Goal progress

Eight weeks ago (yes, that really was eight weeks ago) I self deprecatingly posted ‘Lockdown Goals’ on Facebook without any serious intention of meeting them. Three weeks later I wrote up a post about why I’d chosen these and how it had dawned on me that actually trying to meet them might in fact be a pretty good idea.

So, how have I got on?

The Marathon

This was the first and easiest goal to meet: complete 26 miles on my exercise bike. As I mentioned in the previous post I was already comfortably cycling about a half marathon in the time it takes to watch an episode of Supernatural. So, on Thursday 9th April (the 1st day of my 6 day ‘Easter break’ from work) I cued up the dumbest movie I could find on Prime, (Angel has Fallen – the thrilling conclusion to the Mike Banning trilogy), hopped on the bike, and got peddling. Conscious I’d only done half of what I hoped to achieve I was braced to hit a bit of a wall. But actually, it was fine! The silly movie kept me sufficiently distracted and in a mere 88 minutes I had cycled 26 miles. Hurrah!

Exercise bike display showing 26 miles done

The DIY project

A couple of days later with my legs fully stretched out and back to normal, I donned my scruffiest clothes and set to purging the shower grouting of the black mould which had built up. First, some good old Cilit & Bang & Elbow Grease. Then I got the steam cleaner out and used that on the more stubborn bits. Then I painted on neat bleach with an old toothbrush and left it overnight. Then a quick wipe down to get rid of any residue, and got to work with the grouting pen. Have to say I feel pretty proud of the results:

A gleaming white shower cubicle

The Look

Finding myself at something of a loose end a couple of weeks later (since all I have right now is loose ends) I figure I’d tackle goal#3, Learn to Contour. Which is kinda difficult. And by difficult I mean, well, not impossible exactly, but just completely beyond my capability. I found a short You Tube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwuVuDzH3hY  made by someone with 731,000 subscribers so I assume she’s trusted as an authority on the subject. She appears to have similar-ish coloured skin to me as I figured it was pointless copying from someone with Kardashian-esque colouring. Also this specifies that it’s for people with round faces. Which is me. At least I think it is. I’ve always identified as being a Person with a Round Face, but now that I think about it perhaps that’s because my Mum used to call me her ‘little round faced person’ (look – family nicknames are always going to sound weird to other people) and conceivably that was more to do with the haircut I sported from age 3 to age 18. Anyway here’s me, au naturale:

Photo of Liz with no make up

Is that a round face? I feel I don’t know any more.

Things I learned during the exercise:

As per my previous post, playing around with cosmetics is harmless fun. I remembered the phase I went through aged 14 spending most of my time and pocket money in Boots on Saturday afternoons. Then eagerly lining up my new purchases on the bathroom shelf in the girls’ bathroom at boarding school, and experimenting with eye pencils, powders & lipsticks. It felt both frivolous and grown up at the same time.

It was fun to recreate that. But 20 years later I realise I am never going to be someone who invests a lot of time or money in this. Ms Fox seems to have a lot of different products and a lot of different tools. I couldn’t be bothered to calculate the retail price of everything she references, but I think it’s a safe bet it’s north of a 3 figure sum. However, more to the point, I don’t think I would ever have the dexterity to do this properly. For one things she seems to be able to identify so many different areas of the face. Like a two year old learning anatomy I can point to my chin, my cheeks, my nose and my forehead. To me, everything else is just… face! Like a skilled chess player can see forces of influence in three dimensions, or a programmer can spot errors in a sea of code, she can identify zones and lines and shadows that I just … can’t. Clearly what this requires is the tools, skills & experience to demarcate specific elements of each visage, and I have none of these. I’m also prepared to accept I’m probably using really crap products. Anyhow, I gave it an honest go, using what was available, and this was the result:

Picture of Liz wearing make up

I think it’s obvious I’m wearing make up. Beyond that, does my face look ‘contoured’? I’m unconvinced.

The Book

This took way longer than I expected but I finally finished Ruth Rendell’s The Keys to the Street yesterday afternoon. It’s a perfectly well written book, but not really my thing. Ironically, having left it over 20 years to read, I realised I might have enjoyed it more about 15 years ago when I was going through my Minette Walters phase. But if nothing else during this lockdown period, it was lovely to vicariously and nostalgically stroll through Regent’s Park during the mid 90’s.

The Game

I’ve taken to playing Little Alchemy 2 on Thursday evenings in front of whatever the National Theatre is streaming on You Tube. I probably have a whole of another post to write about watching recorded live theatre, so for now suffice to say neither Frankenstein nor Antony & Cleopatra took up all my attention, and I think I discovered about 50 new elements between those two productions.

Screenshot of Alchemy game showing 535 of 720 elements discovered.

Did it work?

From Monday I will have been working from home for 8 weeks, and the country will have been officially in lockdown for 7 weeks. I am extremely aware of the many, many facets of privilege I enjoy which have made this whole experience so much easier than it might have been. And yet, anyone might struggle when faced with a unknown period of time to fill without recourse to many of the activities that would usually consume the minutes and hours of each day. So I set these goals in an attempt to inject a bit of structure and purpose to the time I have when I’m not working, sleeping or feeding myself. So it’s 8 weeks later, I’ve done 4/5 of them, and I don’t feel like I’ve lost my grip on reality yet.

I’m finishing with this sketch from my all-time favourite comedy duo, who as it turns out, have a sketch to illustrate basically everything I ever want to say: