Category Archives: Health

seasonal woes – and colour

Vibrant colour from the callistemon in the front garden

The theme for this year’s Girls’ Night In, the annual Cancer Council fundraiser organised by a former colleague, was Wedding Party. I reckoned I could mange that, hand on heart and no trouble at all, simply by grabbing something from the wardrobe. What I wore to Eldest Son’s wedding, a very long time ago, fitted the theme: the jacket is glittery and glamorous and – most importantly, given the present chilly evening temperatures – it has long sleeves. I declared myself to be the Mother-in-Law from hell, stating that, “None of those women is worthy of my son!” It’s never a very serious business, although the underlying cause is dear to all of us. And the food is always like the guests: fabulous.

That was Saturday. On Sunday, the menfolk were out on motorbikes, making the most of the unexpectedly summery weather. I had an appointment on the other side of town, not far from my long-ago workplace that burnt down after I’d finished there. No satnav assistance required and a pleasant day to be out and about.

And then, you know, the weather having finally – we thought – turned warm, it (re)turned (to being) cold with torrential downpours and allergen levels that saw YoungB suffering hay fever like you wouldn’t believe. But the tree is up in Vic Square, the pageant happens tomorrow and my email inbox is all but overflowing with seasonal offers of discount gin (among other things) and enticing specials on thises and thatses.

My email inbox also receives occasional family history gems. Recently, receiving a couple of historic photos dating from 1917 saw me diving into all sorts of online records to find additional information. I also dived into my hardback family history volume to cross-check dates. While I was about it, I updated the electronic version of my family tree to reflect the results of my researches. It’s satisfying to be able to do that diving without having to worry too much about what else might or might not be getting done while I’m so engrossed; or wondering whether I should call it quits so I can be compos mentis for the office tomorrow. No need 🙂

And meanwhile, the seasons are rolling. I hope yours is being agreeable, wherever in the world you are.

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Posted by on November 11, 2022 in Family history, Health


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deep gratitude

Leisure enough to observe and enjoy the mesembryanthemum

After a busy weekend – plus lots of laundry, of course – I was less than bright and bubbly come Monday morning. It was fabulous to know that I could either roll over and go back to sleep if I wanted to, or simply take a few extra minutes then grab my coffee after everyone else had finished. Some sort of mix generally has more appeal and I don’t wand to miss out every morning on having coffee with the menfolk.

The days are sunnier and warmer (I say optimistically, though we’re also enduring low temperatures and torrential rain – but the ground isn’t as chilly as it has been and the daylight hours are definitely longer). The airborne nasties are making their presence felt and pollen levels are now indicated on the official weather site. Our noses are sufficiently sensitive to know that antihistamine ingestion would not be out of place. Sneezing inside a full-face motorbike helmet is yukky and dangerous. That happened to YoungB a few years ago and, as much all of us laughed when he told us, there’s no doubt it’s best avoided.

I can head out to long lunches or afternoon tea dates with friends and other family members, and casually spend the afternoon walking around a new housing development before hopping on a train to come home. All during working hours. And I can have late nights on the weekend after social outings that I was able to accept very last minute, because I don’t have to worry about being at my best the following morning for work.

I’ve resigned my union membership, which feels rather strange after so many years of solidarity. Without that ongoing financial commitment, I can take out a subscription to an e-book platform. I know that some of the lighthearted titles I have on my – lengthy! – book recommendation list won’t be available through the local library and I wouldn’t buy them myself as p-books. Some platforms have certain titles available free with a monthly subscription, making that cheaper than buying and therefore a cost-effective option. I just have to remember not to stay up all night reading, simply because I know that I don’t have to be up early next day. It’s probably not good for my blood pressure.

I have yet to start any Christmas crafting. The pageant is looming and, although I’m not there to see it from the office window, I’m sure the tree is going up in Vic Square. Another year is drawing to a close. We’ve had highs and lows and the pandemic is not over, but we’re all still here. I’m grateful for that, too.

And, you know, sunshine or storm – some days both! – we’re warm and secure.


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officially not retrenched

Last photographic update: lots of concrete

So we rolled through September and reached the long weekend that celebrates Labour Day and, you know, here I am, busily retired (for real; not the way I thought I was a redundancy or two ago). This is the last ‘view from the window’ update. Progress was more obvious during the demolition phase.

Not at the office, I’m trying to walk daily at an hour when I can see where I’m going (as long as it’s not raining or blowing a gale). I’m steadily chipping away at reducing the volume of incoming emails by unsubscribing from professional organisations and removing duplicates that have crept in over the years (when email addresses change, not all earlier variants die, although the technology sometimes does). I’m gleefully signing up to workshops that take place during working hours (genealogical research, here I come, rubbing my hands and sharpening my pencil).

So, yes, it’s all baby steps as YoungB would doubtless describe it. But the good part? If I’ve had enough, I don’t have to keep going 🙂

I hope you’re in a similarly positive frame of mind, whatever your employment status.


Posted by on October 14, 2022 in Family history, Health


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tantalising teaser

Sunshine helps the agapanthus flourish

It’s amazing what a few days of sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures will do for overall wellbeing. It’s also helpful with reducing the “have to wash” laundry backlog. Of course, the “have to put away” laundry backlog has increased commensurately. I note only that, while I remain a finite energy machine, I appreciate the glimpse, the promise, of the hot summer days that are surely just around the corner.

On a day that was sufficiently sunny and almost-warm, YoungB hopped on his treadley for his daily commute. He wanted to trial a different route and to put the new – to him – end-of-trip facilities to the test, but he might have been less keen had there been a torrential downpour or killer winds.

He reported that the facilities are infinitely better than those in the previous job, which didn’t have any, and on a par with those available in other parts of the precinct. Not unexpectedly, like most places with large workforces, the shift-based honour system for lockers isn’t always as honourable as you might hope.

Bike storage and showers are secure, but getting a locker? Not going to happen. YoungB half-joked that he’d be prepared to perpetuate the injustice if he were ever fortunate enough to find an open locker. In general, however, lack of a locker won’t deter him from riding his bike more frequently once the weather is more consistently agreeable.

In the meantime, the wind and rain remind us that spring is only just here, and it’s foolish to expect much nice weather this early in the season. Taking that into consideration, and rather than having to battle the elements as well as the lack of locker, YoungB is happy to use public transport.

The sunshine will return. I hope you’re getting some sunshine, too.


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the big guns spoke

Only a couple of special design features 🙂

With COVID-19 numbers dropping nationwide, the order came from On High: “Back to the office with you!” Happily for my continuing sanity and overall family wellbeing, I won’t be. The previously agreed timetable will remain in force for a few more weeks. We may renegotiate the last few days.

YoungB started a new job today. It’s city based and one where the end-of-trip facilities are so good that they feature in the orientation video. That means he’ll be back on his treadley once the first week is over. He’s looking forward to that with great enthusiasm.

In preparation for the forthcoming silly season, YoungB has also been participating in another lot of Latin-American dance classes. Whether from work or from the class, he reckons he’ll be home again before it’s too depressing outside. The evenings are lighter and the mornings are certainly light enough to see where you’re walking. Not warm, mind you! But less dangerous simply because of the improved visibility.

And I have – finally – finished and delivered the little knitted baby beanie I’ve been slugging away at since what feels like forever. It was one of those things where I’d knit a bit, then I’d knit a bit more, and although it should have been growing, it really didn’t seem to be making much progress at all. YoungB kindly reminded me that the longer I took to make it, the better chance there was that it would no longer fit the intended recipient. Fair point!

As you can see from the photo, the beanie is a simple mistake-rib design. The colour is probably brighter IRL, but difficult to photograph well. Bendigo Woollen Mills Baby Meadow 4-ply, 100% Fine Australian Merino Wool in shade Golden Sands. I used 3.25mm (UK 10 / US 3) and 2.75mm (UK 12 / US 2) Aero knitting needles that I have had for many years.

I’m now having a bit of a rest. I hope you are, too 🙂

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Posted by on September 5, 2022 in Health, Knitting


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checking the view again

Lots of work that I haven’t been there to supervise 😀

We’re being told that the COVID-19 case numbers are dropping; and overall, that does appear to be true. In any case, in the spirit of cooperation and pretending to care, I was at the office one day last week. The work? Yeah, nah, it’s reporting time and busy and, you know, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to muster the energy for any of it. Enthusiasm vanished long ago.

But the view from the window? Aha. That was almost worth the trip into town. I will miss my 13th-floor viewing platform. Since the last update, there’s a lot more to see in that snapshot of the current status of the GPO Renovation. Obviously, they can manage quite well without me!

In terms of managing (or not), it was also a week of colliding responsibilities that nearly defeated me. I tried to shoulder my workload at the office while not dropping the one I have outside of work. That ended with me thinking I’d have to retire NOW and leave the team to the rest of whatever I haven’t been able to tidy up. While that is appealing at one level, it’s not how I would choose to leave any workplace.

Unexpectedly, we had a win on the home front with some long-term appointments confirmed and slotted in. As a result, I’ve negotiated that I’ll continue full-time WFH until I retire, with two days off every week to accommodate the juggling. I’ll take other days off as required. It might not be ideal, but it will mean that everyone is in with a chance of success and – fnigres corsesd, and equally as importantly – that nobody falls over in the meantime.

I hope your juggling is also meeting with success, whatever its nature. 🙂


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green and growing, thank you

Flourishing after being rescued from a building site

It’s winter. It’s cold and miserable. I thought that YoungB showed a fair amount of dedication the other day when he headed out to catch up with friends. In this weather, if it had been me? I might have coughed down the phone and pleaded potential contagion!

No, really, I probably wouldn’t have done that. I’m pleased to be WFH at present, however busy we are and as flaky as the technology occasionally proves, because the notion of standing around at cold, wet, windy bus stops is as unappealing as ever. Besides, my brolly might blow inside out.

Not being in the CBD means that I am, of course, completely out of the loop with What’s Happening to the GPO Renovations! But I can provide a little garden update: the geraniums I rescued from a local building site continue to flourish. Well, I never.

Whatever your weather is doing, I hope that you, too, have something cheerful and flourishing to ponder.


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leave your squares at the door

I’ll drop them off tomorrow

The call for squares went out via one of my knitting groups. They needed to be as near as possible to 15cm x 15cm, using 8-ply acrylic; and whether they were knitted or crocheted wasn’t important. Someone would then take all those squares and make them into a blanket, which in turn would be presented to a nearby hospital. No colour or pattern specification required, just whatever you had on hand that would cheer someone in need of comfort.

I thought it would be the ideal opportunity to use up some stash yarn that met those descriptions and was never going to be quite right with anything else, so I cast on using 4.00mm needles. That was about when Life in general started to go off the rails, so I simply point out that, even as a child, when I was the most beginner of knitters, I have probably never tinked a garter-stitch item quite so many times! Of course, I had expert assistance to hand in those days, in the shape of my mother and aunts; nowadays, I’m my own expert assistance most of the time, and I obviously have my limits.

I’d also point out that the cheap acrylic yarn – whose ball-bands are long lost to history, so I’m unable to provide details – knitted up well and kept coming up well after the sixth or seventh tink. The stitch definition was still good, and – despite being reknitted and reknitted a bit more and reknitted again because that didn’t work – it didn’t go fluffy. Sturdy stuff, as I think the photo illustrates, and probably ideal for the sort of action it’s likely to see.

My original thought was that I could knit half a dozen such squares and, in normal circumstances, I probably could. Yeah. I’ve finished two. They will have to do. I remind myself that, if everyone visiting the pick-up point donated two squares, there’d be a carton of blankets already. I hope the two I’ve made will fit in with others. They’re simple, but they meet the criteria. And I hope their bright cheeriness will help to lift someone’s spirits at a time of distress.

I hope you have some cheer to wrap around you, too, particularly if you’re somewhere chilly 🙂

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Posted by on July 27, 2022 in Health, Knitting


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not that dirt between your toes

They keep pushing the dirt around

ETA 24 June 2022: I’ve only today realised that the tags didn’t work; so this is not really a new post, just a little update. Sorry about that!

Recently, our office provided a course that allowed us to refresh our mental health first aid qualifications. I’m often humbled by quite how personal some of the shared information is, because you’re putting your trust in other people’s good faith. Some might argue that the nature of public service positions means we’re already vetted and considered capable of maintaining confidence. Yeah, that too. But we don’t spill those sorts of beans most of the rest of the time.

The facilitator had a few good ideas for managing our own wellbeing in these still remarkably strange not-quite-post-COVID times. One piece of advice was to reconnect with bare earth and grass, something where you can really wriggle your toes. Pavers don’t count. Ideally, if you can manage it, make it a barefoot walk on the beach. Great idea!

However, given the time of year, my reconnecting with nature is more likely to be going out and hugging my lemon-scented geranium. I do it most days, and the perfume lingers for hours.

And when you need to get up from your desk at work, there’s a well-trodden path to the window from which we can watch the construction. There’d be no joy in wriggling your toes in that dirt. Once the new building is finished and we can put our toes over the threshold of what’s being marketed as a fancy shopping precinct, it will be a good trick to remember just how much concrete and dirt they took away, and how much concrete and dirt they brought back, and how we lined up with our noses and toeses against the window to watch it all. No grass involved.


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employment-go-round again

I’ll miss watching the progress – and the view 🙂

YoungB’s contract is at an an end, so he’s on the job-hunt. Again. The thing about our recent elections – both state and federal – is that the change of government (at both levels) means that there are opportunities aplenty in different fields, some of which he might find appealing. He’s had his resume professionally tarted up – I beg your pardon; updated – and it’s impressive.

Me? I’ve officially notified the Powers That Be the date on which I’ll be retiring later this year. Leadership at work seems surprised. I don’t know why! My age is no secret. I’ve clearly been suffering work-related aggravations to existing health problems ever since I started there. I’ve made absolutely no secret of my intentions. Why is it suddenly unexpected, and something they hadn’t foreseen? You know that emoji where you smack yourself? Yeah. That seemed about the right response; but I didn’t.

Someone who appreciates why retirement is a good idea asked me what I’m going to do – apart from all the obvious things like crochet and knit, of course – and I said I might cook. She thought that was a wonderful idea. So did I. I like cooking. I would have to shoo Dr B out of the kitchen – it is his domain, after all – but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me elbowing into his space if it means he has more time to do other things. I would bake, too. It would be gratifying to go back to making bread. That was one of my great pleasures that simply disappeared.

Dodgy back and leg notwithstanding, some routine exercise will also feature large. It’s most likely to be continuing the hydro-pool exercise classes that I presently attend. They’re generally kind in terms of both parts of the physique and, because it’s a therapy pool, the water is always wondrously warm. I would be free to join a book club. Or a gardening club. Or a photography group. Or all of the above!

I could once again suss out options for joining local choirs. This time, when they all respond with some version of, “We rehearse and perform during the day, during the week,” thus putting such delights entirely out of full-time worker contention, it wouldn’t matter. I’d have that availability.

I might by then have reached the top of the waiting list for eye surgery, and, postoperatively, be able to see better than ever – really ever, as I’ve been wearing specs pretty much all my life – and then I might be able to reinvigorate my sewing and make some inroads on all those projects that are presently too difficult. Oh, boy. And people wonder if I’ll have enough to do. Smack-yourself emoji again, I think.

Meanwhile, however, there’s a certain amount of excitement and tension around YoungB’s potential new job. There are choices in fields where he has qualifications and expertise, and there are choices in fields that would suit his outgoing personality. There are jobs with crossover. He’s already sent inquiries and job applications. It’s going to be an interesting few months, watching how everything turns out, but he is likely to have some much-needed downtime before starting in any new position, whatever the field.

During that downtime, I anticipate the mealtime conversation will centre on matters mechanical. I’ll be knitting in my room, if you’re looking for me 😀


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