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2013: A-Z Highlights

December 31, 2013

I spent Christmas this year with my lovely Aunty Brenda and she challenged me to list my highlights of 2013 from A-Z.

Here we go:

Airbnb and Annette

My work colleague Di put me onto airbnb.com and I used the site for my accommodation in both Hobart and Perth. Annette was my host in Perth and I could not ask for a more friendly host family or lovely place to stay. Thank you, Annette.

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Belly Dance

Three years of bellydancing – though sometimes, it still has me quaking and confused, dancing is beautiful and I am surrounded by my lovely and very supportive Sacred Lotus sisters. This year, I performed two dances in the Queen of the Nile concert and I can’t wait to see the DVD. Thanks to my wonderful and gorgeous bellydance teacher, Kylie, I no longer feel like I have two left feet and a broken leg.

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Critique Partners

What would I do without these two gorgeous ladies, Juliet and Alli, who regularly kick my butt, challenge me in my writing and inspire me to produce the best manuscript I can. Fabulous role models blazing a trail and also great friends. Though we live miles away, we regularly talk online and I’m looking forward to a get together in a few weeks time.

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Driving Miss Daisy

In February, I met long-time online friend, Karina, in Brisbane to see Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones in Driving Miss Daisy. It’s the first time that Karina and I had met in person and we had a fantastic weekend, and had the privilege of meeting Ms Lansbury after the matinee.

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Esplanade (Hotel)

This year’s RWA conference was held at the Hotel Esplanade. The first 2 nights I was upgraded to a spa suite which was lovely. Centrally located, the hotel was a great place to try Fremantle’s eateries. My first time in Fremantle, I fell in love with the history, the buildings, the cafés, and oh, did I mention the umpteen book shops. I will return.

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Family

My family is scattered around Australia and though I endeavour to catch up with my east coast relatives as much as I can, I hadn’t seen my W.A. Cousins since they were kids. And now they have kids of their own. But my trip to WA meant that I was swamped by cousins and second cousins. Lovely to catch up and commence relationships in our adult life.

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Groupies

Music is such a binding force, and when it comes to the group that was the soundtrack to your teens, and then meet their other fans, you are bound for life. And I thought I was a MP groupie, I’m a novice compared to some of them. Tracey, Daneal, Cath, Warwick, Steve, Comrie….I’m looking forward to Bustin’ Loose with you again.

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Hobart

My trip to Hobart was another first and I visited when the 10 Days on the Island arts festival was taking place. Highlights included the intriguing MONA (what an asset!), Salamanca Markets, a chick lit Masterclass with Anita Heiss, meeting And talking writing with Sara Brazabon, tons of culture, a personal tour of the Theatre Royal including the dressing room used by Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, the newly refurbished museum and art gallery and seeing Hannah Gadsby give her funny lecture on the Virgin Mary in Art history. Tassie, I will be back.

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interesting People I met

Anita Heiss, Hannah Kent, Hannah Gadsby, Anna Romer, writers, writers and more writers.

Journeys

Two interstate journeys this year to new places. Which only leaves the NT unexplored.

However, Karina and I have booked the Bravo Performing Arts cruise for November 2014. An arts festival at sea – they had me at Elaine (Paige).

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Kate

Kate joined Romance Writers of Australia a year ago and we started chatting during the 50ks in 30 days event, then became Facebook friends. Then through FB posts we discovered that we are second cousins, sharing a great-grandmother. Meeting Kate was a definite highlight of my year.

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Lime Mexican

There’s a new Mexican in town, and it’s a fabulous fiesta. I planned to test it out on my birthday but severe storm warnings, hail warnings and tornado warnings nixed those plans. But Shou and I more than made up for it a few weeks later with mock tails, chorizo and black bean salsa, stuffed jalapeños, beef fajitas, churros and bunuelos. Yum.

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Moving Pictures

Just when we thought the 2011 tour was a once-off, the boys announced another tour, this time in pubs and clubs. I managed to squeeze in two shows in Sydney on the way back to Perth and had a fabulous time. The Moving Pictures Facebook group came to life and we made lots of new friends, swapping stories and photos. I was lucky to see a show at Dee Why RSLon the Saturday night, followed by an intimate pub gig on the Sunday at Heathcote Hotel. And this time, we could buy CD and DVD of the 2011 concert. Looking forward to seeing the boys again.

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Niece and nephew

It’s always fun to spend time with my niece Abbie and my nephew Damon, whether it’s interpretative belly dance, fishing or playing Xbox konnect, they’re fun to hang out with.

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Odd Writers

I’m not saying all writers are odd but a recent writerly lunch resulted in us deciding to have the Odd Writers’ Lunch. I don’t mind being an Odd Writer, I ‘d rather be an Odd Writer than an Occasional Writer. Our writerly gathering included Jenn J McLeod and Jeannette, Greg Barron, Bronwyn Parry, Shannon Garner and Anna Romer, who I’d not met before and showed us her jaw-dropping notebook for Thornwood House. It was a lovely afternoon at the Old Butter Factory at Bellingen, talking all things writing, and I came away thoroughly inspired. I look forward to more Odd Writers’ Lunches in 2014.

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Perth

Why did it take me so long to get to Perth? I didn’t spend a lot of time in Perth itself as most of my trip was taken up with the RWA conference, but what I saw, I liked. This included taking a River cruise to Fremantle, and gazing at all the magnificent homes along with the Swan River, visiting Cottosloe with my cousins, and visiting the most impressive cultural precinct. I spent hours in the Van Gough to Picasso exhibition from MOMA in NY, and was delighted to see a couple of Dali’s in real life, along with a Frida Kahlo I hadn’t seen before, and Warhol’s iconic Elvis image. I finished my cultural day with a relaxing afternoon at The Muse Cafe behind the museum.

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Qwerty

I think Qwerty will always be my ‘Q’ highlight. He is delightful, entertaining, full of personality, and fills me with love.

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RWA Conference

Every year, I get to hang out with my writing pals for 4 days at the Romance Writers of Australia conference. We laugh, we drink, we eat, we dress up in fun costumes, and glamorous outfits, we celebrate each other’s successes, we network and we learn. RWA has enriched my life, introduced me to some fabulous friends, and joining has been one of my best-ever decisions.

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Smurfs

Actually, I hate Smurfs,but they’re an essential part of this highlight. For the 2013 Sawtell Chilli Festival, Sacred Lotus appeared on the Weekend Today show and we were photo-bombed by Smurfs. Yes, I belly-danced on national television – now that particular item was never on my bucket list, but there you go. We really wanted to bash up the opportunist Smurfs. Belly dancers belting up smurfs – that would have made some interesting footage.

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Trivia

Yes, I’m hooked. Trivia at the Bowling Club has become a Wednesday night ritual. Sometimes, theyaskthe right questions and we walk away with a voucher, sometimes, they don’t.

But one night, we blitzed the $1000 jackpot round, and there were only four of us in the team that night. Nice!

Uncle Geoff

My trip to Perth also included a catch up with my Uncle Geoff. Lovely to see him again.

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Veterinary nurse

My honorary little sister, Traciee, became a vet nurse this year. Very proud of you, Traciee.

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Val

My landlady and adopted granny. I’m storing up my own Val stories to rival an episode of Mother and Son. And it’s been lovely to become a part of Val’s family.

Writing/Writers

Continuing to work on Cindy and Edward’s stories in After Ever After, with the goal to submit in March 2014.
Another fabulous Byron Bay Writers festival, with my writing buddies, Roby and Lisa
Writer friends who encourage me, kick my butt, commiserate and celebrate with me.
And Nambucca Valley writers Group – somehow I became president this year.

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Xmas

Xmas has been a difficult time of year for me since losing Mum. Though lovely and appreciated invites came in from friends, this year I decided to spend it with family. First I spent a night with my brother and sister-in-law and the niece and nephew, and my Uggly’s presents for the kids hit the mark.

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Then I caught the train to Nowra to spend Xmas with Aunty Brenda and John. Aunty Brenda and I went to the Carols in Berry on Xmas Eve, and I got excited when I spotted Santa driving pasting a truck and broke the arm on the fold-up chair. A minute later, the whole ting collapsed, and I ended up on the ground, laughing. We reminisced over old photos, and cooked Xmas lunch together and had lots of pressies. It was a lovely Xmas.

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On the way home, I also spent a night with Aunty Charmaine and Uncle Colin. Triple the family for Christmas.

The Yearning

One of my favourite books for the year was The Yearning by Kate Belle. It told the story of a young girl’s affair with a school teacher; a story of desire and obsession. The older man/young girl relationship resonated with me and took me back to my all-comsuming first love. And I loved the ending of the story. Of course, I had to meet Kate Belle at the RWA conference and we had an intriguing conversation about the novel. Read this book, especially if you’ve ever been obsessed with an older man.

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Zzzzzzz’s

Thanks to Tracey N for this heading.

Zzzzzz’s is for my beautiful new bed. For sleeping in, for sleeping, for reading in bed, for cuddling with Qwerty.  It was a case of out with the old and in with the new this year. And the new quilt cover waited for months until I purchased the bed. I managed to purchase the bed in two lunch hours at Forty Winks. It was delivered 3 days later and assembled by the guys. Love my new bed, and so does Qwerty.

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Wow! What a full on year.

A-Z challenge met, but so many great topics that I never blogged about during the year.

Bring on 2014!

What were your highlights for the year?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alli permalink
    January 1, 2014 11:02 am

    Aw…. what a wonderful post and so much to be thankful for! And I love having you and Juliet as my writing buddies. The journey is so much more enjoyable with you both in my life!

  2. January 2, 2014 8:19 pm

    What a great post, Di – love the format! Hmm, wondering if I have enough to steal it :)

    You’ve had a wonderful year – I’m glad that I was able to catch up with you a couple of times through the year, and my time on the committee wouldn’t be the same without you!

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