Storm In A B-Cup

Daily Prompt: Art Appreciation

As a musician and performer, I think that the question of whether you need to agree with an artist’s lifestyle or politics to appreciate their art is a pertinent one.  There are many types of artist, and whether they paint, write, draw, photograph, sing, dance, act, play an instrument or any other type of art they may choose, the only thing that matters in and of itself is the art.  To my mind, what any particular artist chooses to do with his or her life, and what they choose to believe in is really none of my business. What matters to me is their art, and whether I connect with it or not.

I don’t think it matters if I agree with an artist’s lifestyle choices or political beliefs when it comes to their art.  If I like the art, whatever it may be, I like the art.  I don’t care. I sincerely believe that the artist’s choices are a part of their private life, which may or may not influence their art.

No one would expect a person to enjoy someone’s art purely because they shared a lifestyle choice or political belief; that would be silly.  So I think equally that it is silly to dislike someone’s art based solely on disagreeing with their lifestyle or political beliefs.

I would like to think that if someone were to enjoy my music, they would enjoy that music on its own merits, separate from me as a person and what I may think or believe.  And I personally try to extend the same to other artists.  Because in the end, isn’t it the art that matters?

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Crikey! Is Australian Slang All It’s Made Out To Be?

Crikey mate!

Better chuck some prawns on the barbie.

Strewth!

Gotta run down to maccas this arvo, it’s on the main drag in town.

Dead set, my car’s just carked it!

I haven’t seen you in yonks!

Australian slang is a strange beast.  As everywhere, slang varies from place to place, state to state, even town to town.  But one thing I think most of us Australians agree on is that Australian slang is grossly misrepresented in the media, especially overseas.  Just as we don’t ride our kangaroos down the street and into town, or have pet koalas in the back yard, very few of us actually speak the way Aussies are portrayed in the movies.  Our slang is unique, and yes, more often than not sounds pretty…bogan-y (and yes, bogan is an Australian slang term that probably most closely relates to the American “hillbilly” – someone who is a bit backwards, a bit uncouth and usually from somewhere off the beaten track).  The same as any other culture, our slang is just that – slang.  Unlike what you may see onscreen or read in books, the entirety of Australian language isn’t made up of this odd sounding gibberish, and many of us are actually quite well spoken!

Not, of course, that I assume that most of you reading this think this way.  I suppose this is just a rant because I get so frustrated with the representation that I see of my country mostly on screen.  We tend to be presented as uncouth, loud, usually unclean looking people who are uneducated and can’t express ourselves without swearing.  This is what I take objection to.  I can, and do, throw out some slang with the best of them, but I like to think I’m well spoken, polite and well presented.  I perform a lot, and am often asked to make presentations.  And most people I know are much the same.  They are well spoken, well presented and most wouldn’t speak the kind of sentence in daily conversation that someone from another English speaking country would need a thesaurus to translate.

Our accents, for the most part are definitely not of the variety that Steve Irwin used, broad twang and half of each word’s syllables dropped for convenience.  In fact I can personally attest to the fact that most of the international visitors I have spoken to do not believe that I am Australian through and through.  Because I don’t have that “broad” accent that is almost not understandable.  I often have to work hard to convince people that I was born in Sydney and not in some European country or the UK.  And why?  Because I take pride in being well spoken.  I like to enunciate.  I like full words, and consonants, and good English.  And I am not in the minority.

So why are we represented the way we are? As though we’re all from the Outback, the middle of nowhere? Sure, some Australians really are like that.  But they are definitely not the majority.  I feel as though we are represented by that minority perhaps because this minority, though a minority, is what makes the impact on people.  Because the “stereotypical” Australian is so different from anyone else, this is the Australian we see on TV and in the movies, and in books.  And everywhere.  Because it is novel and it is different and it is interesting.  And maybe, just maybe, that’s ok.

Thanks for visiting!

Nat xx

ps…yes, there are wild kangaroos over the back fence and wombats are a REAL problem.  They break into our yard, ruin the fence, give the dogs a spot to escape and eat the plants.  And I had to stop the car to let an echidna cross the road the other day.  There’s my little dose of “true blue Aussie”

This post is in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: A Manner Of Speaking

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Our Wedding

Almost FOUR months ago now, T and I got married.  Most people thought we were crazy for having our wedding at the height of summer, right on top of new year, but it was absolutely beautiful.  Yes, it was hot.  It was HOT.  Especially for someone wearing a gazillion layers of tulle and a veil.  But it was perfect.  We were married in the afternoon at the beautiful St Jude’s church in the Southern Highlands of NSW (Australia), with our reception at Panorama House.  If you’re ever in the Wollongong area, I highly suggest you stop for a lunch there, the views are positively spectacular, out over the ocean – and our reception time meant that we got some daylight, through the sunset and into the night (with the city lights below). SO SO SO pretty!!

Recently we got our proofs from our photographer, Dodie at Expert Photography based in Sydney.  I am in love with our wedding photos.  They are so pretty, I just can’t stop looking at them.  I can’t wait to get some printed (apart from the few on our wall!) and enlarged and all of that.  When we have our own house.  When we have our own house, it will be FILLED with all of these pretty wedding photos.  For now, though, I want to share some with you.  It’s so hard to pick just a few!! Prepare for a HUGE gallery…I couldn’t resist.  Though…I think I did pretty well cutting down to this many from 1200 photos 😀

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Pre Wedding Photo Shoot

Before T and I got married, our photographer wanted to do a pre-wedding shoot to get us comfortable in front of the camera and so that we could get to know him and his assistant.  The shoot was included in our price (which was GREAT, by the way), and we got all the photos from that day as well as our wedding at the end.  We had a lovely day up at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney, and came out of it with some nice photos.  I thought I’d share some with you today.

pre wedding 1 pre wedding 2 pre wedding 3 pre wedding 4 pre wedding 5 pre wedding 6 pre wedding 7 pre wedding 8

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Daily Prompt: Your Time To Shine

What time of day do you feel best?  They say that most people are either an “early bird” or a “night owl”.  I don’t know about myself.  I absolutely hate waking up in the mornings.  I would rather stay up til the early hours of the morning and then sleep late any day, if it meant that I didn’t have to face the day before I was ready.

There is just something about mornings that does not agree with me.  When I wake up too early in the morning, I am grumpy and stompy and just not a nice person to be around.  Give me until 9 or 10 am, and I’ll be perfectly agreeable.  But before that?  Not much chance.  Sure I can get up early, I just really really don’t enjoy it.

On the other hand, I can happily stay up and productive late into the night and early into the morning.  I write the vast majority of my university papers in the late night/early morning, and do well, as compared to the few assignments I’ve written during the day or morning which have performed comparitively poorly.

With all this in mind, I think my answer to the simple question that the daily prompt poses – ‘Early bird or night owl?” should be simply answered.  I am a night owl.

I don’t feel like I’m making much sense today.  It may be night time – what I am arguing is my best time of day – but I have had a long day at work.  A very long day at work.  Plus an early morning today. So I’ll leave my incoherent (and somewhat pointless) ramblings there for now and post again tomorrow.

Thanks for visiting!!

Nat xx

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Wall to Wall, or Alternatively, One of the Reasons Living in a Garage Sucks

My husband and I live in my parents’ garage right now. It is a beautiful experience. Or not. Actually, it’s cramped, inconvenient, completely lacking in any form of privacy (one wall is all windows) and always too cold or too hot. BUT we are very grateful to my parents, since financially speaking we can either live here or on the street. So in that sense, we are very lucky.

There are many ways in which living in a garage is not the greatest. One of these is that my younger brother, who has Down Syndrome, is constantly at the door or the window wanting to be talked to or paid attention. And even if we ignore him or ask him to leave, he will literally stand there staring for hours. So there’s that. Another reason is that we can’t cook. We can’t wash our dishes since the “kitchenette” (I use that term loosely) has no sink. Neither of us can get a minute just to ourselves if we need it, and let’s face it, everyone needs a little time to themself occasionally.

Today’s Post a Day challenge asks what we display on the walls of our home. The short answer is, not much since the majority of walls are brick, or windows or covered by the squished in furniture. The wall in the kitchen has a notice board (cork board) and the spice rack T made for me. The one other spot we have is beside the TV and we have managed to use that to display some of our wedding photos in a nice frame. There’s a big spot in the middle which we still haven’t had time to have a 5×7 print made to fit, but I’m happy that we at least have something up of “us”. I love our wedding photos, the photographers were fantastic and I think they did an awesome job capturing us and our day (in fact I think I’ll do a post soon sharing some of my favourite wedding photos).

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Sorry about the iphone quality, my camera is out of commission at the moment! Oh, and the light reflection in the top right.

I just wanted to share the one thing I’m proud to have on my wall – what do you think I should put in the middle of the frame?

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Mug Brownie – Made in the Microwave!

The weather is starting to cook down here and after dinner tonight I was craving chocolate something chronic. Alas, no chocolate was to be found, and we live a good half hour’s drive from the closest shop (plus the local shops all close by 9pm).

Pinterest to the rescue! I remembered that months ago I pinned this recipe, which is just perfect for someone like me who doesn’t really have a kitchen. It’s super easy and tasty enough to fill that late night chocolate craving!

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My mug brownie. It isn’t pretty but it is tasty!

My brownie didn’t come out winning any beauty contests but it sure tastes nice.  And it’s super fast to make!  All done within five minutes.

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Daily Post Prompt: Second Time Around

I love reading.  I always have, and I think I always will.  There is no book I will not read – probably twice at least! Today’s daily post prompt asks for a post written about a book that you can read again and again, and what it is about that book that speaks to you.  For me, that’s almost an impossible task, I read and re-read almost everything.  But I have it narrowed down to two series.  I know, it’s more than the prompt asks for but I just couldn’t choose.

The first series is a trilogy by one of my favourite authors, Garth Nix.  He’s an Australian author and he writes sci-fi aimed at young adults.  But since I first read this trilogy when I was 11, I’m allowed to claim it as a favourite.  The trilogy is “the Old Kingdom Chronicles”, and it consists of “Sabriel”, “Lirael” and “Abhorsen” (there is also a book of short stories based in the same universe named “Across the Wall”. Perhaps a little dark for an 11 year old, the books are set in a world which is half “modern” technology (of maybe the 1940s or so? I’m a bit vague on the time period) and “across the wall”, where the world is firmly ensconced in magic, folk lore and superstition.  The main character in each book is the next in a line of good necromancers, whose task it is to put the Dead back to rest when they are called or they escape from Death back into the realm of Life and wreak havoc.  I just keep coming back to these books.  I think they at first appealed to me because the main characters were teenaged females who were strong, independent and smart.  I adored the fact that these young women could face the world alone, and kicked butt while doing so.

And I’m extra excited because right now, the author is working on a prequel.  I just love the intricacies of a world so different from and yet so the same as our own.  I love the lore, the depth of the characters and the stories.  But – as dark as they were for a kid – these books gave me a respite from the bullying I was facing and I think that’s a reason they hold a special place in my heart.

garth-nix old kingdom

 

The other series that I had to include is, of course, Harry Potter.  Another childrens’ series, but I couldn’t resist. I have read, re-read and read again these books until copies have fallen to pieces.  I don’t know what it is about this series, but since I’m one of many to read them again and again, I’m sure there’s a good reason!  I started reading the Harry Potter books when I was about 10, a few years after the first had been released and I remember being really annoyed with my Dad that he had bought me this stupid book (which I was convinced was for boys) instead of the one I had asked for.  Fast forward a few months and I had run out of books to read – yet again – and so I was forced (FORCED, I say) to read this book.  It wasn’t even the first one in the series, it was Chamber of Secrets.  But it was enough to get me hooked.  Kids like me, doing crazy things! With magic! What’s not to like?  As I matured, so did the books that were released, and I realised that the magic isn’t the main thing.  These books are about people, and society and they carry important social messages that are so important for everyone, especially kids.  I know for sure that my kids, when I have them one day, are going to grow up knowing Harry and his world.

harry potter books

 

Of course I don’t only read kids’ books – don’t be silly!  But those are the ones I keep coming back to in times when I need something comforting and familiar to read.  Other books come and go, and are read and read again.  I have a feeling these will keep coming back forever.

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Bad Habits (and trying to break them)

Everyone has bad habits, right? I know I do.  The worst is probably the nail biting.  Always the nail biting.  For as long as I can remember, my nails have been bitten off right down to nothing.  Not pretty.

eww...gross bitten off nails

eww…gross bitten off nails

Every time I try to stop biting it works for a couple of weeks and then suddenly…my nails are just gone again.  I don’t even notice myself biting, so maybe that’s part of the problem.  I don’t realise I’m doing it until after, and then it’s too late.  I think it started when I was around 6 or 7, when I was getting into piano and I discovered that I hated the sound of fingernails tapping on the keys as I played. So I guess I just bit them off.

And we come to now.  So how do I stop?  I’ve been trying for years on and off, so I suppose I’ll just try again.  It has to stick one of these times. Wish me luck! Any tips or tricks out there?

 

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ANZAC Day

Today, April 25 is an important one for those of us in Australia. Today is ANZAC day. It is a day of remembrance for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It is a solemn day, but also a day of celebration.

Every year, when I was at high school (years 7-12), I would march in our local Anzac day march as a part of the marching band. Yes, I am that much of a nerd. In fact, it was for this reason I learned to play the clarinet. Much, much easier to march with a clarinet than a piano. Without fail, Anzac day tends to be the first really cold day of the year for our area, and usually it is windy. But almost always it manages to stay sunny, or at least not rainy for the duration of the march, which I have always been thankful for.

One of the most lovely traditions, I think, is the dawn service. Held at a completely ungodly hour of the morning, it’s a unique experience and one I think every Australian should have. My husband has been going every year since he was a young teenager as a part of the Australian Army Cadets, and he wouldn’t miss it for the world.

This year it has held more meaning for us, as T is working on an application to the royal Australian navy. He applied once before but was deemed medically unfit for service due to a one off allergic reaction to kiwi fruit. Since he now has testing to prove he is not allergic (blood tests), he is in the process of appealing that decision.

I have to say, I’m not sure how I feel about the whole thing. Of course, I’m incredibly proud of T for wanting to serve our country. But in a much more selfish, every day kind of way, it scares me and makes me sad knowing that he’d be away at sea for probably half of every year.

But I am digressing from the point (majorly). Today is about remembering and honouring our fallen. So I would like to leave you with the verse that is traditionally recited on Anzac day.

They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
Lest we forget.

ANZAC-Day

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