Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A Weekend in the Country

I think I've mentioned a couple of times that when I finish my degree I want to teach in a country town, mostly because I've never really experienced life in the country. To me, moving to Newcastle was the same as moving to the country because I saw it as a small town, which will make my Novacastrian friends laugh because they believe that I grew up in the country because we lived on acreage in Sydney. Of course, I soon learned my lesson, especially when I took a trip with uni "Beyond the Line" and went to a town called Inverell for a week. It was 8 hours' drive away and had a main street. The highlight for the town was the opening of a Big W. Talk about a reality check.

So when my friend Rachel suggested we go on a roadtrip in-land, I was pretty keen.

Only Rachel, our friend Nicole and I were able to go, and we basically left all the planning up to Rach. She did a random google search and ended up finding:

Mount Misery.

Obviously the decision to go there was based on the name alone. We had no idea what we were heading into. It turns out that Mt Misery is the name of the old goldmine that was there, and the town itself is called Nundle.

So the girls drove up from Sydney on Friday and picked me up on their way through and we were off! We spent our time on the road watching out for kangaroos (we saw one hopping along on our way there, and about 5 or 6 dead ones on the way back - poor things/poor cars), eating lollies and making up verses to the song we had created about the roadtrip.

"We are driving in a car
We are driving very far
Off to Nundle. (Off to Nundle!)"

We'll never win creativity awards, but damn it was fun.

We hadn't gotten very far out of Newcastle when we saw a sign for a winery and decided that would be the perfect place for a picnic lunch.

We've drunk a lot of Wyndham Estate wines, but hadn't realised how close the vineyard was to us.

 We ended up buying several bottles of wine and wandering through the vines, visiting the graves of the original owners.

 Eventually, after driving through lots of small towns and windy dirt roads, we arrived at our destination:

We stayed in the guesthouse that's on the top level of the old gold mine and it was lovely. And cheap. And convenient, as where the gold mine sign is is actually a cafe now, with the Mt. Misery Gold Mine Museum attached. In fact, it turns out that the door to the original mine was located almost right under our beds.


We spent our time there checking out all the local shops, many of which were antique shops and craft shops. I actually learnt something from the quilt shop which will save me a heck of a lot of time on my hexagon quilt, but more on that in another post.

When we weren't shopping, we were driving along the River Peel, looking for the best spots to go fossicking for gold, as we were very determined to become rich off this trip. In the end, the only thing we found was beautiful scenery and our own sense of stupidity as we all ended up incredibly sunburnt.

The view of Nundle from Hanging Rock Lookout
Saturday night we decided to head to the Nundle Sports and Recreation Club where we had the best time ever! Nicole won herself a meat tray in the raffle:

We made friends with the locals and have been invited back. Everyone was just so lovely and friendly, and genuinely interested in who we were and what brought us to their town. It was just the most wonderful weekend. But alas, it had to end.

On Sunday we packed up the car and left Nundle behind, heading to Tamworth to check out the Big Golden Guitar:

Turns out it wasn't very big, and it was a little dull to be considered "golden". But at least we can cross it off our lists of things we've seen.

After the girls dropped me back home in Newy, I finished the weekend with a trip to the cinema with my housemate, Bec, and laughed at cried together watching The Muppets Movie.

Such a perfect weekend.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Cost Per Snip

Today, I went and got my hair did for the first time in, oh, maybe a year. Yes, it has been that long, and yes, my hair reflected that ugly fact - any sense of a styled cut had grown out, and the ends were dry and damaged, however, I still couldn't be bothered going to get it done. Why? Two reasons: I hate hairdressers, and they charge WAY too much.

Why do I hate hairdressers? I don't hate the individual people themselves, I just hate the salon experience, I guess. I hate the head massage they give you as they wash your hair; I hate the lighting that makes you look washed out and sick; I hate the smell of the chemicals they use; but mostly, I hate the small talk.

- Getting your hair done for a specific event?
- How's your love life?
- Oh, the weather.

The annoying thing about this small talk is that you have to engage with it, especially because the fate of your hair is in this person's hands. You can't look pointedly at the magazine in your lap, because that would be rude, and you can't just answer: you have to join in and ask questions back. It's exhausting! I could never be a hairdresser because I couldn't cope with the constant chit chat. It's one of the reasons why I feel like a fraud when working in retail: I'm sure the customers can see through my act and that I just don't care about their day.

Plus, I've never left a salon feeling overjoyed by my hair. I always say how much I love it, then I need to put it in a ponytail for a couple of weeks until the cut has grown a little and looks more me.

But I decided to deal with it and suck it up, because my hair has been frustrating me to no end over the past few weeks. Also, I've been watching all three seasons of Tabatha's Salon Takeover to get psyched up, so I feel I know what to look for now.

I heart her so! If you haven't seen this show, go and watch it now. It's kind of like Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, but for salons. I love her bitch please face, and the way she says, "Fucking upstart bitch." She's crazy hot.

Which brings me to the second reason I hate getting my hair cut: the price. $87 for a wash, cut and blow dry!!! WTF?  I nearly died when they read the cost out to me. I had a $20 giftcard I'd gotten from my area supervisor at the Santa gig, so that helped a little, but $87?! How on earth can anyone justify charging that amount? And I didn't even get offered a coffee! I was offered a "complimentary hand massage" instead. But I didn't take it because I HATE massages of any kind. Now I wish I'd taken it just to feel like money was spent on something.

How on earth can a salon justify charging that amount. And in this economy! And how is it that with all the gay friends I have, not one of them is a hairdresser?

Oh well. I actually don't mind my haircut because the hairdresser was lovely and actually listened to what I wanted, which was basically to keep my hair the exact same. Hmm... Maybe it's exactly the same? It would explain why for once I didn't walk out covered in my hair clippings...

Friday, 6 January 2012

Lady of Leisure

So, I've been enjoying myself immensely this past week now that I've finally had absolutely no plans. It's been lovely waking up in the morning knowing that I can take my time with the laundry or my crafty pursuits without having to rush to be anywhere. Having worked so hard and so much the past two months, I'm luxuriating in this freedom.

I'm also finding that I'm actually quite productive when I'm not pressured into being so! Tonight I managed to do something I've been putting off for a long time: my Grad Recruitmen Application for the DET. I'm so glad to have it finished - at least the online part. It didn't even take that long to complete, and all I have to do now is get some documents notarised and I can sit back and wait for my interview.

I've also been working on my hexagon quilt.

This picture isn't that great, but you get the general idea. At the moment it's not very big. I want it to eventually be able to fit a king-sized bed, because why not? It's basically a mish mash of all the fabric I own, plus I've bought scraps and charm packs specifically for this quilt. It's a vomit of random colours and textures, but I love its hideousness. Plus, it keeps me busy, and even though progress is slow (first you have to cut the hexagon papers, then sew each scrap of fabric around each piece of paper, then you've got to join them all together), it's relaxing and keeps my hands busy. I think I have RSI though, or some kind of joint stiffening. My right hand is so stiff and sore - I know I should take a break from the sewing, but it's kind of annoying.

In my leisure I've also been shopping. I know, it's stupid to do that when normally I'm broke, but I've only been bargain hunting, I swear! The other day I went to Target to try and buy something to organise my makeup. I didn't find that, but I did find a new dress. I don't have a pic, but it's a mid-length, cream with navy stripes... I'm bad with descriptions. I know I shouldn't be shopping, but it was originally $59 and was marked down to $29. THEN, because the cashier noticed that the sash on it was missing (I didn't even realise it was supposed to have one), the cashier took it down to $23!!! It totally made my day.

Then yesterday I went op-shopping with Mel and found this little beauty:

The cutest little espresso-sized cup and saucer. The colours in the pic don't show it very well, but it's a blush pink colour. And did I mention it only cost me 50c?? Win.

So I've been enjoying this time, and tonight I'll be catching up with my uni buddies for the first time in a long time. So far I'm enjoying 2012. Now if only I could get rid of this cough...

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Looking Backwards and Forwards

So, as with most people, I find the end of the year/start of a new year to be a time of reflection.

I spent my NYE with Mikey, one of my favourite people on the planet. It was one of those nights when everyone seemed to have plans and those plans didn't seem to include me. Actually, that sentence sounds kind of mopey. What I mean is, everyone had plans already, and I wasn't really in the mood for anything ridiculous as I think I'm getting the flu. So Mikey and I hung out and watched The Muppets Movie and got all soppy about friendship.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post.

This past year has brought me a lot of turmoil. I haven't had a shake-up like this since high school, which is pretty normal to have fallings out with your friends. I rang in 2011 surrounded by people I thought were friends, only to have them turn around and stab me in the back during the year. It breaks my heart to think about how much I loved these people. Not only did I lose friends, the way in which it occured left me doubting everything about myself: my values, my personality, my ability to be a good friend, etc. I'm still a little shakey, and I'm still left questioning myself, but the soul-searching that this incident required has make me stronger in the end, I feel, and has reconfirmed my core beliefs. I've come to the tentative conclusion that those people were dealing with their own issues and pushed them onto me. It doesn't stop the hurt and the self-doubt, but it helps on a logical level.

At the same time though, what I went through this year has helped to strengthen the relationships that are genuine. The people that have stood by me and supported me, and have never doubted me, even when I doubted myself, have made this year worth the hassle.

Uni-wise, I've passed all my subjects and now only have internship to go! I can't believe I'm only 6 months away from graduating the degree that felt it wouldn't end. I don't want to jinx it, but for me this degree was so difficult - not from an academic point of view, but from a personal point of view - that I'm so proud of myself for what I've accomplished. I know I still have to get over the major hurdle of internship, but I'm confident in my abilities and I know I'll be able to get through it.

I've also really enjoyed the fact that this year I've really gotten into various crafts. I miss having hobbies. At the moment I'm working on a completely paper pieced hexagon quilt. This baby may take me years, but it's a lot of fun. I've also started making my first dress. It's about halfway finished now - just the interfacing and zipper to go. I can't believe how long I put dressmaking off, and how easy it has been!

Now, for the resolutions. I'm not normally one for resolutions, because I hate the idea of setting goals and not being able to achieve them. But I think these ones may be within my limits. I'm dividing them into groups though.

- Graduate.
- Get a job in the country.

- Pay off credit card.
- Use the things you already have before buying new things. OR, use the one in, one out method: for every new item purchased, something has to be thrown out or given to charity.
- Start saving.

- Start working on UFOs (unfinished objects) before buying anything new.

- Actually use gym membership. Twice a week shouldn't be too hard.
- Get proactive about mental health. Do excercises the therapist gives you. Don't put things off or dismiss them as too hard. Take medication on time and regularly!!!

- Don't get too caught up in drama.
- TRAVEL!!! Goal is to go overseas during the Christmas break.

I think that should do it. I should probably start it all by getting out of bed, but I'm so sleepy!