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Life

No Hair, Don’t Care

I got the clippers out this evening and cut all my hair off again. It was approaching “toilet brush” levels of sticky-uppiness, so I thought I should do something about it. Given that it’s been raining for the last twenty eight years, I stripped off to the waist, and leaned through the shower door to complete the job – running the clippers endlessly through my hair in the blind hope of cutting it somewhere near evenly.

My other half told me it looked ok. I don’t know if to trust her or not. Thinking about it, my youngest daughter didn’t explode in laughter, so it must be somewhere near sensible.

After cutting my hair, I clippered my eyebrows too. It turns out eyebrows are a pretty good indicator of actually how old somebody really is. There’s some sort of genetic switch in men that turns eyebrows from “fairly neat and tidy” into “wild and ridiculous” at some point between 40 and 50 years old.

Most people have no idea I’m nearly 48. They see the skinhead idiot in selfies and somehow think I’m 10 years younger. I imagine if they spent any time with me, they would realise this level of cynicism can only be formed over many decades.

Anyway.

I appear to have gotten away with the whole caffeine detox/headache thing. My head has been clear all day – and I’ve been nowhere near as tired as yesterday. Perhaps I’m genetically pre-disposed to be able to deal with dropping things out of my diet without my brain having a melt-down about it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a book waiting to be read.

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Life

The Struggle is Real

I stopped drinking coffee yesterday morning (or the night before, in the interests of accuracy). I’ve had a headache all day – which I suppose is somewhat predictable after drinking coffee like a funnel for the last twenty something years.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’ve stopped drinking coffee before. For some reason whenever I’m sick I revert to tea. I can’t remember being sick since about eighteen months ago. The autumn before COVID launched itself across the world I was sick as a dog for about two months.

Anyway.

On reflection, today wasn’t the best day to not have coffee nearby. I got thrown in at the deep end with work – assigned to work on something that I had little or no knowledge of. An entire technology platform that I’ve somehow missed or avoided for the last couple of years. Not any more.

I wrote a long-ass post over at Medium about detoxing from caffeine. I ended up writing down a horrifying list of some of the things that have caffeine in them. In the end, I just ended up wondering how many 500g bars of dairy milk add up to the same as cup of coffee. I could totally chug chunks of chocolate instead of coffee. Straight swap. Sure, I would have no teeth, a fat gut, and be covered in spots, but I would be happy.

I’m sure I’ll cheer up by tomorrow.

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Life

Tuesday Lunchtime

I had been entertaining the idea of escaping at lunchtime, and going for a walk. A few miles out in the fresh air on my own with a podcast in my ears. The weather has other ideas – it has rained pretty consistently all morning. We are forecast snow next weekend.

I have half an hour of my lunch break left. Half an hour to fall down an internet rabbit hole and get nothing done. Spotify is busing playing “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” from a random playlist chosen to fill the silence.

I switched out the theme of my blog before work started this morning – simplifying it enormously. I’m not sure why. I have a suspicion that most people live in the WordPress or Tumblr interfaces, or email subsciptions anyway – they don’t venture to the web to look at much any more.

Writing over at Medium has kind of dried up for the moment. Probably a good thing, because writing when you have nothing to write about is death to creativity and inspiration. I have no doubt I could churn out cookie cutter articles like many citizen journalists seem to, and make a tidy living from it – I’m not sure I would be able to live with myself though. I would rather tell personal stories than parrot manufactured idiocy.

I’m drinking too much coffee at the moment. I imagine boredom has a lot to do with it. Perhaps I’ll get some ginger tea, and substitute out coffee for a few weeks. While thinking about health, I weighed myself this morning. I’m up three pounds from where I was a couple of months ago. I wonder how quickly I can drop it again? Watch this space.

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Life

Another 5K around town

Following my youngest daughter signing up for the “Couch to 5K” programme through school, she has to complete the training runs each week, and her sisters promised to help her with it. We’re at week three, and I’ve already run with her twice after they no-showed on her.

Tonight we ran around town in the dark after I finished work – completing the week three run according to the programme, and then effectively doubling it. She was tired at the end, but then she’s starting from a position far ahead of her sisters. It says something that she was up and ready to run before breakfast this morning, and all she could get from her sisters was grunts from their bedroom doors.

Tomorrow she has to organise and run a workout session – and film it. Apparently I may end up as a ginea pig for that too – given that I have a few days off work. If our wonderful next door neighbour looks over the fence tomorrow, she’ll see me throwing kettle bells around, skipping, and collapsing in a heap somewhere.

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Life

Running on Sunday Morning

I went for a run around town with my youngest daughter this morning. She was supposed to be running with her sisters, but neither of them got out of bed. At 8am she appeared in the bedroom doorway, asking if I might go with her instead. My other half smiled at me.

She’s starting a “Couch to 5k” course with her school, and has been doing the official training programme with her sisters. Here’s the thing though – she’s far fitter than them. I proved it this morning – rather than do any of the interval training she has been doing, we just went out on a long slow jog – to see what she was really capable of.

She did three and a half kilometres. A few more weeks of the interval training, and I think she’ll get to five kilometres easily. As we passed a footpath that leads back towards home, I handed her my front door key and carried on to extend my distance a little – running for another three kilometres or so.

I love running early on a morning, before the rest of the world has emerged. This morning the streets were almost deserted, save for one or two people walking dogs, or out running themselves. I always say hello when passing fellow runners – they usually respond with a smile – occasionally they take no notice, and carry on frowning their way down the road. Grumpy buggers.

After getting home and having a shower I set about helping my daughter eat the remaining crumpets from the fridge – I bought them earlier in the week, during my first visit to the supermarket in about a month. I imagine I’ll be returning to town in a bit to get some more groceries. I’m not entirely sure I want to brave the cold again.

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Life

The Santa “Fun” Run

After sliding out of bed a little after 7am this morning, I wandered downstairs and dressed myself as Santa. Father Christmas. Saint Nicholas. Only a very low budget version – with a wonderful red suit that might rip in half if you bend over too quickly.

Ten minutes later two very sleepy daughters joined me in the kitchen and began dressing as mini-Santas to accompany me on a mad-cap escapade around town. Normally at this time of year you might find several thousand Santas running an organised route to raise money for charity – this morning it was just us.

I took a bit of a risk in wearing nothing but underwear and a t-shirt under the Santa suit. After the ass-ripping antics of last year, my other half questioned the choice. I grinned and shrugged. I didn’t figure on continual rain turning the already thin material into tissue paper en-route.

Along the way we received cheers from construction workers, beeps from delivery vans, and waves from people on foot. It was almost enough to keep my middle daughter running. Let’s just say she’s never going to find running easy – partly because of her build, but mostly because she gives up so easily. I’ve never known anybody with so little will power.

My youngest daughter ran the entire route at a canter – often doubling back with me and encouraging her sister. She also ran a final lap around the green where we live with me – making sure we covered 5K. Neighbours waved from windows as we passed.

So – it is done – the Santa Fun Run is completed for another year.

Good riddance.

Now where are the three ghosts that were foretold?

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Life

Running and Writing

I’m supposed to get up at 8am tomorrow morning and run around town in a Santa suit, accompanied by my younger daughters. I’m not quite sure how they’re going to do it given that they have not taken part in any activities you might describe as helping their fitness for weeks.

I’m starting to wonder if this is what growing up is all about – getting up and doing things you don’t really want to do, because somebody asked you to. It’s a bloody stupid idea really – running around dressed as Santa. I imagine it will give a few people a laugh around town.

If I wasn’t running (read:walking) with my daughters I imagine I would be home within half an hour – I can’t see us getting home inside an hour.

I was going to have a night off from writing tonight, but then something clicked in my head, and I spent the last two hours churning out another post for the other blog. It’s been cross posted to Medium, where I’m slowly but surely making money now. Let’s hope I don’t run out of things to write about any time soon.

It turns out it’s quite difficult to write after two glasses of wine. I’m wondering how Hemingway did it – I’m beginning to suspect the stories of drunken excess are lies.

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Life

I ran this morning

I ran this morning. After suggesting to Miss 16 that I could accompany her, I got up at 7am, pulled my shorts and shoes on, and was ready to go within minutes. I called up the stairs after her, and heard a murmur.

“I don’t want to go”

After quite some cajoling, and trying not to completely and utterly lose my shit with her, she got up, got dressed, and joined me outside.

I am continually amazed at how easily teenagers give up at anything that requires any will power, determination, effort, or hard work. It was SUCH hard work – trying to encourage her throughout the second half of the (shortened) route we eventually completed. I’m trying to talk her equally unfit sisters to run with her instead of me – because my encouragement is eventually seen as “going on”.

Anyway.

It’s nearly midnight again. How does that keep happening?

I started the day sitting in the lounge today – opposite my youngest daughter, who is doing schoolwork via Microsoft Teams for the remainder of term. She lasted an hour before vanishing off through the house. At lunchtime I switched back to sitting in the junk room on my own – given that it made very little difference which room I should sit in on my own.

This wasn’t a very exciting post, was it. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

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Life

Running on my Own

At dinner yesterday evening, my middle daughter put all sorts of plans in place to go running several times a week before college. I suggested I could go with her at perhaps 6:30am each morning – she suggested 6am. I rolled my eyes, and agreed.

After setting my alarm last night, and waking up at 6am, I rolled out of bed, pulled on some running shorts, and wandered over to her bedroom doorway. No response. I went downstairs, downed a glass of water, found my running shoes and coat, and got ready. Twenty minutes later, I made a final call. Still no answer.
I left the house at 6:30am on my own.

The last few runs have only been a couple of kilometres. I took it slowly (or so I thought), and headed out across town on the route that adds up to a little of five kilometres – listening to podcasts along the way. I shook my head at the coincidences that happen to me when out running – I think Chaos mathematicians would describe me as a “strange attractor”. I can be in the middle of nowhere, and not have seen a car for ages – but as soon as I need to set foot in the road, to pass a construction site, for example – cars will appear from all directions, at the precise point where the road is at it’s narrowest. It happened four times in five hundred yards this morning – the final instance nearly getting me run over.

I’m trying desperately to turn running into a habit. At the moment it’s still a victory of sorts for the “what you need to be doing” part of my brain over the “what you would like to be doing” part. I would like to have still been in bed. I did it though. Five and a half kilometres, with no “cheating” (no walking). Of course now I’ll be tired all day, but that’s a small price to pay in the good fight against having a backside the size of pluto.