Reluctant Mindfulness

I can proudly say that I am at the happiest point in my short life so far, which is making it easier to consider healthy lifestyle habits that I had previously snorted at and thought were a load of crap. Of course, there are still many things I cringe at and reject because in the age of the internet where everyone can share their life tips, there will always be ridiculous trends shared in places you didn’t realise existed or thought would be so popular.
*because I’m a cynical Nana in this 25 year old body. another post for another day I’m afraid!

That being said, now in my mental health journey I am reluctantly welcoming the loose practice of mindfulness into my life. Because sometimes my physical reactions to stress or anxiety are extremely delayed and try to kill me in the dead of the night when I am trying to sleep. No joke kids, they hit me with the power of a thousand suns in the form of left side of my chest, neck, shoulder and arm pains. Where emergency department doctors perform all necessary tests from 12am onwards and just shrug at me with a blank look on their face as they blame it on “Anxiety?”

The first time it happened I thought I was having a heart attack, so I did the responsible thing of going to the hospital where I received the enlightened diagnosis of causation of mental illness – sign this patient discharge form and leave because we don’t know what to do with your faulty human body. So when it happened again a few weeks ago I reluctantly called Nurse on Call just to get advice on drugs to lessen the pain – aspirin! yas highly recommend – which they gave but also insisted against my will to call an ambulance for me…that never arrived.
*slow clap for Ambulance Victoria!

My loving boyfriend sat up with me around midnight waiting for the ambulance for just over an hour until a lovely Nurse on Call woman called informing me of the delays, but asked if I was doing better since taking the aspirin – which did WONDERS, 10/10 would recommend – to which I replied yes Mam, and that I would like to cancel my ambulance reservation for the evening. To which she replied, Phew glad you’re not dead! Amiright?! Haha okay Hun, I’ll talk again to you soon no doubt, eat your greens, bye-bye.
*just kidding, she said please call us again if your pain increases and I can send you another delayed ambulance ASAADLD (as soon as the ambulance decides to leave the depot).

Which is why I am trying to align my physical and mental reactions to stress and anxiety with my present emotions daily with mindfulness and casual grounding meditations. It’s not as higher order thinking or as Gwyneth Paltrow Goopy as it sounds. It’s just the act of pausing my overactive and productivity obsessed mind so I don’t steamroll past all normal negative emotions throughout my humdrum daily routine, that can end up king hitting me in the blood pumping organ later on.

I don’t don an attire of white cotton clothing while I sit on my pristine yoga mat in my lounge room, as the melodic screeches of seagulls from the Footscray loading dock soundscape filters in through my balcony door. I stop what I am doing and sit on the nearest chair with my feet planted firmly on the floor and the palms of hands placed on my thighs, take deep breathes and focus on how I am physically feeling. I don’t need to shut my eyes to open my third eye, I just intentionally focus in on how each body part feels to the point where I mentally and physically become less tense and in turn clearer in thought.
When I did it last week with my therapist, I felt a suppressed thought wave it’s sweaty palm at me through the debris of my neurotic mind, which then answered a question we were trying to answer in our present session.

My therapist also recommended that I keep a watchful eye on my reoccurring chest pains, because she mentioned that sometimes medical practitioners blame many physical issues on mental illness that end up not being not related to mental illness at all. It’s difficult to monitor and diagnose something that randomly occurs, but maybe one day I’ll know why my heart has its bad days. Just like the way I am gaining a greater understanding of the nature of my mind, every year I cross off the figurative tally I keep in the figurative prison cell that it can feel like.

I still feel like the Grinch as he began to allow himself to love Christmas and the small peasants who lived at the bottom of his mountain, when it comes to applying habits of mindfulness to my life. But there have been sweet moments where I experience the benefits in a really peaceful way, that I am grateful to have paused for.

For example, I’m cat-sitting my friend’s cat at the moment who likes to play with some discarded wool I leave on my rug for her. I was getting ready for bed when she kept meowing at me to play with her, so I did because there are times when her cute face demands my full attention and I am o-k-a-y with this.

And as we were hanging out on my rug with my balcony door open, the rain started to fall.

So I just sat there listening to it and intentionally focused on enjoying the sound of rain as I rubbed this cat’s belly. Just like the aspirin, 10/10 would recommend.
I felt calmer getting ready for bed afterwards by allowing myself to feel more present in my happiness, instead of just brushing over it to focus on the next task at hand.

It’s taken a while to get to this happy place in my life, so as an act of love to myself I am going to try being mindful of every little frame of it.

Contact – Book Review


This book was recommended to me by a co-worker who noticed how much I was reading last year in my breaks between students at work, and wanted to hear my opinion on this Science Fiction novel. As I’ve said before, I like it when friends lend me books they’re interested in because it’s an opportunity to have an abstract glimpse into their psyche. This recommendation is written by the famous astronomer Carl Sagan who inspired many other famous intellectuals such as Neil Degrass Tyson, Bill Nye and Brian Cox.

I was surprised how poetic and beautifully composed his writing was. Especially the first chapter which provided background on the main character of Ellie and the nature of her familial relationships in her upbringing. I loved this chapter so much, that I think it might be the best first chapter I’ve ever read in a fictional novel. Didn’t think that I would ever have a favourite first chapter, but Sagan managed to write a really interesting, heartfelt yet succinct back story. With what I thought was a very realistic first person voice for a lead female character. I was seriously stunned at how familiar and real his take on a female lead was. I think film-makers of today could seriously take note on how he managed to write a genuinely strong story line using a lead female character, without implying any awkward clichés and weak motives. His writing really showed me that we can have interesting stories with female leads, without having to re-make previously male based story lines.*cough, ghostbusters and oceans 8*

Although I did find the middle section too detailed on the exact science of every concept they were exploring in order to continue making contact with aliens on the planet of Vega. Which is really good because he managed to make this science fiction novel as real as it could possibly feel, but for the purpose of a well paced fictional novel it made for a really slow story. It also took way too long for Ellie to make contact with the aliens in person. I know that in reality this kind of process of meeting aliens wouldn’t be a short venture at all, but for the possibilities there are in playing around with time in fiction, means it doesn’t have to feel like such a drag.

Initially the eventual relief I experienced in reading Ellie meeting the aliens of Vega – the Vegans, ended up being quite lack lustre. Because she didn’t really get the clear cut answers to the earth’s and the universe’s existence, that herself, world leaders and religious leaders all desired. Which did make it interesting when she attempted to fulfil the last section of her hero journey. Where she reported back on her experience based findings to her superiors, and discovered that no one would believe her. Her, even with her scientific career and work history, meant that even she wouldn’t be able to persuade a whole world on the existence of other beings living in the universe. Putting her in an almost similar position to religious leaders who dedicate their lives to keeping the faith alive in their God and prophecies amongst the masses of believers and non-believers, of whom they serve.

The existence of strong spiritual themes in this novel surprised me a lot. It made sense once religious leaders began interacting with Ellie and other political leaders. Because everything they were living their lives by, depended on what signals the aliens from Vega were sending. That they hoped or feared would confirm their beliefs – whether it was from God or Satan. I was expecting just a lot of aliens and their stereotypical spaceships, but what I received was a really sophisticated interpretation on the interaction of humans and aliens.

Oh and big plot twist right at the end. Made me audibly gasp and look up from where I was at the time. Seriously came out of nowhere. Not to do with the aliens, but just when you’re about to reach the end of the yellow brick road to Sagan’s Emerald City, Ellie in her figurative ruby red slippers finds home in unexpected scenarios.

Overall this was a very well written novel about topics I didn’t realise I would be interested in, but through Sagan’s expert knowledge of astronomy and understanding of people, it made to be a really interesting novel.

Favourite Quotes:

“Why should God be so clear in the bible and so obscure in the world?”

“You represent the entire human species, past, present and future. Whatever happens, your place in history is secure. You are heroes of our planet. Speak for all of us. Be wise. And…come back.”

“It was not glory she was seeking…not mainly, not much…but instead a kind of liberation.”

“She was a wonder junkie.”

“Her romanticism had been a driving force in her life and a fount of delights. Advocate and practitioner of romance, she was off to see the wizard.”

The God Pedestal


I have a bad habit of putting the people I love most in life on what I have come to call, the God Pedestal. Meaning that throughout my life, I have unintentionally placed impossible expectations on the shoulders of close loved ones, expecting them to fulfil my own sense of purpose and happiness.

It’s definitely not something I’m always consciously aware of or I am even intentional of initiating. I just tend to cling on real tight to family and friends when I know I’ve got something good going with them. Causing myself to project my biased ideals and standards on to them, when it was never their responsibility in the first place to uphold. Yes, they may be a close family member, partner or friend, but I should never place that heavy amount of responsibility on another imperfect human being, when they have their own confusing life to figure out.

The first moment I realised this was when I was 20 years old, where I had woken up from the academic coma that was my Bachelor of Music degree and I realised as I started my first year out of school, that my parents are just as flawed as I am. Because they were the ones who brought me into this world, I had immediately assumed they had it all figured out already. When in reality they’re still uncovering the mystery of living, and they’re own purpose as well. Which meant that it was ridiculous for me to assume that they would have the time to figure out my life as well, while I sat back and waited for them make sense of it all, before I threw myself back into it later on.

So now I am trying to recognise aspects of this trait when I begin to rely solely on those closest to me for complete enjoyment and fulfilment of my life, because that’s not how I want my relationships to function.

I want my relationships with close family and friends to have an even as possible amount of give and take to them, because I think that each party in a relationship deserves that. We all deserve the right to receive love and care from our close social network, just as much as we also uphold the responsibilities of caring for them in ways they require, depending on the context of each relationship.


In the midst of my injury recovery period, I have observed within myself some of the present and near possible capabilities I have as an adult, good and bad. Because when it comes to injury recovery, there’s a lot of sitting around resting my hand on a cushion getting bored of the same old of watching things, reading things, listening to things, and knitting things (One handed, on a loom just to clear that up. Post for another day!).

So it means that there are a few times in my days where I’m forced to sit with my thoughts, feelings and memories, most of the time trying to make sense of them by writing in my personal journal or in my public journal here in this blog.

This thought in particular is the observation of a flaw in my personality, and that if I really let myself be the most obnoxious version of myself, then I could ruin all of my relationships and successfully isolate myself from society.

Which I really, really, really don’t wanna do.

I think that if I relinquished all of my self-control and had absolutely no social awareness of those around me, I could just drain my family and friends of possibly all their love and care for me. If I had no care for their health and well-being, I could put obscene amounts of pressure on them to fulfil all of my emotional requirements and need for purpose. I could rely far too heavily on them for needs they were never required to fulfil, and worst of all, I could never experience the joy of loving or caring for those I love when they need it most.

I could be a very lonely, bitter and lost human being.

I call it the God Pedestal because in a sense it’s the kind of impossible expectations no single human can personally uphold for another person alone. It’s the kind of responsibility I can only imagine God could take on, because from my own personal beliefs as a Christian, I believe that as my all powerful and mighty God He is more than capable to bear the brunt of my burdens. Which I also believe every human deserves the comfort and security of, especially when they feel alone or too much of a burden to those around them. Even if it is laced in last ditch efforts of emergency prayers of comfort, hope, emotional security and grounding, when this kind of belief system is one rarely set as a reliable resource.

It’s those moments alone with a racing mind at night and a heavy heart in the morning, that I can feel out of my depth with what I am trying to achieve in my life. So to then transfer all of my most personal fears and standards on to another imperfect human being to perfectly uphold is incredibly irresponsible. To expect their position in my life to solely fulfil my own skewed ideals of “perfect life standards”, is something I want to eradicate from my perception of functional and healthy relationships.

I want my relationships filled with growth and challenges, that bring us closer together in the journey of it all. So that as we watch each other confront and tackle challenges, we then learn to accept each other for the flawed people we are. Growing in the experiences we accumulate together both internally and externally.

I think that much more of life can be experienced and enjoyed to an even richer and valuable extent, if I do it with my social support network. And in order for this to occur, I need to make sure I am creating sustainable relationships that encourage personal growth collectively, not just individually.


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Post 2nd Operation – Back To Square One


This is my life. It’s all about that injured little finger life for now.

Just when I thought things are getting a bit more normal, where I was using all 7 fingers and even driving a car – next minute, I’m midway through my second operation, where the surgeon realises he has to repair one of my tendons again.


On Thursday the 28th of February I went into Maroondah Hospital at 7am for Tenolysis surgery on my already injured left pinky finger. The first speed bump encountered was the fact that the anaesthetist couldn’t find a vein in my right arm to stick the cannula in that was required for all the necessary doses of sedation.

He tried once in my wrist, once in my hand and twice in my arm. I’m very used to this, but it’s really uncomfortable to endure. Because it means that he had to poke the needle around in my skin trying to nick the veins he thought he had found on the surface. But my veins are a bit of a tease, they like to trick the nurses and doctors into thinking they’re there, when really they’re too busy mingling with the rest of the body. But another more experienced anaesthetist came by and was able to pin one down in my hand in the first stab, which was a sweet relief.

For the first half of surgery I was only under sedation, along with the numbing of my left hand, where the surgeon successfully performed the intended Tenolysis treatment. Where he separated all of the scar tissue from the tendons, that was causing it’s significant stiffness and hook bent shape that was a result of my first surgery. While he was doing this I felt very awake and weirded out by the numb feelings of him performing surgery on my finger. And there were 3 or 4 moments where I remember crying out in pain, requesting more sedation to be pumped into the ye old cannula.

Once he finished the Tenolysis he showed me my straightened pinky, flesh and all. And just like the open wound it was on the day of the accident, I was not bothered by the internal state of my finger whatsoever.

But then as he closely examined my finger he saw that the tendon on the top joint of my little finger had loosened since the first surgery, which is why I was unable to get much movement in the tip of it during hand therapy. So in order to fix this tendon again, he needed to cut a slither of the tendon in my wrist to strengthen the tendon in my little finger.

The good thing at the time of this was that I heard him say this to the team of nurses and doctors around him during the surgery, but the bad thing was that I heard him say this and proceed to execute this without being given a general anaesthetic.

I remember the discomfort of him cutting into my wrist and the most excruciating pain – the worst pain I’ve ever felt – shooting from wrist down to my middle finger, as he cut the tendon in my wrist. It was so painful I made the most primal sound I’ve ever yelled, and I just remember the surgeon say give her a general anaesthetic, a tube being shoved in my mouth, then I was out.


So now I have another 3 month recovery ahead of me with the same amount of hand therapy appointments again. When I first heard this from one of my hand therapists I wanted to cry as they proceeded to redress my hand and modify my purple splint.

I hit a really low point after that hand therapy appointment on the Friday after surgery.

As I walked out into the waiting area to meet Mum afterwards, I couldn’t even say any words to her. Only when we walked out of the hospital I managed to tell her the disheartening news. And I felt my mind go to a real quiet state of complete despair.

Because before this second surgery I was excited about gaining my independence once more, and working in my cafe job again to help me save up money for a car. Way before this accident even happened I was applying for so many jobs and to my surprise I finally found success in getting this one, but I only got to work there for a month. For that month it felt really good to earn a regular wage along with my fluctuating income as a singing teacher, and finally feel like an independent adult.

But here I am again.

My family, my boyfriend Danny, my friends Emmelyn, Jasna and Emma, were the ones who held me up through the weekend just gone by. Without their comfort and company I don’t think I would have coped with the heavy disappointment and sadness I’ve been experiencing. I was actually blown away by them and the rest of my support network, because they all pulled in tighter and stronger than ever when I received the discouraging news.

Emmelyn decided we needed to do something that Friday night to have fun and take my mind off it, which was to get ice cream from Cold Rock and start my autumn leaves 1000 piece puzzle. Yes, she was thrilled by the mess of fallen leaves on the earth of this forest area we attempted to start piecing together.

Jasna and Emma came over on the Saturday night for nachos, the 1000 piece puzzle, Cards Against Humanity, and more snacks. It was a perfect night of distraction and fun my injured self could be bothered with.

Danny has been there to comfort me as I cry over the phone to him, as well as being able to endure listening to me sing him a terrible version of Candle In The Wind by Elton John 10 minutes after I woke up from surgery, and has just been an all round caring boyfriend when I really needed his encouraging and soothing words.

My family has been rock solid in helping me out with my daily tasks again. I mean this time around we know the routines of how to manage my personal upkeep as a human being very well. Which means it hasn’t been that difficult transitioning back to that one hand life. And of course, their emotional support has been so warm to receive in a time of being more prone to allowing more negative self-talk in my mind.

This weekend has shown me that despite the chaos being thrown into the mix of my life, I have a really strong support network of family, my boyfriend, friends, co-workers and even hand therapists. That even in one of the most disappointing moments of my life my support team pulls in stronger and more reliable than I originally thought they were. It honestly wasn’t that I thought they were weaker beforehand, I just felt like I got to observe first hand people leveling up and gaining super powers right before my eyes. This is just my super cheesy way of expressing my immense gratitude of having them in my life.

I am truly blessed.



Slings are really great at catching food. Lots of snacks for later.


My Dreadful Attention Span


In the process of writing this blog post I am also midway writing three other blog posts, that are kept in neighbouring tabs, so I can switch blog posts at any given moment if I get bored. A more reasonable person might think, but how can you stay on topic? 

Well Reasonable Person, let me tell you about my dreadful attention span.

If I don’t have multiple blog posts being written in the same time period, they may never get written, because I have inevitably abandoned them in writers block, procrastination and fear of creative expression (causing me to abandon this blog once more). But if I write them at the same time, switching between all of them in the same week or day, there’s a chance they will get done and I will take it less seriously, therefore allowing myself to have fun in the creative process. I think the more I feel like a weirdo while writing these posts, the more I write and the easier to read they are. Said I, Sam I am.

It’s actually become embarrassingly the same with my reading habits as well. Don’t get me wrong, I still love reading a lot. But I find I read more if I’m reading multiple books of different genres in the same time period…if that makes sense.

It’s not that I have all of the books opened up placed on my desk to try and literally read at the same time; that would be very impossible. But it’s more along the lines of having a 3 or 4 books in the process of being read at the same time. It’s great, at the moment I’m reading a book of short stories, a science fiction novel, a comedy fantasy novel and some poetry as well.  It’s nice not feeling stranded on a book that is suddenly slow or dry in content, as I try to complete it in frustration because I feel indebted to completion of this one book. Reading a chapter of another book to refresh my mind, makes it easier returning to the more difficult book again to read it with more patience. I highly recommend this, especially for those who aren’t big readers.

I’ve learnt that not only do I have a terribly short attention span with writing and reading, but with also watching YouTube videos, watching TV, watching movies (thank God for popcorn at the cinemas – my hands need to do something), completing physical exercise that isn’t in a team sport setting, listening to podcasts and playing video games (..does the Sims and Animal Crossing count?).

I’m terrible company to enjoy a TV show or movie with at home because I LOVE to talk all the way through it. I talk about what we’re watching mind you, but I’ve realised that I enjoy a show much more if I say my thoughts out loud, especially if there’s suspense building.

“Yep, it’s definitely her! She’s the murderer.”

“Why would he say that??? He’s gonna get killed.”

“Oh no, oh no, I don’t like this.”

“Ugh what a loser, that’s not how you speak to a lady!”

With a lot of:


And the occasional:


Yes, my film obsessed/film student brother LOVES watching movies with me. I can feel his steely gaze on me when I react too loudly to a scene or ask him a question about the director or an actor throughout a crucial scene, and I’ve learnt now that when he doesn’t reply he probably doesn’t hear me anyway. Not when he has the surround sound turned up to wall shakingly levels.

But I suppose the best thing to watch and talk over are the ultimate works of visual art, the cream of the crop, that are the trashy genre of reality TV. What gems of contestants and VERY REAL people are found for our viewing of this era of television. The ones who decide they now want to marry the love of their life of whom they are still yet to meet,  the ones who have realised that Grandma Shirl was a genius cook who did actually inspire them to be the best TV chef they could be (despite their nursing degree),  and of course the precious ones that started this TV madness: singers, God bless ’em. All chosen by Satan’s fallen angels themselves: television producers.

But hey, they manage to hold my attention for the length of an episode. One point to them. I suppose you could say my taste in the audio, visual arts definitely ain’t an intimidating one. It’s probably because most of my brain is preoccupied with obsessing over music, writing music and then very much so with the extremely un-visual art of writing. Yeah that’s write, I put words together.

What makes me like a film has a lot to do with the score and soundtrack of a film, which I realised only recently. So I loved Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, Guillermo del Toro’s Shape of Water, Steven Spielberg’s  Indiana Jones (Theme plays in my head quite often. Takes me a while to realise when I proceed to hum it out loud), and of course George Lucas’ Star Wars. The music in all of these films add so much to the pacing and feel of the film, it isn’t just a filler component.

Unlike Marvel films where the score means absolutely nothing to the director. All of their films have the most boring, obnoxiously (also unnecessarily) loud pieces of orchestral music that adds nothing to the feel of the film or even to the plot or character development. Which means there are no themes we can associate with any of the main cast, and most importantly as an audience, it means that there’s nothing in the music that helps us understand the essence of the characters.

I think a film score can reveal more personal aspects of a character more so than dialogue at times. Because as an audience, we don’t have the opportunity to actually be in the actual presence of a character and get a feel of the effect they have on the environment around them. Because as humans we do have an awesome ability to read a person’s body language, facial expressions, while also getting a sense of their dynamic from how we interact with them, and are also able to read in-between the lines of their conversation to get a sense of what is really going on with them. So in my personal opinion, I think scores and soundtracks in films actually do play a significant role in conveying to the audience the nature of scenes and characters.

But that’s just me.

Haha wasn’t expecting that film rant. 

My brother has done a good job in brainwashing me. One point to him, one point to reality television, and zero points to me in writing this tangent filled post.

Damn my bloody scattered attention span.


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Why Do School Choirs Suck?


I hate to say it, but I think they do.

Every time I meet new students or check in with my regular students at the start of every year, I ask them if they’re in the school choir and a huge majority of them say no. When the rare child says yes I like to sing with others, I am so shocked my eyebrows nearly meet my hair line and the student looks at me with a blank expression that says, yeah what of it. Because most of my students decide to have singing lessons instead of doing choir.

Now for me as a singing teacher with nearly 5 years experience teaching contemporary vocals, I still think choir is necessary for a trained singer’s foundation of musical learning and experience. So I think it’s important to encourage students in both primary and secondary school to be a part of a choir at some point in their education, if they’re taking singing lessons.

Because so much about music can be learnt in choir that can’t always be taught as well in a singing lesson, such as:

  • Learning about form & different arrangements of compositions.
  • Learning pieces from varying genres.
  • Learning how to harmonise with other singers.
  • Learning about the arrangement of different vocal ranges.

All taught in a more active style of learning that encourages full involvement with the teamwork of other like minded singers.

I just think it’s a shame that most of the kids I teach in both primary and secondary school feel put off by the way choirs are run at their schools. I mean, when did singing songs with complex vocal arrangements you definitely couldn’t perform on your own, become boring and dry? Do we really need a cheesy movies like the Pitch Perfect franchise to get kids liking choir again? Is a cappella the only cool or interesting group vocal style?

I personally don’t think a cappella is the only answer to kids of all ages being interested in choir again, and I really hope mainstream media isn’t the only form of media educating young musicians. Because there is much more of a variety of interesting music genres outside of what mainstream media shares in general. It’s just that, as educators whether it be as classroom teachers, instrumental teachers or even as tutors, we still need to be showing our students various ways of finding other genres of content that assists them in expanding their current base of knowledge and understanding of the world.

School choirs need choir instructors and leaders who choose material based on both of what the students are interested in singing and what the choir instructor thinks is beneficial for their choral education. Because most students I teach tend to feel discouraged by the songs they are being given to sing in choir rehearsals, and end up leaving out of boredom.

It’s not that they will be able to find individual pieces that please both parties every time, but the choir instructor needs to be developing good rapport with their students, so:

  • Students feel encouraged to commit and enjoy being involved.
  • Students stay engaged and interested in what their learning.
  • Students trust their choir instructor and feel involved in the organisation of the choir with their instructor.

So that when they are given a piece chosen completely by the choir instructor, they are told exactly why they are given that piece to learn and why it will be beneficial to their development as singers. Both kids and teenagers are more switched on than we think, so they deserve full explanations of why they are told to learn and complete pieces they may not be so familiar with. Because once you are transparent with your students, the more willingly they will do their best to learn what you are teaching them and the better they will be at applying their newly learnt techniques.

I’ve noticed throughout my own experience as a teacher, that if I give them an honest reasoning behind why I’m giving them a piece based on the improvement of a specific aspect of their vocal technique, they are more likely to give it a go.

For example, I may tell them:

  • the biological reason, of choosing a song with a higher range than they would normally attempt to sing in. Just so they can extend their range and improve maintaining a higher tongue/larynx position for longer because they may be falling a bit flat or sound like they’re straining their voice in their other songs.
  • the aural reason, of assisting them in developing more depth in their tone, by teaching them how to combine different vocal qualities so they can convey more emotion in their performance.
  • the educational reason, of choosing material to not only teach them a new vocal technique but to improve their current knowledge of contemporary music history. To see who their favourite artists of today were influenced by.

I find that once the student hears me out, the more interested they are in their lessons and the more willing they are in the future to try new or challenging pieces/vocal exercises in their lessons.

I think school choir needs to be seen as more of an opportunity for young singers, to sing more challenging, interesting and fun material they wouldn’t usually get the chance to perform on their own. And if choir instructors aren’t creating a meaningful, transparent relationship with their students, then I don’t think they will be seeing a regular turn up at choir practice.

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Honour & Other People’s Children – Book Review


Honour & Other People’s Children by Australian author Helen Garner, is a book of two fictional short stories based on the themes of functional and dysfunctional relationships in nontraditional family units. Both stories explore how families develop in ways that usually go in an unpredictable fashion, as each home environment aims to provide a sense of security idiosyncratic to their household.

Honour is about a separated couple, Frank and Kathleen, who are finally filing for divorce after many years of separation, while caring for their only daughter, Flo. At the same time Frank is planning buy a house with his current partner Jenny, in his attempt to establish a family home for themselves and Flo to live in. While his soon to be ex-wife Kathleen struggles to understand her place in Flo’s life, alongside their family home.

This is a beautifully written bittersweet poetic portrayal of the affects divorce has on all parties, fairly showing all perspectives in this awkward situation. Capturing the ugliness both women, Kathleen and Jenny, portray in the delicate issue that is prevalent in the important role of playing the mothering figures for Flo. Where Kathleen is constantly overstepping the boundaries in Jenny’s home, ignorantly making Jenny feel like her relationship with Frank holds no historical importance compared to the wild events of his past with her. Even though Kathleen has no intention of wanting to be with Frank again, she doesn’t take into consideration how Jenny must be feeling as second partner to Frank and second mother to Flo. Whereas Jenny struggles to understand Flo’s uneasiness in finding her place in their new home together, misinterpreting her disobedience as pure naughtiness instead of helping Flo settle into her new home routine with her and Frank. All the while Frank is clumsily handling both relationships, trying to please both women in the situation for Flo’s sake.  Feeling the emptiness now in her home without Flo there on a daily basis, Kathleen realises that she actually does enjoy being a mother, despite the serious and at times difficult responsibility it has been for her since Flo was born.

The relationships in this short story is a clumsy dance no one really knows the steps to, stepping on each other’s toes at every moment in this time of transition. Garner has crafted a beautiful structure within this story, conveying the messy family dynamics entwined in the relationships of these imperfect people, who come together in love and sincere responsibility for their daughter.


Other People’s Children is an interesting take on the unconventional household of people who have ended up feeling like family in unexpected ways. With adults Scotty, Ruth, Alex and Ruth’s children; Laurel and Wally all under the same roof.

Scotty, Ruth and Alex are just house mates, who live with each other and look out for one another. Due to their life circumstances, they have been brought together under the same roof at this moment in their lives. Ruth and Scotty are close friends who have come to a breaking point in their relationship, where they feel like they can no longer live together anymore. Because they feel like they are growing apart from each other despite their close history. Scotty had even been like a co-parent to Ruth’s children, and feels the loss of them throughout their bickering and eventual separation as friends. Both women were different from the beginning, which is why they were drawn to each other, and complimented one another, at an especially difficult time in Ruth’s life as a single mother.

But now that they’re all changing and progressing in different directions as individuals. Where their once warm and safe household is not what it once was. With Ruth wanting to move out to her own place, with her children and her current lover, she faces the complexities of people in her life and learns with sadness that she can’t always have what only suits her. All the while Scotty let’s Madigan break down her walls and temporarily invites him into her life, despite her fears of intimacy and commitment. But learns throughout their short relationship that he is too much of a boy for her, as the independent woman she has always been.

This book analysed and explored the complexities of relationships within households, following right through to the end, seeing how relationships can truly expire. Garner has a talent for writing extremely human and imperfect characters, with a raw honesty she doesn’t attempt to hide or polish. Her writing is truly refreshing. I particularly like some of the last few lines at the end:

“So this was why people in real life screamed and broke things and grew violent: because the mind let go, and afterwards your body was as loose and fine as a sleeper’s, a dancer’s, a satisfied lover’s. You were empty, all your molecule’s were harmoniously re-aligned. You were skinned, liberated, wise. You were out of reach.”


Hand Splint Haul 2019


Yes that’s right folks, it’s that time of year again! I will be raving about my favourite hand splints of 2019. And that if you too desire to sever the tendons in your hand, you will no doubt get one of these bad boys fitted for you…personally! What a deal!

Phantom Splint:
Received my superhero splint 4 days after surgery, because the repaired tendons were so weak, my finger couldn’t hold itself up on it’s own. It was much lighter than my original cast and way more fashionable. I got a choice of fire engine red or phantom purple.
I went with the much more agreeable shade of phantom purple.

Night Time Finger Splint:
This was the first night splint I received to start straightening my finger with, that I would wear with my purple splint still on. As a collective, I called it my babushka splint.

Night Time Hand Splint:
When my finger wasn’t making much progress in straightening, one of my hand therapists made me this nifty glove. And I know it’s doing a better job  than my mini one, because every time I wake up it’s on the floor. Which means, I take it off almost every night from unbearable pain. I’d give it a smattering 10/10.

Ye Old Capener:
Now this contraption, takes it’s role of straightening very seriously.
As you can see from the styrofoam and the springs, it means business. Nothing screams pain more clearly than a gadget that looks like it belongs in the 60s. But so far with him and the night hand splint, I have managed to make some progress in straightening my finger. Hallelujah.

Daily Blocking Splint:
This is my daily blocking splint (Or as I like to call him, Laurel) that I wear to encourage the two injured joints in my pinky to move when I am doing my daily tasks. Because the two main issues of my injury has been the lack of active movement in my pinky, and the stiffly bent joints. The injured joints don’t move involuntarily, only when I consciously attempt to move them in my hand exercises where they barely move at all. And I learnt that when it is quite difficult to move an injured or sore joint, because ideally our brain likes to work it’s way around the issue by not moving it. So instead the joint at the top of my palm has been doing most of the work, due to major pain felt earlier on and the immense stiffness felt in the injured joints limiting any chance of achieving smooth glide movement of my repaired tendons.


It was 12 weeks yesterday (08/02) since the accident, and my pinky is still in bad shape for the way it should have been by now if things went smoothly. The next step for me now is to get in contact with a surgeon to get Tenolysis surgery to loosen the scar tissue around the tendons so I can have movement back in my finger. Which will be good, I’m hoping I get that sorted out soon.

Here I am excited for surgery again! But excitement as in the, I’m looking forward to having a functional finger on my left hand again, kind of buzz.

How The Marquis Got His Coat Back – Book Review


This will be a short review for a short story!

How The Marquis Got His Coat Back, takes place after Neil Gaiman’s novel Neverwhere, where instead of telling it from the perspective of Richard the previous main character, this story is from the perspective of the Marquis de Carabas.

Who is in the midst of gathering his recently dead self and is on a quest to find his beloved coat in the aftermath of the resolved disaster from the previous book. Without his coat the Marquis doesn’t feel like the Marquis de Carabas anymore and finds that even his words lack the finesse they once had that could assist him in getting his way in almost every situation.

It was fun roaming around in the dark London Below again with a character who normally holds a lot of confidence and great abilities in escaping difficult scenarios. In Neverwhere the Marquis was really mysterious and hard to figure out at times from the view of Richard, so I really enjoyed reading about his emotions and thought processes.

Especially from the weakened and vulnerable state his life is in, where he is forced to rely on the unrequested assistance of his brother Peregrine. Peregrine is a new character for us to meet, and on first impressions he seems to be just as suave and cunning as the Marquis. Or as the Marquis’ inner dialogue describes as “…just a hair better-looking”. In this story we get to observe the Marquis appreciating the help of his brother who he never openly appreciated before the event of losing his coat. Instead we read beautiful moments where he admits in his inner dialogue that as a boy he had “…wanted to be elegant, elusive, brilliant and, above all things, he had wanted to be unique. Just like Peregrine.”

Gaiman’s sophisticated ability to lead readers through a mystery really shone throughout this short story. I really felt like I was on an adventure with the Marquis. I was shocked when he was shocked and I felt tricked when the Marquis was tricked into being a part of the shepherd’s imprisoned flock. The escape plan used at the end was really clever and linked nicely back to some Mushroom characters the Marquis encountered in the first section of his journey.


If you enjoyed the dark fantastical adventure Neverwhere was, you will enjoy diving back into London Below for the lost coat of the Marquis de Carabas.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus – Book Review


Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi was recommended to me by a good friend of mine, and it is one of those moments where I thanked God for having friends who also love books just as much as I do. Really.

Because the exciting things about borrowing a book from a friend, especially a book you wouldn’t normally think to take off the shelf, is when it exceeds your expectations and that’s what Qureshi’s heart wrenching testimony truly did for me. Going into it I felt a little sceptical. Questioning not only how someone can dramatically replace their faith, but also how could they deny their faith along with their entire strictly faith based upbringing. Going from being in a tight knit family where practicing Islam and worshiping Allah was of the upmost importance in their hearts, to calling Jesus Christ the son of God. Makes for a big transition.

I’ve heard of people being raised in a particular faith and abandoning it later in life because of their own bad experiences or even because they felt it just isn’t for them anymore. Because faith can be a forever changing and fluctuating  variable in our lives especially for young adults, just like Qureshi was in the time of his spiritual transition. It fascinated me to think that the Christian faith rang so true for him near the end of his spiritual exploration, that he was willing to deny and renounce his own upbringing, incredibly rich in culture as redundant to his adult identity.

I mean I kind of did, by not growing up in a Christian household and then becoming a Christian when I was twenty. But I grew up in the stereotypical white gentile Australian household who was still all in for celebrating Christmas and Easter, even though those holidays never really held any sacred significance for our family. They were just times of being close with family eating good food and getting presents! So for me stepping into a faith where I finally understood the spiritual significance of those dates, it did make it more special to me, but my life was never dramatically transformed externally. All that changed on the outer was my habits in reading the bible, praying, going to church, and making a more Christian friends. Really the internal change in my psyche was the most substantial and influential change for myself personally. Whereas for Qureshi it was a complete upheaval of his internal belief system and external community, due to how impactful the decision was for his life onwards.

I really admired how historically factual is first steps of exploration were while uncovering Christianity for himself. Where he found evidence via the resource of religious scholars, on the proof of the existence, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This reminded me of my Alpha sessions when I was considering becoming a Christian, where I found out how historically significant the bible is, and was shown the proof of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Qureshi’s historical discoveries helped ignite my curiosity and fascination of Jesus once more.

The discovery of his own personal and spiritual relationship with God, when he was on the tipping point of becoming a Christian, was really interesting and touching to read. To hear of how attentive God was to his queries through the use of his dreams was really insightful. It reminded me how God is always eager to speak to us in ways he knows we will most likely pay attention. Even though Qureshi’s final step of his transition into Christianity was very difficult for him to accept, knowing what it meant for the state of his relationships within his Muslim community. I found it really admirable of him for questioning and exploring his spiritual upbringing and beliefs, to give himself the opportunity to form a sense of his own life, which in this case was by becoming a Christian.


This is a well written book, very informative on both the Muslim faith and Christian faith! Recommend it to anyone who is interested in taking a peek on the lives of others.

I won’t be making a rating system for book reviews because I don’t think the typical numerical rating system is an adequate system when reviewing subjectively written experiences of others or fictional pieces of art.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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