Catchup.com – uh, November?

Helloooo, blog land! And by that I mean, helloooo Mom (thanks for reading!). I had planned to do Blog-Tober, where I post every day. Then I was all “well, I’ll do Blog-Vember, since I missed Blog-Tober.” And then, I did nothing.

For the first time since I started carving out this little corner of the internet, I let an entire month go by without a single post. I know you’re all feeling the pained sadness that comes with the dearth of my sparkling wit, my poignant and thoughtful social commentary, and my profound and seemingly endless well of wisdom. But, wait no more, my preciouses. I’m hear to fill you in on what’s been happening at Camp AudPodge.

And that’s basically almost nothing.

Mid-October to pretty much yesterday was spent doing the following:

  • helping one of my best good Sydney pals prep for her big move to Queensland
  • moping after said best good Sydney pal did move
  • re-watching all of Mad Men
  • moping after some bad times for family and friends
  • mystery virus that zapped every ounce of energy from me for 3 weeks
  • not writing
  • not reading
  • riding a fucking delightful wave of hormones, thanks to birth control weaning
  • playing the same level on Super Mario Brothers for a week straight
  • re-watching all of Dance Moms
  • spending a lot of time taking photos of my cat

Only Mildly Depressed.com: Sometimes, it’s been a few days and you’re just more tired than you’ve ever been. And sometimes you realise there’s just a lot of shit stacking up on you, near you, around you, and you aren’t sorting through what’s important and what’s not important very well anymore, so you just stop sorting through it all and stare at the piles with so many feelings of overwhelmment fux-ulation (my very own made up feeling) that you just stop sorting through anything.

There was this article on Thought Catalogue that discussed self care and how it’s not just taking a sea salt scrub in a luxurious bubble bath while watching Netflix and eating brownies. Self-care should be more about daily maintenance, the little things we neglect when we’re just trying to get shit done. Like, keeping track of your budget so you know how much money you’re spending. Running the dishwasher before you go to bed so you have dishes for the next day. Getting off the couch for 30 mins a day. Saying no or asking for help when you’re tapped out. Doing your laundry once a week so it doesn’t pile up. Taking a shower. Not calling 2 coffees and 8 Lindor Chocolate Truffles lunch. When I go through a depressive stage, my daily maintenance goes out the window. And that’s what’s happened. In fact the only thing I kept up with was laundry, and that’s because I wear my favourite pairs underwear first and all the pairs are in the hamper by the end of the week and sometimes you just need to wear your goddamn favourite underpants and nothing else will suffice and NO ONE can stop you from making this a much bigger deal than it actually is.

So, I took a mental health day from work, and spent a 3 day weekend with my Get Your Shit Together Book getting my shit together. I caught up with my budget and habit trackers and shit. I started seeing my counsellor again. I got a recommendation for a licensed clinical psychologist and I’ll start seeing them in January. I have a meeting with the nutritionist at work this week, and she’s going to help me organise grocery shopping and meal planning like a real adult (no more chocolate lunches) and help me organise  pilates/barre/weight lifting classes. I wrote a whole page last week, after 25+ days of zilch. Last week was much sunnier than the past 6 weeks have been, so I’m hoping shit is on an upswing.

Humble brag time: I’m patting myself on the back, because if I’ve only achieved one thing this year, it’s getting better at intervening with myself when I’m in a downed out place. My depressive episodes are becoming shorter, because (lightbulb) reaching out for help, helps. It’s taken years to get to the point where within a couple weeks I can admit “I’m sad and overwhelmed, and I need help.” I’ll keep working on it, and with any hope I’ll be able to work it into a few weeks to a few days. So keep this in mind guys: Don’t lose hope. Help is just like AA, it works if you work it.

So yes, riveting. But in my slothness I did manage to maintain a very small semblance of a social life, do some driving, spend every single dollar I earned, and knock off some superficial and financially unnecessary totally important projects. Oh, and Joel made Thanksgiving. Oh, and we put up the tree. And did I mention that one page I wrote? Good things.

And here are some pics:

Bed makeover.com: We decided to invest some money in our bed, ie. buy good quality, breathable sheets and blankets for summer, and pillows and mattress toppers that won’t destroy our spines, hips, knees. This makes my life, because (as abundantly documented here) there’s not much I love more than buying new bedding.

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Before: hot mess express
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too much money a sound investment
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Heck yeah, egg crate foam mattress topper topped with pillow/microbead mattress topper (we can’t afford a new mattress because if we’re going to buy a new mattress, we’re going to get a Queen size which means a new bed frame and more new bedding and a bigger apartment, which means $$$$$$$, so now we’re just working with what we have. And two toppers = hella comfortable)
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After: heaven pile of 100% linen bedding and new pillows and cushions (including a memory foam side sleeper (A+)

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I also got sick and tired of not having a night stand with drawers, so I picked up some new night stands that look like they were taken off the set of Mad Men, and make the room look cleaner. I underestimated how heavy the night stands would be (the boxes they came in looked small), so I ended up needing to take a cab from the store that’s a 10 minute walk away from the apartment. Whoops.

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Et voila!

Operation: Make the bedroom a better place is slowly coming together. The bed is incredibly cozy, and I never want to leave it. We had to take the doona (or comforter) out of the duvet cover because it’s summer and TOO DAMN HOT, but once winter comes around things will be fluffy again.

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Pancake approved.

SNES Classic.com

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What was supposed to be a casual browse through EB Games ended up being a trip to my childhood and being reunited with the last video game console I was mildly good at. It comes with 21 pre-installed games! Joel kicked my ass royally at Mario Kart (I fucking hate Mario Kart), we were evenly matched at Street Fighter, and I get stuck on the same Super Mario levels I did when I was 9. I got calluses on my thumbs the first weekend we had it. It’s the greatest.

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Holy Throwback, Batman

Pancake Continues to be Adorable Little Bear-Cat.com

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dat faaaace

Eating Good Shit.com

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Brown sugar baked pork chops baked with apples, onions, and spicy brussels sprouts. Served on cous cous. +10
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Best Brunch Buddy
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cocktails + recliner chairs + free popcorn + AC + awesome movie = best Sunday
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Yakisoba!
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Homemade Coffee Cake: Tasted better than it looked, promise!
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I went to brunch with Casey and only ordered sides. It was everything I wanted it to be.
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Joel is a chicken crumb master. I can’t even. I want to eat this everyday. 
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Another one, because this is one of my favourite meals of the year.
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As you can see, I heart brunch as much as I heart my friends who also heart brunch. Also revamped love for poached eggs on avocado toast. #millenialeating

Seriously Pancake is so damn cute.com

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sun baked fluff pile

Getting My Shit Together.com

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New  planners = new lease on life

Things I Love.com

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Saturdays with Pancake
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Favourites ❤
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Early summer is the prettiest

I’m Not Kidding Pancake is Stupid Cute.com: She’s coming around to us a lot more since we found a brand of canned cat food she likes, and since we let her drink from the running bath tap more often. Apparently the way to her heart is through her stomach.

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Just sleeping with her head lightly resting on her paws. Stahhhhhp

I Wrote A Whole Page.com Slow and steady wins the race. Slow and steady as a glacier moving through frozen water wins the race. I can do it. More on my writing struggles and how I publicly gave myself a deadline of one year to finish my book in a later post.

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But I wrote a whole page!

Thanksgiving.com In true Audrey style, I remembered Thanksgiving the day before. I started to plan a quick little dinner, when Joel told me not to worry about it. The next day, he planned dinner, cleaned the apartment, bought groceries to make said dinner, started to prepare it, and then I unexpectedly had to stay late at work. And then he unexpectedly got called into work, and had to work late. So we put our dinner plans on hold for the next night.

When I got home from work, the apartment was sparkling and Joel had made a stupid cute Thanksgiving card for me. Staaaaaahp!

The next night we had a lemon and herb roast chicken, buttery mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, and American Style Green Bean Casserole (he spent quite a time hunting down all the Australian equivalent ingredients, only to realise my mom had sent them to us back in May. whoops!). Everything was beyond delicious, and I love him for taking the time and effort to make Thanksgiving special. He’s the best.

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My 2/3 scratch pie, and Joel’s sweet card. I made the filling from scratch (what a process!) but the crust and whipped cream were store bought. Next time I go full-from-scratchness.
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You can’t see because they’re out of focus, but those potatoes are drowning in butter (love)
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carving the roast beast
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food coma

When Joel opened the can of cream of mushroom soup, Pancake freaked out and thought we were opening canned cat food. It was then that we had the crushing realization that we forgot to give her Thanksgiving. WTF! So we fed her little pieces of chicken and it seemed to make up for it.

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also food coma
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Thankful for pie. And my totes profesh whipped cream decorating skillz

Things I Love.com

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.com Every year, our tree gets better. And I’m really loving our tree this year, guys.

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How to Keep Your Cat From Eating the Base of Your Christmas Tree
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Mench on a Bench (missing his bench)
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Pancake wasn’t into the whole tree thing.

DRIVING BY MYSELF.com I made the 15 minute journey to my local Ikea and back, and parallel parked, all by myself and I didn’t have a panic attack. I am very excited.

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I did it! All by myself.

Things I Really Love.com I love Joel. Having an understanding, supportive, and caring partner who makes you belly laugh and pushes you to be a better person and who brings you coffee in the morning is the best thing in the world. 1,000 pairs of sweatpants on a 1,000 couches with 1,000 favourite snacks in front of a 1,000 of my favourite movies couldn’t come close to making me as happy as you do. Thank you.

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❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Annnnd you’re all caught up. Right in time for the end of the year post. WHERE THE HELL DID 2017 GO?!

xo,
Auds

Binding Greatness

Yesterday at work, I ran into a doctor (who, for the record, is probably my age) in our comms room, who was scratching his head, trying to figure out how to use a binding machine.

A Binding Machine.

He asked me if I knew how to bind a book, and I said yes, because I’m an English major, and part of my degree includes expertise in archaic office procedurals. I can also change the ribbon/correcting ribbion/fluid of a typewriter, use a laminator, work an adding machine, and export mailing labels from Excel to Word. Want me to organise your Rolodex? I’ll get it done in less than 2 mins. I’m a master of Shit That Is No Longer Important.

Every binding machine is different, and the fancy ones nowadays are button operated. But once you’ve worked out one, you can handle all of them. But ours is a special kind of old, like purchased when the Institute was originated in the 70’s. There’s one giant crank handle that controls both the hole punches and opening the binding comb, and you have to adjust the space between the margin of the paper and the hole punches by using a dial. So you have to punch and open the comb by holding the crank handle at varying angles. I’m no doctor, but I ran a couple test drives with a single piece of paper and ended up binding the book excellently within a couple minutes.

So, I felt pretty smug. I thought, I’m pretty happy that I grew up with book binding, projectors, film strips, VHS and chalk boards in the classroom. I’m glad I had a typewriter before I had a computer. I’m glad I had to look up books in the library using the card catalog, and that at some point I did a book report using microfiche as my primary source material. I remember when Oregon Trail was not only a thing, it was THE Thing.

I thought, I’m glad I grew up when I did, between generations, right as technology was growing up. I like that I can step back from smart devices and apps and multiline phones and computers and do some simple shit — like book binding — that saves someone heaps of stress. I thought, hey, there’s a place for everyone to be great in this world. One person can achieve greatness by contributing significant data on sleep apnea to world class research and the other person can… make sure their papers are grouped and organised in a plastic comb so it doesn’t fall out. My Doctorate in Shit That Is No Longer Important helps me achieving greatness.

I am achieving greatness.

And then I thought, “the world needs ditch diggers, too.”

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A temporary moment of triumph, followed by swift deflation.

And then I thought, “eh, fuck it. My work day ends at quitting time. And I don’t have work email on my phone. And I’m more than ok with that.”

So if you need me, I’ll be taking down the minutes of a meeting in short hand.

 

My bed, my choice

Last September — no, it goes farther back than that.

Back in October 2015, I got a slightly better paying job, which meant I finally had the extra scratch to re-do our bed linens: new sheets, new pillows, new mattress pad, new duvet cover, and it was basically the best day of my life. Continue reading “My bed, my choice”

Affirmations

I’ve been dying for a rainy day during my time off. Why? Because there are few things better than waking up to a torrential downpour and feeling that warm, slow, smug realisation of “Hey – I don’t have to go anywhere or do shit today.” Continue reading “Affirmations”

Hodge Podge – Wednesday

1 – After another night of broiling temps waking us up every few hours, and walking into work looking like I’d run a marathon (how does it get so sweaty at 8AM?!) I walked out of the office today and I had to put my cardigan back on. And now I’m wearing sweat pants. AND long sleeves. I am content. Continue reading “Hodge Podge – Wednesday”

Lizard Brain

I got to work a little before 7:30 this morning so I could finish putting together a training manual. I thought it would be an easy day, since the day before was so hectic. But I was swarmed from the moment I stepped through the door. It was shaping up to be one of those maddeningly busy mornings at work, where every time I turn around someone was asking me to do something, or the phone was ringing, or there was another crisis to attend to.

It was one of those days where you blink and 3 hours pass.

I blinked again and 3 more hours had passed. And suddenly I was all “wow I’ve had 2 coffees and if I don’t pee right now I’ll probably die.” So I got up to go to the bathroom. I walked down the hall and through the atrium that separates the bathroom from the rest of the floor without noticing anything, totally on autopilot. It was when I was leaving the bathroom that I saw the little guy on the ground.

He was a little lizard, laid out on the tile between the two doors of the atrium. He was almost the same greenish brown colour as the tiles, so I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t see him on my way in. I was surprised that he wasn’t moving at all, in my experience lizards are either skittish, or dead. And this one wasn’t moving when I got near him, or when I opened or closed the doors. So I assumed he was dead. Poor guy.

I walked out of the bathroom and told some of my coworkers that I found a dead lizard in the bathroom. I’m not sure why, maybe they would want to see it? It was pretty weird thing to find in the bathroom, considering how far away our second level bathroom is from the outside world. And it was such a busy day, and I was on such autopilot that seeing a lizard in the bathroom basically stopped my brain in its tracks. They asked if he looked stomped on. Fortunately, he looked like he died of natural causes.

I went back to clean up the lizard and give him a burial. The idea of flushing him crossed my mind, but then I realised a) he might get clogged, and b) flushing an animal is pretty fucked up. I opened the door to the atrium, and he once again didn’t move. I decided to gather him in some paper towels and put him outside – circle of life and all. As I got closer to him, I decided to check for one more sign of life. I stomped my foot near him – and there! His head moved slightly to the right. LIFE, HE IS ALIVE!

I got so excited that I ran out of the atrium looking for something to corral him with. I found a little takeaway container with a lid in our staff kitchen and ran back to the bathroom. He was still lying there, but when I gently shoo’d him into the container, he made almost no objection. It’s like he knew I wanted to help. Or he was just too freaked out to put up a fight. He crawled into the tub and I put the lid on without sealing it so he wouldn’t be able to jump out. I showed him around, named him Blinky, and then took him outside.

I made sure to look him in the eye, and then I wished him well and let him go in the grassy/mulchy landscaped bits in front of our building. He quickly crawled under some mulch, and disappeared.

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I don’t know why, but finding and freeing that lizard was absolutely the high light of my day. It was exciting and awesome, and I felt like I had done something good for the world. And I couldn’t stop thinking – how the fuck did it get in here?

I imagined him crawling up all the steps and in a moment of perfect timing, making it through both sets of automatic doors. Or what if one of the kids found him on the way in and lost track of him when he saw the toys in the lobby? I thought of him slinking around unnoticed through all the rooms, narrowly avoiding being crushed under foot, hitching a ride on patient’s bags, living off crumbs, and trying with all this might to get back to his world as he became sick and dehydrated and cold. I thought of how something told him to go to the bathroom, like maybe something told him that’s where he would find water. But there, almost on the brink of death, he passed out in the atrium. And then I found him. And I put him back in the outside. And maybe it wasn’t his world? Maybe he still couldn’t find water. Maybe he was eaten by a huntsman.

It was a bit of perspective. Yeah, my day is so busy that I forget to eat lunch or go to the bathroom, but at least I’m not lost in some gigantic, terrifying and frozen world with no food and no water, where 900 ft tall creatures can’t see me and almost stomp me or chase me or otherwise try to kill me, where one of those giant creatures in a big yellow dress traps me in a plastic box and squeals to her coworkers that she “caught a lizard!” before releasing me into a world that’s just as scary and huge and different but equally as terrifying. Like seriously. That lizard has seen some shit. My day was cake compared to that.

But hey…

At least I didn’t step on him.

 

 

If this isn’t nice…

On Thursday night, the weather promised nothing but thunderstorms from Friday to Sunday. Halloween weekend + thunderstorms + desire to sit in and write? It’s like a perfect storm of Fuck Yeah. And as we walked home from dinner on Friday night in the rain, I was pumped for a weekend of making shit happen.

I don’t know why, but I like, need it to rain. As in, I feel like my emotional welfare depends on whether or not it storms all weekend. Probably because we haven’t had a really good rainy weekend in a long time, and I wanted to watch scary movies while curled up with hot chocolate. I miss the rain. As the deserts do. (and I miss you)

But, as it turned out, my perfect storm was short lived. It was blue sky t-shirt and shorts weather from the time we woke up on Saturday until just a few minutes ago. Blue skies and heat is basically my hibernating weather. So I spent Saturday making 1 sweaty trip to the post office, and then either napping, draining the battery on my phone from looking up memes, and writing a single paragraph before getting distracted by Googling whether or not Farrah Abraham has butt implants #important. I made us greasy hamburgers for dinner, ate too much dessert, and fell asleep around 1 AM, crossing my fingers for a stormy day.

Today, though, was one of those mornings that make you believe you’re a morning person. The sunlight was glorious, there was no humidity, and it was quiet and lovely and inspiring. I sprang out of bed early and made coffee, read in bed for an hour, made breakfast, Skyped with my family, reorganised the closet, did some shopping, made chicken and rice soup for Joel the Unwell, finished the laundry, put together some notes/plans for my stories, and I even vacuumed.  I’m telling you, I was inspired.

 

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This morning – so damn gorgeous
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I’m *this* close to having a fully functional wardrobe. More on that later.
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$5 phone cover!
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Christmas ornaments are out! I’m getting pumped for our tree this year, so yeah, I had to buy one. This guy’s legs dance when you pull the string #yes
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Just like ma used to make.
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This evening – blurry but still damn gorgeous. 

It’s slow and steady, but I’m crawling out of the hole I’ve dug myself in. And it feels good, man. I’m working my way out of bad, depressive habits, which is huge, and makes me feel really optimistic. There’s a lot to look forward coming up, like Friends-giving, getting my Australian driver’s license, beach weekends, good books, outings and adventures, and The Crown on Netflix and Teen Mom UK, which should satisfy all my trash TV needs (for the time being), and far off into the future, almost 2.5 weeks off for Christmas.

I stood in our bedroom this morning, and the same thought kept running through my head:

If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

I love our place. I love our life. And it feels like everything is getting better.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

 

 

Your 9 Year Old Self

I saw this on Instagram today –

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side note – I want one of these boards. And I ain’t even mad at myself for it.

 

And instantly, my first thought was, “man, 9 year old Audrey would think 32 year old Audrey is pretty lame.”

And then I thought, wait – 9 year old Audrey’s day during the school week consisted of

  • taking an hour to wake up in the morning
  • fiercely debating cutting her own bangs every morning
  • sneaking her mom’s coffee
  • taking too long to pick out clothes because she was too busy fantasising about clothes she didn’t have
  • going to school where she was equal parts I CAN DO THIS and help me I’m so overwhelmed
  • walking home through the woods so she could act out little stories running through her head
  • typing out said stories on her typewriter while listening to music; or making elaborate plans to do or build or create something; or drawing killer whales, researching killer whales, becoming a killer whale, basically engaging whatever I was obsessed with at the time
  • staying in the bath (never a shower – thanks Psycho) until the water turned cold
  • falling asleep while watching a movie
  • waking up to go to bed and reading books or comic strip collections until she passed out with the lights on

And I was all “that’s basically my same routine now.” So I’m basically living like my 9 year old self was watching. And my 9 year old self thinks I’m pretty rad – I mean, I can take showers without the fear of a cross dressing schizophrenic with PTSD stabbing me to death. I mean, I’m sure she’s disappointed that I’m not a marine biologist/killer whale trainer by day, novelist by night, actress and movie director on the weekends, married to Brad Pitt and living in a log cabin with a herd of dogs, but hey. You can only do so much in 23 years. Plus, now I can stay up late watching movies whenever I feel like it. Fuck yeah.

Hey inner-child, high 5!

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So early 90’s it hurts. Not pictured: Brad Pitt Legend of the Fall poster directly to the right of those sick Aladdin wall decals.

How would your 9 year old self judge you?

xo