Which is weird, because I’m constantly making mental notes to myself about what I want to write about. And it’s not like I’m so crazy-busy that I don’t have time to write. I just…don’t.

Sometimes I start writing posts, but don’t quite finish them. I’ve got several unfinished draft posts waiting for more work. I’ve got vodka and rum Booze of the Week posts that I need to write and put up. I’d like to get back to working on the Big List of Aussie Blogs. And I want to talk about the books I’m reading, and the TV shows I’ve been watching, and about various political and cultural issues that have been bugging me. But, for some reason (or reasons), it doesn’t seem to be happening. I’m not getting the words out.

I’m thinking that I need to set aside a specific time for blogging. One hour a day that is reserved for writing. That might help me actually get it done, and also lessen the chance that when I am actually writing, I won’t be doing it at a time when I should be doing other things. Like getting the kids ready for school and getting myself ready for work. Like I’m doing right now.

I like the idea of doing it first thing in the morning, but that would mean getting up at, like, 5:30 and lately I’m been seriously dragging ass out of bed. I think it might be because I’m eating a lot of unhealthy crap, so maybe it’ll change after I start eating better (I’m starting today). But until then, I’ll do it at night. From 9:30 to 10:30 each night will be Wil’s Blogging Hour.

Booze of the Week: Tequila

April 13, 2013
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I’m a margarita guy. I love ’em. The lime. The salt. It’s an iconic summertime drink. My first experiences with margaritas were in TexMex restaurants like Casa Ole and Two Pesos. Big, frozen “fish bowl” margaritas, and I can’t even imagine how many blenders I burned up trying to make them at parties.

And then at some point in the late Eighties, I found out that not all margaritas were frozen. Honestly, I think the first mention of a margarita on the rocks was on a Jimmy Buffett T-shirt. But the first time I ever tried one was at Pico’s Mex-Mex restaurant on Bellaire Blvd. in Houston. It was only about a mile from my apartment, and they had a whole menu, just for margaritas. The food was good too, but the margaritas are what blew my mind. The top shelf — tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. Served over ice in an old fashioned glass. It was so simple. So delicious. So refreshing. And that feeling in your skull was a buzz, not brain-freeze. And I never went back to candy-ass frozen margaritas again.

And the margarita has been my go-to tequila drink. An occasional Tequila Sunrise. Shooters at parties from time to time. But that’s about it. So when I decided that tequila would be the Booze of the Week, the one drink I knew I was not going to make was a margarita. Instead, I went with the popular (in Mexico, at least) Paloma. Tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda. I was going to hunt down some Jarritos, but in the end I figured it would be easier just to buy some grapefruit juice and add my own soda water. It was okay, but as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a big grapefruit guy. I also tried a Tequila and Tomato cocktail, with tequila, tomato juice, lime juice, and a splash of Tobasco sauce, garnished with coriander leaves. It was tasty, but not something I’d consider a go-to drink. And I made up a couple of Sunrises, just for old times’ sake, and also because I figured that grenadine would be a good mixer to have on hand. It was okay, but the grenadine was really, really sweet.

And then I decided to try a drink that I’ve never actually heard of a real person drinking. I say not a real person because the only time I’ve heard of the drink is on an episode of Lost. But I had all the ingredients, so I mixed one up. And it’s awesome! The lime and the soda add flavour, but not to the point of overpowering the tequila. I could very happily drink them all night long. I didn’t, mind you, but I could.

I didn’t take any pictures of the different drinks (too busy drinking them, I guess), but I did get a snap of my slowly-growing bar:
barIt’s getting there, but I’ve got to admit, I’m a little worried that I’m going to be able to add bottles fast enough that I don’t drink what I’ve got and need to replace it. Over the next six weeks or so, I want to add Cointreau, Kahlua, vodka, scotch, vermouth and rum to the bar, and by then I’ll probably have to replentish a few bottles. Then I’ll probably add a more liqueurs and mixers, and now that I’ve started looking, there sure seem to be a hell of a lot of them available.

Big List of Aussie Blogs – B

April 12, 2013
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babblingbandit.me – Vanessa blogs about the joys and challenges of sole parenting, walking away from the party life, dealing with weight issues, depression, anxiety and more.

Baby Name Pondering – Brooke has been blogging about baby names for nearly a year.

baby space – Bron Bates blogs about kids, parenting, kids’ clothes and decorating children’s and baby’s rooms.

backstreetbondi.com – Elisabeth Wynhausen writes beautifully about the people and places in a neighborhood she so clearly loves, Sydney’s legendary Bondi.

BeaSpokeQuilts – Siobhan Rogers blogs about sewing and quilting.

Beautiful Coincidence – Jem shares some of her poetry and her uplifting messages of hope and happiness.

because writing is my vice – Lisa Wardle is an author who blogs about writing and reading, including book reviews and author interviews.

Beginners Guide to a Nervous Breakdown – Istina Mavet is a painter who blogs with honesty,bravery, and humour about her life as she deals with anxiety, depression, and insecurity.

Bell Night – Bell is a writer and avid reader who writes short bios about authors she likes.

Belle Amie, Mother of Three – Renee is a former Army sergeant, now SAHM and self-described “undomestic goddess” who blogs about parenting, food, fitness, and more.

Belle’s Bookshelf – Belle, not surprisingly, blogs about books. Including classic and contemporary fiction reviews, comparisons of books and their TV/movie adaptations, and even “bookish buys”–recommended literary- and book-related items (clothing, jewelry, home furnishings, etc.

Ben Pobjie’s Wonderful World of Objects – Ben is a writer, comedian, and mad Tweeter, but even though he’s a big-time, world-famous celebrity, he blogs like a real person, so I’m including his blog on the list.

benandwine – Ben blogs about wine in a way that might be meaningful to wine-lovers, but makes very little sense to me. I’m sure if I took his wine course, it would all become clear, but since it’s in Melbourne and I’m in Canberra, I don’t see it happening.

Big Curvy Love – Kelly Glover writes about fashion, fitness, health, beauty, sex, dating and relationships, and more, all from the perspective of a body-positive size-22 woman.

Big Picture Stuff – Twin sisters Val and Vess post their photos and their thoughts on life, love and art.

Bigwords – Bianca Wordley is an Adelaide-based writer who blogs about her life as a woman, wife and mother of three girls.

Billablog – Bill is an IT guy, podcaster, and musician who blogs about politics, music, and life in general.

Bille Greene and all things in between – Billy Greene shares her experiences as a wife, mother, and woman in her fifties, including “The Road to Truth” about finding, meeting, and building a relationship with her birth mother, Lucy.

Bitten by the Travel Bug – Nicole is 23, lives in Melbourne for half the year and in London the other half, and blogs passionately about her travels.

Blonde Ambition – a journalist and wanderer blogs about her life and adventures in Australia and around the world.

Blonde Ink Blondie is a Canberra-based blogger who writes about dating experiences (and now relationship experiences), local reviews, indigenous issues, and more.

Bloodgifted – Tima Maria, a first-time self-published author, blogs about writing, self-publishing, and more.

Blue Water Dreaming – Sarah and Ben blog about the adventures they’ve been living since deciding two years ago to radically change their lives, sell off everything, buy a boat, and live onboard.

Blunt Instrument I’m not sure about including author John Birmingham’s blog in this list, since it’s published on various newspaper (SMH, Courier-Mail, etc.) websites, but I enjoy reading it and his personal blog, Cheeseburger Gothic, so for now, at least, it’s on the list.

Bobby Dazzler’s Blog – Rob Brennan blogs about life and adventure in the Australian Outback.

Bondville – Steph Bond-Hutkin’s blog is all about Australian-designed products. Especially, but not limited to, kids’ clothing, home decor, gifts for mums and kids, and more.

Book Muster Down Under – Marcia is a South African expat living with her husband and two kids in Toowoomba, QLD. She writes book reviews and sometimes includes author interviews.

Book Thingo – Kat runs a group blog that is all about reading, reviewing, and discussing romance novels.

Book to the Future – Michelle lives in Western Sydney and writes book reviews using a very unique reading list–one book published each year of the 20th century, starting with The Wizard of Oz (1900) and working her way to the present.

Book’d Out – Shellyrae lives in a small country town where the librarians all know her by name, and do everything they can to help her feed her reading habit. She reads and reviews a new book almost every day.

Booklover Book Reviews – Brisbane-based Joanne reviews contemporary women’s lit, romance, mystery, thrillers, and more.

Boy Girl Modern World – Dr. Sheree Gregory writes about “some of the most vexed social, policy and public health issues of contemporary life”, including work/life balance, gender issues and more.

Bra Queen – Renee offers business advice/coaching for the lingerie industry, bra reviews, fitting advice, etc.

Bright Green Laces – Shereen is in Sydney and blogs about fashion.

Bright Side Up – Tasmanian Melissa Jane blogs about parenting, Tasmania, and the many things in her life that make her feel happy and grateful.

Brisbane Threads – a lifestyle blog focusing on Brisbane, with a focus on food, fashion, and health & beauty.

bub sweet and tears – Pip, of Melbourne, blogs about life as a working mum, health, fitness, and more.

Build House Home – this blog is loaded with fashion and home-decorating products and ideas.

Bump – Michelle began blogging about her John’s attempts to conceive through IVF, and now writes about their life with their children, Jack and Francesca.

Bush Babe of Oz – Amanda is a photographer and mother of two who blogs about her life in the Australian bush.

Bushwalking Blog – Neil blogs about bushwalking, mainly around Melbourne and in national parks throughout Victoria.

Busy Mama Bee – a mummyblog that deals specifically with parenting twins.

bytestories – Brendan, Luke, and Pieter invite bloggers from around the world to post short (200-250 word) stories that entertain, inform, and delight.

Seventh Anniversary

April 12, 2013

happy_anniversary

Wow, I just saw a notification from WordPress that says it’s my anniversary, having registered with WordPress.com 7 years ago. I had no idea. I haven’t done much blogging in all that time, and I really wish that I had. I’d really like to have a sort of record of what I’ve been doing and thinking over those years.

We’ve moved house two, maybe three, times. We’ve had our third child. I graduated (finally!) from the University of Canberra, started working at the ANU, and dealt with two major bouts of depression. George W. Bush was still President of the United States, and John Howard was the Prime Minister of Australia. A lot has changed, for me, my family, and for the world.

Not one to let a reason to celebrate go to waste, I have made myself a drink (bourbon and Coke Zero) and will happily raise a glass to commemorate a most glorious, momentous occasion!

Huzzah!

Big List of Aussie Blogs – #

April 9, 2013
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#WreckingBallBlog – fun blog, but the tour is already over.

@MrCorey Stories – author of #WreckingBallBlog, seems like a nice guy, but I’m not sure if it’s my kind of thing.

10% Inspired – CJ is a mummy/lifestyle blogger in Tasmania.

1000 Natural Wonders – nature and animal photography

1001 Children’s Books I Must Read Before I Grow Up (Too Much) – Georgi’s writing style and the parts about her being a book junkie hold my interest more than the parts about the books she’s reading.

365 Days of TED –Suzanne Raft challenged herself to watch a TED talk and blog about it, every day of the year

365 Less Things – Colleen Madsen gets rid of one item from her house every day, as part of her efforts to simplify and declutter her life

4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle – British expat mummy blogger.

50 shades of unemployment – Carmen Neutral (not her real name) blogs about the challenges involved in being over 50 and unemployed.

84th & 3rd – Sydney-based American expat; cooking & dining out

Big List of Aussie Blogs – A

April 9, 2013
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a beautiful story – Sarah writes about hair, makeup, nails, skincare, etc.

A Big Life – Liv is an Aussie writer and English teacher, living in Germany.

A Bigger Brighter World – Marjorie Lewis-Jones is a Sydney-based writer and editor working in the publishing industry who blogs about books.

A Breast Cancer Journey – Bronwyn is a PR consultant in Queensland, blogging about her life after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

A Day In The Life Of Ana – Ana blogs about her life as a woman, wife and mother. She also has other blogs for cooking, books, music, etc.

A Dose of Dannie – Danielle Wallace blogs about her life in Melbourne. She’s a mother of three (one still at home) and carer for her husband, Dion, who suffers from bone cancer, adult autism/Asperger’s, and Parkinson’s-like symptoms.

A Heart Full of Frost – Jessica Frost blogs about her life, including marriage, infertility, crafts, and living gluten free.

A Little Nourishment – Melbourne blogger Kristy writes about food, health and nutrition.

A Little Space like Home – Mandy Ferry is a Melbourne-based mommy blogger.

A Parenting Life – Rhianna blogs about her family and her dreams of becoming a writer some day.

A Penguin a week – Karyn Reeves is a PhD student who reads and reviews a vintage Penguin paperback book every week.

A Pocket Full Of Posie – Cassie Hutchinson is a 22-year-old fashion design student in Melbourne, and blogs about fashion, vegan food, and whatever else takes her fancy.

A Prado, Patrol, 6 kids and Oz – Angie Elphic blogs about her family’s amazing adventures travelling around Australia for a year.

A Quick Succession of Busy Nothings – Kirsti is from Melbourne, is doing her Masters in librarianship, lived in Canberra for three years, and blogs about whatever the hell she feels like.

A Sydney Summer – Jo and her partner, Peter, write about and photograph their summer in Sydney. Fantastic!

A Teachable Moment – Brooke blogs about teaching kindergarten in Sydney.

A Thousand Dates – An anonymous woman blogs about her experiences with online dating.

A Welcoming Hearth – Melanie Graham blogs about her life as a woman, wife, and mother in Perth.

a*muze*ing – Kylie Clark shares her photography and stories of her family life on the Mornington Peninsula.

abLANkblog – Casey Trebilcock blogs about the importance of “purposeful health through the execution of creative, wholesome, modern and clean food.”

About a Bugg – Renee Bugg is a writer and freelance PR, communication and marketing professional who blogs about being the mother of a young girl with Asperger’s.

Actually Amy – Amy blogs primarily about parenting and crafting

Actuarial Eye – Jennifer Lang is a Sydney actuary who blogs about life, risk management, and reviews books. We have similar tastes in non-fiction.

Agent Mark Kelly – Mark is a former IT guy, AFP officer, and is now running his own real estate company on Moreton Bay, Qld. He blogs about leadership, personal growth, and real estate.

Agnes Samour – Agnes is a French expat living in Sydney. She’s a travel writer and photographer,

Alex White – Alex is a Melbourne-based campaign strategist (including several months for Obama for America in 2012) and author of several books on campaigning for unions.

All Things Vice – Eiley Ormsby is a Melbourne-based journalist who blogs about crime, drugs, online scams, etc.

Alpha Reader – Dannielle reviews books, mostly YA fiction. I don’t think I’d like to read many of the books she reviews, but I enjoy reading what she writes about them.

Always Josefa – Josefa is a Melbourne-based blogger who writes vividly and emotionally about her life as a wife and mother.

Alyce Vayle Author – Alyce Vayle is a copywriter, an author, and a blogger who writes about fashion, dieting and weight-loss, relationships, and more.

Amazing Adventures – Michelle blogs about her experiences as the parent of autistic children.

Amy and Trevor’s Blog – a British expat couple living in Canberra with their young children.

An Australian Wintour – Sydneysider Megan Aney blogs about fashion, beauty and travel.

An Idea on Tuesday – Niccola is an early childhood teacher who blogs about kid’s crafting.

An Italophile – Cathy Powell is an Aussie living in England blogging about her love for Italy.

And Sew We Craft – a group crafting blog created by Amy of “Actually Amy”

Anna Savanna – Anna is in corporate communications and writes a lifestyle blog about beauty, fashion, food, etc.

Annabel Smith – Author Anabel blogs about writing, reading, and interviews other

Anna’s Ceramics – Anna Ryland’s blog about her pottery

Annie Seaton – Romance author Annie lives on the north coast of New South Wales with her husband and their dog, blogging about her books and about her experiences with becoming a published author.

Apples Under My Bed – Heidi is a Melbourne-based dietician and blogs about food, cooking, travel, and more.

Araneus1  – Terry Barca is a former school teacher (among other things), lives in the hills outside Melbourne, and blogs about homeschooling, dogs, and more.

Arakadia Homestyle Food and Photography – Tarran’s blog includes lots of recipes and book reviews.

Art of Almost – Tom O’Connell blogs about writing, books, and other literary topics.

Arthritic Chick – A blog about living with arthritis.

Artuccino – Diane blogs about books, poetry, and other literary topics.

Ask Sarah – Surviving Life with Flair – Sarah blogs about food, makeup, and life.

At Gusto – Lots of good recipes, and some crafting, too.

Atypical Type A – Alicia blogs about home decorating and interior design.

AusAgventures – Adventures in Australian Agriculture – Stephanie Coombs publishes an open blog, inviting submissions on all topics related to Australian agriculture.

Aussie Owned and Read – a group blog featuring eight Aussie writers, blogging about the world of Young Adult and New Adult literature and publishing.

AussieReviews – Author Sally Murphy (and others, including guest bloggers) review Australian books.

Australian Women Writers Challenge – Elizabeth Lhuede publishes a group blog that discusses and promotes books written by Australian women.

Australia’s Few – Kristen Alexander’s Battle of Britain Blog – Kirsten and her husband own Alexander Fax Booksellers, specializing in military books in the Mawson shops. She is a member of the Battle of Britain Historical Society and the Aviation Historical Society of Australia, and blogs about Australians who fought in the Battle of Britain.

AusVotes2013 – a group blog managed by Dragonista, discussing politics, policy, elections, and more.

Author Rebecca Mugridge – Rebecca blogs about food, weight-loss, gardening, and more.

Autistic Children Blog – Sarah blogs about raising an autistic child.

My Big List of Aussie Blogs

April 9, 2013
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About a week ago, I was asked to vote for the People’s Choice Award in the Sydney Writers’ Centre’s Best Australian Blogs 2013 competition. I’ve been an avid blog reader for over a decade, and I’m always on the lookout for new blogs to add to my feed reader, so instead of simply voting for a few of my favorites, I copied the whole list of 1000+ blogs.

And now I’m checking them out and putting together a list of them, with a short description. I don’t have every one of the nominated blogs. Some of them I couldn’t find (the voting form doesn’t include links), and some of them were SPAM farms or other things I don’t want on my list. I’m interested in real blogs written by real people.

I thought I’d get through the list fairly quickly. A letter of the alphabet each day. But over and over, I keep getting drawn in, reading posts, looking at some amazing photography, clicking links, until the next thing I know, I’ve been on the site for a half an hour, an hour, or even longer. So maybe this is going to take longer than I thought. But I’m having a great time doing it, so I guess it doesn’t really matter. And when I get to the end of the list, I’ll go back though and follow the links and the blogrolls and discover even more Aussie blogs, and add them to the list.