Hi, and welcome to my place. I must invite you in and offer you a cuppa and some bikkies. These are the best bikkies of all, because unlike every other biscuit in the world, these have no calories. It could be something to do with the fact that they are virtual biscuits, but let’s not get bogged down in the technicalities of the best biscuits in the world debate and move on to the cuppa, in which you can dunk, or not dunk your bikkies. Whether you like tea, coffee, herbal tea, chai latte you can get it here, or not get it here, as the case may be. I am famous for the world’s best cuppa, so please sit and enjoy one with me, it will be the perfect cuppa just for you, the right mix of sweet and savoury, the perfect temperature and the texture is just right. Do you know how I know? Because I virtually brewed it to your specifications.
Since this is my virtual home, I should give you a virtual tour, but in reality, my place is a comfortable little 2-bedroom apartment in Kingston, an inner suburb of Canberra, Australia’s leafy capital. It is quiet here, despite being 4 kilometres to the centre of the city, and it has a calm and welcoming vibe. Because this is my virtual home it is always tidy, always clean and organised with never a thing out of place. (Come on, wouldn’t we all like that in a perfect world?) In real life I am not a fan of the ‘Pop in’ and I must confess the reason for this is that I don’t like people to see the real state of my house. If I know I have guests coming I fuss and carry on until everything is just so. I don’t know why I like to give the illusion that I am cleaner and more organised than I am, because truth be told, I am not piggishly filthy or anything. My home is probably about as neat and tidy, or dirty and disorganised as any other person’s home. It certainly isn’t a display home, but nor is it a cesspit, so nothing to be ashamed of, nor particularly proud of, just an ordinary Australian home, in an ordinary Australian suburb.
Because we live near the city, we live in a small apartment, (we chose location over size) and as a result the boys share a bedroom and we don’t have a backyard, which, until this year has meant no pets. We could fit a cat, but they are banned by the body corporate, and Hamilton is terribly allergic to the little critters. This year, Willoughby’s desire for a pet and the small space we live in resulted in the purchase of 2 little guinea pigs, Doris (Dorby for short) and Cuddles. We buy their food in bulk so we only need to buy it every couple of months or so, which is a good thing, because every time Mike takes the boys to buy feed, they come home with 2 new guinea pigs. The second pair are Pancake and Tilly, and I thought they were joking when they came home with a box with holes poked in it, but out popped two spritely little piggies. The next time they went I warned, ‘now don’t come home with any new pets, just bring the feed!’ Caramel and Daisy are pretty cute.
Then, while I was away recently, they all trotted off to a guinea pig show, and of course, because it is no longer a joke, but more of a pattern, they came home with two more, Mistery and Ruby. So, somehow, this year I have become a crazy guinea pig lady with 8 little piggies, oh, and 2 sons, Willoughby (10) and Hamilton (9).
Back to the virtual tour, remember you have a lovely creamy cuppa, don’t let it get cold before you enjoy it all. As well as being our home, this place is also where all the work happens, I call it the Canberra Love Your Sister Office (Sam has claimed that headquarters is at his place in country Victoria). All sorts of shenanigans go on here. Ideas are hatched, social media is managed, swear jar orders are processed, photo shoots and brainstorming all happen here. It is just as well my home doubles as the office, because a lot of days I feel too sick to go into the office.
Did I mention that I have cancer? When I was 33 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it quickly spread to other parts of my body and I now live with a terminal chronic condition. Initially, upon medical advice, we thought I would have 6-12 months to live. That was 6 years ago. Besides the fact that cancer kills hundreds of thousands of people every year and ruins many more lives, costs taxpayers a fortune and is just plain nasty my biggest bugbear about cancer is that many people don’t understand what it is that makes the difference between people surviving cancer in some cases, and dying in others. The fact that I’m still here is testament to the pace of scientific discoveries. When I was diagnosed there were no trials available for me, now there is. And I have been lucky to have responded to a drug that usually only works for a few months, but for me has worked for a number of years in that the cancer has not grown a lot in that time. I would like to take the credit for it and say it is because I am a strong person and I think positive and try to eat the right foods, but what it really comes down to is the medical treatment and the new drugs coming out all the time that gives me hope that I’ll be around for a few years to come.