21 for 2021: week 9

Week 09/2021: week of 1 March

21 for 2021 update

Last year, one of my 20 for 2020 things was to have a month without alcohol. I started that on 2 March 20202 and I haven’t had a drink since then. So this week marked the one-year anniversary of my last drink. We went to Dunalley for lunch at the pub and stopped at Barilla Bay to get oysters on the way. I bought a can of their Oyster Stout, which I was going to drink at home that evening. I didn’t and it‘s still in the fridge where I left it on 1 March 2020. 

I still haven’t decided whether the alcohol-free thing is a permanent change. I quite like saying “I don’t drink” but I still have some rather delicious beverages in my beer cellar that I would very much like to try. So I need to work out a way to drink them but not make drinking a mindless habit like it used to be for me.

I had some interesting work to do this week, which made the week go faster. That was nice and I actually enjoyed being at work. Well you know, apart from the noise. On the recommendation of my audiologist, I got some noise-cancelling earbuds, which are a lot more portable than the headphones I’ve been using and they’ve been making a big difference in my capacity to function and not get overwhelmed in noisy situations both inside and outside. 

I’ve also been working through a couple of non-work courses in my spare time, which are on two topics that are totally unrelated and I’m finding great joy in discovering the connections between two topics that I would have thought were completely different areas. It has been an interesting week of discovery for me. 

I’m still working through the habits chapter of the Change Journal (thing 7) with my yoga stretches, the pre-work ritual (thing 20) and now the post-work ritual. Now that I have my exercise program from the exercise physiologist (thing 1), I need to build that into my routine as well. I’ve decided there are a couple of the exercises that I will try and do every day and track them in the Change Journal, and then the rest of the program I’m going to do four days a week instead of my afternoon walk.

I had to get out of the house on Saturday afternoon, so I decided to take my SLR camera for a walk (thing 16). I picked up this camera, a Pentax Z70 with a 28-80mm lens, from a second-hand camera shop in Canberra many years ago. I went to a class to learn how to use it but found everything too overwhelming, and ended up staying in green mode most of the time. Around that time I moved to the country and, having been inspired by the work of a local landscape photographer, spent some time photographing rural scenes with it. I didn’t use it much after I got my first digital camera. I remember going through a roll or two of film when Kramstable was a baby but, apart from that, it’s been sitting in a drawer for the past 13 years or more. I still had a battery for it and there was a roll of film in it with about seven exposures left on it. I have absolutely no idea what is on the rest of the film, so I figured what better way to find out than to finish it off. The film is very expired so this could be very interesting when I take it into the camera shop to get processed.

After having gotten used to a digital SLR, I found the controls on this camera to be very minimal, and the instruction book that came with it even more so. I eventually worked out how to put it into manual mode and how to adjust the exposure and shutter speed. Before now, I’d only used it in manual mode for the class, when all of this was very new to me. At least now, having had the experience of using a digital SLR in manual, I had some idea what I was doing, even if I wasn’t sure exactly how to do it.

For my first photo, the camera wouldn’t focus. This was not going well. Then I remembered that the lens gets stuck at the extreme end of its focus range and needs a little jiggle to get “unstuck”. Right. It was so weird to hear the buzz of the film advancing as I pressed the shutter instead of the digital click, and even more odd that I couldn’t look down at the non-existent LCD screen to see what the photo looked like. That’s a habit that’s very hard to get out of.

I used up the film, it rewound itself and I’m going to take it into the shop next week to see what’s on it. I’m not calling this thing done yet. I want to go out somewhere and make photos with it for a few hours and use at least one roll of film.

Vegetable of the week

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from the book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable. 

This week I chose bok choy and I cooked Alice’s Grilled Bok Choy with Peanut Sauce (page 434) on Tuesday. I have to say the amount of peanut butter I’m going through to cook the recipes in this book is pretty phenomenal, but peanut butter, yum! I’m not complaining. 

Grilled bok choy

I probably could have served this with another veggie dish but I poached some chicken breasts, shred them and serve with rice noodles. It was a simple dish overall, excellent for mid-week. 

On Saturday it was time for a fully vegetarian dish, Seven-Spice Butternut Tagine (page 160). This had a lovely combination of coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and pepper. As well as butternut pumpkin (squash), it had tomatoes, chickpeas and red capsicum. It was really nice with lots of leftovers. I’d definitely make this again.

Butternut squash tagine

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that I have made a regular commitment to doing in the hope that this will be more likely to make me do them. I worked on these ones this week.

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. One hour on Saturday morning. I didn’t do this. In lieu of this, Kramstable and I spent at least an hour trying to catch one small chicken and lock her away with the others after we’d seen a hawk in the yard. Four of the others were appropriately terrified and huddled in the chook house. One so much so that she let me pick her up and hold her for basically as long as I wanted. I had managed to lure one of the other two, who are now candidates for the most stupid birds in the flock, into the cage with food, and had almost got the last one in when the first one got back out again and refused to be caught. It was a very traumatic time as we imagined what her fate might be if the hawk returned and she was still running around the yard, but catching her seemed like an impossible task. In frustration, I decided to get some water to fill up the bowls and while I was out of the yard, Kramstable, by some miracle, had finally managed to grab the elusive chicken and we got her into the cage with the others.
The elusive chicken refusing to be caught
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I went to see my mum on Thursday as usual. She showed me a photo of her grandfather’s house in Scotland that he had built in 1918. I managed to locate it on Google streetview, so it was cool to see where it was. I doubt the oil rigs would have been the bay in 1918 but it was cool to see the town where his family had lived for a time. 
  • Thing 11: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I worked some more on lesson 5. I need to do the practical exercise. It’s been hard to photograph something in full sun when the days have been overcast and rainy though! I watched the video for lesson 6 as well.
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. I worked on lesson 3 of the third module, which explained the “empathy map”. I missed this month’s live workout on Thursday because my alarm didn’t go off, which I’m very annoyed about because I really enjoyed the last one.

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 1 (1)
  • Things I progressed: 7 (2, 4, 9, 11, 16, 17, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (5, 6, 8, 13, 18)
  • Things not started: 8 (3, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 19, 21)

Blast from the past

Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s another one of my favourite 2011 posts. This one is from 9 May 2011: Happiness what.

I think the point I wrote then is still true today:

. . . while I’m waiting for my life to be perfect, my life goes on. I’m wishing some things were different but I’m not doing anything about them, and at the same time I’m not really appreciating the things I do have

9 May 2011

What I’m reading this week

  • Personality Hacker by Joel Mark Witt & Antonia Dodge
  • Me by Elton John
  • The Summer Island Festival by Rachel Burton
I totally enjoyed this. It made me laugh, it made me cry. Recommended.

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 4): 4
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 4): 4
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 3
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7 
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 6
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