Sunday, 27 October 2013

Movin' (15.5 km race report.)

How are we all today?

Happy Monday!

I was walking to my car near my fella's place this morning. I saw this flower, which was very pretty. Anyone know what type it is?

There were other pretty flowers in that front yard, too. On the fence there was a note, saying "Please don't pick my flowers. Let's all enjoy them".


I am a bit stiff today. It was because I did a 15.5 km fun run yesterday. I decided to do this distance rather than the 10 (it is part of the Spring into Shape series) as "long run" training for the city to sea run in a few weeks.

I had stayed up past midnight the night before, on account of going out for a girlfriend's birthday (more on that later). Hence there was little time in the morning to get organised. I was a bit scatty, and despite taking these pics on my iphone:

Fed Sq, Eureka Building.

Yarra, showing off.

I thought I had left the phone in the car (I had actually left it at the registration desk, which I did not realise until I finished the run....not one of my brighter moments)

With all the kerfuffle with the phone, and not having any music to keep me company, I really had to work hard to focus. Soon, I did. It is nice running along the Yarra. I got into a good pace that I thought I could maintain, and I felt strong. I even started to feel a bit....invincible. One of the lady-front runners told me to keep it up, I was doing a good job.

The first 10km (2 laps) were fairly comfy, it is a distance I am used to. After the second lap there was a girl I saw who was similarly paced to me, so we ran together. It was nice to have some company. I think we kept each other motivated and on-pace. At the 500 metres to go mark, she grabbed my hand and picked up the pace. We crossed the line together and got a cheer from some folks around the finishing chute, as well as a shout-out from the race announcer.

I did my usual post-finishing thing (wander around slightly bent over looking bewildered and catching my breath). I saw my coach, who had been manning our run club marquee, and a couple of the ladies I run with. I took that opportunity to have a breather.


Anyone who runs distances knows how tight certain muscles get, and the utility of a good firm massage. If it doesn't make you groan it is not firm enough. My ladies and I helped each other out in this respect, with a nice firm elbow point into buttocks, like so...


Naturally, I reciprocated. We are very supportive of each other.

There was a yoga session held, which we partook of. It was really nice to do, out in the gardens.

I went home, had some food, and a nap. Then, in keeping with my aim to be more tidy (thanks, by the way, for the support on the last post!) I did some tidying. A big run and a cleaning session! Super virtuous!

It is a good thing I do running, because the weekend was full of yummy treats.

Friday Night we went to San Telmo. I felt a bit crook in the belly and we had to abort the mission.

Saturday I felt better. The fella and I had a big wander around Smith and Brunswick Streets. We worked up an appetite. We had some down south food in the form of Louisiana style sandwiches, at Po'boys.

Dinner was in celebration of a good girlfriend's birthday, at Hell of the North (named after a sector of the Tour de France). We had the Feed Me menu. There was a bit much food (better than too little I suppose). The food was good, but the service was a bit meh, and the waiters were a bit familiar rather than polite. I am a bit picky, being a Melburnian.

Le Charcuterie.

Too much good food!
Still, #firstworldproblems and #YOLO, right?

Cohabitation with the fella is imminent. A massive declutter and pack is now unavoidable. Before I move, in a couple of weeks, the fella and I are off to Christchurch for his parents' 50th wedding anniversary!
And, on Wednesday,  I am getting my coif done.

And how about you? Any exciting plans on the agenda?
Have a good week!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Confessions of a Domestic God(l)ess.

Hello happy campers.

I take stock of my talents.

  • I can tell a filthy joke without so much as blushing, and swear with enough conviction to make a sailor cringe.
  • I can suture a wound and the sight of blood does not worry me too much.
  • I have run a marathon, and can run 10km without too much worries.
  • I can cook a nice dinner. Furthermore I can look at what I have in the cupboard and make up tasty dishes from what is in there. I am creative like that.
  • I have worked many night shifts and can talk coherently afterwards on the ward round.
  • I can speak authoritatively to a large audience (in fact I enjoy it)
  • I can pick a nice bottle of wine for a dinner party, and am often called on to pick wine when out.
  • I am not too afraid to say what I think, and have learned to do so in a tactful manner
  • I am bloody brilliant at parallel parking - I often say that if I had a dad, he'd be very proud of this fact
  • I give good cuddles and am a good friend, daughter and sister.
What I am really shit at is housework.

My fella is really good at housework. In a past life, he was a butcher, and learned to clean things to a fine shine.

I don't have a dishwasher in my current place. My dishes have suffered for it with little bits of missed crud on them. I recently learned my fella often re did them.

I can't fold a sheet to save myself. Even my towel folding is crookedy and try as I might I can't get 'em straight.

There is clutter, lots of it. I have difficulty keeping things tidy. There is lots of dust. It is better for my nose if I leave it settled rather than upset it with a duster.

Don't even start me on my closet.

And though I like a garden as much as anybody else, and like looking at flowers, any proposition of me actually doing any gardening will be met with a glazed over expression.

I think it's genetic. My mum, being a single mother, didn't have a lot of time to clean, bless her. My nanna, a brilliant cook, was slightly less brilliant at cleaning. It's in the mitochondria.

Don't get me wrong, I do hygeine fine, my shower isn't mouldy, and I run by the general rule of no vermin.

I suspect when I move in with my fella, he would like me to be a bit more tidy. I will try, really I will.
But when he asked me what the best bit of the new house was, I said "the dishwasher". And I have insisted on getting a cleaner for the heavy tasks. It's good for the economy, getting a cleaner. I am pretty selfless like that.

At the end of the day, I don't get too worried by my lack of household talent. I invited a neighbour and her new bubba in for a cuppa, stating "If you don't mind my mess.....ahhh sod it, just come in for a cuppa, place is a bit messy". Warmth is much more important than tidiness.

Having said that, I am all about self-improvement, and I want to do my share of keeping things tidy.

Any tips for me? Do you know of any cleaning/organising blogs?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Auntie Flo.

Hallo lovelies.

I am talking TTOM today. (That Time of Month).

I generally don't suffer too severely. Perhaps a bit "speak to the hand, the face don't wanna know" in the lead up, maybe a little bit of crampy action.

But I crave carbs like a mofo.

More specifically, cake.

Last night, the Fella was showing me pics from facebook including lots of cute baby animals, with a few cakes interspersed. I moaned every time a cake came on the iPad screen. I asked him if he was trying to kill me.

Yes, I was a bit petulant last night. Not only because of the carb craving but there was only crap on telly. The only thing that I could tolerate was Dancing with the Stars, and that was very borderline. And then they kicked Tony Barber off. Tony Barber, the gameshow king who reminds me of a nice uncle I have. A true gentleman.

Bastards.(I actually yelled out something a bit more coarse)

Then I moaned some more that I wanted chocolate.

My fella, who has been a little under the weather himself, said "I don't have any chocolate but there are licorice allsorts in my bag."

I wailed "Why didn't you tell me????!!!" And proceeded to nom.

Today, the cake craving has abated. Somewhat.

So tell me:

What food do you crave? That time? Other times?

Actually, reading this post back, I reflect that I might get a bit....feral....

Here is a picture of some cake. You are welcome.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Musings on Melbourne Mara 10k (Plus some old-skool hip hop)

"My body is a temple. The Mayan Ruins. That's a temple." - My fella. Yesterday.

One thing I have learned to appreciate recently is that consistency is Key.

Not willpower. Not motivation. Routine and Consistency.

Good things rarely come to fruition by a massive and one-off action, but by multiple small, routine actions, a few steps forward, sometimes a few steps back. Mistakes. Some fine tuning in the approach. A longstanding fan of rapid gratification, in the past few years, I have learned the valuable lesson of patience.

Recently I have made a few changes to my lifestyle, prompted by some increasing muffin-top in my jeans. Sulking and bemoaning only acted to make me feel worse about myself.

I ramped up my exercise, taking up a weights session in addition to the running training. I have been keeping my more decadent food choices to the weekends, where I try not to go too berserk.

I have made these changes many times in the past, and they have worked. My difference now is in the approach; I realise that this sort of stuff is what most (apart from the genetically blessed) have to consistently do to remain healthy. We have become very enchanted by the quick fix. Our concept of the intensity and length of effort required to be our best physical selves has become skewed. Many people (myself included sometimes) believe that everyone else has it easier than what they themselves do, and they have to work a whole lot harder and it's just not worth trying.

I've also drunk a big fat mug of "no good comes from comparing yourself to others" and a big glass of "focus on what you've achieved" and a beaker of "learn from your mistakes, don't berate yourself too much for them". Plus coffee. And wine (but mostly only on the weekends).

I am starting to see and appreciate some results! Muscles are popping out! It has helped my mood no end.

Anywho, getting to the point, the Melbourne Marathon was on yesterday. This is the biggest event on the Melbourne Fun Run calendar. They had a Marathon (42.2km), Half-Marathon (21.1km), 10km, 5.7km and a 3km walk. I entered the 10km event, as my goal for this year was to run a stronger 10km.

After a glorious day on Saturday, the forecast for Sunday was diabolical, with wind, hail and rain on the radar. When I pitched up at the 'G very early on Sunday, it was partly cloudy, cool and still. Perfect running conditions, really.

By some stroke of luck, I found a loo with no queue. Lolled around, did some stretching. Lolled around a bit more. Then I noticed that no other 10k'ers were around and I thought "bugger, I've missed the start".

So I got my warmup by sprinting across the bridge in a panic. Luckily the slow wave had not set off yet...phew.

I have given up wearing GPS watches or iPods. I prefer to soak up the atmosphere of a race, and I don't like to worry about what exact clock pace I am running, I like to go by feel and old school watch. Unfortunately when everyone else is wearing earphones the sense of camaraderie is diminished (and the risk of a 5 person pileup increased). I love seeing runners from the Achilles running club, they are usually blind people running accompanied by a couple of volunteers- I always give them a cheer.

I turned out the first 5km at a dead-even pace. After the first five km, I decided to try and step up the slightly, the so-called negative split. A negative split is a sign of a good run.

At about 5.5km, there was a small cheer squad - perhaps the Lululemon girls? They were waving signs like "Too Legit to Quit" and "Your badASSness is showing". This got me smiling and right in the zone to pick it up.

I just kept on, slightly uncomfortable, with head down, working away. A bit of pain up the Barak Bridge, relaxing with the downhill. The last 1.5km or so was a drag. Flat, boring and with a bastard hairpin.

It was a relief to run into the 'G. I picked it up, and overtook a few folks. I crossed the finish line with arms aloft. I was proud of that run.

It was not my best ever time, but it was consistent and a small but steady improvement compared with recent runs. Strong to the end and with a spirited finish. Head down, bum up and not showy-offy. Something to work off. That's the kind of thing I like to do.

After the race, I sat around and watched some of the Africans win the Marathon and Half-Marathon....their running is beautiful to watch. I saw Lisa Weightman run a personal best time, and win the ladies' marathon. I saw a lady collapse near the finish of the half-marathon, struggle to get up, and have some fellow competitors go back and collect her and carry her across the finish line (that got the spectators on their feet).

After, I walked from the MCG into the city, seeing folks toward the end of their Marathon, while having fond memories of mine. I saw some people in not-flash shape, but others were smiling and gliding along.

And then it started pissing down and I went home.

Now, I would like to remind you of some fine early '90s hip hop -

2 Legit 2 Quit....gosh, I forgot how catchy MC Hammer is.... I should totally put this on an iPod for running music...

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

A postscript...

Never fear! I will get back to my usual less heavy content anon.

Firstly, many thanks for the comments on the last post. It was a hard one to write, but it had been brewing in my head for a little while. It really only gently touched the sides of the actual circumstances, the nitty gritty is dealt with behind closed doors at $140 per hour (I know! Cheep Cheep!)

I look at the photo at the bottom, and I feel sad for the children in it, because they knew no better. They had a bit of a chaotic life, in many ways.

Yet I don't really link that child in the photo with the me of now. I don't. Is that good? Bad? Protective?

I've written this post a few times, it was wordy, and I have deleted large chunks, but here it is:

I don't feel angry, or bitter about the past. Maybe briefly about some things, but I remind myself that it is no more. Reflecting on it and learning how it affects me now has been invaluable with managing the boat issues.

Also, I think it will make me a better parent.... bear with me here...

What I have learned, at the end of the day, is this: (and when I say Kids, it probably applies to adults too....)

Kids, in order to grow up all normal(ish), need to be safe.

They need to have a stable roof over their head, and not be shown any worry about where the essentials will come from.

They need to live in an environment free from threat, or violence.

These two are survival things. Perhaps even more subtle is the "emotional safety" aspect.

Because you can't prevent all bad things from happening. Can't always prevent disappointment, or loss, or trauma. The job as a parent is to protect them from what you can, and guide them through what you can't. 

We all need to learn to manage negative emotions: sadness, anger, envy. To acknowledge them, and not deny them, but to let them pass. Learn from them.

Kids need older folks who will demonstrate this coping ability to them. They need a safe place to feel heard, and validated.

"You know, you should never be afraid to tell me anything. I am here for you, I have your back, I love you." Amen.

When things are all about maintaining survival (and even that is shaky), there is no room for the emotional sides. There can be no precedent. You are put behind the 8 ball.

This all might seem obvious, but it has taken me a while...I am getting there :D

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Twenty years yesterday.

There are things I blog about, and things I don't. This has, until now, one topic I have steered clear of, perhaps because it was too hard and painful for me to write about. 

Now I feel I am ready. 

I am very happy that this blog is read by a wonderful group of people, but essentially it is a diary of sorts, a few snapshots about where I am in that moment in time. Also, for some things, I express myself far better in writing than in speaking about it. So it is cathartic. 

It might not make for very comfortable reading.

Dear Dad,

You died 20 years ago yesterday. I was going to say "left us" but that is a bit of a euphemism, isn't it?

Physically you are probably dust and bones. I have not yet made up my mind whether people's spirits stay around to comfort and protect those left. In good times, I would have liked to think of you cheering me on. I am not one for guardian angels, anyway.

You died too early. Yes, he who lives by the sword tends to die by it, but we still expected a bit longer with you. Perhaps a few more good times?

I am not going to get all mushy or rose tinted goggles on you. We didn't have you very long. In the later years, we didn't see you very much. Sometimes when we did, you were good fun, and sometimes you made a bloody nuisance of yourself, getting all aggressive. I am sure you loved us very much, but you were not ever much of a father.

Yes, harsh, but yes, true. Even you would have to admit that.

You can understand that there was, and remains, ambivalence towards you.

The memories of you are fading, both the good and bad ones. The feelings, though, were stuffed down very effectively for a very long time. Only now am I making some sense of them. They pop up in ways I could never have imagined.

People say you can't miss what you didn't have. Certainly, over the years, while striving singlemindedly towards my goals, there were older men in my life who I attached fatherly significance to. I am grateful for these men. I am sure you would be glad to know they were, in small ways, there. We all need role models of both genders.

But, for all intents and purposes, and for most of my life, I did not really have a father. I say that in a matter of fact manner, not self pitying. I never used to think that it mattered. Now, I am coming to an understanding that it did, and does matter.

I think it's something about feeling safe. Dads are the protectors of daughters. That sounds a bit clumsy but I am still getting my head around it.

Plus, it would've been good to have a dad on the front porch staring menacingly at whichever boy I first brought across the threshold. Keep the boy on his toes. Perhaps encourage me not to marry the first man who took an interest. I don't know. It's all moot now.

Anyway, Dad, for a long time I denied memories of you (the good and bad), pushed them aside, blocked them out. My thoughts touched on them but never wrapped around them. It was easier that way.

But, to be a whole functioning person, one needs to learn to integrate all of the important things.

You are half of me. I have come to like me. So I am coming to accept you - you did have your good points.

You form part of the more fragile part of me. You also form some of the better parts, I give you due credit for that.

All parents say that the most important thing they want for their children is happiness. Other things, like success and a comfortable life, but happiness is the key thing.

If you are out there in the ether, you will be glad to know that I have made the best of things, and I always strive for self-improvement.

That I am happy. Despite everything. Because of everything.

your eldest daughter

bro, dad, sis and me, c 1990

Friday, 4 October 2013

#Friday #avagoodweekend

Hello, from the couch of cilosophy.

Firstly, thank youse all sooo much for your input re my wardrobe conundrums. It was very exciting. I have a nice grey marle tshirt for myself, and I am off to source those witchery jeans I wanted...tomorrow!

I have been on call this week, till 8am this morning, and I have had a few calls. So I am celebrating with a wine, as I type.

On Monday and Tuesday, I caught up with some girlfriends. The first one who has recently had her 40th. We went to Woodstock in Brunswick East. Fantastic, authentic pizza and pasta. No photo, as we nommed it too quickly.

The other girlfriend I caught up with at Gorski and Jones, a new Italian restaurant in Collingwood. Tuesday night is Suckling Pig night. Behold....

The crackling was thin and crispy and the taters were yummy. The pork itself was succulent and it was a massive serving - I took some home (they give doggy bags!) and had it on a sammich for lunch the next day. The  vegetables on the right are celeriac and beetroot, and were super tasty. Sorry I can't make up better descriptors....I am drunk on one glass of pinot gris....

Speaking of which, my little friend who I caught up with is from Honkers. She has they typical Asian Alcohol Metabolising Enzymes ie goes bright red and is intoxicated after half a glass of wine. She said to me, face aflush, "your face. It is so symmetrical. It is big. And cute". I said "that is the wine talking".

Kids today.

I had a bit of a Wonky Day (boat issues) on Wednesday. I have one of those per week. It is getting better.  Rome was not built in a day etc etc.

Thursday morning, I caught up with my best GBF (Gay Boyfriend). I have not seen him for yonks. He has been doing his fellowship in neonatology in Toronto (I know, right!!!) and he has just got back. He may be going to live in New York City soon.... I will miss him, but this is an excuse to visit.

The coffee we had came with a special message

Never a truer word said.
Though a little biscotti (biscotto??) with my coffee would've been good too.

Thursday arvo, I caught up with my Statisticians. In research (to borrow the Phrase from Faux Fuchsia), Statisticians are Key. Because the only people who know anything about statistics are statisticians. They suggested some new and exciting ways to analyse and present my primary outcome (ie the most important point of my PhD) AND they are also gonna analyse my data at the end of the year....they think that I will need substantially fewer people than I thought I did....which means I may be able to finish earlier....and earn proper Doctor money!

God bless the Statisticians. They know not what they mean to me right now.

Today, I was in the zone, work wise. After my wonky day on Wednesday, I felt powerful, confident and calm. I used my calm doctor voice and a beatific smile to soothe and console - and that was just my allied health colleagues! I managed to come up with solutions that seemed to please people. I feel good.

Also, my fella is coming home for dinner, rather than being chained with nose to the grindstone till 10pm like he said. Fush and chups bro!

We are finally having some decent weekend weather.

And, these are awesome! I bought them on Monday and I still have over half the box left!

How was your week? Happy weekend to you.