Sunday, 22 December 2013

This blog post might never see the light of day.  If you are reading this, I am dead.  Nope, I just watch too many movies to not be able to pass up an opportunity to use that line.  If you are reading this, then I actually got all my emotions out onto the page, read through it, thought it might be ok and hit ‘publish’.  I have been toying with the idea of writing it for a while but I always wuss out of actually setting down pen to paper.  Or fingers to keyboard I suppose the equivalent is.
2013 has not been a good year for me.  It has been hard.  But like, hard in a poor little rich white girl way.  I realise that other people would have been grateful to have my life this year.  That they would have breezed through this year. 
Somewhere along the way this year, I lost my joie de vivre. I realised it very clearly when I stopped watching ‘Doctor Who’ and didn’t care.  (See what I mean about ‘poor little rich girl’ syndrome?).  I stopped going to church.  I stopped going out.  I stopped seeing most of my friends.  I isolated myself and self-medicated with binge eating and marathoning TV shows.
I have a lot of anger inside.  I don’t know what I’m angry about.  My mum has asked me that question several times over this year and the closest idea I can grasp is “dissatisfaction with myself personally and with my life”.  And then it’s a vicious cycle because I really do have a great life so then I get mad at myself for feeling so dissatisfied and empty with my life.
I’ve kind of had enough of it all.  Of constantly being unhappy.  Of constantly fighting to fit in and fake it.
So fuck it.  (I only ever swear on paper, I think I’ve said the eff word out loud once in my life.  Let’s be real.  I still call it “the eff word” but it feels appropriate to use it in this situation.  Sorry mum if you ever read this.)
Something has to change.  I realise that you can’t simply flick a switch from ‘unhappy’ to ‘happy’ but I feel like I should at least try.
My friend Kristy and I are always coming up with schemes to try and do things and be more active and outgoing and social and fun.  We always fail miserably.  But I feel like our next plan is different.  I genuinely feel like it might work.  And hope is good.  We have called it “2014: The Year of Making it Happen”™.  Ok you have no idea how smiley it made me when the TM I typed became a little ™.  It’s the little things, right?  That’s what people say. And the little things can snowball into big things.
tl;dr I feel like shit about life and myself but am slowly feeling better and am working hard on next year being better than this one.  Because it really has to be.
This is also the last blog post I’m going to write on this account.  I’m going to start up a new one, one chronicling the new year. 
To 2014: The Year Of Making It Happen™

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A new book genre: the ‘big family’ genre

When I was a kid, I loved reading books about big messy families.  Being an only child, it was a window into a life I would never have and one that I yearned for.  Now I look back, I unconsciously gravitated towards friends who had big families.  I loved getting to stay over at their houses and feeling like one of the kids.

I think I liked the idea of having a ready-made gang to go on adventures with.  One of the families I was friends with, they had a huge garden which backed onto farmland and I remember we would just wander out into the countryside with their dog and spend the whole day exploring.  It was like stepping into a novel for me!

Here are some of my favourite ‘big family’ (yes, it’s a genre!!) books.

The “What Katy Did” series by Susan Coolidge

I had to google these ones.  I had an idea in my head that it involved a large family but I couldn’t remember exactly- and yes it does!  I really adored Katy and her adventures.  Despite being written in 1872, Katy was relatable and I loved the journey her character goes on.

“Seven Little Australians” by Ethel Turner

This is Katy’s Australian counterpart.  This story has more than a few similarities.  I remember harbouring quite a crush on the older brother, Pip :)  This story follows seven (Australian) children in their adventures around their house and estate wonderfully called Misrule.  It is honestly such a fantastic book- but is seared into my young mind as having the most traumatic thing to ever happen in any book ever.  The ending is a tearjerker to say the least.  At least if you read it, you will be forewarned.  Just picture little 10 year old Laura reading a cute book about children having fun, not aware that something awful will happen at the end of the book, and then BAM!  Definitely a life changer!

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis

Whilst not a large family by the standards of the previous books, the Pevensie children do hold a special place in my heart.  Unlike the other children who had adventures around their house, the Pevensie children went on adventures in another world!  I spent many hours in Narnia, by reading the books and indulging in some INTENSE make-believe sessions.

The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton

I really loved these books, mainly because I saw a lot of myself in the character of George.  She was an only child who got to be part of a family bunch of crime-solving kids.  And she had a dog.  And whilst I wasn’t as much of a tomboy as her, I certainly wasn’t going to be stuck doing the dishes like old Anne!

(I now really want to re-read Famous Five books and drink lashings of ginger beer whilst I do so)

Can you think of any “big family” genre books that I missed that I might like?  There is one omission in my mind: Little Women.  I just couldn’t get into that book at ALL.  The movie with Winona Ryder and Christian Bale is FANTASTIC though!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Productive Day Today??

I read this article a few days ago and the title is “How to move forward, even when your brain hates you”.  I’ve been feeling a bit blargh recently.  At work, I don’t have two days off together.  I originally loved that idea, having my days off spread around, but now- it’s hard, guys!!  The weekend is a great chance to have one day off to chill and one day off to do all your chores.  With just the one day off, it’s hard to actually DO things.  Work has been so stressful that I have wanted to do absolutely nothing on my days off, which means I have had about four weeks of not getting anything accomplished on my days off which has led to an unhappy Laura.

One part of the article suggested making something so that even if you’re feeling crap, you can do something and have something to show for it.  I liked that idea and have had a few recipe ideas saved that I wanted to try out so I thought this would be a good chance to go for it.

I realised that this would make an excellent blog post.  I was like “wow, everyone’s gonna be so jealous of my amazing food that I made”.  However, the food had other plans.  I’m usually quite good at cooking but today, not so much…

Exhibit A


Sweet potato fries with avocado dip. 

More like charcoal fries with avocado dip.  I only ended up eating about half because it really was like eating charcoal.  In my defence, I’m house sitting and using an unfamiliar oven.  The dip looks gross but was freaking amazing!  Half an avocado, some cottage cheese and a dash of lime juice.  YUM!!  So that kinda made up for it.

Exhibit B

Next up were Nanaimo bars.  These are a Canadian treat that I discovered a few years ago thanks to a Canadian friend.  They are the BEST.  Like, the BEST!!  They might actually be my favourite sweet thing ever.

They’re supposed to look like this:


(Via here)

Mine however came out like this…


And that was the best square I had!  Every layer just went wrong.  However, the middle layer (which is basically icing sugar, butter and a dash of custard powder) still tastes AMAZING and is what sets the treat apart so I guess it’s ok.  I had wanted to take it into work with me, but it’s so embarrassing I don’t think I will!  It’s not so much that it looks so crummy, it also doesn’t taste as good as it should.  It’s about a 6/10 and Nanaimo bars are normally a 11/10 so like, it’s good but not great.  Plus the base just falls apart when you take the first bite. 

So I made stuff, but it didn’t go well.  Not sure what that says about me but at least I did stuff.

No word of a lie, as I typed that last sentence that was supposed to be the conclusion, I realised that I did NOT do my washing which includes the clothes I need to wear tomorrow for work!  Oh dear…

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Self portrait

Whilst everyone always has someone glamorous hiding in their family tree, my relative of infamy is Oliver Cromwell.  You might not know who he is unless you’re from the UK.  He was a military leader and the leader of the uprising against the Royal family and resulting English Civil War.  He then became Lord Protector and “ruled” for a few years before he died.  He’s more than a tad controversial (he shut down all the theatres in London, made everyone dress like puritans and basically committed genocide in Ireland) but he’s my claim to fame.

Anyway, the point of the story is Oliver Cromwell was one of the first rulers ever to have a true likeness painted of them, instead of the usual flattery.  Apparently the phrase “warts and all” is attributed to him because he told the painter to capture him as he truly was.

Oliver Cromwell- warts and all
Hi there, great-great-great- ad infinitum- uncle!

And then this is me.
I tried to make sure I got the family lock of hair and furrowed brow.

NB: It took several selfies to get a picture that I was happy to put up on the internet.  I don’t think Ollie would be impressed.  Vanity was one of the things he detested.  Hopefully his brother (who I’m actually descended from) was a bit more chill.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Personality Quiz

Because Abigail demanded it, here is another blog.  I was prompted by Jenni’s Blogtember for this blog post.  If left to my own devices, I would probably just whine about work and no one wants to hear that.

So for this post, I went to this page and did a short personality quiz.  The results came back that I was an ISFJ.  I was very strongly introverted but the others came back around the 50-40% mark. 

It’s interesting to note (well maybe just to me!) that I used to be an INFP.  And now I am an ISFJ.  The last time I did one of these, I was in high school so it’s almost ten years ago that I did it and I guess we all change.

However, I can’t imagine ever changing from an introvert to an extrovert!  The ‘F’ part has also stayed the same.  This means that when I have to make a decision I will take into account the feelings of myself and other people, as opposed to what is best logically.  And apparently the ‘feeling’ vs ‘thinking’ aspect plays a big part in your career choice. 

The ‘sensing’ over ‘intuition’ part has changed though.  I would definitely agree that I prefer to look at concrete facts and what is happening NOW when processing things rather than trust a hunch or look at the bigger picture.  Although this mark came back as 50% so I guess I could swing either way :)

And apparently I like to ‘judge’ now rather than ‘perceive’.  This means that I prefer to have things ordered and structured rather than spontaneous and flexible.  I would like to think that I was open to being spontaneous though!  I definitely think that I have had to change this aspect of my personality due to work.  I have to be very organised and everything must be structured- although trust me when I say this does not come naturally to me!! 

And ISFJ people tend to gravitate towards certain jobs such as nursing.  So there you go!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Blogtember- Day 1

Linking up with Jenni to do her Blogtember.  This prompt was ‘Tuesday, Sept. 3: Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are’.

It’s actually something I’ve been thinking about fairly recently, the idea of where I come from.  I grew up travelling because of my dad’s job.  To make a very long story short, I was born in New Zealand, lived there for the first five years of my life, moved to Bahrain, lived there for three years, moved to England just before my eighth birthday and moved to Australia just before my 16th.

So you can see why I have somewhat of an identity crisis.  Australia and New Zealand have a “friendly” rivalry.  I use the term “friendly” in inverted comments because sometimes I think people go a little too overboard on the Aus vs NZ rivalry.  When people find out I’m not Australian, someone else will usually pipe up “oh, she’s from New Zealand” and the jokes begin.  And technically I am, you can’t fault them.  But I don’t feel it.  I left when I was five and who remembers much of what happened in the first five years of their life?


(The view from my dad’s place who is now living in NZ again)

In my head, I identify very strongly with England.  I like its history, its culture, I even have a soft spot for its crappy weather (she writes whilst it is currently gloriously sunny and warm outside!).  I get their sense of humour and their pop culture references.  I really “get” England in a way I will never get New Zealand.  I did most of my growing up there, I went through my moody teens there.  And even now after twelve years in Australia, I still ‘think’ in English: music videos, not film clips or chips, not hot chips.  (If you’re not Australian, just ignore that last part!).


However, there is now a definite part of me that is “Australian”.  I lost my English accent in about six months so there’s no mistaking what part of the world I now live in.  When I travel, I have no problem saying I’m from Australia.  I think Australia has a pretty decent reputation.  Yes, we’re known for drinking and being obnoxiously loud but I think if you spent any amount of time with me, you’d see that’s not a part of who I am.  I think Australians are also known for being laidback and willing to help someone out, and that’s certainly something I can stand for.


Who knows where I will end up later on and if another country will play a part in making up my very mixed up identity!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Idina Menzel- a love letter

I am in no way a performer, I hold no desire to be a singer or actress. So there’s no real reason why Broadway legend Idina Menzel is a hero of mine. Yet she is. I just adore her voice. ADORE it. This is Idina, if you don’t know her.  Look how cute she is.


I discovered the musical ‘Rent’ that launched her career a few years back.  ‘Rent’… well I have a billion thoughts on ‘Rent’ but we’ll leave it at, I heard the message of the musical exactly when I needed it most. I thought she had the most divine voice and saw that she was in a new musical called ‘Wicked’. I brought the soundtrack and whilst I only had the vaguest idea of a storyline, I listened to it to death also. There is a song called ‘Defying Gravity’ that she sings and oh… it’s such a beautiful powerful song and she does it such justice. It’s become something of a theme song to me.

In recent times, she’s been on popular TV shows and movies. But I think she’s best known for her Broadway stuff. Which in my mind meant… when am I ever going to see her sing live? That opportunity actually happened. I actually got to see her sing live. In Brisbane, Australia of all places!

Whilst I don’t know much about her, she always carries this joie de vivre about her. And everything is fearless. And you can’t help but admire that. So unsurprisingly, this was magnified when I got to see her perform in person.  And see her be herself, singing the songs of her choosing.

I was kind of afraid to hear her sing live. We’ve all been to concerts where the singer hasn’t lived up to the CD. But Idina was so much more. Her voice was breathtaking. Backed by a live orchestra, she has never sounded so wonderful to me.

She sang a range of songs, some of which I wasn’t familiar with but I enjoyed it all. I think this might have been one of the best concerts I’ve been to, purely for the fact that the audience was totally enjoying it too. They whooped and cheered and laughed and you could really sense everyone’s excitement. She danced up and down the stage and chatted with audience members.

Key highlights:

I loved her rendition of ‘What I Did For Love’, a song that I only have a passing familiarity with (I know, I know, musical theatre people, I’m sorry…) that knocked my socks off with her feeling and power. And she sang it kneeling on a piano stool.  I think it would be hard to sing to your full ability in that position but she kicked it outta the park.

She talked about how she got her start in ‘Rent’ and a bit about the creator of the show and his untimely passing, which segued into ‘No Day But Today’. And she asked the audience to sing it with her, so I get to legitimately say that I dueted with Idina Menzel :)

And speaking of ‘Rent’, possibly her biggest song is ‘Take Me Or Leave Me’ which she sang. But because it’s a duet and there’s only one of her… she asked audience members to sing with her. Apparently it’s something she does at every concert, but I was unaware and it took me by surprise and delight. Hands shot up all around the concert hall and she pointed out people to come down to the front and sing with her. It was such a hoot! And you know what? Every one of those volunteers was an AMAZING singer!! It was so much fun to hear these unknown people sing wonderfully and to witness their joy at getting to sing with/for someone they obviously admire.

She closed by singing an acapella version of ‘For Good’ from ‘Wicked’ without a microphone. It was flawless. Her voice soared through the concert hall. And it hit me that this was me really getting to hear Idina sing. Plus the song is absolutely beautiful, and well, it was a recipe for tears. I’ve never really cried over something like that before. Like, I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t particularly happy, I was just overwhelmed and all these tears started racing down my cheeks. And then she followed that with ‘Defying Gravity’ (more tears). I never thought I’d ever hear the original Elpheba sing in real life, let alone sing my personal theme song.


Low points:

This woman next to me started singing along during a particular song. I glared at her several times to no avail, then I nudged her and went shh and then she was quiet. That woman was my mother but I probably would have done the exact same thing if I hadn’t known her :)

I actually haven’t listened to any of her songs since the concert. I just… nothing will live up to the magic of hearing her voice live and I want that spell to last as long as possible.