all the challenges


giant blue balls

SML drinks this evening to celebrate the end of the financial year and everyone achieving their targets! Yay! And to farewell Dr12! Boo! So sad to see him leave – he’s been a great leader (even though he does not care for charts).

I sat on lime and sodas and watched everyone get smashed – surprisingly this is actually a little less boring than you’d imagine – and didn’t kick on because I was keen to come home for nachos!

When I arrived home at around 7pm, I discovered Don with a torch.

The hot water heater was pouring water all over the top balcony. Rats! Fortunately it is an outside one so didn’t flood ThePalace(OfLove), but yeah – no hot water for us.

Don called our amazing plumber who is coming on Friday to install a replacement. We knew it was nearing end-of-life, but had hoped to get another year out of it, because $$$ (and we were kind of toying with the idea of solar). We should have realised something was up because it was taking an age to warm up and our showers were kind of lukewarm – we had assumed that it was because it had been particularly cold this winter.

Not entirely looking forward to a day and a bit of very, very cold water – thank goodness for kettles!

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getting our money’s worth

On Monday morning as we were preparing to leave for the daily stint of indentured servitude, Don waved the car insurance renewal form which had been sitting on his desk for an age and pointed out that it expired that day. Yikes – it had been completely overlooked! Fortunately it was paid later that day and everything was all good.

Yeah, this is totally not foreshadowing at all

We then continued with our busy week. I had to present to our Board for the first time (eeek!), meet the new CEO (starts in August), produce a ton of unplanned reports and forecasts for the Board Committee meetings, attend farewell dinner for Joan, rewrite job spec, complete extensive performance review documentation for self and team, manage a bunch of difficult peers and many new &etcs in with the usual &etcs.

It was all a little mentally exhausting and I celebrated this by growing a Giant Cold Sore which appeared without warning (so I could not take the magical preventative pills), just in time for the Board meeting and having photos taken which will appear in external comms. ACK!

I was quite pleased when we got to Friday afternoon … until …

Don called and told me that he’d gone out for a hit at lunch with his new driver1, then because he was running late for a meeting he parked in the one way street behind his work rather than in our secure spot.

He’d come out later to feed the parking meter and found that a car had run into the ute parked behind panzo with such force that it had been pushed into panzo causing quite a bit of damage to both cars.

The damage is indicated by the pink crosses below (lest you think they are shadows).

When Don arrived, the owner of the pushed ute was just getting off the phone from his insurers – but the perpetrator was nowhere to be found. But yay! there were notes left on the windscreen of both damaged cars BUT when called the number rings out and the registration number left on the panzo note was that of the dude’s ute that was pushed into us. So yeah – hit and run.

There were a bunch of witnesses who identified the make and colour of the vehicle but they didn’t take down the registration details because the driver left notes – what an absolute see-you-next-tuesday.

Fortunately Panzo is still driveable and is booked in with the assessor on Monday afternoon.

And thanks to TheUniverse that Don grabbed that insurance form on Monday AND remembered to pay it!

1His last big purchase before The Plan starts on Wednesday

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very quiet around here


queueing for check-in (best hair in the family)

Well, this day came much more quickly than we’d anticipated!

Long time readers will know that Joan is a very keen traveller. Today she flew out for a 5-6 month adventure.

She’s been madly saving for this for quite a while and resigned from GiantLawFirm in April – her last day was Wednesday. Her travel plan is that she has no plan!

Well, her first month is covered. She’s meeting Ajax in Amsterdam (they were on different flights) and they’re spending a month together in the Netherlands (visiting family), Corsica and Paris. Ajax flies home and then she’s on her own. The basic idea is Europe, USA, Asia then home for Xmas.


my baby girls

There were many tears (mostly mine). I am so proud of her! Such a brave and exciting thing to do.

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inspiring ladies x 3


ngv – would have to say is my favourite gallery

Late last year, completely by chance, I ran into one of my long time Imaginary Internet Friends for the first time In Real Life – in a worlds colliding kind of context. He introduced me to the wonderful Catherine Croll who was accompanying him.

Kate and I happened to be at another worlds colliding function last week and she asked what exciting things I’ve been doing. Me: “ummm … not a lot really”. Kate: “okay, what exciting things do you have planned?” Me: “errmm … pretty much more of the same”. Kate: ” well, what are you going to do about it?”

This blew my mind! What a great question! And what am I going to do about it?

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Then a couple of days later, I read an fabulous post by the excellent anyresemblance who recounted some coaching advice she’d recently received from a colleague:

“Think of your current job as the one you always wanted”, she said “Now, what are you going to do with it to make it just like that?”

This also blew my mind! I need someone in my life to give me this kind of guidance (I’m very fortunate I have it by proxy).

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And lastly, when I was all grumpish and full of extreme sooking, I came across this:

things I do when I am having a bad day

The Stop-Being-a-Whiny-Bitch Scavenger Hunt
With 3.5 hours left in the day, I had to:
• Fix something
• Demo something
• Appreciate something
• Do something to make tomorrow easier
• Do something ridiculous

I am totally busting this out next time I am whingey and full of self pity. Though I probably should find a replacement for the demo-ing.

As an aside, if you have not read diy diva, you totally should. She is completely amazing – renovating a farm house and associated barns and such and raising animals and a garden by herself in addition to holding down quite demanding full time job.

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Very much food for thought – when I can actually get my head away from year-end SML stuff. Roll on 2015/16!

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wrong footed


breaking the rules

My goodness, what a grumpy, miserable poppet I have been this week!

I recall that last time I quit drinking I was equally grumpish for the first little bit. I’m hopeful that is the cause and I simply need to ride it out. Also, I need to get out and run.

It is quite amazing what such things can do to your brain.

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Yesterday Heather, Knut and AnxiousMum went for a boozy lunch to celebrate exceeding our 2014/15 target by an enormous amount. This after two years of massive failure under Hecate. Yay!

Well, they were very (very) boozy, I stuck to pineapple mocktails and lime and soda. It was all very civilised, we congratulated ourselves on our teamwork through the year and I didn’t miss alcohol in the least.

Afterward we adjourned to an amazingly hipster bar for another drink (more lime and soda for me). And, wow, I had always known that AnxiousMum was particularly horrible, but she exceeded expectations when she “I can say this now because I am drunk” announced that the reason we succeeded was because we were all equals** and that if Heather, Knut or I were ever to be internally promoted she basically would do her best to make our lives as difficult as possible.

This is particularly tricky as she is actually in the position to do this. And tricky as there is a particularly plum dream job potentially in the offing in about six months. Triply tricky because I know she has recently been complaining to MrT that we have been leaving her out of meetings – yes, meetings that she absolutely has no need to attend – and having conversations without her … ummmm.

I asked, “so what you’re saying is that you wouldn’t be happy for any of us if we achieved career success?” AnxiousMum agreed that was exactly what she was saying. Bafflingly, she really seemed to think this was an acceptable thing to say and we’d be fine with it.

What?! This is the teamwork and collaboration we were only just congratulating ourselves on? The three of us were just completely gobsmacked and the party broke up soon after. Probably fortunate I was entirely sober because if I had been in my cups I would have informed her just what a contemptible human she is.


tl;dr photographic interlude

Vincenzo then joined Heather and I for post-work drinks in Newtown (more lime and soda). This was really excellent and I had such a great time – probably a better time than if I had been drinking, which is I think a first for me in a pub!

It was a lovely (if very cold) evening, so I enjoyed a very nice walk home. After which the texts flew between Heather, Knut and I agreeing that we need to urgently develop a strategy to deal with the AnxiousMum crazy.

Just what the hell is wrong with people?

**actually we’re not equals at all – you will recall that she was supposed to report to me in the restructure until she made all sorts of threats to Dr12 and he decided that I needed to be saved from her crazy so I could focus on delivery.

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Today I slept in until 9am – this is unheard of! I mean, I did get up at 5:30am to feed the beasties, but unusually went back to sleep soon after. Generally, the routine is: feed kitties, make coffee, try to sleep but already my mind is racing, give up on sleep, read stuff on tablet, drink coffee, drag self from bed for shower at about 7:30.

I very much appreciated the rest! Though not the loss of half the day.

Later in the morning, Don and I walked to the butcher, baker and fruit and veg. We’ve been trying to minimise our grocery store visits, so generally will make a fresh food run on Saturday/Sunday – though generally we drive. The quality at the individual stores is much superior and it’s satisfying to patronise the local businesses.

Then I pottered for the remainder of the day – did some mending, messed with the worm farm, folded laundry, ermmmm … actually I think that might be all I did.

I look forward to the lifting of the gloom this week.

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in which the author is shaken from her stupor

We’re in the quite busy wind down to the end of the year at SML, but I took Friday afternoon off to trek out to the wilds to have an overdue boozy lunch with DishyExBoss.

I did not consume very much more alcohol than the usual amount that I would drink at such a lunch (which admittedly, is quite a bit), but I cannot even convey what a completely and utterly terrible state I was in afterward.

I was doing okay until I was on the train. And I fortunately managed to catch two trains safely back home, but my memory of doing so is very rusty – I spent a good amount of time snoozing. I had to call Don and he volunteered to come rescue me from the station. I spent the next very-long-time in bed clutching a bucket and only recovered on Saturday evening.

I can’t remember the last time I was so badly affected by alcohol – we’re talking years and years. Don suggests it probably happened because I weigh so much less now, but really when it comes down to it I don’t care what the reasons were – I’m horrified and appalled that I let myself get into that state. Anything could have happened. I’m exceedingly thankful that a few times on the journey occasional random strangers checked in that I was okay and I did not throw up until I was safely in bed with bucket in hand. And that I have the Best Husband Ever.

I was dithering about whether or not to take a break from drinking starting July, but certainly this was the wake-up call I needed. I clearly cannot moderate.

And of course I have now stopped – screw excuses and waiting another 18 days.

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In more upbeat news, today I felt like a human again. Earlier in the week Don and I had thought to plan a Sunday activity together and I suggested that we might like to drag out the bikes.

I bought Bessie’s bike from her just over two years ago and have still not ridden it. That makes it now TWENTY FOUR YEARS since I have ridden a bike.

TWENTY FOUR YEARS. And that was only once, I haven’t ridden regularly since I was about 16.

Anyway, we got up early(ish), threw the bikes in the back of Panzo, ducked into the service station to pump up the tyres and headed out to bicentennial park for a ride around the bike paths.

I’m pleased to report that it is like they say – you don’t forget how to ride a bike! I have never ridden a bike with gears before and this has, like 15 or something. I chose to ignore them and keep it in whatever gear it was already on. Clearly, as an ageing hipster, I need a fixie.

This ever-excellent site tells me we rode roughly 9km. It was a pretty good workout. We will definitely do that again, but take the garmin (so we can track exactly how far and fast we went) and possibly a picnic.

Afterward there was much actioning of items and Don made glorious fried chicken. And I consumed no alcohol.

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june miscellany (1)


fish lady: melbourne

There was a good deal of Palacely Achieving this weekend: fridge cleaned, floors steam-mopped, endless stairs and banisters vacuumed, garage tidied, ironing, washing, tons of cooking, bathroom scrubbing & many things which I’ve probably forgotten. And hey, ThePalace(OfLove) is sparkling and minimalist flat surfaces beyond all get out.

What there was not a lot of was carolbaby personal stuff.

Yes, I ran a couple of times, but really that was about it. I need to learn to take some time on the weekends to be somewhat selfish and focus on ME.

I’m going to try and make it a mini-goal for the remainder of June (and perhaps July), to do ME things. I have no idea what these things are … maybe sewing, maybe knitting, maybe reading, maybe taking photos … but Holy!Goodness! they will be done.

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Because it is all cold out, most of the herbs in the garden have died off and we’ve been forced to buy the less superior cut options (don’t even get me started on the storage life of cut coriander [cilantro]). But recently we realised we could buy wee potted plants, store them indoors and just cut off what we need.


homesteading: basil and coriander(1)


homesteading: mint and coriander(2)

They don’t have an extremely huge shelf life, but it is more than enough for a couple of recipes – and doesn’t end up a soggy, wilted mess after a day in the fridge. We’re on our second coriander plant in 3 weeks and I’ve shoved the remains of the first in a pot on the lower balcony. I have no hopes for its survival.

Clearly we need a green house or cold frames or … something, probably spring.

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For a long while I’ve been reading about the value of having clothing altered, but such a thing was really not in my budget or experience.

And I was paralysed by the fact that hey, I’m experienced sewist, surely I can do these sorts of alterations myself? But of course I did not do these alterations myself, because you know how it goes.

Now that I have spent a not insignificant sum on all the pretty dresses and I have dropped a-size-and-a-bit, some of my earlier purchases resembled sacks. So I thought long and hard and took a dress to some Surly Russian Ladies for taking in. The alterations cost almost as much as the dress, but Holy!Goodness! they did a spectacular job.

I was so thrilled that I took another sack-dress in two weeks later and the result was equally as pleasing.

I’ll be taking in some new pants for hemming this week. And I have at least two more dresses requiring SRL assistance.

I cannot even convey my delight of the results, not having to cast the ill-fitting sacks into the charity bag, having super-flattering dresses, the relief of outsourcing to professionals. Wonderful!

And I would rather like to focus my sewing skills (such as they are) on new garments and on simple repairs. Though in the frugal times ahead I may need to compromise.

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