The charities I’m supporting this holiday season

Villa Kitty Foundation in Ubud, Bali

One of the best things you can do this holiday season (or any time of the year, especially this year) is to help those in need.

There are thousands of worthy organisations worldwide that are helping those affected by Covid-19 or that are continuing their regular work because hunger, poverty, violence, and so on didn’t go away just because the pandemic came to the forefront of our attention.

Whatever non-profit or charity you choose to support, if your personal situation allows it, will be endlessly grateful for your donations, your time, or anything else you can give.

If you have a bit more to spare and are looking for other incredible organisations to support, here are some that I am giving to this year.

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand
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50,047 words richer

2020 has been, I don’t need to tell anyone, a weird year. There have been days when moving from the bed to the couch has seemed a herculean feat, days when the effort of pouring a bowl of soup from a can has been similar to the work put in to make a five-course gourmet meal. There have also been days when things have gone swimmingly—exercise, cleaning, work, play, all sorts of productivity in a single 24-hour period, with minimal doomscrolling in between. It was in anticipatory hope of a strong of days like that which made me decide to sign up for NaNoWriMo once more.

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What I read in November

November was a great month for reading. I’ve discovered a love for audiobooks—I used to listen to them all the time when I was younger, but stopped for years despite how much I enjoy podcasts, but I’ve found out once more how wonderful they are. I particularly love nonfiction podcasts, and especially memoirs read by the author. In addition, I read a number of truly excellent books this month. I think 2020 is probably one of my best reading years ever. Obviously the sheer number of books I’ve read accounts for that in part (I’m up to 101 as of writing!!) but I feel like there have just been so many absolutely fantastic books on this year’s reading list. I won’t do my end of year list until January because I’m usually reading right up until New Year’s Eve, but for now, here’s what I read in November:

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What I Read in October

Bad weather and a new lockdown meant October was another great reading month. There’s nothing better than curling up with a book when you have nothing else to do and the wind is howling outside. Here’s what was on my reading list this month:

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Here We NaNo Again

As if November 2020 didn’t have enough going on, you know, with the global pandemic and the election and all, I’ve decided to once again throw my hat into the ring and give NaNoWriMo a shot. I’ve successfully completed this “write a novel in a month” challenge twice before (well, “successfully completed” in that I’ve written 50,000 words between November 1 and 30th, not in that I’ve actually finished either story), and unsuccessfully attempted it twice.

I’m not sure why I think this year, when I’ve barely been able to write outside of sporadic blog posts on this site and for work, will be the one in which I manage to “win” again, but since we’re in Level 5 lockdown until at least December, what else do I have to do? Armed with an idea and the bones of an outline, I’m ready to take on the challenge once more. If you’re also hopping on the NaNoWriMo train, please feel free to add me as a buddy or find me on twitter for commiserations (although if you spot me on twitter too much, tell me to log off and write, please).

Until December, happy writing! x

Comfort food, in media form

The last few weeks have been hard. I mean, obviously the last seven months have been hard, but the last few weeks have hit another downswing.

Cases here in Ireland are going exponentially back up, the government has thus far decided another full lockdown isn’t necessary despite the strong recommendations of the Emergency Health committee (citing mental health and unemployment as a reason despite having spent the last decade being criticised for underfunding mental health services, and the last few months claiming that unemployment support payments are too high), and with the weather changing to autumn (which in Ireland is aka winter lite aka endless rain), it’s hard to find things to get excited about after work when I know it’s going to be shit weather and I won’t even be able to go out for a walk and some fresh air.

When I start feeling like this, it’s nice to have some cosy, happy things to turn to. The media equivalent of comfort food, these are the things that have been making me feel good when everything else feels bad.

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