Monday, 29 February 2016


A quick note. My fella is taking me to dinner tonight, for my birthday. I need to go don a frock and makeup etc.

I have celebrated it by doing Crossfit. Front-squatting 40kg with perfect technique and to full depth, glutes powering away.

(FYI - squats are very important for healthy ageing - many older people can't get up off a low chair without using their arms, so get onnit).

I think my 37 year old self is stronger than my 36 year old self.

Definitely in a physical sense, as I have guns (the bicep kind) and glutes, and I know how to use them.

It's not a bravado kind of strong, it's about pushing through and not giving up despite the fears. Perhaps that takes inner confidence, but I still  have my share of self-doubt. I just don't bow down to it.

I feel more comfortable in my skin than this time a year ago, having made some peace with the fact that I am unlikely to ever be a size 8, or even 10 or a small 12.

I still feel self-conscious about the space I take up in the world. Somewhat uncomfortably, I will ask for things, that I will make my presence known, but I have stopped apologising for it.

As I get older, I am getting more "angry feminist". I was describing what I needed to do at the beauty parlour today. My fella called it pampering. I asked "since when is ripping your pubes and stray eyebrows out by their roots pampering?". While I like to challenge the dominant patriarchal paradigm, I still like to look tidy, and have no handlebar mustache activity in a swimsuit. I am also starting to recognise where men have it easier, particularly in a career advancement sense.

As Oscar Wilde said, to be happy, it's necessary not to be too intelligent. So I temper my observations with a good bit of humour and sense of the absurd.

Today, I feel happy and proud of my 37 year old self.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Crossfit updates. Vacuum cleaners

Happy Sunday evening to you.

I have been doing Crossfit for a year now. I love it, and I love the friends I have made. That progress is slow does not worry me so much.

Every February, there is a worldwide competition called the Crossfit Open. There are Rx (ie only for the very fit) and Scaled (for mortals like myself) divisions.  There are Masters (40+/55+) divisions. There is a set workout or WOD every week for five weeks, which everyone does. The best 30 or so Rx athletes from each geographic area go on to a "regional" competition, and the best of them go on to the Crossfit Games, which occurs in the US in May. It's a big thing in the Crossfit world. Thousands of people enter the open. It reaches a bit of a religious fervour.

We are all encouraged to enter. I forgot my ego, my "oh my God I am going to do so bad and I don't want people to know" tendency, I paid the USD 20 (AUD 29) and registered. The first WOD was on Saturday. The box was set up with all the markers. Some of the more experienced Crossfitters from the box, as well as doing the WOD (workout of the day) themselves, were engaged as judges for the other people doing the WOD. Strict standards are maintained, no corners can be cut. If the rep/movement isn't done to completion, it's a "no rep" and it has to be repeated properly for it to be counted towards the score.

So I rolled up to the box at 0800 on Saturday. People were already doing the WOD, with looks of grim determination on their faces, and sweat pouring off, their clipboard wielding judges marking the movements off and cheering them on. The music was pumping and the atmosphere was buzzing. The coach referred to those doing the open as "open athletes".

The "scaled" WOD (Females) for Saturday, Open WOD 16.1, was as follows

20 minutes AMRAP (as many reps as possible)

7.5 metre walking lunge with 15kg barbell held in front rack position
8 burpees over bar
7.5 metre walking lunge with 15kg barbell held in front rack position
8 jumping pull ups with chin to bar

The standards were as follows
-knee had to hit the ground at the bottom of the lunge.
-whole foot had to clear the 7.5 metre line
-no dropping the bar in the 7.5 metre walk (if dropped -back to start)
-Burpees are chest and thighs to ground, two foot take off for the jump over the bar, head behind bar when prone
-chin had to reach the bar during pull up.

This workout bought out a number of weaknesses. I with a couple of ankle injuries and tight hips, I had been wobbly at lunges and not much good at getting my knee to hit the ground. I was barely mastering them without added weight. I can do burpees but I am about as speedy as a sloth on valium with them. My pull-ups are coming along but that movement I found hard. A few times I jumped and my chin didn't quite reach the bar. The judge yelled "no rep" and I went "fuck" and did it again.

It was really frickin' hard. I remember feeling a bit silly and slow being up to the burpees when some of the others were on the chinups. I even felt a bit sick toward the end. However I did not stop despite feeling tired, in pain and ill. My "judge" cheered me on, even prompted me "left leg, now right leg, come on, big jump".

Later in the workout a few of the other "athletes" come to cheer me on. It really helped. Finally I finished and I did the obligatory toss of the barbell and fall dramatically to the ground to catch my breath and rest. This going to ground is totally allowed and even encouraged. People find your hand to shake or high-five. The judge congratulated me for not taking a rest and keeping on moving throughout.

Even though I got far fewer reps than some of my mates, I was not worried. That I gave it a crack was good. I had always made a few excuses on the basis of being a bit tubbier or less athletic than the other girls, but today no short cuts could be taken. Rather than being embarrassed for being slower, I felt empowered for doing the same thing as some of the fit girls I admire.

I am also getting far less fearful of the box jump - it was something very simple that my coach said that helped me get my head around jumping without hesitating.

I have pulled up rather sore today. My left butt cheek in particular is giving me curry - that glute has been a bit lazy and it had a workout. I am looking forward to what the next week will bring.

My fella and I got some gift cards for Chrissy, and we pooled them, and added some cash, to buy a Dyson Vacuum cleaner. I had been skeptical, as I am about any expensive cleaning appliance, as scrupulous cleanliness has never been high on my list of priorities (ok that sounds really bad).

I took the Dyson for a spin yesterday, after my big workout, and I was impressed and alarmed in equal measure. Impressed because of the amount of dirt it picked up and how clean it made the carpets looked, alarmed because that heap of dirt and dog hair and my hair was filth that we had been wallowing in.

It's kind of cool to use something that somebody has carefully engineered.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

A better grocery shopping experience.

Firstly - thank youse all for your replies on my last post, or texts. As I might have said before, I am better at putting things in writing rather than talking about them.

Also, I think talking/writing about the things you are worried about takes their power away. As Heidi said, any IVF will be a "blip" in the scheme of things, when it turns out to be successful, as most of them do. As my other friend says, "make an appointment to see the IVF specialist. Most people get pregnant then".

And I am feeling back to my normal self, now. For that day or 2 every 28, I go a bit loopy. Perhaps I need to schedule in some time in a padded cell with chocolate?

I've had a good weekend- crossfitting, catching up with a fabulous friend, catching up with my mum. I did a bit of mall shopping - I enjoy a wander around a big shopping centre when it is not too feral and crowded.

Today I did my usual shopping run. I usually go to my local Coles. I live in a suburb that has been very rough about the edges but has been gentrified for about 15 years, with house prices going up like all inner suburbs. Unfortunately the local shopping mall has not gotten the memo. It has two Coles stores (one of them was a Bi-Lo) and and Aldi, but no Woolies, and no good stores where you think "yes, I love coming here". It is dark and depressing.

Grocery shopping is a bit of a pain. It's can be hard to find a parking spot. Both Coles are small and crowded, with a crap range, and many fresh items have run out by the time Sunday arvo comes along. Hence I made the executive decision to shop at the Coles a couple of suburbs away; a ten minute drive as opposed to a three or four minute drive. I often go there to pick up a few bits and bobs on the way home from one of my workplaces, but never done my whole shop there

This suburb is much more "old money", and the supermarket and fresh food shops in the centre are top notch, as somebody who is old money would expect as their birthright.

I am a convert. I shall be doing my shopping there again. I left happy rather than angry. Here is why

  • No rage in parking, just ample parks close to the entrance.
  • I was fumbling with my wallet to get out my dollar for Trolley hire but guess what? The management at that Coles trust us adults to treat the trolleys with respect, and return them to the appropriate location rather than, say, wheeling them down to the local creek and throwing them in.
  • The aisles are wide! Enough for two trolleys to pass comfortably.
  • Being a wealthy suburb, I bumped into one of my wealthy doctor friends. We stood in the aisle with our trolleys and had a chat, and people could pass! Pleasant on all counts.
  • The range is excellent. The fresh food looks fresh, and there is plenty of it there. There was a guy shovelling ice chips onto the greens! No ice chips in the other Coles!
  • They have a good range of organic/grass fed/privately schooled meats.
  • They even have lesser known vegetables.... sourcing Okra, should one feel the need, is not an issue. The small veg are put in nice little wicker baskets rather than left to their own devices in cheap black tubs.
  • Sweet baby cheeses! They have a selection of Roquefort,  D'Affinois and other fancy France-y cheeses. 
  • The music is good, and people actually appreciate it. Some of them sing along. Happy people, not angry people.
  • There are ample checkouts, and one is not left waiting for long at all to check out.
I regaled the nice teen girl at he register with my superior shopping experience. She told me that lots of people in the market to work at Coles want to work at that particular Branch. Happiness all round.

Ideally, I would shun the supermarket duopoly, however I want to be prepared with good healthy food at the beginning of the week, and there isn't a lot of time to do it. Hence the attraction to getting all the things under the one roof, rather than the butcher, the baker and the greengrocer.

Friends, I think I am onto a winner.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Allow me to speak freely...

I am usually on quite an even keel. Yesterday evening, though, I felt this quite pervasive anxiety. Existential "I am not doing enough" and "I am not enough" anxiety. Anxiety which normally gets the better of me when I have been taken off my happy pills.

I thought back to the last time I felt that way. 29 days ago.

For a couple of days every month, with the drop in mood-protecting lady hormones, my usually well controlled depression can break through the effects of the SSRIs. Or, in English, epic PMS.

Normally I would just shut myself in my room and read. The only way is to let it pass.

The thing was, with all the sun, sand, surf and snuggles of the last month, I had hoped that maybe I might not have to go through PMS again - ie that the relaxing vibe of Byron would have helped along the fertility gods.

It sounds a bit foolish, but I really did think that way. It's not going to be, though.

All of the feels I usually keep at bay at other times came tumbling out last night.

The duality of time. So long a wait for the little egg to drop. The months are short, but the years go quick. I am approaching a birthday. I am getting old, and my partner even older. Are we too old for this?

The "what am I doing with my life" feeling intensified. Normally I am quite satisfied that I live my life to the full, but last night I was bereft of that.

That people get pregnant ON THE PILL! It's like the princess and the pea of conception. I am off the pill, and have suffered acne, hair fall and mood swings. No baby though.

The feeling that some friendships are slipping away. Phone calls cut short by a gaggle of toddlers. Promises to catch up never materialise. The chasm between my stage of life and theirs is widening. I know it's natural for friends to come and go, but still.

And even if I do get there, will I be any good a mum? The parenting horror stories frighten the hell out of me.

All these thoughts I usually keep in check and in perspective, all came down on me in the last 24 hours. I had my monthly good old cry. Perhaps next month I need to anticipate it.

One little mental shift I made last night was regarding the potential for IVF. I don't like the idea of being stuffed full of hormones. I had been putting pressure on myself  "hurry up and get pregnant so you don't need IVF!" I realised though that it will likely work if the old fashioned way doesn't. I found that comforting.

That was last night. Today I am a bit better.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

F#$k Yeah, Tim Minchin.

I have been known to shout at the telly and the radio when I get angry at what has been said.

Like some bonehead MP who said that changes to negative gearing would stop the poor from buying their second home.

I screamed "they can't even afford their first home", DICKHEAD!"

Tony Abbott would bring about cussing at the telly pretty much every time he appeared on the idiot box.

Very little can make me scream at the telly or the radio more than anything to do with George Pell. The man makes me AAANGRY. So does pretty much everyone in that realm who avoided justice for heinous abuses of the vulnerable. If hell exists, there is a special place there for people who do this, or are complicit in hiding it.

Now Cardinal Pell is avoiding facing the Royal Commission with claims that he is too ill to fly.

An Australian intensivist has offered to chaperone him

Tim Minchin has added to the chorus, as he does in his clever and subversive way.


Fuck yeah, Tim.

Monday, 8 February 2016

A week in Byron Bay.


I am reluctantly thrust back into reality after a ripper week in Byron Bay.

#sorrynotsorry I don't have any photos in this post. Most of the cool things we did, it was impracticable to bring a phone and snap away. Also there's that thing about living your experiences rather than photographing them.

I did post many pictures of beer and food; these sitting down pics were at the times where I reflected on the good times I just had.

It was very much a week of letting shit go, and not giving a fuck. I had been fairly stressed prior to the trip with one thing or another, and am significantly less so now. A warm, subtropical, chilled-out beach town will do that to you.

I had been craving some time at the beach, and that craving was sated this holiday. Byron has some fabulous beaches, which I swam in daily. I showed off my bikini body - I have a body and I have a bikini, and I walked around in that bikini like a boss among the lithe 20 year old German backpackers.

We went sea kayaking on a glorious sunny day. There was a bit of "motion in the ocean" and mild seasickness ensued, however this was alleviated by seeing a pod of dolphins doing their dolphin thing, and getting up as close as 10 metres away. We had to retreat as the current towards the rocks was strong, but it was a very special experience. Kayaking with one's partner is a good bonding experience, if you can paddle without arguing too much that is a good sign.

I had known that Byron was a big surfie destination, and I was keen though a little scared to try. I had read all the reviews of the local surf schools saw that the newbie surfers had a blast. Hence I bit the bullet. The manageress of the B and B we stayed at suggested we went to a school called Style Surf, run by Gaz, who is something of a local institution. Hence we signed up. The next day, we got picked up and went to the beach. There were no waves. Gaz, calling the surf "piss poor", said that he wouldn't "steal our money" and sent us back home without charging us. We then went the next day, at a different location, and alas, there were waves.

We did some initial instruction on the sand. All good in theory - paddle, banana up, then get up really quickly into the appropriate standing position. Yep all good. In the water, however, it was a great deal harder.

Part of the issue is that I was a bit scared, the instructors sensed that. Mostly of the waves, of getting knocked over, of having a board whack me over the head, heck, of drowning. Or sharks. But mostly drowning.

I went out there, eyes toward the beach as instructed ("look down, fall down") and gave it my best crack. I stood up once for about a nanosecond, then went over. I fell over all the other times, into the drink. Some amazing acrobatics were performed into the water. Most of my energy was taken up dragging the board back out, and having the board whacked out of my hands by the waves repeatedly. I became comfortable with facing up to the big waves (only really a metre or so), with putting my head underwater, and with negotiating the currents.

I had a ripper time and after a couple of hours I was knackered. But I was proud of myself for giving it a crack and facing my fears and disregarding my ego. I will give it another go someday.

The other fantastic thing was meeting with all of the instructors, and learning that many of the stereotypes regarding surfies are true. You are addressed as "bro" (if you are a bloke) and "darlin" (if you are a blokette). They greet each other using the "ridgey didge", sign, which means "hang loose, bro". They are very funny and very friendly.

On the surfies' recommendation, we went out to the local pub that night, the more down at heel local one, ironically called the Railway hotel (there hasn't been a railway for some years). The drinks were cheap and cheerful, and the food was good and cheap. Best of all, there was a reggae band playing, which had everybody up on their feet, dancing, while the rain went down sideways outside. We met up with a few friendly travellers and had a whale of a night.

We did a bit of driving around the hinterland, and went to the cute little towns with the high-end stores and restaurants focussing on local produce.

We really did have a great time, and we will be back.

While I was having this good time, I let go of worrying about the future, if only for a little while. Some of the emails I sent out have been returned. We shall see where they head.