Thursday, February 09, 2006


Life is somewhat busy at the moment.

I’m trying not to bang on too much about the wedding. It would be only too easy for this blog to slip into “Our wedding, our reception, our music, our orders of service, my dress, my hair – oh, I’m sure you want to hear every detail about how it’s such hard work getting married…” Which would be:

a) boring
b) not really true as to the hard work
c) not like me, really.

So: it’s not THAT much hard work. There are things I’m worrying about, such as my dress (last seen in several pieces and unfortunately transparent in places it shouldn’t have been) but it would be a lie to say it’s haunting my every waking hour. It does take up a bit of time, though, and it’ll no doubt increase as the day gets nearer.

There’s also the house-hunt. We don’t have particularly big ideas – one spare bedroom to put the computers in is about the height of our ambitions – but we want to be able to get into town fairly easily from wherever we are (the D. B. wants to cycle to work, for one thing). So we’ve been spending most Sundays looking at houses and flats, and our lunch-hours going to arrange mortgages and things. All of which takes a bit of concentration.

And unfortunately the D. B. is not entirely out of his bout of depression. It was great having his brother here, and we did lots of things, including climbing Arthur’s Seat. And on Sunday at teatime, my sister suddenly walked in. She’d decided to visit from Sheffield, where she’s studying, and wanted to surprise us. She succeeded. (She's making a bit of a habit of it.) So it was very jolly having everyone together. Alas, once his brother went down south again, the D. B. had a bit of a relapse. There’s a bit of a tendency for this to happen either before or after a keenly anticipated event.

If there was only some tangible reason for the depression, we could do something about it. As it is, however, all I can do is cuddle him a lot, make soothing noises and hope things will get better soon. Which it will, and indeed I think (and hope) it’s starting to. But it’s a bit wearing for both of us. Every so often it gets a bit much, which it did for me on Tuesday – I ended up crying into his shoulder in the street, which is never a good idea.

I stayed home from choir yesterday evening (I had a headache) and it was really nice to have a bit of time unplanned. I didn’t lie around all evening – we did some weddingy things and the D. B. recorded some minidisks – but there wasn’t a timetable.

Obviously it would be good to have more unplanned time together. Really good.

What it boils down to is this – Mum thinks I ought to spend less time at the gym. And maybe I should.

I don’t feel as though I spend hours and hours working out. What I normally do is this:

20+ minutes running, 5 minute walk to cool down.

12 (or as near as possible) Gravitron pull-ups
12 seated crunches on Abdominal machine
3 sets of 12 benchpresses
3 sets of 12 kneeling rows with dumbbell
3 sets of 12 tricep extensions with dumbbell
3 sets of 12 back tricep curls (if time – sometimes I do these instead of the tricep extensions)
3 sets of 12 bicep curls

12 Gravitron pull-ups (I really don’t know why I always do these, but they’re quick)
3 sets of 12 deadlifts
3 sets of 12 squats (or as near as possible)
12 seated leg extensions
3 sets of 12 calf raises

20 minutes on elliptical crosstrainer.

In a perfect world, this would take about an hour and a half overall, and I’d be home by 7.30. But it isn’t a perfect world. Sometimes I stay at work a bit later. Sometimes the place is very busy, and you have to wait around to use the weight platforms or the squat cage or the benches. This means the free weights might take 45 minutes, or longer (they used to take an hour before I split it into upper-body and leg days). Then there’s some time needed for changing before and after, and drinking water (especially after running). Then I have to wait for a bus to get home, which usually means walking for about 10 minutes to a more-frequented bus stop (and then it takes at least 20 minutes to get home from there). Sometimes I don’t get home until after 9.30. And I can see that this leaves the D. B. on his own for an awfully long time. Being sad.

In theory, I’d like to do all of this three times a week. It’s not as though the weight is exactly dropping off me. In practice, I frequently only make it there on Monday and Thursday, and if we’re doing something strenuous on Saturday (such as climbing Arthur’s Seat) I’ll consider that a workout. But I’m also out for a couple of hours on Tuesday at a class, which I have to do, and then I go to choir on Wednesday. It seems like overcommitment and yet I don’t feel I’m doing that much.

I’d hoped the D. B. might join the gym too, and then we’d be together although not at home. But he’s decided he’d rather just run on the road for free. That’s fine, if it suits him. I’d also sort of hoped he might join the choir, but he doesn’t fancy it. Again, that’s OK. But it does seem that we really should be spending more time together. We love each other and we have to be apart 8 hours a day, 5 days a week as it is.

Am I being selfish? Do I do too many things? The class ends next month, and the choir ends in April, but that doesn’t solve the problem at the moment. We have discussed other possibilities, such as buying some dumbbells, and replacing the upper-body day with doing the exercises at home and going for a run. However, we’ve singularly failed to buy any dumbbells (or even investigate what they’d cost) and although the D. B. runs in all weathers, frankly the treadmill looks pretty tempting at this time of year. Also – and this sounds a bit odd, I know – I’d rather not do my exercises with people I know around me. I’d feel silly. I’ve got used to doing them in a specialised environment where people aren’t going to talk to me or say “That doesn’t look like much fun” or the phone’s going to ring. And at that rate, I’d be paying full whack to go to the gym maybe just once a week. Is it worth it?

Another suggestion of Mum’s (just this morning) was that I move to another gym. There is one nearer to our house, but it’s one of a chain. I’d have thought they were unlikely to have as good a free weights section as the gym I’m at presently – if any. And they’re probably much more expensive. I’m paid up until (I think) July at my current gym, and it cost me £100 for a year. Which I know is a brilliant rate, and I like my gym, even if it is a bit crowded right now. Shauna’s gym, which isn’t particularly fancy, charges her £47 a month. And would I still go as regularly, if I was coming home first and then having to get myself together to leave the house again? Wouldn’t the temptation be to stay in more often?

I don’t know. I don’t want to sound like a Cassandra. Maybe this will all sort itself out in summer, when I’ll be doing less, there won’t be as many students making the gym busy, and the weather will be nice enough to go running outside (maybe). But it isn’t summer, it’s February, and I don’t know what I should do NOW. I’d really welcome any suggestions, even if they’re saying “Yes, I think you’re being selfish and you should drop some activities or shut up about it.”

So let me know what you think…

Friday, February 03, 2006

At the end of the tunnel there's a glimmer of light...

...which is to say that both the D. B. and I are feeling a lot better today. Thanks for your comments, people. I went off to the gym and had a storming workout, burning (according to the readouts on the cardio machines anyway) 550 kcal, which must have helped a bit. Then the D. B. came and picked me up – I would normally get the bus, so that was total luxury. And I went home and had some wholesome broth.

Today has been much cheerier and perfectly healthy, so far. Breakfast was oatmeal, lunch was a wrap from Marks and Spencer's healthy range (I didn't keep the wrapper, but it was the only veggie one - lemon vegetables, I think.) I don't know what tea will be, but the D. B.'s making it so it will be healthy.

His brother is visiting for the weekend, and this lunchtime they bought the suit he'll wear to get married in! So at least one of us won't be standing in the church wearing jeans and a T-shirt...

We're all going to the cinema tonight to see A Cock and Bull Story. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, February 02, 2006


what a stressful week it has been so far, I’m not doing too badly. Or so I have to tell myself.

This is now the second week of Renee’s challenge. The first week went well: I ran on Monday and Saturday and went for a walk on Tuesday and Friday.

(Normally I’d run on Thursday, but instead I went to a Lush party organised by Pisica who I know through LiveJournal. It was strange meeting people I’ve had online conversations with, but never seen before, especially as various people recognised me and the D. B. from our running photos. Although I was shy and awkward at first – why am I so much less articulate in person? – I had fun, and acquired quite a stash of highly scented goodies.)

I was also pretty saintly food-wise. I ate lots of fruit and avoided sugary stuff. I didn’t lose the pound I was supposed to for the challenge, but I wasn’t stressing about it as I knew my period was coming up, so I probably had a bit of water on board.

This week? Not so good.

Life is rather busy at the moment. Well, it always is, but particularly so. There’s the wedding, of course, and my attempts to sort out what I’m doing next year (which has its own set of problems, which I’m reluctant to talk about here in case I jinx things). Then the D. B. and I are also making our first tentative steps towards buying a place of our own, which involves much brain-racking over finances, and spending large chunks of weekend driving around Edinburgh looking at various flats and houses. Since it’s our first time, we’re working everything out from scratch. And last weekend, the D. B. had to go down south to attend a memorial service, and came back in a depression, which he’s still in.

The D. B. has suffered from depression for years – since he was 12. It isn’t necessarily caused by external events, although it gets worse when he’s under stress or doesn’t have enough to occupy him (as you’ll gather, it can be a delicate business ensuring a happy medium there). He’s been remarkably OK for several months now, but this week work is somewhat stressful, and it’s got to the point where he really doesn’t want to go in in the morning (though he does go). In the evenings, he’s exhausted and going to bed very early. It could be a lot worse – I’ve seen it a lot worse – but it’s awful to see him so sad and not be able to make it better.

I was trying not to dive straight into the nearest biscuit tin over this, because overdosing on sugar is not actually going to improve the situation in any way. My resolve held out until lunchtime today, when my better judgment was shouted down. Some rubbish has been eaten. By me. Now I have a bit of a headache and my mouth tastes sickly, which is what happens if you eat junk after abstaining for a while, and you’d think after experiencing this effect once you wouldn’t do it again, but there we are. (I was even slightly repulsed while I was eating it.)

I’m drawing a line under this. It is not helpful and it doesn’t make me feel better and it doesn't make the D. B. feel better and it’s a totally stupid way to behave and I knew that while I was doing it. OK.

So. I said I would journal my food and I didn’t do it (or rather, I started doing it and didn’t post it). I’ll start again, on paper at least, tomorrow. I’ll go to the gym tonight, as planned, and burn off some of the glucose sloshing about my system. I had a very good exercise day on Monday, and I’m still on track to complete Week 2 of the challenge. And if the boy and I are sad, well, that happens sometimes. It will get better. We have to hold to that.