Tribute To The Best Friends A Girl Could Have Monday, Aug 9 2010 

Throughout life, there is one thing that gets you through the ups and downs. That helps you sift through self-doubt, heartbreak and confusion. That pulls you back up onto your feet when you stumble and just can’t get up by yourself. Friends.

Totally cheeseball, I know. I sound like a wannabe Hallmark card that didn’t quite make the cut – but all that aside, I mean it.

Over the past couple of years, I have been through a gamut of things. The family business burnt down, one of my closest friends passed away, I was hit by a car while riding home on my scooter, I ended a 5+ year relationship – could be worse, but hell, could have been a hell of a lot easier as well. And today? I’m actually a stronger and better person… due to my friends.

My group of friends is a mix. There is my core group of girls, five of us in total, and their respective partners. Then I have other friends, individuals from my High School days, work, or just acquired through circumstance. Every single one of these beloved people have shown my why it’s worth getting up in the morning.

When you have a terrible accident like I did, you expect people to all come running in the first few days, then just as quickly vanish with mumbled well-wishes. Which, in a way, I understand. Just because one persons life has stopped, doesn’t mean everybody else’s has to too. But my experience was quite the opposite. Over the three months of being in Hospital, I was never alone. I constantly had company, support, and lots of treats! I had friends take days off work and sit with me during the tough days, and every single night I had everyone turn up for a group dinner by my bedside. You have no idea how much this meant to someone who felt like their entire life had been snatched away, at least for the foreseeable future.

And, just as importantly, these amazing people have continued to grace me with the kind of friendship I know for a fact most people don’t get to experience in their lifetime. I do not spend one night at home unless I want to. If I have a problem that I cannot fix, help is always offered. My ramblings are always listened to, my hurts understood, my achievements celebrated.

You get what you give in life – and the fact I have such a wonderful “chosen family” makes me feel accomplished in myself. I must be doing something right if I have retained such relationships.

To all of those people – you know who you are – I thank you, and I love you.

*Right, no more drinking for me, I get overly emotional! OVER AND OUT!*

You just can't beat good friends...

Headache Tips Monday, Apr 5 2010 

I just thought I’d post a few tips for curing/abating headaches and migraines, seeing as I get them quite often and so have a few suggestions to share.

Obviously, pain killers help. But I’d advise against things like Nurofen and Voltaren, despite the fact they can work, because they cause real damage to your stomach lining. (If you have to use them a fair bit over a day, or over a few days, then they can cause you anything from nausea to internal bleeding.) I stick with high strength Panadol as it doesn’t cause any of these issues, plus it’s not addictive like products that contain Codene. If you suffer from migraines though, you will need to talk to a Doctor about which prescription medicine is right for you. Now on to a few natural ways.

Panadol Extra

When I get a headache, I always get either an ice pack, or wrap ice cubes in a towel. Then I sit back and press it to my forehead and over my eyes. This usually relieves the pain tenfold.

Ice Therapy

A lot of headaches are caused from back and neck tension. A really good way to relieve this (Duh!) is to get a massage. Wether it be by a professional, or your partner, it can really help release all of the tight muscles that are causing your pain.

Massage

Another way to release neck tension that could be aggravating your headaches is by using heat-packs to soothe those aching muscles. Don’t use the packs on your head though, this will make the headache worse in my experience.

Heat Pack

Acupuncture/Accupuncture is a well known Chinese practice where trained specialists insert fine needles into different points all over the body to cure an assortment of ailments. I know a lot of people who have used this procedure to help manage everything from back pain, to injuries and, of course, headaches. I have tried this too, and it really does help. (Hurts the pocket a little bit, though!)

Accupuncture/Acupuncture

A nifty little product I found in a chemist that now lives in my handbag is the HeadOn stick. There is one for Migraines and one for plain old headaches. You take the top off, roll the stick up and smear the clear paste onto your forehead. (Definitely a “do it alone” kind of thing!) The goo has a cooling effect on your skin that can last for hours on end, and feels marvelous. I find it really helpful; it works much the same way ice does.

HeadOn: Migraine/Headache Relief Stick

Another thing I would recommend is looking at your diet. I find that when I have too much sugar or caffeine, I can expect a headache soon after. Lack of sleep and dehydration is another way to increase your chances of setting one off, or not getting rid of one quickly.

For you fellow headache sufferers – good luck! And let me know what helps you recover from these nasty little buggers.

My Top Ten Movie and TV Couples Sunday, Dec 6 2009 

So, I was out the other day, and overheard someone going on about couples in literature that had changed romance and relationships as we know it. Too true, and a very interesting topic. It got me thinking about the couples on TV and in movies that had influences ME, and came up with the following list. This is probably very generational, but hey.

1) Bella Swan and Edward Cullen from the Twilight Saga movies and books – Now, everyone knows Twilight. And most women who have seen the movies and/or read the books, just melt at the idea of Edward Cullen. Sure he’s a vampire, but he is also dark and tormented, which women invariably love. (Maybe we all wish for the challenge of being able to soothe his pain? I know I do!) Plus he is an utter gentleman who never deviates from loving Bella, a girl who is, even in her own words, ordinary. Their relationship is deep, full of pain and temptation, with both of them only wishing for a life with each other. This is the kind of relationship most women dream about – complicated, loyal, complete. So it probably wouldn’t work in real life, but thats not the point now, is it? 

Bella Swan and Edward Cullen

 

2) Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from the TV and movie phenomenon The X-Files – Now these two characters played on the edge of innuendo for eight seasons before their first “real kiss” (they almost kiss in the first X-Files movie, but Scully is stung by an genetically modified bee before their lips could lock) let fans finally see their favourite characters move towards the relationship they were born to have. Two complete opposites – Mulder the believer in the unexplained and Scully the scientist the believer in cold, hard fact – they weren’t really suited to being partnered together in the FBI, and yet found an even ground where they balanced each other out. Their deep trust in each other, their respect and friendship, strengthens their characters bond over the years. Each continuously saves the other from peril and death, and despite many disagreements and varying beliefs, never turn their backs on each other. The romantic angle is built up excruciatingly slowly over the seasons, never blatant, but always there enough through furtive looks and body language. Theirs is a relationship of utter truth and trust, of danger and respect. 

Fox Mulder and Dana Scully

 

3) Ross Geller and Rachel Green from the hit TV show Friends – Here is a couple that truly shaped a generation. The up and down relationship between Ross and Rachel is well known to all. Ross’ character always held a flame for Rachel from their High School days, and ten years later when they come to be in the same group of friends, that spark is still there. Over the many seasons you see Ross and Rachel fall in love, fight, get jealous, go on a break and ultimately break up. They both go on to date other people, but with at least one of them still nursing strong feelings for the other at any given time. They struggle with letting the other move on, Ross even getting married to another woman at one point much to Rachels heartbreak, but he stuffs it up at the alter by mistakenly naming Rachel in his vows as opposed to his wife-to-be. They go through copious amounts of real-life situations together, as well as the ludicrous, but always come through it with a strong sense of friendship, respect and ultimately, love. By the last episode of the last season, Ross and Rachel have come to find they cannot live without the other. (Which is great because by then they have a kid together, from a passionate “one more time”) A modern, deprecating look at love in this day and age – along with being hilariously rediculous!

Ross Geller and Rachel Green

 

4) Max Evans and Liz Parker from the TV show Roswell – Not everyone was a fan of Roswell, but I certainly was. It focused on Roswell, New Mexico (you know, where the 1947 UFO crash was supposed to have happened and the US government covered it up?) and three aliens that came down with the UFO. Crashing to earth in the guise of kids, the show opens on them as teenagers who have been adopted into the human world. Max is the unofficial leader of this band of aliens, whose goal is solely to find out where they came from and why they ended up on earth. Liz is a popular, sweet High School student who one day see’s Max for what he is when he saves her from being shot in a freak accident. Liz and Max quickly fall hopelessly in love with each other, both fascinated by the other to the extreme. Liz (and eventually some of her human friends) helps Max and the others search for the answers they need, cementing her place in his life. There is nothing they wont do for each other, despite their obvious differences. It’s a deep, very sweet, one of a kind type relationship. In a way doomed, but also pregnant with possibilities.

Max Evans and Liz Parker

 

5) Buffy Anne Summers and Angel (aka Angelus) from the award winning TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer (and the Spinoff Angel) – Buffy and Angel is one of the most heartbreaking unions ever created for TV, in my opinion. Buffy, a vampire slayer, and Angel, the vampire with a soul, have obvious complications from the start. Despite their deep and honest love for each other, they face both disgust from those around them, and danger due to who and what they are. They “meet” in season one, and go on to fall hopelessly for each other, despite their better judgement. By season two, Angel loses his soul when his curse is lifted due to one moment of happiness – a night in Buffy’s arms. He turns evil, and starts killing the people Buffy cares about and wreaking havoc on the town in general. He tries to end the world and Buffy is forced to kill him and send him into a hell dimension to stop this from happening, causing her to break down. Angel returns in season three by The Powers That Be, but after tortuous months trying to be with Buffy but unable to “Be” with Buffy, Angel leaves Sunnydale to start a new life in LA. But over all of the Buffy seasons and the Angel (spinoff) seasons, neither of them ever finds love again quite like what they had. They both take on partners, but it always comes back to wanting to be with each other. It is true love, dark and filled with pain, and given up due to their responsibilities to keep others safe. It doesn’t have a happy ending as they never really let go of each other, never truly move on, and so are forever doomed to be detached to whomever they are with in the meantime. But ahhh… So sexy!

Buffy Summers and Angel

 

6) Marge and Homer Simpson from the animated TV show The Simpsons – Okay okay, they aren’t “real people”, but they are an extremely famous TV couple, are they not? Their marriage is one of uneven footing, with Marge being attractive and sensible, and Homer being a bit of a lovable, idiotic slob. Homer creates more trouble than he is worth, throwing the Simpson family often into upheaval (losing the house, getting fired from his job, gambling away all of their money etc) but Marge ALWAYS stands by him. She gets frustrated, she gets upset and worried – sometimes gets even! – but she always supports Homer and helps him get them back on track. They love each other, and Homer often reminds himself how very lucky he is to have Marge as his wife, and Marge is constantly having to remember that her love for him is more important than the amount of crap he creates for her. Great, hilarious couple. It may be a cartoon, but I think their relationship is quite poignant. 

Marge and Homer Simpson

 

7) Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big from the TV series (and recently, box office movie) Sex and the City – The relationship between Carrie and Big is one many can relate to. Both with their twenties long behind them, they face all the pressures of life – careers, ex’s, their expectations of relationships – which invariably get between them. Their relationship is realistic in the sense that despite the fact their feelings for each other are true and passionate, they often let everything else come in the way. Dramatic, filled with hurt and betrayal, their relationship is one that seemingly should work, but never does. Of course, everyone around them pushes them to move on, get away from each other and find happiness with more appropriate people. This works on and off over the series many seasons, but inevitably they end up back in each others arms. Their relationship isn’t perfect, their characters are flawed and often selfish, but at the end of the day they love each other. They like each other. By the end of the last episode of the last season, the two of them deicide that being together is the only thing that really matters – even if it is going to be a lifetime of hard work! This relationship is a great example of modern day couples facing the stresses of work, money, appearance and acceptance – all the while getting older!

Carrie Bradshaw and Mr Big

8 ) Henry Roth and Lucy Whitmore from the movie 50 First Dates – This is a comedy, and not even a particularly big budget film. Henry is a laid back, commitment-phobic ladies man who is quite happy being a bachelor and living on the beautiful Island of Hawaii. That is, until he meets Lucy by chance one day in a diner. Lucy is beautiful and quirky, funny and sweet – and he falls for her almost immediately. But then he finds out the horrible truth about her – years before she was in a terrible car accident and suffered a serious head injury, and every day she wakes up she thinks it is the day before the accident, and every night her memory resets itself and she forgets everything she did that day and starts again. Obviously, a relationship with Lucy would seem impossible, especially for a guy who has never been in a serious relationship with anyone. But the absolute beauty of this movie is the journey Henry goes through as he falls more and more in love with Lucy and decides no matter how hard it got, just being with her was worth it. So every day, he sets about making her fall in love with him all over again. He creates albums,videos and diaries of their times together, puts this woman above his own wants and needs for the first time in his life. Lucy, on the other hand, struggles every day with new and fresh guilt, with confusion, but ultimately falls in love with him by the end of each day. This is a uniquely sad and equally funny movie that tugs at your heartstrings. 

Henry Roth and Lucy Whitmore

 

9)  Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman and Johnny Castle from the movie Dirty Dancing – Dirty Dancing is one of those iconic movies that everybody has seen and almost everyone loves. It’s set in the 1960’s, and Baby and her family arrive at a resort in upstate New York’s Catskill Mountains for a holiday. Baby is an ambitious, intelligent and slightly bookish 17 year old with aspirations to join the Peace Corps before marrying a Doctor just like her Father. To kill time at the resort, she starts a few dance classes and finds she has an interest in it. And then she meets Johnny, one of the resorts dance instructors. He is gorgeous, he is sexy, and he dances like no one she has ever seen before. In the repressed 1960’s, Baby has never witnessed the dirty style dancing that Johnny does, but she is drawn to him and to his dancing style. They are thrown together as dance partners due to Baby trying to help another resort worker, and from there an impossible romance blossoms. They dance, and you can see the passion flaring between them. They talk, and Baby’s eyes are opened to a much harsher world than she has ever known, while Johnny is suddenly hopeful at a future, pushed by Baby. Their love is one that struggles with their differing socioeconomic groups, with their varying views on the wold and people as a whole, but their love is so pure it washes everything else aside. It is a coming of age love, and a beautiful one at that.

Frances "Baby" Houseman and Johnny Castle

 

10) Sam Wheat and Molly Jensen from the movie Ghost – Another famous flick, and if you haven’t watched it your life is most certainly lacking. Sam and Molly are a couple that are happy and have just moved in together. While Molly is openly in love with Sam, Sam is still a little bit reserved and hasn’t quite worked up to the “I love you” bit yet, and instead replies “Ditto” whenever she says it. While walking home together one night from the theatre, they are accosted in a dark alleyway and Sam is shot and killed. Obviously, this puts an early end to their relationship, and Molly is devastated. Sam, on the other hand, becomes a ghost and chooses to stay as an earth-bound spirit rather than moving on because he can’t yet let go of Molly. As he watches over her, he also starts to piece together that his murder didn’t happen by chance and that now Molly is in danger too. He finds a woman that can see and hear him in his new form and begs for her help him save Molly from an untimely end. He does everything he possibly can, and runs the gamut of emotions, to keep the woman he loves safe. By the end of the movie there is no question how very much he loves Molly, and their connection is beautiful, epic and worth a bit of a cry. They really are soulmates.

Sam Wheat and Molly Jensen

So, there you have it! My top ten screen-based romances. Hopefully you learned something, or at the very least went “Awwwwwwww” 🙂

It’s Called A Breakup Because It’s Broken Saturday, Dec 5 2009 

Almost everyone goes through breakups. Whether it be because you have moved on, or they have, or because the other half is an a$#hole and cheated on you with someone else, it happens to the best of us. It hurts. It’s depressing. It’s completely consuming.

A few years back I went through a breakup and was having a hard time, when I stumbled across the book It’s called a breakup because it’s broken by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt. This book is the BEST thing to read when you are nursing a broken heart.

It’s a self-help book, yes. But it’s not a rambling, over the top philosophical or even psycho-babble type read. It is a strangely honest, funny and awkward look into breakups and how they affect us. Both of the authors talk of their humiliating past breakups, of the idiotic ways they reacted and how it led them down a path of even deeper depression. But there are also letters from the public, sharing their stories and hurts, making you feel less alone and happy to have something to relate to. You don’t feel quite so pathetic, either, when you realise everyone else struggles to cope, too. 

The book advises you on what and what not do do after a breakup, from not calling them when you get lonely at 2 AM to getting fit and healthy, as opposed to drinking yourself stupid. The tips are really great, helpful to the nth degree. 

The authors main goal, and you can tell this as you are reading, is to make you feel like a sexy, wonderful person. They basically say – their (the ex) loss is someone else’s gain. They don’t tell you its silly to be in so much pain. They don’t tell you to just get over it, like some people in your life are inclined to do if they don’t understand the agony of heartbreak. They gently, and humorously, guide you through the steps to help you heal. They make you laugh, make you cringe at the mistakes of others facing what you are facing, and also help you move on without embarrassing yourself to that jerk, err, one that got away. 

So if you are getting over a breakup, or you know someone who is, I recommend buying this book. It isn’t expensive, and it does help. It’s funny how you can rationalise your actions when you are so emotional. Seeing some of your thoughts and actions written down in the stories of others snaps you back to reality quick-smart, and helps you move away from that dark place.

It's Called A Breakup Because It's Broken

Help In Tens Monday, Nov 30 2009 

I have had a lot of medical issues recently (Don’t drive scooters, they aren’t worth all the broken bones when some git runs a red light) and the most frustrating and painful part of all has been a sore back and neck. My accident left me with a lot of sore muscles, but I was limited in using them. I couldn’t stretch, couldn’t work my them normally. This caused my muscles to waste and become weak, throwing my whole body out of balance. Let me tell you – ouch!

Then I came across a Tens Machine (also know as EMS and NMES). It’s a small unit (And there are hundreds of types out there ranging from cheap to extremely expensive) that you place over the muscles you want to focus on, turn it on and it sends low-level electrical impulses to the area. It causes the muscles to work, tensing and unclenching. This treatment is used for major and minor injuries – I am recommending this to everyone! This little unit is something I have continued to use since the accident for no reason other than to keep my muscles loose and pain-free. I often use it on my neck and shoulders to stop them getting stiff, and to help with leg cramps. Other people I know use it for reducing swelling, the improvement of circulation, and muscle strengthening – some of my friends even claim their muscles have become more firm and they have dropped a size or two!

This machine is just brilliant for loosening stiff muscles. Anyone with a chronic bad neck or back will understand the need for relief from pain. So, there are plenty of websites and shops that sell them. Buy a cheapie to start with and give it a go! Honestly, it has helped my quality of life tenfold. 😉

TENS Unit

 

 

Stick Me Sunday, Nov 29 2009 

So, like a lot of people in this great and stressful world, I can get a really sore back and neck. I have tried stretching, heat-packs, massage and physiotherapy. Everything helps – but only a little bit. Then I found the answer! (I sound like a television commercial, don’t I? Or at least a religious zealot!)

Acupuncture. Slim needles inserted into the skin at varying points around the body. It sounds a bit gruesome, but really it’s not. There’s no blood, no pain except for a few exceptions and the end result is brilliant. There are a whole lot of points around the body which help ease problems specifically related to these points. There are points for treating migraines, promoting bone healing, helping ease muscle spasms and more.

It sounds a bit hokey but there is a lot of scientific studies to back it all, along with everyone who has had it raves about the results. It’s not a one-time fix, it can take weeks or even months to feel relief, but it’s worth the time and money. If you are in pain, it’s most certainly worth giving it a go!

Acupuncture