Sunday, December 31, 2006

*snigger*

Just to prove that I can be as immature as the next person:

I was getting organised to make our traditional late-night Christmas Eve snack, which consists of Bagel Crisps spread with Philly Lite, and topped with slices of smoked salmon and a little black pepper...and a glass of champagne. (and yes, Sara, I KNOW those things are full of trans-fats. But it's once a year, OK?) So I opened the tub of Philly and found this:


Bwah-ha-ha! I almost peed my pants laughing.....cream cheese boobies! *regains composure*

I did briefly consider advertising it on eBay. Don't laugh - I saw this crazy lady on the Ellen Degeneres Show, who finds potato chips shaped like.....oh I don't know, the Pope's face in profile...or maybe a wee doggie. And she sells them on eBay. Just proves that people will buy anything. Like this chip, shaped like a heart, that I found on eBay. And apparently a boot-shaped chippie sold for $1200. Weird.

Anyway, we ate the cream cheese boobies...what could I do? Christmas Eve, no shops open, no way to buy more for our much-anticipated snack. I guess I'm not destined to be rich...

Yoww!

I am in pain. My body is very unhappy with the way I've treated it these last few days - the unaccustomed cycling on Friday, then a blistering leg workout yesterday left me feeling just a little tender when I woke up this morning. THEN I got on my bike again this morning and repeated Friday's effort. It was a really, really pathetic effort. My legs just had no power in them - on the hills, my heart rate was a pounding 160-170 (that's WAY high for me), but I was struggling to keep my speed up to 10 kmh. I can RUN faster than that! Oh the shame....

So, a couple of hours later, my butt and legs are acting like they belong to a 90-year-old. Getting up from my chair is a major drama. I'm pretty sure that tomorrow morning I will wake up and find that during the night my legs have been replaced by concrete stumps.

Regardless, I shall be in the gym again tomorrow...but this time it's my upper body I'll be torturing, my legs really need a break.

********************************
Tonight we're having a little New Year's celebration with some friends. Bike Boy is cooking a Kylie Kwong recipe - crispy-skin duck with blood plum sauce. Mmm, my mouth is watering at the thought.

We'll also have a few drinks, and I'm whipping up another of my lemon tarts for dessert. That's my final indulgence - tomorrow I'm back to my usual clean diet and I'm really going to be working to shift the Christmas bloat, AND work on my cardio fitness. As well as continuing to build muscle, of course.

Happy New Year to all!

New year, new challenges

It's New Year's Eve once again and as usual, I'm reflecting on 2006 and its ups and downs. Overall, I'm happy with my achievements, and even the not-so-good parts have taught me a few things, so I guess they served a purpose too.

So, a quick review of the highlights and lowlights of my year:

January 1st saw me start my online training program with Michael Tabban. This turned out to be a GREAT move for me, since I achieved more in terms of fat loss and muscle gain than ever before.

I also got my own personal training business really up and running. Although I'd had a few one on one clients in 2005, January was when I pulled all the business stuff together properly and really gave it 100%.

Seems Blogger doesn't like my logo's custom colour....it's turned out a weird limey green, instead of my pretty turquoise.

In April, I got to attend Jen Hendershott's Phat Camp for the second time, and had a ball!I also got to hang out with Sara for a few days, and we had bucketloads of fun...and shopping....and coffee....and dessert. And we worked out a bit too.

April was also my first ever Filex convention - I'd been to the Australian Fitness Expo in Sydney twice before, but this was my first trip as a fitness industry delegate, and it was GREAT.

June was a bit of a bummer, since I spent most of it incapacitated following a hysterectomy. A month out of the gym was torture!! But I was sane and sensible and eased back into training, taking 2 months to get back to my normal program and usual weights.

October saw me take a deep breath and cut my office hours from full time to only 3 days a week, so I could concentrate on my booming business. Since then, I've got even busier....which is great....but (there's always a but) it's meant that I have almost no time for myself, or my poor family. That's something I need to work on in 2007. My problem is, I really, REALLY hate saying no to people. I always want to help everyone who contacts me, but there are only 24 hours in a day and I need a few of those for myself. I may have to do a little expansion, and take on some PTs as contractors to help out. Of course, being the control freak that I am, that poses problems....

Overall, it's been a really good year - the kids are happy and healthy, and in spite of some minor nagging injuries, so are Bike Boy and I. Number One Son has survived his first year of driving unscathed - well, apart from a scare when he hit a roo a few weeks ago - and he's all enrolled for uni next year. The other two did well at school, and generally give us no trouble - what more can a parent ask for?

Now I just have to figure out my goals for next year (well, I have a few hours left!) and I'm all set. Roll on, 2007!!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Woo! ...and Hoo!!

This morning, I slept in. This is a major occurrence in my life - I do not sleep in. Bike Boy woke me with a loving embrace at around 6:30-ish, to which I responded with "Nuhhnn". Or something equally intelligible. He disappeared (apparently I was making a hideous noise, thanks to my perforated septum .....don't ask) and came back to wake me at around 9:00am. Whaddya know? A really-truly sleep in!

So, after cooking up my traditional oats 'n milk 'n just a dash of honey breakfast, we set out on a bike ride. It was only 20km, but I have to say my loving spouse was extremely patient, mostly keeping his pace to my pathetic crawl and every now and then circling back to make sure I was still following him. We followed the Darebin Creek path, which has some NICE hills....got my heart rate up into the 160s a couple of times. :)

I was pleasantly surprised, since I know my C-V fitness is sadly lacking at the mo'....but I did WAY better than the last time we rode that track. I may just survive Amy's Ride next weekend after all. At the very least, I felt really cool in my Netti nicks and Nike jersey. :p

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Back to normal - thank goodness!

In the lead-up to Christmas I trod a treacherous path indeed....cardio was pretty hit-and-miss (OK, it was more miss than hit) and food was, shall we say, a CHALLENGE? Then last week, due to client commitments, new programs to get out before Christmas, all the preparations for the family invasion and a fair bit of slack-arse attitude, I. Did. Not. Make. It. To. The. Gym. Once.

Nope, not one single workout was undertaken. Oh, I thought about working out. For about a nanosecond or so. But I was firmly in "I'll do it after Christmas" mode, so no go.

Then this week went like this:

Monday: Christmas Day. Workout? Pfft. No way, no how.
Tuesday: Boxing Day. It's compulsory to lie around in a carb-induced coma, in between cleaning up the Xmas debris, right?
Wednesday: Um. Worked most of the day, then at dinner time I found myself trying to convince Bike Boy that left over turkey and wine is a balanced meal. *sigh*

By now I'm completely over eating crap and not training. SO....this morning I hauled my (slightly lardier than usual) arse out of bed at 7:00am and headed off to the gym. I did a killer upper body workout, and it felt good! It should only take 3 or 4 days of training and eating properly for the bloatiness to subside....

***********************************

Got my Filex brochure last week - I hopped into bed last night with it and browsed through all the great workshops and lectures that are on offer, and as usual I want to do them ALL. Last year was an absolute blast - I got to meet Selina and Jay in the flesh, plus catch up with some old buddies, picked up lots of freebies...and oh yeah, I learned useful stuff that I could inflict on my clients too. :)

I'd better think about booking my accommodation and start looking for cheap airfares. Yippee!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Testing, testing

I have a Gmail account, which I never use... after all, I have 3 other email accounts and I really think 4 is just excessive.... So mostly, I use my Gmail address when I have to give an email addy for some website that I suspect is going to send me huge amounts of crap that I really don't need clogging up my REAL email.

Anyway, today I realised that I hadn't actually logged into Gmail for about a million years, so I took a quick look. Yes, there was a stack of spam, a bazillion offers from Readers Digest (apparently I have a guaranteed chance to win. Woohoo!) and the results of an online IQ test that I forgot I even took a couple of months ago. And, according to Tickle tests, I have an IQ of 133... which it seems, makes me pretty darn smart.

My results showed that I scored in the 100th percentile on mathematical intelligence, logical intelligence and linguistic intelligence, and in the 80th percentile on visual-spatial intelligence. That last one surprised me, since I am MapGirl - I really thought I'd have scored higher there. Bike Boy almost wet his pants at the revelation that I'm good at maths..... but I have to admit that I actually am, I've just hidden it well all these years. I can do it, I just don't really like it. It does explain why I find percentages, fractions and ratios such a breeze. And spreadsheet formulas, I guess....

Me and my big brain are off to do something clever now.....or maybe have a nana nap.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Done and dusted

It's over for another year. The day went well, even considering the abysmal weather we had to suffer. I don't remember a Christmas Day like it, weather-wise. 15 degrees, windy, with constant rain. The weather forecast made me very anxious in the morning - there's just no way we can fit everyone into our tiny house, and as usual we had set up tables outdoors. So we really, REALLY needed some decent weather. We didn't get it.

Luckily though, we did manage to get through the first two courses with only a minor shower or two and since our deck is roofed, we stayed dry. By 2:45 though, when it began to rain relentlessly and then HAILED on and off, it was everybody indoors. Bike Boy had the ingenious idea of putting on a DVD for the kids - that kept them amused in one room, while most of the adults hung around the kitchen and ate dessert. It could have been much worse.

The food was fabulous - prawns and smoked salmon roulade (my mother's specialty) to start, then the obligatory roast pork, turkey and ham with roasted vegies and lots of salad. And of course, gravy, apple sauce, cranberry sauce etc. Dessert was a little overboard - Christmas pudding with brandy custard, trifle, individual pavlovas, lemon tart and a raspberry-Frangelico tiramisu. And ice cream. Plus fresh fruit, choccies, almond bread etc. There was more wine than you could poke a stick at, and my champagne cocktails went over a treat......and I only had a couple, I was way too busy.

The Baby got up at 6:30am and snuggled in bed with us till the clock ticked over to 7:00. I've always insisted that 7:00am is plenty early enough for children to get up on Christmas Day. Yes, I AM mean. Here he is, checking out the loot from Santa:
The prawns were giant mutants. Yum!

The table was built by my brother in law, and takes up almost our entire deck. The kids were seated separately in the garage. Peaceful? You bet!

I LOVED this centrepiece - can't take credit for it though, I bought it at Target. The boxes were filled with lollies...perfect for keeping the kids amused after lunch. I think I'll refill and re-use it next year.

I got some fabulous presents too....bike shorts and a jersey from Bike Boy, plus an external hard drive for my laptop to make backing up my files a much less difficult job. The kids gave me a Robbie Williams DVD, Ben Elton's new book and a CD of Joe Jackson's greatest hits.

Everyone went home by 6:00pm and Bike Boy and I settled on the couch in an alcohol and sugar-induced stupor to watch those great Christmas movie classics - Blade Runner and Pulp Fiction. And we both managed to nod off, of course.

We only seem to have two items to return - one double-up gift and one board game with a bodgy timer, so that's a better effort than recent years. I'll be staying well away from the Boxing Day sales though - maybe we'll take care of the exchange thing later in the week....

Now that my once-a-year day of excess is over, I'll be trying to eat fairly well and avoid the leftovers until New Year's Eve, then from January 1st, it's back to normal. Or at least what passes for normal with me....

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Twas the night before Christmas...

...and all through the house - insanity reigned!

Since last night, we've had one super-excited small boy bouncing off the walls and driving us all crazy with his silliness. Of course it IS his birthday today, so he has good reason. Miraculously, he slept till almost 7:30am, and since then it's been an orgy of present-opening, lego-assembling, DVD-watching and so on. Topped off with Macca's for lunch. And he still has visits from his gift-bearing Nana and aunties to look forward to.

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Everything is right on track around here for a fabulous day tomorrow, and I'm feeling VERY Christmassy.

Here's wishing everyone in Blogland a very Merry Christmas - I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow. :)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

OTT?

Much as I love Christmas, I think this would get old really, really fast. If they were my neighbours, I'd be tippy-toeing over in the dark to pull their fuses.

Rela-a-ax

I'm feeling way more relaxed today. On Wednesday I was a stressed-out, neurotic, nerve-twanging nightmare, with thoughts of all that needed to be done pre-Christmas whirling around in a confused mess in my head. There was the cleaning, the food shopping, the last minute checking of lists, the extra chairs, dishes and cutlery to borrow, the deck to clear and organise so we can fit the enormous table on it, clients still to train, programs to be written, programs to be amended, emails to answer......aargh!!

And then at some point on Thursday, I decided that it would all get done...somehow...and whatever didn't get done was just no big deal.

So, with a day and a half to go, the house is MOSTLY clean and tidy, the deck is ALMOST clear, the presents are all taken care of, I've trained my last client, finished and emailed my new programs, and done some of the updates I need to do. I still have to go buy food, and clean the showers (no really, the mould is out of control!), mop the floors, do some more washing, ring my mother to get her to hunt out some extra crockery and stuff, and about a hundred other things, but we're getting there - and I'm still relaxed. And smiling.

I would have all the food bought and put away by now if I hadn't stayed up late and drunk wa-a-a-y too much wine last night. My plan to be at the stupidmarket at 7:00am kind of went by the wayside when I woke up with a wee hangover and decided to stay in bed. Oops.

I'm off to battle the grumpy stressed-out hordes at Coles now. There might be a parking spot left somewhere - I'd walk if I didn't have 17 billion bags to carry home. *sigh*

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hairy Christmas to all

On Tuesday I decided that I couldn't wait any longer to get some....um....grooming taken care of. So I rang my salon to book in for a bikini wax. Normally I can ring and ask for an appointment the next day, or even later the same day and - no problem.

Instead, I got lots of hmms and umms while the girl checked for a vacant appointment, and then finally she says: "We only have one appointment left for this week, and it's at a ridiculous time, but if that doesn't suit you, you'll have to go on our waiting list" WAITING LIST? Who goes on a waiting list for a waxing appointment? What, has every female in my suburb got a hot date coming up or something? Or are they all expecting to receive G-strings in their Christmas stockings?

Anyway, I took the appointment. At 10:30pm tonight. *yawn* Past my bedtime, but that'll teach me to be better organised in future.

No smoking!

Yesterday was yet another day of extremely poor air quality, thanks to the bushfires and the weather patterns sending all the smoke down this way. I rarely have a problem with asthma, but this is really knocking me around. It's not like 'normal' asthma - I actually don't notice any difference in my breathing, and it's not like I'm coughing all the time or anything. But after sucking in more smoke than air for a few hours, I feel headachey, dizzy, nauseous and a million other things that I can't even begin to explain.

The only other time I've ever felt like this was the day after my hysterectomy, when my blood oxygen suddenly plummetted and I didn't know whether to faint or throw up. A bit of quality time with an oxygen mask fixed THAT problem, but that's hardly an option when you're going about your day to day business.

So - workouts this week? They're just not happening. Instead, I'm staying indoors as much as possible with the doors and windows closed, and taking naps....for some reason, I seem to be very tired.

The EPA is predicting poor to very poor air quality again today. Great.

Funny how you take clean air for granted until you don't have it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

One in a million


I don't have much time this morning, but wanted to acknowledge the anniversary of 2004 BFL inspirational champion Julie Whitt's death. Julie lost her battle on 19th December last year and the BFL world lost someone really special.

For anyone who's lacking motivation with their fitness routine, or thinks they have it tough, go read about Julie's life. Then hop over to The Torch forum, sign up and give it your best shot. There are lots of great people there, all brought together in some way by Julie, all doing their best to make a difference.

I'm lucky enough to know quite a few BFL champs, and they're all great and inspirational people. But this little lady is the queen of champions - she really was something special, and there will never be another like her.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Paparazzi

If anyone has picked up the latest issue of Women's Health & Fitness or Australian Ironman, they may recognise this photo:


Both mags have run a double-page spread on Jen Hendershott's Phat Camp, and have included this photo.....which was taken by yours truly.

I was flicking through the pages of Ironman and went Ooh! Phat Camp! Hey, that photo's from the Melbourne Camp......Hang on a minute, I TOOK THAT PHOTO! I actually sent a disc with some of my pics to Blitz Publications, and I'm quite happy that they finally used one...but some credit might have been nice. Harrumph.

If you look closely, you will notice that Sara is the cute chick on the left there.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Goodwill to all

The other day I was reading the office weekly e-zine (yes, I obviously was bored), and came across a letter from some poor sad soul, bemoaning the onset of the Christmas season. He whined on about how awful it all is, having to endure time with relatives you don't even like, spend outrageous amounts of cash on gifts for said unpleasant relatives, eating too much and misery, doom, blah-de-blah-blah.

I read this letter and my first thought was: "how sad". Honestly, who thinks like that? And then I thought about the grim faces on shoppers everywhere this week, the car park road-rage I keep witnessing, and I started to wonder whether I'm the exception....you know, loving the decorating, the gift-buying, the food and yes, even my family. I can't ever remember dreading Christmas, it's always all happy-happy, joy-joy for me, notwithstanding the odd present that made me go what the hell were they THINKING?!

Luckily my family have always made a big deal of celebrating the season - when I was a kid, our home was always open to anyone who needed somewhere to go. There were always various relatives, the occasional friend, and Dad often brought home some guy from work who had no family in Melbourne, to share in our celebrations. Mum always made sure there was something wrapped up under the tree for any 'extras' that arrived and there was always more than enough food to go around. Lunch was a big family celebration, and at dinner time many of our friends and neighbours would arrive to swell the numbers. We kids loved it, there was always a knee to sit on, cousins to play with, great food and lots of fun.

The day has never lost that appeal for me, and I've always aimed to make it just as special for my kids as it was for me.

So....the 28 for lunch...that's mostly my sisters, their partners and offspring, but also Bike Boy's sister and her family, my mother (who will arrive with a car boot full of gifts and enough prawns to feed a small army battalion), and my elder sister's stepchildren with partners and their kids. All up, I think there will be 12 kids - although the eldest two, being 19, don't really count. The rest range in age from 3 to 16.

I can guarantee there will be lots of noise, plenty of laughter and more food and drink than you can poke a stick at. The kids will be hopping from one foot to the other with excitement, waiting for the official handing out of the presents, which will only take place once everyone arrives. Someone will cry, someone's gift will break the minute they open it, someone will get really, really drunk (hopefully, not me!) most of the adults will eat too much and at least two of the men will take a traditional post-Christmas-lunch nap.

It will be total chaos, far from perfect, and it will be wonderful. I can't wait!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

It's almost upon us


Did I mention that we are expecting 28 people for lunch on Christmas Day? Actually, I believe it may be 29.....

I have the present thing under control, decorations are organised, seating won't be a problem, and the food doesn't bother me, we have that down pat now. Bike Boy buys and cooks the meat - turkey, pork and a ham that he smokes himself. My family are great when it comes to bringing salads and desserts, and I really love to cook for a special occasion, so we have everything else pretty much covered. As long as I don't repeat the performance from 3 years ago and have way too many champagne cocktails so that I'm insensible by lunchtime....

The thing that's freaking me out is that my house is a PIGSTY and so far I just haven't managed find the several hours it's going to take to restore order. However, tomorrow is earmarked for cleaning, tidying and getting rid of accumulated crap, so perhaps all will be well.....

Did anyone notice that my Christmas tree is decorated entirely in blue and gold? And that the gift wrapping matches? Yes, I AM a freaky everything-must-match kind of person. I used to do the green/red/gold thing, but when we redecorated a few years ago and the lounge became all yellow, navy and blue, I had to re-think the Christmas decorations. Is that really, really obsessive? Probably. Do I care? Nope.

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I just had to post these photos of tonight's dinner. This is mine:



200g of barbecued skinless chicken breast, a huge pile of salad (lettuce, tomato, cucumber and sprouts) and 5 home-made spicy potato wedges - Bike Boy added those.

THIS is Bike Boy's:


That humungous chunk of dead cow is a six-hundred-and-something-gram piece of rib-eye steak. Add half a plateful of wedges, some sliced mushrooms as the token vegetable and a good glug of pepper sauce, and apparently you have the perfect man meal.

At least it isn't a pile of fried processed crap topped with canned chilli and cheese slices. And the wedges are a recipe from Bill Phillips' Eating for Life, so they've gotta be good, right?

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Last night we had The Baby's birthday celebration, just over a week early. He had a friend over and we went out for pizza, then headed to the cinema to see Eragon. The movie was OK - I found it a little boring, actually, but it does have Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich to redeem it. And who doesn't love a movie with dragons in it?

Afterwards we headed home for chocolate mud cake and then it was sleepover time. *groan* The Middle Child, who shares a room with his younger brother, couldn't take the chattering, and ended up sleeping on the couch, but apart from that, all went smoothly.

I was trying to upload a photo of my almost-11-year-old darling with his cake, but Blogger's doing its thing again. Oh well.

Friday, December 15, 2006

How stupid do you think I am?

There must be some really, REALLY stupid people in the world. I get phishing emails all the time...along with a large amount of generic spam.....but this one I received today made me snort my coffee out of my nose:

Hello

My Name is Dr.Johnson Michael From Harlsden, North West London , here in England. I work for Natwest Bank Corporation London. I am writing you from my office that will be of an imense benefit to both of us. In my department,being the assistant manager (Greater London Regional Office), I discovered an abandoned sum of $12.5 million USA Dollars (Twelve million five hundred thousand Usa Dollars) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customers Late Mr.Thompson Morrison American citizen who unfortunately lost his life in the plane crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 which crashed on January 31 2000, including his wife and only daughter.

The choice of contacting you is aroused from the geograpgical nature of where you live, particularly due to the sensivity of the transaction. and the confidentiality herein. Now our bank has been waiting for any of the relatives to come-up for the claim but nobody has done that.

I personally has been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for 2 years now, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin /Will Beneficiary to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued at 12.5 Million Dollars can be paid to you. This will be disbursed or shared in these percentages,60% to me and 40% to you.

I have secured all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up this claim we are making. All i need is to fill in your names to the ducuments and legalise it in the court here to prove you as the legitimate beneficiary. All I require now is your honest Co-operation, Confidentiality and Trust to enable us see this transaction through.

I guarantee you that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.

Please,provide me the following: as we have 5 days to run it through. this is very very URGENT PLEASE.

1. Full Name
2. Your Telephone Number
3. Your Contact Address.

Your urgent response will be highly anticipated and appreciated.

Best regards,

Dr.Johnson Michael


Hilarious! Does anyone actually actually fall for this sort of crap? I'm sure he really is the assistant manager of some department in the Natwest bank in London - I mean, you can just tell by his spelling, grammar and punctuation that he's a pinstriped suit-wearing, successful British banking executive, can't you? Ooh, and he's a DOCTOR! That cinches it - he must be genuine.

So...let's see, 40% of $12.5 million is ....*presses calculator buttons* ....$5 million. Hmm...I could really use $5 million. Tough decision, but I think I'll pass.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

This and that

The Baby got his yellow belt in karate on Monday night, and he's ultra proud of himself. Now he'll be able to lord it over all the ungraded white belts who'll undoubtedly start in the new year.


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This morning I had a client booked for an outdoor session, as usual on Thursdays. It's 30-something degrees today, with a horrible hot gusty wind blowing. We did a walk instead of the usual cardio & resistance intervals, but believe me, THAT was challenging enough. Westerfolds Park has some doozies of hills, and with the high temperature and wind, it was quite a workout.

We were just about at the top of the biggest hill when I saw a movement in the trees out of the corner of my eye. I looked over and there were 3 kangaroos looking back at us. On closer inspection, there were actually about 10 of them, hiding amongst the grass and bushes. It doesn't matter that I see roos most weeks, I always get a thrill when I come across them. :)

Here's a really dodgy photo, taken with my phone....you'll have to use your imagination. Well, you can't get close to them, you know, they run away!


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I have one final Christmas present to buy, plus one parcel to post off to Perth, and I'm all done with the shopping. I'll get those out of the way tomorrow morning. I still have a million and one things to do though, mostly involving cleaning up around here in preparation for the 28 people who are coming for lunch on Christmas Day.

Right now, I have more important things to take care of - like getting my hair done. Can't look all scruffy at Christmas!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ho, Ho, Ho!

This week I'm wavering between YAY! Christmas is almost here! and Oh CRAP! Christmas is almost here! I'm excited, I can't wait, and yet I have so-o-o-o much still to do!

The littlest elf at my house loves anything Christmassy (I'm going to be all boo-hoo when he grows up and is too cool for this stuff), so when he went out with Bike Boy the other day to the shops and came back with this hat, I wasn't the least bit surprised:
It's a little hard to see, but it has elf ears on the sides. Cute? You bet!

Then he had to go find the other hats he's collected from previous Christmases:


And finally, he decided to put all of them on at the same time:


Cute, yes. Crazy, definitely. Takes after his Dad.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Phew!

No wonder yesterday was so horrible.....it was the hottest December day in 43 years. 42.1 degrees to be precise. I went outside to hang some washing on the line at around 3:00pm and all our vegies were having a little lie down. Limp tomatoes, flaccid zucchinis, sad strawberries. Some emergency rescue measures had to be taken, pronto! I'm not usually crazy enough to stand outside in 40+ degree heat watering the garden, but it was that or let everything die.....

I was out there maybe 15 minutes, and I got sunburnt. :( My sacrifice was worht it though - the vegies are sitting up and looking perky this morning.

Today's going to be cool - thank goodness. We're supposed to get a 'shower or two' as well - fingers crossed for a good downpour.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Just one wafer-thin mint...

After enduring a day of smoky heat, I decided last night that I'd shout the family dinner at a local restaurant. "Family" consisted of me, Bike Boy and The Baby - the other two were hanging out with their mates. No cooking and no dishes sounded like a brilliant idea to everyone.

So we tried a new place and had a really delicious meal....but there was a little over-indulgence. Three courses are really a bit much for me these days, but I just can't resist a good dessert - and the blood plum tart looked (and was) fantastic. By the time we finished, I felt like Terry Jones' character, Mr Creosote from Monty Python's Meaning of Life. Bleurgh.


I think today, I shall eat lightly......

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It's still disgustingly smoky outside and the forecast today is for 37 degrees. Ugh.

The wind dropped last night so the fires didn't spread as far as the CFA feared, but they're bracing for a bad day today. One of the biggest problems is that some of the worst fires are in the inaccessible high country - no chance of getting water tankers in there. Apparently, firefighters (including some of your cute Kiwis, Sara) have been dropped by helicopter into the mountains - those are some brave guys! The water bombers were no use yesterday, the smoke was too thick and they simply couldn't fly through it - way too risky, with zero visibility.

I loved this photo, from The Age reader's gallery:


And the caption: High on a hill, looking over the bridge to where the MCG used to be visible. In case you don't get it, that's (more or less) the first line from the Paul Kelly song Leaps and Bounds. OK, so it's a Melbourne thing, but we all love that ugly Nylex clock on top of the old silo.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Fire

Aww, you're all so sweet. I appreciate your concern, but we're fine. Really. I can handle a bit of smoke - it's actually dispersed a bit tonight, and breathing is less of a drama. I think I have a valid excuse for skipping cardio tomorrow though.

For Sara, and anyone else who has no idea about Victoria's geography, this map shows where the fires are at the moment:

The flamey things are the fires. Melbourne is, of course, at the top of the great big bay in the middle there (Port Phillip). The closest major fires are maybe 180km away. The weather patterns have sent all the smoke southward though. This pic was taken by one of NASA's satellites yesterday:


The red blob (it's supposed to be an X) is roughly where we live. All that dark green stuff, stretching up into NSW is national parks and other bushy areas. - All pretty much burning nicely now, after the prolonged drought.

Ash Wednesday was way scarier, since the fires were actually burning on Melbourne's outskirts. Touch wood, that won't happen this time. I did have a moment this morning when I was heading towards Whittlesea and the smoke was getting thicker and thicker. I was really getting a bit concerned that there was a fire nearby and I was heading straight for it, but nope, it was all blowing from Jamieson or somewhere up that way.

Bike Boy's parents are on the right side of the north-eastern alpine fires, at the moment. But the weather guys are predicting a wind change to the west(ish) in the next couple of days, so that may blow the fire front in their direction. Meanwhile, I'm permanently plugged in to the CFA and DSE websites for updates.

Does anybody have any experience at rain dances? We could do with a nice downpour right about now. No lightning with that order though, thanks.

*cough, wheeze*

This is what we woke up to this morning:

That's the view from our front door - and no, it's not the moon on a cloudy night. That, people, is THE SUN at just after 7:00am on a cloudless summer day. We are engulfed in smoke from the (thankfully) quite distant bushfires. Let me tell you, the smoke is playing hell with my asthma. I can usually get away with taking no meds at all - right now, I'm taking double and even triple doses. :(

And here is the beautiful view of the Kinglake ranges that I see every week on the scenic drive to my 9:00am Saturday client:

What? You can't see any mountains? Yeah, that would be because of the even thicker smoke up that way. And as if reduced visibility and difficulty breathing weren't enough challenges to deal with, this morning I had to dodge stray sheep wandering about on the road. I missed this one by *that* much:


At least life's interesting.

********************

Got my email sorted - I'm still waiting for some billing issues to be fixed, but they've promised to ring me Monday to make sure my website doesn't suddenly go *poof* and disappear off the internet. We'll see.....

Friday, December 08, 2006

When all else fails...

Still no answer at Netspace (yes, I'm naming them now...) so I've just lodged a complaint with the Telecommunications Ombudsman. I shall call them later, when their office hours begin, to see if I can get some urgent action happening.

I feel a little better now. I'd feel a lot better if I could only get access to the 700 or so emails that I just KNOW are waiting for me in cyberspace somewhere.

I'm on my second coffee. Perhaps that will help?

Harrumph!

Gah!!! I am so cranky!

This week has been more than little trying. Let me list my frustrations:

1. Lack of sleep. This started on Sunday night with Bike Boy tossing and turning all night and thus keeping me awake. I somehow went a little short on sleep Monday night (too tired to remember why or how), Tuesday could not get to sleep, Wednesday succumbed to the urge to have a nana nap...and again on Thursday... resulting in staying up late. And now I'M TIRED.

2. The aforementioned internet/email issues. Best say no more on that subject lest my head explode with anger.

3. Bike Boy's absence today while he attends some meeting in Canberra (again). This means he won't be back till at least 8:30pm. I have a client at 5:00pm, won't get home till at least 6:30, the kids need to be fed at some point.... *sigh*

4. Trying to complete The Middle Child's booklist. This is apparently designed as some sort of IQ test for parents. Or maybe a test of your psychic abilities. Which books belong to which subject? Is the P.E. textbook required for all 3 P.E. electives, or only one, or what? I sent my son to the office to ask. The answer? "I don't know". Yeah, thanks - I am not buying $85 worth of books if he doesn't need them! Looks like I have to ring the school today....

5. To top it all off, my youngest two decided to have several fights this morning, which culminated in much yelling by me. Then The Baby cracked it when he was instructed to unload the dishwasher (his job anyway) and in the resulting temper tantrum dropped a glass on the kitchen floor. I so needed to break out the vacuum cleaner at 7:30am.

Oh goody - it's 8:00am. I can ring Netspace and make somebody else's life a misery. Yay!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Aargh!

Today has been oh-so-frustrating! My ISP has had a major problem of some description, and was off the air for almost the entire day. On top of this, their phone systems apparently spat the dummy, so that on the gazillion or so occasions that I rang them to find out what the HELL was going on, nobody answered. So no internet, no email. :-(

Then when they finally fixed whatever had blown up and got their service back up late this afternoon, I couldn't get any emails through my business account. My personal account was working fine, but the FitBodies one? Nuh-uh. Still, the phones weren't working. So I logged into their website, entered my user id and password and got this message:

Your account has expired. Please contact Accounts (with a hyperlink) for assistance. So I click on the hyperlink and....I get an error message "the page cannot be found"...or some such bollocks.

So I hoicked out my paperwork and discovered that yesterday it was exactly 12 months since I set up my business website, email account and so on. Hmm. I paid a bill last month, didn't I? Checked the bill and found that it was for domain name hosting ONLY. They haven't bothered to bill me for my email account (the grand sum of $27), and the bastards have cut me off!! And still they don't answer the phones. I have sent a very terse (OK, rude) email via my private email account. I'm cross, crabby and annoyed.

Guess who's going to be changing ISPs next year?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Stupid facts

According to www.funnyfact.com, right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people.

So what I want to know is: since I've trained myself to be ambidextrous with the mouse (a necessity, thanks to my tennis elbow), does that mean that I've reduced my life expectancy by 4.5 years?

Workout done!

Well, I did my full upper body workout this morning. EEK! 25 pushups to begin with? I knew that was going to be a challenge with shoulders straight after.... but when I grabbed the 7kg dbs I normally use, I was mortified to have to go swap them for the 6kg ones. And even then I failed halfway through my 3rd set. Sheesh.

I have to confess that I wimped out on tricep pushups (hate, hate, HATE them!) and did dips instead. Maybe I'll face up to those next week.

It's been a long time since I did back and biceps in the same workout and my arms were really pumped by the time I finished my supersets of DB/hammer curls. I had scary bodybuilder veins sticking out all over. Teehee. Love it!

It's 8:00am and I should be on my way to work.....but I'm still sitting here in my workout clothes. *sigh* Looks like I'll be late again. Better move my butt.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Training update

Somehow it slipped my mind, but I have a new training program, as of last week. I'm now only weight training 2 days a week, doing one upper and one lower body workout. Easy, you say? Yeah, that's what I thought - till I opened my program and discovered that it starts with a warm up of 25 pushups. That's a warm up?

So, it's actually less exercises and training less often, but still 3 sets of 8 reps....which means that I've had to increase the weights I'm using. Still figuring out what's appropriate there, but I'm loving having more time to spend on other stuff - like...er...cardio?

Monday, December 04, 2006

What not to do on one's birthday:

I tried to upload this pic yesterday, but Blogger didn't want to play nice.

So...note how FABULOUS I look at approximately 8:15pm on my birthday in 1992. Let's see..... blotchy red face - check. Mad hair - check. Puffy, fluidy face and hands - check. Oh-so-flattering backless hospital gown - check. Utterly gorgeous baby boy in my arms - check!

Man, how did that tiny little thing get to be as tall as me?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I love birthdays!

Thanks for all the wonderful birthday wishes. :-D

The cake turned out to be a chocolate Toblerone cheesecake - YUM! .....Thank God it has no calories - thanks for reminding me, Sara, I may have lain awake worrying all night otherwise. ;-)

Here we are with our cake:

And blowing out the candles. I saw this shot and had one of those OH MY GOD! moments, when I realised how much like me he is......And I did manage to get the Christmas tree all done, with the help of The Baby. I even have a few presents under it:

All up, it was a good day - no, I didn't front up for the Sussan classic. Unfortunately, I just didn't have the time to train properly, and this last week was more than a bit stressful as it was. And I really needed the sleep this monring - we had a houseful of 14-year-old boys last night. I AM registered for the 70km Amy's ride on the 6th January though, so I'll have to pull my finger out and get pedalling.

Now I just have to go do the ironing, find school uniforms and pack my gym bag for the morning, and I can get to bed.

Spoiled

Well, Amanda spilled the beans, so yes - today is my birthday. And I have to confess that I am a completely nutty birthday freak. I love my birthday....because, after all, how many other days of the year is the whole day all about ME? :-) Me, me, me......

Actually, that's not quite true. For the last 14 years, I have shared my special day with The Middle Child. My second-born decided that it was time to make his entrance into the world - 8 days late - on my 32nd birthday. I suspect that this was the doing of some higher power to deliver a giant dose of birthday humility to yours truly. Whatever, let me tell you that spending your birthday in labour then sweating and grunting with your feet tucked behind your ears while complete strangers stare at your nether regions is NOT my ideal way to spend the day. Oh, and I missed the Chinese banquet we'd booked for dinner too. But the little bundle at the end of it made it all worthwhile. And he's so sweet about it - he gets just as big a kick out of giving me a gift as he does from receiving them himself. In about Grade 4 or 5, his class were asked to write about what made them special, and you know what he wrote? I'm special because..... I share a birthday with my Mum. Aww.

So, today has been pretty good so far - I slept till almost 9:00am, got lovely presents, breakfast made for me (Choc-swirl fruit toast and cappucino....mmm), phone calls and emails wishing me happy birthday, a visit from my best friend, and I am actually not working today! The loot has been pretty fabulous too - jewellery, perfume, lingerie, Bernard Fanning's CD, this book and a couple of The Goodies DVDs (ah, memories...)

This afternoon, I need to drag out the Christmas tree and decorations, which will require the relocation of a large amount of "stuff". Then Mum's coming for dinner, and I think some wine may be consumed. I did drop a large hint to Bike Boy about a birthday cake too. Along the lines of: Make sure you get me a birthday cake! Subtle, eh?

Yes, I am spoiled - and loving it!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Summer rocks!

Why, you ask? Well of course, apart from the fact that it's warm, sunny, has longer days, you're able to hang out at the beach, the park or anywhere kind of outdoorsy and the part where it is NOT SUCKY WINTER, there is also nice scenery to behold.

This morning I was training a client at the local athletics track, and there was the usual bunch of walkers and runners doing their Friday morning workouts. But there was this one guy we hadn't seen before, doing his own kind of boot-camp style workout, which involved hundreds of squats, pushups and crunches, shoulder pressing a couple of bricks and running the 400m track with a car tyre in each hand. Yeah, that looked like fun.

Anyway, it was a nice warm day and he had his shirt off.... and all I can say is mmm-mmm. THEN another jogger turned up, and ditched his shirt after the first lap and YUM, it was buff man heaven down there today.

Funny, I got a bit distracted and lost count of how many reps my client had done - more than once. Not that she minded, she was enjoying the view too. :)

The Lady and the Chocolate

This masterpiece of literature was a gift I received last year from Sara.The recent comments about chocolate talking etc reminded me.....

Here's an extract from this little classic:

CHOCOLATE: You want me Lady don't you?You want me! YOU WANT ME!

LADY: No chocolate, I do not want you, for after pleasure there isSICKNESS and there is GUILT.


CHOCOLATE: That, Lady is the REASON FOR MY EXISTENCE. Are you to deny me the REASON FOR MY EXISTENCE?

LADY: No, chocolate. I would not do that.

CHOCOLATE: Thank you.

(A munching sound is heard, followed by a sigh of pleasure)

You can buy it at Amazon, by the way. Might be the perfect Christmas gift for someone you know.