22for22: august

Yay! It’s officially Spring (why does this not start at equinox? who knows?)

No July update because magical holiday.
Skipped June and may revisit – if I can actually recall what I did in June.

Onward!

01. Use the things!
✅ August was about assessing the things. I donated my remaining five pottery vouchers back to the studio so that someone might benefit from them; we gifted our bicycles to Bessie and Hansel; and set a number of other items free; I’ve been having conversations with books. It’s quite liberating to make literal and mental space.

02. Put my feet in the sea
✅ Completed April.

03. Buy more indoor plants
Completed: March | April | May | August
One adorable wee succulent acquired in August.

04. 30 days of Yoga With Adrienne in January
✅ Completed: January
Can’t quite get back into the groove with this – despite knowing it would benefit me greatly.

05. Achieve Big Financial Goal
✅ Completed!
Was scheduled for September, but we snuck in a month early.
Next big financial milestone: December 2023

06. Use my dremel.
✅ Completed May!

07. Choose the loving action.
✅ Definitely a big yes! Getting some perspective and putting career in its rightful place have been the best and most loving things I could do for myself.

08. Try/learn one new skill each month
✅ Attended Lidded Box class at the Bookbinders Guild. Super-fun and my box is very pleasing. I will make more lidded boxes.

09. More music through speakers in ThePalace(OLove) on working days.
NOPE! I am very not good at this one!

10. Show support financially to creators I believe in
✅ Nothing new, but upped my patron tier for Last Homely House. Kate is total #goals for me.

11. Take myself on an adventure in the goget (car share).
NOPE!

12. Attend another sound bath
✅ Completed March | June | August
Laying on a wooden floor for 2 hours is quite the undertaking – no matter how much padding you bring.

13. Take a photo of the sky every day.
✅ 14/31


19 August: 5:50pm

14. Stay in the country for a weekend
NOPE! Weekends were full of activity and look likely to remain so until year end, so this is becoming increasingly unlikely.

15. Update supportive footwear.
✅ Completed January
Purchased hiking boots and another pair of walking shoes

16. Have a serious crack at meditation.
NOPE!

17. Go for a morning swim in the local pool
✅ Completed February
Pool re-opens for the season in October – will definitely be there!

18. Have a Reiki session.
NOPE!

19. Disrupt the daily routine at least once a week.
✅ We’ve been on dinner dates, a movie and twice to the symphony!

20. Cultivate a healthier relationship with work
✅ YES! NINE DAY FORTNIGHT!

21. Get a haircut/trim
✅ Completed February | pre-trip trim in June

22. Experiment! Tiny experiments with all sorts of things!
✅ We’ve been experimenting with outings – activities on school nights, activities on late nights! Why on earth have we been confining ourselves to weekends before 9pm?

crafty: cyanotypes

May was a pretty crafty month for me with several new things attempted. I have no idea why cropping, uploading and linking photos has become an incredibly daunting task, but I’ll try and break through that barrier and share some of my makes – even if 3 months late.

Cyanotypes are possibly having a moment – at least they are in the carolbaby InformationSuperhighway world I inhabit. I really respond well to that kind of indigo colour, so I was very keen to give it a crack. I considered attending a class, because we all know I utterly adore crafty classes, but then I found a kit on etsy and thought it was an excellent low-stakes way to have a first crack.


excellent kit – would recommend

Botanical prints are very lovely, but what I really like best are cyanotype photo prints – but photo negatives are so impossibly teensy tiny, that I figured this was off the table for me. Surely you must need some sort of professional equipment?

I couldn’t let the idea of photos go though – and ruminated for a bit and then realised I could possibly replicate a large negative using transparency paper (I have a pack from Bessie’s school days – yay for hoarding!) and inverting the colour in photoshop.

It worked a treat and I felt like a genius – though later discovered that if I’d googled I would have easily found the answer. But yay for using my brain to problem solve.

Armed with my transparency and an x-ray of my hand, I was all set!

The process is pretty straightforward when using a kit – lay your transparency on the pre-treated paper, cover with plastic or glass, expose to light for a time and then rinse.


cover and expose to sunlight


post-exposure, pre-rinse


rinsing: images revealed


drying: colour developing

I am thrilled with the photo, less so with the hand because it faded quite a lot afterward.


pleasing!

I’m definitely considering that class now – and very keen to try printing on fabric. But I’ll first try a few experiments with the remaining paper from the kit.

a new look

I cannot even begin to describe how exceptionally excellent it was to be away from everything for a month. Naturally, the very best part was spending time with Joan and Ovi – followed by seeing new and astonishingly beautiful things.

I’d not left Sydney for 2.5 years and not surprisingly I was in quite the rut and not in an ideal head-space.

Perspective – I was in desperate need of it.

I’ve possibly written about this already (and am certain if I go back to find it, I’ll become lost and distracted and unlikely to return here!). In January this year, Vincenzo (my protege) left SML after 10 years for the proverbial greener pastures. This meant that the area that Vincenzo managed (let’s call it ice-skating) would be leaderless. Long ago, when Vincenzo was a baby grad, I managed the ice-skating area, but I had long since moved to head-up sky-diving.

There is a long and painful history of pretty terrible outcomes in ice-skating during the gap between me and Vincenzo. So both he and Bobs were using all their powers of persuasion to convince me to bring it under the sky-diving watch. I was terribly conflicted about this – but eventually said I would consider, but only if SML came to the party on a few things.

I was pretty firm that I wanted 2 days off per month while keeping my full-time salary – because I knew that this was fairly achievable budget-wise – and it would effectively bring forever underpaid me in line salary-wise with my two close peers.

And so I took on ice-skating. And there everything stalled for 7 months – with no word and seemingly no progress on the arrangement – despite follow-ups. There were some major organisational changes at this time, but hey I’m not getting any younger.

So I reached out to my favourite recruiter, feedback was really positive and very encouraging – and we agreed to kick off my job search in earnest when I returned from Europe.

Four weeks away though! It put all that SML-madness into perspective.

I don’t want to build my career, I don’t want to go through the hustle, strive and grind of proving myself in a new workplace, I love my team, I have a very decent work-life balance, I’m paid well, I’m highly regarded, I have freedom.

I’m starting to feel my age – which is definitely a post for another time.

What I really want right now is to build my life away from work! I want new experiences! To travel! To learn new things! To create!

And I arrived back from holiday to discover my arrangement approved – and with a pay increase. Thanks Universe!

I’m having my second Friday off tomorrow – it will be absolutely GLORIOUS!

22for22: may

A sort and sharp update!

May seemed both impossibly long and impossibly short. I’ve been a bit gloomy over recent days, so need to activate the self-care that has fallen by the wayside!

01. Use the things!
+ Last month I undertook to report back on: audible credits (unused), pottery vouchers (used 3!) and Jessica Stanley: Great Hope (untouched)

+ Much to my astonishment, I found the perfect vintage frame on ebay to frame Don’s cross stitch and framed it myself – including cutting perspex for the front!

note to self: post crafts

+ I’ve decided this item encompasses freeing myself of things that I am unlikely to use – so took a gorgeous, but very heavy (>4kg), quilted linen bed-cover to the charity shop. I loved it, but could barely lift the thing – I’m sure someone else will adore it.

02. Put my feet in the sea
✅ Completed April

03. Buy more indoor plants
✅ Completed: March, April, May

04. 30 days of Yoga With Adrienne in January
✅ Completed January

05. Achieve Big Financial Goal
September!

06. Use my dremel.
✅ YES! FINALLY! I made a plant stand from bits around ThePalace(OfLove) and used it to chop bolts down to size.

I felt very brave and capable as the sparks were flying!

note to self: post crafts

07. Choose the loving action.
I’m going to go with probably not.

Or definitely not.

Yeah, definitely not.

08. Try/learn one new skill each month
✅ Looking back, I’m amazed I crammed this into a month.

+ I learned to use my dremel! And made an adorable plant stand from stuff mostly laying about!

+ I learned to make cyanotype prints

+ I learned to frame a picture in a fairly professional manner

+ I learned bookbinding at level 2 (a very intense weekend!)

+ I used my pottery vouchers to re-take the beginners classes.

note to self: post crafts

09. More music through speakers in ThePalace(OLove) on working days.
I am beginning to feel this may not actually be achievable.

10. Show support financially to creators I believe in
Ongoing support on patreon. Nothing new added this month.

I’ve recently started watching the last homely house who is totally retirement life #goalz – so will likely add her to the patreon roster in June.

11. Take myself on an adventure in the goget (car share).
Not yet! This prompted me to ensure it doesn’t auto-renew next year. So a small win!

12. Attend another sound bath
✅ Completed March | another booked for June!

13. Take a photo of the sky every day.
✅ 22/31


17 May: 6:42am

14. Stay in the country for a weekend
Not yet! Likely to be post-August now given the next few months have weekend commitments.

15. Update supportive footwear.
✅ Completed January

16. Have a serious crack at meditation.
Not yet! My mood is quite low after a Bad Week At Work, so I think this could help.

17. Go for a morning swim in the local pool
✅ Completed February

18. Have a Reiki session.
Not yet!

19. Disrupt the daily routine at least once a week.
+ Don was in Amsterdam for almost 2 weeks for work mid-month. This was by far the longest we’ve ever been apart and was really quite strange.

I had complete access to the car and therefore did a number of things I ordinarily wouldn’t. Obviously it would be completely ridiculous to have a second car, but this period made me aware how I much have hemmed myself in in recent years and how tiny my world has become.

+ I had a possible detached retina, which meant I spent a Friday morning at the Eye Hospital. Routine definitely disrupted!

The eye issue manifested itself as what looked like tiny flying black bugs, which morphed into twinkling fireflies in my vision – after which I had (and still have) a blurry smudge in my field of vision that will not go away. So after a week of this I went to the GP, who sent me to the hospital. No detached or torn retina (yay!), but likely ageing eyes (sorry, but what hell is this?). I need to follow up with an optometrist in 3 weeks. It took a while to land on the appropriate comparison – but it is like I am wearing glasses with a finger-print smudge on the lens – without the glasses.

20. Cultivate a healthier relationship with work
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! OMG NO! It’s been utterly and completely awful.

Utterly and Completely.

21. Get a haircut/trim
✅ Completed February

22. Experiment! Tiny experiments with all sorts of things!
I’m honestly struggling to come up with anything, so I’ll give this one a NO.

I think I still have a little lingering covid ditziness, so I will attempt to take notes for June!

tsundoku: may 2022

tsundoku: the books we buy that accumulate without being read

You can imagine my utter delight to stumble across this delightful word last week (in this spoon&tomago post)!

My current collection of tsundoku, which is admittedly rather small:


shooting into the light

I am determined to begin to make inroads into these in May and June.

Very much unlike myself, I purchased Rattled immediately on release after reading this utterly compelling excerpt in The Guardian. I started reading at lunchtime today and it does not disappoint!

Finally, just maybe, after 6 weeks I’m feeling ever-so-slightly more myself after the very-not-fun times with COVID – and reading seems actually achievable.

22 for 22: april

Brain still a little foggy and rather tired. Don assures me that if I’m on his trajectory I may start feeling almost human next week.

On with April – where there was not a huge amount of progress against these items, but which does not prevent from me writing many, many words!

01. Use the things!
✅ continuing to find things to use!

+ I’m trying to broaden the range of craft projects I have on the go, rather than devoting myself exclusively to one thing. So I dragged out the silk-screen, cut a stencil and printed a shirt on one of Joe/Frank’s cast-off tees. It was a fairly basic print, but I’m quite happy with it – improvements noted for next time.

+ I took three items to the framer that had been languishing for way too long in the back of the cupboard! It’s a hideously expensive undertaking and likely 6 week turn around, but will be excellent to have them on the walls. I plan to turn out more cupboards.

Made note of Things to use in May that I’ve been resisting:
+ 17 audible credits which is giving me a little anxiety. There is way too much choice and internalised pressure not to waste credits on something not super-fabulous. I realise how silly this is.
+ 10 pack of pottery sessions which I’ve yet to use – and feel guilty for not doing so.
+ This book (Jessica Stanley: A Great Hope) has sitting on my shelf for a while. It appears to be everything I love to read, so unsure why I am resisting picking it up.

Will report back on these in the May review.

02. Put my feet in the sea
✅ YES! When I was finally released from isolation after two very long weeks, we drove to the other side of the harbour to visit Freshwater beach for the first time.

Having grown up in an area with utterly spectacularly beautiful beaches (literally the only positive of that area), I find Sydney beaches fairly underwhelming – but it was really lovely to have a short walk on a short beach, clamber over the rocks and watch the waves.

Gorgeous! Need more sea!

03. Buy more indoor plants
✅ Three ikea succulents were acquired to fill concrete pots I made for Bessie.

Very pleasing, but I’d best hand them off soon. I do not have much success with succulents!

04. 30 days of Yoga With Adrienne in January
✅ Completed!

Told myself I would get back into it in April.

Did not get back into it in April.

05. Achieve Big Financial Goal
September!

06. Use my dremel.
Not yet!

07. Choose the loving action.
Going gentle on self for a quiet April. This allowed for a lot of subconscious reflection and I felt a real shift in how I view myself. I can’t entirely articulate this well just yet – but I’m reflecting on it a bit.

08. Try/learn one new skill each month
I wouldn’t say I learned any new skill in April, but I have signed up for a free month of skillshare (heavily influenced by their sponsorship of some favourite youtubers).

I am keen to improve my illustration skills. I often find myself assuming that things I was reasonably skilled at 40 years ago will be waiting in some kind stasis of for me to pick them up where I left off. Ditto; fitness. Obviously this is not the case – revive those skills!

09. More music through speakers in ThePalace(OLove) on working days.
✅ The beauty of the monthly review is that on the afternoon of the last work day in April, when I remember this item exists, I can still bang out some tunes.

The last week of April was rough and full of annoying colleagues, by Friday afternoon I’d had enough and whipped up some Anzac biscuits and listened to 3 elderly CDs. I find having music filling the room is an infinitely more pleasing experience than having music plugged directly into my brain.

10. Show support financially to creators I believe in
✅ some absolute treasures this month:

+ Patreon: DAS Bookbinding – his youtube channel is a veritable treasure of bookbinding goodness
+ Patreon: Frannerd – totally adorable Chilean illustrator living in NY
+ Hania Rani: Kyiv – utterly beautiful music as ever – proceeds to Ukraine

11. Take myself on an adventure in the goget (car share).
Not yet!

Although now that Don is working more from the office, I remember why I signed up last year!

12. Attend another sound bath
✅ Completed March!

I’m very much excited for the June one. It will be freezing and cosy.
Honestly, I know this is totally DFH**, but you should totally try it.

13. Take a photo of the sky every day.
✅ Not a terribly successful month for sky photos = 18/30

Remembering to do this every day is quite a stretch – which I think says something, but I don’t know quite what.

It is very satisfying and soothing to look back on the photos!


03 April: 5:55pm

14. Stay in the country for a weekend
Not yet! This is unlikely to happen in May as we are still climbing out of the covid hole and are often easily fatigued, plus Don is off to Amsterdam mid-month – not a lot of space for a country break!

15. Update supportive footwear.
✅ Completed January!

Would benefit from another pair of comfy walking sandals.

16. Have a serious crack at meditation.
Not yet! I do think I would benefit from meditation. But I’ve concluded that mindfulness meditation is possibly not for me.

Need more rain and whales and crackling fires and crystal bowls and dark cosy spaces!

17. Go for a morning swim in the local pool
✅ Completed February!

18. Have a Reiki session.
Not yet! Very tempted to organise something for May.

19. Disrupt the daily routine at least once a week.
COVID and recovery definitely disrupted the routine!

20. Cultivate a healthier relationship with work
✅ Taking leave between Easter and Anzac Day meant a much healthier relationship with work! If only I could make that relationship more permanent.

21. Get a haircut/trim
✅ Completed February.

Possibly need another trim as the very blunt ends make it a bit of a challenge to tie up. May investigate layers.

22. Experiment! Tiny experiments with all sorts of things!
+ a few craft projects which I’ll post about separately.

+ bought an atlas (terrible) from the charity shop, and then a cheap globe (terrible and returned) in an attempt to improve my country recognition so that I can be somewhat competitive when playing worldle with the fam. I am comically appalling at country shapes and locations. A large wall map may be in order.

** Dirty Hippy

climbing out

One of the stranger things about A Palace Full Of Covid was that we each experienced quite different symptoms.

For me it was pretty typically how my immune system responds to any and all respiratory attacks – so played out rather like an amplified cold in very many respects. I had many (many!) coughs that made sleeping difficult, but Don and Joe/Frank barely coughed at all.

It’s taking Don and I a while to recover, whereas Joe/Frank bounced back almost immediately. Youth being on his side as he noted.

And two weeks after testing positive, while I don’t feel confused or foggy, I’m definitely displaying confused and foggy behaviours – discovering I’d put my toothbrush in with my hair-ties, or attempting to put the recently boiled kettle into the cupboard (where it does not belong). I also feel as sharp as ever – but I am not as sharp as ever – words are sometimes hard to find, thoughts occasionally difficult to string together. This doesn’t align with my expectations of what brain fog entailed – I’d envisioned kind of jet-lagged, sickly, exhaustion type cognitive challenges.

Also – occasionally really quite grumpy indeed. And for a long while was blaming myself for not being fit and healthy enough to easily shrug this off – which is clearly bonkers. I think it eats at your brain somewhat.

Despite this I’m relieved The Universe chose now to smite me and not two years ago when the results would likely have been very different.

I have all of next week off work, which will be glorious indeed.

well played, universe

I was joking with the SML kids that the absolute worst time for me to test positive for The Covid would be on Day 6 of isolation.

Because it would mean that:

+ I would have to isolate for another 7 days **.
+ I would take sick leave while Bobs^^ is on holiday – thereby not getting the full benefit of his absence.

Thanks Universe!

So much for that invincibility I was boasting about.

At this point it feels like a very bad cold. I’m taking many fluids and laying about reading Margaret Drabble, which admittedly is not the most uplifting activity.

I was feeling fairly poorly yesterday with incipient cold symptoms so suspected it was coming – but yesterday’s test shone so brightly negative, that there was a tiny (delusional) glimmer it might be something else.

** Don and Joe/Frank are released tomorrow!
^^ Mad Boss

22 for 22: march

Not tackling the big questions in my world, namely:

+ How did we get to April so quickly?

+ How have I so far managed to avoid The Covid despite extremely prolonged exposure to two infected people over the course of a week?

As ever – this is reasonably epic, so you may want to grab a tea.

01. Use the things!
✅ Fancy glassware and the bowls I made are still in regular use.
(I! Made! Bowls! – Amazing!)

I’d been saving four adorable souvenir tea-towels for many, many years, thinking I’d acquire more and turn them all into a quirky picnic quilt.


2x London from Joan? Hobart from us? Courtney Barnett from Courtney Barnett

But then these thoughts occurred to me:
+ When do I ever picnic? (spoiler: I do not picnic)
+ Am I really going to acquire further adorable quirky souvenir tea towels?
+ Why not just put them into regular rotation which will spark joyful thoughts while doing dishes?

I keep thinking quite a bit about people here and abroad who have lost everything – probably a lot of items that they had saved for special and now will never use.

Use the things!

02. Put my feet in the sea
Not Yet!

03. Buy more indoor plants
✅ Yes! Succulents! Fern! Chain-of-hearts!


quite pleased with these pots, but they are a smidge too shallow inside

Must write a concreting adventures update post in April!

04. 30 days of Yoga With Adrienne in January
✅ Completed January

Told myself I would get stuck in in March. Did not get stuck in in March.

05. Achieve Big Financial Goal
End of September!

06. Use my dremel.
Not yet – but I think I have identified two use cases for the polisher attachment

07. Choose the loving action.
✅ Several items that may on the surface appear trivial, but are big strides in terms of self-worth and disrupting this inclination to deprive myself of stuff

+ We had take-away mid-week for dinner more than once! For many years I’ve very much been way too caught up in the ‘must make all meals from scratch’ thing – in order to feel like a worthy human or the be type of person I aspire to.

+ Likewise we ate pre-made quiche more than once!

+ Conversely, I slow cooked a quite delicious lamb curry despite Don and Joe/Frank being not at home. Usually I’ll mostly eat toast for dinner if they are not around

+ Spent an outrageously large amount of money to have Gelato Messina delivered on the day The Covid visited.

+ I chose to drive the car to a couple of work related catch-ups, rather than face an obstacle course of public transport. This is quite unprecedented and felt somewhat selfish and environmentally terrible. Push past those thoughts carolbaby, the earth will not be destroyed because you drove somewhere twice.

08. Try/learn one new skill each month
I’m reasonably confident new skills were not acquired in March

09. More music through speakers in ThePalace(OLove) on working days.
Alas, no.

10. Show support financially to creators I believe in
✅ Subscribed to David Lebovitz’s paid newsletter. I’d been meaning to for ages, but was prompted by his fundraising for World Central Kitchen’s work in Ukraine

11. Take myself on an adventure in the goget (car share).
Not yet.

12. Attend another sound bath
✅ Was not quite so trippy second time around, because I had an idea what to expect. I did take lots more padding (camping mattress + yoga mat), but offered my yoga mat to a dude who forgot his and used the mattress only. Both mattress and mat would have been quite excellent. I did feel like a very kindly human – so worth a little discomfort!

I felt utterly energised and completely refreshed for at least a week afterward. Everything seemed alive with possibility! I have no idea if this is just because of the enforced laying still for two hours or whether the sounds do anything – but does the why of it even matter?

I will definitely attend the winter solstice one. And take a snuggly blanket! Action item: acquire snuggly blanket


very (very!) quickly constructed lavender and barley eye pillow

13. Take a photo of the sky every day.
March was not great for this – so very much rain. 18/31 days.


25 March: 7:26pm

14. Stay in the country for a weekend
Not yet – we have a $50 voucher from the NSW Govt for Covid stimulus that we should use and also credit from the trip we couldn’t take last July because of lockdown.

Perhaps May for this one?

15. Update supportive footwear.
✅ Completed January

16. Have a serious crack at meditation.
Not yet. Could definitely lay in a darkened room listening to forest or whale sounds right now. Does that count as mediation?

17. Go for a morning swim in the local pool
✅ Completed February
Planned to go once more, but the weather was uncooperative and the pool closed for the season on 31 March.

18. Have a Reiki session.
Not yet

19. Disrupt the daily routine at least once a week.
✅ Nothing particularly earth shattering, more in the realms of micro-disruptions – but those are actually the most achievable.

+ two different lunch catch-ups with former colleagues

+ amazing zoom call lasting almost 2 hours with two incredible new friends from my DFH course. I love these women, and so magical and rare just to find people you kind of instantly bond with.

+ during a rare sunny day amidst in the relentless rain I climbed onto the roof – just because – and took a few photos

+ bit of ruthless decluttering – in Pleasures of Leisure Robert Dessaix calls this nesting which I ADORE and will use henceforth.

+ bought a wee pot of flowers to make the work days brighter


+
isolated for the last days of March. Resolved to never let a day pass without walking outside once we are permitted out.

20. Cultivate a healthier relationship with work
✅ I think still yes, if not giving many fucks is healthier? It probably is.

I know I have been eerily calm in the face of incidents that I would have formerly found rage-inducing.

I was bouncing back and forth between the Information Superhighway and composing this post, and I read That, I began to realise, is the most harmful feeling of all. Not anger but apathy. (from here** via here^^) – which was a bit “oh fuck!”.

Is apathy healthier? It probably is.

21. Get a haircut/trim
✅ Completed February

22. Experiment! Tiny experiments with all sorts of things!
+ Mid way through the month I started eating vegan or vegetarian lunches – and experimenting with falafel or veggie fritters on fresh sourdough – A+++ would eat forever!

I’m thinking to update #3 eat no meat for a week on the 60before60 list to make it a little more sustainable and long term. A week is a bit stunt-y I think. I think at the very least I could be meat-free once a week for dinner and most lunches.

Newsletters:
** Joanna Fuertes: A spoonful of dread
^^ Jessica Stanley: Read Look Think