Category Archives: 21 for 2021

I’ve moved!

As part of my review of my websites and blogs, which is thing 13 in my 21 for 2021 list, I’ve decided to move my blog to a self-hosted WordPress site.

I have my own shiny new domain, steppingonthecracks.com, and I’m currently on a very steep learning curve trying to work it all out.

Birds sitting on rocks on a sunny day at the beach

I’ll continue to post updates on here until I work out how to notify readers who have already signed up to this site about the new site. At the moment, my world consists of email forms that don’t actually seem to send emails to me.

I hope you’ll join me on my new site and continue to share in my adventures.

21 for 2021: another thing done

Week 20/2021: Week of 17 May 2021

What did I want to do better this week?

Afternoon exercise. 

So, how did that go then?

. . . . . . . . .

21 for 2021 update

This week I did some more work on my resume (thing 18). I think I’m happy with it now, as I don’t have any need for it in job applications right now, so I’m calling it done. I’ve made six-monthly appointments with myself to review it as part of a regular catchup with myself to check in on how I’m going with all things work. How super organised is that?!

This is an idea I got from Katherine at People Flourishing, who has been a wonderful help to me in the past with my resume and applying for jobs.

I also did some work on my websites and blogs (thing 13). I’m trying to make them more consistent in terms of style and with the stories I tell about myself. 

I didn’t start a new chapter of the Change Journal but I’m still working on Habits (Chapter 7), Clarity (Chapter 8) and Pitch Yourself (Chapter 9).

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 cooked Alice’s “Blend and Snap” Celery Soup (page 418) this week. Any recipe that talks about Elle Woods is already a winner in my book and this proved to be the case in practice.

One thing I love about this is that there’s no pre-cooking prep needed. You just cut up celery, leek and some herbs, blend the lot with some stock and put it on to cook. Blending everything with my stick blender was the most intensive part of this cook. Otherwise it was all pretty easy and I had time to make a side dish of zucchini fritters. (This was easier than it sounds. It was grated zucchini mixed with eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg, and fried.)

Granish for the "Blend and snap" celery soup from Alice Zaslavsky's book In Praise of Veg
Celery soup garnish

I think what made this soup was the garnish, which is made up of the chopped celery heart, cranberries and pine nuts. Without it, the soup would have been nice but not super tasty (perhaps not having had the celery salt the recipe called for contributed to this), but the addition of this crunchy, tart extra, really lifted it and put it firmly on the “will make again” list.

"Blend and snap" celery soup from Alice Zaslavsky's book In Praise of Veg
It tasted better than it looked

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’ve been reading my friend’s book so I can give it back to her. The funny thing about this is that she asked if she could have it back for a few days if I hadn’t finished it so she could use it in something she was writing. I said I’d take it in for her because I was dipping in and out of it and still had a long way to go, so that she could get what she needed from it and then give it back so I could finish it. Our catchup got postponed, and later in the week she messaged me to tell me she had just received a late birthday present from a family member, which was. . . .  the same book. So there is now no rush at all for me to finish it now. 
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. One hour on Sunday afternoon. I’ve almost finished the first one I wanted to get done this year. I asked Kramstable to quality check it for me. He picked up a couple of errors so I’ll fix them next week and hopefully this one will be done and I can move onto the next one.
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I went to see my mum but we had to spend most of the time going through some government forms and I didn’t get a chance to ask her any more questions. Not to worry, I still have a lot of notes to write up. One of the things I’m doing in my spare time is an online course about research skills, which is primarily about field interviews, but I’m finding a lot of helpful advice in there about getting information in other contexts such as meetings and even chats with my mum. One of the things they strongly recommend is to take time after your interview and document as much as you can in the words of the person you just spoke to. I haven’t been doing this either with Mum or at work, so I’m going to build that in to any future meetings. 
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. This week I worked on Module 6. This module is about obtaining information from people, so it fits really well with the material in the research course, including things like active listening and observing the person you’re talking to.

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 18
  • Things completed to date: 3 (1, 18, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 7 (2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 13, 17)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 6 (6, 7, 10, 11, 14, 16)
  • Things not started: 5 (3, 12, 15, 19, 21)
From the Hobart Street Corners project. Victoria and Collins Street, 17 May 2021, 8.30 am
One of this week’s photos from my Hobart Street Corners project

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

Over the last two weeks, I have been working through the book Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad. This is difficult, confronting work but it’s necessary. I’m learning a lot and I’m facing a lot of things that I need to address within myself. 

What was the best thing this week?

I skipped my yoga class this week and went to Kramstable’s debate.I don’t usually go because yoga is on at the same time but this week I wanted to see him speak. When we got there, we found that the opposing team had forfeited so there was going to be no debate. The adjudicator said that he was happy to step in as the negative team and debate the kids single handedly, then a couple of parents said they’d like to debate as well, so it was on. 

It was interesting to see how much more relaxed the kids were with their speeches when there was no “competition” pressure. Thanks to one of the parents, I now know there is less chance of getting a blood clot from the covid vaccination than there is of getting attacked by a shark on a plane. I never quite found out if this was an airborne plane or one that had crashed into the sea. 

I got the casting vote as to which team had won, so I called it for the kids and everyone was happy. 

Wrest Point Casino lit up in green emerging from a white painted brick wall in the early evening light
An afternoon walk

What I’m reading this week

  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
  • Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit
  • gulp! The seven day crash course to master fear and break through any challenge by Gabriella Goddard
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

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):
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 4
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 6
  • 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): 3
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 4

21 for 2021: week 19 review

Week 19/2021: week of 10 May 2021

What did I want to do better this week?

More than one afternoon’s exercise in the week.

So, how did that go then?

I did two days . . .

I also did the City to Casino seven km walk on Sunday, and then walked back to my sister’s house afterwards, for a total of almost 13 km for the day, so I’m sure that counts as well.

Chilly start to the City to Casino on Sunday

21 for 2021 update

I didn’t work on a new chapter of the Change Journal (thing 4) this week. I’m working on the habits chapter (chapter 7), and pitch yourself (chapter 9) in conjunction with my resume review (thing 18). Really, this should just be a couple of hours work, a final check and hit publish. But I always seem to take so long to get to the final stage that I feel happy with on things like this.

Same goes for the behind the scenes work on my website (thing 13). It is taking far too long! 

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 onion and the dish was ‘The Any Kind of Onion’ Tarte Tatin (page 286). Let me begin by saying I had no idea what a tarte tatin is. I’de seen people make them on Masterchef but I didn’t really pay that much attention so I had no clue. Apparently it’s more of a dessert, but Alice says, “if you think of it like an open-faced pasty or upside-down vegetable tart, it starts to make a lot more sense”. Okay. (But why not just make a pie?)

The main thing I would note about this recipe is that it uses a lot more sugar than I would normally use in a dinner dish, and I have to be careful with this, which I forget sometimes.

As I did with the mushroom pie a couple of weeks ago, I decided to make a second dish from the book to go with the tart. I chose Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips (page 360) and, scoff all you want, I like kale. I also like quinoa and I like avocado as well. I just don’t sip lattes. Whatever. Haters gonna hate. I like kale. Especially when its coated in olive oil, vinegar, salt and chilli flakes, and baked.

The problem with this was that the kale had to be cooked in a 140 degree oven and the tarte/upside down pie was already cooking at 200 degrees. Round one of kale chips = completely burnt. I ate them all anyway. They were very crunchy.

Just a bit burnt

Alice says that people complain that the kale chips can lose their crispiness and go soggy within a day. Leftovers? Who in their right mind would leave these left over? They are so good. I’m counting down the days to next time there’s kale in the fridge.

Back to the pie. I mean tarte. I cooked it in my controversial (don’t ask) Le Creuset skillet, which can go into the oven, and I’ll admit to having been a bit anxious about it cooking for 60 minutes when at 30 minutes the pastry already looked pretty well done. But I stuck to the recipe and it didn’t burn and it came out looking nothing like the picture in the book. Not a resounding success but not the overwhelming disaster I expected and it didn’t taste too bad either.

Looks odd, tasted good

I’m sure there are others who would do this recipe a lot more justice than I did. I might have to try it again to see if I can do it better!

I think this what the kale chips were supposed to look like

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. One of the things on the list is to read books I have borrowed from other people and give them back. I’m reading one of these books.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I spent two hours on one of these videos on Sunday and it’s almost finished.
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I went to see my mum on Thursday and talked a bit about what it was like to be a young mum in a small country town in the 1970s. 
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. This week I started module 6. 

21 for 2021 summary

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

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

I had two training courses this week, which was a nice change from work. I went to the 26TEN Plain English Writing workshop on Tuesday, which was a good overview of Plain English, most of which I was familiar with but it was great to review what I knew and pick up on things I hadn’t quite grasped. And I learned a couple of new tricks for communicating more effectively at work.

These workshops are excellent and 26TEN runs them across the state at various times during the year at no cost, so if this is something you’re interested in, it’s worth doing. 

The other workshop I did was Aboriginal Cultural Awareness presented by the government’s Aboriginal Employment Unit. This was interesting and built on understanding that I had already been developing on issues relating to Aboriginal people in Tasmania. One exercise in particular was really intense and clearly showed difficulties Aboriginal people can face in accessing basic government services. 

The challenge from this is to build what I learned into my work. I have a lot to learn. 

What do I want to do better next week?

That afternoon exercise thing . . .

What I’m reading

  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad
  • Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit
  • gulp! The seven day crash course to master fear and break through any challenge by Gabriella Goddard

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 3): 3
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine(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): 5
  • 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): 4
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

21 for 2021: week 18

Week 18/2021: week of 4 May 2021

21 for 2021 update

This week in the Change Journal I tried out the Eisenhower Principle chapter, which I am familiar with but don’t think I’ve ever actually used. It’s a way of prioritising things according to their importance and their urgency. I’ve seen it used to organise things in a long term way as well as to prioritise things on a daily basis. (James Clear has a good explanation of it.)

One of the ideas it promotes is to try and focus most of your time working on things that are important but not urgent, so that you work on them before they get to the urgent stage and you start to panic. However, we also know that many things that crop up on a day to day basis might be urgent but they aren’t really that important in the long term. And there a lot of things we might do that aren’t urgent or particularly important, such as excessive social media scrolling, which we (by which I mean I) spend way too much time on when we’d be better using your time on things that are important. 

Chapter 6 lays out an Eisenhower matrix for each day of the week so you can have a go at prioritising your tasks each day according to their importance and urgency.

I had limited success with this as a daily planning exercise and I think it would work better for long-term planning. I see it more as a way of identifying the things I want to be prioritising and the things I would be better off limiting, and then developing my daily to-do list from that and giving it a way of identifying the top priority things (a la the Circle technique). Something like that anyway. Because, for example, I’m not going to put “check twitter” in the not urgent/not important box of a daily list, but it is something that in a long-term big picture view would go in there.

I’m sure that makes no sense. So I’m calling that chapter done. 

I did some work on my resume (thing 18) this week. Due to a recent reorganisation in my team this week, I started a new job this week, which is going to give me some new challenges and, I hope, more of an opportunity to use my strengths and skills. As a result of that, I’m not sure I need to apply for a new job this year, so I’m taking that part of thing 18 off. I’m only going to apply for a new job if something irresistible comes up. I’ve been putting off saying my resume is finished because there are a couple of statements in there that I’m being overly picky about wording and it‘s holding the whole thing up.

I think I just need to do it and be done with it. It’s not like anyone is going to see it right 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.

This week I cooked with fennel, which is anther vegetable I don’t think I’d cooked with before. The recipe was called Fennel Cacciatore with Free-form Polenta Dumplings (page 72), and it’s Alice’s twist on chicken cacciatore. It’s another simple dish, which involves browning the fennel pieces mixing in some olives and garlic, then cooking with tomatoes for about 45 minutes. Alice says you can add chicken if you like or, as I did, cut up some pork and fennel sausages, cook them and add to the sauce.  

The recipe also calls for what she calls free-form polenta dumplings on top, which I found a little bit dry, and I imagine you could also serve it with a creamy potato mash.

This was another for the “will make again” list.

Regular projects

There are several things on my 21 for 2021 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. How about ten minutes reading one of the books on that list?
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I spent a couple of hours on one of these videos on Sunday afternoon.
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I went to see my mum on Thursday and talked some more about her school days. 
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. This week, I completed Module 5. I was supposed to attend the live workout on Thursday morning but I managed to mix the time zones up and tune in an hour after the actual start time. That was 3 am, and there was no way I would have got up for that! I only managed to get up at 4 because I woke up then anyway. But I missed it, and went for a very early walk instead.
Ursula enjoying the wet weather this week

21 for 2021 week 18 summary

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

Blast from the past

Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s the final flashback to my favourite posts from 2011. This one is from 17 December 2011: The unchristmas tree. Coming up to midwinter (okay, that’s a few weeks away . . .), it’s a good one to finish this series with.

I think that means I probably should have finished sorting out my websites to coincide with the 10-year blogiversary (thing 13) but I haven’t. It’s a small matter of getting some words right. (See above comment on my resume.)

What I’m reading this week

  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Dæmon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman
  • Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit

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): 6
  • 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): 1 (er . . . )
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

What do I want to do better next week?

See that number one next to the number of days I did some physical activity in the afternoon . . . ? That.

21 for 2021: week 17 update

Week 17/2021: week of 26 April 2021

I  had a lovely day out with my sister and her friend at Mt Field National Park on Saturday, which was great because I could forget all about my to-do list and concentrate on  not rolling my injured ankle clambering over large rocks on the Tarn Shelf. Did I succeed? No, I did not. But I can still walk, so I don’t think I did too much damage.

I still have a tonne of photos to sort through, so here are just a couple of them.

21 for 2021 update

This week in the Change Journal I worked on chapter 5, Digital Detox.

I don’t know that I learned that much from the exercise other than that on a bad day, if I was on social media and email and watching TV as much as I was that day every day of the year, I’d spend the equivalent of 43 days a year doing that.

43 days!!!!

Actually, this is a bit misleading, because I don’t normally watch TV and I have been lately because I watch Masterchef with Kramstable, and I check the Twitter feed about the show on my phone at the same time, so a lot of the time I counted as being on social media was double counted as TV time as well. If I hadn’t been watching TV, I might not have been on the phone either.

 The idea of the chapter is to track your usage over the first four days of the week, to track your non-usage over the last three days and then work out how much time you’d save over a year by not going on the phone. I found that difficult, to actually track the times I thought about picking up my phone but didn’t do it, especially as I was out and away from the journal for most of the time so didn’t have any way to record near-misses. I sort of get what it was trying to do but it didn’t work for me. 

I know what my main triggers for wasting time on the phone are. They are being in between tasks, not being sure what I should be doing or not really having anything to do. I know that on days I have a lot to do and I just sit down and do it, I spend a lot less time on the phone. 

So I found this chapter more of a reinforcement of what I already knew, rather than something new.

Also, I completed 66 days of the habit of doing the pre-work routine (thing 20), which is part of chapter 7, so that thing is done. I’m also working through the journalling chapter (chapter 24).

I did some more work on my resume (thing 18)

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 dish was Carefree Cabbage Curry (page 456). I’m not a huge fan of cabbage. In fact, I reckon it’s up there with Brussels sprouts and we already know what I think of them. However, Alice says, “Often, when cabbage gets braised, it is shredded, grated or chopped in some way where you lose the beauty of its folds and undulations. Here, the rich golden marinade and equally shimmering gravy only serves to emphasise the grandeur of this brilliant Brassica.”

Wow! What a description. It’s a love letter to cabbage, right? Writing like that is almost enough to turn the most ardent cabbage hater. 

Almost.

For this dish, you cut cabbage into wedges, marinate it and then cook it in what is a very tasty curry sauce. (Note to self: you have run out of Kashmiri chilli.) It’s actually nice.

Marinating cabbage. It’s a thing.

There, I said it. There is a cabbage dish I liked.

I think having the cabbage as such a big chunk bulks it up a bit so you don’t feel like you’re missing out by not having any meat in it. I can imagine I’d make this again. 

I even had nigella seeds already

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 didn’t do this on Satirday as I was out but I did read a bit from one of the books that’s on the list during the week.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I worked on this for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon.
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to my mum this week, but I got her to identify some people in some old photos
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. I finished lesson 3 of Module 5.

21 for 2021 summary

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

Blast from the past

Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s another one of my favourite posts from 2011. This one is from 11 November 2011: eleven, which is about how I spent 11/11/11. Sick on the couch at home, it turned out.

I took a photo every hour that day for the 11Eleven project, which seems to have now disappeared. I don’t know if the book ever happened but I’m pretty sure none of my photos would have made it in!

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

I went to a webinar on age discrimination in the workplace, which I found very interesting. One of the panelists asked why we have this constant fixation on chronological age, and said that focusing on age to categorise older workers is deficient and limiting. I found Kay Patterson, the Age Discrimination Commissioner, a real inspiration at age 76. This is all going to be relevant to my work in the coming months so it was a useful and thought provoking session for me.

I was also interested to see Hobart Council’s Crowther Reinterpretation Project in Franklin Square. This project provides local artists with the opportunity to respond to the statue of William Crowther, a public figure in mid-19th century Hobart.

The first project is called “Truth Telling” by Allan Mansell, and it considers Crowther’s treatment of Aboriginal man William Lanne (King Billy) after Lanne’s death, including decapitating his body.

There will be four temporary artworks involving the stature over the rest of 2021. While I was aware of Aboriginal people’s bodies having been desecrated in the name of white people’s “science”, I didn’t know about William Lanne’s particular story, and I think this project is a good opportunity to, as the project description says, “acknowledge, question, provoke discussion or increase awareness about the story of Crowther and Lanne”. These are important stories that we need to learn about.

What was the best thing about this week?

The Tarn Shelf walk.

What I’m reading this week

  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Dæmon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman
  • Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 4): 4
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine(Goal = 4): 4
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 4
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 5
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 4 work days): 4
  • 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 16

Week 16/2021: week of 19 April

This week I started Chapter 4 of the Change Journal, which is called the Circle Trick. This is a technique by Sigur∂ur Ármannsson,  which Tim Jaudszims, the Change Journal author, says he has modified a bit. It asks you to list your tasks chronologically in the order you have to do them if they have specific times they have to be done by, otherwise you can add them however you want. There’s a list of symbols you can use to tag that the tasks, a bit like the symbols that people use in bullet journals.

I didn’t know who Sigur∂ur is so I googled him. He is an Icelandic designer who seems to like fonts a lot. His website is font.is and a quick search of his blog archive finds a post from February 2009, where he talks about his way of recording tasks in a notebook to fit the way he uses the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology. He’d been using this system for years, he says, and decided it needed a name, so he called it Circle. Just out of interest, Ryder Carroll, the inventor of the Bullet Journal system, says he was working on his system in 2007 and launched it in 2013.

I’m not going to compare the two systems. They use different symbols to denote to-dos, degrees of importance, and various stages of completion or cancellation (and bullet journalling goes way (way) beyond a simple to-do list). But looking at it from the simplest perspective, I don’t suppose it matters what symbols you use. You might start out with one set and change them as you get familiar with the system, how it works and what you actually need to symbolise. There are no rules. 

I tried it for a week, as a slightly different system to the one I currently use.

I say my “system”. That is, perhaps, being a bit generous.

What I like about Circle is that Sigur∂ur uses it in conjunction with a to-do app, so he might write something on the list, but he might later decide to move it out of the notebook into the electronic system. That item gets marked as completed in his notebook so that he can only see things he has to still do there. Of course, this relies on you actually checking your to-do app.

I check mine regularly.

 Ahem.

 Starting out, I felt a bit sceptical of the system as it appears in the Change Journal but, having seen Sigur∂ur’s original post and putting a couple of things back that Tim had removed, I think it makes more sense to me now.

The idea of putting things in chronological order put me off but I don’t think I read it properly the first time because they only need to be listed chronologically if they have to be done at a specific time. Nevertheless, on Day 1, I tried to allocate times to the tasks I wanted to do. I had a seven hour work day and I listed eight tasks, some of which relied on other people getting back to me, one of which was a quick phone call, and others that were not particularly well-defined, breaking all the rules about specifying an actual task.

At the end of the day, I had completed four of my eight tasks, worked on three of them and not done one at all. Actually I had completed five. One of them was to watch some training videos but I didn’t say how much I wanted to do, so I watched two videos and got up to the next written exercise and called it done.

 The photo gives you an idea. This was the only day I allocated times to the tasks. I’d generally do that in my calendar if I needed to get something done at a certain time rather than on the to-do list.

Not my actual tasks

I liked seeing very clearly what I’d done, with a bunch of filled-in circles, and where I’d overcommitted myself with a bunch of open circles. I think this is a technique I could keep working with, or at least incorporate some of the ideas into the way I plan my day. I think it’s worth persevering with.

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. If you read last week’s post, you’ll know that I ordered a new external SSD to replace my apparently failing internal hard disk drive. It arrived on Tuesday and I set it up to be my computer’s main hard drive. Everything seems to be working fine and I’ve had no issues with it beachballing or freezing or being super slow. I really should have done this months ago instead of complaining about it.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I spent an hour on Sunday afternoon working on this. It’s coming together well, I think.
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I went to see my Mum on Thursday as normal. She’d got held up at the doctor’s so we didn’t get as much time as we normally do.
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. I worked on lesson 2 of module 5.
It’s so tiny!
Yay!

21 for 2021 summary

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

Blast from the past

Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s another one of my favourite posts from 2011. This one is from 27 October 2011: The big 300, which is about reaching the 300-post milestone and still wondering what my blog is about.

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

This week I went to two event organised by the City of Hobart’s Bush Adventures team. On Thursday I went to a session about playpus conservation in Hobart’s waterways and learned many things about the platypus. For example, they can climb up waterfalls and their bills are nothing like ducks’ bills. I also learned that the plural of platypus can never be platypi, as that is a Latin plural and the word “platypus” has its origins in Greek words for “flat foot”.

On Saturday, I went on a “fungi foray” with a small group led by mycologist Richard Robinson. And that is the first thing I learned, that a microbiologist who studies fungi is a mycologist. This was a lovely two-hour exploration of some of the fungi growing on the foothills of kunanyi. I think I mainly learned how much I don’t know about fungi—and how many of them there are all around us that we never notice.

I also saw some wicked spider webs.


What did I do for the Earth this week?

A key message from one of the speakers at the platypus session was that it is not enough to enjoy the environment, We have to actively take care of it and protect it. This is something to keep in mind for next weekend’s state government election.

Our beautiful Mountain, kunanyi

What I’m reading this week

  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Dæmon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman

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): 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): 6
  • 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): 2
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

21 for 2021: week 15

Week 15/2021: week of 12 April 2021

21 for 2021 update

Working through the Change Journal (thing 4) I’m still working on the journalling chapter (Chapter 24), which relates to the new habit in Chapter 7 that I’m trying to form of doing 20 minutes of writing every morning. I didn’t start a new chapter this week.

I did a lot of work on one of my annoying undone things (thing 5) this week. Following my discovery about how to potentially address my Mac’s issues, I decided to post in the Apple support forums to see what the Mac gurus thought would work best in terms of getting an SSD to replace the useless hard drive. Before I did that I ran an Etrecheck scan, which they alway ask to look at before answering people’s questions. It came back with flashing red lights and the scary message that, not only is the hard drive useless, it is FAILING!

Nothing to see here

The Mac gurus’ advice was to get an external SSD as soon as possible, and one of them sent me some instructions on how to set it up as a startup drive.

After a bit of research, I decided which drive I wanted and went to order it. My delivery options were two weeks to have it delivered to my GPO box or I could pick it up from the post office shop on Tuesday. Two weeks to get it from the post office box or three days to get it from the counter AT THE SAME POST OFFICE.

Okay.

It’s ordered.

The other thing I did from that list was to take Kramstable into the bank and open his new account.

I spent an hour on Sunday afternoon working on Kramstable’s video (thing 8) and I went to see my mum on Thursday (thing 9). We tried to work out from Google maps where her childhood farm was. I got a vague idea but not the exact spot. I didn’t think it would be that hard, I mean if Saroo Brierley can find his childhood home in India on Google Earth, surely we can pin down the location of a farm on South Riana Road. Apparently, we can’t.

I worked on lesson 7 of The Compelling Frame (thing 11) and started module 5 of the Brainsparker gym* (thing 17).

Sunday morning walk

21 for 2021 week 15 summary

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

Blast from the past

Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s another one of my favourite posts from 2011. This one is from 23 October 2011: Find your passion. The lesson I still need to take from this, ten years later, is

I need a big push to get me started on anything, even if it’s something I love doing. This can only come from me. There are no excuses. I can either take the easy way and procrastinate, do nothing and continue to feel bad about that, or I can push through the pain of the resistance barrier, do something and end up feeling good about what I’ve achieved.

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

I’ve been working through the Wicking Centre‘s Understanding Dementia MOOC, and this week I learned more about caring for people with dementia and the approach called person-centred care.

I learned that there are many different definitions of person-centred care, but to me it’s about recognising that every person is a unique individual with their own likes and dislikes. They have things that make them happy, they have things that make them sad. And before we attempt to provide care or address behaviours in a person with dementia, we need to know who that person actually is and what matters to them. What is actually important to them? What makes their life worthwhile? What is it that they really can’t stand? Things like their background and their history, what their occupation was, what their hobbies were underpin person-centred care so we get to know them as a person rather than as a “dementia patient”.

I also learned that people with dementia can get offended when people brush off lapses in their own memory as “dementia” if they don’t actually have the condition. Dementia is a terminal condition, not something to make jokes about in that way.

Finally, I learned that what is good for your heart (in terms of exercise diet etc) is also good for your brain.

More Sunday morning walk

What was the best thing about this week?

I took part in an assessment for a community grants program, which I really enjoyed. I felt a bit out of my depth as I didn’t have a lot of knowledge about the program and what was expected, but the program team had prepared clear assessment guidelines and outlined their expectations really well. I felt a lot more confident meeting with the rest of the panel and finding that for the most part, my views and rankings were consistent with what others had thought and that I wasn’t way out of the ball park. I also felt more confident knowing I had picked up on points that the some of the others hadn’t noticed. It was great to meet new people and to come together for a process like this and I appreciated the opportunity to be involved. This is a program I expect to be more involved with in the next few months, so it was a great introduction for me.

What I’m reading this week

  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Dæmon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 4): 4
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 4): 4
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 6
  • 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 = 4 work days): 4
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 2
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

21 for 2021: week 14

Week of 5 April 2021

I’ve split this week’s post into two because I wrote so much about my vege cooking exploits. You can find part one here.

Sprouts. I cooked them.

I’ve been working through several chapters of the Change Journal, as I was last week. This week, I completed Chapter 11 (Reading), which is obviously something I am going to continue, and I’m working on Chapter 24 (Journalling), which actually has space for 37 days writing rather than just a week.

I did some more behind the scenes work on my website (thing 13) and a bit more set up for my UK trip album (thing 10).

Monday morning walk. It’s not always bad when your plans don’t go according to plan.

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. I worked on a couple of these things. One of the annoying undone things is to sort out why my computer is slow and do something to fix it. I had a list of suggestions from the Apple support people, which I finally tried on Saturday. Unsurprisingly, none of them worked, because I think that the problem has been that the hard drive is too slow for the software that I use. (This is a thing. I googled it.) I believe that the solution to this is either to get a tech person to pull out the hard drive and replace it with a new SSD or to get an external SSD and set it up to be the startup drive for the computer so it bypasses the internal hard drive. So that’s next week’s job. 

Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. One hour on Sunday afternoon. I was going to do this then I discovered that someone had updated my movie editing app, which had deleted the version that I’d been working with, and the project wasn’t fully compatible with the new version so I couldn’t open it. Aaaaaaargh! After considerable panic and attempts to get the old version back, I finally managed to restore it from the backup. Who’d have thought.

Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I went to see my mum on Thursday and we talked some more about her school days.

Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. This week, I finished module 4. We talked about the “helicopter view”. I have a friend who will be most amused by this.

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 1 (1)
  • Things I progressed: 9 (2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 13, 17, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 6 (6, 7, 11, 14, 16, 18)
  • Things not started: 5 (3, 12, 15, 19, 21)
I have a Very Important New Job. Or just a folder I found in the stationery cupboard. Take your pick.

Blast from the past

Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s another one of my favourite posts from 2011. This one is from 25 September 2011: Let’s talk about housework. That three things to-do list is something I should consider doing again, I think. My lists these days seem to be getting longer and longer, especially on weekends. I don’t think it’s healthy to see a mass of undone things at the end of every day.

A morning rainbow. And a cloud that looks like a cat.

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

I learned that if you hold down the ‘a’ key on a Mac keyboard a range of options come up and you can type the number according to the character you want. For æ, it’s 5. It works with c, e, i, l, n, o, s, u and z as well. In case you ever wanted to know how to type ł.

What I’m reading this week

  • Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Dæmon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 3): 3
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine(Goal = 3): 3
  • 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 = 4 work days): 4
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 3
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

A threesome of vegetables

Thing 2 of my 21 from 2021 list 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. Some of these cooking adventures have been long enough to make a whole post about them rather than talk about them in my regular weekly 21 for 2021 posts.

This was definitely the case with last week (week 14).

 I had planned to cook two recipes on Tuesday. Originally, I was going to cook the One-pot Whole-roasted Cauliflower (page 84) but I didn’t know what to serve it with so I thought the Not Mushroom for Error Pie with Duck Fat Pastry (page 318) would be a nice side dish. It’s not really a side dish. It’s a main course that you serve with a side dish like, say, salad leaves. Not an entire roasted cauliflower.

I’m glad I read the recipe earlier in the day so that I knew to start the duck fat pastry in the afternoon. It is by no means true that I picked this recipe simply so I could have some duck fat at home to cook potatoes in at some point down the track. Besides, you don’t have to use duck fat. You could use extra butter, or you could totally cheat and buy a shortcrust pastry. Not for me, I love smearing my hands with duck fat. Really. Gross. I think this is the first time I’ve ever cooked with duck fat. So many firsts with this book!

Duck fat pastry

I had a combination of button, swiss brown, shiitake and oyster mushrooms for the dish, as well as dried porcini mushrooms, which I decided to soak and throw into the mix rather than grind up to have porcini powder, which is the actual ingredient in the recipe.

Mushroom-a-rama
Mushrooms cooking

At the same time as I was doing this, I was getting the cauliflower ready for roasting. I had a similar dish at the Agrarian Kitchen a few years ago. It was the first time I’d ever been served an entire cauliflower and, after that, wanted to make it myself. It’s really not difficult. The recipe calls for par-boiling the stem and base for 10-15 minutes so that you can cook it for less time in the oven and not overcook the top, which is a problem I always have with things like cauliflower and broccoli.

Undercooked stems or overcooked tops. What’s worse?

Mushrooms continuing to cook with onions

The main thing I hadn’t planned for was that the cauli needed 30 minutes at 240 degrees and the pie needed 45 minutes at 200 degrees. 

Oops.

Left-over pastry mushrooms. Sort of.

I ended up setting the oven at 220 degrees and cooking the lot for 45 minutes, which cooked the pie nicely (though I had forgotten to allow for pastry shrinkage), and then I cranked it up to 250 for a few minutes to try and get some more heat into the cauliflower. The leaves were beautifully charred, as was some of the top, but it probably would have benefited from the higher heat for the whole time.

Pie goes in
Pie comes out

Next time, I’ll make this with something else that doesn’t need an oven and do it properly. And I’ll probably make a salad to go with the mushroom pie.

Roasted cauliflower

On Saturday, I made Seventies Dinner Party Sprouts using Brussels sprouts (page 440). Alice says that this dish is highly unlikely to have ever featured at a 70s dinner party, since back in those days, green stuff was “boiled into oblivion”. I despise the vile things. Probably a hangover from my 70s upbringing and the aforementioned boiling. Kramstable, on the other hand, loves them (I blame Andy Griffiths), and so there are dinner nights when everyone else gets broccoli and he gets sprouts. At least he knows no one is going to steal them, and he can have them all to himself.

I never thought I’d ever cook these

This recipe involves a marinade that Alice says is genuinely handed down from the 70s as a lamb marinade, so I decided to make a lamb dish to go with the sprouts. In this case, a lamb shank shepherd’s pie from Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar for Life book, which involves slow cooking lamb shanks all day and then making up the pie, topped with puréed roast sweet potato, to go in the oven just before dinner time.

Soaking in the marinade

The sprout recipe was easy. Make the marinade, trim and halve the sprouts and drop the into the marinade, then roast them for about ten minutes until the outer leaves are a bit charred.

Cooked!

I still don’t like sprouts but these were much nicer than any other way I’ve had them.

Classy plating