Archive for the 'Health and Fitness' Category

The sick list

NS March 1st, 2011

Noble Girl woke up complaining of a tummy ache, as she had before bed last night, and had a slight temperature and no appetite so I decided to keep her home from school today. At one point she looked over at me from her place on the sofa with blankets and pillows and said, “Mummy? Can you make a list for me?”

Sure sweetie, what’s the list for?

“Things I need when I’m sick.”

So, according to a nearly-5-year-old girl, Things Children Need When They Are Sick:

  • Drink water
  • Stay warm
  • Rest
  • Mummy looking after me
  • Pillows
  • Medicine
  • Hugs
  • No Wrestling (looking at you, Noble Boy)
  • Kisses
  • Movies with family
  • Quiet time
  • Pyjamas all day
  • Big Wowie (favourite soft toy) to cuddle
  • Crackers to nibble, maybe
  • A bell for when I need things

Run, fat girl, run

NS January 4th, 2011

So one of my biggest goals for 2011 is to lose the metric shit-tonne of weight (nearly 2 stone) I’ve put on since I had my son two years ago. I’m not going on some crazy fad diet, but I have signed up for Weight Watchers (online version only, I can’t abide those horrid public weigh-ins) and am determined to take running up again. Considering I was running 3 times a week, often before 6am, and completed a 5k just a few months ago, it’s a bit crap that I completely fell off the wagon as soon as I crossed that finish line. My mind was like, ‘Hey, you did it! Now you can reward yourself by stopping exercise altogether and stuffing your face with congratulatory cakes.’

Yeah, so that didn’t work out too well for me.

As I was telling a runner friend of mine about my new goals and how I’d signed up for a 10k race in April to keep myself motivated, she convinced me to add more mini-goals throughout the year. After a few drinks, she had me signed up for a 5k in February, the 10k in April, a 5k in July and then a duathlon in September (5k run, 20k bike ride, 3k run).

I don’t know whether to thank her or make a voodoo doll with her name on it.

Regardless, I am on board and training begins tomorrow.

Pray for me.

The pain of art, the joy of living

NS June 14th, 2010

You know how some artists (whatever their medium; painting, music, writing, what have you) depend on being miserable, sad, angry, depressed, lonely, frustrated, misunderstood, tired, undervalued or oppressed (or all of the above) to create their art? And how when they’re happy, busy, valued, surrounded by people, encouraged and clear-headed, with a joyful, fulfilling and healthy personal, professional and social life, they sort of lose their edge?

That feels like me right now. I’m flailing. I’m losing my ‘art’. I’m losing my blogging mojo. I’m losing interest in fighting the fights I’ve been fighting for so long. I feel less and less inclined to come up with topics to write about, things to get incensed about, news to devour and dissect. I haven’t read the papers but one time since the British elections on the 6th of May. I have read articles that would normally have me writing lengthy screeds in opposition or approval and felt nothing but the briefest glimmers of interest. I log in then I log out. I stay up late trying to figure out why I’m drawing such blanks and get less and less sleep. I become more irritable.

But then one day I just stopped for awhile. I had other things going on and didn’t have time. Normally I’m itching to get back to my ‘online life’ after a brief spell away; this time I had to force myself to log in. I felt bored. I felt restless.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve recently taken up running. I’m doing a 5k at the end of next month and have been going three times a week fairly faithfully. Yesterday my regimen notched itself up from 8 minutes at a time to 20. I looked at what the running app on my iPhone screen was commanding me to do  and gaped. Go from an 8-minute run to 20 with nothing in between? No gentle breaking-in, no gradual increase over a long period of time? Who the hell did this running app think it was, bloody Richard Simmons?! I gave it a wary eye and told myself that if I couldn’t make it, so be it. It was too much to ask, anyway! It would be a miracle if I didn’t need to stop due to bursting lungs or cramping calves or some other such affliction.

But it turns out, I did it. I did it and it wasn’t even that difficult. I could do that run all along but I was holding myself back. I didn’t think I could do it so I didn’t even try.

For the last few years, ever since I had my daughter, I’ve been waiting for my life to find its niche, its groove, its upward trajectory towards success and happiness. But it turns out that you can’t wait for this shit to happen; you have to make it happen. You have to pour your heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into it and then wade head-first, eyes open, into the mix instead of standing on the sidelines feebly throwing cups of water at those racing past you.

Right now I am going through some intense transformations; from couch potato into runner, from a frustrated writer and stay-at-home mum to an independent businesswoman and running-three-websites mum, from distant, grumpy wife to more engaged partner and from a mother unhappy with her parenting practices and interactions with her children to one taking control and doing things to rectify those negative practices, ones that stem mainly from that discontent I spoke of earlier.

Needless to say, something has got to give.

So while I love my art and I love my little corner of cyberspace and the friends, opportunities, emotional and intellectual growth it has provided me, I am beginning to feel that I may be done with Noble Savage. I’ve been going for over five years and I’m not sure what else I can say, really. I’ve poured my heart out, written my fingers to the bone, researched, read, reported, raged, ranted, laughed, cried and gone a little bit loopy in the process.

Maybe I’m not going to get that book deal or journalism job or freelance gig after all. Maybe all I was ever destined to do was write this blog to meet the people and read the things that grew my mind and fed my soul enough to get me on my life’s true path, one that will make me happier, more fulfilled, more at ease and successful than my years-long dream of being a published author or  respected hack ever would have afforded me.

Maybe I just need a break, with no defined return. Maybe  a complete release from the pressure of a blank screen and a full RSS reader will do the trick and when things have settled down with the doula business and the running and getting my marriage back on track, I will have more to say, and better. Hell, maybe tomorrow I will wake up having completely changed my mind and be ready to tear the shit out of some article in the Times or wax lyrical about the highs and lows of parenthood.

But for now, the joy of living is overriding the gut-wrenching pain and time involved in creating my art. And this time, I’m going to let it.

To infinity…and beyond!

NS April 22nd, 2010

Further to my recent post in which I told you about signing up for doula training, a 5K race and a long-pined-for trip by myself, I have continued in the same locomotive manner and have been charging full steam ahead with other ideas and plans, many of which have me waking up in the middle of the night to tap urgent notes into my iPhone.

Just last night, I was contemplating going to law school. The night before that, I was looking up information on starting an advocacy or non-profit group. I’m still tossing around the idea of writing a (non-fiction) book and have recently submitted essays to three magazines (one rejection, two still pending) and keep scribbling down ideas for more. I’m feverishly devouring books on the politicalisation of motherhood and the one I finished last night, this one, absolutely blew me away. I can’t stop thinking about it and it’s got me wanting (even more so than usual) to shout from the rooftops about changing the world [a review is forthcoming but suffice to say it will undoubtedly end with 'Go read it. Now!']

I’m even changing or wanting to change things about my appearance, which is very unlike me. People who know me well or have been reading this blog for any length of time will know that I’m not fashion’s biggest fan, that I’m pretty comfortable in my body and don’t believe that I need to soften my skin, cover my greys, whiten my teeth or enlarge my breasts to feel like A Woman. What I’m wanting to change isn’t down to some lack of confidence or desire to transform my body or my image but simply to express my true self, finally. I haven’t had the time, money or motivation to retain or evolve my sense of style and have devolved into wearing whatever is the cheapest, easiest to find, most practical and covers up all my ‘wobbly bits.’ I’m not going to be going on a shopping spree any time soon but I’d like to add some more interesting and ‘me’ pieces to my wardrobe over the coming months (via the vast array of charity shops on my high street) and get a more modern haircut; the ‘shoulder-length with layers usually pulled back in a ponytail’ look is getting old. I’ve also been meaning to get a second tattoo for awhile now and am looking into designs and artists.

So what does all of this mean? Is this my 1/3 life crisis? Am I taking on too much, spreading myself too thin? Do I have adult ADHD? Or, most likely, am I just feeling like myself again, like anything is possible and that I can do or be anything I want? Because right now it feels very much like I am at a crossroads but instead of not knowing which way to go and hesitating, I am putting a foot on each path and taking a few test steps in each direction before coming back to the middle to weigh up my choices and make decisions.

This, coupled with the good weather and my much-improved mood have me buzzing and singing and just generally bouncing around like the inside of a pinball machine. I feel excited, charged up and…happy. Such a welcome change from the darkness that often pervaded last year.

Everyone kept telling me my 30s would be good. It hasn’t disappointed so far. With 31 just around the corner, I can barely wait to see what the rest of the decade brings.

Exciting news and a free smell

NS April 14th, 2010

I have a few items of exciting news to share. Well, they’re exciting to me. You? You’ll most likely yawn and say ‘Is that all? This woman needs to get out more.’ And to that I would say you’re right but avoid saying that to my face, especially if I’ve been drinking red wine or whiskey. I’m a pacifist in theory but we all know how theories pan out in practice. Like that communism one that was supposed to make all the world one, big, happy, altruistic family but instead led to people queueing up for miles to get their hands on a McDonald’s quarter pounder with cheese, extra onion and pickle, in Red Square. Need I say more?

Anyway.

Exciting item #1: Inspired by Gappy’s post, with accompanying photographs, about her trip to Hay-on-Wye, I’ve booked myself in for a train ride and overnight stay there, a few days after my birthday this summer. I’ve been dreaming of going away on my own just to read and relax and I knew right away that this would be the perfect place to do that. Second-hand book stores in which there are comfy chairs to sit and cats to stroke? I’m sold.

Exciting item #2: I’ve booked into a doula training course for the end of May. After I’ve completed the course I have to attend four births to become fully qualified. I’ve already got one lined up in August (a good friend’s) but need to find three more. If you, or anyone you know, are due this summer and live in the South West London or Surrey area, and are looking for an inexpensive doula, do let me know! I’m quite excited about this new career path, really. Not only will I get to help women with something I’m passionate about but I can earn a more reliable income from home which will take some of the pressure off of needing my writing to become a paid venture right away. A win-win situation, really! Besides which, I think I’ll be good at it and enjoy it.

Exciting item #3: I’ve entered into the Race for Life to benefit Cancer Research UK, in which I will run 5k a the end of July in Clapham. Me. A woman who has never been a runner and hasn’t done any form of exercise (other than walking loads and chasing the children) for a good four years. I’ve been getting up at 6am and running twice a week (and once or twice at the weekend) for a couple weeks now. I’m feeling good about it. If you’re so inclined to want to sponsor me (thus blackmailing me giving me more motivation), there is a button on my sidebar that will take you to my sponsorship page. Watch out, Clapham! There will a woman huffing and puffing her way through your streets and commons come July 31st, and she will likely be tripping over her shoelaces as she Tweets about it at the same time.

Exciting item #4: My first guest post, in which I give my thoughts on the term ‘mummy blogger/blogging’  is up at Gappy’s ‘Single Parenthood. Tales from the front-line’ blog. In five years of blogging I have never been asked to do a guest post so I was very excited and flattered to be invited into someone else’s space, especially by Gappy whom I greatly admire and like immensely. She’s a real talent and a new blogger so if you haven’t already got her on your list of must-reads, go check her out!

And finally, a sniff. I’ve managed to capture my favourite smell (line-dried sheets) and convert it to HTML. If you move your mouse rapidly over the blank space below, the scent should release itself. You’ll probably have to lean in quite close and give your screen a good sniff but it’s there, I promise.

 


 

Lovely, isn’t it?

Photo credit

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