I’m feeling a little stuck in a rut, so I thought I might set some ‘fun’ goals to help me look forward to things that are out of the ordinary. I started with my Bucket List.
So here’s what I’d like to try and enjoy in the next two years (the numbers below are from the bucket list):
Struck through means they were done!
10. Visit Russia <-July 2016!
11. Visit Serbia/Croatia/Bosnia/Romania <- AUg 2016
25. Get hypnotised (ideally to solve a bad habit!): three times for my cuticle picking with limited success and much expense
26. Ride a segway
27. Drive on a race track
36. Go cave diving <- went canyoning in March 2016, which I think is similar oh and we visited caves
45. Build a bonfire and make S’mores
61. Try barre body classes (ballet with yoga/exercise)
65. Fly a glider <- gifted a voucher (thanks BF!); completed in June 2016
That’s eight… hmm I feel like i need some that take time to achieve. Something academic or endurance… thoughts?
So a while ago, I think I mentioned I was planning a spectacular 60th for my mother. I saw this inspiration picture on BetterAfter:
With that in mind, my mum and I worked on a spectacular celebration with her friends and children. And we went literal, unlike Lindsay who went with an interpretation:
So let me start with the hallway:
Now for THE table
Unlike the inspiration, we went for some flowers on the table:
How would people know where to sit? Solved that with a US purchase in Jan of a special little pen for writing on glass and porcelain:
Now all the rest of the shots I just wanna share for sharing’s sake:
Lastly, the cake (apologies for the fugitive-ly taken photo in the car, lest we have an accident and mum never see it!):
Overall, I LOVED planning for this – I hand sewed the white ribbon onto all the napkin rings, which was definitely the most intense part. But I love hand sewing. Everything was perfect, I’m told, and I was pretty happy with how things turned out. I realise the part of ‘entertaining’ I stress about is the food – everyone being happy and full and eating. If that’s outsourced, I love the rest of it (Which isn’t to say I don’t like baking, but it’s like baking or event coordination, not both).
So I’m available for hire 😉 You pay bills (I covered the flowers in the end, mainly cause I wanted free reign – there was another HUGE bouquet in the kitchen you didn’t get a photo of cause I forget which was Birthday Girl’s request on our market trip).
Party planner instead of engineer? Maybe… just maybe!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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?
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?
moving assets to a new location (away from where I work)
moving the people associated with working with the above assets, or not?
So far, I don’t feel too out of my depth. There’s been many questions I can’t answer, but I have a strong network of people from my north area that I’m comfortable calling on for help. And many of my equals I’ve worked with previously, and they have decades more experience than me, and only too happy to help. I hope I don’t wear out my welcome with them.
The best bit, that I’m loathed to admit, is that I get a car. The commute isn’t short, at about 40 minutes. But it’s ‘easy’. I’m not hot and sweaty when I get to work. The rain this evening didn’t worry me. And I drive through the area that is ‘my’ poles and wires, so I can see issues. This is both a blessing, but a curse too! At this stage, the vehicle option I chose is only for home to work, and work travel. I can look into a leased vehicle and the tax advantages in the new financial year. The new FY will also mean others have done their tax returns and tell me if it really turns out well for their financial position. I’ll be the first to admit that the cost of cars is a HUGE reason I’ve never owned a car.
All in all, I feel much better for the new role. How’s your work treating you this week?
Massages in Phuket are about 300THB or AUD$9. The quality varies A LOT, between ‘stores’ but also between masseuses, as we both went to a place twice, and had totally different massages despite asking for the same thing!
However, we walked past a ‘first world’ swanky style massage and spa place. So we took a brochure.
They had massages at 1200THB, which seemed OK, and so I committed to going on our last night.
I decided I wanted a compress massage, which I thought I’d seen in pictures… When they put hot face washers on my feet, I thought face washer = cold compress to some people? Alas, that was just a red herring. The massage was what I had originally thought!
Before using the compress, which I never saw and therefore didn’t photograph, she warmed her hand with it, and pressed it to my bare skin. She slowly repeated this up a limb or section of my back, before using the compress.
If you’re wondering, the air was scented lightly with lemongrass. There was air conditioning, a pleasant noise for a massage in Thailand, and traditional Thai music.
They’d thought of everything… there was a safe for my stuff. And a disposable g string too! Not the the massage was a ‘dirty’ as an oil one was another night.
The place was just immaculate. I almost wish I hadn’t gone the last night, and splurged on another!
All loosened up, I went and met the BF at the place with the 100THB cocktails… we then went to dinner, and then another (cheap) massage. Oh, and some souvenir buying!
At long last, after posting about my 12 in 2 goals here, here and here, and then finding out that the Gold Coast, QLD, Australia, closed down their zorbing, this looked like a goals I might just never get done!
Alas, Phuket has what they call ‘Roller Ball’ which is zorbing – putting fully grown human in inflated balls and rolling them down a hill. Being Phuket, I naturally went with water inside the ball (I can’t imagine doing it without the sloshing water to help move me and the BF around.
It was over quickly, and it was pricey for the duration, but not the $110 I’d estimated to do in Australia originally. I think it was about $40 each if I remember correctly? As often is the case, it also came with a ‘free’ t shirt in orange. I declined. They were confused. I didn’t take it, nonetheless.
I laughed the whole way down – and we were on a crooked track not the straight one, which you can see above, and I think that made it more fun too!
So a quick run down of the 12 in 2
I did everything (still learning to surf, two lessons down and one to go) except: prepay my funeral, visit my friend in New Zealand (she moved back to Oz) and go on a silent retreat. But I did start to meditate, so that’s a step towards the last one. Nice work. Time for another 12 in 2, you think?
For the last 8 days, none of your sneaky internet people broke into my house and stole my laptop with a broken hinge OR my favourite blue glasses. Thankful, really I am, cause you know, the internet these days, anything could happen whilst a gal and a guy are in Phuket, Thailand!
So we flew Air Asia X. This is the same low cost carrier we used to fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam last year. Thankfully, since then they’ve upgraded for a cattle shed terminal in Kuala Lumpur to the world’s most elaborate low cost carrier terminal. This thing is seriously ginormous, and connected by a super high walkway so planes can slip underneath.
We didn’t miss out KL connection like when we went to Vietnam. I’m not sure I ever mentioned that 😉
Crossing off bucket list items like a keen adventurer: Zorbing, white water rafting, ziplining and ATV riding!
Having countless mojitos, the odd pina colada and even a Brandy Alexander to mix things up. Even better was finding somewhere that did them for 100THB, or AUD$4
I did NOT get sunburnt. I got a little pink on the shoulders on day after a long pool session of Connect 4, but it didn’t linger or peel!
Beating the BF occasionally at Connect 4. This is a guy with 9 poker hands/screens on his laptop as I write this, he’s a demon on counting cards too – and so a simple game like connect 4? Genius! Til I beat hi 😀
Many massages, and the most ‘luxurious’ one at a true spa? Just AUD$60! I took all the photos, so I can see a whole post coming on!
Packing awesome sunscreen, that both worked, and never felt oily once applied. I never believe the marketing sctick, but this was TRUE!
Our hotel had free wifi in the lobbies and the restaurant, but you had to pay more to have it in the room. I post this as a ‘good’ cause we’re both likely to go down the rabbit hole of internet-nerdage, so it meant we had to plan our online time, and it was usually with less air conditioning, so it was a real balance of priorities!!
It was sweltering heat most of the time we were there – in the high 30s with high humidity. I’ll admit, the lure of 20C in the air conditioning often won out, as did the National Geographic channel, BBC World News and two French channels. The BF often had more sun lounger time, which I would optimise by watching French TV, often with no “sous-titres”. Yay me!
I know I’m an adventure activity fiend, but I was TERRIFIED of ATV riding. Why? Well a broken shoulder many years agos from a scooter accident still gives me grief. And a friend broke a collar bone ATV riding at a buck’s night. And then there’s the perpetual fear of horrendous sun burn (yep, one year I got it so good, I couldn’t stand for the pain of burnt thighs for about a week!). After being one not-so-cool-cucumber after our laps of the yard alone on ATVs, one of the three guides ‘passengered’ me, and I was right behind the first guide. This meant I got every instruction and tuition on accelerating and braking. In the end, I became confident and had no trouble. I especially loved the nearby guide, who told me all about the plants we rode past. I’m a fiend for that info, so I’ll share it with you
rubber plantations – these are EVERYWHERE! They get sapped at night, or at least cut, in diagonal lines, and they work down a face of a tree, and then change faces, year on year etc. We even drove past the village collection point for rubber/latex, and rode past many trucks to collect it. It collects in little coconut half shells, or plastic pots.
pineapple – as it takes rubber trees seven years to mature, and have a thick canopy, the intermediate seven years allows for other crops to be planted. Pineapple was one of them. Did you know that pineapples grow about of the spikey leaves? I thought, as a Sunshine State girl, everyone knew this – not so!
ginger – I recognise ginger plants as they often have similar species for flower growing purposes, and with lots of floristry experience, I know them.
bananas – we had banana trees within our hotel/resort. Tiny, petite little bananas, not like the ones you buy in grocery stores here. They were also inter planted with the rubber.
papaya or pawpaw – there is no fruit I could dislike more (see other foods I dislike) but alas it grows, though not in huge quantities like bananas or rubber.
palm oil palms – these are large, thick trunked, squat trees that offer immense shade. The BF told me that Malaysia had a financial incentive to make palm oil and they generated more than the world’s demand! Thankfully, Thailand isn’t so oversaturated.
Weirdly, Thailand also serves a lot of water melon and dragon fruit and we didn’t see that growing!? For those in the northern hemisphere, you may never have seen such a cool looking fruit as dragon fruit (which google taught me is also called Pitaya!)
Every restaurant had free wifi – so whilst it was good it wasn’t in our room, it did interrupt dinner times! That being said, some of them wanted a pint of your blood for access – like your ID document numbers!? Sometimes I just CBF’ed! I did READ all your blog posts, but I struggle to comment with a smart phone, so that’s how the rest of my Sunday might proceed 😉
OK, not really ‘bad’, but I bought a handbag AND stuffed up the conversion rate :s It was still reasonably priced, and I love it, used it on the way home. But, consumer!! I also bought a dress the BF liked and a $3 lime elephant key ring after a few cocktails. Oh and a pair of loved shorts copied with my own fabric ($20!!!)
Well let’s just say my ballooning weight was tipping the lower end of the scales of women’s weight in our resort! It appears our hotel appealed to the Thomas Cook and similar tour companies, who likely fill charter planes and then deposit the whole load at our resort. Many people had ‘full board’ which is something I could hardly fathom doing for a whole week – it’s like choosing to return to boarding school! Anyhow, there were some clinically obese and overweight people there, and largely (ha!) women. Not that one of them shied away from bikinis – they were EVERYWHERE.
Speaking of weight, I must set a plan in place and follow it, as I’ve weighed myself since the holiday indulgences, and the scales don’t like/lie! Cough…
Well there’s the first pass of a sleepy (night budget flight) intrepid traveller…
So this weekend, I did something ‘cool’ that I didn’t even know existed, so it couldn’t even be on a bucket list! It was sky yoga:
It’s a small studio in the centre of the grungiest part of Sydney, near Central station. To get to the ‘Sky Lab’ you go past a graffiti wall – more like a whole artistic commune!!
I went with a friend after our usual “Pilates in the Park” was cancelled. A school friend recently started it (another implant from the state of Queensland) but she was in NZ for the weekend, so we forked out our pennies to try sky yoga! I have the best and smartest friend, who’ll try any quirky challenge. And take silly photos ENDLESSLY!
I’m pretty sore today – two days later. The back of my thighs… and some soreness in my back. Still the quirky factor of fitness has me hooked.
There are so many professional photos, they’ve taken, so check out the website for some ethereal photos… I can’t help but want more!
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!
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?