Friday, October 1, 2021

September flowers.


I have very little to share regarding September. I enjoyed it. But did very little even for lockdown. See above, I spent one day building a challenge grid based on a Kath n Kim meme. This was a highlight.

I did some creative design for myself, which is extremely rare. This is an Eastern Rosella design. It isn't for anything but it was an idea. And it was a good challenge to make a repeating pattern.

My food related triumph was making butter chicken from scratch following the Recipe Tin site, and unusually for me I used all the correct ingredients and it was wonderful. It was enjoyed by me and Ros at one of our bubble buddy nights - curry themed. We have also done takeaway pizza, home made stir fry, and fanciest of all the Bao Banquet. We watch a movie (like the new Cinderella) or sometimes just the Dog House and the Ambulance show.

I made a dress! A new pattern and a fabric that took me 3 attempts to purchase. It has pockets. 

On my many walks I have been noticing things that look like geraniums but different so I'm creating a collection. Eventually I will have geraniums in pots under my bedroom window and ivy geraniums in hanging baskets. Grow something in every available inch!

This is my favourite beauty spot in Maitland, it is on the road behind Maitland Park and it has a lot of lavender and a lot of Paulownia trees. Magic in the evenings. I've been picking lavender and jasmine from this walk and making the house smell nice.

As well as walking I have got back to my 3 workouts a week habit, using the downdog hiit app as well as Jillian. I put on fun music and in fact my warmup is just randomly dancing to a song, I'm enjoying it a lot. It has been good to have a break and just do the running and walking, and now the music and the variety of the app is keeping me engaged. I'm actually feeling strong and healthy, except for the occasional day like I spent most of last Sunday on the couch exhausted for some reason. I did my shopping after breakfast and when I got home I had a flat battery and didn't want to get out of the car and put it away. After about 5 hours rest, TV and napping, I felt a lot better. Suddenly got tired suddenly got OK again. But mostly everything is OK healthwise this month and I'm grateful for the energy. I am going to bed early and waking up early so hopefully daylight savings is an easy change!

Night church now happens via zoom instead of watching youtube in the morning, and I've also been joining a tuesday and thursday prayer meeting that started on zoom. This screenshot marks our churches birthday.

And I have really enjoyed the Single Minded webinars on loneliness. This one was about the self. Would repurchase.

I had a list of things to do at the office so one day I had a lovely excursion to Tocal and photographed the bees in the canola while I was there. A beautiful place.

The lockdown has been like a time travel experience where we all live in a small village and spy on our neighbours and bake bread and go for a promenade at the park in the afternoon. And now we can enjoy a picnic. Charming. It really is nice to have a simple picnic without a kids birthday party or something. It is a delightful time of year to be outside. This was my first use of birthday present jumbo picnic blanket with some vaccinated friends. Probably the loveliest time I have had this whole month. Very blessed to be vaccinated. The following week I had lunch with my parents at Morpeth.

Last week I must have been in a mood because I bought a spiky matt off an ad on facebook. My neck is stiff, probably from too much phone use rather than stress. I've used it 3 nights in a row. It is certainly uncomfortable and that's all I can say. 

This week I discovered a new vietnamese restaurant open for takeaway and it is yummy, I had it twice for lunch this week. I never get to buy lunch at Tocal so it is the one perk of WFH except there was nothing to eat near me except pizza and kebabs - until now!! Pork belly banh mi! I am excited for when we can eat in!

The garden has been transformed this month! From this photo on the 10th september, there were a decent number of rose leaves and lots of poppy buds...

The roses are now bushy and covered in buds, the jasmine is covered in leaves and buds on the fence, I have been picking poppies constantly and also sweet peas, the geraniums and irises flowering... It is wonderous to behold. Every spring is like this, it is always beyond my expectations.

This afternoon had a very short intense hailstorm. Such fun. 

The end.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

August, lockdown and house painting!

Last day of my holidays and it's been a very exciting month with the coronavirus, so life has changed a lot. At the start of the month regional NSW was in covid safe not-lockdown, so we could have up to 5 visitors to a house for example. And this dinner and games with friends at a church friend's house was lovely.

I was feeling a bit anxious for the Sydney lockdown and so I decided to send some single friends some little care hampers, and this was a good thing for me to put my mind to. And I managed to get it off in the mail the week before the regional lockdown which was excellent timing.

I also had an idea to send our team leader an envelope of things from people at Tocal, as she was managing from lockdown for so long. People gave me whatever things they thought would cheer her up. I did this little watercolour. I think it's just nice to get physical mementos through an islation not just emails that say, thinking of you! Digital is super convenient but tangible feels more connected in a different way.

I had a fun little job at work which was to set up a webinar room, I did get it finished before I left and this was the process.

On a Thursday I heard about some covid cases in newcastle on the radio as I drove to work. A few hours later we knew there were cases at Maitland Christian School and we had the lockdown order. 
We finished the office puzzle as we processed our feelings. Can't leave an unfinished puzzle in the office! I also watered all the plants. I was optimistic it might just be a week but unfortunately nup!

The contact tracers tapped many friends so it was quite a dramatic adjustment for our community.

I was able to help a family by buying them some kids panadol and dropping it off with a bakers delight treat. 

A little victory I also had was replacing a broken wheel on my office chair at home! Got an opened pack for only $5!

I had my second pfizer dose, and there was a booking bungle which meant there was an over-an-hour queue around the bunnings, but it was good to get it done! 

I slipped back into my lockdown work from home routines, stopping for 11am Gladys morning tea, going for a walk and spotting magnolias.

I've explored the spring section of my seasonal cookbook and had some very tasty salads, exploring asparagus as never before.

I hacked my long pothos vine into cuttings.

I signed up for a webinar conference from Single Minded, the first session was on Loneliness. Interesting challenge to be open to loneliness, instead of what I do, which is constantly distract myself with audio.

And I had a holiday. All my travel plans were cancelled, so no trip to Brisbane, Mudgee or Katoomba.

My new plan as you probably know was to paint my back rooms, and so for the weeks leading up I shifted furniture, books, pictures, light fittings etc, out of the room.

I was too lazy to be careful so I smashed my most expensive and beautiful pot.

Goodbye books. I borrowed a lot of empty plastic crates from work and put them in the garage.

And I moved my photo wall to my bedroom, and plastered all the paint damage and nail holes in the walls. There is SO MUCH PREP before you paint.

I did one early morning trip to bunnings to buy stuff to get started and also borrowed some useful things from C. And then I tried to avoid shops and did a few phone orders and carpark collections from the local paint shop. 

I had a good collection of old sheets!

Ros came over on Monday, day one of my painting holiday to help me start, and we did the cornices together, and then I rolled the ceiling. Tuesday I did the ceiling again.

Wednesday I started painting Yellow!

It made me feel giddy! It was just such a crazy change. I shared it to social media and got the same response. I did Yellow paint on wed-friday.

I meanwhile chose a more subtle colour for the other part of the area, and while I wanted something subtle I still wanted to have the satisfaction of a dramatic change putting the paint on. I started on Friday afternoon and did the second coat on Saturday, in the colour on the top left of this selection. So a medium rather than a light, and it's called oyster linen. A little bit kahki maybe. A warm grey. It looks lovely and it offsets the yellow well, although they don't really touch visually anywhere much they are two parts of the one big area..

To escape the paint smell and the mess, I would often go to Maitland Park or somewhere, take a cup of tea and some books, go for a little walk, read and drink tea in the car. It has been really good for my spiritual growth, and a way to make the most of the holiday. 

I believe a holiday isn't about just fun experiences, it is about what your identity is away from work, what your brain thinks about when it has a chance to disengage, what other possibilities you can perceive for your life and the world. So without travel, books are the exercise. I have been reading The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges, to think about God and ponder my character and godliness, and that has been a good thread through my holiday. I also did read fiction, to strengthen my reading muscle, because my attention span is appalling now. There was a rainy Tuesday when I couldn't paint, and I was tired, so I just spent the day on the couch reading a novel most of the day, which is a forgotten pleasure.

I also watched both seasons of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, and I love it. So pure, how tears, such joyful.

Through the second week I painted the white doors and trims on Monday then Wednesday-Friday, and it was less painting I suppose, the home straight, but I was also very tired and over it. Even demoralised on Monday, looking at the streaky results of my first coat of primer on my doors and trims. It did get better as I finished up the week, and Friday I touched mistakes up, whacked the rest of the yellow paint on the walls because why not use it up, got rid of all the drop sheets, mopped the floor and basically made myself at home again.

Meanwhile, my poppies started to display! And social media also enjoyed the daily reveal of each colour along with my yellow walls. This was my first bud, covered in baby spiders.

The wow effect of this image, the joy of the yellow walls and the fresh white poppies (2 and 3), made me so happy. It's my phone screen saver.

So painting was gruelling, exhausting to do on my own, 2 weeks of mess and smell, build up of inflammation and fatigue. But I am so glad I finally did it. The house looks dramatically differently beautiful now. It is no longer generic wall to wall beige. It now has colour, style, brightness, uniqueness.

Another joy during lockdown was single bubble dates with Ros, so this was the bao brothers party she hosted, followed by the movie and pizza night I hosted.

Just a little pair of earrings I bought from Chicky and Co, a girl at church.

It was a delight to awaken on Saturday to my first morning of a clean, freshly painted house, with hardly any smell! I worked sourdough and shared the process with my sister via videos all day. On Sunday I baked it and we both shared a sense of achievement and significance about the success of this loaf. 

I've had Monday and Tuesday off this week, to just enjoy being at home relaxing. Originally it was to get my life organised after my holiday travels before going back to work, but instead I've read, watched Good Omens, started a jigsaw puzzle, and wrote this blog! I shall do my grocery rare shopping trip for a bit of excitement this afternoon, and tomorrow it is back to the spare room to sit at the computer. The other graphic designer is retiring so it could be interestingly busy for me, I am afraid to look. But I have a puzzle!

I would like to thank my Sydney friends who have rung up for a chat, or been on whatsapp or instagram, it has been nice to support each other as single ladies in lockdown.

Finally some more painting before and after for the record.