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Tuesday 14th June

Nothing like a bit of journalling. It's been a while...

Am now vegan. Or as vegan as you can be while still using the same belt and wallet as before, and with a don't-ask-don't-tell approach to bakeries. Think these will be ironed out in the near future though. The fundamental difference with this and my teenage vegetarianism is that it's more than just the moral (which can equate to pious) element, but also the health and environmental reasons. Wish I could have a more coherent explanation (in Japanese) when am asked about it though. Something to work on.

Only thing am missing is feta. Think for my own sanity may have a cheese amnesty on the 29th/30th/31st of each month, even if the dairy industry is in many ways much worse than the meat industry. Just get something nice from Costco, rather than the relentless processed stuff was eating way too much for comfort of before. Am sure my arteries are grateful.

Don't think N, M or Y will follow suit. In fact M has started eating prodigious quantities of bacon. Reminiscent of my Grandad's morning routine. Left a memo for Yoshikei asking if that a vegan/vegetarian menu. They said no, but that they were about to renew their menus and so thanks for your input. The menus arrived with a breezy introduction explaining how the overriding message they got from their customers was that they wanted more meat... Don't know whether to laugh or cry. The SDGs logo is cute though...

Feel mentally much better. Watching Ted Lasso really affected me. Particularly when feel myself spiralling or on the verge of doing so. Similarly Sam Ryder in Eurovision felt massively empowering. His interview on This Morning, when he just pointed out how obsessing about winning and what other people think about you is so unhealthy. Still have a couple of fairly major monkeys on my back but think will be able to deal with those before too long.

Marie went missing for a bit. Turned out she was under the deck. Everyone really pulled together. V moving. Annoyed at myself for getting tetchy. In mitigation, was after a full day at work while actively hungry and searching for a borderline silent cat, and was more a case of annoyance at myself which was misinterpreted (very much the "Football's Coming Home"/"Born in the USA" of our times), but even so. More than anything was just shocked at how shabby had let the garden/exterior become. Shabbiness which was attributable to overworking, avoiding dealing with non-burnable trash, the quantities of wood leftover from projects and hard plastic trash, as well as getting stuff for new projects before having completed current ones.

Since then have really cracked on with finishing off projects (as the spectacularly half-hearted BE social media/online presence will attest) - in particular getting the deck planter re-purposed as a herb garden with the Chirihama driftwood megalith incorporated, breaking the inertia in Y's room, and with the bike shed looking really promising (if ambitious and deceptively cramped) - half an hour plus outside each day is really doing me good. Cue the rainy season...

Mundanely enough have been doing the Guardian Quick Crossword every day now. Seems to be doing me good. That and going bed by 10 or 11 depending on the day's schedule. Keep waking up 15 minutes prior to when had set the (first) alarm to. Exhilarating is my middle name.

M seems really happy at her new school. Seems to suit her, and she has a nice group of friends. Y also. Really hope she can build on the last concours to produce her best on the big stage. Don't think winning is the be-all and end-all, but just don't want her regretting getting caught up in her thoughts.

Looks like a Devon Christmas is a possibility. Feel v happy for the girls and my parents. Thinking of doing remote lessons from the UK for the final week before the holidays. May have to rejig the times for the Sat/Sun classes, but hopefully everyone will understand if given enough notice.

Work is going fine, considering that there has been a three-year pandemic which has taken it upon itself to flare up exactly when people traditionally try out new things for their kids. Think the Barnie's Jr. idea could be the missing link. Made videos for the April content but they didn't quite ring true. Wasn't clear who or what they were for. Too rushed. Don't want to be doing that on a weekly basis. Do need to get a move on with it though or the backlog will become overwhelming.

Traumatic but instructive trial lesson on Feb 27th. Four main issues. Firstly, there were too many kids (entirely predictable convergence of make-ups) and was doing the lesson solo, which meant was constantly marking or explaining things and had no time to talk to what seemed a delightful family whose children would have become a tremendous asset. Secondly, the eikaiwa was rushed because it started late (queues), because I hadn't thought through the warm-up fully and needed to finish on time because of pick-ups. Thirdly, it felt unsafe because ventilation was minimal (it was stormy outside) and the number present meant the seating arrangements for the eikaiwa were very much battery farm chic. Fourth, felt stressed prior to the lesson because of minimal sign-ups for the March campaign (due to some extent to the epidemic control measures), meaning that while it made sense to delay the trial lesson to a day when there would be less students, instead I rushed it because it was the last weekend when (were they to join) the students (and I) would get maximum benefit from the campaign, I then proceed to faff around with confirmation phone calls, leaving it to the last minute even those this meant calling on the evening when was due to change my phone...

The solutions have come up with are as follow: (1) M is now regularly helping on Sundays, which really takes the edge of things even if feels a bit superfluous on tumbleweed days. Also, converting the non-Leptonites to Lepton, which simplifies things a lot. The introduction of Barnie's Jr. will also help. (2) is the part that hasn't been properly resolved. Alarms on the tablets help us start on time. However, the much-vaunted revamp of the eikaiwa keeps being delayed, possibly because am distracted by how good the handouts look. Planning more effectively, and building up a repertoire of hybrid remote/room warm-ups, are the keys. For (3), we have just passed the Goldilocks phase of not too hot and not too cold and not too many bugs, which means will have to bite the bullet and bring in a circulator (or two) and a (yet to be purchased) air purifier. Is less than the cost than the storage that am trepidatious about. With (4), avoiding phone calls is very much the habit of a lifetime in my case, but have made a rule to do that kind of call two days prior to the event, and never use mail unless specifically requested.

Will draw this to a close. Don't like using the smartphone at night, so am not sure how regularly will be able to post, but will do my best for the next little while.





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