Friday, 25 March 2016

Taking stock: February/March 2016.

Almost two months have flown by at blink-and-you'll-miss-it speed. Everyone I know is commenting about how quickly this year is going. It seems to happen when you get older, though. When you're younger, days stretch out painfully between school holidays and birthday parties. But hit your mid 30s, and the years seem to speed up just as painfully. You wonder what happened to the footloose, responsibility-free bohemian/clubber/raver/indi rocker/Brit pop lover/jock who had all the time in the world, as you start looking for good schools, quality investment opportunities and the time to indulge in long-neglected interests (like art, music or going to the toilet without a toddler in tow).

Since I last wrote here, I have had a lovely solo mum's weekend retreat in Kyneton, where I drank a lot of tea, ate a lot of chocolate and cake, and did a little writing and reading, mostly from the comfort of an old-fashioned miner's hut with the most exquisite secret cottage-y garden. Sadly, I did miss my family. It was weird being on holiday without them. Not so weird that I won't do it again, mind you. 

I've also had my head buried among seemingly endless research grant applications at work. We've checked and submitted almost as many in the past three months as we did in the whole of 2015. We celebrated getting over the hump with whisky and treats last week in my colleagues' office. 

To help me work out what to do with my future self (and hone my literary skills), I signed up for a short course in magazine and newspaper writing. I also signed up for a short course in gardening therapy. I've been writing some short stories about gardening therapy, not realising it was an actual thing, but Google tells me it is, so I'm going to learn how to do it. For a couple of years I've been saying I want someone to pay me to play in my garden (while drinking tea and writing). This could be the answer to my prayers!

Despite its neglect of late, my garden is overflowing with tomatoes, thanks to the late warmth and rain. I have to make a big batch of tomato chutney before it all goes to waste. We're also getting lots of cucumbers, strawberries, silver beet and rhubarb, and a few late raspberries. And the way the beans are going, I'm expecting a bumper crop of those too. I'm always surprised at how well my garden produces considering how little effort I put into it. It probably helps that dad pitches in when he visits. He loves gardening even more than me.

My folks have visited a few times in the past couple of months, too. They have enjoyed countless tea parties, drawing and walks around the garden with Little Red. I don't think my dad can quite get his head around being summoned (very firmly) to drink pretend tea by an almost-two-year-old. 

And in taking stock news, I've been...
  • Making: Progress with things at home and work. Slowly.
  • Cooking: Potato and leek soup, egg custard, roast vegetable frittata, bliss balls, dhal and brownies with sweet potato or beans. 
  • Drinking: Matcha green tea lattes. My new obsession. Plus the usual excess of chai, wattleseed-flavoured black tea, peppermint tea, detox tea, dandy tea, and lemon grass and ginger tea. And many, many smoothies.
  • Reading: Big magic (still). I haven’t finished Buddhism for mothers of young children yet either. But I will not be beaten. It's just that not a lot of reading of grown-ups books gets done around here these days, sadly. This I want to change.
  • Wanting: A nap. 
  • Looking: Forward to Easter with my folks. 
  • Playing: Tea parties.
  • Deciding: What to do with work. (And how to stop eating so many treats.)
  • Wishing: Little Red would draw ONLY on paper. And not on herself, her clothes, the walls, the bedspreads, the floor, the kitchen cupboards, the dishwasher, the high chair, the iPad, the etcher sketch, the table, me…
  • Enjoying: The beautiful day today. The perfect amount of sunshine and warmth and blue skies, and cool breeze. 
  • Waiting: For Winter. It makes me ever so happy. 
  • Liking: Autumn mornings.
  • Wondering: How many matcha green tea lattes it’s healthy to have a day.
  • Loving: Doctor Foster. I started watching it this week and was hooked after just one episode. Not that I'm condoning it by any measure, but you have to kind of admire people with families who have affairs. My boy and I have discussed it and have no idea how on Earth you would find the time to romance or shag someone else between existing work and family commitments. 
  • Pondering: What to put on the home page for my new freelance website.
  • Considering: Getting up super early so I can do more me things, like write, walk, meditate and garden, in peace and quiet.
  • Buying: Too much chocolate and too many bliss balls.
  • Watching: Doctor Foster, The Doctor Blake Mysteries and Death in Paradise. I am hanging out for A place to call home to be released on DVD, and the new Bridget Jones' Diary movie to come out (I'm so making my boy watch that with me at the movies).
  • Hoping: The world isn’t too crazy and ugly, and retains and increases its beauty, for Little Red and her kidlets (if she has any). 
  • Marvelling: At Mother Nature. She knows just what to do, and when and how.
  • Cringing: At my extra padding courtesy of an excess of sweet treats to keep me going during the peak part of my working year. (Healthy eating/lifestyle starts again right after Easter…)
  • Needing: To write some more interesting and varied content for this blog.
  • Questioning: How smart it was of me to let Little Red play with the tub of dirty dish water and her watering can so I could finish this off in relative peace. I think her clothes have had more to drink than the plant pots up here on the deck. At least only one of her socks is soaked (I have no idea where she’s put the other one). #winningatparenting
  • Smelling: Not much lately. We have all had colds.
  • Wearing: A hoodie! Yay, for autumn! (Also other clothes, obviously.)
  • Following: House prices in my area. They’ve increased at a crazy rate. No way we’d be able to afford a place here if we were looking to buy now. 
  • Noticing: That everyone is into simplicity at the moment. I think it’s 2016’s kale.
  • Knowing: We should really potty train Little Red, but it seems a bit daunting. Mum was saying she wants new carpet so maybe we'll do it over Easter at her place.
  • Thinking: Of getting rid of my credit card.
  • Admiring: People with better time management than me of late (actually, always).
  • Sorting: Out my priorities.
  • Getting: On the Simplicity bandwagon.
  • Bookmarking: Peanut butter recipes, apparently. Out of the last five bookmarks on my phone, three feature peanut butter. This may be because I bought some roasted and normal peanut butter on special last week. The roasted one is especially moreish (especially by the spoonful).
  • Coveting: The inner peace, quiet and serenity that people who work with energy and natural therapies seem to always have. 
  • Disliking: How much bad news there is.
  • Opening: Too many bills. And big ones at that.
  • Giggling: At Little Red shushing me - the cheek of it! I was talking while she was watching boats on TV. She put her finger to her lips and said 'Shhhhush mummy. Mummy, shhhh'. I nearly wet myself laughing.
  • Feeling: Very tired of late, but on the up thanks to my naturopath and kinesiologist and a couple of good nights' sleep.
  • Snacking: Bliss balls ahoy! And chocolate, of course. (This blog is brought to you by The Chocolate Yogi’s Dreamy Chai.)
  • Helping: Little Red up and down the stairs. Still.
  • Hearing: Happy birds. They love this weather as much as me.

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