Saturday, November 05, 2005

Eerie silence

It’s been a full kind of week, although, alas, we didn't do anything much for Hallowe'en. I had a yen to dress up, but nowhere to go to (maybe we'll organise a party ourselves next year). But I’ve been to the gym twice (and will go again on Saturday), I had my palaeography class on Tuesday night, and choir started up again on Wednesday. Funny how one can have what feels like a very quiet life, and simultaneously not have a free evening in which to write a blog entry.

This has also been made more difficult because my computer, which used to be quite well-behaved, has recently become slow and crash-prone. I think it doesn’t like its updated virus protection and anti-spyware program. Anyway, it takes ages to boot up, so you can’t just nip online for a quick browse and post. Luckily for me, I have a handy computer expert in the D. B., who had brought a new processor unit up with him with the idea of rebuilding the whole thing anyway and doing a clean reinstall. So that’s one thing we’ll be doing tomorrow.

It’s funny – I’m still in the process of adapting to life as one half of a couple. Although I live with my family, like them, and do a lot of stuff with them, I don’t necessarily dash home at the end of the day to be with them. I don’t have that feeling of conflicting desires when I’m off doing something on my own. For the past couple of years, the D. B. and I have either been visiting each other (so obviously, we spent all our time together) or a long way apart, so I’d sort of forgotten what it was like. I like singing, reading, doing my crafty things, and going to the gym, and I don’t want to do less of them, but it’s still such a novelty to have the D. B. around on a daily basis (and he’s so lovely) that I want to spend all my time with him too.

I did manage to find time to update the sidebar links here, which I’ve been meaning to do for ages. And I’ve finally succumbed to temptation, and made an online place to talk about books. I keep being tempted to post rambling accounts of what I’ve been reading here, and while that’s OK once in a while, it’s not really what this blog is for. I had a livejournal which was sitting empty, so it’s now become my book blog. If you’re interested you can find me at, or click on the link at the side. I’ll be doing the TIME reading list and reading my usual SF and fantasy as light relief.

Yesterday I had the best workout for ages. By the end, every muscle felt well-used, and I think the level of effort was about right. It hadn’t started out too propitiously: the cardio room was very busy. Usually I go on the treadmill for 20 minutes, then do weights, then use the elliptical cross-trainer for another 15 or 20 minutes. There wasn’t a single treadmill or cross-trainer unoccupied, which I’ve never seen since the renovations – there are a lot of machines. The StairMaster was the only thing available; I’ve never used it before, but nothing ventured…

I think I shall rename it the MoonWalker. It feels a bit like walking on a trampoline, or a giant squishy marshmallow, except that it’s easier to balance upright. The longer you stand still, the deeper your feet sink, so if you go slower you have to take bigger steps. I did the “fat-burning” interval course (well, it sounds good) for fifteen minutes and although I didn’t have to stop, it was hard work. I think it burned about the same number of calories as the equivalent run (about 150) but it was tiring in a completely different way. The hardest thing of all was pushing with my whole foot, rather than going up on my toes as if I was actually trying to climb up a step.

Weights went very well, although I had a long wait to use the Olympic platform and squat cage. I’ll be happy when they get round to building a third platform. I added a bit of weight to my deadlifts and squats. Last time I did squats, they made me feel sort of head-rushy and nauseous (they were at the end of the workout – the cage was busy then too) and I ended up skipping my second cardio, on grounds of not wanting to throw up. I know some people see throwing up as a sign that you’re working really hard, but I can’t help feeling it’s the body saying “You are not up to this.”

This time, although I was being cautious, the squats were fine. It’s actually easier to balance the bar if there’s some weight on the ends (we’re talking a measly 5kg here – don’t want to go mad, do we?) and also easier to keep my heels on the floor.

It’s the upper-body stuff which is a real challenge. I’m doing bench presses, dumbbell rows and hammer curls, and although I’m not using much weight yet, it’s always quite a challenge not to involve my back towards the end of a set. On the other hand, self-correcting is easy because it feels instantly wrong if the back is anything but neutral.

And finally, abandoning any pretence at a structure for this post:

In the gym a few days ago, I was getting changed next to a girl who was ready, waiting for her friend. She was tall, pretty and graceful-looking – I would like legs like hers in my next life, please – and since she was discussing philosophy animatedly with her friend, she clearly wasn’t dim either. Generally enviable. I was vaguely thinking, as you do, that here was a person who was far more together than me, who didn’t look as though she was stumbling through life in a shambolic and amateur manner like me, and sort-of wishing I could be like that.

Then I noticed she had her shorts on inside out.

(Yes, I did consider mentioning this to her, but she noticed before I had thought of a tactful way to do it. However, that made my evening.)

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