3 in 12 months

So the trigger was pulled and I had the Difficult Conversation with the Difficult New Starter. As expected he wasn’t expecting it, but there is really no easy way to do these things and it went probably as well as such things can.

Afterward I had lunch with this former employee who let me know that he’d been on the receiving end of a similar Difficult Conversation at his new job yesterday.

I hope this is not contagious.

After work I bought myself a paris brest as a reward for being a Brave Manageress. Yes, I’m rewarding myself with food. Yes, this is probably the last thing I should do. I really should have bought clothing or jewellery or perhaps just given myself some positive words.

unfortunately not at all worth the calories – 2/5


And in October | November self-care stats …
Showing up here: check
Exercise: short run
Creativity: nil

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personal challenges

Yesterday saw me hit the big 300 days (300!) of my chocolate ban.

This has been rather harder than expected – possibly on par with quitting drinking!

Sadly what it hasn’t done is to stop me mindlessly eating All The Snacks after dinner. I still have a less-than-optimal habit of binge eating treats when I’m not even hungry. Bed time? Must mindlessly stuff my face first – possibly with an entire tub of (not chocolate) ice-cream. At the moment I have this somewhat (kinda sorta) under control – after putting on about 5kg – but most evenings are a struggle.

I’m utterly hopeless at any sort of moderation, but I am pretty decent at deprivation, so possibly my 2020 push-myself challenge will be no post-dinner treats at all – just to kick things up a notch. Though I can see the work-arounds now: stuff face before dinner, for example.

Tomorrow will be stressful. I’m advising the new starter we’re ending his contract early. He won’t be expecting this. I feel quite horrible and wonder if I could have done more.

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recurring recurrances

know how she feels

We’re nearly at November and I’m not entirely certain where this year has gone – or quite what I’ve been doing with my time when not daily posting. I wish I could say that I’d been occupied by wonderfully interesting things, have been terribly productive and living my life to the fullest, but yeah, no.

SML has been maddening, excellent and exhausting in pretty equal measures and consumes a lot of my brain-capacity. I have a great team**, am working with my very fave people from the business and recently received a good-sized bonus and decent above-cost-of-living pay increase. Hrmmm – writing that makes me wonder why don’t I focus on those very excellent areas rather than the miserable, infuriating bits? But there have been many infuriating bits – mostly external consultant related (managing non or substandard delivery, intervening when they frequently attempt to steer us down a less-than-optimal path). I’m noticing that the more senior I become the more sexism I face on the regular. I’m glad I’m old now and give no (well fewer) fucks, because this kind of stuff would have destroyed me a few years ago. Still, it does all become really (really!) wearing.

Unfortunately both instagram and news reading have slowly crept back into my life. I think I’m managing instagram a little better this go ’round – and am delighted have found a couple of my very excellent blog pals of old. I still occasionally experience the “wow, I suck” comparison thing, but I try to remember that these are more and more pretty heavily curated views of people’s lives. The news however is not at all good for my psyche – and comments sections – what the hell am I thinking? In addition to both of those there’s been a lot of mindless internet scrolling and very little engagement with anything much – which I think is a symptom of the kind of shiftless state of mind – or possibly the cause?

All this combines to make well – I wouldn’t call it depression, because oh boy have we been there before – more a sort of malaise, world-weariness, mental exhaustion, lacklustre-ness?

Don made a genius point during the week that we’ve both become too focussed on holidays alone to relax and unwind. It’s rather like we mark time until we have an (infrequent) holiday, enjoy it tremendously and then take ages to settle back in to reality. As an example, it took me many (many!) months to shake off the post-holiday gloom after our trip to Japan earlier in the year. We’re off to Thailand in a couple of weeks which will be really wonderful, but we need to make a big effort to live our lives in between those times.

And so, self-care priorities (yes, here we go again). I’m going to try to show up here every day for the next month or so – perhaps this will engage my brain in non-SML ways. I’m going to try to do something (even if very tiny) creative each day – also to stretch the brain a little. Bessie and I were taking photos for her side-hustle business today and I had a few brilliant (if I do say so myself) ideas for placement and felt super-energised afterward. And yoga. And running (like less than 2km – just to get the heart rate up).

That should get me started.


** with one exception which will thankfully be resolved next week

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library haul #4

And the fourth library haul! Acquired over the weekend.

1. Village deception: Rebecca Shaw
(golly – this was awful! recommend avoiding!)
2. Phone: Will Self
3. Essex poison: Ian Sansom
4. The girls of slender means: Muriel Spark
5. The deaths: Mark Lawson
6. Don’t tell Eve: Airlie Lawson

I renewed the last lot a couple of times (and there are still a few unread) after being distracted by a bunch of kindle books – read the latest Liane Moriarty and then went through her backlist again.

I’ve done a LOT of repeat reading this year – I wonder what that’s about?

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trials of a manageress

Conversations with new team member** …

Conversation 1

Me: oh, you cycle? cool! what do you ride?

New Team Member: you wouldn’t have heard of it.


Conversation 2

Me (on hearing his daughter had just finished university):
oh wow, that’s crazy! my youngest just completed a design degree too!

New Team Member: oh but mine did honours

Me: (ffs, is this what we’re doing now?):
gosh, what a coincidence! so did mine!


** older guy, previous long term role in senior management at small high-profile organisation, pivoting into different area, reporting to me. We had some reservations when recruiting, but decided to take a chance because of his experience and because he sold himself incredibly well.

Yet another lesson that if it is not a HELL YEAH, it’s a no.

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Finally, finally a couple of weeks ago we had the two non-functional air-conditioners replaced!

As is always the way with any maintenance on ThePalace(OfLove) this was of course not entirely straightforward.

I can’t quite remember what the actual diagnosis was, but [whatever] meant that we needed replacement pipes? drains? … something like that.

This meant that the unit in our bedroom needed relocation and the installers had to cut into the walls to access the various bits they needed. Never mind that there is a perfectly functional services duct less than 50cm away – the original builders had ignored that and gone through the walls. Of course they had.

We’re now left with some rather interesting … ehancements … to our bedroom.

I saw the empty space now above the bed not as a diabolical mess potentially costing quite a lot to repair, but as an opportunity to acquire new artwork – and serendipidously we had a VIP pass to Sydney Contemporary for that very night.

Surely TheUniverse was telling me to buy art?!

Alas, despite best intentions (though fortunately for the bank balance) what the TheUniverse was actually telling me that we needed a pleasant night out and rather than buying art we should save our pennies for repairing those multiple holes in the walls and ceiling! At current rate of pace that should be some time in 2024.

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We’re members of an our state’s automobile association, which is well worth the annual subscription to cover us for breakdowns, flat batteries and the like.

Our membership includes a bimonthly (if that’s the word I want for every two months) magazine which appears to be next to impossible to unsubscribe from and contains such amusements as curmudgeonly letters to the editor about the lack of adherence to road rules**, pensioner travel package deals, car reviews, and advertisements for hideously expensive realistic baby dolls and nationalistic jewellery.

And this month, an advert for a simple mobile phone for the elderly!

And from the testimonial of Mrs Emily Jones (… if that’s her real name) …

The EasyPhone should be awarded gadget of the year for the over 50s

Over 50s? You what now?

It’s so simple to use. I normally need my son to show me what to do, but not with this phone.

You know that horror-face emoji? Consider that inserted here.


** I can actually totally get behind the majority of these curmudgeonly letters #getoffmylawn

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I’ve just hit the 6 month mark with this go-round of yoga. This is by far the longest I’ve ever kept at it – and if I can’t run, it’s my second best option!

The studio around the corner does iyengar – which is all about doing things properly, correct form, building up slowly and using lots of props (blocks, bolsters, blankets). I realise how ridiculous my previous attempts were – especially trying to push myself too hard to be all extreme and competitive**. Now I’m focussed so much on trying to be correct that I barely pay attention to anyone else. I could do without the 6:15am starts though.

Future yoga goals are with suitably long time frames:

+ Janu Sirsasana (head to knee pose) – April 2019
+ Chaturanga Dandasana – June 2019
+ Salamba Sirsasana (head stand) – December 2019
+ Adho Mukha Vrksasana (hand stand) – April 2020

** golly! all the stupid and exhausting things I did to try and prove that I was worthy … of … something.


And quite the sobriety milestone today!

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One of my #smallgoalz for the weekend was to finally complete that pink cowl I started back at Easter.

and we’re done

It’s now blocking, but despite careful handling I rather fear it has stretched beyond what’s wearable.

And of course the temperatures are now such that a cowl will really not be required for many many months.

I need a sensible (somewhat challenging) knitting project – that I will actually get some use from!

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leave for too long and you forget how to string a sentence together

After keeping at it for a few weeks, I think I’ve finally found my groove with the library and the return to analogue books. I seem to have picked up my reading pace and I’m taking a fairly ruthless approach – if a book isn’t doing it for me, I’ll abandon and move on to the next.

One pretty obvious positive with the library is access to lots of books at zero cost. Kindle books are actually pretty cheap, but free is obviously a whole lot better! Of course not entirely free as I’m indirectly funding the library through tax and rates, but hey I’d be doing that anyway.

It feels like I am accessing a diversity of reading material that I wasn’t from the amazon store. While there are undoubtedly many (many!) times the books on amazon compared with the local library, I’m invariably recommended the same type of pretty awful stuff (and have learned that any book with a variant of “gripping thriller full of twists” appended to the title is to be avoided). Random browsing on the site yields very little of interest either. I’m enjoying the novelty of aimlessly wandering around shelves for an hour or more randomly grabbing books.

And because of the relatively small typeface size in analogue books, I’m needing to wear my reading glasses a lot more, which means that … well, I wear them. To supplement my proper glasses, I’ve bought a bunch of inexpensive reading glasses (of the same prescription) to store in strategic locations around ThePalace(OfLove) and a pair for my bag. This positive habit has meant that I’m wearing glasses in many other suitable situations – on the computer, on the phone &etc. And amazingly – *rolls eyes* – those headaches have magically disappeared.

I did return very briefly to ebooks when my pre-order of Kristi Coulter: Nothing Good Can Come from This: Essays was delivered to the kindle. Adored it, love her writing and the subject matter is obviously pretty close to my heart! Recommended.

Sadly, as much as I have found my way again with paper, there’s nothing quite like being able to press on a word and have the definition pop up. I had to break my flow several times with this book and take to my phone.

and lambent means just what you think it would in the context – radiant, glowing – other new-to-me words include sedulous, coeval

Fortunately most of my reading is not so high-brow, but I’d quite like to get it there.

Yesterday I picked up my latest (third) haul:

1. You don’t have to live like this : a novel / Benjamin Markovits
2. The woman in the window / A. J. Finn
3. Under the net / Irish Murdoch
4. A severed head / Iris Murdoch
5. The book of souls : a Detective Inspector McLean novel / James Oswald
6. Things we nearly knew / Jim Powell
7. The laughing policeman / Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo
8. The haunted man [sound recording] / Bat for Lashes
9. The annual 2017 [sound recording] / Ministry of Sound Australia


And the second haul – added for the permanent record:

1. What Katie ate : recipes and other bits & bobs / Katie Quinn Davies
2. Diary of a bad year / J. M. Coetzee
3. Commonwealth / Ann Patchett
4. So Frenchy, so chic [sound recording] : unofficial soundtrack to the 2017 Alliance Francaise French Film Festival
5. So Frenchy so chic [sound recording] : unofficial soundtrack to the 2018 Alliance Francaise French Film Festival
6. The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie [videorecording]

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