Foto Finish Friday

I’m using Fat Mum Slim’s #photoadayjuly challenge to experiment with Photoshop. I am no expert. Which you’ll soon see, but I love having some place to share the intimacies of everyday life. It’s not like these pics are ever going in a picture frame or photo album.

You can check out my week’s worth of photos, here.

While you’re there you might like to subscribe. No pressure. But do it! Please.

Miss me?

SO, you may or may not have realised, my bloggity-blog has moved address. I thought I had been super clever and managed to transfer all my lovely subscribers to the new site, but I’ve been informed otherwise (once someone, who first considered the possibility they’d been deliberately blocked, worked up the courage to mention it).

To remedy this (without causing my brain to implode with more website-tech-jargon), I’ll be adding posts to this site for the next four weeks, after which I’ll be cancelling this site.

I know. Scary.

But all you need do is, when you visit the brand-spanking new site, just subscribe there. Or you can follow me on Facebook. Or Twitter. I’m a social media tramp, I am.

Anyway, for your reading pleasure I give you…

Peta-Jo losing her shit over rainy holidays.

Peta-Jo takes her kids on a retro shopping spree.

Peta-Jo and the blurred boundaries of homemaker and breadwinner.

There’s more but I’ll let you go now and make your way to an orderly fashion to the new, candy-striping lollapalooza-type site.

Big kisses… Peta-JoImage

NEW SITE

Hi all – if you’re here… then welcome! I hope you enjoy my blog on parenting, working from home, and writing. And pretty much whatever takes my fancy.

The good news is you can keep checking out this site if you like – it ain’t going anywhere (yet) but the even better news is that you can get all the new stuff at petajo.com.

Pete out! xx

WIN A FREE COPY

Four Ingredients guru whips up some hot romance

THE woman behind the success of Four Ingredients, Rachael Bermingham, is helping launch a new face for contemporary Australian romance (that’s me, for those playing along at home!).

Rachael Bermingham’s book distribution company, Bermingham Books, has signed on upcoming Queensland author, Peta-Jo and her debut novel, Feral Bells (see? Me! Woot!).

Feral Bells is a balmy Queensland tale that delves into what price people put on success and is “laugh out loud funny”, according to Rachael.

Peta-Jo self-published the title last year (you may know it as its original title, Wedding Etiquette For Ferals) and spent 10 months promoting it around Queensland before Rachael decided to add it to her stable of top authors in January.

Feral Bells follows Lydia Vermont’s career path which veers wildly off kilter after a one-night-stand. It’s a story of dreams versus reality and the familiar travail of people who must leave their hometown to study or further their career.

Feral Bells was awarded the Queensland Arts Council’s New Regional Writer Scholarship and Peta-Jo worked on it, and a sequel, at the Varuna Writer’s House in the Blue Mountains.

Peta-Jo grew up in Bundaberg, but studied journalism in Toowoomba before working in Ipswich as a reporter and subeditor. She is now a subeditor for Queensland’s regional newspapers and writes a regular blog at petajo.com.

Feral Bells will be available in bookstores around Australia in coming weeks.

E-books will be available from mid-march.

Proceeds from book sales will go to SANDS Australia supporting couples and families through miscarriages, stillbirths and neonatal deaths.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

So that’s what I’ve been up to! Excited is an understatement. This is why my Facebook status updates lately have been consisting mostly of: Oh My God, Oh My God, Oh My God!

Apologies for that. I’m not all that cool under pressure. So ring your local bookstore and tell them you want your copy of Feral Bells immediately – or as soon as we can ship them to your local store.

Share the news with everyone because to celebrate I’m giving away free copies to the next five Facebook likers.

Mood lighting

IT’S been a strange, exhausting, fulfilling, exciting few days. And now, as luck would have it, the heavens have opened up – conspiring to keep me indoors and keyboard-bound.

I drove to the Sunshine Coast on Thursday night after I finished my late shift. I packed stealthily in the dark, swallowed some coffee and we loaded sleepy bundles of children into their car seats.

It’s so peaceful driving through towns after dark. You can see inside people’s lives better. You can see them slumped on the couch soaked in the white glare from their television. Their languid behaviour framed perfectly by their windows, fettered by curtains, made cubist with venetians.

You can see women in their pyjamas, making their way to the kitchen. Idly scratching their bottom.

I saw a dilapidated Queenslander – all louvres and peeling timber – and, through the window near the stairs, were mismatched photo collages. Their decor wasn’t designer, it was cramped pictures of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces. All together. All side by side.

I imagined the people inside. Made up their story for them.

They didn’t work that day. Hadn’t worked for awhile. They had no plans for the weekend. No plans for their life.

Maybe they’d go to the markets. Maybe they wouldn’t. Depends on what time they get up.

Ambivalent about it all, but happy. Free to stay up as long as they liked. It all seems so decadent but they don’t recognise the beauty of their days. “It is what it is.”

I only imagine they’re that way because it contrasts so starkly against my ambitious, plan-driven, finish work and race hundreds of kilometres to make another appointment in the morning, type of flight.

I push myself to create more, I push myself away from my own laid-back country pace. To the point where I’m driving in the middle of the night, terrified. Sick with nervous energy. Nails bleeding because I won’t, can’t, stop chewing them.

Of course, everything went according to plan. It usually does in my world – so I’ve been told.

So, all will be revealed in due course – maybe tomorrow? – so I’ll take this day, this rain, this scudding of thoughts and revel in it. Sloth about in an imaginary place where I don’t care about tomorrow. Today is enough.

xx

PS Stay dry. Stay safe.

Blink and you’ll miss it

THE school bell, normally no more than background noise, rang in my ears and all the way down to my heart.

Next year, when I hear that bell from our quiet little playgroup sandpit, I’ll know my son has been let out for little lunch.

The thought is asphyxiating some days. That for five days of the week he’ll be a student. That for five days, he’ll be away from my watchful eye and my wide-open arms. That for five days, he’ll fend for himself in a playground teeming with children.

This is unfamiliar terrain for us both.

I am not the mother of a school kid. I’m only just getting used to the idea of being a mother of a preschooler. I haven’t mastered the drop-off yet. I still flounder while child-care-savvy mums dart past me like I’m moving in slow motion. Because I am.

I’m waiting for the world to stop and realise its mistake. To tell me, “you’re right, he should be home with his mummy”. Take another few years off. Break up your days into naps and meals and blocks and walks in the pram. Bliss about in that early childhood routine that runs on 15-minute intervals and ABC4Kids.

But that’s not going to happen because life is not like that. Life moves on, sans umbilical cord, and I must help him learn this too. Even when I’m physically itching to hold him tight.

It was only four years ago that he became mine. I blinked and this wiry baby became a methodical toddler. I took out two nights to have a second baby and when I came back, he was a child who actually slept through the night without me.

Now he’s the fastest kid at playgroup, the tallest at the library story time… I know, with him being in a classroom for the next 13 years, he’s going to grow and stretch and become this person I have less and less influence over.

I see friends posting photos of their first newborns lately and I can remember that giddy time: when you couldn’t drag your eyes away from them. Revelling in the wonderment that YOU created this. It’s lucky we have that, because all too soon that precious bundle is putting on his own shoes and socks and waiting for you in the car.

When you’re a mother to a newborn, school lunches and teacher-parent evenings is like a foreign land. You don’t live there and you don’t speak the language. Much like motherhood was when we worked nine-to-five.

No-one explains in vivid detail the speed at which your children will no longer be children. Sure, elderly women at the check-out will pinch your arms and beg you to “cherish every moment”. But you can’t hear them. They’re speaking in tongues – riddles from a place beyond nappies. Where their babies became teenagers, then adults, then parents. We have no clue.

What’s goss…

 

Here's one for the family - Christmas circa 1980. Oh the style!

 

NOW let’s see… there’s been a lot going on lately. Here are links to my ‘stuff’.

Digital Parents post (an oldie but a goodie) – on the delicate balance between disclosure and exposure when it comes to kiddly-winks. If you haven’t yet checked out DP, I suggest you take a look-see just because they’re making some semblance of order for the hodge-podge that is Australian blogging. They’re also coordinating next year’s Digital Parents conference in Melbourne. Gotta love that. Anyone care to sponsor my flight?!

Also got a spot on Mamamia recently. I’m super delighted not only to be privy to their growing audience, but because they’re just so bloody likeable! And their news editor is from Boonah! Yay!

Also got a quick Facebook plug from MWWAH (Mult-tasking Women Working At Home) and would like to return the favour. They’re a great resource for women starting – or in the thick of – their home-based business.

The upcoming stuff is:

The lovely Stephanie from Read In A Single Sitting has generously allowed me to ‘guest post’ on her charming site over the holidays. I’ll be running an excerpt from Wedding Etiquette For Ferals. Stay tuned for further details…

Also in the “really real world”, I’ll be signing copies of Wedding Etiquette For Ferals at the Angus and Robertson bookstore at Castletown Shopping Centre, Townsville, on Saturday, January 21 from 10am. You can come along to buy a signed copy, or even just if you’d like to pick my brain about romance writing, blogging or self-publishing. I’m a veritable font of information *tongue firmly in cheek!

Lastly, I’m very curious to find out who women consider to be good female role models. Someone intelligent, hard-working, successful… I guess it’s okay if she also happens to be pretty (we can’t help how we look, I guess). But who hasn’t: had a bikini photo shoot for Ralph magazine, spoken to Woman’s Day about her weight loss, plastic surgery or cheating partner AND is (roughly) Gen-X. Are there any? So, tell me… who is your role model (besides your mum) and why? Or who do you hope your daughter looks up to (aside from you, of course!).

Big mid-week love… xx

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