Friday, 28 March 2014

Tackling that list

Since I wrote out the list of of tricky things in January I felt newly motivated to tackle some of them. I can't say I've had a Damascene conversion to all of the things I've attempted, but I liked more than I expected.

First item on the list -
Our eldest is studying for next year's GCSEs at the moment. One of his set texts is Lord of the Flies, the book I was too terrified by age 10 to ever go back to. Parental responsibility trumps childhood fear, so in order to help him with revision I read it, as I mentioned here. Tick.

Try meat -
I've had a go at 4 types of meat in the last 2 months. I quite like pancetta, as long as it is pretty well cooked. I have it in carbonara now, although I give Mark most of the pancetta bits. However, the British version, back bacon, grosses me out dreadfully - all that pale stringy fat. I had to spit it out.
I already knew I loved pastrami. Pastrami, dill pickle, mayo and French's mustard is a good enough sandwich to dream about. add a little firm lettuce like cos or little gem and you've hit perfection. I missed pastrami dreadfully for years.
I tried peperoni. Peperoni and hot dogs were the last meats I gave up all those years ago. I was disapointed. Nice flavour up to a point, but so oily I felt queasy afterwards.
Finally, a 'dinner' type meat - chicken. Just no. I wish I could but I can't. The texture, the smell... I'm happy sticking to fish and veggies.

The big one - exercise.
Thanks to the generous Michelle Nichols, writer of the Running Up Top Down Under blog and all 'round good egg,  I have exercised for over a month. She's discussed different options, looked at my (lack of) fitness and free time, and provided masses of encouragement and cheerleading - all online, as she lives in Newcastle.
We decided brisk walking was best. There have been days when events overtook me, but on the whole I've managed 2 1/2 hours of walking per week, averaging 3km per day, Monday to Friday. I have problems with my knees, and Michelle kindly worked out series of exercises and stretches to help with that and to keep me going.
Yesterday I walked to a supermarket 5km away before doing my shop, getting a taxi back with it all (I'm not THAT tough!) and walking another 2km across the afternoon on assorted errands. I wouldn't have done that 6 weeks ago.I probably couldn't have done it. I definitely need some more suitable shoes but otherwise I'm glad I'm doing this.

Write an essay.
In fact, I've written two. Sort of.
The first was in answer to a gcse question as an example to my son of what would constitute a full answer to an essay question. It was fun. I liked pulling together the quotes and framing my arguments. However, it was pretty basic stuff I know inside out and backwards.
The second thing wasn't quite written in essay form, but close enough for my purposes. My mentor at Radio Leeds assigned me a half hour segment of radio to analyse. I spent 6 hours on it, listening, pausing, rewinding, listening all the way through - I must have heard some bits 4 or 5 times. I listened to competing programmes for context and reviewed my notes from the Women in Radio Event too. Then I wrote about 1200 words analysing the styler, techniques, choices made and news priorities of the half hour. I found it an immensely useful exercise and I enjoyed the whole process.

There are still plenty of other tricky things to tackle some day, of course. But now I've done a few I'm going back to attempting more fun stuff. I have a couple of them to blog about in the next few days.
Have a lovely weekend,
Jay x

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