19 for 2019: update for week 2

Welcome to week 2 of my 19 for 2019 updates. (Let’s see how long this lasts … about a month, if my previous attempts at keeping my blog updated are anything to go by …)

I finished a thing! Thing 9: take coins to the bank part 2. I realise I should have taken a photo of the coin machine in action or something like that but I was having too much fun tipping coins into it that I didn’t even think about it. Anyway, there’s $32 (exactly) that had been sitting in a ziplock bag on my dresser since before we moved house (in January 2016) into the bank account.

It’s one of those jobs that is so easily done—it takes five minutes—but never seems to get crossed off the list and sits around for weeks, months, years even. I have a couple more of those on my list so they should be easy wins.

I’m reading book 2 for the year (thing 5).

I completed a lesson of the photography course so I’ve now done six of the 31 lessons (thing 1).20190108 freeze the action

I did three lessons of the writing course (thing 8) and finished two more photo collages for my 2018 photojournal (thing 11). I am learning Lightroom by using it (thing 19) and I’m adding photos to my “folio” file as I sort through them (thing 2).

Status at the end of week 2
Things completed: 1
Things I have taken action on this week: 6 (plus the one I completed)
Things in progress but no action this week: 1
Things not started: 11

For a peek at the complete list, I’m updating it here too.


19 for 2019

I’ve been mulling over my 19 for 2019 list that I posted about on Wednesday and I reckon I’ve settled on a doable list that includes a few easy wins (though some of them have been on the list since 2013 . . . so that may be debatable ), a couple of long-term projects and some things I would do if I just made the time to sit down and do them.

I tried to avoid putting things on there that are more like habits I want to adopt or improve, so that I have a list of things that, with a couple of exceptions, have a clear endpoint that I can cross off and say they’re done.

So, what is this list, you may wonder. Wonder no more.

19 for 2019

  1. Complete the 31-day photography course
  2. Make a folio of my best/favourite photos throughout the year
  3. Walk from Taroona to Moonah (just because it rhymes!)
  4. Book my skin check
  5. Read 12 books, at least six of which are fiction (I will keep my reading list updated)

    20181230 2019 reading list edit

    Some of the books I will probably read in 2019

  6. Do a 12-week fitness program
  7. Get an ND filter
  8. Complete the online writing course at work
  9. Take the coins to the bank
  10. Get my sewing machine fixed
  11. Complete my 2018 photojournal and stay up to date with the 2019 journal
  12. Make a spreadsheet to keep track of the beers in my 33 Books Co beer tasting journals and add in the beers I have tried from all of the books (I have completed ten of them)

    20181230 Beer journal edit

    Beer tasting journal number 11

  13. Go alcohol-free for a month (I can write up the beer journals in the month I’m not drinking beer. That seems fair.)
  14. Make one photo that I am really proud of and print it big, frame it and put it on the wall
  15. Explore a track on kunanyi
  16. Complete a photo project I started last year
  17. Get a manicure
  18. Put at least 50 things in the Bucket List notebook (This is a planner by Mi Goals for you to “dream, plan and document 100 things you want to do before you kick the bucket”. I know, make a list about making a list . . . I have had had this book for years and it’s sat on the shelf unopened. It’s either use it or get rid of it.)

    20181230 Bucket list book edit

    Use it or get rid of it

  19. Learn to use Lightroom

And that’s it. 19 things to absolutely, positively do in 2019.

The plan is for me to be able to look back at this list in 12 months time and have done everything on it. In her end of year wrap-up of 18 for 2018, Gretchen Rubin says that she was sure she accomplished much more in 2018 with the list than she otherwise would have. She says, “putting  items on the list, reviewing the list, talking it over with [my sister], seeing the list on the cork-board next to my desk, the desire to score a perfect 18 by December 31—all these mean I’m much more likely to get these things done.”

And, she says, it’s fun and she got a tremendous kick out of doing it.

So that’s my aim for this challenge. To have fun while getting things done.

Feel free to drop me a comment if you’re thinking of doing something similar this year. It would be fun to see what other people are doing along the same lines.

Southwest Tasmania day 2 (part 1)

This morning’s plan was to wake up early—well, as early as I’d need to when the sun rises close to 8 am—and take some sunrise photos over the lake. This plan was somewhat thwarted by the fact that everywhere was enveloped in fog and the sun was nowhere to be seen.

20180712-011 Silhouettes in the fog at the lookout

At the Lake Pedder Lookout

Never mind, I’d heard that fog was good for photos so I was excited for what the morning might present.

Our plan was to go to Gordon Dam, which is at the end of Gordon River Road, about 12 km from Strathgordon.

A little bit of context. Lake Pedder was once a natural lake but has been in its current form since 1972 when the Gordon, Serpentine and Huon rivers were dammed as part of Tasmania’s hydro electric development. The power scheme includes the Gordon Dam on the Upper Gordon River and the three dams that form Lake Pedder (aka the Huon-Serpentine impoundment): the Serpentine Dam, the Scotts Peak Dam, which dams the Huon River, and the Edgar Dam. It’s 242 square km and 2960 million cubic metres in capacity. It’s 16 metres deep over the original Lake Pedder and 26 metres deep at its deepest part, just behind the Serpentine Dam.

The water from Lake Pedder flows into Lake Gordon through the McPartlan Pass Canal, a 2745-metre long canal between the two lakes, and is used in the Gordon Power Station, which is built 183 metres underground.

The original Lake Pedder had been a National Park but the Tasmanian Government revoked that status in 1967 to enable the Hydro development to proceed. There was considerable opposition to this development from the conservation movement both in Australia and internationally and it saw the birth of the first Green political party in the world. Then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam also opposed the dam and offered compensation to Tasmania to preserve the area. Since then there have been calls to drain the artificial lake and restore it to its original state.

We left the lodge in the fog and continued along the Gordon River Road. Our first stop was the Lake Pedder lookout, about two km up the road. It had one of those cool directional signs that tells you what mountains you’re looking at. All very well when you can actually see the mountains but not when everything is immersed in fog.

Nevertheless, there were some cool fog photo opportunities.

20180712-003 Silhouettes in the fog at the lookout

Sunlight and fog

Continuing along Gordon River Road for another seven km, you reach the turnoff to the Serpentine Dam. From there, it’s a short drive to the boat ramp. By now, the fog was starting to lift, so it was amazing to make photos half in fog and half in clear blue sky.

20180712-035 Serpentine Dam

Serpentine Dam from near the boat ramp

There was no wind and only a slight ripple on the water so the reflections were amazing. Parts of it reminded me of the reflections in the River Derwent along Boyer Road.

20180712-028 Serpentine Dam the other side

Serpentine Dam

This dam was constructed in 1971. It’s a concrete-faced rockfill dam, which is basically a compacted rock wall that is made waterproof by a thin layer of concrete on the upstream face (the left side in this picture). The wall is 41.5 metres high at its highest point and 134 metres long. It contains 114 000 cubic metres of rockfill.

20180712-043 Serpentine Dam wall

Serpentine Dam Wall

Our destination was literally at the end of the road, the Gordon Dam, a further three km from the turn off. Completed in 1974, it’s 140 metres high and is the highest arch dam and the largest storage dam in Australia. It’s curved both horizontally and vertically, which apparently allowed them to use less concrete to construct it, reducing the overall cost. The horizontal arch is apparent from the photos, the vertical one not so much, but the dual arch explains why it doesn’t look straight.

Lake Gordon, created by the dam, was still shrouded in fog so it was impossible to see how big it was, but we could see the dam wall itself, which is pretty impressive.

20180712-060 Lake Gordon

Lake Gordon

Apparently, people abseil off it.

I thought that sounded cool.

When I was at home in my lounge room.

When I got there and looked at it I was grateful I hadn’t decided to book in to do this. I was petrified just walking down the steps to get to the top of the wall where you’re allowed to walk.

20180712-100 Looking down on the Gordon Dam wall

Don’t look down! They are people down there . . . yes, you are going down there

I was glad when I got to the bottom of the steps. Walking on the wall wasn’t anywhere near as scary as walking down to the wall. It’s an amazing structure.

20180712-092 Looking down on the Gordon Dam wall

Gordon Dam wall

The climb back up is a lot less terrifying than the climb down and there’s a nice lookout at the top that you’d probably get great views from on a clear day. This was not a clear day. Still, it was a good experience and we were glad we’d made it.

There are more photos of the Serpentine Dam and the Gordon Dam on my photoblog.


what to do with the photos

Last year I started a photo challenge on my Instagram account to post a black and white photo every day. It stemmed from a seven-day challenge on Facebook where the idea was to post a black and white image from your life with no people in the photo and no explanation.

I decided to keep doing it after the seven days was over and posted the images here on my blog.

20171210 Once was tree IG tweak

Once was tree

At the end of 2017, I knew I wanted to continue with the project but I wasn’t sure if this blog was the right place for it. As you can see from my description, stepping on the cracks is all about finding my way out of my comfort zone. Most of my posts on here are writing about the steps I’m taking and they don’t always have photos because often there isn’t a photo that’s relevant.

The black & white project is part of what I’m doing to explore the boundaries of my comfort zone, but the photos themselves aren’t related to the things I write about. They didn’t seem to belong on the blog. It felt like everything was mixed up and incoherent. A bit like my brain in January.

It finally occurred to me that it would make more sense to make a new blog devoted to the photo project—plus a couple of other projects that I’m working on—and to keep the writing here.

So in between going out and actually taking photos, stuffing around with processing apps and Photoshop, working, and doing school holiday stuff, that’s what I’ve been doing. And here it is straighlinesgirl images. Thank you to my sneak-peekers who gave me feedback and encouragement to go live.

The new year

I posted a different version of this post on instagram this morning with a non-sunrise picture of the beach. You can see a bird if you really look.


I was going to do it a couple of days ago, before the end of 2017, but I’m not good on this type of deadline and ran out of time to think everything through and write it down. Actually, I do that a lot because I always overthink things, start to write it all down and never finish it. But now I have actually finished it so I can check this one off the list.


I moved to a different suburb after almost 12 years living in the Derwent Valley. This was a huge change, but one I have no regrets about at all.

We got two new chickens and my favourite chicken, Isabelle, died.

I discovered that loss in one area can lead to positive things somewhere else in my life.

I had to let go of something I enjoyed doing very much (I wrote about this all the way back in May), which made me cry, but after thinking it all through I realised it has started to open up new opportunities to explore what I really want to do and to learn more about myself.

I have found new ways of looking at the world, discovered beauty in unexpected places and have started to sing with a group that has just started up. (It’s true. It’s on YouTube.)

I have gotten to know some passionate, inspirational people who make beautiful art.

I left a job of 12 years, which was scary, but which I needed to do because I was feeling stuck and uninspired where I was. I’m still slightly terrified and bewildered about the new job, but it’s all good.


I am grateful for everything that happened in 2017 and the experiences I had because I have learned and grown so much.

I’m grateful for the support from my little online community, whether I originally knew you IRL, or if I only know you online, or whether you’re an online friend who has become a real-life friend. Thank you all for being there. I said at the start of the year I was going to try to be okay with how I was feeling, to not squash my feelings, and to accept that not being okay is okay. I think I’ve made progress there.

Thank you for the lessons, experiences and new perspectives, 2017, and welcome 2018.

I know I say this every January, but I do want to write on the blog more regularly. I think the black & white photo challenge will help with that. I’m posting most of those photos on instagram, and when I get enough I repost them all here. I also made a separate page (here) where I’m putting my favourite black & whites so they’re all in one place.



Not actually B&W but I like to break the rules. They’re my rules and I can break them if I want to.


I didn’t find using the blog as accountability for my health habits was working particularly well because it kind of relies on people calling me out if I don’t stick to what I said I was going to do. And it wasn’t very interesting reading. So I think I’ll consign that to the bin for now.

I’m not sure if I want the blog to focus more on photos or more on writing, or if it’s capable of being about both, so my intention is to post at least three times a week with one or the other or both and see what happens. It might become obvious over time, or I might have to make a decision, but for now, I’m just going with the flow.

I’m excited about 2018 and the possibilities for me to have new adventures in my everyday life. I want to focus on learning something new and finding something to be grateful for every day, making more photos, writing more, staying active and seeking out and appreciating the beauty that is around me. I also want to become clearer on what I really want to do and to let go of things I don’t want to do but am doing because I think I should want to do them or that I wished I wanted to do. (Gretchen Rubin puts it like this: “you can choose what you do, but you can’t choose what you like to do”.)

Happy New Year and may the coming year be good to you and your loved ones.