Catchup.com – September

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. Continue reading “Catchup.com – September”

Catchup.com

Once upon a more productive time, I used to do a catch up blog every month. Ah, the days when life was simple, unencumbered by the wild throws of admiration and attention that sudden success and fame brings. Continue reading “Catchup.com”

Audrey vs. Australia: Chinese Garden of Friendship

As I mentioned in my last post – I’m doing Australia in a series of posts called Audrey vs. Australia. LOOK OUT! And my first stop was basically in my backyard – a 15 minute walk from our apartment took us to the gorgeous Chinese Garden of Friendship, right in Darling Harbour.

I’ve walked past the Garden more times than I count, but Saturday marked the first time I’ve been behind the walls. It’s $6 for adult admission, and it’s $6 of beauty, zen, and most importantly, big ass, majestic lizards. The garden is filled with peaceful rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and lagoons; is drowning in greenery; is glowing with flowers and lanterns; and dotted with intricately designed pavilions and secret pathways where you can have a sit or explore. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of traditional zen and bustling city, and I had a blast. Will definitely add “Chinese Garden of Zen” to my future dream house plans.

It was a bit cold, and too late into autumn to see the garden in bloom, but it was still absolutely lovely. I can only imagine how lush and beautiful it looks in spring and summer. Or when it’s raining. Ah man.

Let’s take a tour:

 

 

 

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The majestic Bin Chicken beckons you in
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The entrance to the garden – a fun bonsai farm.
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views through the pavilion
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I love red lanterns
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walk way of zen
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lagoon of zen
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Actual Photographer
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I am a rat. Zodia-graphically. The Garden had all the Chinese zodiac animals hidden around the place. I almost found them all.

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lily pads and sculptures and willow trees, oh my!
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waterfall!
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A stranger offered to take our photo. And she didn’t steal my camera. Friendship forever.
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Love Graffiti Bamboo Forest
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1 of 1 billion flower pics
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more zodiac sculptures
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2 of 1 billion flower pics
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SUN BERRIES
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I want this print on a dress.
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top of the falls, and the Rising Jade Pavilion
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I love this reflection
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It’s my faaavourite
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Fake Photographer
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raise the red lantern
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Rising Jade, for my mom – she had jade plants all around the house when I was growing up.
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3 of 1 billion flower pics
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my lily pads and sculptures and lagoon (featuring casino construction in the background)
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4 of 1 billion flower pics
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Twin Pavilion – named for it’s joined roof and benches
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There were SO MANY lizards. I took about 700 photos. In fact, this blog was almost called “Chinese Garden of LIZARDS”
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fantastic details inside the Twin Pavilion. I’m buying all the red lanterns this year.
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East views
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Willow trees = best trees
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baby falls

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I love a good stone stair case – and the Gardens did not disappoint. It’s basically the closest I’ll get to rock climbing.
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I also love this handsome face
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View of the aptly named Grand Pavilion
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More gorgeous details in the Grand Pavilion
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dat ceiling lantern
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Views to the west
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the red-pink flowers were the best
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Forest garden
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RABBIT
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LIZARD (seriously – I had to restrain myself from only posting lizard photos. Be thankful I stopped myself at 2.)
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no trolls were found
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babble babble
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more bamboo islands
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views to the west
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DUCK
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FEEEEESH – we got there right after feeding time, and it was literally a frenzy. These suckers were huuuuge.
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exit with zen
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good bye!

I had a pretty stressful Friday, which bled into Saturday morning, and I was surprised that wandering around the Garden all morning absolutely took my mind off of it. As we left, I felt happy, relaxed, and like I wanted to go right back in. I’m not one who is normally fixed by zen gardens, and I didn’t even realise it, but it actually worked. Triumph!

+10, would definitely venture again.

AudPodge vs. Australia

The building I work in has a balcony with a view of the ANZAC Bridge, and yesterday I spent my lunch break up there. It was one of those days where the sun was perfect, the humidity was perfect, the temperature was perfect, the breeze was perfect, and the pollen count was awful (can’t win ’em all). Continue reading “AudPodge vs. Australia”

Catchup.com – January

Forgive the radio silence around here – I’ve been trapped in a time warp where the only hours I’m conscious are between 8AM-5PM. And before I know it, I’m waking up to get ready for work again.  I blame the 800% humidity and 37*C temperatures and my debilitating cramps and two relatively stressful weeks at work. So in all honesty, blogging got lost in the cray. Hoo-ray. Continue reading “Catchup.com – January”

Sunrise Adventures

This morning, Joel and I woke up at 4:45 (what) to catch the sunrise at Bronte Beach. The forecast had been telling us all week that it would rain on Saturday morning, and I’ve kept my fingers crossed for so long that I basically have arthritis now. But, crippled granny hands are worth it, because the sunrise was be-a-u-ti-ful.

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There are few things I love more than seeing a sunrise or sunset over the water. Seeing that golden orb sizzle along the horizon fills me with… I’m not sure. It’s a combination of inspiration and awe. Add in the smell of sea salt, the sound of crashing waves, and the cold breeze coming off the water, and it makes me feel so fantastic.

The beaches in Australia are just next level. The water is clear and the most perfect shade of aqua-marine, and the sand is almost white, and most of them have these craggy cliffs that catch and pool water and it’s like walking on another world. And when the rose and gold tones of the sunrise reflect off the water – it’s un real. I like Bronte because there’s a little rock pool to the side that’s very calm, and it’s where whusses like me can get in and splash around and pretend to be cool. Ok ok, insert anecdotes about sharks and dangerous Australian sea creatures here and everything – but you can’t deny just how drop dead gorgeous it all is.

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Yesssss
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The colours – trust me, I’ve only slightly edited this photo.
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Prawns! In a tidal pool. There were also tiny fish and about 600 crabs. I think I took more photos of crabs than I did of the sunrise.
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While I was spazzing over crabs and prawns, Joel was Working Man
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ohhh clouds…
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Intrepid Explorer Man
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I tried to follow Joel down the rocks, but this crab army prevented my crossing. And maybe because my sneakers kept slipping against the rocks. I am the most graceful.
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beep beep, I am a ship.
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those waves…
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Corny and no fucks given. 
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lurrrrrrve

I’m so happy we dragged ourselves out of bed and made the trip happen. It was a beautiful way to wrap up a particularly less than stellar month.

It’s very well known that I didn’t grow up at the beach or near the shore, and I don’t always keep my cool in the beach, but I love being at the beach. It’s very centering, very calming. I think being on the edge of the world makes my other problems feel very small. And being in the presence of such an incredible force helps me put things into perspective… just watching everything wash away with the waves is a good reminder that “this too shall pass.” Maybe it’s the visceral experience – sights, smells, textures, emotions – but the beach is one of the few places where I can go and my mind just clears. I could sit at the beach and do nothing for hours. And it feels good, man.

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Thanks for a good morning, universe.

xox

April Thus Far

So who is waiting to wrap a big fat DONE ribbon around April, quietly put it on the shelf and just pretend it didn’t happen? *raises hand*

I can’t remember a month where I’ve felt more – fragile – I guess is the best word. Hence the sporadic appearances here and everywhere else in the social spectrum. It’s been a tough few weeks. I’ve been on the receiving end of more pep talks than I have in years. But I’m happy to say that being more proactive and attentive to what I need has been helping immensely, so I’m just taking it day by day.

BUT – April hasn’t been all bad! For one thing, we watched so many episodes of My 600lb Life that I think I’m *thiiiiiis* close to cutting out all processed foods from my life. Joel has become Head Chef around here and we’ve never eaten better. I’ve been able to skype/Facetime/phone date with many of my nearest and dearest. And my most favourite person had a birthday. We celebrated with a doughnut cake, Game of Thrones, and a night with friends… and a resulting Friday night of pizza and sweatpants recovery.

Annnnd we just had an awesome three day weekend of good food, good movies (ok, and some terrible movies), and relax times (and let’s face it, obsessive cleaning and rearranging #stressed) in honour of ANZAC Day.

 

So here’s to the last few days of April – fingers crossed that it all starts to shape up.

xoxo

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

Biennale

Biennale! Bee-n-olly. Or, as I can only remember it – Beabolly, Banomamolly, or Bananamaalla. Or, big ass art fair spanning across Sydney that happens every two years.

It’s a huge to-do, with events happening at different venues all over the city. Since I successfully missed Sculpture by the Sea each year that I’ve been here, I was hoping I’d make it to at least one venue for Biennale. And yesterday, we met up with our friends Kat and Matt for a tour of Cockatoo Island (two birds/one stone, it’s also my goal to visit all the “animal” islands around Sydney – there’s also Goat Island and Shark Island, and I will visit them.)

Among other things, Cockatoo Island was a holding area for prisoners in the 1800’s, and then a pretty major shipbuilding and dockyard facility, until 2001 when it was closed down and most of it demolished. But now it’s a heritage site, and most of its buildings have been re-opened as museums of Sydney’s industrial history.

We left the house prepared for rain, as the weather report suggested. However, 10 minutes before we got on the ferry, the rain let out, and the brightest sun came out and stayed out. Needless to say, we are both sunburned now.

Mostly the installations left me kinda meh, and I found myself more interested in the buildings and the machinery that’s been left behind than the actual installations (sometimes I am 100% my father’s daughter). But we had a really good time being out and about, seeing some amazing drawings and mind blowing texture work, some really off the wall pretentious video installations, and listening to self-important people explain art to the people they were with. Here you go, enjoy a smattering of photos!

 

 

I’ll be off putting aloe on my sizzled forehead.

xox

Catchup.com – 2016

Helllllllllo, internet!

I’ll never take unmetered internet for granted ever again. On Saturday I had a two hour phone chat with my parents, and it was glorious.

It’s been a while, huh? Yes. So let’s catch up!

Moving – We moved on the hottest weekend in January, and I had an estimated 442 panic attacks that weekend. I was nervous about what Joel would think of the place, whether our stuff would fit, if the removalists would show, if they’d steal our stuff, whether I’d love it as much as I remembered… it’s always a risk when you move, but the risk is a bit bigger when you and your partner have signed a lease and you’re the only one who’s seen it.

But, all’s well that ends well. This is possibly the most organised move I’ve ever had. For the first time in my life I woke up on moving day with only the “can’t be packed until last minute” items left unpacked. Joel was a little skeptical of the size when we first walked in, and I’ll admit, I was too. With no furniture in it, the place looked even smaller than it is. Our removalists were late (expected) and manipulated me into accepting being overcharged by $100 (also expected – and after some rationalising I’m ok with this. Well, mostly. It was a hot day and we were their 3rd move and we had stairs, but they weren’t without their faults and – let’s not get into it).

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At the end of the day though, as we ate pizza on the floor, we were happy. And a month later, we still are. It’s a different energy and a different feeling than in Balmain. And since it’s an old building, full of quirks too. Our water temperature is Hoth or Center of the Sun, the toilet runs if you don’t release the flush at a precise moment, most of our windows either don’t open or don’t stay open without spacers, our bedroom balcony door leaks when it rains, there’s a ghost living in our shower, we hear our neighbors above us when they shuffle their feet – the usual.

 

We haven’t replaced our washer yet (I learned the “measure important spaces” rule the hard way), but there’s a laundromat not too far from where we live, and it’s never crowded. And to dry off with a dryer dried towel after not having dryer dried towels for a year and a half was almost a religious experience.

 

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Time to get real (i.e. shallow) I’ve always wanted to live in a historic building, in a place with high ceilings, large windows, exposed brick and pipes, beams, and track lighting. The large covered patio and bedroom Juliet balcony are just bonuses.

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This is turning really smug, really quick, and I’m sorry – but not sorry. It’s important to love the place you call home. And I really feel like I can call this place home.

Ikea – We decided to splurge a bit at Ikea for a new couch and a new bookshelf. I love Ikea. Joel does not. But we braved the Scandanavian wonderland on a Saturday morning and emerged with a new couch, bookshelf, lamp, and night stands.

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Before!
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During: box 1 of 5

 

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AHH!
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After! Wheee

A weekend devoted to Ikea shopping and Ikea construction and reorganising and rearranging? My inner Monica Gellar was all yesssssssss.

Work – So. Busy. Since mid-January. Re-launching a website and releasing a new product line at the same time = many long days/nights, weekend time working, migraines and actually – insane amounts of excitement. I have a really great job with amazing people. After all, I’ve pulled the same long hours in the same high stress environment in different jobs and have felt completely alone.

I’ve been with this team for 4 months, and most days, it feels like I’ve been there for years. Other days, it feels like I’ve only been there for 4 months. It’s frustrating to be a Noob, but I’m learning more every day. Getting more knowledgable about advertising and marketing (which will shock college Audrey – who transferred schools because the communications program she started to major in was going to focus on marketing), design, photography, and how to run a small business. My boss is inspiring, and the company I work for makes so proud. It’s a good fit.

Summer – we were fortunate enough to have  really mild start to the summer, but now we’re making up for lost time. Most of February has been a damp, humid mess. But to be honest, I’ve been so distracted with work that I haven’t really noticed. And since we moved, my twice a day showers haven’t been needed quite as often. But still – I’m so glad for cooler temps coming in about a month.

oh, and the cold weather that will hopefully kill off the cockroaches that I now see almost every day. /shudder

And what else…

Actually – that about catches you up.

Since January, it’s all been planning to move or moving or unpacking or not having enough internet or working long hours and burning through our expendable energy. I wore myself out to the point where a greasy cookie and a few drinks of sour milk in my coffee sent me into a six hour bout of food poisoning. I think I’ve definitely learned over the past few months that I can’t run on empty anymore. That whole “work/life” balance thing that my boss keeps insisting I implement might be a good idea.

But now, it’s the first day of March. It’s the first day of Autumn. The dust is settling, and I’m looking forward to the end of summer (i.e. humidity) – even though I’ve done nothing I thought I would this summer. Woooops

So… what’s everyone been up to?