Taylor Swift 1989 World Tour Review

So, after buying the tickets over a year ago, and dramas with the people I was originally going with no longer coming, the night finally arrived.  This is my fourth Tay Tay concert.  The first one I went to was at a (relatively) small location that most Melbournians are familiar with as a nightclub – Billboards.  She would have been about 19, this was her first time performing in Australia and she only had one album behind her.  She was still very country-sounding, and still had her famous curly hair.  There was maybe 500 people in the venue.

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Taylor Swift, Billboards, March 2009

Flashforward to now, six and a half years later, and she’s sold out three Melbourne shows, has lost her curls and has moved far away from her country roots.  She still enjoys her sparkly dresses though!

I’ll be honest, after the dramas leading up to it and the massive wait since purchasing the tickets, my enthusiasm wasn’t particularly high as I was heading in for the show.  It didn’t help it was Friday night after a long work week, and I’d been up since 6am.  Still, I’d wrangled presale tickets that cost $180 each (a far cry from the $50 I paid way back in 2009) so I was going to try to “shake off” my tiredness and enjoy the show.

The first thing I did was head to the nearest merch stand and join the massive line.  I know it’s a rip off but I always get something from concerts.  I couldn’t get anything at Billboards, but each concert since I’ve grabbed something – the first I got was a cute hat, the following one I got a shirt (which I still wear more than pretty much anything else).  As I was standing in line, squinting to see what was on offer, I was tossing up whether to get another shirt, or spend an arm and a leg on a hoodie.  I decided to bite the bullet and go for the hoodie as I didn’t have many jumpers anyway, and I already had a shirt.  At the last second, my best mate jumped in and shoved cash at the girl, telling me it was my Christmas present.  I honestly didn’t see it coming and didn’t have time to react, so I couldn’t stop him spending so much on me.  It was nice of him to do, but the hoodie was $100.

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My merch collection

After waiting in line for over half an hour and not having eaten since lunch (which felt like a lifetime ago by this stage), we headed off to find food.  This was when it first became clear that the venue – AAMI Park – was not like the usual arena these sort of concerts were held at (it’s normally held at its sister stadium Rod Lavar Arena, but Elton John was performing there that night).  Rod Lavar Arena had everything inside the concourse and you could enter through any door and walk around.  AAMI park, it seemed, did not work like that, at least not during this kind of event.  We initially headed up the closest steps which read Gate 6, 7 and 8, assuming we’d just walk around to Gate 2 (where we needed to be).  Once we got up there, though, there were temporary fences blocking the way and mobs of people trying to work out where to go.  Even with security around, there just wasn’t enough to get to everyone.

We headed back down the stairs and started walking around the outside of the stadium, not even sure if we were headed in the right direction.  On the way, we stopped by a food stand and purchased overpriced, tasteless dinner.  I could say it was disappointing (and it was), but Australians have come to expect that from stadiums so there’s really not much point in going into detail with that.  We ate it to curb our hunger, not because we thought we’d enjoy it.  As we were eating, we kept walking, battling through the enormous crowds, hoping like hell we were walking in the right direction and we wouldn’t hit another fence.  Luckily, we found the right gate and headed up, only to be told in no uncertain terms we would not be allowed in with backpacks…and my friend had a giant one as he’d come straight from work.  I also had a large bag, although I wasn’t told specifically one way or the other whether mine would be acceptable.  As it was getting late, we just assumed mine would be too big as well, to save us getting knocked back a second time.  We were told to go back downstairs and to the drop off arena.  Another line to wait in.  Backpacks were never an issue at Rod Lavar, so this was another annoyance to add to the list.  Nobody even gave an explanation as to why – it just was.

While I was waiting, I changed into my new hoodie, as the night was already cooling down quickly and I’d only worn a light cardigan.  The hoodie was awesome – I got the biggest size they had, and it was oversized and warm and snuggly.  I was very happy about that as I was worried it’d be bad quality (as some stuff from merch stands can be).  Instead, it’s now the best jumper I own!

After finally dropping off our bags and heading upstairs again, we were let inside.  They handed us a white rubbery bracelet at the door, and then we basically had to fumble our way through the concourse trying to decipher the signage.  Yet another thing Rod Lavar does better – a lot better.  The signage was confusing, sometimes hard to find and always hard to translate back to what was on the ticket.  Once we finally found the right door to go through, we headed down to the floor.  As I mentioned earlier, these were expensive presale tickets.  I was under the impression they’d be good seats.  While I’m not denying there were probably worse ones, these weren’t fantastic.  The seats were cheap plastic temporary ones, zip-tied together far too close for comfort so when everyone was sitting we were all crammed in.  The other issue with being on the floor was that its all one level, so unless you’re in the front row of your section, it’s a gamble as to what you’ll actually be able to see.  I wasn’t impressed.  And before anyone starts, presale tickets don’t give you a massive choice of seating, so I couldn’t have chosen to go Level 1 or 2 even if I’d wanted to, unless I took my chances and waited until they officially went on sale, but the previous tour tickets sold out within twenty minutes or something, so I didn’t want to risk it.  Plus, you’d assume presale tickets would be good seats anyway.

My other annoyance was that the roof doesn’t close on AAMI Park.  It was designed to be a sports arena (namely, soccer) so I guess they didn’t need a roof for that.  All I can say is, I’m glad it didn’t rain, as being on the floor (aka the ground) would mean there’s absolutely no protection from the weather.  It was seriously cold though.  The wind was strong and icy and everyone was shivering and pulling on any extra layers they could.  I, once again, was relived I’d chosen the hoodie at the merch stand.  I don’t think I’d have lasted through the whole concert with just the cardigan I came with.  Had the concert been at Rod Lavar like the previous two, the stadium roof would have been closed and the wind blocked out.  Instead, we all froze half to death.

As the seats filled up, it became very apparent I’m not going to be able to see very much.  I was about halfway down in our ‘section’ and there were taller people in the front rows.  Plus, I had little girls in the seats in front of me (maybe about 8 and 10) and the only way they could see over anyone was to stand on their seats.  I completely understood, but it didn’t help my view.  $180 and I could barely even see the giant screens next to the stage (never mind the stage itself).  What a joke.  As there was a massive space next to our seats (I’m talking at least 5×5 metres, minimum), I went and stood there instead, where my view was much, much better.

The concert started with a bang, as it should.  It started with Welcome to New Yorkwith giant black-and-white noir-style images on the screens behind the stage.  It quickly jumped then into New Romanticsone of my favourite tracks off the album.

During costume changes, there were “interviews” with Taylor’s squad, including Selena Gomez and her best friend Abigail, full of messages targeted at the younger members of the audience.  All bubbly and uplifting and occasionally funny.   Again, I understand the motive behind them, and I’m sure the younger members of the audience enjoyed them and got something from them, but for the older people (which is actually a large majority), it was a time to notice the cold and wish she’d come back on stage to distract us from it once more.

About halfway through she played my favourite song from the album, How to Get the Girl.  It was also around this time that an old security guard marched up to us and told us we must go back to our seats due to “OH&S issues”.  What the fuck does that mean?  We weren’t in the way, there was metres of space on either side, we were still close to the seating, and we weren’t hurting anyone at all by being there.  I was going to argue, but I knew exactly what he’d say – “if I let you do it, I’ll have to let everyone do it”.  Fair enough, except most people seemed okay where they were.  It was only us and maybe two others from our seating group who’d decided to move slightly away from the seats.  Whatever.  My bad mood returned as I struggled to see anything at all.  It again crossed my mind to leave, not because of the concert (it was her usual awesome quality), but because of the awful venue choice.  I managed to find somewhere to stand where I could see at least one screen, so that helped.  It also helped that a couple of songs after How to Get the Girl, she’d jumped onto a giant crane and was above the heads of the crowd, so I could finally get a decent view that wasn’t from a screen.

When she jumped onto the crane, she played a really old song of hers, Fifteen, as her twenty-sixth birthday is next week.  It’s a great song, so this lifted my mood again further.  She spent the next few songs on the crane, so standing in my seating area wasn’t an issue.  She played Love Story, which I’d seen her perform at her last two concerts, but this was a slightly more rocky version, and was really cool.  Then – sadly – she got off the crane.  By this point, though, the little girls in front had succumbed to the cold and had gone home, so my view suddenly got a lot better anyway. (Side note, another reason why this venue sucks.  I mean, yes, I got my view, but those little girls had probably been counting down the months, weeks and days to come to this concert and then left halfway through because they couldn’t stand the wind any more.  And their parents would have paid the same price for a ticket I had, but for 4 people as the girls had an older sister with them as well – that’s $720 for half a concert!  They battled to stay too, but it got to the point one of them was hunched over and close to tears from the cold. Seriously, that’s messed up.)

The best two songs IMO came right towards then end, when she played We’re Never Getting Back Together followed closely by Wildest Dreams.  The coolest part of that was she’d remixed the latter to combine any older song of hers – Enchanted – with it.  I love both those songs, so it was the highlight of the show for me.

Sadly, unlike her US and UK shows, Australia didn’t get any surprise visits from Taylor’s friends.  I can’t say I’m surprised, as down under usually miss out on stuff like that, but it would have been nice to have had it too.

As the show wrapped up with Shake It Off, we left halfway through.  Not by choice, really, as I would have loved to see it through to the end, but because we knew if we didn’t get out early, we’d get stuck in the massive line to collect our bags.  It was lucky we did leave then, as we were right towards the front of the line.  Once the show let out, the line was so long it wrapped around the outside of the stadium so far I couldn’t see it any more.  We assumed they’d be pleased we’d come early and gratefully hand over our things as quickly as possible.  After the evening’s dramas though, I don’t know what gave me that idea.  We were told that the bags were being kept in a secure location but couldn’t be accessed until a majority of the people had cleared the stadium as it was right off a corridor that is used to let people out.  Basically, they couldn’t give us our stuff for “at least twenty minutes, but maybe longer”.

SERIOUSLY.

I was extremely annoyed by the way this stadium ran things.  I don’t know who designed it or why it was thought to be a good idea to do it that way, but if you aren’t going to allow backpacks into the arena, thereby forcing a large number of patrons to use the cloak room system that otherwise wouldn’t and who didn’t have any choice in the matter, don’t make them wait for twenty minutes in the blistering cold to get them back.  It’s common fucking sense.  Either cordon off the corridor, or don’t use that area to store stuff in the first place.  Once they finally deemed the stadium empty enough, it was just as disorganised actually getting our stuff back.  There was one little table slotted in one little doorway, and they’d take the ticket they’d given us earlier and tell us to “wait to the side” – all well and good except they’re saying that to 10, 20, 30 people at once.  There’s physically no room to fit that many people in that little space.  And yet, they kept insisting people “move over” to let people who hadn’t given their ticket in.  It was chaos.  I was so relived when my bag finally made an appearance.  I just wanted to get out of there.

On the walk back, the traffic we walked past was absolutely bumper-to-bumper stopped back as far as the eye could see.  I don’t think it was a great idea to have Elton John and Taylor Swift playing at stadiums a stones-throw away from each other.  The city streets couldn’t deal with that kind of traffic.  The line at the taxi rank was enormous, and I’m sure would have taken hours to clear as the cars were barely moving in front of it, meaning taxis couldn’t get there if they wanted to.  As cold and tired as I was, I was glad I’d predicted this and had parked further away from it all.  I could hear people talking on phones nearby complaining loudly about having no way to get home.

One thing I haven’t mentioned but that really, really impressed me was the free bracelets we got given at the door.  They lit up different colours and at different times in time to the music.  I know that doesn’t sound all that cool, but in a sea of 30,000 people, all with them on, it was beautiful.  The thing that impressed me the most about it was that they’d managed to do it by seating – for one song, the people in the stands had their bracelets lit up blue, and us down on the floor had them green.  I’m sure this will become the new norm for concerts in the future, as it beats the hell out of mobile phone screens and overpriced flashing torches from the merch stand.

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Overall, the concert itself was great, and the setlist, backgrounds, special effects, costumes and crane usage was very well done and thought out.  I only wish the venue hadn’t let me down in so many ways, and almost ruined a night that should have been epic.  I will not be going back to AAMI Park for concerts (and seeing as how sport is not my thing, it’s a safe bet I won’t be going there for that either).  If Taylor performs there next time, I will be skipping it.  I’m not going to risk spending big bucks and not being able to enjoy myself.  I only hope that she manages to get back to Rod Lavar next time where everything is a lot better!

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Panorama of the stadium with their bracelet lit up

Time to Change – Day Fifty-Six

Tonight I’m writing this as a redhead.  And it feels great!  I have a wedding to go to tomorrow and the original plan was that I’d go to a salon with my friend (who’s also coming to the wedding) and we’d get our hair done there.  Time got away from her though so that fell through.  I was a bit bummed as I’ve wanted to get my hair coloured for awhile and I finally had the money to do it.  A few years ago I’d always have my hair coloured (I’d been red, blonde, dark brown and even multicoloured for awhile) but then my friend stopped doing hair colouring (she was the one I’d aways go to because mates rates are the best) and so I stopped.

The wedding seemed like the perfect time to get back into it, so I decided that I’d just buy a box of hair colour instead.  I’ve only ever tried this once before, and although the results were okay in the end, it hurt like buggery when I put it on to the point where I had to wash it off early.  Luckily there weren’t any side affects and it stopped hurting after it washed out, but needless to say, I was a little nervous trying it again.  Although it was kind of a last minute decision, I still took the time to do a bit of research first.  I decided I’d try Revlon as all the reviews seemed good (a lot better than most of the others I’d looked up).  Anyway, I headed off to my local supermarket, feeling nervous but excited as well – I was finally gonna have red hair again!

I get to the isle full of boxes of hair dye.  I scan over them, expecting to see Revlon.  The supermarket app said they had them in store (I checked before I left).  After standing there awkwardly for a good couple of minutes, it became clear that they didn’t stock what I wanted.  Great, I cursed, now what?!  I got my phone out and frantically started googling the brands they did have.  I already knew L’Oreal was out as I’d read really bad things about it…which was annoying because literally half of all their hair dye stock was that brand.  After what felt like an eternity (not helped by the lack-of-reception) I decided I’d try Schwarzkopf as this seemed to have decent reviews too.  The box said for long hair, I’d probably need to use two kits, so I grabbed both and headed home.

I was super worried about the mess I was going to make, so I grabbed a towel and an old shirt and headed into my bathroom.  I reread the instructions several times, paranoid I’d make a mistake.  When it comes to hair (especially on the eve a of a wedding), you don’t want to mess it up.  I slowly worked through the steps, then started mixing the red goop through my hair.  It smelt unbearably awful, and made my eyes water.  Next time, I’ll probably try to set up a work station outside so there’s good ventilation.  I mixed in as much as I could, which turned out to be about one and a half packets.  That was probably accurate as one kit does up to shoulder length, and mine is only about an inch or two longer than that.  I then realized I’d forgotten to buy a shower cap at the shops – D’Oh! – so I decided to try using a plastic bag instead.  It kit of worked, although wasn’t tight enough to hold my hair in place, so I put a towel over that and it seemed to be okay (although I looked ridiculous!).

I was so worried the whole time my head was gonna heat up and start burning like it did last time, but it didn’t happen which was fantastic.  I only had a little tiny stinging sensation and I always get that, even when my friend used to do it.  After half an hour, it was time to wash it out.  I’ll admit, I didn’t read the instructions properly, although it didn’t really matter.  The kit comes with a tube of special conditioner, and if I’d have read that part of the help sheet, I would have known to leave the shower running after I’d finished washing the dye out.  It asked me to towel off my hair, then put the conditioner in it, then rinse it out again.  No harm done though.  I’m glad that was the worst mistake I made, because it means I did pretty well!

As my hair is prone to frizziness, I never use a hairdryer as a rule, as that is a surefire way to dry it out even more.  Because of this, it means I have to wait for it to dry naturally to see the full effect.  It’s almost there, and it’s looking pretty good.  My hair started out fairly dark, so I knew it was never going to turn out bright red like the box.  It’s now sort of a dark red, kind of purple, which is fine.  I’d have liked it brighter but this isn’t a terrible colour.  The main thing is, it appears like I got it pretty well covered and it isn’t patchy.  No wait, the real main thing is, I’m not allergic to it!  If I was, there’d be no wedding for me tomorrow.  Pretty happy considering what a potential disaster it could have been.

Anyway, I’ll rewind a little because I didn’t blog yesterday.  I had my last day of work for the week and had to work til 8pm, yuck.  That’s the latest I’ve worked since my previous job, and I can’t say I’ve missed it.  That being said, the time went pretty fast and I had some lovely customers so I ended Friday the 13th on a high.  I had my cheat meal for the week for dinner as there isn’t a freezer there for Lite N Easy (plus, I didn’t really want to eat that on a 30 minute break anyway), so I bought some greasy, delicious KFC instead.  If I’m gonna have a cheat meal, it may as well be something amazing!  I’d skipped lunch in the hope that all the extra calories wouldn’t be quite so bad…though let’s be honest, I probably ate two days worth in one go.

Today I ate pretty well to make up for it.  Light peanut butter on light wholegrain saladas (yes, they tasted about as interesting as they sound) for breakfast, I skipped lunch because I was out (I’ll go into that in a second), then had an early dinner of Lite N Easy Shepard’s Pie, and a couple of mini custard tarts for dessert.  For the day I only went over my calorie limit by 100, and that was because of the dessert.  Overall, an okay day.  The shepard’s pie was nice too, I’d definitely order that again.  Packed full of veggies so you can see you’re eating healthy food!

Okay, so the reason I skipped lunch was because my mum and grandma came over.  My grandma had surgery about two weeks ago (I mentioned previously she’d been diagnosed with uterine cancer).  She had a hysterectomy and seem to have gotten it all, so that’s all fine.  As I predicted prior to the operation, her memory is very fuzzy around it (she’s in the early stages of dementia and gets confused/forgets things a lot).  One second she’s with it completely, the next she’s repeating a question she’s literally just asked.  Normally, other than being an annoyance, it doesn’t really hurt anyone, but the issue is that about 80% of the time, she forgets she’s even had an operation.  She’s also had some complications so the doctor has put her on a strict diet while she recovers, and she can’t eat a lot of food groups.  Of course, she can’t remember that either, so my mum and uncle have taken turns to look after her.  It’s not easy as in some ways she’s like a naughty three year old, always getting into things or doing things she shouldn’t the second she’s alone.  She doesn’t mean to do it, she just forgets she’s not supposed to.  She needs to constantly be reminded not to lift things, to watch where she’s walking, to slow down.  She’s over the worst of it as it’s been a couple of weeks, but she’s definitely not out of the woods yet.

So they came over to my house this afternoon, and we went to the local display village to show grandma the builder I’m building my house with, and to walk through their display homes.  Mum’s idea, not mine, as firstly, the display homes generally look nothing like what I’ve picked, and secondly, grandma isn’t going to remember any of it anyway.  The first display home (as expected) looked nothing like the house I’ve chosen.  We weren’t even going to go into the second one as it was double storey and massive and even less likely to be like mine.  When we walked in we were pleasantly surprised – the flooring was exactly what I’d chosen (well, the majority anyway – it had laminate timber flooring in the colour I picked, the bathroom tiles were pretty much the same and the carpet was only slightly lighter) and the benchtops and kitchen cabinets were almost the same too.  It was really cool to see my design choices in real life, and even cooler that it was put into their biggest, flashiest display home.  Looks like I picked well!

After that we headed up to the estate where I’m building.  I haven’t been there in ages, but that’s because each time I did, there was always roadworks and traffic and although there were always big machines around, they didn’t seem to be doing very much in terms of progress.  I assumed it was probably going to be the same thing again.  The title date had already been pushed back three times, and I was expecting to see nothing again.  Instead, they’ve done heaps!  There’s actual roads now (albiet unsealed ones) and proper concrete roundabouts and gutters and even some driveways!  The lots weren’t marked out yet (which kind of sucked) but it was still so cool to finally see the estate taking shape, and having a rough idea of where I was going to be living soon.  It’s so exciting that it’s finally processing and soon enough, not everything is going to be in writing or drawings, it’ll be in real life!

Tomorrow I have a wedding to go to.  It’ll be interesting, mostly because I’ve only ever been to two other weddings before in my life and they were quite different from each other.  This is bound to be different again, though I’d expect it’ll be probably closer to the first one I went to.  I’m going with two of my closest friends so it’ll be a bit of fun.

Hope your weekend is just as exciting!

PS thinking of anyone involved directly and indirectly with the Paris terrorist attacks.  Stay strong.  They can hurt people but they can’t break spirits.

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 soh12119004_10153175685076570_739979882010388096_nThe Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Cricket Ground lit up for Paris, as many other landmarks around the globe were too.

“When the city of light goes dark, the rest of the world lights up for them.” #PrayForParis

Time to Change – Day Fifty-Four

Today I had training in the city.  Training I’d already done twice before.  Despite that, my day went okay.  I woke up extra early to finish cleaning in preparation for the inspection that was happening today while I was at work.  I then got ready and raced out the door to the bus stop.

The morning was a bit crazy, as I’d gone to the normal building we usually have training in, to find nobody there.  After asking another colleague who was already with the trainer where he was, it turns out they were in a different building up the road (the building, it turns out, where I had my original interview for the job all those weeks ago).  I wasn’t the only person who made that mistake…it seems like half group did.  By the time everyone finally found their way to the right address, the session was already 15 minutes behind.  What a mess.

Anyway, we had one of the trainers that I’d had through my induction and he’s really good (and kind of cute) so that was fun, despite the boring topics that I could practically recite in my sleep.  We had a lot of laughs and, best of all, got let out over an hour early.  I love love love getting out early as it means I’m not crammed into a peak hour train, and I get home quicker.  So much win!

I also got confirmation that I’m going to be at my temporary store for another week, which I’m really happy about as the manager there already told me if I was going to be with them, he was changing my roster to 9-5 every day, instead of the obscure late shifts I’d been given.  So happy!  I hate late shifts so this works out fantastically.  Plus, I’ve come to really like the team there so spending another week with them is going to be great.

My food for the day was pretty good.  After all the early morning cleaning, I ran out of time for breakfast so I grabbed a Boost Juice on the way to training.  I accidentally ordered a large one instead of small, but only managed to get through about half (which is why I wanted a small one in the first place!  Whoops).  I had banana bread for morning tea…probably my worst food choice of the day, but I think that makes today a good one.  I could have done a lot worse!  For lunch, I got dragged out to the local food court (I’d bought lunch but I didn’t want to carry it around with me).  I’ll admit, I was extremely tempted to buy fast food.  It all smelt so good!  But my colleague insisted we eat healthy (luckily) so we got yoghurt instead.  I also got a diet coke, but I couldn’t even manage to get through half the bottle.  I really am turning a corner!

During the afternoon, the guy who was supposed to inspect my house (and whom I’d been cleaning for the past three days for) told me that he’d forgotten to bring the spare keys and would I be home to let him in later?  I told him there’s no chance of that so he had to reschedule.  Urgh, seriously?!  You had one job!  Bring the keys!  Very irritating as now I’m gonna have to do a big vacuum and whatnot next Wednesday too.  Don’t get me wrong, I actually don’t mind vacuuming, but trying to get all the hair up is a big job…and by next week it’ll be like I never did it.  Living with a golden retriever basically means you live in a house constantly confetti’d with fur.  Especially if you don’t have time (or patience) to constantly stay on top of it.

After getting home, I was really craving junk again.  Fish and chips in particular.  This has always been one of my absolute favourite meal choices, so it was very hard to shake the craving.  I just tried to force it out of my mind, and decided I’d just make Lite n Easy Crumbed Fish instead.  It’s basically the boring, healthy version of fish and chips, but with a bucketload of veggies on the side.  This was probably one of the worst LnE meals I’ve had, though I guess that’s more because my mind was wanting me to tuck into greasy, salty fish and chips and it got bland fish and veggies instead.  Anything would seem bad when it’s put like that!

As I caught public transport, my step count finished up at over 7500, which is really good for me!  And on top of that, because I had a decent day, my calorie count was under my daily goal limit for the first time in a long while.  Hells yeah!

Today I also – finally – got my old blog posts back from MySpace, written back when I was 15-19, all 75 of them.  I’ve only had a chance to read through a few of them (they send it to you in a basic format so it’s absolutely littered with HTML code so it makes it difficult to decipher), but it bought back so many memories!  So many adventures, long-gone worries and friends I don’t speak to any more.  Also, so many cringeworthy things I told the world about back then.  I’ve got a couple I want to share with you, but that will have to wait.  It’s really late and I have work tomorrow.  Stay tuned though, they’ll be coming!
(Side note, if any of you used to post on MySpace, I’d recommend requesting for them back.  So good to have access to them now that the website doesn’t show them through profiles or support blogging any more!  Embarrassing or not, I hate knowing parts of me are gone.)

How was your day today?

-JD

Time to Change – Day Forty-Seven

Well, today was definitely better than yesterday!  I’m feeling pretty good right now about everything.  I’m even feeling wide awake, unusual for this hour.

I had my second day of training in the city.  Unlike yesterday, the trip in was wonderfully uneventful, aside from the fact it was raining so I had to drive to the bus stop.  Not a huge deal, though it did eat into my usual step count a little.  I arrived in the classroom right on time, and only one other person was there, so technically the 15 or so others were late.  After the dramas of yesterday, that made me feel awesome!

The training itself was okay.  It wasn’t as interesting as yesterday overall, but it wasn’t totally boring either.  It was more revolving around sales and customer service techniques that I’d learnt at induction, but it was a good kind of refresher.  On top of that, there was a lot of group work so I got to know my future workmates a bit better, so that was cool.

For the most part, I ate really well today.  I started the morning with yoghurt and strawberries, blueberries and Chia seeds (I made sure I allowed myself time for it today!).  For lunch I had sultanas, an apple and light n crispy shapes – the same as yesterday, as that seemed to work well.  As an afternoon snack I was a bit naughty again and ate chocolate, but as I previously spoke about, it helps me get through all-day training sessions without getting a migraine.

The weather had been miserable all day, and we got a great view of it out the 14th story window. During the afternoon – towards the end of the session – news broke that there’d been damaging storms in some areas and a tornado warning IN MY SURBURB.  I know I have a lot of readers from outside Australia so to you, that might not seem that crazy.  Tornadoes very rarely happen down under.  When they do, they most often happen in warmer climates such as Cairns or Queensland, and mostly happen in winter.  I’ve never heard of one happening in Melbourne, in Spring, in a very non-coastal area.  Especially when there’d been absolutely no lead up or prewarning.  I wasn’t even aware it was set to storm today, much less THAT.

I knew the media had a very good track record of blowing things out of proportion (no pun intended) so I wasn’t too worried.  I’d seen some blurry cam pics on social media of the tornado and while there was no denying it was one (or at least, looked like it), the pictures didn’t show it being near any populated areas.  It’s not to say it wasn’t, I just didn’t want to stress over it, as the media hadn’t reported any damage to property or injuries to people, and they love to report that kind of stuff.

We got let out early from training after we struck up a deal with the trainer, so I was already on my way home by 5.  By then, the rain had completely cleared and it was blue skies and sunny.  I’m sure people think it’s an exaggeration when they hear “Melbourne can have 4 seasons in one day”.  It’s not.  If you had of flown in at 4.30pm today and someone told you there had been massive storms and tornadoes just hours before, you would have looked up at the pretty sky and warm sunshine and laughed at them.  I walked onto my morning train damp and sticky from rain, I got off my afternoon train sweating.  I’ve grown up with this crazy weather nonsense my whole life and I still can’t believe it.

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These were taken within a couple of hours of each other!

Anyway, I digress.  As I got off the train, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’ve only ever seen tornado damage on huge scales on TV.  Hell, even big storms can leave trees upended and cars damaged.  Instead (as I half-suspected earlier), aside from some puddles, there was absolutely no evidence anything had happened at all.  The station looked exactly as it had 10 hours prior, everyone at the station looked calm and unhurt.  Maybe it didn’t affect this particular area, I thought, just in case I got home to half my house gone.

I looked intently out the window the whole bus trip, expecting at some point to see some damage.  Nothing.  No trees – or even branches – out of place, no construction sites upended, no roads flooded.  Nothing.  It looked like maybe there had been a sunshower awhile ago and that was it.  Very anti-climactic, although I’m not complaining.  I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of a random tornado blowing through my front door when I wasn’t home.

I was also relieved to see my big Lite N Easy order sitting neatly on my front door mat.  I was firstly worried it might have gotten damaged (or blown away completely) in the weather.  I was also concerned someone might steal it.  I guess the first problem kept the second one from being much of an issue.

I was so excited to open up the box and put it all away, and to pick my first meal.  I was starving and spoilt for choice.  I still couldn’t believe all these options were so healthy.  After filling up my freezer, I decided it was gonna be good old mac and cheese tonight.  7 mins in the microwave and it was done!

I was extremely surprised by it.  Firstly, the portion size was great.  It made about as much as your typical box of M&C, but with about half the calories.  Very filling.  Secondly, the taste.  While I don’t think I’ve ever really had proper home made M&C to compare it with (it’s just not treated with the same appreciation as I hear it is in the States), I can tell you it tastes a lot better than any pre-packaged stuff I’ve had.  “Of course it does”, I hear you cry.  Keep in mind, not only is this low-cal, but comes frozen.  In my mind the risk was pretty high it’d be on par with packet stuff, or potentially worse.  Instead, it was some of the best I’ve had!  If all my Lite n Easy meals are this good, they’ll have a customer for a long time to come.  I don’t want to get too carried away just yet though.  I’ll give my final verdict after I’ve had at least a few more meals!

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So overall, a good day.  Due to driving to the bus stop my step count was under 6000, but I think that can be forgiven since apparently it’s tornado season in my area.  I punched in all my food into MyFitnessPal and basically broke even, so I’m not complaining.  If it wasn’t for the chocolate I’d be well under!  Still, I’m not complaining.  This is the healthiest day I’ve had in about a fortnight and I feel like I’m slowly getting back on track!

-JD