21 for 2021: week 8

Week 08/2021: week of 22 February

21 for 2021 update

I’m working through the Habits chapter of the Change Journal (thing 4). I’m working on doing yoga stretches every day, the pre-work routine every work day, and this week I started the end of work ritual, which feels as awkward to do as the pre-work routine did when I started it. I’m hoping that by the time I’ve done it for a few weeks, it will start to feel less forced.

I don’t think I’m using this journal exactly as it was intended, which is to work through a chapter a week. I currently have two other chapters on the go: chapter 8 (Clarity) and chapter 9 (Pitch Yourself), which is about identifying your strengths and learning to talk about them naturally. Both of these chapters are feeding into updating my resume (thing 18), where I’m looking at finding ways to describe my skills and strengths in a way that will “sell” me through my resume, which is where “Pitch Yourself” comes in. So it’s all nicely connected. But they aren’t consistent daily habits or practices like most of the other things in the book are, as they ask you to write about different things every day. So I’m not being very consistent about doing them every day.

Whatever. It’s my book. I can use it however I want

Vegetable of the week

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from the book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable. 

If you read last week’s post, you might remember how I had decided to make the Ultimate Cheesy Garlic Bread Bake (page 38) last Sunday night, without noticing that the recipe notes say “Begin this recipe one day ahead”. Rather than let this be a setback, I decided to prep the recipe on Sunday so Kramstable and I could have it with the dinner he cooked on Monday. It worked brilliantly and we had left over garlic bread for the rest of the week.

Cheesy garlic bread forever!

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that I have made a regular commitment to doing in the hope that this will be more likely to make me do them. I worked on these ones this week.

  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I spent about an hour and a half on this project on Sunday afternoon. I have almost two hours of footage in the project that I need to cut down to something more digestible!
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. My mum kindly got out her old photos for me this week and told me the stories of some of the people in them. There’s a bunch of old people in them she doesn’t know who they are, which is sad because it means their stories are lost, at least to us, but I’m trying to focus on the things Mum can remember and the people she does recognise. I also got some information about my grandfather’s time at school in Sydney from his old school, which was interesting.
  • Thing 10: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I completed lesson 4 and started work on lesson 5.
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. I did the second lesson of the third module and learned about the 5 Whys technique. The exercise in this lesson gave me a useful insight into a particular behaviour I’m seeking to change and what a possible cause of the behaviour is that I need to look at rather than trying to address the symptom.

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 1 (1)
  • Things I progressed: 8 (2, 4, 8, 9, 11, 17, 18, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 3 (5, 6, 13)
  • Things not started: 9 (3, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21)

What else did I do this week?

I ran the bridge. Well, I entered the Run the Bridge five km walk. There was no running involved, except from Kramstable, who ran a personal best in the five km run. Lil Sis and I took the more leisurely walking option.

Lovely morning for a Sunday walk across the bridge

Blast from the past

Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s one of my favourite posts from 2011: 11 April 2011: Books.    

It’s interesting to see how my go-to section in the bookshop has changed since 2011. I don’t go to the kids’ picture books, cooking, gardening or spirituality sections much these days, but I do spend a lot of time in the photography and architecture sections, as well as the Tasmanian section, especially the second hand area in the Tasmanian section.

What did I do for the Earth this week?

I didn’t do much other than feel helpless. A recent report is telling us that 19 ecosystems within Australia and Antarctica are on the verge of collapse and that without urgent action right now, we will lose them. It seems incomprehensible that this is happening across the world, yet our government continues to support coal mines and fossil fuels, and Queensland wants to host the 2032 Olympics as if the world is going to look like it does now in 2032. Why can they funnel money into sporting events and not into trying to save the planet we’ve living on? What’s more important? Sports, obviously.

I don’t know what to do.

What I’m reading this week

  • You Know it’s Love by Jen Morris
  • Personality Hacker by Joel Mark Witt & Antonia Dodge
  • Me by Elton John

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

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21 for 2021: week 7

Week 7/2021: week of 15 February 2021

21 for 2021 updateThis was my first “normal” week for about a month. “Normal” as in school was back and I was at work all week. None of those annoying public holidays to muck up my routine. Ha.

My first thing this week is the Change Journal, where I’ve been marking off two habits in chapter 7 since January —the pre-work routine (thing 20), which I have now completed for 32/66 days, and my yoga stretches, which I have done every day since 10 January. I’ve been thinking I need to make a start on the other chapters in the book or I won’t make my way through the book by the end of the year.

This week, I decided to start with chapter 2, Thanks, which asks you to note down something you’re grateful for every day for a week. I actually already do this. Every morning I note down three things I’m grateful for, and every evening I write down something I’ve been grateful for during the day in my Some Lines A Day journal. But I don’t really think about them and what they mean to me so sometimes it feels more like a chore than a meaningful practice. The Change Journal takes this a step further and asks you to write down how the thing (or the person) you’re grateful for enriches your life and what your life your life would be like without it (or them). So it goes a bit deeper.

I did that every day this week and concluded that it’s a good practice to maintain as it makes my current practice more meaningful, so I’ve added my version of this into my daily gratitude journalling.

Vegetable of the week

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from the book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable.

This week, I wanted to try Alice’s Sesame Cucumber Whack Salad (page 384), but I didn’t know what to have with it. I thought some fish might be a good accompaniment, and there was a fish recipe in the lemongrass section of the book, Lemongrass Fish Pops with Green Mango Salad (page 110). Obviously, it has a salad with it, which includes ingredients I have never heard of and/or don’t like and/or have never cooked with, including pomelo, green mango and banana shallots.

I figured I could make the fish dish (lemongrass check) and have it with the cucumber salad (cucumber check) instead of the salad that was supposed to go with it. Slabs had other ideas. He convinced me to at least try the green mango salad (I HATE mango!), and proceeded to purchase a mango (not green), a ruby grapefruit (not a pomelo but apparently close to it) and, well, normal shallots because what in hell are banana shallots anyway?

So I ended up making the fish pops (which is mashed fish with some curry paste and spices grilled on skewers of lemongrass), with the (not-)green mango salad and the cucumber salad. It was a lot of work, and a lot of food, and I didn’t need the cucumber salad in the end.

Mashed fish squooshed onto lemongrass skewers

My verdict: This is the first recipe from the book I haven’t liked. I liked the idea of it but I didn’t really like the way the fish turned out and I didn’t like the salad. I suppose that’s to be expected if you don’t like mango or citrus. Slabs, on the other hand, said he really enjoyed it so it wasn’t a complete fail.

The final dish

The cucumber salad was really yum though, and I’ll be doing that one again, maybe as an accompaniment to a curry or, as Alice suggests, with some soba noodles and some steamed fish, so the cook wasn’t a complete wipeout.

Cucumber salad

In a rather more epic fail, I decided to make the Ultimate Cheesy Garlic Bread Bake on page 38 on Sunday night, without having noticed that the recipe notes say “Begin this recipe one day ahead”. So Kramstable and I did not have garlic bread on Sunday.

If I ever write a cookbook (ha), I am going to make sure that in the header of every recipe that requires advance preparation is a large clock symbol.

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that I have made a regular commitment to doing in the hope that this will be more likely to make me do them. I worked on these ones this week.

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. One hour on Saturday morning. I finished the last collage for 2020, printed it and stuck it in the book. That is now complete.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I did this on Sunday.
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I normally go to see my mum on Thursdays but this week she had some personal issues that meant it wasn’t possible to talk to her about her story. I got her to identify herself in some photos and did a bit of internet research into some of her family members.
  • Thing 11: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I don’t have a specific time set aside for this (because schedules, who needs them), but I spent a couple of hours on Tuesday working through the third lesson, and I started the fourth lesson on the weekend.
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. I did the first lesson of Module 3 and learned about Fishbone diagrams

21 for 2021 summary for week 7

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 1 (1)
  • Things I progressed: 8 (2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 17, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 3 (6, 13, 18)
  • Things not started: 9 (3, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21)

Blast from the past

Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s one of my favourite posts from 7 March 2011. It’s actually the prequel to the flashback post I posted last week and the one I meant to post last week. Here is the correct link to “Pushing Papers (AKA on art and writing part 1)“.

When did I listen and what did I learn this week?

I’ve been reading the book Hollow Places: An Unusual History of Land and Legend by Christopher Hadley, which is about the author’s attempt to track down the story behind a legendary dragon slayer and the belief that there had been a dragon lair underneath an old yew tree in England. In the book, he refers to the practice of “grangerising”, which is when you take a book apart and rebind it with photos and pictures from elsewhere, including from other books, resulting in a much bigger book, or even additional volumes of the book. In one case, Christopher refers to a grangerised Bible, which ended up being 60 volumes. I kind of love the idea of making a book your own like this but, on the other hand, am horrified that people would destroy other books in order to do this.

The practice was made popular by (and named after) fans of the late-18th century print collector and author, James Granger, who, according to Christopher, didn’t actually engage in the practice himself. But the many “grangerites” did it to enough copies of his Biographical History, that I imagine the name stuck. One copy was grangerised to expand the original three volumes into 36.

And I think I don’t have enough book cases!

What did I do for the Earth this week?

I’ve been reading doom and gloom stories, feeling like nothing I do will make a difference and falling further into a “nothing will stop this” mindset, which isn’t helpful and isn’t achieving anything.

What I’m reading this week

  • Personality Hacker by Joel Mark Witt & Antonia Dodge
  • Burning Out by Katherine May
  • Hollow Places: An Unusual History of Land and Legend by Christopher Hadley

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 4
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 5
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

21 for 2021: week 6

Week 06/2021: week of 8 February
21 for 2021 update

I did a thing!

I had my exercise physiologist appointment (thing 1) on Friday. I didn’t really know what to expect, walking into a gym to meet someone who I imagined would be super fit and super motivated and having to explain how I had got to be a middle aged sloth with back and neck issues from years of a sedentary lifestyle wedded to my computer. 
You might be able to understand my reluctance to do this and have put it off for 18 months.

However, there was no need for me to be worried or feel bad about my lack of fitness, which I am very grateful for! After me explaining my predicament, we ran through a few tests of my strength, because that’s a key area I said I wanted to focus on. Apparently, my grip is strong enough to gain me entry into the police force. I doubt any of my other results would satisfy the criteria, but at least I could hold on to . . . whatever it is cops have to be able to hold. It’s probably an easy test that they do first that most people can pass so you don’t feel too bad about your lack of fitness that’s revealed elsewhere as you go through the rest of the tests.

I say “tests” like it’s a formal assessment, but it really wasn’t like that. It was more like a session with my physio, where I had to twist and turn to see my mobility limitations, of which there are quite a lot, and some assessments of my core strength. That didn’t take long, primarily because my core strength doesn’t exist.

I came away with a very small exercise program that I have eight weeks to put in place before I have to go back. I think I can do this!

I’m still working on the pre-work routine (thing 20) through the Change Journal (thing 4) and I think it’s almost time to pick up a new habit. Maybe next week.

I also did some behind the scenes work for my website (thing 13).

Vegetable of the week

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from the book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable. 

This week’s vegetable was zucchini and I made Alice’s Summer Slice, which is like a frittata that you’d make to use up a glut of zucchini. It was pretty easy to make and really nice with a side salad. 

Summer slice (you’ll have to trust me that there’s zucchini in it)

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that I’ve made a regular commitment to doing in the hope that this will be more likely to make me do them. I worked on these ones this week.

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. I offloaded a bunch of recyclable plastic that had been breeding in the kitchen for months, maybe years.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I did this for my allocated hour on Sunday afternoon. Who said I can’t stick to a schedule?
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I had my regular visit with my mum on Thursday for the next instalment, and I found out where my grandfather went to college. Then in a fabulous bit of research, after locating the uni that the college is now part of (University of Western Sydney), I found some of his records online, including photos of him in the college rugby team.

21 for 2021 Summary

  • Things completed this week: 1 (1)
  • Things completed to date: 1 (1)
  • Things I progressed: 7 (2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 13, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 4 (6, 11, 17, 18)
  • Things not started: 9 (3, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21)


Blast from the past
Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s one of my favourite posts from 7 March 2011 called Pushing papers. I’m not sure much has changed since then . . .

When did I listen and what did I learn this week?

I learned that being irrationally irritated by the sound of someone’s tapping keyboard at work is actually normal for people who have a noise sensitivity like I do. I also learned (after a follow-up hearing test) that I’m not making this up and I’m not being a big sook when I say I can’t stand the noise. Having a low noise tolerance is a real condition, and the audiologist says that it really does affect people’s quality of life. So all this time when I thought I was being overly sensitive and needed to get over it, I’ve actually been blaming myself for something that does make my life miserable at times, and it’s something I can’t talk myself out of.

What was the best thing about this week?

I went to TMAG this week to see David Keeling’s exhibition, stranger, which was intriguing and thought-provoking, especially the gallery with the “Contested Sites” artworks, which show David’s impressions of the Midlands of Tasmania, “scarred by perennial battles over custodianship and management”.

David Keeling exhibition at TMAG

I also loved seeing David’s selection of sketchbooks.

A selection of David Keeling’s sketchbooks

I also visited the exhibition of the finalists in the Frank Hurley Photography Awards, which was an amazing collection of photographs that celebrate Frank Hurley’s legacy. Until recently I had only known him as the photographer who went to the Antarctic, but his work is much broader than that, and he has a fascinating story.

What I’m reading this week

  • The Tea Room on the Bay by Rachel Burton
  • The INTP Quest by A J Drenth
  • Personality Hacker by Joel Mark Witt & Antonia Dodge
  • Burning Out by Katherine May

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 4): 4
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

21 for 2021: week 5

Week 5/2021: Week of 1 February

21 for 2021 update

This week was a weird week. I had Monday and Tuesday off work before school went back on Wednesday, two days back in the office and then a day working at home. I’ve been doing some of my workmate’s job while she’s been on leave since before Christmas and I’m so glad she’ll be back next week and have her job back! There’s a whole bunch of reasons I’ve struggled with this and I’ve been doing some more reading and reflecting on myself that has made it quite clear to me why I’m not happy doing it. 

So, it’s been an interesting time of learning and thinking and seeking clarity.

I got straight back into the pre-work routine (thing 20) when I went back to work on Wednesday. It’s one of the habits I’m working on through the Change Journal (thing 4).

Vegetable of the week

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from the book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable.

 This week I made Gajar Makhani – Indian Style Butter Carrot (page 140), which was pretty easy. It would have been better if I’d not burned it though. I think I’ll make that one again. 

Gajar Makhani ingredients
The finished dish

I also made one of the ginger recipes, Lau’s Vegetables wits with Fresh Ginger (page 104) but I didn’t do the “fizzy ginger” topping so I might try that one again too.

So many greens

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that I’ve made a regular commitment to doing in the hope that this will be more likely to make me do them. This is not necessarily so. I’m very good at making commitments to myself and then when the time comes, deciding I want to do something else. It’s something I want to work on.

I listened to a podcast from Personality Hacker on Monday that talked about exactly this subject and said that, despite the struggle, a schedule is the best way to get things done. It suggested creating “anchor events” that you absolutely have to get done and then working your other things around that. It also suggested that you have to find a rhythm and time for things that works for you – because just by putting things on a calendar doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily do them. So if something doesn’t work at one time, you keep trying it at different times until you find a time that does. It’s something I’m going to have a go at over the next few weeks.

Here are the regular projects I worked on this week.

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. I got the blood tests my doctor ordered back in November and sorted out one of the many piles of crap I need to get rid of.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I worked on one of the videos.  
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I visit my Mum every Thursday to chat to her about her life and add to what I know so I can write this story. This week I learned that my father used to drive a green Commodore. I wonder when he made the shift from Holden to Datsun. 
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. I did the third and fourth class of the second module this week to complete that module. One of the interesting things I learned relates back to some of the other stuff I’ve been doing else where about disrupting your thinking and getting exposed to new ideas and experiences. Without going into a bunch of stuff about personality theory, what I think I’ve discovered is the thing that’s actually keeping me stuck. I think I’ve figured out the element of my personality that wants stay in my comfort zone of the known and of routines, even though I feel like it is causing the slow, withering death of my soul to do that. It all stems from letting the 10-year-old into the front of the car instead of keeping it in the back where it belongs. At least it’s a possibility.

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 0
  • Things I progressed: (7) 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 17, 20
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: (5) 1, 6, 11, 13, 18
  • Things not started: (9) 3, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21

What I’m reading this week

  • Braving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Brene Brown
  • The Queen of My Self by Donna Henes
  • The INTP Quest by A J Drenth
  • A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future: David Attenborough
  • Love in the City by Jen Morris

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 3): 3
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 3 work days): 3
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

21 for 2021: Week 4 update

21 for 2021 update

I did a bit more work on my blog this week (thing 13) and posted the second part of my series reflecting on blogging for ten years. 

This includes re-posting a post from each month of my first year over the next few weeks as a trip down memory lane. So for this week, here’s a post from 3 February 2011, which is about why I put in an objection to the local council about plans for building a fast food “restaurant” in the town I used to live in. 

Something that continues to amuse me is that a post I wrote in 2014, originally for a blog (which no longer exists) of a writer who called herself Betty Herbert about kids TV shows, about the show Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, continues to be my top rating post. Just this week, I got a comment on the post from a reader who watches the show with his five-year-old, which is just brilliant. I blame the monkey kittens for this. 

I’m still working on the “habits” chapter of the Change Journal (thing 4), which has included my pre-work planing routine (thing 20) but as I’ve been off work this week, I haven’t been doing that. I think it’s time to start work on one of the chapters that I can actually complete in a week or I can see this dragging out over the whole year. 

Vegetable of the week

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from the book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable. This week I chose wombok, Chinese cabbage, which I already have a couple of salad recipes for that I make occasionally. This recipe, Chang-Ed Wombok Slaw with Plum Sauce (page 94), was also a salad that included radishes, crispy noodles and those spring onions I used in Saturday’s eggplant dish. It was simple.

The biggest part was cutting up the veggies, which I never enjoy doing. The dressing was based on plum sauce, which I had left over from another recipe, and I served it with pork steaks. 

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that I have made a regular commitment to doing in the hope that this will be more likely to make me do them. This is not necessarily so. I’m very good at making commitments to myself and then when the time comes, deciding I want to do something else. It’s something I want to work on.

I worked on these ones this week.

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. One hour on Saturday morning. This took more like two and a half hours, but I cleared out the bathroom cupboards and made more space for Kramstable’s stuff.
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. This week, I wrote up the notes from my first meeting with my mum and sent it to her to have a look at. 
  • Thing 11: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I finished the first lesson I’d been working on, completed the second lesson and started the third one.
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. I did the second lesson in module 2 this week. I found this really interesting as it was all about broadening your knowledge of the field that you work in to tap into emerging trends and ideas from “thought leaders” in the field. It is very similar to an exercise from my career review that I struggled with doing a couple of weeks ago, so I’m thinking getting the same message again so close to the first one is a sign I need to pay more attention to this.

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 0
  • Things I progressed: (7) 2, 4, 5, 9, 11, 13, 17
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: (5) 1, 6, 8, 18, 20
  • Things not started: (9) 3, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21

When did I listen and what did I learn this week?

I went to the rally on 26 January organised by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and listened to some very passionate people argue why this is not a day to celebrate. The words of a young Syrian man summed up my reason for being there best: “I will never understand your anguish but I see it and I stand with you”. 

26 January Rally, nipaluna/Hobart

A key message from the day was that we need to learn the history of this place we live on, we need to honour it and protect it. We need to tell the truth about what happened here. There is a lot to learn, a lot to take in, but it is important that we do this. I found myself agreeing with the Anglican Archbishop, who observed that “mature nations tell the truth about their past”. We cannot become a mature nation while we act like a sulky child and our leaders continue to spout the “not gonna, you can’t make me” line. We can’t wait for them to take any action on this. They won’t. They’ll just talk and talk, or else they’ll try to tell us how hard it was for the white people who colonised this land. Here is a post that is worth reading about that particular comment

It feels like the climate issue. Our leaders are not going to do anything because it doesn’t serve them to do so. It is up to us to take the lead. 

I felt drawn to these two quote, both similar but from very different sources. This from Brené Brown in here book Braving The Wilderness (which is a great book and anyone who has ever felt along the lines of “if you are not with us, you must be against us” might benefit from reading it. In fact, anyone who despairs at the shouty, fearful, disconnected world we live in would, I suspect, relate to what Brené says in the book on page 40).

Braving the Wilderness.

The quote is actually from the author Joseph Campbell, and in relation to it, Brene says that while we may be all sharing the same map, our paths will be different, and we must all find our own way.

If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.

And photographer David DuChemin says

As you head into 2021, remember that your journey can’t be measured by the metrics created by other people. Learn everything you can from every source you can, but remember your journey can’t be measured by the footprints of others and you can’t borrow their map. It doesn’t matter where you are relative to others, but that you’re taking the next steps that get you closer to a destination only you will recognize.

What was the best thing about this week?

Having the week off with Kramstable.

What I’m reading

  • Braving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Brené Brown
  • The Queen of My Self by Donna Henes

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): I didn’t go to work this week, so none
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 4
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 5
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

Back to the future part 2

Continued from part 1, in which I write about the origins of this blog in 2011.

After blogging every day in 2011 and then limping through 2012, I tried to reignite the blog in 2013 because I did enjoy blogging and interacting with the people who read it and took the time to leave comments. So I was keen to get back into blogging more regularly. I realised that daily blogging wasn’t for me so I set myself a goal to blog at least three times a week in 2013. I intended to set some regular things to blog about to make it a bit easier. For example, Monday was going to be the day I was going to write about my journey to quitting sugar, and as the year went on, to improving my diet in general. Sunday was going to be scrapbooking/memory keeping post day.

And I had this list of 100 things to do in 2013 that I was going to review at the end of each month.

I also thought it would be fun to participate in weekly blog linkups like “Wordless Wednesday”, “Thankful Thursday” and “FFS Friday” that I’d seen on various blogs around the place. I don’t recall that lasting very long either.

Later in 2013, I started a 12 of 12 project, which was to take 12 photos of your life on the 12th day of every month.

A random 12 of 12 photo from 12 August 2013

I blogged about trips away, unusual things and challenges I was doing, more scrapbook layouts and random issues like dealing with imperfection (that was a good one). I ran a semi-regular feature for a while called Find Me Friday, where I would post a photo of part of a building in Hobart that I would challenge my readers to identify. I also did a 30 days of lists challenge, which foreshadowed a much bigger project I’d take on a few years later. The blog was still alive, but it wasn’t a regular part of my life any more. And I never did those 100 things in 2013. Or in 2014. Or in 2015 . . .

You can read about where my thinking was around this time, my initial idea for the blog and then the revamped one, here, which is on Blogger, the original platform I used. I moved over to WordPress in September 2013, which is why the formatting of the early posts on here is all over the shop.

In 2016, after having read the book Do Share Inspire: The year I changed my life through TED talks by Kylie Dunn (my post here), in which she pent a year applying the ideas from some of the TED talks she had listened to over recent years through a series of 30-day activities, I decided to start my own series of 30-day challenges that I’d blog about. These included going alcohol-free for 30 days, drawing every day, doing something that scared me every day, and doing cryptic crosswords every day for 30 days.

This was around the time I renamed the blog to stepping on the cracks. As I explained in this post.

“The 30-days project” doesn’t have much of a ring to it. So thinking about some activities I did and some a-ha moments I had at a retreat a couple of weeks ago, I came up with the title “stepping on the cracks”. I realised that whenever I try to draw something, it tends to be straight lines, and that I colour within within the lines and that this art could be seen as a reflection of my personality. I once, when asked to do a doodle drawing, observed the following:

The idea was to draw a shape and split it into sections and doodle or make our mark. I noticed everyone else did round shapes – spirals, circles, ovals, abstracts. I did a triangle. Perhaps that says a lot about me – straight lines and angles. Left brain rules. It also included the words “Don’t step on the cracks” and “Stay within the lines”.

I think I was very dryly reflecting on myself with those two phrases rather than seriously instructing myself to comply with those rules. Anyway, very long story short, being straightlinesgirl is all perfectly OK and isn’t something I need to “fix” BUT there’s nothing stopping me drawing curves or swirls or colouring outside the lines or making a mess. So I think what the project is all about is being who I am, but not letting that prevent me from doing anything else – and seeing what happens when I step on the cracks and colour outside the lines.

This project kind of worked and kind of didn’t.

Some of the challenges were ideally suited to a 30-day format: 30 days of no alcohol, for example. This was because I had a clear idea in my head of what I’d be doing (or not doing in this case) over the 30 days, and my progress was easy to track. I either had 30 days free of alcohol or I didn’t.

Some of the other challenges were more vague and I didn’t have much of an idea what I needed to do over the 30 days. 30 days of clarity, for example. WTF?! I didn’t have a plan or anything to measure my progress by in those ones. And I think I took way too much on for the time I actually had to work on these things. As a result, things were very stop-start over this time and I didn’t stick with several of the challenges I had initially intended to do. So that part of the project was less successful.

After that project ground to a halt, I tried a few other things over the next year or two, including using the blog as accountability for making healthy habit changes by making commitments to a healthier lifestyle and posting weekly updates, but even that didn’t last very long. I also wrote about taking part in Care Australia’s Walk In Her Shoes challenge for a couple of years.

Walk in Her Shoes 2016

Finally, at the end of 2018, I decided to take on the 19 for 2019 challenge, which was a list of 19 things I wanted to accomplish in 2019. (Not 100, which I’d aimed for in 2013). I got the idea from Gretchen Rubin and Liz Craft’s Happier podcast, as they were doing 18 for 2018. Finally, some success! I had an achievable list of 19 things to do, of which I did 14 and I updated the blog a lot more consistently, which kept me on track with the list. I carried it over into 20 for 2020 (and now 21 for 2021) and over time have gradually expanded it to include keeping up to date on habits I want to develop and little things I want to improve.

I’m feeling comfortable with where it’s at now and I have a nice little routine for writing the posts each week and keeping track of everything I’ve done.

It’s been an interesting process to look back on where I was ten years ago and to see how, in relation to some things, not much has changed at all. I thought I’d share my favourite post from each month over the next few weeks, to commemorate the tenth anniversary, beginning with this one

  • 8 January 2011: Tweetup, in which I overcome my fear of meeting people and bravely turn up to a BBQ with People From Twitter Who I Don’t Actually Know In Real Life.

Now on my blog’s tenth anniversary, I’ve been starting to wonder whether its format and title is really what it’s all about or if it needs a bit of a reboot, given the last reboot was in 2016. In particular, acknowledging that there’s nothing stopping me drawing curves or swirls or colouring outside the lines or making a mess but that, when I think about it, I don’t actually want to make that type of art.

There’s a lot going on in my head at the moment!

21 for 2021: week 3

Week 3/21: week of 18 January 2021

21 for 2021 update

Some time ago I was chatting to my GP about getting older and how I want to make sure I stay as healthy as I can for as long as I can. I said one thing I’ve always had a problem with was exercising; that even though I walk a lot, my cardiovascular fitness isn’t fantastic and I know that as women age they start to lose a lot of bone density, which can be, if not prevented, then minimised by increasing their strength. I’ve tried exercise programs in the past, most recently before I got pregnant. Yes, that was 15 years ago. I have no wish to join a gym, I don’t like exercising, I have some very weak points in my back, and I can come up with every excuse under the sun not to exercise. Meanwhile, time marches on and little niggles in my body start to let me know they are there more and more often. 

My GP suggested seeing an exercise physiologist to get an assessment of where I’m at, what I need and what I can do that I’m more likely to stick to and that takes into account my weak spots. I had never heard of exercise physiologists before so I had to google what they were. I learned that exercise physiology provides injury rehabilitation and injury and illness prevention through exercise. The aims of exercise physiology are to prevent or manage injury or illness and to assist in restoring optimal physical function, health or wellness. It can include health and physical activity education, advice and support, and lifestyle modification, with a strong focus on behavioural change.

That ticked all the boxes for me. It sounded exactly what I needed. Now the only thing was to do it. It might not surprise you to know that I had this conversation with my GP about 18 months ago and she had even recommended someone to see. I was brilliant at coming up with excuses why I couldn’t do this. I put it on my list to do this year (thing 1) hoping that having it there might act as an incentive to do it some time this year. The first time I went onto the practitioner’s website earlier this year, there were no appointments available but this week there were two or three. I told myself there was no excuse to not do it. So I booked an appointment and it’s done and now I just have to show up. 

I started making a few behind the scenes change to my blog (thing 13) and posted the first of what will be a short series of posts about my ten years of blogging. 

I’ve been working on the Habits chapter of the Change Journal (thing 4) , one of which is to implement the pre-work routine (thing 20), which I have now done every day for three weeks. It’s probably time to start exploring some of the other chapters in the journal now.

Vegetable of the week

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from the book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable. 

I decided to make up for missing my vegetable cooking last Saturday and do one of Alice’s veggie recipes mid week. This one was Samosa-mix stuffed peppers (aka red capsicums). I had never made samosas before and I had never stuffed capsicums before. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, it turns out, nothing. It was a pretty easy recipe and the spice combination of mustard seeds, turmeric, garlic, curry powder (mine is called x-hot) and garam masala smelt so good when it was cooking. The only things I didn’t have were green chillies (accidentally overlooked at the shop) and coriander leaves for the garnish, which brings me to another topic of food waste, which is coming up very soon. I even used the rest of a tub of yogurt that was a week past its best before date (don’t tell anyone; it was fine).

This was really good and a lot easier than I’d imagined

Saturday was regular veggie cooking day. I have had Alice’s yam recipe on the list for a few weeks because Slabs saw them in the shops a while back but I’ve always had a backup in case he can’t get them when he does the shopping. Today was no different and he came home and said I was cooking eggplant. Yay! I love eggplant.

The recipe is Sichuan Sticky Eggplant (page 270 if you’re playing at home) and requires you to cut up the eggplant and let it sit in salt for an hour until it softens. Somehow I’ve never learned from past mistakes of not reading through the recipe earlier in the day so I know how much prep time I need. Dinner was going to be late again.

After that, though, the rest is pretty simple. You make the sticky sauce from a variety of Chinese sauces that until today I had never heard of but now have in my fridge. You dry out the salted eggplant pieces (Alice calls them “batons” I’m not sure how big they’re supposed to be but mine looked a lot like chips), coat them in cornflour and fry them in a shit-tonne of rice bran oil.

I know, right. I said I don’t fry. Seems as though I do now. And I didn’t burn the house down.

Sure, I fry

Then you cook some rice, mix the eggplant into the sauce (which I think I overcooked a bit) and serve with the deep fried sliced garlic and red chillies that you prepared at the start.

The end result

It was really good. I’m going to ignore the sugar content.

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that are going to work best if I make a regular commitment to doing them. I worked on these ones this week.

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list.) One hour on Saturday morning.)  I cleaned out the back foyer and closed some bank accounts.
Yeah, you can see why this was on the undone annoying things list, right?
Much better
  • Thing 6: Grow some vegetables in the garden bed. (One hour on Sunday afternoon for garden projects.) I did a bit of work on Sunday and threw some seeds in. In hindsight, perhaps 3pm in the middle of summer isn’t quite the best time to be doing that. Especially not in my morning walking clothes that I was still wearing, including my polar fleece. Incredibly bad idea.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I spent my allocated hour on Sunday afternoon doing this. 
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I visited my mum during the week and started to write up what I’ve been learning. 
  • Thing 10: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I’m working through the first lesson.
  • Thing 17: I did the first lesson in module 2 of the Brainsparker gym* program.

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 0
  • Things I progressed: 11 (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 17, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 1 (18)
  • Things not started: 9 (3, 7, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21)

When did I listen and what did I learn this week?

I continued to expose myself to Indigenous voices on the issue of 26 January. I was, like many people, appalled at the Prime Minister’s suggestion that 26 January hadn’t been such a “flash day” for the people arriving on the British boats either, as if a few months stuck on a dodgy boat was in any way comparable to the atrocities committed against the original inhabitants of this land, and the continuing disadvantages and systemic discrimination faced by their descendants.

I have learned a lot recently and I have a lot of time spent in ignorance to make up for. As in any area of growth, however, it won’t achieve anything for me to be mad at past me for what I haven’t known or understood. I can only change me now, and acknowledge that I have a lot to learn, a lot to understand and that I have to do more of what needs to be done starting now. 

I saw this quote from James Clear during the week, which I think I need to keep in mind at all times, because worrying about what other people might think is something I do very well and it often stops me from doing the things I want to do.

When I notice myself worrying about “what other people will think” I find I’m usually not worried about any single person’s opinion.
If I pick a specific person, I‘m rarely concerned about what they will think.
What I fear is the collective opinion in my head. It’s imaginary.

Saturday sunrise

What did I do for the Earth this week?

I recently saw a reply to a comment on Instagram post from someone who said they were committed to never throwing out food. The reply was along the lines of what that person did in their kitchen really wasn’t the biggest food waster. True, but  if everyone thought like that and didn’t care how much food they threw away, there would be a huge snowball effect, right? In her book Simplicious Flow, Sarah Wilson says if waste food were a country, it would be the third largest producer of CO2 in the world after the US and China, and that the number one contributors to this are consumers.

I don’t know if that’s true, but I did find out from here that

  • On average, Australians throw one in five shopping bags of food in the bin—that’s about $3,800 worth of groceries per household each  year.
  • Australian households throw away 2.5 million tonnes of edible food each year—that equates to nearly 300 kilograms per person—and the average Australian household sends roughly 4.9 kilograms of food waste to landfill each week.
  • In Australia, 7.3 million tonnes of food is lost or wasted each year—enough to fill 13,000 Olympic sized swimming pools. Households are the biggest contributors (34%), followed by primary production (31%) and manufacturing (24%). 3.2 million tonnes of this is sent to landfill, and 75% of all food that is sent to landfill comes from our households.
  • Rotting food in landfill produces methane, which is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. For every tonne of food waste in landfill, a tonne of CO2-e greenhouse gas is generated.
  • When we waste food, we also waste the natural resources that go into making it, like land, water and energy.

Sorry, instagram commenter, I think what that person does, multiplied by 25 million people, could make a pretty big contribution to reducing emissions.

There is a whole world of opportunities here to make a huge difference to my footprint on the Earth and that is my focus moving forward. I realise I also have to stop collecting tips to reduce food waste and start not only buying smarter but making better use of what I buy.

I saw a post recently from someone who said you can regrow spring onions if you just chuck the bottom of them with the roots still attached into the ground. Apparently, the tops will regrow and you can keep cutting them as you need them, and this person said they never buy spring onions any more. I had some left over from my eggplant dish, so they are part of the veggie box now. I will wait and see if this works.

After the hot afternoon debacle, I went out later when it was cooler and threw some (very past their use-by date; one packet said to sow before 2010) basil, coriander and spinach seeds in and left it at that. I pulled the cover over the veggie bed, not that it’s much good as all the plastic has deteriorated and it’s mostly holes, so I don’t hold out much hope of it shielding them from the 31 degree sun tomorrow. But since the seeds are so old, they might not grow anyway, so this was really just to see what happens.

I rode my bike to work

Summary of the week

What I’m reading this week

  • Hollow Places: An Unusual History of Land and Legend by Christopher Hadley
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad
  • A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough
  • The Queen of My Self by Donna Henes

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

Back to the future: part 1

I started this blog in January 2011, so this month is its tenth anniversary. Happy Blogiversary to me!

It’s changed a lot since then and I’ve had periods when I’ve blogged a lot and others where I have blogged very little. As a tenth anniversary thing, I thought it would be fun to go back over the last ten years of blogging to remind myself how it all came together and how much it (and I) have changed since then.

I made my very first post on 5 January 2011 about a photo I took on 1 January. (I needed to double post for a few days to catch up.)

My first post, 5 January 2011

There was no introduction to the blog, no explanation of what it was about. I just got straight into it. Back then, the blog was called PastPresentFuture, and an entry from my journal dated 4 January 2011 provides some insight about what that all meant.


I’ve been wondering the last few days about the meaning of the Three of Wands, which is the card that came out when I did my iPhone single card Tarot reading. (Yes, really, I have an app for my phone that gives you a single card reading.)

The question I was pondering was what should my direction for 2011 be. It’s an appropriate card, because it’s all about new ventures and such.

[Here followed a lengthy analysis of the Three of Wands card, which included insights such as:]

  • This is a card of vision and foresight—looking for greater possibilities. This card asks you to be a visionary—to dream beyond current limitations. The three of wands tells you that now is the time to accept your vision and be confident that you will achieve it. You are being encouraged to move fearlessly into new areas.
  • Threes represent the idea of creation, gifts, challenges, opportunities and imagination. New directions and growths can take place. There is divine creation and spirituality and a regeneration of creativity.
  • This card represents the undertaking of a creative project or goal. It also signifies the change and the challenges represented by this new beginning.
  • Patience. Purpose. Energy to move in new directions.
  • The querent may . . . be someone skilled at seeing the connections in life, or someone who seeks to develop and understand connections; where she is, where she has been, and where she is going.
  • A successful beginning of a project or inspiration and fire of the artist or the inventor. The basis of the work is firmly established and the undertaking can be fearlessly continued.

Before I started the blog, I’d decided to embark on a 365-day photo project, which was to take a photo every day in 2011, and I was going to do that using an app on my phone (probably called Project 365, I can’t remember). But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted an outlet to share this work as well rather than just keeping it on my phone. The tricky part was working out what that would look like. In the end, a few things all fell into place all about the same time. I’d been chatting to people on Twitter about blogging, one of my scrapbooking friends was also thinking about starting a blog and that morning while I was in the kitchen it just came to me that a blog was going to be my new project.

Screen shot of the first couple of weeks of Project 365 in 2011.

Pastpresentfuture occurred to me as a name because the very first interpretation of the Three of Wands I had seen talked about the three wands as representing past, present and moving into the future, and that was exactly what was on my mind when I drew the card.

So the connection was made. I imagined that the blog would be something new I could do that will help me remember the past (through posting about my scrapbooking and memory keeping), live in the present (by taking a photo of one moment in time) and design my future (which is the bit that never really took off—I was going to start my own Happiness Project but I never really got there. I think I was already busy enough . . . )

I did this project for the whole of 2011. How I managed to take a photo and write a blog post every day for an entire year, when I was juggling working, still being at home with a four-year-old Kramstable and getting him through the first year of Kinder, I will never know. Because I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to do it now!

Anyway, I did it.

Some days I didn’t post much more than a photo and a couple of lines, and others were much longer posts where perhaps the photo wasn’t the feature.

Part-way through the year, I discovered some photo editing apps for the iPhone and my photography changed dramatically (see this post for an explanation).

I am more than a little embarrassed by these photos now but am trying to accept them as part of my journey of discovering what I like and what I don’t in my photography. I thought they were super cool at the time! Thankfully, this phase was short-lived.

After 2011 was over, I think I was exhausted and I fell out of blogging very easily, going for weeks or even months without posting. I had a bit to say, but it never translated into posts. I remember having a vague idea of making the blog about my scrapbooking and memory keeping processes, but I think that fell over because I wanted to be doing that work rather than blogging about it.

To be continued . . .

21 for 2021: week 2

Week 2/2021: week of 11 January


I’m currently working through chapters 7 and 8 of the Change Journal (thing 4). Chapter 7 is about trying to do things that you want to become new habits for 66 days. I’m working on two at the moment: the morning pre-work routine at work (thing 20) and getting back into the habit of doing five minutes of yoga stretches every day. My wonderful yoga teacher, Lynn, made the instructions for these stretches as part of an audio program she created last year during the Covid lockdown when we couldn’t go to class. Part of the deal was she would be a text buddy for anyone who wanted some accountability for following the program and I had an agreement with her to text her every day once I’d done the stretches. It worked really well when I was working at home full-time but it got more difficult to do in the office when I couldn’t find a quiet space. As a result, I fell out of the habit and I want to get back into it so I’m using the Change Journal to track it.

I did some work on my resume (thing 18) during the week. I’ve been doing a bit of work on reflecting about my career, where I am and where I want to go over the last couple of weeks, and I want my resume to have a statement that reflects some of that. In some ways, it’s an ongoing process, but I know there’s a job that I want to do coming up soon so I need a current resume to be able to apply for that.

I didn’t have to cook dinner on Saturday and my most excellent meal planning system didn’t take that into account last week so I’m left without a vegetable of the week (thing 2). I’ll make up for it next week with two new recipes.

Shades of green

Regular projects
There are several things on my 21 for 2021 list that I’ve made a regular commitment to do.

Here are the ones I worked on this week

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. I set aside an hour on Saturday morning, which I didn’t end up doing this week. One of the things was to sort out Kramstable’s bank accounts, and we made some progress on that one this week by closing down two accounts and moving them to another bank. It almost took an hour and I could write an entire post about that experience but I won’t subject you to what we had to endure. I also stuck some more photocollages in my 2020 journal.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I spent my allocated hour on Sunday afternoon doing this.
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. This week, I visited my mum for our first storytelling session. I was a little nervous about how she might react to me dredging back over her life but she seemed really happy to talk to me and I’ve found out a few things I didn’t already know.
  • Thing 10: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I haven’t allocated time for this yet but I started working through the course material on Saturday.

I didn’t do these ones

  • Thing 6: Grow some vegetables in the garden bed. (One hour on Sunday afternoon for garden projects.)
  • Thing 7: Clear out the area at the side of the house and make a space to sit. (One hour on Sunday afternoon for garden projects.)
  • Thing 11: Complete the Photoshop Classroom in a Book activities. I haven’t allocated time for this yet.
  • Thing 17: Module 2 of the Brainsparker gym* was released late this week and I haven’t looked at it yet. It’s on the list for next week.

21 for 2021 summary: week 2

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 0
  • Things I progressed: 7 (4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 18, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 3 (2, 6, 17)
  • Things not started: 11 (1, 3, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21)

What else did I achieve this week?
I worked on the Hobart Street Corners project and have a nice backlog of photos ready to post now.

When did I listen and what did I learn this week?
This week I did some reading about 26 January and the different views around whether the date should be changed or whether the holiday should be abolished altogether. I found a good summary from @blakbusiness on Instagram, which they have allowed people to share.

Change the Date advocates for a new national holiday that is inclusive for all people of Australia. This perspective recognises that other people have some here – such as refugees – and want to celebrate this country. However, this perspective also recognises that the history of January 26 makes it insensitive for a national celebration and that a different date should be chosen. Many people highlight that changing the date also requires a redefining of what is being celebrated.

Abolish the Date advocates for no national holiday as there is greater change that needs to happen before the nation should celebrate. These changes include truth-telling about history, treaty, provision of health services, access to affordable food, decreased prison, suicide and child removal rates and so on. This perspective questions what is it that is being celebrated on January 26 and should this be celebrated?

@blackbusiness om Instagram

I don’t feel qualified to have a view on this, other than to think that celebrating “Australia Day” on 26 January is not okay. I am continuing to read and to learn more about these issues. The post links to some other resources including

What did I do for the Earth this week?
I still feel way overwhelmed about the extent of work that has to be done if the world is going to survive the climate crisis and am trying to strike a balance between staying reasonably informed and hitting the panic button. At the same time I’m trying to find things in my own life I can change right away. One of those is the amount of washing I do.

When I had a good look at my household habits, I realised that for the amount of clothes I have, washing every week is completely unnecessary. I have more than enough clothes to last me two weeks and fill the washing machine instead of doing a half-load every week.

I am also guilty of using the clothes dryer for my towels because I hate the feel of line-dried towels, and they don’t seem to work as well if they’re line-dried. Clothes dryer = huge energy waster. So I invested in some Turkish towels, which don’t need to be washed every week and definitely do not need to be tumble dried. I’ll use the old towels for cleaning rags. And that has cut my washing in half and eliminated my use of the clothes dryer.

Storm clouds

What was the best thing about this week?
Talking to my mum and closing the bank accounts.

What I’m reading this week

  • A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough
  • In The Winter Dark by Tim Winton
  • The Climate Cure: Solving the Climate Emergency in the Era of COVID-19 by Tim Flannery

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 3
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 6

21 for 2021: week 1

Week 1/2021: week of 4 January 2021
My 21 for 2021 list

This was my first week back at work so I decided it was as good a time as any to get back into the pre-work planning routine from the LifeHack program (thing 20). The video suggests following the exact routine for 66 days to cement it as a habit loop in your brain. I am struggling with that, not least because I’m not in the same place every day. It also feels very weird to try and work through a structured checklist like this. However, I will persist. 

Coincidentally, there is a chapter in the Change Journal (thing 4) about forming new habits, which also suggests trying new habits for 66 days. It gives you space to track seven new habits, presumably staring a new one every day for a week consistent with the way the rest of the book is structured to allow you to follow a new idea each week. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to try and introduce a new habit every day for a week, so I’m going to use this section of the book to track seven new habits over the course of the year. Unsurprisingly, the first one I’m going to try and follow for 66 (work) days is the pre-work planning routine.

I worked through the first module of the Brainsparker gym* (thing 17) and learned something really interesting. Well, as a contact lens wearer, I found it interesting. I learned that the modern contact lens was invented by a Czech chemist called Dr Otto Wichterle and his colleague Drahoslav Lím. Dr Wichterle had to leave the Institute of Chemical Technology after a political purge by the institute’s Communist leadership in 1958. He was appointed as leader of a new institute but, as it didn’t have a building at the time, he continued his research at his house. In 1961, he succeeded in producing the first four hydrogel contact lenses on his kitchen table with a machine he had made himself from a children’s building set, a dynamo from his son’s bike and a bell transformer.

The lesson from this: Keep going, even if the circumstances aren’t perfect. Use what you have and keep going.

Vegetable of the week

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from Alice Zaslavky’s book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable. This week I chose radicchio, which is another vegetable I’ve never cooked with (and, like okra, wasn’t exactly sure what to do with). I picked the radicchio and sausage pasta recipe.

Radicchio & sausage pasta ingredients

It uses pork and fennel sausages that you take out of the casing and smash up. Alice says to use the “fancy” ones, not ones that are packed full of fillers. It seemed a little sacrilegious to me to destroy the butcher’s work in putting these things together, and I wondered if using pork mince and fennel seeds might work as well. Perhaps I’ll try it one day. The recipe includes fennel, which is another vegetable I’d also never cooked, so I got two for the price of one with this dish!

Smashed sausages. Sorry, Meatgrrl.
Radicchio. Right.
Raddichio chopped.

It worked out well and everyone had seconds. So maybe it was worth destroying the sausages for. And I learned a very cool tip for adding zucchini to pasta rather than cutting it up and adding it to the sauce: use a spiraliser (I have one of those. I think I’ve used it once. I never forgave it after I cut myself on it). You put the spiralised zucchini in the colander before you drain the pasta and then let the pasta water soften it a bit.

Spiralised zucchini, yeah!
The finished product.,

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that are going to work best if I make a regular commitment to doing them. Consistency is the key. Brainsparker gym* is one (an hour a week) and the pre-work routine is obviously another one. So are these ones.

  • Thing 3: Complete the 30-day voice training course. I haven’t allocated time for this yet.
  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. One hour on Saturday morning. I didn’t do it this week because we went out most of the day, but I did work on a couple of the things on the list another time.
  • Thing 6: Grow some vegetables in the garden bed. One hour on Sunday afternoon for garden projects. I pulled out all the weeds and cleared space around it. I’m a little concerned that the cover for this garden bed is plastic that is rapidly deteriorating and I’m not sure what to do about that. No matter what I do, the plastic is still going to be somewhere, whether I throw it out or leave it. 
  • Thing 7: Clear out the area at the side of the house and make a space to sit. One hour on Sunday afternoon for garden projects.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. One hour on Sunday afternoon. I started the next video on my list. 
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. This week, I arranged with my mother to visit once a week to talk through this project and capture her memories.
  • Thing 10: Complete the ImageWork course. I haven’t allocated time for this yet.
  • Thing 11: Complete the Photoshop Classroom in a Book activities. I haven’t allocated time for this yet.

Yeah, I know I don‘t do well in sticking to a plan, but I have had some success in fixing regular times to do things in my week and making them habits so I’m hoping this will work for these things too.

Nice afternoon for a walk

What else did I achieve this week?

My regular check in: I finished the final collage for my 2020 photojournal and I now have all of them printed so I just need to stick them into the book to finish that off. It’s one of my annoying undone things.

I didn’t work on my Hobart Street Corners project on Thursday, which is the night I usually work on those photos, because my computer was playing up and it took two hours to even get any photos off my phone, much less edit anything. I finished off my backlog of 2020 photos on Sunday morning instead.

Last year I had some questions that I asked myself every week that would set me up for the new week, about what didn’t got so well that week and what I might do better next week. Most of the time my answer was that I was scrolling through my phone too much, and I never really kicked that habit, which I’m sure made for boring reading. It also made me realise that this approach wasn’t working so it was time to try something different. I have a bunch of questions for myself related to areas where I want to do better, not all of which I might be able to answer every week, so I thought I would answer just one or two of them on the blog each week rather than run through the entire list every week.

What did I do for the Earth this week?

There is so much going through my head. So many things I could do and so many things I should have been doing for years. Part of me wonders why bother? I can take all the small steps in the world to reduce my footprint but it won’t make a lick of difference if world leaders don’t make some hard decisions. We have to stop using fossil fuels and overfishing the seas and destroying rainforests and all the things we do that make our lives easier. We can’t sustain what we’re doing, we just can’t.

It all seems too overwhelming so, rather than give up because I don’t know what to do, I need to start somewhere and keep learning and making changes.

There are a couple of things that are extremely low-hanging fruit and I have no excuses not to do them.

The first one is the kettle. I had a habit of filling it up every time I use it, which is, I learned (and if I think about it, actually knew) a massive waste of energy I couldn’t find any exact numbers for Australia, but suffice to say boiling a kettle with 1.7 litres of water when I only need 500 ml is very inefficient and I don’t do it any more.

What was the best thing about this week?

Getting my new glasses so I can see again!

My blog also celebrated its tenth birthday, so I will be posting some more on that in the coming weeks.

Getting out for a lunchtime walk

Summary for the week

What I’m reading this week: A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough.

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 0
  • Things I progressed: 7 (2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 17, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 0
  • Things not started: 14 (1, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21)

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 3
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 2
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7