Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Oh, this is SOOO me! *grin* I've been there, done it, and bought the planner!
I can find a 100 things to do that are less important than the one thing I NEED to do. :-)
Do you know how you can tell when my procrastination is at its worst? You'll find me cleaning the house! This generally signals that I've run out of more pleasant forms of procrastination, and am resorting to last ditch distractions.
What is the reason for this brief interlude in my blog?
Well, I managed to delay my work hours to such an extent that I had a pile of work to do over the weekend, hence my disappearance from SP. :-) Usually I either spread my hours out through the week, or get them done as early in the week as possible, to free up the rest of the days to do other things. Last week, however, I found myself playing catch-up drastically, and for the life of me, looking back, I can't see why! :-)
So, this week, I'm trying to do better.
On Monday I did my first three hours of volunteering at The Big Garden.
I know - not work! LOL
But not procrastination either! :-)
Look what I did!
I put a bed to bed!
We covered the bed with a mix of compost and leaf mulch, then piled about 4 binbags full of leaves on top. Then I was asked to switch jobs and two other guys covered the leaves with netting and pegged it down.
Meanwhile, I was directed to the leaf mulch bins, and was asked to dig out the old bin, transfering the leaves to one of the compost bins, so that we could refill it with freshly raked leaves.
As fast as I filled a wheelbarrow, clambered out of the bin, and trundled the leaves to the compost bin, someone would come along and snag them for the beds they were tucking in for the winter. :-)
I was so busy that Wayne (one of the other volunteers) had to come and alert me to the fact that we were due a tea break. I scrambled out of the bin and followed him up to the shelter, where we early birds sat and chatted and got to know each other over a brew.
Then I clambered back into the leaf mulch bin again. LOL
Two more barrowfuls and my back was starting to moan, plus I had to call a halt because there seemed to be a lot of roots at the bottom, indicating a rip in the plastic sheeting, so Jo decided to save the rest of the job for Thursday and asked me to come and help her fix some plastic onto the poly-tunnel doors for the winter. Once we'd done that, I was asked to harvest a bucketful of greens while Jo repaired holes in the poly-tunnel where some determined little crittur has been scratching and nibbling to get inside.
At around 10 to 1 we started packing up, and the spoils of the day were shared out. This is what I came home with:
I really enjoyed my time in the garden, and I'm looking forward to going back next Monday. :-)
I'm considering doing Thursdays as well, but judging by the aches and pains when I woke up this morning, I may be sensible to settle for once a week until my back and arms get used to it. :-) I deliberately avoided any strength training yesterday and today because I didn't want to push my luck. My back has eased as today went on, but my arms are still a bit achy.
Then today, Tara suddenly annouced she wanted to go into town. Seeing as I had nothing better to do (apart from work, LOL) I agreed, and in we went. She wanted to check out Ace Comics first, and she found a nice lot of goodies for her wishlist, then we went to the Library where she handed in her 4 Manga books, and borrowed 8 more!
Then it was off to Waitrose, via Castle Park.
The Road To Nowhere:
Spot the Wildlife:
I love the contrast between those little topiary forms, still with their autumn shading on, and the bare avenue of trees stretching into the distance:
So, I did a little work this evening, and plan to get a good few hours in tomorrow. National strike tomorrow, so I figured it was best to stay home and not make plans to go anywhere or do anything, just in case the disruption is as widespread as the unions hope. :-)
Hope you all had a good Tuesday.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I have a couple of exercise DVDs that are free to a good home.
One is a Tai Chi DVD, which I just didn't manage to get into. It is called Tai Chi For Relaxation and Good Health, and is the Hun Yuan Tai Chi 24 Form (if that means anything to you). It works in Region 2.
The other is for use with a Mini Trampoline. It is called PT Bouncer Complete Body Workout and is by Karl Frew. It doesn't have a region number, which may mean it is universal. But don't quote me on that. :-) It certainly works in Europe. This DVD I love, but unfortunately my bladder loses all control when I jump on Tigger (my mini trampoline). I can jog on him no problem, but jumping is a total disaster, and a lot of the DVD has you jumping fit to bust. I'm sick of peeing myself. LOLOL
So, rather than have these DVDs sitting in my home gathering dust, I thought I'd ask if anyone would like them.
If I get no takers I'll pop them down to the charity shop, but I wanted you guys to have first refusal.
If you are interested, sparkmail me and let me know. :-)
In other news...
Is it an age thing, I wonder? I don't recall having this issue some years ago when I last ate pesto. But now I burp for hours after eating it, and I have no idea why. At least they are cute little burps, not blasters! LOLOL
So, today has been a rest day. Timing is everything, and as it was the first rest day of the 30 day challenge, and TOM's full on day, I decided to take it really easy. TOM is being a literal pain this month. *sigh*
So, I've spent most of that day on Jigidi - the jigsaw website I love but haven't had so much time to play on recently. :-)
Mind you, I also did dishes, cooked a meal, and did some laundry, so it hasn't been a totally lazy day. :-)
But it has been lovely to just sit back and chill.
I hope you are having a good day. :-)
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
On Saturday morning I had the distinct delight of watching a Green Woodpecker spend half an hour in my back garden, rooting away in the grass for his breakfast, while I was preparing and cooking mine. :-)
I have never seen a woodpecker that close to me in my life. In fact, I've only seen them once before - at Highwoods a few months ago - for the very first time. So this seemed like a very significant sighting to me, and I wondered about the meaning.
Its arrival in my life coincided with a real change of direction for me, as my post that morning yielded conclusions to the main stress issues, as well as a lovely pressie from a friend, and I also plucked up the courage to attend an event at the Art Gallery that afternoon on my own. Going to events alone has never been something I felt comfortable doing, but somehow on Saturday I managed to change that and I'm so glad I did. :-)
I'm glad, because it seems to have also acted as a catalyst for other things to happen. I feel happier than I have in ages. More awake, eager, willing to make some changes in my life, because for some time now I have been in quite a rut in a lot of ways. Much as I love to do it, the combination of working from home and home-schooling has by its very nature made us a little isolated. At first it was by choice because of all the bullying Tara suffered. We both needed to retreat to lick our wounds. More recently though, I have wanted to spread my wings a little, and now opportunities to do so are turning up. Thank you Universe! :-)
They built The Golden Banana just for me. *grin*
Yesterday (Monday), I walked Sophie at Highwoods again, and as we walked around the third field, she went through a gap in the hedge that took us into a field we hadn't walked through before. Deciding to let Sophie choose the route I followed her, thinking the path through the field would wind to our right, and head us back to the track I'd been aiming for anyway.
But I was wrong.
Instead, it veered left, taking us to a path that necessitated us walking past The Big Garden, which is a project funded by The National Lottery, the local council and various other bodies such as the North East Essex Primary Care Trust.
Every time I've walked by there has been no one about. The garden is only funded to be open for a few hours a week, and never when I've been passing. My timing has never been all that good. *grin*
But this time there were people there, and although I walked on by for a moment, something compelled me to backtrack and attract someone's attention. A young man near the gate said hello, and directed me to Jo, the lady in charge, and she came over to the gate. She said Sophie could come in if she was on a lead, so in we went, and we were given a little tour of the garden. Within a few minutes I found myself opening my mouth and asking if I could volunteer there!
Now, this seems a weird thing for me to do. Both my girls' jaws dropped when I told them. Tara's was easy to watch as it hit her laptop with a thud, and I heard Bry's hit her kitchen floor with an audible slap when I told her over the phone! LOL
You see, I'm not much of a gardener, as the state of mine will attest. It is probably why the birds love it so much. My garden looks as wild as Highwoods most of the time. The first year we were here I did try growing some herbs and veg, and it went very well. I had courgettes and beetroot, carrots and peas all growing like crazy. Everything I planted grew.
The second year, though, the slugs and snails moved in and ate everything I tried to grow.
I was put off after that, and although the herb garden kept going, I gave up on the veg, and my health also took a bit of a nosedive, which didn't help.
Then the bramble took over and that was that!
So, you see, me asking to work in a garden, digging, and making compost and all that kind of thing, is a very strange thing for me to do. I don't like what I term 'icky-stickys' either. LOL
AND there's a wasp nest right at the entrance with a big warning sign, and I REALLY don't like them!
But I knew I had felt the need to ask for a reason, and so I told Jo I'd start next Monday. They are open on Mondays and Thursdays from 10am-1pm, and every other Saturday from 11am-3pm. I plan to make Monday my regular day, and do Thursdays as well when time permits.
There are obvious benefits to this of course. :-)
I'll be out in the fresh air. I'll be getting exercise. I'll be learning about organic gardening through hands-on experience instead of trial and error through reading a book. They'll have all the tools and things I need to use. And I'll be in the company of people who will be interesting to get to know.
Also, all the volunteers get a share of the produce that is grown there. A definite bonus, that is! :-)
All the way home I thought about what I'd done, and the more I thought about it, the more I wondered whether the Woodpecker had something to do with it. So when I got home I pulled out my copy of Ted Andrew's book Animal Speak and looked up the Woodpecker.
Oh my! So much of what he says about the Woodpecker made so much sense to my situation. The very last line though, was what captured my total attention. It quite simply said:
"It is now safe to follow your own rhythms."
And that is the truth of the matter. I need 'safe'!
Fear is my issue. Fear is what always holds me back. Fear stops me from doing so many things. But now I seem to be gradually conquering that fear, bit by bit, step by step, and I'm allowing myself to try things I wouldn't normally be willing to do because of my fear.
First the talk at the Art Gallery, and now volunteering in the Big Garden.
I wonder what opportunity might present itself next? :-)
Changing the subject...
My exercise plans had a week or so off during and after Bry's visit. I just really needed a bit of a break from the usual routine to recharge my batteries and try and cope with the stress.
But I started back on Sunday, using my new Cyberbike, and doing a few dances with Just Dance.
Monday saw me starting a second 30-day challenge on my EA Sports Active Personal Trainer. I've set it to medium intensity this time, because, apart from a couple of things like squat holds, I was finding it wasn't pushing me on the easy setting.
Not so easy now! :-) Yesterday's session was around 20 minutes, and had me doing more and lower squats than I would normally do. It was hard, but I did them. I'm pleased about that, but was more pleased to find that today's workout was squat-free, thank the gods! LOL
Today's workout was 26 minutes long, with lots of lunges of various types and lots of upper body work. I enjoyed it more than yesterday's workout, but I was really sweating from the exertion by about halfway through, which is great, and on both days my limbs were a little shaky by the end of the workout.
This is what I need - to be more challenged by strength training. If I lift weights I don't feel pushed and I don't push myself much at all, but for some reason this game pushes me and I don't want to admit defeat so I go past my comfort zone! :-)
Tomorrow is a rest day. As before, there are 20 workouts and 10 rest days. I'm looking forward to seeing how well I get on this time. :-)
With all that, plus well over an hour walking with Sophie on Monday, and a 30 minute aerobic workout today (Tue), I'm finding my enthusiasm is back. I haven't quite made my step counts daily, but I'm less concerned about that now.
Technically I'm on a target of 7400 steps a day (which I did make today actually) but I'm letting Active Health say how many steps it thinks I should be able to manage for a change. :-) The game thought I could do 8100, and I've not managed that yet this week. Also, TOM kicked in today - four days early - which doesn't bode well for the rest of the week's step count either. :-) I am very very achy today.
Wow! I got a bit serious today, didn't I! :-) But you can probably gather that I've been doing a lot of thinking over the last few days. I guess this blog is part of that process. Writing out your thoughts can be quite helpful I find. It tends to help me get my thought processes organised.
For now though, it is time to give that process a break and get myself off to bed. :-) The Woodpecker may be opening up my mental faculties, but mental faculties also need sleep. LOL
Hope you are all well.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Meet the Golden Banana:
It has also been called many far less flattering names, including the £28 Million Pound Bling Bikeshed. An ironic title, considering one of my favourite exhibits is entitled Two Cows, which is artist Subodh Gupta's impression of the streets in his hometown of Khagaut in India and is a blend of golden bicycles and silver milk churns. The cow is a sacred animal in Hindu society as a symbol of unselfish giving. :-)
This page wafts through some of the art on display, including Two Cows:
To then come face to face a little further down with Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup II - Oyster Stew was quite a surprise as I've always wondered why anyone would pay a fortune for a picture of a tin of soup. I must admit though that getting the chance to look closely at the work, I am very impressed with his skill, and therefore I felt compelled to give homage to Andy Warhol's talent in my own style...
My own version of Campbell's Soup - The Devine Celery On Teatowel!
Of course, the choice of Oyster Stew was to tie in with the exhibit celebrating the Oyster Feast that stood close by. Ancient and modern seeing as the feast dates back to Roman times. :-)
I love a good segway! LOL
I have to say that, despite all the controversy (and there has been a lot), I liked the opportunity to be so close to famous works of art. The gallery is a 20-25 minute walk from my house, and is free to browse through, which makes it a real draw when you are strapped for cash (and the walk includes steep hills, so great exercise can be had too).
They do have collection boxes dotted about, and we will contribute to those when we can, but to know that, for example, you can view JMW Turner's sketch book for nothing! What a privilege!
The firstsite (no capital letter) gallery (its real name) has been a long and painful conception, pregnancy and delivery. Beset by problems from the start, it is a minor miracle that it finally opened in September this year.
I was first aware of the plans back around 2005, when the final four designs for the building were made public in the local newspaper, and I wish I could show you what the choices were, because there was one that seemed to be a front runner for a while, that I and many others claimed resembled a lump of liver!
I am very glad that the Golden Banana won out in the end (I'll eat liver, but draw the line at liver eating me! ;-) ), and the architect - Rafael Viñoly - I personally think is very talented. I am not fond of all modern art or all modern architecture. In fact, when I first saw the almost finished building I was shocked by its similarity to a well-wrapped and strangely shaped Christmas Present! The resemblance so struck me that I was tempted to enquire as to where they planned to place the ribbon and bow! :-)
But the building has grown on me. :-)
For details about the design, and the innovative foundations that stop the building from damaging the ancient archaology beneath, this link includes explanations by the architect himself:
Sadly, amongst other issues, the original contractors claimed to have the skills to carry the work out, but didn't, and from what I gather there may have also been some financial shenanigans by some of the council members. There are certainly suggestions that more money has disappeared than is accounted for, and amongst other things around £1.5 million is being claimed back from the original contractors. Time will tell what really happened during the six years this has been going on.
Our MP has been against the project from the start and still refuses to support it, claiming he is speaking for us all, which he most certainly isn't. There is certainly a lot of negativity about it, many people moaning about the bus station having to be first shrunk, and eventually moved in order to make room for the gallery! A strange objection to my mind, but each to their own opinion...
But getting back to the positives, I also love that apart from the Berryfield Mosaic (housed under glass in the floor as shown in the photo below), all exhibits are temporary, and will be changed every eight weeks or so, which will mean I'll keep wanting to go back and see what's new.
I love that there is such a marriage of the ancient and the modern encompassed in the whole thing too. From the Roman artifacts, to the latest in Resin Art, the first exhibit has married the two beautifully, in my view.
I also did something I would never have dreamed of doing before. I booked a seat for a talk on the Berryfiend Mosaic, which was hosted in the auditorium (see pic). It seats just under 200 people and was about half full for the talk, so not a bad attendance. I was nervous about going alone, but I wasn't the only singleton, and the talk was fascinating, so well worth the walk and the time, and it was free too!
So, when did we first visit?
On the Wednesday of Bryony's stay we made our way to the gallery for the first time, and we even had lunch in the cafe. The chips were served in miniature wire baskets of the design you see in chip shops, with perfume bottle style vinegar sprayers, and little pots of garlic mayonnaise. Bryony and I also tried a Portobello Mushroom, Goat's Cheese and Pesto Sandwich, and it was delicious!
I made a wee fool of myself, not being sure what was in the spray bottle at first, and after spraying it on a chip and not tasting anything, I remarked to Bryony that it may be a spray for washing our hands after eating the chips, in which case the staff in the distance had probably had a good laugh, watching me spray it on a chip! LOL
Turns out, it was vinegar, so I was right the first time. I asked one of the waitresses in the end, because I am not one to shy from looking a fool in order to get the right information! The only silly question is the unasked one! :-) I told her what I'd said to Bryony and she laughed with me, saying the bottles confuse a lot of people. :-)
A few minutes later I almost made a very embarrassing mistake, and tried to walk into the gents instead of the ladies. Fortunately, Bry spotted my error and called me before I got as far as the door. LOL
Even the loos are modern art, with waterfalls instead of sinks. I loved that, once I'd figured out how they worked. :-) The loos, you will be pleased to know are conventional designs, and clean. (Some designs shouldn't be messed with! LOL)
But I got away with my pride intact, and we all enjoyed our visit. :-)
I hope you have enjoyed this little taster, and if you ever visit Colchester, you will have to visit The Golden Banana, because love it or hate it, you have to be able to say you tried it! :-)
Get An Email Alert Each Time LEXIE63 Posts