Monday, June 30, 2008

 

A milestone.


Or whatever you call it when you're measuring height. Daughter #1 is now taller than me. Scary stuff, eh!

Guess it was inevitable, with her Dad being around 6 ft 1.

She thinks it's great.

Why is that?!!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

 

Just passing through...


I'm not meant to be blogging. I didn't actually promise not to, but it was "suggested" to me that I shouldn't do another blog post until I'd written a letter to the editor to the bicycle magazine we just received. We are cheesed off about an article's ill-informed mention/description about what it is like to ride a tandem. I'm going to write the damn letter because I'm as flabbergasted as he is about it. But not just now. I'm tired, and not coherent enough to make much sense.

Funny how that's not preventing me from writing a blog post.

We did our usual 90km ride on the tandem this morning. When I get up at 5am I think I'm bloody insane. Once we're riding - starting in the dark, mind you, but with the super-whammy-deluxe headlamp that the crazy husband bought to do his adventure race - all but as bright as a car headlight - then I start warming to the idea, if not to the temperature. Which was 5 degrees (C) this morning - so there was no shortage of warming to be done. By the time we joined the community ride, we had partners in insanity... and as we rode we all exclaimed upon how brisk it was and how cold the various parts of our bodies were.

By 8.00 we are back to the city centre for coffee and food, and much chit chat, and I am totally glad I have come.

Even with another 23km to home, the total of 92km on the speedo as I stagger into the house can't help but build some feelings of virtuosity.

Shower, chug down a coffee, then onto the netball for the kids. And a drive back into town to drop one (plus a friend) off to play another game in there - and for Marc to paddle in the kayak club race. He took the single kayak today- my bum is still sore where I've pulled (torn) a muscle - and which doesn't make for comfortable sitting. 50 minutes in a kayak didn't seem like such a good idea when 15 minutes sitting in the car hurts. (No, it doesn't hurt on the bike, go figure...)

Still... I'm tired, and I'm about to ditch everyone here and go to bed.

Because we've got another bike ride tomorrow - an MTB one (mountain bike ride). Shorter distance, but harder riding.

You know something? I'm never bored on the weekends. Tired and incoherent, maybe, but never bored.

G'night!!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

 

Missing in Action


I don't know that things have been that busy, but there's been enough to do round here of late to quite distract me from the business of blogging. Life. It goes on. Would you believe?!

Unfortunately I have still managed to spend more time than I feel I should at the computer, and none whatsoever at housework. (La plus ├ža change...!) Other than the usual provision of meals, and washing of clothes, and gnashing of teeth at children who DO NOT PUT THEIR DIRTY CLOTHES OUT.

A bit of my time lately has been spent organising accommodation and the visiting of far-flung friends on our way home from our skiing weekend. We have decided to take the 'long way home' in order to visit people and places that we haven't seen for a while, or haven't seen at all. That said, I still seem to spend time on blogs, but lately I only seem to have the energy for reading those of people who are far better writers than me. I suppose I am going through a bit of a self flagellation stage with the blogging, questioning the point of it all. I will hold off making any rash decisions and beating myself about the head about it until next term.

Meantime, it's really all go, go, go around here as the term comes to a close (and while I feel like left part of my brain down in Sydney! - honestly, the things I've forgotten about over the past week or so don't bare mentioning.)

So there was the last rep netball carnival (before State Age) - in Kempsey the Sunday before last. We ummed and ahhed about going to watch, but the supportive parent genes won over, and so we drove nearly two hours each way just for the privilege of standing watching netball games in a freezing cold wind that whipped across the netball courts. It was quite possibly training for us parents as well as the girls. State Age in Newcastle - mid-winter - could well be a similar experience.

And there's just been the usual after school madness - which will thankfully ease after State Age when rep netball training will stop. Half my days seem to be spent organising the car pooling, and then doing the car pooling, along with a good deal of zipping here and there to drop my kids off or pick them up. And when I'm not in the car it feels like I'm up and down a ladder on the netball courts putting up or taking down pole padding and goal rings. Yeah, so I can think of things I'd rather be doing...

Really, truly, I can't complain though. These days I do also have the luxury of a reasonable amount of personal sport and recreation - and the opportunity to either injure or totally trash myself!

I do my swimming squad twice a week. I don't usually hurt myself while I'm swimming, but I'll often have some inexplicable niggle. This week it's been my left knee. No idea what - it just niggles when I kick - which is annoying, because my kicking is my stronger point. (Normal people find their arms in freestyle are their strong point - go figure!) And I swam like crap on Monday for our 40 lap (1 km) trial which for some peverse reason I usually really enjoy. Oh well. I still feel all zingy-zing-zing after an hour of thrashing up and down a pool, and I solemnly believe that the endorphins produced do hold me back from the edges of darker things.

I play comp tennis on Thursdays at the moment - well, every second week, and sometimes in between. (Long story, another time...) We'd had some rain last week, and so the court was damp, but playable. Everytime I play I flare up my back/hip area on the left side, usually, which I just put up with because I want to be able to keep playing my tennis. Last Thursday was no exception. But in the last set I did a skid and something that looked almost like the splits (but much less graceful than any gymnast or dancer you've ever seen.) I pulled 'something' somewhere up under my right buttock. (You wanted to know that didn't you!) I managed to finish the set without damaging myself any further, and it's not too incapacitating, but I can still feel it as I creak around the place.

I tested the all important bike riding position with it on Friday and gave myself the all clear, so Saturday morning, CrazyDad and I hopped on our tandem at 5.40am, and rode into town, around the A group course with the community ride, and then home again (after bacon & eggs and coffee.) 90km later.. phew! I was just a bit off the planet the rest of the day - which included working on a BBQ for netball. We came home around 3.30 and staggered up to bed to have a bit of a lie down.

I drank a couple of wines that night to reward myself for Excellence in Physical Endeavours, and woke with a headache on a Sunday that we'd set aside as catch-up-around-the-house day. Needless to say I wasn't much help, and wasted a decadent and snuggle-able sleep-in opportunity.

One thing you might not have figured about me is that I have a striking inability to say no to offers and opportunities to get out to do something active. (This attitude is how I ended up with my husband in the first place - bushwalking, and then canoeing and canyoning, so I figure he can't really complain!):

Monday I met up with a couple of girls who are wanting to build up their bike riding. I only rode a few km with them, but decided I should do the whole environmentally conscious bicycle user thing and commute to and from our meeting point by bike (about 7 km each way) - and to my swimming class and back in the middle of it. (Not being triathlete material, it is probably no wonder I swam like crap!) 34 km on the bike, and that hour (and two kilometres total, probably) in the pool. I slept well on Monday night.

Tuesday I'd accepted an invitation to go walking with someone who is training up for the Oxfam trailwalk. She needed to work on her uphills, so the person responsible for inviting me took us to a patch of state forest where we launched straight into some 400m of uphill (over a pretty short distance I can tell you.) The uphill probably only took us 45 mins out of a 2 hour walk, but I now know that my calves exist, along with that pulled hamstring/buttock thing, and I am feeling unaccountably weary today, and doing a bit of groaning and moaning if I need to bend or squat.. or get up from sitting down... and.. well, walk around at all really. [But of course in the back of my mind is now the seed of madness sown - wouldn't that 100km walk be a box to tick?! - next year?.... ]

I have another chance to do something else to myself at tennis tomorrow. Swimming again on Friday. Riding Saturday morning no doubt, and we really should get down to the kayak club race in the afternoon. And then a mountain bike ride on Sunday.

Meantime, pretty much the only thing I have left to organise for holidays - other than booking cross country ski lessons and some clothing and equipment hire - is for it to bloody snow down in the Snowy Mountains! After the netball of course, because we don't really want to be standing around watching three days of netball in a winterly southerly air stream that has blown 'off the snow'. Even if we have trained for it.

So tell me.. am I mad, or in a coma?.... [ Hey, fellow viewers of excellent British TV fare, I finally got to watch the last episode of Life on Mars!]

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Friday, June 13, 2008

 

I'm back.. from outer space...


I have been AWOL, I know. (And of course you missed me... all .. errr... three or so of you!) It feels like a sin in the blogging world - to not post for a week and a half, that is - but I am proof that one can actually not blog for a few days and still survive! Today, however, I am back to procrastinating about housework. Ergo I seem to have... um.. found time to ... blog.

It has been a slightly madder than usual week or so in our household, so much so that I feel compelled to record it for posterity. (And bore everyone senseless in the meantime.)

So last week I had three days of leading/hosting some local bike rides (totting up 150km over three days). The family took second place to these cycling commitments, and I know that a few things slipped under the radar - I was just lucky that Marc had taken leave for two days before his crazy race, so he picked up some of the slack. I was a tired girl on Friday night.

And then I had three nights away, with a drive to Sydney and back with two of the girls (totting up at least 1200 km in the car). In the day in between - Saturday - I took Ms 15 shopping for new clothes (how dare she grow between last winter and now!), somehow managed to get the other two to pack, and tried to catch up at checkpoints with the Mad Husband on this 48 hour (plus) adventure race. (The shopping for clothes bit rated almost as tiring as driving all the way to Sydney, especially when the Daughter accidentally picked up the wrong size when we went back into a shop to pick up a second pair of jeans, and so requiring another trip to town on the Sunday morning to change them! The things that mothers do, huh..)

The CrazyHusband started his race at 7am on the Saturday morning, and finished around midday on Monday (with about 15 mins sleep somewhere in there. Yes, you read that right. Two nights careering around either in a kayak, or on foot, or on a bike - mostly on muddy (and hilly) bush tracks.) I last saw him on Sunday around midday - in a rather tired, wet, sweaty and muddy state at a checkpoint near our house. (Needless to say there was no passionate, nor even snuggly embrace of the type I usually like to get before a few night's separation!) I left, with the two youngest girls, an hour after that, and got back Wednesday night. He left Wednesday morning for a work trip, which, late yesterday, got extended to two nights, and so I haven't yet actually been able to wrap my arms around him as confirmation of his survival and intactedness after what I now refer to as his 'three day bender'.

Tuesday I travelled in trains, and hung around the Sydney Opera House because MY GIRLS were playing in a 700 strong recorder ensemble with other public school kids from all over the state. They had a rehearsal 12.00 tll 3.00, then we had to feed them, and return them for the concert at 6.30. It was pretty damn AWESOME to be watching your kids in the concert hall of the Opera House! - and, believe it or not, 700 recorders actually sound pretty damn AWESOME! - a whole lot more awesome than they sound being practised at home! (I have yet to convince Ms 15 of this, but anyhow....) My mum and I also walked around city streets and shops for about two hours, which has pretty much cured me of any desire to walk around city streets and shops ever again, really. Tired legs, much? - as the teenagers would say...

Meanwhile, Ms 15 stayed home by herself (first time ever) on the Sunday night (and to all intents and purposes 'by herself' on Monday night, because she was unable to wake CrazyDad as instructed to let him know she was home from netball training! - unsurprisingly he slept through from around 3.30 pm till around 7.30 the next morning! Then she set off on an overnight train trip to Sydney - a school excursion to see the musical Billy Elliot (sleep deprivation seems to be a recurring theme around here, no?!)... and got home around 10pm last night.

I backed up for comp tennis yesterday, and so today has been set aside to conquer the mountain of washing that had somehow accumulated. (Thankfully CrazyDad did manage to wash and dry his filthy muddy gear...I'm not sure I would have coped with that as well!) The weather is not being particularly helpful - one minute spitting rain, the next allowing the sun to shine, so I am torn between risking the clothesline and cycling stuff through the clothes dryer. (Back to housewife mundanities ya think?)

Seems that while I was away blogging mates decided it would be a good time to tag me for various memes, each of which I shall attempt at some point in the near future.. (although me + "beauty regime" is something that just makes me pretty much ROFLMAO, and me + quirks? I mean, really... I don't have any quirks.. do I?.....)

Back soon!

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

 

Never mind computer rage.


Why is it I can't find any clipart of sewing machine rage?

Do a google image search for computer rage, and you have pages and pages of pictures of people ready to thump their monitors with anything from their fists to nine-irons. But could I find anything similar for sewing machine frustrations? No! Does noone else in the world ever feel like drop kicking their sewing machine through the window?

I couldn't even find a picture of a tangled mess of bobbin stitch, which is the catalyst for the big whinge you see before you here! [I should have taken a photo, shouldn't I? There looks to be an opening for freely available images on sewing machine tangles and disasters.]

Give me my computer any day.

I have a sewing machine. And I know how to use it. Or I should. (Don't most women know how to use a sewing machine? Isn't there a gene for sewing and mending that is female-specific?)

The problem is, I've never learnt the ins and outs of stitch tension, and needle selection. I tend to just try and sew on a generic setting, then come over all terribly frustrated when something goes wrong. (And curse the fact that I never learnt how to sew properly.)

Where do people learn how to wrangle sewing machines?

I know that all that is required is to calmly and coolly troubleshoot my way through it with the manual, and many pieces of sample material. I've done that before. (And with an overlocker, which requires even more tension troubleshooting..)

But me with a sewing machine is like Groundhog Day... with a twist. I never remember what I've learnt!

I always forget what sort of needle should be used on what material, and even if I could remember, how do I identify them when you all but need an electron microscope to read the markings on the needle. (Given that lately I need to put on those magifying glasses to even thread a damn needle, we're pushing the proverbial uphill here...) Oh, god, what a pain in the neck, why can't I just pull it out and sew. All I'm wanting to do here is hem a pair of bloody pants - not create a garment from scratch!

Yesterday afternoon: Cait's school pants. Need to be shortened 10cm. After the cutting, and refolding up the hem, all I had to do was stitch around the bottom by machine. Right?

Errr, no.

Total catastrophe with the bobbin side of the stitching (as you can see, I'm also really up on my sewing terminology) ending up in an almighty tangle. They are actually stretchy material - so it struck me, belatedly. So I probably should have changed the needle, or the tension, or something...

I unpicked it, resisted the urge to headbutt the machine, then calmly walked away. (And started cooking dinner with the aid of a glass of wine.) It was pretty stupid, after all, to be trying to do it in the late afternoon where I had no daylight to help cast light on the subject.

Today, however, is the last day I have time to sit and hem two pairs of pants (I am busy the rest of the week, then off to Sydney on the weekend, which is the deadline for one of the above pairs of pants to be taken up), and I'm debating whether sitting down and just handstitching the goddamned hems will be quicker than troubleshooting the tension on the bloody machine.

Me and my sewing machine skillz ! Just something else to add to my amazing repertoire - the one that goes something like "jack of all trades, master of none."

How are you with a sewing machine? Is it a dying art do you think, or is it just me?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~``
An hour or so later: Success. A calm approach, the finding of, and installation of a jersey/ballpoint needle, and The Machine was all sweetness and light and on its best behaviour, as if to mock me for my outpouring of woe. Make a liar out of me, why don't you... you... MACHINE!

Now the only concern is whether I've done the right measurements for Cait's pants, because they just look kind of short.... If you hear a scream about two and a half hours from how, you'll know what it's about.

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

 

A quiet Sunday at our place




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