Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gripes and Gratitude.

I have a few gripes with the universe at the moment.

My hip is still playing up. I wanted to run this morning but knew I needed another rest day after speed. Not happy!

There are too many idiots on the road. In the past two weeks I've been almost taken out twice because of other people's incompetence. Old men - learn how to use roundabouts. It's not hard. Get into the lane that you need to get into and never try to turn left from the right hand lane across traffic that is going forward. And silly women - indicators are there to let other people know what you are doing. Don't use them then decide to drive straight ahead instead of turning right. It's not the first of April and I don't like people who try to trick others on the road.

People who audition for TV talent competitions who clearly have no talent, please take heed of what the universe is telling you. If your mother winces when she says you've got a lovely voice she's probably lying. If the family pets howl or leave the room when you sing, the reason may be because you are tone deaf and they are not. And Mothers who are tone deaf, there's probably a strong genetic link and your child will not be a musical genius - don't encourage them.

To all the fat slow people who saunter slowly down the aisles of shopping centres, I would like to say 'pick up the pace.' It's not bad enough that you're selfishly using more than your share of the world's resources - space, food, fabric and fuel (bigger people need bigger cars which use more petrol) - you don't have to get in the way of others who need to get stuff done in a normal time frame.

That's about all for the gripes this morning. I'm actually not in a bad mood - I've been feeling the love too.

And today I'm grateful that even though I have an injury my physio doesn't want me to rest up and hasn't banned me from running in Melbourne. I may have said this before but my physio is my best friend from high school so having to have treatment has meant being able to see her and have a chat every week. And she's had the dubious honour of massaging my hip and butt - bet she never dreamed she'd be doing that when we were back in high school.

Being Spring, I've really been enjoying all the beautiful scents on my morning runs - jasmine, mandarin and tangello blossom, mock orange, bauhinia. And that family of ducklings in the park - soooo cute!!

Because work has been slow I've given myself Friday off to have a day with Natalie (Saturday walking buddy and all around good friend). I'm heading to the Gold Coast early and we'll go for a walk and follow that up with breakfast and a movie. Sounds more fun than working!

All those road rage incidents inspired a brand new cupcake.

It's my Road Rage Cupcake - for when you see red. Red velvet cake filled with berry marscapone and topped with red vanilla buttercream and a red M&M. And yes, I've been made aware that it looks like a nipple. But that's not necessarily a bad thing - nipples can make even the most angry man a little distracted.

And on a final note - if you're having a bad day just consider the cockroach in this pic. He probably didn't think he's end up as a spider's lunch when he woke up.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Last Long Run

This week's long run was so much better than last week's debacle. I was a lot more careful about what I put in my mouth on Friday. I made sure I had enough gels in my spibelt and I even made sure my Garmin was fully charged. Yay for some fore-thought and organisation.

I also decided very early that I wouldn't run a step over 20k. With my hip/hamstring still playing up there's absolutely no point except to make myself miserable. So I ran with the group to 10k and wished them a fond farewell while they continued on just a little bit further. It was hard. The run home was very lonely but I didn't have to walk like last week.

And because I was disciplined on Saturday, I was able to back up and do a very comfortable 11k on Sunday. My injury only played up minimally and I was finally able to implement something that my exercise physiologist son has been encouraging me to do. He's asked me to run a few hundred meters really focusing on keeping my core engaged whenever I think of it through the run.

And the difference I found was quite amazing. I would find that my hip was starting to niggle and it would remind me that I had something to do. I'd engage my core and the pain would lessen. It's going to take a little while but I think with a concerted effort it will become more natural to run without my tummy flubbering all over the place. AND I might even look better when I run.

I know, though, that this will take time and practice and the Melbourne Half is just a little too close. Melbourne is definitely going to be slow and is probably going to hurt but I still can't wait! It's going to be so good to get away and have some quality time with my first-born. And even better - if I need a little treatment after the run, Sam will be quite happy to do a little muscle-release on me. Now that's something to really look forward to.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Posing, Farting and Flashing

I know Australia's probably doing really well compared to a lot of economies around the world but you wouldn't have thought so if you were at the shopping centre I was at this morning. I've noticed more and more shops being boarded up - the previous tenants having to leave because they couldn't make the exorbitant rents. Little booths in the aisles have disappeared and at mid-morning in the middle of the week there's no problem getting a parking spot. Retail is suffering big-time.

A couple of weeks ago I had a little whinge about not being busy in my own business and I can see that I'm not alone. But there has been one section of my work that has been consistent through the year and I'd like to give a hearty thanks to all the bodybuilders and physique competitors who just HAVE to have a new bikini or two for nearly every competition. It is you people who are keeping the wolf from the door and keeping me from going insane from boredom. I'm eternally grateful to each of you fake-tanned, dieted-within-an-inch-of-your-life, flexed and posed athletes.

And on a totally different subject I'd just like to have a little whinge about being the only female in a house full of males. Just this morning one of my beautiful sons came into my bedroom where I was doing my hair, lifted his leg and farted loud and proud. Charming! But what was worse was the vibrations from the fart shook something out of the fly of his pyjama pants. Seriously, my mother didn't know how good she had it with only girls (and I'm discounting the 5 X PMS symptoms that she had to endure with 5 daughters) Come to think of it, maybe a fart and a flash isn't that bad - after all we both started the day with a laugh.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I managed to get a plethora (that's such a great word - the way it rolls off the tongue) of things wrong this weekend - but I'm still smiling.

Started off on Friday creating the Cupcake of The Week. This week's was a homage to Sam's beautiful girlfriend Hannah who is a Ranga. For those who are not quite as hip as I am (no, I will not show you my MP3 playlist which would immediately refute the previous statement), a ranga (short for orangutan) is a redhead.

She and I had a serious discussion about the best type of cupcake for her and her people. I thought maybe orange poppyseed with the poppyseeds being representative of freckles. But Hannah likes a bit of ginger so ginger it was (also appropriate because of their stereotyped fiery natures). Its filling was marscapone flavoured with honey, cinnamon and ginger and I iced it with a lemon creamcheese frosting.

The cupcake turned out fine but the thing I did wrong was to lick my fingers, the beaters, the spoon and the bowl scraper probably a few more times than I should have. I wasn't very hungry when it got to dinner so only had a small portion. Mistake #1 - running a long run on insufficient fuel.

We had a 25k run scheduled for Saturday morning. It's the longest that I've run for a while but I was pretty confident. I'd had physio on Thursday and a massage on Friday and my hip was feeling the best it's been since it started hurting. Plus I've been doing all my exercises.

And the run did start off okay. We were cruising along at a very comfortable 6 min k's for the initial part. Thing is - I just wasn't feeling great and it felt harder than it should have for the speed. I got to 9k and took in some nutrition (and went to the loo - best to use it rather than have regret later on). I've started using Honey Shotz which are just that - shots of honey. The jelly beans were okay but I found the chewing tough while I was running. Honey Shotz have only 7 g of carb in each so you need around 4 to equal a gel. I had 3 in a zip-lock bag but I had another bag in my Spibelt so when I found that one of the Shotz had leaked everywhere it didn't worry me. I had the other two and found a tap to wash my sticky hands.

I caught up with the group (the toilet stop had put me behind) at the turnaround and we started back. And I was feeling okay - not great but not bad. Then we hit a hill and I promised myself that I'd have some more honey at the top. Got to the top and unzipped my pouch to find nothing!! I had another plastic bag in there but it just had tissues in it (for any unscheduled toilet stop). And there was still 8k to go and my hip was just starting to niggle. I kept running but with 4k to go the hip had totally mutinied and I had what I thought was a stitch. Turned out not to be a stitch but an cramp in my abs from running funny because of the hip. There was walking in the last 4k and I was the LAST PERSON HOME :(

So there's mistake #2 and 3 - not enough nutrition on the run and running too far when you're injured.

But a bit of time on my roller and tennis ball had my hip feeling fine again. I ran today with very little discomfort so I know I didn't cause any more damage.

Runs like that are character-building. You just want to quit. It's all too hard. But when you persevere you get such a sense of satisfaction - knowing that if you really have to you can pull out something from deep inside just so you can finish what you set out to do.

And talking of character-building. Sam had his soccer semi-final yesterday. The score was one all at half time. Then his team scored two early in the second half. But the other team dug down deep and managed to level the score at full time. They had to play extra time and Sam's team grinded it out and scored in the last few minutes. They're off to play the grand final! Well done Uni.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Welcome Back Josh

Regular readers to my blog will know what a tough year one of my sons has been having. Here's a reader's digest version - He broke up with his girlfriend of 3 years April '10. He had thought they'd be together forever but unfortunately she didn't think the same way and after totally destroying his self-esteem she went on her merry way. (A quick side-note - it's much better to just break things off cleanly than to hang on for months trying not to hurt the other's feelings but making them believe that if they IMPROVE themselves you'll be together forever.)

It was the last year of uni and things were pretty tough study-wise and having this happen on top almost destroyed him. He went to a very dark place and needed professional help to keep on top. BUT he made it through his final year and graduated with second class honours, ran a half marathon with me, went on a trip to Thailand to celebrate his graduation and got a job in his chosen field. He couldn't have done this without being on anti-depressants but there were some down-sides to the meds. He wasn't able to push himself the way he normally could and he made some impulsive decisions at times. And he still struggled with his self-esteem, especially when it came to starting his new job.

But things have been changing in the last month. Josh decided he was strong enough to do it on his own. He's been at his job for about 4 months and has settled in quite well so he went off the anti-depressants about 3 weeks ago. And even though I was worried that it may be too soon, Josh was absolutely right. He is strong enough to do it under his own steam. He is doing brilliantly - he's happier, he's focused, HE'S SINGING AROUND THE HOUSE! I've got my Josh back - not the shell who's been living here for the last year - the real Josh.

He's even taken up running. He's getting home from work and taking himself out for some long runs and that's just fantastic. His asthma is much more under control and those natural endorphins ... well, who needs prescribed meds when you can produce your own?

And as for me - his worry-wart mother - my cortisol levels have gone way down. I no longer dread his texts and I just know right deep down that he's turned a corner.

I'm smiling!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Consequences of Curry

When Iven gets home from work, he always comes through my workroom to say hello and see if I'm ready for a cup of tea. On Monday he walked through and went to tell me something but as he went to say it it disappeared into thin air. No biggie - we're both over 40 and we have moments when what we say or what we do get forgotten. As long as we remember them eventually it's all good.

He went upstairs, made me a cuppa then brought it down and I asked him if he'd remembered. He had!

"I wanted to tell you about my bowel motion'" he said.

I was horrified. Seriously, have we reached the age where bowel movements are one of the hottest topics of the day. I know it's a hot topic - along with current meds, good hospitals and what's on the menu for dinner - in nursing homes and hospitals but I thought we still had years conversing about weather, work and what we saw on today's run/ride. Iven is a touch over 10 years older than I am - obviously he'd reached this milestone well before I had.

"I really don't want to hear about your bowel motion." And I really hate the phrase bowel motion and any image it might conjure up.

"But you'll like this." He obviously wanted to share but I had difficulties believing that I'd like anything about a bowel motion of his.

"Remember how we had Indian the other night? Well this morning I had a burning ring of fire."

I burst out laughing. Totally not what I was expecting. Phew! We haven't reached that stage after all.

I had a wonderful run this morning. After reading Runner's World I've realised that I just have to slow some of my runs right down. So I set my Garmin to the heart rate screen and just took it slow. It did feel a little ploddy at times but it was so relaxing to just trundle along and enjoy the scenery.

I went out a little later than usual and got caught at a main road with all the people heading off to work. It made me realise how lucky I am not to have that harried start to the day - no rush to get out of the house on time, no yelling at kids that we're going to be late - just a relaxing shower, a stretch and a trip to have my morning coffee. Those poor souls in the peak-hour traffic had their rats racing on electric treadmills cranked up to top speed while my rats get to race-walk. I think my rats are happier.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Weekend Recap

Crazy busy weekend.

It started on Friday night with Sam's preliminary soccer final and finished 48+hrs later lying on the couch in front of the TV, pleasantly tired.

Sam's match was played on one of the coldest, windiest nights that we've had this year. Yep, Winter wasn't done with us. She had a special treat - a glimpse of what it'd be like when hell freezes over. Well, I'm not a big fan and even with four layers on and a rug I found it hard to stay warm. The score was drawn at full time which meant another 30 mins of extra time which became well over an hour when someone got hurt and an ambulance had to be called. Luckily the injury's not as bad as it could have been. And even more luckily, Sam's team won on a penalty shoot-out. On to the next round!

Saturday's long slow run was a nice 22k loop taking in some of the hilliest parts of Brisbane. Just keep in mind that I haven't been able to do hills because of my stupid hip. But somehow I'd managed to justify this run because it was our LSD (funny how a runner's mind can work). Let's just say that it was challenging. About 4k into it Coach Chris looked at me and said that I looked worried. He was absolutely right! But, apart from the section on the dirt trail up Mt Coot tha (which I'd given myself permission to walk even before I started the run) I ran the whole way. I was back in bed for my nanna nap by 11:30 and stayed there till 4:00pm. (Yeah, I know I said it was a busy weekend but sleeping IS doing something)

Iven and I had planned to go to the movies but I found out that my NRL team (Rugby League) was playing their semi Saturday night so I kinda blew off date night. Iven was really good about it and we rescheduled our movie for the next morning. The Broncos won their semi and we really enjoyed our movie so it was win-win.

Lunchtime saw the Wallabies trounce Italy (sorry Giorgio and Stefano) at the Rugby World Cup and 4pm saw me hit the road for an 11k run around the Uni. Home to bake cookies and brownies. Boy did I sleep well last night.

And my hip seems to be improving ever so slowly. It really didn't worry me till the 15k mark on Saturday and was pretty good for the whole run yesterday. Yes, I can feel it but I was able to push a little harder on my left side and I couldn't do that at all a week ago. The other thing I'm pleased about is my recovery from the hard runs. A few months back I couldn't have contemplated running on Sunday after my Saturday epic but the last few weeks I'm feeling pretty good by Sunday afternoon.

Four weeks till Melbourne and we're heading in the right direction.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mariticide - The Killing of One's Spouse

I was not the only person who had to apologise to my spouse this week. Iven was on his best form in bed the other night - snoring that is (minds out of the gutter). It was Wednesday night and I had to be up really early for my run. His nasal rales woke me at 1 am after only being asleep for two and a half hours and do you think I could go back to sleep?! When I was still lying awake at 3:30 I knew the chances of me running were slipping away and I think I had just drifted off when the alarm went at 4:50. I just turned it off and rolled over.

So I was a very unhappy little camper yesterday. I was tired and grumpy and I'd missed my run. So I decided that even though I rarely run in the evening I had to make an exception this time. Usually I'm cooking dinner but Iven owed me big time. He got to make dinner and I got to become a sane human being who was less likely to commit mariticide or filicide.

I decided I'd head to the uni and depending on how I was feeling (which was still pretty tired) I'd choose my course accordingly. Once I got going, though, it was hard to stop. It was warmish (Winter is becoming a memory) and clear and the sun was setting over the river. I had my favourite music playing in my left ear and all was right with the world - apart from my stupid left hip which was still giving me a little grief. Sixteen kilometers and an hour and a half later I turned up at home a different person to when I'd left. Aaaahhh!!

And today my demeanour was still good. It's great when there's a flow-on effect. I felt so good that I was inspired to bake! Yeah, I know - nothing new there. But today's creation was an homage to my dysfunctional relationship with my Mother-in-law. It's called The Nagging Mother-in-law. It's a lemon meringue cupcake with a lemon curd filling. Looks sweet from the outside but it may leave you with a sour taste in your mouth.

Actually my MIL has never nagged me but it made the cupcake inspiration more believable.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sorry Honey.

I'm a little ashamed of myself today. I have perpetrated thought crimes against my husband. I've mentally accused him of sins that he didn't actually commit and I need to rectify this by apologizing.

Yesterday I was feeling a bit off. A couple of times I had bouts of nausea that had me dry-reaching and my stomach was gurgling. It was probably a low-grade virus or a touch of food poisoning. It was still happening when I went to bed but luckily the stomach gurgling was just a bit of wind and I let a sneaky one go under the covers and felt much better.

Then I went back to my very interesting book and read until my head was just making up words cause my eyes had shut. This is a good indicator that it's time to switch off the light. So I put in the ear plugs (Iven snores), put down the book and turned the light off. Then I fluffed up the covers over me. The most exquisitely vile odour wafted up from under those covers. 'Gross!! Iven that's disgusting!!' was my immediate thought.

And then my stomach grumbled again and I realised that the stench had not emanated from his loins. And neither could I blame the dog - he was out in the living room. Oops, my bad.

So in front of the entire world wide web I want to say sorry honey. That was totally unfair.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Three Cheers.

Yay! I got some orders. So this week I will be gainfully employed making more bikinis for body builders. (Well, someone has to do it)

And Yay! I managed 30k on the weekend. It was 17k on Saturday followed by 13k on Sunday. There were twinges down my left hamstring and I could feel my hip tightening up on Saturday BUT on Sunday it stayed loose. My resident exercise physiologist and torturer has given me some strengthening exercises for my sloppy hips and core and I am being diligent.

And Yay! I made the most evil cupcakes ever on Friday. Chocolate mud filled with a toblerone/marscapone mix and topped with coffee buttercream and toblerone shavings. I'm calling it the PMS Cupcake.

This has given rise for the need to make an equally sexist cupcake for my dear hubby. I've been thinking about a cupcake filled with a chocolate ganache that's liberally laced with something alcoholic but being a non-drinker I'm not sure what and am open to suggestions. Then maybe espresso buttercream topped with a single blue M&M. I'll leave you to work out the significance of the candy topping. And this one I'll call The Mid-Life Crisis Cupcake.

I also came up with the Menopause Cupcake. Again it has to be chocolate but in the centre it comes with a hot flush of chilli/chocolate ganache.

See I need to be kept gainfully occupied or this is what I'm reduced to.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I've just spent the last couple of days feeling a little frustrated. There's nothing happening that's particularly bad but there are just a couple of niggly things that have been playing on my mind.

Probably the biggest little niggly thing is my butt. I pinned the physio down yesterday and it's my medial gluteal muscle that's the root of all evil. It's not torn but running makes it really tight and when it gets tight it affects the nerves that go down the back of my leg making it feel like I have hamstring problems. She did a lot of work smoothing out the speed bumps there but I'm still worried that when I run tomorrow it'll tighten up all over again. But on the bright side I do have the green light to run.

My other little niggly thing is work. I have never had such a quiet year and I don't do quiet well. Usually it's a matter of juggling orders and working extra hours and praying for a day off but I am down to a single leotard order on my books and that freaks me out a bit. I know I'm not the only one in this situation. I had a fabric rep over a week ago and he told me his business has never been so quiet. I'm pretty sure it's a result of the global financial insecurity at the moment but to say I'm bored would be an understatement. Maybe now would be a great time to write that novel that I know I've got lurking somewhere in my brain - if only I could think up something interesting to write.

The plus side to being bored is that I've been creating cupcakes in my head and in reality. Now I know how to fill a cupcake the possibilities are limitless. This week's creation was a vanilla butter cupcake filled with a berry and marscapone mix.

And I've been thinking that my tangello/poppyseed cupcake might taste pretty good with some lemon butter. And that the toblerone cheesecake filling could taste pretty damned awesome in the center of a chocolate or vanilla cupcake.

I'm starting to think I've got a weird obsession. Apparently I'm not normal because I make them but don't eat them. I force my family to be my taste-testers. (even though not much convincing is required)

So if I start posting lots more cupcake pictures in the next few weeks you'll know things are still quiet. And that my family may possibly be suffering from sugar-overload.