Panic

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I’m going to admit that the last week’s been tougher than any I can remember for a while. Mentally I’ve had some really complex issues bubbling along in the background, and it has meant I’m now behind with Patreon work. The problem mostly has manifested in creativity (or the total lack of it) and having to write content when there is neither inspiration nor ability to do so. However, I am at least now up to date with Pledges and promised stuff, and so today the plan is simple: get as much done as I can before shoving myself back on track. It will help considerably that school begins on Tuesday, thus returning a large portion of the day when I don’t need to worry about other people requiring my assistance.

In fact, yesterday was so bad I took myself out of the house for a long walk in local woods as a way to detach from the issues and to try and find some equilibrium. I feel a lot more comfortable this morning as a result, and hopefully this will allow a measure of organization to break out across Sunday. It will help enormously that I have everything ready to go in at leas some pre-planned state, including all the content for the next 10 days. There’s some vital back end work that need to take place too and once I can get my head around that, everything will become a lot easier.

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I never realised how much work would be involved in the Patreon, and now I have a measure of it I’m happy to admit where I fail. It is a reasonably easy task to get myself back on track too, and all it needs is a good morning’s worth of effort and then an afternoon of application and I’m ready to go again. I’m sad I didn’t pick up more Patrons last month but I have some new people on board and that is enough until everything returns to a semblance of normality. Then I really need to spend some time making space in the house for stuff and clearing out things I don’t need. I started in the early Summer and it was never finished to my satisfaction.

Space isn’t being used nearly as effectively as it should be, and I need to fix that as a matter of priority. I’m going out on a bike ride early today instead of late, to make the most of adrenaline. Lots of things are being shifted about and reassessed in the hope that this will improve the situation. If I wanted any indicator of the fact things are different, last night’s sleep record has me waking only once. It’s the first time I have done so for several months. In fact, I feel more refreshed waking up this morning than I have for quite some time.

Time to capitalise.

Come and See Me

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Slowly but surely, I am unpicking the issues that constrict my life.

Yesterday was an evening Gym session, because there was so much work to do here, and stepping on the Octane I wondered if I’d even manage one mile, so tired did I feel. Then I stopped my brain and rationalised: a mile is six minutes.ย Pick the right track on your playlist and that will fly by. Find something that makes you feel positive, preferably something you used as a writing prompt. I’m beginning to grasp how many other people live vicariously through their wish fulfilment (whether it be art, music or writing) and last night, it was the Bond fanfic music prompts that not only got me through three miles of Octane as a warm up, but another three kilometres of High Impact Intensity Training (300 metres walking, 200 meters running at 9 kph.) I’ve never done HIIT for that long before, my legs give out after 2.5k pretty much consistently. However, when I got there last night, something was different.

Steamed Broccoli with Dark Soy Sauce, Peanut Butter Flatbread.

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Last night, I felt I had it in my legs. Suddenly, breathing at 9kph has become less of a fight and more a rhythm. The first 200 meters is always hard but after that, it was simply instinct. I’ve only felt this way once before and that was before I was ill, the brilliant Sunday before it all went wrong on the Monday evening, and it occurs to me that it is diet that has as much to do with this as anything else. Yesterday was very intentionally virtuous, not simply for the photo opportunity. I can eat well, if it is planned, and routine is the key. It is when that organisation slips that I go backwards, and that extends not simply to exercise but into all aspects of my current working life.

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Post it Notes are keeping me sane, helping pull together all the disparate strands of existence. I’ve stuck the most used ones to card, ‘laminated’ over pencil with sticky tape to remind of what happens each day, making sure I keep to the programme. Eventually one hopes I can throw the card away because those messages will become ingrained, but for now they’re a part of a handful of magic feathers. It’s the same principle as getting through six minutes exercise: with the right prompt, things will take less time than you realise. I tried this yesterday, with a bunch of tasks that would normally take an afternoon. I gave myself two hours to complete everything.

Amazingly, it worked: not because I’ve become super efficient overnight either. This project succeeded because I stopped procrastinating and just did the fucking work. Of course there will be days when this doesn’t happen but, for now, mental ability saved the day. Old me, the one who’d eat a snack and then browse Social media and then get sucked into a rabbit hole, is still alive and well, but right now they’re no use in the timescales available. I need this version of Me to survive right now. Once everything is done I can let that part of the consciousness out again.

Until then, let’s just keep working.

Review :: WONDER WOMAN

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There is a scene, in the new Wonder Woman movie, where Gal Gadot’s character walks into a room of politicians arguing over the merits of war and peace, and the whole place goes quiet when it not only becomes apparent she’s there, but that this is unacceptable. Setting this movie within the War to End all Wars is not only apposite as we remember these events a hundred years on. It highlights the truth that it has not been very long at all since women were considered as second class citizens, and that to fight was a man’s preserve. Into this comes an innocent, Diana’s character not simply a fish out of water but with no real conception of this ‘World of Men.’ That’s exactly what it is: women are bit parts, secretaries and set dressing, yet every woman’s part in this cinematic version of early 20th Century Earth has both substance and significance. It is especially encouraging to see a villain in female form, but I’m not spoiling plot here. That’s crucial to your enjoyment of this movie: go see it cold. Don’t binge on spoilers beforehand because they will lessen your enjoyment so very much.

This movie has so much to lend to it in positives, not simply a pretty damn faithful reproduction of Wonder Woman’s ‘origin’ story. Chris Pine is as great a Steve Trevor as you could possibly have hoped: inspired by Diana’s heroism, yet still unable to believe her true motivation until the truth literally explodes in front of his eyes. The plot isn’t flimsy, but solidly robust, and even when it drifts into cliche or skips credibility for simple exposition you allow this to slide, because you buy into what you’re being told. There are some beautifully placed nods to other DC heroes, to the genre generally but where this entire endeavour so brilliantly succeeds is where Diana is a warrior. The sequence where she liberates a Belgian village is so incredibly uplifting you’re willing to forgive the casualties, that the Germans might not just be the bad guys. This Amazon owns everything she sets out to do, encouraging those around her to be better than they are without her by their side.

However, there are criticisms. The way this story is both presented and told initially assumes a great deal of an audience, and my 12 year old with no backstory and understanding of the genre was confused and unhappy at certain parts of the narrative. If you’ve already bought into the DC Universe it makes a lot more sense, yet there are a number of quite serious questions that are left unanswered in WW’s narrative. The biggest single issue I still have after several days however is the convenience with which events play out in the first 45 minutes: with the running time of this movie at 2 hours 21 it is fair to say that had there been any more scene setting, your average audience would have struggled. So, you let the issues slide, because there’s moments where you forget everything and simply allow the movie to swallow you whole, and it does. The last 40 minutes is breakneck, and even though it ends with a denouement that could have been ripped from another Marvel movie if you’re looking to compare and contrast, it doesn’t matter at all.

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There’s not a dud performance amongst any of the supporting cast: particular love goes to Lucy Davis (above) as Etta Candy (who should have had more to do, frankly, but this is 1918) with Robin Wright and Elena Anaya doing a really great job in their respective tasks. When there’s intimacy (and this serves an important function in the plot so it wasn’t just written in as an afterthought) it is so brilliantly acted by both leads as to be both acceptable and encouraged. In fact, that strength is one of the cornerstones of the entire movie: that love is what matters above destruction and hate, that caring and not killing is what should always be the default, in the end. However, the fact that people have to die is a point that echoes throughout the entire fabric of the film, from first frame until the last, and using mortality as the lynchpin to so much of this action gives a resonance that remains with the audience long after they have left the theatre.

Frankly, I’d argue you’ll not likely to see a better ‘comic book’ movie this year: I’m not sure Justice League is going to give Gadot the space she needs, or that her supporting cast are the right characters to pick, but we will see in November. In terms of my personal scale, this ranks on a par with Batman Begins, and I think probably sits with the original Iron Man movie as an origin story that isn’t just totally believable, but you’d have wanted to be real. There’s more than enough to keep the casual fan happy, and if you’re a hardcore fangirl nitpicker, it leaves you with more positives than negatives. In fact, I’ll repeat what I said as the credits rolled: I’ve waited 50 years to see a movie with a heroine so beautifully and compellingly formed like this.

I hope I don’t need to wait the same time for another.

Think

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Saw Wonder Woman yesterday. Gonna be a day or so before I’ve processed it enough to review properly, but it will happen. Today, sitting here not quite awake after multiple cuppas, I’ve gone for coffee with a realisation that there’s a lot of stuff that still has to change. At present, that means limiting certain online activities that I know simply have the capacity to irritate rather than be helpful. This, in the last two weeks, has proved surprisingly fruitful, and makes me realise that some people use Social media in a completely different way to me. In the main, it is an extension of what will be my job starting next week. If I focus on that and don’t get distracted by the other stuff? Life goes a lot easier, and stress levels drop.

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There’s also been a grasp of how selling an idea is a great deal easier when you’re more confident in yourself. Last night, out with my kids, I felt like the woman I was before they were born: confident, able and capable of being animated and enthusiastic alone without being Mum. In fact, walking around shopping with my son, I made a joke about that, several as it happens. It was hugely enjoyable just being in his company and, more importantly, I made my son think in the process. In that regard, the day was a brilliant success.

This is me in a Size 12 \o/

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However, the biggest success, without doubt, is the dress size, because it throws out the weight issue once and for all. If my body does as is normal (and I’m really hoping it will) tomorrow will see a drop I can work to keep off. I’ll know then that sugar’s not being burnt as energy, andย  move forward.

For now, I’d better get on with my Patreon Page.

Deliver Me

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I had a honey free, reasonably sized cup of tea before bed last night, and slept better than I have in ages. Waking up and weighing myself, body has gone into maintenance mode: no weight change, but a clear alteration in both look and feel. Waist remains at 33″ and before I go all Bridget Jones on you all, I’m not obsessed, just determined. That’s why I’ve busted my ass in the Gym every day this week, and when I’m done domestic-ing here the same will be true. This is the best shot I’ve had at real change for a while, because I can feel it happening internally as well as see the difference. There is some odd voodoo too: a mosquito bite near my right knee swelled yesterday to the size of a ping pong ball, and stopped a full running schedule. Coming home, after an hour, it had completely vanished. There’s still some pain this morning, but it is as if nothing happened.

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My son made a telling comment yesterday: when was the last time you wore something other than Lycra, Mum? I know why this is the case, because normal clothes make a part of the brain decide there need not be exercise. That ALWAYS needs to happen, and so if I’m wearing the gear, it will. Family is off to see the Wonder Woman movie this evening at the Regional Shopping Complex, and if I’m quick I can get a running session in before we go. However, that means I will make an effort to put on something other than a pair of leggings, if only to prove to myself that I can switch between business and pleasure. The problem, of course, is that I’m still not able to make an accurate distinction between the two.

This is a constant balancing act, I’m beginning to grasp. You get one thing sorted, and another goes tits up. Dealing with the unexpected is now an ability I can say I’ve got a plus skill to attack: the fear is still fresh from being told I needed surgery immediately, that the whole World had to stop in order to accommodate this. Despite what my daughter might tell me, I don’t want it to be about me. In fact, given the choice I would far rather it were about everybody else first.

Chinny Reckon ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป

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NO REALLY IT’S TRUE. Fuck this, I’m going to the Gym.

The Last Film

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I’d largely given up until today trying to understand what my body has been doing in terms of weight loss and gain: with at one point a six pound variance over a three day period, it is apparent that the way in which food is now processed and stored in my body has altered, plus there appears to be a remarkable amount of fluid retention. This of course could be all manner of things, which the menopause is not going to make any better. I have taken a waist measurement this morning, and once I picked myself up off the floor it is apparent that there’s a lot of bulk in the waist area that did not exist before. It appears to be a mixture of fat and fluid, so having spoken to my PT, I’m making the decision to try a full sugar detox beginning immediately.

Out will go honey in tea, any fruit sugars, and I’ll spend 72 hours on veg and protein in an attempt to kick start my liver into breaking down fat a little more productively. Going no sugar is really hard for me, but whenever I do this the effects are pretty much immediate. However, that was before gallbladder removal. If I can control weight effectively again using this method, and more importantly keep it constant, then there could be a gradual reintroduction of ‘treats.’ Right now, I feel physically a great deal better than I have for a long time, probably going back to January when I did my yearly detox. That should make the loss a bit easier, and if I have to do this twice a year it would not be a hardship. However, there’s a part of my brain which knows that maybe, just maybe, this is the time to give most of it up for good.

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I must admit I found it funny that a number of people quite blithely informed me I could ‘eat what I wanted’ once the gallbladder came out. That’s quite obviously not the case, and stopping the consumption bus now matters quite a lot in terms of me feeling in control of what is going on. I could well be overthinking it, but it does occur to me that there is nothing to lose by doing this and seeing if it makes a difference, rather than waiting another month and maybe gaining more weight. In the end, if I continue to do cardio daily, my fat will eventually shift if I don’t eat more calories than are required. Right now, I’m simply not doing enough of one and consuming too many of the other. Fix that, and everything will fix itself, but to do so requires willpower. That’s what’s really lacking.

 

Beautiful Day

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It has been a fantastic day. I’ve worked pretty much solidly since breakfast, eating at the PC, and slowly whittling away at an enormous list of tasks. A lot of it you can’t even see, but I know it is there. There’s also a load of graphic stuff off a piece of paper and made real, ready for when I start IoW-ing in earnest tomorrow. Mostly, I finally feel I’m prepared and ready to sell this to within an inch of my life, which is what has to happen for the thing to be successful. No more self-doubt, Missus. Time to shut up and get on.

I’m even going to the Gym with my husband this evening, which hasn’t happened since before my operation. I’m really looking forward to it too: there’s been perilously little adult time in the last six weeks, and it’ll be great to catch up with my best mate again.

Now, I better get back to work.