Challenge accepted week 4.

Whoops. I ended up missing week 3.

There’s no excuses really – work was flat out, I felt unwell and unmotivated and it just didn’t happen.

So back on the horse for week 4. My challenge actually started yesterday so it’s kind of the Monday and Tuesday of week 3 and then all of week 4.

Which works well as my challenge is to grow a sourdough starter and then bake a sourdough loaf. This may take up to a week to develop the starter. Given the forecast heat for the week – high 30s and low 40s it may not take that long.

Meet Tim:

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apparently it’s bad luck not to name your starter

I started with about 100g of plain flour and enough (filtered) water to make it the consistency of thick paint. I let that sit most of yesterday to activate then added 100g fresh flour and water to maintain consistency this morning.

Then it’s a matter of refreshing it daily for up to a week by discarding half and adding fresh water and flour each day until it’s ready. Then I can start baking!

I love the idea of sourdough as it’s making bread with just flour, water, and a touch of salt. The starter ferments and grows the natural yeast in the air and that’s what makes the bread rise. It’s vegan in the sense that there’s no animal products involved and great because there’s no additives unless I put them in. Mind you, the starter is often considered to essentially be alive and people refer to feeding it and looking after it. Kind of like making yourself a little bread friend… And then eating it…

Anyway, creepiness aside, it sounds like a fun challenge! I’ll try and report every few days and let you know how Tim is going.

Melting

Attention those of you in the northern hemisphere: I would love to trade places. I don’t care how cold and dark it is. Please swap places with me and my peeps right now.

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Today is the peak of our heat wave this week. Now I know some people (Gary) love the heat but I’m not built for this. I’ve got Scottish blood on both sides. Give me cold, give me rain, give me drizzle and fog. I rock it. Winter is my friend. Yes I get cold. But I’m happy when I’m cold. I run better. I sleep better. I’m not cranky and nauseous and feeling like I need to shower every 10 minutes because I sweat so much.

Monday was 37 degrees C and I did a 5km run, calf cramps and all. I had to stop to soak my headband in water and also to have a drink. Then I drank a whole bunch of electrolyte drink when I got home and water and still felt faint and crappy (but good about running… Know what I mean?)

Yesterday was 40 and I couldn’t bear the thought of running outside so I paid the $12.50 for a gym entry and treadmill’d it in the air conditioning.

My body is not happy in the heat. The only thing worse is heat and humidity. Thankfully it’s generally not too humid here.

Anyway, whining aside I’ve been pretty concerned about the doglets. I came home at lunch to give them fresh water and I fill the leaky shell pool when I get home so Zeph can cool off. Her fur is black so I’d say she feels the heat! She even let me hose her off today so she was in struggle town too.

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I made an ice block for the dogs too. I put regular food, some chicken treats and some carob pieces in it. Although I supervised them – it’s almost a week now but I want to be cautious about the whole sharing food thing – they were polite to each other and shared it well. Zeph started it off, then she got in the pool while Ollie licked it and got most of the carob out (it froze into the bottom and was the top when I flipped it out of the container), then Zeph went back for round two. She got her teeth into it and broke it up then they shared the pieces. I popped the last few bits into the pool then Zeph had fun trying to fish them out.

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I think they appreciated it. Ollie isn’t too keen on getting into the water but he did let me splash some on his belly to help him cool off.

I’m going to get some takeaway as it’s too hot to cook, and then I might have a cold beer. Ollie looks like he’s already had a few.

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Challenge accepted week 3.

Week three starts today.

For this week I’m going to eat at least one piece of fruit a day.

Might seem easy, but I’ve never really been a fruit person. Veggies yes, but not fruit. Which I feel means I miss out a little. Fruit is great – full of natural sugars too! Also plenty of different nutrients. A vegan diet should include as much variety as possible so I really should get some more fruit into me.

I’m starting today with an apple. They are always a great place to start. I’ll let you know how things go at the end of the week.

Things that make me happy: Tuesday.

You know what makes me really happy?

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This guy.

Because he’s all classy in black and white and stuff.

He’s also a wonderful person. Gary is a hard working guy who isn’t afraid to be silly with me. He tells me how pretty I am and always appreciates my cooking. He gets my weird references to obscure things.

He is happy to join in my silliness, and my philosophical ponderings. He built me a garden. He gives me massages and they are wonderful. I could go on forever about just how wonderful he is, but you don’t have the time to read it all.

I love him very much and even when he drives me nuts he still makes me happy.

Things that make me happy: Monday

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This little guy is less the actual thing that makes me happy, and more of an representation of the thing that makes me happy.

It’s my iPod nano. It represents music. (See what I did there?)

I find I listen to different music according to my mood. For example, if I’m feeling relaxed it will be Matt Corby or Haim, or something like that. Melancholy is definitely pearl jam, occasionally Death Cab for Cutie. Nostalgic might be foo fighters (I listened to A LOT of foo fighters around ages 17 – 19). If I need a pick me up it might be something like Kimya Dawson or the cat empire because this music is stuff you can’t be sad to (as opposed to Pearl Jam, which is very much my “wallow in my own self pity”music – except their one happy album) . If I’m in a dramatic mood I will listen to Dresden dolls.
Road trips are often accompanied by the rambling songs of Dream Theatre.

But my heart lies firmly in the more heavy stuff. Rise Against (who are all vegan bar one, and he’s vegetarian) is the starter. Metallica, Rammstein, Rage against the machine, Disturbed.

And the singer from Disturbed… I want to marry his voice. It’s amazing.

Any way, my point is that music is great. I’ve got a wide variety of music to fit a wide variety of moods. You won’t find pop, country, rap, hip hop or dub step in there but there’s plenty to pick from.

Metal and punk is great – it’s high energy intense music. And there’s nothing quite like double kickers to really get me going. My all time fastest 5km was run after a particularly frustrating day at work and with Disturbed pumping through my headphones.

I don’t tend to run to music much anymore but when I do I gravitate towards the heaviest stuff I have. Then I switch to the more mellow songs for my cool down and stretches.

I like to feel music and to be surrounded by it. That’s one reason I love Florence and the Machine – because you put on the CD and you feel immersed in the music. That’s also why I believe that metal can’t be played quietly.

Music makes me happy.