May 31, 2020

A Sentence (Or Two) A Day: May 2020.

May has been a month of little things.  Sydney is making those first tentative steps towards reclaiming our pre-Covid19 lives back.  On the one hand, it's been an amazing achievement by both the government and the public in getting us so quickly to this point on the curve but there have some elements of isolation life that I've really taken to.  I might take one or two aspects of this current way of life into my 'old new' life when I get it all back again.  Like the track pants.

I will look back on this time with mixed feelings.  I'm also pleasantly surprised just how much fun was had through all the restrictions and uncertainty.  Perhaps it's how you chose to frame the situation that makes it seem so.  Finding something, anything to define each of these days that seem to blur into one.  Even if it is something like enjoying track pants....  

  1. A day for roll necked sweaters and sweeping, long Chester coats. Brrr…
  2. A day for track pants as workwear. I’m just a bit late to this trend. 
  3. A day for spendy fruit for lunch at work because I’d forgotten to bring my apple from home.  The blackberrries were sourced from the fancy grocer down the road from work.
  4. A day for home learning.  It was the first day I’ve supervised and the novelty hasn’t worn off.  Yet.
  5. A day for gumboots and puddles.  Bliss.
  6. A day for sunshine and fairy wands.

  7. A day for ... things going wrong. Lots. Of. Things.  But tomorrow is another day, a Friday no less.
  8. A day for exploring and supporting local businesses.
  9. A day for staying in with board games, knitting and hot soup for lunch. 
  10. A day for mothers. 
  11. A day for attacking my pile of mail at work. It’s all shredded or recycled now. Can I get a round of applause?
  12. A day for nurses. Thank you. 
  13. A day for finding lost things - jar lids, household supplies I knew I’d bought after all. 
  14. A day for making decisions. 
  15. A day for negotiating. Firmly but politely. 
  16. A day for working.
  17. A day for working and then driving off into the sunset…..  days off here I come!!!!!!
  18. A day for discovering that the lyrics of songs now appear on your iPhone when you play them on iTunes. 
    So many word 
    mysteries solved….
  19. A day for sunshine and new hair. 
  20. A day for finding my favourite green tea at the supermarket, saving myself a trek to Costco.

  21. A day for making the most of that break in the weather.
  22. A day for the dryer. 
    And the ironing board.
  23. A day for meal prep.  Who knew roasted pumpkin puree could make such a delicious sauce for pasta. 
    Add walnuts?  Mind and tastebuds blown.
  24. A day for reinventing beef mince. 
    Here it is reimagined as Salisbury Steak in a mushroom sauce.
  25. A day for work.  No surprises there, it's Monday, after all.
  26. A day for treasuring the strength of true friendships.
  27. A day for effective time management. 
    And chocolate freckles.
  28. A day for stopping to enjoy the sunshine and to feel it on my face and hands.
  29. A day for my trusty Bunnings golf umbrella.
  30. A day for getting back into it after a couple days off sick with a family cold.  Grateful, as always, for the wonderful team I work with and how everyone steps in gladly to help out in times like these.
  31. A day for looking forward.  Another month down living with The Rona but it's also a month that's seen hints of 'normal' return to our lives.  I wonder what freedom June will bring.

May 25, 2020

Life This Week 25/5/2020: Self Care.

It's blowing a gale in Sydney today.

These cockatoos have the right idea - taking in the might of the wind over the water at Rose Bay from the safety of these apartments.  They are pretty much perfectly socially distanced, aren't they?

When the weather's like this, self care is a fine balance between taking advantage of any breaks in the weather and getting some fresh air on a run and pottering about in and around the house getting things done.

I'm loving the relaxed dress standards at work and the world in general that the isolation life has brought about.  I'm shamelessly wearing leggings as pants and jumpers as tunics over them.

I've been taking myself doing the grocery shopping at the moment.  It's one of those little things but how nice is it that it's starting to feel 'normal' again at the shops?  Being able to chat to a stranger in the line for coffee, people actually sitting down for their coffee and a little something something at said cafe, finding most shelves at the supermarket fully stocked...  

This matcha green tea is one of my favourites and I was over the moon to have found it at Woolies.  I usually have to buy it at Costco

The indoor time that the weather has forced me into has taken my self-care routine into interesting territory.  I'm up to date with my personal admin for a change.  Plus I'm up to speed on my super balance and how things are tracking for the distant day when I get to stop working and have to figure out what to do with myself all day.  I'd like to think that a good part of that free time will be spent travelling....

It's a rather long bow to draw but self-care to me also means getting on top of the laundry.

Bonus self-care points if your latest load sees you reunite half pairs of socks from your previous load(s).

And finally, the garden.  There's only so much I can say about sweeping up the autumn leaves each week.  And I've already said it all.

The exciting development this week is adding a few spring onions to my herb garden.  Discarded roots I've planted from previous bunches of spring onions from the shops have rooted successfully and I'm hoping to build on my success with these new off cuts.  Herbs are the only thing I can grow, you see.

Do your self-care goals change with the weather?

What's giving you joy at the moment?  Is it something mundane that pertains to where you're at with the laundry or your garden?  You're not alone.

May 24, 2020

Sunday. As Isolation and Social Distancing Restrictions Are Lifting.

And I've gone and done it again.

Painting in the Shadows - Katherine Kovacic - 9781760685775 ...

Found myself a new crime series peopled with characters whose chemistry I will not be able to put from my mind until I've read every one of their shared adventures.

'Painting in the Shadows' is the second instalment of the Alex Clayton art mystery series by Katherine Kovacic, a Melbourne based art historian who was previously a veterinarian.  I was put onto the series by @mrsb_book_reviews a book-centric account I follow on Instagram.  Mrs B never gets it wrong with her book reviews and recommendations.  I've discovered many new to me authors via her account, many of whom are Australian.  

Alex Clayton is my kind of heroine sleuth.  She's an independent woman living life on her terms with a fascinating career who has a knack for stumbling upon suspicious deaths.  She also has some unresolved tension / chemistry with her partner in crime-solving.  His name is John Porter, a talented artist who is unhappily married to the emotionally manipulative, gaslighting lawyer Sue.

'Painting in the Shadows' begins with Alex experiencing some anxiety about her financial future as the art dealing market in Melbourne softens.  Pondering her next career move and her bank balance, Alex finds herself being John's plus one at a behind the scenes preview of a major exhibition at MIMA.  

The opportunity to be sharing the same air as some of the world's most critically acclaimed artworks is not all that Alex comes away with.  A packer assisting in preparing the exhibition arrests over a painting.  Fortunately, he survives but the painting is damaged leading MIMA to employ John (and by extension Alex) to assist in restoring it.  Alex and John begin their work only to show up for duty hours after Meredith, a respected member of staff at MIMA is found dead at the gallery.  Was it suicide?  Or was it murder?

There's so much for me to love about Alex and John's approach to solving this mystery.  They take frequent breaks in their sleuthing to source 'proper' coffee.  Hogarth, Alex's dog is a third main character in his own right.  Will John read the tea leaves, see through Sue's manipulation and leave her?  In the longer term, will Alex and John be a thing together?  Set in Melbourne, 'Painting in the Shadows' also offers me a little armchair traveller trip to a city I'm long overdue to return to.

From good reads to good food.  I've been meal prepping in earnest this weekend.  

Assuming a starring role in this week's work lunches is this walnut, spinach and pumpkin pasta.  I'm still marvelling at the ease as which garlic roasted in the over parts company with its bits that usually need to be peeled off painstakingly with a small knife.  Also, how refreshing is it not serve pasta with a tomato or cream-based source?  Directional, some might say...

Dinners this week will feature mince. Not a new initiative, I know, but have you seen the price of mince these days?!?!?  It's practically a grocery item slash former reality TV star hustling fancy eateries on Instagram for complimentary meals in return for exposure.  Which is another way of saying I used my mince to make a batch of Recipe Tin Eats Salisbury Steak.   

From the department of hair, I bring you the genius of scrunchies made with hair coils as opposed to elastic.  I picked these up at Woolworths.  I can't explain the science but coil hair ties really do hold my hair in a pony more effectively than standard elastics.  I'm sure there's a PhD in there somewhere.

My other Covid fashion find of the week is Uniqlo's Ultra Warm Heattech crew-necked Ts.

WOMEN HEATTECH Ultra Warm Crew Neck T-Shirt

They're thick enough and warm enough to be worn as a top in their own right.  I see a key role for them all through this coming winter.  Glad I managed to get my size ahead of the annual 'Sydney acknowledges winter as if it doesn't happen on an annual basis by hitting up Uniqlo' stampede.

It's been a far-reaching post.  Thank you for coming along for the ride.

Be well.

May 21, 2020

Lovin' Life 21/5/2020: Sunny Days.

This week's love is a simple one.

Sunny days.  They make everything look better, they make you feel better, they're just better.

They feel like such a gift in the midst of autumn with its rain, transition to colder weather and those leaves that need to be dealt with each weekend.

Covid restrictions are lifting in Sydney and so far, most of us seem to be taking responsibility for ourselves as a sense of freedom begins to permeate the air.

Life is somewhat normal again.  There's traffic (I don't think I'll complain about it quite so bitterly for at least the rest of the year), cafes are both open and able to set a few patrons, I got my hair done, going to the supermarket isn't the tense chore it became over the last couple of months.

It's been a bit of an ordeal, these last few months and while we're not totally in the clear yet - we have the sun, we have blue skies, we have a bit of our freedom and our old lives back.

It's a solid start.

May 20, 2020

Peace of Mind.

Say what you will about Covid living but for me, it's been a time of confronting some of my fears and just getting things done.

This week, I've come to terms with the rodent problem that is endemic to the part of Sydney where I live.  The houses are old, we are streets away from eateries and it's nearly winter.  It's the perfect storm, really.  Apparently, an additional trigger for the problem locally is that once restaurants and cafes shut down for prolonged periods like they have done with the virus lockdown, rats look for alternate food sources in places like nearby houses.

I'm feeling a bit clammy just typing.

Anyway.  The pest control people came by this week and confirmed my suspicions.  The local cats weren't just bringing their victims from someone else's house to my front courtyard.  Rodents are in the house.

It was actually a pretty painless experience.  My kitchen, laundry and roof space were checked and baits were placed.  I now also have bait boxes along the perimeter of my property.  The theory is that the bait inside will control the current situation while those on the perimeter will prevent a new wave of visitors from staking their ground.  

As for the baits themselves, they're meant to encourage rats to seek a water source because the bait makes them thirsty.  Theoretically, this will be water from a drain or sewer.  As a numbers person, there is a 1 in 500 chance of a deceased rat being found on your property.  There are better odds, apparently, than with supermarket baits.  Rodents who eat these are more likely to succumb on site.....

There will be a follow-up visit from the pest control people in about a month to see what's been eaten bait wise and to replace them.

In a strange kind of way, I'm feeling less scared about the rats and mice now.  Just knowing how they behave and what can be done to manage them has been empowering.  Should I hear any more scampering in the roof, I'm pretty sure my mind won't go into overdrive about rats nests and the roof caving in under the weight of rodents.....  There's a lot to be said for having peace of mind.

As fascinating as this all is, I can't end on that note.

How pretty are these bougainvillaea?  They were a sight for sore eyes this morning as I walked back up that hill after running down it earlier in the morning.

Be well.  And rodent-free this winter.


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