Monthly Archives: January 2022

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2021 in 40 questions

1. What did you do in 2021 that you’d never done before?
Finally rode up Mount Hotham. I had some thoughts about it.

2. Did you keep your new year resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
To repeat what I always say… I never bother with them. You can decide to makes changes any time you want. It’s up to you if you stick with them, the time of year makes no difference at all.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No one I’m particularly close to but I do know someone who had a baby – my team lead had a baby girl in July.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Remarkably in this (second) year of global pandemic, no. I’m aware of how lucky I am.

5. What countries did you visit?
None of us have a valid passport so we currently can’t leave the country even if we wanted to. (Which, admittedly we don’t because of our inept government.)

6. What would you like to have in 2022 that you lacked in 2021?
To never have to home school ever, ever again. I now know with absolute certainty I don’t have what it takes to be a teacher. I have never been so frustrated and disillusioned as I was when trying to get Juno to write just three sentences.

7. What date from 2021 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Sunday November 28 – the day I rode up Mount Hotham. It was a very, very long day on the bike. I rode 110km and climbed about 1800 metres. Mount Hotham is a bloody big mountain and it’s hard. When I rounded the last corner and saw the entrance to the village, I burst into tears. Someone described as they thought I’d been run over by my emotions at that point and I think that’s actually a good way of putting it.

Riding up mountains and putting yourself under that much physical stress can be quite emotionally cathartic. At the time, crying seemed an appropriate response.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
See Q.1 and Q.7.

But I should also mention that I graduated from my Masters of Communication this year as well. In hindsight, I kinda wish I’d never enrolled in it. It wasn’t what I thought it would be and I feel like I’ve spent an awful lot of money on something that I’m never actually going to use. I’m also a bit unclear on what I was supposed to be learning. It was nothing like my Journalism Grad Dip, where I felt I learnt plenty and developed some pretty useful skills from it

But it did give me the chance to research and write an article about women cyclists in Melbourne, an idea I had when I was doing my grad dip but couldn’t pursue because I couldn’t prove my premise (that the numbers of women riding had increased). I took a slightly different tack to be able to properly research it and I’m actually really proud of the article I wrote. It’s called Chasing Joy.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I felt so directionless with my research project that I had to do to complete my masters. This feeling wasn’t helped by me really not wanting to do it in the first place and decided that the whole thing was a massive, massive waste of time (and money).

I think the only reasons I didn’t totally bomb out was because I could chose what I wanted to research and do a thing called creative practice where you make an “artifact” instead of writing a thesis. So I decided to write an article about women’s cycling in Melbourne, which ended up being the longest thing I’ve ever written. (According to Medium, where I published it, it’s a 15 minute read. That’s a long when you consider that most articles can be read in 3 – 5 minutes).

But what I didn’t know when I started this process was that I would have to write an exegesis which is really a thesis by another name. Together, the article and exegesis were 10,000 words. It was such a slog and this is reflected in the grade I got – which was a Credit.

The other reason I didn’t give up and hand in something completely half-arsed was because I really liked my academic supervisor and I didn’t want to disappoint him.

It was agreed by all (including me) that my article was far superior to my exegesis. I could’ve done better, I should’ve but I didn’t. That’s on me. Eh…

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I got gastro in February from Juno. That was not fun. I’ve been pretty well this year. A few sniffles, the usual aches and pains but on the whole, I’ve been good. Still wondering exactly how I’ve managed to avoid getting Covid-19 but I have. The second Pfizer jab certainly put me on my arse for a few days. Got my Moderna booster just before xmas and that left me with an incredibly sore arm and feeling low-grade crappy for about five days.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

So, this is Bertie the Belgie.

Bertie is a 50cm titanium Curve Belgie V3 with:
Curve Race 370 fork
Curve GT4 – 35mm wheels with Continental Grand Prix 5000 28cm tyres
SRAM Force AXS eTap 12sp groupset
ZIPP bars and stem

What does this all mean? It means he was expensive. And he’s the best bike I’ve ever ridden.

I decided at the start of the year I wanted a new bike and I started saving. I then decided I wanted to get my new bike for my 50th birthday, which gave me a date to work towards. The thing is custom builds are expensive (generally well over $10k for a complete bike) and the wait lists are looooong so I might not have enough money to start the process and get the bike built by my own timeline. Dilemma!

Then I came across Curve Cycling who specialise in titanium and steel bikes. They cost less then a full custom build but I was still looking at just under $10k. Perhaps still not achievable.

Second week of November, a post for a Curve Belgie V3 appeared in a buy/sell/swap group on Facebook. The owner was one of the women who works at Curve but she decided she wanted a mountain bike instead so she decided to sell her Belgie to fund it. She wanted $8k which sounds a lot but she’d only ridden the bike about 400kms so I was buying an essentially new bike. (But she’d ridden it enough to do all the annoying bedding-in work.) It was too good an opportunity to pass up and thanks to Richard loaning me half, I bought Bertie within about an hour of him being listed.

Titanium seems to be a love it or hate it material for a bike frame. I had no idea what it would be like to ride so I was taking a huge gamble as I’d been riding a carbon fibre bike for eight years. But it was so worth it. The titanium makes for such a comfortable ride.

The road vibration has been significantly lessened, which is something I was looking for as I wanted to reduce the amount of discomfort I was experiencing thanks to my chronic pain and injuries. I thought I’d never be able to ride without experiencing a degree of pain but I was wrong. End of November, I managed to ride up Mount Buffalo with no pain at all and two days later, Mount Hotham with just a few twinges. The whole lack of pain thing was definitely helped along by getting a bike fit to ensure everything was at the optimal height/position for me.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Richard! For being cool with loaning me $4k from his own new bike fund so I could get Bertie. He’s a good egg 🙂

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Well, you can’t say our federal government has been covering itself in glory in 2021. You’d think they would’ve learnt from the mistakes with the vaccine roll-out but nope, here we are again with rapid antigen tests and PCR tests. It’s such a colossal clusterfuck.

At some point in 2022 there has to be an election. If Scotty from Marketing isn’t a complete moron he won’t do the unthinkable and force us to vote twice in one year as there has to be a half-senate election by May and a House of Reps election by November. But we all know there’s some fucking idiot advisor telling him that splitting the election is the way to not lose and he’s dumb enough to believe them. Elections are really expensive and the majority of Australians hate the hassle of having to vote. Making people do it twice? Not going to win hearts and minds.

14. Where did most of your money go?
See question 11.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to pick up Bertie. I was constantly checking my phone, waiting for the message to tell me he was ready to be brought home. No work got done that day.

16. What song will always remind you of 2021?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Perhaps I will be neutral on this one.

ii. thinner or fatter? Sigh. Fatter.

iii. richer or poorer? Poorer! All of my savings went on Bertie, a choice I will never, ever regret.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Deep breathing. Six year olds are so very, very good at pushing buttons without ever realising what they’re doing.

Also, sleep. Being perimenopausal has totally screwed up my sleep. It started with mild night sweats about two years ago which were easy to ignore but they’d gradually gotten worse and worse until I got to the point every woman loves (not) of waking up saturated in sweat and desperately kicking the sheets off. It was worse in Winter because I’d get insanely hot, kick the covers off and then about a minute later I’d start shivering from the cold. Not fun.

Sleep disruption and deprivation are recognised forms of torture and now I have an inkling of why.

I’m on HRT now. Although it’s called Menopause Hormone Therapy (MHT) these days because HRT is used for to any condition that require hormone replacement (which is extensive). For me personally, it’s been a life improver. However, I was also very realistic in my expectations of what it would and wouldn’t do and was hoping mostly for an end to the night sweats, which it’s pretty much done. I didn’t realise just how profound an effect the night sweats were having on my overall wellbeing until they eased.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Procrastination when it came to my research project. I took so long to get going, even though I knew it was going to be a slog. I finished my exegesis the day it was due in, which isn’t a good thing. I spent far more time on the article and it shows.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With Richard’s family. It was really nice to see them all. I think the last time we saw them was last Christmas so it’s been a long time between drinks.

21. What was your favorite month of 2021?
Definitely not September. And October.

22. Did you fall in love in 2020?

23. How many one-night stands?
Unsurprisingly, none.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?
Wandavision and s2 of The Mandalorian.

The Mandalorian definitely wasn’t perfect but I really enjoyed it and of course I squee’d like the Star Wars fangirl that I am when Luke Skywalker appeared. Also intrigued by the Darksabre. What will Din Djarin do with it?

Wandavision… Well, we all know that show was totally stolen by the amazing Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness. I particularly liked the way it dealt with someone struggling with their mental health. The analogy of her grief being like a wave that’s constantly knocking her over is on that can be used for mental health issues as well.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Well, Scott Morrison isn’t exactly my favourite person on the planet…

26. What was the best book you read?
Going with a comic this time… Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden. It was the last volume published by Dark Horse before Stan Sakai switched to IDW Publishing. They’re colouring his comics now but I’m not sure about that. There was something so pure about them being black and white. But I shall keep reading of course. I’m too invested in the characters not to.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

28. What did you want and get?
See question 11.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
Hands down, not even a competition… Dune.

Saw it at Imax. Just incredible. Denis Villeneuve took a complex, thought to be unfilmable book and filmed it.

Funnily enough though, I though it suffered from exactly the same story problems as David Lynch’s version (which I happen to like). The time line isn’t clear, especially when compared to the book. We didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Lady Jessica and the Shadout Mapes is a quick sketch, when in the book she’s a quite important character. And we also spent very little time with Doctor Yueh but the time we did spend was kinda enough. Kinda. More would’ve been better.

Villeneuve copped some flak for casting Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho but I thought it was an inspired choice. He brings a lightness to the scenes he’s in but he’s also intensely ferocious in his protection of Paul. His fighting sequences were easily the best. Although the bout between Paul and Guerney was also incredible. The shields looked exactly how I pictured them in my head whilst reading the books – a shimmer that fades in and out.

And goodness, Stellan Skarsgård was channeling Brando in Apocalypse Now. But in a good way.

Villeneuve is definitely laying the groundwork for at least the second book, Dune Messiah, to be filmed. But after that one, the books go a bit weird. I finished God Emperor of Dune but it really did my head in so I decided I needed a break from the House Atreides, the spice and Arrakis. I understand the message Frank Herbert was trying to get across in the Dune books but God Emperor was just flipping weird and got bogged down in its own mythology. I’m currently making my way though Heretics of Dune, which is turning out to be an improvement after the weirdness and aimlessness of God Emperor.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
It was another lockdown birthday for me. Richard did make me dinner though and he made my favourite: eye fillet with mushroom sauce, potato gratin and some green veg. This year I decided to treat myself to an ice cream cake in an attempt to get over the disappointment of not doing what had been arranged – which was a long weekend at The Lakehouse in Daylesford. There may have also been an exceptional bottle of wine.

I turned 49.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
For there not to be a global pandemic?

Life would also be a good deal less stressful if everyone just wore their masks properly. It doesn’t count if it’s not covering your mouth AND your nose.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2021?
A repeat of 2020? T-shirts and tracksuit pants. Just like everyone else.

34. What kept you sane?
Accepting the fact that I was languishing just like everyone else was. But I still struggled quite a bit. I really felt I was failing as a parent, failing as a partner because I was pushing so much of the homeschooling onto Richard and definitely not achieving much at work either. 2021 was an incredibly difficult year. The sixth lockdown was the hardest one of all.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
These idiotic anti-[insert something here] protesters. Make up your fucking minds about what you’re protesting about. And stop telling people to dO tHeiR oWn ReSEarCh! when it’s so godamn obvious you don’t actually know that means.

All these people banging on about their RIGHTS!!! but totally failing to understand that rights come with responsibilities. And how did these idiots decide to stand up for their rights? They pissed on the Shrine of Remembrance.

37. Who did you miss?
To be honest, I don’t know. Everyone I guess. Being in lockdown so much has made me even more socially withdrawn and inept. I’m finding it hard to readjust. Plus the latest Covid numbers kinda back my stance of as few social interaction as possible.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Hah… you have to actually leave the house with some degree of regularity to meet new people.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2021.
To quote Bluey: I don’t want a valuable life lesson. I just want an ice cream.

But seriously, if in doubt, watch Bluey. If nothing else, it’ll cheer you up.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: