Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Parties Suck

Okay, so the title is slightly misleading. I actually quite enjoy parties. Having said that, my definition of a party is rather broad. I consider two or more people in the same room to be a party of sorts. Different parties have different moods. There are quiet tea-drinking and highbrow ideas-discussing parties. There are movie nights in with a small group of close friends. There are rowdy gatherings at the pub. There are sophisticated neighbourly gatherings on the balcony next door. There are birthday picnics in the backyard. There are Christmas parties. There are dinner parties. And then there is my going-away party, which has inspired this post.

Next year, I have a new job, teaching music at a high school in a different town. I'm looking forward to a fresh start, but quite upset to be leaving a good community behind, all at the same time. If I had any technological competency, now would be a good time for me to place a .GIF of Troy from 'Community' ugly crying and screaming "MY EMOTIONS!!!!!". Too many emotions at once, let's leave that for another day, shall we?

My idea for an awesome going-away shindig was to charter a boat for a sunset harbour cruise. What better way to farewell the beautiful town where I have lived for the past four years? However, there is a huge price difference between the smaller boat and the larger boat. So I have been compiling a guest list, to see if I can be justified in taking the smaller boat. This is the source of my angst. When compiling a limited guest list, my thoughts progress along the following lines:

"I like these people, I want them to be at my party."
(This might be enough guest list logic for some people...)
"But Reginald doesn't know anybody else on the guest list!"
"I suppose I'll have to invite Reginald's friend Eric."
"But Eric will want to bring his wife, Penelope"
"But if I invite Penelope, her friend Esme will be so offended to miss out on an invite."
"If Penelope and Esme come, I'll have to invite the rest of our basketball team from three seasons ago."
"And now the basketball team all want to bring their partners as well"
Guest list has suddenly gone from 20 to 500.

Now you can see why most of the parties I've hosted in my "grown-up" life have been picnics in parks!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A slightly feminist mini rant

Maybe I sometimes get a bit too picky over the use of language, and the unintentional meanings that come out of a flippant or occasionally even well-meant phrase. This morning, a friend posted on the book-of-face an article entitled '8 Things my father taught me about respecting women'. Now while I appreciated the sentiments behind the article, I did have a problem with the title of the first point: 'That's Someone's Daughter'.

I do have several questions and concerns about this statement. Firstly, it places a woman's worth in her relationships, rather than in herself. This value of women's relationships over women's value in and of herself is an unhealthy bent of our society. It does beg the question - what if that woman isn't someone's daughter? What if she lost her parents, either through death or other circumstances? Does this mean that she is not worthy of respect?

The same value of a woman's relationship over a woman herself can sometimes be seen in dating and hookup culture. If I want to reject a man's advances, I usually do so with a polite yet firm "I'm not interested." Funnily enough, this doesn't always work (not even in my best teacher voice!) If I feel threatened by the situation, I will lie and say that I have a boyfriend. There are unfortunately many men in the world who respect the 'ownership' of my absent, non-existent partner over and above the respect offered to the wishes of a woman who is actually there.

So while I acknowledge the sentiment behind the "That's Someone's Daughter" argument, a much more positive turn of phrase would be "Remember that women are people too'. A woman's personhood is what gives her worth, rather than her relationships. Men of the world - continue to follow the advice in the article (pay for her dinner, walk her to the door, etc.) but do so while remembering rule number one: Remember that women are people too. Sometimes a woman will prefer to pay for her own dinner, or drive herself home after an evening out. If that is the case, listen to her, respect her wishes, remember that she is a person too.

I think this may well be the golden rule of feminism - Remember that women are people too!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


You know what I love? I really like eating breakfast. It is the thing that motivates me to get out of bed in the morning. It is always so tasty and delicious and happifying. See how much I love breakfast? I even need to make up words to describe my love for it.

The only bad thing I can think of concerning this rather wonderful meal is the sheer variety. On any given morning, I will want to eat multiple things, but my stomach just can't handle that much food all at once.

So you want a list of my favourite breakfast foods? I'm so glad you asked. Well, I suppose I could do so for you...

1) Cereal: My go-to cereal is plain old weetbix, but I do occasionally like to shake things up with cornflakes (best served with banana and honey) or the really yummy cranberry cereal, the official name of which I can't currently remember. Muesli is another delicious one. A few years ago, I stayed with a family that made their own muesli with oats, almonds, cranberries, dried apricots, pepitas and finely grated fresh ginger.

2) Overnight Oats: I suppose this is technically part of the cereal family. I love putting oats and chopped apple and milk in the fridge overnight and finding them perfect in the morning.

3) Toast/bread: My parents have recently given me a breadmaker - best invention ever. Some evenings I put the bread mix in the machine and set the timer for the bread to be perfectly baked as soon as I wake up in the morning. Butter is the best thing to spread on freshly made bread, but I will be slightly more adventurous with my toast condiments. Favourites include peanut butter, honey and home made jams.

4) Yoghurt: Nothing beats a good old-fashioned pot set yoghurt. This will usually be served with my cereal.

5) Pancakes: These are definitely not an everyday thing in my house, but are a great weekend breakfast. I have discovered that it is possible to cook pancakes in my sandwich press, which saves on washing up. Winner!

6) Smoothies: A fairly recent acquisition to my breakfast repertoire. All my smoothie recipes (I use the term 'recipe' very loosely) start with milk and banana, but will often include the addition of spices, frozen berries, chia seeds and leafy green things.

7) Eggs Benedict: I used to be the kind of girl who would order pancakes when eating out at breakfast time, but I have now seen the light of a good eggs benedict. Definitely a café food though, far too fiddly for me to bother with at home.

8) Tea or Coffee: Yes, I need some caffeine to start my day. Sorry blogosphere, I'm not one of those food writers. I love gluten, dairy, refined sugar and meat. I will also occasionally eat things that come out of a packet

Now if you'll excuse me, I have discovered a rather large collection of granola recipes that are begging to be cooked this afternoon so I can enjoy them for breakfast tomorrow...

Monday, November 10, 2014

My collection of awesome

Inspired by a number of friends who have been blogging more regularly over the immediate past days and weeks (including one who posts a picture of almost every cup of tea he drinks), I have resolved to post more often. Today's post, creatively entitled "My Collection of Awesome", is just that: A list of things that happened today that received the ranking 'Awesome'.

1) A good drive - Last night I visited a good friend in Northam. Today I had the long drive home. Most long drives I do are along the same stretch of highway. This time, I took a different route home, through the back blocks of the Central Wheatbelt. The wheat was ripe on both sides of the road, the scenery was quite different from that I was used to, I visited quite a few tiny little out of the way towns, including the town where my parents met. I spent the drive time in prayer (it was so nice to have the uninterrupted time!) and singing along to Tori Amos albums and the Wicked soundtrack (Original cast recording, of course). Overall opinion - Awesome!

2) A Physio Appointment - I have been very slowly working my way through the Couch to 5K running programme, in order to punch my family history of heart disease in the face! A couple of weeks ago, I was on one of my tri-weekly runs and noticed a niggle in my right knee. Since it hadn't fixed itself after a couple of rest weeks, I booked an appointment with the physio (who happened to be my housemate's sister). After acupuncture and crazy strong massages in muscles that I didn't even realise were tense, the knee-niggle is all gone! And now I have some exercises to do to stop it coming back. On a scale of one to ten, I rate the physio appointment as: Awesome!

I do realise that the blog of awesome is already a thing, so maybe I should come up with a new word for next time.

Monday, January 7, 2013

25 before 25

A few years ago, I was on the cusp of a new era in my life. I was mere weeks away from finishing my time as a student and venturing forth into the working world. It was then that I came across another blogger's 40 before 40 list (ie. 40 things he wanted to accomplish before his 40th birthday). New beginnings are always a good time to take stock of your life, and so I wrote my own version of the list. However, being much younger, I made the list shorter, and gave myself a shorter time frame - enter the 25 before 25 list!

Last Saturday was my 24th birthday. I was going to have a quiet dinner with my family, but they suggested a barbecue at a nearby beach. When we got there, I saw my friends from church also having a barbecue. For a few seconds I was quite upset, because I thought they had forgotten to invite me. But then I saw the banner reading 'Happy Birthday', and realised that it was a party for me. Surprise!

So with the beginning of a new year, and only one year left to complete the 25 before 25 list, I thought it would be a good idea to take stock of how I'm going.

  1. Read all of the Bible - This is going okay. Last year I finished all the obscure OT books. This year, I'm doing a read through the Bible in a year plan, just to make sure I haven't missed anything.  
  2.  Go to ISME conference in Thessolonika - Done and dusted!
  3. Visit France - At the time I was writing the list, my sister and brinlaw (brother-in-law) were planning a long holiday through Europe, and suggested that I visit them in France. That didn't end up happening, and I don't think I'll have time in the next year for another Euro-trip.
  4. Finish learning ‘Another Look at Autumn’ - This is a crazy-difficult but beautiful piano piece that I started learning about 5 years ago. I might finally get around to it...
  5. Finish Thesis - Done and dusted!
  6. Learn guitar - I have a few chords in my repertoire. I don't think I'll ever be a brilliant guitarist, but I managed to convince a group of 6-year-olds that I was good enough to audition for X-factor!
  7. Walk a leg of the Bibblemun track - Hasn't happened yet, but I've done a lot of other walk trails near where I live.
  8. Take up horn again - Done! I've started playing in a local concert band.
  9. Finish all the Plants vs Zombies challenges and gain the golden sunflower trophy - A couple of levels are too hard. I haven't given up completely, but I won't be too upset if this doesn't happen.
  10. Shave for a cure (probably colour!) - This one seemed like a good idea at the time, but again, won't be too upset if it doesn't happen.
  11. Do a paid singing gig - At the time, I had just turned down a gig because I had a prior commitment. Still a bit grumpy about it! Now that I've moved away from the city, I don't think the offer will come up again.
  12. Keep my house clean so that it is a pleasant place to relax and to socialise – This is in progress. I am not the tidiest person in the world, but I like being hospitable. These two facets of my personality often clash!
  13. Act in another musical - This year, the local theatre company is producing The Phantom of the Opera. I'm definitely going to audition.
  14. Finish 50 books on the BBC reading list - Almost done. I'm partway into book 49 (Dune by Frank Herbert)
  15. Learn to sew - Mum taught me to sew in high school, but I had since forgotten. I'm getting back into it.
  16. Attend church more regularly  - At the time I wrote this list, I was at a bit of a low point in my walk with Jesus. Since moving to my new town, I've been a regular attendee at a local church. This has been very encouraging.
  17. Get Christmas shopping finished 1 week before Christmas - yet another vain attempt to become more organised. We'll see how next year goes...
  18. Go to an AFL game - I'm an Australian, yet I've never been to an AFL game. We'll see what this year holds.
  19. Do dance lessons - I've done a short Lindy Hop course (the idea was to meet some friends, but everyone else in the class was middle aged plus!), and I've gone to a West Coast Swing open night.
  20. Do singing lessons - Check. My line manager gave me a few lessons.
  21. Regain Bronze medallion - I really should get a wriggle on with this one - lifesaving qualifications are so useful to have. Plus, more swimming would be great for my overall fitness levels.
  22. Compose a piece of choral music from scratch - I've been doing more arranging than composing lately, but again, we'll see what happens.
  23. Buy an Ipod - still hasn't happened. There's a little part of me that wants to see how far through life I can get without owning one.
  24. Go to Mandurah - At the time, I didn't think I would leave the city for a substantial period. Mandurah is a nearby town that would have been fun for a day trip with friends. This one may not happen, but I won't mind.
  25. Initiate social interactions at least fortnightly - Remember when I wrote this list, I was about to leave uni, so random hangouts between classes were becoming a thing of the past. I don't think I've stuck to the at least fortnightly part of the clause, particularly during the school term, but I am getting better at initiating time with friends.
From going through this list, it's become clear that my life has changed dramatically in the last few years. Some of the items on the list are no longer relevant. Some of them I just threw in to round out the list to 25. Some of them I still care about, but won't happen in the next 12 months. In that case, I don't see a problem with pushing them onto the 30 before 30 list.

What's on your xx before xx list?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An Unexpected Journey

Hi all, and my apologies for the long silence. It's partly been due to extreme busy-ness (is that a word? I just tried spelling it three different ways, and none of them looked right.) and partly due to me not being sure what the point of this blog is. Should I write more deep and meaningful posts about my life and faith? Should it be more about the silliness of everyday life? A bit of both? More recipes? More photos? More books, films and pop culture references? Today, it's going to be the latter...

Last night, I went to see 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' with a bunch of mates from church. Now before I continue, I should rave (a little) about my undying love for all things Tolkien related. I first read The Hobbit and all three books of the Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was eleven. There have been a few subsequent re-readings. The first movie came out when I was thirteen, and I was really surprised that my mum not only let me see a movie with (what was for me at that time) such a high rating, but actively encouraged me to see it. I thought it would be disappointing after reading the books, but it turns out that I was wrong. Later that year, my school concert band played an arrangement of themes from the movie, and that was when I really started to realise how powerfully moving music could be. I introduced a friend to the movie, and she became even more of a Tolkien fan than I am. This friend and I then went to see The Two Towers and The Return of the King together at the cinemas at the first showing. In later years, we would celebrate the day the movies were released by having marathons of all three movies.

I left high school, and my love of The Lord of the Rings did not wane. One of my uni assignments was to write or arrange a song for high school level choir. I wrote a melody to 'The Merry Old Inn', which Frodo sang in the inn at Bree (but only in the book, not in the movie). From memory, I got quite a good mark for that assignment. I've also been on a holiday to New Zealand, which partly, but not entirely, consisted of visiting movie sets.

Anyway, last night I went to see The Hobbit. I no longer live in the same city as my friend from high school, so we went on opening night in our separate cities, and sent happy togetherness vibes to each other. I thought the movie was fantastic, even with the addition of quite a bit of subplot to link it more closely to The Lord of the Rings. (However, it has been a few years since I've read the book, and I'm sure there's a lot that I just didn't remember. Maybe that can be my holiday project.)

I'm generally pretty good at getting lost in a story, but occasionally a few thoughts pop into my head while trying to immerse myself in fantasy. This is the kind of unexpected journey my brain takes during movies:
  • Oh listen to that, they have a lot of the same music as the Lord of the Rings movies. That's a good thing. It links the stories together more closely, even if other people don't realise it.
  • Wow, the dwarf song is amazing! (I may have been listening to it all morning.) Those low bass harmonies are so awesome!
  • How come Bilbo's sword is invisible when he's wearing the ring? And what would happen if he dropped it?
  • I thought all dwarves had long beards. What happened to Kili's beard?
  • Speaking of dwarves, did they find lots of actors with really big noses, or are they prosthetic? And why does their king look more human and less dwarvy than the rest of the dwarves?
  • Which dwarf is which? (This helped a lot)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Best Medicine

Today was a rather amusing day. I spent the day with the school concert band I help to run, performing at local primary schools. The band is made up of a great bunch of kids, all of whom gave me a little bit of a giggle. But two things today made me laugh so much that I just have to tell people about them:

1) The band has three percussionists, all teenage boys. One of the boys was so tired before our final concert that he decided to have a little lie down on the stage. So one of the other boys tucked him in under an old towel and I decided to play a lullaby on the glockenspiel. As you do. A few minutes later, we realised that the kid was still very quiet, and had actually fallen asleep. But the concert was about to start, and we needed to wake him up. After shaking his foot, he still didn't wake up, but rolled over saying "I don't want to go to school". We eventually had to play the crash cymbals in his face to wake him up. It was one of those teaching moments that makes your heart swell about three sizes!

2) I've recently been talked into joining the Bible reading roster at church, so once a month I read the passage from the Bible that the day's sermon is based on. My church is currently doing a sermon series on marriage (and I won't go into details here about being a cynical spinster who doesn't think that a 6-week series on marriage is really necessary). Anyway, today I've been told that this week's reading is from the book of Song of Songs. So come this Sunday, I will have to publicly say things like "Your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine", "Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon", and "Your breasts are like clusters of fruit". As a Christian, I think that all of God's word is important and useful, but if I can get through this reading without dissolving into fits of giggles, it will be a major achievement. (And if a man ever says things like that to me, he's going to get what's coming to him, probably involving a black eye!)

What has made you laugh today?