Tag Archives: bucket list

Daniel diet: Day 1

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Argh. Just argh.

Here follows a deeply uninspired posting. I will try to keep it short.

I have, in a previous post or two, shared my feelings of disgust, despondency and dismay regarding my corporeal form. And here’s the problem with going public with certain subjects: sooner or later, you have to decide – Do I want to strive to become the definitive blogger on the subject (in this case, fatness)? Or would it be more entertaining to strive for, and document, a change?

Plus there’s that dang bucket list I posted. That’s not a wish list or a dream list; everything on there is something I genuinely want to do. And a whole shitload of the goodies in my bucket are literally impossible to do when your bones and heart and liver and lungs are carrying around the equivalent of an entire extra adult (and not some skinny-malinky, either; this body of mine is a real two-for-the-price-of-one deal).

So for the sake of some good blogging material, and my bucket list, and also as an act of kindness toward my thumping heart and sore feet and aching ankles and perpetually tired, de-energized self, I have launched upon a 40-day Daniel diet. In other words, for the next 40 days I am restricting my diet to fruit, vegetables, nuts and whole grains, with only water and rooibos tea to drink. The food is minimally processed and free of any chemical additives. By the end of 40 days I will have figured out what to do next.

tomato

The “Daniel” part comes from the book of Daniel in the Bible, which describes how the prophet and his friends refused the food from the royal table and ate only vegetables and fruit. And here’s the bite … This isn’t really supposed to be a diet; it’s supposed to be a fast – undertaken with prayer and contemplation, with a spiritual motive. I wish I could just think about it as a diet, but I can’t; I am conscious that this ought to be a God thing. Because man (and woman) does not live by bread (or chocolate) alone. Only I’m still kinda skulking in my corner and sulking at God.

I can’t do anything about that right now. If I could get me to a nunnery for 40 days of contemplation, I would. Even an isolated fishing shack on a rain-swept beach would work. I would fast and pray and hold the infinite up to scrutiny, and emit verse and gush prose and eat nothing but apples, and at the end of that I would be … what? Enlightened, maybe? Certainly thinner.

Which brings me back to the point. You have to start somewhere, so I’m starting with 40 days of a really tough diet. I hope that at some stage I will be able, with integrity, to start referring to this as a fast and not a diet, but right now this is all about the stomach and, honestly, my spirit isn’t engaged. Having done this before, I know the first seven days are horrible – the past several times I’ve tried to do this, I’ve not made it past Day 3. I’m expecting headaches, nausea, zero energy and tears. After that it should get better.

And I am going to blog about it. Every. Single. Day.

Hold my hand, okay? I’ll try to write about other things too – I have so many stories to tell! But I have to do this – I have to win this fat battle – or all my stories will be in the past tense. And that would be such a terrible waste of the good life I’ve been given.

There’s a hole in my bucket

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I’ve been pondering mortality quite a lot lately. The remorseless, inescapable advance of that final deadline.

I don’t mind dying so much. Sometimes I’ve even wish I could just get on and be done with it – turn my back on disappointment, loss, failure … get out of the way of those who might make better use of the space I take up. This whole business of being human … I just don’t seem to be very good at it.

But the thought of dying without having fully lived … now that bites. When I was a teenager I wrote a poem … I don’t remember how it went (it’s tucked away in a brown plastic file with all my other juvenile outpourings, I have no idea where) but I clearly remember how I felt when writing it. We were living in a little old house in a suburb outside Johannesburg, and my parents spent their days slaving away at rebuilding that house into their dream home, while also establishing their own business from home. They were busy and stressed, and they bickered constantly. And I looked at their lives, and shuddered at their boring middle-classness, and wrote something that began “I shall never fall to this / The final degradation”.

And … kyk hoe lyk sy nou.

So I’ve been sort of flailing about, in between moments of pondering, which themselves are interspersed with long periods of staring into space, in between tunneling through books like an express train, and somewhere in the course of all this I stumbled upon David Cain‘s blogs about bucket lists.

old wooden well

I have always LOVED making lists. You can spend hours sorting them and organizing them and updating them. Sometimes you even get to cross things off them, although usually, having been written and organized and color-coded, the list is then filed away and forgotten. BUT you get to feel really good about having made it. It feels almost as good as actually doing something.

Anyway, I decided to make a bucket list. For the past week, the only item actually on the bucket list was “Write a bucket list”. This morning I quit pondering and wrote down the rest of it. And frankly I’m perturbed.

It is so very short. And so largely mundane. What happened to the girl who wanted to go everywhere, know something about everything, have adventures, take on the world, and never get tied down? I could make the list longer, of course, just by adding a whole lot of cool stuff. But I while I was writing it, I was asking myself, “When I’m dying, will I care whether or not I achieved this? And do I actually believe I CAN achieve it?”

Well, it appears that I’ve morphed into someone who really and truly would rather get caught up on filing than walk the streets of Samarkand.

I need to know … is this what it means to “grow up”? Or to give up?

Digging in … virtually

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On screen it’s neatly organized, logical, and not too big. In my mind, it’s a glory of order and fruitfulness. The reality is a lumpy, hillocky, weedy space bordered by a wicked electric fence belonging to the Nasty Neighbor (west), pasture (one day an arena – but that day is in some vague place as yet unknown), chicken run with fruit trees (east). and more clods and hillocks and a sort of manure/compost pile and then the house (south). It’s called Fanny’s Garden, because our sweet old Fanny was laid to rest under the plum tree there. And it is the 39×46 foot space where I hope to begin transforming our five windblown acres into a place of blessing.

The starting point. Fannie's tree, a few raised beds, the fruit trees in the chicken run, and the Mighty Columbia in the distance

Fannie’s tree, a few raised beds, and the Mighty Columbia just a bit away

I am very bold with my plans, because it’s still March (just barely) and the year is still spacious. Days grow longer and warmer (but not yet hot). The wind may (it will!) stop blowing, and the dust will drift down and not blind me. As long as the weeds are green and seedless, they are just compost waiting to be made – I shall make it!

I was up until 4.30 this morning, absorbed by an online garden planning program and a cornucopia of other resources. And now the plan is made, and the next step is to buy or order the plants and seeds for April (I’m buying organic, preferably heritage, where possible), and then … to dig.

Fanny’s Garden – the plan

But not too deep. The goal is a no-dig garden, following permaculture principles as best I can while still learning what they are. On the other hand, short of bringing in an entire new layer of earth and simply covering it over, I don’t see how some digging can be avoided. It’s just too lumpy and hillocky! For the first few years we were here, every single spring and summer, sometimes several times a season, Himself would get out there and drive his tractor up and down and round about, plowing in the weeds – but he never went back to smooth the ground. So now I have lumps and bumps to fall over, and compacted soil beneath, and STILL there are weeds. The tractor has been banned, as have poisons, and Himself is in the third year of a snit over this and vows he will not so much as lift a fork out there. It’s all mine.

So here I am. I have a plan. A bit of a budget. A weak and flabby and aging body. And a dream. A picture in my head of a lush and fruitful place, filled with the warm hum of contented bees and a fragrance of strawberries.

Asparagus, planted last spring, survived a year of neglect, and now destined for a new life in a different part of the garden

Asparagus, planted last spring, survived a year of neglect, and now destined for a new life in a different part of the garden

Used to be strawberries. Oh well ... time for a fresh start, I guess!

Used to be strawberries. Oh well … time for a fresh start, I guess!