Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Writing a Blog

I really enjoy writing and I am the first to admit that I am not the best writer out there.

I truly love reading other people’s blogs and I follow a very diverse range of people who write blogs. From their blogs I have found out all sorts of different and exciting things about them, their businesses and their opinions.

I do not think that you need to be a great writer to write a blog, however there are a few things that I think people really should remember when they are writing.

1. Re-read your blog a couple of times before you post it online. I find that reading it out loud picks up any errors that you may have missed. Hint: write it in Word to proof read it, and then copy it into your blog

2. For goodness sake use your spell check! Too often spelling mistakes slip through the gaps especially if you are busy or tired

3. Look for words that are incorrect that your spell check may not pick up i.e. ‘there’ instead of ‘their’

4. Thanks to Cate for this one: try and keep your blog to 500-700 words max (I am absolutely guilty of writing huge blogs)

5. Capture people’s interest with a snappy first sentence or paragraph

6. I do not think you need to be a grammatical whiz when writing. So, a word to the wise; if a sentence sounds or feels wrong then it probably is. So re-organise it until it sounds right

7. Use photos sometimes to ‘mix’ it up a bit! There are some great free clip-art websites if you do not have a photo

8. Avoid text speak where possible; it is not a text message it is a blog! You have room to write the whole word

Disclaimer: I also do make mistakes and am far from perfect. I think you can only get better with practice and time. These are just my thoughts.

Monday, November 23, 2009

7 in a Row with Cate Owen

Firstly, I would like to point out that this was not planned!

Went grocery shopping with Cate because it is her pet hate! I love grocery shopping, so hopefully I was able to make the experience a little more enjoyable and fun.

Had a chocolate shake ‘booty-call’ when Cate brought me a Wendy’s shake and chocolate mousse!

We made the decision to go and see the double feature of Twilight, followed by New Moon. What an amazing experience! So many laughs, far too much popcorn, sugar and caffeine! It was great to go to double-feature with someone who has read all the books. Despite my best efforts Cate would not spoil the ending of the series.

Cate stayed the night, as it was 2.30am when we got home. Later that day, we introduced Pauline to scrumptious Yum Char in Newmarket.

This was the night I really did not think that I would see Cate, so on the way home from my cousins wedding I stopped in for a drink and a chat. We ended up having a really great deep and meaningful conversation.

Cate and I had lunch at The Falls restaurant and then we had dinner together later on that evening. We had another HUGE, deep conversation, and Cate revealed hidden talents not seen by many.

The final day in the ‘7 in a row with Cate Owen’! Pauline, Bree and I had lunch at The Falls restaurant and then went on a coffee run to Cate’s. We then met up with some lovely tweeps at The Corner Bar. Cate and I then had dinner and a hell of a lot of laughs!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Wolfpack

Last night (Wednesday) Cate and I went to a double screening of Twilight and New Moon. I cannot remember the last time I went to a double screening or even movie at 12.01am. I enjoyed the movie. There were funny moments, sad moments and great action scenes. I could pull it apart re: acting etc., but I am not a movie reviewer so I am not going to do that.

What I enjoy about doing movie marathon’s and/or seeing movies late at night is that it does not really matter what movie it is, the audience will often make or break the experience. Also, it is the excitement of doing something out of the ordinary and being one of the first people to see a highly anticipated movie.

I have not read any of the Twilight books, so for me (unlike a lot of people in the theatre) there was no room for disappointment. The problem with highly anticipated movies is that they do not often live up to people’s expectations. A lot of books have not translated well into movies, because I think that books are subjective and how people see the story panning out can be vastly different to how others see it.
To be honest I enjoy movies and there have not been many that I have disliked. I go to enjoy the experience and to let myself be entertained. I do not tend to read reviews as really want to form my own opinion and also if a reviewer does not like a particular genre, then often I wonder if they can truly be objective.

I was looking forward to seeing New Moon as wanted to see what they did with the Wolfpack, and for the most part I enjoyed a lot of those scenes. I enjoyed a lot of the interaction between Bella and Jacob; although feeling somewhat sad for Jacob at times.

One thing that is slightly strange for me is that I consider “werewolves” to be governed by the moon, whereas “shapeshifters” can shift at will. So for me I did not consider the wolves in New Moon to be werewolves, but instead shapeshifters where they could call their wolf and have some control (except when they were angry). There were also some great moments in the film with the Wolfpack running through the forest. Also, the idea of being out of control of your body is a good parallel to puberty.

If you are on team Jacob then you will not be disappointed by this movie, which is a little like a coming of age story for him. I am definitely on team Jacob!

I enjoyed seeing Twilight on the big screen and a lot of the epic scenery was fantastic; think Bella and Edward going to the top of the tree and talking. I found that the “angst” between Bella and Edward and then Bella and Jacob a bit much. The audience were quite vocal and actually very funny. It was great sitting next to Cate who has read all the books and she could fill in some of the gaps and would often turn to me and say “in the book...” which was fabulous.

I love how the vampires sparkle like glittery-diamond dust in the light; I think that this is a nice take on vampires in the sunlight. It makes a welcome change from them turning to a pile of dust, or burning to a crispy critter.

I also found the contrast between Bella and her “friends” at school interesting. Here they are doing all the normal high school things, and she is going through a lot of much deeper stuff. The grief she feels in New Moon when Edward leaves is palpable and made my heart ache for her.

If you do not like the franchise, then do not go and see the movie. For me, it has made me want to read the books.

To quote Cate: “Why why why is Twilight so divisive? FFS just disengage your brain and enjoy the ride. It's not rocket science.”

Monday, November 9, 2009

What have I done to make you feel proud?

For the first 14 years of my life I was an only child. Then I met my sisters. Technically they are my half sisters, but we do not see it that way. We are “full siblings” for all intents and purposes. Because they grew up together, I guess Anna is the “older” sister, and then I am the older sister ‘add on’.

I am the eldest, then Anna and then the twins, Sarah and Becky. I am incredibly proud to call these strong, beautiful, intelligent women my sisters. Sometimes I wonder if they feel proud of me.

Anna lives in New York with her partner and has an amazing job. She has paid her student loan, her staff members love her and she is an amazing role model for her peers and staff. She has not lived in New Zealand for years, and while she misses us like crazy she is really progressing with her career. On the flipside she often works 16 hours a day; often at the expense of sleep and the gym.

Sarah and her fiancĂ© and their new baby boy are moving home after nearly 4 years in the Gold Coast. Sarah has done so well since she worked for D-Vice and then moved to the Gold Coast. Things just suddenly clicked for her there, and she really found her strong sense of shelf. She is an incredible ‘new’ mum.

Becky, her husband and two beautiful twin girls live in Wellington. They have lived in Auckland, Melbourne and this is their second time in Wellington. She was able to stay home until the girls’ went to school and is an outstanding mum. She has the amazing ability to be able to make her home where ever she lives which is fabulous.

At times I wonder what I have done that makes them feel proud of me. I do not feel like a role model most of the time. I have a job, not a career. We do not have children. Mark and I do not own our own home. I am complete crap with money and still have a student loan. I am also grossly overweight and having 3 slimmer sisters often makes me feel like the horrible, fat older sister.

On the flipside, I think that I am a nice person, with a kind heart. I would do anything for my sisters if they needed me, as would my husband Mark. I devoted 2 ½ years to a cat rescue agency; at the expense of my family and friends and now we have an extra four cats who were rescued. Somewhere in the middle of all that we managed to get married with our close friends and family.

At times I have struggled with my own emotional demons and I think that finally I can start putting some of them to rest. For the first time in years I feel happy, and more like a whole person. I have stopped feeling like I want to die, and am learning how to feel alive. Although, Mark and I do have rocky patches, I strongly believe that we have a good marriage and have lots of laughs.

To me success is being happy and healthy physically and emotionally; and not having a house. If I am happy then should it really matter if people are proud of me or not? Should I just be proud of myself and my achievements.

Over the next few months I plan to focus on my health and well being, my career and learning to save.

So one day at a time sounds good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Wear your rollerskates today" - De La Soul

After reading the blog written by my friend Pauline I was inspired to write a short one of my own.

Pauline’s wedding is in approximately 124 days and we have resolved to help each other get fit and lose some weight for our respective goals i.e. her wedding and my sister’s wedding. One plan was to start walking together once a week either at a halfway point or alternate each week. Yesterday after dropping my friend Liz and her daughters off to do the quarter marathon I drove up to Orewa to go for a walk. We probably walked bout 7km and it was lovely; lots of people out on the beach and a really opportunity to chat.

I mentioned that another couple of people and I could be quite keen to put a roller derby team together. Pauline was so excited and was ready to drive down to Auckland and buy us skates there and then. By the time I got back to Auckland, Pauline had arranged an afternoon outing and was picking Jess, Cate and I up and we were going to Skateland in Mt Wellington.

The last time I went roller skating was on the eve of my 20th birthday and there are a few emotional connections and memories associated with that. It was a time when I stopped loving my boyfriend of 3 years and fell head over heels for another person (that is another blog).

My cousin and I used to go roller skating every weekend in New Lynn at the Skateland rink there. Sadly, it is now a Mitre 10. I have fond memories of this from the Goth-like clothes (it was the first time I ever dyed my hair black) to the music videos on the wall, the flashing lights and disco balls. Our two hours of skating never seemed long enough!

Yesterday, there were a few tumbles, lots of laughs and a great time for $7. I have never been a team sports person; however I am willing to become part of a team of roller derby girls. Once my fitness and confidence levels grow, I think that I will enjoy it even more. I hate falling, but realise that it is something I will just have to get used to (yesterday I had A LOT of practise). Mark commented last night that the roller derby girls are “young, fit and vicious”. I do not see why we cannot be fit and vicious, all the while looking super “cool” in our outfits? I am confident that we can do this and it is a great way to strengthen new friendships, have fun and get some exercise.