Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Tale of Two Santas

So I'm currently slaving away, working for The Man. The Man being Santa, of course. I'm currently running a Santa photography set in a shopping centre in a pretty dodgy town. It's been... interesting, to say the least. Particularly the things I have noticed about those who live in this town:

1. Shoes are optional.

2. Mullets are still cool, and I have a feeling that in this town, they never went out of style.

3. Teeth are a privelege, not a right.

4. Parents wish for their children to be Younike and dif'rent, so their names and spelling variations should be a reflection of this.

I originally applied to the job because I knew that I'd be out of work during Christmas through to February, as the work I've been doing for the past 6 months has been childcare/school related. I figured that at least it would be 6 weeks of fulltime work and I could get a bit of money behind me to not have to worry too much over the school break.

Also, I kind of thought it would be like being in a David Sedaris story.

The ridiculousness of the work is the same, but that's about the only difference.

My main disappointment is that I don't get to dress up as an elf. I wear a T-shirt and black work pants, and the only Christmas-y thing I do is wear Rudolph earrings, and if the shopping centre aircon is working, a Santa hat. So I don't often wear the Santa hat.

Then there's the Big Man himself. Santa. Oh, Santa.

See, the problem is, we have two Santas. One is the most lovely man on the planet. He's 78, he has grandkids and great-grandkids, he buys me milkshakes, he gives me gardening advice, he jokes with kids and makes them comfortable, and he reminds me so much of my granddad. I want to adopt him.

Then, there's Bad Santa. Bad Santa is a DICK. An absolute arsehole. He spends his days whinging about everything from his costume, to his hours, to his boredom, to the uncomfortableness of his chair. He never smiles in photos, which, despite the beard covering half his face, is very noticeable. He doesn't do different poses so I can try and convince the parents to buy the largest pack with all of the photos. He takes long breaks, longer than he's allowed to, and when it's quiet he will just get up and go for a walk without telling me, leaving to me make excuses about reindeer and Mrs. Claus to the kids and their parents. He makes my shifts unbearably long, and I've been so close to just screaming at him, "You know what?? You get paid twice as much as I do and do half as much work, so shut the hell up!"

It's not like someone who dresses up as Santa particularly needs the work - it's seasonal. How have they been living for the past eleven months? It's something you do if you LIKE KIDS and Christmas, and want to make a little extra money this time of year. When there's no kids about, and he hasn't gone walkabout, he spends his time looking at his reflection, whinging about how much better last year's beard was.

The really frustrating thing about all this? There's nothing I can do about it! It's not like I'm his boss - hell, the company I work for aren't even his bosses. He's contracted out by a company that trains Santas for this time of year, and he's contracted out by the shopping centre.

I have four weeks to go. If you see Santa being thrown off a roof, I've finally cracked it and I've done away with him.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Trying to Catch Up

So last week I finally finished uni for the year. I spent the whole of Thursday in bed, working on a quilt I'm making (more on that in another post), watching TV, and having mini anxiety attacks, thinking that I had something due for uni or had to go to work. I kept checking my phone calendar to make sure I hadn't missed anything, and the relief that came when I realised I had nothing on was heavenly.

I basically spent the weekend doing nothing much - hanging out with my friends, being Sunday people down on the Central Coast, and trying to organise my new job.

Have I mentioned that starting this Sunday I'm going to be a Santa Elf???!! Well, not really. I'm just working for a Santa photo set, and unfortunately, we have a uniform - it would be so much better if I could be an elf. It's only for 6ish weeks, but I'm already stressed from the job because I've been made the Set Supervisor, and having to try and chase my staff and lock in training dates and new staff when the old ones quit before they even begin is doing my head in. One exciting thing is that I've got Mikey working for me every weekend. Basically, I'm going to be working 6 days a week on the Santa set, then on the 7th day I'll be doing before and after school care. That's not to mention the tutoring afterwards. Sigh. I'm looking forward to it, and I know it's not for very long, but the thought that I'm not going to be able to see my family until Christmas Day is a bit sad. BUT I need to do this in order to survive the Christmas holidays, money-wise. Although I love looking after kids and tutoring, one of the downsides of this kind of work is the zero work during the school holidays.

Meanwhile, after tomorrow night's tutoring session, I'm going down to Sydney to see my family. There's been some crazy big news from that camp, so I'm looking forward to seeing everyone. I'll let you in on the news once everyone knows. But annoyingly, I then have to come back on Thursday night or early Friday morning for my set's training session (today's was cancelled because our equipment hasn't turned up), and then go back down to Sydney Friday evening so I can see my lovely friends on Saturday.

Hectic. But worth it.

Yes, this is the most boring post in the world. Sigh.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Grease 2: Even Greasier

So, I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but Grease 2 is one of my favourite movies. I say that without irony. I think that the first film was a bit "yeah, it's alright," but Grease 2 came along, and Michelle Pfeifer climbed that ladder, and Maxwell Caulfied was "That Guy," and I was hooked.

In fact, Grease 2 brings people together like no other Grease can. I highly doubt that Mikey and I would be as tight as we are if it weren't for this film. Although we got along well from the beginning of knowing each other, it was only after we realised that we both loved the film Grease 2, and we both loved it hard, that we realised we would be together. Always, together. Like birds of a feather forever and ever.

So when we heard that our beloved film was going to be on stage in Melbourne, we immediately booked ourselves on the cheapest flight we could find and made sure we were at the opening weekend. We knew we'd have to fly, seeing as Mikey and I have driven down there twice before, and it's still too soon after our last drive down to think that it was actually fun to be in a Toyota Echo for 14 hours.

We got on the world's earliest flight (or, 7am) and arrived at Avalon airport not long after. But then we faffed about waiting for the one airport bus to take us into the CBD. This was all before we'd been able to eat. After we checked ourselves into a hostel called The Mansion and had to defend ourselves to various international randoms about our love of Grease 2, we finally got ourselves some brekkie.

***Note: I spent about half an hour right now trying to upload some of my photos from the trip, but our internet is being a massive bitch. I think it got it from me - I love being influential! There'll be photos added to this sometime in the future.***

We then wandered around Melbs for the rest of the day. We headed towards the Occupy Melbourne protest, because I'd been following the Occupy protests in the States and wanted to show my support. When we got to the area where the Occupy protest was supposed to be, Mikey and I were very confused. All we could see were "Free Palestine" banners, and "Boycott Max Brenner" posters. Maybe we'd stumbled upon a different protest? Not so, as the protesters started chanting: "Occupy Melbourne, not Palestine!" Mikey had to hold me back, I was so angry. Firstly, the issues aren't even remotely related. Secondly, I don't agree with their reasoning for the boycotting of MB stores. Boycott them for their shitty service (Charlestown store, I'm looking at you!), but maybe don't blindly follow the hippy in the Che Guevara shirt. And thirdly, how the hell are you going to carry out a proper protest when there is no unity in your message??? People were angry about everything from the carbon tax, to gay rights, to global warming, which is all great to be passionate about, but maybe start your own protest? Somewhere else? Having all these conflicting and unrelated voices simply dilutes the message and shows a complete lack of unity. It made me glad to see the "occupy" tents being taken down by police.

After many hours of ranting about this to poor Mikey (where does one buy soapboxes, in these days of cardboard, I wonder?), and getting distracted by EVERY BOOK STORE AND BOOK MARKET IN MELBOURNE (what can we say, we met in a bookstore, we love books and Grease 2!), we went back to the hostel to suit up and get ready for our moment.

After I had a two hour nap.

And locked Mikey out of the room for those two hours.

But then we were sufficiently suited up and were freaking out with anticipation for the show. Would it be good? Were they parodying an amazing film? (Not on MY watch!) What if they somehow ruined the film for us, like when you read a brilliant book and then a movie comes along which screws the book over, and then the book must forever bear the terrible film's taint?

Well, I am here to tell you that the show was PERFECT!!!!!!!!!! There was a lot of licence taken with some of the characters, but they deserved it. They did Cool Rider to perfection, ladder and everything, and also made fun of some of the terrible songs, like Charade. (I'm allowed to say it's terrible, because its terribleness is part of the brilliance of the film as it shows Michael's transition from loser new kid to the awesome cool rider. Or maybe I'm just giving the director/writer way too much credit.) The girl that played Stephanie, Melanie Ott, was absolutely sensational. Her voice was just amazing, and she was perfect as Stephanie.

Mikey and I acted like crazy fan girls the whole time. It was just great to see something we love so much up on the stage.

After the musical, still on a high, we met up with Bel, one of our old Borders (blergh) buddies that had moved down to Melbourne. She took us to a couple of bars and Lord of the Fries, some of the best late-night-drunk food I've ever had. And apparently it was all vegan. I wish they had stuff like this here in Newcastle so I could take my housemate Bec out for some good, greasy (lol) food.

Then Mikey and I managed to get back to the hostel, crazy drunk (it's CROFT, Mikey, not LOFT!), and slept as well as one can in a hostel.

The next morning was not pretty. We checked out of the hostel and met up with Bel for brekkie. After drinking ALL of the coffee, we decided that we didn't need to do any more touristy things because our poor little no-longer-20-year-old bodies couldn't handle the morning after. We spent the day in comic book shops, in magazine shops, and in other book shops. Yes, our Greasiness is only trumped by our bookishness.

And then later that night we flew back to Sydney. And then drove back to Newcastle. It was a long bloody weekend, but it was worth every moment.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Where've I been?

So, I've been a bit busy lately, and haven't had a chance to post, so here's an update:

1. I attended the This is Not Art Zine Fair. I picked up some great zines on a whole bunch of random topics, and also bought a greeting card that's a print of a painting of one of my lovely friends, Bronwyn, made by her sister Rob, who's also on the card.

It now has pride of place on my bookshelf. We didn't get to check anything else out during the festival though due to the revolting weather. No wait! I lie - I forced my tired and over-it friends to head back out into the cold and go to the pub to see a spelling bee hosted by Lawrence Leung, just because I heart him so.

2. On Saturday night, Bec, Wade, Mikey and I travelled down to the Central Coast and joined the Hunter Paranormal Society on a ghost hunt! We went to a cemetery and a local beach (Jenny Dickson Beach), and used a bunch of high tech equipment to see if any ghosties were about. Here's Bec checking out a lone grave:

Here's a terrible photo, but the only one I have, of one of the heat sensors that were used:

And here's a shot of one of the K2s, which sense ectoplasm or something, a voice translator thing, and Mikey's hot gold shoes.

After all that, I didn't get to see any ghosts, and there was NOTHING going on at the beach (at least at the cemetery there were some readings on some of the equipment), but all in all, it was a fabulous night. I highly recommend it. Best thing about it? The fact that a Hunter Paranormal Society even exists! Win!

3. To continue the spookiness (not really), I've finally begun reading The Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman:

Mikey leant me this series months and months (and months) ago, and they've just been sitting on my bookshelf gathering dust. I mean, they were sitting on my bookshelf being lovingly taken care of and in much better condition than when they first arrived. (Phew - covered that one up!) That is until Bec decided to start reading them and forced them upon me, and now I'm hooked! Sure, I'm 20-odd years too late to the table, but I run on Filo time.

4. I spent Sunday morning with the boys at the Darby St Fair.

It was actually a lovely day, considering how gross the days leading up to it were. Darby St was packed, and it was difficult to navigate through the foot traffic, but there were some lovely stalls, and what looked like some awesome food.

Anyway, I'm going to leave this post here because I have to get through these before I leave for Melbourne on the weekend:

Oh yes! I'm off to Melbourne. More on that later xx

Friday, 30 September 2011


When I restarted blogging, I made a conscious decision that this would be whinge-free. So far I've sort of kept to that promise to myself, although, it has made the posts rather fluffy, but today I'm breaking it with an obligatory uni whinge.

I'm currently sitting at the back of the uni library waiting to finally get the motivation to finish the assignment I'm working on. I'm using prezi for the first time, and while it's easy enough, I just can't be arsed. I'm working on an assignment for a 1st year class I'm taking during this uni break as they introduced it at a weird time a year or so ago, and I'm only now getting around to taking it. The fact that it's 1st year means that it's hella easy, and the fact that I'm even using prezi means that I'll automatically get 8 marks out of 20. BUT I just cannot be arsed. It's due at midnight tonight and it feels like more effort than it's worth. I'm currently working on getting the motivation to finish it today, rather than wait for the weekend.

I will say one thing about prezi: it definitely lends itself to the way my mind works. I like that I can write down whichever idea comes into my head, then at the end of it all I just have to click on each area to decide on the order the information is viewed. Even if I put random info together, I just don't have to show the other area until I'm ready for it. Excellent.

And the most frustrating thing of all is that I'm so close to the end of the semester! Two of my classes end the week after the break, the one I'm doing now is only a compressed course, so it's just this week and next week (although more assignments are due later), and so I've only got one more that goes for the rest of the semester, which is really only one more month. BUT this is the time where I usually start deciding that it's all too hard and it will never end, then do something that will sabotage everything. I'm working really hard to ensure that this is not the case this time, especially since I'm so close to the finish line. After this semester, I just have a few weeks of classes, then internship. Then I'm done and don't have to worry anymore.

Le sigh.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Sunday People

So, keeping with tradition, I've been working very hard this week to ensure that I put my assignment off as long as possible. I think I've succeeded nicely, what with it due tomorrow and my having started it... half an hour ago. Success!

In my effort to procrastinate, I like to ensure that I force others to abandon their assignments too, because if I'm going down, everybody's going down. One way I succeeded in doing this was by hijacking Mikey this past weekend and forcing him to accompany me in this quest.

Saturday was an awesome, everything-filled day. It started at Bar Beach, meeting Beau and Mark for some sun baking. The beach was crazy packed with people enjoying one of the first lovely weekend days of Spring, so Mikey and I only lasted half an hour. We then went to the library in town, because we're super hardcore. At the library, we borrowed a stack of books on Christmas food, as we're already planning our now annual Parkhill Christmas dinner. I know, right? You wanna be us.

Then, we were about to head to Bunnings in order to make use of their sausage sizzle (a recent obsession of ours), but were distracted by the sound of music coming from Civic Park. Curious, we decided to drive past the park and see if THEY had a sausage sizzle. Indeed, they did. AND IT WAS FREE!!! It was run by the Lions Club, and they didn't seem that enthused for us to have one, so we gave big donations out of guilt. It turned out that the reason for the sausage sizzle and the music was that it was a celebration for South Sudanese Independence Day. Mikey and I had absolutely no idea that they'd even gained independence! That's how up to date I am with World News. Anyway, it felt good to celebrate with everyone, but we had to head off before the real celebration began. Why? Because we were actually going to head to the UNI LIBRARY and do UNI WORK.

Well, we did go to the library, but we got absolutely no work done.

All in all, a productive Saturday.

Sunday is the day of the week where we feel that anything is possible, and when we become Sunday People. Sunday People enjoy being out and about, going where they fancy, never rushing, and always on a whim.

Wade, Mikey and I headed off the Glenrock Lagoon for a bushwalk. I had never been there before, but really wanted to, and hadn't realised how close it is to my house!

Afterwards, we had a late barbeque lunch at Blackbutt Reserve, where this peacock decided that he'd join us. Silly peacock - he thinks he's people.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Things that happen when you're supposed to be studying...

So, I find that I am at my most productive, life-wise, when I have a tonne of stuff to do for uni. I know it's been awhile since I posted, but I've been waiting to take photos of things and only just bothered to actually get my camera battery off Mikey.

First, let me show off a blog giveaway I won from Kiki Chaos:

I won these two art deco style tea cups from her giveaway. I'm so in love with them! I've had them on the kitchen table since they arrived, and I'm just so in love with them. I love their unusual shape and their colour - I don't normally like green, but I love the green on these.

Here's a closer look:

Crazy pretty. Thanks so much for this, Kiki Chaos!

I've also finished some projects I started. I know, the horror! It feels so good to actually finish something I started.

First, last Thursday I decided to skip uni, as often happens with me. But this time I decided that if I was ignoring my studies, I should at least accomplish something. So, remembering a pattern that caught my eye a couple of months ago on Ravelry, I decided to make this earring holder:

Here's a close up look:

It's basically a crocheted mesh (done in the picquot stitch which I learnt as I went), then I bought a cheap frame from a Salvos store, took out the glass, covered the backing board with some pretty paper and stretched the mesh over the whole thing. I think it looks really cute, and I'm still pretty chuffed that I decided that I would make it and actually carried through with the plan, and finished it in a few hours. That said, I thought I owned a lot more dangly earrings that that! A reason to go shopping?

I've also managed to finish my little sister's birthday present:

(Ignore the un-ironed hem.) It's just a simple skirt made with fabric she chose, and a hair ribbon to go with it. I'm still not over how quick this was to whip up - it took me about an hour. The part that took the most time was trying to figure out how long to make the hem. I made it for her in time for her birthday, but I deliberately didn't hem it. When Mary-Anne tried it on, she decided she wanted it to be about three inches shorter than I had cut it. Kids these days. Meanwhile, my baby girl is 17!!! Next year she'll be 18, as she loves reminding me at every moment. I love that little brat.

The ribbon in the middle of the skirt is actually a hair clip I made her. For some reason she's into bow hair clips. I've never been a ribbon person, and I always envied those in primary and high school who were. I just never felt like I could pull it off, or if I did wear one in my hair, I felt like I was lying to the world, trying to pretend to be a much sweeter and lovelier person than I really was. But Mary-Anne's really into them at the moment, and spends heaps of money on them. I figured it would be very easy to make one of my own. Well, it is, but it's actually quite difficult to find the right sort of clip. I did find some eventually, and then bought a hot glue gun. Those babies are so much fun to play with!

Here's a close up of the ribbon:

Too cute!!

Next up are my works in progress. First is a blanket that, fingers crossed, will be ready in time for next winter:

Why I decided to make it so big, I'll never know. No, wait - I do know: I wanted something really snuggly and thick. I just didn't realise how long it would take to work up, and how much wool it would require, especially because I decided that I wanted it to be 100% wool, and I only found small balls of this colour at Spotlight. So, I've been through about 8 balls of wool so far, and it's not even a quarter of the size I'd like it to eventually become. But that said, I'm enjoying the process.

It's a chevron pattern that I found in a magazine, but I'm just keeping it all the one colour. I'm envisioning it on my future lounge, looking gorgeous in its neutralness and adaptability. No matter what, at least it will be warm.

And last, but not least, in order to assure my place on the Nanna-in-Training podium, last night I attended my first ever quilting class. Yup, I'm a loser. BUT I'm a loser that now has her first four patches!!! Here they are thrown onto my messy bed:

How cute is this fabric?

The sense of accomplishment that came with making these was awesome. I was so chuffed with how they turned out, although, I really just chose the placement of the patches and sewed them together. The fabric was bought in a pre-cut bundle, so it was all in a complimentary colour scheme, and the lady holding the class was the one that guided me through step by step. Whatever - I'm proud of myself, and I'm also a proud flag bearer in the nanna brigade.

And that's what I've been up to. Oh, apart from hanging out with friends, drinking too much, buying too much and all of that. It's been fun though. I'm working on something right now to give to Jenni's baby when I finally get to meet him.

Monday, 29 August 2011

A Perfect Weekend

So, I'm pretty sure that this weekend has definitely made my decision for me. How can I possibly leave Newcastle early when I've got such wonderful people around me that I'd miss too much?

Saturday was spent with Mikey and Wade at the uni open day. It was kind of a fizzer, seeing as the seminar we went to for Mikey's intended course wasn't very inspiring. But, the staff in the Great Hall were excellent and gave us so much information that Mikey's got it almost figured out.

After the open day, we headed off to the shops to get some dinner goodies. Mikey and I, it turns out, are the perfect team: he loves to cook, I love to be cooked for! So Wade and I spent the evening watching Mikey prepare a lamb roast, whilst filling ourselves on cheese and biscuits. Simon and Chris came and joined us for the actual eating of the meal, then Mel, Beau and Lauren returned from an ice hockey game in time for desert. Wine was flowing, merriment abounded, and we ended the perfect evening with a viewing of The Princess Bride. I'm pretty sure Mikey and I pissed everyone off by reciting each line with the film, but I like to think that we enhanced the perfection of the original.

The next day, I'm pretty sure I was still drunk because I was in such a pleasant mood, Mel, Mikey, Beau and I headed off to the Farmers' Market to buy some goodies for a picnic lunch. I have no idea what I bought, but I came home with no money left at all. We were joined at the market by Bronwyn, bought some awesome nibblies, then went back to Parkhill 2.0 to enjoy our picnic. The weather didn't seem to be able to make its mind up, so we thought it would be safer to picnic at home so that if it started to rain we could quickly run back inside. But for once, the weather held off and we enjoyed a lovely, stomach-exploding lunch, followed by some Better Off Ted viewing, and then I had to run home and finally get some sleep.

And that's how you have a perfect weekend.

How can I ever go back to retail knowing that weekends exist, and that they are awesome?

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Yep, It's Official: I'm a Nanna

So, just in case it wasn't over-the-top obvious before now, today I confirmed my spot in the retirement village by attending the Craft & Sewing Show. It wasn't exactly what I thought it would be, as I thought there'd be more knitting and crochet aspects, but it was mostly quilting and scrapbooking, and I think I have enough scrapbooking stuff stashed at my grandma's place to last me a lifetime. But apart from that, I actually really enjoyed myself. I attended a number of seminars, spoke to lots of different people, browsed through all the stores, bought the most expensive bottle of water ever ($4.50 - WTF? How can they possibly justify that? I'm such an idiot for not even considering bringing my own bottle), and even did a workshop where I made a cutlery roll. It's adorable. I can't take any photos at the moment due to my camera battery going AWOL. But trust me - it's fab.

Attending the show today has, unfortunately, resulted in another craft I need to try - quilting. I've wanted to quilt since I was a very little kid, and never quite understood what to do. Today I spoke to someone from the Newcastle Quilter's Guild (there's GUILDS! For everything!) and she answered every question I've ever had about quilting and gave me some excellent advice. So now, I want to start quilting.

But first, I need to finish the assignment I've got due on Monday. Or should I say, start the assignment that's due Monday. Surely creating a lesson plan for a year 8 class and writing 2000 words about how awesome I am at improving literacy rates shouldn't take too long...

And then I've got to finish the cushions I'm making for Emma and Mick's engagement. The one that was back at the beginning of the year. I finally finished embroidering the first one, and it's beautiful, but I haven't even started sewing the actual cushion case together, let alone started on any of the other ones. Sigh.

BUT, onto even more important news:

JENNI AND NICK HAD THEIR BABY!!! Little James Robert was born 19th August, and from the photos I've seen, is absolutely beautiful! If you're reading this Jenni, I cannot wait to meet him. I doubt you'll read this for some time, what with the business of the next few months. <3

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Happiest Reader

So today I decided to skip uni and stayed in bed. No, this wasn't a repeat of my month in bed at the end of last year. Instead, I was in bed doing something that I haven't done in a very long time. (I should end this post here and let imaginations run free.)

I was reading. No, not just reading; I was engrossed in a book. I was laughing, I was crying, I was constantly quoting bits to my friends. The book?

Yes, I know that I'm late to the table, but in my defense, where does one even buy books any more? Instead, I borrowed this from the library. Did you know there's this place that exists that lets you borrow books, then return them a few weeks later - FOR FREE!! I know, it blew my mind hole. (Which reminds me - it's due back tomorrow. To a library in Sydney. Woops!)

So this book is about Anh's family and their journey from Vietnam to Australia as refugees, and how they adapted to life here. His parents sacrificed so much so their children could have the life they never had. I guess it struck a chord with me, because I've had an oposite experience with my parents, but I can see my grandmother's steadfastness and selflessness in Anh's mother, and how hard she worked so that her children could thrive. It makes me very glad to have such a wonderful woman in my life.

The book also reinforces the importance of a good teacher. And how horrendous a bad teacher is. I cannot wait until I can finally start teaching. I think I'm growing quite impatient.

So for everyone reading this post: STOP!! Go and buy/borrow (for free!) this book and devour it, and feel your heart become a little lighter. I haven't wanted to talk about a book so much since The Book Thief. Oh, and if you haven't read that one, WHY DO YOU HATE YOURSELF?? Go and get it right now!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Considering Leaving...

So for a few weeks now I've been considering leaving Newcastle 6 months early and moving back home to Sydney. I was originally planning to do this in order to save myself some money for the 10 weeks I'll be on internship next year and unable to work, as well as the fact that the moment I finish internship I'll be moving somewhere completely new, so I should probably have some money saved for that.

But today, I realised another reason I might want to move: Newcastle is such a small town that you cannot help but run into people that you never want to see again. And you run into them a lot. And the constant visual reminders are terribly unhelpful.

(there are, however, many downfalls to leaving, most of those being my beautiful family I've created for myself. oh, if only they would move with me...)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Back to School, and Becoming Claudia

So this week was the first week back at uni for the semester. I can tell it's going to be a long and boring one, seeing as this semester I am redoing the classes I failed last year when I was going through my depressed phase. It doesn't seem too bad so far for my Junior English class, because even though I have the same tutor and lecturer, it still seems quite fresh, and she's changed the assignments for the class this year which I'm happy about - I wouldn't want to put in all that work again on trying to write a new essay on the same topic.

My Junior History class, however, is exactly the same. Right down to even doing the exact same tutorial activities and readings as the class last year. Now, that's just lazy. The assignments are the same as well, but that's fine with me - unlike the English assignments, I didn't really try very hard with History and pretty much did the bare minimum for the first assignment, scraping through with only a very low credit. This time, I know exactly what it is the lecturer wants us to say, and, having now taught in a history classroom, I have some real ideas on lessons and what will work for the assignment.

That said, I'm already over this semester. I just want to finish it so that I'm finally able to do my internship and start earning some money.

Speaking of money, tomorrow I start a new baby sitting gig. It's just casual sitting, for a family with three kids. I'm hoping it all works out, then I'll be working for them once or twice a fortnight. Coupled with the baby sitting I already do, and the tutoring, as well as the fact that the people I already sit for are passing on my details to some of their kids' friends' parents, I'm looking pretty set for the rest of this semester, fingers crossed. And all those Baby Sitters Club books I devoured as a kid are finally starting to pay off.

Also, even in their worst tantrums, dealing with kids isn't anywhere near as bad as dealing with douche customers and colleagues...

Friday, 22 July 2011

Happy Birthday, Nan!

Too bad your birthday was back at the beginning of February. And too bad I started this back in January, but at last, I have finally finished your present.

A great big wonky, ridiculously coloured granny blanket. Worth the wait, right? Oooh yeah.

I would show it to you laid out so you can get the full effect of its ugliness, but its wonkiness made it very difficult to fold up, and I only thought to take a photo after the folding process. From this angle it actually doesn't look too bad ;)

Monday, 4 July 2011

Rollin' with my Homies

So I came down to Sydney on Saturday after a few bumpy starts; first I slept in to the time I had told my family I'd be home. Then, when I finally got off my butt and was ready to go, my car wouldn't start. Awesome. Realising that if it didn't start, I wouldn't be able to afford to get it fixed anyway, so I waited a bit, tried and succeeded to start it again, and then prayed to Oprah for the two hour drive home. Luckily, my car made it in one piece, but he will be having a check up tomorrow.

Saturday night was spent at my little cousin Laura's 19th birthday party. Oh, these kids grow up so fast. I basically spent the night sitting near the food watching the teenagers getting drunk. Let's face it: I only came for the food. ;)

Meanwhile, when did teenagers become so cool?? I remember being incredibly awkward right up until I was about 22, and even now I'm still pretty awkward. Everyone there had trendy, hipster hair, too cool for school clothing, and a typical frankie magazine expressionless face.

Also, the other thing that really pissed me off is how everyone else in my family is allowed to drink alcohol around my grandmother, except for me. Seriously. I remember once bringing a bottle of tequila home and then having to pour it down the sink after being screamed at. Until I moved out of home at 22, if I was going to be drinking at a friend's house and was expected to bring a bottle of something, I'd have to end up leaving it there. It was fine that my brother had a few beers everyday after work, and was always having big nights out with my cousin who is my age, but if I ever drank I was in trouble. Even to this day I can't drink alcohol around her.

But little Laura was completely trashed and wasn't seen without a drink in her hand all night, but that's fine? And they wonder why I'm in therapy!

Sunday was spent taking my little sister to Ikea for the first time. I'm still shocked she had never been. After the fun of pretending we were Kim and Brett from Kath & Kim, following the arrows and being a bit ridiculous, the novelty very quickly wore off for her, and she was eager to leave. She was thoroughly unimpressed by the furniture I needed to buy (an expedit bookshelf and a lack table for Bec, a little Billy bookshelf for myself) and the fact that we would need to haul it out of the store and into the car somehow. I rewarded her with a trip to DFO, a place that makes me a little insane. I can never find anything I like, and I don't think it's actually that cheap. BUT I did manage to find some VERY cheap things from Barkins. I trawled through the site but couldn't find any of the items I bought. I got two tops, a skirt and a dress for $28. I know, right? Freaking awesome.

Since I was making my sister do the driving for the day to bump her log book hours up, I decided that we should pay a quick visit to my friend Nicole. Mary has now decided that she wants to move to Newtown and she wants to buy a cat like Nicole's kitten, Prince Louis. (Or is it Louie?) So cute.

Friday, 1 July 2011


Meet Barnaby.
Barnaby is the little critter I made for my friend Beau's birthday last week. I haven't had a chance to post about him because I've been busy doing absolutely nothing with my life. You know how it is. The photo above shows Barnaby believing he can soak up knowledge by just being around books.

He's a little bit wonky, and when I say a little I mean a lot. Beau chose all the adorable fabric, and then I went to work.

Barnaby does not like to smile:
He thinks it's lame. Barnaby's face is constantly set with a mixture of "Bitch, please" and slight nausea.

Barnaby loves snuggles in winter, but hates them in summer. If you try to snuggle him in summer he will smack you down with those long arms of his. He's not quite tame yet, so he tends to smack most people down. Mikey is trying to tame him. Unfortunately I think he's fighting a losing battle. It's also a little awkward because Barnaby very much dislikes owls, making Owlby feel a little worried.

I also made a wonky present for Melanie's birthday, which was a week later. I forgot to take a photo of him, so here's one I stole from her blog:
Penguini is an Italian penguin. He would like to point out that his mustache is in no way some douchey hipster fad; he's been rocking that bad boy since the day he first noticed a little bum fluff. He hates the fact that he has to explain to everybody, "No! Dees is my Italiano mostachio! Ima no wannabeea!" Don't tell Penguini, but he has a ridiculous stereotyped accent - I don't know any Italian that actually speaks English that way. BUT he is rocking it anyway.

So that's what I've been doing with my holidays so far. Oh, and making a jigsaw puzzle. And sorting through all my uni stuff and getting rid of all the stuff I've kept that I don't actually need (random notes and handouts) and sorting the rest into things that will be useful for my future teaching. I'd love to be one of those people that can just type everything up and keep it in various, well-organised computer files, but alas, I'm old school and must place everything in labeled folders that, if I ever do need a resource, will require me to spend ages flipping through each page to see if it is there. It's tedious, but it works for me.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Let the Holidays Begin!

So after stressing out like a crazed loon for the past three months, uni is finally over for the semester. Excuse me while I dance in the street.


Aaaaand I'm back!

So, now that I have just over a month off, I plan to party, clean, and get creative. I really love making things, but uni makes that a little hard. I'd like to start finishing off some of the thousands of projects I started during the semester.

But first,  I just finished making something for my friend Beau's birthday, which is today. It looks kind of fugly, but it's the thought that counts, yeah? YEAH?? Lol. No pics yet because I haven't given it to him yet, but we're going to bowling and laser tag tonight, so pics tomorrow.

Monday, 23 May 2011

The Love of My Life

So, I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, or gone on about it ad nauseum, but I'd shout it from the tree tops no matter what: I LOVE MY NUNNY!!!

(That's my grandmother, for those of you who don't speak Sarah.) She's the most beautiful, amazing, caring woman in the world. She pretty much raised my siblings and I, so I owe her so much. Unfortunately, I can't give her back the last 30ish years of her life, but I'd like to think I give back to her in other ways, like, not being as annoying and needy as I would really like to be. Don't get me wrong: I'm still incredibly annoying and needy by anyone's standards, but I manage to tone it down slightly for her.

Now, that's love.

So I've decided that I'm going to take the Love of My Life on a trip this year. Nunny's never really been anywhere. She was born in Trieste, trained it to Venice, got on a boat for a thousand weeks to Melbourne, then settled in Sydney. She hasn't been anywhere since.

One of her favourite things to do is tell everyone about how she's, "Never even been to Canberra!" I've tried many a time to explain to her that if she's so desperate to get the Canberra experience, we could just drive around a single round-about for the day. And then I offer to take her to Canberra, but she immediately declines and scoffs about one of her many old person ailments and how she couldn't possibly be in a car for that long. Or, my favourite excuse courtesy of last night, "Don't be stupid, Sarah - it's too cold there!"

Then she got to talking about a friend of her's from bingo who has just come back from Bali. She passingly mentioned that it would be a nice place to go, so I immediately leaped on that and decided that I would take her to Bali at the end of the year.


Or so I thought.

The next day, the first thing she said to me was that her leg was swollen, so how could she possibly get on a plane? No, we wouldn't be going.

Here's the thing about my nan: it's not that she hasn't had opportunities to go anywhere - she has. We've offered to send her on a holiday to Italy or somewhere else a number of times, but she always says no, citing some old people problem or something equally as excuse-y. She's really just scared. She's never been on a plane, or out of her comfort zone. Yes, she made the massive trek to Australia, but she was a lot younger then, and is now very settled.

So I have to get her to Bali. I think she'd love it, and once I book the trip she won't be able to back out because I'll just cry and carry on about how I've spent all my money. She'll then have to go and it'll be fabulous.

The only problem is, I don't really have any money at all, what with being an impoverished student (so impoverished I qualified for a healthcare card this week). So I've decided that my brother and cousin, who act their age and have grown up careers and grown up money, can pitch in a little for her flight. God I'm awesome.

I'll try and book it closish to the date we'll leave so she won't have too much time before we leave to back out or try and fake her own death. She totally would.

I also have to plan it at a certain time so my little sister can come too, because she would have a great time. The problem is, she starts year 12 at the end of this year, and that's a biggie, so we couldn't have her take time off school. I have a couple of months to sort through this timing predicament though, so of course I'll leave it all until the day we leave, because I am hella awesome like that.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Project: Complete!!

So, a month or two ago I bought a new bookshelf as my old one had run out of room for new books, even with books stacked on top of each other. I was also afraid there'd be a Flat Stanley moment when I woke up with it on top of me one day, seeing as it was a cheapie and was tilting at a very precarious angle.

So off to Ikea I trotted to buy a different type of cheap bookshelf, one that I thought would be able to hold a lot more books. As it turns out, it only just fits all of my books (probably shouldn't have bought a heap of books the day I bought the shelf).

There was a slight hitch in the assembly process, as one of the pieces was damaged when I got it out of the flatpack cardboard, but the Ikea people were lovely and arranged to send me a replacement piece.

When I finally put it together, with all the books it looked like this:


Books everywhere, no co-ordination. I'd been meaning to do something with it, but really couldn't be bothered.

That is, until last night.

Insomnia's a terrible thing, but every now and then, sometimes it makes me incredibly productive. I decided to finally organise my preciouses.


Above you can see the piles of books being sorted. So much effort. I almost wanted to give up then, but I persevered, and in a lot less time than I thought it would take, I ended up with this:


Colour co-ordinated books!!

Now, I know many people would hate the idea of separating books from the one series, but I'm not too bothered by that. The bottom two right cubes of the shelf are just textbooks that I didn't want to incorporate into the colour scheme. The books are ridiculously heavy and I wanted to keep them on the lower shelf, lest this cheapie end up on a scary tilt like my last one.

Now, looking at my books like this, I realise I need to be branching out in my literary pursuits: less white and yellow, more blue and purple.

Sorry about the blurriness of the photos. I must learn how to actually use that silly camera.

But I do love the effect. I'm just worried though because the shelves are completely full, and I know there's a bunch of books I own floating about amongst my friends, and a bunch on their way from Book Depository.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

My Poor Little Neglected Bloggie

Oh Blog, I'm so sorry to have abandoned you. Life just caught up with me and I've been a whole lotta busy.

Since I last blogged, which was a million years ago (literally, not figuratively), I have changed. A lot. My last blog was about me being asked if I'd like to go back to Chicago, all expenses paid, for six months. Um, heck yes I would! But it just came at such an inconvenient time, and I was already a bucket full of crazy, then the thought of having to spend an extra six months at uni in the degree that never seems to end, and the fact that my scholarship people didn't think travelling overseas was a good enough reason to defer for a semester had me deciding to stay.

Then the crazy spilt over the bucket anyway and I spent a month being all hermity in bed, thus failing most subjects for the semester and having to do another six months at uni anyway. But that's OK. I'm back to enjoying uni again, and enjoying life (for the most part) and six months is really a drop in the water when you consider that I'll probably be on this career path for the rest of my life.

Another thing that's happened: I've taken up hobbies! It's all very exciting to actually have hobbies. I've always hated that question, "What are your hobbies?" What do I answer with? "Erm... shopping? Eating? Reading? Sleeping?" But now I can answer with, "Oh, my hobby is just generally being a nanna: knitting, sewing, crocheting. General nanna-y-ness." It's very fun and has been so theraputic. And stressful. Because I always tend to be finishing things at the last minute. Giving hand-made presents seems like a good idea, and it is. BUT, it turns out that deciding to hand make a present, and deciding what to make, actually aren't half the job. For my grandmother's birthday, which was at the beginning of February, I decided to make her a crocheted blanket. I'm still working on it. It's the perfect size at the moment for your lap, and only if you don't want to actually warm your lap up. I'll get there eventually, I'm sure. But I'm still enjoying it all in the meantime.

In a few weeks' time I'll be unemployed due to the store I work in being shut. When I got back to Australia last year I went back to work at that book store. You know, that major chain of bookstores that has gone into administration, which I cannot name due to the effing ridiculousness of the company ( I am SO going to get sued). It's both bitter sweet, this closing. On the one hand, I attempted to quit that bitch back in December due to the management being a bunch of fucktards. Somehow, I wasn't able to (how???) and they convinced me to stay on for just one (miserable) day a week. And now it's closing, and I'm like, "Suck it! You stupid wankers are all unemployed now. I hope it was worth jumping on that sinking ship." But on the other hand, I've been at that place for over three years (minus the overseas hiatus), made myself a little family from there (barely any of which are still working at the store), and, until the last few months, was actually pretty happy being there.

I guess it's like any break up where you start remembering all the good things about the relationship and forget the reason you broke up in the first place - because the other party is a douche.