August 24: Productive and slow …

Is it possible to be productive at the same time as taking it slow? In the past, I’ve always worked at a fast pace, but lately, since slowing my life (so to speak), I’m more inclined towards a methodical plod. Today has been a great example of the possibilities of having space to breathe and time to think.

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Water dripping from the gutter

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Our Australian flagpole came down (again) in the big storm last Thursday (the night I flew to London). Luckily Leo got to it before it could do any damage

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Free water!

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My lovely little cherry tomato plant keeps giving! They’re so sweet – I seem to always pop one in my mouth as I walk past

Glorious and much-needed rain has kept me indoors today, but it feels like I’ve been working on things that need to be done. I’ve been asked to write four stories for a food magazine for chefs, called BISTRO, and today has been spent planning my questions and contacting people to interview.

I’ve never been a huge foodie – I love eating food but I don’t get excited about cooking at home. Eating out is a lovely thing to do, but more often than not it’s just to eat rather than to experience. We all need to have more experiences when it comes to eating!

In London, I did something very out of character (and out of budget!) by having lunch with a friend at the Oyster Bar in Harrods. Definitely a fun experience, and if we could have afforded it, I’m sure we would have eaten more food! Six oysters and three carafes of white wine do not maketh a filling lunch. A giggly lunch, yes, but not a filling one!

And yesterday’s outdoor event at our favourite restaurant in Wohlen bei Bern was an experience, if not just for the shots!

But I digress …

Taking time … to digress … 🙂

Sitting at my desk today has been very productive and helps curb that ‘out of control’ feeling when there’s a lot on my plate. (Pardon the unintended pun!) Slowly crossing things off ‘the list that never ends’ is calming and satisfying. Generally, I can be quite scattered when it comes to concentrating on one thing, and, in some ways, I’ve come to accept that. Doing small amounts of a few things helps with that overall sense of achievement. As the story deadlines get closer, I know I’ll focus harder, but today, preparing and planning has been a very relaxed affair.

That’s cool. Fingers crossed I can keep up this methodical plod without the deadlines causing stress!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

June 10: Craving sugar, much?

After finishing actor Cary Elwes’ book, As You Wish (reviewed here), I thought it only fitting to watch the movie The Princess Bride today. That could quite possibly be the 20th time I’ve seen it, and I enjoy it every time. Twue wuv. Tweasure your wuv. Has it added to my mental fitness? Well, it definitely made me smile.

I also did a lot of internet reading, not enough job searching, and pottered in the garden for a bit, but the wind was too wicked for my liking, so I mooched. I mooched a lot. I don’t think mooching is very healthy sometimes!

Liliane and Rene invited me for dinner which was nice, as Leo is at a work function. I’m sure the meal they served fell within the boundaries of the I Quit Sugar program. I’ve been very good about not eating sugar, and maybe that’s part of the reason I’m feeling so ‘meh’ today. Detoxing perhaps? I could definitely handle some ice cream or a handful of peanut M&Ms about now!

The 30-Day Challenge continues with new plant names. But a quick recap from yesterday’s request for help – Gabby was quick off the mark to tell me the crop with the back and white flower is broad bean aquadulce (Vicia faba) and Freda kindly informed me the small purple plant from yesterday was another campanula – Dalmation bellflower (Campanula portenschlagia). Thank you, ladies!

Liliane has a lovely blue flowing plant called Gentian (Gentiana acaulis) in her garden, which I would love to take a cutting from for next year (her garden is a bit bigger than mine so I have no idea how all this is going to fit!).

I’d like to get some Speedwell (Veronica spicata) because I like the candle shape, and another on my wishlist is a common jasmine vine (Jasminum officinale) growing on the terrace somewhere, because it would be amazing to be surrounded by that smell in summer.

Tomorrow and Friday will be more active. (I’ll have to make it so, won’t I?! Can’t be mooching for extended periods.) Rene has indicated he’d like my help replacing the mower blades tomorrow, so that’s something to look forward to 😉 and I’ll spend some time with Liliane on Friday as she has the day off!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

February 11: 15 minutes of squats and sit ups and … chocolate

As part of Monday’s celebration, Leo bought me a 500gram bag of my favourite chocolate – M&M Peanuts. They’ll be finished tomorrow. Oops. This was NOT part of the fitfor15in15 plan … but gosh, they’re a whole world of yum for me.

Must. Stop. Eating. M&M Peanuts (tomorrow … when the bag is finished). I know I’m addicted, despite not feeling all that great after eating them. Sugar overdose, perhaps? The idea of that crunch gets me all excited, but now, gorged, the thought of half a kilo of chocolate in mah belly is not so cool. No more good news please. I can’t handle the treats.

I spent this morning in the city and then had a lovely lunch at my friend Claudia’s. She cooked a three-course lunch so I didn’t feel like dinner … but still managed to fit in a lot of those coloured balls. 😦

Because I was all juiced up on the little suckers, I did the minimum 15 minutes tonight – squats, lunges, sit ups and knees up with the tin cans going all over the place (in specific movements, not willy nilly) while watching the series Arrested Development. (We’re a little late to the party on this one and have just started watching season one.) But, sorry, back to the exercise …

While shifting my weight from one leg to the other in a side-to-side movement, I could actually feel the muscle above-and-to-the-right of my left knee, and above-and-to-the-left of my right knee. I’m sure they have proper names. But for now, let’s just call them WOW 1 and WOW 2. There are actual muscles there! They moved. Real muscles. Not fake. Gob-smacking, jaw-dropping get-out-of-town real muscles. I haven’t felt the muscles there since The Camino in 2011.

It’s amazing how doing 15 minutes at the moment doesn’t feel hard enough. Maybe exerting myself can be my new addiction? Must up the ante tomorrow … or maybe Friday … when all the nuts are gone.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Oh, and here are some photos from today …

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Taken about 8.45am, on my walk to the bus

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It might be too hard to see, but on this little cleaning cart is a witch broom, just like in Harry Potter. They still use these stick brooms to clean the streets here

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A quick stroll along the Aare river in Bern

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Using English expressions is sometimes considered cool. The play on words with Aare/Are is part of a safety campaign for swimming in the glacial river, which runs very fast in summer when all the snow has made its way down from the mountains

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I think I may have found a good set of stairs to jog up. Looking up to the final part …

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… and looking back down to where I’d come from. A potential killer workout

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Walking across the Aare back into town. I’d been at a meeting in the building under the bridge, which was an old brewery. Sadly, no beers there now, just lots of fitness classes!

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Walking the road home. It’s amazing how quickly the snow has melted, after just two sunny days

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Icy fields

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And finally, the view that greeted me from home