counterproductive

In Make Time (the last personal development I read before taking a break for a year) the authors talk about distraction kryptonite.

Distraction kryptonite is that website or app that is a complete time suck and makes you feel bad or regretful after you’ve spent time there.

My distraction kryptonite is instagram. I’ve written about my challenges with instagram before, and indeed #29 on my 60before60 list is to delete my account, but have been slowly suckered in and once again find myself mindlessly, endlessly scrolling and feeling all sorts of faily and unproductive. If I’ve had an exhausting day at SML, I’ll sit on the couch with the phone or tablet and get lost in instagram for hours.

All those people doing cool stuff! Making cool things! Taking cool photos! And I’m sitting here doing not much other than watching people do cool stuff and feeling bad about myself and not living my life (and probably eating quite a lot of ice-cream in a non-mindful way).

Of course, dearest reader, I absolutely love you and all of your photos. I love seeing what you’re up to and you don’t make me feel bad!

I’d kind of had enough of these lost hours and so decided I wasn’t going to open the instagram app at all today and just wow! It’s incredibly good for my psyche to not visit and I feel approximately a billion times more cheerful.

Clearly this is yet another thing I am unable to moderate and am better off ditching entirely. I haven’t quite decided where I’m going with this, but I’m going to attempt to keep it up for a while longer.

Of course the challenge now is to use my time more wisely.

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trauma

As part of Actioning my 2019 Intentions this morning I trekked by bus into the city to get a facial (trains being out of commission due to track work). Afterward I felt very relaxed and youthful if not a little spendthrifty.

Once done, I searched about a bit without success for a soup / pasta bowl to replace one of a set which had chipped during the week. Then returned back home on the bus feeling exceptionally virtuous for taking public transport rather than jumping in a cab.

It was quite warm when walking home from the bus stop, so I grabbed an elastic from my bag to put my hair up and noticed a suspicious lightness and lack of jingling on my wrist.

The silver bracelet which is my constant companion was not there.

Cue panic and hysteria.

Don bought me the bracelet in a tiny artisany jewellers in Rome in 2008 and I’ve worn it every single day for almost 11 years. I think it cost about €100 or maybe €150 – which was staggeringly large sum for us at the time. It’s one of a kind, absolutely gorgeous and draws comments and admiration all the time. It was the first big present Don had ever bought me. It was my very first overseas trip. The sentimental value is enormous – like beyond explanation.


first appearance on the blog from this ancient post

I’ve called the spa – no luck. Will call the bus lost and found number as soon as they open tomorrow morning. But I’m resigned to the fact that it’s gone forever.

I know it’s an inanimate object, and I should be beyond attachment to *things*, but I am so sad.

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the decent thing to do is to get up early once it’s morning

Because it’s late and I’m impossibly tired I’m channeling my inner Sei Shōnagon with a list!

[1] Amusingly named clothing stores spotted in the My Lord | Lumine 2 Department Stores in Shinjuku, January 2019:
+ fint
+ seemy. by nice cloup
+ cheek by archives
+ rivet & surge
+ mysty woman
+ whim gazette
+ chut! intimates
+ erotica**
+ clane
+ snidel
+ babylone
+ beaver

I can’t offer any explanation why clane and snidel in particular really amuse me.

xxx

** eye-glasses store

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and i also find it fascinating that things like this can utterly fail to delight others

I discovered The Pillow Book via this memoir^^, which came to me via this new-to-me blog~~.

It’s over 1,000 years old and is full of lists! gossip! bitching! It’s alternately snarky and delightful and you should totally read it if you haven’t already (which you may well have – I’m generally rather late to the classics).

Given that I was about to head off to Japan, it arrived a pretty serendipitous time (thanks Universe!) and was simply perfect holiday reading.

I read the Meredith McKinney translation, which apparently more comprehensive than the previous versions. There’s a pretty interesting article on McKinney’s translation approach to the book here.

The “look inside” feature on that original link has some fairly chunky excerpts, but here are some of my favourite quotes:

  • [21] Women without prospect, who lead dull earnest lives and rejoice in their petty little pseudo-pleasures, I find quite depressing and despicable.

  • [25] Infurating things – … A very ordinary person, who beams inanely as she prattles on and on … I also really hate the way some people go about envying others, bemoaning their own lot in life, demanding to be let in on every trivial little thing … A man you’ve had to conceal in some unsatisfactory hiding place, who begins to snore.

  • [37] Trees that have no flowers – … it’s not really worth including here, but the clinging vine is a quite pitiable plant.

  • [71] Rare things – A pair of tweezers that can actually pull out hairs properly … A person without a single quirk …

  • [79] … I do not let this annoy me, since after all I’m not exactly renowned for my modesty and prudence.

  • [90] Infuriating things – thinking of one or two changes in the wording after you’ve sent a message to someone.

  • [92] Startling and disconcerting things

  • [110] Common things that suddenly sound special

  • [116] Deeply irritating things – … Happening to hear one of the people in your service complaining that you don’t like her, and that someone else is your favourite at the moment … Someone you don’t particularly care for, who jumps to ridiculous conclusions and generally behaves with irritating self-importance.

  • [126] It’s very unseemly of me to boast like this, I know, but on the other hand I do think it’s an entertaining story.

  • [134] Worthless things – Someone who’s both ugly and unpleasant …

  • [186] It’s very unseemly for a man who’s visiting a gentlewoman to eat while with her. Any lady who provides him with food is also despicable.

  • [189] Elegantly intriguing things – … A person who stays up late is always elegantly intriguing.

  • [238] Slovely looking things – Serving women with their hair tied up for work …

  • [240] People who are smug and cocky – Present-day three year olds … Fools – the cocky ones who presume to instruct those who really do know.

  • [243] I particularly despise people who express themselves poorly in writing. How horrible it is to read language that rides roughshod over manners and social conventions.

  • [257] Things that give you pleasure – … Piecing back together a letter that someone has torn up and thrown away, and finding you can read line after line of it … Managing to get the better of someone who’s full of themselves and over-confident. This is even more pleasing if it’s a man …

As is the way with these things, language is contagious and I was soon walking around Tokyo proclaiming everything “charming” and “delightful” – not usually words in my personal vernacular, but I should employ them more.

I’m definitely going to buy myself a paper version of this.

xxx

^^ Bridget Lowry: Still life with teapot
~~ small, quiet, pretty – you will likely enjoy it.

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approximately 20 loads of washing


neko desu

I had fine intentions of putting up the occasional post while I was away, but pretty obviously that didn’t happen! A couple of photos did make it to instagram, but that was about it.

But we’re back and Japan was, of course, wonderful. I absolutely would not want to live there for a number of reasons (insane work hours and insane patriarchy primarily), but it’s a lovely holiday destination.

Normally we fly Qantas (because, points), but we got quite a good deal this time for premium economy tickets with Japan Air Lines. I’d never flown with them before** and it was just like being in Japan from the moment of boarding – the crew being Japanese and the announcements being … well, announced … in Japanese first.

I’ve been trying to teach myself some Japanese in a pretty low-key kind of way and it was excellent to be able to recognise a word here and there. Last visit the total of my knowledge was pretty much “yes”, “no”, “please” and “thank-you”. Now I’ve about 10 more words under my belt – but hey, baby steps. Really, anyone who is bi-lingual or multi-lingual has my complete and undying admiration.

The break was all very relaxed and comfortable, which is precisely what I was after – lots of familiar places, exploring a couple of new-to-us areas. We spent four nights in Hakone, where we’d spent a night on the last trip and wanted to get to know a better, but we book-ended with Tokyo for Sumo, feasting and shopping.

Living in a fairly sub-tropical climate I’m not very familiar with “proper” winters. While it doesn’t really regularly snow in the areas we were staying, it was definitely colder than I’ve ever experienced in my life. We’d left behind temperatures of 35oC and above (95oF) and there were a few -4oC (~25oF) days^^. I was forced to bust out tights to wear as thermals under my jeans! It did snow very slightly on one afternoon in Hakone and I was absolutely wild with excitement. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen falling snow – it was so fluffy and magical – I need a snowy holiday in my future.

Back to enslavement and a big project kick-off tomorrow. I’m trying to take a positive and enthusiastic attitude in with me.

And I’m going to reset those 2019 intentions starting tomorrow – for reasons that are probably pretty obvious (spending, snacking, the usual suspects)!

xxx

** look at me talking like I’m some experienced world traveller like Joan or anyresemblance when I’ve been to fewer than 10 countries in my life.
^^ I realise this will be comically warm to some of you!

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suki desu

Tomorrow morning we’re off to one of my favourite places in the world!

It feels very (very) indulgent to have a holiday so soon after the last, however I’ve a really intense period ahead at SML, so getting in while I’m able.

And hey, if I have the annual leave, why not?

There have been a couple of What-is-TheUniverse-trying-to-tell-you moments for both Don and I recently** and they have definitely reminded us that we really shouldn’t put things off until some day or our retirement.

Carpe the whatevs, as they say!

xxx

** not us, we’re fine!

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slow projects

On the upcoming holiday (only two more days of work!) I hope to make a little more progress on that embroidery.

I took it along with me to Thailand and had a quite lovely time stitching away by the pool and the beach. And some nice chats with interested fellow loungers – though explaining it is so soppy that I cringe a little (own your sappiness, lady!).

The surrounds won’t be quite so tropical on this trip so the backgrounds are likely to be scarves, coats and fireplaces.

In retrospect I rather wish the little hearts had been little kisses, but I’m disinclined to start over having come so far!

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#thingsbobssays – 1 in a series

Stand out Bobs quotes:

+ “The Roman Empire was insignificant”.

+ “The Japanese don’t have a word for “no””.

xxx

If you like lists of thoughtful stuff which is absolutely nothing like the above – you could do worse than get yourself over to this blog.

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60before60: #31 give up chocolate for a year

It’s absolutely no secret that I enjoy challenging myself to give less-than-ideal things up. Banning chocolate was an attempt to stop practically inhaling a family-sized block of dairy milk or an entire pack of chocolate biscuits every evening after dinner and reset my binge eating ways.

I won’t lie, this was pretty challenging, particularly at first. For a long while I had a visceral reaction when confronted with those lovely purple packages and had to avoid that aisle in the supermarket. Don’t even get me started on the chocolate biscuits – which seemed to be everywhere.

But I made it through the year using my surprisingly strong will power (who knew I possessed such a thing?). Would that I could apply this to other areas of my life!


seriously, counting apps are so good for everything!

WOO HOO!

And to celebrate the one year, I busted out a block of exotic chocolate from the team Xmas hamper.


milk of the gods?

And WOW!

It was … really underwhelming.

Returning to chocolate was kind of meh and nothing at all as I’d expected, which was along the lines of a massive flavour explosion, rainbows, butterflies and kittens. In reality it was just, well, nothing special.

But did it have the desired effect?

Yeah, no it did not, I just moved the bingeing onto things like caramel ice-cream, cakes, caramel popcorn, shortbread, pretty much anything that wasn’t tied down. This is why one of my challenges for 2019 is “no food after dinner”. So far I’ve not worked around this by scoffing cakes before dinner or for lunch or even breakfast. But hey early days, I’m pretty cunning.

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casa del bodgy

It’s taken over two months, but I finally did something about the holes in the wall and ceiling from the airconditioner replacement.


craft paper and painters tape for the win

It’s a process.

But hey, at least there’s not building dust pouring out of the holes and into our lungs

xxx

One evening a few months ago we were sitting watching television and heard ping. We looked around and found a plastic corner (about 5cmx 5cm) that had spontaneously fallen off the corner of the exhaust fan / rangehood over the stove. There was no apparent cause for this. It didn’t impact the functionality, so I put the piece away “just in case” and we went on with our lives.

Last week we heard another ping and found another bit had jumped off. This time functionality was impacted. The rangehood is the slide out type, and the slide-y part was precariously hanging off one of the rails.

Thank goodness I keep a supply of the fantastically wonderful sugru in the fridge. And thank TheUniverse that I’d kept that first part.


holding it steady while the fix cured – thank theuniverse for occy straps!

Fortunately I had the sugru on hand. I suspect the fan is lower to the cooktop than the Australian Standard dictates** (hence the falling bits) and replacing the unit would cause a world of pain and not insignificant expense – involving setting everything higher and rebuilding cupboards. Honestly I’d rather save the money for a holiday!

xxx

** I just looked this up – it’s 7cm too close to the cooker than it should be. Of course it is.

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