Sunrise Adventures

This morning, Joel and I woke up at 4:45 (what) to catch the sunrise at Bronte Beach. The forecast had been telling us all week that it would rain on Saturday morning, and I’ve kept my fingers crossed for so long that I basically have arthritis now. But, crippled granny hands are worth it, because the sunrise was be-a-u-ti-ful.

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There are few things I love more than seeing a sunrise or sunset over the water. Seeing that golden orb sizzle along the horizon fills me with… I’m not sure. It’s a combination of inspiration and awe. Add in the smell of sea salt, the sound of crashing waves, and the cold breeze coming off the water, and it makes me feel so fantastic.

The beaches in Australia are just next level. The water is clear and the most perfect shade of aqua-marine, and the sand is almost white, and most of them have these craggy cliffs that catch and pool water and it’s like walking on another world. And when the rose and gold tones of the sunrise reflect off the water – it’s un real. I like Bronte because there’s a little rock pool to the side that’s very calm, and it’s where whusses like me can get in and splash around and pretend to be cool. Ok ok, insert anecdotes about sharks and dangerous Australian sea creatures here and everything – but you can’t deny just how drop dead gorgeous it all is.

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Yesssss
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The colours – trust me, I’ve only slightly edited this photo.
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Prawns! In a tidal pool. There were also tiny fish and about 600 crabs. I think I took more photos of crabs than I did of the sunrise.
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While I was spazzing over crabs and prawns, Joel was Working Man
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ohhh clouds…
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Intrepid Explorer Man
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I tried to follow Joel down the rocks, but this crab army prevented my crossing. And maybe because my sneakers kept slipping against the rocks. I am the most graceful.
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beep beep, I am a ship.
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those waves…
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Corny and no fucks given. 
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lurrrrrrve

I’m so happy we dragged ourselves out of bed and made the trip happen. It was a beautiful way to wrap up a particularly less than stellar month.

It’s very well known that I didn’t grow up at the beach or near the shore, and I don’t always keep my cool in the beach, but I love being at the beach. It’s very centering, very calming. I think being on the edge of the world makes my other problems feel very small. And being in the presence of such an incredible force helps me put things into perspective… just watching everything wash away with the waves is a good reminder that “this too shall pass.” Maybe it’s the visceral experience – sights, smells, textures, emotions – but the beach is one of the few places where I can go and my mind just clears. I could sit at the beach and do nothing for hours. And it feels good, man.

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Thanks for a good morning, universe.

xox

April Thus Far

So who is waiting to wrap a big fat DONE ribbon around April, quietly put it on the shelf and just pretend it didn’t happen? *raises hand*

I can’t remember a month where I’ve felt more – fragile – I guess is the best word. Hence the sporadic appearances here and everywhere else in the social spectrum. It’s been a tough few weeks. I’ve been on the receiving end of more pep talks than I have in years. But I’m happy to say that being more proactive and attentive to what I need has been helping immensely, so I’m just taking it day by day.

BUT – April hasn’t been all bad! For one thing, we watched so many episodes of My 600lb Life that I think I’m *thiiiiiis* close to cutting out all processed foods from my life. Joel has become Head Chef around here and we’ve never eaten better. I’ve been able to skype/Facetime/phone date with many of my nearest and dearest. And my most favourite person had a birthday. We celebrated with a doughnut cake, Game of Thrones, and a night with friends… and a resulting Friday night of pizza and sweatpants recovery.

Annnnd we just had an awesome three day weekend of good food, good movies (ok, and some terrible movies), and relax times (and let’s face it, obsessive cleaning and rearranging #stressed) in honour of ANZAC Day.

 

So here’s to the last few days of April – fingers crossed that it all starts to shape up.

xoxo

Autumn

The nights are coming earlier and getting cooler. Most nights, we actually need a blanket. There aren’t many leaves to tromp around in, but you can smell a crisp change in the mornings and evenings. The seasons are changing, and I couldn’t be happier.

Even if it’s not the holiday season and pumpkin flavoured everything isn’t being shoved in my face from every direction, Autumn is still my favourite.

I like the feeling of layering up against the elements. I love breathing in that first cold breath in the morning.

It’s time for my second Autumn in Sydney. Time to celebrate Joel’s birthday. Time to recalibrate after a draining summer. But most importantly, it’s time to wash the storage smell out of the winter blankets.

Seriously. Put blankets in one of those vaccumn seal bags for a whole summer and they’ll come out smelling like feet.


Oh, and Game of Thrones. It’s time for that, too.

Xox

Getting there… pt 2

It’s been a rough week – and quite an unexpected rough week at that. I started out on Sunday night I was like this:

This week is going to be great. I’m going to go to work and then I’m going to come home and write and blog and then watch Game of Thrones with Joel and I’ll finally get the desk arranged and I’ll get work done on Joel’s present and I’ll make a budget and a Skype calendar and things are going to be great!

But by Wednesday night I was this:

“What did you eat for supper?”
“Diazapram.”

My anxiety got the better of me more times than I can count, leaving me so tightly wound that every slight noise or change in my environment basically gave me a heart attack and left me reaching for the wonders of western medicine.

And while I’m feeling better than I have been, I’m still bracing for after shocks.

Sometimes shit gets hard. I’m on a mission though – to get this shit under control. I’ve said that about 600 times in my life. Maybe in this year alone. It’s a work in progress, as always. Anxiety makes me miss depression – when I was depressed, I just didn’t care about anything. Anxiety makes me care ALL THE CARES. And it’s exhausting.

This week will be better – smaller, more manageable, more achievable goals. Being mindful and double-checking my work. This week, I will be Beyonce.

Bey-lieve it.

Biennale

Biennale! Bee-n-olly. Or, as I can only remember it – Beabolly, Banomamolly, or Bananamaalla. Or, big ass art fair spanning across Sydney that happens every two years.

It’s a huge to-do, with events happening at different venues all over the city. Since I successfully missed Sculpture by the Sea each year that I’ve been here, I was hoping I’d make it to at least one venue for Biennale. And yesterday, we met up with our friends Kat and Matt for a tour of Cockatoo Island (two birds/one stone, it’s also my goal to visit all the “animal” islands around Sydney – there’s also Goat Island and Shark Island, and I will visit them.)

Among other things, Cockatoo Island was a holding area for prisoners in the 1800’s, and then a pretty major shipbuilding and dockyard facility, until 2001 when it was closed down and most of it demolished. But now it’s a heritage site, and most of its buildings have been re-opened as museums of Sydney’s industrial history.

We left the house prepared for rain, as the weather report suggested. However, 10 minutes before we got on the ferry, the rain let out, and the brightest sun came out and stayed out. Needless to say, we are both sunburned now.

Mostly the installations left me kinda meh, and I found myself more interested in the buildings and the machinery that’s been left behind than the actual installations (sometimes I am 100% my father’s daughter). But we had a really good time being out and about, seeing some amazing drawings and mind blowing texture work, some really off the wall pretentious video installations, and listening to self-important people explain art to the people they were with. Here you go, enjoy a smattering of photos!

 

 

I’ll be off putting aloe on my sizzled forehead.

xox

My Favourite Flannel – a mom story

For Mother’s Day in 2012, my sister Mary and I took our mom to Art and Soul restaurant in Washington, DC for brunch. As we were eating, we noticed a very wealthy looking table near us with about six people sitting at it. Lots of Coach and Michael Kohrs bags aside – it just seemed like one of those tables filled with people who have money. Including a completely bored, sullen, “don’t wanna be here” girls about my age –  completely under dressed in shorts, a tank top and a plaid flannel shirt.

She looked miserable the entire time she ate, but her flannel. I loved her flannel. I mean, I fall in love with random clothes worn by strangers all the time, because I’ve been obsessed with clothes since I was a kid and learned how to dress myself. But this shirt looked so cool. And so comfortable. It wasn’t like the big man flannel that I wore when I was a no-good-angst-ridden 13 year old. It was fitted, looked really soft, and the pattern was reversible – tartan-ish on one side with a royal blue base and green and red stripes, and a red and royal blue check on the other side so when the sleeves rolled up, there was a brilliant contrast.

I’ll admit, I stared at the flannel throughout most of the brunch, wondering where she got it, and where I could get it from, what outfits I’d wear it with, how it’d be the best thing to wear during the summer because it’s light, but soft and warm and how it’d ball up easily in my purse without being too bulky. It was literally like staring at a puppy in the pet shop window, but you can’t find anyone who works there and therefore you can’t reach into the cage and get the puppy because if you do the person wearing the shirt would be like HEY GET OFF MY SHIRT.

Yeah.

So half way through our meal, I noticed Miserable Girl take off the flannel, and drape it across the back of her chair. I thought to myself, oh man I hope she leaves it. And moments later, when the shirt fell off, and wedged itself between herself and the seat of her chair, and she paid NO attention to it, I thought ohhhhhh she might really forget it! I mentioned the shirt to my mom and my sister, who weren’t at all surprised that I was obsessing over a stranger’s shirt. Fuelled by a few brunch mimosas, we all became fixated with whether or not she’d leave the shirt. Or maybe it was just me. I might have had a few more mimosas than them. And then, their check came.

The check came, and it sat there. The group just lingered over their coffees. One of the older people at the table finally slipped an American Express in the sleeve. Miserable girl still looked miserable. Still made no effort to collect her shirt. The waiter came by to pick up the sleeve. The family sat and lingered some more. The girl continued to not give a shit about her shirt. It was driving me crazy. Would she remember? Would she leave it? THE SUSPENSE.

AND THEN – it happened. The family started to gather their things. They pushed out their chairs and got up from the table. Miserable Girl followed suit. And then she left. Without her flannel. I was beaming inside. We all high-fived. I was figuring out how to casually slip over to the table to grab the shirt when the bus boys got to the there and started clearing it off. A new suspense – will the bus boys see the flannel?? I waited in horror. And to my dismay, a bus boy grabbed the shirt and took it up to the hostess, who put it in her stand, and out of my reach. Damn.

We made jokes that it was probably a cursed shirt anyway – who’s rich enough to just forget a flannel shirt that you inappropriately wore to a 5-star restaurant? I tried to put it out of my mind, but I still kept an eye out to see if Miserable Girl would come back.

But she never did, and even I knew it was too much – even for my impulsive hobo instincts – to wait for the hostesses to walk away and give me the opportunity to steal the shirt. I didn’t think I could pretend with the hostess that the shirt was mine because I was wearing a Sunday dress and a cardigan like a good southern girl. So it was a loss. We had had a great meal and an amazing time at brunch, so not getting the shirt wasn’t the end of the world. But it was still a bummer.

We paid for our meal and started toward the car, and my mom told us she’d meet us at the car since she had to use the bathroom first. When mom got back to the car, she pulled something out of her purse – IT WAS THE FLANNEL! “I walked past the hostess stand and asked her if anyone had turned in a flannel shirt, because my daughter left it behind.”

Best Mom Ever.

The flannel was everything I wanted it to be and more – it was soft, and the colours were amazing. Even better, it was a perfect fit- right down to the sleeves being long enough for my Amazon Arms. And it did indeed look great with shorts and it also did fold up perfectly in my purse without too much bulk. I didn’t even care that it was Hollister (I really, really don’t like that brand. Or Abercrombie & Fitch. I think it has residue from all the mean kids who wore it exclusively in high school. Those clothes and Adidas Moves cologne.)

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I was so happy and frankly – absolutely surprised that my good Christian mom pulled something like that. I was floored. I’ve worn the shirt a million times since then, even when I gained weight the shirt shrank and I couldn’t button it comfortably anymore. It’s one of my favourites, and every time I see it I think of how awesome my mom is.

I think there are two kinds of moms – the moms that nag you to not forget your stuff in public, and the moms that will lie to a hostess to get you the shirt you want. I’m glad I have the latter.

xox