Life is good when you take time to appreciate it: OPINION
BISCUITS baking in my wonky old oven which has no dial markings.
A rainbow of lorikeets chattering and hanging upside down to eat sunflowers seeds off the bird feeder in the tree out the back.
Nestling back against my husband on the couch in the only room of the house without dust, demolition or piles of power tools, while reading the latest Jack Reacher novel as he watches The Voice.
Life is so good.
I love living on the Northern Rivers, despite our fixer-upper taking slightly longer to renovate. At least we have power, hot water and a roof over our heads.
After travelling up here to surf for 20 years, my beloved Wategos is now within easy reach of my longboard.
Being able to cycle to work, yoga and soccer training is wonderful - although I confess Lismore's Cynthia Wilson Drive is a killer-diller to try to get up on two wheels (I can't - yet).
Going down said street you can easily hit 50kmph and God help you if a dog runs out in front while you do.
I love my job and being part of team who really care about our newspaper and website.
Sometimes with my stories I get to make a positive difference and that's such a privilege.
Life here is wonderful.
But I confess, this is not how I thought my life would work out.
Back in my 20s, I was going to be a world-class painter of seascapes.
Or at least Bernstein to someone's Woodward, break Pulizer award winning stories, be on the staff of the New York Times and write compelling books about the meaning of life.
So I had no idea I'd become a surf journalist, trade in suits and covering business news for boardshorts and sell photos of wave-riders to international sporting magazines. (Which was great fun, but paid a lot less than you'd think.)
Or I'd be so happy in steel-capped boots digging in new vegetable beds, growing fruit, joining the CWA and learning from the Kiltman how to use a nail gun or reciprocating saw as we renovate our home.
I had no idea despite growing up in the big smoke, loving fashion and working for some city newspapers, I'd realise it was the issues and people I worked with in regional media which made my heart beat faster.
Just like to the Kiltman, whom I met after I was single again and needed someone to help me renovate my neglected former housing commission home.
So after coming up to the region last winter and showing him how much warmer it is up here than down south, my husband who was born in the wilds of Scotland, was thrilled to leave behind single digit winter days and horizontal rain.
Cycling to work and smelling the lemon-scented gums, chasing local stories, talking and listening to the people in the Northern Rivers about the issues and events which mean so much to them, means so much more to me than I could have ever realised.
Yes, I'm lucky my life here is so good.