Muscle Mania

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Iron Girl by Dani Jennings

 

We woke up this morning to malignant ice covering every surface. It appeared to have sprouted it’s frosty tendrils overnight, like some sort of arctic fungus, through roads, pavements, cars and roofs. The whole world was blanketed with a frosty white. The air was sharp with cold. The biting kind, that creeps up on you when you least expect it, and causes your fingers to go numb.

The ache in my muscles is raw.

Today is a rest day.

I have been going to the gym every day this past week. My clothes are saturated in sweat by the end of it. I feel pumped and happy, even though the pain is near unbearable.

I got up and pottered about, getting ready to leave the house. As I pulled off my pyjamas, and stood in front of the mirror under the harsh white light of the bedroom, I noticed how wobbly my legs were. They weren’t exactly shapeless, but in the mirror I could see that the skin was not smooth and tight over my muscles. There was fat in places there hadn’t been before, and the shape wasn’t as streamlined as I like to imagine. In fact, I realised that although I had already put in so much work, there was still a very very long way to go.

They feel amazing though. My legs. All my muscles ache and ache, I can feel them slowly tightening. So at the moment I don’t care the they don’t look that great. I am getting there, slowly but surely. I can feel it, that’s all that matters right now.

Tomorrow is Abs and Arms day!

My mother in law very kindly made me a sandwich and gave me a snickers bar to take with me,  the latter of which I slipped into my husband’s drawer when she left. Clean eating, I thought to myself, is the only way to see satisfying results, rather than only feel them.

 

Pud Muddle

I am drowning

under a pile

of

complex literary analysis.

I don’t

understand

anything.

I don’t

CARE

about

Wordsworth’s inner life.

I really am

Trying to rouse interest.

“Oh, look,” says my

Mind.

“Your mother loves Grasmere.”

Struggling to find

something in common

with

this poem.

That she does,

that she does.

Do it for her

at least.

But I don’t want to.

Coffee is not helping

not a smidgen.

Nature is beautiful

I try to tell myself

Of course it is,

Of course

But I don’t care for William’s

depiction

of it.

Perhaps I might,

if I wasn’t forced to analyse it

using intricate terms

that I can’t pronounce.

Like

ANDALIPLOSIS

and

ANTIMETABOLE

and

PLOCE

Which sounds like it should be Plaice

Like the fish.

But it isn’t.

And I haven’t the

faintest

clue

what it could be.

I have this awful deadline

which smells of rotten fish.

Or Plaice.

And

I don’t

Care

I really

Just

Want to sleep

and be cuddled.

This

Is Torture.

 

Naughty School Boy

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The Naughty School Children. By: Theophile Emmanuel Duverger

 

 

“Didn’t you iron your uniform?” I called out to my thirteen year old brother, as he dashed into the room and reached under the sofa to bring out two packets of crisps (good hiding place, bro), which he stuffed into his school bag before rushing to the door.

He paused when I said that, looking guilty, staring at the door as though wishing it would gulp him in and away from this interrogation.

Then he said,”Oh, yeah!” really quickly and without looking at me, before swooshing out, his un-ironed blazer whipping behind him.

My mum’s voice, from the kitchen, “WHY DIDN’T YOU IRON YOUR UNIFORM!?”

“Sorry”

“You’re LATE!”

“I know. Sorry!”

SLAM.

That was the front door.

 

Tuesday.

 

Oh hi.

I am sitting on a comfortable bed at the moment. My eyes are stinging, I am exhausted and cannot take another verse written by Wordsworth. I really can’t. I assure you I am not dissecting his poetry because I care about it. After extensive study, I really don’t see why he was such a celebrated man. I can understand why Austen has reached the level of recognition she has, and even Shakespeare. I acknowledge the greatness of Dickens, and appreciate the poetry of Dryden, but I just CANNOT get my head around why Wordsworth is so highly praised. He just seems like a big headed, self obsessed snob.

I have had a long day.

The baby is keeping me company. She is sitting next to me on my bed. Her large cheeks are flushed, and her chubby little fingers are scrabbling through a pile of books, her sweet little voice telling me intricate stories, of which I can only make out the bare minimum. Words like “lion” and “dinner” and “stouwy” emerge from the baby jargon.

“Otay Len?” she says, after turning the page, to make sure I have listened to her tale. She can say my name properly now.

“Okay” I tell her, smiling, before turning back to my screen.

I got up before the sun roused itself from sleep. I worked out for a good two hours. I cleaned my mother’s house and spent five hours tutoring some children before settling down to pore over vexing poems. I then drove to an Arabic grammar class I signed up to as per my New Year’s list.

It was such an exhilarating experience. The other people there were all of different ages, and so jokey and cheerful. The teacher introduced me and they all welcomed me in such a friendly way. I felt at home immediately. I wasn’t expecting her to ask me about my background in Arabic though, and so wasn’t prepared to be put on the spot like that in front of a whole roomful of silent people. I felt my face flushing hotly as I told them that I had my father speak it to me as I was growing up. I was surprised that I felt embarrassed, though. I thought I was over that. We learnt about the command verb, and how it applies in a sentence when addressing a male, a female, two males, two females, an un-gendered group of people and a group of females. I remember vaguely studying about that before, so catching up wasn’t as daunting as I thought it would be. All in all, a remarkable lesson. I can’t wait for next week.

Busy days are tiring, but so satisfying. As long as you keep to schedule, of course. Which I am not doing at the moment, am I. Off I go to dissect more Wordsworth.

Do you like busy days, or do you function better when your schedule has some gaps?

Today’s a Day

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He hates hearts. I don’t know why. Credit: Jennifer Bishop

Well hello. Today is a day, folks. I got married two years ago today.

My husband commutes to work. It’s 1.5 hours drive there and 1.5 back, so three in total. It’s a bit sad, because, and this is a little secret, but I am a little crazy. I keep imagining accidents on the motorway and heart attacks (he is 24.) and all the manner of frightening things that will mean that my husband will be taken away from me. So every morning before he goes to work I hug him as tightly as I can and whisper in his ear that I love him, and kiss his forehead, and his nose, and his left cheek, his chin, his right cheek and his mouth. In that order. Then I say ‘drive safe’, as though that will stop an accident happening. I mean, safe driving might help, but mentioning it sure won’t. I don’t know what I would do without him. Death is inevitable, I know, so that is why I savour my time with him (when I am not cross with him, that is).

ANYWAY. It’s been two years! Can you believe it? I can’t

I will stop rambling on because I can talk forever and ever.

Here is an organised list of things I have learnt from two years of marriage.

  1. I am not always right. Even if I am a woman. (You know how the saying goes!)
  2. Women Know. With a capital K. Here is a little anecdote. My husband and I were once waiting to board a bus transporting us to a ferry. The line was long, and everybody was putting their bags in the boot of the bus before going to the back to the queue. My husband didn’t think that was necessary but I said ‘look here my plum, if you put the bag in now, it’s less hassle when we get to the door and we don’t hold people up’. So he went off grumbling, and the old woman in front of me turned to me, smiling, and said with a knowing nod, ‘it’s always the way, isn’t it. Women know.’ I thought that was hilarious.
  3. Stop being so butthurt.
  4. One should make an effort and take care of oneself. When your partner sees you’ve made an effort for them, mountains can be scaled. It’s nice to dress up for yourself (and I do it frequently) but it’s also a nice feeling when you do it to make your spouse happy. I like it when Damian’s face is tidy and he smells nice and looks smart. I like it very much. DISCLAIMER: This doesn’t mean you have to do it all the time or be a good little housewife (or househusband, lol.) of the 50s. You do you.
  5. Fighting is inevitable. Just don’t overthink things. And for heaven’s sake ignore the small things. It’s really not worth the agro.
  6. You don’t have to enjoy the same things to have a good time together.
  7. You really should take time to understand why your spouse doesn’t like something you do. And he you, of course.
  8. It’s okay to make your husband’s sandwiches, if he pulls his weight elsewhere too.
  9. The honeymoon stage doesn’t just ‘end’. It blossoms slowly into something more comfortable, and when nourished, love only grows deeper. Or maybe I am still in the honeymoon stage? Can’t be, though, my husband’s untrimmed toenails are getting me very riled up right now. When this post is published I am going to give him an ultimatum between sleeping in my bed and chopping his nails off.
  10. This one’s from my husband: “You learn more about a person, you see things more clearly, which helps you understand more about life.” I agree. I am learning so much from him and understanding things more, and seeing things in a better perspective.

 

Well, that was short and sweet, wasn’t it.

Why Do You Think You’ve Got What it Takes?

Well, first, what it takes to do what?

In my case, it’s to do life.

To be kind and and good, to handle adult situations in a mature way, to pass all my modules.. and with high grades, to secure a  prosperous future for myself, to follow my dreams, to give my parents their due respect and honour, to be a good wife, to help my marriage survive, to take care of my body and my soul, to do well in life, to be happy.

Well, sometimes I don’t think I do have what it takes. But that isn’t what the question is asking. It’s asking why I think I have what it takes. WHY do I think I can do what I set out to do? Assuming I already know I do have what it takes.

Which I do.

I think I do because I am passionate about what I do. I am eager and excited to get up and go. I love my goals and dreams, and I desperately want them to become a reality, so therefore I am willing to put in the extra effort and hard work that I need to put in in for that to happen.

I know the road to ‘there’ will be difficult, and I will experience moments of sadness and frustration and sometimes depression, and might even feel like giving up halfway through.

But it’s like at the gym, when you’re on the step machine, and you’ve set yourself fifteen minutes of random intensity and at the seven minute mark you think, ‘God, I can’t do this anymore, let me just get off and go on to body training’.. but then it’s 7:55 and then 8:21 and you’re like, ‘Well, I can stop at 10’ but then ten comes you’re like, ‘well, what’s five minutes, ey?’ and then fifteen minutes are up and hallelujah you’ve completed your goal and you leave with shaky legs but feeling absolutely fabulous.

That is why I think I have what it takes, because I know when the going gets tough, I can give myself those little nudges that I need to go full speed. I can speed myself up. I am a self-motivator.  I can DO IT.

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Why do YOU think you’ve got what it takes?

 

 

Nutelloissants

Here is something cheerful..

Chocolate croissants made with puff pastry and Nutella! I mean, what could be better? Well, I could think of a wild variety of things that are infinitely better (hugs on a cold morning, fluffy socks, summer fields, churros, cheese melts, surprise flowers, comfy house scents, parents who are happy… the list is endless). I tried to fold them nicely into croissant shapes and croissant twists. That didn’t work out too well for me, ha!

Anyway here are my Nutelloissants!

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They do look rather messy, I grant you, but they taste delicious.

Well, That Escalated Quickly.

This is what I had for breakfast:

  1. Two wholemeal pieces of toast with butter and honey.
  2. Two hard boiled eggs.
  3. One mug of black coffee.

 

It will suffice to say that I am very pleased with this meal, and grateful for my blessings, and it is the first proper filling meal I have eaten in two days.

Yesterday at the gym I spent an hour sweating out of every pore on my body, and I positively reeked. I finished 1.5 litres of water, and when I got back I was ravenous. But there were lessons to plan, clients to speak to, assignments to complete, clothes to iron, and a husband to spend time with.

I didn’t.

Spend time with him.

I got very upset because he didn’t acknowledge me when I walked in the door. Just carried on talking to his mother, and his sister, and the goddamn goldfish, and his brother, and his brother again, and upstairs and downstairs.

I was tapping furiously away, dissecting Wordsworth so harshly (I don’t understand the massive hype over the fellow. He strikes me as a selfish person. Maybe I haven’t read enough of him. Who knows.), writing about nature and the ‘inner life’, while my ‘inner life’ was boiling and sizzling away.

I was waiting for him, you see.

By the time he flopped onto the bed, I had wrapped up the first assignment, and was replying to some clients. I turned to him, finally hoping he would see me properly, but he rushed out to brush his teeth.

I went to make his sandwiches for his lunch tomorrow.

By the time I got into bed, he was in that drowsy state where all you can do is mumble.

This morning, he turned off my alarms, and snuck out before I was properly awake.

“So you can sleep,” was his whispered explanation.

Doesn’t he know that I don’t care for sleep when I know I won’t see him all day and only for a few proper seconds come the night?!

I got a kiss, though, and a tight hug that smelled of freshness and leather. Then he was gone. A puff of car exhaust, a flash of white reversing light, a rumble of an engine. He was gone to traverse the country, fight through commuting traffic, to make a living.

Tomorrow, again, his work will claim him first. Then his family will claim him. Then all I will have is a sleepy, drowsy hug and another whiff of perfume in the morning.

I miss my husband. I wish he cared more about prioritising me, as I do him.

I’m cross with him, because he needs to acknowledge me. I am his ruddy wife.

I’m sad and hurt by him, because to me, caring is showing you are happy when you see someone after a long day. I don’t need him to sit and chat with me for hours. Even looking up from what you are doing, and saying hello, and smiling at me, would suffice.

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I’m sad.

I rush home from wherever I am when I know he has returned. Should I carry on doing that, while he ignores my existence? Am I being melodramatic? Is it too much to ask, that you give your wife a hug when you return, like you used to do?

There are no excuses. None at all. Just like when I try to make excuses. If I can’t have excuses, neither can you.

Maybe he feels awkward in front of his family to display any sort of affection towards me, but I’m sorry, he does it to everybody else. His mother, his siblings.. It’s been two years. I don’t care about your embarrassment. If I can’t see you at all during the week, the least you will sodding do is give me a darn hug.

Well. That turned into a rant, didn’t it? Oops.

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A Flutter of Nerves

Job interview today. Only got the callback because someone related works there. Trying not to use ‘I’ in these blog posts. Oops, just did.

No nerves reign over today. Which is actually a bad sign, because usually when there are no nerves, performance is abhorrent.

Deep breaths, fill the lungs, wash the face, cream on, primer, a smudge of foundation. Ironed blazer, shined shoes, folder in hand. Wait for Father to drop car off this morning, and drop him back. Drive to the school. Deep breaths. Solid walk. Firm handshake. Deep breaths. Focus. Concentrate on what has been read the night before.

Deep breath.

Might help to be a little nervous beforehand, so it doesn’t all come slamming on one the moment one walks into the interview room and sees those serious faces.

Do any of you ever feel as though a situation is funny purely because it is so solemn?

The other day at the gym everybody was on their machines, faces serious, pumping their legs, pumping their arms, nobody looking at anybody else directly in the eye because quintessentially, they are all a bunch of humans straddling various pieces of metal and moving various limbs about repetitively. It was funny. A private chuckle was had.

A slight worry that the same thing might happen in the portentous interview room prevails.

Maybe those are the nerves?

 

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“A flutter of feminine nerves.” A cup of tea might help, don’t you think? “The Cup of Tea” by Mary Cassatt

Blue Water

Rain is pleasing, when you are warm and snuggly and it is pattering gently on the skylight window, like a thousand imps running amok. Rain is pleasing when it is accompanied by what you just know is bitter wind, because you can hear it, and because the temperature has suddenly dropped so low this week, but you have a nice hot cuppa tea and the kitchen is sparkling clean because you have scrubbed it down and your parents are having their coffee and it’s all comfy.

Rain is pleasing when the grass is thick and green, and the smells of life and earth are wafting in through your window on a summer’s afternoon. Rain is pleasing when you can hear it tapping on leaves, drip dropping, trick trickling. Rain is pleasing as you watch it smattering down, accompanied by low rumbles of gruff, yet friendly thunder, while your thoughts take you to far off lands, and your mind is void of deadlines.

What isn’t pleasing is water dripping over the edge of your boots, sodden socks and puddles that are growing larger and larger. It’s no fun when your clothes are soggy and your feet are cold and damp, and the wetness seems to have seeped through the very walls of your house, making it smell funny.

Rain is lovely, but not for those who have roof leakage, or are homeless. Rain is tough when the water levels rise and flood your home, ruining your comfort zone. Rain is harsh when it flies in through your broken windows and stings your face, and makes your children cry. Rain is cruel, when it soaks you to the bone, and makes you have to leave your destroyed home to seek somewhere safe and dry.

Rain is water, water is life, therefore rain is life, happiness, growth.

It is also death and misery.

Here is an interesting quote relating to rain:

“Maybe love is like rain. Sometimes gentle, sometimes torrential, flooding, eroding, joyful, steady, filling the earth, collecting in underground springs. When it rains, when we love, life grows. ” – Carol Gilligan

What do you think about rain?

 

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Artist credit: Igor Mudrov