... when you're constantly on the move, few things remain unchanged.

those days are gone

Friday, March 28, 2014


It's with a heavy heart that I accept a sad truth this week: I'll never be able to wear my super hot, super short denim shorts that defined my late teens and early 20s again.  Those days are gone.  Even if I manage to somehow shrink my hips enough to squeeze these shorts over them once more, there's that niggling realization that I'm on the wrong side of 20 so they may no longer be an appropriate dress choice.  And I'm really bummed about that.

I'm bummed because I'm not sure I'm ready to accept my age or what never fitting these shorts again means. I don't think I'm ready to give up on the chance to relive those super fun, super wild, out-of-control, impulsive years that I wore them, when nothing made sense and everything was a spontaneous ride with no pre-planned destination.  The years I spent in these shorts were those of growth: that musically took me from angry rock to upbeat electronics and then mellow indie and reflective ballads; and emotionally from throwing my heart at the first attractive guy that liked me to locking that same heart away in a chest bound by chains so tight, Houdini himself would have struggled to open it.

I wore these shorts as I transitioned from wine spritzers to beer, to real wine and then, when I could finally afford to thanks to a real job, cocktails.  Through the years of camping and bonfires, when my friends and I would laugh at retold stories or get lost in deep meditation as one of them strummed a guitar.  The years of blissful sunny days, cruising with the windows down and hair billowing out, screaming Pussycat Dolls songs the top of our lungs.  The carefree summers when days were spent sun-baking and nights were danced away because we had nowhere to be in the morning.  The years I wore these shorts were the years of karaoke sing-offs, public displays of affection, nudie runs, pranks and complete and unabashed freedom ... Though at times I cried in these tiny shorts, I always took comfort in knowing that it was my decisions that caused those tears to flow and that I alone would fix the issues.  Or perhaps with the help of my friends who were just as reckless and whose shorts were just as short.

Those years really are gone.  That part of my life ended.  I smile sadly to myself now here in this office in a still foreign city, one dog asleep on my lap - the other on the floor beside me, a pile of bills I paid yesterday that I need to stamp and file and a clock creeping onward to lunchtime when I will need make a meal for Will and finish the final load of washing before the weekend.  It seems strange to think that those tumultuous years lead to this place of stability and peace.  And that I spent my morning reliving them because of a ritual as mundane as packing away my winter clothes and replacing them with summer ones.

This ritual is the usual cause of my donation piles, when I stumble across those 'what was I thinking?' fashion choices from the previous season that will never be cool again and ruthlessly cull them from my wardrobe. When I came across these tiny little shorts (that have long since been nothing more than a weight motivating tool) they that acted like a portkey (Harry Potter reference) to my past and had me sitting on the floor in my wardrobe watching a reel of memories that included places, faces and many other 'what was I thinking' scenarios that I wish I could cull from my life.  The biggest is my own self-perception.  What was I thinking calling myself fat or being self-conscious about anything?  No matter what bodily issues I convinced myself of having back then, these days I'm a mess in comparison.  My stomach is no longer THAT toned and I for sure don't look THAT great in a bikini.  Why couldn't I see how amazing my legs were until these shorts no longer fit?  I wasted time feeling bad while wearing these tiny shorts!  Shorts I would give anything to simply zip up again!

Now, here in this office and place of life, I should know better than to waste more time feeling bad about shorts not fitting.  My waist may be 28 inches instead of 25 but someday that same waist might be 30 inches and I'll feel silly in retrospect again at the moments I'm wasting here.  The days of fitting these shorts may be over but my life doesn't have to be.  I'm not quite finished with those reckless, impulsive days yet.  Nor am I done music festivals, hangovers or falling asleep on the cool sand by the seashore - even if my new shorts have to be a little longer. 


spring, Austin-style

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


If you're in the U.S (or anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere) you're rejoicing at the long anticipated arrival of spring!  For most of us this winter was especially brutal and while many northern yards are still covered in snow - it seems less daunting now that spring is the official season at last.  Here in Austin flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, birds chirping and warm weather clothes are emerging once more.  I think it's so nice to be able to capture a little bit of that wonder and contain it within the house.  Bouquets are divine but they die so quickly :(

As I write this next part, I know my friends from Atlanta are going to laugh because they warned Will and I before we moved here that Austin was a town for hippies; it is known for it's quirkiness, environmentally-friendliness, organic/ local farming, relaxed and holistic approach to life.  After I wrote about Eastern medicine, some of them thought I'd been 'sipping the cool-aide' and now ... this spring, in the spirit of rejuvenation, new years resolutions and doing my part for the circulation of Austin's quirky reputation: I'm planting! hehehe (enter comments below :P).

Anyway, I say planting and not gardening because we're in a rental so all my plants will be in pots.  I love decorative flower pots (called planters in the US) and the idea of having them neatly arranged in my herb window.  Did I mention that our rental has a herb window in the kitchen?  Oh yes, it's one of my favourite things about this place!  (and another definite ode to Austin's unique-ness, considering you'd be hard pressed to find herb windows anywhere else in America but it's really common here).




Once I'd made my mind up about planting, I became quite taken with these flower pots from anthropologie:


and loved the idea of them sitting happily inside my herb window so I went on down to the store, money in hand and smile on face, picturing all the while how I would arrange them, only to be disappointed by their lack of drainage holes :(  Of course avid gardeners already know the solution is drilling holes using a masonry drill but that wasn't something either Will or I fancied doing.  It all turned out for the best though, when I found this (very Austin) herb growing kit at my local pharmacy (I know, weird right?)



That made my decision easy, I would replant all of my herbs into matching terracotta pots and save any decorative ones I come across later for my other plants.  I think having them uniformed will look equally as nice:




My prickly pear cactus and prized souvenir from our Christmas in the Texas desert got a very beautiful, one of a kind pot of his own.  As you know after said desert trip, I became obsessed with southwestern decorating and knew from the moment we got this lil prickly pear that he needed to be planted in a bright, southwestern themed pot to achieve maximum memory-jogging-of-time-spent-in-desert affect.  All this time I've searched for a pot that would do just that and worried my little cactus would start to die because he desperately needed a bigger pot; then last weekend when Will and I grabbed a taco lunch next to an authentic Mexican pottery shop where I happened to find the peice de resistance to my herb window!

'handmade in Mexico'
isn't it splendid?

I read somewhere that when re-potting a cactus, tongs should always be used.
Definitely came in handy 'cause I was would have been quite perplexed
about this process otherwise...
Voila!
He's a little small but will soon look perfect in his brand new pot.
PS: replanting using tongs was a breeze

this week's tip | make a 'done it' list instead of a 'to do' list

janemcmaster.wordpress.com

I'm a lists-girl.  Always have been.  Lately though, I seem to be struggling with time management, rarely being able to tick off every item on my daily list.  My routine has always been to make a to-do list for the following day before going to bed at night but lately I keep re-writing the same pesky items that just aren't getting done and then berating myself for them.

Last night, after Will had gone to sleep and I was still up tidying the lounge room, loading the dishwasher and all those other wifey things we need to do before settling for the night, I found myself gritting my teeth at the prospect of tomorrow when I would have to attempt to fit in all the list stuff again.  What had I done all day today, I wondered angrily as I do every other night, that had prevented me from sweeping the front deck or hand washing the dedicates that had now accumulated to max capacity?  So this time, I made a list.

Once I'd actually written down and looked at all the things I had done, I felt much better.  Let me list the things I learnt from this exercise, turns out: 

1. it wasn't a wasted day at all 
2. I had actually done a lot - a few things were spontaneous that needed immediate addressing and weren't on the list, so I didn't give myself credit for them
3. to-do lists can be more a hindrance than a help
4. once it becomes absolutely imperative for me to sweep the deck or wash things I WILL
5. I should give myself more credit
6. there's truth in the saying there just aren't enough hours in the day

Case and point: lists don't prioritize, they guide.  Why should I feel bad for not sweeping the deck when Will came home for lunch so that spare time allotment went into to making his meal instead?  I felt so good about myself after listing what I had done - validated even.  This made me see just how bad my high-pressure to-do lists were making me feel and I wondered how many other women do this?  

Instead of adding pressure to ourselves, let's give ourselves some recognition and much needed love!  Next time you feel like you're not good enough, take my advice and make a list of things you HAVE done - you'll instantly see that not only are you efficient: you're great at juggling all those spanners that get thrown into the works as well!

revealing my A-Z theme

Friday, March 21, 2014

As I mentioned in this (somewhat neurotic) post, I'm participating in the A-Z challenge!  That means all throughout April I have to post daily on a topic beginning with a different letter of the alphabet on a chosen theme.  The theme I have chosen is:

America from an outsider's perspective 

including my honest first impressions, highlights, differences and similarities to Australia, disappointments and things I miss or I'm still trying to get used to.  As many of you already know, I moved to Atlanta GA from Brisbane QLD Australia in September 2010 and have visited many American cities since then so hopefully you'll find my theme helpful (and somewhat credible).  I hope you can stay with me and give me as much feedback as you like throughout the process.  See you on the other side!

Atlanta, GA
Braves Stadium, Atl GA
Chicago, IL
Savannah, GA
Times Square, NYC
Outside the Plaza Hotel, NYC
New Orleans, LA
Fort Worth, TX
The Big Bend, TX
Madison, WI

Roadtrip | New Braunfels

One of the things I like most about Austin is its location amongst many small, historic towns.  Within a one hour drive in any direction you're likely to stumble upon a charming and unique spot that's perfect or a day trip or to spend the weekend.  South-west of Austin lays such a town called New Braunfels. Will and I spent Sunday there and found it to be the perfect place to get some serious relaxing done before the work week recommenced.

New Braunfels has German roots, so needless to say, it offers some of the best European cuisine on this side of Texas and rich tales of settlement that include visual aides in the form of buildings, houses, museums (like the railway one we visited) and antique stores to hold the smaller artifacts of the day.











The best part of New Braunfels lays a short drive from the town's center: the locality of Gruene.  It's a lively, beautiful place situated alongside a river that's every bit as historic but blends the old with new so seamlessly that it's a perfect compromise for people who aren't interested in history.  As soon as you step out of your car you hear the mingled sounds of live classic rock and country music simultaneously coming from several outdoor bandstands along Hunter Rd and see folks walking around holding with beer or wine.  It's almost enough to obscure - even for a history buff like me - the fact that this street contains antique shops as far as the eye can see, an ancient water tower, several old-fashioned wineries, the oldest dance hall in Texas and an authentic, still operating General Store that still sells candy in 25c paper bags and has an ice-cream / milkshake bar beside the register!  

Once you visit every antique store you can cram into the hour before your husbands' patience inevitably begins to wane, your choices include: joining a crowd seated on chairs or on the grass beside one of the bandstands to sip on wine from one of the local wineries; getting your groove on to some live country music at the iconic dance hall; or indulging in a slice of homemade pie and coffee at the Coffee Haus.  Of course if you're like Will and I - you'll do all three.





 
















I loved New Braunfels and look forward to visiting again for one of its famous market days and in November for Texas's biggest Wurst Fest!
 

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About unwavering me

Sharing my stories of migrating from Australia to the US | travel adventures | married life | furry kids | new experiences | lessons | and loving life despite always missing home. xo.

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spring in Austin TX

spring in Austin TX

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