For the last week, Don and I have been rattling around ThePalace(OfLove) as empty nesters.

Last Friday evening Joe/Frank took his first solo international flight to London! He handled the 5 hour layover and terminal change without a hitch and safely met Joan at the other end. He’s staying independently in hotels, but has Joan on hand for guidance and big sisterly bossing. They’re doing a few days each together in Switzerland (with Joan’s boyfriend), Barcelona and Amsterdam.

We’re so excited for him. This is such a big (big!) step in his road to independence. He’s really fortunate to have Joan plan the trip with (oftentimes for!) him and to be so enthusiastic in sharing her passion for travelling!

Being the nervous mummy that I am, I’ve always (happily) imagined Joe/Frank would be living with us for a good many years to come. This trip does make me question that – maybe he’ll be ready to forge out on his own sooner than I imagine! Though of course there’s university to complete before we start thinking of such things.

2865-2864 days

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very simple pleasures

Minor chaos on the trains this morning. After arriving at the station and seeing three trains cancelled and the next three running very late (and likely no room to board), I decided to head for the bus instead and took a quite lovely walk in the neighbourhood to get to the bus stop.

It was a sparkling morning, the sky was blue, I got a seat to myself on the bus and it all put me in an excellent mood for the remainder of the day – sure it took me 90 minutes to get to SML, but we’ll gloss over that.

2866 days

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When I finally admitted my beloved elderly laptop was a little too fragile to continue using and bought my lovely replacement computer in November, I was planning to be ruthlessly efficient and minimalist about what I put on it.

Past Me: Rather than copying 7.5 years of accumulated junk over, I’m installing the bare minimum of software and files and will install / copy as needed.

Of course that was just tempting fate and I had not factored the laptop deciding it had really had enough and refusing to start at all, even in safe mode.

This weekend saw me down and dirty in the innards of the poor old darling.

I’ve removed the hard drive, put it in an external case and am now running utilities over it which are taking an age (more than 24 hours). That’s okay, I’m happy to attack this slowly.

Worst, case I’ve lost a couple of months of not-terribly-important files.

Back up your data, folks!

While I was in the guts of the thing, I also decided it would be a good idea to sell the RAM from it and the other recently retired computers on eBay. If I get $20 for each set, I’ll be delighted. I rather wish I’d thought of this last time I carted off computers to the e-waste.

2867 days

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Don: “when was the last time you did any exercise?”
Me: “yeah, it’s been a while”.

Back on the exercise bike tomorrow.

2875-2868 days

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2019 intentions: review

Eleven days (already?) into the new year, so probably time to review those 2019 intentions. My original post is here and the mid-year review is here.

I was reasonably pleased with how I went overall. Much like the not-resolutions, these are things I’d like to do, but they’re prone to change and be abandoned as I change priorities, so it’s unlikely I’ll ever achieve everything. I’m in the kind of space now where I’m cool with that – Past Me would have been full of self-loathing for not ticking off every item. Present Me finds Past Me exhausting and would like to give her a hug and tell her to chill out a bit.

+ Facial 1x per month
ACHIEVED AND ABANDONED! Regular facials were an indulgence and something I’d never really been able to afford before. I loved the experience and am glad I gave it a go, but I abandoned them in July in favour of spending my hard-earned on crafting classes. I also abandoned the recommended (pretty expensive) skin care products when they ran out and tried out a significantly cheaper local alternative and my skin looks 100x better. Those wrinkles and lines are not going anywhere, but overall my face looks healthier, less puffy, there’s less redness and that intractable milia has pretty much disappeared.

+ Wear nice sleepwear
NOT ACHIEVED! What can I say? I am never going to be a fancy, elegant lady. Mangy camisoles forever!

+ Use my keep cup
ACHIEVED! I probably used my keep cup much less than intended when I set this. The overarching idea was not to use disposable coffee cups and I stuck to this with a combo of the keep cup and sitting in cafes. This was very much helped by abandoning daily afternoon coffee later in the year.

+ Don’t cross my legs when sitting
PARTIALLY ACHIEVED! I do this much less than I did, but sometimes still catch myself. Definitely improved the leg / ankle issues, which as I noted in the mid-point review are now mostly footwear related (need to rid self of a fave pair of sneakers).

+ No daily digital news
ACHIEVED! The positive impact on my mental health from withdrawing from the “breaking news” cycle was significant. This year I’ve been pulled back in by our current environmental catastrophe (bushfires). These are terrible times and constant live updates really just serve to make me feel even more helpless. So much of my identity has been bound up in being the person who had her finger on every pulse and knowing All The Things. I’ve realised the occasional retreat is essential for me. I should probably write more about this, it has been a bit of a journey.

+ No snacking post-dinner. Fruit only after work.
OH MY GOODNESS NO! I reassessed this one after reading a whole bunch on intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is still a WIP for me, but this has been quite transformative when I let it be.

+ Limit personal spending. Stop shopping for sport.
SO MUCH NOPE! It’s not like I have rooms full of stuff I don’t use, or clothes I haven’t worn and I’m not anywhere near making massive, haul-style purchases. But I do buy things I don’t need, and rather too many aspirational craft supplies that are never used. Even that is relative – for me there is probably too much and I would still like to cut back.

And from the 60before60 list:

#48 Move the blog to self-hosted wordpress
ACHIEVED! Would recommend! I still need to tidy up some of the old links and disappeared pix – this would be a decent evening “put down your phone” project.

#27 Kill my gmail account(s)
PARTIALLY ACHIEVED! This is mostly complete. I’ll wind up the last dregs in the first half of 2020. I now have different providers for different things, so a protonmail account I use just for spending, I self-hosted account for personal admin. This is so far working really well for me. And I’m ruthlessly unsubscribing from all sorts of mailing lists – very good for those not-spending goals!

#13 Read no self-help books for a year
(MOSTLY) ACHIEVED! A slight pause in the middle of the year to read a couple. The author of one of them commented on my post – surprising and delightful!

#47 Record all personal spending for a year
PARTIALLY ACHIEVED! I started on 27 June 2019 and am still at it. It’s been an interesting exercise, even if I do nothing with the data. One of my observations is that I’ll be bored at lunch, want to get out of the office and buy things I don’t necessarily need. I started taking walks instead – the bushfire smoke has hampered this a bit, so I’ve defaulted back to shopping. I should just go sit in the library and read or craft a blog post.

#41 Be more present (precisely how to do this is yet to be determined)
NOT ACHIEVED! A lesson to not make vague intentions – what did this even mean? I abandoned this one entirely and replaced by learn to pick a lock.

#51 [something] yoga
I’m going for NOT ACHIEVED! So vague. I updated to develop a home yoga practice 3x per week. Cynical Me says I’ll have replaced this with something else by 2021 (Cynical Me is a bit of a negative dickhead).

Onward to 2020!

2877-2876 days

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2020 not resolutions: joe/frank

And finally we have Joe/Frank!

Reflecting on 2019
1. No uni grade lower than a C (Credit)
NOT ACHIEVED! Was actually doing OK in this regard, but it turns out I had my first failure!

2. Plan an overseas holiday for next year
ACHIEVED! Viva la Europa!

3. Read one new book a month

4. Learn how to ride a bike

5. Cook one new recipe a month
PARTIALLY ACHIEVED! I did add a few new things to my repertoire, but not quite enough. Hey, there’s a couple of winners there!

And for 2020:
1. No uni grade lower than a C (Credit)
2. Improve maturity/independence
3. Attend at least one acting lesson
4. Attend three gig buddies events
5. Find a grad job

2878 days


Joe/Frank’s previous not-resolutions:


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no new clothes: day forty

So far, much to my surprise, I am kicking goals with this particular challenge. Nothing new and 11% through my twelve month target.

I think I’ve achieved this moderate success mostly by convincing myself that I am not the sort of person who buys clothes. Much like my success with “I am not the sort of person who scoffs a family block of dairy milk chocolate”.**

However, I was very sorely tempted in late December by these delightful pink sneakers. They’re my favourite brand, which I’ve only ever seen in Japan. Plus pink.

Very Sorely Tempted.

I was all set to give myself permission to buy them and reset the twelve months once I’d made the purchase. But that is not really in the spirit of the endeavour, is it?

So I’m letting myself sit with the idea for a few months. I have seven pairs of sneakers already, do I really need more?

2879 days


** I need to extend this idea into other areas “I am the sort of person who does not dither about starting activities”, “I am the sort of person who drinks 1.5 litres of water every day”.

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2020 not-resolutions: don

It becomes clear which of the family require a few reminders to submit their not-resolutions.

As ever, Don is quite the minimalist reviewer.

The 2019 review:

1. (golf) Play A grade = drop 2 off handicap

2. ride exercise bike minimum of 2x week

3. lower blood pressure by 10mmHg

4. obtain RPL (recreational pilots licence!)

5. play 2-3 rounds (golf) interstate

And for 2020:
1. Play A grade (golf)
2. Ride regularly (exercise bike)
3. Play new courses (non-local)
4. Improve posture (stealing this one)
5. Read more fiction

2882-2880 days


Don’s previous not-resolutions:

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2020 intentions

As a work avoidance strategy I scribbled these broad themes on the first morning back at SML. Given they seemed to be top of mind, I figure they’re good enough to be going on with as intentions for the year.

I’ve added bullets underneath each about how I might implement them. They aren’t really intended to be super-prescriptive, so I won’t beat myself up if I don’t do ALL THE THINGS!

+ improve posture
If not now, when? My posture is fairly appalling and I’m starting to have the occasional lower back twinge and other aches. I’m not entirely jazzed by the prospect of entering my twilight years all pained and hunched over. Mostly this will involve mindfulness/checking in with myself – am I sitting up? are my abs engaged?
– Strengthen core
– Sit up don’t slump
– Don’t slouch when standing / walking

+ improve health
I had a few bouts of non-serious, but fairly annoying, lingering illness in 2019, which of course had the associated negative impact on my mental health.
– Some cardio every day. At the moment this consists of 20min on the exercise bike which should be sustainable.
– Take a walk every day when conditions permit. I was reasonably successful with this for part of last year – then the smoke hit!
– Reduce meat consumption, increase vegetable intake.
– Drink more water! I am TERRIBLE at this.
– Be (slightly) more social – a mental health one.
– Don’t compare myself to others – thief of joy and all that! Another mental health one.

+ thoughtful use of tech
There are a lot better uses of my time than the infinite scroll, which truly is the devil’s work, or clicking mindless about. I’d really like to disconnect a bit more.
– Limit instagram use. It’s wonderful to keep up with people, but holygoodness it is way too easy to get sucked into the abyss.
– Just put the phone down!
– Stop reading garbage / hate-reading – unsubscribe!
– Embrace analogue. We’ve started listening to CDs, I’m reading library books, I’d like to drag out the camera again.
– Share more good online things. Despite the mountain of garbage, there is some wonderful stuff out there. If this was 2019, I would tell you to read this excellent article (Paris Review: The Crane Wife) and this delightful project (hulaseventy: 365 lists)

+ take action, don’t dither
Procrastination is my watchword, let it no longer be so.
– All those plans you have – stop thinking and start them!
– Make comments on other blogs! Avoid posts languishing in tabs for weeks/months (I currently have at least four sitting there that I meant to say nice things about)
– Perform those bigger household maintenance tasks – keep the Palace from falling to the ground and/or incurring undue and unnecessary expense.

+ exercise brain
This encompasses pretty much anything that stretches me beyond the routine
– Get back to daily Japanese
– Maybe undertake a puzzle more frequently than just at Xmas
– Stretch my reading
– Crafting – take classes, learn new things, make new things!
– Pick up that cryptic crosswords for dummies book (#2 on the 60 list)

+ be calm | be crunchy
This was my catch-all for a lot of DFH** stuff
– Don’t buy any clothes for a year (#42 on the 60 list)
– Be conscious about what I buy in general – refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle!
– Meditate every day (#21 on the 60 list)
– Attend one bushcare working bee


2883 days


** Dirty … Hippy

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2020 not-resolutions: joan

Next up AdventureJoan!

Review of 2019
1. Visit 50 countries by 2020 (I’m currently at 41, soon to be 42) – possibilities include Liechtenstein, Greece, Faroe Islands, Portugal, Ireland, Norway, Morocco, Lithuania, Slovenia, Cuba… but I’ll take advantage of any good deals I find!
ALMOST ACHIEVED! I couldn’t remember how I reached this number so I recounted my countries and territories based on the list at the Travelers’ Century Club and as at 31 December, I’m at 49… I did travel a lot over the past year but mostly revisited places I had already been.

2. Make healthier food choices and start intermittent fasting again – thanks 30s metabolism
NOT ACHIEVED! This was mostly a fail but I did have some successful weeks here and there.

3. Edit and upload future travel photos within two months of taking trips (and get through existing backlog by the end of 2019)
NOT ACHIEVED! This definitely didn’t happen and the backlog is bigger than ever! I should have more time to work on this in the second half of next year.

4. Put £x into my travel savings account from every pay check
SUCCESS! If nothing else, I always reach my (albeit modest) financial goals.

5. Take more advantage of being in London and have at least one new experience (be it going to a new area, landmark, venue, etc) per month
NOT ACHIEVED! I think I spent too much time out of London this year to have seen this goal though like I had planned. I’ll be in London a lot more of the first half of next year so hopefully I will do more of this.

And for 2020
1. Have £x in my savings account by June 2020
2. Find a new hobby that involves physical activity
3. Start a language course
4. Travel to 5 new countries
5. Reduce my expenditure on food

2884 days


Joan’s previous not-resolutions:

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