The end (of summer) is nigh (38.20)

I’m finish this week with a small sense of panic building. We’ve been spoilt for so long with mild weather, and this weekend it was still possible to sit out in a t-shirt and shorts. However the weather forecast can’t be denied, there is a sharp cold front coming and temperatures are going to drop steeply by Wednesday and stay that way for at least a week. Ah, who am I kidding? Temperature are going to stay low for the next six months. It will be autumn, and then it will be winter and no amount of wishing on my part is going to stop that process.

This week I took some pleasure in:

Setting up a “Turkish breakfast” for my friend’s birthday lunch. Lots of small bowls of vegetables, fruit and feta cheese, a lot of colour, and all reasonably healthy. It looked appealing and I would eat this kind of lunch all the time apart from having to wash up 12 tiny bowls every day. But for a birthday treat it was OK. (And actually I love any excuse to get the little bowls out.)

Eating on the patio – for maybe the last time this year. It was such a mild evening we stayed out after dinner and watched the sky change from light blue to dark blue and we counted the stars as they came out. We only got to nine before our necks got sore from being tilted back, looking up at the sky for so long. We also had to concede that London light pollution is probably not helpful for seeing many stars. We saw something that might have been a satellite. “Is it wrong to wish on space hardware?”

Sitting on our new/old sofa. Our new sofa (which is actually a refurbished vintage sofa from the 1960s) arrived on Friday and we’re really enjoying sitting on it because it’s so much more comfortable than our old saggy sofa. Our living room does now have a faint smell of vinyl from the sofas so I hope that fades. We’ve moved things around to accommodate the new sitting arrangement and it looks like we will get more use out of our 1970s tiled coffee table. I was also happy to know old sofa is not going to be junked; someone saw it in our front yard and asked if they could take it, so it looks like it’s going to a new home.

This week I said goodbye to:

Facebook on my phone. I am trying to ration my exposure to FB because I am trying to ration my exposure to the news and there was a lot of shitty news this week. Nothing I can do anything about but it still makes me angry. And anger without an outlet is probably not good for your internal chi.

Couch to 5k. At last, at last! I finished the damn programme! I ran my third and final 30 minutes on Friday. The first two laps of the park were fine, and I felt a bit anxious when I approached the time in the run that I now think of as ‘toilet breaker.’ But then a greyhound ran in front of me, chasing a squirrel up a tree, and I was distracted into thinking about greyhounds, and by the time I realised I’d been distracted, I realised I was fine. As I was coming to the end of lap four and approaching the end of my 30 minutes, the track “Orpheus in the Underworld” came up on my playlist. You may know it as the “Can Can”. Wow, there’s a song to kick you up the butt and make you run faster. I did a few hundred metres properly sprinting and waving my hands in the air (since I couldn’t do high kicks) and that pushed me into the start of my 5th lap. I’m still only getting to 4.3km in 30 minutes, so when I continue running, I definitely need more Can Can. I Can Can can do it.

This week I have been listening to:

Insight timer. It’s a free meditation app, and I can set it to run for 30 minutes or an hour and set up chimes to sound every 5 or 10 minutes so I’m aware of time passing. You can choose from a range of ambient noises – birds, running water, nature sounds, chanting. However the night noises were a bit annoying – there was some kind of squeaky chirping insect that gave me a headache so I won’t try that again. I’m trying to find something I can listen to at work that will help me concentrate or at least not actively distract me.

This week’s webinar:

How To Academy The Artist’s Way I sat in on a discussion between Julia Cameron (author of The Artist’s Way – the bible on creativity) and Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love). (I’m not sure if it will show up on the How To Academy podcast site at some point in the future.) Julia talked about The Artist’s Way and the idea of “morning pages” as a way of training your mind to let itself wander. Creativity should be playful, you need to approach it with a childlike mind. Liz commented that she sees creativity as a way to disrupt ‘commuter mind’ – “Pay the bills and die” mentality. She also spoke against perfectionism, which is “fear dressed up in a fur coat and heels.” Perfectionism is what stops you from even starting to create something, fear that it won’t be perfect, and she gave some advice she got from her mother. I can’t recall the exact words but it was something like “Done is better than perfect.”

This week’s surprise news:

We had an announcement from HR this week that we have been working from home for six months now. Six months! It does seem like a long time, but this Covid time is elastic – things are long and short all at the same time. Things happened yesterday or they happened six months ago; it all feels the same. They are looking at opening up more of the office space in October for people to come back in if they want or need to, but it’s been made clear that returning to the office is still optional and anyone who doesn’t feel safe or doesn’t want to should not have to.

This week’s social event:

My work team had a (socially distanced) picnic get together on Saturday. It was good to see people (11 of our team of 20 showed up) and chat face to face, sitting in the sun. I was anxious before heading in because – as has been reported in many places – we are all socially awkward now. The worst question is, “How have you been?” How do you answer that? “Well, some days I feel in control and productive and get stuff done, and some days I find myself crying for no real reason.” Of course I don’t say that. I say, “Oh well, you know, good and bad days.” But it was good to see people – the whole person – not just a face in a screen. Although after so long in a kind of isolation, it’s actually quite overwhelming to have so many visual cues all at once when you’re just used to a face in a screen.

I hope you’ve had a good week, and have something positive to look forward to this week. And if you don’t have any actual trips to the Cabaret planned, here is Dame Judi Dench (yes, that Dame Judi) singing the part of Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Did you know she could sing? I didn’t.

2 thoughts on “The end (of summer) is nigh (38.20)”

  1. Sounds like a great week! Your post reminds me of my bi-monthly newsletter 😛 with little everyday tidbits and normality that helps us to feel grounded and the very opposite of sensational news.

    I completely understand the new couch thing. We inherited one from our old apt and sitting down on it was like sitting in on a commode. Getting a new one was a delight after that one.

    The podcast sounds intriguing. Taking a look now, thanks!


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