March Reads

I still feel like I’m not reading as much as I’d like. Although it’s also true that I abandoned one book and have two paperbacks and an audiobook that I started but have yet to finish. But here’s what I did finish in March. I have made plans to cut down my internet time this month (specifically by not reading fanfiction) so I anticipate reading more in April.

I’m not sure that I have a favourite and a least favourite book this month, I liked everything that I finished but nothing really stood out. I was pleased to read two books that have sat unread on my selves/kindle for well over 5 years, very possibly closer to nine or ten years.

Books marked 1001 count towards my goal of reading 40 more books from Boxall’s 1001 books you must read before you die before my 40th birthday in December.

  1. The Courage To Care by Christie Watson (audiobook)
  2. The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing (1001)
  3. Coming Home to Brightwater Bay by Holly Hepburn
  4. My Kind of Happy by Cathy Bramley
  5. White Teeth by Zadie Smith

So far in 2021 I have read 15 books or 6096 pages.

40 Before 40: Pandemic Edition

My 40th birthday is at the end of this year. At the end of 2019 I wrote a “40 before 40” list of goals to achieve before I reached that milestone. I blogged about that a little bit but never shared the list online

I did achieve three of the goals last year – I went to see Book of Mormon and did a photography course before the pandemic hit. I also manged to use my manual chair every day for over 40 days later in the year. Looking at the list as I write this, I could also be said to have done two more – I attempted to make button art at Christmas but it didn’t work out (I have plans for a different button art project) and whilst I didn’t make it to a writers retreat, I have done a couple of online retreats.

But there were several overnight trips in that 40, and even more one day trips. Most of those are currently out of reach. And to be completely honest I’m struggling with motivation to get things done at home at the moment. So a lot of the habit forming ones such as “write everyday for 40 days” feel unachieveable.

That said I didn’t want to give up on the idea of 40 before 40 entirely. So at the end of last year, I came up with two slightly simpler versions of the 40 before 40 goals.

I occasionally crochet squares for Woolly Hugs. This year I am aiming to crochet and send 40 of the 12 inch ones. I’ve already done two which will be in the post next week.

Also, for years I’ve been occasionally reading books from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die book (I have a list of all the books that have been in each edition and read from that – it’s about 1300 when you count removed books). This year I want to get back into it and read 40 books from the list. I’m in the middle of listening to the audiobook of The Circle by Dave Eggers from the list now.

If I could manage to do more of the “at home” or low key goals from my original list that would be good, but the crochet and the books are what I’m actively planning to do write now.

And perhaps at some point when life looks something a bit more like normal I might start a 101 in 1001 list with the tattered remains of my original 40 before 40 list. It’s quite a long time since I’ve done one of those…

40 Before 40 – Use My Manual Everyday for 40 Days

At the end of 2021 I turn 40. So at the end of last year I wrote a 40 before 40 list (it’s not on this blog before anyone goes looking).

I always thought that with the number of trips away it would involve I wouldn’t manage all 40 tasks. But that it was good to have aims and I could probably manage a fair number. With the current restrictions I definitely won’t manage most of them because even the one day trips are out of reach.

I might write a new “pandemic edition” 40 before 40 list to start after I turn 39, I need to have a think about it. But there are still several I can reach from the original list. And I recently completed one.

Use my manual chair everyday for 40 days.

It’s actually well over 40 days. I’ve used it most days since it was serviced right at the beginning of August. And I’ve used it everyday since 19th August when my powerchair went in to the workshop.

My mum had been moaning at me for ages that I needed to start using the manual more. But it turns out what I really needed to make me do it was the powerchair tech pointing out that the reason things like casters keep wearing out is because of all the tight turns and small movements around my flat which it isn’t really designed for. That and yet another repair bill of over a grand for the powerchair.

I’ve been in it for every morning care call since the 20th August, even asking carers to wait and minute or two for me to transfer out of my powerchair into it. I had yet more problems with the gas strut in the powerchair which is part of the reason it went to the workshop. And I think part of the reason I’ve had those problems is the amount of force needed to do my compression. To start with I was trying to be in the manual for all care calls but some evenings I’m back in the powerchair again now.

Some days I’ve only used the manual for an hour or so around the morning care call (which is 30 minutes). And a few days lately, when the weather has been bad, I’ve not even touched the powerchair. A week or so ago I was at home all weekend and in my manual from Friday morning until Monday afternoon.

It’s definitely getting easier. And strangely I’ve noticed my feet and legs are sitting on my footplates better the more I use it. I still don’t think getting out and about it alone will happen. But in the house definitely is.

I’ve started having some shoulder pain in the last week or so which is concerning (this is something wheelchair users need to be careful of) but as it’s mostly one arm it’s been suggested it may actually be crochet related. I’ll need to keep an eye on it.

And this is really bizarre but it’s beginning to look like my next wheelchair tech visit will need to be from the NHS wheelchair services team to give my manual some TLC. It’s a long time since I’ve seen a tech for this chair!