Monday, December 31, 2012

A Crisis, Lots of News and a Give-away

Happy New Year!

Thank goodness 2012 is finally over. It didn't go out without one last little sting to its tail. There was a near disaster averted. I went shopping with my eldest yesterday. He had a gift voucher from Christmas that he wanted to use to buy himself a treat - new socks! I had to leave him to it for a quick toilet visit and when I came back I realised, to my horror, that he had a bundle of socks that were EXACTLY THE SAME as his brother's.


A little over-dramatic? Not really when you're the one who washes and folds the laundry and puts them into appropriate piles. Not when your sons all wear the same size clothing (mostly) right down to their socks and jocks. Sometimes getting the right clothes into the right piles can be traumatic. And it can be downright impossible if two people have the same things.

So far I've managed the laundry situation by making the boys buy clothes of a certain colour. Sam wears mostly blue and black undies. Josh goes for brights and Luke mostly has patterns. Sam bought himself some tropical print ones in bright colours and they ended up on both Luke's and Josh's piles.

Christmas gifts add a whole new level of indecision to my laundry sorting. When the Aunties and Grandparents give shirts it takes me weeks to get it right. If I was smart I'd photograph the new ones and put a cheat sheet on the wall. But I'm not that smart or that motivated.

Luckily I made it back before he'd gotten to the checkout. Crisis averted!

2013 has started off on a good note. It doesn't get much better than a really good night's sleep that's so deep that you don't even hear the fireworks go off at midnight. Actually, it does get better ... when you start the brand new year with a nice 10k run.

The roads were almost empty when I left home just before 6:30 am. It was warm but not hideous. And it was just so peaceful. There's nothing much better than running on a public holiday. I saw three other runners, six cyclists and two hardy dog-walkers.

And talking about dogs, Toby's learning a new trick for 2013. It requires enormous restraint for a dog who is obsessed with food but as food's the reward, he's happy to give it a go. Hopefully I'll soon be posting a successful catch off his nose.


And on the topic of new tricks (how's that for multiple segues?) I'm trying a new trick myself. I'm doing my best impression of Oprah and giving away some free stuff! Admittedly it's something that I've made myself - yay for home made free stuff!! I'm going to give away either a pair of children's bathers, a running crop or a pair of tights (male or female) of your choice. 


All you have to do is become a follower (or already be one), like my new Facebook page (another first for 2013) and let me know you've done so in the comments. And spread the word - you never know I might get generous and give away more than one prize. Entries close on the 15th of January which is, coincidentally, my first day back at work.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 - My Annus Horribilis

"I want to run four times a week, strength train twice and throw in some yoga at least three times a week. With my running I'd like to get my mileage back up around the 50-55k per week"

I just checked back to my New Year's post for this year and that's the only real hint of a resolution that I made for the last year. And how did I go. Major, epic FAIL! But it was because of circumstances beyond my control and I'm at peace with it. My main aim of 2012 was to find out what the hell was wrong with me and I finally found it so I'll count 2012 as a success - albeit a pretty torrid and traumatic one.

The year started for me with another bout of exhaustion with no apparent cause. A diagnosis of post-viral fatigue meant resting as much as possible. I spent the days wondering if I'd be able to survive the day without a nap or two, worrying whether I could get through all the work that had to be done for my business and at home. I tried alternative therapies to try to up my energy levels and whenever I could I'd try to continue an exercise program that was so itiful compared to what I'd been doing before. 

For weeks I couldn't run - so I'd walk. And then I did a mix of run/walk. And I gradually built back up to be able to run the 10k at the Gold Coast marathon festival in July. It may have been my slowest time ever but I ran the whole way and I was thrilled. And then I set my sights on the half marathon in October and again managed to finish, slowly but surely. I've finished the year with 1650k on my Garmin which is much better than I would have dreamed at the beginning of the year.

It's been a tough year for someone who likes to set goals. How can you set goals if you don't know if you're going to be well enough to do anything. I went into both of my races with contingency plans. If I couldn't run the whole way I'd walk. And if I was too tired I'd just use the weekend as a holiday. It's not a terribly satisfying way to do things but beggars can't be choosers and just being there had to be enough for me. 

But I've learnt heaps about myself this year.

I've learnt that I'm a dreadful patient. I get terribly frustrated to not be able to do the things I took for granted before. I also hate to ask for help and I've had to do that A LOT this year. But I've learnt that people don't resent you for having to help out. 

I've found out that I have some amazing friends. People who will drive for an hour to let you know that they care how bad you feel that you've had to put your dog down. People who turn up with flowers when you're worried about your son. People who listen to your tales of woe and keep coming back for more. People who live miles away and send you such uplifting, caring texts that it brings tears to your eyes and gives you the strength to carry on one more day. People who know you're in a cranky mood but still offer to meet you for coffee even though you frighten them when you're cranky (yes, I mean you Coach Chris). All these wonderful people have been my props when the going has been tough and my knees have felt like they've been buckling under me. I am so incredibly blessed.

I've learnt to find happiness in the little things. Toby was one of the little things that has brought me enormous happiness and made me laugh every day.

How can you keep a straight face when this is what greets you at the door, lights flashing?

And how can you not take a tennis-ball-throwing break from work when you see this face?

It's not been all bad having to take life at a slower pace. You get a bit more time to see the treasures that are hidden if you rush on by.


I'm really looking forward to 2013. It's going to be nice to turn over the page and have a nice fresh one to start writing on.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Indiscretions

I'm paying the price for yesterday's gustatory indiscretions. I knew the dangers. I'd warned myself of the consequences over and over again. I went against medical advice and ate like I ate in Christmases past. It was delicious and I don't regret it - well, there might be just the tiniest bit of food remorse.

Yesterday was just lovely. I woke up early and took my puppy for a run. There was method in my madness - I want Toby to learn to run with me. I want him to build up fitness slowly and carefully. And I'd run a 10k the day before and I knew if I took Toby I'd have to take lots of walk breaks. We set off up the hill but the run was almost over before it started. On the downhill, Toby spied a magpie and took off after it at a sprint. That meant that I was suddenly sprinting too - no warning and absolutely no balance. I just had to keep my legs moving quicker than they wanted to try to stay under my hurtling body. I'm so glad it was really early and there were no witnesses or else I may have ended up an unwitting contestant on the Funniest Home Video Show.

Once I'd regained my composure we continued on. Toby managed a good two kilometre stretch until we came to our next hazard. There was a dog off-leash in the school and there was only a wire fence between them. Toby's still a little wary of strangers since the attack so he bolted sideways ... into my leg. And once again I was flailing both arms and legs trying to stop an epic face-plant. Luckily my previous practice held me in good stead and the passing cyclists were disappointed that the potential carnage was averted. My balance is a little better than I thought it was.

Unfortunately it was a morning when mishaps came in threes. We managed to make it safely back to the oval next to our house (and I do mean literally next to - our fence is the school's fence). I decided, because there was no one around, to take Toby off his leash for the last little bit and I decided we'd run till my watch beeped. We took off around the oval and when we got to the place where we usually continue past the tennis courts to home my watch still hadn't beeped so I went on. Toby wasn't having a bar of this. He still hadn't had his breakfast and I suspect he was a bit over running in the heat wearing a fur coat. He sat down and refused to go on. And when I continued to run away he chased me down and jumped at my back. Strike three! Still didn't fall, though. Toby zero, Me three!

Once home and fed we started on our traditional (since last year) Christmas bagel baking activity. We have a very light lunch and bagels fit the bill with a bit of ham, salad and fruit (and assorted chocolates). It's a family activity. I mix the ingredients then get all my helper elves to pitch in with the kneading. They did a spectacular job and our bagels were delicious! But bagels are made of wheat and wheat is on my 'naughty' list - indiscretion number one.


After lunch was another family favourite tradition - the nap! It's an absolute must to keep the adults going for the rest of the festivities otherwise known as Christmas dinner. My Mum surpassed herself with the turkey this year. It was the best yet. And my sister Julie did her usual brilliant job with the desserts - Christmas pudding and custard AND Christmas ice cream. Christmas ice cream is my absolute favourite but is not lactose-free. I knew the risks but chose to indulge anyway. Indiscretion number two.

Today we went to see Les Mis. We'd just sat down to watch the opening credits when I felt the ghost of Christmas Present. There was audible rumbling that was only masked by Russell Crowe's big notes, cannon fire and the munching of the man seated in front of us. The rumbling continued through the entire three hours and luckily remained just that - lots of noise but no action.

 I'm planning on an afternoon walk with my favourite bowl-licker to rid me of ... well you probably have guessed what I'll be well rid of. I will keep a wide berth of smokers, barbecues and any other open flames.

And when it comes to next Christmas and the Christmas ice cream is passed around I will probably indulge again. Despite the pain, I have no regrets.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve Surprise

Just a quickie. I wasn't actually going to post today but events transpired which were hard for me not to share.

I went out for a run this morning. It was a pleasant enough 10k as far as 10k's go at the moment. There was sweat - running into my eyes, down my arms, legs and butt crack. There were Christmas greetings exchanged with Peter the Greek (he's a fixture on every one of my runs to the university). There were rowers on the river. Lots of cyclists cycling. And a Kookaburra in a gum tree (apologies to the writer of 12 Days Of Christmas).

When I'd left home, Iven was just catching a few zzz's on the couch before heading off to work. When I got back home the couch was still occupied. I thought for a moment that it was still Iven and he'd really drifted off and was going to be late for work but a quick second glance told me that it was Josh. A third glance told me that he was completely starkers.

                                    
This is a G-rated (mostly) blog so I've 'pixelated' the picture for your viewing comfort. 

Josh had gone out the night before and was a little under the weather. My guess is that he'd gotten up to go to the toilet in the morning and then gotten confused about the direction of his bedroom - ending up on the couch.

I tried to wake him up but he's a heavy sleeper at the best of times and this wasn't the best of times so I had no hope. So I ended up getting a modesty towel and left him in peace.

But my philosophy as a mother is that it's every mother's duty to embarrass their child all the way through their life - to help build resilience. And I have a little streak of evil in my sense of humour. So it wasn't very long before a little plan was knocking on the front of my brain. All it required was a visit to the garden and a camera.

I don't have a fig tree but zucchini leaves are a similar shape - albeit a bit furrier. Position said leaf strategically and then take the incriminating photo.

Hmm ... now I wonder how to get best use of it.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Dog That Ate Christmas

I'll get to the dog-eating-Christmas part soon but first things first. I truly believe that testosterone makes you sweat more. 

I woke up this morning at some God-forsaken hour to run with the group only to find that, yet again the thermometer hadn't dipped below 23.5C which is about 75 in American. Ugh! And that was the lowest it's been all week. Add to that 90% humidity and you know you've got a sweat-fest ahead.

Coach Chris kindly decided to take us the hilly route and against my better judgement I went with. Could have done my same old-same old flat route but a good friend was up from Canberra and I thought I'd risk the pain and suffering so we could get a little gossip time in. Note to self - gossip and hills don't mix. Gasping monosyllabic answers and hills definitely do.

The first kilometre was fairly flattish and that's when we got all the good goss in. The second kilometre held a few more challenges but it was somewhere around the fourth or fifth kilometre that all conversation ceased (at least on my end). I find that you need some oxygenation to produce sounds that others can understand and yes, grunts count. All I can say is thank goodness for drink stops. 

We got to one point where there was a choice to cut the run down to 12k or to continue on to 14. I, of course, bit off more than I can chew and opted for the 14. After all I'd managed my 11 fairly comfortably on Thursday. But I didn't factor into it the lack of hills on Thursday or the ridiculous humidity. My shirt was sticking to me. My shorts were sticking to me. And at every water stop I guzzled water.

I managed to keep going till 12k and then took a little walk break. Thank goodness it wasn't too far to the end. And I hung around after to have a coffee and a little more chat time. I knew I'd sweat a little more than usual because every time I shifted in my seat I could actually feel the puddle of water I was sitting in - gross! And when I took off my shoes my toes had become wrinkled little prunes. I have never sweat so much before in my life. Definitely thinking it's a side-effect of the testosterone.

The run left me totally dehydrated and stupidly tired so as soon as it was feasible I had a nap. Toby was locked out of my room and started to get a bit lonely and bored. A bored and lonely puppy invariably gets up to mischief. Let's just say that Santa has put him on the 'Naughty' list.

video




And that's why I decided the table top Christmas tree was the only option for us this year. I can only imagine what he would have done with all those carefully-wrapped gifts.


Such a pity that the tree's not six foot. Imagine just how big those gifts would be proportionally. And bigger's always better - right?

Just a couple of days to go now till the big fat man visits. Christmas shopping is done. Now to get rid of the bah humbugs and start to feel a little Christmassy. And if I can't quite manage that by December the 25th, I'm sure an early morning run will keep me from using the turkey-carving knife in ways that it wasn't intended for. 

I hope you're all starting to get into the spirit. And if you're not - go for a run.






Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Blood Shed

I knew there'd be blood shed yesterday.


I woke up in a not-very-happy-wish-I'd-finished-all-my-shopping mood. And I had to get my testosterone levels checked so that meant a little trip to the pathology place and an up close and personal with a phlebotomist (just love the way that word rolls off the tongue) hence the blood shed.

I'm not really sure why I was so cranky. Maybe it's the 'roids. Maybe it's the heat. Maybe it was because I had to take my better half to the shops and I like to shop alone. Maybe it was because there were so many more people at my normally quiet centre and I don't like to share. Definitely it was because I was tired and I was annoyed at my body for being tired. And I had a good case of DOMS from the 100m sprints we'd done the day before.

Why oh why do they insist on playing Christmas carols in the shopping centres at Christmas time? They should play really quick tempo music to get people moving faster. I spent my entire time dodging and weaving all the browsers and dawdlers. It was pretty much like a race where the walkers start at the front. Dodging and weaving is challenging when everything below your waist is stiff and tight. Even breathing was tough thanks to intercostal DOMS. But I made the finish line (ticking off my last three gifts) with only a few homicidal thoughts. Santa doesn't count thought crimes on his naughty list does he?

Luckily, though, I woke up feeling much better again this morning. I had a lovely, sweaty 11k run. Still suffering from DOMS. At one point there was a kookaburra on a low branch and I swear he was laughing at the way I was running but I'll take running funny over not running at all - I have very little pride. And neither did the triathlete who was running on the same path wearing just a white singlet, a Santa's hat and a pair of red Speedos. He kept making me want to sing Jingle Bells.

I got home and got a phone call from my cleaning lady telling me that she felt sick and she wouldn't be in today ... or next week ... or the week after that. Good mood vanished to be replaced by psychotic hate-filled harridan. If there's one thing I hate more than cleaning, it's cleaning in 30+ degree temps. But I think I hate stretching after my sweaty runs on a dirty carpet even more. Hairy backs aren't exactly sexy on a woman.

But my usual sunny disposition has been restored thanks to a phone call to my Gynaecologist. The blood results are in and my testosterone levels are within the normal range. That's got to be good. And if they stay there I might start to get back some of what I lost. I still have to remain on the cream and will have a follow-up test in a month. I'm really hoping that in this next month I'll start to see real, tangible results (and by tangible results I don't mean the hairy back scenario).

I'd like to finish this post with a little advice for husbands or partners. If your wife is undergoing hormone therapy and has a, shall we say 'unbalanced' day, when she apologises for being a bit moody (and by a bit I mean threatening to ram cars whose drivers were thoughtless and inconsiderate and being just generally snappy), it's probably best not to say "This better not be permanent". I'd suggest a "It's okay darling. I know your body's undergoing huge changes at the moment and you've had a really hard year. Here let me rub your feet and then I'll get dinner" will get you a much better response and possibly save your life.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The last few days have been a bit of a roller coaster as you might have guessed from the title.

Let's start with the ugly. I'm so incredibly sad that there are 20 little kids who will never get to grow up. I can't fathom the incredible waste of life. And I can't understand how this can happen over and over again without any change happening.

The bad - my stupid health again! I had three really good days last week then in a fit of excitement I ran too far Thursday and had three really bad/tired days. I'm always getting too far ahead of myself. Today's speed session was a bit abbreviated. I ran the warm up, a few sprint 100m as part of a relay and then the cool down. And  the sad thing is that I'm sure I'm going to be stiff and sore tomorrow. Sprinting is so different to running slowly! Needless to say, I won't be running 15k this Thursday - I've learnt my lesson this week. I may have forgotten it by next week.

Another bad - the weather. I hate summer - whine, whine, whine! Last night it didn't get below 25C/77F and the humidity was unbearable. It could have been part of the reason why the speed session was so hard.

And it doesn't just affect my running - you should try icing cupcakes with buttercream and trying to stop the icing from just sliding off into a puddle. I wanted to make some festive cupcakes for this morning's running session. The cupcakes baking was the easy bit. I left the decorating till yesterday and got up extra-early to beat the heat. But it wasn't early enough. I ended up icing a couple of cakes at a time and then putting the cakes and the piping bag into the fridge. It was a bit of a pain considering that there was about 4 dozen cakes to decorate. Then I kept the cakes downstairs in my air conditioned workroom.



 They survived the night better than I did.

The Good - I finished one of the prettiest leotards that I've made all year. I just love that I get to make pretty stuff and I really love the reaction of the girls when they try it on.



Another good - Toby! That dog makes me laugh every single day without fail. The other day I went Christmas shopping for a couple of hours and came home to find this -


Guess who's been sleeping in my bed?!! 

Then yesterday he was a velcro dog. I was cooking. There's no way that he's going anywhere when there's bowls to be licked. He likes to help. And then I went down to the workroom to finish off some work and stay cool in the air con. He liked the air con but got a bit bored just hanging around so he kept barking at the door to be let out then barking to be let back in again. I got tired of having to stop work to let him in and out so I just refused to let him back in. He barked a couple of times then realised that I was ignoring him. 

He disappeared for a moment and when I looked at the door next I saw this.


It's hard to resist all that cuteness - and he knows it.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Taste of Freedom

Iven's away.

I'm pretending that I'm going I'm missing him terribly but the reality is this :-) :-) :-)

He's gone down to visit his Mum for a few days. His Mum is almost 93 so I think it's important that he goes once a year. But she lives 8 hours drive away and there's no other way of getting to her little country town except to drive so it's not something that he does regularly or with any enthusiasm. I, however, almost push him out the door with a glee that's a little excessive.

It's not that I don't love my husband - when he's not annoying me. It's that I feel free when he's gone. Free to just do what I want to do. Eat what I want to eat. Sleep where I want to sleep. Run when I want to run. And not be tied down by obligations. And even though my first thought when he texted to say the car had broken down just outside Glen Innes was 'I might get a few extra nights of the bed all to myself', I did text back a sad emoticon.

So with my new-found and short-lived freedom I ditched my early morning run yesterday (I'd been a bit sick the night before and sleep seemed much more inviting) and went in the afternoon. To be able to do this I had to rush home from getting the groceries in the morning and quickly whip up my one-dish wonder chicken curry, pop over to the acupuncturist for my final visit, speed home and bake a batch of biscuits then off downstairs to start the last rhythmic costume of the year. So much for no obligations.

We've been lucky enough to have a cooler week but I still didn't leave home till after 5:30 and it had cooled. Running in the evening is so different to the morning. I have to cross quite a few roads on my routes and in the morning I never wait for the lights to change. In the evening that's not an option so getting started was a bit slow. But finally I got in a groove. The first kilometre took forever to tick over and when it did, it said 7:30 - what the? I know I've gotten slow but that's ridiculous. Then I remembered that I hadn't waited for it to get the satellites. Then the second kilometre was a confusion of mistakenly pressing the stop button somehow then starting it to time my toilet visit (and I've discovered that what I consider to be a long toilet visit is still only a quarter of Iven's long toilet visits - I can fully blow-dry my hair while he's on the throne). That kilometre was apparently over 7 mins long too. So silly but I wanted to start the run over again so my data was accurate.

The rest of the run went smoothly. It's a hilly route but I was feeling strong for a change and that feels awesome. I was running like a rockstar - who's not drug-addled or a heavy smoker - and I even had my photo taken by the papparazzi lurking in the university (he was lucky that I was feeling good or I may have gone all 'roid ragey on him and broken his camera). I hadn't decided how far I was going to go. It's an 11k run that can have another loop tacked on the end to make it 15.5k. Guess what I did?

Of course I did the extra (please don't tell Coach Chris - the man is positively scary!). It was a beautiful evening. I was feeling good and I had no obligation to be home. Freedom tastes amazing!

So Hon if you're reading this and really, really want to spend more time with your Mum I totally understand. You have my blessing. Yes, I'm missing you desperately (or I was this morning at 4:50am when the chooks decided that it was time for breakfast). Just let me know what day you'll be home and I'll make us a roast chicken dinner (that'll teach em). And until then I'll cope ... just.

***

For those of you who just look at my blog to see my beautiful, genius dog, I've got a special treat for you today. Another Toby video! He's got a new trick.


It's not a terribly useful trick and it makes the eggs a bit slobbery but I think it's clever.




Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Major Tech Fail!!

Just had 'one of those days' yesterday. I had a full dose of stoopid with my breakfast and ended up losing all the contacts on my phone. And my shopping list. And all my appointments. Oops.

Apparently synching your phone is not the same as backing it up. I thought they were synonyms.

The problem was that my iPhone was lagging so I decided to update the operating system (Please excuse me if I use the wrong terms. I'm no tech-head BUT I can castrate your cat on my kitchen bench if you bring along some pentothal. And I can run you up a pretty leotard. I know my strengths and technical stuff isn't one of them. That's why I had three sons.) The update went okay but my phone decided to throw a hissy fit and keep shutting down and starting up - totally frustrating when you're in the middle of a sudoku puzzle.

So I went to the Apple site to look for some helpful hints. There should be an Apple site for Dummies. One that links every single word with its definition and give warnings about impending doom.

'Are you sure you want to do that?'
'If you do that you might lose all your data!'
'Warning, warning Will Robinson!'
'Step away from the computer and get one of your children'

Any one of those warnings would have made me think twice but the little pop-up box that wasn't even coloured red (the traditional colour of impending doom) so how was I to know not to click ignore?

I ended up on the phone to an Apple tech. She was kind enough not to laugh at me. And I returned the favour when she couldn't fix the switch on/off issue, that it was probably a hardware issue. Then she told me my phone was three days out of warranty and I might have to buy a new handset. WTF! That's a great way for Apple to increase their profits. Maybe I should try to make my leotards only last a year by putting in some sort of self-destruct timer. I think there's be a huge market for exploding leotards. Imagine the excitement and suspense of and end of year dance concert. Or an aerobics competitor being taken out mid-air jack.

She put me onto her supervisor who said that they'd give me a new one but first I would have to post them mine and once they received it they'd post me a new or repaired one. Only a ten working day turn-around! Or I could pay the measly sum of $40 for an express exchange BUT they'd have to place a hold on $700 dollars on my credit card to be released when they got my old handset. A slightly better option but in the last fortnight before Christmas I need my credit card unencumbered and easily accessible.

And then my own little Christmas miracle happened. Then phone stopped shutting down. It allowed me to synch my files and realise the depth of my stupidity. Ah well at least I found out who my real friends are - they're the ones who responded to my Facebook plea and sent me their numbers. And I know who my cupcakes friends are - they're the ones who sent their numbers with their birth dates or just came right out and asked for baked goods.


***
It was speed session yesterday. And if you remember my last post you might recall that I was looking forward to it. Well, it hurt! 2.5k, 2k, 1.5k with 500m recovery. My endurance and speed is going to take a lot longer than 10 days to recover. That's okay - I can be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day. And I'm really looking forward to the pain, knowing that this time it's actually going to be worthwhile.

The most exciting part of yesterday's session was that I didn't have to come home and take a nap AND I could work all day until 7:30 pm AND I was able to back up today and take the dog for a walk which turned into a run/walk/drag. Toby's not the most enthusiastic runner in the world. Or maybe he's just trying to build up my strength by providing me with resistance to run against.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's run too. Bring on the sweat!

Optimism is such a heady feeling!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Just Call Me Crazy

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

I think there's something wrong with me. I'm feeling really, really good and really, really happy. I've slept well SIX WHOLE NIGHTS in a row. And I smiled while I was walking around the shops ticking off my Christmas list. This is all feels so strange and unusual. I'm so used to feeling sick, tired and nauseated that all this wellness is making me giddy and euphoric.

Every person who served me today got a big smile and some uncharacteristically good-natured banter. Anyone who asked how I was got the story of how I'm feeling so great now I've gone off the pill. I'm like an evangelistic preacher holding my hands up and singing hallelujah, spreading the word of the perils of Yaz and other birth control pills and the joys of being set free from their evil grip.

The feeling of well-being started on Friday. I had to go look for Iven's present and I had to go to distant lands (Mt Ommaney - a ten minute drive from here). While I was driving along the freeway, singing badly to the radio, it dawned on me that I hadn't been out that way for a while and it had been even longer since I'd done it alone. Feeling crappy all the time made my world really small. I didn't want to travel far from my little sphere of comfort - it all seemed too much of an effort. Yet, here I was driving along undaunted by the prospect of Christmas parking and crowds.

I didn't have much luck with Iven's gift at Mt Ommaney but I managed to get a couple of gifts and on the strength of a little success I decided to hit up another branch of the store over in Oxley (probably about 15 minutes down the freeway. Unheard of! Two shopping centres in one morning knowing that I've got an afternoon full of work ahead!!

Saturday I woke up early to get my long run in. My heart rate was a little elevated so I was expecting the run to be awful again. I even warned Coach Chris early on that there may be walking but I got to the halfway mark in remarkably good shape then managed to stay with the group for the run back. There was some talk about steroid abuse and visible side-effects. Yes, my shoulders might possibly look broader. And no, I didn't realise that there was hair growing on my back but it doesn't worry me as long as it's blonde - after all blondes have more fun. It's amazing how good a good run can make you feel.

I got a short nap in then spent the rest of the afternoon working - those last few leotards aren't going to make themselves. And then I did the strangest thing ... cue drum roll.

 I put up a Christmas tree!!!

I know, I know - I've commented on quite a few people's blogs that it wasn't going to happen this year. After all Toby is still in the chewing phase and I wasn't keen on having my back yard decorated with tinselly dog-poop. But I remembered a little tree that we'd bought years ago that could sit on the table out of the reach of hungry retrievers that want to eat Christmas.


Then today with the Christmas shopping I was actually humming along to the Christmas carols - in my head not out loud. It's bad enough to be smiling and chuckling to yourself while Christmas shopping - if I started singing out loud I'm sure someone would call the men in white to lock me away for a stimulating session with electrical wires and a generator. Just call me crazy.



And to top this all off, I'm really looking froward to tomorrow's speed session. Yep that makes me positively certifiable.

I hope it lasts.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

One Week Down

It's been one week on my meds and almost one week off my meds and already I'm noticing a difference.

Yesterday I couldn't wear my ring. Yay! Fluid retention! Admittedly it was also a warm day and I'd been for a run but it didn't get any better through the day. Ironic that the ring Iven bought me to cheer me up after feeling so sick from the pill I can no longer wear because I've gone off the pill. I'm sure it's only temporary or I may have to end up ordering a dialling wand to make any phone calls.



For well over a year I've been having some problems with blurry vision. It was always worse after I'd spent time doing close-up work like sewing. I sewed all day Wednesday and could still see well. Or as well as someone who's as myopic as me can see. I'd put the blurriness down to getting older. I was wrong.

Yesterday's run went better. I did a route that I can add to if I'm feeling good but it has a couple of hills. I ran two out of the three hills and added the extra distance. Enough said.

Then yesterday evening I had enough energy to take Toby for a walk, which turned into a walk/run.

I've slept really well the last three nights.

I haven't had a cramp all week. I was getting foot cramps whenever I pointed my toes, which I do a surprising amount of times - it must be because of my unrealised dream of being a ballerina (from when I was about 7). And I'd had a very awkward calf cramp one day while I was holding the clutch in at a red light. I can point and clutch as much as I want now.

Apart from the fluid retention, the only negatives so far have been a propensity to cry very easily, a couple of pimples (I'm going through puberty again and this time I'm coming out a man) and a minor headache every day. Hey, I can live with that!

One thing's for sure - I'll stop treatment before it gets to this point. Imagine the chafing between the thighs after a long run.


***

Toby wasn't his normal self on his walk yesterday. I had to do a lot of coaxing to get him around our normal route. It was warm and I wondered if he was suffering too much under his thick coat. And then I wondered if he was nervous because of his recent dog attack. We'd run into a Staffordshire terrier early on the walk and Toby hadn't been too worried, although he wasn't quite his normal friendly self.

I managed to keep him walking and as we headed up a narrow path I noticed a rather large man with a very tiny dog (What is it with big men and small dogs? It just doesn't seem right. And no I'm not judgemental ... much). Then man had pulled over to the side so we could pass - or so he could take in the beauty of two blondes in full flight (cue self-deprecating laugh). But Toby wasn't going to cooperate with the full flight part of the scenario. He took one look at the tiny dog and stopped dead. I asked the man if Toby could say hello and he said it would be fine so I tried to coax Toby over. Toby wouldn't have a bar of it. There was NO WAY that he was going to get close to that 2 kilo poodle. My thirty kilo dog was terrified! The dog attack has scarred him in more than just a physical sense.

You're sure it just makes me look more ruggedly masculine? Maybe I should try a concealer - pass the permanent marker.

I felt so bad for my baby. And continued to feel bad all the rest of the way home. I was convinced now that his fears were the reason for him being so reluctant at the beginning of the walk. But that didn't turn out to be true. I found out the real reason when I got him home and he ran straight out into the back yard to make sure Bubbles hadn't finished his new bone while he was away.

A Golden Retriever who's ruled by his stomach? Who'd have ever thought it?!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Drugs, Neanderthals and Snowmen

I've got a feeling that the drugs may be kicking in.

I need to back track a little at this point to provide relevant history. I'm sure some of my older readers will remember the issues I had with my old toilet (although if you're a lot older you may have issues remembering that and other things - like your name, who's running the country, where the keys are and how do you put your pants on). I remember clearly the mornings spent bent over it with a piece of wire and a plunger trying desperately not to look at or smell the toxic brew that I was dabbling in.

Well, those days are long gone thanks to a lovely new loo. But our new loo has two little drawbacks. First - it is lower which, in a household of tall males with aiming issues can cause some drippage. Second - it has a much narrower outlet hole. This makes it hard to get a swoosh (I'm using basketball terms so-as not to be too graphic for those eating their breakfasts) with number twos - I think you all know what I mean. And this means that I'm back, bent over the toilet with a brush trying to keep it in 'just new' condition - just in case we need to pawn it.

Just the other day Sam went to use the facilities when I heard him cry out in disgust. When I asked him what was wrong he told me that the seat was wet. Oh yes! I had finally managed it - I'd wet the toilet seat (albeit with the toilet brush). Revenge for all the times I've sat down without looking and risen knowing exactly what I'd sat in. Only real men wet the toilet seat, don't they?!!

***

I've spent some more time researching my condition - because I've really got nothing better to do except 52 leotards and 4 rhythmic costumes. I found this great forum called Yasmin and Yaz Survivors. If the word 'survivor' is in the title you know that it's probably a drug that you shouldn't be touching. Really wish I'd investigated further two years ago when the doctor prescribed Yaz to me. The information was all out back then. Personal stories which are just like mine - deteriorating health, baffling symptoms, multiple doctors visits and all the while feeling like you're becoming a hypochondriac.

I've gone against the advice of the gynaecologist and stopped taking the pill. She didn't want me to make two changes at once but I just couldn't continue to put that drug into my mouth knowing what it's done to me and being absolutely convinced that I won't start to get better until it's out of my system. She's just going to have to live with my decision - when I finally tell her. I figure that we'll be taking a few blood tests to check on my hormone levels anyway so being off Yaz may actually help stabilise my levels quicker and the tests will give us a heads up if anything's going wrong.

I've become a little less trusting about doctor's opinions through this ordeal. They don't know everything - especially about newer drugs. They're just going on the information given to them by the drug reps and the drug reps are just trying to sell their product.

Do I sound cynical?

***

Today I've had the pleasure of my favourite Neanderthal workman back working in the neighbour's yard. Apparently he's not that great a craftsman and had to take down the vertical beam that he'd put up because it wasn't straight. There's been lots of swearing and exclamations of frustration - my favourite being 'you fu#@ing a$$hole' directed at himself. I agreed with him out my window, safe in the knowledge that he was wearing earmuffs. How brave was that?!

***

Finally, I wanted to give a graphic demonstration of how hot it's been here over the last couple of days. 




No, I'm not dreaming of a white Christmas.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Waiting For Something To Happen

Firstly I'd like to say how impressed I am with my male readers. What a bunch of gentlemen! Not one of you confessed to reading my gynaecological report - well one of you confessed to it but didn't understand it so I guess that's almost like you didn't read it.

Secondly, I lost a reader. Looks like my lack of verbal filter finally was just too much for someone. Que sera sera.

My medicine finally arrived. On Thursday - only two days after I'd ordered it. I was pretty excited. Actually I was very excited. So I ripped open the package and slathered on the right amount of cream (onto my forearm - I have had so many people ask where you put it and so many disbelieving looks that you just rub it on like moisturiser). And then I waited. What I was waiting for, I'm not sure but it was probably for some kind of side effect. Like an allergic reaction. Or a blinding headache. Or something else that would stop me from being able to use it. I'm obviously not my most optimistic self at the moment.

Luckily there was nothing. Day two came and again I treated myself and again nothing. Being a curious person I hit up Google again to see if there was any hint about how long it would take before I started to see results and the answer came back as two to three weeks.

It's going to be a long two to three weeks.

Saturday (day 3) came and with it the long run. My long runs haven't been that long of late and my plan was to do between 10 and 12k. It was around 23C and 80% humidity when we started but I was surprisingly optimistic about having a good run. After all I'd started treatment hadn't I? Well, the run was hideous. I did run the whole way (which I hadn't last week) but it was just hard (thankfully I wasn't the only one who'd found it hard) and I was bitterly disappointed. For crying out loud - I finally know what's wrong with me and I've started treatment. Is it too much to ask for an instant fix?? Of course I'd known that it would take 2-3 weeks but I still believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny (not so much the Tooth Fairy since that unfortunate tooth extraction incident back when I was young).

So the rest of Saturday was spent wearing my cranky pants. Didn't help that I had to spend four hours working.

And today I was just worn out. Exhausted. I managed to get out of bed, bake 30 cupcakes and shower myself before I headed back to bed. I'm not totally sure why I was so tired but I'm starting to think I was simply low on fuel after yesterday's run and not eating that well for the rest of the day (a pear for dinner seemed like a good idea at the time). I've actually been a bit hungrier than usual in the last 48 hours. So I'm thinking the testosterone is actually starting to work.

I'll know it's really working when I start to feel more energetic and my muscles don't feel so weak all the time. And I'll know I've gone too far if my voice deepens, I grow hair on my chest and lose the hair on my head. And I'm quite expecting to become totally unable to make the evening meal if I get distracted by the television. I'm sure to start leaving tissues in my pocket when I put my clothes in the wash. I'm definitely going to leave the toilet seat up and quite possible miss the toilet altogether. And I'll have no compunction about farting loudly in public and laughing about it - oh, I forgot, I already do that one.

Enough about me (as fascinating as I am). And on to the most gorgeous dog in the universe. My poor Toby was attacked the other day. Not just barked at by a chihuahua like last time - really attacked with blood and yelping. Iven had been out walking him when they walked past a small terrier - both dogs were on leashes. The terrier's owner let her dog closer to say hello but instead of sniffing Toby's butt it latched onto his nose. Poor Toby was distraught and in pain and Iven couldn't get the terrier off for ages. When he finally did, Toby slipped his collar and took off home (over a fairly busy road) to get some TLC from his Mum. His nose is healing well but I think he's going to have quite a rugged scar which will make him look less like a pretty, mumma's boy.

And talking about mumma's boys - this is how he reacted when I washed his teddy and penguin.

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