April – Keeping Pace with Time

P1020100aApril was hectic. It was chaotic, fast-moving, capricious – there are any number of words that could describe the speed and unpredictability of this month.

It started calm enough. The Hawaii Wedding Part 2 was lovely and we got to spend the long Easter weekend with my in-laws. Thinking about it as I write, I notice that Easter didn’t even make it into my painting. Many are surprised that, as Christians, we don’t really observe Easter. Instead, we had a Passover meal with my in-laws – it helps me to remember and be thankful more than chocolate eggs.

Then the new role really picked up and all of a sudden my work days grew longer, squeezing my evenings and resulting in very little time to recharge. Communication has become all consuming for me these past few weeks as my role has soared at a slightly unexpected rate.

In the in-between moments we celebrated our anniversary, visiting Rudyard Kipling’s house and Churchill’s house and generally having a very lovely weekend away just the two of us. Our lodger moved out after almost a year and quiet filled our flat once more. I’ll admit, it didn’t take all that long to adjust and I’m grateful to have both the physical and the mental space back again.

And then Nepal happened. A significant part of my job is disaster response so the past few days have been a haze of appeals, updates, information and urgency. I felt so blessed that I could walk into work on Monday and not have to leave behind or ignore the horrors I’d seen over the weekend but instead could do something to help. It puts a lot into perspective. I don’t think it’s right that we should feel guilty that it wasn’t us. I don’t think it’s right that we should put our lives on hold. I think we should absolutely pray, give financially and do everything we can to raise awareness of the disaster that has befallen the people of that nation. But I don’t think we’re called to stop our lives or stop experiencing joy in the good things we are blessed with because if we stop being joyful, what hope do we have to encourage and lift up those who are in despair?

We signed for our kitchen this week. In two months or so, the two year saga of our leaking roof will finally come to an end. I’m already planning what to bake, who to have round for dinner and how I can use our lovely new kitchen to make people feel at home in our home. I’m so excited. I was genuinely jumping.

And then of course we have British Summer Time. The evenings stretch out longer so that I don’t quite realise when time has run away with me until my eyelids droop and my energy dips. Those extra hours of light bring great promise. They beckon a season of extended time with friends when, hopefully, I will be able to sit back and relish that time again, rather than simply keep pace with it.

April reflections / May hopes

April reflections - May hopesWhere are these months disappearing to? I can’t quite believe how quickly April flew by or how far through spring we now are. April has been a little calmer, although still pretty full. We’ve seen friends, enjoyed some sunshine, taken photographs and celebrated at a baby shower and our anniversary – the latter in the beautiful city of Paris. For once I’ve even managed to achieve all of my goals!

>Reflections<

Do brunch – more than once would you believe! With friends and with my hubby, brunch has been wonderful. We’ve also discovered that other friends love brunch as much as we do so long may this leisurely meal continue in our weekend priorities!

Clear my laptop and iPhone of photos – yes! My devices actually seem to have responded and are working a little quicker… my hubby also updated the firmware on my Pentax Q camera and it’s as though it is now a brand new phone. So exciting! Nice to have renewed technology around the place without spending any money at all.

Make homemade GF granoladone. So quick and easy to make and you can make so many varieties. I kept it pretty simple this time round, but next time I think I’ll add in some dried fruit, nuts and rice krispies so that all it needs is milk and it’s good to go!

Make popcorn without a microwavethis was really fun. I love hearing the kernels popping in the saucepan! We tried a few flavours but I haven’t settled on one I really like yet. We’ll keep trying I’m sure, it’s a great snack!

Buy some sports clothes – 3/4 length joggers and 2 sports tops bought! Comfy, cute and easy to move in – check!

>Hopes<

May brings an end to my long commute as the office for my new job finally moves close to me, so hopefully I’ll have some time to stop and look around me a little more.

Take a class at the leisure centre – I may need a friend to drag me to this, but in principle I really like the idea of having a set time to go, work out and come home. I like the flexibility (and the free-ness) of doing Tae Bo at home but I need a little sports inspiration. With my new sports gear, I think I’m ready to venture out…

Don’t get sunburned in Turkey – I cannot wait for the last two weeks of May as one of my best friends is flying over from LA. With my hubby and another friend we’re all visiting a mutual friend who is teaching out in Turkey. It should be a really great holiday as I’ll be with four of my favourite people! Although, as my sister put it, this is such a middle-class goal…

Pin down a date to make an item of clothing – it amuses me slightly that my goal is to get the date in, not actually make the skirt. However, the person who will be helping with it is hard to catch so it may take most of this month to find a date we can both commit to!

Wash the car – it’s May, that means it should be sunny right? Well then, hubby and I can make sure we find a couple of hours to hand wash our car in the sunshine! I noticed when we were with my grandparents in Germany last summer, how well people take care of their possessions and I think that’s a really good thing to abide by. Not to have pride in what we own, but to steward it well for as long as we have it. For me, washing the car comes under that category and if I get a little time in the sunshine with my husband, all the better!

Get some more dates in the diary for fun things – some kind of watercolour or baking course, dinner somewhere posh and maybe a mini-break. That’s not too much to take on, right?!

So by the looks of things, May will involve some preparation for future activities, some time in the sunshine, a holiday and getting back in shape. Here goes!

March reflections / April hopes

March reflections - April hopes

< Reflections >

Start a new job – this was a given, but I’ve started it, I’m exhausted and I’m loving it

Plan a few surprises for our weekend away the weekend away with my sister and her friends was so very lovely and we managed to give my sister a surprise gift at every mealtime, so I count this goal complete!

Get halfway through German Sherlock – yes! In fact… I finished it! Really pleased. Now that I’m more in the habit of reading, as well as reading in German, I think I’m done setting reading goals – they start to take the joy out of it (yes, that’s me very unusually saying that a goal can detract from something, but there’s a time and a place…)

Go for at least one walk a week – I didn’t really monitor this. I’ve definitely been on one or two walks with my hubby and a few walks just along the cobble streets in the town where I currently work. Whether I did it every week I’m not sure…

Wear perfume more – it was fun challenging myself to care more about my appearance. I did this almost every working day and it did make me feel like I’d actually made an effort. Hopefully now that I’m in the habit of it, I’ll continue to wear it more often, although this will have the adverse effect of my perfume running out for the first time, well, ever!

It almost looks like March was just running to catch up while my new job ran away with me, but I actually did loads of things this past month. We went to the Newton Faulkner concert and finally bought a dehumidifier for the flat, I went to a masquerade party and a railway exhibition and I booked flights and accommodation for holidays this year! It’s been a busy month and I don’t mind admitting that I’m hoping April will run at a slightly slower pace.

< Hopes >

April is definitely spring, without question. We will be celebrating our third anniversary in Paris over the Easter weekend and I cannot wait! This next month should calm down. Although the long commute with the new job will continue for a few more weeks, there is less to plan and book and sort this month, as well as freer weekends and evenings to finally rest and relax. So the things I’d like to do next month are ways to enjoy my leisure time in new (and sometimes productive) ways:

Do brunch – no need for the early start for breakfast but far more relaxed than a quick lunch, brunch is the perfect compromise to relax with friends

Clear my laptop and iPhone of photos – my iPhone is three and a half years old and my MacBook, inherited from my hubby, is seven years old so it’s hardly surprising they’re slowing down a little. My mission for April is to take all of the photos off them both and store them onto a hard drive, hopefully resulting in a new lease of life for these aging gadgets!

Make homemade GF granola – I accidentally stumbled on a recipe that I want to change slightly and make into homemade granola. It was originally a topping for a plum crumble, but very little actually made it to the crumble it was so good!

Make popcorn without a microwave – a fun activity for date night. We don’t have space for a microwave in our kitchen and usually we don’t notice at all as we either leave things to defrost in the fridge or we can heat things up on the stove, but popcorn? Popcorn is something I’ve missed making and friends who have just moved to Ethiopia mentioned they were making it on their stove! Plus, this gives me the opportunity to make some fun flavours!

Buy some sports clothes – for some reason I have managed to convince myself that doing exercise would be more fun if I had the correct clothing to wear. Joggers and tshirts certainly aren’t as easy to move in as proper sportswear would be, so once my new job calms down, I think it’s time to invest in proper clothing for some good and regular exercise to start up again!

April also brings a baby shower for one of my best friends, four days in Paris and our third wedding anniversary so it promises to be a very celebration-filled month!