Christmas! v. 2017

Ohhh, Christmas holiday. It didn’t get here one second soon enough. With Joel working long hours and me working long hours ALL FREAKIN MONTH, we’ve both been counting down to getting a few days of sanity back.  Continue reading “Christmas! v. 2017”


This weekend went by in a blink.

First, Friday night was filled with making about 100 sub-par cookies, catching up on True Detective and decompressing Joel from a hard day at work. Then, we were in bed by like, 9:05 PM because we’re completely out of control (and I had to be awake at 5 AM to call and check on my finger prints). I tried to go to sleep but ended up staying awake til 2 AM falling down a Google hole that started with researching day planners and ended with facts about Princess Diana. Like I said, out of control.

On Saturday morning, Joel and I were at the post office at 9:30 AM sharp to collect the boxes of presents that my parents sent us. To be clear on how awesome my parents are, sometime in May, I asked my mom if she could send me my leather jacket and my favorite pair of boots. A couple weeks later, I watched heaps of Downton Abbey and I asked if I could have one of her silver trays for when Joel and I have tea. Annnnd I might have asked for Swiss Miss and some Lipton Iced Tea bags and some yankee candles. All of that could have fit in a small box, and I would have been really excited. BUT, they decided to spoil the shit out of us instead. Because they’re wonderful. Also, because they’d been saving stuff to send me since… Easter? (judging by the Reester Eggs and Easter candy). They’re awesome.

The post office staff thinks we have triplets.
Counter top 1 of 2: After obsessively sorting everything into categories… lotions and cupcake cups and lobster rammekens and dino sippy cups and clothes and towels and candy and aprons and wall decals and and and and…
so many snacks. And even microwave bacon! haha. It’s been over a year since I’d had flavored coffee creamer. I had a cup with hazelnut and it was delicious and my stomach promptly exploded from all the sugar. And I remembered why I stopped putting them in my coffee.  Ah, memories.
blog and you shall receive! My mom’s best friend sent me socks (and made sure my boxes made it to the post office!)
Someone has never had Girl Scout cookies before. Someone is in for a treat.
I was wondering why they stuffed a Mr. Bill doll into the box. But, as my mom explained, our dogs Lucy and Ellie and my cat Bill Purray all played with this guy. And it’s to remind me of my fur babies and be my “Bill until you can see your Bill again.” awww
Say hello to my new favorite apron. And my super sweet hair. What even is that?

Some of the big gems they sent:

these fantastic day of the week towels. Mom’s friend did all the embroidery and edging, and they’re so campy and amazing.
yay! now we can be super high class when we drink pink milk and eat cookies.
Some of my favorite antique linen! On the left: vanity runners, and sailor place mats, and on the right: Mexican pillow cases. So good.

It was overwhelming to open everything and to feel all the feels. And it’s also nice to look at the silver tray and think of my mom. Thanks again!!

Later on Saturday, we got to spend quality time with the Family Nye, which is Joel’s friend Craig, his wife, Jen, and their little ones Henri and Amelie. Craig and Jen are hilarious and chill, and their kids are so cute they made my ovaries explode.

Little Henri is becoming quite the photographer. He spent the whole afternoon teaching me how to turn the camera on and off, how to turn the flash off, and how to review his photos. I was dying from cute.

We saw a good exhibit on the banality of suburban life at the Museum of Contemporary Art:

the cover of our spoken word album.
meee tooo

IMG_4569 IMG_4557

And then we ate delicious burgers and Henri and I shared secrets about how we like to eat snacks when everyone’s asleep. He’s my new best friend.

It was a big, full, day, and OH I FORGOT THE BEST PART – before we met up with the Nyes, I relived some Oktoberfest action with Joel:

mmm German sausage, grilled onion, sauerkraut action
mmm German sausage, grilled onion, sauerkraut action

I got half the mustard and bbq sauce on me, instead of in me, but it was worth it.

Sunday morning, Joel went back to work, and I had a little writing assignment. Then I was super domestic, cleaning house, doing laundry, going grocery shopping. And then I passed a display of hair dye on sale, and was very suddenly sick of looking at my mousey brown hair with all my greys coming through.


I’d been contemplating never dying it again, instead wanting to just take the large chunk of grey that I have (it’s totally a Rouge streak) and making it into one completely bleached out stripe so you couldn’t see the grey/white roots. But that takes time and money that I don’t have. Going red took an hour total, cost $8, I didn’t have to get dressed, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. It’s been YEARS since I’ve gone full red, and I’m wondering why I ever stopped.

IMG_4605 I probably stopped because by this time next week, it’ll be 3 shades lighter. Womp womp. But, on the achievement side of things, it was the first time dying my hair without dying every surface in the bathroom.

I also bought flowers, because Joel had mentioned wanting to shoot tulips, and while tulips don’t do much for me, these were pretty and I thought they’d make a nice prezzie for him.

I read a tip online that said 1 teaspoon sugar + 2 drops liquid bleach diluted in a gallon of water makes good plant food. That sounds terrible to me.

Before I knew it, Joel was home, dinner was made, lunch meal was made, and then it was time for bed. I was back to work this morning feeling like I’d just left.

But this weekend is a three day weekend. And it’s my birthday soon. And we’re going to eat burgers. And we’re going on a bush walk. And maybe we’ll make some punch drunk chicken. And maybe some cake. Or doughnuts. I’d settle for a plate of stacked glazed donuts with some birthday candles stuck in them. mmmm.


Happy Happy

Happy December, errrrybody!

We’re starting the month off on a good note down under. Bulleted for your convenience*

  • I got a job last week. YES! It’s a three month gig, possibly six months, and possibly longer. I’m well suited for it, my team is pretty cool, there’s a wellness room with couches if we need to take a nap, and I have the best view, ever, right from my desk.

    It’s also one of the few jobs I’ve had where I feel like the company I’m working for is actually doing something. It’s good feeling, so I’m crossing every crossable appendage that this job works out long term… or at the very least, the 6 month long term. Not only is it nice to have steady income, it’s also really nice to be in the air conditioning during the hottest times of the day. Which is basically the best part of being employed.

  • our lease was renewed! Not that we had any real reason to believe it wouldn’t, but the building went under new management around the same time someone got evicted and two other neighbors moved out. So we weren’t sure if they were picking people off. Turns out they aren’t. And now we both feel like we can really settle in. Which means we finally get to put pictures on the walls! Huzzahhhh!
  • we bought a tiny tree, and had our Second Annual 40 oz Tree Party. Last year, Joel came to visit me for the month of November. One day while I was at work, Joel bought an awesome tree for my place. I was incredibly touched. So we got some 40’s, made Pigs in a Blanket, put on Star Wars, and had a Tree Party. It was a fantastic night.

    This year, we changed it up slightly. For one, you can’t get 40 oz beers here, and secondly, it was the day after Thanksgiving and we were still reeling from Wednesgiving, so we had tall glasses of Pink Milk instead. /wild. And they don’t sell rolled crescent dough, so we used real pastry dough. They ended up so rich, we could barely finish them.


    And we watched Crocodile Dundee.

    #wheninRome (when in Sydney?)
    Tree Master
    Tree Master


    hooray! We'll get a bigger tree when we move to a bigger place. For now, this TECHNICOLOR TINY TREE
    hooray! We’ll get a bigger tree when we move to a bigger place. For now, this TECHNICOLOR TINY TREE
    panda tree
    panda tree
    tree after dark
    tree after dark

    It was fun to relive our little tradition. And it’s definitely feeling a lot like Christmas around here.

  • the last of my Stuff to Australia arrived! Granted there’s still 1/3 of a storage room with the rest of my life still in the States, this is the last of the homey stuff I couldn’t live without.
    Thankfully, I only had to schlep this 30 lb box 1 block because we live next door to the post office.
    Thankfully, I only had to schlep this 30 lb box 1 block because we live next door to the post office.
    Pumpkin flavored everything #america
    Pumpkin flavored everything #america. Also, that’s a sachet of tea, not pot.
    I brought out this canister and saw that it was oatmeal, and thought, 'aw, that's... cool."
    I brought out this canister and saw that it was oatmeal, and thought, ‘aw, that’s… cool?”
    And then I opened it and it was FULL OF REESE PUMPKINS. so much better than oatmeal.
    And then I opened it and it was FULL OF REESE PUMPKINS. which is so much better than oatmeal.
    finally, I can catch up with my nearest and dearest.
    finally, I can catch up with my nearest and dearest.
    a smattering of books!
    a smattering of books!
    I can't remember *not* sleeping with this blanket. It's been in our family for just about ever. My dad used to take it with him on Army field expeditions, and it's been on my bed for as long as I can remember. I about cried when I saw it.
    I can’t remember *not* sleeping with this blanket. It’s been in our family for just about ever. My dad used to take it with him on Army field expeditions, and it’s been on my bed for as long as I can remember. I about cried when I saw it.

    So much cinnamon toast crunch. Merry Christmas, Joel!
    So much cinnamon toast crunch. Merry Christmas, Joel!
  • Summer time! Sydney summer is a lot like summer in Florida. It’s humid from the moment the sun rises to the moment the afternoon thunderstorm hits. And watching the storms roll in from my desk is pretty choice.
    All I do now is take photos of clouds and instagram them.

Tune in tomorrow! Unless I’m dead from a lethal combination of watching Home Alone + PMS + Reese pumpkins.


I have a mild case of anxiety. I’m no stranger to black out panic attacks, or staying awake at night, unable to breathe or keep my eyes closed, feeling my brain move at warp speed, trying to categorize a whirlwind of thoughts. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s awful.

Like it was this week.

Last Friday, I finished up my temp role at the cosmetics company, and it was as stressful as I worried it would be. For the first time in years, I found myself taking half a xanax before I left for work and the other half after lunch. When I walked out of the building on Friday, I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about the company anymore. My contract was over, and I was done. I was a temp. I got a bag full of make up samples, and I was on my way. But, I didn’t have a proper hand-off with the woman I was covering, and my unfinished work gnawed at me all weekend. I went to bed on Sunday feeling uneasy, like I was going to get in trouble over something. And I woke up on Monday with even more knots in my stomach. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t sit still. All I could do was fret over nothing.

Hyperbole and a Half is my spirit animal.

When 9 AM rolled around, I walked down to the post office to get a package that was waiting for me. My head was too clouded to think that it could have been anything other than tampons (last week I got boxes of tampons from two different people, long story). But it turned out to be a care package from my sister–a fantastically amazing box filled with some of my favorite America things that I can’t find here.

It's basically my American life. All that's missing is Canada Dry Diet Ginger Ale. /classy
It’s basically my American life. All that’s missing is Canada Dry Diet Ginger Ale. /classy

It was such a touching gesture, and I definitely teared up while unpacking it. And it was right in the middle of that nice moment when I got a text from my recruiting agent, asking me to go back to the cosmetics company for a few days to help out. All I could think was that I had messed something up, that I was going to get yelled at, that I screwed up launch campaigns and print ads and the building caught fire after I touched the microwave last. And then it happened: anxiety meltdown. I sat on my bed and cried. All I could think was I don’t want to go back and stop being a fucking baby. I took a xanax. I whinged to my friends in the States. I started frantically cleaning the apartment– when I get anxious, I turn into Monica Gellar.

I spent the rest of the morning trying to vacuum and scrub away my worried feelings, but I was wound up in such a tight ball of First World Problems that it didn’t seem possible. Anxiety is like that, though. The tiny snowball that turns into an avalanche of suck and catastrophe.

Joel texted me later in the afternoon that the BIG BOX from my parents finally arrived. I had it sent to his work, since I haven’t been off during the week to sign for packages, and getting to the post office when it’s open is a pain in the ass. I’d been looking forward to getting the BIG BOX since the day I landed. It was a giant box that my mom’s best friend Sue offered to ship for me as a going away present. Shit yeah! I had filled it with winter clothes and shoes and photos and things to make me feel at home. I dropped everything and ran to the bus. I needed the distraction. I needed my stuff.


Well, the box was bigger than I remembered. It barely fit in the Ikea bag I used to bring it home. And the 2.5 block walk from Joel’s shop to the bus stop was a million times longer now that I was lugging a 500 lb box with me. I had to stop every 20 seconds to rest. I was overheated and spaghetti armed by the time I got home. But it was worth it.

This is what the box looks like when I forget to check my camera settings. /oops
This is what the box looks like when I forget to check my camera settings. It’s a good thing I only took one photo and didn’t look at it for 4 days. /oops

So much stuff! It felt good to unpack it all, to bring my old home into my new home. And even though I was wandering in and out of bad patches all day, I could look at the boxes and feel better. Mom always says that good mail comes when you need it the most, and I definitely needed it on Monday.

Joel came home from work, and I’ve never been happier to see him. We made dinner, watched a thunderstorm, and he helped me talk through what was going on.

Anxiety attacks aren’t fun. And work can be hard. Both can make you feel small and embarrassed. But my people are awesome. The boxes reminded me that I have a world of people who care about me, who are thinking of me. And I care and think about them, too. And it was nice. It was a nice reminder that things are good, even when they suck.

My friend Kate made this. She's a badass.
My friend Kate made this. She’s a badass.

And I got my jackets and scarves, just in time for the rainy season.


P.s. I went back to work, and it turns out I didn’t ruin everything or set the building on fire. Nice!