Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

After a crying jag on Tuesday I'm feeling a lot better. It's funny the way you can start crying for one reason and then all the negatives that have EVER happened in your life get included. I'm so grateful that I only had one client on Tuesday cause those red eyes were not pretty. But I am glad I got it out of my system. It was really cathartic. (I will point out that I'm not a big crier. The last time I had a good cry for a legitimate reason, not just an Australian getting a medal at the Olympics, was probably when I lost my Grandma about 10 years ago)

So it's back to business as usual but things haven't been quite usual in my workroom. Something has died in the little storeroom which is at the back. And with the weather the way it's been (hot, humid and horrible) decomposition was well underway on Tuesday when I walked in. UGGH! I'm pretty sure the something that died was a rat (Iven put some rat baits down about a week ago) but locating and disposing of the corpse was an impossible task. Impossible because the storeroom is full of stuff (because it's a storeroom, duh!) and because, even if I found it, I wouldn't want to touch it.

I did have a cursory look around. And the buzzing flies gave me the hint that I was in the right vicinity. I actually have a sneaking suspicion that my little rat friend has made our Christmas tree his last resting place. He had a penchant for the Christmas tree a couple of years back and made a nice little nest in the box, probably raised his family there and felt the loneliness of the empty-nest syndrome when they left for greener pastures.

Our Christmas tree has not been used since. There was not enough pine-scented freshener in the world that could cover the smell that our unwanted house guests left. Next time there's a council clean up our tree will go on the top of the pile and I pity the scavengers that decide they'd like a new tree from our pile.

I considered sending Bubbles in to take a look too. Bubbles has a good amount of fox terrier in her and foxies are used as ratters so maybe her primitive instincts would come to the fore. But apparently Bubbles sees herself more as a girl than a vicious killing machine that rodents fear. She took one whiff and ran out of the room - the room that I had to spend the rest of the day working in.

Luckily the vile, stinking weather has done a good job along with the maggots that I'm sure are crawling around the Christmas tree, and the stench is starting to dissipate. I never thought I'd be so grateful to the process of decomposition and fly larvae. And really if you think about it we could probably still use the Christmas tree - spray paint all those juicy maggots silver and they could give the illusion of icicles. Just a thought.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Just feeling a bit sad today. Sam and Hannah have broken up and I'm feeling a little like I've broken up too. Hannah has been accepted into Medicine down in Sydney (a four year course) and because of a host of different factors they've decided to split.

Hannah has been coming around for more than three years now. When she came over the first time, I couldn't believe how quiet and shy she was. But over time she's relaxed and grown to be like one of the family and I guess that's why I'm feeling it. It was so nice to have a girl around the house to help dilute the testosterone - especially one that would laugh with me at the boys and their strange male ways.

But as much as I'd like to - I don't have control over the situation so I have to just get on with things. As does Sam. He started his Physiotherapy course yesterday and has a lot of work ahead. It's so exciting for him - this is what he's always wanted to do. It was his first choice of course when he left high school but he didn't quite get the marks to get in. So he's had to do things the long way round but has showed such determination and tenacity to get what he wanted. I'm just so proud of him.

The weather has been vile here for the last week. And today was the most vile of all. The temperature didn't drop below 25C /77F last night and when it came time for speed session it was a very unpleasant 27C / 80F with a humidity of 92%. Coach Chris showed compassion and gave us equal recovery to repetition but by midway I found I was walking some of the recovery. But I figure we should get extra brownie points for just showing up on a day like today. Thank goodness there's a cool change forecast for Thursday.

And on the work front I've gotten quite busy - ridiculous at this time of the year! All of my rhythmic girls have decided to get sorted out early and all of a sudden I have a pile of designs on my workroom table. It's actually quite a fun thing to do when there's not the pressure of other work and I've finished 2 in the last week

Both still have to be blinged up but I'm pretty pleased with how they've turned out.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Is There Something Wrong With Me?

There's a lot of happy on my face today. It's a tired kind of happy and it's all because of my run. As all you regular readers out there know, I've been having some injury issues for 3+ months now. I haven't had to stop running but my running has been uncomfortable and post-run it's been quite painful at times. I've been doing all the right stuff - massage, physio, active release, stretching, strengthening and, recently, a plyometric program designed by #1 son Sam. After today's run where there was minimal pain and, more importantly, minimal post-run pain he has been elevated to #1 in more than just birth order - that is until he leaves his undies on the floor or a sink full of dishes and it'll be back to status quo.

I wrote last week about how I psychologically screw with my husband's head. (I'm betting some of you thought that last Saturday's post had something to do with the happy on my face - well the guilty parties can wash their minds out with soap) I realised that I do it to my animals too. I'm guessing there's not too many sick and twisted 'animal-lovers' out there who do what I do.

For dinner last night I decided to have a chicken salad and microwaved potato in the jacket. I had a cooked chicken in the fridge but there wasn't much left so I picked the carcass clean. Then what did I do with the bones? I did what every vet recommends that you shouldn't. I gave them to the dogs. But I didn't just give them to the dogs. I tossed them out the window so the dogs would have to race outside to have what amounted to an easter egg hunt. And I did it in full view of our chickens. No wonder we've been getting a regular supply of eggs - they know their fates if they don't perform.

My cooked chicken came with stuffing which never gets eaten by the family. Stuffing is basically 100% carbs and if I give that to Nelson he ends up with the most vile and prolific flatulence. So where did the stuffing end up? I gave it to the chickens. And took a lot of pleasure in watching them stuff themselves. I'm sick I tell you!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wednesday Workout

I love Wednesdays. It's one of the few days of the week where I can turn the alarm off and wake when I want to wake. I'm generally still in a good mood from my Tuesday speed session and I'm starting to plan where I'll go on my Thursday run.

But just because I'm not running doesn't mean that I'm lazy. Wednesday has become a strength work-out day and I'm really starting to love those sessions. Sam has changed my program up so today was the first time doing a lot of the exercises. Man, I can be a bit gumby until my muscles have learnt what they're supposed to do. My favourite today were dropping off the coffee table into a semi-squat and straight away into a long jump. I land like an elephant and I'm wondering how long our floor boards will cope.

It's gotten SO hot lately. I had been doing this workout in my pyjamas but until they bring out technical pyjamas I've had to change this habit. Because it's so hot, the more skin exposed to the air the better so today's ensemble was a fetching pair of shorty shorts (okay they were my pyjama bottoms but they were due for a wash) and a crop top. Unfortunately I didn't put the crop top on till I'd remembered that I'd be sweating up a storm and the getting on of the top was a workout in itself. I managed to get it bunched up around my sweaty shoulders and had to do this contortionist act to roll it down. And in the rolling-down process I managed to tangle up a sensitive part of my anatomy in the elastic. I didn't realise that I'd hurt it though until I hit the shower. It reminded me of the times when I was breastfeeding my teething babies. Ouch!

Having a shower this morning was not the normal uncomplicated event it normally is wherein you turn on the taps, adjust the temperature and hop in. I turned on the cold tap and nothing happened. But being a modern, capable woman I did not ring my husband in a flood of tears and insist that he come home and fix it. I decided to investigate myself. Still in my workout/sleeping clothes I took my sweaty self down the front stairs in search of a burst pipe. There was no puddles/pools/lakes of water to be seen which was a good sign so my next step was to check the water mains. Before I got close I could see what the problem was. My neighbour had plumbers in and they'd turned off our water instead of his. They quickly turned mine back on and I even got a hug out of them - pity it was from the old one who was missing half his front teeth. Why couldn't he have a young, muscle-bound side-kick who has to do all the dirty, sweaty work?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today's Horoscope

There are few things out of bounds in my blog but today's post will definitely be in that realm if any of my kids are reading. So kiddies if you do not want to go blind or have your brain permanently messed with, SWITCH OFF NOW and go watch a video of a cat doing something cute on youtube.

Poor little dears still think they were turkey-baster babies or at worst we had sex (under sufferance) only three times and only to procreate.

So yes - today's blog is about sex. Or actually the lack of it. Funny thing happens in a long-term marriage (and we are heading up to 26 years - hold the applause). In the beginning it's all hot and heavy and frequent. Then the years tick over and life gets in the way of a good time. Sleep becomes more attractive and some books are just too un-put-down-able. Frequency diminishes and you find yourself thinking - hmm, when did we last ...?

That was the thought that ran through my head on Thursday. And being a bit short on things to do this weekend, I thought that I should let Iven know it was time to perform his conjugal duty. But I'm not the kinda gal who can just say "Hey Hon, I'm a bit bored do you want to get it over and done with for the month?" I prefer a much more subtle and alluring approach. And this required some thought.

The newspaper gave me my inspiration. No it wasn't the photo of Barak giving Julia a bit of a shoulder squeeze. It was the horoscope section. I always read my horoscope - not because I believe in it but because it's a way I can waste work time. I decided I'd try a false horoscope on Iven.

He got home from work and made me a cup of tea and sat down in the work room to share some companionable silence - except that I broke the silence.

"Hey, Hon I was reading your horoscope today and yours was pretty interesting. Seems that Mars is rising which gives good vibes for intimate relationships this weekend"

His ears perked up. The thought seed had been planted.

Next morning I went into the lounge room where Iven was getting ready for work. He frowned at me when he saw me. "I pulled the newspaper out of the bin and my horoscope said nothing about intimate relationships. It said I could expect a bill in the mail."


It's Saturday now. And all the kids are going to be out tonight. But all of a sudden sleep seems more attractive - and I have a really good book...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Things That Amuse Small Minds

A funny thing happened to me on my run today. I'd decided to do a short easy run before my strength training and went on a 5k loop around the neighbourhood. I was in the last k and feeling pretty good (mainly because I'd had a long wait at the lights and then hit a downhill stretch). A group of boys from the nearby school were doing their fitness training - a run in the opposite direction to me and some of them were walking up the slope I was running down.

I felt a little superior - sure I was twice their age (okay, probably more like three times) but I'm just as fit. Maybe even fitter. So I started motoring down the hill when from out of nowhere (actually it was out of the bus shelter) I was almost taken out by an arm hailing a bus. My beautiful running form disintegrated to a dodge, weave and almost-tripping-but-just-managing-to hold it together-but-not-very-gracefully.

And I saw some of the boys laugh. Yep, I'd really impressed them.

And while I'm on the subject of small things that amuse small minds. Yesterday my dog Nelson had a piece of grass hanging out of his butt. I'm really puerile and decided to show it to Josh (who's as puerile as his Mum and also found it amusing) and Luke (who was eating his dinner and didn't think it was at all funny - the boy has no sense of humour I tell you!) My inner vet decided that I could attempt extraction - ie pull it out with a tissue. Well, it was like an iceburg! Only 25% was able to be seen. The rest was hidden below the surface. And the look on Nelson's face when I pulled it out? Confusion and surprise with a little doggy mouth puckering (as well as puckering at the other end of his anatomy. Now that was funny!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy 18th Luke

It's a little hard to put into words how lovely my weekend was. Two significant birthdays. Two birthday celebrations. Two birthday cakes. Way too much food.

It was my sister's 50th birthday on Friday. 50 on the 11:11:11. She had a really full day with her friends organising breakfast and lunch out. But we'd organised to have her birthday breakfast on Saturday morning at our usual cafe and it was an open invitation to anyone in the family who could make it. It was a full house - the only ones who couldn't be there were Luke (who had an exam on) and Lauren my niece. It was a table for 20. Lots of laughs and smiles and good food.

I'd made the cake. Julie is particularly partial to lemon so she got the Nagging Mother in Law Cupcakes. The cake worked out perfectly but I had a few issues with the frosting. It was a fluffy frosting which is basically an Italian meringue and I'd used the whisking attachment on my mixer for the first time. Let's just say it was a little too aerated. It had air bubbles through it and didn't have its normal glossy sheen. :( But the cake toppers hid the fact that they weren't perfect.

Julie's a bit of a dog person if you hadn't guessed. She has two dogs that she loves to bits.

Saturday was Luke's birthday and he was lucky enough to have an 11am exam. And even luckier - it was his hardest maths subject. I hadn't seen him before he'd headed out for it so the first glimpse I got of my now-adult son was when he'd passed it (he's pretty sure). We'd given him his gift the night before when he was on a study break so he could have a little time to enjoy it. And for interested parties, we bought him a really nice watch.

Luke had asked for the caramel mud cake and I had an exciting brain wave (or was it a brain explosion). I would make it a tall cake and slice it in half and fill it with the gooey caramel then ice it with the fluffy frosting that I"d kind of stuffed up the day before. Well, nothing went exactly to plan. I used my cupcake recipe but didn't know how long to cook it as a big cake. The caramel went better than last time - it only caught just a little on the bottom and I didn't have to end up sieving it. But when I came to slicing the cake I realised it was a little overcooked. I almost called Iven to bring up the chainsaw - it was so tough. The caramel went on okay but when I went to put the top half on the cake started to fall apart and I had to make an impromptu corset out of paper just to hold it together.

And then I went to make the icing. My parents had arrived to give Luke his gift and had settled in for a cup of tea so I was trying to entertain while concentrating on making the syrup for the frosting. My multi-tasking skills aren't what they used to be and I ended up taking the syrup all the way to toffee and totally ruining it. Back to plan B - coffee buttercream.

We went out to dinner - Iven and I and the three boys and two girlfriends to a local Mexican restaurant. Luke went to the bar and ordered his first beer. The food was nice and we laughed and chatted and generally had a really nice time. Then we went home for the cake and a cup of tea. And it was then that I realised that the gooey caramel doesn't make a great cake filling. I'd had to put the cake in the fridge because of the warm temperature and this had made the caramel harden. That cake really didn't want to be cut. And when I finally got a piece cut the caramel seemed to glue to the knife and made it hard to get the knife out without destroying the whole thing. In hindsight I should have just handed everyone spoons and we could have just communally dug in.

But even though it wasn't beautiful, it tasted really good.

And even if the cake wasn't my best ever creation, the day was just lovely. Sitting around our dining room table listening to the kids' banter, laughing with them and at them, sharing a joke with the girlfriends (who are both truly lovely girls). My heart was full!

And apart from the birthdays there was the compulsory early long Saturday run. Coach Chris decided to make it a mystery run and he told no one the route - not even me! (I can usually wheedle it out of him) Talk about hilly! I think we ran up and down nearly every hill in the western suburbs. It was a challenging 14k (It was supposed to be 12, Chris!) but I finished it in better shape than I thought I would. Unfortunately my hip is still not in hill-running shape and it's been complaining a little louder since then. But I'm gradually rolling and massaging it back into submission.

But back from the running side track to the topic of this blog - my youngest-who-is-no-longer-a-boy Luke. I'd just like to share the story I wrote on his card. When I'd found out I was pregnant with him (not long after a miscarriage) I was reading the calendar (a scripture one) on the back of the toilet door. On the day I found out the reading said 'Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.' Then the next day it said that my 'cup would be filled to overflowing.' I took these to mean that I was finally carrying the girl that I'd always wanted and I was pretty disappointed when the ultrasound showed I was having another boy. But I can't imagine having any child that is nicer, more considerate and loving than my youngest is. He's bright (taught himself to read at the age of 4), musical and is such a blessing to me. The scripture verses were right.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Powerful Post-Run Euphoria (or how a good run overcame the effects of a bad client)

I had my best run for about four weeks today. It was a nice relaxed 10k and this week (as opposed to last) I didn't stop and walk three, or four, or maybe it was five, times. The difference was my mental state (no nasty emotional turmoil this week - life's pretty peachy) AND maybe because of my new strength-building regime.

I've been doing all my hard-core plyometrics and weights (okay maybe 5kg isn't exactly hard core but do enough reps and it can hurt) religiously for all of four weeks now and I'm noticing changes. Firstly I'm getting a little shape in my deltoids. My bicep no longer looks like a knotted piece of wool. I'm able to get a lot higher in my squat jumps. And I am getting a fierce hunger on the days I do this routine. That's got to mean that I'm doing something right, doesn't it?

Having a good run has made me happy, happy, happy! It's inspired me (I thought of two great Christmas ideas today). It's made my world full of rainbows and unicorns (maybe I DO watch too much Glee - but seriously, Brittany is hysterical)

And then one dark cloud came into my beautiful perfect bubble world. It came in the form of an annoying and difficult customer (thanks Aunty Carol for recommending me to her - you're officially off my Christmas card list). She came in with the pair of bathers I'd made her a year ago. She wanted me to 'guess' what was wrong with them. Sorry lady, I've got another client due any moment who HAS an appointment and a leotard I want to finish before the end of the day - I don't want to play guessing games.

She did eventually show me what the problem was. The stitching was straining on the sides and in the back seam. It was SOOO hard to refrain from saying that it was probably because she'd gained 15 kilos. Personally I was impressed that the seam was still holding. I may or may not have mouthed some nasty words behind her back and I might have called her names that my mother would not have approved of when she finally left.

Usually I would hold onto my annoyance for the rest of the day BUT my the effect of my good run was more powerful than even the most annoying client in the universe and I'm back to feeling Damned Good!

I hope everyone has a really good run today!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Total Lack of Organisation

When do males finally learn organisation and foresight? I was greeted this morning by a slightly frantic son. Do we have any 2B pencils? I don't know if we have 2B pencils but I said I'd help look. It turned out that I wasn't exactly helping him look - he wasn't doing any looking. Apparently his faith in me is that great. And I did manage to find one lone pencil of the right variety so his faith wasn't misplaced.

So my question to him was why hadn't he asked me to buy him some a day or so ago? Why hadn't he just gone to the bookshop at uni and bought himself a couple? When I was his age I was totally organised. I would have everything I needed going into exams and spares just in case something went wrong. I still am organised. I write things in the diary so I know what's coming up and I pay bills on time. So he hasn't gotten this little character flaw from me. Could it possible be that he got it from his 'have you seen my keys/wallet/glasses/' father? And if so, is there any hope for him?

He turns 18 this Saturday. 18 means that he can drink alcohol, get married without parental permission, gamble and vote. If it wasn't for the fact that he'll be still in the middle of exams I'd be a little bit afraid - it could have been a Saturday night that he'd never forget.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Computers and Senior Moments

Today I'm going nowhere really quickly. I've been sitting here at this computer all morning and yet I've achieved nothing. Why? Because it's a brand spanking new computer. I have finally ditched my computer that was a Frankenstein monster of all of Josh's hand-me-down parts. It had decided that enough was enough and had taken to going MIA for a few days then starting back again as if nothing had happened. Well I could no longer stand for this. I value consistency and reliability pretty highly so I've junked it's lazy, fat arse and Josh has built me a new beauty - but all I want is for it to do what the last one did.

So today's been all about trying to remember what my other had on it and putting it on this one while trying to not get way-laid by videos of cute talking babies and searching for new ideas in cupcake making. I think I'm nearly there but there are a few things that I'll need a little help with.

This computer has been a work in progress for over a week. Josh told me he'd build one for me and he ordered the parts two Fridays ago. Then he went out for the weekend and I didn't get to hear that the parts were ready to be picked up till Sunday evening - even though they were available and could have been picked up on Saturday. Iven kindly picked them up for me and Josh quickly assembled it on Monday. But by quickly assembling it I mean he put all the pieces together in the case and it sat on the floor of his bedroom unable to be used for the best part of a week.

I didn't want to pressure him to get it finished so I started using my sub-conscious nagging technique to get things moving. This is a special technique that I've perfected over the years where you do lots of nice things for the person. Then you throw in a few choice words like 'computer' over and over in conversation. You even go into their rooms when they are sleeping and whisper the job that you require doing into their ear. And eventually they wake up and decide that today is the day that it's going to happen.

Unfortunately some people are resistant to this type of manipulation and I had to resort to bribery and nagging. The bribery was in the form of a beautiful cooked breakfast on Sunday morning (the nagging had started on Friday) and that got a little action happening. But not much. It was getting quite late and if I was to have a functional machine for this week I knew that another prod was required. So Josh made a bargain with me - I'd try to fix the less-than-professional bleach job that one of his friends had done on his hair and he'd get my computer to a usable stage.

He's regretting that request today. I can sew and I can bake and I can castrate a tom cat on the kitchen table but apparently I'm not much of a hair colourist. Josh's hair is covering the spectrum from brown through orange and yellow all the way to platinum blonde. Oops! My bad!!

But my computer's working :)

And on a total change of topic - Iven and I reached a new milestone in our 25 year marriage last weekend. It was the Joint Senior Moment. He was working so he took one car and said he'd meet me at the cafe for breakfast. I drove my car there and after breakfast we left mine there and went in his to buy fruit and veg from the markets. When we got home he drove his car into my empty side of the garage and that was the moment when we both realised that we'd left the other car sitting outside the cafe. Judging from how much we laughed, getting old is going to be heaps of fun!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Awful Runs Aren't Always Bad

I had another really AWFUL run today. Can I just admit that running wasn't all I did on the run - there was also walking and a little bit of socialising? It was just one of those runs where just being there was good enough and it doesn't matter about performance.

Blind Freddy could have seen that it was going to be bad even before I started. I'd had a disturbed night. Someone went to the loo (just next to our bedroom) in the wee small hours and the creaky door (I'm going to make sure that gets oiled) woke me up. I spent the next half hour debating with myself about my own need to follow suit. I should have just bitten the bullet and gone rather than pretend I could go back to sleep with a bladder the size of a basketball. I did go in the end but by that stage I was totally awake and couldn't get back to sleep for an hour or so.

When I woke up just after 5am I almost piked but decided that I'd beat myself up all day about it so I got ready. But just before I headed out the door I checked my phone and there was a missed call from Josh's girlfriend. Josh hadn't been really happy yesterday. I can pick up his moods the moment he walks into the house. He'd gone out to see his girlfriend and I was in bed before he'd gotten home. Seeing the missed call made me immediately think that something was wrong and I got this rush through my body - a flood of adrenalin. I told myself not to over-react but the damage was done. My heart rate was already up and my muscles felt a bit jelly-like (not to be confused with cellulity)

Let's just say my first kilometer was my best. There were a few little hills but nothing I couldn't normally manage. Today they felt like mountains. I made it just past the 5k mark and ran into one of my squad friends. Can't be rude, so I stopped and chatted a while. When I started back up I had lost any momentum that I'd had so I ended up run-walking the rest of the way home. My total run was 8.5k and I walked an extra 2k interspersed in those last 3k.

Normally this would make me feel a bit upset but today I'm just happy I got a bit of running done and I got out of the house and forgot to worry for a bit. When I made it home finally Josh was awake so I could talk to him about the missed call. He told me that he'd wanted to talk to me last night and had tried to ring but had ended up talking out his relationship worries with Catherine and was feeling a lot better about things. He also told me that he had a meeting at work today which he was worrying about. So I had my chance to tell him that knowing he's not feeling great and not knowing why is causing me a lot of angst so I need him to talk to me every day and let me know how he's going. It was so good to be able to talk openly and for both of us to share our concerns.

I've noticed that my running has a direct correlation to my worrying. If I'm worrying too much I run REALLY badly. If I'm in a good place - so is my running. But if I don't run at all I worry way too much so for the moment my running has to be relaxed and no-pressure.

The other place I get to vent a lot of stress, as you all know, is in my kitchen. And it's had a bit of a flogging in the last couple of days. I've created a cupcake that even I had to break my 'no cupcake' rule for. It's actually not really a RULE, it's because I'm not that interested in cupcakes. But yesterday's creation was just begging to be tasted.

First of all I made a batch of mini-cupcake brownies. Then I made toblerone cheesecake filling and refrigerated it till it could be swirled onto the cupcakes.

And then I dipped the top in melted chocolate. It. Was. DIVINE!!