Tag Archives: 21 for 2021

21 for 2021: week 9

Week 09/2021: week of 1 March

21 for 2021 update

Last year, one of my 20 for 2020 things was to have a month without alcohol. I started that on 2 March 20202 and I haven’t had a drink since then. So this week marked the one-year anniversary of my last drink. We went to Dunalley for lunch at the pub and stopped at Barilla Bay to get oysters on the way. I bought a can of their Oyster Stout, which I was going to drink at home that evening. I didn’t and it‘s still in the fridge where I left it on 1 March 2020. 

I still haven’t decided whether the alcohol-free thing is a permanent change. I quite like saying “I don’t drink” but I still have some rather delicious beverages in my beer cellar that I would very much like to try. So I need to work out a way to drink them but not make drinking a mindless habit like it used to be for me.

I had some interesting work to do this week, which made the week go faster. That was nice and I actually enjoyed being at work. Well you know, apart from the noise. On the recommendation of my audiologist, I got some noise-cancelling earbuds, which are a lot more portable than the headphones I’ve been using and they’ve been making a big difference in my capacity to function and not get overwhelmed in noisy situations both inside and outside. 

I’ve also been working through a couple of non-work courses in my spare time, which are on two topics that are totally unrelated and I’m finding great joy in discovering the connections between two topics that I would have thought were completely different areas. It has been an interesting week of discovery for me. 

I’m still working through the habits chapter of the Change Journal (thing 7) with my yoga stretches, the pre-work ritual (thing 20) and now the post-work ritual. Now that I have my exercise program from the exercise physiologist (thing 1), I need to build that into my routine as well. I’ve decided there are a couple of the exercises that I will try and do every day and track them in the Change Journal, and then the rest of the program I’m going to do four days a week instead of my afternoon walk.

I had to get out of the house on Saturday afternoon, so I decided to take my SLR camera for a walk (thing 16). I picked up this camera, a Pentax Z70 with a 28-80mm lens, from a second-hand camera shop in Canberra many years ago. I went to a class to learn how to use it but found everything too overwhelming, and ended up staying in green mode most of the time. Around that time I moved to the country and, having been inspired by the work of a local landscape photographer, spent some time photographing rural scenes with it. I didn’t use it much after I got my first digital camera. I remember going through a roll or two of film when Kramstable was a baby but, apart from that, it’s been sitting in a drawer for the past 13 years or more. I still had a battery for it and there was a roll of film in it with about seven exposures left on it. I have absolutely no idea what is on the rest of the film, so I figured what better way to find out than to finish it off. The film is very expired so this could be very interesting when I take it into the camera shop to get processed.

After having gotten used to a digital SLR, I found the controls on this camera to be very minimal, and the instruction book that came with it even more so. I eventually worked out how to put it into manual mode and how to adjust the exposure and shutter speed. Before now, I’d only used it in manual mode for the class, when all of this was very new to me. At least now, having had the experience of using a digital SLR in manual, I had some idea what I was doing, even if I wasn’t sure exactly how to do it.

For my first photo, the camera wouldn’t focus. This was not going well. Then I remembered that the lens gets stuck at the extreme end of its focus range and needs a little jiggle to get “unstuck”. Right. It was so weird to hear the buzz of the film advancing as I pressed the shutter instead of the digital click, and even more odd that I couldn’t look down at the non-existent LCD screen to see what the photo looked like. That’s a habit that’s very hard to get out of.

I used up the film, it rewound itself and I’m going to take it into the shop next week to see what’s on it. I’m not calling this thing done yet. I want to go out somewhere and make photos with it for a few hours and use at least one roll of film.

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 bok choy and I cooked Alice’s Grilled Bok Choy with Peanut Sauce (page 434) on Tuesday. I have to say the amount of peanut butter I’m going through to cook the recipes in this book is pretty phenomenal, but peanut butter, yum! I’m not complaining. 

Grilled bok choy

I probably could have served this with another veggie dish but I poached some chicken breasts, shred them and serve with rice noodles. It was a simple dish overall, excellent for mid-week. 

On Saturday it was time for a fully vegetarian dish, Seven-Spice Butternut Tagine (page 160). This had a lovely combination of coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and pepper. As well as butternut pumpkin (squash), it had tomatoes, chickpeas and red capsicum. It was really nice with lots of leftovers. I’d definitely make this again.

Butternut squash tagine

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that I have made a regular commitment to doing in the hope that this will be more likely to make me do them. I worked on these ones this week.

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. One hour on Saturday morning. I didn’t do this. In lieu of this, Kramstable and I spent at least an hour trying to catch one small chicken and lock her away with the others after we’d seen a hawk in the yard. Four of the others were appropriately terrified and huddled in the chook house. One so much so that she let me pick her up and hold her for basically as long as I wanted. I had managed to lure one of the other two, who are now candidates for the most stupid birds in the flock, into the cage with food, and had almost got the last one in when the first one got back out again and refused to be caught. It was a very traumatic time as we imagined what her fate might be if the hawk returned and she was still running around the yard, but catching her seemed like an impossible task. In frustration, I decided to get some water to fill up the bowls and while I was out of the yard, Kramstable, by some miracle, had finally managed to grab the elusive chicken and we got her into the cage with the others.
The elusive chicken refusing to be caught
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I went to see my mum on Thursday as usual. She showed me a photo of her grandfather’s house in Scotland that he had built in 1918. I managed to locate it on Google streetview, so it was cool to see where it was. I doubt the oil rigs would have been the bay in 1918 but it was cool to see the town where his family had lived for a time. 
  • Thing 11: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I worked some more on lesson 5. I need to do the practical exercise. It’s been hard to photograph something in full sun when the days have been overcast and rainy though! I watched the video for lesson 6 as well.
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. I worked on lesson 3 of the third module, which explained the “empathy map”. I missed this month’s live workout on Thursday because my alarm didn’t go off, which I’m very annoyed about because I really enjoyed the last one.

21 for 2021 summary

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

Blast from the past

Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s another one of my favourite 2011 posts. This one is from 9 May 2011: Happiness what.

I think the point I wrote then is still true today:

. . . while I’m waiting for my life to be perfect, my life goes on. I’m wishing some things were different but I’m not doing anything about them, and at the same time I’m not really appreciating the things I do have

9 May 2011

What I’m reading this week

  • Personality Hacker by Joel Mark Witt & Antonia Dodge
  • Me by Elton John
  • The Summer Island Festival by Rachel Burton
I totally enjoyed this. It made me laugh, it made me cry. Recommended.

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 4): 4
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 4): 4
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 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): 7
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 6

21 for 2021: week 8

Week 08/2021: week of 22 February

21 for 2021 update

I’m working through the Habits chapter of the Change Journal (thing 4). I’m working on doing yoga stretches every day, the pre-work routine every work day, and this week I started the end of work ritual, which feels as awkward to do as the pre-work routine did when I started it. I’m hoping that by the time I’ve done it for a few weeks, it will start to feel less forced.

I don’t think I’m using this journal exactly as it was intended, which is to work through a chapter a week. I currently have two other chapters on the go: chapter 8 (Clarity) and chapter 9 (Pitch Yourself), which is about identifying your strengths and learning to talk about them naturally. Both of these chapters are feeding into updating my resume (thing 18), where I’m looking at finding ways to describe my skills and strengths in a way that will “sell” me through my resume, which is where “Pitch Yourself” comes in. So it’s all nicely connected. But they aren’t consistent daily habits or practices like most of the other things in the book are, as they ask you to write about different things every day. So I’m not being very consistent about doing them every day.

Whatever. It’s my book. I can use it however I want

Vegetable of the week

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

If you read last week’s post, you might remember how I had decided to make the Ultimate Cheesy Garlic Bread Bake (page 38) last Sunday night, without noticing that the recipe notes say “Begin this recipe one day ahead”. Rather than let this be a setback, I decided to prep the recipe on Sunday so Kramstable and I could have it with the dinner he cooked on Monday. It worked brilliantly and we had left over garlic bread for the rest of the week.

Cheesy garlic bread forever!

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that I have made a regular commitment to doing in the hope that this will be more likely to make me do them. I worked on these ones this week.

  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I spent about an hour and a half on this project on Sunday afternoon. I have almost two hours of footage in the project that I need to cut down to something more digestible!
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. My mum kindly got out her old photos for me this week and told me the stories of some of the people in them. There’s a bunch of old people in them she doesn’t know who they are, which is sad because it means their stories are lost, at least to us, but I’m trying to focus on the things Mum can remember and the people she does recognise. I also got some information about my grandfather’s time at school in Sydney from his old school, which was interesting.
  • Thing 10: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I completed lesson 4 and started work on lesson 5.
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. I did the second lesson of the third module and learned about the 5 Whys technique. The exercise in this lesson gave me a useful insight into a particular behaviour I’m seeking to change and what a possible cause of the behaviour is that I need to look at rather than trying to address the symptom.

21 for 2021 summary

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

What else did I do this week?

I ran the bridge. Well, I entered the Run the Bridge five km walk. There was no running involved, except from Kramstable, who ran a personal best in the five km run. Lil Sis and I took the more leisurely walking option.

Lovely morning for a Sunday walk across the bridge

Blast from the past

Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s one of my favourite posts from 2011: 11 April 2011: Books.    

It’s interesting to see how my go-to section in the bookshop has changed since 2011. I don’t go to the kids’ picture books, cooking, gardening or spirituality sections much these days, but I do spend a lot of time in the photography and architecture sections, as well as the Tasmanian section, especially the second hand area in the Tasmanian section.

What did I do for the Earth this week?

I didn’t do much other than feel helpless. A recent report is telling us that 19 ecosystems within Australia and Antarctica are on the verge of collapse and that without urgent action right now, we will lose them. It seems incomprehensible that this is happening across the world, yet our government continues to support coal mines and fossil fuels, and Queensland wants to host the 2032 Olympics as if the world is going to look like it does now in 2032. Why can they funnel money into sporting events and not into trying to save the planet we’ve living on? What’s more important? Sports, obviously.

I don’t know what to do.

What I’m reading this week

  • You Know it’s Love by Jen Morris
  • Personality Hacker by Joel Mark Witt & Antonia Dodge
  • Me by Elton John

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

21 for 2021: week 6

Week 06/2021: week of 8 February
21 for 2021 update

I did a thing!

I had my exercise physiologist appointment (thing 1) on Friday. I didn’t really know what to expect, walking into a gym to meet someone who I imagined would be super fit and super motivated and having to explain how I had got to be a middle aged sloth with back and neck issues from years of a sedentary lifestyle wedded to my computer. 
You might be able to understand my reluctance to do this and have put it off for 18 months.

However, there was no need for me to be worried or feel bad about my lack of fitness, which I am very grateful for! After me explaining my predicament, we ran through a few tests of my strength, because that’s a key area I said I wanted to focus on. Apparently, my grip is strong enough to gain me entry into the police force. I doubt any of my other results would satisfy the criteria, but at least I could hold on to . . . whatever it is cops have to be able to hold. It’s probably an easy test that they do first that most people can pass so you don’t feel too bad about your lack of fitness that’s revealed elsewhere as you go through the rest of the tests.

I say “tests” like it’s a formal assessment, but it really wasn’t like that. It was more like a session with my physio, where I had to twist and turn to see my mobility limitations, of which there are quite a lot, and some assessments of my core strength. That didn’t take long, primarily because my core strength doesn’t exist.

I came away with a very small exercise program that I have eight weeks to put in place before I have to go back. I think I can do this!

I’m still working on the pre-work routine (thing 20) through the Change Journal (thing 4) and I think it’s almost time to pick up a new habit. Maybe next week.

I also did some behind the scenes work for my website (thing 13).

Vegetable of the week

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

This week’s vegetable was zucchini and I made Alice’s Summer Slice, which is like a frittata that you’d make to use up a glut of zucchini. It was pretty easy to make and really nice with a side salad. 

Summer slice (you’ll have to trust me that there’s zucchini in it)

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that I’ve made a regular commitment to doing in the hope that this will be more likely to make me do them. I worked on these ones this week.

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. I offloaded a bunch of recyclable plastic that had been breeding in the kitchen for months, maybe years.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I did this for my allocated hour on Sunday afternoon. Who said I can’t stick to a schedule?
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I had my regular visit with my mum on Thursday for the next instalment, and I found out where my grandfather went to college. Then in a fabulous bit of research, after locating the uni that the college is now part of (University of Western Sydney), I found some of his records online, including photos of him in the college rugby team.

21 for 2021 Summary

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


Blast from the past
Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s one of my favourite posts from 7 March 2011 called Pushing papers. I’m not sure much has changed since then . . .

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

I learned that being irrationally irritated by the sound of someone’s tapping keyboard at work is actually normal for people who have a noise sensitivity like I do. I also learned (after a follow-up hearing test) that I’m not making this up and I’m not being a big sook when I say I can’t stand the noise. Having a low noise tolerance is a real condition, and the audiologist says that it really does affect people’s quality of life. So all this time when I thought I was being overly sensitive and needed to get over it, I’ve actually been blaming myself for something that does make my life miserable at times, and it’s something I can’t talk myself out of.

What was the best thing about this week?

I went to TMAG this week to see David Keeling’s exhibition, stranger, which was intriguing and thought-provoking, especially the gallery with the “Contested Sites” artworks, which show David’s impressions of the Midlands of Tasmania, “scarred by perennial battles over custodianship and management”.

David Keeling exhibition at TMAG

I also loved seeing David’s selection of sketchbooks.

A selection of David Keeling’s sketchbooks

I also visited the exhibition of the finalists in the Frank Hurley Photography Awards, which was an amazing collection of photographs that celebrate Frank Hurley’s legacy. Until recently I had only known him as the photographer who went to the Antarctic, but his work is much broader than that, and he has a fascinating story.

What I’m reading this week

  • The Tea Room on the Bay by Rachel Burton
  • The INTP Quest by A J Drenth
  • Personality Hacker by Joel Mark Witt & Antonia Dodge
  • Burning Out by Katherine May

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 4): 4
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

21 for 2021: week 5

Week 5/2021: Week of 1 February

21 for 2021 update

This week was a weird week. I had Monday and Tuesday off work before school went back on Wednesday, two days back in the office and then a day working at home. I’ve been doing some of my workmate’s job while she’s been on leave since before Christmas and I’m so glad she’ll be back next week and have her job back! There’s a whole bunch of reasons I’ve struggled with this and I’ve been doing some more reading and reflecting on myself that has made it quite clear to me why I’m not happy doing it. 

So, it’s been an interesting time of learning and thinking and seeking clarity.

I got straight back into the pre-work routine (thing 20) when I went back to work on Wednesday. It’s one of the habits I’m working on through the Change Journal (thing 4).

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 made Gajar Makhani – Indian Style Butter Carrot (page 140), which was pretty easy. It would have been better if I’d not burned it though. I think I’ll make that one again. 

Gajar Makhani ingredients
The finished dish

I also made one of the ginger recipes, Lau’s Vegetables wits with Fresh Ginger (page 104) but I didn’t do the “fizzy ginger” topping so I might try that one again too.

So many greens

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that I’ve made a regular commitment to doing in the hope that this will be more likely to make me do them. This is not necessarily so. I’m very good at making commitments to myself and then when the time comes, deciding I want to do something else. It’s something I want to work on.

I listened to a podcast from Personality Hacker on Monday that talked about exactly this subject and said that, despite the struggle, a schedule is the best way to get things done. It suggested creating “anchor events” that you absolutely have to get done and then working your other things around that. It also suggested that you have to find a rhythm and time for things that works for you – because just by putting things on a calendar doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily do them. So if something doesn’t work at one time, you keep trying it at different times until you find a time that does. It’s something I’m going to have a go at over the next few weeks.

Here are the regular projects I worked on this week.

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. I got the blood tests my doctor ordered back in November and sorted out one of the many piles of crap I need to get rid of.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I worked on one of the videos.  
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I visit my Mum every Thursday to chat to her about her life and add to what I know so I can write this story. This week I learned that my father used to drive a green Commodore. I wonder when he made the shift from Holden to Datsun. 
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. I did the third and fourth class of the second module this week to complete that module. One of the interesting things I learned relates back to some of the other stuff I’ve been doing else where about disrupting your thinking and getting exposed to new ideas and experiences. Without going into a bunch of stuff about personality theory, what I think I’ve discovered is the thing that’s actually keeping me stuck. I think I’ve figured out the element of my personality that wants stay in my comfort zone of the known and of routines, even though I feel like it is causing the slow, withering death of my soul to do that. It all stems from letting the 10-year-old into the front of the car instead of keeping it in the back where it belongs. At least it’s a possibility.

21 for 2021 summary

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

What I’m reading this week

  • Braving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Brene Brown
  • The Queen of My Self by Donna Henes
  • The INTP Quest by A J Drenth
  • A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future: David Attenborough
  • Love in the City by Jen Morris

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 3): 3
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 3 work days): 3
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

21 for 2021: Week 4 update

21 for 2021 update

I did a bit more work on my blog this week (thing 13) and posted the second part of my series reflecting on blogging for ten years. 

This includes re-posting a post from each month of my first year over the next few weeks as a trip down memory lane. So for this week, here’s a post from 3 February 2011, which is about why I put in an objection to the local council about plans for building a fast food “restaurant” in the town I used to live in. 

Something that continues to amuse me is that a post I wrote in 2014, originally for a blog (which no longer exists) of a writer who called herself Betty Herbert about kids TV shows, about the show Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, continues to be my top rating post. Just this week, I got a comment on the post from a reader who watches the show with his five-year-old, which is just brilliant. I blame the monkey kittens for this. 

I’m still working on the “habits” chapter of the Change Journal (thing 4), which has included my pre-work planing routine (thing 20) but as I’ve been off work this week, I haven’t been doing that. I think it’s time to start work on one of the chapters that I can actually complete in a week or I can see this dragging out over the whole year. 

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 wombok, Chinese cabbage, which I already have a couple of salad recipes for that I make occasionally. This recipe, Chang-Ed Wombok Slaw with Plum Sauce (page 94), was also a salad that included radishes, crispy noodles and those spring onions I used in Saturday’s eggplant dish. It was simple.

The biggest part was cutting up the veggies, which I never enjoy doing. The dressing was based on plum sauce, which I had left over from another recipe, and I served it with pork steaks. 

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. This is not necessarily so. I’m very good at making commitments to myself and then when the time comes, deciding I want to do something else. It’s something I want to work on.

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. This took more like two and a half hours, but I cleared out the bathroom cupboards and made more space for Kramstable’s stuff.
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. This week, I wrote up the notes from my first meeting with my mum and sent it to her to have a look at. 
  • Thing 11: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I finished the first lesson I’d been working on, completed the second lesson and started the third one.
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. I did the second lesson in module 2 this week. I found this really interesting as it was all about broadening your knowledge of the field that you work in to tap into emerging trends and ideas from “thought leaders” in the field. It is very similar to an exercise from my career review that I struggled with doing a couple of weeks ago, so I’m thinking getting the same message again so close to the first one is a sign I need to pay more attention to this.

21 for 2021 summary

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

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

I went to the rally on 26 January organised by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and listened to some very passionate people argue why this is not a day to celebrate. The words of a young Syrian man summed up my reason for being there best: “I will never understand your anguish but I see it and I stand with you”. 

26 January Rally, nipaluna/Hobart

A key message from the day was that we need to learn the history of this place we live on, we need to honour it and protect it. We need to tell the truth about what happened here. There is a lot to learn, a lot to take in, but it is important that we do this. I found myself agreeing with the Anglican Archbishop, who observed that “mature nations tell the truth about their past”. We cannot become a mature nation while we act like a sulky child and our leaders continue to spout the “not gonna, you can’t make me” line. We can’t wait for them to take any action on this. They won’t. They’ll just talk and talk, or else they’ll try to tell us how hard it was for the white people who colonised this land. Here is a post that is worth reading about that particular comment

It feels like the climate issue. Our leaders are not going to do anything because it doesn’t serve them to do so. It is up to us to take the lead. 

I felt drawn to these two quote, both similar but from very different sources. This from Brené Brown in here book Braving The Wilderness (which is a great book and anyone who has ever felt along the lines of “if you are not with us, you must be against us” might benefit from reading it. In fact, anyone who despairs at the shouty, fearful, disconnected world we live in would, I suspect, relate to what Brené says in the book on page 40).

Braving the Wilderness.

The quote is actually from the author Joseph Campbell, and in relation to it, Brene says that while we may be all sharing the same map, our paths will be different, and we must all find our own way.

If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.

And photographer David DuChemin says

As you head into 2021, remember that your journey can’t be measured by the metrics created by other people. Learn everything you can from every source you can, but remember your journey can’t be measured by the footprints of others and you can’t borrow their map. It doesn’t matter where you are relative to others, but that you’re taking the next steps that get you closer to a destination only you will recognize.

What was the best thing about this week?

Having the week off with Kramstable.

What I’m reading

  • Braving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Brené Brown
  • The Queen of My Self by Donna Henes

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): I didn’t go to work this week, so none
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 4
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 5
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

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

21 for 2021: week 2

Week 2/2021: week of 11 January


I’m currently working through chapters 7 and 8 of the Change Journal (thing 4). Chapter 7 is about trying to do things that you want to become new habits for 66 days. I’m working on two at the moment: the morning pre-work routine at work (thing 20) and getting back into the habit of doing five minutes of yoga stretches every day. My wonderful yoga teacher, Lynn, made the instructions for these stretches as part of an audio program she created last year during the Covid lockdown when we couldn’t go to class. Part of the deal was she would be a text buddy for anyone who wanted some accountability for following the program and I had an agreement with her to text her every day once I’d done the stretches. It worked really well when I was working at home full-time but it got more difficult to do in the office when I couldn’t find a quiet space. As a result, I fell out of the habit and I want to get back into it so I’m using the Change Journal to track it.

I did some work on my resume (thing 18) during the week. I’ve been doing a bit of work on reflecting about my career, where I am and where I want to go over the last couple of weeks, and I want my resume to have a statement that reflects some of that. In some ways, it’s an ongoing process, but I know there’s a job that I want to do coming up soon so I need a current resume to be able to apply for that.

I didn’t have to cook dinner on Saturday and my most excellent meal planning system didn’t take that into account last week so I’m left without a vegetable of the week (thing 2). I’ll make up for it next week with two new recipes.

Shades of green

Regular projects
There are several things on my 21 for 2021 list that I’ve made a regular commitment to do.

Here are the ones I worked on this week

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. I set aside an hour on Saturday morning, which I didn’t end up doing this week. One of the things was to sort out Kramstable’s bank accounts, and we made some progress on that one this week by closing down two accounts and moving them to another bank. It almost took an hour and I could write an entire post about that experience but I won’t subject you to what we had to endure. I also stuck some more photocollages in my 2020 journal.
  • 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. This week, I visited my mum for our first storytelling session. I was a little nervous about how she might react to me dredging back over her life but she seemed really happy to talk to me and I’ve found out a few things I didn’t already know.
  • Thing 10: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I haven’t allocated time for this yet but I started working through the course material on Saturday.

I didn’t do these ones

  • Thing 6: Grow some vegetables in the garden bed. (One hour on Sunday afternoon for garden projects.)
  • 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.)
  • Thing 11: Complete the Photoshop Classroom in a Book activities. I haven’t allocated time for this yet.
  • Thing 17: Module 2 of the Brainsparker gym* was released late this week and I haven’t looked at it yet. It’s on the list for next week.

21 for 2021 summary: week 2

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

What else did I achieve this week?
I worked on the Hobart Street Corners project and have a nice backlog of photos ready to post now.

When did I listen and what did I learn this week?
This week I did some reading about 26 January and the different views around whether the date should be changed or whether the holiday should be abolished altogether. I found a good summary from @blakbusiness on Instagram, which they have allowed people to share.

Change the Date advocates for a new national holiday that is inclusive for all people of Australia. This perspective recognises that other people have some here – such as refugees – and want to celebrate this country. However, this perspective also recognises that the history of January 26 makes it insensitive for a national celebration and that a different date should be chosen. Many people highlight that changing the date also requires a redefining of what is being celebrated.

Abolish the Date advocates for no national holiday as there is greater change that needs to happen before the nation should celebrate. These changes include truth-telling about history, treaty, provision of health services, access to affordable food, decreased prison, suicide and child removal rates and so on. This perspective questions what is it that is being celebrated on January 26 and should this be celebrated?

@blackbusiness om Instagram

I don’t feel qualified to have a view on this, other than to think that celebrating “Australia Day” on 26 January is not okay. I am continuing to read and to learn more about these issues. The post links to some other resources including

What did I do for the Earth this week?
I still feel way overwhelmed about the extent of work that has to be done if the world is going to survive the climate crisis and am trying to strike a balance between staying reasonably informed and hitting the panic button. At the same time I’m trying to find things in my own life I can change right away. One of those is the amount of washing I do.

When I had a good look at my household habits, I realised that for the amount of clothes I have, washing every week is completely unnecessary. I have more than enough clothes to last me two weeks and fill the washing machine instead of doing a half-load every week.

I am also guilty of using the clothes dryer for my towels because I hate the feel of line-dried towels, and they don’t seem to work as well if they’re line-dried. Clothes dryer = huge energy waster. So I invested in some Turkish towels, which don’t need to be washed every week and definitely do not need to be tumble dried. I’ll use the old towels for cleaning rags. And that has cut my washing in half and eliminated my use of the clothes dryer.

Storm clouds

What was the best thing about this week?
Talking to my mum and closing the bank accounts.

What I’m reading this week

  • A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough
  • In The Winter Dark by Tim Winton
  • The Climate Cure: Solving the Climate Emergency in the Era of COVID-19 by Tim Flannery

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • 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): 7
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 6

21 for 2021: week 1

Week 1/2021: week of 4 January 2021
My 21 for 2021 list

This was my first week back at work so I decided it was as good a time as any to get back into the pre-work planning routine from the LifeHack program (thing 20). The video suggests following the exact routine for 66 days to cement it as a habit loop in your brain. I am struggling with that, not least because I’m not in the same place every day. It also feels very weird to try and work through a structured checklist like this. However, I will persist. 

Coincidentally, there is a chapter in the Change Journal (thing 4) about forming new habits, which also suggests trying new habits for 66 days. It gives you space to track seven new habits, presumably staring a new one every day for a week consistent with the way the rest of the book is structured to allow you to follow a new idea each week. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to try and introduce a new habit every day for a week, so I’m going to use this section of the book to track seven new habits over the course of the year. Unsurprisingly, the first one I’m going to try and follow for 66 (work) days is the pre-work planning routine.

I worked through the first module of the Brainsparker gym* (thing 17) and learned something really interesting. Well, as a contact lens wearer, I found it interesting. I learned that the modern contact lens was invented by a Czech chemist called Dr Otto Wichterle and his colleague Drahoslav Lím. Dr Wichterle had to leave the Institute of Chemical Technology after a political purge by the institute’s Communist leadership in 1958. He was appointed as leader of a new institute but, as it didn’t have a building at the time, he continued his research at his house. In 1961, he succeeded in producing the first four hydrogel contact lenses on his kitchen table with a machine he had made himself from a children’s building set, a dynamo from his son’s bike and a bell transformer.

The lesson from this: Keep going, even if the circumstances aren’t perfect. Use what you have and keep going.

Vegetable of the week

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from Alice Zaslavky’s book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable. This week I chose radicchio, which is another vegetable I’ve never cooked with (and, like okra, wasn’t exactly sure what to do with). I picked the radicchio and sausage pasta recipe.

Radicchio & sausage pasta ingredients

It uses pork and fennel sausages that you take out of the casing and smash up. Alice says to use the “fancy” ones, not ones that are packed full of fillers. It seemed a little sacrilegious to me to destroy the butcher’s work in putting these things together, and I wondered if using pork mince and fennel seeds might work as well. Perhaps I’ll try it one day. The recipe includes fennel, which is another vegetable I’d also never cooked, so I got two for the price of one with this dish!

Smashed sausages. Sorry, Meatgrrl.
Radicchio. Right.
Raddichio chopped.

It worked out well and everyone had seconds. So maybe it was worth destroying the sausages for. And I learned a very cool tip for adding zucchini to pasta rather than cutting it up and adding it to the sauce: use a spiraliser (I have one of those. I think I’ve used it once. I never forgave it after I cut myself on it). You put the spiralised zucchini in the colander before you drain the pasta and then let the pasta water soften it a bit.

Spiralised zucchini, yeah!
The finished product.,

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that are going to work best if I make a regular commitment to doing them. Consistency is the key. Brainsparker gym* is one (an hour a week) and the pre-work routine is obviously another one. So are these ones.

  • Thing 3: Complete the 30-day voice training course. I haven’t allocated time for this yet.
  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. One hour on Saturday morning. I didn’t do it this week because we went out most of the day, but I did work on a couple of the things on the list another time.
  • Thing 6: Grow some vegetables in the garden bed. One hour on Sunday afternoon for garden projects. I pulled out all the weeds and cleared space around it. I’m a little concerned that the cover for this garden bed is plastic that is rapidly deteriorating and I’m not sure what to do about that. No matter what I do, the plastic is still going to be somewhere, whether I throw it out or leave 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.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. One hour on Sunday afternoon. I started the next video on my list. 
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. This week, I arranged with my mother to visit once a week to talk through this project and capture her memories.
  • Thing 10: Complete the ImageWork course. I haven’t allocated time for this yet.
  • Thing 11: Complete the Photoshop Classroom in a Book activities. I haven’t allocated time for this yet.

Yeah, I know I don‘t do well in sticking to a plan, but I have had some success in fixing regular times to do things in my week and making them habits so I’m hoping this will work for these things too.

Nice afternoon for a walk

What else did I achieve this week?

My regular check in: I finished the final collage for my 2020 photojournal and I now have all of them printed so I just need to stick them into the book to finish that off. It’s one of my annoying undone things.

I didn’t work on my Hobart Street Corners project on Thursday, which is the night I usually work on those photos, because my computer was playing up and it took two hours to even get any photos off my phone, much less edit anything. I finished off my backlog of 2020 photos on Sunday morning instead.

Last year I had some questions that I asked myself every week that would set me up for the new week, about what didn’t got so well that week and what I might do better next week. Most of the time my answer was that I was scrolling through my phone too much, and I never really kicked that habit, which I’m sure made for boring reading. It also made me realise that this approach wasn’t working so it was time to try something different. I have a bunch of questions for myself related to areas where I want to do better, not all of which I might be able to answer every week, so I thought I would answer just one or two of them on the blog each week rather than run through the entire list every week.

What did I do for the Earth this week?

There is so much going through my head. So many things I could do and so many things I should have been doing for years. Part of me wonders why bother? I can take all the small steps in the world to reduce my footprint but it won’t make a lick of difference if world leaders don’t make some hard decisions. We have to stop using fossil fuels and overfishing the seas and destroying rainforests and all the things we do that make our lives easier. We can’t sustain what we’re doing, we just can’t.

It all seems too overwhelming so, rather than give up because I don’t know what to do, I need to start somewhere and keep learning and making changes.

There are a couple of things that are extremely low-hanging fruit and I have no excuses not to do them.

The first one is the kettle. I had a habit of filling it up every time I use it, which is, I learned (and if I think about it, actually knew) a massive waste of energy I couldn’t find any exact numbers for Australia, but suffice to say boiling a kettle with 1.7 litres of water when I only need 500 ml is very inefficient and I don’t do it any more.

What was the best thing about this week?

Getting my new glasses so I can see again!

My blog also celebrated its tenth birthday, so I will be posting some more on that in the coming weeks.

Getting out for a lunchtime walk

Summary for the week

What I’m reading this week: A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough.

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

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 3
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 2
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

The Change Journal

I’m not sure where I first heard about the Change Journal. Probably on one of the many stationery store social media feeds that I follow. 

It’s a journal by LEUCHTTURM1917 that was originally produced in German, with an English edition being released in 2019. 

Designed by Tim Jaudszims, it’s a guided journal that gives you 24 ideas to try out to see if they help you improve your productivity and organisation. Some of the ideas include gratitude, digital detox, single-tasking, reading, and decluttering.

Testing out ideas is one of my favourite things, as you’ll know if you’ve been following my blog for a while, and I’m a sucker for gorgeous stationery, so finding a beautiful notebook whose sole purpose is to let you experiment with new things is my idea of heaven! I was never not going to get a copy. 

Change Journal, Berry edition

In the introduction, Tim says:

“When you’re incredibly lazy and yet as full of ideas as I am, at some point you start searching for tricks to make your life a little easier. Like how to get more done in the same amount of time. No, hold on! How to get even more things done in less time! A fine idea but no matter how hard I tried I failed at it.”

Tim Jaudszims, Change Journal Founder

Hmmm, sound familiar? 

Tim observes that he used to try and keep journals in beautiful notebooks, like the LEUCHTTURM1917 journals, but he always lost the motivation after the first few pages. And his handwriting kind of wrecked the beauty of these fine books. I can totally relate. He decided to design his own journal that allows you to try out 24 different ideas for a week at a time (I refuse to call them “hacks”), with a brief explanation of the technique and then a week’s worth of daily templates to record your experiences.

Each chapter has a short introduction to the idea

Each chapter also has a review page where you can go over what you learned during the week and decide if you want to continue using the idea or if it didn’t work for you. The website has downloadable templates you can print if you want to keep doing it. 

A daily tracking spread, which includes tracking your water intake

This page gives you an idea of how it works. 

The weekly review page

You can work through the chapters in any order you want. The instructions say to flick through the journal and start with the chapter that looks the most interesting or that appears easiest to you. The only rule that Tim wants you to follow is that once you start a chapter, you need to stick with it for the whole week. He says using the journal should only take a few minutes a day so even if you hate the idea, it shouldn’t be too much of a chore to do the work each day and then, after the week, you never have to do it again. 
Basically, you just have to start. 

So after buying the book about six months ago and sitting it on the shelf, occasionally getting it out to flick through it and thinking how beautiful it was, I think that if ever there was a good time, it’s now. A new year, a new list of 21 things to do this year and an empty book, with 24 weeks worth of mini-challenges to do. If I start now, I’ll be finished by the end of June. Actually, there’s really only 23 challenges I need to do, as the first one is to drink more water. This is something I have already made a priority, and it doesn’t actually have its own template in the journal. Rather, each of the other 23 challenges has space to record your daily water intake, so I’m going to continue to aim for around 2.5 litres a day of actual water and record that in this book.

There’s a couple of others that I don’t think are going to work for me as weekly challenges, so I’m going to find different ways to do them as I get to them. The first one is the chapter called “clarity”, which sort of relates to the work I’ve been doing with the Unravel Your Year workbook and includes stuff that I might do over the course of a week, a month or even a year . . . or perhaps just one day. I started filling out this chapter as I was working on Unravel Your Year 2021, so this one is a work in progress rather than a weekly challenge. 

I’ve set up a page to track my progress with this journal. I think I need to pick up my German language studies again now so I can read the Change Journal’s Instagram posts! 

21 for 2021: a new list and an update

Week 53: week of 28 December 2020
I’m not sure if the last week of the year was week 53 of 2020 or week 1 of 2021. Or if was both. Or if it really matters. (My Travelers Notebook 2021 diary tells me it was week 53 of 2020 and that the next week was week 1 of 2021, so in the interests of keeping things consistent for my weekly photojournal, I’m going to stick with that. But it doesn’t matter. A week is a week. Or it isn’t.)

I spent the week trying to find my Word for 2021 and writing about that journey, which you can read about here (it’s long, so get yourself a cuppa). I was thinking about my 21 for 2021 list as well and working through my 2021 Unravel Your Year workbook so I could make sure the activities and projects I put on my list relate to the intentions I wrote in there.

Coffee shop planning

If you’re new to this (hi there!) here’s a reminder of what a 21 for 2021 list is, and why you might want to do one, from Gretchen Rubin. To my mind, the key to making it work is for the list to include concrete activities, rather than vague things that don’t have end points. “Learn to use Photoshop”, for example, is vague and there’s no defined end point you might reach and say you’ve done it. “Complete xyz Photoshop course” is specific and you will know for sure that you’ve done it and can cross it off the list.

Of course, that’s just my take on it and you (if you were to make such list for yourself) might have a completely different approach. There are no rules, except for the ones you set yourself, which you can break whenever you want because they’re your rules, and there’s no right and wrong way to go about it. Hell, you don’t even have to have 21 items on your list. I had 22 things on my 20 for 2020 list.

By Wednesday, I had 44 things (some of which were pretty vague so they weren’t going on the list), a bunch of sub-things falling off some of them (the vague ones, mainly, to make them more concrete), along with 33 nagging annoying jobs that I want to get to in 2021, for a grand total of 100 things. At least if I made that my list, I wouldn’t run out of things to write about. It has shades of the “100 things to do in 2013” list I made in, well, 2013.

There’s also my habits that I want to keep up from last year, which are:

  • Do the morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5 days)
  • Work on my art (Goal = 2 days)
  • Read a book (Goal = 7 days)
  • Do yoga stretches (Goal = 7 days)
  • Have a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days)
  • Go for a walk or do some form of physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7 days)
  • Shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7 days, with the aim to move this to 10.00 as the year progresses, and maybe even 9.45)

And any new habits I decide to pick up in 2021. The focus of these will, as you might imagine if you read my last post, be on lifestyle changes that I can make to reduce the impact I have on the Earth.

I decided to pick out the 21 most concrete things and/or the things that were most important to me for the list, knowing that I’ll still be working on most of the other ones along the way. And it goes without saying that educating myself about issues like the climate emergency and social justice and making changes to my lifestyle and my mindset is something I also have to do. But as I said in the post, these aren’t things I can check off a list, so they don’t appear on it. I have a lot of work to do in that space though.

I’m not sure if thing 5 “Spend an hour a week working through my annoying mundane things list” is a sneaky way for me to get 33 more things on the list but I’m hoping that making a commitment to spend an (yet to be determined) hour will help me to get through that list really quickly.

The final list is here and I’ll keep it updated more or less weekly. 

  1. Go to the exercise physiologist and get an exercise program
  2. Choose a different vegetable every week from In Praise of Veg and make one of the recipes from the book
  3. Complete the 30-day voice training course
  4. Work through the ideas in The Change Journal, one idea per week for 24 weeks
  5. Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list
  6. Grow some vegetables in the garden bed
  7. Clear out the area at the side of the house and make a space to sit
  8. Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos (with the aim of completing two of them)
  9. Write my mother’s life story
  10. Make a book of my 2014 UK trip photos
  11. Complete the ImageWork course
  12. Complete the Photoshop Classroom in a Book activities
  13. Create a consistent web presence for my work
  14. Photograph some unexplored areas
  15. Use my tripod in public 
  16. Go out and shoot with film
  17. Complete the Brainsparker gym* program
  18. Update my resume and apply for at least one new job
  19. Get a Strengthsfinder assessment
  20. Implement my pre-work workday routine
  21. Read at least three books about Tasmanian history

So after all that, here’s my first update for 2021.

As I thought at the end of last year, I didn’t do any more work on any of my 20 for 2020 things, so that chapter is now closed.

As 2021 started on Friday, it was time to start thinking about 21 for 2021. While I didn’t have the list finalised by then, there were a couple of things I knew were going to be on it. First was the 50 vegetables challenge (thing 2), which you can read more about here.

On Saturday, I made my first recipe from In Praise of Veg, which was the okra peanut stew.

Okra peanut stew ingredients. Just pretend there’s a jar of tomato paste in the photo.

I didn’t even know what okra was before Saturday, much less how to cook it, so it made for an interesting evening and a very tasty dish. I love peanuts and this recipe seemed a lot easier than the southern fried okra, which had me worried I’d burn the house down. I’m not much of a fryer.

Okra. Right?

One vegetable down, 49 to go.

The end result

I also did some of the work in the “Clarity” chapter of the Change Journal (thing 4). I’ll have a post that explains what that journal is very soon.

I pulled out some of the weeds in the garden bed (thing 6) and I added things to the undone things list instead of doing any of them (thing 5).

Untrue. I did one of them. I reorganised my bookshelves on new year’s eve while everyone else was out partying, and I made the window seat/bookshelf in my room into a resource section for the work I’ll be doing this year. I hope the party people who kept me awake half the night had shocking hangovers the next day. #oldpersonrant

The tidy space. Not the shelf on the right. I didn’t tidy that one.

Summary for the week

  • What I was reading this week: This One Wild and Precious Life by Sarah Wilson
  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 0
  • Things I progressed: 4 (2, 4, 5, 6)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 0
  • Things not started: 17 (1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21)
  • Habit tracker:
    • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): I wasn’t at work
    • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
    • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
    • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
    • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): I wasn’t at work
    • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 5
    • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): I’m not sure. I didn’t keep a very good record of this. Hey, I was on holidays!