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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why are we celebrating the douchebags?

It is one of the things that annoy me most in modern culture, when large numbers of people (predominantly thanks to the media) continuously celebrate, encourage and often highlight the behaviour of world’s biggest assholes (Sorry about the language but I feel it is called for).
They are the losers who seem to get more publicity for breaking the law/using drugs/being violent/cheating on their partners etc. than they do when they when acting as relatively sensible, even if sometimes deluded, citizens.
I have three very obvious and current examples, which make me cringe at their thought. I can’t even bring myself to name them, but I am sure you will be able to figure it out:
·         American singer, convicted for violent assault on female partner:
o   How this guy is still making music, touring and consequently that people are still paying him for this astounds me.  After seeing the horrible pictures of Rihanna after he violently beat her, I thought there was no way he could come back from that. Although what now annoys me further is that when asked about the incident, he shows no remorse, instead getting angry and trashes his room backstage and gets away with it. Is it just me or are there more than a few things wrong with this picture?   
o   I came across a great piece on this situation below that I totally agree with -

·         Australian football player, cheated on wife with model, admitted to various addictions and unusually sized head/nose.
o   Talk about chances? It seems as though this one has a reminder in his outlook calendar that reads “Misbehave” set to go off every couple of weeks in order to boost his profile. From cheating on his wife, to urinating in public, to allegedly flashing females, admitting to gambling addictions and just in general acting like the biggest dickhead you are likely to meet.
o   What gets me most upset about this one is that after being kicked out of one football club for bad behaviour, another club pays big bucks for him. Then despite them giving him another chance, he once again misbehaves and they have no choice but to let him go. However it gets worse, as even though he is the one who misbehaves and forces them to break his contract, he is still paid out close to $1 million dollars.
o   I wonder what I need to do in order to have my employer pay me out 1-2 year’s salary, just to get rid of me?

·         American actor, who constantly wearing horrible bowling shorts and thinks he is winning  
o   Okay so I before I start this one, I must admit that I did get some enjoyment initially after watching this whole situation explode but the more I watched, the sadder I got, as I realised we were building a monster.
o   Firstly we have a guy who gets paid more than anyone should to wear horrible shirts and repeat the same bad jokes week in & week out, whilst playing a womanising loser on tv. Life imitating art or vice versa?
o   This is the same guy who has been in trouble with the law a few times in the past & openly admits to serious drug use.
o   However the more he acts out, is rude to those who employ him and the world tells him he is winning, the higher is profile is and more than likely the more he is rewarded. Arrrrrggghhhhhhh………
The list goes on but for the sake of my own personal health & to get my blood pressure back down, I’ll leave it there.
I just wonder why aren’t we celebrating the true heroes of this world, the doctors, the volunteers, the researchers or the men/women who are kind, courteous to others, hard-working and refrain from excessive drinking, illegal drugs, assaulting others and committing crimes?
I just don’t get it!
Becstar x

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good karma at the bank!

A friend of mine has recently started a brilliant new blog called The Smile Collective. The main aim of the site is help brighten your day and will be filled with stories, pictures and posts to make you smile. Check it out at

The launch of the site was perfect timing, as I had just been witness to a great ‘smile’ story and shared it with Kel, who posted onto her blog.

I thought I should also share it with you.

My smile moment for today happened to me while at the bank.

I was waiting patiently in line for the teller to become free when I noticed an older gentleman standing adjacent to the queue. At first I thought he was trying to push in, however he was obviously trying to go back to talk to the teller that he had previously dealt with.  

I was called to the teller  and while waiting for my bank cheque to be drawn up the man was called back to his teller and she asked him “Did I do something wrong?”

He pulled out a wad of cash, which he had obviously just withdrawn and proceeded to say “It’s just that you gave me $100 too much”

She took the money recounted it, realised her mistake and took the $100 back.

After blushing she then thanked him, as there was no way she would have known her mistake. He simply said “No worries, have a lovely day” and walked out.

Both tellers looked at each other in ultimate disbelief and she said “Well that certainly doesn’t happen every day”

I was also in a state of shock and looked around to other people in the queue who were either smiling or shaking their head in disbelief at this man’s honesty.

I walked out with the biggest smile on my face, just hoping that karma comes back around and pays him back for his honesty and reminding me that the world is full of amazing people.

Hope this made you smile.

Becstar x

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weddings – What’s not to love!

I have just returned from 10 days in Perth, where I had the pleasure of attending 2 weddings, my 2nd & 3rd of 2011 and I still have 4 more to go this year alone. However I am certainly not complaining, as I am completely willing to admit – I LOVE WEDDINGS!
I suppose most girls (and some boys) love a wedding, I mean what is not to love? Everyone is in a good mood, dressed up in their best outfits, the food is good (usually), drinks are flowing freely (and often at rapid pace) and love is in the air. I reckon if you don’t have a good time at a wedding then it’s your own fault.
But there are certain moments throughout the day, that I look forward to the most –
·         Enter Bride: Obviously when the bride comes into sight for the first time, the crowd will gasp with delight but this is the time that I tend to turn my attention to the groom and watch his face light up as he watches his bride come towards him. Priceless!

·         Introducing the new Mr & Mrs ???: The first time that the bridal party get introduced at the reception and you can immediately tell that the stress & nerves from the ceremony have been washed away. Especially after a few champers out in the sun while taking photos, you can tell that they are now ready to party.

·         Speeches: Now I understand that speeches can go either way but there aren’t many times in life when people publicly share stories about you to 100+ people or more importantly tell that many people how proud/inspired or lucky they are to know you/be your parents or to have just married you.

·         Dance Floor: There are not many occasions outside of weddings when the dance floor is so diverse. From nanna, to seedy uncle Bob, to the young kids and everyone else in between nobody is left out and all types of dance moves are welcomed and often encouraged. The YMCA and the Grease Megamix would have been ancient history if it wasn’t for wedding DJ’s.

I also love the way that a day that is usually so similar in proceedings can be so different in depending on the couple. I suppose all these things are what supposedly make the day “The happiest of your life”? I will just have to wait and see…….
Happy days……
Becstar x
                                                         At the Mr & Mrs Ivey Wedding
                                                         At the Mr & Mrs Fritchley Wedding
                                                          At the Mr & Mrs Gill Wedding

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

You'll be ANGRY if you miss this!

If you enjoyed “Summer Heights High” or “We Can be Heroes”, do yourself a favour and keep an eye on the TV Guide for Chris Lilley’s new series, ANGRY BOYS,  soon to be shown on the ABC.
If you haven’t seen either of his previous series, immediately duck down to the ABC Shop and grab a copy. You won’t be disappointed.
Then you will be joining me in counting down the days until this hilarious new show comes onto our screens.
If all Aussie comedy was this good, then there would be absolutely no need for the big networks to repeatedly show re-runs of outdated American sitcoms.
Get on it!
Becstar x

Monday, March 7, 2011

Customer Service: Is it really that hard?

So last week, I have finally got around to ringing all my service providers (Insurance, phone, bank, super etc..) to have them change my postal address, rather than just relying on Australia Post’s awesome redirecting service.
Unfortunately this task involved a painful amount of time on the telephone, listening to automated voice prompts, being left on hold, sent to yet another department and then being put through to seemingly uninterested or dare I say, incompetent people. This is a generalisation and there were a few super helpful and lovely people; however it got me thinking about what constitutes good customer service and constantly asking myself “Is it really that hard?”
My immediate thought is like yours is a bit fat NO! But maybe it’s easier to judge than to practice? My ideas regarding customer service are simple –
Nothing worse than being on hold for ages to be answered by ‘Huh, Max here. What is the problem?’ Well thanks Max, I’m so excited I just spent my valuable time to interrupt your super busy day, as it sounds like you would much rather be at home playing video games.
Smiling in person is obvious but especially important if you are dealing with people on the phone. It’s sounds cliché but people can hear a smile and they will like you more with, as it’s hard to be rude to a smiling person.

It’s a fact of life that people love the sound of their own name, so I love it when they use my name, as it makes me a feel a little bit special. It was interesting to note that various times throughout the week, I was asked if it was okay if they called me Rebecca, which is an interesting thought to consider, especially if you were dealing with more mature adults, who may wish to be referred by their title/surname or perhaps those stranger folks who prefer to be called by their alien name, such as Felix or Trixstar.

·         PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES (Even if they are an ugly, old pair of sneakers)
This one works both ways…..But imagine how many times they have to deal with angry, crazy people who are not as level headed and nice as us. If you are the one in customer service, you should know how it feels to have been hung up on numerous times.

Just because the last caller was rude and angry, does not mean that I will be the same (Unless I you hang up on me and miraculously I get you again when I call back. Though we all know this never happens). Again this should also be considered for the caller being put through to another customer service assistant. The next person you speak to could be the angel that fixes all your problems swiftly and enthusiastically (They do exist but are a rare species. Treat them nice or they will become extinct).

I don’t care whose fault it was or why it happened (3 times with one particular bank this week) just call me back immediately. Otherwise this is the best chance that I will call back ready to explode at whoever is lucky enough to pick up the line.

I don’t care whether you are the leading IT Developer at Apple or you are a checkout chick at IGA, I can’t understand why everyone isn’t striving to be the best at their job???

If you are not a people person, you are moody, don’t have great social skills or just don’t like interacting with different people, then don’t pick a career in customer service…..EASY!

Okay I will get down off my high horse now, as I am sure that I have broken all at these rules at one stage or another and almost exploded at customer service assistants (Telstra assistants at Gateway, I apologise), but each time I learn that it gets me nowhere. And while being super polite and accommodating is sometimes super annoying, it also makes me feel like I am being the better person and usually gets me what I want. (New iphone- wohoo!)
Give it a go and you’ll be surprised to see where it gets you….
Happy days.
Becstar x

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Completed Bucket List (To date....)

As suggested in my past post, I have been lucky enough to tick off a few things that were previously on my bucket list.
And whilst I am sure there are a few more that were on here, especially from when I was younger, like “Go overseas” or “Go to a concert”, these are the more specific ones that I can remember.
Remember to reflect on your own achievements on what activities that you may have already completed. Often we pass a milestone, achieve a dream or do something we have always wanted to do, without giving ourselves the praise and recognition that we took steps to make it happen.
1.       See the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona
(A 6 month around the world trip in 2004 accomplished most of these)
2.       Go surfing in Hawaii (2004)
3.       Climb up the Eiffel Tower (2004)
4.       Regular volunteering with a Charity
      (With Starlight in the Express Room at PMH)
5.       Complete a Half IM (Busselton 2006)
6.       Complete a university degree
       (Undergrad in Science at UWA and postgrad OHS at Curtin)
7.       Live in another state than WA (Melbourne 2011)
8.       Watch an NBA game (Seattle v Toronto 2004)
9.       Gamble in Las Vegas (2004)
10.   Win a bike race (State Crit Champs 2008)
11.   Sing solo at karaoke
(Confession it was Kylie’s ‘The Locomotion’ and I wasn’t even drunk)
12.   Represent WA in national sporting competition
(First time was in 2000 for triathlon, then in 2009 for cycling)
13.   Purchase my first home (With Matt in 2008)
14.   Go to the AUS open (2011)
15.   Go to the Olympics as a spectator (Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004)
16.   Visit India (Well this wasn’t on my list until I completed it, but still an amazing experience)
17.   See John Farnham in concert
(Okay dorky I know but I loved it, circa 2002.
Yes I was old enough to know better!)
18.   Live at the AIS (May have only stayed 4 days but it still counts 2010)
19.   Go skiing (Whistler 2004)
20.   Meet a movie star (Met Mandy Moore outside Saks, Fifth Ave, New York in 2004)
Happy reading.

Becstar x