Tuesday, 29 July 2008

progress + motion

cromer pier
Originally uploaded by lomoD.xx

It seems I’m accidentally making progress on the list – maybe just the process of scrawling them in my journal has helped them come about, or, at the very least, subconsciously spurred me into action.

(Disclaimer: the list existed in my journal for a good month or so before posting it on the interweb, so i haven’t been quite as much of a superachiever as it might first appear...)

2. Grow tomatoes and runner beans
I might be getting ahead of myself here, since there’s plenty of summer left for me to murder them, but at the moment I’m proud dirtmother of a trough of tomatoes and a tangle of bean vines spilling up from a tub of marigolds, and dotted with scarlet flowers. If the sun holds, and I remember to douse them every so often, the day might come when I get to pick a tomato off the vine, rub it against the leg of my shorts, and site on the decking to eat it, with sticky warm juice running down my arms.

14. Send Elsa a surprise in the post
I found the surprise in a vintage fabric shop on Cheshire Street on Saturday. Yip! I just need to photograph it, wrap it and post it.

18. Stay overnight by the sea & 19. Go on a weekend away somewhere with Sooz
It was actually Sooz who made this happen; I can’t take the credit. She texted me one Thursday, saying ‘I have to get out of London this weekend. Can you come?’, and two days later, we, plus Jems, Nadja and Sara, piled into Nadja’s tiny, decrepit hatchback and hotfooted it out to a tiny coastal town in Norfolk called Cromer. We screeched to a halt at a roadside stall to buy the reddest, sherbetiest strawberries I’ve ever tasted in my life, ate local crab, looked at the sea, gorged ourselves on fish and chips, and were all tucked in bed by midnight. It was just the tonic, and if you can escape for even a night to somewhere that puts a different backdrop behind your friendships and your mood, do it…

20. Master the mise en ventre en roulet on trapeze
I’m getting there. It’s slow, shoulder-wrenching work. This one was quite ambitious… maybe ‘master’ should have been ‘look less pudding-y while attempting…’

22. Take Kate for a lazy picnic
At Kate’s suggestion (again, no credit here) we traipsed up to Kenwood House yesterday afternoon. It was the hottest day of the year so far, and we sat in the velvety green grass, watched swans in the lake and people playing Frisbee, and lazed luxuriantly. To say I ‘took’ her is grossly misleading, though, given that she drove and mustered up goats’ cheese and roasted tomato tart, and all I managed to bring was beer and a bag of sausages. All glamour, me.

That’s it, so far, but it feels like something, motion, sneaked pleasures and delicious surprises…which is enough, really.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

retox redux

So, it’s done. 21 days of deprivation detox is over. Naturally, to celebrate, I went out with my wonderful housemate Badam to eat an insanely rich meal and got so drunk on red wine I had hiccups for about 4 hours. (Hic! Kill me. Hic! Kill me.)

Detoxes are almost as boring to talk about as they are to do, but I brought it up here so I should probably put it to bed. I was surprised how ordinary I felt at the end of three weeks of avoiding things that usually make up the better part of my diet. At first I wondered how come I wasn’t jumping out of my skin, until I realised that consistent okayness was probably the best I HAD felt in a long time. Weekends were a totally bizarre experience – awake while the day was still young, not stumbling from hangover to pub to hangover, hearing my housemate and seeing The Boy come home at 4:30AM and thinking, with genuine surprise, ‘I’m so glad that’s not me’.

So I’ve been joyfully reunited with bread and cheese, but I am still caffeine free. I’m going to keep avoiding sugar, stick to raw foods for snacks, and be mindful of how much fish I’m eating. And I want to keep a lid on the boozing. I love wine, I love a cold beer on a blue-skied day, I love a gin and tonic in a cold, beaded glass. But I found out that I can have fun, and be fun, even when I’m not drinking and everyone else is. It’s also a freaking load cheaper…

So there you have it. Detox: part sham, part revelation.

Now two treasures to relish:

I adore the Little People project – quirky, making you look askance at the world, full of dark humour and wonder…

Phillip Toledano’s Days With My Father photo series made me hold my breath. How do we continue to live when death is so close? Beautiful.

Happy Thursday. Go get yourself an ice cream.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

29 before 29

There’s not a lot of time before I turn 29 – two months and 23 days. But there’s some stuff I’ve been needing a bit of a poke to get out and do, and I’m thinking this clean-living month might make some of this more likely to happen. So, here ‘tis; 29 things I’d like to be able to say I’ve done when my 29th rolls around.

1. Swim in the lido on Hampstead Heath.
2. Grow tomatoes and runner beans.
3. Make a red velvet cake.
4. Host a tea party.
5. Eat at Gordon Ramsay’s gastropub.
6. Read Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit.
7. Go rollerskating.
8. Dance like nobody’s watching.
9. Finish my Moleskine notebook.
10. Write every day for a month.
11. Buy some poppies.
12. Learn how to use my new camera.
13. Take part in hulaseventy’s postcard swap!
14. Send Elsa a surprise in the post.
15. Take a self-portrait every day for a month.
16. Finish knitting my grey scarf.
17. Start knitting a snood.
18. Stay overnight by the sea.
19. Go on a weekend away somewhere with Sooz.
20. Master the mise en ventre en roulet on trapeze.
21. Have my For Like Ever poster properly framed. Finally.
22. Take Kate for a lazy picnic.
23. Go to a Wills-Moody jumble sale with Sara and Julie.
24. Leave guerrilla messages of kindness somewhere.
25. Go screenprinting with Rach.
26. Spend an afternoon blowing giant bubbles.
27. Visit Elena in Oxford.
28. Surprise Loz with mail art.
29. Finish Wim’s birthday book.

Skates on, then…!

On the Things Of Wonder front…

Yeondoo Jung’s ever-so-lovely photographic reproductions of kids’ drawings

Melinda Gebbie and Alan Moore’s incredible 3-volume 'pornotopian' graphic novel Lost Girls (I went to hear them speak on Saturday night – true one-offs, erudite, charming and funny)

Vincent Fournier’s surreal photos

Thursday, 3 July 2008

day three

I’m teary, bloated, have a vice clamped around the back of my head, and I am utterly, ludicrously shickered. Right now I’m blogging to stay awake. At work. My head sags helplessly towards the desk like a sunflower head way too big for its stalk. My eyelids are wet sails. My skin is worse than a 14 year-old’s.

In short: I feel like poop; and detox sucks.

Worst of all is the exhaustion, though. Around 3 o’clock I’ve always had a quicksand half hour that threatens to suck me under into a pit of sleep. But in the past 3 days it’s been more or less a constant battle to stay conscious – and self-medicating with caffeine or sugar is off the menu. It’ll be a wonder if I don’t end up jobless by the end of the three weeks!

Does this get better?

Three things that are getting me through this day:

Microfunding charities with GlobalGiving – no matter how little you’ve got to give, you can go straight to the source and watch it make a difference.

My brand new print from Alyson Fox (I love how resolutely the little boy remains in his own world…)

The ohsohappy summertime ‘Toe Jam’ from Fatboy Slim.

(Also my friends Susan and Nick who have just had the Most. Beautiful. Baby. Boy. Ever. Just…wow.)

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

fitter, happier, more productive

sunshine on my window, originally uploaded by inkling.

In pursuit of this fine goal – and because I’ve just returned from a company jaunt to beautiful Valencia where I had a swig of booze more or less every time I blinked for 72 hours – I’m embarking on a month-long…um, clean-living effort. (I HATE the word detox. Just thinking about it makes me want to splash about in a bathtub full of gin with a barrel of roast potatoes for company.)

I’m a bit embarrassed about it, but I’m reading this book to give me some sort of structure over this next month. And because it talks about the other side of wellness too, which, to be honest, is the part I’m more interested in. I want to find out how much of my cloudiness might clear given some breathing space, enough sleep, some exercise and a month off mind-affecting substances.

On that list is (according to the book) apparently alcohol, dairy, caffeine, sugar and gluten. I haven’t even got to the part of the book yet that gives you the full rundown. Eegads.

To sum up: eek.

Having gone 6 hours without alcohol or caffeine, I’m pleased to report I’m feeling pretty chipper. Mind you, it’s only 3:30pm. I’ll keep you posted. I’m anticipating that not drinking alcohol will leave me with a LOT of spare time, so later on I’ll post my list of things I want to do before my birthday in October.

Happy Monday.