Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Community Weekend

A lot has been made in the Melbourne media about community and the state of the community - and it made me look at my own this weekend.

Aware that there is a whopping great full moon in Aries at the moment, turning reasonably sane people into hot heads, I was determined to keep my nose out of trouble this weekend. Thankfully, I have managed to do this fairly well.

I have my community to thank for this.

The other thing going on at the moment is my work - which is challenging and stressful. Thankfully it's not too angsty, but I am working my bum off at the moment - and I've had to look for ways to manage the stress. Rather than looking at food or alcohol for support I've turned to the gym - and I'm finding myself working out 5-6 times a week. This has a threefold effect. One - I'm feeling very virtuous. Secondly, my body is feeling good and thirdly, being on a semi-permanent endorphin rush, I'm a lot happier. The exercise is keeping me in check in so many ways.

It's also letting me keep in touch with my community. Emm, Kitt and Jay - and a few others - are there to keep me company on they way.

Saturday morning, I rocked up to the hour long spin class that I love to get to when I'm not meditating. The instructor is a smart woman who takes you through the hour class without making you feel like a failure if you can't keep up. I took a bike next to Em and started pedalling.

Having somebody there to roll your eyes with after a fifth hill transition is good. Having somebody who understands what an hour of stationary cycling in a dark room can do for you is great.

The other stand out from spin class was the music.

There is always what I call a "psycho track" which forces you to test your mettle. In this class, the mountain track - a mix of sprints and hill attacks was to a favourite song. (Okay, a Les Mills cover of a favourite song) I can't describe the feeling of being breathless, standing on a stationary bicycle trying to sing along at the same time. I'm glad the music is up loud enough so that others in the room can't hear me sing.

I'm beginning to get why I do all this gym stuff - it lets me escape. It lets me sing in public without being heard. Most of all, it just lets me challenge myself.

The song that took me to that semi-Nirvana state.

Not content with an hour of sweating it out on a bike, I then went and found Pinochet and did an hour with him  - working with Jay - another gym stalwart.

It was an interesting session. I had 650 calories on my heart rate monitor when I started pushing weights. I'm sure I wasn't smelling too good - but Jay and I took turns in mini-circuits - Pinochet upping the weights  at every chance he could. 25 kg chest presses - no worries. More lunges - kewl - bring them on. Flick the heavy ropes around... sure. Do sit ups with a 8 kg weight in one hand - okay I might moan about that one.

We got to talking about the awful news about town - the opportunistic rape and murder of a woman in Brunswick. There's been a national outpouring of grief and disbelief over this heinous crime. It's all that many have been talking about of late. Pinochet, bless him, found a way of letting us release some of the angst this case is causing many women about town. A kick pad and a few rounds of round house kicking Pinochet and the world felt a little better.

For me, I got out of the gym after two hours of solid work and I felt GREAT! Probably smelled revolting, but I felt good.

Cleaning myself up, having a shower and some lunch, I went and had my monthly massage - another community event.

I've been having a monthly massage for years. Not being in a relationship, most of the touch I have in my life comes from Blarney's cat. Massage is a good way to get positive touch into my life  - as well as sorting out the niggles and groans that exercise leaves behind.

Making my way down to the holistic practice a few hours later, it's always lovely to turn up and be welcomed. Even nicer, being grand final weekend, nobody was about - Bridge Road was quiet. My three 'o' clock appointment started with the first bounce. I left the practice an hour later, head whooshy, body floppy to the roar of the crown from some team scoring a goal at the MCG down the road.

After coffee and cake with Teddy an  hour later, I had a lovely evening at home doing the ironing. Another stress busting

Sunday morning, back at the gym for the constitutional pump class. After announcing to the pump instructor that I wanted to get my squat weight up to 30 kgs by the end of the year on Friday Morning (Stupid, stupid, stupid thing to do - it's been at 25 kgs for about six months now) I walked in with a bit of trepidation. I took my place next to Jay in the back row and got on with the class. Squat weight, 27.5 kgs - it didn't kill me. The rest of the class went without incident. I'll be back there later in the week. Jay and I went for our normal coffee after.

Once again, after doing the weekly supermarket shop, it was time to go round to Blarney's for a visit. Time to throw around a couple of two-year-olds and a cat for an hour or so. Very relaxing, even if I did end up wearing half of Chance's babychino and singing "The Wheels on the Bus" over and over to Lance (my version - not the normal one) while bouncing him around on my knee.

"The people on the bus go let me out, let me out, let me out" (Face squashed between your hands)
"The driver on the bus says "Shut up, please", "Shut up, please", "Shut up, please" (Shake your fist)
"The gears on the bus go crunch, crunch, crunch." (Make a gearstick movement)

The one minor downer of the day was nearly running over a couple of reasonably well dressed junkies in the carport as I backed in this afternoon. I politely asked them to take their needles with them as I got out of the car and went quickly into my flat (and penned a letter to the landlord for the body corporate) Okay, junkies are a not so nice part of inner-city life. You leave them alone, they leave you alone - though I'm not fond of them leaving their needles about the place.

Half an hour later, it was time to go out and get some Vietnamese take away for dinner. The junkies had moved the driveway, showing displays of public affection reserved for the half-munged out. They smiled and waved at me as I walked past and were gone when I came back ten minutes later. Thankfully, all of the windows of my car are still intact.

For as much as I moan about the isolation in my life, this weekend really has shown me just how much I rely on my immediate community - and how much I love having them about. There are some fairly gentle rhythms to the weekend.

Long may they remain.

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