Hi again!

I cringed when I looked at the date of my last published post and realised I hadn’t written a thing since August 14th. That’s nearly eight weeks – wowzers! Guess I got distracted by other things. Hopefully this month will be better, though I make no promises; I’ve learnt by now how hectic life can be and how easily distracted I sometimes get. (Case in point: I meant to start this blog post this morning, not at 21:30 at night. 😛 )

So, in the past eight weeks, what have I been up to?

  • I’ve attended another SCA event and had some fun there. I think I might stick around. 😉
  • I’ve done lots of admin for work
  • I’ve learnt how to do my version of a fine motor/ handwriting program at work (work in progress)
  • Same with an emotional regulation program
  • I watched the intensity of the Global Climate Strikes – young people to the front for the future! (I hope to write more about this at some point)
  • I’ve attended many hours of choir rehearsal, as the semester “sped up” and we prepared in earnest for the concerts of this semester
  • I’ve baked various different things, in order to have something to eat for breakfast that I can eat on the go and doesn’t easily go soggy (I’m fussy about that 😉 )
  • I’ve tried out a few recipes, too – hopefully I’ll put them on the blog soon.
  • I got sections of my hair coloured – I’ll show you a pic or two some other time, when I’m more organised
  • I’ve learnt things about myself, really trying to understand how and why I think or feel or do things a particular way
  • I watched, with my family, from home as the Richmond Tigers won another premiership – go Tiges! – and reflected on club cultures and community.
  • I went camping (properly, in a tent!) and had fun – campfires, so many animals, toasted marshmallows and fruit damper and coal-roasted potatoes…
  • Oh and last Friday? I performed in one of the choir concerts of this semester – MonUCS’ Ein Deutsches Requiem. I Had Some Thoughts after that…

In the list above, I mentioned that I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection about what makes me, ‘me’. I have several passions – some are small or about “things”, e.g. my favourite animals are dogs, and I’m one of those people who always likes to say hi to the dog, and often makes up what an animal’s thinking based on their expression/ behaviour. Other passions are bigger and are more, I realise, things “to do” and “to be”. Like story-telling (which I’ve spoken about before and will do so again later) – and music; listening to it, relaxing with it, and performing it.

Last Friday’s concert was fantastic. It was hard work – I wasn’t as relaxed as I was in other concerts. But I feel really happy about it all the same. The reason for that is how many people watched us. We had a decent audience (a fact I’d been slightly concerned about, given the large capacity of the venue) – and more importantly to me, a number of people were there who’d personally either bought a ticket from me, or came at my recommendation, because I was singing.

Afterwards, they were of course the people whose opinions I cared about the most. So to see their happiness and excitement at what we’d performed – pardon the pun, but it made my heart sing. When someone else gets a thrill from watching me do something I love and do it well – it makes me very happy. It fills me up, completely.

Partly, it’s because it is a gift that is shared. I am forever sharing “me” through my passions. But society’s rules and expectations, the way that quirkiness is looked down on because it’s different, meant that I struggled with fitting in for a long time. Anxiety, especially social anxiety, is a leftover gremlin from that. Finding LaTUCS, then the rest of the choir network, helped me become more comfortable in being “me” – because in the choir(s), we’re united through a love of music and a love of sharing that through choral singing. Regardless of our differences.

Being able to share that with the people I love, my friends and family, is wonderful. So I say to you: support your friends in their passions. Go see us perform, or ask us about our current project. Watch us light up and understand: It means the world to us. Often, we’ve spent a long time hiding or minimising our passions and ourselves. Being supported and seeing our friends enjoy what we do? It makes us feel seen. And loved.

Thank you to everyone who came to last Friday’s performance.

Just Random Things

The simple things in life make me happy.

Like having new adulting experiences that are somewhat anxiety-producing, but overall largely harmless, or positive.

Like learning more about myself as I go further in my job, gaining understanding.

Like establishing and keeping new routines that work for me, so I can do what I need to do. (Pack my bag the night before and get to bed by ‘this’ time*; get up with the alarm at ‘that’ time; leave the house by ‘this’ time aiming for that tram…
* = not always successful, but it’s the thought that counts. Also, specific bedtime routines like journaling and meditation apps are useful.)

Like morning sunrises and evening sunsets, and being able to physically see the former change time (getting up at a certain time means I notice that!).

Like the neighbourhood pets – my place has a lot of cats around.

As well as the unexpected wildlife encounters.

Yesterday morning, as I walked up the platform steps at my last changeover, I heard a little bird-call. It was very distinctive. I turned and found the bird, perched on a branch near the railing. Not wanting to scare it off, I didn’t photograph it, but instead memorised its features. Today, I dug around online for an internet equivalent of The Australian Field Guide to Birds, a highly useful book in my family’s house growing up. The “find a bird” section of the Australian Bird Life website was useful, though they organise their ID collection alphabetically rather than by bird species.

After some searching, I found the bird (or at least, I think I did). See below for a picture of the Hooded Robin, taken from their page on the website. He (the bird pictured and that I saw yesterday are male) has a black head, neck and back, with white underbelly. The females of the species are less distinctive. Their call, that the male sang so sweetly yesterday, can be heard in recordings via this link.

Image result for hooded robin

Another life update

I’ve been busy, these past few weeks. My final placement is nearly over. I’m nearly fully qualified! I just have to do a few tasks this week to finish strongly.

I hope that if you’ve got access to ABC or iview, you’re watching the program “Don’t Stop the Music”. It’s awesome! A great show about why music education is important and valuable. It also makes me reflect on my privilege.

For those of you who are voting in the Victorian state election on Saturday, the Victorian Electoral Commission’s website is a good resource for finding out which parties will be on your ballot papers. I’m going to use the lists to create my own how-to-vote card so I can think about it beforehand.

After it’s finished, I hope to get back into a blogging rhythm. I have some recipes to share, and other thoughts.

For now, enjoy some pictures of a rose in a family member’s garden; and a kick-arse Hufflepuff badger meme.

A red rose on a green stem is outlined by the flash of the camera against a red-and-yellow brick wallA Hufflepuff crest of black, silver and yellow, with a badger in the middle. Beneath the badger on the crest are the words: “just” and “loyal”. Above and below the crest are words reading: Do no harm but take no shit.

Gone Fishin’

Well, camping ⛺️. 

I’m off tomorrow on a roadtrip with family to Central Australia. We’ll be gone a few days. I fly back from Uluru Friday next, returning just in time for placement. 

I’d say “follow along”, but it’s likely that there’ll be very little internet on the trip. I’m going to use it as a well-earned break! 

I’ll be taking plenty of photos which I’ll post in the days after I come back. So you can view them then! First up, here’s an intro to the subject of the photos (with my scarf, hat and bags): Womble Bear. I’ve had him since I was little and he’s going to be my travel bear 🐻 for the trip. 

See you on the other side! 

Take contentment where you can


Image of a china teacup on saucer. Teabag is visible in the cup and the cup is full of milky tea. Text above the cup reads, "May you pick up your tea when it's exactly the right temperature, and may you happen ot glance out the window when the light is just how you like it."

A mundane blessing

My life is good atm.  I’m writing this sitting on the train back to my city home after attending a birthday party in my family one. It just got very busy due to the “footy crowd”, going home after attending a game. Most of the people seem to be from the winning side – though it’s a bit hard to tell as both teams have similar colours today. 😉 

It’s been a good month. Busy, but good. Or rather, busy and good. Not because of or despite, but just occurring in tandem. When that balance happens, contentment follows. I let myself feel that fully and try to guard it, so it doesn’t disappear when stress comes with the busyness. That’s easier said than done sometimes but I work at it. The first step is to take each day as it comes and grab contentment where I can. 

One trick is scheduling my time and being clear about my commitments. Knowing exactly what I have to do for uni each week is the first step in being able to plan when I’ll make time for it. (Something to do when I get back, after dinner.) 

This is important for my other commitments too (especially as they fit in around uni). For example, we’re just over eight months away from the Melbourne Intervarsity Choral Festival (YAY!) and need to start really getting our ducks in a row for some things, like bookings for in-festival events. There’s always organising to do for our pre-festival social gatherings for Melbourne choir people as well. There’s one coming up in a couple of weeks! 

Socialising with friends is a protective factor for remaining contented too. I’ve got a few things coming up (besides the one I’m organising above and the one I just came from) in the next few weeks where I’m doing that… including watching friends perform in concerts. Remind me to tell you about this week’s one later. 😊

Another thing that helps me stay content is by following the advice of someone I talked to a few weeks ago when the stress was getting to me a little bit: namely, knowing that I have integrity regardless of what happens and that, if someone or something challenges that, I can choose to accept their claim or drop it “like rubbish”. I can stay true to myself and don’t compromise on the things that truly matter to me. 

Experiences help me grow – so eyes on the prize and I’ll look back this time next year and see how far I’ve come. 

Finally, remember that I can rely on and trust my friends and family for advice and support, whatever I need. 

Full steam ahead. 

Adventures with Chicken

I’ve had some cooking successes lately.

The other night I was pressed for time and needed to cook dinner quickly. I could’ve had a frozen meal (i.e. reheated a serve of leftovers) but I had some chicken thighs in the fridge that needed to be cooked as I’d moved them from the freezer earlier in the week.

So I googled, “cook chicken thighs in the microwave” (or something like that) and came across this recipe. Basically, it involves:


  • 2 x chicken thigh fillets
  • Chopped veggies of your choice
  • Chicken stock (made into liquid form)
  • Garlic, salt, pepper


  • Microwave-safe container
  • Oven mitt (for pulling container out of microwave)
  • Knives
  • Chopping board


  1. Smear garlic onto chicken and place in bottom of dish – season with salt and pepper to taste
  2. Pour chicken stock over chicken
  3. Add veggies on top
  4. Cover with lid and put in the microwave on high for 4-5 minutes
  5. Remove lid (or let it sit lightly) and repeat step #4
  6. If chicken is still not cooked to satisfaction, microwave dish for bursts of 1 minute until it’s cooked through

Voila – I had a piping-hot microwave meal ( 😉 ) ready to eat. Just be careful with step #5. I left the lid off completely as instructed by the online recipe, but that caused too much moisture to escape and the microwave did not like it.

No photos to show for this meal – I was a bit too busy for that. 🙂

My second success was a few nights after, when, aided only by memory and the help of a googled recipe, I made chicken curry for the first time in my new place, all by myself. So here’s another dish to add to my known repertoire!

Chicken Curry 🍛 


  • Oil/ margarine
  • Chilli, garlic, ginger, curry powder, Moroccan seasoning, cumin powder
  • Chicken stock
  • Chicken thigh fillet
  • Veggies
  • Rice/ noodles/ couscous/ potato


  • Frying pan
  • Pot
  • Stirring spoon
  • Tongs/ spatula/ etc
  • Chopping board
  • Knives


  1. Chop veggies
  2. Chop chicken into strips
  3. Heat the oil/ margarine in the pan
  4. Add chicken pieces and cook until browned
  5. Stir in garlic, ginger, chilli, curry powder, cumin powder, Moroccan seasoning NB: the curry and cumin powders make this dish, with the Moroccan seasoning providing some extra flavours like hints of paprika and so on. Add as much of the cumin and curry powders as feels right.
  6. Add chicken stock after a minute and reduce heat to cook for some time
  7. Add veggies (I added them earlier than the online recipe indicated to because they needed to cook for longer).
  8. I also started cooking my potato here in the pot and ended up putting some of the harder veggies (carrots, sweet potato) in with it to reduce cooking time.
  9. Once judged that veggies were ready, I combined everything and took it over to the table. It tasted like it should, so yay.

WT&TT: Working Against Yourself (reblog)

I need to pay closer attention to this sort of thing….

Guest Post: Working Against Yourself

by thewishingwell


Have you ever felt like you can’t get out of your own way? I know I have. Luckily my friend Sharon at Curious Queendom has generously shared her wisdom about tackling this feeling. This moving post is one I know I’ll reread again and again. Sharon is a delight in the blogging community. Her witty words of wisdom are renowned throughout her Queendom! Read on, cyberspace traveler.

In Sharon’s Words…

Read more by clicking on the linked title above.

If You’re Happy and You Know It…. (And: Kids Should Be Free To Play)

Heeelllloooo everyone! This right here is my 150th post on this blog, can you believe it? 🙂 In just under a month, I’ll have been blogging for a year.

(Got the image from a Google Search – there are a lot of variations of background. The original link to this picture is here.)

So, I was reading an article in The Conversation the other day. According to the article,

“….happiness is contagious and affects the happiness of others with whom you are connected.

That’s right – according to recent research by the University of Pennsylvania – making yourself and those around you happy is not only possible, but really quite easy. All you have to do, quite literally, is spread the word.


Sharing your positive news also, research suggests, has direct perks for you. Communicating a positive experience you have had with another person heightens the impact of the positive experience itself because you get to re-live and re-savour the experience.”

Check out the full article and its highlighted links above, I enjoyed it and thought the ideas – and implications – were interesting.
For instance: it’s not just fluff that makes people feel positive and enthusiastic – new science discoveries count too.
It also made me think of the poem which heads this post. Isn’t the poem a nice sentiment? So, share your good news, people!

Of course, the reverse occurs too – bad news spreads and negatively affects people, who share the negativity. However, don’t be afraid to share your bad news either. We may be negatively affected by it, but we’ll be negatively affected with you. I saw an opinion piece on another blog yesterday (warning for snark and brutal honesty, which exists in all his posts). The piece suggested that, rather than offering platitudes, our mere presence and offer of support (even silently) can help. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this stated in various ways and I support it.

After all, isn’t that what being part of a community – online and off – is all about? We share each other’s highs and lows, congratulating or supporting as the case may be. That’s what I’d like to think would – and should – occur, anyway. Remember, reach out.

Which brings me to my next part of this post. This week is International Children’s Week – and today is a day of solidarity for children (and their families) in detention. The photo below is of students at Melbourne High, showing what they think all kids should be free to do.

I think that kids should be free to play. Here’s the thing: my job involves hosting kids birthday parties at a particular local centre where I’m employed. One of my favourite things at these parties is watching the kids run or splash around, use the equipment and just have fun. Their laughter and smiles cheer me.

Kids in detention and their families cannot do that. Instead, the endless wait and awful conditions conspire to turn their childhood into a nightmare.

It doesn’t have to be that way though – and the government can put a stop to it. So can the Opposition – or at least they can commit to doing so. Please.
Give these kids back their childhoods. Give their families back their freedom.

What do you think kids should be free to do? (Share please, we want to make some noise about this!)

A Kind Of Magic

So, Chuck Wendig of terribleminds wants us to write a story from our own life for this week’s flash fiction challenge. I rarely do these challenges because what little writing time I have is usually for Lily’s story (!) rather than other things. But since it’s different I’ll give it a shot. It’s supposed to be around 1000 words. The title comes from the Queen song and it’s a very good fit.

It was a cool August day. … Oh, who am I kidding? It was bloody freezing. August usually is around here. At least it wasn’t raining. (I like rain – but not the sort we get around here which is just drizzle and nuisance. I prefer thunderstorms.) The wind was blowing strongly, gusting in off the lake. Meanwhile, the girls of Green House were inside, practicing a final time.

Today, after weeks of preparation, was the Senior House Choir Competition. I was looking forward to it, though nervous. Surely this year we might win? We’d come very close last year. I really hoped so, having a good feeling about our practices. The winners of House Choir go into the Arts Festival. The Arts Fest is my favourite of the three comps/ displays…after all, I’m not very good at Aths or Swimming. I’m not alone. While each house has its own collection of swimmers, aths girls and artists, Green House usually won the most points in the Arts Participation Cup. However, due to bad luck or whatever you’d like to call it, I hadn’t been a part of a winning House Choir yet (though other years our house had won) – and this would be my last chance to do so. There were thirty-four other girls in the same boat as me, though naturally there were different levels of caring about it.

I was quietly confident, though trying to keep expectations in check. We were third in a line-up of four, I think. When it was our turn, our Arts Captain, M, stood out the front as had been practiced. Then she introduced the song…with a surprise for both us and the audience. “We dedicate this song to Mrs A.” she said, “In the hope that she always has someone to lean on.”

My eyes widened as she spoke. Of course! That was a perfect reason. We’d all been aware, to some degree, of her stress this year due to things she couldn’t control. She was a popular House Group teacher. The song gained a sudden, sharp clarity. M cued the music and we were off.

“Hum, hum hum hum hum….”

All the hard work paid off, as we sang our hearts out. I remember feeling energised as I sang; everything was going well.
If this was a humorous anecdote about an embarrassing memory, this would be the point where something went wrong. But it didn’t.

No-one flubbed their lines or sang a wrong note or forgot their movements. Full credit to M, she’d spent the weeks of practice well. She shaped us into a choir that sang that song pitch-perfect, with pride and passion. (Even now, a few years after the event, I can still pick out the particular four-set of notes in the ‘hum hum hum hum’ – we spent a lot of time working on that bit to get it right 😛 .)

It was fun – but nervous – watching the other choirs. All the other choirs were good too. Especially Blue House. I know a few of us, when they came on, got the distinct feeling that they were our toughest competition. Their song choice, movements and singing were very well done – watching them, it showed what a good choir should be.

At the end we sat in the spots we’d been given and waited for the verdict. It was tense. I was still feeling good about it all, but again, nervous. I tried to remind myself that it was just a little thing – it shouldn’t matter if we came first or second (or another placing). I sat and hoped. The judge/ adjudicator then read out the placings. Heightening the tension, she unfortunately stuffed up the order of fourth and third. I think a few Green hearts skipped a beat when she realised that, because of course the way she phrased it made it sound like she’d read out ours in one of those spots!

But that wasn’t the case – we were in the top two. Now, the judge/adjudicator spent a bit of time talking about how each choir was good, that it was very hard to pick, that we’d all risen to the occasion well, etc. etc.
Then she finally said, “But in the end, I think I’m going to have to give second place to Bl-”

That was as much as I heard – the first syllable.
I ought to mention that I’d previously always wondered why when winners were announced, the winners always started cheering when the second-placers were announced. I always wondered if it wasn’t disrespectful to the second-placers?

You can tell from those statements that I hadn’t been in many winning things which I cared about much. After all, I’m not into playing competitive sports. When School Choir performed in the South Street Comps, due to circumstances we usually either found out the results later or got pipped at the post. Green House’s scant, occasional win(s) in the other school comps weren’t as important to me it seems, because I can’t remember them as easily. My memory tells me the last time I got that excited (rather than disappointed) over a group competition (and can still remember getting excited) might have been six years before this, when my house in primary school won the School Sports for the first time in ten years. Though I might just be forgetting other things.

Hmm. I’m beginning to see why I support the underdog so much. 😉

Anyway. The judge spoke the first syllable of Blue House for second place and I found why first-placers always start celebrating a place early: we couldn’t help it. I’d even said to myself beforehand, “Now, don’t make a fool of yourself by screaming and doing something that annoys you at other times” but did that matter? Not a whit. It’s the shock delight, I realised later. The split-second realisation that occurs when you hear that first syllable and process the fact that it’s not you, that you’ve finally made it to the top, you react. There’s no stopping it.

That feeling is why, despite what we tell ourselves about competitions – e.g. a sport’s match being “just a game” – we get so involved and keep coming back for more. We chase that elusive feeling. Another case in point: my support of the Richmond Tigers. We just can’t help ourselves!

As for Green House, we were through to the Arts Festival. Comparing the two performances, the one I can remember most is the first one. The Arts Festival was much more formal than the actual Competition itself and had less emotional attachments tied to it. Still enjoyable – just not quite as satisfying.

It’s a treasured memory from a school year full of “lasts”. This was a first.

Oh and the song? If you haven’t guessed already, it was Lean On Me. Yes, that’s why it’s on my Soundtrack that year.

Have you experienced the satisfying feeling of finally winning after a long wait? What in?

Looking for Humanity? Sign Here….but the kids are All Right

First story: No Business In Abuse

I support this group. Wholeheartedly. Strip away the labels and what remains are people – locked up in appalling conditions as a deterrence measure. They deserve to be free. All they’ve done is try to find a safer place to live, reluctantly leaving behind their homelands which have turned to hellholes in one way or another.
Companies support this inhumane bull. So we have to fight back and show them that we don’t. The way to hit companies is through their profits unfortunately. We’ve got to hit them where they hurt. I believe the campaign is based on the anti-apartheid campaign…..

22 Sep 2015
By Max Chalmers

A group targeting companies profiting from offshore detention won’t be stopped by taunts or legal risks. Max Chalmers reports.

A group of activists, lawyers, unionists and church groups causing increasing headaches for immigration detention contractor Transfield Services say they are prepared to kick on with the fight despite the ‘real risk’ of legal action being launched against them.

The group, which has taken the name No Business in Abuse, has seen a coalition of refugee action and support groups come together to heap pressure on the lead contractor in Australia’s offshore detention facilities by trying to ensure there are broader business ramifications for those who partake in the detention network.

Shen Narayanasamy, Executive Director of No Business in Abuse – who is also the Human Rights Campaign Director at GetUp! – said the campaign was seeking to “dry up” Transfield’s opportunities for expansion by signing individuals and businesses up to a pledge not to work with businesses that profit from the detention industry.

“We’re not only talking to people about a particular company, we’re talking about the values basis on which detention is currently enshrined, which is based on the human rights abuses of vulnerable people,” Narayanasamy said.

As the lead contractor for the Australian funded detention camps on Nauru and Manus Island, Transfield has already faced a separate campaign of divestments,with major super fund HESTA pulling the plug last month.

No Business in Abuse’s campaign shifts the focus to future projects, trying to encourage those working in other sectors where Transfield provides services – including health care, schools, and hospitals – not to do business with the company.
Read more here at winston close – original article from new matilda.

On another note:

Check out this page. The kids are all right, people! This kid is awesome. Joel, aged 9, saw something and was moved to help. One of the important takeaways is what Joel says about the kids on the news just being “other children”. Children like him. Refugees are like us. They have similar wishes and hopes: for a safe happy future, a good place to raise their kids, a steady job. The big difference: they have to fear for their life. We don’t. So why not help out? I’ve mentioned ways to do so several times now. 🙂

Hats off to you, Joel. You rock mate. 😀

From the fundraising website:

“I’m walking 115 miles from my house to Hope Square, London, to help child refugees. I’m 9 years old.
Joel Condron
Email Verified
133 Facebook Friends
United Kingdom
1 Team Member

Contact See More Details

Hello, my name’s Joel…

…and I live in Oakham, Rutland with my Mum, Dad and little brother. I’m 9 years old and like cars, football, playing my guitar, Minecraft and Lego. I go to school each day where I learn, play and hang out with my mates. I’m an ordinary English kid living in a safe town.

Lately, I have heard stories on telly about other children that have had to leave their home towns and go on dangerous journeys because there are bad people around that are fighting in wars. The news calls them refugee children. Some of these kids have had to walk a long way sometimes without their parents to find a safe place to live. A lot of them are even younger than me.

Five (very cute) Syrian refugee children pose for a photo at Domiz Camp in Iraq

I want to do something to help them, so in half-term I am walking 115 miles from my house to the Kindertransport statue in Hope Square, Liverpool Street Station, London so that people can give money to help these children get food, water and somewhere warm and safe to sleep.”