Making progress

cement renderWe’re finally making some semblance of progress on the house! Honestly, at this point it feels like nothing short of a miracle – a small part of my thought I was actually going to live my whole life and never see the place undergo a single change. It’s not that we’re lazy, per se, more that taking on this massive task was probably way out of the realm of our capabilities. To say we bit off more than we could chew would be an understatement. I’m not really sure what started it all. Maybe it was watching all this ‘flip’ shows where they buy a house and make it look brand shining new, maybe it was the fact that both our parents had renovated their homes. Really, who knows? It doesn’t matter anyway. We made the decision, started, realised we were way out of our depths, and then proceeded to stagnate completely, not changing a thing in five years.

This week though, out of the blue, Lockie surprised me by getting in one of the best rendering companies in Melbourne. This random man just walked down our hallway at 1 pm on a Thursday afternoon and knocked on my study door. Thankfully, I was presentable, but when we told me who he was, my mind almost imploded. Just a second later, Lockie bolted in, apologised for being late, and took the renderer on a quick tour through the house. It turns out that, in addition to just booking an appointment, Lockie had done all types of research about the different types of cement render Melbourne renderer’s use in different types of homes and things like that.

Needless to say I was incredibly impressed. It’s amazing how, after talking about it all for so long and living in such a dump, we’re finally beginning to see our vision blossom before our eyes. I couldn’t be more excited to see what the future holds for us.

Make a Will, Rest Assured

legal will adviceThere really needs to be a turnaround of this ‘making a will = death right around the corner’ mentality. I coach a lot of people through genuinely traumatic experiences, only to find others who just lose it when they have to make a will. It’s as if they think doing so is like sending out a gilded invitation to the Grim reaper to come around for tea and cake. No, it’s being prepared.

For the sake of every place in Melbourne that does legal wills, I feel like I have to put a stop to this, at least in some small way. In my professional opinion, it comes down to two things: fear of the inevitable, and the stress associated with trying to cater to an entire family with the first thing hanging over you. For one thing, statistics show that most people only draft their will when they buy their first home, obviously with the mentality that they now have something to pass on. Some wait until they have children, but what we’re seeing here is a pattern not of people waiting until their sixties, but making wills fairly young. Although with the housing market the way it…ah, that’s neither here nor there. Point is, they need to be able to keep this in mind: that this isn’t a document that’ll be coming into play any time soon, hopefully. Drafting your will isn’t a case of getting it done so you can walk out the door and die at any time; instead, it’s insurance for the next generation, many years down the line. You can actually rest secure after completing your will, because you’re on the OPPOSITE side of stress. People have passed on without leaving instructions, and it’s become chaos as everyone descends on the leftovers. A will is peace of mind.

That’s what I want people to take away from our sessions, anyway. Hopefully the Melbourne’s last will and testament scene can be less of a source of stress for people in future. As for the second problem with family…hmm. That’s best for people to work out by themselves.


No two ways about it

trigger point dry needlingToday has been …. intense. Like wow, I thought going back to school would be hard, but I had no idea it would be quite this difficult. I mean, I guess you just kind of fall out of the habit of things, you get stuck in your own little nice, cosy rut and just get good at doing what you’re doing. Throwing myself out of my comfort zone like this seemed like a good idea at the time, but after today, I’m really not to sure about the whole thing.

Today was the first day of my dry needling course. It took ages to find one that looked half decent, and even longer to find the best of the dry needling courses in NZ, but I thought that if I was going to do this, I wouldn’t go in half hearted about it. If you want to commit, then you have to commit completely, to tell yourself that you’re going to stick it through to the end. Otherwise you give yourself an out, an easy way to say ‘oh well, better luck next time’ and retreat back into the safety of your rut. I didn’t want that to happen to me, so I made my mind up that I was going to be the best of the best.

Today did not go as I was hoping. In my mind, as I walked in my casually friendly manner would take over and I’d make instant pals while loving the course material. The reality of the situation is that life is never that easy. I was so nervous I was almost paralysed, and let me tell you, dry needling courses are no picnic. The content is difficult and confusing. It’s a real skill. I know I need to look at it as a challenge, but sometimes that’s difficult.

Today, I was not deterred. I made up my mind, I am going to do this. I need to work harder, better, smarter. Today was not the end but the beginning.

The Net Fiend Will Be Brought to Justice

tennis netsLocals are under constant, mysterious threat from the net-fiend of Keymore, and I’m just the amateur private-eye to solve the case! I now have one case under my belt, an adventure I like to refer to as ‘The Keymore Cat Burglar’. Mrs Price was so worried that her dog was extra hungry all the time and she didn’t know why. I staked out her garden for two days and found that Mog, the next door cat, had been sneaking in and stealing from Zano’s bowl, and Zano was too scared to do anything about it. Problem solved! Now Zano gets fed inside.

I’ve moved onto what people are calling a crime wave involving sports netting. Now, the Keymore Senior Tennis Association takes their sport very seriously, even if they have to cut their games in half because they’re all very old. But some scallywag has been sneaking in every week or so and making off with all recently purchased tennis nets! What a fiend! The elderly folks just want to play some good games of tennis, smash the opposition into oblivion and maybe cool off afterwards with some nice cucumber sandwiches and a spot of tea while they talk about their grandchildren and the economy. But tennis isn’t much if you don’t have tennis netting. Or at least, I assume it’s so; I don’t know much about tennis. Is that the one where you roll balls along the ground? Into nets, I’m guessing?

All I know is that the Tennis Association is a mainstay in Keymore and they don’t deserve this treatment. I will find this net-thief, and I will bring him to justice even though I’m not the police or any sort of law-enforcement! That didn’t stop me from solving the Cat Burglar case, did it? And how hard can it be to follow the guy with an armful of brand new sports netting, dragging it along behind him as he cackles into the night? Sounds like a snap to me.

-E. Brown

Top Class Channel Video Production

corporate videoMy Me-Straw channel is going to take off. This is my year. I can FEEL it. I just got a super good camera, I’ve shifted my desk to it faces the window and so I’m getting loads of natural light, and I’ve been taking notes on the presentation of all the biggest Me-Straw stars. The consistent parts have been ‘BOMBASTIC’ and ‘MOUTH OPEN LOTS’ and ‘LOADS OF SWEARING WHILE ACTING LIKE A VERY SMALL CHILD’, but I’m not over keen on that last part. I think my gaming channel is a bit above. Like, I’ve got a screen-presence. I just need an audience.

I even emailed Melbourne’s biggest gaming channel, RooGames91. And he emailed back! It wasn’t all that helpful, though, but I appreciate him sharing a couple of tips. He said when he was starting out, he was living in his parents’ attic and they were pretty rich, so he just looked around for the best Melbourne videographer money could buy and got his channel going with some real technology clout. Personally, it’s a bit weird, the way he says it. I mean, most of his videos are just him in a little screen-within-a-screen right at the bottom while whatever game he’s playing is right up there as the main focus. Maybe picture-in-picture is a tricky effect to pull off properly, I don’t know. Whatever the case, I think he may have been exaggerating how much the videographers really did. I guess he called them, they came along expecting something a bit more elaborate and he just said that he was starting a gaming channel and needed some lighting tips. I guess videographers really know that stuff well, being part of their job and all. Doesn’t seem necessary though.

Like, I don’t think I need Melbourne’s corporate video production folks just yet. Most of my videos will be the same thing, with me appearing in a tiny window making witty and poignant commentary on whatever game I choose to play on that particular day. I’ll work on sharpening my wit, THEN move onto the fancy stuff.


Guess who got accepted?

trigger point dry needlingToday has been absolutely, hands-down amazing. Why, you ask? Well, today is the day I finally found out whether or not I’ve gotten into my course. I know, exciting right? Well, safe to say, I’ve been losing my mind more or less all week, the anticipation has been killing me. I’ve been a total nervous wreck and this morning was the moment of truth.

Naturally, logging on was a challenge in itself. The site crashed completely at least twice, all the handiwork of the inconsiderate trolls who spam the bejeezus out of it just to watch the world burn. However, after a very frustrating half hour, I learned my fate.

I did it! This article that you are reading right now has been written by someone enrolled in one of the best dry needling courses New Zealand has to offer – me!

I know, I know, that probably sounds really conceited, but I don’t think I can express in words just how excited I am about this. I’m serious. My face is literally aching because I’ve been holding the world’s biggest grin on it for the last four hours and I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.

Naturally, my family is just as excited as I am. It’s been a long and hard road getting here, but to be able to say that I’ve finally made it is just incredible. I realise that completing trigger point dry needling courses is not everybody’s dream, but it’s just such a huge achievement for me. And no one can take that away from me. Except for the board of the institute I’m enrolled in, of course, but hopefully they won’t do that.

So, class starts in three months, and I’ve got to be honest here, I don’t think it could be possible for me to be more excited. I’ve reached the maximum level here.

Technology Knocking Down Ugly Trees

Melbourne tree loppingKids these days and their smartphones!

That’s what I’d be saying if I was one of the boring old people. But I’m not, and my E-Phone is the greatest thing since sliced bread! I should know, because I clearly remember when they brought it out and people would just stand there in the supermarket, not knowing if they should touch it. Just imagine if flat-pack furniture was delivered to your door fully-assembled, and no one saw it coming.

But oh, these new phones are marvellous…and I’m hooked! I can order all kinds of things online with a quick email. There’s a certain tree outside our staring window at the old folk’s home. A real eyesore, but everyone says it adds character. All I did was plug ‘get me some Melbourne tree removal, pronto!’ in the search box thing, and it came up with all kinds of lovely folks who could help me out. Of course, I was holding a phone, so a quick call later and they came along to chop it down, chop chop, ha ha!

Oh, I got a scolding from the management, like I was a little child, but I just couldn’t stop giggling throughout the whole thing. Oh, the power of technology. Everything is just so instant, and I love it! The only thing that isn’t instant is online shopping, and even then it’s at your door in a few days. I can get anything I want. Heck, we could even order a new tree online, a nice one this time, and have it planted right where the old, ugly tree used to be.

Of course, I do post a few pictures of the grandkids, a few memes, the usual things. I’m still a grandmother. But golly, I don’t need anyone to tell me how to use this thing. I’m a real pro! And now I’m walking around the grounds, seeing a few other bits and pieces in need of Melbourne’s tree pruning fellows, if not full tree lopping. Golly, it’s a lot of power to be holding in my hand. I love it!


Behind the lens

horse barnsDo you ever get the feeling your parents love your brother or sister more than they love you? If you do have that feeling, you know just how much it sucks. Now, imagine just for a moment, that it’s not a feeling that’s niggling away at the back of your mind, but a confirmed fact. Imagine that they told you, not subtlety over the years but in plain English, that they had a favourite child and you were not it. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to my life.

My sister, younger, objectively prettier, and subjectively better is the apple of ma and pop’s collective eye. Whatever she wants, she is given. In fact, as I live and breathe, we are on the way to Tamworth, yes, Tamworth, to find the finest horse barn builders in all the land to build my sister’s little pony shelter for the winter. Apparently, these people do livestock sheds as a speciality in Tamworth, so I have been forced, against my will, into a car with mother, father, and the brat. Why am I here? To take photos. Apparently, the only thing I’m good for.

As a minor who has greedy neighbours on all sides, the parental units are unable to leave me to fend for myself in the suburban wilderness, so I get dragged along whenever darling sis has an engagement of any kind. Since I’m not too bad with a camera (and have even won a couple of competitions and things) they’ve decided to use that as their excuse this time around. As if anyone can’t just point and shot a decent photo of a couple of horse barns in Tamworth. So really, despite the lies they tell their friends, this is just one more example of me being dragged along to take photos of my sister’s life. Sounds like fun, right?

Icy Boat Tours Only!

outboard motor serviceIt’s winter, so you know what that means. That’s right: boating season! That was definitely what I was about to say!

It’s no secret that I love me some boating madness, and it really isn’t authentic if you’re not being battered by icy winds and pouring rain. My dream is to be the captain of an icebreaker, but that’s neither here nor there. The main thing is that I’m so happy to be giving real folks guided tours of the bays of Melbourne, anchor winch specialists and outboard motor repair folks right alongside me. Mostly. They sort of get their jobs done really quickly and then go back indoors, which I don’t really understand. If you haven’t felt so cold your fingers and toes could all just drop off at any moment, you’ve never TRULY been alive, I say.

Anyway, at least there are still anchor winch people willing to work during the winter at all. When I first started my winter-exclusive tour package, I was wondering if anyone would be willing to brave the elements to help me out. Funnily enough, not everyone LIKES to spend time out in the freezing cold for most of the day. Even the folks I take on my tours tend to start complaining after the first four hours or so- that’s why the one and two-hour packages are so much more popular. But I’ve managed to gather a team of hardy sailors who’ll be my land-crew, along with a couple who don’t mind lending a hand out on the open, rolling sea.

It’s the way the sea should be, really. If you’re sailing through a sunny day with calm seas, where’s the challenge? Where’s the sense that you might not make it out, and this grand voyage could be your last? When Melbourne companies that do outboard motor servicing hold your life in their hands, you really gain a new perspective on life. And that’s the reason that my tours are, and always will be, winter-only.

-C. Dog

Reach For What You Want!!

conference speaker AustraliaIt’s true what they say: follow your dreams. That is, if your dreams are relatively practical. I think mine are, although it’s taken some recent events to convince me that the saying really is true.

So I figured…people love boxing. People love MMA. And people just love them some golf. And absolutely nothing bad can come from taking two unrelated things and mashing them together, so that was the source of my grand plan: full-contact golf. No, really. JUST THINK ABOUT IT. Both people can hit the ball at the same time, and they can do pretty much anything (using golf clubs if they like) to stop their opponent from reaching the ball. Imagine how the ratings will soar when they both make it to the green at the same time! Think of how crazy it’ll be when multiple people are all in the running!

I never would’ve made it this far, however, without a good little jolt from a motivational speaker. Well, sort of. I work a desk job, nothing special and I don’t feel that much loyalty towards the company. A real ‘just a job’ deal, basically. Anyway, they got in this keynote speaker, one of those guys who stands at the front with a microphone and says things like ‘how are all you guys doing today?’ and ‘I want you to REACH for what you want!’

I don’t usually respond well to that sort of thing, but I know it’s just me. I sit there every time trying to make myself as small and unnoticeable as possible, because group participation terrifies me. But this time, the guy mentioned something about fighting for your dreams. And man…that really resonated with me. I began to think about what it’d be like if I was facing him in full-contact golf. And that made me smile.

I realised that my sport was good. It could give people hope, and a release. As the guy finished, we shouldn’t let fear hold us back from making the world better, at any cost. Wow, when did conference speakers in Australia get so good? I’m bringing my golf idea to the masses! It WILL be a success! I’m REACHING for what I want!


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