and maybe a fistful of vitamin d

In the months since our return from Japan I’ve felt a bit adrift, with emotions ranging from blergh to outright misery.

I don’t know if it’s winter, if I’ve finally had my fill of SML (which is as chaotic and frustrating as ever), because I’m adjusting to a less-full house after Joan’s departure, the alignment of the stars, my advancing age, or another mysterious mystery, but I can’t settle into much and am employing all the usual avoidance strategies of not exercising, reading a lot of things I pay very little attention to, losing myself in housework and not engaging in outside (or inside) activities.

Among all this I’ve also let blogging slip. Wallowing in self-pity and whinging doesn’t make very good reading and it’s nothing you haven’t heard a billion times before. Honestly I’m exhausted by myself!

So time to (yet again) carpe the whatevs – the plan is to make concerted efforts to:
1. blog on the regular
2. attend yoga at least 3 times a week – preferably 4
3. not blow off lunch arrangements because things are busy at SML (also, make lunch arrangements with others!)
4. do something creative – drag out the knitting for example
5. try not to get sucked into the SML abyss
6. make ME a priority


So, let’s go with #1 …

SML has finally introduced a very civilised remote working policy (welcome to 2003!).

Of course I’ve jumped on this and will now be working at home one day a week (helps rather a lot with #5 and #6 on the concerted efforts list).

Last week was my first formal day of the new arrangement and was even more wonderful than I’d hoped. I got tons of work done and even ducked out at lunch to do the grocery shopping – which was a delight! There were very few people in the supermarket, it was peaceful and soothing and only took about 50 minutes door to door.

And on the whole I like my at-home colleagues rather more than those in the office.

I was the happiest I’ve been at work for a good while – makes me realise how much the place is slowly killing me^^. I’m planning to try to ease myself into two days a week at home if I can swing it. Though I definitely need to do something about my home desk arrangement because it’s absolutely killing my right shoulder and forearm.

^^ yes, I know I should stop complaining and really look for another job. I have obviously pretty mixed feelings about this – I should probably post about that.


When I was in ruthless decluttering mode a couple of months ago I grabbed my collection of Verity Birdwood** paperbacks and stuck them by the bedside with the intention of one last read before hauling them off to the charity shop. They sat there for a good while gathering dust and making me feel somewhat guilty, but I took the plunge last week.

As a devoted kindle owner and pretty voracious reader, it was an odd experience to revisit physical novels. I’m really habituated to turning the light off to read in bed (kindle is backlit), so had a few moments where my brain couldn’t work out quite what was going on after I’d flicked off the switch – why couldn’t I see the words? Odd too, to require the use of both hands to read, which makes it challenging to read while washing up and folding laundry &etc. And the typeface – YIKES! SO TINY! Holy!Goodness! my eyesight has deteriorated in recent years.

I wrapped up the last in the series yesterday afternoon and of course was reminded that I adore these particular books and they’re staying (in a box of treasures in the garage).

Last night saw me back to the kindle in the dark, reading a bunch of samples, casting about for something mindless – without much success.

I think the most interesting observation of coming out of this mini-project is that when I woke this morning with my now-usual headache, I realised morning headaches hadn’t been a thing the whole time I was reading those real books.

Perhaps a visit to the local library is in order?

** That wikipedia entry really needs enhancement – and the claim that Little is known about Birdie is just nonsense. There’s definitely a slow drip of information for the attentive reader, I feel like that’s a pretty well-used device in this genre, so that’s a pretty lazy assessment.


I’ll return tomorrow.

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very cheerful

I looked up the other day and noticed that my wardrobe has turned very sombre – all dark blues and greys and black and white.

Sadly I think this is pretty reflective of my current state of mind! It’s the time of year where everything is a bit gloomy and I feel all around meh.

Also around this time I also realised that most of my tops/shirts/jumpers are a very lovely light grey – which unfortunately is a colour completely sucks the life out of me and makes me look sallow and unwell.

Though I am not planning to embark on a wild shopping spree to rectify this, I do need to keep this in mind when acquiring new garments. When in shops I immediately gravitate toward that very pretty grey that suits me so badly. I’m sure there’s some psychological explanation for this, but I am at a loss to begin to understand what that might mean.

I definitely need a shake-up and some colour in LOTS of areas of my life – the wardrobe is just one of the symptoms of the malaise!

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and probably should have involved cake

My very best intentions of getting back into a regular posting obviously fell by the wayside. Work has been rather insane and I’m pulled in a number of different directions. Last week was particularly gruelling and involved slogging away until 10:30 to 11 each night (even Friday!). UGH.

While I was not posting, this happened:

Much like day 500, I unintentionally celebrated the 600 with three consecutive days of yoga. Really one of the best celebration activities.

And after all this time, drinking alcohol doesn’t even occur to me as an option, which was unexpected.

I wish I could say the same about stuffing my face with chocolate – that I think about really quite often!


I do really intend to get back here – I need a good reprioritisation of my … priorities.

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no surprise to anyone

Just when I’m convinced I’m an individual, forging my own path.

your tastes match most closely with the middle class

From the what your habits reveal about your social class quiz.


From the blogging hiatus stash.

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I had super-good intentions of returning to, if not daily, then more regular blogging and then end-of-year catastrophe hit at SML and I had to jump in and help save the day. This meant working most of last weekend and until around 10pm each evening to help get things back on track. Yuck – I thought I was past such things.

Long time readers may recall that SML was rife with dysfunction for many years and for a couple of those years missed targets in the millions of dollars. There was a Reckoning and I was brought in as a Fixer to set up systems and processes to, well, fix things. This I did and last year handed over to another team to keep everything trucking along while I moved on to something sexier.

Last week the wheels fell off – well, to be fair they’d fallen off sometime earlier, but this was being kept rather hidden. I happened to attend a meeting I’m an optional at, realised how utterly dire things were and jumped back in and brought a calm head and m4d planning sk1llz. I think we’re now all good, but yikes – it was touch and go there for a bit! We’re jumping back in in July for a Lessons Learned – which will be fun.

Biggest lessons learned for the team: ask for help! escalate if others are not delivering! you are not alone! Honestly, we’re not very good in setting people up for success.

But all this means that the majority of my sexy job is happening without me – thank TheUniverse I have good people in place.

Bobs has complimented me on showing leadership. I responded that he’d better remember this at bonus time.

And thankfully Don ensured I was fed and watered because toward the end my brain was completely broken.


So, what else has been happening in the carolbaby universe?

Before we went to Japan** I developed a mild obsession with yoga and was attending classes 3x a week. It was so fun! I was so happy! Since returning, what with one thing and another, I’ve only really been doing the Saturday morning class. Last Saturday we were doing a heck of a lot of downward dog, plank and chaturanga dandasana.

Because I’m such a delicate petal, by the end my wrists and hands were killing me. Add to this the extra computer work I was doing, because catastrophe, and you can see where this is going. Yesterday saw me at the GP because my right hand was quite swollen and painful. Not immediately obvious what the problem is, so I’m off for an ultrasound and x-ray on Monday afternoon. Meanwhile, I’m trying to use the mouse with my left hand, which is really challenging but no doubt Very Good for my brain.

What this means is no yoga for me today, which is not an option I’m enthused by. This is not the first time this hand issue has happened – I was feeling twinges during the 100 pushups projects and also with the bike riding – but this is definitely the most painful.

I was hoping to extend to yoga 4 days per week for the next term which starts in July, but I suspect this might be a quite Stupid Idea. We’ll see what the scans reveal.


Joan arrived safely after the epic journey to the UK, dumped her belongings into storage and is now jet-setting around Europe for a few weeks. She’s the happiest and most enthusiastic she’s sounded, well, for years.

It is VERY strange without her in ThePalace(Of Love). It’s quiet and we have all this extra space we’re not entirely sure what to do with.

I’m also quite lost at having no-one to constantly offer value-adding life advice.


I’m still 5:2ing, which now bears very little resemblance to 5:2. My diet consists of 3-4 days with no food until I get home from SML, and then eating as normal. This strategy is proving quite efficacious and easy to keep up.

I’ve dropped the 10kg I gained last year and I feel much more alive and energetic – except for that hand pain.


The remainder of today? Catching up on housework, personal admin, ironing and maybe adding to my sensible shoes collection.

Living the dream!


** I’m sure I’ll stop using Japan as a date reference at some point.

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but it does try hard

And just like that the annual lemon harvest is upon us!

This year our mangy lemon tree (I hesitate to actually call it a tree, so pitiful is it) served up a massive two lemons, down from the all time record of three in 2017.

They may not be plentiful, but they are very good lemons.

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ailments update

Before we went on holiday I visited the podiatrist because I was concerned about current and future ankle pain. Despite wearing what I thought were suitable shoes on the last trips, ankle issues put me out of action for a little bit.

The result of this last visit was a recommendation for new shoes, some rehab exercises and more taping. I did buy the new shoes, but the enthusiasm for the taping soon waned and you know what I am like with rehab. Spoiler alert: I’m quite terrible.

lasted roughly a week – why yes, I do have quite fat knees

I am delighted to report that this time despite many (many!) long walks while away I did not suffer the merest twinge of ankle pain. So it’s stable footwear within very tight parameters all the way for me now. Slightly frustrating as it’s not like I was wearing impossibly high heels, or any heels, and I thought I was being sensible with ballet flats with arch supports – alas no. Luckily there are many very nice sneakers out there and I intend to buy all of them. Also luckily SML has gone casual, so I do not look too ridiculous.

second pair of many in my future

Interestingly, despite wearing the exact same shoes as when I was away, I’m starting to feel an occasional ache. Psychological? TheUniverse telling me I should be on perpetual holiday? Sadly I think is maybe that I’m wearing bare feet^^ in the house and I’m in the house a lot more than I was while away. Shoes in the house sounds horrible to me, I love bare feet! Maybe I just need to get out and about more?


^^ can you wear bare feet?

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into the swing

We’ve been back from holidays for three weeks now, which is amazing to me. It’s very trite and cliched, but it feels like just yesterday we were running about in Tokyo.

I keep meaning to write a bunch of holiday observations (and pre-holiday observations), but there’s so many bits it becomes a little overwhelming and I do nothing. Yet another illustration of perfect being the enemy of the good/done. I have no idea how I managed to post every day for such a long while!

Here’s a bunch of random bullet points about current events to get me back into the groove.

+ I don’t think ThePalace(OfLove) is particularly cluttered or our wardrobes that extensive, but post-holiday we managed to gather 5 large garbage bags of clothes for donation. And a couple of boxes of miscellany. We delivered these to the charity shop yesterday and I expect there will be another bunch after Joan leaves for sunnier climes.


+ In the spirit of minimising, we had a good hard look at some of our other *stuff* and are selling one of our DSLRs on ebay. Yes, we did indeed have almost-identical cameras. It seemed like a good idea at the time. We didn’t take either on the recent trip to Japan because they take up So Much Space in baggage and are crazy-heavy to lug about. And we got by quite well with point-and-shoots (I borrowed Joan’s) and our phones. One hour to go on the auction – lets hope for a last minute bidding frenzy.


+ It’s been raining quite a lot over the past couple of days. And it’s that rain which falls in those odd May/June directions and causes everyone’s houses to leak. When heading out yesterday to do the groceries (ugh) we found a few neighbours exchanging rain experiences in the communal driveway. It appears the waterproofing we all did this time last year was successful across the board, so yay all of us! We saved a bundle by doing this ourselves. Next up – front facades, which unfortunately does require professionals.


+ We racked up six years in ThePalace(OfLove) in mid-May. This is astounding, surely we just moved in? It’s interesting what changes and improvements we thought were absolutely essential 6 years ago which we’re now “meh, we can live with that”.

Biggest and best things we’ve done: changing the down-lights in the living space from halogen to LEDs, separating the light and extractor fan switches in the bathrooms (they were on one switch – so dumb), new oven once the old one died (so very good), painting the walls and doors white, removing most of the revolting vertical blinds, having taps installed out front and on the lower balcony.

Things we thought we absolutely needed to do but didn’t: replace the entire kitchen, renovate the bathrooms, replace the stair handrails and balustrades, refinish or replace the hardwood floors. Clearly I was reading way too many design and renovation blogs – everything is perfectly functional and not entirely hideous.

I’m quite glad we didn’t spend the eye-watering amount of money it would have taken to action these things.

Things we really do need to do but have been putting off: replace broken air-conditioners, replace bedroom carpets (honestly, these are beyond gross), plaster Bessie’s ceiling, have the front facade waterproofed, fill loads of cracks, finish painting over leak stains.


+ Can it really be five days (!) until Joan departs? FIVE! She’s been back living with us for two years now and it will be incredibly weird without her in the house. This morning we’re aggressively culling clothing and shoes and other belongings to fit in her one large suitcase. I’m really rather envious of her – there’s definitely something appealing about chucking it all in to head overseas and start a new life!

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One of the positives about keeping a blog for (yikes!) over 14 years, is that it is quite easy to see what you were up to at particular points in time.

For example, when searching last year’s entries to see if I there is some sort of seasonal pattern to being grumpy and slightly miserable**, I found that I had almost the exact same shoulder pain that I have developed in recent days. And also that we were climbing the giant scaffolding to waterproof the back of ThePalace(OfLove) and it rained a lot (adding some spice to the waterproofing mix) – we’re not climbing the wall, but it has rained a lot and the waterproofing looks to have been successful.

Of course I’ve kinda-sorta ruined the historic record by very sporadic blogging this year, need to attend to that!


** there doesn’t appear to be a seasonal pattern, I’m just grumpy and slightly miserable.

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We’ve been back from holiday for two weeks now (almost to the minute) and I’m finding it somewhat more difficult that usual to settle back into the routine.

The holiday was, of course, absolutely wonderful. We tend not to return to holiday destinations (she says, as though she’s an accomplished world traveller!), but having visited Japan not-so-long-ago, we really enjoyed the familiarity – for example, we already knew how to top-up a suica card, catch a train, use a ramen machine, the basic social niceties &etc. I think the prior knowledge and a level of comfort enabled us to go a little deeper and learn a little more – it’s incredibly different and there’s so much to learn and discover!

We love visiting Japan so much that I’m sure it is somewhere we will return to again and again.

We bought so many things we were forced to buy two extra suitcases (two!) – admittedly one was a carry-on, but still, two! Mostly this was clothes and shoes (I’m absolutely crazy about the Japanese aesthetic), so culling is underway in both of our wardrobes. I’m already regretting not buying more sneakers.

And of course as is usual after a long(ish) holiday – we’re full of determination to change up our living spaces to make them more like our holiday ones – clean, simple, cosy, uncluttered; and to do more with our lives than just work and work and work.

How long this lasts is yet to be seen!


I think this is the first Sunday in months and months that will be relatively “normal”. Though I’m not entirely certain what normal means anymore – I suspect mostly housework. At least we sucked it up and did grocery shopping yesterday afternoon, so we’re not having to spend the morning at the supermarket. I have quite a mountain of ironing to catch up on – so best find a suitable audiobook.

Well perhaps not entirely normal as Joan leaves for 2 years in the UK in less than two weeks! I’m quite certain those two weeks will be a whirlwind of activity.

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