Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back on track

I know it's not exactly a long-term study, with a large number of participants, following sound scientific principles, but I'm convinced: After two days without ANY wheat at all, I realised when I woke up this morning that I had almost zero back ache. And no stiffness anywhere, to speak of. Even after spending most of the night on the couch, trying to avoid Bike Boy's loud snoring.

Just as well - I fully intended to train my arse off this morning. And I did. :o)

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I found a new gym too - it's closer to home, costs only 20c more than my usual haunt, and the skank factor is way, WAY lower. It has shiny new equipment, it's clean, the guy on reception actually speaks instead of grunting, and there seem to be a lot less meatheads hanging around.

On the minus side, it's not open 24 hours a day (6:00am opening is a little late for me...) and they close on some public holidays. And neither of them has such a thing as a stability ball or BOSU. I couldn't even find a medicine ball this morning to sub for BOSU tricep pushups. Sheesh.

Still, I think it'll suit me much better most of the time. I don't think I'll miss the cockroaches either.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Facing reality

Post-comp mind games can be interesting to deal with, even when you're relatively sane, reasonably comfortable with your body and pretty well prepared. There's a whole lot of stuff going on inside your head, some of it subtle, some not so much, including:

- the old "Comp's over, I can eat anything I want now" trap;
- the fairly confronting mission of intentionally gaining body fat (never done that before...);
- plus a huge sense of anti-climax, which is common after any big event that you've planned for, worked towards and looked forward to for some time.

I expected all of those things, but I didn't expect to have such a difficult time dealing with them. I'm not sure why I thought that I'd be different to 99% of competitors ....perhaps that's my superwoman complex shining through. Of course, I also didn't plan for almost three months of stress and massive disruptions to my life immediately following achieving my major fitness goal for the year. If I ever even hint at building another house, somebody PLEASE have me committed....

Christmas added an extra degree of difficulty to staying on-track, and as I said the other day, I was quietly glad when it was over. There's a lot to be said for getting back into a normal routine. I'm not waiting for the New Year; I've already begun as I mean to go on. Food's back to normal, I'm tracking in Calorie King again, I've reinstated my evening walks, and this morning I was out of bed and on my spin bike reasonably early. Getting sweaty before breakfast felt soooo good!

I also had to face the scales, which I haven't done in a while. I wasn't particularly nervous about it - my clothes still fit and I look fine. Not as lean and hard as I'd like, but definitely nowhere near fatty-boombah territory. And although there's a small layer of extra squishiness, I know that much of it is fluid and I have no fears about getting rid of that in fairly short order. I hazarded a guess before stepping onto the scales, and was expecting to see a number in the 59s, or maybe even a 60-point-something. I held my breath (because everybody knows that helps), stepped up and the numbers flickered and settled at 59.0 exactly.

That's not so bad - it's 2kg or so over where I really should be, but given that there's been plenty of Christmas indulgence and a lot less activity than normal, I'm not unhappy.

Now all I need is some serious work in the gym and a bit of nutritional discipline. Losing a little flab and fluid is a minor side issue - the big plan is to build me some muscle! Watch this space.....

Friday, December 26, 2008

My aching back



In the midst of my non-blogging phase, seems I had a birthday. I'm not quite sure how I got to be 48; I still only feel about 28 most of the time. Mind you, lately I've been so stiff in the mornings, I briefly wonder whether I'm actually 98? My lower back in particular gives me grief when I wake up, and although it eases off during the day, things are definitely not as they should be.

I've been pondering the reasons behind the increase in lower lumbar aches and pains, and I've come up with the following:

1. Not enough training. My body is used to being pushed pretty hard most of the time and doesn't like it much when I have an extended period of (a lot) less activity.
2. Not enough flexibility work. *ahem* OK, make that zero flexibility work.
3. No treatments by my osteopath or my physio for the past few months. Um, been busy.....
4. Too much wheat. While we've been so busy, quite a lot of convenience foods have made their way into my meals. Which basically means bread, bread, and more bread.

Number 4 is a big revelation. I've known for a long time that a lot of wheat makes my digestive system get all snarky. It also makes me lethargic and horribly bloated. But this recent increase in pain gave me another lightbulb moment and I've realised that there's also a correlation to lower back pain and general joint stiffness. One more reason for me to keep the ubiquitous grain to a minimum.

This nutrition stuff is a constant learning curve. You think you've nailed it, then you discover something new. Huh, seems you can never know everything. This is just one more reason to stick to unprocessed healthy foods most of the time.

Somebody smack me if I start making toast and Vegemite a staple part of my diet....

The calm AFTER the storm

Boxing Day is one of my favourite days of the year. I love Christmas, but it can be a bit manic. All the planning leading up to it, the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning (if the celebrations are at our house...). Then the day itself, the rushing around to spend time with various relatives, the food, the drink, the over-excited kids, the food.....

The day after Christmas is always calm, and relaxing, and a chance to just kick back. It's also the beginning of getting back to normal. I love celebrating, but I also love my routine. What can I say? I'm a creature of habit.

So today, while the kids were still sleeping, Bike Boy and I got up at 7-00am (ish) and got on our bikes. Melbourne has FINALLY turned on some fabulous weather: sunny, with not a breath of wind; pleasantly warm, but this early in the day, still cool enough to make exercise fun and not a horrible, sweaty chore. So we tootled off up the main road, and it was a rare pleasure not to be constantly overtaken by enormous trucks and speeding idiots - because not only is it a public holiday, but all the so-called NORMAL people were still in bed, sleeping off their Christmas hangovers.

My husband can be a very patient man at times, which is lucky for me, because I'm completely retarded when it comes to grasping mechanical stuff. Although I've had my Sub-zero for some time, I've barely ridden it, thanks to a combination of a stupidly busy schedule and some really appalling weather. So I'm still trying to get the hang of the gears, which are a lot different to my old Avanti. I was getting frustrated and feeling incredibly stupid, but Bike Boy just patiently called out instructions (Left-hand silver lever! Right-hand black lever!) and kept his pace nice and slow so as not to lose me.

He did make one smart-arse comment about it always being difficult when one of the kids gets a new bike for Christmas..... yeah, hardy-har-har!

So Christmas is done and dusted, the house move is all over, and although we still have a lot to do around here, I'll be back to normal eating and getting training out of the way first thing each morning. I'm hanging out for some routine and structure! I'm also planning some kitchen experiments, and I intend to blog quite a few new recipes.

Today I have a hankering for asparagus and broccoli. Funny how that happens after a day or two of indulging.....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Lucky 13

While most sane people are gearing up for Christmas, in OUR family, today is all about celebrating The Baby's birthday. He wasn't too keen on getting up early this morning to go to work with Dad, but I'm sure he had a good time once he got there....

I had to attend the office today too, although my morning consisted of:

- Checking my emails since Monday (quick scan and delete - nothing important there!)
- Updating my time sheets
- Setting my Out of Office Auto Reply thingy and changing my voicemail message to advise that I AM ON HOLIDAYS AND WON'T BE BACK TILL THE END OF JANUARY - SUCKER!!
- Admiring everyone's offspring - it was like a creche in there today! I almost kidnapped one little cutie, but then thought about the disturbed nights that looking after a 12-month-old involves and thought better of it.
- Touring the office and shaking everyone's hand (or kissing them on the cheek, depending on how well I know them....) and wishing them a Merry Christmas.
- Buggering off to the supermarket for a few supplies for tomorrow, the bakery for a birthday cake, the bottle shop for some more essentials and just soaking up the Christmas shopping ambience and crappy school-kid busking in the main street.

Official finish time was 12:00 noon. Yeah, that's what I call a good working day.

And there'll be birthday cake later. Woohoo!

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

I actually can't believe that my baby is a teenager. I didn't feel old when Number One Son got his licence, or started uni. But this! This makes me feel positively ancient. Thank goodness he still likes cartoons and Lego.....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Housework is for nerds



I got a lovely surprise in the mail today - a parcel all the way from KiwiLand. Of course, Sara sent me some fab vanilla whey, which safely made it through the postal inspection service, and she also added some extra pressies. There was a Green & Black's gift pack, which I think I'm supposed to share with Bike Boy. *snort!*

There was also a coffee mug, with the above image on it.

:o)

She obviously knows me TOO well.

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

I'm finally back online properly - except for some intermittent and very annoying dropping out of the internet and/or our wireless network, which appears to be because our home is a HUUUUGE McMansion and we need a stronger signal to reach little old me way down the back here.

Bike Boy has it on his list of stuff to do. The list which is only about three pages long....

I'll be back blogging VERY soon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Salt Matters

I've half-written three or four posts over the past couple of weeks, but just haven't had time, inclination or enough brain power to finish them off. Tonight I'm exhausted, so I still have nothing sensible to contribute, but I did find something interesting that I can share.

I heard a podcast of an ABC Radio program a while back and I just stumbled upon a transcript of the interview. It's worth reading if you're at all interested in health, nutrition or specifically, high blood pressure. So go read through Ockham's Razor: Salt Matters.

*Tsk* Lazy blogging, I know! *Yawn* I'm off to bed.....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I hate it when...

....I don't have to get up early, but I wake up at 5:20am anyway. Then I can't get back to sleep because my stomach decides it's breakfast time. You can only ignore those serious "I'm hungry" signals for a limited time.... *sigh*

Oh well, at least I now have my unread items in Google reader down to 173.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Surfacing from the depths

Where HAVE I been? Life has just been utterly, completely crazy, and I've had to take some time out from a few things to stay on top of other, more important stuff. And gee... there's Christmas, racing towards us.....

So, we took possession of our house 11 days ago and we're still sorting out a few minor bits and pieces. The plan was to build our McMansion in 20 weeks - the timeframe was even "guaranteed" by the builder. Reality bit HARD and it took 40 weeks instead. Meh, moving on...I'm bored with the whole thing myself, so I won't drone on about it here. We're moving house next weekend, but the past week and a half has been a flurry of activity for us, with a billion things to organise. Not to mention the many, many weeks of stress-filled activity before that.

Training has had to take a back seat. There are only so many hours in a day, after all, so it's been a bit hit and miss. More miss than hit, really. But this morning, I cranked out a fairly brutal weight training session and I can feel the DOMS starting already. Feels goooooooood!

As for blogging, that's been a luxury extra I've just not had time or inclination for (except for my house-building blog and that's been more of an essential letting-off-steam thing). I've barely even read a blog. In fact, I just logged onto Google Reader to find that I had 283 unread items. Yeesh. I might be a while catching up, so excuse me if I haven't commented lately. Please. Same goes for replying to emails, or Facebook messages. Or forum posts...there's only so many hours in a day, y'know.

Tomorrow things move forward a little, with our appliances being installed and some minor electrical work being done. The next day, our carpet goes in. Then we get to move in. I also get to be without broadband temporarily. Great. Oh, but I can finally put up my Christmas tree. :o)

The end is nigh. I just have to survive another week or so. Then Christmas. Then normal life can resume. Phew.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Scrub-a-dub



Do you know the worst part of moving? Apart from the actual moving bit anyway.... That would be the CLEANING part, making everything at the old place all spick and span for the new inhabitants.

I'm allergic to housework; it gives me a headache. And I'm officially OVER vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, dusting, tidying, scrubbing, sorting, picking up, putting away, or anything vaguely like it.

My usual style is more like hiding stuff in wardrobes. Or in bedrooms and just closing the doors. Problem is, that doesn't cut it when you have the agent bringing a tenant prospect through the place. People who might want to live in a house usually like to look in all the rooms. And possibly even the cupboards.

Anyway, I've had it with the mops and brooms. I'm declaring tomorrow a housework-free zone. :o)

Friday, November 28, 2008

We have keys!!

No time to post any details, I have to go to work tonight, but we have the keys and it looks like all our plans for next week can go ahead.

I'll post an update sometime tomorrow, if I get a chance. I obviously lost my mind when asked to run a polling place for the council election tomorrow, because I said yes. D'oh!

Gotta go set up tables and chairs and cardboard furniture now....

Cross your fingers for me - PLEASE

We have our final house inspection booked for 1:30pm today. As of last night, there is still a LOT to be done before we'll be prepared to hand over a big chunk of money.

I said to Bike Boy last night that building this place has been like a long and very painful labour. Now I'm hoping that: a) what we've given birth to will actually seem worth the torture; and b) moving in will be very quickly followed by a post-natal euphoric fog of amnesia about just how HORRIBLE it actually was.

Let's hope.

First though, there's going to have be some minor construction miracles performed in the next few hours.

So, fingers crossed, please. If it doesn't happen, you will probably hear the sound of my head exploding. And as Bike Boy said last night, it's a very good thing that guns are illegal in this country.....

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

I've been trying to exorcise some of the stress, anger and misery by writing about our nasty home-building adventure. So as not to bore the bejeesus out of everyone who couldn't give a proverbial rat's anyway, I started a separate blog. I'm still only part way through the story and I've glossed over a lot of the stuff-ups, or I'd be writing for the next 5 years.

Anyways, if you're wondering why we've found it such a miserable experience, some of the answers are over here. And more photos. :o)

Now I'm going to have a shower, get dressed and go down to the bank to scare the staff there.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm not hiding

.....just having a very ordinary time at the moment and I reeeeeally prefer not to bang on about it here, because - who wants to listen to my whining anyway? Not even me, to be honest. So I haven't been blogging and haven't even been posting on my fitness forums.

I'm following the advice that all our mothers gave us: If you can't say something nice, say nothing at all. Big hugs and kisses to those who emailed or PM-ed or left me Facebook messages recently; I appreciate it, and I am still alive.

There may be some news to report tomorrow. Or possibly not. I'm not laying money on it at this stage.

Anyway, busy. Gotta run.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My two cents worth

Ooh, look what Sara's published! An interview....with yours truly!

Tuesday, and all is well

I woke up at 5:30am today - didn't have to get up till 7:00, so that thrilled me - with a massive headache like a steel band around my skull. Ah, November - month of allergies and sinus troubles.

BUT - I found the cure: a nice sweaty weights session at the gym! Seriously, it was like a miracle.

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Today I got confirmation in writing of our handover date on Friday the 28th, and the invoice for the final progress payment, which I'm about to go drop off at the bank. I also have the floorboard guy booked for the following Monday, the concreter can do our driveway the same week, and then the carpet goes in on the 11th. We will be moving on the 12th and not a second later.

This process HAS to run smoothly - I gave notice to the rental managing agent today and as of the 16th, we will have nowhere else to live...

I'm thinking positive thoughts.

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It just occurred to me that we have to now make this place presentable for prospective tenants to look through in the final two weeks. While we're packing. Um.

Oh well, it's only temporary.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Incoming!

For all of us, life gets a bit challenging at times. When it's a day here, or a week there, you can heave a sigh and just plod on anyway. Even if you totally lose the plot and attempt to eat your own weight in Mars Bars, at least it'll only be for a short time - and how much harm can you DO in a day or a week anyway?

But when the stress continues on, and on, and ON relentlessly, with no end in sight, it's a lot more difficult to deal with. I honestly do not know how I got myself competition-ready this year, with everything that was going on. My best theory is that comp prep worked as a distraction, something to focus on other than how shitty life was in general.

I do have a few strategies for dealing with tough times. Sometimes they work, sometimes not so much.

One thing that often works for me is to take a big dose of perspective - the old it could be worse way of thinking. This one, I've pulled out quite a few times over recent months and it usually has the desired effect, at least for a short while. Honestly, just look around and it's easy to find several somebodies who have it far tougher than you do.

Of course, there is a point of no return, when you've been so crushed by having troubles constantly heaped on you that even though you can recognise that somebody else is in a far worse situation than you, it makes no difference to your outlook. After all, you can only deal with what's happening to YOU right now. Sometimes just taking the next breath is all you can manage....

Strategy number 2 is to focus on the positives in my life. Kind of count your blessings, I suppose. I have a happy marriage (and staying married for 24-plus years is a huge achievement these days), great kids, extended family that I can turn to for help when needed, a roof over my head, enough to eat, I'm healthy and fit, and I get to make part of my living from doing something that I love. Hmm. That IS a lot.

But what do you do when none of that positive-thinking stuff actually WORKS any more? When everything gets on top of you and you are Just. Not. Coping. Today I remembered some advice I gave to a friend and client a few months back, and revisited it. It went like this (excuse the crappy analogies, I was aiming for a bit of from-the-heart sympathy and good advice, not the Booker Prize for literature):

There’s so much negative stuff going on, one thing after another is going wrong in your life. Every single bad thing feels like a brick being hurled at your head. You can only get smacked in the head by so many bricks before you go down and don’t get back up again.

But you know, sometimes you have to stay down for a while to a) avoid any more bricks and b) lie there and catch your breath and wait for the bleeding to stop. Then you start to look around and think Holy crap! I’m in a HUGE mess….how did I let this happen? It was just a few bricks…. And you get to your wobbly feet and start to think about how far you have to go and how long it will take to undo the damage.

Not that I've inflicted any actual damage on myself, but I haven't quite been hitting my nutrition and training goals, either. I really think I'm at the "staying down" point. I need to just lie here for a bit and regroup and not get hit by any more bricks for a while. For me, what that means is that I still aim to train daily and to eat well, but since I don't have a fat loss goal or an imminent deadline to meet, I will NOT beat myself up for being imperfect. It's not an excuse to eat, drink and blow off training of course, but sometimes you have to put less pressure on yourself and simply tread water for a bit.

All of that is my muddled and long-winded way of saying that I'm actually doing OK. And I can see light at the end of the tunnel. It's still a bit of a distance away, but it's there, shining in the distance.

Meanwhile, tomorrow, I'll be hitting the gym, and hitting it hard. That's always good therapy.

:o)

All sweetness and light, tra-la


I'm fed up with being crabby, so I'm making a determined effort to NOT be. At least for today. My children will be very relieved.

I had a shocking night's sleep, and didn't appreciate being woken by my 15-year-old clattering in the kitchen at 6:15am. Did I yell? Nope...just had an extra shot of caffeine.

The construction manager got held up and didn't show for our meeting. The meeting that I'd ORGANISED TIME OFF WORK ESPECIALLY TO ATTEND. Did I get grouchy? Nuh-uh. I just decided that was a good excuse to take the entire day off from work - I can go meet him when he finally gets there later, meanwhile I get to do stuff around the house that I'd otherwise be rushing through later tonight, and I might even manage a nana nap too.

How's that for putting a positive spin on things?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quiet week ahead.

Hormones - you know what? You can just piss right OFF. I've had it! My boobs feel like they might actually explode, like some kind of secret weapon in a weird Manga-style James Bond movie (and yes, Bike Boy is still enjoying the benefits...).

I wonder: is it actually hormones? Or stress? Or just fluid madness from too many carbs? Hmm....

My desk calendar is currently flipped to this: Ask me about a fabulous career in bitching. 'Nuff said?

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On the house front, I have an appointment with the construction manager tomorrow morning at 10:00am. Which means I have to go into work late. Gee, shame..... Bike Boy is off to Sydney at stupid o'clock, so it's all up to me....

We've put together a short list of 70 items that are not up to scratch. Should be a fun meeting.

***********

And...here's the rest of the purple:


The beam across the front of the portico is not SUPPOSED to be purple, it's meant to be in Colourbond Ironstone....but that's one of my items for "discussion".


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

My week is looking mega-crazy. I have clients, builder appointments, a billion phone calls to make re power and gas and water connections, a visit to the real estate agent to give notice on our current home, calls to the fencing contractor - who managed to line the fence up to the WRONG PEG AND CUT 2.5 METRES OFF OUR PROPERTY (is everybody actually an idiot???), a meeting with a guy to give us a quote on laying floorboards, and OH LORD, SO MUCH MORE.... I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

The washing machine is demanding my attention now, so I have to go....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Recipe alert....and I TOLD you it was purple!

Need a super-quick, super-easy pasta recipe that ticks all the boxes for nutrition and taste? Here you go.



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

No, obviously it's not finished yet....but my client cancelled so I had time to go back over with the camera and capture the partly-done purple render:




This & that

I'm still battling along. Food has been EXCELLENT these past couple of days (which translates to: not using M & Ms as carb portions), and mostly pretty good all week. Training...all good - until today when I overslept for the second day in a row. You'd think I'd know how to set an alarm clock by now, but nope - stupidity has apparently set in.

Stress levels? - Off the scale. Sleep? - A little skimpy. Supplements? - Mmm, those work better when you remember to take them, I believe....

Ah well, this too shall pass, as they say. I'm hanging in there, which is all I can do.

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

On the home (building) front, our render is being applied today - and I think I love it! We didn't get a sample of the colour and it was hard to remember exactly what we chose. I knew it was purple....yes, that's what I said: PURPLE. At least it's not boring beige, cream or grey, like 90% of the places around here. I'll take a photo tomorrow when it'll (hopefully) be finished and you all can give your opinion. Not that I care anyway.... ;o)

We're booked to do our "walk-through" pre-completion inspection next Thursday arvo, and then handover should be the following week on Friday. At least that's the plan, Stan. I won't be updating my countdown gadget though, mainly because it won't let me. Grr.

Keep your fingers crossed for us.

***********

Tomorrow I have one-on-one clients booked all morning, and then I'll have to fly to the school to pick up The Middle Child and get him to a lunchtime orthodontist appointment. I'll be squeezing my own training in after I drop the boys at school, and before my first client.

I may be pressed for time, but I'll make every second count! If need be, cardio can be pushed back to later in the day, but by hook or by crook, it's getting done!

***********

My weight has been hovering around the 56s, with the odd foray into higher numbers. That's a little higher than I planned for it to be just yet, although nothing alarming. And thanks to some amazing fluid fun and games, I've had a rounder face, squishy waistline and fatter fingers. It was getting better, but the past couple of days has seen PMS return (already? Wasn't that just a couple of weeks ago? Gah!). The only bonus part of that is I have boobs again - which makes Bike Boy very, very happy. Glad someone's enjoying it.

As expected, I have noticed that I look quite a lot different to when I was this same weight on the way down.... I have more muscle definition and overall I'm smaller. My legs even have visible muscle! :o) Which is the main reason the faster weight gain isn't freaking me out at all. I'm aiming to keep nutrition pretty clean these next few days and then I might do some comparison photos.

Or not. I make no promises.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Another boring house post



Things are moving. I've been over at the house annoying the electrician, following the plasterer around and inspecting, photographing and documenting various things that are not quite right. I've also emailed the builder re some mostly minor faults, emailed again to dispute the pricing of one item (got an immediate phone call and actually won on that one!) and emailed again about some discrepancies between what's specified in our contract and what's actually been provided. You can't put one over on a couple of people who've spent most of their working lives dealing with contracts and interpreting legislation.... we both speak pretty fluent Legalese.

Oh, and I disputed another small pricing thing. We'll see what response I get tomorrow on those last couple of things....

I had a phone call from the carpet guy while I was at the gym, and it seems they now can't lay our carpet till the 11th of December. After an initial hissy fit, and a phone call to Bike Boy, I calmed down, created a calendar spreadsheet and worked out exactly what needs to be done when. And you know what? It just might work....

We still need to meet the floorboard installation guy and get some quotes on concreting our driveway, but those things are underway. Then I have to deal with gas, water and power companies - but I'm leaving Bike Boy to do battle with Telstra because generally, they make me want to scream bad words very loudly and hang up on them.

Now we're busy crunching numbers to see how the cash flow is looking and what we can afford to do before all the contractors close down for the Christmas break.

On top of all that, I got my training done, trained a client, went to the supermarket (twice), dropped off and picked up kids, filled the car with petrol (for the bargain price of $1.18) trekked over to the very inconveniently located uniform shop and bought new school pants for one child, picked up dry cleaning and took care of some paperwork at the bank. In between, I also made inroads into my email backlog, but thanks to all the house stuff, I'm way behind and need to get back to it now.

When I'm finished, I'll be donning my reading glasses, grabbing my pencil and notepad and going through the building contract AGAIN. Just in case there are any more $$ in there that I can claw back. Hey, I'm on a ROLL.

Early night? I think not....

Resuming normal service

Is everyone else sick of the house-building saga? Yeah, thought so.... me too! This isn't meant to be a house-building blog, or an excuse to whinge at every opportunity. So, let's pretend for today that's not happening and just get on with things. La, la, la......

This morning I'm off to the gym to kick my own butt in a big way. I LOVE training, but I especially love training when life is crap. It's a temporary escape from worries for me and a way to let out all my frustrations - you gotta love that! So I'll be off shortly to do my anterior chain workout, followed by a short tready run (Ah! Lucky I just checked my schedule - better put on my running shoes, I HATE running in cross-trainers. Blah!).

It felt good to be back in the gym last week. Having a break was a good thing, and I had plenty of workouts at home to keep me out of trouble. But walking back into that dingy, dusty place, with the smell of sweat and the sound of iron clanging and meatheads grunting, felt like coming home. :o)

Time to get dressed, drop kids off and go get a bit grunty myself....

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

I got my email working again, so the minute I get back, I'll get stuck into those unanswered messages - promise!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not getting excited YET

Seems Bike Boy's email to the head honcho at Porter Davis must have started a chain of butt-kicking, because he's had multiple phone calls today from our site supervisor, construction manager AND one from the Big Cohuna himself this morning.

And, lo! On my way home, I called past the house and the electrician has been a busy bee...we have electrical flex hanging from walls and ceilings, outdoor floodlights and weatherproof power points, a ceiling fan in our al fresco room, phone cables snaking out of walls and more. There's also some plaster repairs been done and a few other bits and bobs.

We have a date for our pre-completion inspection next week and the handover is scheduled for the week after. I'm VERY nervously handing in our notice of intention to vacate to the real estate agent tomorrow, since we're required to give 28 days' notice. Nervously, because if Porter Davis fail to deliver this time, we're in big trouble, since the Residential Tenancies Act provides for fines if we fail to vacate on time.

If all goes well, we'll have two weeks leeway to get carpets and floorboards down, move all our crap across and then thoroughly clean this place, including getting the carpets professionally cleaned.

If not, we may be looking for a spare room to rent. Anyone?

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

I just want this to be OVER, so I can get back to normal life. You know, obsessing about training and food, the usual stuff...

I also want my computer to play nice. I can't get my email to work at ALL. I'm doing my best to fix it, but I'm pretty useless at this stuff and my tech support is in Sydney. Really, what good is he there? I even have to cook for myself. Tsk!

In my kitchen, I can't live without....



Tefal Jamie Oliver non-stick pan. This was a surprise purchase that Bike Boy brought home one day, and now I ask myself: how did I get through life without this for so long? It heats perfectly evenly, it has an oven-proof handle, and nothing, absolutely NOTHING sticks to it. I use it to cook meat, fish and chicken, make omelettes and scrambled eggs, and of course, my chocolate souffle omelettes.

George Foreman Grill. We love our "George"! It's the fastest way I know to cook meat, since it does both sides at once. And since any fat runs off, and it's easy-peasy to clean, it gets my vote. The best thing is, I can cook up umpteen chicken breast portions in the same time it takes to cook one ...so I have supplies in the fridge, all ready to go for quick meals.

Digital scales. These were a cheap buy from Big W - they cost me thirty-something dollars and they've been invaluable. When I'm testing out a new recipe, I can use the z-total function to weigh each ingredient separately as I add it....saves me heaps of time. And maths.

Measuring cups and spoons. I have two sets of these, just the standard plastic ones from the supermarket. I've learned from experience that guesstimating simply doesn't work - somehow "portion creep" always happens over time and then you start to wonder why the bathroom scales aren't moving downwards...

Food processor. I bought a Sunbeam Oskar about a hundred years ago, and it gets a regular workout. It's perfect for blending up smooth pancakes mixes, making oat "flour", curry pastes, pureeing soups, and a billion other things. I have a blender too, but Oskar beats the pants off it, except when it comes to making super-duper shakes.

Citrus zester. This inexpensive little gadget is one of my favourites. I add lime or lemon zest to lots of recipes, and cutting the rind off, then removing the pith, then slicing it finely is for the birds!

A really good set of knives. I put up with crappy knives for years, but nothing beats a perfectly balanced, German forged steel kitchen knife with a blade you can sharpen over and over and get a really good edge on. I need to add to my collection (a decent bread knife and a smaller cook's knife would be handy), but the large cook's knife is my favourite and most-used.

My husband. He cooks. Really well.

What can't you live without in the kitchen?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hmm....

I did think when I added that countdown thingie to my blog, re the house completion, that perhaps I was tempting fate. Aaaand, you guessed it: progress these last couple of weeks has pretty much ground to a halt.

According to our revised building program, which it took a major dummy-spit back in September to extract from the builder, we should be getting the keys this week. Yeah, sure. And I believe in the tooth fairy.

Let's see....where are we at?

The painting is still unfinished, thanks to plaster having had to be repaired and re-finished for the fourth (or was it the fifth?) time. The painter buggered off to work on another house, since he was fed up with repainting the same walls two, three and even four times. I don't blame him.

There's been no sign of the renderer, who was supposed to apply the colour finish two or three weeks ago. I give you the evidence of his non-appearance:

I'm quite sure we didn't order pale grey render....

The caulking guy turned up, did a half-arsed job and disappeared again. Hello? We have 10-12mm gaps under our timber windows. And I have no idea what else he missed inside the house, since I can't get in to check.

The plumber came to do the fit-off, installed most of the heating and cooling vents, the taps and toilets and then buggered off. We have no heating or cooling in the lounge, there's no sign of the heating vent in the laundry that we paid extra $$ for, and our gas heater so far has no flue. Water is obviously connected, because the porta-loo was taken away last week.

The electrician, who should have been finished two weeks ago, has apparently lost the site address and is wandering in the wilderness somewhere. There's not a power point, light fitting or anything else vaguely electrical to be found.

The garage interior is still unfinished. Some work in there that WAS done earlier looks like the Year 7 woodwork class kids did it. Without the teacher's supervision.

The portico beam has been rendered. Very neatly too. There's just one teensy problem - it's supposed to be PAINTED, not rendered, according to my colour selections and according the plan....but then, we haven't had a single tradie so far who can actually read a plan anyway, so why am I surprised?

There is so much more that's unfinished or done badly, but I'm depressing myself even further just thinking about it...

I'm clinging to the thought that we might be moved in by Christmas, but I'm not getting my hopes up. It would be nice to think we could be spending our summer holidays relaxing in our al fresco room with the barbecue sizzling and a cold drink in hand...


I wonder why I drowned my sorrows in a large quantity of wine last night? Of course it didn't help, only gave me a hangover this morning. D'oh!

Anyway, cross your fingers for us - we expect a response tomorrow to the very terse email we sent on Friday night. Let's hope that gets things moving again.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Recipe alert!

This afternoon I was horribly, horribly tired. I lay on the couch and dozed for half an hour, then woke up all groggy (as you do) and realised that the dishes still weren't done from this morning, it was almost 6:00pm and my youngest child needed feeding. *sigh* So I washed the dishes, turned on the oven to heat a pizza for The Baby and idly thought that I probably should do something about dinner for the grown-ups.

That's as far as I got. What I really wanted was some of that pizza.... Then Bike Boy arrived home, also tired, and feeling uninspired on the cooking front. So I went and rummaged in the freezer and came up with CHICKEN. Of course - my favourite. But what to do with it?

I checked in the fridge and we had cooked rice, a couple of bunches of bok choy and some coriander that was looking a bit limp. Hmm, how about....Vietnamese chicken and tamarind stir-fry?

WAY better than pizza. And almost as quick.

The winning post


Life is extremely challenging at the moment. After a year and a half of almost constant stress, our house is STILL not finished. We can't give notice to quit our rented temporary home, can't arrange for utilities to be connected and basically can't get on with our lives until we have a definite completion date. Which seems to be an impossible task for our builder to comply with. I had arranged for the carpet guy to show up to do the measure and quote thing today, since we were assured by the builder that there would be someone there to let him in. There isn't.

With all this uncertainty, disappointment, frustration and unplanned financial cost, it's no surprise that in our household, sleep is lacking, tempers are frayed, I've had a constant headache for days and life sucks in a major way right now. I'm trying to maintain some semblance of normality, but I'm not succeeding too well.

Just as an example, I went to the bank this morning to get some papers out of our safe custody packet. One of the girls who used to work for me back when I was manager there saw me standing at the counter and simply asked how I was ....and I started to cry. Oh no! Just could not help it. Luckily she knows me pretty well, knows about the trials of house-building and didn't think I was a total fruitcake. Having a meltdown in the middle of the stodgy bank is not my usual style though. Embarrassing? Yup.

But, I'm totally fed up with things that piss me off, so it must be time for a win list....

1. I have a new training program this week and it's back to the gym for me. Yay! I love new programs. :o) DOMS has struck with a vengeance too - not so Yay....but it comes with the territory.

2. I'm doing OK with nutrition. Not great, but OK. Under the circumstances, I'll settle for that.

3. Yesterday I had a day OFF and went to the races. No work, no training, no clients, no housework. It was nice to get dressed up and have a girls' day out. I didn't win, but then I hardly bet at all. Given my usual luck, it was probably just as well. Better to lose $4 than $400.

4. In spite of Connex's spectacular debacle, which saw rail services from Flemington racecourse just grind to a halt (ON OAKS DAY - gah!!), I did not lose my cool. Luckily, we always leave before the last race to avoid the rush, so we were on a train before the whole thing really blew up. We did get dumped at Kensington station with no idea of how to get to the city to catch our train home....but being resourceful gals, we tottered down the street in our high heels in search of alternative transport. Not a taxi to be had (of course not, they were all at the race course!) and all the buses were heading OUT of the city - and WHY are there no trams in Kensington? Hmm? We eventually spotted some boom gates and found the Upfield line - which was running. Sure, it took 3 hours to get home, but it could have been muuuuch worse.

5. The extremely weird fluid bloating that I woke up with on Monday is finally leaving. What WAS that about....? My fat fingers are back to normal today, hooray!

That's all I can come up with right now, but for someone who's barely holding their shit together, it's not too bad. I may not have won on the tote this week, but I still have a few wins on the board. :o)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What was I thinking?

When I made this as the birthday cake:


Must have been a moment of insanity, really. There can be no other explanation for purposely having 2kg of chocolate cake, coated in rich dark-choc frosting and covered with Maltesers, anywhere in my vicinity.

Positions vacant

Wanted: Large crew of people with good appetite and no concerns about the health implications of eating lots of sugar, cream, etc.

Mission: To remove all traces of cheesecake, trifle, cherry flan and other party leftovers from my fridge.


Or.... I could just toss it all in the bin.

Guess what I'll be doing when I get back from the gym?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Many happy returns

Monday before the Melbourne Cup is a de facto holiday here in my home town. Honestly, the state government really should just declare it an actual public holiday and be done with it, because almost NOBODY goes to work today. Some workplaces shut down so their staff can have an extra-long weekend, and many other people take RDOs, a day's annual leave or a good old-fashioned sickie.

After all, it's a long time since the Queen's birthday way back in June, and you can't live forever without long weekends, now can you? (we used to have a holiday in September, but don't get me started on how THAT one got Jeffed, along with the Easter Tuesday bank holiday....)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah....the point of this post.....today is Number One Son's 21st birthday. My firstborn was actually born on Cup Day - and very inconveniently, I might add. It's the ONLY time I've ever missed the running of the Cup. In fact I didn't even get a bet on, since I was otherwise occupied THE ENTIRE DAY.

We're celebrating the momentous occasion tonight - yes, on a Monday, since tomorrow is a holiday. So I need to get my A into G and get moving. I have a cake to pick up, a nail appointment, and then I shall be busy cleaning and organising food all afternoon. I'm looking forward to the glass of champagne at the end....



On that note, I'm off!

Cravings - compulsion or choice?

Katie wrote a great post the other day about the pitfalls of following the only-eat-what-you-like school of thought. Lots of stuff to get you thinking there, and it got ME thinking about a related topic: cravings.

I've had many arguments with people who insist that if you crave something, then it must contain some nutrient that your body desperately needs. For instance, if you crave oranges, you must be short of vitamin C. I actually did have incredibly strong cravings for oranges during two of my three pregnancies. I'd buy one of those big string bags and chow through the lot in about 3 days. As far as I can tell, I wasn't lacking vitamin C. Just as a side note, I also craved a lot of Mars Bars and Tim Tams and I really doubt that I was in dire need of extra sugar or fat. In fact, all that got me in 20 weeks was a bonus 20-odd kg of bodyfat. :o(

Anyway...back to the intuitive thing. There are all kinds of reasons why you might have cravings, and the most common are emotional responses and habit. If you think about it, you hardly ever hear anybody say Ooh, I have such a strong craving for spinach/broccoli/choko, I just HAVE to get some NOW. Nah, it's always chocolate, lollies, ice cream, or maybe toast, pizza or hot chips. Always, ALWAYS high-carb, high-GI, not-very-healthy foods.

If you've developed a habit of regularly eating potato chips while watching TV at night, then the minute you sit down in the evening and turn on the box, that conditioned response will kick in and you will crave potato chips. If you have always dealt with certain emotions (or more accurately, avoided dealing with them) by turning to favourite childhood foods, then that's exactly what you’re going to do as soon as you feel that scary anger/disappointment/loneliness or whatever feeling it may be.

Sure, it is important to be in tune with your body’s needs. As an athlete, knowing when you’re carb-depleted is vital, so that you can take appropriate action – and by the way, that means having a big bowl of oats rather than a giant-sized pack of marshmallows. And sometimes the signals can be a bit subtle, or can easily be confused with other things. But if your body is “telling you” that you need a pizza, a couple of vodka Cruisers and a big slab of mud cake, then it’s LYING to you. They do that, you know….

If you follow a sensible nutrition plan, with a balance of protein, carbs and fat, and a small allowance for treat foods, and you eat regularly, then you’re less likely to have a problem. Sure, breaking a habit can be difficult initially, but I get impatient with people who say they “must” have chocolate every afternoon, or that they “can’t” stop at less than an entire family block. They’re using the wrong word: it’s not CAN’T, it’s WON’T. They’re simply not prepared to take responsibility for their choice, preferring to blame it on some mythical compulsion.

Breaking the cycle isn’t all that easy, but it can be done if you really want it. You might need to employ some simple strategies to help get through the initial weeks. For instance, if the TV thing is your issue, then try doing something else at that particular time of night….instead of turning on the TV, go for a walk, call a friend - clean the toilet, whatever works. And don’t have bags of potato chips in the house, at least not initially. It’s not brain surgery….

I make bad food choices at times too. I fall into old patterns now and then, overeat and so on – but I don’t tell myself that I couldn’t help it, because I “had to” eat that huge pile of chocolate. I accept the responsibility, tell myself it wasn’t the best response to the situation, and I move on. Another day, another meal – I know I’ll do better.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Recipe alert!

I had a hankering for lamb tonight and invented these Greek-style lamb burgers. They turned out bloody delicious, and even got the thumbs-up from Bike Boy and Number One Son.

Too good to be true?

Being a total attention whore*, I emailed a couple of comp photos and a brief message to the office staff magazine, asking if they'd be interested in a sports story with a difference for one of their lightweight "look what our people are up to" stories. They were - one of the writers rang to interview me a few days later.

When I arrived at work on Monday, I noticed a few sideways glances and kind of sizing-up looks and checked to see if I had toilet paper stuck to my shoe or something. Then I remembered...oh yeah. Monday is the day the staff mag gets emailed to all 29,000-odd staff. I actually got a lot of positive comments and curious questions, plus a number of emails, mostly from people I've never met, and all along the lines of "wow - congratulations, well done".

I also got a lot of puzzled looks and "where have you been hiding those muscles?" kind of questions. Just shows that most people can't see what's in front of their noses....

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

Today, Bike Boy was approached by someone in his area - yes, we work for the same stodgey government department, just different locations - who asked "is that your wife in the magazine this week?" He replied that yes, it was. (This is the point where I informed him that the correct response would have been "Yes, that's my totally HOT wife" :p) So this guy, who goes to the gym regularly and has ambitions of getting huge, starts asking questions. Guess what the first one was?

Does she take supplements? *sigh* The usual quest for the magic pill.... Bike Boy replies in the affirmative and adds: fish oil and vitamin C. Huh. Not the answer he was looking for, I bet. Where's the creatine stack, the bucket of mega-mass-gainer, the nitric oxide, the fat-burners? LOL.

Next question: How often does she train? Reply: 6 days a week.
So, for how many hours a day? Bike Boy must have been having trouble hiding his smirk by now as he tells the guy: An hour, sometimes less.

I wonder if he even believed any of it? It does sound too good to be true. At least, if you get your training and nutritional advice from the blokey bodybuilding mags anyway. Might have given him cause to go back and take a look at his nutrition and training though.

.....Nah, probably not.

________________________________________


*The real reason I did the story was to show people that even if you're a fat, unfit public servant who's never exercised in your life, it really is never too late to change.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Flat out!

Gah! I'd like more time for blogging, but I'm barely finding enough hours for sleeping at the moment. Here's where I'm at:

Training - all good. I'm adjusting to the different pace and torturing my thoracic region with lots of mobilisation work. Ouch! I've not trained at the gym once since my comp, it's all been at-home training. Go, the spin bike! :o) Oh wait - I did do ONE tready workout last week....

Nutrition - after a bumpy couple of weeks, I'm travelling just fine. Weight spiked in a BIG way, which was totally expected, due to the amounts of chocolate, ice cream, wine and toast that I was shovelling into my gob. The stress levels have dropped quite a bit, I've adjusted my attitude to maximum Total Badass setting, and these past 4 days have seen a Wow! Look at that! drop of 2.3kg on the scales. Much better....

Everything else - the house is moving along FAST, and we should have our handover in just over two weeks. We hope. Number One Son turns 21 on Monday and I have a party to organise. Better do something about that.... Cup Week is looming and I actually have my outfit organised for the Oaks. AND, after a killer attack of PMS on Sunday/Monday (something that rarely bothers me), my sanity has returned and I'm no longer homicidal. Much to the relief of my family.

That's me updated - now I have to get one child to school, one to the orthodontist, go pay the rent (for the last time, I hope!) and get myself to the office. Last day till after Cup Week - I start leave today. Whoopee!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

House update

I've spent the past few weeks worrying about whether the feature wall colours I picked were going to look great, or utterly horrible.... I vote for great.

Master bedroom. The colour is barberry, which is a dull, soft olive green:



No feature wall here, but I love the retreat window so much I had to take a picture now it's all stained and painted...



Family room. This is Castle Keep. Bold? You bet! The end wall with the long window is getting the same treatment:



My studio. The feature wall is Indian Turquoise - yes, it IS bright, and I love it! The plan is to cover the beige wall on the right with full-length mirrors. Our ceilings are two-point-three-something metres high (2390?), so we'll see what the cost comes out to before I get too excited about that idea....


The boys' rooms might be getting feature walls too, thanks to our very accommodating painter, who loves his work. :o) He's busy talking me into a metallic effect paint in a dark colour. We'll see...

Kids' bathroom. The photo's a bit dark (couldn't be arsed fiddling with exposure settings to compensate for the light coming through the window....sorry).



The ensuite...both bathrooms are the same pale green colour, and have the same tiles except for the splashbacks



The most expensive tile item was these glass feature tiles in the kids' bathroom (below). Good thing we only needed four of them. They've come up a bit beige and bland in the end, which is disappointing - they're actually a pale translucent green. Maybe once the mirror's installed and my darker green glass accessories added, that will change the look a bit.

I'm loving the taps though - I couldn't actually remember what they looked like, it was so long ago that we chose them.



Shower (obviously). Ours is bigger and will have a massive dumper shower head, coming from the ceiling. Same tiles though.



Shower feature tiles:



The painter was doing some work on the outside today, and the render colour should be applied sometime this week. This is how it looked last weekend, all unpainted:





The plasterers were back today to fix their dodgy work, so it looks like the painter won't be finishing the interior today. Hopefully the plumbing and electrical fit-offs will be done by the end of the week though, then the final bits and pieces and touch-up painting can be done next week.

Fingers crossed.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Because you asked....

To save me answering the numerous "when's the house going to be finished?" questions I keep getting, I've added a countdown gadget under my blog header, just so y'all know where things are at.

Of course, that number may go UP instead of down, the way things are going.... *Harrumph!*

Here's a very quick update:

Tiling is all done. Staining of timber doors and windows is all done. Interior painting should be finished today (yes, many tradies actually work on Sundays) and the painter is a gem - one of the few tradesmen we've had who gives a shit about his work. My colour selections look completely awesome - can't wait to see the feature walls. They're not what you'd call shy colours.... :o) Exterior painting will probably be done tomorrow - there's not a lot, some render, some weatherboard, some small areas of eaves, a beam or two and a few trims. The electrician and plumber are booked for this week to do the fit-offs. Shower screens, mirrors and the glass kitchen splashback should be measured up and ordered about now. I think.

On the downside, some of the plaster isn't up to scratch - now that it's been painted, the dodgy areas really show up - so that will be pointed out at the site meeting we're having in the morning. And the interior finish of the garage leaves a LOT to be desired.... There are a few other odds and ends that need doing/fixing/replacing, but it's getting there.

We might be in by the end of November, but then again, maybe not. And I'm being as relaxed as I possibly can about the whole thing. Que sera, sera and all that.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Recipe alert!


This was dinner quite a few days ago, but I've only just got around to blogging it... been busy, you know!


Thai Beef Salad. Mmm-mmm!

Oops! Where did that ball go?


The past week has been a mix of a couple of good days, a couple of OK days .....and then there are the days I'd just prefer to forget. I seem to have had this Jekyll/Hyde thing going on when it comes to food. And just a smidge with training too.

Yesterday was a new low. I mean, toast for lunch and chocolate and cookies for snacks? What kind of insanity is THAT? Breakfast and dinner were the only redeeming meals of the day - and dinner was only a good choice because I didn't choose it, I left it up to Bike Boy.

My biggest issue seems to be exhaustion. I just cannot shake this extreme tiredness - and it's not just physical. My brain is tired too. I can't figure it out. Sure, there's a lot going on right now, but what's new about that? It's messing with my head and seriously disrupting my eating plans too.

So, I've decided to quit trying to work out the why and just get on with things. Sometimes thinking just makes everything more complicated and you can analyse a situation to death, tie yourself in knots over it worrying, getting all anxious and guilt-laden, and STILL be no better off.

My main priority at the moment is sleep: lovely, lovely sleep. Last night, I managed an uninterrupted seven-and a half hours (...bliss). I got out of bed at 6:30 with a new just get it done attitude, ate my standard brekky of oats and vanilla whey and headed off to train a client outdoors. Today we were training over at Westerfolds Park, which I love - there's plenty of play equipment, benches and the like to use, plus the scenery is breathtaking. And if you're lucky, you might glimpse a roo or two.

I was finished by 9:00am, and took advantage of being outdoors to get my run out of the way before it warmed up. It was great to be running somewhere different. I only got distracted once by the view - I had to stop to check out the 'rapids', which were a little disappointing. With Melbourne's current level of rainfall, the old Yarra isn't all that rapid. :o( Anyway, it was a good run - apart from the one bit I walked, because a mountain goat, I am NOT. That hill leading up to the old manor house is a DOOZY.

So, training is done, food is organised for most of the day and I'm feeling..... well, a lot better. I plan to do a little work, some cleaning up around here, go check on the painter over at our house, and maybe squeeze in a nap. Then I think a walk before dinner.....

Balance is a funny thing - you may achieve it for a while, but everyone goes through times when one or more things get a bit off-kilter. Competition prep invariably means dedicating a LOT of time and attention to food and training, so other things in your life have to take a secondary position. That's a conscious choice that competitive athletes make, at least if they're really serious. But once the comp is over, things have to be adjusted - and it takes some time to do that.

It's natural to have nutrition and/or training slip to second, third (or last) place on your priority list for a while, while you dedicate more time to family, social activities or even neglected housework. But at some point you have to pull it back into line and find your balance again. It's kind of like a juggling act. You can drop one or two balls for a while, but eventually you have to get them all back into play, otherwise you're not really juggling, are you? Tossing one or two balls around haphazardly is something else entirely.

Today, my nutrition ball is staying up in the air.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And...

....now I'm going to bed, nice and early. So nighty-night, and thanks for all the support.

A bit of blog lerve always makes you feel better. :o)

Winning, not whining

Rather than dwell on the fact that right now is the first time today I've been able to do something I want to do, rather than the million and one things I needed to do, or that my eyes are hanging out of my head (and it's only a bit after 9:30pm) here's my "win list" for the day:

1. Food has been totally on-track. Well, there was that one triangle of Toblerone, but that tiny amount hardly even counts, right?

2. I woke up feeling dog-tired this morning, AND it was raining. I could have used that as an excuse to blow off my run, but instead I muttered "it's not raining at the GYM". I then hauled my butt out of bed at 5:15am and trekked off to do it on the tready.

3. I had time up my sleeve when I finished my intervals, so did some brisk incline walking for a bonus 15 minutes.

4. Through a series of coincidences, I have the opportunity to help a woman who's in dire need of some assistance with mindset and motivation. It's one of those "meant to be" stories: she saw an article in a magazine that she never usually buys, about a woman who lost weight with the help of a fantastic online trainer ...who happened to be my good friend Debbie Rossi. She contacted Debs, who saw that she was from Melbourne and rang me to check if I was able to do some one-on-one work with her. After getting the woman's permission to pass her details onto me, I read her email and discovered that she works for the same employer as me. In the same building. On the same floor. I'm really looking forward to giving her a hand up on her journey - she has a few challenges ahead, but I'm sure she'll make it. :o)

5. Even though I was feeling under pressure, I made a tasty dinner tonight, packed the leftovers for Bike Boy's lunch tomorrow, plus threw together some pancakes for one of my snacks tomorrow, AND a batch of mini frittatas for future meals. And I have all my food packed, ready to toss in my "lunchbox" in the morning. I love it when I'm well organised.

6. I took my supplements! Hallelujah! Haven't done that in a while.....

7. Even though I procrastinated madly, I actually did get my Pilates workout done.

8. Tomorrow I'm having a chocolate souffle for breakfast. :o)

A not-post

I'm just grabbing a few seconds to not update my blog. Which really makes no sense...

I'm sleep-deprived, overworked and seriously struggling and I prefer not to blog when life gets like this. I hate whiney posts, and I'm not about to indulge in a big old fun-suck. I can't even stand myself, so I'm not about to inflict my sucky outlook on the internet. Let my poor family suffer alone. :o)

I'll be back when I catch up on some sleep and my attitude turns around. Let's hope that's sooner rather than later.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Duck, drinking and DOMS



Last night's dinner was a lovely experiment - I had a pomegranate in the fridge and didn't quite know what to do with it till I came across a recipe for a warm duck salad. I didn't have any duck, but I figured it would go well with lamb. So I give you: warm LAMB salad with pomegranate and baby beetroot

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



Living on the edge of the Yarra Valley has its advantages. Tomorrow I'm off to tour the Open Cellars of Nillumbik. I've been to a few of these wineries, but sadly, there are several I drive past regularly and have never crossed the threshold. I should be ashamed....one really ought to support local businesses, after all.

I shan't be misbehaving - I volunteered to drive my sister and my mother, so they are free to drink as much as they like. I shall virtuously adopt the sip-and-spit approach.

Bike Boy is off to do the Around the Bay ride, and so is my brother in law, so we womenfolk need to keep ourselves occupied. :o) Actually, I'll be on my bike in the morning, getting in some training before I head off for some R & R. I'm not doing anything insane like 250km though. Maybe 20km.....



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

This week's training has involved several spin workouts, some mobility work and Amy Bento's Bootcamp. I've enjoyed being back in the groove, and the changes have been very welcome. I always love new workouts!

DOMS has been fairly rampant, which I don't really mind. I DO mind excruciating calf cramps that wake me from a deep sleep though.... I turned over in bed this morning and stretched my right leg out, only to start screaming in pain. It was THAT kind of cramp. Ugh!

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

Right, that's me updated. Now it's late and I'm off to bed. The rest of the filing and bookwork that I'm still ploughing through can wait.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blog.... blog? What's a blog?

I have been a busy little bee - as you all can probably tell from the lack of blogging. Thank goodness my energy levels are back to normal, so I've been able to cope quite well with being back at the office, catching up on my backlog of work here at FitBodies Central (a.k.a. the spare bedroom) and kicking my own butt with training. Not to mention inventing and blogging some new recipes, keeping an eye on the tiler and other tradies over at our almost-completed house, getting through the biggest pile of washing you ever saw, driving kids to school, picking kids up from school, from work etc, and preparing my food each day.

Now that I've written all that down, I'm kind of thinking: hmm, I really HAVE been busy. How do I DO that? Oh, and I've been working madly getting all my records up to date, hunting down interest payments, collecting scrappy receipts and finding that elusive share dividend statement (where did I put that last October?) because....... it's TAX TIME again! Oh joy....

So, the point of this post? Um... excuse me for not fulfilling my daily blog quota?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Post-comp report

It's been a busy week-and-a-bit since my big moment onstage. The aftermath of competing has been mostly what I expected, with no real fallout, but I suppose it's never entirely smooth sailing. Anyway, it's been interesting....

Being a little relaxed with food turned into being a LOT relaxed as the week went on. I was still enjoying my veggies and a lot of my standard healthy-but-delicious meals, but there were a few too many treats and the odd glass of wine sneaking in. I slacked off on the food tracking front too, just feeling the need to have a break from recording everything for a few days. On Saturday I had several glasses of vino, which (as usual) led to my eating a whole lot of extra food I really didn't need, and left me with a slight hangover on Sunday. That was IT.... I'd had enough!

My Inner Fat Girl was trying to get my attention. I thought I'd buried that biatch! Seems she still had some life left in her and she was really pissing me off.

So I got up Monday morning and stepped on the scales, fully expecting a big jump. And I wasn't disappointed... about 4kg had attached itself to me like magic in only 9 days. OK, not like magic; more like a whole lot of fluid, thanks to too much sugar, too much processed crap and some unaccustomed alcohol.

Did I freak out? Was I upset? Nope, not in the least. Luckily I've learned a lot about how my body reacts to changes in nutrition and I seem to have grasped the fact that the scales are NOT judging me, they're just telling me how much I weigh. Breakthrough, much? I also know that fluid gains disappear almost as quickly as they happen, as long as I eat sensibly and drink plenty of water. No, wine is not an adequate substitute....

The mirror tells me that I look pretty much the same as I did a week ago, just a little puffy around the middle. Not so much that anyone else is likely to notice though. And this morning, I'm down a kilo already. I feel good; no guilt, no regrets, no wailing and gnashing of teeth. It's only a bit of fluid, after all, and maybe a teensy bit of fat.

My new goals are set, I have a new training plan happening, and food is back to normal. I'm aiming to keep it interesting, because otherwise I get bored, my attention wanders and shiny chocolate wrappers beckon. So watch out for more new recipes - I have a swag of ideas I want to ty out.

Today went like this:

Breakfast: Vanilla buckwheat waffles, raspberries, yoghurt and sugar-free syrup
Snack: Steak, potato and a chunk of raw carrot. Yes that was a bit weird...leftovers, you know....
Lunch: Chicken and veggie stir-fry. Masses of veg, with coconut oil and peanut butter and some soy sauce.
Snack: Yoghurt, raspberries, Protein Crunch, Crunchola
Snack: Two big, fat, juicy dates. That dealt with a sweet craving nicely!
Dinner: Thai-style fish cakes, basmati rice, pickled cucumber, big pile of mixed frozen veggies

Tomorrow is all planned and packed too. More waffles, more fish cakes, some of my new cookies...plenty to keep me satisfied. And to make sure my Inner Fat Girl stays well and truly buried.

Recipe alert!

I felt like fish for dinner tonight, but not any old boring fish.... so I invented a Thai-style fish cake. Yummy!



I've also done a variation on my cookie recipe. These are spiced vanilla cookies with cranberries. I haven't taste-tested them yet, so will have to report back on that one tomorrow after I try them out. They smell gooood! Might taste like shite, but I doubt it....


Update:

The cookies were GREAT! I loved the cranberries and cinnamon together. These are a bit soft, and they soften up further if you manage not to eat them all at once, even when cooled properly and stored in an airtight container. I don't mind that - they're more like a brownie in consistency though, so if you're after crunchy cookies, these aren't it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The difference two years can make



Top: Phat Camp, April 2006 (weight - around 52-53kg). Following the world's most boring diet, carb-depleted, and scrawny.

Bottom: Phat Camp, March 2008 (weight - around 57-58kg). Eating masses of good food, nice condition and definitely carrying more muscle. Lookie! I have shoulders!

Looks like my eat more and train your arse off strategy is working.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Technology - it's great when it works!

The weekend was great, but took up a LOT of my time. Then I was exhausted and useless for most of Monday, and I've had to do quite a bit of running around over the week too. In between, I've been working my butt off, catching up on client emails and programs.

After composing several lengthy messages and spending ages creating some fancy attachments, I discover yesterday that Hotmail (the most paranoid email provider in the universe) has decided to reject Every. Single. One. Of. My. Freaking. Messages. Gah!!

Apparently it's just having a hissy fit and doesn't want to accept anything from my ISP - which, by the way, is a long-established and perfectly respectable internet and email provider. I tried removing attachments and re-sending. Nope. Taking out images. Nope. Using my personal email account. Nope, nope.

After banging my head repeatedly on the desk and sobbing a bit - it was after 11:00pm by this stage - I remembered my old GMail account. But could I recall my login and password? Uh.....

This morning, I suddenly remembered the login details and got into GMail, to discover 523 junk email messages waiting for me. I kid you not.

I think this actually might work. Meanwhile, my ISP better sort this crap out - I have rather a lot of clients and newsletter subscribers who use Hotmail, and this is very inconvenient.

Looks like I'm going to have a busy day......

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Next on the crazy woman's agenda:

I'm more than happy with how I shaped up for my first attempt at competing. I was satisfied with my overall condition - I did NOT want to be one of those women who over-diets and looks all scrawny and stringy. Ugh. I also did not want to be the one with the big fat butt and thighs, about whom everyone in the audience is whispering "Tsk. She shouldn't be up there". Luckily my prep was spot-on and I came up OK. Actually, there was no luck about it - Coach knows what she's doing, and I followed instructions; that's all there is to it.

As expected, I had some droop happening around my rear (HATED doing the rear poses for that reason!), but I'm confident I can improve that with another 12 months of hard work. Some extra muscle ought to give me some lift....

I also have a physiological issue with flared ribs, which I can do very little about. A bit of muscle added to my abs and maybe some tricks with posing might disguise it a bit, but I suspect I'm always going to lose points for looking too "ribby". I'm always being accused of "sucking my gut in" but I'm absolutely not - it's just the way my skeleton is made, so critics: get over it.

The thing that probably let me down the most was my posing. I had only one lesson with
Jo Rogers, and she did her best with me, but there's only so much you can do in one lesson. I practised my arse off, but I had nobody here to help me - I know no competitors who live nearby, and there isn't a posing coach within a reasonable distance (that I'm aware of), who I'd trust to help me. My stiff shoulders and almost fused thoracic spine make it difficult for me to contort my upper body into the required position for the symmetry round. My crooked hips also made it hard for me to judge whether I was standing straight or not - I mostly wasn't.

I'm not disappointed, and I'm not being hard on myself. I'm just assessing my performance as objectively as I can, and figuring out what needs more work. It's all fixable, or at least able to be improved on to some degree.

Onto my new goals. These are the things I'll be concentrating on:

1. Rehab my shoulder issues. I have some mobilisation work to do, rotator cuff strengthening, and I'm backing off the chest training for a bit, since my pecs are tighter than a ....really tight thing. It's not exciting, there are no big weights involved, and I'll look like a retard doing it at the gym with 1-2kg DBs. But that's what's required, so I'll be taking a big dose of Suck It Up Princess and getting on with it.

2. Put some size on my hamstrings, and stre-e-e-e-etch them. They vewwy, vewwy tight!! Also add more size to my glutes. Those, I've improved a lot already, thanks to
Liz's nasty lower body training, but there's more to be done. I'm going to be bootylicious, Baby!

3. Pick a fun run and a bike ride and train for them. Still thinking about these – at the moment I'm leaning towards the
Sussan run in December, but it might end up being early in the New Year before I get on my bike. I have to practice those gear changes, and I'd like to get me some proper shoes and clips. Perhaps Amy's Ride..... And Selina, I do NOT swim (unless it’s with my head above water and a cocktail in one hand), so I definitely won't be doing a triathlon.

4. Do a LOT of work on my posing. I need to pop my shoulders up and my lats way, way out in the symmetry round. My rear double bicep pose needs work too. Gah! There’s so much to work on there, let’s just move along…. The shoulder stuff (see #1 above) should help a lot with posing anyway. Also, I'll grab any opportunity I can to get some professional help.

5. Stretch more in general. Muscles are not meant to impersonate steel bands.

6. Gear up in June/July to begin prep for another September or October comp. This time I want seriously scary ab definition, and a tighter bottom half, so I'll probably need to be a little bit leaner. With more muscle, that ought to work out just fine. Note to self: There is no trophy for "Most Emaciated".

That should keep me busy! Oh, and along the way, I'll be moving house, setting up my personal training studio and working on taking the business in some new directions. I might have time to breathe around November 2009.

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

Right now, I'm madly working to catch up on a backlog of emails and programs - I'm getting through them and expect to be all up to date by tomorrow, guys, so don't panic if you're still waiting to hear from me....

The inside goss

For those of you who've ever wondered what it's like to be a backstage slapper, Sara spills the beans over on her blog.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I busted my arse and all I got was this lousy trophy

I'm kidding.....it's a pretty nice trophy!





I also got a tub of instant oats with whey in apple-cinnamon flavour (keep forgetting to try those!) and a heeooooge t-shirt. It might fit Bike Boy.....

The ANB provided a pretty nice t-shirt, plus sample bags with a few goodies. And I got a medal. Now all I need is a chest to pin it on.

;o)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Reminder

Progress is a funny thing. Sometimes we all lose sight of the big picture.

This is my reminder to myself of how far I've come:


Back to normal

I'm sure I must have shrunk a dress size after scrubbing off all the layers of Dream Tan. We started off a bit tentative on Saturday, but went nuts with the stuff on Sunday. The end result was good - next time there'll be no pussy-footing around, I'll trowel it on.

I had a nice relaxed day yesterday, eating mostly normally, with some chocolate and champagne thrown in - a girl's gotta celebrate! I had two tiny morsels from Koko Black that were left from Saturday, and after dinner, I got into some M & Ms. Pretty restrained, really. Today I just feel like eating well - my body seems to want veggies, so that's what it's going to get. There may be a chocolate souffle on the menu too though. :p

Bike Boy's running off to Brisbane today. Or Sydney. Or somewhere.... can't really remember. My attention span has been a little short lately. Anyway, he'll be back tomorrow night. The kids are back at school, and I'm planning to catch up on some work, and some sleep. The washing machine is working overtime, and the weekend is beginning to seem like a distant memory.

This is a funny thing - I posted some photos from the comps on my Facebook profile and I'm suddenly being bombarded with friend requests from men that I've never heard of. Hmm.....

I'm about to go give Coach a call and see what she's up to. She threatened me with a one on one training session while she's in town, and after slobbing around yesterday, I just feel like a good old-fashioned thrashing in the gym.

Thanks to all of you for your lovely comments - there's nothing quite like a bit of blog lurve. :o)

Monday, October 06, 2008

INBA Figure Masters: routines and presentation

For those who couldn't be there, here's some video footage Bike Boy shot on Saturday night.

PLEASE excuse my deer-in-the-headlights expression during my routine. I was bloody terrified!!

Comp photos

There's so much to say about the weekend, but I know everyone's waiting for photos, so I'll get some up now and be back later with a full report.

I do have to say a HUGE thank you to a few people though. Without such a great team behind me, I couldn't have got up on that stage looking as presentable as I did.

First, to Sara and Jase, not only for their sponsorship and for providing me with awesome Sana Direct products, but for coming all the way from Christchurch, just to support little old me. Jase took some (several hundred) amazing photos and Sara was the BEST backstage slapper any competitor could want. She now has totally mad skills with applying Dream Tan. :o) She also refrained from rolling her eyes (too much) at my ridiculous paranoia about being late, which resulted in my demanding that everything be done 3 hours ahead of time... LOL.

Then of course, there's Coach - Liz Nelson, who prepares athletes for competition the SANE way. I could never in a million years have followed the restrictive diets and crazy training schedules that many competitors sign up for. Well, maybe I could have, but it would have been at the expense of my mental health, and probably my family's too. When I decided to compete, I knew that Liz was the only coach I was prepared to put my trust in, and my judgement was spot-on. Seriously - when your comp prep nutrition plan has room for Indian food, chocolate souffles, Tim Tam Cornettos and Lindor Balls, how could you not love it? And it was fantastic to have Ms Lizzy there in person on Sunday to tell me my muscles were still a bit flat and I needed to eat MORE CHOCOLATE. Yeah!

The fabulous Jo Rogers, of Style On Stage worked some kind of magic with my bikini. That tiny piece of clothing transformed my sad flat chest and not-so-tight butt into something pretty acceptable. Plus it's just gorgeous. And beautifully made. She also did a great job with my routine (which I sooooo did not do justice to!), and taught me the basics of posing. Next time, I'm going to make sure to spend a lot more time with Jo, working on my posing, even if I have to fly to the Gold Coast to manage that.

And finally, I was very lucky to have Bike Boy behind me, taking care of things at home, cooking me good food, and just generally supporting me. Not to mention helping me with my routine on Friday night when my poor exhausted and slightly carb-depleted brain simply would NOT remember the moves. OK, so it was more like bossing me around and MAKING me go over and over the whole thing....but that was exactly what I needed. And then he turned up to both shows and sat through them, even though I know he finds them excruciatingly boring. Now that is true love.

So, thanks to Team Kek for everything - you guys are the best support crew anyone could want.

Enough waffle.....here's some photos:

Saturday (INBA)

It was a tough position, being placed next to Karen Flaherty....my muscles look positively puny next to her.



I was really happy with my front double bicep pose. I knew my biceps were a strong point, but look at those quads! Spin bikes rock!



Side tricep - not too shabby.



Abs & thighs was the pose I was least confident about, but something just "clicked" while I was practicing backstage. Not too bad at all.



Sunday (ANB)

Some backstage shots:

With Coach. LOL - I look like I'm made of chocolate. Perhaps I overdid the Kit Kats and Lindor Balls......



Pumping up

The photo's a bit small and a bit dark, but I have seriously scary shoulder veins. LOVE 'em!



You know you're working hard when you start pulling ugly faces....



My muscles came in fuller and I was overall looking better on Sunday, except for the fact that my slightly sensitive digestive system staged a major objection to the sugar overload and I had some pain and bloating - that gave me a slightly distended tummy and smoothed out my abs, which was not the look I was going for, dammit! Legs and upper body looked awesome though. :o)







The lineup - there were 7 of us altogether, and some tough competition:



The girl in black won first place. The woman next to her, in red, was 58 years old!


There you go - I'm off now; going to jump in the shower to scrub off the remaining Dream Tan (that stuff sticks like superglue!!), wash all the hairspray out of my hair, and then finish washing all my clothes. Then I may have a nap.... two 1:30am nights in a row are way too much for this girl!