Over two months in lockdown…

I’m grateful that Australia has been doing well with the coronavirus. New cases have slowed to a trickle, so restrictions have been progressively lifted for the past few weeks. Restaurants now serve dine-in in increasing numbers. More and more people are now allowed to visit each other’s homes. Museums, libraries and some shops will be opening from tomorrow.

This is great for the economy, and we can’t wait to go out and eat at our favourite restaurants again. But admittedly, part of me enjoys the life I’ve been living these past few months. I like the additional hours in my day not taken up by a commute; I don’t particularly miss being on a crowded train or running to make timetables. I like working from home. I miss seeing my friends in person, but have found that we’ve been connecting more through online messaging, voice or video calls.

I’m also grateful for all the companies and organisations shifting their products and services online, making sure I don’t go totally bonkers in isolation.

Here are some of my faves. Please support them if you can! And if you’ve got any suggestions for stuff to do online, please let me know.

And one other item that should’ve made the list – Bluprint. Unfortunately, I just got an email yesterday that they’ll be closing in the next few months. Nooo! They were integral to me continuing to sew after I picked up the hobby years ago. I still have a bunch of un-watched sewing courses.

Anyway, I guess that’s my cue to make a move on completing my sewing projects. (Fortunately, I’ve recently purchased some new gorgeous fabric from Nerida Hansen. Don’t know if any of my friends reading this sew, but there you go.) Seriously though, Bluprint closing makes me really sad. I hope they sort out what to do with “own forever” classes (of which I have over a dozen!) so I can continue to watch and learn as much as I can.

Realisations, part 4

Realisation #4: Now is the time to be conscious of how I want to live.

I’m lucky that I am still still employed and thus have the opportunity to take a step back and become more intentional about how I live my life given these quieter times.

Previously, things felt really busy. It was go go go. There would always be things I needed to do and places I had to be. But now I’ve got a couple of hours back – I no longer have to travel to work or my exercise classes, with both of those things done at home or at least nearby. While I still catch up with friends, it’s online. Restaurants and cafes are closed save for takeaway. Gone too are the events, museums and markets I would’ve spent my weekends in.

So now I’ve got time.

Plenty of time.

And how am I spending it?

Sometimes, I’m happy with how I’ve spent my time: sewing, playing the piano, practicing Spanish, baking, exercising and journaling. And sometimes, I’m not… the endless searching for interesting things and gossipy articles online. Staying awake at night for no real reason at all. Mindless Netflix and TV watching.

But yes. Now I’ve got time to step back and reassess if I’m living how I want to be living. And if I’m not, take steps in the right direction.

Realisations, part 3

Realisation #3: I need greenery in my life. I am so grateful that we’re still allowed to go outside to exercise. Even more grateful that I live a 5 minute walk away from a park with walk/bike paths that pass through the edge of a river and continue to longer walks to neighbouring suburbs.

Every day for the past few weeks, we’ve been waking up at 6 AM or going right before the sun sets to go for walks around the park. I don’t mind waking up early – there’s less people out and about and it’s a great setup for the rest of the day. We cap off the walks with a visit to one of our local cafes where we/S grabs a coffee. A small way to support local businesses – on a “normal” weekend they’d be our usual brunch spots, but given the state of things a takeaway coffee is all we get.

Pre-coronavirus I would still go to the park, but admittedly I’ve been to it more times the past few weeks than I have in the past year! It was so easy to take it for granted – we were out and about a lot more, and if we wanted a walk we’d typically go to one of the national parks.

However with the lockdown, I’ve become even more grateful that I live where I live, and that I live near a park with a decent amount of greenery and noisy birds. I think, no matter where I end up in the future, I’ll always want to live near a park.

It’s also been a great opportunity for observations:

  • Two hunting dogs pointing solemnly at a round galah
  • A fat pug (called “Pudge”) trying so hard to keep up with his owner along the walking paths 😛
  • A small brown curly-haired dog running with the biggest smile on his face, his leash attached to his owner’s bike
  • A small crab ten metres away from the nearest source of water
  • A juicy-looking choko hanging over the fence.

Yes I’m aware most of the things I pointed about above relate to dogs! Haha!

I don’t know if it’s related to the lockdown, I’ve been spending more time indoors or I’ve just been more observant about what’s happening outdoors, but there seems to be more birds in the neighborhood lately. One day there were around 10 green lorikeets in the next building, and in today’s walk we spotted at least 5 cockatoos on someone’s balcony. (S did try to entice some birds with the muesli bits at the bottom of the bag but sadly there were no takers.)

Realisations, part 2

Realisation #2: I’m reconsidering the things I “need”. For example, my Fitbit conked out on me the other week. The oldme would’ve gotten a new one pronto. Now… I just don’t have one. I miss the sleep tracking, but do I really need to find out how I slept through an app? Maybe not.

Overall, instead of rushing out to buy things without a second thought… I’m taking a step back and asking if I truly need those things, or maybe I could try doing without for a little bit first to verify if I really do need them in my life.

Related: Maximising things. I’ve been digging deep into my cupboards and storage to see if there are things that I could use or repurpose.

For example, a few months ago, I started focusing on skincare. I’m running out of some things now, but I’m no longer rushing to buy more. Instead, I’m making do with what I already have, such as opened bottles of things that I tried once or twice but didn’t really wow me. Coconut oil instead of body moisturiser. Samples. Eventually, I’ll truly run out and go back to buying things, but for now I’m planning to use up what I’ve got first.

All the ingredients for things I intended to make months ago are finally being incorporated into existing dishes, haha!

To some extent I’ve already done this (making dishes out of whatever’s in the pantry), but now it’s no longer as driven by laziness or lack of planning as it is by making the most of what I have.

That’s why I don’t really have standard recipes for my baked goods. Thank goodness it’s easy to find recipes with substituted ingredients on Google nowadays.

On a related note, yesterday’s cookies used coconut oil and had oats in it, owing to me not having unsalted butter (but plenty of coconut oil) and oats approaching their “best before” date. And I didn’t have dark chocolate chips but the milk chocolate chips were an easy swap. The cookies turned out pretty well, I’m proud to say: coconut oil oatmeal dark chocolate chip cookies.