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Moments of compassion

22 Apr

Work was hideous today. I felt like I was banging my head up against a brick wall, trying to get heard about ‘risk issues’ I am professionally responsible for communicating but powerless to act on. Lots of phone calls, dead ends and defensiveness. My heart raced and I exploded in a mess of tears in the office stairwell.

On returning home I wanted to skip karate, order a 14″ pizza, drink 2 cans of cider and pass out on the couch.

I found my self ruminating over all the crap that I had encountered during the day.

I stopped and noticed what I was doing.

As an experiment I tried, instead to notice all the compassion I had encountered through out the day:

The positive, inspirational blogs I read on the loo this morning.

Bronwyn returning her ball to me during our walk.

My colleague listening to me and supporting me.

The team secretary who decided not to bother putting through non-urgent calls.

The colleague who filled up my coffee cup without asking.

The colleague who contained me in the stair well.

The lady from social services who took me seriously.

My husband who took a panicked phone call from me at work. And listened.

My puppies who delighted in my return from work and licked my weary face.

All the people who liked and followed my blog ūüėČ

Me, who despite tendencies towards the unhelpful took herself off to karate.

My karate sensei, who caused me so much pain I forgot about all the mental stresses of the day.

It worked, I feel better, I feel supported and emotionally regulated.

Thank you ūüôā


Karate Grading

20 Apr

Last Sunday I attended my second karate grading. My club tends to wait until you are ready and have done at least so many classes. Once you have been registered for grading you have to go and run through all your karate basics (kicks, punches, blocks and stances) and your Kata (sequences of basics) with everyone else in the region.
I knew from previous experience that I was unlikely to fail (they rarely ‘fail’ anyone on the day). However I wasn’t expecting it to be as hard as it was. They made us work for those belts! By 30 minutes I could barely stand. Let alone do ‘good’ karate!
Still, I passed, and I felt as if I had earned it!


Alice’s Adventures in Fame

10 Apr

I am both flattered and humbled to have been chosen by our artist friend Ann Stoker (click on name to visit blog) as a suitable subject for one of her beautiful paintings!

'Wedding Boots' finished

I think it was the boots that did it!  I love how she has managed to make this feel so light and playful yet graceful!

We were also lucky enough for her to choose¬†Dan as a subject for her collection of faces.¬† I think she has made him look particularly wise and ‘seeing’

'Dan' finished

On a less professional note,¬†I also recently ‘googled’¬† our¬†dogs’ names: ‘Bronwyn and Odin’ (as you do)¬†and realised that a you-tube video of them is the first result!¬† That’s pretty famous!

Good Habits

10 Feb

I recently read that Good Habits are as easy to pick up as Bad Habits.  Also, you can get addicted to positive behaviours.

As you have probably guessed; I have a few Bad Habits! And, a few addictions.

Rather than address my psychological issues around habits and addiction  I thought I would try using these powers for good purposes.

As any regular reader (hi mum!) will know,¬† I have been aiming to go to Karate class once a week.¬† I was quite strict about setting my initial target quite low so that I could realistically meet it.¬† Failing to meet my targets often results in me giving up entirely due to a somewhat all or nothing attitude towards achievement.¬† So while I set the bar low,¬† I was happy to go to Karate more than once a week if I could.¬† Initially, once a week was plenty, with it taking me 5 days to recover from the first class.¬† Then I thought I would try (just for one week) to go to a second class.¬† The sensei was pretty tough and caused me a whole new world of pain (and shaky limbs). However,¬† I’ve started to get a bit of a buzz out of this.¬† I came home from my first Thursday night class proud of my pain.¬† This probably makes me a bit of a nutter but I was inspired by the class and the sensei who is quite different to the other sensei.¬† I figured that the two classes compliment each other quite nicely, therefore if I can to two a week,¬† my Karate and fitness in general will improve.¬†

This week was my second week of two classes and I was somewhat¬†disappointed when neither class caused me much pain.¬† I have had the urge to make myself do press-ups and practice my Karate outside of class.¬† I am away on training this week, so won’t be able to make the second class but have already formulated a plan for attending a different ‘second’ class that week.¬†

My Karate is already a little bit like smoking.¬† I spend time worrying about not being able to do it,¬† look forward to the next one, feel cranky when I can’t go and relieved/sated when I’ve been.¬†

I’m going to be sensible about it, and not set myself unrealistic targets that land me in a bit pit of failure at the first sniff of a missed class.¬† However,¬† I will take advantage of this opportunity to capitalise on my (slightly maladaptive)¬†personality style!¬† I feel a three-class week coming on!

Crotchet Inspiration

10 Feb

I have been teaching my friend to Crotchet. We started in December with some snowflakes and have been contemplating our next project. I think a beginner/improver project needs to be inspiring, modular and pretty. Being ‘easy’ is probably less important.¬† This post is for Amalia and anyone else looking for some hooky-inspiration.

I have been inspired by this beautiful window dressing by Sandra who blogs at Cherry Heart

She calls it ‘falling rain’ but they are actually pretty little hearts.¬† This got me thinking; hearts are not really my style, but I love the teeny-ness of them and all the colours; they would be easy to make up and there is no reason you couldn’t replace the hearts with anything teeny-tiny and colourful!

Like these Stars, Flowers or these Flowers all from Lucy at Attic 24

attic 24 starsattic 24 flowersattic 24 flowers 2

Once I had started trawling pinterest and the rest of the web for ideas I got quite excited!  There are SO many pretty, colourful things you can crotchet out there,  the pinterest boards are Positively Pornographic.

Butterflies, Birdies and Bumblebees

papillons-coloresDSC02945fuzzy little friends

Not to mention Strawberries, Suns and Shamrocks:

JORDBR~1Sun Motif Crochet Pattern picCrochetShamrock6

I had also thought of bunting, a bit like this:

crochet bunting part 2 021

Then I realised the Horizontal Plane opened up the Project Idea for all sorts of Chained, fabulous things:

Again with the Flowers, Flowers, Flowers:


Stars¬†and of course… Sheep!


All (except, perhaps, Sheep) could be joined to each other or a chain in a bunting-type, decorative affair.  The possibilities are endless! For more inspiration please see my Pinterest board.

For now, I’m off to make This


Into This:



(P.S. I have tried to link the source of all images to the sites they came from; clicking the word describing each photo should take you through to the source-site.  If there are any problems please let me know!)

Happy Hooking!


Resolutions Week 2?

19 Jan

So we are two weeks in and I have already missed the setting of a set of resolutions (last weekend).  I thought about setting several:

  • Book a haircut (and start getting it done regularly!)
  • Buy a ball gown (graduation ball is next thursday!)
  • Go to Karate again on Monday

I wanted a more meaningful resolution,¬† I considered trying to do a random act of kindness for someone each day but the week has gone so fast I’ve not had the chance to put anything into action or sit and blog about my plan. I didn’t manage to do my cleaning during the week but I did manage to go to Karate, speak to a friend on the phone, have a friend round for dinner and clean the bathroom.¬† Fortunately Dan took a day off this week and cleaned the rest of the house!

Work has been somewhat turbulent; I have ended up staying late and on thursday I came home completely overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings about my clients.  Again, Dan came to the rescue and helped me re-ground myself and re-package my clients back up into appropriate boxes in my mind!

I have been managing to spend an hour in front of the telly each evening, and frankly, I’ve been so tired, I’ve pretty much fallen asleep there most evening.¬† While sitting in front of the telly I’ve been engaging in some wool organising in preparation for my next project:


This is the first time I’ve had really posh wool.¬† It’ was hideously expensive and I started the above project not realising that I really should have wound the Skeins of wool into balls.¬† As a result the lovely yarn had become tangled and enmeshed in its bag.¬† It was a right mess!

Winding up the balls has been a bit like organising my clients in my head, it has required de-tangling with care and attention.  The end result feels good.  If only everything in life could be wound up into a neat ball where it would stay  eh?

Speaking on the phone to a friend this week we discussed my issue of feeling as if I have no time for myself.¬† She is a mother of two small children so she did incredibly well to be sympathetic towards me! We agreed that I did have time but that I am filling it.¬† This is my choice,¬† but I’m not sure it’s a functional one!¬† I explained that I feel as if I need to do a lot in order to feel I have made use of my time.¬† The weekends feel short and sure, I do have house-holdy tasks to do but I fill the gaps with things I think I need to achieve in order to prepare for the week ahead and in order to feel as if I have had some ‘me’ time.¬† She suggested that I might feel as if I had more time if I spent time doing nothing.¬† I had to ask her what doing nothing is.¬†¬† She defined it as watching something on telly, eating snacks and doing nothing else.¬† We agreed it would be¬†a useful experiment for me to try.

So, call it a resolution if you like, Dan has gone out for the evening, the puppies have been walked, Its 3:30pm on Saturday.  I am going to sit and do nothing until at least 6pm.

Resolution Review 1

12 Jan

As promised, this post is an update on the goals I set myself for the past week.

1. Attend 1 Karate Lesson



After a little venue confusion I arrived late but was still welcomed by the class and Sensei. I was pleased to see there were other adults in the class and the Sensei was friendly. I realised that I have not attended a class for over a year and am somewhat out of shape! The lesson was 1.5 hours long and we were expected to hold the ‘long forward stance’ for most of it, not moving until told to and sometimes waiting while the sensei adjusted someone’s positioning. As a result of staying in this slightly squat-like position my legs started shaking. For the last half hour of the session I couldn’t stop them going, the sensei was concerned but also found it entertaining! My muscles were so fatigued I could barely stand by the end of the session!

Despite the pain I really enjoyed the session. I have realised how much I need to exercise and will make it my goal to keep going to the same class each week.

2. Stop Moaning

I didn’t feel the urge to moan until Wednesday when I really did!¬† I quickly realised that ‘not moaning’ only really works if you can manage to not feel¬†like moaning.¬† I didn’t moan, but I was in a foul mood and I don’t really think this was much better for me or anyone else than actually verbalising.¬† I was quite angry.¬† It wasn’t until Thursday when¬†I spoke to a friend and said I had been angry that I felt better.¬† She asked what had made me feel angry and I said I couldn’t say because that would be moaning.¬† She said that it only counted as moaning if it was unsolicited and that if¬†I were to tell her after she had asked it would just be ‘providing information’.¬† Needless to say, I felt a lot better after I had ‘provided information’.¬† So, while I would like to be less negative, and maybe not just moan for the sake of it, I don’t think a total ban on moaning is the way forwards!¬† I will ditch that resolution here and now!

3. Be Early for Work

While I didn’t document this as a goal for the week I was cross that I had not managed to make my first few days back at work (the previous week) on time.¬† I resolved to be early this week.¬† This means I need to be in bed by 10pm and get up at 5:45am.¬† I totally managed it!

The week in review..

Going to Karate on monday night really gave me an energy boost for the whole week.¬† Although my body only really recovered on friday it made me feel much more energised and positive about my ability to be the person I want to be.¬† I felt much more in control of myself and was able to be more productive at work.¬† I had been feeling a little like I hadn’t really put my full effort into my new job so far but was able to be enthusiastic and take on additional responsibilities this week.¬† This made me feel like I might be able to push forward and make a positive difference to my team and our clients.

Also, I finally sent that blanket to its rightful owner!¬† That’s a project, finished and in its place:


I was lucky enough to receive this photo of its beautiful recipient making good use of it!  This really made my week!

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