morning walk

We’ve had a short run of quite hot days which really makes me realise how pleasant the earlier part of the summer was. We’re hiding indoors and pottering about, which is pretty much Standard Operating Procedure these days.

It’s a public holiday tomorrow, so I took Friday and today off work. I’ve spent quite a bit of time cross stitching and listening to audiobooks. I finally completed this meme for Don’s music room yesterday. And despite insisting to myself that Don’s was my final cross stitch, started this adorable pokemon home sweet home for Bessie, then queued up this Tokyo subway map. Should keep me occupied for several months. The heart wants what it wants.

In listening, earlier in the month I very much enjoyed Keigo Higashino’s Devotion of Suspect X, Salvation of a Saint and Malice. I originally spied them out of the corner of my eye at the bookstore when walking past to grab some graph paper and remembered when casting about for something new.

The audible recommendation engine rarely serves up anything remotely interesting, and most of what I listen to I find by other means. Of course I’m under no illusion that Amazon is trying to do anything other than push what it wants me to buy – because of the various deals it has and profit and wanting to controlling my thoughts and whatever. I do rather wish there was a comparable (and equally affordable) alternative.

I was hoping to continue on with the next Higashino audiobooks, but while they are available in other territories, not so in Australia. I find these archaic publishing models mildly infuriating.

So I randomly browsed mysteries in the Sydney City Council Library’s audiobook app, which can be extremely hit and miss, and landed on Katherine Howell’s Ella Marconi series which had completely passed me by when they came out.

I’m really enjoying them. They’re all set in areas I know and are very well observed, though earlier plots tend to be somewhat convoluted. Caroline Lee is a fabulous narrator. An excellent accompaniment to stitching.

I hope you’re doing okay where you are.

2021 not-resolutions: joe/frank (015/2021)

Next up … Joe/Frank

Reflecting on 2020

1. No uni grade lower than a C (Credit)
NOT ACHIEVED! COVID didn’t help but I probably should’ve done better.

2. Improve maturity/independence
ACHIEVED! I guess? Hard to say but I think there have been strides made here.

3. Attend at least one acting lesson
NOT ACHIEVED!. Again, out of the question because COVID.

4. Attend three gig buddies events
NOT ACHIEVED! One out of three. Without COVID this likely would have happened, though.

5. Find a grad job
NOT ACHIEVED! COVID restrictions meant I extended my uni stay an extra semester.

And for 2021
1. Find a full-time job
2. Start looking at learning how to get “independent transport” (i.e. learning to ride a bike or drive)
3. Cook dinner 7 times per month
4. Do one social activity per month
5. Try a lesson/class to learn something new


Joe/Frank’s previous not-resolutions:


2021 not-resolutions: bessie (012/2021)

For the 11th year running, the family not-resolutions! At the beginning of each year, I coerce everyone into nominating 5 things they’d possibly, maybe like to accomplish in the coming year – no pressure. Some of the family are ever-so-slightly more willing to participate in this than others, but we get there in the end.

First, as is traditional, the review of last year’s not-resolutions. I’m quite confident in saying when we all initially set these, we had absolutely no idea what was ahead of us and there was not a great deal of achieving happening

Review of 2020

1. Draw something new every fortnight

2. Read a new library book once a month
NOT ACHIEVED! Libraries closed – covid

3. Go on at least one holiday
NOT ACHIEVED! Holidays not happening – covid

4. Do more markets
NOT ACHIEVED! Markets not happening – covid

5. Try a new dinner every fortnight
NOT ACHIEVED! Started strong, became less enthusiastic / motivated.

And for 2021
1. Complete a difficult bake (i.e. trifle)
2. Take better care of my skin, teeth, and hair
3. Every 2 months do something I find challenging (cooking, creative, problem solving)
4. Once a month do something creative that isn’t related to work
5. Journal once a week


Bessie’s previous not-resolutions:


Each (early) morning after feeding the cats and making coffee, I generally laze in bed scrolling through my phone while waiting for the coffee to brew – and scrolling through my phone after the coffee has brewed while drinking the coffee. Not a great use of almost-an-hour to be honest and I’m considering options for something a bit less slave-to-technology.

But I digress.

This morning I ran across an interesting piece in my feed reader about Dove introducing refillable stainless steel deodorant cases as part of a strategy to reduce single-use plastic**.

Which – great! It’s really pleasing to see companies finally starting to take some accountability for what they’re producing, rather than just foisting all responsibility (and guilt, so much guilt) onto the consumer.

This though …

A comparison that we’ve been making is if as a kid, you get a Swiss Army knife from your dad or granddad, and it becomes scratched, those scratches are yours—it makes you attachment to that object even more personal than when it was when you just got it and it was new.

Call me cynical, but possibly a bit of a stretch?

“And this is my great grandfather’s toothbrush, and this is my grandmother’s deodorant case …”


** Obviously this is not coming to me any time soon, because we generally lag about 7 years behind the rest of the world for … pretty much everything.


Groceries arrived as expected – hurrah! Though I think I need to provide some sort of large containment receptacle – slight disarray on the doorstep.

as delivered

What is awful is that everything arrived in plastic bags. Sure they might be made from 80% recycled plastic, but they are still plastic! We’ll use them for the next delivery of decluttering to the charity shop.

Bessie tells me she gets her deliveries in paper bags from the other half of our supermarket duopoly, so I’ll be giving them a try next shop.

It was only $9.00 for delivery for a 2 hour window (there are cheaper options for longer windows), but my first shop was free. Very good value for not having to brave the hordes!

Apart from the plastic – quite a good experience – will definitely repeat.


One of the dreadful things about having a reasonably high level of fitness is that when you stop doing any exercise, you kind of coast on the previous work for a very long time and maintain the delusion that you are a healthy person.

And so it came to be that I’ve done not-a-lot for probably two years and it is only now that I’m really feeling the consequences.

So in addition to putting my legs up (though a bit less frequently than hourly), I forced myself onto the exercise bike for 15 minutes yesterday. I was completely and utterly knackered for a very long time afterward and I wasn’t even going particularly hard.

Got back in the saddle today and gosh – it’s going to be a journey!


In the spirit of trying new things, getting out of my comfort zone and reclaiming some of the weekend, I ordered groceries via the InformationSuperhighway this week.

When Don and I were both working remotely it was simple to duck out at lunchtime and get the shopping done. Now he is back in the office pretty much full time, we’re losing a couple of hours on a Saturday or Sunday morning to shop and this really isn’t in line with my values.

Because we are somewhat (incredibly?) fussy, I confined it to pantry items and avoided including fresh produce and meat. This means we’ll need a weekly trip to the greengrocer, but it will be infinitely more pleasant and we can quickly do that in an evening.

I bought quite a few things to replenish the pantry and bought enough that I don’t think I’ll need to repeat the exercise for another month.

The delivery arrives this afternoon between 3pm and 4pm. Will report back.


One of my main focus areas (to get all biz speak on you) for 2021 is regaining my fitness.

I definitely did not use lockdown to improve or maintain any sort of physical health – save for a brief daily morning work which barely counts for even maintenance and the very (very) occasional lunchtime zoom yoga session – which probably counts even less.

You may recall that I’ve had a dodgy right ankle for at least six years – it gets very swollen and quite painful after any longish run or walk – and has been getting worse. I haven’t run for ages, but even shorter walks are now becoming problematic – despite all manner of sensible shoes.

There have been many theories about what this might be, the last was tight ITB and weak right glute after the scans showed nothing. After the first burst of enthusiasm, I was pretty terrible with rehabbing and kind of just put up with it.

I figured I needed to get the ankle under control before I embarked on any serious fitness improving exercise, so in the week before the Xmas break I took myself off to RelentlesslyCheerfulPhysio with the intention of getting rehab exercises and actually doing them.

Rather than the exercises I was expecting, I ended up with instructions to lay on my back with my feet elevated as much as I can – for five minutes – hourly if possible. He thinks I have vascular insufficiency. I definitely have the cankles, but thankfully not the ulcers.

Of course I have done precisely nothing about this in the last two days. Why I’m resisting laying about is something I can’t quite explain.


Happy New Year!

I hope you and yours are safe and healthy and not too bored or too stir-crazy or too crazy-crazy.

It’s a little overcast and slightly chilly here today. We’re roasting a turkey for dinner – we had one in the freezer, and why not? Carpe the whatevs, right?

Otherwise – the day has mostly been alternating between sloth and pottering about. In a parallel universe somewhere, Don and I are coming to the end of our Christmas trip in Japan. Fortunately in this universe, the flights were refunded.

Last year was a strange and somewhat transformative one for me. I feel generally more calm and mellow, and definitely less inclined toward relentless (often pointless) productivity. I lunched with Dishy(ex)Boss in mid-December and he described me as “centred” which I was kind of delighted by. I’m by no means always calm and centred, but I try very hard to give less fucks about pointless nonsense. No social media and largely giving up doom-scrolling news has very much helped with this. I cannot recommend it more highly – set yourself free.

I’m not back at SML until 11 January. So a glorious ten days before me to do whatever I will. Mostly this will be smashing out chores (there is a quite mountainous pile of ironing waiting for me), but I’m also quite motivated to complete a cross stitch that I started for Don a few months ago which has been sitting unloved on my other desk. Definitely want more analogue activities in my 2021!


The most excellent ganching commented on the last post:

I am intrigued by your bedroom window comment. How has replacing your windows improved the view?

The old windows were this really strange type of double glazing, there was quite a big gap between the panes and they were sealed-not-sealed. This meant you couldn’t access for cleaning, but also meant that *stuff* like bugs could get inside, and exciting cultures of mould and mildew could take hold. The opening itself was quite tiny, so impossible to access the outside for cleaning (it’s quite high up).



I hope the improved water-tightness is as spectacular as the improved view.


Wait. How do I do this again?


It’s been somewhat chaotic in ThePalalce(OfLove) over the last couple of weeks as we had that small room built for Don and most of the windows replaced.

I really have no idea how people cope with major renovations – so much dust and mess! And we’ve had the usual “I haven’t seen that before”, and timelines blowing out as a consequence.

We had to play a kind of house-tetris moving the contents of rooms into other rooms as work progressed. We’ve concluded that despite fairly ruthless decluttering, we still have way too much stuff.

There’s still some work remaining, but the results are far exceeding expectations. Looking out the window in our bedroom feels like being in luxe hotel! The view is utterly spectacular!

Irrespective of the marvellous view, we desperately need to organise new window coverings in the next little bit – there’s way too much light and we’re exposed to the whole world. Nobody needs to see that.


Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of giving up drinking!

Honestly, one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. The improved mental health! The increased money in the pocket!

I really does seem that the more years that pass, the greater the benefits.


We had a virtual quarterly all hands meeting at SML last week. To everyone’s astonishment LadyPenelope (CEO) announced that he was, well there’s no other word for it, commanding us back to the office in February. This even though SML performed better by most measures when working remotely.

The announcement was followed by a presentation from Bobs about how our new systems allow us to work from anywhere – which left everyone rather puzzled. “You can work from anywhere – as long it is the SML office”.

The general sentiment is quite mutinous, even at senior levels.

And yes, all very well for Lady P who has a large pleasant office of his own and who lives within walking distance. The rest of us would be working in open plan, shoulder to shoulder – sweatshop style. And the prospect of public transport – hideous!