can put the others into retirement

Definitely worth all the the fuss acquiring the phone to have the superior camera!

NewKitty agrees that she prefers not appearing on the blog as a black fuzzy blob.

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small reset

One of my goals for 2019 (and a 60before60 item) was to not read any personal development / self-improvement books for the year.

I am going quite well with this, but hit pause on that briefly this weekend to read Petr Ludwig: The End of Procrastination.

I came across this book while I was searching the library catalogue for Cal Newport: Digital Minimalism. There were 10 people on the wait-list for that one. 10! That’s at least 30 weeks waiting time.

I did put myself on the Digital Minimalism list, but grabbed Procrastination because I felt like I could do with a personal development fix on a cold June long weekend.

It’s very cute, earnest and cheerful. The original is in Czech and I suspect the translation made it somewhat stilted in places, but it was an enjoyable read. Not everything resonated, but I got some good, actionable ideas from it.

The major take away for me: intrinsic journey-based motivation will increase happiness and satisfaction much more than intrinsic goal-based motivation.

With my endless (endless!) action lists for every possible moment, I’m definitely in the goal-based motivation camp. But of course the joys of achieving these goals are fleeting – reach a goal, bask momentarily, surprised to still feel a bit empty, so move on to the next goal and the next &etc. “As studies indicate, goal-based motivation can improve productivity, but it does not lead to long-term happiness. Instead it contributes to unexpected frustration and a strange form of addiction, not unlike being hooked on cocaine”.

Well, probably not quite like being hooked on cocaine.

It’s all fairly sensible and probably quite obvious stuff, but it had never occurred to focus my efforts and attention on the journey – and to build that journey around things I enjoy.

This coincided nicely with conversations I’ve been having with Don recently. We have a (very) stretch goal to retire in #2026. I’ve been asking myself what I expect to do with all that time and how I want to spend my days. Realistically I could have 40 years to fill! So far I haven’t come up with terribly many ideas.

While pondering the hopefully very long years of retirement I’d never even considered applying the “how do I want to spend my days?” thinking to the now.

What exactly do I want to do with my days outside of being at SML?

I’ve recently established that SML takes up way too much (read: all) my brain-space outside work and am making slow inroads to freeing myself from that self-enforced tyranny. During this 3 day weekend I have barely thought of SML. This is both superb and unprecedented.

I’m really looking forward to thinking some more on this – and recapturing some of my life.

I can’t even say how much positive impact getting decent sleep for a week has had on my mental health! Of all the things I’ve done for my brain in recent years (discovering exercise, quitting drinking, quitting chocolate), a new bed has to be one of the best.

I didn’t even think I was getting particularly bad sleep – but this is magical.

Two short runs probably haven’t hurt either.

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A couple of weeks ago as part of the ongoing why-do-i-have-so-much-stuff-make-it-stop purges, I decided to make inroads on the crafting stash and attacked a small tub containing bits of trim, ribbon and elastic. There are other similar boxes containing buttons and thread – but those are tasks for another time.

This box was filled to overflowing – the majority of space being taken up by a whole mess of sydney swans member lanyards from 2010 to 2018. I have absolutely no idea why I’ve held on to these for so long. I guess like most things, I thought they might come in handy or could be used for *something* crafty.

a whole lotta lanyards

When I saw them laying underneath NewKitty, I had one of those rare^^ flashes of inspiration.

I had a hovsta frame leftover from Xmas when I framed this adorable mix CD Joan made for Joe/Frank when they were both very small. We’d forgotten all about it and I’d re-discovered it in a stash somewhere (yikes – so many stashes).


Everyone was amused and delighted by the gift. Very much recommended if you have similar kicking about.

But I digress.

Hmmm … what if I framed the lanyard ribbons (tape?) by stacking them under the matte?


There’s enough of the ribbon (tape?) that I’ve made one frame each for Joe/Frank and Bessie and set some aside for another for ThePalace(OfLove). And grabbed more frames to cover the period 2017+. We’re missing lanyards from the early years of our membership, so rather than glue everything down permanently, I taped the edges of each ribbon to the backing with washi tape## to allow for future re-arrangment.

I’ve set up an eBay search for those missing years: 2007, 2008, 2011 (we skipped our membership in 2009). I’m pretty certain ours were discarded long, long ago (though this does not explain why I have that 2011 gap). I’m also certain that when I pay some astronomical amount to acquire the missing ones, I’ll discover that I didn’t throw them out at all, but stashed them *somewhere*.

I’m quite delighted with this cleverness!

Maybe there is hope for my brain yet?


^^ rare these days because my entire brain-space has been consumed by SML. I’m aiming to put a stop to that – hence the increase in blogging frequency, but that is a post for another time.

## washi tape is truly, truly amazing and magical and has 87 billion uses.

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option four

Option four is to visit another Optus store, where everything is delightful, you’re treated like a valued customer, the transaction seamless and you come out with just what you wanted.

And when you get home and unpack your lovely new very fancy device, you find your existing sim card is the wrong size and resolve to go out tomorrow morning to get one cut.

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i’d really prefer a new computer

After continuing awful performance (messages not sending, sporadic connectivity), followed by a week of utterly appalling battery life (from 100% to 20% in 30 minutes today – while doing not-a-lot), I decided it was finally time for a new phone.

I compared and compared and compared, made a spreadsheet, crowd sourced with colleagues and the children and eventually settled on a mid-range iphone and visited an Optus (my phone provider) store this afternoon.

I’ve recently moved to a sim only (calls and data) plan, but I’ve been pretty happy with the provider, so intended to upgrade to a better plan with phone included. Sure I could buy a new phone outright, but a better plan just seemed easier.

Once at the store and faced with the phones in Real Life, my ideas of what I wanted rather altered. Why not go for the top-of-the-range? Why am I always picking second, third best? Surely I’m worth it?

So I did in fact go for top of the range – at more than double what I’m currently paying.

Ahhh, would that it was so simple.

I’d only signed up to my new plan in the last few months after rolling of a phone and data contract, so it was going to cost for me to $250 to get out of that contract and onto the new one. Wut?

I could phone Optus to try and get out of that fee, but there was nothing the guy in the Optus store could do. Really? Nothing? Not even call them (you *are* them!) for me and sort it out there? Nope.

So $250 extra to pay Optus much (much!) more than I am paying now? $250 extra for getting my phone from Optus rather than just going to the apple store?

Yeah, nah – as we say in the antipodes.

I did call Optus later and they could waive the $250 fee and ship a phone to me, but I couldn’t collect from a store. I wasn’t keen to wait for a week, so thanks-no-thanks.

So now I’m wondering if TheUniverse is trying to tell me:

1. Stick with terribly performing phone – pros: SML has commenced paying me a fixed $ phone allowance, the allowance is more than my current plan costs ($10 a month bonus!) | cons: aforementioned appalling issues with performance

2. Buy the top-of-range phone outright – pros: it’s very very fancy | cons: it’s wildly expensive, i don’t actually do that much with my phone

3. Buy the mid-range phone outright – pros: slightly less eye-poppingly expensive (only slightly) | cons: not totally fancy, but still much superior to my current appalling one

Will report back.

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uplifting wednesday evening thoughts

Scene: Don, Bessie and I in lounging in lounge room, television on – ESPN Sports Center on Kayo – Don and Bessie watching; me, head in laptop.

I look up and ask “Why are they talking about the upcoming NFL season? Didn’t it only just finish?”

I think a bit … “OH MY GOD! The Superbowl was in January!**”


Seriously. June?!

We discuss how amazing it is that it is June, wonder how we got here and what we’ve done in these last six months.

Don: “Our clocks are ticking down”.

Me: “YES! And what are we even doing with our lives!?”

Action: clearly this can be solved by some sort of list.


** Actually, it was early February.

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children know best

After weeks, months, possibly years of very poor quality sleep, we finally pulled the trigger on a giant new bed.

Our old bed was quite elderly in bed years and we’ve been dithering about the purchase for several months.

At a team lunch on Thursday a colleague put me onto ausbeds who she was really happy with – local, inexpensive and Australian made. We visited on Saturday and were pretty easily convinced to pull the trigger.

When could they deliver? Now.

Ummm, maybe give us an hour.

Cue quickly grabbing ingredients for dinner and racing home to drag the existing bed and base down 3 flights of stairs and move *stuff* out of the path of the new bed. Then leaving Don at home to wrangle the delivery, I dashed out to Broadway in search of king-sized bed essentials – like sheets.

Next day saw a trip to ikea to replace our queen bedhead with exactly the same bedhead in the king size.

We’re pretty much set – the bed is absolutely Giant (so Giant) and the sleep is GLORIOUS!


Joan and Bessie were totally right and we should have done this sooner.

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june goalz

You know those occasions where you read an article and you’re all like Holy!Goodness!? An epiphany if you will.

Last week was one of those times. Right where you’d least expect such a revelation – I mean, Fast company?

Workaholics can’t disconnect from the workday

Probably the most profound sign of being a workaholic is not being able to disconnect from the workday. For workaholics, their jobs, tasks, responsibilities, and workday stresses take up the majority of their mental space.

In one study, those people who couldn’t disconnect from work reported a higher need for recovery, more sleep problems, more cynicism, more emotional exhaustion, and more depressive feelings, regardless of how many hours they were working.

from: fast company – you don’t have to work long hours to be a workaholic

This is totally my life right now. All my mental space. All my time. I can check all the items on that list (so much more cynicism).

But hey, it does not need to be thus, and as they say – recognising the problem is the first step toward fixing the problem … or something.

This sort of thing really sneaks up on you. Eternal vigilance!


So I will fill my mental space in June with these things rather than endlessly ruminating over SML.

+ Complete Japanese CD 8
+ Endless embroidery – complete year 12 | acquire frame
+ Knitting – 10 rows per week
+ Blog – 3x per week
+ Start recording personal spending (for a year)
+ Exercise – run (yes!) 2x | ride 2x per week
+ No non-fruit dessert during the week
+ Start the list of books I’ve read this year | stretch goal = last year

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once more unto the proverbial

I’ve vowed many (many!) times that I’ll never knit another jumper. To be fair, it’s not like I’ve made a ton, or have even attempted a ton. But I invariably lose enthusiasm and abandon these endeavours and feel guilty and full of Failure.

But madness overcame me when I was knitting the cowl^^. I was enjoying the process of sitting about knitting each evening and I found myself searching for jumper patterns.

Eventually I landed on this lion brand fringed cable sweater, which appealed to me quite a bit. I’m all about the simple blocky shapes right now. OF COURSE I will be making this without the fringe or the coloured blocks – neither of which are my jam AT ALL. Honestly I can’t even imagine what inspired those design elements.

accent madness!

Naturally we cannot obtain the requisite yarn in the antipodes without incurring great expense, so I cast about for an alternative and after a good deal of dithering settled on rowan hemp tweed in plum.

I bought a ball and after waiting to complete aforesaid cowl (a rare exercise in restraint), knitted my gauge square. I then laundered it because never let it be said that I don’t learn lessons about hand knitted garments growing ridiculously after washing. Well, eventually I learn those lessons.

test square

All was good, so last week at lunchtime I strolled down to morris and sons to grab the vast number of balls to make the thing. Alas, in the space of two weeks, the several billion balls on the shelf when I purchased the test ball had reduced to two balls. Rats!

Undeterred, I ignored this sign from TheUniverse and had them request some from another store. After a follow-up visit (admin clearly not being in yarn stores’ wheelhouse). I eventually suggested I just swing by the Newtown Store and collect it myself on Friday evening – which gave me a fabulous excuse to leave SML on time. I’d not visited that store before, but it is completely adorable and appears to have superior stock.

I am now in possession of a giant pile of yarn and am planning my attack on it.

I am giving myself twelve months to complete this or it really will be the last time.

Will of course report back.


^^ Cowl notes for Future Me:

Very warm and snuggly and not at all useful for the recent spell of hot autumnal weather.

Yarn: rowan brushed fleece in hush | Pattern: the catchily named cabled cowl #90589AD

fluffy and slightly wobbly

could have done with this in japan in january

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may projects: update 2

It’s been less than stellar couple of weeks. I’ve not been kicking terribly many goals at SML or at home and everything seems to be really difficult.

I had quite a few Action Items on the agenda this weekend and then did *something* agonising to my neck/right shoulder when I jumped out of bed this morning which put paid to a lot of that. I carry my stress in my neck and clearly TheUniverse is telling me I should just relax. Thanks Universe!

Anyway, how’s May coming along?

+ Yoga 2x per week | practice headstand 5x days
NO! Random aches and pains and complete exhaustion have made it pretty easy to avoid classes. Headstand, yeah, nah.

+ Meditate 5x mornings per week
YES! This has had absolutely no measurable effect on my mental state. Though maybe it has and it would be much worse if I hadn’t? Will keep at it – because what else would I do to time the coffee in the mornings?

+ Exercise bike 3x per week
NO! I did ride yesterday after work – for a grand total of 2x this month.

+ Eating: intermittent fasting 3x days | no work biscuits | no chocolate | fruit-only dessert during week
YES! | YES! | YES! | Hell no!

+ 2 dates with Don
Partial. The play we missed last weekend due to … well, I’m not entirely sure what it was due to … was intended to be the second date. Oops.

+ complete Total Japanese CDs 6 and 7
YES! I was surprised to discover there is only one CD remaining, I thought there were 10 in the set. I should make a plan for what’s next.
Watashi wa nihongo ga heta desu

+ Endless embroidery: complete years 11 and 12
OH RATS! Completed year 11 today and thought I’d scored a YES until I see now that I’d also committed to year 12. Pah!

pleased with how this is coming along

+ Knitting: finish cowl (have changed pattern) | knit tension squares for planned jumper – I know, I said I would never attempt a jumper again (remind me of this when I abandon the project)
YES! | YES! And bought a whole bunch of yarn yesterday for that jumper. In the words of a quite bad film: Never say never again.

unblocked cowl. fin. (yikes the lighting in the palace is dire)

+ 2x lunchtime visits to MCA (Project Sulfur has relocated to the good end of town – there is no excuse not to visit)
Partial! One week remaining to go sit in the library (having decided that 2x MCA in a month was too much) at lunch and look at pretty books.

+ blog 4x per week
OH HELL NO! Future Me is going to be very annoyed when she reads back through the archives. Sorry, Future Me, I hope you’re a better place than I am now!

+ attend to ghastly nails 1x per week
Ah! I thought I’d forgotten something.

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