What I've been up to every week

Feb 1st - Feb 7th

  • Another week of daily exercise, another week of better mood.
  • I usually do my share of the house cleaning on the weekends, which feels like a dreadful activity that’s following me around until I get it done (even though all I want to do is chill). I decided to try do my cleaning on Thursdays instead, and this week I had a weekend all to myself, which felt much nicer.
  • On Saturday we went on a long walk and picked up burgers on our way back home. It was a very nice – yet cold – day out and I very much enjoyed it. I find going on daily walks has strengthened my tolerance to weather changes and I don’t mind the cold as much anymore as long as I’m wearing the right clothing for it.
  • I’m still not reading as much as I’d like to, but I’m trying to chill out a bit about that, as I’m working on new habits that are also healthy and I believe have greater impact on my current life (daily exercise and learning piano).
  • At work, I have continued to document what I do every day. I have to admit I’m not as consistent as I’d like to be, so that’s something I’ll continue working on.
  • We have started watching Homeland, which I guess is now considered an old show. So far we’re enjoying it, but it’s early days.
  • I’m still reading the same books I’ve been reading for the last six weeks, so I won’t even bother listing them. Movie-wise, this week we’ve watched The trial of the Chicago 7 and Guess who’s coming to dinner, both of them good films.

Feb 1st - Feb 7th

  • This week has been better than previous ones, mostly because I have been going outside every morning, except for one day where I couldn’t go out so I did 30 minutes of yoga instead. It’s definitely improved my mood and how I feel about my body and my health. This next week I want to continue going out every morning and visiting the park; I think it might be a viable solution to the winter/pandemic blues.

  • I’m still practicing piano about one hour a day, sometimes more. Sometimes it can get frustrating, especially if the piece is a tad difficult for my current level, but it’s very rewarding when I finally manage to play it right. Yesterday I was able to play the first bits of Debussy’s Clair de Lune (a very easy version).

  • We have finished watching Money heist - it’s a very uneven show with some moments of brilliance and many other scenes that feel both unrealistic and anticlimatic.
  • I’m still reading I contain multitudes by Ed Yong and The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischwili. Both of these are very long, so I don’t expect to finish either of them until end of February. We’ll see.

Jan 25th - Jan 31st

This has been a week of taking a step back and looking at what’s going on, because what’s going on… well, it could be better. My mood has been on the low end of things for the last few weeks, and I’m going to try make some adjustments this week to see if they make any difference. I’m a morning person, yet lately I’ve been lying in bed until later than my normal and getting up right before breakfast and stand up (which is at 10am). It’s great that my team works 10-18, but it would make more sense for me to wake up at 7:30 and do the things I like doing less. such as exercising. I’ve been on a couple of morning (brisk) walks this week and I felt a lot better aftewards, so I’m going to try to do this every day this week, even if they are shorter walks. If raining, I will do some yoga instead, nothing too straining.

The piano fever of last week died out and now there’s only work and happiness after completing every new challenge. After trying out different things, I have decided to go for Alfred’s Piano Adventures (Level 1), accompanied by Youtube recordings of every music sheet in the book. It’s a slow process of learning to use the two hands on the piano, learning how to keep up with the tempo, etc., and it can be frustrating at times, but it’s also rewarding once I manage to play it all in one go. I’m recording myself from time to time, but not sure if I want to share that here yet.

At work, I’m going to start working on documenting my process better. It was all go, go, go in the beginning, but now we’re at a point where I have the time to document and be more careful, so I have searched for a Notion template to start doing that.

Content-wise, not much has changed as the piano takes up a lot of my time and I’m not reading as much.

  • We are still watching Money heist.
  • I’m still reading I contain multitudes by Ed Yong and The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischwili. Both of these are very long, so I don’t expect to finish either of them until end of February. We’ll see.

Jan 11th - Jan 17th

  • Back in London, my mood has continued to be low, partly because it’s been raining most of the week and I haven’t been able to go outside anyway because I’m self-isolating.
  • I’m almost done reading The righteous mind, and I’m halfway through The mermaids singing. I’ve put together a list of books I would like to read in 2021. It’s not meant as a constraint, but rather as an orientation.
  • We have started watching Money heist. I know, I know, we’re quite late to that party. We just finished Season 1 and so far it’s quite good with a few misses here and there. I have also started watching Season 3 of Killing Eve, which - in all honesty - is getting a bit too crazy even for its own standards.
  • We finally watched Tenet, and - while I love some of Nolan’s movies - this is not one of his best in my opinion. Too weird for my liking.
  • I’ve learned a couple of things on the ukulele, but what I’m really looking forward to is the new keyboard I ordered just yesterday. It should arrive sometime this week!
  • I mentioned I started cutting down on unhealthy food, and so far it’s going quite well. What I try to do is roast a bunch of vegetables which I can then mix with pasta, rice and protein sources.

Jan 4th - Jan 10th

  • Last week in Barcelona. For the first time in forever, I’m feeling a little bit homesick, but it might be the good weather more than anything else.
  • During my last week in Barcelona I have played my dad’s piano a lot and I’ve learned a few chords. I’ve gone from not being able to play a single chord to learning a couple of harmonic scales, learning to transpose and learning to invert chords. I’d say it’s not a bad start!
  • My mood has been a little bit on the lower side due to everything that’s been going on with – well – everything, but I guess that’s pretty normal.
  • I’ve watched a couple of movies but they are not worth mentioning, and I’m still reading The The Mermaids Singing and The Righteous Mind.
  • I have discovered the Headway App, where you can read summaries of popular non-fiction books. So far I’m only using their free service, which consists of a free book every day (of their choice). Unfortunately I was not impressed by the first three, but I’m not losing hope yet.
  • My English students (and family members) got me a Mi Smart Band 5 and so far it’s pretty nice! I mean, it’s not incredible, but – for the price – it does what it says on the tin pretty well.
  • I have started cutting down on hyper-caloric and fatty food and doing a bit more exercise (from 0 to 1, shouldn’t be that hard) because I’m trying to lose the few pounds I’ve gained throughout the pandemic. I will update my progress on here :)

Dec 28th - Jan 3rd

  • Second week of Christmas holidays and end of the year celebrations, this time with my parents in Barcelona. 2020 has been quite the year for everyone, so I’m not going to repeat what everyone else has already said. We celebrated at home, which for us is pretty normal anyway, and ate 12 grapes as it’s the tradition in Spain.
  • We went on our traditional yearly walk on the little hill behind my parents house. As always, it was wonderfully warm for winter time – Barcelona weather tends to be mild – and very sunny.
  • I completed my Goodreads challenge of 50 books to read this year, and in fact went over the target and completed 51. And I know it’s silly, but it makes me proud.
  • We finished watching The Queen’s Gambit, which in my opinion was alright. I enjoyed it for the most part, but I really do not understand the hype behind it – I don’t think it’s that good.
  • The good thing about watching The Queen’s Gambit has been going back to playing, which my partner – who plays regularly online – is excited about. He’d really like to play with me more often, but we’re currently at different levels in terms of ability.
  • I have finally finished reading Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile, which I might write a whole blog post about. So I won’t say anything about it here.
  • I’m currently reading The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid, which I attempted to read many years ago and couldn’t due to the nature of the content, which is gore and grotesque. I seem to tolerate it better this time around, and the writing is good, so I might be able to finish it.
  • We also watched Pixar’s latest release, Soul, which is absolutely wonderful and I strongly recommend it, especially to an adult audience.

Dec 21st - Dec 27th

  • We are now in Barcelona, staying with my parents. Because of the whole COVID-19 situation I’m not seeing any of my friends (except for one, masks on), so that means we’re staying at home for the most part.
  • My dad has bought a new piano, one of those hybrid ones, and I’m learning to play some chords. I have a naturally good ear for music, so it’s quite easy for me to intuitively ‘find’ a song with my right hand and learn new things on the piano. The guitar and ukulele are harder to learn on because they require dexterity and finger strength and flexibility, which I do not have.
  • We have started watching The Queen’s Gambit alongside my mom. So far it looks promising! I did read the novel about two years ago, back when nobody knew about it. I think I have it four stars.
  • I have completed my Goodreads challenge this year, which is possibly a first: 50 books! I did finish two shorter (and easier) novels in the last week: Red at the bone and Elearnor & Park. Both of them I had been meaning to read for a while, neither of them impressed me.
  • I’m still reading Antifragile and The righteous mind, and at this point I doubt I’ll be able to finish either of them by the end of the year. And that’s ok.

Dec 14th - Dec 20th

  • I’ve been practicing with the guitar and can now kind-of-sort-of play Moon River, which sounds beautiful! Now I want a guitar.
  • I’ve been on holiday since Friday 18th, and I’ve welcomed the break.
  • I’ve binged on the new seasons of This is us and Grey’s Anatomy (I know, still); both shows have introduced the pandemic into their plot lines, Grey’s Anatomy in particular are focusing a lot on the impact of COVID-19 on hospitals, medical practitioners, etc.
  • Reading-wise, I have (finally!) finished I capture the castle by Dodie Smith. It’s an interesting take on the role of women in England in the 1930s and how marrwas still - even then - a perfectly fine option to guarantee your own survival and that of your family.
  • Still reading Antifragile and The righteous mind. In terms of fiction, I have started Red at the bone, by Jacqueline Woodson.

Dec 7th - Dec 13th

  • We arrived in Madrid on Thursday 10th – we’re working from home from my partner’s childhood home!
  • I sadly had to leave my ukulele behind, but luckily on of my sisters-in-law lend me her guitar. I’d never played a guitar before, so I’m unsurprisingly terrible at it. At the moment I’m just working on transitioning between four chords fast enough that it sounds like a song.
  • We celebrated a few birthdays on Saturday and several people in the family came over for lunch and board games – it was super fun!
  • Travelling in the times of Coronavirus is a little bit odd – we took an evening flight and there were only two other flights scheduled that night, which is so strange!

Still reading (and very much enjoying):

Nov 30th - Dec 6th

  • This week hasn’t felt that productive in terms of things outside work. I have been focusing a lot on design work for Poplar Studio, which has left deflated after 7pm and with no much time for reading. I have also felt more tired than usual and more lethargic, which might be a seasonal thing for me (as it is for many others), so I sleep longer hours and haven’t been reading in the mornings.
  • Ukulele-wise, I have been playing A million dreams, which is a beautiful song I adore.
  • We watched Billy Wilder’s Double indemnity, which in my view was not as amazing as I thought it’d be, and we also watched Spanish director Javier Fesser’s Historias Lamentables, which was very funny.

And, finally, you wouldn’t believe it: I’m still reading the same really long books!