Corona experience

Today marks the 7th working day I’ve been, well, not working. I resigned from the funeral home and they decided to walk me – to pay out my two weeks notice period, rather than continue to have me come to work. Admittedly, I was obliged to give four weeks notice; but was happy to forfeit pay and reduce it down to two weeks.

It should be noted, in my penultimate week at the funeral company, I took a week of sick leave. I had a sore throat. Corona was starting to move Americans to working from home, but it wasn’t really on much of the radar in Australia. I did go to the hospital on the Wednesday of that week (18 March), as mum was directed by her GP to be readmitted. The Emergency Department was rather different from the week prior, when mum had been in hospital for a relatively routine (though unexpected) operation. Only six days between my visits, and I saw everyone employed wearing masks. Mum could only have one of us visit her in the ED at a time. She wasn’t admitted, much to her relief.

As to how it is being under relative lockdown?

I need a daily walk – I aim to get at least 8000 steps, which was my standard when I walked to and from work in the funeral home. I notice the marked difference being outside, moving, with varied stimulus, makes to my mood and general dispoition.

I have almost no recollection of my grocery store visits. This past Sunday, Mum took me and my brother to one of the big duopoly supermarket companies (I own shares in them). She paid for whatever we selected in our ‘divide and conquer’ quick shop. Mum seems noticeably more compliant and careful to follow guidelines. I suppose we’ve all been adjusting, and the pacing varies for all. The prior two Sundays, I also collected my brother from his home to take to my parents, and back, to save him using public transport. Past weeks, Mum’s also been grocery shopping prior to our visit, fullfilling our minor requests. My brother asked for turkey mince – he got a kilo. He was indignant to see my care pack had chocolate: “I didn’t know I could ask for THAT!”. He hasn’t learnt week on week!

We video called our other brother in England the most recent Sunday night. It was a bit chaotic as I washed up and mum dried up. We called him again once I was driving us home, and we played trivia to whole 30 min drive. It was quite nice, and funny, cause the answers don’t matter – we’re all comedians, so if we don’t know the answer we make up one for laughs.

The past Saturday, and the Sunday prior, my engineer friends have hosted trivia via Zoom. It’s usually 20-25 questions. Most are couples dialed in – some with their kids as pop up appearances. Alcohol consumption is encouraged – it’s noon’ish for the Aussies, and the American based Aussies are well into their evening. The trivia is an anchoring activity – we spend far more time chatting and laughing. We all know each other from university.

I’ve also had three online church services. Admittedly only the most recent Sunday have I watched it live, and the whole way through. The week prior, my friends did virtual brunch, and I was missing them! I had been invited to a few meals with them the week I was off sick with a sore throat, and didn’t meet up for fear of this virus (long before the fear or precautions were wide spread).

I have done three puzzles – sadly my church based retired couple aka suppliers are not available. I swapped one completed puzzle for a new one with a gym buddy – upside of the gym is people are usually local to you.

I’m still paid up as a gym member, so I can do online classes at four (soon to be five) times per day. The workouts are all body weight based, and I admit I prefer the weights classes, so I’m not an engaged. I also have a payment renewal coming up, and pleased to be offered services at half the price.

I still walk up the street to get a coffee most mornings. I am torn as to whether this is essential (it is not) but it does support a small business, and the lovely staff there. They also sell bread, so once a week, as usual, I buy a loaf. This has avoided me being one of the millions making sourdough lol!

My spending, overall, is way down. Sure, I often add a pastry to my coffee order (I tell myself it’s supporting small business… not that I need much excuse!) I was never one for elaborate shopping lists or meals, and I ekk out what I have well, between the weekly mummy additions, and a few take away meals. Petrol is cheaper, but my car is diesel, so I haven’t really felt the dip in prices. I don’t recharge my opal for public transport, seeing if I go anywhere I walk; or drive.

I’m pretty bored. I miss social contact. I feel a lot less guilt or self consciousness about starting chats with friends online. I’ll admit I once again (like when I studied full time) trawl who is online on Facebook, and send out many a hello. The conversations aren’t very interesting, we’re all isolated in different ways, but it’s nice to share the latest trials and tribulations.

On Easter Tuesday, I start a new job. It’ll be nice to have something to fill the time and engage my brain. It will be less nice to return to alarm clocks and sensible bedtimes! Alas, two sides of the same coin.

How’s your Covid experience progressing?

Rituals

A recent Cup of Jo post made me think of the rituals in my life. Or routines. But rituals seem more weighty, and joy filled.

Unemployment ritual: a weak skim cappuccino with honey and the newspaper read from cover to cover.

Sleepy time ritual: a shower, then into bed. Ear plugs in. Lip balm on. And a real book – none of this digital stuff for this traditionalist.

Sunday ritual: church. I walk there, and usually walk home (if I don’t get the train to my parents). And Sunday evening is earmarked for dinner at my parents. Only the very special get me to ditch my parents for them on a Sunday ūüėČ

International airport ritual: I now walk all the way to one end of the terminal to the Starbucks, and get myself a coffee and their amazing caramel slice which isn’t chocolate topped, but has this amazing golden little nuggets on it. That’s a holiday started RIGHT! (I used to be about a Macca’s (Aussie for McDonald’s) breakfast, and occasionally associated travel with their hotcakes – be it a road trip or a flight)

When I feel restless or unsure or just need some structure… I head to a spreadsheet. I have one listing the clothing I bought, date and price, each year. And another, which I list all my clothing items by type. Countless ones tracking different financial things – like what other apartments in my building sold for, and their cost per square meter. I have spreadsheets for who to send Christmas Cards to; and previously, postcards. Some years, when I’ve had a mix match of leftover cards, I’ve been sure to annotate who got what, lest they get the same card next year (assuming they’d recognise the duplicate of course).

The banal: every time I leave my house, I use my foot to hold the door open, as I check, again, that the keys are in my bag. I live alone and being locked out is an inconvenience!

The comments are golden. I’d like to be some of these people:

My once a week ritual used to be eating Chilled sweetened condensed milk in a hot steaming bath. I used to buy a few cans and stash them in the fridge just for this‚Ķ I will get there again one day ūüėČ

Cabin fever

I’ll admit, there’s been some cabin fever. I have learnt that I need an outing a day, and ideally something either social or mentally engaging. Monday week ago I settled for a few errands but then felt under house arrest. To alleviate that, this is what I did the other days:

Went to the Art Gallery of NSW and saw the graduating high school student art. Some was necessarily juvenile, or at least, not my taste. I walked from home to the gallery, via the library (to collect a book about the frugal art of hedonism!). When I got to the gallery I made a bee line to the cafe, and slowly sipped my pot of chai tea.

Multiple layers, notice the three different icons in the central top windows

Wednesday, I went back to the same precinct that the Art Gallery is in, but this time to read and swim at Andrew Boy Charlton Pool. It is on the harbour, with views of the naval base, so it’s lovely even if you don’t swim.

Chai in the gallery cafe

Thursday I’d found a $10 deal for a movie ticket – far better than the $20+ it can sometimes be, for the film Escape Room. I went to a lunch time session and then browsed other shops around the city. I’m incredibly good at restraining from impulse purchases!

A card i could have bought

Friday I caught up with two friends. After a coffee with one friend, we walked the street and browsed the old wares and second hand shops as we discussed our job less state – hers being a bit more recent, and a bit of a shock. Another friend came over for a swim.

I ended up so busy, I didn’t think of job hunting!

Updates

OK, first, WordPress backend looks oh so different. Let’s see how I go?

For my readers who I comment on your blogs, you might know that I’m currently not working. My government contract was cut short. It was due to run til mid April but due to budgetary issues, and a looming March election, they cut it short to the beginning of February.

I was actually perfectly OK with this news. This time in 2018, I took four weeks of leave at half pay, to explore boredom and hopefully be inspired as to what to do next in my career. Following that time off, I was offered the contract role, and left the company I’d been at for nine years. Of course, I was paid out the long service leave entitlements (if you have no idea what I’m on about, international readers, this is a helpful post). I started at the state government after Easter 2018.

I was given one week’s notice. Many were aghast it was such short notice – for me, it felt right. My last employer required only a week’s notice. The kicker was that I was told a DAY before both my birthday AND the day I was moving back into the loft. The loft being the property I blogged a lot about in 2012 and 2013. I actually worked my birthday, and Dad supervised the move of furniture. I’d slowly moved all non furniture items in car trips. The property was actually vacant a brief while, as I got it repainted and laid new carpet. The last tenant’s dog damaged the first three stairs (and a few more other things). So I’ve asked the agent to recover costs for repairing those stairs, and the cost of carpet cleaning – which I’ll put towards the new carpet.

In the three weeks I’ve been off, I’ve spent a bit of time getting things sorted around the house. I scoured Facebook Marketplace and have found cheap and free items I was missing. Weird stuff like ice cube trays and some storage in the bathroom/laundry area. I’ve also got rid of strange items – a collection of three cutlery trays.

I’ll try to post more regularly, though I don’t have the internet at home. It’s an intentional decision, to stop me from being a recluse with Netflix. So I take myself to various libraries in the City of Sydney – they are amazing! There’s a whole new on in Green Square, and a beautiful one in Custom’s House. And I’m going to skip the blogging recommendations and post without photos. Might remove some of the road blocks to me posting more often!

Sculptures by the sea 2015

Every year in late October and early November, the famed walk from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach is used as a backdrop for a sculpture competition (though it ends at Tamarama Beach). ¬†Most years, I delay and delay until I’ve missed going. ¬†This year, I went on the morning of the last day. ¬†Which means I just missed our latest Prime Minister!

Here’s some of my favourites

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All the corks

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Copper – I love the tarnish

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Shiny fat cat

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Ha!

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White guys are sculptures

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Perfect for a Sunday visit

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Bondi Icebergs pools

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Fish teathered to the land

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Art vs Life 1

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Art vs Life 2

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Mirror hanging from tree branches

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This ones streamers moved with the gusts of wind

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Functional for feeding, not just part of the Sculptures show!

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My friends favourite

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I couldnt help thinking the pole was a work stock line!

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My personal favourite

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Cheeky!

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Another asiatique sculpture

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A close second favourite

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“Please dont touch the exhibits” A man was sweeping it clear of sand at the time.

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An Aussie special!

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Third favourite

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Spray and wipe works faster… lasts longer…

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Tamarrama Beach

2015 Sculptures by the Sea 027 2015 Sculptures by the Sea 046 2015 Sculptures by the Sea 047 2015 Sculptures by the Sea 005 2015 Sculptures by the Sea 009

Child raising, internationally

Somehow, I stumbled across a Cup of Jo series on motherhood around the world. ¬†Fascinating (except for Australia, naturally). ¬† It’s title is # of surprisingly things about motherhood in…

Here’s what I’d like…

Р3 hours every day with a kraamzorg for the first eight days after birth in The Netherlands.  How helpful would that be?

–¬†On a lack of tantrums: I have never ever witnessed a public meltdown. If a baby were to get fussy in public, a bunch of strangers would immediately swoop down to pick him up, bounce him and play with him before it reaches a fever pitch – Who wouldn’t want to live in Turkey?

– it seems Islamic cultures often are in desert cultures which are HOT, so you see the similarities int he night time life, and kids not sleeping early in the evening, such as in Abu Dhabi

Рhow cool does this playground look, even as an adult.  Again, great Netherlands

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– I was surprised that Norway was criqued for their ‘sameness’. They often seem ‘the’ way in life, in fairness, in social equality. ¬†But $3o0 for a month of care for a 1 year old from 8am to 5pm? ¬†That is awesome!

Рsushi is (not surprisingly) not off limits in Japan!  Well, naturally, right?

– finding out the baby’s gender in India is against the law. ¬†I’m sure the reasons aren’t just cause they are ‘surprise loving’ but still…

– it blows me away to get maternity leave asking for you to leave your job four (Norway) to six (Germany) weeks before birth. ¬†Mum had my youngest brother on her last day before school holidays started! ¬†I’m convinced I’d rather have the time with bub, but we’ll see!

– Germans are hilarious – they aren’t all about ‘sharing’ but standing up for your rights. ¬†So when a toddler snatches a toy, they kids are encouraged to make a stand and take it back! Ha!

– the minimalist in me loves The Netherlands and their kindermarkets – where kids, on Kings Day in April, sell their toys, or somehow otherwise ‘sell’ fun like lemonade. ¬†How great is that, a system for secondhand kids toys!

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Before anyone says I’m clucky, it’s true. ¬†But at 21, I wrote about the experiences of L’Ecole Maternelle in France. ¬†It just fascinates me how different countries manage children, childhood and the world around them.

There’s also reports on Congo, Northern Ireland and Mexico. ¬†Eat your heart out!

Site down :(

Sorry all if you haven’t been able to use my site lately – some hiccups on a few things lately. If you ever have the time and inclination, please email me at livetolist AT gmail.com and I’ll get right onto it!

In the meantime, enjoy this quick photo:

Japanese memories - this was a meal I had a week after coming back to Sydney.  Still not 'sick of it'!
Japanese memories – this was a meal I had a week after coming back to Sydney. Still not ‘sick of it’!

Thanks

Dearest readers, thank you for your considered responses to my last post. ¬†For the first time, ever, I will not reply to each comment individually. ¬†I think it would be more vulnerable that I’m willing to be. ¬†But I would like you to know that the comments you made created some serious food for thought that I have been mulling over since I read them until today.

With that air cleared, I hope to get back to my blogging soon!

Spy on my shopping

On Saturday, like most weekends, I went with the BF in the car to the gym. ¬†He has a membership, so he works out, and I walk to the co-op if needed, and then walk home. ¬†Usually, I walk with exercising in mind. ¬†This weekend, I had a few shopping errands or missions to attend to, and I thought I’d share them with you.

First, the co-0p has some new stock, and I couldn’t be happier:

Sesame seeds refilled, and compostable cotton buds and toothbrush
Sesame seeds refilled, and compostable cotton buds and toothbrush

Then, I thought I might buy myself a beeswax candle with Christmas money. ¬†As you remember, they were on my wish list, so I went to a store that might sell what I was looking for. ¬†It took a while to find them in the store, but once I did, I found the one candle that wasn’t marked down, and (of course) asked if it could be reduced, seeing it was dusty. ¬†All the other candles in the range were marked down too. ¬†For asking, I got 30% off, so I was pretty chuffed with that, as I would have bought the candle no matter what!

Australian, beeswax, and 30% off thanks for asking
Australian, beeswax, and 30% off thanks for asking

Next up, I headed to the Chinese discount store. I always feel a little uncomfortable about shopping in these discount retailers. I feel like everything is so cheap, but at what cost.  But then, I also think that $2 for a pair of sports sock is about the right price Рis it?  Truly?

The black socks in Target were $3 per pair Рmade from bamboo.  The BF likes how super soft they are.

The sports socks are all for me, and I love pairs I can easily match (so they wear and wash equally).  The black socks are for the BF seeing I have enough to last til I retire in m 45 pairs.
The sports socks are all for me, and I love pairs I can easily match (so they wear and wash equally). The black socks are for the BF seeing I have enough to last til I retire in m 45 pairs.

Whilst collecting as many various coloured socks, I noticed something I’d been thinking I’d look out for. Some of my bras straps *always* fall off (no matter how tight). Rather than tossing the bras out, I thought getting a contraption to make them racer back style, might fix the issue. I also have a few tops that reveal the straight over straps, so this would also solve that issue. Enter, the bra contraption:

From the discount store, $2.50 for 6; From Target, $9 for 3.
From the discount store, $2.50 for 6; From Target, $9 for 3.

There were 6 above contraptions for $2 in the discount store – but they came in a plastic package, so I opted for the all cardboard option for the 50c more.

Nothing earth shatteringly stylish, but all these wants and needs will solve some long standing frustrations. ¬†I’ll now have enough socks for my daily walks between loads of washing. ¬†And my annoying bras will return to being fully functional. ¬†The BF’s threadbare socks can find a new home, and more soft bamboo socks take their place. ¬†And now I have a lovely, natural beeswax candle. ¬†Supposedly, they deionise the air?!

What was the last ‘little thing’ you bought that helped reach your goals, like generating less waste or walking every day? ¬†What was the last ‘little thing’ that brought more life to something you own?