Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Tag: Personal

How’d 2016 treat you, mate?

Well, well, well. For most of 2016, I really felt like I was lurching from one near catastrophe to another, that I was one small step away from disaster at any moment. But, when I looked back on the year from the safety of 2017, it  wasn’t all Drama! Crisis! Calamity! It was merely a string of mild hiccups interspersed with some actually awesome moments. Pretty standard year, really. I read 35 books, I finished my Harmony blankie, I cooked a heap of new recipes, and I made a conscious decision to lose weight (which I have already banged on about).

I also got well over my “fear” of driving our hot rod. To be honest, I was never actually scared of driving it, just when you have someone in the passenger seat sucking in their breath every time you do anything they disapprove of… Pinched the keys from Reg and drove it like I stole it. Epic. And now, don’t even think twice about stealing the keys from Reg and yeah, Driving is ace. Also, now I have my *own* car, I like driving that, too. Ok, cannot/will not back it out of the driveway, but hey. “Reg, get the XP out, I’m going for a KROOZE”. Hotrodders cannot spell for shit. I also like the term “fat-arming” which is exactly what it sounds… driving around with the windows down with your arm hanging out. Makes you look like you got muscles. Also, truckie tan and sunburn if you forget that your arm is normally inside the vehicle.

Reading has been a thing again – I’m reading a book about every ten days. This is ace. I am nowhere near my BC reading rates, but after spending more than a few years barely managing to read 15 or 20 books, you can sense my excitement. I’ve come across a couple of new writers (Charles Stross, Elly Griffiths, Denise Mina) that I really like. I’ve revisited some old favourites, most of whom haven’t disappointed. Most importantly, I AM READING AGAIN. I have even lolled on the couch and read in daylight. Although sometimes I have to decide between crochet and reading. Can’t do both at once. I decided I wasn’t that jazzed with colouring in. It’s nice enough but I get bored *really* quickly, and hey, at the end of the day, I can make something tangible and snuggly warm if I colour in with yarn. (Can’t blog and crochet at the same time either. I am going to work on time jugglement in 2017). I also decided that life’s too short and gave a project I was hating the arse. And started another that I love. That I sort of want to do now, but I want to blog and um, my book’s at a good bit. Two heads are better than one.

And cooking. I love cooking a lot. It’s like chemistry you can eat. Although I srsly need an actual dishpig at mine for cooking extravaganzas. Chaos does do the dishes, but because I have to clean the bench so we can eat dinner, I do my cooking dishes. Snot fair. Chaos is also expressing an interest in learning to cook. He’s requested I teach him how to make muffins. Of course, this means I will have to actually write down the proper recipe for him. I base mine on the Stephanie Alexander muffin recipe from Cook’s Companion, then it goes a bit free-range and if this then that and I double bits and not other bits. However, if he wants to learn, I shall write it down. Another thing I noticed if I cook with my son is that as long as I don’t look at him, we have the most interesting chats about all manner of random things. I also discovered Chaos has maths homework when I creepy stalked his maths teacher to see if I knew him (I didn’t.) I’ve sort of got housework under control ish sort of if you don’t look too hard ish. Ish. But that’s possibly a blog post of its own. (While I haven’t taken Flylady back, I’ve invited her around for coffee. Ditto with KonMari))

I learned something about myself that I probably already knew. For me, the endorphins from exercise stop me from being a psychotic hose beast with a short temper and a snippy tongue. I sort of already knew that, because when I had a Madness after my dad died, it was exercise and sleeping tablets that pulled me through, and once I had one under control, I didn’t so much need the other. But that’s what works for me. Walking is enough, too. I don’t need boot camp or running or endless bloody gym sessions. I am not a team player, I honestly think boot camp is fucked up (hence my not doing it, good for you if that’s what pops your cork). So I walk every day. 11,000 steps because 10% extra is good.

Music is another thing I started to enjoy again. Like, I’ve always enjoyed music and having it on and around, but for some reason, I stopped listening to it. This year, I revisited my yoof (like, I’m talking 14 or 15 angsty teenager yoof here) and I’ve started listening to 3RRR and I subscribed. Sort of payback for all the years of enjoyment I got from RRR in the early 80s. I discovered bluegrass/hip hop fusion and rekindled my love of blues music. ANd digital radio. Crikey. I’ve now worked out how to use my digital receiver and there are quite a lot of interesting stations out there. Like, um. Aussie for indulging the inner bogan, and there’s a couple of stations that just play 80s and 90s music. Tunes and LOUD if you please. Also, can I pls have stereo for XP, ok thx. One with a remote.

OOh, and streaming. I have watched So. Much. Telly. Loads of stuff. Mostly half watched because crochet and writing (and playing silly games), but watched enough to say yeah, watched a lot of telly. Love the Netflix and the Stan and yeah, cannot wait for new episodes of my shows. Give me a good serial killer and I am happy as a clam. Although Netflix, I needs you to pop sub-titles in the blurb because I only half watch and do something else, I really need the talking to be in the englishes. Please?

So yeah, that’s a whole lot of not actually sucking going on in 2016. Dunno what I was complaining about really. Bring on the 2017.

 

 

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Thinner…

Riddle me this, Gentle Reader. What kind of idiot decides that the very bestest time in the universe to take up a diet would be in the couple of months before Christmas? Yeah. That’d be me. Crazy person from Crazytown, Population one.

I had one of THOSE revelations a little while ago… Mum was organising some pants being made for me in far flung parts and she needed some measurements. Fuck me, that was a confronting experience. There were quite a lot of numbers involved in them thar measurements, and whilst Mrs McGee insists she “doesn’t do numbers”, she’s a fucking dressmaker. She knows damn well what *those* particular numbers mean. Her daughter is a fatty boombalaka (and also a foot taller than her so she’ll pretend she knows nuffink if she knows what’s good for her. Good mother I have there.)

Anyway, I made a decision that right then and there – I was going to start watching what I eat and attempting to move more. I weighed myself and measured myself and wrote down those confronting measurements one more time and started (or stopped. Something). I could have waited til after Birthday Season finished, or after The Christmas Season, or the beginning of January, or after we got back from holidays or after I went back to work or even after I finished my second lot of annual leave.

Or a random Tuesday in 2018.

Nope. No time like the present. Basically, even if December and January are a little rocky, there’s a good chance I won’t be starting from an even shitter place than I would be starting when I did. Ok, that didn’t make much sense. Long story much shorter – Start now, lose some weight now, lose more after the Silly Season.

I’ve been officially fat before, and last time, the wake up call came in the shape of a photograph. I didn’t recognise myself. In the picture was a fat old besom, bursting out of her shirt, snarly face being stuffed with something or other, and that’s not how I looked in my head. Ok, the snarly face probably was as I imagined it. It was Christmas and I’m not good at Christmas. Anyway, long story short, got a fright, pulled my finger out and lost 20kg. I kept it off, too. Well, most of it (give or take a couple of kilograms), for about five years. Then, my thyroid shit the tin and I stacked on ten kilos in a relatively short period of time (trained medical professional was involved in the diagnosis. My thyroid wasn’t bad enough for medication, but bad enough that losing weight was a fucking yuge effort for minimal result), then there was the knee thing, turning fifty and getting an enormous CWA bosom overnight, and whadderyou know, I hit the ton just over twelve months ago.

Now THAT was an eye opening number. I Did Not Like that number one little bit, cut back on the cake and forced the knee into a trifle more exercise than it was comfortable with and clawed my weight back to a relatively less repulsive number than I saw on those scales… But time moved on and while my weight didn’t really shift from said less repulsive number, I wasn’t really all that super comfortable with how I looked and felt, and how clothes were fitting me (or, more to the point, not fitting me). That damn CWA bosom was playing havoc with the line of my clothes. And the generally rather well padded arse was um. Substantial. VERY substantial. Then came the aforementioned measuring and the realisation that, despite my internal denials, I was actually a Bit Fat, and I wasn’t very happy about it.

So, I decided I wanted to be thinner.

No number-y goals or anything, just less fat than I was. For me, a relatively low fat diet is the way to go. I don’t follow any particular diet as such – less in than out, move more than I sit, and don’t deny myself anything (because that just leads the very mature 14 year old who lives in my head to just yell “fuck yers all” and stuff her face with whatever has been popped on the “you can’t have that” list). I just know that too much protein makes me spew, and too much fat makes me, well, fat. And I also refuse to eliminate entire food groups like cake and pizza from my life. So, since the end of October I have been considering what I shove in my gob before I stuff my face with whatever is laying around.

And, despite two birthday parties, six Christmas parties, Christmas itself, and going away for a week where I managed to consume about six months worth of alcohol in the space of eight days… I am just a little bit thinner. Not quite noticeable to anyone else unless they look *really* closely, but enough that I need a belt with some pants and the bosom is a little more cross your heart divide and separate and a little less CWA. I’ve also been able to do a spot of shopping in my wardrobe and extended my repertoire of attractive frocks by several. And really, if I think about it, in the last year and two months  I have lost 10% of my starting body weight, and that is a pretty good thing. I still don’t know what I’m aiming for… just a bit less than I am.

 

 

Well.

What else have I been up to when I’ve not been allocating pieces of my mind to the reeducation of young whippersnappers? Spot of reading, believe it or not… Since I last posted about books, I’ve read THREE books. Two were new installments by old favourites, t’other was a newish find.

In no particular order, I’ve read Personal by Lee Child – this is the 19th installment in the Jack Reacher series. This time, Jack’s off to London to show those poms a bit of what for. It was one of the better ones, strangely enough. Even though it totally overstepped the bounds of plausibility on so many levels. As if the US Army would fly a loose cannon such as Mr Reacher to Paris then London to track down a sniper… Hrrm. I’ve checked a couple of other reviews of this book, and the pendulum is swinging. This is a love or hate book for a lot of people that read it.

Personally, I found it to be better written and less formulaic than the last few. I suppose there’s only so many towns someone can casually arrive in, beat the crappers out of a few people then get on the next bus out of town, so it wasn’t a bad thing that Mr Reacher left the country. (You would think in these days of the interwebs and all that, the small town police would be on to Jack Reacher by now). Plus the ‘obvious shag interest’ wasn’t. This wasn’t a bad thing at all. I mean, the actual Jack Reacher (as distinct from the small and shiny Mr Cruise) is probably quite hot in a manly kind of way, but he gets laid way more often than one would consider seemly. I digress. Not so much shagging. Only a relatively small amount of biffo and a greater reliance on weaponry, which is ironic seeing as it’s set in the UK where (mostly) only the villains have guns rather than well, just about everybody. So yeah, enjoyed it. Bit of serious couch time invested in this book, and it was a good old fashioned straight up mystery rather than secret agendas and personal politics.

Now, onto the second book…

The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid is a stand alone thriller with a different detective (DI Karen Pirie –  who was in A Darker Domain as well). Now, I do enjoy Ms McDerimd’s books as a rule. She does really good slightly icky crime and decent whodunnits as well. This falls into the second category. A skeleton is found on the roof of an abandoned building, and DI Pirie and her colleagues work to find out who the body belongs to. In parallel, Maggie Blake, an Oxford don is turning 50 and she’s reflecting on parts of her life, including her younger days in the Balkans during the Balkan wars.

I didn’t mind it, but it was sort of paint by numbers. Like, I worked out who it was what was dead, *and* had a fair idea about who it was what dunnit well before the reveal. I don’t like that in a book. I want to go along for the ride, and be surprised and shocked along with everyone else when the denouement is reached. It wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. It was well written, the characters were well rounded, the story was actually quite interesting. It was just a bit meh. Disappoint.

And the third book…

Now, this one was a wild ride. Night Film by Marisha Pessl is really trippy. I’m a fairly visual reader and generally read in full, glorious technicolour. This was black and white, with a splash of colour here and there, shaky hand held camera and everything. Sort of a cross between a David Lunch film and – not really sure what else.  It was creepy and spooky and nothing at all like Special Topics in Calamity Physics. This is a good thing because of the whole didn’t love the first half of it and didn’t start liking it until it stopped trying to be something else. Night Film, however. Not like anything else I’ve ever read. It was about Stanislas Cordova, a cult film director who had vanished from public life, and Scott McGrath, a has been hack journalist who lost his entire life after going after Cordova. This book was weird, strange, compelling, infuriating (Scott McGrath needed a couple of swift punches to the side of the head. More than once.) and so totally not putting this down-able. To the detriment of that stuff I am supposed to do on weekends… This book was good. You know how I mentioned earlier I liked being taken along for a ride – definitely the case here. And it surely was wild and exciting and peculiar, and I didn’t work it out. Even at the end, I sort of half wasn’t sure about what it was I was reading. I was disappointed to finish it, I wanted to know what happened next next.

That side of the book reminded me of American Psycho. That book was disgusting and disturbing, I couldn’t read it at lunch time, and I couldn’t read it before bed because nightmares. BUT at the end of it, all I could think was that it was all in his head. You know how some people stand away from the edge because they’re worried someone will push them in front of a train. Other people stand back from the edge because they know they’re the someone who might push someone else.