Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

A week in a day

I don't even know where to start today -- I feel like I lived a week in a day.   And it's only Wednesday - I'm not sure what to do with the rest of the week.

We'll start with the absolutely wild dreams last night -- the kind most people need copious drugs to achieve but I'm "lucky" enough to get for free occasionally.  Alas, also the kind that leave me the opposite of rested in the am.

Then at work my old job interrupted my new job when my old world imploded.  This made a couple of people ecstatic but most either upset, stressed, or both.  The end result being I spent most of the day providing an ear, while trying to ensure my actual responsibilities of my current role were met -- including interviewing a candidate for a new role, which I always find tests my introvert side, and an exec meeting which ended up being super productive and positive but it had a 50/50 shot of going just as far the other direction. 

I had my lunch call sitting on our back steps and throwing the ball for Sasha.  This was a helpful counterbalance, esp as it was bright and sunny.   At which point I realised it was possibly the last nice day of the year and determined I had to find a way to get a walk in before dinner.

I had an hour scheduled for desk work, and I deemed that hour could be flexible and done *after* walking, so Sasha, Chris (his days usually end, not surprisingly, with the end of school, so he was home by then), and I did the lock 7 loop - which I haven't done in ages and made me realise I have *not* been walking enough (the treadmill came back into play yesterday).  But it did let Sasha get a swim in, so she was a very happy puppy.  It is much too long a walk for Tucker, who wasn't interested in getting out of bed anyways.

Go back to work when we get back and somehow that hour takes me till 8:00?!?!  Not even kidding.  And I only stopped cause it was time to go to Arial Silks class.  But as I was getting ready to go, I got a message that thesis scores were posted.  So yeah - had to sign into that!  But - new computer (oh yeah - haven't told that story yet - will do its own post) - so login info wasn't stored and took a bit to figure out how to access (by this point I was definitely heading toward being late.   Signed in.  Final score?  92!

I tell you - the relief, and happiness, all at the same time.  Wow.   I'll give it its own post later, but add that to counterbalance the stress of work and I *really* didn't feel like going to class.  Tried to convince C we should go for celebratory ice cream, but he basically told me to go to class ;-P.  Sheesh.

Which I did.  And had an awesome time.  Because while it's hard to convince myself to go some days, esp on days like this, I actually LOVE it every time I'm there.  I am atrociously bad at it, but I do enjoy the effort and I quite like the other women in the class, which obviously makes a huge difference.  I was not planning to continue, so I told the coach she could give away my spot (last time she had a waiting list).  But I also told her if she doesn't fill the class, let me know and I'll take the open spot.   I feel less guilty missing classes if nobody else wants it, and I'm happy to support a small business in something really unique that I'm enjoying.   Also got some pics today just in case it does end up being the last day.

This was the trick we learned on Day 1
Haven't done it since then till today, but proof that it happened ;)

And, the amusing part - I finally found a trick I'm *really* good at, and everybody else (well, of the beginners) was struggling.  Why?  Well this is a sport that requires significant upper body strength and flexibility - neither of which I have, but this one particular move (which is a setup for some drops - which is partially why I want to stay in the class) requires leg strength and balance.  Which, even after not riding for entirely too long, I still have.  Win!

There is no way to make this attractive,
but I was disproportionately pleased at my ability to do this!

Coming home I really wanted that celebratory treat, but of course everything was closed by then :(.  Sad.  I could've made it to Ghost Kitchen before it closed, but that's really far away, and before going, C reminded me there was Hagan Daaz in the kitchen.  Win!   He was asleep when I got home, but Sasha and I enjoyed the last of the ice cream :).  I feel we earned it.

Coffee and Curiosities

We went on a road trip today.  Not because we had anywhere to go, but because it was the first Saturday in more than a year that we had nothing that we absolutely had to do.  So because it's almost Hallowe'en, and because Chris has a great love for coffee (I'm definitely his second in his affections - to be fair, he's known Coffee longer ;) we decided to visit Deadly Grounds -- a "coffee and curiosities" shop in Oshawa.   The coffee appealed to Chris.  The Curiosities caught my attention...

This was the first thing we saw when we walked in....

So right away the atmosphere was established.  Definitely not the type of place to appeal to me -- it was dark, tight, and crammed full of stuff.  But looking around there were some details I appreciated, even if not quite my style.   For instance, there was a room in the back that had a wall of mugs

Odd lighting and no apparent organisation, but essentially a room of mugs and stuff.
So much stuff.

And anyone who knows me will be aware, I can't walk past a wall of reading material without, well, reading it (there's a reason I only go into bookstores when I have a ton of time to kill ;)).

One of many mugs

So as I was poking around I found this one mug -- I don't know if you can read it or not, but it says something about "the shelf this mug sits on is not really a shelf... But a door opened by the black handle..." and other instructions I don't exactly remember but that basically encouraged the reader to open the door.

Sure enough, just below the mug was a handle

Right - you're not new here.  Of COURSE I opened the door.

And just about died!

This was angled this way, so it's what you see with the door only cracked open that much, and life-size -- it was taller than I am by a reasonable amount.   I'm pretty sure only my in-my-head voice screamed, but my heart def skipped a couple beats before it made me laugh.   Very well done setup.   Although I'm super curious to know how many people actually read the mug and open the door...   I feel like it's probably not the majority who go in that room.

I brought home some unicorn dust (aka bath bomb)
because it was so the opposite of the shop's vibe that it made me laugh ;)

Anyways both the coffee (according to Chris) and the hot chocolate (according to me) were quite disappointing and definitely not worth the more than 2h drive to get there.  But it was at least a different experience ;)

They even made the rocking-horse mildly terrifying!

Also - unrelated but made me laugh -- on the drive we realised that bridges on this stretch of the 407 are decorated with images with a different theme per bridge.   We drove under one that was academia and I made some comment about "that's my bridge" -- then when I looked back from the other side once we passed it, the other side was decorated with horseback riding.  Definitely my bridge.  

I mean, I appreciate that I got through the chaos first but...

So my first weekend after 14 months of FT work combined with FT school, and I get sick.  Nothing tragic or exciting fortunately- nope, my first truly free weekend was spent medicated fighting a cold armed only w a box of Kleenex *sigh*.  Idk if my body just decided I had free time so it could have a meltdown or what.  I mean - I don’t even get to see people?!?!   Lol I leave the house twice a week for very socially distanced activities and that’s about it.  But oh well.  And of course I had reasonably important meetings (like important enough to be coloured red) on each of Mon, Tues, and Wed this week.  For perspective - I usually have two to three reds per month.  And I’m generally in meetings all day every day, so that’s a v small percentage. BUT thesis AND the vast majority of my YE responsibilities were complete.

So Mon I cancelled / relocated all but two meetings and put all my effort into being conscious and moderately coherent for those.  Did nothing else useful that day and I think was in bed by 8pm.  Tues the powers that be made it so all my meetings, while not super flexible, were at least with friendlies.  And with the aid of long expired cold meds, I made it till about 3:00.  My apologies to the everyone after 3 lol.  I got through them, but with far fewer brain cells than usual.  Gave up at 4:30.

Wed the powers took pity on me and all my am meetings cancelled or moved of their own volition.  It was the most productive day I’ve had in ages!  Lol and at year end (for the banks anyways) and not feeling well, this was ideal.   More cold meds got me through the afternoon feeling human and on the mend.   But since I’d yet to stay awake past 9 (anyone who knows me in person knows this is definitely a sign of things nqr), and because sniffling in public is definitely frowned upon now, I decided prob needed to cancel arial silks class :(.  Still sad about that.

Today is Thursday and I’m pleased to announce it’s almost 10pm and I’m still awake lol.  My brain isn’t there enough to read, hence this post instead.  And I decided driving all the way out to teach was definitely not an okay life choice :(.  But - maybe tomorrow I can have a full day with no cold meds?!?!   That would be really awesome.   Especially as we have plans w actual humans on Saturday and it would be really nice to participate in them *g*

So yeah - nothing exciting, just mildly bemused that my body apparently waited till the moment I was done the worst of work and school before shutting down on me.

"If it's easy, you're doing it wrong" -- Arial Silks Coach

I'm currently typing this lying on a mound of pillows because the nice hot bath I set up to soak in hurt my shoulders too much...  lol just to levelset where we're starting.   IDK what was different in class last night - partially, I was exhausted going in, and partially for whatever reason they (that’d be coach and advanced students) decided it was conditioning day?   Right.

Perspective - this is an adult class.  We are grouped by the fact that we are all over 18, nothing to do with capability.  The class has shrunk since it started but of those still around there’s all the advanced ones, the two intermediate, and me.  Which, tbh, I  actually love cause it's super fun and interesting to watch the advanced work.   Esp when they're learning new things.  Like, that is theoretically within the realm of possibility?!?!   Way more interesting than what we're doing *g*  

At least one of the other intermediates is closer to my beginner level.  She gets it faster as it’s a reminder rather than new, but she’s working for it ;)


So for instance after the normal warmup (which - yeah - I’ve been promoted out of the beginner version and boo - it’s WAY harder now) we started with a hang (basically grab silks above your head and pick your feet off the ground) which you’re supposed to hold 10 seconds in each of 3 consecutive poses without putting your feet down.  Like wtf?!?!   Lol the only thing that made me feel better about lasting all of about 3 seconds was that the other two dropped moments after me.  The advanced participants made it all the way through all.  Like WAY more sheer upper body strength than we’ve done to date.

So then we did the class, which felt pretty normal except I was really dragging.  And I’m laughably bad at it.  So for each move there’s a number of steps.  My problem is I can’t remember what to do next, and I’ve got a 50/50 shot each time.   I can usually remember whether the next step involves legs, hands, or twist - but rarely which leg, hand, or direction.   The number of times I’ve ended up literally tied in knots cause I twisted the wrong direction is….  Excessive ;).  “Uh no, that’s not quite right…” lol one of the more frequent refrains.   On the plus side - most of them I can do if either someone talks me through it OR I’m cheating and following someone else’s attempted step by step ;).  For now, that has to be a win.  Maybe I’ll get to independence next month *g*.  It’s the silks version of being on the lunge line - I need to be supervised till we’re reasonably certain I won’t hurt myself lol.  In my own defence, we learn at least one and sometimes two or three new tricks every week, and - well - I haven’t actually learned any of them effectively.   It’s like trying to memorize a dozen different first level dressage tests at the same time.  You only have a certain number of options to work with, but when there’s too many of them it’s really easy to mix them up (is it test 1 or test 2 that tracks left after the centre line?)

This was me being more successful in 2010!

So we went through all those adventures and at the end of class is always two exercises - a box for one minute and then a hang as long as possible.  So far I’ve failed reasonably badly at the box each time (I can get the legs but usually not the arms) and the hang has been between 3 and 14 seconds.   Well today I gave up entirely on the box - I couldn’t even get my legs to stay in place.  BUT that gave me a slight cheat in that I had like a 45 second rest before the hang, which I made a new record of 24 seconds!  Woohoo lol

lol looked up the box from my previous adventure, and first of all, they called it a star, which makes way  more sense to me, but secondly, this is what I wrote: 

So we went from the easiest to one of the hardest. And this one was NOT worth the effort it took cause it didn't look all that impressive. hahaha difficult things should at least look kewl! This was a star -- so stand on the swing, spread your feet aside, push the silks away from you with your arms. No problem. Except that you're on two ropes tied at the top and the bottom, so the wider you spread them, the shakier it gets. My balance and core strength is reasonable, but I was shaking trying to hold that one! 

I am betting if we did this at the start of class it wouldn't be nearly as difficult lol.  But at the end when your body is already on strike, it's pretty brutal.

Anyways - usually after class I’m WIRED but I was just fully exhausted.  Tried to have a bath and couldn’t stay awake enough so just went to bed.

And my ego was super full of itself when I woke up not at all sore.  Like how is that even possible?   I expected to be dead today.  Win!

Right.  Fast forward to the end of the day.  Part way through the drive home from teaching my side was really sore and I couldn’t seem to get comfortable.  Odd.  And it was getting *really* hard to keep my hands on the wheel.   Hmmm.  Went in and sat down on the couch and realized my abs were done.  Like couldn’t even sit up done.  And shoulders, back, and arms too.

Hmmmm okay so maybe a hot bath is necessary?   Except leaning against the tub hurt.  Omg I’ve literally never felt that before.  And my ego drowned in the tub.

So now I’m typing this reclining against my comfy pillow cause I can’t sit up straight.  And I have some significant concerns about how functional I’ll be tomorrow which is the day after the day after and we all know traditionally way worse.   Wish me luck!

Oh - and on top of it - coach wants to extend class an extra 30 mins to allow more conditioning.  I mean, apparently I need it, but I have to live through it first!

An interesting literary experience

Thesis submitted yesterday -- I'm sure there will be a post about that, but I'm not there yet.  Today I had booked off work just in case I needed extra hours to finish said thesis on time, but since it was submitted early, it meant I had an entire day off.  Like really off.  With nothing hanging over me that needed to happen.  It was also like 25 degrees and sunny out, so clearly the only appropriate use of a day to celebrate the end of studying is to spend it reading for pleasure instead (while throwing a ball endlessly for my favourite dog).   I slept in this morning, took the dogs for a walk, and then settled into the back yard with a book.  A really fascinating one -- but fascinating from a writing perspective as well as a story perspective.  It has some interesting literary twists that as a writer I appreciate but as a reader I’m unsure of.  It’s definitely somewhat uncomfortable, but I feel like maybe it’s supposed to be.

Book 1

The series is The Broken Earth by NK Jemisin  and there is one spoiler below so if you’re actively reading or have in your tbr pile, stop here ;)  It's one I actually bought, probably on the recommendation of one of the book groups I follow, and have been looking forward to reading.

The prologue starts off with a narrator addressing the reader directly.  The narrator sets the stage while very carefully revealing nothing about their role in it.

Not a bad start ;)

So first off - it’s a series that jumps between different characters’ viewpoints each chapter. I’m generally not a fan of this approach but I can deal w it if needed.  Except that one of the characters is written in the second person?!?!  

The first intro to "you" and your story

As I read more I’m becoming accustomed to it so it’s slightly less jarring but it was really disconcerting for quite some time.  Idk if I’ve actually read fiction written in second person before.

Then the interesting twist - spoiler alert - part way through book 1, it’s revealed that all the personalities are the same character at different points in her life.  Which I actually thought was awesome. 

In book 2, the different voices are different people and every once in a while the narrator makes an appearance, still speaking in first person.  Narrator’s identity is eventually revealed and, not surprisingly, he’s not the most trustworthy narrator.

Our unreliable narrator justifying his choice

I haven’t gotten to book 3 yet.  I’m fascinated by these and it’s an exceptionally well crafted work, but I wouldn’t say I’m exactly enjoying them.  These are not light, fun, reads.  But they are definitely interesting and I am absolutely emotionally committed to finding out how it all ends.

Maybe I should go as a flailing octopus for Hallowe'en

So I finished 21 Day Fix and figured I'd redo the first two weeks which would take me to Thanksgiving and find a new program after.  Right.  Turns out I'm *really* bad at repeating things *sigh*.  So for the first week I did nothing.  Fail.  So I decided I'd start the new program even if it needed a minor break in the middle, and learned it's only 5 days/wk - I can take the whole weekend off and not miss a thing.  Win.

The program in question is 10 Rounds.  It's by the same person who did Core de Force, which is still one off my top two Beachbody programs of all time.  And I definitely accept I like punching shadows, so should be good right?

So some learnings from this one lol.  Keep in mind, it's only Day 1.

First - early into 21DF I purchased mirrors that I could strategically put around my basement gym area (think super-cheap Amazon-basics quality full length). These don't cover a whole lot of space, but with strategic alignment I can arrange it so I can see front and side view at the same time.  This was 100% so I could ensure my form (particularly fun things involving any form of plank) where it actually makes a difference if you do it correctly.  I know, historically, my body excels at finding unusual ways to cheat and to compensate (much to the general bemusement of many a trainer).  So yeah - there are mirrors.  And in 20DF it was even slightly inspiring -- I was doing basically what the iPad people were and actual muscles were pretending to almost vaguely consider making an appearance.  Win.

Right.  Fast-forward to day one of 10 Round.  So first of all - I turned the iPad to face the mirror since unlike most of these programs, it's neither mirrored nor equally balanced (eg do everything left, then do everything right).  So to follow along without confusing myself, I watched in the mirror ;-P   Win.

The exercises themselves, I was somewhat disappointed.  They were nowhere near as much fun (or confusion) as CDF, and very slow moving.  I get that they're teaching the basics so it can become more complex, but meh.   But I did break a sweat and my core got a workout so good start.  But those mirrors.  They were painful.  So while I felt strong and athletic with them in 21DF - it turns out I look absolutely embarrassingly ridiculous punching at shadows.   The people on TV look like strong fighters you would not want to be on the wrong side of.  Me?  not so much.   Like the average toddler swinging at the adult with a palm on their forehead looks more formidable.   It made me *really* glad I work out alone in my basement ;-P    

Super-fierce, let me tell you.

And then on top of that, for some reason when I throw a cross I drop my left shoulder.  Like, why?  Where and how did I decide that was a reasonable thing to do?  😂 so completely random, but at least the mirrors showed me that, so I watched the pros for a bit to verify that no, in fact, that is not part of the move, and then spent the  rest of the time trying to not do that.  Sheesh.   Self-coaching 101.  If I could figure out how not to look like a drunk octopus I'd get on that too.

And then we have today.  Where my ego now hurts as much as the rest of my upper body.  Cause yeah - that disappointingly easy workout hurt muscles in my back and shoulders that I didn't even know existed.  Which, perversely, makes me way more excited about the program since it tells me it's working.  But yeah.  Will be an interesting 6 weeks ;-P