Monthly Archives

October 2018

Life

Leaves

22nd October 2018

The house is unnaturally quiet because the children aren’t here. I can’t sleep despite a definitive intent to do so, so I’m writing this list I thought about doing earlier in the day – prompts from this MeetMeAtMikes post. It’s been a long short week. The type that leaves you utterly exhausted by life with too many ups and downs squeezed into only a matter of days.

Making : No making. None at all. So many unfinished projects.
Cooking : Roasting some veg and a chicken this afternoon has been about the extent of it.
Drinking : Wine on Thursday/Friday, but have again, gone back hard to the chinese pu’er.
Listening to: The High Low, Billie Eilish, Solitude by Michael Harris on audible, and I finished Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – I thought it was too ambitious and a bit long for me, but I was determined to finish and it accompanied me on my walk to and from work for many days.
Reading: I finished Lily Allen’s “My thoughts exactly” and Christina Patterson’s “The art of not falling apart” – currently laughing through “Let Go My Hand” by Edward Docx.
Next read: Actually going to finish “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott.
Wanting: To get up early each morning to write.
Looking: At the work of Yuni Yoshida – she’s amazing
Playing: With morphing SVG’s using greensock’s plugin.
Deciding: No decisions made this week.
Wishing: For a holiday. Some sun. A break.
Enjoying: A 90 minute deep tissue massage.
Waiting: For the kids new squishies to arrive.
Liking: My new house plants from the Open Market last weekend. I WILL get them potted this week.
Wondering: When my energy will come back.
Loving: Sitting in bed reading.
Pondering: The idea that social media is now a form of social bonding and how that relates to the online identity. Michael Harris talks about it in the book Solitude. I can’t stop thinking about it.
Considering: The next stage of my life.
Buying: Lots of clothes off ebay recently. It’s got to stop.
Watching: First Dates Hotel.
Next watch: Finishing Killing Eve this week.
Hoping: Always hoping.
Marvelling: At just how much water came through the roof last Sunday night in the epic rain and how I am still wearing only a t-shirt outside when it is mid October.
Cringing: When I wear red lipstick, eat and get it on my nose.
Needing: To apply for Ruby’s secondary school.
Questioning: The impact of identity on habits, the impact of language: saying ‘I am’ instead of “I’m trying to”. See atomic habits
Smelling: The roses in the park. Still going strong.
Wearing: Anything I like. It’s so nice to have a job where I can put on trainers or denim to work. Not to be underestimated.
Following: I’ve dipped into observe the socials but I’m not posting.
Worrying: Actually I’ve sort of discovered recently, that when the worst has happened, you worry less, but I did worry the dog had fleas and took him to the vet and got told I was paranoid.
Noticing: That every morning I am tired, no matter how much sleep I get.
Knowing: I need to start training. As in, actually running.
Thinking: About this quote: “We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them, or build with them.” – William Arthur Ward.
Admiring: The houseplants I have managed to grow and keep alive.
Sorting: All the children’s things.
Getting: UP – I’m finishing this in the morning, and now I am GETTING UP.
Bookmarking: This exchange by creatives on what to do about their social media accounts.
Coveting: Freshly painted walls.
Disliking: Leaving for work without eating. Must. Get. Up. Earlier.
Opening: Lots of books being delivered.
Giggling: Still laughing at this.
Feeling: Like morning is coming too soon.
Snacking: Edamame with salt.
Hearing: The house shifting with no-one in it.

Running

Gyoza and marathon

8th October 2018

Gyoza dinner

I won’t lie, I get pretty sick of cooking every meal but this is our new healthy-ish fast dinner and the kids eat it ALL which is satisfying. Gyoza from the japanese supermarket, I’d loved to say handmade, but they’re out the freezer, edamame microwaved, steamed brocolli and sushi rice. It could do with some colour but I was all out of culinary creativity by 8pm and this takes less than 10 minutes.

Notably, I’ve switched from an ice cold asahi to a cup of pu-er tea. And the reason? I’ve not only signed up for 3 ultras in 2019, today I was one of the truly lucky people to receive a place in the London Marathon through the ballot so it’s about time I got myself in gear. I leapt round the house like a child as this really is the running equivalent of winning the lottery, and, a sign from the universe things are shifting for me I think. Or at least a sign I need to perhaps take up running again in preparation. The last marathon I ran here in Brighton was a fairly miserable experience for quite a sustained an amount of time, for a rather large number of reasons including the fact that I was entirely unprepared and as it turned out, very close to physically and mentally burning out. This marathon will be a different experience. The training will see me strong, vital and happy. It sounds indulgent but this morning a song came on that I used to listen to a lot when my dad was dying on my way into work and then later in the day I bumped into someone on the way home who said they’d just got off the phone from talking to their dad and that it was like talking to a mirror. When I stood in the queue at the co-op minutes later I just felt the missing of my own dad so much, I almost cried. Picking this up off the mat when I got home felt a little significant, a gift, because running London when I was 21 and spending the rest of the day with my dad is one of my most treasured memories.

I really needed some good news today and this is going to be good for me.

 

Books Life

tsundoku

7th October 2018

Books by my bed

As much as I like to borrow books I love to have them also. Everything about the stacks of reading material beside my bed is making me happy.

In no particular order:

The lost flowers of Alice  Hart: Holly Ringland, passed to me by my sister Hannah.

Everything I know about love: Dolly Alderton, a birthday present from my friend Caroline because we both love listening to the High Low podcast.

The Way of the happy woman: Sara Avant Stover, because this book is a nourishing companion to my life and I’m not looking after myself properly at the moment

Let go my hand: Edward Docx, an author I hadn’t heard of but I signed myself up for a writing workshop with him in November last Friday evening. Happy Birthday to me.

A question of trust: Penny Vincenzi, because I love her doorstop books. I hadn’t realised she had died and so sadly read her obituary today also, she’s a bit of an inspiration to me.

Willpower: Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney, because I need to exercise a bit more discipline, ritual and routine in my life to get what I want to get done, done. I can be determined and focused, but currently outside of work and feeding the children I’ve lost the thread a bit with my creating, my fitness and my money. That in turn makes me not feel on top of life.

The Compassionate Mind: Paul Gilbert, because I pulled an angel card the other day I hadn’t before that said I should exercise compassion, then I saw this book on the shelf that day in Waterstones. I think probably I need to exercise a bit more self compassion, I’ve had to tilt a little out of some parts of my life while I get to grips with my new role as a junior creative developer and I’m constantly berating myself for not being more organised. It’s not always home cooked meals from scratch like it used to be and sometimes I don’t have time to make packed lunches. I need to do things like change the energy provider, file the paperwork and sort the garden out. Keeping on top of the house is a daily struggle. Most often I am in bed at the same time as the children during the week because I’m so exhausted and it feels like nothing else gets done. There are so many imperfections and things I would like to be better at but I have to remember I am holding down a job, the kids and the dog are happy, there’s always deliveroo, the world is still turning and everyday I start afresh.

Magazines: Flow/Frankie both purchased at Magazine.

I cannot imagine life without reading. I’m so looking forward to curling up with these in the evenings.

Life

Back: This week

6th October 2018

Picture of the book 'The Art of Falling apart"

I’ve gone cool on instagram. Again. It got to be too earnest a digital space for me to inhabit. I don’t want to consume there, I don’t want to participate in the glib, prosaic, pretty much formulaic style of copy I seemed to be actually quite ok at. Basically, I’m conflicted for a number of reasons I can’t currently find it within myself to elaborate on, but I’ve not been on there all week save to see a photo taken of me on Friday lunchtime being gloriously happy holding my friends baby. It’s weird all this digital content we can create, feel compelled to create, it’s all tied up with recognition and value/significance, I just want anyone that wants to read what I write to have intentionally sought it. Not by virtue of a follow once, long ago, on a platform that seeks to hold our attention, because you’re here. You’re reading this. It’s too difficult to explain in a few short sentences, perhaps I’ll try another time.

I also gave up on the challenge ‘a year of you’ – it got to the relationship part and the words ‘fuck this’ made me not want to do it anymore. Just being honest.

Today has been lazy. I’ve got the children all weekend and we had to set out with the dog to get George to his martial arts class in swift haste because no-one was ready in time. Ruby and I then pointlessly drove round for a bit before parking the car in the local supermarket and attempting to take the dog up the moving walkway (the lift wasn’t working) to wander round London Road. He was having none of it, lay on the floor in absolute terror, resisting going anywhere near it with the considerable strength of his entire being. Like many other escalators and bridges of the past, it didn’t happen. We got back in the car and had to park somewhere else.

We then had bacon sandwiches at the cafe next door and got my fringe trimmed by my lovely hairdresser who always make sure she holds me in a hug before making me look like myself again. Since being back I’ve sat with Ruby and helped her code a rudimentary page for a science project. It’s got animated text so far and we plan to add to it over the coming days. She even created her own timeline! In between I have been dipping in and out of this wonderful book “The art of falling apart” by Christina Patterson. I delight in reading but weekends are my binge. This book has described something I have been through recently through the stories of others and although it feels quite close to the bone sometimes and I have physically felt uncomfortable during the reading, I am enjoying something sometimes only the written word can do, making you feel less alone.

Off the back of searching for everything Christina has ever written on the internet, on a link frenzy I came across these words said by John Docx on being a writer: “to give precise and enduring expression to the human experience”. I’m writing now – I don’t feel I’ve quite given precise and enduring expression to my human experience, but what I do know is that I have liked to write here in the past. I know that sometimes, the things I have written have made people I don’t know write to me and tell me their stories. That’s what we’re all doing, sharing stories of our experience. I ended up buying all his books too and then being freakishly alarmed by them arriving and being handed to me hours later – bloody prime, I’ve got proper tsundoku at the moment, piles and piles of material to read. It makes me feel content in a way that a full freezer does.

If you’ve ever felt your life has hit the skids, accompany your demise by reading this book, it covers all the horrors of what can and perhaps will unfold in any human experience. It will prove the human ability for resilience. It will make you want to believe in the words by Brad Meltzer.

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.