Calories

I’ve never counted them.

It has never been about my diet; with me, it is purely about exercise.  I can eat like a sparrow and not lost weight but as soon as my activity levels go up, the lbs fall off.

Since last summer, I have been logging my workouts on mapmyrun and wasn’t really surprised to find that my ice-skating burns more calories than running or cycling.  What was unexpected was when I split my cycle to work and back into two workouts and the calories went up!  As one, 10 mile journey, the calorie burn was 567 but when I broke it down, each one was 337!

So does that mean that it is better to do a few shorter rides than one long one?

Dilemma

I am trying to work out what to ask Mr PinQ to get me for my birthday.

I normally don’t have too much fuss but next year is my 20-20th and this evening is an early, impromptu birthday celebration of roller-skating, a meal and karaoke.  Next year’s will need to include parties in the North and South so a little practice can’t hurt!

My choices are:

A couple of Zoggs swimsuits and Glass Hub vouchers.  Zoggs became my choice of swimsuit because of the half dozen or so that I have bought over the last 9 years, my Zoggs is the oldest, looks great, hasn’t lost its ability to hold everything in and has retained its opacity.  I have only just started swimming again since the illness 18 months ago and most of my suits only lasted a couple of years so now that I am swimming regularly, I need more Zoggs.

Zoggs 1 Zoggs 3

Some lushy DMs for work because my pretty heeled Mary-Janes had to be thrown away when the buckle detached a couple of months ago.  These are the two that I am trying to choose between (but I am open to suggestions!):

DM boot  DM Brandie

Or a set of Coronation Ace blades for my ice-skates.  They are lighter, have a better toe-rake and blade profile than my current ones and would make the jumps and spins so much easier now that I am trying to do silver.  I bought Edea boots almost two years ago because I knew that they would last but the standard blade that is fitted is still relatively cheap and no where near the quality of the boot:

coronation ace

Or maybe I should ask for a pair of incredible roller-boots:

roller-boots

Oh, I’ve just seen the price of those, they can wait!

*sigh* decisions, decisions.

New Year Resolutions

I normally don’t make a New Year resolution.  If I’m completely honest, I don’t think that I ever have, perhaps because everyone that I know that does make them ends up breaking them within a month.

A lot of the people that I know who have made a resolution this year have made it for a specific length of time.  Setting achievable targets, there’s a novel idea :P

This year I have made one.  I have promised myself that I will not work more than 50 hours per week.  For starters, I am only paid for 37 hpw and whilst I am expected to work a reasonable amount of overtime for free, even an extra 13 exceeds my idea of reasonable.

In the last 9 months, I have kept my hours to below 45 for a whole 6 weeks, the rest has varied from 46 – 70 hpw and far too many of those were between 60 and 70.  I started to feel MEish again by November and only really got some recovery time over the Christmas break.  During the week and a half off, I rested, exercised and performed in panto (Oh yes I did!).  I should have:

  • Caught up on my paperwork – last set of Committee minutes that are 2-3 months overdue
  • TIDIED MY ART ROOM!
  • Done some housework – the depth of dust is disgraceful
  • Been part of the set build and tech & dress rehearsal for the panto
  • Completed assignment 3 of my degree

There are lots of other things on the to-do list but those five were important but not as important as my health.

The reason that I am so far behind on everything is the hours I’ve been putting in at work and the stress that I’ve been under.  This week has been really stressful but on two days this week I’ve done a little fartlek training after work to shake off the stress and anger.  It has also been exhausting but I am really pleased that I still did the run that I planned today.  I intend to get my health back, get back to Tai Chi classes and keep on top of the things that I want/need to do outside of work without collapsing and the only way to achieve that is to stop working the stupid hours.

As for my hours…

Well, I’ve only done 49 hours this week.  Only 51 weeks to go!

Apologies…

…for another cycling post so soon after my last.

I begged Mr PinQ to take the car to work on New Year’s Eve.  It was so cold when he got up and I didn’t want him frozen and having to work 12 hours to get frozen again coming home.  In the afternoon, I realised that it wouldn’t hurt to nip into work myself and catch up whilst it was quiet.  It was later, sunny and relatively mild so I rather enjoyed the ride in.  Coming home was a different story, the wind was up and cycling along the sea front was quite the new experience.  Bracing isn’t the word.

Despite this, whilst Mr PinQ visited the Mater in Kent on New Year’s Day, I thought that a few more hours would see me in a much better position to achieve my resolution of not working more than 50 hours per week in 2015 and cycled in.  The wind was behind me and it was dry so I was quite content.  Then of course, I had to come home.  It was a battle all the way as the wind was now up to 80kph and I wasn’t looking forward to the sea front but I was taking a moment to enjoy the cycle path that I was on.  I had just left the road so couldn’t be blown into the path of a passing car and it was quiet because no-one in their right minds would be out in such weather.

Did I forget to mention that I am as mad as a box of frogs?

Anyway, as I approached the end of the cycle path, I looked at the road ahead.  I had to get across the road and turn right and the visibility, although it was dark, is superb along that cycle path.  My position is illustrated by the blue circle and my path by the yellow dashed line in Cycle 1, below (if it works!).  There are chicken wire fences around the fields so the only thing stopping 360 degree visibility is my human form, in the guise of an owl, the view would be complete.  So, I looked to the left and saw flashing blue lights, looked to the right and saw a car stop at the roundabout (represented by the red rectangle).  Now, I am not at my fittest but I have always had very powerful legs and a strength of character (stubborn streak) a mile wide that could be my Polish blood or Lancashire upbringing – I’ve never been sure which – but I am no fool.  I knew that I had plenty of time to get across that road.

Cycle 1

Imagine my surprise when said car suddenly accelerated.  The surprise quickly turned to horror when he then crossed over the white line for a game of chicken as shown in the diagram below:

Cycle 2

I’m so glad that I have cycled a lot since getting Pashley because I had the confidence to not only stay on the road but to also remain upright.  My only regret is that he didn’t stop.  I would have put Pashley through his windscreen and my foot through his face.

When not to call out a warning

Mr PinQ and I cycled into town today because I needed to purchase an item of my pantomime costume for next weekend.  We stopped for coffee and a panini before heading for home and as we unlocked our bicycles, I asked what route we should take home.  Mr PinQ made a suggestion that would be significantly longer than necessary but that would be pleasant and take in the lovely sea view on the last leg.

It is only recently that I began cycling again and as such, I am still not as adept as I was when I was a teenager and cycling the strange country roads in Ontario unaccompanied.  I am now past the wobbling up the road stage, the terrified of the traffic stage and the concentrating on the cycling stage and am progressing quite nicely but I cycle as I walk, with all of my senses tuned to my surroundings.  I cycle with my ears and proximity sensors on highest alert because I am not yet capable of riding one-handed for more than a couple of seconds and can only manage a swift look in a direction other than that which I am traveling in.  Consequently, I can’t ride with Mr PinQ beside, just in front or just behind me and prefer to stay well back.

Thus we rode along the recently re-surfaced cycle path at the side of the road and as we approached a well-known supermarket, a white Audi past me at great speed.  I instinctively knew what he was going to do but did not believe anyone so stupid.  I dared not call out to Mr PinQ, who’s immediate response would have been to turn back and look at me, I knew that he needed to be looking ahead.  I also knew that he would be fine.

My premonition was correct.  The Audi turned left in front of Mr PinQ even as he crossed the junction.

Thankfully, he is unscathed.

Unfortunately, the driver is also unscathed.

The driver’s actions were entirely intentional.  This was not one of those devastating near misses where you are horrified by your mistake.  He increased his speed as he passed me, fully intending to cut across my husband at that junction.

As a side note, the life insurance payments are up-to-date :P

Competent?

The other doctor.

Despite knowing that my GP is on holiday, I booked a doctor’s appointment for this morning because of the lump high in my jaw.  The left side of my jaw has felt tight for a few days and then I found a slightly tender lump, probably no bigger than a pea.

I left work in plenty of time to get to my appointment just in case Christmas shoppers had significantly increased the volume of traffic on the roads and arrived 10 minutes early.  I waited until 25 minutes past my appointment time and went in.  I have never seen this doctor before and had no preconceived ideas as to his abilities, manner etc.  To be honest, my GP always seems distracted but he does actually listen and has a very good reputation.

I explained that although I expect that it is due to the fact that I am run down, I have a little lump that I wanted him to check out.  He looked at me and told me that it was a lymph node caused by the infection of the minor abrasion on my ear.  The infected minor abrasion is neither, it is a little patch of psoriasis that is identical to the one on the other ear.  My hand went to my ear as I said that it was psoriasis and he turned into an evil demon-type thing and half snapped, half growled, “Don’t touch it!”

He then told me that whatever it was, it would go away if I leave it alone.

Okay.

I was ready to get up and leave when he said, rather abruptly, “You said that you are run down.  Are you depressed?”

WTF?!?!

No.  I am RUN DOWN.

Tired.  I have been working a ridiculous number of hours and haven’t had time to put up a single Christmas decoration at home.  I’m still in recovery from being really ill last year.  I’m run down.

The conversation deteriorated further:

D: Why are you taking Tramadol?

Me: You signed my prescription yesterday, surely you know why?

D: You need to wean yourself off it.

Me: I take it on the rare occasions when I have to roll out of bed, crawl to the bathroom and ask my husband to dress me in a morning because my back is so bad.  The rest of the time, I live with the pain.  I have had two left for the last few months but fearing that my spine will go into lockdown over the Christmas break (because I stop to rest for 5 minutes) which means that I would need to take the 4 a day as prescribed (as part of a larger cocktail of nasty drugs) and no access to a GP, I thought that I ought to renew my script.  Feel free to read my notes and look at how often they have been prescribed and then make a judgement on whether or not I am a junkie.  Oh, and bear in mind that if I did take them as prescribed, gone on incapacity benefit, been something other than the “coper” that I am, I would have been in a wheelchair by now.

D: Well, you need to wean yourself off them.

Me: And what would you recommend as an alternative?

D: Paracetamol.

Escapees!

Several of the inhabitants of Chinchilla Towers made a bid for freedom today.

I had answered a call from work and wandered outside.  As I listened to G_____, I noticed a rather bedraggled chinchilla curled up asleep (upright) under the barbecue.  It took me a moment to realise what I was looking at and then it was all I could do not to yell, “OMFG!” and leap for her.  If I had, she’d have legged it and I would never have found her.

Goodness knows how but I calmly finished the call and approached like a ninja.  Before she realised that I was there, I had scooped her up with one hand and was holding her cold, wet little form close to my heart.  I took her up to Mr PinQ, who had been sleeping after a long night at work.

When I went back down to put her away, I noticed that a length of ship lap had come loose at the back of the Towers, had a look ’round the back and spotted the other chinchilla and a rabbit.  Trust the boys to be wussy and hide behind the Towers and our tiniest girl to have had the courage to explore the garden!

That was it, no more sleeps for Mr PinQ.  I blocked off the top two floors once the other bunny and the male guinea pig were accounted for, removed the offending ship lap from behind the Towers and crawled into the opening of the first floor. At that point I was grateful for two things: 1 – Chinchilla Towers was sturdy enough to take my diminishing weight (which is still somewhat significant) and 2 – There are enough floors to make sure that the fur-babies could be locked onto two and still have enough room not to get on each others’ nerves.

I’d grabbed the cheeky chinchilla first and put him upstairs with his little girl before the rescue attempt for Rocky the Rabbit.  Mr PinQ encouraged him to come closer to me with a broom handle – no he didn’t poke him!  I grabbed him, hoicked him up and held him close.  He was freezing cold, drenched and very, very smelly.  A warm shower and a couple of thick towels sorted that problem out and lots of cuddles followed.

All were then removed from the Towers and given the run of the stairs and landing whilst the repairs took place.  We tried for over an hour to move the construct forwards to give me the room to get behind and work on the errant ship lap but to no avail.  It’s funny, just last night I had been thinking that the only way that was going to move was if a crane was involved…

Did someone call for me?

Did someone call for me?

In the end, we gave in, having tried brute strength and putting tracks under the frame.  We headed to the timber yard, bought some brackets and I crawled into each floor and secured all of the planks from inside.  I could see where the ship lap had given way.  The little terrors had had a bit of a chew, exploited one of the planks that was pinned, rather than screwed into place and just heaved! All of our efforts were watched in fascinated silence by the female guineas from their plush little pad across the way.

It got emotional, I was breathing in sawdust, hay, pollen and rabbit poo, trying to move and fit brackets with tiny screws in a very small space and in absolute agony.  Mr PinQ is so big in the shoulder that it had to be me.  I was exhausted.

However, job done, fur-babies back home in their nice, warm apartment block with fresh hay, fresh food and fresh water.  Now I just have to learn to stand up and walk again :-/