26.2.08

Going to Do my Best




So you've read it here, although I panicked in an earlier post...I'm going to try to carry on with this marathon and even if I come in at 12 hrs 30 I'm going to finish the darn thing. In the mean time, we've made a little fundraising video. Yes, seriously a video. :)

Anyway, please remember although we're no Steven Spielberg we hope you enjoy it anyway.

23.2.08

From Russia

Went to a really great exhibition today at the Royal Academy of Art which featured paintings from 1870-1925 of French & Russian masters. The collection brought together for this exhibit was from the main art galleries in Moscow & St Petersburg and is the first time these paintings were brought together. It was actually a wide arrange of styles featured including Impressionism, Cubo-Futurism and Abstract and many many different artists including Gauguin, Cezanne, Pisarro, Monet, Kadinsky, Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh and Malevich. I absolutely enjoyed seeing so much and can honestly say it was one of the best exhibits in London we had seen in a while. Here are a few of my favorite from the exhibit:

Kadinsky: Composition VII
Read that his use of musical symbols and the title suggest the analogy/relationship between music and colors. Studying music personally this suggestion doesn't surprise me as tones have often been compared with color.

Renoir: In the Garden
Renoir, what can I say---oh how I love thee!

Don't Remember the artist but I liked the dark colors, particularly the red

Matisse: The Dance
Loved this one and its actually a HUGE painting that takes up most of a wall.



Vrubel: Six-Winged Seraph
The internet doesn't do this painting justice. It's full of deep purples and looks like a mosaic in real life---VERY COOL


Matisse: Red Room
Have been to a Matisse exhibition before and love his use of patterns & textiles in his paintings. This painting is huge and again loved the colors.

21.2.08

What to do, What to do!??

Need advice as I'm in a huge pickle. Quick explanation (well sorta quick): Recovery has been rougher than expected in some ways, i.e. ENERGY. My days at the moment still always have to include either sitting down for long periods or taking a nap because I'm too exhausted to get through an entire day. I get dizzy and light-headed frequently and the chronic pain surrounding the original reason why I had surgery is back with a triple vengeance (stress probably doesn't help). I've done some exercise since my surgery, mostly A LOT of walking and last week I did 1/2 hr yoga and a few short easy jogs. This week I've gone gung ho and done yoga and 3-4 mile runs nearly every day. The reason for this madness is I'm seriously panicking about the London Marathon we've committed ourselves to which is in only SEVEN WEEKS!!!! This is only the first joy of it all cause we've been signed up for ages for three running races in March, the first one being a 10k in a weeks time and the second race a half-marathon (15 miles) the weekend after. By this point, I should be running 13+ miles without a second thought and I'm huffing & puffing for 3. The problem is is that it took a lot to get a spot this year with a charity and we've committed ourselves (signed things) to raise money in exchange for being able to run (fundraising isnt going well either but that's another story). If we drop out (does happen w/people), it may be another 3-5 years (seriously) before we'll get a spot because its THAT COMPETITIVE! I've wanted to do the London Marathon for like the longest time ever and I'm not the type to just quit and not follow through. But, this damn surgery took more out of me than I wanted and I'm worried that physically I'm just not going to be able to do this. The hard part is that I could be fine because I am making drastic improvements every day and its hard to predict how I'll feel in a week let alone 7 weeks. I don't want to make any drastic decisions but want to be fair to myself & the charity too. I know I'm being hard on myself because it hasn't even been a full month since the surgery and I'm already running 3-4 miles which is pretty darn good.

So what do you think I should do? Drop out now or wait and see how I feel? Part of me wants to just see how it goes but I'm freaking out that I'm making the wrong decision. Do you think its possible to make up this lost time in training, i.e. maybe doing two sessions of exercise a day? Am I crazy for doing this and worrying too much? Anyway--could use any and all thoughts/comments.

18.2.08

A Favorite Pastime


Was in a book-shop yesterday in Greenwich buying Oprah's last book club pick, "A New Earth" and I realized how much time in London I spend in book shops. Book shops are like candy stores to me, I have a hard time going in and not buying something. I'm always eyeing books up and planning my reading lists 3-4 books in advance. I get frustrated because there's so many I want to read and sometimes I end up reading two at a time having one for during the week and one for weekends or before bed. I find book shops oddly comforting at times too. Books can be great escapes, full of 'knowledge' and new ideas or even become oddly like friends in that you find others (characters) to relate to who are going through the same thoughts/feelings or experiences that you have. So sometimes I like to go into Waterstone's, the big bookshop in Greenwich and collapse in their big squishy sofa's just to be around all this, switch off and flip through some new find I've just discovered in the stacks. Call me a nerd, but I love it.

I didn't used to love books and it wasn't until I moved here that I really started getting into reading. London is a very 'literate' city. EVERYONE is reading something on the tube (subway) or trains in the morning--whether it be the free morning paper, the Metro or Danielle Steele's new romance novel, its hard to find someone who doesn't read on their daily commute. James is huge on reading too and funny enough was told as a kid that he should avoid too much reading cause he is dyslexic. I wonder what all these people would think now given the fact he has read most of the HUGE classics including most modern Russian works. So, I guess the influence of James and London life has made me into a book nerd. Its one 'habit' though I'm glad I've picked up.

Anyway, if you want to know what I am reading at the moment or have read, be sure to check out my side-bar. I'm reading 'Alice in Wonderland' now, but have the Classic, 'Lady Chatterly's Lover' and of course 'The New Earth' up too on the docket. This is of course until I find some other book to add to my list!!

15.2.08

Easy Spinach & Mushroom Pasta Sauce

I completely made up this pasta sauce last night and it turned out fantastic. I had seen a variation done on T.V. with Jamie Oliver and I had mis-heard him thinking for some reason that all the leaves he added were spinach instead of basil. That's the best part of cooking is to go with something you heard of doing and making it slightly your own. Anyway either way works and tastes fantastic too, plus its healthy as heck and it sneaks in a lot of veggies for the kids. If you would like to go one step further you can add ricotta cheese to it to make it slightly different. Here's this recipe with ricotta cheese.

This is what I did though:

Ingredients


A small bag of baby spinach, washed
either a REALLY BIG handful of dried basil or a BIG handful of fresh basil leaves
2-3 cloves of garlic (depending on size and personal tastes), finely chopped
A BIG handful of mushrooms, chopped
2 cans (400g, 9oz?) of chopped tomatoes
olive oil
salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese

Directions

Put a few glugs of olive oil in the pan and gently heat the garlic, add the mushrooms and cook through, add the spinach, stirring and cooking down, add the basil and then add the chopped tomatoes. Simmer for about twenty minutes, add salt & pepper to taste. Serve over whole-wheat pasta with grated parmesan on top. Great served as an accompaniment to fish.

11.2.08

Switching Off

Recovery is going slowly, but each day I'm feeling so much better and getting lots more energy to do normal stuff like cleaning the house and applying for jobs and going for long, long walks. I was so happy yesterday because I noticed how much I am looking less and less like a purple basketball. I am thinking sometime this week, early next I may fit into normal clothes again! Woo hoo!

In the mean time--spring is in the air which totally has helped my spirits. Although this is some random picture, the weather I kid you not looked pretty much like this all weekend:


Besides getting outside for a few hours to enjoy the above (hello, who wouldn't?), we went to the movies. Movies are my new best friend at the moment. They are so great for switching off and they are great for when you are trying to recover. The best parts of actually going out to the cinema are no one looks at you, you get to sit in the dark and you are sitting down. What better place to go when you are trying to feel better huh?

Anyway, saw this flick this weekend and loved it. Its pretty clean only a PG-13/12A and if you want a good giggle, go see it:

5.2.08

Super Tuesday: Don't forget to Vote

4.2.08

Relaxation à Paris

So, I did it. I dragged my ass out of the depths of despair and tried to forget how horrible I felt and somehow got to Paris in one piece. James had went out a little earlier than I did (long story), so after a taxi ride through London and a two and a half hour train journey on the Eurostar (thank goodness for first class), you could say I was happy to have James waiting for me on the other end at the Gare du Nord.

The weekend was both a success and a real challenge which I guess is to be expected. The success parts were I managed to get out a bit in my most favorite city in the entire world, eat amazing food (including the best burger & chips I've EVER tasted in my entire life) , do a tiny bit of shopping and sleep nearly all of Sunday in a great hotel in one of the coolest parts of Paris, the left bank. Most of the weekend consisted of sticking round the hotel due to personal physical limitations (LOTS of café stops) although on Saturday I did make it to Montmartre because I was seriously craving a chocolate & banana crêpe. (A girls gotta have her chocolate) It was also a huge issue with me not feeling like a complete twat about how I looked. Although my stomach is shrinking (as well as turning nice lovely colors), I felt like a bloated pregnant woman all weekend. As mentioned below I can't fit into much besides sweats so when it came to eating out in the most fashionable city in the the world, it didn't feel too hot or sociable and I wanted to crawl in a very, very deep hole. In the end although I suffered from post-op blues, I did manage to survive. Although I am far from fully recovered physically or emotionally, I do think the weekend helped a lot to not only lift my spirits but to give me that boost in the right direction to normal life again.

I didn't take many pictures cause frankly I couldn't be bothered due to how I felt. But, I couldn't go to one of the best places in the world and not sneak at least a couple so here goes:

Le Sacré-Coeur - great place for musicians and for a view over the city


View over Paris


Paris sunset