Sunday, 31 May 2009

The ends of May, the beginning of June

This seems to be a bit of a pattern... but hasn't May gone quickly? 

I'll post again this evening with some photos, but I've sat down to do a bit of organising, and remembered that I wanted to write an end of the month post, going over what I've done in May. Thinking about the last few weeks settles me somehow, makes me sit down and recognise what I've done. It makes me think about whether I'm moving in the direction I want to go in, and what needs to shift slightly. 

So, in May, I've done lots of new things :) I've dabbled with making clothes, and sewed two skirts, both of which I wear often. I also made a new bag, and knitted a couple of cotton dishcloths. I've started using the soap I made a couple of months ago - for washing up and in the shower. It's such a good feeling to use something you've made yourself, it really is. 

I've also made some very successful yogurt, so I've got over my slight gloominess about it not working a couple of times. And I made some excellent rhubarb and orange jam - which has now all gone! But our friends said we could have rhubarb from them whenever we liked, so we might pop and get some more tonight, and then give them a jar or two of jam in return. Community sufficiency is a long way off, but we're working on it.

In the garden, I've done a fair amount of weeding, planted out courgettes and cabbages, and sowed a few more seeds. We've had our first salad from the garden too! And I hung sheets out to dry - and since Peter would rather I didn't hang washing in the 'front' garden, he's building me a washing line by the back door :) Photos to follow when it's up. 

PhD wise, I've written some more, still need to write some more. What else can I say? Only that I sat down and counted the weeks left until it absolutely HAS to be handed in - just seventeen. That's 123 days and counting - even I can stick it out for that long. The end is in sight... 

Budget - well. I don't think I've spent that much, but I must confess I haven't kept a spending diary at all. I've had a complete mental block about it - do I just not want to think about it because I have too many other things to think about? I don't know. It has to stop though! I did contact the council about reducing our council tax, but we still haven't received the forms they promised to send. And I've managed to reduce my phone bill by £20 a month - £240 a year! Now, if I can just get that straight into the savings account it can go towards our Christmas holidays... 

Speaking of budgeting, I've applied for three jobs this month. I'm still not sure if I've done the right thing, but time will tell. I had thought I would carry on with my part time job that I do now for two days a week while I let my brain recover after the PhD. But a few things have happened at work, and I don't think that's going to be for the best for me. One of the jobs I've applied for is full time, in another city, which wold involve so much commuting, I'm just not sure I can commit to it. I'll cross that bridge if it happens. The other two are much more manageable, and one of them I'm really excited about. So fingers crossed. I've set myself a cut off point for my current job too, so whatever happens after that date, I'll be moving on. 

It's difficult balancing work and life, isn't it? I've been doing this PhD for a good few years now, and working two days a week on top for the last two years. I'm tired, and I have lots of other things I'd much rather be doing. This blog was designed to help me start doing some of those things anyway - some sewing, gardening, making, doing. Some things - like trapeze lessons and volunteering - I won't be starting til it's over. 

Some might say I'm idle... but I just don't think I've got time to do paid work for 37 hours a week. If I had to, if I needed to, then of course I would, I have done in the past, in much worse jobs than I could probably get now. But the thing is, through accident and more lately through design, I've set up my life so I don't need to. I've never spent huge amounts of money, all my clothes come from charity shops (or are made!), we don't eat much in the way of prepackaged food, don't have an expensive car, and neither of us have any debt (I worked to pay mine off). Our bills aren't expensive, and we can walk to lots of places we go to. We don't have expensive holidays and I'm trying to make all my presents this year. So really, now is the time to be doing all the cheery things I'd like to try my hand at. 

And, quite frankly, I'm a bit worried that if I got myself into a full time job, I wouldn't want to give up the salary... 

So there's my justification to myself, just in case I needed one :) I'm working hard to make my life how I want it NOW, not in 40 years time when I retire. Call me impatient, but I want the pots of jam, the tea and cake, the long walks, the bike rides, the reading, the days out at the seaside, I want them all now. The main cost is time. I'm trying to make sure I have plenty of that, not money. I'm working on it. 

So, June. This year is galloping so quickly I can barely keep up. This month I'll finish the last of the PhD chapters, and right back at the beginning again. I'll get some more salad leaves out in the garden. I'll spend lots of time in the garden, like I have this month, and maybe even harvest some what we've grown other than perpetual spinach and rainbow chard. I'll get the washing line put up (or rather Peter will...). I've got a few ideas for clothes I make, and I've also got a wedding present to make... :) 

I'm promising here to stick to the budget. I'll even put the spare £20 from the phone bill into the savings account. I'll do some price comparisons to cut the cost of the car insurance - dull, but necessary. 

I've started running again lately, so I'll keep that up. I'll also get a bit more spring cleaning done in the house, and a few projects. It never really ends, housework, so I'm working on thinking of it as cheery and nourishing. Or something. 

I'm looking forward to things being quite different at the end of June. I want to see the end of the PhD - not the real end, that's too unlikely, but the end of a full draft would be nice... And I'd like to know the outcome of the jobs I applied for, and make a few decisions about that. And for the garden to be full of food. I'm looking forward to it!  

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