never too old, or what’s the universe trying to tell me?

I have no idea how or why the algorithm decided to recommend Hania Rani: live from Studio S2 to me, because I’ve not ever been into classical piano, and have nothing in my viewing or search history remotely related. But honestly it’s one of the most utterly magical things I’ve heard in my life.

You should go watch and listen, I’ll wait.

I don’t know why this music fires such incredibly deep emotional triggers in me, but I was an utter wreck afterward (and am so every time I listen).

After I’d finished weeping at the joy of it, I remembered that once long ago in the dim, dark mists of time I was really keen to learn piano. But like many things back then, it wasn’t an option and I’d absolutely forgotten about it. Even a colleague talking about adult piano lessons last year, or the excellent anyresemblance buying a piano didn’t spark any memory – but this music utterly did.

But hey wow, I realised there is nothing to actually stop me learning now! So I trusted my instinct, spent no time dithering about whether it was the right thing to do, and rented a digital keyboard – which arrived on the day we locked down.

You’d think this would have been the perfect opportunity to get stuck into learning, but as we all know lockdown does not mean vast seas of time to embrace self-improvement activities. It means just kind of holding it all together – interspersed with stress, anxiety and doom-scrolling. And occasional comfort eating of many supermarket cinnamon doughnuts.

But I eventually dusted it off and started with pianote: 7 days to learning piano (beginner lesson) – taking well over 7 days. It’s incredibly accessible and super-cheerful and high energy. Of course, I am quite terrible and have absolutely no illusions that I might eventually be anything other than barely competent, but I’m getting a good deal of enjoyment from it.

I’ve got 3 months left on the piano contract (with the option to extend or buy) and have just signed up for 3 months of pianote. That will be my first decision point whether to keep at it. And if I don’t want to continue – totally fine! And if I want to take it slowly – also totally fine!

In response to my burning the things I want to let go of activity, someone in my DFH course forum remarked half-jokingly that rather than nurturing our inner child, we should start nurturing our inner teen. I think this is completely genius, because my teen years were completely and utterly shit and maybe teen carolbaby needs a bit of a do-over.

So when things settle a bit, I’m totally going to seek out old lady ballet classes.

And I’m really trying to unravel what other things I wanted to pursue but didn’t, because life got in the way.

who you gonna call? key operator!

On our epic walk on Sunday, I wondered aloud to Don why I’d been holding onto this certificate for a smidge over 29 years.

It’s particularly baffling when you consider that I’ve disposed of all other certificates of this kind** and this one has survived several allegedly very ruthless cullings.

However, in the event there’s an ancient Océ 2500 copier somewhere in the world with a paper jam that needs clearing, toner that needs replacing or “call key operator” sign flashing, I’m absolutely available at very reasonable rates.


image borrowed from here

I’m very tempted to add it to my LinkedIn profile – it’s probably equally as relevant as many of the certifications people post.

This was part of a slightly more serious conversation about the papers, photos and ephemera we hold onto for no apparent purpose – inspired by the excellent ganching.

Will my children really be interested in my group primary school photographs? I’m going to go out on a limb and say no.

** Okay, in full disclosure I also have a certificate from a one day Records Management course I did in 1989. I don’t know why either.

i thought numeric titles would be easier, but actually they’re really pretty soulless

My hair and skin texture have changed significantly in the last year or so, which I’m mostly attributing to age. While I’m delighted that my face is finally radiant and clear, and my hair thick and shiny, the remainder of me is really very desiccated indeed. Painfully dry and desiccated. And itchy. So itchy.

When looking for solutions to the dryness about a month ago, I spontaneously purchased a bar of Shea Moisture shea butter soap from the chemist and it’s been surprisingly effective. The shea butter soap combined with jergens ultra healing+ body balm I bought at the same time have worked far better than the many (many) other significantly more expensive solutions I’ve tried in the past.

After the success of the shea soap, and inspired by my favourite zero-waste/sustainability youtubers**, I was motivated to try other personal care products in minimal packaging, bar-style form.

So I purchased shampoo samples from Shampoo with a Purpose and shampoo, body and face samples from Ethique. I suspect this will be enough product to last until at least the end of the year.

I tried the Shampoo with a Purpose dry or damaged yesterday and was expecting a ton of tangles, but it was pretty great. I’m keen to see how it performs over time.

I’ve also ordered silk dental floss and Eco laundry strips, but they’ve yet to arrive. Package delivery is a bit of a lottery right now, it’s always a surprise to see what turns up when.

In the grand scheme of things these are obviously very, very small actions, but I really liked the idea I read recently in the dense discovery newsletter of being a node for social/political/environmental contagion. And I’m keen to push out more into this space in a low key way.

I’m very tempted to buy a fancy artisanal soap dish or two, but will leave them in the favourites for a couple of weeks to see if I’m still vibing them.

** faves are gittemary and rebecca sisson
hot tip: youtube is definitely much improved by having ad-block installed

282/2021

Joan and Ovi shared their wedding photos on a family zoom call last night. They were of course absolutely gorgeous. They’re a very good looking couple.

I may have cried at the spoiler photo Joan shared before the call. Naturally that’s heart-exploding-because-it’s-full-of-rainbows crying, not like boo-hoo sad crying.

Daylight savings began last weekend and I’ve been really struggling to adjust. It took a while to come up with an adequate description, but I guess I’d liken it to jetlag.

I’m tired. Like tired in my very bones, but not tired like I need a sleep. Brain struggling to keep up.

How can the shift of an hour make such a difference?

Lockdown day count = 108. I’m really thankful restrictions start easing on Monday.

It has been such a long time that by now I’ve forgotten (abandoned?) most of my good habits, to be honest I’m not sure I quite remember what my good habits were. It’s all a bit of a blur.

Learned yesterday that I’m back in the office sometime in February in a 3:2 hybrid. I actually don’t mind this model – until I’m told I must adhere to it, then I get all bolshie and oppositional.

Don returns 1 December, Joe/Frank end of October (which seems rather premature).

Don and I have started a practice (if one can call 2x a practice) of taking a long walk on the weekend. These walks have been around 15km which has been pretty exhausting and have required a long nap. It’s been really very pleasant to get out and about and astonishing that I have experienced none of the agonising leg/ankle pain of the past. How can this be?

I can’t imagine we’ll keep this up every weekend, because we’d get bored and cranky, but it is something we’d like to do more of.

Once we’re released, I’m quite motivated to use the weekends for weekend activities that don’t involve hours of grocery shopping and household chores.

And in the mode of EXPERIENCE ALL THE THINGS, I lashed out on a 4 concert subscription package for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2022. I will probably also lash out on tickets to plays when the Sydney Theatre Company announces its 2022 season. And I will not automatically dismiss whatever other cultural happenings cross my path.

In astonishing news, during the week I submitted my CV for an almost identical role to mine in a very different field. I’m not at all bothered if this doesn’t come off as there were quite a number of red flags in both the advert and my research.

The big thing is that I actually, bravely put something out into the world!

It’s domain and blog hosting renewal at the end of the month. This means time to decide whether to throw down the cash for another year or shut up shop after almost 18(!) years.

I’m highly ambivalent about continuing, which I think is obvious given the amount I’ve been showing up, or more accurately have not been showing up.

I was talking this through with the endlessly patient Don, and said I don’t feel like I’m the same person as peak-blogging-carolbaby. He agreed and commented that current me is quite serious and earnest. I’d not actually thought of myself as earnest, but yes, I probably am.

Maybe I’ve lost my voice, maybe I no longer have much to say, maybe blogging is really no longer a *thing*, or my *thing*?

Maybe I’m just really knackered by the pandemic, maybe a pause is just a pause?

I realise I’ve been sharing a lot of myself at SML, definitely more than in the past. I guess it evolved unintentionally during the first lockdown and then during remote working as a way to bond and build community – and just get through it all. And what I spent all my energy sharing there I did not share here. I’m really quite motivated to wind this back and get some space from my colleagues!

And maybe I’m way overthinking this?

277/2021

103 days of lockdown today.

I’m at the stage of lockdown where after receiving a marketing email, I email a skincare brand** to express my “dismay and confusion” at their choice of brand ambassador.

Does the world really need another skinny, blonde, fake-tanned, botoxed, scandal-plagued influencer WAG pimping products on the socials? I would argue that it does not.

I suggested they could do better, and that I would welcome more diversity.

They sent a quite nice response, which was surprising. Naturally I don’t expect my objection to make one bit of difference, but I think it is important to speak out.

I’m keen to lean more into this bonkers-old-lady letter writing.

Thankfully some of the current restrictions will ease at 70% fully vaccinated, which is forecast for 11 October. I’m very much looking forward to not having to wear a mask outdoors.

A colleague of a similar age noted that the current lockdown was quite like returning to our childhoods of the 70s and 80s. Overseas travel was utterly exotic and almost impossible. You rarely left your local area. Life was much simpler, days were unstructured and kind of rolled into each other. One was often bored.

I think generally around the place there’s been a vibe of embracing slower-living and accepting what is. And a whole lot of looking to do things differently when we get out?

I certainly feel that way. I’m very keen to move from endlessly dithering about maybe doing things to actually doing them. Less of the plans for plans and more of the “just eat at that restaurant, see the play, visit the gallery”.

Unfortunately I’m fairly confident that as it was after last lockdown, we’ll very forget those very good intentions and quickly return to the hustle and grind and that relentless consumerism.

But I really hope not.

** L’Occitane Australia

267/2021 – 60before60: #39 update my CV

In astonishing news, I completed my CV last week!

Scheduling a daily check in with Vincenzo and encouraging and cajoling each other along worked an absolute treat. I also sat down at the laptop one sunny Saturday for a few lengthy stints, made a ton of progress and wrapped up most of it. As another of my colleagues noted though – it’s much less difficult to pull this together when you’re not hating every second of your job and are desperate to get out.

Once done, I sent it off to a recruiter acquaintance. The feedback was encouraging and he’s ready to work with me when I’m ready to make a leap. I’m in no rush at the moment, maybe early 2022?

As you’d imagine I felt enormous relief afterward – especially after having the task hanging over me for over 10 years. I’d been telling myself for years and years that I could whip up a CV in a couple of hours if I needed to. Hah! Such deluded nonsense. It took many, many, many days and was a hard, uncomfortable grind indeed.

Despite those intentions, I didn’t buy the celebratory vintage silk kimono robe.

If we’re honest, it’s one of those fantasy-self items that absolutely doesn’t fit in with my lifestyle, no matter how much I wish it did. So inevitably it would just hang around, unworn, guilting me, until it ended up at the charity shop.

I’m trying to do less of that.

I will buy something appropriately celebratory though.

252/2021

As part of my DFH course, we’re (optionally) formed into small groups who meet fortnightly to talk through the material, support each other and all those good nourishing kind of things. It’s been really rewarding to discuss big topics and go a bit deep with people who I wouldn’t normally encounter.

We had our last meeting for the first phase on the weekend and the group observed that I’m struggling with the possibility of change – mostly in a career sense.

Holy!Goodness!

This may have been very obvious to you, dear reader, but it was shocking to me. I realise after much reflection that I really only adore change when it is thrust upon me and I can bust out my mad adaptation skills. Instigating change, not so much. Not so much at all.

Mind. Blown.

Anyway, this has lead me to start creating my CV. My most recent version was from 2007 and I’ve had five roles in the intervening years. No, of course I’ve not kept those annual lists of my achievements that I tell *everyone* to keep.

Compiling it is utter torture – so much torture – but I am solidly and slowly plugging away, with a goal of end September for completion. I have absolutely no role to escape to in mind, but I’ll be relieved to just *have* the document, should an opportunity arise.

When I have a completed document I will buy this gorgeous vintage kimono robe (assuming it is still available) and swan about ThePalace(OfLove) like a fancy lady.

233/2021


woke to this**

My second vaccination went without a hitch and very few side effects, slight lethargy maybe for a day or two. I kept pretty sedate to let my immune system creatures do their good work.

I inadvertently booked the GP across the road from the mass vaccination hub for my vaccinations, instead of the mass vaccination hub as I’d intended – and was super thankful that the internet gods steered me in the direction they did! Both visits I observed huge queues at the hub and I’ve heard horror stories about 3-4 hours waiting, queued in the sun. My experience was really very good – seamless, very minimal wait both times.

Yesterday our lockdown was extended until the end of September. This came as a surprise to absolutely no-one, but grim and depressing all the same. This iteration is hitting most people harder than last year’s – I think because we’d all tasted that sweet, sweet freedom. We’re now 87 days in.

From Monday we’ll all need to wear masks outdoors except when doing strenuous exercise (walking does not count as strenuous). In some areas there’s a curfew and you’re only permitted out for an hour a day. Thankfully that doesn’t apply here yet – though I’d not be likely to exceed the limit anyway.

The rules overall are arcane, variable depending on suburb, quite complex, and everyone is regularly exhorted to “do the right thing”. But often the “right thing” is mostly incomprehensible. For example – you cannot travel more than 5km from your home, however you can travel more than 5km from your home if you remain inside your Local Government Area (LGA), and you can travel outside your LGA if it is within the 5km from home limit, unless it is into an LGA of concern – you can’t enter those, except under [long list of conditions]. There’s much (much!) more, but I will spare you.

Ah fuck – in the midst of typing this, today’s numbers were announced – 825 new cases, up from 644 the day prior. This is the highest daily number in Australia since the pandemic began^^. We’ll probably hit 1k mid-next week.

I trimmed Don’s hair with the clippers this morning, the results were slightly better than expected – though his hairdresser definitely has nothing to fear. We’ll draw a veil over the ermmm … slightly shorter wee patch at the back where I got a little too enthusiastic.

I’m now at the “hey! maybe it would be a good idea to a Japanese shoes-making kit! ” stage of lockdown


I definitely do not need a Japanese shoes-making kit – however cool.

** hazard reduction burning
^^ yes, people elsewhere have had it significantly worse

225/2021


at least (for now) we can still get out for walks

I get my second shot of Astra Zeneca tomorrow which is terribly exciting.

With covid numbers creeping up and up, speculation from several sources is that we’ll be in lockdown until at least mid-November, which is much less exciting.

We enter the “give Don a haircut” phase of lockdown this weekend.