Back in 2017, I still used my blog as a place to ‘put’ thoughts. Not always to publish! And look what I found, a list of things for 2018. What’s great is that I have updated on a few!
Plan a weekend in Canberra for Floriade
A week or two ago, I picked a weekend and booked an Airbnb. That’s it, I’m now committed before other things crowd out my calendar. And I have a car, so that bits easier than in some years gone by. Coincidently, Floriade is the same name the Dutch use for their flower show, says my DUtch friend.
Try rowing, in summer
Not yet, but summer comes again in 2018…
Attempt a monthly ‘browse’ of a book store, cause it makes me happy!
I haven’t really done this. But what I did do, was ask for Christmas to have a membership to a bookstore. The upside is free entry to book launches and talks. I also get no postage in Australia and a discount, but given I seldom buy books, I’m not too fussed about those details. I have bought one book this year, and one book voucher. And I’ve ‘nicked’ a few books from free libraries.
Getting into ordering Who Gives A Crap toilet paper
The reason I didn’t do this sooner, was that they come in BIG boxes and now I have a big home this year, I’m a bit better at storing them. They were set up for auto resend, but when I got the reminder, I was a LONG way from running out of toilet paper, so I pushed in out more. I’m pleased I’ve gone ‘plastic free’ on one more item.
Set up composting at my parents/my house
YES! I ended up with a worm farm for my birthday. It lives in the garage. After the period of using Bokashi in the loft, I can tell you, the worm farm is way less smelly!
Grow a garden!
It took a while to get going, and only my parents return at Easter gave me the kick in the butt to get onto it. But I’m please to have five vegetables growing now.
Easter 2018 was a family reunion. My parents returned for two weeks from their year in Tonga. My youngest brother came from the UK with his wonderful GF. SO we did some fun things:
Outside of Easter, I got up to some fun with my gfs from water polo.
Someone suggested my first ever girls weekend away. It was awesome! I BYO’d all my challenge meals, and we each took a meal to cater for. They were kind enough to suggest dessert would be ‘walk to ice cream parlour’ so I could stay home if it was torture. I didn’t stay home, but asked for high fives when I didn’t give into even a taste!
One of our girl posse got engaged and had AMAZING cakes/sweets. She’s an awesome baker, but seems she has other friends who are equally amazing. I think I actually might have left before having some…
But cake is no good if you don’t like it. So another friend made her a two beautiful cookies in the initials of the bride and groom
Casting my mind further back, when I took a month off my ‘old’ job. I worked on getting one of my bucket list items done! I picked apples and made a pie.
Aside from an engagement party, we also had a WEDDING! It was lovely, just the right size. All the girls stayed at my place, and we shared ubers in and out of the Eastern Suburbs. It’s a season of weddings, we have two more before the year is out from the photographed group below!
And on a quiet weekend, my local friends suggested a flower show. I thought it was a tour of gardens, but alas it was more of a ‘best in show’ style. It was right up our alley, as we often walk to the Flemington markets, which sell flowers, fruit and vege!
Well, that’s made up for some lost time (or at least, some time the blog was offline).
With many thanks to a new friend who has worked tirelessly to align the old blog content and integrated my two ‘new’ posts, and now it all look and feels the same, back and front. Here’s a photo of my lovely French friends who helped make this happen, Antoine and Chloe
Today, I want to share a disturbing number of photos of food, that I’ve taken during the first five weeks in my eight week F45 health challenge. Yep, yet again, I’m focusing on reducing my weight. But not just the number. I dream of being able to do unassisted pull ups. And having defined abs. But the route to this path is to get back to 74kg which I achieved in September 2017.
The gym I go to, you can order all lunches and dinners to be prepared ($150 for 10 meals as a woman), and you pick up from the gym twice weekly. That means you only have to handle breakfasts and two snacks per day. Of course there’s an app and website, with the meal plan. And you can search all the recipes, should you want to substitute.
Prepped meals come in plastic chinese food containers. Which, does not really align to my zero waste ways. So I am washing up every one of them, and reusing them in so many different ways, including on the weeks I prepare my week’s meals, rather than buying them.
I’ll admit, generally speaking the recipes and meals have been great. I have also created a few new strong opinions on food. I do NOT abide by half a meal being parsley. I understand that baby spinach and lettuce get boring, but there’s no way parsley is an alternative!
The first two weeks are ‘keto’ or no sugar, dairy or carbs like rice or pasta.
Not all breakfasts are green though:
Here’s some of my cooking attempts. There can be a whole heap of vegie cutting, so I usually get a whole heap done on weekends, so I can come home from work and make life easier for me.
And the results?
So far so good! At the start, middle and end of the challenge I have detailed weigh in. The scales works out the body fat percentage and muscle mass. It can even work out the circumference of your arms and legs and trunk! I’ve seen improvements in all these measurements, though I did lose a little muscle mass 🙁 I also note that a similar scan from October 2017 were a little better. Back then, I was doing F45 but no following their diet. I did often eat small or no dinner as I was feeling queasy after a hard work out. I’m not sure that’s an optimal long term strategy!
Oh and I asked for some photos whilst I was doing assisted (by oversized rubber bands) chin ups, and I can see muscle definition!!
I continue to work out at least 4 times, ideally 5 times a week, and follow the meal plan almost religiously. I allow myself one treat meal per week. And tomorrow it’s brunch and I CANNOT wait!
As per my 2017 goals, I’m trying to make an effort to do cultural things, that I enjoy but often pass me by. If I’m smart, I can time my visit to the Archibald portrait prize with the weekend for complimentary tickets for people who bank with the major sponsor, ANZ. Last year, I went a weekend late, but there’s been a black out and so they were extending the generous deal in the following weekends! Again, I mis-timed this visit, but they did reduce the price to concession, which was a nice bonus.
Going to the exhibit alone, I had so many thoughts, so I started drafting this post (in notes in my phone).
Australia seems so small sometimes – none more so that attending the annual portraiture prize this year.
For example, Ahn Do is a well known comedian, whose written at least one book “the happiest refugee”, his family having migrated from Vietnam. But also, he’s more recently had a tv show where he paints portraits – usually known characters so there’s interest in the conversation as much as the outcome. Therefore; not at all surprising one of his works is in the exhibit.
Then there were staid paintings, and on reading the blurbs, all dull and boring in their similarities: chairman of this board or that. Largely conservative but redeemed by philanthropy. The conservatism, politically, was actually expressed by listing the subjects family line. It just bored me. And it was a commission for one of the board he sits on. How is it that people have high executive roles 9-5 and also chair boards? It’s just not something I’m buying into.
There’s also a lot of artists painting other artists (the next picture). That figures. Like fashion designers modelling. And then there’s pieces that I think “I saw this last year” or was it last prize, when the style remains consistent if the subject has changed.
It’s not to say the prize wasn’t without some stunning pieces but overall, there weren’t many I loved or appreciated.
Another coincidence was a stunning portrait of an old (you can surely say that of people older than a centrists?) women, a dancer and choreographer. What surprised and delighted me was that she was painted by a plastic surgeon. The juxtaposition of a wrinkly old lady by a person whose career in some part is about refining and restoring skin.
Some pieces do not seem to indicate any talent. Even any real investment of time to make something – be it thoughtful or beautiful. I wonder if that art is just someone making a joke at the expense of the gallery or the ticket buyers?
The black with white writing was plastic sheeting with ‘unstirred’ house paint. Seriously? And the blurb was as inane. At least the bottom right was related to Cane and Abel and a self portrait, and it seemed a little more considered at least.
In addition to the Archibald, there’s the Sulman and Wynne’s – one is indigenous art, another is landscapes.
Lastly, they have (outside the exhibit) children’s contributions. I loved the one below:
As I expected, I’m thankful I took the time to look at this art (and then the gift store – I love museum and gallery gift stores). It helped me think and ponder what I do and don’t like. Do you have a favourite of the art I photographed?
Oh, and Lucinda, I couldn’t help but think of you:
There was bucket loads of culture this month, given I spent two weeks in four other countries! I won’t reiterate what’s in countless posts (you can click on the travel category on the right to get them all in one place, or select a country).
Films on the plane
Wanted to watch
Manchester by the Sea
I, Daniel Blake
With the travel, the meeting of new people slowed *right* down, but that isn’t to say I didn’t keep in contact with a few new people and a few people from previous months.
My role was backfilled by someone of my choosing, and he did a GREAT job. We were in email contact from time to time, as I like a daily check and file of emails whilst travelling. I find that this keeps ‘on top of things’ rather than having a whole day back at work just sorting emails out.
I continue to ponder the future of my company, and my place within it. I feel like I’m no longer growing and learning, as much as I’m otherwise enjoying things. I’m not sure how or what would challenge me. Food for thought!
My fitness has dropped right off, with travelling. It might be nice to assume I did a lot of walking, but I think more days than not were largely sedentary. I did hike a glacier, and ride 7km in Heidelberg between the wedding and the reception. I had initiated contact prior to coming home from holidays with a F45 studio, and hoped to go my first weekend back, but have been knocked over with a cold.
mints for Mum in a tin with Modrian’s famous block painting from the Netherlands
a skein of Icelandic teal wool for a cousin
my favourite children’s book as a gift for a pregnant friend
two black long sleeved tops from Lululemon for my trip (one is about to be eBayed as it served it’s purpose whilst away, and I know I won’t chose to wear it day to day)
eight pairs of knickers for the imminent trip
two second hand clutches – to store and corral items whilst travelling. One is blush pink pleather, the other is dark purple silk. Both served their purpose exceedingly well!
a secondhand backpack for the travels
a picnic blanket/bag secondhand
two second hand novels for my trip – one was great, the other I intentionally left on a plane!
deodorant – in a cardboard ‘push’ tube – yay for no plastic
charging cable for my iPhone (it’s great, there’s LED lights to know when the item’s fully charged vs charging! No light means it’s not charging)
As I alluded to in the bought section, I had two books, one was great, and listed below, the other was a let down, and promptly forgotten!. I also picked up a great book at a book swap, and am pleased to find the author has a number of other titles, which I’ve promptly added to my library ‘to read’ list.
A Treacherous Paradise – Henning Mankell – bought second hand as a ‘Nordic’ fiction. In the end, the female Swede spends most of her time in Mozambique, so a misdirect on the planned setting I’d hoped for, but still incredibly interesting commentary on race relations in the early 1900s
Quite unexpectedly, I attended a concert in April. A fantastic young artist, Vera Blue, was sold out, but the night of her concert, I got an email for last minute tickets for $35! I did not hesitate and bought two tickets and invited a friend from work (who’d coincidently been at the last concert I went to – Urthboy).
I caught up with great friends for a MeatFest on GoodFriday for lunch, as well as an after work meal of dumplings – where we debated the quantity of dumplings we could consume in a sitting! I also had a few wine filled meals with some close friends who we’d spent the past three years out of contact. It’s great to be back in contact, and things just gel so easily. I also ate out in a new area and despite it being known for Italian, we had French.
I also took twin six year olds to the Lego Movie, but promptly had a nap between some great one liners… I also had an evening babysitting, where they wouldn’t go to sleep :s
The dating has continued! I could even say it’s been a good month – kept me very busy too! I had a first date on weekend night, at a bar that you’d walk by and miss in an alley in Darlinghurst. I actually recall going there many years ago – inside it’s all themes like an American Saloon, complete with snacks of peanuts to crack and eat – a great activity for first date nerves (which… I don’t really get, but he might have!). The other first date was a weeknight at a small bar I’d been to before (also) for a 40th celebration. They were comedically ill equipped for my cocktail order – having run out of key ingredients with the long weekend! Sometimes, wine’s just easier.
Not romantically, I met a good friend prior to Easter Sunday church. We usually catch up like this quite regularly – he drinks a coffee and stay lithe and I eat and drink, and in this case, the mean was equally ‘wow’ worthy.
The new management has been in for two weeks – though one week’s been between Easter and Anzac Day (the day Australian’s have off to remember fallen soldiers). It’s also school holidays – so it means so much is on hold awaiting people to return from leave. In the short 4 day week, my new boss was in my office one day, and half of that was spent on site meeting and inspecting the safety of teams, including mine. My former boss is still ‘on the books’ but has taken leave. What will become of him is still uncertain. My mentor is also still on the books. All a little… perplexing.
I continued to aim for two classes per week of Barre Tone, in addition to a one off yoga class at Humming Puppy. Other than that, I tend to walk to and from church Sunday, as well as for additional services and my monthly Parish Council meetings. I also walk to Barre Tone which is a comparable distance as to church. It’s better than nothing, but all month I’ve been considering if it’s enough in comparison to my rather lazy and somewhat unhealthy eating. One possible date and I have been chatting, and considering joining F45. They are INTENSE 45 minutes sessions, and they really tone people, but I am anxious about what week I want to write off as being in utter pain for the muscle pain!
I spent a small fortune on AirBnBs and hostel deposits, as well as a week of day trips in Iceland! As far as material possessions, I tried on four pairs of hiking pants. I really wanted to buy Patagonia gear, but they didn’t have the size/colours I wanted and I’m not a huge fan of mail order when i’m not sure on size. I went to another store that sells multiple brands and tried on two pairs, and settled for the comfier pair – elasticised back waist and inner light fleece lining! They were $200 (!!) so I paid the $10 to join the ‘club’ and get 10% off! At the same time, I got another ‘goo tube’ – I thought I needed one, but since getting home, I’m not entirely sure I do.
I have had three books on the go for a while, but none are capturing me. Those are
Hot Milk – this was recommended on another blog, but it’s just not that interesting. I did finish it, but… not sure why
Queen of the South – translated from Spanish, there’s still a LOT of Spanish and it makes it disjointed for me. I can see how it’s a TV show, but it’s not a story that is compelling me to keep reading. I returned it having read about 150 pages.
So a very dear friend and blog reader gave me a great birthday gift – she named it an Advent calendar and the concept is to do different ‘bucket list experiences’ each month together. We started with my birthday dinner at Momofuku, and then things slowed down! Of course, I have things I want to see and do that didn’t feature on her 12 months of birthday fun Advent calendar, and I got busy in March doing all sorts of fun things.
One thing she’d earmarked us doing was Humming Puppy Yoga – funny name right? It’s a yoga studio that has a resonant frequency going at all times, as well as being constantly at 27 C. Warm, but just right. This weekend, I went along to try it.
I selected the class based on timing – 2.30pm would work well around church (as it was a long Palm Sunday service). The class at that time was called Mellow Yoga which sounded like just what I’d feel like on a Sunday afternoon!
This place is next level on chic, hipster, boutique exercise. It’s like first class style. The waiting area and bathrooms were stunning. I’d settle just to ‘wait’ for someone and never do a class and die happy! They are upstairs from a tea store, so there’s two teas to sip, or coconut water or filtered water. Luxury right?
The studio is the third or top level of the building. The room was wonderfully dark for the session with only muted lighting and a lit candle. The session was an hour long, and it was blissfully relaxed and over before you knew it. My friend S said it was an expensive place for a nap, but cheap for therapy – and it really is a hybrid of the two!!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a complete visit without dropping in on the tea lounge. Again, jaw droppingly gorgeous in style. We had Ginger lattes and some fancy snacks (you know, all goey and power foods but nothing like conventional food!)
I’m not sure if I’ll do expensive yoga again, but I want more of those drinks!!
Entering the new year, the only brainwave I had was to attempt to get more cultural experiences. Things like concerts, art shows and sculpture walks. Many of these things, I’ve been to some years, and not others. Like 2016 – I hardly managed to do any of these, so by listing them and calling them out, I hope I’ll get to them!
To help do 12 this year, I wrote a list of what could be done in what months, and this is what I came up with:
Anytime: book talks/launches
Feb to April:
✔ArtExpress – graduating student art from the past year
And today, I made it to ArtExpress, after cancelling (on myself) on other weekends when the weather or my inclination weren’t quite right.
If you’re done with me selling the architecture, I’ll start on the art…
I’m starting to notice I have a weakness for very well done hard drawing, and there were a few fantastic examples
The following was a progression, but it was hard to show you the skill, so here’s the leftmost panel:
Back to hand drawn – this was an AMAZING technique. The colour and subject meant I looked at this as an after thought, but was astounded and impressed once I did look at it in more detail
The other scholarship winning work wasn’t immediately attractive to me. But the more I looked, the more I saw the incredible juxtaposition. There was a number of pieces painted/drawn of the artists close people in vunerable positions. Then these pieces were photographed in public spaces, exploring the idea of street art.
There were a few features of artworks that, to me, scream ‘STUDENT’ and perhaps on the days I didn’t come, I might have been thinking too much of these more amateur treamtments. For example, the use of thread, loose thread and sewing:
The other treatment I came to dislike, was that of tearing. I’m sure I saw more than these two, but even still… I just don’t find this a technique you see in much of the traditional and highly priced art:
The last photo also used flowers, in a way I found a bit… blah? Wasn’t the only piece with some flower add ins:
Lastly, there was an artwork I wasn’t meant to photograph, and even still, it’s impossible to show the technique – then are like lunar landscapes made by various sized pin pricks. It was mesmerising
I havve some further shots to show how amazing an art gallery can be, in this beautiful city:
My original post from 2013 has seen me really work through getting the things I want to do, DONE! So I’ve also updated my ‘completed Bucket list post‘ So I have decided to republish and deleted some things that no longer seemed like things I wanted to do or buy or achieve.
I ended up with eight big things, 22 travel related things, and 11 ‘experiences’ – 41 in total. It’s a shorter list than I expected if I’m honest – perhaps I need to find more things to add.
And I did – I updated this post to add another 22 items, a few of which I just did on my recent trip to Europe. As always, I’d welcome suggestions!
The BIG stuff (8)
Live in NYC
Get married (before the children)
Have children (thinking 3)
A home with a passionfruit vine, a frangipani tree, a magnolia grandiflora… and a vegie patch.
Pay off my mortgage (currently about $250k $125k to go)
Fully fund my retirement
Write my will
Prepay and plan my funeral
Visit every continent (Completed: Australia, Asia, Europe, Middle East – need South America & Antarctica)
countries (8 6 4)
Visit Cambodia – Jan 2018
Visit The Maldives – Dec 2018 Was going to be family trip, but we changed to Sri Lanka
Visit Mauritius Visit Croatia – 2019 Visit Iceland – 2017 – 8 posts!
Visit Sweden Visit Norway – does a day trip from Copenhagen count (2018)?
2018 update: I’m not sure what appealed about Sweden and Norway, both have been sidelined, and I made my way to Copenhagen!
travel experiences (19 15 13)
1. Go to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro (could do it with the bro in 2014, but alas, I realise I don’t love crowds and big parties, so maybe another time)
2. See Machu Picchu (to think my brother just did this Jan 2014!)
8. Go to the super bowl (early Feb) 9. Go to Burning Man, Black Rock desert, Nevada USA (late Aug/early Sept) 10. Go to (the original) Mardi Gras | New Orleans (mid Feb) 11. Spend Christmas or Thanksgiving | US
12. Fly FIRST class – maybe Emirates where I can shower?
4. Swim with dolphins in NATURE (not in Dubai…:s) 5. Go to a silent retreat – 2018 (a singular day)
6. Get body painted for an event 7. Go caving – 2017 and second time in Iceland
8. Be part of a flash mob (thanks Moonwave for the tip!) 9. Build a bonfire and make S’mores – 2018
10. Try kite surfing 11. Try a pottery wheel – 2018
12. Attend a masquerade ball
13.Pick fruit from a tree & make a pie – 2018
14. Stomp grapes
15. Start a fire without matches
16. Use a paddle to bid at an auction
17. Waterski – barefoot and normally! 18. Go snowshoeing
19. Mud wrestle 20. Take a SoulCycle Class
21. Fly in a blimp – not sure this is even possible Dune surfing
22. Ride a unicycle 23. Toboggan – likely with the Northern Lights 24. Sleep in a Capsule Hotel – 2017
I’ve recently been updating my bucket list and movign things into my complete bucket list post too, and realised, I’ve done some things I’ve wanted, and taken photos and never mentioned it on my blog – that’s like it never happening right?
One is Barre BOdy. A great friend got me a single pass in the new year, must have been early 2016. I went once and then got hooked, and off and on have been doing in ever since – I now have a subscription (which for me is COMMITMENT, I don’t even have a phone plan)
I love that my mind has to focuc entirely on the small but hard movements. It’s mindfulness without being bored stiff :p And it certainly helps that the studies are GORGEOUS!
I even have to pre book classes – talk about planning and commitment to exercising. I sometimes cancel, but mostly, I talk myself into going with a ‘you can walk out half way and you’ll be better off then doing nothing’ – and of course, I’ve never walked out either!
It truly is a pleasure – and I window shop work out gear worn by my class mates too – which sounds a whole heap creepier than it should!