Thursday, June 28, 2007


Send in the clowns.

This morning I realised that Zoe has now somehow "acquired" a school coloured navy sloppy joe and a navy jacket that aren't hers. No name tags (silly parent!).. and in much better nick than hers - in fact they look new. Amazingly enough she also actually has hers this time. (It turned up at school after a few days, found out in the playground somewhere where she denied leaving it.) She also denies having brought home these nameless ones, so I guess they just appeared here by magic. I shake my head, resist the temptation to whack name tags on them, and pack them up to send back to school. (I mean, with no name tags, are the other 8/9 years olds going to be able to identify their own clothing?)

Marc, though, wants to know how on earth she managed to bring home two jackets that weren't hers - and questions her about it to the point that she is in tears. With all the time he has been away with work, he just hasn't been home enough to realise that some things are easier to just drop - otherwise you'd truly send yourself insane. He also reckons she is looking pretty frumpy in hers... which is true .. it's been handed down from eldest through middlest down to Zoe, and is looking pretty shabby. I tell him that I'm resisting buying her a new one, because I just know that it will end up in the dirt, and lost for days on end... And for the amount of days she will actually wear it, it seems pointless buying a new one for her to lose and find, and lose and find...

Alison has been making friendship bracelets in team colours for her rep team, but has been having 'difficulties' keeping track of them all. "I was sure I'd made more than that!" *sob, sob*.... Last night: "Hey, Mum, I found the first one I made on top of the TV! So I have more than I thought."..... And this morning I'm greeted with .... "Now I'm back down to five... I don't know where the other one is." And tears.

My response is callous. Something along the lines of 'tell someone who cares' may well have passed my lips. If I joined her on every emotional lost and found rollercoaster ride she takes I'd need a straightjacket. Half an hour later she's found it. In her dressing gown pocket. Marc tries to get in on the act here too... "I thought I told you to put them all in one place!" he says. "Why don't you put them all in one place?!"

He has no idea! She does attempt to do this, but will inevitably get sidetracked. She knows what she should do, we've nagged enough... but some things she has to figure out for herself... Her own time lost or wasted might be the only catalyst to make her a bit more responsible for her own stuff. If not, nothing is going to change her!

Clothes tags from a new purchase are all over the floor of the playroom. For heaven's sakes, they treat their bedrooms and playroom like a tip. Sherlock Mum deduces that seeing the tags refer to sleepwear that is kind of conclusive proof that it is from the new dressing gown bought for #1. "Caitlin! Come up here! NOW." She denies all knowledge of them. She didn't leave them there. Magic! *sighs* (She bloody well picked them up though.)

Clothes all over bedroom floor of #2 and #3. Again. Despite my rants.. and the requests for everything to be sorted either away in drawers, or in the wash... SO THAT EVERYTHING IS CLEAN FOR YOU TO PACK TO GO AWAY. "For god's sake, are these undies clean or dirty?!!!" ..... "Clean..."..... "Well, what the hell are they doing lying all over the bloody floor then?!"

There are also clothes still there that I'd dumped out for Zoe to try on to determine if they were too small, just right, or (as hand-me-downs) still too big. The kid is shooting up like a bean pole... it is like she is being stretched out like a plasticine figure, so that she gets skinnier as she gets taller, with the result that pants end up being too short but still fall off her waist. I am just crossing my fingers that she's got enough to wear at Grandmas, and try not to think about how she looked when she came home from the school disco yesterday, having changed into 'mufti' for their afternoon 'school dance'. I hope it was the hand-me-down black boots she was wearing (from a friend of #2's) that made the jeans look so short. Either that or she's grown 2 inches in two days. Heaven help me, Grandma is going to be tut-tutting about how I can't dress my own children adequately....

She comes down stairs and I tell her to hurry up and brush her hair. "But I have!" she wails. More tears when I grump about her inability to look after her own hair, despite having had her hair cut so that all she has to do is brush it. "And what are you going to do at Grandma's?" I lecture her every day about having to brush her hair during the day, but she never does.. (The other two were never this hopeless with their hair!)

When they all finally tumble out the door (running late, luckily Sideshow Dad is leaving at the same time...) I breathe a sigh of relief.. and make a beeline for the computer, cradling a cup of coffee.

I'm not sure if I'm the ringmaster (and doing a very bad job of it) or just the straight 'man' for the clowns.

.... Next session begins at approximately 3.30pm.

Meantime I have pre-trip washing and ironing... Thankfully the sun is appearing - it was looking rather glum out there for a while this morning, and I was about to start ranting about where my 'fine' forecast was. I just had the brilliant idea of leaving the kids' beds for one more night (after so many, what's one more?) - I can do their sheets in the few days they are not here next week! Pure genius.

I expect that with the packing panic tonight, and blast off scheduled for the morning, that I won't be back blogging till Tuesday. Enjoy your break!!

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Desperate housewife.

"Wet washing hanging on the line.
Drying very quickly when the weather's fine..."

(If you are an Aussie mum with any Playschool in your blood,
you are singing along with me right now, aren't you?)

When the highlight of your day is being chuffed that there is blue sky and sunshine, so that you can hang out multiple loads of washing, it qualifies as being desperately... something....

Maybe there's a bit of the housewife in me after all.

I'm even more chuffed that the forecast is for 'fine' tomorrow as well, as I have the 3 sets of sheets from the kids beds to do still! (Not admitting how long it has been since their beds were changed.) Plus numerous other items of clothing that I will discover need washing before we go away - netball gear that has been stuffed away somewhere for instance. (Just wondering where a particular long sleeve shirt is and what state it is in...) The most annoying thing is getting through to the girls that they need to look a bit like they are going to do some packing tonight. So that tomorrow night isn't diabolical! The eldest works on the 'why do today what you can put off doing till 5 minutes before you leave' principle, so I'm fighting off just a bit of frustration - a trade-off for the fact that I don't actually need to pack her stuff for her like some parents of her team-mates do. I believe in making them responsible for their own stuff as early as possible. Normal holiday trips I wouldn't care so much, but with this representative team sport bizzo, you can't afford to leave something important behind.

Morning spent washing and squelching out to the line. A quick making of a 'plate' of food for an in-school time dance for Zoe this afternoon, which I only found out about over dinner last night. (Bit of creative thinking and googling, and I whizzed up some puff pastry vegemite and cheese scrolls, and then dropped them off at school.)

A quick trip into town, with a list of items to get: new dressing gown for eldest, clasps for middlest who is making 'friendship' bracelets in their team colour for everyone in her rep team, and a new watchband for husband. Something for dinner even. (Dinner decisions are on a day to day basis at the moment.) Home and then back out to parent-teacher meeting. Home and then back out soon at 6.00 to drop middlest and friend at school disco - after supervising them doing the icing for a slice Alison made last night.

And still more washing tomorrow. I'm yet to figure out how so much can accumulate for a family of five in such a short time. Sometimes it seems like it is all that I ever do - and that's with a washing machine! Still, hanging out the washing to dry on a sunny day is one of the few household chores that I actually kind of enjoy. I love the freshness of clothes and linen dried out in the fresh air, and I really am grateful for the climate and air quality that we have here. Mid-winter, (and stupidly our clothesline gets more shade in the winter because of trees blocking a bit of the northerly sun) and all of that is dry tonight, bar the waistbands of a couple of pairs of jeans.

The downside of bringing in all that fresh, clean washing is that I now have to sort it. And iron some of it. Bummer. My housewifeliness certainly doesn't run to enjoying that.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007



We had 120mm of rain over 24 hours (from 9am-9am). That's nearly 5 inches in the old money. There are a couple of pools in the backyard. Even if it clears tomorrow, I'll be sloshing out to the clothesline and standing ankledeep in water to hang the clothes out. Oh well, at least it is not a flood. (But I say again - "I wish we could have sent this rain out west where they need it.")

So everything outside is damp. And I now have a building pile of damp washing building up inside as I gradually put a few loads through the washing machine. Do I put it all through our cabinet dryer (which will at least not shrink anything) ? Or 'hang fire' for the predicted "Forecast for Wednesday: Fine. Fresh to strong and gusty westerly winds. " ? That should get things dry. If it happens.

I have had another day mooching around the house, trying to sort a few things out. I finally sewed Cait's 14 yrs rep player patch on her rep netball jacket. Poor kid with the slacko mum who doesn't manage to sew it on in time for all the lead up carnivals. But at least she's in business for the real thing this weekend. I usually get things done in time in the end.

So Friday is the day - and we farewell both of them at 6 am meeting spots (some 25 km apart, but hey) for them to travel down in their respective team buses. They travel and stay together with their teams (which suits me just fine!) Then at some point before lunch we'll get the Mum, Dad and Zoe show on the road. 6 hours driving time to Grandma's house. After our nearly 8 hour Sunday drive, it'll seem like nothing!

Then we leave the Zoester to be spoilt rotten for 3 days, and head off on Saturday morning to watch 3 days of netball (multiplied by 2 girls). They will play around 25 x half hour games over the 3 days - I have just found out that they will be playing at the same time - which is sort of a bummer, but sort of a blessing, as at least we will have the alternate half hours to sit back and relax. I don't think I could really cope with head to head netball for several hours each day! I am just not that obsessed with the game!

Monday afternoon we collect our (very tired) netballers, and head back to Grandma's... and then Marc and I will leave all three for a few more days - he has to work, and, well, they may as well spend a bit of time with their grandparents. We'll retrieve them a few hours closer on the weekend (so only a 4 hour drive for us on Friday night) where we'll meet up with them at Nana's place for a couple of nights. A few nights sans kids! Quite a novel concept for us. I'm not sure we'll know what to do with not having to harass everyone to bed each night. (Bliss! is what it will be.)

So I have been trying to work out if everyone has enough clothes, and that said clothes (and socks and undies) have all made it to the laundry. Sitting on the floor sorting through drawers has set my back a-twingeing, and my nose all sniffling and sneezing, so I am taking a break. I now have a bag's worth of too-small clothes to give away as well, and a big pile that Zoe needs to try on to decide whether they go in the Discard, Current, or Grow Into pile. It is kind of sad when your youngest finally outgrows some of those cute clothes that have been handed down from eldest to middlest to her. Ssshhh, no, I'm not clucky - but aren't there a lot of cute clothes for little kids out there?!!! And now my baby is a tall, skinny nearly 9 year old! How time flies.

Well, said baby has a swimming squad class straight after school, and I need to pick her up from school, then do a few errands at the shops. (Like getting something for dinner!). And then back to the damp washing, and the clothes sorting, and the building panic that always accompanies a trip away, no matter how organised you try to be. Unfortunately that's always been my M.O. and always will be.

Sunshine the next two days would certainly make things a lot easier.

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Monday, June 25, 2007


Just one quick post ...

It's raining, it's pouring. (Just when I'd decided it was high time to strip all the beds and wash all the sheets.) I really wanted to get on top of the laundry in preparation for leaving on Friday. The big netball State Age Championships are finally just about here (and not a moment too soon! - I don't think I could sustain all the taxi-driving-to-training logistics - for two daughters - for another term!) Please, Mother Nature, give me one day of sunshine this week before going away so I can dry stuff outside, and not chew up the electricity on using the dryer!

It's hard to get motivated on a rainy day. Much more fun sitting at the computer, drinking cups and cups of coffee, and catching up on blogs, and much-missed comments after not having done a blog post in 5 days!

However, I have much to do, and only so many days to do it in, so I must prioritise, and make some impact today. General cleaning desperately required. And then there's the sorting of clothes for children who about to head south in mid-winter from this very mild, temperate climate. I hope they have enough warm clothes to get them through a few days in Sydney,! where it could be a balmy 20 degrees, or a cold-enough 13 or thereabouts with a whipping southerly wind-chill to make it feel even colder. How does that sound? I'm their mother, and I don't know whether they have enough warm clothes?

With the rain, no photos of new tandem yet. Oh, ok, here's one of it parked INSIDE the house here (along with all the other bike related detritus) and so then you might get some idea of what I am up against - cleaning-wise - in this house. (Not that some of the mess isn't down to me... but multiply that by five, and you have a debacle.)

Marc spent a couple of hours last night researching exactly what year model tandem we'd bought! - me having to help him turn the damn thing over - inside the house - a couple of times to unscrew some part to reveal the model number. Which gives me a slight sense of unease I guess, ie. I am hoping that we didn't pay too much for it. However, this quality of tandem doesn't come up for sale in Australia that much - particularly second hand, so you just jump in and hope. When you are a tandemaniac. In this country.

And I guess we figure that if we sell on our other tandem to someone new to tandemming, then we are doing our bit to promote the wonderful world of tandems in this country!!

OK, I could blather on about other stuff that has been happening while I haven't been blogging:

Good stuff like children getting glowing school reports, and "arguing" with Zoe's teacher over who is lucky - us because all three of my girls have had her as a teacher, or her because she's been able to teach all three of my girls!

Or flipside stuff like car mechanics who try to charge $220 to replace part of the exhaust system (when I took it to a place), and then Marc takes it somewhere else for a second opinion and gets the 'clunk' fixed for nothing (and the exhaust didn't need replacing!) Getting the sexist rip-off vibe here?

Oh, look.. it's lunchtime already!


Sunday, June 24, 2007


Not drowning, waving

Last post was 5 days ago. I must have been busy!

Pity I can't say that in that record number of days of no blog posts I have at least spring cleaned the house from top to bottom. Not a chance. Though the next few days really should comprise something along those lines, because things are becoming truly horrific in the domestic stakes. I'm beginning to wonder if the only solution would be to move house - it may be the only thing that would force the issue. (In fact, perhaps the fact that this is the longest I've lived in any house (since I 'moved out of home') has something to do with the accumulation of crap... and grime.)

However.. not here to talk about housework. Not here to talk about anything of particular interest - as is the norm anyway. But at least I have proved to myself that I can skip a few days of blogging and survive to tell the tale.

So, happily I've done the usual exercise - weights, tennis, swimming, and the insane early Saturday morning bike ride that leaves me feeling clagged out the rest of the weekend but I love doing it all the same. I took Zoe to a schools district public speaking competition on Friday morning. I went out for dinner on Friday after swimming - a girls' night out for someone's birthday.. all the while thinking I am such a boring old fart these days because I really had to talk myself into going, and, really, in the end I would have been happier being at home anyway. I used my early rising to excuse myself from partying on up at the local pub. Because I don't party very well anyway.

I've decided I'm more than 'over' the netball committee stuff, but will have to endure till I don't stand again as secretary for the AGM in September (I think, please let it be September... hell, I'm only the secretary, why would I know when the AGM is?) I went up to the courts on Saturday even later than usual, escaped the clubhouse and watched some of the netball for a change, only did one hour in the canteen, and then left.

Yesterday I made Moussaka using lean, freshly minced lamb fillet, and it was yum. (And we even got Caitlin to eat eggplant!) But I nearly burnt the house down in the process, because I did the old 'heat the oil in the pan - start to chop onions - get distracted' trick. Lucky I saw the flames in the saucepan quicker than I did around 10 years ago when I charcoaled my nice new kitchen tiles. (In my old house. Well... old new house. It was new because we just built it, but it's no longer my house, so it's my old house. I don't have a nice new kitchen in this house....) But yes, I set fire to the oil, and I've done it before. This time it was because I was trying to be a good mother by helping daughter with notes she'd started for a school project. Instead of fobbing her off like I would normally do, and probably should have done. While I had oil heating on the stove anyway. I still have black marks to get off the saucepan. Like I needed more things to clean.

But the big news. Today we went for a Sunday drive. To the Gold Coast and back. (About 7 hours drive return.) To pick up another tandem we bought on eBay. Yes we did. And yes, yes, I know, we are mad. We are tandemaholics. But this one is niiiice. It is an upgrade - from the one I've been riding with Cait. And we will sell the old one. (And our other old one is spoken for as well. ) But not before I take a photo of the FIVE we currently own, just to record for posterity that we are tandemaniacs.

It was dark when we got home, and I want to change the saddle from the uncomfortable mens type one, and lower it, before I ride it. So I will get a photo in the daylight... some time this week.
But there will be more on 'Los Dos' on this blog, you can be sure. (Los Dos is the name of the model tandem. How's your Spanish? Very cute, huh?) I am pretty stoked about it (which is not intended to be a pun on the term 'stoker' - for the one who rides the back of a tandem.)

And, so I don't know what I'm doing still up at 10.40pm 11.06pm .. when I'm tired. From doing stuff like this:

Taken Saturday morning on the Community Ride as we stopped for a breather on a headland. Pretty specky, hey.

PS. New camera! Slimline, lightweight, waterproof job, so as to be accessible for stuff like, well, above.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007


In the mood.

Hmm, not that sort of mood, though perhaps I should find more catalysts to put me in that sort of mood. I am talking (whingeing, whining) about things that put you in a GRUMPY mood.

I can be humming along ok, then suddenly one small thing has happened.. and I realise that an hour later I am still frowning. And stomping around a bit. And it's usually some trivial thing that is so not worth the angst I give myself.

Like what?


The other night I saw a(nother) photo of me that I hated. Do I actually look that horrible in profile? And look at that stomach! I swear I don't look like that when I look in the mirror.. yet captured on film digitally - blech. I realised a bit later I was stomping around in a mood.

Everything the kids don't do that they should be capable of doing. By now.
Clothes not getting put out to wash. Clothes and bath towels and last week's swimming towel under the bed! And I discover it when they aren't around, so I can't get up them there and then. And I get grumpy with myself because I feel like I have totally failed that area of parenthood.

I have a 14 year old who doesn't clean her teeth properly. When that issue comes up - like realising that she hasn't cleaned her teeth before going out, or before going to bed - oh, yes, I feel so cranky and frustrated. (Sometimes you catch sight of her teeth in the day and you know she can't have possibly cleaned them that morning.)

I get grumpy when it takes an hour to get them to bloody bed! (And if I snuck upstairs now, one of them would have a light on still...)

And having to yell out at least a dozen times each morning to wake the 14 year old up! Grrrr! So I start the day grumpy! The same 14 year old who finds any excuse not to go to bed.

And so, yes. .. I also make myself grumpy. By not doing basic household stuff I should. (No wonder my kids are hopeless in that regard.) And when another day has gone by and I haven't done any 'abs' or push-ups at home. My 'homework', so to speak. Then I get cross with myself, and spiral into this vague grumpy mode that takes me through dinner, and getting said children to finally go to bloody bed!

There are lots of things. Inevitably when you're in a mood, if you go out in the car there'll be some wally driving slow, or not getting over near the centre line before turning, or any number of stupid things. I suppose people are doing this sort of stuff all the time, but sometimes you just notice them more than others.

And I could probably go on and on, but I'm lacking imagination on this theme that I've started, so THAT is making me grumpy!

Maybe I should buy this book that I got the picture from!

“Hilarious...sure to cure the grumpiest reader...”

“Guaranteed to remove every pout in sight...”

I wish my kids were still young enough! (and grumpy enough!) to warrant me buying it!


Monday, June 18, 2007


Bush mechanics

Something for all aspiring bush mechanics to make sure they have in their tool kit. Zip ties! Aka 'cable ties'. Who knew they could be so bloody useful?! - although Marc has always reckoned they were handy things to have around, and he usually has a pack in the back of the car.

Yesterday we were on a BUG ride heading on a 30 km each way ride to Nana Glen (I just slipped that link in for the Russell Crowe connection!): me on my road bike, because Cait had a 3 hour rep netball training session, and Marc with the other two on the triplet. About 4 or 5 km out of Nana Glen (and the cafe we were headed to for lunch), Marc suddenly realised that the front tyre on the triplet was bulging off the rim. Eep! We stopped.. let some air out of the tube, repositioned it, pumped it up again, and set off, but barely 50 m down the road it was doing it again.

This time, with help from a couple of the BUG riders, he took the wheel off, and they investigated. The bead on the wall of the tyre was shredding at one point! To give you an idea, you usually need tyre levers to prise a bike tyre off the rim. Not so here.. When the air was let out of the tube, the tyre was that loose, it could slip right off the rim!

What a hassle. Options? Marc and girls sit on the side of the road while I ride (by myself) 25 km back to Coffs for the car. Or try to fix it enough to get us to Nana Glen (and lunch), and then do the car retrieval.

Marc is usually pretty good at coming up with temporary (at least) repairs in the field, but it was Garry who hit on the cable tie idea. "I've heard about using cable ties..!!" he said enthusiastically. "Don't suppose you have any?"

Only a bag full of them! Thankfully despite the rush we were in in the morning (another story about people in the family being slothful about getting up and being a bit less than enthusiastic to go because OMG!! it was a little bit windy!), and despite forgetting to put in his penknife, he had thrown a bag of cable ties in the pannier bag.

From now on I doubt he'll ever leave home without them! This fix got them the last 5 km into Nana Glen, albeit slowly, with the front brake disconnected, and the tyres a bit soft because they weren't game to pump them too much. We managed lunch, then he got a lift back into town with a guy who only rode one-way and had his wife there with the car.

Wouldn't have wanted to ride it too much further, but it got us out of a fix.

Without his penknife, at one point we thought we had no way of cutting off the ends of the ties... till Neil realised he had one of those small paper cutter stanley knives in his toolkit.

New tyre on the shopping list. And another bag of cable ties!


Friday, June 15, 2007


Warped logic and faulty thermostats.

Notes to self:
* Housework priority for the day was not 'cleaning out' your email inbox.
* Using the morning madness as an excuse to sit at the computer for an hour and a half is not good use of your day at home.

OK, the morning wasn't that bad.. it's just the little things - about kids! - that very often make you shake your head and wonder.

Like, what on earth do Ms 11 and Ms 8 do from 8.00 to 8.30? They have already eaten their breakfast, and they have retrieved their ironed school uniforms from upstairs. And socks. But at 8.30 they still had to clean teeth, put shoes on, finish packing lunch (that I started). Can it possibly take half an hour to throw a shirt and a pair of pants on. OK, and socks and shoes. And brush hair?

Oh, ok.. this morning they had to pack flute/recorder for lessons at school.

Still... half an hour?

I've been on a campaign of gradually handing over all lunch-box preparation to them. I help out Ms 8 more.. but she is three years younger. This morning I did more of that than usual, and they were still running late!

By the way, at this point in time it is around 12-13 degrees. Not as cold as other mornings have been recently, but still... worthy of more than short sleeves don't you think? We don't have heating in our house... given our temperate climate, we just get through the few weeks of coldish weather each year by putting more clothes on. The schools up here don't even bother with a winter uniform. There's the option of long pants (navy in the case of both primary and high school). And a navy jumper/jacket or any variety.

And so, as we hit winter, we get up, and get dressed in warmer clothes.

Unless you are our children.

Our kids have defective thermostats, and a rather warped idea of how to judge appropriate clothing for the weather. Sunny = warm in their view. (never mind if it might be approaching zero degrees outside!). Granted, it is a frustrating place to dress for winter, because on any winter day, despite a possible cold start, it could hit the mid-twenties, and if you are unable to strip off layers, you will be in a lather of sweat. So many days at school, especially if they do any sort of sport or fitness, they strip off their jumpers, and they are down to short sleeves. And you know what happens when kids (particularly kids like mine) strip off their jumpers!

But there is many a day when I'll be rugged up in tracky pants, long sleeve shirt and a polar fleece jumper. And Zoe or Ali in particular might be wandering around in a sleeveless top and shorts!

So this morning Alison is getting around in just her short sleeve school uniform top, (and long pants.. I think...) while we are rugged up in polar fleece. (And I'm still cold!) Questioned on that, she says she intends to put her school jumper on when she goes outside. (Which is probably the same temperature as our kitchen! Go figure.)

Zoe is the same... and then, as she's ready to race out the door for the bus, she fossicks through her bag. "Mum! Where's my jacket?"

"How would I know Zoe... Did you wear it home from school?" (Thinking it could be dumped anywhere in the house...)

"Um.. no... "

"So.. did you actually bring it home from school?"

"Um.... I don't know... "

GRRRR! This is what we go through every damn winter. I have lost count of the number of times they have left jumpers at school. Sometimes I am callous and I make them go without - because if they don't suffer, they aren't going to learn! This morning though, I find another navy jumper, and reluctantly send her to school wearing that because I don't want this 8 year old who is just getting over a cough and the sniffles to possibly spend all day at school without a jacket. Just in case she can't locate said jacket at school. Which, going on past experience is highly likely.

The risk is that today she will come home without two jumpers!

It happens every winter, and there are times when I wish we weren't blessed with such relatively mild weather. If they were bloody freezing all day, they'd never take their jumpers off! And they'd never leave them at school! Or lose them forever at school.

And as Marc said later on the 'Mum?!' bit.. "What does she think? You took it from her bag and hid it somewhere and forgot to tell her?!"

BUT. I'm a fine one to talk about faulty logic, and good use of time.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007


I try not to get annoyed.

But I do anyway. It's just about manners - or common courtesy.

Back at the beginning of the netball season, the mother of a kid in #2's team rang me to ask if I could take her daughter to training on Thursday afternoons because she works. I didn't know her (yet) but I said fine, while trying to shrug off a slight feeling of irritation that I tend to get in these situations. I'm happy to car pool anytime, but I can be a bit hypersensitive when parents who work 'use' me because I don't. (Yet I very often feel inferior because I don't have a job.) The kids go to the same school - this kid is a couple of years below Alison - and I only have to go a block or so out of my way. And this mother reckoned she could drop Alison home. AND, as is inevitable, I found out just recently that she's a single mum, so, yeah, she doesn't really have a choice about work... so I felt guilty for feeling annoyed. Not everyone has the luxury of choice to stay home and taxi my kids around that I have.

After one week of training we were away for a week on the Big Ride, and first Thursday back I got just about to training with Alison before we realised we'd forgotten to pick up this kid! I drove the 5 km back to get her, then back again, because I would have felt guilty about not taking her as I'd committed to!

A few weeks later we turned up to pick her up one afternoon, and she wasn't there. Her older sister didn't have a clue where she was. The next week when I picked her up I asked where she was. She said she forgot about training. And her mother apparently went crook on her for forgetting. I did think it was a bit odd that her mother never rang to apologise - as I would have in the reverse situation. OR made the kid ring. That's what I would have done with my kid in the same situation! Just manners. Common courtesy.

The first few weeks of training I'd stayed - mainly to help the new coach find her way around - plus I got gasbagging to people, so I'd never taken her up on the offer to bring Alison home. When I saw her she insisted she could, so since then I had let her. May as well take up the offer.

Then a few weeks back Ali was really late getting home. The kid had babbled something about her mother possibly being late, but I did think it would have made sense for her to ring me if she was going to be delayed. Instead the poor volunteer coach had to wait in the dark and cold for this woman to come! I rang the coach myself to apologise (even though it wasn't my fault!) And I left a message on this mother's answering machine to say to not hesitate to call me if she's having difficulty getting away from work. Never heard from her.

Hmmm. Oh well.

But today! I turned up to pick the kid up, and the older sister said she'd been taken to training with her Nanna!! Gee, thanks for letting me know!

When I got to training I said to her 'Where were you, M?...I came to pick you up!'.

"Oh, my Nana brought me."

"OK, but I didn't know that! Perhaps you could have let me know you didn't need a lift!"

"We didn't have your phone number."

"Huh?.. I meant Mum could have let me know." (as her mum does have my number!)

"Mum didn't know Nanna was taking me."


So, yeah, not the Mum's fault. BUT. If I don't get a phone call from her to apologise, I am going to STAY annoyed. And very tempted to just not turn up to pick the kid up next week.

Or am I just being over sensitive?

[Actually, I found out that the mum DID know.. the older sister told Alison that the kid was supposed to tell Alison at school. Also, I do know that they have to move house in a week or so, and that the mother was pretty stressed about it I suppose that should constitute mitigating circumstances...]


Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Double dose.

Nothing like fitting in a two big sessions of exercise in one day. Another cycle/weights double, but this time at least we had the sense to separate the two by an hour and a half. We set off for a cycle at 9.45... and clocked up 42km - some of it a similar route to the one I do on Saturday mornings. Quite possibly it wasn't the same pace as the community ride, but I wasn't too upset about not having a pack to fall off! And at least my legs weren't as sore as they were last Saturday! Which meant I could push a bit harder up some of the hills. Really I did. I' didn't struggle too much, but had well and truly 'emptied the tank' by the time we finished, and K. - my partner in crime, didn't need much persuasion to collapse, with me, at the nearest cafe for some food and, importantly, a coffee!

I would have been quite happy to have just achieved just that in one day, but as K only has one free day a week, (and I'm a bit light on for other women cycling partners) we do the double. At 1.30 we were backing up for a shared weights session with the trainer... and she could tell we were just a wee bit tired from our riding. alternately praising us for our efforts, and informing us that it was affecting our weights.

It's got to be all good for us. I'm sure. I just hope I can move around the tennis court tomorrow. And given that I'm feeling a touch guilty about all this 'leisure' time, I hope I have the energy to really-truly-ruly-this-time get stuck into some domestics on Friday.

I picked up Ms 11 from the airport this afternoon. All went well, and according to Grandma, the concert was really impressive. It was a Festival of Instrumental Music by combined public schools - a combined primary schools recorder ensemble (which Alison was in - 700 students!)... A Combined Primary schools string ensemble, plus a few other public schools instrumental solos, quartets and ensembles, orchestras and bands. (And they are doing this with different performers on each of three nights!) Gee, I am kind of wishing I'd been able to see it! As predicted she has come home having been 'well looked after'. Like with bags of rock candy.. and yet another stuffed toy.

So that's one adventure over for her... Next one in only a couple of weeks with the trip down to Wollongong (further than Sydney) for the netball State Age. A lot longer travelling time - bus vs plane! Both she and Cait will be travelling down with their respective teams. Marc, Zoe and I will travel separately.. and then leave Zoe for her dose of getting spoilt by Grandma. She can't wait.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Leaving on a jet plane.

Airports make me cry.

This morning I put Ms 11 (& 11/12s) on a plane without me! A simple one hour flight to Sydney, where she will be met by her grandparents, who will take her to the Opera House where she is playing recorder tonight in a public schools concert. (Pretty exciting stuff!) They'll take her there for for the rehearsal at 12.00 (after making sure she is fed and watered), meet her again at 3.00, entertain her for a few hours, buy her food, then take her back again for the concert at 6.15. (Which of course they'll watch.) A night train trip back to their place to stay the night. A sleep in, and then the trip to the airport to come home. She'll be spoilt like nothing else - one on one attention from Grandma doesn't happen much when you live 600km away, and normally share the grandparents' attention with two sisters (and two cousins who live nearby.)

I'm feeling just a twinge of regret that I won't be sharing in the whole experience - concert plus plane trip. At the time I had to organise for her to get there, I had no idea whether Marc would be home, so there was the mere matter of two other children to be looking after at home. Also at some point I had to weigh up the expense of 2 plane fares, particularly with the amount of money we are spending on both her and the eldest with their big rep netball comp coming up.

I had booked her as an unaccompanied minor, signing my life away, with passwords and forms in quadruplicate to fill in at either end. But when we asked for a seat allocation with a schoolmate and her mother who it turned out were going on the same flight, they waived the whole 'unaccompanied minor' palava, and she strolled nonchalantly across the tarmac and on to the plane with them as if she did this sort of thing every other week! (Much like the way her Dad tends to behave with his overseas trips - leaving me to be the emotional wreck.)

And so I got all teared up as I watched her plane take off.

[I'm ok now, it didn't last long.. I was in contact with Mum a mere hour and a bit later; the plane got there of course: "special package received in good order and now in safe hands".]

For as long as I can remember airports have given me goosebumps.. Leaving yourself, or farewelling someone - I guess it's all tied up with the emotions of being apart from loved ones... and also some minor itsy bitsy teeny wheeny fear of flying thing. Probably flying out myself at age 17 for a year as an exchange student in Indonesia has embedded itself emotionally in my subconcious, as have the many times I've farewelled my husband on overseas work trips over the past 10 years. (The one where he went for 3 months has undoubtably scarred me for life! - my how I blubbered at the airport ... No Stoic Mum for the sake of the children that day...)

There was also another flight I took just about 10 years ago when I left my then 4 and 2 year olds with their grandparents, while Marc continued to work on our house, and I flew from Sydney to here (for a week) to start looking for rental properties, as we were about to move here. I have never felt so fragile and vulnerable as we took off. I'd just lost a baby halfway during a pregnancy, and that experience had made me realise that 'shit' can happen to anybody - even me! I was sure the plane was going to crash on take off or landing; the indentation of my fingers is probably still in the armrest, and I felt so alone without my babies or my husband.

So! Back to the airport tomorrow afternoon to pick her up! I think, given the short duration, that I will be less teary when I'm on the receiving end of my precious cargo. Though you never know. Airports just have this tendency to make me cry.

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Monday, June 11, 2007


Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-CHOO!

That was all I was good for yesterday afternoon. It crept up on me insidiously when I had begrudgingly taken the older two girls in shopping. (Not a great decision to leave "I need more clothes!" shopping until a Sunday afternoon when most of the smaller shops have closed, but given our usual out-of-school-hours schedule, it was the only shopping time we have - till rep netball is finished at any rate - not that I'm counting the days for that or anything!)

The nose started itching. The nose started dripping.. The head started going 'errrgh', and I felt like I was channelling Sneezy, Dopey AND Grumpy. At one point I stood outside one of those hip young things clothes shops with the *doof doof* music while they browsed - propping myself up against a wall. Bit of role reversal stuff happening there - isn't it usually the teenagers looking decidedly bored and wishing they were anywhere but? I dragged my butt in there while they tried on some t-shirts... head pounding along with the music... and I must have looked as out of place as I felt.

Earlier we'd walked out of one shopping centre, and as I emerged, I sneezed a few times. An older bloke walking buy started to say 'Bless You'.. each time.. then incredulously started counting the sneezes. "Three!" he said. (I thought it was more by then, but whatever.. I was too busy clenching my pelvic floor muscles, and besides which, if you live with my husband, three sneezes is nothing!) Then I sneezed once more, and he turned, holding up four fingers and exclaimed, "FOUR!".

What the?

So then emerging later from the other shopping centre, again the outside air brought on another frenzied attack of sneezing. A woman approaching us said "HOLEY DOOLEY!" Cait thought I must have known her.. but no. So sorry to have disturbed you all... but.. since when was it the done thing to pass exclamatory comment on some poor person sneezing?!!

The good news is that after a fairly miserable evening dealing with a nose that dripped like a leaky tap (yep, interesting trying to get dinner on..) some combination of the hayfever tabs and the nighttime cold & flu tabs worked. Today I am ok.. but disinclined to get too excited about it lest I jinx myself. (I am superstitious like that.)

Needless to say, yesterday didn't incorporate any bike riding. (So much for major league sleep-ins making you feel better.... perhaps they are overrated after all.) Today I slept in some more, just to make sure that the lack of runny nose when I first awoke was going to stay. Can't be too careful. And all I've done is more washing - of sheets - and of dirty clothes emerging from heaven knows where - the corners of rooms, from the underneath of furniture in their bedrooms and playroom. You can tell I run a tight ship. NOT. I've dumped the vacuum cleaner up there too. So they can see what a diabolical job is is to try to vacuum amongst all their crap! What is not done today might just end up in a big garbage bag tomorrow. Or when I think I can tackle it without bringing on more dust-induced sneezing. Yesterday's bout of it was enough to last me for a while.

[Actually, they have done a pretty good job of clearing up. It looks much better.. remains to be seen what has been stuffed out of sight... as they do...]


Saturday, June 09, 2007


I think I can, I think I can

I think I can keep up with "everyone" on a single bike, but the sad reality is that I'm a slow coach - relatively speaking I guess, because I am trying to ride in a particular level at the Community Ride (because I know that with the next level down I am more than fast enough on a mountain bike!)

So now you know why we ride a tandem... HE doesn't have to keep waiting for me, 'cos I'm right there behind him, and I can't fall behind. (And as for when I captain the bike with the daughter? I am starting to wonder what percentage of effort I am actually worth! Why does the term "weakest link" keep popping up in my head?)

We took the 'half bikes' in for our favourite 6.30 am ride again today - partly for a change, partly because of his hamstring. [How frustrating is it that he still rides THAT much faster than me, even with a dodgy hammy!]

Hills! Inclines! My weakspot. Nothing major in the 30 km route we take, but start going up and my pace just doesn't seem to cut it; I'm sort of keeping up with the pack as we start going up, then I fall off the pace at the crest, and everybody zooms off, leaving me to play catch up.. which is harder going than riding with the pack, so you get more tired, and it's a vicious cycle. (no pun intended.)

As an excuse (rather than a whine) my legs were already sore after doing my weights class yesterday (catch up from missing it on Wednesday). So they weren't exactly impressed with me this morning. Probably accounted for a small percentage of the slowness. That on top of having done absolutely zilch exercise between then and last Saturday's community ride... well, not my best fitness week that's for sure - and so the body is certainly letting me know about it.

And this morning was CHILLY. (For here anyway... I'll rate 7 degrees C as cool weather for cycling (45F) even though I know serious cyclists in colder climes cycle in far worse!) Also cool weather sitting in an outdoor cafe when it has barely scratched 9 degrees! That was a bit of a shame because today (thanks to the long weekend) we didn't have to race home for netball and, dammit, it was too cold to kick back and have a second cup of coffee!

So, I am currently doing battle in my head over wanting to work at it so I can keep up the pace versus wondering just how much of it is 'recreation' when I feel like crying each time I fall behind on the hills. Best approach I guess is not to get too het up about it, and just keep chipping away at the daily exercise. My fitness has improved this year, and it can only get better... and hell... I'm not doing too bad. For an almost 45 year old me.

So, yep, this is a long weekend, with NO NETBALL!!!, and so I have pencilled in a BIG luxurious sleep in tomorrow. And maybe even on Monday as well. All in honour of the Queen's Birthday (which isn't.) Who cares, I'll enjoy a 'day off' (even if theoretically every day is a day off for me.) Maybe spend some more time on a bike of some description. And maybe some time on a domestic project of note.

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Friday, June 08, 2007


Only because...

Northern Girl tagged me for a meme...So only because it's an easy one. And only because being tagged makes me feel so Special.

“Recycle a post that helps to sum up you and your history for a first-time reader.”

I link to this post on my sidebar - 'The Full Catastrophe.'

I've edited it once since I first posted it, and it summarises a bit about me.

This one sums me up more specifically... and that's probably all you'd ever care to know about me.. This year there have been some developments...improvements even. A bit of a marriage "crisis" led to my husband not working away so much. A silver lining.. a blessing in disguise.. if you wish. And I have made progress in the fitness area. Shows that change is possible. I've still to work on the domesticity and job issues, but I suppose that goes to show that anything is possible.

Oh yeah.. you're supposed to tag people with memes, but being a bit of a rebel, I won't. As usual... if you want to do this, consider yourself tagged.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007


A favour.. and a matter of trust...

Well, actually a 'favor', seeing this is one we are in need of specifically from one of my US blog mates, so I had better spell it the US way!!!

You might say this would also be a matter of Trust from my end!!!

You know, of course, about our passion for cycling - and tandems in particular. And that I have often commented that tandems are BIG in the US, but not so in Australia. So often when my tandem geek husband finds tandem specific bike parts (or indeed tandems!) for sale either on eBay, or in US online bike shops -stuff he can't get in Australia - he is getting increasingly frustrated and disappointed that some of them just won't ship out of the US. He has looked into US postal rates to Australia (and they aren't that bad!), but some just don't want to go to the post office and fill out a small form.

He has also successfully bought our road tandem from the US on eBay, and organised to have it freighted over here, so we know how it can be done.

So for a while now he's asked me "Do you know anyone in the States who might be prepared to occasionally take receipt of parcels, and then send them off to us - we'd send over the money of course, either via paypal, or international money order, or whatever." (This is the 21st Century after all!)

I was nearly going to send out an SOS in respect of buying a particular bike hub (or whole wheel... or was it just the cluster?) from somewhere in the US, but we solved that problem by finding another alternative (switching wheels between tandems etc etc!!!)

In the meantime we've been talking for a while about upgrading the tandem that I ride with our eldest daughter. At the moment Marc captains the mean machine - the Co-motion Triplet. Excellent quality tandem. (US made.) Whilst the one I ride is a few hundred years old (ok, exaggerating...) and generally not so beautiful. To upgrade to a real nice tandem (which is the equivalent quality of the triplet) there just isn't much available in Australia.... Yes.. sounds extremely elitist doesn't it... but this is our passion, ok!

So today he sends me a link.. he's found me a new tandem! Beautiful isn't she? (Classic name for it too!) Right size for me and daughter... *sighs*

Only problem is, it's in the States, and seller will only ship to continental US.

Here comes the favor part.

IF we decide to bid for it, and IF he wins the auction (which he is good at doing!), would any of my wonderful US blogging associates that I know I could Trust (with a capital T!!) be prepared to take receipt of payment from me..*gulp* - send on the payment to the seller in required format... *gulp*... then take delivery of two big packages ... and THEN have them collected to be sent on to us in Australia.??

We bought our road tandem from the US, so we know from that experience that all the arrangements for that can be made at our end... so all you'd have to do is take delivery of the packages, and then keep them safe till they are collected.

So the main issue I guess is losing your anonymity with me, because I would have to send you lots of money! *gulps again*... and then there's the inconvenience of converting that to a USPS money order to send to the seller. We'd cover, of course, any extra transaction fees involved (even if it meant sending more money later)... and of course we'd show our Aussie appreciation in other ways!!

I have a very obvious Canadian friend who I am pretty sure would do it in a flash, but in this particular case they don't even ship over the border!

Anyways, I guess I know who I want to ask, but I'd rather throw it open without putting anyone on the spot.

My email addy is crazytrace(at)gmail(dot)com


Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Crazy little thing called love

Not prone to soppiness, I think I can tend to do too much whingeing about my kids on here, when in reality of course I love them to bits. They do so much that I am proud of - I just try to avoid bragging too much!! They can also do some bloody frustrating things at times, but they wouldn't be children if they didn't. Would they?

One of the things I enjoy about them as they get older is that they are each developing a pretty good sense of humour. They are really getting into that good ole bag-each-other-out kind of family banter... some of which is the PJ (private joke) type that only the family 'gets', with quotable quotes that will be forevermore trotted out for family recollection and enjoyment. Marc and I are also fair game... I blame him for the 'stirrer' genes and the role model that he presents in that regards. It is a fine line to tread between cheekiness and humour, but I wouldn't give up the moments of shared family hilarity for quids. (Plus, I figure, it isn't a bad thing to show them how to laugh at yourself.)

The older two are getting a bit bold in their old age, with the development of a quick wit and a good memory for lines and quotes. (Honed just a bit by their appreciation of excellent Aussie satire like The Chaser, and shows with humorous scriptwriting like the new Dr Who, and even Pirates of the Caribbean.) They do delight in recounting silly things I might have done (sometimes played out to dramatic effect.) Anytime they do that, I am, however, guaranteed a hug from Zoe, who will come running from anywhere just to 'protect her mummy'. The other two will sometimes tease me on purpose, just to get that reaction from Zoe, I think because they enjoy seeing me getting half-strangled! (I kind of hope she never grows out of the cuddliness though!)

Marc now can't get away with a *wink* whenever he stirs one of them. (Or me for that matter.) Doesn't matter who, the response from any of the three will be 'Is there something wrong with your eye, Dad?' Noone in the family can get away with any eyerolling behind anyone's back either, because the standard line is "What's on the ceiling?" Doesn't matter what current allegiances there are in the family "dynamics", even if you're in the middle of an argument with the 'target' of the eyerolling, if you're caught doing anything with your eyes, you're dobbed in!

We do work at raising them to be true blue Aussies... which includes proper use of the Aussie vernacular. A new family quote has now been immortalised: Zoe came downstairs the other night in a right old state.

"It's no bloody use!" she exclaimed.

Us: Huh? What? (while we totally cracked up at her experimentation in using the term 'bloody'. It was spot on, very Aussie, but not quite what you expect from your angelic 8 year old.)

"'Cos noone uses the lid!"

She had gone to clean her teeth before bed, and discovered a tiny bug in the container they use for their electric toothbrush heads. (The lid is supposed to go on container overnight because of the unfortunate presence overnight- in this area during the warmer months - of cockroaches, who it seems have a penchant for toothpaste)

Ali, Cait and I were so busy laughing about her choice of expletive, it was left to Dad to try to deal patiently and seriously with the situation.

"Why did the bug go in the container?" he started to ask, in terms of finding out just who had cleaned their teeth last, and consequently left the lid off.

"To get to the other side" I suggested from the other side of the room, which left Cait and Ali for some reason nearly wetting their pants (and so I joined in, and we had a threesome laugh-fest at Zoe's expense.)

Turns out she had been the last of the kids to leave the house that day, so in fact it was her fault the lid was off.
Oh well, guess you had to be there .. and be one of us....

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Much ado about nothing

Part of being a parent is teaching your kids how to put things in perspective. Sure, something might 'suck' or hurt.. and it's ok to have a bit of a cry... but in the scheme of things, really, it's not so bad after all. Could be worse.. plenty worse off, not worth the angst, etc etc, ra ra ra...

Sometimes it's hard to follow your own advice... and I frequently have to counsel myself into fighting my way out of some stupid emotional state where I am wallowing over inexplicable, irrational "stuff" that really isn't worth the angst. Some of it, lately, I believe I can put down to hormonal crap. Some of it is, really, just a personality flaw, in which I need to give myself a swift kick up the backside, and get on with things.

Sometimes I use this blog to get stuff off my chest. As brissiemum suggested in the comments of the previous post, it's cheaper than therapy. Even if it's as boring as bat shit for anyone reading it. I apologise in advance of the following drivel.

Two days ago I got a letter in the mail from the Cancer Council, inviting me to participate in some pap smear register and ongoing study/survey thingy. My name had been selected from a list of recent pap smears.. ra, ra, ra.... Did I think logically about this? Nup. Instead I realised I that suddenly, after a month that had been miraculously free of any PMS type emotions, I had this sudden anxiety and urge to cry welling up inside me - and it was all since I'd opened the letter. I'm due to see my gyno on Thursday to go over the results from the pap smear and biopsy taken a month ago. Logic would tell me that if there had been anything untoward she would have rung me. Logic would tell me I should just wait and chat to her on Thursday. Logic would tell me that sampling for these sort of surveys need to take random samples. Logical husband would have told me all that if I'd talked to him first, but Tracey's irrational inner voice suggested that maybe she was selected because of some abnormal result that she hadn't heard about yet.. so after an hour of feeling this insane urge to cry, she rang the gyno's rooms. Wonderful gyno rang back to reassure me that all was fine (results have only indicated low estrogen levels, so we'll discuss that on Thursday). But! What a wally I am! Much ado about nothing... and whatever happened to logic? (Possibly some of the irrational anxiety is from knowing of others who have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, and so I do suspect that some of my emotion stems from feeling and caring for them, no matter that I don't know them in person...)

Yesterday's school newsletter featured an anonymous 'letter to all other parents':

"After doing readers on Monday, it came to my attention that there was only one volunteer doing the cooking for all the canteen specials (xxxx again). This problem is also occurring when it comes to all areas of parents volunteering at their children's school, so please, as one parent to another, even if you can only spare a short period of your time at any one of the many areas looking for assistance it would obviously be appreciated."

A concerned parent.

I have been in a knot over this since reading it, basically because at one time I put in quite a lot of work at the canteen, only to be verbally attacked over some issue by one of the supervisors, and then to have my contribution undermined. (If you'd 'designed' the past few menus with the previous supervisor, and then had the new supervisor do the new one (fair enough so far) but then put in the newsletter "I hope this one is easier to read"... would you be just a bit miffed? - I was.. in fact, it was the straw that broke the camel's back in terms of my involvement with the canteen. I resigned as secretary of the canteen committee (never got a thank you for the year I'd done). Some time later, the martyr (xxxx) mentioned above, along with others on the P&C compiled a fundraiser recipe book. I sent in contributions, but they were attributed to one of the other families (the P&C treasurer no less) not ours! Probably an honest mistake, but on top of the previous stuff, I was peeved.

I really feel like sending my own 'concerned parent' letter in to the principal.. but I know deep down that it really isn't worth it.. and it isn't worth the angst I am giving myself over it. There are other things being done at the school by those involved in the P&C that I don't happen to agree with, so I have basically just distanced myself from the whole place this year. And that should be ok. It doesn't stop me getting myself into a tizzy though.

So! Another case of Much Ado about Nothing. *Turns and presents backside for others to deliver swift kicks as required.*

I woke up today with a headache (of the nausea/migraine type, but thankfully not the full catastrophe migraine that many get.) I was wallowing in a puddle of self-pity there for a while.. till I read Rootietoot's post about her hip, so then I let the tears flow for her.. realising that a measly headache was stuff all compared to living day in day out with bone grinding on bone in your hip.

The headache is all but gone, finally... I was supposed to go bike riding/training with my new training mate, but it's raining, so we've called that off. I suppose I will be ok with the weights training session at 1.30... although in my post headache state, I can't see myself making the most out of it. I haven't done any exercise since Saturday, so I am wondering if the lack of those little things called endorphins are contributing to my emotional fragility today...

I am taking Caitlin in to the chiro this afternoon (for a 'realignment' after her fall on her hip the other week, and now with a sore knee). I am a bit peeved that I got this headache after my own maintenance visit to the chiro yesterday. It's not supposed to work this way! (Maybe he'll be able to check my neck out again...)

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007


A blogging imperative

Must blog... must blog. Why is that? I have nothing inspirational to blog about right now, and for some reason I can't focus my thoughts anyway, because Marc is home, sitting over at the table on his laptop, and I seem to be able to *think* more if I am alone in the house with no distractions. I am also probably feeling that I should be running around hanging clothes on the line and doing other houseworky stuff - before I race out into town to a chiropractor appointment at 10.30.

But I *must* do a blog post.

He has pulled or torn his hamstring - last night at Touch. I wouldn't have dared to suggest to 'Mr Conscientious' that he not go to work, but it must be bad because he has decided not to go in. Too painful and, as it's his right leg, too hard to drive. He will normally push himself to the limit, so I am figuring that, in the spectrum of his various injuries this is NOT TOO GOOD. It doesn't mean he is not working of course. He will sit all day at his laptop; currently on a skype conversation.. so he might actually get more done from home than in the office.

This will, however, cramp his, and our, style with the bikeriding. Apparently it went *twang*, much like I did to my calf muscle a year ago (pre blogging days), and that put me out of commission for a few weeks. What a bummer - just when we have a long weekend coming up and all. Never mind the bike riding.. the grass needs a mow! Guess I'll be doing it now.

Ali and Zoe got through their Zone cross country run yesterday - unscathed - which was all I was worried about with Alison. With the netball state age coming up in a few weeks, and with everything invested in it from her point of view, it would have been disastrous to get a twisted ankle or the like from a 15 minute cross country run where she was only rated middle of the field. She came 19th (out of 33 starters); Zoe came 25th (out of maybe up to the 40 supposed to be in it), so quite creditable. (Gee, just to be able to run is creditable in my book!) Both ran 'better' than their placing at the previous level would have had them seeded, so all good. And I have one of my 'drives' out of the way for this week, and one more bout of motherly spectating to cross off the list.

I still don't understand why just watching can make you so tired, but I fell asleep on the lounge last night - something that is extremely rare for me. Perhaps it has just been a cumulative effect. Too many early mornings?

By the way:

It might be Tuesday here, but it's still Monday in Canada.. just... so HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELIZABETH!!!

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Sunday, June 03, 2007


Ctrl Z

Just undid all our bike riding exercise virtues by eating a truckload of rubbish the rest of the weekend. I blame the netball of course. Canteen stuff. Sausage roll. Steak sandwich. Cans of soft drink. A huge piece of cake. Packet of chips. And top it all off with 5 pieces of pizza for dinner because I couldn't be bothered cooking anything after expending all that energy sitting in a car and watching netball.

Suppose I just have to hit CTRL Z again, and try and get it right this week with more kilojoules burned than imbibed.

And I suppose I had better acknowledge the concept of having CTRL Z shortcut keys for everyday life. Take it away, Chaser guys:

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Saturday, June 02, 2007


And just for something completely different...

We got up early again! *Pinches self*.. yep.. this is me, and this is not any sort of weird dream. This is me getting up at 5 am to go riding two mornings in a row. Crazy.

We went on the usual Saturday Community ride again, this time kitted out in our new bike gear (the vest was great!) - matching of course, as any half-serious self-respecting tandem team does! (Pity I don't have any photos to show you how cute we look :p) It was only 7 degrees (C) when we started riding at 6.30! Brrr! Bit brisk! The new arm warmers worked ok; with it only climbing to 12 degrees by the time we finished, we didn't reach the point of needing to strip them off (which is the point of having them, rather than wearing any other variety of warmth. - if you are really clever you can take them off while you are riding, and stuff them in the back pockets of your cycling jersey - it's amazing what you can fit in those pockets!) Marc had left the tandem at his office overnight, so we picked it up there, rode that again, and chalked up around 40km overall (by the time we rode to and from his office).. and afterwards enjoyed a very pleasant coffee and brekkie in an outdoor cafe talking bikes and the like with other riders.

This morning my desire to stay longer was quite overwhelming... and I was feeling quite resentful that we had to hurry home so as to get the girls to netball, and for me to drag myself up there after a shower, so that I could spend five whole hours of my day in the clubhouse/canteen. I've become very grumpy about it lately (not that you'd have noticed.. HAH!)... and I'm counting down the weeks till a) their rep commitments finish, and b) the whole bloody netball season finishes. I am tossing up how I could possibly get out of being Secretary anymore after this year, because I'm really just quite over the obligation I feel over it. That isn't very community spirited of me, but there you go. I am feeling the need for a "Me" year (selfish, non?) and the netball committee 'stuff' just isn't doing it for me.

What is? Bike riding of course. How ever did you guess?

Tomorrow the older girls have a rep netball carnival in Kempsey (around 1.5 hours away) - and have to be ready to leave at 6am - for lifts (and for Caitin to get into town to a team bus.) I guess that means another 5 am wake up. Can you tell I'm feeling uber-enthused about that?! (Particularly as it's not actually going to benefit me, me, me in any way!!) Neither of them are travelling with us to the carnival, which leaves me feeling very tempted not to go - I have to drive more than half that distance, in the same direction, on Monday for the two youngest to attend a schools Zone cross country event... and then drive beyond there on Thursday for another gyno appointment. But I guess we will. Marc can drive. And the parenting conscience thing will see to it... and at least this time we won't have any canteen duty commitments.

Next weekend is a long weekend (public holiday Monday) so NO NETBALL ON SATURDAY, HOORAY! Wonder how we'll go convincing the girls to get up and ride with us on the Community Ride? Only downside of that is that it costs a fortune to feed them breakfast at the cafe afterwards. Maybe the two of us should just go and enjoy, just for once, NOT having to rush back for netball. Oi.

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Friday, June 01, 2007


Nothing like a bit of spontaneity...

.. and putting your luck in the laps of the cycling gods!

So we got up early, leaving the kids asleep (this is getting to be a bit of a habit..) and got into town in time to ride at 7am, despite Marc tearing his hair out (and me doing a lot of eye rolling) before we left looking for his office/house keys. We ended up leaving without them.. parked the cars at his office, jumped on the tandem, and rode the few k's into the city centre meeting spot with 5 minutes to spare! Phew. Half way there he says 'oops, forgot the pump'.

The 'event' was for local cyclists to support the Tour de Cure riders who were coming through Coffs Harbour on their fundraising for cancer charities Brisbane-Sydney ride. A small contingent of us rode the 10 or so k's to Sawtell and ordered coffee/OJ and eggs on toast at the surf club cafe...overlooking the Pacific Ocean.. not bad huh... and mingled a bit with the Tour de Cure riders, including the local Coffs guy who was riding with them. My attention was a bit diverted by having to make a few phone calls home to make sure kids were up, and getting ready for school.. and soothing over tizzies caused by one shouting out a question while the other was talking to me on the phone.. and the one on the phone getting upset.. .and..... oh boy.. just build a bridge and get over it, hey!! No harm done, we've had another call and I've answered the question about whether to lock the house!!!

Somewhere in that time - I think it was when I went to the loo! - Marc decided it would be a fine idea to ride on further with the Tour de Cure group for a bit. He worked a bit late last night, so, what the hell, he'd go in to the office late. Eh what? errr.. Yes.. I was a bit dubious.. the highway south has a bit of a reputation for spots with no shoulders... and there is much roadwork happening (because they are bypassing a reknowned black spot.) There were only two other guys planning on riding with them, and they were going to go further, so at some point we'd be turning back and riding by ourselves. I did think perhaps we were pushing our luck doing so without the pump!!

Whatever.. this is what I often do... just go with the flow .. his flow.. and things usually turn out less bad than I think they are going to be, and I achieve more than I would have if I'd caved in to my anxieties. So we ended up doing about 66km in all by the time we got back to his office! (And the ride back wasn't so bad after all.)

Spontaneity rulz, ok.

I got home and found that a parcel with most of the cycling clothing order had arrived.. (and I also bought some arm warmers! before I came home from town.) Happy days! Great vest.. I like the vest! The jersey is a 'snug' fit around the tum and hips, but feels so 'noice'... it will be inspiration to do my 'homework' ab exercises.. won't it?

On the way home I detoured into the supermarket (self consciously so because I was in my bike nix and cycling jersey, but I think women can get away with wearing them 'around' moreso than blokes...) - so this has all eaten away half my day... what a shame. I am now home, coffee'd up.. blogged up... and ready to .. um... hit the vacuuming? And make spag bol - the usual Friday meal of late because, oh yes.. just because I did a spontaneous extra 50km on a bike, it doesn't mean I don't have my swimming squad this afternoon!

Now if you think I'm nuts, I'd like you to know that I am in good company... my long distance partner in this rediscovered addiction to exercise endorphins and the 'good sore' that is muscles rediscovering their spent youth. Go Strauss!! I really do think that fortune does tend to favour The Brave, as her blog is so aptly titled. The cycling gods did look kindly upon our spontaneity and cycling fervour today by ensuring we didn't get stranded with a flat tyre! And this persevering with exercise throughout "that time" has meant NO cramping - hooray! - and that has got to be a good thing, oh yes. And the best thing is that you also feel far less guilty imbibing of a bit of 'feel good' chocolate when you've cycled over 100km in two days. [ok.. there was a day in between there...] But believe me, I do so eat chocolate!!

I am also very lucky that I have the time to be able to do this... and we are managing to fit this in around Marc's work, and the kids' commitments. I don't know how I'd be doing it if I was trying to schedule in work as well....

But a bit of housework spontaneity might now be in order... perhaps.. do you think? Or a nice lie down and a power nap, if only I could get a handle on doing those - the sky would be the limit!

[He found his keys... in his work shoes!!! Duh!]

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