Monday, 28 October 2013

hit the ground running

Sometimes it takes a little while before you can hit the ground running

It took me just over 2 years infact    .....(2 years 3 months)

Baby Hare Achilles though was born running, - like all leverets at birth they are born fully furred, eyes open, completely mobile and ready for action.

though it'd been a while since I'd ran and a couple years ago my knees were in pretty bad shape and completely un-run-able on, 
so it was with some real concerted effort (read: tremendous bloody mindedness and determination), that they have made a full recovery

and I can now road run! yay!

it's been a long time since I hit the tarmac, but I am proud to say that my knees are perfect

and I no longer get any burning sensations or searing heat or pain in them :) Big Smile!!

and I am thinking that I need a new pair of Asics!

my old ones are donkey's years (maybe about 9 I'm thinking, it was so long ago I just can't remember)
and they are literally falling apart

- but still wearable, and I love them so much! Love, love, love my Asics!!

so I have my eyes on this purdy pair above, I reckon they look real neat

want to know what I did to help my knees?

I spent hours and hours and hours doing squats, box squats, leg presses, leg extensions, hams and barbell lunges in the gym. Still do.
I did the exercises slowly and controlled and lifted as heavy as I could handle safely (which I do every time, all the time anyway)

And the most important thing I learnt is to 'squat like a man'! (toes pointed out, not straight ahead, and a shoulder width stance so that the knee tracking is natural)
A couple of the super nice boys in my gym, who had experience in this area with problem knees and past knee injuries and operations, showed me how to stand properly so that my knees would benefit from the movement and not be antagonised.
(Though my full squats are with teeny tiny weights, only 30kg, but I do box squats with 40kg and half squats with 80-100kgs to get some weight on my back and at least work some of my quads, better than nothing I reckon, and I feel the benefit.)

And it worked! like a charm! 

- I kept my part of the deal (to myself), worked my ass off with the weights, and every day, 6 days a week I progressed from using the cross trainer, to the running machine, to running on the indoor track, to sprinting and then to running laps on the outdoor track, and then just over a month ago - to hitting the ground outside! yay!

found this very informative article all about squats and knees and a lil' bit of science (if you're into that), and if you wanna know more about knee movement then google anterior tracking of the knee

....anyway - I bought myself a backpack for my running!

It's just the perfect colour for me - Army green - (to match my green eyes :)
and the extra long strap bits from the adjustable shoulder straps can be tied infront, so it doesn't shoogle around all over the place as I pant and scamper along... *perfect*!

and one of my tiny hares wanted to live on the bag, so he accompanies me to the gym every day - and he told me that he gets exhausted just watching everyone workout!

my bag came from Primark and cost £6. Not bad eh? 
It was the first time I've ever been in that store and I got a pair of strides as well. I had wanted the neat boys strides that they had on their male mannequins but they were all out of my size, but my mum spotted a pair in nearly the same style in the girly part (where all the pinky sparkly clothes were, normally I get a little dizzy and flustered around all that colourful butterfly stuff).
And it was 15 minutes to closing so I dashed down a floor to the change rooms to try them on, but the hard working staff wouldn't let me in (don't blame them, the place was heavin' and they had masses of work to do). 
So I did what my little niece did when she was 4 years old and I was in a store with her - I changed out in the open, in front of everyone. Oh, okay, I never took my daks off to put the new ones on - I just took my boots off and shimmied the trews over the ones I had on, and yes, they fitted well, looked pretty flattering and still had a nice boyish appearance - ka-ching! *sold!* 

oh, by the way, they were only £7 !
I appreciate the person who made them, thank you! and I looked on the label but couldn't see which country, but it was on earth, somewhere, so thank you, they are perfect and I love them!

My bag has plenty of room, so my straps live in there. 
I use these mainly for my back workouts as the weights I lift are usually so heavy that my grip goes before my muscles benefit from the exertion.
And straps are really an essential piece of weight lifting kit. I use alot of chalk on my hands to help with gripping the bar and it is good to stop my skin ripping off too.

For some reason I like to have one strap looped over my wrist, cuff style, and on the other I just wrap the strap around the wrist. 
Hmmm, strange, but there you go, I always do what feels right to me. 
It worked for my knees, so I never question what feels right to me as long as my technique is correct.

And I always have room for my drink - in my Starbucks cup ofcourse.
I'm a Starbucks girl :)
loving those happy birds!

I tried to buy this cup here last year but all the stores were sold out by the time I got off my butt and decided that yes, I wanted one.
So I put my order in to the Universe, and lo and behold I got one under my xmas tree!

Running has always been a little bit of a challenge for me. 
I've never ran as fast as the wind or as swift as a horse, though I do love to run. I love the tremendous exertion and the slightly numbing feeling I get after so many kms, the steady rythym of my breathing when I stop my belabouring and the constant pace when I settle into it.

I've been reading my first Andy McNab - Immediate Action - and it's a fun book so far. He's had some life, his writing style is easy reading, I totally love his swearing and his voice, and the part that really excited me, just as I was about to start my road running, was his SAS Regiment selection. 
My god! if I was a boy I reckon I would have been on that too. 

Because boys are usually always better runners than girls. Well, from my experience in the Australian Army, all the boys I ran with were way far better runners than me.
And so I always had a boy to run with me, and he kept a good pace for me to stride out at and my running always, always improved. :) 
I would choose someone from every unit I was at, and we would go running early in the morning before PT or whatever was on for the morning, and I would get my kms in, it was always a treat. 
Very kind of them to humour me :) 
perhaps my green eyes had something to do with it?

Anway, Andy talks about all the running he had to do at selection. My god! I was breathless just reading about it, but excited because I couldn't wait to get started on the tar. And I would hear his words as I ran along.... 

every time I read a book I always tab the pages I find interesting things on

and Andy has had me laughing quite alot! soldiers are universal where ever they have served, and the incidents and camaraderie just brought back so many memories!

anyway, I'd met a couple young paras when I was in too, and I laughed and laughed when I read this - above - and below -

one of the paras I knew woke up in a bush once, by a busy main highway, at lunch-time, somewhere in Sydney, with a HUGE hangover :)
ha ha ha, he had me laughing for ages every time I saw him after that!
~ such is life in the Army ~

and now that it is getting cooler and winter is coming very, very soon, I will be wearing my little mitts for running

They used to be normal red gloves, but I chopped the fingers off, and then the wool unravelled, and soon they had turned into cuffs.
Anyway, last winter my fingers got a little cold, so I snipped off the cuffs of a cardy (not mine but it came into my possession some how), and I sewed them onto the cuffs,
and voila - gloves again!

I rather like all the threads of red wool hanging everywhere. That's my style, unkempt, cool, unfussy, unflustered, easy, don't give a damn...

and not long after I started my road running, my mama was down visiting Wes and me, and when she left she caught the bus home - in the same direction as me - as I ran to the gym.

Anyway, 1km up the road the bus passes me, and my mum waves frantically, getting up off her seat to see me, totally excited to see her daughter scampering along, and so I waved *blush* back!!
ha ha, felt kinda...., well, you know...., the whole bus load could see me, every head was turned, looking at this panting figure
and it was a busy packed bus! 
and guess what - some dude on the bus starts waving to me too! ha ha ha! he was sitting a bit behind my mum, so maybe he didn't know that I was waving to a human I knew instead of just waving willy-nilly to a bus load of strangers, like one would do with a passing train....

Hmmm, so I thought I better get waves and all that sorted - above is the sign for I Love You

I shall do that to every passing bus from now on, mama or sans mama
- not!

here it is from the other side - is one side more intimate and loving than the other perhaps?

perhaps Bill knows best?
I've always liked Mr Clinton

and then I was wondering what does it mean when the thumb is not extended?
well, one quick click and I see it means 'rock on' or er, 'rock out'
suppose I should be doing this when I play my toons at the gym - Metallica, Pantera, Sepultura, Motorhead, AC/DC, Airbourne, Rammstein...

this one though 
- I don't know - couldn't find it anywhere
but I have seen people do it
- what does it mean? (that I'm outta touch??)

I asked one of the boys in the gym and he said it was all those people who didn't manage to get home on the ship with ET
hmmm, sounds plausible..., I think ET left something behind  *gulp*!    
looks kinda scary! old, wrinkled, shrivelled

hmmm, back to the hand signals - I could always go for Victory!

ofcourse depending on the way your palm is facing, depends on the way the other person will take your gesture

as Mr Churchill so aptly demonstrates

It had to be pointed out to him that he was gesticulating f*!@ off with his palm facing in,
so he quickly changed that!

we couldn't be having our war time Prime Minister giving the country that now, could we?

I think if the fingers have a slight bend to them then it lends credibility to the insult (feels kinda good too, rather rebellious)

anyway, it is All Good!
unless you are hitch-hiking
I don't do that, not when I'm running

and this one, well it is a veto of whatever is being observed, obviously
a defeated gladiator in the ring perhaps?

and in days gone by there would have been none of this 'pointed muzzle' to follow the downward-thumb of above
since swords ruled the land
I certainly can't go about doing this one, it's even worse than the f@*! off one!

and this one, well, there is nothing I need say - The Finger says it all

and since I was wasting my time with the camera and my imagination, I tried to remember what the Star Trek one was. 
I'd seen the movie this year. I'm not a trekkie fan and nearly fell asleep a few times, but I did remember it was 2 fingers stuck together, somehow..

hmmm, but which two!

aaah, got it!

hey! even Mr Obama knows the moves!

well, will definitely NOT be doing that one, incase someone thinks I am a trekkie

and that I am doing the Vulcan Salute of live long and prosper

yeah, Captain Picard calls it like it is

OK !
nuff of this hand stuff, just as well I haven't ventured into all the other colourful (gang) stuff I saw about hand signals and signs and 

I'll just stick to Love and f*@! off I reckon, keep it simple :)

so before I get side-tracked again, back onto the running - did you know that it's always good to warm up and stretch before you do any exercise?

I personally use my run as my 'warm up' though I may have to re-address that issue when it gets below zero here, though I always stretch before my workouts, I take them seriously and if I didn't stretch I'd only be inviting an injury .....

Achilles had been happily playing with his pals in the meadow one day when suddenly he took an unexpected tumble. 
That afternoon as he limped in, in a sorry state, mama asked him what had happened and he said he didn’t know, he had been running about playing a game of hide’n’seek when out of the blue his hind leg had a stab of pain and now he couldn’t use it. 
Mama looked at his thin little leg as he stretched it out, his lower lip pouting slightly in self pity, and she gently pressed and rubbed and tweaked various parts of it, and as she touched a certain area Achilles cried out and jumped in agony. 
Aaah here is the problem, she said soothingly, and pointing to his ankle, she showed him the tender red swollen part where the tendon connects to the bone. 
Achilles blinked in surprise, he didn’t know it was just a tiny part, he thought his whole leg was affected and thought that he would have to stop playing games and having fun forever, but no, mama had quickly pin-pointed the problem. 
And just as quickly she gave him the solution. 
She said everything would be alright and he would be back to normal in no time at all, but every day he must do a few stretches and warm ups before playing, no matter how silly he thought it was, or how many of his friends laughed at him, because a sore ankle was not a nice thing to have. 
And with that advice mama then showed him a few good moves. Achilles was feeling better already.

Achilles is looking forward to sitting cosily on your armchair by the French windows. Mind and leave them open thanks as he will be out every day to play with his friends. 
He has lots of games to get through and time flies when you are having fun, and em, he has his warm ups and stretches to do first and they always take at least 5 to 10  minutes, so he has to get there early. 
You are welcome to come along and join in the games, it’s always good to have another player and you can be on his side. 
But you’ll have to join in the warm ups too mind, so he hopes you don’t mind being laughed at and that you are quite flexible with your stretching. 
When he first started to do it he could hardly touch his hind leg paws but now he is so much better. Then again he is a hare and he does have rather long hind legs. Your legs are way shorter so you should have no excuses about touching your paws, er toes. 
And you should be able to touch your nose to your shins too, mama showed him that one. It’s really, really good for making the Achilles tendon stretch all the way from the ankle to the em, bum. 
He can nearly do it but it is a challenge. 
What do you mean you’re not into sniffing your feet and a few little bends here and there are perfectly fine for you. 
Well, we’ll see about that. Don’t come sulking to him when you hurt your ankle and do your Achilles tendon in because you were too lazy to stretch properly. 
Here, he’ll give you a paw in the moves, so just you sit down, legs together and lean forward with your paws, er fingers stretching towards your feet he will hop up on your shoulders to push you down further. 
It always works a treat with him when one of the bigger hares does that and he is touching his tootsies in no time. 
What was that about your hair? Hmmm, don’t be silly ofcourse he won’t get tangled in your hair, and no he is not as light as a feather, looks are deceiving don’t you know. 
So c’mon, sit down.

Here is Achilles with his best friend Adore, both sporting faux-fur tails and a love of games.
I wonder if they are giving the 'thumbs down' ?!

god! I thought it would never end, a blog post to end all blog posts... be better if you put all this stamina into your running, er scampering instead Annette!

... just sayin' .....just sayin'

Monday, 14 October 2013

Appreciation - the highest form of flattery

I've been asked where does my inspiration for my stories come from?

Well, the simple answer is everywhere really. 

I catch interesting snippets as I pass by people, I see strange and unusual happenings that take me aback and make me laugh, I am reminded of my own cock-ups and stuff-ups - of which there are many! many! many! and in my day to day goings-abouts I gather a very rich amount of priceless stuff to include in my stories

I merely have to change the species from human to hare, leave the individual's name out, and blurr over the facts just a teensy little bit

but I am so appreciative of all these incidents that I am part of and privy to and so appreciative of the individuals who have inspired me

so I am hoping that no-one minds if I ever use a bit of an incident that they may have been in, or may have inspired, in one or two of my stories (it's not the first time, I've been writing like this for years, just omitted all the names that would give the game away, and never bothered telling anyone)
and I am hoping that they take this as the nicest form of flattery
as I immortalise them like a god in my story :)

and before you know it, a rather humorous, maybe even slightly flattering story is mustered up....

Mother Hare Tsuru 

One day at kindergarten, when Tsuru was still tiny, she came across an old magazine on the bookshelf in the corner. She’d already been thru all the books, and looked at all the nice pictures and there, on the bottom shelf, nearly hidden under the big books was a tatty old magazine. 
So with some effort Tsuru dragged it out, but the flimsy cover ripped off in the exertion and wafted onto her paws. That wasn’t a problem though, as it was already very old and very well read, and just as she was about to scrumple the cover up and throw it away, something interesting caught her eye.
She flattened out the page on the floor infront of her and gasped in delight as she studied the picture, then declared to herself that yes, she wanted one of those too. 
And with that, she tore a small piece off the page.
As it was allowed in the kindergarten, to tear books and magazines. They were not precious icons not to be harmed and gloated over, but instead to be read and appreciated, enjoyed and shared, and so Tsuru excitedly made her way over to one of the teachers to show her the old scrap that she wanted to take home. 
Because all torn pages had to be approved by the teachers first, and ofcourse they always were, it’s just that it gave everyone a chance to see what pretty picture or interesting quote would be leaving the classroom for good that day.
Anyway, as she held the scrap in her paw, stretched out in front of her, the teacher nodded approvingly, that yes she may take that home. A couple of the other teachers glanced over their shoulders to see the picture and immediately raised their eyebrows and a few of the babies stopped in their tracks, startled, but Tsuru was already carefully putting the scrap in between her work book and into her bag.

When she got home that afternoon she went straight to her bedroom and stuck the picture above her bed so that she could see it every night before she fell asleep and first thing every morning just as she woke up. That way she would be reminded to always want it. And she smiled happily to herself.

Well, that night as mama was reading her bedtime story to her, she happened to glance up at the nearly naked man with the heavily tattooed arm above her daughter’s bed, and she gasped in astonishment – surely Tsuru was still too young to be interested in the opposite sex, and not even a hare at that. 
Though not being interested in hares was not really a problem, as there was always interspecies marriages and minglings going on with hares and other species, as that was what hares were like, but it must have been all the nakedness which surprised her mama and took her off guard.
After the story was finished mama looked up at the handsome man and said to her daughter that the new picture was very nice, and Tsuru immediately stifled her yawn, grinned excitedly and pronounced to mama that she wanted one of them too. 
Upon which mama smiled sweetly, stroked her daughters head and gave her a goodnight kiss.

Now that Tsuru is all grown up she did indeed surprise her mama by getting one of them. Though it was not a nearly naked handsome man with tattoos on his arm. 
It was instead a tattoo of a Japanese crane. Just like the one that the man had on his arm, flying across his bicep. 
She came home rather late one day rubbing her ankle, and looking a little sheepish and embarrassed, so mama asked if everything was alright, upon which Tsuru proudly revealed her very first tattoo to mama – a beautiful and artistic Japanese crane flying across her ankle. Ofcourse the fur had had to be shaved off and her skin was rather tender and pinky underneath, but the black of the ink stood out well and the tattooist had told her that when the fur grows back in, it would be thinner and shorter and that the black edged crane would still be visible.
Tsuru was very pleased with his handiwork and at the end she gave him a large wicker basket of freshly snipped meadow herbs and some tasty tubers she had dug up, as he had requested and they had agreed on the week before when she had stopped by his shop with her tatty little picture and unusual request. 
He told her to come back in a week’s time so that he could check her skin, and his work, and if need be, to shave some more of her fur off, and em, would it be possible to take some photos that he could put on his tattoo blog? because she was his very first ever hare.
Yes, ofcourse said Tsuru, she would be delighted and had a crazy thought to herself that perhaps a magazine would get in touch with her to put her on the front cover beside a very handsome nearly naked man with some tasteful tattoos? 
She let out a little sigh as she made her way home.

Tsuru is looking forward to sitting cosily on your armchair by the French windows with a view to the garden. Leave them ajar thanks as she will going out most days to visit her nieces and nephews. She’s still not a mother herself, just not found the time yet. But not that she’s concerned about that in the slightest as she is busy with her career as a model.

The day that she had gone back to the tattooist so he could take some snaps of her, he had a big surprise waiting for her and paired her up with a very good looking boy who had some pretty tatts. 
The photo-shoot was so much fun and had gone down so well, and Tsuru and the boy had gotten on great that he had ended up asking her out to dinner! 
Well, well, dinner had been delicious, as she had had the vegetarian option, plus all his salad too and they had talked tattoos all night long, plus he was really very taken with her. Pretty little hare or not. 
They did receive a few stares in the restaurant that evening but they were stares with smiles, which are always the nicest kind of stares.

And the very next day she was in for another surprise - a huge surprise. 
The tattooist had uploaded her pictures to his blog, and within minutes they had gone viral and she was now more famous than any other lagomorph in history, eclipsing Bugs Bunny, the Easter rabbit, the Hare on the Moon, Roger Rabbit and Jessica Rabbit! (not that she was a rabbit, nor even a hare, but still..) and he had been inundated with calls and requests for more photo-shoots of the pretty little leveret!
Tsuru has had a few more tattoos done by him. She’s not really an adventurous kind though, and she did love the first crane that he did for her, so she ended up getting a few more of them flying across various parts of her body. 
Well, cranes do migrate and they do live in flocks so her flock just sort of grew and grew. But, my my, she does look so very beautiful indeed and the artistry is breath-taking. 
She has made front covers of all the most influential magazines ever – Time, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, not to mention all the tabloids and fashion ones as well. 
And she always has a very handsome dinner date every night, who incidentally always has a tattoo.

You are most welcome to come along to the photo-shoots with her if you’d like. They are so much fun and she has had some very novel settings. Her favourite so far has been the mad hatters tea party with Johnny Depp, hmmm, but then there was the one with James Bond in his fast car, that was thrilling, and hmmm, so was the one with Taylor Kitsch and her back on Mars.

She always needs a few helping hands to get her fur in order for the shoots, so if you’d like to come along and groom her too then that would be nice. 
And she is sure that you will be asked out to dinner by a handsome man afterwards. There are always handsome men around her now, and she is friends with all the famous ones, not that she is naming names, mind you. 
What do you mean you are the shy type and wouldn’t know what to say at dinner. You don’t need to say anything, just sit there looking pretty. That’s what she does and it works a treat. Though she does like to talk tattoo, so you could always brush up on your cranes and crosses and roses.

I just hope that everyone is flattered in the process, 

though I am not naming names, but regardless to say that nearly all the boys in the gym that I workout with have impressive tattoos

and over the last couple years I've seen, and admired, and appreciated them all

after all, I am an artist, and a tattoo is a beautiful expression of art
and I believe the wearer wears a little bit of their heart amongst all that ink 
and what is not to appreciate in such a tender expression?

and ofcourse the body that displays the tattoo is also a beautiful expression of art too 

Alex Minsky, US Marine and Afghanistan vet, above, is very impressive, and I particularly love his lower abdominal tattoo 'Don't Laugh' 

and if you are into tatts and baseball caps and roses and ....

or perhaps you are into the Guy Richie/English gent type instead? and his minimalist tatt?
*sigh again*

those 3 boys are all on my pinterest page, so credits in their links there

it's a little princess's birthday very soon
and currently, at the tender age of 8 and 11/12th she is way, way, way into 1D 

appreciating boys who may or may not have tatts already? who knows?
do they even have fur under their arms? and a 'Don't Laugh' tattoo? but would anyone be laughing?
anyway, as to tatts I wouldn't have a clue, and I don't think I have even heard one of their songs either... 

I'm a little bit out of touch at the moment, as my fav youtube song is...

(it's good for writing stories to)

still, I made her a cutesy Scottishy bag with her fav colours - blue and purple(ish)
and put in a bag of edible boys - oh okay then, 1D Love Hearts
and sent it off to Norway. Hopefully it will get there for the big day?
(she definitely doesn't read my blog, so no worries about spilling the beans here)

the majority of my hares all have 'tatts' on their coats
of beautiful does and handsome stags, of delicate roses and leaves...

what's not to like? coats to appreciate and flattering stories to make you smile

it's always nice to have a bit of body adornment that doesn't wash off in the rain, or sweat off in the gym ....

gawd! so over-rated all that body graffiti is all I can say
what's the point of having a tasty rose if you can't eat the bloody thing?

nuthin' nicer than a snow white coat, nuthin' nicer.....

so, a big thank you to my muses for inspiring my stories! 
I hope that you are perhaps not too shocked, and instead a little flattered?