Hello Readers, thank you for being here!
My life has been so calm I thought I would report on a few months of activities in one go.
So much is going well. One thing isn’t. We haven’t seen Rom’s parents in the UK for two full years and with the way things are going over there, it may be a while yet. They are unable to travel, and we don’t feel comfortable booking international travel yet. It feels like that part of our life is in a state of suspended animation.
During the summer, we made two day trips: a boat excursion to a local island with a hike – our first outdoor activity with a group of strangers in over a year – and a scenic visit to a lavender farm. Over the summer, we enjoyed several restaurant meals: for an anniversary, and for family birthdays. The most recent time we went out for a meal, we showed our new vaccination QR codes.
Since March 2020, we have enjoyed weekly take-out meals and made a point of ordering at least once from every restaurant in our suburb. We have completed the rounds except for the endless pizza spots, and we are gradually catching up on them too. No real surprises, but it speaks well of the neighbourhood that we ate well every week for 18 months and had no need to go further afield. Despite that, it is such a joy to go to a restaurant and be served! And have our food piping hot! And no mixed-up orders! And no take-out containers or dishes! I appreciate the experience more than ever.
The gym and pool had closed again for one of the lockdowns, and it was a real game-changer to return to cardio and swimming in the summer. They are part of my regular routine again. Our elliptical exerciser needs a part which is on endless backorder, so we had fewer home/indoor options. Since leaving work, Rom goes on 3 walks a day. He spends a lot of time relaxing, meditating and napping, and he has greatly recovered his health.
By the middle of July, I finished a complete decluttering which I had been working on all year. My goal was to contain all my personal items in my home office, except for clothes. Although the office closet is full, I did it. I bought the new task chair I needed. Even the shed had its annual clean-out. It’s a strange feeling being caught up on these chores when the weight of them had been present for so long.
You’ll see in the photos that I had “Covid hair” – I grew it out for a year, but my hair is so coarse and prone to frizziness that I was relieved to crop it again. No products could master it, and I refused to commit to straightening!
On September 1, our work-from-home phase ended and I’m back in the office daily. My office set-up is better for productivity, and we even have some in-person (masked) meetings. I used to like shifting between work and home activities during the day, and choosing when to start and finish – I’d often work 8 to 6 with a two-hour lunch, or similar. I have a commute again now, and I need to take the time to pack lunches. Conversely, I rather like the structure, and the feeling of being welcomed home in the evening! My Big Work Project had its launch on September 8 and is now in full swing after 3.5 years of planning.
Happily, Link is working a new part-time job, doing sewing – one of their super-skills. Silly me said, “Is there a gender-neutral word for someone who sews? Sewer doesn’t read very well.” Replies Link, “Yeah, Mom, the word is tailor!”
My brother recently married a woman we all love and who had already become part of the family; it was a small and lovely celebration.
Completely unrelated, my brother is teaching me to safely pick mushrooms 😊 I have been photographing them for a year and hadn’t intended to ever eat them, but my knowledge is growing.
I used to do all the “yard work” at our house (by choice) but this year Rom took over all the lawn mowing! Even though I enjoyed it, this has given me so much more time to focus on the flowers and shrubs. They got a lot of attention this year.
Fall is our best season. The leaves were at their peak colour last weekend and now they’re coming down. The photos above were all taken on walks within 30 minutes of our home (besides the ocean, there are lakes, rivers and brooks everywhere. Forest is the default state wherever there are not buildings!).
A while back I posted a roundup of 45 DVDs I own which I hoped to watch and then declutter. I watched 31 and have 14 to go, but of course there are some I’m less interested in, and I foolishly saved those for last, so it may take until the end of the year!
I am enjoying little things like pumpkin spice lattes – and planning next year’s bullet journal. I have loved going back to keeping a journal, even though it’s in a very brief format.
I am still reading everyone’s blogs and I’m sorry I’ve fallen behind on commenting. I hope you are all doing well and I look forward to hearing what you are up to!
I like your COVID hair style, as well as the pre and post COVID one. I am glad your brother married someone who was already a welcome member of the family. It does not always work out that way. As for the mushrooms, I am glad someone is teaching you, as that can be a risky business. I keep thinking of that movie “The Beguiled” with Clint Eastwood. Take care and thanks for sharing the pictures. Keith
Thanks, Keith. I don’t know when or if I will gather mushrooms, but I know more about what NOT to take!
What a lovely part of the world you live in! You sound relaxed and happy. That is quite an accomplishment after this last 18 months. Hope you get to travel to see Rom’s parents in the near future.
Thanks, Juhli. Hope you are well!
Beautiful photos Dar – is that a Beaver or an Otter? So lovely to hear from you and that you are all OK. Our DVD player stopped working so the few DVD’s we had can only be played now on my laptop. Many of them were only TV recordings which we never finalised so they can’t be played at all now. Luckily the ones I want to keep like our daughter’s wedding day and my dad’s speech at my sister’s wedding are playable. Not sure what happens when the laptop hits the dust as they may not make laptops with built in disc players in the future. Hope you can come back to the UK soon though the virus is escalating again here.
Thanks, Vivien. It’s a muskrat! Media formats are a problem; none of them will last forever. I have CDs that I recorded photos and videos on, that no longer work (my pre-recorded music CDs are fine). I keep saying I will transfer the contents to a hard drive, but they can last as little as 5 years. Not sure of the answer except to keep several copies / backups!
It is a huge problem – with photos we are having printed books done of favourite pictures for the family for their major milestone birthdays. Never thought of a muskrat!
Those are gorgeous photos, Dar. So good to read you again.
Hi Vera, Nice to hear from you – I hope you are well!
Beautiful scenery in your part of the world! Love the photos.
I am in the process of completely decluttering. Never thought I’d get Mr S onboard but he is. I have to take it slowly with him. An hour a week under the house is all he can take. But better slow and steady than not at all.
I can’t believe Mr. S is making some progress – even a few painstaking decisions count!
Thanks so much for sharing a slice of your calm and pleasant life, it’s so soothing to read! Such a contrast to us 😁 I am sorry to hear you’re stuck in neutral with Rom’s parents, that’s got to be tough.
Those containers are just lovely, I adore them. We started gardening as well but we went for the most simple possible set up: grow bags for potatoes and that’s all for now. It gives me a little pleasure for a little bit of work and it’s just the right amount of commitment for this stage of life. It’ll be fun digging up the tubers when the time comes.
Excellent work on the clean out, I’ve started a round of that in our guest room as it’d gotten too out of hand.
I hope you will share some more photos of your mushroom adventures. I love looking at them even if I don’t want to eat them.
Growing potatoes is very smart and has a payoff – edible results! To be honest, I love mushrooms and lichens and moss and ferns so much that I could post about them every week, but I’ll spare you 🙂 So far I have not picked and eaten any mushrooms unless accompanied by my brother – a mistake could be fatal.
I’m sorry to read that Rom (and you) haven’t been able to see his parents in the UK for so long. Things seem to be going downhill there again, but we remain hopeful that they are quickly brought under control again. It’s been over 18 months since we’ve seen our family in Japan and know how difficult it is to be separated so long. Fingers crossed for better times and travels soon!
Thanks, Laura. We are considering our options for Spring 2022.
Good to read about how things are going for you. Your photos of the scenery (and you–love the haircut) are so lovely.
Will say that I just returned from a two week visit to the UK. Just left a long comment about it on Lucinda’s gap year blog (on the ‘Do you have anything booked’ post). Perhaps you might want to read it to get an idea of what things were like–at least for me–as a solo traveler. It was doable and I never felt unsafe vis a vis Covid. Just masked everywhere and managed my interactions with others. Got around quite a bit, too, including London and several places in Scotland. Wishing you all the best and hope you are able to see Rom’s parents in the not too distant future.
Hi Mary, Thanks for sending me over to Lucinda’s post! You wrote a very good account. When we’re in the UK, we usually spend a number of days at Rom’s parents’ home, which we could still do. But we spend a few days in London or Brighton (or Oxford or Bath or Bristol) for museums, plays, concerts, dining and shopping. As you mentioned, I would not want to sit in a full-capacity theatre with a mostly unmasked audience. So we are still thinking about what to do and how long to stay before we book again.
Love, love, love your photos. A little sad I didn’t make it to your part of the world. If it is anything like NB, I’m sure it is beautiful.
Thanks! I find the woods in NB to be “wilder” and more rugged looking, but the coastlines seem more tame!
I really wanted to dip my toe in the ocean but it was so cold and I was not prepared. Hopefully next year I can make it to your neighbourhood.
It’s lovely to hear from you, Dar.
Things have been eventful here since I last heard from you. My husband’s job was in limbo from May to October, but thankfully things have been sorted out now, with a new permanent contract. It was a very stressful time.
In the midst of all of that, I finished up with my library degree by doubling up on subjects for my final semester. I was also successful in gaining casual library work in the middle of that final semester. I know how lucky that is! It was a process two years (and many volunteer hours) in the making. I feel like our lives are finally falling into place.
We are heading into what will probably be our final year with all three children at home. I’m feeling very grateful for the extension we’ve had due to our daughter studying her degree by distance. She’s already dreaming about her future plans. At the moment she is thinking about moving to a city 5 hours south of us, but sometimes shows me jobs in New Zealand of Europe, so who knows what will happen. I’m trying to prepare myself for it, and not dwell too much on the realisation I had earlier in the week that our daughter finishes uni at the same time as our son finishes high school. Knowing him I don’t expect him to move out straight away, but it is a possibility. It would be strange to go from three kids at home to one at home almost overnight!
Jamie, Congratulations! I am so thrilled you earned your degree and found work, too! Things really are coming together. I have to admit I did not do well when Link left home; it probably took me two years to adjust. But Link had a rocky start and I might have adapted quicker if they had been properly settled. My advice would be to enjoy hobbies and social opportunities even if they sometimes seem like time fillers – there is nothing wrong with relaxing activities – and if you have too much free time, you might inadvertently fill it with worrying! You could always plan a future trip to Paris 🙂
Glad to read that everything is/was going pretty well! Oh, these times that we live in!