When we arrived back from our recent holiday in Australia... wait. Recently, we went to Australia to visit the family for Christmas. We got back on New Years' Eve, to find (to my disgust) that the shops had already removed the Christmas decorations they trotted out over a month before the start of advent and had replaced them with the trappings of Chinese Spring Festival. Thankfully, at our apartment building, where they seem more concerned with tradition and less concerned with whether or not they have an upcoming opportunity to sell us crap, they waited until January 6th to remove the tinsel and silver bells and replace them with red and golden lanterns and dragon motifs. One great thing about living in Singapore is that Chinese New Year is a major celebration. So if, like me, you weren't quite organised enough for the Gregorian version, you get a do-over a few weeks later.

I finished Mel's book. I liked it. It's chick lit. It's not usually my thing. But I liked the way the characters bantered with each other, and I admired the fact that she slipped fertility storylines into the background of the plot (along with, at one point, a public service announcement about maternal aging). But (spoiler alert, highlight to read) OH MY GOODNESS MEL WHAT ENDED UP HAPPENING ABOUT HER BROTHER'S COFFEE TABLE BOOK? It has left me, however, with a sort of incongruous need to blog about food.

This morning I had a narrow window of child-free opportunity to shower, change, google a recipe and maybe read some blogs. Guess which of those I didn't get time to do? Read blogs. I blame America. You guys seem to have this obsession with adding sugar to every decent recipe under the sun, such that now when I google something like "zucchini bread" I waste half an hour clicking on recipes that cannot be served up with a crisp side-salad and maybe a dash of balsamic vinegar. BAM! My blogging time, down the toilet. Some of these recipes called for chocolate chips. I ask you!

And you needn't think this is an isolated incident, either. It happens to me all the time. For my American readers: what the fuck have you done with food? Can you leave nothing unsweetened? To set things straight (and in the vain hope of raising its google profile), this is how you make zucchini bread.

In the end, I didn't make zucchini bread, because I didn't have any zucchinis. I used the leftover vegetables I did have - sweet potato, capsicum and tomato - with the oat flour I also had, but forgot to add baking powder to, because I was so engrossed in PB's plans to travel to England in search of mermaids whilst simultaneously worrying that he was about to accidentally egg my kitchen. And so I made, pretty much, disgusting and inedible half-baked vegie slop, but at least it didn't have chocolate chips in it. Then I looked at my enormous pile of dishes and unfolded laundry and thought about the myriad other housechores I had left and said, more or less, screw it - let's go to the park and fly kites and shit.

We went to West Coast Park. When we arrived the adults were starving and the children were bursting to get on to the awesome play equipment so we took turns supervising/going to MacDonalds, which is the only nearby eating option and, you know, the McCafe food is no worse than any other cafe and anyway, I don't have to justify my choices to you who asked for your opinion anyway?

Mr Bea had a Prosperity Burger. "I saw it there and all of a sudden I wanted to know what prosperity tastes like," he explained. "Black pepper, in case you're wondering." I wasn't. I was hankering after a Himalayan tea latte. Do they have Himalayan tea lattes at your local MacDonalds? It's more or less a chai latte by another name, except sweeter. (Which is, by the way, a perfectly legitimate place to send in the sugar. Unlike pumpkin ravioli, which is no such place. This is how you make pumpkin ravioli. It already has biscuits, for gosh sakes.)

Lately, I have become concerned about our cash flow. It turns out raising kids costs money! Who knew? People who weren't shelling out so much money for fertility treatments or stressful pregnancies prior to the birth of their first child that they never even noticed the change in their budget after they took kid #1 home, that's who. Me, it has taken a little longer. It has only just happened this year, with the addition of a second child, conceived and delivered without complication. So there you go. Raising kids costs money, it seems, and I have started worrying about our cash flow.

"Other people we know seem to have more than us," I stated recently to Mr Bea, trying not to sound complaining. "They live in posher quarters, take five star holidays, employ live-in maids, send their children to expensive schools and expensive peri-school activities, own properties in expensive overseas locations - and often in more than one location - have expensive gym memberships, eat at expensive restaurants and wear designer labels. How come we don't?"

"Do they earn more than us?" Mr Bea suggested.

"Well, maybe, and I'm ok with that. We are not poor. We are probably doing better than I expected to do. And maybe they are more comfortable with higher debts and lower savings, and that's fine, too. But what if they are just better with their money? I'm bothered because I'm not convinced we're being as good with our money as other people." It's the same sensation I have when I see what other people manage with their time, or their hair. How can she have her shit together like that, and I don't?

Earlier this year, I was talking to one of these glamorous folk with the time and the hair and such and we wandered onto the subject of holidays. She was off to Phuket. "Nice!" I was saying, in so many words.

"We're staying at hotel X," she informed me.

I shrugged. "I've never actually been to Phuket," I told her apologetically.

Her reaction threw me. "Oh, I know it's not supposed to be the best place to go," she said hurriedly, looking a trifle embarrassed and insecure all of a sudden. "I know they say it's overly touristy and whatnot but I sort of booked it on impulse because it seemed like a good deal, I mean perhaps it wasn't, but we got this time off at the last minute, and I thought with the kids, and..."

"No, it sounds good," I said, surprised. "I just mean, I don't know that hotel at all, because I've never been to Phuket. I'm sure it's very nice. We will have to try and go ourselves one day. You should tell me about it when you get back." Although the holiday I'd been dreaming out loud to her about was a backpacking trip through Vietnam - hardly the five-star beaches-massages-and-martinis holiday she was lined up for. Could my breezy backpacking (with young children, no less) talk have somehow given her the impression that we'd had all the five-star beaches-massages-and-martinis holidays we could handle and were ready to move on to something else?

Her maid was on leave for two weeks over Christmas, during which time her husband stayed home to help her out. When I saw her last week she looked excessively tired, and quite stressed. Much more tired and stressed than I look on the average day, I'm pretty sure, and I'm single-handed. Her hair wasn't even that great, although probably her floor was still cleaner. As I sipped my Himalayan tea latte at the park this afternoon, I reflected on these instances and wondered which of my fellow diners had actually done their dishes and folded their laundry before skipping off to the park, and which of them just knew when to throw their hands up and say screw it, turns out I suck at making non-zucchini bread even if I do know not to put sugar or chocolate chips in it, let's go fly kites and shit. How many of them realised that the Prosperity Burger was actually just a normal burger but with black pepper sauce?

In the end we flew kites and shit and I resolved to open a proper savings account to better manage the cash flow. We ate sandwiches for dinner. It was nice.

First, let me point you to Life From Scratch by our very own Melissa which was on my Christmas list but sadly not gifted by anyone. Then I found out that it was temporarily on sale for 99c! At 99c I can probably get away with gifting it to myself. Duly downloaded and can't wait to read it.

Two thousand and twelve could be an interesting time. I may be making some long-awaited moves on my career. I have ideas for a couple of other projects. I have the optimism of a twenty-year-old when it comes to my ability to pull it all off. I love having my self-belief back, misguided though it may be.

I once heard someone in blogland say she preferred blogs where people wrote about what they'd been doing from day to day, rather than - I can't remember how it was worded at all - basically editorialising on some topic or other.Really? I thought. That explains a lot. Like, for example, how come people whose posts always consist entirely of a laundry list of events which have occurred in their lives since the last post can sometimes have quite the following.

Not only that. I have friends with whom I never seem to discuss anything but stuff which has happened to each of us since we last saw each other. It's pleasant enough, don't get me wrong. But my whole life, I'd been assuming we weren't really very good friends, until I read that comment, whereupon this occurred to me: perhaps that's how some people do friendship! It's an astounding thought.

Some bloggers, sooner or later, are forced by a commenter to write a post along the lines of, "Hey! People! This is my place to whinge, ok?" In the past, I have agreed wholeheartedly with the poster. Your space is what you want it to be, and for some people, what they want is a spot to put the nasty stuff so they don't end up inflicting it on anyone they know face to face. It doesn't mean they spend 100% of their lives whinging, and they shouldn't have to change the way they blog. Are they forcing you to read?

I guess I still agree with that. I'm not talking about those whose lives (at least as they're writing) are such a suckhole of suck that the odd bit of cheer is completely overrun by the mountains of suckitude - those people you can't help but feel for - I'm talking about those who just plain don't see the need to post the good bits, whilst seeing all the need in the world to post the bad. That is absolutely a valid way to blog. I'm a bit sad that they don't know anyone face to face who can handle them without the edges taken off, or (in a different way) for those who don't know anyone with whom they feel comfortable displaying their edges, but if blogging fills that gap, so be it and I'm glad the internet exists. It's pretty lonely, though, to be the person inside the computer who only hears about the rough patches and never gets to share the joys.

For myself, I blog to think. More than that: I connect to think. But in a world where everyone is rushing to and fro with work and family and houses and hobbies and social engagements and travel delete as appropriate blogging seems to fit the bill better than rambling conversations in late night bars or coffee houses or, afterwards, on park benches situated halfway home - more's the shame. I've been trying to work out why I don't seem so motivated to post now that infertility is behind me, and I'm pretty sure it's because I don't have a big mess inside my head to untangle any more. Or rather, I do, but it's cheerfully disorganised as opposed to actually squalid, and I don't have a chunk of time just now to put it all back in order anyway. I am pretty much resigned to just stepping over my thoughts where they lay until I dependably get not only a full night's unbroken sleep, but a few hours of regular solitude, and I'm ten thousand miles removed from going out of my way in search of new thoughts. (Melissa - are there many new thoughts in your book? Prepare me.) I am just not at a blogging stage of life, at least not blogging in any way that resonates with me.

Here's my thing.

I have made friends in this community, and I don't really want to lose touch with everyone I ever knew. And I can't rely on facebook or anything, because I suck at those sorts of places, and I guess I'm just afraid that, one by one, you'll all stop blogging and one day I'll think something and there'll be nobody left to mull with me. Is it inevitable?  I'm not finished with this space - or at least I'm not finished with a space. It's just my thoughts - my reasons for being here - are few and far between at present.

I'm not going to make any promises to blog more in 2012. I see no purpose to such a promise, to blogging for the sake of writing something down (and yet I know some blog for that reason, too, and God bless). I guess I just want to have somewhere to reflect on things at my own pace and time, and to have my reflections understood, and I am increasingly afraid that 2012 will take me further from it. Even as it brings me closer to other things.

I'm not quite sure what to do about it.

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