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Monday 7 November

And up at 8:20 this morning, slept well indeed; spent the morning, thru departure time of the bus p.zza Jacopone, doing housecleaning and writing what for me passes for a short letter — 3 pp. — to be mailed tomorrow: accompanying what amounts to 5 photographs even if 3 of them took a total of 18 actual shots since they're panoramas.

[. . .] Nineteen pushups this morning, before sealing my letter, twenty after. On the other hand, only 52 situps, I didn't feel quite right so quit.

No breakfast, but a big pot of rather strong tea with almost no milk; yesterday I overate, and indeed weighed 78½ last night, 77½ this morning, and wasn't hungry; perversely, 'til now — I'm on the chugchug — [. . .]

Sunny, warm rather: would be a good day for more walking. I'm thankful I've had so many beauti­ful days; I'd like more until I leave Todi — I still have some walking to do (mileage, tan, and 12 of the 48 places in "Todi e Dintorni" not been to yet).

Sitting at the Gran Caffé Strega, p.zza del Viminale — [. . .] — and off towards the Corso because I was hungry and there's the cafeteria with the three-star gnocchi; but never got there, because it was farther than I remembered and I was afraid I've had no time to eat, so went looking for food [. . .]

[. . .] Still very hungry, walked for blox to avoid pastries and ice cream, finally fell onto the Viminal, and have just had a medium-sized plate of three vegetable salads, cold, with no dressing basically (potatoes + carrots + zucchini; fennel; green beans) and am having a beer. Still hungry but I'll have a sammich at the rink. Forty minutes before my train leaves, I'll sit tight here another while. ([. . .] on the train, finished Lucian on the Dance: the book is of definite value in itself, plus is applicable to modern figure skating — the best single sentence sums it up pretty much; translated as "Infatti gli spettacoli dei pantomimi comprendono la rappresentazione del pensiero e l'attività dell' esercizio fisico; ma ciò che più importa è la conoscenza delle azioni e il fatto che non ci sia niente al di fuori dei limiti della ragione." — a distant ancestor of [. . .] "no movement without motivation", or in the original [Luc., Περι Ορχ. 69] "καὶ τὸ μηδὲν ἔξω λόγου".) [. . .]

After my skate [. . .] waiting at S. Maria's stop. A discouraging lesson again — how long am I going to be stuck doing bad crossovers? — and afterwards Giampiero bawled me out for not working on my free half hour. . . .

Mixed feelings about how [. . .] really ought to be handling me. Of course, I'm not going to the Olympics, and I'm doing it for fun; on the other hand, not done well it's not as much fun, and it would be contemptuous of me to just let me do anything I wanted; at the same time; at the same time, discouraging me horribly isn't good either.

Back at the apartment. Weight 76+ (but not 76½, closer to 76) then I did 17 pushups and 203 situps. After the situps (the first 28 were good, and after 90 I got some speed and rhythm going! the hardest were 35‑80) I weighed definitely less than 76, although not 75½. [. . .]

It looks like I'll be at 75 = 165 lbs. my initial weight goal (which I expected to reach by Dec. 10th) and there's no reason I can't (and shouldn't) continue to thin down; I'm close to resetting my 'goal' to 155 since after all that's what I weighed in my early thirties (I weighed 145 in my twenties — that may be interesting); 'goal' is in quotes because I can't say I'm doing anything to get there (unlike the situps for example): I'm just losing weight because that's what my body is doing on its own now apparently that I'm treating it right.

The carryover in confidence is starting to be terrific, the gut is starting to reason like this: X is difficult to do, but so is 203 situps, yet you did them, so you can do X too. Replace X" with "doing a good axel", [. . .] etc. Ο δε του Αρεως πεμπτοςa doesn't have to be that grim, finally. [. . .]

Later Note:

a The passage in Ptolemy on mid-life which he viewed as ruled by Mars — Tetrabiblos, IV.10 (§ 206) — so struck me when I first read it a few years before that I'd memorized it. The diary, by the way, was dead wrong; less than two months later, disaster struck which was to poison most of my middle years, and fully bear out Ptolemy's astrological sketch. Since only an English translation is provided at the link given, I supply the original Greek of the passage here:

Μετὰ δὲ τὸν ἥλιον ὁ τοῦ Ἄρεως πέμπτος, ἐπιλαβὼν τὸ τῆς ἡλικίας ἀνδρῶδες ἐπὶ τὰ ἴσα τῆς ἰδίας περιόδου πεντεκαίδεκα ἔτη, τὸ αὐστηρὸν καὶ κακόπαθον εἰσάγει τοῦ βίου, μερίμνας τε καὶ σκυλμοὺς ἐμποιεῖ τῇ ψυχῇ καὶ τῷ σώματι, καθάπερ αἴσθησίν τινα ἤδη καὶ ἔννοιαν ἐνδιδοὺς τῆς παρακμῆς καὶ ἐπιστρέφων πρὸς τὸ πρὶν ἐγγὺς ἐλθεῖν τοῦ τέλους ἀνύσαι τι λόγου ἄξιον μετὰ πόνου τῶν μεταχειριζομένων.

Another squib of the same passage had already showed up in my diary two weeks earlier.

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Page updated: 7 Dec 20