Yes, this week has been untypically cold for a London winter, with temperatures regularly below freezing (even during the day), necessitating me breaking out the jacket and boots I refer to as either “DefCon 1” or “Moscow measures” when we need to leave the house and go for a walk. And yes, even in this cold, we still need to get out and go for a walk. Sometimes its a social thing – we meet up with a friend who lives down the road and walk socially distanced together. Sometimes it’s because we need groceries. Sometimes it’s because we realise we haven’t left the house in three days and we’re starting to get a bit demented as a result.
But the temperatures have been consistently cold enough that our pond froze over every night this week, requiring us to go out every morning and make a hole in the ice to keep the water open because we have newts in the pond, and for the sake of the wildlife we have to keep the water open to the air. The pond ice was thick like a sheet of glass. Our water butts were also frozen solid, with drips of water from the tap frozen solid like we were in Siberia.
So in the midst of all this cold, what else is there to do but escape into another world of hot weather and landscapes? So this week I watched the film, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert with friends. This followed on from an online ‘watch party’ for Muriel’s Wedding on Australia Day, and it seems we (me and my fellow Australian friends) now have an agenda to watch an Australian film and have online chatalong every week. Next week we plan to watch perhaps the most quotable Australian film ever: The Castle. I’m not sure what comes after that but the Guardian has provided a handy list of classic Australian films, some of which none of us have seen, such as the original Mad Max. (Although maybe that was just me…)
Book clubs are like buses – you miss one and then you wait an age for the next one and then two come along at once. This week I went to the first meeting of a new local book club run through the local yoga studio. Online is a bit a a strange way to run a book club (Husband insisted I should have wine regardless of online or not) but it sort of worked. What didn’t really work for me was the book, Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library. I quite liked the premise (in the time between life and death, you visit the library of books of your life that you never lived) but in actuality I felt like I was reading an expanded script for It’s a Wonderful Life. I’m not super keen on next month’s book either (The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead) but I still might read it. And then there’s the new book club formed at work which I’ve signed up to as well. First meeting next week where I guess they vote on what book to read. I don’t really need a book club, because I have a big stack of books to read already – books that I chose – so I don’t need to be adding more books that weren’t on my list to be read ahead of those other books. I will just have to make sure I get in on the voting and try and get books from my to-be-read shelf onto the book club lists.
I’ve learnt a new word this week – Anthropocene. I’d seen it being used from time to time but this week I seemed to see all over the place and I thought I’d better look it up because it looked like it was important to know what everyone was talking about. Anthropocene is a term for the current geological epoch, in particular in relation to humanity’s impact on the global environment and climate. National Geographic can describe it much better than I can. So it makes sense that in various discussions about climate change that I saw or read about this week, this word was being used. It’s funny isn’t it, that when you’re a kid and you find a new word you look it up (in a dictionary if you’re my age but probably on a google search these days). And then you reach an age where you think you know all the words. But yet there are still more words out there and you come across them sometimes. (If you play Words With Friends online you will find lots of words coming up there that you don’t know.)
I woke up in the middle of the night this week with an idea for the opening of a story running through my head. I lay in bed going over this storyline in detail until I realised (a) I needed to get this written down while it was all still fresh in my mind and (b) I was not going to get back to sleep until I got up to make notes and get the idea out of my head. So I have two pages of scribbled down notes written at 3am in the freezing cold as fast as I could so I could get back to my warm bed that I have started to turn back into proper text, but I’m wondering where to put it. Is it part of a new story or can I weave it into something existing that’s only half formed?
This week I pass the landmark of six weeks of healthy eating since the start of the year. The good news is I’ve lost 2.2kg in those six weeks, but to get to my target at the end of 12 weeks I need to lose another 2.8kg. I’ve been using this midpoint to reflect on what I’ve learned so far.
- Planning is everything. Plan meals, plan grocery lists, even plan your snacks. Nothing happens by serendipity so if I want to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day, I need to plan to make that happen.
- I’m getting better at identifying opportunities to say “Can we add…” to increase the vegetable content of a meal. “Can we add peppers / tinned beans / frozen corn / frozen spinach to this?” I’ve even successfully trained Husband to start suggesting ways to increase vegetable content!
- I’m also getting better at saying, “I’m full,” and stopping eating and saving the rest of my food for lunch the next day.
- Five a day is not that difficult if you can start by getting one fruit portion in with breakfast. A banana or tinned fruit or frozen berries (defrosted!) with cereal. Plan for at least one portion at lunchtime – vegetable soup, salad on a sandwich, tuna-bean salad, carrot and corn fritters – and two at dinner time. Even if you’re a meat-and-two-veg person, make sure those two veg aren’t both potato but something green or red or orange or yellow or purple. Get your other fruit portion in as a snack: an apple or banana, or some frozen berries (I love the convenience of these) defrosted and stirred into yoghurt, or a couple of dried figs (my current obsession). And – boom! – five a day, done. Feel proud, pat yourself on the back.
Wins/losses: I’ve been under my daily calorie target more times than I’ve been over, but despite this, I’m over my saturated fat target more than I’m under. The lowest calorie days aren’t always the healthiest days (e.g. somehow I’m low in calories but over on fat and not getting enough fibre or protein). There are lots of things to balance and the only thing that seems to be constant is that days when I eat more fruit and vegetables are days when my calorie intake is lower.
I am just about keeping up with my challenge to do yoga every day. But it’s led me to question why I wanted to do this? And I realise this is a “should” task. I should like yoga. I should want to do yoga every day. I should find peace and calm and a zen-like state from doing yoga. But do I actually enjoy it? Or does it feel like 30 days or punishment? I have to say, at present, it feels like a punishment, just another thing to tick off, another stupid goal I’ve set myself to fill my day, another challenge that’s supposed to make me a better person. Would I enjoy yoga more if instead of grumblingly finding 30 minutes to do the “prepare for sleep” yin routine late in the day because I realise I didn’t do any other yoga earlier in the day (I have to say the bedtime yin routine is very nice), I set myself two hours a week to do a long proper routine at a convenient time? I keep thinking of the scene from Eat Pray Love (the book) where Liz talks about some practice in the ashram that she hates and when someone tells her she needs to offer it up for someone else, her opinion changes. I’m kind of hoping I can reach that point with my yoga practice, that instead of resenting it, I can change how I think about it and make peace with it.
My interest in exercise and diet has earned me a lot of new followers – but unhappily not real followers, no, these are not real human beings. These are blogs that want to sell me stuff. Blogs with names like loseweightnowaskmehow, amazingyogabody, no1fitnessblog, and superketodiet. Blogs that I have no interest in following. It’s so disappointing “New follower” Yay! “No1weightloss is now following you.” Boo!
Husband and I had a discussion this week about the Dukes of Hazzard. The 70s TV show that is, not the movie. For years, whenever the Dukes of Hazzard is mentioned, Husband has been talking about the Sheriff from the show, Roscoe Pekoe Train. At least, that’s what I’ve been hearing, Roscoe Pekoe Train. So when we watched an episode this week (I forget why – maybe because I am pretty sure we never watched this show in my house growing up), I found out the Sheriff’s name is actually Rosco P. Coltrane. He has nothing to do with Pekoe tea. Or trains.
Anyway, here’s a scene of a car jumping across a river. According to Husband, they smashed up so many cars in the making of this show that sometimes they didn’t even bother to use the same model or make or even to paint it up in the correct colours.