Family, food, cocktails… and one too many Easter eggs

I thoroughly enjoyed the Easter holiday.  Jack and I kicked it off on Friday evening.  Last week while looking for a White Lady cocktail recipe, tequila made its way onto my radar.  Jack coming down from Manchester for Easter gave me the perfect opportunity to make  some tequila cocktails!  I have no memory of trying it before, so I think it was a first.  We had a classic Margarita, followed by a Tequila Sunrise.  It definitely packs a punch…in a very nice way.

The following day six of us went out for lunch.  We chose a Chinese restaurant.  I’m not overly mad on Chinese food, but everything we ordered (with the exception of one thing) was nice.  We are a family who likes to play cards.  So after eating we found ourselves a pub and enjoyed some drinks and games of ‘Seven’.

On Sunday Matthew invited one of his friends to join us for lunch.  All the big supermarkets were closed, but fortunately my freezer stumped up enough food to enable us all to have a nice dinner.  Plus Jack found a mini supermarket open and was able to buy ice-cream and wine…essential ingredients for a good meal!

I tried to play an April Fool on them.  Jack said I should come in a taxi.  I told him I would take the bus.  When I arrived, I left the food outside the door and went in with a horrified face, telling them that I’d left all the food on the bus.  Matthew and Charlie believed me.  But Jack piped up… it’s April 1st today!!  He said my voice sounded convincing, but when he looked at my face, it gave it away.  Should I be concerned that I delight in trying to fool my family!

While I was standing at the stove, Jack snapped away with the camera.  When I looked at the pictures later, I was shocked.  I’m weary with this perpetual battle I have with myself.  Inside me somewhere, there is clearly a strong desire to lose weight and become healthy.  But whatever part of me that does desire that, it’s overpowered by a stronger part of my being that wants to continue being unhealthy.  How frustrating is that?  It’s madness, but it seems to hold true for a lot of people.  And of course I can’t possibly start being healthy until all these goodies have been consumed… the madness continues.

 

 

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Faceless…

via Daily Prompt: Faceless

It strikes me that being ‘faceless’ can be a desirable thing.  I am sure that there must be countless famous, and also infamous people who would love for their faces not to be recognised.  Also people with any kind of face disfigurement probably wish that their faces didn’t bring them unwelcome attention.  And even gorgeous folks probably don’t want to be gawped at all the time.

Our face blending in with everyone else’s affords us anonymity.  It actually gives us a lot of freedom.  So for me at least, being faceless isn’t a bad thing.

80lbs to lose…

I feel as though I’m going one step forward, and three steps back.  There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything I want to.  But really that’s not true.  It comes down to time management, and I’m obviously wasting time.  I need to re-think how I organise my day.

Last evening Abrar and I went to the gym for our induction.  He asked me if we would be working out and I said no.  I told him that we’d be shown round, but added that we’d better put on our gym gear just so that we wouldn’t stand out like sore thumbs!  It’s actually a sports centre, with includes a gym, swimming pool, rooms for different classes, indoor and outdoor running tracks, and a sports hall for badminton, basketball, trampolining and other things.  I knew that 6pm would be busy, but Abrar and I had other things to do yesterday.  When we arrived someone met us and took us to the gym.  I was so glad that we’d changed into our gym clothes.  It was really busy, and everyone looked like they’d been going to the gym forever!  The chap showing us round immediately put Abrar and me on machines… yikes, I wasn’t prepared for that!

I already knew I was unfit.  But I quickly realised just how unfit I am.  We tried seven different machines, but there were lots of other ones we didn’t try.  He told us to get to grips with the cardio machines and then we’d be shown how to use the resistance machines.  When we left the gym I felt as though I’d had a few gin and tonics, except that I hadn’t!  I felt punch drunk.  Gyms can be quite intimidating places as they are full of people who clearly take very good care of their bodies.  Being the newbie feels a little bit like being five years old again and going to school for the first time!  Tony, the trainer who showed us the ropes reacted with surprise when we told him that neither of us have ever belonged to a gym before.  I know from my own experience that you don’t have to join a gym to get yourself fit and healthy.   But for nearly a year and a half I’ve been in a rut that I seem powerless to get out of.  I have got absolutely nothing to lose by joining a gym.

I’ve made myself a little chart so that I can mark my progress.  Each window is a 4lbs weight loss.  Ever 4lbs lost will feel like a little victory… or even a big victory!

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What have I done to my body?

Last Tuesday Abrar was off work and we took a walk to one of the gyms that I’m considering joining.  It took seventeen minutes to walk there, which in and of itself left me exhausted.  I think it’s a small gym.  I didn’t like the fact that the running machines were facing out onto the street.  The thought of going to the gym and getting on a running machine is daunting enough… the thought of being on view to everyone walking past would only add to the challenge.  Tomorrow I’m going to look at another gym.  This one is bigger and also has a swimming pool.  Today I spoke to someone from the gym who was nice, and was reassuring when I said that I felt out of my comfort zone joining a gym.  Let’s see what I think tomorrow when I go to see it.

One thing is for sure though… I need to do something.  The scales are going in the wrong direction!  Yesterday was Mother’s Day and that provided another opportunity to go to a restaurant and overindulge.  I have to say though… it was a lovely day!  On our way home we got some cakes from a bakers called Cutter and Squidge.  If anyone lives in London, or is visiting London, I highly recommend you go along and treat yourself to one, (or two or three) of their cakes.  They are absolutely delicious.

Jack has just made me laugh.  As I’m writing this, he and I are also messaging on Skype.  I was asking him how I add a link to Cutter and Squidge website.  He said that I should just include pictures.  I told him… the cakes are eaten, so no pictures. 😦  Then I remembered that I did take one picture.  He then said; ‘I thought you’ve been talking in your blog about losing weight?’  And added that anyone reading it will think it’s no wonder I have a weight problem when I’m stuffing myself with cake!  But that’s the thing about us girls, (or at least some of us), we’re full of contradictions!

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Many Happy Returns…

To my baby… he’s 26 today!  Three boys in their thirties and Jack still in his twenties.  Funny how it doesn’t matter how old they are, the youngest is still always the baby!      The four boys and I have a family Whatsapp group.  It’s become something of a tradition for me to post a few pictures of the birthday person.  Going through the pictures last night to choose some, I had an overwhelming feeling of love for my boys.  The sort of feeling that affects your heart.  Mind you, although my love remained constant, my precious little bundles of joy didn’t go from newborns to adults overnight.  There were many years in between when all I can say is… it’s just as well I did love them.  I think Jack came out of the womb on a mission to test me to the max.

By the time he’d reached the age of four he’d already had ingenious ideas about how to stress me out.  As a toddler he had an obsession with all things electrical.  His very favourite was the iron.  A kiddie’s pretend iron didn’t cut the mustard.  In spite of my best efforts to keep it from him, I couldn’t.  He would climb up the cupboard shelves and take the iron down.  He’d plug it in and then sit and admire it.  One day while I was ironing, his hand touched it and it hurt.  I thought that would be end of his love for the iron.  Not at all, his love and admiration for it only increased!

I remember when he was three he asked if Santa could bring him a washing machine for his bedroom?!  In Germany we had a door from the living room out onto the patio.  German houses have outdoor electric sockets. (Something I wish British houses had!)  Jack had a habit of waiting till I was in the kitchen, then he would take the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard into the garden and vacuum the grass.  By the time he was three he was physically strong enough to drag the lawnmower from the cellar up to the garden.  Then he graduated to being able to use the edge trimmer.  I found that scary to use and I was an adult.  It held no fear for him.  So much for the child safety feature.

Just to keep us on our toes, Jack found other outlets for his mischievousness.  Like the time I was hanging pictures and used the hammer to put up picture pins.  Jack wanted to do it so I gave him a pin and the hammer and pointed to a part of the wall he could use.  The next second I heard an almighty smash and turned round to see that he’d decided instead to try the hammer out on the glass front door.  Another day he turned his attention to the downstairs toilet and managed to smash the toilet bowl.  Then there was the day Jack and I were in the house on our own and I decided to go out onto my bedroom balcony to clean the windows.  Jack thought it would be amusing to lock me out.  After a little “ha ha okay darling let mummy in now” didn’t work, bribery didn’t work, and threatening him with death didn’t work either, I started to think that it might be a long afternoon out on that balcony.  But then fortunately a neighbour came along and went to the front door and coaxed Jack to get a stool and climb up and open the door to let her in so that she could rescue me!  And not forgetting the time Jack’s dad started the car and then went to put something into the boot.  Jack quick as lightening put the car into drive and the thing started moving towards some garages.  My ex husband probably never moved so fast in his life!  Jack’s repertoire of naughtiness continued for several more years.  Then he grew into the kind of child that every mum dreams of… not perfect, but intelligent, calm, and very thoughtful.  We both survived his childhood… but at times it was a close shave.

Bruce suggested that I join a gym, but because I wanted to do the None to Run 12 week running programme, I thought I would wait until I had completed that.  But then this morning it occurred to me that I can do it… at the gym!  I’ve never been on a tread-mill in my life, but there’s a first time for everything.  I found a gym quite local to me.  Reading about it, it sounds ideal.  It doesn’t have a pool, but I can overlook that.  I think I’ll go and check it out the week after next.

Looking at pictures of Jack prompted me to go through an album I made of my life from birth till now.  It’s very bitter-sweet looking at it.  Seeing pictures of me with my parents, knowing now that in some of them, my father at that time was being unfaithful to my mum.  Dad was never vilified.  Mum held no bitterness towards him.  She was the strong one who ended the marriage when her best efforts to save it failed and she realised he wasn’t prepared to change his ways.  She always maintained her dignity.  Dad though was the light of her life and that never changed until the day she died.  Dad passed away three years before her and I remember her saying to me; “I felt safer knowing he was in the world”.  Some love never dies.  Even after my divorce, I couldn’t imagine not loving my ex husband.  Now I find myself feeling nothing for him.  I certainly don’t hate him, but all feelings of love are gone.

I was thirty two years when mum died.  I was living in Germany, and my life was kept busy with four young children.  I never got the chance to sit and talk with her and share with her all the pain and heartache she must have gone through in her marriage.  And for some unknown reason, I chose not to tell her about my own marital problems.  She went to her grave without knowing that I too had married someone who wasn’t faithful.  My mum loved me with every fibre of her being… why did I keep something like that a secret from her?  I have no idea.  But I wish now I hadn’t.  Although if I had told her, maybe my life would have taken a different path and I wouldn’t have met Abrar.  And anything bad that I’ve been through has been worth it to get me to this point in my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happiness is…

Happiness is many things… but spending time with people we love is probably the thing that most of us would say gives us the greatest happiness.  Most of us have heard the saying, ‘friends are the family we choose for ourselves’.  My family are very thin on the ground.  That’s probably a contributing factor to why the boys and I are so close.

Yesterday was a lovely day because I spent some of it with two people who are friends but who feel like family to me.  They are a young Iranian couple who I got to know several years ago.  At one point Aidin was in another country studying while Mitra was in the U.K.  In Aidin’s absence Mitra came and lived with my boys and me while she was going through a challenging time.  I also had struggles of my own.  At that time we both had burdens which we shared with each other, and the love and support which we rendered each other developed into a relationship which is built upon a rock solid foundation.

When we go through trials we find out who we can truly trust and depend on.  Those individuals are the diamonds in our lives.  Mitra’s and my relationship was forged at a difficult time for both of us.  But now our lives are both filled with an abundance of happiness… and so whenever we get together it’s always a joyous occasion.

Yesterday was doubly nice because I also went to my acting class in the morning.  It was the last of my eight classes.  How quickly the weeks flew past.  We all played out our scenes.  Sam (my acting partner) and I memorised our lines very quickly.  It was really enjoyable acting it in front of everyone yesterday.  Although only a few pages of script, we delivered it seamlessly.  Memorising your lines gives you the freedom to be able to explore the character you’re playing.  Metaphorically speaking you can try on different emotional hats by how you deliver your lines.  When you’re reading your lines from a script it doesn’t flow, and it sounds and feels stilted.  Acting classes was trying something different, and it was something that I really enjoyed.  Ending on a high reaffirmed how good it was!

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Feeling weary…

Funny how one day we can be up in the clouds, and the next day we feel we’ve fallen into a black hole.  I had a really lovely week, and then on Friday evening things started to go downhill.  I know what is behind my mood changing.  I was thinking ahead to when my acting classes finish.  Yesterday was the penultimate class… which as usual I thoroughly enjoyed.

I decided that when my Saturdays became free again, I would start the C25K training programme.  I am so unfit just now that I can barely run a few metres to catch a bus.  The thought of running 5k feels totally out of my reach.  But that is the whole point… it can be within my reach.  On Friday evening I spent a lot of time looking at the training programme.  It is spread over nine weeks.  I became increasingly overwhelmed as I was reading about it.

Then yesterday I came across another website with a guy offering his own alternative programme which he’s calling None to Run.  He thinks that there are some potential flaws with the C25K programme.  He doesn’t think that it’s suitable for absolutely everyone.  People with zero running experience, or those of us carrying a substantial amount of extra weight might find the C25K too challenging.

The C25K is the established programme.  And it has a great online community spirit about it.  But I’ve decided that I’m going to go with None to Run.  It’s a twelve week programme and I really like the sound of the guy whose behind it.   He’s a Canadian with a background in kinesiology.

So starting on Monday 26th, I am going to don my running shoes and take myself off to the park.  I feel extremely overwhelmed and I haven’t even started yet!  Right now I am asking myself the obvious question… why did I let myself get so out of shape?  Because now I have a mountain to climb.

One of the things on my goal list for this year is to lose weight.  And another one is to complete the C25K.  But I didn’t put that on my list as a ‘health’ related goal.  I know that probably sounds odd.  When I made the decision it was something I wanted to do, it was because I knew if I completed it, I would feel a huge sense of achievement.  I needed to think about things that were challenging, but that I felt I could do.  Well now that I’m close to getting started, all the reasons why it will be difficult are being magnified.

My apprehension though does not extend to me wanting to back out.  I have gone through my whole life without challenging myself.  Actually that’s not entirely true.  But I am in a better place now than I’ve ever been to try new things.  It’s funny that I entitled this blog entry; Feeling weary.  Putting my feelings down on paper (electronic paper!) has helped to reaffirm in my head that this is something I want to do!