sunset: monday 28/11

That was a week! Not loads of activity, but I am completely knackered and heading off to bed – at 8:53pm.

For the last couple of days, I’ve been enjoying trawling back through the archives of two blogs which I think I came across when searching for replacements for items on my 50before50 list. Both have seemingly been around forever, but are completely new to me (clearly I need to get out more).


hula seventy

If you’re interested in interesting1 blogs by women over 40 (aren’t we all?) which have great photos, these are worth a gander.

And if you’re looking for hilarious and you haven’t yet come across Welcome to McMansion Hell, you should totally go there right now.


1 interested in interesting? I really am tired.

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blink and you’ll miss it

seagulls spotted on my walk to work

Of course pretty much everyone is saying this today, but how on earth can it be December already?!

I really need to construct myself an Action Items list for the remainder of the year (or even just catch up on the incomplete actions from lists past) – fortunately we don’t really do Xmas gifts so I’ll escape that particular stressful horror. One thing we do need to do is optimise our meal planning to maximise our time away from the general December shopping chaos.

Or I could, you know, just relax and not be so uptight and Type A.

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can’t look away

clean, crispy sheets with tail of new kitty

Tomorrow I face back-to-back meetings from 8:30am to 5:30pm.

Fortunately these are all good, useful and necessary meetings (and I do love a good meeting), but I suspect I’ll be rather wrecked by day’s end. And really, don’t you want to encounter as many people as possible in close quarters when you have a GIANT cold sore on your top lip?

But hey, clean, crispy sheets!

And HolyGoodness! do I ever need some exercise (for its magical mood enchanting powers). Hopefully I’ll be able to manage something light on the weekend.

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reading 2016: november

TLDR; I read A LOT in November. Most recently because of the ghastly cold and being forced to lay quietly about.

Unusually, I’ve got three partially read books which I keep moving away from and sporadically coming back to:

Derren Brown: Happy – Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine. I mentioned in October that I was struggling through this. To my surprise I actually did put it down (generally I just try to plow through). I pick it up occasionally, read a couple of pages or a chapter and let it lie fallow again. It is pretty hard going and should be used as an example of the need for brevity. I’m close to abandoning. 66% completed.

Chade-Meng Tan: Joy on Demand – The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within. This can be really kind of corny – particularly the cartoons. It’s not awful and has good insights, but I’m struggling a little to engage with the text. I pick up and read bits here and there. I feel like this will take me a long time. 34% completed.

Willard Spiegelman: Senior Moments – Looking Back, Looking Ahead. Definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I like this very much. The the virtual memories podcast episode is worth a listen to gauge whether it will be to your taste. The podcasts I listen to are all American and one thing I adore about them is the exposure to the huge variety of American accents. I had no idea such diversity existed because I grew up hearing GenericTVAmerican. I guess Spiegelman would be WellEducatedEastCoastWellOff – it delights me! I’m savouring. 74% completed.


Then there were the memoirs to keep me motivated through the first week of not drinking. There are a lot out there and I read many, many sample chapters from books in this genre which I would not recommend at all!

Jill Stark: High Sobriety – my year without booze. I remember being really taken by the her article in The Sydney Morning Herald in 2011. I’d had no idea this had morphed into a book. This was a pretty good examination of the drinking culture in Australia. My favourite of the ones I read.

Lucy Rocca: Glass Half Full – A Positive Journey to Living Alcohol-Free. Not bad, not great – very cheerful. Couldn’t entirely relate to the author’s experiences – but at $3.69 I’m not complaining.

Sarah Turner, Lucy Rocca: The Sober Revolution – Calling Time on Wine O’Clock. Again not bad, not great. A fair bit of it was repeated from Glass Half Full. Again I often couldn’t relate. Again $3.69 – no complaints.

Rebecca Weller: A Happier Hour. Maybe it’s just the Australian drinkers I relate to? The author can periodically verge on the annoying (and is all about the monetising), but I quite liked it.

Jenna Hollenstein: Drinking to Distraction. Ended up being more a “how I became a buddhist” memoir. Another one I couldn’t really engage with. Another that wasn’t really awful, and another inexpensive one, so again can’t complain.

I think I’m thankfully totally done with the Sobriety Memoirs!


Then there were a bunch (probably about 10) sample chapters of self-improvement type books – all discarded and deleted.

And I’m pretty sure I really don’t want to read eat, pray, love


Then it back to some of the books I bought in the kindle sale back in July.

I blame having a rotten cold for some of my further purchasing decisions!

Melodie Johnson Howe: Mother Shadow (An LA Murder Mystery). I started off not really liking this much at all. It’s a really pretty average, bog standard mystery but by the end of it I’d bought the next in the series (of 2). Not because I was hooked, but just because I was interested to see where it was going to go …

Melodie Johnson Howe: Beauty Dies. Pretty standard detective fiction, not terrible, but I can’t say that I’d recommend. And then started on the next series:

Melodie Johnson Howe: Shooting Hollywood. This is a collection of short stories from Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Middle-aged actress as protagonist. Not too bad and definitely a case of write what you know about as the author is a former actress. By then I couldn’t stop myself and bought the next:

Melodie Johnson Howe: City of Mirrors. The best of the bunch, I like the middle-aged actress and her defiantly blonde hair. Would read more. Extremely disconcerting when the author re-used a name from a character in the short stories for a different character in this novel.

By then I’d exhausted everything available by Melodie Johnson Howe on Amazon Australia, so moved on to …

Michael Hambling: Dark Crimes. Police Procedural. Again, not hugely great. I’m struggling to think of instances where a male author writes a female protagonist well. This definitely was not a well-written female – I found her pretty cliched. And the writing really didn’t resonate with me. I was hugely entertained by the glossary of english terms for US readers in the back! I thought the second in the series might get better, so pulled the trigger.

Michael Hambling: Deadly Crimes. The second in the series didn’t get better. There were two more books, but I just couldn’t bring myself to read them.

James Crumley: The Last Good Kiss (C W Sughrue 1). This was written in 1978 and was all hard-boiled, hard-living detective. Super-gritty – loads of booze, drugs, sex and violence. I would say it is Chandleresque – well I would if I had read any Chandler. Totally needs to be read with the voice of Tom Waits in your head. Started off challenging, but once I was immersed I LOVED it. FINALLY! A good book from the bargain bin!

Ulla-Lena Lundberg: Ice. I’m 25% in. As I bought this so long ago, I couldn’t remember what this was about and was waiting for a murder or mystery to occur. It’s so gentle and slow-paced that I couldn’t see this happening any time soon. I checked out the description on amazon and I’m fairly sure there aren’t going to be murders or mysteries – though there could be some deaths. It’s set in post-WW2 on an island off the coast of Finland and I feel like it is going to soon get pretty bleak and grim. I may set this one aside as I’m in the mood for neither bleak or grim.

I think there is a lesson here about avoiding the bargains!

As ever, no affiliate links (not that there’s anything wrong with that)

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last one of the decade


Let’s just say this was not the funnest birthday I’ve had – stupid cold. And turns out poor Don has tonsillitis – no wonder our symptoms are different!

Because of the illness horror, I’m carrying the planned birthday activities forward to (I think) the weekend of 10 December. There will be a Big Birthday Bike Ride and a Big Birthday Run (possibly also Big Birthday Pilates if I can squeeze it in).

The best bit about my birthday by far is that Don, despite his extreme illness, insisted on smoking a pork shoulder for my birthday dinner – BECAUSE HE IS THE BEST HUSBAND EVER.

very mediocre photo of very excellent meal


And TheUniverse has not quite finished smiting me.

This morning I woke up with a cold sore on my top lip. I really don’t care for this cold sores without warning thing that has been happening recently – no tingling, no pain, just GIANT lump.

much larger than pictured

Hurrah! All The Things!


I’m having today off sick because I’m pretty sure that going to SML would extend the illness by another couple of weeks. And it has been actually pretty gosh-darned relaxing.

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50before50: final revisions

Today is the last day before I lock down the 50before50 list for the coming year. It’s down to the wire because of aforementioned cold and feeling ghastly – thinking has been difficult.

In a bit of a cop-out, because of the wretched cold and accompanying inability to think, I’m going to give myself one wild card – I can replace one more thing during the year.

With one year to go, shall we guess how many of the 50 I’m not going to accomplish? I’m guessing 10. Or maybe 12.

But, let’s not be defeatist – on with the replacements:

#20: get decent & pleasing portrait of self – replaced with learn to meditate.

Let’s just say I’m not entirely comfortable with how I look right now and I’m not really jazzed about pursuing this one. Of course I could be all CHALLENGE YOURSELF, FACE YOUR FEARS, YOU ARE NOT THAT HIDEOUS but screw that.

I think mediation definitely needs pursuing – my mind needs quieting. So much quieting.


#22: take Joe/Frank to Europe – replaced with do the 100 days of happiness challenge

I really, really want to take Joe/Frank to Europe – but there is no practical way that this is going to be done before November 2017. If I am silly enough to do a 60before60 list this is totally going to be on it. Even if I don’t do the list we are going anyway.

The #100happydays challenge inspired by the ever-excellent anyresemblance.


#32: make a piece of furniture – replaced with listen to an audio book.

After the challenge of the slightly wobbly planter I made for the lounge room, I’m really not feeling the furniture thing. I think it would take a lot longer than a year to be remotely good at it, plus I’m pretty sure we don’t actually need any furniture.

I’ve never listened to an audio book before and given I know so many people who are really into them, I’m keen to see if it is something I’d be down with. I’m much more about the reading than the listening (though am a big podcast fan), so I suspect I won’t be – but I’ll never know until I do it!


#47: make a planter with trellis – replaced with no internet in the evenings for a month.

On reflection, the planter is not likely to work, it is way too hot out there for anything to thrive without extreme cossetting and as with furniture, something I’d need a little more time to perfect.

Having a break from the InformationSuperhighway is just to see if I can – and what pops up in its place. Like most people, I spend a lot of time dicking around on the internet. I’m wondering just what I’ll do if I don’t have it – I’m guessing reading, but we’ll find out!


Exactly one year to go!

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remedies for the sickly

Mostly lying on the couch and reading a lot.

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