Month: January 2012

Musical Interlude

Let’s have some 1990s house music, for no special reason.

Junior Vasquez: Get Your Hands Off My Man (Fire Island Dub). Classic tune. Do you hear me, girl?

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Junior Vasquez: If Madonna Calls [Love Don’t Live Here Anymore] (Direct Hit Mix) 

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David Morales/Jody Watley: I’m The One You Need

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David Morales/Mariah Carey: Dream Lover

I should not weigh myself mid-week.

Apparently I have gained three pounds in 48 hours. WTF. I didn’t eat all that scrupulously over the weekend but I’m pretty sure I didn’t eat 7,500 calories more than I needed.

I am glad it’s not Saturday or I’d have to record that on my weight loss ticker. Bloody hell. I just don’t know what’s going on there. What happened? Was everything I lost last week just water? I suppose it’s possible.

Careful eating all week now. No messing around. This has me worried.

White Paint

I have certainly earned a Home point today. I have repainted my kitchen. Not, like, the entire kitchen but I cracked open a tub of white gloss and repainted the skirting boards and door frames – the skirting boards were particularly manky and have needed doing since I moved in 6 years ago. Then I white-emulsioned one heavily-stained wall. It might need another coat but we’ll wait for the first one to dry before doing that. I am proud of myself.

It has got absolutely nothing to do with the fact that JC asked me where I live. Nope. Not connected to that at all. I just felt that it was about time the kitchen was spruced up.

I might give the recently-painted kitchen floor one more coat when the walls are dry. You know. Just because.

Film and Music

Yesterday was a near-perfect example of TLYW working the way it is supposed to.

It didn’t start out all that brilliantly; I awoke early with faceache, blogged, took some painkillers and promptly went back to sleep until midday.

When I was finally up and dressed I realised it was afternoon already and I needed to do something as I had made this promise to myself and to the blog that I was going to score achievement points this weekend and not mope about the house. I decided that an Art point would be an easy win; there’s travelling but when you get to the venue all you have to do is quietly look at stuff, so although I felt fuzzy-headed and slightly unwell I threw my coat on and headed straight out to the Hayward Gallery on the South Bank. My plan was to see the Jeremy Deller exhibition, figuring that would take about an hour, and then go home.

Well. When I got there I discovered that my antibiotic-addled brain had misunderstood the dates of the Deller exhibition and it doesn’t even open until 22nd February. That’s when my day started to get even more interesting. There I was, on the South Bank, strongly motivated to score Art points, not knowing what to do. So here’s what I did.

First I went to the food market and had an organic beef burger for lunch. It was yum. Then I went round all the arts venues in that part of the South Bank including the National Theatre, the Royal Festival Hall and the British Film Institute and collected leaflets which I pored over to see what was on that I could go to right there and then. It all worked out beautifully, I scored two Art points and had a lovely day doing things I never usually do.

Point 1: At ten past four I went to see L’Atalante at the British Film Institute.

I hadn’t heard of L’Atalante or its director Jean Vigo but the BFI programme said it was full of artistic merit and was screening it dozens of times so I trusted their opinion and went for it.

It was romantic and poignant and sometimes funny.

L’Atalante was shot in 1934 and is Jean Vigo’s only feature length film. It is about a newlywed couple who live on a barge. As the bosun, Pere Jules, says, they are always either smooching or squabbling. Jean, the young husband, has a quick temper and is easily roused to jealousy. When his new bride Juliette dances with a street peddler and then flightily takes off for a bit of window shopping in Paris, Jean impulsively takes the barge and moves on, abandoning her. He is then thoroughly miserable and distracted and can’t do anything until Pere Jules eventually finds her and brings her home.

Here is the famous ‘swimming scene’, the only non-naturalistic scene in the movie. Previously, Juliette has told Jean of an old legend that she believes in, where if you look into water you can see the face of your true love. She says it works and that she saw his face before she ever met him, and consequently knew him when she finally encountered him in the flesh. Jean laughs at this idea but then when he is at the peak of his distraction he dives into the river and swims around, and there is her image in the water, she’s in her wedding dress.

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Here is this delightful film in 16 parts if you want to view it on the small screen:

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Wikipedia page here.

Readers, the excitement didn’t stop there.

Point 2: Half past seven found me sitting in the Royal Festival Hall, about to hear the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir perform some Prokofiev.

I’m ashamed to say I’ve lived in London all this time and that was the first time I’ve been to the Royal Festival Hall since I’ve lived here, and the first time I’ve heard a classical music concert performed live since I was a child, unless you count that time I went to see Don Juan at the English National Opera.

It was so exciting! All the more so for being unplanned and spontaneous. I thought I was just going to look at some photos in the afternoon and then suddenly there I am at the Royal Festival Hall watching the orchestra come on stage.

As it turns out, what I had showed up for was the tail end of a whole season of Sergei Prokofiev with an emphasis on playing his lesser-known works. Prokofiev, as you all know, was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor who lived from 1891 to 1953 and is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. He famously wrote the ballet Romeo and Juliet, also Peter and the Wolf, as well as various piano concertos, piano sonatas and symphonies.

Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet

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Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf

One day Peter opened the gate and went out into the big, green meadow ….

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What I actually heard last night was some of Prokofiev’s incidental music. The evening was in two halves. Firstly, ‘Egyptian Nights’.  Egyptian Nights was a theatrical performance that took place in Moscow in 1934 (the same year as L’Atalante, I’ve just noticed). It was directed by Alexander Tairov and brought together scenes from Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra, Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and Pushkin’s 1828 poem Cleopatra. Prokofiev was commissioned to write the music and it is very evocative of starry nights. The acting parts of Egyptian Nights were performed last night by Simon Callow and Miranda Richardson.

The second half of the evening was a performance of Prokofiev’s incidental music for the film Ivan the Terrible, directed by Sergei Eisenstein, 1945.

Prokofiev: Ivan the Terrible

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That’s how I earned my points yesterday and that’s what TLYW is all about.

Three pounds down.

Wow. If I’d been able to exercise normally I would be ecstatic with this result. It is the biggest loss in a single week since my very first week of dieting, when five pounds seemed to magically disappear. Three pounds down! I am 10 stone 9 pounds, or 149 lbs. That’s amazing.

Okay, well I am not going to complain. I am going to make better food choices this week. It is my last week of enforced rest before I can start running again next weekend. Let’s see if we can rebuild some muscle without gaining any weight back. Will be a good challenge.

OMG! Look at my weight loss ticker! I have passed the half way mark! 17lbs lost, 16lbs to go!! Now that is something to be happy about. Oh, I can’t tell you how much I like that. I am not having that ticker go back in the opposite direction now, no I am not.

Weekly Weigh In

Bah for waking up early with aching jaws and an itchy rash. Bah.

Anyway, it’s Saturday morning so let’s do the weekly weigh in.

As noted yesterday, TLYW has gone badly off course recently. I haven’t exercised in three weeks, so if I have lost any weight at all it is certain to be lost muscle. I’ve been almost completely immobile recently between illness, desk work and long haul flights.

On the diet front well I gained a pound in the week of 16th Jan and then I ended that week with the monster amount of oral surgery. So this week I have eaten foods that are liquid and soft. That has been my sole criteron for food choice. I’ve eaten a lot of soup which I guess is okay, more recently I’ve eaten mushy porridge and soft fruit which is okay but I’ve also eaten a hell of a lot of extra rich yogurt and good quality ice cream, which are chock full of sugar and fat. My gut looks no smaller. If anything, I would guesstimate that I have lost some muscle and put some fat on.

Anyway, let’s stop moaning and get on the scales. I am not expecting a reason to celebrate as losing muscle isn’t good news and I don’t feel as toned as I was three weeks ago. I have catching up to do. We’ll be right back after this break.

Get a grip.

Right. The course of antibiotics is complete, my fuzzy, confused head is more clear and it is time to get a grip on my life.

It has been a very strange few weeks. All the activities that normally make up TLYW have gone way off course. I haven’t been out for a run since 8th January and for surgical reasons am not planning to do so until 5th Feb – a month later, I dread to think what sort of poor condition I will be in. Have I seen any art – no. Seen friends, sewed anything, given even a thought to Chinese, cleaned the house – no. Let’s review what I have been doing.

W/c 9th Jan. Was crazily in love with JC, had our long awaited date on Weds 11th, then went to work and mooned about. Was ill with a stomach upset on the weekend, Fri, Sat, Sun.

W/c 16th Jan. Went to India. Worked my ass off, ate rich food, gained a pound. Monster headache Monday, Thursday, Friday. Dental torture on Saturday.

W/c 23rd Jan. Recovery from extreme dental surgery. Ate only liquid and soft foods. Felt completely stoned and incapacitated from massive doses of painkillers and antibiotics. Applied ice to face. Worried about unsightly rash. Played video games (requires neither brain power nor physical exertion). Started to feel better at the end of the week. Sex drive returned with a vengeance. Spent a lot of time thinking about JC and soliciting his attention, with varying degrees of success depending on the day and time.

Now then.

First of all, I need to remember that JC has a job. He does not just float about in the ether waiting for me to conjure him up when I want to be entertained. I need to let him concentrate. He will be happy to see me when my face has healed and I am ready for more games but until then it’s not his responsibility to be a full time lady’s companion. I don’t want to get on his nerves.

Relatedly, there is supposed to be more to TLYW than eating soft gooey food, playing video games and being soppy about boys. If I am starting to feel better, which I am, then it is about time I got back with the programme and started meeting my own needs. It’s very clear what those are and what I should be doing. TLYW is not about abandoning all your ambitions because you are lazy and/or addicted to romance, it is about making your own happiness with your own two hands. Just because I can’t run right now is no reason to do nothing at all. So here is my commitment to myself: the weekend is here. I am not going to bother JC at all this weekend, I will let him have his space. Moreover, on Saturday and Sunday I will score two achievement points on each day, all in different categories. Yes I will.

The return of TLYW. It starts here.