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

an unwelcome guest

Finally, The Covid has visited ThePalace(OfLove)

Joe/Frank tested positive on a RAT** yesterday morning, which meant that the household (palacehold?) was plunged into isolation for seven days.

Don had been feeling pretty unwell on the back of a Super Cold and a bunch of his colleagues tested positive over the weekend after a work offsite late last week. He had a negative RAT, but still took himself off for a PCR^^ on Sunday and the results came back negative on Sunday night. Because he was becoming increasingly poorly and it seemed less cold-like, he took a RAT last evening – and BOOM! it shone positive like the proverbial Xmas tree.

Joe/Frank and Don are both trucking along – lots of quiet times and napping.

However, I am still testing negative – but surely will not stay that way with all their germs floating about!

Send hugs!

I don’t know if you call them this where you are, so to translate:

** RAT = Rapid Antigen Test = home test | stick a probe up your own nose
^^ PCR = Polymerase Chain Reaction = queue up | have a professional stick a probe up your nose and down your throat | lab test

phase three


20 March: 7:47am

Well phase three did not involve pencils or Don’s activation as a sleeper agent.

What phase three actually involved was two charges on Don’s American Express card from the evil amazon … for the same amounts as the sharpener and sketchbook.

Silly Don, you might think, this is those seeds all over again!

But this is where it gets rather spooky … there are no such purchases in Don’s amazon history – his last amazon purchase was some time in 2010.

To summarise:

+ Parcel containing a pencil sharpener arrives addressed to Don with no other documentation or indication of sender
+ Parcel containing a small sketchbook arrives addressed to Don with no other documentation or indication of sender
+ Time passes
+ Charges for each of these items appear in Don’s credit card transactions
+ There is no record of these items in Don’s amazon purchase history

We can conclude that this is Not Good.

After an “investigation” American Express have decided that the charges are legitimate. I mean, the total less than $20 – but what happens when it is a $5k television, or a Tesla?

Obviously we are not going to let this end there.

Updates as they arrive.

adventures in gardening: march 2022

I know that if I attempt to wait until the precise 12 month point for a follow-up gardening adventures post, I’ll perfectionist myself to the point of doing nothing, so let’s go!

First up: the 2022 update of 2021 update

Experiment 1: seeds from a Xmas lunch 2019 pomegranate


40cm

Going strong! Probably needs a larger pot.

Experiment 2: mangoes planted from summer feasting in 2019/20!


70cm

Definitely needs a larger pot!

Experiment 3: ginger

Harvested here.

Experiment 4:lemons


20cm

Not a huge amount of growth. Still, they have not been entirely eaten or died, so I’m calling this a miracle.

Experiment 5: cold-stratified muscat grape seeds

SAY WHAT!? These vines have gone utterly bonkers in only 12 months! Despite the very conservatory-style conditions, grapevines really do not belong in the NotCraft room – but I am loath to take them outdoors to face the apocalyptic weather (heatwaves! floods! bugs!) until we get that pergola built in maybe 2023. In the meanwhile I’m training them across wire hangers. Precious angels!

I’ve got some seeds cold-stratifying in the fridge from this grape season and some I’ve already planted straight into soil, I’ll be excited to see what comes of those!

In other plant-experiment updates:

You may recall the wee figgy seeds I harvested from the ground near my favourite tree, back in 2016 when we were bike riding on the reg.

To say they are thriving would be rather understating it.


180cm!

Probably unwise to re-pot, lest it take over ThePalace(OfLove)!

Why, yes The Palace is falling to bits, thank you for noticing.

You may also recall the stone pine seeds I bought in April 2020.

After quite a lot of fuss and preparation, the sole plant that made it through is surprisingly still kicking along!


21cm

I’m not certain what has popped up in the pot with it, all will be revealed eventually.

And those cuttings I pillaged from the bin at SML in the Before Times?

They also rather like the Conservatory conditions. Past Me really did not care for indoor plants – isn’t it wonderful how we change and evolve?

Of course, not everything is winning!

In 2010 we successfully sprouted an avocado seed on our first attempt, which grew into a wee tree, and was subsequently destroyed by the visiting possum.

Despite many (many!) further attempts, we’ve never been able to repeat the sprouting – which rather reminds me of a colleague who on his first attempt at wordle guessed the correct word on the first row and wondered what all the fuss was about.

This one has been sitting there for a couple of months – I’m about to abandon the endeavour.

And I had a jasmine plant growing completely taking off on the lower balcony, until the endless rains and …

There were SEVEN of these enormous creatures munching away and few leaves left.

Not being the kind of person who squishes caterpillars, I relocated them to the nature strip.

Thankfully everything else on the balcony had remained uneaten, but I’m not sure how long that would have remained so.

continuing adventures in mid-life crisis crafting: bookbinding

Last month as part of my ongoing Mid Life Crisis crafting I attended Bookbinding for Beginners at the NSW Bookbinding Guild

This was one of those “I really wanting to be around people, pursuing crafty endeavours together” activities, rather than any deep long-term desire to learn bookbinding.

The class ran over two days and was pretty intense! Tutor was amazing – group was enthusiastic, had a great energy and was pretty age diverse. We covered a lot and I was quite exhausted afterward – it’s not often I do something outside the routine for an entire weekend. Really must do more of this, I also would benefit from less saying and more executing!

I’m really thankful I learned this with the guild, rather than the other bookbinding offering – which had that “bookbind and wine” vibe and was less intensive. As a former drinker, I become irrationally enraged with the whole “wine and craft” thing that is really just everywhere. If you haven’t read the very excellent Kristi Coulter 2016 Enjoli Essay you should go and do that now.

On with the books!!

1. Single section stitched (x2)

We kicked off with binding our course notes into two softcover books – starting with 3 hole and then progressing to 5 hole with a wrapped cover.

2. Single section cased-in binding (hard cover)

Somewhat more challenging: our first blank book – bound in quite amazing wallpaper and I think the fabric on the spine is buckram, maybe?

3. Hard cover concertina photo album

The level of complexity increased quite rapidly with this one – lots of moving parts, including a de-bossed shape in the cover.

Honestly it is quite surprising what you can make with fairly simple materials.


there’s a whole lot more pressing and squishing with heavy objects involved in bookbinding than I’d imagined.

4. Multi-section French-stitched notebook with wraparound cover

We had some time remaining on the afternoon of Day Two, so we made two of this type.


post class photo to show stitching

The weekends work!

What I will do with all these books is yet to be determined!

Naturally at the end of the weekend I bought a kit, because I am helpless in the face of craft materials and kits! And who doesn’t need a boot knife in their life?

I also joined the Guild** (mainly to support them, I cannot imagine doing terribly many Guidly type things) and have signed up for an intermediate class later in the year.

And I’ve been experimenting (albeit slowly) with the french-stitching and making wee books at home. This was by far my favourite method and I’m really keen to experiment with getting some hard covers on there!

** I feel like this is peak old lady and I am here for it. Watch out NSW Embroiderer’s Guild!