Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Category: Wednesday W’s (Page 1 of 3)

Wednesday W’s #25.

What’s top of my mind: how lovely it is to travel.

Don’t get me wrong – I love being in The Best House in Melbourne and I’m as happy as a little hermit when I’m there.

But I can’t deny that sitting here on the 5th floor of the Sebel Hotel in Manly, in the sun, hearing the sea and seeing the waves glinting through the trees… life is pretty sweet.

Where I’ve been: Manly Beach.

In fact, I’m still here! It’s June’s Little Adventure. Post to come, though I’ve written about it in detail on the frogblog.

Where I’m going: Heading for home tomorrow.

It’s a shame. It’s been lovely here, but apparently I’ve missed some pretty awful weather in Melbourne, so I can’t complain.

What I’m watching: Better Call Saul.

I’ve decided to use my Little Adventure evening downtime to catch up on this show. I’m halfway through season 3 at the moment. Gus is in it, which is exciting.

What I’m reading: Sally Hepworth.

In the first few days of this Little Adventure I polished off not one, but two Sally Hepworth novels. The Mother-in-Law and The Younger Wife. I couldn’t put them down.

They were both SO GOOD! Hepworth is from Melbourne and I really enjoyed reading stories set in the suburbs and places I know. Her characters are beautifully portrayed and the situations they find themselves in are gripping. I can highly recommend these novels and I’ll be hunting down the rest of her work when I get back.

What I’m listening to: Birthright by Fiona Lowe. And the sea.

I’ve downloaded 3 audiobooks by Fiona Lowe, another Aussie author, thinking that I might need lots of listening things. A 1,000 KM drive each way means there’s a lot of hours in the car to fill!

However, I’m still barely through the first 3rd of this book. I caught up on my podcasts along the drive up, and since I’ve been here in this beachside hotel I’ve spent a lot of time with the door to my balcony open, just listening to the rhythmic sound of the sea.

What I’m eating: Pre-prepared salads and sourdough.

When I go away on a holiday by myself, I tend to race around and see things during the day and then, when it gets towards twilight, head back to the room to spend my evenings. Safety first! There are a few crazies out there and I’d prefer not to run into one.

This trip, I decided to try some of the frozen meals and pre-packed salads at Coles and Woolworths to see what they’re like.

The verdict on the salads? Pretty darned good.

The frozen meals? Last night I had the WORST meal ever. Supposedly chicken and leek pie, it was a disgusting mush.

Thank goodness I also had some delicious sourdough bread rolls that I smeared with hommus. Saved the day!

Tonight’s lamb rogan josh had better be ok. I only have one sourdough roll left.

What I’m planning: lunch with a blogging friend.

Frogdancer Jones and Fifi La Stupenda (which may not be our real names) first met in real life 13 years ago when I was last in Sydney. It was a blog meet so the Sydney girls could meet me – from Melbourne – and generally just have a nice girls’ night out.

Since then we haven’t clapped eyes on each other again, but we’ve stayed in touch via FB. We met for brunch yesterday and had such a good time that we’re having lunch again today. She swims every day at Manly Beach. Not 5 minutes ago we were waving at each other – she on the foreshore, me on the balcony – and we’ll grab a bite to eat once she’s finished her swim.

Who needs a good slap: Everyone who has crowded out Easter Island so I can’t go there.

Yes, I’ve paid for flights, accommodation and insurance for Antarctica, but Easter Island is off the itinerary. After the cruise was impossible – all booked out. Before the cruise was possible, but my travel agent said, “I’m seeing that they’re cancelling a lot of flights. I’d hate for you to be stranded there and miss your cruise. You said Antarctica was the main reason you’re travelling, right?”

So yes. No Easter Island. Maybe next time.

What has made me smile: Fifi’s conviction that I’d love to swim in the ocean.

LOL.

I don’t even do that in the summer, unless it’s about 45C and I’m right by the beach. I didn’t even pack my bathers. She said that I could swim in my underwear, but I don’t think I want to ruin the ambience of Manly Beach so cruelly.

Dad joke of the day:

Wednesday W’s #24

What’s top of my mind: Getting Things Done.

There are a few things I’d like to tick off my ‘to-do’ list before I jump in the car on Friday and start driving north. I have no idea how many I’ll be able to complete, but we’ll see how I go.

Where I’ve been: Flight Centre.

Argh!!!!

As my travel agent said, “There are no difficult clients, just difficult itineraries!”

She needs more time to work out a flyer-friendly way to get there and back. Not to Sydney, but to South America!

There are problems with both putting Easter Island first or after Antarctica.

She said she’d let me know by Thursday.

Where I’m going: Sydney for June’s Little Adventure!

Have I packed? No.

Have I planned anything? Only my accommodation on the way there and while I’m in Sydney.

Am I concerned? Not yet! I might start to wonder what I’m going to do with my time once I’m driving on the way up, though.

What I’m watching: Better Call Saul, The Boys and Obi-Wan.

The Umbrella Academy is out now, too!

What I’m reading: ‘The Other Side of Beautiful’ by Kim Lock

I chose this book purely because I like to have an eBook on the go and it was available immediately on Borrowbox. It’s a hidden gem.

It’s primarily set in the Outback, with vivid descriptions of the land. I’ve never been, but now I want to go even more! Let’s face it – every Aussie needs to see Uluru at least once in their lives. It’s a rite of passage.

Plus, the protagonist owns a sausage dog. I approve.

What I’m listening to: Tom30 talking about real estate.

Tom30 is a few weeks away from being able to throw his hat into the real estate market and it’s practically all he can talk about.

Luckily, I don’t mind a bit of real estate talk and I LOVE going to open houses. The last few Saturdays we’ve been galloping through units and apartments in his price range.

I have to say, 500K doesn’t buy much nowadays.

What I’m eating: Schnitzels.

I love me a schnitty! I can handle a parma but I prefer a plain schnitzel. I’m a woman of simple tastes.

Mum is still in the rehab hospital – they’re keeping her in for another week – so I’m having Dad over for dinner tonight before I go away. Schnitzels have been defrosted and are ready for crumbing!

What I’m planning: How and when I’m going to post my thermomix off to the spa.

My first thermomix is now 10 years old. She’s served me very well, both as an easy way to cook and as a business tool when I was a thermomix consultant.

She’s been used almost every day during those 10 years and she needs to have a service. This is how good these machines are – the button for the scales has disintegrated but the scales still work!

That’s going above and beyond.

If I post her to the service centre before I go, she might return to the house before I get back. Seems like a good use of the time to me. My sister has suggested that I trade her in for a brand-new tm6, but there’s no way I’m parting with my tm31. You’ll have to prise her from my cold, dead hands.

The boys will still have my tm5, as well as Ryan27’s tm31 and Tom30’s tm5, so they’ll be able to feed themselves.

Who needs a good slap: People who are clogging up the direct flights to South America to and from Australia.

Seriously – why should I have to fly into Los Angeles to get down to South America? It’ll be a 50 hour flight!!

Still, if I have to set foot on North American soil, that’ll mean that by the time I reach Antarctica I’ll have visited all 7 continents. This has never been a bucket list for me, but I feel incredibly lucky to be so close to ticking this off.

We live in an amazing time.

What has made me smile: Jeffrey.

Just look at the photo at the top of the post.

He’s a doofus. Dumb as a box of bricks.

But he’s MY doofus.

Dad joke of the day:

Wednesday W’s #23

What’s top of my mind: Why the news is so sensational.

Ok, so the share market went down today. A lot.

I was watching 9 News last night and the way they were reporting it – you’d swear that boatloads of Vikings had swarmed in and raped and pillaged everyone’s Superannuation accounts. According to them, everyone’s retirements are fu#*ed.

Seriously? Get a fu#*ing grip.

I’m not saying that things won’t be rough for a while. But it won’t last forever. The doom and gloom reporting was eyebrow-raising.

Still, having said that, I think I’ve made the right decision to do CRT work at the moment. I have my contingency plan for a bear market, but having some income trickling in while a bear market is happening within the first 5 years of my retirement seems to be a very good decision.

Where I’ve been: Wedding dress shopping (again).

This time it was at a place in Oakleigh. They gave each of us a glass of pink champagne while we were there.

Fancy!

Where I’m going: another wedding dress expedition.

Izzy tried on a dress that she loved. Months ago. At a place on the other side of the city.

Despite having tried on MANY other ones, apparently the Deer Park dress is “the one”. She’s booking an appointment this week to go back.

What I’m watching: Peaky Blinders (season 6.)

A kid who was in Tom30’s year level at school is in this season as one of the major characters. I’ve been meaning to watch this show for years – it’s been on my Netflix watchlist since I first bought a subscription.

When I heard James Frecheville was in this final season, I finally started watching. Now I’ve only got 5 episodes left to go.

What I’m reading: More Anne Tyler.

I’m halfway through The Accidental Tourist and I have Clock Dance waiting by my bed. I read The Accidental Tourist decades ago but I can’t remember much about it, so seeing as I’m reading as much Anne Tyler as I can lay my hands on, I picked up this novel again.

I SO love Tyler’s writing. She’s a master at understated prose.

What I’m listening to: The Teacher’s Trial.

Many of you would have heard (or heard about) the podcast called The Teacher’s Pet, which investigated the disappearance of Lyn Dawson, a married mother of two little girls. This happened 40 years ago. At the time, her husband was having an affair with one of his 17 year old students. What a delightful man he must have been. #sarcasm

This podcast was riveting, especially when it started uncovering the toxic predatory culture of the 1970’s secondary school scene on Sydney’s northern beaches. It was gobsmacking.

Anyway, he’s now on trial for the murder of his wife Lynette. This new podcast is following the trial, week by week. I only recently found out about it so I’m playing catch-up.

What I’m eating: See the photo at the top of this post.

I decided to make not only bread rolls for lunches, but also ham and cheese scrolls. I think the boys’ll like ’em.

What I’m planning: my upcoming Sydney holiday.

Yesterday I realised that in less than 2 weeks’ time I’ll be heading off for a week in Manly Beach.

I booked it a couple of months ago when it dawned on me that unless I booked something from my timeshare before June 30, I’d be losing lots of points I’d paid for.

Not on my watch!

Since then, this holiday has been comfortably filed in “the future” part of my brain. Looks like I’m going to have to get cracking and work out some fun things to do while I’m there. I’ve already done the Bridge climb the last time I was here – 12 years ago when I brought the boys with me.

Surely there are some good things to do in Sydney? Any ideas?

Who needs a good slap: Flight Centre.

It’s been a week since I walked to their shop in Southland, only to be told that they only accept appointments. WTF????

Anyway, Olga (the woman monitoring the line outside the door) asked me where I wanted to go, then asked me to email all the particulars of Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, Santiago, and Easter Island and she’d get right back to me.

It’s been a week, as I said before. I think we can all agree that I’ve been patient. I sent a follow-up email this morning and have heard nothing all day. Maybe it’s time for another travel agent.

(Starting to wonder if this holiday is cursed…)

What has made me smile: the dogs when they saw Dad.

While Mum’s in the rehab hospital with her fractured pelvis, I’ve decided to have Dad around for dinner every week, mainly to give him something different to do while he’s Home Alone.

On Monday night he opened the front gate so quietly that the little woofs didn’t hear him. The joy when I opened the front door and they realised that someone they like was there!

They love it when their people come over.

Dad joke of the day:

Wednesday W’s #22

What’s top of my mind: My trip to Antarctica is ON, baby!!!

After hearing nothing from my travel company despite repeated attempts from me to contact them, a simple request for info on their Facebook page did the trick. The trip is on, I’ve made a further payment and I’m now waiting on quotes from travel agents for flights and a possible side trip to Easter Island.

Easter island looks EXPENSIVE … even the flight there and back from Santiago will probably cost a thousand dollars, but hey. I’m only going to do it once. (If I do it…)

If anyone has a recommendation for a good travel agent – preferably in Melbourne in the south-eastern/bayside suburbs – I’d love to hear from you. I’m waiting on a quote from Flight Centre, but it wouldn’t hurt to get ideas from other people too.

Where I’ve been: to visit Dad.

A few days ago Mum had another fall and was carted off to hospital. At first we thought she’d broken her hip, but instead, she’s fractured her pelvis. Not as bad as a broken hip, true, but it’ll still take a long while to mend.

She won’t be home for weeks, so Dad is now needing to be looked after. He can look after himself physically – (though he asked my sister how to cook pasta and he wasn’t kidding…), but he’ll be feeling it mentally as Mum stays away in rehab. He’s never lived on his own.

Where I’m going: To Coles for one more week.

Dave from Strong Money Australia put me onto using Flybuys to get free groceries. Once he explained how he and his partner do it, I signed up straight away and waited to get the offer. I’m on my third week of buying $50 of groceries from Coles. One more week and I get a $50 free voucher for Coles groceries.

It’s fun perusing the catalogue, then going shopping with my calculator to make sure I’m not spending way over $50 each time. The only annoying thing about it is when I go to Aldi to do the rest of my shopping and I find out they’re selling their cauliflower for $1.50 less than what I just paid for one at Coles. D’Oh!

What I’m watching: The Midwich Cuckoos.

Most people have heard of The Day of the Triffids – one of the best sci-fi books ever written. I absolutely love John Wyndham’s writing. His ideas are still so fresh and even though his language may have dated – it’s very English 1950’s – I’ll challenge anyone to a bout of fisticuffs who says he’s a bad writer.

The Midwich Cuckoos isn’t one of my favourites to be honest – that honour goes to The Chrysalids, which is set in a post-apocalyptic future in a fundamentalist Christian town which frowns upon any physical aberrations. So how will they cope with a difference that cannot be seen? Oh, how I loved this novel!

Triffids and Choccy are also very good. I have a feeling that if I read The Trouble With Lichen when I was older, I would probably have liked it more. Even though I haven’t read it for decades, I still sometimes find myself thinking about it…

Anyway, back to The Midwich Cuckoos! It’s an interesting premise – for 12 hours or so everyone in a little English town falls unconscious and the town is cut off from everyone. Once the ‘blackout’ finishes, everyone appears to be fine – except that every woman of childbearing age is pregnant. Who are these babies and where/how have they come from?

There’s a limited series on Stan. I’m halfway through and enjoying it very much, though I don’t know why they’ve changed the character of Dr Zellaby from male to female. There doesn’t seem to be any narrative reason. Anyway, that’s a small quibble.

What I’m reading: The Hypnotist’s Love Story.

Say what you like about Liane Moriarty, the woman can write a cracking good yarn! I read this novel in 2 days.

We often hear about women getting stalked by an ex-boyfriend, but what if the genders are switched?

What I’m listening to: Casefile.

I’ve let my podcasts mount up a bit, so when I was working on my quilt today I listened to a couple of episodes of Casefile. One was absolutely crazy. Another female stalker – be careful out there, fellas!

What I’m eating: Twisties.

Well, it wasn’t exactly my fault. I had just over $1 to make up my $50 shop and small packets of Twisties were going for $1.10.

I can’t lie. It was really nice settling down with my book on the couch and munching through them.

What I’m planning: shopping for thermal underduds.

I HATE the cold. Hate it with a passion. Rumour has it that Antarctica is on the chilly side, even in the middle of summer.

Sometime soon, I’ll have to go shopping for thermals, a good weatherproof coat and some gloves that will let me still use my iPhone to take photos.

Anyone know where I should start looking?

Who needs a good slap: Me.

Because I’ve been working a fair bit, I’ve fallen behind on the quilt-a-long schedule for the crazy 5,000+ piece quilt. I’ve done two big blocks today, so if I keep on plugging away like that I’ll get back to where I’m meant to be.

A couple of people have finished already and have posted their quilt tops of Facebook. It’s spurred me on!

What has made me smile: Having a few days off.

I’ve been working full-time for almost a month, but the school’s main campus has exams this week and so there are more teachers available to look after classes. Far less work for CRT’s.

I have to confess that my lazy mornings reading and inter-webbing on the couch is something I treasure. So do the dogs. It’s not a bad thing to be reminded of why I retired in the first place…

Dad joke of the day:

Wednesday W’s #21.

What’s top of my mind: Helping Tom30 with his house deposit.

The boys know that I’m not in a position to be The Bank of Mum and Dad when they’re looking to put a deposit down on a home. My gift to them is the same gift my parents have given my brother, my sister and me – to be financially independent in their old age so they’re not a financial drain on their kids.

Tom30 has floated the idea that I might help out… I’ve said no to hints that I might go guarantor or that I might lend a sizeable chunk of money. If he was an only child it might be different, but with any help given having to be multiplied by 4? Forget it.

However, he asked if I’d be prepared to lend him the money to pay off his car at the end of the year when he’ll be in a serious position to start looking. It’ll be around the 5K mark by then. I told him I’d be prepared to do this for him. I know without a doubt that he’ll pay me back, and having this debt wiped from his liabilities would mean that the banks would look at him slightly more favourably.

It’s such a fine line between wrapping them in cotton wool and weakening them by helping too much, or not helping enough and putting them behind the 8 ball! He doesn’t know that I’m saving his $50/week board to give back to him when he moves out.

I don’t know – I’m happy that I’m in a position where I can do this for the boys. I really wish I could help them more, but I’m definitely not prepared to put my own financial standing at risk. I’ve worked too hard for that!

(The boys’ father suggested to Tom30 that instead of borrowing the money from him, he should ask my father for a loan… “He has HEAPS of money.” Wow. Seriously??? Every now and then I get a little reminder as to why I left him all those years ago.)

Where I’ve been: 5 minutes in the most stressful place ever.

Every teacher in a school gets a set of keys to use. We lock most classrooms after every period, especially those rooms like music rooms and computer labs that have expensive equipment in them. We all know that we have to guard those keys with our lives. If a set of keys go missing, then every single lock has to be changed in the entire school, along with issuing new keys to every single staff member. In our school, there are over 200 people who work here.

Imagine how expensive that would be?

At the end of the day yesterday I handed in my laptop and my lanyard and walked to my car. I’d just started the engine when the principal of the campus phoned me.

“Frogdancer, you’ve handed in the lanyard with no key fob.”

My blood went cold. This meant that the fob had fallen off somewhere. The classroom I’d been working in didn’t need to be locked, so I hadn’t looked for the fob at the end of the day. It could be anywhere – and anyone could’ve found it. Shit…

Luckily, the class I’d had after lunch for a double period was so quiet that I’d barely got up from my desk to walk around. I’d had a full lunchtime in the staff room because I’d had recess yard duty that day. The areas where it could ossibly have fallen off were pretty limited. I told the principal where I’d been teaching and he said he’d call me back with any news.

I kept driving. I felt sick with stress. This is the one thing that everyone dreads. Why am I doing this? I don’t need this stress in my life! Is avoiding Sequence of Returns Risk worth it? I’ve pretty much covered my share of David28’s wedding. Does Tom30 really need me to loan him the money for his car? Maybe I should just go back to my beautiful retirement life?

A couple of minutes later the phone rang. He’d found the keyfob on my chair. It must’ve fallen off as I bent over to pick up my bag and laptop at the end of the day.

PHEW!!!! I drove home, listening to my audiobook and feeling like all was well with the world.

This morning when I came in, the receptionist in the office said that they’d noticed that every single lanyard had dodgy clips on them. They’ve fixed them. So maybe my panic-stricken moment was actually a gift to the school…?

Still – how great is it that I’m in a position to instantly decide whether or not to keep working? For anyone still working on getting your F-You fund together – keep going! It’s worth it. The stress I felt until I got the second phone call would’ve been so much worse if I’d not had the option to walk away if I wanted to.

Where I’m going: to the supermarket.

I’ve accepted a Flybuys quest to spend $50/week for a month at Coles to earn a $50 voucher. Sounds like free food to me! Once I publish this post, I’ll have a look at the weekly specials and work out what I’m going to buy this week.

Once I spend $50, I’ll pick up the rest of what we need from Aldi.

What I’m watching: a loom video on the trenches in WWI.

I’ve just come out of a year 9 history class where they watched a video made by their teacher before they were to go on and complete some work. I found it interesting – my great-grandfather fought for the English in those trenches.

I told them his story. How, as a young married father of two he did the patriotic thing and signed up for the war. He was allowed some time to go home when his wife was due to give birth to their third child. It was an awful labour – the baby was 13 lb/6 kg and both he and his mother nearly died. My great grandfather overstayed his leave until he was sure they’d both live.

When he reported back late for duty, they sent him to the front lines as a punishment. He was dead in a week.

What I’m reading: A Single Thread – Tracy Chevalier.

I’m enjoying this book, even though I’ve never tackled embroidery and I don’t intend to try! I remember going to my Mum’s cousin’s house as a child and seeing embroidery literally EVERYWHERE. It put me off.

Clearly, the author visited Winchester cathedral and noticed the kneeling pads and cushions, and researched how and when they were made.

What I’m listening to: A Home Like Ours – Fiona Lowe.

I just finished this audiobook this morning on my way to work. It’s a marathon 16 hours worth of listening time. I enjoyed the story. Now the plan is to get back to the podcasts that have been stacking up! Then, once I whip them into shape, then I’ll borrow another audiobook.

What I’m eating: leftover goulash.

A few nights ago I made the most delectable goulash using a Skinnymixer’s recipe in the slow cooker. There was enough left over for two serves. Tom30 said he’d probably buy a pizza tonight, so Ryan27 and I will be so happy to tuck into the rest of the goulash!

What I’m planning: a delicious meal for tonight!

See above.

Who needs a good slap:

Whoever designed the dodgy clips on the lanyards. If my hair wasn’t already going grey, it would’ve started when I got that first phone call from the principal.

What has made me smile: 9H.

I taught 9 of these kids in year 7 and I haven’t caught up with most of them since I’ve been back. It was so lovely to see them all again.

It’s especially nice that they’re in a great class who are all quietly working. The loudest sound in the room is my keyboard as I’m typing this.

This class is a CRT’s dream!

Dad joke of the day:

I don’t know why some people insist on using fractions instead of decimals.

They’re pointless.

Wednesday W’s #20.

What’s top of my mind: I haven’t heard from the company that has my deposit for Antarctica in December.

Yeah. I’m not happy.

I’ve repeatedly emailed, both to the people from the company who were organising it last year and through their official website. Yesterday I tagged the company on Twitter, asking them to please contact me to either confirm my booking or to refund my deposit.

Fortunately, the deposit isn’t huge, but all the same, it’s MY money. They are the same company that I went to North Korea with in 2018 and they were fantastic. The difference this time is staggering.

As of midday Wednesday, there’s still been no reply.

Not happy Jan.

Where I’ve been: to the Vet.

Every week for the last 4 weeks I’ve been getting home from work on a Monday and driving Poppy to the vet to get some anti-arthritis injections. She and Jeffrey are nearly 9 years old and it’s recommended that dogs over 8 get these injections to stave off arthritis.

Jeff has been having them for a while now and his limp is much better. For Miss Pop, it’s more of a preventative measure.

They have a series of 4 weekly injections at the start, then every 3 months or so they have another one. It’s an expense that I hope will be well worth it to give them a good quality of life as they get older. They deserve it.

Where I’m going: to a CPR course after lunch.

The year 9s are doing a series of short courses at the moment – things like a barista course, food safety and CPR. By the end of the day, I might have a CPR certificate!

What I’m watching: Celebrity Apprentice Australia.

I haven’t seen anything on a commercial tv station for ages and I’m gobsmacked by how many ads they run in each commercial break. There are about 6 or 7 ads in a row. Every time.

Oof. Even with catch-up tv the ads are pretty full-on. Over the last 2 nights I feel like I’ve been assaulted by 1,400 ads.

This might end up killing the show for me.

What I’ve been reading: Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant.

How I love Anne Tyler’s writing! I’m going through an Anne Tyler phase, with 4 or 5 of her novels piled up beside my bed, waiting to be read.

In the foreword to this one, she wrote that, (at least back in 2014), it was her favourite book that she’d written. Who knows – it may have changed by now, but I went into this story with high hopes. I wasn’t let down.

I actually became very emotional when I finished this one. If Ryan27 wasn’t in the room with me, I probably would’ve howled like a baby. As it was, it was touch and go as to whether I’d cry.

What I’m listening to: My son’s podcast.

Friend of the pod is now on its second episode. To be honest, the first ep wasn’t their best work, but I really enjoyed listening to the second ep this morning on the drive into work. The link I gave you is for the second episode.

For friends of this blog – try and guess which silly boy is Evan25!! Is it Will or is it Connor???? (The answer is given before the end of the episode.)

What I’m eating: Food. I’m eating food.

I woke up really late today. My stupid alarm didn’t go off so I woke 20 minutes later than I should have. Interestingly, I was moving so fast that I left the house a few minutes earlier than I usually do.

Today’s lunch is a homemade bread roll, as usual, but instead of home-grown lettuce with cheese, it’s peanut butter.

Much quicker to make.

What I’m planning: The girls’ weekend.

I booked the accommodation for July and all of the girls are in! In order to get the place for the weekend that I wanted, I had to book 4 nights, so guess who’s having a little holiday at the end of July? I’ll be at the place for a couple of nights before the others turn up.

It wasn’t what I originally intended, but I think getting there early will be a good thing. On Friday night the apartment will be warm, I’ll have dinner ready and waiting and it’ll be warm and snug and cozy.

Who needs a good slap: My iPhone.

Seriously, when I click “all weekdays” for an alarm, I expect it to stick to the agreement. I was galloping around like an idiot this morning.

What has made me smile: Getting a coffee from a junior barista.

Yesterday I was in the barista course, watching as the kids were learning how to make espresso shots. When they moved onto making Long Blacks, a boy brought one to me with such pride. I’d mentioned the day before that this was my coffee of choice and he’d remembered.

Long Black, no sugar. That’s the stuff!

I tell you, having a fresh coffee brought to you while you’re working is wonderful.

Dad joke of the day:

Wednesday W’s #19.

Close up of a mini wire-haired dachshund with a luxurious beard.
Scout.

What’s top of my mind: It’s Payday today!

After working a full week last week and then accepting a further two weeks’ worth of work, I finally get to see why I’m working so hard.

It better be worth it!!!!

Where I’ve been: Wedding dress shopping.

No, not for me! The last thing I want is a husband!

I asked Izzy a little while ago if I could come along one day, because unless one of my sons gets married in a dress I’m never going to have the experience.

It was fun, though it got a little tedious by the end. There are only so many beads and lace that you can look at before they all start to look the same. I went with Izzy, her Mum and her sister. Afterwards we went for coffee and cake and I feel like I know her sister a little better now, which is great.

We didn’t find “THE dress”, though Izzy kept talking about one she tried on a month ago, so I have a feeling that THE dress has already been found – it just hasn’t been ordered yet.

Where I’m going: Straight home.

I still haven’t had that haircut though. I might sneak that in.

What I’m watching: Year 8 boys pretending to be working on their essays on their laptops.

Every now and then, just when they’re looking really engrossed in their “essays”, I take a short stroll around the room and watch them switch their screens. It’s easy to tell when they’re not working – they stop typing and start using their touchpads.

What I’ve been reading: Miriam Margolyes’ memoir.

This was ok. I enjoyed the first part, where she talked about her childhood, and the last part, where she talked about movies, plays and people that I actually knew.

The middle part was all gossip about plays and people that I’ve never heard of, but I ploughed through regardless. This book would probably be riveting to someone twenty years older than me.

What I’m listening to: An audiobook.

Someone commented on a post here about liking Fiona Lowe’s novels. I realised I’d already read one and enjoyed it, so when I decided that I’d have a break from podcasts and listen to a book instead, I decided to try another one. I’m only up to the second chapter of ‘A Home Like Ours‘ but I’m liking it. The prologue was very good.

The trouble with being a speed reader is that I can read a physical book much more quickly than it takes to get through an audiobook. Sixteen hours!!! That’s a huge chunk of time for one story.

What I’m eating: Evan25’s easter eggs.

David28 left some easter eggs here for Evan25. They sat on my dressing table for weeks without being touched. But…

… I’m only human.

Who needs a good slap: Probably me, after that last entry.

What I’m planning: A walk with the little woofs.

I’m hoping that the forecast rain holds off so that the little woofs can have a run on the beach. The smells there must be intoxicating for them.

What has made me smile: The kids at school.

It’s been a couple of months since I first started work as a CRT. I expected that the kids I used to teach would be happy to see me when I first arrived and yes, they were. What I didn’t expect was that I’d still be having rapturous reunions with kids after so much time has gone by.

Last Friday, for example, I was on yard duty at the canteen. A girl that I taught 2 years ago for a semester of Drama in year 9 was sitting at a table, talking with her friends. I recognised her but walked past, thinking that my time with her was so far back into the past that she probably wouldn’t remember me. All of a sudden I heard a screech of “Miss Jones!” and she came racing up to have a chat, bringing a friend with her.

The year 8 kids, who I’d never taught and so didn’t expect that they’d notice me as a ‘sub’ – they’ve been the real shock. They’ve been warm and welcoming and so happy to see me. I think the Dad jokes that I start the lesson with might have something to do with it.

There’s no wonder that I choose to drive to work here, rather than simply work at the school at the end of my street. The kids here are just lovely.

Dad joke of the day:

I passed an RACV van and the driver was in tears.

I thought, ‘This guy is heading for a breakdown.’

(That joke was for Aussies. Google RACV, everyone else.)

For everyone else in the world:

What do you call a beat-up Batman?

A bruised Wayne.

Wednesday W’s #18.

What’s top of my mind: Work.

I’ve picked up a full week of work. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here, but I’ve worked out that every FULL day of work pays for TWO places at the wedding reception next year.

I know; on one level it’s a bit depressing. That’s a lot of hours to pay for a couple of meals and some drinks. But on another level, I get up and say, “Today I’m working for my brother and sister-in-law!” Or whoever.

People at work find that funny. “Who are you working for today?” they ask as I come through the door.

So far I haven’t said no to a single day of work. Let’s see how long that continues. This week will be a real test. I keep looking ahead to October, though. Traditionally, as soon as the year 12 exams start, then all CRT work stops. I know I’ll have a nice long break over late spring and summer.

Where I’ve Been: ‘Kill Climate Deniers.’

Sounds a bit dramatic, doesn’t it? Well, that’s appropriate, seeing as it was a play. One of my ex-students from my 2019 Theatre Studies class messaged me and asked if I’d like to come and see her play.

Of course! When I saw that another of my students was doing the multi media, I was rapt. Two birds – one stone, baby!

I was so proud of the work they did. It was lovely to catch up with Helena after the show. Can’t believe they’re now 21…!

Where I’m going: nowhere.

A full week of work. There’s not much room for anything else. I like being here with the kids and my friends, but yet… I miss my untrammelled days of freedom.

Though I am taking Poppy to the vet next Monday for her anti-arthritis shot. At least I have that to look forward to…

What I’m watching: Better Call Saul.

A year ago, Ryan27 finally convinced me to watch ‘Breaking Bad.’ We watched all 5 seasons together as a mother/son thing, even though he’d already seen it before.

I think the same thing might happen with Saul.

What I’ve been reading: The new Dervla McTiernan book.

I forgot to bring my book to work yesterday and I was so cross with myself! I had 4 periods of English, all with 10 minutes of silent reading, so imagine how much I would’ve been able t get through?

I’ve only read a couple of chapters so far, but it seems promising. The Murder Rule is a stand-alone story, which is fine, I guess… I really want to find out what happens next in the life of Cormac Reilly, her protagonist in the series that starts with The Ruin. I’ve got my sister reading this one at the moment. 🙂

What I’m listening to: Podcasts.

I tend to listen to poddies in the car and music when I’m quilting, so this week has been a Casefile, Dan Smow’s History Hit and Welcome to Nightvale time.

My son, Evan25, is starting a comedy podcast next week with his friend. I’ll post a link when it’s live.

What I’m eating: Home-made bread rolls for lunches.

I’m working to earn money, not to spend it at the school canteen! (Though having said that, the school canteen has really lifted its game – the food is fantastic… though not cheap.)

My go-to for lunch when I’m working is a home-made bread roll with home-grown lettuce and some cheese. This week it’s Red Leicester. Yesterday I tried putting some nasturtium leaves in as well, thinking they’d give a peppery flavour, but I couldn’t tell the difference.

It’s quick to make, fills me up and is quick to eat. That last point is handy when you usually have a yard duty for half of lunch.

Who needs a good slap: Me.

Normally when I work, I set the alarm for 6:30.

I gently awoke this morning, then lazily reached out and grabbed my laptop. It was 7:20. I didn’t set the alarm.

I didn’t know I could start running first thing in the morning. I got here on time, but oof!

Note to self: when you know you’re working, set the alarm immediately! Don’t wait until the night before.

What I’m planning: a ‘girls weekend’ away.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to swing it, but I’m thinking a couple of nights away with Jenna, Izzy and my two nieces might be fun. It’ll give them all a chance to connect – I like the idea of the young women of my family all being friends.

What has made me smile: The little woofs.

Apparently they wait for me ALL DAY. This is a photo of Poppy and Jeff asleep on Ryan27’s Oodie.

We really don’t deserve dogs.

Dad joke of the day:

My boss asked me why I was only sick on work days.

I said, “It must be my weekend immune system.”

Wednesday W’s #17.

What’s top of my mind: The importance of timing.

We went for a beach walk this morning. The radar said that my suburb wasn’t going to get rain but when we were out there I saw rain falling over Frankston and decided to turn back.

Five minutes after we got home, the rain arrived. Fortunte Frogdancer strikes again! I’ll include shots from today’s walk in this post.

Where I’ve been: May’s Little Adventure.

Post to come.

Where I’m going: Aldi to get bocconcini.

The boys are all coming over for a pizza lunch on Mothers Day and David28 asked for bocconcini on his pizza. On the next ‘spend day’, which will probably be tomorrow, I’ll hunt down those cheese balls.

Nothing but the best for my boys!

What I’m watching: How very beautiful Poppy is.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a very pretty breed to begin with, (unless their owners stuff them so full of treats that they waddle when they walk.) I’ve owned this breed since I was 20 and I’ve had many Cavaliers, particularly when I was breeding and showing them before I started breeding humans.

But hand on my heart, I’d have to say that Poppy is the best example of the breed I’ve ever owned. She’s utterly beautiful and moves like a dream. She’s my shadow… unless someone else walks into the kitchen.

It’s a pity that she doesn’t have a sense of humour. Life’s a serious business for Poppy.

What I’ve been reading: Men Cause 100% of unwanted pregnancies.

I first saw this on a Twitter thread ages ago, but with the news coming out of America that their Supreme Court is likely to be overturning Roe Vs Wade, this article is incredibly timely.

I’ve never been more glad to be a woman living in Australia. I don’t know what the hell is happening in the US, but between their healthcare system, the guns and now this – I’m VERY glad that my ancestors got onto the boats headed for here instead of there.

Sorry if this upsets any US readers, but this is how it looks from over here. There are many wonderful things about the US and her people, but things seem to be slipping in a nasty direction.

What I’m listening to: A Wrinkle in Time.

I’ve never read this book and apparently it’s a classic. So I downloaded it from the library, thinking that it was an eBook. But no… it’s an audiobook. So I guess I’ll put ‘Mum’s Boppin’ Bangers’ on Spotify to the side for a while and catch up on my reading while I’m quilting.

What I’m eating: Home-made hommus.

I brought back an uneaten Turkish bread from my last Little Adventure, so Ryan27 and I used it up with some hommus that I whipped up. There was some hommus left over, so yesterday I spread it on a freshly-baked bread roll and polished it off for lunch.

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make all the difference.

No, it’s not the same photo!

Who needs a good slap: Ummm

This is always the hardest one to fill in. My life is pretty chill. Total freedom – aka retirement – suits me well.

What I’m planning: A little nap after lunch.

The Spanish were certainly onto something when they invented the siesta. I love a good nanna nap!

What has made me smile: Finding out how to delete shows from my “Currently watching” list on Netflix.

You know how sometimes a show sounds as if it’ll be good, then you start watching and realise that it’s AWFUL? And then it stays on your ‘watching’ list forever, unless you get sick of it and whizz through every episode on fast forward just to get rid of it?

Turns out that if you log into Netflix on your computer, there’s an option to ‘clean’ lists. I knew that there must be an easier way! I’m so happy I found it.

Dad joke of the day:

Wednesday W’s #16.

What’s top of my mind: Getting another row finished on my quilt.

The photo is of two rows of blocks. It’s exciting because I can already see the pattern emerging.

But boy! This quilt takes constant mindfulness. There are a lot of corners that have to be edged up exactly right. After an afternoon’s sewing on this beast my eyes feel like they’re going around like Catherine wheels.

Where I’ve been: on April’s Little Adventure.

Post to come.

Where I’m going: To the High Country.

I suddenly realized that I have a lot of points in my Vacation Club to use up before June 30. Being constantly in lockdowns last year meant that I didn’t get the chance to go anywhere. So the chase is on! I decided to nip away this coming weekend to see the autumn colours up in the high country.

What I’m watching: My garden slipping into ‘winter’ mode.

I’ve already put a few beds to sleep for the winter, spreading fertiliser, chopping spent plants as mulch etc. Give it another month and most of the beds will be waiting for spring.

Though having seen the prices for cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower at Aldi yesterday, I might grow a few winter veggies. Yikes!

What I’ve been reading: French Braid by Anne Tyler.

I’ve read a few books by Anne Tyler and there hasn’t been a dud amongst them. With French Braid, Tyler has created another winner.

It’s not a long novel, but it covers decades in the lives of a family. I particularly liked the character of the mother. Some reviewers find her very selfish, but I identified with how she chose to live her life on HER terms. I seem to have done the same, though I’ve made different choices than she did.

Anne Tyler has written a long list of nvels. Now I want to track them down and read them all.

What I’m listening to: Nothing.

Argh! I’ve misplaced my iPad! It has all of my podcasts in it. I really need to track it down before Friday. I’d hate to be driving for hours and not have poddies to listen to.

What I’m eating: Red capsicums from the garden.

This year may have been a shocking one for tomatoes, but I’ve grown the best capsicums ever. Ryan27 loves green capsicums, but even he got sick of them and so I now have a few caps that were left long enough for them to turn red.

Tonight we’ll be having chicken tikka masala so I can use one. So happy. 🙂

Who needs a good slap: No one.

It’s all chill here.

What I’m planning: A trip to Manly Beach in Sydney.

Again, using up points from the holiday club. I’ve never been to Manly, and the last time I was in Sydney was 12 years ago with the boys. We climbed the bridge and went to Taronga zoo and the aquarium and had a great time.

I’ve locked it in for June. Something to look forward to!

What has made me smile: Talking to the boys on the phone.

It’s such a simple thing, but I love it when I chat to them. Two still live with me, so that’s pretty easy, but when the others call – or I call them and they pick up the phone straight away – it makes my day.

It’s surprising how fond you can get of the people you make.

Dad joke of the day:

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