* got my 'flu jab (ow! still sore)
* went up to London to
* had Sunday lunch at the Isis Farmhouse with lots of nice people
* made a Christmas pudding
* phoned my parents and my grandma
* fixed two pairs of shoes (with sugru) and a hole in a door (with duct tape)
* went to a School Governors' meeting
* saw Jesus Christ Superstar at the Oxford Playhouse (thanks to addedentry for adding it to Theatricalia so efficiently!)
In between all that stuff I did also manage to get more sleep than usual (apart from this morning when I woke up around 5:30am and didn't manage to get back to sleep until just before the alarm went off for addedentry to get up and go to work), and read a bit (I am still wading through Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow -- yes, I am probably the last person in the Guardian-reading universe who hasn't already read it -- but I only have it in giant trade paperback format, and it's only just started getting good enough that I don't resent carrying the huge heavy book around), and post my blog-post-a-day (sometimes even managing to post it before last thing at night), and eat sensibly (including making a really quite nice kedgeree in the slow cooker on Sunday -- I wish I had the time and forward-planning tuits to do more slow-cooker stuff). So I think overall that's probably a success for 'Operation: Chill'.
Every time I take a couple of days off like this I'm reminded how much easier it would be to keep all the 'life admin' tasks under control if I didn't have to go to work, and how I wouldn't actually get bored because I still do plenty of other stuff (and would be able to commit to doing more). This is either a very good time or a very bad time to be thinking "what would I do if I didn't go to work?" -- on the one hand I am intending to go back to work after maternity leave (and will have to go back for at least 3 months otherwise I'd have to pay back all the maternity pay!), but on the other hand, am I just doing that because I feel I have to? Financially I'd have to do some kind of work, but there's nothing that says I have to spend the next 30 years doing what I'm doing now. I'm not going to go into detail about this now because it's late and I'm tired (and anyway I think it would be foolish to try to make too firm a decision before seeing what it's really like for me spending at least 9 months off work), but it has made me think about the extent to which I'm defining myself by my work (or by the fact that I go to work), and whether I'm doing what I want to do or what I think I ought to do, and it's probably good to be forced to think those things a bit more clearly. Otherwise, you know, I might wake up in 30 years' time and think "is that what I wanted to do with my life?" and by then it'll be a bit too late to change anything.
The subject line of this post, by the way, refers to a game I used to play with my best friend Kerry when we were about 4 or 5. I had a toy farm with lots of different animals (including some things that were from a 'zoo' set, so the 'farm' had elephants and a panda and a walrus and all sorts of other miscellaneous animals), and in our game, the animals would all ESCAPE! Oh noes! So we'd round them up and make them go back into the farm, and then we'd shout "STAY THERE FOR DAYS!" at them to make sure they stayed put. But then they'd ESCAPE again! ... and thus the whole sorry cycle would repeat itself. For hours on end. Would it be cynical of me to try to relate this to the experience of work in some way? Probably.