Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ten things

Multiple aspects of life are not great at the moment – not anything I can discuss here, and not anything earth-shattering. Just things that suck some of the joy out of life. (To say nothing of what's been happening in my home and first adopted countries....) So I’m trying to focus on good things where I can. Here are some recent ones:

1. I got to go to Tokyo on a work trip last month! Just for long enough to whet my appetite for more, and with most of that spent inside a hotel, but I did get in a bit of sightseeing here and there - this is sunset in Shinjuku, which was my home base while I was there.

2. I also found time to track down the one thing that Miss B wanted most from Tokyo - a stuffed Totoro. (For those of you in the know - she already had the small white and blue ones, but has been longing for this one for ages. For those of you not in the know - if you have children or love animated movies, find and watch this film. It is utterly wonderful, and I say that as someone who has seen it dozens of times.)

3. Watching autumn turn to winter in Canberra - always beautiful, and familiar and strange at the same time. Red maple leaves are a lifelong sign of autumn, but finding them in the garden in May, amidst eucalyptus and other native Australian flora? Still getting used to that.

4. It only took 10 months, but our guest room is sorted and habitable at last. (Just in time, by the sounds of it, given the sudden uptick in requests following recent events in the US and UK.)

5. Celebrating DP's birthday - a perfect excuse to make a metric ton of buttercream frosting and get crazy with food coloring and piping bags. (You're never too old or too manly for frosting roses.)

6. Dropped by to meet our friends' new baby (and deliver a reheatable meal to his exhausted parents and exuberant big sister - I made this pasta bake, a loaf of bread, and a mini cake made from the birthday leftovers).

7. Went to Melbourne for the weekend to visit friends who have bought a Victorian hill station on a mountainside outside of town, and are in the midst of renovating house and garden. This is a glimpse of Miss B on our tour of the grounds. (Fun fact: did you know that the temperature drops 1C for every 100m you travel above sea level?)

8. Speaking of learning things, our conversations over the course of the visit inspired me to start listening to BBC Radio 4's History of the World in 100 Objects podcast - it's instructive and fascinating, and for those of you based in Canberra, timely, because the exhibition is coming to the National Museum later this year!

9. I also came down with a cold while there, which got a lot worse after I got back and which I'm still recovering from more than 2 weeks later. There's nothing like feeling abjectly awful physically to remind one to be grateful for feeling healthy and energetic most of the time.

10. And finally, a small thing which has improved my working life significantly in the last couple of months, after I gave up and admitted that I couldn't manage to keep track of my work just with digital tools - I admitted I needed a pen-and-paper system and as soon as I did, I came across a glowing recommendation for bullet journaling. If you're a similar devotee of analog tools, I whole-heartedly recommend it. It really has changed the way I work in some simple but effective ways, and I've already converted one skeptical friend, so do check it out if you're looking for a new way to get on top of things. I promise you don't need anything other than a notebook and pen!

Hope all is well where you are, and that you're keeping warm - or cool, as the case may be!


Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm sorry there's some bad stuff but seems like a lot of good, too. I love the bullet journaling idea! A notebook and pen is the only thing that works for my 'to do' list at work.

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