Wednesday, January 3, 2018

It's 2018

In the grand tradition of this blog, I am doing my annual #goals, new year, procrastination from new year work life post. This year is an extra special level of avoidance because I am kinda working, kinda not. We are at the tail end of a gigantic restructure, where I was directly appointed to my existing role and therefore hated by mostly everyone else. I took the opportunity to do a switcharoo and move into a completely new role and area, where I am completely, 100% out of my depth. This role hasn't started yet, and both existing and new bosses are still on leave. Sure, there is plenty of work-related stuff I could be doing. But my count-them-on-one-hand-each year blog posts are important, no?Politics aside, 2017 was a cracker of a year for me. I hit my stride. I got so much more comfortable in doing me. We properly started a business for Mr C. We kept at the slowest house renovation of all time. I went deep into MBA land. Work was rough but I somehow kept enjoying it. Gross to type, but true. A lot of people around me didn't have such great years though, and I while am mindful of that I need to take a minute to appreciate the good. Let us recap what I wanted to get done in 2017. I'm scared too. Stop multitasking. Absolutely, 100% a failure. I had glimmers of hope, but all in all, this was worse than ever. With 65,000 things on my mind at any one time, I fell further into the multitasking rabbit hole in 2017. Funny thing was I read HEAPS of articles about why multitasking is such rubbish, I even attended some forums about how being 'busy' is a load of shite. Yet I couldn't, and didn't, break the habit. Seriously think about further study. Did I think about it? YES! I even bloody did it. Year one of an MBA down.  I am so glad I went down the 'proper' route of a quality (ahem, expensive) school with lots of face to face and participation. I have gained way more from the connections I have made than I have from the formal learning that I am actually paying for. There was a time in July where I was *this close* to a nervous breakdown I am sure. Doing two subjects at end of the financial year was probably the dumbest thing I could have done.But I got through it. With pretty bloody great marks, some great mates I bonded with straight away, and a few more grey hairs. I am super grateful to my old boss who gave me the kick up the backside I so needed. Keep up at least 5 gym classes a week. Smashed it, and sometimes more. I am still loving the gym. I look forward to it and my attitude towards exercise has completely changed. If I don't go I don't feel like myself. The only weeks I didn't get to 5 sessions was when I was travelling or very rarely genuinely sick. Other stuff I want to tick off in 2017, in no particular order:Yoga headstand. Pfft.... Yoga bird of paradise- properly, no wobbles. Double pfffttttt..... yoga wasn't really my jam this year
Use good things, stop 'saving' stuff for special occasions. Hard to measure but I would say done.Stretch every day. Most days. Definitely could improve. Vitamins every day. Yep. Helps when you stock up on excellent US gummie vitamins, as though you are a 7 year oldEat meat no more than once a week. I would say most weeks, easily. Eat less chicken. Also yes. And feeling all the better for both of the aboveNo engaging in online arguments, less time online in general. Arguments success, less time online definitely not. Between uni and vegetating in front of Facebook at night, a massive no. Takeaway once a week only, cook more at home. Again a fail. I went weeks without cooking. Thank our saviour Pete Evans for Mr C, who kept the household not only fed but afloat in these dark uni times. Don't buy anything made in China, Taiwan etc. A win by default, since I barely had time to shop this year. Apart from gym clothes, which I may have managed to regularly stock up on.Go overseas at least once. Twice! Like the greedy guts I am, I took two very lovely overseas holidays. Mr C and I spent a few weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia, and ate ourselves silly(er) for a few luxurious nights in Singapore on the way home. As a massive carrot for me to get through my two-subject semester, I booked a trip to New York to visit Magda, that took up most of my break. Apart from the many, many minutes spent daydreaming of what was to come, it was an awesome incentive to get through those delightful winter nights of study. Wardrobe cull at the start of every new season Nope. No time, no focus. I just did a ridiculously big cull during the Christmas break which was so satisfying it was almost worth dealing with the nightmare that was my wardrobe for the rest of the year. Read every night. If you count textbooks and uni articles, nailed it.As ever, new years resolutions and #newyearnewme bullshit can suck it, but I really genuinely love looking back at whatever took my fancy 12 months prior. I never want to stand still, never want to get complacent, and why do you need to wait til you're drinking on 31 December to think about what it is that you want to change in your life?

Because I am all MBA-ified, this year my goals are going to be SMART this year. Would you check me out? That $90k is paying for itself! An alcohol break until Australia Day.  This is a big one for me. The month leading up to Christmas, then the break itself was just horrendous in terms of food and drink for me. I felt dreadful, but like I was on a merry go round or rollercoaster or some sort of theme park analogy which meant telling myself I couldn't stop. I had every excuse under the sun- the 'let's catch up before Christmas' drinks, work events, mum visiting, birthday parties.  It's going to be tough. I have just read about Sarah-Jane Clarke's year-long break and if she can do it, so can I. This means not a sip of alcohol until the 26th. And then after that, I'll reassess. Drink green tea every single day. Easy. Except it's not. Log food every day. This might seem excessive. But I really need to get a handle on what I am shoving in my gob for a lot of reasons. No screens after 7pm every night. Except for uni nights obviously and genuine study. Not studying that turns into browsing mytheresa (Daily Mail).Mindfulness practice. 10 minutes every day. Starting with 10 minutes. Every day. No excuses. Completely three more MBA subjects. This is getting written down so a 'break' doesn't happen. Stretch every day. Yep, that one again. Renovate this bloody house. And start speaking about the renovation more positively. Ha. But this year I want at least the kitchen and one bathroom done. Once we decide what is happening with the house of course. No rush. I would love to have a travel goal but I really don't know what's going to happen this year. My bestie is recently engaged to her Irish beau, so we have everything crossed for an Irish wedding. With a new job I might actually be able to have a big chunk of time off at end of fin year, something foreign to me!We'll see...Happy new year! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Things that happen when you go to the gym

More accurately, things that happened to me when I go to the gym. I don’t bloody know what happens to anyone else, I can scarcely believe I am doing what I’m doing.

I joined a new gym when we moved last year. Or more accurately a couple of months after we moved. Me, procrastinate? I was going a few times a week, enjoying it but not making any other changes.  Then the gym launched a challenge for the month of June- to do one each of their strength, flexibility and cardio classes, each week for four weeks. Not exactly climbing Everest. You could go the whole hog and get nutrition advice, cooking classes etc, but really, I know what to eat. I just eat about four times as much as I should. I cut out alcohol for the month of June as an extra-fun bonus, just to see if I could. June was a horrible month to start sobriety for me- end of financial year ain’t fun. But there is never a good time, and it really wasn't that hard. Those four weeks were enough to get me hooked, and to be fully sucked in to the strange, strange world of people who enjoy exercise. I also got a prize of a gym logo tshirt, and you can bet your bippy I wear that sucker all the time. To the gym obvs, because that is the place for activewear. 

  • You sleep better and you properly wake up 

My alarm goes off at 5.20am every morning for a 5.45am class. That’s weird. What’s weirder is that I rarely need it, I’m awake before then naturally. Awake and actually ready to go. No brain fog, no dreading getting out of bed. I look forward to it. That’s the weirdest.
Sure I‘m going to bed at an even more nanna-like hour than I normally did, but I sleep. And I’m rested. And surely nothing good happens after 9.30pm on a weeknight?

I now can’t imagine missing that extra hour of my day that I get. It’s like a bonus, a gift to myself and time when I can do something for myself. I have achieved something before I even get dressed for work and I don’t have to think about when I can exercise. It’s done, no excuses needed, nothing to come up in my day to stop me from working out or major hurdles that mean I just can't get to a night class.

  • Food gets digested ridiculously quickly

I am starving. STARVING. Tummy rumbling hungry. It's these times you need to be really, really prepared, at least mentally, because I would eat whatever is put in front of me. I don't have super strong cravings for anything anymore, but I just want all of the food, all of the time. 
  • Your brain works differently
The physical changes have been subtle but welcome. Far, far more important are the mental ones. I am nicer. Calmer. So much more focused  Nowhere near as much fazes me as it did before. If I can smash out TRX crunches, after not being able to even get my legs in the bloody things when I first started, I can do anything. Ha. Sort of. 

  • Your skin is the best. The best! 
So many people have commented on my skin lately. This old duck is loving it sick. I kind of forget what it's like to have any sort of problem with my skin, what a spoilt brat. Whether it's from eating slightly better, or the approximately 1700 litres of sweat, who knows. WHO CARES? 

But it's not all sunshine and rainbows. I do about 500% more washing than I used to. It never ends. It stinks. It is annoying. But totally, totally worth it. If that's not #fitspo I don't know what is. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

It's 2017

You know it’s a new year when your voicemail tells you painstakingly slowly that a message was received in two… thousand… and…. six… teen… because listening to your messages on the first day back isn't painful enough, Optus has to drag out that pain a couple more seconds.
And just like that, the short break feeling has gone and I’m pretty close to wanting to throw my phone through a window again. Well, if us office workers had opening windows, and my phone wouldn't bounce off the glass back at me. I somehow got through that painful first week, where you think it's going to be really quiet, but in reality, everyone who is at work has been waiting for you to come back and pounce. Only 13 days, 9 of them working, til holidays.
In my standard tradition of getting a sudden burst of enthusiasm for this blog, which will die off around the 10th of January, I want to check in on the very loose, very random goals I set for myself for 2016. Most of them were a failure on paper, mainly because my focus shifted elsewhere. I started going to the gym. I became one of those people. I also got another dog. The one that looks like an absolute angel, but is actually the devil in French Bulldog form. She took up a lot of time. Totally worth every chewed skirting board and ripped lounge, she has brought so much fun into our house. 

Without using #goals, #newyearresolutions or #newyearnewme, these are the main things I want to do this year:

Stop multitasking. I am an absolute shocker at this. I’ll be looking up a policy wording and all of a sudden get the urge to check what gym classes I am booked in for for the week. While I walk to the office from the carpark I suddenly have to check the weather for the day, which I’ve already checked, and really is a bit late to do anything about, since I’m already at work. Right now while writing this I’ve toggled screens several times, and I’m thinking about logging in to online banking, which I do at least daily, to check my account balance. WHY? What good does this do me? Why does my mind wander like that? It’s because I am so bloody used to multitasking that my brain has to constantly search for something else to do, whatever it is doing. This has to stop. Multitasking is not a skill to be proud of any more. It means I can no longer maintain a train of thought, and I never remember anything because I just open my evernote app to write down whatever I’m thinking. Sure, this is handy at times, but I used to actually remember things. I want to remember things again.

Seriously think about further study. Last year, after some heavy conversations with my then-boss, I did a fair bit of research into doing an MBA. I have submitted applications to my favourite two Sydney schools. Is my heart in it 100%? No. should it be? I don’t know. After watching The Minimalist doco it’s definitely not. But is that me doing some self-sabotage, willing myself out of it? I don’t know. I am worried that level of study would mean not enough doggy time. Not enough gym time. But I also worry that I’m not doing enough.

Keep up at least 5 gym classes a week. I have been smashing it at the gym lately. No, really, let me brag some more. I'll probably do a long-winded post about this, but I actually love the gym. Not even kidding. It's been over 6 months now and I want to keep it up. 

Other stuff I want to tick off in 2017, in no particular order:
Yoga headstand 
Yoga bird of paradise- properly, no wobbles
Run 10kms

Use good things, stop 'saving' stuff for special occasions 

Stretch every day 

Vitamins every day 

Eat meat no more than once a week

Eat less chicken 

No engaging in online arguments, less time online in general
Takeaway once a week only, cook more at home 
Don't buy anything made in China, Taiwan etc 
Go overseas at least once
Wardrobe cull at the start of every new season 
Read every night

No biggie. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Is it 2016?

Usually there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of point in blogging. The commercialism and the me me me nature of it does get to me. But then I think, fuck it, because I do love to look back and laugh at myself and my self-indulgentness from time to time.
The cliché of time flying has never felt truer. 2016 still seems like some fake number of a year, and I find myself wondering out loud how it can already be March, why are the hot cross buns on the shelf, it’ll be Christmas before we know it. And no joke, my PA is looking at Christmas venues at the moment. Summer is over and I’m halfway to being another year older.
2015 was a big year. In fact the biggest. Never in my many, many old lady years have I done more, or had more happen to me, in 12 very short months. 2014 was a year I would rather forget, a year that I don’t think I’ll ever think anything positive of. Sure some good stuff happened, but no memory will ever come close to being as strong as the loss of my dear Marcel. He will be what 2014 is about for me, forever. So those times when I feel guilty, indulgent, for my 2015, I again think fuck it, because we needed a good one.
In terms of a big year, 2015 was also the most expensive I’ve ever had, and the most expensive I can ever imagine having. But then I’m sure in another 5 years I’ll look back and the money will be forgotten.  I hope.  
Our ‘must get out of this house, must get out of Sydney, must do something to distract our minds, must renovate and sell so let’s go away’ turned into the trip of a lifetime. A year on (sob) from being in Mexico and my heart aches looking at the photos, which I do most days. Even the sub-freezing NYC bring a tear to my eye. It feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago and  it was just the best time. Not regretting our no holding back attitude for one second. Not my waistline, not my wallet. All worth it. What I wouldn’t give for a Shake Shack burger right now.
But there is so much good going on at the moment. We’ll be renovating our new house for the next fiftyhundred years, but it’s going to be so worth it. Again I hope. We are just adoring living here and we should have done it sooner. Not through lack of trying, and no regrets on choices we made, but we just knew how great it would be here.
It’s great but dangerous. You know when your gay, single friends start commenting on how much you’ve been going out that it might be time to reign it in. Even without counting the Arq check ins when you’re not actually there. So after Mardi Gras, it’s all over. It’s funny because everyone else is gearing up for Mardi Gras with extreme detoxes and juice cleanses. I figure I’m doing my liver a favour by preparing for it.
Enjoy liver, because the party is literally over. I’m going to join that gym around the corner that I’ve had my eye on for months. No more Monday night wines, just because the weekends don’t feel long enough, or I’m still trying to not feel unwell from the weekend.
A very, very belated welcome to 2016. I don’t know how 2015 will ever be topped but let’s give it a go.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

How instagram ruined a friendship

It was the hashtag ‘cleaninginheels’ that did it. Before it there were the serious selfies, the duckfaces, the pouts and the poses angled just-so, to make sure the maximum shoe/ jewellery/ handbag and label label label was photographed. There had been plenty of eye rolls and furious scrolls past other ridiculous photos and captions, but this one took the cake. Cleaning in heels? Please shut up.

I love the odd selfie. I just love them when they’re at least slightly natural, when you can’t feel through your screen the 50 previous attempts to get the cheekbones chiselled just so, and you aren’t risking chiropractic bills for the awkward lean you’re attempting. I love the odd purchase-brag. Guilty, guilty, guilty. I love sharing, to an extent, and I love that feeling when you see someone else’s purchase and thinking I WANT IT AND I WANT IT NOW! When all of someone’s posts seem to be for the sake of showing how fabulous they want their life to look, it gets old pretty quickly. It’s so forced.

I’m well aware I’m being hypocritical, that this is high school behaviour (if that) and that this is unnecessary drama in my relatively drama-free life. What I think is a ridiculous post, others don’t think twice about. People want different outcomes from their social media posts, have different agendas, and that’s none of my business. I have the choice to unfollow, or to keep reading and watching, knowing I’m setting myself up for a reaction. But what if the person is a friend? Not a random fashion blogger that wouldn’t notice one follower drop from their thousands, but someone you used to see often enough, and someone who in real life always comments on your instagram posts (despite never liking them, I checked).

When you know the ins and outs of someone’s personal situation, as much as it’s possible to in this oversharing time, and the life they are currating on social media is a long, long way from the truth, what do you do? Do you go along with the cheerleading ‘you look so skinny!’ ‘I’m so jealous of your life!’ ‘your house is amazeballs!’ that is so common for friends and mere acquaintances? Do you call them out? Or do you do what I did, and just try and ignore it, to prevent your eyeballs popping out when you see yet another post aimed at generating said cheers?

The outcome for me was that they blocked me. Maybe for not commenting, maybe for ignoring. Well, I can only assume that’s the reason I was blocked, as we haven’t had an actual personal interaction in weeks. Nothing else has changed. I clearly wasn’t supporting the life she wants people to think she has, or maybe it’s because I know she doesn’t have it. Whatever the reason, it’s been a relief to not have to dread what I’ll see on her feeds. At least it’s sort of come to a head, and I can stop wasting so much time thinking about what to do. Insert motivational quote here. #blessed #winning #amazeballs

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The good old 'we should catch up'

Two things have made me even lazier than usual in my spare time. Firstly, my new job. It's a job that makes me think, a job that leaves me pretty exhausted most nights, a job that has shown me what being busy really means. Hint: I was never all that busy before.  
Secondly, a little puppy that is very, very time demanding. Pascal is the cutest, sweetest little thing, and when I'm not at work I want to be with him. Sometimes my husband must feel like a single parent, looking after this little devil, so of course when I'm home I want to be the one to bask in the naughtiness. 

Because I've been fairly MIA, when I see someone it's usually been a while. So of course come the 'we have to catch up!' conversations. Pascal is partly to blame for that. If you're anything like me, you want to sniff, cuddle and nibble on a new puppy. Probably the way most people do with actual babies. But unlike with Marcel, I've been a bit protective of this boy. I haven't really wanted to share him with many people. Selfish? Maybe. Perhaps it's getting older, but I just don't feel the need to have him seen by anyone. He gets enough fawning over when we walk out of our front door. His doggy ego is big enough! 

With the sniff in the air of spring, it's as though people are coming out of the woodwork, out of hibernation. I certainly am.

Let's face it, if we were going to catch up, we'd organise a catch up. It's not that hard. As you get older, your circle shrinks. And I'm more than OK with that. I just don't have the time or energy to dedicate to half arsed friendships any more. I want to spend my precious free time with the people I love. I want to do that properly. If you want to see me, come see me. You know where I live. If we're going to catch up, it shouldn't take three 'we have to catch up' conversations before it actually happens. We'd just catch up. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A dog friendly weekend in Kangaroo Vallley

Bank holiday is the universe's gift to financial services employees like me. Sure our industry can lack glamour at times, but we get a fake public holiday! Since I've been slaving over a hot keyboard for more hours than usual lately, I executviely decided that Mr C, Pascal and I were taking off for the weekend.
With a surfer husband our weekends away usually stay close to the coast, which is fine by me. I wanted something different for this winter getaway though, and an open fireplace was calling my name. It was a brilliant weekend weather wise, sadly almost too warm for the fire on Sunday! We still put it on (as in I sat drinking wine while Mr C engaged his firebug ways) and had to run around opening the windows it got so hot! 

We stayed at the gorgeous The Church, which is perfect for a couple and dog friendly. It's on the main road through town, so very close to the bakeries and pub, with a stunning outlook over the valley. The verandah was the perfect place to sit and watch the sun dip behind the mountain, then run inside to the roaring fireplace. 

Day trips to Milton, Mollymook and Berry meant we were never short of good eating supplies. A dog friendly visit to Yarrawa Winery, complete with two creek water infested Labradors meant we (I) were not short of beverages to drink whilst watching aforementioned sunset. 

A highlight was buying a pair of RM Williams Yearling boots. I've ummed and ahhed about buying a pair for ages, but bit the bullet as they're almost an essential for my job these days. I traipsed around the city all day Thursday and the were super comfy all day. If you had told me a year ago I'd be in the role I'm in today and wearing RM Williams I'd have  laughed in your face. But here I am! In my boots!

Friday, July 17, 2015

The memory connection

This morning I saw an Instagram shot of The End store in Yucca Valley, California. It was one of the best stores I've ever been to and I could have spent days there chatting to the owner and going through her divine clothing and jewellery store in the desert. This photo gave me the first sense of post travel blues, the come down from not being on holidays anymore, tinged with a fair bit of exhilaration from the memory of that day. 

There is a disconnect between me being in a place and me feeling the pleasure of actually being there. I try and force myself to think about my surroundings, the smells, the weather. The sun, a scent, a view I don't recognize. Just something to try to get my mind to connect to the moment. I need to do this, to try and store these away because I just don't get that excited in the moment. None of the feelings I should  be feeling are there right at that time.  

When I was younger I would get the strongest sensation in my tummy, call it butterflies, there was just something unmistakable there. In the moment, the excitement would sometimes feel too much. Nowadays it just doesn't happen to me then and there. I get a bit excited when I'm anticipating something, obsessively planning and organising. Is it because of my tendency to be controlling? My virgo nature? That I have planned too much and the novelty of where I am going seems old hat by the time I get there? My lack of ability to relax and forget the small possibility that things could go wrong? Maybe I'm too aware of the moment and I'm just not letting myself feel.

The biggest joy I get these days is after the fact. Sometimes long after. It might be something little like seeing an instagram post (and aren't there instagram posts of everything) that gives me the sense of de ja vu that I've experienced this before. THAT'S when the payoff happens. This morning was months after being in the Yucca Valley and the first time I've been aware of the budding excitement and the start of the really, really feel good memories. 

Forgotten are the hours sitting in airports, laying wide awake at 3am from crippling jet lag, feeling like you've been ripped off with the dollar or by an enterprising stall holder. What remains is the content, a feeling of accomplishment, of having done something. That's the beauty of travel for me. That's why I spend the money, do the planning, take the risks. 

I am really conscious of trying to not succumb to the grass being greener syndrome. When we had Marcel I'd madly pin travel links, mainly New York, and I'd yearn to revisit or to just go. But not ever having any intention of going and leaving him. Maybe it was the feeling of being tied down that my soul recognized but my mind hadn't yet. When we lost Marcel travel was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted my weekends to end on the couch cuddled up to him and I couldn't have cared less where that happened. 

This memory is hopefully the beginning of coming full circle, of being content enough to just be. Of having done what we did and of

life going on. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Five years ago I had not long been married, not long been back from an around the world trip, had a little crazy but totally adorable puppy Frenchie, a very flexible job that let me spend a lot of time with that puppy, and barely a care in the world. These days I have an amazing husband and marriage, an insanely stressful and high pressure job, and a total sweetheart, totally adorable puppy Frenchie. 

When I saw my first Frenchie in New York, all those years ago, never ever ever did I think I would be spending my Saturday driving waaaaay out west to hang out with a bunch of dog nutters in the freezing cold. 2.5 degree cold. Never did I think I'd have a puppy Frenchie who just happened to win Best Baby Puppy in breed today. Who would have thought? Not me. I would have told you to get your head read. 

But here we are and I couldn't be happier. Pascal outdid himself today. Despite *ahem* not the most time spent training him, at his very first show he just knew what to do out there. I am thrilled, a little bit shocked, and so, so proud. I am fast becoming one of those people and couldn't be happier. 


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