Saturday, 2 December 2017

A goal without a plan is just a wish

Wow, December and 2017 is fast coming to an end and I thought it was time to start thinking about 2018.  Soon it will be time to review all my lists!  Ooh what new and exciting things can I add?

A couple of weeks ago, B and I went to a session on goals – how to set and stick to them.  Got me thinking about what are my life goals?  Maybe it’s the big things on my lists?  Not sure.  Procrastination. Instead of spending the time thinking and working towards life goals, why do we procrastinate and watch mindless TV or scroll through Facebook?

So, what do I still want to accomplish?  Is it ever too late to set goals – no way!  What are my life goals?  What do I truly want? And how the fuck do I work it out? 

1.     Brainstorming list
  - What’s important?
  - Where am I at today?
  - Where do I want to be?

2.     Life goals
  - What couldn’t I live without?  Narrow that sucker down
  - Set specific targets

3.     How do I get there?
   - Start with the last step and work backwards.
                - Focus on the main ones – rank them?

       4.   Get shit done
                - Pick a goal, break it down, stop procrastinating and get started

Right then.  I’m off to think and right those suckers down.  Because as they say, a goal without a plan is just a wish. 

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Back to School

I have a few slightly odd things on my list, but one thing I didn't have on there is "do a stand-up comedy routine."  So how is it that a couple of weeks ago when Belinda asked me if I'd do a course with her, I found myself saying yes?  The surprising thing is that I didn't even really hesitate.   I found it rather an exciting, if slightly daunting prospect!  Maybe it had something to do with the website saying for "bucket-list tickers."  That's me, OK I'm in, where do I sign.

So there we have it.  We've signed up for the 5 day course starting on 21 January 2018 with The School of Hard Knock Knocks.  Yep, 5 days of making fools of ourselves on purpose and paying for the privilege. Some would say I make a fool of myself on a regular basis anyway, so I guess it's not really stretching reality in any way. 

So how does it work?  How do you go to school to learn how to be "funny?" Is it something that can be taught or are you born funny?  Am I funny? I'm crap at telling jokes, so I certainly won't be going down that route. What the fuck will I base my routine on then?  Life.  Life is funny enough. And sometimes if you can't laugh at life, you'll just end up crying.

Now I've got to come up with some material.  Thought about just winging it, but that my fail completely flat.  Might be able to base the whole 5 mins around B's boobs.  I know that sound a bit odd, but let's face it there is a LOT to work with there.

Anyway, this is how the course goes - just in case anyone else reads this and say "yeah I wanna do that!"

Day 1 – The Basics & Finding yourself
Introduction to the basics of stand-up comedy and the jargon of the comedic industry before launching into the deep end with your very own mini set.

Day 2 – Your Audience and Taboos   
Learn to gauge your audience and how to recognise and manage taboo topics while learning confidence building/ fear smashing techniques.

Day 3: The opener
Learn to write a strong open to your comedy set. Tonight students will also have the opportunity to refine some of their own writing with our guest comedian.

Day 4: The Heckler and The Closer 
Practice delivering your set as well as building skills to deal with the dreaded (or welcomed - I actually think I would welcome) heckler before polishing a strong close to your set ready for the graduation ceremony.

Day 5: Graduation Night and Performance 

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Back to Baconsville

I began my reporting career earlier in the year when we first visited Baconsville. And would you believe it, we're back again.  I knew something was going on that morning (Sunday 5 November) and sure enough we were off.  This time with the lovely B and my new human sis, Aitana.

Quality Control
Having extra people in the car is the best - I get scratches and cuddles all the way.  Stopped at Boat O'Craigo winery in the Yarra Valley for lunch.  Mum and B went wine tasting and looks like they couldn't make up their mind 'cos they had to then bring out a full bottle of the pink one to make sure that they had properly tasted it (Ed note, we did particularly enjoy the chilled Rose).  The winery's name comes from the town of Craigo in Scotland.  The water was OK.  I thought we might be partaking in some Haggis, being Scottish and all, but no, we had pizzas.  Very tasty - especially the bits I got with some rather delicate semi-soft fresh Fior Di Latte mozzarella - buonissimo!

On we drove up the gorgeous Black Spur and there we were - back at the Vibe Hotel! Same smells, this time, they even took my picture - probably for their monthly cutest guest report. Same same, but different room.  My bed was smaller, but I had already eyed off the bed and couch.  We went for a nice long walk around the town and park and YES! That delicious stream water was still there and was still delicious! I rolled, waded, scratched, sniffed, peed and did poo.  After all that I was pretty pooped so dinner and to bed to dream of bacon.  Didn't even miss the humans when they went out - OK, I did a little bit.

The Girls
Brilliant dream - a whole bowl of bacon and sausages and brilliant because it came true!  After my morning constitutional, I had a nap and when I woke up mum and dad had returned with a whole bag of food for moi. Off we went.   Back to Steavenson’s Falls.  I stayed with Dad guarding the car.  Then the girls went back to visit Bruno at Bruno’s Art and Sculpture Garden.  Been there, done that so was happy to head off with Dad checking out the local fishing spots.  We all had a lovely afternoon stopping along the river.  Back to the hotel for a rest and wine drinking (I stuck to water, someone needs to remain vigilant).  For dinner, I got yep, you guessed it - more bacon and sausages.  I really did try and keep my eyes open to remain on guard, but my belly was full, it had been a long day and the couch was calling me.......

I got my own sign for the door!
 My dad and the rodo rhododren rhododendrons - the pink flowers
Can you ever really have too much bacon?  I was packed and ready to go after saying goodbye to my new friends.  We had a walk around Healesville on the way home and stopped at Four Pillars distillery.  B and Mum drinking again!  They seemed happy and I got more scratches all the way home.  Love and Licks Lola the Explorer xx


Aitana and I pretending we were in a scene from Tom Sawyer
Me keeping a close eye on my dad

Me looking gorgeous

Gin - I'll stick to water

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Mirror Mirror on the wall......

A warm, windy Sunday in Melbourne - time to be tourists.  We'd (B, Kaz, Claire, Aitana and I) booked tixs to go do the Art Centre tour, but decided we'd get there early and check out the House of Mirrors which has been set up just out the front of the Art Centre.  So between sneezes (shocking hay fever - it was actually quiet amusing hearing everyone coughing, sneezing and spluttering), in we went.

House of Mirrors is the creation of Melbourne artists Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney (no idea who they are, got it from the promo). What do you get when you put 40 tonnes of steel and more than 15 tonnes of mirrored glass together?  A simple looking labyrinth - how hard can it be?  Surprisingly, much harder than it looks. 

Shadowed - so can't see the snot dripping
Looks simple, isn't
The reflections are deceiving and you quickly become disorientated and find yourself walking around in a circle.  Not that I particularly wanted to take a photo of 10 times my butt, but if I had wanted to, I could have.  As for double chins - they were everywhere I looked.  Not a good place for your self esteem, but interesting all the same.  And we made it out.

Too early on a Sunday for that many views of my fat arse
Next, our Backstage tour of the Art Centre.  Starting at 11am and running for around 90 minutes, we learnt a little about the history and visited some of the backstage rooms, hidden passageways and learnt how some of the technical contraptions work.  No whistling allowed on stage, because a sandbag might fall on your head - superstitious lot these actor sorts. Interesting chat from one of the costume guys and was particularly enthralled by the vomitoriumNo not a room to go and have a spew, it's a passage below the seats for actors to enter and leave the stage.  From the Latin word meaning  "to spew forth". All up, very interesting, a tick off the list and well worth the $20.  Tours are available every Sunday.  
Checked out MPavilion across the road in the Queen Victoria Gardens.  Part stage, part space - it even has a bar.  Anyway, the musicians due to perform were running late and we had a lunch date with a trolley of goodies at Secret Kitchen, so will need to check it out another day.  Hadn't been for Yum Cha in ages. Yum.  Tried to show some restraint as we had a dinner to get to. 
Pleasant day with an added stroll through Chinatown. Always so much to see and do in this fair city of ours. Love it.  Thanks girls xxx

Claire and Aitana give the tour a thumbs up

Cute little custard filled piggies

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Alive 18,993 days - give or take a day or two

2014, I spent my birthday in the exotic surrounds of bustling Kathmandu (including a rather morbid couple of hours watching bodies being burnt at Pashupatinath Temple  - one of the most sacred Hindu temples of Nepal on both banks of the Bagmati River).

For 2015 (and the BIG FIVE O NO), we were in Jaipur, India and visited the stunning Amber (Amer) Fort and had a fabulous dinner in the evening.

Last year was spent, in the not quiet as glamorous Bendigo, but had a great long weekend doing the Blues Tram and visiting several attractions.

And so this year my 52 birthday slipped quietly by without actually going anywhere!  Not strictly correct.  Aitana arrived on the 7th, so lots on. Visited the long awaited Leisurefest the 8th and happily pottered around poking and opening everything in the 100's of caravans on display.  From slide out pantries, swivelling loos, full size showers to every mod con you could imagine.  Caravans have come a long way! I just can't wait to pack up and drive off into the sunset in one.  Makes the $8,000 practice vans we're looking at seem rather unglamorous, but gotta start somewhere. 

Party pies, pizza, bubbles and cake with family rounded off the night. I saw nothing wrong with my improvised birthday candle.

The 9th dawned grey and drizzly (similar to me - grey and grizzly).  How have I possibly had 52 of these??  But a tick off the list awaited.  Ride Puffin Billy.

A bit of history.  The line between Belgrave and Gembrook, opened on 18 December 1900 and operated over 18.2 miles (29km) between Upper Ferntree Gully and Gembrook until 1953. In 1953, a landslide blocked the track and, because of operating losses, the line was closed. But who doesn't love a good old choo choo train and sure enough, public interest resulted in the formation of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society, whose volunteers along with the assistance of the Citizens' Military Forces, by-passed the landslide and reopened the line to Menzies Creek in 1962, Emerald in 1965, Lakeside in 1975 and finally to Gembrook in October 1998.  Toot Toot, Puffin Billy was off and running again.

So setting off from Belgrave we settled into our first class carriage for a three course lunch through the lush forests, fern gullies and farmlands of the magnificent Dandenong Ranges.  The lunch was excellent  - a pleasant surprise.  Short stop at Lakeside for a stroll around and to watch the thieving kookaburras - I've seen seagulls dive bomb for chips but never kookaburras.  Back on board for the relaxing journey back to Belgrave with dessert and coffee.  Could really have done with a bunk for a little siesta after managing to polish off a glass of bubbles and 3/4 bottle of red.

Birthday done and dusted for another year.

Could happily live in one of these!
That candle.
Ready to board PB

Didn't get to hang my legs over!

Apparently if you do this, it removes a double chin

Monday, 16 October 2017

A child of the 80's trying to relive her youth

I don't really listen to much music these days, much less go and see many of the touring bands, although Adele earlier in the year was fantastic.  So after last night, I was reminiscing about my earlier music tastes.
From listening to my mum and dads albums which were a mix of Spanish and English pop songs, I moved on to ABBA, BCR's, David Essex, KISS and Queen.  Posters of David, Paul and Woody in particular adorned my walls and am I the only one who practice kissed on them?  Hope not, otherwise that statement is a bit embarrassing.
The 1980's hit and I fell in love with the New Romantics.  A bunch of bands that came out of the UK and dressed way too cool for school!  I loved them all, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, Classic Nouveaux, Culture Club, Ultravox, Simple Minds, ABC, Visage and yep, even a Flock of Seagulls. Bedroom was re-decorated with my new faves (sorry David, I kept your pic up the longest). By then, I had started working part time at KFC, so all my hard earned money went on albums and magazines- oh and chips.  

But my fave band at that time was Adam and the Ants.  I know he has denied being a New Romantic, but hey, if the ruffled shirt fits.  Adam was just the coolest, sexiest man in leather pants around and he applied eye liner way better than I did.  In my dreams we fell madly in love, got married and had cute kids.  Was it strange that he was 11 years older and I was 15?  Nope.  So really 11 year olds drooling over a 15 year old Justin is reasonable.  It's perfectly clear now who the original Jack Sparrow was (and he's a bit of alright too).

So when I heard that Adam Ant (sans Ants) was touring, I grabbed a couple of tix. Emi wasn't that keen, so Aitana came along with me.  We headed to the Palais theatre last night filled with eager anticipation (mainly from me) and I was rather impressed that Aitana had been listening to a few of his old hits on You Tube.

He started off by playing all the songs off the Kings of the Wild Frontier album which was their second, released in November 1980, first came Dog Eat Dog and moving on to the classic favourite Ant Music.  Then went on to play a few other songs from the other albums including Prince Charming, Ant Rap,  Stand and Deliver and Dirk wears white socks.  It's amazing how all the words come back and most of the audience were singing along to many of the songs. 
The band was pretty good, especially the two drummers with full kits providing that classic Burundi style beat and had the crowd bopping around.

Prince Charming
No white stripe on my nose this time around!
Has he still got that swagger?  Well he was still dressed in tight leather pants, high boots, a pirate hat, the brocade jacket and the scarves.  Some of the moves are still there and it's great to see he's still got plenty of energy for a about-to-turn 63 year old!  Yep, he really is that old.  He's lost the weight he had gained a few years ago and looking healthier than a few recent pictures of him.  So yep, I reckon he's still got that je ne sais quoi or chutzpah.  Or it could just be my failing eyesight. Must go back and drool/take a look at some of those old classic videos. 


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Sometimes you just find a little bit of Spain in the strangest places

It's been nearly 18 months since our last overseas holiday - and I'm having withdrawal symptoms.  The only solution - mini breaks!  Sun shining on the warmest day so far this spring, we set off for Warragul - Emi, Belinda (year-of-yes Dane), Lola and I.

Warragul is around 100 km away, so not too far.  Apparently named after an Aboriginal word meaning "wild dog", population around 15,000.  First stop, delish burgers at Frankie's Café (fair share of those 15,000 seem to be here).  Can't pass up a good burger.  Emi went for a massage, the girls went for a stroll.  Nice little town.

5 minutes out of town, the smaller town of Nilma and Bloomfield Cottages - our home for the night.  Gorgeous spot with our own welcoming party of goats and sheep.  Lola put on a brave front and scared them away.  Chickens.  No I mean there were chickens as well.

On to Brandy Creek Estate in Drouin for our Paella Festival. The place is lovely with views over the vines and valley.  Currently owned by a Sri Lankan family, it retains the original owners Spanish heritage with lots of pictures, paintings and photos - not to mention the Tempranillo vines. A little bit of Spain in the middle of the countryside - ole!

Pretty good value with a mixed entrée platter each of Spanish style tapas, followed by 5 large assorted paellas.  A few unusual ingredients, including one with pork and the crackle piled up in a heap in the middle. Can't go past a bit of crackle.  Another one had quail eggs and beef (cheeks maybe).  The others more "traditional" with chicken and chorizo, seafood and veggies.  Must say very generous with their ingredients and plenty to go around.  Dessert again consisted of a tasting plate - with churros of course.  You get a glass of wine included (tried the sparkling tempranillo) and as we were in the first 10 bookings it was $65 each - normally $78. 

Entertainment was a couple of flamenco dancers and I've forgotten the lovely ladies name - her enthusiasm was infectious and there may have been a bit of merry dancing including a tango.  The knee did not thank me in the morning, but the wine certainly dulled the pain at the time.

Great night, recommended and planning on heading back one Sunday for lunch as the place must be beautiful on a sunny afternoon.

Sunday morning dawned grey and wet, but nice to wake up to a rooster.  The male chicken outside was pretty noisy as well.  B had spotted that the Craft Market happened to be on at Lardner Park - bit of luck, I've never been and the rain stopped.  So stroll around and then settled in for lunch.  Discovered gigantic duck spring rolls - delish.  Assorted food items and homeward bound.  An enjoyable weekend of eating and drinking in the countryside and several of ticks off the list.
Home on the range (Bloomfield Cottage)

 High on a hill was a lonely goatherd
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo

Missed the veggie one!

Pants were up, so no idea about the look on Emi's face

Admiring the art

Pork and Apple paella - that's a new one

A bit of dancing