Taking stock – the May edition

Of the many awesome things I’m learning from Pip Lincolne in the Blog With Pip course, I really like this exercise of taking stock every now and then. The list is hers, and changes regularly, and the responses are mine. Here we go!

Making : Carrot, Date and Honey Loaf, and toast, and risotto, and plans. (making/cooking – tomato, tomayto)
Cooking : New things. I’m trying to expand my culinary repertoire, and it is paying off. Try this amazing chicken soup.
Drinking : Coffee, but wanting a glass of Mojo sauv blanc.
Reading: Lots of blogs like this one by Rachel and this one by Anna.
Wanting: To sit and talk.
Looking: Mighty fine! But seriously folks, at trees, and autumn leaves, and ahead.
Playing: John Mayer
Deciding: To follow my heart’s desire – plan of action still in the works
Wishing: For free internet access at home!
Enjoying: Autumn – check out my #crushingonautumn pics on Instagram
Waiting: Hmmm, on opportunities? Nothing pressing springs to mind.
Liking: New connections with the talented, smart, funny, giving, clever clogs bunch at Blog With Pip. #Pipsters forever.
Wondering: What this bloggy business might lead to.
Loving: The Wondering.
Pondering: How things will fit together.
Considering: My options.
Watching: DVDs from the library, about architecture, and Jane Austen, and Elton John. 
Hoping: To stay connected to the loving and pondering and considering and deciding.
Marvelling: At the force of the feelings that last night’s epiphany brought.
Needing: Comrades for the road ahead.
Smelling: Cut grass as I drove along the freeway this week, a contender for best smell ever, along with the smell of rain or the sea.
Wearing: My awesome 17 Sundays cardigan (check my Instagram feed @igiveyoutheverbs for the look (on me, and the model!)
Following: My instincts – though I don’t really know the how or when, I’m following.
Noticing: How blue the sky has been lately. Stunning. Humbling. Uplifting.
Knowing: That I will not regret following my instincts.
Thinking: About how lucky I am. About how to do the Following bit.
Feeling: Inspired, with a measure of trepidation.
Admiring: ALL of my Blog With Pip classmates, women like Ashley and Sarah. Go ladies!
Sorting: My thoughts, and expectations about how things should be.
Buying: Not much, money’s tight.
Getting: Happy – by tuning in to what I really want.
Bookmarking: I’m a Bloglovin’ kinda gal more than a bookmarker.
Disliking: Negative words, especially the notion that a person’s efforts should be apologised for – small steps are powerful and beautiful!
Opening: My mind and my locked up heart.
Giggling:  With my niece, who invited me to tickle her on Sunday. I obliged.
Feeling: Good. Happy tired. Expectant.
Snacking: On all the things. I’m a champion snacker.
Coveting: Okay, I’m gonna be honest. A bit more cash.
Wishing: To always be open to the possibilities.
Helping: Myself to the JOY of encouraging others.
Hearing: My soul speak.

Gosh that’s good stuff. Mindfully pondering what is going on in my life.

I highly recommend it to you too.


Annette x

What’s in a name?

I have been dipping in and out of Claire Hewitt’s daily May blogging challenge and today’s prompt caught my eye – First Names.

For most people, their baby’s name is discussed over a long period, and during pregnancy. There are favourites. And names that are immediately discarded as too common, too strange, too much a reminder of that annoying kid from school and the list ebbs and flows. Opinions are sought and discarded and sometimes the poor kid causes arguments before they even come into the world.

I don’t really have any idea about how I got either of my names.

I have had two first names.

One was given to me by my 17 year old mother, prior to my adoption, and one was given to me upon my adoption. So which one am I? Does a name define a person?

Am I Sara, daughter of Andrea, my teenaged mother, who I know precious little about? (I don’t know anything identifying about my father.)

Or am I Annette, daughter of Brian and Dale, who didn’t have their own biological children until after they adopted two babies?

I don’t usually use different terms for my mothers and fathers, because I don’t want to – and I think labels have the tendency to compartmentalise or diminish significant roles in my life. This will confuse, or even rile some folks. Tough luck. These are my people, and the language I use about them is my choice. I have two mothers, and I have two fathers. I will not allow anyone’s discomfort with that to impact me. It’s the truth about who I am.

The interesting thing is that both my names have something in common.

Sara is a diminutive of Sarah, which has Hebrew origins and means lady or princess. Sarah was the wife of Abraham, the Old Testament prophet. She became a mother at 90. No thank you.

Annette is a diminutive of Anne if you prefer the French lineage, or Hannah for the Greek fans. Either way, the meaning is gracious, merciful or favour, grace. And Hannah was the mother of an Old Testament prophet.

So, which one am I? Who am I? According to my names, I’m a merciful lady, and on a good day I might brush past these characteristics. A very good day!

I can tell you that my thoughts about my names have changed over the years. I actually really like both my names, and in recent years I have toyed with the notion of making Sara more a part of who I am now. Perhaps a small tattoo? It’s only four letters. I hold the world record for weakest stomach/lowest threshold of pain, so no tattoo yet – it’s not something I need to rush into.

Inevitably, some of you will be thinking, “but how will that make your parents feel?” You may find the notion of me wanting to honour my first first name disloyal or even wrong. Adoptees spend a lot of time answering questions about how everyone else feels – their adoptive parents, their ‘birth/biological’ family, their siblings. Tip: ask adoptees how they feel please.

It’s so strange to be telling someone your story and have them seem more interested in the other characters in it than in the person standing in front of them. As an adoptee, often the role people see us in is of the grateful “orphan” or rescued wretch. This isn’t a musical! There are a million posts I could write about being an adoptee – I’ll try and stay on track with first names for today.

So, I’m Annette – one of five children that share family history, parents and our surname, yet we don’t all share physical characteristics or DNA. Most importantly, “they” all love vanilla slices and I find then gross!! Ergo, vanilla slice loving is 80% genetic.

My dad calls me Nett – you may not. My good friends call me Nettie – you may become someone who shares that level of friendship. I’ll tell you if you overstep. I’ve done it before! Mostly, people know me as Annette. That’s who I am.

I am also Sara, a woman with no idea about my origins, or family history. I have no clue whose blue eyes I have, who I might laugh like, or frown like, or LOOK like. I don’t look like my favourite aunt or my gorgeous sisters (I’m still super cute!). I know my mother’s name, and her mother’s name. I know that Andrea’s birthday almost coincides with my parents’ wedding anniversary.

And whatever you call me, I know myself pretty well.

So, what’s in a name? Plenty. Echoes of my mothers’ desires for my life perhaps, or their feelings about and hopes for me.

Names don’t belong to our parents for long, they may choose them, but we grow into them. I intend to keep growing into both of mine for a good while yet.

Thanks for reading. If you’ve got a question about adoption, please feel free to ask!


Annette, and Sara xx

In ten years time I will be….

Today’s prompt for the Blogging Every Day In May challenge is this brain teaser – ‘In ten years time I will be…’

Great question. I haven’t got a clue, really!

I know there are people out there who have a life plan, some of which I’m sure are quite detailed, and some may be more of a general framework. These life plans could include career goals, family goals, travel, new skills, experiences and personal goals. They could be carefully saved as spreadsheets and reviewed quarterly, or stuck on the fridge and discussed at ‘family meetings’ (do people really have those?).

I know a couple who, when they were first dating, discovered that they both kept personal expenditure spreadsheets – seems that’s an aphrodisiac to some – and they’re now happily married with a bub. I’m sure they merged spreadsheets as well as life plans before they said ‘I do’!

As for me, I’m not much of a planner. I haven’t decided what I want for lunch – let alone dinner tonight, and it’s lunchtime already.

Having never been bitten hard by wanderlust or yearned for the top rung of a career ladder, I guess to some I’m a muddler, perhaps even a plodder. That’s fine with me.

I happily went off to secretarial college as a 15 1/2 year old, landed my first full time secretarial job at 16 1/2, and have over the last *cough* three decades worked as a receptionist/secretary/PA/administrator/office coordinator or whatever the trendy term of the time is here and there, enjoying different industries – law, commerce, not for profit, fashion and more. Like everyone (even those with a life plan) I’ve endured crap bosses, had a few great bosses, worked alongside lovely colleagues, not so lovely ones, and endured crowded (or cancelled) public transport and traffic jams. The stuff of dreams!

I decided I wanted to have the university experience, so quit my job (a great gig) at 30 and studied part time over about 5 years. Great experience. Still glad I did it. Didn’t finish the degree, that wasn’t the point. A life plan person might not like that much.

So when I think about where I might be 10 years from now, I don’t see a vision of anything much more than me, with a few more grey hairs. I’ll be in my mid-50s – gulp!

On a practical level, I hope to be working and enjoying it, and to be blogging or writing or creating in some form. I’d like to be able to live as I choose to (which I expect will mean being able to continue to live solo), to have read more books, to have shared and cooked more great meals, conquered pastry, and worked out the intricacies of photo storage on my laptop – though they may have gone the way of the dodo by then.

I reckon what my lack of planning boils down has something to do with the way I see myself in the world. I don’t have a checklist of places or titles or achievements in my head, things I must conquer or tick off, that are pushing me on to be better/faster/wealthier. If you have such a list, more power to you. I wish you well in your endeavours.

Perhaps I’ve put my energy into a different kind of growth or ‘life plan’. If I look back ten years, I’m certainly more in touch with what makes me tick, and with who I am, than I was at 36.

You may have read the post I wrote about LoveChild and my experience as an adoptee, which you can find here, and I think that’s part of my unwritten life plan – working out who I am and how I fit. When I was a church-going girl, there was a bible verse that always resonated with me, I won’t bother with referencing it – ‘Work out your salvation with fear and trembling’. The thing that appealed to me was that I saw the ‘working out’ part as an instruction, an ongoing process, something that gave me permission to question things, and to ponder things. I don’t think we know who we are, or what we’re here for, or could contribute or want to experience, as a default setting. I think we have to work it out. (I also think that it takes a pretty long time, which gives me hope for Miley Cyrus!)

If I had to write a life plan right now, it wouldn’t have many places or roles or things that require a ticket on it. It might look a bit like this:

Be kind (1)


Writing this blog helps me understand the nature of my unwritten ‘life plan’ – at the core of my being, I long to know who I am, and to learn the gentle/strong art of loving and accepting myself, even celebrating myself. Perhaps, in a small (or big) way, as I become more and more that girl, I’ll give some encouragement and hope to others.

That would be my equivalent of a Nobel Prize.

I’m working on it.








You can make a tea, but it’s coffee for me

Hi there! Come on in, make yourself at home.

What can I get you? Coffee, tea, perhaps a vodka, lime & soda? Whether you’re one of my six awesome Bloglovin’ followers, a Facebook or real life pal, or have ended up here via Meet Me At Mike’s – you’re more than welcome.

Having just graduated from the amazing Blog With Pip course, the lovely Ms Lincolne has invited her students to this linky ‘A Cup of Tea With Me’ party at her place. While I’m strictly a coffee loving girl, if you need a milky chai to get you by, go for your life. Pull up a chair, I’d love it if you wanted to stay a while and chat.

For those who haven’t been here before, my name is Annette and I’m the girl madly pulling the levers, great and powerful Oz style, at I Give You The Verbs. She’s the new kid in blog town, so she’s often hanging out by the front gate, waving at the neighbours and seeing if anyone wants to play. 


pods in formation


Here are five fascinating factoids about me:
I live in the best city of them all, Melbourne town.
I remember the 1980s with immense fondness – the music, the fashion, and the awesome John Hughes films.
IKEA is my happy place.
When I was in Grade 2 (I think it was 2) we had a school excursion to my backyard, because my dad was, and is, an avid bird lover and we had really big aviaries full of tweeting, flapping, colourful birds for my classmates to admire. Oh, the sweet smell of street cred….. what a moment!
I have tied-for-first-place girl crushes on CJ and Donna from The West Wing. 

Blogging is pretty new to me, and I am really enjoying working out what I want my little patch of the interweb to be, from how it looks (I’m not a swirly pastels girly girl) to what kinds of things I’ll share. It’s got a bric-a-brac market stall vibe at the moment – things I like, things I’ve baked, and posts on some of the stuff that tumbles around my noggin. These things include Instagram fun, GTKY posts like this one, and other musings, like this one about LoveChild. My blog’s tagline – Wanderings, Wonderings and Words, sums it up pretty well.

I’ve wanted to have a blog for quite a long time – I dipped my toe in a while ago, but it didn’t stick. What I didn’t know then, but am convinced of now, is that I needed a fairy-blogmother aka Pip Lincolne to teach me, encourage me, show me the ropes, encourage me some more, answer my eleventy billion questions and remind me to Just Start! I also needed the awesome group of Pipsters I have met via the course to be my travellin’ pals and sisters in blogging. We’re rocking the #Pipsters hashtag like a virtual Pink Ladies gang, and I love it.

By the way, my blog’s catchy tagline – Wanderings, Wonderings and Words –  wasn’t my work, it’s one of many gifts I received from my fairy-blogmother Pip – credit where credit is due, it’s easy and nice to do.

And that’s the story of how I Give You The Verbs went from a jumbled dream in my head to a real live blog, bobbing around in cyberspace.

Thanks for taking the time to have a cuppa with me. You’re welcome back anytime, feel free to bring a friend and stay for lunch.

Bye for now!


This is me!
This is me!



Why I can’t feel the love for LoveChild

We Aussies love a TV series, especially a home-grown one. This year’s breakout smash seems to be LoveChild – and it’s the stuff of a television producer’s dreams. I can almost hear the pitch now ‘Imagine this, a show set in an era that evokes nostalgia for more than one key demographic of our audience, with awesome music and vibrant fashions, it will be a visual feast. We’ll have a really sexy cast – we might even lure that Rafters girl back from the US. And there will be romance and drama played out in an iconic Australian location, all set against the backdrop of huge social upheaval – and the cherry on top, evolving storylines surrounding unbelievable adoption practices. People will lap it up! It will be a smash, a ratings bonanza.’

And so it is. It is also my story, and the story of thousands and thousands of other Australians, those who were adopted, or who relinquished their babies, those who gratefully became parents via adoption, and those who had their potential parenthood ripped away from them, and of the people who allowed these things to happen.

Since the teasers started last year, I’d been wondering what LoveChild would be like – would it be true to the times, would it show the reality of what happened, would people want to watch that…. and I think it’s doing a pretty good job of being great television, which nods towards some of the ugly reality of what happened, but keeps the audience from feeling it too deeply – with great costumes, a feel-good soundtrack and other story lines that bring relief to the heaviness of the adoption aspects of the show.

I watched the first two episodes, and I really wanted to like it. I thought it might be a great way to bring the topic of adoption to a wider audience and give people opportunities to talk about their experiences – perhaps for the first time in decades, or ever.

I coped pretty well with it, until Annie was giving birth and they put that sheet up so she wouldn’t be able to see her baby. When that nurse rushed out of the room with Annie’s baby girl, and she couldn’t even catch a glimpse of her – well, I don’t mind telling you – I broke out in an instantaneous, head to toe, hot and cold sweat. I don’t expect people to understand that reaction fully, heck I don’t understand it fully, but what it proved to me, again, is that my adoption, which happened almost 46 years ago, still has a profound impact on me, at a cellular level. So much for the ‘clean break’ theory, or ‘getting over it’.

Sometimes when adoptees speak about adoption, people are quick to rush to the defence (perhaps unwittingly) of everyone but the adoptee – I can’t tell you how many adopted people have recounted stories about being asked how their desire to discuss their adoption openly, or search for their families, or express anger at past practices, is met with ‘oh but how will your (adoptive) parents feel about that?’ Then there’s the old ‘well darling, there was no single mother’s pension at the time, so your mother did the best she could for you and gave you up’. How the fuck would you know what my 17-year-old mother was feeling at the time? Seriously. The knee-jerk cliché thing is NOT HELPING anyone. If you don’t know what to say, say that – simply say, ‘I don’t know what to say’, and keep listening. And I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for those teenage girls, now in their sixties, to open up about having their babies taken, to be listened to and not shooshed or told ‘it’s all in the past’. It isn’t, it can’t be left behind.

Here’s what they didn’t know about adoption then, that is being realised and felt across the country, and the world – adoption has life-long ramifications. These are felt by adoptees, natural/birth/original parents and their extended families, adoptive parents, siblings, partners and children of adoptees. Perhaps one of the saddest, most heartbreaking revelations is that sincere, deep love for adoptive children actually hasn’t been enough to make adoption a once-in-time, impact free event.

It pains me to say it, but love isn’t all we need. We need to accept reality, we need to face up to the impact that the past has had, and is still having, on hundreds of thousands of lives here in Australia. We need to have a frank, open, continuing dialogue about adoption, and the commodifying of children, which is ongoing. We need not to be swayed by movie stars who have made intercountry adoption ‘trendy’, nor by politicians who will do anything to make themselves appealing to the electorate. We need to listen to the stories of adoptees, of those mini-skirted teenagers of the 1960s (and their counterparts from surrounding decades), we need to undo the myths around adoption and open our eyes to the ways in which similar mistakes are still being made.


This is the extent of my family tree. This document wasn’t even typed until I was almost 10 years old. I guess the authorities hoped they’d never need to type it. All babies have families of origin, to deny that is utterly destructive.

For my then 17-year-old mother, who is now 62, I wonder if you’re watching LoveChild and thinking of me….. I wonder if I will ever muster the courage to search for you, and if you would welcome that, or if it would be too heartbreaking for you to face it….  I wonder.

I won’t be watching LoveChild anymore, I don’t need to watch it, I’m living it.


For anyone tempted to comment about how I haven’t told the full story, to take me to task because not all adoptees feel the same way, of course I haven’t, and I know that, but this is part of my story, and nobody can ‘shoosh’ me or judge my experience. Nothing I’ve written here makes me ‘ungrateful’ or disloyal to my family. This happened to me, and if that makes you uncomfortable, there’s nothing I can do about that. I welcome your thoughtful questions and comments. 

If this post raises any issues for you, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14.





Baking with Jane

Today has been a combination of job hunting and domestic duties – don’t be misled, I didn’t actually clean anything – but I did buy some broccoli, a few bottles of soda water and a cheeky food magazine, which has a very relevant ‘budget bonanza’ section.

Then I bumped into Jude Law… on the telly, settle down ladies. It was a very young Jude, in a naughty cameo in Midnight In The Garden of Good & Evil starring Kevin Spacey, ‘our’ Jack Thompson working a great southern drawl, John Cusack (swoon) and was your basic y’all come back now story of ‘staches, small town murder, a dash of voodoo and drag queens……….*crickets*….. never mind.

After my matinee, I spied a couple of bananas heading towards mush in their skins, so I have benevolently reincarnated them into a delicious loaf of banana bread. Their souls are now free and will soon be in my belly, along with a slather of butter, and an afternoon latte.

While I was baking, I missed Jane’s call. I gave her a call back and Jiminy Crickets I’ve landed my first job interview for 2014!

Job hunting is a weird science, for me anyway. You have a general idea of what you’d like , your skills and strengths and then you bash some keywords into seek or career1 or any of the multitude of niche employment sites out there and what you really want to know after the blah blah of the job description is, is the boss a nutter, is there good coffee close by, are the people nice, even clever, and will they think you’re funny? Invent that employment search engine and you’ll be Zuckerberg-ing it up in no time!

Anyhoo, I’m all for interviews – and not in a shaking in my boots, I really hope they like me kinda way. These days I’m more than comfortable with asking my own questions of potential employers, and really making it a two-way process. After all, if I’ve got to spend more time with the folks at work than I do with anyone else, I want to know that I’ll be happy to work for them, that I can respect the boss and that what I’m doing actually matters. I know, I know, I’m a girl with lofty goals, but I just can’t do the drudgery for a dope thing.

I’ll keep you posted about Jane, and if you’re very good I might even post a photo of my afternoon tea on Instagram!

What’s happening in your world this Wednesday? Seen Jude Law out and about? Who do you spend most of your time with? Colleagues, tiny humans, yourself? Do tell.





Blind dates for bloggers

As the alarm went off, I thought, ahh, it’s blind date day! So I bounded out of bed, got myself gussied up and headed off to the epicentre of coffee and consumerism in my hood, to meet not one, not two, not three, but four lovely ladies – ladies who I had chatted with online, but never seen or spoken to. I was a bit nervous, I don’t mind telling you. Deep breaths girl, come on.

Thanks to the amazing Pip Lincolne, our esteemed blog school leader, den-mother, technical support whiz and personal cheerleader, I decided to put an invitation out to Melbourne #blogwithpipstudents to get together for a coffee (or tea). I was worried people would think I was a weirdo, but hands shot up and we agreed on a place and time.

So, I approached the meeting point and saw Sarah, looking like someone waiting to meet strangers, we said hello and grabbed a seat and lo and behold, there was Julie, Michelle and Julie striding towards us like a band of lifetime besties. Gulp! With hellos and cheek kisses and laughter about the location of the actual ground floor (sorry about that girls), we made our way to a cafe to settle in and get to know each other.

Phew – nobody seemed like a lunatic (well, maybe I am a little bit loco) and we got ourselves situated and had a great morning. Conversation flowed freely, we mock debated the supremacy of coffee versus tea (I let the tea lovers think they walked away victorious, but you and I know the truth) and it was so interesting to hear a group of women with one commonality – Pip’s blogging course – discover other common likes, passions and experiences.

Here’s how I knew I was really at a bloggy catch-up…. the emergence of a super cute crochet square!

photo (9)


photo (10)


I am so glad that I pushed past my usual introvert-y ways to organise to meet these great ladies – I hope you’ll take a moment to check out their blogs, which I’ve linked above, because I’m a super technically gifted blogger now (I’ll be stuffed if I’ve gotten any of it wrong).

I had a crazy thought after we’d posed for these photos – maybe we’ll be someone’s bloggy heroes one day – like the fabulous ladies of Mrs Woog, BabyMac and Styling You or our own, super fabulous mentor Pip! Hey now, a girl can dream can’t she!



L to R: Me, Sarah, Julie H, Michelle (thanks to Sarah from Zinc Moon for the group shots)

L to R: Me again, Julie G, Julie H, Michelle


Thanks so much for today girls, I had a blast. I think I did alright for my first blind date. Call me, okay?

Annette  x