Enjoy Life Now

Hooray it’s April. The month that finally signals Winter is over and Spring has arrived. From now on, it’s longer and warmer days. Time to enjoy yourself. But we should always try to enjoy ourselves no matter what is happening. Indeed, if you don’t try to find contentment in everything you do then you are going to end up with lots of regrets. I was reminded this week how much I need to appreciate what is happening now as well as how I regret not chilling more and having fun in previous times.

This week began with a bank holiday: the last day of Easter though me and Dave are still getting through our Easter eggs. You can read about what I did for the rest of Easter in my previous blog here. Also Monday was the first day of the month so ‘Pinch, punch, first of the month, bagsy no returns’ and changing all the calendars.

Didn’t do anything major on Bank Holiday Monday but that’s the point of days off to my way of thinking. However, it’s also been a week of on and off rain. Yep, we’ve had the occasional burst of sunshine and it’s definitely not cold. But there are showers and it feels like we haven’t had a period without rain for quite a while.

Spring - trees in blossom

Enjoying time together with mum

Another week making sure mum is OK and comfortable, as free as possible from the pain and discomfort she feels. No hospital appointments – hooray. Though stuff at the GP’s. I also sorted out some admin stuff for her. Then my brother took mum to see her grandson on Friday which she enjoyed and it was a nice break for me. But I do enjoy being with mum. Yes she can be a bit cranky but you need to appreciate your parents while you can.

Dave in moderniser mode

Hooray, I didn’t have to wait in for Dave’s new fridge freezer to be delivered on Wednesday. Rather I could enjoy my session at the gym then time with mum. He definitely needed a new fridge freezer as the old one sounded like it was trying to get airborne and the freezer had stopped working. But the new appliance is very large, I’m not sure he needed one quite so large but who am I to judge (as the Pope said!)

We are now moving onto a decorating phase where he plans to do up his bedroom. I have stored a lot of stuff at his place. Especially things bought during my collecting / hoarding days. Main thing is books which I am trying to slim down but there are still plenty left. The plan is for the decoration to start next week.

Friends from the distant past: I should have chilled more

Two welcome incidents this week where friends from a long time ago were in contact. First, some people I knew from secondary school were meeting for a reunion. They would remember me as the crazy 17 year old who came out at school and then the shit hit the fan. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it but hopefully next time.

Second, I was contacted by my friend Chris from my university / student union days. He contacted me to highlight that someone we both knew was in an item on the TV about ABBA. I look back at my time at school and university to think how much easier life was then. But I definitely should have chilled and enjoyed myself more. Perhaps that’s a salient message for now.

Stunning half naked man - how could you not smile?

Gym: Two decent workouts but an injury?

I love going to the gym; into the zone and I have to make sure I stop without going on for too long. Due to the bank holiday, I only managed to get to the gym on Tuesday and Friday morning. Both good sessions though.

I was going to go on Thursday morning but gave myself a break. Not least as I’ve still got a niggling pain / uncomfortable feeling in my groin. I’ve convinced myself it’s a muscle strain and will get better with rest plus exercises to strengthen my muscles. It is useful in that when I am working out I make sure that I don’t do anything that specifically antagonises it.

dumbells in the gym

Swim: Not my favourite but important

I don’t enjoy swimming as much as going to the gym. But I know swimming is an excellent exercise not least as you have to deal with the resistance of the water. I can actually get into the zone when I swim and just keep on. Not good, I need to do sufficient that I feel challenged but not over-exerted. 20 lengths is fine mainly doing front-crawl and back-stroke.

swimming pool lanes

Weight: Keeping it down

I know when I am over-eating and last week I deliberately tried to control my food intake. In particular, I’ve realised it works better for me if I eat bigger at lunchtime and less in the evening. Result is that I am back to a comfortable weight firmly under 13 stone. I’m enjoying the fact that I look less fat but I’m not sure I can get much lower without starving myself.

INR: Stability

To the doc’s on Wednesday to get my blood clotting level checked. It’s a rigmarole that you have to do when you take Warfarin. INR below 2.0 and you are prone to clotting. INR above 3.0 and you are prone to internal bleeding. This reading can be very unstable but for the last few checks I have been really steady. And that was the case again this time, right in the middle of where it should be and 10 weeks before I have to re-attend – joy!

warfarin tablets

‘User’ by Bruce Benderson and the Velvet Page Book Club

This book is an interesting one. It’s classic gay literature focused around sex, drugs, crime, drag, and AIDS. Written in the mid-90s but reissued and selling well. It really harks back to the anarchic punk New York that existed in the Seventies and Eighties. It focuses on a handful of (under-investigated) characters primarily a prostitute, the bouncer he assaults, and the latter’s son. In many ways, it’s a sort of novel that aims to grab your attention and hold it through shock value (in a similar way to an author like Dennis Cooper).

We had a very good discussion about it at the Velvet Page Book Club which is the point of such gatherings. I liked the book in the sense that it pushes boundaries and takes people to a world most don’t know about or avoid. But I had two major reservations. First, it is a bit ‘poverty porn’. We lust after the gorgeous men and envy their sexual ‘freedom’. But drugs and homelessness are not nice and this book didn’t dwell on sleeping on cardboard, shitting yourself, not being able to wash, nor dealing with infections like scabies and lice.

Second, I did feel uncomfortable with this book being almost totally about black and mixed race people whilst having been written by a white man. At the book club, some people had investigated Benderson further particularly finding out more about him via interviews – his Wiki page is here. Apparently the book was in large part based on real-life experience. I’m not sure it’s a novel that would be written now but I am intrigued by the writer and want to investigate more of his writings.

Male body art

Late Night With the Devil

Really nice to go to the cinema with Dave on Friday lunchtime after the gym. I do like a good horror movie and this one from Australia has a good buzz about it. TBH, the story is a bit well worn. It’s about a TV programme that does a feature on the supernatural and ends up being disrupted by evil spirits. It’s very similar to the story line for the cult TV episode of Ghostwatch that appeared on British TV in 1992.

It’s really not Dave’s type of film being totally free of singing and dancing plus no happy ending. But I really enjoyed it though it’s not that scary. What is brilliant is the way they recreate a TV programme from the Seventies. The styling and way people conducted themselves is just so reminiscent. Not perfect but a far more fun time than ‘All of Us Strangers’ that we saw the other week (though as Dave says, there’s more sexy people in the latter).

red demon head with horns

QPR: Head in the hands moment

So we are clear of the relegation zone but not totally safe yet largely due to a great win against Swansea on Bank Holiday Monday. Thus, Saturday’s match against fellow struggles Sheffield Wednesday was important. And we blew it. Losing 2-0 at home, it showed what a lazy team we can be. Basically the players thought they could chill. Well you can’t until you win at least another couple of games. It amazes me how much footballers are paid and sometimes how much they don’t put the effort in.

Head in hands

A nice bit of French

Haven’t written about my daily language learning for a while. Doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Rather I am still enjoying doing it every day on Duolingo and making slow progress. My focus has been Spanish and German. But I’ve also started doing French simply because I did this at O level (shows my age, what came before GCSEs) so I already have some foundation knowledge of the language.

  • Dave’s in decorating mode so I need to be patient but encouraging
  • As I enjoy it, I will be going to the gym at least twice next week and swimming once. It’s quite hard to fit exercise in plus rest days in-between. Are these really necessary?
  • No medical appointments for mum (at the moment) so hopefully we can just enjoy some time together. Though I really would like to get her out for a walk.
  • Looking forward to meeting mine and Dave’s friends Cedric and Alan on Wednesday for lunch
  • Should finish my latest reading book (‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’ by Shehan Karunatilaka) and move onto a couple of new ones
  • Moved the physio appointment about my Achilles from Friday (so I could go to the cinema) and it’s next Friday now. May be time to end these sessions.
  • Two matches this week and QPR have made them important by screwing up on Saturday. We choose whether to make our lives easy or hard for ourselves.
How awesome the sky is

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