Thursday, April 29, 2010

Scratching Itches

Bloody men. Seriously. If they didn't have penises we'd throw stones at them.

I'm thinking about scratching a fifteen-year-old itch. Just thinking about it. Like I think about going back to do Medicine at university. Or I think about entering the property market. Or I think about selling my flute. Or I think about buying a pair of skinny jeans.

I'm allowed to think about it, aren't I?

This story goes back to Friday. I've been having a bit of a time at work recently and things have been a bit stressed - I've been spread over two departments - two days a week I spend with Popeye, Bongo, Jim Jams, Pog and Dil - my darling team, doing my normal job. The other three days of the week I'm working with another group authoring documents for them. This would be fine if the two departments didn't encroach on each other. In particular my regular job has been getting in the way of the strict deadlines imposed by the other team - and I've been getting requests for training, daft report requests, "Pandora - do you know where I can find...?", "Pandora, can you give this a quick edit..?" It's been like that at Tin Can String and Whistle for the last few weeks - it just seems worse with the public holidays and the like. Oh, and adding insult to injury, the RAM on my laptop corrupted so I've been running back and forth from the Unhelpful Desk to get it fixed.

Anyways, Friday afternoon I get an email from my friend Mack. Mack is the one who got me into freemasonry. Mack's pretty intuitive. He asked me why I was virbrating at such a rate. This is Mack speak for I've been thinking about you, how are you doing? After a bit of digging and a few quiet tears I admitted to him that I was feeling the heaviness that occassionally comes from being single. I think I blurted out "I want a husband." But I can't be sure.

Mack, as always, had some sage advice - the fact that Mack is four months older than me and has five kids should make me wary of his advice - but this is beside the point. His advice was valid. "Manifest, Pandora. You know what to do. Be specific. Don't ponder the hows - just the whats." So I shove out to the universe that I want a loving, caring, attractive, emotionally secure, financially secure, intelligent, sexy husband.

And I go on my way to beer club.

Stupid thing is that since then all these men from the past have come back in some shape or form.

Grounded Dutchman calls. Not that Grounded Dutchman has ever been anything more than a friend, I was wondering where he had got to.  He'd gone off the air for a while.

Then Bernd calls - one of my favorite fellows. Had a good chat with him. Again, Bernd is ten days younger than me - lovely guy, but happily married and a grandfather to boot.

Reindert gives me a call from America. Silly Dutchman comes back from a trip to Holland. Gareth rings from England... The list goes on. All my favorite men have got back in touch.

Universe! I want a husband of my own - not somebody elses!

Then the universe pulls the best for last.

Then the killer - Lachlan gets in touch. Lachlan of the fifteen-year-itch.

How does one describe the enigma that is Lachlan. All snake hips, cat's eyes and wry smiles, sexy in an unexpected way - John Cusack/Clive Owen sexy, too smart for his own good, daft sense of humour, knows the words to every song he's ever heard. A lover of beer and poetry. He who used to be my bestest of best friends.

Lachlan was the only one who said "Don't go" when I left England ten years ago. Lachlan is the only person I know who's ever had an opinion on my hair - actually if I'm honest, he's the only one who's ever told me what to do - and then I go ignore him. Lachlan who I have trawled endless bars with, drunk myself senseless with, smoked endless packets of cigarettes, read verses of Carol Ann Duffy with. Lachlan, who smells like a mix of Marlboro smoke, toothpaste, Fendi Life Essence and his own musky blend. Lachlan with his flat feet and slouch and Gloucester accent.

Lachlan, who hasn't really got a clue what I'm about now. I always make a point of catching up with him when I'm over in the UK. I keep a bit hidden from him - just as he keeps stuff hidden from me.

I left England in 1999. Not a month goes by without hearing from him.

The email read - when you're in England in November, want to go away, go to the Lake District or somewhere like that for a while? Come away with me.

How does Pandora read this? What does Pandora speak? Love, or be silent?

Well, it's kept my brain churning for the last few days. Time in the Lake District with Lachlan. What a great way to end my epic adventure abroad. Or is it just the universe having a laugh.


One more fact. Lachlan and I have only ever shared one kiss. Just one. Once.

I still think the universe is having a laugh.

Card of the Blog: The Lovers

See - I told you the universe was having a laugh!

Kilometres walked since 29 January: 306 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 184 km
Currently reading: The God of Small Things by Arundahti Roy
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.7 kg
April Kms: 190/220

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lest We Forget

I am probably the least patriotic Australian you're ever likely to meet. I get a bit vocal about the cricket now and then, I'm fine with my nationality, but there's no way I'd get a Southern Cross tattoo, and I've tried over the years to temper my accent. Thankfully, my Adelaide accent  - a pared down version of some of the ocker tones you hear, does me well and I'm often taken for an Englishwoman - which I quite like.

ANZAC Day is the one day of the year I feel patriotic. I always have felt like this on this day. Up until last year, my family always remembered my grandfather's eldest brother who died in Egypt in 1916 from thyphoid, never seeing action. He was the family hero - or so I thought.

A bit of digging around the family tree late last year has put me right. Maybe I have a bit more to feel patriotic about.

Both of my grandparents on my mother's side were one of six, both born in 1899. So at the outbreak of WWI, my grandfather was sixteen. Too young to go to war.

What never got told to me was what happened to the rest of his brothers and his father in this time, not just the venerable Uncle Keith, who lays in a war cemetery in Egypt. Nor was I ever told of what my grandmother's brothers got up to. Grandma had three brothers, all Methodist ministers - you'd imagine they would have nothing to do with this. She never said anything.

How wrong could I be.

I got digging around the National Archives one winter day last year. First up, lets look around the family. Uncle Oliver.

Uncle Ol, mild mannered Methodist Minister from Dromana. The unspoken family secret. Uncle Ol was part of the 6th Field Ambulance in Gallipoli. He ended up with thyphoid three months later and was then sent home - only to return in 1918 to lend field support, stationed at Balmoral Castle for a time. What he must have seen and done. He returned to his parish on the Mornington Peninsula in 1919.

Nobody said anything.

Then there was my grandfather's records. He did enlist. Formally classed as too skinny after a bout of pleurisy in the year before. My six foot tall grandfather weighed all of sixty kilos. It's strange to look over his handwriting eighty years on.

His brother Harold, a bugler, made it over to the other side of the world as part of reinforcements for Gallopoli, only to come back with rhumatism, six months laters after seeing no action. Similar went for their father, who enlisted at the age of 46 only to do field support work in Adelaide with the intelligence units.

Uncle Keith, the one who died has the longest of war record. It's heartbreaking to see his life at war. He never saw action - apparently he went swimming in some thypoid infected waters in the Sudan while in the navy. In his normal life he was a fisherman. His record reads of being in and out of hospital for a year - in the hospitals where the battle injured were sent to recover or sent to die. He died on the last day of 1916 and buried in the Christian cemetery in the Suez the following day. He has a grave number. He was exhumed and moved to the war cemetery the following year.

What is most heartbreaking about going through his records is following my great grandmother's copperplate handwriting asking for things from the navy in regards to the death of her first born son. The story is written on a typewriter and in pencil. Letters asking whether his father is still alive to collect his medals. Letter stating changes fo address. Curt letters informing the family of his remains being moved. A list of his personal effects sent back to the family - an identity disc, writing paper, pencils and envelopes, hankies, toothbrushes, razors, his false teeth and glasses, a few scarves, a waistcoat, his watch and his razor strop.

On reading his file last year, I spent a day in tears.

Uncle Roy, on the other hand, the second brother, faired better. In his life in Victor Harbour, he was with the Post Office, a signalman, and this continued during the war where he was posted to France.

I found this on the web:

"In July 1915, after eighteen months in the 75th Battalion cadets, Jarvis enlisted as a private in the 10th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, but his telegraphic skills were soon recognized and in March 1916 he was transferred to the 5th Divisional Signal Company in Egypt. Soon afterwards his unit sailed for France. He was promoted lance corporal in May 1917 and temporary corporal next August. On 4 April 1918, at Hamelet near Corbie, he led a party of linesmen to establish a forward station under fierce shelling. This action earned him the Military Medal and promotion to sergeant. On 8 August, at Villers-Bretonneux, for 'continuously … repairing lines under heavy shell fire' and displaying 'courage', 'cheerfulness' and 'total disregard for danger', he received a Bar to his M.M. He won a second Bar on 29 September, at Bellicourt, when he again established an advanced post under heavy fire and gas-attack. Later, as one of Australia's most decorated soldiers, he was presented to King George V."

According to my aunt, Uncle Roy never spoke of his time in the war. He was fond of saying the he got the medals for "milking the cow on no man's land".

This is my family, who nobody remembers, and nobody celebrates.

On this ANZAC day, this is my very small effort to salute them.

Lest we forget.


Kilometres walked since 29 January: 284 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 177 km
Currently reading: The Remains of the Day bu Kazuo Ishiguro, Marathon Running for Mortals
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.7 kg
April Kms: 161/220

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Least Favorite Things

1)  Effing unseasonal warm, humid weather.

Melbourne is in the middle of an Indian Summer. 29 degrees in late April is just ridiculous. 29 degrees and humid is just an abomination. Only last week I found myself airing out the winter duvet - the one I have slept under since 1992 when I bought down a market for ten quid down the Edgeware Road Markets. And now I want my summer duvet instead. The one that is sealed in the vacuum sealed bag ready for next summer. I can't see the point in changing it over now - it's due to cool down in the next few days.

And it's impacting the running. Today was a day of meetings and writing. My alleged new running partner at work was working from home. I was supposed to meet K at the gym for a run - we're trying to get her running at the moment - she got caught at work. Then things went pear shaped, Glen Waverley and his wife were coming over to watch Underbelly which I'd taped for them... turns out, I end up at the gym at 9 pm to do my allotted five kilometre run. A slow, stitch ridden, five kilometres later, I'm here - a bit miffed at myself for not going this morning, but glad it's over.

I just can't fathom humidity. I like running when it's about ten degrees, overcast and wiith a slight breeze - none of this warm, wet air crap. The gym feels like a sauna, but it's the only place I can run at night and feel safe (and I get to chat up hot, Gen Why, slacker dude on reception, which is always a bonus). Clothes stick to you, energy levels flag, hair goes frizzy... humidity is really only good for tropical holidays, where you don't have to look smart or do anything other than drink beer.

Yes, I'm having a bit of a moan. I shouldn't - I'm doing okay really.

Just miffed about about the warm humid weather. I WANT WINTER BACK.

An here is the rest of the list - I promise to be brief.

2) Lasagne - got food poisoning from it years ago - the sight of it makes me go green - though I eat other pasta with meat sauce happily.

3) Country and Western Music - just annoying. End of story.

4) Karl Stefanovic - I know I can choose my breakfast television, but with the choice between this git, David Koch - Adelaide's version of a supercilious prat with no hair, and the news in Japanese, I will have to continue to dislike Krappy Karl and wish he's get run over by a truck so the back up guy (Cameron Williams - lovely eyes) can take over.

5) People who turn up to work with colds and flu then go cough all over you - this will be pertinent as today was flu shot day at work.

6)  People who send you repeated invitations to every daft facebook application they come across - twits - I'll play the games I want to play - stop asking me. Or press the skip button. If it doesn't have a skip button, close down the browser. It's a stupid app anyway.

7) The Footy Show - This one is personal - I used to live off Bendigo Street where the Channel Nine Studios reside - could never get a park after tarot class on Thursday night - lots of bogans around as well - not fun.  The Monday night footy show on Channel Ten is much better. It's actually intelligent and intelligible.

8)  Pet Rabbits - another pointless thing. Rabbits are good for one thing. Stew. Besides, pet bunnies in Australia only get myxomatosis and croak anyway.... I don't have anything against rabbits - I just see them as food.

9) Rude Children - don't get me wrong - I like kids. I just don't like rude kids. The odd slip up is fine and expected. Constant repeat offenders just irritate me - though I know it normally isn't their fault. Will leave that one be at the moment.

10) Reflexology Clients who don't offer to wash their feet before a treatment. Should be part of the territory - yes. Disrespectful to the practitioner - hell yeah. Is the practitioner going to clean the feet before they start anyway. Yes. It's just the principle.

Ah, that feels better - almost as good as kicking the crap out of Pinochet last night. I pay him to do this, so it's fine.

Normal reception will occur as soon as the weather normalises.


Kilometres walked since 29 January: 250 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 172 km
Currently reading: The Remains of the Day bu Kazuo Ishiguro, Marathon Running for Mortals
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.7 kg
April Kms: 122/220

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Goodbye, El Presidente

The best thing about Tin Can, String and Whistle Ltd is the beer club.

Actually, it's not actually called the beer club. It's real name is the Brok Piwo Club. Brok is a brand of Polish beer. Piwo is the Polish word for beer. A club is a club.

When I first started work at Tin Can, String and Whistle, I had  a desk stationed away from my team, which suited me as I didn't really fit in with the gang, who were quite insular and all hung out together and had all worked together before and being honest, though we worked okay together, we weren't each other's type of people. Putting it simply, I'm straight and Anglo, not gay or Greek - not that it matters, but I was in a bit of a minority.

So after a few weeks of floundering about, I began to make friends around me. My current manager, Popeye, and I became firm coffee buddies in those early days (he was having team issues at the start as well - we had to poke his boss with a stick every so often to see if he was still alive). I began hanging out with the Integration Engineers - which was cool as I found I soon had twenty five brother substitutes from all corners of the globe. And for entertainment value, I was stationed next to this rather strange fellow called Geoff.

Geoff is one of those blokes that you know is probably trouble, but it's the sort of trouble you want to get into. A reprobate in his mid forties, Geoff has lived all over the world. He speaks fluent German and a bit of French. You know he's never up to much good, ever, though he'll go out to fight for you. He's not particularly politically correct. He likes cats and fishing. He's great for a bad joke or twenty. Geoff introduced me to snapper fishing and Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby.

And best of all, Geoff ran the beer club - oops, sorry, Brok Piwo Club. Which after a few months of sitting near Geoff, everybody on the fifth floor was enlisted.

The rules of the Brok Piwo Club are simple. Five bucks for lifetime membership. This gets you a membership badge, a membership certificate and fifty cents off for each bottle of Piwo you buy at beer club for the rest of your natural life. Normal beer club prices are 500 mls of Brok for $3.50. The only beer sold at beer club is that which fits into the German beer rules, or the brewing law known as the Reinheitsgebot, or Purity Law. So if the beer has anything other than barley, hops, malt  and water in it, the club don't sell it. The standard beers at beer club are Brok and Okocim. Sometimes you might find a guest beer to two - Hoogaarden sometimes make an appearance (I can't drink that though, sends me silly) Once or twice we've had Coopers. But thems the rules. Life is too short to drink crap beer.

Beer Club occurs most Fridays, in the tea room overlooking the Albert Street Gardens and Parliament House between the hours of five and seven. The real rules are we don't bring in food, we don't get blathered or noisy, we clean up everything and we don't make a big deal about it. Members receive an email with a flyer each week detailing the club is on (there is now a beer club in the Sydney office too), they front up for a beer or two, then go home. Yes, it's probably breaking every OHS rule ever, but it is a tolerated part of Tin Can, String and Whistle - so much so that half the senior leadership team are members.

If you're lucky, you get a beer club nickname. Normally you get one for just being a bit different - so we have Cowboy, The Doctor, Captain Smiley and Teneille, The Deformed Bar, The Dutch Mafia, Helmut the Walking Toilet Brush, El Presidente - and I am H&K. Don't ask. It's a beer club thing. There are people in the building who think my name is H&K. I only know them from beer club.

The great thing about beer club is that it's company wide - it's the place where everybody mixes. It doesn't matter what team you're in, we all sit there on a Friday evening with a beer, putting things to rights. There is no exclusivity, no drama - it's the unofficial social club of the company - it's certainly more active than the social club. It's also the place that you meet people, then in the following week, see them in a meeting and you know that you have an inroad to some dilemma or other. You are fellow beer drinkers - beer drinkers help beer drinkers.

Oh, and there is the odd 200 ml bottle of wine for the non beer drinkers sold too. There is water and softies in the machine for those who don't want to drink.

Beer is the greatest leveller ever. Men won't tell you this - but it is. Beer can fix a lot. It makes things better. Maybe men have beer and women have chocolate.

Yesterday, after a few months of rumour,Geoff announced that he's leaving. Geoff has single-handedly kept the beer club running for the last few years.

Thing is, for the last few months, he has been grooming somebody to take over the club. Somebody who knows where the kitty is kept, somebody who knows the combination to the beer fridges that are hidden about the place. Somebody who knows where to get the beer from. Somebody who can sweet talk management. Somebody who can stay on Fridays and make sure things can be run properly. Somebody who is innocuous enough to skip under the radar, but known enough to be able to get a mob together. Somebody who is known as mad and responsible in equal measure.

I now have a beer club to run.

First duty of care - ensure the current President gets a good send off in a few weeks time.

I just hope I can make El Presidente proud. I have big shoes to fill.

Pand (H&K, Elle Presidenta Incumbent)

Kilometres walked since 29 January: 237 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 157 km
Currently reading: The Remains of the Day bu Kazuo Ishiguro, Marathon Running for Mortals
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.7 kg
April Kms: 94/220

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Long Way Home

After doing some hasty calculations the other day I saw my goal of 220 kms in April slipping out of reach. A few days of a brewing cold, some bad aches and general lethargy - this marathon lark all seemed too hard on Tuesday.

This morning, things had shifted. Maybe it was a good night's sleep under the winter duvet - or the few days of grace I'd given myself - my energy was back. Time to get back to it.

So it was the long walk home tonight. From work, to my post office box, down to the Yarra, down to Church Street Bridge and home. A solid eight kilometres.

In Adelaide, there is this dam called the Torrens. I've been thrown in it once at a University champagne breakfast and I had the third nipple that sprouted removed six months after that. Though peaceful, the water is pretty stagnant. I believe something happened to the weir that keeps the water in last year and Torrens Lake was Torrens sty for a few months. Bless.

In London, the Thames flows through like a sluggish artery. Lots of traffic and smog. A busy river.

The Yarra gets a lot of slack for being this muddy, smelly pond which collects rubbish and the occasional body.

Tonight, under the mist of late afternoon and a pinkish overcast sky, surrounded by the amber ash leaf strewn paths, I felt truly blessed. The Yarra at twilight is magic. Okay, a constant stream of lycra clad cyclists passed me by - I kept to the left of the path and ignored them. The slap of the rower's oars, the gentle panting of the long distance runners, the hum of car engines on the motorway and the fading light that was  gone by the time I walked in the door an hour and a quarter later.

In don't remember this river ever being so peaceful.

Ten kilometres a day, on average, for the rest of the month. This is running and walking remember.

It can be done.

Meeting Dan at 8 am to run the river before work tomorrow - 3 km walk to work - 6 km run. Then it's his leaving do in the afternoon. He's going to be missed. I will have to find somebody else to flirt with. I will have to find somebody else to run with.

This goal is all a matter of breaking it down into bits.


Kilometres walked since 29 January: 229 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 144 km
Currently reading: The Remains of the Day bu Kazuo Ishiguro, Marathon Running for Mortals
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.7 kg
April Kms: 73/220

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tattoo You

I look around the streets and see the body modification that goes on and I shudder sometimes. Ah, the yoof of today with earlobes dangling around their knees, bits of metal sticking out at odd angles and tattoos all over the place, visible for the world to see - like don't they know that they're going to be on a mortuary slab being judged one day? What happens if they get a corporate job in the future? What happens if they decide to turn to Judaism in the future? They won't let you in a Jewish Cemetery with a tramp stamp. And what happens if DARREN/SHARON/TREVOR/TREVETTE Forever goes and breaks your heart? Then what? Tattoos don't cost much too much to have put on - but getting rid of them can be a nightmare.

I'm strangely drawn to tattoos. Not the daggy prison tatts or the tribal designs seen on every bogan from here to Broadmeadows, but the well designed, well thought out etchings which add value to the person. One of my book group has the words 'Dance in the Rain' in a cursive script on her wrist. Her sister passed recently from leukemia - and her favourite saying was "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning to dance in the rain.'. I like small, unexpected tatts like that. My sister has an ornate butterfly at the base of her spine, placed there after she lost a lot of weight. I remember a guy I was seeing had an ornate flower just where his watch sat - his daughter's name was Rose - it reminded him of her. Again, small, unexpected, out of the way design - nothing intrusive. My downstair's neighbour has a tiny flower behind her ear and on the base of her neck.  The list goes on - it's something small and unexpected about you that's there for the world to see if you get a glimpse.

Okay, then again, I remember evenings tracing a finger over Lenny the Fridge's etchings on his chest - fascinated that his skin was so soft where the ink was. Lenny's Mum called him the walking cartoon - it wasn't that bad really - I know he regretted them. Hmm, wonder what happened to him. Another old flatmate was covered in rather daggy butterflies. Again, I wonder what happened to her - last I heard she was a mother of two in Byron driving trucks.

Tatts and piercings appear to have become the norm, no longer the domain of the outcast or the rebel. It's now more a matter of size, style and class.

I took the coward's way out with my tattoo.

It's covered most of the time, in fact I forget it's there. It surprises me in the work shower regularly. Not having a full length mirror in the bathroom at my flat, this is the only place I see myself completely naked - after a  lunchtime run. I've been caught by the small, black etching on my hip - the Chinese symbol for love, there as my legal name supposedly means 'worthy of love or lovable.'

Hard to believe it was nearly fifteen years since I had it done.

The tattoo was always going to happen. I'd been mulling over getting it for a few years when my father passed - and the decision got made in a heartbeat. Three months later, armed with some solid information I went to the local tattoo parlour in West Hampstead, where Steve and his Harley were waiting for me. Five minutes and a savage tickle later I was set.

There is a bit of a risk having anything etched on your skin in a foreign language. A story made the papers when I was in London - a guy walked into a Chinese restaurant and the waiting staff went into hysterics. Turns out that the characters in his left bicep which he thought meant 'courage, strength and valour' actually meant "fat, white wanker'. I've been told David Beckham's Sanskrit design isn't his first son's name. Spelling something wrong on your tatt - now that just reeks of stupidity.

Would I get another? The world wildlife panda on the other butt cheek? Another Chinese character? The first lines to the third to last verse of 'The Lovesong of J.Alfred Prufrock (No, I am not Prince Hamlet...)

All much more fun to think about than the course for spooks I'm supposed to be writing.


Kilometres walked since 29 January: 218 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 144 km
Currently reading: Ice by Louis Nowra, Marathon Running for Mortals
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.7 kg
April Kms: 62/220

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Please can I kill a Bogan?

Rather than bore you with the intimate workings  of the Pandora life and brain of late, I'm going to be brief. I've been doing a lot of stewing in my own juices. Best kept to myself I think these raving thoughts. Navel gazing gets boring. Pandora on the rampage isn't interesting at all either.

I'm blaming my latest state on dream group from two weeks ago. The session, which dealt with my dream for a change, had me bawling my way through half a box of tissues on the night. Since then, I've been working through the anger that the night released. That evening really did open a virtual Pandora's Box, pardon the pun.

That was ten days ago.

So, since dream group, I've wanted to kill / torture/ pillage everybody and everything in some shape or form - from bogans who whine when you suggest if you are staying an extra hour at a tarot job that payment is required and take offence at the suggestion that you're not a charity (this last bit wasn't said to the client, but it was thought), to booking the October holiday, to Glen Waverley, the work husband, who is stressed to the point that I'm staying away from him, to Popeye, to the guys who are trying to organise the Integration Engineering Barbeque. Just give me a cricket bat, a can of petrol and a match and I'll sort the lot of them out.

Thankfully I've been able to run a lot of this out and dive into work with a vengeance after a new project has given me some pretty harsh deadlines and interesting work. It helps keep me from doing anything too silly.

Oh, and Eddie is joining my lovely team. Just to add insult to injury. Popeye and the Banana Splits we are no more. With Eddie onboard we're going to be more like the Addams family (I hope that makes me Wednesday!)

It's been pretty harsh. But good. I know that some issues are coming to a close, difficulties of forty years are being put to bed. It's okay. It just means I'm a bit quiet for a while.

The running is going well. The pinged hip is not troubling me much any more. Yesterday Kate from the gym came for her first outside run on my 10 km route - and she did very well. That was cool. She did well, though I wanted to run more - but it was great to have somebody to talk to along the way. It also rained gently for a bit - a gentle, warm rain - that was magic. I have today's run to do tomorrow morning before work - this morning's Pump class did me in - tried running after - it just didn't work. But in all - things are coming along.

It's just taken a bit of time to come to terms with what got dreamed about three weeks ago. On a sinking boats in a turbulent sea, with only an old gramaphone to talk into. Who knew it could be so cathartic?.

I'll just keep low for a bit and keep on running. It seems to be working.

Oh, one last thing - Pandora's Box - when all of the turmoil and pain and destruction and evil had gone from box once it had been opened, two things remained.....

Hope and opportunity.


Kilometres walked since 29 January: 215 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 144 km
Currently reading: Ice by Louis Nowra, Marathon Running for Mortals
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.7 kg
April Kms: 59/220

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ping goes the Strings of my Hip

Yesterday's lunchtime run was a bit different. Dan, who is responsible for this running lark at lunchtime ran with me. Dan's a bit of an enigma. A year ago he was a Mother and cola swilling, pizza eating slob with the occasional bad attitude, well in the obese range, staring diabetes, heart disease and heaven knows what other nasties in the face.

Then, after a work sponsored personal development course we all did last year, Dan found running. (This was the same course that had me stand up in front of 30 people and say I would do the Adelaide Half Marathon... so it's impacted a few of us). Dan has turned his life around. A small part of this is the Reindert effect, but Dan really has gone from slob to god. 15 kgs lighter he's looking great. He's full of tips and tricks and encouragement. I'm really honoured when he goes for a big run on the weekend that he calls me to let me know.

So yesterday, Dan, complaining of a sore back, slowed down for me and we ran together, but I was quite chuffed  - I was cruising along doing 6.20 minute kilometres, feeling great until I got to the 3 km mark and PING. Something went in my hip. Top of the ITB/gluteus maximus or tensor faciae latae. NOT HAPPY.

I struggled to the water fountain that marks the 5 km mark, made it in about 35 minutes - not a failure by any stretch - but still -why, why, why? I do this run regularly - up to the railway bridge and back - now it hurts when I walk. The top of my hip is aching. I know it's muscular, I know it will heal - I'm just grubby that it's happened.

Ibuprufen, hot water bottles, salonpas patches, reiki - it will get better. I will will it better. I said so.

What annoys me is that I spend a good few hours working out my training schedule for the next six months - factoring in all the stuff I know I need to do to get though this marathon without injuring myself and having a pleasant time while doing it. The whole plan has Reindert's seal of approval (actually said that it was really good how I'd factored things in and it was realistic and logical)

This was the configuration for this week:

Tuesday, 6 April 2010        5 km Run (Lunch)
Wednesday, 7 April 2010       5 km Run (With K at gym)
Thursday, 8 April 2010       5 km Run (Lunch)
Friday, 9 April 2010    Off
Saturday, 10 April 2010    10 km Run
Sunday, 11 April 2010    5   km Run

Now I'm not so sure. But we will persevere. Just been out for a walk at lunchtime and it seems happier when I move it. Hopefully this is a good sign.

Kabbalistically, it's an interesting injury. The left hip equates with raw emotion. What about my emotions is out of balance? What needs to be looked at. How is this manifesting in my life and how can I get it out of my body. It raises a whole heap of questions.

Will let you know how I'm travelling.

Card of the Blog: Knight of Pentacles - Keep plodding along. Perseverence. Getting there in the end. Solid Ground.

Okay - gives me a bit of hope.

Kilometres walked since 29 January: 201 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 124 km
Currently reading: Ice by Louis Nowra, Marathon Running for Mortals
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.7 kg
April Kms: 25/220

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Stolen Pagan Fertility Festival

I'm not great with Christian holidays. There. I've said it. Bah humbug. Easter Schmeaster. Oh will the shops get over it and let us get on with a real holiday - like Labour Day or ANZAC Day. No, we have to tolerate tonnes of chocolate, bunnies roaming around the place and people moaning about putting on weight. It's silly.

I'm over it.

Maybe I'd feel more comfortable if I had something more than my favorite season and the clocks going back to celebrate. If I was Jewish, I'd have Pasach, if I was an Orthodox Christian I'd be living it up. But I'm in one of those funny groups - an amalgam of humanism, spirituality, wicca and paganism - I think I put Spiritual Agnostic on the census form. We don't have enforced holidays. Happy Oestara/Mabon doesn't have the same ring to it.

I'm regularly heard saying - why should I celebrate the cruxifiction of a Jewish reprobate on a Roman instrument of torture? I'm responsible for my wrong doings. Me and the big fella upstairs, we deal with each other. We don't need the middle man of the Church/Temple/Prophet. And yes, I get in trouble for my views sometimes. We're all entitled to what we believe. I don't slam  or deride anybody for their beliefs - I just would like the same courtesy extended to me.

Thing is, I'm looking at this Easter and once again doing a blessing count. I've had some pretty crap Easters - last year's took the biscuit, but most of them have a theme of being alone, or being with my family waiting to come back to Melbourne. Last year, on Good Friday Eve, we found out about Grounded Dutchman's paragliding accident. I spent the four days fretting, coordinating and generally freaking over the fact that my best friend was unconscious, his pelvis in pieces, on a respirator, 1500 kilometres away. That was fun. The phone rang constantly - "How's the Grounded Dutchman? "How are you?", "What's going on?". It was pretty full on - but nice to know that people were checking up on me, not leaving me hanging.

So this Easter - with nothing to moan about, I sit here having a pleasant time. Grounded Dutchman is safely ensconsed at his mother's place in Holland - don't have to worry about him. I had a final breakfast with Reindert at the Mess Hall in Bourke Street - the best corn fritters ever - before he caught his flight back to Boston. He'll be back at some stage - or I'll see him in October on my trip. Not worried about that one. I haven't gone back to Adelaide this year and I'm getting a lot done. Yay.

I've set myself a new goal  or two - I managed the 300 km in two month challenge - it was great - really proud of myself. So I've set a 220 km challenge for April - both walking and running. It's a bit of an ask, but as I'm in training, it has to be done. It's a worthy total. I also managed to only slip on a few occasions when it came to chocolate, chips and ice cream.

Also, after going for a run today in the gym, I want to see if I can get my five km time under 30 minutes. Today I did the distance in 34.45 - it's something to work towards along with the other distance stuff. The trick with this marathon thing is consistancy and a slow build up. I can do this. I'm sure of it. I owe Reindert a training plan by the end of the weekend.

Running might be a bit easier now too. Pinochet has made it known he's leaving the gym for definite - and it's final. He's taken down his photo and number and told all his clients that he's going. The other girls I train with are all a bit sceptical, but there are a few of us wondering what we're going to do - like I've been with him for three years now. He's helped to keep me on the straight and norrow. Okay, he's a bit of a musclebound, soccer playing meat head - but he's my musclebound, soccer playing meat head. It feels a bit like I've been served with divorce papers. He really has been the most constant of male relationships I've had over the last ten years.

I'm not sure if I wan't to train another trainer up, though I've had a preliminary talk with one of the other trainers at the gym - Erdin. Erdin's been watching us train for months - he works at the same time as Pinochet and he works his clients hard. Will talk to the rest of the girls and see if he might be interested in taking us on. Poor guy - Pinochet's old training team come as a job lot. A bevvy of attractive, very intelligent, hard working women who will give him hell. He's got to want to take us on?!

So it's now Easter Sunday Eve. Five years ago I was on Santorini, in a hotel room, alone, thinking World War Three had broken out at midnight. All it was was the Greeks letting off a king's ransom on fireworks at midnight. A bit of a tradition there. Although stationed on one of the most beautiful places on the planet, it was lonely. Walking along Perivolas Beach the next morning, at regular intervals along the beach men tended fire pits with whole lambs on spits. People were celebrating everywhere. All the shops were closed. I made a feta and tomato salad and read my book, wishing I was with people, celebrating something.

It's a pity you remember the bad ones.

This Easter is looking far more productive. I've nearly finished a writing job, friends are coming over to dinner tomorrow night and Monday I'm taking the leftovers over to Blarney's place, knowing that she's being a football widow for the afternoon and she's housebound, such is the size of her twinned up belly.

I think I like this Easter more than the others. No stress. No dramas - just have to run, cook and write.

That suits me fine.

Card of the Blog: Ten of Cups - Happiness.

Kilometres walked since 29 January: 192 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 119 km
Currently reading: Ice by Louis Nowra, Marathon Running for Mortals
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.7 kg
April Kms: 11/220