So i’ve been meaning to link up with Leigh Kramer’s monthly ‘What I’m Into’ series for ages and I finally got organised enough to make it.
This has been the summer of long, sunny days in Luton, of spending every day with two tiny children which has been especially intense because at the same time Andy has been battling a whole load of health challenges. And to deal with this we have watched a lot of The Mentalist.
The only big news is that after 12 years I resigned from my job at Tearfund. I won’t be returning after maternity leave. So I am unemployed, as of the end of this month, and looking for new opportunities to do meaningful work for money. I could write a book about those 12 years and how much I’ve changed through being part of Tearfund (now there’s an idea…). It was a gloriously accidental and extraordinary path to have taken. But it has ended (or will do, once I have returned to eat cake and say goodbye). As you might expect I have been trying to make plans for my future direction in life. I’ll keep you posted.
I read a lot in July (a lot for this particular season of life…), and not so much in August. LM Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon brought me a lot of joy. And I was inspired by How to be here by Rob Bell (mostly about how to start with a small step in the right direction, and to never stop exploring what I’m meant to be doing). Despite having already watched the film (and therefore found out the ending), I read Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín on the recommendation of someone in my bookclub and I totally loved it. Beautiful, compelling, moving, thoughtful. I might try another Tóibín soon. And then I read Dibs by Virginia Axline which is all about play therapy and how children journey towards self-realisation in the context of emotional pain. It maybe sounds a bit full-on but it was beautiful, thought-provoking and I cried several times. July’s last read was The Offering by Grace McCleen which was surprising and strange and interesting. Right now I’m reading Khalid Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed, and trying to finish The Moonstone (still).
I do love a good podcast but the amount of time I can listen before small children drown them out is strictly limited. Liz Gilbert’s series, Magic Lessons is back and is awesome and inspiring, especially in a season of trying to work out what to do with my life post-Tearfund. I dip into Rob Bell’s Robcast, and The West Wing weekly, and Tsh Oxenreider’s The Simple Show. Oh, and I often listen to Modern Mrs Darcy’s What Should I Read Next and scribble down lots of book recommendations.
Like I said, The Mentalist. We’re about to hit the final series which begs the question of what we’ll do afterwards. All that we’re good for in the evenings right now is a bit of TV. And I’m not recommending The Mentalist as the greatest show ever, but someone lent us all 7 seasons and it’s easy to watch. Thankfully Bakeoff and Poldark are back on terrestrial TV. I haven’t been to the cinema in forever but I did finally catch Spotlight which I really enjoyed.
Things I love
These 9 months of maternity leave (I can’t believe that 8 months of it have passed by) have been possible (I’m talking about my sanity levels here) because of a lot of time spent with family and I am extremely excited that it will continue in the next few months. None of our family are especially near by so it’s not like we see them weekly…but we’ve managed to see my folks every month, and we Skype Northern Ireland several times a week. We’re about to go away on holiday with my parents and my brother’s family which fills my heart with great joy. Hello cousins entertaining one another. Hello grandparents available 24/7. HELLO LIE-INS (a couple at least).
Also, if I’m giving credit where it’s due I should give a big shout out to coffee and wine. Thanks for propping me up. I gave up chocolate in August (I made it to the 30th when it became completely essential to give up before I cracked up) but it’s part of my life again now.
And people of Luton, thanks for all the playdates.
The sunshine has been awesome this month, maybe the nicest August I can remember in the UK (which makes me nervous because our holiday is in September, and maybe we’ve used up all our sunshine credits for the year now…). We discovered beautiful some local picnic spots and have been out on the decking a lot. We even have a paddling pool.
We have a big long garden which we are attempting to transform from a toddler death trap into a beautiful green oasis. (I dream of unleashing the children into it while I lie in a sun lounger reading novels). Only it’s taking forever, so it looks like we won’t be enjoying it till next summer. And obviously I will transform myself into a horticultural goddess by then too.
Jubilee is properly on the move. In just a few weeks she has begun propelling herself across rooms, and is now totally mobile (yikes). She grunts and groans and pulls herself onto her feet by means of anything she can find that is vaguely stable. It’s a little terrifying as I actually have to think about all the stuff I should keep out of her reach, but joyous none the less. Jesse is unimpressed that she can now reach his toys, but otherwise he still seems to like her. They exhaust me but are completely wonderful.
So there we are, we made it to September and holidays are nearly here!by