The nicer half of spring

I think (hope!) we’re done with the winter weather now. I’ve been able to wear spring running clothes for five days in a row without getting cold, and the last two ‘supermarket trip Thursdays’ have been so sunny that the car has been summer levels of hot when we exit the supermarket and I’ve had to take my hoodie off to drive home. The blossom is finally coming out properly too, and should be in full bloom within a week or two. I’m already looking forward to taking lots of pictures.

I’ve spent most of this week planning games and experimenting with code (when not running, working, or doing household chores and admin). I’m in a real game creation place at the moment and am excited about all the things I’m planning to make over the next year or so.

Work has been quite busy for the last few days so I’m looking forward to the weekend.

Blossom

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Michael Land – ‘Scabb Island Overview’

Sunday

The Crüxshadows – ‘Deception’
Harry Nilsson – ‘One’
Lisa Lougheed – ‘Run With Us’

Monday

The Crüxshadows – ‘Marilyn, My Bitterness’

Tuesday

The Crüxshadows – ‘Marilyn, My Bitterness’
Mesh – ‘Let Them Crush Us

Wednesday

Dee Cooke – ‘Control Room’
MC Hammer – ‘U Can’t Touch This’

Thursday

Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’
Jorge Vera – ‘Tierras Magicas’

Friday

Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’

Up and down energy

It’s not been a bad week. The only thing slowing me down has been an ear infection that I picked up last week (god knows where from given that I never see anyone at the moment!). Following a phone appointment with the doctor, I’ve managed to get some antibiotics, but so far I’ve been up and down with them – hoping it settles down over the weekend. I’ve also been feeling a bit stiff and achy again, so there’s been a fair few evening yoga sessions over the last few days!

Work-wise I’ve been trying to do focused days this week rather than trying to do a small amount of ten different things every day. I feel like it works a bit better when I can just sit down and concentrate on one thing for most of the day rather than chopping and changing and trying to squeeze everything in.

I managed a day off on Wednesday, which was great, as I wanted a bit of time to sit down and play videogames (I’ve not had the energy for it in the last couple of weeks, which is usually a bad sign). Wednesday is a good day to take off if necessary, as it’s the weekday when I’m least likely to have urgent work from clients.

I’m playing the Fetchpoint game on Fetch Everyone again, which is kind of like virtual geocaching and involves collecting lots of invisible tokens around my local area. This is getting me out walking more often (and helping to vary my running routes), which is a good thing as we move into spring.

I’m mostly concentrating on the Adventuron jam this month, but in April I’m hoping to have a bit of time to work on my business website – I’m going to be changing a lot of terms soon and need to revamp the site accordingly.

A big week of game-creating ahead as we’re reaching the final push of the current jam. Fingers crossed I can carve out lots of time to get it finished!

Jesmond Dene
Geth and I went to Jesmond Dene for a walk last weekend. It was so nice to be back in the Dene for the first time after the winter.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Simply Red – ‘Money’s Too Tight To Mention’
Kanye West – ‘Stronger’

Sunday

John Newman – ‘Love Me Again’
The Boomtown Rats – ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’
Kesha – ‘Tik Tok’
Frankie Miller – ‘Caledonia’
Girls Aloud – ‘Sound Of The Underground’
Matthew Wilder – ‘Break My Stride’

Monday

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton – ‘Islands In The Stream’
Joe Hisaishi – ‘Battle’
Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’

Tuesday

Kanye West – ‘Stronger’
Muse – ‘Feeling Good’
UB40 – ‘If It Happens Again’

Wednesday

Joe Hisaishi – ‘Battle’
Cheryl – ‘Call My Name’

Thursday

Bros – ‘I Owe You Nothing’
Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – ‘Human’
Let Loose – ‘Crazy For You’
Demi Lovato – ‘Heart Attack’

Friday

Revo – ‘Halcyonia’
Kesha – ‘Tik Tok’
J Balvin and Willy William – ‘Mi Gente’

Flagging by Friday

Last weekend felt like spring. I made a lot of plans to step up my exercise levels this month, and to catch up with all the things with which I’d fallen behind over the last couple of weeks, and to keep my planned schedule going so that I could continue videogaming in the evenings.

On Monday morning, I went out for my daily run and the temperature had dropped by about ten degrees. Everything was covered in frost and my hands froze as I trotted round my usual route, desperately wishing that I’d put gloves on. This set the tone for the rest of the week.

I’ve worn gloves for my run every morning (though it did finally feel like it was warming up again today). I’ve run slightly more, but not a lot more. I’ve not been out for any of the long walks I was planning. I’ve kept up with cleaning and blogging, but not caught up. I’ve worked on my jam game, but not as much as I wanted to. I’ve not been videogaming at all in the evenings, because I’ve not had the energy for anything more than mindless web browsing and listening to music.

Energy has been sorely lacking in general this week, both physically and mentally. Geth hasn’t had any either because he’s got various absorbing work stuff going on at the moment, and when we’re both in that state we just sort of doze during downtime, half-there. Sleep hasn’t been great, and I’m waking up every morning with a lot of stiffness and aches and pains – something that’s chronic to an extent, but has been very noticeable recently. I’ve been having issues with breathing and joint swelling as well, which are things that largely went away when I lost weight a few years ago. I’m heavier than I’d like to be at the moment, but am still a healthy weight, so I’m not really sure if it’s related or not.

I’ve found it difficult to concentrate this week as well, so I’m really glad it’s nearly the weekend. Normally I’d be excited about videogaming but right now all I want to do is sleep!

Hoping next week will feel a bit brighter.

Full moon
Last weekend’s full moon looked amazing, but my phone camera wasn’t interested!

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Nintendo 3DS eShop – ‘Main Theme’
will.i.am and Britney Spears – ‘Scream And Shout’
Idina Menzel – ‘Into The Unknown’
Kate Bush – ‘Running Up That Hill’

Sunday

Depeche Mode – ‘See You’
Duran Duran – ‘Violence Of Summer (Love’s Taking Over) [The Story Mix]’
Roxette – ‘Listen To Your Heart’

Monday

INXS – ‘Need You Tonight’
Ed Sheeran – ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’

Tuesday

Joe Hisaishi – ‘A Battle With Creatures’
will.i.am and Britney Spears – ‘Scream And Shout’
Don Henley – ‘Boys Of Summer’
Taylor Swift – ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’

Wednesday

Pet Shop Boys – ‘Heart’
will.i.am and Britney Spears – ‘Scream And Shout’
The Wonder Stuff – ‘A Wish Away’
Jason Derulo – ‘Want To Want Me’

Thursday

Duran Duran – ‘Do You Believe In Shame?’
Spandau Ballet – ‘True’
David Bowie – ‘Ashes To Ashes’

Friday

The Go-Gos – ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’

Spring feeling

Since the snow melted last week, signs of spring have been everywhere, which has really helped my mood. The croci are budding nicely now along the snowdrops on the paths outside, and the supermarkets have finally started to sell daffodils – a month later than usual, but they’re very welcome! It feels warmer outside for running too, meaning I’m gradually starting to shed my winter layers. Last Sunday, I went for my first proper long run since September, and the weather made it really enjoyable. I’m really hopeful that I can get some good long runs done leading up to the point when races start again.

Since the announcement of the UK government’s roadmap for England on Monday, races (and parkruns… and of course non-running events too!) in 2021 finally feel like a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’, which is a huge source of hope for me. Scotland is still more up in the air, so I’ll have to wait and see what happens before I know when I can visit home, but on the whole I feel a lot more positive about the whole situation now that I’ve got a bit of certainty. I know the proposed dates aren’t set in stone, but at least they give us an idea of when restrictions will ease.

I’ve felt a bit out of sorts for the last fortnight because I’ve not always felt able to stick to my schedule. However, I’ve done a lot better with it the last couple of days. I think it’s just that I need to tweak it regularly to make sure it always works for me – over the last month I’ve been doing a lot more cross-training (yoga and walking) than I was doing when I first drew up the plan, and so like everything else, that needs to be scheduled in so that it doesn’t take up more time than it needs to.

Bravely Default II arrived in the post today! I’ve been looking forward to this game for over a year and am going to be spending every spare second playing it from this weekend onwards. While still making time for all my scheduled stuff as well, of course!

Croci

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Revo – ‘Horizon Of Light And Shadow’
Duran Duran – ‘Ordinary World’
5 Seconds Of Summer – ‘She Looks So Perfect’
Arcadia – ‘Election Day’
Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne – ‘Rather Be’

Sunday

Revo – ‘Horizon Of Light And Shadow’
Will Powers – ‘Kissing With Confidence’
Taylor Swift – ‘You Need To Calm Down’
Ed Sheeran and Stormzy – ‘Take Me Back To London’
Lindisfarne – ‘Lady Eleanor’
5 Seconds Of Summer – ‘She Looks So Perfect’

Monday

Joe Hisaishi – ‘Kokoro No Kakera’
Ryo and Chelly – ‘Great Distance’
5 Seconds Of Summer – ‘She Looks So Perfect’
Levellers – ‘One Way’
John Newman – ‘Love Me Again’

Tuesday

Revo – ‘Horizon Of Light And Shadow’
5 Seconds Of Summer – ‘She Looks So Perfect’
Technotronic – ‘Pump Up The Jam’
Pop Will Eat Itself – ‘Get The Girl! Kill The Baddies!’
Daft Punk- ‘One More Time’

Wednesday

Bloodhound Gang – ‘The Roof Is On Fire’
They Might Be Giants – ‘Birdhouse In Your Soul’
Duran Duran – ‘I Believe/All I Need To Know

Thursday

The Beatles – ‘In My Life’
Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Chaos Shrine’
Robert Allen – ‘Bloxonius’

Friday

Vangelis – ‘Chariots Of Fire’
5 Seconds Of Summer – ‘She Looks So Perfect’

Suddenly summer

Back to the intervals today…

…because Geth wants to start doing intervals, so he came running with me this morning to observe how they work. I only did half the number of sets I was doing a few weeks ago though!

It’s not been a great day. I had an absolutely terrible night’s sleep last night – partly due to the muggy heat and partly due to ongoing stress – and then we had some bad news this afternoon. I had hoped to get some work done on my next adventure game today, but there have just been too many distractions. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to lose myself in it a bit.

On the plus side, we did go for a walk in the glorious warm sunshine, largely because we needed to get out of the house. Spring has felt a bit sudden this year due to the lockdown; the world has been on hold, but obviously the seasons haven’t. I’m looking forward to doing a lot of walking over the summer, even if we can’t do much else.

Ukulele collection
My ukulele family has expanded this week, thanks to a generous gift from Dad! Looking forward to having a good strum over the weekend.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Ollie Wride – ‘Back To Life’
Daniel Bedingfield – ‘If You’re Not The One’

Finding balance

I went out for an absolutely beautiful run this morning…

…with perfect sunshine, and perfect energy, and so many lovely spring flowers along the way. I’m planning to do a few new and different routes this week and am really excited about my morning runs. They get me out of the house for just long enough every day that I don’t feel trapped or cooped up by the lockdown, and am perfectly content to stay inside for the rest of the time.

In all honesty, other than the general feeling of apocalyptic dread and accompanying nightmares (which I’m guessing is the case for everyone at the moment), I have been lucky enough that the current situation is working out quite well for me:

  • While my day job work has slowed down a bit, it hasn’t stopped completely, and I work from home anyway so haven’t had to adapt my work setup.
  • Obviously I was hugely disappointed a month ago when it was announced that the London Marathon was postponed, because training had been going so well. However, I’m really appreciating the more relaxed approach to running I can take at the moment, and I hope that I’ll be able to build on the work I’ve already done and run an even better time in October, presuming the new date goes ahead.
  • Stress-wise, I am actually benefiting hugely from life going on hold. For the last couple of years, I have felt as though I have had far too much on and have been constantly falling behind with my to-do list. I end up dreading going away on trips, because I know it will disrupt my daily routine so badly and lead to weeks of stress as I try to catch up with everything. But right now, I have nothing getting in the way: all my trips and events have been cancelled or postponed, and all my weekly classes and meetings are on hold. Every day is exactly the same, and for me, it turns out that that is exactly what I need. I am going to have to do some serious thinking about what life is going to look like for me after the lockdown is over.

I feel pretty guilty that it has taken a horrible worldwide pandemic for me to have the free time I’ve been dreaming of for years, but it has given me the impetus to reassess my priorities in life.

Tomorrow is a Wednesday, but that doesn’t really matter right now. I’ve got no middling-distance midweek run to do, no ukulele class to go to, no worries about fitting everything else in inbetween. It will be very similar to today, and that is absolutely fine by me.

Cat in spring garden
Another paparazzo shot of next door’s cat exploring our garden. He’s a little confused by the shorter grass now that Geth is out mowing it regularly again.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Cast of The Lion King – ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?’

Spring-ish

A very blustery run this morning…

…which I was a little surprised by, as I’d hoped we’d be done with the strong winds by now (the nice spring weather we’ve been lucky enough to have for the last couple of weeks has been a real silver lining for me, as it really helps to lift my mood when I get out for my run in the morning). It certainly made the run a bit more of a challenge! Hopefully it’ll be calmer again tomorrow.

I slept a lot better last night. I think the secondary evening workout is helping (I tried some YouTube yoga last night – it’s basically very similar to Pilates with lots of hippy talk thrown in. It was a nice workout though so I will persevere), and before bed I also did a bit of reading – I picked up the book I’d abandoned last autumn, on Mum’s suggestion. Fingers crossed that will be my pattern sorted again now.

I’ve done a bit of day job work this afternoon, and am now going to crack on with my text adventure/Camp NaNo project. The first game (a prequel to the main project) is nearly ready to playtest!

On the whole, I’m settling into my ‘new normal’ daily routine now, and I find I’m striking a good balance between work and me-time.

Spring blossom
A definite sign of spring: the blossom is opening on one of the trees in our front garden. I love spring blossom and these trees are one of my favourite things about the two gardens we acquired when we bought our house.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Revo – ‘Battle Normal 1 [Bravely Default II Soundtrack]’
Duran Duran – ‘Violence Of Summer (Love’s Taking Over)’
Endor – ‘Pump It Up’
The Beatles – ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’
The Beatles – ‘She Loves You’
Fountains Of Wayne – ‘Stacy’s Mom’*
Cast of Aladdin – ‘Prince Ali’

*RIP Adam Schlesinger.

That unFriday feeling

Just a short run this morning…

…and then I just had one last chunk of admin to do before declaring it officially the weekend… which will feel largely the same as the week, I imagine! I’m planning to spend it playing the Bravely Default II demo (I had a first go last night and it was just as good as expected) and doing some coding for my newest text adventure game.

Hoping for a nice fast non-parkrun tomorrow as well!

Spring garden
I ventured out into the back garden for some more state-approved fresh air. It’s starting to look a bit more springlike now, if slightly overgrown – Geth is planning to get the mower out and tidy it up tomorrow.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’
Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Unflinchable Courage’
Food Network – ‘Denise Van Outen’s Christmas [Main Theme]’
Kuana Torres Kahele, James Ford Murphy and Napua Greig-Nakasone – ‘Someone To Lava’

Quietly springlike

I did a very short-feeling six-mile ‘long run’ this morning…

…and it was a lovely day for it, with bright blue skies and buds on the trees and daffodils everywhere. Spring is most definitely here… not that anyone’s really thinking about it at the moment, understandably. Years ago, Geth and I would probably have celebrated a sunny March Sunday like this with our first beer garden visit of the year. I’ve been avoiding beer gardens for over a year now since getting sober, and anyway they’re all currently closed by government order. Life is very different to what it used to be, especially in the current strange situation.

Instead, we are in the house as usual, working our way through our videogame and boardgame collections. For once, I’m hopeful that I might make a bit of a dent in my gaming backlog this year!

Back to work tomorrow.

Daffodils
Daffodils growing in our garden, looking extra yellow in the sunshine.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Unflinchable Courage’
Duran Duran – ‘I Believe/All I Need To Know’
Take That – ‘The Flood’
Levellers – ‘What A Beautiful Day’

A quietly busy Friday

Just a short run this morning…

…and then I headed to my counselling appointment. I’m starting to feel a bit more focused in the sessions now, and find that I’m able to look at things from angles I hadn’t considered before.

I spent the afternoon doing day job work, and am now having a quiet evening before a hopefully speedy parkrun tomorrow!

Crocii
More spring flowers – the crocii are out in the parks now! Spotted a few early daffodils in the wild as well…

Today’s earworm playlist:

George Ezra – ‘Paradise’
Bon Jovi – ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’
Vangelis – ‘Chariots Of Fire’
The Connells – ”74-’75’
Dee Cooke – ‘Money’*
The Midnight – ‘Lost Boy’

*A truly awful rap track that was unwillingly conceived by my brain circa 2013. Not for public consumption.