Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Things that can go terribly wrong in Yoga: number one

I bought a special introductory offer one month’s unlimited yoga classes at the local yoga place, which is excellent value if you use it to go to as many yoga classes as you can in the month, not so excellent value if you only use it to go to one and then give up and sit drinking coffee and growling in their sweet little vegan cafĂ© and altering the karma in a negative direction. So, this month you will mostly find me in down dog, failing to stretch my hamstrings sufficiently.

I am having fun. It has been exciting. I have done a hot yoga class, which is essentially yoga in a room with the heating turned up really, really high, like a sauna. Partner says this is a ‘gimmick’. I will say that I am not rushing to book on my next hot yoga class: indeed, I thought I might be their first fatality. I kept thinking of that man who put a lot of people in a sweat lodge and they died, and he said he was going to ‘absorb that lesson as part of his spiritual journey’ as he got on a plane to a country with no extradition arrangements with the US. Anyway, I have this piece of wisdom for you: if you go to a hot yoga class, wear very little and take a towel, because you will sweat. You will sweat even if, like me, you are a person who doesn’t sweat, ever, and whose internal temperature gauge is turned lower than that of most people, and whose touch is like the Cold Grip Of Death.

I have done more. I have yoga flowed. I have been conscious of my breath. I have fallen on my nose doing a posture ‘to give the hips a good deep opening’. I have ommed. I have ‘engaged my core muscles’. I have discovered I am ‘further on than half bind but not binding fully’ and require straps around my nether regions. I have done shoulder stands and kept my legs in the air for surprising amounts of time, a posture which, Mr Iyengar assures me in his book, will deal with constipation with the efficiency of a Dulcolax overdose. But something so terrible happened to me this morning that I began to fear that the remembered trauma would mean I could never do yoga again.

Obviously, this will surprise you, but, sometimes I take clothes out of the washer and I do not put them away immediately, I know, you thought I was Martha Stewart and Anthea Turner (poor Anthea!) combined. But, no! I chuck them on the beanbag overnight. Well, I have learned my lesson. Because this morning, as I staggered out of bed half asleep to amble off to Yoga Flow Detox, and put on my vest that I wear, I realised something had been sharing my vest with me. It was an enormous spider. With great big thick black legs. And it was now sitting on my waist. So this morning saw me running backwards and forwards in only my ratty sports bra and with my head trapped in a lycra vest, squawking and wriggling and jumping up and down to dislodge it. It is not on me now: but, it is somewhere, and I do not think the other people at the yoga classes, who have the proper kit and are in touch with their Prana, have to deal with spiders. But, I keep on. Because, when you are a person who is further on than half bind, the only way is forwards. I have mastered plough pose and now am working towards wheel. When I get there I will open a bottle of wine.

Love, Susie, the world’s most unlikely yogi,


Monday, 27 August 2012

Introducing colour

We went to stay in Brighton and the B+B we stayed in was not painted like a mad white cube.
Colour!!! Partner said, at least it had a white ceiling
So I began to feel I could introduce some colour into our lives. I have been considering painting a bit of furniture ever since I saw a painted chest of drawers on the front of Making magazine, which was quite nice, and which chased away terrible memories of stencilling, and of ragrolling in mediterranean colours which you will understand my shuddering at if you are of my vintage (37)*. Anyway, the other day I trotted off out to buy the Observer and someone had put a small table out to be taken away (they had. I didn’t just take someone’s table. It had a sign). It was a house near where the Worst Cat In Cambridge lives, I just tell you that for local colour: anyway, I came home with the Observer and a free table, which surprised Partner a bit. And today I have painted my table. This was the table before I painted it:
I think it's highly unlikely this table was worth money but if it was, please don't tell me
And this is the table now, painted in Habitat Mediterranean and Cumin (Habitat go into administration and now suddenly they’re everywhere, doing paint in Homebase and featuring in the Argos catalogue, who knew):
I'm not 100% sure I like the colour of the legs. I shall sleep on it
I bought two tester pots of emulsion and a pot of varnish, which came to £13.59 (I had brushes/ masking tape/ white emulsion for undercoat already). So, this is my £13.59 table which is reasonably thrifty, I think. I shall touch it up in daylight and then I shall varnish it. I am gradually making inroads into our bedroom, and this is going to be my bedside table. I am going to move the current bedside table and beanbag to the study for Reading Nook purposes and make a replacement beanbag for the bedroom, which is a work in progress. This is all displacement activity because what I really need to do is sort out Partner And The Ridiculous Book Mountain, but baby steps, people, baby steps.
Bonus picture of cows who just come and hang out in the city centre as if that is both normal and acceptable, stopping me getting to the PUB
* If you are reading this in a room with ragrolled stencilled walls, don’t listen to me. I’m sure it looks lovely, and please enjoy your tuscany-effect ceramics, sun-dried tomatoes, and affair with the milkman.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Confronting my fears

I have been experimenting with circus skills classes (no, really, I have), and a few weeks ago found me dangling from a trapeze. I was not entirely sold on the trapeze as the damn thing would not stay still, so, today I went and did silks, which are these. Silks were great. They were just like pole dancing and I shall go again. You have to wrap them the correct way round your limbs and hook them around bits of you with your feet. It is essentially a cross between knitting, bondage and acrobatics. Anyway, with the help of a special knot for terrified people, I managed to dangle upside down in the silks with my legs in the air and splayed out in the splits position (I mean, I can't entirely do the splits but just so you can imagine the shape), which has been my worst fear since I was old enough to articulate what a fear is. And it was fine. I am still alive. But I would now like to know when my midlife crisis is going to end and I can go back to sitting on the sofa knitting and watching Jeremy Kyle*. I am now sitting and having a nice cup of tea while I stop trembling. Then I will clean the bathroom and that will ground me.

I am on the frill of my gold shawl. It may even get finished in this lifetime!

* I'm not even sure I'm really old enough to have a midlife crisis yet, so I hope the worst isn't still to come. I really don't want to end up standing on the wing of aeroplanes or anything awful like that.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Taking stock of life and deciding to knit something (and sew something as well)

You remember I had a thing I was miserable about? Over it. No, really. It isn’t over (it will never be over!!!) but do you know, you get to a point where you think, we’ve laughed, we’ve hugged, we’ve cried, we’ve had catharsis, we’ve had lager, I’ve texted apologies for the texts I sent when I’d had the lager, we’re done. So there we are, the Situation is ongoing and I shall update briefly when I am in front of the House of Lords in ten years’ time or as soon as we make the Telegraph, but, I am not miserable any more.
I strongly suspect you of photographing me and thus I shall fix you with a disapproving glare
Partner is happy, as Partner spent a large part of the early months of this year standing over me like a Victorian patriarch in a melodrama, beard blowing in the draft from our inadequate central heating, shouting ‘this is not worth a single tear of yours! You have done nothing wrong! Get up NOW and get a solicitor!’ as I huddled sobbing under the duvet.

I have some actual serious advice for anyone reading this who is at the huddling sobbing under the duvet no-one-can-ever-help-me stage, so listen up briefly and then I shall show you the knitting: ring the Samaritans. It helps. I do not know how it helps, as what happens is you cry and they are sympathetic in an appropriate way, but it does. And you can sometimes get legal advice and help (right up to the providing-a-barrister stage) for free under your house and possibly car insurance, but, check the terms. I tell you these things because you may not have Partner with flowing beard standing over you in a crisis, so I have distilled there the essence of what you must do. Remember.
I just sometimes wonder what people are going to do with it when I sell them spray paint
Anyway, so here I am and I look around me and I think, gosh, I did not think I would get this far but now I have I should probably do something, perhaps I should start by sewing up some of this fabric, I don’t know.
I don't iron it before I cut it, no
I have no clue how I even acquired some of this fabric. Some of it had John Lewis labels on so I suppose that solves part of the mystery but when did I buy it? The only thing I can think of is that in times of distress I must dissassociate mentally and trot off and buy fat quarters. If you are in Cambridge and you see me ambling off towards CallyCo or John Lewis with an empty bag and a vacant expression come up to me, wave your hand in front of my eyes and say, Susie! Credit Card Bill! Stop It! And hopefully that will stop the ridiculous fabric pile from becoming any bigger. Make sure I don’t just turn round and wander off towards wool, though. Anyway, I am making an Amy Butler Gum Drop Pillow with these and I am particularly looking forward to stuffing it with bean bag beans, if anyone knows a way of doing this where I will not end up with them sticking to my entire body with static like last time let me know.
I am doing it without stitchmarkers. Scary
This is the Shawl Of Guilt, I feel bad about this. I started a knitalong with this shawl which is a very beautiful pattern from Chrissy of Stitched Together and I kind of dropped out because I had no mental capacity for knitting. Anyway, I could not forget the pattern, and I wanted the shawl, so I have started it again and I am on the last chart, somehow my mental capacity came back. Lace scares me a bit: sometimes it will not Get Knit however hard you try, sometimes it almost knits itself, it makes me think of the Fates and their thread. Anyway, this time I am hopeful. I think it will be pretty when it is done.
I keep having to buy new needles because I keep sitting on them
And a boring rainbow sock. I am Using Up Stuff, and this wool is part of the Stuff I am Using Up. I say I am Using Up Stuff: I am going to make a small exception, as I am going to buy some new wool to knit something for Dan. I am going to knit something, and in return Dan is going to do an open mic night with me. Yes, I think I will soon be ready: I can force my way through Where Did You Sleep Last Night, I have my post feminist deconstructed backing for Jolene and I have written new lyrics. Dan’s end of the bargain will involve him dealing with my inevitable hyperventilation and downing of Stella just as we are about to go on, and suppressing his winces every time I miss the change to B7: mine just involves possibily a bit of colourwork. I shall look for a suitable pattern.

I went on a trapeze at the weekend. I was really, really scared. I shall probably try it again, though.