Category Archives: Actions

running for the Emer Casey Foundation (in affiliation with Peter Mac)

The Emer Casey Foundation is devoted  to raising funds, awareness and support for ovarian and uterine cancer, and today marked the day of the Melbourne leg of their annual fun run. I participated in the 5km run to do my part to raise money for the cancer awareness, plus get myself in some Sunday morning exercise. The foundation itself is devoted to increasing research into this particular type of cancer, after the organisation’s namesake died of ovarian cancer shortly after her 28th birthday in her Irish homeland.  It was her death that inspired the foundation, and drew attention to one of the less notorious forms of cancer.

The run today was (luckily) very close by to me, and happened to fall on a convenient weekend, so this year I was actually able to participate. I wanted to do it last year, since it’s a good cause and I really wanted to get a decent run in, but unfortunately my work schedule was inflexible at the time. Things changed in 2013, and alas, I was able to do it. And not only that, the convenient location meant I could walk to and from the event, as well as actually seeing the parts of my uni campus I have never ventured to before. Who knew there was actually a nice reserve at the back of campus? Or that the ovals turned into a sort of sand pit on one side? Certainly not me; I tend to only occupy 4 buildings on campus, and all of them within 100m of each other.

Since I’m still recovering from a long period of inactivity in my life (more like my whole existence), I’m still new to the whole fitness thing, so my goal for this was just to finish it. I wasn’t focused on times. I just wanted to get over that finish line knowing that I had kept going the whole time.

I succeeded in that. And I even passed a few people along the way, which was certainly a boost to the self-esteem. Even better, I got an awesome new t-shirt that I can work out in!

Of course, I finished the morning off nicely with a well-earned bath full of essential oils, and surrounded by candles and calming music.

Now, bring on the next run (perhaps I’ll be up for a 10km in a few months)!


a little bit absent, but you can find me at the Creek

My apologies for my absence over the last few days, the description does call this a daily blog. But unfortunately, my health hasn’t been great and so I’ve struggled to write some posts. I actually can’t remember the last time I posted (though that isn’t saying much, my memory is a little preoccupied these days).

There is, however, a small speck of light. I will be back soon, and hopefully better than ever. I just have a couple of hurdles to overcome first, but then I will be getting things back on track.

Its interesting, in a way, but had you asked me two years ago what my greatest fear was, I would have (and did) described my current situation. Now that it has snuck up on me, and the storm has returned, I find myself being pulled about by the tide; alternating between still being totally terrified and occasionally feeling like it’s just no big deal.

It naturally follows that I find myself seeking solace from adolescent TV dramas – because who else is as angsty and confused but teenagers? Especially those in the 90s. And so it goes that I have recently invested in the first 3 seasons of Dawson’s Creek, and I am contently ensconced in blankets on the couch, watch the whole Joey-Pacey-Dawson-Jen drama play out (Pacey and Joey forever!). I say content, but it’s a turbulent kind – it flits in and out, as I search for comfort from this dreary storm. At least the weather seems as confused as I do.

being warned and educated by children’s animations

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better – it’s not.”

Dr. Seuss Wooden Nickel

Dr. Seuss Wooden Nickel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently I found myself discussing the environmental messages in children’s movies that have started to crop up in the last decade, and found myself approving of this ‘good brainwashing’, as my friend termed it. One of my favourite Disney Pixar animations has to be Wall-E, not only because of the undeniable adorable factor, but also the messages it sends to children about how important it is to take care of the world we live in.

After all, Disney movies are the modern equivalent to Aesop’s Fables – they reach a wide audience of impressionable young minds and feed them tales with morals written in. They ranked at number 66 on Fortune 500’s 2012 list. That’s some hell of an influence in society.

Of course, being such a large company which caters to such vulnerable minds comes with many obstacles, and there have been many accusations of prejudice tossed at the corporation. The lack of diversity in their characters, the way women are always portrayed as waiting for their man, the sexual references (half of which are just misread nods to special effects, such as in The Lion King) – these all draw censure from many groups. This is probably why in the last decade movies such as Wall-E have come to light.

In the spirit of my discussion of environmental children’s movies, it came to my attention that I was missing out on a Dr Seuss wonder – The Lorax. So today I rectified that absence, and watched it. And, my gosh, it was worth it. The message is not subtle, in fact it’s the whole premise of the film and comes complete with songs about growing the seed, but even skeptics of global warming cannot turn away (and yes, they are out there). Before we were brought up in an era of Disney (or perhaps even Harry Potter counts now), children went to bed hearing tales of the Lorax, the Who’s and that wonderful feline with marvellous headwear, The Cat In The Hat. Dr Seuss is a revelation to children when they are introduced, full of wonderful, crazy rhymes which we somehow still quote regularly in our adult lives.

So it’s great to see that children are absorbing these messages of not abusing the finite resources available to them through a means so easily accessible to them from a young age. If we are to truly expect the survival of the human species, we need to make sure we keep our habitat perpetuating itself in the circle of life. Because Dr Seuss had it right when he wrote the quote I began this post with – unless we foster continual caring about this issue, nothing will ever change.

joining the national protest against university funding cuts

No ifs, no buts, no education cuts.

After Julia Gillard announced the intention of the Labor Government to cut over $2 billion of funding from Australian universities, who already struggle enough on their limited funding, to redirect it towards primary and secondary schools, there was a major uproar. Protests sprung up all over the country, and students were terrified that their already exorbitantly priced education would become even more unattainable. So they set a date for a national protest – May 14th.

The idea was to go on strike and not attend classes, and then to gather for a series of protests in the city to get the message across. I wasn’t particularly set on attending the protest in the city, and used the strike as more an excuse to skip class than as an actual protest, but even I cannot deny that their cause is valid. The government has put out publications and acknowledged other studies which have found that improvements are needed in this area, and yet they give us cuts.

So what does this mean for individual universities? Well, for starters the business model they already work on will have to focus even more on the bottom line – which affects staffing selections and thus the variety and number of courses and subjects available to students. Additionally, the funding cut takes away the up-front discounts in the HECs payment system and also converts the Student Start Up Scholarship to a mere loan – which essentially, just increases the debt a university student will face once they graduate and hit the workforce. Not really a great way to boost an economy in a climate where recession has been narrowly avoided and other countries are still battling (especially since the way out of/to avoid recession is generally through increased spending from consumers).

So thanks for that new budget, Julia Gillard. You’re really making life swell.

Here’s a small video I got off the NTEU website which was filmed at my university – and it clearly outlines how a single university will be affected by this new budget.

So while I hovered around the edges of the rally for a few minutes and observed some of the protesters in action during the miserable weather that Melbourne brought them, I still see this as an issue we all face. I’m just reserved about the effectiveness of national protesting, since it feels kind of feeble and pointless. Plus, asking students to skip class with only a few weeks to exams is kind of a big deal.

However, I hope the issue doesn’t just fade off after this.

(Most of my information comes from the STEU website.)

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stuck in a loop of late nights

Every night I spend at home I tell myself I’ll go to bed early. I’ll just finish this episode, or that movie. I’ll briefly browse tumblr and facebook, just to see if anything important is there, and then that’s it. I’m going to sleep.

Smiley from the sMirC-series. snoring


This never happens. I used to go to sleep at 9:30pm every night, without fail. But now my routine has become midnight at the earliest, and then sleeping until noon the next day. I don’t like this, and yet I find myself writing this post at 10pm, and I probably won’t publish it until 10:30. After that there are a still a few things left to do. Do you see my problem?

No wonder I’m so zonked during the day, and constantly craving sugary snacks. It’s terrible.

I really will change it. Even if I tuck myself in at 11pm tonight, I’ll have started to fix the situation.

I’m not a night owl, so why am I trying to become one? I’d much rather be fresh in the mornings and make use of the daylight than suddenly be able to get things done after 8pm.

I don’t want to turn this into a bad habit.

visiting my mum in honour of Mothers’ Day

Mothers’ Day is a pretty universal holiday, and rightly so, since no matter where you go, mother’s play such a huge role in the functioning of society that goes unrecognised. In fact, I’m pretty sure many parents would joke on their respective days that one day a year of being pampered by their kids isn’t enough. And then of course, as any child would reply, you’d mention that their is no Daughters’ or Sons’ Day (my mum’s response to that was always that everyday is Childrens’ Day).

Fair enough, I guess. Now that I’m closer to the age of the women being celebrated than the majority of the kids doing the spoiling (and a legal adult), I recognise how much of our lives gets lost to parenting. I’m just trying to appreciate the final decade remaining to me before I expect to gain the title of ‘mother’, since it seems most people start families in their 30s these days. That feels kind of scarily short.

Since I was expecting to work today, I took my mum out for lunch last Sunday in honour of Mothers’ Day, and so haven’t had too much by way of obligations or plans today. Just dinner, and as an added extra I’m bringing chocolate chip cookies with me (if they turn out ok  – they kind of spread a lot in the oven).

I’m pretty sure my sister bought my mum a meal at some point today anyway, though I won’t be seeing her at dinner tonight.

And I have to say, my mother certainly deserves this day. She used to try and get Fathers’ Day out of us as well, since we had no father to spend it with and she claimed she was both mother and father to us anyway. But I objected to that. Looking back, though, I suppose it wouldn’t have been too far a stretch to give it to her. As a single parent, she certainly had it tough providing for my sister and I. Especially since there’s a 10 year age gap between us, and so she spent a lot longer actually being a parent and having to fully provide for us.

So, this one goes out to my Mum, and all the other mothers out there. Despite the differences we’ve had and the distance I seem determined to put between us, I love my mum and she deserves to have a fabulous day and night. And as every parent tells me, parenting is the hardest job in the universe. So it’s good to step back and appreciate the work they do.

Happy Mothers’ Day!

ending the lapse in my baking sessions

Girl Scout Samoa Cookie PieI used to bake weekly, not through any planned schedule, I just felt like it often. But over the last few months I haven’t baked much at all. I think I made one thing since New Years, then decided it wasn’t worth it, since living alone means I end up eating it all myself, and usually in one sitting. And where’s the joy in that? The only result of that is a stomachache.

But today I got the urge again, and luckily for me I am seeing friends tonight who I can force my baked goods on. Though, it wasn’t really baked per se, more frozen, since it’s ChocolateCoveredKatie’s Samoa Girl Scout Cookie Pie. Which really translates to an extreme coconut chocolate pie. Let’s hope it turns out well.

I used to be completely obsessed with her blog, and that’s where most of my baking inspiration came from, since there’s a new post every couple of days and they always sound AMAZING. Plus, her recipes are vegan and healthy, so that kills any guilt factor you can have about consuming so many desserts.

I have a little routine for when I bake. Usually I’ll put on the Beatles (more often than not it’s the white album), have a little dance around the kitchen and taste test every second stir of the spoon. Today, I mixed it up a little with a cd that arrived in the mail today from Fishpond; The Frames’ debut album (the later remastered version), ‘Another Love Song’. Definitely a different vibe, but in a way that’s fitting, since it was a return to this little ritual of pleasure, and kind of marks a new era in baking antics for me.

rediscovering the excitations of Spotify

Spotify is what the lovechild of Facebook and iTunes would look like –  a massive library of music combined with the ability to share your inane thoughts and likes with the world. In fact, it’s actually linked to both of them; you can connect your iTunes library and listen to it through Spotify, all the while it automatically posts what you’re listening to on your Facebook page.

Spotify Logo

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the best part of Spotify is the ability to discover new music and listen to those obscure songs and artists who you never manage to get your hands on. It’s the radio you control.

So today I’ve been able to give really good artists like Passenger and The Neighbourhood the proper time they deserve, instead of just watching random youtube videos of their songs and losing interest after 3 or 4.

It’s very gratifying, and I love having the chance to discover new music.

using my hangover as an excuse to delight in origami

origami cranes

Sorry, I didn’t post last night, but I was too busy checking out Antique Bar and having an enlightening heart to heart over wine and cheese with my friend. The only kicker to this lovely evening is the hangover this morning. And the lack of sleep, since I was only able to snatch four hours before I awoke at 5am to go to work.

I simply adored the bar. It was exactly the kind of place that I feel comfortable in – beautiful antique furniture, a cosy atmosphere and it was practically empty the whole time we were there, apart from the lovely bartender. I definitely want to go back there. In fact, I enjoyed myself so much that I can easily see myself regularly visiting it.

But of course, everything had a price, and a magical evening such as last night comes with a morning of nausea, dizziness and some slight head pain. This is especially difficult especially when combined with Monday-itis and an early start. In fact, I was still a little intoxicated when I arrived at work this morning, although luckily working around fried food cured any cravings I may have had. Plus, I seem to have worked out an effective routine for dealing with hangovers – oatmeal with banana for potassium and stable blood sugar, plus lots of water and tea throughout the morning to rehydrate. And one coffee for energy. It seems to work well for me.

Of course, come the end of my work shift I was still feeling pretty icky (although it was an upbeat icky), and I still had an assignment to fill my afternoon with. But, like any skilled procrastinator, I was inclined to spend the afternoon pursuing other delights instead of putting myself through extra suffering with essay writing. So I armed myself with the excuse that any work I did get done would be poor quality due to the fuzz that is my head today, and I bought myself some textured card to make origami cranes with, which I plan to string together and hang in the spare room. This is a project that I’ve had in the back of my mind for a while, and at last I am finally giving wind to it.

I have a longstanding relationship with origami cranes. I studied Japanese in school from Year 5 through to VCE, and naturally we had classes featuring origami at least twice a year. But the main reason I can make a crane with such ease (though even after all these years I still struggle with neat folds) is that when I was 11 years old my best friend’s father was diagnosed with leukaemia, and we found inspiration in the Japanese tale of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. For those not familiar with the story, Sadako is teenage girl in Japan who develops cancer following the bombings of Hiroshima and surrounds. In a desperate bid to get better, she makes a thousand paper cranes, which, according to a local legend, will grant her the gods’ gift of being cured. In the tale, she makes it to 644 cranes before she grows too weak to fold anymore, and passes away. Her family and friends fold the remaining number, and she is buried with them.

So, upon hearing this tale, my class spent many, many hours folding paper cranes and stringing them together until we reached 1000. We did make our goal, and even a current affairs program. My friend’s dad went into remission following a bone marrow transplant, though he too died a few years later when more cancer was discovered.

Though my story has a sad ending, it did teach me to appreciate how people join together in one big effort for a greater purpose. Utilitarian goals tend to have that effect, and yet we rarely see this type of phenomenon happening.

The thousand paper cranes is a major peace education tool in schools, and a symbol for peace throughout the world today. It’s a story with a lesson much more valuable than the book containing it lets on, and one that needs to be spread everywhere.

But more than that, it needs to be listened to.

Wenda from Where’s Wally

That’s right, another costume party is on the agenda for me!

This time the theme is Where’s Wally, and I’m going as Wenda. Which is basically Wally, but with a skirt instead of pants. Awesome.

I purchased all my costume for cheap prices off ebay over the last few weeks, all that is remaining is to put it on and go have a great night.

Tonight’s event is one I helped organise (not that I had a major role in it, mostly it was just voting on themes) as part of the club I’m on the committee on at uni. It should be a good night; I’ve harassed a few of my friends into buying tickets and I know all the ins and outs of the event. Plus, it’s a great theme, since costumes are easy but effective and it’s hard not to get into it.

One of the most exciting aspects of the cruise, is that there will be a “real” Wally which non-committee members have to guess from a series of clues they will be given upon arrival. I know who it is, but the game adds that extra fun factor (plus a reward of several drink cards for the afterparty).

You all heard how I was hungering for a costume party where I could go all out, well just watch as that need is fulfilled!

Where's Wally?

Where’s Wally? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)