Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

#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.

 

Gosh, it’s been a while…

I’ve just realised it’s been a month since I last posted. Crikey. However, I have totally been reading like a total reading machine. Srsly. Reading a LOT. Well, a lot for me. I suspect I’ve actually read four books in the last month.

Firstly, I finished The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson. I liked it, I think. The books form the basis for the Longmire series on the Netflix. I loved that series, so I was really keen to read the books. The books are different to the telly series, the characters are different, but at the same time they’re the same. And they’re sort of funny. Not uproariously HARHARHAR funny, more of a quiet snigger here and there funny. I haven’t had the burning desire to read the next one yet (although I am currently in the midst of upgrading ma teckernologies and I haven’t shifted over books from the old beast of burden to the new whiz-banger (which has a weirdarse keyboard and I keep mis-fucking typing all the things). Anyway, I probably will read the next one as I did like it enough to read more.

The secondly, I read another of the Ruth Galloway ones –  The House at Sea’s End. I really like these ones. They’re sort of cosy police procedural type books with a bit of history and a bit of lovey dovey action and enough of a mystery to be quite soothing, really. I’m not sure whether I have the next one on the trusty e-reader, so I shall have to persevere with my reading list.

Yes, I’ve set myself a reading list – I keep getting all zomfg what the fuck am I going to read next, get side tracked definitely not acquiring books by nefarious means (I do in fact acquire books legitimately as well, I am not all bad.) and end up with some trash or other that I don’t want to read. So, yeah, went through the books, downloaded about 15 or so and I am going to read them before I read anything else.

THEN I read Stalin’s Hammer: Rome by John Birmingham. It’s another installment in the Axis of Time series. This was me reading it on the train… Oooh. OH. Nooo. Ow. Ohhhh. NO WAY. No Way. Hehehahehehaheheha Oooh, no. Ow. etc. The Axis of Time series is classified as alternate history science fiction. It is in fact all that. However, that doesn’t give you the whole biffo schmako that goes down in the delivery of said alt.history. Prince Harry is in this one, and he totally is and was Granny’s favourite. Anyway, if you’re into history, don’t mind a fucking excellent stretching of your imagination, and good dose of the “what ifs” do yourself a flavour and get on the Axis of Time bandwagon. Is Don. Is very very Don.

Finally was another by Denise Mina (Gods and Beasts) I am doing a lot of series reading this year – doesn’t matter – it’s reading and that’s the main thing. I had a couple of hours on public transport last week, and slammed through this afterward. Again, I’m not sure about it… don’t hate them, just not sure. It’s only book two, so eh, I’ll persevere.

So yep, that’s four books in four weeks. I’ve set myself a challenge to read two books a month, so that’s not too bad… I am reading a book that’s more on the literature side than the trash side for a change. Nowt wrong with trash, just sometimes a girlie needs a steak. And also to stay awake long enough to consume said steak and not nod off in three point two seconds! I’ve also been crocheting like I am the Queen of Crochet (patently not, however… also, this damn keyboard is taking a bit longer than I expected to be getting used to… it’s slightly narrower than the old one, and much narrower than the one I use all the time at work. I’ve also not been using it much – too much crochet and reading =/= typing on fancy new laptop!)

{insert something pithy here}

The Gentleman of the house and my good self have been debating casually the relative merits of ditching the land line and embracing the mobile phone only household. We keep coming reluctantly down on the side of “eh, we probably should keep it” despite only our parents, a couple of chaps from the car club and those annoying scammers who want to fix our windows ever calling us. The main reason being is the Mayhem doesn’t have a telephone of his own (and no ten year old needs a mobile phone of his own, so we’re not even contemplating going there. And the effort involved in maintaining and keeping charged a spare mobile on the off chance… well, easier to just use the land line).

Anyway, the land line phone has been a bit crackly and hard to hear and getting progressively worse for the last few weeks – we’re merrily assuming it’s the hand set (it’s pretty old) and do we get another one blah blah until the crackling upgrades to what really sounds like space aliens having some grown up time. Ahem. This is not optimal. Regardless of what we ultimately decide about the land line, right now it needs some fixing. So, on the phone I get to our provider of telecommunications… waiting waiting 20 minutes. Hrrm. Do I stay or do I go? Stay, because tomorrow night it might be 30 minutes and tomorrow night is Friday and then it won’t get fixed til for ever. Waiting waiting doing all the things while I wait waiting waiting…

The lady who finally answered me – well, while she was friendly and polite enough, she was pretty damn keen on me organising my own technician. Because it was totally going to cost me about a million dollars and all if they come and it’s on my premises. So do you want to get our technician or yours because it’ll cost you if it’s on your premises. (Except, that she kept saying ‘premise’ instead of premises. That was annoying.) Anyway, I am nothing if not persistent. Um, the last time I had a problem with my landline, the person I talked to could you know, check the line and tell what sort of problem it was… Oh, I *suppose* I could do that… lalalalalaaaaaaa hold music and she’s ba-aaack. Yeah, it appears the phone line is a trifle NQR and the fault appears to be off my “premise” and we’ll organise a technician. It will be fixed by Monday.  Noice!

(Have to confess I wasn’t quite sure how they’d manage to fix it by Monday, considering it was 9.30pm on Thursday night, and 7pm Monday seemed a trifle ambitious unless it was just something unplugged somewhere.)

Fast forward to a quick call on Friday from a technician who said someone would come and see me. And whadderyouknow – this afternoon. Sunday. Technician. Lovely chap. Spot of overtime. Not so much of the fixing of the phone line, though. Turns out we have a private line, because none of the other three houses attached to our line have the phone on. Noice. There’s a short in the line from all accounts, and he’s a) not quite sure where it is and b) thinks it’s covered with lead. As in the metal. He did do quite a lot of driving up and down the street, though. He’s popped it back in the queue and yeah, probably Tuesday. And if it’s not that, it’s going to be a couple weeks. If it ends up being Door #2, it means they’re going to quite probably have to go to a fair bit of trouble for what is effectively ONE phone line. So far, their service has been quite lovely. It will be interesting to see if this continues…

 

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.)

 

 

Mindfulness (or how KonMari turned me into a discerning shopper* and I stopped eating chocolate)

Since I climbed aboard the KonMari train, my house is definitely starting to show the effects. There’s still crap everywhere, but it’s more orderly crap (and mostly belongs to other people. The stuff that’s mine is totally not crap, ok. It’s my hobbies.) Stuff goes back where it’s come from, and the areas I have sorted out seem to have stayed sorted. It’s been about six months since I watched a couple of vids on the YouTube and about ten weeks since I read the books and started to take the whole business a bit more seriously. I am a lot more aware of what I own and I strongly suspect I’m more aware of *why* I own it.

Being mindful is basically all about being aware of your surroundings and paying attention to your thoughts on a moment by moment basis. Picking up everything I own, looking at it and considering its place in my life is being mindful. BUT (and this is a bit strange) I’ve noticed some peculiar side effects creeping into my life.

For example, the family grocery bill was always around $300-350 a week. Sometimes a little more, and rarely a little less. There’s four of us, one teenager, one ten year old and a couple of alleged grown ups. On top of that $300+, we’d either eat out or get take away once or twice a fortnight. That’s a LOT of money on food. However, in the last ten weeks or so, I’ve spent an average of $260 a week on groceries, and we’re eating out/getting take away less (probably once every two-three weeks instead of once every 1-2 weeks). That is a minimum of $400 we haven’t spent in the last ten weeks.

Now, my ‘meal planning’ (such as it is) continues to be as half arsed as it ever was. It’s still a vague list of protein and suggested cooking methods that’s subject to change without notice. I still buy crap I don’t need (why do they sell stationery at the supermarket, hrrm?) and I don’t think I’m throwing out any less than I did before (I’m perpetually chucking 1/4 of a container of cream, a handful of spinach leaves and half a manky tomato). Groceries have certainly not gone down in price in the last two and a bit months, so I really don’t know how the fuck I am managing to not spend $40 a week minimum.

It appears I’m just buying less stuff. My shopping list is shorter – it used to cover the entire page, and now – maybe half. I still go off piste and buy the odd thing or two that’s not on the list (Stabilo pens and cool boxes to keep stationery in. I am not obsessed), I think I am just more aware of what we have in the cupboard, the likelihood of using it all up between this week and next, and only putting stuff on the list when the answer to that question is yes, it will get used up. I’ve also stopped buying shit because that’s what I always buy (hello, looking at you seven bottles of mouthwash) and sticking to the list. Weird.

This shopping discernment is also applying to buying other stuff as well. I took Chaos and Mayhem clothes shopping after a quicky KM of their respective wardrobes (I have to say, even if you don’t go any further than sorting out your (and your family’s) clothes, it’s so worth it – I culled stuff the kids had grown out of really quickly, went through the biggest one’s discard pile with the little one, he’s picked out what he likes, and the rest have gone to the oppy. In the space of an hour. Do your clothes, do the kids clothes, even do the significant other’s clothes. It’s worth it. Future You will thank you so much.)

Anyway, digressing as always – Chaos needed clothes, Mayhem was well stocked up.  In the past, shopping for Chaos would involve me buying stuff, bringing it home, Chaos would vary from yay to meh about the purchases, but they’d all end up in his wardrobe with the items classified meh to be ignored for all eternity or he grew out of it. Or I’d take them both shopping and feel the parental urge to be Fair and buy them exactly the same number of things. This time, we had a list and we stuck to it. Chaos needed two pairs of chinos, a pair of trackies and a couple of t-shirts to replace the 10 or so he culled the other day. He also needed a dress shirt big enough to wear a t-shirt under. We came home with one pair of pants, one pair of trackies and three t-shirts because that’s what we found that he liked. And Mayhem came home with no clothes because that kid has enough clothing to last him ’til the end of the year.

Chaos looked at things. He tried things on. He discarded things he didn’t like. He discerned. And I am trying to do the same thing – while I’m on leave I’m wearing stuff I’m not sure about, and determining whether they’re going to stay or go. So far, two shirts are staying and two are going. I’m going to have nothing left the rate I’m heading!

The chocolate thing is even more weird. And mindful. It started when I was standing over the charity chocolates at work, internally debating the relative merits of a plain Freddo or a double strawberry one or both. I decided on both, but at the same time, realised that I didn’t particularly like the charity chocolates because maybe a bit stale, a bit room temperature and squishy and generally not very nice. I took the chocolates back to my desk and returned to the task at hand while I ate the unappealing chocolate and set my mind to the question:

“If I don’t actually enjoy this, why on earth am I doing it?”

I am stuffing my face with slightly squishy and not very nice chocolate because I want a break from my desk. Because the chocolate is in another part of the office, I have to get up and walk there. So, instead of chocolate, I have been having a cup of “pretend” tea (fruit flavoured tissane – best described as hot cordial – while I like the idea of tea, the reality is somewhat lacking in appeal). The really weird part of the not eating chocolate thing is that it extended to not eating it at home either (no, I wasn’t eating $40 a week of chocolate, that’s not why the grocery bill has declined), and I simultaneously stopped stuffing my face with half a block of fruit and nut every second night. A few days turned into a few weeks which turned into Easter’s around the corner, I’m not going to eat chocolate til Easter. Easter’s been and gone – and while I have in fact eaten chocolate, I’ve probably had 2-3 little eggies each day. When I think back to last year (and every year preceding), and the chocolate stuffing fiesta that took place… well. I think I’ve broken the habit.

I’ve also lost four kilograms. I think that is certainly related.

*Except, well, stationery supplies. I’m still buying stationery supplies. But they have less calories than chocolate and my kids can’t grow out of them.

Two books in a week!

Yes, on holidays. Therefore, copious reading has taken place in between refereeing children, tidying shit, carting children to places so they don’t kill each other, tidying more shit, making a fancy pants bullet journal and um. Yeah, refraining from killing my kids (in fact, I did threaten to send them both to the holiday program and go back to work because feral as. Seriously. Who would have children and voluntarily stay at home with them every single day?* Crikey.

Anyway, I’ve read a whole two books this week. I read The Crossing Places and The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths. They’re book one and book two in the Ruth Galloway series. She’s an archaeologist and gets called in when bones are discovered (this happens in both books, so yeah). They’re written peculiarly – not so much second person but sort of. It was slightly disconcerting at first, however the story was interesting enough to keep me reading. I liked Ruth Galloway, she’s strong and feisty and intelligent, and she’s also not reed thin and drop dead gorgeous and describes herself as on the fat side (she still pulls the odd bloke despite her lack of thin and lack of gorgeous. The reed thin and drop dead gorgeous woman in the books is a bit of a silly bint, to be honest.)

The two books I’ve read are set in and around Norfolk, with lots of Roman and Iron Age ruins and the like to be poking around withThe stories are predictable in that you can certainly pick the baddies (I’ve only read the first two, and the second one was marginally harder to pick. If this continues, it will be nigh impossible by the end of the series), but they’re twisty enough that you’re not ever 100% sure that the baddies are whom you think they are, and the goodies are only about 75% good. This makes it worth reading. The two I’ve read have followed on relatively close to one another, and from what I’ve read, the rest of them do as well. So, they’re easy to read back to back. They’re also quick to read as well. Perfect if you want something mildly twisty and quite interesting.

I’m looking forward to book three and four, anyway, and it means I have now read TEN books for 2016 and the year is barely 14 weeks old.

I’m reading the first Walt Longmire book now (for something completely different…) it’s a Western with cowboys and Indians and everything. The series “Longmire” on Netflix is based on the books. While I’m not sure whether I like it or not, it keeps making me laugh so I think I’ll persevere.

*Yes, I realise it appears I am yet again bagging people who are making life choices that are different to mine, however, while I do love my children dearly, I love them MUCH more when I don’t see them every waking moment.

Bandwagons.

Now, it appears the Fearless Purple Flylady is giving me the shits again – I am getting between 15 and 20 fly-posts a day (today was 30 I think) and in all seriousness, you’d be forgiven for thinking someone who’s been around as long as she has would have more than about 20 ‘stock’ posts that get regurgitated on a pretty much weekly basis. If I have to see one more post about how awesome those purple rags are or that fucking water bottle…

Yes. I have fallen into the aggressive phase of my passive-aggressive relationship with the Flylady. Maybe its the simplicity and minimalism of KonMari that’s completely turning me against her, and maybe it’s because Easter and she’s on the Jesus-train. Nowt wrong with that, just not down my throat tyvm. However, I will say easier to ignore on the Farcebook than her palaver cluttering up my inbox. I suspect that KM is not the only thing I can’t do ‘properly’ whilst working full time (or with childrens). I do have routines, but they’re pretty damn flexible. I do meal plan – if you consider writing a list of protein sources, proposed cooking methods and suggested days on a scrap of paper and sticking it on the fridge to be meal planning (there were two Thursdays this week. Interesting.) I also have a ‘shiny sink’ (tr: clear, wiped benches in the entire kitchen – who wants one wee oasis of clean in the middle of a schemozzle. The entire bench is clear before I go to bed); and whilst I do dress to shoes as soon as I get up because I walk the dog, that doesn’t count because they come off the millisecond after I walk in the door. However, my ‘dress to shoes’ is drying my hair properly and popping a face on, even if it’s just tinted moisturiser and mascara.

I’m not abandoning the KM train either – still wombling about in the crap carriage – two weeks of annual leave and I have two KM missions – the damn filing cabinet and the fucking laundry (it’s been shitting me for thirteen and a half years, so yeah. Something.) But more on that later. At least it’s getting cool enough for Reg to crank up the pot belly stove to burn all the crap when I deal with the filing cabinet. Definitely a win there.

Now, about 18 months ago, I had a dabble with Bullet Journaling. I stuck at it for about six months, then totally lost the book I was using. When I KM’d the crap out of my cupboard – whadderyouknow, found the wee fucker. I didn’t go find an alternative partly because the book I was using was NQR. It was a medium sized Moleskine square journal, and it was sort of too small but not for any real reason I can put my finger on (aside from my gigantic hand writing and equally gigantic man hands. They’re not that big, but yeah. I like a decent spread.) Bullet journaling is just a fancypants version of what I do on random bits of paper; and is pretty much how I operate at work (except that I use an A4 notebook, write on one side, and use the other side of the spread for notes etc). I started doing proper Bullet Journal stylie last week and fuck it’s good. I’m seriously tempted to do it hardcore when I go back to work – I’m managing two big projects with various deadlines, along with a couple of smaller ones. The two smaller projects I’m not even starting til May, but they’re on the list because oops, forgot. They’ve been off and on the list since oh – February. Anyway, I consulted Mr Google to refresh the whole bullet journal thing again.

Fuck. Me. Swinging.

When I first investigated bullet journaling, it was pretty low key – write a list in a book and index your lists so that you can find stuff you want to know about later, tailored to suit your needs, and no waste paper because just the days you use. Simples. In the last 18 months or so, it appears to have evolved. A lot. People have embraced the #bujo (it’s even got a fucking hashtag. Seriously.) and the Google is full of these beautiful and creative masterpieces that are enough to turn an inveterate list maker such as myself into a bit of a squeamish wussy-girl. (I am allowed to call myself a wussy-girl because yes. Both. Specially when it comes to flowers and stickers and shit. And Washi tape. Although that’s sorta fancy). There’s this whole community of “planner-addicts” who do these elaborate (and slightly insane) decorated planner pages (I double dare you to Google Erin Condren Planners and look at the images.

Now, rest assured I am not totally bagging you if you’re a fan of that sort of thing. What ever pops your cork. But I still think it’s nutty as. There’s also a whole lot of people who do this in their bullet journal. They have lists and list and lists and challenges (and still have get up, go to work, come home and play with journal as their entire to-do lists for the day. Sorry, I suspect I actually *am* bagging the journal/planner enthusiast. I really am sorry. I don’t like to bag people for their passions, no matter how weird. I don’t even bag bronies. Actually, I definitely bag bronies. Google them.)

Ok, now I’ve confused myself and made myself feel all guilty for picking on people for decorating their diaries…  I’m not only doing a bullet journal again, I am using the duck’s guts of journals… the legendary Leuchtterm1917 in red. My dad always told me to use the best tools I could afford – the paper in this shits all over the Moleskine, so I should be able to use a gel ink pen. I do prefer to write with gel ink. And I may or may not have an interesting and extensive collection of colourful gel pens. This is why I should not bag people for doing fancy arse journals. I have colourful pens. MANY colourful pens.  I am slavishly following the set-up instructions then I am going to go fully sick. And I can write down my “to read” lists, and a list of meals the fussy buggers I live with will eat, and pretty much anything I can think of, as well as keeping track of the gigantic to-do list that I have rolling about in my head. But I’m not doing stickers. Probably. They’d have to be super cool. And not pictures of dinner.

 

 

Reading stuff

Well, Reg was making me watch the footy, so I’ve been reading and fiddling about with my Kobo. It appears I can’t do what I want on the damn Kobo – I used to be able to sort books into reading lists on the old Sony e-reader I used to have – this was awesome, it meant I could have my to read selections in a virtual ‘pile’. Now I will have to try to remember what I want to read next, damn it. This annoys me inordinately. I am inordinately annoyed.

Ok, where was I… Right, reason why I was fiddling about with the Kobo is because I’ve read another book. This is is a minor miracle in itself, and facilitated by my spending about three hours on public transport today. Not that I could read for all of it – I’ve got to watch the train stations on the Metro to make sure I don’t get lost, and reading was not possible on the sardine can tram on the way back to Southern Cross. However, copious reading was done on the other trains I was on (five trains and a tram today. I am a legend at public transport.)

Still Midnight by Denise Mina is a Scottish police procedural. I wasn’t sure what I was reading and or why until I was about a third of the way through. The characters are all fairly abrasive and annoying (and stay that way for the entire book to be honest); and I felt as though I’d accidentally picked up book #3 in a series because there was Something going on with the interactions between the police characters that made me feel as though I was missing something (hence my desire to make folders so I can make sure I have the book in the series I am up to in one folder and move it over laters). However, something happened about a third of the way through that made me go “oh. That’s interesting.” The story was a bit whack, but hey – it was a suitably mindless diversion and I get to tick ‘read something’ off my {ahem} new habits check list. A lot of the abrasiveness of the main character becomes less murky about half way through, and clears up toward the end. As does the story. Which really is a bit peculiar. There were a couple of snorts of amusement (not actual laughs, per se – more Ha! than hahaha) when a couple of things happened. There was also a weirdarse Hallmark-y bit in it that was  – yeah. Nah. Bit like the Unicorns in Bladerunner. Anyway, I’ve popped book two on the Kobo so it wasn’t total garbage, and it was written well enough that I was interested in the characters (sort of) and the story (ditto). If I was the star giving type – probably three stars. Not shit.

Not sure what I am reading next – but as I’m actually on holidays for TWO WHOLE WEEKS and I have nowhere to be… The world of books is my oyster. There will be crime. There will be death. And maybe a history of Sydney.

Still tidying up

I’m beginning to realise that for someone such as my good self, I am not going to reach a point with KonMari Method where I can sit back and say “Yep. Done now.” any tine soonly. In fact, possibly ever. For starters, I live with three other people, and I work full time, so it’s not just *my* crap, it’s four people’s crap; and time is something I don’t have a lot of. I still have to do all the housework stuff that’s not cleaning and ironing (I outsource that bit) and buy food and all that palaver. We don’t have the space for putting everything in a giant pile for however long it will take me to go through it, either, so I am forced to do things in smaller chunks than is probably optimal.

While I am definitely on the KonMari Train, I’m not taking the Bullet Train. I’m on the stopping all stations go back to go forward definitely taking the scenic route train, which has the odd trip down into a siding for a bit of a detour.  So far, I have dealt with my clothes (twice through properly, plus odd picking), books and probably 50% of paper. I have now entered the carriage on the Slow Train that’s clearly labelled  “Crap” (technically, it’s called ‘komono’, which I am pretty sure is actually Japanese for crap.) Now, Crap at my house is the shit that’s shoved in every single fucking corner of every room of the house. Some of it is even mine (looking at you, side table with my journaling stuff and my crochet and hey there’s “Spark Joy”). There is rather a lot of it. I’m glad I started on the other shit first, because hello – Crap is fucking daunting (and making me very fucking SWEARY!!!!) Rather than working by category like I am supposed to (I am SUCH a rebel – and honestly, I find crap is something that needs to be dealt with in small small doses), I’ve got a bit of a list of crap locations based on what shits me the most and I am working through it. The list keeps growing, but things are getting crossed off – and Other People have noticed that one can just put ones hand into the drawer where all the pens live and {gasp} find a fucking pen when you want it.

This is quite the miracle, because I swear that before I tidied that drawer, we had NO pens, NO pencils, NO calculators, NO rubbers and definitely NO rulers.  Prior to going through it and removing  toy cars, nerf gun bullets, several marbles, assorted lanyards, eleventy bazillion glue sticks and who knows what else, I bought a packet of ten ballpoint pens and a packet of pencils and a couple more erasers because homework cannot be done without them. I could have saved myself $10 at Officeworks because yeah – underneath all the Crap that was shoved in the damn drawer – more pens,pencils, rubbers, calculators and rulers than you can poke a stick at. It’s all nicely sorted into appropriately sized boxes (Reject Shop gift boxes for the win – under $6 and I used the box lids in another cupboard!) I also need to back away from the Kikki.K pens. Bag of rubbish from two drawers. Ahem.

Then I embarked on the top of my wardrobe – there are three main categories of stuff in my wardrobe (aside from clothes – der):

  1. General crap I’ve shoved in the wardrobe to deal with later
  2. Archive-y stuff
  3. Sentimental hoo-ha

Now, the archive-y stuff is things like a 150+ year old photo album full of pictures of Ye Olde Dead Uns. Some of whom I’ve identified, most of whom… not so much. Hence my desire to go through some slightly more recent (like, you know, 50 – 70 year old pictures) with people who were alive when they were taken. And a clock. It’s old. It’s been painted poo brown and needs restoring. I need to find someone to do it (while it don’t do much for me, it does spark joy for other members of the household). Also, there may or may not be a couple of old journals that I’ve filed under the category “archive”. (They funny as fuck. Teenage and twenty-something girls are weird. It’s all dating pre-mobile phone. Lordy. The angst level is positively baronial. And I’ve actually toned down with the swears. No. I have. I don’t pepper my prose with c words any more.)

As I mentioned well above, there’s not a chance in hell that this train will ever reach its destination – because seriously, Joy is transient, and stuff you love right now will undoubtedly shit you later on (just look at old pictures of yourself – the really old ones when you’re feeling hip and totes funky and all in your best outfit. While the picture will spark joy (of the tears of laughter kind), the outfit itself? Eh, not so much. And if you think about it – you get yourself all minimalist now, and never go through anything again – up to your armpits in komono again before you know it. And nerf gun bullets.

Prime example of transient joy inducing clothing – I’ve just released the last FOUR out of four t-shirts I bought.

  1. Shirt #1 – A case of Needs Must – I desperately needed a white top to wear to a meeting because I forgot the ironing fairy wouldn’t get back in time for me to use one I already had. I bought one, and I was suss on it from the start. I was right, it didn’t wash well, and even being nice to it, it lost its shape by the third wash. Gone.
  2. Shirt #2 and #3 – This time, it was a case of inappropriate packing. I packed for the weather at home, not at my destination. I needed short sleeves. I grabbed two t-shirts in my size, tried them on and eh, they’ll do. Except I loathed the cut of both of them and spent the entire time I wore them picking at them. Gone.
  3. Shirt #4. I know not what I was thinking. It was a cranky purchase, I think. The fabric is shit, it has the same cut as #2 and#3 (which I loathe) and the colour is not flattering. It’s a beige-y pale blue. Permission granted to evict.

So, yeah – still need two white t-shirts. And I am going to make damn sure that whatever I buy fucking well sparks something that’s not “it’ll do” before I buy anything new. We’re embarking on some kind of epic budget shit thing starting April and I don’t reckon spending $100 on shirts to donate to the op shop three months later is really going to be an awesome line item. I tell you what, that winter coat I need will be a very discerning purchase.