I've not done any writing here for 2 months, which is a bit rubbish. I've been stonkingly busy with work, Home-Ed, and some substantial home life upheavals and I'd just not had anything to say that wouldn't have included big dull moans about how tired I was. I thought I'd spare you all that guff.
Anyway, here I am on a cold, rainy April afternoon juggling cake baking, chores, preparation for some work up ahead and teaching No 1 Son some maths. None of these was engaging my interest very much; it was all a bit routine. So I got to thinking about how to make my day better. And because I'm friendly-like, I thought I'd share my conclusions with you.
I'm always telling my kids they they are the most powerful people in their own lives. They may not control everything that happens to them but they can choose how they react and what changes they make. If my day was to feel better I needed to practise what I preach.
1. Being Awesome
Deciding that you will be the kick-ass fabulous You for the day is generally a good plan. I like Awesome Me way better than Can't Be Bothered Me, although she has her time and place. Awesome Me is more likely to get stuff done, and more likely to make sure she fits something ace in to her day. The act of deciding to Be Awesome means I approach the day in a more positive, productive and flexible way. My eldest approves of Awesome Me, which is a high endorsement indeed.
Should you feel you need inspiration for Being Awesome, why not visit The Bloggess? She'll steer you right.
I love coffee. I really, really LOVE coffee. One of the things I like most is what it stands for - a couple of minutes break from what I'm doing, a small gesture of being cared for (because coffee made by someone else is the best kind). Having a small indulgence definitely makes a day nicer. I've gone from instant to cafetiere to individual filters to cheap espresso machine to proper espresso machine and I don't begrudge any of the money we've spent. Proper coffee is delicious. Not to mention the caffeine kick. All hail the Goddess of Coffee!
3. A List
Everything is better if you have a List. Sometimes the List is so long that I intimidate myself, but at least once it's all written down I'm not trying to remember everything. Also, they mean I can easily prioritise things because I can see them all at once rather than remembering in a panic that I meant to do such-and-such before ringing so-and-so. And of course the MAIN joy of a list is crossing things off it. For that reason I write mine the old fashioned way, with a notepad and pencil. My laptop or iPhone can do lists too, but crossing items off is less fun that way.
4. Tom Petty
Happy guitar music is one of the most ace ways to banish tedium. It helps if you know the words and can belt out the chorus along with the laconic Mr Petty but fake it if necessary. Free Fallin', Yer So Bad, Learning to Fly, You Wreck Me... I love heaps of them. Oh, had a thought! There's also Tom Petty in The Travelling Wilburys, and that gets you George Harrison, which leads neatly onto the Greatest Pop Song Ever Written, Here Comes The Sun, and by extension all of The Beatles' music. Crappy days are less crappy when you sing to happy guitar music.
5. Growing Something
Not a beer belly, not a hairy chin (middle age can be a bitch for both genders.) I mean growing plants. My preference is for stuff you can eat rather than the strictly decorative stuff, but to start with I grew winter pansies in pots by my back door and those made me happy too. Nowadays we rock an Allotment Chic look i.e. very grubby with scaffolding plank raised beds and plumbing tubing as hoops to hold the netting in place. But just having a small plastic trough with cut-and-come-again salad seeds planted there would do just as well. I get so much happiness from having some of my own grown veg in my dinner. I really can't recommend it highly enough. 15 minutes a day outside faffing with the garden does me no end of good.
|Not glamorous, but wonderful anyway|
6. Fridge Magnets
Built in fridges that coordinate with the kitchen are kind of depressing. I like a busy fridge. Ours, as you can see, is full of stuff the kids made, receipts, invitations, reminders, vouchers, tickets, and lots and lots of fridge magnets. They are one of my favourite souvenirs because they don't take much packing room, are cheap and easily available, and I look at them all the time. Especially the ones from New York. I nearly always wish I were in New York at any given moment.
Thank you, BBC, for the wonderful, marvellous delight that is iPlayer. The laptop plugs into speakers in the kitchen, and I can listen to ANYTHING while I work. Only caught Woman's Hour on the Jane Garvey days (ho hum) but missed the Jenni-Queen-Of-Fabulous-Murray shows? Easy peasy, click on iPlayer and there it is. Stories, music, comedy, current affairs, documentaries: the delightful boffins at the BBC give them all to us. Adam and Joe's 6Music show was my favourite but now they're off doing other stuff like writing movies, so I dabble with different shows. I keep forgetting I shouldn't listen to The News Quiz when I'm mixing things because the Kitchen Aid drowns out what they're saying. However, with iPlayer I can rewind the radio. Modern life is brilliant.
Just kidding. No, honestly, I'm joking. I know all the theory about how good exercise makes you feel and how it helps in innumerable ways but I hate it worse than rats. With the exceptions of skating outdoors and rowing on the boating lake in Central Park I have hated pretty much every bit of exercise I've ever tried. Walking is good, because it takes you places. Getting tired, sweaty and wheezing for no actual purpose is my idea of hell. How about a nice cup of coffee and a slice of cake while you read your book instead?
See? There are heaps of things I could do to make my dull day better. So I did.