Archive for May, 2009

German Torture Exercise

Posted by on May 22 2009 | General Ramblings

A few months ago I started pilates classes. I’m not good at exercising, and signing up for a class means that I go regularly.

The Gurrier has nicknamed pilates German Torture Exercise and I have to say that’s a pretty good description. Sure, it looks like it won’t be that bad, just waving your legs in the air a bit, but it’s not. It’s hard. It involves crunches, and an exercise called ‘the 100’. 100! That’s a lot.

Now, if you go along with the multiple intelligences view of, well, intelligence, spatial-awareness and bodily-kinaesthetic would not be my strong points. Put more simply – I’m crap at gym. It takes me a few goes to ‘get’ a movement. I need it described, slowly, and I need to see it done at the same time, and then to practice it. Also, I still need to hold my hands out in front of me to work out my left and right, so it takes a few seconds longer for me to work out what everyone is doing. If you’re ever in a class with me, don’t look at me to see what you should be doing, because there’s a strong chance I’ll be doing it backwards. Or not at all.

All of this has made pilates a bit of a challenge, but it’s one that I’m enjoying immensely. OK, after a couple of classes it hurt to sneeze, but apparently there are fledgling muscles under my belly! I can’t see them yet, but I can feel them, so I know they’re there. I feel like I’m getting something out of the classes, and I can see signs of improvement, so it’s quite satisfying.

Then, about a month ago I started doing yoga classes too. They’re a couple of nights after pilates, which is great to work out the kinks and stretch me nicely. It’s a very gentle hatha yoga, with lots of guided relaxation thrown into the mix, and is a nice contrast to the pilates. Some of the movements are very similar, but instead of being told to clench my stomach and pelvic floor muscles, I’m told to relax. The two complement each other.

Naturally I have the exact same issues in yoga as I do in pilates, but I’m doing ok. Then last week something very exciting happened.

We learned the half shoulder stand (eventually we’ll be doing headstands, but this is the start).

I can do shoulder stands. It’s the one thing I was able to do as a kid in gym, and I really mean the one thing. Because I could do it I did it a lot. Mum’s a PE teacher, and my cousin used to be into gym (and is a PE teacher too now so probably still is), so when we’d be out in the garden in the summer my cousin would be doing handstands and handsprings and cartwheels all over the place, and I’d be doing my shoulder stand. It’s been a while, as it’s not something I’ve been called upon to do much in my adult life, but muscle memory turns out to be a wonderful thing, and I was able to execute a pretty good attempt at a full shoulder stand on my first try.

At the end of the class my teacher came up and praised me on it, and after the class The Gurrier was congratulating me quite effusively. I tried to explain that really it was no big deal, it’s something I used to do a lot, when I was interrupted: “But Is”, he said. “It’s the first time I’ve seen you try a new movement without falling over.”

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Dublin Dishcloth and Fairtrade Swap

Posted by on May 10 2009 | Swaps and Exchanges

I’m a sucker for swaps. I’m trying to wean myself off them, especially as I have way too much yarn, and I’m not good at giving it away. I have plans for it all. I’ll happily knit it and then give it away though. Go figure.

Anyway. Chicwithstix organised an Ireland only swap recently, that appealed to me. It was for a knit/crochet cotton wash/dishcloth, and fairtrade goodies.

I fail at secret swaps apparently, I didn’t realise it was supposed to remain secret once the packages were sent, I just thought it was secret until then. Ooops. Can’t be undone anyway.

I collected my wonderful package from the post office on Friday. The always-fabulous SheKnitUpThatBall spoiled me rotten.

Fairtrade Swap1
Coffee, sugar, two bars of chocolate (it may look like one in the picture, but I assure you that’s just an optical illusion), lovely fairtrade recipies (with a coffee brownie one to match the ingredients and OMG does it sound tasty), scrummy soft cotton yarn, and six lovely mini washcloths spelling out my name! Lets look at those properly:

Fairtrade Swap2
Aren’t they great? I love them. Perfect for my skincare routine.

Thank you so much guys, for organising and spoiling me :-)

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Why I dislike shopping number 97483

Posted by on May 09 2009 | General Ramblings

This morning I went shopping.

Not for books, or yarn, or chocolate, or stationery, or the things I enjoy shopping for.

For clothes.

I don’t enjoy clothes shopping. As mentioned before, I’m most comfortable in jeans, a black t-shirt and runners. I don’t really like shopping for them, but I can deal with it.

Today I went shopping for other clothes. I think that was my first mistake. My second was to go out without a morning cup of tea.

Anyway. I was fairly successful. I managed to buy a new pair of jeans and some plain black trousers, and this made me cocky and over-confident. So, when I saw a little black top on sale for a fiver, that wouldn’t be something I’d usually wear, I figured it couldn’t hurt just to try it on. It was sort of corset-like – sleeveless, tight fitting and structured. Note the tight fitting bit. It unzipped most of the way down the side, and then slipped on over my head. It was ok. Not hideous. I considered buying it.

Then I tried to take it off.

I couldn’t.

I was stuck in it. Completely stuck. The top would not come off. I tried wedging my arms down into it and wriggling it up over my head. I tried turning it inside out and crossing over my arms over my head while reaching back down to pull it up. In a particularly delusional move I took off my shoes and trousers to try to wriggle it over my hips. I considered claiming to love the very much evening wear top so much that I wanted to wear it immediately, despite it being mid-morning. I almost considered shoplifting. I cursed the fact that I took up yoga two weeks ago rather than two years ago. I thought about tearing the top off (it was only €5), but couldn’t. (I then cursed coming out without my sewing kit).

Eventually and after much wriggling and clothes wrangling I managed to remove the top and put my own t-shirt back on. I’d pulled muscles in both my arms but I was free.

I didn’t buy the top.

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