Here’s the thing. Some days you really should just stop. You should stay home and not bother with all the things you’re so sure are necessary. Busy-ness shouldn’t be a prize to be bragged about.
To help you out, I’ve put together a list of tips related to do nothing days.
The dishes can wait.
I know. Crazy talk. But sometimes unwashed items can remain on the sink or bench. The sky won’t fall in. Promise.
Kids can load and unload dishwashers.
They can also do the dishes. Even really young kids. OK, so you may want to remove the super sharp knives, but nothing keeps a kid happier than warm water, bubbles and some dirty dishes. Pull up a chair to the sink, so they can reach, pull up their sleeves and let them have at it.
Pyjamas are fantastic all day wear.
It’s true. If you’re really worried about an unexpected drop in guest, or a courier, wear trackeis. Even put on a bra if you really want to. But soft pants are required for lounging.
Piles are so hot right now.
Books, unread magazines, cook books. Whatever floats your reading boat. Put a pile near a comfy chair or sofa. Make a cup of tea, coffee, bonox. Sit and sip it slowly as you read.
You can fold and watch.
Hurl all that unfolded washing onto the couch. Put on a favourite movie. Fold as you watch. Better yet, use the washing as extra cushioning as you watch. On chilly days, use it as a blanket. Also doubles as tissues for those tear inducing movies.
Don’t be ridiculous.
Stalking. It’s almost as good as exercise.
Social media is all kinds of fun. Especially when lurking. Remember when in full lurk mode not to like or favourite anything. Totally gives the game away.
Baking is good for the soul.
So are store bought cakes. Instagraming of either home baked or store bought goods is not strictly necessary. But if you do, remember cakes look better with clean lines and open bench space. If your kids haven’t done the dishes yet, crop any unwashed piles of dishes out of the final photo.
Wine should always be in the fridge.
On stay at home days, wine time comes early. How early depends on you.
Toast is tops.
Toast is a base for many meals. On a stay at home day it can be the main part of all non cake related food intake. You can even get all fancy with poached eggs, or beans. Bacon is a necessity.
There you have it. A non-exhaustive list of things to do on a do nothing day. I’m sure there are more. But that would require effort. And that’s not really in the spirit of this post. Do you have anything to add? What tips do you have for a slow day?
Today I am having one of those days. The one where washing is piled, carpet waits to be vacuumed, surfaces need dusting. Instead I have been pinning, reading, and applying nail polish.
Today is an it’ll wait day.
Because it will.
The washing is done. It’s dry. It’s not folded or put away. It’ll wait.
The floor is not beyond dirty. On the weekend a child, or an adult will vacuum.
The dust is a fine layer. No one will write their name in it. There is no white glove test. On the weekend someone will grab a cloth, dampen it with water, dab some essential oil on it and dust. It’ll wait.
I am tired. Monday was a long day.
The weekend was full.
My legs ache and my head does too.
There is homework and work. Sunlight hours are precious as we edge towards winter.
It’ll wait. The non-essential things.
Today is a have another cup of tea day. The rest, it’ll wait.
The photo above is one I took during winter at our old house. Planted at the base of Mount Wellington, Hobart. The photo has meant many things to me over the years.
In my facebook feed recently I saw an image of a house with a perennial border. It was beautiful. If you had asked me eight years ago where I’d be now, I’d have answered easily. Living in the house Hubby and I bought. Renovations would be completed. I would have tamed the garden beds into something resembling the image I saw on facebook.
My kids would be in the school of our choice, with friends they had made in kindergarten, if not earlier. Life would be grand.
Life is grand. Just not in the way I pictured it. And that is ok. I often think about what would have happened if Hubby had not accepted that job interstate. If we had not sold up and moved. Who knows is the only answer.
What I do know though, is that while I don’t have a well loved perennial border, I do have a life of my own making. One that I am not all that sure would have happened if I’d stayed inside the comfort zone of a well known town and friends.
I doubt this blog would have started. I doubt I’d be on twitter. Or instagram. I certainly would not have made the friends I value so much now.
Even a few years ago I wished for that house, that garden. But not that life. It’s not that I don’t miss family and friends. I do. But I also know that if I’d stayed, I would not be who I am today.
The twists and turns. The deviations along the way. That’s what life is about. And I for one am glad to still be on the path unknown.
Generally I do not make new year resolutions. They are there for the breaking if you ask me.
This year though I did do something perhaps a little like a resolution. The fridge in our kitchen is littered with memories. Photos, cards from cafes, bars and restaurants. Postcards, business cards and images from visited exhibitions.
The thing is, many of the items had been on the fridge a long time. Too long. I had been holding on tightly. Too tightly.
It is not that the people in the photos do not mean as much to me anymore, it is that is time to move forward. For months I would look at the fridge door and think about taking some of the items off. Make way for the new. But I did not.
Last week though I did. The fridge was stripped back. Made clean.
Some images and cards were placed back on. Their meaning or memory needed to gel the old with the new. But many more did not stay. They have been kept; tucked safely in the drawer of an antique dresser. The old holding the old.
It is time to move on. The make new memories.
If I am being honest, many of the images were first placed on the door as a way to show I had a life. Had friends and good times. That is the difficulty of moving to a new place, far from those you know. It can be lonely at times. The need to prove you are loved and love can be strong. The fridge bore the brunt of that need in a tangible way.
So while some things have remained, the fridge is light once more. Not weighed down with the past. Neither am I. The time for the new is here. And now there is room, and not just on the fridge.
Today instead of blogging, I could just put a link to this post adding the words, what she said. It seems some days blogging worlds and words collide.
Instead, I am musing over my own thoughts. Determined to see this blogvember challenge through to the very end. I know this is my space. I can write, blog, comment however, whenever, whatever I want. Say, or not say the things that need saying. The choice is mine.
Today, as I head into week two of operation go slow I am beginning to see that I am not as good as doing nothing as I thought. Bathing in the middle of the day is all very nice, but I feel time is slipping away. The days are slipping away. It’s the age thing getting to me again.
In an attempt to be contemplative and reflective I filled the hot bath with sweetly scented salts. I am now prune like and smell of frangipani. My heels have been pumiced into submission and my face exfoliated to a sheen. I am shedding skin.
I wonder at the words I choose to write. The ones of which I press publish. I am thinking about what they do not say as much as what they do. Readers cannot read my mind I tell myself. But then I do not think I need to tell everything to tell a story or share my life. Some things are not for the telling.
I contemplate what movie to watch. Consider if I should go for a walk or just rest; and wonder if a glass of wine will tip me over the edge of good health. I press perfume to pulse points, look for the bright side and tell myself good health is more than resting up.
As for blogging and writing, perhaps this month has been better for me than I am ready to admit to. It’s all very well to say I can blog when I want, but perhaps sometimes I should blog when I don’t want to. Ah, the shedding of skin. It’s more than exfoliating and a pumice stone.
Oh it’s all fun and games until someone gets high blood pressure.
I had an image in my head of people with high blood pressure. They were red faced and angry, often with spittle dried in the corner of their down turned mouthes. They didn’t exercise, the were breathless and were old.
Cue me at the GP’s last week. I was there for my hurty knees, which had morphed into hurty knees, back, neck, hips and fingers. While I was there, sorting out anti-inflammaroty and pain medications, my doctor thought he’d just take my blood pressure, seeing as I’m of that age now. We had a bit of a joke about it. He is the same general age. We muttered about teenage children and he put the arm band on. I was far from worried, I’ve never had high blood pressure before. I chatted away while the machine did its work.
It was at this point the GP turned the machine around to let me see the numbers. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have no idea what reasonable blood pressure should look like. But apparently the numbers I was being shown were not good. The words very high were said.
Oh. No big deal, it could be because of the pain I was in. Nevertheless I was sent for a few blood tests, and told to return in a few days for a follow up. Turns out at the follow up my blood pressure was no longer in the very high. No, I’m an over achiever and now it was extremely high. Excellent. Or, you know not.
So, now I am spending some large parts of my days doing not much while this latest health issue gets sorted.
I have been compiling a list. This year there has been a foot injury that took months not weeks to heal. There was the whole breast lump and my need for brave boots. There have been a few arthritis flair ups and now, high blood pressure. It appears I am in fact getting older. Who knew that would actually happen? I mean really WHO KNEW?
I know I am lucky. I have (don’t laugh) relatively good health, I try to keep some semblance of fitness. I eat well. There are beans, legumes, whole grains and lean protein in my diet. There are fresh veggies, fruit and nuts. I enjoy a few glasses of the good stuff, but I figure it’s all about balance.
But, as life would have it, I am ageing. The fact I only feel like I’m about twenty-one (as long as I don’t see my reflection anywhere) appears not to matter. Life has other ideas. It likes to remind me people born when I was at university are now employed and have drivers licences, and they can drink alcohol legally. It likes to remind me I am grey of hair and my eyebrows get these weird extra long ones every now and then. (What is with that by the way?) And as for facial hair. Men and movember have nothing on me.
So, while I am in rest mode, and getting to the bottom of the blood pressure thing, I’ve been catching up with some favourite movies. There is nothing a good period costume drama can’t fix. Ever. Today movies on the couch, tomorrow Morning Melodies and the pokies.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with the couch, some tweezers, a magnifying mirror and Mr. Rochester.
It is no secret that my work and home life have collided into one huge twisted mess of anxiety and stress. Illness, extra work hours for Hubby and myself, a child dealing with the demands of high school have made for a rocky last few months.
But I have choices.
Yesterday, though not the longest work day in the past few weeks was my break point. My options were to let the stress take over or get on with it. I chose to get on with it.
But with that came another choice. Get on with it while acknowledging the stresses pressing in from home and work, or ignore them.
It is said ignorance is bliss, but I don’t believe so. Ignoring something means you have already noticed the issue to begin with.
With what felt like the weight of the world on shoulders that are fairly slight, the choice was mine to make. Ignore or do. The way I saw it, the best form of defence was to get on with things. Do a good job at work and at home. It was that or crumble. I’ve done crumble. Picking up the pieces was a long process.
Doing for me does not mean head down, ploughing on through. It means saying hello to the biting anxiety, acknowledging it is there, and dealing with it. The dealing with it becomes part of my doing. Part of the life, work, home balance.
The doing means remembering that some days are a wash, best left to their own devices; whether through ignoring the washing pile, getting take away or closing the office door at work and spending time instead re-setting play spaces. It means knowing that some days emails need to be answered, phone calls need to be made and paperwork tackled. That some days will be 14 hours long, and some blissfully short.
For me, if I am to do a good job in all parts of my life, my doing needs to be like this. Ignoring one part does not work. Letting the stresses and anxiety be heard helps me keep my head above the water, or on a bad day, lets me sit under the waves in a calm sea, letting the waves break over, but not on me.
Late last month I found a lump in one of my breasts. I had scans, a mammogram then a small biopsy. My final results were good and I was given the all clear. I am not one to want attention when I am facing things like this. I am more inclined to go quiet and not mention it to many people. Cancer is a part of my family, in different ways, but today it is not part of me.
I have a pair of boots. With sturdy, stacked heels that announce I am walking. They hold me high. They make me brave.
The need for brave boots has been higher than usual of late. Lumps and scans and biopsies do that to the brave boot owner.
Spending time topless save for a threadbare hospital gown seems easier when brave boots are still firmly on. Secreting away and keeping warm my winged feet.
Click-clacky heels on hospital linoleum makes solid sounds. I am here. I am here. I am here, they say.
Brave boots make me almost eye level with sonographers.
Brave boots make me feel not so small outside and in. If my boots can be brave and loud on the floor, I can be brave too.
It’s a funny thing to sit in a waiting room chair with other women, bare breasted save our white gowns. Carrying plastic baskets of top half belongings. I kept wanting to chat, and make silly comments like I wore my best bra today. Or the inappropriate weather’sbit nipply.
But I didn’t. I’m not sure everyone jokes when they are nervous.
The second visit was easier. I was ready to wander corridors with my top half clad only in a gown. But I kept my brave boots on.
I laughed when I had to sign the permission form. I was topless. It was funny. I’ve never signed a form with my breasts exposed before. I may never again. This may have been my one and only chance to sign my name topless.
I wanted to tell them the needles didn’t scare me, it’s the wait for results that does.
I wanted to tell them hospitals always make me teary, even if I’m there for a good reason. Like visiting a new baby.
I wanted to say there were no ghosts there, which was strange, and ask them where they had gone.
But I didn’t. I lay on my back and listened to the nurse whose sole job it was to hold my hand and talk to me. Whose job it was to sit with me afterwards and offer me a cup of tea. I thought of her calm voice asking me her well used questions. I felt the stroke of her hand on my arm and I knew I was alright.
Me and my brave boots. We would be alright. And we were. We are.
Not too many weeks ago I was moaning about the cold weather. As I do. But it seems it was short lived. The weather, not my moaning.
Indian summer is having a long, languid stay. The call for mint juleps and listening to old records seems appropriate. As does saying ‘I do declare’ while lazing away the afternoon on the veranda.
As my children and I clung to the last of the school holidays, we walked to the village for a spot of lolly buying. The beauty of living in a tourist area is (for the kids) an old fashioned lolly shop. For me it is the utter beauty of our surroundings.
The thing is, as I live here, travel the road each day for work and school I take it for granted. I go for runs, oblivious to it all. I drive with my local beauty goggles on.
On that walk, I took in where we live again. Viewed the surrounds like a tourist ferried in on one of the busses that arrive daily. Noticed the path on the hill towards home has a deep groove from the rain. Mud and gravel washed away in a ever deepening ditch. Saw the trees, their leaves hues of red, orange and brown.The piles of leaves milling at the base of tall chestnuts. Marvelled at the masses of spiked balls opening up showing the smooth round of the russet chestnuts inside.
I remembered why we chose to live here.
And I promised myself to look. Really look when I am out.
Walking, running, driving.
I have the best of both. The small village and the big city less than an hour away.
I have time to sit and declare. Time to run and some just to breathe.