a random collection of weekend things – also i am not getting sick

Another of those weeks which just got away from me.

I can report that I did everything on the last weekend to do list. Well except the worky-work. I was inspired to abandon that by a comment from the excellent james. I liked not having that hanging over me so much that I didn’t bring my laptop home this weekend and I’m hoping to continue this trend for the indefinite future. SML gets enough of my soul during the week, I need to carve out some quality sanity time.

I was pretty glad to get to Saturday morning yoga (starting off the day right!). Spring is definitely almost upon us as it was fairly packed, you really have to get there about 15 minutes early to get a decent spot – even then it can be touch and go. It’s back bends week and he worked us quite hard. I felt pretty awesome afterward and slightly regretted skipping Friday – skipped because I woke with another gosh-darned horrible headache and took the opportunity to go back to sleep until 7am.

Don returned from golf around lunchtime and because traffic was appalling, we walked down to one of the local pubs to grab a quick lunch and some dark Mexican beer for the chili I was planning for the afternoon.


ginger beer and beer beer


adequate chicken burger – i really wanted a salad, but the menu was bare

I discovered refinery29’s money diaries and became quickly sucked down a rabbit hole. I’m definitely less about the money more about the diaries – they’re just like mini-blogs! It’s probably no secret that I find how other people live incredibly interesting and I love these – even though I am old enough to be the mother of the majority of the diarists. Many have such a similar voice that I’m occasionally questioning their veracity – even as I start to write like that myself. Possibly this style is contagious, similar to how you pick up accents after being around people with accents (or maybe that’s just me?).

Spent the afternoon making chili for dinner and puff pastry for the chicken pot pie Don had planned for Sunday then sat about watching footy (and being astounded that the Ducks won their game) and generally slothing about.

I finally finished my first library book! Going back to reading analogue books has been extremely interesting. I would have easily polished off this stack of library books by now if they had been in e-book form, but as it is I’ve completed only one! Will have to renew the stack.

xxx

Sunday is the only day we go to yoga together, the others are me solo indulging my new Enthusiasm. Back bends again – this is not as spectacular as it sounds, it’s more about the stretching than contorting and flinging selves backward. Next week is restorative which involves lots of draping selves over *stuff* and holding poses for a long time. This *is* as excellent and spectacular as it sounds. I will definitely make it to those four classes – even if Wednesday and Friday mean getting up at 5:50am (ugh).

We were planning to wander down to the park to watch the local baseball grand final this afternoon, but it was terribly windy and quite cold, so we nixed that idea pretty quickly. I feel like this was wise because I feel like I may be getting a cold. Probably this is due to being trapped in interminable meetings in small rooms with consultants who have colds. And WHY (OH WHY?) DO PEOPLE** LEAVE USED TISSUES ON THEIR DESKS? There is a bin right there, dude! And tissues are plentiful – here, have my spare box!

What we did do instead was go look at air-conditioners and booked a home site visit for Wednesday. This will give us an installation quote, which is likely big $$$ because the units are on the very, very tall roof. The unit in our bedroom has been out of commission for a couple of years and I don’t think Joe/Frank’s has worked in the 6 years we’ve been here. I keep reading that we’re in for a really hot next couple of summers, so I think it’s time. Sorry environment – I promise we’ll use them sparingly. We did look into getting our existing ones repaired, but apparently that’s a no-go. Stupid planned obsolescence.

While out we looked at new beds. A super-fabulous high tech bed machine assessed us and advised we should go for a plush mattress. Our current mattress is like a plank, so little wonder we find luxury hotel beds so marvellous. We tried some beds, we fell in love with a bed. Thankfully and sensibly, we left the store without a bed.

Then we started on our FY2018 taxes – yikes – there will be no $8,000 beds in our immediate futures (amazingly comfortable or not).

I spent the rest of the day scoffing cold-and-flu tablets and vitamins, resting, knitting more pink cowl and reading more money diaries. I was very thankful to Past Me who spent last evening making that puff pastry. The pie was delicious and very comforting!

** such as the senior consultant with the staggering daily rate who is sitting at the visitor’s desk adjoining mine.

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achievable achievements

This weekend I intend to:

+ worky-work – for one hour maximum
+ go to yoga on Saturday and Sunday
+ read my library books
+ make this favourite cake from a long-missed blog
+ develop a ruthlessly practical garden plan (well, to be fair it’s more of a balcony plan)
+ take a good hard look at the garage clutter
+ get stuck back into the knitting I started at Easter


easter knitting – this pattern

If I can manage even 1/2 of this instead of mindlessly sitting in front of my computer for hours on end, we’ll call it winning!

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jammy

Recent jam study situation experiences:

I took my 50before50 spotty skirt with me to Japan and got quite a lot more wear from it than I’d expected.

This of course inspired the desire for more of these simple skirts and hey, I figured while I was in Japan, home of awesome fabric, I should do a little fabric shopping – having been inspired by some favourite bloggers / instagrammers and their gorgeous acquisitions.


(in)action shot in osaka

I wandered into a fabric store in Osaka and there was so much available in that one tiny store that there was no way I could make a decision! Once back in Tokyo I’d planned on a solo jaunt to Nippori Fabric Town, but reconsidered because I suspected my head would explode once faced with the vastness of options.

And I’m surprisingly okay with that!

I had the same idea about yarn and quickly abandoned that idea too.

xxx

A while ago now, I asked Don if he’d be interested in the Goldberg Variations at the Sydney Opera House concert hall.

He was indeed and then was all “I’m happy for you to take care of organising the tickets”. Division of labour and all that.

And verily, I went ahead and was confronted with the seat map:

Reader, I’ve been returning to that page for a good couple of months and I still have no tickets – and it’s on this weekend.

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i did buy that bottle of vitamin d

It’s really quite late by my standards, but I promised myself I’d show up here today – all about the doing things for me!

Yesterday I visited one of the local libraries, got myself a library card and set myself loose on the shelves. I’d not been to this library before and it is quite decent!

For a while it was a bit of a jam study** situation – so many, many books that I was paralysed by indecision, but I managed to suck it up and grab just a few to keep me going.

I came back with:
+ The break / Marian Keyes
+ A murder in Tuscany / Christobel Kent
+ BabyBarista and the art of war / Tim Kevan
+ The kitchen diaries II : a year of simple suppers / Nigel Slater
+ The art forger : a novel / by B.A. Shapiro
+ I love Dick / Chris Kraus
+ Silence : (fictions) / Rodney Hall
+ The tree of man / Patrick White
+ Sidney Chambers and the perils of the night / James Runcie
+ Wig out at the Jagbags [sound recording] / Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
+ Mozart’s last symphonies / Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Richard Tognetti, Australian Chamber Orchestra
+ Symphony no. 10 [sound recording] / Shostakovich

Quite unpleasant day at SML, so good to end on a positive note.

xxx

** TL;DR – It all began with jam. In 2000, psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper published a remarkable study. On one day, shoppers at an upscale food market saw a display table with 24 varieties of gourmet jam. Those who sampled the spreads received a coupon for $1 off any jam. On another day, shoppers saw a similar table, except that only six varieties of the jam were on display. The large display attracted more interest than the small one. But when the time came to purchase, people who saw the large display were one-tenth as likely to buy as people who saw the small display.

I often feel like my life is a series of jam study situations.

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and maybe a fistful of vitamin d

In the months since our return from Japan I’ve felt a bit adrift, with emotions ranging from blergh to outright misery.

I don’t know if it’s winter, if I’ve finally had my fill of SML (which is as chaotic and frustrating as ever), because I’m adjusting to a less-full house after Joan’s departure, the alignment of the stars, my advancing age, or another mysterious mystery, but I can’t settle into much and am employing all the usual avoidance strategies of not exercising, reading a lot of things I pay very little attention to, losing myself in housework and not engaging in outside (or inside) activities.

Among all this I’ve also let blogging slip. Wallowing in self-pity and whinging doesn’t make very good reading and it’s nothing you haven’t heard a billion times before. Honestly I’m exhausted by myself!

So time to (yet again) carpe the whatevs – the plan is to make concerted efforts to:
1. blog on the regular
2. attend yoga at least 3 times a week – preferably 4
3. not blow off lunch arrangements because things are busy at SML (also, make lunch arrangements with others!)
4. do something creative – drag out the knitting for example
5. try not to get sucked into the SML abyss
6. make ME a priority

===

So, let’s go with #1 …

SML has finally introduced a very civilised remote working policy (welcome to 2003!).

Of course I’ve jumped on this and will now be working at home one day a week (helps rather a lot with #5 and #6 on the concerted efforts list).

Last week was my first formal day of the new arrangement and was even more wonderful than I’d hoped. I got tons of work done and even ducked out at lunch to do the grocery shopping – which was a delight! There were very few people in the supermarket, it was peaceful and soothing and only took about 50 minutes door to door.

And on the whole I like my at-home colleagues rather more than those in the office.

I was the happiest I’ve been at work for a good while – makes me realise how much the place is slowly killing me^^. I’m planning to try to ease myself into two days a week at home if I can swing it. Though I definitely need to do something about my home desk arrangement because it’s absolutely killing my right shoulder and forearm.

^^ yes, I know I should stop complaining and really look for another job. I have obviously pretty mixed feelings about this – I should probably post about that.

xxx

When I was in ruthless decluttering mode a couple of months ago I grabbed my collection of Verity Birdwood** paperbacks and stuck them by the bedside with the intention of one last read before hauling them off to the charity shop. They sat there for a good while gathering dust and making me feel somewhat guilty, but I took the plunge last week.

As a devoted kindle owner and pretty voracious reader, it was an odd experience to revisit physical novels. I’m really habituated to turning the light off to read in bed (kindle is backlit), so had a few moments where my brain couldn’t work out quite what was going on after I’d flicked off the switch – why couldn’t I see the words? Odd too, to require the use of both hands to read, which makes it challenging to read while washing up and folding laundry &etc. And the typeface – YIKES! SO TINY! Holy!Goodness! my eyesight has deteriorated in recent years.

I wrapped up the last in the series yesterday afternoon and of course was reminded that I adore these particular books and they’re staying (in a box of treasures in the garage).

Last night saw me back to the kindle in the dark, reading a bunch of samples, casting about for something mindless – without much success.

I think the most interesting observation of coming out of this mini-project is that when I woke this morning with my now-usual headache, I realised morning headaches hadn’t been a thing the whole time I was reading those real books.

Perhaps a visit to the local library is in order?

** That wikipedia entry really needs enhancement – and the claim that Little is known about Birdie is just nonsense. There’s definitely a slow drip of information for the attentive reader, I feel like that’s a pretty well-used device in this genre, so that’s a pretty lazy assessment.

xxx

I’ll return tomorrow.

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monochrome


very cheerful

I looked up the other day and noticed that my wardrobe has turned very sombre – all dark blues and greys and black and white.

Sadly I think this is pretty reflective of my current state of mind! It’s the time of year where everything is a bit gloomy and I feel all around meh.

Also around this time I also realised that most of my tops/shirts/jumpers are a very lovely light grey – which unfortunately is a colour completely sucks the life out of me and makes me look sallow and unwell.

Though I am not planning to embark on a wild shopping spree to rectify this, I do need to keep this in mind when acquiring new garments. When in shops I immediately gravitate toward that very pretty grey that suits me so badly. I’m sure there’s some psychological explanation for this, but I am at a loss to begin to understand what that might mean.

I definitely need a shake-up and some colour in LOTS of areas of my life – the wardrobe is just one of the symptoms of the malaise!

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and probably should have involved cake

My very best intentions of getting back into a regular posting obviously fell by the wayside. Work has been rather insane and I’m pulled in a number of different directions. Last week was particularly gruelling and involved slogging away until 10:30 to 11 each night (even Friday!). UGH.

While I was not posting, this happened:

Much like day 500, I unintentionally celebrated the 600 with three consecutive days of yoga. Really one of the best celebration activities.

And after all this time, drinking alcohol doesn’t even occur to me as an option, which was unexpected.

I wish I could say the same about stuffing my face with chocolate – that I think about really quite often!

xxx

I do really intend to get back here – I need a good reprioritisation of my … priorities.

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no surprise to anyone

Just when I’m convinced I’m an individual, forging my own path.


your tastes match most closely with the middle class

From the what your habits reveal about your social class quiz.

xxx

From the blogging hiatus stash.

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tl;dr

I had super-good intentions of returning to, if not daily, then more regular blogging and then end-of-year catastrophe hit at SML and I had to jump in and help save the day. This meant working most of last weekend and until around 10pm each evening to help get things back on track. Yuck – I thought I was past such things.

Long time readers may recall that SML was rife with dysfunction for many years and for a couple of those years missed targets in the millions of dollars. There was a Reckoning and I was brought in as a Fixer to set up systems and processes to, well, fix things. This I did and last year handed over to another team to keep everything trucking along while I moved on to something sexier.

Last week the wheels fell off – well, to be fair they’d fallen off sometime earlier, but this was being kept rather hidden. I happened to attend a meeting I’m an optional at, realised how utterly dire things were and jumped back in and brought a calm head and m4d planning sk1llz. I think we’re now all good, but yikes – it was touch and go there for a bit! We’re jumping back in in July for a Lessons Learned – which will be fun.

Biggest lessons learned for the team: ask for help! escalate if others are not delivering! you are not alone! Honestly, we’re not very good in setting people up for success.

But all this means that the majority of my sexy job is happening without me – thank TheUniverse I have good people in place.

Bobs has complimented me on showing leadership. I responded that he’d better remember this at bonus time.

And thankfully Don ensured I was fed and watered because toward the end my brain was completely broken.

xxx

So, what else has been happening in the carolbaby universe?

Before we went to Japan** I developed a mild obsession with yoga and was attending classes 3x a week. It was so fun! I was so happy! Since returning, what with one thing and another, I’ve only really been doing the Saturday morning class. Last Saturday we were doing a heck of a lot of downward dog, plank and chaturanga dandasana.

Because I’m such a delicate petal, by the end my wrists and hands were killing me. Add to this the extra computer work I was doing, because catastrophe, and you can see where this is going. Yesterday saw me at the GP because my right hand was quite swollen and painful. Not immediately obvious what the problem is, so I’m off for an ultrasound and x-ray on Monday afternoon. Meanwhile, I’m trying to use the mouse with my left hand, which is really challenging but no doubt Very Good for my brain.

What this means is no yoga for me today, which is not an option I’m enthused by. This is not the first time this hand issue has happened – I was feeling twinges during the 100 pushups projects and also with the bike riding – but this is definitely the most painful.

I was hoping to extend to yoga 4 days per week for the next term which starts in July, but I suspect this might be a quite Stupid Idea. We’ll see what the scans reveal.

xxx

Joan arrived safely after the epic journey to the UK, dumped her belongings into storage and is now jet-setting around Europe for a few weeks. She’s the happiest and most enthusiastic she’s sounded, well, for years.

It is VERY strange without her in ThePalace(Of Love). It’s quiet and we have all this extra space we’re not entirely sure what to do with.

I’m also quite lost at having no-one to constantly offer value-adding life advice.

xxx

I’m still 5:2ing, which now bears very little resemblance to 5:2. My diet consists of 3-4 days with no food until I get home from SML, and then eating as normal. This strategy is proving quite efficacious and easy to keep up.

I’ve dropped the 10kg I gained last year and I feel much more alive and energetic – except for that hand pain.

xxx

The remainder of today? Catching up on housework, personal admin, ironing and maybe adding to my sensible shoes collection.

Living the dream!

xxx

** I’m sure I’ll stop using Japan as a date reference at some point.

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but it does try hard

And just like that the annual lemon harvest is upon us!

This year our mangy lemon tree (I hesitate to actually call it a tree, so pitiful is it) served up a massive two lemons, down from the all time record of three in 2017.

They may not be plentiful, but they are very good lemons.

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