Getting back in the rhythm

It has been a hectic couple of weeks around here returning to the workforce and resuming my studies to become a teacher. I wish I could say I’ve nailed it, but really it hasn’t been all that pretty.

My return to work and my previous profession has not been as painless as I would have liked. I feel a sense of urgency to come up to speed with what’s been happening in the industry in the last 15 years, in a new state, and in a new role. I want to appear capable and knowledgeable, but to be honest, I feel a bit hopeless and redundant. I’m sure there are many who have returned to work after being a homemaker who will be familiar with these feelings.

But perhaps, what has been most disappointing about this process has been the absence of the things that bring joy to my days. The initial schedule I painstakingly set up in preparation for my return to work did allow some time for this blog, and reading and knitting, and gardening and baking on the weekend, but fatigue got in the way, and it all went out the window. I was seriously worried that that would become my status quo – work, study, laundry, taxiing children around, cooking, repeat. I had to do better – I had to get back into a rhythm. And finally I feel like I am there.

Today fell together like the pieces of a puzzle. It just worked. I followed my schedule like some routineer zealot, and joy made its way back in.

As if aligning with the stars and planets, my day coincided with the arrival of the lid to my new and beautiful fermenting crock made by the delightful and talented ceramic artist Zsolt Faludi. The crock is a perfect size (about 3L) with a classic water seal design and comes with ceramic weights. With so many cabbages in my garden ready for the picking, the crock has arrived at just the right time. I plan to christen the crock with a cabbage, beetroot and ginger kraut – my favourite combination.

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I am all for tackling our consumerist ways, but I can’t help but feel smug and excited when I find items like this. It is handmade, with intention and care. It has a purpose and a lifespan that will likely serve our family for many many years. With care, it should survive well beyond my lifetime.

Arriving at the same time was the latest issue of Taproot magazine. I have been subscribing to this magazine since it was established in 2011. It is an ad-free, subscriber-supported, independent print magazine that celebrates food, farm, family, and craft. Each issue is packed with thought provoking articles, and inspiration to live locally and build connections with family and community. It also contains recipes, patterns and blueprints for a more simple and handmade existence. I have my eye on those socks – I have never ever felt inclined before to knit socks, but I am willing to make an exception for this sweet pair.

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After a lengthy baby hiattus, a couple of friends are now having their babies, giving me a wonderful excuse to get knitting. I love knitting baby items. They are so small, they just fly off the needles. It is still cold around here, and is likely to remain cool for a few months yet, so I’m planning to knit the Emma Tunic in this handspun and hand painted yarn by Pancake and Lulu. It is not a local yarn – one of my Etsy indulgences! It is a delicious blend of alpaca, merino and silk. I have knit the Emma Tunic a few times now – it is a simple, sweet design that allows you to showcase a special button at the yoke. I know as I am getting older, and my friends are getting older too (sorry ladies!), there will be fewer and fewer babies marking their arrival into our lives. It is natural, but nevertheless I still feel that small stab of sadness that knitting for babies, and admiring and doting over their perfectness, has become less and less a part of my life. So I plan to thoroughly immerse myself in sentimentality while knitting this up!

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It has been a special day. A return to rhythm. A return to joy. And perhaps because I have had to work hard for it, the joy will be all that much sweeter.

4 thoughts on “Getting back in the rhythm

  1. Hi Paula,

    I feel your pain! I had started working really hard on the Fylady home management system in preparation for my return to part-time study and it has not gone as smoothly as I expected! In the main this was because a couple of big family matters came up that needed my time. However, I am back into routine and realised that no matter how urgent something seems, getting the house in order before diving into study is crucial. I was tending to wake up in the morning and get my books out before I had even had my first pot of tea!

    Your fermenting crock looks absolutely gorgeous. I am studying to be a macrobiotic counsellor and one of my teachers has pointed out that we are nourished through our eyes and other senses as well as our mouths. So the sauerkraut is wonderful, but also enjoying the beauty of your crock is important too and will ‘feed’ you.

    I have somehow never seen Taproot magazine before, it sounds like a perfect read for me. As for babies, soon enough there will be grand babies to knit for! I suddenly find myself with an almost 20 year old daughter who would love to be a mum. The time has passed by so quickly!

    I think you will find that when you get right back into teaching you will come with a whole lot of richness to offer, given your time off parenting. A friend took many years off and once she was back into the swing and caught up on the changes she was flying.

    Madeleine

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    1. Hi Madeleine! I completely get the idea of being nourished through our eyes. It is certainly why I feel so much better when the house is in order and looking loved. I have stopped by my crock and admired it more than once since it arrived – still nothing in it though! That will be a weekend job. Yes, I forget about grand babies – with 5 kids I guess there is a reasonable chance at least one will have children of their own. It is so lovely to hear that your daughter wants to be a mum, and that you speak so positively about it. It is reassuring to hear your friend is doing so well since her return to work – gives me some hope. Studying to be a macrobiotic counsellor sounds very interesting – I had to google it to know what it was, but I like the principles. Good luck with your studies, and lovely to hear from you!

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