Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bastard? I Thought You Said Mustard!!

Conversation from the senior citizen's home.

Me : Would you like me to get you more yoghurt while I'm shopping tomorrow? 

Him : Umm. No thanks.

Me : Custard?

Him (makes an exasperated huffy noise)

Me : What's wrong?

Him : You called me Bastard!!

Me : (in an overly-loud, voice) CUSTARD! I SAID CUSTARD!!!


This is what life's become post-children. Weird, misunderstood conversations of dessert choices. Both rejected because of the effect on sensitive, non-lactose digesting bowels. And that's exactly where the topic turned after the Bastard incident. To farts, bowel motions and coprophagic dogs. I'm pretty sure there are homes out there where conversations run to Global Warming, Politics, the Economy, Ballet, Opera and Literature but that will never be a home I live in. 

I was still giggling about my conversation with my husband The Saucepan Man (apologies Enid Blyton) the next morning when I met my posse for a run so I filled them in on the pillow talk that happens at Chez Donaldson. They were as amused as I was so to brighten their dull and boring work days I took a photo of the bastard in the refrigerator cabinet at the supermarket and posted it on Facebook.


And while I was looking closer at all of the different varieties of Bastard they have on offer I discovered something. Something that will potentially change the lives of the residents at the afore-mentioned senior citizens' home forever. There is now a Zymil Bastard!!! That's right - a low lactose bastard for all of us oldies with dodgy digestive systems. Hallelujah! 

I'm excited. Iven's excited. But the dogs are the most excited. They are going to be blamed for so many less farts. 

Who would have thought that miscommunication could change the lives of so many in such a positive way?!!

Monday, January 2, 2017

I Need a New Car

I need a new car.

People often use the word 'need' instead of 'want' and I've been known to do this myself. But not in this case. There's a very valid reason why I need a new car.

It's not because there's anything actually wrong with my current car. I LOVE my little Suzuki Swift. I've had it for coming up to 12 years and it's never given me a single problem. Yeah the battery's needed replacing. A couple of times. The tyres have been replaced too. More than a couple of times. But that might be an indictment on how I take corners more than 'they don't make tyres like they used to'. And just the other day my Katie Noonan CD got stuck in the CD player because its ejector doesn't have the oomph that it used to - but neither do I so I don't hold it against my favourite mode of transportation.

I love its colour. I love the little trail of paw prints that go up the back and onto the roof. I love the way it zips around roundabouts without having to slow down (yeah, I know - my bad about the tyres). I don't even mind that it smells a little of dog when it's wet. Or when I've got a back seat full of my furry family.

So why do I NEED a new car if I love my current one and it's driving perfectly well? Because I need a new car key of course. 

And why do I need a new car key? It's not because I've lost mine. Or the spare. I know exactly where both of them are. But I don't like to use the spare because it doesn't open the door remotely and because I've forgotten which way to turn the key to unlock the door and I hate feeling stupid every time I turn it the wrong way first. Clearly the spare is only for extreme emergencies. 

So that leaves the good key. Which, as of this morning, leaves me feeling a bit icky every time I touch it. Because this morning that key was involved in a very unfortunate incident.

I was at my first speed session of 2017. Running 600m reps with 400m recoveries. Easing into the new year and, not wanting to boast (okay, maybe wanting to boast just a little), my speed had suffered the least out of the participants present. Woohoo! Winner, winner, chicken dinner!! Not that it's a competition - except on the days when I'm in front. Or maybe I should say 'day' because by next week I'll be at the back of the pack again.

I got to the fifth rep and had that familiar feeling. That querulous intestine - fart or poop? The immediate answer was fart. But that was closely followed by the other option. Damn! Luckily I could get through rep #6 where there was a convenient toilet just around 20m away. 'Just' wasn't the right word for it though when I finished the rep. I have IBS and there was some urgency at this stage. Enough urgency that when I got to the loo I only had just enough time to wrestle my sweaty, sticky tights to the minimal clearance as to avoid embarrassment. 

Phew! All good. Except that I'd lost my lead in the non-race that is speed session. Time to get back to finish the last two reps.

I pulled up my tights and heard something disturbing. An extra plop in the toilet. WTF? 

My mind immediately went to the wristwatch that I'd misplaced yesterday. Had it somehow become tangled in the tights when I put them on? Was it now gradually sinking down into the murky depths? I like that watch. It was a gift from Iven. But I was prepared to sacrifice it to the sewerage gods because ... yuck!

I looked down into the bowl and the item wasn't as gold as I was expecting. (No seriously I do not believe that I poop out valuable metals. I'm talking about the watch). There was a lot of black. And a lot of confusion. Until I realised that it wasn't my missing watch. It was the car key that I needed to get me home after the session. 

Let us never speak of what happened next. Needless to say there's been a generous use of soap every time I think of what I had to do. I know I've put my hand up cows bums in the past but that was always with a glove on.

So that's why I need a new car. My hands aren't coping with the amount of washing that they've had to endure every time I look at, touch or think about my car key.

But the good news is that it still works. Well done Suzuki! You've made a poop-proof key. AND I found my watch.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Empty Nesting In A Not-So -Empty Nest

The end of 2016 is staring me right in the face. Well it is when I go to the toilet and shut the door because that's where we keep the calendar. Not that shutting the door is compulsory any more. Stuff has happened here. Major stuff! Stuff which means that I can be a bit laissez faire about the whole toilet door decision.

Our last chicken has flown the coop. After almost 30 years of having buffers in the house to stop Iven and I from sitting silently across from each other twiddling our thumbs and wondering what to talk about. Actually that hasn't even happened because Iven's flown the coop as well. But just for a week to visit his Mum. The thumb-twiddling fun starts tomorrow.

Admittedly I knew it was coming. I just didn't know how it was going to be timed. #1 son, the last hold-out, was going to be moving out when his fiancée moved back to Brisbane in January. But then her aunt decided to lend them her house while she went and grey-nomadded it around Australia for 6 months.

In the meanwhile Iven needed to pop down to Gunnedah and mum-sit for the week and in my excitement devastation I decided that I couldn't face cooking meals because I'd obviously be too busy pining for my lost love. Okay, it was more like I was taking a holiday from one of my most hated chores for the first time in ummmm almost 30 years.

To make this decision official and avoid any meal-expectation-disappointment for #1 son, I made the announcement on Friday.

"Sam, because Dad's going to be away next week I've decided I'm not going to cook dinners all week."

He looked at me dead in the eye and said "That's okay cause I'm moving out tomorrow"

I've been wondering ever since if I'd stopped cooking earlier would the mass exodus have happened sooner? Hmmm. Then I started wondering would I be lonely. A whole week alone! Not even a year ago we would sometimes have eight people in our house. It was getting pretty squeezy.

Can't be sad about everyone leaving when you've got this smile to brighten your day.

So it's been a very quiet week at Chez Donaldson. All except for the wolf pack, who Iven has trained to maliciously come whine at my door at 4:00am every morning. Nice one Hon - I've had all week to plan my revenge.

Of course we won't wake you at 4:00am. 

The 4:00am waking up calls have been a little annoying on run days when my alarm is set for 4:30. Believe me that extra thirty minutes of sleep makes a hell of a difference. And it was especially annoying on Wednesday morning when I'd been woken up at 2:11 (yes I checked my clock) by the toads in my neighbours pool having sexy-sexy time. Man, those suckers are loud. And they have endurance!

But today was rest day so the wolf pack was really considerate and woke me up at 3:58 am. So I got up, opened the back door, fed them (no point in putting it off or they'd have been at me again by 5:00 am) and crawled back into bed for just a few more minutes or even hours if I could manage it. And one by one all three of the dogs snuck into the bedroom to assuage their need for human company.

Ricky is always the neediest. He's 26 kilos of black and white over-enthusiasm. His version of sneaking into the bedroom involved a two metre long jump from the doorway onto the bed, lots of face-licking and tail-wagging. Bubbles, the geriatric mini fox terrier, just waddled in, fairly unnoticed and leapt what is her equivalent of a 'tall building in a single bound' onto the end of the bed. Toby was actually the only one who snuck. And he does it because Ricky intimidates him - as do flapping pieces of plastic when we're out walking, little old ladies who want to pat him and most other dogs that he's never met before.

Ricky doesn't like Toby getting any of the pats so he did his best to keep Toby away from my outstretched hand by cutting him off at the past and humping him. It's a very effective way of stopping forward progress - having a Dalmatian put you in a death lock and hammer away at you. Not that I'd know personally because Ricky's affections don't generally extend any further than poor long-suffering Tobes.

Ricky also has great endurance. Probably because the Dalmatian was bred to be a carriage dog - to run alongside carriages way back when there actually were carriages and dogs were allowed to run on the road. He has about as much endurance as a pair of toads going at it in our neighbour's swimming pool at 2:11 in the morning. Toby was starting to look distressed and his knees were starting to buckle under all the enthusiasm when all of a sudden there was a Christmas miracle.

I farted. Quite loudly. Hopefully loudly enough to wake the neighbours who encourage rampant nocturnal amphibian copulation in their backyard without considering the sleep patterns of their fence-sharers. But definitely loudly enough and with such unusual tone (I blame the berries and cherries I've been eating over the last couple of days) that Ricky did a spectacular dismount and went off in search of the source of the incredible noise.


I know, I'm ashamed of me too. But it was really funny. And that's been the tone of my week. You don't ever need to feel lonely when you've got a devoted wolf pack to keep you company.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Survival Instincts

I nearly died yesterday.

No joke. I'm serious. Deadly serious. (See what I did there?) Luckily I didn't or else you wouldn't get to read the tale of how I almost died.

Why I almost died has its origins way back a couple of weeks to the week after I ran Melbourne Half Marathon. Oh yeah, I ran Melbourne Half Marathon about a month ago.

It was fun but extremely windy with lots of flies. Came home with another NY qualifier and a 6th in my AG but no sub 1:40. Also came home with a virus that really took hold about a week later. URT infection, fevers and a nasty cough that's taken a while to shake.

Roll on a couple of weeks and I'm still occasionally coughing and it's the coughing that nearly killed me yesterday. The coughing and the lovely salad roll on a toasted bun that I had for lunch. An unfortunate timing of a coughing fit when I had a mouthful of chicken, avocado, cucumber, tomato and a very crusty piece of bread that I hadn't quite chewed enough. The cough took me by surprise. A quick inhalation and that very crusty piece of bread lodged at the back of my throat and I couldn't breathe.

Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit!

I'm not going to apologise for my language because I was terrified. Totally alone - except for the wolf pack (that are untrained in first aid procedures). Not able to speak because I couldn't breathe. I couldn't ring 000 because I couldn't talk and anyway, by the time they arrived I probably would have already carked it. Or at least have a severe brain injury from oxygen deprivation.

I don't think I've ever been more scared - apart from the time that I almost choked on a two cent piece when I was quite young. But then there were people to run to. My Dad picked me up and hung me upside down and whacked my back and the coin dislodged. Yesterday my Dad wasn't there and even if he was I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be able to hang me upside down any more. I'm pretty sure he can't lift me up either. Things have changed since I was 6 or 7.

It's weird the things that go through your head when you're potentially taking your last breaths. There was no 'my life flashed before my eyes' moments. It was all about survival. What can I do to breathe again? The instinct to survive is incredibly strong.

I remembered reading in the Readers Digest about someone doing the Heimlich Manoeuvre to himself so that's what I did. A hard punch to my stomach. Not easy to be effective when you're doing it to yourself. The angle is all wrong. And let's face it - my upper body strength is really crap. I'm an endurance athlete not a strength one.

Then I found a chair to try to do it against (and just a side note here - a swivelling desk chair on wheels on a slippery floor is probably not a good option). Again  not immediately effective but between the punch in the stomach and the chair procedure and the frantic gasping for breath, the very crusty piece of bread dislodged and I could breathe freely again.

It took a good twenty minutes for my heart rate to settle while I contemplated what could have been. Iven walking in after work to find me on the floor of the workroom. An autopsy. Ughh, I'd rather go to my grave without being sliced up unless it's to use my organs for a good cause - and really, who wouldn't want my heart? It's pretty damned strong. My liver's been barely touched by alcohol but I can't guarantee the same about liver flukes or other parasites that like to wander through viscera from my vet days. Then a quiet and dignified memorial service where all attendees were required to wear bright, fun activewear in keeping with the Run Amok ethos.

Then I googled 'what to do when you're choking and alone' and I'd been pretty right with what I'd tried but I found something that may have been even better which I want to share today. Just in case any of you find yourself with a very crusty piece of bread lodged at the back of your throat.



Watch it! Embed it in your brain. Make your family members watch it. One day it might save your life.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fancy Meeting You Here

Have you ever have something weird happen to you in a race?

I'm not talking about farting, burping, wetting yourself, pooping, or vomiting. They're all pretty normal activities for a race. I'm talking more about something that leaves you thinking 'can't believe that happened'.

Something weird happened to me in last week's half marathon. Yeah, I know - you didn't know I was running a half marathon. Yes, I've been an absent blogger. Again. Because life. Because busy. Because stuff. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

So just to catch you up, I ran a half marathon last weekend. In Sydney. It was originally going to be a marathon but I just wasn't feeling the training love and lots of my friends were doing the half so the full became a half. No regrets. Just a fun weekend in Sydney. A well-needed long weekend of no jobs and no responsibility and no stress of worrying about running 42.2k.

Just a little side-note here - #2 son and girlfriend coincidentally chose last weekend to move into a unit. And because of the Sydney trip we managed to miss out on having to haul furniture. Mostly. Except for the fridge that arrived on Friday before keys were in possession and when no one except little old me was around to help lug it up two flights of stairs. There was a near-death crushing accident because I'm not so coordinated at pulling extremely heavy white goods while walking backwards up steps. But I lived to tell the tale and so, fortunately, did the fridge.

Anyway, back to the race. And the weird thing that happened. I was running along thinking the usual things that I think in a race - Am I running too fast? Am I going to die? This is not fun. I'm going to have ice cream afterwards. How can they call this course flatter with all these hills? Shake it off, shake it off. Oh no - not another 16k of Tay-Tay. Think of another song. Shake it off, shake it off. Ooh look at those cute tights. Is that rain? - when I heard a voice next to me.

"Hey, you live in Howitt St don't you?"

A woman that I'd never seen before was right next to me. A woman who freakily knew which street I live in.

"Yep"

"I live up the road in the blue house. I see you out running all the time. Love your tights."

Okay, so a neighbour not a stalker - phew. And a neighbour with pretty damn good taste in tights. And a neighbour who's training for Melbourne marathon and was doing Sydney as a bit of a hit-out.

She ran off (a neighbour who's faster than me) then when she got about 30 metres away she turned around and ran back.

"That was rude of me. My name's Kerrie"

"Charmaine"

And she was off again. Leaving me a little bemused. I'd finally met the lady in the blue house but in another city in the middle of a race.

So has anything like this happened to any of you?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Not Dead!

Not dead!

I know you were probably wondering. And secretly suspecting Iven of something nefarious. Because it's the quiet ones that you can never trust.

I've just been busy. With life. Business. Running. Racing. Caking. Attending weddings. Taking dogs to the emergency vets and getting yelled at by psycho personal trainers for parking in their spot. You know. The usual.

In the time since I last wrote anything here I've done two races.

One was the River Run 100. Just part of a relay team - not the whole 100 solo. Not that crazy! And the other was the Brisbane Half Marathon which went pretty much how I expected it to go. Not super-fast because, hills. But totally respectable as far as finishing time's concerned.

Is it weird that I checked out the guy's finishing time to see if I beat him? (Yeah - I totally chicked him)

My tights business seems to be gathering a little bit of momentum. Mostly because of the advertising I'm getting through Intraining - a local business that stocks my label. And because of the exposure they've given the tights at a couple of race expos. I've also been lucky enough to get them in Sportsfirst at Toombul and Kenmore and the tights have been selling at both places. I get such a buzz to be in a race and see someone I don't know wearing my tights.


 The caking was for a friend's sister's baby shower. Guess what sex she's having?!!


And for my sister's wedding. 



 She makes a pretty stunning bride. And he scrubs up pretty well too.


As does my mob. Love all of these to bits!


That was all the fun stuff from the last month. Now for the not-so-fun.

Ricky got blocked up again. And by blocked up I mean he couldn't pee properly. Urinary urolithiasis is the medical term - aka bladder stones. It's a fairly common problem with Dalmatians. They lack an enzyme to break down protein properly. They get crystals in their urine and the crystals can become stones which can block up their urethras. Ouch! 

Poor Ricky was trying to pee but not very much was coming out so we had to take him to the vet. She unblocked him but strongly recommended that he have an ultrasound to see what was happening inside. The ultrasound results were ominous so we booked him in to have surgery.There just happened to be a public holiday that week so he was booked in for Thursday and of course he got blocked up again on Wednesday - the public holiday. 

We had to rush him to an emergency vet clinic in Woolloongabba across town. So stressful! We arrived at the clinic and parked out the side in a parking spot that was designated for another business. It was a public holiday and the street looked totally deserted apart from the vet clinic so I assumed that the parking spot wouldn't be needed. 

I was wrong.

A woman came out from the 'boutique' fitness centre that the park belonged to and asked us to move our car. We said 'no problem' but when my husband walked towards the road to check out where to move the car to she totally lost the plot and started yelling at us, threatening to have us towed. We tried to explain to her that yes, we were going to move it but she wouldn't let up. It made what was an already stressful situation so much more so. And apparently we're not the first people that she's done this to. The receptionist at the clinic told us that she's made a lot of their clients cry and they now report her to the city council. My tip for Brisbane locals is to give the 'boutique' gym on Balaclava St in Woollongabba a big swerve. No one needs that bad energy in their lives.

The vet was able to unblock Ricky again. Thank goodness. And first thing Thursday morning he was back at our local vets to have these nasty not-so-little things flushed out of his bladder.


The cone of shame made for a very frustrated Dalmatian for ten days. Actually it was a double cone of shame because the first cone wasn't quite long enough to stop a very flexible dog from creating a sore right next to his suture line. He needed lots of cuddles and tummy rubs.


You've never seen a more excited dog than when we finally removed the stitches and the cones on Sunday. The celebrations were exuberant ... and R-rated.


So now we've got to try to prevent it from happening again. He's on a special diet and on gout medication (because it's basically the same issue). And we have to try to get his urine to a neutral pH instead of the acid pH that it was. This basically means that for ten minutes a day I'm chasing a very suspicious Ricky around the garden with a kidney dish begging him to pee.



My life is so glamorous!



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Pokemon Go Cautionary Tale

Anyone else been swept up in the Pokemon Go craze?

My sons were really into Pokemon when they were young. I knew all about Ash and Misty and Team Rocket and Pikachu and Pokeballs. And then time passed and they grew up and I forgot. Until a couple of weeks ago. All of a sudden they were talking about it again.

I had some vivid deja vu moments. My sons were going on hunts to catch Pokemon. But not imaginary ones any more. Real, virtual Pokemon. And they sounded like they were having fun. Good, clean, healthy fun. So I hopped on board.

Took me no time to catch my first Pokemon. A Charmander for Charmaine. Couldn't have been more perfect. I was hooked. The excitement of the chase. The collecting. The comparing (do you have a Vaporeon with a combat power of 933 because I do?). Hatching eggs by walking - or running - as long as you put them in an incubator first. And laughing with my Pokemon-chasing posse about the nay-sayers. Nothing wrong with a little bit of silly, childish fun. And certainly nothing wrong with a fully grown, 53 year old woman living in a virtual world for a few minutes a day.


I might need to keep my eye out for  the symptoms of Lyssa Virus after Iven's close encounter.

Not even a cheeky Clefairy can wake a tired Dalmatian
But in the last couple of days I found out that there is a dark side to living the Pokemon Life. My health and well-being have been challenged. Twice.

The first was Monday night. My middle son and I decided we'd take the dogs for a walk around UQ after work. For a bit of exercise for us and the dogs and some quality time hunting Pokemon. Oh and bonding. Let's not forget bonding.

The dogs were soooo excited to be having a walk in a new and interesting-smelling place. Especially once we got to the duck pond. Duck poo is like Old Spice to the discerning dog nose. Toby was a sniffing machine which was a little inconvenient as I was deep in Psyduck territory. I'd missed catching one the day before so I was determined to add one to my Pokedex.

The phone vibrated in my hand and there it was - the elusive Psyduck. Right near Josh and Ricky. I tapped on him and got ready to aim and fire off a Pokeball. Or two. Or even three if it took that many. And while I was in that distracted state Toby took his opportunity. He'd spotted a little cluster of real ducks down at the water's edge and he was on his own duck hunt. With me attached.


Did you know that it's really hard to stop a determined 32k retriever who has a bit of momentum and the smell of duck up his nostrils? The ducks took flight into the water thinking that would stop Toby but retrievers are water dogs and he wasn't planning on stopping. It was only my significant weight advantage and my equal determination not to go swimming in the university duck pond in the middle of winter that stopped us. Right at the water's edge. Heart racing. Breathless. With the sound of my son's laughter ringing in my ears.

But I caught my Psyduck. So it was definitely worth it.

So I survived my first negative Pokemon experience without any real disaster. Number two happened just a couple of days later. 

Wednesday I turned up at the morning run just not feeling the love. I was supposed to do a 16k with a 10k tempo portion. I'd had an ordinary speed session the day before and just felt off for the rest of the day and I wasn't feeling much better after a night's sleep so I pulled the pin on the tempo bit and just ran what-should-have-been-easy-but-felt-way-harder pace and when it turned out to be a kilometre short I didn't worry.

We had our usual coffee and my stomach churned. I went home and had breakfast and it churned some more. Worked for a few hours then had lunch and my stomach churned so much that I threw up. A couple of times. Ughh! I'd caught the virus that had struck Josh down the day before. The same Josh that I'd shared the Pokemon walk and a car ride in close quarters with on Monday just before he got sick. 

Strike two Pokemon Go!

But again, this experience had its silver lining. I'm a couple of kilos lighter today. So winning! And while I was feeling so disgustingly nauseated last night and not able to go out in the real world to hunt for virtual monsters, I used a lure and caught a Jigglypuff. When life gives you lemons it doesn't hurt to make lemonade.