Weekend to do list


Can you see my future here?
Can you see my future here?

Sorry, I seem to have lost my momentum of regular posts.  I think it packed up and left with motivation a few weeks ago.  Hopefully both with return with renewed vigour, but until then, I’ll stick to publishing a weekend’s to do list:

  • Vacuum both bedrooms
  • Clean toilet
  • Fold and put away light load
  • Stain treat linen shirt (again)
  • Wash dark load
  • Buy two ferns for the living room (:D)
  • Get cuttings of herbs from friends <- our napping got in the way
  • Visit open house for awesome 3 bed warehouse conversion (and dream of my future).  Yeah we like to look at places of our dreams. It sold before we got there 🙁
  • Go rock climbing
  • Do an interval run, aiming for a 4 mins on, 2 mins off for a distance of at least 5kms 5km attempting 4.30/1.30 splits (but not succeeding!)
  • Write the little bro an email (he’s in South America) He’s already written back too 🙂
  • Take back plastic packaging & bags to Coles pre run too!
  • Buy some paints for my growing collection of tubes for a Advent calendar (talk about prepared, right?)
  • (Maybe) buy some quilting and coloured thread to make this
  • Read a few more chapters of my book on Gen. Honoré’s experience in New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina (ideally finish it to return it to my mentor on Monday)
Views for miles… yep I could live here

What’s on your weekend’s to do list?

Stand up paddle boarding in Sydney

One thing I’ve been meaning to try is stand up paddle boarding. After a few false starts due to bad weather, I finally dragged the BF to the latest ‘it’ activity!  Even I’m surprised that this didn’t end up on my (recently updated) Summer Bucket List.

I have NOT been meaning to show myself in a swimsuit… But this is me 6-7kg lighter than at Christmas, so that’s something to celebrate.  Alas I never got jet skiing/swimsuit photos to share with the world wide web.  Also, I think it’s important to focus on healthy activities, rather than just eating out (which I used to do a lot of).  We’ve also been indoor rock climbing this summer too!

Coming in (with a turn)
Coming in (with a turn)

Seeing I’m as white as driven snow, I opted for less sunscreen and more clothing… At least, until it got too hot, and I went for a swim.

Ok, you can stop taking photos now :)
Ok, you can stop taking photos now 🙂

I didn’t actually fall in – I was blown away that I took to it so easily. Naturally, the BF did fall in, so then he pulled my ankle cord that was floating in the water, and tugged it sufficiently hard to throw me off *hands on hips*

Emulating the advertising on the combi van!
Emulating the advertising on the combi van!

I was wondering if my stand up and kneeling balance was a fluke, so I tried something a little more complex 😉

Oh while I'm showing off!
Oh while I’m showing off!

And now I’m just getting silly!

It was $20 per person for an hour. The second hour was $10. It was cash only, and we didn’t have enough, so had to drive off and return. It’s not the easiest location to get too – a little bit of a bush or water side walk. There is two places you can stand up paddle board in Rose Bay (eastern suburbs of Sydney), and we went to the place I knew from kayaking there in the past (you know… back when stand up paddle boarding wasn’t a ‘thing’). The other location is closer to Rose Bay shops, and very accessible, but I have no idea of their prices.

Would you try stand up paddle boarding?  It’s pretty relaxing on the spectrum of activities, and affordable too!

Giving – time and/or money

I read a very interesting post this morning by Emily at Emerging Personal Finance called ‘I’m not going to rob you‘ (you can read my comment too).  It spoke to me as last night, I reflected on my voluntary commitments whilst at the State Emergency Service (SES – like FEMA). On Sunday night I’d felt overwhelmed with what I wanted to achieve after work this week.  That overwhelmed feeling is something I’ve written about here, where I listed all my commitments outside of work.

The 'guys' in orange - I got my gear last night! source: www.ses.nsw.gov.au
The ‘guys’ in orange – I got my gear last night!
source: www.ses.nsw.gov.au

I have always been reluctant to part with my money, linking to a tight budget when I was student.  Now days, my budget isn’t at all tight, and long term readers will remember that in early 2013 I did set myself the target of spending $100 per week in ‘generosity’ – donating to church, gifts, and general fundraising etc.  I stopped tracking it, but in 2014, set up automated withdrawals to a savings account, so that I create lump sum to draw from at any time.  I use this money to ‘give’ to fundraisers, and my idea is that it will grow and one day sponsor a hospital wing (ok, maybe something a little smaller. The thought is regular contributions + compound interest = BIG lump sum).

Something like this? source: hprpf.forumotion.com
Something like this?
source: hprpf.forumotion.com

This post is more or less for me to work through my current motivations and actions.

I prefer to give time over money, but realise that money is valuable too, so I’m ‘stockpiling’ it to use as needed.  I give my time as much as I can.  At the moment, it’s a regular 2+ hours at SES, a variable commitment at church across the rosters and Parish council meeting once a month and the co-op, which I have ignored for the past few months, but now have a project that suits my interest, so need to plough in the hours to get it done.  I feel a little overwhelmed at finding the hours for the co-op, as I also have personal things like the podiatrist, a hair cut and a dental specialist’s appointment all this week.  But it’s ok, I can do it.

I CAN get enough sleep;

I CAN cook healthy meals and maintain my calorie limit;

I CAN work out six times a week and continue to lose weight (weighed in at 72KG!  This was a milestone goal, so I’m rapt, as I also ran 14 mins, which is ‘around the park’ which was also a goal, see more on my weight loss plans here) and

I CAN contribute to my community above and beyond my work.

A giving heart? source: Charlotte James www.slimming.com
A giving heart?
source: Charlotte James www.slimming.com

I’ve just got to remember it’s all possible. One day at a time.  One step at a time.  These things are important to me.  TV is not.  Relatively, reading and writing on blogs is not. Priorities!

Is it all possible?  Does something have to give?  Do you prefer to give money or time, or both?

Privilege, sacrifice and the legacy of family

Sometimes the coincidence of reading blog posts and discussing things with friends merge to create the perfect storm to contemplate the depths of life. Today, I hope to write a more thoughtful, philosophical post and given that’s not my normal modus operandi, it might come off confused, garbled or incoherent.  It will also be rather wordy!

I’ve established that it’s close to impossible to separate your current situation in life from your childhood.  How you grew up bears a significant shadow into your adulthood.  That’s not to say that one’s childhood will reflect their adulthood (financially poor youth won’t mean financially poor adulthood for example), but whatever the formative 18 years of one’s life exposes them to will strongly impact the rest of their life, and the relative feeling of comfort they feel within the echelons of society.

‘Feeling poor’ is something that can’t be denied.  However, it is strongly linked to the community you’re within.  I spent the first 10 years of my life in a large home, with my parents and siblings.  I attended a (free) public school, I enjoyed (free) public dental care, and my parents drove second hand cars.  As children, we seldom went out for dinner, and never got to eat when at the shopping centre or any other excursion – it was always a supermarket visit followed by a picnic in the park, at best.  I felt comfortable, and I didn’t feel my parents had any trouble with money.  In retrospect, I know that my early primary school years coincided with a downturn in the economy, and may have impacted on the ‘luxuries’ I experienced, such as eating ‘out’.  Compared to my public school classmates, I felt I was the same.  No better or worse, in some regards, they seemed to have a ‘better’ life as they enjoyed going to amusement parks, something we’d never done as a family.

Boarding house dining room source: www.stmargarets.qld.edu.au
Boarding house dining room
source: www.stmargarets.qld.edu.au

When I was 10, a collection of circumstances coincided.  My father was offered an job overseas, which covered all tuition for his children.  I was offered an academic scholarship at a prestigious boarding school, that covered half my tuition fees.  The combination of these two factors presented my parents and myself with two options:

  1. I could study ‘in country’ and live with my family, but my education would be in French (I am a native English speaker)
  2. I could study in my home town of my childhood, and attend a boarding school

Regular readers (or anyone who started reading yesterday!) will know that I chose to go to boarding school. Honestly, I was presented with both options, but I was pretty clear that the opportunity to ‘sleep over’ every night, and be independent was pretty appealing. Financially, my parents were not impacted between the two decisions.  Emotionally, there was a huge learning curve for us all! That being said – I chose boarding school, and my mother ALWAYS wanted to board herself, and so encouraged my choice.  Over the seven years I lived at school, my mother repeatedly was asked ‘how she could do it’ by her colleagues and friends.  As a family, we never questioned boarding school.  Despite the emotional moments, I mostly LOVED my independence, and my parents wanted nothing but my happiness, but it’s hard to ignore that I was receiving a quality education with all the additional opportunities that a private school can offer young ladies.

Whilst my scholarship endured for my eight years at the private girls’ school, my father’s employer changed during those eight years.  Therefore, the cost of my education borne by my parents also fluctuated.  Furthermore, I have two siblings, and when they reached the age for high school, they too were enrolled in private schools.  My parents had always prepared all of us for a high school education in a religious private school.  I just started mine three years early due to the circumstances!

Assembly hall, and the top storey was all dorms source: source: www.stmargarets.qld.edu.au
Assembly hall, and the top storey was all dorms
source: source: www.stmargarets.qld.edu.au

I cannot deny that I was privileged to attend a fancy private school for eight years AND live on campus for seven of those years.  I have to balance the idea that, by the grace of God or serendipity, I was offered a scholarship; and my father was offered a comprehensive remuneration package to relocate for three years.  I know the cost of educating my younger siblings did not come as easily.  Neither had their fees subsidised (by employers or scholarships/bursaries).  Perhaps inflation of school fees outstripped the pay rises my parents received, or it was a case of ‘two is double the cost of one’? (Thankfully, they avoided all three of us at private schools at once! Family planning (or not) seemed to have it’s blessings occasionally).

Whilst I feel like I might have excelled academically no matter my education, it’s hard to know for sure.  From a strong foundation in my secondary education, I received the marks to be granted a first year scholarship in engineering.  Engineering was not my first choice, but a scholarship was enough to entice me to try it out. For six years, I battled my studies – there is NO way I would say being a student was the best time of my life. (being a young, paid, professional is FAR better!).  I chose to support myself from my second year of studies, covering all of my costs – rent, food, tuition (which can be deferred in Australia).

Approaching graduation, I swallowed a bitter pill and moved home – after six years of loud and regular berating of friends who lived at home with their parents through their tertiary studies! When I looked at the figures, I saw there was no way I could ‘get ahead’, which in Australian is ‘buy a property’.  I chose to move home months before completing my studies, and stayed at home for the first three years I worked in my career.  Living at home is a luxury I didn’t have through my secondary schooling, nor some of my primary schooling.  I self imposed my tertiary studies to be self supported. However, when I joined a graduate program with six month rotations around the business (ie locations all over Sydney), I returned to the family home and (willingly) paid a nominal amount in board.  During this time, I aggressively saved, whilst taking annual international holidays and bought my scooter.  I wouldn’t even be as gauche as to say living at home was a sacrifice.  I love my parents, they live relatively close to the city, and their home fits all us kids (with less formal living spaces becoming bedrooms!).  After three years of paying below market rent, and having meals and chores done as part of a family, I had sufficient money to put a deposit on the loft.  My parents did not co-sign on my mortgage, which I knew they never would.  They did not gift me any money, nor did any other relative, beyond the usual $50 Christmas money or similar.

Not for a BE, but the Grad Dip Eng... but she's a girl! source: www.gsu.uts.edu.au
Not for a BE, but the Grad Dip Eng… but she’s a girl!
source: www.gsu.uts.edu.au

I’m grateful to God that my life has lead me to where I am now.  That I had the privilege of a good education (and the associated opportunities of sport, music, debating etc) in my childhood. I had the luck to find that my parents lived ‘nearby’ at the end of my tertiary studies (in actual fact, they did from my second year onwards!) My choice of subjects and my results from high school led to my studies in university, which lead me to a career as an engineer.  Now I earn a salary I couldn’t have imagined as a teenager, and I earn close to or on par with both my parents (one is a teacher, the other is a ‘banker’ but also qualified as a teacher).  I own a property, that I bought ‘all by myself’ – no mean feat in Sydney’s inflated property market.

Last night, I was embarrassed by the good fortune I list in the paragraph above.  I know that without my mother who had a private high school education at a school that offered boarding, I may not have had parents receptive to boarding school.  Without the chance of my father’s employer and package, I might not have had the chance to start my private education so young.  Without my parents choosing to settle in the city I was at university at (which is different to where I grew up/went to school), I might still be struggling to save for a housing deposit.  I look back, and see a ‘normal’ everyday kid starting life, and from the age 10, my life took an early trajectory beyond what was planned for me.

I still feel ‘normal’, but I realise I’m not.  I’m in the top x% – I don’t know if it’s 10% or 5%.  But I know I’m lucky, I’m privileged.  And all this, after spending eight years at a school where I felt ‘poor’, ‘uncool’ and not good enough.  Not good enough at sport.  Not smart enough at my high school classes – as if coming eighth in a number of my senior subjects in a cohort of 140 is a poor outcome.  I passed every subject at uni, first go – except for one subject I failed FOUR times!  That one subject, and the four attempts (over three years) made me think I was dumb, useless, and perhaps not cut out for engineering. It’s amazing that my perseverance, and a solid job offer as I approached graduation, helped me persuade university management to ‘waive’ the pre-requisite requirements, and let me attempt the following subjects – all of which I passed.  It led me to a job that I still have days where I think ‘how did I end up here, I am SO out of my depth?’ and moments when a colleague thinks out a situation and in my head I’m thinking ‘how does he know this??’.

I suppose it’s like a fat person trapped in a skinny body, or a young person in an older body.  I feel like a normal, working class child (now adult), who somehow infiltrated a prestigious school.  A less than stellar intelligence that scrapped through an engineering degree.  A recruit/graduate who ‘won’ a job at a very generous company (pay wise, but also benefits) despite there being clearly more knowledgeable applicants.  I’m the girl who started with humble beginnings – a family with used cars, never eating out, living a simple childhood, to this adult who was able to buy their own home, has a (traditional) degree and a very well renumerated job with great hours and benefits.

There but for the grace of God go I. 

I really don’t have a hard luck story, and sometimes I’m ashamed of that.  I didn’t crawl out of debt, or a horrible home life or childhood. I didn’t battle ‘incredible odds’.  I hope that forever, I can remain grounded; aware that there are so so many less fortunate than myself, and have the humility and generosity to share everything I can.  I can’t change what went before, but I can look forward and continue to be someone who makes everyone feel included, no matter what circumstances their life has presented them.

How do you feel your childhood has influenced your later life?

10 things I learnt from boarding school

I spent seven years in an all girls boarding school, in Brisbane, Australia.  Sometimes, there’s nothing quite like remembering the quirks of communal living.  Given the vast majority of people have little to no exposure to boarding school, I hope this might be amusing!

1. You always take the plate second from the top in a stack.  The top one is assumed to have been sneezed on or touched or something?!  Maybe it’s just the dust cover?

2. Showers require thongs.  The idea of bathmats – pft, I laugh at a bathmat! (actually, I sorely missed them during term time, and hated the flood of water that resulted from thongs + multiple showers)

3.  (White) Bread is a staple.  And it is delicious 🙂 Plates of 10 slices on every dinner table every night!

4. Loaves of bread are likely to be open at the bottom of the bag.  Liberating the doughy thick crust is heaven for some random people, and if the top of the bag has been taken, there’s always the other end.

They looked *just* like this! source: marquetteturner.com
They looked *just* like this!
source: marquetteturner.com

5. Caramel tarts are worthy of sprints times comparable 100m mens final to get to afternoon tea FIRST!  (However, returns are not guaranteed, it depends if they were all eaten at the dessert the night before).

6. Lights out is multi staged: there’s overhead common lights out, and then there’s lamps out.

7. Privacy is flexible: with partion walls that didn’t go the ceiling, curtains instead of doors…

8. In primary school, it seemed perfectly acceptable to buy a frozen slushie on arriving at the movie cinema, walk around drinking it, and refill the cup prior to watching the movie you came to see.  Actually, we never had any staff even raise an eyebrow at this – that stuff MUST be cheap to supply! Or the staff too young and nervous to bother with tweens?

MMM Blend 43 - the taste of mass produced coffee source: www.centrestatefoods.com.au
MMM Blend 43 – the taste of mass produced coffee
source: www.centrestatefoods.com.au

9. Coffee is a food substitute: We didn’t get a lot of snacks, other than the most mottled, old apples and oranges (ie the cheap stuff).  Therefore, with enough milk and sugar, instant coffee becomes palatable to a young’un.  However, when Dad offers you a coffee at home, it will be nothing like instant coffee, and nothing you can do will make it taste the same.

10. Parcels are enough to brighten a whole week! There was a parcel list posted daily on the noticeboard.  Birthdays were wonderful, as were starts of term, where you awaited ‘forgotten’ items to be sent, hoping Mum would have included a treat or thousand in there!

Oh it’s funny to look back. Some of these points are still true today of boarding schools I’ve worked in, but I think some become the function of a school’s culture!

Which was the ‘weirdest’ to you, and which seems the most normal?  Any quirky school memories or habits for you?

Pondering heartache

Let me first start by saying, this is a philosophical post.  Nothing bad has happened with the BF and I don’t plan for any heartache.  This is in response to blog post I recently read on A Summer of New.  (This blogger happens to be someone I went to school with, and I could probably write a great number of posts on those times.  She was that one person I wanted to be just like – be that smart, produce those amazing posters and assignments, and nightly sentences (to help with our spelling and vocab development).  She got more 100% and Amazing foil stickers than I could fathom.  For the later years of primary school, this was who I looked up to.)

Sure a perfect depiction source:glory-company.com
Sure a perfect depiction

Anyhow, she mention in the linked post about the ups and downs of life.  The times of being happy, and then of recovery, often related to the end of a relationship.  It brought me to thinking both about relationships, but also their ends.

I always feel my ends of romantic relationships should be silent.  Certainly, the anguish and sadness shouldn’t be outwardly visible for more than a week or two.  Maybe, with family, you can wallow in you hurt for a little longer, but your friends much prefer you were you’re not sad faced, or quiet and dull.  You’re to be chirpy and happy.

I distinctly remember a friend experiencing a break up about the same I did, and her saying ‘you have no right to still be sad, how long were you together, a few months?  Me & him were together for 5 years!’, as if hurt is proportional to the duration of the relationship.  As if I could only be sad for a snippet of time, whilst she continued to heal for years.

source: www.deviantart.com
source: www.deviantart.com

The truth is, it takes time to heal from the rejection.  From the confusion.  Even when you are the one that ends a relationship, it takes time to be sure you’ve done the right thing.  To believe that another relationship is possible, another relationship equally deep that shares all the positives of the past relationship, all the good qualities.  Sometimes, it does truly feel like you’ll be alone forever, and perhaps the ex isn’t *that* bad?

I reflect on the years of my dating life, and I too can see expanses of years where I retreated into my shell in the romantic sphere.  Where I still socialised, but was not truly ready to challenge myself with a new relationship.

But socially, in the greater world, I feel heartache is silent.  It’s made to be silent.  I feel, when it’s the end of a marriage, it’s a little more open.  A little more supported.  But the end of other relationships are like a shadow, hardly even noticed.

Would you agree?

December Challenge: +1 walking

Firstly readers, let’s pretend it’s December 1 (for some readers, it might still be).  Today starts the +1 walking challenge.  Here’s how it works

1. Start by waking up a few minutes earlier than usual (I went for 5 minutes earlier than usual), and do a short walk (I figured I could fit in 15 minutes and not be late for work).

2. Tomorrow, walk up one minute earlier than yesterday.

3. Repeat, for 31 days.


See how I run: web interface for runkeeper.com
See how I run: web interface for runkeeper.com

Seems simple right?  And it is.  All you have to do is walk one minute longer each day.  If you start with 15 minutes on the first day, by the end of the challenge you’ll have walked 7.5 hours!! Not only that, you’ll feel healthier, which isn’t a bad thing.

For those in the southern hemisphere, December is a great month to work on waking up earlier because we’ve not yet hit the equinox on Dec 22 – which means every morning until then, there’s more minutes of sunshine for you to enjoy.  So it won’t get progressively darker each morning you wake up. (Sorry to those in the northern hemisphere!)

I actually read a great study that showed that when comparing two groups, those that exercised daily, even when they took a few days off, still burnt more calories on a high calorie diet than the control group. What this is saying, is that starting healthy, regular exercise habits will help you even when you take a break to eat Thanksgiving turkey (more on mine tomorrow) or Christmas ham.  Sounds just ideal, right?

Who’d like to join me?  I’m looking to have some partners in crime to help encourage and support the good, the bad, and the ugly of my attempts to do more exercise.  I’ll even offer some loopholes:

– you can walk any old time on your days off.  Look at that, I haven’t done away with sleep ins 🙂

– you can bank some time from those days off, for mornings (or evenings) where the 1 minute extension just seems like the straw that will break the camel’s back.

Basically, be nice to yourself! Try to get more and more minutes in each day, but don’t worry if life gets in the way.  Tomorrow is a new day.

I’ll be using this blog to check in weekly with my progress, and share my stats from Runkeeper.  I did actually start this Monday week ago, and so far I’ve not missed a day.,

So who’s in?  Who’d like to cheer me along?

Holiday! Vietnam activities

The BF and I are going overseas! We’re going for just over a week from Friday night 25th October to Monday 4th November.  I’ve tried to queue up some posts, but I can’t imagine I’ll reply to all comments as promptly as usual.  And I might not be commenting and reading all your posts either.  What are holidays for, but a little digital sabbatical?  We’ll see – I might not be able to resist the lure!

If I'm not replying to your comment, here's why! source: www.fanpop.com
If I’m not replying to your comment, here’s why!
source: www.fanpop.com

We’re spending two nights in Ho Chi Minh, and then some nights in Nha Trang and then back to HCM city.  Whilst I’ve been a blogger, I’ve not been overseas, but I love travel.  On average, I make one BIG international trip a year, usually for a few weeks, to either Europe or the US.  I like to go back to old faithfuls, but it’s just as important to me to see new cities and countries.  I’ve never been to Vietnam.  I did do a project in primary school about it though!

I’m not a huge tour girl, which is sort of in line with my no guide book motto from Honeymoon with my brother, which I mentioned in my all time favourite books post.  That’s not to say I don’t think about and research what I’d like to do on my holiday.

I’ve done a fair share of my travelling with my family.  They’ve structured most of it the same way.  It goes a little something like this:

I can already hear the theme tune! source: www.bbc.co.uk
I can already hear the theme tune!
source: www.bbc.co.uk
  • wake up (and read/watch BBC world/CCN <- it’s not a holiday if I don’t see one of these news channels!)
  • eat breakfast
  • wander/shop/sight see
  • eat lunch
  • nap/read/watch trashy movies
  • cocktail/happy hour in the hotel room, sometimes with board games (scrabble is a favourite)
  • eat dinner
  • sleep
  • repeat

So much better than the usual eat, sleep, (rave), repeat.  (Sorry, it’s a song lyric of a song I can’t stand, and whilst I don’t rave (though I do Neon Run), but the song is so pervasive!) I really mean eat, sleep, work, repeat.

Cu chi tunnels source: www.grandvietnamtours.com
Cu chi tunnels
source: www.grandvietnamtours.com

Here’s what I’m considering as activities whilst we’re there:

  • visit flower farms
  • visit silk worm farms
  • zip lining (though there’s been some deaths, so maybe not!)
  • cu chi tunnels from the war in HCMC
  • sampling endless Vietnamese coffee, and pastries (seeing they were once a French colony)
  • visit Hoi An
  • mud baths and hot springs
  • get cheap manicure and pedicure for…
  • get sandals made!! in Hoi An (I love some leather sandals that are dying, from Greece)

What would your must see/do/buy be in Vietnam?  Have you been?  What would lure you to visit?

Light entertainment – Beams Festival

Saturday night, before my big run, I was excited to be able to visit the local arts festival ‘Beams Festival’. Seriously, across the nearest main road from my house, my suburb was hosting this cool one night only art show, complete with food trucks and music! It was great. My brother came over to stay before he did the half marathon (who start a fair bit earlier than 9am like me!) and we headed out to the festival.

A plastic bottle walkthrough
A plastic bottle walkthrough


Graffiti style art (in progress)
Graffiti style art (in progress)
A wave in a laneway out of netting and plastic cups
A wave in a laneway out of netting and plastic cups
Not so paper cranes
Not so paper cranes
Curious things hanging from tresses
Curious things hanging from tresses


I'm not sure what... but I do like fairy lights!
I’m not sure what… but I do like fairy lights!
Umbrellas upside down (you could get those all from lost and found I think!)
Umbrellas upside down (you could get those all from lost and found I think!)
Plastic shot glasses!
Plastic shot glasses!
Reading glasses
Reading glasses

We grabbed some food, and were dismayed at the quantity for the price (not enough), although it was tasty! We headed home afterwards and made pasta to carb load for our runs! There were also great activities, like decorating paper lanterns, painting portraits, creating ‘reflections’ by cutting out things from magazine images, and transposing them. I didn’t get in on any of the crafting, cause I wasn’t sure if they were for adults or kids, but I was very tempted by the lanterns!

Gratitude (for Monday)

  1. A work car for my sole use, which got me from home to Chatswood, to Freshwater, to Manly to Lindfield to Chatswood to Cherrybrook to Chatswood and home!
  2. A delicious dinner of beef bourginon, cooked by me (a rarity these days)
  3. Minimal washing up!
  4. Getting 1 hour of chores in before dinner prep, best idea ever! Cleared some of the ignored weekend’s backlog, but still had dinner sorted ‘in time’
  5. Finally getting sticky pads to stop one of the sofas moving (and potentially scratching our lovely floors)
  6. A row of chocolate, mmmmm Cabury’s! for dessert

Does your city do many festivals?  Does it have a light festival – they seem to be popping up everywhere lately!  I really wonder how they coordinate it all, with only a 24hr window of road closures, and so much cabling!

Stress bunny

Let’s be honest here – I’ve been a bit of a stress head of late (which might have come out in last Wednesday’s post, among others).

I think there’s a few key reasons for my stress:

  1. Money
  2. Work
  3. Moving house
  4. To do lists!

Cause my blog is as much my journal as anything, I’m just going to workshop it out a little now.

1. Money

I’ve had to pay close to 4 figures to move house, on top of new rent – all whilst not getting ANY rental income.  It’s due at the end of the month, but will be less the expenses (advertising, landlord’s insurance etc), so it won’t be as much as it will be other months.  So, basically, I have rent + mortgage + bills for two houses on the same income that used to do mortgage + bills.  Naturally, an adjustment.

Then, on top of that, is working through how to budget as a household, not a single being who goes on dates.  Suggestions welcomed!!  Once I have a day off (which I usually get once every ten days), I shall head to the bank to set up a shared account for shared expenses – hopefully this Friday.

2. Work

I went from a role where I managed construction projects – so big things, that happened slowly, with lots of warning.  I blogged and read blogs and did many other things (managed a water polo club for example) to fill the inevitable gaps in my work flow.  For the last few weeks, I’ve been in a maintenance based role.  EVERY single day, two crews must have work from me to do.  It’s nice to have dedicated staff to do work (in the construction role, I waited to be ‘given’ them on a said date).  However, there’s a constant demand for me to output work for them! Then, from the other direction, I have a L-O-N-G list of tasks that all of management are diligently tracking (against my region and others) and hoping to see drop.  Let’s say there’s at least 6,000 tasks on said list for me to work on.  I hit the jackpot the other day, when 19 tasks = 1 day’s work, but it’s not always that good!  Anyhow, I’m constantly analysing spreadsheets and coordinating with the same five people over and over.  It’s a HUGE change from what was a much more stop/go mode of my former role.  Now it’s mainly go go go (and cheer when it’s the weekend!)

source: grantbuist.com
source: grantbuist.com

3. Moving House

I always think moving house will be a breeze, cause I’m organised.  But it’s not – there’s always so much to ‘settle’.  So many little tasks you want done.  And you just want to start feeling ‘at home’.  Thankfully, as a renter, I asked for a few pictures to be hung and doors and shelves to be planed (so they fit the spaces) – and I got a lovely handyman delivered.  I do get joy in doing the tasks, but just having them done is nice too!  I have also finally rebuilt my sofa – it now has two arms!  And I’ve rebuilt my lovely acro lamp.  I’m still getting accustomed to my wardrobe, and the shelves that are less wide then before (see my wardrobe before).  The second bedroom shelves are far nicer, but I know once I move stuff in there, the possibility of renting out the spare room will vanish… So I’m hesitating and cursing my small shelves daily.

4. To do lists

As my blog name implies, I like to list.  And this weekend, I listed! But then I had a mini meltdown on Saturday – started from frying my nerves driving (even though I drive every day!?).  Anyhow, the BF sat down with the list, and assigned priorities to what was on there – I had to achieve one high, one medium and one low each weekend day.  And anything extra could hold off (the ‘rest’ were predominantly low – no urgency to get done).  In the moment, I may not have been totally on board with the prioritisation.  However, as I write this on Sunday afternoon, with the list more or less completed (at least the important stuff), I’m pretty chuffed at his suggestion!  I got my run in, I rebuilt the sofa (not again… just once!), I baked and delivered brownies to my neighbours.  And (not on the list) I even finished a novel (Amity and Sorrow – I did enjoy it Lucinda!)  So, I end this post with – overall, the stress bunny has relaxed a little.  For now.