Repetitive blog theme and Christmas Eve traditions

I need to start this blog blogging about blogging, it is a bit meta, but mostly it’s frustrating.  I want to blog again.  I am missing it a lot, it was a great way to start the day for a good while.  (Not every day, waking up any earlier than 6am just to write a blog is not going to happen.) But I am not really clear why I haven’t been writing if I like it so much?

Today is Christmas Eve and my mind is mainly filled with Christmas preparations and a busy sociable day ahead, but lurking in my thoughts is a review of my year and setting intentions for next year. One of the regrets of this year is letting this blog go and one of the intentions for 2020 is starting to blog regularly again. So, why wait? Let’s get Christmas Eve started with some quiet writing time.

The day holds some very lovely traditions. This morning we gather with some friends who are local but who we rarely see, sadly, we should see them much more.  But when we’re all at home we spend Christmas Eve morning together and have done for years now.  Mince pies and coffee will be consumed and much catching up will be done.

This afternoon is about preparing the Christmas food, well, some of it.  I will spend the afternoon in the kitchen with the offspring yelling at Alexa to play various Christmas songs, and stopping me playing anything choral or by Kate Rusby or Cerys Matthews.  Never fear, I get my music choice too, as they spend a lot of time trying to not be in the kitchen and pressed into sous-chef duty.  Trifles, mince pies, vegetarian main course and a range of starters are on the list.

This evening some of the family are on duty at church (we go to church as a family on Christmas Day), some of the family are visiting others, so people will be in different places for a while.  Then we will all gather together at the end of the evening at the home of some friends to celebrate over a few drinks.

And then there’ll be some kerfuffle with presents and stockings and putting baby Jesus into all the cribs. The latter part will be a doddle this year, because I have reached genius level of intelligence and put all the little Jesus ornaments together in one box and I know where that box is.  A vast improvement on the previous tradition of me scrabbling around on chairs peering at the back of shelves to try and find where I had hidden them in the decorating frenzy.  It took me a few decades to get to genius!

I hope you enjoy Christmas Eve whatever shape it takes for you.

“Back to school”

This week is my back to school week.  There is no literal school involved at all, I no longer work in a school and my own school days ended 30 years ago.  Nevertheless, this time of year fills me with the anticipation of a new start, so my thoughts are turning to new challenges.

Which is in itself a challenge as I am trying to not take on more things, but to create space in my week, where there is nothing scheduled.  So classes in machine embroidery or ceramics are not appropriate – however tempting they may be.

Instead, I am turning back to all the things that have been abandoned over the summer.  

I lifted the lid on the piano last night for the first time this summer and am committing to a lot more practice this term.  The laptop has come out this morning, and typing this blog feels like heading back to a good routine after such a prolonged break from it.  The end of this week sees various Scout meetings to plan new challenges and I have an autumn of Scout training ahead of me as I really start to get into a new role.  I have rejoined a book group I had taken a break from, the next book to read has been ordered from the library.

My new term will not contain anything new, but picking up the things I let drop over a long summer feels exciting anyway – after all I know I love doing all these things.  Children’s return to school may involve a new school, teachers or subjects, but ostensibly they are heading back into a familiar routine, so my back to school is not too far from reality.  Now, all I need is some new stationery and a new bag…

A week of two halves

In weeks like this where work involves a fair amount of travel, I take comfort in dividing my week in half.  There are 168 hours in a week, my week starts at 6am on a Monday morning,  so the half way point is Thursday at 6pm.  The first half of my week has been focussed on work.  I have travelled to Plymouth and back and Bristol and back and worked full and productive days.  Today I have a good day planned with useful meetings and some discussions with colleagues in the diary.

It’s been very full and very work-focussed though.  That said, I have had dinner with a friend, I squeezed in one run, and have done quite a bot of Scouts volunteering, as well as getting some plans in place for family events and the pre-Christmas season.  I have also had a good amount of down time watching Netflix (I am obsessed with Gilmore Girls!) and surfing social media.   So, it has been far from all work.

It still does not feel quite as balanced as it could be though, so the halving the week is a great comfort.  The reality is that I will do absolutely no work at all in the second half of the week,  and thinking of my week like that really helps me see the balance.  And even in this last half a day of this half of the week (yes my brain does work like this!), I am squeezing in a blog writing session, I have just had a lovely ten minutes thinking through the day and I will manage a run before work.  I am also taking some time off to attend a school appointment, so there is family time in the day too.

Just reflecting on how much Scouting and me-time there has been already helps to energise me. here’s to the second half of the week.

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Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com

Summer problems

Obviously there are no real problems with summer.  Summer is a beautiful, gorgeous, energising time of the year.

I adore the long summer holidays for the break from the routine that can start to feel oppressive.  Now that the offspring are older, the summer really gives a sense of ease.  Only me to get up and get out in the morning.  A feeling of fun in the evening as we hang out and do things as a family instead of execute a finely tuned evening of activities, transport and eating which are seemingly designed to test our life skills in every way.

The summer holiday mornings are especially precious, with a delicious combination of more sleep and more time spent with the husband.  They are more tired though, as early nights seem to disappear in the change to the summer routine.  But that just means more coffee and chat.

All in all, it is a good time where time seems to stretch a bit further.  And so less gets done.  There’s the rub.  That feeling that I have loads more time as the deadlines are softer means I don’t gets things done.  The running has fallen by the wayside.  The blogging has been non-existent.  This morning it occurs to me that I have not really looked at my diary or the to do list all week.  There are advantages to the morning rush of the school term.

But for now, let’s enjoy these last few precious days of the relaxed routine.

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there have been holiday mornings of photographing sunrises.  Delicious

 

 

Focus focus focus

I read or heard something the other day that in this age of screens and umpteen forms of entertainment, we are not suffering from a reduction in our attention span, but rather a deficit of our interest span.    I think that sounds about right.  I watch people at work and at social occasions.  If the agenda or the conversation moves to a less interesting topic, the attention moves to screens.

On the other hand, I reckon that’s about the same thing. It’s hard to stay focussed if you’re not interested. What has changed though is that we used to float away on a mental cloud to lands more appealing and interesting. Generally everything in my head is interesting, because they are my thoughts and dreams, obviously I am interested in them.

But I do miss those hours of daydreaming, I am very guilty of reaching for my phone, I am trying very hard to get better though and don’t look at my phone in company anywhere near as much as I used to.  I am tempted to introduce a phone ban in my house when visitors are here.

Even writing this blog is a struggle some mornings though.  Any time I get a bit stuck, sitting with the stuckness is sometimes impossible, I end up checking email, my calendar, the weather.  These interest me, but don’t help me be at all creative. Sitting and struggling with boring myself would be a better thing to do.