patterns

Me: grump grump grump grump grump

Don: when was the last time you exercised?

Me: …

xxx

Golly, you’d think I’d have learned this by now!

Lots getting me down this week – which I will not bore you with too much. Suffice to say aggravating work people are aggravating. And I just finished a novel where a 50-something woman makes significant and positive changes to her life and suddenly dies of illness before she can enjoy any of it. I was expecting a protracted death with additional self-discovery, but boom! dead! I guess this is how it mostly happens.

All roads lead back to the exercise thing though.

Time once again to activate the Extreme Self Care. This means eating well, EXERCISING, removing instagram from my phone, doing some gentle creative things, avoiding the news firehose.

I know that some of you adore instagram, and at times I do too – but mostly it just makes me feel like a failure. I know this is kind of nuts. Irrespective of whatever clever strategies I employ to approach it, the eventual result is invariably the same.

And continuing with the theme of radical candour, I’ve been giving serious second thoughting to continuing the blog. But I’m going to sit with that decision a while longer until the self-care kicks in.

2835-2829 days

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additional ghosts

The most excellent Dame Eleanor cleverly alerted me via this post, that commenting is still quite temperamental.

Confidential to Carolbaby

Your commenting problem still isn’t sorted, as far as I can work out: I’ve tried various devices and platforms, and have not been able to leave a comment in the past week. Sorry to hear about the rain and the bruises, found your silver-bracelet class inspiring, and well done not spending the cash on the jumpsuit. Maybe ink a little plane on the back of your hand to remind you what you’re saving for, at least when you’re in the vicinity of tempting shops.

I’ve installed a new plugin this evening which hopefully will rectify things, but I suspect it is the aggressive spam filter … or something.

If you’re having similar difficulties, would you mind emailing me (talktome AT carolbaby DOT com) and I’ll try a spot of troubleshooting?

I’ve been blogging for what? Almost sixteen years? Leaving comments on any blogging platform was a bit of a lottery back when I started (would they post or would they vanish?) and has quite possibly become worse over time. There’s probably terabytes of lost comments floating out there in the ether.

I estimate that at least once a week I abandon my attempts to comment on someone’s post because of all manner of glitches. This is not confined to one blog or even one platform – and it is often completely random. Not that I have much to offer in the way of sparkling repartee, but I like to show support! Especially when blogging is such a dying art!

2837-2836 days

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no new clothes: day eighty-one

Staying strong, but awfully tempted by this jumpsuit at COS today. Note to self: probably don’t kill time wandering about in stores while waiting for lunch companions.

I liked it so much might have a crack at making one. Though finding fabric in that fabulous colour might be a challenge.

xxx

In ever-so-slightly related news, a couple of weeks ago Don and I convinced ourselves that we needed to holiday in Japan at Xmas. This is in addition to a trip to the UK to see Joan and what is becoming our annual trip to Thailand.

Very exciting! I have never had so many trips in a year.

We’re embarking on a period of relative austerity to make this happen – mostly this involves taking our lunch to work every day and avoiding non-essential purchases.

As an experiment I’m planning to transfer the equivalent of anything I spend on non-essentials to the holiday fund – so spend $20 on craft supplies, for example, transfer $20 to the trip fund.

So probably wise that I didn’t drop $150 on that lovely blue jumpsuit!

2839-2838 days

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fortunately not forty

Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday it rained and rained and rained. We had the most rain in a day since the early 1990s. It was A LOT of rain.

In really excellent news, the rain extinguished several enormous bushfires which had been burning for many months. It also topped up the main dam supplying Sydney where the levels had been dangerously low.

In not so great news, there was a good amount of flooding and damage to property. But I think most people, even those with leaks or without electricity for days, were just happy to see the rain.

We definitely did not escape unscathed!

The strong wind meant the rain was almost horizontal and on Sunday morning we discovered water pouring into the sealed part of Joe/Frank’s double-glazed window and running down the wall to the floor below. I wish I was exaggerating when I say litres of rain was pouring in. It was A LOT of rain.


artist’s impression

We were forced cut a hole in the sealed metal window frame in an attempt at damage control because we were worried about the integrity of the ceiling below. Who can forget that time our neighbour’s ceiling collapsed in similar circumstances?

I’ve said it before, but thank TheUniverse for old towels! And also thank TheUniverse that we did not lose power as so many other people did, because the clothes dryer got a workout with all those soaking towels.

Because the window design is completely stupid, there was not a huge amount of space to maneuver even after cutting the hole, so we were forced to shove our arms in the hole to the shoulder and attempt manipulate the towels with a golf club. I wish I was joking. A week later and I still have quite a dazzling array of bruises on my upper arm as evidence.

In addition to the endless replacing of towels and buckets, there was a whole lot of running about moving furniture and unplugging electrics. And let us not forget the cleaning up of thousands and thousands of little silicon beads that were laying at the bottom of the double glazing (see also, completely stupid window design).

It was quite an intense day and evening.

Other damage includes Bessie’s wardrobe floor, part of which collapsed because it was so soaked with rain coming in through a wall with a drainpipe behind; and the cornice in the garage, which was likewise soaked and fell off.

Insurance assessors come this week, hopefully they will kick us a few $ for repairs.

This house, honestly!

2849-2840 days

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60before60: #04 make a piece of jewellery

This is one of those items that’s been on an XbeforeX list about for around 6 years (goodness! how has it been that long?)

I’ve been seriously considering a silver jewellery making class for a while now, but most classes have you make a ring and there was zero chance I’d wear it, having really very nice rings already thank you.

As soon as I saw make a silver bangle in a day I signed up immediately. I’m all about the silver bangles and am amassing a small collection. How cool to add one that I made myself!

Technically I’d already ticked off “make a piece of jewellery” when I completed the resin class in December. But this is more what I envisioned when I originally put it on the 50before50 list.

We were a small group of five – an older woman (late 60s?), a 30-something ceramicist, an adorable hipster couple in their 20s and me!

First up (as is pretty standard for these things) the instructor gave an overview, discussed materials and techniques and we pretty quickly got to work setting up our jewellery saws. The blades were crazy-thin and it was rather a challenge to see the wee teeth! Much was done by feel.

We each grabbed an off-cut of copper and practiced cutting shapes. I made a largeish X because I like chunky things. The others made more delicate shapes – like tiny leaves and such. I’m thankful I like chunky things, because I’m pretty confident delicate was not going to happen for me. I’d rate my fine motor skills as decent-to-good, but my sawing skills … not so much. It was a struggle to remember to RELAX and let the blade do the work. I had to remind myself we weren’t cutting down a tree. Even if we were cutting down a tree, we would let the blade do the work. Breathe!

We next received a rectangle of copper to make a cuff. I am not a fan of wearing copper or cuffs, so was not entirely jazzed by this exercise.

And I was not entirely jazzed by the piece as I was working with it. I cut, filed, punched Xs and Os in sections and polished with loads of wet-and-dry paper in decreasing grades of coarseness.

I would go so far as to say it was a Sad Disappointment.

That was until I annealed it with a blow-torch and bashed it into a cuff shape, then I loved it! Definitely my favourite piece of the day. Need to wax it to retain that patina.

I was hoping to replicate the effect on chunky-X (attempt not pictured), but that was less successful. You can’t predict what the torch will do and how the metal will react.

The class was only 5 hours and after completing those two pieces, we were definitely pushing it to make our silver-bangle-in-a-day within the allotted time. The instructor provided hands-on assistance where required which I definitely appreciated as I had a couple of challenges (which I likely could have resolved if we were not so time-boxed!).

My particular challenges:

+ I was quite terrible with the blow torch. You use this to anneal the metal so you can bend it. No matter what I tried, the flame extinguished pretty quickly after I pointed it at a piece. I have no idea what I was doing incorrectly and would have benefited from some troubleshooting, but time constraints meant it was more “okay, let me do that for you!”.

+ I discovered I don’t file straight – even when I try very hard to do so. Suddenly a whole lot of my past challenges working with with wood made sense!

+ I would have also benefited from a wee vise. It’s challenging to hold things still with one hand and operate tools. Perhaps this might have assisted with my dodgy filing?

Instructor helped me to get my filed ends to marry-up before soldering as they were pretty uncooperative. Sadly, soldering is not the nice electronics-type soldering and involves yet more of the dreaded blow torch – which of course I needed help with. Half of the group left their bangle open and thus avoided the soldering, but a joined circle was a non-negotiable for me!

After soldering there was very, very (very!) much sanding to get the bangle all shiny and to remove that oxidising at the join (picture above).

Silver-bangle-in-a-day is simple, very shiny and pretty!

xxx

And just like that, it was over. I was utterly mentally and physically exhausted afterward! But I have a couple of nice things to show for my efforts.


two of these are made by me!


highly unlikely to wear the cuff, but it is nice to look at

xxx

Observations:

This was the first time this particular class had been run. There was way too much information to absorb in five hours and do All The Things. It was quite fast-paced, so there wasn’t a a great deal of time to develop technique or finish off pieces (I probably should have chosen a shape to cut that was not a cross!) or troubleshoot. There wasn’t a whole lot of time left for the silver bangle – which was intended as the hero of the class.

The positive energy from group-crafting which I’ve become accustomed to wasn’t really there. Everyone was very nice, but it was a much more subdued, introverted group. This wasn’t at all bad, I just like my crafty classes a little more vibey.

xxx

So, would I take another silver jewellery class?!

Possibly not. But maybe that is the fatigue talking!

2848 days

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surely snow can’t be far away

It was terribly exciting to look out the bedroom window this morning.


thrilling views

We’re in for several days of heavy rain, which as you might imagine is very much needed!

We’ll gloss over the forecast flooding and damaging heavy seas.

I was extremely fortunate to get home with very minimal fuss this evening. Some people were delayed for up to 2 hours because of damage to a train signal – the last thing you’d want on a rainy Friday night.


trains going nowhere

I have a bangle-making class tomorrow, I expect to activate the raincoat and boots!

2853-2849 Days

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ghosts in the machine

And just like that, all comments since the end of October have completely vanished – within the last couple of hours.

How utterly baffling! I definitely pressed no buttons and was actually nowhere near my computer for most of the day. I can only assume that a plugin has automatically updated itself and decided to go a-deleting?


not figments of my imagination

Now admittedly, I don’t get a huge number of comments here – but those I do are precious indeed!

I have managed to retrieve some of the content from google cache and comment approval emails and will re-post them – but yikes!

I’m really being hit over the head by the fragility of digital stuff lately. I never could revive that hard drive – very fortunately I only lost a couple of month’s data.

Back-up your blog, kids!

Day 2854 days

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if you’re not verbing, you can’t call yourself a noun

I visited the GP a couple of weeks ago, which I thought I’d mentioned here, but it seems not!

Much to my horror, I’d rapidly gained a bit of weight over the Xmas break, despite pretty minimal feasting. I was terribly bloaty and was experiencing the occasional pretty intense abdominal pain, so thought it was time to turn myself in and see what might be up.

Blood tests and ultrasound were ordered and I received the results yesterday. No apparent medical cause for any of it, but I was aghast to learn that my cholesterol is slightly elevated at 5.9.

Apparently this can be addressed with “lifestyle changes”.

My initial response to myself was, “but I’m really healthy and already do a ton of exercise!” But on closer examination that’s pretty much a total lie. I rarely run, I rarely cycle, I no longer take a long daily walk to and from work, I’ve abandoned yoga – in fact I actually don’t do ANY regular exercise. This came as quite a shock!

So much of my identity is bound up in being this sporty, fit person. But actually that really isn’t where I’m at right now. It’s quite amazing to think that at various points in time I was: running 30+ km a week, cycling to work every day, cycling 40-50km on the weekend, doing yoga 4x per week. How on earth did I find the time?

So I can’t really call myself a runner or a cyclist or a yogi. And I can’t really call myself a fit and healthy person.

I need to change that!

2856-2855 days

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no new clothes: day sixty two

I’ve just kicked over into two months without a clothing purchase – 17% of my 12 month goal. Go me!

But excitingly I do have some new garments! On the weekend I chopped off a couple of Don and Joe/Franks’s discarded t-shirts and made them my own.

I’d been thinking of doing this for quite some time, but as ever procrastinated to death and did nothing. I’ve unwittingly cultivated a ridiculous fear of commencing projects.

I bought a twin stretch needle a while back and after finishing all of my mending projects, finally busted it out on Saturday afternoon. The results on some scrap fabric were dire, and after some tinkering I abandoned the endeavour. Hand stitching efforts were equally as dreadful. While packing the needle back in the sewing box I came across a packet of single stretch needles I’d never used and forgotten I possessed. Who knows when I acquired them?

I gave one a try and … success! Much more professional result than I’d hoped.

It’s a fun and quick project. I’ve a few more shirts to update. This has definitely filled the large loose-cropped(ish)-tee-shirt gap in my wardrobe!

2857 days

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empire

In excellent news I was successful in selling our discarded RAM on ebay and (just) averaged over my $20 target for each set.

Unfortunately I underestimated shipping, so took a wee hit on each – still profit for something I would have cast to the e-waste. Hurrah!

Rich People thinking!**

2863-2858 days

xxx

** We have over time developed a somewhat complicated theory about this. According to our theory Rich People will always spend the hour or so to get the $60, or pick up the $0.05 coin from the footpath, or claim the team cakes on expenses.

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