A look back over March, where I can share some links to stuff I’ve enjoyed, show what I’ve been working on and generally encourage a bit of chit-chat.
The main thing that’s happened to me this month is that I changed jobs. The old one never really worked for me (‘Hear that noise?’, I wrote in my journal during my first week in the job, ‘that’s the sound of the creative spirit leaving my body’).
I had been drowning under the weight of policies, procedures and spreadsheets and there wasn’t the finance in place to actually help anyone. All I seemed to do was empathise (‘uh-huh, oh that sounds like such a nightmare for you. I’m so sorry to hear that has happened to you’ etc) but ultimately do nothing. And nobody cared as long as the spreadsheets were filled in (‘sorry we’re not really going to do anything to help here, but if you could tell me your ethnic background and your sexual orientation for our records…’).
Anyway, I left that job (did I jump or was I pushed? Well that story possibly belongs in another blog entitled ‘why does Sarah never manage to hang on to a job?’) and I am now working directly with service users out in the community, which suits me much better.
In truth, I’m hoping this job will tie up less of my time. My life had degenerated into work, eat, sleep, repeat, as I was so exhausted from the work. I’m hoping this one will allow me more time for the things I really want to do. Like write, paint and visit art shows.
Visiting Art in London
For anyone near, or planning a visit to, London then I visited two excellent art shows.
One was David Hockney Bigger and Closer, not smaller and further away at Lightrooms in Kings Cross.
It consists of a big room with images of his artworks projected on all four walls and an interesting narrative from the great man (I’m a big fan) about his inspiration and process.
The second was an exhibition of street art/graffiti at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. This was a huge exhibition featuring everything from Malcolm McLaren and the Sex Pistols through to New York Hip-Hop artists.
Both were very good and well worth the money/effort.
What I have been reading
My recommendation : Black girl in Pyongyang by Monica Macias. I saw her interviewed on Chanel 4 News and brought the book straight away; she has a fascinating story to tell about being sent to North Korea as a child (her father was the disgraced president of Equatorial Guinea, later deposed by his nephew and executed). I loved the way she immersed herself in the culture of everywhere she lived.
What I have been watching
Actually not much. I cancelled my TV subscriptions, partly to save money but also to get me off my bum and doing more useful things with my downtime. I haven’t actually started on the something more useful yet; it’s a bit of an abstract concept and perhaps I needed to be more specific about what I should do instead.
For anybody in the UK or with access to BBC iPlayer, I have two recommendations: Race Across the World, which this year has been in Canada and Becoming Frida Kahlo, an interesting documentary on Frida Kahlo. Both made me pine for the days of open-ended travel.
What I have been eating
I added a few new dishes to my (very limited) cooking repertoire through this link on BBC food.
I really struggle to find food that is both healthy/nutritious and also affordable. My normal cooking consists of stir fry veg with either rice or pasta, sometimes spicy sometimes not, and that’s about it. This claims to offer a week of dinners for £10, with a choice of vegan/vegetarian/carnivore. Note: I spent £13 when I tried it.
What I like about it is that it is generally one-person portions; normally with this sort of thing they assume you’re cooking for a family and divide the cost between four; I don’t want to eat the same dinner four nights running and I don’t have a freezer.
New App discovery
I’ve been using an app called balance, which has lots of guided meditations, great for relaxing or for when I need to focus. It also has some wonderful falling asleep meditations, ideal for helping you to let go of the day, including a getting back to sleep one, for those nights when I wake up at 3AM and can’t get back to sleep. When I got it it was free for a year, so excellent value.
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