This morning was the 2nd time in a row that I ended up crying in the gym. Not from a hard workout – just like last week, when the same thing happened, it was on my bodyweight-only day. I’m not sure what sets it off.

Memories of Dutch fishing boats in the sun, a misty dawn at Brunsbüttel, waiting for the canal to open. Surely that’s my real life? What’s this I find myself in here and now?

Or is it my one-legged Russian deadlifts really hammering home how damaged my body is, how slow and uncertain my efforts towards recovery are? My right hip, hamstring and calf are slack and weak (except the external rotator), and have always been prone to hideous cramp unless I’m careful. My left side is strong (except the external rotator) but stiff. If it’s getting better, it’s extremely slowly.

How did I let myself get into this state? Maybe that’s the common factor. Grief over all that I want to have again. Mind, body – a life lived free.

Whatever sets it off, there I am, lying on my mat in the corner, tears running secretly into my hair, or onto my towel, as I lie face down to do extension work. Fortunately, I am out of direct sight of anyone else, because what on earth do you DO when someone is crying in a public space – I would not want to inflict that dilemma on anyone. Or maybe I fear trying to explain, even to sympathetic ears, what I don’t myself understand.

Yesterday, I got up at 6, went to the gym (squat day), ate breakfast on the tram (flat peaches, plums, mixed nuts), read a technical book in German on the train (HTML/CSS/JS), walked past the big lake to work, where I got a self contained piece of work done and out to the test server, with a little help from my colleague’s deep knowledge of our data, ticking the “interact with colleagues and demonstrate that I value their skills and knowledge” box that is my refinement of the management’s wishes – as well as updating my documentation (tick another box). Ate well (leftover white bean Thai curry, and then later, kidney bean salad). Came home (reading fiction/bit of email/facebook), cooked and ate dinner (melon, then mixed veg stir fry with sprouted lentils), did a pile of dishes, put on a washing, did my Business German homework ready for class tomorrow night, checked in and downloaded my boarding passes for my trip to the UK on Thursday (Round The Island boat race), set up another washing, talked with my boyfriend when he got back about 9:45, fell asleep to an old episode of Game of Thrones – and woke up to hang up the 2nd washing (with help) then go to bed…

I can’t fault the day, I can’t fault my efforts. I would not say I’m unhappy, in general. So why the tears?

At least it’s feeling something, I suppose there’s that.


Sunday Grumpy Sunday

What’s the point of a transport app, the official transport app of the BVG, mind, if it doesn’t tell you about disruptions? Or the tram driver suddenly announcing “we aren’t going to Köpenick” just before the last stop to get off and take a bus that only goes every 20 minutes, but not even telling you that, or where the damned tram IS going? Got off 3 stops later and walked back to Schöneweide, in the rain. At least I got to pee behind a bush. I’m only on the tram because the trains are fucked (l for the last month, and God knows how long).

I needed to go to the boat to pick up my jacket, boots and harness to take to England on Thursday for the Round The Island race, which I’m doing with some ex clubmates on their 28 fter. And to dispose of the probably mouldy peaches I forgot to bring back with me last week….

Finally got to the sailing club after close to 2 hours in transit. Could almost have made the coast in that! Of course the jobs I want to do are outdoor jobs that need it to be dry, and to stay dry whilst things dry. I did take advantage of a half hour window to slap some clear lacquer on the hole in the solar panel membrane. Actually it was nail varnish top coat, tough as all hell, totally clear and in a handy small bottle with brush. Various forms of outdoor clear tape have not been 100% successful.

I have also had to take a lot of water out of one cockpit locker – the drain pipe seems to be partly blocked :-(. Can’t get the damned pipe off the fitting to try to clear it, and can’t resign myself to rigging the tarp over the cockpit to help stop the rain getting that far. I wonder how much use a plunger would be… Or skooshing water under pressure through it? I hate leaking lockers, and they always do, somehow. I need to butch up and install a bilge pump with two pipes – one in each locker because though they link round the stern, the low point is at the for’ard end. Then at least I could get the water out fast. I’m still thinking like a sea sailor here, we don’t get waves over the deck or stern in the river, not even with the most inconsiderately fast, big-wash-making powerboats! Though my wee boat copes fine with the waves we do get, bobbing nicely round it rather than slamming, so one good point for performing above expectations!

But it won’t stop raining! I can’t get any of my top priority jobs done. (Properly seal the hole in the solar panel covering, attach wood plate to stern cockpit coaming, so I can hinge and secure the engine cover box – and cut a hole to give access to the starter pull cord, something that will let me sit on the box more securely, and start the engine quicker, if necessary). Small indoor jobs need power tools and something to hold the wood. I keep forgetting the things I don’t have any more. 😦 I used to have a folding workbench and tons of clamps…

I’m torn on how much work to do on this boat. She’s not really a sea boat. I could beef a few things up so she might be OK in moderate weather and moderate waves – if we ever get to the sea. I’m not sure what will leak or fail in anything heavier, or how foolish it would be to find out.

The decks need painting. The roller furling needs either mended, or replaced with roller reefing, or a stay and a large hanked jib with at least one reef. The rub rail needs sorted or removed entirely. I need to build a new anchor locker cover as the old one is delaminating. All the “outside” bilges need painted, the fuel tank platform needs to be secured, the camping cooker needs to be fixed down. Even then, I’m not 100% sure on the deck / house GRP – it’s 46 years old, there are a few possible osmosis bubbles, and I know the hull was epoxied because it needed it. I need a Rocna anchor and some chain. I need to build some fiddles inside. The portapotti toilet needs probably replaced as the last time I picked it up to empty it, it leaked (yuck!). It certainly needs fixed down. I need to finish the 12V/USB socket panel, fix down the inverter, secure the mains battery charger and find a tidy secure solution for the shore power line. I need to finish the small stowable table.

I’ve deprioritised almost all of that in favour of actually sailing. After 2 years with the old boat, 100% work, 0% sailing, I figured I deserved it. And it’s been good, I’ve been pretty ok at sailing on my own, quite enjoy it, which was a surprise. But now, after last week’s incident, I can’t sail until I get the ICC conversion of my license through from the RYA !! Thankfully the logon for the online CEVNI (inland waterways rules) test that I need to sit in order to get the ICC came through today, so I can do that later, and hopefully have documentation that the Water Police here recognise before the weekend after next.

The sailing area is not big enough for me here, I need more adventure, I need somewhere to go. But it will do to practice, whilst I decide what really happens next.

At least the peaches were ok, no smell, no ooze – and 2 or 3 even still edible. It’s the small things…

Following you I climb the mountain, I get excitement at your feet

excited dog

*not a selfie

I just finished reading a book recommended to me by several people – “I Hope I Screw This Up” by Kyle Cease, American comedian-turned-transformational coach. I hated the style of the first chapter, but it got much better, so stick with it, if you are in any doubts. I will not try to summarise the book here, but I will pick a few points that are relevant to me and my life right now.

The base premise is that it is the WHY of what you do is important, that this WHY should give to others, and  that once you know that, then you will easily find the HOW – and the energy to do it. There are various exercises in the book, designed to help you set off your creativity, list what you want in life,  identify the fears that are holding you back. These are then used to help you make decisions by recognising which things excite you – as in you can feel it in your body as excitement – and following those. Following your heart.

Or maybe those are the points I see because those are the points I have problems with…

WHY has not yet come to me, but I won’t talk about that here. Not yet. Not again.

Excitement? Physically felt? Don’t make me crack a wry smile. Outside of my sex life, I can’t recall any of that for …. years – and it was never a big feature in my life. I don’t get (or ‘get’) anticipation or celebration. I was never like my Dad, excited to go on holiday, or running round the room in celebration of a goal by his team – or even like my mother, disappointed when a place or event was not as she had imagined it. I never lay awake unable to sleep on Xmas Eve, imagining my presents. I faced the prospect of the biggest rock gig of my life (40,000 crowd at Mathew Street Music Festival, plus BBC3 coverage) with the same “job to be done” attitude as a pub gig. (in the end, the weather cancelled the whole day, and I never had the prospect of so big a crowd ever again…). I very much take things as the are, when they are. I am not good at emotion connected to either past or future. I have my “in the moment ” spikes, but as my experiments with the Bentinho Exercise seem to have shown, triggering excitement through thoughts, or noticing excitement is not a thing I do well (or at all, apparently). I reason, not feel.

Fear – again only an intellectual thing, and I am not prone to anxiety. I can see how both of those can be turned into excitement by a change of view, but they don’t show up to the party either, so I can’t flip them.

So, why don’t I feel excitement? What can I do about it? Because following your heart is the way to go, and all the tools for following your heart need you to be able to identify excitement.  And I would dearly love to do this, the results seem amazing. Freedom. Joy. Being unlimited. All that good stuff. So why do I have such a hard time feeling it?

I started to think “what is excitement?”, and I reckon it is

Uncertainty + Confidence + Curiosity = Excitement

Have to have all three. You don’t know what is going to happen, or how, or that it will happen for sure, but you are sure it will be successful/fantastic/educational/useful, and you are curious about the activity/plan and also to see how it all turns out. Ergo – excitement.

Uncertainty + Lack-of-confidence (+ Curiosity?)= Anxiety (I think)

and if there is Curiosity here, it could play the negative role – imagining all the things that could go wrong and all the ways in which it could go wrong – but I am not as sure of that one.

There is either too little Uncertainty or too much Confidence or just very little Curiosity with me right now. I’m playing the mission on the game of Life that I have played before  (Job, Boat, Music), just on a harder difficulty setting (German). The things I set out to do are a path well trodden, and I have the confidence born of years and years of evidence (plus a pile of recent evidence), that I manage to do what I plan to do. Yeah sure, being short 100k, or finding out my sailing licence isn’t valid and the roller furler is bust, or bands splitting up, or Brexit, or me picking probably the “wrong” job are just the ups and downs. It will all work out. I am, and always have been, sure of that.

I am not sure what kind of Uncertainty I would need. But maybe even on “Difficulty Level: German”, this mission is fundamentally just too easy for me. Time and application of effort and riding the ups and downs will get me through it. No worries. Yawn.

I could also be lack of Curiosity that is my issue. Which might link back to the missing WHY.  Not sure.

A friend with whom I have discussed this issue, thinks that I need to forgive myself for the past and completely let go of the story that I lost something and am now less than I was. No doubt it’s a big part. I do still feel “less”. My emotionally-led decisions destroyed the life I had, and led me to actions that semi-sabotaged the new one I was trying to build. It’s a lot to forgive, and will take somehow getting to the view that I’m in now in a better place with my life. That it was “worth it”.

I can see that could mean I am not going to be as comfortable following my emotional cues – but I am not sure why they would be *absent*… My sister has a medical condition where (if I understand it right) she just does not produce enough cortisol to get anxious or worried or stressed. She takes medication to correct this. Before they got the dose right, and it was too much, she said she got continually “have I left the gas on?” anxious and nervy of things like flying. They had to actually give her extra cortisol when she gave birth, because you are supposed to be stressed then, to get your body to to the job! Maybe I have something like that too? But I was a very emotional child/teenager/young adult … hmmm. Maybe not.

Maybe I just need to do something completely *other*. But what? How do I find the way, when excitement is the guide?

All the posts I didn’t write

I could write about my encounter with the Wasserschutzpolizei, a wherein I gain lasting fame as the only sailing boat to collide with another in the Seddinsee 25 years (at least that the police came out to). A tale of bureaucracy, neglected licence additions, and the crazy fact that I am (until I get this piece in place) allowed to motor but not sail, despite that the only missing part is a theory test on the signs and sounds used in inland waterways – which one also needs to know when motoring.

I could amuse you with the sailing club trip to see the fireworks, and our impromptu jam session afterwards, where I played a nice acoustic, sang, and vowed to practice playing more, as that’s at least one reason to do so.

I could tell you of the mid-trial-period meeting with the management, where I’m strongly encouraged to talk to my colleagues more – but not loudly, and to let them finish sentences. The management have evidently never met my family!

I could baffle you with my adventures with the 3rd party grid control we use, or even write up my solutions on some far geekier forum for the education and entertainment of future generations.

I could let you know that I’ve spoken to some legal people about a financial affair that’s lost its glamour, and got an estimate to find out if I’ve got a case, or if I’m just gonna have to use my own low cunning and persuasive skills to bring it to successful closure.

I could let you know that I ditched the raw eating at day 20, because the insane hunger was back, and if there were going to be any mental health benefits, the opinion amongst fellow-experimenters was that they’d have shown up by now, and sticking to some mildly tedious task is something my working life, gym life and musical life have already given me plenty of practice at.

I could tell you about the mild floor flooding in the band room, the gig in Hamburg where we survived the Berlin Friday traffic jam, performed well to a modest audience, gained some nice praise, had some excellent photos taken by a new acquaintance and enjoyed an excellent proper meal at 1:30am.

I could tell you about my new Business German evening class – found, booked and started within 3 days of the idea being mentioned in conversation with my boss.

I could tell you (again) how nothing feels like anything, then add “except a few tears the other day, and the constant mild stress-ball round my solar plexus”. No excitement. No disasters. Just things going right, things going wrong, and me getting on with it all, wanting there to be a dream to work towards, but not knowing what that might be.

Raw: 2 weeks in

2 weeks of raw eating, and I’m bored. Bored with the food I’m eating, bored with the “challenge”, bored with the  fact that I know I can stick it to the end (it’s going to be maybe one day short, because I’m going on the Round The Island yacht race back in the UK on three 30th June, and I can’t remember what I ate on the 31st May. *unconcerned shrug*), bored with no detectable effects on either my body or my mind.

My dodgy hip is still dodgy, no worse, no better (some friends have reported joint aches disappearing whilst eating raw, only to return when they resume their previous eating habits). Gym performance is same as ever. I don’t have much fat, but it seems the same amount as ever. I can’t say about my weight. I only weigh myself when I visit my family (twice a year or so), because it’s so boring – a tad either side of 60 kg, always. Mood has been a bit lower than average, but that’s due to work/band/ financial circumstances, I would say. No extra sense of connection, no mental clarity, no physical weakness – or extra energy. No extra specially amazing raw vegan sex, like a friend of mine experienced. (Goddammit! Maybe that only works if both of you eat raw, though… 🙂 ). I do not feel the slightest bit different – except maybe the odd minor craving for fried onions over the past few days!.

It’s all so-so.

I’m slightly more aware how much food can be a distraction, a something to do – from impulse snacks bought at the train station to pass time, to the easy minor pleasure of a meal out after a work day that leaves little energy for anything active. If I hung out in hipper areas, where there would be at least some raw vegan options, but I don’t. Supermarkets are my friend!

I’ll stick with it, in case there are any late-blooming effects, but so far, it’s been rather uneventful and not much of a challenge.



They say it’s your birthday

Saturday was my birthday. Picnic breakfast in the park, chasing the patches of sun to find where to lay the blanket, too much fruit and not enough veg. A non-eventful afternoon. Leaving my bag on the tram, with everything in it – passport, cards, keys, phone, all the money I was going to put behind the bar to give my friends free drinks… Luckily I was with Eva, whose quick thinking plan to follow the tram in a taxi, plus her having the money to pay the driver gave us a chance. On the other hand, if I hadn’t been talking to Eva, maybe i would not have left my bag behind in the first place!

We found a taxi quickly, and he was game, speeding us after our goal – but there are 2 sets of tram lines, and 2 train stations – we were heading for the wrong one! I began to think it was all gone, in a city you’d have to be lucky – the longer it was on the tram, the more likely it was to get picked up and looted…

But, if true belief is in our actions rather than our thoughts, then despite those thoughts, I evidently did not *believe* that.

I told the taxi driver to go to the terminus station, which, with the aid of satnav, he did, stopping at the end of a one way street, leaving me to run the remaining distance – the tram was parked waiting. I drew up to the window, to get the driver’s attention – and there in front of her sat my bag!

After asking me for my name, being surprised I spoke German (tourist season, tourist district, British passport), and then asking me for an incredibly detailed description of the contents, I got my bag back (and a stern motherly admonition to be more careful in future). The day (or rather, night) was saved!

Karaoke fun, rock, pop and jazz – shared with my friends (plus a second birthday group of “kids” of about 20 years old), a bit of attempted re-education of unreconstructed old men in the finer points of how to behave with women, many beers and schnapps (and water for me) … and then it was well past dawn, and time to head home.

Must be Thursday

Day 8 raw. The “Big Hunger” that I had in the first few days disappeared by day 4. My deadlift workout in the gym yesterday was absolutely unaffected. My stomach (which can swell up a bit sometimes, depending on what I eat) remains very flat. I think there’s very minor fat loss – hard to tell, as I’ve not got a huge amount. I peed a ridiculous amount on Tuesday night, normally that only happens 1-2 days after big workouts, I’ve always thought it was down to getting rid of the breakdown products from the muscle “damage” that preceeds growth. Here, it could just be random. I’m spending about €17 every 2 days, instead of 35-40 a week on food – but not eating out, so it balances up I guess. I’ve not been getting quite enough sleep, but that’s summer for you (or for me, at least). Mostly I have been totally fine, but today at work I feel it. No biggie.

Mentally, I’ve been on a pretty consistent level of discontent with life – not knowing the path, not having a dream to aim at. I really miss that. I feel very strange going through the city, with its shops and bustle and people busy buying things, cut off from the casual “pick something up to eat on the way” culture, from the infinite choices they have. Nothing seems quite real, and I can’t engage. Work, I can disappear into, but lack of progress is not cheering, and lack of purpose even more so. I’m not inspired by a future learning the obscure details of a particular logistics and supply operation, like my colleagues already have. Superb and very specific domain knowledge has never been a major motivator for me. 

I like working hard towards a goal that I value.  I want to be the only one telling me what to do, when to do it. I want to be the only judge of whether what I do is done well enough. I want to work in bursts, not continually. I’m tired of others judging – by whether they are willing to pay for it. I love learning new things – but not the pressure of having to learn to do it well enough that people will pay me regularly for it – in a world where standards and competition are global.

A friend of mine is embarking shortly on a degree and a different direction. He’s made a very smart choice, with something that can only be done in person, one on one. It’s the in person skills that seem to let you be “good enough” at a local level.

I really would love to learn a craft for the joy of it. Irrespective of whether it makes me money or not.

I want to be location-independent.

The point of this raw trial was to see if I gained any added mental clarity, to feel more connected to the Universe, to be able to better read the signals of where to go. I’m not sure yet if that’s happening, but we’ll see at the end of the 30 days.