crazy shade of winter

I’ve gotten a tonne of messages over the last couple of days, mainly from family & friends in Australia…
I know some people hate this weather, dread it….even makes ’em grumpy (hello Diamond)
But as someone who doesn’t have to drive hours in it to get to work
Doesn’t have to shovel the snow
And whose bones aren’t at an age (yet) where these kind of frigid temps make you ache and hurt
All I have to do in this weather is enjoy it
I might get sick of it one day
And then I might move
But as someone whose skin just gets freckly in summer and whose boob sweat is more like a waterfall….I am ALL ABOUT THE WINTER

And it doesn’t get much more WINTER than Chicago in January
Except maybe Chicago in February

We took Heiny (my GF visiting from Oz) downtown to the Adler Planetarium
The best part for me was the view of the lake
Perfectly purdy for pics
The soundtrack to this shot would be my nostril hairs crackling as they turned to ice

The other question I keep getting asked, again mainly from peeps in the southern hemisphere (where it’s the middle of summer right now) is WHAT DO YOU DO ALL DAY WHEN IT’S SO COLD OUTSIDE THAT YOU’LL PROBABLY DIE?
While the kids have had days off school for ‘snow days’ – when the snow makes it too hard/dangerous to get to school.
In all the years I’ve lived here (15 I think?) I’ve not known there to be school canceled because it’s TOO COLD
So after 2 weeks off for Christmas (the big school break is in the summer June/July/August) no one was happier than Macaroni and Magoo to be told Sunday night that school was canceled Monday. Too cold. And then get another call Monday, that school was canceled Tuesday. Too cold
I was just excited to have an excuse to go to the supermarket and buy ALL the candy, chips and guacamole because I don’t mind being cold and homebound, but my stabby side would come out fo sho, if you threw ‘hungry’ into the mix.
People tend to get a bit Armageddon-y when faced with possible big snows and freezing temps and go crazy buying batteries, water and canned goods
I stock up on snacks
Because I’ve always had a good handle on priorities

The kids have loved these extra two days. Truly LOVED it.
They played outside without giving a shit if their noses might fall off
We were sensible though, going inside to warm up regularly, and we never stayed out too long at once because hello….my wine wasn’t going to refill itself

Then, thanks to some other sober crafty Mums, I got some ideas for things we could actually do on these freeze-your-arse off days, that you couldn’t do on other, not so cold days
Because when life gives you lemons snow….margaritas & wine slushies just got a whole lot easier
We don’t need no stinkin’ fridge!

I tried the ‘throw-boiling-water-in-the-air-and-watch-it-turn-into-snow’ trick
I even tried dismally to film it.
You can check it out on my crappy instagram clip of it here
I also tried the ‘blow-bubbles-outside-and-watch-them-freeze-and-turn-so-pretty-and-glasslike’ (as suggested by my mate in Oz, Amanda) see awesome pics of it here
Except they kept bursting. In my face. My cold face. That was now covered in frozen bubble-liquid-stuff. It was like getting jizzed on by an invisible snowman.
Needless to say, it was a fail.

My favourite (and most successful) outdoor thing-to-do was something I saw on my mate Angie’s FB page
You fill balloons up with water and food colouring.
Put them outside for a few hours to freeze
Then peel the balloons off
Which leaves you with round, glassy frozen marble-like ballsIMG_0133

Ours turned out more like little christmas lights rather than big marbles
And some weren’t quite frozen when we took the balloons off because…..impatient!
But we loved ’em
They turned out pretty cool, me thinks.IMG_0132Tomorrow we’re going to try this after school because it’s edible and sugary (thanks Jamie)
Then we’re going for the rematch
Remember THIS?
Yep, tomorrow I’m defending my title
Stay tuned….



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four weeks in one post….because I’m lazy

Forgive me Father for I have sinned
It’s been more than a month since my last confession blog post

Over a month?
How’s THAT for fuckery?!?

It’s been a HUGE month too, with so much going on
Including long stretches of time with no internet. Hello outback Australia!
OR, internet that wouldn’t allow me to log onto my own website….deeming it restricted, unsuitable….as in, PORN.
Go me!
Add to that, the usual dose of lazy and Nanna naps
And you get a neglected website with more than 400 unanswered emails

So, rather than catch you up on the last 4 weeks in bits and pieces
(Although, if you follow me on FACEBOOK, you’ll be kinda up-to-date on the ins and outs of my traveling freakshow)
I’m going to attempt the LONGEST post in history (I could divide it into installments, but I’m pretty sure I’d be all, come back tomorrow for part 2! And whoops…it wouldn’t be there)
So Imma give it all to you in one foul swoop

With a bazillion pictures….because a picture’s worth a thousand words
That I won’t have to write

Grab a brew
And make sure your scrolling finger is warmed up….
Here’s hoping you have unlimited megabytes on your home internet or phone
Or you may just want to log out now and take my word for it

Once upon a time
Here we go!

The girls and I flew out 2 days after they finished school for the year
Yep, three months of school holidays…and it’s FINALLY summer in Chicago!IMG_8316
So we went to Australia
Where it’s winter
Genius, no?

Can I just say, thank you to the God of low maintenance children
Who decided to make mine the easiest, most fun little people on the planet to travel with
And also Dallas airport
That has special ‘family’ rooms that you can have to yourself
Which is such a fab thing to have on stopovers
So your kids can run around, watch movies, take their shoes off
And in Magoo’s case, fart without judgementIMG_3028
And then….THEN!
They slept on the plane
I think they were so worn out from the excitement (they’d been counting down the days until this trip for  7 months) they zonked
When they woke up, we were getting ready to landIMG_8355
And there was only 2 people in the universe more excited than them about this Australia trip
Nanna and Poppy!
Want to make your parents love you even more?
Give them grandchildren
And that was the start of the whirlwind trip of how-much-can-we-squeeze-into-every-single-day-for-the-next-three-weeks-without-killing-ourselves?

First stop….the beach
That was ALWAYS going to be first on the girls’ agendaIMG_8418
Macaroni was confused
“Nanna, I think winter means something different in Australia than it does in Chicago”
I wonder if one day they’ll realise that not all Nanna’s can race you on the beach
And win
I mean, their own mother can’t even do that
Well, I could
I just don’t want them to feel bad….*ahem*IMG_3197

Then for me, it was time to get to work
Not that you can really call it work
I got to play at some of my favourite places…..Geraldton, Collie, Northam, Cowtown
It’s towns like these, where the shows are wild, and the people are real
That I really love to get back to
It makes the Kalgoorlie girl in me shine
My peeps!
Then Heiny and I headed off to Sydney for a show
In Bomaderry
FYI – it’s pronouced BOMA-DERRY
I asked some people, ’cause I thought it was BOMB-A-DERRY
Apparently not an appropriate question to ask the TSA agent at the airportIMG_1163
Then it was back to W.A.
And off to Lancelin, for a few days with Mum, Dad and the girls
Where Macaroni and Magoo got their first official boogie boarding lesson
From the local expert
Their Nanna
It went well
Except for when it didn’t
But man, did they love the shit out of it
For two city kids, they sure love the beach
Although Magoo reckons the salt water tasted like hamster pee
Alrighty then..?
Poppy bought them new bikes, which is the preferred method of transport when in Lancelin
Did you know you can get a DUI on a bicycle?
I know!
Now they tell me.
Live and learn.

Then there’s Chucka
Which is short for Chucka Browneye
Mum and Dad’s spoilt rotten, completely awesome chocolate labIMG_3411
Him and Magoo were pretty much inseperable the entire trip
She asked if we could get him U.S. citizenship and bring him back with us
“…we could say he’s my brother”
Yeah, good luck with that.

Then it was back to Perth
And some family catch up time
With my brother Trav and his beautiful family
There was music
Jamming in the kitchen
IMG_4213And then, we had our first ever FAMILY WII DANCE-OFF
I’m not ashamed to tell you that I lost
To my brother
Who can shake it like Shakira
If he ever decides to hang up his pilot’s hat
He’s totally got a future as a stripper
In Thailand
The next night we did it all again
With my BFF Sammy and her familyIMG_4346

It was nuts before the first bottle of wine was even opened
I’m not even sure what Dad was doing in this one

But it turned into a dog pile pretty quickly

Then my Goddaughter schooled Macaroni and Magoo in the art of piano
Then WE jammed
I’ve never had the chance to do that with her before

And man, she is one talented little vegemite
Of course, she probably inherited that from me
Or not.
But if I was ever looking for a good investment slash retirement fund
She is it

Then once again, it was time to head back to work
And anyone that knows me, knows how much I suck at changing guitar strings
Did you know you can actually put them on upside-down?
Yep….done that.
Dad took pity on me and changed them for me
It was a fair trade though….I cooked him dinner
OK, I was actually cooking ME dinner, and shared it
But whatevs, my git-fiddle got restrung!IMG_8535

This part of the work trip was in the Northern Territory
And holy-shit-hot-sunsets, is it gorgeous in that part of the world

Small towns
Even smaller planes
But I still managed to do some retail therapy
You’re welcome Diamond
And how’s this for a sunset over Darwin?
Yes, it’s taken as we’re landing during the ‘please turn off all your electronics’ part of the flight
What a rebel I am
We had another incredible night in Humpty Doo
Where Sammy and I ran into one of my cousins
FYI, I have family ALL over Australia….literally
No matter where I play, I never go more than 2 or 3 shows without running into a relly
Then it was Groote Eylandt, where the only advantage of having a 7am flight
Is landing a 8am with nothing to do ALL day
Except this…
Can you feel my pain?
This shit is ROUGH I tell ya
So rough that there were naps to be had
But….BUT….this was after an 8pm show
Then an 8am show the following morning
Back to Darwin then off to Gove
For the last show in the NT
Meanwhile, back in Perth
The girls were cruising up and down the river, seeing the sights
From Poppy’s boat
That he let them drive
Because sweet-Jesus-do-grandparents-have-any-rules??
One of the highlight for the girls was going to visit the cemetery where my Pop, their great grandfather, is buried
And if a cemetery can be glorious
This one is
It’s a beautiful, peaceful place
With wildlife, particularly kangaroos, everywhere

Then they were back to Lancelin
without me!
More beach time
Chucka time
And they even squeezed some time in with my Uncle Terry
Who they call Uncle Icebox
‘Cause he’s ‘SO COOL’
Yes, he came up with that name himself
Of course, there was more boogie boarding
More incredible west coast sunsets
Then back to Perth again
Where we decided to get all of Mum’s family (bar about 12 I think?) together for a picnic
What a great idea it was to meet outdoors
Especially when they’d called for non-stop
Brilliant idea….that I possibly came up with
Didn’t matter though
The girls got to see their second cousins and meet some extended family for the first time
And I got to see the coolest lady in my life
My Nanna
We did a jailbreak out of the nursing home for a few hours
And may have snuck her a beer or three
She is truly fucking awesome
And I couldn’t adore her more
Back to Perth
More music
Dad should totally release a children’a album
I shit you not
The (clean) songs he writes for his grandkids are so, SO good
Although, if that gets out, it might ruin his reputationIMG_4082
The sunsets from Mum & Dad’s balcony never get old
And no two are the same


I even had a chance to throw in a girls night out
With my Mum, her sisters….and all the daughters, my cousins
This was the first time we’d all been together like this
The photo may look innocent enough
But all I can tell you is I woke up with a monster hangover, a bag full of casino chips, and one missing shoe
Good times?
The girls got a chance to experience  some Aussie rules footy
Thanks to their cousin, who is pretty bloody good at it, even-if-I-do-say-so-my-unbiased-self
And of course, more Chucka time
While the whole trip was better than great
For me, seeing my Nanna was always going to be what I looked forward to the most
More than that, was my girls getting to spend time with their great-Nanna
Or as they now call her….their GRANNA
She may be old
She may not hear or see so well anymore
But every visit was full of laughter
The girls taught her how to high-five
While she questioned why they ‘talk so weird’ (not many of her grandkids have American accents apparently)
There were staring competitions
Which Nanna won every time

And the wheelchair races?
Talk about waking up the neighbours!

If you can judge a holiday by how much laughter there is
And how exhausted you are at the end of every day
I’m talking, belly hurts from laughing
And passing-the-fuck-out at night knackered
Then this will be a holiday my girls will remember forever
And not just because I took 2,400 photos
See, this post COULD have been longer!

As much as the leaving kills us all a little
We know there’s always a next time
And the kids will actually get to see Mum and Dad again next month, when they come to the U.S
So the goodbyes weren’t as rough as they could have been

The roughest part, for me
Was flying the girls back to America
Meeting Diamond at Dallas airport
Handing them over
And watching the 3 of them board a flight to Chicago without me
(while I jumped on another plane and flew right back to where I’d just come from)
I know, suck it up princess
I did….and I am.
I am now back in Oz….hello jet lag QUEENSLAND….and 2 shows into a three week tour with Dad

Now, I won’t promise….but I reckon I might even blog a bit while I’m out here on the road
I KNOW….more than one blog in a month?
I think I sort of feel a competition or giveaway coming up too…..hooly dooley!
Get excited!

Also, if you made it all the way through this never-ending post, and all 74 (yes, seventy four!) photos
Grab a beer
You bloody earnt it.




i’m a sheila…

You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but I don’t think it’ll ever stop be weird spending Australia day in the snow
And if you live in Chicago, there’s a pretty good chance, that come January 26th (Australia Day) there’ll be some snow on the ground
Despite that, it’s still a day to celebrate my Aussie-ness
You don’t have to be in Australia to do that

Australians are travelers….and I know there’s Aussie’s all over the globe right now, knocking a few back….in honor of ‘our’ day

Which leads me to ask the question, to all my Aussie mates reading this
What does being Australian mean to you?

For me, it’s not just about where I was born or what nationality is listed on my passport
Being Australian is WHO I am
It’s a pride thing
I’m proud to be from a country that, when I meet new people from other countries, they nearly always say, “I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to Australia!”
That’s a great compliment, and I love that Australia is held in such high regard by so many people

Australia to me is about mates
Working hard, but knowing how to take it easy
Having a sense of humour
And for me, being proud to have a little bit of BOGAN in me
I love being able to say that I was born in a small (at least it was back then) outback town like Kalgoorlie

I love that our national anthem gives me goosebumps every time I hear it
I love that my daughters (both born in the USA) will eat a Vegemite sandwich with me
I love that after 14 years of hearing me talk, I can still bust out new Aussie slang that Diamond hasn’t heard before
I love that my Dad is an Aussie icon and has been nominated for Australian of the year
I love that my 65 year old Mum has a wetty (wetsuit) and a boogie board
I love that Australia Day is also my Nanna’s birthday
I love meat pies, Paul Kelly songs, the Australian flag, calling flip flops ‘thongs’, red dirt and being a SHEILA!

I love being Australian

Happy Australia Day!

To help get your party started,
For the next 24 hours, just click the link for a free download of
I’M A SHEILA (Jenny Talia)
from my latest album F.O.C.U.S.

Crank it loud at your barbie
I know I will be!