After neglecting the garden for 5+ years, I finally started getting my hands dirty this year. It’s been a surprising delight. The flowers are blooming. No plants have died yet. And the weeds are more under control than any time last year. All this for a couple of weekends’ work, and 5-10 mins every morning or evening. My highlight achievement must be saving a few plants from near death—the purple petunias, the value pack bogonias and the medium-sized marigold—and seeing them flourish.
I am really enjoying the work in the garden—probably too much according to R. There must be some truth in what Cal Newport said—the joy of creating physical things with our own hands.
I’ve been running well. I like my current running form, and the times have been reflecting the improvement. I ran my Park Run PB earlier at Woking—22:42. I ran the London marathon earlier in just under 4 hours—3:58:44. This is the first year where I have run at least 100 km every month. It’s also the first year when I’ve run at least once every week. I plan to keep the momentum going through rest of the year.
Reading has been a continuing theme from last few years. I haven’t read as many fiction books this year as non-fiction. Just haven’t found too many of ones I really want to read. Amitava Ghosh released his new book, Gun Island, so I polished that off in less than a day. But nothing much else.
I’ve read a lot of non-fiction though. Quite a few are based around self-improvement and productivity— Make time, GTD for teens, Digital minimalism, Messy, Range, Sprint, Turn the ship around …
I’ve read some books from the running, swimming, cycling, hiking world, but again not as many as I would’ve liked. Goater’s Art of running faster gave some good tips, and Scott Jurek’s North was full of inspiration.
I’ve started listing the books, and notes from some of them on this site.
Head & heart
Parents were planning to visit UK this year. They’ve cancelled. I’m sad.
I stopped meditating regularly months ago. I still meditate occasionally, but without the app there isn’t much to guide me through session after session. Most of the time it is just noticing a breath (tip from Make Time).
The year, mentally, has been a roller coaster. I haven’t really touched the depths of depression like I did around October last year, but I haven’t had many periods of consistent happiness either. I have a feeling it’s all very fragile. Or is it brittle?
Finished Todo.txt for Android
I’m ending the second phase of active development for Todo.txt for Android. All core functionality works sufficiently well for my own use. Dark mode is half baked, so have moved it to the backlog for the next phase, whenever that happens.
Not doing much active development on extensions at the moment.
Next up is starting a new project, or finding a new role. Either way, it’ll be a time of flux and vulnerability. Tread kindly, por favor!
Despite the worries (which all turned out real), I ended up having a decent day yesterday. I wrote to Axc, but never heard back from them. I’m trying to make myself accept their decision. I also failed the blood test—joint lowest ever score of 131 g/l. On the other hand, I did end up getting a fair amount of work done. I also enjoyed the run in the evening—35 mins of easy run finished with 20 mins of fartlek. I ended the day very tired, slightly disheartened (I’d expected the reply from Axc at end of day), but fairly satisfied. I even finished reading a book in the bed before sleeping.
Today began well—woke to Chewie snuggled up between my legs. Worked for a couple of hours, then went downstairs for a bit of stretching, refreshing, and to pick up Dudley—today is Dudley Wednesday :)
By the time I returned back upstairs, it was already over 3 hours since I’d woken up. The morning coffee had worn off, and I was feeling surprisingly drowsy. These are usually my freshest, most productive hours. This could be due to the hay fever tab, or an effect of the run and foam rolling last evening.
I could have made another coffee, and warded the drowsiness off. But, for once, I decided to listen to the body and give it a break. I had no immediate deadlines, and I had already done over 2 hours of productive work. So, I went downstairs, drank a lot of water, got under the covers, called the boys onto the bed, set an alarm for 90 mins, and we all went to sleep1 :)
It was a beautiful, warm sleep with both boys snuggled on either side. I woke up refreshed. Not just the mind, even the legs and body felt a lot recovered. We drank more water, and went for a walk. Followed it up with lunch, another short rest, and then back to work2. It’s been another super productive 3 hours now, and I am back to being satisfied. And happy. Mostly.
I’m at the end of second phase of active development for Todo.txt for Android. All core functionality works sufficiently well for my own use. Dark mode is half baked, so will now be moved to the backlog for the next phase, whenever that happens.
Next few weeks may see small updates to the Chrome extensions—bug fixes and minor tweaks based on user feedback over the last month and a half.
Next up is starting a new project, or finding a new role. Either way, it’ll be a time of flux and vulnerability. Tread kindly, por favor!
After neglecting the garden for 5+ years, I finally started getting my hands dirty this year. It’s been a surprising delight. The flowers are blooming. No plants have died yet. And the weeds are more under control than any time last year. All this for a couple of weekends’ work, and 5-10 mins every morning or evening.
I am really enjoying the work in the garden—probably too much according to R. There must be some truth in what Cal Newport said—creating physical things with our own hands.
I’ve been running well. I really like my current running form, and the times have been reflecting the improvement. I ran my Park Run PB a couple of weeks ago at Woking—22:42. I have been off running so far this week due to an ankle injury picked up on Saturday (thankfully, after I’d completed my 14 mile run). Looking forward to testing the ankle again with a short run later today.
I’m loving reading ‘Turn the ship around’ by David Marquet. It’s one of those books that is best read in small bits, munched over for a while, then continued. The last book in this category was Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Thinking fast and slow’. They’ll both stay in my forever library, with frequent references to notes and books.
I’m also reading Messy by Tim Harford. This is my active reading book, and will probably be finished tomorrow. It’s an interesting journey of rediscovery. I used to be atypical messy—thriving only in mess and chaos. Working independently forced me to learn discipline and to streamline my life processes. Now I am rediscovering the value of messiness. It’s a brilliant brain tickler for me—harmonising my tidy, streamlined life with a bit of messiness to add some anti-fragility.
The third book I’m currently reading is Sanjaya Baru’s ‘The accidental prime minister’. It’s hard reading, specially because I like the subject. The author covers too much of himself relative to the subject (the prime minister). It also, like bits of ‘Up in the air’, way too frequently delves into explanations and bureaucratic minutae. R tells me it gets better later, so I’m ploughing on.
For the last 10 days, I have meditated in bed before sleeping.
I updated my pre-sleep routine. It now starts with meditating for 10 minutes – usually Daily Calm, though yesterday I tried and liked a quiet meditation. Then I massage my feet, ankles and achilles with a massage ball before wearing sleeping socks (keeping feet warm). Finally, I read a book till the eyes shut off – usually 5-15 minutes.
I have been really enjoying this routine. The meditation calms me down drastically. The massage helps the feet stay fitter while I am increasing running mileage (or at least I think it helps). Then I read something – an easy book1 or a few paragraphs of Meditations (Marcus Aurelius).
I have been having really good sleep – drifting into it peacefully, and waking calm. The anxieties from rest of the day have mostly kept at bay. I’m lovin’ it.
It didn’t rain today. Mostly. There were passing showers throughout the day, but nothing stuck around long enough.
Spoke to Ma. It was a long chat, and a generally happy one. It was nice to hear her sound cheerful, after 5+ years of sleep deprivation & tiredness, and a few weeks of crying, loss and loneliness.
We went for a run. I ran 7K on the road – to the cathedral and back up – and then took the boys for a lap on the ridge (~3K). It was better than yesterday’s run – legs felt better, faster. Felt a tiny bit stronger.
It rained all day. Non stop rain during the first half, and light drizzle with occasional showers during the second.
I’ve made up with rain. Rain and I are friends again. I love rain again.
Watched 2 episodes of Grey’s anatomy. I laughed out so loud on this scene1 that both the boys woke up from deep sleep, and came to check on me!
We ran today. All of us. Through belly deep2 mud, and persistent rain.
It was Dudley’s longest run (7K), Chewie’s (probably) easiest run, and a hard one for me. I last ran a week ago, and I must’ve lost a lot of fitness in this week. This was way harder than it should’ve been. The only two good bits about the run were the boys and the cadence (metronome led). I’m thinking of running again tomorrow.
Cleaning the boys – showers, towelling, hair dryer – took longer than the actual run. Specially if I add in mopping the bathroom, and vacuuming the house. Not counting having to wash my own shoes – road shoes lathered in mud, drenched inside.
Went to town for lunch. Kokoro. Really wanted to go to a coffee shop afterwards. Not for the coffee, but to see, and chat to a friendly face. Didn’t. Bought some groceries from Sainsbury’s, and returned home.
Watched a movie. I think it was called The Judge. It had Ironman in it. I liked it’s small town Indiana location. Not the same as my small town India, but brought up a few good memories. Thought of old friends. Nikhil D, Vikas G, Vikas S, Surinder, Tarun, Vishesh, Deepak T, … Friends from before I knew to value friends.
Washed three sets of clothes – exercise clothes, regular clothes, and cleaning rags and boys’ towels. Also filled, and started the dishwasher. And dusted the bed. Add in the mopping and vacuuming, and I’m a household superhero3!
On vacuuming, funny stuff with Dudley. He’s got a weird relationship with the vacuum cleaner. He followed me around the house while I cleaned, staying close to the cleaning head. However, at the first sign of the vacuum head moving in his direction, he’d jump and run away like a cartoon character. It was hilarious! After noticing it, and testing it, I may have deliberately pushed the vacuum cleaner towards him a few more times, just for laughs 😁
On the other hand, after the initial wriggling, he let me calmly dry him with the hair dryer and brush. Chewie, on the other hand was a nervous wreck. He finally settled on letting me dry his back, bum and belly, but would bolt anytime I approached the front legs, shoulders, chest, or head. Wuss!
The late, muddy, wet run meant the boys didn’t ask for an evening walk. They got their chews instead. They loved the chews.
Interesting thing with the chews. Yesterday, Chewie picked the stuffed bone, and Dudley got the antler. They took the same from me today. However, when I got to the living room a few minutes later, they’d exchanged them. And they started with their (new) chews for rest of the evening. Didn’t try to sniff at the other person’s at all. Confused.con.
I’ve got a weird back ache. It’s stiffness on one side of the back, running vertically along the mid and lower back. My guess is it’s from the right hugging (and kneeing) I got from Chewie last night. He was probably marking me as his, given it was Dudley’s first night with us.
I didn’t help the back ache though. I slouched on the sofa half the day, and didn’t do any stretches. I’m slouched on the bed now.
Didn’t meditate. Wanted to. Didn’t. Will try again tomorrow. Will probably start again with the free beginner programme.
Didn’t speak to parents. It’s been over a week now since we spoke properly. Bad.
I finished the book. It was ok. It could’ve been good of it was more about the dog, and less about the person. Even the bits about the dog were mostly about the person. They should change the name. Wanted to give it 2 stars. Added one for the dog.
S04E13 The elevator scene. I’m not gonna explain it, in case I pass out spoilers. ↩
Dudley’s belly. It was black even before we hit the muddy section. Like a two tone mini cooper. ↩
I decided that I like Lexi Grey more than Meredith Grey. I like Lexi. I tolerate Meredith. I hate Alex Karev.
To complete my day’s floor goal, I walked up the steps to the unused first floor a few times after dinner.
I think the boy is bored of hugging me. 20+hours a day may be too much even for him.
I missed home. I missed childhood.
I hated myself for not having any friends.
I reminisced about a day in London, when we walked about on the South Bank, having a drink at a pub, standing out by the river. Back in the happy days.
I had a dream about a girl I went with on a date many years ago. I started reading her blog again recently but the boy is about her new life. The dream was about the time we knew each other, and this common friend we met through.
I watched 8 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy.
I didn’t run. I didn’t meditate.
I finished the book. I started another one. This one’s depressing. But it has promise of a better ending. It has a dog.
It’s now been 5 days since I had any non-transactional human interaction. It’s also 5 days since my last workout. It’s 5 days since we had a day without persistent rain and grey skies. And maybe 4 days since I wasn’t terribly lonely and depressed. It’s also 4 days since I had any coffee, Coke zero, peanut butter, or milk chocolate.
I couldn’t break my frozen chapatti into half. It broke into 3. I had to eat the whole chapatti. At least it made a good pie chart.
I just learnt that there’s no spinning class on Monday, nor any yoga class on Tuesday. Easter weekend. There go my one good IRL human interaction opportunities for next week.
Tomorrow is our – me and the boy – last day by ourselves. Tomorrow evening, Dudley arrives for a fortnight’s stay with us. Then a few days later, R returns. Hope the scotch, Grey’s anatomy, and my books last till then.