Monday, April 30, 2012

New Beginnings

There's something about a puppy that brings a lot of energy and laughter to a house. Every one in our household has gotten a new lease of life. They're getting up earlier. They're playing more. Bubbles is having more attention than she has in years and Toby is learning his place in the Donaldson pack.

I've just finished reading the latest Jodi Piccoult book - Lone Wolf. It's all about wolves and The Pack. It was a timely reminder of the nature of dogs and the role of the pack in their rearing. I've had four dogs in my life time and my role has always been Alpha bitch. I'm the one at home most of the time so it's up to me to do the training. Luckily the boys are old enough to be on board with me and not subvert all the hard work that I've put in. So I've been spending a lot of time going outside with Toby and praising him when he does his business. I've been teaching him how to navigate stairs - up was mastered in 24 hours but down is still a work in progress and down is a fundamental part of the whole toilet training business.

But the biggest issue with little puppies and their sharp little teeth, is the chewing thing. He'd like to chew anything he can put his teeth into but we're having to teach him that fingers, feet and ankles are not chew toys and any sort of fabric is out of bounds because puppies can't distinguish between a rag and someone's socks or undies (yes, my boys still leave these on their floors - don't you Luke??) We've got plenty of chew toys so we're playing the game of substitution - he plays with his bedding, he get roused on and has the bedding taken away and substituted with his rubber bone or a ball.

And we've started basic obedience. It's amazing what you can do with a hungry puppy (and let's face it, he's hungry a lot) and a bit of food. This is day four and he's on his way to mastering 'come' and 'sit'. Having a seven week old puppy sit on command has got to be the cutest thing. I don't know if it's his golden retriever nature but he really wants to please us.

And even Bubbles is starting to get on board with having an annoying younger brother. She's spent a lot of the first two days snarling and snapping at him but not biting - just warning. She was jumping up on the couch to have the dominant position and to let him know she's boss. I could almost hear her plotting revenge on us for bringing this major disturbance into her life - a little 'mistake' in the hallway where we might step in it, a vomit on our new doona cover, gnawing on shoes and blaming the puppy. But yesterday she realised that she has someone to play with when she's in the mood - something that Nelson hadn't been able to do for the last year or so. And she's getting to lick out the cooking bowls now so it's not all bad.

And on top of all this puppy fun, I had the best run for a long while yesterday. Only two walking sections (and a toilet break) and my running pace was just under 6 min per k while keeping my heart rate in a good zone. Awesome!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Riding the Roller Coaster

Thursday it finally happened. My beautiful, old Nelson couldn't get up and down the stairs any more. His hips had passed the point of no return and even standing was a huge struggle. After he'd collapsed for the umpteenth time, I did what I had to do. I called Iven in tears and told him that it was time. Actually, I really didn't say much for the first little bit - I just couldn't get anything intelligible to come out of my mouth. He said he'd deal with it when he got home. Sometimes it's really nice to use the 'emotional female' card - especially when you are.

It was the longest afternoon. I kept bursting into tears. Luke was home and it was really tough on him. I found him lying in the hallway with Nelly just stroking his ears and cuddling him and that set me off again. My BFF texted wishing me a happy day and I had to text her to say that it wasn't so happy. And then she rang to have a conversation with a sobbing woman. I have mentioned that I'm not a crier haven't I?! There are some exceptions.

I had intended to bake but just couldn't do it. Baking is supposed to be done when I'm in my happy place. I'm sure that if I'd baked on Thursday my tears would have made it bitter regardless of how much sugar went in.

Iven came home at 3:30 and rang the vet. He was holding it together so well. He took Nel down to the car and I wished him a final goodbye. I just couldn't go. Fifteen minutes later Iven was home again in tears. It's just so hard to say goodbye to a family member who you've loved so much.

I pulled myself together a bit and cleaned. I polished and vacuumed and scrubbed. It helped a bit and no one can hear you crying over the noise of the vacuum. Then Luke's girlfriend Becky turned up. Having her there was wonderful. We could talk and laugh and cry if we had to but as the evening wore on the tears became less.

At 8:30 there was a tap on our glass door. My BFF had driven all the way from the coast (an hour away) to give me flowers and food and a big hug. Her kindness was humbling. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful friend.

Eventually the awful day was over and I managed to get a good night's sleep. When I woke up my first thought was to do the baking that I'd wanted to get done the day before. But when I'd scraped the mixture into the cake tin I went to put it on the floor for my bowl-licker and that heavy empty feeling came back again. I managed to hold it all together, though.

I've had a few dogs in the past and it's always been the same when they go. And I've found that the only way to fill that doggy-shaped hole that's left in your heart is to get another one. So Friday I was a woman on a mission. I scoured web-sites and made a few phone calls. And this morning we went puppy shopping.

Meet the first aid kit for my heart.

We went to a pet shop (I know - I should go to a reputable breeder but I couldn't find any that had puppies and this pet shop is run by a vet). They had three little boys but when we walked in we could only see two. The third was in another cage behind the first two and his sister had just been sold a little earlier. It was love at first sight. I was allowed to hold him and he just snuggled in and I knew that I couldn't let him go. Luke was in total agreement with me and Iven was happy to let us make the decision.

When I finally got him in the car I sent that pic to Josh who rang me back instantly. I suggested that he might like to start thinking of names. It took him a millisecond to come up with Tobias. It fit - Toby it is!

Did you know that puppies have a strong gravitational pull? We keep being drawn to him and can't seem to leave the room that he's in. It took me two hours to make a batch of cupcakes!! It usually takes 30 minutes including the cleaning up.

And how stupid did we all seem to our neighbours when we took him outside for his first wee and cheered loudly when he performed?! Puppies can make you lose all sense of dignity and decorum.

We're still sad about Nellie - that's a given. But Toby has given us a some laughter and lots of smiles. Well all of us except for Bubbles - but he's working on her.

So I must apologise in advance. There will be lots of posts in the near future that are about puppies and are filled with pictures of his total cuteness. I'm sure you won't mind ... too much.

And the baking that I did - Becky's birthday cake. Happy Birthday Becky!!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Running, First World Problems and Stealth Poopers

When I woke up this morning it was still pitch black outside. Once I could finally focus on my clock I saw it was 4:20 - not 2am liked I'd hoped. I hadn't really slept that well and it was thirty minutes before my alarm was going to go off. That's not really enough time to go back to sleep but it's plenty of time to have a long internal discussion with myself.

Part of me just wanted to turn off the alarm and try to go back to sleep.  I'd run yesterday and I have to be so careful about not running too much or too hard. This was a special public holiday two hour block-buster training session that was going to have a lot of hill running incorporated and I can't run hills yet. And we were meeting in a part of the city that I'm not totally familiar with and I was worried about being able to find a park.

But the other part of me knew that I could have a nap in the afternoon because it was a public holiday. Coach Chris had personally rung me to invite me to the session and told me what I could do instead of the hill reps. It was going to be early enough that even if I wasn't familiar with the area I wouldn't have the pressure of traffic to make my search for a park difficult. I was going to be able to spend a lot longer with the group than I have on my usual runs (and that means longer to chat with more people!). And then there was the promise of breakfast ...

I got out of bed. And had a great morning. 10k running!! Almost 3 hours of chat time. So much laughter at breakfast that I went home with a little headache. And I almost managed to convince two of the girls that I was 36.

You might regret missing a run but you never regret the runs you do.


I've got, what my sons like to call, a 'first world problem'. I offered to make cupcakes for my great-niece's first birthday and Nicki, her Mum, asked me to go with a purple and green theme. I decided to make the flowers for it and there-in lies my problem. Even though it hasn't been rainy lately, it's been really humid and I'm not being able to get them to dry. Talk about stressful. No, I'm not likely to get eaten by a lion as I walk 10k to the well to get clean water and I don't have to sleep under a pile of newspapers to keep warm. My biggest problem is getting sugar flowers to dry.


One of my hens sets big audacious goals for herself. She's been laying eggs like this -

It hasn't been pecked at because the inner membrane is still intact. She's just run out of shell. I love that she's so ambitious.


I mentioned in a previous post that I'd seen The Lucky One and fallen in love with some of the dogs stars. I decided to look on the RSPCA web-site to see what's available. Such cute puppies!! I fell in love with way too many of their adorable faces and just had to show Iven (ie - try to talk him into a new puppy). When I called Iven to look, Nelson (our 14 year old, crippled and incontinent dalmatian) decided to come too. He probably thought there was food available because why else would I be yelling from the kitchen. I had an immediate attack of the guilts and had to minimise the screen (like I was one of my own sons looking at porn - not that they would ever do that ... I hope). I felt like I was plotting Nellie's demise and choosing his successor.

But I think Nelson must have picked up on my guilt. He's been timing his 'little accidents' for when he knows I'm going to be the only one around to do the clean up. The other night I read the signs and got him outside in time. I waited around to help him back into the house then turned around to lock up the back door and while I was otherwise occupied, he walked through the kitchen dropping his load. The last night he waited till Iven went to bed and laid one down just below where I was lying on the couch. This morning I almost stepped in one just outside my bedroom door. Okay Nelson! I promise I won't look at the RSPCA site any more.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

All The Best Bits

Two runs this weekend. Two really good runs that provided me with a sense of calm in what's been a pretty yuck week. But I'm not going to focus on the yuck. I'm going to talk about all the good stuff that happened - starting with Saturday's run.

I'm never going to be the sort of person that bounces out of bed at 4::45 am. The fact that I do it is a testament to my running group. Why else would I be up at ridiculous o'clock in the morning to run only 2k with them if it wasn't going to be for the friendship and support and laughter that  they give. Go GaleForce! Coach Chris had chosen the direction that I can run (ie no hills). Score!! I had a nice 13 minutes with them until they headed up over the bridge and I continued on the flat way.

I put my ear phones in to hear gorgeous acoustic guitar - me running along the river as the sun's starting to come up listening to music that just brings such peace = me in my happy place. I ran along to the botanical gardens and took the low road along where all the boats are moored and watched them bob gently. Does the bobbing wake up the resident or does it lull them into a deeper sleep? A family of ducks on the river = more happy. I ran keeping my eye sporadically on my heart rate and walked when I had to. And it all felt really good.

Sunday's was another great run. When I woke up the school oval next door was blanketed in fog and I just wanted to be out in it. There's a weird romantic feel to running along when you can't always see where your feet are going to touch. I chose to run to the University even though it's a pretty undulating route and I was prepared to have a lot more walk breaks. But funnily enough I didn't need too many. I kept checking my watch and my heart rate was staying in the right zone. I got all the way to the uni before taking my first walk up a long, slow incline. Then I ran around the big lake because there's nothing like running around water and seeing ducks and geese and other runners and geese chasing runners to put a smile on your face.

My totals for the week ended up being 34k run/walking with 27k of that being running. A big week, yes. But so far no nasty side-effects. (Probably due to having FOUR naps on the weekend!! - every time I felt tired I just gave in to it. It's something that I haven't been able to do since I've been diagnosed but finally with my work under control I'm putting all my efforts into getting stronger)

My son, Josh has been without a car for three weeks - minor bingle with a kerb =  major inconvenience with car juggling. It was supposed to be ready on the 30th of this month but the repairers finished it 10 days early. That was enough to make me happy (no more coordinating of the car juggling) but to make it even better he got the call on Friday at 11:30am. Normally he'd be at work but he'd been really sick with a sore throat and fevers so he was home. I had two appointments that day - one arrived early just as he got the call and the other was late enough that I could drive him out to pick his car up. It worked out more perfectly than if it had been planned to the minute. Another reason to feel good.

And the last really nice thing that happened was coffee and a movie with my BFF Natalie. We try to get together most Saturdays but a couple of things had meant that it had been three weeks since we'd last caught up. There was lots of catching up to do. And Natalie's such a great listener (sorry for talking your ear off). And the movie was nice. (The Lucky One - I didn't necessarily swoon over the naked chested Zach Effron but I totally fell in love with the giant hound that had his own mind when it came to training)

So what were the best bits of your weeks? The moments that gave you peace or joy or laughter.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Oh The Shame

It came down to a very embarrassing event to make me finally share my enormous Easter egg. Remember this picture from a couple of weeks ago? 

I've been slowly but surely making my way through this egg - breaking off a bit at night to have with my cup of tea, grabbing a handful of almond M&Ms when I've had an annoying client or when I've just felt like it. And I've been enduring the discomfort of the stomach cramps and gas because there's a fundamental rule of Easter chocolate - you don't have to share it.

All my boys managed to scoff theirs down pretty quickly (except for Luke who likes to eke his out). In fact I think I saw Josh put a whole medium sized egg into his mouth in one hit. But no one has asked me to share my egg. No one's even looked at it sideways with longing in their eyes because they know that my chocolate is sacrosanct.

But the pleasure hasn't been without pain and it's been getting worse this week (cause I've been eating more - doh!). And I've tried to 'harden-up' and push through the pain but ...

Tuesday I had to get a few groceries. Just a few so I could go through the express checkout. The queues were all quite long and there was a little waiting involved (so much for express) and I had a pain in my belly. I had a quick look over my shoulder. Good, no one was behind me and the music was loud so no one was going to hear what I was about to perpetrate. So I relaxed and it felt so much better. And that's when the short person, who'd been standing around to the left of me, moved a little more to the right - into my line of sight when I checked back guiltily. And she was REALLY short - a little close to the source for my liking.

I have never prayed so hard for a smell-less fart in my life. I'm sure God was roaring laughing in heaven - "She wants an odourless fart? Whatever happened to world peace??"

So my egg went with me to our weekly family dinner and it's way smaller now. And if I feel at all tempted I just remember my total shame and the chocolate-lust vanishes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

RIP Hercules

It was a sad day at the Donaldson house yesterday. We lost a member who'd been with us for 13 years.

I'd noticed an unpleasant smell in out lounge room last night. But having an incontinent dalmatian, unpleasant smells are not unusual. And the unpleasant smell seemed to come and go so I didn't think anything of it until I went to cover Hercules's cage. There he was - stiff as a board lying on the bottom of his cage. He'd finally dropped off his perch.

Of course Iven had already gone to bed. That man is never around when there are blocked toilets or feathered corpses that need disposing. So I did what any self-respecting ex-vet would do. I dismantled the cage so I wouldn't actually have to touch his deadness and I tipped him and the paper that was lining his cage (complete with seed husks and bird droppings) into a plastic bag. I tied it up tight and dropped it into the wheelie bin praying that it doesn't get too warm over the next week.

I felt bad that I hadn't noticed that he'd been dead earlier. After all, if he was starting to smell then he'd probably been dead for a while. I'm no CSI expert so I couldn't rely on core body temperature or stage of rigor but I worked out scientifically an approximate time of death. I'd fed him and changed his water on Sunday night and he was alive then. Iven had taken the cover off his cage yesterday morning (he's pretty sure) and he was still alive then. He was definitely dead when I went to cover him. So his time of death is somewhere between 6 am and 9:30pm last night.

Hercules had been a Christmas present for Josh back when he was 12. I'd decided that Josh needed to learn compassion and caring by having his own pet. Let's just say that I've enjoyed feeding and cleaning up after Hercules for the past 13 years. We'd taught him how to say 'Hello' and to wolf whistle. I'm going to miss those little ego-boosts. RIP Hercules.

And while I'm on the subject of animals - I found this today.

Nelson is literally on his last legs. He's 14, has hip displasia and can hardly walk, he's covered with tumours and yet he's still stealing food. You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

And that leads perfectly to my last little story. When Josh was 5 I had to take him to the doctor to get a few immunisations before he started school. We went with my sister and her daughter, who also needed shots. Because Josh was older than Lauren AND a boy, so naturally braver, he decided to go first and show her how it was done. He did a great job of holding it together and not crying so when the doctor held out a jar of jellybeans he decided that he'd earned a whole handful. It was one of those mummy-cringe moments.

Yesterday at work he was given a flu vaccine. You can just imagine how proud I felt when I got this text -

No - you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Rules of The Game

I had a much better week last week. My energy levels are starting to improve again. I think I'm finally learning the rules of this game.

Rule #1 - You will be allotted a certain amount of energy just like money in Monopoly. You're allowed to spend this energy anyway you want - running, working, getting emotional/stressed. But if you spend more than your share of energy you will be severely punished. The debt collector will come and taser you and leave you convulsing on the floor. Then you'll spend a week or so getting over your indiscretion.

Rule #2 - You shall  run no more than 3/4 of your allotted distance and you MUST keep a close eye on your heart rate. If you go up a hill it will get high, so stop and walk for a while. If you try to catch that slow runner in front of you it will get high, so stop and walk for a while. If a car toots you and you get a fright it will get high, so stop and walk for a while. If you sing while you run it will get high, so stop singing because when you sing and run and wear headphones your singing will be really bad and probably off-key.  If a workman wolf-whistles you it will get high but don't stop and walk until you're out of sight because the workman may think that he's gotten lucky.

Rule #3 - Make sure you do everything you can to recover well after the run. Eat soon after and include quality carbs and protein. Rehydrate well. Have a rest if you can. Stretch or do some yoga. And read running magazines to keep that little flicker of inspiration burning brightly.

Rule #4 - Even though it's tough at time, know that following the rules will get you to where you want to be eventually. I still have no idea when eventually will be but I'm determined that I'll get there one day.

So my stats for last week were - 32k total run/walk
                                                22k of that was running
                                                4 runs - the longest was 11k
                                                average HR ranged from 129 (quite a bit of walking in that one) to                                                                                                    
                                                157 on yesterday's hilly route
                                                average pace - I'm not running by pace so I'm not going to mention  

And the best news of this week is that I'm almost at the end of the silly season with my work. Last aerobics leotards will be appliqu├ęd today and that will leave me with just lots of posing bikinis and trunks for body builders. I survived!! The dogs were thrilled when I told them the news.

"You've nearly finished? Does that mean more walks???"

"Finished? I'm smiling on the inside - or I will be after I have a nap."

Good luck to all the Boston Marathoners. Please run safe.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Problem With Easter

I have a MAJOR problem. No, it's not another cranky customer. And no, nothing's changed with my health. The wedding is over so I have nothing to worry about on the sartorial side. My problem is much more basic and not an uncommon problem within the fairer sex. My problem is chocolate!!

I mentioned a few posts back that I'd found the Easter Bunny's stash hidden in plain sight in the downstairs loo. And I mentioned that the Easter Bunny was very generous. Well, I'm talking THIS generous - 

Now that's a 700g egg. It's the biggest egg that I've ever been given. But I also got a packet (a large packet) of licorice allsorts and three packets of almond M&Ms (my current favourites). Add to that the left-over chocolate from my birthday and you've got enough sugar to put me in a week-long diabetic coma. 

I may also have mentioned a little problem that I have with lactose. Lactose + not enough lactase (digestive enzyme) = stomach pains and flatulence. Milk chocolate has lactose in it. Licorice is a well-known laxative. Combine the two and you have a potential incendiary device that could wipe out a city with one open flame.

I'm rationing myself but every night I end up with a little stomach ache. I could give some away but I just can't bring myself to part with any of this delicious, wind-creating goodness. It's a huge dilemma.

And on top of this is the guilt that the Easter Bunny wasn't quite as generous to Iven. Yes, I'm stingy. So my guilt-ridden self was forced into a chocolate shop yesterday to buy Iven a second of his favourite ginger chocolate egg (at 25% off). And while I was there I managed to buy myself a licorice chocolate egg. I have no idea how that happened. I must have been in a sugar-induced psychosis. And then I came home and hid it - from myself. Luckily for early-onset dementia. I might forget where I hid it in the next couple of days and then find it at Christmas.

For Easter I also baked a special Easter batch of cupcakes. They weren't a new recipe - I just decorated them in an Easter theme.

I love my new grass piping nozzle. But squeezing all that icing (48 mini cupcakes and one 4 inch cake) through the little tiny holes can give you a serious case of Popeye forearm. It's my first-ever bout of cake-decorating DOMS.

Did anyone else end up with way too much chocolate? Please let me know that I'm not the greediest little piglet.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More On Perspective And Chicken-Chasing

I've disappointed a customer. I don't like disappointing customers. In fact, if I did spend my time trying to disappoint customers, I wouldn't have been in business for 21 years.

This particular customer came over in February with her daughter to order leotards for an Aerobics comp. I spent about an hour with them (because they really didn't know what they wanted) then I made up the costumes and let them know that they were ready. I got a text back saying they couldn't come over that week but they'd let me know when they could make it. A whole month went by and I heard nothing. In this month I get really busy working 45 hour weeks desperately trying to get things done by their deadlines. Then finally I get a call. They want to come over to have the straps fitted. I said fine, but I can't see you until a week after Easter. But that's too late, they reply. I'm left in a really awkward position. Yes, I agreed to take on their job but I have a business to run and I've also agreed to take on other work so I'm prepared to lose one client and the payment for the work I've already done to keep my other clients happy. At the end of the conversation we agreed that I'd post them what I'd done and they'd get someone to sew the straps on.

Yesterday I got a text from the Mum telling me that they were disappointed with my service. What had happened to make someone who had been so nice initially, so rude and uncaring? (You've just got to love a personal attack from someone who's only prepared to text you.) I decided to do the mature thing - not reply and delete the text.

But if I had replied it may have gone something like this. -

 Dear *****

I'm so sorry that you were disappointed with the service. At no time did I refuse to do your work but because I couldn't do it at your convenience (despite you having ample warning) I have become rude and uncaring? What made me this way, you asked? I could blame my husband's depression, having a severely depressed and one-time suicidal son, having a change in my business structure or finding out about a half brother overseas. It could have been my on-going illness and the fact that I've been working ridiculous hours when I should have been resting. I could blame the weather or the economic crisis in Europe. But the truth stands that the only thing that can be blamed is you for leaving it too late. I was never rude but you could be right about the uncaring part because I seriously don't.

kind regards.

It was probably best that I didn't reply.

But it made me think again of perspectives. This woman's perspective was that she had full rights to my time but no responsibility. I had to be at her beck and call. My perspective was that she had had plenty of time to respond to my initial call and that only the looming competition had made her pull her finger out and take action. And although I didn't want an upset client, sometimes you just have to accept that not everyone's going to like you. And the silver lining is that I won't have to deal with her next year.

I had coffee with Coach Chris's assistant the other day. Barry has had a knee replacement and is lining up for his second one. And what he really wants to do when he's fully healed is run again. The conversation gave me a lot more perspective on my own frustration with not running the way I want at the moment. At least I can run. And I know I'll get to a point in the future where I'm back running the distances I want to. It's up to me to enjoy what running I can do at the moment. I have to find my Zen. Acceptance is the path to contentment.

So for the two runs that I've had this week I've been very mindful about this. I've been a lot more laid-back and careful not to push too hard. And I've really enjoyed both runs.

It was back to the acupuncturist yesterday. One of the symptoms of my condition is morning nausea - like morning sickness without the 18 year responsibility. I also get a lot of tightness/tension/ tingling between my shoulder blades. Twenty minutes on his table and it had all gone. And I had a really good day energy-wise. I can't explain how or why it works but it seems to be really helping.

And finally for all of you wanting a video of me chasing chickens in heels - you'll just have to use your imaginations. Yes, I did have to tuck my lovely red dress into my undies to get over the fence. And yes, my left heel momentarily got stuck in the wire and I thought that my carefully applied make-up (who am I kidding - I just whacked some on and tried not to look like a clown) was going to smudge when I hit the ground. There may have been some arm flapping like I was trying to take off and a lot of silly noises which the hens chose to ignore. So if you can combine all those elements in your head I'm sure you'll have as much of a laugh as the neighbours did.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Wedding

We've been blessed with brilliant weather over Easter. Beautiful blue skies. Warm days. Cool nights. Absolutely perfect weather if you're planning on getting married - which my niece and her partner did.

Saturday was the big day. I'd had such a bad week physically that my main aim for Saturday was to rest up until I had to get ready. But I'm not very good at resting when I know things have to be done and I kept worrying that my boys would all want to shower at the same time (at the last minute) and wouldn't have their shirts ironed even though I'd asked them to do it the day before. So at one o'clock I decided to get the ball rolling and start getting ready. It's ridiculous how long it takes to get ready when you're making a little effort. Normally I'd spend about 20 minutes showering and drying my hair. Saturday it took a good hour plus a little.

But eventually we were all ready and about to jump into the cars when one of the boys realised that the chickens had escaped into the school next door. So we did what any good chicken-owners would do - jumped the fence (yes, even in my heels) and chased them around the school till they'd been caught. 

The rest is best told in pictures.

The Bride and Groom

Family Photos are More Fun in a Playground

Anneke (my great-niece), Avril (the flower girl) and photos from the reception.

Best parts of the wedding 

- Anneke dancing to Sexy and I Know It. Yes, she's not even a year old yet and she needed a couch to prop against, but that girl's got moves.

- The Photo Booth. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone planning a wedding. People kept disappearing behind the curtain  and coming out with big smiles on their faces to wait for their strips of photos. They got to keep one and the other got put into an album for the bride and groom.

- The chief bridesmaid having a dance rumble with one of the other guests. Loz you were hilarious!

- Watching Nicki and Nick really get to enjoy themselves at the reception.

My Family

Iven and I

Friday, April 6, 2012

Pins and Needles

Life has a way of giving you reminders of things every so often. Only yesterday I was reminded that you shouldn't grab hold of the metal part of the fry pan handle just after it's been used. And all this week I've been reminded that my doctor said to make sure I didn't push too hard and I got plenty of rest. I guess that working multiple 40+ hour weeks while trying to up my distance running may not have been the most wise thing to do. Life decided that I needed a subtle reminder so it crash-tackled me.

I worked all of this out when I was lying on the rug on my workroom floor on Tuesday - not knowing if I was going to throw up or fall asleep and knowing that I still had heaps of work to get done by the end of the week.

But while I was lying there I decided that if all that Western Medicine could offer me  was advice to rest, I needed to look elsewhere for help. A running friend had suggested seeing an acupuncturist to help with energy issues and I had read about one of our local swimmers who'd had exactly what I'd had and now was in the Olympic team for London. She's used a Chinese herbalist. So I decided to take action.

I've had my first-ever session with an acupuncturist now. And I lucked out. He's a runner from a local group who knew a lot of the people that I know. Talk about instant rapport. He took a history and did an examination and has decided that my adrenals are fatigued. From pumping out double quantities of cortisol every day for the last four years? What slackers!!

I looked at the ceiling so I didn't have to watch what he was doing. I really never thought I'd be voluntarily allowing someone to stick needles into my body. But it honestly didn't hurt. He kept checking my pulse and the funny thing is that I could feel a change in it from when he put it the first needle. It stopped the driving, pounding that I could feel through my whole body and became a more subtle, normal beat. The fatigue that I feel in my trapezius as a tingling dragging feeling disappeared as well.

I'd like to say that I've never really taken too much interest in alternative medicine. I like to know that there's a scientific explanation behind events. But science can't offer me anything more so I'm prepared to experiment to see what will happen. And I won't be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  I still intend to do what my doctor said - just as soon as my workload eases in the next fortnight.

I hope everyone is having a lovely Easter. I know the Easter bunny will be visiting me because I've seen where he's hidden my stash. Silly bunny - he should have known not to hide it in the downstairs bathroom that I use as my loo when I'm working. But I'll forgive him this year - I can't be mad at a bunny that is planning on being incredibly generous. And I haven't even finished my birthday chocolate yet.

Monday, April 2, 2012

This Week's Happy

I'm all about full disclosure on my blog and to be quite honest I've had moments where I've struggled emotionally and physically in the last few weeks. Running has been improving gradually but it's all too slow for my liking. And with every run I have to think and overthink - am I running too fast (seriously, I can't run much slower), is my heart rate too high, should I still be taking lots of walk breaks, will I go down in a great big heap once again if I do too much? I really miss the days when running was just about putting on your shoes and trashing yourself and feeling great afterwards.

But I know if I trashed myself I'd be paying the price for days or weeks afterwards so discipline has to be my middle name. But I have to learn to deal with the frustration that my limitations have created. So I've had to make a conscious effort again to look for the positives. And these are just a few of my positives in the last week.

My gorgeous puppies pretending that they are the best behaved dogs in the world who would never have accidents in the house.

A text from one of my best clients - if you read it carefully you might see that she's made an error which has taken fabric to mean frantic. When you've been working 45 hour weeks for well over a month, frantic is probably the more appropriate word. Gotta love subliminal auto-correct mistakes.

A multiple delivery from my parcel man. And all for me. Unfortunately one was the above-mentioned parcel of frantic and another some screen-printing for work. The box of flea tablets for the dogs was pretty exciting for them. But the last box had my new running shoes and singlet - yay!

Finding accessories for my wedding dress - well, not my wedding dress (been there, done that got the kids and stretch marks to prove it. And finding this bling made it easy to decide what I'd be wearing.


Baking on Sunday morning. Straight out of bed. Hadn't showered or brushed my hair. Still in my pyjamas. 

And a new recipe tried and tested and given the Donaldson family seal of approval. Pumpkin cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting. I got the recipe off the internet so I don't feel too like a thief putting it up here.

125g butter
1 C firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups mashed pumpkin.

Mix the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy. Sift the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time to the butter/sugar mix. Then alternately add the flour and milk mix. Finally beat in the pumpkin till smooth.

Spoon into lined cupcake pan. It'll make about 18 cupcakes. And bake at 350F/175C for 20-25 mins. 

They are seriously yummy - and Luke's girlfriend Becky will attest that non-pumpkin eaters will even enjoy them.

Our life is what we make it and a lot of how we feel depends on perspective. Sometimes it takes a concerted effort to change your perspective when your just not feeling it - but there is always something good to see when you do.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tatts and Tiaras.

Every Tuesday after our speed session (that I still can't do :( ) I have breakfast with a couple of friends. It's a strange little group. We range in age from 23 to 59. Three females and one male. But none of that matters because we all have one thing in common - running.

But last week, for the first time ever, I felt like an interloper. The other three share something in common which I don't - a tattoo.

It seems to me that tattoos are becoming so much more common. They're a medium to express yourself - who you are or what you've done. And finding out that everyone else had them got me thinking.

I've thought fleetingly about tattoos before. A few years back Mum and Dad took all five of their daughters to Thailand without our husbands. I thought it'd be funny if we all got tattoos (just temporary ones of course) to see the reactions of our spouses.

Then when I was planning on my first (and only) marathon, I did consider getting a tattoo as a memento. But I ended up making do with a permanently deformed toenail and the race medal.

But if I were to get a tattoo I'd like it to be something that said who I am. I am a wife, a mother, a runner, a leotard-maker, a cupcake-baker and a poo-cleanerupperer. I really don't want to be remembered for the last one. I have lots of medals and callouses and a permanent sock tan line to say that I'm a runner. My wedding ring tells the world that I'm a wife. My most important role is that of Mother. And one of my most important jobs as Mother is to get my sons ready to go out into the big wide world and become useful, functional members of society.

So if I were ever to get a tattoo, I think I'd get a nest with a mother bird sitting on it. And when each of my sons left home I'd get an addition to the design - a bird flying out of the nest. It would be a symbol that I'd achieved my goal.

The only problem would be if they moved back home.


I might just have sons but yesterday I got to borrow a daughter for the afternoon. Luke's girlfriend Becky was over when I was getting dressed for our squad's season launch. I NEVER know what to wear. And I rarely have anything to wear that's appropriate but this latest round of clothes shopping left me with a dress that I was going to use for a pattern if I could find the right fabric and a bit of time. I was worried that I might be a little old for it and rather than ask my sons or husband who have no interest in the intricate world of women's fashion, I got to ask someone who cared. She gave me the thumbs up so I bravely set out wearing A DRESS.

It was obviously the right decision because when I got home I got the best compliment ever from my eldest son. He told me that I look 'kind of normal.' High praise indeed because 'normal' was exactly the look I was going for.


Really good run yesterday!! I ran over 6k with the squad before run/walking back to the start. My average pace - even including the walk breaks - was 6:48/k and my average heart rate was the same as three weeks ago when my pace was 7:58. Colour me happy.