Sunday, 26 June 2016

Lady of Leisure

Happy Sunday from my lot to yours!

"One, two, three....SUNDAAAAAAY!!"

It's been a decent old week for me, which may or may not have something to do with the fact that I had the whole thing off work.  Maybe.  Surprised myself by being pretty productive and only taking a grand total of about two unplanned naps.  Hurrah!  Nothing I did was Earth shatteringly exciting, but it was nice to catch up on all the boring life admin that usually hangs out in the back of my head, threatening to ignite my stress levels at any minute like an evil child with its hands on a lighter. 

Some stuff what I did:

Quality time with dog
Quality time to my dog = sitting three centimeters away from me at all times, staring unblinkingly until I drop food.  

Quality time with cat
Let cat in. Let cat out. Let cat in. Let cat out.  Repeat times infinity. Cat is an arse hole who am pretty sure does this for lolz.

Experienced too many feelings in a short space of time
As many of you well know, the Netflix series Orange is the New Black made its return with excellent timingI binge watched the whole thing within about three or four days.  Mistake.  BIG mistake.  There should be a limit on how many episodes you're allowed to consume within a single week.   My body and mind are not equipped to handle that volume and variation of feeling in such a short space of time.  I just...ugh!  It needs to come with a health warning.  Like on a box of fags, you get those pictures of shrivelled up lungs...The thumbnail image on OINTB should be an image of someone in food stained jammies with three day old bed hair, sob-laughing into a box of pre-sliced cheese.


Turns out when I cry, the dog also cries. Think more out of fear than empathy - don't think he's ever seen my face contort in such an attractive way before.  Imagine it was quite alarming.

Learned to cook.  Sort of
I jumped on the bandwagon and bought Joe Wicks' (Instagram famous smiley cockney in shorts - look him up if unsure!) Lean in 15 books.  Bought more into the premise that actual meals can be made within 15 minutes as apposed to the whole "get lean" part.  Although based on the fact that I failed to get a pair of jeans that fit me last year past my knees the other day, "lean" would be a happy bonus... Or new jeans.  Whichever comes first.  So far, I've seen four recipes through to the 15(ish) minute end and not given myself or anyone else food poisoning so far.  Yippee!  Joe Wicks is evidently some kind of Becky-proof recipe creating genius.  Like Stephen Hawking with a frying pan and a low resting heart rate (I assume).

Lost and regained running mojo
Since Cardiff Half in October last year, I've only been running about once a week, averaging about 3-5 miles and going to Crossfit three days or so a week.  I assumed that I can automatically run long distances still because:

a. Am doing Crossfit regularly now and am therefore superhuman (the bar for "superhuman" for me is low. It means "person who can now do up to six push ups in a row on a good day").
b. Have done a full marathon last year.
c. Have conveniently forgotten how quickly my mindset went from "I can run FOREVER!!" to "please can I go home and lie down now?" after mile 7 of March's interesting attempt at the Llanelli Half marathon.
d.  Once you know how to run distances, it just stays with you, yeah?

No, Dick Brain.  Just no. I've taken a break from signing up to every single race that comes my way this year because that's how I managed to injure myself last year.  Also is crazy expensive and doing event after  event sucks the joy out of things.  This week, as I've signed up for the big 'un (London Marathon) next year, I decided to sign up to a couple of races for September and October just in case I get in (still undecided what I actually want the outcome to be.  Gulp). I've got myself a place for the Swansea Bay 10k, and come next payday, I'll be signing up to have my third crack at Cardiff Half. 

This sounds so stupid, but I forgot how HARD running is and how quickly easily you can lose the mental capacity for longer distances.  I've done a couple of 6+ mile runs recently and after about 5 miles, everything starts to grind.  I started overthinking my "slow, oh so very very slow, am rubbish!" pace and assuming that my injury from last year is going to come back at any second to bite me in the ankles.  It's not been v much fun.  At one point early this week, I was wondering how I could change my website address here to just be "Rebecca Writes" because the lack of running I do of late makes the title of this blog more than a little misleading.  Ridiculous.

This morning, Andy and I went to spectate at the Swansea Half Marathon.  I've never been that side of the barrier before.  It was so much fun to see people I know bossing the course! And so inspiring to watch the 8,000 or so entrants dig in and get 'er done.  From the fastest to the slowest, it was clear that every single person was putting in so much effort. Because I'm usually piddling around towards the back, I don't normally get to see how the Speedy McLightningPants types look when they run a race.  I assumed that they springily gazelled their way to the finish line, because they were "naturals."  Nope!  Turns out all of us runners look like we're chewing onions when the going gets tough because guess what?  Running is hard no matter your ability or speed, and that's exactly why we do it!  To get that feeling of elation that we've survived something.  If running suddenly became easy, I'd probably go right off it.  Where's the achievement without the effort? And the bragging rights, obvs. Achievement and bragging rights are more or less the same thing, no?

Being reminded that there are shinies, goodies and glory at the finish line didn't hurt either.  The atmosphere was brilliant.  Bring on the training, and bring on the next race!  Here's to chewing onions with the elite and the newbies alike!  Hurrah!

...Hmm.  Not too sure how a list of "things what I done this week" turned into a emotional ramble about running, but there we are.  Least my attitude seems to be steering back in the right direction.  I'm sure my next post will have more of an actual structure to it.  75% sure.



Side note: Fully aware that this week's EU referendum vote is of slightly more importance than my ability to cook chicken without killing anyone (only slightly, mind. I mean, it is pretty impressive).  Long story short, I'm gutted by how the whole thing turned out.  I respect anyone's right to an opinion, even if it is different to mine as long as that opinion isn't blindly concocted and/or driven by fear.  I also believe that given the chance to vote again, a lot more people will participate and make the effort to educate themselves about the choice they're making as the magnitude of it dawns on everyone.  Sooo, I'm just going to leave this here...

Click here to sign petition for a second EU referendum =)

Okay, bye!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

O, Sister of Mine (Recycled Post)

Okay.  So. I'm cheating a bit on this post.  I wrote this one for an old blog account that I was terrible at keeping up to date with.

"But Becky, you are so regular and punctual with your clockwork-like, evenly spaced apart posts on here!  Surely this cannot be?"

I know, I know.  My past habits do both shock and amaze, kind reader.  Anyway, as I was deactivating said old account, I came across one solitary post from 2012 that was longer than a single paragraph, and because I didn't want the whole probably 20 minutes or so's effort to go to waste, I have chosen to recycle it and share it with you.  Because I'm generous like that and recycling helps saves the whales and shit...Not sure if that applied to blogging, but whatever.  Here it is:

O, Sister 

For the purpose of...well, there's no good purpose - I will be referring to my friends and relatives by their first initial (until I mention two people with the same initial...I'll cross that bridge when I come to it). Possibly it is because it makes me sound all science-y, and this makes me feel like a professional observer of my own life. "Behold! Exhibit A!" etc.

Today, I will be shedding a light on my love/straight-up abuse fuelled relationship with my twenty two year old sister. Exhibit R. Today, we put on a believable front of two reasonably socialised female adults who get on well. Most of the time. But it hasn't always been like this.

It all started when she was born. With two point five years of totally monopolizing my parents' attention under my belt, it would have been an understatement to say that I was unhappy with the arrival of the tiny flesh monkey that had the same surname as me.

"You coming to the hospital to meet your baby sister?"


"Do you not want to see what she looks like?"


*dragged kicking and screaming to hospital anyway*


(Fade to hospital scene. I am sat on a too-big-for-me chair, pointedly staring at anything other than my new relative.)

"Isn't she gorgeous?"


"Do you want to hold her?"


My reaction to babies is much the same to this day. I fully blame Rachel. I mean R...

Over the years, though, we have learned to live with one another. Or, rather, I have learned to back down because she can easily kick my arse. Here are some examples of a few incidences in which she may have realised that, of the pair of us, she has the upper hand:

* Hanging around a garden centre as our parents shop - R and I are inspecting a variety if exotic plants and cacti. R points out a vivid green specimen covered it what looks like friendly, white fluff. She tells me that it is a cactus, because she is a smart arse like that.  In a bid to prove R wrong - that said specimen is, in fact, not a cactus as it has no visible spikes, I wrap my fist around it. The fluff isn't friendly. It takes two days to get all the tiny spikes out of my palms. Vegetation/Rachel 1, Becky 0.

* More shopping - R and I are keeping ourselves busy in a Pound Stretcher or similar. I am inspecting some toys and sizing up which ones I should nag my parents for. I feel a tap on my shoulder.

"Bec, look what I found!" I turn around to be met with a split second view of R grinning happily, followed by a large, red boxing glove coming straight for my nose.

* A visit to the grandparents - R finds a boomerang. Pretty similar story to previous.

* Same trip to grandparents' - same story as previous two. This time it's a golf ball from above.

I'm sure my subconscious will dredge up some similar horrors from my childhood soon enough for your enjoyment and my embarrassment.

The main point of this post...I that sibling rivalry doesn't dissolve through some process of maturation and improved communication, forging bonds and...etc, etc. It actually happens when one of you realises that your brother/sister could kick seven shades of shit out of you should they choose to do so. You then bow to their physical/mental superiority accordingly, never openly admitting that they are harder than you, and choosing friendship over competition, as it hurts less than being hit in the chops.

And if you don't think that this has happened to you, then congrats, you're the meanie. Go pick on someone your own age/size/stupid poo-facedness, you smelly bully!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Defier of Logic, Drinker of Coffee

So very, very tired.  I wholeheartedly volunteered/flung myself at the opportunity to cover the early shifts at work for the second week running.  Not because I'm some kind of saintly, generous soul who thinks only of helping out her fellow man in the work place.  It's because it means I get to do a little "enjoy the rest of your shift, suckaaas!" dance on my way out the door at 3pm while my well rested co workers ferret away at their computers for another couple of hours.

While it is true that I do get to leave the office at 3pm (in theory, depending on how much left over faffage I have from the day's work), what I neglected to factor into my decision was the fact that I really, really like sleep.  If sleep was a person, I would marry it.  

But. In order to get to work on time and fit in a short dog walk (let's face it, a Becky walk - the dog has made his desire for "just another 5 minutes' sleep.." clear more or less every day that I've dragged him out of the house), I have to get up at 5am.  A weird hour which is neither day nor night, and when the only other people around are nurses coming home from night shifts, insomniacs and other people who have made bad decisions.  Because of this Godforsaken waking hour that no amount of coffee can remedy the effects of, I've been completely and totally bollocksed by 8pm like clockwork.  

I've been getting into bed at about 9 each night, praying for a solid 8 hours' sweet, sweet unconsciousness and instead waking intermittently for the first hour or so (after a decent to improper amount of Facebook scrolling of course) because I'm convinced that it's morning as the sun hasn't even gone down yet.  I'm later woken again when the residents of the house (Andy and my small zoo) come up to bed at a normal, functioning-human hour and then again several more times in the night because I'm having mini panic-wakes because "Agh! It's only a couple of hours before I have to get up!"

My life choices often defy logic in this kind of way.  Of course 2 weeks of waking at arse crack o' clock = sleepy and barely functioning.  And yet I would still lunge at the chance to go to work at 4am if it meant I could leave at midday.  Or even offer to do the same shift indefinitely ("You mean I get to leave at 3 EVERY day? Wow!  Sign me up!") if the chance came my way. Common sense eludes me.  Here are some other ways that I laugh in the face of logic:

I eat until I'm immobile

Anyone who has read more than one of these blog posts (thank you, you lovely person if you have!) will know that to say I am a fan of food is like saying that erroneously trusting a fart in white trousers would be a little bit embarrassing.  It's a massive understatement. 

Clarification: I have never sharted in public, but I couldn't think of anything more unpleasant that could hypothetically happen as an example.  Let's be honest, if I had that kind of experience, I would have blogged about it already.  I have little to no shame.  Also my thoughts go out to anyone who has lived through the trauma of public sharting.  Your bravery in soldiering on is commendable.  Everything in this paragraph is indicative of how tired I am.  Help me.

Moving on from shart based digression: I start every meal telling myself that I am going to eat only enough for me to be able gain an adequate amount of nourishment.  Like you're supposed to.  Once I have done that, I reward myself with further mouthfuls.  Sometimes I reward myself so much that I spend whole evenings clutching my stomach and asking the ceiling "why, God, why?"  God has never spoken back to me, because s/he knows I already know the answer.  It's because I am a greedy so-and-so who will eventually be the proud owner of four chins.   It's good to achieve things in life.

I broadcast my failings

Okay, maybe not failings.  Mishaps.  I'm cack-handed by nature and so am frequently betrayed by my own body's inability to perform simple tasks.  I've unintentionally thrown things I'm holding at the floor whilst standing still.  I'm skilled in tripping over nothing at all.  I've been known to choke on know, that stuff that keeps you alive?  Lots of these things are done without witnesses, so if I wanted to, I could maybe portray myself as a semi capable hominoid if I really wanted to.  Instead, every time I've done something inexplicably stupid like temporarily forget what the number 9 looks like or trying to hang up my work phone by lightly smacking the receiver against the table instead of the holder, I immediately look for people I can tell about it.  I think it's because my body is constantly finding new and fun ways to fuck my day up a little bit and I want to share my awe of its stubborn independence and creativity with others.

I always find ways to piss Future Me off

This goes hand in hand with the whole eating-until-I'm-in-pain thing.  I know that doing the thing is going to have consequences I'm not going to want to deal with later, so in the long run, it's actually easier to not do the thing.  

However,  Present Me doesn't care.  Future Me is a whiny bitch who'll just have to suck it up and get on with it when the times comes.  Which is all well and good until Future Me becomes Present Me, who is gobsmacked and infuriated by Past Me's audacity at leaving Present Me all of those dishes to do/ making her have to get up from bed twenty bajillion times to go to the loo to relieve herself of the twenty gazillion pints of water she had before sleeping/ leaving her staring forlornly at her bereft bank account because Past Me decided that money is just a concept and therefore not real.  Past Me is a dick.

I assume that THIS will be the time that I drink and don't get a hang over. Every. Single. Time.

Self explanatory.  I blame Past Me.

Note: Am not currently drinking.  I might defy logic, the but having to get up at 5am after a Thursday night booze up in my jammies makes me want to cry.  I'm illogical, not insane.

I drink coffee as a remedy for stress

Yup.  That rocket fuel made ground-up of jitters and fear is the perfect, soothing remedy for a tough day at the office when you need your wits about you at all times.  It's so much easier to type when your fingers are engaged in involuntary jazz hands.  Genius.

I could go on.  Maybe I'll do a part 2 some time.  I'd better round this up now, because it's 5 minutes to 8pm and if experience has taught me anything, I'm about to fall asleep sat bolt upright with my mouth hanging open.  

I'll leave you with this -  A photographic depiction of logic slapping me in the face while I remain blissfully unaware of it:

Actually, it's me drinking a mojito at Christmas time, leaning on my own hand.  Also, I don't know if logic would wear a fitbit.


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Gut Krakens & Wheatus

Halp meee!  

This is not my finest hour.  Got a whole day off work today after I spent last night time traveling to 2001 at a Wheatus gig.  I had every intention of making the most of my day today by going on a lovely, long run, cleaning the house etc etc.  My stomach has other plans for me.  Every now and then, I get these bloody horrific stomach aches that enjoy surprising me when I least expect/want them (not sure anyone ever thinks there's a nice time to have your innards turn on you, mind..).  These spells feel like a small hedgehog is redecorating my insides with a razor.  Not much fun.  So with that in mind, this is how this morning has looked so far:
  • Woke at 5am and hunched and waddled like Quasimodo to the kitchen to do a shot of apple cider vinegar in the hopes that it'll appease the kraken my guts.
  • Fell unconscious again.
  • Spent a few more hours telling the baffled dog who was watching me adopt the fetal position "Owww!", to which he responded with a look that said "But you can still feed me though, yeah?"
  • Eventually gave up on the fetal position/pity party for one fun - seemed to be getting a bit better by that point anyway.
  • Ate cheese and Pringle sandwich.
  • Regretted cheese and Pringle sandwich.  Regretted it terribly.
  • Cried at a youtube video.
Yup.  Sorry state of affairs.  On the plus side, last night was as much fun as expected.  This was (I think) my fifth time seeing Wheatus live, because... well because I laaaav them!  I've been fuelling my obsession with their music since I was about 12 and bought Teenage Dirtbag on CD single from my local Woolworths for a couple of quid.  I still have it somewhere.

Christ... Woolworths. The only place in the early noughties where you could satisfy your simultaneous cravings for a top 10  chart single, an all-you-can-fit-in-the-pot-as-long-as-the-lid-stays-on pick 'n' mix and a tiny can of pink Mr Blobby lemonade in one trip...Sigh.

Fuck me, I'm old.  

Right.  Wheatus.  Here they are.  Sort of.  What?  I'm a blogger, not a photographer!

...and here we are!

If I was smiling any harder, you'd see skull

...and here... is how A and I looked at the end of the evening's festivities at midnight in McDonalds.

Witness the fitness, all.  

Some highlights of the gig:
  • Being in a venue (The Scene, Swansea) that was small enough for me to be able to count the individual nose hairs on one of my favourite bands if I'd wanted to.  I chose to take the less "terrifying stalker" route of hanging back by the bar instead.  Hence that last image that you've just had burned into your retinas.  Sorry about that.
  • Wheatus don't tend to follow a set list.  Instead, they take requests and make it up as they go along  -playing what the crowd want because they're magical and lovely like that.  My shrill screams didn't register with the band, so my friends kindly banded (haw haw) together and deafened half the room on my behalf. The song I wanted to hear got played.  Ow. My cold, stony heart.
  • Getting so uhh.."merry" that the bar tender looked at me as though I had a screw loose when I kept asking him for a Cornetto.  Until he realised that I meant I wanted a Corona.  Same difference.
  • Getting to see mother effing Wheatus do what they do best - host a loud, happy, sweaty dance party! 
Ruddy good night! Now. I've just remembered that I've left my car 7 miles away in town and my only mode of transport until A gets home are my legs.  I'm going to go tell myself I'm going to run to it, get changed into my kit and then sit quietly weeping at my gastric discomfort until A comes home and offers to drive me to fetch it instead.  Busy day, people!  Much to do!  Hope you have a good 'un =)

Saturday, 4 June 2016

My Dog is a Better Person Than Me


Well, I only left a fortnight between posts this time rather than a month, so that's something!  Couple of people have told me recently that I don't post enough these days, which is both flattering and surprising.  Didn't cross my mind that anyone might read my waffle (initially wrote "consume", but was creeped out for reasons I can't explain by "comsume my waffle."  Consume my waffle, friend! *Lightly touches your knee, maintains intense eye contact*) on the regular.  Thank you to anyone that does.  Means a lot to me that my verbal vom tickles some people enough to have them keep reading these silly posts and encouraging me to carry on.  Just... shut up, you're being soppy!

...something in my eye.  

I don't have a great deal to catch you up on.  Went to a wedding do last weekend and did some moderate to oh-my-God-your-poor-pickled-liver imbibing of spirits (not big, not clever, kids!). Here is an image of A and I looking presentable and sophisticated on a bus at 2am:

Sweaty fringed and gurning is the new classy.

Bar that lovely event full of friends I haven't seen properly for a while, I've not got out much.  Evidence:

Yeah.  Don't know.  Haunting, isn't it?

I've got to spend lots of time with my small zoo during my spells of hermitude, which has been nice.  I've been a dog owner (That sounds like too much responsibility.  Dog botherer? Not like that! Jesse and I have a purely platonic relationship.  Almost business associate-esque.  I feed him...he lets me feed him) for about 6 months now, and I've got to know the little bugger quite well.  Him and his many, many odd habits such as:
  • Land swimming.
  • Staring unblinking at you whilst sitting on your chest in a bid to stop you sleeping.  Ever.
  • Running downstairs using only 3 legs - nothing wrong with the fourth, he just doesn't use it on descents for reasons only known to him.
  • Cry-breathing even when he's clearly happy.
I've also come to the depressing realisation that if he were to wake up human one day (if we ignore the fact that it would be just a little bit fucking terrifying, especially as he shares our bed and I'm imagining him as an adult *shudder*), he'd be a better person than me.  Here's why: 

1. He loses his shit with joy at having the same food at every meal:
I envy this trait in my mutt.  Don't get me wrong, food excites me more than most things in life.  Life is just stuff that keeps me occupied between meals, and I think that people who "forget to eat" and find that sitting down for munchies gets in the way of a produtivity are clearly from another planet.  However, if I had to eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of my life, I would probably have to top myself.  If I had my dog's boundless enthusiasm for "OMG MORE dehydrated meat nuggets!  THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!", I would be capable of eating those "balanced meals" I'm always hearing about at every mealtime as opposed to the cheese-and-sugarsplosions I tend to favour whenever I can get them.  

2.  Everyone is awesome!!
Jesse has zero social anxiety.  With people at least.  He does sound like a kettle coming to the boil whenever the neighbours' jack russell looks at him the wrong way.  He loves and trusts every single person he meets and will proceed to kill them with licks.  I have no desire to sample strangers'  sweat glands with my mouth, but I wouldn't mind not constantly telling myself that I'm "standing in an antisocial way" or "smiling weird" in any given situation where I'm with more than two other people.  

3.  If he doesn't want to do something, he won't.
Walkies in the rain is the main example that comes to mind.  I need walkies more than Jesse does - come rain or shine.  My excess twitchies that need to be walked off  regularly don't give a shit whether it looks like Oz outside or no.  Know who does?  Jesse.  He will allow me to drag him down to the bottom of the street while he acts like he's contracted rigor mortis of the legs, until he finally "gives in" and starts to play crafty buggers with me.  He will pretend like he's all "oh, okay, let's go then" until he finds something interesting to pee on (on a normal walk, this will happen up to 100,000,000,00000..0 times, so this in itself is not unusual).  He will then turn around to face home and start trotting merrily back.  "Yeah, we were going this way, weren't we?  Off we go, human.  Keep up now!"  Wily sod.

4.  He's not deterred by others' blatant hatred of him
Most sane people would back off after just one smack around the head, let alone several.  For six months, Jesse has been pestering the cat with relentless attention.  Walter has been responding with equally relentless hostility - choosing one day to scratch Jesse on the tongue.  Which was terrifying.  When your pooch starts inexplicably bleeding at the mouth and charging in in circles around the garden, you can't help but wonder whether you've adopted one of Satan's minions. Anyhow, this month something weird has happened.  The cat seems to actually like the dog now.  They're having snuggle times, during which Walter will only bat Jesse around the head occasionally - claws in - in an "oh, you!" kind of way.

Lesson learned:  If you get the impression that someone doesn't like you, follow them around day and night and stamp your feet at them until they cave in and have to at least tolerate you

5.  He's easily pleased
We actually have this in common.  If you give me food and let me out to run around occasionally, I'm yours.  However, his excitement is a LOT more visible than mine.  My favourite thing to do at the minute is to buy him things to chew on that are bigger than his head.  This causes him to completely forget how to use his body.  He'll clamp onto the chew with every muscle in his face while the rest of his body goes into freak out mode behind him.  Probably just as well that I don't express excitement in this way.  Don't think I'd make too many friends at Reading Festival this year by growling, whining and dropping to the floor like a bag of ferile cats.

...And for the sake of balance (sort of):

The One Way in Which I am a Better Person than my Dog

I don't take a dump by the front door in dirty protest of everyone else not waking up when I want them to.

Yeah, I'm looking at you, you tiny weirdo.