La Dolce Vita (Q1 2014)

When I lived up in PosyTown, I had all the time in the world (well, I did once I’d finished studying, anyway), but rarely felt that I had anything interesting to blog about. Now, I live in this amazing city and have plenty to write about, but I have been too busy exploring Sydney that I have had little time to cobble a post together.

As we’re now fast approaching the month of May, I thought an update on our first quarter of 2014 would be prudent.

Q1 2014:

Roosters games attended: 4 (World Club Championship: vs Wigan Warriors [we won!]; Telstra Premiership games: vs  Rabbitohs [we lost], vs Eels [we won!], vs Manly [we lost]).
Mornings/days spent at the beach: 16
Beaches visited: 4 (Bronte, North Bondi, Avalon, Freshwater)
Movies watched: 14 (Saving Mr Banks, August: Osage County, Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Book Thief, Wolf of Wall Street, About Time, The Heat, I Give it a Year, Frozen, Her, Ruby Sparks, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug (Moonlight Cinema session), The Hunger Games – Catching Fire, Anchorman II (Moonlight Cinema session)).
Books downloaded on Kindle: 17
Books actually read on Kindle: 6
Concerts purchased tickets for: 4 (Katy Perry, Tina Arena, Lady Gaga, Kate Miller-Heidke)
Concerts attended: 0
Road trips: 1 (Newcastle to visit my aunt and little cousins)
Trips taken: 1 (Melbourne to see BIL, SIL, and Niece and Nephew Posy)
Trips booked: 1 (Bora Bora!)
Visits from family: 3 (Mum + brother, Dad, Mum)
New cafés/restaurants/bars explored: 11 that I can remember off the top of my head (The Wine Library, The Boathouse Balmoral, Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel, Opera Bar (okay, a re-visit, have been once before), Flat White, The Chalkboard Café, Café Salina, Swell Restaurant, Chiswick (okay, another re-visit, went once before in the lead up to the wedding), The Tea Salon, Panania Hotel…)
Birthdays celebrated: 3 (Me, PosyKitty, my friend’s little boy – cowboy themed party!)
Festivals/events attended: 5 (Taste of Sydney, Four Thought at the Opera House, Alain de Botton at the Opera House, book launch, Yoko Ono’s ‘War is Over’ at the MCA)
Flex days taken from work: 3

Q1 2014

Our weekends the past few months have largely revolved around the beach, and most surprisingly, Mr Posy has been the driving force behind this. I am so glad that he rediscovered his love for the beach, to the point that I had to drag him home, because it really is my happy place. If I’m being completely honest, I suspect that he would have dragged me along to the beach even if he didn’t enjoy it himself, because of how much happier and more relaxed (less anxious/stressed) I am after a dip in the ocean … but aren’t we all?

My birthday this year was a very quiet affair – no morning tea at work or after-work drinks with friends, and no little people here to help me blow out my candles. Mr Posy did take me out for a dinner however, AND he made me my favourite cake – Nigella’s Chocolate Mousse Cake. He also treated me to breakfast at The Boathouse in Balmoral (and more time at the beach), so I had a pretty relaxing birthday weekend!

We managed to squeeze in a trip down to Melbourne to see my BIL, SIL and Niece and Nephew Posy (they moved south shortly after we left PosyTown – thankfully they’re now only one hour away by plane instead of four!) – I really miss being able to wave to them from my front patio. Niece and Nephew Posy are growing so quickly, and it was so hard to say “see you later” (always “see you later”, never “goodbye”). On our last night in Melbourne, Niece Posy’s teddy bear ‘said’ to me “I’m going to miss you Aunty Posy”. I can’t tell you how hard it was to fight back the tears. I knew it would be tough moving away from them, but I didn’t realise that I would feel like a huge chunk of my heart was missing. I am thankful for Skype and short plane trips!

Most excitingly this past quarter, Mr Posy and I booked a holiday for later in the year – a first anniversary/belated honeymoon trip… to Bora Bora! It has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, and I am over the moon that this dream will soon become a reality. I have been busy reading travel books and forums, scouring the interwebs for travel reviews and photographs, and counting down the days. Unlike other trips that we plan, there will be little structure to this holiday (aside from a dinner at Villa Mahana that I have already booked in) – and I can’t wait! I may already be planning a return visit, before we even get there…

All in all, we’ve had a pleasant start to 2014, and it’s hard to believe that we’ve been living here for nearly seven months already – and married for almost six! I don’t know why I thought time would slow down living here; instead it seems to fly by at double-speed.

Looking back on 2013: A belated Year in Review

Given we’re through the first month of the new year and fairly well into the second, television has resumed its regular programming, school is back in session (traffic, uggggh), annnnnd I just had a birthday, I can no longer deny that it is now well and truly in 2014.

I know I am a little LOT late with my ‘year in review’ post, but I wasn’t quite ready to let 2013 go – it was a huge year for me; my biggest year yet.

The First Quarter

Thinking

As has become the custom for us, we marked January with a trip to Sydney. Sidenote: I’m not sure what we’re going to do now that we actually live here?! We caught up with friends, ate too much, met with wedding vendors, and celebrated a friend’s gorgeous little boy’s second birthday.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t always the best company – I had discovered a lump a month earlier (Christmas! Best gift yet!), and being particularly stupid I had decided to bury my head in the sand (hoping it would go away), only to rediscover the lump on our trip away. Pretty stupid at the best of times, incredibly stupid when you have my family history. After crying hysterically to Mr Posy, I made an appointment with my GP (who was also Mum’s GP and had diagnosed her cancer) for when I returned to PosyTown. I cried even more when my GP referred me on for an ultrasound, saying “We need to get this looked at”… Thankfully, it was just a false alarm; however it did prompt me to quite seriously look at my lifestyle and how I was treating (or not treating) my body, and make necessary changes.

Community Service Announcement: Get your girls out (and the rest) – see your GP and get a health check. If something doesn’t feel quite right, have it looked at, don’t just hope it will go away.

The rest of the quarter involved drowning in huge changes at work (and all the additional work that these changes created) and supporting staff through said changes. Explaining to staff, who after many years working together had become like family, that there would not be a position for them in a new structure was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my career. Thinking about it now still makes me feel sad and uneasy. I can’t even rationalise it to myself as one of those “growing experiences” that “only makes you stronger” – it was an experience I could have done without.

PosyTown is such a transient place, and as with every year, I said goodbye to more dear friends who rode off on their way to greener pastures – always hoping that it would soon be my turn to leave.

Needless to say, my heart was pretty heavy and I shed many tears during the first quarter of 2013.

Quarter Two

Sydney

Fortunately, the second quarter balanced out the first.

After many years of balancing surviving work and study, I finally donned a cap and gown, and walked across the stage to collect my degrees. I don’t know who was more proud – me, Mr Posy, or my parents. I am missing study, but I’m not quite ready to throw myself back into another degree just yet. For now I am enjoying making travel plans, exploring Harbour City, and researching possible future courses.

We took another trip to Sydney, this time for a friend’s baby shower and to meet with our priest in the lead up to the wedding. I was far more relaxed and in a far better head-space than our previous trip, and we had a wonderful time catching up with friends. I went back to PosyTown feeling refreshed after our very quick trip away.

Niece Posy turned three, and she had a Minnie Mouse themed party. I tried my hand at cake pops for the first time, and will never ever forget my little niece’s reaction when she saw the finished product. I had so much fun helping my SIL with the party-prep, to the point of finding myself designated as face painter for the big event. Luckily the three year olds were quite impressed with my basic flower, love heart and a little glitter; the older children, on the other hand, were not quite as forgiving of my ‘skills’…

Quarter Three

Chaos

Chaos. Bedlam. Total pandemonium.

All the changes at work that had been brewing for months with the restructure hit boiling point. It was an incredibly challenging time – but I can honestly say that it was made somewhat easier working with and for such amazing people. I have many decades in my career ahead of me, and I am sure it won’t be the last major restructure that I have to stomach, but I’m thankful that my first experience with such significant organisational change was with such an incredible bunch of people.

I said farewell to more friends leaving PosyTown, but I also said hello to my very dear friend who was back visiting after two years living in the UK, so it wasn’t all bad.

I found out that I had won a job in Sydney! I received two job offers within days of each other (and came *this* close to a third), but with one permanent and one on a temporary contract, it was an easy(ish) choice with such a huge interstate move to make. Telling work and our family and friends that we were leaving was much harder than I had anticipated, but the opportunity really came at the right time for Mr Posy and me.

I took Niece Posy to the Royal PosyTown Show for an Aunty & Niece Day Out, and we had so much fun checking out the cows, goats, chickens, horses and fire trucks. Gosh I miss that kid. She and Nephew Posy are so sweet, and I miss them every single day. Fortunately they moved down to Melbourne with BIL and SIL, so they’re now only an hour flight away (instead of four!), but I do wish they were still only across the road.

Mr Posy and I took another trip to Sydney – this time for wedding prep (nothing like leaving dress shopping and the menu tasting to only a few months before the big day!), to meet a friend’s new baby, and to meet my new employer. It was a quick trip, but the weather was amazing, I got to spend time with some of my closest girlfriends, and it was exciting knowing that we would soon be calling Sydney “home”.

A few weeks later we took one last trip from PosyTown to Sydney, this time to find a place to live! We returned to PosyTown just in time to pack up our little life (which surprisingly filled a huge truck) and send it on its way to Harbour City.

The Final Quarter

Dream then do.

I think we managed to cram maybe a year’s worth of activity into the last few months of 2013.

I finished up in my position in a team where I had worked for the past four and a half years (with the same employer for six years), said our goodbyes to family and friends, and caught a one-way flight to Sydney. Moving to Sydney was a dream around ten years in the making, and it felt (and still feels) so surreal finally making it happen.

Our new life in Sydney kicked off on the right foot, when my beloved Roosters WON THE GRAND FINAL – and we were actually there to witness it. It was a nail-biting game, and I will never forget the moment when Jennings basically put his body on the line for an amazing try that turned the game back in our favour. A fellow female Roosters supporter in the seat in front of us turned to me – we stared at each other incredulously for a minute, before giving each other the biggest high-five. It still makes me tear up just thinking about it. I have been trying to brainwash telling my little Manly-supporting cousins (now 8 and 10) that they have been barracking for the wrong team for years – I may have rubbed in our victory when we finally caught up with them a couple of weeks ago…

We had a little under a week to unpack our home, before I started work – it was an adjustment going from a three-bedroom house with ample storage, to a two-bedroom terrace with only one built-in cupboard and a much smaller living space. While we had purged our lives of things we no longer needed when packing in PosyTown, we used the opportunity to further simplify our lives and rid ourselves of junk. It was incredibly cathartic.

After working for the same employer for the past six years, it was a little strange starting a new job. I’d managed to develop a nasty chest infection in the week between arriving in Sydney and starting work, so the first few weeks completely knocked me about. I am still adjusting to a less frenetic pace than I was used to in PosyTown (a pace which I secretly enjoyed), but the people are nice, so I can’t complain.

One of the highlights of 2013 for me was of course getting married, and also having all our family and friends in Sydney to celebrate in the lead-up to our wedding. Niece and Nephew Posy completely lost their minds when we picked them up from the airport, however I still can’t decide who was more excited over our little reunion – them or me. While the weather wasn’t amazing (torrential downpours, anyone?), we did manage to get in a daytrip to Taronga Zoo, and the rest of the time was spent at the Aquarium in Darling Harbour, eating out for breakfasts and dinners, walking around shopping centres like mall-rats, and of course gearing up for our wedding celebration. We had an amazing dinner with our bridal party and immediate family a couple of nights before the wedding – it was so nice to have everybody together before the madness started.

I will save the wedding post for another day, but we had a truly beautiful day that exceeded all our expectations and was more amazing than we could have ever imagined. Mr Posy and I felt so incredibly humbled to be surrounded by all our family and friends, many of whom travelled such a long way to be there. I don’t think  I will ever tire of looking at our photos and watching our wedding highlights video…

After not managing to catch a single one of the concerts that we’d planned during the first three quarters of the year, we finally squeezed a few in – Ricky Martin and Taylor Swift for me (both of which Mr Posy also surprisingly enjoyed; they put on a great show), and Muse for Mr Posy (and okay, partly for me also).

The time came to say farewell to my gorgeous friend (and beautiful bridesmaid) who returned to the UK for what sounds like another two years minimum. I’m just grateful for all the mix-ups with her visa paperwork which meant she was home for longer, and meant that she didn’t have to do a crazy flight back to Australia for the wedding, only to have to get on the plane back across the pond the very next day.

Mr Posy and I finally took our first real road trip, down the coast to spend Christmas with my grandparents. While it took us around six hours each way, it was such a nice drive – so nice that Mr Posy who has always been Mr Anti-Road Trips is now keen to take more of them – and it was the perfect trip away to recharge after such a crazy few months.

As it was our first “married” New Year’s Eve (and our first in Sydney), I soon found myself manically scouring the web for ideas of where we might go on the night to ensure we started 2014 with a bang. In the end, Mr Posy talked me down off the proverbial ledge, and we spent the evening eating dinner at home and watching movies. I managed to stay awake for the “family fireworks” (which I could just see from where I had positioned myself on the couch), but fell asleep barely ten minutes before the main event. It was the perfect way to start our first year of marriage, and our first year in Sydney – and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Epilogue

While this post is long overdue, I figure better late than never. I needed to write it – it’s important to me to look back and reflect on the year that was; to celebrate the good times and mourn the bad, to step back from it all and gain a little perspective, and to stop and really appreciate the people in my life and the moments I have with them.

I am still finding it a little difficult to really embrace 2014 (maybe I should have stayed awake for those midnight fireworks after all, ha!). I can’t decide if it’s because so much happened last year and I’m still processing it all, or if I simply don’t want to believe 2013 is over. It certainly was not always an easy year, but 2013 will forever be a special year for me, and one that I will treasure always.

I can’t wait to see where 2014 takes me.

Bright Lights, Big City

Sydney

I still have to pinch myself daily.

Twelve weeks ago, a removalist van pulled up in our driveway back up in PosyTown and took away (almost) all our belongings. Two weeks later, we hopped on a one-way flight to Sydney.

Yes, this little Posy family finally moved to Harbour City.

It will come as no surprise that I love Sydney – I have always been quite vocal about my affection for this beautiful city. It is my happy place, a place that has always felt like home, and for the longest time I hoped that one day it would be.

We had been saying that we were moving for more years than I care to admit – it was always “next year, in six months time, at the end of the year, middle of next year, we’ve had to push it back again, we’ll get there soon, yes we are still moving” – but we are finally here. When an ex-colleague back at my work in PosyTown asked earlier in 2013 if I really thought we’d move this year, and whether I thought it would be before the wedding (which at the time was fast-approaching), I could barely contain my very defensive “YES!!!!” – however, at the time I wasn’t sure I really believed it any more than she did.

When I received the phone call letting me know that I was the successful applicant at the end of July for a job I had interviewed over the phone for, I was shocked. Mr Posy was far less surprised than I (love him and his unwavering support of/confidence in me and all that I do), but anxious. Telling our families was hard, there were tears. Telling work was harder, there were more tears. And there was support – so much support. Our family, friends, colleagues and bosses were all so wonderful and so supportive. Every time I would get nervous or scared or sad, my (then) boss would tell me I deserved this, that it was a new and exciting chapter of our lives, and to embrace it with open arms. She would tell me to give it my best shot, and that if I didn’t like it or it didn’t work out, I could always come back, that there would always be a place for me in PosyTown. I love her for that – for helping me keep things in perspective, for reminding me that moving to Sydney was what we wanted, for letting me know that it was okay to do something for us, that nobody would hold it against us, that our family and friends loved us.

Packing up your whole life and shifting interstate is no easy feat. We flew down two weekends before our moving date to inspect and apply for rentals, and we were very fortunate to secure a little terrace the day after we applied in a great location that would allow PosyDog and PosyKitty. This meant that we could take the remaining couple of days of our whirlwind trip a little easier, instead of sticking to the gruelling schedule of open-inspections that I had planned for us. We arrived back in PosyTown at 1.00am on the Monday morning, and our removalists arrived out 6.30am (we thought that one through well – we were still throwing things in and taping up boxes right before our flight to Sydney, as well as the morning that the removalists arrived). The house was packed up and we were back at work mid-morning.

We both worked right up until the day before our one-way flight. This is the one thing that I would have changed if I had my time again. We were working all day, then coming home and cleaning our place at night, leaving little time to spend with our family and friends before we left. We were still throwing clothes and shoes and other various belongings into our SIX suitcases the day of our flight (we’d had a late night at a Farewell BBQ our SIL threw for us the night prior), before and after brunch with our family. Somehow, we managed to make it to the airport that day, and with time to spare.

The farewells at the airport were hard. Mr Posy’s Ma cried. A lot. Saying goodbye to Niece and Nephew Posy was especially hard, and I cried a little right before boarding, but managed to pull myself together for a final wave, before crying a lot more on the plane. I was so happy to be catching our one-way flight down to Sydney, but I was sad to be leaving our loved ones behind.

Our arrival to Sydney was eventful. Our flight arrived at about 8.30pm on the night of a fireworks and pyrotechnics display as part of this little thing called the International Fleet Review. There were masses of people everywhere, streets were closed off, and our taxi driver decided he would leave us, our six large suitcases, three laptops, and two carry-on bags a little under a kilometre away from our hotel. I was emotionally and physically exhausted, and I had no idea how we were going to get all our gear to our hotel. I rang the concierge, nearly in tears explaining that we had just moved to Sydney, that we had so many bags, that our taxi driver had deserted us, and two amazing attendants came down to our rescue. I will be forever grateful. While it wasn’t so funny at the time, I can look back on it now and laugh – what a way to start our new adventure!

We’ve been here for a little over two months now (nearly three months!), and I am still completely exhausted. But happy. Oh so happy. We’ve been all unpacked for a little while, the furkids are all settled in, and our place feels like home, but we’ve only just managed to do a proper grocery shop, instead of just popping up to our local to buy what we needed day-to-day. I think I felt like we were just on this extended holiday, like we lived in a serviced apartment or something, that we’d have to go back to our old life in PosyTown any day, so we didn’t really bother buying groceries.

I still can’t believe we live here, but at the same time, I feel like we have lived here forever.

Furkids

Snap out of it.

I’ve not really felt like I’ve been my best self lately. I’m not happy about or proud of this.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been angry and irritated and impatient and intolerant and sarcastic and potty-mouthed  and snarky and frustrated and tearful and pretty negative all round. I’ve been withdrawn and I’ve bailed on team sporting commitments. I’ve been tired all the time, and I’ve not been making good food choices.

Work has been unpredictable and stressful for some time, and all the change and uncertainty has left me feeling anxious and generally uneasy – but this is really no excuse. This is just not me.

I’ve been a real wet blanket. don’t even want to be around me lately, so I don’t know how others have tolerated me.

Ordinarily, I am a pretty cheerful person; even when things are tough I can usually manage to slap a smile on my face and muster a little enthusiasm. Lately, I’ve barely tried. I know I certainly can’t be upbeat all the time, however I do think there is something to be said for always doing your best. While one’s “best” is of course bound to change depending on how one is feeling in that moment, even stressed and tired, I know I could be putting in more effort.

The only thing that is certain right now is that the next few weeks will continue to be exhausting and stressful.

Life

The Year the World Didn’t End: My 2012 Recap

If I could describe 2012 in one word, it would be … hectic.

Given I’m not one for stopping at just one word when describing something, I’d say it was also tiring. And demanding.

2012 may have been busy, but it was always pretty darn remarkable. I grew more than I realised possible in a very short timeframe – it was a year of pushing my boundaries and venturing outside my comfort zone.

Celebrations in Sydney

Sydney

We started 2012 with a trip to Sydney – to celebrate my Nan and Pop’s 50th wedding anniversary, and also for the baptism and 1st birthday of a dear friend’s very special little boy. We spent two weeks in Sydney in January, and had a glorious time. I wish I could bottle the love, laughter, warmth, excitement, and happiness that filled the rooms for each of the celebrations – it’s the stuff that makes your heart feel so full it might burst.

I wrote a 30 by 30 list

When I first started thinking about what I wanted to achieve over the next few years, I thought my list would be short – get married, move to Sydney, finish a half marathon. It wasn’t until I really started to think about it, and put pen to paper that I realised that my list was long. Very long. Much longer than what made the final cut, but I figure I can only achieve so much in the next few years. What comes after that, time will tell.

I chopped off my hair

It might not seem like a big deal, but for me, it was averybigdeal. I felt such an overwhelming sense of relief, and like I had just shed years and years of unwanted thoughts and emotion. It wasn’t just a hair cut, it was somewhat of a spiritual cleansing. Or an exorcism.

I took up a new sport

When a work colleague asked if I would join her beach volleyball team (indoor), with people that I didn’t know, my internal reaction was a resounding “hell no”.  The words that came out of my mouth were another story, however – “Sure! I’d love to!”. Funnily enough, I’ve had a lot of fun, and I’ve made new friends. I am not the most skillful player, but I am getting there. I can hit the ball, so I figure that’s a good start. It has also been strangely cathartic, belting that ball back over the net, particularly after a bad day in the office.

Another Sydney trip

From Nan's kitchen

June saw us take another trip to Sydney, and then down to the Sapphire Coast (it truly is God’s country), for another special occasion – my grandfather’s 80th birthday. It was so nice spending time with all my family, and for Mr Posy to visit my Nan and Pop’s house for the first time. It is the place that has always felt most like home. I could stare out Nan’s kitchen window all day.

Mr Posy

We also managed to squeeze in a brief stopover in Canberra – Mr Posy’s first trip to our nation’s capital.

More family festivities

Melbourne

This time, the celebrations were for Mr Posy’s family – we flew to Melbourne to celebrate Nephew Posy’s baptism (in the same church Niece Posy was baptised, and my brother-in-law was married).

I never really understood people who went on holidays with their family, but after all the family holidays we’ve had over the past couple of years, I finally get it.

We celebrated our ten year anniversary

Mr Posy and I celebrated a milestone anniversary this year – a decade together. Ten years! It really doesn’t feel like ten years. Gosh we’ve had some seriously amazing adventures together – I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us.

I finished studying

It was about bloody time. I’d had a semester off here and there (for Mum’s cancer etc), but it was still such a bloody long slog. Two degrees later, and I’m done. Only, I’m not – I’ve been browsing course catalogues, and it’s taking every ounce of rational thought that I have not to enrol in another course. At least, not just now. I’ll give myself a study break in 2013, but I can’t promise the same for 2014.

Work was crazy

No, really. It was C-R-A-Z-Y. Sometimes good-crazy and sometimes bad-crazy, but always one hell of a ride. I have grown and learnt a lot this year, and I’m very fortunate to work with such amazing people.

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Looking back, it is pretty clear that family and festivities were the overall themes for me in 2012. I am surrounded by such wonderful family and friends, both near and far, and I feel so blessed to be so lucky.

I was sad to see the end of 2012. There were days of pain and sadness, and days where tears were shed, but I wasn’t ready for this year to end – on the whole it was a good year. It was a huge year.

2013 will be another big year for Mr Posy and I, starting with a trip to Sydney later this month – for a special little boy’s 2nd birthday!

2012, it’s been grand. 2013, please be kind.

The Big Chop

Back when I vowed to run a half marathon, I mentioned that I was having a recurring dream about chopping off my hair. Any dream dictionary will tell you that willingly cutting off your hair indicates reshaping your thinking, or shedding (pardon the pun) unwanted thoughts and emotions. A big chop is a metaphorical fresh start. It took me a month and a half to mentally prepare myself.

When I went to see my hairdresser in February, she asked if we were just doing the usual – a trim and touching up the colour.

“No. I want to chop it. Let’s chop it.”

“When you say ‘chop it’, how much are we talking here?”

“Maybe 5 or 6 inches?”

“Are you going to cry? I’m not chopping it if you’re going to cry.”

“I won’t cry. I want to chop it. Chop it. I’m ready.”

“Are you SURE you’re not going to cry?”

“I WON’T cry!”

“If you’re going to cry, you’re going to have to go outside. I can’t deal with tears in my salon. This is a tear-free salon.”

“I PROMISE I won’t cry. I don’t think. Please, just chop it.”

“You’re going to cry. I know what you’re like with your hair. You have to wait until you get in your car to cry. If you cry, I’ll start crying. I can’t deal with the tears.”

“For the love of all things good, JUST CHOP IT!”

Sometimes I think my hairdresser knows me better than I know myself. I’ve been going to her for more than ten years. She’s been privy to all of the ups and downs in my life during this period.

When she was finished cutting, I looked in the mirror. She’d taken less off than I wanted. I looked at the floor. I looked back at the mirror. My hair was short, by my standards. I looked back at the floor, at the sheer length that she had cut off. My eyes welled up.

I felt this overwhelming sense of relief.

“I’m just SO happy. I feel so much lighter. I promise I’m not going to cry, I’m just a bit teary. But they’re GOOD tears. I promise! I LOVE IT.”

My hairdresser rolled her eyes and went to mix up my colour.

It has taken me the better part of a year, but my hair is finally around the length that I first had in mind I wanted about eight months ago.

Every six weeks, I would go a bit shorter than the previous visit. Baby steps. I think my hairdresser was concerned I’d have a breakdown while I was sitting in the hot seat.

I could certainly stand to go another inch shorter… but now that we’re just a little over a year out from our wedding, I think it’s probably time that I started growing it again.

Table for One

Today I did something crazy. Something that I wouldn’t normally do. Something that would normally terrify me.

I sat in a cafe (okay, a coffee shop’s seating area in a food court, but c’mon, slim pickings in PosyTown) by myself, while I had a coffee and read the paper.

Sure, this seems like no big deal, people do this all the time, but for me, this is a Very Big Deal.

I am a little skittish when out in crowds. I feel unsettled and exposed. I think the defining moment for me was when I was 16 and waiting by myself at the bus depot after school to catch my bus home – I was randomly approached by a group of four people (that I didn’t know and had never seen before), and punched in the face. When I tried to run into the shopping centre to find my friends to see if they could drive me home, I was attacked again. Having rocks thrown at me and being spat on as I walked home from school when I was eight years old and lived in a remote community probably didn’t help much either. The thought of that incident must be more traumatic than it actually was, however, as my parents tell me I was quite unperturbed about it at the time.

For a long time I was scared of my own shadow. I avoided crowds – shopping centres, markets, festivals, the cinema on a Tuesday or Saturday night. I never went back to that depot and it took me quite some time before I would catch a bus again. To this day I still startle very easily, if a friend sneaks up or somebody quickly races up behind/past me. More than a decade on, while I’m fine when out and about on my own, I’m never really at ease, and I tend to rush through whatever errands I need to run.

I’m not averse to my own company – it has taken time, but I’d go as far to say that, to an extent, I enjoy it. If I spend too much time alone, I do tend to think too much, and can wind up a little emotional – but that is another post for another day. It is a good thing that I enjoy my own company, because Mr Posy works a lot, and there is only so much that you can expect your friends to babysit you on weekends. Now that I’m finished with study, I’ve found myself with a lot of extra spare time on my hands. And I’m starting to go a little bit spare, sitting at home on my own. This morning, I decided that I was going on a coffee date with myself.

It was bliss. I sat and flicked through the newspaper at a leisurely pace while sipping my coffee. I people-watched. I checked Twitter. I had a quick chat with a friend while she waited for her coffee. In that moment, I sat there in my own little world. And I started to make plans for my next solo coffee date – in a cafe with actual crockery.

2011 – A Year in Review

Much like 2010, for me 2011 was a year of growth.  There was change and heartache and uncertainty, but there was also much to celebrate.

When I was much younger, I always thought that life would be better, easier, when I was “older”. Then I got older and it wasn’t any easier – in fact it was harder – and I would tell myself that life would be better when [insert reason here]. Now I’ve realised that this is just life, and with the great losses also come great wins – that life is sometimes incredibly painful, but it can also be extraordinary.

This thing that I’m living, this is life.

And so I present my wrap-up of 2011 –

There were babies born

2011 was the year that some very special babes came into this world.

In January, a dear friend had a very special, brave little boy – a little boy that I am very much looking forward to meeting in a week.

In September, my lovely friend Little Miss Moi had her little Harrie – and just as I do her big sister, I completely adore her.

In October, I found myself with a nephew – a little brother for Niece Posy. Nephew Posy is the most handsome little man, and I am smitten.

Friends moved away, new friends were made, current friendships were strengthened

Living in PosyTown, people come and go frequently, and 2011 was no exception. We said goodbye to friends throughout the year, and while it was sad at the time, I know I will see them again – and I know that one day soon it will be our turn to move away. We made some wonderful new friends throughout the year, and I feel that current friendships (both near and far) have gone from strength to strength.

There were trips interstate

Mr Posy and I didn’t take a lot of time off in 2011, but we did manage to get down to Melbourne in March/April for Niece Posy’s baptism, and to Sydney in June so Mr Posy could attend a work conference, with a couple of extra days on the side to relax. Both trips, while short, were exactly what we needed to recharge our batteries.

The C-word, Part II

While 2010 was the year that we discovered my mum had breast cancer, 2011 was the year that we beat it with chemo. It is of course still early days, but the worst of the battle is over.

There were great achievements

After four years in my current workplace, in April I finally won a permanent position – the position that I had been “acting” in for nine months at the time. I have a terrific team, and together we had an incredibly successful work year – cyclones and all.

I completed a second triathlon (the same beginners triathlon that I completed in 2010) – but I managed to shave FIVE MINUTES off my previous time. I felt like I was going to die on the last leg of the run, but, somehow, I stumbled over the finish line.

Weddings were celebrated

My childhood best friend got married in August, and I had the honour of being her bridesmaid. The wedding was a beautiful affair, held on their family’s property.

I was also fortunate to watch another dear friend get married, in a gorgeous ceremony, with a fairytale reception outside under the stars.

A new addition

Always one with my feet firmly in the dog-loving-camp, nobody was more surprised than my cat-loving Mr Posy when I finally agreed to us getting a cat. PosyKitty arrived in July and wormed her way into my heart. She is truly the sweetest little thing, and Niece Posy is completely obsessed with her.

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2012 is already shaping up to be another big year. Mr Posy and I are heading down to Sydney this weekend – for a very special little boy’s baptism and 1st birthday, and to celebrate my Nan and Pop’s 50th wedding anniversary.

There are big things on the horizon for the Posy family this year, and I cannot wait.

Groundhog Day

Do you ever feel like every day is Groundhog Day? Lately, I’ve felt like I’m living the same day over and over; like every day is the same as the last. I’m not exactly unhappy – but I am suffering a mad case of ennui.

I know that we’ve not long finished off the Christmas ham, and that we’re all dusting off our party shoes to bring in a new year, and that I should be buzzing with energy and excitement. But I’m not.

For the past few months, I’ve had dreams most nights of chopping off my hair, and at my next hair appointment in January, I plan to do exactly that. Such a plan would have previously been panic-inducing, but currently, the thought of it is exhilarating. Freeing. Change has always been a major source of anxiety for me, but right now, I’m itching for it.

I read blogs like Fit Mumma, Meals and Miles, Skinny Latte Strikes Back, and Healthy Tipping Point, and consequently I feel… restless. I want to achieve something big. Huge, even.

For months I’ve been trying to work out what that something was, and I’ve finally decided – the Blackmores Half Marathon in Sydney on Sunday 16 September 2012. Run, walk, stumble or crawl – I’m going to cross that finish line.

Feels like home

There’s something about Sydney that always soothes my soul.

Up until a month ago, the last proper holiday that Mr Posy and I took was in May 2009, when we went back to New York City for eight days. We’ve had time off since then, a long weekend here or there where we’d jet off to Sydney or Melbourne, or just lounge around in PosyTown… but it had been a while since we’d had a real break.

Back in March when Mr Posy mentioned that work was looking at sending him to a conference in Sydney, I was all over it like a rash. After checking the calendar, I discovered that the weekend following his conference was the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. I convinced Mr Posy to talk to his boss about taking the three days between his conference ending and the weekend as recreation leave; my boss was just back from a month-long jaunt around the US, so I knew I had bargaining power for the week off work.

When Mr Posy’s attendance at the conference and our leave was confirmed in April, I was quick to book my flights and our accommodation for the nights after the conference (that weren’t paid for by work). I started a “countdown” of work days to go on my calendar – only 57 days, woohoo! I started scheduling dates with friends. I’d been on edge for months – with everything that had been going on at work, with my family, with the in-laws – I was wrecked.

When the cool Sydney air hit my face as we walked out of the airport, I nearly burst into tears. Sydney has always felt like home – one day I hope that it will be. I’ve never felt as comfortable, or as happy, or as whole, as I do in Sydney… As sappy as that sounds.

Poor Mr Posy. He had a bit of a struggle on his hands, getting me on the return flight. I cried my eyes out, the entire plane-ride back to PosyTown.