Teenage Dirtbag

It’s already over 70 degrees outside on a Monday morning. There should therefore be a huge thunderstorm at some point in the next couple of days, ‘coz that’s how it works in the Estuary area. If it happens, there may well be standing around outside because I could do with getting soaked. Everything itches. I thought I’d escaped the worst of hay fever this year but BOY was I wrong. However, finally, my left ear is back to normal.

Today therefore, time to talk about moving forward.

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There is 5kg’s worth of fat on me that needs shifting. I can see it, and feel it: the importance of its removal has become wrapped up in an ability to prove to myself I can do hard work when it matters. I’m not setting a target date, but will make an effort. There’s other stuff that needs fixing too: personal things, shifts in axis that can’t all be done at once. You’ll grasp this when it’s done, with everything else.

For now, this is a busy week. I’ll finish off the last of my currently pinned poetry’s mirrored background gubbins this morning, then the last ten poems can go up. I’ve asked for two to be removed (and I’ll repin them when it happens) and then that’s it, the whole collection is ‘live’. I have then until Wednesday to get the last of the mirrored stuff up. That’s eminently doable in my time-frame.

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Kettle on, let’s roll.

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

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Once upon a time, two hours walking was my limit. It was a massive achievement to be able to do so and not stop for a rest, yet at the end be so tired that I’d need a lie down. Yesterday, it flew by. I was full of energy, really wasn’t aware I’d been out for so long. The key however, to showing a largely grey workout at this point is to state that I burnt nearly 500 calories on this task.

That’s the equivalent of a 45 minute Blaze class.

How it affects each individual body is different, of course, but this is a heart rate monitor recording and NOT your wrist. I stupidly managed to delete the Fitbit record of this walk, but it very much erroneously recorded it via a heart rate glitch at nearly 800 calories. The only truly reliable means of confirming effort is using a chest strap, for obvious reasons. The fact remains, however, two hours active is a bunch of work.

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I’ll be off to the Gym shortly: probably gonna do a HIIT run, lift weights and do core work. It is only by the process of continued effort that this level of fitness can be maintained, and I certainly have no desire to let anything drop going forward. Understanding that ALL exercise is beneficial however is the biggest takeaway from the last two months, and that my wrist monitor has other uses.

It may not be an accurate indicator of heart-rate, but the step count feature is what keeps errant brain on the straight and narrow. Knowing I need to move, completed 12k steps a day, got up once an hour and at least done something… those basics are the building blocks of long-term fitness. It stops distraction in other tasks, reminds that there needs to be thought and choices during your day.

The Fitbit really has been a life-changer, all told.

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However, right now I’m not wearing it. It’s charging, and occasionally it is liberating not to do a class with the perennial thrall of progress on your wrist. Here’s where wearable tech ultimately falls down: being permanently beholden to your step count can put some people off the benefits of being fitter by their own design. Learning to let go does happen over time, however: once you know you’re the one in charge…

It also helps that I’m not proving anything to anybody but myself when exercising.

Personal Jesus

Saturday. YAY.

The first brace of Southend poems are out in the wild. I’ll add a bunch more over the weekend, but there needs to be some additional photography done in the week to bring parts of the presentation on my side up to standard. My notional deadline is Wednesday to be done, allowing me four days to gear up for July and get a couple of things submitted for end of month deadlines.

Next month’s already looking packed. I’ll cope. For the first time in what is probably forever, the prospect of doing things is not phasing me. I am ready. It was tough yesterday though, fighting physical fatigue, getting all the poems up and ready. This is a different, uniquely different kind of stress that I’ve not previously experienced. Once upon a time I’d have just said ‘fuck it’ and not bothered.

A lot really has altered in six months.

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Today, I have to make a poster: I have a vague idea of how it’s gonna play out, and what’s involved in it, so husband can print it: a bunch of A4 and A3 frames will then be made up to hand over to those individuals who have inspired me in Blaze class. Sometimes it isn’t about what you take from an experience that matters. More often than not, giving back is far more significant. I’m looking forward to reactions.

This is going to be a day of learning.

Answers to Nothing

/points at new header.

This is a thing of awesomeness.

GO FOLLOW @QuelFabulous immediately. Honestly, you will not be disappointed by the content.

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I’ve come to a number of revelations this week: a smart Influencer would save each one up for a separate, damning series of posts, but I’m not here for your drive by fealty. Instead, it’s time to sum up the week in a series of five line paragraphs, just to prove that its possible. The biggest revelation, by some way, is that I don’t give a flying fuck about appearances any more. I’m here for the real members of humanity.

Asking people to give feedback based on what someone else perceives as an acceptable method of management is largely pointless. If you’re not prepared to engage in dialogue over the stuff others consider incorrect, your measurement system becomes redundant. There’s no point me turning up at the Members Forum with my list of issues, because it appears the majority of them are ingrained as company policy.

I have no desire to provide feedback any more, and its your fault.

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However, I do completely love the group of people I have pitched up within, and last night realised that the method of exercise has become secondary when compared to those taking part. Everybody is different, but they are all special and brilliant and therefore I will be printing and framing my Blaze poem for everyone who gets a mention for eternity in the verse. People need to know how much they matter.

They also need to understand that they are the arbiters of real, lasting change in their communities. Hopefully, by the process of inclusion, others will feel the desire to explore their own possibilities with more interest: how they operate under pressure, how they react to stress and confrontation. Kindness really does need to be the norm in more places, but only if people are prepared to listen to reason.

These changes matter far more than I first realised was the case.

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You can be emotional and reasonable. It is possible to be angry and coherent: you don’t have to grab a woman by the throat to escort them out of a room. There is a lot to be said for understanding the significance of appropriate response, especially in contentious or difficult situations. However, if more people did their homework, it would be remarkably easy to spot the wankers in the room.

You can do that yourself: read people’s feeds and don’t just rely on other people’s responses to you. Check their followers, see what they’re ingesting as news and current affairs. Most crucially however understand that you can be different AND STILL GET ON, but it requires a level of give and take that most people simply aren’t prepared to offer any more.

Imagine what would happen if famous people read the feeds of their online champions and realised that sometimes, what you are given is not the whole truth.

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The truth is never exactly as you think it is.

Question

I was tagged today by MSB Life in a meme/quiz thing with a staggering 73 questions. I’m looking for a way to wake up/organise myself for the day ahead. I have never done anything like this before. It seems like a good time to start.

Here we go.

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1. What is your usual Starbucks order?

Starbucks is the Devil’s work: don’t tell anyone however but they do the best Berry Bircher pot and a wicked sideline in mini Caramel Waffles. Mostly, as a rule, I don’t do coffee or tea from chains because I think it is a phenomenal waste of money. I have a kettle at home and teabags. What else should I desire?

2: What does your workstation look like?

This is the tidiest I’ve been for a while, if truth be told. However, there is paperwork to sort and stuff to cancel and that pile of papers over there can be shred now. Mostly I’m looking at my To Do List and finding ways to avoid tackling it, which is why I’m here, doing this list.

3: Favourite Food?

You will never beat a good salad, especially a decently constructed Nicoise or Caesar. I had a late night Nicoise in a Paris hotel about a decade ago and it was legitimately the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my life. Made fresh, served into your hand with warm and cold ingredients side by side? FOOD OF WIN.

4: Favourite Author?

Iain Banks by a country mile. Still miss you, mate, you were the best.

5: What do you think of open relationships?

They will always at some point end up being closed, and therefore it is probably a good idea that you set your ground rules appropriately. I have many thoughts on these things, but a 73 point survey is probably not the place to discuss that. Also, always use protection, kids.

6: What is your favourite video game?

All the ones I’ve played over 40 years have been my favourites. Yes, amazingly, that’s how long I’ve been playing games. It may come as a surprise to some of you that nope, not gonna say Warcraft, because amazingly playing summat for over a decade doesn’t make it something you appreciate, it makes it a job, and that’s a different mindset I now realise. Probably Lucasfilm’s ‘The Dig’ I reckon. This was the overall list as of a year ago.

7: Guilty pleasure treat?

Stroopwaffels. Thanks Dutch mates for that.

8: Favourite movie?

Too many to mention, but here’s 10 I picked earlier.

9: Favourite book?

The Bridge by Iain Banks. Read it, then I’ll tell you why it matters so much.

10: Twitter or Instagram?

I’ve got both, but Instagram is STILL FACEBOOK REALLY and as I’ve not touched that place for several years now, the desire to become overly invested is not really happening. It’s never really happened though one assumes that should I actually make headway as a writer, it will be useful to reach the Facebook brigade I refuse to engage with otherwise. So, Twitter. Well duh.

11: Desktop or Laptop?

Don’t care. Whichever closet to play/write on works fine.

12: Best advice you have ever received?

Always know where the exits are.

13: What project are you working on right now?

End of the Fear: a poetry project I should be doing RIGHT NOW but instead I am here, writing this, as the ultimate form of procrastination, for which I am actually rather grateful.

14: Favourite colour?

Pantone 3543 C.

15: Did you get good grades in school?

Yes, embarrassingly good student. This is probably why I failed so hard as a human being for decades afterwards.

16: Dream job?

THIS IS MY DREAM JOB I’m doing it right now. When someone turns and says ‘This is Sarah, she’s a Poet’ that is NEVER GETTING OLD. Also, for the record, poetry is whatever the fuck you want it to be. Don’t listen to the naysayers. I have the lyrics to this song pinned on my wall as a reminder, honestly, poetry IS WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.

17: Play any sports?

Badminton with my daughter. I can lift 50 kg, planning on 80kg (body weight) going forward. I watch and listen to a phenomenal amount of sport too. Absolutely LOVE sports on the radio.

18: Do you have a degree?

2:1 in Radio, Film and Television Studies and English. The order of that is crucial.

19: Nationality?

British, European. Remainer. Recently politically curious.

20: What is your favourite kind of blog post?

ALL OF THEM, just write stuff every day.

73 Questions

21: What do you like to collect?

Personal, hand made things, because consumerism is destroying the planet and yes, I just typed that and 100% meant it.

22: Describe yourself in three words?

Ageing Renaissance Person.

23: If you were a rapper what would your stage name be?

Fuk-Yew.

24: Who was the last person you DM-ed?

My mate Liz, who might be in my town next week. I need to DM Julia coz we’ve not spoken for ages, and I still feel bad for forgetting her birthday. I do very little chat on the social medias like this, if truth be told. I don’t work well in this format. I ALSO DETEST PHONE CALLS. I was not really built for modern life.

25: What’s on top of your wish list right now?

Sub 80 kilos in weight and staying there.

26: Sorting house?

Hufflepuff. I’m not really a fan.

27: How many tattoos do you have?

Tramp stamp. Chinese character for ‘purple’.

28: What are you most grateful for this year?

Good health and injury free.

29: What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?

Shortlisted for a short story prize. YAY.

30: What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?

Forgetting to make my breakfast shake yesterday and having to eat this bowl of cereal instead.

31: What’s the best thing ever?

Happiness (see above). Except no substitutes.

32: Favourite season?

Autumn, because birthday and conkers and mellow fruitfulness and bouquets of fresh smelling pencils.

33: Favourite holiday?

New York. Could live there very easily, but the current regime bothers me a great deal and so maybe not right now. Italy was awesome, even with vehicle accidents. On reflection, all holidays are awesome because I get to be somewhere else.

34: What fictional character do you relate to the most?

007. That’s a blog post for another day.

35: Do you like surprises?

I love good ones, but they very rarely happen.

36: What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had?

Winning my first writing contest and being published as a result.

37: Which surprise made you cry?

An iPad for Christmas when I was promised exercise gear.

38: What’s the best surprise you’ve given someone else?

Secret Cinema for my mate Julia which happens next month.

39: Do you like muffins?

Savoury yes, sweet not so much. I’d far rather have a nice slice of cake or a bun, if truth be told. In fact, I could murder a Malborough Bun right now…

40: Do you cook often?

Not really as much as anybody would like. I still need to do more of it, though last week we did have fresh pancakes two days in a row, so that might be considered as progress. Our oven does get a phenomenal amount of use though.

41: What’s your favourite dessert?

Dessert, except right now I’m not really there because trying to shift that last stubborn 3 kilos of fat.

42: Is there a dessert you don’t like?

What kind of stupid fucking question is that?

43: Cake or pie?

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44: What’s your least favourite food?

Anything overly processed, so that’s a very long list right now…

45: What’s your favourite condiment?

Salad cream gets a tough rap and so utterly does not deserve it.

46: It’s 4am on a random Saturday. What are you eating?

Fuck that, I’m sleeping. Half the world’s problems right now all revolve around stuffing our faces when we should be unconscious. Get your priorities straight, people!

47: If you could teach a college class, what would it be called?

What Are We, REALLY? A Guide to Truly Understanding Yourself.

48: Best animated film?

No idea. Honestly, could not tell you because I enjoy the genre so much as a whole. Making people choose favourites is divisive, just so we’re clear.

49: What has a guy said or done to impress you?

I’ve been married for 33 years to the guy who, on our first date, had a penis-shaped beer-stain on his jumper and burnt me with his cigarette. Honestly, these kind of questions are ridiculous. You want to impress someone? Be kind, polite, and respect them.

50: Best thing to do on a first date?

Not call it a first date.

51: Worst thing to do on a first date?

Make a big thing of it.

52: What’s the best pick up line?

I’m not answering this question: you don’t pick people up, it is a complex process that takes sometimes years to perfect. Don’t be a dick.

53: Best comic book character?

No, I don’t have a favourite, and I’d most certainly never use it as a password hint if I did.

54: Name three things which can always be found in your purse?

I carry a fucking huge backpack, the days of attractive, tiny handbags have long since passed. I can’t fit a notebook and a selection of writing implements in a tiny handbag, so that’s no use to anybody. Plus, if you’d seen the size of my phonecase… I always have Polos. Cheap, quick sugar fix and nobody gets hurt.

55: Favourite drink?

Tea, bucket size, honey sweetened. Milk. Metaphor for consent.

56: If you could play a historical character in a movie who would it be?

Emily Wilding Davison.

57: Kittens or puppies?

Both. This is a no-brainer.

58: Favourite sushi roll?

Maki. I’ll eat anything except California rolls, as I am now laughably Avocado intolerant thanks to the removal of my gallbladder. Curse you Keto dieting!

59: What lipstick do you use?

I have not worn makeup since I got married 20 years ago.

60: What foundation do you use?

See 59.

61: Blow dry or air dry?

Sleep on it overnight and I end up looking like Crystal Tipps.

62: Who is your fashion icon?

Marilyn Monroe.

63: Favourite Disney Character?

Maleficent.

64: What are you doing tomorrow?

Getting a much needed lie in and then doing more poetry work.

65: Movie you laughed the hardest through?
66: Movie that made you cry?

I don’t remember stuff like this, but can say comprehensively that yes I’ve laughed and cried at films, because if they’re made well that’s what they’re supposed to do. No, I don’t remember details. As someone else for a Netflix recommendation, I can’t help you.

67: If you could sing a duet with anybody, who would you choose?

Neil Hannon.

68: If your life was a song what would the title be?

Better at the End.

69: What’s your favourite animal?

Okay, if you’re the kind of person who has a favourite animal, I think probably we’re the kind of people who will only ever be polite acquaintances. If you can’t love everything for what it is, who are you even, and yes I mean spiders and nasty shit too because that’s the bountiful wonder of nature.

70: Favourite illustrator?

Too many to mention, and that’s the way it should be. Go follow everybody on Twitter who draws summat you like, and then tell them how good you think they are.

71: Person you’d like to have coffee with?

Daniel Craig. I would be really good and not stare, and I promise faithfully just to ask sensible, objective questions, though I might afterwards have a total freakout moment and then pass out. I won’t know until it actually happens, I suppose…

72: What country would you like to visit?

Spain. Madrid or Barcelona, followed by Ireland and Dublin.

73: Best way to decompress?

Amazingly, doing a 73 point quiz has had an amazingly therapeutic effect. Normally I’d have just gone and run on a treadmill for an hour. This is worth noting for later.


I really enjoyed that.

Thank you, Millie <3

Rubber Bullets

Yesterday was a bit of a test, of a few things as it happens, and all of them seem to have passed off pretty well.

Daughter is back at school, and it was exactly the right choice not to send her yesterday. I’ll be getting on with poetry today, which is a bit of a relief really because I’ve missed it, all told. More importantly, there’s good news: I’ve been shortlisted for something I wasn’t expecting at all. The writing continues to progress, in all its forms. That’s a real source of celebration, yesterday there was cake as a result.

I think we’ll make that a tradition going forward.

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I’d better shut up and get on with it, then.

Give Me the Night

Nothing to say yesterday. I played games with my daughter, we made pancakes, and generally a lot of fun was had. Oh yeah, and exercise.

First bit was a 20 minute HIIT session on the treadmill (2 mins walk 1 min run) followed by a bunch of balance stuff on the Bosu and then some TRX core work. Basically, it’s all about effective maintenance between sessions (PT today) and making sure I’m active whenever possible. The step count slid last week for obvious reasons: I’ll walk to and from the Gym today to get back on track.

Still not really unpacked last week either. It’ll happen, but not today.

I’ve had lots of thoughts about gaming this week, many of which will be kept to myself. Those I am prepared to share are around Terraria, the game I’m playing with my daughter’s help, and how therapeutic that’s been for both of us in the last few weeks. Needless to say, the lack of stress over missing out on something or having to constantly grind something else to stay relevant is not at all missed.

This week is poetry editing and working out what I work on next in a literary sense. I already have two projects earmarked that will take me through to September: all that needs to happen now is for me to organise myself to make it happen. There are other things as well, and once I’ve got some web-pages sorted and poems uploaded, we’ll work on them. Everything in that regard is well under control.

I just have to get on with it.