Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Category: Resolutions

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!

No no she’s not dead, she’s, she’s restin’

Yes, definitely not dead. And yes, definitely having a wee rest from the tidying up of all the things. There comes a point in ones life when one has folded and tidied everything into submission (or as close as can be considered submission when a) one lives with other people and b) one is steadfastly ignoring the sentimental category); and when one has realised that one would like to, you know, do other shit that one considers fun, one hangs up the garbage bags and loans the books to someone else and um. Does other shit for a bit.

I’ve just had the school holidays off with absolutely NOTHING on. This is the first time since ever (I think, definitely BC) that I have taken two weeks off with the sole purpose of doing one full time job instead of two. It’s been rather good, actually. I have certainly done some tidying – the laundry now no longer makes me shudder every time I go in there. I would have liked to have painted it (long involved story, don’t go there), so I have to wait. And I did in fact sort out the filing cabinet and the cupboard it was in (which was actually more of an issue than the filing cabinet). You can now open and close the cupboard without fear of things landing on ones head. I even ditched the bath toys. The offspring are now 10 and 13. They don’t use bath toys any more. I filled the rubbish bin (and the recycling bin) several times, and I’m spreading the lerve around the local op shops. So yeah, time for a break from the cleaning and the tidying. And I did a spot of crochet – not as much as I’d hoped, but none the less, I have two sets of squares to complete. I did stuff with the kids – took them to the skate park, took them to the pool (wee horrors made me get in with them!) took them shopping… let them go see Batman v Superman in the fancy cinema all by themselves because no. Just no. Deadpool yes. Daredevil? Love it sick. Batman and Superman? Not my cup of tea.

And I’m also looking into mindfulness again. I discovered it many moons ago when I had a one year old and a four year old and spent my entire days alternating between screeching like a banshee and locking myself in my room and rocking just a little bit. I discovered a book called “Buddhism for Mothers with Lingering Questions” by Sarah Napthali – apparently, it was the second one. Nowt like starting in the middle. BUT in saying that, when I picked up the book when I was doing the great book cullage, and after I laughed at *all* the tags and flags and bookmarks (there’s like forty including and not limited to post its, bandaids (unused), shopping dockets, tags from clothes…) and had a flick through, I was all yeah. Ok. I need to look at this again.

I am a bit of a stress head. In my case, I am talking very literally. When I get a bit cross and a bit tense and a bit under pressure, I tend to clench my jaw. I have a very strong jaw. VERY strong. I’ve cracked oh, five teeth. I suspect that they were all a bit cracked, but I’ve fucked one six ways to sideways and I shall shortly be flash as a rat with TWO gold teeth. That’ll be $3K thanks very much. That’s more than my first two cars cost. Put together. Anyway, so that I can avoid being the proud owner of five gold teeth I need to loosen up a little. Meditation is not my strong suit – I have a very untidy mind and the attention span of a goldfish with ADD. So, yeah, I’ve never had much success with meditation. And according to the other book I bought (Be Mindful and Simplify Your Life) – you can’t meditate until you can do mindfulness. Also, there’s a wee quiz. If you score ten or less, you should go see a mindfulness counsellor or a psychologist. I got eleven. It appears I need work. I’ve been reading bits and bobs from that book and from Lingering Questions, and I’ve also been revisiting ole mate Marcus Aurelius. He’s often got some suitable words for the less stoic among us. This little gem popped up when I was looking for something else – you could consider it a Sign if you were that way inclined.

Look within. Let neither the peculiar quality of anything nor its value escape thee.

(Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. (121–180).  The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.)

That statement applies well to almost everything that I’ve got going on at the moment – The KonMari business, the need to increase my mindfulness (even if only to avoid spending the other $5K on fixing the rest of my teeth). So, my cunning plan is to at least tidy my mind a little bit and calm the fuck down. I’m also returning to a slightly expanded and flashed up version of Bullet Journaling (more on that later) in which I am going to be tracking some new habits like, you know. Going to bed at a reasonable time, doing creative shit, reading…

(Eight minutes to go clean ma teeth, wash ma face and get into bed! G’nite)



*Title shamelessly stolen and slightly altered from the Dead Parrot sketch by Monty Python

Quarterly update on all the things

I have a confession to make. Right now, I am bored out of my gourd. I am (im)patiently awaiting not one but two phone calls, and a delivery by courier. The phone calls will both necessitate my leaving the house, and if it weren’t for the damn courier, I could have gone out for a bit this morning. Actually, I probably should have gone out this morning because the courier issue wasn’t going to be resolved until this afternoon at the earliest. So, I am home and waiting. I have spent the best part of the last few days doing house-related stuff and to be honest, I cannot be fucked tidying or cleaning or sorting another thing. Even the kids are suitably amusing themselves and not fighting (which I am not stupid enough to say anything about aloud because hell breaking loose and all that.) So, bored I am. And because I’m sitting on my arse, you get to enjoy some dreadfully witty repartee from moi, and I get to amuse myself for a little while. Ahem.

Ok, where was I… Quarterly update. I decided at the start of the year that I wouldn’t make a list of ‘resolutions’ per se, and instead a vague set of goal-type things where I decided to do something about my lard arse, and start with not buying my lunch.

  1. The lard arse – well, it’s shrinking very slowly. I’ve lost about 4kg since I got semi-serious in January about losing some weight. This is enough that my clothes fit slightly differently, but I’m not noticeably thinner.  I will attribute most of that to ditching chocolate; because I appear to have slowed down with the walking, and I’ve still lost weight. My step goal is 11,000 steps a day and 80,000 steps a week – It’s been since before Christmas that I achieved my weekly goal two weeks in a row. Ramp that up to where it was, stay off the chocolate and yeah. See where that takes me. Seven hours sleep a night would also be good – I did refill the sleep bank when I started holidays, but um. Bad habits I have.
  2. Not buying lunch and snackers – that, I have to admit, I am doing well with. I decided that going to the supermarket on Monday and buying a week’s food counts as bringing my lunch, and I’ve been buying a packet of biscuits as well and there’s my coffee/tea snack. The week before Easter, I really struggled because I only had three days in the office, and had to buy my lunch each day because of various things that were happening. It felt all weird and wrong to be handing over $12 for a simple meal. I’ve saved about $200 since I started (of course, totally blown most of it with school holiday activities and shenanigans, but I can start again next week when everyone is back at work and school. But hey, I had the cash.) It’s been harder to resist the delicious treats from the cafe, but I have been looking away.
  3. Flylady – I’ve been fluffing around with the Flylady and the KonMari as well, and yeah – the house is looking a lot better. Flylady is still irritating the pants off me (good thing it’s 30C, hur hur), but I’ve adapted her weekly zones lists into a rotating cycle of four weeks that more or less follow the calendar and I’m going to see how I go with that for the next three months. I’ve just taken out the bits my cleaner doesn’t do (like wipe out the insides of the drawers, and rearrange the pantry, and clean the fucking oven, and wash the dog bowls) and divided it into four sections:
  • Kitchen (kids to do stuff I can’t reach)
  • Wet Areas (bathrooms and laundry)
  • Bedrooms (ours, kids responsible for theirs, nagging from moi to ensue)
  • Living areas (lounge, dining and Cave. Kids responsible for Cave and dusting Lego.)

They’re basically the same as hers, but the Fly separates the front porch and entry into a zone on its own (along with the dining room). My house only has 9 rooms, and the entry just has a box of shoes in it so not deserving of a zone of its own.

So there you have it… Three months in, 4kg lighter and slightly (albeit temporarily) richer, and with a marginally cleaner (and definitely tidier) house. Wins all round. AND it appears the damn courier has my parcel on board (of course, the fucker still has to deliver it today. I have plans for tomorrow that don’t involve sitting around waiting for it again, damn it. Also, I am calling the courier names because he’s a liar liar pants on fire who allegedly left the same parcel here two weeks ago instead of getting it signed for. He didn’t, we had to re-order *and* change a heap of plans that were depending on the receipt of said parcel. Thus, he’s a fucker. And I’m cranky.) One of the two phone calls have been received, plus another call I wasn’t expecting (yay, tax is done. Wonders how much we’ll get…) I’m on fire these holidays. On fire.

(Speaking of. Made bread dough this morning, so I should probably bring that inside and put it somewhere cooler than outside. Oops.)



And now for something completely different.

It’s that time of the year when I regale you with my success and/or failure in relation to the vague goals I’ve set myself at the same time last year. So, without much ado…

  1. Write more – yeah, but it was almost all work related.
  2. Reading – yep. About 25 books. And I’ve eased up on the damn Candy Crush.
  3. Paper diary – yep. I am SO analogue when it comes to organising myself
  4. Ditch Candy Crush and be creative – Yep. Crocheted a blanket and I’m a bit over half way through a single bed sized blanket. That’s pretty fucking creative even if I am following a pattern
  5. Food. Four out of five’s not bad is it? I’ve had a couple of injuries in the last year (back and knee, both of which are heading toward ok), and custard do-nuts.

So there you have them. Five fairly valid “resolutions”, four of which I am continuing on with and the other – well. Taking that a bit more seriously this year because I’ve realised it’s easier to lose enough weight to fit into *all* my short sleeved shirts than buy new ones. Fuck clothing manufacturers suck.

What of 2016?

Well, so far this year, I’ve done three extraordinary things. Ok, they’re not all that extraordinary (more extra ordinary than extraordinary if you know what I means) and the year is barely three weeks old.

  1. I have not only purchased, but worn shorts. See what I mean about extra ordinary? But I’m a fat middle aged lady and I’m on the tall side,  mid-thigh isn’t exactly in the middle of my thigh, more at the 40% from the top mark. And they’re scarlet. So yeah, for me, shorts are extraordinary. Mayhem says they’d be better if they were a little bit longer, but they’re fine. (As an aside, heaven help the future significant others of my offspring. If they ask “does my bum look big in this?” , they’re really going to have to want to know.)
  2.  I’ve also purchased a $150 pair of thongs. Technically, they’re sandals – but hello, slide on shoes with arch support (this kind of thing, only basic black. Apparently they’re so cool, stock is limited), they are still thongs without toe bits. AND I WEAR THEM WITH SHORTS. AND I DON’T NOTICE IF ANYONE’S LOOKING AND POINTING AT THE OLD LADY IN BRIGHT RED SHORTS AND THONGS.
  3. I finally learned how to drive the Old Car. Ok, that’s not strictly correct – I’ve always been able to drive it. I was just really shit at changing gears in it, and it’s an auto-fucking-matic! I worked out how to use the stupidarse quickshift gear changing thingy. Seriously, it’s not that fucking quick if you have to use both hands to get the fucking thing into reverse. Blokes are all hur hur manly hur hur quickshift, and the laydeez are all muttergrumble who’s stupid idea is this?! Anyway, we were away for the weekend, and circumstances lead to me driving the Old Car around for a couple of hours over the course of the weekend. All I can say is roll on the next cruise night, because move over, Reggie, you’ve created a monster! I’ve even backed it out of car parks a couple of times *and* drove it up the driveway.

While I have been mildly astonished I’ve done all of the above, and they really are quite ordinary things if I look at them through the eyes of other people – wearing red shorts and Birkenstocks, driving a car. Pfft nowt much in it. But for me… they’re all tiny little steps outside of my comfort zone. And I didn’t die of shame or horror or anything.

So, I have decided to DO stuff this year. Doesn’t matter how big (obviously, although the Old Car is fucking HUGE) or how small (don’t think I can get much smaller).

I’m also going to have a red hot crack at losing some fucking weight. I almost cracked the ton late last year which is unacceptable. I’ve dropped back to hideous, which is a good start. However, there’s a (fairly long) ways to go. A friend of mine has lost 17kg in three months, with walking and dieting (low carb, high protein). I can do that.  First “goal” is 95kg. And I’m back on Calorie King and everything. No ‘rules’ per se, just lowish fat, aim for a bit more protein than I have been eating, and maybe cut down on the carbs a bit. I’m still walking every day, but I’m going to walk at night as well when it’s not too fucking hot.

Along with the losing weight thang, I have also personally challenged myself to bring my lunch at least once a week. I realised not long ago that I spend nearly $20 a week on coffee alone, about the same on snacks and about $10 a day on buying my lunch. That’s $100 a week I’m pretty much stapling straight onto my arse that I could be spending on much more fun stuff like – I dunno. Getting a dressmaker to make me some fucking shirts. If I bring my lunch once a week, and buy fixings from the supermarket for a couple of days, I could be saving a whole $1,000 in a year – which is more than enough for some bespoke tailored shirts.

And I am contemplating getting back on the Flylady wagon. There’s an entire post in that alone. I’ve almost fallen off a couple of times already and it’s only been a couple of fairly  half-arsed weeks. I’ve dabbled with Flylady off and on for about ten years, made some good friends, and maybe as a result, maybe as a complete coincidence,  more or less have a cleanish and tidyish house (depending on your definition of cleanish and tidyish, of course. And your definition of Clutter. I was never ready for Hoarders, despite what some close members of my family may think.) The Fylady website is fucking annoying though – there’s this very Hall-mawkish kind of overlay that smears everything with saccharine sweetness and “you can do it” aphorisms that make me do a little bit of sick in my mouth when I read them, and don’t get me started on the ‘testimonials’. (No, I’m not the most romantic soul in the universe.)

HOWEVER, when you strip all the Fly-Things back to the fundamentals and get rid of the schmaltz, the basic structure is GOOD. Break the tasks up into smaller jobs and do them a bit at a time, the job gets done and it’s not so overwhelming. Plus, there’s this whole thing that if I *do* keep up with the bits and bobs I’ve been doing, a) I get more of my weekends back and b) I’m not spending two hours tidying up before the cleaner comes on Friday.

Now, it’s 10.57pm. Part of the Great Weightloss Campaign means bed at 11pm, so I have three minutes to shine my sink and get my arse into bed by 11pm. Ok. By 11.15pm. Baby fucking steps, alright.

Revolutions and resolutions and um. I dunno really

Well, I’ve finally got around to having a think about my “resolutions” such as they were. Actually, that’s not strictly true. I had a jolly big think about how last year went toward the end of the year. While my 2014 wasn’t as sucky as that of some of my friends, and while it didn’t really fully suck, it won’t go down in history as one of my favourite years. Anyway, here goes – a re-cap of 2014.

  1. Keeping my feral leftie mouth shut whilst still leaving my feral leftie heart beating rather messily on my sleeve …
  2. Writing writing writing.
  3. Working smarter at work and at home
  4. Learning to say ‘no’ 
  5. Reading
  6. Exercise

So. How did I go?

Well, I’m still tilting at windmills. I can’t help myself, and hey, if I can plant even the smallest seed of doubt, maybe that’s all I need to do. Because I cannot help being a feral leftie socialist, and that’s not going to change. Writing? Yes, well, did alright until the wheels fell off – but more on that later. A lot more work writing and a fair bit of editing work, a conference paper and presentation, little bit of blogging and nothing on the fun writing stuff. Possibly because I’ve been using up all my words at work!

I did in fact say no. Quite regularly. And I got a thank you for it, which was also a surprise in light of my erm. Lack of success with #3. Reading. Yes thanks. Ok, I think I only managed 25 books, but it’s still one a fortnight which is reasonable. I have read five books this year already and it’s only three weeks old. I’ve blogged about one of them and the rest will come shortly.

Exercise? Nailed it. I ended up getting a fitbit after the app I was using upgraded and would only work when my phone was on and in my hand (I walk around 500 steps a day while talking on the phone!). I’ve been averaging between ten and eleven thousand steps a day – ranging between 7,000 and 14,000 most days. AND discovered that the walk is no longer about stopping the dog from eating the back yard and actually about the walk. We were away for a week, and I walked every single day we were away. It was good. I like to walk.

Which brings me to #3. This year was best described as chaotic, both at home and at work (mostly at home – I actually kept it together more than I thought at work. Interestingly, we had a psychological profile thingame done and I had to laugh a lot. Generally creative, but in times of crisis, straight into Captain Sensible mode. Suffice to say, ole mate Cap’n S was out and about a LOT in the last third of the year. When one has to write oneself a list that starts with “Don’t Panic”… The home front was insane. Normally, I manage to keep them separated, but man. Pfft. 2014 is over. THANK FUCK.

(Actually got in trouble from my mum for being a bit sweary. I blame Excel, personally.)

Now, I’ve basically rehashed the same old resolutions for the last few years. They’re all good things I’d like to work on, but I think it’s time for at least one thing new (and keep it down to five). I’m giving up on the idea of ever keeping my mouth shut. I will walk away and mutter a lot under my breath. I’m going to continue with the exercise, too. I’ve not missed two days in a row since I started. Even if it was just a brisk walk around the block or legging it from Southern Cross to the top of Collins Street instead of taking the wee doggie for a stroll, I have walked almost every day and I will continue.

This last week, we’ve been pulling the spare bedroom apart so Chaos can have his own room and I have come across many many things. My angsty poetry and diaries from when I was an angsty 15 and 16 year old. Many LOLs to be had there, I will say. And notebooks full of scribbles and snippets of words that go together quite well in some instances. I used to be an inveterate letter writer. I had letters and letters and letters from people that were obviously part of a longer conversation. I don’t write letters. I write the odd email missive, but I don’t write letters any more.

And before Candy Crush, I used to do embroidery. Not just those longstitch kit thingies, but proper Hardanger cutwork. I impressed myself (and took two of the finished ones off to be framed). I was Good. I had a crack at scrap booking. Wasn’t bad at that, either, but seriously? Cutting and pasting for grown ups. This does not mean that my scrap booking supplies went to the op shop. I’m pretty sure studying for a thousand years put paid to my more creative pastimes, but hey, someone invented Candy Crush and I’m lost.

So – Resolutions.

1. Force myself to write more. Letters count. Double points if they’re on paper and written by hand. I suppose a postcard isn’t out of the question.

2. Reading. Instead of Candy Crush for an hour before bed – CC for *half* an hour. Then read, and see if I can’t get to 30 books this year.

3. Use a paper diary and the calendar to good effect. While I like my gadgets, I need my organisation analogue. Daily list at work, paper diary to liaise between work and home, paper calendar at home. Reminders in my phone are ok, but for normal stuff I need to remember. Analogue all the way.

4. Do something fucking creative with my spare time instead of bloody Candy Crush.

5. Stop fucking swearing all the time. Fuck.

5. Now I’ve got exercise happening, lets see what we can do about food.

So there you go and there you have it and so on and so forth.

(1,000 words. Totally counts as writing!)

Psst, here I am, hiding down the back of the couch…

Yeah, I know. Been a while. I think the last post I made was toward the end of June. I was all set to write a nothing much post about nothing much, and WordPress was misbehaving so I didn’t end up writing anything. It’s been a little chaotic in the McGee household, what with one thing and another, and I’ve been a tiny bit busy doing write-y things at work as well. However, I have managed to squeeze in a bit of reading. Quite a bit of reading as a matter of fact. It was helped by spending a ridiculous amount of time on public transport for a week while I did some training in Big Smokey (two trains and a bus to get there, a tram and two trains to get home. Nice. One train got delayed for an hour – which made the hour I’d allowed to get from point B to point C slightly more necessary than I expected. I do NOT feel the love for the Myki either. Whole other story that, though. But it was 13 hours all up on the train)

Anyway, on to the books… in no particular order, I have read…

  1. The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith
  2. Brimstone – Preston and Child
  3. Skin Game – Jim Butcher
  4. Lexicon – Max Barry

Also in no particular order, one was bloody brilliant, one was quite good, one was what I expected and the other was a complete disappointment. But I think I’ll do  a separate post for each because well, I don’t know why really. Partly because I was going to write a bit of a six month, new financial year how’s ma resolutions going, hey, so I might do that and do the books over the next couple of days.

Right, here we go.

Resolution #1 – keeping my feral leftie mouth shut whilst still leaving my feral leftie heart beating rather messily on my sleeve …

So far, so good. Not killed anyone, made my viewpoint clear with facts rather than rhetoric. Been screamingly angry at the way the current gubbermints think it’s appropriate to treat unemployed people purely because the people in the IPA and the people who watch A Current Affair think everyone who is unemployed is a bludger and rorting the system, so should thusly be treated as such. Or die. Preferably the latter. As should old people and sick people and children. But hey, theywill cease to be a problem when the climate implodes.

Resolution #2 – Writing writing writing.

I’ve been doing that. I’ve even been doing a bit of actual writing but nowt for public consumptions. And reading. They go together.

Resolution #3 – working smarter at work and at home

Well, look over there, nice shiny tractor coming your way. I have been Busy. I don’t know if working smarter is right, but busy, meeting most of my deadlines, not only found my assertiveness pants but put them on and USED them. Home front has been a bit choppy, so to speak – but nothing’s been disconnected and we haven’t starved. So yeah… ok.

Resolution #4 – learning to say ‘no’

Actually, I did do that. In spades. Without raising my voice, while making people take me very seriously at the same time. And I am preparing to do it again, without fear or favour!

Resolution #5 – Reading

Yep. Doing that. About 22 books so far. I’m not going to make 50, but I am pretty pleased with my efforts. This brings me to another mini-rant about the gubbermints. Piracy is a bit of a thingy in Australia. We’re willing to pay a reasonable price for media we want to watch/read/use. We are not generally prepared to put up with being screwed over by Uncle Rupert and forced to pay through the nose for the privilege of watching stuff *after* everyone else has. So, the gubbermints cure for the pirates is to make the ISPs punish people who download movies and stream tv shows. Yay. Now, I’m not one to stream shows or download movies. I can wait. I don’t steal music either.

Books, however…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still hand over cold hard cash for books from time to time. BUT if I buy a paper book, once I’ve read it, it’s mine to do with what I will. I can pass it on to someone else, I can make paper planes from its pages, I can use it to prop a wobbly table leg. When I buy an electric book – it’s not that much cheaper than a real one, I can’t give it to someone else to read without doing complicated things to it, and all I can do with it is leave it to clutter up my hard drive. That’s not fair. So I um borrow books from strangers, then loan them on. Piratically. And with a reasonably clear conscience.

Resolution #6 – exercise

Totally winning at that one. Just ask the Hound! I’ve missed less than a week since the beginning of December when I started walking. Although I’ve added having to catch a train at sparrow fart to my list of reasonable excuses (along with torrential rain, thunder and lightening, and hangovers.) From the week after next, and hopefully next week, I am going to be getting myself to work under my own steam – walking until it gets a bit lighter of an evening, then cycling (assuming of course I can get the tail light to stay on my bike). That will mean I will be covering around 8km a day which is really rather good.

So, on the whole, I think I am going ok with the resolution business. Nothing like making achievable plans, hey.

Don’t believe the hype.

Resolutions are tricky things. Everyone starts off brilliantly (until, you know, the 2nd January) when the resolutions are wiped off as failed until next year. For the last three or so years, I’ve pretty much been working on the same five resolutions, and each year, I do a quick recap on how I went… So here goes!

1. Accept that I will read the news and that the world is full of stupid people who shouldn’t really breathe; and also that my friend of a million years is undoubtedly going to get her panties in a bundle over the election. I value the friendship, so I resolve not to engage her in ANY political banter in the coming year. Even if it means blocking her ‘political’ posts so I can’t see what her equally silly friends have to say. 

I didn’t break up with any of my friends. However, my feral green socialist leftie soul has been exposed for all to see. I got annoyed a lot, irritated with the intense blindness to anything but the line of Andrew bloody Bolt and Piers Wankerpants (who thinks Peppa Pig is a feminazi of the highest order) and because they read it in the Hun, it must be true. Even if it’s not. However, I am a grown up. And I like other things about these people so…

  • I resolve to keep my feral leftie socialist mouth closed a little longer, and really – changing the subject won’t kill me. Shouting at deaf people can’t teach them to hear.

2. Write more. Start a new blog. Keep a diary. Start writing “the story that probably starts in the middle”. Write SOMETHING!

  • Here we are… new blog. Cooking and reading. Two favourite things. Little bit of side writing, but nothing coherent. Yet.

3. Work smarter. Not just *at* work, but at home as well.

3a. Work out exactly WHAT work smarter means!

Thinking I skated a bit close to the edge a few too many times this year. The ball got dropped more than once, and hey, kicked over the fence a few times, too – culminating in a single day when my presence was required in four places simultaneously, my head exploding and needing to rock in a corner for a while. And that was just at home. Work… eh, pretty good on the whole. No particular standouts, one semi-fail (not entirely my fault though). I think 2013 was Year of the Duck.

  • Less duck, more eagle. Ahem. Bit less of that paddling like mad to stay in the same place and a bit more of choosing what and where and how. Writing lists, keeping the family diary/calendar up to scratch, delegating what I can – sounds like a good place to start. I resolve to try and keep my shit together this year.

4. Say “no, actually, I really don’t want to do that/go there/see those people”. Just ONCE. In a year. Completely REFUSE to do something I don’t want to do. 

Because I don’t remember saying “no” to things I didn’t want to do, but did say “no” to stuff I actually *did* want to do… this was a Fail.

  • Try this one again. The ability to say NO won’t hurt in my pursuit of #3, either.

5.  I am going to read fifty (50,or even if you prefer, L) books this year. And at least one has to have some literary merit. It has been thirty years since Year 12 English Literature scarred me irretrievably from reading Good Books, I think it’s time I grew out of it.

Not sure how many books I read this year. I would hazard a guess and say 40 or thereabouts. However, four of that 40 were Game of Thrones related – they’re the equivalent of ten books on their own. I did read books that had won prizes (St Lucy’s Home for Girls raised by Wolves), I read books that weren’t fiction. Definitely broadened my horizons from crime, death, serial killers, vampires and sword and sorcery.

  • Aim for 50 books again.

And this year, I’m adding a sixth…

6. Exercise.

I am a sloth. I am getting a bit older now. Sloth-like behaviour is not good for ones health. I have started walking ( three weeks ago) and I’m aiming for the old faithful 10K steps a day. I’ve got a pedometer app on my phone (that only works in my pocket or hand – not in my handbag, or on the bench) and I am getting there. Most days I do crack the 10K, and the days that I haven’t have generally been days that involve clothes without pockets, flat phones, or leaving it on the aforementioned bench.  I don’t run (too jiggy), don’t play sport (pfft), don’t like classes (sweaty and jiggy). So I walk and I bike ride.

  • I resolve to walk the Hound every day, ride my bike when I can, and not pay for parking more than once a week (unless it’s raining, or thundering and lightninging. They’re valid reasons for not walking.)

So… here goes 2014, abrim with good intentions.