Home baking, this week’s efforts include focaccia and carrot bread.
A tiny new arrival.
Having a manicure and a pedicure for the first time since March. I’ve had time during lockdown to consider my priorities. And I’m happy to support a small local business and have some pampering every three weeks.
Working from home.
Sending off ever more baby stuff to new homes. A bath, nightdresses, a double buggy and other assorted stuff we no longer need have gone. And knowing that we have no pangs of regret about letting go of any of it.
Yesterday was our second nine year wedding anniversary. We still have this candle holder in our home, and it comes out every so often and I remember our trip to Ikea to stock up on decor for our wedding. I can’t remember why, but I was a bit obsessed with having everything colour co-ordinated so that’s why there’s a lilac coloured satin ribbon tied around it.
Obviously, we couldn’t go anywhere to celebrate so we had a gin and tonic (me) and a beer (himself) to toast the day. I love having two anniversaries (pretty sure I write a very similar post every year) and I love being married. I think we’re getting good at it too. Sometimes I don’t know how he puts up with me.
My life has shrunk a lot in recent weeks. Like everyone else, my days revolve around home and the 2km radius around it. I miss leaving the house to go to work. I am not stay at home parent material. I make mental lists of things to do and then berate myself for not getting through them. My goals are small and the days are long. I’ve realised it isn’t healthy or productive for me to dwell on all the things I feel I should be doing but which remain undone.
I’ve reconciled myself to small potatoes. Getting one area tidied and reorganised is an achievement. Making it through some school work with the children every day is another. Keeping us all fed relatively well is something I’m going to pat myself on the back for. An empty laundry basket almost every day certainly sparks enough joy to keep me happy.
Incidentally, I had completely forgotten about the X-Files episode that inspired the name of this post until I was reminded of it in a Facebook group. Social media is definitely a help these days.
I bought this bag at the very end of a summer sale at least ten years ago. It was a genuine bargain, as I’d had my eye on it for a few months and was toying with buying it at full price. Getting it for far less was a complete bonus. It holds a multitude. Right now, I have in it a lunch and snacks for the day, a book I’ve been meaning to post to someone for weeks, gym gear and sundry other daily essentials like my purse, makeup and keys. And I could probably squeeze in a few more things if I had to.
It’s not perfect by any means. I was a little too enthusiastic when it got a bit mucky inside and scrubbed too hard, so there are some loose threads in the lining. The bottom of it is peeling a bit, mainly due to my lack of care as I sling it around on my commute to work. I overfill it on many occasions, so the handles are a little less than perfect. But I don’t care because I love it so much. I put it away for a while and use other bags and then I take it out and remember how much I can pack into it and how it makes me cheery on a dull day.
The older I get, the more I derive joy from the things I already own. Especially when I rediscover them after they’ve had a few months’ rest. A bright red bag on a misty morning is a thing of beauty.
…except temptation. The only downside to my commute is that the DART station at which I alight each morning has an Offbeat Donuts shop at the end of the stairs. The smell is alluring and hard to resist, and the donuts are delicious. During pregnancy I gave into temptation more times than I care to admit. The red velvet is my favourite, and one of the nicest memories I have of being sequestered in hospital for five days following the birth of Baby Orchid is of my husband bringing in a box of them every day. I knew I married him for a reason.
I, too, am an amazing, thoughtful partner, which is why I celebrated the start of the general election campaign 2020 with a box of donuts, including my husband’s very favourite one, a caramel apple mix that is luscious. I stuck with the red velvet and I enjoyed every last bite. Yum.
One lovely thing about being off work for a few weeks and making a decision to put the phone away for stretch is that I’ve taken full advantage of our library’s ordering system to make sure new books come my way ASAP. This is one of them, and I have mixed feelings about it, feelings I’m still mulling over.
I’ve read some that I loved, some that I wasn’t particularly interested in, some I haven’t finished and some that I forced myself to finish because of my doggedmindedness. Doing a concentrated chunk of reading has been so good for my mental health and I’ve remembered how important reading has always been to me. Some of my happiest memories revolve around the joy I felt as I read a book I adored.
Today I’ll be collecting and dropping off yet more books on my way home. And this sparks enormous levels of joy.
I’m currently enjoying the bliss of a week off work, a week where I’m not on a tight schedule and can do things at my own pace. The bonus was having himself here on Monday and getting to do the thrilling work of reorganising our food supplies. I’d done a wee bit of stockpiling in an attempt to assuage my mild panic over Brexit so we had a lot of some things. Let’s just say we don’t need to buy tins of kidney beans, stock cubes or flour for a long time. The problem was the stockpiling had become haphazard and things had been hastily pushed into drawers and cupboards misplaced. So we now have nice tidy shelves as the result of not very much work. And I know exactly what we need to buy food wise this week which is not very much, given that we can work our way through our freezer full of meals that I prepared in advance of returning to work.
The other small victory is the steady march of baby and toddler related stuff out of our home and into other people’s homes. This week I said a fond farewell to our faithful IKEA Antilop highchair. This was probably the best fifteen euro I ever spent on our children. It has served us for a total of seven years, having been taken out for visiting children, loaned to others in need, pushed right under our table (meaning the tray was somewhat redundant) and used daily until each of our children couldn’t be left alone in it. It is a dream to clean, assemble and use and while I will miss it (oh the memories!), I’m delighted to reclaim some space and send it off to pastures new. We have a horrible plastic chair yoke we strap to our a dining chair now, but at least it takes up no extra space.