Monday, May 30, 2011

I Love Costumes!

Today is my 28th birthday!

To celebrate, I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane and share my love for dressing up over the years.  That love has not faded with time.

Aged 4, with my Easter bunny ears.
Kindy dress up day 1988.  I'm supposed to be a Swiss girl.
Off to the Fancy Dress Ball in Year 1 as Mary had a Little Lamb (1989)
Year 2 (1990).  I think I'm supposed to be a flower seller haha.

Year 3 (1991) as a ballroom dancer.

Easter Hat Parade

Year 4 (1992).  I'm a gypsy.  Tim is Indiana Jones.

Year 4 (1992).  French la la!

Year 6 (1994).  I'm a convict.  Tim is a pirate.

Playing a granny in the play I wrote in Year 10 with two of my friends.

With my friend, Rachel, after our Year 12 play (2000)

My first uni pantomime (2002).  I love playing the 'baddies'.

Princesses are not as fun to play (2002).

Student housing Halloween party (2003).  The first appearance of the evil grandma!

My second pantomime (2003).

The famous chicken hat which made a few appearances over the years (2004).

Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz at my friend Sarah's 30th (2004).

Rocking on at church supper (2005).

At some friends' 'Back to School' birthday party (2005).

Evil Grandma makes another appearance - this time at a housewarming (2006)

I really am an angel in disguise.  Church camp (2006)

The wench and the mobster off to a 1930s themed 30th (2007)

Hideously glitzy and glamorous at my Dad's 60th (2008)
Duncan came as a fried egg most reluctantly to our friend Jill's 30th (2009)

Our friend Karina's masquerade birthday (2009).  Evil Grandma strikes again!

My friend Sarah's bad taste birthday party (2010)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Get On Your Soapbox #18

I studied acting as my minor in my undergraduate degree at uni.  This increased my passion for something I already felt strongly about.


Apparently the unemployment rate for actors in Australia is 98%.  I don't know if that statistic is accurate, but I believe it.  Most actors have a 'day job' to support themselves.  Maybe since I studied acting I could be counted in the 98%?  I would love to pursue it as a career, but there are various reasons why I haven't which I won't go into now.

We Australians are confronted with American culture every day through our TV and cinema screens.  We learn their lingo, but we neglect our own culture.  Some people I've talked to won't give Aussie shows a chance because they reckon they're 'budget crap', yet they're willing to try any new American show on the box.

What we have going for us as Australians is that we are great storytellers.  In our short history we have so many stories yet to be told although some have already made it to the screen.  Who needs big budgets and lots of special effects to tell a good story?  Hollywood just regurgitates the same predictable plots over and over.

Maybe our shows won't have international appeal, but who cares?  Our humour is unique.  Americans don't get it, and I quite frankly don't find their sitcoms, which often drip with sarcasm, funny anyway.  Remember the awful US version of Kath and Kim?

I don't like every Aussie show (Neighbours is terrible), but you don't know until you give it a go.  Support Aussie actors or else one day we might not have an industry at all.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Winners and Losers

The Losers - Bec, Jenny, Sophie and Frances
While I was disappointed that the current season of Packed to the Rafters finished so abruptly, I was curious regarding the show that was to air in its place - Winners and Losers.  The ads didn't grab me much, to be honest, but I've learnt not to judge a book by its cover, so I decided to give the new show a go.

The show is centred around four female friends in their late twenties who reunite at their 10 year high school reunion.  Known as the 'losers' at school, the four women are faced with the dilemma of whether to attend the reunion and hope things had changed, or to skip it and avoid further embarrassment at the hands of the popular crowd.

I expected there to be several episodes leading up to the reunion, but the reunion was over and done with in the first episode.  I thought, Where on earth are they going to take this show from here?!?  The acting was pretty deplorable in the first episode (it sounded like they were reading off scripts), but many new shows seem to have shaky starts before finding their feet.

Now I can't stop raving about this show!  It's absolutely fantastic!  The acting has improved ten-fold and the writing is witty.  Duncan and I often are nearly peeing ourselves with laughter.

The downside is the way they portray the bitchiness between women of different social cliques - it makes me wonder whether the writers are mostly men.  Duncan asked me if women are really that openly nasty to each other and I shook my head.  It might make good drama on a TV show, but it's not how it goes.  Women are rarely that openly mean.  Why would they be?  It would just give them a bad reputation.  No, women are subtly nasty.  They do it by exclusion, bitching behind each others' backs, freezing each other out.

I guess one of the reasons I enjoy this show so much is because it's relevant for me.  I'm the same age as the four main characters, I've recently been to my 10 year high school reunion and realised not much has changed.  I personally know people like Sophie who lost a heap of weight after high school and started sleeping around like there was no tomorrow.  I know people like Jenny who never seem to grow up.  I do wonder why Bec was ever unpopular though - she is gorgeous!

If you're in Australia, definitely tune in if you haven't already.  It's on Tuesday nights, 8:30pm on Channel 7.

Photo is from

Monday, May 23, 2011

5 Favourite Aussie TV Shows

1.  Blue Heelers
2.  Packed to the Rafters
3.  Always Greener
4.  Kath and Kim
5.  Home and Away

What are your favourite Aussie TV shows (current or defunct)?

Friday, May 20, 2011

The New Kid on the Block

Chances are many of us have been there at least once in our lives, but, at the moment, I'm feeling like I've done it more in the past few years than I have in the whole rest of my life prior.

The other day I told Duncan that I am completely and utterly over it!

I'm over rocking up at events as the 'new person'.  I'm over the stares.  I'm over feeling like a loser because I don't know anyone and they all know each other.

Welcome to life in a small town, Sarah!

I've realised that before I moved to Buntine in 2008 (aged almost 25), I had not been the new kid very much in my whole life, apart from moving to Albany halfway through the school year in 1988, and being the new person at a few workplaces and at my old church in Perth.  Mostly I've been in situations where everyone is new - primary school, high school, uni.

I've also realised that I focus a lot on the negatives.  I'll go to an event in town where I don't know anyone (such as social tennis or netball training) and I'll dwell on the fact that lots of people did not bother to introduce themselves or introduce me to others, and I'll forget about the handful of lovely, welcoming people who went out of their way for me.  I'm trying to remember to thank God for those people and not get weighed down by the demeanour of those who are less than friendly.

While cities can be lonely places, despite being populous, I think it is harder to make friends in small country towns.  In the city, if you meet a 'difficult' person, usually you can move on and never to see them again, and find people who are friendly and you do have something in common with.  If you're a goth, then there are plenty of goths.  If you're a hippy, then there are plenty of hippies.  Despite the busyness, there are a plethora of groups and clubs around.  You're bound to find a likeminded soul in the city.

But in country towns there are far less people and often a very distinct 'culture'.  Most social events tend to revolve around the footy club and drinking.  If you're not into that scene then it's more difficult to meet the locals and to form strong relationships with them.  A friend of mine told me recently that she would really struggle in a small town because she isn't into footy, netball or hockey.  How are you supposed to meet people if you're not into those sports?

Also, in small towns, there are definitely the 'movers and shakers', the dominant people, those who have been the president of the footy club for thirty years and go on a power trip (not saying everyone is like this, but some definitely are).  If you meet a difficult person, you can't avoid them like you can in the city.  As a newcomer, you have to be very careful about what you say because gossip is rife and some people can make life very difficult for you.  Some people are very proud.  At netball training recently, one of the co-ordinators humiliated me in front of everyone after just my second training session.  She said that I wasn't a good enough player.  I don't object to people's honesty as long it is done helpfully and appropriately (she should have approached me individually, not just say it in front of everyone).  Fortunately a fantastic lady from my team came to my defence.  Normally I would have been more sharp with the co-ordinator, but as the new person, I felt like I didn't have a leg to stand on.

Ultimately it is not the locals who are the best judges of how friendly they's the newcomers.  When you're the new kid on the block, you're ultra-sensitive and aware of how you are being treated - whether people go out of their way to be friendly, or whether they look at you with suspicion and retreat into the safety of their cliques.  In Dally, I used to hear new people being labelled 'blow-ins'.  Well, that really makes me feel like I want to stay long-term....not!  Being the new kid on the block has given me a new zeal to welcome the stranger.  I'm not saying I'm perfect in this area, but when you've experienced the discomfort of being the stranger, you're aware of how others must feel.

And before anyone asks - I do try!  I try to smile and look approachable.  I give more than one word answers to those who ask questions.  I try to be open to those who want to know who we are and where we've come from.  Being an introvert, it is hard, but I do try!

What I was getting at in Big Fish in Small Ponds is that I think it's good for everyone to experience what newcomers go through.  If you stay in one place for too long, there is always the temptation to become too forget to extend a welcoming hand.  If I had not experienced two big moves in less than three years, maybe I would become too comfortable too.

Right now, I'm feeling a bit weary of the whole thing.  I can't wait until I feel like I'm part of the furniture.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quote of the Day

If you're never scared or embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take any chances.
- Julia Sorel in her book, See How She Runs

Monday, May 16, 2011

Of Course I'm Going To Blog About It

I don't advocate revenge normally....

But it sure is sweet in football. :)

Ohhhhhh yeeaaaaah!  Cop that Dorks!  After four years of crap from their supporters, I'm gonna party!

GO EAGLES!  Kings of the West again! :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Big Fish in Small Ponds

When I was at high school in Albany, I grew accustomed to being one of the better English and Drama students.

Boy, did I get a rude awakening when I went to uni.  Suddenly I was surrounded by people who were equally as or more talented than I was.  I struggled with the anonymity of going from a high school of 1,100 and a town of 30,000 to a city of 1.5 million.  It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t throw in the towel.  I stuck at it and I think I improved in my craft.

My brother has two failed attempts to relocate to the big smoke long-term behind him.  His first attempt in 2005 lasted five months.  His second from 2008-2010 was more successful, but ultimately he couldn’t hack being a nobody in the crowds.  He was used to being asked to participate in things and being known to everyone.  In Perth, nobody thought he was any more special than anyone else.  He didn’t like being a small fish in a big pond.

In the last few years, I’ve been wondering why people from Albany, or Dalwallinu, or any town really, consistently complain that where they live is a ‘hole’, ‘boring’ or that they just can’t wait to move away....but they never do.    Surely it makes sense that if you hate where you live that much, the logical answer is to move away.

But I think they never do because they secretly like being ‘somebodies’ in that small town.  They like having friends around them, having everyone know their name, being asked to be involved in different things.  They might live in a hole, but at least it’s familiar and comfortable.

I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with preferring the country over the city, or even living your whole life in one place.  But, personally, I think it would do some people a heck of a lot of good to move away to somewhere where they are not that special and nobody knows them.  Then it might make them realise how difficult it is to be the new kid on the block, and that they need to welcome the stranger.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Pendulum: A God of Justice and of Mercy

There have been many thoughts circulating in my head since Osama Bin Laden was killed eight days ago.  Mostly these thoughts have centred around the response on Facebook with about ten of my Facebook 'friends' posting a now revealed to be fake quote by Martin Luther King Jr.

To be honest this kind of annoyed me.  Not because so many people were posting the same thing (although my news feed was very boring that day) or that they were jumping on a bandwagon without checking its credibility (though that too was annoying).  I understood the sentiment behind it, and I do agree, but I thought these actions were ill-timed.

I wonder how many of those people, who were so quick to condemn the Americans for celebrating, have lost a loved one as a result of terrorist activities?  Or stood by and watched someone who murdered their loved one get a very lenient sentence?  No, I'm guessing many of those people have no idea what it feels like.  I'm guessing many of them have never been victims of heinous crimes, been persecuted and stood by helplessly as justice did not prevail.

Personally I thought the wild celebrations in the US were over the top.  I'm not disagreeing with many of the Facebookers there.  What I am saying is that if we were in the shoes of people who had lost family and friends on September 11 2001, we might feel differently.  We might actually feel glad that the world has one less evil and dangerous person in it.  Many people feel a sense of relief and even gladness when paedophiles or serial killers are sentenced justly.  We shouldn't be so quick to judge. 

I'm still really not sure how to feel about Bin Laden's death.  I don't think his death will signal the end of terrorism.  I certainly don't think the US is perfect, and I don't like the way the Australian government is so quick to jump into bed with them (although I guess having large borders and a small population makes us vulnerable).  I still wonder why the US took ten years to find Bin Laden.  How many civilians have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq because of their 'War on Terror'?  I certainly don't think the US is any more a Christian nation than Australia is.  Part of me is glad Bin Laden is dead, but part of me grieves that he was so evil in the first place and that anyone (either him or his victims) had to die.  I don't want to celebrate the death of one person, yet I also believe that God is a God of justice.  (That doesn't mean I think the US killing Bin Laden is an act of God's justice - that's something we will never know).

This whole scenario got me thinking about a sermon series on Revelation Duncan and I listened to a couple of years ago.  That's why I chose yesterday's Bible verse.  Here we have God's people crying out to Him for justice - people who have been persecuted for their faith.  I know this is not the same as terrorism and the Bin Laden situation, but it does raise questions about why we get so uncomfortable about God being a God of justice, but have no problems with Him being a God of mercy.  A couple of years ago in Bible study, we read Psalm 139 where David asks God to bring judgement on his enemies:
If only you would slay the wicked, O God!  Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!  They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.  Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord, and abhor those who rise up against you?  I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. (Psalm 139:19-22)
I do feel uncomfortable by David's strong words, particularly the word 'hate'.  But David is not asking God to smite these people for his own sake - these people are not just rising up against David, they are against God.

Many people say we are not to judge others, and that is true - God is the judge.  But there is a difference between passing a sentence on them, and calling a spade a spade.  We are all sinners, but that does not mean it is wrong to acknowledge that Bin Laden was an evil man.

Does God love Osama Bin Laden?  Yes, the same as He loves Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mugabe and many other cruel dictators.  Ezekiel 18:23 says: "Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord.  Rather am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?"  God was not gloating when Osama Bin Laden was killed.  Proverbs 24:17 says: "Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble."  We have been given the difficult commandment to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44).  God does not get His jollies out of condemning people - He'd much rather they repent, turn from their sin and follow Him.  But He is a God of justice.  He sees people's pain.  He is angered by sin.  He will one day call everyone, including you and me, to account.

I have a problem with signs like this:

Not because it isn't true - but because it is inappropriate.  Yes Jesus loves Osama (as inconceivable as that might be), but tact is needed and this does not take into account the hurt and suffering people have endured.  It just ends up dividing people and causing more pain.

We celebrate God being a God of mercy, and rightly so.  We rejoice that Saul of Tarsus, who once persecuted Christians, was saved and transformed by God into the apostle Paul who took the gospel to what is now modern day Europe.  We marvel that God can change hearts and lives - no matter what the person has done.  I am glad He had mercy on me.

But we should see the cross as not only an act of mercy, but of justice.  God did not overlook sin when He let the guilty go free - Jesus, the innocent one, stood in our place.  Our earthly justice systems may fail us, but God is just and we should be glad this is so.  He sees the tears, He sees Christians being persecuted and crying out, "How long, Lord?"  He does not forget.  He does not overlook sin as if it doesn't matter that much.

I do have mixed feelings about the whole Bin Laden situation.  But I think that we should remember that many of us have not walked in the shoes of those who have suffered because of terrorism before we start relentlessly quoting 'Love your enemies'.  And while rejoicing may not be the right response, we can thank God that He is a God of both justice and mercy.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Bible Verse of the Day

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who have been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”
Revelation 6:9-10

Friday, May 06, 2011

Mean Mums

This appeared in the local paper in Dalwallinu last year.  With Mother's Day in just two days time, I thought this might encourage all of the mums out there.

Even though I'm not a parent, I do have a mother, and looking back I'm grateful that she was a 'mean mum'.

Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will tell them as my Mean Mum told me:

I loved you ask where you were going, with whom, and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15 minutes.

I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment and tears in my eyes.  Children must learn that their parents aren't perfect.

I loved you enough to let you assume responsibility for your actions even when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you say NO when I knew you would hate me for it.

Those were the most difficult battles of all.  I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won too.  And someday when your children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.  Was your Mum mean?  I know mine was.  We had the meanest mother in the whole world! 

While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs and toast.

While others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches.

And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times.  You'd think we were convicts in a prison.  She had to know who our friends were, and what we were doing with them.  She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labour Laws by making us work.  We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to cook, vaccuum the floor, do laundry, empty the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs.  I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

By the time we were teenagers, she could read our minds and had eyes in the back of her head.  Then life was really tough!

Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk the horn when they drove up.  They had to come up to the door so she could meet them.

While everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mother, we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced.  None of us have ever been caught shoplifting, vandalising others' property or even arrested for any crime.

It was all her fault.

Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults.  We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mum was.

I think that's what's wrong with the world today.  It just doesn't have enough mean mums!


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

30 Pictures

Ever since I saw Allie from It's A Wonderful Life do this, I've been meaning to as well.

Here goes....

1.  Someone you spend a lot of time with

2.  A picture of you

3.  A random photo of you and your significant other

4.  An old picture of you

5.  A picture of something that makes you happy

6.  A picture of your siblings

7.  A picture of a person you miss

8.  A picture you've never posted on your blog before

My friend Rachel and I trying on kids' sunnies in Kmart (don't we look special!) - Feb 2006

9.  A picture of people who knew you then and know you now

10.  A picture of your favourite place

Frenchman Bay (near Albany)

11.  A person you can tell anything to

My amazing friend, Sarah

12.  A picture of your everyday life

Life on the farm

13.  A picture from a place you love


14.  A picture that reminds you of good times

Christina and I at my 16th birthday

15.  A class photo

Year 7 (1995).  I'm in the front row, third from the right

16.  A picture of the best day of your life

17.  A picture that always makes you laugh

18.  A picture of your spare time

My blog hehe

19.  A photo from a great night

My parents are officially weirdos!

20.  A picture of the people closest to you

21.  A picture of someone you always have a good time with

Mandyman! :)

22.  A picture of your parents when they were around your age

My parents' wedding - 13th April 1974

23.  A picture from last summer

24.  A picture of your closest friend of the opposite sex (not your significant other)

Mine and Dunc's great mate Craig (married to Sarah)

25.  A picture of your favourite vacation

Our honeymoon in Tasmania.  Getting to meet Freddo at the Cadbury factory in Hobart was a highlight.

26.  A picture of an accomplishment

27.  A picture of your closest friend

28.  A random picture from Photobooth

Ok so it's not Photobooth, but you have to admit it would make a darn good Photobooth photo hehe.

29.  A photo that makes you smile

Hehe Amanda's light fitting hat and Taryn's veil always crack me up.

30.  Someone you will never let go of

The Lord Jesus (He will never let go of me)

If you have a blog, why not have a go :)

Photos 16, 20 and 27 were taken by our wedding photographer, Justine Stevens.