Monday, March 31, 2014

Summary of March 2014

This month last year
Struggling to remember - my blog was hit with screeds of spam comments so I took quite a break from posting.

Entertained by
Watched True Detective and loved it - fortunately I didn't start until all eight episodes had aired, so wasn't following along theories/recaps and didn't know what to expect. Matthew McConaughey is too good. I read Who Killed Scott Guy? on the iBooks app. Enjoyed playing with the French Girls app - submit a selfie for a stranger to draw, and receive a stranger's selfie to draw.

Bought three work-appropriate dresses, a black cardi and Never Been Kissed on DVD.

This month has been intense - these would all normally be posts in themselves, but there's just been too much going on.

I quit all fizzy drinks (soda) at the start of this month, including energy drinks. Only had one single ginger ale while out for dinner, and a couple of beers on Fridays for after-work drinks.

I went out for a lovely dinner at Charley Noble with Charlie and his Mum, then we all went to Power Plant at the Botanical Gardens which was amazing. Far less visual than I expected and so much more sound, which I loved. Do not understand why the posters had children on them - I think if they want to go then great, but it probably shouldn't be marketed as a family event imho.

I applied for an administration job and had a great meeting with some of the nicest people I've ever been interviewed by. They offered me the job and I was really excited about it. AND THEN...

I was contacted by someone I've met through SYAONZ and my medication - we had planned to meet up around Christmas time after I did that filming for AbbVie but it fell through. Long story short, we met up and she offered me a job. A job that ticks every single box on the 'Job Wishlist' I'd had on my Notes app since the new year - something I hoped to achieve in maybe five years, not within a matter of weeks. I'm so excited to say all the blogging and vlogging and Tweeting and SYAONZing and art and pretty much everything I do for fun has amounted to this opportunity.

On the day I got my contract, Charlie also got offered the job he had applied for! So we're doing pretty damn well right now.

My Dad did the helicopter flight we gave him as a gift last year and loved it - check out the photos on his blog.

Resigning is bittersweet - too excited for words about my new job, but I have had so many great times in my current job, and will miss the great people I've been working with a lot. Also having to turn down the other job offer sucked!

Looking forward to
Dad's birthday, Charlie starting a new job, Easter, having friends visit, starting my new job!

Most liked on Instagram
Put some effort into my make up for Ashley and Dave's engagement party.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Summary of February 2014

This month last year
Paul Holmes passed away, and I sold a portrait of him for charity. Again, the weather was better. We're having the odd stunning day but overall it's a crap summer.

Entertained by
Got back into movies this month. Loved Her. Enjoyed About Time a lot more than I expected - loved The Time Traveler's Wife book but not so much the film, and this was significantly better. Didn't really enjoy Enough Said - the late James Gandolfini was darling and I admire Tavi Gevinson so much. But the story was kinda silly; how can a grown woman be so out of touch, especially with the daughter plot. Watched all of Brooklyn Nine Nine - hilarious - and the first season of House of Cards (thanks, 3NOW) and loving My Kitchen Rules of course. Been listening to Kate Miller-Heidke again in anticipation of her new album out next month. Also been listening to Simon and Garfunkel, Fionn Regan and Jimmy Eat World. Variety, mate.

Finally won a TradeMe auction and scored a leggy couch, and its little sister! Thank you to legendary Mum and Dad for picking them up, and to Dad and Charlie for 'dismantling' the old one. And we bought a new desk chair for Charlie so he can actually sit and play computer games without leaning to the side. They only had the floor model left so we got it with a discount and carried it home (I did help until we got to the hill…) I also bought a new work-appropriate dress and blazer.

Mum giving me a lovely ring and card for Valentine's Day. Having a few more summer days and hanging out with my sister at the beach. Getting rid of the old couch.

Tough stuff at work - not directly affecting me, but still not fun. Finding out Louis Cole was hanging out at Wagamama's on the waterfront and not going to meet him.

Looking forward to
Gift shopping for a few birthdays coming up. Interview with The Wireless going up probably next week.

Most liked on Instagram

Honourable mentions

Friday, January 31, 2014

Summary of January 2014

This may or may not become a monthly update. I may or may not add more categories. Keeping you on your toes. Inspired by my cousin Amelia's questionnaire series.

This month last year
I think the weather was better. I went to Wings Over Wairarapa with my parents which was nice. No stand out memories.

Entertained by
I'm so addicted to all-Australian reality TV at the moment. Big Brother, The Bachelor, The Block, My Kitchen Rules. It's excessive. Had a few things spoiled for the ones that have already finished airing in Australia, so watching the rest as it airs over there. I've been listening to a lot more news radio lately too. Music wise I've been listening to Childish Gambino and of course Lorde.

Wish list
The search for a couch continues - looking for a perfect combination of price, size, and legginess. Also really considering chopping my hair, but that's not a wish so much as a to-be-decided.

A couple of evenings having dinner at the beach and playing games with friends. Buying a little writing desk from Trade Me and setting up an art space again. Starting a new commission which I think will be a lot of fun, and looking forward to sharing it later in the year.

The earthquake. So far so settled, but it's in the back of my mind a lot of the time. An episode of Coronation Street that I can't talk about with any NZ fans because I'm the saddo that keeps up with the latest UK episodes.

Looking forward to
Visiting my family tomororw. Taking next Friday off work to have a four-day weekend with Waitangi Day. And Charlie's having a well deserved holiday for most of February.

Most liked on Instagram
Reflections of houses and clouds.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Plate, abate

Alishia Anderson

I was going to start this post with 'ooh, another earthquake post' etc. but soon realised the earthquake post I wrote last year never made it out of my drafts folder. I couldn't get my thoughts in order, hyperbole took over, then re-wordings became understatements. For my local readers, a play-by-play of my thoughts and fears during the shakes we've had over the past few months would be a bit of a snore - we all have our own earthquake stories, varying in levels of drama.

There was a bit of damage around the place - my friend's house north east of Masterton was quite a mess yesterday  as shown above, and it was a similar story following the Seddon 'quakes that affected Wellington in 2013. A big fat nuisance, concern for loved ones, the sad loss/damage of posessions and property; a decent bloody fright.

There's not that much to say about this latest shake either, now everyone's accounted for. Just keep-calm-carry-on towards the apparently imminent 'big one'.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Louis Tomlinson

Charcoal and pencil on paper.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Meeting Offline

Last Monday after work Charlie and I met up with Caitlin and her husband Rob who have been visiting New Zealand from New Mexico, and were in Wellington for one night. After excited/awkward meeting-people-from-the-internet introductions we wandered down Lambton Quay to the cable car - which is so expensive now! I'm sure it was a dollar each way the last time I used it. The weather wasn't great and there's a lot of scaffolding at the top of the cable car right now, so the view of the city wasn't spectacular. We walked back to the city via the Botanic Gardens (which they'd totally heard about h/t FoTC/The Simpsons) and Parliament, then around the waterfront to get beer and pizza at Lovelocks. Which I know isn't the classiest choice but the main reason is that it's two-days-before-payday and I knew gluten-free wasn't a problem there.

I've known a lot of people 'online' over the years and have met and befriended quite a few of the New Zealand ones, and one who came to live in NZ from the UK. But this was the first time I'd met someone who I'd got to know online and was just visiting. It was so much fun just chatting about their trip, our lives, comparing countries. You can read about their whole holiday over on Caitlin's blog - always interesting to see a visitor's perspective on the country, and they did a lot of hiking and exploring rather than the tourist hotspots which is awesome.

Five days of work to go until my Christmas break. I absolutely cannot wait, but this week will probably be pretty intense. Also, up until Christmas I am doing a sort-of Vlogmas on my YouTube channel - I'm not sure they're terribly interesting but it's great speaking practice and putting them together every few days is pretty fun. Watch them below, or watch the whole playlist here.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Look at moy

A couple of weeks ago I was filmed speaking about my experience having ankylosing spondylitis and using Humira, to be used by AbbVie for educating healthcare providers and patients. I also had a few photos taken by Jess Bovey - here's a couple of my favourites because narcissism.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blog Q&A

I've been reading blogs even less than I've been posting blogs, so I hadn't seen this Q&A until my regular stop by Sometimes Sweet. Apparently it's doing the rounds? I need to get back in the know.

1. When did you first start blogging and why?

I started my first blog on Xanga, early 2005. Prior to that I kept traditional paper journals, but typing out all the feels was much easier than writing so the paper diaries became more like scrapbooks. I spilled my guts on that website, and that's where I met one of my best mates Dylan. Without whom I probably wouldn't have got to know Charlie. And life would be extremely different right now.

2. Have you had any past online presence?

Of course. It's all I bit jumbled in my memory, but my first website was a terribly cringeworthy though relatively (NZ) successful fan website. Then it was personal blogs, Myspace, Bebo, Facebook, Twitter etc. I jumped over to Blogger properly in 2010.

3. When did you become serious about your blog?

I'm not, and haven't really been. Well okay, a year or two ago I was posting very frequently and making some great connections - but it was still all very whatever-I-want-to-write-about if/when I feel like it.

4. What was your first blog post?

On this site it was a very angry post following a fatal mauling at Zion Wildlife Park. It was an emotional reaction and not terribly well researched. But I don't really disagree with the sentiment reading it again four years on - had a similar reaction today hearing plans to "destroy" a shark which killed a surfer in Australia.

5. What have been your biggest challenges blogging?

Lately it's been finding the time. Sometimes in the past it's been over-thinking my audience. I caught up with some school friends months ago and one of them told me she found out someone I don't know at all reads my blog. And obviously I can look at my analytics and see there's lots of people I don't know who stop by. But when it's a two degrees of separation thing, for some reason that weirds me out much more than people I know OR total strangers.

6. What's the most rewarding thing about blogging?

I think the best thing about blogging is the same as the best thing about keeping any diary - being able to look back on past experiences and feelings. Having a good record of things I'd otherwise forget. It's nice to write the odd post that entertains people or artwork/photos people admire. But really they're just fleeting visits; it's me that will keep going back to old posts in the future.

7. What is the most discouraging thing about blogging?

I think when you start out (especially on Blogger) and see all these (financially) successful bloggers posting incredibly mundane posts with pretty pictures you can feel pretty discouraged when you're putting so much effort into your own blog no one's clicking your comments and coming back to visit you. But I definitely haven't felt that way for a long time. When my visitor count was getting pretty decent every day, I did consider trying to find "sponsors" but never pursued that because I decided I didn't want that pressure. Or ass-kissing. Also the terrible spam attack earlier this year definitely discouraged me for a long time.

8. What is your lasting inspiration or motivation?

As I'm getting back into blogging again, it's been simply seeing that people are still stopping by the site even while I've been MIA and not wanting to disappoint them! Also there's one email I received almost two years ago now which I've kept this screenshot of on my phone ever since.

9. What is your blogging dirty little secret?

I'm not sure I have one? There's definitely some opinions I have about things within the blogging community that I keep secret. Oh, and anywhere I posted prior to Blogger is most definitely private-d.

10. What is your current goal as a blogger?

To post regularly again. So... to be a blogger? Haha.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Everything I can think of

My biggest problem/barrier when it comes to blogging is not having the time to make it a priority. Obviously the day job comes in at number one because it pays the bills. And lately my work for SYAONZ has come in at number two because of all these events I've been invited to (goodbye weekends) and the fact we've set up a website which still needs a lot of content to be written or assigned to writers. Which is fantastic, and I'm so excited by all the stuff that's happening, but that takes a lot of time too. Then there's my art which is so very neglected right now, due mostly to the lack of time but also to the lack of space in my house. And then there's all the video footage I have stored on Charlie's iMovie (sorry) which I need to whittle down into interesting videos for my YouTube channel, just because it's already helped my speaking-confidence substantially (that and public speaking). And lastly there's blogging. Which I miss. And Caitlin's visiting NZ in two weeks which is so exciting, and I suspect is what caused me to gain a new follower today (hi!) even though I'm posting nothing...


I'm going to try and play catch-up this week, and perhaps that will get me back into the habit... It's tricky too though, because all the SYAONZ stuff I want to recap here from a personal point of view, I kinda also need to post on the new website in a more professional way.

I should stop apologising and explaining myself and just write, right.

For some reason this image looks better on Facebook than Blogger?

Okay, we covered the Fit for Work Summit in another post. Next was a Halloween party Charlie and I went to at our friends' house. It was a small gathering which was perfect for me because sitting around chatting and playing drinking games is far more appealing to me than mingling with strangers. And the food, oh the food. Best hosts ever. Charlie dressed as La Parka, and I dressed as Becky from Sin City. The absurdly expensive facepaint I bought from Gordon Harris was TERRIBLE, and flaked off my skin within an hour or so of application. I was terribly unimpressed. Followed all the application instructions for prepping my face and using thin layers etc. Tried a sponge and a brush. Just terrible.

The day after that party was almost summer-like so Charlie and I caught a bus and went to visit Wellington Zoo - the first time for both of us in years. Quite a few of the enclosures had changed a lot since the last time I went, and definitely for the better. I do have mixed feelings towards zoos in general, but can't deny I just love seeing the animals. And after missing all kangaroos when I visited Australia (okay, I think I missed a roadkill spotting while dozing in the car) I got to pat one, so that was exciting.

The next highlight after that expedition was throwing out everything I'd said about running my iPhone 3GS into the ground, and instead swooping on a gold iPhone 5S with Telecom as soon as my contract with Vodafone ran out. I just couldn't resist, and I'm so glad I went for it. Had no problems with Vodafone's customer service etc. but their reception in my hometown is terrible, and Telecom offered a better data deal (though still atrociously low. Seriously, who uses the bajillion minutes and texts these plans offer? It's such a scam). So yeah, having a phone that reacts instantly is fabulous. Even though I knew it'd be shoved into a case, I still desperately wanted the gold because I'm an irrational, easily-swayed consumer. This is probably a blog post in itself, but the difference between this phone and my very first cell phone ever (which was such a dream-come-true at the time) is hilarious. I got the Sony Ericsson T206 when I was probably about 14 (?), and boy did I think I was fancy.

Next was the Arthritis New Zealand conference on 9 November at the Waipuna Conference Centre in Auckland (great venue), where I stood up and gave my (slightly adapted) speech again in front of 220+ people on a proper stage. It was exhilarating to be honest, I loved it. I got a laugh at one point and was kind of shocked so probably looked a bit startled-possum before chuckling and carrying on... Really hope I get more opportunities to practice/improve my skills. We had workshops in the afternoon which were really interesting - one brilliant presentation on employment law in relation to chronic illness. Definitely a major to-do of posting notes from that on our website. It was unfortunate there still were very few younger people in attendance, so SYAONZ will definitely try to encourage more of our lot to attend next year. The content of the conference itself is quite valuable for a lot of people on a personal level, but it'd also just be great to make more of an impact with having a lot of younger faces in the crowd. Sarah still got a comment from another (elderly) attendee that she was too young to have arthritis. Groooan.

On Friday just gone I flew up to Auckland again for a one-and-a-half day workshop with 30ish CEOs and managers mostly from not-for-profit organisations in the health sector. I got invited after my Wellington speech at the Fit for Work Summit, and while a lot of it was well above the level SYAONZ is at, it was still super interesting - even relating back to my day job at a not-for-profit - and pretty inspiring to speak to leaders of organisations who started out just like us. We're in such a good position having over 600 people already involved in our community, it's just hard to know where to take it next, so is still an ongoing discussion. Would definitely be easy to over-commit and crash and burn, so we'll be doing some careful thinking about that.

On Friday evening all the workshop participants went to dinner at Vivace which was delicious and a lot of fun. Dylan came along after a work event for a few beers, and as always it was really great to catch up with him. Got back to my hotel room in the wee hours, and contemplated watching a movie before seeing the cost, crap TV, and rubbish selection. Watched YouTube instead. Could surely get used to staying in hotels though! BUT I have to say, the front desk service at Rydges was so bad. So very cold, not at all welcoming. I wasn't asked at all about how my stay was or anything like that on check out. I don't even think the guy said goodbye. Pretty appalling, and I checked out well before there was any line in the lobby. Guess I didn't look rich enough.

In amongst all of this (okay, a while ago now) I got a new tattoo, which those of you following me elsewhere have probably already seen. I'd originally hoped to get Malika Rose to do it, but it was getting a bit iffy as to whether she would be at the Tattoo Expo in New Plymouth or not, so I decided to get Michelle at Sinatra's (now Tattoo Freaky) to do it instead, and I'm thrilled with how it turned out. I still haven't taken a decent healed picture even though it's been weeks, so that one snapped right now in terrible lighting will do for now. Yes, it's Captain von Trapp from The Sound of Music. Because reasons.

Also some time ago I had a lovely day with my family - one of Wellington's first summery days this season. We had brunch at Chalk on the waterfront which I really liked, and then later in the day I took my parents and sister to see Gravity (the boyfriends weren't keen, unimpressed).

That's it. That's all my photos have managed to jog from my memory. We're all caught up.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I'm still here... just not, well, HERE.

Life's gearing up to be busy again! Last week I attended the Fit For Work Summit with Arthritis New Zealand. Professor Stephen Bevan from the UK spoke about his research on musculoskeletal disorders and work... and I spoke about my experience with AS.

Yep, it was pretty damn scary, but I'm so glad I did it. Pretty much prepared it only the night before, and though there was a lot of 'umm's, I'm pretty proud of myself and kind of enjoyed it. There were maybe around 50 people there, which doesn't sound too scary, but after initial introductions around there room there were enough "former MP", "CEO", "doctor"s to make me feel a liiitle bit intimidated. Everyone was super lovely though, and it was a really interesting day. From that I've been invited to another workshop in Auckland later in November. And before that I'm going to the Arthritis NZ open day also in Auckland.

Have been tidying up our website a bit in preparation - so we can actually give interested people the link without an apology - ooh, it's a bit of a work in progress.

Besides all that, I have an idea brewing for my art. And the first problem is finding some space to get creating. Our house is getting just a wee bit small (well, we're accumulating more and more stuff) and while I absolutely don't want to move anytime soon, I'm going to need to either downsize some furniture or find studio space elsewhere.

Next week we're going to a Halloween party to kick of a very busy November. Been working on the best way to do my costume... hopefully it'll turn out well on the day.

Since this blogging thing is clearly just becoming a place for me to throw tidbits for future reference, I won't bother trying to recap the past few weeks (months?) I've skipped over. Highlight of October has probably been going to see Gravity (twice), it is phenomenal! I'd go see it a third time if tickets weren't so absurdly expensive.