Sunday, 1 March 2015

we all have a story to tell

..."What do you even blog about?"
..."And what's the point in writing a blog that you don't make money from?"
..."But who would want to read what you write anyway?"

Those were the questions thrown at me by a friend's wife several weeks ago at a social gathering. 
It felt like an interrogation. And I felt like a fraud.

My immediate response?

S H I T . . . 
W H Y   D O   I   W R I T E  ? ! 

And then I found this... 

... and Flannery O'Connor had said it for me.

The truth is - My mind is a busy place.

And sometimes I need to Write It Out, just like T-Swift likes to Shake It Off.

For as long as I can remember, writing has been a huge part of my life.

Short stories; Journals; Poems; Letters; This Blog.

I find words to be therapeutic; and oftentimes, they pour out of my fingertips onto the keyboard, or scrawled across a piece of paper with the tip of a pen, and create sentences I didn't even know existed in my mind.

I can empty my emotions onto a page and suddenly the jumble of thoughts combines with my subconscious and I can find clarity spelled out before me.

I write because I made a promise to my Nan that I would one day publish a book of my stories; Because perhaps my lessons will help others (or at the very least, serve to entertain).

I write because I have a terrible memory!
So that I can read it back and marvel at my experiences; and remember with exact detail how I felt in that very moment.

Sometimes I write with a self-imposed pinky promise to never look at those words again.

I have thoughts.
And I have opinions.
And I write this blog because I want to.


Sunday, 15 February 2015

the power of expectations

Just over a week ago, I was over-the-moon excited to embark on The. Best. Weekend. Ever.

That may be a slight over-exaggeration (on this blog?! No WAY!); and the details are insignificant, but the learning was, in one word - EPIC.

And here I am a week later, considering the concept of expectation.

 [ek-spek-tey-shuh n]
1. the act or the state of expecting : to wait in expectation.
2. the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.
3. an expectant mental attitude: a high pitch of expectation.
4. something expected; a thing looked forward to.
5. Often, expectations. a prospect of future good : to have great expectations.
6. the degree of probability that something will occur : There is little expectation that he will come.

In a nutshell, here's what I now know - 

Expectation Met Exceeded = On Cloud Nine.

Expectation Raised = Hope.

Expectation Not Met = Total Devastation.

There are two questions circling my mind -  

If we have expectations (whether they are of a person or a situation); 
Are we setting ourselves up for disappointment?

Or are we simply putting the best case scenario out into the universe so that it can deliver the goods??

Are expectations (a desire for a certain outcome) a sign of greed; or Optimism?

The honest truth? 
I would rather feel the buzzing highs of anticipation; and suffer the crushing lows of disappointment; than experience life without hope.


[Sidenote: In an ultimate example of irony - I have logged into blogger expecting to blurt out a post on expectation; I've struggled to put my thoughts into words for 3 days....; lost my connection to the internet and subsequently lost the random babbling I hadn't saved; started again, not with more clarity, but with less expectation.. and it has led me to this gem -

The key to letting go of resistance is letting go of the expectation that you’re supposed to be anywhere other than where you already are, right now.

Things will change soon enough and they will find you along your path, as you are ready. But until then, enjoy here, now.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

ten simple rules...

I have long contemplated the pros and cons of using this site to document my personal personal life.

I mean, naturally, I use this space to write about Life in a broad sense of the word, but I've always been very clear that this is not the forum for a Dear Diary outpouring of feelings and moment-by-moment replay of daily events. 

Nonetheless, the time has come for me to write an open letter to the men. More specifically - single men. Even more specifically - single men who are trying desperately to become un-single. The kind with whom I have recently had various (mostly unpleasant) encounters.

Let me first admit that the readership of this blog is comprised of my sister, one or two friends who only come here because I bribe them, and (for some inexplicable reason) a handful of people from Taiwan; So.. the odds of any single men (particularly those to whom this is intended) stumbling across this post is somewhere between slim and minus five million.

Never mind....

Dear Single Men, 

Following my recent and (quite frankly) baffling personal experiences in the dating world, I am taking it upon myself to offer some advice from me, a twenty-something year old girl who enjoys margaritas and long walks on the beach; to you, a potential suitor who has not progressed past primary school techniques, such as pinching and name-calling, as a means to express interest in a woman.

Let me break it down for you.

Please don't over-complicate it. Hmm.. isn't it ironic that my first suggestion is to keep things simple, despite this being quite an extensive list. In my world - Boy asks girl out. Girl says yes. If you ask me to meet you at X at whatever o'clock on Friday I will say yes. You have worked out the details, and extended an invitation; the least I can do is accept the offer to get to know you. 
The whole "text-only" phase has a very short expiration date. I will get bored and move on. 

Please don't lure me under false pretenses. If I agree to meet for coffee, I have allocated a certain portion of my day to this pre-arranged activity. Please don't put me on the spot and force me to commit to extra time by announcing upon arrival that you're hungry and want to order a steak. They say that it takes just 15 minutes to decide if you have chemistry with someone (I believe it to be much quicker than that). So, upgrading yourself from a drink to a meal at the beginning of the date makes me immediately annoyed which does nothing for the potential chemistry; or worse, I will question your integrity- why weren't you clear about your intentions when we were organising this thing? 

Please don't whistle - At me or anyone else. Not in an "OMG, you're hot" kind of way; nor in a "Hey there, wait-staff! I am trying to get your attention!" kind of way. Whistling is for communicating with animals.

Please don't quote TV Shows to me. I won't understand the reference. Specific examples include (but are not limited to) Friends, Seinfeld, The Simpsons. I do not, and have never, watched them. Trying to further explain the quote in its original context won't help. 
[Hot Tip : The gifs in this post give you an indication of the tv shows I do watch.]

Please don't tell a story about all your attached/married/settled mates and explain that you're looking to "get serious about life" because you want a wife, three kids, a dog and a picket fence just like them. Maybe this is music to some girls' ears..?? But far from drifting into a day dream about our future wedding, I guarantee I will feel like a science experiment being assessed on my mating potential based on my genetics. At this point, I will also imagine you creepily photo-shopping my Facebook photos into a family album of our future children.

Please don't make me share the popcorn. I'm not kidding. Popcorn is just not a sharing food between two people who are still getting to know each other. You will insist on holding it to establish your control in our blossoming relationship; and I will worry about making too much noise / wonder if you are judging me for eating too much / if I am distracting you every time I reach to get some. As a result, I will barely touch it despite spending the entire duration of the movie thinking about it. (By the way - That's not a euphemism, I'm legit talking about popcorn).

Please don't make a big deal out of my age and/or our age difference. This applies on every level - calling me a Cougar is equally as off-putting as calling me Kiddo. If we have chemistry and more than a few things in common, age should be irrelevant. Demi and Ashton used to be a great example for this point. But since they're no longer together, let's just move along with the knowledge that labels are unnecessary.

Please don't play The Waiting Game. (Notice I didn't say 'please don't play games'?! Those can be fun...) But focus - because I'm talking specifically about The Waiting Game, for which I have no patience. Whoever is spreading nonsense about a 3-day rule needs to be publicly shamed.
There will come a point after our date at which time I will start to consider the possible reasons I've not heard from you. Common possibilities considered include :
a. You’re not interested anymore [Ouch.. perhaps harsh but fair..]
b. You’re too busy for me [ie. I'm not a priority and/or your social calender is overflowing with commitments so it's "last in, first out"];
c. Your girlfriend/wife/mum (?!) is back in town [Please don't entangle me in your dissatisfying life];
d. You died. Your phone died. Someone died. [If someone did actually die - Please know that I would be most sympathetic and would probably offer baked goods as my condolences. Please also know that it is incredibly inappropriate to fake a death with the expectation of receiving baked goods].
Depending on my interest in you, I will either privately contemplate these options; or openly discuss each possibility with one or more friends.
Further to the bullshit 3-day rule - I don't know many girls who will get upset because you contacted them too soon after a date. However, there is a fine line between keen and needy. Find it. Respect it.

Please don't centre the conversation around your judgments of me. If you think I would be perfect on Big Brother as the "hot, corporate, bossy chick" please keep that to yourself even if (for some unknown reason) you think it is a compliment. 

Please don't assume you know me. The fact that we are friends on Facebook does not give you the right to make assumptions about my life. Reference my social media posts if you want (provided it's recent and not from 2012) but remember that these platforms are about showcasing a highlight reel. It's true that I have an active social life, I bake and I travel fairly regularly; but did you know that I can also tell the difference between a flathead and a phillipshead screwdriver? I can build my own IKEA furniture; and I can cook a barbeque. I have bought and sold houses, I have loved and I have lost; I have known success and felt failure; and I will never settle for anything less than fireworks ever again.

With love from Andie


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

caramel walnut pancakes

You tell me - Is this picture worth 1,000 words?

caramel walnut pancakes

I'll give you four -  

Butter; Brown Sugar; Cream.

That's all you need to make a basic yet incredibly delicious caramel.

What was that?

"Thanks for interrupting the endless New Years Diet posts with this sugar-laden dessert"

You're welcome!

Serve these caramel walnuts on pancakes as I have done;
Pour over generous scoops of vanilla bean ice-cream;
Or eat by the spoonful from the saucepan.

Whatever makes you happy. The diet can start tomorrow...


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

b a l a n c e

OK, we are now two weeks into The New Year (eek! Can you believe it!?)

So first of all - I want to thank you for your patience because I am slack with the "regular posting" thing; 

And secondly - I want to preface this post with an apology for writing about a topic you've probably seen plastered all over social media since the countdown and fireworks at midnight on NYE.

Click on the link above to work through Susannah Conway's process* and read more about the concept of intention setting if you'd like some guidance and further understanding of the exercise.

Or.. close your eyes (maybe read the rest of my instructions first...)
And think of a word that you'd like to tuck away in your pocket (or scream from the rooftops if that's more your style) that will encompass the next 12 months of your life.

There's no judgement involved in this activity. 

Infact, you needn't share this word with anyone if you would prefer to keep it to yourself.

This process (for me anyway) was about finding a word that 'fit'. A word I won't grow out of over the course of the year, as we transition through seasons. A word that neither felt heavy and full of burden, or weightless and insignificant.

So without further ado... I present to you

M Y   W O R D   F O R   2 0 1 5


To be fair.. I did ruin the surprise a little by giving it away in the title of the post.. But hopefully you'll forgive me for that too.

I don't think I can sufficiently explain why this is The One. 
But this theme will be key in every aspect of my life.

Imagine a set of old-school scales; or a see-saw in a playground... 

Too much weight/attention/focus on one side and the other is sent shooting upwards; uneven; neglected.

My commitment to balance in 2015 is about

Work vs Life

Spend vs Save

Give vs Take

Sensible vs Silly

Rush vs Relax

All vs Nothing

Yin vs Yang


*In the interest of full disclosure - I didn't follow Susannah's 5-step process. But she seems to know what she's talking about, so give it shot if you feel you might benefit...

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