One year later…

Exactly one year ago I watched the last episode of Murder, She Wrote, ending seven years of wildly inaccurate recaps of the exploits of the supreme being that is JB Fletcher.

In the twelve months that have passed, I tried really hard to find a replacement TV show but commitment issues, mental health issues and the apocalypse meant that a new show was hard to find.

But last night, I had a thought.

Does anyone want to hear about the time I won thirty thousand dollars on Deal or No Deal and went backpacking for six months when I was 22?

Insomnia and mushrooms

I got my hair done for the first time since the coronapocalypse yesterday. It was also the longest amount of time I spent on public transport, and only the second time I’ve worn jeans. Weird does not even begin to describe it, although I did get accosted by a lady who wanted to chat about onions so that was refreshingly normal.

While my hairdresser worked her magic, she asked me if I was having trouble sleeping. I was slightly taken aback, but she laughed and said everyone she’d spoken to this week wasn’t sleeping very well. She’s got a pretty good excuse, being extremely pregnant and all, but whatever is affecting her other clients is definitely affecting me too.

I am very much suffering from overwhelm right now – Victoria is heading back into lockdown, my job is very much getting me down right now, and the Black Lives Matter movement is quite rightly making me confront my own biases (and those of people that I thought knew bettter).

So life on planet Earth is a lot right now. I don’t really know what to say about it all, except boost minority voices wherever you can, keep your head, and if all you do is make your bed before getting back into it, then that’s still an achievement, and well done.

My achievement: I voluntarily ate mushrooms.

Parents of fussy eaters take heart! When I was a kid, I thought sausages and tomato sauce was the height of cuisine and I didn’t want a bar of anything else. That changed when I grew up, (thankfully) and now I eat pretty much anything heading in my direction.

Mushrooms though, mushrooms were a hard pass. Wouldn’t go near them despite many a person telling me that I just hadn’t had them cooked properly. Absolutely no time for fungus, I was resolute.

But a couple of weeks ago, I got a veggie box delivered to my flat in a vague effort to try and stop living off takeaway and bottles of red wine. I was worried about a potential fungus situation, and when I opened the box my fears were realized. Nestled on top of the pile were two big fat portobello mushrooms. (At least I think they were, my knowledge of mushrooms begins and ends with ew).

For a week they sat in my fridge, and I’d look at them and make guilt ridden irritated noises. I was torn. I hate mushrooms, but I hate food waste. So, I put the word out on social media to find out what I should do with them, and then proceeded to ignore all the advice I was given.

I made this. I ate this. What a time to be alive.

That, my friend, is a mushroom stuffed with cream cheese, garlic, bacon and chives from the pot on my windowsill. And boy I’m not kidding about the garlic. But I’m not gonna lie, it was really tasty. And I’m actually really proud of myself.

2020 might be a total dumpster fire, but I discovered it is possible to make mushrooms delicious. I wonder if I can do the same thing with reality TV?

Book break

My apartment only has airconditioning in the bedroom, so when summer is +35 degrees for more than three days I retreat to my bedroom with my tablet to reconsider my life choices.

Last summer, I binged the Marie Kondo show about tidying up, while sweating profusely and glaring out the window at the sun. When the show finished it was still too hot to even think about being more than three feet from the air con, so I Kondo-folded my socks. (What’s amazing is, over a year later and I still Kondo-fold my socks. UN. PRECENDENTED).

On an emergency trip to the fridge for cider to keep up my strength, I passed by my bookshelves and paused. Because here’s the thing. I have a lot of books. Like, A LOT. I once counted them once when I was half drunk one night, and said that if I got to over 200 books I’d think about doing a purge. Once I got to 400, I started to feel slightly sheepish.

So when I wandered past my bookshelves on my way back to the sweet sweet air conditioning, I decided I would see just how many of my books actually sparked joy. And in my defence, my first sweep of the bookshelf saw about 20 books go to the op-shop There were books left over from my Extremely Practical and Incredibly Beneficial To My Job degree in English Literature that I’d never read. A few books that contained the world Girl in their title went***. Dan Brown went (sorry Dan Brown).

I felt encouraged! I was achieving things! I was sparking joy!

Then of course I bought about 20 books and was back to square one because I cannot help myself. Books are the best. I love books. I buy books because I’m having a bad day. I buy books because I’m having a good day. I buy books because I’ve got an hour to kill and there’s a bookshop right there.

Since iso though, I’ve been at my desk, which is next to my bookshelves and I have been forced to admit that this needs attending to. So the journey to the end of my bookshelves has begun. I’m two books in, and alas both are keepers.

Silk by Alessandro Barrico is one of my absolutely favourite books, and one that I will never lend to anyone. It tells the story of French silk merchant HervĂ© Joncour, and his yearly visits to Japan to purchase silk worms. While he’s in Japan he meets a mysterious woman, who he becomes completely enamored with although they never speak. It’s such a beautiful book.

The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho I’m surprised I’m keeping. I wouldn’t have said it was a very me book, but I actually really enjoyed it. Maybe it’s timing – it’s nice to read something uplifting about finding your destiny when the whole world is literally falling apart. (I zoned out a bit at the end though if I’m honest).

2 books down, god knows how many to go.

#SPARKJOYBITCHES

Bx

Hey Briony, I’m over it?

Preach, sister.

Staying positive when everything just basically seems fucked seems impossible. Even when you hear tidbits of good news like states are slowly lifting restrictions and conditions are easing – that just sets my mind down a terrifying spiral of BUT I DON’T WANNA LEAVE MY HOUSE MY HOUSE IS COMFY AND WARM AND HAS CHOCOLATE IN IT.

I’ve been in a mood that can only be described as flat this week. If that’s you too, I hope the below video helps – I watch it when I’m feeling fed up and it makes me feel a whole lot better, even if it’s only for a second.

Hey Briony, How’s iso going?

I just worked out now that I’ve been on lockdown for nearly five weeks. Five weeks of wearing nothing but gym clothes and ordering the most random things on the internet.

In the last five weeks I have purchased:

  • Ylang ylang, vertiver and lavender essential oils (the minimum purchase was 4 bottles of ylang ylang, I might start a black market for this stuff)
  • A garlic press (because I couldn’t buy minced garlic at the supermarket)
  • 12 plants
  • A blanket
  • A fake bouquet of flowers
  • A vase to put the fake bouquet of flowers in
  • A spice rack
  • something called a heated shiatsu massage cushion (actually very glad about this)
  • A plant stand (because I bought 12 plants)
  • 2 books (which I genuinely forgot about even ordering)
  • A. Lot. Of. Wine.

Suffice to say, none of these were essential items (except maybe the wine), but this is apparently how I’m coping with the lockdown.

Because here’s the thing about this lockdown. It’s vital, and necessary, and important but I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE IN JAPAN.

The four weeks prior to the lockdown I was like Homer Simpson chasing his spit roast. China was in lockdown? Japan’s still good! Flights are being cancelled? Mine aren’t, Japan’s still good! The Australian government doesn’t want me to travel? Nah it’s still good! There’s a unilateral travel ban for all international travel? It’s sti– oh alright fine.

Was I devastated? Absolutely. Was I naive when I declared July would probably be fine? Ha, you bet. For the foreseeable future, no one is going anywhere.

And you know what? It absolutely sucks. It sucks because I work in the travel industry and most of my day is spent with people calling to cancel and telling me I’m going to be unemployed soon. It sucks because I haven’t been on holiday since 2016. And it sucks because I can’t even go back to Tasmania to visit my family.

But every time I get down about this, I try and remember that it could 100% be worse, and it definitely could be. I still have a job, and let’s be honest iso is a hermit’s time to shine. I’ve seen a lot of posts about practicing gratitude and I am very grateful – but I did not appreciate what a luxury sitting in the park reading a book is until the option was taken away.

The hardest part is that no one has any definite answers. Is my job secure? When will we be able to see our friends again? WHEN WILL I BE ABLE TO GO TO THE FOOTBALL? People ring my workplace and demand to know when holidays are possible again, and get mad when we can’t tell them. Uncertainty is a horrible place to live in, especially when up until now the world revolved around people dealing in Facts and Certainties and Absolute Concrete Opinions. None of that seems to apply right now, and it’s definitely scary and frustrating.

But it’s not all bad news. The weather is beautiful, the leaves are turning and I’ve just about walked up and down every street in my neighbourhood sticky-beaking at the houses and finding Pokemon to catch. And now that my commute is 30 seconds instead of an hour, I can theoretically go for a walk in the morning and spend time cooking dinner.

Of course, I don’t. I lie in bed playing Candy Crush while my cat judges me, and I order takeaway while I binge watch the original Star Trek. Because it’s iso, it’s not a twelve step life reimagining workshop.

It’s okay.

It will be better.

I still don’t know what this blog will be yet. Please send me questions/suggestions/videos of pets ruining gym sessions.

Bx