Saturday, December 8, 2012

Committing Myself... To a Week of Micro Workouts

I have been struggling a bit lately. I don't think I have fully attempted to explain my issues at any point - you probably don't need that shit. (Although there is a bit if you are keen on that kind of stuff in Why Change? and Honesty Honestly.) Essentially, I suffer from anxiety and change is incredibly unsettling for me. I completed my engineering degree a few weeks ago and this coming week is grad week.

Up until all of this change I had been working out pretty consistently. Which in itself is a pretty big thing for me - I mean I've always done fitness 2-4 times a week but I haven't done dedicated work-outs and gym work outs and sprinting and stuff individually before now. The whole fitness movement bothers me, the attitude of the people in it, the winner-loser nature of it, the fact that you can never ever be good enough.. ever. That stuff is incredibly unhelpful for me.

Unfortunately being stressed under the change pressure ensures I have a sensation of paralysis. Forcing myself into anything becomes really hard. At the moment it can take me over an hour to convince myself to leave my room, or that I need to make my bed, or that I should read that book over there for fun, or that I really need to leave to get to that appointment on time. So forcing myself to do fitness activities, which is honestly even more stressful for me, can take half a day of working myself up to it.

I've also lost my gym buddy to the dark side. I can't handle being around her anymore. She has got the whole 'gym is the future' (that is to say gym is the only thing worthy in life) attitude going on. When we are together anything I say she replies with nothing and everything she says has something to do with her gym buddies. We've been away from school a few weeks (the big gap between the end of classes and the graduation) and in that time she went ahead and found new gym membership which I couldn't get because I was only in our hometown for 2 weeks. Which just emphasised that fitness was more important than our relationship. Not even, that doing fitness in a very narrow minded way was more important than our relationship. She's my best friend and has been since early high school - but I think I understand how couples divorce after being married for many years.

I think I've summarised why fitness is hard for me. Now I am going to summarise what I am going to do about it. I can't handle going to the gym anymore - that dear friend is one of those people who gets to be bosom buddies with everybody and I just can't take it. So I just need to find little things to keep myself from doing nothing all week. I know that such a small amount of work will probably still mean I'm going backwards from where I was but if it prevents me from doing 110% nothing all week it has achieved its purpose.

So I want to follow this little micro workout plan for each day of the week.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I'll do additional abs in the form of:

For 10 minutes, starting on the minute complete:
10 sit-ups
15 crunches
20 bicycles 

Then on Tuesday,Thursday and Saturday I'll also do this Legs Workout.

Then the current plan is to do this every other day and run on the other days... but I am allowing myself to say I might skip cardio completely on some days because if I am not willing to go outside I am not going to force myself for this week and I physically can't do jumping based cardio for 6 days in a row - my shins don't love me enough.

So yes, this is my big plan. I've put it up here to commit to it. If anybody is looking at them and liking the pretty pictures - and you don't recognise them as being Pinterest specials... Might I suggest you check it out. I have a couple of exercise boards on my Pinterest here but feel free to just stroll the main 'Health & Fitness' category.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

3 Things I love about... Solo Road Trips

Yep, had to get down to the nitty gritty eventually. Truly hard hitting issues like enjoying road trips. By myself. Because I am cool like that. Seriously though, if you've never tried it. Try it. Road trip alone. Not like a 10 day across the continent (you have to work up to that sort of thing) just like a good 8 to 20 hrs. A nice overnighter.
(Yes I was alone and driving when I took this - judge if you wish)

My road tripping experience - well I wouldn't call it 'extensive' - I would say is a bit above average. In the last month I have travelled about 5,000 km on Australian highways and visited all 4 East coast capital cities (Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane). This isn't normal for me or anything. However when you are from QLD but live in Canberra the 1 and a half day drive (well 2 drives really one of these in both directions) starts to get to be an annual ritual. I've taken all the highways, I've even taken the 'what on earth is inland of the Newell Highway' route in the year of the floods - oops. My advice? Don't take that one - its got dirt and shit... you don't need to be out there alone.

Each time I do it, it gets quicker, not that I speed more than I used to (well I'd like to think I don't) just because time flies when you're having fun. And I am having fun. Nothing beats it, for these reasons:

1. Nothing else you are 'supposed to be doing'. Few times in my life do I feel as unfettered as when I am driving distance. At that point there is nowhere else I am supposed to be, nothing I am supposed to be doing. Driving from point A to point B IS the objective. It means whatever else you are doing - that optional extras... I mean you probably aren't reading books. (Only probably because hey, audiobooks?) However driving isn't all consuming so whatever you are thinking or listening to etc... it doesn't have to be work related because you are already doing the only work you need to do.

2. Work at your own pace. Going solo may sound pretty dull. Nobody to talk to. Nothing but the changing colours of the concrete on the road and new place name signs (both of which probably belong in a second set of 3 about things I love about road trip scenery). However, you stop when you need to, you eat when you need to, you listen to whatever you want and as loud as you want. Perhaps you want to get to Newcastle or Taree or Moree or wherever. You go to where you want and you stop.

3. Sing at the top of your lungs. I love CDs. It depresses me really that CDs and short playlists have gone out of fashion. I am a 'listen to music to sing' person most of the time. (I usually become a 'listen to music to listen' person about 5 hrs into a road trip at which point I start radio surfing - Triple J can be picked up in a lot of places.) I like having 10-100 songs of which I know or wish to know the words to. I mean I like having 50000 songs or whatever, but I prefer it when my music is reoccurring and consistently familiar when singing along at the top of my lungs. I am country and pop most of the time - so a disk of glee soundtrack and a few disks of contemporary country and I'm all set.

Friday, November 30, 2012

22... the end of age.

Punch-line ruiner: I don't think 22 is old... just not a number that matters.

It was my birthday on Wednesday... it's possible I've mentioned that before. Oh well, this is my blog and I reserve the right to repeat myself as often as I want.

I turned 22 on Wednesday (see repeating myself). The brushed over older sister of 21 or the more infamous 21+1 (because everybody has to start lying sometime). It's a matter of perspective. However no matter what you call it 22 is the beginning of adult monotony. Where social position is no longer judged by age but by place in life.

To be clear, this happens before 22... it really starts to kick in about 18-19... however both 18 and 21 are pinnacle birthdays. 21 has more tradition. 18 is perhaps more applicable in Australian society. There is an element of 'if you haven't reached this point you aren't as old as you think' to the birthdays. Twenty-one in particular is the 'big send off' - that last ditch effort by the family to embarass you in front of all of your other family and probably several friends who have only every known the full grown you. Not that I had a 21st... but I've been to several.

22 is not a pinnacle birthday.22 is a nothing birthday. Nothing differenciates you at 22 from 23,24,25,26... until you hit thirty (and then you are OLD apparently - though my sister thinks I am old as it is). No. Age doesn't really have a purpose any longer. It is merely a guide line. That is - I am more likely to expect them to be 'married with school-aged kids' if they are in their 30s...  I'd like to similarly hope that is not the case when talking to somebody who seems early 20s.

Instead I think of life from now on in different 'ages'. Not unique, you probably think in these too and they are probably in some woman's magazine somewhere. However mine are as follows.

  1. Singles. Woo! I am officially in the 'baby' category of adulthood. Here lies the majority of singles although under circumstances singles will come to reside in a couple of the other categories... and somewhere past the 30 barrier singles may move to the 'Spinster' category. Singles may be your heavier partier types, they may just be you unattached friends. These people don't have partners, kids, or much to say on either topic. Consequently they hang out with mostly singles and perhaps a few 'Couples'.
  2. Couples. The next stage of life these people have partners, in some level of 'its kind of a new thing' through 'to be married next week'. These ones may still be hanging with the singles friends or have moved friendship circles to associate with their partners friends. Couples is a level that may be visited by singles... and then they may be 'age demoted' back to singleness. You know how it is...
  3. Young Marrieds. These are usually your 1-5 years of marriage types. However this is a time based category - just like any of the others here. Young married have no kids. These ones don't hang a lot with singles any more... they've moved into this stage of life with many of their friends usually or simply they have started to distance themselves because married life is hard.
  4. Married with Babies. Awww... Are they so CUTE! This the centre of attention couples with teeny tinies. The least likely to socialise their lives now revolve around their new child.
  5. Married with Kids. At least one of your kids has reached school age now. So rather than having that 'wrapped up in the home' characteristic to your family you are now back into community. Community with other marrieds with kids. This is the 'soccer mum' time of life.
  6. Spinsters. This is a side-liner category - which I don't easily fit into the other categories. This is those who never marry but have moved past being able to associate with singles because all their old friends are into the married categories. This also includes divorced person without kids and in certain circumstances married who choose not to have kids.
  7. Married with Teens. Obviously the next level up from married with kids. They are more independent and STILL you have no time to yourself. Instead of 'soccer mum' you are now 'taxi driver'.
  8. Empty Nesters. These are your people whose kids have all moved out of home (or should have all moved out of home). They can be a bit weird at first but eventually they get the hang of their empty nest and really begin to enjoy themselves.
  9. Golden Oldies. The properly old people. These love their grandkids to bits, pass the time as 'gray nomads' and just generally are enjoying the twilight years of their life (and probably don't know that 'Twilight' is a movie). I'd divide this category into a few - but that is really depressing and just feels wrong so we'll keep it on the bright side of old age.
And finally just to celebrate my birthday in a bouncier way. Taylor Swift's '22'.

Monday, November 26, 2012

$200 Santa Wish List Tag

Apparently leave from work makes me want to do tag posts or something... Which I wouldn't usually consider myself enough of a blogger to get on board for. I read this one on Sam Schuerman's blog this time. It struck me not just as a bit of fun, but also pretty useful. One of those people blessed with an end of the year birthday (its tomorrow in case you're wondering) I always find that thinking of good things that I actually want pretty hard - which means I just get a lot of nothings from my mum (chief gift giver of course). Seriously if I have a child with a birthday in December we will start a family tradition of celebrating half birthdays.

The premise here is pretty simple. With a budget of $200 what would I ideally like for Christmas?

1. Illamasqua Blush in Morale. $28 each. I love Illamasqua blushes, and I love Illamasqua itself for the price lowering they did earlier this year. I have bought this in the past... and very sadly smashed/spilled it... and that thing cost me $42 dollars! (Sadly it must be noted that the closest Myers that stocks Illamasqua is Brisbane City - which costs $15-20 by train :( there goes the saving)
Running Total: $28

2. Illumasqua Blush Duo in Hussy/Lover. $39. I have test the Hussy blush before and really liked it. So why not get two together.
Running Total: $67

2. Kylie Minogue Sexy Darling Perfume 50mL. $25. At least that was the price I saw at the local chemist and not on any visible special. Seems right Darling (the original) 75mL cost me $29 dollars at Big W. This is a nice scent. I am a real perfume person and I could make a list purely of perfumes that are currently on my 'to-get' list - in fact I probably will in the future. (Largely because I wouldn't mind a consolidated list for myself.)
Running Total: $92

3. Taylor Swift's Red. Her latest album - though this is more a last minute 'I want this for my birthday' sort of thing. It has a song '22' - perfect for a 22 birthday. $21.99 from Sanity
Running Total: $114

4. Toby Keith's Hope On The Rocks. Country is currently 2 for $40 at Sanity (although I'm showing full scale prices for the purposes of this list). I am a long term Toby Keith fan - seriously I could sing all the words to If a Man Answers, Should've Been a Cowboy and Dream Walkin' when most of my classmates were in the 'boy bands are awesome' mindset. The best bit? What I've seen from this album is some old school Toby Keith. Just want I've been needing. $21.99
Running Total: $136

5. Piano For Leisure Series 1 Grade 3. Not actually a new book for me. This is my old piano book. Yes, I really did do 15 or so years of piano and achieve the not so lofty heights of grade three FOR LEISURE. Its been several years and I'd like to get back into it. However I've lost my music book and when I went to replace it they only had my Grade 4 book. Yes I had moved beyond my grade 3 book however it has all the songs in it I used to be competent to play. I'd like to be able to play them again. On ebay I can find this for $34 including delivery.
Running Total: $170

6. Wool Socks. I'd like to get these early seeing as I am not at home for christmas. However a good pair of thermal socks before my holiday to Europe for Christmas itself wouldn't go astray. Long ones are prefered - and any of the earlier items (though hopefully not all of them) can be substituted for socks.$14.00.
Running Total: $184

7. Garnier Roll-On Deodorant. I don't know about everybody else but deodorant is a stock standard for Christmas at my house. So I may as well think through my choose what kind I would like. Garnier seem to work best for me. $4.72 according to the Woolworths website.
Running Total: $189

8. Colgate Travel Essentials Pack. In keeping with the 'hopefully gifted to me before my holiday' theme of the socks (although the socks are also useful for work) I figure I might as well but some hand tooth care on my list. I love the Colgate Travel kits - they are just what you need. They are also $7.41 on the mighty, mighty Woolworths website.
Running Total: $197.

I think I did a pretty good job of this list. I managed to get everything I need and could think to want in it. I do of course also have my eye on a camera as a christmas gift to myself (I do bad things to cameras and my poor darling's zoom no longer shuts correct so it is definitely on its last legs.). This pretty much sums up what I'd like for my birthday/Christmas. If I get any of it I'll be a happy girl :) but I'm not that fussed. I'll probably just end up buying them myself throughout the year.

The $150 Make Up Collection

I suppose this is a 'tag' post or sorts. Or perhaps just a 'challenge' being that there is no tagging of people at the end of it. Regardless I copied it off Project Swatch who did it in response to a Temptalia post. There is probably going to be a fair bit of make-up on my blog in the next week or so... I am bored. So it is either blog about it or be COMPLETELY unproductive... (I'm probably going to be a bit of both).

Now before I get into this I am going to re-iterate that I am Australian. That should ease the minds of anybody reading this thinking 'What the hell is she doing paying those kind of prices?'. Similarly I would never buy a lot of these things at these prices - in Australia purchasing drugstore make-up becomes an artform - Priceline sales are the bomb!

Garnier BB Cream Oil-Free (the one for Combination/Oily skin) in Light - $10.99
Except for the slight disagreement with the messiness asssociated with the packaging this stuff is amazing. (Not shown because apparently it is going to make me hunt for it tomorrow morning :/)
Rimmel Stay-Matte Pressed Powder - $12.95
Colour irrelevant.
Australis Blush in Baby Doll - $9.95
The only blush I've ever come close to finishing.
Covergirl Simply Ageless Concealer in Light - $17.95
I know its an anti age concealer and I'm oily - I suck at concealer and its the only one I seem to be able to get the hang of...

Australis Eye Shadow Primer - $12.95
This is the best eye primer I've ever tried for me eye primer is a necessity - even under things like supposed 'bases'.
Loreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Hour Glass Beige - $19.95
Honestly my favourite one is Sahara Treasure but like so much of everything it is limited addition - I bought it from a bargin bin for $7 and there is no replacing it directly.
Maybelline Colour Eye Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze - $11.95
Classics Eyeshadow Quad in Smokey Eyes Brown - $5.29
A Woolworths special. Obviously not top of the line but reasonable, and cheap and readily accessible to boot which is how I ended up with it in the first instance.
Essense Brow Designer in Blonde - $2.95
Essense Maximum Definition Volume Mascara - $5.50
I haven't managed to get the hang of mascara, or something... I do it wrong - repeatedly. This is the first mascara I've used and managed to think 'this is what I was hoping for' with. High praise indeed.
Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Waterproof Eye Definer in Noir - $6.25

Nivea Lip Care Balm Hydro Care - $3.75
Here I'm really going to go on a limb with a current but limited addition product so it has a not limited addition alternative.
Face of Australia Sheer Lip Crayons - $14.95
I love Sundae. It is my go to. Even despite the fact mine is a bit sick - it got a bit over heated.
In the absense of that... I'd have to buy the 'bandwagon' bullet and admit to a deep affection for my...
Revlon ColorBurst™ Lip Butter in Sugar Plum OR Pink Truffle - $21.95
Allow me some whimsy it would totally depend on the my mood that day they are my favourite lip products.

Australis 3 in 1 Wipes - $4.95

TOTAL - $147.33

Next I'd probably look into buying some tools, a blush brush, eye shadow brushes. Why are there no tools in the initial buy? Because I managed well enough before I got them... and a lot of my favourite tools are gifts with purchase (an Almay set from about 12 months ago) and limited addition - Sportsgirl had a great duel ended eye-shadow brush at one point which I have multiple of. Either that... or very expensive.

Final thought... if that is $150 dollars.... shit. I have far too many dollars invested in my make-up collection.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Freedom To-Do List

I was talking with one of my friends the other day about the prospect of 3 weeks off. Well, to be honest it is a conversation I've had with many of my friends. Always the same thing though, "When I go home I am not going to know what to do with myself."  However this particular friend was quick off the mark with his solution. It wasn't a difficult proposition. It was at all directed or specific. It was simply "Make a list of things you want to do. And do them."

Yes I know, not exactly a revolutionary concept. List writers have been writing lists for as long as they have been competent to write. Even I have written my share of to-do lists. However a 'middle man' list - something between a 'must get this done' list and a 'before I die in an ideal world' list - I have never thought to bother with.

Now I think I'm going to bother with it. I have 2 weeks at home - my family home. My hometown is every bit as dull and uneventful as yours probably is. So I figure why not have some things I want to do in that time?

1. Read Pride and Prejudice. I always read on my breaks. I don't often read novels that would be welcomely discussed in polite company... then again people discuss 50 Shades of Grey so why the hell not? Pride and Prejudice is the next book to justify my romance fiction reading tendencies. The other week I read Jane Eyre for the first time.

2. Read Starship Troopers. This is the last 'read' list item I promise. I have a friend who recommended this to me. Over a year ago. He is one of my uni friends so after this year we'll likely never cross paths again - so I figure I should probably read it now. Or I'll never do it.

3. Climb Mt Tibrogargan. For anybody that doesn't not it - it isn't much of a mountain - not by international standards or anything. It is, however, a pretty good 2-3 hrs up hill mountain. I've never made it to the top before - because it has some free style rock climbing going on about halfway up. But I want to try it again.

4. Re-learn my piano songs. I used to play piano. I don't have a lot of talent for it, or patience, but I did used to play and do lessons. Consequently I did used to have a number of songs I could play by heart. I can't do that anymore. I wouldn't mind getting the old keyboard out, it's around here somewhere, and relearning some of them.

5. Do a Santa Fun Run. This one sounds really specific, and really random. It is actually just do a fun run. However, I've googled it and could find 1 fun run in SE QLD in the next 2 weeks. A Santa Fun Run on Sunday Morning. Clause for a Cause - so many puns. Literally - you dress up as Santa. And run. I want in.

6. Different Make-up Every Day. Have you seen my make-up collection? Probably not... It is shamefully large. I am a horrible hoarder. Now however, when I don't have any work to look respectable for, is the perfect time to try it out and use all the bits that I don't often use. No repeat looks (there can be repeat products - I only own about 4 mascaras).

7. Exercise. A non-specific one. I just have to exercise on a daily basis. My best friend, who conveniently has the same two weeks off is hardcore fitness/health at the moment so this one won't be hard. I wouldn't mind losing a kg or two before my Europe holiday - because guarentee I put it back on then - that's life.

8. Go to the beach. I don't usually live as close to the coast as I am at the moment. Should definitely make the most of this (and my new swimmers) and make an effort to go for a swim in the sun.

9. Sew my rows in my quilt.  I am not much of a quilter. However I have a work in progress that I work on when I come home. At the moment it is all squares. Next up - sew the rows!

10. Catch up with friends. I haven't lived at home in 5 years. So along with that I don't have all the friends I once did around this town, but I still have a couple. Time to make the effort and catch up with them. Go for coffee, play some Singstar, bake some cookies... Just do something to see them. So that I don't end up with no friends. It is good practice for keeping up with my uni friends post university as well.

Not the most exciting of lists I know, but you know what? That's because it is realistic. However there still looks like a fair bit of empty time in it. I will have to investigate uses for that time... There may be some up dates / additions to the list in the future.

Friday, November 2, 2012

3 Things... That Make me Glad It is Exam Week

You probably haven't started to see the pattern yet. (I'm not sure two posts in a theme are precisely what you would call a 'pattern'.) However I have decided to make a post... whatever you call it when multiple posts follow the same structure... a series/theme? These are my 'Three things' posts - you can see the first of its kind here.

It is one thing to decide to make the posts follow the same structure but what does that really thing? After all it isn't an entirely unique concept to make lists of 3 items - which is a lot of what these posts are. These posts are my positivity posts. I have to say positive things. Being positive or optimistic is not a strength for me so I figure I need some practice.

Today's post is 3 reasons why I am glad it is study/exam week. Exams is a stressful time and it becomes very easy to lose sight of why or how that could ever be a good thing. This post is bigger than simply this blog and is about getting my head back into gear before I start a long night of thesis and a long week of exam study. Proving to myself (and maybe you too) that exams is good for you.

1. The End of Work. Now this has got to be the biggest benefit to an exam week. It is only a week or two and then you know what? It is done. Better, you probably have at least 2 or 3 weeks off afterwards. In the case of summer that is going to be more like 2 or 3 months. Your brain gets to relax, take a breather, and generally enjoy the fact that for the next little while your most challenging study is likely to be 'in work hours only' if you have a job or 'because I want to know this' if you have the luxury of holidays. 

2. Guilt-free romance novels. This one is more specific to me, not everybody would think in terms of romance novels as a reward to yourself. I read a lot of romance novels, some days I will, almost without thinking, rip through 3 or 4 of them. I'm still known to do that during the academic semester but nothing is more awesome than not having to feel bad for reading them. If at any point in the last month I have read a romance novel that has meant getting behind on my school work or on my thesis. I want exams to be done so I can read a couple and not feel in the slightest bit guilty for doing so.

3. Proof I've Learnt Something. Now I don't know about you but sometimes I sit in class thinking that nothing is sinking in. Exams are a great solution for that. They are challenging, and yet you and generally 80-90% of the course manage to pass them. If that isn't proof you've learnt something I don't know what else could be. I like sitting down in an exam I've been stressing about for 2 or 3 days and looking at the paper and having that 'I can totally do that question' moment. Sometimes against the odds, but I always come out of a course with something. What do you know - university has a purpose.

Bonus: It means my degree is over! This has got to be the best part about getting through this latest exam period. At the end of it I will be done, really done. Anybody can survive 3 exams and a thesis for the sake of having an engineering qualification in its completeness to their name. There is one hell of a party to be had a week or so from now. 

Come join my optimism bandwagon? What are three things that makes you glad that it this week (exam week if that is where you are in your studies like me)?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Girl Warning: What's Your Type?

I kindly put a 'girl warning' in the title of this post. That was for a good reason. This post is going to be a low-down of the kind of guy I tend to be attracted to. Not because I believe that a person has a single designated type. Through my time I have, at a minimum liked from afar, guys who don't comply with every one of these traits. However, these are the things I look for, whether I'm conscious of it or not at the time.

1. Christian. This is the most conscious one. As a Christian there is a requirement that any guy I date should be a Christian. I am not some kind of elitist - just practical. My life incorporates a lot of bible studies, church on Sundays, weekends away with Christian groups and all my life goals relate back to the bible. Non-Christian guys are tempting, some of them very Christian in their values systems without the associated belief system, but at the end of the day Christian makes life easier and healthier.

2. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Alright I don't tend to go in for full ice features, but somehow the guys I like tend to fit this description. Hair somewhere between blonde and that colourless brown. Eyes somewhere in the blue eye spectrum. As with most looks based preferences it isn't a conscious decision. Certainly I don't look at a guy and think 'Nope, hazel eyes, he's out'. Rather in hindsight these are just the looks I tend towards.

3. Height. Up the last year or so I wouldn't have claimed this one was a strict one. Excluding a certain guy who shall remain nameless (they are all going to remain nameless :-P) I tend to run a strict 2 inches above myself rule. Now this one is perhaps my most difficult to get around petty physical issue. I'm a 5'10" and not a slight build. I like the novelty of looking up into a guys face. I am thankfully not so tall as for this to be an unusual occurrence. Just the same, I don't like feel self-conscious as I get with most shorter guys or guys my own height. I get a little irritated by under 5'5" girls with over 6'1" guys - go find a guy your own height. (Alright I'm not THAT fussed.)

4. Aloof Personalities. This one was hard for me to explain in words. I am, without question, attracted to level-headed, aloof personalities. I'd say something like opposites attract - except it isn't even so simple. I seek personalities that reflect the part of my own personality I like. I am very scattered. Sometimes bubbly, sometimes quiet, sometimes all out insane. I like the quiet personality best - it is the safest, the steadiest. Consequently I like guys who have that personality - and what's more they do it better than I ever could. The downside is I've been freezed out by a guy or two in this aspect of his personality, you just have to accept that goes with the territory. The benefits to these personalities are the kind hearts (a potential subcategory but nevertheless a requirement) that mean you can take their words at face value. Thoughts are hidden but overarching opinions aren't. If they accept you they'll talk to you, if they don't they won't. It suits me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yesteryear... Double Bass and Banjos

Alright. I'm surprised I haven't brought this up before now... Then again I only have a smattering of posts to my name at this point so everything is pretty new and exciting isn't it? I am a country music kind of girl.

Country music is a funny thing to like in urban Australia. Maybe its a bit weird to like it in urban anywhere. People come for a ride in my car, my choice of radio will get a comment if I haven't had the forethought to forewarn them. I don't see what's not to love about country - but apparently even metal would be preferable to some people.

I love all the strengths of country. I have a weakness for the Pop Country of Taylor Swift (who doesn't these days) and the older ones of Faith Hill and Shania Twain. To almost contradict that I love the heavy on the fiddle and banjo end of the genre, and even an unreticent ear for heavier country rock. I'll admit mostly mainstream country. Though I deviate occasionally in favour of some Australian Folk country - John Williamson isn't the most contemporary of musical styles.

Currently, my favourite song is Wagon Wheel by the Old Crow Medicine Show. I can't claim it to be out of the ordinary - it has been very popular generally. It is certainly in the majority of 8track playlists I've listened to in recent months. It combines some of my favourite things about the stronger country music - never underestimate fiddle and double bass. It is one of the few country songs I have had full addiction to without without an intimate knowledge of the verse lyrics - this is all for the music itself and simply the vocal sound.

Fitness Goal: The Core Challenge

I have this awful feeling that the last time I spoke of fitness and dieting I came across a little bit negative. Don't confuse my dislike for extremism with a general dislike for fitness in general. Particularly now that the warmer weather of spring and summer is here I am well into my fitness. I just don't like to do it in the extreme. 

Why? For the exact reason why a bunch of fitness junkies just read that line and clicked away or at the very least scowled in my direction. There are people who's lives revolve around their fitness, their body image, their ability to do heaves and their ability to abstain from chocolate indefinitely. Not only am I not like that... I don't WANT to be like that. I am happy enough in all of those respects just the way I am. I do fitness because it makes me feel good, better about myself and all that... quietly. I don't need the ability to flaunt anything.

Right now I am really starting to get my distaste for fitness on. My best friend has gone hard core into fitness over the last little while, and to a certain extent she's brought me along for the ride. However she is starting to reach 'gym junkie' levels despite her denial of the term (as though the lack of a title changes anything about the attitude). She is starting to get that devoted tone in her voice, little to talk about but the next time she can go and worship at the whole shine of fitness. No. Just quietly. No, I am a stress bunny I refuse to touch that mystical self-hating world that is fitness in its hard core form. 

However. Pinterest is an interesting website isn't it? Wow I'm glad I only found it last week and not months ago. For all the things that I can pin though, fitness short work-outs and the like have so far been the stand out. Things I can take away and try for the good of myself.

The picture? That's the goal for my core for the next little while. Not to look like that lady - I don't much care what I look like - the work out. At the moment I can only manage the crunches, the push-ups off my knees and the various planks and bridges for about 20 seconds each. I'd like to be able to do it all, full strength, no stopping. I can just about do 15 push-ups (real ones) in a row... however not after 50 crunches just yet - a lot of work to be done all round on the abdominal front - though I'll be honest this 'core' work out hurts the hell out of my arms long before my core feels anything.

Wish me luck. Putting the goal on here means (even though no real people read this blog) I have to stick to it.

The Big 5: My Girly Girl Mannerisms

I don't like thinking about myself in those kinds of words... but I am a very girly girl. It is one of those things that sort of snuck up on me from out of somewhere when I wasn't looking. I was a tom boyish girl, not really one for Barbies, I quit ballet at 5, refused dresses, my favourite colour was blue and I hated pink. While I can't claim to have played with toy trucks I did certainly do a lot of sand pit playing and mud pie making. In some cases things changed, in others I suspect girly girl was hiding just beneath the surface.

In some ways the girly girl still hides just beneath the surface. I went away on a week-long work trip last year. There was just one other female on the trip, so we sort of became friends by default in the usual way. After three or four days she looked at me and told me that suddenly some of the things she used to think didn't fit with my personality at all made perfect sense. Apparently I do a very good job of being a 'closet' girly girl.

Heaven forbid I be a closet anything on my own blog so I am going to highlight some of my most dominant and girliest attributes. By the end of this you are unlikely to be able to see anything except my girly side. Perhaps that is how I want it - the girly bits are the stuff I want to talk about. The parts of my life I do for fun. Well lets get into it.

  1. Romance Novels. I am sure I'm not the only girl out there who reads these, though it is a pretty girly sort of a habit. However, I don't just read them. I read them by the bucket load. Most generally I read Mills and Boon, and I read the full spectrum, as old as 1961 (as old as I've ever gotten my hands on) through to the whole set of series available in the present day. I am conversant in the differences between the categories of Mills and Boon - a skill that few girls openly admit to. I will go into more detail on M&B in a seperate post (or multiple seperate posts). I do also read a lot outside of M&B, historical romance mostly, but I can count on one hand the number of non-romances I've read in the last 3 years... I can't count on one hand the number of romances I've read in the last week. Girl.
  2. A Pink Car. I own a pink Nissan Micra. It isn't the kind of car I can get male passengers into without some comment about the fact they feel their masculinity is being threatened. It is also an auto (though I did earn my license driving a manual, have no doubt) and has no boot-space to think of. I have known people to insult the random pink Micra in the car-park only to have me point out that it belongs to me. Just it case it wasn't girly enough of course it also has its name, Rosie, as a window sticker across the front windscreen. Girl, girl, girl!
  3. No taste for horror. I wouldn't watch a horror film if you paid me. Alright, I'll admit it, its because I scare ridiculously easy. I have known to be on slightly on edge after a game of Clue-do or an episode of NCIS. Not to mention I am entirely susceptible to 'scary music' you wanted me feeling trepidation? Don't worry I am. Some movies use that kind of music unnecessarily and I really hate them for it. It isn't restricted to horror films, people come up behind me, I jump sky high too. I thought of making the fact I play games into a seperate entry but really it falls under this too. I love playing Halo - but something attacks me and I have about a 50% of a girlish squeal and complete freak out. What a girl.
  4. Beauty Products. Make-up and perfume mainly. I don't have a lot of skill for the practice but that doesn't that the fun out of buying the stuff or applying it to my face in the privacy of my own home. I've already talked about my late arrival on the make-up stage. So perhaps just what attracts me to it is that it is art that doesn't require much in the way of drawing ability and it is something you can wear around, change frequently and realistically I can get new things for a few dollars... Adoration of the red lip is not for the tom boy. My biggest beauty weaknesses are fruity or fresh perfumes, brightly coloured nail polish (on my toes) and blush. Girl.
  5. Purple. My favourite colour is purple (not not pink - I don't go that far). This one is vaguely related I guess to my possession of a pink car but very much more broad. I am attracted to colour, often over function, practicality or usefulness. My laptop is pink, I wanted green but it wasn't available, my camera is purple. It helps that these days companies pander to people like me, I can have those all my things in pretty colours. However I am the kind of person who will stop, turn around and walk back just because the colour was kind of interesting. Everything I own just about is colour chosen. Also. Fun fact. I mentioned blue was my favourite colour as a child. I find I don't like it anymore - with the exception of blue jeans or navy I'd never chose to wear it.
  6. Bonus Round. I didn't include this because while a girl's passion quilting/sewing isn't really a girly girl hobby - nor is it really a hobby of mine. However in the picture I add it is all the pieces of my partially made quilt laid out on the floor. I can also knit (without much commitment I last finished something I knitted in 2009) and for fun I taught myself to darn my work socks - cool if random ability. Darning is surprising relaxing.

And just in case you don't think that list is enough to qualify as a 'girly girl'... well I'm not sure what you want from me. That is the majority of my free time - remembering that I'm an engineering major.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Painted Woman

Perhaps I should add this to my old-timey line-up. The fact that I use the title for a little glimmer of its old meaning. Not that I am saying I am promiscuous. Merely the reason behind the meaning - the term being related to the painting of faces - putting on make-up. There's probably a beauty blog out there called painted woman though I haven't personally looked it up. Well done that lady, whoever you are.

I love make-up. Statement of fact. I won't imply that it is a secret passion. I've long gotten past that point. I would happily paint my face in ways that are only deemed appropriate for a night out clubbing simply to sit around in my undies watching television. (I wouldn't actually do that though; I unfortunately live where my television is located in a communal area, undies aren't really appropriate television attire.) It is typically a sign of how much work I have to do how much make-up I have on. That is to say - if I have clownish make-up with vibrant red lips (I'm not fond of rocking the red lip under other circumstances) and detailed eyes I've probably got a major test of assignment due tomorrow.

A lot of big make-up girls it seems begin early, begin fast, begin in their mother's make-up bag. I didn't. Make-up for me was in a way thrust upon me. For reasons I can not determine my mother went out of her way when I was 15 to encourage me in the art of make-up. She organised a Mary-Kay make-up party for the express intent of tutoring me in the art of make-up and bought a full set of make-up things. (Mum herself doesn't wear the stuff with any regularity.) The same year I also got make-up sets for Christmas. An large 'bit of everything' Australis palette and a Models Prefer set of everything. Yeah... like I said I don't know where that came from in my mothers mind.

Perhaps it follows on that I took up make-up as a bit of a hobby (read hoarding addiction), years later though. Around the time I turned 18 I started to actually wear make-up when I dressed up. Then around the time I turned 20 I truly started to embrace it as an 'any-time' kind of an endeavour. It also seems like a healthier alternative to buying chocolate each time I went to the shops to window-shop. (Yes that does translate to me buying entirely too much make-up.)

I've contemplated at times doing a beauty blog before, however as you can probably tell from this blog. I am erratic, I am not great with beauty words and most significantly I lack the commitment required. However I enjoy taking photos of eye make-up, face make-up, bits and pieces of my make-up... Just because it is fun. So while I don't pretend to be a beauty blogger there may be... more than its fair share of beauty posts on this blog in the future.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Yesteryear... No More Dieting Please

How far do I have to go back in time until dieting isn't a thing? I mean whether or not  the authors recall the time accurately weight was a sign of good health for quite a long time (still is for many cultures - especially in children). Yes, food is infinitely cooler today - I don't have to hunt and gather any further than my local Woolies. Access to chocolate isn't restricted to the upper classes. I think I could live without it - too much choice to eat badly every day of my life.

I feel I need to be very up-front about my weight at this point. I can practically hear the voices of mental voices of health nuts and snotty teenage girls (and for that the remember voice of my brother) at this point implying that I am obviously fat and unwilling to do anything about it. I am overweight, I'm aware of the fact. I am 5'10" and about 93kgs. I also do weights sessions at the gym 2-4 times a week, and run/swim/spin session 3 or so times on top of that. That is a little me justifying myself to you unknown millions but mostly that's simply the facts.

I am also on a diet at the moment. Not some kind of super strict strenuous diet - I've weighed between 85 and 95 kgs since I was 12 - there's no rush. I have oatmeal for breakfast, soup/sushi/sandwiches for my other main meals and if I snack its an orange or mandarin. The diet of convenience. (My friend calls it the S diet - slop, soup, sushi and snacks.) The only thing I am specifically trying to do is break my sweet snack addiction; chocolate, chips, full strength soft drink and the like.

I don't mind it much. It doesn't phase me. I'd like to look good on my Europe trip and to be honest this is enough of a change from my previous eating habits to make the difference I am looking for. Dieting can be fun - an exercise in self-constraint. I enjoy proving to myself that I can do it.

That doesn't sound entirely in keeping with my original statement? It sounded like I was all pro-obesity, one of those 'curves' women who more has rolls? That's because I hate dieting for different reasons to why I choice to do it for myself. I have been in places with my work and with my stress and my general psychological health where to contemplate the extra effort of dieting would send me hiding under the bed. At the time I was doing significantly less exercise than I am doing now. Playing netball twice a week, 3 hours of physical training classes, running once a week. I was doing a lot more than many people.

I lived my life feeling judged. That's what I hate about dieting, about health kicks, about nutrition Nazi's; they judge everybody. If I can't judge that person for being black, or for talking with a heavy accent, why can I judge them for being fat? Oh, right, because being fat is their own silly fault. Good then I'll judge you for not knowing what I'm talking about when I talk about transistors, amplifier circuits and Hough transforms. Alright I probably would do a little bit of that. We do a little bit of judging about everybody around us - comparing them to us. Judgement is normal.

Have you ever read a weight loss website, or looked on one of those women's websites at 10 health foods you didn't know or 50 Seemingly Healthy Foods That are Bad For You? I find them so negative. You should never eat anything you like EVER again. It almost feels like that are judging me through my computer screen. Why not be positive about eating healthy or losing weight? Not just to accrue more customers to your product or to 'help the lesser humans' like you would treat a child you are teaching to enjoy reading.

I had our politically correct world - so wrapped in bubble wrap you're likely to suffocate on your own body odour. However I can live with that, at least for the time being. What I dislike is that fat people are the fall out guy a lot of the time. My work place is constantly wary of sexual harassment - they check on the women asking them how its all going. The women don't mind any of it really. I've felt really awkward in those meetings before though because I'm being asked if I feel judged or discriminated against for being a woman and I never had. But I feel judged most weeks for not being able to run 5km in under 30 minutes or do 20 push ups. Nobody cares about that I guess.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Why Change?

I am just going to put it out there; I dislike that life is a linear timeline. The chain of events that it is cause and effect bother the hell out of me. Everything I do in my life impacts how my life will be for the rest of my life. Every moment I want to take back and redo... either I can't or in doing so I waste a little bit more of my preciously short life span. By extension I really struggle with change. Every change represents the end of something, something I will never be able to go back to.

I am currently sitting inside the circus cannon, that is to say I'm merely weeks from the end of my university degree. Waiting patiently for somebody to finish mixing the gun powder which will be used to propel me into the real world. Will it work? There is a lot of trust in the functions of the universe (the gun powder mixers) that it will all work out for the best.That I won't overshoot the mat nor will the cannon explode around me without ever ejecting me. (Maybe I shouldn't think in detail about potential disasters for human cannonballs.)

In simple terms, change unsettles me. I become a crying wreck at the drop of a hat. My sleep patterns become more dishevelled than they already are. My whole confident personality begins to dissolve around me. I'll be honest in saying that at 21 there haven't been a hell of a lot of major change moments in my life. High school graduation, the completion of my gap year of work, the completion of my undergrad training course, and the now the completion of my undergraduate degree (I don't count the changes prior to my being  independent in this predicament.)

Here, at university, I have a good group of friends, all the interest groups I could ever want, a great Christian community, more spare time than I can justify. Graduation means becoming separated from all of my classmates who are being spread literally from Perth to Sydney across Australia. Graduation means moving away from the communal living blocks I've become accustomed to. Leaving behind every friend I have in the lower years.

Yes, I make it sound much more depressing than exciting. Leaving the confines of university is supposed to be exciting isn't it? I forget sometimes, finishing uni means no more endless hours of studying things for some singular 2% assignment. No more listening to the lecturer explain that some completely obscure proof of a simple engineering principle is entirely essential to my existence. No more warped schedules where the line between work and play is so blurred I have to doubt it exists at all. Except there's no guarantees there at all, engineers are notorious workaholics. I'll be worked to the bone till the day I die.

The biggest change is definitely in the issue of friends. I've been spoilt this year, my best friend came to the same university as of this year. Its the first time we've lived in the same state since high school graduation 4 years before. Next year I'll move away again. Away from her, away from all of my classmates, away from friendships that took me literally years to set up. I was very alone for my first two years of university. I live in fear that I'm within months of going back to that hopeless, often socially incompetent girl. People would say that's impossible, but I can already feel the landslide inside myself. Here's to optimism I guess...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Honesty Honestly

This was going to be a post simply about honesty. By the necessity of my own mind it morphed into something more about learning to let yourself be loved for people who struggle with self-hate. It is still about honesty, about why being honest is important, but it goes past that to why learning to be honesty, truly yourself is important for people who struggle some days to even like themselves.

Perhaps it is an off shoot from many years of being hyper critical towards myself but I need people to like me. Now there's a statement that's on the surface horrifically needy and desperate. However this isn't a post looking at the negatives of self abasing thinking. I'm going to focus in on the positives. The habits I've developed from years of hating myself in the quiet times that are entirely beneficial for who I am.

This of course has to start at the point of being needy. When you struggle to like yourself, every person around you who shows open dislike towards you, their singular comments or quick looks are amplified 100 times over. Hell, to be perfectly honest, you are probably misinterpreting some of those statements or reading to much into completely unemotional glances. It is important to feel as though people around you like you.

More importantly. You really need them to like you for you. No amount of play acting, or cover stories, or disconnected smiles makes you feel better about it. If you aren't being yourself when somebody expresses to you that they like you it becomes meaningless. It becomes essential to feel as though you are being yourself. If you aren't being genuine in your head there is no why the person you are with could possibly be being genuine. (If this is something you struggle with personally I know that you will still struggle to accept they are being genuine even when you are - we'll work on it.)

Finding yourself, specifically trying to cultivate the person you feel like you are without the self-hate, is hard. Certainly I've been working on it a while and at times I still fall through the cracks into the dungeon of my own making. However, from very early on, you are rewarded with people who seem to like you - now it's for being you. Something about the honesty replaces one of the layers between you and being able to accept praise. Now, though you might not understand it, people do seem to appreciate the 'real you'.

A word to the wise. Never try to quantify why it is that those people like you. How or why they've chosen to be your friend. This is a dangerous thought pattern and generally will lead you back to self-hate through your inability to explain it or feel worthy of it. However if you are thinking these things I find it useful to express these doubts to your friends (not all of them just one or two of those closest ones). They won't be able to answer the question very well. They'll call you a nice person, a good friend, funny, smart and a whole lot of other adjectives you probably aren't able to believe. However then, either to them or to yourself, try to explain why you like that person. You'll find you use most of the same words.

It's a very old saying 'honesty is the best policy' and I'm happy to agree with it. If you are being honestly yourself you'll still have the people who like you and the people who don't like you. The big difference is you won't feel as though the people who do like you, like a lie and don't really like you. Let that light shine through. 

What does being honestly honest look like for me? The version of myself unrestrained by the negative emotions is a bubbly, friendly sort of a person. That that person has somehow managed 21 years of perfectionism, varying levels of social incompetence and a few irrational fears like using the telephone amazes me. However she is there, and much of the time I am able to, in good moods, be her among my friends. Still in training of course, a lot of the time I can't or don't live her out, but it's a work in progress.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Three Things I’m Good At

I was going to blog about something or another that I was frustrated with myself for being bad at. I think along those lines a lot. It’s one aspect of my perfectionist ways (which were a lot more detrimental to my general operation in the past than they are now) I can’t shake. I am really good at being critical, and what better to be critical about than myself?

For the same reason I am not very good at highlighting my strengths. So I’ve decided to do a post today about three things I am willing to think I am good at rather than lay into myself (there is enough of that for later when I get back into my school work). Everybody is good at something or another right?

1. Putting on my make-up.
I’m not going to go out there and say I’m brilliant at point on make-up. I lack the practiced knowledge to be something like a make-up professional. Certainly the only person other than myself I’d do make-up on would be my best friend (who seems willing to go out in whatever I put on her face).
However in the non-professional scheme of things I think I do make-up pretty well. Whatever product I will know where on the face it belongs (seems basic but up until 18 months ago this likely wasn’t the case). I can apply all the various types of eye-liner in nice even lines. If I use highlighters and bronzers I don’t end up looking like a shiny bronzed statue.
2. Bush dancing
I have to put a caveat on this – I can’t do a real waltz to save myself. However I am really good at bush dancing (not to be confused with the Nut Bush). In the dances where you switch partners I am frequently complimented for my dancing abilities.

If you don’t know what a bush dance is. Well first off (and I speak only to fellow Aussies here) if you don’t know what this is, shame on you, go and try it. Secondly try almighty Wikipedia, it has a short article which I’ve looked at – nice and to the point. For some more in depth, actual steps, have a look at the Australian Heritage Dances page.

However bush dancing is an Australian dance style (if you couldn’t guess by ‘bush’ which I believe Australians have sole possession of that word). It is essentially directed dances – whereby the caller with the band provides the directions to the couples (it is mostly couples dancing). It is at its best with a large group of denim jean attired people willing to laugh at themselves and have a good time.

If you can’t tell from that last line, it is a very light hearted affair. No skill required. So how am I good at it? I love a bush dance (not being the most common of activities I’ve only been to 3 or 4). The trick is all in the enthusiasm, and that is something I can do.

Dances like this (though I usually do the Waves of Bondi and the beginning before the waves is a little different with some bowing etc).

3. Reading Upside-Down
I’ll be honest I got to the end of bush dancing, and couldn’t honestly think of a final thing. There’s putting hospital corners in sheets? I’ve already used that one on this blog though. So the last one I present is reading upside down.

One summer in high school I decided that reading 180 page Mills and Boons simply didn’t take enough time. Rather than reading something more challenging (and less interesting) I came up for a solution by turning the book over. Now a book I was able to read in about 2 – 2.5 hours would take me 7. It was a successful concept.

The downside is that practicing anything for too long makes you good at it. By the end of the summer it was only fractionally slower for me to read a book the wrong way up. I would no longer claim quite such a level of super power. However I can still read most things upside down without any conscious effort – and for short pieces of typed writing occasionally without noticing at all.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

5 day 12 hour Challenge

The best challenges are those born of necessity. In order to survive my degree a serious ramp up is required. Engineering thesis are the pits and as such I tend to avoid mine. Now I have a month left and I need to have some serious work completed.
Add to that a listening test in a foreign language and a lab report for a lab I did completely wrong in the lab period and I have a very busy week ahead.
The result? I am giving myself a 12 hours of work a day for the next 5 days challenge. If I can do that I can have Saturday fully off. If I can't do it... Well I will be playing catch up... Like I am already doing.
Here's a question. How do I trick myself into taking my own rules seriously? I can't diet. I can't force myself to work or force myself to sleep or dven force myself to stay on topic and read a book. I am working on it. I can now force myself to go to exercise alone (I've always relied on the guilt of a gym date with a friend etc) but in everything it is still a distinct work in progress.
Now I feel it is bedtime. No sleeping in past 7am this week either so we are going (to at least try) early to sleep, early to rise. Wish me luck. I see no blogging in my immediate future.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Learn Something... World War II

I love the internet. I've told you a view times already that I am prone to spending time (too much time) wandering the unmarked roadways of the internet. (Some people might say the whole hyperlink thing makes the roadways very clearly marked however I think of that more as orienteering flags in a forest.) However when I do this I try to find at least one thing that leaves me feeling like I've achieved something or learned something.

Today I found a cool... what I personally call... 'informercial' website. Perhaps not a strictly correct term - there are many other 'look at the my cool list of cool gadget websites that are perhaps more appropriately called informercial websites. However for my purposes an 'informercial' website is some collection of facts (whether hard hitting or completely fluffy) which are assembled into an informative, interactive single page website. These websites fascinate me for many reasons, I wish I could graphic art the way the people who do these do.

Anyway. The one I found today nobody could deny as being pretty hard hitting. It decides to do the multimedia run-down of WWII, Across 30 slides (this one is very much a slide show) the mad, bad and awful is shown in photos, statistics, videos and radio recordings. It is essentially about continuing the awareness of what happened in the war. I've personally seen/heard bits of it before at uni classes and at the Churchill War Rooms in London (if you should be so lucky its definitely worth a look) however it was still a nice overview.

Before some war enthusiasts get all hot and bothered I am not going to call it anything like the be all and end all. However if you want a nice, light-weight (as in not reading - there is nothing light-weight about the actual information of the second world war) reminder that WWII was a real event. (If you are a holocaust conspiracy theorist, two things: a) please comment below I'm interested to talk to somebody that really thinks that way and b) go visit a holocaust museum - preferably ALL the holocaust museums - and learn some real facts.)

So what are the big things I take away from spending an hour refreshing some WWII information in my mind? Operation Pied Piper always fascinates me (its only a picture in the slides) - where they evacuate the children from London - perhaps because it was always one of the earliest war facts I learned - after all most kids read Narnia long before war history is a big priority in their lives. Its one of those things where you really have to stop and think - things had become so bad that this was the best solution.

And. The war pictures themselves. When I think war I'm trained from the Australian perspective and I don't know if you realise this but we live in a very unpopulated part of the world. If you look at many of the places Australian's serve we've been doing time in deserts and jungles since before deserts and jungles were cool. War today is very isolated - if there are civilian causalities they are small. WWII trashed cities. I mean we probably still trash cities today but I'm talking ran the city over with tanks and tore down the buildings on main street.

I shall try to share the cool things I come across like this more often. Though if you've found my blog you've likely already found this through StumbleUpon or your chosen procrastination search tool yourself.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

To Drink or Not To Drink....

Ever stop on a Saturday night. Look at yourself having a quite one and think, 'Wow I would love to be out right now.' To deny that I've had that experience would be wrong of me however it isn't a common one. Much more likely. I look at myself. My computer accompaniment of country/classical music, my school work open or more likely a chat window. Me stone-cold sober. 'I would not trade being on the town and pissed for any part of this,' is what I'm thinking at these times.

I'm 21, which means as an Australian I've been of legal drinking age for more than three years. Being Australian too drinking is a common cultural ritual. Certainly no party seems to be complete without somebody on the drink making an ass of themselves. I've been to plenty of them, though by most standards I could not, even now be called a 'heavy drinker' or even a 'regular drinker'.

I'm also a Christian. Unless you come from a serious legalistic sect (interpret this as me thinking that is an incorrect view of my faith) drinking isn't against any Christian rule. Certainly as one of my Christian uni group leaders reminds us Jesus' first miracle was turning water to wine. However allowing yourself to become drunk is not loving, is not allowing you to present yourself in a Godly manner and therefore not such a good thing. As one of my non-Christian friends is always reminding me the golden rule is "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12. When drunk the probability of not living up to that is very, VERY high.

This past week we were looking at Ephesians 4:17-24. Which in the NIV falls under a head entitled 'Instructions for Holy Living'. It ended with a discussion about how to avoid some of the major issues of our generation and university. The drinking culture in particular. 'What is your drinking plan to help you not go past the limit between acceptable and drunk and inappropriate?' To be honest I don't have a plan. I sort of just go with the flow - and yes that has ended as badly at times as it sounds like it would.

I've been thinking hard since that night? Why drink at all? Certainly you can be a Christian and drink or be a Christian and not. For me personally, do I need to drink? I don't think I do it for the right reasons, not sure I can give an example of what I would consider to be a 'right' reason for drinking. I drink because it is easy, because it is there, because my friends do it, it makes social situations easier and more entertaining. None of those reasons are for God, or even for myself. So why?

I've always been in the drinking camp because I don't believe in not drinking with the vicious intent of many non-drinkers. (If you don't think some non-drinkers have viciously negative opinions of drinking I've got a couple to introduce you too.) However, I think it is something I could realistically do. I've never drunk at Christian activities - despite many of those around me doing so - so why should I feel it acceptable to drink at non-Christian activities. 

I know the alcohol to be entertaining. One of two drinks makes the pool flow more easily and the conversation loosen just the point of good smart conversations about the life, the universe and everything. However at the end of the night things have never stopped at that point. That point is a façade, an unsustainable façade. Towards the end it turns messy, things done are regretted or spoken of with joking shame.

I don't want to be ashamed of my actions like that. I'm not a Christian except when I drink but at times I think that is how I act. 

Can I do it though? Stop drinking. I can't stop anything. I struggle with the deep founded belief to carry me through with self-deprivation practices. Should I do it is the question I need the answer to. I'm not at the point of saying yes to that just yet but I feel that it isn't far away. You know what? Coke and good company is more fun than any amount of alcohol (particularly a large amount of alcohol).

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Poor Little Smart Girl

This is one of the first posts where I'm going to be brutally honest about myself and discuss one of the things about myself that I don't like. You are welcome, to like myself, hate me that little bit for having this side to myself. It isn't a nice person, or the person I'd like to think myself to be. It is the kind of person I would look at and think poorly of. As the Bible verse goes "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (and for anybody who's never thought to look that original reference up it is Matthew 7:3). This is but one of many planks.

Everybody knows the concept of the 'poor little rich girl'. Goodness knows the concept has spurred a multitude of movies and most people are now trained from birth (or school entrance age) to pick out the girls spoilt by daddy's money. My own best friend lives next to one. The poor girl doesn't comprehend why spending $300 dollars on a dress would even cause us to blink or how the 'simple trinket' her mother brought her back from Greece would make us dumbfounded.

I'm not rich. I come from a single parent household (mostly but my actual family living arrangements are a story in itself so we'll go with the short version here); the daughter of a teacher. Certainly a member of the middle class which by the standards of 50 years ago does make me pretty spoilt by default. Nothing noteworthy though; I never had my own television or computer, I got my first mobile phone as a high school senior, pretty standard stuff.

However I am smart. I just get things. I was the quickest off the bat of course, in lower primary school I was nice and average. By middle school, however, I'd flow past my classmates. Despite accidentally skipping a grade going from Australia to the US I was easily on par for the work. Grand marshal at the Grade 8 graduation when I was in Grade 7 in fact. That is to mean top of my year level.

Then coming home to Australia I dropped back down the grade. My mum is very VERY against the ol' grade skiparoo. So I stopped having to work. Yes being 'kept down' even if unofficially like that did bad things to my work ethic. Just the same I am definitely one of those kids who needed the social maturity aspect of staying with my own age.

At not point from then on did I need to work particularly hard. Or if I did work it was in order to ace it, beat every other kid in the class, that kind of thing. I graduated dux of my high school having topped 4 of my 6 subjects. This stuff just came easily to me.

That is not the negative side to this. I don't communicate my intelligence very well. That isn't 'I completely lack social skills' so much as 'I can't explain smart things to you'. I can talk out my ass about the weather, my favourite kind of music or how much I don't want to be doing XYZ. You teach me something and put me in front of a test paper and I'll ace it. You ask me for the same information immediately before the test I'll fumble my words, and likely look dumbly at you unable to work it out at all. The knowledge trapped inside my brain is not easily accessed.

At its very worst my smart spoilt brain exhibits incessant perfectionism and the inclination to skitz out. When asked to do some kind of assessment and I can't do it. I can't exhibit any kind of patience. I stress, in the past I've been known to break down in tests to the point that the teacher provided some general guidance on the questions. Admittedly that was test I still failed - but had the teacher not provided assistance like he did I would have got about 10% instead of 43%... I study engineering most people fail sometime. I'm too slack a procrastinator to maintain high marks. My problem is I still generally do maintain high marks despite my procrastinating.

Just this past week I went to do a lab test. This being a test of objectives from the previous 4 assisted labs. Where you have to answer some questions (among them 5 true falses which I guessed) and then construct an experimental rig and explain how it tests what you've been asked to do. I couldn't do it. I couldn't remember any of the rigs. Yet I lucked into the easiest question available, then when it came time to construct it I left out a component so critical the lecturer pointed out that it was missing rather than simply give me the mark I deserved. You know what I got for that test? 10 out of 10. If I got 10/10 I shouldn't have been the only one. But you know what, I was.

That's my luck. I'm the poor little smart girl. I stress about things, fear I'll fail and rarely get below a Distinction. I screw my face up and get really stressed and people bend to help me feel smarter than I really am. I live in fear that one day I'll get the mark I really deserve. It will not be pretty.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Pro Housewife - The Joy of a Well Made Bed

Perhaps I missed my calling. I would have done great in housekeeping. This post is about bed making. Now I will admit to being as slack as the next person. My doona gets dragged to cover the mattress the pillows get laid correctly at the one end but only for practicality. When you live in a bedroom, and everywhere else in your life is communal having the space of the 'bed bench' for sitting, working, laying of random stuff... you get the idea.

However that one day every fortnightsheet change dayis a very special day indeed. I go the whole hog. I love it. Not just for the joy that is clean crisp sheets. One of the true free love-my-life moments comes when I do a hospital corner on my top sheet and it folds smooth and effortless into a nearly perfect 45 degree angle. (Though don't listen to people who insinuate this is a complex task - the angle will be consistently correct if take the extra second to fold the sheet flat before tucking the bottom section under the mattress.)

You can't see in the pictures, but yes both of the sheets used in these pictures are flat sheets. To be clear, I'm not that much of a weird keen bean. With the exception of these photographs I don't typically use a flat sheet bottom sheet. You have to admit though that they allow for much more crisp corners on a bed than fitted sheets. (It doesn't help that I have an awkward not a Single yet not a King Single mattress so no fitted sheets fit properly.) This first picture is my favourite. It seriously makes me feel good about myself just looking at that crisp sharp bed edge.

I want to go on record saying the bump in this second photo was created by a worn out mattress where the actual mattress covering didn't sit smooth against it's innards. Also I will apologise that you can't actually see the corners in either of the photos. This is not my current bed so I couldn't go back and rectify the missing photographs. 

My only downfall in all this is, to my shame, I can't get the hang of folding fitted sheets. I've looked at all the pictures; watched all the videos. That kind of thing became 'all the rage' a few months ago. (Or at least as 'all the rage' as a tedious house task can ever become.) Nope. It's just not my speed at all. I'll settle for good sheets ON my bed rather than IN my cupboard. Maybe that isn't good housewife skills after all...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Addictive Procrastination. Colour Me Happy.

As I tried to demonstrate in my last blog post I am trying to improve myself and trying to break some very old habits with the intent being that I will become both more productive and more happy as a result. However even as I attempt to prevent myself from wasting too much time doing actually nothing I am bombarded but cool, inventive new ways to almost do something.

The latest of these, and to be honest there has been a long line of them, has been COLOURLovers. Firstly, it took me a bit to notice but the web address is spelt correctly but they do get some extra brownie points for having colour spelt with a u (if only in the web address and name). What is COLOURLovers? Essentially a community styled website where people create and share palettes of up to 5 colours, name new colours as they come across them, colour patterns and love and favourite other peoples creations. The truly creative people even make new patterns, but that tends a bit too far down the 'actual skill' and 'time, effort, productive' paths for me.

What is it that COLOURLovers has me doing that is so bad then? Well, essentially they have given me a gadget that makes filtering through the 16 million colours that exist within HEX easy. Then they said if nobody has done it before me I can name it. Maybe it is too many years of Pokemon growing up (yes I did play Pokemon as a child I hope that doesn't make you feel differently about me) but you give me a restriction like that and I suddenly must HAVE ALL THE COLOURS. I enjoy naming things. I enjoy naming things that other people are then forced to comply with my names for. I mean in 16 million I currently only possess 173 as you can see in the above screen shot. However clicking the button, then coming up with a slightly creative name for the new colour, this is how I waste my days.

That's without even considering palettes. Three days of this and I struggle to come onto the internet and not go immediately to COLOURLovers and click the create button over and over and over again for hours. One more thing I need to add to my 'banned during working hours' list.