- Over the past four years our balcony has slowly, slowly improved. We’ve put down attractive parquet decking, acquired furniture, planted stuff, some of which has even survived. We (Armin) have hung up an insect hotel. (I have no idea why.) But there’s a problem. A has ambitions bigger than the actual balcony. He keeps dreaming of a sofa set. I’m quite keen to actually be able to walk onto the balcony. He wants seating for a drinks party with all our friends and neighbours (fortunately we don’t have that many, being antisocial losers); I want to enjoy the space during the 90% of time we use it, ie when it’s just us. He would rather have more stuff out there, even if we have to squeeze around it. I can’t enjoy the space at all if I can’t move around in it comfortably. I wonder if this is about him being half my size.
- I drew up this lovely schedule for my free mornings, with a day for design work, one morning for “blogs and frogs”,* one for learning (so I can get a grip on drawing software, photo editing, maybe even sewing, that sort of thing). So far it’s just a delightful fantasy, because I had a whole bunch of freelance work come in right at the start of term. Which is (a) excellent and welcome and (b) actually really good timing, but it does make me wonder just how hard it’s going to be to carve out time for My Stuff (as so carefully scheduled) that doesn’t consistently get swamped by other (paid) work. I mean, it’s fine. I’ll be very lucky to have regular work and will enjoy knowing what to do with my time when I have time. Just been thinking about boundaries, that’s all.
- Of course I’ve also applied for yet another job that I almost certainly won’t get but would really rather like, so. That would be… a complicating factor.
- Otoh, I could get stuff done in the afternoons too, if/when I learn to settle down and be productive even when expecting constant interruptions. (It’s totally possible, assuming I choose the right tasks, but not easy.) M is ever easier: often with friends, or happy to sit himself down with paper and pencil and keep busy. (The latest artwork: a three-legged zombie. Wait, that’s not a third leg…) So it’s up to me to make the best of those times.
- I really am so very much enjoying this new phase. It’s not just the extra time – things are just easier, suddenly. M has made a great leap and needs me less. Still a lot! But not constantly. And the weirdest thing happened last Thursday. I was having a mildly crappy morning: irritable, restless, couldn’t concentrate, didn’t want to work… and my mood improved significantly after the kids came home for lunch. I cooked, they ate, M was grumpy then cheered up; it was very mundane, but it left me feeling calmer, happier, more settled. So weird. I mean, I did always say I’d be a better mother and enjoy them more as they grew, and yet: weird! See also: after all those years of desperately wishing for uninterrupted sleep, now the best nights are the nights when M comes to me for a snuggle. Best nights.
* Ie, social media and the long list of things I need to deal with but never quite get around to. You know, the “eat a frog a day” principle. Or in this case, a frog a week.
No 33 of #52recipes: this lemon zucchini cake. (Not a Smitten Kitchen link! Aren’t you proud?) I made it without the glaze (on grounds of we have more than enough sugar in our diet) and it was really good. As much as I love icing (I really do, more than my kids), I think I’d always serve it this way. It’s delicious, not too sweet, and the subtle olive oil flavour helps you to kid yourself this is a healthy snack. (Don’t worry, it still totally tastes like cake. The kids approve.)
My diary tells me it’s week 38 and I’m only on recipe 33. I have some catching up to do…