057/2021

I was slightly early for my GP appointment on Wednesday, so ducked into the bookstore for a browse while I waited.

There were several books I’d have loved to buy, but I find it a bit of challenge to read physical books. I tend to lay about reading and it’s kind of annoying to do so while wearing glasses and the typefaces are so tiny that I absolutely can’t read without them.

My eyesight has deteriorated quite a lot in the last year. I suspect this is largely due to being very close to a screen for hours and hours and hours and hours every day now that I’m remote (may the remote working continue forever!).

It doesn’t help at all that pretty much all of my pastimes (crafting, sewing, reading, embroidery, knitting, blogging, photograph-taking**, fish-watching) involve close work – even cooking requires wearing glasses to read recipes! There’s no respite for my poor eyes at all.

Of course the easy thing to do would be to go buy the books I’m interested in kindle format, but I really don’t care at all for the idea of rewarding Amazon for the hard work and care the bookstore has done to get me interested. I’ve said before that Amazon does a pretty appalling job of recommending books I want to read, though Amazon does a pretty stellar job of recommending books Amazon wants me to read. Please save me from another gripping psychological thriller full of twists.

Of course I could buy a kobo reader, which would get Amazon out of the equation, but still dis-intermediating the bookstore.

I could force myself to undo the habit of a lifetime and change my reading position – maybe sit in a chair instead of sprawl about. Then I will be faced with the second challenge of disposing of the physical copy, because (and I know this will appall many of you) I don’t want a an extensive collection of books that I’ll not likely read again.

What would solve my challenge would be to be able to buy a digital edition AT the bookstore. I think one of our large (and probably now only remaining) bookstore chains tried this maybe 10+ years ago and it was not a success.

Will report back if I overcome this, but open to suggestions!

xxx

** I feel like calling what I do photography is a bit of a stretch

055/2021

My lunch date was cancelled, but excellent day nonetheless.

I finally made it to the GP to talk about my leg and got a referral for a scan of my veins. Finding a medical imaging place to actually do it was rather challenging as it’s somewhat specialised. Eventually got there and I’m booked for mid-March. Will report back.

I also had a lovely lunch with Don, and carpe’d the whatevs and did a (very basic) yoga session and a couple of other admin activities that have been lingering. Oh and an ikea trip – which I think is pretty much mandatory for solo days off.

I think my near-death-by-bus-while-gardening experience has been preying on my subconscious as I was awfully sooky and kind of defeated about work yesterday.

A decent sleep and day away from it has been excellent and I’m ready to go fight the good fight.

053/2021

Joe/Frank started his last semester of undergrad today and was back on campus for the first time in a almost a year!

During the chit chat this evening about how it all went and his feelings on being on campus vs distance learning, he mentioned how nice it was to get out of the house (understandable) because the energy from my work calls was often really stressful (wait. what?)

Don agreed and added that it is often challenging to work at home because of this, so he mostly chooses the office. The stress is apparently palpable, the energy very bad.

This is wild because I always wear a headset, so no-one can hear the other sides of the conversations – they can just hear me.

I thought I was mostly quite chilled with occasional bursts of stress. It’s apparently very much the reverse, which I am really honestly horrified to learn.

I need to remedy this immediately because this is exactly the sort of person I do not want to be!

052/2021

This is rapidly becoming plants week.

I bought a small pot of mystery flowers (some kind of daisy**?) at the fruit and veg shop last week for $10 and sat them in a ceramic pot next to my desk.

They’ve definitely brought me much more than $10 worth of joy – and look like they’ll keep bringing the delight for at least another week.

xxx

** given my “success” with conifer identification, I suspect they are absolutely not daisies.

051/2021

You might know it as the verge or the grassy bit between the footpath and the road, or maybe you do not have such things at all where you live.

The verge in front of our house is a kind of motley collection of various types of grass and well, lots of weeds. We’re on a quite busy road and it gets quite a lot of sun – it’s a pretty harsh environment.

In Sydney in some areas, maintenance of this area is your responsibility, others the Council takes care of it. We’re in the latter group. In our case “takes care” means a lawnmower on a setting so low that it takes it down to the roots and exposes bare patches of earth.

In summer this brutalisation happens once a fortnight, but because it has been raining quite a bit this year the usual Council mowing hasn’t been happening as regularly as it otherwise might.

As an experiment to see if there was any hope for anything out there beyond grass and weeds, earlier in the summer I planted a very straggly geranium and cast about some marigold seeds I’d liberated from some dead flowers. They’re both going better than expected (expected being quickly dying) but the grass was growing even better and swamping the plants entirely.

Council mowing has been happening in surrounding streets in the past days so I thought I’d trim back the long grass around the plants to see if they were left untouched by the mowers. If they weren’t, no real loss.

So after our morning walk and while the coffee was brewing, I went outside and started trimming.

Because of the busy road, I was very careful to not trim too closely to the gutter and tried to be very conscious of where my hands were. Unfortunately I clearly have very little idea of the rest of my body in relation to my hands.

And so it came to pass that my head was poked out into the road and I happened to glance up and see a fast-moving bus about a metre from my head.

Not very illustrative illustration below.


not to scale

I drew back pretty quickly and felt the whoosh as it passed.

I’m absolutely fine, but it definitely gets you thinking!

050/2021

It’s been almost 11 months of daily morning walks on pretty much the same route, and almost 11 months of me telling Don every day how much I am intrigued? obsessed? by the pine tree next to the cricket oval.

We do have pine trees all around the place, but I can’t recall seeing such a variety as this In Real Life. It’s so amazing – just like a brush painting!


image pillaged from pinterest

It’s in a pretty incongruous location and is hiding in plain sight – you can spot the absolute magnificence behind the green tank.

The wee cones are just like Christmas lights!

I was super-excited a couple of weeks ago to find a sprig of it on the ground after strong winds – and of course brought it home to enjoy! Sadly not really super-scented.

I’m so fascinated by the little clumps of pine needles – as ever left way too long before photographing, so is way beyond its best.

I absolutely need to identify and try to grow one of my own!

Oooh oooh – my searches on the Information Superhighway while writing this post suggest it might be a cedar and not a pine at all. Will investigate further.

049/2021

While you might be up to your eyeballs in snow right now, we’re up to our eyeballs in blossom.

What seem to be pretty scraggly nondescript street trees for most of the year burst forth at the end of summer.

So pretty! So much sneezing!


as close as we’ll ever get to snow in this neighbourhood

048/2021

I had a few tough lemongrass outer leaves and a few ginger peelings kicking about from various recipes which, in a flash of inspiration, I had the genius idea to try infusing in boiling water.

It tasted spectacularly good – much superior to my usual the tea bag option. I’m an enormous fan of lemongrass tea – and what a fabulous way to use something otherwise destined for the bin.

I had a decent stockpile of leaves (from a recipe requiring FIVE lemongrass stalks) and I thought to maybe I would give the dehydrator** a whirl to make them last a little longer.

Of course I dithered about this for much too long – overthinking and perfectionisting like I do with pretty much everything – and everything was getting somewhat sad looking.

But I eventually got there and after many hours was pretty surprised to find that the dehydrated version was much less fragrant than the sad versions I started out with. The garage (where the dehydrating was happening) smelled wonderful though.

I chalked this up to a learning experience and one of those get-that-idea-out-of-your-head-and-into-the-world lessons, but actually it tasted pretty great.

So I’m not entirely sure what the lesson was in all this, but I definitely won’t be tossing out my lemongrass outer leaves or ginger peelings again.

xxx

** In one of the Ruthless Decluttering forays last year we attempted to donate the dehydrator (which I think may have been used once in the last 10 years), but the charity shops weren’t accepting electrical items. Perhaps The Universe was trying to tell me something.

047/2021

Don and I both had a day off last Friday. We’d originally intended a bit of a local bike ride in the morning and lunching somewhere nice that was outside the usual local haunts and pottering about a bit. Instead we spontaneously decided to drive to the Blue Mountains**, take in some scenery and grab lunch up there. It was the first time I’ve left Sydney at all in 15 months.

The drive up was fast and painless. Normally the winding roads are packed with tourist buses but now of course there are none. Likewise the villages – pre-covid, you’d never be able to get a parking spot and the footpaths and scenic spots would be teeming with tourists. Dishy(Ex)Boss lives in one of the most picturesque mountain villages and was telling me pre-Xmas that everywhere was jam-packed with people holidaying from Sydney, so perhaps we got lucky with timing.

When we arrived we headed to a local park, found a track and followed it, hoping for a glimpse of something scenic and came upon a lookout which we had pretty much all to ourselves. It was immense and quiet and utterly breathtaking. I could have stayed there for hours just breathing it all in.

There are really no photos that can do it justice, but here are a couple anyway.


squishy panorama

I’ve been totally kidding myself thinking a daily stroll around the local cricket oval is “getting out in nature”. There are residential areas just across the road (and down a track) from those views – I can’t even imagine those spectacular morning walks!

After a bit, we took ourselves out for a stroll around the local shops, found our intended lunch destination had moved villages and went on a quest to find it. They fit us in without a booking, gave us a table on the terrace – where we were forced to take in this view.

Really, really gorgeous day out, but sent me into a bit of a mental spin. I thought I was really very satisfied with where I’m at generally, and to a large degree I am, but there are definitely things that need addressing.

I returned home with a sizeable chunk of me wanting to pack in the city life and escape to an off-grid hut in the bush!

xxx

** not really that mountainous, more like tallish hills