Friday, October 17, 2014

Some thoughts about living in the country

Here are just a few thoughts I've had over the last couple of weeks living in the country:
  • I really like it, even though I'm not country-folk tough
  • I really like it, even if it means I have to leave the house bang on 7.40 to get to work at 8.30
  • If I am even just 5 mins later than that, the 45 minute commute, turns into an hour + (I shit you not)
  • Poringland is the Hotel California of Norfolk villages. You can drive through, but you can never leave. I didn't leave quick enough one morning, I sat for half an hour creeping through this small village
  • Plumbers are popular men around here. The soonest I could get a plumber was four weeks from my call, i.e. middle of November
  • I ended up calling a large company to sort out the boiler issue and my Norwich plumber for the rest
  • People are really friendly, everyone really does know everyone else
  • It's kind of weird, kind of comforting
  • I've seen a lot of wildlife since being here:

  • Dave noticed this little guy munching his way through the hedge. He took no notice of us tapping the windows or anything
  • He is a muntjack, an import from China that escaped. They are about the size of a large dog or a medium sized goat
  • I've never seen one this close before
  • I've seen several pheasants, jays, magpies, crows, pigeons, deer and lots of cows
  • There's a diary up the road

  • This is the milk they sell and that I have taken to drinking

  • These are the cows the milk I drink came from. Aren't they gorgeous? They were so curious when they saw us standing by the gate
  • I am ridiculously excited by the fact that I've seen the beasts my food comes from and the money I put into the machine to get the milk, goes straight to the farmer
  • The farmer, who I've met and who makes an awesome brie (don't know if it can be called a brie if it's made on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, but you get the picture)

  • I used my workout area for the first time today. It's perfect. For the first time I've got enough space to move in and I can keep all my stuff out
  • I watch my exercise DVDs on my laptop to remind me what to do
  • It was really hard going
  • I still feel really tired
  • I still feel really happy I moved here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Moving on up!

It is done. I have moved. Or rather, it would be more true to say, I have been moved. Frankly, from here on in, that's the only way I'm going to move, unless everything fits into the back of my car. The most stressful thing about the entire experience of moving, was waiting for the removal men. 

I got most of my boxes unpacked the weekend after the move. It has very quickly gone from The Cottage to feeling like home. The rooms are large and airy, with all our things in them, it's so comfy and cosy. I love opening the curtains in the morning. I never know what I'll see. Granted on the days I work in Norwich, I don't see very much at all because it's dark. But this morning there were two hen pheasants perched on my fence looking a bit disgruntled at my interrupting their chat. 

Living out in the Sticks, there's a lot to get used to. The nearest shop is over a mile away. I will have to go even further afield for my larger weekly shops. I've been told there is a Morrisons and Tescos in Beccles, which isn't that far from here. I'm going to have to do a bit of research to see if I can get my hair, nails and eyebrow seen to locally, rather than have to troop up to Norwich just for that. 

The most challenging thing was lack of internet. I'm not bothered about television and haven't missed that at all. No Facebook? OMG! How did I cope?

Actually, the break from my online life was good for me as well. It made me re-think my morning routine and I realised how much time I spent on social media, when I started being far more productive round the house. Nevertheless, I really missed it.

Yesterday, I came home to find my new kit waiting here for me. I expected it to be incredibly complicated to set up. Hell no. The most complicated part of the whole process has been figuring out the best place to put the router. Happily, the xbox can connect wirelessly, so no more cable trailing across the floor and it's not like I'm gaming online so I need to eek out every extra millibyte of speed. 

This morning, I unpacked four more boxes and set up my study. That makes me especially happy, I have to say. I've got the last three boxes of books to go, but they can wait until tomorrow. Right now, I'm enjoying sitting at my desk, staring at the hedge laden with rose-hips and the field beyond it. I may indulge in an afternoon nap. 

That's the one thing I haven't enjoyed about the experience - the weariness. I'm bone tired. I've got dark marks under my eyes and I've got that lovely grey tinge to my complexion at the moment. I am just so tired. Having said that, I'm sleeping better. And as the days pass and I enjoy the routine at work and come back to my new abode, I feel lighter. Much lighter.

I'm so glad I did this. It was such a good thing to do. I'm so incredibly lucky to have the friendship and support from Z, who's been such a star. Boy came home last weekend. He seems far more comfortable here. He couldn't wait to take Z's dog out for a walk and explore. I'm really looking forward to him coming home for the festive season. It's going to be so much fun. 

All in all, I'm doing okay. Less strung out, chilling out more. In fact...I think it's time for a quick nap...

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Existential Angst/Mid-life Crisis

Yes, it's true. I am having a mid-life crisis. I have come to hard realisation of two important things:

1. Life is Meaningless. We are born, we are taxed and then we die. Therefore, the only meaning in Life is that which we create.
2. While I every major thing I have every wanted has been denied to me, I have actually had a pretty awesome time considering.

These two truths along with some other things, have meant that since August I've been wrestling with both the Big and the Little Pictures.

The flat where I thought I'd die in, over the last 8 weeks became my prison. I hate being here, I can't abide being in Norwich anymore. I've lived here since 1996. In fact, I'm moving out pretty much 18 years to the day. I am having a Don McLean moment.

This midlife crises leaves no relationship, no belief or activity unquestioned. This process hasn't even come close to finishing yet. I'd go so far as to say, I've only just begun.

Tomorrow, I move. I am being packed up and I am running away to the country. I've been offered sanctuary by the most lovely Z. It's only for as long as it takes her to sort through her own stuff and then I'll have to move again. Where to after, I can't say. I can't say, because I don't know. I honestly don't know.

To deal with the first issue. What is the meaning I want to create in my Life? 

I'm going to do an Introduction to Counselling course in the New Year and after that, I will have more options. Or not.

I've started a course at the Norwich Buddhist Centre. I haven't been a pagan magical practitioner for a good few years now. Not because I don't believe magic doesn't work, but because I believe it does. I no longer believe I have any answers to Life's dilemmas/questions. I would rather take each step as it comes and trust the outcome is as it needs to be. 

Which kind of leads on to #2. The times I didn't get what I so very dearly wanted and craved were hard. Really hard. But I learnt some very valuable lessons. And pretty much, without exception, although I wanted a different outcome, in hindsight it was such a good thing. Relationships that I wanted to succeed and failed spectacularly, even though I tried so hard - they would have destroyed my soul. Work situations that would have crushed me in the long term, despite the excellent potential for enormous salaries and career progress.

The little I've learnt about Buddhism matches up to my experiences so far. I will never be Christian again and I am no longer a magical practitioner, but my belief in spirituality remains unshaken. I've had too many weird things happen to me, to believe otherwise. 

But I digress; tomorrow I move.

Tomorrow, I pack up and leave the flat where I've lived on and off over 16 years. It was supposed to be our haven and it hasn't been. It's not big enough for me to live in the way I need to. 

I've been laughing with friends today about the fact that in my 20s I did a BA in Development Studies, in my 30s I did a BA in Creative Writing, now in my 40s I'm looking for more learning. I think I will do a counselling course, though what flavour, I don't know yet. Or indeed, I might do something completely different. Who knows? If someone up there does, they haven't made me privy to that info. 

In a couple of weeks, Boy is coming home for the weekend. He's going to hold my hand as I have my first tattoo done to mark the occasion. I'm really looking forward to it.

Ultimately, I could have continued to pretend that everything was alright. I'm sure I could have had a stab at ignoring how I feel. Instead, I've decided to embrace this. Whatever "this" turns out to be. Wherever "this" takes me, at least I know I will have stood up and met the challenge head on.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Fond Farewell to the Pink, Fluffy, Dressing Gown

Ladies and Gentlemen it is the end of an era. After much thought and a little bit of sadness, I have decided to retire the Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown.
Drinking Coffee in the Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown circa 2007

For many years, the Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown has meant hours spent drinking coffee, indulging myself on social media, post-midday breakfasts, smoking outside in the middle of the night, recovering from the night before. The Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown has become synonymous with idleness and time wasting. I remember ardently defending my right to be dressed only thus at 2 pm. The PFDG became a phenomena, an institutions. Had I been canny it could have had its own twitter feed and Facebook page. 

As Bob sang, times they are a changin'.

In the PFDG last year

I put the PFDG on a couple of days ago and it felt wrong. I was uncomfortable wearing it. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have outgrown it. I am no longer that lazy, layabout the PFDG used to know and love. I no longer while away my days, planning what to, eventually getting dressed and then perhaps doing something. 

In the PDFG earlier this year

My days now have two 5.45s in them. I actually have an active gym membership. I am working really hard to be strong and fit enough so I can go running and lift weights again. When I glance to my right, I've got a dead cup of green tea hanging out with my partially finished fruit, veg and protein smoothie. 

It's Sunday morning and I've already unpacked the dishwasher, put a load of laundry on, got myself clean, fed and out the house to get some house stuff. I would have left the house before 12 o'clock, but it was absolutely pissing it down outside and I really didn't need my new lampshades that much.

So raise your glasses and join me in wishing the Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown well. Thanks for the memories. It was fun while it lasted.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Lookin' at that Hoss from the Ground

Last week, I realised how far I was slipping back into my old, lazy assed self. I was struggling to get things done around the flat. I started looking in the mirror and seriously disliking what I saw. Nothing else had changed apart from the fact that I was laid up with my lower back and my poorly, wrenched wrist. 

Boy and I went away for a few days, the late end of last week. We went to move him from halls of residence to his student house. I like Lincoln as a place to visit. It's got a great vibe. Or at least, it does where Boy lives.

We agreed there would be no stressing and there really wasn't. We took the move slowly, with lots of breaks. Somehow, in the 9 months he was there, he went from 1 car load of stuff to 2.5! Granted, it wasn't packed tightly - the car load going up was a bit like a level on Tetris - but even so. 

After the move, we then went up to Beverly for the wedding of the Viking to his Lovely. It was an absolutely amazing day from start to finish, even with the occasional downpour. Thank goodness for Clinique mascara, that's all I'm saying. I started dabbing my eyes with the first hymn and didn't stop until the Wedding March.

I made the mistake of saying to people "yep, we're going to the wedding of my ex-bf." I learnt too late that I then had to go into the whole "it was a good break-up, we're really good friends, I'm really happy for them. No, I'm REALLY happy for them" routine. The fact of the matter is, the Viking spent the whole day looking at his Lovely like he just opened all of his birthday and Christmas presents at once, while she looked like she'd just won the lottery. Both sets of parents were delighted all round. That people down here couldn't understand, I'm afraid that's their look out. Not mine. What was particularly lovely was the warmth that both Boy and myself were greeted. I've got stern instructions to return sooner, rather than later to have a proper catch up with everyone. Frankly, I'm looking forward to becoming Mad Aunty Roses (no pressure darlings, no pressure). 

While we were away, I had many miles of open road to think. 

My lower back issue means absolutely no running. Running is hard on everything and the impact could potentially make things much worse. My wrenched wrist means no load bearing, or twisting; pretty much rules out lifting, swimming, cycling or push-ups. My dishy osteopath advised waiting until I was pain free for a week before attempting any strengthening exercises. 

My body, mind and energy levels were reverting to how I felt two years ago and it was not good. 

I also had the time to think about my weight. It's a bit of a touchy subject with me. 

The fitness industry for women, tends to focus on weight loss and paints everything pink. Go into the main stream gyms, health food shops, it smacks you straight in the face. Being the rebellious sort, I've resolutely stuck to my numbers. I am not overweight, my BMI* is smack bang within the healthy range. I don't have anything to worry about, health-wise.

However, the fact of the matter is that while this is true, my body fat percentage is too high for my liking. When I look in the mirror now, I don't see muscle, I see flab. I see the results of 3 months on my butt. Ladies and gentlemen, trust me when I say this, it isn't pretty. It does not feel good.

One of the things I struggle with is planning. I can create a plan, no problem; implementing said plan, well, that's a different matter altogether. I kind of get there, but not within the timescales I originally set out. For example, I have a running app called Zombies Run! 5k. It's an 8 week programme to take you from couch to running your first 5k. Did I do it in 8 weeks? Hell no. In fact, I'm on week 8, workout 2. I can give you all the reasons why I didn't stick to the plan and mostly, they are good. But the outcome is still the same - I didn't do it.

I'm a woman who likes a challenge. Therefore, I set myself this challenge. I am on the 5:2 diet for the next 7 weeks (or rather 6 as it started on Monday). Don't ask me why I set 7 weeks, it was a completely arbitrary number. For the next 7 weeks I am going to be eating 500 calories for 2 days in the week. 

In this time I am also going to be doing what I call Foundation exercises. I'm doing a basic circuit, cardio and abs routines throughout the weeks ahead. Everything I'm doing is geared to get me to the point where I can pick up my weights and lace up my running shoes again. 

There's a physio dude at my gym who I've been trying to get hold of and this week I managed to snag an appointment with him. We had an hour long consult and next week, there will be another one. He assessed me on everything: body, exercise, diet and mental health. It was very useful indeed. He's already made some adjustments to my current circuit routine to address the issues in my lower body. I lack strength in weird places which is causing the imbalances that has lead to my lower back issues. He's highlighted some dietary issues and made a suggestion about probiotics. I followed that up as soon as I got home yesterday. Some eye-wateringly expense probiotics will be winging their way over to me next week. Unlike the probiotic yoghurts and drinks available in the supermarket, these have been cultivated to colonise the gut. Stuff from the supermarket, usually high in sugar, has been designed to die so when a person stops taking them, they stop feeling the benefit. These probiotics are shipped with cool packs and have to be stored in the fridge. I do not expect miracles, but improvements are more than welcome.

Next Wednesday morning, he's going to put me through my paces. I will come away with a programme that will address these niggly issues and hurtle me towards my Awesome again.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that is a very tall horse that I will be am climbing back on. This first week has not been shitz and gigglez as the kids say. I feel beset on all sides at the moment. But I am buggered if I'm going to lay here on the floor and take it.

*BMI is not a particularly useful measurement for weight, despite the fact that it's pretty much universally used by health and fitness professionals. Muscle is more dense than fat, if you're athletic and have a low body fat percentage, chances are your BMI will class you as obese. True story.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 2014 - an update

If you've been keeping up with my lack of shenanigans on Facebook, you'll know the last month has been a bit of a trial for me. Got side-swiped by a virus, that behaved like a weird stalker ex-boyfriend by refusing to go away; the lack of movement during this time has buggered both my back and wrist. 

In other words, any blog post I might write starts "whinge, whine, moan..." 

Therefore, I fall back on blogging with bullet points:

  • Dave's coffee business is now up and running
  • It is a lot of fun
  • The equipment is really heavy (coffee machine alone is 65kg)
  • The coffee is really good
  • I'm the cashier/order taker and I wipe up mess every 3 seconds which drives the barista absolutely nuts, but keeps everything clean
  • It's bloody hard work
  • I really hope my gym membership is tax deductible, because if I am to continue working with him in this business, I must become much, much stronger.

  • It is the season of weddings
  • We were doing coffee at a wedding yesterday and it was fab
  • Boy and I will go off in a couple of weeks to celebrate The Viking and his lovely's wedding
  • I am really looking forward to it
  • I know they will continue to be a very happy couple and be very good for each other.

  • Rummy is totally bonkers
  • Boy continues to claim Rummy is a dick
  • He rushes outside to break up the many fights Rummy has with his doppelg├Ąnger neighbour, Rocky
  • Boy is still pleased when Rummy comes to sit next to him
  • In the morning, after I given him breakfast and made myself a cup of coffee, Rummy comes to sit on my lap until he gets too hot.

  • I miss running and I miss the gym
  • I miss that feeling of accomplishment after a workout or a run, even if it wasn't the best
  • I'm going down to the gym this morning to book myself into some yoga sessions to try and free up my back
  • It's nuts how much ground I have lost in such a few weeks
  • My body has made it very clear it needs to move
  • Finding the balance will be the challenge from here on in
  • Finding the balance is always a challenge for a person who naturally enjoys extremes.

  • Summer should be my best time of year, given I love warm weather
  • With my hayfever, sinusitis and increased vulnerability to bugs at this time of year, I now perceive Autumn and Winter completely differently
  • I was much healthier last Winter, despite the cold and the bugs flying around the office
  • I will be doing a lot of research into allergies and sinusitis for next year
  • The Lovely Ursus gave me a light bulb moment when she reminded me this is my tough time.

  • I suspect I have become vain in my old age
  • Urban Decay make up is now my drug of choice
  • I had several oops moments in their counter
  • I have now more eye shadows than Pantone have colours
  • Some are sparkly, some shimmery and some are barely there
  • I haven't decided on a "look" yet, it's all down to mood right now
  • In fact, it's all down to mood. I'm sure there's a deeper meaning to my current obsession, I don't much care to think too deeply about it
  • Eyebrows continue to be the bane of my existence
  • However, I'm beginning to get the hang of them
  • I no longer look continually cross or surprised (unless I'm cross or surprised), which I'm counting as progress.

  • My finances are challenging
  • Thanks to new government regulations, I am unable to consolidate my debt to a cheaper monthly payment
  • I have way too much fun with cash
  • I tell myself, this is a learning experience
  • When I finally clear my debt, I won't be so quick with my credit card
  • That was until Friday when I went to the Urban Decay counter
  • It's time for me to think outside my financial box.

  • I'm in my fourth decade and I haven't begun another degree
  • It worries me
  • I did my BA in Development Studies in my 20s
  • I did my BA in Creative Writing in my 30s
  • My 40s stretch in front of me and I'm not sure what to learn next
  • Not that I can afford another degree
  • But I am beginning to think about it.

Considering I didn't know what to write, I think I've done quite well...

That's all for now folks. Catch you later...

Friday, July 04, 2014

Have you seen June?

The last time I felt properly well was at Zoe's blog party. I know I promised you a post, but it has come and gone and it feels wrong doing a post about it so far afterwards. The last 3 weeks I have been hit by the Virus from Hell. I thought I had shifted it last weekend, I could feel the symptoms abating and hit me again and even harder. 

Today, I woke up feeling like a human being again. I peered at myself in the mirror and ran away screaming. It was not a pretty sight. Have I done the piles of laundry that have multiplied in my period of illness? Hell no. Have I dug out the kitchen and liberated it from the fuzz of unwashed plates. Oh please. Have I watered my plants and loved them after my neglect? Go on, can you guess?

What have you been doing with your new-found energy? I hear you ask. Well, I have been attending to my personal grooming. When I opened my front door today (the first time in 6 days), I realised Summer had arrived in my absence. My legs glowed like a florescent bulb. I  started with a shower and got the lawn mower out on my legs. I'm a hirsute woman. I'm not going to beat around the bush (ha ha ha), I have two fuzzy caterpillars: one above my lip, the other that lays across my eyes and nose without any interruption. Once the legs and caterpillars were dealt with - I was liberal with the application of orange.

I look like this if I'm not careful

For those of you who feel self-tan is difficult, it really isn't. Moisturised the dry bits (knee caps, shins, back of the ankles) first, apply liberally and remember, facial toner is your friend. For the streaks and heavy bits, toner gets rid of those lickidy splick. By the way, I would lie out in the sun and bake myself golden except for one slight skin no longer reacts well to sun. I get very unattractive blotches, which I am told is due to my ethnic mix and age. sigh. I used to go five times a year on a sun bed to dim the whiteness, but that all had to come to an end. If I want to get my legs out, I slap on the orange. 

According to the blurb, this colour is Mahogany Brown. No, not...

I'm really not sure. It's lighter than my natural hair colour and it's got a red tinge to it. To be honest, it's safe hair. Next time, I'm going to lighten it up a bit. Go more golden maybe...I'm not sure. My hair is so dark, I always am concerned about the roots. Next time.

S'alright I s'pose

Yes, with the shaving, the tweezing, the chemistry etc. etc. it's not real. But gorgeous. Deal with it. The fact that I actually give a shit means I'm on the mend. Watch me as I rise...