Happy-ish New Year?

Oh my goodness….

How long has it been since we updated this blog? Let me start with cleaning up the cobwebs and wipe this surface over here so I can sit down and tell you all what has happened to us the past couple of months. Assuming any of you want to know what’s going on to us…

First of all… we just came back from this journey across the country to visit the in-laws. It was definitely a dedication which was paid off when I had that huge spoonful of traditional British Sherry Trifle — apparently from the family recipe handed down to Grumpy’s stepmum from her grandmother.

I wish Grumpy had as much fun as I did, but I know he did not. He has not been well for awhile, and we still are not sure why. I think one of the the reasons was the weather. We had one of the worst, coldest, wettest winter for the past couple of years. At least since I came to this country…

To be honest, last year was probably not the best year for us. Our highlights of the year was probably the most wonderful trip to Hungary. And, of course we are planning for another visit, but probably not in foreseeable future.

And suddenly new year came.

Most of the time I embrace new year with optimism and hope, and all the things that are encouraging. But somehow, it is so difficult to do that… I hope when the sun come out in the end of this winter, Grumpy will be on board with me with this optimism thing.

On that optimistic note… I wish you all a very happy new year. I don’t care if it’s 6 days too late, because… better late than never.

Until next time,

xx

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The Rules

I like watching NCIS. Grumpy introduced me to this series few years ago, and we’ve been watching it since. The rerun, the new one, everything. Sometimes, I even remember the whole plot just to watch the first three minutes of the episode… but I watch it anyway. The same applies when I watch Agatha Christie’s Poirot with David Suchet as Poirot, or Miss Marple for that matter… I think they’ve done the characters really well.

Back to NCIS, without any intention to spoil anything, there is Gibbs. He’s the main hero of the show — the old guy who does his thing, and does it well. I have to say that if you think about it, Gibbs is just an average guy, he’s not on the top of the pyramid, but he’s still the boss for a lot of brilliant agents. He’s not the one with the ultimate power to make it happen, but he can still tell his people what to do without having to do everything himself. And we like this guy…

One thing about Gibbs that I like the most is his set of “Gibbs’ Rules”. Gibbs lives by the set of rules such as: never ever screw over your partner, or never get personally involved to a case. I like that a lot. I think everybody needs to learn from Gibbs about this rule-making business. I believe that everybody needs a set of rules for their lives — in fact, I have been trying to write down some rules for myself too (but that’s for much later).

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Why, though? I heard you asked, why would you need to make rules?

Like I said just now, I think people needs to have a set of rules. Of course we don’t need to make rules for every single little thing we do in life, but we definitely need some ground rule to follow. Imagine a manual book… Every proper machine comes with a manual book, shame that we don’t when we were born. But we can write one, can’t we?

True that we don’t need that manual book for everything. We don’t always refer to our smartphone manual book every time we turn it on, or make a phone call, do we? We turn to manual book when things go wrong. We turn to our manual book when things are not what they are supposed to be. We use the information in the manual book to troubleshoot, and I think that’s exactly the set of rules should be done.

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Gibbs rule “never ever leave without a knife”, for example. Is a very practical rule that he could always refer to — as a ex-marine, that makes sense. My dad has his own rule too, almost similar to Gibbs “always have cash with you”. Very practical, and have saved us several times from the embarrassment of broken card machine. I am pretty sure these two wise gentlemen have learned from life before coming to these rules.

I am still writing my rules… I believe my father is still revising his everyday too. I can tell you one of my rules, though: “never go shopping with empty stomach”. What do you think about that?

The Pursuit Of Betterness

I think a lot of people don’t want to admit that they want things to get Better. Saying that we want things to be better means admitting that what we’ve got today is not good enough. It’s good… but not enough.

Some people who think that making things better is just a means to feed our vanity — they might think of something trivial like: the fridge in your kitchen is not big enough, even the kitchen where the fridge is is not spacious enough. The waistline is not slim enough, the thigh gap is not far enough. The muscle is not tough enough, and you can’t run fast enough. The hair is not fluffy enough, the skin is not smooth enough.

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I need a new phone, by the way…

But I think making things better is more than getting better things. It is a sense of improvement. You might not need a bigger kitchen, but you could eat better food — tastier, more wholesome, something that actually makes you feel good about yourself better than frozen pizza. You might not need to slim down, but you live better life — getting rid of pot belly, reducing the risk of getting an early hip or knee cap replacement, or having the chance to breathe normally because your lungs are not squeezed by the visceral fats.

You don’t need to have get more money on your bank account (as good as it sounds), but you can still have a better financial security — paying off debts, everything’s insured, retirement plan’s sorted. You don’t need to be an athlete, but you can get fit– walk to the city or bike to work, or simply keep away the pints until the fun weekend with your buddies. I mean, there are plenty of ways to get better… but not many people likes it.

As one of the sanest people I have known in life, a lot of people don’t like you to get better, because it reminds them of how their life is — not good enough. It scares people because if you get better, you will raise the standard what is considered okay. It is like one student in your class that others hated so much because she (or he, but usually a she) would always over-achieve and tip the balance of mediocrity in your classroom — the one who would always hold up the recess time, and get you and your friends extra homework because your teacher used her as the class benchmark. The one that others secretly envy…

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I am short, so this is still within my healthy BMI

When I lost a lot of weight after changing my habit, a lot of people where I came from started to make comment about me over doing it. Of course some of them have a genuine concern because eating disorder is a legit thing to be concern about. But some just don’t like it because it means theis acceptable size would have to change too. Like a lot of ladies thinking that having a woman with healthy BMI as a bikini model is bad because it makes other women feels pressurised to be… in that healthy BMI.

What’s wrong with it?

What’s wrong with wanting to be better?

Ah… I think I need to apologise for not being able to understand. Maybe it’s just because I am an alien. Sometimes it takes longer to understand one thing than the other. Maybe I just need to go back observing food than human’s Lifestyle

Control

I just learned about this thing called Daily Prompt. I think this is a brilliant thing to have. I think the idea is very similar to word of the day (it is “dox”, just in case you want to know), the difference is that with Daily Prompt, the word is given as the topic of the day, for you to write something. I think it is awesome, as it is not only work as a challenge, but also giving an idea of what to write when you practically have nothing to write.

A couple of days ago, I participated when the word was “yarn”, of course on my other blog where I posted a lot about my knitting projects. I mean, it is almost an insult not to participate in that particular topic, isn’t it?

Today’s word, is apparently ” Control“.

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I’ve struggled to decide whether I like yarn or control better. I think both are in my list of my favourite things — for different reason, but funnily enough could be related to each other. How? Well… Yarn sale makes me lose control, and when I try to maintain control, I would have to let go of some of my yarns… How’s that for confusing?

However, if I have to choose, I will definitely choose to be in control. I have experienced the moment where I don’t have control with things that happened in my life, and it was horrible. However it was also then, when I learned that even when I can’t control the situation surrounding me, there’s always one thing that I can take control over.

Myself.

Maybe it was that time when I started to get a little bit over the top with self-discipline, taking notes of what I eat, keeping up with my personal budget, making plans and making sure that the plans are executed properly… It gives me the sense of safety. Maybe it was why I don’t like it when I’ve been told that the plan is “to go with the flow”, or last-minute cancellation, or someone comes to visit unannounced while I have a plan to be a hermit for the day…

Some might say that I am a control freak. I don’t think so.

I don’t see anything wrong with being organised. I think it is completely logical not to put ourselves in a situation where things could just go entirely wrong. And, really, wouldn’t it give you this sense of victory when you can take an ultimate control of your body and mind

Well… for me it does. AND, if it makes me a control freak, I don’t mind at all.

Weekends…

Weekends are usually one of these two things. Either it would be the most productive days of the week — when you do everything that you’ve planned the whole weekdays, such as getting the allotment plot cleared, weeding the flower border, baking three different bread in the kitchen (just because you can), writing seven chapter of what soon will become the next bestseller… or even have a lot of walking and grocery shopping for the week ahead.

Or, you turn into the most useless creature of the planet. Glued to the sofa, watching the daytime weekend TV program (which is essentially the dumbed down version of the daytime weekdays TV program), and munching the content of the sharing pack of crisps yourself. Sometimes, if you can be bothered, you might make some effort to brush the crumbs from your clothes…

But whichever it is…

Weekends are the best because you can be alone.

I don’t know about most of you, but socialising is not really my favourite thing to do.

While some people get energised by being among the crowd, I found it makes me very uncomfortable and tiring. I could spend the whole day cleaning the gunk and grease from the oven, and feel very cheerful by dinner time, but I will be completely wasted after two hours of having a constant conversation. That’s probably why I am not a good host for any visiting guests.

Anyway… It is going to be a long weekend — they call it bank holiday weekend here.

I kind of hope it is going to be a fun and productive weekend, but nobody knows. Who knows I will wake up tomorrow morning with a nasty spring flu (a.k.a terrible terrible hayfever reaction), and couldn’t even be bothered to even step out my front door. Hey! That’s not a bad idea. I could stay at home and write some more, or finish another knitting project…

Right… see you again soon.

x

P.S do

 Smoking…

This is more of a personal rant. A very personal rant.

Hands up how many readers think I’m going to complain about smokers

Nope.

It’s my (dramatic cliché —> ) constant battle to damn well  Stop. 

Seriously, it’s starting to really piss me off.

a bit of background… it all started when I was about 14 or 15 years old. I was a fat bastard in those days – 15 stone. 40+ inch waist. I literally couldn’t see my feet (yup, I was the precursor for childhood obesity before it became trendy in the UK). I used to be very moral about smoking. It was “against the rules” and a very silly thing to do. I did hang around the smokers at school at break time, simply because it made me feel vaguely popular. More so since I was usually the lookout for roaming teachers who always tried to catch the smokers. I never succumbed to peer pressure then, nor did I have any inclination to smoke.

But then, later….. My neighbour, an 18 year old guy, thought that it would be fun to help me lose weight by running so he suggested that we go jogging around some local woodland (ha! Sounds creepy doesn’t it? Different times!).

Predictably I was pretty screwed after 5 mins of jogging. As I sat on a tree stump, doubled over and wheezing like a set of rotten bellows, my neighbour offered me a cigarette.

“it will help you breath better”, he said.

I’m pretty sure that I was so screwed by the jogging attempt that I didn’t know if it was the “exercise” or the cigarette that made me feel sick. Either way I think that my condition freaked him out enough for him to call it a day.

Later the next day I was round said neighbours – he had his mates round and inevitably the fags were passed around. I remember that I was lying on the floor watching TV when my neighbour said “give one to him, he smokes now”.

Oh god.

I really didn’t want one. It was the first ever time I totally caved into peer pressure. The first puff made me feel sick and light headed. I desperately tried to smoke without inhaling, to hold the cigarette point-down so it would burn faster, and to take as little puffs as possible before I could politely stub it out.

In retrospect I think that my neighbour was a cruel bastard and he thought that it was funny to watch a kid get sick from smoking.

Anyway…. that was the start. From then on I went from occasionally blagging a fag from my school mates, to buying my first pack. For years I was a kind of “part time” smoker. I would make a pack last for ages and I would only lightly inhale.

Fast forward 30 odd years and I had turned into an addict and a very heavy smoker.

What really annoys me is that not only am I trying to deal with the physical addiction, I also seem to have trouble breaking the routine. “ill just have a quick smoke” seems to be so ingrained in my lifestyle that its really really hard to cut out. It annoys me more that I know this and yet I cannot say “bugger this, I don’t need it” and stop totally.

One positive thing though….

for some reason that I’m yet to fathom, I decided to try to quit (again!) at the start of this year. This time I admitted that “I have a problem” (almost 50g of baccy per week!) and enrolled in the NHS stop smoking thing. Had a chat with the advisor and we decided to roll out the big guns and put me on “champix” – the pill that apparently dulls the brain form screaming for nicotine.

It did work rather well and although my mind was in a weird place while I was on the pills (cold turkey plus the inherent effects of the pills), I managed to stick with the programme and fight the addiction. After a month and a bit I has myself a sneaky puff and… yeuck! Tasted horrible!

Eventually the pills ran out.

…the addiction and/or routine has started to creep back.

Now, this is not an excuse, more of a reason: recently I have been through some very stressful life-events (more * drama * ) and I went from the very occasional couple of puffs to full-on smoking like there is no tomorrow. All but two “stress events” have passed and been dealt with and now I’m finding myself in difficulties trying to say no to my urges.

Gonna have to try to pull out the stops this coming week and put a brake on the smoky thing.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I woke this morning and had a sneaky cigarette. I hated it and it pissed me off., made me grumpy at myself…. then I remembered this blog and thought that id have a rant.

Bah!