Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Category: Waffle

Far out, brussels sprout

**Just a little something I prepared earlier…

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

Lunch.

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

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

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

After a couple of minutes…

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

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

Then the Coffee Girlie appears with my cup in hand…

  • Coffee Girlie: Iced chocolate for Maudy?

Ummmm….

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

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

Fortuitously, it was delicious.

 

 

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Existentialism for the modern woman.

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

It’s come close.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Welcome back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I had a fall.

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

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

Fuck. Me. Fucking. Swinging.

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

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

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

Anyway. 2018 goals…

Not as shit as 2017.

And I’ll leave it at that!

On the wagon again…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

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.

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.)