Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A multitude of things that have happened since last I posted

We went down to the in-laws’ and spent a pleasant Christmas despite my horrible cold. Although I had assurance from the doctor that it was just an upper respiratory infection, not a chest infection (which my little brother tells me is doctors’ less-alarming-speak for pneumonia, so I'm quite glad it wasn't), I was ill enough to get sent home from work the day before we flew down. Which is not like me. So I spent quite a bit of the festive period lying on sofas and coughing.

As a result, I spent a quiet New Year’s Eve with my family. Though I’m not sure we’d have gone and partied on Princes Street even if I’d been feeling better. I have done that while running a temperature in my student days, but – sigh – am probably getting a bit old for that sort of carry-on.

After that, I sank into work for an end-of-unit assignment for my degree, which sort of ate the first week of January. It was supposed to be handed in on the fourth, but I got a few days’ extension because of the aforementioned cold. I really hate getting extensions for things, because the extension starts to eat into the time for the next thing. It was only three days, but I feel I’m still trying to catch up, even now. Which partly explains my blog silence. I have still not completely caught up with everyone else’s blogs, either. Sorry.

Once the Assignment of Doom was finished, J and I spring cleaned, and I had a blissful week of no homework, in which I finished a variety of craft projects that have been lying partly-done in plastic boxes in my spare room. See in my sidebar where it says I do crafty things? I really do! Or I do when I have time to. Pictures on Flickr, details on the LJ if you’re interested in that sort of thing…

However. What of my fitness and so forth? On the third of January, J and I ventured to the Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative and, at long last, bought my new bike, a Revolution Streetfinder. Although I’ve been pretty sure this was the one I wanted since about September, I’ve been dragging my heels on actually buying the thing. We were helped in our decision-making process by the bike shop guy telling us that this was the last bike in this model and frame-size anywhere.

Why did I spend so long vacillating, given that I had been given the money for my birthday by my loving parents, and that I haven’t had a new bike since 1992? Partly it was sentimentality: my trusty old purple-and-lilac Raleigh Cassis has carried me faithfully through my teenage years, university, and through my twenties thus far. Partly it was a sort of sense of environmental frugality. OK, cycling is pretty green in itself, but there is an environmental cost inherent in manufacturing and transporting a new bike, even if it’s fairly carbon-neutral once it’s been bought. Did I really need a new one?

And partly I wondered whether the new bike’s light frame and 21 gears would turn me soft. I mean, I CAN get up the hill on my old bike. Just not very quickly. And it certainly gives my leg muscles a good workout. (Also… how am I ever going to learn to work 21 gears? My old bike has 5!)

However, the bullet has been bitten, and I’ve ridden the new bike to work on every possible day, sun, rain or hail* (not the ones with 70mph winds, though) and over to my parents’. I can confirm that it was a good buy, and am now wondering what all the dithering was for. I can now, for example, go up the hill without wanting to die halfway. And I can change gears without suddenly losing all momentum, because the intervals between the changes are much smaller. If I want to work harder, I can always change up.

The only snag about the new bike, as far as I can see… Well. The old bike, as I mentioned, is purple (Cassis is French for blackcurrant). Which is not exactly my favourite colour, unless it is a very dark purple verging on midnight blue. I made many comments in the run-up to buying the new one that I’d finally get a colour I like. Red or blue or silver. The catalogue lists the Streetfinder as matt silver, which is what it looks like in the photo.

Well, it’s actually silvery lilac. Or as J says, lilac-y silver. Probably more silver than purple, but still!

But it’s got every feature I want, so I decided it was petty to quibble over the colour. Maybe if I’m still riding it in 2024 I can have it repainted. (Another thing: I have a snazzy new pannier too! The old one was bought when I went to university in 1998, had had hard use, and was held together by duct tape and prayer.)

I still have my old bike in the shed, and have given it a good clean and going-over in preparation for finding it a new home. Yes, it's old, but it's been well-cared-for and I hope there's a student or someone out there who could make good use of it. (And if you are she, do leave a comment, obviously.)

Meanwhile, I keep forgetting to weigh myself. I wish I could say this is part of some grand psychological plan, like PastaQueen's. What I need is more awareness of the numbers and patterns, not less. I just keep forgetting. Back in the summer, I was trying to get into the habit of weighing myself first thing on Monday mornings, so it would be easy to remember. Trouble is that I did it without my clothes on. Now that it's winter, I jump out of bed and instantly throw clothes on, and it's only as I'm wandering downstairs that I think "Oh no! didn't weigh myself!" But by then it seems foolish (and chilly) to get undressed again just for that.

However, I did manage to weigh myself last Saturday. I was 183 pounds, which is exactly what I was last time I did it. It was immediately pre-period, though, so I'm hoping for something better when next I do it. Apart from a brief visit to 179 during the summer of 2006, I have been stuck in the 180s for... more than two years, probably. It is time to move on.

*Not on purpose. It wasn’t hailing when I left the house, but by the time it started, it would have taken longer to go back than carry on. And I am claiming full points for hardcore-ness anyway. Hail stings when it’s coming right at your naked face!