Thursday, May 31, 2012

Acupuncture and Endorphins

I was back at the acupuncturist yesterday. I've been going once a week for the past 6 weeks and I'm positive that it's made a difference - my improvements have all been in the past six weeks. My acupuncturist, Hae Uk, is a lovely gentle lady who just gives you this sense of peace and calm and caring as soon as you walk through her doors.

Yesterday she announced that I'd made enough improvement now to see her only once a fortnight. And I'm a little sad that I won't be seeing her next week. After all, who will ask me how my week's been? And who will ask if my bowels are regular? And how my flatulence has been? And my stress levels? She even cares if my toes and fingers are cold.

Yesterday she asked about my hip/upper hamstring that I'd injured last year. She'd tried some acupuncture on it earlier but it continues to niggle me. So she decided to do some cupping. Another first for me and it was a very unusual sensation. She put about 6 cups on my buttocks and hips. She uses Korean cups which are gentler and have more control than the heat cups. It was kind of like being attacked by six high powered vacuums. I felt great lumps of my pale flesh being sucked up into each of the cups. It wasn't painful - just weird. And for a while my backside felt tight and firm but then she let the suction out and my new-found perkiness vanished. Pity.

That afternoon I decided to take my suctioned posterior for a run. I'd normally run in the morning BUT it had been pouring, it was cold, my bed was warm and I'd been up in the middle of the night wrestling Toby out of our bedroom after a call of nature (mine, not his). What had all seemed too hard at 5:20am was kind of inviting at 3:30pm. All my work was up-to-date and the day was cool so there was really nothing to stop me.

I went on a route that I haven't tackled for 6 months. It's one of my favourite routes out along a golf course and through the university but it's kind of hilly (which Coach Chris would dispute because he has a weird and distorted view of hills - he likes them). What an amazing run I had!! I just felt so good. I could attack the hills and not die at the top. I didn't have to walk and the second half of the run was faster than the first. And my injury behaved itself quite nicely thank you. It was 11k of heaven. And I came home full of endorphins. You just don't get a rush like that from plodding along - it's something that only running hard gives you.

I was so pumped that I totally ignored my need to stretch and finished a cupcake decorating project that I'd started before I left. Thank you Pinterest for all the amazing ideas. This icing technique just requires some gel colours that you squirt into a disposable bag before piping onto the cake. Each cake ended up slightly different depending on how much of the colour was pushed through. My hands ended up fluoro pink and Josh's teeth ended up a weird purplish colour - but it was nothing a bit of brushing couldn't get out.


By the time the cupcakes were done I was cold and starting to stiffen up. Did I mention that it had rained on the run and I was sodden and it's winter? The only dry thing I had on was my really cute red and white spotted apron (don't laugh - I'm sure you've all decorated cupcakes while wearing wet running gear and a frilly apron) and it wasn't exactly warm. I will never claim that I always act sensibly.

I'm still on a bit of a high today. And I can't wait for tomorrow's run.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Feeling The Love

When do you know that you're really on the mend after being unwell for a long time? For me it's been a lot about how I'm running - or more importantly, how I'm recovering after a run. But it's also been about how I've been feeling about things. How much passion do I have for the things that I love to do and do I have the energy to be excited about doing them.

Honestly, a lot of this year I've just been going through the motions. When I was in my quiet times last year it was all about creating pretty and yummy cupcakes. Inventing combinations of fillings and cake and dedicating them to clich├ęs. - The Mother-in-Law's Tongue, The Road Rage, The Heart of Gold. It was so much fun. And even though I've been baking a lot this year it's really only been to fill our cake tins and provide birthday cakes for my peeps.

But I feel like I've turned a corner recently. All of a sudden I'm wanting to try new recipes again. To learn different decorating techniques. I have a list of things that I want to do and I'm just waiting for my cake tins to empty a little before I fire up the electric mixer again.

And this passion to bake has made me so excited about my latest purchases. Actually the first wasn't so much a purchase as the result of a little international bartering - a couple of ice-skating leotards for a couple of the cutest aprons I've ever seen. Thanks Marcia! I love them.


And now I've got my hands on these cute aprons I'm going to make some more. Apples and cupcakes scream kitchen to me.


And I've been on-line shopping. All those pretty colours are for a project that I found on Pinterest where you end up with multi colour swirls through your icing. The yellow spoon things are for measuring out cupcake batter and the plastic moulds are for shaping icing flowers. Now I'm wishing that I had no work at all and I could just bake.



Toby is continuing to delight me every day. He's been so easy to fall in love with. I know I've been very quick to boast about his high IQ but something happened the other day to make me doubt it for a moment. 

Toby loves sticks. He loves to chase them. He loves to chew on them. He loves to carry them around proudly like a trophy. The other day I was working in my sewing room when he came racing in with a stick that he was very keen on showing me. It was a cold day and I'd only slid open the door about a foot. Toby's stick was a foot and a half long. He hit the door and the frame at a very high speed only to be stopped dead in his tracks and bounced backwards and his magnificent stick broke into bits. The look on his face was puzzled bemusement. The door was open so why couldn't he get in? He tried again - a little more gingerly this time - and was thrilled to finally show me his new (modified) toy.

But apart from that he's only shown one really negative trait. The boy is incredibly greedy!! He will sell his soul for food. He carries his food bowl around the house to remind you that it's empty. Those eyes are pretty hard to resist.

                                           

But I swear if you leave any food on the coffee table he'll totally make sure it doesn't disappear (and if it does we'll probably be able to guess the culprit).



And my running report? Another successful half speed session. Three 1k reps (4:55, 4:48, 4:52) and a 600m (because I had enough time) in 4:45 pace. Another week - another improvement.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Let's Run Away and Join a Circus

Sometimes life gets all too tough. Sometimes it gets so tough that all you want to do is run away from home. Well, I've been working on my 'running away from home' strategy and I now have a plan for the next time I get that need to escape.

I'm going to take my beautiful puppy and run away to join a circus. It won't be one of the Cirque de Soleil style circuses. My body would not cope with the physical demands of all the acrobatics. If I tried to do the splits I'm sure one of my legs might just pop off like my doll's back when I was ten. She was trying to do the splits too and it didn't end well.

I couldn't be a trapeze artist either. I'm a stereotypical runner as far as upper body strength is concerned. I'd last a good two seconds dangling off one of those swings before I fell into the net ... assuming that they had a net and we weren't going for the extra ounce of suspense. And even if I did manage to build up my pecs, lats, deltoids and trapezius there'd be the little issue of those skimpy skin-tight costumes. Sure I can make them, but that doesn't mean I want to wear them - even if they are covered in bling.



So where does that leave me as far as acts are concerned? This is where Toby fits in.


video

I've already got half of my costume sorted - note the Ring Master boots that would go great with my full-length Skins. All I'd need is a red jacket with tails and a white shirt and I'll be set. And I guess we'll have to get a better hoop and add a few more tricks to the repertoire. Does making food disappear count?

***

Work has become almost non-existent at the moment. My industry is so up and down. I'll get busy again in a couple of weeks when the body builders start to order for the end of year shows. So right at the moment I have a fair bit of time on my hands. And what do I do to fill in time when I'm not sewing (or teaching tricks to Toby)? I bake.

This week I went all Masterchef and decided to try my own invention test. Let's say that I probably only ended up with a D (should have been an F but I got one point for enthusiasm and another for imagination and two points for the brownies that tasted pretty good.)

Here is pictorial evidence of my least-greatest cooking week.



The Purple Chicken Pie. It's purple from the addition of just one purple carrot. At least the greens stayed green.

Cupcakes that were inspired by s'mores. The marshmallow idea just didn't work.

But they decorated up okay. Nothing like a cupcake that is half-filled with meringue frosting. Unfortunately the rainbows only stayed rainbow-like for a couple of hours before slowly sagging.



My one and only success. Brownie topped with mini M&Ms, caramel bits and white choc bits. It was really yum.

Luckily my boys will generally eat most things so my failures are starting to disappear.

***

And on the running front - a doubler this weekend. 14k yesterday and 10k today. That makes a total of 42k this week. Today's run was my first at sub-6 min pace. Not too bad after yesterday's effort. 

I'm slowly but surely clawing my way back.

Any ideas on new tricks to round out our circus routine?
Any other culinary disasters to report (to make me feel less like a food-failure)?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Greedy, Impatient and Shallow

Twelve weeks ago I took my first few running steps after an eight week lay off. That first run was tough - 500m walk, 500m run for 10 kilometres. I overshot my first 500m run because I wanted to hear the end of the story and actually ran 700m and I remember thinking that I couldn't imagine being able to even run a whole kilometre again. Thinking that I would do anything just to be able to run - didn't matter how slow.

Well twelve weeks later I'm running a whole kilometre comfortably. Running more than one kilometre. Running 15k in one session and almost 40 in a week. And now running slow isn't not quite enough any more.

Am I the only one who's this greedy? I got what I wanted but now I want more - just like Oliver Twist. I want more distance. I want more speed. And I want more sessions. More. More. More.

Tuesday's speed session really brought back the desire for speed. I did my usual 3k loop before meeting up with the group and then set about doing a couple of 1k reps. The first rep I kept at a solid, steady 5:20 and it felt easy-ish. I rested till my heart rate dropped then I set out on my second and put a little more oomph into it - 5:05. I had enough time for a third. I didn't feel like I was pushing any harder but when I stopped my watch the number had a 4 in the front. 4:53! I know it's not earth shattering. And I know it'll never get me to the Olympics. But that's where I want to be running. And maybe even a little faster.

I talked to Coach Chris today about coming back onto a program and he was the voice of reason to calm my impatience. We've decided that it'll happen after Gold Coast in early July. And I'll keep doing the speed sessions my way until then. But I'm excited that it's finally going to happen.

***

I've discovered that my beautiful and supremely intelligent puppy is shallow. I made this discovery when we went for a little walk to his cousin's house yesterday. The walk really is little - just over one and a half kilometres. But it took us about 40 minutes to walk it because, as bright as Toby is, he suffers from puppy ADD.

The shallowness is, however, unrelated to the ADD. We had only walked ten metres from our front drive when Toby grabbed the lead, pulled backwards and refused to go any further. He's a little timid around cars but the street was totally empty ... except for our 'special' neighbour. The one who complains about basketball noise, about trumpet practice, about not being able to see that we're not home because we installed a garage door. Mrs W was on the foot path doing a little bit of weeding, bent over with her not insubstantial posterior pointing in our direction. And Toby was scared. And not without reason ...


This event in itself was not proof of his shallowness. That come about a kilometre (and half an hour later). We were trudging slowly along, stopping to sniff at random tussocks of grass and interestingly, aromatic tree trunks when a very attractive young girl with long legs, an athletic posterior and a bouncy pony tail went trotting by us (and for the information of the male members of our squad - I did not give her Chris's business card or invite her along to any of the sessions). Toby took after her like a dog possessed. It's just as well he had an anchor at the end of his lead or he might be sleeping in someone else's house tonight.

And here I was thinking that he'd fallen for me as heavily as I have for him. I think he just loves me for my cupcakes.




Monday, May 21, 2012

A Couple of Reasons To Cheer

I woke up early Saturday morning with a nervous stomach. That hasn't happened to me for a long time - probably since my last race. But I wasn't racing on Saturday. I wasn't going to be sitting an exam. Or talking in front of a lecture theatre filled with students. I was going to do my long run. And this time I planned to run the whole way for the first time since I became sick (again).

Last week's long run was just under 13k so I'm calling it 13k. And I ran all minus a few hundred metres. I'd run really well all week with no repercussions (yes I'm still running slow) so I was going to push it out just a little further and see exactly where I'm up to. Saturday's so good for me to do my long run. There's always time for a nap AND there's another day off  if I need more recovery.

And the results of my little self-experimentation? 15.15k!! My heart rate was pretty good except for the last three k. And I didn't feel sick afterwards. I took Sunday and today off because I have to follow up a slightly reckless day with some good, old-fashioned common sense. Sunday I was a bit tired in the morning but felt good in the pm. And today I was back to normal. So no harm done.

This bodes well for my first race of 2012 (which may be my only - we'll see). I've registered for the 10k at the Gold Coast. There was no way I couldn't do this race. It'll be #8 and I was always going to be there even if I had to walk the whole way. But now I'm thinking that running will be a little faster.

***

My other reason to cheer comes in the shape of my little four-legged friend. We've had him for just over three weeks now and today he went for over 24 hours without having an accident in the house. That's probably more exciting than the 15k run. My carpets certainly think so.

Unfortunately growing up has brought a bad new habit along with a bigger bladder. And it was a habit that brought shame on our house this morning when my friend came over to meet him for the first time. Toby  has worked out what his boy bits are for and Chris's first sighting of him involved humping. My baby's not even 10 weeks old. Precocious? I'll say.

Does anyone else have any reasons to cheer? A good race result? A great training session? A toddler who made it to the toilet for the first time?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lessons In Life

The last three weeks has been all about teaching and learning. We have had to teach our new baby so many things. He's had to learn how to get upstairs, how to get downstairs, what his name is, come when he's called. He's had to learn how to sit, to drop, to stay, to shake hands, to speak on command. That's an awful lot of learning for a little puppy but Toby has proved to be a smart and eager student.

But all the learning hasn't all been on the canine side. He has been teaching me valuable lessons in life too. And today I'm going to share the three most important.


Attack Life with Enthusiasm. It's a pretty exciting world out there and sometimes I forget to see all the richness that it has to offer. It's so easy to get bogged down in the business of living. To become numbed by routine. To be weighed down by worries. Watching Toby explore and frolic and play reminds me that sometimes you should just run with your ears flapping in the breeze. That chasing turkeys can be fun. That sometimes all you need for a lift is to watch the sun rise over a sleeping city knowing that you are one of a privileged few who's seen all that beauty.



Sometimes You Have To Get Right To the End To Get to the Good Stuff. Bad stuff happens to everyone. I've had my fair share over the past few years and it's taught me that there's just some things that are out of your control. You have to ride out the bad times. My wise son, Sam told me to just let go and float. Give up control and just go with it. You'll eventually get through it and get to the good bits.




When It All Gets Too Much It's Important to Recharge The Batteries. Life can be pretty tiring at times. Work, relationships, juggling demands from all quarters can just leave you all tuckered out. It's really important to take time out to unwind - a bath with a scented candle, doing some stretching and breathing, having a good laugh, going for a walk with a good friend, reading a book or just having a nap can all help me centre myself again when I feel like my world's spinning out of control.

Not only is my puppy a genius - he's a great and wise teacher.


 ***

We had tree-loppers in today to remove half of our poinciana tree. This tree had been one of the reasons that I'd fallen in love with this house. Really, it was probably the only reason. The house was a bit of a disaster area. It had holes in walls, a hideous bathroom and an equally vile kitchen. It had only ever been painted with an undercoat in the 27 years that it had been standing. It was the worst house in a pretty good street in a lovely suburb and it was the right price. 

And it had the most magnificent poinciana tree in the back yard. It was a tree that was just right for a tree house and when our boys were old enough they helped their daddy build one. The tree shaded most of the back yard so we found it hard to keep a lawn or a vegetable patch but I honestly didn't care because I loved that tree.

The day we got Toby it was raining hard and had been raining for most of the night. My beautiful tree couldn't cope and one of its enormous branches came down. Today we had to have another branch removed that had been too damaged by the first one. And now my beautiful tree is a shadow of its former self. But we're going to keep a couple of the logs to be features in our garden - and already they're being admired by the natives.


***

I had another day off work today because work's just THAT slow. So what do I do? I bake of course. Coach Chris sent me a picture of some cupcake last night which I took as a personal challenge. Could I master the Cookie Monster cupcake? 


SO MUCH FUN!! What is it about Cookie Monster that makes you smile?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hope On The Horizon

Yesterday was speed session.

Yes, I know I don't do speed at the moment but I still go to the session ... kind of. I get up in the dark at an ungodly hour. I delay putting on my running clothes for as long as possible because it's just sooo cold. And I leave home around 5:15 am to meet with the squad. We stand around and chat for a while until Coach Chris says the word. And then the squad goes one way and I go the other.

I've been doing this nearly all year and I SO want to run with the squad again. But I'm doing my absolute best to get on top of things so for the moment I'll continue to run the other way. I do about 3k around the university and that brings me to where the squad is doing their reps. I have a little rest for a while - chat to Coach Chris and Coach Barry and then do a couple of out and back runs of about a kilometre through the group.

But yesterday something happened that hasn't happened for a while. I actually passed a couple of runners (no, not the ones that were walking their recovery - ones that were running). I stopped watching my HR monitor for just a little bit and did 2 X 1k and an 800m (because there wasn't quite enough time to do a third k). I didn't run it super hard. I just ran a little more strongly AND IT FELT GOOD.

It felt like it won't be too much longer before I can rejoin the group. Not to run hard, just a little bit harder than what I've been doing.

I chatted with a squad member after the session and she asked how it had gone. Honestly, I never quite know how it's gone until a couple of hours after the session. And in all honesty I did get a little nauseated. But I could have a nap when I got home (one of the perks of working for yourself) and I felt pretty good for the rest of the day. And today is a rest day so I'll be good to go for my run tomorrow.

Tomorrow's run will be back to easy again. I'm allowed to be reckless once or twice a week but the rest of the time I have to be sensible.

***

Do your children complain to you a lot? Mine tend to. They complain about assignments, about group members, about having too much work, about the weather, about idiots who have licences, about their health. The list could go on and on. And I'll generally give them a bit of the ear so they can get it off their chest.

Yesterday, though, I heard a complaint that I thought was a bit over the top. My youngest son came up to me to tell me that I was making his life difficult by providing too many choices for dessert. Seriously??!! I could understand him complaining if there was nothing in the fridge or pantry. But to complain because there are too many yummy things to eat ... No sympathy here Luke.

***

And finally a little brag about my genius puppy (who hasn't quite mastered toilet training still). 


video

He is possible the greediest, hungriest puppy in existence. But food is a great motivator for training and he's proving to be a fairly quick learner.

And Bubbles is really learning to love her little adopted brother - the way siblings always love each other ... with a little hate thrown in.





Monday, May 14, 2012

Thankful

Mother's Day 2012. A day for appreciating my family. A day for being appreciated. A day for appreciating my Mum.

Mother's Day was the same as it is every year for me. I go for a run. We go out for a lovely breakfast together. Just me and my boys (yes, that includes Iven). Then I bake a bit. For afternoon tea with my Mum.

My Sunday run followed a Saturday run of (drum roll please) 13k. It was a good 13k - 7k with the group then I turned around and went home. Sunday's run was even better. I ran 10k without stopping - except for the traffic and for the man who waves at me whenever I go the uni way who wanted to give me the first Mother's Day kiss of the morning. Not sure why - I'm not his mother. I even ran up the hill (which Iven deprecatingly called a little slope).

When I got home the boys were starting to emerge from their rooms - almost unheard of at that hour on a Sunday morning. We were out of the house 15 minutes before we'd planned - also unheard of.


Josh decided that ice cream was an appropriate breakfast food as long as he paired it with coffee.


He also decided to rebel against the constraints of society.


Baking was birthday cakes and caramel chip biscuits for the afternoon tea.

And then I got the best Mother's Day gift ever - a one hour nap!!

Toby got to visit Grandma and his two doggie cousins that live at her place, for the first time. Benny was a congenial host. Pete was not.


But all that puppy play and people-greeting and being cuddled left him all tuckered out.

And the day left me thankful. Thankful for my three healthy boys who are still happy to spend time with their Mum. Especially thankful that there was no lasting damage from last week's assault. Thankful that my health is improving. Thankful to be part of a close extended family. Thankful for the glorious weather and for the time to be able to enjoy it. And thankful that I have a cute and cuddly little ball of fluff to keep a smile on my face.

And that gratitude has rolled over to today. I'm thankful that work is quiet and I can get other stuff done during the day. I'm thankful that the courier company, who lost all the work that was coming back from the machinist last week, found it early today. I'm thankful that I gave Iven a slow-cooker so dinner was made before midday.

And my sense of gratitude has become contagious. Even Josh was expressing gratitude this morning. He was incredibly grateful that the weather has turned cold so he can now wear a sweater to work - no ironing for three or four months.

Has Mother's Day left you with a sense of gratitude?






Thursday, May 10, 2012

And Still More Toilets, Toby and Cupcakes

You thought the toilet blogs would be over the moment the new loo was in place didn't you. Well you were wrong!

When last I left you gentle readers the toilet had just been installed and we had been ordered from perching on it until 24 hours had passed. That meant that every single person in this house used it before I did. Sometimes I envy the ability to pee standing up. I did a lot of stair-climbing/running (depending on the urgency) that day. By midday the next day the 24 hr curfew had passed and I received this text from Luke, my youngest (who is too lazy to walk downstairs to the workroom to ask in person ... or even to change out of his pyjamas)


And the reason I said no - so I could race upstairs and be the first to use it. The look on his face was priceless as I shut the toilet door. But, hey, I'd called dibs and I'm not beneath using my maternal power to get what I deserve.

I've found that there's a bit of a problem with our toilet - in fact with all toilets on the market. They are all lower than our old toilet. That's not an issue for me but when the rest of the family consists of freakishly tall males it can become an issue. A lower toilet means that more precise aiming is required and SOMEONE in my family is directionally impaired. I do think that a lot of the problem has to do with liquid at a high pressure being forced out a small hole causing a bigger spray area and the further the source of the spray is away from the final resting place, the wider the splatter zone.

So my solution to this is a genius invention - I think all toilets should be fitted on hydraulic platforms that are linked via computer to an infra-red sensor at the door. The sensor detects the height of the incoming user and immediately adjusts the platform height to make the toilet seat splatter-proof. We'd have t work out a way of making all the plumbing fittings adjustable as well - minor problem, I'm sure.

Or alternatively I could make my posse of males sit when they wee. Works for me!

***

The non-human male of the house has been giving me some problems too. Toilet training - what toilet training?!! He's good if I manage to get him outside on a regular schedule but hasn't worked out that he can take himself out. And he's had a little bit of diarrhoea - not fun!!

And then there's the mischief that he's full of. Below is a box of rubber that I use for my leotards. And a sleeping Toby who wasn't actually sleeping - just resting his eyes till I left the room.



And this is what I came back to.



 Just as well he's cute...

***

I had a surprise day off from work today. The surprise was that I managed to get my work done more efficiently than I'd expected. So what do I do on my day off? Try a new recipe of course. This one's a Nutella Cupcake that I found on Pinterest. I've been watching Masterchef and feeling inspired and creative so I just had to give them a go.

The hosts on Masterchef are adamant that tasting is fundamental in becoming a great cook. I want to become a good cook so I did what was recommended. They probably don't actually mean for me to taste the nutella. And probably the fourth heaped teaspoon was overkill. And I probably didn't have to taste the frosting every time some squirted out the back of the piping bag onto my hand. But I must be becoming a good cook because it tasted awesome every single time. Man, I feel sick!!


It's just as well it's long run day tomorrow.

***

And for all of you who read my last post and were wondering how my son was going after the assault, I'm happy to report that everything is healing nicely and he seems to be doing well. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Mother's Lament (And some other stuff)

Some amazing things happen to a woman when they have a child. You become filled with love and with fear. The love part is obvious - you want to care for and nurture this little creature. The fear is because there are so many dangers in the world and you'd give your life to protect your precious child. And you do - you teach them to stay away from the hot stove and not to run with scissors. You discourage them from jumping off the roof with their undies on the outside of their pyjamas because, unlike Superman, they do not have superpowers. As they get older there are other things you worry about - will they come home unscathed when you've let them take the car for the first time on their own? Will their heart ever mend when their first love breaks it?

I'll totally admit to being a worrier. Sometimes I think it's the writer in me - I can create a dangerous scenario out of thin air. But I think it's more because I'm a realist. I watch the news and read the paper and I know that bad stuff happens to anyone. And something bad happened to one of my sons the other night. 

He went to a club with his friends and bumped into the wrong person on the dance floor. Too much alcohol and too much testosterone. He ended up being assaulted by three men. He came home with a big cut over one eye, two black eyes and the hand that he'd broken last year was swollen. We took him up to the emergency room and the x-rays showed that it, thankfully, was okay. 

And just like that my son my son became a statistic. Alcohol-fuelled violence fills our emergency rooms every weekend. It stems from a culture of binge-drinking. My family was brought up without alcohol in the house. I never liked the taste of it so it was no big deal. Iven's family hardly drank either. And we as a couple have rarely had alcohol at home. And I'm not anti-alcohol. I'm against its abuse.

It will be a long time until I can see my son go out and not worry that he won't be hurt or that he won't be coming home. That is the lot of a Mother, I guess.

***

But my weekend wasn't all doom and gloom. Saturday wrapped up my biggest mileage week running since  some time in January. An 11.5k long run with only a 17m walk - I'll call that a success. Especially when you follow that up in the evening with a 10k walk to get a coffee. Yep, we take our coffee seriously over here. 34k for the week!!

And it was a big birthday weekend in Brisbane so we all know what that means - birthday cake! I had two birthdays to bake for - a friend's daughter and my great-niece who was turning one.

Annie, my great-niece had a purple and green theme. Choc-mint cupcakes

 
Toby enjoyed helping. He's worked out that the kitchen is the source of all things yummy.

 Cakes for Lisa's Daughter to share at school.

And Cakes for the party after school. 

And don't be jealous but I now own my perfect, pristine, piece of polished porcelain. Look Mum - no stains! I know I called dibs to be the first user BUT the plumber told me in no uncertain terms that it was not to be sat upon for 24hrs. Sure it could be used but I would only be first to do so if I could pee standing up. Everyone else in this household possesses that particular skill except me. Even Toby got to use it before I did - no, house-training is still not going so great.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Toby, Toilet Training and New Loos

What a week!

Our lives have been turned upside down by a little ball of fluff that's joined our family. Toby seems to be growing before our eyes and learning so many new things.

Things that we've conquered this week -
Upstairs
Downstairs
Coming when called (sometimes)
Sleeping through the night without whining
Pushing Bubbles out of the way when food is around
Finding me downstairs in my workroom 
Fetching the ball and then running away with it and hiding it
Sitting on command as long as Bubbles isn't distracting

Things we're quite a long way from conquering - Toilet training. 

Actually that's not totally true. He knows where the human toilet is and likes to pee just outside it on the carpet - preferably when I'm on it and can't do anything. But if I was a seven week old puppy I think I'd have trouble working out the difference between carpet and grass too.


Another thing that he's learnt is that the kitchen is an amazing source of spills that taste pretty good. Bits of cupcake mixture or cookie dough sometimes come flying out of the mixer when I forget to turn it down low. The tiles can sometimes be a puppy smorgasbord.


Do Those Paws Look Big to You Too?


Sit - Sure I Will If There's Food Involved



Toby's not the only baby who's needed attention this week. My youngest human baby did something that he hasn't done in years. He yelled for me to come help him in the toilet. He used to do that all the time - he'd need help getting up, wiping his bottom, getting down, flushing. The whole toilet thing was a two-person deal when you're two and a half. But Luke is 18 now and I'm a little reluctant to try and wrestle his 6 foot 3 inch body on or off our loo. And I'm even more reluctant to wipe that less-than-cute butt of his. 

Luckily he didn't want me to either. But unluckily, the toilet had done what it's becoming world-famous for - it had blocked up. Oh yay! Lucky me!! (When is someone going to invent that Sarcastica font??) 

This was the second time that it had blocked up this week. The first was at 4:55 am on Tuesday morning. And I was the culprit. And I left Iven unblocking it. And when I finished at running I went to the shop and bought a plunger. It was fun walking around the shopping centre knowing that everyone who saw me could probably guess the state of my toilet.

When I got home I'd found that Iven had had success with a piece of wire and the toilet brush so I put the plunger behind the loo with the wire and the toilet brush, ready for the next time it blocked.

Luke had tried to unblock it but had chosen the piece of wire as his weapon and all he'd managed to do was hook 'the one that should have gotten away'. That's when he yelled for help. Enter Supermum. I unhooked yesterday's digested dinner and used the toilet brush  to do the rest. And, voila, we had a functioning toilet again. I've now added a new talent to my list. 

Iven has gone out and bought us a new throne and the plumber is coming on Tuesday. And I bags being the first to use it!







Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pins and Needles part 3

I have an appointment at my acupuncturist today. This will be number four and the second time that I've had this particular one. The first two sessions were with a locum, the triathlete. This particular one is a Chinese lady who also does herbal medicine. I had my first appointment with her last week and I must say we had a very odd conversation at the beginning.

She had the history that the locum had written down but there were some questions that she wanted to ask for herself. Like whether my extremities are colder than my core (yes) and how long I'd been unwell for (on and off for two and a half years). She also wanted to know more about the nausea. I told her about the lactose intolerance and the, ahem, wind issues. But it was her next question that left me a little stumped.

She wanted to know how my farts smelt! Did it smell bad or was it odourless? How does one put into words the quality of  one's flatus? Yes, sometimes I can clear a room and other times it could pass unnoticed if not for the trumpet herald. And if I said I liked the smell would she think I was vain? So many things flashed through my mind but I found it hard to verbalise an answer.

But having had time to ponder the issue I've decided that the question was a self-protective mechanism. Her intentions were to stick needles into my abdomen and I guess she was just wondering if she was going to have to don her World War 1 gas mask and crank up the incense. Or maybe she thought that if she used a wide-bore needle and attached tubing and a bottle she could have a barbecue that night. Or maybe she wanted to know whether it smelt like methane and if so she'd snuff out the incense all together.

I've taken a lot more notice of my 'odour' this week just so I can report back with some accuracy. And I'd like everyone to know that it smells like jasmine and gardenias. I'd also like to say that I AM vain and I lie occasionally.

*****

I really think that the acupuncture is helping, though. I have had way less days where I'm nauseated. My energy levels seem to be a little better. But best of all my running has been very encouraging. Today I did the route out to the uni, around the duck pond and back home. It's an undulating route with a bit of a hill on the return. I've walked that hill every time I've done this run. But not today. I ran all bar 200 m of the 10k. It was slow - 1:06 - but the last time I did that route it took me 1:17. That was only two weeks ago. And to prove that I've improved, there was only 1 beat difference in my average heart rate. 

It's an incredibly slow process but I'm seeing results.

*****

And the final good news for the day is all about my little baby. Toby has mastered the down-stairs!! I left him upstairs yesterday when I went down to my workroom and he came and found me. That's two flights of stairs and an awful lot of courage.

We've discovered that he has special healing powers. Josh brought over a friend the other day who was feeling a bit down and after a puppy hug he was feeling a lot better.

And Josh has also discovered that he's a great way to get attention from girls. Just put up one of these pics on your profile and see what reaction you get.