Category Archives: blogging

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.

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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

21 for 2021: week 13

Week 13/2021: week of 29 March 2021

This week, I started the last of the five habits in chapter 7 of the Change Journal (thing 4). This habit relates to a challenge I’ve started this month with Trina O’Gorman to write for at least 15 minutes every day. Trina is running the challenge on her instagram feed, to see if writing every day has any affect on people’s sense of wellbeing. I’m using some writing prompts I’ve been meaning to write to for a while now and kept putting off, and have committed to handwriting my responses every morning for 20 minutes. It’s a bit like Julia Cameron’s morning pages ritual but with guided prompts rather than unassisted stream of consciousness writing, which I have always struggled to do.

I’ve started work on chapter 11 (Reading), which asks you to record how much you read each day in six-minute increments. This actually isn’t much of a challenge for me because I made reading a habit last year, so it’s just a matter of remembering how much I read and noting it down each day. Since that one’s easy, I also thought I would make start on Chapter 24 (Journalling), which has spaces to record one line a day for 21 days and then two lines a day for 16 days. I already have a journal called Some lines a day, in which I write something I’m grateful for each day and then a brief highlight (or lowlight) of the day every day, so I don’t really need to do this chapter. But it’s there to be done and I had the idea of noting down the most significant insight/s from my morning writing each day in that section. So that’s what I’ll be doing for the next 37 days.

I love how everything has connected up like this!

I did some behind the scenes work on my websites (thing 13) and I think the main thing I want to do is to make sure my intro statements are consistent across all my platforms. I have so many platforms, I was thinking about making a linktree to keep track of them all.

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 “herbs”, which is a pretty broad section of the book and is one with more than a couple of recipes. The one I chose was called Lobio, which is a kidney bean stew with coriander on page 354.

Lobio

It’s a pretty easy recipe to cook and it’s the first bean stew I’ve made without tomatoes, which I’ve always seen as a staple ingredient for bean dishes. Not so. The part that took the longest was picking off the coriander leaves and chopping up the stems.

This was a great mid-week dish that I can see myself making double the quantity of and having a week’s worth of lunches sorted.

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’m reading one of the books I have committed to read and give back to its owner. I don’t think she’s read it yet . . . I’ve had it for long enough now, so I need to get on with 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. The area I want to clear out is home to the gas cylinders, which have gradually been encroached on by the invasive plant from next door to the extent that last time the gas delivery came they couldn’t get to one of the cylinders. So the idea was to cut some of the plant back before the next delivery. It was one of those jobs that gets put off because there’s no rush. Well, no rush until I got a text on Wednesday afternoon telling me the gas was coming on Thursday. So when I got home on Wednesday, I had a little over an hour before my yoga class to cut back as much space as I could and hope it would be enough. I’m glad it was this week and not next week after daylight saving ends, because doing that in the dark would have been even less fun than this was. Nonetheless, I got it done, I made it to yoga on time, and the gas was delivered the next day. And I get to call this thing started as a bonus.
Gas bottle hell
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I went to see my mum on Thursday. I found a book that I had got for her to write about her life for Kramstable several years ago, you know, one of those “For my grandson” books. She hasn’t started writing in it, so I thought the questions in there about her early life would make good questions for this project.
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. This week, I worked on the third class of module 3. 

We went to Tahune Airwalk on Sunday, so I didn’t do the things I’ve set aside time to do on Sundays.

Tahune Airwalk

21 for 2021 summary of the week

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

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 1 September 2011 and it’s the post I meant to do at the half-way mark of my 365-day photo project. It’s about making my blog my own.

What I’m reading this week

  • Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit
  • Writing the Story of Your Life: The Ultimate Guide by Carmel Bird
  • On Writing by Stephen King

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): 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): 4
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

21 for 2021: week 12

Week 12/2021: week of 22 March

I still haven’t started a new chapter of the Change Journal (thing 4) but I have been working my way through the Habits chapter (7), the Clarity chapter (8) and the Pitch Yourself chapter (9).

I mentioned doing the UK trip book (thing 10) to my mum a few weeks ago and she sounded interested in seeing it. I wrote a travel blog with photos while I was on the trip on a platform called Travelpod, which no longer exists, but I was able to save all the entries as webpages so I can see them in a browser. I could just print them but it would look a bit shitty so I think putting everything into a nice photobook would be a nice thing to do. It will give me a chance to go back and choose the photos to tell the story with more distance from the events, rather than being on the trip and having to pick photos on the spot every day for the post. And hopefully do a better job editing them. So I started looking around for a platform to make the book on and trying a few test templates to see what will work best. 

This week, it rained. The chickens got wet.

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 used (most of) the rest of the pumpkin from the weekend’s soup to make the Classic Zesty Pumpkin Risotto (page 168). It took a lot longer than I expected. I don’t know if that’s because the rice was so old (as in, the last time I made risotto was before we moved to this house at the start of 2017 and the rice was left over from whenever that was) or if the recipe was just over-optimistic.

Pumpkin risotto

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 my undone things (actually, two) is to read a book I borrowed from a friend and haven’t read, and give it back to them. This week, I started reading one of those books.
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I wrote up some more of my notes and spend way too much time googling my great great aunt Annie’s family. Someone made a comment on a post I wrote on here about my great great grandfather (aka Alfred the builder) a few years ago, to tell me that his grandmother was Alfred’s daughter, Annie. As Annie was my grandmother’s aunt, she’s my great great aunt, which makes this guy some sort of cousin (I think). My grandmother spent some time in NSW looking after Annie’s kids, so I’m guessing one of them must have been the parent of this guy. I would love to get in touch with him to find out if his parent ever said anything about their childhood and knowing my grandmother, but his comment has no contact details, so I have no idea how to do so. I’m following a couple of other leads to see what I can find. It’s fascinating how the idea to write my mum’s story has turned into a quest to find out about other family members.
  • Thing 11: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I did some more work on lesson 6.
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. This week I completed the second lesson of Module 4.
Saturday afternoon walk

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 1 (1)
  • Things I progressed: 8 (2, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 17, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 6 (6, 8, 13, 14 16, 18)
  • Things not started: 6 (3, 7, 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 29 August 2011: Dear inner critic. This is one I still battle with. Reading back on this made me cry.

What I’m reading this week

  • Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words by Andrew Morton
  • Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit
  • Writing the Story of Your Life: The Ultimate Guide by Carmel Bird

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): 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): 5
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

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

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