Tag Archives: WFH

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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definitely gaining

The border is wider, and I’m ever closer to finishing it

I had a day of WFH that included two long, must-attend online meetings, which didn’t require my input. In that case, what do you do but grab your in-progress blanket and keep yourself warm while working? Right? I did. The days here are getting colder, so a toasty blanket is definitely a winner. Somewhat surprisingly, we haven’t yet turned on our space heater but we’re not going to be able to hold out for much longer.

It’s interesting to note how tired we all are. We remain, astoundingly, COVID-free, although wider family members have been less fortunate in that respect. There are days when I think that the ongoing uncertainty and the tedium of daily RATs is all too much. YoungB is exhausted and despondent and we’ve only just begun winter. He is looking forward to having the blanket, so I must away and do some more rounds while he is out at salsa classes. They provide some light relief and physical exercise that is undoubtedly good for him.

I hope you’re also able to find some light relief, whatever form it takes.


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batch centres

A couple of warm days to end what was obviously a cool year

We’ve transitioned to a hybrid work model, where most of us have elected to continue WFH a couple of days a week and the balance of our days at the office. Particulars vary. I was at the office one Monday, and didn’t manage to crochet on the way to work, while there, or on the way home.

On the Tuesday, I was at home. During breaks in my day, I was able to direct my spare minutes to finishing the majority of the centres for row 19. Even without their tails being tidied, it gave me a buzz to see them stacked up and waiting. Incentive is a good driver, and end-product visibility is one of the better incentives.

Then I hit a roadblock of the longstanding bad back variety, which could be shorthanded thus: “You used to have this problem, and you used to have that problem, and you still have both of them AND you now have a totally new problem to compound that.” Great. You know it’s probably not going to turn out well when none of the old remedies quite cuts it AND you can’t lie down without making it worse. Now, that’s just not fair, is it? I was heartbroken at having to call off a couple of well overdue catch-ups with visiting Melbourne friends, but there wasn’t a lot else I could do.

Most saliently, I couldn’t crochet much, because I couldn’t sit or stand long enough to make sense of anything. Also, heavy-duty drugs can leave you feeling very groggy. So close to the end and, yeah, can’t see straight!! Centred or not, batched or not, I’d have to call that an absolute creative brick wall. Fabulous.

However, I’ve pushed on in bits and pieces here and there since then: a couple of centres during an online lecture where I was standing most of the time, and one or two middles when I could sit for a while. You get there. I got to the end of row 19, eventually. Yes, it’s enclosed and all! And the first four – or last four – squares of row 20 have been added. All the row 20 centres are made, and three more squares have middles, although their ends are still trailing. It is tantalisingly close, but I am still unable to sit long enough to do much. Well, you know. When we get there, we’ll have arrived.

I hope you’ve been faring better in every respect.

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Posted by on April 3, 2022 in Crochet, Health


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do year-long projects take a year?

The nature of temperature blankets is that they represent the temperatures for a year. In my case, the year is 2021. Had I commenced with the year and done a square a day, I couldn’t have done it in less than a year. I started late. I try to catch up, but it’s probably foolish to expect that I’ll catch up by very much. In other words, I’ll finish it a year from the starting date; more or less.

That appears to be how it’s going, if we include the border in that calculation. If we talk about the basic blanket, all squares enclosed all the way around, there’s a chance – a slender one, but a chance – that I might finish it in a shade under a year. It would bring great joy if that were its status by YoungB’s birthday, which occurs a few weeks from now.

I’m not holding my breath, as that will certainly require fewer interruptions than life generally holds, whether they be work-related or family considerations. I’m doing my best to ignore distractions. I’m also reminding myself that doing a long border – no joining, no fancy footwork – will be quicker than doing squares, despite the increasingly enormous number of stitches it will involve.

We’re transitioning back to largely office-based work in a week or so, alas. On the bright side, that may assist with progress while I’m still doing squares. I can’t take the entire blanket with me on the bus if I happen to be at an enclosing round, but the production-line centres are still an option. They are fewer than through the cold months, but there are still some rows with numerous same-coloured centres – and, as the photo shows, they’re often powder blue centres.

The length of yarn used will total a few kilometres. I’ve yet to calculate that properly. Weight calculations are tricky, for all sorts of reasons, but the weight of the finished blanket will be over 2 kilos, possibly over 3 kilos. I can say with some certainty that it’s going to be Very Heavy when wet. And, whether it takes a calendar year, or less or more, the grand total of hours involved will be greater than 380.

If you’re doing a year-long project, best of luck with shaving off a few days here and there 🙂

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Posted by on March 4, 2022 in Crochet


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hunting gremlins in the harness

Demolition progress, sans gremlins I think

The simplest things are often the most mystifying. What the Bs were up to on Saturday wasn’t earth-shatteringly difficult or blokes-only motorcyclist business, although I loved YoungB’s description of it. They were fault-finding a longstanding ignition problem on one of the motorbikes. While they were doing that, I was working back along the enclosing of row 15 of the temperature blanket. They found their fault, to whoops of joy, and I finished the enclosing PLUS made the first square of row 16. While finishing those ends, I also finished ends on two centres I’d made during my cityward commute on Friday.

Yes, I had a day at the office last Friday, in my role as First Aid Officer! We have to ensure cover if there’s anyone physically at the CBD site and the roster reached me. The office was practically empty and, therefore, weirdly quiet. I’m back again next Friday in the same capacity, but otherwise continuing to WFH. The real benefit of the commute, however, was that it enabled me to produce another couple of centres for the ever-lengthening temperature blanket.

Oh, and being right there in the CBD with that high-rise-view gave me a chance to check the demolition progress. Impressive!

I hope your views are all equally impressive 🙂

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Posted by on January 31, 2022 in Crochet, Motorcycling


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when negative is positive

Quietly staying home and quietly making progress

Negative COVID tests are positive things. All of ours have been negative so far. A few people in our wider circle – family friends, workmates – have doubtless heaved a positively huge sigh of relief on receiving their negative test results. The situation affects not only those directly afflicted but also those required to undertake precautionary quarantine.

Our team video-link catch-up early in the week suggested that we’re all fairly flat, and more or less waiting for our local supermarket – wherever that might be – to be the next exposure site. We have to eat, meaning that we need to do some shopping. For most of us, supermarkets are places where there’s greatest chance of exposure.

One workmate said his previous employer had offered him work over the Christmas break. The former employer had so many staff isolating because of either a positive test result, or being a close contact, that he had nobody left that he could ask. My workmate had turned down the offer because he, too, was in precautionary isolation and the work not of a type that could be done from home.

Another workmate wondered if she’ll ever get out of precautionary quarantine, as she and her toddler son are the only members of her large family who are consistently testing negative. Her husband, her siblings and their partners, and her parents are all at varying stages of positive, and she is a close contact of all of them.

Fortunately, we are WFH, and will continue to be so on a tailored plan. Some personnel may be required to work in the CBD now and then. If there are staff in the office, then WHS legislation requires that first aiders be present, to ensure cover in case of accidents. It’s quite a bumpy playing field for now and predictions as to how long things will be like this are shaky.

As much as possible, then, we’re staying home. I hope you’re able to do that, too.

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Posted by on January 9, 2022 in Health


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science is fun

Youngest Uncle is a scientist. When I showed him and Youngest Aunt the temperature blanket in its present state – unfinished, but with enough structure to make sense – he immediately said, “Periodic table of the elements.” No, although that’s been done. However, when I explained the idea behind the 2021 temperature blanket, he understood what it was about. As brilliant as Dr B is, he really doesn’t have a clue.

Youngest Uncle then asked the sorts of questions you’d expect from a scientist (or, to be fair, any serious academic, including Dr B). Had I kept my notes? Would a scale form part of the blanket? And was I going to have a QR code anywhere?

My responses were something like yes, I have all my notes. They will form part of the accompanying explanatory booklet. Yes, I have a swatch for each of the colour ranges, setting out values. And, what? A QR code?!

I thought he might mean I should simply crochet a mock QR code as the last square of the year. That could be done. He meant print a real one on fabric and attach it to the blanket, but make sure it’s linked to a web page where all the explanatory information would be available without needing to print a booklet. O-kay.

I see the humour in having a QR code – given that 2021 was certainly ruled by them – but wonder about the longevity of something printed on fabric that’s likely to fade and/or fray faster than the blanket to which it’s attached. I think you’d still need the explanatory booklet. Considering that, I may – just for the heck of it – look at redoing the final square so that it is immediately reminiscent of a QR code, if less detailed than some of these images. YoungB is also a scientist, and would certainly appreciate the joke.

Wherever you are and whatever you’re up to, I hope you’re also finding some scientific levity in the early-year. We may need to hang on to that sense of the ridiculous for the challenges that lie ahead as we once again slide into precautionary quarantining and WFH, and keeping a close eye on exposure site reports.

We’ve got this. Remember?

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Posted by on January 4, 2022 in Crochet, Health


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permission to read

Image from here

Christmas came and went. I hope yours was enjoyable. Ours started with coffee and a video-chat with Dr B that contained news of, and an exchange of greetings from, family in various parts of the world.

YoungB picked up our lunch from the pub. We managed to cope with the small amount of tidying up required after we’d eaten it. Then we settled down with our Christmas books. His was actually last year’s gift that he hadn’t yet had time to give the attention it requires. Mine was one of this year’s. I sent him out to do Christmas shopping – as I wasn’t able to do it myself – and told him that I’d enjoy an Aussie whodunnit. With guidance from a friendly retail assistant, he chose The Survivors. I read it at a sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it. It will bear rereading. I’ve passed it on to YoungB for his bookshelf.

In pandemic news, COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc. Our capacity to deal with it is two years behind the rest of the world. We kept it at bay by shutting our borders, but didn’t have the skyrocketing infection rates that other countries have been experiencing from the outset. Nor, it must be said, did our leaders channel funds to meet the inevitable demands that they must have known would be put on a system ill equipped to deal with them once borders were reopened. That wouldn’t have required a crystal ball, but you’d swear they didn’t think about it At All.

COVID-19 is here now and it’s everywhere now. The constant barrage of updates to local exposure sites has blunted our energy. The exposure factor is relatively low if you can stay at home and reduce your interaction with outsiders; but that’s not always possible. YoungB perforce commutes daily to a job that requires his on-the-ground presence. I am still on leave, but can easily WFH and anticipate that that may be the situation when the office reopens. I have yet to yet to receive official confirmation.

That old mantra remains: stay home – unless you have to go out; wear a mask – if you do go out; and wash your hands – wherever you are.

So, having done today’s essential foraging, and in the spirit of staying home and keeping myself out of mischief and others out of harm’s way, I’m sitting in the loungeroom and reading. I think it’s not a bad plan, and hope that you’re able to do something similar.

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Posted by on December 30, 2021 in Health, Reading


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bumpity bump

Will there be anything left when we return?!

Party plans down the gurgler. Booked-and-paid-for Christmas lunch at the pub out the window. Family catch-ups in disarray. Offices bewilderedly closing in a hurry. Because it’s Christmas? No. It’s that jolly bug making its presence felt. If anybody is surprised, they shouldn’t be. This was a predictable outcome of reopening borders.

Today, YoungB and I spent a shade under two hours in a testing queue and thought we were doing well for it to be that quick. Some sites have reported waits of up to eight hours. To put that in perspective, the site we wanted to use – our closest, a 24-hour facility that’s for bookings only – didn’t have any vacancies until Christmas Eve. Right-oh, then. The queue it was.

Wouldn’t you think that would have been a fabulous opportunity to read, or crochet? You would, yep, you really would. Not so much. I think we were both a bit surprised by the relative suddenness of it all; discombobulated entirely, if I’m being truthful.

Last week, there was a confirmed case of COVID-19 in my office building. Other staff on that floor were considered casual contacts. Today, possibly entirely independent of that first case, we were advised that someone in our office had tested positive and anyone who’d been there at the relevant times was considered a close contact. We have lots of shared spaces, but there is some upper echelon disbelief about how that classification was reached.

Whatever the rationale, it meant me coming home post haste and getting a test asap. As a close contact of a close contact, and because he works with cancer patients, YoungB was similarly commanded to do so. More by good luck than good management, Dr B is away for a few days, so, although he’ll undertake routine testing on his return, he’s not immediately affected.

Our jurisdiction’s regulations say that, as we’re vaccinated, I have to quarantine for seven days (as opposed to 14 if unvaccinated) and have three tests. YoungB has to have two tests, but doesn’t need to quarantine. Of course, that is predicated on our tests coming back negative. We are both asymptomatic and in good health so – all things considered – it will be a rude shock if either of us gets a positive result.

I really don’t go anywhere but work, and I limit my outings from the workplace, largely because I can’t control other people’s mask-wearing behaviours. YoungB is pretty much the same – no gym or swimming sessions this week – but he visited friends on his way home one night. It’s plain that the tracking system is overwhelmed and can’t keep up with new sites, so he let those friends know what was happening; just in case.

I’ll have to send him out to do the shopping, but we could place online orders if necessary. Missing our Christmas lunch at the pub upsets us most. We were really looking forward to having a wonderful couple of hours celebrating and being silly and Not Having To Clean Up Afterwards.

Let me repeat the mantra: Stay home. Wash your hands. And keep smiling behind that mask!

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Posted by on December 22, 2021 in Health


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never mind the bumps

Tidying up the ends because it was too cold to be outside

I think it took me almost four weeks to finish the last row of YoungB’s temperature blanket. Of course, I was doing other crafty things but there were times I wondered if I’d ever – ever! – get a run at wielding a hook to good effect. I managed a row this week. Don’t ask me why or how. Just plugging away at centres while on the bus, then middles in the evenings before joining to the rest, I suppose; one little bit of hooky at a time.

I’ve had a couple of WFH days, but they were too busy for anything other than work. I’ve had more success on buses – despite the bumpiness – because I’ve decided that any bus that gets me to the city will do. I’ve given up on express buses unless I catch them nearby, because they’re often standing room only (SRO). It is true that, nowadays, others will sometimes stand to let me sit if I happen to be part of the SRO cohort. Now that we’re back to something approaching normal in terms of public transport commuters, the express buses are often uncomfortably crowded. If I hop on a bus that stops at all the interchanges, the time it takes is only marginally more but there are generally enough seats to go round and I can have a double one All. To. Myself. Well!

Today I made those three centres on my way to the city. Heavens! I know I’ve said I don’t crochet quickly, which is true; but that’s about one centre per 10 minutes and I’m happy with that. At lunchtime, in the interests of trying to get out of the office and into the fresh air and sunshine, I did just that: left the building and headed out for a walk. I didn’t walk far. Although the sun was shining, the wind was quite strong and it was icy. I turned around very smartly and came back to the office where I pulled out those centres and my little sewing kit and tidied up the ends.

Like the bus trip, the centres are a little bumpy. They’ll settle down once they’re joined into the rest of the blanket. I hope your centres aren’t too bumpy 😀

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Posted by on November 26, 2021 in Crochet, Health


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