Sunday, August 27, 2006

When novelty shaped is not so novel

Let me start this post by declaring that I have never been to a hens party before. Or a baby shower. Or a kitchen tea. So far I've successfully managed to avoid them. I nearly, NEARLY made it to my sister Michelle's baby shower a while ago, and I really wanted to go to that one but had conference on and couldn't actually make it even though I wanted to. But on the whole - I've been happy not going.

I don't like organised games at parties. I don't like people being humiliated at parties - why does this always seem to have to happen at hens nights?? When I used to go out a lot, so often we would see girls who were out on their hens nights and they would be wearing stupid things like veils with tampons and condoms hanging off them, underwear over the top of their clothes, stupid make up all over their faces, fluffy handcuffs or vibrators round their necks... I totally fail to understand how this could make a good night, or what significance this has at all to someone's impending wedding.

Does a party need to be tasteless and crude to be fun? Am I perhaps just a prude? Should I consider it desirable to go out with condoms stapled to a fake veil and a fluro lacy g-string on over my trousers??

Well anyway, I went to my friend Manda's hens party up in Newcastle on Fri night. Manda is a total champ and I absolutely love her to bits. She's a lovely Christian girl who I was with when I was saved. We started out the night with a pole dancing lesson - which I had expected to be a bit dodgy, but actually I really enjoyed! It was a lot of fun. When we walked in there was a big shelf full of slut shoes, which we all laughed at - and then laughed even harder when we found out that we were supposed to put them on!

They even had the catalog there in case you wanted to buy your own classy shoes!

I found some pink ones - they made me about a head taller, and when I walked I wobbled around like a weather vane. I used to really like those shoes - you know the ones with clear plastic straps, and clear pastic platforms - until one day someone told me that they were slut shoes, and that's what all the girls in Ralph and Playboy etc wore in their photo shoots! Not so classy at all :-)

Can hardly walk.... however can pose classily with shoes....

Some of the poles were fixed, and some of them spun. The fixed ones were hard to spin on, but the spinning ones - I kept getting too much momentum up and ended up spinning round and round uncontrollably until I managed to launch myself off and collapse in a heap of hotpants and pink plastic shoes! My legs are so bruised today!

This move responsible for several large bruises

Building up an astonishing amount of momentum!

The instructor was this tiny tiny little girl, who gave us a demonstration at the end of what you can do after you've been training for years. She was all over that pole like a monkey! Pretty acrobatic - but still mostly g-rated.

There was one point where she was suspended entirely by her armpit. This was pretty impressive - but we couldn't help but wonder how many times she'd fallen off trying to perfect that move! She said she has a pole at home, and makes up the moves herself. We all tried to pretend not to be impressed by this (but secretly we were).

Newcastle's version of the Pussycat Dolls ;-)

Everyone had a really good time - Manda especially!

The second party of the party - which I expected would be the actual fun part, was a party at a friends place (absolutely stunningly beautiful apartment!) with all the girls. Omg, I can hardly describe how I felt. There were, hmmm how should I word this? 'Novelty shaped' items everywhere. (Don't make me say the p-word out here in public on my blog!) Novelty shaped chocolates, pin the 'novelty shape' on the Brad Pitt, novelty shaped drink holders, even novelty shaped chocolate cakes! I thought I'd play it safe and have some of the pretty pink non-alcoholic punch - but no, there were novelty shaped ice cubes floating around in there too.

Am I a prude? Am I a snob? I was totally out of my comfort zone, but nobody else even batted an eyelid. I was so uncomfortable that I stayed for 30 mins exactly and then left, fled down to the Central Coast to my mum's place, which was decidedly and blessedly novelty shape free.

Ah well, at least it makes for an interesting blog. Word of warning though: to all of my girlfriends, prospective bridesmaids, sisters and acquaintances, if I see even ONE HINT of anything suggestively shaped at my hens night (albeit in the far distant future) I will immediately open up a can of whoop-ass and revoke all wedding cake privileges.

You have now been warned.

(But hello, did you check out the naughty glory of these shoes???!)

(You can tell from that smile that I've fallen in love!!)

Friday, August 25, 2006

A girl of many names

I've been called a lot of things.
Not just funny names that people call me, but I have a lot of actual names, and seem to attract a fair few nicknames too.

When my dad was growing up, his surname was Carolan - but when he was 21 he changed it to Carlan. So as I was growing up my surname was Carlan. Not a bad surname actually - pretty tricky to make fun of at school, which is an important quality for a surname to have I think.

My middle name on the other hand...

When my mum was growing up, her surname was Snowball. Yep, laugh if you like, we won't be offended, I reckon they've heard all the jokes. Well I have Snowball as my middle name - you should see the funny looks I get in airports when I have to show my passport!

When I was 21 a few dramatic things were going on in my world, and I decided to make a bit of a new start and changed my surname to Carolan. Much prettier I thought. Still relatively hard to make fun of. Except for this conversation which I seem to spend my life having:

Q: "Could I have your surname please?"
Me: "Carolan"
Q (with a clear 'you are such a dumbass' tone in their voice): "No Carolyn, your surname, your last name???"
Me (with an obvious 'I'm not the dumbass, dumbass' tone): "Yes, that is my last name!"

Actually a lot of people can't be bothered figuring it out and just call me Carolan as a first name. I'm okay with that actually - I'll answer to it. Randomly a lot of people call me Emma - I can't figure this out, but I guess it does kind of sound like Amy...?

Some people call me Snowball - they're usually giggling when they say it. This doesn't bother me either. I can pretty much win a 'I'm not telling you my middle name because it's silly' competition hands down.

Add this to the fact that I have two more first names, and you get a rather lengthy moniker of Amy Louise Snowball Carolan. Quite distinguised I think. Can you imagine if I married a guy with a double barrelled surname? Oh the hilarity ;-)

I also like the meaning of names. What does your name mean?
Mine is Amy: beloved Louise: warrior princess
Our family legend says that Snowball was from an albino German Viking (I occasionally doubt the authenticity of this legend!) and on the Carolan side (my great grandfather changed it from O'Carolan when he moved over from Ireland) we have a famous blind Irish harpist Turlough O'Carolan.

I have a rare talent for finding 4-leaf clovers (yes, it is a talent) and a lot of my friends call me Clover. I wear a lot of pink (it's the new black) and a lot of my friends call me Pinky. I'm okay with those too. There are other random nicknames that people call me, and I'm okay with everything really. I like nicknames! I like giving people nicknames too, so watch out for that. (Sunny Boy - you know what I'm talking about!) I don't like it when people get my name wrong, or forget my name. I do make an effort to remember people's names, and to pronounce them properly - I think it's disrespectful not to make the effort really.

The best name I've gotten so far turned up today though. The lovely Heidi Eileen (yes, I remember people's middle names!) emailed me the most hilarious spreadsheet, where you type in your name and it predicts what your job should be, based on your name. Well clearly this is an anointed spreadsheet of God (see below for my answer). I always knew, I always knew that I was marked out for greatness!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fairy tale wedding!

Last weekend (or the weekend before I think actually) I flew up to the Gold Coast for Katie and Steve's wedding - it was so BEEYOOTIFUL!! Apart from the fact that I felt like a movie star because I flew up there, it was also so great to see how much in love these two crazy kids are. Altogether now: ahhhhhhhh.

The flight from Sydney to Gold Coast was ridiculously short. I barely had time to turn my mobile off, fall asleep a couple of times with my mouth open, and then they were announcing that we were beginning descent! (Actually, to tell the truth I forgot to switch my phone off - but clearly it didn't have much of an effect on the planes naviagtion guidance system, and we still landed okay!)

The church where the wedding was held was a cute as a button Anglican church where Steve's father is the pastor (sorry, I have no idea of the right title for your father Steve!). He had the most beautiful robes on - I reckon he came close to out-blinging the bride!

Katie and Steve are ridiculously in love, and spent the entire day smiling at each other. It was all just too romantic for me, I cried nearly through the whole service (apart from when I was trying to take notes - well done Steve's dad, great service!) however the happy couple didn't cry - they were giggling! Crazy kids...

Please check out the amazing wedding cake - which I was totally in awe of! (Mish I took some close up pics for you, you could totally create this masterpiece!)

It was a lovely reception too - there were about 75 people there I think, which was a nice amount of people. Katie's friends were all SO lovely, and looked after me. Plus I was hosted beautifully by the very wonderful Vicky "bridesmaid" Taylor. We had the most hysterical room that night too - for some reason we'd been given a conference suite. It was all set up with facilities for a small board meeting. I very nearly had a small heart attack and died with laughter upon entering the room :-)

I had the most beautiful shoes ever - borrowed from my fashion-tastic sister Katy. They made it very hard to go to bed at night, as I could hardly bear to take them off, such was their glory!

The beautiful bride the day after the wedding!

The next day we had lunch on (near) the beach. It was so great to get to meet Vicky and Katie's family, who are all very cool indeed. In spite of getting thrown up on by the youngest Taylor present, it was a really great day!

I flew back in to Sydney feeling like a celebrity again (albeit a slighty vomit covered celebrity, but it's all part of the glory really) and found that the wonderful Sarah had stocked my car with a bow of fresh Krispy Kremes and a hidden Toblerone. What a great weekend :-)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Dumbass of the Day

What a day. In our office there are 3 of us at any one time, and one of the girls is away for 3 weeks on holidays, so on Thursdays and Fridays there are now just two of us. We had to swap shifts around to cover her, also I swapped a shift yesterday to leave early for Jessie's birthday dinner, and swapped a shift tomorrow because I'm leaving for a weekend away - so it was all very confusing. This morning both Julie and I thought we were on late shift, my manager called when I was just about to leave and said "There's no one here!" panic! We both made it here pretty quickly, but had to log on and start taking calls before we'd even switched on our computers or taken our handbags off... drama!

And THEN all the stupid customers seemed to be calling me! We have a quota of 3 Dumbasses of the Day. This quota is always filled, and regularly exceeded. There are a few regulars who appear on this list, but it's always entertaining to get a promising newcomer. I got them all this morning.

Me: "Welcome to Customer Service, this is Amy"
Lady: "Can I speak to Customer Service please."
Me: "This is Customer Service, how can I help?"
Lady: "I want to speak to Customer Service!"
Me: "This is Customer Service!"
Lady: "Yes please."
Me: "You are speaking to Customer Service, this is Amy, how can I help you today?"
Lady: "Oh! You're Customer Service?"
Me (gritting teeth): "YES."
Lady: "Oh! Customer Service!"
Me: "How can I help???"
Lady: "I need to get a price for this item."
Me (taking code): "Price is $127.20 for a box of 20."
Lady: "It used to be $99.00."
Me: "I think that's an old price, the current box price is $127.20."
Lady: "Are you sure it's not $99.00?"
Me: "I'm sure!"
Lady: "So how much is it?"
Me: "Box price is $127.20."
Lady: "And that's for a box?"
Me (gritting teeth): "YES."
Lady: "So it's $99.00 for the box then?"
Me: "Box price is $127.20. That's $127.20 for the box, and if you would like to purchase a box, it will cost you $127.20."
Lady: "Oh! So has the price gone up?"

Oh.... you get the general picture.
My stress level was through the roof. I was perilously close to having a tantrum, perilously close. I had to break out the emergency rations.

It was ridiculous how much better I felt after having some chocolate! But the crazy customers kept coming, and there's only so much chocolate you can eat.
To add to my stress level, I had a relatively traumatic waxing experience at the beauticians at lunch time.

Beautician: "It looks a bit ingrown, I'm just going to pierce you with a lancet."
Me: "Hey, what? Will it hurt?"
Beautician: "Well it won't feel great."

Erk. Thursday was turning out to be a Very Bad Day.

Luckily, I work with a very beautiful girl called Julie who sorted me out with just exactly what I needed to feel better. Now the customers could say whatever they liked - but I was totally smiley, informative and helpful.

Sometimes you just need a bit of sparkle. Nuff said.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Steely Dan

During my travels on the web today, I stumbled across this *hilarious* open letter from the guys in Steely Dan to the actor Luke Wilson.
You know his brother Owen Wilson is currently in that new movie 'You, Me and Dupree'? Well apparently Steely Dan had a hit back in 2000 called 'Cousin Dupree' on their album 'Two Against Nature'.
So they've addressed the letter to Luke, saying that as Owen's brother, maybe he can talk some sense into him. The letter is hilarious, please check it out. My favourite part? "Your bro may be creating an extremely retrograde reality matrix for himself with his whole sellout moviestar game and there may be some righteous dues to pay, amen."

After a quick google (that sounds quite wrong on some level) I found a quote from Owen Wilson's spokeswoman: "I have never heard the song `Cousin Dupree' and I don't even know who this gentleman, Mr. Steely Dan, is. I hope this helps to clear things up and I can get back to concentrating on my new movie, `HEY 19.'"

This just makes me laugh so much. I love it when people have a sense of humour :-)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I will remain with Christ...

I found a great quote recently:
"If anyone proved to me that Christ was outside the truth and it really was so that the truth was outside Christ... then I would prefer to remain with Christ than with the truth."
Fyodor Dostoevsky
I like this! I had a close friend once who told me that he thought less of me intellectually when he found out that I believed in God. He told me that since he did not see any evidence of God, God was patently not true, and thus anyone who believed in a fairy story was clearly not very intelligent.

Is God real? I believe so! But I don't think you can convince people with facts. If you want facts, or evidence though, there is plenty of that. All over the place. But to seek God through facts, you need to be open minded - which my friend certainly was not. It wasn't facts that convinced me. I think for most of my life I sort of hoped God was real, but didn't ever really invest much emotion or energy into this notion. I'd never seen any evidence for myself, and putting myself on the line - making myself vulnerable or open to derision or ridicule if it wasn't true - was my biggest fear. One day my burdens and worries got too much for me to stand up under, and I cried out to God and - to my everlasting gratitude - he answered, and lifted my burdens from me. I'll never forget walking home afterwards, and it felt like previously I'd been carrying around a backpack full of books and now suddenly had just taken it off - the physical feeling of burdens lifted was so strong I felt like if I tripped or missed a step I might fly!

I was catching up with another old friend a while ago, and he said to me "Amy, I hear you've found God! Where was he?" I just smiled and replied, "Well, actually it looks like He was there the whole time..."

I know that just reading lyrics doesn't really capture the spirit of a song, but this song has really captured me at the moment.

Worth It All by FFH from the album, Voice From Home
O Child you’ve never known
How I really feel
Cause you’ve never been shown
O child, you’ve never known
That my love is real
Cause you’ve never been shown
I’m about to show you for myself
So listen baby, You don’t need nobody else – cos:

You are mine, you are loved
You have always been thought of
When you hurt I feel it every time
You are mine, you are loved
And I’m never giving up
Till I’ve dried all the tears you cry

Long before you took a breath
I took your pain upon my chest
I knew your name, I heard you call
It was worth it all
It was worth it all
You are worth it all

O child, it wasn’t fair
How they walked away
Left you standing there
My child, I saw your tears
Was with you everyday
Through the lonely years
I’m about to bring back what they lost
So listen baby
Forget about the cost – cos:

No matter where you go,
I’ll come and find you
You are precious to me…
My everything
No matter what they’ve done
I will restore you
You’re a masterpiece to me…
Only I can see
That underneath the hurt and the pain
Is a picture of me

O child, where did you go
Please don’t walk away
I love you so
So here I come to say

You are mine, you are loved
You have always been thought of
When you hurt I feel it every time
You are mine, you are loved
And I’m never giving up
Till I’ve dried all the tears you cry

Long before you took a breath
I took your pain upon my chest
I knew your name, I heard you call
It was worth it all
It was worth it all
You are worth it all