Bowery Mural

Oot the game!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

*warning: if you are of a weak disposition you may not want to read* you have been warned.

That's where I've been for the past three days - oot the game.  I've been struck down by 'a bug' that's going around.  First of all Ryan and my sister had it over the weekend.  Then when i came home from work Mum told me that Dad had it.  Then Monday night I could feel that something was up in my belly.  Or something was down.  But something not nice was happening...

I spent most of Monday night/Tuesday morning being sick and the rest! and I never slept at all.  The pain was bad but that nauseous feeling is the one thing that I do not like at all.  Once I was sick I felt better and thought that was it.  But no.  It brewed again and an hour after the first outbreak, the second one came and so on.  (Sorry was brewed too descriptive a word to use at this point?!).  This went on all night.  By 3am I'd decided it was safer for me (and the new carpet that mum's just had laid on the staircase) if I slept on the couch so I decamped down there and turned the telly on for company.

I never slept, too scared incase I was sick, too scared in case I did something else!  Several more trips to the bathroom were had before I noticed the time lapse between each trip was getting longer.  Then the tennis came on which pleased me (Murray V Nadal), something to watch that I enjoyed.  Also by this time Mum had gone to work and Dad had been up and gone back to his bed and then...

One more almighty trip to the bathroom...  It was not good this time.  Stomach cramps that would end my day (at least that's what it felt like).  When the business was done I couldn't raise my head much above leg height and decided the safest option just now was to lay on the bathroom floor until the sickly dizziness subsided.  I did shout on my Dad but he was out for the count.  A while later, not exactly sure how long, I thought I'd better get up as it was getting cold there on the floor.  So up I got, slowly, very slowly.  Ok things seem fine.  Gathered myself and went and lay on the living room floor wrapped in my quilt halfway between the radiaor and the telly.  I felt safe here, no dizziness when i was laid flat out.  Then I looked at the telly.  I'd seen the first set of tennis and now they were on set 3!!  I must have been on the bathroom floor for around an hour.  Damn!

Anyway Mum came in from work and we managed to get me onto the couch with the basin at the side (just in case), water and lucozade too.  I still didn't sleep.  Instead I dozed in and out of dreaminess.  Then the daytime tv programmes came on and I was woke by a whiney lassie in that Doctors programme that I've never really understood.  That was it.  Any chance of sleep was now gone.  I felt a bit better.  Still a funny belly though.  I lay in my bed and dozed in and out of Murder, She Wrote; Diagnosis Murder; Flog It; Ready Steady Cook and the rest.  I was getting really tired by now and my cravings for a big cold drink of Irn Bru were now more rampant than ever but I decided that it would be suicide to try and drink that at this juncture.  I set my video to tape some programmes I wanted to watch and tried to sleep but it was no use.  I was still up at 10pm on Tuesday night which was probably something near a whole 38 hours since i'd gotten up on Monday morning.  Tired was an understatement.  My head was also pounding with a headache again probably due to hunger and lack of sleep.  I fell asleep and woke up around 4am, then dozed off again and it was about 9am when I woke on Wednesday morning feeling a bit better.  Still a bit shaky legged, grumbly of tummy but no sickness!  yay!

On Wednesday I had my first bite to eat - toast and a cup of tea.  Then for dinner I had a piece on square sausage.  It was good.  There has been no sickness or the other stuff for a good day now.  There has been lots of daytime tv watched.  Most of it is rubbish but what else is there to do when you are off sick.  

Today has been a lot better.  Trying to eat and so far I've had toast and tea and I'm just about to have my favourite - mum's homemade macaroni cheese.  Yum!   Whilst laying on the couch or in my bed my consant companion has been the iPhone.  It's great.  There was no way I could have gotten messages to people without it.  Really, where would we be without the mobile phone and in particular the iPhone.  I kept up to date with the happenings on Twitter and the various blogs I read.  One story that unfolded was a girl who does some nice designs had her work ripped-off by another girl and she sold 'her' design to a well known clothes shop (who probably knew the work had been plagiarised).  I felt sorry for her (@gemmacorrell on Twitter) but after readng more I found that it's quite common.  How bad is that?  I actually managed to watch Steve Jobs announce the arrival of the Apple iPad! (iPad?).  I played Bejeweled 2 and have got to level 151 and over 17 million points - no joke (this is the Endless version that i've been playing for months).  I've checked out cool stuff that I want to buy but can't (i'm still on the shopping ban remember!) and also whilst lying on the couch i've noticed that the streets lights have taken until 5pm to come on at night which means the days are getting longer and it won't be long until we can play outside for ages!!!  Oh oh oh and today I watched Andy Murray get into the final of the Australian Open tennis tournament - Well Done!!

Today also I had my first shower in three days, washed my hair and now I think i'm ready to return to work tomorrow.  It's ok though.  It's fine, the toilets are just out the office and along the corridor... I won't have far to run :o)  

Ange xx              

To-Do, To-Don't: my head is spinning

Monday, 18 January 2010

Spinning has been all the exercise I've been doing of late.  For about the last 3 months actually.  I go with my friend Elaine who has been motivator-in-chief over that last wee while and long-term confidante extraordinaire (along with Linda!).  Before Christmas we stepped it up to 2 classes a week.  For me there are 5 stages of spin.  1) the dread an hour before you go.  2) the excitement of getting there.  3) the high of starting off on the warm up and getting going.  4) the absolute horror halfway through when it gets tougher and tougher you're dripping with sweat and you're quads are burning!  5) the final 10 minutes when the instructor announces "only 2 more hard-working tracks left team" and then the exhiliration when you finish.  You just feel great, you're face is bright red, but you feel great and that's the reason I go back.  But it's time to get serious again because you never know what come up in the future!...

Spin classes take place at The Peak which is a new fitness and sports centre that opened in Stirling in April / May 2009.  It's a good place and I really like the atmosphere when you go in.  There's an ice rink, swimming pool, gym, fitness studios, sports hall and a couple of 12m climbing walls.

In all honesty I haven't been to the gym at work since about October 2009, instead preferring to go to spin and yoga classes.  It's a pity too because It's quite a good gym but tended to get busy when I went straight after work.  Then I just sort of got fed up with it.  I mean I couldn't run and felt like I was just going and plodding away with not much happening.  Now I'm swithering about whether or not to join The Peak gym.  Currently I'm spending about £36 per month for spin bike classes and for an extra £3 (£39 per month) I could become a member and use all the facilities and go to any of the numerous classes they run.  But... I still pay my membership for the work gym at £13 per month which is a great price.  The only drawback here is the classes are limited in variety, there is no spin.  Hhmmm I shall have to think this one over for a bit before I commit one way or the other.

I've decided to try running again too.  I haven't tried this for about 5 months really.  I've stopped getting physio as the last one (NHS guy) told me after 4 appointments that I didn't need it any longer and my legs / knees would be ok (probably cos I hadn't been up a hill or ran to test them).  So after my expedition up Dumyat on 1st January 2010 I can confirm that the knee pain is still well and truly there.  It was a real downer as soon as I started to feel it coming back on.  But on the positive side, the next morning the pain had all but vanished.  So I decided I wasn't going back to a doctor/physio or any other thing like that.  It seems there's problems that even they cannot fix.  I will instead be trying to build strength into my muscles and will actually get my arse into gear and start using my TP Therapy roller kit properly too.  Oops.  Since I got the TP Therapy hip and lower back kit back in September it has kinda just lay there with the occassional use (sorry Kristian!!).  But no more.  It will be getting used as well as my big foam roller.  The thing is it's sore to begin with but once you've done it a few days you get used to it and you can feel where the pain (tight muscles) need loosened.  No pain no gain as they say.  For that is what the pain is afterall - tight muscles.  Calves, Hamstrings, Quads and IT bands - although technically the IT band is a tendon and not a muscle.  Trust me.  I have researched this until my brain bleeds.  Now the only question about running is whether or not to put the ortho insoles back into my gutties?  I'm thinking not.  Everything I've read seems to indicate that you should but then there's a few (including my last physio) who say NO!  And I would like a complete dork if I took my trainers off and ran bare foot!  The Nike uniformed brigade would turn and look with disgust because they've been programmed into thinking that £100 trainers ARE worth it.  I know they would, I used to be one of them.  But having tried different trainers I can testify that it doesn't really make one bit of difference to me.  I'd probably be just as good running in my Converse plimsoles.  Ach the dilemmas...

My shopping ban is going well.  Except I seem to still be spending money on food!  I mean I need to eat but it's the extras I pick up when I'm in the supermarket that needs to stop.  I've only bought three tops since my self imposed ban.  Two of those were in an online sale at £5 each and one is a new top for spin class/gym so it's useful and much-needed.  White is the new black for the gym I feel.  Other than that not much money is being spent at all - yay!  Which leads nicely into this...

BIKE NEWS:  There is no news!!  I'm really getting fed up now but an update from the bike shop indicates that Cube are being very slow.  As soon as it's delivered I will get an update on here going.

My book of 2010 is taking shape nicely.  

It is a lime green Moleskine soft backed notebook and is dedicated to 2010.  It is a list of to-do's.  It is a log of inspirational quotes.  It may even hold a few little short stories!  New to-do's are being added as and when they spring into my head.  Each one having a different colour.  There will also be a section when each to-do has been completed.  Hopefully it will be a reminder to actually do things during this year as with each new year we all usually say I'm going to do this, I'm going to do that but how much of these to-do's do we actually complete during the year?  Probably less than half.  Some of the to-do's are grand ideas indeed and others are just normal things we might take for granted.  Examples are: a trip to a beach on Skye and a visit to the cinema at least once a month.  

I feel we are all friends here now so lets share...  What are some of your to-do's for this year?

Ange x

Music:  Dogs Days by Florence and the Machine  An old song that's been about for ages but turn it up full blast in the car and it's even more fan-bloody-tastic!!

Suunto... Service with a virtual smile

Friday, 15 January 2010

I don't have much to say these days.  I can't seem to put things into words right now.  It's strange.  I'll leave it at that. 

But for now, here's a nice little story that happened this past couple of weeks...

The backlight button was pushed but nothing really happened.  The display went a bit fuzzy.  The once clear numericals were now bits of mashed up numbers.  It was time for action.  I searched the web hit on the Suunto website, opened a 'case' file and sent a question.  Next day was a reply.  I needed to send the Suunto Core Wristop Computer in yellow and black back to Suunto but first to check the warranty status.  A few digits were entered and yes I was ok, it was still under warranty.  I was then directed to a 'service request' form which I duly filled in with all the necessary details of the problem, the watch and my details.  A few minutes later I was sent a couple of emails with really detailed instructions about how to send it back.  It was very easy to do all that was required was a phone call to DHL and for me to print off all the forms that were already completed by the lovely people at Suunto.

This all took place during the Christmas holidays but due to the weather and me not having access to a printer I waited until I was back at work. 

Last Wednesday my brilliant little (or big) Suunto Core was packed up and sent back to Suunto in  Finland.  And today, a mere 1 week and 2 days later, I received in a delivery from Suunto via DHL, a brand new Suunto Core watch!!!  How's that for Customer Service people?!  The problem was the button was faulty and so I got a whole new watch!!!  It's great.  Well done Suunto for customer service of 5 stars (for me anyway!).

This is the old one 'in the field' so to speak.  A good watch.  Although a big face, it's very light on the wrist.  The rubberised strap is comfortable and practicle.  I use it all the time, mostly.

And this is the new one, as yet untested in the field but i'm sure it'll do just as good a job.

Oh and I nearly forgot another quite good thing that happened.  I got new glasses just before Christmas.  A pair of pretty cool if a little geeky black Oakley's.  They were nice.  But after a few days of wear I realised they were heavy on my face, pinched on my ears, slid down my nose and at spin bike class they nearly fell off.  After 4 times back at the shop having them adjusted I couldn't take it any more and went back last Saturday to Vision Express to ask if I could exchange them for another pair.  The girl went away and checked and yes I was allowed to pick a new pair of glasses up to the same value.  I did just so and picked up my new glasses on Tuesday. 

So far they are much lighter, they fit my face better, they don't slide as much down my nose and they arer a nice smoke grey colour. You see I just couldn't go for the wild and wacky glasses in a funny bright colour. Bright colours are for clothes, not for glasses!

Not sure when normal service will return to this here blog.  There is little to write about just now...  Soon hopefully, soon.  Feel free to write with suggestions for blog posts, my imagination has been wiped clear since the year has turned over to show it's new face...

Take care
Ange xx

First Footing on Dumyat

Saturday, 2 January 2010

I sit here in the dimly lit room with Gregory Peck et al, put-putting away with machines guns in The Guns of Navarone on the telly.  (well it was on the telly when I started this post yesterday).  My knees are a little jaggy-tender, my cheeks are rosy and I'm sound in the knowledge that i've just climbed my first hill of 2010!

I set off earlier thinking I'd get out and get away before people came chapping on the door and you have to do the 'happy new year' handshake.  I had my bag packed last night, clothes were laid out and camera and iPhone were suitably charged.  As I drove the short 15 minute journey I could see my destination all the way and I wondered if the things i could see on the hill were just trees or was it people.  The hill being Dumyat, my local Ochil.  It's been covered in snow for a good few days now, heck maybe even a week!  But nonetheless I vowed to get up it today. 

After negotiating my way up the steep, icy hill to the car park I left the car and there was an eary calm about the place. 

I could see and even hear folks going up and down the hill but i thought it wasn't as busy as this time last year.  I set off in my cosy down jacket and it stayed on all the way up.  I did consider taking it off to swap it for the waterproof but prefered instead to be kept warm.  I also found out today that there are several layers of clothing that I could be doing with buying for these days.  Anyway as i entered the gate a guy held it open and wished me happy new year!  Very kind of him, i wished it him back and set on my way up.  Soon I was huffing and puffing like an old tractor that's been lying in an empty barn for a few months and needs a service.  That soon wore off once i got into my stride.  My stride being marginally faster than the tortoise... just kidding.

There was icy snow, ice, fresh snow and crunchy snow.  Once i thought i was high enough I stopped and looked behind me and there was the view. 

Stuc a chroin, Ben Vorlich all the way down to The Cobbler and Ben Lomond. 

You really do get a marvellous panoramic view from this ever so small and unassuming hill.  I plodded on not passing many people but there were some.  A few famillies too.  I was taking photos at every opportunity and view that I thought might be worthy.  There was a tricky section to be negotiated too, a tiny path with quite a step drop on the other side.  I did not want to be blown off here and down that hill, not today.  I stepped on carefully and got passed that section and then i was sure I was going the wrong way.  But the path of many footprints conviniced me to keep on moving the way i was going. 

As I got higher I could see the crowds at the top.  There seemed to have been loads of people up there and I'd passed a few on the way down too but it still wasn't as busy as last year. 

The wind was getting colder and it was time to put the beanie hat and pull the hood up.  I stopped at a little quiet spot where no-one was and took a few more photies.  I took a drink from my Wee Bru bottle and although I was nearly at the top i decided not to go on as today I didn't really want to be surrounded by loads of people. 

Anyway, this is my local hill and it ain't going anywhere and besides there are 364 more days in this New Year that i could pick to climb it.  It was a well trodden path by me now.

On the way down i managed to successfully negotiate my way down without planting myself on the ground - bum first!  But there were a few hairy moments.  There was also a lot of thoughts running through my head about stuff.  Well this is me, when is my mind not racing with thoughts, ideas, plans, memories... 

I decided that this year I am going to put myself first for a change, do what I want to do and not what I think I should be doing.  There are a few things already circling in my head and will fill you in in due course but for now...

It was back down the slippery road to the car park and home to a hot bowl of home-made vegetable soup, and dinner.

Ange xx