Thursday, 31 January 2013

Thai massage followed by a facial

It all started yesterday afternoon with my usual call home after work to find out my dad was round having a cuppa. I was en-route from work to check out a newly opened supermarket so I asked if my dad would stay for dinner to which he said yes. On entry to the supermarket I was handed money saving vouchers and headed round for a quick mooch. Whole sea bass were on special offer - a fish I had never tried in my life but one so often raved about by others.

Ideas were formulating and within minutes and a few more phone calls all the family could be available, but only early as there were trains to be caught and rehearsals to go to, and we had ourselves an impromptu celebration dinner. Even though we are debt-free I am still cautious until we know just where we are, and in any case I like cooking and know I can do a decent job.

With the special offer coupons and some frugal shopping between the new supermarket and Lidl we had a three course dinner including a whole sea bass per person with an array of vegetables, a starter of ready made Asian chicken strips on a bed of leaves, two of the premium ready-made desserts from the freezer, two bottles of pink bubbly and a large box of Thornton chocolates. All for forty one pounds which is less than five pounds per head for nine people!

In addition, at home we had the makings of hollandaise sauce: unsalted butter, eggs, lemons and literally a dash of cayenne pepper. I've never made it before and used the blender method and oh my goodness how perfect is it?! Very rich, creamy and an absolute delight on the sea bass (and steamed vegetables) which had been oven baked with garlic and herbs. I can see why people rave about it now. Serving the fish whole with their heads and tails was a step too far for the youngest as it was not a sanitised form of meat. I kept the few fish left-overs for something nice today with left over hollandaise sauce.

It was one of those impromptu evenings that was great and despite the comings and goings went on late. I did a fashion show of the lovely clothes I had bought with my birthday money with all the females in my family jokingly spitting dust that most items were size 8. Despite Christmas and extravaganzas like last night I have continued to slowly drop weight on my warrior or Fast 5 diet. Funny how the media is now alive with the Fast Diet but I have to say I am wedded to my version as I'd rather not eat for most of the day every day than have to eat reduced calorie meals twice a day for two times a week.

In dreamland, just before waking this morning, I had been directed upstairs in an unknown establishment and was heading to the room where I was due to have a Thai massage followed by a facial. In the dream I was really looking forward to this treat and with the vividness of my dreams am sure I would have really enjoyed the benefits in my waking life too. Alas I woke up, without alarm or prompt and just could not get back to that delicious moment. Bugger!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Bold new future

What a magnificent month it is with today and tomorrow still to delight. This is the month I turned fifty years old and was treated to a very lovely surprise dinner with a few family and friends. This is the month we completed on the sale of the house we no longer live in. This is the month we paid off all our debts from the proceeds of the house sale in an orgy of money in and money out again.

This has been a fabulous month in so many ways. I have yet to feel the full impact of the house being out of our responsibility and vitally, being debt free. To not have the weight of all those responsibilities hanging over our heads, something I have felt for very many years, is a most wonderful proposition. I had never wanted to go back into that house but since we needed to drop off some essential papers and extra keys I did go in one last time, the day before the sale completed. I am glad that I did just so that I can say to myself I did not run away from it and completely have my head in the sand. The house looked clean and tidy and smelled fresh - looking around I thought what a great house, I'd buy it! It was certainly in a much nicer state than when we bought it but nothing like the heyday of the previous few years when we had done it up, were living in it and looked after it. It is no longer our house and we are free of it. May the new owners be very happy.

The small proceeds from the sale went into the account and within a couple of hours buttons were being pressed and funds were shooting off into different directions paying off this and that bank. The numbers were clocking down on the balance but that felt surprisingly alright knowing why and the knock-on effect it will bring. We are free of debt. We are debt-free. How many ways can I find to express it? I want to express it to fully appreciate and rejoice.

This is the month I created a bucket list. A simple little free app on my android and I have drawn up about 50 things I want to do in life. It included selling our house and being debt free, both of which are ticked off, and larger things such as eating sushi in Japan to pleasures such as looking out into the distance across a calm sea, or holding hands with Mr Doris knowing we are debt free. That has yet to be ticked off as I know there will be a moment when we are walking somewhere and there will be a lovely light feeling around us and we will both feel it. Joy upon joys.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Almost sticking to the diet

At long last I am nudging down through the nine stone plateau. Each day the weight varies from the start of the day to the end and has a natural bounce as one consumes drink and food and then goes to the loo. For a long while now it has bounced between nine stone one and nine stone four or five, but finally, it is bouncing between eight stone twelve and half and nine stone one.

The warrior diet has much to do with it although I have had a few extravagances what with Christmas and then quite a few long car journeys lately which have involved a fair amount of emotional eating. They may have been balanced with the new adult playground I recently discovered in our local park. There is the toddler playground with wonderful bright equipment; then there is the children's playground with a flying fox (or do they call it a zip wire these days) and a witches hat amongst other exciting equipment. Then past the bowling green and before the free to use basketball and tennis courts are the outdoor adult gym equipment.

A rowing machine and then the skiing machine, a couple of different striders and then a couple of upper body machines where you either push or pull to lift your body weight. The basketball court is a great place to do fast walking round and round the perimeter rather than have to swish by the dog walkers with their dogs taking too great an interest in me. To be fair, the dog walkers are all good and I have not had any trouble from any of the dogs, but fear is fear and I do what I can to avoid a potential situation. It is great when all the dog walkers have gone and I have the park to myself and stride round the park up and down the slopes exercising those muscles.

We are very lucky to have such a well equipped park with more developments in the pipe line. I'd like to attend the Friends of the Park meeting coming up to show my support and appreciation but it is on an evening that I work. I can see that I shall have to find an email address and send my thoughts and apologies. Off to do it now.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Contracts Signed

Now that contracts have been signed and a deposit paid to the solicitor by the buyer, this makes it more likely the sale will complete. We have been given 28 January as the date of completion. I think it was early 2007 we first put the house on the market and it has been on and off ever since, which makes it six years and a great deal of money poured into it one way or another since we bought it in early 2000s. Feng Shui at the time showed we should not have moved there: something to do with the triangular front yard and the road opposite and nothing standard about the house. Yet we created a loving home there, and interestingly we seem to have done the same here which is a small two bedroom apartment so perhaps it never had anything to do with the house and everything to do with the people in it, specifically Mr Doris and myself.

We are selling for less than we paid for it and as for the costs of all the works we did then we can whistle in the wind. At least it is selling and will be gone. Our debts will be wiped and we will have a clean slate from which to consider where we stand and what next. What is clear, as a girlfriend remarked to me this Christmas, is that Mr Doris and I have weathered this storm remarkably well. We have not fought or took our disappointments out on each other, instead we hold hands that bit tighter and look even more fondly at the other. I may sound smug but good grief, I need something out of this whole enterprise.

It is nearly my birthday and I will be fifty years old. A landmark for most people I guess and one that I particularly relish. Preparing as I have these past few months by working on my general health and well being. Despite my current attitude against "stuff" and to what is important in life, has not stopped me on this occasion from welcoming the early gifts arriving in the post. A tiny package from here containing a very thoughtful surprise and a large package from overseas that I can not open until the day. The large one is from a dear friend who I have known since I was sixteen years old and we used to regularly send each other Christmas and birthday parcels. Enjoying making up the packages with little tidbits and gifts from our respective countries. The UK postage costs make it almost prohibitive these days and with our supermarkets being almost identical makes it difficult to send unique items. However, I look forward to the unknown treasures to be unwrapped from the parcel.

I dare not dare to hope how things will be in the next months. Focusing on the here and now seems to be a current theme at the moment and quite a good one methinks in so many ways.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Hand Written

Today is the birthday of a friend overseas, and this birthday is the first in very many years that I have managed to actually send a card. Something physical and actual to receive in the post and open. What is more, instead of my usual inserted print out letter on account of my appalling handwriting, I sat at our dining table and forced myself to try to slow down and to write neatly. I surprised myself that it was not too bad and what is more, I managed to get a fair amount of news written into the body of the card. All in probably less time it would have taken to type and print out.

It only remains to be seen whether the British postal service has pulled its finger out and transported my post in good time for the German postal system to deliver today.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Hello 2013

In the onion skin of life, another layer was shed at the eleventh hour in a most extraordinary twist of fate. Nearly six months ago I realised that I wanted a project done with and out of my life by the end of 2012. It was one of those quiet goals one has, yet in the last month or two there were other factors to take into account so I decided it probably best to leave alone until some time in 2013.

As the end of 2012 drew near I pondered with both disappointment and pragmatism over this desire I had which was not fulfilled. However, I let it go as there are more important things in life.

In the last twelve to eighteen hours of 2012 a course of events meant that in order to enable X and Y which "had" to happen then amazingly, the goal that I had wanted needed to take place. And so it was done. Quickly and without any fuss from me because if it was down to me I sure would have fussed and worried to great excess. The world carried on turning and I doubt it would even have noticed. An end of an era. Something that started off as a great idea with huge potential in the end weighed so heavily on my conscious. What should have been seen as an achievement was like a millstone.

Whether it is onion skins or like a cocoon, weight has been shed and I am freer. Other significant changes are in the pipeline and I can hear the fluttering of beating wings drying out and strengthening.