If You Always Do What You've Always Done...Then You'll Always Get What You Always Got

Friday, 31 May 2013

How I Changed This Week

Every school day this week I did something new.

Tuesday: A few weeks ago, I was wearing a pair of bling-y love-heart earrings.  One of my most entertaining girls at school - I've taught her for nearly 6 years - thought they were gorgeous, and said I should take a photo of them (which I did for this blog anyway) and then use it as the wallpaper on my phone.  Somehow we got onto that topic on Tuesday, and I went to show her the picture - suddenly she had my phone (!) and was telling me I had too many photos and ooh Instagram and then she set the earring photo as the unlock screen -
and picked another -
for the wallpaper.  It took me about a day to stop doing a double take every time I checked my phone for the time.

Wednesday: On Tuesday I had coughing fits to and from work.  I hate these, and they stopped me feeling like I was getting over this cold.  On the way home I realised it was most likely due to the air on the train, and all I was wanting was a cup of hot tea.  So for Wednesday and Thursday, I took a travel mug with tea in it for all trips.  It worked.  The lid of this mug is really well-sealed so I wasn't worried about any spills.

Thursday: If you follow my other blog you'll know about this.  My grade 6 quartet had their first performance last week, and I would normally give the Freddo Frogs as a reward.  But I always do that.  I recently got into cupcakes (baking them, not really eating them), so I made them some mini cupcakes, and decorated them with appropriate musical things.
They were a big hit.  (I do apologise for the not-straight lines in this photo.  Taken in a hurry before leaving for school on Thursday morning.  Meanwhile, how cool is the board underneath?!  It reads: George Frideric Handel - Too Hot to Handel)

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Outfit #142 - They Lied!

I checked the forecast for today.  I was promised sunshine, maybe some clouds.  They lied.  It bucketed.
Dress: Kinki Gerlinki. Cardigan: Levi's (from Jeannie). Top (not visible in photo, but present): Ambra bamboo. Stockings: Razza Matazz. Scarf: Atmosphere (gift). Shoes: Target.
Needless to say, the cardigan stayed on most of the day, and the scarf was also on for a substantial part.
Last time I wore this cardigan I promised a better close up shot.  So here I'm delivering.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Outfit #141 - Feeling Run Over

For most of today, I've been feeling run over, as Ziva would say. 

Skirt: Sinerji (via swap). Tank: Now. Top: Ambra. Boots: Sandler. Earrings: from Kuranda Markets. Stockings: ?
Yes, I love these boots.  And I see now that their colour is hardly visible, but they're royal blue.  And the tank is teal, although not visible either. 
And yes, I'm going for comfort in this week's outfits.  Although the weather is not as cold as expected, which is ruining my plans.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Outfit #140 - Come Rain and Come Shine

When I left home this morning, it was raining.  By the end of quartet rehearsal, it was blue skies and sunshine.  It alternated like that all day.  Anyone would think we were in Melbourne.
Top: Dotti. Dress: Cue (op shop). Boots: Sandler. Stockings: ?
There were several other contenders for the title today - the least horrible being "What Up, Hair?" (it's a good thing I forgot earrings today, trust me).  I had coughing fits to and from work, I was meant to be at school 12.5 hours but was given a reprieve, I had less than 5 hours sleep so felt... not good...  So right now I'm snuggled up on the sofa with a cup of chai, looking forward to an early bedtime.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Running for a Cause

I just put in an entry for the inaugural City2South.  Yay!  I love running.  This one is very much a charity run, and I thought I might as well.  Whenever I see a runner in an event wearing something that indicates they're not just doing this for personal achievement/glory/pain/to beat somebody else, I think that's so good of them.  And so small of me.  So here we are.

There were a fair few charities listed.  A lot were health-related (tempting), or aid-related (also tempting), or schools (??).  The very first one on the list was for Prison Fellowship Australia.  I put it on my list of maybes.  I thought I'd investigate all the charities on my list of maybes, but I did this one first, and couldn't not support it.  What really clinched the deal was my initial unease and feeling of 'what will people think?' - I've found those are often the best options. 

Some of my other reasons:
*Occasionally, I'll read a book which involves prisoners - whether they're wrongfully imprisoned or not - and feel that I'm just 'walking by' the problem, that the only time I think about it is when I read about it, or when prison chaplaincy is on the prayer cycle at church.  And that doesn't do much, long-term.
*My dad has been involved in similar work.  I'm not sure if it's the same group, but the same idea.  I went with him on one occasion and remember how much the families appreciated what he did. 
*Being an avid reader of crime fiction, I often forget the Others involved in crime.  Regardless of why someone is in prison, there are often people left behind, partners and children and siblings and parents, who all need support as well.

So - will you make a donation?  If you follow this link you will get to my Everyday Hero fundraising page.  Thank you!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

To Ease a Cold

The parents of my first Saturday student are both doctors.  Medical doctors.  The dad was in this morning, and noticed (a bit hard not to, really) that I have a cold.  The following advice came, then, from a doctor.  I found it rather odd, which was why I have repeated that fact.

"You have Coke?" he asked.  With my ears a bit funny, I thought I must have misheard.  I had not.  "You get a can of Coke", he said, "you warm it up and put in some garlic.  Makes you feel better".  "As in - real Coke?  The fizzy brown soft drink?" - I still didn't believe him.  "Yep.  You heat it so it not fizzy.  The garlic, it good for antibacterial.  The caffeine, it perk you up.  Trust me, if you go chemist in place like India, China, this what they give you".  Um... I asked if it was just for warm caffeine, would a coffee do - he grudgingly gave it the okay but really seemed to favour the soft drink option. 

I couldn't bring myself to buy any soft drink, on doctor's orders or not.  I bought some antihistamine (which doesn't seem to have had any effect), and did the garlic-caffeine thing in the afternoon, with a tiny bit of honey as well.  The first whiff made me not want to drink it.  Appetising.  I tried to ignore the 'aroma' and downed the first mouthful, and it was not as bad as feared.  The honey was the saving grace, really.  By the last few mouthfuls I was so relieved.  I'm not sure it really did what it was supposed to do (maybe he was right, and fizzy brown soft drink really is the way to go) but I didn't die either.  And I did have enough energy to get through the day with only a little nap.  Alternating blocked and runny, sneezy nose, at the tail end of a mariachi gig, resulted in very little sleep last night. 

So, I've tried this.  The childhood remedy was a lemon-ginger-garlic-hot water horror, which always made me rethink if I was really sick.  I might give both options a go tomorrow.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Some Photographic Things

Sunday's Great Ocean Road half marathon was my 4th.  However, it was the first for which I downloaded the official photos.  And this was mostly due to the great scenery.  This was the first that I'd taken my phone (forgot to mention that yesterday), and stopped at a couple of points to take photos.  My brain being more focused on 'just keep running' rather than lining up camera angles and avoiding sun glare meant that neither of those photos is particularly good.  (One I edited today in Instagram and it looks a little better, but the one I was hoping would be as fabulous as the actual scene was disappointing).  My favourite of the official photos has a very similar scene though, and there is one (yeah, only one!) photo where I don't look like I want to punch the photographer.  If you get more than 1 photo, you get all those in which your bib number is recognisable, so I got the whole lot.  First time. 

I also took advantage of my technology for some music today.  I have been asked to perform a certain piece for a wedding in September.  I am really excited about this.  The piece is not easy.  I tried to get it from imslp, but it won't be available for 'a while' (their words).  So I took a deep breath, and bought the concerto from Sheet Music Plus.  The deep breath was because I know what I'm like when on that site.  Still, I only bought 2 other things, both on sale.  Then I continued to listen to more recordings on Youtube.  And one of them, instead of the actual video of the performance, or still shots of that performer, had the actual solo violin part as its images.  Score!  So I took photos and printed them, so I can start learning the piece now.
As you can probably tell, the actual part will be better, but still... 3-6 weeks?!  I want it now!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Some GORM Firsts

No outfit post today - I decided to keep my germs (mostly) to myself, and slept for most of the day.  Bliss.  But you don't need to see me in my pjs.  After publishing my post on the Great Ocean Road half marathon, I then realised I'd missed a few things that were really Firsts for me, so here we are.

1. I now appreciate the value of hill running as part of training.  In preparation for last year's Gold Coast half marathon, I ignored the hill running recommendation.  However, my half marathon time here was only 2 minutes slower than my Melbourne time, and 4 minutes slower than my Gold Coast time, and this was definitely a much harder course.  Aside from that, the hills I was using to train were quite steep going up and down, so the much gentler hills of the race were much easier for my brain and body.  And, even better, hill running burns energy like nothing I've come across before. 

2. I had never caught a V-Line bus before, or caught a train in regional Victoria.  Every time I've come into Southern Cross Station I've thought that would be nice, but usually I'm in Melbourne to visit Melbourne people, so this hasn't been on the cards.  This might change.

3. Pre-race day nutrition.  This wasn't great.  Carbs, yes, but healthy... Not so.  And I'm half blaming my current unwell state on the lack of vitamins those 2 days.  I was craving apples by Sunday afternoon, if that's any indication.

4. Eating alone.  This might sound weird, and I know (quite) a few of you will not be shy in telling me what an idiot I am, but this is a problem for me.  When I travel - usually alone - the evening meal is a tough one.  I haven't yet managed to eat in a place that is not a cafe or similar.  I realise that, for someone who is not a people person (shall we say), having problems eating out alone is odd, but there you go.  However, I narrowed down my Saturday night dinner choices to 2 - the bistro in the hotel, or a noodle place I'd passed in the afternoon.  The bistro was rather busy, and had nothing that really appealed.  I braved the cold, and went to the noodle place.  And I'm so glad I did!  For less than the price of a bistro meal, I had a massive serving of noodles as well as a glass of wine.  The seating was communal (long tables), the food was great, and I didn't feel like the oddball.

5. Warm running gear.  A few weeks ago, I did a morning run from home.  I was freezing, and it was a toasty 14C.  I knew that I would have problems if I didn't sort out some warmer running clothes - it was forecast for a mere 7C in the morning.  I bought some long core stability pants, and a long-sleeve top with a high collar and zip at the front.  At first I wasn't too keen on the zip, but I realised that I didn't want my neck freezing, and it might get rather warm as I ran, so I went with the zip.  I am so glad I did!  There were a few parts where I thought I might need to make my top less warm (zip, or sleeves) but then we'd come around a bend and it would be chilly again.  I saw some people start the race in shorts and singlet (yes, they looked cold), and others run the whole race in long pants, t-shirt and jumper

6. Post-race wind down.  A short stretch on the grass while I drank a coconut water (standard), but then I followed it by a walk along the beach.  Not standard, but the best thing ever.  I even put my toes in the water!  I was not the only one taking advantage of a wide beach and sunlight to do some post-run recovery.  This was especially great as for the last few kilometres all I could think was, I want to be on the beach. 

7. Post-race clean up.  I knew that washing myself afterwards would not be easy.  Not really the weather to rinse off in an outdoor cold shower (at least, not for this Queenslander).  And as it was a one-way race, I wouldn't be able to return to the hotel and use their shower (especially as I finished after 10).  During the week beforehand, though, I saw an ad for the new Libra fresh wipes.  Which sounds pretty awful, but the idea is for a wet wipe type of thing, and just what I needed.  I packed the whole box.  I didn't end up using all 10 - in the end, only 3 - but they made me feel far less grotty and sweaty and smelly.

Last night, I put in my (earlybird) entry for the Gold Coast half marathon - and I'm so excited!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Outfit #139 - Con Anima

A slightly ironic outfit name, here.  However, the continuing junior quartet (so, this year's grade 6 quartet) is named Con Anima - which means 'with spirit'.  They had their first performance for the year today, in middle schooling assembly.  I am feeling anything but spirited today.

Dress: Tengdahl (op shop). Stockings: Target. Boots: Sandler. Scarf: Alta Linea. Jacket (not pictured): Sportsgirl (from Jeannie).
Although I feel like a million dollars in this dress, when it needs several layers underneath to make it warm and work-appropriate it bulks up quite a bit.  More experimentation required.  I did feel my outfit matched the weather today - grey and rainy and cold, for us.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Outfit #138 - Almost a Blockage

These are my colour block stockings.  And everything else was a block of colour too.  I actually wore 4 tops today, expecting to need to shed some layers during the day.  I didn't though, so I'll just list the top 2.  Non-block items were the scarf and earrings.

Skirt: Country Road (op shop). Blue top: Kookai (op shop). 'Plum' sweater: Tokito. Stockings: Target. Boots: Sandler. Earrings: Kinki Gerlinki (from Jeannie). Scarf: Atmosphere (gift).
You get a back shot today for the little bit of blue visible in the stockings.  My junior quartet girls commented on this fact (So Cool!  Oh, and your stockings are wonky).  That's all you get for photos though - I came home early from work, sick.

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Great Ocean Road Half Marathon

...aka The Most Beautiful Run of My Life... aka The Longest Run of My Life (So Far)...  aka The Most Painful Run of My Life (ugh... So Far)...  Anyway.

I did it!  My hilly half marathon is done!  I have such a sense of achievement.

Running weekends are, I think, my favourite type of weekend.  And this one was stunning.  In more ways than one!  Oh, and this whole trip I took SO many photos.  I'll only put up my top picks, promise.  Like this first one - I was so excited for the leaves in Jeannie's street.
On Friday I flew to Melbourne, and had dinner with Jeannie at Fire Chief, followed by dessert at Kakao Green (my first time for both).  Saturday morning, I took a small backpack of necessities and headed off to Southern Cross for the train to Geelong, then the (rather delayed express) bus to Lorne.  I played 'Spot the Runner' which kept me entertained while my toes froze.  I did the Great Ocean Road - in a car - a few years ago, and I kept having flashbacks.  The weather, until Saturday afternoon, was about the same in mid-May as it was that January (grey, cold, raining).  I still had a lovely walk along the beach before checking into the hotel, then picking up some of the things I wasn't going to transport all that way.  And a toothbrush.  A short nap, then I went for a walk up to the pier and a bit further before returning as the lights started to twinkle.  Later, DVD Sam arrived - he was there to do the full marathon.  His first.  (CRAZY!!)

Race Day.  Some reflections:
Sights: Amazingly beautiful.  That was a given, really.  And a good thing too, as I look at scenery to keep myself going.  Bonus - I saw more rainbows this weekend than the whole past year (not that I was counting, but there were so many of them!).  And the light.  Also, having such a curvy course was an unexpected plus.  Instead of looking ahead and seeing a hundreds and hundreds of runners as a block in front, you could just catch glimpses here and there, and see how steep an approaching part would be. 
Sounds: Surf. Birds.  Those are my overwhelming impressions - and they're so different from other running experiences.  It was more like having a holiday, a whole lot of time out.  The other stand-out sounds were only 2: one sniffer - I mean, every breath was a sniff.  Thankfully we weren't close by for long.  The other was a really heavy breather, about 2/3 through.  That was actually enough, after about 50m, for me to pick up the pace (so thank you, heavy breather!).  Oh, and one more - on the shuttle to the start line, I was in front of 2 blokes from the same town.  One of them had done both the full and half, and commented that the first hill after Kennett River was just horrible, so steep... I beg to differ.  (Although, if that was half-way through a marathon it would be a killer).
Sensations: For the first 14km or so, I was in that "I love my life!  I love running!" zone.  And then I began to notice my left leg having problems.  This made me walk for a total of about 300m which was a bit disappointing, in some ways.  However, I had to remind myself that I went into this run expecting to walk a bit.  Last year, I felt I was in pretty good shape and well-prepared for my runs.  Having a concert 2 weeks before this one meant that I had far less time to prepare, and had 2 weeks of intense training.  But hills...  I was thinking I might have to walk up the hills and run down, carefully.  These hills were not very much like the ones at home, though, which are short and sharp and steep.  These hills were much more gradual and curvy.  So I didn't have to do any walking up them.  We had to run on the left side, though, and I think that's what did me in - as well as the extended gradual climb of the second hill.  I needed to run downhill sooner!  Oh well.  More gradual hills for me in future.  At this stage I'm still walking funny...
Staff: In contrast to the Melbourne Half, everything was so well done here.  They provided us with plastic bags for clothes (my backpack just fit in), and a friendly woman gave me 2, just in case.  As our shuttles got there about an hour before the start, they had an aerobics instructor to warm us up. Hydration was ready and well-marked, and they also had jellybeans, fruit and toilets.  Crossing the finish line, a medal was immediately around my neck, fluid was ready, and a few people directed me to where my bag would be. 
More Sensations: Because this was a long run, they had a marker for the full marathon and the half marathon, and then the real finish line.  I got to the first of these, and thought it was the half, and had that spurt of 'only 2 more ks'.  And then I got to the half marathon marker.  Oh, now it's only 2 more... And that was really painful.  Looking at the results I actually picked up a lot here, and if I'm reading this right (and I'd like to think that I am) I overtook nearly 200 people.  Once I saw the finish line I was determined, and ran as fast as my left leg allowed.
More Sounds: I overheard some ... interesting... things.  3 women in front of me in the toilet queue were chatting.  One of them runs for the calorie burn (so she can eat chocolate), but her dad is a serious runner.  Her mum disliked him training and would sabotage his efforts, feeding him a huge dinner before he had to sneak out at 11pm to do a long run.  This woman herself had done 2 Tough Mudders, and when she was about to do the second her mum had said "oh you're not doing another one of those motherf***ers are you?" During the race, there were many people from the same team (I won't name them...) and as I overtook one group of them, I heard "So what's your dirty sex story?" - I didn't speed up.  I didn't stick to them the whole way, but was near enough to hear a whole lot of stories and relationship talk.  Very.  Interesting.
For most of the last 7km all I wanted to do was be on the beach.  Once I'd stretched and had a coconut water, I headed to the sand.  There were many people with the same idea.  I even went in the water!  Only up to my ankles, but still.  So nice. 

It was great having Sam there afterwards - although I could have done this on my own, having someone with whom to debrief later was great.  And even though I'm limping a little, it's nothing compared to his post-marathon hobble. 
The trip back to Melbourne felt really long, when all I wanted to do was curl up on a bed.  But Jeannie met me at the station and fed me Panamax and a massive bowl of soup - best friend ever.

Friday, 17 May 2013


On Tuesday, I joined Oggl.  You may have noticed slightly different photos since then...  When I first received the invitation, I had no idea what Oggl was and thought it sounded like a perv-y, dyslexic version of Google.  But no - it's like the Hipstamatic version of Instagram, with a bit of Red Bubble thrown in too.

Like Instagram, once you've taken a photo, you can then edit it (in this case using the Hipstamatic films and lenses).  Unlike Instagram, you can't import photos - which I rather like, as I feel like people are cheating when they do that on Instagram.  As I am relatively new to Hipstamatic, this is a huge bonus.  I know some people who hardly change their Hipsta lenses; others who instinctively (or, really, through oodles of practice) know which combination is needed for a subject.  I'm not really in either camp, yet.  But having the option to go through every combination after taking a photo means I don't stand in the street for 10 minutes checking photo outcomes and changing options.  Snap first, edit later.  Big win.

Also like Instagram, you get to follow and be followed.  Which also has its pros and cons.

The Red Bubble feature is the 'curating' function, or 'favouriting' as it is in RB.  Which is the main con of following.  I follow someone for their photos, and then they curate some ...erm... questionable... photos...  Which then wind up in my newsfeed.  Not cool.

One aspect of Instagram that I would like (I think) is the notification system - although it's likely that I've just missed something in my settings.  It is much more private though which is a huge plus.

Other pluses: There are so many feeds in which you can just see new photos.  You can take a photo and edit it but not share it, so I don't have to include my outfit photos in my gallery.  And, hello Hipsta films and lenses.  There are more options with Oggl than with the basic Hipsta setup.  Now I've taken my first ever black and white photo that I like. 

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Outfit #137 - Snug As A Bug

I was nearly bowled over today by one of the grade 3 classes running back from PE.  Because I help out with their strings lesson, they all know me, so I had lots of smiles and waves.  One kid waved, grinned, and said I looked as snug as a bug in a rug.  Which was how I felt. 
Skirt: Gina Tricot (op shop). Tank (not really visible, but very necessary): Now. Top: Reverse (from Jeannie). Cardigan: Jeanswest. Stockings: Target. Boots: Sandler. Earrings: from Mombasa. Scarf: Atmosphere (gift).
Well, to be honest, my legs were a little cold.  Today was the first really cold day and I really enjoyed it!  Not least because I got to wear my favourite skirt.  Happy days.
I'm pretty sure this is the boldest I've been with pattern mixing.  Four - four! - in one outfit.  Striped stockings, animal earrings, floral scarf, and ...umm... something on my top.  I think of it as paisley, but it's more like stylised peacock feathers. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Outfit #136 - Zipper Traps

I don't like zips.  I avoid them when I'm looking for running gear.  I avoid them when I'm buying dresses.  Yet, this blue dress has one up the side.  This morning was the first time I had a problem with it, of course, when I was getting dressed in about 7 minutes.  5 1/2 minutes was spent trying to extricate the delicate fabric of the blouse from the zip, while still breathing.  Makeup was rather sparse, and mascara non-existent.  But I still made the train.
Dress: Hot Options. Blouse: Witchery. Shoes: Pulp. Earrings: made by me. Scarf: Atmosphere (gift).
It's a bit hard to tell from the photo, but these shoes need some serious attention.  The sides are falling apart, so I'm trying to decide whether to give up on them, or to see if I can get them fixed.  Or even do something myself.  Any thoughts? 
As you can probably tell, today's theme was blue.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Outfit #135 - Thank You Naplan

Today was the first of the NAPLAN tests for the year.  Which meant, for me, a sleep in and a coffee with breakfast.  These little things make such a big difference in my life.
Dress: Jeanswest (op shop). Belt: Target. Shoes: Pulp. Earrings: Cose Belle. Leggings: ?
The funny thing was, if it hadn't been for a call from school yesterday to check that rehearsal wasn't on, I would have turned up to an empty room.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Movie #35 - The Manchurian Candidate

It took me a long, long time to watch The Manchurian Candidate.  It was one of 5 that DVD Sam loaned me, and I had watched the really terrible "I've wasted 90 minutes of my life" Bulletproof Monk.  That was rather off-putting for further movie watching.  I was assured that The Manchurian Candidate was a good movie, so it was the next in the collection that I watched.  Tried to watch.  It didn't help that the first attempt was when I was outrageously tired.  I got maybe halfway, ish, and missed lots of things.  It was many weeks before I had the mental energy, and the time, to sit down and watch it properly.  The second time, I loved it!  Having Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber and Meryl Streep made it even better - such great actors.  And so well-cast.  I could not imagine anyone other that Meryl in her role, she was made for it.

This is a story of power, and manipulation, and trust, and getting what you want.  No matter what.  You often get a story of a parent doing what they can to promote their child.  But when you add, in my opinion, obscene amounts of money, as well as influence in the powerful circles of the most powerful country in the world, this changes things.  It changes things from promoting your kid to get the lead role in the school play, to promoting your kid to be the leader of the free world.  And when big things are at stake, emotions can run high as morals disappear.  How far would you go to have your child in the White House?

In some ways, this movie was a bit of an eye-opener.  You know there are some people who believe in all those conspiracy theories?  I'm not one of them.  I am far more inclined to believe what I see and hear.  Which is great for people who are wishing to manipulate my mind.  And it made me wonder, is there a line dividing 'brainwashing' from 'for the greater good'?...  Or does that depend on who is manipulating the media?  How much can we actually believe?  Of course, the political process in Australia is rather different from that of the U.S. but I still wonder how much goes on to manipulate what we as society see.  (Which reminds me of the Paulo Coehlo novel, The Winner Stands Alone - a really good read, and another eye-opener).

And after all this manipulation, the ending is such a train crash.  One of those you can vaguely predict, and then you can't look away when it is inevitable, then just have to keep watching to see all the gory mess.  Feeling just a little bit horrified at the same time as feeling delight at the undoing of all the best-laid plans and trickery.

The other side of this story is war and science research.  War has long been the catalyst for scientific discovery and engineering, some of it useful and productive, some of it a little scarier and morally questionable (for the armchair moralists, that is).  The question here - the justification for the research - is whether we can 'free people from the terrible burden of an emotionally compromised past'.  And if we can, should we?  Now, I haven't been in a war.  I haven't been at the frontline, or had family or a loved one serving my country and risking their life, or had someone I love return from a war horribly scarred physically or emotionally.  I do have this firm belief, though, that we shouldn't try to erase our past.  Our past is what shapes us, and our experiences are the only thing that really make us able to sympathise and empathise with others.  All those painful episodes of my past and the problems of my current life are things that have and will help me be a better person.  More understanding, more forgiving.  At times, more fragile, but in the long run - I hope - stronger.  So (back to the movie) hypnotising soldiers to believe the good story instead of the horrible reality (don't want to give out any spoilers here) is not, I believe, the right answer.  Especially not making heroes out of pawns.  And - according to the movie, anyway - the human body and brain cannot be taught to forget that much.  No matter how much you try to suppress the bad stuff, it will return at some point whether you want it to or not.  Better out that in, as they say.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Saturday, Differently

Even though I live in the same city as my nieces and nephews, I don't get all that much auntie time.  Musicians have weird schedules, and my schedule is pretty much opposite that of my brothers with kids.  One of those brothers, though, started teaching at a nearby school (which just happens to be the brother school of the one at which I teach), so when trying to find a time to catch up, he suggested I come along to a home game.  I was hoping a home game would be this week, and early. 

My first Saturday morning student (you know, the 7:30am one) can come on Monday afternoons, and I had gigs later anyway so rearranged the other students.  Instead of enjoying a sleep-in, I woke up even earlier than normal, had breakfast and headed off to the appropriate school oval.  I feel I should point out here that this is not just me doing a not-teaching Saturday morning, but an adult-at-a-school-sport-game Saturday.  And, as I didn't participate in school sport when I was at school (yes, I was a music geek), this was something really new. 

Any uncomfortable new feelings dissolved when my nephews saw me.  Shouts of "It's auntie Anna!!!" followed by racing to greet me with hugs - such a great start to a Saturday.  And then a whole lot of nephew play, and more hugs, and dancing, and photos, and playing, and more hugs. 

After the soccer game (my brother coached, and they won - in soccer! - 9-nil), I got home, did a quick change, then headed off to 2 gigs.  I finally got home at 3 and read a bit in my chair (first time), then started dealing with washing and the seasonal clothing changeover.  It's still ongoing.  Next to find a time to see the other nephew and nieces.

Friday, 10 May 2013

The (Grown Up) Lunch Bag

If you've been paying close attention to my outfits, you would have noticed that this week I wore heels twice - and these have been the first for quite some time.  I have hardly worn heels this year at all.  And it's not just that I've been feeling lazy, or wanting to take care of my feet/legs/ankles/knees or anything like that.  It's mostly because I haven't had enough bag space.  My lunch bag (one of those 'green bag' type things, but a small version) started to get some holes.  And then it disintegrated entirely.  So all my lunch, plus insulated cup, plus scarf/cardigan/hat - all these things have been in my main bag.  No room for heels.

Surprisingly, it wasn't my outfits that drove the upgrade.  It was me taking home my insulated cup that wasn't empty.  And I didn't realise until a day later.  On Monday, I bought a grown up, dedicated lunch bag.  One that can be wiped down to be cleaned. 
The bonus is that I can now fit heels in my bag, and potentially spilly stuff in the new black and white bag which isn't going to get punctured by a fork or a pencil or whatever else I put in my old bag.  I hope.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Outfit #134 - With Tags

Yes.  I went the whole day still with the tags attached to this skirt.  And I didn't notice until I was checking the label for this blog.  So the chances of me repeating the experience were fairly high. 
Skirt: Country Road (op shop). Dress (as shirt): Sunny Girl (op shop). Tank: Now. Cardigan: Jeanswest. Shoes: Pulp. Earrings: gift from a student.
This year, I'm trying to buy clothes only when in Melbourne.  However, a few weeks ago it was as if there was a construction workers' battle of noise production, two neighbouring properties having work done, and my head just couldn't take it anymore.  I escaped to the city... and my favourite op shop...  Last night I firmed up the attachment of one of the buttons, and debuted the skirt today.  It was just as lovely as I had hoped.  And although I spent most of the day thinking patterned stockings would do better next time (oh, hello knees!), I was also thinking of all the possibilities.  Consider yourself warned.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Outfit #133 - Signs of Aging

You know when you have an item of clothing you love, and then you notice the sleeves start looking like an 80-yr-old at a nudist beach?  Well, that's what I noticed about the sleeves of this white top today.  Sad.  It's one of the Ambra bamboo range and so, so soft.  But, aging.  (I bet you thought this was going to be about me counting my own wrinkles or something - sorry).
Top: Ambra bamboo. Vest: Avocado (from Jeannie). Skirt: Katies. Leggings: Ambra. Shoes: Girl Xpress. Scarf: ? maybe Gregory Ladner?
Although it might look like I'm going with the theme of Ambra top, purple top, green scarf, I'm pretty sure tomorrow will be different.  Mostly because I don't have any more purple tops.  At this stage, I have no idea what I'll be wearing.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Outfit #132 - Could This Be...?

Could this really be... At long... Last... Autumn? 
Skirt: Sunny Girl (op shop). Top: Ambra bamboo. Jacket: Kirx (from Jeannie). Earrings: ? Shoes and stockings: Target. Cardigan: ? (from Jeannie). Scarf: ? (from Myer).
This was the first day I wore stockings to school this year - not counting last Wednesday, when I was heading up into the mountains for a gig and would need the warmth.  And these stockings received such love!  One of the quartet girls even noted they, like, totally matched my earrings.
I did feel I was going rather 'animal' today - leopard stockings, deer (apparently) earrings, and what felt like a cat in the cardigan (close-up next time).
You may notice - if you're really on the ball - that I'm posting this just shy of midnight... On a school night!  After tonight's meeting, I stopped by a friend's place on the way home.  I was fed a totally delicious (second) dinner, and we watched the first half of Iron Man.  So, how's that for breaking out of the rut?!  And no, I'm not going to the gym first thing in the morning.  I am, however, really looking forward to a hill run in the evening.  No, I'm not being sarcastic. 

Monday, 6 May 2013

Hill Running

Last term, I felt my fitness was not as peak as it was last year.  I did, however, put in an entry for a hilly half marathon, which is fast approaching.  Then, in early March, I had a conversation in my head (yeah, I know - everyone does this, right? right??) in which a Judgmental Other commented on my lack of fitness, a Defensive Me pointed out I would have to get up at quarter to four in the morning if I wanted to run on a school day, and then a more Rational Me piped up to say, Wednesday's could squeeze in a first-thing gym session (now regular), and I could maybe do more than take blog photos and go to trivia on a Tuesday evening... Maybe...?  A short but hilly run?  So, most Tuesdays have involved a hilly 3km loop.  Last week, with very limited time, I really felt like doing it twice.  I didn't.

This hilly half marathon is nearly here, and now that the chamber music concert is done, I feel I can concentrate on training.  Last night, I decided to do my hilly route, with an extended end to include a horrible nearby hill, and then what would normally be my 13km river run.  All up it was about 17km, with 6km of hills.  The last 3km were a bit painful and I had to walk a couple of hundred metres.  However, I'm now far more confident about this upcoming race.  Another really big plus - the slight undulations along the river route were nothing.  Normally the first rise after the end of the detour makes me reconsider how far I'll go, but not last night!

And.... Now I'm going to have another stretch.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

The DIY Chamber Concert

You know when you're just casually having Australia Day drinks, and you realise you could be a string quintet?  And then decide to have a quintet night?  And then agree to put on a concert with that same string quintet?  And do a quartet too?  On Star Wars Day?  Yeah.  So that's been my last 3 1/2 months...  Schubert, Schubert, and more Schubert.  Death and the Maiden (now known as Darth and the Maiden), and the String Quintet in C (or, 'squintet', as one of my kids read it) for 2 violins, 1 viola, and 2 cellos .

Our concert was yesterday, and as far as I can recall, this was my first time.  That is, first time performing as a small chamber group (gigs don't count here, obviously); that's not organised by someone else (such as, it's my recital for whatever will you be a backing string quartet); in which we had to do everything ourselves - rehearsals (duh), organising a venue, advertising, tickets, food, clean up.
Yes, you can only just see my head
As we had booked a 6pm concert that would go until about 8, I thought we should provide food.  Friday evening and Saturday I prepared finger food - I love my mini-muffin tins.  This was the first time I'd ever made cupcakes - I find them visually appealing but never really want to eat them.  Except for the icing.  But I figured everybody else in the world seems to adore cupcakes (ooh, more evidence I'm weird).  More than that, though, I only recently found Cake Wrecks (which I love!) and thought, I can do that.  I was right!  Not only could I successfully spell our group name (formed from our initials, ADEPA), but I did all three clefs - and, in true Cake Wreck style, I put the dots of the bass clef on the wrong side.  And only realised this after a friend put a photo on Instagram and a couple of others did the head tilt, phone turn, head tilt, eyebrow raise, then "How did they flip it without.. um... flipping it?" oops.
Anyway, the concert went well.  There were a few odd notes here and there, and my ricochet was not the most amazing ever, and I'm sorry for augmenting the C chord at the end of the first bit of the quintet.  Not all that many people showed up, but about half the audience seemed to be made up of my students and their families.   Although small in number, they made up for it with enthusiasm.  I'm pretty sure there will be more concerts to come!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Outfit #131 - Back to Back Black

Yes, this is another black outfit.  Unlike yesterday's, though, today's version comes with splashes of colour.  Mostly because I wanted to wear these earrings.  And this scarf.
Dress: Jeanswest (op shop). Leggings: ? Shoes: Pulp. Earrings: Quick Brown Fox. Cardigan: Jeanswest. Scarf: ? from Myer.
This scarf is ... just.. beautiful.  It's a silky kind of material, and this green is my absolute favourite green. 
I think these earrings might count as my most interesting pair.  Definitely not something I would make on my own!  Although I see now this isn't the most detailed shot.  Next time, I'll do a close-up.
There was no way I could wear any other shoes with this outfit today.  Colour is in.  I'm just hoping that autumn will be in soon, too.  I'm quite sure that May should not be this warm.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Outfit #130 - Wedding Blacks

Today I played for a wedding, so went straight from school to Mt Tamborine.  All black - but I didn't want to terrorise the kiddies, so I wore these rosebud stockings.

Skirt: Miss Shop (op shop). Top: Ambra. Earrings: Pandora (gift). Stockings: Leona Edmiston. Shoes: Target.
Slightly weird photo today - as we were leaving the gig, I realised this was my only opportunity for an outfit photo.  Pat very kindly took a couple of photos of me (thanks Pat!) - but we both wanted, and needed, to head back, so we didn't stuff around getting a great pose or anything.
Just because I love these stockings, you get a special close-up.