Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday's Seven Snapshots #4 (plus a video because it deserves to bethere)

I'll start with a tragic story and try to end on a positive note.  I'm not a cricket fan, but it has a massive following in Australia.  I am a sports fan, and I'm a human who has empathy and compassion for others.  I know nothing about cricket, but I know this - 25 years old is way to young to die.  This is Phillip Hughes, an Australian cricketer, who was hit in the neck by a cricket ball during a match.  He passed out and dropped.  Reportedly, he never regained consciousness.  He died two days later.  A terribly sad story in the Australian community and cricket world.  Hug a loved one, and say a prayer for his family.  Also, the player that bowled the pitch that hit him (22 year old, Sean Abbott) is reportedly grieving and "broken".  Send prayers and good vibes his way too.  Grab a tissue for the video.  
Photo credit









Did some jewellery designing this week

























I started reading "The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion this week.  Girls in my book challenge raved about it, so I put myself on the reserve list at my local library.  It came in while I'm in another book challenge now (SCWBC14), and it fits one of the categories (it's by an Australian author).  It is living up to my expectations!

Nap time with by sleep buddy, Astro - it is a rare occasion that I'm asleep, and he's not right there with me.

Sister & Brother ~ Ivy & Ricky ~ she looks unamused

The greatest Christmas decorations ever, made entirely out of legos, at a major shopping strand in the heart of downtown Sydney.

Cleaning the bathroom Saturday night, and Liam brought this to me saying "in case you were hungry". Sweet boy. 








Friday, November 28, 2014

Update: Fall Film Challenge

I joined a film challenge that lasted for three months (read about it here).  It ends on the 30th of November. (Today is the 1st of December in my part of the world.) I am much more a reader than a movie watcher...I like a good movie; I just don't watch them as much as I read.  So, I knew this would be a challenge.  Here's a recap of the movies I watched and a little blurb of what I thought about them:

one. any action/adventure flick - Captain Phillips - A movie based on a true story from a fairly recent event, I knew the story and the outcome.  I still thought it was a great movie. There is a scene close to the very end where Tom Hanks hit me in the gut and made me cry.

four. any drama/biography/documentary - Artifact - The music business is whack. As a huge music fan, I've known this, seen artists' interviews and read articles about it. This documentary is another example of proof that the music business is whack. I was a fan of Thirty Seconds to Mars and Jared Leto prior to viewing this. I'm even more of a fan now.

seven. any starring an actress whose last name begins with the letter g - Texas Killing Fields (Annabeth Gish) - Annabeth Gish had a small role. It had potential but didn't live up to it.  A shame because Jessica Chastain is in it, but even she couldn't save it.

eight. any set during any holiday - Labor Day - This is not a happy movie.  It is depressing.  Kate Winslet (as always) shows that she is a master at her craft.

nine. any from internet movie database's top flicks list - City of God - Gritty, ruthless film about druglords in the slums of Rio narrated by a boy trying to stay out of the crime war.  This film is a good reason to participate in challenges like this.  I'd probably never have watched it without being introduced to it through this challenge, and I really enjoyed it.

ten. any starring an actor whose last name begins with the letter j - Prisoners (Hugh Jackman) - A very intense Hugh Jackman performance with a twist I didn't predict.

eleven. any starring an actress whose last name begins with the letter k - Rabbit Hole (Nicole Kidman) - Difficult, heartbreaking subject matter; great acting performances.

 twelve. any shot in london, england - RocknRolla - I enjoy Guy Ritchie movies, and this one had a great cast with great characters.

thirteen. any awarded an oscar for best original score - Babel - I like movies (and books) that show how various stories and lives criss cross one another in unexpected, interesting ways. The musical score does play a significant role in the film.

fourteen. any adapted from any novel - The Great Gatsby - Visually stunning of a classic story. So good.

 eighteen. any romance or comedy - Anchorman 2 - Yes, there were parts that made me laugh out loud.  Kristen Wiig was a great addition to the cast.  All that being said, overall, it was a stupid movie.

 twenty. any thriller or mystery - The Return - So bad.  So, so, so bad.  I had to fast forward parts just to get the movie over with.

 twenty-two. any shot in a country you've never visited - Blood Diamond (shot in South Africa and Mozambique) - I'm really, really glad I finally watched this. I sell fine jewelry, gemstones, and diamonds. So, I am aware of the Kimberley Process to regulate against buying conflict diamonds. This was a great, yet heart wrenching story with superb acting.


twenty-three. any shot in wilmington, north carolina - The Conjuring - Creepy good, if you'll watch one of those demon possession type flicks.

 twenty-four. any western or war film - The Alamo - If you're going to watch a movie about the Alamo, watch the John Wayne version.  This was terrible.  Sad to say, but true.

Obviously, I'm a whole lot better at completing book challenges over film challenges. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thoughts #16 - Thanks

It's that time of year again.  Thanksgiving.  It's the most difficult day for me as an American living in another part of the world.  Thanksgiving is a very special day filled with food, football, and family while expressing gratitude for so many of our blessings and bounty.  My guy has been great in years past, knowing that it is an important holiday for me.  He's cooked me a turkey dinner with all the fixings.  He's taken me to a restaurant that hosted a Thanksgiving themed meal.  As much as I appreciate him and his efforts, (I really, really am grateful to have him)...but, Thanksgiving just isn't the same without these guys.  Today, I'm a little sad. 








Yep, we're family!
To my Texas family:  Thank you for being you, and loving me for being me!  Love you, and miss you.
Happy Thanksgiving! 


**P.S. The next time I'm with my other side of the family, I totally need pictures!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

List #16a - Liebster Award (or if you don't know what that is, like I didn't, 11 questions to get to know a blogger)

 

 I'm blogging more, and I'm reading more blogs.  I stumbled upon Sarah's blog post about the Liebster award.  As she states, "(t)he Liebster award is passed around from blog to blog who have less than 200 followers!"  I'll answer eleven questions that Sarah has asked, then I will nominate eleven (why 11? I don't know) other blogs with around or just less than 200 followers on Facebook and/or Bloglovin'. (Yes, I stole more of Sarah's explanation...I'm new at this and not sure what I'm doing)  From Sarah: "The nominees will then have the opportunity to answer my questions and continue the nominations! It's a great way to get to know one another in the blogging community and for readers to get to know more about the person they follow!"

1. What is your favorite memory from 2014?  
 I get married in 2014, not too many days from now, so I'll go ahead and predict that will be a great day.

 2. What is the best meal you've ever had? 
In 2013, I surprised my mom by coming home to Texas (with the help of family).  We gathered aunts, uncle, cousins, and more to surprise her at Chuy's, a favorite Tex-Mex restaurant.  I had chips & creamy jalapeƱo dip, Texas martinis, and more yummy goodness surrounded by family that love me.

3. If you could travel anywhere for one day, where would it be?
 Does this include time travel?  Because I'd totally go visit my younger self for a day and have a long conversation.

4. What is your favorite color?  
Hot Pink

5. What is one item on your Christmas wish list?
Shoes.  Black flats.  Boring.  I know, but I need a new pair.
6. What was your favorite childhood TV show?
 Welcome Back Kotter - loved those Sweathogs!

7. Would you rather be hot or cold? Why?
 Hot.  I like the feeling of warmth and sweating over freezing and shivering.

8. Backstreet Boys or N'Sync?
N'Sync

9. Do you wear socks to bed?
Never

10. How often do you blog throughout the week?
I've been blogging more; I used to be so infrequent; now two or three times a week

11. What is your favorite movie?
Tough to pick just one, but I'll say Love Actually.




My questions:
1. What is your favorite holiday?
2. If you could spend a week by yourself (no travel companion, just you) anywhere in the world, where would it be?
3. You can only have one of the following totally materialistic items; which one would it be?  The house of your dreams, the car of your dreams, the wardrobe of your dreams?
4. Do you blog most often during the day or at night?
5. Coffee or Tea?
6. You are forced to give up two of the following; which do you keep?  Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?
7. Bath or Shower?
8. What's your favorite (something visual that involves admiring other people's talents) concert, or musical, or play, or painting?
9. Cats or Dogs?
10.  You kill an hour in front of your television.  You watch reality tv, a drama, a documentary, a comedy?
11. Do you dance, sing, or play a musical instrument?

Now, I'm supposed to nominate eleven bloggers with approximately 200 followers (or less) on facebook and/or bloglovin' to participate and answer my questions above.  I'm just starting to actively follow blogs, so this may be tough.  I'm not sure how I'm even supposed to go about tagging them.  I'll figure it out.  I nominate:
Jenn at http://www.smartassdirect.com/
Lola at http://www.livinghe.re/ 
Daisy at http://simplicityrelished.com/
Kristen at  http://www.seeyouinaporridge.com/
Jess at  http://jeansandatiara.blogspot.com
Shelby at http://theothersideofusual.wordpress.com/
Samantha at http://www.samanthafabris.com/
Crystal at http://www.dreams-etc.com/
Torie at http://www.callitadventureblog.com/
Breenah at http://bybreenah.blogspot.com
Brita at http://bellebrita.com/

Thoughts #15 - Rhetoric

Social media has been filled with some strong rhetoric and images the last 24 hours.  I've read things that I wish I hadn't read.  I've seen things that I wish I didn't see.  Living in Australia, I don't see all American news stories covered in the same way.  But, I read American news daily.  I believe that our news' sources can shape our thoughts about certain stories, so I try to read several different sources and points of view when stories of interest surface. 

From what I've read and seen, I think the death of Michael Brown could've been prevented by both Brown and Officer Wilson. Brown acted aggressively towards the officer. He definitely shouldn't have done that. When an officer gives instruction, you do what he/she says, whether you agree or not. And, you definitely don't act in a way that can be interpreted as reaching for the officer's weapon.
Did the officer over-react? I think there's argument that he did. I think six shots were unnecessary.
But it doesn't matter what I think. It was up to the grand jury. They made a decision. If the citizens of Ferguson want to protest that decision, that is their right, and I support it. However, I do not support looting, vandalism, setting fires, or further violence. I know we don't live in an ideal world, but I'd like to see us learn, grow, and evolve when such incidents take place. I don't think further destruction helps that cause.


Those are my thoughts, but I'd like to share the thoughts of someone else.    I had the pleasure of working with Danny for a few years. He is a hard-working, easy-going, father, husband, and friend. He is a black man who grew up in Houston, Texas, the fourth largest city in the USA.  Danny posted these words on facebook a few hours after the Ferguson announcement.  His words were thoughtful, heartfelt, and eloquent. They are worth sharing and thoughtfully reading. Read, and think. (But, please, do not use my space as a place to disrespectfully debate).
From Danny: "Today, we as a culture are dealing with centuries of negative mental programming and a culture of lack and inferiority that we are just now beginning to shed. We need to work toward the ultimate goal of unity and growth (spiritual,mental, and economic) if we ever want to move past where we've been. We got close during the civil rights movement, but were derailed by the efforts of those who hated us for no plausible reason other than heritage.
We have to do better and teach our children better if we want better. We cant loot liquor stores in our community because of civil injustice. If we're not happy with what's going on, we need to be effective not only.with our words, but with our actions. I just can't deal with some of these images I see. It makes it hard for those who can articulate the real problems to maintain any credibility when it's a stark contrast to the actions some display. Looting is not protesting. It's just that simple."
Photo credit



Monday, November 24, 2014

List #16 - Lyrics

On the train, listening to my ipod which I regularly keep on shuffle so whatever plays next is a surprise.  Today, it's serving up some good ones, so I've grabbed some lyrics to share:

1.
We were the kings and queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the children of a lesser God
Between Heaven and Hell
30 Seconds to Mars "Kings and Queens" written by Jared Leto
photo from band's facebook

2.
I will not bow
I will not break
I will shut the world away
Breaking Benjamin "I Will Not Bow" written by Jasen Rauch
Photo from band's facebook

3.
Say you want to stay, you want me to
Say you'll never die, you'll always haunt me
I want to know I belong to you
Say you'll haunt me
Stone Sour "Say You'll Haunt Me" written by Josh Rand, Roy Mayorga, James Root, Corey Taylor, Shawn Economaki
Photo from band's facebook

4.
Do what you wanna do
Go out and seek your truth
When I'm down and blue
Rather be me than you
Alice In Chains "Heaven Beside You" written by Jerry Cantrell
Photo credit - Two guys in this photo are dead from drug overdoses - Drugs are bad, kids.

5.
Even when you're all alone
Even when it's not your home
I smell the blood of an australian
Try to understand me if you can
Eskimo Joe "Foreign Land" written by Stephen Parkin
Photo from band's facebook

6.
The feelings I once felt are now dead and gone
I've waited here for you for so very long 
Black Label Society "Stillborn" written by Zachary P. Wylde
Photo from band's facebook

7.
I just can't wake up on the floor
Like a thousand times before
Knowing that forever won't be
P!nk "Mean" written by Jonathan S. Davis, Alecia Moore, Butch Walker, Billy Mann
Photo credit

8.
I won't stop running
I'm only getting closer
To getting off the ground this time
The sky is calling, the wind is at my shoulders
Won't let this chance pass me by
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators "Bent to Fly" written by Saul Hudson and Myles Kennedy
Photo from Slash's facebook

9.
You make me wanna die
I'll never be good enough
You make me wanna die
And everything you love will burn up in the light
Every time I look inside your eyes
You make me wanna die
The Pretty Reckless "Make Me Wanna Die" written by Kato Khandwala, Taylor Momsen, Ben Phillips
Photo credit

10.
And this is how it looks when I am standing on the edge
And this is how I break apart when I finally hit the ground
And this is how it hurts when I pretend I don't feel any pain
And this is how I disappear when I throw myself away
Red "Breathe Into Me" written by Jason Mcarthur, Robert Douglas Graves, Jasen Rauch, Anthony Armstrong
Photo from band's facebook

11.
Runnin wild and lookin pretty
Nick Gilder "Hot Child in the City" written by Nick Gilder and James McCulloch
Photo credit

12.
With open hearts, despite the stakes
We take a chance on our mistakes
A brand new day, we will embrace
An open wound that heals with grace
All the fears that we will face
In this time, and in this place
When you can say, and I can say
We loved with every step we take, I'll be ok
Nothing More "I'll Be OK" written by Daniel Oliver, Jonathan Taylor Hawkins, Mark Anthony Vollelunga

Photo from band's facebook
13.
 I know you'll look away while I'm crying
I know you'll wear that bow with a smile
Everything I gave you, it was wasted
Love further down, adore that denial
AFI "Heart Stops" written by Davey Havok and Jade Puget

Photo from band's facebook
14.
 Something so familiar drawn from this blank page
Every line from my hand takes me back to what I can't erase
Bon Jovi "Pictures of You" written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, John M. Shanks

Photo from band's facebook
15.
This song is a work of lyrical genius, so you get the whole song.  The song is a story that you need it in its entirety to truly feel the emotion of the story.  Seriously.  If you do not know this song, watch this video, and read these lyrics.  So, so good.

And it starts
Sometime around midnight
Or at least that's when you lose yourself
For a minute or two

As you stand
Under the bar lights
And the band plays some song about forgetting yourself for a while
And the piano's this melancholy soundtrack to her smile
And that white dress she's wearing, you haven't seen her
For a while

But you know
That she's watching
She's laughing, she's turning
She's holding her tonic like a cross
The room suddenly spinning, she walks up and asks how you are
So you can smell her perfume
You can see her lying naked in your arms

And so there's a change
In your emotions
And all of these memories come rushing like feral waves to your mind
Of the curl of your bodies, like two perfect circles entwined
And you feel hopeless, and homeless, and lost in the haze of the wine

And she leaves
With someone you don't know
But she makes sure you saw her, she looks right at you and bolts
As she walks out the door
Your blood boiling, your stomach in ropes
And then your friends say "What is it? You look like you've seen a ghost."

And you walk
Under the streetlights
And you're too drunk to notice that everyone's staring at you
You don't care what you look like
The world is falling around you

You just have to see her
You just have to see her
You just have to see her
You just have to see her
You just have to see her

You know that she'll break you in two

The Airborne Toxic Event "Sometime Around Midnight" written by Mikel Jollet

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday's Seven Snapshots #3


I took the day off on Monday, watched a couple of movies, and snuggled with this guy. 

Tuesday marked fifteen years since the collapse of Aggie bonfire and twelve lives were lost. A sad day for my university. 

I was liking my hot pink lipstick, so I took a photo. I'm an idiot sometimes. 

Picked up some books at the library. I've had The Rosie Project on reserve for months. It was finally ready for me, and it fits a category for the book challenge. Bonus. 

A friend posted this; I had to save and share. 

Instagram had a campaign to bring awareness to domestic violence. I saw this post by a girl I don't know and was really moved by it. 

Me at The Screaming Jets - an Aussie rock show that I'm so glad I didn't miss (thanks to Kate). 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Currently Loving Linkup #2

I stumbled upon a blog (The Happy Type) who is new to hosting a weekly linkup.  Well, I'm new to participating in a weekly linkup.  (Actually, I've never participated until now.)  If I'm going to jump in as a newbie, I might as well jump in with a newbie host.  Check her out here

The Happy Type 

My contribution to things that I'm "currently loving":

Mount Franklin Lightly Sparkling Water - For the last few months, I've done a pretty good job at eliminating cokes and other sodas and energy drinks.  Because of this, I've been drinking lots and lots of water.  I've discovered that if I drink sparkling water it actually makes me feel fuller.  I don't know if it's the bubbles working magic or what, but it works for me.  Plus, Mount Franklin has these Jennifer Hawkins (former Miss Universe) sponsored wrapped bottles of water, so they look pretty while I'm drinking them :)

I don't regularly watch morning news/entertainment shows.  But, if I did, I'd watch the Today Show (Australian version).  Karl Stefanovic is a well-known television presenter in Australia.  Some love him, and some hate him.  I've found him to be somewhat genuine and entertaining.  I think he made news this week for a pretty awesome social experiment.  Watch here:

Butch Walker is an insanely talented musician that I (not just currently) regularly love.  He's got a new album coming out soon.  He's touring with Ryan Adams and playing awesome places like Carnegie Hall.  He's feeding his fans with new songs from the upcoming album.  This is one of them.  I love the guitar.  I love the vocals.  I love the lyrics.  Three reasons why I love Mr. Butch Walker.

Spring is my favorite season, and it's Springtime in Sydney!  The skies are blue, the flowers are blooming, and the weather has been pretty close to perfect.  I love that I have citrus trees in my front and back yards.  Here's a baby mandarin from my yard:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sunday's Seven Snapshots #2

Monday was these girlies' first birthday. Sally & Dolly are one year old!  We were told they are 75% Great Dane + 25% German Shepherd. Now, after a year of growth, I'm convinced they are 100% mutt. Love these sweet sisters. 

Tuesday was Veteran's Day in America and Remembrance Day in Australia. These are pictures of my great-uncles who served in WWII. 


People freaked about the trilogy that began with Fifty Shades of Grey; I couldn't finish the book. Actually, I just didn't care how it ended, so I quit it. Now, fans are freaking about the movie trailer. The BDSM doesn't bother me. I'm just not fond of neat-freak, self-absorbed, anal-retentive people, nor am I attracted to them. Let's just say I would NOT be interested in a guy if his closet looked like this.

I commute daily by train. This is a typical view for me: book in hand, Lavendar Bay and North Sydney in the distance. 

It was time to put decorations out at the store. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... (Shameless plug: www.polajewellers.com)

Ivy loves laying on her daddy's clothes (and mine too). If you can't find her, she may be in the wardrobe or closet, in a clothes drawer, or in the laundry basket.

In bed, with a book and my three kitties: My kind of Saturday night party these days.

Yes, this week had several animal photos. I can't help it. They are such cute subjects that I take a lot of fur baby photos. 

How was your week?

*okay, I wrote this Saturday night but didn't mean to publish until Sunday but hit publish on accident, so it published a day early. Thank goodness I don't have many people that actually pay attention to my blog. Ha!