How's your July been? Mine's been kind of a slow, quiet return to some bits of normality, while also still weighed down by the enormity of everything. I feel privileged to have had as much time and space and peace as I have done to work things out, yet somehow I'm still very tired.
Still slowly working my way through Meera Sodha's wonderful recipe book 'East', which I won in a raffle in January. Her tomato curry recipe is available here, and I highly recommend it while tomatoes are in season, especially if you find yourself with a glut of them.
Cooking successes and cooking failures (depends how you feel about garlic I guess), but at least I'm cooking.
For the last two or three months I've been training to volunteer with a particular charity. It's generally discouraged from talking about it in public (though I'll happily tell you if you ask me directly, and rest assured, I am not a cop :)
I do one 4.5 hour shift a fortnight (plus one night shift a month), and I have to travel up to Oxford Circus for it. This was my first time on trains since mid March, and I was DELIGHTED, though found it all very strange. It was impossible to distance as much as we should once on the tube trains, and mask uptake at this point was very low, but my concerns were balanced out by my intense enthusiasm for being underground again.
Thanks to the magic of the internet, you can play boardgames with people on the other side of the world. Nice to catch up with Alfred in some form, given that our long-distance is likely to remain long-distance for the foreseeable (and we both love boardgames)
Charlie's poorly leg and general lack of enthusiasm remains kind of un-diagnosed. The vet was convinced he has the beginnings of something muscular/joint related, and while she may be right, I think he has sore paws from too many hot pavements. Either way, shorter walks with as much grass as possible. No complaints from me about less walking, though I am getting a bit bored of same park over and over (and possibly so is he?!)
Still playing a lot of animal crossing, and having an extremely fun time (lmk if you'd like to come visit our island sometime)
Our house gets ridiculously hot in summer, and Beatrice's room in particular (which is in the attic) is actually unbearable for much of daytime in July/August. As she's working from home until at least September, she decided to take the opportunity to go stay with her sisters in France for at least a month. A sensible choice, but we do miss her company (when you're only seeing three people regularly, having that suddenly become two is a bit miserable!) Still, we gave her a good send-off, with katsu curry and mariokart (two of her favourite things)
Getting over-excited about plants, or as much as anything, getting over-excited about garden centres, as safe outdoor shopping experiences and new places to visit. (Genuinely though, delighted to have a little gang of plant pals to tend to now)
You keep telling yourself that, Emma.
Most of the time the boy wears his collar, but sometimes we take it off so he can be NAKED
I'm bored of it now, but I do like my neighbourhood.
So after just under four weeks back at work, re-furloughed.
Mixed feelings, because on the one hand, doing nothing and being paid for it is really great, but on the other hand, it had been really nice being involved in something again, and with other freelance at a all time low, it starts to all feel a bit weird and scary.
Having put on nearly a stone during lockdown, once again, my breasts are terrible. I have always loathed having them at all, and the only times in my life where they've been even vaguely okay have been when I've been at my absolute skinniest. The moment my weight passes about 9.5 stone, ALL the extra weight goes straight onto my boobs and belly (come on body, what about the BUTT?! I wouldn't mind that!), and they become perpetually uncomfortable. Wearing a bra? Red, itchy, welts at the end of each day from the pressure of it. Not wearing a bra? Aching, sore muscles at the top of them and rubbing/chafing underneath them. It is a lose-lose situation. Anyway, none of my bras from my skinny Yorkshire days fit any more, so I tried to go bra shopping in Oxford Circus M&S before my second voluntary shift of the month, which is a painful experience at the best of times, but even more so when (due to COVID) you can't try any of them on. Grump.
Doin' the birthday prep!
For my partner's 30th birthday! Their friend Sophie came over for a picnic in the park, which was (with the exception of one brief walk with Fran a couple of months ago), the first time I'd socialised with anyone outside of my house in months. It was REALLY NICE.
Seeing Sophie was so lovely, and I'd started seeing that other friends of mine were doing distanced/masked park meets, so I decided to see whether I could maybe get in on some of that action soon. Goodness knows I miss people, so much.
In other landmark moments, came across my first open Greggs in months.
After sending out my little 'come see me' holler, met my pal Nat and her partner Aidan in a lovely little park mid way between our houses, and it was a really really good thing.
I did some branding work last month for a therapist who seemed like a really good therapist, so we agreed on a skill-swap (therapy in exchange for design). I am mostly OKAY, but still have quite a lot of residual unpleasantness washing about in my head from the aftermath of my relationship with Ava, which I think is affecting me in all kinds of ways, so it feels like as good a time as any to try and work some of that stuff through. I sat in the park and lots of magpies came to join me.
Quite remarkable really, how incapable the British public are of doing something so simple as wearing a face-covering correctly.
Looming dread, coupled with ongoing fashion crisis = spending too much money on clothes (while I still can?!)
And there it is.
Nearly 10 years in this job, and I find myself just clinging on by my fingertips.
There is no lack of work. In fact, I feel needed now more than ever, as we try and up student recruitment and prepare the colleges for reopening.
But there is a lack of money, and horrible decisions are being made across the company. It's a good place to work, which means there are many employees who have been there even longer than me. I know that the people who are making the decisions are doing their best. But that doesn't make redundancy any less heartbreaking or scary.
I say 'ish' though. Currently I work 2.5 days a week there (so that's two weeks a month). They have agreed to offer me one week of work a month on a freelance basis, which is better than nothing, but is half of what I currently am on, and with my other work (as mentioned), now at an all time low, it's hard not to feel a bit frightened.
I have some savings. And I still have bits and bobs of freelance work, plus this guaranteed week a month of work. But the way things are now is not sustainable long term.
I don't WANT another salaried job. I like freelancing, and every design job ad I read sounds like actual hell (plus there are probably like 1000 other people applying at the moment)... So if you've got any freelance design or illustration work going, or know anyone who does, please point them in my direction.
In the meantime, I sit tight, and ponder.
Saw another friend. It was good.
In an attempt to at least stave off any more boob weight gain, I've been doing half-hour workouts every morning (I've found Darebee really good)... I hate most exercise, but this is quite substantially better than most other things I've tried. It's free, it's less boring than running, and if you do it in the privacy of your own home, less self-consciousness inducing. It's become an important part of my daily routine, which I hope I can sustain.
I don't really feel like I should be allowed to complain about the heat, when my least favourite state is 'too cold' (also 'rain'), but yesterday hit 35 degrees, and that is TOO MUCH, even for me.
Somehow, it is now August 2020. And we persist.