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17/52 for the group 2016 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: Q is for Quirky

The weather was distinctly quirky last week. After some sunny weather that brought out the blossom, we had snow showers. Fortunately it didn't stick, but distinctly unusual for the end of April.

Blossom and snow shower

Current Mood: busy busy

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Aaargh! Aaargh! Aaargh! I was so proud of myself for finally making progress with finishing the knitted sweater. I sewed up a shoulder seam, picked up stitches around the neck, knitted the neck band and cast off... And then I realised I'd done it wrong and had to frog it.

*beats head against desk*

At least I know how to do it properly now so should be able to finish it tomorrow.

Current Mood: frustrated frustrated

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I'd noticed my weight creeping up again and I knew that I needed to diet to get it back under control, but somehow couldn't muster the willpower. Then someone on Habitica mentioned The No S Diet and I googled and found the web page. It was such a breath of fresh air and made so much sense that I rushed to buy the book just to send a few dollars to the author.

Basically it's how I ate when I was a kid and throughout my teens: 3 decent meals per day and no snacks or sweets, apart from having a little treat on S days. S days are Saturdays, Sundays and Special days such as your birthday, family celebrations, Christmas and Easter. As long as there are no more than 2 "Special" days in a month, you're sticking to the diet.

And that's it! That's all you need to know really. You don't need to buy the book, I've told you all the rules! But the book is worth having because it explains everything so clearly. You don't have to give up any of your favourite foods, just eat less of them if they're sweet or snacks. Nothing is forbidden, you're just reducing the amount you eat by focusing on when you eat. The book also has lots of useful advice on forming good habits rather than trying to rely on willpower.

Most diet books spend 90% of the book explaining the diet and just the final chapter on telling you how to maintain your weight when you've lost as much as you need. They explain how to diet, but they don't tell you how to establish a healthy relationship with food for the rest of your life. The No S Diet is basically a maintenance diet. You can live on it for the rest of your life without suffering from a sense of deprivation. You won't lose weight fast. I've been following it for just over a week and have possibly lost 1lb (the author has important things to say about the unreliability of scales!). When I've dieted previously, I've lost a steady 2lbs per week. But I know that when I was young, this is how I ate and I stayed slim. Somehow, in recent years I've lost touch with those good habits. At my age, I can't afford to just keep piling on the pounds, and this diet is simple enough to require little conscious thought to keep to the rules and lenient enough that I can enjoy my plain food through the week and look forward to guilt-free chocolate and cake at the weekend.

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

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A parting of the ways

16/52 for the group 2016 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: P is for Parting

Here the road parts. One lane becomes two. Which way would you take?

Some trees are just coming into leaf, but this one is a bit slow.

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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Argh! I broke a mug yesterday. I'd spent ages (an hour and a half to be precise) finding out how to close the final two accounts that belonged to my Dad and writing the letters to accompany the necessary documents. I wanted to get the letters into the post before 5:30 pm, so reached into the kitchen cupboard for my keys, fumbled them and they fell onto the draining board, neatly knocking off a mug handle as they did so! Fortunately it was an old mug that had been a freebie from an office supplies place, so not a disaster. Anyway, I did get the letters to the post in time and then walked back the long way round, which involved a steep hill, so I could also tick off my exercise daily on Habitica.

View over town

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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15/52 for the group 2016 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: O is for Out of Order

I've arranged the letter tiles in the order of the Welsh alphabet -- at least at the start! It goes a little wrong at the end of the row. :)

In case you were wondering, CH and DD count as single letters in Welsh (as do ff, ng, ph, rh and th) so the alphabet goes:

a b c ch d dd e f ff g ng h i j l ll m n o p ph r rh s t th u w y

Welsh scrabble

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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Today is fine and sunny. G has gone out for a walk. I'd love to go out for a walk too, but I have stuff to prepare for next week's teaching sessions.

I both love and hate this time of year. I love the improvement in the weather and the occasional warm sunny day and the new spring flowers. I hate that the end of the academic year is approaching with all the assignment deadlines. I hate having to nag my students to get things completed, but I have to do it if they're to pass their courses. :(
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I'm currently trying to read Harri Potter a Maen Yr Athronydd. Again. I've had the book for years but never managed to finish it. Previous attempts just got me a few chapters in before I got bored.

The problem is, I can now read Welsh (either silently or aloud) and get the gist of it, but it's too hard to do it for pleasure and if I consider it as Welsh study, ploughing on and ignoring all the words I don't understand is not going to expand my vocabulary. However, looking up every unknown word as I come to it just makes the whole process frustrating and boring. I know because I've tried that before.

So, this time I'm experimenting with a compromise. As I read I'm writing down a) words I don't know and b) phrases I understand but feel might be useful to learn by heart (mostly idioms), but I'm not looking up the meaning (unless it's vital for understanding). I'm writing the unknown words in a physical notebook, along with page and line number so I can easily find the them again to see the context.

My plan is that when I've finished the book I'll spend some study time going through the words and translating them and perhaps making flash cards to learn them thoroughly. So far it seems to be a reasonable compromise and it's enabling me to make steady progress.
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The best part of Habitica for me is the social side and the support from the various guilds, especially if they run challenges. I completed this month's Abandoned Ingredients challenge today by taking some slightly sprouty potatoes and wrinkly carrots and combining them with a couple of sticks of just-going-a-bit-limp celery, some slightly-past-their-use-by-date lentils and an onion. All combined together with some stock cubes and seasoning and simmered for a while, they made a decent vegetable soup.

It's hardly cordon bleu, but fine for a weekend lunch with some bread and cheese and without the challenge, I'd probably have let the veg sit there until they were inedible.

Still good enough for soup!
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I'm slowly ramping up to full productivity after being ill with the cold. Today I've been using a technique that we call Productivity Roulette over on Habitica. Basically you pull out of your To-Do list a selection of tasks that you can either complete that day or at least make some progress on. Then you number them, use a random number generator (or throw dice) to give you a number and that's the task you do next.

I don't do it all the time, but I find that a bit of randomness helps me get over feelings of stuckness. So far have done 3 tasks which were: to process, post and blog my weekly photo for a Flickr challenge; set up a challenge in the Welsh guild on Habitica; and made myself sit down and carefully go through the booklet about the Welsh exam I have (foolishly?) registered for. That final task has resulted in checking off one To-Do, only to add two more, but at least I know exactly what is involved now and no longer have a lurking sense of dread that I'm going to miss a deadline.

I probably have time for one more task before I have to cook dinner. Random number generator, here I come!

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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