Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Kon Maudy reaches the end of the wardrobe

I am currently wearing the last long sleeved shirt in my wardrobe. It prickles and is stiff and a bit scratchy. And the collar goes in my mouth so I chew it. I don’t chew my clothes. I think that’s why it was the last shirt on the rack. I think it’s been stiff and scratchy from day one. And I’m also pretty sure I’ve only worn it maybe twice. Probably because of the scratchy.

It was interesting when I got to the last five or so shirts – there had to be a reason why they were the last ones left, and it got really hard each day to pick what I was going to wear. Aside from El Scratcho, there was another linen shirt that was a”needs must” purchase. Not something I’d usually buy, but I got rather wet on the way to work one day and had to buy a new skin out outfit (seriously, it absolutely pissed down for about five minutes, I got saturated to the skin. Wet t-shirts aren’t work appropriate attire). It did the job, but it’s short in the sleeves and, well just about everywhere else to be honest. Not a favourite.

There is another shirt which is best described as a top. It has raglan sleeves. I really don’t like raglan sleeves. Why do I keep buying stuff with raglan fucking sleeves, then? One of the mysteries of the universe I do believe. I also don’t know whether I like it or not. Eh, I think it might go. Or it might not. I’ll decide when it’s dry. The last two shirts are ancient oxford cloth shirts from Sportscraft. One is maybe eight years old, and the other one is pink. I don’t wear pink. Which is an abject lie. I don’t wear a lot of pink, and I don’t know if this shirt is a pink shirt that I will wear. Confused now. Will stop. I like some pinks I don’t know if I like this pinks. Ok. Backing away from the pinks.

I’m keeping the pink shirt and its purple mate for the time being. Basically, my requirement for a shirt (aside from it fitting), actually my requirement for all my clothes is to wear them and not be aware of them while I am doing so. If I’m aware of my clothing, that means there is a 99.89% chance it fucking shits me and I should probably do away with it. The pink shirt and the purple one don’t shit me, even though they were in the bottom five. I didn’t wear them earlier because the two pairs of trousers I had left clashed with pink and purple (it’s really lilac). Neither really went so well with ocean blue or brown stripes), so I had to wait until black trousers were available again. They’re staying. Well, definitely the purple one. Maybe not the pink one.

AND I FOUND A PAIR OF JEANS!!!

Aaaaaages ago, I bought two pairs of jeans, then promptly put on weight and didn’t wear them. I did pull out one pair but they were a bit jeez, I don’t know exactly. Suffice to say I was aware of them when I wore them, and I don’t enjoy that in a garment. And I assumed that the two pairs were identical. I don’t know why. Anyway, the too big ones were dirty, the nqr pair were also dirty, so I dragged out the other pair. And O.M.F.G. They fit. They’re flattering, go in where I do, out where I do, and they’re really really nice. Unbelievable. (Levi’s 312s, if you’re interested)

Now I have reached the end of my wardrobe, I have:

  • Worn 32 different long sleeved shirts, five short sleeved t-shirts and three long sleeved t-shirts
  • Worn six pairs of work trousers, two pairs of cargo pants and three pairs of jeans
  • Worn two skirts
  • Worn one dress

And I have…

  • Culled five shirts
  • Culled one pair of trousers
  • Threw out one cardigan (I stuck my thumb through a tiny hole. Now it has a yuge hole)
  • Potentially re-homed another pair of trousers and a shirt
  • Probably culled the NQR jeans
  • Realised I have Issues with polyester trousers (particularly when a) there has been an unseasonably warm autumn, and b) one has a window seat)
  • Ditto re tights. Not pleasing.
  • Also, I have a lot of clothes

I do have an effective immediate “Do Not Buy” on long sleeved shirts, and a smallish shopping list of:

  • Jeans (ordered a black pair of the 312s. On sale, too)
  • Navy blue cardigan to replace the one I stuck my thumb through
  • Non-polyester work pants
  • Black shoes
  • Work friendly jumper/cardigan(s)
  • Unicorn Pants (full length exercise tights with a reflective strip and full sized pockets.)

I reckon there’s a fair to middling chance I can accommodate my shopping list without completely destroying my bank balance. I just need to remember legs are only one really long. And I need to back away from the shirts for the foreseeable future. Maybe longer.

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Kon Maudy v the wardrobe

Of course you are all desperate to know about my clothes situation and my struggle with “nothing to wear”. A dive into my wardrobe revealed that, contrary to popular belief, I have quite a lot of clothes. I have maybe six pairs of trousers, two winter weight skirts (plus a couple of lighter ones) and a ridiculous number of shirts. Possibly thirty. That’s a LOT of shirts. That’s just my long sleeved ones, I only have one short sleeved shirt, and I think I have five sleeveless ones, plus a heap of plain cotton t-shirts that I wear all through summer. So, I’ve come up with a couple of “rules” to go along with this wardrobe deep dive investigation:

  1. I must wear every single (winter/cold weather appropriate) thing in my wardrobe at least once.
  2. It’s ok if I don’t wear warm weather clothes because it’s actually fucking freezing at the moment.
  3. I am not allowed to buy anything new until I have worn every single item in my wardrobe at least once.
  4. (Item two does not include under garments. And I am allowed to buy more socks)
  5. I am not allowed to re-wear a shirt until I have worn every single one.

So, after a couple or so weeks, how am I getting along? Have I resorted to public nudity? Have I binned the lot?

I have worn ALL my pants, two woolen skirts and I think about 20 ish shirts. I’ve also worn most of my knits, and all of my shoes. Plus, I’ve worn a few warmer weather items because Victorian weather is broken.

So far, I have culled one pair of trousers, and the jury is out on another two pairs. And, I’ve culled three long sleeved shirts. I am down to maybe six shirts that I haven’t worn yet, and the decision about which one to wear is getting harder and harder! I’ve worn all both my winter skirts, and most of my cardigans/jumpers.

The pants that went – They are probably the best looking pants I own, they’re a great length, flattering cut etc etc. BUT (there’s always one of those) they have the most ridiculously pissy little belt that I need to wear because otherwise they chafe awkwardly (a very solid crotch seam v an unfortunate bicycle related injury. Ahem.) The fabric has *no* give – which is not ace when one spends one’s day sitting on one’s arse. And it has the weirdest sort of three dimensional texture. Don’t love them. At all. I re-homed them.

The shirts were all quite nice white based and patterned oxford cloth shirts, but they all have weird stains and are all a bit tired and jaded for work. I think they’re all at least five years old, so probably have done their duty. Plus, I’d just recently bought three new shirts. (This explains why I’m not to buy anything else!!!) (Although socks don’t count. Obvs.) There is one shirt I think I really don’t like (the fabric is coarse) and there are three more that are older than the white ones I culled, and have seen better days.

The two pairs of pants I don’t know if I feel the love for are both wine infused online purchases. They are both simultaneously too long and too short at the same time. I am tallish*. I bought them from an overseas website that has tall people clothes, the plus side being they actually cut the seat properly so they’re not just “whack 5cm onto the hem and call it tall” pants, and the knee is in the right place, not mid way up my thigh. BUT, when I was selecting the size, I’ve picked really really tall instead of just a bit tall so, these pants are too short to be full length and too long to be 7/8 which is what they’re supposed to be. Awkward. I will either take them up or donate them.

Some of my shirts are – well. I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought them. Okay, I do know what I was thinking when I bought them. I tend to go up a size because I have broad shoulders and long arms. Unfortunately, that means I have more than a couple of shirts that are ridiculously big on me while fitting appropriately in the sleeve department. I have to decide what I think about that.

Shoes are a thing as well. Apparently, I have weirdly sized feet. I am between a 9 and a nine and a half, but for some reason, shoe shops around here don’t like to do the half size once you get over a size nine. This gives me the option of a nine which is painfully tight, and a ten which is ridiculously loose. Buying numerous insoles to make a ten fit a nine and a half is annoying.

I currently have three pairs of “work” shoes – two pairs of Rollie Nation Derby Punch (navy and tan), and a pair of NancyBird Mary-Janes (chocolate brown). And my sneakers, which I am currently wearing because I can’t be bothered. They are black. I have issues with ‘nude’ shoes. And I have issues with my tan Rollies because of their perceived nudity. They’re not actually nude. They are sand. Or tan. They look perfectly fine with just about everything I wear them with. (They are in my bag. This may also be contributing to today’s sneaker wearing.)

There is a pair of nice boots languishing in my wardrobe. Very nice boots indeed. They are size ten, so they are slightly too big. I get hot feet, so I don’t like wearing socks with them (which makes them fit), plus, lugging them to work won’t make me cheery. They might have to go out for adoption. Although I should wear them once first. To be sure.

I work in a dubiously heated office that varies from the Sahara at midday to Greenland in mid-winter, often on the same day. Also, I am a lady of a certain age and subject to Tropical Moments. Cardigans are my friend. However, I also walk to and from work in the cooler parts of the day, so jumpers are also my friend. I don’t hate any of my knits to be honest. I have a couple that I don’t really wear all the time, but I do wear them when it’s warmer. And my current faves are three really super over-sized jumpers I got from Country Road last winter, but they pill like absolute pilling machines. Glad they were on sale.

Thought I probably should go through ALL my winter clothes, because still can’t go nude even on the weekend.

Saturday is the chores and errands and driving around in circles day. So, I wore my “Mum Uniform”. Dorky af but practical and comfortable. Of course I ran into every man and his dog that I knew. Also, got rained on a lot. I forgot about rain. It’s wet and quite cold. I wore navy blue chinos – sorta heavy ones. Nice and warm. So, why don’t I wear them? Because they are strange. They have a really high waist, which I don’t particularly like, and a sideways seam just below my knee. I also cracked out the long sleeved t-shirts – I used to wear these to work all the time , and bought three (or four) a couple of years ago and they’ve languished in my wardrobe ever since. They’re on the thin side, but they’re fine under a flanno. I’m not trying to impress anyone when I’m at the supermarket!

I have jeans as well – one pair that is slightly too big, and two pairs that are slightly too small. I wear the too big ones mostly. I have to decide whether the too small ones are *really* too small, or just tight because I won’t wear them.

In summary – because we needs one of those…

  • I have quite a lot of clothes.
  • I don’t need any more shirts, even if I cull another five or so.
  • I do need black shoes.
  • I want another pair of mary janes.
  • I would really like another work skirt
  • I prefer cigarette pants to wider legged pants
  • And I mostly like my shirts to fit on the tailored side
  • Cardigans are better for work, because options.

(*ish is well, I’ve always thought I was 179cm tall; however, Chaos has had a wee growth spurt and is visibly taller than me. He reckons he’s only 177cm. One of us is delusional. I suspect it’s me. Once he is firmly in the 180+ territory (probably next Tuesday), I will reclaim my centimetres.)

Kon Maudy – part the second

Weirdly, about a year ago, I found myself in a similar situation to the one I am finding myself now. Contemplating the consequences of public nudity. Again.

I have nothing to fucking wear.

Well, I do. But I HATE IT ALL. Fuck.

Now, because nothing I currently own (particularly in the bottoms department) sparks joy, I should in fact ditch the whole lot and start again. But, the problem with that is simply I seriously cannot afford to replace every single item in my wardrobe.

Up until a couple of years ago, my work wardrobe consisted of a couple of nice skirts, four pairs of Eva Capri pants from Sportscraft – black, navy, silver and a random colour; plus a selection of shirts and cardigans and voila. Dressed every day. No thinking required. I would replace the capri pants every couple of years as they got a bit tired looking, switch out a shirt or two each season… Like clockwork. Then some bastard decided to new and improve them. They did not fit. Not even close. AND the size up was too fucking big. What sort of arsehole designer does that. Sportscraft. Obviously.

Despite Sportscraft bowing down to the wrath of a million angry middle aged ladies, and re-vamping my favourite pants yet again, I sort of cracked the shits with them and am yet to try out the new ones. So, I investigated some options. I now have a wardrobe full of pants that are eh. Ok. Ish. I guess. And I’ve also lost five of the kilograms that were giving me grief twelve months ago. This means that the pants I bought last winter are a tiny bit on the big side. Annoying. Much. Also, none of them were quite what I was looking for in a work pant. Much more annoying. I don’t want much in a trouser – full length, narrowish legs (but not strangle-y) decent pockets that will hold my mobile phone, id card and wallet so I don’t have to take a bag everywhere. Ditto for skirts. Well, the pocket bit, and fitted.

So, here I am. Hating my clothes. I can’t ditch them all because I can’t afford it, and it would be exceedingly wasteful to toss out half a dozen pairs of pants and a heap of shirts because I’ve taken against them. I could like them again next Tuesday. I am in a mood.

That’s another good reason to not throw anything out. Moods I am having. Not sure if it’s the ladypause or just having the shits on in general. However, I am digress. Pants I have some. Likes I have none. So. What to do?

I have decided that I am going to “review” my trousers (and some of my shirts as well) and see whether my feelings are valid or you know. Nuts.

I have tested two outfits:

  • Blue chinos and a cotton striped shirt, grey jumper – verdict. Shirt’s nice. It can stay. Jumper has sauce on it. Bloody bosoms. Pants need a belt. Might be too big. Wore them with my blue Rollies. Not the right shoes for the pants.
  • Charcoal grey pants, white shirt, red jumper. Love the jumper, that’s a no brainer. Pants were pretty comfy, they just skim my ankles, so I’m not sure if they’re too short or too long. Wore them with Mary Janes. The shirt is too long and annoying. I didn’t like it. Also, it was missing a button. I wore the shirt to pilates and my physio suggested a french tuck. Did it with my tights, and it looked ace. Fixed the button and yeah. Try it with different pants.

Tomorrow, I am trialling some blue dress pants, a different white shirt and a red cardigan. And probably Mary Janes.

So far, I’m not getting rid of anything. Only a million more outfits to go.

Kon Maudy

I’ve just had a wee hiatus. A fortuitous alignment of public holidays meant three days of annual leave gave me ten consecutive days off work. I did spend some of the days off doing family things with the family (as one does) but spent the rest of the time doing those pesky little (if you call five fucking hours of filing little) jobs that you blow off because they’re going to take five hours and when do you ever have five hours that you don’t have to spend at least two of them driving people to places and the rest of the time doing washing.

I also managed to watch the entire Kon Mari telly series on the Netflix before I went on leave. I didn’t know what to expect from the show, and I didn’t expect to discover what I did. As you probably remember, I did the half arsed KM business a couple of years ago, and stopped when I decided my house was tidy enough. So, when I watched the show, I think I was expecting everyone to be the full minimalist and super zen at the end of the experience. What I found was a lot more people like me.

The main thing though that I took out of watching the series, was that for the process to be a success, it had to be about “we” and not “she” (or “he”) – a joint process with everyone in the family taking their share of responsibility; and it wasn’t until that moment where responsibility became a “we” thing that something clicked. The other thing was it’s not about choosing what to discard, it’s choosing what to keep. Which is a different thing all together!

And I also discovered that my level of half arsed-ness really is/was enough.

Of course, when the series came out, all these self righteous wankers latched on to the “first world privilege” aspect where chucking stuff is the privilege of those who can afford to replace it with more stuff. While this might be true for some, eh. Not so much for me. I got rid of about a squintygazillion things, and didn’t really replace them. The process made me a much more discerning shopper, not just in relation to clothes, but to just about everything. And Lordy, the faux outrage about only keeping ten books. Now, I am a book lover. I am almost a book hoarder. I love my books. I love patting them and looking at them and reading them. BUT if I didn’t have the space that I have for books, say, I moved into a tiny house in a paddock somewhere away from everything that’s shitting me at the moment… you know, I reckon I would probably keep a couple of cook books, my recipe book, and maybe half a dozen other books that I really couldn’t live without. So, the idea of keeping only ten books is not as outrageous as it seems.

Which leads me back to the start – doing those pesky not so little jobs that I’ve been ignoring. When I did Kon Mari two or three years ago, I did in fact “do” paper, but like when you clean out the pantry and find that mysterious bottle of something that used to be green, and was past its prime five years ago… This time, I did “paper” properly. And decided I could in fact live without my mobile phone contract from 2002. And the one from 2004 and pretty much every second year between then and 2018. Much paper. Many piles. Several trees. Perhaps a forest.

And the pantry, fridge and freezer – only a bag and a half of rubbish – half used bottles of this and that, ingredients for recipes that nobody liked. It was a thing of beauty until I did the groceries. I cracked the shits when I threw out a bag full of meat from the freezer just before I had my week off. I meal plan on Saturday morning, go to the butcher and get meat, things change, meat didn’t get eaten when it was supposed to and got chucked in the freezer. And some of it shouldn’t have gone in the freezer. Nowt quite like defrosting a lump of meat that’s past it and having to re-write dinner plans on the fly. This week, I have delegated responsibility for meals to the other grown up in the family, so he’s had the fun of coming up with a delicious and nutritious meal for four people, none of whom like the same things. I’m loving it. Not sure whether the other grown up is loving it quite so much.

And I looked at clothes again. But that’s a story for another post.

Far out, brussels sprout

**Just a little something I prepared earlier…

I have had a week of it this week. Nothing major that I can point my finger and go “A-HA. THIS is why my week is a bit shit.” Nope, it was a whole lot of teensy tiny little irritations that all managed to pile up and up until I was looking for a needle of hope in a haystack of irritation. Yeah, I’m a bit woe is fucking me and engaging in quite a lot of bridge building. But the icing on the cake was yesterday.

Lunch.

I got in to work really late, after a couple of appointments; then I had a meeting to go to that started not long after I arrived. I had an hour to grab a bite, eat it and prep for the next meeting, so I went downstairs to the cafe in the building I work in to get something to eat. Now, you’d think that a cafe with 800 captive punters on site, and a couple more hundred across the road would not only be extremely experienced at making all the things, but would also be quick and efficient.  All I wanted was a cheese and tomato toastie and an iced coffee, so down I went.

  • Girlie: Hello. Can I help you?
  • Me: Yes, I would like a skinny iced coffee with ice-cream but no cream, and a cheese and tomato toasted sandwich. Here is my fancy take away cup for you to make the iced coffee in.
  • Girlie: Looks blank. So, that was a skinny latte?
  • Me: Um. Skinny iced coffee.
  • Girlie: Oh. Ok then.
  • Me: and a cheese and tomato toasted sandwich
  • Girlie: Oh. Ok then. That will be $4.50
  • Me: Um. Iced coffee and a toastie?
  • Girlie: Oh. Ok then. $11

I sat down to wait while the Girlie made my lunch. Please note that at this point I am somewhat peckish and really quite under caffeinated. And I am on a very tight time limit.

After a couple of minutes…

  • Girlie: Um. Excuse me. What salads did you want on your sandwich?
  • Me: Um. Just a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich on white?
  • Girlie: Oh. Ok then.

At this point, I am ever so slightly concerned about my lunch. But hey, she must have mixed me up with someone else. Cheese and tomato toastie, iced coffee, all good.

Then the Coffee Girlie appears with my cup in hand…

  • Coffee Girlie: Iced chocolate for Maudy?

Ummmm….

Explained to the poor Coffee Girlie that I actually ordered iced coffee and she looked horrified and ran off to the kitchen with my cup in hand. Another bloke came out and helped her make me a coffee, then handed it over – I asked about my sandwich, and suggested that I was potentially a little bit concerned about what I was going to be eating. He went and investigated.

And there was investigation of a sandwich bag and investigation of a docket and a discussion with another chap and then there was some making of another sandwich – one that didn’t have ham in it. Many apologies and a voucher for a free coffee later… I made it upstairs with some food. And some trepidation.

Fortuitously, it was delicious.

 

 

Existentialism for the modern woman.

I am in the throes of an existential wardrobe crisis.  How on earth can my life be expected to have meaning if I can’t even manage to dress myself in the morning without the putting on and taking off of eleventy bazillion individual items of clothing on a daily basis? Apparently, this is not the first time I have fallen prey to this level of ennui – one of my friends reminded me of this when I was bemoaning my lack of enthusiasm in the wardrobe department. In this instance, at least, I have not been unable to go to work because I have nothing to wear.

It’s come close.

I believe there may be a couple of reasons for this (at least five, to be honest. Maybe as many as eight). The main one being that I am currently a bit fat. Not yugely fat – just that point of fatness where I either need to slam on 10kg so I can go up a size or drop 5kg (or 8kg) and fit in all my clothes. While this may seem to be a no brainer, the existential nature of my crisis means that this summer, Pimms became my Official Summer Beverage of Choice. It is now autumn. And yes, Pimms has now become my Official Autumn Beverage of choice. I am not sure what will happen come winter. Actually, I know damn well what will happen come winter. Who am I even kidding? You can drink warm Pimms. Fuck. I am doomed.

As well, there has been chocolate. Quite a lot of chocolate. And even worse, quite a lot of the chocolate I know I don’t actually like. Oops. One may have to reconsider the consumption of my bodyweight in crappy chocolate on a weekly basis.  Adding to the existential nature of my crisis is, well, I have been a tiny bit overwrought lately. And self-medicating with alcohol and chocolate and ice-cream.  As one does.  The overwroughtness is slightly out of my control – well, there was the conga line of shite that piled up to make 2017 from which I am yet to fully recover (memo to self – two weeks leave in January would have been a better idea); plus there have been a few other bits and bobs that are making my day to day life best described as Interesting.  I did a check list thingy to see if I was heading towards burn-out. Just moderately stressed. Okay. Thanks. Useful to know.  Still struggling to get dressed in the morning.

The other thing that is making getting dressed in the morning a fucking godawful chore is well, you know how I KonMari’d the piss out of my clothes a couple of years ago? Well. What happened then was I got rid of everything I hated and only kept stuff I actually liked. That was all well and good, but I ended up ditching probably ten* or so shirts that I did wear despite not liking them all that much. End result was I didn’t have quite enough clothes and couldn’t find anything I really liked to replace the stuff I got rid of. So, I bought a heap of el cheapo fast fashion cotton tee shirts. This would avoid the dreaded public nudity situation and tide me over until I (hopefully) found some more stuff I liked.

I also really struggle with fast fashion from an ethical perspective (don’t get me started on fast homewares as well. Is so cheap, I can afford to replace all the doodads in the lounge room because that {insert latest colour} is soooo cute. And next thing you know, the local oppy is full of gold pineapples). The t-shirts I bought were seriously dirt cheap. Buy ten t-shirts, and get enough change from $100 to buy another t-shirt, a gold pineapple and a cup of coffee. They’re generally poorly made, so once I’m done with them they’re barely good enough for rags. It’s no wonder I’m fucking existential about my damn wardrobe.

Anyway, two years down the track, and the collection of el cheapo t-shirts are well. Trifle shabby really. I just culled said ten t-shirts, all with weird-arse stains and/or holes in them and with freaky out of shape necklines; and I’m back to where I started from two years ago, sobbing into my wardrobe with nothing to wear.

I did have a little bit of an epiphany when I was culling the trashy t-shirts – I have a couple of half way decent ones that I spent more than $10 on. They’re still in the shape they started in, they’ve kept their colour and they fit. So I procured a couple (ok, four) more non trashy t-shirts; and I did do a slightly wild slightly hormonal shop where I attempted to acquire another pair of shorts I can wear to work (epic fail. My legs are very long. The shorts? Not so much.) Also discovered things eat your lovely woollens when you don’t get them dry cleaned before you pop them away for summer.  This is not pleasing, and will necessitate some mending. At least they’re both dark colours so my dodgy stitchery will be less obvious.

So, here I am at the end of autumn, still mildly stressed out of my brain, still struggling to get dressed in the morning, and still eating too much damn chocolate. Although, I have cut back on the drinking and am a trifle terrified of the idea of heating up my Pimms. Probably should do something about the bits that are within my control…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I live in Victoria. It is not unreasonable to have two weeks’ each of summer tops, winter tops and trans-seasonal tops because one day it’s 40 and the next day it’s not. Plus, the ironing fairy only comes fortnightly.

 

 

 

Welcome back.

Oh hello there, fancy seeing you here, hiding down the back of the couch with all the dust bunnies, the half chewed lollies, one broken pen, a marble, and oooh, shiny at least $5 in coins. Nice. It’s dark and cosy down here…

Where was I? Oh, that’s right. Blogging. I’ve had a hiatus of sorts. The kind of hiatus one has when all the wheels fall off *and* you break an axle. Now, way back in February 2017, I though 2016 wasn’t as shit as I thought it was, and I was sort of complaining a bit about nothing much. It’s now (almost) February 2018 (might even be by the time I post this. I’m digressing. Again.) and I look back on 2017 and yes. Well.

2017 was indeed a bit fucked up. Conga-line of clusterfucks from about Easter onward. Nice one, 2017. Just after Easter, I was blessed with a virus. Not a bad virus so to speak, I just lost 20 IQ points and my brain got filled with custard for a couple of weeks. Then, not long after my last post, I hurt my back. Now, hurting my back is something I do moderately regularly – apparently I have a slightly irritable disc and it ranges from a teensy bit testy to really fucking cross. It objects to the most trivial of motions – generally a slight bend and twist, usually involving picking up a featherweight item at the periphery of my reach. This time was no different. I was unpacking the dishwasher. Back went “oi, you there”. I went “o fuck off, mate. Shizz to do”. It went “alright then. Hold my fucking beer.” My back decided to bypass really fucking cross and venture into absolutely apoplectic territory, and it was welcome to physios and copious muscle relaxants and pain killers. Noice one, mate.

Not satisfied with physically torturing me, I decided a nice dose of man-flu was on the cards. Proper temperature and everything (39C or something. I had the delirious). I was home from work for three whole days. Crikey. I have *never* been that sick before. The kids decided to get in on the action and between them tag teamed the gastro (invincible mother-guts meant I missed that one – although, working from home… in the middle of a telephone hook up and I’m all “erm. Can you call me back in 20 minutes” while Mayhem chucked his guts up. That kid threw up more times in one day than in his entire life.) Then, because gastro wasn’t enough – let’s have some boy-flu. In Mayhem’s defence, I think he had actual flu. He was a sick bubby for a few days. Didn’t even ask for his ipad til day five.

So, you’d be thinking that was enough of the illnesses, right? Well. I would have thought so. But I didn’t really get over the Man-Flu… I just had epic apathy that got worse and worse until I was really struggling to do more than go through the motions at work every day and collapse on the couch at night. Of course, I consulted Dr Google to see whether it was the Ladypause (the shop did appear to be shut) or a depression (I really did not give a fuck about anything. Except that I did give a fuck that I didn’t give a fuck) and was I going to take to my bed with the vapours for the next few years? Except I’d need to change the sheets, and that took effort and yeah… you got it.

I finally hit up a trained medical professional  and whadderyou know. My thyroid, which had a history of taking little naps, decided to shit the tin completely. Now, it’s stopped functioning optimally before, but I’ve never had symptoms. Here are some symptoms (I stole them from here)

  • depression, feeling withdrawn and a lack of motivation
  • inability to concentrate
  • body fatigue, muscle aches and low energy levels
  • needing more sleep
  • intolerance to cold temperatures
  • unexplained weight gain
  • dry skin and /or pale skin and facial bloating
  • hair loss or thinning out
  • constipation
  • heavy, irregular or prolonged menstrual periods
  • goitre (enlarged thyroid gland that is visible)
  • slower heart rate.

Had a couple of them. Or ten. My heart rate is pretty slow anyway. I’m naturally slightly warmer than dead. Little white pills entered my life and things have improved dramatically. I’m still not what I was, though. Albeit fairly close. And the fucking shop had a grand reopening sale. That was a tale in and of itself. I’m away from home, presenting at a conference, and it was like the gates of hell had opened. Suffice to say that while I am mildly disappointed the shop is not in fact shut, I’m glad we’ve returned to business as usual.

Now, you’d think that would be enough for one year. But no, 2017 wasn’t quite finished with me.

I had a fall.

Yes, I am an old person. I have Falls now.

I tell people I fell about a metre. This is not a lie. It is indeed about a metre from my arse to the ground. Which is also indeed about how far I fell. I just left out the bit about slipping on some wet leaves and landing on my arse, spraining my ankle, skinning my knee, and tearing a tendon *and* a ligament in my wrist.

Fuck. Me. Fucking. Swinging.

Yeah, could have been worse. I could have broken my wrist and ankle. Normal people break their bones when they fall. I have sort of hypermobile joints, so I sort of suddenly fold in peculiar directions and gravity takes it’s toll. I’m getting better – eight weeks down the track, the skinned knee has finally healed up, the dodge ankle is fine as long as I don’t jog (pfft) or go down stairs, and my wrist is letting me know what I can’t do by letting go of things randomly. Interesting times.

Anyway, 2017 wasn’t all shite. Just health-wise, 2017 belongs in the bin. I did do some reading (about 25 books, so not much reading), I cooked a bit (poisoned the family with a few new recipes and they didn’t die.) More or less kept up with my steps, too – 4.7 million of the fuckers. We had a couple of cracking family holidays that added Stories to the family lore, which is what it’s all about. I stood up at not one but two conferences in 2017, which was actually fun. I am an ok presenter and come off super calm and composed. Which is nice, considering I am a puddle of sweat from the ankles down. I got bombarded with questions after both presentations, too. And I got to catch up with family and friends after one of them.

And I decided to do something about my stupid back, and took up pilates. This has been one of the best things I’ve actually ever done. I go more or less once a week, it’s a structured class run by physiotherapists (rather than aerobics instructors) and despite my epic Fall with all the other related injuries, back was completely fine.

Anyway. 2018 goals…

Not as shit as 2017.

And I’ll leave it at that!

On the wagon again…

A few months ago, I decided to declutter some of my um. Personal baggage. So, how’s it coming along then, this mission to be a bit less fat that I was? I started in November, it’s now May and I have lost eightish kilograms (actually, I have lost more than eight kilograms, but I am less than eight kilos lighter than I was when I started. Confused? Yeah. So am I.) But still, I am lighter than I was when I started. That’s the main thing, right? But there have been a couple of kilos that’ve come and gone a couple of times, what with one thing and another. There’s been a couple of holidays, and the lady bidness doing its level best to thwart me (hey, you need this extra kilo and ALL THE CHOCOLATE IN THE WORLD) but I know I have slipped off the wagon a little bit lately (did I mention ALL the chocolate in the world?) I’ve noticed I have been doing a lot more scoffing and there’s been a lot less savouring going down.

Like, sitting at Bouncy Land, allegedly supervising my children; with a bag of mixed lollies “for the kiddies” in front of me while I nutted out a particularly tricky bit of crochet.  I suddenly realised as my hand snaked into the bag, pulling out a couple of delectable jelly pieces, that I had NO idea how many times I’d actually done that in the hour I’d been sitting there. I’d basically been sitting there, crochet in one hand and a jelly in the other while I muttered to myself for an hour (…83…84…85…86…what do you mean 86…fuck it. Repeat).

Not to mention finding myself heading toward the poxy charity chocolate box again. Now, I established a while ago that I don’t actually like the stuff. It’s cheap and nasty and slightly warmer than is pleasant, and for the last well over a year, I have dipped in the box maybe three or four times (hormones seriously have a lot to answer for) but in the last couple of months, it’s been almost daily. Also, there’s been wine. Much wine. And cheese. I love cheese. And maybe cake. There could have been cake. At least once or twice. And Baileys. I am partial to a Baileys on a cooler evening, and the evenings have been getting cooler.

Ok, I confess, I know exactly where that stray couple of kilograms keeps coming from, damnit. The lady business, well, I’m not sure exactly what’s going on with that – but I am of an age where the shop should be shutting up. However, it appears that, like the rug shop on the High Street, this shop is in no hurry to make up its mind. Grand Sale, Grand Sale, everything special price, you make me an offer… Please. Shut. The. Damn. Shop.

Yes, well. That bit is out of my hands. The wine and the cheese and the chocolate and the new ice-cream shop around the corner from work and the stuffing my face with chippies when I get home from work, however. That bit is in my hands (literally *in* my hands. Ahem. See what I did there.)

So, I have taken the first steps toward being mindful again. Starting with a week of calorie counting. There’s nowt like measuring every mouthful to make one reconsider its worth. Snacks are now served on plates like I’m a Lady or somesuch. If I really want the snack, I am happy to do the extra dishes. And I’m not just restricting the mindfulness to food. I have also been making a conscious effort to go to bed at a reasonable hour (ok, reasonable is up for debate, somewhere before 11.30 is fairly reasonable) because (der) getting a decent amount of sleep at night means I don’t have that crash in the afternoon when I go looking for a little something something that leads to another something because the first something wasn’t the something I was looking for because I was tired and what I needed was an extra half hour of sleep. Plus, my steps. Getting my steps up solves a multitude of problems – it stops me turning into the Dragon Queen, helps me sleep better, and, if there’s enough steps, they compensate for the odd cheese platter and bottle of wine.

And I do like the odd cheese platter and bottle of wine. (And cake)

Housekeeping (or Kon Mari 12 months later)

Think I mentioned last time I plopped ma fingers on the keyboard that I would maybe have a wee chat you youse alls about the houseworkings. Now, I am at best, an ordinary house keeper. I have staff to deal with the basics – the ironing disappears on Monday morning and comes back on Wednesday all smooth and delicious. The dog hair and dust disappears in a similar fashion on a Friday. Crinkle free clothes and a clean house – what more can a lassie desire?

Well.

A lassie might like a gourmet chef to prepare delicious, nutritious and calorie free meals, someone to hunt and gather free range and organic ingredients for aforementioned meals; and someone who will transform the slightly grubby and well-worn clothing into a suitable state for de-crinkling. Yeah. Like that’s ever going to happen. There are also those rotten little jobs that fall outside the bailiwick of the cleaning fairy and the ironing fairy, like cleaning the oven, and murdering the dust bunnies behind the bed, and washing the fucking shower curtain so it doesn’t go mouldy.  Oh, and cleaning the damn coffee machine. Sour milk and coffee smell so attractive. Not. There’s a whole heap of other little jobs that – while you know the earth won’t fall off its axis if they’re not done – make the earth rotate a lot more smoothly when they are.

Hence my dalliance with the Flylady and the KonMari business – I’ve also dallied with a few other ‘cleaning systems’ in the past as well, with similar amounts of (ahem) success. I keep going back to Flylady because she does keep track of those Little Jobs; and I keep breaking up because the twee and mundane and the fucking hell, I can feel my blood pressure rising. Lordy.

Now, I gave KonMari’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up a red hot go last year. I looked for joy in all the right places, and I culled and I cleaned and I sorted. Bags and bags of stuff got sent to the op shop and the school fete and to friends with needs for random things that I had but didn’t need. Then I got to a point where I a) didn’t want to spend all my free time tidying up and b) reached a level of ‘clutter’ I can more or less live with. I live with three other people and a hairy little dog, and we all have our own level of mess. Obviously, mess times four is not sustainable (the dog also contributes hair and leaves her toys around the house, so it’s really mess times five), but a girl has to have some light in her life. So, I stopped tidying for a bit to see what would happen.

And this is what happened…

Clothes – well. I have gone back in to all our clothes every few months and culled a bit and culled a bit more and culled a bit too much (oops) to the point where I had to replace a few items with “it will do for now” rather than actual joy sparkers, because public nudity is still not an acceptable thing. On the plus side, some joy sparkers I did keep are now in rotation after the diminishing bosom diminished enough I can do up buttons. There’s nowt like shopping the wardrobe for a wee bargain or ten. BUT, in saying that, the last cull was a wee shopping bag between the four of us, rather than 5-6 garbage bags it was the first time and 3-4 the second time; and to the best of my knowledge, nothing was new with tags. Also, in the past, sorting clothes was a FULL day’s job for the four of us. Now, it took me less than an hour to sort Reg and my wardrobes, and maybe 20 minutes each for the kids. Win.  I have become a more discerning shopper – I know that I do not like certain cuts of t-shirt, I don’t like some fabrics, and I prefer dresses with no defined waist lines. I will go shopping for a precise item of clothing and only buy that item. (And if someone knows where I can replace a pair of butt-ugly walking shorts with pockets, I will be eternally grateful) I’m saving a fortune! Even with the kids clothes, I am buying half what I would have bought them in the year.

Oh, and when I fold the clothes, I can’t help but mutter to myself about Ms Kondo’s folding theory being alright for teeny tiny Japanese lady clothes and underpants for teeny tiny Japanese lady bottoms, while I wrangle the suitable for a six foot plus cuddly Anglo Saxon man’s clothes into submission so they’ll fit into the teeny tiny 1950’s style cupboards we have at ours. Mutter grumble. I did re-jig the folding techniques somewhat to accommodate the relative size differential (in comparison to those tiny Japanese Lady Things) of Man sized (and tall lady sized) items of clothing . Sweet folding spots are over-ridden by the gravitational pull exerted by a XXL hoodie.

Books and paper – I did a massive cull of books last year, and while I’ve had to resort to buying the odd paper book again, I’ve not bought *that* many. I’ve even backed away from the cook books. I have actually exchanged cold hard foldings for e-books as well since my previous source sorta dried up, damnit. And I have always been pretty good at paper – I keep what I have to and cull a year’s worth at a time.

Komono – As far as crap goes, that’s even been kept to an acceptable level. And, again with the discerning shopping… Not buying shit because it’s pretty is a good way to save a load of money and not necessitate an endless cycle of pulling out all the things and putting them all back again to squeeze in the new pretty thing that you are 98% sure you’re going to use once. Oops. There’s a couple of places I need to re-visit, and I still need to get an Old Person to sit down with me and name names in the photo albums, but aside from that – all good. When I look into cupboards, stuff is still more or less where I left it a year ago, if it’s been used, it’s gone back, if it hasn’t been used, it’s still Weird Shit you can’t actually throw out, because it’s all stuff that you’ll need it when you need it and not before, and the effort to procure said weird shit outweighs the minor irritation of keeping it in the damn cupboard.

So, at the end of the day, realistically I am not a minimalist and I never will be. I am never going to end up with bare walls and one artfully placed blossom in a gorgeous vase. While it’s nice to look at, it’s totally not my jam. I like to have nice things around me, and the people I live with also like to have their things out where they can be admired and enjoyed. (And where they can reach them, assuming there’s going to be a shortage of zooper dooper wrappers and chip packets in the future. But that’s mess that can be dealt with by the perpetrator in eleven seconds flat).

My house is tidy enough.

 

 

How’d 2016 treat you, mate?

Well, well, well. For most of 2016, I really felt like I was lurching from one near catastrophe to another, that I was one small step away from disaster at any moment. But, when I looked back on the year from the safety of 2017, it  wasn’t all Drama! Crisis! Calamity! It was merely a string of mild hiccups interspersed with some actually awesome moments. Pretty standard year, really. I read 35 books, I finished my Harmony blankie, I cooked a heap of new recipes, and I made a conscious decision to lose weight (which I have already banged on about).

I also got well over my “fear” of driving our hot rod. To be honest, I was never actually scared of driving it, just when you have someone in the passenger seat sucking in their breath every time you do anything they disapprove of… Pinched the keys from Reg and drove it like I stole it. Epic. And now, don’t even think twice about stealing the keys from Reg and yeah, Driving is ace. Also, now I have my *own* car, I like driving that, too. Ok, cannot/will not back it out of the driveway, but hey. “Reg, get the XP out, I’m going for a KROOZE”. Hotrodders cannot spell for shit. I also like the term “fat-arming” which is exactly what it sounds… driving around with the windows down with your arm hanging out. Makes you look like you got muscles. Also, truckie tan and sunburn if you forget that your arm is normally inside the vehicle.

Reading has been a thing again – I’m reading a book about every ten days. This is ace. I am nowhere near my BC reading rates, but after spending more than a few years barely managing to read 15 or 20 books, you can sense my excitement. I’ve come across a couple of new writers (Charles Stross, Elly Griffiths, Denise Mina) that I really like. I’ve revisited some old favourites, most of whom haven’t disappointed. Most importantly, I AM READING AGAIN. I have even lolled on the couch and read in daylight. Although sometimes I have to decide between crochet and reading. Can’t do both at once. I decided I wasn’t that jazzed with colouring in. It’s nice enough but I get bored *really* quickly, and hey, at the end of the day, I can make something tangible and snuggly warm if I colour in with yarn. (Can’t blog and crochet at the same time either. I am going to work on time jugglement in 2017). I also decided that life’s too short and gave a project I was hating the arse. And started another that I love. That I sort of want to do now, but I want to blog and um, my book’s at a good bit. Two heads are better than one.

And cooking. I love cooking a lot. It’s like chemistry you can eat. Although I srsly need an actual dishpig at mine for cooking extravaganzas. Chaos does do the dishes, but because I have to clean the bench so we can eat dinner, I do my cooking dishes. Snot fair. Chaos is also expressing an interest in learning to cook. He’s requested I teach him how to make muffins. Of course, this means I will have to actually write down the proper recipe for him. I base mine on the Stephanie Alexander muffin recipe from Cook’s Companion, then it goes a bit free-range and if this then that and I double bits and not other bits. However, if he wants to learn, I shall write it down. Another thing I noticed if I cook with my son is that as long as I don’t look at him, we have the most interesting chats about all manner of random things. I also discovered Chaos has maths homework when I creepy stalked his maths teacher to see if I knew him (I didn’t.) I’ve sort of got housework under control ish sort of if you don’t look too hard ish. Ish. But that’s possibly a blog post of its own. (While I haven’t taken Flylady back, I’ve invited her around for coffee. Ditto with KonMari))

I learned something about myself that I probably already knew. For me, the endorphins from exercise stop me from being a psychotic hose beast with a short temper and a snippy tongue. I sort of already knew that, because when I had a Madness after my dad died, it was exercise and sleeping tablets that pulled me through, and once I had one under control, I didn’t so much need the other. But that’s what works for me. Walking is enough, too. I don’t need boot camp or running or endless bloody gym sessions. I am not a team player, I honestly think boot camp is fucked up (hence my not doing it, good for you if that’s what pops your cork). So I walk every day. 11,000 steps because 10% extra is good.

Music is another thing I started to enjoy again. Like, I’ve always enjoyed music and having it on and around, but for some reason, I stopped listening to it. This year, I revisited my yoof (like, I’m talking 14 or 15 angsty teenager yoof here) and I’ve started listening to 3RRR and I subscribed. Sort of payback for all the years of enjoyment I got from RRR in the early 80s. I discovered bluegrass/hip hop fusion and rekindled my love of blues music. ANd digital radio. Crikey. I’ve now worked out how to use my digital receiver and there are quite a lot of interesting stations out there. Like, um. Aussie for indulging the inner bogan, and there’s a couple of stations that just play 80s and 90s music. Tunes and LOUD if you please. Also, can I pls have stereo for XP, ok thx. One with a remote.

OOh, and streaming. I have watched So. Much. Telly. Loads of stuff. Mostly half watched because crochet and writing (and playing silly games), but watched enough to say yeah, watched a lot of telly. Love the Netflix and the Stan and yeah, cannot wait for new episodes of my shows. Give me a good serial killer and I am happy as a clam. Although Netflix, I needs you to pop sub-titles in the blurb because I only half watch and do something else, I really need the talking to be in the englishes. Please?

So yeah, that’s a whole lot of not actually sucking going on in 2016. Dunno what I was complaining about really. Bring on the 2017.