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Life

A Mental Health Walk

I walked into town after lunch with two of my daughters – a “mental health walk” – an escape from the walls that have been our prisoner for several weeks. It was good to get out of the house, if only for an hour.

We walked to the big park in town – mostly curious to take a look at the river that burst it’s banks last week. It’s receding now, but that hasn’t stopped the ducks and swans from taking ownership of a huge swathe of the riverbank. I quietly walked up to some of the swans, who showed no fear at all – walking slowly towards me as I approached. My eldest daughter backed away, making worried noises – she had a run in with a swan a few years ago while trying to take a picture of it.

The park was mostly quiet – predictable, given that it was a weekday – but also because it was so cold. After leaving the house snow began falling, and got heavier during the time we were out – beginning to settle on the ground. By the time we got home my face had become numb.

It was good to get out though. The cold weather seemed to remove the idiots that think the Corona Virus doesn’t apply to them. It’s strange how some people are more fearful of the cold than a deadly pandemic.

I found myself in an online debate of sorts with a particular kind of idiot last night, and something occurred to me. The people that complain about political bias, unfair reporting, and support conspiracy theories tend to do so because they have actively chosen to narrow the opinions they take notice of to those they agree with. It’s helped along by the very same algorithmic timeline they also complain about – because they fear missing out on anything. Figure that out – they fear missing out on the very same stories they don’t want to see.

Anyway.

It’s getting late, and I have a meeting first thing tomorrow. I need to sleep.

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Life

Hacking Anxiety and Loneliness

I’m not working today, so have spent much of the day juggling home school assistance with efforts to encourage my eldest daughter to step outside her self imposed seclusion. She arrived in the lounge late last night on something of a downer, so we spent an hour firing ideas at her like a machine gun.

Long story short – she has a blog again, and has been dipping a toe into online chat rooms (or rather, lurking in online chat rooms, petrified of taking herself off mute).

She’s currently sitting at her computer, trying to write a first blog post. It’s painful watching her – I had to walk away. It’s interesting how some people (read: me) can empty our head into the keyboard and magic a thousand words of nonsense almost at will – and some find the extraction of each and every word tortuous. Anxiety doesn’t help.

I think she’s planning on writing about her struggles with anxiety, lock down, and life in general. I helped get her setup with the blog, and write the about page – the first “real” post could take some time. If you have a minute today, go visit Daisiella, and click follow – getting some immediate feedback will hopefully help her see that there is a world out there, and get her over the start line.

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Life

Saturday

I started writing this post on Thursday, and provisionally titled it “Thursday”. I got no further than writing the title before I was called away. I then re-opened it on Friday evening, and got as far as re-titling it “Friday” before being called away again. Let’s hope the third re-titling leads to more than just the title being written. It’s looking good so far.

It’s been a bit of a day.

Since moving into our house a little under 20 years ago, a walk-in cupboard has existed in the corner of the kitchen that has become the classic Monica junk cupboard (you need to have seen a specific episode of Friends to get the joke). Well today that cupboard no longer exists – where it once stood we now have a neat, tidy larder.

I spent much of the day fixing plaster, re-painting, and putting shelves up – covering an entire wall with shelving. I have some skin missing on a palm, and a pretty good spinter buried in a finger to deal with, but otherwise – just glad to have gotten it done.

I guess the idea is to get rid of much of the food from the kitchen cupboards, and use them for saucepans, and so on. Like most families, we end up with tins and jars of this and that buried at the back of cupboards for months or years – and they end up being thrown away. Hopefully having all the food in sight will stop that happening.

It took our eldest daughter no time at all to realise she can visit the new food store without being spotted walking past the living room doorway.

(ten minutes pass while I fall down a Spotify rabbit-hole, adding a number of playlists to my short-list)

We signed up for a family plan on Spotify this week. Having gone nowhere and done nothing for a year, and in spite of spending more than the price of a car to save the cat’s life, we have somehow managed to put some money back in the bank. A family spotify account was suddenly affordable. I think the kids are just happy that their Echos can now find anything and everything they might ask them to play.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find the cereals (if they have not been hidden in the new food cupboard), and make myself some supper.

I promise to write a less pedestrian post soon.

Categories
Life

All Quiet on the Western Front

It’s been a remarkably quiet week in the Beckett household. I suppose the one stand-out achievement of the week has been gaining sight of the bottom of the clothes basket. It took two determined days of running the washing machine non-stop, but at least now I know there is an end to the clothes washing nightmare. I also know that the end does not last.

I’ve had the week off work. While not washing dishes, clothes, or putting things away behind people, I’ve been doing an awful lot of nothing at all. It turns out that while you’re locked down, there’s not much you can do to amuse yourself.

In the middle of the week my youngest daughter roped me into recording a workout with her for a school project. Five minutes of madness taking part in all manner of activities that could be completed in our living room. I learned a number of gravity assisted exercises, and wanted to die a few minutes later. Who knew that working from home for a year would make me quite so unfit?

I’m supposed to go for a run in the morning, but it’s below freezing tonight, and it’s due to snow tomorrow. I imagine the footpaths will be turned into ice rinks. I just checked the weather forecast – the snow isn’t due until 8am, so maybe we’ll be able to run before it arrives.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go and raid the cupboards for something to eat. I’ll probably end up eating cereal for supper – it’s my “go to” late night snack.

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Life

An Unexpected Staycation

I have the rest of the week off work!

Because I’ve worked at the same company for years, I’ve pretty much maxed out the holiday allocation – accruing 25 days per calendar year. We have to take Christmas, Easter and so on from the allocation, but still – it amounts to about 4 weeks during the year. On top of that, we are allowed to carry over up to 5 unused days – or up to 10 under extraordinary circumstances.

Long story short – after working on big projects two years running, I arrived at the start of this year with over 30 days in my back pocket.

I’m almost giddy with excitement – it’s still only 9:40am – I’ve tidied the lounge up, cleared the dishes in the kitchen, emptied the dishwasher, and put two loads of clothes through the washing machine already.

I have no plans for the week, short of spending time helping our youngest with home-school work when she needs it, and (apparently) recording a work-out for her PE coursework later. I imagine she’s going to turn into the coach from Glee this afternoon, and laugh at my pathetic attempts to follow instruction.

I’m sitting at the dining room table, surrounded by piles of folded laundry. It seems stunning to me that even though we have gone nowhere and done nothing for months, the washing machine is till being run into the ground every day. I’m starting to wonder if the bottom of the laundry basket is entirely mythical.

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Life

Another 5K around town

Following my youngest daughter signing up for the “Couch to 5K” programme through school, she has to complete the training runs each week, and her sisters promised to help her with it. We’re at week three, and I’ve already run with her twice after they no-showed on her.

Tonight we ran around town in the dark after I finished work – completing the week three run according to the programme, and then effectively doubling it. She was tired at the end, but then she’s starting from a position far ahead of her sisters. It says something that she was up and ready to run before breakfast this morning, and all she could get from her sisters was grunts from their bedroom doors.

Tomorrow she has to organise and run a workout session – and film it. Apparently I may end up as a ginea pig for that too – given that I have a few days off work. If our wonderful next door neighbour looks over the fence tomorrow, she’ll see me throwing kettle bells around, skipping, and collapsing in a heap somewhere.

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Life

Sunday Night

It just occurred to me that I should write something on the blog. Somehow I’ve fallen away from writing nearly every day, to writing every few days. Perhaps the promise I made to myself to read books, watch movies, and spend time with my family is working.

I’ve been reading “The Queen’s Gambit” over the last several evenings – I’ve nearly finished it now. It’s every bit as good as the TV series, but perhaps I still have rose tinted glasses – the TV series was incredible. The next book on the heap is Ready Player Two – which seems like a re-tread of Ready Player One. I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve read it properly – I snuck a little of it at Christmas while sitting quietly in the lounge one night.

We’re still working our way through the box of movies scribbled on raffle tickets. We watched “Eurovision”, and “Bumblebee” last week.

Last night we organised a quiz on Zoom for family and friends. It was fun – a lot of the older family members had never been on a webcam before, so doing tech support for the first half an hour was a bit of a struggle. We got there in the end. As always, the “after party” was probably more fun than the quiz itself – the drinks and snacks came out, and we all got to say hello to people we had not seen for years in some cases.

Anyway.

I have a book to go finish reading. I’ll write again soon!

p.s. the other blog at Medium is doing really well. It’s a bit scary.

Categories
Life

Sixteen Becomes Seventeen

My middle daughter began celebrating her seventeenth birthday this morning. How did that happen? Where did all the time go? The last time I looked she was holding my leg at the infant school gate.

She dragged us all out of bed early to sit around the breakfast table and watch her open cards and presents. She has no idea a local pub will be delivering pizza to the house tonight.

Sometimes you feel like your life has been standing still for months, or even years – and then you look around and wonder what happened.

In other news, I somehow managed not to write anything in the blog for the last four days. I don’t know how that happened either. There’s a lot of things I don’t appear to know much about any more.

Categories
Life

Sushi

It’s our eldest daughter’s birthday today. Somehow she is 20 years old. I still think of her as the unsure 7 year old that walked through our door thirteen years ago, after two years wading through the endless red tape of the adoption process. We have found a sushi place that delivers, so have splashed out – I can’t remember the last time we had food delivered to the house.

In other news, the country looks like it’s heading back into lockdown – driven mostly by legions of idiots that don’t seem to be able to follow simple instructions from the government. The same people are complaining that the government are clueless morons. I’ve thought more than once about quietly pointing out that three quarters of those complaining voted for those they are complaining about. I doubt that would go down very well.

Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut, and watch the deck of the ship you’re standing on get set alight by those around you. Of course it’s not everybody. The vast majority are similarly furious. It’s the old story – a small minority ruin almost everything for almost everybody.

Oh. I’ve gone back to using the Bullet Journal, after playing with a Filofax for a few weeks. It turns out if you’re working from home all the time, you don’t really need to plan anything that far ahead – but having a day-to-day record of what you did, along with thoughts and ideas is pretty useful.

Anyway. Coffee. I need a coffee. And some music. And some sushi.