Week 51/2022: Figgy pudding and chocolate nuts (and another ending)

Week of 19 December 2022

Figgy pudding and chocolate nuts

Okay, even I don’t know what that means! I saw something this week on Twitter from @NicSampson that I haven’t been able to get out of my head.

“So your new carol is just eight verses of you demanding figgy pudding with increasing hostility.”
“That’s right.”
“And it’s called We Wish You A Merry Christmas?”
“But it’s not really about Christmas is it? It’s mostly about figgy—”
“—figgy pudding, yeah.”

And I thought it was mildly amusing. And figgy pudding led me to thinking about chocolate nuts.

Almonds. Yummy, right?

I recently read an interview with the photographer Matt Black, who works out of the Central Valley in California to highlight, well a lot of things, but mainly poverty and inequality in his homeland.

He talks about and photographs the impacts of the decreasing water supply in the area, the destruction of the environment, and of the communities that depend on water to grow food. One of the photos used in the interview is of a row of uprooted almond trees. The caption notes that the almonds are for export and use a gallon of water for every single almond.

Hardly sustainable in a place that has no water, and it made me think about the casualness with which I can go to the shop and buy a bag of almonds, completely oblivious to this situation

Taking Matt’s course on Magnum’s online platform was one of the most interesting and thought provoking things I’ve done this year, and there are ideas I want to carry through into my own photography.

Very much off topic but that’s my mind at the moment. All over the place.

A light orange sunrise sky over the river
Christmas morning sunrise

The end is the end

It was the second last week of the year and the last week of school. Kramstable’s last week of high school.

Four years ago, I was at his grade 6 leavers’ assembly, a very emotional experience after eight years at the school. After they left the hall, the grade 6 students were presented with oak saplings from the school’s oak tree as a reminder of their time there.

Four years later, the oak sapling is still alive and I had another leavers’ assembly to go to: Kramstable’s final grade 10 assembly, to see him graduate high school.

A four-year-old oak sapling against a yellow wall
The primary school oak four year later

Even though I was nowhere near as involved with his life at high school as I had been at primary school, I got hit with the same feelings I’d had in 2018. It’s a massive thing, the end of grade 10, and I look back over the past four years with great pride at what he’s achieved.

Three musical productions, three entries in the MyState Film festival. A year on the student council and a year as peer support. Debating. Work on the school yearbook.

I haven’t seen much of what he’s done in class but I know he worked hard in his subjects and he showed an amazing level of self direction during the study at home period in grade 8. This year he took on a language he’d only previously studied for a semester in grade 7 and did a lot of work in his own time to catch up. He’s tried different subjects and figured out they weren’t the direction he wanted to pursue so he dropped them. Unlike me, who never knew where I was going and am only just starting to work it out, he knows what he wants to do and is making choices to help him get there.

Assembly day was an emotional morning, more so than I’d expected.

His grade 10 team leader, who has been with the year group since they started in grade 7, gave a lovely speech reflecting on all that had happened since they walked in the door of the same gym on their first day in 2019.

I especially appreciated his words about being true to yourself and not being afraid of being you. This is something we have tried to instil in Kramstable for his whole life and I’m grateful that he’s been able to have this reinforced at his school. I think he’s very much embraced this message, and I wish it was something people in my life had said to me when I was 16. It’s so important and a very hard thing to do when you’ve spent your life seeking the approval of others.

But that’s my story and it’s a long one.

I didn’t even try to hold back my tears as the classes were walking out of the gym. I spent most of the rest of the day feeling my emotions and being present with how I felt. I’m grateful I was able to go and am very excited for what the future holds for Kramstable.

22 for 2022 update

I’m continuing the Dymocks Reading Challenge (thing 21). I’ve read 15 of the 20 books in the challenge (and 49 books overall) so I’m wondering if I can make a big push in the last week of the year to complete the rest of them.

Someone may have to go on TikTok for me and tell me what’s trending on #booktok though, because I don’t have a clue!

22 for 2022 summary

  • Things completed to date: 9 (8, 10, 11, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22)
  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things I worked on this week: 1 (21)
  • Things in progress: 7 (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 12, 21)
  • Things not started: 2 (14, 16)
  • Things I’m not going to do: 4 (4, 7, 9, 15)

What do I want to do next week?

My shoulder exercises. Write a blog post on the book Four Thousand Weeks. Have a break. Do a yearly review. Read some books.

Read some more books.

Rest some more.

Weekly summary

What was the best thing about this week?

Going to the leavers’ assembly was great.

What did I learn this week?

Apparently, people who read a lot of novels are better at reading other people’s emotions than people who don’t. But does reading novels helps you develop empathy or are people with higher levels of empathy more likely to read novels?

What did I notice this week?

An honest and sturdy Christmas tree for sale.

A pole with a hand written sign for "honest and sturdy Christmas tree $10", and a Christmas tree propped against it
An honest and sturdy Christmas tree

What I’m reading this week

  • The Little Red Writing Book by Mark Tredinnick
  • Tranquility by Tuesday by Laura Vanderkam
  • This All Come Back Now: An anthology of First Nations speculative fiction edited by Mykaela Saunders
  • Stolen Focus by Johann Hari

Habit tracker

  • Morning ritual (Goal = 7): 7
  • Move (preferably before 3 pm) (Goal = 7): 6
  • Morning writing (Goal = 7): 5
  • The Little Red Writing Book exercises (Goal = 5): 0
  • Listened to writing podcasts (Goal = 2): 2
  • Controlled breathing (Goal = 7): 7
  • All six physiotherapy exercises (Goal = 7): 0
  • Mental health break outside during my work days in the office (2 days): 2
  • Finish work by 5.30 (Goal = 5): 5
  • Shut my computer down before 9.15 (Goal = 6): 5
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