Push has come to shove

So… work:

This week marked my six month anniversary of being a manager of my team of six in northern Sydney.  And at the end of the week, I was offered the opportunity to make the management role permanent.

Ironic – as I didn’t apply for the role.  I applied for advertisement for six roles at the same level, at three locations, one being where I’ve been working.  Like other applicants, I opted for the locations that suited me.  Alas, it seems like no one *read* that part.

The informal story is – I wasn’t meritorious enough to get the role in location I preferred.  Interestingly, that means I’m offered something I didn’t ask for.

Truth be told, this was the most probable of the scenarios I’d envisioned!

source
source

My loyal readers, you’ll recall my first foray into management, titled I’m not ready for management. (which I followed with this post, and this). That was just a YEAR ago.

My first foray was a short six week period.  Then I went into acting as a Senior Engineer, with no staff reporting to me, but a higher pay scale and added responsibilities (like formal disciplinary interviews and ethics training).  As the restructure continued to unfurl, I was moved to a more northern location, for what I saw as a short term stop gap for the business.  And exactly six months, almost to the day, the applications are submitted, the interviews are completed, and the offers are imminent (I’m lead to believe I have a jump on those?!)

But true to my word then, and now.  It’s not right for me.

What I do know is, I CAN be a manager.  I have valuable skills beyond my first few years in the section, where I was a paperwork machine.  I can track and manage progress on any number of fronts.  I can empathetically support staff, all but one, older than me, and the complexity of humans and their lives – difficult pregnancies, ill partners, children with ongoing health concerns, staff with health issues!  I’ve balanced the responsiveness needed for our section, against a team with all their competing personal needs.  And, I’d like to say, we’ve *killed* it.  Myself included, we came to form a section with about 3 years COMBINED of experience in the skills in the portfolio.  That’s basically saying we built from the ground up.

I've been on both sides of the fence now. source
I’ve been on both sides of the fence now. source

I’ve learnt to balance, and come to enjoy, the commitments beyond managing my team.  I sit of a few committees, and despite my relative youth, I come to feel I have something to offer.  I have a strong understanding of what ‘my people’ do, and how to relate that to people rolling out new technology.  Or the committee who drafts the ‘Rules’.  And on a committee when I work to implement legislation that’s neigh on impossible to implement in the financial climate, but alas, due to the Black Saturday Bushfires, we must do, and without a moment of delay.  Through all these, I’ve exposed myself to far more people than ever before, and I have a far greater understanding of all the moving parts of the business. I am gobsmacked to find the level below the COO, knows my name in a meeting.  Gosh the COO “reply all” to an email, and I was CCed in, just this morning (yes, Saturday!).  I feel like saying no now isn’t the end of my future.  Maybe I’ll be wrong.  But I’m confident in myself and my value, to this business.  And if not to this business, I now trust I can add value elsewhere.

Strange side note – I was searching my COO, and his linkedin profile shows he did a MBA (only recently) in a very prestigious French institute.  And he did his undergraduate degree where I did… Well there you go!

What are your thoughts?

And more decluttering

Hot on the heels of the big bag of clothes decluttered, and aware I was a few items shy on my in/out count on clothing, I tossed out

  • striped leggings I bought cause they looked cool on someone else in the gym class.  I didn’t try them on in store, and they were itchy as all get out, so much so, I turned them inside out once I got to the gym the one time I wore them.  Best let them stay ‘new’ and let someone else love them!
  • a pencil skirt.  I have more than a gal needs (when said gal wears pants 95% of her days).  This one zipped up, and the waist band was cut the wrong way, so it was always tight around the waist, rather than stretchy. And it was a little shorter, and therefore a touch less decent. It was always the one I passed over.
  • blue t shirt.  I liked the brand (Country Road) and the natural materials it was made out of.  But size S is not S for Sarah! It just wasn’t comfy cause it was too small.  Thankfully I bought it second hand, so I feel less waste-y at least on money!
  • 2.5 puzzles.  Well two puzzles were substantial (500 and 750 pieces), but the second was postcard size…
  • pack of playing cards – oh what a con! When we were in New Caledonia, we needed sunscreen but there was a minimum for paying card.  I tried to reason to pay the amount up to the minimum, but as a good salesperson, she insisted on finding something.  The cards were cheap, and pretty, and the BF suggested I gift them to someone.  Little too late now!
  • lamp – bought for $5 at a thrift store, and it was plasticy and from IKEA.  It was a good stop gap til a lovely brother bought me a glass and metal IKEA lamp that I loved
  • earrings and a necklace – the ones I always passed over for something else.  The earrings clanged, and are big and dangly, which BF doesn’t like.  I like dangly, but these were the weakest link in the collection.  The necklace just didn’t ever scream ‘wear me’ – perhaps it will to someone else?

What’s left?  Well

  • I have some fitbit accessories to offload since I lost the fitbit in the surf on the weekend.  Someone wants them on freecycle, but I may have missed them whilst I was at Ash Wednesday, and the facebook contact I had wouldn’t work?!
  • I have some map books/UBDs that someone on Freecycle were asking for
  • baby powder – we have two, make that THREE bottles!?  I’m not sure who or how to off load this.  One lives in the bathroom cupboard for the boy, the other in my waterpolo bag for swimming caps (which, no, I never use even now it’s better situated to the one use I have for it).
  • someone ‘wanted’ pillow stuffing on freecycle, and I have lumpy pillows after washing them.  Hopefully they’re keen and will come and pick up!

I really am feeling the rush of getting rid of stuff, I hope I can find more stuff to GO!

Suggestions on baby powder offloading?  How has your decluttering been going?

Clothes decluttering

After buying 15-17 piece of clothing (4 tank tops, and 2 belts included), I thought it important to try and thin my existing collection by as many.  These were what I came up with:

First item is a year or two old.  I bought it at Jeanswest as a ‘nice’ summer top.  I never like creams or off whites, and it is synthetic, so it was never going to be a winner.  It did get some wear and worked well for the time I wore ‘non uniform’ to work in the past year or so.  But after getting very sticky sunscreen on it in New Caledonia, I can’t help thinking ‘ewww, sticky sunscreen back’

Cream lace top from Jeanswest.
Cream lace top from Jeanswest.

These jeans were bought in the same two year time frame, and my first foray into ‘skinny’ jeans. They were a little high waisted for my liking, but the perfect colour, and the brand I otherwise fit in well with. They always needed ‘hoicking’ up, and that’s plain annoying. They were brought from Red Cross.

Blue Mavi jeans
Blue Mavi jeans

The below dress was $40 and brought online at Boohoo. The price was ‘too good to be true’ and whilst i tried to find a style that would flatter my less flattering aspects, it came with a hole in the mesh. I passed on the feedback, but it was the last of it’s size, and I didn’t want another dress. I think it got two wears, but it was much too short, and required a skirt over the top to make it suitable for public consumption!

LBD for dates
LBD for dates

Brought in sales less than a year ago at a department store, I hoped this would act as a great staple of my wardrobe… Alas, this MNG top was synthetic and like wearing a plastic bag in Sydney summer. It was also ‘boxy’ which didn’t do me any favours, and I felt I couldn’t wear it without a necklace as it had such a plain neckline. I’ve learnt my less – synthetic and summer don’t mix!

Lime top
Lime top

Another op shop find – and not when I was seeking out clothing. The colours are so me, but the sleeve length (3/4) is tough, and the fabric is heavy and good quality, meaning it’s hot to wear when a 3/4 would suit. I’ve said before I don’t like raglan sleeves, but I hoped the zipper details would win me over.

Striped Sportcraft top
Striped Sportcraft top

Continuing the theme of synthetic things that were too hot is this dress. Bought from Paul Dane cause it looked ‘me’ on mannequins. I walked past it the first time, but a week later, when I saw it again, i tried it on. It got many wears, mainly for church or Sunday dinners. But, too hot!

Tulip skirted church dress
Tulip skirted church dress

Like the lime top earlier, this was bought from the Review outlet store, with the view to ‘this will be good for work’ – and it might have been, if I’d not put on more weight and it was… one guess… synthetic! I also have one that’s cream and black, and I’ll take bets on when that’ll be listed here… but for now, the green was so plain (where two tones I prefer) so this one is OUT!

Pussy cat bow Review top
Pussy cat bow Review top

Brought prior my 2010 cruise in Greece, I bought this and an aqua one at markets near Coffs Harbour. It was great for keeping sun off me on holidays, but seldom worn ‘day to day’. It’s bias cut which always feels weird to me. I’ll probably find something similar over time to replace as a light weight sun cover.

White beaded kaftan
White beaded kaftan

This top has been in my wardrobe for about five or six years, and I previously decluttered the identical white one in the past few months. I’m plainly too plump for it, and it’s getting unsightly underarm stains (which I wish I knew how to prevent or treat better). Country Road is a great Aussie brand, but sadly, this is outbound.

Country Road pale pink button up shirt
Country Road pale pink button up shirt

Recently I was offered a HUGE load of clothes, and this dress made it home with me. It was a so so colour, but the sequins got me. One super hot day, I wore it to church. It looked like a sack. It’s not flattering. And after one wash, the idea of ironing something so sack like just isn’t worth my time 🙁

Sequined greige dress
Sequined greige dress

Mother thought I wanted what she rejected? I can’t see this in my wardrobe – it’s not horrible, but it’s just not something I would reach for.

Pink interlock 3/4
Pink interlock 3/4

This was another peer pressure purchase in a way – mum was ordering from a catalogue, and this looked like a comfy at home top. But I need no more ‘at home’ stuff. It got enough wear, but it’s nothing special, and it would have been great for me if it’d be longer line, and looked OK with jeans. The colours wasn’t ‘blue’ toned enough for me to love it… And for at home clothes? I prefer a dress in the heat.

Green slouchy top
Green slouchy top

Last but not least, a staple of my wardrobe. It’s got unsightly stains on it, and I found other shelf bra singlet tops to replace it with whilst I was away. I’m embarrassed at my age to have stained and unsightly clothes. Perhaps a little consumeristic, but alas, how it is.

Stained old white singlet
Stained old white singlet

The 30th Birthday Dinner Party

This was the party to end all parties.  It had every element I could hope for, and of course, nothing I wouldn’t want.  You might recall a teaser post here.

The flowers all delivered
The flowers all delivered

The morning was frantic. I got a fake tan. Then for the two hours waiting for it to set, I finished my jigsaw puzzle, cause I was not packing it up half done!

Table all set!
Table all set!

I needed two additional tables, and one (nail biting-ly) only arrived at 3pm, thanks to some wonderful friends up the road!  You’ll notice I made meters upon meters of bunting as you can see in the background.

Isn't it pretty
Isn’t it pretty

I also had three friends arriving from interstate. Sadly I could only fit one in to stay here, and she arrived at the same time as the last table. Another guest helped out with picking up the three cakes at 4pm and dropping them by.  Sadly I forgot to take photographs of the cake 🙁

One was nutty, another was maple and apple, another chocolate.
One was nutty, another was maple and apple, another chocolate.
Oh, so these were bios of all my guests... save for two
Oh, so these were bios of all my guests… save for two

I knew not all my friends had met one another, as two came from school days, another two from my trips to Paris, and others from university. With this in mind, and a desire to ‘give back’ to my wonderful friends, each person had a small bio/highlight reel written up for them. I thought the early guests could ‘busy’ themselves finding the bio that matched them, but in the mean time, find out about other guests. On the other side of the card was their name. Inside the card, was their seat number. I’ve never been a seating plan gal, but I didn’t want new friends to feel like they had nothing in common with those around them, so I tried to socially engineer 😉

Entree was ravioli mmm
Entree was ravioli mmm

Everyone loved the entree… I thought I had enough white crockery borrowed from my parents and a friend, but alas, I forgot about the side plates… and I similarly was under resourced with tumblers and cutlery. Thankfully the caterers had some in their van, and luckily avoided those costs!

The chicken main
The chicken main

The best thing about catering were the two waiters who cleared everything and kept all the glasses filled.

The beef main
The beef main

There is nothing I like more than a sparkler, and for $5 I got 80! That was enough for us all to enjoy countless!

Let's get this sparkle started
Let’s get this sparkle started
My dad, isn't he lovely
My dad, isn’t he lovely
We're friends cause we share the excitement about the same things!
We’re friends cause we share the excitement about the same things!

I invited 16 guests to join me for a sit down dinner party in my home.  I got the event fully catered, with three canapes (or two, after decorating resulted in me upturning the dish of arancini balls!), one entree and alternate mains.  Then I bought three different cakes from Adriano Zumbo, a celebrity patisserie.

The birthday pinata
The birthday pinata

You’ll remember (or know) I’m not keen on stuff. Well, my brother and his girlfriend MADE me a 3 and a 0 pinata and filled it with candy. That’s an activity/experience combined with a consumable I love!

I don't look scary here
I don’t look scary here

They filled the pinata SO full they couldn’t hang it without it breaking the string, so my daring brother held it! Much to the amusement of my guests AND the neighbours and their guests who were also having a dinner on their facing balcony!

Hold on tight!
Hold on tight!

No event of mine would be complete without some craft.  Or with flowers.  And sparklers.  Oh how I love sparklers.

The other surprise arranged for me was a video tribute.  My friend had contacted my facebook ‘friend’ list, and perhaps even some of you bloggers! She asked for a short video, and she stitched together with facebook photos.  I was totally surprised, and had Dar from An Exacting Life come to life.  Interestingly, she was mistaken by my family by another Canadian friend we have!  An Israeli friend dialled in (and then there were embarrassing photos of us with mud on us from when I visited her!).

It was a wonderful evening, and pretty stress free thanks to the amazing caterers and help from friends and family.  I feel honoured to have such wonderful people around me, and that extends to my readers, who were duly talked about too!

The real birthday

This will be a two part series (can it really be a series with two parts?).  The real day of my birthday.  And the day of my party!

The birthday selfie - streaming TV whilst awaiting a GP appointment
The birthday selfie – streaming TV whilst awaiting a GP appointment

So, the real birthday started with a horrible cold.  That’s what a 15 hour flight with a sick mother will do to you!  The BF (unbeknownst to me) had planned a surprise night for me, and none of it had a contingency plan for be staying home from work in bed all day! I reassured him that I would be ok in the evening, but that I most certainly wasn’t going to work.

The menu
The menu

He’d hoped to pack a bag when I was at work, and take it with him to work.  He also planned to lay out an outfit and a note that said a car was picking me up at 7.10pm.  In reality, the bag packing happened when he got home from work (and dispatched me to the sofa).  I realised something was amiss when I was putting on my make up – the toothbrushes weren’t in the holder!  I am a detective!

Battered chicken wing - neither of  us usually eat chicken wings, but agreed this was wonderful, and the garlic butter the perfect addition
Battered chicken wing – neither of us usually eat chicken wings, but agreed this was wonderful, and the garlic butter the perfect addition

Anyhow, he laid out my clothing, and a lovely black Audi picked us up, and whisked us to Rockpool, another three hatted restaurant like Aria and Quay where I’ve previously celebrated birthday dinners with family and friends.  Unrelated, Rockpool is one of my father’s clients.

Yum, but eclipsed by chicken wings served at the same time
Yum, but eclipsed by chicken wings served at the same time

There, we indulged in nine courses, which was one too many.  How?  Well, let’s just say the dessert wine made an appearance much later in the night… seems too many wines, plus cold and flu medication wasn’t ideal.

From memory, this is the dish I recall as the 'best'.  The edamame puree against the crunch of the disc... mmm
From memory, this is the dish I recall as the ‘best’. The edamame puree against the crunch of the disc… mmm

After dinner, Rich walked/propped me up, and took me to the Sofitel, a short walk from Rockpool.  In the room was a lovely bunch of flower from Rich’s parents.  His mother stays at the Sofitel when she comes to Sydney, so it all seemed very well orchestrated.  The BF has of course ensured there was a FULL buffet breakfast.  Knowing me oh so well! Seems a hangover dampens my spirits for a buffet, but I did have a hash brown, pancakes, fruit, bircher museli… so I did put in a good effort!

Zushi, or sashimi or something.
Zushi, or sashimi or something.

I feel I need to keep writing, as I have more food photos…

Something... crispy skinned salmon perhaps? (see why I take a menu photo now?)
Something… crispy skinned salmon perhaps? (see why I take a menu photo now?)
Nice, but forgettable
Nice, but forgettable
Bread and butter.  I know, I couldn't let it not get a photo!
Bread and butter. I know, I couldn’t let it not get a photo!
Silky chicken, which was black!
Silky chicken, which was black!
Again, cool but recollection hazy by this stage!
Again, cool but recollection hazy by this stage!
Mmmm, yummy stuff
Mmmm, yummy stuff
Salad... they evidently don't know us.  Wine, yes they do!
Salad… they evidently don’t know us. Wine, yes they do!
Oh yes, too much wine selfie
Oh yes, too much wine selfie
mmm dessert
mmm dessert
And another dessert - with sweet potato in it.  Pretty sure teh BF's was better
And another dessert – with sweet potato in it. Pretty sure teh BF’s was better
Food envy of the BF's chocolatey dessert
Food envy of the BF’s chocolatey dessert

The whole dinner was a complete surprise. We’d disagreed about spending some Christmas money on a ‘fancy dinner’ so I was touched that the BF would organise all this given he’s not as keen on fine dining. He even ate the seafood!

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Their famous fig tart

Any favourites?

Portland is funny

If only I had a need for a kids tent!
If only I had a need for a kids tent!
Cause I would be SO fit!
Cause I would be SO fit!
I love this idea - no waste!
I love this idea – no waste!

 

Donut stain glass..
Donut stain glass..
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hehehe

 

Creepy right?
Creepy right?
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If it wasn’t pink, the BF might have got one of these
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Again, too cute

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I promise, I will FIND time to post all about my FABULOUS birthday dinner on Saturday, and one blogger/reader friend who got in on the biggest secret surprise of all – wow, I was gob smacked.

Pretty stuff seen in the US

SF beauty
SF beauty
Target cushion - I want
Target cushion – I want
This was a window display, too cute to pass without a photo
This was a window display, too cute to pass without a photo
Toothpick art
Toothpick art
What a gorgeous day for a long walk
What a gorgeous day for a long walk
Salt & Shake bathroom - cool no? A former film theatre I think
Salt & Shake bathroom – cool no? A former film theatre I think
Schoolhouse Electric - a failed bus trip missed it on the outbound.  But well worth the effort
Schoolhouse Electric – a failed bus trip missed it on the outbound. But well worth the effort
I'll take that all thanks!
I’ll take that all thanks!
I'd like the globe for a certain birthday party
I’d like the globe for a certain birthday party
Too cute... my terrarium has died :(
Too cute… my terrarium has died 🙁

You can buy this?

Surely these products don’t sell…

Well at least they make the healthy stuff look appealing
Well at least they make the healthy stuff look appealing
I didn't have any the first visit... the second visit, I wasn't so strong
I didn’t have any the first visit… the second visit, I wasn’t so strong
Who knew there were this many flavours.
Who knew there were this many flavours.
You can't buy crabs in our deli
You can’t buy crabs in our deli
This is what I did for Val Day last year!
This is what I did for Val Day last year!
Oh my, any wonder I made it back alive
Oh my, any wonder I made it back alive
Mmmm
Mmmm
Yes, I'd like those too
Yes, I’d like those too
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Never seen an ice cream version of these

 

WHAT THE?  But you know, I wanted to try them.
WHAT THE? But you know, I wanted to try them.
The choice!?!?
The choice!?!?
I want one - these are in grocery stores
I want one – these are in grocery stores
We seldom even find normal pretzels in Australia, but then all these choices!
We seldom even find normal pretzels in Australia, but then all these choices!
So little, so sweet
So little, so sweet
What the... it's a thing, I found out
What the… it’s a thing, I found out
I want these!
I want these!
Cute... though I believe out of season...
Cute… though I believe out of season…
Equal opportunities cake makers
Equal opportunities cake makers
This is obscene - and so not that practical as a catering item, as it was pitched
This is obscene – and so not that practical as a catering item, as it was pitched

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What is this...?
What is this…?
That is not for human consumption is it?
That is not for human consumption is it?
so much choice
so much choice
no no no
no no no

 

Sweet with savoury - this combo is too weird
Sweet with savoury – this combo is too weird
Wow... and so cheap
Wow… and so cheap
Wow, when powdered mash is just too hard
Wow, when powdered mash is just too hard
right...
right…

What’s the weirdest thing in this post for you, or the weirdest thing you’ve seen sold in a grocery store?

Selfie a day in the US of A

Day 1 - the mecca of clothes is found
Day 1 – the mecca of clothes is found
Mum attempting to selfie for me (does not work!)
Mum attempting to selfie for me (does not work!)
What are those kids doing with that sea lion
What are those kids doing with that sea lion
A place I didn't get a selfie
A place I didn’t get a selfie

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It's even pretty from afar
It’s even pretty from afar
I look hot with headphones right?
I look hot with headphones right?
How about sunshine at Alcatraz?
How about sunshine at Alcatraz?
A day exploring alone... armed with coffee
A day exploring alone… armed with coffee
Again, kicking myself I didn't bring my Xmas gift, the selfie stick
Again, kicking myself I didn’t bring my Xmas gift, the selfie stick
Keeping it weird
Keeping it weird
Powell's book - a book store to end all book stores
Powell’s book – a book store to end all book stores
I am calm... now I have donuts!
I am calm… now I have donuts!
Opps I've been forgetting, on the MAX in Portland
Opps I’ve been forgetting, on the MAX in Portland