Oh yeah, I have a blog.

Random miscellany ahoy.


We’ve just ticked over into 4 months of remote working. I feel like my body is moulding into the the shape of my chair, but otherwise I’m loving it.

Don is back in the office two days a week, which has been very weird to adjust to. No signs of us heading back in – the option is available on a quite restricted basis, but only 3 people in 100 have taken it up.

I’ve been driving a bunch of engagement stuff across SML on slack since we went remote, which has been pretty well received across SML – and recognised at Board level (*shocked face emoji*). People are connecting in ways they never did when we were office-bound, which is lovely. But holy!goodness! it’s really quite exhausting and takes a ton of mental energy and eats up non-work time. This is likely why I’ve been absent here. Need to work out some balance.


In other SML news, this week Vincenzo received a very well deserved promotion, which he’ll take up at the end of Project Sulfur. We’ve been working together for eight years since he was a fresh baby employee in his first office job. It’s been incredibly satisfying being involved in his development and I’m wildly excited for him. It will be fun to be peers.


We’ll have our first team baby at the end of the year! Mildly terrifying because the employee in question is Joe/Frank’s age. I adore her and she is completely wonderful and way too much like I was at the same age (clever, capable, outspoken, bossy). And in an astoundingly progressive move from SML, we offered her a permanent role knowing she was pregnant. I’m determined that we will make her working mother experience the best we can.

I wanted to make something to celebrate it, so I ordered in supplies for a Harry Potter counted cross stitch sampler. I haven’t done counted cross stitch for maybe 25 years! While I’m never going to make anything cross-stitchy for myself, baby stuff is super-cute. I’ve gridded up the fabric and am waiting for thread conditioner to arrive before getting started. I recently used beeswax to coat my thread for stitching some felt coasters and now understand why everyone raves about it – tangles and pull-knots begone!


Though I’ve started a dozens of sample chapters, I’ve only read two books in the last 4 months:

+ Jeff Noon: Falling Out of Cars . Very slow bedtime read at the beginning of iso – such a wild ride and utterly an appropriate book for that crazy time (discovered via the all my stars newsletter)
+ Leigh Stein: Self Care – described as a satirical novel about the wellness industry, which pretty much covers it.

Enjoyed both.

This is really unlike pre-covid-19 me who forever had a book in her hand or ears.


Don has taken a wee trip up the coast to play golf for a week, holidays being out for me right now because I need to be around for Project Sulfur which rolls out early October. I will definitely be in need of a break after that!

We’re trying to embrace the idea of doing what we can, when we can – because who knows what tomorrow will bring?


Minimalist weekly update.

Things are slowly opening back up here: Don’s now back in the office two days a week; I met with my team for a pub lunch on Friday to farewell a colleague; I caught the train for the first time in almost 4 months; Don and I have been out for a couple of casual meals and one very fancy dinner.

Compliance with health directives varies both from businesses and individuals and the sense is that all this freedom is not likely to last. Melbourne has seen a resurgence in coronavirus cases and is now back in lockdown for at least 6 weeks. Surely only a matter of time before we’re in the same situation.


That lower back is still giving me some trouble, but is nowhere near as agonising as it was last week. It occurred to me yesterday that I should engage my abs when bending down so I don’t put so much pressure on my back. Why it has taken 30-or-so years to realise this is one of those mysterious mysteries.


MY DFH course continues to be brilliant – and is definitely one of the better things I’ve done for myself. The most recent talk was on toxic productivity and inner critics – lots for me to unpack there!


I’ve had quite a lot of lower back pain in the last week or so. I’ve also had a horribly itchy winter rash in the same location for a couple of months now.

The back pain is pretty clearly stress-related because that’s one of the areas I carry my stress (along with my right upper trapezius muscle), but combined with the rash it’s a whole other level of unpleasantness.

So, lots of stretching, heat packs, drugs and forcing self to sit properly in my future. But also lots of calm the hell down, lady.

If I was into the whole chakra thing, I would say that I should meditate while visualising the colour orange, surround myself with water, chant “vam”, eat oranges and get myself some amber or citrine. I am not really likely to do any of these things other than eating oranges.

But if it keeps up much longer, who knows?


Miscellany ahoy!

I could eke this out into a bunch of separate posts, but I’m going with the TL;DR approach!

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve let a few of my most important good habits slip and am feeling the consequences of it. Definitely less showing up here for one!


I haven’t posted about this, but over the past year(ish) I’ve been struggling quite a lot in dealing with a particularly difficult colleague. Noxy reports to me on ProjectSulfur, but we’ve been peers and very friendly for many years, and I’ve been a strong advocate and ally for them in many workly situations.

On the surface Noxy is charming, charismatic and caustically funny, but after working really closely together it’s become apparent that deep-down Noxy is massively toxic**, attention-seeking, narcissistic, negative and kind of, well, aggressively terrible at their job. And mean, so very mean – that kind of revolting meanness in the form of “funny” comments about people to their faces.

The rest of the team are young, positive, enthusiastic and highly capable – but attitudes are contagious and it takes a lot of work not to let Noxy bring everyone down to the Noxy level. I’m countering with loads of good vibes and energy and quiet encouraging words here and there – and keeping it contained.

It’s all caused me to do a huge amount of soul-searching. Noxy and I were once very tight – was I such a terrible and mean person? Trusted sources say we diverged paths years ago – but ugh. I’m confident this unpleasantness has nothing to do with reporting lines, the same trusted sources have said it has all been there for a long time, I’ve just chosen not to see it.

Fortunately I’ve got support from leadership, and just need to get through the next few months until we deliver the thing when Noxy will no longer be my problem. But it has all been very wearing.

Which is why it is all the more important to maintain those good habits! In the past couple of weeks the whole thing has been really getting me down and impacting my relationships with everyone else. On Thursday I started back running (very badly – fitness is shot) combined with a short spin on the exercise bike and it’s already been pretty helpful.


A few weeks ago, I took a leap into the unknown – and signed up to an online course offered by one of my favourite podcasters. It’s all about getting more in touch with yourself and similar glorious DFH^^ stuff.

There’s a strong emphasis on journalling, examining all manner of things, jettisoning stuff that isn’t serving you, getting more in touch with your body and your intuition. It does totally verge into the woo – but I’m very much enjoying it.

And the self-reflection that all those things bring is incredibly helpful and just what I need right now. I really want to move into the post-sulfur world with some intention, rather than just drifting into yet another role. This is really helping me zoom in on what I want and what I don’t.


We’re hearing that it’s unlikely there will be any overseas travel permitted until mid-2021. So the two other trips we’d booked this year won’t be happening (no refunds yet as not “official”).

Ah well, it is what it is. Hopefully we’ll be able to make the trips at the end of 2021 or some time in 2022. Maybe some domestic trips in the interim? Who knows.

One day we may be able to actually see Joan in person again!


** this is where Joan reminds me that she was an extremely early adopter of this view.

^^ dirty hippy


Some time ago, I forget when precisely – maybe 18 months, maybe 2 years – Don’s favourite pair of jeans started to show a bit of wear, so we decided to try an experiment to attempt to keep them alive and kicking (and wearable) for as long as possible.

Shockingly, these jeans were only a couple of years old at the point they started breaking down! This short podcast articles of interest: blue jeans is incredibly interesting listen on the history of jeans and denim – and how they are no longer quite what they were!

First up I patched the back pocket and re-stitched the pocket bags (the stitching on these was quite shoddy and his keys kept falling down his leg).

Then over the months as holes appeared, I progressively patched – until now almost the entire front has been reinforced.

But all that’s visible from the outside is a couple of stylish tears. I’m not really a fan of external patches, so my preferred method is big patches of quite sturdy denim on the inside with teensy hand stitches reinforcing the holes and the surrounds of the patch.

Of course what was once a lightweight pair of jeans now weighs rather a lot with all that reinforcing. Though Don claims they are still comfortable.

It will be interesting to see how much more life we can eke out of them, but I suspect the most recent patching will likely be the last.

169/2020 (no new clothes: day 200)

200 days! Woo!

Despite (or because of) the very changed circumstances and move to indoor lyf, I have continued to resist the siren song of new clothing.

Sure I could really do with a nice warm hoodie or toasty cardigan, but I think I’m happy to power through another 166 days!

I’ve you’ve been reading along you know, you’ll know I’ve filled some of the loungewear wardrobe void with a couple of garments I’ve made myself.

✚ I really love these bright red pants. The crotch is a wee bit too deep, but the red makes me so happy!

✚ I am not feeling these pastel stripey pants. They’re way too much like pyjamas for wearing in the day – there is apparently a line between lounge and pyjama that I am not keen to cross.

✚ I chopped about 15cm off the elastic of toile fro Don’s pants and ADORE them. I should probably make a pair for myself in something other than an old sheet.

In horrifying (at least to me) news, I think I could be tiring of lounge pants during the day and may move a rung up the discomfort ladder to jeans on some days.


When we came to ThePalace(OfLove) from Glebe 8 years ago we brought this tiny self-seeded Moreton Bay fig with us in a pot.

That string of pearls plant is sadly long gone, but the tiny tree?

though it looks a little like i’m kneeling, i’m standing up

It’s still quite leggy and gangly, I’m hoping it will develop into something more bushy and attractive like it’s much smaller twin

Isn’t nature fascinating? Both baby trees were exactly the same size when we arrived. The only difference has been size of pots we’ve had them in over that time.


Now that winter is upon us (such as it is), we’ve had our portable unflued gas heater on from 6am to around 10pm every day and it’s been deliciously toasty in ThePalace(OfLove).

Don had been having a little trouble breathing for a couple of days and yesterday the kitties were a bit weirder than usual and avoiding their ordinary hang-out spots in the room with the heater. In the late afternoon Don realised that we’d not let any fresh air into the house for at least a week and opened everything up. He almost immediately could breathe more freely and the kitties resumed their usual lazing positions. Of course we’ve never had the heater on for such long stretches before, so had no idea we shouldn’t be doing that!

We headed to the hardware store this morning to grab a carbon monoxide monitor – just in case! For the non-locals, carbon monoxide monitors are not really a thing here, at least they haven’t been on my horizon other than mentions on the Information Superhighway in lands far away. In good news, it hasn’t gone off yet.

But yay! My first non-supermarket outing for 3 months!

While we were out, we grabbed amazingly good pho for lunch at eat fuh.

I really need to make sure I get out of the house a minimum of once a week because I’m a smidge concerned this could turn into a real problem. It’s not like I’m terribly concerned about catching covid-19, so I’m not entirely sure what the source of the resistance to being away from home is. Maybe I’m most comfortable when I have control of my environment?

Next goal – a little sun, a little more exercise, a little more reading, a little less phone in bed.


We kick over to three months in iso early next week. The fastest and slowest (and weirdest) quarter ever.

There’s been a very low number of deaths (102) here and everything is beginning to gradually open up, though social distancing is still very much recommended. As I mentioned in the last post, we’re still working remotely for the foreseeable future – fortunately most of us are totally happy with this arrangement. It’s still pretty unlikely we’ll be able to leave the country any time soon, so those end of year holidays are uncertain at best. We’re very fortunate to have health and jobs and a home and all that other privilege, if the holidays happen, they happen.

If I’m honest, I’m starting to become a bit reluctant to leave the house for anything other than the early morning walk and grocery shopping. I’m a happily-potter-around-home type person and I guess being indoors for long periods of time can make you not want to leave if you’re predisposed to that kind of thing.

Cafes and restaurants have recently opened for dining in – Don has eaten out a couple of times, I’ve been avoiding accompanying him, but I really need to shake myself out of this before it gets much worse.

Tomorrow I’ll force myself out for lunch.


In the last couple of weeks the (free) site hosting my blog images way way back in 2005 suddenly began sending assertive emails claiming I was violating their TOS by linking to those images. This was apparently designed to encourage me to pay for their quite terrible hosting services. To be honest I’d completely forgotten the existence of that account, but after some effort, recovered my password, downloaded and re-uploaded to my (paid) host and began the process of manually re-linking.

Whenever I’m next conflicted about continuing the blog, I hope to remember how brilliant it is to have this (admittedly rather superficial) record of my life.

This triggered a pretty wide-ranging digital declutter which I’d been putting off for a good while and which will likely last some time. I’d completely forgotten at least two flickr accounts and a couple of yahoo email addresses required for who-knows-what (flickr and ancient footy tipping I suspect).

I wonder if this is actually a useful activity or avoidance of I’m-not-sure-what?


Public holiday on Monday, so I took the opportunity to take a leave day last Friday to make a four day weekend.

Of course I had grand plans to do masses of stuff, but as ever this was probably less successful than I had intended.

I might not have done much, but it was glorious not to have to be “on” for four days.

Every work day at 9am since we’ve been remote it’s as if my relentlessly-cheerful, high-energy, smiley and positive switch is flicked – and there it stays for the remainder of the day. It’s really quite exhausting and I often want to curl into a ball in the evening.

I need to start managing that a little better because there is no sign of going back to the office any time in the next couple of months.