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.

 

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”

Hodge Podge – Wednesday

We had a hot one today, folks – so hot that I went to work simply so I could have air conditioning (that’s serious) even though I really wanted to stay home and smother myself in aloe (my sunburn still really, really hurts). Continue reading “Hodge Podge – Wednesday”

Hodge Podge

I have nothing to blog about. But I want to blog. So, why not do a little catch up post? Heck yeah.

So, what’s been happening?

Work – I got a semi-promotion, I love my team, there’s a cafe near by that makes my most favourite coffee, I don’t have to keep email on my phone, and it’s the right amount of challenge and ease. I go to work, I come home, I don’t want to kill myself. And really, I can’t ask for much more than that.

Home – I love our little place. Would it be better with an actual kitchen room, an extra bedroom, hard wood floors, and air conditioning? Of course. But I love it anyway. We’re coming up on 12 months here, and I’m crossing my fingers that our rent doesn’t jump up a million percent.

Writing – I’ve been so hella inspired to write. I found a writer’s group that meets at a Communist themed bar near my work, so I go there on Wednesday nights and try to jam out as much as possible in 2 hours – in October I got about 10 pages written. But when I sit down, lately, nothing happens. So that’s great. I need to have a sit down/Come to Jesus meeting with myself.

Hair – I finally treated myself to the salon, and I now have heaps more blonde. Next week, I’ll get a few inches chopped off. Hello, Summer!

Therapy – I love my therapist. I want to hug her at the end of each session. But I did cancel this month’s sessions so I could get my hair done. Adulthood is knowing you need to go to therapy, and also knowing you need to have your roots done, but realising you can’t do both. But, as I rationalised, my neuroses will still be there next month. #worthit

Lettering – I’ve gotten really, really into lettering lately. I’ve been following graphic designers on IG and doodling in my spare time. I’m not even in the same stratosphere as them, but it’s fun.

Joel – absolutely wonderful. +10, would move to Australia for him again.

Bacon – I found “streaky” aka AMERICAN style bacon that’s just to die for at the fancy pants grocery store near our house. It’s $10, or for $7 there’s a slightly less delicious one, but it crisps up and tastes just like home. I’ve been working it into dinner at least once a week.

Cooking – I have some good recipes I’m planning to launch here on the blog, and all but one of them are my own creation – which is neat. I’m basically a master chef now.

Christmas – I’m pretty jazzed for Christmas this year. Probably because Christmas last year was awesome sauce, and probably because I’ve already started planning and plotting what I’m doing for gifts, not leaving it for last minute and $$$$$ like I did last year. Also I’m obsessing over what our Christmas tree will look like. We’ve had a teeny tiny tree, and a big twig tree. This year, I want a medium sized, full tree. And I want to decorate. I want to watch Christmas movies and pretend that it’s not insanely hot outside. I’ve even gone so far as to Google Christmas decor – seriously, I don’t even know who I am anymore.

I think the key to hot weather Christmas is avoiding the traditional green and red colour combo. Green and Red makes me think of snow, cold, hot cocoa and tacky sweaters. But bright colours and weird trees don’t. So I’m going for non-traditional decorations this year. My only caveat is that we have to have an actual tree. Our twig tree was pretty, but it didn’t have the same Christmassy feel.

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I’m only slightly terrified of this urge to decorate – but it was bound to happen sooner or later. My family has 3 trees and 3 floors of Christmas decor almost every year. And I secretly love that shit. Stay tuned.

Summer – We’ve had a few super hot days sprinkled in between our lovely cold mornings and nights, but the cold nights are getting few and far between. I’m determined to get my Australian driver’s license so that we can go on some adventures this year. Or at least hit the beach on the weekends. I haven’t been behind the wheel of a car in 2 years – it’s kinda terrifying to think that I’ve had this long a break + I’ll be driving on the opposite side. WATCH OUT AUSTRALIA.

What’s going on with everyone else? Stay tuned for recipes, CHRISTMAS, and much more – the unproductive Audpodge & Blither Blather will dazzle you with its content and relevancy. Sheeeeeit.

 

xo

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

Ohhh, time. Or, everything makes me feel old.

A few weeks ago, Joel was mimicking a guitar riff that my inner mid-90’s angsty teenager gland instantly picked up – Zero. And that spurred an instant Smashing Pumpkins sing a-long ROCK A-LONG, and then I found myself listening to all their albums on Spotify as I cleaned house.


(enthralling, yes.)
It made me think, though. I was 12 when I “borrowed” Siamese Dream from my brother Shayne (I still have it, beeteedubs), and 13 when I asked my dad to get me Meloncollie and the Infinite Sadness. I was on the too-young-to-be-angsty side of the scale during the hey day of The Smashing Pumpkins, and here’s baby Joel, who probably was in his Teletubbies or Bananas in Pajamas phase during said hey day. And yet, here we were – singing along rocking out to Bullet with Butterfly Wings and getting all wistful to Thirty-Three and 1979. 

It also made me think, what’s Billy Corgan up to lately?

Because the last time I checked, he looked like this:

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and then this:

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But this is him now:

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Holy dad bod, Billy.

Finally, it made me think, fuck I’m old*.

And then I thought of perspective – image how my parents felt when I was 10 and knew every word to The Doors Greatest Hits. And then I thought of another 90’s gem that I was too young to be included in the demographic for:

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Oh hey, Clueless is 21 years old. Jesus.**

 

*No surprise there – everything makes me feel old now. I didn’t realise that one the scariest parts of being in my 30’s is that everything I enjoyed as a kid now has antique status.
**See?

 

Very Important News: I have new hair.

In the mess that has been my life these past few months, I’ve really needed a hair cut. Like, really needed one. Physically and emotionally. I mean, I’ve been in a dark, depressed place, but my hair has felt 10x worse.

I love going to the salon. My mom says she took me to get my hair cut by a professional when I was about 7, and she was never able to cut my hair at home after. I looked forward to getting my hair cut the way most kids look forward to Christmas. And I’ve changed colours and styles at least 3x a year since I turned 17 and got bleached out streaks for the first time. My mom had told me I couldn’t do anything permanent to my hair until I turned 18, but I was 3 weeks away from turning 18 and on a vacation with my friends, so I did the most rebellious thing I could think of (and my mom only spent one week not talking to me as a result)

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sooooooo rebel.

So to go 18 months without stepping foot in a salon, and not thinking about hair dye since October was very strange for me.  I had a multi-coloured, grey speckled, shaggy mess, mostly because I couldn’t get the energy, time, or shekels together to get something done. But, I decided last week that my new chapter needs new hair. But I didn’t know where to go.

Trying to find a stylist always fills me with anxiety. When I was in the States, I had a girl named Katelyn who could read my mind when it came to my hair, and talk all things Teen Mom with me. I met her soon after I moved out my ex’s place and back in with my parents. She was a tiny, perky ex-cheerleader with a love for make up and leopard print, and we bonded instantly. Over the next two years we saw each other through battles with depression, moving, relationships, and finally finding our soul mates. Countless highlights, 2 ombres, bangs, growing out my bangs, lobs, trims, brunette, auburn, blonde, and the absolute best red with blonde highlights I’ve ever had, Katelyn is a badass.

When I moved, I knew I was leaving behind my safety blanket – my hair girl. But since I was moving to a city, I thought finding an awesome salon would be a piece of cake. However, the first person who cut my hair in Sydney cut it two inches too short, and traumatised me. Plus that salon was in North Sydney and I didn’t want to take the train. So I Googled salons near me, and I found a place right down the road from me that had over 30 five-star reviews (Stanley & C0). Mostly I was excited that it was a two minute walk away and had a legit website. I made an appointment and spent the next few days worrying.

I make no bones about how vain and shallow I am – not only do I have a blog about me, I take an inappropriate amount of selfies, and I can’t pass a reflective surface without checking myself out. It’s just who I am (#leo). And I think the too-short, too-dark hair cut I got last May really threw me out of whack and probably contributed more to my year of discontent than I actually acknowledge. So I was incredibly nervous.

But all’s well that ends well, and I really lucked out. The colourist I worked with was hilarious and super cool, and the owner who cut my hair was ridiculously detail oriented. I felt like I was getting my hair cut by a surgeon. It’s turned out to be one of the best hair cuts I’ve ever had, as it basically styles itself. And it looks good straight or “I haven’t brushed it in three days” (which is my entire hair styling skill spectrum).

There was a mis-communication about the colouring, and by Monday I realised I didn’t exactly get what I wanted. I wrestled for a while about whether I should call and ask for a re-do, because it felt like sending food back – when you send food back, you don’t order anything else because it’s guaranteed to have spit in it. I didn’t want anyone to spit in my hair. I even considered just saying Fuck It and going some place else. But, I remembered that New Me is honest and stands up for herself, so I called and politely asked for another appointment.

It took a week to get back in there, and even though the owner was understanding and cool, it was still a week of omg they hate me they will make my hair even worse because I complained and I’ll still have to pay for it all over again and I’ll hate myself and shame eat an entire pizza by myself while watching Dance Moms. 

Buuuuut, once again, all’s well that ends well. I worked with the same colourist, and everyone was just as nice and awesome as they were the first time I came in. My colour came out exactly as I wanted it, and they did it for free.

I was pretty jazzed about the whole thing.

Before:

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Note the peeking grey, the casual fade from ash to burgundy to auburn to gold to shaggy split end mess. Also recurring adult acne because I have all the luck.

During:

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Great cut, but the blonde was too subtle, and too dark. Also after these photos I realise I need to invest in some lipsticks. 

After:

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What my hair looks like after half an hour of curling and careful dishevelling and lots of product. I.e. I will never achieve this look at home.

 

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Blonde highlights and a subtle ombre to tie in all the different colours. I skipped doing an all over colour because I didn’t want to murder my hair.
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I also call all of these photos the “Audrey Hearts Cardigans and T-Shirts” series. 

 

I love it. I feel like I’m a new person. I can’t remember the pretentious kale muncher who wrote that article I read when I was 22 about hair holding in bad energy, but I actually buy into it. It feels like I cut off all the old, bad hair and all the bad memories of the last year or so. I looked in the mirror after the stylist was done and I wanted to cry. I think it all comes back to feeling like yourself, and my hair feels like me again. I’ve spent so long not feeling like myself, and trying to be someone I’m not. It’s taken a verrrry long time and a year of stalled out confusion, but I’m really starting to understand what I really want and need from myself. With a new hair cut and a major closet overhaul (coming soon to a blog near you) Vain and Shallow Audrey is appeased. Now I’m ready to do this. 

Also my greys are mixed in with blonde so “you can’t make an educated guess about my age.” which is pretty good. Also also, I found a salon that feels like home (I gave bear hugs to the girls and was near tears when I left). I had such a happy and positive experience, and that in itself was worth every penny.

In the Name of Lamps

Around 6:30 on Friday night, it started to rain. And it has barely let up since. Besides getting so soaked on Friday night that my Chucks still aren’t dry, it’s been fantastic.

Joel was shooting all weekend, so I thought I would be stuck to the couch, reading and catching up on shitty TV as kept my fingers crossed that our balcony door didn’t leak again. I slept in a bit on Saturday morning, warmed up all my clothes in the dryer for 25 mins (I’m pretty sure this is the closest I’ll ever get to being back in the womb – that 3-5 minutes of intense, soft warmth is so worth it.), made coffee, and burrowed into the couch to re-watch Game of Thrones. Changed my mind to Dance Moms. Changed my mind to Mad Men. Changed my mind to Teen Mom 2. Changed my mind to Downtown Abbey. And finally I was all SILVER STALLION! It took me 30 mins to figure out what to waste my precious weekend and brain cells on, but I finally did it. Also, as you can clearly see that I have no middle ground when it comes to TV – it’s shit, or it’s amazing.

I was looking forward to some serious couch time. I even had a stack of books ready to go. But, as I finished my coffee, and was about half-way through The Silver Stallion, I got hit by a wave of restlessness – which I was hoping wouldn’t happen. I’ve been feeling better in terms of anxiety, but I’ve still had my moments where I feel it edging up to me. And I feel it mostly when I’m sitting around and supposed to be doing nothing. And my go-to coping mechanism is cleaning, deep cleaning, and obsessively rearranging. Call me Monica.

The dishes were done, the counter tops deep scrubbed, fridge cleaned out, rubbish sorted, clothes put away, bathroom cleaned, and I was thiiiiis close to vacuuming and dusting. And then I decided to brave the wind and rain because I really needed a lamp for my bedroom. And a pair of sweat pants that didn’t fall down each time I stood up. With the mantra of Treat Yo’self running through my head, I bundled up and made the trek to the mall.  I was drenched when I got home, with a giant bag of groceries, homewares, and a lamp. But I was pretty happy with the results:

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Yay, I can read in bed now!
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I also picked up a little basket for my books – and I like how the wire almost camouflages the sea of power cords.
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I also bought some fruit and veg baskets, since our fruit and veg drawer is actually a film drawer.

 

I haven’t had a bedside lamp since I moved to Australia. It hasn’t been too high on the priority list because Joel had one, we had over head lighting, and to be honest – I’ve never bought a lamp before, beyond big paper lanterns. Lamps are things that always materialised from family members or roommates and I’ve never had to go out of my way to buy one. It felt strangely adult/First World Problem to consider each lamp and how it’d look in the room. But in the end I went with the cheapest one. And I didn’t expect Joel to care too much about the lamp either – he already had one, and lamps aren’t a big deal to him. But I finally got to hear the words I’ve been longing to hear – “I don’t usually like it when you buy baskets, but that basket is nice. I want one.” And smug Audrey felt exceptionally smug.

This morning I woke up a bit earlier, determined to enjoy the rain from my bed nest – complete with new lamp and an extra blanket from the couch – and half-way through my coffee and Dance Moms, the restless bug hit again. So I bundled up again and faced the elements for another round of lamp and basket shopping. This time I wasn’t as lucky – I was soaked by the time I got to K-Mart, and absolutely drenched from tip to toe when I got home. My umbrella was turned inside out by blowing wind so much that it’s basically broken. And it’s been 11 hours and my boots are still wet. Apparently between Saturday night and Sunday morning the weather changed from rain showers to full on cyclone. But the matching lamps and baskets are pretty awesome, so it was worth it:

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So I might develop pneumonia for the sake of obsessive homewares acquirement, and I’m pretty much fine with that, because I’ve always figured that would happen to me.

Tune in next time, when I risk life and limb for an area rug or pastel, geometrically designed candle holder.

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Oh yes – new sweat pants. Fo’sho.

 

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

So long, March

It’s the last day of March – get out of town!

Part of me feels like this has been the longest three months of my life, and another part of me can’t believe it’ll be April tomorrow.

Our four day weekend was, in a word: fat. And in two words fat, sick. All last week my allergies had been awful – giant sneezes every two minutes, coughing, fuzzy head, sore throat, all the good stuff. And of course, I woke up on the first day of the weekend at 4:30 AM, basically unable to breathe and freaking out over a nightmare I had about an unfinished work project. So I decided to make the most of it – I made tea, swallowed a cocktail of decongestants and allergy meds, and read some Cormac McCarthy.

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Just some light weekend reading.

The rest of the weekend was spent brunching with family, eating some amazing dinners (and maybe some amazing take out pizza), so many hot cross buns, and possibly our weight in chocolate eggs.

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Jessie wanted to help carve the roast beast
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Joel made katsu curry and miso soup – aka my new most favourite meal.

The rest of the weekend was spent lounging in sweatpants. And it was everything I needed it to be and more – lots of reading, lots of movies, lot of figuring out the basics of Illustrator –

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Oh, and I went ruthless with another closet purge – but more on that later. On Sunday night, I finally convinced Joel to give Game of Thrones a shot. So we spent Monday finishing the first season. Now we’re 2/3 of the way through the second season. With courage and determination, I’m sure we can watch the next 3 seasons before April 24.

So yeah. Not a whole lot to report. I didn’t get to skype with anyone back home (see: sick), but I did get in a lot of reflecting and talking to Joel about getting a grip on my nerves and making some kind of balance in my life. Basically, it’s just going to take some hard work for a while to get into a routine that lets me work, lets me write, lets me live, and lets me take care of myself, and lets me do it successfully. But it can be done. Sheeeit. I’m not the first person who’s ever had to multi-task.

There’s currently 3 weeks of laundry to take to the laundromat, a story to revise, a monthly budget to make, work to prepare, writer’s groups to research, and most importantly – three seasons of Game of Thrones to watch.

Bring it, April.

xox