Friday Filibuster: From little things big things grow. Some Australian protest songs.

From Little Things Big Things Grow is a song by my favourite muso and serial adulterer, Paul Kelly and his mate Kev Carmody. It’s about how one man’s actions can galvanise a nation into shame for its appalling treatment of indigenous Australians, and begin a “reconciliation” (given that we never had a conciliation in the first instance I’m not sure how we can be reconciling, but whatevs), a recognition of wrongdoing, where a People’s country can be returned to them in a gentle, yet powerful ceremony that is both as profound and as prosaic as pouring earth into a person’s waiting hands.

 

Given the current parlous state of Australia’s ethical and moral stance against refugees and asylum seekers I’m hoping that some small Australians, those ordinary people who work in hospitals and banks and schools and police stations and offices, will rise up and say to our two major parties (Liberal National Party and The Labor Party) that enough is enough. Stop treating these people as criminals. Be humane. Be mindful of international law. Follow that law. Actually, they are doing this, but the right wing goons, who are a small but self-important bunch, are holding the parties hostage. Here’s a song by our beautiful Missy Higgins called Oh Canada that evocatively illustrates the plight of refugees and asylum seekers everywhere.

 

 

Another great artist, Tim Minchin (composer of Matilda the Musical), has written an angry song about our Cardinal George Pell, who seems to have become strangely too ill to travel to Australia to answer a Royal Commission into the Catholic Church’s years of wanton cover up over a string of appalling paedophilic priests who ran rampant around Australia. Heads have rolled over this one but more will roll as more is uncovered.

 

Anyway. This post wasn’t going to be about protest songs. It was going to be about weight loss. Hah. Got you! So it’s just that I’ve started going to the gym every day, swimming. I swim for 30 minutes, or 14 laps of a 50 metre pool (yes, I know that’s super slow. I don’t care). I swim breaststroke, and today it took me a little while but I finally got into a beautiful Zen state, where time disappeared for a while. As I say to DH, it’s my daily meditation, swimming.

I’m back to calorie counting, but not too much – I’m not cutting out carbs and I’m being more circumspect about how I count those calories – in other words I’m not sweating the small stuff like I used to. I’ve also cut out snacking and most sweet foods. It seems to have worked: I’m already down 500 grams in 5 days. A nice start. Tomorrow I’m going to a proper gym class at 8am (yuck), followed by a swim to cool off.

So, from little things big things grow. A daily gym routine to get me out of the house, more thought about WHAT I eat, and the results show that little things can have a big impact. Go little me.

muffintop

 

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Weekend Coffee Share

If we were drinking coffee I’d be offering you a delicious ice coffee instead, with ice and milk and sugar. Because it’s frigging HOT here. Or better yet, how about a refreshing mint julep? Darn it, we’re out of soda.

In my pathetic middle-class desire to leave a smaller carbon footprint on the earth we’ve taken to using refillable soda bottles. Called Soda Stream, it has been available in Australia for what feels like forever. You have this contraption that looks like this:

sodastream

(copyright SodaStream)

a bunch of spare plastic bottles and a large soda gas canister that fits in the back.

In fact, this is the exact version we have. It’s fun and cheap to use and when the gas canister is empty you can swap-and-go replacement cylinders at your local supermarket. That’s the plan, anyway. I’ll let you know how we get on…*

*much much later…

Huzzah, we found and bought replacement bottles! Fizzy water, welcome back. Is this cheaper than buying 1.25 litres of mineral water for .70c at Aldi? Not sure. What I do know is, we drink one heck of a lot when we have it. We’re probably spending about .50c per bottle, even though it suggests one gas canister will supply up to 60 litres, therefore costing us an imaginary .30c per litre.

IN OTHER NEWS.

I WENT TO THE GYM TODAY AND SWAM A LITTLE. Yes, I really really did. I feel virtuous in all sorts of ways. I’m gearing up to get back into the swing of consistent exercise and slightly less food. When I weighed myself¬† – at the gym, because I don’t own a set of human scales – I was pleasingly NO heavier than I have been at any time in the last 6 months. I’m just…squidgier. And as we all know, muscle is heavier than fat, so I can actually be heavier than I am now but a lot trimmer looking. And I’m sick of my face looking fat.

The plan is to lose about 2 kilos and assess the difficulty in reaching THAT milestone, then work at losing another 5. I need to get to the gym at least 5 times a week, and curtail my lolly and carbohydrate and alcohol intake. It’s not like I don’t have the time.

In family news, my stepson turned 18 last week. All of a sudden he’s an adult, although we all laughed hysterically when he said he wanted his mummy to drive him to uni for the first day (he doesn’t have a job, a car, or money yet). We celebrated his brithday at a brilliant Pan-Asian restaurant called PawPaw, in Woolloongabba, Brisbane. Food was AMAZING. He drank alcohol in front of us, but he’s no drinker – he’s not interested in getting wasted, even as he jokes about being 18 and drinking. We bought him a wrist watch – a proper one that looks like it came from a Mad Men set. Gorgeous. We’re also buying him a Barista course and an RSA (responsible serving of alcohol) course, so that he can actually work. He’s even talking about moving out of home at the end of the year. Bahahahahahaha. Anyway. It’s good to see him stretching his wings a bit.

In other news, my oldest child is throwing an engagement party for he and his girl, sometime in April. We’re travelling south to share in the day, but every day there’s more bills to pay and more frustrations to be had. We just can’t stretch our funds far enough. Dammit, I need a job.

I think that’s it for the coffee share. Although this should REALLY come under the banner of Monday murmurings.

I hope your weekend was a joy. Ours was lovely.

 

newcoffee

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster.

 

 

Sheeeeit. Cain’t git in mah pants no more.

I was doing SO well.

That’s what happens when your long holiday lazy summer turns into permanent lay-a-bed-loucher-lady year.

Truth: haven’t been to the gym since September. Another truth: I’ve been laying about, watching A LOT of Netflix/ Stan. I’ve become very sedentary. More truth: I’ve been enjoying a few too many sticky buns, carbohydrates, sweet things and alcomohol. Still more truth: I actually don’t mind the way I feel physically – I’m not too tired, I’ve got enough energy (I think), and I can still walk the dog. I’m healthy. But dang it. My pants don’t fit anymore. And I’m NOT BUYING ANY MORE CLOTHES.

This is why I must get me back to the gym. Because it’s too expensive if I don’t go. Also, I discovered a double chin and my bras are getting tight. My boobs are my bellwether because they are the first thing to go when I lose weight and the very last thing to grow back when I’ve put weight on everywhere else. They are telling me it’s time. This is me below:

bellwether-sheep

Beached on the side of a mountain. Bellwether Boobs. That’s me.

I just want the weather to cool down: it’s so STEAMY here right now. I’m so sick of sweating even when I’m not moving. Truth be told I hate sweating even when I AM moving. Ugh.

I’m doing it. Come Saturday morning, I’m off to the gym. Just watch me. I can do this. (might need iron supplements and magnesium…and a big kick up the whatoosie.)

*Saturday edit: I never made it to the gym. Sad face.

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee I’d be inviting you to ignore the laptop and accoutrements I’ve set up on the kitchen table because it’s cooler in here than anywhere else in the house.

 

The air-conditioner is in this room too. When the day is hot and before the cooling breezes come through at about 4pm, the house is like an oven. So the dining room table is by far the best place to work. But it does mean my stuff is out, making a mess. It’s annoying for everyone!

If we were having coffee you’d notice I’m no longer grieving, depressed or angry. Last year was HARD. This year is a little better. I’ve pulled out my gym gear and am getting ready to hit the ground running. But not today. I WAS tempted by gym this morning because they have a fabulous outdoor pool that helps me get back into the swing of exercise, but the pool is closed for a swimming carnival, and I’m not tempted to go to the gym with a thousand screaming kidlets. Perhaps at 3pm when the kidlets go home.

Those who don’t know my previous posts won’t know of the crazy self-immolating time I had in 2012-2013 when I totally rocked an Australia size 8 (size 4 in US). I was a gym-and-diet junkie. I wasn’t uber-thin, but I was very, very strong, and my cuddle-layer was missing. I was super-healthy, super-fit, felt super-hot, could wear ANYTHING. It’s amazing when you are slim how clothes just work. I had a trainer, I worked out consistently and dieted my socks off. I looked great, felt about 25 again, looked 25 again for about a minute, and really enjoyed my svelte thighs and slim arms. I’m one of those people who put weight on their arms, so I get arm-chub, which is as close as I’m going to admit I have a body image problem.

This was not sustainable because I went off carbs and had to calorie count like a demon, but it showed me that I am capable of getting strong and fit and slim, through hard work and sustained healthy eating habits. I’m not the world’s worst eater by any stretch. I make my own muesli, I eat avocado and eggs on sourdough toast, and I don’t go overboard on takeaway food (last week notwithstanding, when for dinner I had Afghan takeaway Tuesday, Japanese Wednesday, Vietnamese Thursday, and several chicken wraps for lunch. This is an aberration while DH and I get used to my evening teaching again).

But it’s easy to be lazy and grab a pie from the freezer, because 25 minutes heating it is easier than spending 5 minutes preparing a fresh tuna salad. Go figure. And I love my red wine, so cutting down on my nightly alcoholic bevvie is almost impossible.

If we were having coffee, I’d be telling you that, once again, 2016 is the year of getting fit. I have the time, so no more excuses. My lovely community gym has a raft of excellent day classes starting at 9.30am, including HIIT, boxing fitness, TABATA, and if I go for a swim after it’s likely to give me that endorphin boost I love. My body loves being active but I have to work out quite hard to get results, and my muscles just ACHE. I hate this, even as I know exercise is good for me. But you know the REAL reason I’m having to get fit? I don’t fit into half my lovely lovely clothes anymore. I hate it when my waistband is too tight! And the other day my model-thin daughter (who can’t seem to put weight on no matter how hard she tries, where did THAT come from?) told me I looked OLD because I was wearing what I fancied was resort chic. I thought I looked like this:

resort wear1

When what I apparently looked like was this:

old lady fashion

(This woman actually rocks her outfit, but I’m not quite there age-wise).

If we were having coffee you’d notice my new pair of glasses. They’re bifocals. They’re giving me a headache. They’re Ralph Lauren Polo glasses, navy on the outside, striped navy/white on the inside. I like them because I can SEE but I hate when I get headaches from glasses. Always happens with multi-focals.

So, how to fill my days. That’s the challenge this year.

What’s YOUR exercise regime? And do you rock the resort look, or do you, like me, just look frumpy?

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Weekend Coffee Share is brought to you by Diana at Part-Time Monster. Add your voice to the conversation!

Friday filibuster

Hiya. It’s been a couple of weeks. I’m a hopeless blogger in that I lose track of days and then it’s a week between blogs and before you know it, October’s here already.

I don’t mean to do this, but I get busy sometimes. Even when I’m not “work busy”, other things such as birthday shopping get me otherwise occupied.

So, hello. I’m back. Last week was a fairly shitty week, when I had to accept I was not offered the job – they DID get back to me eventually, and it confirmed my supposition. But the letter was lovely and apparently I WAS impressive and had excellent skills – I just didn’t match the skills they needed for the job right now. There may or may not have been retail therapy.

Back to the drawing board. I’m doing some editing work, and applying for a DECRA, and eventually I will actually start my monograph. It’s a slog, so I’m ignoring it for now.

It’s a news blog day today!

In renovation news, all the electrical work is now done and I’m just waiting for the final bill. I still have to paint some of the sections and gap fill etc, but it’s not far off completion in the bathroom at least! (excluding the oil paint on the windows, for which I actually have to wait until it’s cooler). IMG_2974IMG_2981IMG_2969

The room looks quite chic but the tiles, lights, mirror and fittings were typical Australian prices and we didn’t go for the most expensive selections at all. Perhaps the most expensive element was the vanity unit, but I don’t have a break-down of the actual cost as it was built into the total price. The really fun part, after selecting all the bathroom fittings, was finishing off the decorations. It’s lovely to get some plants in the house: I’m a truly terrible plant keeper so these are surviving despite my best attempts to neglect them. Choosing vanity-ware, towels, bins and toilet brushes was ridiculously fun, too, and I’m so happy with the end result.

The other day I actually washed the floors throughout the whole house, so we’re nearly at normal again.

housewife

Personally I think housekeeping is a Sisyphean task for which I am singularly unqualified, so I prefer not to do it much. We are tidy people and I do clean up after myself on a daily basis, but I don’t count that as housekeeping: that’s more about managing personal cleanliness. (Put it back where you found it, or find a better spot for it!)

When DH and I were both working long hours I hired a fortnightly cleaner. The cleaner was rather passive aggressive, complained a lot and would try to destroy my vacuum cleaner through little vicious acts of sabotage. She went.

Anyway. Cleaning out other areas of my life: I’m over the pity party, so I’ve switched my brain back on and I’m determined to maintain a gritted teeth joie-de-vivre. Which is rather contradictory but what the hey. I’m almost at the “I really really need to tackle the tax” thought, and the creative and academic writing will continue now. I’ve had to accept that I won’t see any money for my efforts, but we can mostly cope. I AM gigging and teaching a bit, which is good, and I’ll keep trawling job sites for more work.

And soon I’ll have a go at painting the bedroom and lounge room, because they need doing. I just have to buy some more ceiling paint, grit my teeth, and do it.

Plenty of teeth gritting this year!

In other news I’ve decided to keep live chickens for eggs. Huzzah!

aston_chicken_coop_with_chickens

I’ve seen the hens and coop ($370) that will be perfect in our large backyard, and we don’t require a permit. It’s a stupidly expensive thing to do, given that we can buy a dozen free-range eggs for $6, and we rarely go through more than a dozen a week ($312 per year on average), but I want to control some of what I’m eating, from a purely ethical stance. In Australia while we have basic guidelines in place around free-range chooks they are not enshrined into law. The basic guideline states there should be 1500 chooks per hectare (1000m2), which gives them about the size of a queen sized bed each to scrabble around in. This is ok, but the powers that be (big food companies – is there a word that mimics “big pharma” for food?) want to make it 20,000 chooks per hectare. This is unacceptable.

Also, I want to know what my chooks are eating. We’ll feed them a combination of chook pellets (fish byproducts I’m told but there are vegetarian options), corn and wheat grain, and leafy green things. It’s not the cheapest option in the world – backyard farming – but it’s a fun thing to do and it’s not like I don’t have the time to keep my animals.

Our backyard is quite open. We will put the chookhouse in a shady area, but we also have to worry about foxes and snakes. Nevertheless, I’ve never seen a snake in our neighborhood, and Poppy the dog will kick up a ruckus if there’s a fox around. The possums don’t seem to have any natural predators here so they are fairly free with their wanderings, which makes me think the wildlife here is contained to birds and big-ass insects. I’m channelling my inner farmer here. My ancestors were farmers and I have kept chooks before. I love the gentle noises they make and the feel-good self-sufficiency of the backyard farm.

Of course, if I was a truly ethical eater I’d probably be a vegetarian. But it’s the little things that count. We try to buy bacon and pork products from a local butcher who sources ethical producers (those who don’t keep the piggies in little nasty pens, but give them room to move and live a short but hopefully happy life before they go to the slaughterhouse). And for years we’ve been eating free-range chickens, pole-and-line-caught tuna, farmed fish (we have a great farming industry in Australia that uses lots of efficient, earth-friendly practices), so on.

So I’m looking forward to naming my not-yet-purchased chooks, perhaps after Gilbert and Sullivan characters: Buttercup, Katisha, Yum-Yum? Ideas for names welcomed!

And now: I’m baking home-made muesli and spaghetti bolognese and delicious brownies. Hola!

Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee you’d notice the beautiful new coffee machine in the kitchen. It’s cranberry red. Nuff said about coffee, except to mention I drink quite a lot of it. Black and strong and espresso, thanks.

If we were having coffee you’d notice it’s not at the kitchen table because I’m trying to do my tax. There are receipts all over the table. 2 years worth for both my company and my personal tax. I hate receipts. I finally found a new system: chuck all the receipts into a chic black tin box originally containing Aesop grooming products and close the lid. Do not open the lid for a LONG time. Hence the kitchen table has now become a hideous receipt-encrusted eyesore.

If we were having coffee you’d notice a few appointments in my diary this week: I have an interview coaching session on Monday with my DH’s work coach. I’m terrible in interviews and vivas, because I can’t think fast enough and I ramble. Conciseness and precision are not my allies. Hence why I am doing so many 100 flash fiction challenges: I need to edit better. The spoken word: I wish I was Aaron Sorkin and had his brain. But I am not. On Thursday I have a singing gig, yay, and on Thursday night I head south to Sydney for a job interview.

This interview is important because the job is a good one.

I really really want this job.

However, if we were having coffee you’d notice my hesitation about leaving my DH to go work in another state. It’s HARD WORK. I have no fear our relationship would fall apart but it would get one hell of a beating. I’d have to work hard to manage my work commitments alongside family commitments, and to balance weekends and travel plans. UGH. And I have NO extended family in Sydney. They’re all in Melbourne. I’d be all alone (all by myself).

 

 

If we were having coffee you’d notice I’ve put on a kilo or two – that’s too many sticky buns and lounging around work for me. Summer here is hot. I’ve been painting. Then there was Xmas. They’re my excuses. The reality I was depressed and I’ve been watching a hell of a lot of TV/ Netflix/Stan. Now I’m fat again. Time to get to the gym which I’ve not attended since September (hence the fatness).

*Note to self: New Year’s Resolutions, dammit.

If we were having coffee you’d notice I’ve started cooking again, and I planted a herb garden last week. It’s going well, thanks for asking. The brand new bathroom is now fully useable (if still missing an extractor fan), and I am using fluffy white towels. Brand new. It’s a luxury. Finally, I want to draw your attention to my bedside table – it has 3 books on it. I’m part way through all of them.

Life is pretty good this week. It might be because of the good coffee. How was your week?

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Diana at Part-time Monster.

weekendcoffeeshare

In which I explain how I am on my way from A to B (A=misery, B=happiness)

Well, I will walk 500 miles and I will walk 500 more. Sorry. Ear worm. But it’s kind of true.

I am determined not to feel shitful this week. Because crap weekend and all. Exercise makes me feel better. So today is my over-sharing post about exercise, food and that little demon called indulgence.

Now that I have all this free time I’m getting to the gym 3 times per week. I feel fantastic afterwards and not sore anymore. I hate going but my personal trainer (not too expensive, it’s only 30 mins a week) also takes hour-long group HIIT classes, and I like the way she trains. So I’m weighing myself once a week on a Saturday morning (ugh, hideous), and I am slowly beginning to lose the weight again. I’m dropping between 500gms (1 lb) and 900gms (2 lbs) per week which is normal for me. It’s slow, it’s boring, but I’m starting to feel strong again and wanting to push myself a bit more.

As the weather heats up I will add a couple of swim sessions to my week – they seem to help me drop weight quite fast and I never feel sweaty afterwards although I do feel deliciously tired, and the pool is essentially empty between 8.30 – 9.30am. And if I can make it to even one yoga session I will gain flexibility. So I am hoping my week will start to look like this:

Monday: cardio and weights, then swim.

Tuesday: Personal training session, then cardio

Wednesday: cardio and weights, then swim

Thursday: HIIT session

Friday: swim then Yoga?

Saturday: HIIT session

Sunday: are you kidding me?

At the moment cut out Monday and Wednesday and you have a clearer picture of my ACTUAL week. I know I’m wanting to exercise more because on Monday morning my body is telling me to get moving. I have to exercise in the morning because I hate the evening heat. Better get me moving early before I overthink it.

However, despite all my good exercise intentions, my diet is a little horrible. I’ve been trying to reduce my food intake from about 2000 cal to 1500 cal – which is a perfectly reasonable amount of food for someone who is weight training and also trying to reduce a dress size or two. This is not so easy. I’m getting very hangry (angry hungry) while my body adjusts to the new portion sizes and I’m not always able to contain my eaty moments. So last night, for example, I ate a cup of home-made macaroni cheese as well as 2 lamb chops and a salad. Plus 2 glasses of white wine (I know, what was I thinking?) and some licorice bullets. Now, one of the above has to go. I’m thinking I need to reduce my wine intake again. And maybe my licorice bullets. And perhaps the lovely delicious carbs. According to my diet diary I was 222 cals over for the day.

Most days I manage to keep it at 1500-1700 cals, but I might be cheating a bit on portion sizes. ANYWAY. Last week was woeful. I’m struggling to be as disciplined as I was the first time I lost all the weight. I think it’s because my last diet was very restrictive in terms of carbs and sugars. I can do it, but actually my diet needs to be sustainable in the long term. As I’ve mentioned before, I nearly always eat freshly prepared unprocessed food. My worst diet enemy is my DH, who has a sweet tooth and who can eat crap all day long. I need to be able to have dessert from time to time, or eat pasta, or have a glass (or 2) of red wine. But it’s SO hard to LOSE weight without restrictions. Easy enough to MAINTAIN as long as the exercise stays consistent.

So here is my plan to get from A to B, in the form of diet and exercise.

  • Let’s start with Sober September. Well, not quite because why? but I’m saying it here: I’m cutting down to 1 glass of wine a night! MAYBE I’ll even have a night off drinking altogether. I know! Amazing!
  • I’m reducing my carb intake to 1 meal a day. So if I have my delicious sourdough soy-lin bread in the am, no high GI carbs for the rest of the day. Including (sniffle) pasta.
  • I’m reducing my pasta and rice intake again (but I LOVE my pasta)!
  • I’m cutting out evil ice-cream dessert. Including chocolate bullets. Even when DH just brings them out and flings the packet all over the couch along with the Rocky Road and the chocolate bars. (EVERY FREAKING NIGHT).
  • What shall I add instead? Well, I’ll go back on the nuts and seeds for snack food, and there’s always oranges and apples and bananas and strawberries to enjoy if I need a sweet something.
  • I’m gonna do the exercise plan above and not shirk on the Monday and Wednesday.

I’m on my way from A to B. I’m determined.

Determined to get fit!!!!

This post is for all the diet and health nuts out there. I am a very lazy person. I’m sure I’m not the world’s laziest person – that would be hyperbolic and smack of hubris. So for me to get back on the diet and fitness wagon is an effort.

I’m also not a runner – in the hot, humid Brisbane heat I can’t actually run because I get very lightheaded and puffy and look like I’m going to pass out. Heat will do that to people with low blood-pressure. And I’m an ex-smoker. I don’t think my lungs have ever really recovered. I would love to run. It looks self-sufficient, but I hate getting hot, sweaty and panicky. And I really can’t be bothered with the treadmill – I only go on one to get my muscles warm.

So I must find other ways to exercise. I like to swim. I like to lift free weights. I really like yoga. So last week I got back on the wagon, back on the horse, back on the treadmill.

Mondays and Fridays I see a personal trainer (at the moment until I can’t afford it any more), and because on these days I don’t work all day, I can stay there for more punishment. Last Monday I stayed for a Tabata class. Nearly killed me. Tabata is a regime whereby you do a body weight exercise for 20 seconds, have a 10 second rest, then repeat. 7 more times. Then you have a minute’s break and start the next exercise. Exercises can include Burpees, push ups, crunches, hi knees, lunges, squats and other things. You do this for an hour. When I’m fit it’s not too bad. When I’m out of condition, oh boy. Oh, boy oh boy.

Word of warning, if you do 3 x 120kg leg presses followed by weighted squats and lunges with your PT plus other fun stuff, then try and do a Tabata class, make sure you eat breakfast and be prepared to NOT SLEEP for THREE NIGHTS because when you turn over your body is in such pain it WAKES YOU UP.

On the plus side, I got to my next class on Friday and while I was in no condition to push myself too hard, I stayed and did some more weights, treadmill, seated rowing and stairs. It felt good to work my poor aching quads and glutes. OMG.

Food-wise I’m not faring too badly although I’m still a little generous with the carbs and potatoes. As I keep the diet up I’ll reduce my bread, pasta, rice and potato consumption and up my leafy green vegies and quinoa. Anyone who knows me knows I rarely eat junk food – can’t actually eat Micky D’s because the food doesn’t actually taste like food. Same for KFC and other fast food outlets. And I cut out milk from my coffee (except when substituting it for breakfast) and tea long ago. I hardly ever drink soft drink or juice – I actually prefer the taste of sparkling mineral water. My great weakness is sweet things, and/or hot chips. Once I get rid of the desire to eat these things I’ll do a lot better. But NEVER ask me to forgo my Pinot Noir. Even hubby knows not to ask now.

I’m back on MyFitnessPal and my calorie intake is hovering around the 1700 mark – this needs to drop by 200 calories for me to lose weight easily. Problem is, the weight goes straight back on if I ease up on the exercise. I’m not an exercise junkie so I can’t maintain my habits very well. SIGH. But I’m determined to get fit and healthy again – need it to maintain my ageing body!

Writing, walking adventures and food for thought.

After yesterday’s writing jaunt, I am once again in front of the computer screen, and now the writing appears to be flowing somewhat. I lack scholarship as yet, in that I am have few references on paper. Having to look up yet more references is the bane of my existence. I recently had to do an annotated bibliography for a study in which I am the RA, and it was the best thing I have ever done. By far my best, quickest and easiest AB to date, and I realised that over the four years I have been struggling with my PhD studies, that I could have been doing a few more of these, particularly now that all the stuff in my head needs to be put on paper.

Yes, I know there are books on how to take notes, and how to reference. I didn’t read them. Bad Jessie.

Anyhoo, at least I have an inkling of how this Methods chapter is going. 10000 words to write, and I appear to have written 7000 of them. I’m only 6 weeks late for submission of this chapter to my supervisor. It’s definitely my own fault. Can’t blame anyone else here but me.

So, that’s the writing explained. The walking adventure was that yesterday, when I thought about going for a walk with hubby, we did. We walked the equivalent of about 10kms over about 3.5 hours. It was great. At least, I thought it was great. Hubby didn’t. Hubby threw a tantrum on top of a mountain. Ok, the problem is this. I love walking, getting out into the great outdoors. I quite like camping, and fishing, and washing up in streams, and camp fires and cooking tea in billycans etc. Apparently when I was 9 I wanted to join Girl Guides (cubs), so I did, and I stayed until I was 14. We went camping and learned how to put up tents and light fires and tie knots (well, that’s a lie – I never really learned how to tie knots). I now have a new, mustard coloured waterproof pair of boots with which to go walking, at the very least.

Hubby hates all of the above outdoor activities. I really don’t know why. Hubby thought that buying a cute pair of suede Converse high-top sneakers would suffice for walking about in the Yorkshire wilderness. Noooo. Not really. We’re in Yorkshire at a time when the snow is melting, it’s freezing cold, folks are tramping, and there is lots of muddy boggy stuff about. One needs waterproof shoes with good soles and probably one of those ugly windbreaker jackets instead of the very stylish woollen overcoat hubby bought in The Hague. So, as we’re trying to walk round the Semerwater lake but it’s too muddy in the direction of the lake, I’m seeing one of those teensy tiny “public footpath” signs to Bainbridge – 2 miles, and I’m thinking, hey, let’s go on an adventure. We’re dressed for it, we can go to the pub for a refreshing ale before walking home, and it will be fun.

Over hill and dale, through bog and marsh, over stile and turn, and tramping through stinky, muddy farmlets is not hubby’s idea of a fun time. Nope. Not at all. At one point I couldn’t see the next stile/ drywall fence and we were on the side of a steep hill, following sheep tracks because the “walking path” had got hidden under snow, and hubby was slipping and sliding about because his shoes just weren’t cutting the mustard and he finally exploded, yelling he “didn’t sign up for this!”. At which point I apologised a lot and walked a long way away from him, concerned that I couldn’t see the next walking marker and getting quietly panicky.

Finally saw the stile – we had walked downhill rather than up and had to retrace somewhat – and waited for him to make his way to me. At which point I then said, rather quietly, “this is exactly what I came for”. It was beautiful up there.

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This is where we nearly “got lost”, or “lost it”, whichever way you look at it: not a great place to lose sight of one’s self.

Apologies were meted out all round, and of course, not too far away was the ROAD. Which we followed to Bainbridge and the pub. Somewhat of a disappointment, the rather chilly pub didn’t even serve hot chips as a side dish, so after I drank a pint of Black Sheep Bitter (VERY good beer), we marched home again, all 3 miles. A great walk, and which I felt justified the very large serving of sausages and mash I afterwards prepared with a glass or two of not-very-good Tempranillo.

Which brings me to FOOD. Urgh. It’s hard when it’s cold not to eat lashings of potato, and bread, and lovely mild Wensleydale cheese and wine. So I’m eating them anyway. I feel guilty as sin, and I can almost SEE the kilos marching right back onto my butt, but we’re walking A LOT. In very COLD WEATHER. Surely that counts?! I’m well over my calorie count for the day, even with exercise, and my only excuse is that it’s hard to work out how to eat well when one is on holiday and the only things on offer at the local eating places are very carb-dense foods or soup.

Which reminds me, time to get cracking on some body-weight exercises, as if tramping about clambering over stiles and through bog isn’t enough. While I think I can forgo the lunges and squats, I am reminded that my upper body still needs a workout. Time for some pushups, planks, crunches and maybe even some yoga poses. I have to hide to do all these because I’m not sure what hubby thinks of all this exercising nonsense, but I can certainly report I wasn’t flagging at the end of 3.5 hours walking. Felt great.

And slept like one of the dead. Which reminds me, we were told to turn on the de-humidifier they’ve thoughtfully provided for the cottage to ensure that the windows don’t mist up. I did so, but we’ve been slowly dying through dehydration and I’ve had a terrible headache. Well. I turned the blasted machine off and placed bowls of water about to try and humidify the place. It’s finally working – I feel better, although still very dry. Crazy lack of moisture in the air, enough to make a singer gasp her last breath, drily. I hate under floor heating. Can’t get it cool enough.