Ground floor: perfumery
Stationery and leather goods
Wigs and haberdashery
Kitchenware and food
PLUS A CUCKOO CAT
First floor: telephones
Gents’ ready-made suits
Shirts, socks, ties, hats
Underwear and shoes
PLUS A HAPPY CAT
Ground floor: perfumery
Stationery and leather goods
Wigs and haberdashery
Kitchenware and food
PLUS A CUCKOO CAT
First floor: telephones
Gents’ ready-made suits
Shirts, socks, ties, hats
Underwear and shoes
PLUS A HAPPY CAT
Orders yet another cat tower, I think. Two more arrived since the first one. They have a dedicated cat tower out in the Nirvana now, though we will probably rotate them around regularly. There is nothing cats like more than furniture moved to a new place, except more cardboard boxes.
Or perhaps this button plays the next episode of Bridgerton on Netflix. I have seen them all now but certainly would not mind watching it again, that was just delightful.
Christmas was fine, we bought a new table especially so we would have enough room for everyone. Here you see the new table joined to the old table. We were 8 in the Nirvana this year and it was a big day of eating and drinking. Perhaps too much so.
My bestie and her daughter and I were at Aldi on Boxing Day first thing – masked of course – to attempt getting new teevees. There was a 55 inch smart teevee on special. We were successful and I have to say this is the best Christmas present I can remember in recent times – except of course my Lego version of Bunnings which I am to put together soonest. I have gone from three remotes to one and it is a lot easier to use.
The business is still very busy but we have started to put some things in place that free us up a little bit more, and hopefully we can tweak and fine tune that in 2021 to give us more time back.
We got solar installed a couple of weeks ago. If I had known that would be as fascinating as television to The Other Half I would have suggested we do it a long time ago.
The cats and chickens are all well and happy. Both very spoiled as always, of course.
We have been watching The Mandalorian and I love it which is weird as I do not like Star Wars at all. Maybe because it is shorter, maybe because of Baby Yoda, but whatever it is I am fully on board.
What is with everyone who seems to think New Years Eve will magically fix everything 2020 related? Do the fireworks in Sydney Harbour contain some magical virus killing properties we are presently unaware of? Do all the people who died this year magically return to life? It isn’t like a new (possibly – probably – more sane) president gets sworn in at midnight in the US, nor does midnight on NYE instantly solve world hunger or remove any of the things that vex us currently. I think a lot of people are setting themselves up to be very disappointed.
I will simply expect more of the same and I think that will continue for quite a lot of 2021. Hope is a fine thing to have but delusional thinking is another thing entirely and haven’t we seen more than enough of that in 2020?
The delusional thinking of those who think their freedoms (freedumbs perhaps) are more important than the freedoms of others, for those who think they are magically immune to things and thus do not need to mask, for those stuck in a country where the only safe plan is to hunker down inside ones own house because the people outside are determined to do whatever it is they want and f**k everyone else’s wants.. for those who think the colour of their skin entitles them to berate, belittle and outright murder those with differently coloured skin, none of that is going to magically vanish on New Year’s Eve either.
I can’t fix the world. I truly begin to think nobody can. All I can do is focus in on what exists within my own four walls and make that better. So my plan for 2021 is simply that – Home.
Unlike a lot of others home for me includes work, I am very lucky in that respect.
In these next few days between Christmas and New Year I am going to tackle some things at home which have been annoying me for a while. A pantry clean out and reorganize, a fixing of some shelves that have become a dumping place for things which need homes.. those kinds of small jobs that we put off till later but later never appears.
I wish you all the best in 2021
If by chance
(reality) we get the same kind of shyte we got in 2020 I wish you all the patience in the world to deal with it.
Now I press this button and we’ll see what happens next! ;)
To blog, to do things that aren’t work related, to read your blogs, to comment, to just sit and watch teevee. This photo is from my Hawaii trip in 2010 or 2011, I am not sure which one. Wouldn’t it be nice to just sit in the water on some kind of floating device and not have to.. answer messages or the phone or pack website orders for a few days.
But I do not have more time. Right now I have admin work that needs to get done and a bunch of new products that need to be added to the website some of which have been waiting two weeks already since they got here. I finally got the photos taken yesterday in a mad bulk photography session.
Where the f**k did August go? It was our Birthday Month here at the studio and thus it vanished in a haze of giveaways and general celebrations. We posted hundreds of packages and the reason I know that is I have a massive post bill sitting here waiting to be paid.
All of this is quite boring for you folks to read I am certain of that. Other peoples work is not very interesting. So let me mention the cats and chickens. All are well at the moment.
I fear for my oldest chicken. I do that every year when it starts to warm up. Here she is with her sisters on the day we first got them – both her sisters are no longer with us. I know I shouldn’t always see them whenever I see her but I do, I can’t help it. Those three were the ultimate trio, tackling chicken life together. I miss the other two every single time I see her, and I can’t help but think one day I will lose her too.
For now, it is extra blueberries, tomato, corn and tuna for this last sister standing who I adore. She will be ten years old at the end of November and that is a very long life for a chicken.
The kitties received a surprise gift this week. They got a new cat tower. They started playing with it before we even began building it. They are delighted.
Cuckoo kitten has been a godsend for us. She gives us endless laughter and joy. She is so funny. Happy has finally accepted her as a companion and they play together. I have even caught Happy licking Cuckoo from time to time, when she thinks we are not looking. That is how Happy does most things – she will play with toys but if she spots us watching her she stops.
The wonderful lady at the cafe we buy our lunches from did Fisherman’s Pie this week. I was so tempted to buy 7 of them and have it every night for dinner. I settled for four in the end, and the other half has four lasagne. So I do not have to cook dinner for four nights this week. I would have bought some to freeze but our freezer does not have any space to spare – we are doing very well at stocking up and not going shopping very often.
I’m still wearing a mask whenever I go shopping which makes it a chore I don’t enjoy so much. I find it makes me feel like my nose is running – it actually isn’t, it just feels that way. I think it is just having something so close to my nose and having that piece of wire holding the mask in place. I just topped up on fresh foods today so I won’t have to do it again for quite a while other than to get pizza bases and milk from time to time.
Hoping everything is good with you all. :) I better go do this admin work. It isn’t going to do itself lol. ;)
Who knows how many parts this will have in the end? :)
If you are going to join in and blog during this time of self isolation, comment below and I will link to your blog in future installments. It could be interesting for all of us to keep up with how we’re doing together.
9:00AM – I have developed a rather intense need to hunt and gather.
I’m doing a big kitchen stocktake today, to see what we actually need. I suspect the truth is I have already hunted and gathered and can remain calm at home instead. When we next shop we will stock up as much as we can, and then we are staying in as much as possible.
Eggs are a big thing for us, we eat a lot of them and our chooks are not laying at the moment. If I can get a few cartons I will feel better. I’m going to try the farmers market on Thursday where 12 free range eggs cost $10 instead of $6.40 but in this case I am just going to suck it up and pay the extra. Peace of mind is important too.
We have already baked our first bread loaf on Saturday and we ate the last of that yesterday. Bread is not usually a thing for us, especially for me. We’ll limit the loaves to one a week and just eat it in a clump. :)
Also on the agenda for today is washing, which I will rise from the recliner at some future moment to tackle. But right now Cuckoo Kitten is in my footspace – she is very sooky today and I’m just going to enjoy that for now.
4:00pm – Kitchen stocktake is complete. We’re looking pretty good for staples and tinned foods, though I still have one cupboard to do. Chicken Roaster is in the oven. We only have 5 potatoes left so.. that is on the to-buy list.
5:00pm – the other cupboard is complete. Happy days.
If you are looking for something to listen to, Tom Hanks was on the Clear + Vivid podcast recently, and this week Betty White is the guest. I’m about to go listen to that now. I’ll probably post again on Friday and let you know how things are going here. :)
May you live in interesting times, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.. I’m not sure if the hunt for toilet paper is interesting but fortunately for me, we’re good in that area. We don’t use much and we’ve got enough for probably two months. BUT – and here is the problem – if I see some, I likely will buy some. And that is what everyone else is doing, which is the entire problem in a nutshell.
Said nutshell has now spread to other goods, which is troubling. But we’re set for a couple of weeks, so we’re mostly just going to hunker down and wait it out. The trouble there being, I think in a couple of weeks we will be in a very different situation which makes me want to go out and stock up, which is also the entire problem in a nutshell. If we don’t do this now, will we regret it later? I do not know. Do I want to find out? Not really.
I hate to be the voice of doom but I have a very bad feeling about leaving the schools open. Kids might not be affected very badly but they can carry it well, and if they bounce between school, a crowded bus, home where perhaps their parents have picked this up from their work, a crowded bus then back to school, what might they bring along with them to infect the other children? And what about the teachers? Not cool, Scomo. Not cool at all.
If I had a kid they would not be going to school at this time. If you have kids I’d pull them out of there if you can.
Steer clear of public toilets because nobody shuts the lid when they flush, is my second piece of unsolicited advice.
Re-reading The Stand by Stephen King is likely the worst idea of all time at this time but I’m doing it all the same. Don’t do it, is my final piece of advice to you.
Cats, chooks, humans are all well at this time. We’ve both had a bit of an inner ear thing for a while now but that is survivable. The Other Half has started his Uni course, and I am busy with the business, when I can get some stock in. That is certainly going to be Not Very Easy for a while with so few planes flying.
The cats seem to be getting along with each other reasonably well, well enough that they don’t like to be too far from each other. If they are sleeping it usually is in the same room.
Sure, Happy will still sometimes whack her on the head impatiently, but Cuckoo is persistent in her attempts to hug Happy, and more and more often now, Happy just rolls her eyes and allows her to do it. When Happy thinks we are not looking, she will play with Cuckoo. Happy does not realise we have cameras in the kitchen which is their favourite play time area, and we can watch from afar.
Anyway, that is our current mostly boring status. To be fair I do not want interesting now.
“Can you believe those chickens” says Happy?
Hey Zazzy I am posting this especially for you, please forgive the disjointed state of this post. It has been pretty full on here. I’ve been writing this post for a week – there is a before, and an after.
I want to say a big thank you to those who have reached out whether on their blog or privately by email – it is much appreciated. ;) I am feeling the love.
BEFORE – Tuesday February 4th 2020 –
My most prized possessions (pictured in the first three photos) are not presently in this house. They may return this week, if we get the predicted rain. I vowed they would not return to the house until we got 100mls of rain. We are at just under 65mm at the moment, so still some more work to do there weather.
There was a day in January that we evacuated. Do you know how much trouble I had picking out my most treasured possessions? And once I had done it, I was just emotionally unable to pack them up. The Other Half had to do it, and still I get emotional trying to even talk about it.
The day before we evacuted – a Friday from memory – we packed up the business and much of the shed stuff including our servers (which is why the site went offline the first time) and drove it up to a friends house near Shellharbour, about an hours drive north.
That night we went to get fuel in the van after dropping all the stuff off, and the fuel station was packed full of fire trucks. I don’t know why but the tears just started falling down my face and I couldn’t make it stop. Partly because I’d been listening to them on the scanner, partly because by this point three firefighters had been killed in the process of doing their volunteer job that they were not being paid for, partly because I was happy to see these folks had made it safely through their day that day..
I can’t explain it. This happened to me more than once. How do you even begin to say thank you? How do you even try to say how ashamed you are at how they have been treated by our own Prime Minister and politicians?
The following morning we took ourselves, the cats and chickens, my parents, a suitcase of clothes and the computers. I did not realise when we left that the predicted change would be coming through about 11pm that night – which meant we would not be returning home that day. I was unprepared for this event and ended up sleeping on a couch.
The Other Half had a camping mattress on the floor, my parents got the spare bed. The cats and chickens were accommodated for free at a vet up that way who had offered to take in displaced pets in their boarding facility. I do not think they expected chickens but they took them in and looked after them.
The chickens were entirely baffled by these events. First their coop door did not open that morning – deliberately programmed not to by us. They were placed into the Red Transport Carrier as a surprise, and loaded into the car. Most of them have been in the car before for a short trip but they were quite shocked by this hour long venture.
It reminded me of a video I have seen of pigs in a bathtub. The pigs make a bit of a fuss when placed into the water, then they relax and make some gentle oinking, then one of them moves and they all kind of freak out again. I can’t find the video or I’d post it.
The next day we returned home with cats and chickens to find the house still standing, though covered in ash and burnt leaves, even burnt twigs this time. We were physically and emotionally exhausted, but once the cats and chickens were re-installed to their correct places, we made the trek back up to pick up all our belongings we’d taken up on Friday. We unpacked the shed stuff and the business stuff, and tried to get back to normal.
But normal is a different thing now. Impossible to describe. Everyone is so much more friendly. There is a real sense of community which was mostly lacking before.
This is as far as I got writing the first part of this post before we got very busy with life and the business and also a new weather event, so now..
AFTER – Tuesday 11th February.
We’ve had rain. SO MUCH RAIN. Remember we were at 65mls?
That is 308mm in the space of a week. My belongings are back in the house. Would it surprise you to learn I’ve had just as much trouble unpacking them? The suitcase is still full. But this is more a lack of time thing than a lack of want to thing. The business has taken off this past few weeks and we have just been so flat out.
I went to the local show recently and met a couple of the firefighters I’d heard on the radio a lot in person. This time the sight of fire trucks did not make me cry, but I did have a chance to try and express my thank you in person. One of them I know for a fact much of their hard work prevented the fire getting any closer to where we live.
One of the reasons I do not post here so much anymore is something I am really struggling with – online anonymity. I can’t be anonymous with the business. It is at our house, where we live. I’ve had to put myself out there and it has been very scary for someone who carefully built their online alias.
When I’ve wanted to tell you about it, I know that anything I say could lead the intelligent folks who read this blog to my own doorstep – and some of them might not be friendly types. You know, those Nigerian scammers I got arrested, or those whose fake cheques I collected which cost them money. But I want to tell you what I am doing! So I will likely write a password protected post soon and you’ll have to email me for the password.
In the meantime, we are safe, the water has mostly drained away, while it is a bit soggy underfoot still and the chooks doing well but they are a muddy mess we’ve all survived this season of fire and water.
Our Cuckoo Kitten is now a Mini-Cat. This photo does not give you an accurate concept of her lankiness. She is delightful. She adores Happy. The feeling is not at all mutual. Happy is not a big fan, but she is tolerating her, and sometimes when we are not looking, she will play and actually enjoy it! But as soon as she sees us looking.. she is back to pretending not to like the Mini-cat.
There is so much more but it is getting late and I’m going to post this and head to bed.
I can use this mobile screen above to block this area off, if I don’t want folks to see it. At the moment it is blocking off the drying area and my private lounge area –
The drying area is a suntrap for the kitties and they have cat towers to recline in and enjoy the sun here. Usually one or the other is in the round basking area – in the next photo you see Happy has made her way there.
My area is screened off from the bright sun area – too much light gives me a headache. I have my recliner, the other half has his Ikea chair, the treadmill is back behind me near the curtains out of the way.
My candle shelf has been moved here from the entryway. I got rid of all the DVD covers of movies, they have all been stored in special bulk dvd storage folios. I kept the DVDs that are series, at least for now. The DVD shelves moved into the studio where they hold arty things now. Looking at this photo I see I still have some cord hiding work to do here.
My much reduced books have a small bookshelf here in the corner – these are the ones I don’t have in digital format. Everything else which I do have in digital format has either been sold or donated.
And now a couple of studio pics. We did a lot of work in this room. There are four tables all of which are fabric covered and I will be getting plastic covering for those arty things we will want to do which are messy. For now the arty stuff we are doing is not messy. There are 14 chairs all of which were re-upholstered in a gorgeous teal and blue fabric.
One of the studio walls is devoted to kits I have in stock or photos of kits on the way, with a couple of posters in between.
This has been a huge effort and I couldn’t have done it without the awesome Other Half, of course. Now we’re all set up and things are going pretty well. I have some dedicated regular students already and the kits sell very fast, oftentimes even before they arrive here. If only Australia Post would get their act together I would have more stuff I could sell. :)
When we were creating our home business where people would be coming into the house regularly, we thought carefully about how we could separate our private areas from the “public” areas. We’ve always made use of “door curtains” to keep the heat in the parts of the house we were heating so we thought we could use curtains to do this job quite effectively. It has worked out well thus far with one painful exception – more on that later!
Above you can see the curtain that leads to my lounge area. I don’t go through that one at all, I consider it like a brick wall that cannot be opened. This is partly due to the lamp and coat rack which sits in front of the curtain, and partly because I prefer to go the long way around.
Now it is like you have walked in the front door – here is what you would see if you did. Some art on the walls which I am loving the position of right now but I do have another artwork in mind for this area once I create it. You see the kitchen benchtop and the mat that marks the studio entrance – more on that below.
In this case you see right through to The Other Half’s office area – but if you were coming here to visit the studio you would not see that at all, it is screened off by the curtain you can see –
This curtain screens two ways – when nobody is popping in, we use it to screen off the guest bathroom and toilet – we no longer use them, they are purely for visitors now. When people are visiting, this curtain swings across to block off the hallway – otherwise known as Other Half World. His gaming room and home office are down this hallway as well as the laundry and our bedroom/ensuite etc.
Behind that curtain the toilet and guest bathroom are patiently waiting for their next visitor. I’ve got some lovely reed diffusers in these rooms that smell like coconut and mango, it is heavenly in there.
Also in this area, we have used curtains to “hide” a couple of shelving units. This one above hides all my tupperware containers. We’ve also made signs to let people know these doors are private areas – the spare bedroom and linen closet which actually holds no linen but contains things like the breadmaker and other appliances.
And this shelf curtain which hides our medicine baskets, oven trays and casserole dishes. This sofa can be used by visitors if they want to take a break from the studio and sit down on the lounge to drink their coffee/tea/hot chocolate. We keep rugs on it so the cats can’t fur it up, we can take those off in a second if we need to.
At the studio entrance I have used this mat to remind people to watch their step. The studio was once a garage and there is a small step down into it which we have mitigated with this rubber ramp mat from Bunnings.
We have used another curtain to block off the kitchen from the areas behind it. This is where the painful exception happens – the dishwasher door is right next to the curtain and twice I have unloaded the dishwasher and left the door open intending to return and fill it..
I’ve then gone off to do something else and forget the door is open, when I go back through the curtain I hit the door with a leg or ankle. Two bruises thus far, I am hopeful that will be enough to learn not to do that again. :)
On Wednesday I will show you a little more of what we’ve been up to here. ;)
It was a public holiday Monday which living in a Tourist Town means you could go somewhere as long as you pick the right direction but getting back would be Not Fun. So we spent our day cleaning, doing the washing and cooking.
My sausage roll recipe is super simple as long as you have a food processor. Throw in the quantities you like of the following vegetables –
Green capsicum (peppers)
Whizz that up nice, then add 500g beef mince and one egg. Whizz that up some more, then lay the mince out on half a sheet of puff pastry, put egg wash on the opposite edge, and roll.
Once you have made enough to fill an oven tray, egg wash the tops of the sausage roll and sprinkle on a parmesan and herb mix. I tend to use my chip sprinkle which is paprika, garlic powder, parsley, mustard powder, black pepper, cinnamon, a touch of low sodium chicken stock powder, rosemary and any other herbs I feel like throwing in when I am making it.
We made 3x 500g beef mince packs. We ate a few for lunch, then all the other sausage rolls go in the freezer for a quick dinner at a later time. There’s 92 packaged up and frozen from this particular sausage roll venture plus a few to be heated up later for tonights dinner.
That’s what we’re cooking – what else is happening?
Watching – Chernobyl. We’re about to watch episode 3. Yes it is not an easy watch but it is an important watch.
Listening – to the Chernobyl podcast which goes along with the show.
Working – on a checklist for opening and closing the shop I work in – on Saturdays I now open and close and I have my own key. I am deeply enjoying my work and it is wonderful to be appreciated for the work I do, which is a novel concept after my last workplace where my boss really did not care or notice what I did.
Wondering – about the coincidences of life – my other half applied for one job which would work in better with going to Uni full time, he got the job and it turns out it is in the same building as the shop I work in. How bizarre is that?
Adding – a new treadmill to my space. A friend did not need theirs anymore so it came to live with us.
Eating – Thai Coconut Icecream which came as part of dinner we bought last week. The other food was just so-so but this icecream is amazing, I definitely want more of it.
Ordering – more protein as I am about to run out, it just arrived last week.
Wearing – my new brooches which arrived recently, they are gorgeous, especially the Bee. Click on this image for a larger view. :)
Our Easter long weekend was mostly a lot of lazing around. This year so far has been go go go for both of us, a lot of family outings, quite a bit of work for me, work and uni for the other half, just busy-ness in general.
Living in an area where a lot of tourists – referred to by some locals as another T word much less flattering – visit on long weekends, public holidays and school holidays, a staycation is your best way to avoid long queues, busy restaurants, sometimes badly cooked meals or meals you had to wait a very long time to arrive, and much traffic.
Once I left work on Thursday, we did not go near another shop and I will not until I go back to the shop tomorrow. Part of that is thanks to getting back into meal planning and a fortnightly shop.
We did go out for one long walk down to our former neighbourhood Callala Bay / Beach. We chose that instead of Huskisson as they were having a rather large event. They do have quite a good network of walking and cycling paths down that way now, so it is always a more peaceful option we can use if Husky/Vincentia is crazy busy.
We are never quite sure if a decision will be a good one until we are on our way there. In this case we feared the worst because the traffic was quite heavy on the way down but once we got there the people all went different ways and the walking paths were mostly free of insanity.
We did a 10km run/walk. I like to split my 10kms into two halves because the first 5km is where I usually run – in this case it was the first 2km and then some sprints – and the second 5km is a bit more leisurely. It was very hot out – almost 30C (86F) so we paced ourselves.
Part of this was through the neighbourhood known as Benton Sands which is a very lovely development. They have a community centre and pool and I believe the plantings were all supposed to be Australian native plants which does make for a more natural environment. It also does mean a bit more hayfever at this time of year, at least for us.
We passed this large group of swans feeding. I’ve never seen this many swans in one place at one moment before.
We ended up at the Boat Ramp on our way back to the car which is always great entertainment on a long weekend. It was absolutely packed with cars and boat trailers. BOATS AKIMBO. Absolute madness!
At home there was much coffee..
And cake.. which made me fit in another 5km run on Monday around our home block, in which I encountered a very large spider just hanging out on the ground for no apparent reason and let out an incredibly loud scream as a surprise to myself and though I did not ask I suspect also as a surprise to the spider. I went back and took a photo, which I suppose is a step in the right direction towards not being quite so terrified of those creatures. I will not share it here because That Is Not How I Roll.
At home there was The Bus at least once a day, AKA Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I’m not much into the Marvel universe at the best of times and I couldn’t tell you anything about the movies but I love this show and their bus – aka the massive plane – is super cool.
I also binged Season 5 of Bosch which was deeply excellent, caught a few episodes of various shows which I am watching weekly at the moment in particular Line of Duty, LOVING Project Runway with Christian Siriano as the mentor, 24 Hours in Police Custody, COPS, and my one hate watch, Sister Wives. I like the wives, I just HATE the guy and therefore it is beyond my understanding how he has collected up 4 wives who can stand to spend as much as one minute near him.
Sephyroth and I caught up for a lovely video chat in which he updated me about a work conference he went to, sounds like it was awesome. I caught him up on all our happenings here.
I brought home the work laptop for the weekend so I could try and clear out some extra space on there, deleting useless games and various Windows junk which nobody wants or needs.
I also sat down with the Spreadsheet Maestro AKA The Other Half and we created a couple of things which will make my work life a lot easier. I’m fired up and super excited to get back to work today, then I have a couple of days off in which I will run quite a bit, and then a little more work.
How was your weekend – long or short? :)