Category Archives: chores

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 3

Week 3/21: week of 18 January 2021

21 for 2021 update

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

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

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

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

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

Vegetable of the week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sure, I fry

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

The end result

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

Regular projects

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

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

21 for 2021 summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday sunrise

What did I do for the Earth this week?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I rode my bike to work

Summary of the week

What I’m reading this week

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

Habit tracker

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

I’m back!

Not that I’ve been anywhere. I’ve been lurking, and feeling a bit like my progress in the #steppingonthecracks project has come to a screaming halt.

If you haven’t been following my project, it’s a series of challenges where I try out a new habit, technique or idea for 30 days to see how it works out. The idea is to put some of the things I’ve been reading about and learning into practise instead of filing them away under “interesting idea, should try this one day”.

I’ve had varying degrees of success with the different challenges, and I was about half way through challenge 9 (30 days of undone things), when the end of the year struck, holidays and various other unsettling events that threw everything out of line and most of my good habits went out the window, along with any capacity to make any progress on these challenges.

I’ve spent much of the past eight weeks feeling like I’d come so far, but that I’ve let myself down by letting everything go to shit. All the other stuff that was going on, well that was just an excuse to not do this.

I know! I’m being harsh on myself, and the perfectionist voice is speaking very loudly. It does that.

Last week (or thereabouts), I found the original hand-written list of the 30 little things I wanted to get done in December – you know, those things that take about five minutes, have been on your to-do list forever, but you can never quite get around to doing them. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, even though the project had collapsed, I’d still finished 20 of them. That’s two-thirds. For December, I think that’s a fairly reasonable achievement.

Hooray!

And many of the 20 things are things I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t started this challenge. The button would still not be sewn on. I probably would have lost it by now. I’d still be using towels with holes in them.

All that’s left on the list is:

  1. Book skin check
  2. Order yoga shoes
  3. Make a list of jobs that I can do in 5/10 minutes for when I have a short gap in my day
  4. Make a list of things I can do when I have low energy rather than go on my phone
  5. Get my baby slides scanned
  6. Finish the Facing Fear worksheets
  7. Get new cord for Kramstable’s greenstone pendant
  8. Sew buttons onto purple shawl
  9. Make a list of the beers in the beer books
  10. Wash baby mat

It seems perfectly doable. Other than the purple shawl buttons. That is not doable.

The list of things that I can do in 5-10 minutes has been a work in progress for a while. I haven’t finished it because I’ve never known what to do with it, or where to put it, which is probably a reason why there were 30+ undone things in the first place. And I never felt like it was complete, so it couldn’t be put anywhere.

(I’ve combined it with another list I started ages ago of things Kramstable could do when he’s bored. He wasn’t interested.)

So, in the interests of crossing things off the list, and acknowledging that this type of list is never going to be finished, and there just has to be a point where you say, “This is enough and I’m sticking it on the pinboard and next time I have five minutes spare I’m going to do one of these things”, I present it to you now.

  • Put some washing on
  • Put washing away
  • Wash up or put the dishes away
  • Clean out a shelf in the pantry
  • Empty the bins
  • Pick up stuff off the floor in the lounge room
  • Take things that are in the wrong place to the room they belong in (bonus points for putting them away)
  • Clean out a drawer or a shelf
  • Put 10 things away
  • Vacuum a room
  • Sweep the floors
  • Quick tidy of one room (10 minutes with the timer)
  • Clear off and wipe down the bench, coffee table or dining table
  • Wipe down the bathroom sink or the bath
  • Take out the compost or the recycling
  • Go through the fridge and throw out food that’s off
  • Dust a shelf and tidy it
  • Throw something out that’s broken or we don’t need
  • Refill soap dispensers
  • Update the freezer list
  • Unsubscribe from mailing lists
  • Write a thank you note
  • Find a new recipe and add it to next week’s meal plan
  • Book a doctor appointment or haircut
  • Go for a walk
  • Go outside and look at the clouds
  • Hang out with the chickens
  • Do some colouring in or drawing
  • Write in journal
  • Write down things to be grateful for
  • 5-10 minutes of breathing exercises or meditation
  • Have a glass of water
  • Make a cup of tea
  • Read a book
  • Doodle or scribble
  • Sort a paper pile
  • Organise a file
  • Make a to-do list
  • Process emails
  • Download photos from phone
  • Sort some photos
  • Put photos in albums
  • Do something from the 30 undone things list
  • Make a new 30 undone things list

Let me know what you think.

Do you have a list like this? What’s on your list that I missed?

Here’s to getting things done, one five minute block at a time!

30 days of undone things – days 2-6

I’m now six days into my challenge of doing 30 annoying little things that have been on my to-do list forever and that are mostly pretty easy to do, which which I just can’t seem to get done.

Day 2 (Friday): I put everything away off the bench top and cleaned it off (Number 2 on the list), and I put the instruction book and receipt for the new whippersnipper into the folder with the other instruction books (Number 11).

Day 3 (Saturday): I labelled the new jar for the marjoram and put it into the jar (Number 34 – it wasn’t on the original list) and I washed the fruit and veggie bags (Number 21).

Day 4 (Sunday):  I cleaned the cutlery drawer (Number 29)

Day 5 (Monday): I confirmed my blood donation appointment (I AM going to do this – Number 15) and I went to get my identity documents verified (half way to Number 13).

I also learned why we shouldn’t put little things off.

One of the things, that wasn’t on the original list but is on a list somewhere, was to get a plastic tub for the Christmas decorations instead of having them in a Huggies box in the car port (let’s call it Number 35). I went to get them out yesterday to put up my “…. days til Christmas” countdown tree, only to find that rodents had got into the box and destroyed several things, including my beautiful wooden Aarikka elves that I was given when I left Finland 27 years ago.

20161205-poor-elves

I’ve always loved these as they are so cute and they remind me of the year I almost had a white Christmas. I was devastated to see them like this. I was also shattered to find  some of Kramstable’s hand-made decorations from school had suffered a similar fate.

Don’t procrastinate about the little things or you might lose the chance to do them at all.

Day 6 (today): I mailed my change of identity documents to the credit card bank (the other half of Number 13). I cleaned everything off the couch (Number 22). I bought the new tub for the Christmas decorations. (Number 35. Don’t ask whether I put them in it…)

How are you going with your #30undonethings? Reply here or tweet me and let me know!

12 of 12 March 2016 – Part 2

Part 1 of this post, in which I try to get into the habit of an earlier bedtime, is here.

The story continues . . .

I decided that, even though I wasn’t feeling so good, I’d get up and go for a walk this morning. Slabs suggested I sleep in and walk later in the day. While the idea sounded good, I didn’t think this was going to work because it’s cooler earlier in the day and walking in the heat* is likely to have tired me out more. And that’s assuming I’d be able to muster up the energy to get out of the house later. I find it much easier to get my walks out of the way first thing, before I get caught up in everything else I’m doing during the day.

2 of 12: I did sleep in. A bit. For me. By the time I got up and out of the house it was light, so I decided to wander along the walking track, which I can’t often do because it’s too dark most days when I get up.

20160312-02

3 of 12: I took it easy. No 16 km walks this morning. 30 minutes was about 3000 steps, and I was grateful for the park benches dotted along the walking track, as I needed a rest by this point. This meant that I’d need to do seven lots of 30 minutes to reach my target. This sounded like a lot at 7am, but I was confident it was doable if I rested up in between.

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4 of 12: These signs are quite new. I can’t figure out if the council retro-fitted the dog poo stickers or if someone who was sick of stepping in poo go the shits and stuck the stickers onto the signs themselves.

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5 of 12: The river looking very peaceful this morning.

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I cut my normal route a bit short because I was getting tired and my walk was taking longer than normal. See! I’m not pushing myself.

6 of 12: I used some of my walking time to catch up on my French lessons on Duolingo, which I’d recently started again after a long absence. I followed the principle of making a new habit as easy as possible to do, so I reduced my daily goal to one lesson, which is possible to slot in almost anywhere in my day. I’ve generally tried to do it first thing after dropping Kramstable at school on my way to work. So if you see me walking along hunched over my phone in the morning I’m not on Twitter (probably). I’ll be learning French.

20160312-06

After breakfast it was time to take Kramstable to swimming. An ideal opportunity to fit in two of those 30 minute walks I need to do. While it’s not the most pleasant and relaxing walk, as it’s mainly along main roads, it’s a good way to get us both moving.

The thing that struck me, as it did last week when we had to walk because Slabs needed the car, was how many cars went past and how few people were walking anywhere – I could count them on one hand each time. Most of the people that were walking were walking dogs rather than looking like they were walking to somewhere for a purpose.

As I watched the never-ending stream of cars go past, I wondered how many people were driving because it was quicker and easier than walking. After all, most people are busy, and taking an hour out of your day to walk to somewhere you could drive to and back in ten minutes is a big chunk of your day. Unless I’ve had no car, I’ve always jumped in the car and driven to swimming. It’s so much easier, I can leave a lot later and I have more time at home to do stuff like checking Twitter. I mean vacuuming the floors.

(What followed here was a ramble about the time needed to walk, slowing down, using the time as one-on-one time with Kramstable, environmental concerns about using the car for short trips. Followed by the eventual realisation that if I get up at the same time, walk for an hour less in the morning and walk to swimming instead I’ll still have the hour I would have saved by driving, plus all the other benefits. I’ll save all that for paspresentfuture: the director’s cut.)

8 of 12: Kramstable had a good swimming lesson.

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9 of 12: While we were up the street today we noticed someone had tried to set fire to the community notice board. Nice one.

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Also up the street, we learned some new roundabout etiquette where you indicate you’re going left before you even get onto the roundabout, and then go straight, confusing the hell out of people who are trying to cross the road. A change from the usual “indicate right when you’re going straight” crowd.

10 of 12: Washing day for the leggings!

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11 of 12: Today’s leggings. Today’s step count: 21,406. Two days to go. I might just make it.

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12 of 12: I made lasagna tonight. This is one of my favourite epic dishes that takes all afternoon to prepare. So you know that I’m not overdoing things, I had a rest first. And I went to bed early.

20160312-12

 

* By heat I mean anything above about 18 degrees when the sun is shining. The sun here is burny and melty, and saps my energy every time I go outside, regardless of the actual temperature. I’m told the sun is more intense in Tasmania than in other places, and I find it to be really uncomfortable to be outside in. I hate walking in the sun.

12 of 12 february 2014

12 February 2014 was a Wednesday, two days after a Public Holiday. This week is the second week of school and I’m still trying to get myself back into the routines. I’m struggling.

1 of 12 – The sun rose.

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2 of 12 – Juniordwarf’s current obsession is the TV show Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom. He rather likes the Nanny Plum character, and he’s designated me as the Queen and himself as the maid, AKA Nanny Juniordwarf. So he’s given me his crown to wear. I have permission to leave it in the car when I go to work, because I’m not a Queen at work.

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3 of 12 – Hobart was hit by a major storm on Sunday and we were driving home right in the middle of it. Some trees in St David’s Park were badly damaged and the park was closed this morning while they assessed the damage and made the area safe.

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4 of 12 – All that can be seen of the old Print Building in Salamanca Place from street level now.

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5 of 12 – The mountain emerging from low-lying cloud. Today was a welcome relief from the heat. (If you’re on the mainland, my definition of ‘heat’ might differ from yours . . . I have a very low tolerance.)

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6 of 12 – Zoe hasn’t been to work with me for a while. There is weird stuff going on in Teddy Land, and Zoe is now a witch who lives in a very messy house separately from the other teddies. (If you watch Ben and Holly you’ll understand, otherwise you may nod and move on.)

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7 of 12 – There was quite a lot of activity going on in the park when I left work and there were a few people standing round watching branches being cut off this tree. There were also a few cruise ship visitors around, and I wondered what they made of walking in between the demolition of the Print Building on one side of the street and the chainsawing of the trees in the park on the other side. (See photo 4.)

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8 of 12 – We got home to a delightful display of birds in our garden. We think we have identified these as Yellow Crescent Honeyeaters.

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9 of 12 – Some days the chickens don’t want to use the laying box. Earlier in the month we thought they’d stopped laying, only to find a stash of about 15 eggs in what has been dubbed “The Egg Butty”. Blame Juniordwarf for that one.

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10 of 12 – Whenever we let the rabbit out, the chooks don’t take long to move in.

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11 of 12 – Juniordwarf has allocated himself some jobs to do in his new role as the maid. One is the washing, but it’s a magic washing machine and he has to say, “Washing machine: wash all the clothes. Abracadabra!” (If you watch Ben and Holly you’ll understand, otherwise you may nod and move on.)

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12 of 12 Coincidentally today’s Ben and Holly story was the one where Nanny Plum and the Wise Old Elf swap jobs for a day, and the Wise Old Elf has to do the washing. “Washing machine: wash all the clothes. Abracadabra!”

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P365 – Day 331 – i could write a lot about my bad day . . .

. . . but I won’t. It would all be ranty, venty stuff.
Instead I will focus on something good.
I know Juniordwarf is only five, and he’s only in Kinder and there shouldn’t be too much pressure on him and he will learn and develop at his own pace, and we just have to support and encourage him, not push him.
But it has occurred to both me and Slabs – independently of each other – that when it comes to reading, he’s a lot more capable than he lets on. We thought that a few fun activities to encourage him to work things out for himself rather than keep asking us to tell him things that we are fairly sure he could figure out if he tried, might not be a bad thing.
So we’ve signed up for a trial period for an online reading program, which he started earlier in the week.
So far it’s going really well and Juniordwarf is having a lot of fun with it. We think it’s great because he’s learning basic reading and spelling skills to reinforce what he’s doing at school and learning how to use a computer at the same time. All while he’s having fun.
I loved watching him enjoy himself this morning. 
His favourite parts are where he deliberately makes a mistake and gets told (in an amusing way) that he got the wrong answer.
Also today, despite the forecast of rain, it was a nice day, so we had no excuse not to get out in the yard and continue the never-ending task of clearing out the jungle, the undergrowth and the stickyweed.
These photos will serve as reminders of how far we’ve come over upcoming weeks as this thankless task continues.
Vege garden hell
Comfrey – I know it’s good for compost, but this is ridiculous
Stickyweed and feral grapevine
Most of the stickyweed has gone.
Also, if anyone knows what I should do with my feral grape vine, please let me know. 

P365 – Day 275 – MORE housework!

Today I decided I really needed to follow on from last weekend’s cleaning frenzy 

On today’s list were Juniordwarf’s bedroom

and the laundry. 
Both of these are rooms that kind of terrify me.

With Juniordwarf’s room, I think it’s going to be a matter of working with him to make sure he puts things back where they’re supposed to go after he’s finished with them.

This is a habit I’m trying to get into myself as well. It’s not always easy, especially when I think that I’m going to use that thing/do some more work on that project/ read that magazine/whatever in the next day or two, so there’s no point putting it away.

Only I don’t do it, so the project/magazine/book/thing just stays there.

And then there’s the next thing that I’m going to do/finish/read/work on, and the next one and the next one . . . and before I know it, the room is back to where it was before I cleaned it, I’m getting stressed at the mess, and it takes all day to clean it up again.

Believe it or not, there are things I’d rather spend my weekend doing than tidying up the house.
Today was a really concentrated effort to not only tidy things, but to find places for things that will mean they can be easily put back once they’re finished with.
I hope.
By the way, after I’d cleaned the laundry, I could see the pattern on the floor tiles. It’s kind of cool, I think.

P365 – Day 174 washing, washing and more washing

Once of the things I like least about winter is how much harder it is to get my washing done.

I do most of my and Juniordwarf’s washing on Tuesdays when I’m home with Juniordwarf. Slabs is responsible for doing his own and occasionally Juniordwarf’s.

Juniordwarf helps me. He likes to put the clothes in the machine, put the powder in and press the start button once I’ve set the cycle. After it’s done, he likes to pull the clothes out of the machine and put them in the laundry basket.

Most of the clothes I own are, conveniently, not tumble dryable, so we hang most of the washing outside to dry.

When I say ‘to dry’ I mean to hang limply in the cool, damp foggy air. We have some clothesline underneath our back porch, so quite a lot of washing can be hung out there, and over a day or two, it becomes slightly less wet than it was when it was pulled out of the washing machine.

Some days, after the fog has lifted, we might get a couple of hours of sunshine, which helps a bit too.

What I normally do is to get the airer out and set it up in front of the heat pump, which is on for a lot of the day because the house is so cold, put as much washing on that as I can fit without overcrowding, and once that’s dry I bring more in from outside, and so on until it’s all dry.

It normally takes three to four days to get it all dry. Then I have a few days off before the cycle starts again. So this is a fairly common sight in our house these days.