A dreamy future

I think we all have this fantasy of what life ‘might’ be like if only… And I thought I might try to capture those thoughts, so I could perhaps work towards it!

I wish for a home that is comfortable.  It’s lived in.  Everything isn’t rigidly straight and tucked away and perfect, it’s lived in.  But it’s not uncomfortable for visitors – it’s not grimy or dusty or clutter-y.  They feel they can put their cup or mug down – there’s always somewhere nearby and easy, but nothing seems to precious – too breakable or stainable.

There’s people always around – coming and going.  But it’s laid back and casual – it’s not a show.  It’s not a performance.  They will sit and chat to me as I prepare wholesome food.  I no longer think making jam is a sin for those trying to be healthy and eat less sugar, but see it as a way of saving nature’s bounty from waste.  There’s ample containers to store all the things I prepare, and ample room in fridges and cupboards to store things, but not lose things! There’s enough to feed whomever may be around and be hungry.

The bathrooms are clean – no dust bunnies.  Nothing cringe worthy in it’s dirtiness.  There’s no mould growing.  There’s no funky smells.  And the medicine cupboard, it’s stocked, but not over stocked, and anyone may open it and take what they need.  Nothing in there is a secret or taboo or gross.

The laundry is functional – there’s somewhere to hang the clothing needing ironing.  There’s a place for everything to be tucked away.  Things can easily soak.  Lost socks can linger in a special place awaiting a mate.

The home is bathed in sunshine and warmth. When it’s cold and blustery outside, it’s snug.  When it’s warm and muggy, there’s a gentle breeze.

There’s a garden, with warm sunshine and delicious cool shade.  Things grow with ease. I grow food and fragrant flowers.

Creature of habits and routines

It’ll come as no surprise to those who know me that I’m a conscientious person. And with that, comes routines and habits. And even in a period of unemployment and wide open spaces of unscheduled time, I’ve still come to a routine.

I now wake much (an hour!) later – at 6:40am. This gives me time to briefly review my notifications, get dressed and walk to the gym for a 7am work out. After my 45 minutes of sweating more than I think is humanly possible, I saunter home. I then make the planned breakfast *the plan being set by F45, the gym I go to. It’s usually either a smoothie, an omlette or eggs some other way, and occasional toast with chocolate/peanut butter concoction. Depending on my inclination, I’ll either wash up then (the previous 24 hours of dishes) or I’ll head to the local cafe for my cappuccino. (Fun fact: after many years as a mocha drinker, and then trying decaf long blacks for F45 challenges in 2018, I’ve found a more moderate coffee – it’s a skim cap with honey, so still sweet but less so? maybe?)

At my local cafe, I take the newspaper and read it cover to cover. Sometimes, annoyingly, someone calls. Don’t they know they are interrupting my routine? Even to tell me about that ONE job I’ve applied for in this brief sabbatical? I jest.

Once the paper is read, I return home to wash up, if required, and then shower. After that, it becomes a wide open expanse.

As the blog title hints, I have a stack of lists. I have a list of items I want to buy (both clothing and household items). I have a list of errands and chores to do around the home, including things I’d prefer do on a ‘big screen’ of the laptop when I’m next at the library or my parent’s house. I also have a list of tasks for my upcoming European holiday. When you’re going to Greece, Hungary, Italy, Croatia for fun, and further England & Wales, Germany and France to see people you love, there’s a fair bit of logistics. I thought I had it sorted, til ferries only ran two days a week, or flights only started in the true summer season, and not the shoulder.

Some days, I have ‘coffee dates’ with former work acquaintances and colleagues. Other days, I head to the library to use their internet. Other days, I stay home, and get cabin fever!

Most afternoons I take to the bed upstairs to lie down and read. Surprisingly, with such a leisurely schedule, my need to nap has diminished, and if I do end up napping, it tends to make my night sleep more broken.

A good day is when a few more of those listed items are struck off. Most days see me also add a few more tasks though!

November Summary

November was quite a busy month with packing and moving house.

Culture

Does a pizza making class with some friends count?  I say so!

Even learnt how to ‘throw’ the dough

I also saw a film, Geostorm.   Despite out hopes, it was as sub standard as the last few ‘end of the world’ films.

Romance

I had one date – he suggested a great location – a cafe on the top floor of a gallery by the harbour, but alas it was closed.  Given it was Melbourne Cup day (ie when people day drink!) it was tricky to find somewhere to grab a drink without a raucous crowd.  We did manage to find a cute pub.  We talked easily but there wasn’t a match and we’ve not been in contact since.

Lest this post, and recent posts seem like dating is all misses, I feel like in the past year there’s been two or three guys who really did have something special, and for a short time, things were hopeful and fun and nice.  With those great experiences I remain open and hopeful to finding a long term match.

Work 

Drafting this a few days into December I realise ‘most’ of the work drama started unfolding on 1 December, and it’s not yet resolved.  So I’ll update on that later.

What I can say is: I applied for the same job title/role in another group.  I did a graduate program at my company and spent six months in the group I’ve applied to.  I smashed out the application in one sitting and *then* rang the hiring manager.  He cautioned me to ‘take my time’ on my application as the role will have strong competition.  It was already too late – I’d hit submit!  I was shortlisted to interview – five applicants of the 20 went to interview.  That was the last Tuesday in November, and I found it easy and relaxed.  Given the current occupant of the role will be leaving mid december, I will find out the outcome soon enough.  Being an internal role, I know the other four short listed applicants and will be keen to see which direction they go – as we’re all unique!

Health

Ugh, so this month, I moved house. I planned a Monday/Tuesday off work to move house.  As ‘luck’ would have it, I started getting a light flu on the Wednesday afternoon prior.  So a few days of bed rest, and then some time packing.  It was wonderful to have a run of days off work, and chip away at packing rather than rushing through it.

Bought

I’d have been MAD to buy anything, only to MOVE it.  I literally felt sick being in a shopping centre, and considering packing those items.  Or thinking about where I might store it.  Usually when I move, I do have a handful of tweaks to make, and buy a few useful things, such as towel rails or storage solutions.  I haven’t yet done that here, mainly cause… this house does not lack for hidey holes, but they are largely FULL!

Ate out

Far too much?  I came to love a cafe local to the ‘light house’, and with my days numbered in that area, I made a LOT of visits.

Halloween themed b’fast. THe charcoal actually felt gritty in my teeth

From the same cafe as the spider pancakes – it had rice inside!

Bubbly waffle dessert I shared with my brother on family dinner night out

French toast and the paper 🙂

Loaded waffle fries. The beer is not mine

Read

I stopped borrowing books with the move.  Thankfully, my parent’s home doesn’t lack books.  Mum suggests Stella Rimington, and I really enjoyed it.

So, I finished:

The Build Up by Phillip Gwynne

Present Danger by Stella Rimington which jumped from Northern Ireland and a little bit in the South of France and a budding romance. It’s her 5th book in the series about Liz Carlyle

Close Call by Stella Rimington felt like I was following on from Present Danger, but there’ s actually three books in between!  This book (the 8th) shared some ‘baddies’ from Present Danger, but was a new story.

And I’m pages away from finishing Berlin by Pierre Frei and translated by Anthea Bell. It’s set a month after the end of the second world war, and is a whodunnit crime novel but only lightly.  Each murdered woman gets a extensive chapter on their life during the war.  I have to say, I lost track of the characters as there’s a lot of names that aren’t in my memory.  And there’s some interesting intersections between the women who are killed.  I know who committed the crimes, but was so desperate for sleep, haven’t quite finished.  Who knows what the last few pages may reveal?

October Summary

Culture

I had intentions to enjoy a meal as part of Good Food Month.  Traditionally, I’d take a Friday off and meet my father for lunch.  But since he’s no longer a city banker and is now a suburban teacher, never got our act together and booked anything in!  I see my parents most Sunday evenings, and it’s usually at their home, for a homecooked meal.  I went out to a restaurant with friends recently, near my parents house, and so this Sunday I suggested we try the restaurant.  It feels so novel to have ‘planned’ a Sunday dinner out!

Again, I did church flowers

Romance

The first week of October I crammed an almost daily date in – it was a distractionary tactic as a guy I’d come to quite like had gone quiet.  One date was at a historic, multi storey pub in a waterside suburb in the south of Sydney.  The guy has sweetly booked a table too – this place was huge, and we arrived at the time the bistro opened, so it was all a little over the top to have booked.  He had two kids, but I try to remain open minded particularly with first dates, and we’d chatted (like, digital chat) well.  Alas, it wasn’t to be.  I do appreciate ‘bad’ first dates that don’t require an awkward moment of having to articulate that you don’t want to meet again.  He wasn’t the only ‘one and done’ date.  The other ‘one and done’ was a drink after a birthday dinner.  GIven I go to bed so early, I should have backed away quietly when he first suggested meeting at 8pm on a Monday.  In the end we met on a Friday.  He was wrong in so many ways!  He had lots of strong opinions, about the property market in Sydney, his sister’s career and study choices… what else was there?  So yes, I was thankful when my one cocktail was finished.  There were two guys I met with twice, but haven’t seen since… shrugs.

Work 

Still rough.  Let’s move on shall we?

Actually, a silver lining.  A older staff member has long been keen to get a voluntary redundancy package.  He’s been off work for MONTHS with knee reconstructions.  Thankfully, he had sufficient sick leave so he was still being paid.  This month I was able to facilitate the redundancy for him, as it was contingent on someone who was ‘redundant’ elsewhere, filling his role that we do need.  He was so appreciative, he came in to complete paperwork, and bought me a bunch of flowers!

They smell great too!

Health

I’m averaging about two to three sessions of F45 each week.  Weekend sessions seem to book out almost instantaneously (there’s only two sessions on each morning).  I had a second ‘proper’ weigh in, eight weeks after the last one.  It costs $45, which is not to be sneezed at, but I was keen to see what progress these work outs had made, beyond a rough kilogram measurement.  It seems I have gained a lot of muscle in place of fat, and the circumference of all my body parts are calculated to have reduced, except my chest, which I can handle!

Bought

How about sold?  With a move happening in November, I listed a number of furniture items I bought second hand: kitchen table, laundry storage shelves, TV cabinet, cushions (those aren’t second hand). Two items sold pretty quickly, the others have had NO interest, so I have adjusted their prices down.  Given I’ll be storing the items for a year in my parents home, I figure there’s no need to move anything I don’t love and want to keep.  I can and will ultimately give items away, but trying this whilst I have time on my hands.  I also sold two winter accessories for my scooter  on Ebay.  Aside from hardly using my scooter, I was using these items even less, so for $20 for the handlebar mittens and the same money for a fleeced leg apron was a nice little bonus.

Ate out

Looked good, tasted like nothing

The photo is a stand in for a large number of delicious cocktails that I didn’t take photos of! Almost every line item on my transaction account is my ‘tap and go’ for food or drinks!  And that’s not accounting for the shared meals out where I usually present cash for!

Read

I’m currently reading The Build Up by Phillip Gwynne on my mother’s recommendation/she handed it to me from her bookshelves. It so very ‘aussie’ and set around Darwin with a cop/crime angle.  I’m enjoying it.

With a move coming, I’ve sworn off library books as I have one less errand. Actually, I’ll be sad to move to a different group of libraries after five years of City of Sydney libraries…

Limitations by Scott Turow

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi someone recommended this book online, and it had a really interesting format, with each chapter by a different generation.

The kind worth killing by Peter Swanson

I definitely overthink things

Electricity

I actually find myself thinking ‘I should take the stairs, and not ‘waste’ electricity on the lift’. If I’m exiting the garage on foot, I’ll opt to use the manual personnel gate, not the beeper to open the vehicle gates. I start to wonder if other people think like this…

Food waste

Yesterday, I added cheese to a dish.  I’ve stored it outside it’s original packaging, so I have no idea of it’s proposed ‘best before’ date.  It smelt strongly, but I used it.  I felt unwell later in the day.  That was the final nudge I needed to ‘waste’ this remaining segment of the block by throwing it out.

I have some prepared fish cakes in the freezer.  None of the times I’ve prepared them have I enjoyed the texture or taste.  But I cannot fathom throwing them in the bin.  I should grin and bear it – it’s food, it will sustain me.

Definitely more ambitious than what I’d prepare!

Clothing

I have two tank tops, bought in 2012, maybe earlier.  I loved the cut of them.  But they definitely wear mis-shapen and mis coloured, being lighter colours.  I kept them year on year, despite them not improving!  It was only the kick in the bottom that moving house can be, and a collection of items to give to fabric recycling at H&M that prompted me to move them on.

Errand bundling

The library I usually pick up and drop off books to, is a few blocks from a community compost bin.  Both are (relatively) close to an appointment I periodically have, as well as the local shopping centre where I can do soft plastics recycling.  I get SO annoyed with myself if I do one of the four tasks without packaging it in with another one.  It’s also now a 30 minutes walk (according to Google, I think I am a touch faster), one way.  I often end up driving.  Then I start to think… is the compost worth the fossil fuel to drive here!?

Chores

I don’t like to vacuum until after I’ve changed my sheets, as removing bedding is a sure fire way to sprinkle lint around.  What burdens my brain is trying to find an optimised chore trajectory; cause I often imagine changing the sheets will be an epic undertaking, even though it’s less than a few minutes to do!  Interestingly, I read a lot about people who have stress about washing – not once am I worried about hanging out or folding or ironing my laundry.  All those tasks are in the pleasant column for me.  Comparatively, nightly meal preparation and clean up are firmly in the ‘do I have to?’ whining column!!

Maybe hipster meals out aren’t helping things?

Meal selection

Following on from above, I don’t relish nightly meal prep.  So I try to batch cook something that will last a few meals.  When I start planning, I get bogged down in ‘best’.  What is healthy – ie includes veggies?  What limits gluten (which can inflame my skin condition).  What reheats well? Will I enjoy it?  The last question seems to loom large in my mind, which is somewhat illogical.  For seven years of schooling and some years since, my meals have been pre determined by where I live and/or work.   I haven’t always loved them, but I haven’t starved.  And I haven’t suffered much at all… And I have no qualms with the same meal for a few successive lunches or dinners (but draw the line at the same lunch and dinner for the same day…!)  I think I just need a handful of meals that meet my stringent conditions, and rotate through them.

Any of these thoughts common to you?

September Summary

A little later than I’d hoped to get this post out, but it’s better to keep note of what I did, even if not promptly!

Beautiful wedding tables became magical as evening fell and the fairy lights glowed

Culture

The big ticket item here was making an effort to see the Archibald Prize at the Gallery of NSW, which I did a post about here.  Otherwise, I went to Byron Bay for the Labor Day weekend, which made flights back to Sydney on Sunday cheaper than they might otherwise have been.  A delightful friend of me was getting married, and had the most beautiful garden wedding and reception.

I’ve taken some seeds… now for a garden!

Romance

So many dates!  I saw one guy five times, and over quite a short period of time.  But then he seemed to get really busy, so… not sure where that’s headed, but we’re meeting again soon, and I might have a better idea afterwards.

I also met with some ‘misses’.  Thankfully, for one first dates, there was enough lack of spark of chemistry that I never heard another thing from them, which avoided any awkward or uncomfortable conversations.  I did meet another guy twice, and had to let him know I didn’t see a future, but we’re content to proceed as friends and do things like bowling and kayaking.

Work 

I took a week off work after my Grandmother passed away.  The week off was a great pressure relief valve, but it wasn’t a holiday, as I became involved in packing up my Grandma’s house and preparing the funeral, including doing flowers in my Aunt’s church.  As I’d had some sick days in the past month or two, I knew I was best to take a full week and appoint someone into my role for that period of time.  My successor for that week did a great job – stayed on top of time sensitive issues and made some proactive steps in my absence, all whilst keeping me in the loop for an easy transition back into work.

I also got a chance to go to a one day conference, thanks to my boss suggesting I attend.  It was very intense, as I expected – there’s always some very specific presentations on such in depth topics.  Those topics makes me wonder how someone is paid for such detailed analysis, when my brain often breaks with the sheer quantity of day to day operational decisions.  I feel like the tempo of their work is so vastly different to mine – potentially so controlled and a level of focus which I don’t really know!

Health

Should you be wondering what F45 looks like

I was pretty good at F45.  The week I took off work, I made an effort to attend Church and F45 both days – attending to my physical and mental health.  I was actually pleasantly surprised when planning to meet my mother and aunt, that we all were structuring our meeting time to meet our hopes of working out.  It made me feel like I was in good company; with shared habits.  In other circumstances, I might have cancelled a class rather than try to adapt plans.

Bought

I had a little op shopping spree which I blogged about.  I’ve worn all the items too! The teal dress was worn to the funeral, and the white dress has been worn once and is a little too short to be overly decent… I might take mum’s suggestion and modify it to get a little more length.

Ate out

Far too much?  I didn’t track it as much, and combined with lots of dates in late September…

My friend had a birthday, so I took the day off work to spend with her.  We had brunch, browsed stores, had high tea and then a massage.  The QVB tea rooms are quite a lovely location!

QVB high tea

My friends from water polo have been great at planning and suggesting events, so we had a picnic one Saturday afternoon in Balmain, and then continued back at one person’s house, playing games.  The following weekend they went on a 14km bushwalk, which I declined…  Perhaps a shorter distance and I’ll join in!

Picnic’s view

Read

I picked up Gone Girl from a little library on the street, and I read it, and was disappointed that there was nothing to be gained between reading the novel, having watched the film.  It was a great movie, in the twists, but there wasn’t anything in the novel that the movie missed.

I also battled through A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara on a recommendation from a friend.  She was adamant I was NOT to start Gone Girl (which I picked up when I was with her) until I’d finished A Little Life, which at 700 pages, was no mean feat.  In a strange coincidence, I saw it on my parents’ shelves, right at eye level when I sit at their dinner table!  I couldn’t reconcile the unwavering friendships in the book, and I wonder if that bond came through what was lacking in the childhoods of two peers, and the loss of a child in the adoptive father.  How could a workaholic who clearly didn’t care for himself, have such solid support people, who just seemed to unrelentingly support him?

How was your September?  Can you remember?

August Summary

Church flowers – meant to look ‘flame like’ due to the patronal festival story

Culture

In the month of August, I didn’t make it to any’cultural’ events (yesterday’s post was in Septemebr). I did put two book talks into my calendar, and then got analysis paralysis.  You can purchase an annual membership and then book talks are included.  I always want to ensure I get the value for money.  Perhaps I need to ‘treat’ myself the $40 for a year – it also garner’s a discount on book purchases, but I know that’s a habit I don’t have.

I met with Mum, on her birthday, to complete two urns of flowers for the church for our ‘feast day’, St Laurence, who was burnt on a grill if I recall correctly!

Romance

After laying low one day (ie a sick day) I was starved for company and said yes to a drink nearby.  It turned into dinner and he was generous to pay for the whole event.  That being said, we were not a match.  For me, there’s one thing I’m not ‘liberal minded’ about and it’s drug use.  I’m all for them being legalised, and reducing harm.  But they aren’t for me, and they aren’t for someone I would share a life with.  So it was a lovely night out, easy conversation and no awkward follow up.

Some friends sometimes keep me ‘at home’ and we cook!

Work

Recently spending a day with a friend with a baby, who I don’t see regularly, she said ‘you’ve not been happy in your job for a while now’, and even mentioned a year!  It was shocking to have this reflected to me.  I do admit that it’s been more challenging since Easter when there were big changes in management.  I was definitely refreshed by my three week holiday in May. I took the step of telling my boss this today – he didn’t offer much reassurance.  I actually drafted a long post about work, but figured there was nothing to be shared but it did help me process and sort my thoughts a little.

Health

I seem to persistently have a niggling cough or sore throat.  I took 3.5 sick days, around what would have usually been a weekend I’d have worked, due to a huge wind storm.  One upside of the bed ridden time was seeing my weight down to my target weight (72kg), and it hasn’t stayed that low, but it was a small reward.

I have noticed that I often only need two meals in a day.  That helps reducing my eating out expenditure at least :p

In between the on again off again cold, I went to F45.  My three months is rapidly approaching, and so is water polo season.  I’m trying to decide if I do one or both.  I am intending to change water polo clubs to be closer to one closer to where I live.

Bought

New work out top selfie (after working out!)

I had set myself a weight loss reward, and I met it, so I went and purchased more work out gear.  I went planning to buy ‘a top’ and ended up with two tops and a sports bra.  Two were on sale.  I can’t even recall when I last bought a sports bra, so I’m hardly being reckless.

I also bought

  • two part epoxy to mend a glass bowl I store pegs in
  • Lush items – solid deodorant & shampoo & tooth powder
  • flights, a night’s accomodation and car hire to Byron Bay for a wedding at the end of September
  • hair cut and colour <- MY FIRST HAIR DYE EVER

I’m noticing other than the above, eating out and targeted savings, there’s nothing too interesting in my expenses: some fuel, public transit card top up, phone credit & insurance for my scooter.  I feel reassured that I’m not cluttering up my home with things,

Ate out

My friends drag me to the prettiest places (yes, sick weekend)

Oh so many times! It seems predominantly on the weekends, and almost all meals!  Thankful for a ‘sick’ weekend, but I still went out to savour some social contact! I tallied up as best I could, and it comes to about $500, and 5 a piece on b’fasts, lunches and dinners, and then some ‘drinks’ either coffees, alcohol, or dessert/cake.  I’m not sure the numbers are enough to see me start havign people over for meals – I just get such anxiety about their comfort, but also waste.

Read

The hyperlinks are to Goodreads – I don’t believe in buying books remember

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea – Barbara Derrick – incredibly well written, and given I’ve felt down on my life, it’s helped me realise how extremely comfortable and happy I am.

The Most Good You Can Do: How effective altruism is changing ideas about living ethically – Peter Singer. I didn’t finish this and couldn’t renew it as it was requested by someone else.  I did enjoy it, and it certainly further added to my analysis paralysis on career, earnings, spending and the ‘most good’.

From Sand and Ash – Amy Harmon. This was read in ONE SITTING.  This isn’t at all common for me – I was off sick, but I just loved this book.  Reading about war was interesting, especially after reading about war last month too, by Scott Turow

What was the highlight of your August?

July Summary

Vera Blue – yep, second concert of hers this year I’ve been to

Culture

Zero waste events – screening of the clean bin project with a great three person panel afterwards.  Also a waste reduction talk which was a little more homegrown.  I’m so thankful for a friend I play water polo with for suggesting these, and proud all my nattering about my ways over the years have taken seed in her mind.

Caught up with a friend who lives out of town, but we went to school together.  She announced she’s got a great job ‘back’ in Melbourne, where she was until her role brought her to Newcastle.  IT feels right for her, but me too, for her to be in Melbourne.

A close friend had a birthday and quite last minute I joined our friends to axe throw! Yep, inner Sydney has a place to axe throw.  We were all equally rubbish and awesome in different rounds so there were lots of laughs and fun had.  Here’s our instructor – looks the part right?

Maniax

Right on the border of the end of the month, I went to a concert with a close friend, whose middle name is also Vera! It was my second Vera Blue show this year, and I did prefer the other venue as it was more spacious, and I didn’t experience a group of unruly men last time.  This same friend and her partner joined me for a great fancy dinner, post up next.

Romance

Brunch with a gal pal – rose water porridge. SO much awesome.

Started talking to one or two guys in a more authentic and genuine chats than recent experiences – I continue to refine my profile to include my thoughts/expectations and I think it’s weeded out some of the sorts of people who used to reach out but I found no match with. I also added or started using a different app (Bumble) as another single male friend kept mentioning it.  It’s a lot less information about people, and women must initiate conversation.  It’s not struck any gold yet.

There was someone I was very keen on lately, but realised that we weren’t a good match and it would only lead to me being very hurt later on.  I made the tough decision to stop contacting him, with a brief warning to him.  It’s been easy some days and incredibly hard other days.

Work

Agh, can we not?  Work’s been challenging.  The change is really impacting one of the team, and I take his outbursts and dissatisfaction to heart.  Many of the things that are driving him to be so angry are beyond my control and sometimes, squarely sit with decisions of my manager.  Taking it one day at a time.  Some days are better than others.

Health

Trending the right way, but life y’know

The first week I was injured with a glute strain, so I did 2 works outs at F45, Sat (injury day) and Monday and a Barre on Tuesday. After seeing a physio and giving myself a little rest, it cam good, and I got back to F45 3-4 times a week.  Barre kept being booked out when I wanted to go (or just far more challenging than before), so I decided to drop the $35 a week cost for two classes, and focus on F45 for the remainder of my 3 month trial.  This month I took on Dry July somewhat unexpectedly.  I have a friend who has a way of phrasing things like we’d already talked about it, and it’s decided.  She’s done the same with a Christmas trip to Japan, but that’s a bigger thing to be roped into!  Anyhow, I started being dry earlier than July to allow for our ‘reward’ dinner  which I’ll blog about.  Part of our goals were to both lose 4kgs.  Neither of us truly met out targets.  However, I did, in a way…  The night after our Dry July pact, I weighed myself and was 80kg.  This was uncharacteristically high and I attribute to some food poisoning.  Sometime in July I did weigh 75.7kg.  So, target met! However, I haven’t stayed that low, since going back to 77kg, and then back to under 76kg.  Late in July, I paid to have a full body analysis as part of F45, which goes beyond weight.  They explained that water retention changes throughout a month for women, so perhaps it’s that?  In any case, the body scan is repeated in eight weeks, so I’ll see how I go with that.

Bought

I like to track all the stuff that trickles into my home – cause having a streamlined or minimal home takes a watchful eye.  I did eat out and spend on food, and sometimes think I should track my eating out and keep it a little lower for financial savings, but also help my health.  Maybe a new category (and a way to share food photos I take :p) The first two dot points hardly count, as they are gifts and not staying!

  • An engagement gift, right in line with my zero waste ways and help them set up their home 🙂
  • Two gifts for hostesses – one was a plant, the other was a bunch of flowers
  • Lush tooth powder
  • Phone case – after dropping it cleaning and cracking the glass screen protector, I decided on a robust case and haven’t looked back

Read

I borrowed a book by an author I quite like, Scott Turow, but between it being large print, hard cover and a slow start, I just couldn’t get into it, and returned it rather than renewed it when it came time.  Not to be discouraged, I borrowed another Turow book to try again, as I have really enjoyed the other two I have read.

  • Money: A love story – Kate Northrup – I can’t recall how this was on my reading list.  I found it a little too meandering for my liking, so started leafing through to the activities, which were lots of journal writing.  When I did the money quiz, it was clear I had little need for reform! Actually, I thought I wasn’t tracking well in the quiz (ie not knowing my bank balance within $100s, not knowing how much I spent last month within $100) but overall, I scored sufficiently to be in the most proficient category.
  • A beginners guide to acting English – Shappi Khorsandi – I LOVED this book. I didn’t realise until I had finished the book that she’s a comedian.  It’s about her childhood and moving from Iran to England, during a very interesting time in Iran’s history.  I would now read anything she writes!
  • The most good you can do – Peter Singer – an interesting book to be reading after my post on paying off my mortgage, and in the month I received an inheritance.

How was your month?

June summary

The other day, my mobile phone recharged (yes, I’m on prepay) and I realised a month had flown by since i got back from Europe.  I spent a week or two after returning recovering from mild but lingering cold.  Work gobbled me up, however, these summary posts remind me, that’s not ALL that happened!

Culture

I started thinking I’d done nothing, but then I found photos of a band I went to with my brother.  Simon doesn’t know them, but enjoyed them, and said more than once that he couldn’t believe I like this genre of music.  Shrugs.  They sung a cover of a song I love too – a cover that they adjust the words to, and make EVEN better!

Thundamental concert – Blue Mountain’s born and bred

I also had my turn of doing flowers for the church.  There was a funeral, right after I did it, and I had requests for the colours and flowers.  I hope they were happy!  In any case, I was proud of the outcome.

Church flowers, for a funeral

Romance

We should rename this section “photos I took of food when I ate out”, because none of the following were at ‘dates’!  I’ve really slowed down from dating.  Some of this is due to focusing more on my fitness.  But also, you get fatigued with profile reading and become very judgemental.  So instead, here’s snippets of a breakfast with friends, a great cafe near my parents, so I spent the night at their house.  Actually, three Friday nights I stayed with my parents, once for the flowers, once for this brunch and once to take them to the airport on Saturday morning.

German pancakes

I have a lovely friend who I met at church who also lives locally, and when he’s in town we catch up for coffee or breakfast prior.

Thia French toast

Work

I have settled back into a groove – the week or two post holidays I was clearly revitalised and much more perky and upbeat than some around me.  It’s worn off a little, but I’ve worked long hours again this week – really trying to take some load off my team, but also preparing to hit the ground running in the new financial year with all the ambitious targets and programs.  So much so, I left work late on Friday 30th June, and was mighty angry at my boss <- it was NOT his fault, but being angry at myself was not fun :p

Health

I did  it – I joined F45.  I did a week’s trial and attended three classes, and still did my usual 2 Barre tone classes.  It’s around $580 for a 3 month membership, and I feel this is a timeline I can commit to.  I paid upfront, as I HATE automatic deductions and all the rules to cease the deductions.  And, to be totally hypocritical, I do happily pay $35 per week for two classes at Barre Body, and sometimes miss weeks due to illness.  Seems sometimes, the ‘cost per class’ I can stomach!?

I also did a special Barre class on the 30th, and was late, which was by candlelight.  I thought it would be darker, with the light dimmer more, but alas no.  Still, it was a different teacher and routine/style to usual so that was a mix up from usually doing F45 on Fridays and Barre on Saturday.

Bought

Shopping haul – pillow protectors, suction hooks, a moisture absorbing egg and candle making items

  • Candle wicks – to remake candles from leftover wax
  • Suction hooks to hang coats – sadly didn’t work on our loggia tiles, but the internal bifold glass is a winner!
  • Moisture absorbing ‘egg’ – ceramic with material inside that can be microwaved and reused!  An impulse purchase

New jacket

  • Marcs cropped Lani wool jacket – $100 off spot sale, so $179.95
  • White bra from Target
  • Wooden shelf and hardware to ‘expand’ storage in my pantry
  • Cancer council sunglasses – replacing the pair left overseas
  • Cancer council lip balm – an impulse purchase
  • Two pairs of runners – one pair for high impact, blue and pretty, one pair for lower impact, black and great for long walks

First work out done with the new runners

  • New (second hand) bed frame.  The Ikea Malm fell apart when I moved, and I made do, but it creaked and felt on it’s last legs.  I wanted a padded head so I could sit up and read, or blog.  $175!
  • The Ikea bed

    The new bed head, and the existing (hacked) ledge

Between paying for the F45 membership, and these little shopping moments, I feel quite cash poor.  Hopefully in coming weeks and months, it’ll feel better having prepaid the workouts at least.

Read

  • The bricks that built this house – Kate Tempest.  Very disappointing, I have NO idea why I read it to completion
  • Innocent – Scott Turow – a great author, I really feel like you get to know the characters but without making it long, and a compelling story that isn’t predictable.

Looking ahead to July, I hope to continue on the 5 weekly work outs, trying Dry July with a friend, and rewarding ourselves for those two feats with a fancy dinner at The Bridge Room.

A Heidelberg wedding

Gum and kangaroo’s paw for a nod to Australia

The seed that started my 2017 tour of Europe was an invitation to a wedding in Heidelberg.  J is a friend I’ve had since 1999, when she was a boarding house supervisor and I was a student.  During the intervening years, we’ve both lived in Europe, and in different parts of Australia, but early on we formed a strong friendship via email when she was completing a part of her PhD in Bonn in Germany. When I lived in France in 2006, she was back in Brisbane, Australia, but in 2008 when I returned to France for a three week Women in Engineering conference/summer school, I spent a few days with her in Heidelberg. In late 2010, J visited me in Sydney for a weekend, and quite on a whim, I decided to go to Germany for a white Christmas.  It was a fabulously snowy winter, and I got to meet a number of J’s colleagues and friends.

The married couple

J met her partner T, at work, however returned to work for CSIRO in Melbourne Australia not long after they’d started dating (at least… that’s my recollection!). For a number of years they did a long distance relationship, but J found a job back in Heidelberg and they were reunited. In December last year (2016), T formally proposed, and they set a date of 20 May 2017.

A candid photo…! This was after a long (formal) photography session..

I’ve never attended a German wedding, and J is also quite naturalised as an Australian, so there was some variations on German wedding.  For example, at the reception, games and skit/performances are quite common in German weddings, and this wasn’t largely done.  That only happened to the smallest extent – there was a tub of sand they had to dig through for treasure….  And a projected address from a whole heap of famous Germans (Angela Merkel, a football star, Darth Vader etc) I assume wishing them all the best.

The bridesmaids had to help decide on which shoes; and where to pin the something old & blue

Bridesmaid selfi – me, Karen and Eva-Stina

The wedding ceremony was held in a lovely old church in a monastery.  I was so perplexed being told that the pew decorations were being double sided taped – I’m used to pews having a ‘head’ or something similar, with which one can loop around.  Nope – not these modern, minimalistic pews! And sure enough, at least two arrangements in their glass test tubes did become detached… 🙁 The test tubes were a gentle nod to J’s chemistry background, and I don’t know about T’s studies and work, but perhaps his too.  So much so, at the reception, the lolly table held things in beakers and test tubes in racks.

Lolly table!

It felt like every detail was attended to – in the sense that, it feels like all the lovely things were there, nothing was forgotten or struck off.  Here’s some of the lovely details

  • every pew had a floral decoration (not every second etc)

The quartet is playing 🙂

Pew decorations

Gorgeous sister of the groom’s kids

Final blessing

Page boy awaiting the blessing of the rings

  • plants and little vases to decorate the low stone wall
  • floral napkins to put out with cakes, croissants and quiches for after church
  • a coffee cart, which also poured and distributed champagne (or similar)
  • bikes to cycle between the ceremony and the reception, complete with helmets!

Pre-helmet

Handy panier for my bouquet and clutch

The bridal couple had left, and the entourage was leaving the monastery

  • lace bows for attaching to car antennas (which I made with my room mate); but the florist who’d decorated the bridal tandem bike, had left wired bows to decorate the bikes

Marriage is like riding through life on the same bike?

  • sushi snacks for cocktail hour at the reception

Cool or what?

  • tablescapes that included
    • placeholders were little glass jars with a chalk label and bowled lollies inside with T heart J and similar
    • coasters with ‘Advice for the bride and groom’
    • love hearts out of novel pages & wooden cursive ‘love’

Tablescape

  • a table set up for children – with colouring books and mini lego
  • bathrooms with make up wipes and sanitary items (and pew flowers (roses) which I’d rescued and mimed to the florist we could reuse)
  • a lolly station (despite there being about 6 dessert options in a pick and choose layout)

Yes three steaks – on from Germany, one from Ireland, one aged

A sorbet better the collection of starters and the mains. You could have sparkling wine or gin added – what a PUNCH!

Dessert – including pavlova

It was such a wonderful night (and day!).  The bike ride between the locations was a lovely part of J & T’s story, and it was SUCH a lovely day to do it.  Everyone waved and clapped and honked their horns.  And I didn’t fall off.  I may have been a little immodest riding in a dress, but it’s not that uncommon either.  The reception was lovely and leisurely, and we were seated with really interesting people, who spoke English and German, so were wonderful at summarising speeches and helping decipher the menu/blackboard, though some things just aren’t translatable: mashinis was mashed potato in a martini glass, and was to be served as a midnight snack 🙂  That being said, I think we left after 1am, and fresh from having desert, so the midnight snack was shelved.