Gardening

I also think gardening is great because I am a perfectionist and gardening is really helpful for learning to moderate that tendency a bit – every year something is doing amazingly and something else is just completely destroyed by something unpredictable.

My boss, R (not that one), in the gardening channel today.

I just love that description, her insight, and her self-awareness.

Continue reading Gardening

Me, here, now.

Work

I’m a developer now. After years of developing apps and extensions on the side, I joined as a full time Android developer last November. It’s been an interesting change, and it’ll be an interesting experiment — turning a hobby into a profession. Based on the little experience so far, there’s going to be a fine balance—learning and doing what I love vs the challenges (and learning) of working with some people.

Running

I haven’t run since early December. More than two months. I wasn’t running much before that either, not after September. Hamstring and ankle were acting up last year. That’s just one excuse. I’ve gained a lot of weight (+13Kg, Dec ’19- Dec ’20), and it puts more stress on joints. I started a new career, and started working longer hours with fewer breaks. My favourite running buddy is growing old and getting past the age for running. Bruno left us, and I was depressed about it. I’ve got plenty of excuses, no runs. I could do with a friend, and a run. Or just a Parkrun.

Gardening

I took a few cuttings last autumn. Most have survived and taken root. Some have really thrived. A few died. I planted a bunch more of tulips and hyacinths. Finally trimmed back the apple tree and roses after a couple of years. The daffodils buds are starting to appear. First crocus have flowered. I’m looking forward to spring. I’m looking forward to another summer of getting hands dirty in the garden.

Reading

Reading took a back seat in second half of last year. Probably an effect of too many good books in the first half raising expectations. I finally picked back up over December holidays, and have been keeping it going this year. I’m always up for reading recommendations, so please send me any and all.

French

Duolingo can now understand my pronunciation of most French words and phrases. I’m barely past the beginner level, but still at it. I might even say that I’m starting to enjoy the language. Finding a few good French series on Netflix has also helped keep the interest alive. If only the Paris marathon didn’t get cancelled last year :(

Personal apps & projects

I haven’t updated any of my apps and extensions since I started this job. It’s been hard to motivate myself to code more after spending hours coding in the day job. It’s hurting.

Google ended support for subscriptions in Chrome extensions earlier this year. I didn’t update the extensions; I’ve lost all paying subscribers, and they may have lost access to premium features. Dropbox is making a breaking change to their API/SDK again. I’ve got a few months to update both Todo.txt apps, or they’ll stop working for a bunch of users. I want to make some important and useful changes to a few other apps as well. The backlog is growing. And it is fuelling a latent frustration inside me, with myself.

Head & heart

Keep missing meeting parents. (And occasionally getting pissed at them). Don’t have kids, or any prospects. Chewie is growing old. Bruno was taken away. Dudley visits less often because his family are home all the time. Haven’t been outside Guildford, forget a vacation, in a long time. The learning curve at work is flattening, and people issues starting to crop up. I’m not running. I haven’t heard from a few friends in a while. I can’t go swimming. I’m still in debt. I’m not meditating. I’m way overweight and unfit.

I’m not sad, but I’m not happy. That is sad.

Continue reading Me, here, now.

Garden update

Today…

Two new leaves in one of the hardy geranium cuttings. It’s made it! 🙂

First flowers bloomed in the new viola. Violet and yellow beauties 🙂

Moved the last three yellow begonias and the Dianthus from flower bed to tubs. The snails have been busy butchering them 🙁

The white mustard has flowered beautifully. It was nearly dead in January; now it’s dense and getting whiter all the time 🙂

A rose I’ve been trying to revive/keep-alive for at least 3 years, produced its first bud in many years. It’s a beautiful light pink bud. Rewarding me for the effort, clearly 🙂

Earlier…

Moved all the orange and one yellow begonia from flower bed to one big pot. Two of them were near death, all were suffering. One still might not survive. Damned slugs, snails and earwigs!

The petunias and bidens in the window basket produced their first flowers. Bidens are pretty yellow, petunias surprised with a Burgundy red/pink with veins 🙂

The geraniums are blooming big time! All of them—7 surviving from last year and 8 from this. Loads of beautiful red flowers everywhere 🙂

The three campanulas are all nicely settled in, blooming and growing. Hardy, self-seeding, and beautiful blue and violet flowers. They’re amongst my favourite plants this year.

The lobelias in the other window basket are like one huge (South Indian politician sized) garland of blue and violet.

After mowing the lawn every two weeks, I haven’t mowed it in 4 weeks now. It’s still now growing. We really need some good rain 🙁

Not just gardening

Yesterday I struggled for a half a day with a work problem. Couldn’t find a decent, acceptable solution. A beautiful solution came to mind later in the evening, sometime between playing with the boys in the backyard and working on the flower bed in the front yard. I implemented and tested it today.

There’s another work issue I’ve been struggling with for over a month. Discovered an elegant solution to this one today, again while working on the front yard flower beds in the evening. Thought it through a bit more in the shower. And wrote down a brief summary while lying on the sofa after dinner.

It’s hard work, gardening. My hands, back, legs are hurting. Arms have scratches from rose thorns, and fingers feel dirty even after a shower and nail trimming.

But the flower beds will look good, come summer. And I discovered elegant solutions to two hard problems in two evenings. The hard work may be worth it.

This weekend

Learnt to use the WordPress.com API with Retrofit. Stumbled over various undocumented quirks of the API. Nearly achieved what I’d started off to do.

Finished (re)reading my favourite Frederik Backman book: My grandmother sends her regards and apologises. I wish I could live in that house in the kingdom of almost awake.

Named one of the flavours of the new app ‘Elsa’. The other flavour is named ‘Granny’, but I might change it to ‘Wurse’.

Dug and relaid the stone tiles in the middle section of the backyard. Weeded the full upper flower bed from end to end. Aireated the rear lawn – one fork pitch at a time!

5+ back breaking, knee stiffening, hand cutting hours in the garden. I could barely move my arms in the shower afterwards.

Rewarded myself by watching a bit of the old sweetheart movie, You’ve got mail.

Now, convinced by Elsa, I’m reading my first JK Rowling book: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Bon Nuit!

A five check mark day

Five check mark day - ran, gardened, slept, drank...

It’s been a long time since I had one of these. 2 months lost to injury, 2 before that lost to over training, over work, and lots of anxiety.

I slept well last night. Woke up and solved a cube in bed. Then walked around singing aloud. Did 8 and a bit pull-ups. Finished reading about Quentin Cassidy’s latest race. Ran; down to the river, across to Shalford and back, and up the hill; in the heat. Did a bunch of chores around the house. Did 5 pull-ups. Spent a few hours gardening. Spoke to parents. Drank a lot of liquid (not counting milk, tea and coffee).

It was a good day. Fully deserved those 5 check marks.

Should’ve saved that Magnum ice cream bar for today.

They live!

We have a lot of lovely rose plants in our backyard. The flower beds in the front are largely empty. In early November, Paul and I planted a few rose cuttings from the back yard roses in the front yard flower beds. He advised me there was very low likelihood that any of them will survive or take root.

I read somewhere that roses like acidic soil; mixing coffee grounds in the soil around them is good for them. So I’ve been doing that occasionally.

Today when I went to distribute some coffee grounds around the roses, I noticed a few fresh leaves sprouting out of a few of those cuttings.

They’re alive! They may even take root! We may have successfully added new plants (without buying them) to the yard!

I’m happy :)