Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

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.

 

 

Thinner…

Riddle me this, Gentle Reader. What kind of idiot decides that the very bestest time in the universe to take up a diet would be in the couple of months before Christmas? Yeah. That’d be me. Crazy person from Crazytown, Population one.

I had one of THOSE revelations a little while ago… Mum was organising some pants being made for me in far flung parts and she needed some measurements. Fuck me, that was a confronting experience. There were quite a lot of numbers involved in them thar measurements, and whilst Mrs McGee insists she “doesn’t do numbers”, she’s a fucking dressmaker. She knows damn well what *those* particular numbers mean. Her daughter is a fatty boombalaka (and also a foot taller than her so she’ll pretend she knows nuffink if she knows what’s good for her. Good mother I have there.)

Anyway, I made a decision that right then and there – I was going to start watching what I eat and attempting to move more. I weighed myself and measured myself and wrote down those confronting measurements one more time and started (or stopped. Something). I could have waited til after Birthday Season finished, or after The Christmas Season, or the beginning of January, or after we got back from holidays or after I went back to work or even after I finished my second lot of annual leave.

Or a random Tuesday in 2018.

Nope. No time like the present. Basically, even if December and January are a little rocky, there’s a good chance I won’t be starting from an even shitter place than I would be starting when I did. Ok, that didn’t make much sense. Long story much shorter – Start now, lose some weight now, lose more after the Silly Season.

I’ve been officially fat before, and last time, the wake up call came in the shape of a photograph. I didn’t recognise myself. In the picture was a fat old besom, bursting out of her shirt, snarly face being stuffed with something or other, and that’s not how I looked in my head. Ok, the snarly face probably was as I imagined it. It was Christmas and I’m not good at Christmas. Anyway, long story short, got a fright, pulled my finger out and lost 20kg. I kept it off, too. Well, most of it (give or take a couple of kilograms), for about five years. Then, my thyroid shit the tin and I stacked on ten kilos in a relatively short period of time (trained medical professional was involved in the diagnosis. My thyroid wasn’t bad enough for medication, but bad enough that losing weight was a fucking yuge effort for minimal result), then there was the knee thing, turning fifty and getting an enormous CWA bosom overnight, and whadderyou know, I hit the ton just over twelve months ago.

Now THAT was an eye opening number. I Did Not Like that number one little bit, cut back on the cake and forced the knee into a trifle more exercise than it was comfortable with and clawed my weight back to a relatively less repulsive number than I saw on those scales… But time moved on and while my weight didn’t really shift from said less repulsive number, I wasn’t really all that super comfortable with how I looked and felt, and how clothes were fitting me (or, more to the point, not fitting me). That damn CWA bosom was playing havoc with the line of my clothes. And the generally rather well padded arse was um. Substantial. VERY substantial. Then came the aforementioned measuring and the realisation that, despite my internal denials, I was actually a Bit Fat, and I wasn’t very happy about it.

So, I decided I wanted to be thinner.

No number-y goals or anything, just less fat than I was. For me, a relatively low fat diet is the way to go. I don’t follow any particular diet as such – less in than out, move more than I sit, and don’t deny myself anything (because that just leads the very mature 14 year old who lives in my head to just yell “fuck yers all” and stuff her face with whatever has been popped on the “you can’t have that” list). I just know that too much protein makes me spew, and too much fat makes me, well, fat. And I also refuse to eliminate entire food groups like cake and pizza from my life. So, since the end of October I have been considering what I shove in my gob before I stuff my face with whatever is laying around.

And, despite two birthday parties, six Christmas parties, Christmas itself, and going away for a week where I managed to consume about six months worth of alcohol in the space of eight days… I am just a little bit thinner. Not quite noticeable to anyone else unless they look *really* closely, but enough that I need a belt with some pants and the bosom is a little more cross your heart divide and separate and a little less CWA. I’ve also been able to do a spot of shopping in my wardrobe and extended my repertoire of attractive frocks by several. And really, if I think about it, in the last year and two months  I have lost 10% of my starting body weight, and that is a pretty good thing. I still don’t know what I’m aiming for… just a bit less than I am.

 

 

Eh wat?

Apparently, it’s been a good couple of months since my last blog post. Not sure how that happened, I think it was a couple of months between last drinks as well but hey. Life and other shenanigans have a wee habit of getting in the way of well laid plans. I have to say the last couple of months have been a bit fucked really. I usually floof about a bit like a duck, all calm and serene on the surface and pedalling like mad underneath, but always with my head firmly above water and pointing roughly in the right direction. Lately though, bit more waving my arms in the air cos drowning. Lots going on, some in my control, a fair bit not, and something had to give for a while. That thing was this.

But I’m back for a wee bit, and the Cosmos seems to be smiling on me (the credit card company seems to have been infested with polite, friendly and helpful space aliens. This is not a bad thing, but srsly, they answered my questions and FIXED things. That never happens. And the health insurance mob is giving me way more money back in exchange for a relatively small amount of cash in return. Also, never happens). So, you never know, duck like serenity could well return. It would be nice if it did.

So, enough of my moaning (I am actually moaning quite a lot about everything because Things is Haaaaaaaaard, man) and what else have I been doing since last I wrote? I have been reading, I have been journaling, I’ve not been tidying up and I’m still broken up with Flylady. In fact, I am so broken up with Flylady that I even snatched housework for the afternoon and went fat-arming in the Early Bird (tr: driving around with the windows down in a 1966 Falcon) and I didn’t even care. Ok, I cared a little tiny weeny bit when I had to go grocery shopping with a hangover on Sunday. That wasn’t fun. I also spent nearly $300 and none of it was on actual food. Oops. Don’t be recommending grocery shopping after a crappy night out. Oh, that was another thing that happened. I went out at night. Ended up in a shitty pub listening to a shitty coverband and fending off middle aged men making goo goo eyes at me and pinching my arse. On the one hand, hey I’ve still got it, but on the other hand, fuck off mate.

Books – Another Ellie Griffiths, but not a Ruth Galloway one. Smoke and Mirrors is about a police detective and a magician. Weird. Sort of works, set in the early 50s with all the mores of that era. I sort of liked it I think.  I dunno. Jury’s out. I also read Bad Debts by Peter Temple. I read it mainly because I’d watched and enjoyed the telly series (as an aside, I don’t particularly like Guy Pearce for myriad reasons, mostly not to do with his acting, but he’s  good in this series) and because my usual source of books has erm been arrested or something, I gave them a whirl. It was good. I’ll read more. And the other one is The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly. It was a bit different and a bit convoluted, but at the end of the day (or weekend, actually) it was a cracking read. I read most of it over one weekend on a road trip.

Now, that’s a story in itself. Proper country, middle of nowhere, spasmodic at best telephone service (unless you’re lucky enough to be with the other carrier who had a tower less than a kilometre away. Nobody was, because they’re generally shit in the country and we were hanging with country people). Anyway, no interwebs meant a lot of lolling about reading when I wasn’t learning about Mallee Fowl and the eating habits of the lesser Bettong. Lot of reading time. Which I did put to good use.

Oh, and I finished my blanket! And gave the other one I’m making not so much the arse as a mild reassessment. The Harmony blanket  is bloody well gorgeous. It took me just over a year to finish (ok, I did do other stuff in between and one cannot crochet in summer due to sweaty paws) and I love it. It looks amazing and it’s super snuggly and warm. I love it. The other blanket – well. Now, this blanket has a lovely story behind it and the pattern was created with love in honour of a regular crocheter. But here’s the thing. While I am not an amazing crocheter, I am not bad. I can’t really read a pattern, which is problematic, but there were videos, so I was getting along ok. BUT I realised that at the end of each square I wasn’t so much yay look what I’ve done and more fuck, I’ve got another three to do. So, yeah. Snatched it. Sort of. I will be making the squares, but doing my own patterns and dancing to the beat of my own slightly recalcitrant drum.

Anyway, that’s about enough for one night.

 

Do Pidgeys taste like chicken?

Enquiring minds would like to know. Pinsirs, despite looking a bit angry bull like are insects and thus not very tasty. And Goldeens and Magicarps are definitely nasty fishy things. Enquiring minds like to discuss all manner of interesting things when one is driving in the car. Including the ins and outs of Harry Potter and what to do when one is ready for Book 5 and it’s a hard cover and it will probably be too heavy to bring to school each day (his teacher will let him read his copy at school. Win)

Aside from the Pokemon Go-ing (and endless debate about what different Pokemon would taste like), I too have been reading rather a lot. One of my (many) ongoing Personal Challenges is to read two books a month. I am being a success at this challenge, having read 27 books this year (in just under ten months).

I’ve managed two most months this year, and in August, I managed three (albeit two were on the short side) In September, however –  I READ FIVE WHOLE BOOKS. This reading frenzy I embarked on was aided and abetted by several journeys on public transport – Four trains, two buses, a couple of trams, two planes and a selection of taxis and hire cars. Aside from the last two, all provide ample opportunity for whipping through copious books. (The last two options would have involved spewing if I tried to read.)  But you don’t really want to hear about my travails with the Stinky Cabbie, or the Most Racist Cabbie, or fitting four comfortably built ladies into a Prius (I’m sure you can imagine that for yourself.) And I’ve read one so far in October. On to the books…

The first two I read are the second and third of the Laundry Files by Charles Stross. I would probably call this urban fantasy – magic and stuff interacting with the Real World, but in this series, the protagonist is ostensibly an IT dude but accidentally ends up being some kind of secret agent. I didn’t read them in order, which was a bit of an accident. I didn’t realise Book One was actually one book. I am old and blonde. These things happen. Then, for something completely different, Death Without Company by Craig Johnson. I got onto these after watching the Netflix series Longmire. Now, the Netflix Longmire is quite dark and angsty. The book Longmire is not so much. And has really ordinary taste in women. The characters are similar to the telly series, but some are obviously an amalgamation of two or more of the book characters. I do like both the book and the telly Longmire, but they’re so different, it’s hard to see the connection between the two. The books are quite soothing and nice.

I also read the new Val McDermid (Out of Bounds). This is the fourth Karen Pirie novel – this is more of a police procedural than the Tony Hill ones, and Karen herself is easier to relate to than Carol Jordan. She has her share of problems, and yes, she’s a bit mouthy. But I find her more human. Anyway, the story was good and the tangled ends were sort of more or less sorted out. Really enjoyed it (also, paid actual cold hard cash for a paper book. This is Quite Unusual.) At the same time, I also read The Red Road by Denise Mina. I didn’t realise before, but Alex Morrow has a similar ‘voice’ to Karen Pirie – I suppose because I was reading them simultaneously it was more evident, and maybe once or twice I got confused as to who I was reading about (and may have mentally looked for the odd person before realising I was reading one and not the other). Tip for young players, don’t read two books about mouthy lady Scottish police people simultaneously.

The last one I read was another of the Ruth Galloway books by Ellie Griffiths (A Dying Fall). These are nice, and a bit samey samey. This one was a bit different in that stuff that happened will change stuff that happens in future books. Plus, she started off being quite together in a vaguely disorganised way, but she’s become a bit of a whinyarse. I know having kids fundamentally changes you, because it can’t not; but srsly Ruth, get yer hand off it. Anyway, the historical stuff is interesting and there’s um. Another four left that I shall read at some point.

So there’s six books. In six weeks. That’s some kind of miracle really.

 

Right. Um. Where was I?

Down the back of the couch, obviously. I’ve been busy. No. Seriously, actually busy. For the last month, flat out like a dead lizard  – we’ve been away a couple of times and had a fair bit of Family Time as well, the Hound had to have an operation on her knee after a badly timed ute-jump (she’s not dealing with convalescence well – while it’s nice to see she’s lost none of her ridiculous personality, ninja jumps to the top of our very high bed are Not On, Puppy. Can’t quite manage another $1,600 to re-fix your knee) Had a bit of a technological disaster with the old laptop that (of course) hadn’t been cleaned out yet. Someone clicked something. They will NEVER do that again. Or I will possibly have to revoke interwebs privileges. That took a bit of sorting out, but I’ve now found a lovely computer guy for stuff that’s out of my league. AND the printer died (or didn’t want to talk to the new laptops, one or t’other) – tried living without BUT that was more annoying than I would have thought. Email to work, print, scan, send home, email to destination because private. Argh.

Plus, the kids have been tag teaming lurgies – Chaos’s turn this week. Mayhem was last week. Reg and my good self have been taking it in turns. Today is my turn. Coughing til you spew =/= going to school. Anyway – it’s probably time for a bit of a half time catch up on stuffs seeing as we’re half way through the year (and I owe about four posts that are all stumbling over each other in my brains). Half time it is then…

Firstly, the lard arse. I’m down about five or six kilos, depending on which way the wind is blowing. I’m going to pull my entire hand out of the cookie jar though and stop with the face stuffing, because I suspect that 5-6kg will revert to 3-4 kilos if I continue with the biscuits. I need to find a biscuit that is pleasing without being more-ish. (Chocolate Ripple, Scotch Finger, anything wafer-y, Tic Tocs and 100s and 1000s are all in the more-ish category. Teddy Bears are not so much). I could stop entirely with the biscuits, but there’s something about a cup of pretend tea that calls out for a matching little something something to go along with it. So the singular biscuit stays. Just need to cut out the plurals.

I’m doing excellently with the non-buying of lunches. I buy something maybe once a week (pretty keen on chicken karaage from one of the food court joints. It’s really tasty, and because it’s rice and chicken and salad, I can easily kid myself it’s healthy. It’s fried chicken. It’s probably not.) And I have succumbed to the siren call of the charity chocolates twice in six months – when I was reaching for my third packet of chippies, I was all just have the fucking chocolate. So I did, it was as shit as I remembered and eh, didn’t do it again for another  month (theme? Maybe there is.)

I did discover something related to my exercise (such as it is) and my mood though – if I get my steps in, I am pleasing of demeanour. If I  miss for more than a couple of days in a row, I range from slightly shitty to absolutely incandescent with rage. Small irritations are magnified by all the other small irritations and I end up best described as A Bit Fucking Cross. For three weeks. I can’t remember the last time I sustained a bad mood for three weeks. There were legitimate external influences on my mood, but seriously, my reaction to some of the really small things that happened? Good thing I don’t work with pointy objects.  I was starting to think it was the lady-pause because I am of an age; and I do remember Mrs McGee’s phases of less than impeccable rationality from my yoof. Three days of solidly hitting my step goal and PFFT!  Bad Mood was gone. Correlation co-efficient positive one. Steps up, irritations are irritations. Steps down? I’ll fucking run you through with a javelin or something. If I had a javelin. Which, in and of itself would be a source of further irritation. So, next time I’m that cranky…send me out for a walk well away from the pointy things.

On the topic of walking – Pokemon GO rocks. Also, anything that means I can go for a two and a half hour walk with the kids and no whining or fighting has to be totally awesome in my book. I’m not sure about the gym thing yet, although Mayhem is bursting at the seams to get me into a gym (he’s playing on my account because well, he’s 10. No phone for him). When he earns technology back, I might let him have a go (long story – tl;dr version = three strikes and no tech for two weeks). All those people with their po faces and sneering about the Pokemons can pretty much get stuffed because it’s fun. Just because I now walk the long way in through the front door of work because there’s three extra poke-stops compared to the back door… eh, it’s a couple of hundred more steps for me!

I’ve officially broken up with the Flylady (again), I’m still not tidying up BUT I am still bullet journaling. I had to step back a bit when I got carried away with the decoration and the pretty and best handwriting all the time. Couple of deliberate scrappy do lists and eh, she’ll be right. I stopped tracking goals because well, setting myself up for fail isn’t fun. But as far as keeping things on track, I’m doing pretty well. (The Hound got *all* of her injections on time because written down. Although Reg didn’t like me keeping the dog’s anti-inflammatories next to the kid’s antibiotics. NO idea why.) Tracking spending shit me because I can’t remember and hello, accounting for $3.80 for a coffee every day when I really do have no other vices… So now I am trying to SAVE $100 a month instead. Much more sensible.

My blanket is coming along nicely – it’s too big to be portable now, and I only have a strip and a bit to go (plus the border). The other project is also ticking along. I took it away with me and did two squares in two days. Actually, that’s probably the most legitimate reason I’ve not been writing – the bucket of time I have for writing is the same as the bucket of time I have for crochet, and crochet is winning. Because time is a finite resource subject to change without notice. And that is a topic for another day.

Happy Democracy Sausage Day

I missed out on a Democracy Sausage today. The sausage sizzle at the primary school where I voted had a Sausage Emergency at 10.30, necessitating a run by my good self to Coles for a selection of their finest mystery bags and tasteless white bread. Strangely enough, the blandness of the home brand bread, coupled with the mysterious content of the sausage compliment each other. So, while I did my duty for the school (my kid goes there, I’m not *that* altruistic), I missed out on a sausage. Bummer. The queue to vote was enormous – when I got there, the queue was just past the end of the multi-purpose room, by the time I went in, it was half way across the school yard, and when I came out – curling around past the gate. No wonder they ran out of sausages. There was a bloke who wasn’t from round these parts (judging purely on a) his accent and b) his total bemusement) who kept saying “I can’t believe it” and “it’s supposed to be serious –  there’s kids and dogs and sausages and cakes”. Which is as it should be. And yes, he had a sausage AND a dog while he waited for his friend to vote.

Anyway, politics is NOT what you’re here for. Nor are you here for the sausages. Well, I assume you’re not here for the sausages or the politics. If you are, sorry about that*. I write about books and housework mostly, nothing too deep and meaningful.

Orright. Books or housework? I think books, seeing as I’ve just finished two. I set myself a goal to read (and finish) two books a month, and I am taking this as June’s two, even though I finished one of them today! Now, I was struggling a bit with reads in June because I was being a moody fucker and trying to read something that was a Bit Deep. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but when one is being In A Mood, one is better off leaving the challenging shit to a better day. Technically, I read two books in two weeks.

Book the first was Nightshift (Book #3 in the Midnight, Texas series by Charlaine Harris. She of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series. Please don’t judge me.) It is proper Trash – the kind that comes with a capital “T”. It’s light, fluffy, angsty, weird as fuck and I’m pretty sure there were issues with the continuity, although that could have been down to my falling asleep reading it and forgetting what I was up to. Suffice to say, it all worked out in the end and they lived happily ever after until Book #4 comes out, anyway. It’s supposed to be a trilogy, so we’ll see how that pans out. I wonder if Ms Harris would consider writing one decent length book instead of three bits of books? If you took out all the re-capping and ‘splaining, there’d probably be a decent 450 page novel. Although, if she did that, I’d only get one book instead of three. As you were.

Now, Book the second was a bit LOT better – this one is called Written in Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel. I picked it up from a review from Ben Aaronovitch who wrote the Peter Grant series (wizard detective. Win.) when I was sniffing around his website looking for the publication date for the next installment (September, maybe. Or not. Depends. Ahem.) Anyway, I have liked a few other books Mr Aaronovitch has thrown out as reading suggestions, so I gave it a whirl. I am glad I did. It was fun. It’s about a bloke who makes a living buying and re-selling rare and interesting vinyl records, who goes off on a mission to find a particular exceedingly rare 1950s jazz pressing. There’s quite a lot of derrings do, a bit of sexy times and a few drugs. It’s a cracking read and I definitely recommend it. I still have my vinyl record collection (I can’t seem to get rid of mine. They’re very alluring. And I spent a LOT of pocket money on that collection. I don’t think any record collectors with valves on their record players will be looking for my selection of Hits Hot 1977 and Ripper 1978 to pay me a lot of money though. My musical taste was (and is) a little eclectic).

I’m also reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (that’s the one that was too deep for my cranky arse), John Birmingham’s How to be a Writer and a book about lying (The Honest Truth about Dishonesty – for work, it’s about behavioural economics which is quite fascinating. About how people basically do a quick cost benefit analysis on every decision they make, and that lots of little lies are way more costly than one big lie. I’ve only read three chapters. It’s probably more complex than that).

Anyway, there’s books for the last month for you.

 

(*If you’re interested, I cast my vote with a mind to making my very safe seat marginal and for a feral senate to keep the bastards on their toes. See what happens when I miss out on ma sausage!)

Yeah wat?

Today didn’t start well. In fact, this morning could best be described as a bit of a no good terrible very bad morning. It all started when my darling Mayhem completely forgot the process required to transfer foodstuffs from the cupboard to one’s belly. It has many steps, so I can understand how he could get confused with all that put the food in the bowl, put the *spoon in the bowl, put food on the spoon, and put spoon in mouth. Now chew. Now swallow. Repeat from star until bowl is empty. And Chaos got in on the act by fluffing about before he got in the shower (one shower house means there’s a queue in the morning. He has to have breakfast before he showers. There is time for him to do both before I want the shower. If he doesn’t fluff around.) I finally got out the door, dropped Mayhem at school and parked the car. This was the point where I realised I’d left my phone at home.  This is somewhat annoying, but ultimately deal with-able – the world won’t end without it, and anyone important has my work number anyway. Then, I’m half way to work and I realise I’ve left my work ID card in my other coat. Also annoying, but hey, temporary pass in my near future. And to add to the irritation of the morning, the brand new shirt I was wearing had a Tag. One of those really irritating tags that just drive you completely bonkers – but again, nothing a pair of scissors and someone else’s steady hand couldn’t deal with.

I got to work, organised a temporary pass (more difficult than it should be. The name I use on the other side of the internet is simple but strangely complex. And apparently ridiculously hard to spell), finally headed up to my desk, said my good mornings, took off the fifty bazillion outer layers that are necessary in a Victorian winter and turned on my computer. Nice. I opened my bag, pulled out my glasses case, and…

Empty.

Yes. I forgot to pick up my glasses from the front passenger seat from the car. I knew, when I left them there last night, there was a fairly high (ok, virtually certain) chance I’d forget them, but did I bother picking them up and putting them in my bag when I was looking at them sitting on the seat? Well, no I didn’t. But you knew that. I left them where they fell and went inside. Because I am a twit. Now, while a lack of phone, lack of ID card and really irritating shirt tag are irritating, none of these items will impact in the slightest on doing my job.

Not having my glasses sorta does. I am ridiculously long sighted – without my glasses, the words on the screen in front of me are meaningless squiggles, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do at work without the ability to see whatever the hell it is I’m theoretically doing. And definitely nothing I can do for eight hours without looking at it. So, I put my coat and scarf back on, remembered to collect my car keys (now *that* would have been dire – I park about 1.5km from work), grabbed my wallet and trudged all the way back up the hill. Glasses were exactly where I left them, so I put them in my inside coat pocket (not forgetting those babies) and went home.

Yes, I went home, picked up my phone from the dining table where I left it, collected my ID car from my coat pocket and whipped off the shirt I was wearing and dealt with that damn tag. I ended up paying for parking for the eleventieth time this month, which is annoy – but hello, needs must.  I got back to work just before 10am and started the day for the second time. I may or may not have accidentally acquired a block of Pana chocolate (fig and wild orange) on the way back, too. Days like today deserve chocolate.

Still resting…

After what could best be described as a fairly frenetic KonMari attack on a large proportion of my house, I stopped just after Easter and embarked on a brief hiatus to see what would happen if I stopped with the tidying up of all the things… That hiatus has now entered its second month and I don’t seem to be in a rush to tidy up anything else. And you know what, the house is still looking ok.

Now, because I’m not keen on being told what to do, and nor am I keen on doing things the way they’re supposed to be done (just call me Miss Free-Range 2016), my approach to the whole KonMari business was probably a bit scattergun compared to the super orderly super structured purist KM methodology. I should also state up front and out loud that I still do have a fair bit of stuff that I like dotted about the place. This could well be described as crap (or komono) by some people, but I like it (or someone else who lives in my house likes it – looking at you, several butt-ugly paintings in various rooms in my house) and I reckon liking it is enough to meet the definition of joy-sparking. And no, I’m not consigning my teddies to the fucking bin, you heartless moll. Ahem.

I suppose I did start at the start, because I started with clothes, but it appears that I also embarked on the KonMari process before KonMari was a ‘thing’ – two years ago, I did a full kitchen makeover that involved gutting an entire room and remodelling. The method I used to decide what should stay or go was remarkably similar to the KM process. Although I also had to consider whether I used the item, and also whether I had room for the item as I lost a lot of cupboard real estate in the renovation ( I lost the equivalent of a row of cupboards as the old kitchen had cupboards to the ceiling and the new kitchen doesn’t.) I still regret parting with my gorgeous Italian ceramic platters and bowls, but I had nowhere to put them. And they’re the kind of thing I’d a) use once a year and b) had a viable if not as attractive alternative that fit in the damn cupboard. (To be perfectly honest, they didn’t actually fit in a cupboard pre-renovation – they were sort of tucked into a very high up cupboard and threatened to land on unsuspecting cupboard openers.) When I officially reached the kitchen section, I cleaned out the pantry (something that gets done twice a year anyway) and chucked a peeler that shit me and kitchen was done.

And as for sentimental stuff – a bit over a year ago, Chaos moved into his own room after sharing with his little brother for nine years (and us living in the house for 13 or so years at that point. You can imagine.). In order for him to be able to move, I had to clean my very important stuff out of the wardrobe and under the bed and in the corners of what was the spare room. This took me a week, I picked up and looked at every single box and item of stuff that was crammed into that wardrobe and got rid of a lot of stuff – goodbye uni texts and notes, nine years after I graduated is long enough to keep them (I had vague ideas of doing honours, but got a job instead). Goodbye 1988 tax assessment notice. And goodbye pictures of people I didn’t recognise. We filled a skip bin twice over. Not just out of that room, other stuff was being culled at the same time, but I had a red hot go. All my sentimental stuff that I wanted to keep is in a chest of drawers under the house. Three drawers instead of an entire wardrobe and ALL the drawers, several boxes under the bed and a whole lot of other seekrit locations.

But I did tidy my clothes ‘properly’, and, with permission and some assistance, the clothes of the Gentlemen. The win for me is that despite actively removing at least half of my clothes, I have more clothes to wear. And a couple of things I didn’t feel the love for any more are now back in the rotation of clothes I wear (it appears I didn’t have issue with the skirts themselves, just the shirts I used to wear with them. I’ve culled the shirts and wear the skirts with different tops. I still need new trousers, but I’m looking at how I can mend the hook on one pair because the fact they don’t stay done up is what causes the lack of love). After discarding a HEAP of clothes I’d worn once, and some that still had tags, I am so much more discerning in my purchases. Even if something is sparking hot pink electric neon ‘buymebuymebuyme’ joy – like a pair of 8-hole cherry red Doc Martens on proper sale ($90 off) and in my size that stayed right where they were for someone else to love because you know what, they weren’t that comfortable and I really do get hot feet.

The most astonishing thing though is how damn easy it is to keep the wardrobes under control. It took me just over 15 minutes in total(!!!!!!!!) to tidy our wardrobes, including refolding Reg’s jumpers and actually folding my t-shirts (eh, I am lay-zeee. They come back from the ironing fairy on hangers and um. Sometimes they don’t make it to the drawer. But because I only have eleventy bazillion shirts instead of a gazillion, there’s room, so it’s ok.) I was dreading tidying Mayhem’s wardrobe – there was shit everywhere. And seven and a half minutes later. What mess? Yes, I timed it. I’m a dork. Chaos sorted his wardrobe on his own (he’s 13) in under five minutes.

The paper situation at ours has also stayed relatively under control, and the discernment in grocery shopping has continued. Most weeks, I’m under budget; last week, we went to the pub and spent the grocery money on beer and steaks. Oops.  Nobody starved. All good. Nothin’ to see here…

I suppose I will go back to it eventually, because there’s still stuff that needs dealing with (probably. Ok, definitely. We have about a million DVDs. Or two million. And Netflix). But after a solid three months of tidying and sorting and rearranging and finding more sensible storage solutions, I’m done enough for now. The house feels lighter, and I can now “see” the maintenance that need doing – like changing light fittings so we can have some task lighting in the dining room, getting some art for the kitchen, cleaning or replacing the carpet in the lounge room…And painting. We’ve been here 14 years, and it needs doing. Not having clutter to ignore means I can see the work that has to be done.

I’ve read some srsly negative shit about the process and how “first world” it is, and how only people who can replace the shit they cull can afford to do it, and people who can’t afford it will be throwing out stuff they need. And the poor people and the war refugees and the hoarders, it makes them seem bad for holding on.Except it’s not like that. Well, not for me, anyway – I’ve not replaced stuff I’ve got rid off, except for a vegetable peeler and a couple of t-shirts. I repaired my coat, and I’m looking at fixing (or, most likely, getting someone else to fix) my pants. Yes, the Jobs that need doing are going to add up, but hello. Actually live in the first world, so the having of a house that needs maintenance is a problem that I have. It’s more about living better with less crap. I’ve not got rid of sentimental stuff, or stuff from my grandmother… I hate to think what will happen when I have to deal with my mum’s stuff, but hopefully, she’ll continue to go through her own KM process in the mean time (and keep giving me things she knows I will appreciate and look after.)

 

 

#Bujo – or the one where I’ve been gettin’ down with the cool kids

Ok, the other thing I have been doing aside from crocheting and reading is bullet journaling. I used to do it properly a while ago – however, lost my damn notebook and went back to writing the endless list each week. Found said damn notebook whilst doing the Kon Mari shenanigans (I’ve not actually *stopped* with the KM bidness, more letting nature take its course and seeing how things flow naturally without my un-naturally cleaning the fuck out of everything that stands still for more than two seconds. Is ok so far). Digressing again. Where was I? Bullet journaling. Which is shortened to BuJo for obvious reasons that don’t need the explains. The whole Bullet Journal thang was invented in this format by a bloke called Ryder Carroll and taken to a whole new ridiculously creative extreme by just about everyone in the universe who a) likes stationery and b) likes writing lists. And yes. That would be me.

Now the normal procedure is to show pictures of ones BuJo and explain the process. Dunno if you’ve noticed this wee thing about my blog… it’s all words and no pictures. This means I am going to attempt to explain the hows and the whys without illustrations. Testing. So, this will probably end up being more about the philosophies and less about my dodgy handwriting and doodle-ability.

It’s pretty cool actually, and strangely good fun. I started again officially at the beginning of April, after having a wee trial in the old notebook. I think one of the reasons I didn’t stick to the old notebook was because I didn’t really like it. It was a grid Moleskine, and a bit smaller than A5. I have man hands and large, girlie handwriting. This was a teensy little space to write in. It was NOT sparking the joy, so I repurposed it into more of a general notebook and the place where I do the testing of new layouts and all that. I’ve got a Leuchtturm1917 that I acquired (quite legitimately) when I was in the Big Smokey at magnation in their stationery section (epic discuss about the relative merits of Moleskine v Leuchtturm1917 with the wee young lass in the shop. She agreed about the size issue. I am not mad.)

When I was a kid, I used to LOVE the day we got new stationery, and when I got a new book I was always so careful to use my best handwriting and rule all the pages neatly. Of course, this always went to shit by day three of the new book and I was back to my squirlywhirly mishmash of writing styles (I started school in one state where proper cursive was the thing, and moved to another state where it was more joined up printing. My handwriting is a mixture of both. A year of graphics and I have beautiful block printing. Still, it’s a shame about my handwriting.) Anyway, the look and smell and feel of opening that page for the very first time… swoon.

Therefore, you can imagine my quite grown up delight cracking open the pages of my new journal and feasting my eyes upon the glorious creamy goodness of 200+ untouched pages. Ahem. I need a moment.

Alright, where was I. Swooning over stationery. Girl’s got to have a hobby. Now, the traditional set up for a bullet journal can be seen in the video in the above link. Mine is sort of similar-ish. I have a couple of collections – nowt fancy.

  • List of books I’ve read/want to read
  • Stuff I want to watch on telly and movies I want to see
  • Music I’ve heard I like
  • Meals everyone likes divided up by protein source

Then I leap into a sort of calendar thingy for the month (list of dates with events, appointments etc, I attempted colour coding it for one month. That didn’t last.) and a gigantic to do list for the month. That list is mostly Big Jobs that need doing. The benefit of this is that they become top of mind instead of wafty loose ideas that pop up to the surface every now and then. And it sort of works… a couple of things that were on the radar for oh, two years, actually got done. Gasp. This year, I did our tax before the accountant sent me a reminder letter, I organised a shelf for a cupboard that I’ve wanted done for ages (two years when the kitchen was renovated) and I cleaned the oven. Also for the first time in two years. (It wasn’t that bad, it had been wiped out a few times.)

I also set some personal challenges and tried tracking habits. Ahem. Well. Set myself up for fucking failure. Nice one, Maudy. So, I got all totally mindful and gave myself a talking to, looked up SMARRT goal setting and applied that. Small goals that are specific and measurable. Fucking der, man. Being much more successful in May. Although I seriously suck at sleeping. I tried tracking spending, but memo to self – school holidays is *not* the time of year to be doing that sort of thing. $20 here, $50 there, $40 for the pictures, $10 for a magazine… eh,that was a bit fucked up. I’m trying again in May, but I keep forgetting to write shit down. I don’t think I’ll bother in June.

One thing I really like about this methodology is – well, if something’s not working, you can ditch it. I realised pretty quickly I needed a weekend list (usual suspects – washing, planning and hunting for the family, plus odd shit I want to do) and that a weekly list as well as my daily mini-lists was essential because there was ALWAYS something I needed to remember for a couple of days ahead of time. On the weekly list I have a wee to-do list, and I’ve added my Flylady-esque cleaning lists. My cleaning fairy does the basics, my fly-lists are 8-10 little jobs that are nice to be done but don’t really matter if I don’t do them – again, because they’re on the radar, they’re at least done every couple of months. Win. The daily lists are the half a dozen odd things I need to remember on a given day. I’ve been having a few “moments” lately, so I’ve added some stuff I wouldn’t usually list to keep my head where it needs to be (above my shoulders and not so much hiding under a bin. Long story.) So far, so good.

I did take up grown up colouring in – although I do like it, it’s not really practical for anything aside from letting your mind roam free. The thing about this exercise is it helps me focus. I know what needs to be done because it’s written down, I don’t have to remember, I just have to check the list. I’ve got notes on how to do stuff (like, fixing the damn emails) and highlights of the month. It’s quite soothing to sit down with my gigantic tub of stationery and write shit down, draw a few pictures (even if it’s just the weather) and mess about with washi tape (I cannot believe I did not know what washi was until six weeks ago. I am Feeling The Lerve). And my handwriting is improving – my typing, on the other hand, appears to be going to shit! These things happen and I will get used to this damn keyboard.

Also, I have this vague idea of Future Ancestor discovering a box full of journals in the future and flicking through them and finding out about the minutiae of the day to day life of someone in the 21st century (and their eyes glazing over with the boredom as they read of washing and cleaning and what we ate. Social history as it happened)

And there you go, 1,300+ words and no pictures. I hope you found it illuminating.