Friday, November 30, 2007

And in other news....


Our land finally settled last week. There's been no time for celebrating yet, but I DO have a bottle of Chandon Vintage in the fridge.

I wonder if the neighbours would think it odd to see us wander across the creek, bottle, glasses and folding chairs in hand, then set up camp on the bare dirt while we drink a toast to our new home?


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We're also off to see the builder in an hour or so to sign our names (in blood, maybe?) to a contract promising to pay a scary amount of money for them to construct our very own McMansion. The master bedroom's so big we may need a map and compass to find our way out....

The foundations won't even be dug for several weeks yet, but at last it's beginning to seem real.


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


We're in full end-of-year mode with a barrage of notes (and accompanying requests for money, of course) for school outings, parties etc being brought home. 3 weeks and counting!

Karate also finishes soon, and both the younger boys have been graded. The Middle Child is now proudly sporting a junior brown belt, and The Baby is pretty happy with his new green belt.

Must take a photo......


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I've organised my Christmas leave. I finish up on the 19th and don't go back to the salt mines till after Australia Day. Bliss! I'm also actually taking a couple of weeks off from the business. Bike Boy will believe that when he sees it.

You gotta see this!

Sara sent me this - it made me laugh out loud. I spat porridge on my keyboard. Yes, I am classy.

Roll on 2014!

I love that my kids get a free State education. Yeah. I'm just adding up the book lists, the uniform order, the school camps and the materials & services list (because they're not 'fees'....we don't use the F-word; parents might think they're actually getting charged or something...) and it's beginning to get scary.

Because I'm thrifty (I even got a badge for it in Brownies), I usually manage to hand down uniforms, scrounge some second hand books from a neighbour and get a free stationery kit for paying the fees...oops, I mean materials and services levy...early. THIS time however, we're getting ripped off on the uniform front. The school decided to change their uniform a couple of years ago. The transition period ends this year, so next year I have to buy the Middle Child all new shirts and sports uniform and I can't pass any of his old stuff down to The Baby, who's starting Year 7. I also know nobody who has a child in the right year to help me out with second hand books. Dammit!

So, looks like the free stationery kit is the only saving I'll be making this time round.

Still, it could be worse - I could have forked out $300,000 or so over the years for my 3 kids to attend some uptight posh private school and turn out to be complete knobs with an over-inflated sense of entitlement. But then that would never happen. For one thing, we can't afford it, and for another, even if we could, it would make me cringe to be a part of that whole "I'm better than you because I spend more on my child" system.

And by the way, what he said.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Quickie

I've started writing several posts over the last few days, but got sidetracked - I bin busy!

Saturday went well - it was a looooooong day, and I was all hot, sweaty, tired and oh-my-aching-back by the time I got home around 11:00pm. But we had no dramas during the day, our ballot papers balanced and I will get paid for my trouble....eventually.

Sunday, I slept in, trained for hours and hours (well, it seemed like it), folded a mountain of washing, picked up a few groceries, and suddenly it was night time again. Then from Monday, it was back to my usual full-on workload.

On top of all that, Number One Son had a misadventure last week......long story, but it involves a wet night, a powerful car (Ours, not his. Of course.) and I suspect a bit of showing off for the benefit of the female friend in the passenger seat. Consequence? Mangled car, but no missing body parts of the human variety. *sigh* It has involved an enormous amount of stress, but we're getting things sorted out now and blah, blah, could-have-been-worse..... *checks for new grey hairs*

On the plus side, I didn't console myself by eating my own weight in chocolate. :)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Madness

It's been a fairly fun-sucky week, for many, many reasons which I'm just not going into right now. And to top it off, I'm spending tomorrow working from 7:00am till around 10:00pm at a polling place. Yes, I've obviously lost my mind, because I said last time I was never doing this again. Of course, I have been doing it for 23 years.....

SO. If you happen to be casting your vote in the electoral division of Jaga Jaga, you might just run into me. If you do, say hi. :) I'll probably be glad of the distraction.

Weird, man!

Sara's been having a spate of hits on her blog, generated by searches for "spiky butt ball". (Seriously, it wasn't me!). People look for the strangest things.....

I haven't checked recently, but a while back these were the weirdest search strings that led people to my blog:

‘photo of girls ass in a superwoman g-string’

what are budgie smugglers’

‘babe hunting’

The second one I get the relevance of, there was mention of budgie smugglers in a post waaaay back. But the others? What the....?

So far, no-one has searched for "ugly elephant toenails". Phew.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Recipe alert!

Bike Boy came home from the butcher/greengrocer yesterday with some treats for me. He thought I might like a change from the usual, so picked up a few things I haven't had in a while; a lovely ripe mango and some alfalfa sprouts among them. So last night's salad, which involved barbecued chicken, got a bit of a makeover from the usual.

Chicken and mango salad, anyone?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wasted.....in that GOOD kind of way


Today Coach Troy kicked my butt for over an hour with some Aero Base Builder . Yeah, that was good.

I really look forward to my Spinervals workouts, but I have to admit that by the time I'm about 40 minutes in, my mind starts to do that are we nearly finished yet? thing. It was pretty warm early this morning, and I had to leave at 7:30 to go train a client, so again I was a bit late starting. Thank goodness for the air con! I shifted the bike to a slightly different position today so that it was right under the vent. Aahhh!

As for progress, things are tracking just fine, thanks. Weight's decreasing - although there have been a couple of upward swings (Damn that spring racing carnival!!) and so far I've shifted the hugely impressive amount of 'about' 4kg. Which I'm perfectly happy with. I'll do a proper check on Monday, which will be the 9 week mark, for an 'official' weight. I finally remembered to check measurements today and the really good news is that I've stripped 6cm off my waist, and have recorded smaller reductions everywhere else. Except my chest, which has shrunk by 8cm.

Now I need to get back to important stuff, like deciding what's for lunch. Which I'll go make, as soon as my legs start working again.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Congratulations, Kat!

It was great to see a Kiwi BFL buddy of mine take out third place in the recent NABBA North Harbour comp. Kat decided kind of last-minute to do this comp, after being bitten by the bug last year and winning a second and then first place over two consecutive weekends.


In spite of the short time she had to prepare this time around, she did a great job, and walked away with third place.




Kat also happens to be a kick-arse drummer in a punk girl-band that has quite a following. She may just be the coolest person I know. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tagged again!

What IS this, playtime in the schoolyard? All this tagging going on.

This one is courtesy of Cheryl.

FOUR DISHES I LIKE TO COOK.............

Raspberry & Frangelico tiramisu cake
Malteser fudge slice
Lemon tart
Choc-mint cheesecake

Hmm, see a pattern here? I blame it on a gene I must have got from my paternal grandmother. She had a shocking sweet tooth and always said that she’d far rather give the main course a miss and have two desserts instead.

FOUR QUALITIES I LIKE IN PEOPLE...............

Punctuality.
Common sense (which Bike Boy always says should be called UNcommon sense, since if it was common everyone would have it. And clearly they don’t.)
A sense of humour
Loyalty

FOUR PLACES I HAVE BEEN....................

Thailand
Fiji
Tassie
Cloncurry. Yeah, that was an experience!

FOUR THINGS IN MY BEDROOM..............

A suitcase I’ve yet to unpack since we moved in two-and-a-half months ago
A stack of fitness magazines and my book on the floor next to the bed. Oh OK, AND a trashy mag.
9 pillows and cushions. Bike Boy can’t see the point…..
A bottle of water on the bedside table

FOUR DIRTY WORDS I LIKE TO USE..............

Me? Use dirty words? As if! OK, try these:

Bollocks
Crap
Armpit
Bathmat

Those last two are courtesy of my brother in law - try saying them forcefully, drawing out the first syllable.... nice ones to use around kids. :)

It's about time!

I've neglected my poor food blog recently, but I finally found a minute to post up a new recipe. Of sorts.....

Check it out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Selina is doing a "thing" to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. It happens to be one of my favourite charities and I promised to pimp her cause.

So go visit her to see what you can do to help.

Tag! You're it!

LizN tagged me. I have to list five random facts about myself that people may not know.

OK then....

1. I can’t stand strangers invading my personal space. If you don’t know me, or we’re barely acquainted, the boundary is over there, Buster. WAAAY over there. Like, the other side of Bass Strait would be good. Thanks.

2. I see dead people. Not in a creepy Hayley-Joel Osment kind of way, but I do have very realistic dreams about departed loved ones. In these dreams I know that they’re dead, but we’re having a great old time together anyway. I like to believe that they’re paying me a visit. Or maybe haunting me, in the case of my friend Michael – he always loved to take the piss.

3. I like scones with butter and Vegemite. Bike Boy thinks that’s weird. Dunno why, they’re only a kind of bread. Unless you’re one of those people who puts sugar in their scones….why do you DO that? Anyway, I have a reputation in my family for putting Vegemite on everything. I loved it beyond reason when I was a kid. My Grandma used to say that she wouldn’t be surprised if I asked for ice cream with Vegemite. Hello, Grandma? I'm not INSANE, you know!

4. I can keep a lot of figurative balls in the air at once, but when things get completely crazy in my life with more packed into my day than any human should be asked to handle, the first thing to go is housework. Actually, even when I’m not busy, I’ll find anything to do to avoid housework. The daily Sudoko, filing my nails, updating my Facebook* profile, staring at my navel…The thing is, I love my house to be spotless. I just don’t want to be the one to make it that way. *sigh* I SO need a cleaning lady again.

5. I’m a big fan of afternoon naps and I think they should be made law. Bugger education, more affordable housing, shorter hospital waiting lists and handouts for childcare, where’s the policy on compulsory siestas for all Australians? The party that promises to introduce the Rejuvenation for All Australians (Necessary Afternoon Post-luncheon Slumber) Act 2008 (to be known as the NAPS Act 2008 for short) wins my vote!

Hmm, I may have re-hashed some old stuff there, but tough. I must be off, I've things to do…. not housework, though.

I tag: Anyone who wants to play. I've totally lost track of who's already done this meme.

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* Facebook is FAB for avoiding housework….you can spend hours doing important stuff like trawling around for HIL-ARIOUS YouTube videos like this one:


Monday, November 12, 2007

I rest my case

Just thought I'd take a moment to explain exactly how much I detest supermarket shopping. See post below.

Here's the thing: I used to quite like grocery shopping, when I had fewer responsibilities, fewer mouths to feed and a hell of a lot more spare time. In fact, Bike Boy and I used to make an outing of it on a Thursday night. He'd push the trolley, and I'd try to stop him filling it up with crayfish and Tim Tams, and actually squeeze a few veggies in there too. Often we'd run into some good friends of ours doing their shopping, and the boys would have a shopping trolley smash-up derby in the car park, bless their infantile little hearts. :)

It was leisurely, we could buy what we liked without having to think about who doesn't eat THAT (this week), or even how much it cost...since we were buying stuff-all in terms of quantity, really, we only bought the bestest.

These days, being rather time-poor, and having to deal with the likes and dislikes of 5 family members, I tend to suffer from:

a) supermarket rage (like road rage, only the people who cause it are FAR stupider and even less aware that they're not the ONLY person in the universe) or

b) a case of helpless, teary frustration when those bastards at Safeway play their petty supermarket mind games with me and move the mustard. Again.

I think out of 22 pay periods so far this year, I've managed to avoid the odious task for at least 12. There should seriously be a prize for that.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Grocery shopping aversion

Me: I'm going to the supermarket. Anything you want?

Bike Boy: Potatoes. And heat beads.

Me: OK, I'm getting fruit, bread and school snacks too.

Bike Boy: That should see us through to pay day. And you've successfully avoided doing the fortnightly shopping once again.

Me: Yeah. I actually thought about doing it for a minute or so last week. But then I got over it.

It feels good when you stop

Yesterday's workout just didn't happen. By the time I finished with clients and did some important ricotta cheese shopping, it was heading towards lunchtime and it was WARM. The idea of climbing into the saddle and allowing Coach Troy to reduce me to a sweaty, red-faced, heave-up-a-lung mess in those conditions appealed about as much as having my fingernails pulled out with rusty pliers.

So I exercised my right to procrastinate and I put it off till this morning - a much better idea! :D

Today's fun-fest was Enter the Red Zone, which I believe I've mentioned before with great loathing. Did I ever mention that I hate isometric squats? Doing a variety of intense stuff on the bike, then sets of 30+ squats in 30 seconds and THEN holding an iso squat for up to 1 minute? That may well be the definition of insanity. But I nailed those suckers.

Go, me!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Progress....yeah!

Yesterday I saw my physio for some much needed work on my neck and upper back. I can now turn my head to the right - which makes driving a much safer experience for all concerned.

The big news is, there are already signs of improvement in my wonky hips, and I feel less uneven, so that's all good. Actually, I'm seeing improvements in my legs too - my muscles look and feel bigger and stronger, especially my calves. Which is very pleasing in such a short time. All the cycling and Liz's torture ...uh, I mean training program.... is definitely paying off. It's worth all the strange looks I get at the gym, with my bands and balls and funky exercise moves.

My cardio fitness is improving rapidly, I'm increasing my weights and shrinkage is happening at a steady pace. All of which makes me feel great. And none of it is due to starving myself on stupid diet rations either. I'm really enjoying my food - the variety, the quantity, the frequency, the freedom to have what I want.

This morning, what I wanted was some ricotta cheese. I didn't know I wanted it till I called at the wholesale butcher/grocer nearby to pick up milk and had a browse. I spotted a tub of Donnybrook Farmhouse ricotta in the dairy section and just had to have it. I do like to support local producers, after all. I was starving when I got home, so no time for anything fancy - I just threw it in a bowl with some natural yoghurt and chopped strawberries and just a sprinkling of Xylitol. Mmm.

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I'm just about finished week 8 of my 12 week challenge-of-sorts, so I'd better get out the tape measure and check progress in the next day or two. I'll post an update soon.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Don't quit your day job

Woohoo! I won! Yippee! Yay, me!

What's that? How much did I win? *counts on fingers* At the end of the day, I'm ahead the grand sum of $15.

Yeah, perhaps I'm not destined to be a professional punter.

Had a great day, anyway.... :o)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Preparations


I have a LOT to do tonight. Tomorrow I'm off to the Oaks, and I don't want to go looking like I just climbed out of bed and pulled on the first clothes I could find ....which is pretty much my usual look, come to think of it. Meh. Who can be bothered at 4:30am anyway?

So, the primping and preening is due to start any minute. God knows, it takes a lot longer these days to get myself looking presentable. If I'd been at all organised, I'd have booked a spray tan and a manicure for today, got my legs waxed earlier in the week and had my hairdresser on standby tomorrow morning. In my dreams, I'd have done all that and tomorrow I would disembark at the race course with smooth, glowing, golden skin, a fabulous and obviously professional "do" and people would be gasping in admiration as I walked past in my perfectly fitting designer outfit. In reality, the best I could manage was to actually have my outfit all planned and purchased by last week. Hey, give me some credit for that, I've been busy!

Tonight I'll defuzz legs, slap on a quick moisturising face mask and hopefully manage a DIY manicure. Then tomorrow, I'll do my best with my hair and pray that my hat covers most of it. I plan on having a great day anyway - I definitely won't be spending hours looking in the mirror and wishing I was browner/thinner/blonder or whatever. My lippy might get re-applied once or twice, but after I leave the house, that's as much attention as I'll be paying to my appearance.

Uh....I've just been eating raw carrots and I now have yellow-stained fingertips. That's going to go so well with my pink nail polish.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Go, you good thing!


I love Melbourne Cup Day. First, it's a holiday, always good. And there's horsies and colourful jockeys and fashion to admire on the TV - and maybe even some money to win.

I do like to have a bet, but rarely get the time to think about it these days. So I logged onto my TAB account this morning, intending to transfer some money into it, and discovered to my delight that I had $53 in there. From the Spring Racing Carnival last year. Er....completely forgot about it.

So I've placed bets on the Cup for all the family and I've already donated a couple of dollars on race 3 - I never said I was any good at betting. Maybe I'll have better luck with race 5.

I'm saving most of my bets for Thursday, when I'll actually be trackside at Flemington. Well, up in the stands, anyway. I'm way past enjoying getting sunburnt and jostled by pissed idiots and carefully avoiding placing my new shoes in the puddles of vomit down on the lawn. I'll be one of the civilised ladies in the Hill Stand, with my hat on straight and a glass of champagne in hand.

I'll wave to you all. Cheers!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Who doesn't love a freebie?


You may have read my posts about Spinervals workouts and my love/hate relationship with Coach Troy and wondered what the HELL is she on about? Well, here's your chance to find out.

Bicycling Australia magazine includes a free DVD this month. On the disc there's an interview with Tour de France legend Cadel Evans and some other stuff, but the thing that made me squeal with excitement (thanks for the heads-up, Amanda!) was the 30-minute Spinervals workout. And for freeeeeeeee! Well, apart from the $9-something price of the mag, anyway. But a full Spinervals DVD usually costs over $50, so it's a steal!

I often buy the mag for Bike Boy anyway - it keeps him quiet and out of trouble for hours.

Food, fitness and frustration

On the 3 days each week that I work in the corporate world, I make my lunch in the office kitchen and carry it the 20 or so metres to my desk. On my journey across that vast distance, I can guarantee that at least 3 people will eye off my plate of delicious marinated grilled chicken breast, sweet potato and enormous pile of fresh salad as they pass and say “Gee, that looks healthy!” This comment is almost always accompanied with a cat’s bum expression of distaste. Then they continue on their way (via the lift, God forbid they should walk down two flights of stairs) to buy their usual pie/pizza/fish and chips or whatever.

This annoys the crap out of me. My usual reply is “yes, and it’s delicious too”, said with a smile. Inwardly I’m gritting my teeth and restraining myself from punching them in the face.

Last week, I heard that a woman who I don’t know very well – let’s call her Mary – has just returned to work after a long absence due to illness. Turns out she had stomach cancer. She’s now in remission following chemotherapy and (I think) surgery. Mary has always been known to eat a healthy diet, isn’t overweight and does yoga regularly. Somehow, in the minds of many of the stupid people I work with, this translates into some sort of justification for their sit on your arse all day and cram junk food into your gob lifestyle. I mean, look at the logic of it: Mary spent years eating vegies and avoiding trans-fat laden foods and other nasties, plus doing all that tedious exercise, and she still got cancer. So what’s the point of being healthy? You may as well enjoy yourself, eat what you want and be a big fat couch potato.

This is the point in the conversation where I usually begin to bang my head repeatedly on my desk. And where I have to suppress the urge to scream, “You are all complete MORONS!”

The people I work with are a pretty average cross-section of society, and I see/hear this attitude everywhere I go. My approach to food and exercise is a great mystery to most of the people I know. I’m often asked why I do it, in a tone that conveys a complete lack of comprehension. It’s like I come from a different planet or something. The idea that training can be fun, that achieving fitness goals is satisfying and that eating well is NOT boring or in any way a deprivation just doesn’t compute. I find it a huge relief on the rare occasions when I’m with other health-conscious people or fitness enthusiasts, because I never have to justify myself or my choices.

So it was kind of gratifying to see the release of the report this week from the World Cancer Research Fund: Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer. I won’t go into detail about it here - you can click on the link and go read it yourself if you’re at all interested. But it pretty much backs up everything I already knew about eating well, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy bodyweight and how those things affect the risk of cancer. Sara blogged about it already anyway, and I don’t have much to add to her comments.

I did consider printing the report and leaving copies on all the desks around me next week, but *sigh* that would just be a big old waste of trees. I’m sure that the reaction would be oh-so-predictable, along the lines of NZ talkback radio callers, as reported by Sara: From what I've heard, the recommendation that has got people most agitated is no. 5, the only suggestion that actually contains the word 'avoid'. One phone-in actually said 'what? no salami? I'd rather get cancer!'. Just about all of the phone-ins had something to whine about. One woman got completely worked up over the supposed 'fattist' report. She thought that the focus on weight was just another way for society to make fat people feel bad about themselves. Then there was the usual inundation of callers droning on with their take on ' but it's so ... boring/ expensive/ inconvenient/ antisocial/ time-consuming to eat healthy food'

Yeah, I think I’ll save my breath.

On a similar subject, Liz blogged about her experience with genetic profiling – testing to determine certain predispositions and the way your body responds to various factors. The point of the testing isn’t to sit around feeling sorry for yourself because you have a high risk of heart disease/diabetes/whatever (poor me, I may as well eat donuts and watch Oprah all day, because I’m going to DIE YOUNG ANYWAY!) Rather, it’s to help identify ways that you can tailor your nutrition and training to maximise health and athletic performance, once you know your genetic strengths and weaknesses.

I’m seriously considering giving it a go myself. Imagine being able to do everything within your power to give your body its best chance of perfect health. I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to do so…..

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Breathe....just breathe.....

I stir in my sleep, turn over and then register that there's a glimmer of daylight filtering through the blind. Brain starts to go ....light....means something...uh.... morning? .....mmm....daylight=not so early.... mmff... whatimeisit? *yawn*....look at clock ...6:15... mmm.... tired....

6:15??!! Omigod, omigod, OMIGOD!! I was supposed to meet my client an hour ago!!!! Late, late, LATE!! LAAAAAAAAAATE!!! *springs out of bed*

*pauses* Hold on....what day is it today? Friday... no, Saturday. *breathes again* First client's not till 8:00am.

Nothing like starting the day with a totally unnecessary case of panic.

Where did THAT time go?


Number One Son is 20 years old today. Twenty. Two-zero. And I have no idea where those years actually went. One minute he was a sweet little 7lb 11oz baby with tiny little fingers and toes, then ZOOM....suddenly he's a fully-grown man with size 12 feet.

To celebrate leaving his teenage years behind, he's off to the races. We actually had the honour of his company for about 15 minutes this morning - long enough for him to collect his birthday loot - before he headed out dressed impeccably in suit and tie, and with his wallet stuffed full of cash, to meet his mates.

He'll have a great time, and finish the day pissed, dishevelled and broke. And possibly vomiting in a gutter somewhere. Just as it should be on your 20th birthday.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Dirty trick

I did a mean thing this morning. I told my 5:30am client that I'd do some cardio with her, you know ...to help motivate her, give her moral support, blah, blah. What I didn't tell her was that we were going to do MY planned cardio workout for today.

So we got on the ellipticals, side by side and off we went. 10 minutes in, she was begging for mercy. Did I ever mention that mercy isn't one of my virtues? We went 30 minutes or thereabouts and she kind of melted off the machine and into a gasping, heaving puddle on the floor. I handed her a towel and some water.

Then I made her do a leg resistance session.

>:D

She actually did really, REALLY well. And let me tell you, if she wasn't there, I'd have been tempted to just quit after 15 minutes myself. I hate those things! So who was motivating whom?

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

My abs are only just beginning to feel the first twinges of DOMS. I can't wait for tonight till it really kicks in.

That was sarcasm, in case you're wondering.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

NOW I remember

...why I always train early in the morning. Today however, I couldn't do so because:

- Bike Boy needed to use the spin bike before he went to work, since he had to fly off to somewhere exotic this afternoon. Well, Hobart anyway.
- I had to get kids up and organised and drive them to school.
- When we were almost at school, The Baby announced that he'd forgotten his lunch, so then we had to detour to the shops to make sure he didn't starve, meaning I got back home much later than planned.
- AND I had an appointment to get my tax done.

Then the day just got busy and somehow I ended up doing my workout after 6:00pm. It's not pleasantly cool at that time of day. It's downright unpleasant, in fact. Ick.

Today's workout was a new one I just got from Liz this week. It was a leg burning, ab-shaking, lung-bursting sweat-fest.


And by the way, I'm not exactly loving Coach Troy whilst in the middle of one of his torture sessions. Afterwards, it's a different story. I'm growing kind of fond of him.