So, on Friday, Joel and I celebrated our Thanksgiving, ThanksFriday, Thankschicken. As noted earlier, I was determined to make this year’s dinner a good one, and as close to how we do it back in the States, and we succeeded – grandly! I had the planning under control – menu set and recipes bookmarked on Tuesday; shopping done on Wednesday; pie made on Thursday; on Friday, chicken cooked first, then potatoes when there’s 40 mins left, casserole and pumpkin when there’s 20 mins left. But when I got home on Friday I was hit with a wave of cramps and a PMS cloud (hooray) and everything felt out of control and I honestly felt like throwing in the towel and getting Pizza Hut. Thankfully Joel stepped in got the ball moving.

There was an overestimated guess of oven space which resulted in menu items being scrapped (so long, hasselback potatoes and take n bake bread); OMG CHICKEN WILL BE DONE IN 20 MINUTES AND I HAVEN’T MADE THE SIDES panic; panic when the chicken took an hour and a half longer than planned; a bit too much wine and a bit too much panic led to over-salting my famous green bean casserole and accidentally swapping the cheese and onion layer; a destroyed kitchen; feeling a food and wine coma so hard it felt like death was near. It definitely felt like Thanksgiving. The only things missing were a huge family fight and that one relative who gets drunk and says awkward things before he passes out in front of the football game.

And here’s what it looked like!

Thursday night pie prepping: I was going to make crust from scratch, but I decided to tone down the ambition and just use frozen. My grocery store doesn’t carry pre-made shells, but they do carry “short cut” pastry, which is square. So I just used two shells and melded them together in the corners. I didn’t get that fancy lattice look, but I had crust, so that counts. And Joel suggested we use the leftover crust and pie filling to make pumpkin pie rolls, which was basically the best idea Joel’s ever had.

I did have to run to the store at 9 PM in my pajamas and flip flops to grab eggs… sometimes planning doesn’t go exactly as planned. And sometimes the Woolies employees will look at you like you’re homeless.

working the crust, basically am Julia Child
Have you ever wanted to swim in something and just eat your way out?
Pumpkin Pie rolls: Joel gets the gold star for Thanksgiving
knife came out clean on the first try – a first

First up on Friday: lemon herb roasted chicken. I’d never roasted a chicken before, so I was incredibly nervous about getting it right, as there’s nothing worse than dry chicken. So I was messaging my parents all morning for tips, when Joel mentioned that he’d basically roasted hundreds of chickens in his time, and is a roast master. So I let him take the chicken helm. #problemsolved

chicken bum plugs
It’s kinda pretty, if you don’t think of it as shit stuffed inside a dead bird
seasoning treatment
Then we went Paula Deen on that beast #butterbath
We thanked the chicken and honored it for being our dinner as we massaged the butter into it – anything to prevent it from drying out
I mostly love this image because I look like a GIANT WO-MAN in a dwarf’s kitchen
At this point I had to shove the roasting pan in – as I forgot that our roasting pan is just a wee bit bigger than our oven

We set the oven for 90 minutes and went on to other prep! Including whipped cream – last time I tried to make it here, I used thickened cream and icing sugar and whisked it for 15 minutes with nothing happening – except me eating the mixture with a spoon.

Make sure the extra thickened cream is ice cold, add icing sugar and beat with mixer. #yayaya



Then it was time to drink wine and have some hang times!


When the timer for the chicken went off, we jumped up to hurriedly get the sides items made. And of course, in the time it took to get them made, put in the oven, and baked, the chicken still wasn’t done. OF COURSE NOT. And that’s when I learned a valuable lesson: roast chicken recipes tell you to tie the legs together not because it looks cool, but because it makes the chicken cook faster.

I’m used to making double or triple batches of GB casserole – not 1/2. It was scary. And much too salty.
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Frying up the macademia nuts before throwing them in with the pumpkin to roast
Prepping the pumpkin – more #butterbath


When the chicken was done – almost 3 hours after we put it in – the onions at the base were incinerated, every inch of our apartment smelled of delicious roast chicken, and it was almost 10 PM (no, I didn’t want to have dinner on Saturday when we had more time to cook. I wanted it to be as close to the actual holiday as possible… even if it meant eating super late. haha)

Master Chicken Carver – also, incinerated onions.
Effing delicious, basically


We ate so much between the time I got home and the time we finished dinner that there was no room for pie – something I didn’t think was actually possible.

This morning, I woke up at 4 feeling like I drank the Dead Sea, a blistering red wine headache, and the smell of roast chicken STILL hanging in every room, now making me queasy. It took a fair bit of time to clean up the kitchen (no way in hellll that it was getting done last night), but then it was time for tea and the best part of Thanksgiving: Pie for breakfast.

Breakfast of champions

and later, the second best part of Thanksgiving: leftovers for days.


I always spent my Thanksgivings outside of the kitchen, wine glass in hand, hanging around with relatives and snacking. So I’ve always loved it and I never understood why people hate it and get so stressed out – but now I know. If you’re in charge of the cooking, it’s pretty stressful, as I had a couple of moments when I thought “fuck, it’s all ruined” and I had Joel helping me and it was just the two of us so there was no (obvious, company oriented) pressure. I imagine it’s easier if you have two ovens and a dishwasher, but yeah. I have a new found respect for people who host. And I kinda  want to go back in time and help my mom more in the kitchen on the big day.

Maybe next year we’ll just have tacos.

I remain thankful for my supportive and loving family and friends, my new job, the roof over our heads, wi-fi, modern science, tooth brushes, the fact that I have yet to be slaughtered or kidnapped, and Joel, my biggest cheer leader and roast chicken master. I have more blessings than I can count (one being my parents sent me two boxes full of Thanksgiving food prep and two being Joel picked up both boxes from the post office).

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving! And that everyone survived Black Friday (and didn’t steal anything out of the hands of children)

Thanksgiving – already?

I feel like it isn’t November yet. In fact, I’m still thinking it’s early October and I’m confidently telling Joel I want to plan a big Thanksgiving party this year, knowing I have 8 weeks to get my shit together.

Well, well, Thanksgiving is actually this week, and I didn’t realize it until yesterday morning. I did what I always did and filed “Big T-Day Party” away in the “this will sort itself out” pile and went about my business.

Party or no party – I am bound and determined to have a better holiday this year. Last year, I spent the first three weeks of November fruitlessly going to job interviews and fretting every day about my shrinking savings account, and I finally scored a job in the week before Thanksgiving. Needless to say, planning a big dinner was the furthest thing from my mind. I was also deeply homesick, a bit hungover, Joel was working late and drained from it, and I had no idea where to buy stuff or what to cook. So I settled on a rotisserie chicken, frozen veg, mashed potatoes, packaged gravy and a subpar box of brownies with ice cream. And tap water. Joel got home around 8 and we watched American tv on my laptop because our TV was broken. He was super cheerful and the spirit of Thanksgiving was there, but the food wasn’t.

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Chicken mash 4eva

This year, though. This year will be different. I’m a bit more savvy in the kitchen, and a bit more savvy about where to shop. I’m still not at the “make an entire Thanksgiving meal by myself” stage, but yesterday morning we thought up an awesome meal that I’m pretty excited about:

  • lemon herb roasted chicken (our oven is way too small for a turkey)
  • spinach salad with feta cheese and roast pumpkin and macadamia nuts
  • my famous green bean casserole
  • sliced & baked potatoes (my own experiment – I’m pretty excited)
  • Garlic Turkish bread with herbed butter (I thought about pull apart rolls with honey butter, but the salad is sweet and garlic Turkish bread is so good)
  • pumpkin pie for dessert

Since it’s not a holiday here, I don’t get a day off, so we’re having Thanksgiving on Friday, so I have more time to cook and hang out. A late dinner on Friday, with wine and cheese and cracker appetizers while the chicken roasts and the other dishes bake. I’m also drawing up a time line of shopping and when to bake what and fantasizing about setting the table. I’m really excited!

Last year, I just let the holidays happen to me. It was my first year doing both Thanksgiving and Christmas without my family (i.e. I didn’t have someone making my plans for me), so between work and finances they both just kinda slipped on by. This year, we’re looking forward to making them count. I love Thanksgiving, and I’m bound and determined to make this an awesome day for us.

ALL THE FINGERS CROSSED that I can stick to this plan, and we don’t end up eating KFC.


How quickly we forget

Remember last summer when every. single. post. I wrote had at least half a paragraph complaining about the summer heat? Did you miss it? You did? Fabulous. Because it’s coming back full force.


It got pretty warm this week. And not just “wow, it was pretty hot in the afternoon!” but more, warm all day, and sleeping with the fans on warm. I had a little bit of warning, at least. Last weekend, all anyone could talk about was how it’d be 40*C/100*F on Friday. It was whispered around the trade show I was working, in ominous tones like the heat was an advancing army and everyone should prepare for an invasion.

All week at work we geared up for it, counting down the days with “oh, yeah, it was warm today. Friday’s just going to be worse!” and “Just wait til Friday! 45 degrees!” and “Have you planned what you’ll wear? Make sure it’s breathable. It’s going to be a hot one on Friday.” and “Has everyone bought a water bottle? It’s going to be really hot on Friday.” mind you, I work in an air conditioned office with very little manual labor. But when I woke up Friday morning to a balmy room and my hair plastered to my cheek, I knew the invasion had begun, and the weather was going to suck.

Walking to the bathroom made me sweat. I ran a shower and wondered what was even the point – I’d just need 3 more before bed. Getting dressed made me sweat. I was sweaty and cranky and it was 21*C/70*F before 8 AM.

Once I got to work, I didn’t go back outside. We had a temperature update seemingly every 10 minutes. And the mercury just never stopped climbing. At one point, it was 43*/109*F, and that was when the a/c at work flat out stopped. At that moment, I thought of my bus route home: the first bust I catch comes from Coogee beach. It’s been awesome – reliably on time and not always crowded – until this week, when the beach crowd showed up. Wednesday and Thursday I had to wait 35-50 minutes for a bus that wasn’t loaded to the gills with teenagers in wet swim suits making all the bus seats damp. That’s a long time to wait in the boiling sun. So faced with possibility of literally roasting in the crazy heat for an hour, I decided to catch a cab home. I sat with the back seat a/c vents pointed right at me, and I was home in 30 mins, not 90. Best $30 I’ve ever spent.

As I walked up the stairs in my building and toward our apartment door, I could feel the temperature rising. It was like our place was generating a heat shield and I had to pass through it to gain entrance. I walked through the thick wall of humidity and into our hot, hot, air conditioning-less apartment and saw Joel sweating and sitting in front of a fan that was just blowing hot air back at him I knew… this summer’s going to be so hot. Especially after being so spoiled by autumn and winter and this blessedly extra long, unseasonably cool spring.

I had little hope that the temps would actually drop over night like the weather channel predicted, but we woke up to grey skies and low temps, and for that I am forever thankful. One day was enough. But shit. Friday was a grim reminder that the death of summer is almost here. Soon it’ll be mid December and 108*F will be the norm. Summer is stretching its legs and crawling slowly back into my life, to take residence and make me a sweaty monster until April.

Oh boy.

Time for frozen wash cloths and cool showers and terrible summer allergies and hanging out in the tub filled with cold water and standing wet in front of the fan to feel the chill. Time for scheduling activities for when you’re least likely to suffer heat stroke. Time to once again feel waht it’s like to stand in a puddle of my own sweat. Time to put away EVERY item of winter clothing and EVERY blanket because looking at them will make you sweat. Time to shave my legs everyday, because pants will no longer be an option.

But, in the essence of positivity, it’s also the time for hanging out at the beach, two weeks off for Christmas, eating dinner outside, picnics, coffee in the park, and daylight until almost 9 PM and being able to do 4 loads of laundry in a day because everything dries in like, an hour.

I mean, regardless of the nice things summer brings, chances are still pretty high that I’ll burst into flames or wilt away in a dehydrated mess.

But… we live in hope.

Night of a Thousand Netflix

“Alright, Joel has a late night at work – time to get down on all the Netflix he’s not interested in. Yes, it’s time to watch Beasts of No Nation!”

25 mins later: Shit is way too real. Terrifyingly way too real. It’s reminding me of all those articles of selective outrage and white privilege that are telling me I’m a terrible person for not posting all over social media about how outraged I am over every human atrocity. Feeling super guilty because my hard day at work included “not sure if I should respond to this person on Instagram, or if my boss will” as I watch this child’s village be torn apart by rebels. Can’t handle. Back to browse.

Something mindless – hey, It’s Complicated! 

10 mins later: This is the exact opposite of child soldiers in Africa. Feel more guilty that I stopped watching the movie on child soldiers in Africa to watch Meryl Streep make plans to build an addition on her Santa Barbara mansion and book a plastic surgery for a wrinkly eye lid and sleep with rich white men. Remember how obsessed mom is with Streep’s character’s kitchen. Miss mom. Feel more guilty because I wasn’t separated from my mom when my village was being torn apart by rebels. Can’t handle watching rich white people when there is a war torn country in my Netflix que. Back to browse.

Something independent… oh hey, 6 Years
20 mins in: I don’t get young people in relationships anymore. Back to browse.

What’s in the recommendations?
A Teacher 
why is has this movie been started already?
Don’t make it past the opening credits – back to browse.

Argo – It’s good, I’ve seen it before, but it might be too real. We’ll see.
20 mins in: still watching. 40 mins in: invested.
I guess sometimes you just need a dose of Affleck*.

*file under things I never thought I’d say. Ever.

Selective Outrage

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I don’t post on every terrible event that happens in the world. And when I do, I’m sickened by the thought of “who is going to fuss at me this time?” “how long until the articles come out about the other – or greater tragedy that I’m ignoring just by making my profile picture different?” My Facebook doesn’t change lives. Obviously. It’s private, first of all, and I don’t post enough to infiltrate algorithms. Same goes with my Instagram. I’m not an activist. I don’t post to change people’s minds or make a difference. I just post.

I don’t know much about Beirut, beyond what I’ve grown up hearing. I’ve never been there. My heart aches for its people, and it aches when I hear of those suffering in war torn, drug ridden, famine suffering areas. Of the refugees and the hostages and the prisoners of war. It doesn’t end at the Middle East. It’s in Africa, Mexico, America, everywhere. Conflict scares the shit out of me. From when I was old enough to realize what was happening in the first Gulf War, and I hid under the dining room reading the newspaper and crying because my uncles were there, my friend’s dads were there, there were news stories showing the US bombing Baghdad and I thought my dad would be  going next. I count every single blessing and star that I haven’t experienced conflict directly.

The fear that it could happen where I live, and the realization that it happens basically everywhere close to me, is very real. And I didn’t give my social media prayers to Paris because mainstream, white washed, pro-western media told me to. I gave them because I have an emotional, life changing connection with Paris. And because I know that feeling of watching the news, wondering if everyone you know is ok. Wondering what will happen next. Wondering when it will all be over. Wondering what you can do to stop feeling so helpless.

I don’t know what the answer is. I just know this weekend was a difficult one. As I read the news from my couch in my warm home with dinner ready in the oven, all my friends and family safe and accounted for… I’m just thankful for where I am, and everything I have. I don’t take it for granted.


We all have that one shirt.

You know, that shirt that you see and you’re all “I need that. I need that right now.” And you don’t even think about it, about where you’ll wear it, what you’ll wear it with, or if it even fits. It’s just so new and captivating and full of promise that you can’t help but buy it at full price and take it home right then, thinking how amazing it’ll look and how sexy/badass/carefully deshevled/tastefully slutty it’ll make you feel.

And then you never wear it. It just sits in your closet or in your dresser and it gets passed over time and time again. And you pull it out one day and put it on, thinking of all times you could have worn it, but didn’t. Because something just wasn’t right about it, after all. And after a few closet clean outs, after a few heart to hearts, you chalk it up as a loss and donate it to someone. And you wonder what you saw in it in the first place.

It’s basically how I feel about the domain

I chose the name, as I choose most things in my life, in an impulsive fit after 34 mins of brainstorming and nothing better coming up because I needed to get this done right now. My old blog was called Audpodge and Blither-Blather. I started Audwrites because, well, it’s weird. I started to grow apart from the blog – there were too many skeletons in it’s blog closet. Too many times that I didn’t want to think about anymore. It reminded me of being a bad person, in a bad place. I all but stopped blogging, but I couldn’t bring myself to delete the whole thing. So I decided to make a new one.

I bought WordPress premium and set myself up a fancy little blog. I decided to try blogging in a way that’s more sophisticated, more relevant and more searchable. I started reading popular bloggers and fantasizing. I got a delusional sense of power, like a kid hyped up on sugar bombs and Mountain Dew, harbouring all these sick ideas of becoming a lifestyle blogger as I navigated life in a new country. SPARSE LAYOUTS! NEUTRAL TONE PHOTOS! RECIPES – I’LL LEARN TO COOK! CRAFTS – I’LL ACTUALLY FINISH PROJECTS! INSTAGRAM – CUSTOM HASHTAGS AND PASTEL FILTERS! I nourished my blossoming inner Martha Stewart and planned for how radically my life was about to change.

But here’s the thing about me – I’m the opposite of a lifestyle blogger. I hate sparse layouts. And taking meticulously planned, neutral tone photos. I’m learning to cook, but I basically set the kitchen on fire each time. I have *no* money to spend on crafts. And the pressure of trying to make a well liked Instagram has zapped all the humour out of my life – regardless of filter.

In the last few months, I blogged less and less. I have a catalogue of topics I want to write about, but nothing I felt was appropriate for this “tone” I was trying to create. Last month, when I was updating the layout, trying to get inspired to blog again, something just didn’t sit right. And a couple weeks ago while I was coming home from work, it hit me: This blog isn’t who I am. Most of audwrites is a testament to something I thought I wanted to be, but it’s not who I am. It felt desperate and flimsy. Basically, it was an idea that failed. And once I admitted that to myself, it made sense to make a change.

I like art and books and wine and I spell very well, but I’m not sophisticated. I like to watch Teen Mom, wear sweatpants, Google celebrities, eat terrible but delicious food, make lists, skip showers, go on adventures, obsessively clean and rearrange, write catty blogs and chat with my friends. That’s my lifestyle. And while there’s not a lot of “lifestyle content” around that, there are a hell of a lot of anecdotes. And I’m at my happiest when I can share those anecdotes.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’m back to my audpodge domainand I’m back to writing what I love, the way I love: little pieces of distraction. Hodge Podge and Blither Blather. Funny, sad, stories or essays or filled with MS paint drawings, it’ll at least be from the heart. It’s like a lifestyle blog. But for the lazy girl who manages depression and anxiety on a daily basis. And who one day will start bettering herself. Maybe next week.

Thanks for reading!