Progress Report 27/04

Well it’s friday, so it’s that time again . . and it’s been an up and down couple of weeks.

Weight loss: Oh dear! Gained a pound, a bit disappointing but not surprised. I had a bad cold throughout last week and it’s taken me a while to get my energy levels back up, as a consequence I’ve only been to the gym a few times over the last couple of weeks. I had expected to put on more, but I suppose I’m getting into good eating habits now.

 

On the plus side I’m up to 20 minutes (10 walk/run repeats) on the treadmill now. In that 20 minutes I covered 2km, the data geek in me stepped up and worked out that if I did walk/run repeats during ‘Race for Life’ I could probably do it in about 50-60 minutes. That seems quite respectful  (for me) so for the moment I’m going to stick within the 20 minutes on the treadmill and see if I can run for a bit longer, maybe repeats of 1 minute walk, 2 minute run. I’m optimistic, hopefully that may also start making up for the 2 week lapse I just had too.

 

Knitting Projects:  Well I’ve had quite a busy couple of weeks, finished the little monkey suit I was making for my impending niece/nephew. Quite impressed with it really, was using cheap yarn so really didn’t expect it to turn out as well. Just to add a little finishing touch I also knitted a little monkey toy, the original pattern was in stocking stitch but I used garter stitch instead so it would go with the outfit. They go together quite well actually.

I’ve now moved on to my next project, a skeleton jumper of my own design. Well I was looking for a jumper with a skeletal picture on the front in an adult size but I couldn’t find any anywhere. So I adapted a basic jumper pattern (oversize). The chart I’ve made only works for the small size at the moment, if the entire garment works out ok I might see if I can adapt the chart for larger sizes.

10 hours on the needles and the jumper’s looking good so far.

Accidental Success

Well last night (Monday 23rd April) was World Book Night and Shakespeare’s birthday. So we had some big celebrations planned.

If you don’t know what World Book Night is www.worldbooknight.org it’s essentially a celebration of reading. If I’m getting my figures right 40,000 people around the country were given 24 copies of a book they had specifically chosen from a list of 25 (mine was Bill Bryson’s ‘Notes from a Small Island’) to hand out to whomever they choose. So whether it’s someone they think doesn’t read much, so the book could help get them into reading. Or maybe it’s someone who has never read the genre that their book is in. Giving these books out free could help in a number of ways. World Book night is in its second year now, and it’s growing with each year.

Basically my task is then to organise some kind of event, a platform for the ‘Givers’ to distribute their books. Last year I organised an in store event, which went well but then there’s still the issue of how do you entice non-readers into a book shop? So this year we decided to hit the streets!

It was going to be great! We would all meet up in the shop about 5pm have tea and coffee, get to know each other, maybe swap books if somebody had a title you’d like to read, then at 6pm we’d head out on our walk. We had a designated route planned out for the ‘Town Walk’ where we’d be passing some old buildings and sites of historic interest so I invited local author Carol Twinch along to maybe point out and tell us a bit about such things, and as we merrily skipped along the streets we’d be distributing our books to the people we met. It was a very Disneyesque image I had conjured up, ideal for a beautiful spring evening.  The only thing was I hadn’t counted on the general mistrustfulness of the public whenever you mention the word FREE, and . . the British weather.

Oh yes, rain was well and truly my downfall on the evening as not many people are overly keen on walking round the streets of Ipswich on a rather wet Monday evening. So as six o’clock slowly came around I had to admit defeat for, alas, instead of the hoards of Givers descending upon the unsuspecting pedestrians of Ipswich, which I had envisioned, instead we had 3 Givers, 2 ‘assistants’, and an author. This however did not deter us from our mission, as three of us had dressed up for the occasion (two fairies and an Ass to be precise) we were going to see it through till the end.

So last night six very odd-looking, overly cheerful, and slightly damp people took to the pubs, cafes and shops of Ipswich distributing our wares to whomever we came across. Aside from a very high number of suspicious looks and rejections of a free book we all really had a good time and distributed our books quite widely and rather quickly.

                As we sat in a pub afterwards, having a well-earned drink, I looked around at our merry little band and realised that this was perfect. If there had been a lot of us it wouldn’t have worked, we would have been too intimidating and we wouldn’t have had the great interaction we had with a few members of the public. Also there would have been too many books we wouldn’t have been able to distribute them all, as things stood we were able to distribute all of our books and have a good time in the process.  So it turns out that completely by accident we ended up having the perfect end result.

Although I think I may pass the ‘Events’ cap to somebody else next year.

It’s all good . . until you stop

I knew there was a reason I didn’t like baths!

Well aside from the fact that I grew up with a granddad who thought that baths were basically “wallowing in your own filth” (beautiful imagery, I know) I’ve always considered them a bit of a waste of time. Well maybe not exactly a waste of time, it’s just whenever my husband suggests having a bath, I instantly think of all the things there are to do around the house, and how if I sit in a bath for half an hour or so I’ll be behind with my workload.

Now I’ve found another reason not to like them.

After a rather tense shopping trip with my darling husband we conceded that maybe we were both quite tired, and so I was essentially ordered to have a bath whilst he put the shopping away and made tea. It shows how tired I really was, as I didn’t argue. My body ached all over and I was basically worn out, so off to the bathroom I went.  No book, no needlepoint,  just me and the bubbles.
It was lovely, for the first fifteen minutes, as I lay there fretting about whether dear husband was putting the shopping away properly, or if he’d put the oven on the right setting. Then as those cares drifted away and my mind started to empty of the trials of the week there was just one thought left . . . my mum, and that’s when I started crying.

You see, when you live your life at 100mph, constantly keeping yourself busy with work, family and home it’s ever so easy to just assume that you’re coping with life and the various stuff it keeps throwing at you, without being phased at all.  It’s when you finally slow down, relax and take stock that you realise you’re not coping at all you’re just avoiding, and in the process becoming a shell of the person your family know and love.

So whilst I may have qualms about going near another bath again, I do however highly recommend just having a good cry every now and again it does wonders for a mental and emotional release, and well worth the few hours of puffy eyes afterwards.

Or if crying is not your thing I’m sure there must be something to be said for Primal Scream Therapy . . . . just warn the neighbours first.

 

Radio Ga-Ga

There are many facets to my personality, one of these is an Events Manager at the Waterstones where I work.

As many things as there are that I love about being an events manager, there are a couple of things that I’m not too keen on and those are; authors that act like they’re doing you a big favour by attending this event that you’ve organised for them, and the other is being the centre of attention. I’m more of a ‘behind the scenes’ organiser. In an ideal world I’d plan my event, email, call, harass all the people I need to to promote the event then on the day I’d have somebody else be me.
So you can imagine my utter despair when I was coerced into going on to local radio to promote our World Book Night event. Cold chills and night sweats were only the start of it.
Technically I didn’t have to do it, but one of the things about being the organiser of an event is that if anybody wants to know anything about what’s happening you’re the ‘go to guy’
This was little comfort as I spent a couple of weeks pacing up and down wondering; what would I say? What would I be asked? Would I have to sound knowledgeable? Would I have to have some kind of idea what I’m talking about? What if I stammered or was lost for words?
So by the time it came to Tuesday morning, the morning of my debut radio appearance, I was more than a little bit nervous.
So I anxiously sat in the waiting area silently praying to any god that would listen for a power cut, or for the cold I was developing to strike me down voiceless, or even (if none of the above were available) for the small mercy of my segment to at least be pre-recorded.
Alas none of these came to pass, and in time I was led down a corridor by James, one of my interviewers, and into a little room. Which consisted of a production desk, manned by a lovely and very friendly lady named Charlotte, and a little round table with a few microphones attached to the edges. My nerves started to ease off as I realised I wouldn’t be spending the next twenty minutes in the radio booth of my imagination (which had more technology and gadgets than the Enterprise), but in this rather cosy looking little room.

During the ten minutes before the interview we had such a lovely chat about books and authors that by the time we actually went on air I was so relaxed that it just felt like a normal every day conversation.
We talked about; World Book Night, Bill Bryson, local authors, Waterstones, signing events. I even messed up a couple of times, and admitted to not knowing much about a certain book, but that didn’t faze me. We talked about so much and with such ease that I was genuinely sad when it ended.
So I’d like to thank James and Charlotte at ICR http://www.icrfm.co.uk for being so lovely and making me feel so at home. Also for unleashing a monster, as now I’ve conquered radio there’s no stopping me!! NEXT STOP . . . .’ANGLIA TONIGHT’!!

. . .

Well shortly after writing the above and saving it as a draft for me to review later I received an email and dun dun dun I’M ON THE COVER OF THE NEW STEPHEN KING BOOK!!!. . http://www.stephenkingfaces.com/#!i=8359 well ok, I’m on the back. .and it’s just the UK edition . . and it’s only a small picture . . .out of a montage of thousands . . and you’ll probably need a magnifying glass to see me, but dammit! I’m on a book!

Time to conquer the world now methinks.

Progress Report 13/04

Well it’s Friday which is my weigh-in day, so I thought i’d make it my general progress report day.

Weight loss: So yay for lots of progress this week. I’ve had my weigh-in day today and i’m now 243lbs, and have lost an inch off my waist and hips in the last two weeks.

MyFitnessPal – Free Calorie Counter

This Gym thing is definately working for me, at the moment I’m only averaging about half an hour in the morning, and burning about 250-300 calories. At this rate i could be down to 231lbs in eight weeks, which would be a really fantastic result to go back to the fertility clinic with.

Knitting project: I’m practically done with the monkey suit for my impending neice/nephew, knitted all the pieces just got to sew it all together.

Really impressed with how it’s turning out. There are a few things, like the ears, which i would like to change. I’m sure with different kind of yarn it would turn out a lot better. So this has taken me a week to make and that’s only a couple of hours worth of work in the evening so i’d imagine on a good day this could only take me a couple of days.
There’s a few other designs by the same person which are quite cute http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/critter-kids-on-ravelry so might try them out at some point. My next project after this is going to be a skeleton jumper i designed.

Don’t stop me now!

Had a bit of a revelation at the Gym today!

Basically, I’m in training for the ‘Race for Life’ 5k http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/janinesmith743 Well, I say I’m in training for it, at the moment I’m in training in order to be able to start the training plan. Confused? I’ll explain.

After signing up for Race For Life, and being determined to actually run the whole way, I thought maybe i should get a bit of practice in. So after trawling the internet for a bit I found what I thought would be the perfect training plan for me, it was one of those ‘couch to 5k’ plans. Day one: Run for 1 minute, walk for 1 minute (repeat this ten times) easy peasy! Oh good lord was I wrong. The next morning when hit the neighbourhood streets I barely managed 4 repeats let alone 10 before I thought my chest was going to explode. So this had to involve a major re-think of my training system, which resulted in me running on a treadmill instead of the pavement (less cold) and gradually working up to being able to do 10 run/walk repetitions.

So things were going ok, running on a treadmill is a lot easier than running on actual terrain so I managed to find my pace quite easily and keep at it. However after a few weeks things stopped getting so easy and I couldn’t get past 7 run/walk repetitions and was close to resigning myself to just not being one of natures runners.

So today I took my I-pod to the Gym with me, as the clubland music they seem to constantly play was slightly getting on my nerves. Lo and behold a miracle happened! As the first few bars of Kenny Loggins ‘Danger zone’ came pelting down my headphones my feet just took on a life of their own, and by the time I got to ‘Wake me up before you go-go’ and my 8th!!!! run/walk repetition, i could have run all day.

Apparently they call that finding your stride, and my 32 year old self is not too surprised to realise that my stride is less trancy dancey clubland  and more 80’s movie montage!

A New Era

I’ve made many attempts over the years to start a blog but they’ve all come to nothing, mostly through a sheer lack of time and motivation.

So what makes me think this one will be any different? Well that has one simple answer . . my mum!

We lost my mum to cancer about four weeks ago, and although I feel like I made my peace with the prospect of losing her many times over the last year, still a big part of my life has gone. So this is why I’m here, for someone to talk to, to tell the world what an amazing person my mum was, and to record all the things I wish to do in honour of her memory.

So what about me? I’m the wife to an adoring husband and we live in a lovely little house in Ipswich. It’s just the two of us at the moment, although we are trying for a little one. In fact we’ve been trying for nearly two years but recently found out that I have fertility issues due to my weight (248lbs or 113kgs, even though I’m imperial I prefer the Kgs they sound less) So I’m currently on an eat right and get fit kick in the hopes that my system will sort itself out.

            I joined the Gym a few weeks ago for two reasons, working out at home had been going so well thought that stepping up my game a bit and working out at the gym would make things go even better (and they are!) Reason two was I really wanted to actively do something about my fertility issues, as my sister-in-law is 6 months pregnant with my first little niece/nephew and it really hurts that my mum didn’t get to see her grandchild.

Ok, so that’s part of my story for now, look forward to sharing more.

J x