Thursday, 30 July 2015

Sleeveless Puffer Jackets.

It's been a while.

Only a short time till the extended festival of PhD completion can start (with any luck, tomorrow evening, I can submit electronically). I will keep you posted regarding festival activities.

It's freaking chilly in Melbourne, like the coldest July in 20 years or something. I would like to say that I have neglected to wax my eyebrows in order to keep my face warm, but it is just laziness.

Everywhere, everywhere, I see sleeveless puffer jackets. They are on trend (or "on point" or "on fleek", to use the vernacular).

Ok I enjoy a trend as much as the next person, but I just can't do this.

Firstly, I feel that my arms are as deserving of warmth as my trunk.

Secondly, I don't need the puffiness. I need smart tailoring or flowy layers.

They are impractical for exercise, as I get hot very quickly.

Unflattering and impractical.

Can somebody please explain the whole sleeveless puffer thing to me? Thx.

Monday, 13 July 2015

The Idiot Box.

It sounds like a cliche, but this time, crunch time, is like the end of a marathon. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel but I am hurting like fuck. My mind is up to the numerous challenges I have (new work, PhD completion, grant writing etc) but during these times of stress, my body shows it.

I get an awful crick in my neck and back from sleeping like a tense mummy, some headaches, and a stress rash on my feet (it's called pompholyx and it's an actual thing). My feet aren't as bad as the pic, but you get the idea.

It's important for me to give myself some physical challenges during these mentally challenging times. Actually most of the physical challenges are mental challenges as well, and it is super rewarding to face them.

I'm talking about de crossfit, people.

Lots of the exercises we do in the sessions are actually variations on things we should have been good at as kids, but I had my head in a book. Things like handstands, pull ups, jumps.

I am super proud to say I am mastering the pull up, and needing less and less support from the elastic bands. I can do a deep squat like a champion without putting strain on my knees or back, and with increasing amounts of weight on the barbell.

I would love to be able to do a handstand, but this is a little way off.

One thing that scares the bejeezus out of me is the box jump. That is jumping onto a 20 inch box, or, right now, for me, it is 3x25kg weight plates stacked up, at a height of about 10 inches.

I don't yet have the appropriate power to weight ratio to get up to 20 inches, and I am working on that by gradually increasing the height of the platform.

The much more difficult thing is the head thing. I am so scared of falling over, of hurting myself (even typing that makes that fear less powerful). The head thing is what limits me most in terms of my physical prowess.

I came across this article on the webs. I am inspired. I will imagine my footsies steadfastly atop the platform. In order to stave off the ravages of ageing, we need to (safely) move more like a child.

In terms of the other idiot box, I am loving Masterchef. Marco is back and I don't like him, but I still enjoy the show.

Do you take yourself out of your physical and mental comfort zone?
What thing do you wish you could do? Splits? Handstand? Pirouette?

Friday, 3 July 2015

Adaptation and perspective.

To all of you from Sydney and Bris who are complaining that it is freezing, please spare a thought for us down here in Melbourne.

Particularly poor folk like me who have come from the gentle warmth of the European summer back to a chillier than usual winter in Melbourne.

So I have gone from this:

To this:

It's a shock to the system, but I am getting there. I am even beginning to get my head around post PhD work life. Getting back to reality has been hard, and I had a bit of "woe is me" time this week. It passed.

I've heard it said that the species who survive the best are the ones best able to adapt. And my nanna had a picture that said "things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out"

So that year out with baby that I planned may not materialise, and I don't know when it will. It makes it hard to plan, but I am doing my best to secure gainful, flexible and rewarding employment (Ha!), and enjoying what I have. In this environment, things for everyone are getting harder, with budgets tightening, and opportunities diminishing, even for the highly trained. It can get discouraging, but I am nothing if not adaptable. It is one of my strengths. Plans A, B and C are in progress.

I have even registered for a short fun run. I have lost a bit of running fitness with one thing or another, it's now time to get it back.

I realise I live in a bit of a rarified environment. I roll with many people who are highly educated, highly paid, secure and successful people, who appear to "have it all". I realise what a trap that can be, both from the point of view that you lose your perspective of what is reasonable in life, and that those who "have it all" often don't. I am happy to say that I mostly stay away from that trap, and resist the temptation to "keep up with the Joneses".

This morning I had an acute dose of perspective. My sister is now getting heavily pregnant. She has developed a painful inflammatory condition of the wrist, and now cannot perform her job as a waitress, or pick up her little dog (doesn't bode well for baby). She has to see a plastic surgeon and that is expensive, and she has not two pennies to rub together.

One of the things that drove me to achieve as I did was the motivation to avoid the financial situation I grew up in (ie with not two pennies to rub together). It breaks my heart to see my sister struggle like this, and I know how common it is.

It was a timely reminder that my situation really is good.

I have also done my bit to ensure my little niece has a mumma whose wrist works.