34.20 last working week of the summer

This week was full of anticipation of going away in holiday on Sunday. The heatwave was well and truly over, so temperatures were more normal and reasonable and sleeping was much easier. But humidity remained high, and even on rainy days it was unpleasantly sticky.

This week’s mood I hit a low mood point towards the end of the week. I was hoping to go on secondment to another team but it turns out there’s no budget to fund this. The discussion is not over yet but it’s going to be difficult to continue. In these fragile COVID times it doesn’t take much to drag my mood down and seeing my chance to escape disappearing like that brought me down for a couple of days. We’ll continue in September once everyone is back from holidays but I’m not holding high hopes.

This week’s webinar I was super excited to attend a webinar with Gloria Steinem this week. One of the ‘founding mothers’ of the women’s movement, it was interesting to hear her speak in conversation with actor Thandie Newton.

Interesting points from the webinar * Gloria said violence against women is one of the strongest indicators for a violent society – whether a country is likely to go to war – as it normalises violence in the family and therefore for the whole country * In the 60s/70s, the FBI were monitoring the various rights movements going on but it turns out the women’s movement was not monitored as they weren’t seen as influential enough; they were only monitored in as much as they were the girl friends of men in the civil rights movement. * When there’s a victory or when there’s progress, that’s the most dangerous time because that’s when there’s a backlash; when those who lost their status or the privilege of their old position fight back. * One of the things about being old, Gloria said, is that you remember when things were worse.

This week’s Couch to 5k This week I managed to run more than 4K and I got up to 30 minutes of running. I even ran in the rain! It’s interesting to observe that despite feeling so tired at the end of the run, when the voiceover says “you’ve got 60 seconds left, go for it,” I actually do go for it and do 60 seconds of sprinting and it feels great! Of course I’m completely knackered after those 60 seconds but while I’m running so fast it feels amazing. Me! Running! Fast!

Even in the rain!

This week’s coffee We haven’t had an outside coffee for ages, so while out for a walk on Tuesday, we stopped in at a new coffee place. It was a hipster place, so I ordered my favourite ‘office’ coffee of oat milk latte. (For some reason I never order this from Mustangs). It was a fine coffee, and when we got home we looked at the cups to figure out how to dispose of them. They said they were compostable so we decided to try to compost the cups. They are going into our compost bin with the vegetable peelings.

Coffee cups and lids cut up and ready for the compost bin

This week’s podcasts I listened to two of the new Michelle Obama podcasts this week. I loved the one where she was talking to her brother about their upbringing. They sound so close! I loved her brother’s story about his father’s lesson about money, but also how her brother felt they were rich because they had a place to live, enough to eat, and money for occasional treats like ice cream.. I also loved her honesty talking about getting a hot flash while on Marine One, when she was about to get out and do some kind of event. She and her friend, an Ob-Gyn, said it’s important for women to talk about these things, if only to let other women know they aren’t going mad, other people are going through this as well.

Niall Breslin’s Wake Up podcasts this week were featuring the wit and wisdom of Dolly Parton. I already talked about Dolly a few weeks ago, so I won’t go on again, but “if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain”. Life won’t always be happy, so you need to find a way of coping with the lows.

This weeks random act of kindness There’s a new local book swap initiative going. People put pictures of books they have for swap into the local book swap Facebook group and you contact to offerer to collect. Which is how I care to possess a Taiwan Lonely Planet guide book. I’m not sure when I will get to go there, but it’s on the list, and having the book makes it feel a little bit more possible.

This week’s TV Yes, this week we watched TV again! I finally got to the end of Mindhunter and was sad to hear they aren’t making a third series. I think I might need to watch the final 20 minutes over again because it felt like they crammed a lot of plot into that short time space. I also got to see another episode of HipHop Evolution. This episode looked at when Hip Hop went to Manhattan and when Hip Hop stopped being party music with the release of The Message. We also started watching the new series of The Umbrella Academy which starts with the not-siblings landed in 1960s Dallas and challenged to prevent the apocalypse (again).

This week’s small victory i finally sewed that button back on my shirt and fixed the hole in my little cloth bag. Neither repair took long to do but they have been hanging over me for weeks. And – boom – 20 minutes and they’re done. It not so hard after all, I’ve just got to take a stick to myself to sit down and get it done.

This week’s food experiment We got an aubergine in our Oddbox this week so time to experiment. I decided to make Baba Ghanoush, which is hugely messy because in order to get the smoky charred flavour to the aubergine, I charred it over one of the gas burners. And it kind of leaked, and the charred skin flaked off all over the stovetop, and then it didn’t soften or cook, so I had to throw it in the over to roast. In the end it worked well, I chopped up the roasted flesh of the aubergine, mixed it with some lemon juice, tahini, garlic and parsley and it went down a treat when we served it lunch with friends on Saturday.

Sunday – the start of a two week holiday! I’ll try and update you while I’m away. But for now, I’m signing off.

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