27 November 2016

Like a kid in a sweet shop...

Well, whoever'd have thought it. The gym we've started going to has opened up a whole new world of entertainment, and, a little surprisingly, it isn't based on cardio stuff we've done before, although we usually warm up and down using a rower or cross-trainer (my 'spotty dog' walker of old).

No, the focus this time is firmly on weight training (also called resistance training) and, boy, is it great fun. Each time we've visited the gym, which has been every couple of days recently, we've discovered 'new' bits of kit we've never seen before.

It really is like being let loose in a sweet shop. Should I give this one a try, or maybe that one, but then... oooh, look at this thingy over here - what does that do? Decisions, decisions.

Sometimes it's blindingly obvious what the 'thing' is for and not too taxing to figure out how to use it (some come with useful diagrams too), but sometimes it's rather more like a journey into the unknown. We've, thankfully, had a fair amount of guidance from other gym users.

Now this diversity of delights is a great thing in one respect, but a complete pain in the bum (no, not a literal one) in another. It has been all too easy to get utterly carried away 'trying' things. Each time we go we're staying longer, and longer, and... you get the picture. See, what we haven't done yet is settle on a sensible, sustainable circuit which gives us most bang for our buck.

What I mean by that is that we decided beforehand that we want to work (albeit relatively gently to begin with) the whole of our bodies. That is, use a variety of different machines to target all our muscle groups in a single session. But - and here's the important bit - without overdoing things and without that session taking several hours (that definitely wouldn't be sustainable if I do ever get a full time job).

I know, it's early days, and we are probably doing the right thing by exploring our options. We have already settled on a few machines we definitely want to continue using. Mostly we agree, though there are a few that lovely hubby is happy using but that I detest, and vice versa. We will figure it out at some point, and then we'll have a template to work with and can think about what 'progress' might look like.

So it's onwards, and hopefully upwards too.

Now pardon me if this is TMI, but there have been a few giggles along the way. The gym has a vibration trainer (a power plate I think it's called). I may have mentioned in the past that I have a prolapsed bladder - I still do physio exercises to keep it under control (mostly). This prolapse (a.k.a. my 'wee problem') occasionally causes me to leak a little. Think coughing, laughing, tripping up... I had expected that using some of the bits of apparatus might trigger the odd leak, given the exertion. Actually, I've been really pleased that this hasn't been an issue. Until, that is, I stood on the vibrating doodah and hit the 'go' button. Ooops! Instant reaction = game over for the day. Hmmm, don't think this one will become part of the routine - so glad I carry a spare pair of knickers!

16 November 2016

The Ups and the Downs


I'm not going to mention weight this time, since it appears to be neither of these things and I'm still right where I was as far as the scales are concerned. I suppose that can be viewed either way, as a good thing or a not so good thing, but the jury is still considering this.

Here I'm more about life's ups and downs, so feel free to move along and come back some time when I blether about weight-related stuff instead.

So, let's focus on those lovely 'ups' for a little while.

One bit of good news was seeing the supermoon on Monday. We went out quite early in the evening and walked for a while to find a good spot, then sat on a bench to await moonrise. Well, I say we saw it, but for us it wasn't exactly like the wonderful photos we've seen since. It was more a fleeting glimpse here and there between thick banks of cloud. But it was still amazing and I'm really pleased we made the effort.

Another positive is that we've been to the gym a few more times now and we are really enjoying it. We feel a bit more confident about which bits out of the plethora of kit we want to use (er, and how to use it!) and the people there really do seem so welcoming and helpful it makes you want to go back.

Oh, and the instrument of torture I called the cow (that abs track thingy) has a competitor. This one (similar to the one pictured) was apparently designed by Torquemada and can reduce this fat lass to a quivering, whimpering mass of frustration before you can say abdominals. Hard, you ask? Yep, but the beggar will NOT get the better of me!

I'm still volunteering, and am still really enjoying it too. Again, some super people, so there are definitely some blessings to be counted.

Ah, but as with all see-saws there are a few 'downs' too.

Next week will see a trip away. Sadly though, this isn't for nice reasons as we're travelling to a funeral. I'm dreading it if I'm honest, as this will be the first one I've attended since we lost my darling Mum, but no way can we not go.

I hate to say this but I'm struggling with the return of that bloody black dog, and pretty much on a daily basis I'm getting:
a) angry
b) downhearted
c) teary
Or all of the above. This happens at the drop of a hat just at the moment, and I seem unable to shake it off. The damned beast seems to have sneaked up behind me when I wasn't looking, settled itself on the sofa and made itself right at home.

I'm very aware that some of the causes are explained pretty easily (sadness at recent news and worries about the future with the apparently unending and fruitless job hunt), but I wonder if moving to a lower dosage HRT may be contributing towards these reactions and I guess a little of it relates to the time of year as well.

My darling lovely hubby is being especially caring at the moment, which is a great help. It does relieve things somewhat and I appreciate this more than he'll ever know. Strangely though, neither his TLC nor going to the gym is the solution to breaking this blues cycle. They are great, but offer only very temporary relief. I am trying to stay positive, but...

I don't have a lot more to say right now, so until the next time, it's onwards, as ever...

09 November 2016

Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!

Well, we've been to our try out session at the gym today and it was great.

Don't get me wrong, we are both woefully unfit and it's going to be a hard slog just to get somewhere near back to our former gym shape, let alone improve. It has been a fair while, after all... and I've a feeling that odd parts of our bodies will reflect this tomorrow, for all we took things steadily.

And while the gym is a shade down at heel - it definitely isn't quite what you'd describe as state-of-the-art (one of the rowers is more arthritic than I ever hope to be!) it is a surprisingly welcoming place. Although a bit unnerving to first walk in to (with some V-E-R-Y serious bodybuilders, of both genders), there are also enough less fit folk about to make you feel a tad less the self conscious newbie.

We spoke to a few people there, and every single one told us how friendly it was, how much help they'd been given by other members, and how much they liked it. One lady (who helped show me what to do with the abs track thingy - an instrument of torture quite new to me, and one I've already nicknamed the cow!) was lovely, and we chatted about gyms and health benefits in the changing rooms afterwards. She is in amazing shape, and told me one of her motivators is reducing the effects of depression - she says the gym is better than any pill!

Another chap, Brian, a man-mountain of muscle, was equally lovely and very encouraging - even after we'd been gobsmacked (and somewhat disheartened) having seen the weights he was working with, apparently without extreme effort.

So, as Arnie might say... "We'll be back!" It sure is onwards, ever...

And finally, a note of sadness. Not going to say a lot. I mentioned needing to count my blessings a few posts ago. More than ever at the moment that's true, for one of my friends who I've known for over thirty years is no longer with us. That wicked bitch cancer upped her game in short order and, sadly, has triumphed.

02 November 2016

Holiday, and an update

Well, we had the most magical week away in a cosy cottage in the depths of Shropshire to celebrate the birthdays and anniversary. We walked a fair bit more than we'd anticipated, mostly because the weather was so kind to us we couldn't bear to stay indoors. There were fabulous, if somewhat hilly, walks in the beautiful colours of woodlands in autumn, right on our doorstep. Talk about blessings!We ate well too, but not all that much differently to the way we do at home as we took the slow cooker with us (good plan). There was an exception to this. Twice (naughty, naughty!) we walked down into the local village and had coffee and gorgeous home-made scones, nicely warmed, with lashings of butter. Delicious!  Nope, you are quite right - although not particularly sweet they were not even slightly low carb. Ah well, at a push they were at least relatively small scones, and partially offset by the steep(!) walk back up the hill to our temporary home.

Now we're home, I'm back to the Oxfam volunteering (and still loving it) and am looking out for 'suitable' paid jobs to apply for. There are a few things on the horizon that may offer potential, so cross your fingers, eh.

My weight, when I summoned the courage to step on the scales back at home, has gone back up to 56kg from my 55kg, but I'm not too worried about that.

Other news...

We plan to go to a gym next week for a try out session. It's ever so slightly scary as it isn't like anywhere we've been before - it's a serious bodybuilders and boxing gym, but they seem very friendly and welcoming and the fees aren't astronomical. Having talked to my sister about osteoporosis (which she has and my lovely Mum had) I can't help thinking a bit of weights work to build muscle mass and strengthen bone would benefit me - especially if I plan to come off HRT at some point in the not too distant future.

We bought ourselves a present while we were away, and enjoyed the fruits of its labour this evening. It's a cast iron mincer, and tonight's dinner was Shepherd(ish) Pie, made with our very own minced ox heart. Very tasty it was too, with a topping of creamy cauli mash. Lovely hubby says he had a fair old workout cranking the handle to mince the heart, too. Time to order a couple more ox hearts, methinks.

That's about all for now. Until the next time, it's onwards, ever...

13 October 2016

Roller coaster ride

I am counting my blessings. Why? Well, I need to remind myself how fortunate I am - every single day.

As life tends to do, the last week or so has thrown up a variety of things, both good and bad.

Before things get difficult to write, let me kick off with the good side. I've started voluntering at a local Oxfam charity shop, done four shifts to date and it's been a lot of fun. I'm learning new things (always a bonus for me), meeting some super people, and being utterly amazed, in a good way and in a WTF way, at some of the things discovered in the donation bags. Seriously folks, there are some things that really, really shouldn't be donated.

Another good thing is that my weight seems to be creeping, ever so slowly, downwards and the scales reported 55kg once again this morning. I'm not counting my chickens as it could just as easily skip back up again, but I'm quietly hopeful.

The not so good stuff is a lot harder to write about as just thinking about it makes me tearful and angry. On a minor note I'm still looking for paid work, but my ongoing angst over that pales into insignificance given the news I've been hearing of late.

It seems like for some reason (time of life related, perhaps) that this is shaping up to be a particularly bad season, a crappy year. Several of my dearly loved friends have recently been given seriously bad news and are now finding they have heavy loads to bear.

In the main, these loads have taken the form of that bitch cancer. I won't, for their sake, go into any detail but my friends are having a truly horrible time, either themselves or with their immediate families - husbands, parents, siblings. For some, the bitch hid itself and didn't show its face so that it has been detected way too late - for them the outlook is grim indeed.

It makes me feel pretty helpless as I'm so far away from them I can't even give them a hug. I can be, and am, there on the phone, or by text or email, if and when they need to talk (and have the energy), and I'm grateful to be able to do that at least. But on a practical level I can't do zip and that's hard. I can't just pop around with a home cooked meal to take a burden off them, or do a bit of shopping, or... All I can really do is let them know they are in my thoughts and 'prayers' and be there if they need to unload.

I came across a quote from Chief Dan George which I feel is pretty appropriate just at the moment, so I've shared it below.

May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears.
And above all, may silence make you strong.

Finally, I mentioned a long while back that I'd someday post a picture of the tattoo I had done after I lost my darling Mum. Well, seems like the time, so here it is.

Onwards, as ever... but with underlying sadness.

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