Friday, July 8, 2011

Getting ready to hit the snow

So excited that in 2 days time I will be hitting the snow for my first proper ski trip. 5 days of learning to ski with Matt & some of my best mates.
I have skied before in Whistler for 2 days but that was slightly interrupted by consuming copious amounts of alcohol (which is a requirement for Aussie backpackers in Whistler).
Janelle & Chris (from Perth) and Kate (from Tamworth) are flying in to Melbourne on Saturday and we are making the drive to Falls Creek on Sunday.
We will ski/board from Monday morning to Friday afternoon, with some night skiing on Wednesday as well.
Apart from Kate, we are all beginners and super excited about our first real winter adventure.
Hopefully I will be competent by the end of the week to be able to enjoy some runs and get up some speed.
Full report and pictures to come but I am so excited, I just need to share. Check out the latest snow reports –

Becstar x

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Road Trip: Melbourne to Canberra

It’s a long weekend on the East Coast, so Matt and I decided to take full advantage of this and take a road trip to the Nation’s Capital. The decision was made easier by the fact that Matt also had Friday off and so he picked me up from the airport on Thursday afternoon and we were on our way.

While some people suggested we were mad for choosing to go to Canberra, I was excited to play tourists. Matt has been to Canberra many times with school camps but was always too busy watching the kids that he never got the time to see all the exhibitions. While I had only ever been to Canberra to race my bike and apart from the AIS and the large hills in the outer suburbs had never seen many of the main attractions.

If you have never been then I highly recommend it, lots to see and do (mostly all free) and you’ll learn a stack.

But rather than bore you with my words, check out the highlights below –

                The Dog & the Tuckerbox – Not to highlight I was expecting but can say I’ve been there!

                    In the Senate at Parliament House. The Senate is red & House of Reps is green.

                         On the roof of parliament house. Looking down over Old Parliament House
                                                         & towards the War memorial.
          Looking back the other way from the War Memorial looking up towards Parliament House.

                                 Soliders about to be dropped out of the helicopter for combat.
                        Looking down through the War Memorial – it was a huge highlight.
                         We actually went back 2 days in a row so we could take it all in.
                                                          Incredible and overwhelming!

                           My best effort to be a serious Madam Speaker at Old Parliament House.

                               Sight seeing in Canberra is thirsty work – Lake Burley Griffin.

                      Soundtrack for the drive – courtesy of Triple J Hottest 100 and Hamish & Andy.  

Oh and if you go during winter, make sure you take all the clothes you can……It’s freezing!

Becstar x

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Feeling like to poor cousin to "Makes my Day When"

Well I know I have been a bit slack in posting on Bec Blogs and I feel bad every time I log in to my Blogger Page to see her sitting there looking deflated and feeling like a poor relation. But I have started a new project, which quite simply just gets me more excited. 

Makes My Day When…….is my latest project that I started about 3 weeks ago.

I decided to start this blog in honour of the little pleasures in life that often don’t get the recognition they deserve. Hallmark doesn’t make cards to mark these occasions but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel as exciting as a Birthday or Christmas at the time of their occurrence.
These are the things that bring a smile to your dial, make you squeal with delight, have you pump your fist with joy or simply smirk at your own good fortune.
There are so many of these little moments throughout our life and it’s time we gave them some credit.
So each day I post a blog about one of these moments that make my day when they happen.
The blogs aren’t too long but hopefully they may make you stop & think about all the little pleasures in your life that make you smile.
A few of the things that have made the list so far:
#1:          New sock day
#5:          Fresh food at the buffett
#6:          Avoiding a parking ticket
#9:          No-one sits next to you on the plane
#16:       A new checkout line opens and you are the first to be called over
#18:       You find money in your jeans

Feel free to check it out at or search for ‘Makes my Day When’ on Facebook to have each day’s post sent directly into your newsfeed.

But don’t start to cry just yet, I still rate “Bec Blogs” as a valuable member of my family, so I will still be ensuing that she gets the regular attention she needs.

Enjoy your weekend!
Becstar x

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Motivational Medicine

My boss sent me this during the week and I thought it was too good not to share. Enjoy!

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit -
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out---
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
- Anonymous

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ANZAC Day Dawn Service & Parade

Confession time: I am ashamed to admit but prior to Monday I had never attended an ANZAC Day Dawn Service. I know it’s shameful and after attending this year, I feel even worse about it.
If you read no further in this post than this, I am telling you to make it a priority to get there next year.
 Matt & I decided we would go this year, with the decision made easier by the fact that our apartment in South Melbourne is situated no less than 150m from the Shrine of Remembrance. If we didn’t go, it would have truly been unforgivable. So the alarm was set for a 5.15am rise and we were out the door for the 2min walk by just after 5.30am.
The morning was cold, dark & eerie, with super thick fog descending on the city, making it hard to see how many people where actually huddled around the memorial. I knew there were a few as we could get nowhere near the front , so as the ceremony continued and the sun rose it was obvious that we weren’t the only ones who had made the decision to attend. Later that night, 7 news suggested that 35,000 people attended, which was truly impressive.  
As we couldn’t see a thing, we relied on listening to the voices and music through the loud speakers. The shivers that ran up my spine were quite unexpected and I was a bit more emotional than I had prepared to be.
When the formalities were over we wondered down the ‘Gunfire Breakfast’ held by the RSL which was served by current servicemen and women. Half a bun, sausage, baked beans, scrambled eggs and a couple of Anzac breakfasts in a styrofoam plate – perfect!
The parade wasn’t due to start until 9am and we finished brekkie by 7am, so we went back to the apartment for a bit of rest. They rugged back up to cheer on at the parade.
This was a highlight for me, seeing the men and women looking so proud as they made their way 1.8km along the route. Some certainly faster than others but if they want to march, then let them march I say, who cares how long it takes.
However the moment of the day came when the ‘Poppy’ of about 5 young kids who were patiently sitting next to us finally came past about 1.5 hours into the parade. The kids had been happily clapping along, waving their Aussie flags at all the people but then when they finally spotted ‘Poppy’ they bolted out into the middle of the parade yelling excitedly at him, giving him high fives and hugging him intensely. Poppy looked so proud and happy, even broke into a jog/skip back to his group waving back to his family. Precious stuff!
I walked away from the day truly inspired and more thankful than ever by the sacrifices that all of these men & women gave for our country to allow me to do whatever I chose to do today.
One of those choices I will continue to make is to attend as many dawn services as I can in the future. It’s one morning a year to put a whole bunch of things in perspective!
Becstar x
                                  Eerily foggy and shows as close as we could get to the Shrine.

                                                  The Victoria Barracks looking so pretty.

                                                           The Shrine on a quieter day.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Own Up: Who's playing the practical joke on me?

So I have never blogged twice in one day but I just had to get this one out for the sake of my own sanity!
Holy Moly, I swear someone is playing the biggest, most impressive practical joke on me lately as I attempt to deal with a major telephone company (Rhymes with MELSTRA).
About 2 weeks ago, I rang to reduce the company to purchase another mobile broadband dongle for my laptop, as the other one was getting quite slow. I had to change the billing address anyway and I know how slow service can be in store, so I thought I would do it over the phone.
About 30mins later, I had changed the billing address on my business’s internet account and ordered a new dongle, which they would send directly to me at my new address, which I had to give 3 times throughout the conversation. No problems, at least she was being thorough & I would have a new package in 2-3 days. Sweet!
So a few days later, my mum calls (who lives in Perth, while I am in Melbourne) to say that a courier has just delivered a package to me. Well I didn’t order anything, so I get her to open it and guess what, it’s my new Telstra dongle. WTF?
Now I haven’t lived at that address for over 7 years and the business account that I have both internet access account with, have no links whatsoever to that address, as they are held in the business name and I haven’t had a personal Telstra account in over 14 years.
So I ring them up to ask what is going on? It turns out that my current address is not valid and after repeatedly asking me if I am sure I am giving the right address, the computer says NO and they are unable to verify the address. So that’s why it was sent to Perth, my very unhelpful male customer service officer says so matter of factly – well DER, why didn’t I realise this. No calls to check, we just send it to the only other address that we have matched for you……….Crazy!
Even worse is that I ask, what happens if it wasn’t my parents address and someone else had just signed for it and taken it? His reply “Well we would have had a problem then, wouldn’t we?”
Then when I ask what they are going to do now, he cheekily suggests that the best, easiest thing would be to have my mum just send it to me……..So even though they stuffed up, we have to fix it. No chance! So instead we have to wait for a return bag to arrive, send it back and then they will send me a new one. At this stage I am really wishing I had just gone to the store…….
So 2 weeks pass and we still have no return bag to send it back (Although mum did receive my ‘Welcome to Telstra pack’ so good to see they deleted the address like they said they would). So I send in a complaint and hope that they will call me to sort out. Instead I get an email to say they can’t call, as they don’t have contact details for me……..(I had to add them when I entered the complaint, so why don’t you look there) but more importantly the email says, if I don’t ring back in 5 days then they will assume the matter was resolved. Putting back on the customer again, great work guys!
So today I call and they ask for my complaint number to get through my case manager. But guess what??????? My case manager no longer works in complaints (After sending the email 3 days ago) and so they have to assign me a new case manager. They ask if I can wait and after 10mins they say that they will just get them to call me back asap, as there is a queue. I give them my number this time and wait………………………….It’s been 2 hours since this happened and 2 weeks & 3 days since I started this process, do you think I will get a call E-V-E-R?
Not a happy customer!
(But oh so grateful I don’t have to work for them)
Becstar x

Para-cycling National Championships – April 2011

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending and competing at the Australian National Para-Cycling Championships in Caloundra, on the Sunshine Coast. Over the past two months I have teamed up with a vision impaired rider, Casey, in Melbourne and we have been busy training to head up to the comp.
Since these competitions are few & fair between, we had no illusions that we were fully fit and ready to race but if we didn’t go, it would be another 11 months until the next event. So we went in to the competition simply for the experience (something that took a bit for my competitive nature to adjust too).
We raced a 24km Time Trial in a torrential downpour on the Saturday but the skies cleared up on Sunday for our 62km Road Race, which consisted of 6 very undulating laps. Note: Tandem bikes are great for descending but not really made for climbing – ouch!
It was a long couple of days but we got through, all better for the experience and the insight into what we need to do and where we need to be at in order to be competitive next year.
However the biggest lesson I took out of the trip, is how truly amazing and determined some people are. I met a fellow female competitor, a lower limb amputee, who also happens to be a very accomplished doctor, who rides using only one leg. Now when I thought climbing up those hills with 2 people and 4 legs was tough, imagine only being able to use one. Amazing!
Another female competitor who suffers from spasms when her body starts to heat up or get put under stress, which started about ½ lap into her 3 lap race. Talk about determination to get to the finish.
Then there are the hand cyclists, some who literally were just concentrating on completing one revolution at a time to avoid rolling back down the hill on the steepest part of the course. Imagine their upper body strength.
I was able to talk candidly to a number of the competitors about their disabilities and how it affects their daily lives and ability to ride their bikes. The thing that struck me the most is that not one of them complained or suggested it was unfair. Each and every one of the competitors were inspirational and I can guarantee that they work just as hard as any able body competitor at the same level.  
It is certainly an experience that I will take with me during future training sessions on or off the bike. Next time I am in the box and struggling to continue, I’ll just think of my fellow competitors and I’m sure I’ll suck it up and get on with it.
A few pictures from the weekend’s events –

Happy riding!
Becstar x