I hate to be one of those ~I’m so busy~ people, but there has been so much going on lately, and quite a lot of it has been bad, too. I’ve had a lot on my plate, but fortunately having less time has given me the motivation I need to get things done whenever I’ve got the energy (mostly on weekends). I tend to feel my worst when I’ve got lots to do and I’m not doing any of it. My go-to way to try and lift my mood is to be productive. It really helps clear my mind, makes me feel accomplished, and of course it gets a few things off my plate too. I always feel like I can handle the big, overwhelming things better when I don’t have a million little things hanging around as well, so even if they’re inconsequential in the grand scheme, they’re still part of the way I cope with things.
The Good Things
I guess the biggest news I have is that I’m working again! It’s currently a temp job so I’m on a contract for a few months, but I’ve already essentially been told that they’d like to hire me when the contract is up and they think I’m doing a great job, which is really nice to hear. It’s not in the music industry, but sometimes you have to choose between love or money. I’ve struggled with that decision before and this time around I’ve chosen money.
A few weeks ago Mark and I drove up to Brisbane for his friend’s wedding. I got to catch up with an old friend who I hadn’t seen for a few years while we were there, so it was really nice to see her. We also stopped off in Newcastle on the way and had breakfast with my best friend, her husband and their baby. Because Brisbane is about 9-10 hours’ drive, I insisted on staying overnight on the way there and back, so we spent a night in Coffs Harbour and another in Port Macquarie. I haven’t really done a proper road trip in Australia since I was much younger (with my parents) so it was a fun experience.
Mark’s sister and her husband have welcomed a new baby girl into the world, so in the span of about two years we’ve become auntie & uncle to four kids (two are his sister’s and two are my brother’s). While the truth is I don’t have all that much interest in babies (and certainly not as they apply to me/my body), I bloody love my nieces and nephews, especially the two that are a little older and can communicate and play and know who we are. It’s so nice to see them grow and learn new words and ways of communicating, and I really enjoy spending time with them.
I didn’t become a coffee drinker until I lived in Canada and was introduced to Tim Hortons. Coffee in Australia is pretty much 100% espresso based, so I’ve been missing drip coffee, which is milder so you can drinker greater quantities of it. While I’m now happy drinking either kind of coffee, they’re really different styles and I only know of a couple of places in Sydney that serve drip coffee. So Mark and I bought a drip coffee machine from Myer (the only one they have, lol) and some beans from Campos. It’s so nice relaxing on a weekend morning with a couple of cups of hot coffee. The best part about filter machines is that you can brew a whole pot in one go, and it’ll sit on the warmer and stay hot so you can top your cup up whenever you feel like it. Because we’re living with my parents at the moment we’ve all been getting into in and they’re enjoying it as much as we are.
Speaking of coffee, I also bought Mark and I Stojo coffee cups. I chose them because I wanted cups big enough for a decent sized serving of filter coffee, and because they’re silicone and not glass they’re less prone to breakage. They’re also collapsible which makes them really easy to throw in your bag and carry around all day. Mark doesn’t love his as much as I do - he think the silicone smells funny but I personally don’t notice anything.
A while ago Anushka Rees, author of A Curated Closet sent out an email saying she was doing research for her upcoming book, Beyond Beautiful. She linked to a survey which I filled out, and a couple of my responses ended up in the book, so her team reached out and sent me a copy. I haven’t gotten around to reading it just yet, but I really enjoyed A Curated Closet and learned a lot from it. I really don’t go for self-help style books at all, but I’m looking forward to reading this one.
Long story short, I was given a free hand-me-down pair of Beats wireless headphones recently, and they have made my commute to work a lot more pleasant. I’ve been meaning to research wireless over-ear headphones for at least a few years, and eventually buy a pair, it’s just not something I’d gotten around to doing/investing in. So I got very lucky and I’m really happy with them!
I also want to give a little shout out to Point Blank Candles. One of my favourite people in Canada who I used to work with makes candles on the side with her sister. I bought a couple from her before we moved back to Sydney and I packed them in the boxes that we shipped home. I don’t know about international shipping, but if you’re Canada-based and you’re into candles they have some awesome scents. My friend’s sister designs the labels and the candles are hand-poured in Toronto.
Possibly the most boring thing I could possibly mention, but I’ve found the perfect low socks. If you know the struggle of finding socks that are hidden when you’re wearing sneakers (I almost exclusively wear Vans these days except for work), and that don’t slip down throughout the day, then search no more. These ones from Muji are perfect and will make your sock dreams come true.
The Bad Things
There is definitely a case for opening up about the less pleasant parts of life. We all go through rough times and it’s often beneficial to get things off your chest, not to mention that sharing your experiences can also be helpful for others, because we can’t pretend life is perfect all the time. However, a lot of what has been going on has been on a pretty personal level, so it’s not the sort of thing I can talk about online. There have been issues with my health, and the health of people in my and Mark’s family. I have also been to two funerals recently, one of which was very sad but not unexpected. The other could not have come as more of a shock. It’s really not my place to talk about what happened, but suffice to say it’s taken quite a lot of time to process and it’s something I don’t know if I’ll ever fully get my head around. It has been absolutely heartbreaking and I frankly don’t have the words to describe the impact it has had on my family and me.
One bad thing I can talk about is that Mark’s and my car broke down and we’ve been quoted $6,000 to fix it. I mean, we’re very lucky that we’re in a position that we can afford to fix it without borrowing money, and that we’re both (newly) employed and it won’t wipe us out financially. But it’s still shitty and frustrating because we’d also like to renovate the bathroom in my place before we move in and this is money we would have much preferred to spend elsewhere. There’s never a good time for something like this to happen, and we haven’t decided what we’re going to do just yet. We may try to find another mechanic who might be able to do the work for less, but all in all it’s been pretty unpleasant.
While definitely not as bad as the other things that have been going on, truthfully I have been feeling really homesick for Toronto lately. This weekend I had a big cry because I miss the life we left behind. It’s silly because we have so much in Sydney, our family and so many of our friends are here, and life isn’t bad by any stretch. There is so much to look forward to, and I love it here just as much as Toronto. It’s just hard knowing we moved away and there’s no going back (at least not permanently). I guess if you’ve ever lived in a different city and loved it you’ll understand what I’m going through. It’s not exactly a complicated or unique issue, we had two lives and had to choose between them. I’m just really feeling it at the moment and it hurts.
Beyonce - Lemonade
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Drake - If You're Reading This It's Too Late
Nirvana - Nevermind, In Utero
Mango - bLAck pARty
The National - I Am Easy To Find
The Beaches - The Professional EP
ScHoolboy Q - CrasH Talk
I haven’t been reading as much as usual the last couple of months. Obviously I haven’t had a job, haven’t been commuting and haven’t had much of a routine, but now that I’m working again I’ve been sinking my teeth back into some books. Most of my books are in storage at Mark’s parents’ place and I haven’t really had a chance to go through them and pick some out to read, so I’m just working with what I have available to me at the moment as I haven’t been buying too much. I finally got around to reading Go by John Clellon Holmes which is a very well known Beat Generation book by a writer who isn’t often mentioned as being part of that group, although he definitely was. It was published before On The Road but a lot of the content takes places around that time, but obviously from John’s perspective. I don’t think his writing is particularly exceptional, but as a piece of history it’s super interesting, especially to me because I’m a huge nerd about that group of people and their role in post-modern literature. I also read Gasoline by Gregory Corso, another key Beat figure. It’s just a short book of poetry but it’s one of his most well known ones. I didn’t exactly deeply connect with it, but I do plan to eventually read more of his work.
I haven’t actually finished it yet, but I’ve been reading Freedom by Johnathan Franzen after loving The Corrections last year, and I bloody love it! I’ll have to give my full thoughts in another post, but I’m about two thirds of the way through and I’m so excited to keep reading. Many of the characters aren’t particularly likable, but they’re very real, flawed people. He dives so deeply into what makes his characters tick and paints a really interesting portrait of the human condition. I’ve bought a few more of his books recently and he’s fast becoming one of my favourite writers.