Sooooo – how about September, huh? It’s like the whole month happened, and I slept through most of it. Today is the end of the month, and since it’s been a bit quiet around this corner of the internet, I thought I’d write a little catch up post. Mostly so I can figure out where the hell the time went.
AUSSIE-VERSARY.com 3 whole years in Sydney! I know the natural inclination of time is to move forward, but shit. It’s hard to believe I’ve been away from the States for 3 years. I miss my family and friends and my sweet Bill Purray like no one would understand. But, I love Sydney, my adopted home. I love the lifestyle, the people, the wildlife, the scenery, and the food. Oh, also the Medicare and public transport and liveable working wage and the lack of Donald Trump. I’m even starting to learn to love its summers and not so much mind the spiders (whaaaaat). I celebrated by having an Australian Flat White while having an Australian style brunch at my favourite Australian cafe with my Australian pal Casey, and driving on the left on ACTUAL Australian roads filled with CARS and real PEOPLE.
Speaking of driving —
CAR.com OH BOY YOU GUYS – after we got home from Japan, we brought a two ton legal obligation into our lives. Our friend Rob was getting a new car, so he sold us his 1998 Toyota Tank. It drives like a dream, and it’s a bit old and weathered so it looks like no one will ever bother breaking into it. There’s even a tape player. It’s perfect.
Yes, I realise buying a car when I’m paralytically terrified of driving in Sydney and when we don’t have a parking spot and we can’t apply for a street parking permit because our apartment building was incorporated in the wrong year and the only option to park EVERYWHERE is parallel parking and I suck at parallel parking and also I take public transport everywhere is a bit… unnecessary. HOWEVER. It’s a great car, and it was a steal (not literally. I mean, I hope). And there are a lot of the day trips and things we’ve wanted to do but haven’t been able to because they’re not accessible by transport. So it’s a great option for us to get around now and do more on the weekends.
Rob took me to a Bunnings parking lot for a few minutes to give it a test drive, since it had been about 3 years since I’d driven manual and I’ve never had to shift with my left hand. Thankfully, the car and I clicked instantly. Even when I tried to stall out, I couldn’t. It drives like a little race car, and I fell in love. I was still too scared to drive it back to our neighbourhood to park it, but I still fell in love.
A couple weeks later, my friend Casey braved the passenger seat as I drove around the side streets. I almost turned into oncoming traffic trying to turn left, nearly backed over a bicyclist, couldn’t parallel park into a space that was 2 car lengths long, and nearly clipped all the cars on my left hand side because I’m used to hanging right. BUT — at the end of the day everyone made it out alive. And I found a non-parallel parking spot that wasn’t permit only. So I parked and there the car sat.
For 4 weeks.
I thought about the car everyday — how I should be driving, how I should be going places, has it been towed?, how do I merge on hi-ways now? I should drive. I should grab my keys and go. AHHH I DONT WANNA. A couple weeks ago, I actually psyched myself up to drive to Ikea, which is basically down one road, and maybe has about 5 turns, all told. But, in typical Audrey fashion, I flat-out chickened out and took the bus. For the whole day, I worried that I should have taken my car, and I was kicking myself for chickening out. I eventually got so sick of my own shit and being so suddenly frightened of driving–seriously this is so weird, you could barely keep me from behind the wheel when I was in the States– that I signed up for another driving lesson. Which happened today.
I met with the same driving instructor who took me out in March, and we went for two hours, through the back streets of my neighbourhood, and the motorways and hi-ways near me. I practiced high speeds, lane changes, merges, round abouts and three point turns, even a couple hill stops (ugh, worst part of driving manual). I was actually shaking with nerves and was all NO TALKING when I got in the car, but by the end of it I was super relaxed and actually laughing and making jokes as I was down shifting through my turns. I even parallel parked a couple times! I wasn’t perfect — I had a few moments where I couldn’t find 4th gear and nearly panicked but I figured it out, and I wasn’t looking at a bus as it darted into the lane in front of me. But as I was driving, the fear slipped away and my old “have driven for 17 years” instincts came back. It’s all muscle memory, even if I am on the opposite side of the car. My instructor said I had improved by “leaps and bounds”, and I left feeling super pumped and much more confident.
It’s 100% a case of aversion and confrontation: I was afraid to drive, so I didn’t drive, which only made me more afraid. But, I’ve confronted that fear, and now it’s ebbed away remarkably. Yeah, I still have driving at night and driving in the rain or driving in the actual city and –eep, crossing the Harbour Bridge– to look forward to, but I really feel like I’ve turned a corner on this whole driving a car on the road thing. It feels good, man.
SWEET JEMIMA PANCAKE.com You guys… it’s wonderful to have a cat around. I don’t even mind when she walks all over me and settles down to sleep on my chest at 3AM. Or that she demands an audience when she uses the litter box (so we can clean it immediately for her). I love her quirky moods and her fluffy magnificence and how she curls up next to me when Joel’s gone and how she wakes up with us in the morning with chats and head butts, and waits for us at the door when we come home. And seeing Joel interact with her kills me with how damn precious they are. We just love her.
IHAVEHAIRCOLOURCOMMITMENTISSUES.com So back in June, I pulled the trigger on pink hair. I loved it. And I loved that I could keep the rosey pink colour looking amazing using L’Oreal Colorista, which was hella easy to apply and super affordable and the colour looked AMAZING (this isn’t an ad but Hi L’Oreal if you want to send me some for free I totally wouldn’t mind because I love it)
I was buying some Pre-Tokyo hair dye at the chemist when they were out of Colorista. Womp womp. But they did have another brand, which was only $4. So I thought, hey why not? I took it to Japan so I that I could have brightened hair for my birthday, but I didn’t want to possibly stain the apartment surfaces or pillow. So the night before I returned to work, I decided to chuck on the dye. The box said Pastel Pink, and the model had a lovely shade of very light pink on her hair. The instructions inside said “for longer lasting, more intense colour, leave on an additional 10 minutes.” Hey, I want longer lasting colour! So I left it on for an additional 10 minutes. And my hair came out FUSCHIA.
So the colour was a weeeeeee bit NOT what I expected/wanted. For someone who panicked when my hair was slightly pink, this was way intense. And if I had a $1 for every OMG look I got at work the next day, I would have had a lot of dollars. After all the teasing settled down, and it became apparent that even after 9 shampoos that this colour wasn’t going ANYWHERE, I came to accept it. I even started to like it.
Even though work was cool with it (patients had nothing but good things to say about it), and I got heaps of compliments whenever I went out, I had to let it go. I would have to go to the salon every month to get my roots bleached, or it destroys my self-esteem because I focus on what’s important in life (Seriously, I had 3 inches of re-growth by the middle of September and it killed me inside). Also, I’m now required to wear uniforms at work and one of the shirts was almost the same colour as my hair. And I don’t want anyone thinking I’m so full of enthusiasm for my desk job that I want to match my uniform to the EXTREME.
And if you’re wondering “does she just sit around all day taking pictures of herself?” the answer is “basically, yes.” I lead a very fulfilling life.
POSTHOLIDAYBLUZ.com It came as no surprise that I had mad post-holiday blues. It did come as a surprise that it lasted a whole month. Once we got home, I just felt sad. Sad that I had to go back to work, sad that going back to work didn’t mean “staying home in sweatpants blogging about Japan”, sad that it was taking too long to do the blogs and I wish I had organised things differently, sad that the days felt like 24 minutes not 24 hours, sad about friends back home going through shit times and my mom’s run of bad health, I SHOULD BE DRIVING SOMEWHERE, etc. And really it just turned into a month-long stretch of overwhelming “meh”/feels of apathy and just feeling down in the dumps. I’d wake up in the morning feeling like a big bag of bones. Every correction or slight disagreement made me feel like Idiot Queen. I went through the motions at work, but really didn’t give a shit. At home, it was play with the cat, watch re-runs and ignore my writing so I could feel bad about ignoring my writing later. So I started therapy again this week, after a 3 month break. Thanks to a meeting and some Get Real with Self list making time, I’m starting to feel better.
And I found this drawing from one of my favourites, Rubyetc that just nails it:
SPRINGCLEANING.com The weekend before Pancake arrived, we accidentally embarked on a massive spring cleaning. It started with a small idea from Joel that would help increase our storage space, something like, move this stuff here and it’ll free up this space for this. The idea worked. And while I was moving stuff from one place to another, we decided to go through the cabinet. Then the other cabinet. Then the drawer. And the next drawer. And suddenly we were ruthlessly going through EVERYTHING in the apartment and deep cleaning as we went.
We also came to the realisation that we just don’t have room for a desk/office area. As much as I loved the desk, I only worked at it a handful of times – and that was mostly when I was home recovering from surgery. Most of the time I’m sitting on the couch or at the eating table. So we took down my dream desk (sadly) and did some minor rearranging. Which then led us to some minor re-decorating. Which meant I got to go to Ikea (#happyplace). And I couldn’t be happier with how things are shaping up. I’m totally going to show everyone later once the re-decorating is finished.
As we were cleaning, Joel said “Hey, today is the first day of spring. So we’re actually doing a spring cleaning.” And I felt smug inside. Overall, I think we lost about 100lbs of stuff. I like that we’re going into a new season, and I’m coming out of a slumpy month, and we’re doing it without heaps of extra baggage. Feels good, man.
SAVINGDOLLABILLS.com For the first time ALL YEAR, I went 30 days without buying a single piece of non-essential clothing. A lot of that has to do with afore mentioned work uniform. When I’m not at work, I’m in sweatpants. When I’m out and about, I’m in jeans, a t-shirt and a cardigan. So yeah, my cool dresses and skirts and tops have spent the month collecting dust in our closet. But I did buy one last awesome dress before the uniform rule.
I’m bummed that I can’t wear my awesome clothes anymore, and shopping for clothes was one of my go-to happiness moves, but hey. My savings account is happy. And supposedly that’s a good thing.
CAKEFAIL.com Tried to make a naked sponge cake. Ended up making a Leaning Tower of Pisa with Bulging Innards cake.
Better luck next time! I need a cake leveler. And one of these:
So that about wraps it up for September at Camp Audpodge. How’s everyone else? Conquer any roads or have any cake fails?