Category Archives: walking

Bored and brilliant challenge 2: out of sight

Previous posts on the challenge:

Challenge 2 of the Bored and Brilliant experiment is called ”Keep your devices out of reach while in motion”. This means exactly what it says. You’re supposed to keep your phone out of view, including not listening to anything on headphones, any time you’re in transit, which includes driving, on the bus or walking down the street.

According to the book, the idea is that your mind is not doing nothing; rather, the times you are travelling are great times to just let your mind wander. The book refers to a conversation with “boredom expert” Sandi Mann, who said she switched off during her morning commute and found she would often come up with new ideas during those times.

The book says that we may think of times when we’re in transit as “unproductive, inefficient or lost if we’re not checking our mail or doing other tasks” but that letting your mind wander instead can be “refreshing”.

It beefs up the challenge a bit by suggesting you take the time you save by not looking at your phone on your travels to notice five things you’ve never noticed before. So that seems to me like it’s bringing some mindfulness into your day to replace phone use. Sounds good to me.

Here’s what happened on day one (Sunday). I had agreed to meet my sister on the way to an event we were both going to so she could give me a lift the rest of the way. I’d calculated it would take me about an hour and a half to walk to the meeting point so I left home at 8am, which I thought would give myself a bit of extra time. Normally walking this route I’d have my phone out some of the time, I’d probably check instagram and twitter a couple of times, maybe listen to a podcast or two and take some photos. But I’d also do a lot of the walk without the phone.

I thought it was a bit ironic that it was a podcast that actually got me into reading this book, after I’d just go back into listening to podcasts when I was out walking after a 15-month break, and now I couldn’t listen to any more because of this challenge. Walking is generally the only time I listen to podcasts.

So, with my phone dutifully stuffed into my bag, I set off.

20181028 Long Beach bathing pavilion 1

I usually take photos on my walk. Here’s one I might have taken if I had been using my phone in transit. It’s actually from October 2018.

I didn’t think about much at all really. I spent a lot of time looking at the cars going past and noticing how many of them had only one occupant. It made me think what a terribly inefficient transport system the car is. It takes so many resources to build a car and then even more more to run it and maintain it, all of which does untold damage to the environment and the planet, all to move one person from one place to another. And most of the time, most cars just sit on the side of the road or in a garage or car park, completely useless. There has to be a better way to move people than destroying the planet in such a way.

After these deep thoughts, for the rest of the walk I was wondering how I was going to get to my sister on time. I realised I’d planned my walk time for a different route than the one I actually needed to take. I didn’t end up going the way I’d thought I would go and was on the road that ran parallel to the road I had to meet my sister on. As I was walking on the wrong road and the time got close to the meeting time I realised I was going to run out of time and I needed to get to the right road sooner because my sister had said she’d drive along there if I wasn’t at the meeting point on time to find me.

But, if I wasn’t on the right road she’d miss me and then she’d call me to find out where I was and I’d fail the challenge because I’d have to answer!

I knew some of the side roads joined the two roads but I didn’t know which ones were the most direct roads and which ones would take me longer. If I’d had my phone I could have found out very quickly on Google maps (phones in transit are not bad!) but I was determined to stick with the challenge so I resisted the urge and turned up a street I knew would get me there. It was very steep and it actually took me backwards onto the road I needed to be on so it wasn’t a good choice, but I preferred that to one that might have been even worse, or more convoluted, and taken even longer.

At least I was on the right road at this point so, if I didn’t make it to the meeting point, my sister would be able to find me without me having to pull out my phone and tell her where I was.

It got to a couple of minutes before our meeting time and the phone rang. (I know this because even though it was in my bag on silent, it’s attached to my Fitbit, which alerts me to when I get a call. There is no escape from the phone.) It was her. I was not within sight of the meeting point. What to do?

I knew I was close so I ignored it. The phone rang again. I ignored it and sped up. It rang again!!!

I was remembering how, in the By the Book episode on this challenge, Kristen had been going home to get ready for some friends coming over and someone kept calling her while she was on the subway, so she couldn’t look at the message or respond. There was a delightful frenzied exchange she went through with her husband, Dean, wondering if it was the people coming over trying to message her and if it was an emergency or if they had questions about the party.

This was me right then!

Dean, not in the slightest bit worried, responded with: “then let’s pretend it’s 1982. They’ll wait until we get to a phone . .  as soon as we stop we’ll be able to call them . .” Of course, there was no emergency, the friends turned up to the party and everything was fine.

And so too with me, everything was fine. My sister found me just a block from where I was supposed to meet her about two minutes later, we made it to the event on time and, although I had picked up the phone, I didn’t actually use it.

I totally understand how Kristen felt on the subway that day!

Challenge two: success.

19 for 2019: week 12 update

Week of 18 March 2019

I’m really happy looking at my 19 for 2019 list stuck on my wall near my desk. I have six of the 19 things I wanted to do this year ticked off and it’s only March.

I finished my reading goal of 12 books for 2019, including six fiction books (thing 5), in week 11 and I think that might have been a pretty low bar. However, I’m not going to change it. I’ve made reading a habit that I do every morning and I’ve been sticking to it pretty much every day.

I’ve also started reading a few pages in bed before I turn out the light, which is something I always said I hated to do, read in bed. But I think that might have changed because my usual habit has been to be on the computer right up until I’m ready for bed and then crash straight into bed after I turned it off. This month I’ve been turning the computer off an hour before the time I’ve set as my bedtime so I’ve had some time before I feel ready to go to sleep to read. As well as that, on some days I’ve been finding pockets of time where I’ve sat down with one of the (four) books I have on the go and read a few pages then too.

So yes, I am reading more, and I’m keeping my reading list updated here if you’re interested.

I’ve now completed 24 of my 30-days alcohol-free challenge (thing 13) and it’s going well. As part of this, I’ve been tracking my energy every hour for the last three weeks. I’m still not sure whether I can draw any conclusions about what my “biological prime times” might be (you can read about that here), since I think the first week and a half at least are unreliable due to the fact I was in the process of getting used to being alcohol (and coffee) free. But looking back over the day to day averages, I can say for sure my energy levels as a whole have increased over the month. I don’t even need the spreadsheet to tell me that. I’ve felt more energetic than I did before, more motivated and more able to get things done. (This is not going to stop me tinkering with the spreadsheet and making some graphs and analysing it to death once the month is over . . . )

This week’s numbers:

Day 18 (Monday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 17,315 | Bedtime: 10.15

Day 19 (Tuesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,874 | Bedtime: 10.15

Day 20 (Wednesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 18,720 | Bedtime: 10.00

Day 21 (Thursday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 23,001 | Bedtime: 10.00

Day 22 (Friday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 16,163 | Bedtime: 10.00

Day 23 (Saturday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 17,055 | Bedtime: 9.55

Day 24 (Sunday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 16,268 | Bedtime: 9.55.

As for the other things, here’s how I went in week 12.

Photo course (thing 1): I submitted some photos that I took last week for assignment 16.20190317 Wrest Point Casino 2-Edit

Walk from Taroona to Moonah (thing 3): I did this last Sunday but I’ve now written a blog post about it if you want to check out the full story and some photos.

Wellbeing work (thing 6): I have done a lot of reading and note-taking and planning of ways to bring more vegetables into my diet. The next step is to actually follow through. Always my stumbling point!

Photojournal (thing 11): I printed the last four collages on Monday and have stuck 26 into the book to complete the first book. 26 to go and I’m done!

33 Beers book (thing 12): I entered book 9 into the spreadsheet. One more to go (and the one currently in progress).

Bucket List book (thing 18): I’ve added a couple more things to the draft list. I know I’m probably missing the point with this book. I should just write the things in there and get on with doing them rather than making a list and then working out what to put in and what to leave out. It’s just a book, after all. And if I end up getting them all done I can always get another book . . . I don’t need to limit myself to 100 things.

Lightroom (thing 19): I’ve been editing some photos on the desktop version instead of on my phone.

Status for week 12

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

19 for 2019: week 11 update

Week of 11 March 2019

Week 11 has been interesting. I’m halfway through my 30 days of no alcohol (thing 13), which I wrote about on Thursday and onto day ten without coffee.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m also tracking my energy levels over the course of the day, which have so far been rather erratic so I’m not sure what conclusions to draw from that other than my body is probably still settling down after its rude removal of caffeine. The big thing that I’ve noticed is that most nights I’m tired and feeling ready for bed by 9.00, which I put down to my tiredness not being masked by the fake energy that drinking alcohol gives me in the evenings. So, getting to bed by my goal time of 10.45 hasn’t been a big challenge at all.

Here’s how my week has gone.

Day 11 (Monday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 17,401 | Bedtime: 10.15 pm

Day 12 (Tuesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,879 | Bedtime: 10.15 pm

Day 13 (Wednesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,610 | Bedtime: 10.10 pm

Day 14 (Thursday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 20,566 | Bedtime: 10.00 pm

Day 15 (Friday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 16,046 | Bedtime: 10.10 pm

Day 16 (Saturday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 16,527 | Bedtime: 10.45 pm

Day 17 (Sunday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 34,443, | Bedtime: 10.10 pm

According to my trusty Fancy March Habit Tracker™, this week I succeeded in turning my computer off an hour before my allocated bedtime of 10.45 five out of seven nights. The goal of turning it off and disconnecting an hour before my actual bedtime, which has somehow become closer to 10.15 most nights, is nowhere near happening and I don’t know if that’s realistic at the moment.

Turning off your screens anywhere from an hour to two hours before you go to bed is a big favourite of the sleep gurus. For example, the US National Sleep Foundation says that using devices (including computers, TV and phones) before bed can mess with your body’s internal clock, reduces the amount of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin released into your body and makes it more difficult to get to sleep. The main reason is the blue light emitted by the devices. It claims “using these devices before turning in delays the onset of REM sleep, reduces the total amount of REM sleep, and compromises alertness the next morning. Over time, these effects can add up to a significant, chronic deficiency in sleep”.

I don’t think I’ve read anything ever that says using devices right up to bedtime helps you sleep better, and most articles on sleep suggest turning off devices as part of an evening routine to help you get ready for sleep.

Even though I’ve tried developing an evening routine in the past I’ve never really made it work, and my evening routine is basically turn the computer off, clean my teeth and crash into bed. Given that most of the stuff I want to do is on my computer, I don’t know what else I might incorporate into an evening routine after I’ve shut the computer down and turned my phone off. Reading comes to mind but that’s about it. Anyway, I’m going to use this week to play around with bringing my bedtime back to 10.30 and my device off time to 9.30 and seeing if that makes a difference to my sleep quality. Since I haven’t gone to bed later than 10.15 this week I don’t see 10.30 as being a problem, but the 9.30 shut down might be!

It’s one to work on in the coming weeks.

Here’s how I’m tracking with the rest of 19 for 2019:

Photo course (thing 1): I completed the day 19 lesson and assignment.20190310 Assignment Day 19 05Walk from Taroona to Moonah (thing 3): I did this on Sunday! I walked over 34,000 steps, or 22 km, and I took heaps of photos.20190317 Moonah sign 1 editReading (thing 5): I finished book 13, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick, which is my sixth fiction book, so I have now finished this thing!20190314 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? editWellness (thing 6): I watched a video and I have a couple of ideas on what to do this week.

Photojournal (thing 11): I have now made all the collages for 2018 and they are ready for printing. All I have to do is stick them in the book.

33 Beers books (thing 12): I entered books 7 and 8 into the spreadsheet. I have two more to go.

Bucket List book (thing 18): I didn’t write anything in the book but I made a new note in Evernote with the heading Bucket List and I put one thing into it. The idea is when I get to 100 I will go through the list and pick 50 that I am really committed to doing and put them in the book to start with. I think I’m paranoid about putting something in the book that I’m not actually ever realistically going to do, and then failing to complete everything in the book. It’s the same thing as the fear of making the first mark in a brand new notebook, I guess! I think I have to take the perspective that this is a bit of fun, not a lifelong commitment to ticking off 100 things, and just start writing.

Lightroom (thing 19): I made some workarounds to avoid an issue that is constantly frustrating me. I edited some photos for a blog post.

Status for week 11

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

19 for 2019: week 10 update

Week of 4 March

Well, things took an unexpected turn this week, with a no-coffee experiment being unexpectedly thrown into the mix. You can read about that in Saturday’s post.

Everything else is going slowly, with my main focus this month on getting more sleep, avoiding alcohol (thing 13), and doing at least 15,000 steps a day for the Cancer Council’s March Charge fundraiser.

To get more sleep, I’m attempting to move my bedtime back from sometime between 11pm and midnight to closer to 10pm, with my interim goal being 10.45. I achieved this every day last week, and most of those days I was in bed well before 10.45 but decided to read for a bit before I went to sleep, so the times I’ve recorded are the times I’ve turned the light off, not the actual time I was in bed.

I’ve also been trying to turn my computer off no later than 9.45, to give myself an hour of screen-free time. That has been less successful, so I’m looking at things I can do to make it easier to do.

Here’s last week’s tracker:

Day 4 (Monday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,618 | Bedtime: 10.45

Day 5 (Tuesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,421 | Bedtime: 10:45

Day 6 (Wednesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 28,311 | Bedtime: 10.45

Day 7 (Thursday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps:19,963 | Bedtime: 10.30

Day 8 (Friday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 16,775 | Bedtime: 10.45

Day 9 (Saturday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,825 | Bedtime: 10.45

Day 10 (Sunday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,916 | Bedtime: 10.15

I’m also tracking my wakeup time and my computer off time, as well as keeping an hourly record of what I’m doing and what my energy levels are as Chris Bailey describes in Chapter 3 of The Productivity Project. The purpose of this is to determine what my times of highest energy are so I can make sure I’m working on the things that are most important to me at these times. After ten days, the results are inconclusive. There were a couple of unusual things that probably threw a couple of days’ results off, and Chris also notes that if you’re making a switch to no alcohol and no caffeine, the first few days might not be entirely accurate as your body adjusts to being without those stimulants. So I’m planning to keep this up for a month and see if things become more consistent later in the month.

So much tracking!

20190308 Waterfront from Mac 2 3 edit

A morning walk

Onto other things on the list.

  • Photo course (thing 1): I watched two videos (day 17 and 18) but haven’t done any more assignments.
  • Reading (thing 5): I finished three books this week, one fiction and two non-fiction (The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey and The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz). I’ve now read 12 books this year but the brief was six of them had to be fiction and I’ve only read five fiction books, so I don’t consider this thing to be complete.
  • Wellness program (thing 6): I guess cutting out alcohol and coffee should contribute to reducing my stress levels and helping me stay calm, even though they are not specific issues that have been covered at this time. My main focus is on building up strategies I can call on when I get overwhelmed so I can better deal with those situations. I haven’t done a lot this week.
  • 2018 photojournalism (thing 11): I stuck a couple of collages in the book.
  • Beer books (thing 12): I entered one more book into the spreadsheet so I’ve finished six books, with four to go.
  • Explore a track on kunanyi (thing 15): I already did this in February but I got another opportunity this week to accompany a group of kids from Kramstable’s school on a day bushwalk on the Pipeline Track so I can tick this one off again!
    20190306 01 View from the Pipeline Track edit

    Pipeline Track, kunanyi

    20190306 07 View of the Mountain from the Waterworks edit

    Looking back at kunanyi from the Waterworks after the Pipeline Track walk

  • Lightroom (thing 19): I haven’t done anything specifically new; I’m just getting familiar with it by using it.

Status for week 10

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

19 for 2019: week 9 update

Week of 25 February 2019

After my two mid-week posts, it’s time for my regular weekly update on 19 for 2019.

You most likely would have seen my posts last week about starting my 30 days alcohol-free (thing 13) and how I’m using that to try to get to bed earlier. Cleverly, I picked one of the longest months, which also happens to have five Fridays, five Saturdays and five Sunday, which are the days I’m intending to restrict drinking to once this month is over. (No drinking on a school night!)

March is also the month I’m taking part in the Cancer Council’s March Charge fundraiser by walking 300 km in March (15,000 steps a day) as well as trying to get more sleep by going to bed earlier. The three are all linked, because to be able to walk 3000 steps per day more than I normally do (that’s about an extra two km), I will need more energy. To get more energy I need more than six hours sleep a night; to get more sleep I need to go to bed earlier; and to go to bed earlier I need to cut out drinking so I don’t get caught up in that “just one more”, “oh, I’ll just watch this YouTube video”, “I’ll have quick top-up because the video hasn’t ended,” “this video looks interesting, I’ll watch that while I finish my drink” . . . “oh no! It’s 11.30 and I have work tomorrow . . .” spiral.

So. Today is day four. Day one was helped a bit by the fact that I felt really unwell on Friday and didn’t want anything to drink.

Day 1 (Friday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,180 | Bedtime: 10:40

Day 2 (Saturday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,858| Bedtime: 10:50

Day 3 (Sunday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 19,324| Bedtime: 10:00

It’s a bit soon to be drawing any conclusions at this stage. I also need to work out a fancy tracking system so I can keep track of things.

In other things:

  • Photo course (thing 1): My flash arrived so I completed assignment 11.
  • Read 12 books (thing 5): I completed book 9 (2001 A Space Odyssey), which is my fourth fiction book. I’m now reading books 10 and 11, both of which are non-fiction.
  • I got a new electric oil burner to replace the one I smashed and am keeping it in my room rather than the bathroom so if it gets knocked off it won’t shatter. I’m trying out different scents to see if any of them affect my mood or my state of mind. I did some of the journalling work this week (thing 6).
  • Photojournal (thing 11): I printed weeks 30-48. I stuck a couple of collages in the book. This is really a low-energy task that I have to remember to do if I get a few moments when I’m not sure what to do, rather than reach for my phone and get sucked into social media.
  • 33 Beers (thing 12): Book 5 completed. (5 down, 5 to go) I appreciate the irony of the fact that I am having a month off alcohol yet spending time updating a spreadsheet of all the different beers I have tried over the past four years.
  • Lightroom (thing 19): I’m still using it.

Status for week 9

Things completed this week: 0

Things I progressed: 7 (1, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 19)

Things in progress I didn’t progress: 2 (2, 16)

Things not started: 6 (3, 4, 10, 14, 17, 18)

Things completed: 4

  • Thing 9 (9 January)
  • Thing 8 (21 January)
  • Thing 15 (1 February)
  • Thing 7 (12 February)

You can expect me to be posting more frequently in March with updates on the no-alcohol challenge and how I’m going with my walking.

19 for 2019: more sleep, less booze

Quite some time ago, I don’t remember when, I heard about Chris Bailey’s Productivity Project, in which Chris set out to conduct a year-long series of productivity experiments on himself to find out how different strategies and tips affected his work. He wrote a blog about his experiences and followed that up with a book in 2016, which I’m currently reading.

20190302 Productivity Project edit

Who wouldn’t want to become more awesome?!

I’m a big fan of experiments like this and even tried it out myself in 2016, inspired by Kylie Dunn’s Year of TED project, though I wasn’t quite as successful as Kylie in sticking with it for a year and it all rather fizzled out in the end.

I’ve decided to try my own experiment in March that combines the idea of Kylie’s 30-day experiments; one of Chris’ experiments, my 19 for 2019 thing 13 (an alcohol-free month); my ongoing wellbeing work that will give me the energy to be able to do all the things on my list (thing 6), in particular getting more sleep; and an increased level of exercise.

I wrote in Wednesday’s post about my goal for March being to move my hours of sleep from six (probably less) closer to seven a night and how one of the main things that will help me do this is to quit drinking for the month.

The second thing I’m going to do is try and move my bedtime from after 11pm to somewhere closer to 10pm.

A key reason I want to get more sleep is to improve my energy levels throughout the day and to become more aware of when I naturally have more and less energy. I’ve been reading about ultradian rhythms, the gist of which is that our bodies have natural cycles of energy and rest (or high energy and low energy) that last about 90-120 minutes. The theory is that we have a period of about 90 minutes of high energy, which is followed by a period of low energy of about 20 minutes (similar to sleep cycles of 90 minutes of non-REM sleep and 20 minutes of REM sleep)  and that this continues throughout the day.

This is where Chris Bailey’s experiment comes in. In chapter 4 of The Productivity Project he writes about how, if you know the times when you have the most energy, you can schedule your day to work on the things that are most important to you at those times and take breaks and work on things that require less energy and focus at times when your energy levels are lower.

To get familiar with his natural cycle, Chris kept a log every hour of every day for three weeks of what he had been working on and how much energy he had during that hour. To make it as accurate as this kind of thing can be, Chris cut out all alcohol and coffee, ate as little sugar as possible and tried to wake up and fall asleep naturally, without setting an alarm.

I won’t be following Chris’ experiment to the letter. I’m already good with the no sugar thing, so I don’t have to worry about making any changes there, and am committed to the no alcohol month. But there is no way I am giving up my first coffee of the day, at least not at the start. (My second, I have plans for, but that can wait.) And I can’t sleep in on weekdays mornings and do all the things I want to do (and need to do) and still get to work on time. I know, I’ve done it a couple of times accidentally. So I have to set an alarm. But this is an experiment, not a regiment, so I’m just trying it out. The first week of March will be my adjustment period—Chris recommends cutting out the three stimulants (sugar alcohol and caffeine) a week before you start tracking.

The main thing I’ll be focusing on in the first week will be to have a shutdown for the evening routine that will make sure I’m in bed by 10.45. If I move this back by 15 minutes a week, I should achieve the goal of a 10pm bedtime before the end of the month.

Sounds easy, right?!

The final piece of the puzzle is increased exercise. I am taking part in the Cancer Council’s March Charge, and have committed to walking 300 km in March to raise funds for this very worthy cause, which is the equivalent of about 15,000 steps a day. My daily goal up to now has been 12,000 steps, which I’ve been meeting on most days but not every day. So I’ll have some extra work to do there.

Of course, I just made it all the more difficult for myself by falling down my front stairs on Tuesday and hurting my back, which has made walking (and moving in general) an uncomfortable exercise. Fortunately, it seems like nothing is seriously damaged. My doctor said that I’m still walking around is a good sign and I haven’t broken anything (since confirmed by the x-ray). I keep thinking how much worse it could have been if I’d tumbled rather than slid!

19 for 2019; week 7 update

Week of 11 February 2019

Week 7 of 19 for 2019. This is going well! I should have made “update the blog at least once a week” a thing.

After a big week last week, things were a lot slower this week. I watched one of the videos for the photo course but haven’t done the assignment yet because I haven’t been at a location that is suitable (thing 1). I also got an ND filter (thing 7) so that is now one more thing completed.

I finished reading two books, both from my 2017 to-read list, Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape. That’s now eight out of my 12 books finished (thing 5).

20190211 Daring Greatly

Read this book. Seriously. Do it.

I made four more photo collages for my 2018 photojournal and have 11 ready to print, so I’m up to week 30 now (thing 11). For my photo project (thing 16) I made a shortlist of about 50 photos, from which I need to choose my favourite 20. And I am continuing to use Lightroom and learn by doing (thing 19).

I entered the third book of 33 beers into the spreadsheet and have seven left to write up (thing 12).

This week’s baby step in taking better care of me (thing 6) so that I can do the things I want to do this year was to look at how I respond when something stressful happens and to try to take a pause before over-reacting and respond from a calmer place. The only situation that upset me this week I did not do that. Let’s just say I was very unhappy when my computer consistently refused to accept my new password, even though it met all the criteria, and then locked me out of my account. (Sorry, workmates within earshot of me.) I think I need someone to ring a little bell to remind me to put those deep breathing techniques into practice because these situations are exactly when I need them!

20190216 Sunrise Tarooona Beach 6 edit

Breathe!

I also forgave myself for smashing my electric oil burner a few weeks ago and found one of my old tealight powered ones so I can fill my room with lovely scents.

Completely 19 for 2019-unrelated, today was the 2019 Run The Bridge fun run and walk. I took part in the five km walk last year and Kramstable asked if he could do the five km run this year. He’d never been in a fun run before but he had been going out running over the holidays and I know kids from his class did it last year, so I saw no reason why he couldn’t. I signed up to do the walk with Lil Sis but, unfortunately, she got sick and couldn’t come so it was just me and Kramstable.

20190210 Run the Bridge

I’m doing it . . .  I did it

He took off at the start and I didn’t see him again. He texted me to say he’d finished. His time was 31:52, which is very respectable, about half-way through 1100 people in the race and faster than the average finish time for the whole field of 33 minutes. I am very proud of him.

20190217 RTB Barb & Mark 3 edit

On the bridge

I was about 1.5 km behind him when he finished, at my speedy walking pace. I had set myself a target of finishing in under 50 minutes, which I knew I would have been able to do in the past when I could walk six km in an hour but wasn’t so sure about now. My time ended up being 46:12, which I was very happy with. I was in the top 100 for the walk (91st), faster than the average time (53:07) and fourth out of the 46 women in my division (who says I’m not competitive?). To get near the winning time I’d have to be able to walk five km in 35 minutes. Somehow, I’m not seeing that ever happening at any time in my future. I’m a wanderer, not a power walker. However, I did have a look at the Female 70+ division and saw there were women there doing the five km in about the same time as I did, so that’s a life goal right there. To be able to walk 5 km in 45 minutes when I’m 70.

20190217 Tasman Bridge with no traffic edit

Something you don’t see very often . . . the bridge without any traffic

Keep on walking.

Status for week 7:

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

19 for 2019: week 5 update

19 for 19 update: week of 28 January 2019

This week’s baby step in taking better care of me (thing 6) so that I can do the things I want to do this year is to focus on breathing. I have learned that diaphragmatic breathing helps to activate your parasympathetic nervous system to bring you back into a state of calm, rest and repair after a stressful situation has occurred. I am seeking out times when I can spend a couple of minutes focusing on my breathing to try and make this breath something I do more naturally, especially when something happens that I would normally react to in the moment. Using the principle of habit stacking, which James Clear explains in Atomic Habits, I’m finding existing habits that I can stick the new habit of deep breathing onto.

One of these is drinking water, which was last week’s baby step. I’ve stuck the word “breathe” onto my water bottle so that every time I pick it up I will be reminded to sit down for a moment and take a couple of deep breaths. I wished I’d had a nice fancy sticker with the word breathe but I also realised if I waited until I’d found the perfect sticker I’d never do it, so I used what I had. It doesn’t look good but it does the job. And done is better than perfect.

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Remember to breathe

I was on holidays this week so I was pretty relaxed. I watched five of the photo course videos and took some photos of my chickens in lieu of “wildlife”, which was the actual assignment for one of them (thing 1). I edited some of them in Lightroom (thing 19) and as a bonus, started learning about the healing and cloning tools in Photoshop. I did another assignment after that, so I’m now up to day 16.

I finished two books this week (thing 5).

La Belle Sauvage had been on my to-read pile since last year and once I got into it I found it very hard to put down. I finished reading Let me tell you about a man I knew in a day. I don’t remember the last time I read an entire book in a day!

I made three photocollages for my 2018 photojournal (thing 11) and I set up my 33 Bottles of Beer spreadsheet in Google Sheets (thing 12),

Kramstable and I had some adventures together. On Wednesday, after the fun (not) task of buying his new high school uniform (yes high school!) we visited the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, which is a great place to visit. It’s always interesting to see what grabs his interest each time we go there. This week it was the museum cart, which is an ever-changing display of objects in clear perspex boxes, the history of the gay rights movement in Tasmania, the thylacines and his old favourite, the ice in the Antarctic section. I was quite taken with this chair, which is called Splash, by John Smith (2011), and the display of Tasmanian geology.

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Splash chair

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Tasmanian Geology

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The always wonderful Bond Store staircase

 

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Butterflies

I was also intrigued by the different pelvis shapes of the thylacine skeletons and asked TMAG on instagram if this was an actual difference between male and female thylacines or if the bones had been set at different angles. They said that the skeletons were put together in 1922 by a man named T.F. Moore, a Melbourne taxidermist and skeleton articulator, and that they didn’t know the reason for the different angles. They suggest that the wires may have loosened over time due to movement between museums or age, but the female (front) is more accurate. So there you go.

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The mystery of the thylacine pelvises

TMAG isn’t on my list but it was still a fun day.

We went to kunanyi on Friday. This counts as thing 15 because I didn’t say I had to do it by myself! It takes a bit of planning to get there because we needed to catch a bus to town and then another bus to Fern Tree and those buses only go once an hour. We headed in a bit earlier than we might have needed to because we weren’t sure the later bus from home would quite get us to town before the Fern Tree bus was due to leave. That gave us enough time to go to the coffee shop before heading off on our adventure.

I wanted to do the Fern Glade circuit, which would take in Silver Falls and get us back to Fern Tree in time to have lunch at the Fern Tree Tavern. That was the plan. I got a bit confused because I’d seen two descriptions of the circuit and they were both different so I said to Kramstable that we’d just start walking and see where we ended up without worrying too much about whether we got to where I wanted to go. I figured, and he agreed, that we were there to have a nice walk on a mountain track and that just being there was the point, without any real expectation of getting to a destination.

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Nice walk

As it turned out, we ended up doubling back on ourselves but we eventually found the right way to the falls, which were lovely.

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Silver Falls

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Near Silver Falls

From there it was easy to find our way back down to the park, the pub and lunch. I’m glad we did do the double back because we would have been too early for lunch if we’d gone the right way in the first place!

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Relaxing at the Fern Tree Tavern

We had a nice lunch and had 50 minutes before the bus was due so we relaxed on the very cool chairs for a bit, walked a short way along the Pipeline track, and then caught the bus back to town.

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The Pipeline

Fortunately for us, we made it back just in time to catch our bus home. We saw it pull up at the stop as the bus we were on was pulling in to its stop on the other side of the road. A frantic dash to wait for the lights, cross the road and run (yes, run) to the bus, which was just late enough and had a lot of people getting on. A most satisfying end to what had been a lovely day out.

Status for week 5:

  • Things completed: 3 (1 this week)
  • Things I progressed: 7
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 2
  • Things not started: 7

Things completed

  • Thing 9 (9 January)
  • Thing 8 (21 January)
  • Thing 15 (1 February)

19 for 2019: update for week 4

19 for 2019: Week of 21 January 2019

My photo library collapsed last Sunday and this caused me a heap of chaos.

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Friday sunset after a horrendous bushfire day in Tasmania. Puts things into perspective.

I was able to restore the library from a week-old backup and the photos were archived as well, so I didn’t lose them, which was an enormous relief.

The old software is obsolete and unsupported and I had only stuck with it because it worked for the way I structured my workflow. But it being so old, there will come an operating system upgrade that will no longer support that software and I won’t be able to use it. So I need an alternative. I’d been planning on keeping my old system in place and moving gradually over to Lightroom with just a few sets of photos so I could learn as I went. However, with the library collapse, I had a rethink of what I was going to do. I’ve decided that everything that I haven’t catalogued in the old system plus all my new photos will go into Lightroom. My learning curve has very quickly gotten steeper because I’m having to use it every day and do a lot more things than I thought I was going to have to at this time.

I guess it’s good in a way because it’s forcing me to use it and learn it right now. If I didn’t have to do that, chances are I would have put it off and stuck with the old system until the day I couldn’t use it anymore and would have had to make a move to a new system I had no idea how to use. So, thing 19 is well underway. I spent a lot of time getting familiar with Lightroom this week, and I discarded the folio I had set up earlier and made a new one that I think will be easier to manage (thing 12). I printed two photocollages from 2018 and one from this year and made the week 35 photocollage. 35 down, 17 weeks to go (thing 11).

I changed thing 6. I had a 12-week fitness program that I signed up to, started and never completed a couple of years ago and I wanted to attempt that again this year. But I’ve had a bit of time to think and decided it’s not the approach I want, need or am comfortable with right now so instead, I’m going to follow a year-long wellbeing program that introduces small, manageable, lifestyle changes each week that I will do my best to embed into my daily life. My aim is to work through the program and not do everything suggested, but to take one small change each week and really focus on implementing that.

This week it was to increase my water intake because it’s summer, it’s hot and I’m not drinking enough water. Strategy one is to fill my water bottle at night and put it right next to my walking shoes so I can have a drink before I go out for my walk without having to find my way to the kitchen and locate a glass. Like I said, small steps. Baby steps, even.

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Baby steps

My morning routine includes a walk, some quiet minutes meditating with Insight Timer (go check this out if you want a nice, free tool for establishing a meditation practice) and, as of last month, reading at least 20 pages. This is an idea I got from James Clear and it’s so simple I can’t believe I hadn’t figured it out for myself every time I glanced guiltily at my unread books piles (yes, piles plural).  I am currently onto book four for 2019 (thing 5). It is a fiction book

I completed the online writing course I was doing for work (thing 8). Now to start to use the tools in my own writing and try to improve it.

I went to the beach one morning to experiment with long exposure photographs before the sunrise made it too light. I completed that assignment for the photo course (thing 1) and started to do some research into ND filters (thing 7) so I can make these photos during the day, not just at 5.30 am.

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Long exposure, Wednesday morning

It’s been a frustrating week, but I think I’ve done a reasonable amount of groundwork to build on.

Status for week 4

  • Things completed: 2 (1 this week)
  • Things I progressed: 7
  • Things started but not progressed this week: 1
  • Things not started: 9

Things completed

  • Thing 9 (9 January)
  • Thing 8 (21 January)

Point to Pinnacle: D-day

322 days ago, on 31 December 2017,  I posted a photo of kunanyi from near the bottom of the university with the caption, “One day, Mountain, I will walk to your summit”.IMG_8514

Today, I did it.

I didn’t specifically have the Point to Pinnacle in mind when I posted that photo and I didn’t have a time frame for doing it. It was just in the back of my mind as a “someday” thing.

When I signed up for the Point to Pinnacle in August I had every intention of following a training plan leading up to the event, doing lots of hill walks and feeling completely prepared to do the walk. I didn’t stick to the plan, I didn’t do lots of hill walks and, in the past month, have done very few morning walks at all. For someone who normally walks every day, I’ve found my lack of motivation very unusual and out of character, especially leading up to a 21.1 km walk up a 1270 metre high mountain.

So I didn’t feel prepared and was not-so-secretly worried that I wasn’t going to make it. There’s a time limit of 4 hours 40 minutes for the walk and I wasn’t at all confident about my hill-readiness. However, I’d signed up, I’d told people I was doing it and I’d found someone I knew a couple of days ago who said she’d walk with me. I was going ahead with it.

When I got to the casino, I could see the top of kunanyi was shrouded in mist and it seemed so far away. How was I going to do this? I’ve wondered this every time I’ve walked along Sandy Bay Road and looked up there. How is this possible?

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I’m walking up there???

The reported temperature on the summit was “feels like minus three”. I packed a jacket and gloves in my gear bag, which the bus takes to the top so the participants don’t have to carry stuff they don’t need on the walk (or run).

The walk started at 7am, after a warm-up and briefing. I have no idea how many walkers there were but there were a lot and I was in the middle of a huge pack of people trying to make their way as quickly and efficiently as is possible for a huge pack of people to get through a not-very-wide timing arch. It was happening. I was doing it.

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Getting ready to go

I caught up with my friend along Sandy Bay Road and we kept up a steady pace as we made our way to Davey Street. I felt a bit (not) sorry for the cars who hadn’t gotten to the Southern Outlet before it closed and were banking up along the road. I have no idea what happens in these situations; whether they let people through when there are gaps in the packs or if the cars just have to stay there until the roads reopen.

The walk was just as I remembered it from two months ago but without the cars and the fear that I could be run off the road at any time by a driver who wasn’t paying attention. This was definitely the way to do it! Allowing for the congestion at the start, which slows things down a bit, my revised goal was to get to the turnoff to kunanyi in one hour 45. We did the 9.7 km in one hour 48, leaving two hours 52 to do the final 11.4 km. We were both confident of making it, but the hill was the unknown. I knew I could easily walk 11 km in three hours. On the flat. But the lack of hill training was scaring me.

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On the run photo of reaching the turn-off

There was only one way to find out!

Not far up the road, we were informed we’d passed the half-way point, and soon came to a 10km sign. I initially thought it meant we’d walked 10 km, which made no sense if we’d already passed half-way, but my friend pointed out that this was actually 10 km to go. Ohhhhh. I’m not at my brightest in the morning. We were walking through the mist we could see from the bottom and it kept it very cool and was nice conditions for walking in.

I was grateful for the bathrooms at the Springs because I needed a break and told my friend to keep going rather than wait and I’d catch her up because her pace was a bit slower than mine. I power marched up the hill to catch her. She’d said a couple of times that if I wanted to go on ahead to go because she was slower. I felt bad leaving but she said she didn’t mind and I hadn’t actually factored doing this with anyone else when I was planning, so I said if that was okay I’d see her at the top. And continued my power march.

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Brief photo stop

Six km to go and it was nearly 10.00. Three hours in, one hour 40 to go. At my normal pace, I would easily do six km in an hour. On the flat. For some reason, my lack-of-sleep addled brain thought that this meant I should be able to cover a kilometre in six minutes and I was expecting the five km sign in six minutes. I was very put out when it took just over ten. I finally clicked to the actual rate I was walking and set myself a goal of the final five km 50 minutes.  Every time I saw one of the red signs I was a little bit more relieved. The mist had gone in one spot and we were walking in bright sunshine for a brief period, but that was short-lived and the rest of the ascent was in mist. Much better for walking.

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The mist and the not-mist

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A brief sunny spell before the mist again

I was a bit horrified at thinking I was nearly there, and then seeing the last big turn in the road to the pinnacle and OMG people walking up there!

Finally, there was one km to go and the end was in sight. I got a bit muddled as to where the finish line was and I was trying to take photos as well as look glamorous for the race photographer and I’m sure the photo of me crossing the line will be me trying to work out why my video wasn’t working. Ha!

It was great crossing the finish line with all the people standing there cheering and, because the race bibs have your name on them, they’re calling out encouragement especially for you! What a way to end. I had the biggest smile on my face and was so happy to have made it to the top. I didn’t feel like I was going to collapse in a heap like I’d expected! I felt like it had been a nice, somewhat more strenuous but not impossibly so, walk than some of my usual Sunday walks. It certainly hadn’t justified the fear I’d felt before the event. My final time was four hours, two minutes, which, if you subtract the toilet break, would have been under than four hours.

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Thank you, unknown person, for taking my photo

I never thought I would do it in that time and I have a niggling thought that maybe, just maybe, I might want to go back and do it again next year so I can break the four hours.

I have 12 months to talk myself out of it!

On the way back down on the bus with my friend, who also made it in the time limit, yay!, we commented on how it seemed so unreal that we had walked up there. Back at the casino, looking up where we had been, it was like it had never happened.

I suspect my legs will tell a different story tomorrow.