Monday, 25 October 2010

Touch Me

As it seems to have turned to that time of the year already I thought you might like to read about what happened to me this time last year.

I like to treat myself as it hits autumn to a nice new pair of cosy jammies. The weather is cold, its dark and miserable and snuggling up in some nice jammies when the weather has turned is perfect. Last year was no exception and off to Marks I went the day after payday. They had quite a lot to offer: different lengths, different patterns and different materials. Spoiled!

I opted for ones which were so soft that they had a sticker boasting the fact: "Touch Me"!

The next day at work, in a black dress, I was in the canteen getting a coffee when there was a hesitant tap on my shoulder. It was one of the catering ladies. . .

"Excuse me, but I think you have a sticker on your dress"

Yes, not just any sticker but the black sticker with "Touch Me" emblazoned on it with in white writing on the back of my dress. I was mortified. I had walked from my desk, across the office and across the canteen with possibly one of the most inappropriate statements I could. Talk about breaches of dignity at work!

I am not sure how or when the sticker transferred from the PJ bottoms to the dress but The Husband assures me that it was nothing to do with him. Although he, along with my work mates, had a good laugh at another classic Cass moment!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Cross Stitch Challenge

 When I was younger about 12/13 years old I used to do cross striches.  There is something quite satisfying about the pattern and texture I think that pleased my inner OCD streak. Well having finished the MSc this year I thought with my life back I could see how I get on with it.

So a bit of on-line retail therapy I came across a website dealing in cross stiches of various sizes and patterns so I got two. One about the size of the palm of my hand . . . I've not loaded any pictures of Scruffy the puppy because, well I got board.

When I showed The Husband by two purchases he raised one eye brow, paused and threw down a challenge. £100 if by 2012 I have finished T.B.O. (The Big One). That would be this one:

Coutresy of me

I quite like a challenge and looking at this you might also think that my Husbands money is safe. Well, so do I but I am not going to admit it least of all to The Husband.

So one month later and this is my progress. Just so you are aware here is the comparison with the gauntlet. . .

Courtesy of me

Yes that is a standard biro pen in between the design and my month one progress shot. I will randomly post another progress shot in a couple of months. Hopefully I'll have the daning couple done and filled in!!
The challenge I actually have is finding the time and not ruining my eye sight at such a young and fragile age of 29 years. 

The challenge my Husband has taken on this year has been to build his own road bike. I thought I was quite quick with my thinking- the more he spends on his bike the more I get to spend on myself. Thankfully he didn't change the terms of our cross stitch challenge, otherwise he'd be getting my £10.00. . .

Thursday, 14 October 2010

A random day in the life of me

Hmm really struggling with getting back into the swing of this blogging malarkey. . . so thought I would tell you about my day today.

Husband had a stupidly early flight to London. When I say stupidly early I mean it. 6:30am. Which meant getting up at 5am. Yes, that's right folks 5am.

So I decided to piggy back on this early morning kick start and headed with him to the airport- to go to the gym. I was so early that I had to wait outside with 5 or 6 other sleepy looking gym members. 6k later, a lot sweaty grunting sit ups later and I decided to call it quits and head to the pool. For a sauna and steam. All before 8am. . .

At my desk for half past 8 I figured the safest thing to do would be coffee and a bacon roll. Well 6k is worthy of a bacon roll, and no I wont be judged on this one people. I got up at 5am this morning!! If you thought my day was going to go down hill at the alarm going off at 5am then this for me was the breaking point.

My purse was not in my hand bag. It was sitting on my microwave behind a cookie tub (or more specifically an empty crackers box that we're using to store our cookies in- ahh the life of a moderate environmentalist - perhaps more mentalist than environmental!). Great. I was going to starve. Not only had I run and sweated (a lot- I am not a pretty sight in the gym as my sister in law can confirm) I had also dehydrated myself with a 10 minute sit in a steam room. The very thought of not having a coffee and, a by now much longed for, bacon roll, was making me feel like passing out.

Then I remembered my stash of emergency locker money. £4.00 worth sitting innocently in my gym bag. I made it to 5pm with bus money, a fete practically unheard of in my particular office block with its over priced canteen. Truly a Thursday miracle.

I then headed for the safety of the flat. Only to grab my purse and head back out to grab some Presseco and icing sugar. I've been working on some cupcakes. . . they needed to be iced tonight. Because the Presseco and cupcakes would be heading to Stirling as part of a girls night. The cupcakes look good, really good. I'll have to blog about them soon. . .

Oh and husband, he is still in London. At a concert and wont be back until tomorrow, I am not going to see him until I get back from Stirling later tomorrow night. So this evening it's a glass of wine, a slice of pizza and you- my anonymous blog readers . . . a happy end to my rather random and uneventful day.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Hanging in there. . .

As I write this the palms of my hands are burning and my forearms are throbbing. All signs of a good climbing session. Even my fingers ache as I move, attempt to move, them across the keyboard.

I've been climbing for about a year now, on and off once a week, with the Husband and a couple of friends from work. I am the only girl and as such there aren't really any expectations that I have the same strength and reach as the boys but that doesn't mean I get let off lightly either.

I get half way, to three quarters, up a wall and my arms feel like lead. It's chalk and sweat holding me there and I slide. Swinging out and dangling like a spider hanging off a ceiling- although with slightly less grace. There is a safe feeling. I am going no where. I am high off the ground, the rope being held securely by my belay buddy. I can swing and dangle for as long as it takes for the blood to rush back to my finger tips. Before reaching out and trying again to reach the top. I wont get down unless they are truly convinced that I have given it my best shot.

Part of the enjoyment comes from the strategy that is demanded from you. Working routes out, where to place your feet, how best to grip the holds. And it's not necessarily about the speed, its about being able to reach and trust in your self that you have the ability to hold, push and pull yourself up. The only person your working against is yourself.

In my case this can prove to be quite an emotional experience. You see, although I have a love of climbing I also have a fear of heights. This seems in complete contraction- to love indoor climbing and yet fear heights. It is a fairly difficult contradiction to try and explain but I am going to give it a go.

When the fear starts I can feel my heart racing, like its trying to make a bid for freedom out of my chest and onto the solid ground. I don't feel like I am in control, I am completely helpless. It's not that I don't trust the belayer- they are well aware of my little freak outs and do keep a close eye on me when I am up there. But I can't catch my breath. Unable to breathe and heart pounding, my throat then decides to join in the climbing protest and close up. I can't swallow but it doesn't matter because I am struggling to breathe so it'll be over soon. I'll be lowered to the ground a still, blue corpse!

But of course this doesn't happen. When my heart feels like it can't possibly beat any faster it seems to realise that its pointless trying and slows down. My brain decides to re-engage and I start to climb, focusing on "The sooner you get to the top the sooner you can get down".

This feeling will happen at least once a week. So, why do I put myself through it? I enjoy the view at the top? I like the drama of the freak out because it makes me feel like I am alive (what with being so close to death)?

I can't really explain it. I take pride in the fact that when I reach the top its been under my own steam. I have done this! I love the feeling that there has been a hold that I didn't think I could make and I make it. That I have been able to pull myself up with a strength I didn't know I had.  I think perhaps it brings out my inner child (who was a tree climbing fanatic). The conflict is the adult and child trying to make their presence known at the same time.

The thing about climbing is that it is accessible to any-one. Tonight I watched a 7 year kid lead climb up 15 meters. We've been top rope climbing for a year, I still freak out and yet this little boy is totally without fear raced up a 15 meter wall. Weighing about 4 stone and without any muscle what so ever. On reflection it might not have been a child at all but a tiny climbing robot....

I ache in new and interesting ways, far more challenging to a legs, bums and tums class. Tomorrow I wont be able to take a shower or wash my hands without wincing at the incredible burning sensation. And from my finger tips to the back of my shoulders will be sure to let me know of all the various muscles involved in writing an email, making a phone call or moving a mouse.

But I will go again next week. To stand in a freezing quarry. Feel my neck stiffen as I watch Husband and friends climb up and remind my hands that skin will toughen up as I belay and climb my way to the top.

I have my own little walls that prove to be like fighting a dragon- horrific- but I will do them. I will push through the feel of fear that will flood through my body. I will wait and it will pass and I will keep climbing until it is defeated!!

Courtesy of*

* I would love to say this was us. But it's not. It's also lead climbing which we can't do, yet! We have reached this height though.