ten days for the price of three


adorable ikea bunnies for my team – best. boss. ever.

In a glorious alignment of public holidays, we here in the antipodes can take a mere 3 days of annual leave and escape from our respective places of enslavement for TEN GLORIOUS DAYS.

TEN DAYS!

(admittedly, there’s two weekends in there, but still TEN DAYS!)

Our last two overseas holidays were each 10 days and we packed a ton of stuff in while still maxing out relaxing time. We’re staying in Sydney, but there is no reason we cannot do All The Things.

I am currently compiling a Giant Action List, because that makes me very happy.

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april reset: week two

Somewhat less successful this week.

+ yoga 3x per week
NO! Wednesday and Sunday, so better than last week (or the week before or the month before). I’m trying to ease myself back in and not get too obsessive about it so didn’t buy an unlimited pass. This will also avoid me paying $100 per class when I don’t visit enough!

+ exercise bike 3x per week
NO! Only made it down the stairs once. There really isn’t any excuse to miss a ride.

+ no more SML biscuits – such a waste of calories
YES! Much easier when you tell yourself you are not the kind of person who eats work biscuits.

+ renew chocolate ban – moderation is impossible
YES! As above: I do not eat chocolate.

+ complete Total Japanese CDs 5 and 6
SOME PROGRESS. Completed CD 5, which needs a repeat so it sticks. And I need to take notes on what I’ve learned from this disc – also for the stickiness.

+ finish to end year 10 in the endless embroidery (currently at year 8)
SOME PROGRESS. Another 100 days completed. Over the Magical Easter break I need to sit quietly with an audiobook and stitch for a couple of hours.

+ get out into the neighbourhood more
Not really! I walked up the street on Friday night where Bessie had a market stall to deliver her a couple of bottles of water. This probably doesn’t count. I don’t often get out in the neighbourhood in the dark – the streetlights are really quite ineffectual and the footpath is perilous.

+ intermittent fasting 3x per week
YES! I developed a slightly unhealthy obsession with fiery peppermints during the week. Now I am not the sort of person who scoffs peppermints.

+ actually use the teeth whitening kit I paid a small fortune for at the dentist over 6 months ago
ABANDONED! Teeth have finally stopped aching after that first attempt. When I get it into my head to do this in another 10 years, I should look back here.

+ buff ghastly nails 1x per week – because they really are ghastly
YES! Buffed again – not a whole lot of difference from last week. This could be a long project. I should possibly extend it to my hideous toenails.

+ embrace the analogue – use laptop, tablet and phone with purpose and shut down after use
MOSTLY! Need to focus on shutting down the ipad.

+ meditate on non-yoga mornings
YES! Still going!

+ blog minimum 4x per week
NO! More exhaustion and arriving home late from work. Next week for sure!

+ read minimum 4 books over the Easter break
NOT YET! Still need to work on the reading list.

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approximately 8.4 metres

One of my 60before60 items (#27) and a 2019 intention was to kill my gmail accounts.

Over the years I’d accumulated six gmail accounts which I’d used for various things – personal; mrshardly blog, twitter and instagram; professional (mostly linkedin); carolbaby blog; shared with Don; other thing I cannot remember.

In early January I deleted five of them – pretty much without a second thought – but the mother of all of them remained untouched. I’ve had this gmail account for 15 years and was one of the first to get one – way, way back when google wasn’t evil. If you can imagine such a thing.

I’d tried to cleverly control the deluge of stuff into this mailbox with filters and folders – automatically mark emails as read, skip the inbox and put them in a folder. I had some sort of vague idea that I’d read them later. Ha!

So this week as part of the 15th anniversary I decided to finally tackle it. There was a LOT of mail – just under 100,000 emails! Had I actually deleted anything ever?

I set about it by first attacking those carefully designed folders: z_bargains, z_wankery,z_surveys, etc. Why I thought I needed to retain 7 year old adverts and mailing lists is a mystery for another time.

Next step was to trawl through the inbox proper, and searching and then deleting stuff from common senders. I also took the time to unsubscribe from a ton of mailing lists. Why did I invite this garbage into my life?

This took a few solid evenings to get through and by the end I had 84,176 emails in the trash.

84,176.

What was really, really interesting to me was how from 2004 to about 2006 my email was mostly chat and long letter-style emails with family and friends – then progressively it became a receptacle for junk mail. I rarely get a personal email these days that’s not a quick link – #getoffmylawn

Next up I’ll export the family emails to some sort of archive, redirect what I need to and close up shop by the end of the year.

I know it is not *real* clutter, but I found the process really very freeing.

Recommended.

xxx

The title refers to the height the stack of deleted emails would be if they were each one sheet of paper (~168 reams x 5cm).

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april reset: week one

I’m not sure why I keep forgetting how nice it is to have these little goals and how much I enjoy crossing items off a list, but I do and here we are!

+ yoga 3x per week
NO! I went to the usual Sunday class, but couldn’t force myself from bed for Wednesday and Friday. I’m hoping that the end of daylight savings will assist with the getting out of bed on the week days. I’m certainly not inclined to buy another unlimited pass until I’m certain it will stick!

+ exercise bike 3x per week
YES! I think it could have even been four? My cardio fitness really needs a jolt – this is really helping with that.

+ no more SML biscuits – such a waste of calories
YES! It is so easy to stress-eat at work and before you know it you’ve eaten half a packet of iced vovos in a single sitting.

+ renew chocolate ban – moderation is impossible
YES! Such a relief not to even give myself the option.

+ complete Total Japanese CDs 5 and 6
SOME PROGRESS. I do a short lesson every morning on the way to work, but I also repeat most several times in an attempt to make it stick. I may not finish by the end of April, but there’s no rush.

+ finish to end year 10 in the endless embroidery (currently at year 8)
SOME PROGRESS. Stitched 100 days on Saturday – otherwise untouched. Need to pick up the pace if I’m going to achieve this one!

+ get out into the neighbourhood more
YES! Don and I embraced the lovely day yesterday and walked down to the Marrickville organic food markets. We shared a serving of a very excellent paella. We bought no organic fruits or vegetables. Though they all did look amazing, we were unusually realistic about the chances of actually consuming them. I often think I’d like to live a more crunchy lifestyle – but yeah, nah – does not really align with my values of shiny things and desire for minimalism (those don’t really align either – whatever – I contain multitudes).

+ intermittent fasting 3x per week
YES! Already noticing a slightly shrinkage to the waist (see aforementioned no work biscuits, no chocolate).

+ actually use the teeth whitening kit I paid a small fortune for at the dentist over 6 months ago
ABANDONED! Used for one night and by midday the next day I was in agony – throbbing teeth, swollen aching gums – a week later and I’m still in some discomfort. And I used less solution than recommended! I’d forgotten how truly truly awful it is. Vincenzo has been whitening so I offered him my unused syringes of solution – which he was thrilled to have because it costs a ridiculous amount of $.

+ buff ghastly nails 1x per week – because they really are ghastly
YES! Slightly less ghastly from my efforts, but this needs to be an ongoing project.

+ embrace the analogue – use laptop, tablet and phone with purpose and shut down after use
YES! I would really recommend this if you’re trying to cut down on internet use. Much less of the walk by the laptop, sit down for a quick minute and look up two hours later.

+ meditate on non-yoga mornings
YES! I’d really question whether this has had any real impact, but I’ll keep on trucking.

+ blog minimum 4x per week
NO! Work has been dire and I’ve been arriving home very late and very exhausted.

+ read minimum 4 books over the Easter break
NOT YET! Need to pick my books. I have a small list gleaned from Brenda Walker: Reading by Moonlight – trying to source paper versions from the library, but will recourse to digital if I must.

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could have also done with a set of sparkly wings

I’ve mentioned before that I’m facing more sexism now that I’m relatively senior (and the more that I veer back toward working in IT) than I ever have before.

The most recent example of this was a fairly important presentation to the SML Board asking for approval to spend $LOTS on Project Sulpur. For my sins, I’m the lead from the business side and it was my first time talking to this group about about what the business would get from all this cash. Other presenters were Bobs (Sponsor, old white man), VeryHighlyPaidConsultant (very highly paid consultant, old white man), FCFC (new program manager, old white man), Ringo (IT lead and semi-old white man) and Dita (voice of customer, 30s, sultry, gorgeous).

Prep was harrowing. Like really. Without going into the torturous details there was an enormous amount of:
✚ “you and Dita need to be the happy faces of the project!”
✚ “smile more!”
✚ “bring the sizzle (to Dita, I’m unlikely to sizzle)”
✚ “stop being negative, carolbaby”. This last in response to my, “we currently can’t do esoteric but very desirable thing X, the new system will do Y to make it all better – YAY!”. VHPC: “No, carolbaby, Ringo talks about the problems, you need to lift them up, lift them up!” Me: “LadyPenelope(CEO) did ask that we remind them of some of the issues the business is facing”. VHPC: “Ringo can do that”. Me: “but Ringo is IT?” VHPC: “no, we’ll add those issues to Ringo’s slide for him to talk to”.
✚ Me: “should Dita include a bit about us never engaged with the customers like this before and that their response has been extremely positive?” VHPC: “that’s too negative.”
✚ “don’t say that, carolbaby”
✚ “don’t say that, carolbaby”
✚ “don’t say that, carolbaby”

Not just one meeting, but 3 meetings of 3 hours. It was relentless.

I’d have thought it was perhaps just me, but Vincenzo who was also in attendance was appalled.

And then there was the “we’re tight on space, so perhaps the girls can come in and do their bits and then leave?” (while the old white men all stay – for the important serious Man bits). ARGH!

This on top of my general meh, really (really) messed with my psyche and had me in tears a couple of times in front of both Bobs “this is all so fucking sexist, I cannot even” and the long-suffering Don. Fortunately Bobs checked-himself and went in to bat a bit behind the scenes with people who matter – and good grief if clueless Bobs can see it, it must be pretty evident!

Because I am stubborn, I largely ignored VeryHighlyPaidConsultant, went with my instincts and stuck to my script of “current system bad (so bad), new things will be super-fantastic and here’s how!” for the rehearsal in front of LadyPenelope(CEO). My bit received a very big thumbs-up for hitting the right note. Stick it, VHPC.

I’m honestly in no mind to tolerate any of this sexist bullshit. Fortunately around this time there was a piece of decommissioned cake stand kicking about at SML which looked quite like a fairy wand, so I bought a fairy princess skirt and carried the wand to our final run-through.


princess skirt (though not the final outfit)

And I very much made my point to the old white men. Plus, princess skirt.

Dita’s and my bits were quite well received – I was apparently funny, informative and authentic. They want us back for the next meeting.

In the meanwhile, I’m going to continue to speak out whenever I can (and a few of my fellow princesses have thanked me for fighting the good fight).

How can we still be in this place in 2019?

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resist future dental up-selling


out and about in the neighbourhood

I met most of my small goals for the day: 10 min on exercise bike, 5 min meditation, no SML biscuits, no chocolate, intermittent fasting, shutting down devices – go me!

However I can see that wearing this mouth guard overnight for the next 2 weeks for that teeth whitening is going to be uncomfortable and not a little annoying.

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first day of the rest of the days

In an attempt to counter the previously mentioned meh, I’ve decided I’ll use April as an opportunity to reboot a whole lot of stuff. The weather will be cooler, daylight savings will have ended, hopefully I’ll be sleeping better! The temperature has really dropped in the last couple of days and it has been glorious – I feel quite energised by the idea of making changes and attacking a slightly ambitious list of to-dos.

+ yoga 3x per week
+ exercise bike 3x per week
+ no more SML biscuits – such a waste of calories
+ renew chocolate ban – moderation is impossible
+ complete Total Japanese CDs 5 and 6
+ finish to end year 10 in the endless embroidery (currently at year 8)
+ get out into the neighbourhood more
+ intermittent fasting 3x per week
+ actually use the teeth whitening kit I paid a small fortune for at the dentist over 6 months ago
+ buff ghastly nails 1x per week – because they really are ghastly
+ embrace the analogue – use laptop, tablet and phone with purpose and shut down after use
+ meditate on non-yoga mornings
+ blog minimum 4x per week
+ read minimum 4 books over the Easter break

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library haul #8

Collected my reserved book and picked up a couple of non-challenging items (who can resist the fabulous ridiculousness which is Clive?)

1. Katrina Onsted: The weekend effect – the life-changing benefits of taking time two days off
2. Eva Woods: How to be happy
3. Clive Cussler (and Graham Brown): Sea of greed

I do rather miss pulling together the monthly reading summaries and annual reading list- must get back on that, though I suspect I will have some trouble reconstructing 2018! Perhaps a project for the magical TEN-DAYS-OFF-FOR-THE-PRICE-OF-THREE which is the Easter break.

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it was there all along

I’m sure it’s pretty evident that I’ve been a little (a lot) on the meh side in recent months.

I’ve been very unhappy in a way I haven’t been for years and years. I’ve been analysing this (to death) and have tried tweaking various bits and pieces:
+ maybe I need to take it easy and chill?
+ maybe I need to give up the self-improvement books?
+ maybe I need to leave SML?
+ maybe I need more creativity?
+ maybe I need to quit the ambitious to-do lists?
+ maybe I need to stop buying stuff?
+ maybe I need to stop the daily journal?
+ maybe I need to give up instagram?
+ maybe I need x, y, z other things?
None of this really worked.

I lunched with Knut (ex-colleague and golden boy) during the week for the first time in about 6 months and he looked fabulous – relaxed, healthy, calm, centred. He’s been exercising and goal-setting and meditating (though in his case it manifests itself as prayer) and self-improvement-ing all over the place. The transformation was quite amazing. And it occurred to me that I love this sort of personal development stuff, but I’ve fallen into a place where I feel like I have no agency in my life and I’m letting everything kind of just happen to me. I’m not exercising, I’m eating badly, I’m disengaged, I’m kind of defeated. But I actually am in the very privileged position where I do have agency and lots of it! And I made a plan to spend this weekend mapping out just how I want to move forward. Perhaps a way out at last?

Last night I took some heavy duty night-time cold-and-flu tablets because I could feel one coming on (and various members of my team have been out with it) and I didn’t wake until 5:30am. This is pretty unprecedented – I generally wake at least 3 times a night with a raging thirst and drink copious amounts of water.

This morning I woke full of enthusiasm, cheerfulness, energy and all the good things.

Could it be that all I really need is a proper night’s sleep?

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wet wet wet

In one of my recent wardrobe purges I sent two quite unsatisfactory raincoats to the charity shop. They both looked great, but didn’t actually do much in the way of rain prevention – one had opera length sleeves and no hood, the other was quite short (barely covering my bum), quite heavy and not entirely comfortable.

The intention was to obtain a fit-for-purpose, decent-looking replacement pretty soon afterward, but with a spate of sunny hot weather (and my apparently inability to remember what rain was), the replacement never happened.

It was pouring on Sunday, I was out and about and an umbrella can only do so much. I’ve since spent hours and hours (and hours!) scouring the Information Superhighway for something suitable. Hours. I’ve learned that there are some astoundingly expensive** raincoats out there (in the >$5k range), and that there are also some astoundingly** expensive** quite** hideous** raincoats out there, and I’m only marginally closer to finding a winner.

This is one of those jam study problems. I should just pull the trigger on something knee-length, not hideous, with a hood and long sleeves, and move on with my life.

xxx

**Because links are such fragile things – herewith is my list of some Astoundingly Expensive and Astoundingly Expensive Quite Hideous raincoats
+ Akris – Bellevue Two-in-One Hooded Coat – AU$8,194.65
+ Rosie Assoulin – Sarah Jessica Water Resistant Parka – reduced to AU$1,370.25 from AU$3,425.63
+ Junya Watanabe – Tartan Patchwork Denim Coat – AU$6,425.86
+ Simone Rocha – Puff-Sleeve Laminated Tweed Trench Coat – reduced to AU$1,788.19 from AU$4,470.49
+ GUCCI Rainbow – Panther Hooded Jacket – AU$3,283.83

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