Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Short and Sweet

Just keeping this post short and sweet. Except that it's not so sweet. The opposite of sweet is savoury but what I'm talking about is quite unsavoury. Again!

But be assured that there will be no mention of vomitus this time around.

So today's topic is dog walking - of which I have been doing quite a bit of lately with my better half interstate visiting his sick, elderly mother.

I'm quite an experienced dog walker. I've had dogs since I was 16 and I can happily wrangle my two around a 5k circuit without wrapping myself around too many poles.

But despite my years of experience there's something that I keep forgetting. Dogs like to cover their excreta after they've finished. Well my dogs do anyway. I'm not sure if it's some evolutionary instinct so other predators can't find them but the fact that they like to pee as high as they can up a pole so other dogs think that there's one giant canine living in the area would dispute that theory.

Maybe my dogs are modest but they like to cover their poop with a good layer over dirt, bark and whatever else they can find to kick over it. And that's the part I keep forgetting. When I bend over to pick up said poop in a plastic bag. And said poop is on a hill and the pooper is facing uphill and the poop-picker-upper (me) is downhill. Which causes the poop to be sent like a heat-seeking missile right in my direction.

All I can say is that I'm glad that the poop was fairly firm. 

But that smell followed me for the other 4.5k of our loop.

It's just as well I love them so much.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Reliving My Youth

Have you ever tried to relive your youth? And did you expect that nothing would have changed because even though three decades (or more) may have passed and you may have grey hairs, creaky joints and a few lines on you face, you basically still feel about fifteen?

I did exactly that on Saturday. Yes, call me delusional, but I fully expected my visit to the Ekka to be just like it used to be back when I was 15 - except this time I'd have more disposable income than the $5 pocket money that I used to save for the months leading up to August.

I was wrong.

It didn't end well.

For all you non-Brisbanites, the Ekka is our local show. When the country comes to the city and we're encouraged to spend ridiculous amounts of money in the name of having a good time.

I used to love going to the Ekka when I was younger. The rides. The fairy floss. The show bags. The redolent aroma of manure mixed with hay. Scratching pig bums until they almost collapsed in ecstasy. Watching the butchers make sausages - probably out of the same pigs that had had their bums scratched last year. And collecting as many freebies as we could carry. 

It was all fun and exciting - especially the rides. For me, the scarier the better. If it tossed me around and turned my stomach inside out I was in heaven. I loved the rush of being terrified but knowing that I was safe.

I hadn't been for about 15 years and every year I would have a hankering to go but then talk myself out of it. But this year Iven was out of town and Luke and Becky were house-sitting and Serena was working at the Ekka so Josh and I were at a loose end on Saturday afternoon. He took pity on his bored mother and agreed to a mother-and-son expedition to the Exhibition. 

When we arrived our first port of call was to visit Serena who's working selling ice cream for the duration of the show. And my Snicker's ice cream was even better because I was having dessert before dinner. You can do that when you're an adult pretending to relive your youth.

Milany Gelato is amazing.
Then we followed it with the main course - a potato tornado. Basically a spiral potato on a stick, battered and fried. I had run 29k in the morning and had a case of extreme food entitlement. All healthy eating bets are off when you go to the Ekka for the first time in fifteen years and you've burned a few thousand calories that morning.

And then we made a rash and foolish decision that only the young and young-at-heart would ever make. We decided to go to Sideshow Alley to have a ride on something wild and terrifying. Because I love wild and terrifying when it comes to rides. And because I'm a pretty cool Mum even at 51.

Josh chose this one.

We bought our tickets and stood in queue and soon it was our turn to be buckled in. I tucked my glasses down my bra so they didn't go flying off never to be seen again and leaving me unable to drive home, then we were off.

It started off slowly. Just a few rotations. A little bit of tilting. Lulling us into a false sense of security. Then the lights started flashing and the music amped up and it was on. We were flipping and spinning and laughing and shrieking. Well, I was shrieking and Josh was laughing. And it was fun and I was fifteen again. And it didn't matter that I was the oldest on the ride by two and a half decades (yes, Josh was the second oldest). I still had it!

The ride slowed down and I was simultaneously disappointed and relieved. Relieved that I'd survived and disappointed that it was over so soon. 

I needn't have been disappointed cause it wasn't over yet. 

No, we were slowing down just so we could change direction. Because it's even more fun to do the flips and spins backwards.

Years ago I read somewhere that as you get older you're more prone to fall victim to motion sickness. Especially going backwards. I have now proven that fact to be true.

Not long after we started going backwards I realised that there was a good reason that my mother had warned me not to go on wild rides after eating all those years ago. That deep-fried potato floating on a raft of Snicker's ice cream didn't feel so good any more. I had a Phil Dunphy flashback.

All the fun had gone out of the ride and all I could do was focus on keeping what was in my stomach IN my stomach. There was a lot of swallowing. And a bit of praying that it would all end soon. I did not want to be the old lady who started an epic chain-reaction. 
You can thank me later for using the cartoon Gif. The other one was a little more graphic.

When the ride started to slow again, I was probably the happiest person on board. I was off as soon as they unbuckled me. I needed to walk to settle what was still sloshing around in my stomach. And I needed to find the nearest loos just in case the walking didn't work.

The walking didn't work. And I did find the loos in time. And I tried to throw up as quietly as possible. And then I felt better for a little while. Until I didn't any more. 

The second toilet visit was even more spectacular. And though I thought I'd managed to keep my vomiting to myself I knew I'd failed when I heard voices from the next cubical.

"You only think you want to vomit because you can smell it"

I think it'll be a while till I visit the Ekka again. And I'm pretty sure my wild-ride days are over. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Back Into It

I've been able to run this week.

Hallelujah!! Equilibrium is slowly being restored to my life.

It started on Tuesday at speed session. After missing three in a row I was seriously not looking forward to the pain. Missing a month of speed session has to hurt doesn't it?

Surprisingly, it didn't hurt any more than it usually does. But if you think about it that shouldn't be as surprising as I found it. Speed session is always going to hurt - the only variable is how fast one is able to run at a 'OMG I wish this rep was over because I'm going to die' level of pain. So after careful consideration the truly surprising thing was that I really hadn't gotten too much slower from not having attended.

My nemesis, Bevan, was there. He'd just started back after an injury when I stopped going so this was the first session that we'd done together for a while. And he was ready to revisit our previous rivalry. I was not. But despite all my best efforts to let him get ahead, I couldn't quite shake him. He kept waiting for me on the recoveries to try to spur me on to some faster running. And maybe that was why I wasn't that much slower. His dastardly plan worked!

I missed Wednesday's run due to a sick kiddie-induced late night. (Yes, the sick kiddie is in his mid-20s but who doesn't like to be looked after when they have the flu?!!). So today I ran yesterday's planned 16k. It was hard and cold and I wanted to go back to bed the moment I got out of it - but it was awesome.

It reminded me again that I need to run. It centres me. It takes me away from whatever stressful situation that might be happening and gives me peace. I get to see the city come alive. I get to see the beauty of the sunrise. I get to feel the kinship of the other early risers who also understand the magic of the morning.

And I get to appreciate unique and special moments. Like almost being taken out by a cyclist who apparently was indicating to turn left but his black arm warmers made that tricky to see in the dark. Like startling/being startled by a possum in the branch overhead - I don't know who got more of a fright.

And then there was the sunrise. The sky with a soft pink border as a backdrop to the boats and the bridge. That view is why the Botanical Gardens run is my favourite.

Can you tell that I'm starting to feel my normal self again? 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Troll Attack!

I've been sitting here for ten minutes trying to work out what to write about. I feel like I've been away so long even though it's only been about a fortnight. So much has happened. Too much has happened. And very little of it I'm able to share.

I haven't been able to run much. I haven't been able to eat much (which is why I haven't been able to run). I've had to take time out to escape into my cave and lick my wounds.

Damn, life is hard at times.

But instead of mulling over how I'm feeling I want to share the highlight of last week.

I was attacked by trolls!

Not these kind of trolls. 

The trolls I'm talking about are the nasty humans that like to stir up trouble from their computer keyboard. And I was their target because I'd written a review to my local supermarket just giving them feedback on the fact that they kept changing their aisles around. I'd written this review at least six months ago.

The first troll decided that I had way too little to do with my life and way too much time on my hands if a supermarket layout was enough to upset me. Hah - he obviously has no idea how an upset menopausal woman with a decent vocabulary would write. My comment was just constructive feedback so they wouldn't lose frustrated customers.

So I kindly informed Troll #1 that it was precisely because I had plenty to do and not enough time that having to search for items every time they changed the layout was why I and so many of their other customers were frustrated.

That was a mistake. He'd baited a hook, I'd taken a bite and it was on.

He pulled in a friend of his, Troll #2, and it proceeded to get very nasty. I got called a s%!thouse. Friends of mine were called trolls, bitter old ladies. 'Children are starving in Africa and you're crying over a Woolworths layout'.

It was kind of amusing. Here they were saying that I didn't have enough important things to fill my life and yet they couldn't see the irony that they were filling their time trawling through old supermarket reviews to find some excitement. They must have finished watching the boxed set of Sons of Anarchy that they'd received for Christmas.

I wanted so very much to cut them down with my scathing retorts and obviously superior intellect but reason told me that once they resorted to personal attacks, they probably wouldn't actually understand words of more than two syllables. And that would only serve to infuriate their tiny little brains further.
So I pulled down the review and had a bit of a laugh with the friends who had become involved. Together we decided that neither Troll #1 or Troll #2 could possible be runners and we left it at that.

But to Jordan or Daniel, in the very remote possibility that you read my blog, I don have one last thing to say - because it killed me not to have the last word.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Philosophy and Snap Weddings

Life is hard sometimes.

And by hard I mean can't-eat-because-I'm-so-concerned hard. The tough stuff I've alluded to over the last couple of months has been on-going. And sometimes it's seemed really dark.

But what I've discovered is that when it's really dark the little glimmers of light shine brighter. Little things like finding a note from your favourite trolley boy man in with your groceries.

I'm pretty sure that a lot of customers ended up with notes like this but I'm pretending that I was the only one. And yes, that's a chocolate cake mix stain on the note.

I've also found that when you're feeling most alone that people come out of the woodwork to surround you with love and concern so you no longer feel so alone.

So yes, life can be really hard at times but it's in the hard times that we realise just how blessed we are. I have a wonderful family. I have amazing friends. I have my health. I have my dog who just seems to know when to climb up on my lap for a cuddle. AND I have about three kilos which I'm really going to enjoy putting back on - I'm not a worry-eater.


We had a family wedding last weekend. It was one of the fastest arranged weddings I've ever heard of. None of this book-a-venue-a-year-ahead stuff. It was all done and dusted in about a month.

Luckily our family has been blessed with amazing skills to be able to pull it together so quickly. My youngest two sisters, Cindy and Lucy, are extraordinarily good shoppers and took care of the dress and the suit. Cindy, a hairdresser, doubled up on hair duty. My Mum organised the reception venue and did the flowers. Dad was chauffeur. And I did the cake. 

Orn and Dad (and his prized '37 Chevy)


Annie - the cutest flower girl ever.

My family minus Sam, Hannah and Becky - snap weddings mean that not everyone can make it.

No it wasn't perfect but yes, I'm pretty proud of it. And yes, it was a challenge to cut.

Pretty proud of my family.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Restored to Perfection

I need to print a retraction.

Because as an investigative journalist I suck!

I would never win a Walkley Award because I don't check my facts. I base all my stories on momentary observations and large leaps to wrong conclusions.

For those of you who don't read regularly and those of you with short term memory issues, you may not recall my post of a couple of days ago so I'll give you the Reader's Digest version. For those of you who read and memorised it verbatim feel free to skip ahead.

I left a couple of pieces of chocolate out the other night. On a low coffee table. In reach of my perfect dog. As a test. In the morning I found this wrapper. Covered in saliva. No chocolate.

My conclusion? The temptation was too great. And my perfect dog is only a near-perfect one.

What I didn't do was ask any witnesses to the crime. Nor did I have the saliva forensically tested for species. If I had had the saliva tested I would have found that it was (drum roll please) ... human!!

I'd found the wrapper in the bin so my assumption had been that Iven had found it on the floor after Toby had devoured the contents. I'd set this test for Toby - but I hadn't told anyone else that there was an experiment under-way and not to tamper with the equipment. I'd also assumed that no one in my family would consider chocolate to be breakfast food. Because I have trained them better than that.

My house of ill-conceived cards came tumbling down that evening when I finally remembered to tell Iven about my little test. He had the grace to look sheepish and to confess that the chocolate had tasted amazing with his morning cup of tea. 

And with that confession Toby was restored to perfect status. Iven - not so perfect but at least he has enough conscience to not let the dog take the blame.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Testing Times

Last night I set a test for my dog.

You all must know how much I love Toby. That if my house was burning and I only had time to get out one of my loved ones, it would be him. I wear rose-coloured glasses when it comes to him. Everything he does is cute and amazing and, quite frankly, doggy-genius. There is no better dog in the world.

Once I got him trained, I could make him do or not do pretty much anything. It's such a power-trip having total control over another living being and have them still love you unconditionally. For example, I'm decorating a lolly cake and a malteser rolls off the cake and onto the floor I can stop him from pouncing on it and gobbling it up - but mostly I don't because it's funny to see him scrabbling around the tiled floor trying to chase it.

But if I had to say his one small flaw, it would be his obsession with food. He loves it. Doesn't matter what you're eating, if it's good enough for a human it's good enough for a Toby. And there is never a meal that's eaten without his pleading brown eyes in the background.

We've been training him for months now not to eat in our lounge room - which is also the dining room. And by training him, I really mean that we're training ourselves not to give him any food in there. It's a tough one for the weaker amongst us (yes, I'll admit that I'm the worst culprit and that Iven has a heart of stone) but we'reI'm getting really good at resisting. So I thought it was time to set him the ultimate test. I left the remnants of a chocolate bar (two small pieces) in the wrapper on the coffee table when I went to bed. 

Yes, I did it on purpose. No I wasn't deliberately slack.

And this is what I found this morning. 

I've had to remove my rose-coloured glasses and admit that he's not perfect. But he's pretty damned close.