Saturday, February 28, 2009

Recipe alert!

Boy, things are hotting up in my kitchen this week! Last night, I cooked dinner (not that common an occurrence, let me tell you) and it was good. Moroccan-style roast lamb went down a treat.

Moroccan flavours got me thinking about Marrakech, and my mind wandered to Led Zeppelin who were more than a little fond of the place (must have had some good drugs there, back in the 70s) ....and that led me to scour Youtube for one of my favourite songs of all time, Kashmir.

Which is nowhere near Morocco, but who cares? This is my stream-of-consciousness thinking after all, so I can go wherever I like. :p



My taste in music is a little broad.... I'd post a Chopin video if only he'd made some... Damn you, Nineteenth Century and your lack of technology!

What do YOU know? You're just a stupid machine.



I picked up my flash new scales yesterday. I haven't been able to get the old ones to tell me anything useful all week, just Lo...Lo...Lo... Ah, if only that was an analysis of my weight! So I was interested to see what this morning's weigh-in would tell me.

I woke up and thought to myself I feel heavier today. No, I'm not mental, but I can just tell when I'm holding extra fluid. Earlier in the week, I noticed how thin my fingers were - but this morning, they were definitely less boney. Given that I've been complaining since Wednesday about sore boobs (AND sore pecs; nice combination - Not!), I can be fairly sure that my usual hormonal fluid gain is happening.

So I stepped onto the fancy new scales and got: 58.8. Hmm. Just where I was last weekend. *shrugs* Oh-kay, there's a starting point. I expect to see that number decrease over the next week.

These scales are the kind that not only give you body fat readings, but muscle and water as well. I've blogged quite a few times about the accuracy (or lack of) of these gadgets, so I won't re-hash old ground now. But I was mildly amused to see my alleged BF reading: 32%. *rolls eyes*

Once upon a time, the lack of weight loss and the high BF number would have put me in a bad mood. Now, I laugh and flex my biceps in the bathroom mirror. Works for me.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Roomie needed....

As I may have already mentioned, I'm planning on going to FILEX this year - I was so peeved that I couldn't get there last year. *makes a sad face*

What with the registration cost, airfares, accommodation, meals, shopping and other essential expenses, it gets to be an expensive weekend. I've sourced some discount airfares (I think the conditions said something about a seat on the wing or something?) and I'm hoping to save a little on accommodation by having someone share with me.

If any of you fitfreaks are planning on going and would like to split the cost of a serviced apartment, you can email me. Girls only, thanks.... :o)


Disclaimer: I reserve the right to veto any homicidal maniacs, cyber-stalkers or anyone who disapproves of chocolate as a carb portion.

Recipe alert!

This afternoon I got to test my choc-chip macadamia cookies. They're good - but I need to find a way of making my cookies crisp without adding flour, lots of sugar, or other refined high-carb ingredients. Hmm....

If anyone has a suggestion, I'm listening.

Good days continue...

Today's workout: Day 3, which is: Oh My God, LEGS!! They've almost recovered from Tuesday's thrashing, but I took the cautious approach and dropped the weights back a little....

I still wobbled out of the gym. I'm sure those two kookaburras were laughing AT me as I crossed the car park.

Today's make-me-smile moment: Ah, simple things.... I jumped in the car and headed on my way to the gym at 5:55am. About 1km from home, before I even exited our housing estate, I rounded a slight bend and had to hit the anchors so that five roos could cross the road safely. Cuuuuute!

My family laugh at me, because I'm totally in love with kangaroos and never get sick of spotting them. Like every day. Usually more than once. The kids just roll their eyes when I point them out on the drive to school and mutter "yeah, seen 'em before...."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Recipe alert! ...and a food rant

You've been very patient. Here's your reward: Sweet chilli prawns.

This was GOOD.

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

I have more coming up, soon as I get a chance to test them. I've been madly creating recipes in my head, but I need to make sure they actually TASTE alright before I share them.

Choc-chip/macadamia cookies sound good, anyone? Anyone....?

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

Why on earth would anyone live on dull, dull, DULL diet rations, when you can eat this sort of stuff and still build a great physique? I was especially annoyed when I flicked through this month's Oxygen, to see the usual no-carb diet crapola presented as the answer to how to get a great physique. Bah! to that, I say!

Today I enjoyed:

- Vanilla porridge with skim milk and hazelnuts
- Spiced cranberry cookies and green tea
- Tomato-olive fettucine with chicken (and lots of veg, of course)
- Yoghurt-berry crunch
- Sweet chilli prawns
- And I still have a big bowl of delicious, sweet, juicy pineapple to look forward to later.

Time spent preparing food today: about 20 minutes. Just breakfast and dinner, all the rest came out of the fridge or pantry.

It's not brain surgery, people....carbs are your friend, honest.

Runner's Relief




If you're fit (or even if you're just a bit fit) and kindhearted, here's a fundraiser right up your alley.

Start to Finish are putting on the Runner's Relief event in Melbourne tomorrow evening - with all proceeds going to the bushfire relief appeal. It's a 4km event, starting from Fed Square and doing a loop along the Yarra. I love that route....

It's short notice, but it's a good cause.

Teaser

Look what I just had for dinner....




Don't worry, the recipe is coming. Later. Got clients to train right now. :o)

Who dat man?!

Instead of a writen report this morning, I thought I'd let the Godfather of Soul sum up my mood:




Bike Boy and I were lucky enough to see The Man himself in concert when he toured Australia some years ago. What a showman! And what an ego. LOL. If you happened to be at that show at the tennis centre, you'll get the post title. If not, tough....

My hero!

The Middle Child may just have earned himself a new nickname. Bike Boy suggested something along the lines of Big Game Hunter.

He came home from school yesterday, to find a crippled *shudder* mouse in the middle of the floor, apparently having lost the use of two of its legs. (Good to know those baits work! Die, you creepy little mofos!)

If it had been me, I'd have run screaming from the house and refused to go back inside until Bike Boy arrived home to do his manly duty. I once opened the linen cupboard at our old house to discover a DEAD mouse, and I slammed the door shut, ran out of the room and refused to go back into the laundry until my dear one could dispose of the fuzzy little carcass. Unfortunately, he was interstate at the time. So guess how much washing and ironing got done for the week until he got home? That's right - zero. *ahem* I digress....

My brave boy grabbed the broom and the dustpan, scooped up the offensive, disgusting, revolting, hideous (yeah, so I'm a bit phobic - so what?) critter and disposed of it in the bin. Hurrah!

Of course, I won't be putting any rubbish in the bin until it's been emptied on Friday....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

All a-quiver

I love when you start a new weights program and your muscles go all WTF? on you, but this morning was the weirdest thing I've ever experienced.

I completed my bench press sets, my bent-over rows and moved onto overhead DB press. My poor pectorals were obviously traumatised by the 4:2:4 tempo of the bench press, because after only a few reps of shoulder presses, the left side of my chest started to shake and quiver like there was an earthquake going on. The right side was fine.

So I'm staring at myself in the mirror, grimacing with the effort, but trying not to laugh at the same time, because my left boob was jumping around all over the place.

Maybe that's why I was in such a good mood this morning. Nothing like a good laugh to start your day well.

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

I'm not laughing so much now. The leg DOMS from yesterday is baaaaaad, and now my top half is joining the pain party.

Yeah, grow, little muscles, grow!

Mid-week summary

Training: Day 2 of my new program. Upper body. Ouch! I had to get up at 5:30 so I could do my pre-hab exercises at home, since a) the gym doesn't open till 6:00 and I need to be home by 7:00; and b) they have apprently never heard of stability balls. Or medicine balls, for that matter, and I need both.

So 20 minutes at home and maybe 50 minutes at the gym, and I'm done. Except for cardio - I'll have to fit something in tonight.

Nutrition: Totally awesome. :o) I've got my cooking mojo back. Today's lot will be:

1. Oats with vanilla whey, skim milk and chopped walnuts
2. Fruity pancakes
3. Shelley's creamy chicken and bacon fettucine - the last of this lot. Boohoo.
4. Vanilla-cranberry cookies
5. No idea....

Supplements: I've actually been taking them, so that's a good start...this is my simple regime:

a.m. Post-workout:
Fish oil (can't live without this)
Evening primrose oil
BCAAs
Vitamin C
L-glutamine

Noon:
Fish oil
Evening primrose oil

Evening:
Fish oil
Evening primrose oil
ZMA

Attitude: Determined. Nothing-can-stop-me determined.

Gotta go!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recipe alert!

Shelley sent me a whole lot of recipes the other day, using short-cut ingredients, and they are GREAT. So I was inspired to come up with one of my own.

Not so much chopping and mixing and faffing around with this chicken stir-fry.


Huh. I'm on fire today. Training done, washing almost finished, ironing and folding sorted, a new recipe posted and I even got some work done. Go, me!

Ooh, I think I even have time for a nap before I have to do the school run. Can life GET any better?

Spaghetti-legs



This morning has been one of complete and utter pain. At 6:00am, I did my first run-though of my new program. LEGS, my favourite. Uh...make that used to be my favourite.

Right now, I think they're completely numb. I did my pre-hab exercises *yawn* and nicely warmed-up, moved onto the real stuff. Yeah! Thinks I; Something meaty, that's what I like. You know that saying, Be careful what you wish for? I loaded the bar for squats, keeping the weight nice and light because - you know - new program, gotta figure out the right weight for the sets and reps and so on. Well, turns out that was a wise move. Squats with a tempo of 4:1 are KILLERS.

Next was Romanian deadlifts. I smiled a little smile to myself. I love these.... I grabbed a reasonably heavy pre-loaded bar and got started, again with the 4:1 tempo and by set three, my glutes were shaking. I think that's a good thing. I failed one rep short of my final set - not because of the legs though, my grip gave out. My forearms were burning, along with my butt - if I hadn't dropped that bar back into the rack it would have crashed to the floor. I don't want that kind of attention, thanks.

The rest was just a haze of pain and I had to cut back on sets or I might have cried. I stretched, then wobbled my way out of the gym on legs that resembled wet noodles.

Stuff cardio - I'll do something tonight, maybe a nice walk.


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

And just because I'm a complete masochist, I dropped the kids at school, then headed to the salon for a bikini wax. Boy, I know how to have a good time. ;o)

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

I've no idea what my weight is today. The blasted scales are still refusing to work. Bike Boy found me some fancy-schmancy glass ones at a bargain price on eBay last night, we're just waiting to find out if we can avoid the extortionate postage by picking them up. The mirror tells me I'm doing good though. So does the old Pants-ometer. :o)

I only have 2kg or thereabouts to drop, so hardly a big ask. Kick my butt if I start using Tim Tams as carb portions, OK?

Look what they've done to my Crunch, Ma!

What the HELL did Ladybird do to Protein Crunch?

After months of being unable to get it, finally I found it in stock somewhere and I was overcome with excitement when the postie delivered my parcel yesterday. Then I opened it this morning and discovered this:



Instead of looking like Rice Bubbles, it's as though someone got hold of it and smooshed it all up with a mallet. *sigh* First they stop making the chocolate version, now this.....

Monday, February 23, 2009

That crazy woman at the park

Last night, I was undecided about training today. It didn't suit me to do a weights workout - I hate going to the gym on Mondays. The start of the week is a hard enough grind, without having to get up super-early, so I usually like to make Tuesday, when I don't have to go to the office, my first gym session for the week. So...cardio. Hmm. What to do?

After a bit of a think, I decided to do one of my 30-minute outdoor workouts, the ones I love to inflict on clients. So at 6:30, as it was getting light, I was over at the park for this little beauty:

Jog around the park to warm up

Bodyweight squat x 20
Half squat (lower half) x 10
Half squat (upper half) x 10
Full squat x 20
Squat & hold 15 seconds x 5

Jog around the park

Ab plank 60 seconds (Yeah, I only managed 45 - my abs are KILLING me!)
Mountain climbers x 30
Pushups x 12
Bicycle crunches x 20

Jog around the park

Step-ups x 15
Walking lunges x 20 each direction
Bodyweight squats x 15
X-band walks x 15 each direction

Jog around the park

There was supposed to be a set of ab exercises too, but I'm in agony, thanks to my little BOSU effort on Saturday, so I skipped it....

Walk home to cool down. ALL DONE!

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

I had a little scale rage episode this morning. I actually kicked them, picked them up and thumped them and called them F*CKERS!! It was a full-blown tantrum. But not because the number didn't please me.... the stupid things wouldn't even GIVE me a number. They're up to their old tricks again, just blinking stupidly at me and saying Lo....Lo....Lo.

Aargh! The batterries are so not low. I seriously have to replace that thing.

Eventually after banging and swearing and taking the batteries out and putting them back in, I got the bastard to work long enough to tell me that there's been no movement since yesterday. Oh well, better than an upward swing.

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

On the progress front, there's space in my bra that wasn't there a couple of days ago. *sigh* I'll take it.

Like I said yesterday, the scales will catch up eventually.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Funday

The scales are behaving like they should, with a nice 200g drop since Friday. That puts me at 58.8. Not bad.

I can see in the mirror that I've dropped quite a bit of fluid since yesterday - it always shows very obviously around my waist. I was pretty sure that was going to happen, since I must have peed at least 50 times yesterday.... Now I just have to wait for the scales to catch up.

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

Training today was a short bike ride. I can't go very far unless I head out on the main road, and I'm way too nervous to do that on my own - those truck drivers are NUTS. Bike Boy had his own plans this morning - he got out his long-neglected MTB last night and did a bit of maintenance on it, so he could go bush-bashing down by the river. My bike definitely isn't suitable for that sort of terrain, so I was on my own.

Living in a new estate has its drawbacks - roads aren't completed yet, so I can really only ride around a few residential streets unless I'm feeling suicidal enough to venture out amongst the traffic. There is a nice longish loop that I like to do a few laps of though and I was only on my first when Bike Boy rode up beside me on his way back from his expedition. I discovered just how fast my bike is, because he couldn't keep up with me. It's definitely not my speed and strength that were responsible - he's a much stronger and more experienced cyclist than me. But my SUB road bike weighs next to nothing, and he was on his heavy, clunky old Avanti.

It was nice to be the one slowing to let him catch up for a change. I'm getting used to the bike too - on my final run home, I was confident enough to get down low on my drop bars, put my head down and really zoooom along. Fun!

:o)

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

I've set myself a personal challenge to avoid alcohol completely for four weeks. Today marks the end of week one....

I love a nice glass of wine - white or red, not fussy - but stopping at one can be tricky. And then there's the relaxed attitude that alcohol induces. Somehow, any food seems like a good idea. Not to mention the sluggishness the next day, and the continuing desire to eat lots of really crappy carbs. So, last night when Bike Boy suggested putting a bottle of something-or-other in the fridge to share later on, I only wavered for a second, then said a very emphatic NO.

A lovely glass of wine occasionally is fine. But if it's going to lead to poor food choices, missed workouts and feeling cranky with myself, then no thanks.

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

Today I'm trying out a recipe that Miss Shelley sent me a few weeks ago - it sounds delish. Fettucine with a creamy sauce, chock-full of chicken, bacon and fresh veggies. How could you not love that?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Score!



I gave my inner princess (or should that be my inner slack-arse?) a smackdown today and it felt GOOD. All was going as planned: I trained upper body and then headed up the stairs for some cardio on the dreaded elliptical. Yes, I still hate that thing! It was cool in the gym with the big roller door open and a pretty strong southerly breeze blowing through, so unlike some recent days, I wasn't overwhelmed by the heat that can accumulate in an un-air conditioned steel-roofed shed.

BUT...as I got to the top of the stairs, I registered that it was *ugh!* HOT up there. Enough to make me uncomfortable in long pants. I sighed, grumbled to myself, got on the elliptical and started my warm up. One minute in, my iPod battery died. Aargh! The ONLY way I can get through a boring and difficult elliptical workout is with the aid of some seriously pumping music. The annoying voice in my head that had been trying to persuade me to just skip cardio and go home got louder and more insistent.

Come on, you did a great weights workout. You can go for a walk later. You've been goooooood. It was hot. I was grumpy. Right, I decided, I'm going home! I could hear the Princess gleefully claiming victory....

Ha! Not quite. I walked in the door at home five minutes later, dumped my gym bag, changed into bike shorts and put on a Spinervals DVD. 23 minutes later, I was off the bike and into some core stuff on the BOSU. And I'm done for the day - oh yeah!

I love me a good smackdown.

Today is shaping up well....

....because:

Thanks to some breakfast reading, I've reduced my Google Reader unread blog posts to 110 (Geez, some of you girls write a LOT). Might even be all up to date by the end of the weekend.

I was up early to train a client, one who challenges me mentally every week to come up with something new. She's seriously restricted in what she can do, due to her disability, but MAN, her can-do attitude is awesome!

I'm waking up hungry again - it's been a while..... and it feels good to know that my body is getting back to normal.

It RAINED last night. The sound of water trickling through the downpipe outside our bedroom woke me up in the wee hours, and I was confused at first about what that strange noise was. LOL. Hopefully it was enough to top up our tank...

Blueberry pancakes with yoghurt and syrup has to be one of the best ways to start the day. So good in fact, that I had more for my morning snack. :p

DOMS is still hanging around, but it's hugely improved, so I'm off to the gym in a tick to train upper body and do some cardio. Two cups of strong coffee in me and I'm good to go!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Improving

After wavering between super-committed and ah, what the hell for a few weeks, I'm cautiously optimistic that I'm now walking the permanent path to getting my shit together-ville. I'm not naiive enough to think that all will be smooth sailing from now on (when does that ever happen?), but this feels different. So fingers crossed.

After spending a few days at my mother's, helping her after her knee replacement surgery, I came home with a new determination to move past this crappy phase and just get on with things. So I got up early on Wednesday and did Amy Bento's A-Team Boot Camp. I stuck to my planned meals as well, drank a small lake's worth of water and got up yesterday, expecting to see at least a little drop on the scales. 100g would do, thanks. Uh....not so. Apparently, it was time for some silly scale games, because I managed to GAIN 400g overnight. I just raised my eyebrows and said out loud: Pfft. Whatever....

Yesterday, I must have lost my mind. I was suffering from killer DOMS in my glutes and hamstrings, and I decided that training LEGS would be a good idea. I then followed that up with a short run on the treadmill. I spent yesterday afternoon walking like I had a stick up my arse.

Today, when I could barely get out of bed unaided, I decided that a nice gentle walk was on the agenda for today's training effort. The only good thing about this pain is that I'm visualising my teeny tiny hammies and undersized glutes putting on some major size. Wishful thinking? Maybe...

So I've now had two days of good eating and hard training and this morning the scales dropped 900g. That means that I'm sitting at exactly 59kg - right where I was a few weeks ago. No progress in terms of those couple of kgs I need to shift, but at least I haven't ballooned up to the size of a baby hippo. That's a pretty big achievement, all things considered.

Confessions and accountability

I’ve been mostly neglecting my blog for quite a while now, and there’s a reason for that. A big fat, ugly reason that goes by the name of depression.

There are a few contributing factors that pushed me over the dividing line between stress and the D-word, but they’re not all that important once you’ve stepped off the edge and you’re freefalling into that big black hole. Say hello to emotional craziness, insomnia, poor memory, shortened concentration span, a very short fuse, the desire to hide from everyone, and the inability to cope with just about anything…. Fun times.

So when you can barely drag yourself through the day, or manage to remember the important stuff that has to be done, when having a shower seems like way too much trouble; then keeping up with your blog – or anyone else’s – is an impossible task.

Besides, almost every blog post I did start to write - when I could actually string a few words together - was negative, whiney cry-baby stuff, and I hate to inflict that on anybody else. Of course, the odd one might have slipped through. Sorry about that….

Anyway, the point of this post isn’t to garner sympathy, it’s all about moving forward. I could bang on about how awful it is being depressed, but what’s the point? I’m clawing my way back out of the pit now, and I’m focusing on that. There’s a lot of loose rubble along the steep slope I’m climbing, so sometimes I find myself sliding back a bit, but I am making progress.

So no more hiding. Honestly, our brains are wired very strangely. Just when you could really use the support of all the people in your life who give a rat’s, you withdraw and avoid them? What’s that about? Strange…. In the interests of accountability and seeking a little extra support (and the occasional smack around the head when I’m being stupid), I’ve decided to use my blog to document what I’m doing and how I’m feeling.

There’s a secondary reason for this – new houses are stupidly expensive, and when your construction period blows out by four or five months, it doesn't help the old bank balance at all. So we’ve made a decision to pull our financial belts in for a bit, and cut as many non-essential expenses as possible. And as a result, I’m going it alone for a while with my training. And frankly, that scares the crap out of me. The timing is not great, given my fairly fragile state, but savings need to be made and I’ve had a pretty good run of it…. My longish-term goal is to compete again in October, and I’ll be doing my prep with Liz once more, but for now, it’s all up to yours truly. *blinks*

So. That’s where I’m at. I’ll be back to record the nitty-gritty of my daily journey – maybe later today. I have a busy one coming up.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Make that 4, actually...

I almost forgot my other good thing - I took a detour to el-cheapo Aldi on my way home tonight, and picked up some BARGAIN cycling gear. Knicks for $19.99, a jersey, also for $19.99 and a showerproof lightweight jacket for $29.99 . And for Bike Boy, a pair of bib knicks for $24.99 and some Coolmax socks for $4.99 a pair.

They had some other stuff in their catalogue too, but apparently Viking raiders had been through the store before me, judging from the pillaging that had been done...

I'm becoming an Aldi convert. Does that make me bargain-savvy, or just daggy and stingy?

3 good things about today

1. I went out to lunch and had a really delicious meal. And it wasn't a *yawn* chicken salad.

2. I've reduced my Google Reader unread items from 487 to 229. (So I skimmed a few...)

3. I'm finalising plans to attend Filex again. *does a happy dance*

Sleep deprivation

Bike Boy was up at 5:00am to get a flight to Sydney, so of course that means that I can't get back to sleep.... I wasn't planning on getting up till about now. *sigh* But here I am, all dressed for the gym and ready to go as soon as they open. What sleep I did get was disturbed too, so I feel a bit like I've been hit over the head with a brick. *yawn*

On the plus side, I've done some banking online, ordered me some Protein Crunch, checked my email and I might just get time to read a couple of blogs before I have to go.

I'm trying to stick with the positive attitude thing here - more about that later. Gotta go train legs now.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Recipe alert!

I felt like some Middle Eastern cuisine tonight, so tested out a recipe for oven-baked felafels.

Vegetarian or not, these should be added to everyone's favourite meal list.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

You really CAN help



It's pretty hard to think about anything but the bushfires at the moment. especially when you're choking in thick smoke, and the moon is red.... THAT was weird!

I've been trying to find the best ways to help, and thought that others might be in the same position. So here are just a few links I've come across where you might find something you can do, or a specific need that touches your heart.

Our community has a fantastic list of links to all kinds of organisations who are collecting funds or goods, or co-ordinating volunteers. Just for one simple idea, if you have a spare phone charger lying around, pack it up and send it to Telstra Countrywide at Locked Bag 4670, Melbourne, 3001. Include a note saying is being donated to the bushfire appeal. People who've lost their homes, but have their phone with them are going to find it pretty useless once the battery runs down.

The good old Red Cross are collecting donations, of course. They're also putting out regular calls for specific items or skills that are urgently needed, so keep an eye on the daily newspapers and stay tuned to the TV/radio.

And I came across this one today ....quite a few kindergartens have been destroyed in the fires. Councils usually own the property and I'm sure the buildings will be replaced by insurance, and council grants might cover some furniture etc. But all the extras - equipment, kitchen items, craft materials, toys etc - those will take a massive effort to replace. So Kindergarten Parents Victoria (KPV) have launched an appeal. You can donate here (and it's tax deductible). Or you can help affected families pay their fees by donating here.

Become a blood donor - the blood bank is flooded with applications and donors at the moment, but they're going to need ongoing supplies of blood products for burns patients. So sign up via the website and they'll contact you to arrange an appointment time when they need you.

See what's going on in your neighbourhood - check your local paper and noticeboards at the shopping centre or community centre for fundraisers that you can attend or help with. Our local cricket club held a fundraiser last night and I was able to donate some personal training sessions for them to auction or raffle. Maybe you have some skills, services or goods that aren't suitable for giving direct to the bushfire survivors, but that you can donate to a fundraising effort?

And here's just one simple idea; organise a fundraising morning tea at your workplace, club or other organisation. Have people bring a plate and then request a gold coin donation from everyone who partakes.

By the way, if you shopped at Coles yesterday, you can be happy that the day's profits totalled over $4.8M and that was all donated to the bushfire relief fund. I'm sure there are still other businesses doing similar things over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out.

There. I told you there was something you can do. :o)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

And now for some light relief....

Driving home this evening, I detoured the long way through our estate to get a better view of the fire/smoke situation from a spot where I knew I could see clear to Kinglake across parkland. As I rounded a bend, I spotted these guys, eating their dinner right near the road....


I only had my phone with me, so a crummy cropped 2mp image is the best I could do. Maybe I ought to start carrying my SLR everywhere.....

Local view

I've just posted a few pics from the past week over on my building blog. If you'd like to see my personal (and slightly too close, in my opinion) view of the bushfires, you can take a look here.

They're certainly not dramatic - when the grasslands nearby were burning madly last Saturday and the wind was fanning the flames towards our street, the last thing on my mind was grabbing my camera....

Sorry about that. Must try harder in future.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nothing to do with fitness or health

It seems that everyone is talking about the new Underbelly series. Did you see it? How about that bit where....

Funny, we couldn't get into the first series. Didn't even make it through the first episode....about two-thirds of the way in, I looked at Bike Boy and he looked at me and we just had one of those psychic connection moments where we both reached for the remote to turn it off.

It was possibly the most boring piece of TV I've ever seen. And badly scripted. And abysmal production. Poor Vince tried hard, but he couldn't save it...

We seem to be the exceptions, everybody raves about it and we just go: ???

But then "everybody" watches those crappy reality shows too and I'd rather gouge my eyes out with a teaspoon.* Perhaps we're just odd.


* Disclaimer: I may have been caught at some stage in the past watching America's Next Top Model - Oh, OK, every single series until we canned Foxtel - but that doesn't count, because Tyra is AWESOME. So there.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The real heroes

We're fine. The danger has receded - for us, at least. I feel for the poor people of Kinglake and Strathewen and Marysville and other towns where almost nothing is left standing. :o(

I'd really like to buy a beer for all the CFA guys who've been working non-stop to keep us safe. Our local guys must be exhausted. This afternoon, I watched five units from Airey's Inlet, Winchelsea and other far-flung towns from the south-west roll through our little housing estate, on their way into the state-owned parklands. Since they had no lights or sirens operating and there was no visible smoke close by, I assume they were on spot-fire watch duty, or putting in a fire break.

It seems so wrong that most of them are volunteers. But I'm certainly grateful for their community spirit. Cheers, fellas! You're worth your weight in gold.

Playing the waiting game

It's very quiet this morning - all yesterday afternoon and evening things were pretty crazy. We could hear sirens as fire and police vehicles, and I assume a few ambulances, roared along the main road. Helicopters kept flying over - I saw the police go by umpteen times, and early in the evening Elvis flew past, heading back towards Essendon airport. And of course there was the noise from the incredibly disgusting wind...

Now the wind has dropped and I can't even hear any traffic at all. It's a bit eery, actually.

The news services took a while to catch up on the fires in our local area - there was next to no coverage last night, they were all concentrating on the Bunyip state forest area, with a few mentions of Kilmore East. But the grapevine works well and I heard that things were really dire around Whittlesea, with homes lost on the outskirts and the town under threat. Then the good old ABC got a report out from tiny Kinglake, up in the hills near the national park - practically the whole town was burning.

The small grass fire that started about 500m from our house, and that the CFA seemed to have under control when we went out to see where the smoke was coming from, got away from them when the wind changed direction and spread into the bushland that adjoins our housing estate. It burnt out about 130 hectares before the 12 fire units managed to beat it. That was a bit close for comfort, but there was no damage to any houses.

This morning, the full extent of the disaster is starting to be known... 14 deaths, maybe more, homes lost....and probably more to come, since the main fires are still burning out of control.

Today, we're staying on alert. We're not in any immediate danger, but ember attacks from the Kinglake fires are a potential problem, and there's a CFA urgent threat message for the suburb immediately to the north of us. The suburb which I could walk to across the paddocks within about two minutes. So we'll be keeping our eyes open.

Let's hope the 000 emergency service copes better today - I didn't enjoy being placed in a freaking queue when I tried to call the fire brigade yesterday about the grass fire. Lucky someone else had got through earlier and the firies were already on their way. It would have been too bad if I was after an ambulance for a heart attack victim or something....

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

One mystery has been solved - when I drove The Middle Child to a party last night, we noticed about a dozen camper vans and caravans in the pub car park. We both commented on it. It was a bit odd.... This morning I read that the Whittlesea country music festival (yee-haw!) was on this weekend. Those guys were there for a bit of knee-slapping, and when Whittlesea was evacuated, they obviously headed to the nearest watering-hole.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Holy smoke!

47 degrees. 70kmh winds. Bushfires out of control to the north of us. Lovely, tranquil natural bushland on two sides of our housing estate. Where it hasn't rained for two months; not to mention the big bad drought we've been having for years, so everything is nice and dry. Oh - and did I mention those 70kmh winds were blowing from the NORTH?

That was one scary day I don't want to live through again.

The Baby took this from the front yard at around 8:30pm:

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

My bad.....

I had to be up early today to get my Mum to hospital for a 7:00am admission for knee replacement surgery. My mother is not a calm patient, and I'd joked last night that she'd be standing by the door with her bag in her hand when I arrived at 6:30.

I set my alarm oh-so-carefully for 5:45am...and forgot that I'd switched it OFF. With the new blinds installed yesterday, the room was much darker, so I didn't get the usual it's getting light: must be time to wake up signal. Uh-oh. I woke up when it was reasonably light in the room, squinted at the clock and yelled OH CRAP! It was 6:25.

I didn't bother with a shower, just pulled on some clothes, ran a brush through my hair, grabbed my handbag and a water bottle and flew out the door. I got to Mum's fifteen minutes late, to find her standing OUTSIDE her front door, with the place all locked up and her bag at her feet. She was all but tapping her foot.

We made it to the hospital by 7:05, so no big deal. Phew.... Mum is (unbelievably) worse than me when it comes to having a pathological fear of being late.

Anyway, it all went well and apart from looking bloody awful when I saw her just after lunch, she seemed to be doing OK. She's a stubborn old bird and she'll probably be driving the nurses crazy in a couple of days.

So she's now the proud owner of a prosthetic knee to add to her five-year-old prosthetic hip. And she has a painful and relatively long rehab period to look forward to. Reminds me to keep up the training and taking my fish oil. Arthritis is a bastard.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Antidote

So, apparently what you need when you're feeling down is NOT a bottle of pinot gris. Or a giant box of Lindor Balls. It's a good dose of Go Fug Yourself.

*scratches head* Why on earth have I not visited this site for months?

Aargh!

Just to top off a fairly crappy 24 hours, this morning the scales decided they don't want to work. Again.

I think I've used up my quota of swear words for this week. And it's only Monday.