Getting to know you…

Because it’s my birthday in the middle of March, I have just over 2 weeks left of being 53.  Here then are 53 facts about me – in no particular order.

1.I was born in Sydney and have spent most of my adult life there but moved around country NSW as a kid, living in Merriwa (Hunter Valley), Bombala (near the Victorian border), and Springwood and Faulconbridge (in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney). I’ve also lived in Canberra – where I met my husband. We moved to the Sunshine Coast of South East Queensland 4 years ago. Even though my birth family is still in Sydney, this is home.

2. My husband and I have been together for 32 years and married for nearly 27. He’s still my favourite person to travel with. We have 1 daughter – she’s nearly 23 and has recently moved out of home and up to Hervey Bay.

3. We have 1 dog – a 12 year old cocker spaniel who is my fur baby and constant companion.

4. The only sport I’ve ever been any good at has been swimming – when I’m in the water I’m in my element. On land I feel clumsy and ungrounded.

5. I can’t swim without getting my hair wet – I’m either all in or out – and I swim most days between September and March.

6. I have long, thick curly hair and get dreadlocks in the summer. I like my curls and hardly ever straighten my hair. I get my hair dyed every 4 weeks – I’m still too vain to go grey.

7. I need glasses for long-distance but only wear them when I’m driving or to watch TV – this means I spend most of my life in a blur. This really doesn’t worry me. I don’t need glasses to read. Yet.

8. I dislike shopping (especially in malls) and only buy clothes when things are falling apart. This means I slop around the house in dresses I bought in Bali for $5 in the summer and jogging/track pants in the winter.

9. I have a collection of thongs (the ones you wear on your feet) for all occasions. You probably call them flip flops or jandals.

10. I never wear shoes at home or in the yard – unless I’m gardening.

11. I swear too much.

12. I should wear make-up more often.

13. The only bone I’ve broken is one in my back – in a fall from a horse when I was a teenager. I got straight back on and didn’t know it had been broken until an x-ray years later. I rode a lot and fell off a lot in those days.

14. I have a severe scoliosis in my spine so need to stay active and see a chiropractor regularly.

15. Growing up, I always wanted to be a writer. When I grow up, I want to be a full-time author.

16. My (not so) secret ambition is to be an extra on Midsomer Murders.

17. I have a degree from Sydney University in Economics, majoring in political science and agricultural economics.

18. I can’t stand “ists” or “ism’s”. There’s always a middle ground and another side to the story.

19. I have a scar just above my left knee from a cow’s horn.

20. My first job was in an ice cream shop.

21. My first real job was as a graduate trainee at Westpac in Canberra. I lasted 12 years and met my husband at work.

22. At 18, in 1985, I was a rugby league referee – apparently, the first woman actually using her ticket. The old guard was not impressed and my exam – where I had to sit in front of the referee’s board and answer questions – took 3 times as long as that of the men. They were trying to trip me up, which only made me more determined.

23. The first album I bought was Bay City Roller’s Once Upon A Star in 1975. I still have it.

24. I truly believe there’s an ABBA song for all of life’s situations.

25. I was in the flute band in Merriwa and reckon I could still play Scotland The Brave. I learnt the piano when I was a teenager and used to smash out the old Boomtown Rats song “I Don’t Like Mondays.”

26. The first concert I went to was Wham – it must have been 1984 or 1985. I remember Andrew Ridgley wore this amazing long tartan coat on stage. I even made myself some tartan pants.

27. Politically I’m pink, ie left of centre, and environmentally I’m lime green – but love my air-conditioning too much to be completely green.

28. I’m ridiculously trusting and forgive easily – but if you hurt anyone I love it’s a different story.

29. My ears are pierced, and I have 1 tattoo – a koru – on my hip. It was my 40th birthday present to myself. I used this greenstone pendant as the template for it. It’s a Kiwi symbol for growth, harmony and new beginnings.

30. My first overseas trip was to Singapore – I was 22. My first overseas trip with Grant was also to Singapore. In fact, I had my 25th birthday there. Yes, that is my natural hair colour in the pic below.

31. I’ve travelled extensively in South-East Asia, have done a 21-day Trafalgar bus tour through Europe (lowering the average age on the bus by 20 years), a cruise of the South Pacific, road trips through the UK and France, but have only been to the US once – visiting New York in February 2010.

32. If I had to live anywhere else in the world it would be New Zealand. My bestie lives in New Zealand and up until the pandemic I’d travel there at least once a year. 

33. I’ve done 2 long-distance hikes in NZ – both out of Queenstown: The Routeburn Track and The Milford Track.

34. My favourite Australian city is Melbourne and the only Australian state (or territory) I haven’t travelled to is Northern Territory. One day I’ll get there.

35. Travel inspires my writing – and my cooking

36. I write in my journal every day – they’re very boring journals.

37. I’ve been in a hot air ballooning (Hunter Valley), zip-lining (Queenstown), jet-boating, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, been in a helicopter across Mt Cook (NZ), and on a joy flight in a vintage tiger moth.

38. I’ve never jumped out of a plane and have no inclination to do so. nor do I want to run a marathon…or, indeed, run.

39. I have terrible trouble maintaining focus and have to write everything down in order to stay on track.

40. I’m a much better starter than I am finisher – finishing leaves a vacuum that requires a new project to fill.

41. I firmly believe song lyrics are saved in a separate part of the brain that isn’t used for anything else.

42. My mantras are:

  • How hard can it be? and
  • It is what it is…

43. I think the first thing I ever learnt to cook would have been scones. The other dish I cooked a lot as a kid was self-saucing chocolate pudding. 

44. My favourite comfort food sandwich (and guilty pleasure) is vegemite and (plastic-wrapped sliced) cheese on white bread with proper butter. Butter makes everything better. It’s pretty much the only time I eat either processed cheese or white bread.

45. The dish that reminds me most of childhood is my mother’s goulash.

46. Baking is my stress release but I don’t eat sugar. I don’t even like birthday cake. I do, however, enjoy a square or two of really dark chocolate – and get the sweet stuff via wine. (Because it’s fermented does that mean it’s kombucha? No?)

47. I’m a sucker for good bread and cheese – even though as I get older my tummy is less tolerant of both. Sadly, that doesn’t stop me.

48. I’ve tried lots of different foods – some really weird and some just eeeeuw. Like offal, that’s eeeeuw. Because my husband is Scottish, I’ve prepared haggis for him – what can I say? It was the early days. As an aside, I have this theory that whisky was invented to get rid of the taste of haggis. The weirdest thing I’ve eaten was deep-fried rice paddy eels in a market in Gianyar, Bali. The guide said they tasted like bacon. They didn’t.

49. I prefer black tea to coffee. I don’t drink soft drinks (or sodas), but I do love wine – and whisky, which I drink neat. 

50. My desert island dish would be Babi Guling – that wonderful pork dish from Bali. Hainanese Chicken rice and Mooloolaba prawns would be close behind. And dumplings. Especially xiao long bao.

51. Other than for my scones when I was 13 or 14 at Bombala Show and swimming races at about the same age, I’ve never won anything – whether it be a contest of skill or chance.

52. If I was on Mastermind, my special subject would be Midsomer Murders: The Tom Barnaby years.

53. I’m an eternal optimist and love nothing more than the possibility of possibility. My glass isn’t half full or half empty – I’ve enjoyed what I’ve had and now there’s room for more.

Thanks to Jennifer at Next Phase Fitness and Suzanne at Picture Retirement for the inspiration. In the comments tell me one thing about yourself that I wouldn’t know from your blog.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

27 thoughts

    1. I’m ashamed to say that when it comes to vegemite only processed cheese and the sort of white bread that I’d never normally eat does the job. There you have it, my dirty little secret. Can we still be friends?

  1. So fun learning more about you!! I think I own a good dozen or so pairs of flip flops and seem to just keep adding to my collection summer after summer.

  2. I have to agree with Donna… processed cheese? And, maybe more horrifying… vegemite? Haha! I guess it’s an acquired taste… they eat fried grasshoppers like popcorn in Oaxaca.

    Hmmmm… one thing about me you wouldn’t know about me from my blog? I once streaked naked in front of a former boyfriend’s father (totally an accident, I swear).

    1. Most of what we cook is from scratch – including curry pastes etc – yet the cheese slices (and the white bread) are kept in the house purely for vegemite and cheese sandwiches. I think it’s a childhood thing – I had vegemite and cheese sandwiches for lunch every day when I was going to school.

    2. Hahaha, oh my goodness, that brought memories of youthful nakedness. My boyfriend, when 16, did something similar to my family as they were going on a Sunday drive. Let’s just say he never came around for Sunday dinner 🙂

  3. Well, some of it I knew and some of it I didn’t. I always like learning new stuff about my friends – and my first o/seas trip was to Singapore too – I went with a friend when I was 21. Loved all your little quirks – and I’m a big fan of vegemite with lots of butter. I also like Kraft singles (wrapped) for an added bit of cheesy goodness in a toasted sandwich.

  4. Jo, I’ve drafted a similar post, inspired by the same post! Maybe this weekend will post it – not 53 (I’m past that); but more than 25. I chuckled a few times reading this- your wry wit came through so well! And I’m totally intrigued with now seeing how many flip flops I own. Mine are not nearly as colorful as yours, though.

    You made me recall – My sister loved the Bay City Rollers and I’m pretty sure it was her first concert. My mom & dad & I were next door to the concert hall eating dinner…with lots of other parents. (it was in New York City – Times Square, restaurant might have been Sardi’s!) When the concert ended (earlier than anyone thought – an hour concert? really?), lots of early-teen girls flooded the restaurant, squealing in delight. Good memory!

    1. I remember Sarah’s first concert – One Direction – and yes, when the doors opened and they all came screaming out it was hilarious. But an hour concert? Seriously?

  5. Hi Jo, yes I agree about the processed cheese but only with vegemite. Maybe it is an Aussie thing but I do like that the square slices fit nicely on the square slices of bread. I agree about ABBA and my first album I every bought was Cat Steven’s Tea for the Tillerman. Such a lovely post where I could get to know you even more. I’m 64 this year, perhaps I need to write 64 things about me – hmmmm now that is a challenge! Have a great week. x

  6. Jo, I love learning new stuff about you. I can’t believe #11 you swear too much, lol. Your flip flop collection is impressive. I’m with you #47, good bread and cheese.

  7. This was fabulous Jo and although I knew some things I still learnt loads about you from your 53 points, such a fun post. Ahh the Bay City Rollers, now that takes me back 🙂 I love #42 but they’re all great. Thanks for sharing some intimate details with us.

    What wouldn’t you know about me from my blog? I’m never going to set the world on fire with my cooking 🙂

  8. I absolutely love this and might have to nick the idea when my birthday rolls around. It was so fun to learn more about you – I can really relate to so many of these and fun fact, I got a tattoo for my zero birthday – my 30th!

  9. Random, but I love scones and my ability to make them is subpar! A friend told me that practice makes perfect, but I’m not sure they’re getting any better. Haha. Especially when I eat the ones made at the local strawberry farm, which are perfection. Sigh. Scones. SO GOOD.

    1. I make both posh scones & non posh scones & my non posh scones are a cup of cream, a cup of lemon lime & bitters and 3 cups of flour. Mix it all together, press it down & cut them out & 10-12mins in a hot oven (220 or 200fan) and you get a great scone for hardly any work.

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