It's the beginning of March, and life looks so different than it did in December.
Not the politics. Don't even get me started on politics. No, it's the rest of life that has changed.
First of all, it's getting lighter. The weather may still be wintry, but the days are longer. The difference in my energy levels is dramatic; it's like the difference in a coffee addict between waking and finishing the first cup. My brain no longer feels wrapped in cotton wool, and I can think again. The payoff is all around me, in my relationships with Martin and Alex, in the way I run the house, in my work.
Work. There's another area of change. I've been back at work since the new year, but I haven't truly settled in. I'm doing a three-month stint in my old department. After Easter, I'll be changing divisions within the Bank, moving to a team I worked with during Y2K. It promises to be a challenging time, with a steep learning curve. I should be intimidated, but every time I think about the work, and the people, I smile. I feel like a runner at the starting gate.
Going back to work has changed the shape of my life enormously. I'm only working three days a week, Monday - Wednesday. But those days are really tightly scheduled. My focus has to be on getting everything done that needs doing, getting enough light to stay sane, then going to bed early enough to get the sleep I need. It's like being a hamster on a wheel. How do full-time working mothers do it?
Still, the working time has its rewards. Martin has Wednesdays off, so Alex is in day care for the first two days each week. He is has settled in well, but he does miss us while we're away. So every day he's at nursery, I pick him up (Martin does the dropoffs, I do the pickups) and take him home, and all he wants to do for the first half hour is cuddle me, flirt with me, and play with my earrings. It's an enormously rewarding time, like having a whole day's attention in a short spell.
One of the real pleasures of the last two months has been the learning curve with my bookbinding. Martin got me a couple of books on the topic for Christmas (at my request), and since then, I've been binding non-stop. (See the sidebar entry for a list of what I've done) In addition to the books themselves, I've made a lot of the hardware I need, including two different types of book press.
I can hardly wait to see what spring will bring.