Friday, August 31, 2007


Not really

In my constant drive to be "me" - and to be true to "me" - whoever and whatever that is (I'm still trying to figure it out) - I'm not sure if sometimes I don't go just a little bit overboard. I'm not sure if I'm rebelling against those college years when I desperately tried to fit in (and failed.) But even after I'd discovered there was more to life than getting drunk and going 'woo hoo, party, party', I still used to at least be capable of putting on a skirt and a bit of make up and going out for dinner with a group of people.

Now I even eschew the makeup, and dread having to get dressed up to go out. (Doesn't help that with my dodgy feet, I can't even wear heels.)

Yesterday at tennis one of my teammates started talking about the idea of going away on a 'girls' weekend. It started as an end of season idea, with yesterday being our last game for the year. They started talking about the idea of going to Brisbane to 'a show'.

I didn't contribute to the conversation, but then, after the others were coming over all enthusiastic about it, she asked me directly if I'd be in that.

"Um. Not really." That was what came out. And it sounded so rude, but it's the truth, because it really isn't something I'd enjoy. I never really ever got into the 'girls night out' scene. Never been very typical, really. Never had the group of 'girlfriends', and just never ever did the night out, nightclub scene, with the alcohol-fueled sillies. And certainly no dancing. I loathe that sort of dancing - I am just too self-conscious.

While I don't mind the company of some of these women, I don't really feel like spending 4 hours drive each way in a car with them, then all the rest of the palava. (Plus there is one that I quite honestly have to admit I have come to dislike.) I've done the 'solo weekend escape' to Brisbane before; meeting up with a bunch of people I'd 'met' on an internet bulletin board, and I had to admit to myself that I actually didn't much enjoy being away from my family for that long after all. So I'm not in a hurry to do it again.

Lately, though, I find myself dreading even an average night out. This Saturday I'm expected to go to the Senior presentation night for the netball - because I was on the committee. I really really don't want to go. I'm dreading it, but god, what sort of boring-ass homebody am I?

I question myself constantly over it. Why don't I like to be like 'most women'? Does that make me boring? Or just different? Am I going overboard (and turning into my mother - my Dad thinks she is anti-social - and god help me, I don't want to turn into my mother)? Or am I just standing up for who I am, for what I do and don't enjoy doing, and being strong enough not to just follow the crowd?

It's not like I'm avoiding any and all social contact - I'm all keen to be back on the bike again tomorrow morning and enjoying the breakfast chit-chat after the community ride. So I'm not a total hermit. Seriously!

Back to my bluntness, I couldn't, at the time, think of any way to make my blunt 'no thanks' sound less rude. I heard the one that I'm not that keen on say half under her breath "okaaaaay".... and I knew that anything I added was just going to sound trite, so I just shut my mouth and said nothing more, before I dug myself more of a hole.

I have pledged to 'hang' with the girl that issued the 'invitation' this Saturday night, so I might just have to try to find a serious moment to apologise for being me.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Moon gazing and mood grazing.

A bit of night sky distraction tonight with the lunar eclipse tonight. The last one for us was in 2000, so I'd kind of forgotten what they were all about, although I do recall huddling on our back verandah with the two older girls, who were then both younger than #3 is now. It was a bit later in the evening that time - I have vague memories of waking them up (the older two) so they could see it. Tonight's moon show was a more child-friendly affair - around dinner time - with 'totality' at 8.37pm, so we've been in and out - on every level of the house - numerous times to check on it. We have a perfect view up into the eastern sky, so it's been quite 'specky'.

It was also quite a timely distraction from me continuing on doing my lolly at eldest daughter for being a lazy sod who sits on her arse at the computer, conveniently putting off helping with dinner, and then coming up with all sorts of excuses that involve blaming her sisters for not calling her, or similar. So I have decreed that she be responsible for dinner this Thursday. (And #2 will do it one night next week.) She is complaining of course that she doesn't know how to cook a whole meal - but patently my M.O. so far of getting them to assist here and there with meal preparations has done nothing to teach her how to get a whole meal on the table. I figure I need to throw her in the deep end - and then sit back and watch her swim like buggery. (To coin an Aussie phrase.) Recipe reading time, kiddo. It's going to be interesting.

I am feeling very slightly better this evening, after waking up coughing, and feeling pretty ordinary most of the day. Just experimenting with some added extras just for good measure - like a sort of blocked ear. Marc suggested I go see the dr (for antibiotics), but the memory of getting thrush as a result of the antibiotics I had to take in December is still too fresh. I don't think I could handle that right now on top of the past few days. I haven't been in a particularly good mood all day - vacillating between a mopey sad sack, and a cranky pants. A psychologist would probably have a field day with me right now. I hope it is just the unwellness combined with lack of exercise - and I hope I feel better enough tomorrow to get moving again. I'm starting to realise that me minus endorphins is not a good thing.

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Monday, August 27, 2007


Daze of our Lives

Yes, today I am walking around in a bit of a fog. I'm much much much better than I was. But I feel a bit dizzy, so I guess I haven't quite kicked this flu-virus-whatever thingy I had...have... I had started to (optimistically) think of it in the past tense, but I'm now I'm coughing a bit - presumably just so that I can say I've had a taste of the whole range of symptoms. It's just an annoying nasal-drip induced one that is only serving to make my throat a bit sore. And I'm stuffed up in the nose. And my head feels weird. And every now and then, like yesterday, I'm still getting the occasional slight hot flush, which I can only assume is viral rather than hormonal - even if the monthly hormonal thing is still happening in a very, and literally, draining kind of way. I don't think it is because it is a sensational 'hasta-la-vista winter' day, and I am overdressed here because the inside of the house still feels cool.

As I peered at myself in the mirror earlier, I thought "hmm, I need a haircut... actually... don't I have one tomorrow?" Fortunately by the time I'd come back down two flights of stairs, I actually remembered to check the calendar, and oh! goodness! I do have a haircut appointment. At 11.30 today. Very handy, but lucky I checked, because I'm well and truly off with the pixies.

At 11.30 I rocked up to the house of my hairdresser friend, only to find she had me down for 11.00! Doh! Fortunately she squeezed me in while her next client had to wait for some colour stuff to 'sit' or 'take' or whatever the terminology is. I don't know, I only do the quick, wash 'n wear/no goop kind of haircuts.

I've also realised I left my mobile phone in the car Marc's taken to work. Very smart.

All in all, not bad for half-a-day's work. Can I go back to bed now?

I didn't sleep well last night. The cough had started yesterday evening, and I dosed up with a cough suppressant, and was quite anxious about the possibility of coughing all night. I had fallen asleep though, because I know that I woke with a start as Marc suddenly lurched up, ripping the blankets off me, and then he jumped up and headed for the bathroom. I didn't get much of a response to my query - 'Are you all right... but what the hell?' Seems he had a nightmare and woke up in a sweat, but he then dropped straight back off to sleep. For some reason (probably something along the lines of several days of no exercise - and the fact that my heart was pounding from the sudden awakening) I couldn't get to sleep easily again. Every position felt uncomfortable, and I got up twice to go to the bathroom simply for a distraction. I noticed 2.30 on the clock, so of course then I felt more stressed about how much I wasn't sleeping. I must have dropped off at some point, because I dreamt about having to kick a door in (!! - must be watching too many cop shows - I was one of the goodies of course) - and as I kicked, I woke myself up violently kicking the blankets off with one leg delivering a great big heave.

So no wonder I'm off with the fairies today. Lack of sleep. A cocktail of various medications over the past few days? Who knows. Thrilling stuff this - the soap opera of my life. And not a bicycle in sight.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007


We're just a caring, sharing family.

I couldn't be left out, could I? Friday morning I woke up feeling crap. Gee, thanks darling, just what I always wanted. At least I didn't get the sore throat - where each time he coughed he looked like he was swallowing razor blades. (I took him to the doctors on Thursday, and he's been on antibiotics.) But I've gone through the aches, the headache, the shivers (though not as bad) the cottonwool head, the nose running like a tap; I sneezed about a hundred times yesterday, and then to add insult to injury, woke up this morning with period cramps. Happy days. Ah, it could be worse, but I've felt better.

You'd think with both parents down and just about out, our lovely girls, being the age they are now, would shine through and take control. *Cough, cough, cough*. God, getting them to help is like pulling teeth. And when you're feeling like death warmed up it's not really the optimum time to suddenly do something about the fact that somewhere along the line you haven't managed to teach your kids how to .. maybe.. cook a meal.. and clean up? All those times I've tried to get Cait to learn how to make spaghetti bol, but she would grumble and moan, and rather be on the computer thanks very much. Friday night it would have been really nice if she could have stepped in and made dinner - but she doesn't bloody know how! Oh, they did do stuff, but had to be led through every little bit of it - not what you feel like doing when you're crook. They even fought over who was doing what bit of the salad, for heaven's sakes. Just for once, given that we both were patently unwell, wouldn't it have been nice if they'd just stepped up - told us to just sit there - and done what needed to be done?

Eldest, just now, has asked if she could make a cake. I said 'as long as you wash up after yourself' (something my kids seem to always get out of), and then I did express my disappointment that they didn't come to the fore when both Dad and I were crook. That worked well. She's decided to go 'hang' in her room instead - presumably to seeth over the injustices of the world, and a mother who doesn't think that the little she did do under duress was as magnificent as she apparently thought it was.

I can see I am going to have to do 'something' to redress these obvious inadequacies in my parenting skills. Something like each of them being responsible for a meal once a week?

Meantime, at least come Saturday, the rain stayed away, and the sun had the oomph to shine through. Today was perfect weather.. Beautiful blue, blue sky at last. We'd already pulled out of the 100 mile bike ride when I realised Marc really was sick. (They postponed it anyway, partly because of anxieties that the showers would still be around- despite Marc insisting that it would be fine by today - gotta hate it when he's always right.) I've lost count of the number of washing loads I've put through the machine and pegged on the line yesterday and today, but at least I've pretty much caught up with it all. A silver lining through the flu cloud at least.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Here comes the sun.

Then again, maybe not.
Yay, sunshine. It's going to clear. Feels good. Errr... No it's not. It's raining again... Hang on.. here's the sun ... no, more rain..... sun.... rain... sun.... rain...

That was yesterday - and it led to some hope that we'd have blue skies back again shortly. Today the sun has lost interest and buggered off to do something else until the clouds decide to rack off of their own accord. I was woken again in the early hours by a burst of wind throwing rain against the house. There is still rain about on the radar, and the forecast is for showers into the weekend. I guess I had better start feeding wet clothes through the dryer because I'm not going to get the chance to get them dry on the line any time soon. The pool of water under the clothesline has finally disappeared, but guaranteed, as soon as I got any clothes pegged out, down would come another shower of rain. ('Shower' doesn't seem to be quite the right term, because when the rain comes again, it does so in the company of swirly, unpleasant gusts of wind.)

I was kept awake half the night by Marc coughing in the bed beside me, and Alison coughing downstairs. And by being too hot because he needed more blankets on. My husband is crook. As in being a sick boy, which is so not him. He is my Mr Cast Iron Constitution; he never gets sick (unless it's something spectacular like appendicitis with a same day diagnosis/appendectomy - or being admitted to hospital to go on a drip for aggressive antibiotic treatment for a 'red hot knee' (infra patellar bursitis)- both of those more than 10 years ago.) I always complain that when he does it he does it in style, whereas me? - I'm the queen of niggly/headachey/queasy - and so I don't tend to get taken very seriously if I am sick.

He got the achy joints and headache two days ago. He still persevered and went to work yesterday, (the original Mr Soldier On - like the day he had appendicitis) but came home at lunchtime, all shivery and shaky. God knows how he managed to drive himself home - it was quite disconcerting the way he was shivering because he felt so cold- I thought he was going to drop the glass he was drinking from. He obviously had a temperature. I dosed him up with hot soup, and drugs, and sent him to bed, and he slept for a few hours, and had to miss Alison's rep dinner presentation last night... "You've got the flu, darling. The real flu. Headache. Aches and pain. Sore throat. Cough. I think you can call that the flu."

He's not so achy shaky this morning, but still can't ditch the headache. It's the first time I've ever, in our 18 year marriage, had to ring his work to say 'he's not coming in, he's sick'. Even Caitlin commented last night, "I've never seen you sick, Daddy."

I gave Alison the option of staying home, but she didn't want to miss play practice - she has one of the main character roles in the class play. Miss Soldier-On. Must be Dad's genes.

Activities keep being cancelled because of this weather that just won't fine up - plus the affects of the deluge we got the other day. No tennis class for Zoe yesterday afternoon. No tennis for me again today. (Missed it last week as well.) Alison's class excursion to a beach headland/rock platform cancelled yesterday. The school district athletics carnival probably won't be on tomorrow - both Ali and Zoe only had to go for the 800m. I rang up the school to pull Ali out anyway because of her cough. And it's likely the 100 mile ride for Sunday might be postponed as well. I am not that unhappy about that, even though Marc was ranting through chattering teeth yesterday that the weather should be ok by then. I don't know that he will be back running on all cylinders by then.. and we've not been able to do much in the way of lead up preparation, even though I actually made it to my weights class yesterday.

I am hoping that I'm not next in line for this lurgy. So many people have been sick, it's hardly likely that I'll miss out, but I'll keep being positive, and set my antibodies on Alert. And keep willing that sun to come back. I miss it.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Hey, we have a pool in our backyard!

We've had about 220mm (about 10 inches I think) of rain in the past two days. Sunday was drizzly, but yesterday and overnight it has absolutely bucketed down. Some of it came down in a big hurry too, causing some flash flooding in places in town - caused by blocked drains I guess. And we have excellent great drainage in our backyard too. Not! (I think I've posted photos of this before, but I still shake my head each time it happens.)

Last night was pretty wild and woolly - and it was one of those times the 'weather' was blowing in from the east, and thus, as has happened before, the french doors on that side of the house leaked - so I have a pile of old nappies sopping up the water against the doors. (*must collect them all and stash them somewhere till I can wash them and hang them on the line*) Somehow the water also comes in somewhere way above the doors up on our bedroom floor and trickles down the wall ... and we wonder each time if maybe we should silicon up the house.

In the early hours of the morning (and at hourly intervals throughout the night when the sound of the wind and rain was keeping me awake) I was wondering if it was going to be sensible to send anyone to school, but with daybreak it has gradually eased. Even more surprising (after having two kids home yesterday - one since last Thursday), everyone felt ok to go to school. Hooray!

I know everyone was wishing for rain, but the old saying 'it never rains but it pours' has held true yet again. Those state forest roads will be well and truly 'dampened down' now. (Probably all the new sand and gravel recently dumped on it has been washed and eroded away.)

So - alone again! I should be using my time more 'wisely'... I probably should wander down to the supermarket to stock up on a few things. Like dinner for tonight. Just the girls and me - Marc has a work 'dinner' in the middle of a two day meeting. I know, given the meeting agenda, he'd rather be at home. And I'd rather he was too; it takes two of us to pin #1 down to doing Maths homework.

Mind you, he lost it with her last night because she has such a flippant, ''don't like it, not going to even tax my brain" attitude to Maths. AND he found she'd drawn all over her calculator, after she was shaking it to try to get it to work. (And if this has been happening with it, what is she going to do if it won't work in the test on Friday?) That was after she'd been a total idiot with some question about right angle triangles. It wouldn't be so bad if she was actually 'not bright', but it is pretty disappointing to see a smart kid not try. How she is in the top class mystifies us - and has us doing some soul searching on the education system/school/teachers - who are letting her get away with this. (And believe me, being, personally, a champion of the public school system, this is causing me great turmoil and conflict within.) Because if she is coming about 10th in the top maths class in her year, god help the rest of them.

Do we sound harsh? Possibly. But this is a kid in Year 9 - (14/15 years old) - who is excelling at all her subjects, bar Maths, yet we don't see her doing ANY homework. (And the Maths parent/teacher interview and report proved she wasn't doing any maths.) She's sliding through these other subjects without even working up a sweat, and I fear that come Year 11 and 12, she will crash and burn because she doesn't know how to study! And that would be such a huge waste of potential.

She tells me this morning that there are parent/teacher interviews next week, so I said 'you get as many teachers as you can. Definitely Maths.' And, trust me, I will be taking these concerns to them - even the ones like the English teacher who told me last time she was a superb student.

I digressed.

In other news, and needless to say, I haven't been on a bike in the past couple of days... This weekend is the 100 mile ride, and while I probably haven't done enough riding, we will probably manage ok - particularly as we are tandemming it. My knee still niggles a bit, so I'll probably dose up on Voltaren to get me through it. I suppose you're all wondering "why?" but I will only answer 'because it's there'.

I have some netball stuff to deal with.. but don't start me on that right now!

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Monday, August 20, 2007


Next step: CWA membership.

I hadn't made scones in.. oh, more than 10 years, I'd say. There's an indication of just how domestic I am. Not. But there was something about a stay-inside-rainy weekend day (and some left over cream in the fridge) that found me, inexplicably, in the kitchen and pulling recipe books off the shelves to refresh my memory.

Seems I wasn't the only one!

Marc was rather surprised (like in a 'my god, what's got into you?!' kind of way.) Not that he was complaining. It really has been that long since I've turned out a batch of scones! I actually used to make them a bit (more than 10 years ago!) when we lived on the Southern Highlands - way back when I was a bit more domestic. (Zoe was a bit put out to hear that she'd missed out on all those occasions because that was before she was born!) Maybe we had more stay-inside-rainy weekend days there. (We certainly did in winter.) Maybe I wasn't as 'over' the cooking thing quite so much back in those days!! Also these days I am much less likely to have cream in the house, and jam and cream as accompaniments are seriously the only way to eat them! But there was still some cream left over from my birthday cake. Bingo.

So, apparently, there are all these tips and tricks to making the perfect scone. (BrissieMum from the link above has one theory.) I have always used the round cutter because I prefer the rounded look. I used to do a passable job at it but this lot (I did follow the 'hot oven' tip in my Women's Weekly cookbooks) actually ended up with a couple of them a bit burnt on top before they had properly cooked in the middle. A few more minutes with the oven turned down did the trick, and they didn't turn out half bad after all. They were demolished in pretty short order by the family, so they certainly weren't inedible, and I would put money on them being quite delighted if I made them more often! I probably made them a bit close to tea time, but, what the heck. Just what we needed to brighten up a grey, rainy day.


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Sunday, August 19, 2007


It's all good.

Well, it's nearly all good.

I rode my 'criterium' on Friday - 10.5 km by just going a varied route around and around the block, and earning some bemused looks from a few people I passed several times. I went to swimming and my knee played up a bit above my knee cap (ie. different spot to where it had hurt before. Of course.) I think it's the fins - but then it hurt just kicking normally. Bit frustrating. But after swimming it felt fine.

Zoe had been ok enough all day Friday so I decided we should take a chance and both go riding in the morning. I'd asked #1 if she'd look after her in the unlikely event she woke again. She reminded me that she'd done that once before - she'd heard Zoe crying in bed (because of a blocked up nose etc) on a Friday night after I'd gone to bed. She'd said 'Don't wake mummy, she's getting up really early to go bike riding.' And she'd got her a drink, got her to blow her nose, and brushed her hair for her because she figured that might help her sleep!' So she does have a TLC gene in her after all!

We rode. (62km!). Zoe didn't wake up. My knee was good.

We got through netball semi-final day (and I stayed beyond the girls' playing times to help - building up my brownie points because, not that they know it yet, next week I'll be racking off to get away for this 100 mile bike ride)

The Swans had a draw... damn it. Not as bad as a loss, but yes, it does leave you with a nothing feeling. I felt sorry for new cycling friends (the ones we sold the tandem to) who travelled up to Brissy to see the game last night. What an anticlimax. Nothing beats being able to sing along to your team song playing throughout the grounds after a win, although at least they didn't have to walk out - from the opposition's home ground no less - with the other song playing, and the other supporters enjoying a win. While the passion to beat Brisbane wasn't quite as strong with the absence of a particular player (Jason Akermanis - one of those 'characters' that people either love or hate, and guess which way I fall on that issue), it's still there. It's that NSW vs Queensland "thing". I don't even know why I care... I'm so not a 'good' footy supporter. I get antsy when the Swans aren't playing well, and need to get up and do something else to take my mind off it. Probably because I wasn't born and bred into it. At least it got the kitchen cleared and dishwasher stacked.

After my early morning, I was oh so looking forward to bed last night... At 5 am, dragging on bike clothes, I'd had this little mantra going on in my head about how good it would feel to crawl into bed that night! (I'm still working on the night owl vs morning person thing.) Marc had had a 5 minute power nap after the Swans game was over, sitting on the lounge, laptop on lap, but head lolling (as in 'loll' not 'lol') forwards in his inimitable 'can sleep anywhere' fashion. But as we were getting into bed suddenly he wanted to chat about this and that, and all I could muster were grunts. Bastard still fell asleep before me... *snort, snuffle, snore* - there is a definite advantage to not drinking coffee I think.

I was looking forward to my Sunday sleep in (although Caitlin had informed us that she had to be in town for a rep netball squad selection meeting at 9 am. Oh damn. "Well, you'll have to wake us up in time then"). But oh dear. Alison appeared at the side of my bed at 5am saying 'I don't feel well... I'm feeling hot and cold, and I can't sleep.' I wasn't really planning on seeing 5 am three mornings running, thanks. (It's soemthing I've ever got used to - having managed to raise children who never rose at the crack of dawn!) Paracetemol to the rescue again (meaning down and up two flights of stairs to get it.) I encouraged her back into her own bed - top bunk - because I figured she'd make me hot and vice versa if she tried to squeeze into bed with us. (12 year olds are that much bigger than 8 year olds!) Hmm. Not so good.

I should have taken some paracetemol myself, and I should know that if I have a bit of a headache at 5 am, it will still be there when I wake again at 8 am. Cait woke us up. Yep, I had a headache. Alison appeared as well. "How are you?" I ask, envisaging at least one day of unwellness for her - with this flu bug doing the rounds. "I feel better thanks." she says. "Can we go shopping? - I've got book vouchers and birthday money I want to spend." *groan*

The Daddy took them in. He had car repair stuff to buy. Cait's netball meeting lasted exactly three minutes. "You're in the rep squad again. (Everyone who nominated is - so not even the tryouts that she went through the first two years of it. ) Here's a note. We start training in February 2008." (So totally worth the 25km drive don't you think?!). They hopped on over to the shopping plaza, and at 9.15 am nothing was open yet! As they still haven't returned at 11 am, I figure they've gone to the auto parts shop, and gone back shopping.

Meanwhile, Zoe is pretty much over her coughing stuff - think we've got off lightly there - but last night tells me that the back of her legs are sore. I had waved her off to bed, telling her that knee and leg stuff was my domain and she should stop copying me!! (And thinking a good sleep should fix it.) This morning she said she couldn't even walk downstairs! So I've played masseur to her (and made a difference, apparently)... and I'm trying to get rid of this headache. Tablets. Cups of tea. No sympathy required on that count - I think it was the two glasses of red wine last night. (On top of one lite beer and one Corona) I wonder when I'll ever learn. Red wine and me - it's a risky dalliance.

The shoppers have returned, and Alison isn't 100%. (Who's surprised?) It's a drizzly rainy day, which isn't good for cycling training, but we do need the rain - particularly to settle the dust and loose dirt on the forest roads! Marc still thinks we should ride in the rain.. so perhaps we will. As long as I can shake this headache.

So it's all.. nearly... good. As long as these bloody kids don't give me their lurgy this week.

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Friday, August 17, 2007


My little radiator.

Poor little chook. While she was relatively ok last night, and slept through the night, my Zoe came up to our bed about dawn this morning, with a coughing attack that had her panicking about not being able to breathe properly. It's a strange thing, but any time she has ever had that sort of cough, I have always been able to calm her down just by drawing her into my arms, and soothing her. (I know that means we have been fortunate that she hasn't ever been that bad. No asthma, no croup that has required a hospital visit.) It feels like this bizarre kind of 'mummy power' that I only have with her (out of the three of them) - where holding her close is enough to work some kind of soothing magic.

This morning it worked again, but, wow.. she was a human radiator - I had to throw the dooner off myself for a while. You could harness that heat to warm up a whole house! Yes, very obviously a high temp (I wouldn't know what, my thermometer is broken, but I have always just relied on a mother's instinct, backed by the opinion of a doctor in one of those baby/toddler books where he reckoned that you know when your child is sick. Or hot. She was hot.) She also had that 'Snow White' look, which I remember from times when my other daughters (Alison in particular because of her darker hair) have been ill. The intensely pale complexion, highlighted by rouge-red cheeks, and blood red lips - the colour and intensity of which lipgloss manufacturers strive for. Put her in the Snow White dress and you could place her straight into the scene after Snow White has been poisoned by the apple and the dwarves have her lying in state on a stone tablet. No makeup required. (I think I must have that image from some childhood fairy tales book stored in my mind - I can't find an appropriate google image of it anywhere!)

The Daddy did the panic thing - 'you'll have to take her to the doctors!'... 'kids have died from this flu thing'. Oh good one, what a sensible thing to say in her hearing! I got up, got her some paracetemol. Got her a cold washer for her forehead - which quickly became a hot washer... but it's all worked to lower her temperature.

She came downstairs. Wanted breakfast. Ate breakfast, and was chatting away making observations on everything from picking out the mistake in the District Schools Athletics carnival note (12.30 am?!! - look mum!! - so that's on in the middle of the night is it? she says with a *snort* ) .. Next she is asking me what a 'light year' is after reading the DVD cover for 'ET', which I hauled out to potentially watch today. (A quick google and we've already done some school for the day.)

So I think she isn't too bad. Cough sounds bad when she coughs, but she isn't doing it that much. Three hours later, while she's a bit flushed and glassy-eyed, her temp doesn't seem too bad. I'll keep an eye on her all day, of course. And I'll have to drag her off the computer soon, and maybe hit her with another dose of paracetemol just to be sure.

The only bummer is that while I don't think she is serious, both her parents can't really rack off at 5.30 am tomorrow to go bike-riding, in case she wakes up in a state like she did this morning. Marc thinks I am the one who needs the most training (just over a week till this 100 miler, and this week's been a write-off). But I'm not sure he has the 'magical soothing mummy power' if required.

We'll see. I am wondering if I should just get into my cycle gear, and just ride lots and lots of laps around the block - so that I am never far away from her. My own personal criterium course. Hmmm. I wonder what the neighbours would make of that.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007


What does your loo say about you?

That line from some cleaning product commercial has been haunting me all day. (I can't find it online - but the gist is that this woman with a new baby gets unexpected visitors, and one asks to use the bathroom before she is even in the front door - but of course her bathroom passes the stickybeak test because she uses *some* brand of cleaner.) The shame of it is that I had a few hours notice of a friend calling in, and yet I still didn't manage to deal with the state of my bathroom. This is what happens when you leave the kitchen in such a mess that it takes an hour or so to get on top of the washing up that's been left 'till tomorrow' and to sweep the floor and chuck a heap of stuff (sportsbags, shopping bags, etc etc) out of sight into the Cupboard Under The Stairs.

So the answer isn't a positive one; the only good thing was that I had managed to flush it after my dear children couldn't manage to. Yet again. [Sheesh! - but that is the topic for another blog time and blog whinge!] The toilet was big-time due for a clean, as was the vanity. The bath which never gets used is full of dust and stuff, as are the corners of the room overdue for a vacuum. The friend didn't stay long, but needed to use the loo. Oh dear. Sprung.

I have very bad priorities when it comes to my domesticity. It says a lot about my current 'social' life, where I don't tend to invite people around because I am ashamed of my house. But here I am, sitting here, blogging about my dirty house and how pathetic I am - instead of getting off my bum and cleaning it. I am a bad, bad housewife.

Mind you, I am not overly obsessive about the hygiene/cleanliness thing for more than just laziness. I don't like using a lot of chemicals because I don't think they are good for us or the environment, and I don't go overboard on the anti-bacterial products because I believe their overuse is contributing to the building up of resistance of bacteria, and a general decline in antibodies. So my loo will never be blue. I would just like to find myself a slightly more ... acceptable... status quo.

At least, right now, my kitchen is more presentable than usual - and I can even see more bench than usual. I am psyching up for another new battle to keep that clear. This battle is one that consumes much of my energy; perhaps if I could win the bench war, I'd have more time to think about other parts of this wretched house.

On the exercise front, not much has gone according to plan this week. I had intended to ride my bike on Tuesday, but had to call a raincheck on that due to my knee. Yesterday, buoyed from a successful massage, and no more knee pain, I was in the car and headed to the personal trainer/weights class where I intended to concentrate on upper body, when I got a call from the school - my youngest had a tummy ache. Bye bye weights class. ( I detoured into the school, picked her up and took her home. She was in quite a state, but after a some panadol and a sleep she felt ok...)

I was supposed to have tennis today, but that got called off last night - the other team forfeiting due to illness. Not such a bad thing as it turns out, as Zoe got the tummy ache a bit again in the middle of the night, and joined me in bed. (Lucky the Daddy was away, so there was plenty of room for her to slide in and for us both to sleep.) In the morning she had a bit of a temp, so, no school for her today, leaving me just thankful I don't have to juggle work commitments and unwell children.

But it has all meant no exercise for this self-confessed exercise junkie wannabe. Tomorrow. Something. I hope. Depends on the kid. Meanwhile I suppose I could be using the time to clean that bloody bathroom - amongst all the other household delights that need to be dealt with.

See ya.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007


You know what I hate?

I hate commercial television, specifically Channel 10. For buying Torchwood, which is a 'cult' TV show (more suited to the intelligent people who watch Dr Who on the ABC), and then f***ing around with it, and burying it in a MIDNIGHT TIMESLOT. Wtf?

And then giving the wrong information about their programming, so that The TV guide in the paper had it scheduled back in its original timeslot at 9.40pm on Monday night. So I set the timer recording for it at that time and missed it.

What I really, really hate is that it has just dawned on me that the midnight timeslot that I thought they actually broadcast it on was not in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, but Wednesday morning, and we didn't *think* about that last night when we thought we'd missed it. And so we REALLY missed it. AGAIN.

I believe... Channel 10 is totally f***ed.

I believe... they should stick to showing American shows, and leave the good stuff from Britain to the ABC.

.. in fact... I believe they should hand over the rest of the Torchwood series to the ABC who can treat it with the respect it deserves. (And where there would be no effing ads.)

I believe I want to get hold of the episode I missed. Somehow.




High maintenance.

Oh cripes, I'm becoming "high maintenance". Not in the usual sense of the word- nothing could be further from the truth in that regard! I'm not the fancy sports car - I'm the 20 year old family car that is starting to need more and more ongoing maintenance and repairs just to keep it on the road.

There was the unscheduled chiropractor visit on Monday ($45 thanks), and I've just got back from a massage. I think of it as pretty high self-indulgence thing to be doing - I mean, how pretentious does it sound to say 'I'm booked in for a massage." My 'masseur' tells me it's important body maintenance, so I am trying to believe her!

Today she focused on the muscles above and below my sore knee today, and.. wow.... I had no idea my quadriceps were so tight! Yeeow! It seems to have helped my knee, although it also felt better on Monday after the chiropractor and a dose of Voltaren, but then got worse again yesterday after not bike riding and sitting in a car driving for a total of half an hour. Go figure. Bloody thing.

"Do you stretch regularly?" she asked. ... Hmmm, um.... well..... I'm not very good at doing self directed stuff at home. Like I should be doing push-ups, and abs.. and I don't seem to get round to it...

"Have you tried yoga? - that's really great for flexibility..." ... Hmm, no, it's never really appealed, besides which, I don't think I could fit anything else in!!

She considers me a 'problem child'... and always goes over time with me... It's supposed to be a one hour massage - for $35 (which is cheap anyway). This morning's appointment was at 9.00, and she finished with me at 10 to 11! I wanted to pay her more but she wouldn't hear of it.

I probably should be doing more in the way of self-maintenance, given my body's propensity for all these annoying "niggles". Possibly what I'm doing is trying to run my body full tilt, without stopping to do a grease and oil change, and all the other maintenance type things you do on a car that I can't think of because we... I... don't tend to nurture our cars very well either...

I've booked in again for 2 weeks time; I figure I might need a massage after riding 100 miles on Sunday week.

So - I've paid for an extra chiropractor consultation this week - and off I go to this personal trainer weights session this afternoon. ($15 if it's shared - $30 if it's not.). Tennis tomorrow. Swimming squad on Friday afternoon. (Then the bike riding on the weekend.) I do feel like this very spoiled high maintenance non-working wife, with the only plus being that I know my husband would prefer me to spend the money on this sort of stuff as opposed to jewellery, makeup, and regular hairdressing sessions - none of which would help me ride 100 miles with him on a tandem.

I guess, in the scheme of things, this old jalopy probably isn't doing so bad, and I should be thankful. No parts need replacing. Yet. And mostly everything works. I'm just going to have to accept that as I get older, more fine-tuning and adjustments are going to have to be paid for to keep me on the road.

I'm not quite ready for the scrap heap.

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Monday, August 13, 2007


Over the hill

They excelled themselves with my cake this year. They asked me what I wanted, and I said "Golden caramel cake, drizzled with melted milk chocolate, filled with strawberries, and served with cream." Full marks for presentation! - although they could have changed the tablecloth! I swear I didn't spill the coffee on it! #1 took control, made the cake - but still required her younger 12 year old sister to break the eggs for her! - went shopping for ingredients with Dad and insisted on buying classier candles - 'decorated' the cake - more the artist than the cook, she always got top marks for presentation in her school cooking class! - and insisted on being the one to take the birthday photo.

I had a good day. A quiet day. Got my sleep in - and even though he was awake earlier, and champing at the bit to get some work done on the car, he didn't want me to wake up to a deserted other side of the bed - so he stayed till I woke up! Altogether now - "Awwww". The kids disappeared themselves with friends for a while - which they considered to be their present to me. A pity Himself was tied up in fixing the leak in the car, but what must be done must be done.

The weather gods gifted me a glorious spring-like day. The body sabotage gnomes, however, decided that all could not be perfect, and late Saturday sprang upon me, for no good reason, a sore knee/back of calf. I had been fine all day Saturday; we'd ridden the tandem nearly 60km in the morning, but all good. Walking around as usual at netball and then pottering around at home. Drove Alison's friend home late afternoon, and as I got out of the car to duck into the supermarket, I had to suddenly hobble! It got worse and worse till I limped up to bed in pain, forgoing even watching the Swans come good in the final quarter to beat the Saints.

Not the best night's sleep, but at least it had eased on Sunday. I tentatively tried my bike, and it didn't hurt too much; better than walking actually. So late afternoon Marc and I took off for a quick MTB ride up the highway, but then exploring a back route on dirt home again over a hill and through banana plantations. I thoroughly enjoyed it apart from the scary downhill bit where I wished I had knobbier tyres on my MTB and had spent a childhood yahooing around on bikes like boys tend to do. As soon as my back wheel starts skidding, I start freaking. Walking down with the bike wasn't the best thing I could have done with this stupid knee/calf thing, but what the hell. You only live once, and I was going to be disappointed if we didn't do a little bit of something like that on my birthday!

We went out to a Thai meal for dinner, came home to birthday cake, and more phone calls from relatives - like my 'little' sister- reminding me how old I am. ["How old are you ? 44?".... "45 actually"... "Sheesh..! 45 is it?! Geez, you're over the hill - nearly 50 then aren't you?"... "Gee thanks sis." ]

Both Marc and I figured we had bought ourselves enough presents this year - ie. our new road bikes. A new tandem. Bike parts. Bike clothes. So we didn't do anything about presents, except to buy each other a carton of 'nice' beer. On Tuesday for his I bought him a carton of Blue Tongue. (Reckon that might be an Aussie beer?) And he bought me a carton of Coronas. (But forgot the lime!) And a bottle of more expensive wine than we usually get.

The kids don't get the chance to get to the shops without me, so we didn't go there with presents either, but to be honest it doesn't bother me. They made me a card. And a cake! And Caitlin gave me a 'virtual' IOU for a new blog banner.

Anyway, despite my age, despite the various stupid inconveniences my body is throwing at me, I'm not over the hill yet. Unless it's on a bike! And for once, there's a photo of me I don't hate. That is possibly the best birthday present I could ever have been given!!!

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Friday, August 10, 2007


Old before my time

I have a tendency to round up the ages of everyone in the family once they have passed the half-way mark of their year, and I do this particularly when the birthdays are in the latter part of the calendar year. With the kids that habit is probably due to the age divisions they are placed in for sport. Zoe, for instance, doesn't turn 9 till October, but I've been thinking of her as '9 this year' all year because she has had to be in the 9 years age group for school sport, and for netball. Alison played 12s rep netball, so her birthday in July seemed somewhat of an anticlimax, because I'd been thinking of her as 12 all year.

So for a good part of this year, I've already started thinking of myself as 'almost 45'... '45 in August'.. and so I know when the actual day arrives this Sunday, it won't actually feel quite such a landmark. (I think. I hope.) Being a '_5' birthday seems a little more significant; perhaps only as a top of the hill marker, from whence it is is a downhill run to 50. Which IS just a teeny bit freak-me-out-ish, and I will probably only cope with that because, thankfully, so many of the other mums I hang around with seem to be all about the same age.

I have also had to become a bit hardened and blasé about my age because I married a man two years younger than myself. With his birthday only 5 days before mine, he delights in using that age difference to keep himself feeling younger. "Not as old as YOU though", he chuckles, poking me in the side. (Nice bloke, huh?)

I just hope I don't subconsciously apply my 'rounding up' modus operandi to the decade, and start thinking of myself as 50 before my time.

45 .. "mid-forties"... seems so much younger, and on my birthday I intend to 'celebrate' by going bike riding so as to keep deluding my body that it is younger than it is, and so that I can burn off enough calories so as to enjoy a few quiet wines over a meal that I don't intend to cook. Maybe someone will make me cake and not stuff it up! Yes, I know my ideas of a good birthday are a bit weird (the exercise bit, anyway, and no mention of party-partying) but that's the way I am these days, and I am finally becoming comfortable in my own skin about it. Perhaps at 45 I am starting to accept who I am, regardless of whether it is how other people are.

I'm also planning on feeding my inner sloth by a self-indulgent sleep-in. What a bonus that this year's birthday falls on a Sunday!!

I'm also going to attempt a blogging-free weekend! Wish me luck!


Wednesday, August 08, 2007


It's only quick if you don't stuff it up.

Here's another quick mix cake recipe, as promised.

Passionfruit Butter Cake (quick mix)

125g butter, chopped
¾ cup (165g) castor sugar
2 eggs
2 cups (300g) SR flour
½ cup (125 ml) milk
¼ cup passionfruit pulp

Combine butter, sugar, eggs, flour and milk in medium bowl of electric mixer, beat on low speed until ingredients are combined. Then beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth and changed in colour. Stir in passionfruit. Spread into greased baba/bundt pan. Bake in moderate oven about 45 minutes. Turn onto wire rack to cool.


Note that it's only quick if you don't "accidentally" put 250g butter in it. Which is twice the amount of butter it says in the recipe. Which happens if you buy a double sized pack of butter (because it's cheaper) but don't *think* and just cut the big one in half to 'get' 125g, like you do an ordinary size pack... Very clever. Not.

[These brain snaps are a disturbing trend.]

So, hmmm, I don't think it's turned out. Funny that. (The concept that cake recipes have a certain balance of ingredients to make the cake turn out just right.) It tastes a bit.. buttery.. and it's falling apart a bit.

So, ... I've had to make another cake tonight.

Actually... I'd already started grating lemon rind to make another Lemon Delicious cake, because the one Alison made for Marc's birthday last night has kind of nearly disappeared, what with the girls taking a slice each to school, then having another slice when they got home from school, and he got home tonight and exclaimed "What's happened to my cake?!!" And he also said 'How come I didn't get a cake to take to work?' So being the lovely wife that I am, I started making him another one, just after I put the passionfruit one in the oven.

And then as I'm unwrapping the rest of the butter for that cake, it suddenly dawns on me the mistake I've made with the passionfruit one. Doh!

Seeings as they are so quick to make and all, I was quite prepared to make Yet Another Passionfruit cake as well - to use up the passionfruit the neighbour keeps giving us. While I'm in cake-making mode. BUT. I've run out of SR flour!

So it looks like I'll have to take this Lemon cake to tennis, the kids and he can pick at the buttery, falling aparty Passionfruit cake (and clog their arteries), and after I've restocked the pantry tomorrow, I can make him another lemon cake to make up for the kids eating all his birthday cake, and I can make another passionfruit cake to use up the passionfruit.

And I'll yield to more temptation and eat the damn stuff.
Next time we have a home game at tennis, I'm offering to take fruit.

And now the lemon delicious one has stuck to the pan (like they normally DON'T), and perhaps I should just give up making cakes, quick-mix or otherwise.


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Reality bites

I very unwisely hopped on the scales this morning, which burst my little bubble of rhetoric somewhat. With a *BANG*. My weight is going UP. How can that be? I wonder.

No I don't.

It's a simple equation to do with energy in and energy out. It's all too easy to get all smug and virtuous about the exercise you are doing. But what happens is you think you have the licence to eat whatever you damn well like. And to have a glass or three of wine empty calories each night.
Which leaves you with an unequal or unequitable equation? Or something like that.


Why does it have to be so hard?

No.. the solution is simple. And I know this. Decrease the energy in, and increase the energy out. How hard is that? And theoretically, the more you burn, the more you might be able to get away with consuming. Isn't that right?

While I ponder upon how to have my cake and eat it too... (and consequently sit on my backside at the computer instead of doing something about 'energy out') I'm going to pass forward this Inspirational Blogger award thingy. [These come originally from Writers Reviews.] I never feel comfortable doing these, because I hate leaving deserving people out. I could quite easily list a dozen bloggers who inspire me for different reasons, but I'll bite the bullet and give a gong to two bloggers that I read who I find inspirational in totally different ways. And if they want to add their award to their bloggy 'Atta Girl wall, they can click on over via the link above and choose the 'Inspirational Blogger' colour scheme to best match their decor.

Rootietoot is an inspiration because of what she achieves on a daily basis through the grinding pain of her hip, and for showing me that it is more than fine to make a career out of being a SAHM. I may not agree with everything that she rattles on about, and rattle on she does! But somehow she inspires an all encompassing non-judgemental tolerance for others. I never imagined I'd get caught up with the blog of someone with totally different views on religion, politics (and gun control!) (and she's American to boot!) so there you go. Rootie, you're an inspiration. There is also the fact that I can get away with using the term 'rootie'... given the Australian meaning of the word 'root'. !

And Drunk Mummy has got to get a gong - to add to all her others. I've only stumbled upon her blog recently (and then she up and went swanning off O.S. for a few weeks.) But how I relate to her 'you children drive me to drink' M.O. Drunk Mummy, however, does it in style. Not only is she a wine enthusiast, but she can actually bloody remember what she's drunk and then she blogs it. With a classic British wit that is a joy to read. Truly inspirational.

* So I am going to now try and do something "domestic" this morning, and then I am going to ride my bike via the forest roads to my weight training class. Energy out.*

[* Picture above is from Licence to Eat]

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Monday, August 06, 2007


What about me?

Somehow or other I've been called inspirational because of my bike riding (thanks BrissieMum..I'll pass it forward in the next post or two..) and I am equally chuffed and nonplussed about it. There are women out there who are far more into the fitness than me, and, sheesh - I don't even have the figure to complement the hype I seem to be perpetrating.

But. Given that everything is relative... If I can inspire anyone of any age to get out and get active then that's all to the good. Maybe people might relate to me because I'm not what you'd call 'athletic'. I'm just 'some random' (as my daughter would say) - with no great sporting heritage and carrying around 10kg more weight than I should be.

As you might have picked up from my last post, I have finally (and somewhat belatedly one might say) realised that exercising is just so good for your health, AND your mind. The earlier you start making it a habit, the better - ie. as a child - but if you can, no matter how old you are, just get out there and start making your heart pump. We ride our bikes with people of all ages - and I am so inspired by the 'oldies'. When I am 75 I want to still be out there with the ability to ride a bike like some of them do. And we keep telling the kids to keep their 'motor' ticking over - and not to lose what they have - because as an adult it is so hard to get it back again once you've lost it.

I didn't do a lot of sport when I was a kid - basically just tennis. Somewhere along the line I played some squash, though not competition. (Too much of a tennis player.) At college I had a go at a few of the team sports I never learnt how to play as a child - a bit of soccer, a bit of softball. But I didn't get really active until around the time I met Marc... With him I started bushwalking, canyoning, rafting, cross country skiing and marathon canoeing. Oh, and I bought my first bike with gears, and we did a couple of mountain bike rides and a bike tour with camping gear in our panniers. I was finally getting my heart pumping - in more ways than one!

The problem with activities like that is that they are pretty hard to do when you have babies and young children. I didn't get round to doing much in the way of exercise (and porked on the weight a bit.) When my eldest was about 9 months old I did find my way into playing Ladies Midweek Tennis for a few years, but then that fell by the wayside (for 8 years!) when we moved here 10 years ago. Marc managed to keep more active - partly because of our 'division of labour', whereby it was easy for him to just leave work and go and play Touch, or volleyball. (He did have me playing volleyball with him, right up until I was pregnant with #1).

My mother disapproved. Because they made the 'sacrifice' of not playing sport when I was a kid. At times I admit I'd get a bit resentful that Marc could just walk out the door without worrying about what to do with the children! (or have to take them with him) ... but at some point I had this epiphany, where I realised how important fitness was for both of us. And if he wasn't leaving work to run up and down a Touch field, he'd still be in the office... And he was working how many hours a week as the sole income earner for the family... (And with all the overseas work he was doing, his fitness was suffering with the inability to get out and exercise for up to several weeks at a time.)

He realised the same about me, and stopped being quite so envious of me getting to play tennis all day, or swan off to a 1pm swimming class, and we've ever since supported each other pretty much wholeheartedly in anything that constitutes exercise. I want to be fitter and healthier (and trimmer) than our parents at 70 when I am that age.

When our older two were about 9 and 7 respectively, I realised that, due to their swimming squad sessions, they were much better swimmers than me! Giving them an hour of swimming up and down a pool each each week was, in fact, a gift to them in terms of giving them cross training/aerobic fitness for anything else they wanted to do. (And their health.)

So I started with an adult swimming squad, and, wow. I loved it. Loved that I was learning how to swim better, but I also loved being pushed to work harder.. because even though I might hate it when I was doing it, I'd feel alive and all 'zingy zing zing' afterwards. I think that's when I realised the concept of endorphins, and all their benefits. Who needs drugs when you can get that buzzy feeling from exercise?!!

While we've always had bikes, we didn't really start riding much, with the kids, until we got the tandems, and, as you know, now we're hooked. And we've found a whole community of bike riders out there.. and it's just great.

And you know what? I am riding at times with people who are around the same age as my parents - but my parents wouldn't have a hope of keeping up with them. I don't know the background of these people, but I do know that I don't think my parents did themselves any favours when we were little by being 'heroes' and not playing sport. Want to be a good role model for your kids? Get out there and get active, and let them see you doing it.

All that said, I still struggle, daily, with my inner sloth. We rode on Saturday - about 50-something km, because we drove half-way to town by which time it was light enough to feel ok riding on the highway.

Yesterday I meant to go out by myself for a ride, but I didn't. So today, I cancelled another appointment I had, and met up with people from the BUG (Bicycle Users Group), and went on a mountain bike ride around a bit of a national park south of Coffs. Almost 30km, including some yee-ha downhills, but also some tough uphills that got the heart pumping alright. We have an aim, you see. On the 26th August, some of us from the BUG are doing a "Century" ride, in the old money. ie. 100 miles. Which is 160km. Madness indeed, but nothing like a bit of madness like that to make you get out to 'train'.

Tonight I feel tired, and a little bit guilty for getting to do what I did today - but dammit, I feel really good 'inside'.

I know that at the moment I am very fortunate to have the time to do this. It is a challenge enough as it is - I seriously don't know how I'd do if I was trying to work as well. (Hopefully by the time I sort myself out in that regard I will have got myself well and truly addicted.) I am also lucky that my body, despite a few little hiccups, is in relatively good working order, and so I can still do most things.

The least I can do is to make the most of what I have - in the hope that I'll have it for longer. And try and remember that I'm supposedly an inspiration to others:

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Not that I'm counting down or anything

Only 5 weeks to go till the end, end, end of the netball season. Hallelujah! says Mum. While it's a bit freaky just how fast the year seems to be going, getting my Saturdays back just can't come quickly enough.

The netball carnivals are finally over for this year... and I'm relieved, even if it is a great day of sport for the girls. Yesterday all three played in an Age Carnival - an all day affair at a town 60 km up the road from here. Marc and I were in charge of the 14s team that Caitlin played in, which means that Marc "coached" and I handed out shirts and bibs and scored.

Alison and Zoe also played - in the alternate timeslot to Caitlin - so we were pretty much watching netball non-stop all day. Hmmm... we've had just a bit of practice at that this year.

But it was a successful day, a good day. Cait's team got up with a win on points countback, improving and improving throughout the day. Alison's rep team, playing up an age division, played a semi and final, and scraped through with a one point win. Zoe played up in the 10s team, and that level is as funny as a circus to watch after you've been watching a higher age and higher standard. But they came a very respectable third.

So more pieces of junk trophies to add to the indecent collection being amassed in this house.

Marc took the managing/coaching job pretty seriously, thinking tactically, and, after the first game, playing the girls in the same positions, which were the best positions for the team. It paid off - and with the help of more tactical advice from our association's coaching convenor, they won! (We see so much of teams through the year, and at carnivals, playing free-for-all with positions, or quieter players getting stuck in unsuitable positions... and the teams just don't improve. It's got to be more fun to play in a team that improves and gels and that.. well, yes... wins!)

And Zoe?! Zoe is turning out to be ok as a netballer too - her coach for the day reckoned she wasn't at all timid or cautious. She has big shoes to fill in netball as well as everything else that she's followed her sisters in; so far she is rising to the occasion in pretty much every area, which is pretty big talk for the #3 child in the family. Everything they've done well at, not to be outdone, she has too. Academic achievement awards? No worries. Swimming? Cross country running? Hey, wow, I can do this too! [The only thing she's lagged behind at is riding her own bike!] So, after yesterday? Add netball to the list, I think. She's got potential.

One thing these carnival days do is sort out the fit from the not-so fit. Our three were tired, as you'd expect, particularly Zoe because she's not used to that much netball in one day, but at least on the court they have the stamina to keep going. It's disappointing to see so many girls without that fitness- you can see them flagging by the end of the day - though at least they were there playing. There are those who choose not to play because it's all too much effort. They 'get a bit tired.'

Some of the teenage girls are carrying a lot of weight already, and, in the normal course of a week, if netball is all they are doing, an hour of training (more ball and court skills than fitness) and under an hour of game on the weekend, just isn't enough. I worry for them for their adulthood. Saying that, I know that as a teenager I didn't do much in the way of fitness - a few sets of tennis once a week, pretty much. Because I didn't have that fitness base from my childhood, it all caught up with me later on. Now I'm playing catch-up in my mid-forties, and I can see, with the wonderful wisdom of hindsight, what a golden opportunity these years can be.

So, despite the fact that I am all netballed out (without even playing the damn game myself), I'm already thinking ahead to next year. More rep for the older two no doubt. The "twisted sistas' intermediate team that we want Marc to coach (but I can see that the other mum and me will be managing the training sessions at least because, despite improvements in his working situation, I can't see him getting away by 4pm one afternoon a week. Which is a shame. He'd be good at it.) Cait wants to coach a Junior team - so she will have to coach her little sister whether she likes it or not - and so that will be another training afternoon I have to be at the netball courts for an hour.

Oh well. Just as well I think it's good for them. Now all I need to do is fit in my own fitness, and the positive outcomes from that will give me the stamina to face another year of their netball. I have another countdown clock starting to tick. March 2008. When it all ...starts ... again.

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