So March was a long month, huh?! March is a funny one because at its start, it’s still definitely summer, but by the time it’s over it’s almost certainly not. It’s still hot most days, but the mornings are a little cooler, the evenings are a lot shorter, and even the heat seems kind of overwrought and begrudging, as if it knows it’s misplaced. The wind gets up and starts shifting round to the west again, rather than the easterly sea breeze that marks summer up here. Our pool is still open and most days, a jumper is the last thing you’d want to be wearing, but the leaves start changing and the paddocks full of not-yet-harvested corn start to look embarrassed. I don’t quite know what to make of these in-between times, but they do leave me feeling somewhat restless and undefined – school is definitely back, but summer hasn’t yet let go. I’m trying to prepare for the Bad Times (winter, that is) without fully appreciating the sunshine that still lingers, and then, of course, I just feel guilty for my lack of attention.
Here’s how I’ve been coping, and what’s been keeping me going through the long March…
1. Maintenance Phase podcast
This podcast is so great! I started listening to it in March and I have already listened to all the episodes. The hosts, Michael Hobbes and Aubrey Gordon, work together to debunk the messages about health, wellness, diet, exercise and their relationship to weight that I think most of us have been led to believe are the inviolable truth (I certainly have). They focus on one weight-related topic a week, like Halo Top ice cream or Weight Watchers, for example, and do an excellent job of helping deconstruct the issues around it (and sometimes the good things, it’s not all doom and gloom by far!) They’re funny, factual, smart and I find what they have to say absolutely fascinating. I tend to find it difficult when I’m confronted by people making (usually self-deprecating) comments about their weight or body image, or trying to draw me into conversations about their diets, and this podcast leaves me feeling like I’ve wrapped myself in a suit of armour that’s impervious to such attempts at conversational overtures. It gives me permission not to engage and I love that. Plus, it bears repeating that the hosts are funny. It’s my new fave and I cannot recommend it highly enough – I’m hanging out for their next episode (they release a new episode once a fortnight!)
2. A fun kids book with a great message
This is Amelie dressed as Thelma the Unicorn! A friend of ours gave Amelie the Thelma the Unicorn book and hat set just over a week ago, and since then we have read it maybe 20 times? It’s a total hit. Thelma is a pony who’s unhappy with who she is. In a sequence of extraordinary luck, she finds herself with the looks and glamour of a unicorn, and fame follows soon after. But Thelma soon discovers that the fame is not as fun as it looks from the outside, and that there’s a lot more joy to be found when you’re not pretending to be someone you’re not…I think it’s such a great message for kids. Plus it’s really fun to read! Love when Amelie’s favourite books also provide us with some enjoyment.
3. Finding a (stunning) new trail
At the beginning of March I took myself off for a walk at the beach, as I so often do, but instead of heading down over the dunes I took a trail that goes up the hill on the left. I thought it would just take me to the top of the hill, but it goes on and on – I didn’t expect that and it was a great surprise! I didn’t get to the end of the trail before it was time to turn around again, but on a day when I have more time I’m looking forward to going back to explore more. As you can see, it is spectacular.
4. Rediscovering an excellent author
Ages ago, I read The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore and really enjoyed it, but then for some unknown reason I never sought any more of her books out (I say unknown, but actually it was almost certainly during that phase of my life when reading anything other than textbooks or policy documents was severely indulgent). A few weeks ago I came across it in the library again, and I checked it out along with The Islanders, also by Meg Mitchell Moore. I loved this one nearly as much as I loved The Admissions. My favourite sort of books could roughly be summed up as ‘privileged people in beautiful settings with problems’ and these books hit all the pertinent points of that summation. Plus they earn bonus points for having a strong New England connection (despite never having lived there, I am inordinately fond of New England. When we lived in New York, Hayden and I used to visit Connecticut often on day trips, and holidayed in Massachusetts several times, and I just feel very much at home there). If you like Elin Hilberbrand, Liane Moriarty, or Jennifer Weiner, I think you’ll really enjoy these!
5. Eating all the hot cross buns
I talked about butter in my last post and don’t think I need to cover it again, but suffice it to say that butter is the work of the gods and a hot cross bun is the platonic ideal of a butter transporter. I love hot cross bun season. Here, as everywhere now I imagine, hot cross buns start appearing on shelves as soon as Christmas is done, jostling for space with discounted candy canes, but Hayden and I keep them special by limiting our intake to just the few weeks around Easter. Bizarrely, Amelie doesn’t like them due to the raisin content, so I can buy them with impunity and enjoy them with abandon, until I never want to see another hot cross bun again (a state which never lasts very long, thankfully, and is always ancient history by the time Easter rolls around again).
Happy April and happy Easter for those who celebrate it! Have a great month and please let me know about any recommendations you have for me in the way of podcasts, books, butter, or any other important matters!