Weekend

Sis was here. After months of radio silence, she suddenly made an appearance for Rakhi. I wasn’t happy at first about this visit. I prefer normal, friendly relations year round rather than the tamasha of happy relations for a festival. She, and most of my family, prefer friendly appearances at festivals irrespective of relations—good, bad or non-existent—rest of the year.

On R’s suggestion, I tried ignoring the ‘Rakhi’ aspect of the visit. Once I ignored that, I could accept the visit as a rare visit from my sister, and enjoy that for what it is. Helpful advice. By the end of the visit, I was quite happy about her visit. I even wished that she visited more often.

Aside: Sis also brought gifts for Rakhi, two polo tees in a Selfridges bag. Most people who know me a bit know that I hate exchanging gifts. My sis seems to have fallen in my mom’s camp here—she’ll exchange gifts for her own prestige irrespective of what the other person thinks.

Barnaby was here. He’s an 1.5 year old Golden Retriever pup. Like any puppy, he’s hyper and restless. Like most dogs, he loves being touched. He’ll place himself next to any human who’s giving him rubs, and then refuse to let them stop. Unlike most retrievers, he’s not very interested in food. He’s not very well trained. He doesn’t understand some common commands—down, leave, wait. Like a puppy, he’s moody about obeying the ones he doesn understand—come here and sit.

One thing that I really liked about him is that, unlike Chewie and Dudley, he doesn’t make any noise. I heard him twice in the 26 hours that he was here—once when he locked himself out in the backyard, and another time at night when he heard something outside. Otherwise, there wasn’t a sound out of him. Chewie, on the other hand, barks often and talks a lot. Dudley mumbles and groans to let everyone know his feelings. Barnaby was pleasantly quiet. (But I’m still planning to cancel his week-long stay over the year-end holidays).

I learnt fat != unfit. My sister is fat. Too fat for my liking. Yet, I observed on multiple occasions that she isn’t very unfit. Not at all as unfit as her looks would suggest. The first instance where I noticed this was when she got on the wobble board. It was her first time and she managed almost 2 minutes. Amit and S haven’t managed that long yet. I’m not sure even R has. But she did. Another time was when I took the three kids out on the walk. It was a brisk short walk, but she was able to keep up with us most of the way without getting out of breath. She isn’t very flexible, can’t really squat, and has many many other health issues. But it was comforting to know that at least she’s fitter than she looks.

I didn’t run. Chewie was unwell on Friday night. I had to stay up with him for almost an hour. As a result, I couldn’t wake up in the morning for Parkrun. A mix of things—unexpected rain, Barnaby’s arrival, my laziness, and my discovery and addiction with Expanse meant that I didn’t run during the day either. R was out all Sunday, and sudden, surprise showers closed the morning run window. Result: I didn’t run on Sunday either. Instead, I did the thing I hate: I binge watched The Expanse.

I threw away the weekend to binge-watching Expanse. I saw the S01E01 on Friday evening. By the time I finally slept on Sunday night (after 1 AM), I was at S02E08. The first thing I did today was to delete the Prime Video app from my phone.

I didn’t do any of the planned house work. The tap hole in kitchen top stays unfixed. The ivy from the side fence still needs to be removed. The kitchen oven is still to be cleaned. I started, but abandoned midway, the monthly cleaning of the utility room.

The tinnitus has been bad for a few days now. It’s been wrecking my head and hearing since at least middle of the last week, but it really peaked on Friday and Saturday.

It was a horrible weekend in most aspects. The one thing I was not happy about before it started—sis visiting—turned out to be the one small bright spot.

Today

I completed two weeks of eating without screens1. It’s become much easier now. The hand doesn’t automatically go to the remote or the phone the moment I sit down to eat. The anxiety has disappeared too. I’m definitely lovin’ it.

I started on level two of wobble board balancing today. I achieved a level 1 PB of 6 mins 20 seconds on Saturday after the Parkrun. Also, balancing for a minute or two has become fairly easy now. So, decided to take it to level two today.

I found an old, barely used volleyball that R and li’l R had bought a while ago. They never used it, and it’s only lightly inflated now—perfect for bouncing off the ball while balancing on the board. A small, heavy medicine ball would’ve been ideal, but this volleyball is good enough for me.

There’s just one small (32kg black with 4 legs) hitch. Chewie gets agitated when I bounce the ball off the wall. He thinks all balls were made for him to play. Also, we often play where I bounce balls off the wall and he catches them. He protested that it was unfair that I bounce the balls from such a height at close quarters, and then catch it without giving him a chance. I have a few scratches on my waist from his attempts to topple me off the board and get at the ball!

Today is the first day in three weeks that I’m skipping the scheduled running workout. Between the hot day, and taking care of Chewie in the evening, I just ran out of energy and viable time slots to go for a run. I’m telling myself I’ll do it tomorrow. But tomorrow is just the same—late morning will be too warm to run, specially after walking Chewie, and evening will again be busy catering to him. The only viable spot is early morning, but those are my favourite work hours :(

Other stuff happened too, but nothing important or interesting enough to note.

Continue reading Today

Achievement of the day: meals without screens

Ate both meals without screens.

No phone, no TV, no laptop, no kindle,… nothing.

Yesterday’s lunch—the first fully screen free (alone) meal—was a bit of a mess. I was anxious, itching to either pick up the phone or switch on the news.

It took a bit, but by the end of the meal I was calmer. I also took longer to finish the meal—spending more time on every bite, chewing better, putting the fork/spoon down between the bites,…

Today’s lunch was easier. Yesterday’s experience comforted me that any anxiety was unwarranted.

Dinner was harder in the usual aspect—R was home and watching TV1. It was easier in another way—there was a beautiful sunset outside. I placed the rocker facing the sunset (back to the TV), and slowly ate my dinner watching the orange sky and the green canopy.

It was quite pleasant. Slow, tasty, pleasant 🙂

Continue reading Achievement of the day: meals without screens

No News TV

R is away for a few days, and I’m itching to try some changes.

My preferred change is to get rid of the mobile phone. I left it at home for the Corsica vacation last year, and it turned out to be amazing. However, with R away, I need to be reachable, so can’t completely get rid of the phone.

Another thought was to stay off of watching TV (including videos on mobile/laptop). I did that, semi-successfully, for the last quarter of 2017, and quite enjoyed it. However, this is the season of my favourite cycling races, the spring classics, and I really don’t want to miss them. (I just bought a Eurosport player subscription so I can watch the spring classics!)

I could give up social media, but it wouldn’t count as much of a change. I’m not on Facebook. I’ve restricted Twitter to Tweetdeck on desktop, so only use for specific posts/responses, no reading. I do check Instagram a few times a day, but it isn’t a sink hole of links and debates. Strava barely counts as a social media.

So far I’ve only found one thing I can drop. It’s small, but it may help achieve some calm: give up on the 24 hour news cycle1.

  1. I won’t be watching news channels on TV. BBC and CNN are bulk of my non-Eurosport TV diet2.
  2. I won’t check news on mobile. I check techmeme and Google news probably half a dozen times a day, each.
  3. I will stay off (reading updates on) Twitter.
  4. I will continue to read the 2 daily newsletters I subscribe to – Quartz and Economist Espresso.
  5. I will continue to read the weekly issue of The Economist.

I have a feeling tomorrow will be hard, given my addiction to news TV, techmeme and Google news. I also have a feeling that, once I’m over the withdrawal symptoms, this may help me achieve a bit more calm.


  1. The inspiration 
  2. I usually switch on the TV to BBC or CNN while eating lunch, and watch it till I finish the post lunch coffee. Ditto for dinner. Unless R has already switched on the PS3, to watch Grey’s anatomy on Amazon prime.