Canadian Down Under

Monday, June 25, 2007

I managed to stop myself...

I really wanted chips and dip tonight, but I managed to stop myself from going to the grocery store.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

The secret is out....

A while back I was being very secretive, but I'm going to have to come clean in order to tell you about today.

I really love having a list of things I want to do that I'm either a little afraid of trying or are too expensive to do on a whim and labelling them "Things To Do Before I Die". Why? Because with a label like that its eggs me into trying them or saving up for them. Then, I end up with a list of "Things I've Done That I Thought I'd Never Do" - a list that is a mish mash of achievements that make me quite proud of myself.

So what have I done so far? Well, I've done a triathlon (and discovered I really loved it, so incorporated as an occasional to semi-regular thing in my life), I've jumped out of a plane (never to be repeated - but I can say I've done it) and traveled many places (experiencing new cultures, seeing exciting places and meeting great people).

I try to do at least one or two new things each year - and I had two targeted for this year. Leaning to surf is going to have to take a backseat (perhaps forever depending on my bacK) but I actually managed to do the other one. A big one for me. One I've told very few people about (if anyone) because I so desperately wanted to do it and have it turn out alright, but was so afraid that it wouldn't.

So what am I going on about? Well, I've been taking singing lessons. Yup. Me. I love music , I love to sing - and if I had known at 16 what I know now, I would have seriously tried to get into the music industry. (I am a woman who cannot live without music - I love to listen, but really itch to make it) Anyway, despite how much I love it - its something I'm incredibly shy about. I won't play the piano for anyone, I didn't like to play in front of my guitar teacher and my singing teacher is astounded at how hard it's been to actually get me to sing. My reluctance to have anyone hear me is a striking contrast to my normal outgoing personality - but actually fits with the shy, perfectionist person I really am. It's such an important part of who I am, that I don't want to be bad at it - or have anyone tell me I'm crap (that's what happens when you grow up with 3 older brothers who constantly mock you for don't want to give them new material...)

But despite all that - since singing lessons was on the "before I die" list, I sucked it up and went. There have been some good days and some bad days but all in all its been quite fun. My music teacher is an eccentric but extremely lovely woman. I quite like her - and because of that, I allowed myself to pushed into performing at a recital. (I actually wasn't really given a choice). I had to provide her with a picture and blurb about myself - so this is what I gave her:

My name is Laura. I'm an Aussie with a Canadian accent. I love all types of music. I started
taking singing lessons because it was on my list of 'Things to do before I die' and fate landed me with Cathy. I'm at the recital because I've finally met someone more stubborn than me:Cathy. However, I'm standing firm on not inviting anyone to witness the event. (Cathy's insists that it's impossible I have no family and friends, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

I thought she'd edit it and yell at me later - but you know what? She printed it as is... (You'd think I'd learn....)

So I went. I sang. No one threw anything at me. I felt ill most of the day and now I have a killer of a headache from the stress of it all, but I'm glad I did it. Some people came up afterwards and said I was good - but hey - what are you going to say????

I did actually tell three people before I went (and surprisingly all wanted to come along) but they were not invited. One friend offered to sit facing the wall to ensure they wouldn't make me laugh - but that wasn't very helpful... (you know who you are!!) In fact, when it came time to actually sing, I made my teacher accompany me on the piano instead of playing the backing track so I didn't have to stand up front alone... which she did without a fuss, but it did mean I had to sing in a key that was a little too low for me. Ah well, I wasn't alone and was able to basically stand with my back to everyone (had to look over her shoulder).

So that's my secret. One more off the list. Although maybe I should add a new one: singing in a competition. (It's what my teacher is pushing me to do.) Will have to think about that one some more....

Comments welcome. No mocking allowed.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Why I hate Facebook

A friend sent me a join request for Facebook. Not usually a joiner of such things - this was a friend I'd lost contact with and so I thought: what the hell. I clicked on the link and started to register....

Reason #1 for why I hate Facebook:
They require your age. Including year of birth. I hate providing this information to anyone other than Government agencies. Why? Not because I'm ashamed/depressed/embarrassed by my age, but because I don't like to give such information basics. Makes it far too easy for people to steal your identify - or worse - stalk you. (Been there - done that - would like to never repeat....)

Reason #2 for why I hate Facebook:
See above. So when inputting age, I picked a random year. I didn't pay much attention and apparently I ended up being about 6 years old which is against their policy so I GOT BANNED. I had to beg forgiveness to get re-instated. BEG for something I DIDN'T EVEN WANT. (In case you couldn't guess - begging's not my forte.)

Reason #3 for why I hate Facebook (and this is the biggie):
An ex-boyfrend has added me on Facebook. He apparently knows me because he 'travelled with me'. (Facebook asks you to pick a reason/explanation as to how you know each other) Travelled with me? I thought we were seeing each other - or at least dating - I mean he did come to Canada and meet my friends and family - but hey - apparently that's what you do when you travel. (Or is travel the new code word for 'shagged, used and threw away' and I've just been cyber-slagged???)

It's enlightening to find out how people view their connection to you....and how important it was to them (or wasn't in this case...)

Instinctively I hated Facebook. Looks like I'm smarter than even I thought!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Graduation Day

So I've written before about Big Sisters before but I've always been rather skimpy on detail in order to respect my Little Sister's privacy - but occasionally there are events that occur that just need to be blogged about. Like Saturday: graduation day.

See, the Big Sisters organisation out here has developed a new program for matches that have lasted over a year. Previously they haven't been managed well (or at all) so they've set up a new program to run events for us. It's a little more hands off than Big Sisters first year, but they're promising events that will suit some of the older kids - like my little sister who is 14 (going on 21...)

Anyway on Saturday they held a graduation ceremony for us as we 'formally' moved from Big Sisters to Y Grads. I was expecting it to be a little dull, but it was actually a pretty good day. The presentation was fairly short (perfect for us because we both have short attention spans....), the food was good and they had some really excellent activities for us: a photographer, some hand drawings and a cartoonist.

It was fun. A professional photographer was there to take photos of us (match by match) - which is great because my little sister (whom I'll refer to as 'H') and I like to take pictures, just not of ourselves, so as a result we don't have any of us together - but hopefully now we'll not only have pictures - but some good ones.

The hand drawings seemed kind of geeky at first but turned out really good. The idea was that each of us drew an outline of our hand on a blank piece of paper then we swapped and had to write something we liked about the other for each blank fingertip. Why it was so cool? H's 5 things about me:

1. I'm funny
2. I'm nice
3. I'm kind
4. I'm easy to talk to
5. I'm cool.

I read these over her shoulder and though not really the mushy type, I really was touched. I was so happy to see that she thinks I'm easy to talk to because its the best thing in the world for her and I'm just so glad she feels like she can talk to me. It's all good! (Okay, maybe a little mushy....)

But the best of all? They had a famous cartoonist there who was drawing caricatures of the matches and when it was our turn, he managed to dig out of H that she likes horses and while we were talking he noticed I had an accent. In answer to his question, I told him I was Canadian and the three of us kept chatting when I suddenly noticed he'd drawn H with a horse, but me as a Mountie!! Too funny. I got chastised in the end because I had to explain to H what a Mountie was. The cartoonist comment? "What kind of Canadian are you if you've known each other for a year and she doesn't know what a Mountie is??"

Too right. But the cartoon turned out great. So great that H has multiple copies and sizes of copies to keep in her room and her journal for school.

Isn't it amazing how the smallest things have the greatest impact? I always wanted to help, to add value, to give back - I just never realised in doing so I would get so much in return. I was asked to fill out a questionnaire on Saturday and one of the questions was 'what keeps you motivated' and without thinking I wrote 'our friendship' and that's when it struck me: H and I are really friends. The program is based on the premise that you're friends on equal footing - its not meant to be a 'teaching' or 'guiding' relationship - but just a friendship. And you know what? It worked - we really just enjoy hanging out.

I don't know who initially dreamt up the Big Sisters/Big Brothers concept - but I gotta tell you - its turned out to be everything they intended....and perhaps a little more. They deserve a medal.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Just call me High Maintenance

I'm having one of those weeks. I think its the transition. I'm not good at limbo - and I think that's where I am. Still with plenty to do to finish up at my old job but at the same time waiting to start my new job. (It's at the same company so there's no room for slacking off - not that I would because I like to know for my own sake that everything is done and tidied up. I'm a little freakish that way...)

I'm unsettled. I'm slightly paranoid. I'm extremely needy and attention deprived.

I think maybe I'm not getting enough sleep. Well, it doesn't help if a certain little gray and white fluffball likes to sit and purr at me HOURS before my alarm is meant to go off. Good thing she's cute....

Hmmm. All over the map today.

I have more in my head but I'm too tired to type it all out. I really must be tired!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Make a wish

I went for a stroll along the beachfront Monday night - the last night before the long weekend ended. The storms had finally passed, the rain had almost stopped and the wind had died down. Really, the first time all weekend that it was in anyway civilized outside.

It's great along the beachfront after a big storm - the waters are too wild for anyone other than surfers and the huge waves bring them out in droves. Its no wonder sharks seem to attack surfers because on early Monday evening the black dots on their surfboards looked so much like seals it would confuse the smartest of mammals....

The huge storms and resulting flooding didn't really hurt the Manly area but there were signs that we had been through some rough weather: the winds had blown so much sand over the pathway to the roads - that it almost looked like a second beach. So a little bit of mess, but also a great amount of beauty. So much so, that I had to stop on the second beach and just soak it all up.

The sky was a mixture of storm clouds and clear patches that allowed single beams of sunlight to stream through. Between the second beach where I stood and the distant ocean, the real beach had that wet sand look that so rarely covers the entire beach given its size, the wild waves were peppered with the surfers and the on the distant horizon the tankers were coming in amid some adventurous sailboats. But what stopped me was this beautiful sailboat that was being lit up by a stray sunbeam near the dark clouds and was framed by the most beautiful rainbow that arced over the entire beach.

A rainbow - that as a I stood there - developed into a double rainbow from Queenscliff to Manly.

It stopped everybody. We just stood and admired for close to half an hour until it started to fade.

I didn't look for the pot of gold (despite being able to see the end of the rainbow) but I did make a wish. I figure if something as rare - and beautiful - as that happens, you are meant to wish on it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

What teams are they?

I have another commercial question (yes, I confess, I watch a lot of tv....)

So - here in Australia, the CPA organisation has been running ads - undoubtedly to increase their numbers. Generally they're about some exotic locale and how transferable those skills are....

Anyway - they even have one about Canada. There's this story line about how the guy goes to Canada - specifically Toronto. So of course all the scenes involve something to do with snow and how cold it is. They even show clips of NHL games. Now the thing is - and this is my question - I can't figure out what teams are playing. Although I have a sneaking suspicion that NONE of the teams are Canadian teams.

Hey - the guy is suppose to be in Toronto - but I gotta tell you - not one of those teams in the ad are the Leafs.

I'm going to get to the bottom of this. If I'm right - I'm complaining.

Imagine running an ad about how great Canada is and then only show American teams playing!!!!

A new level of offensiveness....

Thursday, June 07, 2007


How cool is that????????