Blog friends – things for you

The more I read blogs and respond with my readers, the more I find things for these people.  The quirkier the better.  So those readers with fantastic fashion sense miss out.

Steampunk postcards - from the Australian Maritime Museum
Steampunk postcards – from the Australian Maritime Museum
Sourcebook
Sourcebook
Paper dolls
Paper dolls
Earrings - and they were discounted.  Even I was tempted.
Earrings – and they were discounted. Even I was tempted.
Declutterer - this is a local vehicle
Declutterer – this is a local vehicle
Local graffiti or art
Local graffiti or art
I don't buy books... But mum does (I feel better that it was second hand)
I don’t buy books… But mum does (I feel better that it was second hand)
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As a former cellist, I loved this book, based on a real (controversial) story.
Went a little crazy with the library books for planning my holiday
Went a little crazy with the library books for planning my holiday

I’m reading Emergency Sex now – it’s heavy, three friend moving from Cambodia to Somalia, to Rwanda and Haiti.  It’s intense from a doctor, a lawyer and a social worker.

Any books you can recommend from Eastern Europe – I’m well covered for Bosnia and Romania above, but am keen for Croatia and Russia.

Friendship

One of the topics to write about that’s been swirling around my head this week is friendship.

Just this past Friday, I called some of you my ‘blog friends’.  Which is true.  Friends that I do feel a level of guilt I have let my commitment to communicating with lapse.  But it’s not just you that I’ve left out in the cold.  I feel I’ve become more and more of a passive friend of late.

A passive friend keeps reading your blog posts, Facebook posts and photos.  They comment or like. But they give less and less of themselves.  Often, I’ve found it perplexing to be in a conversation where someone says ‘I know’ to much of my news, as they are such a great social media stalkers, and I’ve felt unbalanced in the conversation knowing they share precious little of their life.  I have to take the time to think of their interests, their family, the latest things they’d told me about their work, or their health or life.

I know my job has taken more and more of me in the past two years – now it’s my new normal to work from about 7am to at least 5pm and think of that as OK.  The effects of this are more widespread than friends though.  It means I crowd out time where I could exercise.  It means the bedtime is firmer than ever, knowing the long work days take enough out of me to not want to start behind the eight ball, yawning.

I rely on others to plan events, to have milestones like birthdays, house warmings and engagement parties, so that I can formally etch out some time in my calendar for them.  It seems very reactive.  At some stage, the laws of nature mean I should and must reciprocate.

This week, I’ve worked on being a better friend.  I volunteered to help a friend from church paint on our shared day off.  I took my day off to plan two gifts (one for a party that had passed) that suited the recipients and me.  I made advance plans to have coffee with a friend who lives mere streets away (!!) and loved the time we spent catching up.  I squeezed in parties that clashed on the one afternoon, by some act of genius time robbery.

I do wish at this point in the post I had a plan on how I was going to be a better friend.  But I just don’t!  I could list all the should’s: I should plan to see friends one on one, the way that works best for me. I shouldn’t let the state of my home take priority over people! I should make time for things I enjoy and include those I enjoy spending my time with.

Food for thought.

How do you keep your friendships healthy and happy?

Joy in the little things

Today, my training course meant I got home earlier than usual.

Lucky – the BF needed a shirt for a fancy work dinner (he’d worn a T shirt to work, like all cutting edge tech workers). After a little bit of a internal debate between walking, busing, driving or scooter-ing, I went for scootering.

I packed up library books to return, and three button down shirt options and off I went.

Scooting is great – with good skills, you can watch the traffic and change lanes as taxis inevitably stop every 50m! You can see a truck reversing into a driveway 100m ahead and change lanes to skip past the line of traffic and get back into the lane past him. You can SMELL life, the city, stores even! Someone was making a mean BBQ. You can see people.

I easily got to the BF’s office, and nabbed a park and nipped in. Then I jumped back on to get closer to my two errands: buying another iPhone charging cable and a pair of leggings from Lululemon. Getting another legal park took a few laps, with one way streets and lots of clearways (for vans, station wagons and utes only). Eventually, I found a tiny unsigned spot for bikes – it’s where the monorail pylons used to be. It’s a legacy parking space for motorcycles that the City of Sydney has let continue 😀

The Apple store was (predictably) packed. I enjoyed the sleek all glass stairs to the second floor, where I found the cable I needed hanging just out of reach. I got a novel out of my handbag and made it an extension of my hand, and flicked the one boxed cable I needed off it’s spindle. Success! (I was disappointed the black clad security guard has missed what was likely the most amusing thing he’d see that hour). I then found a grey clad employee, paid on their nifty phone, got an emailed reciept and popped the cable in my handbag (and wondering… if I’d skipped the first three steps and given jumping/book-arm-go-go-gadgeting hadn’t attracted the security staff, if putting it in my bag would have attracted their glance)

From there, I headed to Lululemon. Recently, I decided I shouldn’t persist with two pairs of cropped leggings I owned. One pair is getting worn thing, and I’m not sure destitute that the world needs to see my knickers nor my bare flesh. The navy pair seldom stayed hitched to hip height. Both were a cotton-y blend, and when running, don’t cut it. Why keep these two things that spark no joy, and often limited utility? To the bin/op shop. Lululemon sells the promise of perky butts and streamlined legs. And they do cool detailing in mesh. Alas, despite a cavalcade of perky ladies and pairs, I decided none offered the trifecta: cute butt, nice legs & mesh. I rejoiced that I hadn’t broken my ‘no new clothes’ pact for a second time this year with Lululemon.

With the evening ahead of me, and late night shopping, I wandered back to my sneaky scoot space via shops. I grabbed a sushi roll, and some warm caramalised cashews. Then I joined the bottleneck getting home.

There is NOTHING better than getting open road in front of you – and either side of you. Despite it being peak hour, and buses and taxis as far as the eye could see, I travelled blocks with open road. In no time, I was home.  Having planned the trip, I used the magic button to open the garage and put my scooter away, before returning our one remote to the car. Then I hung out the washing I’d put on two hours ago when I set out, and I thought, life is pretty darn awesome.

Body Painting class

So my bucket list has me wanting to be body painted.  When the local venue offered a class on body painting, I jumped at the chance.  I didn’t have any idea what would happen – in the end, there were three models, suffering in the large warehouse in winter, and a known artist (of make up and painting bodies) who just said ‘go have fun!’.  Other people come from a make up background.  One woman and two friends were enjoying it as a birthday gift.  Everything was provided, including sugary snacks and some vino.  All in all, a good way to spend a night!

Bodypainting 004

Back of modelesse 1
Back of modelesse 1

 

What a mess we make
What a mess we make
I just cant say no!
I just cant say no!
Male models back made me want blue hair!
Male models back made me want blue hair!
Non chalance of Modeless 2
Non chalance of Modeless 2
The funky decor
The funky decor
The male model, part way through I did his face
The male model, part way through. I did his face
Male model with detailing
Male model with detailing

If you’re looking for quirky one off classes after work or on weekends, try The Workshop, which is in both Melbourne and Sydney.  I subscribe to their weekly email, which is a great way to scan if there’s anything of interest when I’m free.

Bleurgh

I’m sick.

Again!

I swear, since I started the new role in April, I’ve definitely had two colds, and one killer headache (I’d like to call it a migraine, but it wasn’t).

Anyhow, despite being sick, I did make it to Foodcraft which broke the internet recently with it’s Tella Ball shake – a nutella shake with a nutella filled donut skewered on top with the straw.  It was not all that – but then perhaps my taste buds aren’t normal?  The BF has two of the donuts in the evening (see, I have SOME self control) and I advised him to heat them which definitely helped.  He also disclosed he’s never had Nutella?  If that’s not a reason to head to Europe pronto nothing is!

My super sweet tooth has somewhat settled of late – some days, I’ve not devoured sweeties like it’s going out of fashion (of note, today, Monday, Saturday, Friday too I think).  Today I weighed in when I woke up at about 2pm and I was on par with the weigh in before last, so slowly the fasting is working, despite some days being far more calorific than ‘normal’.

Oh, I mastered laundry in a new way this weekend – I finally tried a concoction of dish liquid and hydrogen peroxide, painted on the under arm stains (twice, with an hour in between) worked very well. I’m sort of asking why I waited so long!  Have you ever tried this, or do you have magical deodorant that doesn’t stain?

Cold, snow cold…

Last Friday I felt the niggles of a sore throat, so wisely spent Saturday sleeping.  And a lot of Sunday.  I worked Monday and Tuesday, whilst the man about the house took an unprecedented two days off in a row.  Unlike me, he actually is awake, and upright on his sick days.  My Wednesday, Thursday AND Friday this week have seen me mostly horizontal.  I slept through Wednesday’s except for the two clean! Seriously, save for an hour or two, I went from my ‘night’ sleep til 5.30pm!?  So you can imagine my frustration that on Friday, I’m STILL sick.  Pesky colds I tell you!

One ‘sick’ evening, I spent the better part of the night pinning the lovely AirBnB’s in Paris.  That was fun! They certainly know what small living is – how can they be such a culinary culture with such tiny kitchens though?

Ok, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain – it is COLD out.  How cold you ask?  There’s snow.  In Australia.  In places one wouldn’t really think it’d snow.  See some photos from a friend, but the link is the BEST:

Thanks to Sally Reddy's photography
Thanks to Sally Reddy’s photography

http://www.buzzfeed.com/deannye/snow-day-down-under?bffb&utm_term=4ldqphp#.gf37vjlNmY

The bulk of the snow photos are in the Blue Mountains, where my uncle lives.  My mum typically visits him on school holidays, but left it til ‘snow day’ to try, and of course our roads aren’t made for this, so they closed the highway.  Mum stayed home instead 🙁

I’ve enjoyed some great TV lately, thanks to the BF being involved with a certain TV company’s streaming service.  I’ve enjoyed UnREAL a behind the scenes of a (fake) dating show.  Seriously warped, but enjoyable.  The Fall with the chilling Gillian Anderson from The X Files as a cop in Northern Ireland.

UnREAL via
UnREAL via

I’ve also signed up to Facebook groups in a big way.  I started about 6 months ago with the Facebook group associated with The Non Consumer Advocate.  It is such a chatty and supportive group, I decided to find more groups just this past week, and signed up to an Australian group for the 5:2 fasting I’m attempting (though the shedding of KGs is slow).  I’ve also joined Simple Savers, which I know some of my Aussie readers are already knowledgeable about.

Otherwise, life’s ticking along swimmingly.  I bought my annual amount of shares, which the BF noted hasn’t increased with the six years I’ve been buying once annually.  My salary on the other hand has.  It’s ok, I’m not entirely comfortable with shares and buying/investing, so I like to keep the amount to a quantity I’d be happy to lose (which is in the ballpark of the amount I’d pay for a flight to my favourite international destinations).  It helps me resolve the possibility of ‘losing it all’ though it’s unlikely.

What’s news with you?

Lists are my saviour

So, the last three days have been better.  And I attribute it to my list/check sheet.  Instead of buying a prettier product from a stationary store like Kikki K, I DIY’ed.

Lists are nice!
Lists are nice!

Basically, each morning, I want to exercise, meditate and (ideally) write down my day’s goals.  Then in the evening, I want to floss (and put my mouth-guard in for teeth grinding), take my tablets and apply cream to my head, balm to my cracked heels, write a few things I’m grateful for AND… pray.

I love ticking stuff off, so this is working pretty darn well for me! So even though I deferred this morning’s meditation to get to work earlier, my tick-traction meant as soon I was done with dinner, I sat for 15 minutes trying to visualise a prick of sunlight expand making the person happier and happier.  I was MUCH better at meditation pre-visualisation.  But meditation is a constant learning and improvement exercise.

I started the work routine on Sunday night, and got some stellar photos I’ll subject reader to:

Pretty Sunday walk
Pretty Sunday walk
Looking back
Looking back
Glittery lights on the water
Glittery lights on the water
End of the walk
End of the walk

And last week, it was the BF’s birthday. I completely dropped the ball. I didn’t plan a thing – a gift nor a dinner/experience. So on Friday night, after a day off with a killer headache, I merged his favourite desserts – lemon meringue pie and cheesecake. Can you see my attempt at a piped heart?

Someone had a birthday
Someone had a birthday

It was delicious, but interestingly, I’ve noticed my ‘sweet tooth’ cravings are mainly after lunch or in the afternoon. That’s work time, so this is safe in the fridge at home.  One square of dark mint chocolate is enough!  This realisation means I’m avoiding the fundraiser chocolates more often, and generally keeping my eating pretty healthy.  Weigh in tomorrow, but since our Phuket trip, I’ve dropped 4kg, and while I want to lose more, when the BF put it like that, I was pretty proud of myself!

Hope life’s treating you well too.  Do you like checking things off on a list? Does it keep you on track to achieving your goals?

Limbo at work

I have accepted a new role, a promotion, and I’ve negotiated to start on Monday 13th April.  Initially we talked about 30th March, but with a Phuket holiday over the Easter weekend and into the next week, it made sense to hold off starting until I was ‘there for good’.

So I have three weeks of ad hoc tasks.  I’m back in the office – as in, my own office?!  Weird, given I’ll be paid less than the guy outside my door… but it’s only temporary, and I have to admit, it’s sorta nice :p There’s still the stretched canvas print of the Brooklyn Bridge I brought at a thrift store to brighten the boring walls!

cat limbo

I can’t begin to tell you the change to my mindset and general ‘feel’ about work since moving back.  Sunday night blues were a little more of a ‘nice’ blue.  The 5:30am alarm was less painful – I took it upon myself to take as long as it needed to prep for work (no rushing for the half hourly express).  I then walked to a station two stops further away, as a fitness option.  A nice cool morning too, so I wasn’t all hot and bothered.

I did have to visit the far away office, and collect my boxes (two) and uniforms (three containers – a bag and two milk crates or so worth!).  Safety gears more excessive in space taking that reference paperwork, who’d have thought!  Driving north, I ground myself down, and thought of how OVER IT I am/was/are!?  I mean, being in Hornsby meant questions, hand overs, where am I going now?  I just wanna hide!  It’s not yet ‘signed on the dotted line’ so I’m not prepared to announce my new role widely, lest anything go wrong…

So, I’m spending some time thinking about what made me come to resent the role and the position, so I can plan and prepare for my new role.  I want to be ready to ‘manage the manager’ so I feel good about the job I do, rather than feeling like the boss always wants more, and what I’ve done is never enough…  I suppose that’s a point in and of itself – I need my achievements to be recognised, and not in the breath before asking for something more.  At the core, I want to be trusted to be able to do my job, that I will try my hardest and do my best.  That I’m not a slacker – and if I take a liberty of an hour here or there for personal issues, it will truly be nothing compared to what I do give.  I have really felt like I’ve needed to justify every minute of every day in the past six months, and I still never felt like it was enough.  That sucks…

How do you, my wise readers, deal with the above?  That sense of defeat?  Lack of appreciation?

4 days to go!

The countdown is til I move back to my normal office.  It’s all very uncertain, as I’ve applied for another role (not at my normal office location, this time, south, but with a car as part of the package).  So I’m not sure if this will be a short term stop over or part of a longer ‘settling back in’.  In any case, I’m not regretting turning down the promotion ‘up north’.  I still woke today, dreading the commute.  I still cursed the sweatiness hustling to not miss my train.  And I cursed again as I got home 12 hours since I’d left, knowing I have yet more hours to work to get some time off for a funeral on Friday.

2015 Random 002
Oh I went to the zoo… this is a seal

 

All I can hope is this move in work will mean a more regular return to blogging! Though I note other professional women amongst my readership have slowed down blogging too, which makes me feel foolish to boast having more time!  Thanks for making me feel normal, in my irregular posting, Lucinda, Fiona and Amanda – Dar & Laura you put us all to shame, what IS your secret?

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Sunday brunch view (Scarborough beach, WA)

 

Outside of work, I spent four days in Perth with the BF last weekend… it was totally last minute (as in, the flight disappeared from being sold online within the time I was looking at it!)  It was an expensive last minutes decision, but critical to my mental health, so I’m glad I did it.  The BF spent the remainder of the week in Perth, so I ‘stayed over’ with my empty nester parents much to their delight.  Of course, they spoilt me, with breakfast (fruit salad, yoghurt and toast) set out for me.  And waking me gently rather than an alarm.  And dropping me at the station, or picking me up from the airport during peak hour.  So I felt like a special someone for a little while, which was just what I needed.

FullSizeRender_2
See, we surfed!

 

I’ve totally forgot to share my embarrassing surfing lesson photos with you – I have to more lessons to look like a pro (and lose 10kg I’ve gained of late!)  Still, it was a fun and exhausting work out.  And the weather was far nice that the picture, but it did turn at the end, and lovely at the start 😀  A cyclone or two have delayed me from going back the past two weekends.  But I did pilates in the park, and a run, a first in a long time.  My body is screaming, let me assure you!

How are y’all?

Guerilla concrete art

As regular readers would know, I notice things on my walks around inner city Sydney, like this.

In the past few months, there’s been a cluster of concrete art around scaffolding in my local area.  They must have excess, so they cast it into fun shapes.  i noticed some of the ‘older’ ones have been chipped away, perhaps removed by the true property owners?  Who knows… But for you enjoyment:

Red head - I wonder if this invalidated the no parking sign - I know if the arrows get grafittued over, it counts, and you can park freely til the council replaces the sign.
Red head – I wonder if this invalidated the no parking sign – I know if the arrows get grafitted over, it counts, and you can park freely til the council replaces the sign.
White skull, YOLO - similar to the one on the parking sign
White skull, YOLO – similar to the one on the parking sign
As my father calls them: Baklava...
As my father calls them: Baklava…
Guns are common - there's one near my church, been there many years.  Should get a snap.
Guns are common – there’s one near my church, been there many years. Should get a snap.
Bigger arms
Bigger arms
This is ubiquitous AUssie (as Lucinda Sans will attest).  The goon bag (wine bag)
This is ubiquitous AUssie (as Lucinda Sans will attest). The goon bag (wine bag)
Not a step further. a REAL foil wine bag in the recycling (which, is NOT recycling...)
Not a step further. a REAL foil wine bag in the recycling (which, is NOT recycling…)
Not concrete, but getting creative with the hoarding (which I saw hand painted by a 60yo man)
Not concrete, but getting creative with the hoarding (which I saw hand painted by a 60yo man)