MMXX: Iunius et Iulius.

(Graphic generated by InspiroBot.)

If I’ve learned anything during these four months in isolation, it’s that time is indeed relative. Events from the Before Times feel like they happened a couple of weeks and a couple of years ago — simultaneously. I never have any idea what day it is, let alone what happened last week. Everything is on hold for the moment, and even the few things that aren’t on hold feel like they are due to my ever-present infirmity.

Things are weird. It’s an understatement, but it’s undeniably true.

I’ve decided to pursue my goals differently in the coming months. I always said I would change things up when I needed to, and I think it’s time to do so. My priorities have shifted and simplified.

This post covers both June and July, so it’s a loose hybrid of the old and the new.

MMXX: SIX AND SEVEN

MONTHLY GOALS

I sent a postcard to E.K., sewed some masks, and sent my newsletter regularly. I’ve only missed one week sending out the newsletter since late June, believe it or not.

learning

I am currently auditing the Science of Well-Being on Coursera, and although I think some of the research is a little underwhelming, I’m getting a lot out of it overall. I plan to take a writing course through the same platform when I finish this one.

MAKING

As I mentioned, I sewed some needed masks, but haven’t done any other sewing. Not only is my energy very low, but I’m about two dress sizes smaller than I was a few months ago and am hesitant to make too many garments at this unusual size. However, I have been cooking a bit more lately and have made herbed socca (I finally found a recipe I liked), sauteed sugar snap peas, cauliflower soup, and some experimental lemony pasta salad that came out really well. At least I’m able to eat some of the time!

WRITING

I’ve been writing pretty consistently again and made my Camp Nanowrimo goal in July. I’m still working on my serial and have a short story about halfway finished. (Plus writing the newsletter! I’m filled with words right now.)

MONEY MATTERS

My Personal Spending
I stayed well within budget in June and spent a little more in July. I knew I had a pricey pre-ordered Kindle title coming in July, so I temporarily bumped up that category…and still managed to spend a bit more than planned. I admit that I also succumbed to Universal Standard’s sample sale that month, but at least I have some well-fitting basics to wear around the house. Still, not terrible.

June Budget / Actual Amount Spent
Books $25.00 / $13.58
Audiobooks $25.00 / $25.16
All Sewing $0.00 Planned / $4.98
Clothing $0.00 Planned / $0.00

July Budget / Actual Amount Spent
Books $35.00 / $38.07
Audiobooks $25.00 / $22.17
All Sewing $0.00 Planned / $12.20
Clothing $0.00 Planned / $59.54

Household Spending
We’ve been adjusting to the new, more constrained budget, though it hasn’t been without difficulty. We’ve done well keeping food costs down, but our power bills have been higher than usual (even for the summer), and it’s difficult to know how much to budget for medical costs with so much still up in the air. It’s a work in progress.

How I saved money in June and July:

  • I downloaded ten free Kindle books.
  • I downloaded three Amazon First Reads and eight Audible Originals.
  •  As of June, I calculated that we’d saved $445 over grocery store prices with our Costco membership since the last renewal, so it has been well worth the price this year. (Those are the savings beyond our annual membership cost.)
  •  I downloaded several free graphics sets from Creative Market.
  •  I downloaded two drawing instruction freebies.
  •  I digitally “checked out” the Acorn streaming service from the library for a week. I binged my way through all three seasons of The Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries — including the brand new movie. I loved it! I didn’t know our library offered this service, or I would have taken advantage of it a long time ago.
  •  Lennox had a nearly free medium pizza from Domino’s using points accumulated from ordering online. He paid $1 to upgrade to the deep dish crust.
  • I signed up to audit a course (mentioned above) on Coursera. There’s no charge to audit; you simply don’t get a certificate at the end.
  • I read 33 ebooks and one physical book from the library, three Prime Reading titles, and five free Kindle books.

How I made money in June and July:

  • A tax preparer referred a new client to me for a bookkeeping project.
  • I caught up and billed a semi-regular client, though they haven’t paid their invoice yet.
  • I was able to bill out a fairly normal number of hours for my day job despite my ongoing medical concerns, so that felt like a success in and of itself.
FINAL THOUGHTS

Humans are adaptable. As awful as this prolonged isolation is, we’re adjusting. Or I am — at least a little bit. I’m still eaten alive by worry most of the time, but coping with the day-to-day has gotten easier. Let’s hope for an uneventful August.