Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My year of Nowhere Near Enough Reading

2012 in Australia has been dubbed the National Year of Reading where libraries, bookshops, many other organisations are linking together all the great things already happening around reading and literacy plus creating new events and activities designed to help people discover or rediscover the joy of reading. (Info here if you are interested.)

For me however, this year has rather ironically become a "Year of Nowhere Near Enough Reading". Those of you who warned me that the part-time job I started late last year sounded like "three full-time people's jobs" and that "part-time and project rarely play nicely together" can go mwah-ha-ha here because oh were you right. While I have been busy creating reading events, endlessly talking to parents about the importance of reading to young children, doing many hours of reading aloud in odd places all over the city, carting hundreds of books then releasing them into the wild and reading huge piles of work-related things, my opportunities for actually reading what I want for my own enjoyment have shrunk to drought levels not seen since new-baby-in-house days. I love reading so this is a pretty frustrating situation.

Working has also meant that between my children's various hospital appointments (all up in Perth, a whole day with one child last week, a whole day with the other one this week, all good news) and after school and weekend activities, I now spend very few hours home alone. Since I wrote that last post I have clocked up so few home alone hours that I can count them on my fingers and all since I ticked this off my work To-Do list. I love home-alone time so this too is a somewhat frustrating situation.

Sadly today's five hours home alone were spent dealing with a foot high pile of paperwork - and I am not exaggerating. I'll spare you the gruesome details but life in WA involves a lot of red tape, paperwork and administrivia. So no interesting pictures from today's dull day but last week I did snap away as I hurried through my chores - with the reward of some reading time dangling at the end of my foot-long To-Do list.

First up were four loads of laundry as it was our first sunny day in weeks. On the way to the line I stopped to admire our latest slime moulds.

Then I cooked dinner because that afternoon = swim squad = arriving home with two cold, wet and starving children at 6.30pm. Next job was dealing with those amazing gift lemons and no that isn't trick photography. Lemon Cake in the oven, zest and juice in the freezer then back out to the vegetable patch to deal with an invasion of caterpillars.

Every fortnight a new creature invades our house or garden or both in plague proportions: pantry moths, red ants, Portuguese millipedes, black ants, garden snails, orange ants, redback spiders, Italian snails and for six months of the year we also have  mosquitoes. At the moment hundreds of white cedar moth caterpillars swarm over the fence every day from our neighbour's denuded trees to feast in my veggie garden. I rehomed them. To heaven.

Next up was chipping away at the latest pile of free mulch to arrive on our front verge.

Between barrow loads I stopped to admire the spring-has-sprunginess of our garden.

Took the cake out of the oven, did the dishes, planted out some seedlings, converted another patch of ex-lawn space to veggie garden, buried the contents of our two bokashi bins in the garden, made a coffee and replied to some emails ("so lovely to hear from you and so sorry it has taken me so long to reply..." x5 with many more still to do as some of you will be aware), paid a few bills online, logged in to my work email to deal with the things that just couldn't wait (part-time -ha!), bought a present online, brought in the evening's firewood and the four loads of laundry, fixed the two most urgent pieces of clothing from the mending mountain, found the "lost" swimming goggles, loaded a pile of "to the op shop" wares  into my car, put all the flat batteries on to recharge, destained an item of school uniform, found the paperwork for a child's required repeat prescription, phoned the Dunny Doctor (true) and made a shopping list. (Familiar day anyone?) Then I resisted the urge to fold Mt Cleanlaundry and instead..... grabbed another coffee and ten minutes of reading time before my son cycled up the driveway.

Tonight I spent the evening at the First Wednesday Book Club getting great book recommendations then brought home "fabulous", "beautiful" and "captivating" books to add to my now three foot high To-Read pile - and I am not exaggerating. But one of the great things about projects is that by their very nature they always come to an end; when the project I am working on ends I hope to then have the freedom to begin my very own Year of Reading.

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