Monthly Archives

January 2017

Crochet Life Running This week

:: This week ::

29th January 2017

Photograph of a graphic style piece of street art

 

:: Making ::

Still just adding to the babette this week. No further progress to report on that. I’m hooking up a hat, continuing on with my scrap project —

Crochet circle

 

It’s growing slowly, am hoping to find a circular cushion to fit this too… on the list.

Ruby and I also spent Saturday morning knotting up friendship bracelets. I made a couple with 8 strands but they aren’t finished yet and I’ve not got any pictures at the moment. Ruby mastered the chevron and has made a few now, she found the printed patterns for bracelets using any more than 4 strands difficult to understand (as did I, it took me a few hours and some youtube videos to decipher them!) That’s it for makes.

:: Reading ::

I finished Shonda Rime’s “Year of Yes” (3/5) and I’m stuck into “The Essex Serpent” by Sarah Perry now. I’ve also started reading a design book on design systems and user interfaces, largely out of my depth on that, but immersing myself in all things web design and development at the moment. It’s good to read something different.

:: Listening to ::

ABRA

I’ve watched nothing on TV except Homeland, we’re a season behind. Drinking? None. I know you can’t believe it either. I’ve run 17.6 miles this week, including one very muddy trail run with Rocco. I had 4 days off after catching a nasty cold last weekend, I just had to get behind early nights and lots of rest at the start of the week. Really not a huge amount going on, am still enjoying hibernating this winter. The daily coding is happening, I should have hit 100 hours in a couple of weeks, I say this tentatively as there is so much to learn and I am only at the beginning, but I’m finally starting to feel that it’s not so alien to me any more. I’m looking forward to being able to do it with my ‘morning head’ on this week. At the weekends I’m attempting an hour after the kids go to bed and my evening head is dull and sluggish and finds everything hard to grasp. On that, it’s grinding as I type, time to hit the hay.

Books

Jarett Kobek :: I hate the Internet

25th January 2017

Picture of Jarrett Kobek's book 'I Hate the Internet'

I finished reading my first book of 2017: Jarett Kobek’s “I hate the internet”. It’s difficult to know where to begin, for reasons which, if you pick this book up, you will understand. It reads as a work of fiction, referred to within as a ‘good bad novel’ and I will say, that definitely holds up, it isn’t a book to read for the writing quality, though obviously quite deliberately. However it’s also set within our internet age and references the current players in this age, it has so many scurrilous observations of the present day digital elite, the UK publisher has redacted many paragraphs. We’re talking thick black lines throughout the book masking I don’t know what about people, mostly it seems, Peter Thiel. After each of these heavily censored clips is the note “Jim’ll fix it” in reference to the defamation suits in which Jimmy Saville managed “to stop any third party reporting on his status as a living depravity.” I’ve never read a book like this.

I thought I’d be reading this and coming to more depressing conclusions about the negative side to our immediate connectivity thanks to the internet. I’ve been thinking about distraction and attention deficit for quite some time now. Instead it mostly was a book that compares how comic book companies (corporations) made MILLIONS from comics, completely taking advantage of artists intellectual property whilst paying their artists almost nothing. This is a critique on the current system where the corporations cashing out on the internet aren’t really the creatives making the content. It’s also an important commentary of the still evident racial and social injustices that we are still living through in this internet age.

There were parts of this book I was just utterly perplexed by. Baby, one of the characters in the book is an author and one of the storylines in one of his novels is about an organisation called the World Time Travel Authority and how it infests all its time travellers with a mutated strain of gonorrhoea that pools in the back of the throat. The gonorrhoea is ‘hyperintelligent’, it can talk! It keeps the time travellers company. I know. WTF. But just when you think there can’t be any weirder elements to a novel Kobek uses the word ‘polyamoyrous’ in relation to the marital set up of two of his characters. He then discusses the etymology of the word ‘polyamorous’. We have, apparently ‘Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart’ to thank and this, then is where I learnt that Morning Glory and her husband actually surgically altered the horn buds of goats to grow just a single horn in the middle of the skull. Yes, they were trying to make unicorns and then 4 of these goats end up at the Ringling Brothers Circus. This, this bit of the book is TRUE – I KNOW, not a work of fiction. See here. I haven’t felt so confused in the act of reading for some time. What IS the world coming to?

It’s worth a read, if you want a scathing indictment of the internet as it currently stands with it’s endless advertising. The internet allows hate and trolling on a mass scale and this activity hides behind free speech. We curate our digital presence in a way that makes many of us feel uneasy and some of us feel inferior, privacy can be violated, bad people can do bad things on the net. With all that, I LOVE the internet, used with intention it’s connecting and informing and a tool I wouldn’t want to live without, but reading this has made me think and that, I’m sure was the end goal.

 

 

 

 

This week

:: This Week ::

22nd January 2017

:: Making ::

Photo of v stitch blanket

Aside from adding a square to the babette everyday (it’s getting ever bigger but still so far off) I have been stitching this single size v stitch blanket when I’m sitting on the sofa, a pretty infrequent occurrence. It’s a bit disheartening working on big crochet projects sometimes, you feel like you’re getting nowhere, but I think of the experience relative to learning anything new or preparing to race, or reading a book. You just have to keep on keeping on and eventually it will reach it’s conclusion.

Mixed colour crochet circle piece

I also began a scrappy circle piece made up of oddments of cotton. Every time I run out of colour I pull the end through in preparation to needle join the cotton to the next colour. I’ve got a plan to make a floor cushion out of this, but I’m not sure it will work out. Still, I like to try the things I imagine, even if they don’t turn out exactly as I envisage. Overall I’ve hardly done any crochet this week, I’ve been trying to get my paperwork organised and combining that with all the running and housework/chores seems to have sucked up all my time. I’ll be using attacker pro this week to track my time. In honesty it won’t be spent making, my big focus for the next few months is to build on the work I’ve been doing, learning to code, but I feel like I must do some crochet everyday to keep myself levelled up, something about the rhythm of it and working with the colours always puts me where I need to be. Crocheting to a podcast is such a happy way for me to pass the time, I never tire of it, I wish I had more energy in the evenings!

:: Reading ::

“Why and how I get up at 4.30” – I’m back to my 5.45 wake-ups now, I’m not sure I could manage 4.30 but “it’s only after I accepted that I’d never again sleep past 7.00 that 4.30 started to look attractive” rang a bell.

This piece by Noel Thatcher MBE a visually impaired athlete/paraolympian. I’ve registered my interest in becoming a guide runner after reading this, so inspiring.

“Why you should stop caring what other people think” – this was recommended in the 5 bullet friday email by Tim Ferriss, definitely worth signing up to if you don’t get it already.

Just finished “The Art of Learning” by Josh Watizkin and picked up “A Year of Yes” by Shonda Rimes, whether I’ll ever get round to reviewing either is another matter.

:: Watching ::

Taboo. Of course. Everyone is watching Tom Hardy in taboo. I’m not entirely sure I understand where it’s going. I really hope it ends up being good.

This youtube video on Grace Hopper a hugely impressive computer scientist who I had never heard of until this week. Very inspiring.

I still haven’t had a drink but I am BLOODY TEMPTED THIS EVENING. I think that’s largely due to the fact that today I’m back to feeling run down, how I’ll manage the year at this point seems utterly impossible.

On running I’ve hit 26.9 miles this week, a marathon distance! Meditating: Only twice. I need to tilt back. Let’s see how this week goes…

 

Life

Lists

11th January 2017

A picture of list making

 

Another week of the New Year!

:: On coding everyday, I have managed to sit down with my computer each day except Monday! I’ve not been especially successful but I have done it. Monday didn’t work, the schedule is tricky at the best of times. I had to fit my run in in the evening, in the dark, which isn’t my favourite but necessary if I want to fit it in at all. I think I’m going to have to get up earlier. I began the usual New Year tax return/sorting paperwork stuff on Monday at least, once that’s out the way I’ll have more time. Yesterday I went to a workshop where I met someone who codes in real life. I think that’s going to keep me going.

:: I read a book. Jarrett Kobek’s “I hate the internet”– it deserves it’s own post. The first book I have ever read with so much redacted material to comply with UK libel laws!

:: Not drinking. No drinking has happened. 11 days. I’ve had this as something I track for the last two years, being wiped and low after drinking a couple of glasses of something that’s supposed to be relaxing and fun (and it is at the time) has bothered me for a while. The last significant length of time without a glass of pinot noir or malbec was 57 days. Nowhere near, I think it’s only worked because I haven’t been out in the evening…

:: Guess what? More running. Any correlation? Nearly 40 miles. I signed up for a virtual challenge to run from Land’s End to John O’Groats to keep me motivated this year.

:: Meditating. This has been the difficult ‘big rock‘, although I’ve only missed two days (yesterday included) which I think isn’t bad because it hasn’t been something I have fitted in at all. I need to make sure I ‘sit’ in the beginning part of my day. I started writing my own rooted productivity page after the suggestion in Cal Newport’s email this week (worth a sign up) and worked out meditation comes most days after I’ve walked Rocco. However on Sunday I just ran out of steam, I didn’t wake before the children, we went to junior park run, then swimming lessons almost immediately after, then got the paper. I fitted in walking the dog between this and going to see my nana, I didn’t feel I had that 10 minutes, what I should have done is accept that and go for five. We always have five minutes. Once I got home both children were so edgy from doing too much it felt like we’d all been run down by a bus by the time they went to bed and it was early nights for everyone. On the days where the kids were at home, I explained I was going up to meditate. They get the general idea of meditation. George has discussion of it at ninja I think, Ruby knows I went to classes and we’ve used the “Enchanted Meditation” before, I seem to remember something about them doing it at school. What my children don’t understand if I am awake is how to be more than 6 foot away from me at any given time. I think it was the 2nd of January where, 6 minutes into a mindfulness of breathing meditation I heard little footsteps coming up the stairs to my room. George came in, I paused the meditation, reminded myself the whole idea is to be more present in life, explained I’d prefer if he’d not do this in future, but if he’d like to sit with me I could finish if he was quiet. He wriggled on my lap, he burped and then counted down to the end of my session looking at the phone app I use. The following day I had Ruby come up the stairs (within TWO minutes!) I heard her stop outside the door and wait, clearly wondering what to do. She needed a hairbrush which she eventually decided was quite important and after deliberating she walked in after about 1 minute (in fairness, all I could focus on were my thoughts about when she would come in.) On the whole though, I’ve made it a priority. Do I feel better? I feel more aware of how antsy and perpetually distracted I am.

:: Some crochet too, a hat and a babette update is on its way.

Life Running

2017

1st January 2017

Paper on the floor

 

Earnest, new year, new intention post – be warned.

I’m the type of person that likes New Year as a marker, it feels fresh and full of possibility, a chance to wipe the slate clean and start over. I enjoy the reflection part, working out what worked that year and what I’d like to improve on. It’s my kind of time. I had a good think yesterday morning about 2016 and all the good experiences I had. The last 4 or so years on December 31st I try to write my list of 50 “humble brags” for that year. I started off alright, in the few blog posts I actually wrote last year I covered my intentions around running and I completed my 1000km challenge in November, so I can own that one. Done. I had that as my first humble brag, of course I did.

2016 was also the year I started learning how to code, I joined a running club, I read 32 books (not the 50 I set out to, but 32 all the same), I made two huge blankets and 8 baby blankets, I learnt how to make hats, I did a lot of crochet. I put all these things down. However, be under no illusion I struggled to get to 32 and even then stretching the list out to 38 over the rest of the day was hard!

In any case I had had two things at the start of last year I knew would pick me up and set my 2016 in the right direction: running and reading, I genuinely believe both feed into me being more productive and creative. This year I’m building and adjusting on those two: I’m going to run 1000 miles in 2017, including a marathon and an ultra distance. I’ll include in my Sunday “This Week” round up the distance I’ve covered that week and my overall distance for the year. As far as books go, my goodreads challenge for 2017 will be for a more realistic 35 titles.

I have two other intentions:

:: to code everyday.

:: to meditate for at least ten minutes per day.

These are my new big rocks, my new daily priorities. They’re in this crochet blog because I think both will make me more productive and more creative. I’ve dipped in and out of meditating in 2016 and for many years but with no consistency. I alternate between both metta bhavana and mindfulness of breathing buddhist meditations for no other reason than that’s what I was taught to practice at the buddhist centre and I like them! I also maintained a good coding streak up until Christmas time and have clocked in 50 hours overall. However Christmas coding was woefully intermittent. The meditating allows me to focus better in the day and you can’t code without focus, so they both feed into each other.

The next thing that will define 2017 that I’m genuinely slightly worried about throwing out there is that I won’t be consuming any alcohol. For the whole year. This is my public declaration and my digital place of accountability. Those that know me will find this reasonably amusing (I can hear “good luck with THAT!” from you all – cheers!) There are so many reasons for this, I think it’s another post entirely but it genuinely comes down to curiosity. What would change? Will I make more, will I read more, will I run more, will I be happier?  So I’m writing it off for 2017 as a personal experiment just so I can see.

(Pip Lincolne pretty much sums up all my reasons here)

Right 2017. Let’s do this.