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Taking Stock: August 2020

Holy crap we’re in September already.

I’m appreciating this new blog habit – as ever, I picked it up from the craft blogger Pip Lincolne.  She’s not done her own lists for a couple months, but I get the sense that things are a bit nuts – and let’s be honest, we’re all kind of in a weird state right now, aren’t we?  Still, I like this reminder to stop a minute, look around and see what the heck is going on in your own life right now.  I got into a bad habit for several years of not paying attention to this, of just keeping my head down and soldiering on through some bad luck.  I had to do that to keep from losing my shit entirely, but I don’t have to any more, and I’m finding this is good for helping me ease back into more awareness of what’s actually happening to me.

I also tend to get a little cozy and hobbity as we head into fall.  I’m gradually collecting a couple of other crafty/homemaker-y books that have suggestions for seasonal pleasures too – some of them are probably a little too “rustic cabin lifestyle” for me to be able to achieve here in Brooklyn (I mean, I could harvest grapevines for a wreath in Brooklyn Botanic Garden, but I’d probably get in trouble), but a relaxed supper of a simple root vegetable stew while sitting by the window?  Sure.

But that’s more for October or November.  We’re just on the first day of September, and I have August to account for.

Taking Stock

Making: I actually finished several of the craft projects I had set aside to do while Roommate Russ was in Korea.  One big advantage was getting to use my friends Colin and Niki’s rental house early in August; although, I was there as their proxy last-stage cleaner-outer before they sold it. It was a little bittersweet, but kind of fitting – I was one of the friends who helped them fix it up when they first bought it about ten years ago. They’re leaving most of it as-is – the new owners are going to also rent it out, and likely will keep most of the furniture and tchotchkes (including the potholders I hand-knit!), so I just had to bag up a couple boxes’ worth of trash and retrieve a couple of sentimental things for them.

Otherwise, I had a long weekend in the house on my own – which included using their big huge deck to do a couple spray-paint projects (yep, finally got to the “making” bit).  I’d been meaning to refinish a battered metal TV tray I’d had for years, and also repaint a water bottle that was a promotional giveaway and looked ugly as heck.  A half hour on the deck with some spray paint, followed by some decoupage for the TV tray and some judicious use of varnish and I like them much better.

Now I just need to do something with all the photos I took while I was there as well…
Cooking: we’re still in the CSA season, and I’m being overwhelmed with vegetables that I’m still processing.  Although I’m getting better at it!  I’ve tried to do meal planning in the past, but I think a stubborn streak gets in the way – so instead I’m approaching it as more of a list of suggestions, where I make note of the vegetables I get each week, as well as anything that seems to need using up, and then make another list of “here’s all the things I could make with what I’m using” and then round out the pantry if there’s an item or two missing.  August was the segue from Zucchini Season into Corn And Tomato Season, so I moved along with it from ratatouille to tortillas.  I also tried a decadent seafood boil one evening that was so good I’m probably going to do it again on Labor Day, just for fun.
Sipping: The CSA also loads me with fruit, and I got a couple of melons recently; one got turned into a cantaloupe agua fresca pretty quick and I’m eyeing the watermelon for that purpose as well.
Reading: This month’s book club outing was Hollow Kingdom, a quirky little book about a partially-domesticated crow and how it copes when humankind gets wiped out.  I’ve also been trying to work through Jenny Odell’s How To Do Nothing – so far it’s not so much about “enjoying leisure time” and more a takedown of social media and late-stage capitalism, and I’m here for it.

Waiting: for the country to come to its senses.

Appreciating: my local bike shop, who are miracle workers!  They’re not only close, but they have a very reasonable annual tune-up package; but I couldn’t afford it for a couple years, and my poor bike was abandoned outside in the rain and snow, and at one point got so beat up that someone cut the lock and stole my chain – but left the bike.  Finally, on a weekend when my friend Jonathan had access to a car and proposed a spontaneous drive to a remote-ish park, I asked if we could drop my bike off there first.  I was expecting them to tell me it was too far gone, and maybe they could offer me a few bucks for some of the parts, but instead they just looked it over, then said “how’s next Saturday?”  ….It was rather a bit more than the tuneup – they had to replace both wheels altogether – but that’s totally understandable considering how bad it was.  But it’s back! 

Enjoying: using the bike again!  It’s now how I get to work – the ten minute walk is now a four minute ride, most of it on a dedicated bike path running alongside the street.  I’m also really close to one of the stops in New York’s ferry system, which lets you bring bikes aboard; there are some further-flung stops on the ferry that are close by some less-busy bike paths, and I’ve started doing a once-a-week ride, mostly for the exercise.  My home stop is so close to the supermarket, too, that I do my grocery shopping on the way home.
Buying: not much.  I’m trying to use stuff I have.
Managing: Money.  Holy crap, I’m managing money – I am nurturing a habit of actually paying attention to income, expenses, and long-term savings.  And it’s taking less attention than I thought!
Watching:  Alongside the movies for my other blog, I’ve occasionally dipped into reruns of Mythbusters.  I also watched the Democratic National Convention, but wouldn’t dare watch any of the RNC.

Wearing: It’s hot and I work in an office setting.  Meaning: my wardrobe is pretty schizophrenic.


One response »

  1. Thanks for the update 🙂 I think I’ll try this ‘taking stock’ for myself. It seems like a really great way to look back at the end of a month or a year…


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