Week 43/2021: one of those weeks

Week of 25 October 2021

One of those weeks

After our lockdown and a lovely day off last week, I was going to say things went more or less back to normal this week, but I don’t like the word normal and I’m trying to eliminate it from my vocabulary as much as possible.

Things just are as they are in any given moment. That is all they can ever be. “Normal” is a value judgement and the more I hear this word, especially when it’s accompanied by the word “new”, the more I dislike it.

My “normal” this week was a lingering headache. This hasn’t been an enjoyable experience and I know it’s been making me irritable and snappy. I haven’t been sleeping well either, despite my excellent work in packing up at 9.30 and being in bed close to 10pm. So, I haven’t been feeling great and I can identify a couple of main reasons for this.

At least I’m aware of them, even if there isn’t a lot I can do about them.

I was supposed to take my mother to a specialist appointment on Monday morning, who, coincidentally, is the same specialist my GP had referred me to and I didn’t yet have an appointment with. Mum called me on Monday morning and said she wasn’t feeling well and asked if we could cancel that appointment. That was awkward because the appointment was at 9.15 and, as far as I could tell, the office didn’t open until 9.00. But I wondered if they’d be able to slot me into the appointment time as they wouldn’t have much notice to reschedule someone else. After a couple of phone calls that didn’t get answered, I sent them an urgent email to call me and decided to walk up to South Hobart on the chance that they could fit me in.

Half way there, at about 8.30, they called me and I explained the situation. They looked up my details and said no, I couldn’t have the appointment because this specialist wasn’t the correct person to deal with my issue and I’d need to go back to my GP to get a referral to a different specialist.

Good?

At least I got a nice walk in the rain and the chance to try out a different coffee shop.

A long black in a black cup
Not a different coffee shop

It was just one of those weeks. I felt overwhelmed by everything, everything was too loud, too bright, and every IT problem you could think of, I had. I specialise in computer problems the IT people haven’t seen before and I’m starting to think they draw straws to see who doesn’t get to answer the phone when I call the helpdesk.

I think my greatest achievement for the week was sending out an email to my mailing list introducing myself in my new role and updating people on the work I’d been doing. Okay, the IT person had to send it for me because the system hates me, but the email went out and I even got some positive responses, so I was happy with that.

21 for 2021

My 21 for 2021 is slowly limping along towards the end of the year with not much progress. I did some work on my mother’s story (thing 9) and Kramstable’s video (thing 8), but that’s about it. Not much of an update there, I’m afraid.

While I didn’t make any new vegetable recipes from In Praise of Veg (thing 2), I did cook with a vegetable I had never cooked with (or even heard off for that matter): the king oyster mushroom. These arrived in my fridge after I put oyster mushrooms on my shopping list for a soup recipe. They are the biggest (edible) mushrooms I have ever seen and I had to find out more about them.

A hand holding a king oyster mushroom
King oyster mushroom (my hand for comparison)

According to Great British Chefs,

The king trumpet, eryngii or king oyster mushroom is the largest of the oyster mushroom genus and, unlike other oyster mushrooms, their stalks aren’t tough and woody to eat. Instead, they’re hailed for their meaty texture and umami flavour. Native to the Mediterranean, they are perhaps most commonly used in Asian cuisines such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean; three countries where the mushroom is cultivated on a large scale.

This impressive mushroom averages between 10–15cm in length, has a long shelf life in the fridge (roughly one week) and doesn’t lose its shape when cooked. The texture is sometimes likened to abalone or scallops, which makes them an interesting option for vegetarians and are often billed as ‘mushroom steaks’ or ‘vegan scallops’.

They worked well in the soup and were so big I ended up not including noodles.

21 for 2021 summary

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

What did I learn this week?

I was doing that thing where I torment myself by comparing my photos negatively with someone else’s. I especially do this when I’m feeling unsure of myself even though I know it’s not a helpful or productive thing to do and just makes me feel more uncertain about my work.

I was talking to a friend from a photography group and they said something about my photos being good, and that they like how they show things from a different perspective.

Thinking about that some more, I realised that this is such an important thing for me to remember. It’s not about my photos not being “good”. That is a meaningless concept. I’ve been confusing not being “the same” with not being “good”.

My photos aren’t the same as anyone else’s because I see the subjects in different ways to the way they do. Not being the same doesn’t mean they don’t have any merit in themselves. My photos may not be as “good” (whatever that means) as the photos of someone who has decades of experience in composing and making photos and who has the time and commitment to stay with a scene until it looks like their vision, but I don’t have that experience nor that time or commitment. My photos are what they can be with the skill, resources and time that I have to commit to them, and that is perfectly okay.

I’m learning and making photographs the way I’m able to, considering the choices I’ve made. If I want my photos to be different or “better”, I need to make different choices, not sit around and compare them to other people’s work.

Clouds at sunrise over the river
A sunrise

I needed that reminder. I need it regularly.

What was the best thing about this week?

Hanging out with Kramstable on Saturday.

Going out early enough to make photos of the sunrise during the week, which I wrote about in this post.

Pale orange sky at sunrise over the river with trees in the foreground
Another sunrise from another vantage point

What I’m reading this week

  • Born Into This by Adam Thompson
  • The Bluffs by Kyle Perry
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Habit tracker

  • Days I went for a walk in the morning (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 4): 0
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 4): 0
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 6
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 4 work days): 4
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 5): 6
  • Days I shut my computer down before 9.30 (Goal = 6): 6
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