2018 xmas goalz: reckoning

It’s well into the new year already and somewhat late to revist those Xmas break goals, but I’m ploughing ahead in the name of accountability.

Being laggardly has stopped me posting quite a bit in the last year: “oh, so much time has passed and it is silly to post about it now”. But really I should post whatever I’m feeling at the time. It’s not like it’s the news.

I do the same with commenting on other blogs. I’ll keep a post open in a browser tab for days then eventually close it without commenting because it feels too late. Admittedly is totally ridiculous, because who doesn’t appreciate engagement whenever it comes?

This is all wraps up into that single-tasking, being present thing that I’d really like to become more skilled at – like write the post; edit the photos; open the window, make the comment. Don’t let everything sit there half-done and flick between a dozen other things.

But I digress … how did my Xmas reality stack up against my plans?

+ Annual jigsaw puzzle(s)
COMMENCED! Bessie gifted us a fiendishly difficult puzzle of her own design (so clever!). Unfortunately I think she is secretly trying to slowly kill us through puzzle madness. I would rate the puzzle as 35/10 for difficulty (so much grey!). This will take Some Time.

+ Yoga workshop (4 mornings)
YES! I really enjoyed this. I won’t say it wasn’t (and isn’t) a struggle to drag myself there. But I show up and it is always worth it.
And I became mildly insta-famous:

+ Retrofit inseam pockets to at least 2 dresses
NO! I have some sort of weird blockage about doing this. I don’t know why. It would really not be difficult and would take little time.

+ One of: swim / bike ride / hike
NO! We were occupied most mornings with golf, yoga or flying lessons.** It was much too hot to contemplate anything outdoors.

+ Back up data (including, but not limited to, photos) – YOU SHOULD DO THIS TOO!

+ As little time as possible parked mindlessly in front of the laptop / tablet / phone
YES! I was parked while transferring the blog to the new hosting, and while reviewing new music emails – but I wouldn’t say it was at all mindless, so calling this a win.

+ Low-key celebrate two rather big milestones
YES! Longrain (10 year anniversary!) and Felix (Don’s Significant birthday!)
We should go out for dinner more often.

+ Set intentions for 2019

+ Put ipad away for the duration
YES! And I was much better for it (though instagram viewed on the bigger screen is a much superior experience).

+ I will review the contents of at least 3 tubs in the garage
NO! 1/3. I wouldn’t mind having a Reckoning with the tubs of fabric in mid-February.

+ I will recommence that embroidery
NO! Maybe while on the next holiday – to Tokyo – IN TWO WEEKS!

+ New music
YES! Reviewed all 434 emails. Took my laptop downstairs and listened while I pottered.
Landed on this ecclectic bunch – ranging from punky to poppy to stuff that sounds like an experimental noise collective – go have a listen!
There’s a few more on the wishlist that I’ll revist during the month.
   Dada by B Boys
   Essence of Eucalyptus by Avey Tare
   Hurry Back To Love (Mikey Young … by Jess Ribeiro
   Good Heavens ‘Strange Dreams’ by Rice Is Nice Records
   Hex by M a l i b l u e
   Heart by Denise Le Menice
   GIVING by Collections of Colonies of Bees
   Here Pieces by Guy Blackman
   Barton’s Den by FAN
   Second Of Spring by Beaches
   Plains by The Laurels
   Sodabread by Good Boy
   Living In Excellence by Constant Mongrel
   Across The Meridian by Pram
   Blackout Summer by Dusted
   Teddywaddy by East Brunswick All Girls Choir
   It’s All Good / Nobody Cares by Superorganism
   Something For Your M.I.N.D. by Superorganism


** I bought Don a package of flying lessons for his significant birthday. He’s been really adorkably into all things planes for as long as I’ve known him, but had never thought of flying as something he’d ever get to do. He was pretty thrilled with the gift. Suffice to say I have once again cemented my position as best wife ever. Nowearenotbuyingaplane.

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60before60: #13 read no personal development books for a year (so it begins) ^^

^^ I wrote this fairly lengthy post last night – firstly on the laptop and finally hitting publish on my phone while in bed. It definitely showed as published at the time, but weirdly it is not showing up on the blog at all, but did come through as a new post in the feed reader – and now is showing as draft in both dashboards.

How very baffling!

Anyway … apologies if this is the second time you’re seeing this!


I am rather a desprit hoar** for personal development / self-help books and churn through probably at least 6 a year, often more.

So I’m calling it quits for a while in the hopes that I cut myself a break, start to be satisfied, but also to maybe implement some of the (many!) things I’ve read. This doesn’t mean I won’t read the occasional personal development article of course – but I’m avoiding clicking through immediately to buy a book just because I’ve read an interesting excerpt or thinkpiece.


The last book before the ban was make time: how to focus on what matters every day which scraped in in the final death throes of 2018.

I ended up there from a link on swiss miss, which led me to this medium post (6 years with a distraction free iphone) by one of the authors, and then this medium post (why it’s more important than ever to ignore the news) by the other author. That last one coincided rather nicely with my self-imposed news ban.

Do you ever look back and wonder “What did I really do today?” Do you ever daydream about projects and activities you’ll get to someday – but “someday” never comes? This is a book about slowing down the crazy rush. It’s about making time for things that matter.

If by “today”, you mean “the past several months”, why yes, I’m totally there! I’ve no idea where 2018 went.

This aligns pretty well with a conversation Don and I were having in Thailand – we observed time passed really slowly and the holiday seemed to last a really long while, whereas at home in the routine, time speeds by in a relentless parade of sameness, you look up wonder where the last 3 years went.

The general idea of the book is to counter this by making each day memorable, that you sit down and work out the one thing you want to accomplish each day (your highlight), then you actively make time for that thing. Along the way you get strategies to clear the decks to enable you to make that time.

There’s quite a lot about removing digital distractions – a few of which I’m trying to implement or already have implemented. The biggest takeaway for me was probably to single task. Among other things this means not having 847583456 browser windows open and endlessly flicking between them. Just have open what you need, do the task and close the tab, repeat. Radical stuff indeed. I have tried it and it has worked well – of course then I forget and have all manner of stuff open for days and days. It’s a work in progress.


But has all this reading done much improving? Honestly I suspect not. I really do adore the exposure to different ideas and ways of thinking. But if something resonates with me, I’d like to do more than simply noting it and moving on to reading about the next idea.

So while I’m on the book break, I’ll have time to give a few of my favourite ideas from the mountains of books I’ve read a crack.


** thanks to ganching for this most excellent phrase.

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start as you mean to continue

First day back at SML started (and continued) with a quite ghastly headache. I suspect this was the result of very early yoga without coffee beforehand. Then I failed to become adequately caffeinated in the early part of the day to cast it off. Note to self: probably not quite so many cups while on holiday.

Despite wavering a little because of the head, I held fast to my 2019 intentions. YAY!

I took the keep cup out with me in search of my lunchtime macchiato fix, but discovered all of the decent nearby cafes don’t reopen until next week or the week after. Rather than settle for bad coffee, I did what any sane person would do and walked a very long way to find a decent one. It seemed ridiculous to carry that teensy coffee cup (either full or empty with dregs) back to SML, but I was reluctant to go for the disposable cup and break my intention on day 2. What to do? Any normal person would have immediately have decided to drink their coffee as a sit-down, but this took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out. Once decided, it felt marvellously decadent.

After dinner that evening my head was still hurting so much I had a hard time convincing myself not to scoff the chocolate I remembered was in the cupboard from Phil’s visit back in March. “My head hurts, I can start this tomorrow, just this one (large) block of chocolate won’t matter…” – the usual kind of stuff you say to yourself when you’re trying to quit something. Fortunately Don reminded me of this and I went to bed instead.

Today a small residual headache, but quickly dispatched with coffee and drugs. Emboldened by yesterday’s coffee, I decided to go out and sit down for lunch rather than eating at my desk!

Ever the radical adventurer!

I think this could be the first time I’ve ever lunched in a cafe alone!

I sat with my notebook and reflected on the results of my plans for the Xmas / New Year break and read a couple of bits and pieces here and there.

Rather a shame the sandwich was quite underwhelming.

I will totally repeat this experience!

(Obviously I have a not inconsiderable amount of baggage about all manner of things!)


And in spending reduction:

Items considered**, but not purchased:

+ Breville coffee grinder: $40
+ Vintage polka-dot palazzo pants: $95

** as they were in my hand and I was on the way to the cash register, rather than just idly thinking they would be nice to own.

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2019 not-resolutions: joan

Joan has taken her lead from Don and made me review her 2018 year – any and all errors are mine (though I am sure she will correct me).

1. Move overseas, preferably mid-year

2. Achieve savings goal by moving time
ACHIEVED! Reaching savings goals is one of her super-powers.

3. Lose 10 kg
NOT ACHIEVED! Not-resolutions pertaining to weight loss will no longer be permitted from anyone.

4. Don’t make poor decisions with regards to men and continue progress made since the beginning of this year
ACHIEVED! Lovely new boyfriend who does not appear to be a poor decision.

5. Find a new hobby that isn’t travel or photography related
NOT ACHIEVED! Or if it has been I’ve not heard of it.

And for 2019:
1. Visit 50 countries by 2020 (I’m currently at 41, soon to be 42) – possibilities include Liechtenstein, Greece, Faroe Islands, Portugal, Ireland, Norway, Morocco, Lithuania, Slovenia, Cuba… but I’ll take advantage of any good deals I find!
2. Make healthier food choices and start intermittent fasting again – thanks 30s metabolism
3. Edit and upload future travel photos within two months of taking trips (and get through existing backlog by the end of 2019)
4. Put £x into my travel savings account from every pay check
5. Take more advantage of being in London and have at least one new experience (be it going to a new area, landmark, venue, etc) per month


Joan’s previous not-resolutions:

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2019 not-resolutions: don

Comments on 2018 are mine. I did have to check in on a couple – like what exactly were the values of x and y in #1?. What’s your handicap?

Reflecting on 2018:

1. Get mortgage to under $Xk (1% less than current projection @ year end). Stretch goal of $Yk (3% < current projection @ year end)
NOT ACHIEVED! so very very close. If we’d remembered this we could have shoved the extra on.

2. Attend Friday AM Yoga 75% of weeks
NOT ACHIEVED! But started Sunday mid-way through the year. Probably making 75% of those.

3. Minimum of 2 alcohol free weekdays 80% of weeks
NOT ACHIEVED! 2019 for sure.

4. Drop 2 strokes off current H’cap (currently at 12.2) and not exceed 95 the entire year
NOT ACHIEVED! Handicap changed by 2 unfortunately in the wrong direction. Exceeded 95 4 times.

5. Golfing birthday trip somewhere mildly exotic
ACHIEVED! Thailand was really wonderful. There was much golf. We liked it so much we’re planning on returning in November 2019.

And for 2019:

1. (golf) Play A grade = drop 2 off handicap
2. ride exercise bike minimum of 2x week
3. lower blood pressure by 10mmHg
4. obtain RPL (recreational pilots licence!)
5. play 2-3 rounds (golf) interstate


Don’s previous not-resolutions:

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2019 not-resolutions: bessie

This is NINTH year of family “not resolutions”! For the uninitiated, everyone nominates 5 things they’d possibly, maybe like to accomplish in the coming year – no pressure. It’s been really fun to look back and see where everyone’s head was at.

Reflecting on 2018:
1. Get a “real” job in my field

2. Go overseas in 2019
NOT ACHIEVED. But there is solid planning in the works.

3. Learn to drive
NOT ACHIEVED. Got the math wrong on when Hansel would get his full license and be able to teach me.

4. Move out of home
PARTIALLY ACHIEVED! I am no longer living between 2 houses, making my life significantly easier.

5. Get my website up and running

And for 2019:

1. Continue with Pilates and find a second form of exercise (ie. swimming or dance)
2. Learn to drive (carried forward from last year)
3. Design a new set of pins based on another Australian city
4. Reach 1,000 Instagram followers on my design Instagram
5. Be accepted for a stall at a large market


Bessie’s previous not-resolutions:

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2019 intentions

It appears that I didn’t complete a list of projects or intentions for 2018. Who knows what I was thinking? Possibly I thought focussing on the 60before60 list was sufficient? In retrospect I can’t say I care much for that approach!

On the surface this seems to be a ridiculously huge amount of items to undertake in a year, but underpinning this is a plan to stop wasting time on the InformationSuperhighway. 4-5 hours a day is completely insane and little wonder I’m not getting anything accomplished and end up dissatisfied!

+ Facial 1x per month
This feels like a real indulgence and hey why not? My skin (like me) is getting older and will really benefit from some professional attention. I had my first in the series yesterday. It was quite excellent.

+ Wear nice sleepwear
I generally wear rather grody singlets. I really want to embrace my inner sophisticated old lady. I actioned the prep for this yesterday by picking up a couple of pretty things in the post-Xmas sales.

+ Use my keep cup
It’s just sitting in my drawer at SML. I’ve gone through a lot of single use cups in 2018. My first action on arrival at SML will be to put the cup within eyesight on my desk.

+ Don’t cross my legs when sitting
This is such an ingrained habit, but is super-bad for my legs and dodgy ankle. A day of sitting with my legs crossed ends in a fair bit of pain in the evening. I’m considering offering a bounty to my team when they spot me doing this.

+ No daily digital news
I did this a few years ago and it was very successful, but unfortunately mindless consumption of news has slowly crept back in to my life. This is quite the biggest time sink and adds very little value to my life.

+ No snacking post-dinner. Fruit only after work.
Giving up chocolate for a year was an attempt to stop bingeing. Turns out it actually wasn’t the chocolate as I’ve just binged on every imaginable alternative – ice-cream, bikkies … everything. I need to stop eating my feelings.

+ Limit personal spending. Stop shopping for sport.
It’s not like I’m spending beyond my means, but I do often buy things I probably don’t need – mostly through boredom. I’ll usually go for a wander at lunchtime and buy *stuff*. I’m thinking of treating this as prep for retirement. see also #47 below.

And some targets from the 60before60 list (I did say this was a lot of things for a year!):

#48 Move the blog to self-hosted wordpress
I’m paying for domain mapping, no ads and custom design on my “free” account. These features work out to be around 5x more expensive than paying for hosting from my domain name provider. They renew in early January. I’ve been dithering about this for a couple of years, but it’s finally time to make the move.

#27 Kill my gmail account(s)
I have around 5 gmail accounts – a personal one, a blog one, one I used for linkedin, a couple of others that I’ve forgotten why I had. protonmail is a pretty great free alternative.

#13 Read no self-help books for a year
My name is carolbaby and I’m addicted to self-help / personal development books. Maybe just find the time to implement some of the ideas, rather than simply voraciously consume? Hrmmm – perhaps all that reading is yet another way of avoiding my feelings.

#47 Record all personal spending for a year
Hopefully this will be not a lot – which wasn’t really the intent, but we’ll go with it. I suspect recording a year at current levels would be a bit eye-popping.

#41 Be more present (precisely how to do this is yet to be determined)
I’m hopeful by implementing some of the above – particularly the news one – I’ll pay more attention to what is going on around me! I also hope to stop flicking between browser tabs and focus on one thing at a time!

#51 [something] yoga
Work on yoga goals, attend average of one class a week (ideally three classes) and develop a regular home practice.

I’m printing these out and keeping them on my desk to keep them top of mind!

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could be some time

Changing blog hosting – transmission may be interrupted for a smidge!

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recent discoveries (or, exposing my ignorance)

Me: “hey, what do you think loofahs are made of?”
Don: “some sort of sea creature?”
Me: “hah! that’s exactly what I thought! But no! They’re a plant – like a cucumber!”

I learned this from Zero Waste Home. She grows loofahs. She went through a phase of gathering moss to use as a toilet paper replacement. It’s quite a book.


For years (years!) I’ve been cutting careful circles of baking paper to line the bases of my springform cake tins.

One day I realised I could just lay a large square of paper (straight off the roll) on the base and snap the springform around it. No cutting required.


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working on a series …

Earlier this week I installed a challenging new art piece by an exciting emerging artist in the babies bathroom.

On Xmas Eve, I shoved a 16 litre bucket under their dripping showerhead and it was completely full in around 14 hours!

The contents of the bucket went on the garden, and fortunately the shower had only been dripping for a couple of days, but Holy!Goodness! that’s a whole lot of water wasted in those couple of days.

When Don grabbed the tools and opened it up, the washer in the hot tap was pretty much shredded – hence the art piece.

Keep an eye on your taps, folks!

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