Week 24/2021: rocket man

Week of 14 June 2021

What did I want to do better this week?

Last week I said I wanted to focus on sleep and just sleep. I’d been creeping my shutdown time past 10.15 and not leaving enough time to wind down before my 10.30 bedtime. With a 5.30 wakeup time, it’s not enough sleep.

So, how did that go then?

Not exactly well. I know I need to make a few tweaks to my evening routine and I know what I have to do, though I did manage to get more sleep on the weekend by turning off my alarm and sleeping in. I’ll be writing about this a bit more in the next post.

A blue beach scene
Monday beach walk

21 for 2021 update

Vegetable of the week (thing 2)

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from the book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable.

This week I made two of the sweetcorn recipes and you can read about them here.

Sweetcorn, chicken and egg noodle soup, garnished with spring onions from the book In Praise of Veg
Sweetcorn soup, complete with steam

The Change Journal (thing 4)

I finished off chapter 8 of the Change Journal (Clarity). I came up with some actions that I want to take to help me get to where I want to go to, which I’m going to start to incorporate into my daily routines. One of these is to start going to bed earlier. Another one is to try and incorporate more thinking time into my day, which I also touched on in the Brainsparker work but is a subject for another post.

Next week I’m going to work on the Complements chapter (chapter 10).

Annoying undone things (thing 5)

At the start of the year there were 33 things on this list and I said I’d spend an hour on Saturday mornings working through them. That didn’t work out so well and I haven’t stuck to that at all.

This week, I bought myself a new office chair, which is something I’d decided to do when I got my 2018-19 tax return. So it had been on the list for a while.

A black office chair outside a furniture warehouse
Picking up my new chair

There are now 19 things remaining on the list, three of which are in progress and one I think I can cross off because I left it so long it no longer needs to be done. There’s probably a few more things I could probably add now too, but let’s just leave it at 19 for now.

Kramstable’s videos (thing 8)

I started work on this year’s video. It was a weird feeling going back to the start of a project after having spent the best part of six months on the other one.

My mother’s story (thing 9)

I went to see my mum and somehow the conversation this week turned to the rocket park in Ulverstone. I’m sure that’s not the official name of it but anyone who grew up in north west Tasmania would know the place I mean. It’s a little park alongside the river in Ulverstone that has a metal rocket ship that you used to be able to climb up in and go down a fairly high slide that I’m sure claimed many kids as victims over its lifetime. I used to be terrified of it and don’t think I was ever brave enough to tackle it. For kids like me, there was also a flying saucer with a slightly less intimidating slide.

I remember it very fondly. It was always the highlight of any trip to Ulverstone when I was a kid.

A girl at the top of rocket playground equipment
This is Lil Sis on the rocket back in the 1980s. I was possibly never brave enough to go up that high, which is why I’m on the ground taking the photo.

Sadly, the slides have now been removed (presumably on safety grounds) and I believe the ladder into the rocket ship has also been removed so that no one can climb it any more. A story from the local paper in 2013 suggested that the flying saucer was to be converted into a BBQ area but I don’t know if that ever happened. It’s been a long time since I was there. (2009 to be exact.)

Space park play equipment including a rocket and a flying saucer with the slides removed
The Ulverstone rocket park in 2009. Check out the breeze blocks on the right!

What was funny about this is that the very next day, and not knowing about this conversation, a friend sent me an article about a similar rocket in a park in Melbourne. (It has a way less imposing slide than the Ulverstone one had, which I suspect is probably a later modification rather than part of the original design). The local council was going to demolish it until the residents stepped in and saved it.

According to the article, these rockets ships became a thing in Australia after a town planner from the Blue Mountains had been in the USA, where the rockets were being built, and passed the plans onto a local blacksmith who built them for playgrounds in NSW and Victoria.

Wikipedia tells me they first appeared in California in the early 1960s. Known as “Cold War playground equipment”, they were designed to get kids excited about the Space Race. Similar equipment was erected in playgrounds in Eastern Europe around the same time, including one in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, the home of the cosmodrome from which Yuri Gagarin’s spacecraft Vostok 1 was launched in 1961.

But get this! These things were considered so dangerous that in the US, after they started tracking playground injuries in hospital emergency departments, the first Handbook for Public Playground Safety was developed, and this signalled the beginning the end of this type of equipment.

As a result, I believe a lot of them have been removed from playgrounds in Australia. Fortunately, they’ve not all gone, even if they have been modified from their original designs to make them safer, so you can still find them. You just might not be able to climb them or slide on them.

The Compelling Frame course (thing 11)

I rewatched the video for lesson 7. I’m not sure if that counts as progress.

Yes it does.

Brainsparker ( thing 17)

This week I worked on the second lesson of module 7, which talked about the difference between diverging your thinking and converging your thinking and why it is important to diverge your thinking (come up with lots of ideas) before you converge (narrow the ideas into something practical).

I had a lightbulb moment when reading this article.

It says:

At work and in life, both types of thinking are important. Divergent thinking generates new ideas; convergent thinking transforms these ideas into concrete steps. The problem is when we try to do both at the same time—when our brain is switching back and forth between the different types of thinking, it doesn’t accomplish either particularly effectively.

Take a look at your schedule each day or week. If most of your day is spent “getting things done,” that’s a good sign you need to carve out some time for divergent thinking. So do yourself a favor and schedule it: Plan time to step away from the computer and mind-map your ideas for a new project, go for a walk outside, or read a book on an unfamiliar topic. It’s important to do this every day, for at least 20 minutes or so, to give your brain space to create new possibilities. Try to minimize distractions that might send you into get-it-done mode. And write down everything that comes to mind.

Thinking, specifically, making time to think in a more creative sense rather than worrying about things I can’t control or planning my day in detail, is something that I struggle to make time to do. As soon as I read this I began to understand why I’m having such trouble. I’m constantly trying to small-picture think without having done any big-picture thinking and I’m caught in an endless to-do list cycle without any clear direction.

This is a theme I have a lot more to say about, so stay tuned for that instalment.

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 3 (1, 18, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 7 (2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 17)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 6 (6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 16)
  • Things not started: 5 (3, 12, 15, 19, 21)

What else did I do this week?

When did I listen and what did I learn this week?

I’m reading Daniel Sih’s book Spacemaker, which I learned a lot from about, well, making space. The book is subtitled How to Unplug, Unwind and Think Clearly in the Digital Age and I’m writing a post about what I learned rather than trying to cram it all in here. It links back to what I was talking about in relation to Brainsparker and the Clarity section of the Change Journal.

So many connections!

What was the best thing about this week?

I got a new bike helmet!

Okay, maybe that’s not the most exciting thing in the world, but I backed this helmet on Kickstarter almost 12 months ago, and it ended up with a few unanticipated delays so I only got it this week.

It’s super cool. It has lights, it charges by USB and it has INDICATORS! No more awkward hand signals when I’m trying to brake at the bottom of a hill.. I can also customise the flash pattern via that app. How fancy is that!

I went to see a doctor the day I picked it up from the post office so I was lugging this huge box around with me. He asked what it was and I said it was a bike helmet and described it to him. I could see from the stuff in his office he was a bike rider, and after we did the medical formalities, he googled it and was most impressed. I have to say the helmet was also way more exciting for me that for the medical condition I went to see him about.

At least I have something to talk to him about next time I see him that isn’t icky body related.

I took it for a test run on Sunday and am going to try it out on a work run next week to see whether it’s more designed for me to be seen rather than to see. Being seen is very important on the roads I ride on.

What didn’t go so well / What do I want to do better next week?

I’m going to say sleep, and going to bed on time. Turning off my alarm and sleeping in meant my morning walk suffered but it also showed me how much better I can feel if I get more sleep.

I need to do this more often.

What I’m reading this week

  • gulp! The seven day crash course to master fear and break through any challenge by Gabriella Goddard
  • Spacemaker How to Unplug, Unwind & Think Clearly in the Digital Age by Daniel Sih
  • Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 4): 4
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 4): 0
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 3
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 1
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 4 work days): 4
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 2
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 4
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