An Ode to 2019

I've been thinking about 2019 a bit lately. Definitely not with rose coloured glasses...

God, I wish it was still then. I know it helps nothing to bemoan, but all on the scales it was such an amazing year. My existing injuries were settling down. I'd found a pair of shoes I could walk anywhere in. I saw my friends every week. A few of them got married.

I played basketball. I did pull ups. I hiked places with Vanessa.

You could go places and other people would be there and it never felt weird.

I led a great project with great people at work. I was constantly challenged and felt a sense of accomplishment. Also you could literally get on a plane at a moment's notice and fly anywhere on the planet and I did that many times.

It wasn't cold. (It did hit 46 degrees in January). Vegetables were cheap. I paid no attention to the economy.

I'm just putting this here to remind me that life can be better than mundane and painful. Hopefully again soon.

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If you met yourself from the future, what would you ask your future self?
What if they wont tell you anything?

Win Win

Prior to my 7 AM admission for surgery today I was advised of the requirement for a negative RAT result upon arrival. Acute awareness of this checkpoint has led to forty-eight hours of pre-admission anxiety about every throat tickle, moment of fatigue and headache (reduction of caffeine intake explains that last one).

Part of the reason the RAT felt stressful was because the hospital is far from my house, and I had to take a taxi there. Not only would a positive test delay my surgery and recovery plans, it would also cost me nearly $100 in taxi fares for the pleasure.

To mentally handle this during one of those tickling throat bouts I looked at the map and confirmed the eleven kilometre trip home was mostly along the river. If I packed an emergency breakfast and some headphones, and I was positive for Covid, I could take a pleasant morning walk home, and my sick leave was already booked. If I didn't have Covid I'd get to have my operation. This was a win win, I reasoned.

Only in 2022 would I consider either having my wrist cut into and stitched back together, or walking eleven kilometres while infected by the virus behind a global pandemic, a "win win".

Hands Away

This morning I had a 4D CT Scan. If you’re curious about the fourth dimension - it’s time. My appointment was at 8:15am and I didn’t get my hand inside the future donut until nearly 9am. Each time you do a dynamic movement with your wrist in there you have to wait ten minutes for it to recover…

One silver lining, or perhaps that should be newfangled inner-padding lining, was that I was given a futuristic face mask to wear while in one of Australia’s leading scientific research institutes. It was green on one side, and the mouth side material was apparently more absorbent which prevents glasses from fogging up. Have they been sitting on this technology for the whole pandemic? I kept the mask when I left and I tried it with my sunglasses on once after I was outside. It was a nice autumn day. My sunglasses still fogged up. My goal of wearing polarised sunglasses, a face mask, noise cancelling headphones, and a black hoodie remains a dream.

At lunchtime while my tuna and olive pasta from last night reheated I did some exercises where I practised getting onto the floor and back up again with only my left hand. I’m getting better at it. Hopefully with a couple more weeks of practising I’ll be able to get up off the floor without using my arms at all. It’s actually the getting down without arms move that’s the hardest. That’s something I definitely want to become proficient at before any future bike rides.

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I didn't like inflation when it triggered a bunch of stock market sell offs in January. I really didn't like it when I was walking around the supermarket this morning and noting how the price tag for nearly every product and service had changed since last time. Low fat, no sugar yoghurt is now $4.50. That's a 12.5% price jump! Does Covid, supply chains, and higher fuel costs truly justify such a steep increase? Can't they just reduce costs by putting even less sugar in it?

On the plus side, I have a salary review coming up.

Summer Morning Hike

Having zero social engagements is convenient for hiking.

We did not see a single person on the trail, and only 1.3% of Adelaide has Covid...

An Autumn-like beginning.

An Autumn-like beginning.

A nice trail to follow.

A nice trail to follow.

Morning fog over a quarry.

Morning fog over a quarry.

Colourful wildflower bells.

Colourful wildflower bells.

Some summer bark textures.

Some summer bark textures.

Shaver Variant

I was supposed to be in Sydney this week, for no other reason other than to be somewhere different and maybe do some writing. I cancelled my flights last month when Omicron was looming and with the refund I got for my hotel booking I bought a new electric shaver.

Now every time I shave my face I will be reminded of not going to Sydney. And also reminded of how terrible and bad for my skin my old shaver was.

What I did on my Summer Holidays 2021 Edition

It's semi-often that I get eleven consecutive days without work. That's like an Easter, an Adelaide Cup long weekend, plus Anzac Day, and plain old regular Sunday all wrapped up.

Given this is my journal I thought it might be pertinent to repeat my previous summer break traditions of preserving an essence of those long summer days for posterity, unlike the other 354 days of the year which are abandoned in the mists of time, distance, and as usual the damaging effects of alcohol on the brain.

December 25th
Christmas morning started with a beach walk with Nash on the sands of Grange. Lunch was at Dad's with many extended family members. It was a nice time.

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December 26th
First thing on Boxing Day was a hike up Mount Lofty where for the first time ever I got a car park at Waterfall Gully. After we reached the summit we sat down for some choc-raspberry-oats and yoghurt. I saw black cockatoos and sulphur crested cockatoos.

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After that was a trip to the homemaker centre and big box hardware, and following a salad I set about knocking off half my break's todo list with the things I brought home. Alas, these were all the easy things like attaching sticky hooks to the shelf by the front door, and attaching a new hose head.

Finally, before the sun got too low, I rode to Alex's to meet up with Wilhem and throw a lot of tennis balls.

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December 27th
The ten person household limit kicked in, and I attended a small BBQ with Josh, Claire and Timmy.

In the evening I drank a beer and started reading From Russia With Love.

December 28th
After breakfast I rode my bike to St Clair for an Albanian coffee, some more reading time next to some birds, and then I bought heavily discounted custard and rode home.

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That evening I ate a sticky date pudding and played Borderlands 2 with Josh and Sam.

December 29th
It was very hot, and so we stayed inside in the dark and watched Matrix Resurrections and had a smoothie.

Later in the afternoon we drove to Aldinga for dinner and another walk on the beach. Nash tried to hunt and kill a partially submerged rock, and got bopped on her bottom by an unexpected wave. Much mirth was shared.

December 30th
Another stinking hot day where we tried to get a long walk in before breakfast, again along the Torrens.

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It was around this point that another item on my todo list - Upgrade to newer version of PHP and framework - began. I expected it to take me most of the day.

At some point I got sick of holiday software development and drank a beer while making pizzas.

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December 31st
Omicron hysteria was everywhere. We went on another Torrens walk, then after breakfast to Costco to buy bulk strawberries and salad.

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I did more Bradism upgrading.
In the evening I made Afghan chicken kebabs and then we rode to Semaphore, swam in the ocean, drank champagne in the dark and then rode home.

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January 1st
I fixed my flat tyre. The Bradism Upgrade efforts continued. Vanessa made me a mousse cake.

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January 2nd
We went walking on the beach in the morning. I forget which beach.

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Later in the afternoon I strapped a Bluetooth speaker to my handlebars, told Spotify to play radio based on Don't Stop Believin' and Boston's More than a Feeling. I rode to Glenelg for another ocean beer, and watching the sunset at the Unit with Gus and Timmy.

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January 3rd
Invigorated, I slow cooked a pork leg for eight hours and set about trying to finish as much of the second half of my todo list. I ate pulled pork for dinner. The Bradism upgrade continued...

It was a nice break.

Greenway to 2022

There I was, beer in hand, half-submerged in the ocean and watching the last light of sunset paint the sky red. Tired but satisfied.

Halfway through the return ride my back tyre got a puncture. I had to wait at a train station with a slightly crazy stabbing victim who'd just left the emergency department. I wheeled my bike onto the train and put my mask on.

If there is better symbolism to wrap up 2021 than getting a flat when you're halfway home, rising hospital case numbers, and being forced to wear a mask for the rest of the year, I don't know what it is.

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