21 August 2011

Various notes from the field

There's a bunch of things that have been on my mind, but I haven't gotten to them. Here they are, in some order:
  • My first week of building muscle has been a mixed success, from what I can tell. Well, the problem is that I can't tell. My body weight has gone up, my body fat (which, again, I'm not sure is well measured using the scale) has gone up a little. I'm not sure if I should expect that to happen, and everything I am reading online only makes things less clear. I am eating more, but not enjoying it because I'm worried that I'm gaining bad weight. I am watching my caloric intake, but if I go by how much I am spending on paper (RMR plus regular exercise), I should be eating like 2800-3500 kcals on any given day, and if I'm gaining muscle mass, I'm supposed to be eating over that, but I can't trust the numbers at all. I have that feeling I hate--that I'm full and want to keep eating. It's frustrating and the feeling of failure: I need to relax, but I can't. Seems to be a function of my life now.
  • Probably because of the thesis, always hanging around my neck like a millstone and/or albatross and/or dog lead. On my mind: I made a lot of progress last week, from what I can tell. I am moving from the 'what-the-hell-am-I-doing' stage to the 'here's-the-hell-what-I'm-doing-let's-see-if-I-can-defend-it' stage. This means more, and more careful, reading and writing. My writing needs to pull apart description from discussion at every level, basically. I'm working on that now, all with the fear that my supervisor might scowl at me and that scowl might turn into a 'And why are you doing X exactly?' question that I will be unable to answer.
  • We went to Jamie Oliver's Italian  (technically 'Jamie's Italian', but I find myself frustrated with people who call celebrities by their names--we don't know them, man), a new restaurant in the Milton Kenyes Centre. Although it hasn't opened yet, I received an e-mail from the OU Club this week offering tables for the preview where they fill the place up to about half capacity and try to make it work (and, therefore, 50% off) We went on Friday afternoon, with the kids and were able to get gluten-free pasta for Mei, although Naomi is now becoming difficult and moody at times and decided, unilaterally (after not wanting to share her juice) that she wasn't going to eat. Anyway, that passed, thankfully and despite a very, very hurried server ('How's everything taste? Okay? Enjoying it?' moments after serving us and then disappearing for the rest of the meal), the food was quite good. Yoko had Risotto Milanese, and I had the Sea Bass and peppers, and we shared scallop and squid ink spaghetti. While eating all this fantastic seafood that I would have avoided at all costs about four years ago, I was thinking about how changing my eating habits had apparently opened up a new world to me. I never, ever would have thought of ordering fish at a restaurant. Pizza, pasta, hamburgers, steak, maybe chicken, but certainly, certainly not fish. 
  • I did a bunch of housework this weekend, mostly a) fixing the baby-bouncer that Mei broke, but that led me to b) organising all the tools I have into one toolbox which led to c) cleaning the garage and throwing away a bunch of crap which led to d) mowing the lawn and trimming some of the bushes in the front of the house which led to e) moving the anchor for the washing line. We also went shopping at Costco which lead to desiring to return to America (oddly after having a sample of a crepe with garlic butter), b) getting petrol, and c) fixing the petrol cap upon returning to the house.
It's been busy, I guess. The returning to America desire doesn't come that often unlike my bouts of Japanic (which I feel quite regularly and isn't worth noting every time), but I realised as I thought of the America in my mind, that the way I remember or idealise the States and what they are is quite different. I want Walt Whitman and Charlie Parker: I will probably get a guy standing on a corner drinking a Dr Pepper and eating a Snickers bar. What happened to me: I saw someone eating a Twix bar while walking in the shopping centre and thought, how low class is that. Can't we even sit down. What a judgemental  hypocritical, asshole thing to think. But that's what I thought and, again, I surprised myself.

Insecurity: it's all insecurity. Am I a good enough father, husband, student, marker? Did I eat too much? Yelled at my kid? Got upset at my wife? Well, at least I am not eating a Twix bar outside TK Maxx in a track suit. At least I can feel good about that.