, or What I Did on my Unemployment Vacation

Hello, internet!

As you can see, I’ve followed my post-tastic month of April with exactly 3 (now 4, if I get this posted before tomorrow) posts. I’m going to blame it on equal parts Other Things Happening That Were More Important and X-Files marathons almost every night. It’s been a very Muldery-May.

With blame being cast, let’s catch you up!

  • Employment. At the beginning of May, I found myself with only 4 weeks left of work on my contract. Wahhh. My migration lawyer gave me the awesome news that not only can I work while I’m on my bridging visa, but I can work for up to 5 years, because I get all the rights of my anticipated visa while I’m waiting for it. Halle-freaking-leuigha. I was terrified that, as I originally thought, I wouldn’t legally be able to work while my partnership visa was processed. So I sent out resumes to actual career jobs, not just temporary gigs. Woo!
    On Monday the 11th, I started sending out resumes. By Tuesday, I was texting friends and telling them that I was a failure and hated being an adult and maybe I should just give up–because that’s exactly what I’m like 24 hours into job hunting. By Thursday, I had an interview. By the following Tuesday, I had a second interview. By that Thursday, I hadn’t heard back on my second interview, but I had an interview with a different company, who hired me 15 minutes after the interview. SCORE! By Friday, I a competing offer from the first company who hired me. And I found myself at a familiar cross roads: Do I take the challenging job at a global office with creative work and connections, or do I take an easier data entry job with no creative work and no connections at a fun, cool office? After a mild panic attack, I chose the challenging, creative job.So that was a fun, short way into a job! I start tomorrow, and I’m only a tiny bit anxious. And by anxious, I mean, I’ve scrubbed my apartment from tip to toe and I’ve been obsessing over what to wear on my first day for the last 5 days. The usual.
  • Zine Fair. The Sydney Writer’s Festival had their annual Zine Fair at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and this year Joel and his friend Aaron had a table to sell their zines and photos. They sold heaps of their zines, Joel sold a few of his dark room prints, they struck the interest of a major book store chain, and Joel was photographed for a local paper. I was seriously just a beaming ball of pride over him all weekend. For serious!
    Public Style, representing
    Publicstyle, representing
    Damn paparazzi.
    Damn paparazzi.

    ow owww
    ow owww
  • Anniversary. On the 22nd, Joel and I celebrated 2 fantastic years together. He bought me a hilarious zine called Vonnecats, which was cat drawings paired with Kurt Vonnegut quotes, and I got him a succulent to add to his collection. Then we ordered in pizza and watched more X-Files.
    Anniversary spoils!
    Anniversary spoils

    It’s hard to believe it’s only been 2 years, as we’ve done so much already, and it feels like I’ve known him all my life. And it’s hard to remember another time when I’ve been consecutively happy for 2 years straight. Probably before puberty, maybe? I wake up thankful every morning, and I try very hard not to take a moment of him for granted. I adore him with every atom of my very being. I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have met him.

  • Unemployment vacation. I had a week between my old job concluding and my new job starting, which meant a week long stay-cation, which didn’t come a moment too soon. Basically, all I’ve done is
    • catch up on Skypes

      Ohhh my sibling's kids. They're a circus.
      Ohhh my sibling’s kids. They’re a circus.
    • knitting and Downton Abbey starting from Season 1, Episode 1. Goin’ #FullGrandma on this vacay

      It's about 5x longer than this now!
      It’s about 5x longer than this now!
    • running into debit card minimums at every store I went to. Basically, this week I learned that stores won’t post when they have a minimum, and that I should always keep $5 on me at all times.
    • couch re-covering. I finally made our couch look like an adult couch again!
      Hobo Couch, featuring Ham Bag pillow
      Couch, before
      It's not exactly perfect, but I'm so happy to see a solid couch again.
      Couch After: It’s not exactly perfect, but I’m so happy to see a solid, grown up couch again.

      Our pillows will never grow up, though.
      Our pillows will never grow up, though.
    • Baking all the cookies that ever were. I’ve stumbled upon a recipe that makes the most soft baked, buttery, salty, crunchy edged cookies ever in the world. I’ve baked so many batches that I have now made myself promise to not buy bulk butter so I won’t be tempted to bake more and balloon 800 lbs.
    • playing with my new coffee maker. Yay!

    • makin’ meatloaf and bolognese

      Veggies for daaayss
      Veggies for daaayss
    • cleaning. See: anxiety.It’s been hard to face the fact that I’m going back to work tomorrow. I think I’ve found my calling, which is cleaning, cooking, and sitting on the couch watching Netflix. Maybe I can add that to my lists of marketable skills.
  • Reading. I’ve been re-reading It by Steven King, because lately all the books I’ve read have been “written” by people staring on MTV reality shows. I was scrolling through my kindle, saw it, read one page, and the next thing I knew, I was reading 15 pages. I infamously read It when I was in 4th grade (because my mom said I couldn’t), and it didn’t scare me much. What scared me was picturing Tim Curry as Pennywise as I read.

    But it makes me wonder, if I hadn’t seen the movie It before I read the book, would the book scare me? Tim Curry traumatized me as a kid. And he’s really the only awesome thing in an otherwise shitty movie.

  • Meal Planning. We slipped a bit in the last two weeks, but we’ve been good about scrounging up meals and staying within a food budget at the grocery store. We used two more emergency fast food days than we planned, but overall, I don’t think we did too shabby for the first time around. And we’ve stumbled on some good yum meals:
    Better Than Olive Garden's Chicken Scampi (I used a copykat recipe that gave me the most badass way to bread and fry chicken. So much yum.)
    Better Than Olive Garden’s Chicken Scampi (I used a copykat recipe that gave me the most badass way to bread and fry chicken. So much yum.)
    Sage butter fried pork tenderloin, broccoli, and sweet potato with mint parsley couscous
    Sage butter fried pork tenderloin, broccoli, and sweet potato with mint parsley couscous

    Lemon and herb roast chicken, garlic mash, salad noms
    Lemon and herb roast chicken, garlic mash, salad noms
  • Sunsets. In case you were wondering, they’re still awesome.


That about covers May. It does seem like the month flew by in commuting, dinner cooking, and waiting for laundry to dry, because the cold weather is great, but it sucks for those of us without electric dryers. And with that, I’m off to watch more X-Files (mostly because Joel can’t sit through Downton Abbey, even though I just started season 4 and it’s getting really, really good), and worry more about my first day tomorrow.


Early summer of 1994.

My family had just moved to Maryland, from Texas, the last stop on my dad’s glamorous military tour. Some kids got to go to Turkey and Hawaii and Japan. We got to go to Louisiana and Oklahoma and Texas. And finally the dead military base suburbs between Baltimore and Washington DC.

At some point during that move, we stopped and visited with my dad’s parents in Lexington, KY. We must have spent a week or so there. I was 9, and all I remember is my sister Mary, my brother Josh and I got to spend heaps of time with our cousins Ashley and Justin, who were about 3 or 4 years older than me and sooooo cool! 

I have this distinct memory of when we pulled out of my grandparent’s neighbourhood. Josh was sitting in the back seat of our VW van, packed to the gills with 5 people, their things, yard sale finds, snacks, activities, and two sweaty, shedding beagles. He reached up and handed mom a cassette to play. He said “Justin gave this to me. It’s Nirvana and it’s really cool.” They played it, and I remember my dad hating it. My dad wasn’t a fan of modern music, just the blues–or at least that was all I could figure out, being an idiot 9 year old. After a few songs, Josh took the tape back and listened to it in his Walkman. I probably went back to reading Calvin and Hobbes or trying to draw or something. Basically, Nirvana’s Nevermind didn’t stop me in my tracks. I’m pretty sure there was an Ace of Base tape in my Walkman–this is the level of 9 year old idiocy we’re talking here. I liked it, because Josh liked it and I was determined to like everything he liked, but it didn’t touch me deeply.

Josh, on the other hand. He loved it. He must have listened to that tape until it wore out. And then he bought all their other albums.

Up until that summer, Josh was a 12 year old. A funny little punk who wore his cap backwards and who was whip smart and beloved by animals and literally good at anything he tried. He got into typical 12 year old boy trouble–fire crackers, matches, bike accidents, boys will be boys. But I look back at that summer as his turning point.

Mary, Josh, and Me, 1994, pre-Nirvana (also, Mary is wearing a flowered tunic over skinny jeans. She was way ahead of her time.)
Mary, Josh, and Me, 1994, pre-Nirvana (also, Mary is wearing a flowered tunic over skinny jeans. She was way ahead of her time.)

Josh was funny. He was cute. He was smart. But, he was short. He was shorter than me, and shorter than most of the kids in his class. And he was teased about it. And if you’re teased about one thing in middle school, you’re teased about everything. I think he had always been teased, but countered it with pulling pranks, making jokes, getting into trouble. He developed a chip on his shoulder, and he used it to defend himself and buldoze through people.

That summer, though, seemed to change things. He became obsessed with Nirvana. He and I would listen to their tapes and Josh would regale me with Kurt facts. “He was really stoned on heroin when they recorded this.” “He spelt his name Kurdt to make his parents mad.” He stopped listening to classical music, and stopped dressing like a little boy and started to refer to people as “posers.” I was terrified of becoming one, of being uncool.

Over the next year, Josh got a new, sketchy group of friends. He quit playing in the school band. He ditched his baseball cap and grew his hair out. He stayed in his room all the time. He started to become a moody teenager.

I don’t blame Nirvana for turning Josh into a moody, shitty teenager. And I don’t blame Nirvana for my brother’s increasingly poor decisions over the next few years. That can be blamed on a drunk relative, the next summer, filling Josh’s head with stories that my parents lied and betrayed him because they didn’t love him. Nirvana just happened to Josh at that perfect moment in puberty when rock stars suddenly become the only people who understand you. If it wasn’t Nirvana, it would have been another band. Josh just found one that looked like him and felt the same way he did.

Josh and me, 2002, 8 years post Nirvana
Josh and me, 2002, 8 years post Nirvana

Josh didn’t do heroin or marry a big lipped blonde woman junky, but he made a hard road for himself, and during his teenage years, his relationships with us were strained. And it was really hard on everyone. But in listening to Nirvana, we seemed to find a common ground. There were Nirvana albums all over the house. Mom said “All Apologies” was one of her favorite songs. Even dad gave in, and I heard him hum along to “Heart Shaped Box” once. Unplugged in New York became a staple on road trips and house cleaning days. Nirvana feels like our family band, someone that we all like and sing along to. Even at times when it felt like Josh would disappear and we would never find him again. And it was nice to have those moments of respite, to get a glimpse that maybe family life wouldn’t be fucked forever.

As I sit here, watching Kurt Cobain Montage of Heck, I’m actually tearing up. And it’s not because I’m a diehard Nirvana fan. I like the music, but I don’t connect with the lyrics–to this day they still sound like gibberish to me and I have no idea what they mean–and I don’t know consider Kurt Cobain to be a genius and mourn his death. I love Nirvana because I can’t hear Kurt Cobain’s voice or wear a flannel button down without thinking of those really happy moments in a sad time. As a family, we’ve all grown up and have mostly moved beyond the hard parts. But those hard parts leave a residue. And I’m happy that I can see little glimpses of good stuff throughout it.

Even if the good parts are a little grundgey.

Josh today, 21 years post Nirvana
Josh today, 21 years post Nirvana

Mother’s Day

Geography prevents me from being with my very favorite moms, so today I am paying tribute to them in blog form. Which is basically the highest honor anyone, anywhere can receive. Right?

My mom is awesome. Despite the tremendous hardships she’s endured, she’s never lost her spirit, her sense of humor, or her crazy ability to love unconditionally. I may look just like my dad, but I am all Kim Turner. From our love of thrift stores, coffee, and books and story telling and sentimentality to being highly emotional and a little hard to handle–but always quick to admit it–at times.

Mom, a few days before she had my brother Shayne. #dathair
Mom, a few days before she had my brother Shayne. #dathair

She’s a protector. She’s a provider. She’s a shoulder to cry on. She’s a baby whisperer. She’s the best cook I know. She’s the dispenser of very sage advice that I never listened to. She’s my number one fan. After 30 years, her don’t fuck with me mom tone still makes me wince. She’s been the one to clean up after me, take care of me, and stay up with me to make sure I’m alive on the two occasions that I’ve been black out drunk, and she still loves me. She takes care of my fur children that I couldn’t take with me to Sydney. When I was having a really hard time with life in early 2007, she left a bag with a card and a small treat hanging from my bedroom door every day for almost a month. She’s one of my most favorite people in this universe.

Mom, about 27 years after I was born.
Mom, about 27 years after I was born.

I’m pretty lucky to have been born with a built-in second mom, my sister Mary. And now she’s a real mom! I’m beyond sad that I can’t be there while Henry grows up, but seeing my sister fulfilled and full of love for her little creature makes me so happy. I know, without a doubt, that Henry will grow up as probably the most loved child in this world.

Mary getting Henry's nursery together about a month before he was born.
Mary getting Henry’s nursery together about a month before he was born.

My sister Mary is about two and a half years older than me, and she’s always been there for me. I don’t know if I can depend on anyone the way I can depend on Mary. She would literally give me the shirt off her back. We’re fundamentally different, the way sisters can be, but we would still walk through fire for each other. From playing Barbies to coaching each other at horse shows to calling each other at 2 AM when we’re upset, we’ve grown up together and seen each other through it all. As she puts it, “You saw my hoo-ha in the delivery room. You’ve sat beside me while I nursed Henry. There’s literally nothing left that’s TMI for us.” Beyond scarring me for life, it’s absolutely true.

My little big sister

So Happy Mother’s Day to the two women I miss more than I miss air conditioning. They have seen me at my rock bottom lows, and they’ve been with me to celebrate my most ecstatic highs. They drive me crazy, but I don’t know what I would do without them. I most definitely can’t wait to have lunch and walk around Target with you two again. xoxo

It’s May. Shut the front door!

I still feel like it’s February, and March and April kinda zipped by. I’ve been here 8 months. I’m on my third (and best so far) Australian season. In three weeks, I’ll meet my 6 month cap at my current job. Winter’s almost here. We’re ready to submit my visa application. Seriously, this has felt like shortest and longest 3 months all at once.

So, what have we been up to in April?

  • Decorating.
    We’ve been making our place feel more like home. This is code for rearranging nick knacks around and finally hanging our gallery wall–huzzah!

    I don't know why framed photos on the wall are so comforting to me, but they are.
    hooray, no more glaring white wall!

    Except yesterday the wall started coming down, frame by frame. Fack. So we are back to the drawing board for a while, and I’ll continue to look at white walls.


    My brother painted this for me for my 18th birthday. It's me, as a monkey, on the phone. Striking resemblance, I'd say.
    My brother Shayne painted this for me for my 18th birthday. It’s me, as a monkey, on the phone. Joel says it makes a good kitchen print because the monkey “matches the bananas.”
    Decided to spruce up the study, since I'll be spending much more time in there in the next few weeks... /job hunt
    Decided to spruce up the study, since I’ll be spending much more time in there in the next few weeks… /job hunt

    new keepsake wall. I especially like the motivational Eat Cake movement.
    no keepsake wall is complete without Mikhail Baryshnikov.
  • Writing.
    In March, I wrote an essay. In April, I blogged. 15 entries! Heck yes. I’m getting back into the swing of word slingin’, even if it is at my own nervous, glacial pace. I’ve joined a writer’s group that meets on Tuesdays, and my first meeting is this week. We’ll see how it goes. I’m pretty happy about blogging more than twice a week, though. Even if a majority of the entries are wastes of bandwidth or me gushing about sunsets or a t-rex in my kitchen, the important thing is that I want to blog. I want to write. I’ve been feeling guilty about not recording awesome events down when I first got here, so I guess I’m making up for lost time. Regardless of where the motivation is coming from, I’m excited.
  • Anzac Day.
    Anzac Day is a tribute to the soldiers who fought and died at Gallipoli in WWI. The day begins with a Dawn Service, followed by a march of survivors and survivors relatives. The biggest ceremony is in the city, but the different suburbs hold smaller versions. It’s like an Australian Memorial Day. And just like in America, the drinking starts as soon as the sun comes up. 2 Up, a coin game that seems impossible to win, is legal for the day, and all the pubs in the area hold 2 Up contests. There are also more bar fights on Anzac Day than most times of the year. It’s very America.

    I had big plans to go to the Dawn Service. But, at 5 AM, our streets were full of cars and buses (which doesn’t happen on a Saturday, ever) and felt my cramping uteruss and I decided “fuck that.” Although it would have been cool to see the ceremonies, I don’t think I would have made it through the crowds without losing my mind.

    Instead, we deep cleaned the apartment and listened to the throngs of drunks crawling between the 4 pub/hotels on our street. We also had a badass storm roll in while Joel made his famous Punch Drunk Chicken.



    Punch drunk chicken!
    Punch drunk chicken!

    Maybe next year I’ll get to play 2 Up. And get into a bar fight. /rowdy

  • Immigration.
    ALL OF MY PAPERWORK AND EVIDENCE IS FILLED OUT AND COLLECTED! Hu-fuckin-zzah! I met with Legal Aid to go over my application, which was an interesting experience. I sat in the waiting room while a PD spoke to a non-English speaking woman about her son’s possible murder conviction. Another woman was near hysterics and shouting about how she didn’t know her mother’s estate had been liquidated. When I was called back, the lawyer handed me a brocheure (that I already had), and actually said “it’s nice to not have to give someone bad news for once!” As she politely sent me out the door saying something about refugees that need help. Really glad I got to experience that little guilt trip.

    The next week, I had an appointment with an actual migration lawyer. After a whacky misadventure in finding the office, he looked at every piece of paper I had and okayed everything. He gave me good news about my work rights and my access to Medicare, which I hope will be actual good news come September. We have decided to submit the application the first week of June, which gives us a month to get everything certified and in presentable condition. Then it’ll be a nice 12-15 months while it’s processed. Woooooo…

  • Purging

    As noted earlier, that striped hoodie made it's way into the "saved" pile.
    As noted earlier, that striped hoodie made it’s way into the “saved” pile.

    Anxiety = getting rid of shit

  • Meal Planning
    We are two weeks into meal planning, and far, so good. We’re figuring out meals a few days at a time, and sticking to a food budget without too much hassle. I’m going to try to not spend any money on take away coffee or breakfast fast food this month. Wish me luck–the train station is basically a gauntlet of delicious smelling bakeries and flat whites and I’m so very weak.

  • Work.
    Since I’m coming up on 6 months with my current job, I have to start looking for a new one. Even though my new commute sucks (see: bakery gauntlet) I’m pretty sad to leave my job. It pays well, I’m good at it, and looking for a job is so absolutely terrible. Hopefully now though I have enough Australian market experience. *fingers crossed*

  • Sweet Jumper.
    I decided to treat myself to a new jumper, just because. I had my eyes set on this one since March:

    They’re pretty great, ok

    AND IT WAS ON SALE! So on Friday, I went to scoop it up, and it was woefully sold out. Seems like other people had the same brilliant idea I had. Womp womp. So I got my second choice, which is a bit more serious, but is actually way softer than the other, so it evens out.

    pancakes and milkshakes and dystopias are all pretty great, ok
    pancakes and milkshakes and dystopias are basically the same thing, right?
  • Mildew.
    I pulled down our big comforter/doona blanket from the closet shelf, only to discover it was covered in a thin layer of mildew. As were some of our shoes. So that’s fun. We’re on a mission this week to get heaps of Damp Rid and maybe some vaccum seal storage bags before anything has to be thrown away. Hooray for having no insulation! Rainy, cool weather had better be worth it.

That about covers our April. I know, it’s all way too exciting. Stay tuned for further adventures in May. Maybe I’ll fight a kangaroo or eat fruit or something else crazy.
Also, is anyone else just dying to know what Will and Kate will name the new princess? I’m only a little embarrassed at how much I’m dying to know.