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Taking Stock – July 2020

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Yikes.  I have realized I totally missed June for this.  “This,” by the way, is a lovely habit called “Taking Stock”, looking back at the past month and blogging about a bunch of different things that you did.  I saw it over on the blog Meet Me At Mike’s by Australian blogger Pip Lincolne – and from the look of things, she’s missed June too.  But the world is on crazy fire so it sort of makes sense.

Honestly, I just never caught a moment in July when I could look back at June.  But there also just wasn’t that much new going on anyway, really; this whole past few months have seemed like a global holding pattern.  Plus I think I needed to rebound from having to manage my money so tightly for so long that I allowed myself to mentally collapse a little and exist on the amoeba level.  July is when I started to rally back up again, do some adjusting to my new reality, and start paying attention to things again.

So here we are.

Taking Stock

Making: Roommate Russ was in Korea all month (and will actually be for most of August as well), so I dragged out all manner of unfinished craft things and left them out where they could silently accuse me.  In July I finally hung up the wind chime I made sometime in May or June, something made of old spare keys and beads.  I also made a bunch of notebooks, decoupaged old soup cans and glass jars to turn them into pretty storage containers, and gathered up all of the leftover Kraft paper that had been used to cushion a lot of Amazon deliveries, ironed it flat, and then went crazy with some rubber stamps and turned it all into wrapping paper.

Cooking: CSA vegetable season is upon me. I’ve made two batches of ratatouille, two quiches, lots of freeform pasta-with-veg-that-needs-using.  A sausage-and-pepper pasta thing.  I’ve also discovered a pizza crust recipe that is an alternate use of the discard from the sourdough starter I deal with every week; the recipe is just enough to make dough for a generous single-size pizza.

Sipping: Lots of water, mostly.  It’s been hot as hell.

Reading:  This coming months’ book club is Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton.  I kicked it off on a rare afternoon outside, when I slipped off to Roosevelt Island one weekend; Roosevelt Island is a largely residential island in the middle of the East River, but New York’s ferry has a stop there, on the line that also stops just by the Navy Yard.  I hopped on, assuming (correctly) that it would be less obvious as a destination for many people looking to get outside.  I did end up finding a shady corner of a park towards the southern end, one that was being patrolled by a flock of Canadian geese.  I plunked down under a tree in their midst, assuming that if anyone thought they would sit near me, the geese might keep them off.  I had to keep covering over my picnic lunch when the geese got close, but it was a small price to pay.

Waiting: Honestly, most of last month I was waiting for a chance to catch my breath.  It’s been a bit hectic at work.

Looking: I still find myself looking out the window a lot at home.

Listening: every so often I discover a new playlist on Spotify.

Wishing: I think we all wish we could be freer outside, don’t we?

Enjoying: …when one’s roommate is out of the country for a couple months, one is also free to go naked at home if one wishes – which is a great blessing when it is hot.

Eating: see “Cooking” above.

Loving: my job still.  Crazy as it was this month, I finally feel like I “fit” better in a job than I have in a long, long time.  Thank God.

Buying: July is the Month Of Birthdays for me; a friend’s birthday is in early July, and then in the last week, I get the triple-header of a nephew, a sister-in-law, and a goddaughter who all have birthdays.  When I wasn’t getting gifts, I was also investing in a better pillow for myself (my old pillow was fine, but I’m hoping to get something to address the fact that I sleep on my side with a shoulder scrunched up to my ear), and on finally fixing up my sadly-neglected bike.  I’d left that undone for two years, and half thought when I brought it in finally that the repair shop would declare it DOA – but when they said not that they could revive it, but that it would be ready in just a week, I was thrilled.  Even when it was a couple hundred (which I was kind of expecting).  Which leads me to….

Managing: my budget.  About two years ago I dragged myself kicking and screaming to confront my finances, after a long time operating in Crisis Mode following the 2009 Recession and several years of underemployment following.  It’s been a year since the financial counselor I was seeing told me that I had basically graduated from our sessions, and it’s been a few months since the new job started (which came with, er, a not-inconsiderable pay raise), and through July I thought I should be taking a closer look at what the “new normal” would be in terms of my budget – what I actually spend on things, and whether I should adjust.  I’m in a good place overall – I’ve always prioritized the important stuff, and am on track to pay down a debt completely by mid-November. But I realized I still had been putting aside money for things I really wouldn’t be using – like a Metro-card – and may have been a teeny weeny eensy bit off on things like groceries (read: I was budgeting less than I actually spend).  So I’m going to pay a little more attention to that, more as an information-gathering move; just checking what I actually do for the next several months, and then seeing if I want to change any of my habits a bit or leave it be.  ….God, I feel so stolidly adult.

Watching: I’m still rocking on with the classic movies.  When I’m not watching that it’s usually reruns of QI that I’m watching.

Hoping: …Let’s just say that I am a left-leaning American who has been living under Donald Trump for four years now and I think you can predict what I’ve been hoping.

Wearing: One of the many, many things I love about my job is that the dress code is “casual”.  There’s a dude who turns up in flip-flops, even.  I don’t go quite that casual, but I love that I can wear jeans.  …Part of July’s activity has been working with a construction site, though – my boss has been helping oversee a renovation of one of the Navy Yard’s buildings to turn it into our new corporate home. And if you want to set foot on the construction site, you need to be wearing hard-soled shoes.  I do have some ankle boots that are good enough, but since that necessitates socks and it’s been hot as hell I hold off until there’s a date I think it’s likely I will be visiting the site.

Noticing: July felt really chaotic and I felt scattered. But I’m starting to come out of that; part of that is my wanting to come out of that, though.

Sorting:  So, there’s a lot of “Buy Nothing” groups you can find on Facebook; they tend to be hyper-local swap meet kinds of groups, where you post things that you’re getting rid of and other people claim them.  A lot of people have been dealing with being stuck inside by cleaning out closets and doing purges; having a resource right there that lets you get rid of things quickly helps a lot.

Feeling: I’ve never been pregnant, but I feel strangely like we’re all collectively in the late stages of a pregnancy, where we know that some major stuff is going to be going down soon but it’s not quite time for it yet.  There are about three things causing that feeling, and I’m not sure which one will manifest first.

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