2016

2016 : Looking Forward

In my last post I wrote about my thoughts on 2015. Today, like the predictable blogger I am, I wanted to write about 2016.

I’m not really a huge fan of resolutions specifically being made at New Year’s, purely because if you want to make a change in your life badly enough, I figure you should just do it when it suits you best and not wait until the start of a new year. Now is as good a time as any, in my eyes basically. Having said that, I am also an excellent procrastinator so I can kinda see the temptation to wave your hand and say “Ahh, I’ll just do it next year”.

Nevertheless, I do, like most people, have some goals in mind for this year.

Finish my PhD

What a cracker to kick us off. I began my PhD in March, 2013 so my end date is technically March this year but that ain’t gonna happen. I think mid-year is more realistic but still really bloody terrifying. If 2015 was anything to go by, the time is going to race past me as I stand there gaping, looking like a stunned mullet (cue my usual mental image of a gobsmacked hairdo. Much better than a boring old fish, in my opinion). Which will be super strange because I’ve felt for the past year and a half that my thesis wasn’t going anywhere – and now I’m looking down the barrel at the finish line. Sort of. Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. I was planning on writing more about my PhD, from why I started to what my research topic actually is, if you’re interested. Let me know in the comments!

Travel

This one is closely linked to the finishing of my thesis. The PhD, while certainly flexible, can make it extremely tricky to make time for travel. Well, travel for relaxation/fun purposes anyway. I did go to England in 2014 purely because of my thesis but, other than that, I haven’t taken a proper holiday since starting the course. Which is fine, it’s just one of those sacrifices you have to acknowledge you will probably have to make when you sign up for a PhD, but I am extremely excited at the prospect of being able to get on a plane and go somewhere different. It doesn’t even have to be international – I’ll take Tassie!

Take better care of myself

I know goals are meant to be specific if you want any chance of achieving them but this one can take so many forms I didn’t really see the point. For me, taking care of myself means continuing my twice-weekly yoga lessons, taking the time to read good books, and making time to be creative, whether that’s sewing, writing, photography, or learning to crochet. I predict I will be very tightly-wound for a good portion of this year as I try to finish my thesis, so ensuring I regularly take some time out for me is a must.

That’s it so far (I think the PhD one will suffice for the first half of the year!) but I’m sure I’ll pick up other, smaller goals throughout the year. How about you? What are your goals for 2016? Are they big, small, or a bit of column a, bit of column b?

Jacquie

2015 : Looking Back

Well, that was 2015. Apparently. I mean, I don’t really recall seeing it in full detail myself, but I’ve heard rumblings on the street that yes, that was indeed the year 2015 done and dusted. Huh. I guess that means it’s time for another summary of the year that was, hey?

I’m going to cut right to the chase and say it – 2015 feels as if it’s been far less impressive than 2014. Last year I went overseas for the first time, presented at a conference for the first time, started taking blogging more seriously, made lots of things for my Etsy shop. This year? Not so much. There were no overseas trips, no presentations, no big steps on the blog front, and I actually stopped making things for my Etsy shop and temporarily closed it. Definitely less impressive than 2014.

Or is it?

At first blush, that’s what I thought. I looked at the different aspects of my life – uni, work, blogging, making – and was left feeling a little disappointed in and sorry for myself. But then I realised that it’s not always about how many new things you started or saw or experienced. Sometimes it’s about just keeping on going. Maintaining. Staying steady, staying on track. Those type of years can certainly run the risk of appearing boring or not worthwhile in retrospect, but it takes hard work and some guts to stay on track. *TRUTH BOMB*

2015 has been one of those years for me. I’ve designed, run, analysed, and written up one of three studies for my thesis and made slow progress, but progress nonetheless, on the second. I’ve sent off two manuscripts for publication (fingers crossed they get accepted). I’m in charge of teaching a whole unit at uni (who let that happen, just quietly). I lectured in front of 100+ students again and actually felt pretty comfortable. I collaborated with two excellent bloggers (I’m looking at you, Isabel and Laura). I took lots of photos that I’m proud of. I read a craptonne of books (yeah, not quite the 50 I’d aimed for but still – LOTS). I paused and stripped back my Etsy shop to figure out what it was that I actually really wanted to make.

A lot of these things seemed quite ordinary, or maybe even insignificant, when they first happened. But reflecting on them now? Man, am I proud. They may be small things when compared to travelling overseas or moving into a new house or getting a new job but sometimes the small things really make the difference, don’t you think? Besides, I have an inkling 2016 will hold some pretty sweet big things for me…but more on that in upcoming post.

So tell me. How was 2015 for you? What are you particularly proud of achieving in this year just gone?

Jacquie

Taking Stock : December 2015

So I lost track of the day. This post probably should have gone up on Sunday but what with it being holidays, house and cat sitting for my sister, and just general wanting to let me brain relax-ness, it slipped my mind. But I’m not going to whine about how little there is left of 2015; I’ll save that for another post. For now, here is the last Taking Stock post for the year 2015 – and it’s the full list!

Making: a craptonne of lists. See previous post about too many things to do.
Cooking: nothing right now! I have leftovers for lunch and am out for dinner – hooray!
Drinking: what else – Lady Grey tea!
Reading: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith/J. K. Rowling. It is, as expected, excellent so far.
Looking: at a very cute but cheeky kitten by the name of Scout finally settle down and snooze next to me.
Playing: the “I’m going to make as little noise and movement as possible so the sleepy kitten doesn’t get hyped up again” game. So far so good.
Wanting: to stroke Scout’s itty bitty baby paws. SO PINK AND CUTE.
Realising: that’s completely contradicting my game of not disturbing the kitty. So I won’t *SIGH* I’ll be good.
Wishing: I had more time off so I could make things!
Enjoying: the little break I do have – very grateful that I get at least some time off.
Liking: my little spot on the couch where the heat hasn’t managed to reach just yet.
Wondering: if I want to take my blog in a slightly different direction for the new year…
Loving: how quiet this street is. I don’t think I could live on a main drag – I like me some peace and quiet.
Buying: nothing currently! I’m being good 😀
Watching: the clock. Can it just be lunch time already please?
Hoping: I can be highly productive today.
Marvelling: at the movie Suffragette. I haven’t seen many movies that make me think quite as much as that one did.
Needing: a debriefing session to deal with all my anger and frustration after seeing that movie. Or a punching bag. Or both.
Wearing: pants. (And a top, don’t fret).
Questioning: my decision to wear pants. It is 35 degrees after all – pants are a bit much, I feel! (The top is okay).
Following: up on my many lists and, slowly by surely, getting things done.
Noticing: how this house creaks and cracks in different ways and freaks me out.
Knowing: these holidays are going to ZOOM by.
Thinking: there should be a pre-holiday period where you just get used to the idea of being on a break and not doing anything and once you’ve settled into the right frame of mind then, and only then, do your actual holidays start. Who’s with me??
Admiring: people who live alone. Seriously, I’m so twitchy!
Sorting: through my many notes and mini lists I have scribbled on post its and in my phone.
Getting: out of my good habit of getting up at 6am every day. Slowly slipping back to the 7:30am wake up…this will be interesting once uni starts back up again!
Bookmarking: too many things! I should really get into the habit of simply reading or watching whatever it is I see on Facebook or elsewhere right then and there.
Coveting: the idea of having my own house one day.
Disliking: the heat we’re expecting over the next few days. And mozzie bites.
Feeling: good. How about you?
Hearing: Underflow by Emma Louise. Highly recommend it for light, flowy kind of days.

So tell me, how was December for you? Are you on holiday? Have you been enjoying time off or are you ready and rearing to get back to it?

These Taking Stock posts are based on an idea by the wonderful Pip Lincolne over at the Meet Me At Mike’s blog. Head here to check out her Taking Stock posts and to find a blank copy of the full list.

Jacquie

Chain of Hearts

Indoor plants aren’t cool“, I told myself. “Indoor plants are weird. What do they even do?“, I wondered.

Oh, past Jacquie. What a fool you were, an absolute FOOL. Don’t worry though, I now know that indoor plants are the bomb dot com. You can get so many different types – small, big, drooping, contained, you name it. As you may recall from numerous posts in the past, I have a few indoor plants. There’s Mary the maiden hair fern, Cynthia the never never plant, and Phil the aluminium plant. All three had a very close brush with death after I left them outdoors in the sun for a good week or two without any water. But I am pleased to report that all three have made a strong recovery.

Not to take away from their miraculous healing stories, let’s move on because there’s a new kid in town. Meet Dorothy, the chain of hearts.

Chain of hearts 4I’ve wanted a chain of hearts for a little while now (after I got over my misconception about indoor plants it was the first one I fell in love with) so when my mum asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I quickly blurted “CHAINOFHEARTSPLEASEANDTHANKYOU”. My birthday was last Tuesday and I didn’t have time that day to go out and get a proper indoor pot. Then came Wednesday, the first true day of my holidays (HOORAY!), and I found myself at a loss for what to do. My eyes settled on my new plant babies (I also got a string of pearls) and I made up my mind to head down to my local Bunnings to pick out a nice new plant home.

As an aside, Bunnings has a large range of pots but they are all largely quite shit. It is very deceptive. You think the whole aisle is full of opportunity and hope but when you step closer, the pots are either the wrong size, made of really cheap crappy plastic, or don’t come with a water dish. Nevertheless, I did manage to actually find a good quality one in a plain white with a water dish, which cost $12.48. I didn’t realise till I got home, however, that I really needed a hanging pot since I had envisaged hanging the plant somewhere in my room. Such a silly sausage, I am. It ended up not being a problem though because, while I was ferreting around outside looking for hanging pots, I spied an old macrame plant holder. After a quick wash (spiders, ew.) and a (very) quick dry in the sun (thank you, Australia), my chain of hearts was happily sitting in her new home, hanging from the ceiling in the corner of my room. And now I’m happily sitting on my bed, gazing lovingly over at her as I type this. Seriously though, she’s so pretty!

Chain of hearts 2Do you like indoor plants, or plants at all? What ones do you have?

Jacquie