really very lengthy post


disdainfully curious

We were, as usual, up quite early this morning and while Don visited the driving range, I started with a run.

I thought it worth mixing up the route to get out of my comfort zone a bit, but had intended to do nothing silly, hoping for over 3km, but under 5km. But it was such a wonderfully lovely day and I felt so fabulous that about 3km in, that I turned left down to blackwattle bay instead of right to home and ran along the foreshore a bit before turning back. After 5.5km I did a 500m walk / run combo back home. Total distance was 7.68km and I ran 6.5km. That’s the longest I have run (outdoors) since April 2014!

But probably not really the best idea because my knee gave me some trouble. Yes, the same trouble I had on that last long run in April 2014. Despite that, it was definitely worth it – I felt so full of energy and all round delightedness for the rest of the day. Last evening I read a quite good article about running and depression and this definitely holds true for me. I am so glad we’re heading into spring so I can get out more – but I really need to take the physio rehab stuff Very seriously.

I was so full of energy that I cleaned the oven (which desperately needed it) afterward and then did a bunch of tidying.

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Don and I then headed out to get provisions for frugal meals to take us to Wednesday. We’re attempting to stick to our monthly food budget as part of ThePlan and had been a bit free and easy with our grocery spending earlier in the month. Lots of chicken legs and chicken wings and vegetables.

Tonight was BBQ chicken legs with Don’s BBQ sauce with Don’s potato salad – completely amazing and total cost was around $8.00 (we already had the mayo; and the BBQ sauce was in the freezer). Don also made chicken stock, which I reckon cost about $4.00 (though we already had carrots and some mangy looking celery). Tomorrow we’re having Nigel Slater’s chicken wings with cracked pepper + spicy potatoes (from marie claire: spicy) – this will be about $7.50(ish).

We’re kind of cheating on Monday with a heavily modified version of Nigella’s pasta risotto with peas + pancetta, because we have all the ingredients already. And a 5:2 roast vegetable frittata + salad on Tuesday – maybe $6.00 (we already have eggs). Then shopping on Wednesday.

I’m pretty pleased with our discipline – it would be really, really easy just to go out and buy $40 steaks.

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We’re having the top balcony re-grouted as a leak mitigation strategy. Before this is done, we need to paint the door frame which was pretty flakey and gross and a possible source of water penetration.


yuck

We were planning to use a professional for painting, but screw that, I can totally do such a small job myself! And I had intended to do the majority of it this afternoon. Unfortunately, despite the decluttering, we appear to have misplaced the paint scraper, so were forced to walk down to the $2 shop to get another – another drive in Saturday traffic to the hardware store being too much to bear.

I really under-estimated how bad the paint was and how much scraping and sanding would be required – it took a good couple of hours, so this will be a two day operation. Hopefully I’ll be able to get the priming and two coats knocked over tomorrow. Thankfully I have a bunch of podcasts already queued up (highly recommend the 12 part charles manson’s hollywood series from the you must remember this podcast, which is a pretty good podcast in general).

After this, there’s a whole lot of other bits of painting in my immediate future – once the balcony is done we can finally tackle Bessie’s room! And there will be much rejoicing.

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services the team in terms of stationery, birthdays, cakes etc

We’re shortly moving offices at SML and after 10 years in the current location there is much pre-move culling happening.

Heather found my very first SML performance review stashed away amongst a whole load of other stuff left from former managers. It reads rather like a school report.

Best comment: “we asked that she uses her strong personality in a positive manner with staff”. Bwahaha – story of my life.

I’d completely forgotten my extreme angst at having to articulate career objectives, but this really brought it back. What a completely different person past-me was!

Interestingly, I’d also forgotten this gem: ” … after some discussion the role of [ice-skater/brain-surgeon/shearer] was canvassed with carolbaby who agreed this might be a future role for her to consider”.

And now, after a lengthy and very roundabout career at SML (with no thought to that discussion), I am head of ice-skating/brain-surgery/shearing. Who would have thought?

I’ll be adding these documents to the camping burn pile – which is becoming alarmingly large.

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sleepy old lady


footy

Yesterday afternoon Don, Bessie and I headed out to spotless stadium to watch the ducks play the bogans. This was an away game for us and not not covered by our ducks membership, but Bessie had scored some cheap (and pretty excellent) tickets. Joe/Frank did not join us because he had his first shift at his first job! (That is a post for another time).

We’d not been out to that stadium before and it was a really great venue for watching football. The weather was completely glorious, super warm and we finally felt like we were defrosting after the very cold winter. It was an excellent day – everything I love about going to the footy, afternoon game, small stadium, great atmosphere. If only more of our games were on in the afternoon instead of starting at 7:50pm (and last for over 2 1/2 hours), I would possibly be a little more engaged.

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Today was crazy-productive. This morning, I managed my first 5km run since 5 April! The magical device tells me that this was only my 4th 5km this year. I’ve really let the running slide and hope to get back to regularly running something over 3km, or even running more than twice a week, as the weather warms up.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of pants hemming and have also been working on that quilt (!) in the last week. Both of these have required a fair bit of tacking (basting). I was bemoaning the waste of decent thread on this when it occurred to me that I should try to source a cone of cheap overlocking (serging) thread on eBay to use instead. Then I remembered that I had seen some last time I was at Reverse Garbage. I decided to chance it and walked down today … and for the princely sum of around $6, Bessie and I now have enough thread to last us for several years:


NewKitty was kind of keen on it too

When I arrived home I baked cornflake and craisin cookies, kitschenette’s excellent berry + yoghurt cake and made lamb rogan josh from scratch.

And while grocery shopping this week, I was compelled to acquire our 15th type of sugar.

I never heard of coconut sugar and had no immediate use for it, but I was certain I could find one. And I could!
The InformationSuperhighway sent me in the direction of coconut sugar cookies and there was nothing for it but to make them. They definitely have promise, though not coconutty at all, but I’d add some nutmeg, cinnamon or ground ginger next time.

I am now ready to collapse in a heap.

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but no half-and-half

When I came across Jamie’s Shiner Bock chili while binge-reading the archives of the cavender diary (totally exuberant in both personality and decor!) on Thursday night, I was incredibly keen to give it a bash.

It is Very Very Encouraging that I seem to be getting my try-new-things cooking mojo back!

Because it is often pretty difficult to get American | Mexican ingredients here, I figured we’d have to substitute some of the ingredients – particularly the chili powder (not at all the same as what we know as chili powder1) and chipotle chili powder. We decided to drop into to the excellent Herbies on Saturday morning just in case – and they had both!

(As an aside, while we were in the neighbourhood, we stopped in to Essential Ingredient and Don impulse bought some Lillie Q’s Carolina BBQ sauce – WOW! SO GOOD!)

We even found monterey jack cheese in Norton Street Grocer! Sadly though, there was no way we were going to find Shiner Bock beer, so we subbed with Negra Modelo.

I prepped while watching Great British Bake Off, then let it simmer for about 3.5 hours …

… and it was completely amazing! Even better than expected.

1I think 3 tablespoons of ground chili would have just about killed us.

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captain’s pick

As predicted, it has been an Interesting couple of weeks at SML.

After the departure of our beloved Dr12, LadyPenelope commenced as CEO two weeks ago. Two weeks in and he’s not done a particularly great job of endearing himself to, well, anyone.

First order of business on very first day? Create a role for an extremely highly paid senior manager and commence recruitment (via headhunter). Over 2/3 of the business will report into this senior manager. MrT, who is very senior, will report to this senior manager. This is an effective demotion for him.

We are all pretty gob-smacked – this is a pretty huge structural change.

The role hasn’t been officially announced internally, so there was still a little uncertainty about it – until someone found the advert for it online. There is definitely has an “efficiencies” theme going on. So we’re predicting redundancies. Our policy is not quite so generous as it once was, but still, if I was made redundant I’d get 27 weeks pay + my entitlements (which works out to another 14 weeks). I’ll definitely be hanging on to see if I’m lucky enough to be chopped!

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Don and I spent a good deal of time last week binge-watching the first season of Harry Bosch. This was reasonably enjoyable, though pretty fluffy and had just about every police-cops trope you can imagine, along with a couple of pretty dire performances.

We then flicked back to the first series of True Detective (very late on that band-wagon!). The difference in pacing between the two programmes is amazing. True Detective moves like molasses – just so right for the location and story line.

I spent the TV time re-knitting my neck-warmer/cowl for the third time and finally got it to the right size. I’m really quite happy with it, and really wish I could find more of that yarn.

On Friday night Don and Joe/Frank ventured to watch the Ducks. I stayed at home to potter because I just can’t tolerate a 7:50pm game time – it only took them 15 minutes to drive home, but they didn’t arrive until after 11pm. I’m way too old for such things. Plus, I’m really feeling disengaged from the team this season – my membership has been totally wasted this year. Bessie also stayed home to sleep – she was exhausted after 3 full days of work, weeknight social activities, full-time uni and two assessments due. This working stuff is hard.

And I baked. Muffins and bikkies.

And while baking, I chatted to Joan on whatsapp. She’s currently in Manchester (on her way to Scotland) and has almost recovered from her extremely bad cold – which lasted over a month and put an enormous dampener on her Adventure. The exchange rate is horrendous right now, so everything is mucho $$$ and will probably cut short her trip.

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In the past weeks, I’ve continued to be really quite productive, which surprises me greatly. All sorts of little tasks have been achieved and I’ve been doing tons of cooking and baking.

I’m still attributing this to no drinking and mostly avoiding mindlessly scrolling about on the InformationSuperhighway – but mostly I think it is really the not drinking. Right now in my life cake seems infinitely more appealing!

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short

Yesterday was pretty glorious in a sunny cold wintery kind of way, so after a quick visit to the shops for fresh produce, Don forced me to join him for a walk around the neighborhood.

This was actually really very good because it was one of those days where I could easily have ended up doing not a lot (ie spending all of my time on the InformationSuperhighway) and regretting it afterward.


pretty trees – despite the cold it is starting to feel a little springly

We headed south, decided to cut through the local oval and found a game of afl being played. So we cut the walk short and decided to hang about and watch.

Don hadn’t seen such a suburban/country sort of game before (where the car horns honk when a goal is scored), it was pretty fun.

We did head out at half time to grab a pretty wonderful pork roll.


nom


sleepy neighbourhood kitties

It was an all round excellent afternoon. Yay! for husbands who make you leave the house!

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This morning I was heading out for my first short run in a week and discovered we’d been tagged yet again.

The tag was pretty enormous, but hey, at least it was on our front wall and not on our vehicle, unlike someone who’d parked across the road.

As soon as I returned from the run I grabbed the paint and covered it up. That’s an hour of my life I’m not getting back.

Wretched little monsters. I really hope they feel creatively fulfilled after that.

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NaHCO3

Every morning I’m woken between 5 and 6 by ravenous kitties demanding to be fed.

I then skip delightedly down two flights of stairs to lovingly prepare their breakfast. Okay, I ignore them as long as is humanly possible and drag myself carefully and sleepily down two flights of stairs.

While in the kitchen I prepare a plunger/french press of coffee, grab some mugs and drag myself back up the stairs where, if my brain hasn’t already started thinking … thinking … thinking, I grab another 30-60 minutes of sleep.

Before hopping back into bed, I generally set the plunger/french press down on my bedside table. And what happens is that because I lack the foresight to use some sort of trivet or coaster, the plunger leaves a white ring on the wood.

After a while this has left lots and lots of white rings on the wood – because hey, I’m sleepy and there were rings there anyway.


bedside table – yuck

Yikes!

We’ve been saying for a while that we should paint or replace the tables because the increasing number of white rings are pretty hideous, but with the introduction of ThePlan, I decided to see if the InformationSuperhighway had any suggested remedies for white ring removal.

And of course it did! I choose from ironing, toothpaste or bicarb/baking soda.

I decided on the latter and used a paste of bicarb soda (baking soda) and water. This basically consisted of sprinkling on a heap of bicarb/baking soda and spraying with water until it looked a bit pasty. I then left it to sit for several hours.

When I returned it was all dried out and crusty and I didn’t hold out much hope for success, but I buffed (quite hard) with a damp cloth and ….

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are still a few wee half-rings at the top, but Holy!Goodness!

I must repeat on Don’s table. And get myself a trivet.

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