Tuesday, 25 May 2010

You only get one shot so make it count

I am not, by an large, a fan of manufactured pop. However, this line, from manufactured pop band JLS, struck me as appropriate.
On Sunday morning, i sat in the garden, with a friend D, putting the world to rights. She drank water, and i drank tea. Lots of it. The subject of Ironman came up. And i began to try and explain why i do it. In much the same way as mountain climbers feel a need to climb the biggest, hardest or most challenging peaks, i guess the answer comes down to because i can. Because it is there. Because life is too short for dull underwear. Because, just occasionally, something happens that turns your world upside down, and you might never get this moment again. Every day is a day to celebrate being alive. For me, it is a day that i feel i have to make the most of, for my sake and that of my mum. She didn't get the chances that i have. So i push and push. I make my body do stuff it doesn't want to. I make my mind twist and turn inside out. Because sometimes it feels that to settle for anything less is cheating. My sister said to be life is too short to be miserable. She is of course, absolutely right. Do i push my body to its physical limits, and my mind till it hurts as a mask for being miserable? Who knows.

A tri mate of mine, TW, died doing a race on Sunday. Pushing his body to the limits, it just couldn't take any more. As triathletes, we accept a degree of danger, when we ride and train. Acknowledging the fact that we might have an accident whilst riding our bikes. But we don't expect our bodies to just give up on us. But sometimes, i guess we can only push so far, so hard and so fast for so long. I came home from work yesterday and decided i needed to ride. Hard. So i pushed myself on the bike. i was doing 27mph on the flat at one point. Which is nothing for some people, but is getting on for nearly double my normal average pace. I felt it was a fitting tribute to TW. To make the most of the moment; the evening sunshine; being fit and being alive. I sincerely hope he would have approved.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

would it be cheating...

to add one more? Not a self portrait, but one taken by W, of me and the sparklers. Again, last year on holiday. We were in a relatively posh restaurant, being treated by the grand folk. The kids are at the age where certain things are funny. Farts? Of course. Burps? quite possibly...and now....Bunny Ears.

Self Portrait.

Over on Tara's blog, she is running a gallery of photographs. This weeks subject is self portrait. I hate having my photo taken. I always look rubbish in pictures, unless, bizarrely enough, i have taken them. Maybe it is to do with the person behind the camera, i dont know. Maybe it is because i can be much more critical of my own photographs, whereas those taken by other people i kind of feel i cant really make a judgement on. Often the pictures they like, i hate. But, there are some photos of me that i do like. here are a couple.

This one was taken by me, on my phone, just after having had my hair done again. It was this colour for about 6 months last year. I love it. A friend told me it was the worst photo of my he had ever seen. I think he was being unduly harsh.

By rights, this photo should go into the 'this is awful' category, but i kind of like it. Why should i hate it? well, look at it. The fat, i mean. It is horrible. i have rolls! <shudder> But actually, i really like this picture. I am happy, i am laughing....i am having a wee. ;-) Taken in the south of france last summer, by W. Admittedly, it isnt a hugely flattering photo, but i think it is a natural, relaxed and happy photo. Maybe i need to learn that that is more important.

My final photo. Taken by FG a few weeks ago, at a family party. Looking happy, relaxed and, possibly a little bit tipsy. Dressed up, but still a bit eccentric.

So, there we have it. 3 totally random photos of me. This is my legacy that i hope to leave my kids. That mummy was a bit different, a bit mad, but, mostly enjoyed her life.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Piss the bed...

I am confined to my house by my boss. I have the lurgy and it is rubbish. Started on sunday and i have finally conceeded defeat and called in sick. Only cos i knew if i went to work she would send me home again. We had a nice chat. The woman is a workaholic. She is supposed to be on holiday next week. She wont be. Crazy lady!
So, having lain in my bed all morning i thought i would get up. Only to lay in the bath a while. I hate being off work sick. Especially when i dont even feel that bad! felt MUCH worse yesterday. I always feel like i am swinging the lead a bit. Or taking the piss indeed.....But i guess having a headache that makes your vision go fuzzy might not be a good thing? My peripheral vision is to be quite precise a bit rubbish.

So not only am i banned from work, coach has banned me from training too. Arse.

So i am stuck as to what to do. I could go to the DIY store and buy some compost but that feels even more like taking the piss, so it might be an afternoon of crapola tv and ironing......or sleep.
IN the meantime, i have just come in from hanging out the washing. Now, W is a good man...he makes a decent cup of team but i have to say, his talents do not extend to the garden. In particular the mowing thereof. So much so, that i am considering mowing the lawn this afternoon. With this thought in mind i decided somwething had to be done about the dandelions. Not only are they rampaging across my lawn, but now the blighters are setting seed!FG thought our newly planted salad leaves would be happy to have a showering of dandelion clock..so i had to remove the seeds from the beds...and yes i KNOW you can eat dandelion, but getting the kids to eat salad at all would be a mitracle..but getting them to eat anything that resembled a weed would be nigh on impossible. So i have just spent ten minutes crawling/ walking in a squatty stylee dead heading dandelion bloody clocks into a plastic tesco bag, so that i can then mow the lawn. Or at least suggest to W that he might.

Damn i wish i was at work.

Monday, 10 May 2010

I dont believe you.

If someone you knew, who had a dysfunctional relationship with food, and a slightly obsessive nature had said to you, dont bother about cooking for me, i ate a big lunch. would you believe them?

No. Me neither.

When is a chav not a chav?

I got called a Chav on saturday, by a man in his mid 50's. In a car park. This was clearly the basest insult he could think of. And all over a parking space.

Picture, if you would, a car park, out the edges of the centre of Oxford, if that makes sense. It is saturday lunch time. The car park, is, predictably full. I enter the car park, as there are no useful signs saying FULL, and decide to try my luck, as this one does have a fairly high turnover. There are two cars in front of me, the lead one is a silver 4x4, and the male passenger is not in the car, but is obviously on space guarding duty. A woman approaches her car, which is parked close to where i am waiting. I reverse a little, but think better of it, figuring that i should wait my turn..stealing a space when i am 3rd in a queue is churlish and naughty. Silver 4x4 see's the woman approaching the car, so turns round pulls up alongside me and indicates. Ahead, another space becomes available, so car 2 moves. This, i figure puts me next in line. So i wait a bit longer, answering the kids as to why we are just sat here....when i see a man, approach his car, and get in it, and reverse out of a space. BINGO!

So, i move around the car park to the newly available space, when lo, who should appear in it but male passenger from the 4x4! i gesticulate, and, opening my window, politely ask him to move. He then says, but we have been waiting the longest, we have been here for ages etc etc etc. I then point out to him that he had made the move on the first space that came available. It transpired, although i hadnt seen, that the owner of the original car, had approached her car, chucked her shopping bags in, and walked away again. I pointed out to him that that was not my fault, and that he or rather his partner had made the decision to go for that space, at which point he got all stroppy, stormed off and shouted 'I hope you have a happy life' To which i said, oh i will, thank you! Sweetly, of course.

Parked the car, and proceeded to walk across the car park to get my ticket. At which point, silver 4x4 came driving towards me, VERY aggressively. The man was now in the passenger seat again, and they were both clearly very agitated. He opened his window and yelled at me, and called me a chav! I approached the now stationary vehicle and looked at him and i asked 'why was i a chav? Oh, the piercings, of course! Well, i might be a chav, but i also had a job at Oxford university....'
'Oh really? what in?'
'Cardiac metabolism, actually.Tell me,' i said, ' If you had been in the queue in Tesco, (ah, this clearly gave the game away, i was a Chav after all! Should have said waitrose!) and you realised you had forgotten to buy eggs, and had gone, with your trolley to get them, would you expect me to wait for you to return?' I tried to explain that as far as i was concerned they had given up their 'right' at the head of the queue, when they chose to chase up the first space. The fact that its occupant didn't leave, was not actually my fault.
  'Still,' i said, 'you are setting a fine example for my children'
'Your children? They aren't here, are they?'
'No, i said. They are in my car. in MY parking space.'

Smiling sweetly i continued on my merry way, whilst they drove off. Chunterring and revving their engine. Agressively.

I dont think he actually realised i was nearly 40. Should i actually take it as a compliment?

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Falling on deaf ears

My dad used to have a Gary Larson cartoon, of a man and his dog. The man is jabbering away to the dog, and the speech bubble about the dogs head is just full of squiggles and stars. The caption of the cartoon was what we say and what they hear. I feel a bit like that. A lot of the time.
The kids, especially FT seem to suffer from selective deafness. I have been led to believe this is natural. So, in a given conversation i might say it is time for dinner, turn off the tv. All they hear is TV dinner. How does that work!? Or can you get out of bed please, it is time to get up, and they hear the get your lazy ass out of your pit and get to it NOW. Which isnt what i said at all. Interestingly though. If i say come on, we are going for a walk, and we might get some ice cream..all they hear is ICE CREAM. Totally bypassing anything else.....of course, the solution to that one is to make them walk miles for said ice cream. But that does have an annoying habit of backfiring.

No, the deafness i refer to is more profound. It is the one where you sit in the car, and in a break in general arguing ans shouting i make a comment. There is a further pregnant pause, and the screaming carries on. Maybe i imagined i said it? Did i just say it in my head or did i mouth the words and nothing came out? Sometimes this happens with trivial things, like asking someone to put a cup in the dishwasher, instead of next to it, but other times it can be important stuff. Stuff that means something.

Today is the anniversary of mummy's death. She died 29 years ago. How many lifetimes have passed by, with no one noticing? How many tears have i shed, in the intervening years since she passed away, and how many have been wiped away, with a proffered tissue, by a loving hand? The sad truth is very few. And so, i spend another lonely day, musing to myself about how i am a special and valued person. When in fact i feel like i am standing on one side of a sheet of sound proofed glass......screaming and begging for someone to hear what i am saying..but all they hear is a series of squiggles and stars.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Spring is sprung!

And the ground is a carpet of blue...at least the woods are. I took this last night, whilst out on my bike. My first longer-than-a-commute ride since London. Was lovely, but my legs are sore today...and i really should remember to take my non tinted glasses with me. A choice between flies in the eyes, and not being able to see cos it is too dark is not really a choice at all..i ran the fly gauntlet. Only got caught once too.....

This was out near Cuddesdon. I have discovered so many beautiful parts of Oxfordshire, so close to home. Like the field of pale lilac poppies near Great Haseley, last year in September. Or the sunflowers. I have discovered that by going out and getting lost we can come so much nearer to finding ourselves.

Time for some pics maybe.

Me, after 3 hours in a hair salon!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Continuing my musings post marathon, i remembered something vaguely amusing..but most definitely strange.
I have over the years had issues with going in public. You know. Letting go when there is someone next door. And they can hear you. What i suffer from is PUI. Public Urination Issues. It isn't just peeing either. Number twos are Out of the question. Even in my own home if there is a guest in the house (yeah, OK. i admit it. i am a wierdo).

Peeing in a wetsuit is different. We all do it. Sometimes it is the only way to get warm. And peeing in front of the husband/kids is not such a problem. Nor is peeing in front of a sibling..though i might draw the line at my little brother....who is 6ft tall now.I have, to the shock of my daughter, been known to pee in the bath in cases of dire need; like when she is on the loo and messing about and i am SO desperate it is perch on the edge of the bath or burst.

In Lanzarote last year, a friend of mine came face to face with my PUI, when i finally conceded that i just had to go, half way around a 180km bike ride. She has no such issues, and can just go on the side of the road. Me? i had to dismount the bike, run across the road, hop over a wall and then ensure that i couldn't be seen by ANYONE, least of all the NASA space satellite orbiting 5 miles up.......then, and only then could i go. Such blessed relief.

So why is this relevant, post marathon? In the start areas were the usual loos. and the usual queues. There were also tented areas for the men to go to their urinals and pee. And this is the first time i have ever come across female urinals. Manned, or should that be womanned by a slightly embarrassed young lady, i went in..more out of morbid curiosity than dire need. I was handed one of these , a small sliver of cardboard that unfolded. The idea being, clearly that you stand up, put this between your legs and use it to direct the flow of urine into the urinal. Knowing me, and my PUI there was NO WAY i was going to master this.....not without feeling the burning shame of everyone around me....and probably getting wet feet.

In a sudden and unusual display of balls (or not) i took the more lady like approach. And squatted. Along side several other ladies. And we joked about the small cardboard willy things. Has my PUI been cured? I don't know....but at least i didn't get pee feet :-)

Oh, and one more thing.

ON the kit list letter that came home with small boy before Cubs was the usual stuff, socks, pants, comb, etc etc. One word was written in bold and underlined. SOAP

Small boy came back WITHOUT his coat. but with a brand new UNOPENED packet of soap. I mean, come on. 19 cubs, how many bars of soap do they need. Especially when over half were of the male variety of the species!?

As my dad used to say to my brother, next time you have a wash, stand a bit closer to the flannel.

Okay..maybe i should explain....

Why it is now May 4th, and 9 days have passed since the marathon and i have only now got round to blogging about it. Monday and Tuesday of last week were spent in a haze of tiredness, blister popping (eewch....but kinda satisfying too)and walking down the stairs backwards. Any time when i wasnt working or sleeping was, quite frankly, wasted.

Tuesday evening (i think) was spent kitting out FT for a cub camp. We went to the camping shop and bought him: new shoes.....nice sort of walking/offroad shoes, made by Hi tec. he declares them very comfy, and now refuses to remove them from his feet. A new jacket. This was to replace the previous one which he has partly grown out of, and partly destroyed. People warned me about how destructive boys were, and how they were 'hard' on their clothes. I laughed, nay, i scoffed...as my good well behaved son came home with perfectly intact trousers.....no, my son destroys shoes and school coats. What else? two pairs of trousers with 'zippy offy' legs. These are great, very useful and hopefully tough and hard wearing. The only issue being perhaps, that i have to label them LEFT and RIGHT otherwise we will get into a state.....or he will do what i have done, with my nice expensive cycling/running jacket with the zippy offy arms....i have lost the main body. And two arms/legs are not a lot of use without the main bit to zip them to.

Wednesday evening i went for a swim. Most of my leg stiffness was gone. Or at least i thought it was. Until i tried to get into the pool. My graceful entry was not what it should have been. IN other words, dear reader, i fell in. In front of several members of my tri club, who did, at least have the decency not to piss themselves laughing....or at least no more than they normally do at me.....

Thursday evening consisted of rushing home from work, shoving all of FT's new and labelled stuff into a rucksack and shoving him out the door to cubs, and then hot footing it to the running club....where several of us were comparing blisters, missing toenails, (still only 2 at this point) and then going out for a short gallop. Mine was about 5k, and that was PLENTY :-) Home quite early and then i suspect as per usual with me, falling into bed and snoring....

Friday, i spent being beautified. It takes 3 hours to do my hair. But it is fab when it is done. When i get around tuit, i will upload some pics, but as you have probably noticed by now, round or even square tuits are in short supply around here.
Off loaded Small boy to cub camp. With nice shiny coat. (remember the shiny coat).
Made big fuss of FG who was now the sole child at home, and so, could, in theory have her way with whatever she wanted....which in this case, involved getting up at stupid o'clock (5am)to go to May morning with Daddy....

Whilst i stayed in bed till 6.45 before getting up and venturing into our nice shiny new lake for the first open water swim on the season. It was nice. Not too cold, once you had been in for a while.....did 2 laps and several pees, which was great ;-) There is something oddly satisfying about peeing in a cold lake.....
The rest of the day passed in a haze of shopping, offloading FG for a sleepover and going to a gig...(the Levellers..they were ok....not as good as last time, but they did play Devil went down to Georgia, so they are FORGIVEN)

Sunday morning we have EJW christening followed by what i had assumed was going to be tea and cake....Sunday was also our wedding anniversary, so we were planning on going to the christening, then to a pub for lunch. But no need. After the service we all retreated to the local community centre to a feast for a king. And Pimms. Lots of pimms. and wine. Mmmmmmmmmm too much wine. I made some nice new friends, got reunited with someone i hadnt seen for a while and drank TOO MUCH WINE! Fell asleep in the car, then for 4 hours at home.......ate chicken, and enjoyed watching Lewis...with a glimpse of FG at about 7 mins in. After that, went to bed!

YESTERDAY! Phew, nearly at the end! Hang on in there......

Got up, coach Jo arrived, looking like she had been blown from here to there and back again.....warmed her up a bit, fed her, had a good meerkat session, before she got back on the mighty two wheeled steed, and we headed off to collect camp boy. (i mean a boy who has been at camp, rather than a small 8 year old doing John Inman impressions..) Collect small boy. Bring him home. Unpack his bag.

Small boy is missing a towel. the top part of the zippy offy trousers.

And his new coat.


Tired legs. 3 cracking blisters, 3 missing toenails and a HUGE smile.

Nuff said :-)