Sunday, 15 December 2013
'Is this romantic?' I thought I had better check, but I left the 'enough' unsaid.
She sounded suspicious, so I changed the subject. For ten minutes, we chatted about random things. I knew I was delaying the question, but there had to be a perfect moment, right?
The sun was steadily disappearing over the horizon when she asked if we should get going as it would still be two hours before we got back home. I felt deflated, not like a burst balloon, more like a slow puncture on a tyre. Had my moment been missed?
It wasn't my first attempt. I'd planned the perfect moment to ask 'the question' only a couple of weeks ago. I took her on a starlit visit to the beach which would have been perfect, except I hadn't checked the tide times. When we got there, there was no beach (just rocks). The stars were perfect that night, however we were both frozen the moment we got out of the car. Notes were made hastily to self: stay in a warm place next time.
The stars really were perfect that night, the moon was just starting to rise behind us. I took a photograph, not a great one as photographs go, but it was so beautiful.
Back on Dartmoor, I didn't want to wait for another attempt. Two missed opportunities would not sit well with me. What if it was raining the next time I got the courage up? No, it had to be done then and there. I was holding her in my arms, her head resting on my shoulder, when I whispered: 'but I wanted to ask you a question'.
Her whole body stiffened. I think mine probably did too, like a frightened animal not knowing if I should stay or flee. I asked her, then, I just let the words escape my lips like they were the most natural things in the world. 'Will you marry me?'
It would have been an awkward drive home had she said no, but thankfully she said yes! Afterwards, I got to drive home with my fiancée. :-)
Monday, 25 November 2013
|Me and S about to let go and lower ourselves down.|
Wednesday, 6 November 2013
A writer who can't write is like a sword fighter who is afraid to pick up a sword: not a lot of good when someone comes at him with a broadsword.
I have written articles and short stories in the past. My last article was published last December in Cornwall Today magazine but I haven't written anything since. I can't...I won't. I even have an interview to write about but it has been sat recorded on my phone for months (fyi My Samsung galaxy S2 has a better voice recorder than my dedicated dictaphone!). I also need to write letters for my boss to send out to people but it can take me so long (too long) to write one. It is frustrating, but it is also something I want to work on next.
I have always suffered from writer's block. Sometimes I find myself free from it, sometimes it is so crippling that I can stare at a blank page in horror,my guts an agony of twisted knots. It is a confidence thing, I am sure.
Being able to write the occasional blog post is helping but I think I need to do more. If I had remembered nanowrimo (novel writing month which is November) I would have prepared characters and the basic storyline for a short novel, but I found out as it was starting. I feel I need to challenge myself more.
I have been writing a bucket list and steadily working my way through it. I have milked a cow (because it was random), I have done a voiceover job, I have slept in a car (that was on S's list not mine) and I am gradually walking the cornish coast 13-15 miles at a time. A short story is on my list, my worst nightmare in terms of writing: creativity, length, completion. It feels like one of my biggest challenges yet!
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
Perhaps it won't be such a bad day after all. :-)
Monday, 28 October 2013
Try this when you're bored in the supermarket, an evening shop with the aisles empty of people and, most importantly, the floor has just been freshly polished: floor skating. A fantastic new sport that is not just designed for children.
I was not in the mood for shopping tonight but, other than a dodgy looking bag of salad and some cauliflower, we had no food in the house. I can be ingenious when it comes to creating meals from random food - admittedly the kale omelette was a mistake that time - but there really was nothing I could make. So, off to the local supermarket we went. To make myself feel better, I went to the stationery section as soon as I got there.
I decided to find my partner who was prowling the homeware section, presumably for the same reason, (this can be dangerous. If I don't watch her, she would fill this flat with fluffy cushions and pink towels...), when I found myself sliding around the corner as if on ice. The soft soles of my Dr Martins (I am such a stereotype at times) helped on that freshly polished floor. That was it: I raced up and down the aisle and went into full skids up and down. How exciting. It was then I saw myself on the tv screen: caught mid slide.
But who cares? I have spent so much of my life caring about what other people think, tonight I decided to break that record. I came up with a cunning plan to make the shop go faster with fun. The rule was you had to pretend you were iceskating through the store. It was fun. OK so people looked at us oddly but I didn't care. If you can't laugh at yourself and let your hair down, then what's the point?
45 minutes later, we were bloody knackered and breathing heavily but the shopping was done and we had fun doing it. As a treat, we bought some giant sparklers to play with.
I suffer from stress quite a bit but it is moments like this (and with a forgiving girlfriend) that help me unwind. And now to relax. :-)
Monday, 21 October 2013
It wasn't quite the blog entry I was going for, but this seems to be the theme of the day.
It isn't the first time I've been asked for diet advice in the last couple of year. It is because I lost 3.5 stone, which hasn't gone unnoticed. I don't have a "before" picture, but I do have the most recent picture which was taken at the weekend:
I am not thin (not in the modern size-zero sense), but I am happy. I am fit and healthy. Isn't that all that matters?
Having been a bit of a chubberchops, I honestly feel that, even with the best intentions and strongest motivation, a diet can only ever be a temporary phase. The diet will fail, or the resolve be blown apart the next time you get stressed out and need a chocolate bar. It is because we put so much meaning on the word 'diet'. It is like a punishment because you can't eat all the 'naughty' things you want to. My advice: don't do it, and especially don't try to be thin. Oh, and don't use the scales! Why set yourself up to fail?
The easiest thing I did was to simply cut out the crap: stop eating wheat, cheese, and sugar (which is sadly in almost every food you can buy these days), added lots of vegetables to my diet, and exercised. I have not made changes because I want to be thin, I have done it because I want to feel well, and to be able to enjoy my martial arts and other activities without getting ill. It was (and always will be) a lifestyle choice, not a diet. The weight loss was a side effect, as was good skin and increased confidence.
So many people spend so much energy on trying to fit into an image of what they think they 'should' be, instead of focusing on how they would like to be. They focus on goals that aren't achievable. Not everyone has a frame that can get down to a size zero, I know I don't (the thinnest I got was at 18 after being in the Peruvian rainforest for a month. I lost so much weight that size 8 clothes were hanging off me by the time I got to uni) nor would it be healthy to try.
I like being asked about my weight loss plan but not many people want to hear it. There is no quick fix that will last, you see. It is hard work all the way but it is worth it in the end.
Monday, 7 October 2013
OK. So now I'm even fantasising about exercise. I'm not sure that's a good sign.
I am still incapacitated with my leg injuries: day 4 and I'm getting to the point of tearful frustration. At least the pain is beginning to subside. I had to work from home today (thankfully I have a very understanding boss...plus I have proven that PA work can be done anywhere so long as you have a laptop, work notes and work phone). My feet up, phone beside me, I actually got an awful lot of work done, but I just didn't want to be here: stuck. With no exercise.
I never was very patient.
I take a more measured approach nowadays. Admittedly, if I hadn't been running back from a two hour kung fu session, I wouldn't be where I am now, but at least I always make sure that I am well fed with the right nutrients, hydrated and ready to go. I don't do nearly as much exercise either. But, if I can't exercise, I really do notice its absence. It has reminded me that I should be grateful for my fitness levels and ability more often, because I don't know when I could lose it.
I guess that's the same with everything in life: be grateful for it when you can.
Saturday, 5 October 2013
At work yesterday, I deliberately dehydrated myself so that I wouldn't have to go down the stairs from my office to the loo. When I did need to go, I was in so much pain that I thought I might have a little accident on the way down (I didn't... nor did I really expect to. I was just avoiding the pain). I could have cried.
I am not good at being immobilised. In fact, you could say that I hate it. I am prone to suffering from anxiety and stress, and my normal exercise regime is something that keeps it under control. I am not impressed with myself for taking a risk. But there is no need for the 'what ifs' and 'should have dones'. It won't change it.
So here I am, with my legs raised, and unable to do much at all. I can only hope that I have decent movement by Tuesday which is when I have my San Shou kick boxing and Choy Li Fut Kung Fu lessons. In just a couple of weeks, I am expecting to be able to grade for Choy Li Fut, I can't afford to miss the lessons in between.
I will admit to feeling sorry for myself, certainly earlier. I bought some wheat free bread just so that I could eat some peanut butter (when I was young, we were very poor. I got the mumps and my brother scraped just enough money together to buy some peanut butter to help make me feel better, it did and it has had that effect ever since). I even sent a text to The Girlfriend to say I missed her (she called and asked why...I might have confessed that I missed her making cups of tea...my memory is hazy ;-) ).
I am tired, though. So tired. Sleeping proved difficult last night, for every movement of my legs set off the pain. I was half dosing, and then The Girlfriend came back. Even though I'd missed her (not just for her tea making abilities), it became...frustrating. She wouldn't leave me alone (she wanted kisses), and then she started fussing over the general mess I had created during the day and my half-hearted attempt to sort out things to sell in the spare bedroom. She complained that I couldn't pick things up off of the floor...I'd liked to have reminded her that I couldn't even reach my toes this afternoon let alone reach the things on the floor. However, she had a point. If I hadn't thrown them on the floor in the first place, they wouldn't have been there to pick up...
The good news is, she brought a Danish pastry back for me. Admittedly, this won't help my wheat intolerance and generally dodgy stomach, however I'd texted her continuously until she had agreed. (I know how to be persuasive). She even made me a cup of tea and placed it on the table at the end of the sofa (sweet, but I couldn't reach it...). She sighed heavily when I asked for her to get it for me. I think there might be someone else here who can't wait for me to get back on my feet!
[In all seriousness, S has been as good as gold, even if the tea was put in the wrong place. She's patient and kind. I am lucky.]
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
Is it possible to O.D. on peanut butter...?
I don't think so. My partner seems to think that even the smell of it is toxic. So toxic that even having a sealed jar in the cupboard is dangerous.
Ah well, the boss at home is still at work. That means it is peanut butter-o'clock. What she doesn't know won't harm her. Nom nom. ;-)
Monday, 23 September 2013
I've lost all that weight now but I didn't go back to particularly feminine clothes. It came to a point a few weeks ago that I had to dig through old (ancient) photographs of me looking very feminine just to prove it to people. Short skirts, very long hair, long nails (kept shortish now for practical reasons), delicate shoes. Now I like to wear my DMs and smart trousers to work, or jeans at any other possible time that I can. It is because it is practical; comfortable. It certainly was for when I worked in IT.
But I am not in IT any more. This should have been in an update a while ago, but I am now a Personal Assistant. Back to administration, which I had promised myself I would never return to (it is actually a good job, but that's another story). I don't always need to wear such practical clothes, as I'm not going into server rooms or crawling under desks. I felt that it was time for a change. So I did it...I bought a dress.
I was always told that you should look in the mirror at yourself and find the one thing you like about yourself and say 'I love my *' (*fill in with eyes/smile/wrists/or other relevant body part). It isn't an ego thing, it is purely to say to yourself that there's something good you like (much more positive than look at sagging stomachs with self-loathing - I know, I've done that too). For me: my legs. I love my legs. All the hard work from doing three martial arts has paid off with perfectly toned legs. OK, so there are bits of my body I don't like at all, but if I look at my legs: I am good.
When I was overweight I was at my least confident and could barely speak to a shop assistant. It took me 6 months to get hair cuts, and I wore crappy clothes because I was afraid to go shopping. The guys at university even had a nickname for me: mute girl. It wasn't nice, but it was accurate. Over time, I grew as a person, but I was still lacking confidence and staying in terrible relationships because I didn't know that there could be better for me out there..
One day, when the shit hit the fan (I very suddenly became single), I decided that I didn't want that for myself any more; I wanted to be a part of the world. So I changed. I worked damn hard at change. Now I am a healthy size, I go to three different martial arts lessons, I am a PA that has to speak to a lot of different people, and I wear dresses.
This dress isn't just a dress to me, it is a reflection of how far I have come.
Everyone did a double take when they saw me today. Everyone. If an earlier version of myself could see me now, I doubt she would recognise me either.
Monday, 16 September 2013
They have been at the back of my underwear drawer for some time. Unused, unwanted. But then the time finally came when I decided to test them.
We are walking the southwest coast path, not in one go (I tried that when I was younger and managed 120 miles before I got an injury) but in 13-14 mile sections at a time. We might do a section a day here and there, maybe occasionally camp on the way to make a whole weekend of walking. It is on both of our bucket lists.
We planned our first section on our holiday last week. St Agnes to Godrevy. 13.4 miles of beautiful coast with steep inclines and steeper drops. There is nothing like coast walking to get you hot and well exercised. What a perfect opportunity to test the pants!
It was a joke, at first. My partner laughed (oh, how she laughed) when the pants went on, but even in those first moments I knew that they felt...comfortable. We drove out to the starting point and started the walk. It was a hot day with glorious sunshine, and we started off at a fast pace. After an hour, they felt dry and comfortable. After two hours, the same...I almost got caught (in the middle of nowhere) checking...! (That would have looked odd). Damn it, even as we came to the end of the walk at 4.5 hours, they were soft, dry and comfy to wear.
I am an experienced walker. I have hiked up mountains (UK ones, if they count), across the Lake District and Peak District, across Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, Penwith and the coastal path. I have walked hundreds of miles. Literally. But I never thought I would be converted to granny pants. Please don't say it's my age.
I once did a 14 mile walk wearing a thong under my walking trousers. Trust me, you wouldn't want to try it.
No. I am afraid I am converted. I washed and readied the garment for the next walk which we did on Saturday (Godrevy to St Ives). I think they will become as important as my walking boots...
Monday, 22 July 2013
We have not been happy with our current accommodation. I have been there for two months, S one. On the face of it, it is a nice, quiet place but when you look closer the landlord painted over problems (damp problems) which are now just making the first stages of reappearance. There is no telephone line and we aren't allowed to get one (we didn't know this until we moved in. It is strange, to say the least). The plan is to escape.
We managed to scrape together the deposit for a new place, which we have arranged but are awaiting for the confirmation. I hope that it is successful. It is a nicer place, light and airy with two bedrooms and two bathrooms (one en suite). It seems more homely. Fingers crossed.
I have also, after all that work on the IT qualification (which I passed a few weeks ago after hours and hours of revision), got a new job as a PA. I start on Thursday. It couldn't be so far from the IT career that I had started to work towards but it is something that I think will be fascinating and challenging (definitely challenging).
I gave myself just two short weeks off after my CompTIA A+ exams before the wheel of change started again. The move was sort of planned (we estimated September to get a place but the move date is hopefully going to be mid August instead). The job was not. A month ago, I could not have even imagined a job change. It will be exciting, though, with all the projects and objectives that I have been prepared with already.
It is, with lots of hope, that I will finally settle down after all this. I don't want to move for a good few years after (it is already four times in 10 months!). We shall see. For now, though, I need to de-stress as much as possible (go for runs, cycle, write) because it is a lot to think about in such a short time. Time and time again, I find myself wondering: why do I do this to myself? But then, I remember, I never do anything by halves.
Monday, 6 May 2013
My belongings are all but packed. When I moved to the lodge, I had little. Now I have even less. This upsets me. It's strange, though. A huge part of me doesn't want any of it at all; not my job, not my "things", not even my car. I do want my bicycle and what few clothes I have left, but the rest...
I have contemplated giving it all away. The lot. Just discard the old baggage and start again. I have that opportunity, so what's stopping me? Wanting to be normal?
The lodge was never what I expected it would be. It was not the writer's haven, nor the photographer's paradise. It was freezing cold in the winter; a capsule of seclusion. A place for hibernation.
I have learnt a lot from my experience. Sometimes I feel as though I have learnt nothing at all. I have stepped backwards a fraction: my confidence has dropped, my insecurities exposed. I am not sure if I have missed the opportunity for self-development.
It is time to move on. Start afresh. I'm good at that, at least. It is a good starting again though. S will be moving in with me in a couple of months time, if not less. I will have to adapt to living with someone again.
I have often wondered if my past experiences of co-habiting have damaged me in some way, but I am going to try my hardest. She is worth it.
Life is about how you adjust to situations and how you learn from them, but for so many years I have felt like the wrong shaped cog trying to fit into the machinery of society. I have never quite fitted and never understood how others do. I pretend that I know more than I do, but I really know nothing.
There is so much pressure in today's world to be a certain way. To hold down a good job, to marry and have children. I'm gay, so those same pressures shouldn't be relevant but yet it is expected of me. Not the children, perhaps, but the rest. Is that really me?! I hate being tied down. Every Spring, I lust for adventure far from here. I become restless and begrudge being stuck.
There has been a lot of talk this weekend. S is the same as me. We crave the same things. She makes me feel that we can find a way. We will try to adapt our lives to make it possible, to do all the things we want.
Life will be interesting, I am certain. And it will mean a hell of a lot of adjustments.
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
I have cried before. That was the night before my electric blanket arrived; the temperature was -3 degrees. I dread the cold, which has my hands and feet turning interesting hues of blue, white and red. My blood circulation, which has never been good, has been declining over the last few years and I end up with crippling pain and the threat of chillblains.
I have a choice, I know I do: to stay in a wooden lodge, no more than a few planks of wood from the elements, or I could move into a real house and be sheltered and warm. Choices are never so easy, nor as black and white as they seem. If I moved from the lodge, would I miss the closeness to nature? It is unique, isolated and peaceful. We have pheasants walking up to the windows and an acre and a half of garden to enjoy.
Soon it will be summer, and the winter will seem far away. I am looking forward to bbqs on the veranda, and long strolls in the countryside. After the summer, maybe even after autumn, I probably won't be living in the lodge...I can't go through another winter like this one. I am done with cold places. But the idea of leaving makes me sad.
The problem is, I can't see myself living in a "normal" house again either. It is strange; as the lodge has transformed into a home, I have transformed along with it. The lodge is me, an external part of me. It is how I have always wanted to live: a wooden home with the bare essentials. If I could have a choice, I would build my own wooden house with insulation and eco-friendly heating (always heating, heating is never over rated), so that I can mix the world I love with a world of the essential warmth that I need.
Here's dreaming of finding a way...
Saturday, 16 March 2013
There was a time where I seemed to be catsitting more than I was at home. That was last year before I moved into the lodge. Sometimes I was paid, sometimes I wasn't. It was just a break from living in shared accommodation with someone who was not mentally well, and who smoked too much cannabis for his own good. Now, I don't really have to as I have a home that I like, but the advantage is that it is close to work and it saves me a fortune in fuel. Plus...the cats are cute. Did I mention that they are cute? ;-)
There are few distractions in this place. Like my own home, there is no T.V., although there is actually internet (always a distraction for me, but I'm doing my best). I have a lot to do: I only have 20 weeks left until two very big exams for my course, so I have to study; I have a photography job to finish; exercise to do; a book proposal or two to write... But, somehow, I just enjoy sitting by the fire relaxing. It isn't so much procrastination as willful neglect of my responsibilities. Sometimes, you get more done after a bit of rest. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.
It is ironic about the course. It is actually one I started about 3-4 years ago during a negative relationship. She was doing it too but got frustrated and angry with me when I could pick it up so easily while she had to work hard at it. I gave it up, but when I started working in IT I realised that I needed proof that I could do the job (you have to think about your C.V.). The thing is, now that I do IT day in day out, the course doesn't really cover any new ground for me, I just don't remember specifics (why would I...Google is my friend!). I did, however, choose it specifically to help me move into IT management, which is already where a third of my job lies. The thing with IT management is that you don't have to know everything, but you do have to know enough to make sure a contractor isn't screwing you over (I can't tell you the number of times men try to pull the wool over my eyes because they think that, as a woman, I know nothing. I actually enjoy that game...because I enjoy the look on their faces when you let them know that you know).
I have set myself a fairly easy study program, so easy that I haven't actually started it yet. I can see myself cramming before the exam... it's like my degree all over again. I never learn.
I have promised myself that I will study today, although it is hard when the Ginger Ninja is lying beside me wanting cuddles. I could just have another lazy day...there's always tomorrow, right? ;-)
Saturday, 9 March 2013
I had a health scare. It was only a few weeks ago but the word biopsy sends shivers through me even now. It wasn't dramatic, but for a moment I experienced fear. Fear of the 'C' word.
I have been through this before, 5 or 6 years ago. Same sort of thing: a lump where lumps should not be. It was fine! I had my ultrasound and they told me that I didn't have cancer. The end. I have never even thought of it since, until I found the new lump which felt...different. A scary different.
Things have changed in the NHS since the last time. For a start, things take a lot longer and there were far more women being shipped through the same process. Then I had the biopsy sprung on me (I was expecting to be told I could go home, and I felt myself shaking as they told me. I'm not scared of things like that, it was the shock). It hurt.
I received a non-diagnosis. This is the NHS' way of saying 'we don't see any cancer but we aren't going to say you haven't got it in case you sue our arses if, on the remote possibility, you do and we missed it'. It does not comfort you.
I was also told that I'm suffering from stress (well, it was a stressful situation...). The consultant asked me about my lifestyle and job. He was very passionate about stress in the work place being the cause of so many illnesses. I didn't realise that it can increase the risk of cancer as well. I have always just accepted that my job can be stressful and carried on.
Over the winter, I have not been out exercising like I used to. Sure, I still go to kung fu which can burn up to 1000 calories in an evening, but that's pretty much it.
Exercise for me is like water to a plant: I need it. Even S commented on that fact when we were stuck in the car for hours travelling up to Scotland. Without it, my stress levels increase, and I get a bit grumpy and restless. So, stage one is to get back into running (no problem. In fact, I have been waiting for the lighter evenings). I went out on Wednesday and it was really good. Oh. and I seem to have been signed up for a half marathon. I don't know how...
Because I am virtually in constant pain, I have been told to change my diet. I don't know why but I am rebelling. Being told to do something for your own good is fine...but being told you can't have something makes you instantly want it. Why is that?
The irony is, other than caffeine and the very rare piece of cake I managed to acquire from work, I had no interest in these bad foods before I was told "no". Now I find myself running around work hunting for biscuits like a ravenous vulture searching a desert for carrion. I am not impressed but I can't help it.
I am hoping everything will balance out in the end.
Rebellions aside, the whole thing has taught me a number of lessons. 1. Life is much more fragile than we choose to think. 2. good health is important. 3. friends, who are there for you no matter what, are the most precious gift.
I also discovered the people who aren't genuine friends...people who actually didn't really give a shit about my situation and cared more about themselves and the fact that I wasn't there to help them with their dramas. I'm 33 and I'm still learning.
Friendship is a two-way thing. Some friends are always going to be transitory (i.e. you need that kind of friendship then you move on) , and other friends are with you for life.
My friend, M, sat with me for the full four hours of the first hospital session. I knew other friends were there for me if I needed to talk. That is friendship.
So two things you shouldn't take for granted: your health and your friends. You wouldn't do very well without them.
Tuesday, 5 March 2013
I have been to Scotland; Edinburgh then Loch Lomond. What a beautiful place, the mountains and the water.
It would have been ideal but I couldn't seem to shake off the shadow of work. Then I got a stomach bug on the way home.
The thing is, I couldn't drive home on Sunday as planned so I had to do it yesterday when I felt well enough. I knew how bad this would look: like I wanted to skip an extra day off, keep the holiday feeling alive for 24 more hours. But what can you do? Show photographs of you projectile vomiting?
Back-to-Work meetings seem to make it more stressful somehow. I am informed that it is to make sure that I am ok, but secretly I think it is to make sure you're not taking the piss. I like my HR manager, but I am uncomfortable with what is written down (the smallest detail).
I returned to work today before I was well enough. (I wasn't contagious, just exhausted and achey). I am paying for it now, after a 14 hour day working and doing my course. I have realised that if I didn't spend so much time worrying about what other's think of me, I may have allowed myself to recover somewhat. My honesty should surely speak for itself...shouldn't it?
In today's world, though, too many people are faking illness rather than go to work, so all of us have to pay for it.
Anyway. Grumbles over. I did rather enjoy Loch Lomond and I am sure I will visit the area again soon, though maybe via plane next time.