thin air I’ll share with those who care

I paid little attention as I grabbed a scarf, slipped into my Ksubi boots and dashed out the door for coffee with an old friend. It wasn’t until I looked down, whilst sitting his car, that I realised the zipper on my right boot was broken. And so I let loose a wild torrent of profanities.

Seriously — what have I done to piss off the karma gods so badly?! Barely a week had passed since I complained that I can’t seem to get through a whole week without something mildly significant going wrong. These boots were expensive! Even after the fact that I had bought them for half price. The exact same thing happened to the zip on the left boot a year ago, and my awful experience with a well-known shoe repair store meant that I was desperate to try out somewhere new.

A quick google and very friendly phone call later, I was on my way to Shoe Sheriff on Broadway in Newmarket. I’ve driven past this place countless times and have never stepped foot in it, but I’m really glad I did today. The man that owns this place (I believe his name is Peter Croad but I can’t be sure) is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. He urged me to try and fix the zipper myself so that I could save $40, especially since I should get my sole and heel replaced soon. I ended up sitting at the counter for fixing my own zipper, equipped with some special pliers and helpful instructions. He then clamped the zipper tight for me and sent me on my way.

I’m still in shock and a bit of awe. I feel really indebted to him for some reason. Not in a monetary way, but in a gushing, that was so kind of you, you didn’t have to sort of way. I will definitely be returning to get my soles done and I urge anyone else in the area to get their shoes repaired there!

The place reminds me of the luthier that I photographed in New York, but I didn’t want to make a scene so only took a couple of quick snaps on my phone.

and I don’t make particular plans cos they don’t matter, if you keep on foolin in bed with my sleeping patterns

I’ve been thinking lately that I’m really not that healthy or good to my body. Leaving aside all my sporting injuries and physical problems that I need to work on, I don’t think that I eat particularly well, nor are my lifestyle habits any good. You could almost say that I eat too well, meaning I love, loove meat (steak!!!) and my favourite green-type-food happens to be spinach, which is also high in protein. This is not a bad thing at all, but I’ve decided that I really need to balance things out.

Like many people my age, I sleep too late or too little altogether, drink too much, and eat too much bad food at very bad hours. So my first step towards encouraging myself to have a better breakfast regularly, was that I went out and invested in a decent blender. I got one on sale for $113.99 which was down from $189.99 — it’s one of those ones with a solid glass jug and the ability to crush ice efficiently. I then went to the supermarket and green grocer for supplies, and went home to make this smoothie:

I put in: yoghurt, almonds, frozen berries, nectarine, granny smith apple, banana and a tiny bit of ice. It’s a lot cheaper than the $5-7 that cafes charge for a smoothie and undoubtedly healthier as I didn’t add in any extra sugar or flavouring powder.

The boy has also ordered some organic goji berries, cacao powder and mesquite powder to usher towards us healthier diets. I know this all sounds a bit overboard, but I could never have the discipline to turn into one of those “clean eating” people (in fact, what exactly is “clean eating”?!). I just want to make sure that I at least eat something healthy every day to make up for my other unhealthy habits that are lot harder to kick.

I also couldn’t help but try my hand at making a soup, since I wanted to see my blender’s “puree” function in action. Considering I’ve never tried to make soup before, I think the results were pretty good for someone that literally made up the “recipe”. In case you hadn’t noticed already, I tend to make things up as I go…

I used: two large carrots, a whole bag of stalked spinach, chicken stock powder, a bit of water, five pieces of toast crumbed in, and obviously salt and pepper. I pan-fried a small amount of chicken with garlic, and towards the end I threw in a small amount of sliced salami to give the smell a bit of a kick. If I wasn’t so full from my smoothie, I would already but gulping this stuff down by the spoonful because it’s good!

This has turned into a bit of a “how lazy, unhealthy students kid themselves into thinking they’re eating healthy”-post, but hopefully I can eat like this more often. And go to the gym! The rowing machine is waiting for me again.

it’s been at least another year, and I still haven’t got the chance to say

Disappearing from my blog because, oh you know, real life is so much more… I simply have far too many adjectives to insert here that I’d better just quit while I’m ahead. I’ve had an absolutely splendid first three-quarters of this two-week “study break” (aka two weeks off in the middle of a 12-week semester in order to catch up on what I like to call the 3 S’s – anyone want to stab a guess at what they are?) but now it’s all downhill from here since I’m having to face three assignments that I’ve conveniently avoided until now. The main thing that I’ve spent the past few days on has been hand-making and writing out almost fifty invitations for my 21st birthday party. Although turning 21 isn’t all that “special” in terms of what you get to do here in NZ since the drinking age has been at 18 for quite a few years now, it is still considered a milestone birthday where people tend to throw big parties that involve speeches. So, being the super-sentimental person that I am, of course that’s exactly what I’m doing, except that planning it has proven to be rather time and energy-consuming.

I’m not sure if it’s craziness or just my refusal to let facebook take over the my world, but I didn’t want my birthday invitation to just be a mass message put on the internet where people are bombarded by events everyday, and nothing ever feels personal anymore. On top of that, I want to make my birthday nice in the underrated and undervalued sense of the word, and for it to not become just another blur in everyone’s memories of this years’ batch of 21st birthday parties. Because by the time you’ve been to three or four weekends of 21st birthday parties in a row… unfortunately they do begin to blur. So in typical Amanda fashion of all-or-nothing, I made them all myself, only employing mum’s help for some advice, and asking her to ship the cards into the next room for me because I ran out of floor space! I’ve still got the majority of them sitting behind me on my bed though… need to deliver them all ASAP!

Here’s some pictures of the lengthy process. Luckily the only purchase I had to make in contribution to these invitations were ribbons, since mum magically has all the art supplies I needed! I made them by cutting up large watercolour paper into quarters. Painted. Textured. Folded with two ribbons tied on and hand drew a double bass design that I had made into a stencil. Then I wrote, signed and sealed them in wax.

This whole process of planning and inviting people to my 21st has also inspired me to catch up with a lot of old friends that I’ve not had the chance to see in far too long. It’s definitely been a colourful couple of weeks, and on Saturday I had a mini-drinks thing at Daniel’s house where Cara fed us all too much cheese and salami. Definitely not a complaint though! And despite the assignment deadlines, the boy and I have made some lovely plans for the next couple of days/nights; and tomorrow night dad is uploading to dropbox my film scans for the b/w rolls he’s gotten developed in Taiwan for me, so I can’t wait to see those either!

who’s the one that wants to slam it in the door and try to hide it, she’s a mystery girl

It’s official – between beginning-mid October and now, I’ve accidentally lost 5-6kg. I’m using the word accidentally because it really was – I’ve done absolutely nothing in the department of healthier food, more sleep, more exercise, etc to encourage it. And if anything, I’ve eaten more, worse, and exercised a little less. I think it was mostly from the stress of having to get through October that did it, but whatever it is, I don’t really care! Because today I bought a smoking hot dress on a whim, and I actually feel good in it, so what the heck. And off went the rest of my last stash of tutoring money because I also bought a leather skirt – but I’m so happy with both pieces that I gave up trying to decide between them and just went “oh whatever, I’ll get both, I can’t decide!” – which now means slightly less shopping to be done overseas, but I think I can live with that.

The annoying thing about today was that a friend and I were supposed to go to the beach on her day off work, but it just wasn’t sunny nor hot enough. We ended up going into town to see my piercer because the ball off my rook jewellery fell off and it’s an impossible place for me to get it back in myself. Buuut, the best bestest thing about today was when the boy swung round for a tiny little while after work because it’s our ten months today. Which is something I still can’t get my head around, but even with all the bumps and mishaps, it’s been a bloody good time. Which is why I’ve been up until 5 or 6 in the morning all week trying to finish a project that is to be part of his Christmas present. Although, I think that, his four-part present series is kind of a mix between Christmas and our one-year-to-be… so hopefully I’ll manage to finish it soon. The boy’s parents have invited my mum over to their house for dinner this weekend, so that’s going to be interesting. Our parents have never met before, and I don’t know how this sort of thing is supposed to work, so to be honest I’m a little anxious. Especially because – as the boy’s mother pointed out last night – mum is going to be rather outnumbered what with their household of five plus three pets! Ahhh, hopefully all will go smoothly and conversations will flow as the wine does. I mean, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t… but it just seems like such an occasion.

Going to try and hop into bed before the birds start chirping, for the first time this week! Not sure that I’ll actually succeed sleep before then, but at least I should tuck myself in to prepare for it, haha. Because mum and I are going shopping for peonies tomorrow!

Here are some photos from that birthday meal I organised and cooked for some friends the Saturday before last – I have never cooked so much steak in my life!

And oh, about that getting into bed thing… first I have to tame the now-very-awake-cat that has plonked himself down right down in the middle of the part of the bed in which I sleep. Great.

Pieces of what… doesn’t matter anymore

Yesterday I got home after a treacherous commute from uni – slip-jogging downhill in the city in rain, with a heavy bag, heavy bass, semi exposed music folders, very full ferry, awkward seating – to the glorious sight of some parcels. My Asos package and some items from the BookDepository. I’m still waiting on 4(?) more books and a dress/convertible skirt thing to arrive:

OCD, Definition 1:

What I really want to write about is “obsessive compulsive documentation”, as per inspired by Marta’s blog. But first I have to get something off my chest: I used to be quite OCD as a child. I still am a little bit now, but it’s nothing compared to what I used to be. I’m sure lots of people out there will have done some of the things I used to do, but can you tell me – how bad did it feel when you didn’t stick to those “rules” which your brain somehow constructed and told you to adhere to?

I used to, and often still do now, but in a more oppressed manner:

– have to take three steps per slab of concrete
– count everything obsessively, out loud, in my head, all the time – especially when running and swimming (which is why I gave up the latter, counting up to the 5000 region is painful whilst swimming km after km in a lap pool)
– have to touch something a certain amount of times
– have to experience the same thing on both sides of my body (I still do this, my friends find it funny, but I really don’t – especially when they trigger it intentionally, it sets me off like a house on fire. e.g., if someone slaps one arm, I will have to ask them to slap me on the other arm, at the same angle, with the same strength; or if someone steps on my foot or something stupid like that.  Actually, I’d appreciate if everyone who reads this blog that knows me in real life would please fucking stop laughing about it and triggering it, it’s anguish in my head to try and fight the urge to punch my own arm, for example.
– in addition to the above, I like to touch things with both hands. I line people’s phones up when it’s on a table. I like to stack my ipod and phone together because they’re about the same size, and I hate feeling a phone vibrate in one hand but not the other.
– most especially in homeware-type stores, I have have have to backtrack my way out of a store, as if I had a spider web-like things trailing me and I have to “untangle” my way out, so that this “thread” doesn’t loop around a shelf or rack in a store. It used to make my mum wonder why I kept walking in circles back and back around aisles.
worst of all, I have a counting system and this is the most frustrating and made-fun-of thing ever. As mentioned above, I count. A lot. Moreover, I do this weird thing where I count three to 3, then three more to 6, then three more to 9, then two to 11, two more to 13, then three to 16 and then seven to 23. When I was younger, this systematic pattern only existed up to the number 9, but then at some point it grew to 11, 13, 16… and it did stop at 21 for a while, but somehow ended up at 23 instead. Weird, I know. And that probably made no sense to anyone else but me anyway. But the worst thing is, people make a joke out of it and I just can’t stand it! At its worst, you can tell my mind’s distracted from say, if I’m reading a book, I’ll end up reading really fucking slowly (I’m generally a fast reader otherwise) because I’ll have to look at all the punctuation on the page a certain amount of times… the page number a certain amount of times. And if it’s a number than I deem as “not good” or that I don’t like (such as 2, 4, 8), my mind psyches itself out and I have to “fix” it by looking at “good” numbers certain amount of times.

Not to mention, these are just my main things that I “have to” comply/count to. There are all sorts of random things that I obsess over as well, but don’t kick in that often, or are more easily overridden by my logic and common sense. For example, I have really, really messy (what people like to call “artsy”) handwriting – it’s mostly because I write really fast and big, and that’s just how it ends up. But those silly people that have attempted to copy my handwriting (fuck knows why), or, those even worse ones that try to criticise my handwriting beyond a necessary point, don’t realise that there’s a whole other reason which I let it become and stay so messy. To put it simply, once I make a conscious effort to make my writing neat, I end up obsessing over making it perfect. If I’m writing down music and my “neat writing” thing kicks in, then every little thing that pours over one line must immediately be erased. Or if my clefs don’t fit in the lines perfectly. Or if I haven’t divided each bar to roughly the same size.

It’s the most unbearable thing ever. Just now, I’ve scratched the back of my neck twice, on both sides, with both hands, because I can’t talk about this without succumbing to the “NEED”. I haven’t told my therapist any of this yet, though. Simply because we’re always dealing with something else and I forget about this until I get back into my car and something sets it off.

OCD, Definition 2:

Now, the other, less annoying type of “OCD” is “obsessive compulsive documentation”. To be honest, this goes beyond the desire to blog or to write in my notebook. For me, I like to keep a documentation of my mere existence and how I think/feel about things. I’ve learned so much simply by reading back in old poetry/lyric notebooks, old diaries, old blog posts, and looking through either digital photos or physical photo albums. I can’t remember how that quote goes, but I truly do believe that everything we’ve ever seen, everyone we’ve ever met and everything we’ve ever done has had its part in creating who we are today. I guess the whole “documentation” thing began the minute I was born, because my mum is a professional photographer. She’d done the big studio thing in Tokyo, did reporting for major newspapers and magazines in Taipei, and later opened up her own studio specialising in children’s photography – so my sister and I were constantly her subject of her films. She also used to do work for a parenting magazine, so whenever we so much as cried, out came the camera, snap snap, the dough rolled in. Obviously, being photographed whilst being told off or upset in general was really quite traumatising, and caused us to cry even more – but as I’ve grown up, I kind of appreciate having these things to look back on. When I was six, I asked my mum to buy me a navy and white checkered hardback diary. It came in a matching box with a lock on it, and it was to be my best friend during our immigration to New Zealand. The last time I read back through it, it occurred to me how I had started writing all in Chinese, and then in the middle was a bit of Chinglish, and eventually the Chinese got filtered out to remain only in the phrases where there’s a lexicon gap.

Then, at age 12 I discovered blogging and it changed my life. As you can see, I’ve been doing it ever since.

What I enjoy about documentation is that there’s evidence outside of myself that an experience or thought had occurred. Our memories aren’t reliable, and more often than not gets gray and blurry around the edges. Sometimes you see a view so amazing or had such a good time that you think “I’m going to remember this forever” – but really, you don’t. Some people enjoy just keeping such memories within, to themselves, but I just can’t. On top of this, such documentation often becomes a source of inspiration for me later on, when I am feeling more creative. Reading old poetry/blog/diary entries of my own have often resulted in extended verses, a new reflective blog post, and once even a painting – so see, for me it’s not just about “did that, *photograph it*, file it”, even if it appears to be to onlookers.

As for less meaning for documentation like taking crappy party photos versus taking decent film ones with a bit more effort, both are important to me. Whilst I may not (unlike most people my age) splash all my party/drunk/whatever photos all over facebook, it’s still nice for me to know that someday when I’m older and these days are over, I will have something left of it to look back on. Heck, I don’t even party that much or often anymore, so even looking back on photos from a year ago evokes nostalgia and makes me feel old already!

Point is, I like documenting. And even though I believe that, at the core we never change that much and essentially remain the same at heart, I still like to be reminded of who I used to be at any particular given point. It’s like those amazing lyrics or songs that I write in the shower, that I feel are so worthy of being worked on and properly written out, which I then forget the minute the water goes off – so too do the amazing memories and experiences that we have, if we don’t record them in some way. Plus, it’s always fun to see things from a new perspective, or think my god, I was that retarded at that age?! and then feel like a better person a few years on, isn’t it?


Left: welcome to the neglected corner of my room, where I tend to stash the biggest, heftiest items (refer to multiple basses and hockey gear), which then gets in the way of me trying to reach my wardrobe.
Right: my wardrobe door, on which I stuck a pile of those whacky film photos taken in Japan (my heart melts!) and Taiwan.

Traces of last night.
Left: Chocolaaate + acrylics I used to paint my bedside table last night.
Right: The remains of the beer and cupcakes which the boy and I indulged in along with Boston Legal last night.

I’ve been meaning to post this ever since Christmas. She may not enjoy my documenting ways which entails (undisclosed) unflattering photos of us, but my special lady friend sure gave me an adorabubble Christmas present which she made herself! It graces a prime spot on my wall, of course.


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