Hello, Dave.

I’ve been actively avoiding anything regarding writing since March February January December 2019. If I have sat down to get some pages down, I struggle. 5 words in, I’ll open solitare (I never win). Then, I’ll write 4 more words. Then, I’ll open some wedding dress tabs (I’m not getting married). Then, it’s time to do something else, like go the grocery store bitterly complaining that I could be home writing and then come home and sit on the bed with the cat on my phone complaining that I should be writing and why don’t I ever have time to just sit and write why is the world against me??

A few weeks ago, we moved from our beautiful, itty bitty, exposed brick, wood beam, golden hour filled one bedroom apartment, and into a beautiful little terrace house with a real kitchen, a back court yard, so many more rooms and ceiling fans and – shock – a second bedroom that we could use as a study.

i.e. I would have a place to write that would be bigger than 130cm x 75cm and that wouldn’t be parked right next to the cat’s litter box.

i.e. I could get a bigger desk. A more supportive chair. I could spread out. I could have privacy. I could have space.

i.e. And I’m not working 10 hour days anymore, so I can come home at 4:45PM and write until Joel comes home, and I don’t bring work home on the weekends anymore, so I can set aside time to write as well.

i.e. I would soon run out of excuses as to why I’m not writing.

Alas, here we are. And here I am, twiddling my thumbs and wondering what excuse I’m going to come up wiht now.

I’m tired. But I’m always tired. I was tired when I wrote my novella. I was tired when I wrote all those plays. I was tired when I was writing like crazy right after college.

I’m busy. LOL. Unless I’m on the clock for my day job, there is usually nothing I’m doing that’s so important it can’t be postponed by like 1 hour so I can work.

I’m scared. Hey – look at that, a legitimate excuse.

About 5 days after we moved in, I came home from work and decided to unpack my desk, and set it up for writing. I had to psyche myself up for it, and promise myself a special treat if I just went and worked in there for a little bit. Like, that’s how little I wanted to be involved in something that would remind me that I’m avoiding what I’m supposed to love like it’s the plague* it’s the dentist. So I set my desk up, took heaps of “BEFORE!” and “AFTER!” pictures to post on Instagram to show how productive and awesome I’m going to be, and then I left.

And I haven’t been back until today, when I took a sick day to rest, and early this morning thought “hey I should try and write a little bit, since I’ll be home by myself.” And I put it off until 4PM.

Writing is like the big black monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey just following me around whenever I have spare time. And I am like the antsy ape standing at the base, angrily tossing bones and sticks at it, trying to shoo it away while at the same time being drawn to it, because I have a feeling it’ll do me some good, and trying to duck and hide from the horrifying guttural cries of the Swedish choral group moaning around me.

Every day after work, when I come upstairs to change (like Mr Rodgers, I change from my ‘hard pants’ into my ‘soft pants’ and from my ‘work sweater’ to my ‘house sweater’ ((which is actually a different work sweater not appearing at work this month)) and emerge from the bedroom in my true form: Potato.

And as I head back downstairs to decompress by staring into the same phone I already stared at for 60mins+ while coming home, I pass my study. There the Monolith stands. Black, so Black. To quote Nigel from Spinal Tap, It can’t get any blacker. If the question was, how much more black could this be, the answer would be: none. I can see into it, I can see into its void. It’s glinty. It looks like it would be soft and cool, like the misting aisles at summer amusement parks.

I want to go in, I want to try and touch it, but instead feel my arm go all the way through it, I want to fall in and spend hours on the computer, straining my eyes doing something I want. I want that all consuming, can’t wait to come back to this manuscript and play around some more feeling. I want to evolve into that starchild floating above the bed, but instead of staring into nothing while contemplating the complete knowledge of everything, I’d be typing on my celestial, embryotic laptop, scaring the shit out of Joel and Pancake.

But I don’t go in. I ignore it. I walk downstairs and think “eh, maybe this weekend.” Because I’m worried that I’ll see the Monolith, I’ll walk into the room, I’ll touch it, and it’s just going to be a dumb, muted black wall and I will fall, not into it, but against it, and stub my toe. And I’ll get pissy and dejected and I won’t want to come back ever again.

And I repeat this. Over and over again. And nothing changes. Not even my level of self-punishment gets worse. And the HILARIOUS part is, I’ve made this kind of entry so many times now, that it’s basically my speciality.

“Oh you’re a writer! What do you write?”

“Excessively self-defeating essays on why I don’t write, and how I’m going to really start writing this week, and oh, I put out a whole series where I say I’m going to put my progress online so people can hold me accountable — but spoiler alert, I don’t stick to it, and no one holds me accountable because I let so much time go by that the time I mention I’m going to write again, they’ve already forgotten that I wrote in the first place!”


So what’s the deal, Potato? Why are you so afraid of possibly becoming au gratin when you hoped you’d become hasselback? You’d still eat au gratin. It’s not the worst thing. Look at you go today, you sat down, completely unsure of what to write, and you’ve come up with a 2001 metaphor that makes you chuckle. That’s a good start!

Note to self: Not every session is going to be successful and on fire; somedays you will literally do nothing. Try not to hate yourself.

Note to self: Saying I will do this by this date means you will NOT do this by this date.

Note to self: Imagine what would happen if you work as hard for yourself as you do for other people.

Note to self: if you keep consistent for 7 days, you can treat yourself to one sweater you don’t need. Oh, you already bought that treat? Ok, well now you have to work it off. Debts and credits, you definitely know those inside and out.

You can do this. You can become the celestial potato that the weird alien/Jesus monolith knows you can be. And now it’s 5:30 – you did it! So now, go do some house stuff before Joel comes home. And feel good about yourself, ok?

Black Lives Matter

I don’t know how to say what I want to say.

I want to acknowledge that I have no perspective from which to write about this. Being born into a white, middle class family with married, sober parents afforded me protection and a luxury I have always taken for granted. I had a car and a cell phone at 16, I rode horses as a hobby, and the only prejudices I have ever faced have been based on my uterus or the fact that my parents weren’t in the 1%. I don’t know what it’s like to be a person of colour. I don’t know the struggle. I don’t know the fear. I don’t know the anguish of hundreds of years of entrenched racism and inherited disadvantages.

But it angers me. And I want to change it.

My grandparents grew up in mid-west America where people of colour weren’t considered people – segregation, KKK, and lynchings were common and accepted. My parents grew up in an America of changing values – they were small children when the last of the Jim Crow laws were finally abolished, but still raised by parents who were adjusting to the changes. My siblings and I grew up in an America that was much more removed from our grandparent’s – but it was still changing. We grew up with our parents and our teachers who urged us to treat everyone with respect and fairness regardless of their skin colour, who taught us about the cruelty of slavery and the one most offensive word we could never say. We grew up seeing everyone as equal – confused as to why racist people were racist, and why racism was still a thing. We learned that some older people – such as our less informed mountain people family members – came from a “different time” and that it was ok to brush it off when these otherwise good older people said inappropriate things. “From a different Time” became a reasonable pass for mild racist behaviour. “That’s just the way they thought back then, but it’s ok because they’re not racist.”

I never thought about the difference between “not racist” and “anti-racist” before last week. I’ve been sitting with what these terms mean, and what it means in terms of my behaviour, how I think, how I act. I say I’m not racist, and I believe I’m not racist – there’s not a part of me that would condemn someone based on the colour of their skin. It’s simply not the way I’m wired. But I haven’t been acting as an anti-racist, and I see that now. We lived in the South for most of my childhood, and racism was prevalent. I knew racism was bad and made me uncomfortable, and I then learned how to not be racist because I saw racism happening. I learned to condemn bad behaviour. But, hand in hand with that, I learned how to rationalise and apologise for “innocent” racism – from others and from myself. I laughed at jokes — It’s ok I laugh at jokes about white people too. I’ve given a wide berth on the sidewalk to someone in a big hooded sweatshirt – It’s ok, I wouldn’t walk close to any man in a big hooded sweatshirt. I’ve listened to elderly family members saying disparaging things and didn’t say anything — It’s ok, he’s from a different time period, and I was too young and scared to say anything.

So yeah. I’m not a racist. But my silence and excuses and inaction have contributed to systemic racism. And I own up to that. I’m a part of the “I hope something changes soon”/”I voted for Obama twice and donated once to the ACLU in 2016 and posted a couple of memes so I’m helping” self-serving pat on the back crowd who sits back, justified in their inaction.

But I don’t want to be that person anymore. Change starts at home, it starts within. And if I want to stop feeling horrified and enraged about what’s happening to people of colour, I have to change how I react when I see racism happening. I have to turn that reaction into action. I have to help where I can – with my votes, with my dollars, with my voice to extinguish racism where I see or hear it. While I can’t make up for hundreds of years of abysmal behaviour, I can do my part to try. This is not ‘virtue signalling.’ This me acknowledging that I haven’t been the best, and I can and want to do better.

My nieces and nephews, and my friend’s children are growing up in a time where Black Americans are empowered and rising up against the systemic racism that has been marginalising them. I feel like this is our time to change our culture for the better. To use our votes to remove racist, hate mongering, fear cultivating egomaniacs from positions of power, and to fight for lawmakers who give Black Americans and people of colour the voice, the chances, and ALL the opportunities that white Americans have.

Black lives matter. Past, present, and future. And I stand with them.

Year of the Aud-Rat

I was balancing my check book (lawl, what an old fashioned sentence – I did grow up balancing an actual check book. But now it means ‘checking my balance on the app’) when I saw that WordPress auto-charged me for my domain and plan renewal. My first thought (well, second, first was getting annoyed at an annual auto-payment that I always forget about and never set reminders for), was OH yeah, I have a blog. So today, I’m blowing off the dust and posting for the first time since November. In fact, when I pulled up my blog, the first thing I saw was a draft started in early December. Wheeee!

And now back to my regularly scheduled lost blog, which was started in December, before I forgot all about it – 

So why has audpodge fallen to the wayside? What the heck have I been up to? The answer is – a lot. But not all of it is exciting. Here’s a clip show summary of what happened this year:

2019 started off with me making a lot of personal goals and feeling really psyched about them. Things moved slowly, sorta de-railed, but eventually took a turn for the better/productive. It all started Feb/March, when the pieces finally came together in therapy and I had a break through. And then, possibly coincidentally, I broke my writer’s block. Both of these events brought about a surge of empowerment, and I felt different. I had a more positive outlook, and I just… kinda liked myself more. I had a few down periods, but I mostly felt like I was getting dangerously close to the realm of having my shit together. After nearly two months of back and forth, we finally figured out how we could afford to visit the States for my sister’s wedding in March, and my best friend Kristin bought tickets to come see me and the two of us were going to New Zealand in Nov/Dec. I was sticking closer to those goals I made in January than I had in years prior, and things were looking up.

On Thanksgiving (which was only 1 month ago but it may as well be 5 years ago), Kristin and I were in Auckland, NZ. We were eating a Thanks-Curry meal in our Air BnB and pledging to ourselves all the different ways we’d make 2020 the Year We Live Our Best Lives (or Reasonable Proxmity To Our Best Lives). Like, learning to live by a budget, making better health decisions, doing hard work to beat bad habits, etc. I got home a week later and decided, Fuck it, Why wait til 2020? I’m going to live my best life starting now.

You know how it’s always easy to imagine living your best life all the time when you’re on vacation and you’re in that golden limbo of being truly decompressed and distracted and free of 9-5 responsibilities? It’s such a good time to be alive.

I definitely spent the rest of December in a sweat pants wearing, Christmas prepping, re-runs watching black hole. But I used the Christmas break from work as a chance to regroup and really make a plan to get my shit together. Then I learned that 2020 is the Year of the Rat in the Chinese Zodiac, and it was the final sign I needed: I had already made a pledge with Kristin, I decided with every atom of my being that I wanted to make a change, and it was literally my year. I had to get my shit together.

So it was slow going, but by the end of the year, I had thinned out my closet to (mostly) the bare essentials, we had scraped together the most savings we’ve ever had, I had 90 pages written in my book, I had taken a trip with one of my best friends doing things I never thought I’d do, and I could look back and say to myself I did put myself out there more. I wasn’t perfect, not by a long shot. But I closed 2019 feeling really fucking good about myself, and that hasn’t happened in a long time.

And so, January rolled around, and the Year of Aud-Rat was primed and ready to commence. First, I saw my GP and got a referral to the exercise physiologist/physical trainer who works in my clinic. Second, I shared my plan with my therapist so she could hold me accountable. Third, I made plans to get a desk so I could have a dedicated writing space. Fourth, I narrowed my goals down to one primary goal each (personal, financial, health, writing).

flash forward to current day: March 9.

It’s been 10 weeks so far, I’ve been kicking a lot of Rat ass. I’ve been working out at least twice a week (one week I made it to 4 times – I was basically Jane Fonda); I’ve been writing almost every day (having the desk has been a major help); I’ve so far only had one shopping binge (half of it was returned); I’m more encouraging with myself and being more honest; I’ve been eating slightly less like a garbage can*, and I’ve been getting out of the house and doing something social at least once a week.

So (if you’re still with me after all this ego-inflation), this is where I’ve been: trying very hard to get my shit together.

We’re going to the States next week for my sister’s wedding, which means sweater weather, trash foods, mom’s cooking, hugs from friends, and a few days in a cabin in the woods for a mini-holiday within holiday. So provided we don’t get shot or infected with Corona virus**, we should return fat, sassy, and tired. I can’t wait.


*One of the smallest changes I’ve made that’s had the biggest impact is instituting a new morning routine. Over the Christmas break, I woke up one morning around 4AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. I decided to sit in the lounge and do some writing. I didn’t want to have coffee without Joel, so I just drank a bottle of cold water instead. Then I ate breakfast. Later when Joel woke up, we had coffee. The next morning, I did the same thing. I noticed when I started the day with cold water, I had a lot more energy throughout the day, my stomach didn’t react violently to coffee, and it made me want to drink more water throughout the day. It became a habit. Now, on most days I wake up early, I drink cold water, eat breakfast, and wait til I get to work to have my first cup of coffee. My stomach is definitely better, I don’t inhale my lunch in 5 seconds, my skin is better, and I don’t feel like a used sponge between 3:30-5:30PM.

So that’s my thing now: drinking water in the morning and eating breakfast. Whoda thunk it. It’s like all those doctors and the surgeon general were right.

**Our grocery store next door has been out of toilet paper, water, eggs, cooking oil, rice, flour, hand sanitizer, and pasta for the past week. Over the weekend someone got a knife pulled on them in the TP aisle over the last package. Seems like an excessive amount of panicking for a country with relatively few confirmed cases and thus far 0 deaths. /shakes head


So, last week sucked.

But that’s ok, sometimes shit sucks. I’ve written it off and I’m moving forward. Last week, I did nothing at all productive. I’m not kidding – absolutely nothing. Continue reading “Catchup.com”

Swift, but not Taylor

I’m not always the swiftest fox in the bunch.

Aw. Shows I miss for $500, Alex.

Sure, I can put furniture together like an engineer; I can get through James Joyce without a struggle; I can make a valid argument of post-modern failure from The Adventures of Pete and Pete; I’m a fantastic speller; I’m very good with cause and effect in all aspects of my life (Note; I am good at acknowledging and understanding that if I do that, then this will happen, even before I do this. I just cannot convince myself not to do this when this is faster/more efficient/etc because I have an impulse control problem); and I understand how to use semi-colons (rule 2: use to separate items in a list). But there are times when I’m just a bag of rocks. And yesterday was a doozy.

First, I woke up, and decided that my 2 days unwashed hair was totes appropriate for an office setting, even though I knew it wasn’t, but I really wanted to sleep for 20 more minutes. #1

Then I saw that it was cloudy. And not just cloudy with sun poking out so you know it won’t rain, but cloudy as in, it will rain in half an hour cloudy. I saw this and decided to wear a skirt, with stockings, and a pair of flats that were basically fabric glued to a thin piece of rubber. #2

Then, I wore a fake leather jacket instead of a rain coat, even though I knew it would rain and I didn’t have an umbrella, because the fake leather jacket matched better. #3

Next, I forgot my lunch, which was bad because I’m scraping pennies together at this point. I realized I forgot my lunch when I was half way down the stairs, but I was too lazy to back to get it. #4

Also, I looked at my boss’ outlook calendar (called a “diary” here) and I said she couldn’t do something because she’d be in Canberra. Except she’d be in Canberra on Wednesday, and I was looking at Tuesday, and she was asking about something she could do today, which was Monday. I did this twice. #5

After, I went to lunch. It was dark and cloudy. Decided I’d be able to make it a block and a half to Subway without an umbrella. Ended up buying an umbrella because there was a torrential downpour when I left Subway. #6

Then, I got back from lunch, put my phone on the desk, and went to the bathroom. Came back from the bathroom and thought “Where is my phone?” I looked all over my desk, didn’t see it. Almost freaked out, and then saw it right in front of me. #7

Later, I was trying to hail a cab, in the rain, and found one coming my way. I signaled him, with all my Carrie Bradshaw fury, and he pulled in and stopped in front of me. I ran out, and opened the door. The woman inside the cab looked HORRIFIED and then I looked HORRIFIED as I said sorry and closed the door and ran back to the sidewalk. I hadn’t even seen that his light wasn’t on. Or that he had gotten into the turn lane, which was right in front of me. Mortified doesn’t even cover it. #8

Then, I decided that the best place to wait for my GoCatch cab was a dark street where no less than 6 methy looking strangers passed me. #9

Next, I was at our friend Aaron’s for a work meeting. Joel sent me a text that there was a storm coming. “Oh it’ll be ok,” I thought. at 8:15, I thought “maybe I should get home, it is coming down harder.” at 8:30, it was hailing and raining so hard we couldn’t hear ourselves talk anymore. “Oh, it’ll clear up soon. Storms don’t last long.” 45 minutes later, it was finally safe to leave. Holy crap. Then, the Anzac bridge was flooded, and it took an hour for us to get over it. I fell asleep in the cab twice in that hour. It was 10PM and $65 later before I got home. #10

Thankfully, that’s where the idiot day stopped. I came home, frozen and drenched, put on sweats (that Joel had ready and waiting for me), ate pasta (that he also made and had waiting for me), and fell into a sleep coma.

Sheeit, man. Some days.