Friday, February 29, 2008

The Three Month Check-Up

Last year I blogged about my first trip to the skin cancer clinic to get a scan and then I urged you all to go and get one yourselves.

I also mentioned that the doctor reckoned that a couple of my moles looked dodgy. She took a sample of one (which turned out to be okay) and photographed the second one and told me to come back in three months.

Yesterday, I went back not expecting there to be good news. It just looked suss and I couldn't see any other way how she was going to say NOT to cut it out. I hate pain and the thought of being cut and stitched while awake. I've never had any external stitches before; only ones in my mouth for my wisdom teeth and they were disolvable.

To cut a long story short, I had it cut out. She didn't reckon it was overly worrying but recommended that cutting it out would be the best option as it had changed slightly.

The anaesthetic needle hurt but other than that I couldn't feel anything of course; it's just the thought that grossed me out. All I could feel was my skin being pulled as it was sewn up.

I'm not telling where the mole was but I'll just say it was in a bit of an awkward spot and showering is very difficult at the moment. It stings occasionally but isn't too bad. At least I didn't faint this time.

I'm heading to Cornerstone camp tonight (read my 2007 review of it here) but there'll be no sport or swimming for me :(

Please pray that mole isn't cancerous.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wedding 1 2008

2008 is still very much wedding season for me. This was the first we went to and it was back on the 12th January. Duncan's third cousin Leighton got married to Hannah in the gardens of his parents' place in Busselton. It was a warm day and unfortunately I didn't realise that I was badly burnt until it was too late. For some reason, I just didn't think of sunscreen at a wedding and shade wasn't enough. Poor Duncan ended up with a sunglasses tan on his face...he looked so funny!

Hannah looked stunning


The Kiss!

About to sign their lives away

Making it official

Arriving back after photos
Newlyweds' speech
So many cakes! But they need them to feed everyone!
How sweet!
With my man

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pictorial Evidence of the Excellent Melbourne Trip

Some random chick on the tram.

Me! The first day was very humid.

La Trobe St

State Library of Victoria

Huge painting of Warney in the State Library. You think the Vics would have better taste.

The conference I was at.

Some chick presenting. My turn soon....eeeek!

My powerpoint

Me speaking

And again.....

See all my groupies. There were more than didn't get in this shot.

Melbourne's 'arty' graffiti

Bourke St Mall. Myer and David Jones there make Perth's look tiny.

City shot

City again

Rowers on the Yarra River

Crown Complex.

Jenn, who I stayed with, pretending to be a surgeon (she really just didn't want her photo taken).

Jenn and I outside a shopping centre before I headed to the airport

View from the flight home.

I miss Melbourne *sigh*

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ebony and Mocha's First Date

Last year, Bek posted a diary excerpt from a cat and people left comments, asking me to write a sequel.

Yes, I've taken my sweet time doing it but here it is. It's not just the diary of any cat. It's from my own cat, Ebony, and how she went on her first date ;)

When I moved house two months ago, I wasn't allowed to have Ebony at my new house. My housemate, Sarah, already had a cat there that she inherited from her sister who lived there before us - a whiny male called Rex. Since Rex doesn't like other cats, I had to make other arrangements for Ebony. She ended up staying with Sarah and Craig and their cat, Mocha. I'm missing her heaps but I'm so grateful to them for looking after her for me until I get her back again.

Mocha (or Mr Mochs as he's often called) is a seven-year-old male Ragdoll. We were all interested to see if he would make a fine boyfriend for Ebony. Here it her own words.

"Why on earth did I agree to this?"

"Got to make a good first impression."

"Are you perving on me?"

"Mummy's boy!"

"Hey, that's MY mum, woolly boy."

"Right! He asked for it!"

"Ha, hiding under the bed. What a wuss of a puss!"

"Hey! Stop! That's MINE!"

maybe he's not too bad actually. Quite sexy."

"But then you could never find a more skilled hunter than me. Next time it'll be a real mouse...haha."

"I'm such a majestic creature."

Ebony has already given Mocha a blood nose twice and loves to pounce on his tail and eat his food. Then she sits and sulks if he's getting more attention. She is such a feisty madam.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sorry Is The Hardest Word

It took years for the Australian government to finally apologise to the Stolen Generation of Aboriginal people last week.

Sorry is a very hard word to say.

Likewise, I'm sorry to the people who have faced my wrath during the past week and got their heads ripped off in the process, whether they be people close to me or complete strangers. It's always the people close to me (Duncan and my family) who cop it the most.

I'm truly sorry.

I never like using bad personal circumstances as an excuse to treat people badly. As a friend of mine once said, "It's a reason - not an excuse."

Some people have been extremely patronising by cracking poor excuses for jokes. Even though some people might say I'm justified in retaliating, it's really not the way to deal with it.

I'm astounded at the immediate grace and forgiveness some people have shown. Not that I didn't think they were capable of it, but I know how easy it is to retaliate and I can see God at work in them.

To those who have helped out in any way - thank you! I did not wish to infer that we were not grateful for your help.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Funny

I laughed last night. For the first time in what seemed like ages. In reality it was probably only a few days but it felt like a long time. Duncan and I had dinner together for Valentine's Day and then went to see my pastor and his wife. They are taking us through a marriage preparation course, I guess you could call it, but David recently fractured his wrist so things are quite difficult for them and their kids at the moment. He was in quite a bit of discomfort and was also quite out of it and I was quite out of it (that sleeping pill took so long to wear off) but we managed to have a few laughs.

It felt so good to laugh. I read that laughing helps release endomorphins into your bloodstream which make you feel good. I'm going to try and laugh at least once a day for the next two months.

So here's a Friday Funny for the first time in months. I wanted to post something that made me laugh. I'm sick of people's stupid jokes about the wedding and when I tell them I'm not doing great, they actually have the nerve to have a little giggle. And to think I've consoled some of these same people when they've been stressed or grieving.......

Anyway here's the joke. Enjoy!


A blonde called Lauren, wanting to earn some money, decided to hire herself out as a handyman-type and started canvassing a wealthy neighbourhood. Lauren went to the front door of the first house and asked the owner if he had any jobs for her to do.

"Well, you can paint my porch. How much will you charge?"
Lauren said, "How about 50 dollars?"
The man agreed and told her that the paint and other materials that she might need were in the garage.
The man's wife, inside the house, heard the conversation and said to her husband: "Does she realise that the porch goes all the way around the house?"
The man replied, "She should, she was standing on it!"

A short time later, Lauren came to the door to collect her money.
"You're finished already?" he asked.
"Yes," Lauren answered," and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats."
Impressed, the man reached in his pocket for the $50.
"And by the way," the Lauren added, "it's not a Porch... it's a Ferrari...!"

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Diary of a Wedding Planning Machine: Health Update

Thank you all who have emailed, texted, phoned, offered help or prayed for me after yesterday's post. I especially appreciate the prayers as my few prayers seem to lack substance at the moment.

At the moment, I'm quite woolly-headed due to a sleeping pill I took last night. Yesterday I bought some over-the-counter ones and they have made me so groggy, I have decided to stop taking them. Today, I saw a doctor who has prescribed me some different sleeping pills which hopefully won't have such a drastic effect. After only taking one of the other ones, I feel like I could sleep for years. Pity I have to work.

I asked the doctor if she could prescribe me some anti-anxiety tablets but she wouldn't, saying that they will turn me into an absolute zombie. I guess the sleeping pills will have to be enough. For those of you, who like my mum, may be worried that I'm going to turn into a drug addict - don't worry. It's only a very short course and hopefully my sleeping patterns will be fixed so I won't be nocturnal anymore and will be able to be much more calm.

The wedding is going ahead in its current form.....but we're going to need lots of help. Duncan and I met up last night and we walked through the park near my house, discussing what the issues are. Although there are a few niggly things hanging over my head that need to be done, I think it's my fear of the day itself that is making me so anxious. In particular it's the reception that will be the most daunting - having to go around to 18+ tables and greet people, starting many different conversations, being torn in 50 different directions. I just find it too physically and emotionally draining. So we're asking our mums to go around to the different tables (which my mum had planned to anyway) and greet people on our behalf in case we can't get over there. If I do, I plan to say a short greeting and that's it. The rest can be thanked in our speech. Part of me is annoyed that I won't get to enjoy much of own reception; it'll be too much of a whirlwind.

We're still both pretty daunted and anxious but Duncan said today, "God will help us through it."
Part of me still wants to elope but then I also want to be able to cope with the same style of wedding that most people have.

My prayer is that it ends up being like the Melbourne experience. I was so nervous and stressed leading up to it, with my presentation and all, but once I got there, the fears melted away. I would actually really like to enjoy my wedding day.

I already have people onto different tasks and they are a great help. Thank you!

I also handed in my resignation at work yesterday. It is such a tremendous relief!

I'm looking forward to hopefully getting a decent night's sleep tonight and having a better day tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Diary of a Wedding Planning Machine: I Can't Cope

I never planned to do two of these posts back to back but it's just the way things pan out.

As you might be able to tell from the title, I'm not doing too well right now.

I'm seriously considering calling off the wedding.

Yes, I'm serious.

I just can't cope anymore. Last night I had an 'episode'. I just wasn't myself. It was the straw that finally broke my back. I found out the invitations went out with the wrong year on them. Now I feel so stupid and if any smart arse says to me, "Oh I've missed your wedding by a year," I swear I won't hold my vicious tongue back.

Maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal to some people but it matters to me. I have spent so much time and money on those invitations. The sheer amount of guests mean it has taken us ages. Every night I've been up cutting, gluing and writing. Yes, we've had help from other people but I'm finding most people are just too busy. By the time we can actually arrange a time to get people around, it's quicker to just do it myself.

I haven't had a good night's sleep in a long time. I've been waking up several times per night and sometimes I can't get to sleep until the early hours of the morning. I'm so tense and wide awake that I can't settle down, then I'm a zombie during the day at work and when the night comes I can't sleep again.

Last night, I knew I'd hit a new low when I started helping myself to my housemate's Panadeine Forte which causes drowsiness. Now I'm at work, feeling even worse but I didn't have much choice. I'm trying to go and see a doctor but they're always booked. I just want something to calm me down and help me sleep. I want to beg them to prescribe me some drugs because I don't know what else could possibly help.

Maybe, in a small way, I can understand how Heath Ledger must have felt.

I can't sleep at night and when I finally do get to sleep, it's time to wake up. Only then I'm in zombie mode and can't get up. So I come to work later (I'm on flexi time) and then I have to stay later to make up the time. Then I spend all my weeknights and weekends doing wedding stuff and have people whinge at me that I never catch up with them, so I try to see them and it makes my tiredness worse.

It's a vicious cycle.

I'm sick of well-meaning people who suggest things like massages to calm me down. Don't you think that if I had TIME to have a massage, I'd do it? It's only a Bandaid solution. It doesn't take away the underlying problem. People say, "I want to help you," to which I reply, "Then take away the thing that's causing the stress."

That's the wedding and work.

But they can't take them away, can they?

Work is the craziest its been for a long time. Next week is orientation which means the campus will be flooded with new students. I'm down for my heaviest teaching load in ages and I just don't know how I'll make it on top of everything else. If I pull out, everyone will just start bitching about me behind my back. All day long something else is added to my 'to do' list and I'm always being asked why something isn't finished.

I just want to quit my job and elope with maybe our immediate families and our pastor. I still want to marry Duncan, that's not the issue, I just don't want this wedding in its current form. I look at people who have 80-100 guests and I seeth with jealousy, wanting that so bad instead of the 180-200 guests we're going to have. I honestly don't care if lots of people can't come; in fact I'm hoping they don't. I know it sounds evil but I just can't handle crowds. The engagement party was bad enough, the wedding is going to be much worse. I don't want people gawking at me, I just want to be left alone. Duncan has SO MANY relatives, there's no way we can halve our list. We either have to have everyone...or no-one.

I'm terribly afraid I'm going to get sick on my honeymoon. It always happens when I finally get downtime after a very busy and stressful period.

Part of me feels we're too far into the preparations to call everything off now. I have no choice but to go ahead. And I'm quite sure Duncan wants everything how it is. We're meeting tonight to have a talk about what to do...and I really don't know what to do.

Because another part of me does want to share the day with everyone. I'm worried that if we eloped then I'll look back and regret not having everyone there. I just don't know how I'd make it through the wedding day. I wish I was like other girls who get through their weddings fine and don't have to make serious compromises and miss out because they just can't handle crowds and stress. I know it's not healthy to dread your own wedding day.

I'm also sick of people who make vacant blank offers to help us and when we actually accept their offer they say they're too 'busy'. Well, if you're too 'busy' then why did you offer in the first place if you were only going to let me down?

I'm also sick of people who say "chill" or "calm down" or "don't stress." I'm TRYING to do that. Do they actually think I want to be like this?

I wish I could be one of those super humans who cruise through their wedding preparations and the actual day (or at least appear to). I wish I could could cope better with everything. I wish I didn't get so stressed. I wish I didn't need a nana nap on weekends because I sleep better during the day than at night for some strange reason. I wish people who take on too much weren't upheld as martyrs (particularly in churches) and made out to be more godly because they have people over for dinner every night, have 10 kids and participate in all the church's ministries. Every time I tell people I'm not coping, they give me a strange look as if they're thinking they or someone else take on much more than me and they're not stressed.

Well I'm not Super Susan or Amazing Annie or whoever else they know.

I'm me and I'm a person with serious limitations. It's actually very liberating to admit that. Someone has to be the first to drop their mask and if it has to be me, then so be it.

One of my friends has been pulling out of a lot of things because she just can't do it all. Another friend left our engagement party early because he couldn't handle the crowd. If anything good has come out of this, is that it's making me a lot more compassionate towards these people and I admire their courage to realise their own limitations; to pull back and not care what others think.
It was so refreshing talking to a family friend last night because she actually understood me. She said if that had happened to her wedding invitations, she would have reacted far worse than I did and that her husband is always the calm one. It was so great that she didn't judge me and when she says she'll help, she actually keeps her word. She's not one of those who say they'll help but don't want to forfeit a night out with their other friends to do it.

It's a relief that my mum finally understands. She said that my health comes before the wedding.

I'm wondering if God is punishing me for being like Martha and not like Mary in the Bible. But I don't have time to pray or do Bible study. I call out to God to take it all away but he doesn't.

I just want to go back to Melbourne and sit in a hotel room and watch TV and movies all day. Or maybe go to a deserted beach somewhere and just read.

I can relate to Jenny's prayer in Forrest Gump
"Dear God. Please turn me into a bird so I can fly far far away."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Diary of a Wedding Planning Machine: Our Day, Our Way

Okay, this one has been a long time coming.....

When Duncan and I got engaged in July last year, we were warned that people would try to hijack our wedding plans. Many people from our nearest and dearest to mere acquaintances would suddenly think it is their right to dictate what type of ceremony we had, to who we would invite and even the music!

Part of me believed the warnings but another part of me doubted that our supposed loved ones would be that rude. Surely they would encourage and support rather than moan and complain....wouldn't they?

The warnings were accurate. You see, they came from married people who knew what they were talking about. They had been through it and felt the stress themselves.

At times our engagement has felt like a neverending battle to have things done as we liked. The trouble is there's often no way you can politely rebut people's 'suggestions'. They are persistent little whingers, there's no doubt about it.

Here are a list of things I've been advised (told) I need to do/have:
  • 'Music for single people'. Yes, one particular single friend initially took objection to the fact that Duncan and I would have our first dance and then invite everyone up for a few slow songs. Apparently this is offensive to singles because they have no-one to dance with. For heaven's sake, I know a lot of my single friends will just grab a fellow single (same sex or opposite sex) and just have fun. And there's only a few slow songs during the dancing time anyway. When I suggested that to this person, I was told that if they danced with someone, they might presume they have a crush on them and it would be too embarrassing.
  • Not too loud music.
  • Old music (e.g. 50s and 60s)
  • No fruit skewers for the afternoon tea after the ceremony. Instead there must be scones.
  • My brother must be allowed to bring a partner even though he is single and knows other people at the wedding anyway.
  • I have to invite random relatives I haven't seen or heard from in years. This includes a cousin who has stood me up the last few times I've invited him to anything.
  • I must wear a veil because it's tradition.
  • I must go down the aisle to the Wedding March because it's tradition.
  • Some people want alcohol at the reception and others don't want there to be any.
  • Others have criticised our decisions and started with the "If I was getting married, I'd do this...." to which I've had to bite my tongue not to say, "Well, you're not getting married, are you."

Aaaaaaah! Is there any wonder some brides turn into bridezillas? Yes, there are some brides who are spoilt brats but I can now see that many are just pushed over the edge by interfering people who think it is their 'right' to dictate how things go.....people who are supposed to be a support and a help, not a hindrance.

And there is one person who has caused the most stress of all.....


Apparently because she is helping financially, that means she gets a say in how things pan out. I have told her repeatedly that I will NOT accept money with strings attached. I would rather elope on the beach and get to do things our way.

We clash because she is traditional and I'm not. Yes, there are many things about our wedding that are traditional but because we like it - not for the sake of tradition. My mum has complained that I don't do anything 'normal' when I mentioned that I've considered wearing either sparkly 'ruby slippers' or cowboy boots under my dress. I probably won't but if I did I'm well within my rights to do it. If I want to come down the aisle in a black leather number with fishnets or a pink tutu, I'll do it.

In my view, weddings are about two people uniting before God til death do them part. It is a symbol of the relationship between Christ and his bride and each wedding points to the ultimate wedding and banquet - when Christ returns for his people.

Yes, it is a great celebration of two families coming together but it is NOT about the family. It is not their wedding and it is not a chance for them to live their dream through their kids. As I've told my mum, "You've already had your wedding. If you want another one, go and renew your vows." Yes, I can be sharp but you need to be sometimes.

Maybe that's why I'm not great at delegating. I know if I delegate to some people, I'll end up with something completely different to what we planned. It's easier to do it myself. Sad but true.

The only people who need to agree are Duncan and myself. While some people have great ideas, I resent those who DEMAND that it be done a certain way. I mean, far out, we have been very reasonable with this wedding. We've invited everyone, we've kept it within a reasonable cost, we've considered people with special requirements such as diabetics, vegetarians and people who need wheelchair access. It's not like we're demanding all our guests be flown to England so we can get married in an expensive castle and have a reception at $500 per head.

To those who warned us about the opposition we'd face, you were right. I don't understand how you can hold a birthday party, housewarming or engagement party and everyone just goes with it but when the word 'wedding' is mentioned, everyone thinks they have a right to put in their 'orders.'

If our wedding offends you so much, I have a simple solution. Don't come!

Our day, our way, your privilege to be there.

Boy, do I feel better after that!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Sarah's Excellent Melbourne Adventure

Greetings from a city that currently has temperatures in the early 20s. Haha boy am I glad to have escaped the relentless Perth heat for a few days!

Yes, I managed to find an internet cafe and do a post to let you all know I am alive and well.

The library conference is pretty good. Some of the talks are a bit boring but you get that. I even fell asleep in a couple and woke up when I felt my head tipping forwards. Spending three days with over a thousand librarians can be a bit full on. There are two other people from my uni there plus a few other Perthites that I recognised ;) Most of the time I am content to be a loner and just do my own thing. I hate mingling and small talk for the sake of 'networking' and most people seem to have their token friend or group that they hang with mostly. However I have met a few people at the Tuesday evening welcome reception with drinks. I reckon they must think that if they plaster librarians with alcohol then they will talk to each other. It's a bit sad that people will only talk when they're tipsy/drunk but that's a topic for another post.

There are quite a few 'stereotypical' librarians but then there are others with piercings, wicked clothes and coloured hair which defy the stereotype.

Basically a typcial day at the conference goes like this:
Talks and eating, talks and eating, more talks and more eating.

That's why I'm enjoying walking everywhere in the city.

I was so happy that my presentation went really well yesterday. People seemed to like it and even asked questions.

Some more observations of Melbourne:
  • Melbourne has these cool little toilets in the CBD. They are silver with sliding doors and self-flushing and self-washing cubicles. I sat down on a wet seat and thought 'Yuck, someone peed over the seat and didn't wipe it' but then I realised that the toilets automatically wash themselves. You can't stay in there too long otherwise the 'wash cycle' will begin.
  • There is graffiti's much worse than Perth. Not art graffiti - disgusting tagging graffiti, especially in the Fitzroy area. I don't know that teenagers can claim to be bored in Melbourne when there's so much more to do.
  • A lot of the buildings look pretty rundown but I guess it's part of Melbourne's charm.
  • I saw Rebel Wilson in a restaurant in Carlton.
  • The convention centre has self flushing loos and sometimes they flush while you're still on there.
  • There are 7/11s (24 hour convenience stores) everywhere!
  • There is a Neighbours shop in the city. You can buy Neighbours merchandise and go on tours of the locations where the show is filmed. Since I'm not a Neighbours fan, I think it's pretty sad.

Bye for now. Will post again soon with photos.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Land of the Vics

Back in 2006, you may I blogged about my week-long holiday in Victoria (photos here) and how much I longed to return one day.

Well, this Monday I am. Except it's not for a's for work!

I'm going to be representing my university at a Library conference and giving a 10 minute talk next Wednesday. Eeek! It'll just be me all my lonesome self in front of a bunch of scary librarians. I asked a workmate, "Should I dress as 'conservative librarian' or 'trendy librarian'?" She said, "Go trendy."

What am I going to be speaking about? Blogs of course :) Our library blog, specifically.

I was looking forward to this trip months ago but now that it's here, I really don't want to go. Partly because the workmate I was going to be doing the talk with now can't come. And also because my wedding is just around the corner and I've already got 50 million other things on my mind.

I'll be in Melbourne from Monday to Friday next week so don't be surprised if there's very little or no bloggage happening here during that time. I'm staying with a friend, Jenn, who I met at Mick and Corinne's wedding (Corinne is a mutual friend). She lives in Preston which is in the northern suburbs so it's going to be an hour-long tram ride to and from the convention centre. There has been a fair bit of confusion with me being a first-time conference attender. First of all, the library said they were paying for my accommodation in the city but I didn't want to stay alone (that sounds quite nice now actually). Then they said they would but not for the whole time (I wanted to fly home the day after conference finishes).

On the plus side, I get all my meals, taxi and tram fares paid for. AND this includes internet cafes so I MIGHT just be able to do the odd post. I'm SO using up all my designated money....haha. Especially since they didn't tell me this at first and I thought I'd have to pay for everything myself. Argh!

So I AM looking forward to being back in Melbs but it's just bad timing right now. I'm already busy enough with the wedding and now I have to try and find my way around a strange city and there won't be time for much else apart from going to the conference. Plus, you know, there's all those scary underworld figures in Melbourne (ok, now I'm just being silly).

I know I have no reason to be nervous presenting when God is right there with me.

But please pray anyway as I venture into enemy territory for the Eagles.