Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Snippets from a Busy Week

Not having time to put a proper blog entry together I'm going to give you some snippets of what is going on at the moment. It might read a bit like meme, but it's all that I can write for the moment. Finding more than half an hour to sit and write at the moment is proving hard. Making matters worse, I'm writing all day at work. I find that when I'm stuck writing all day, it's the last thing I want to do when I get home.

But I can blurt out stuff between documents - so here goes.

1. Proudest acheivement of the week.

I went to Pump with Emm at the Collins Street franchise of the gym last night. This is my back-up gym, the one I go to when I have to go to the gym but have something on after. To walk a few doors down from work, throw on my gym clothes and get home for seven is a good thing. Last night, we queued up, got our weights and participated in a great class. A new instructor for me - he had the voice of a 1970's radio DJ - with great form. Not too annoying. Emm and I have a slight competetive streak. Emm has heavier squat and back weights to me (by 2 kgs) - I'm a bit stronger on the lunge and shoulder tracks. I noticed the gym was far cooler than my normal one - so breaking a sweat was getting hard. I also noticed the instructor looking over our way regularly. It was a great class. 400 calories burned an hour later. Emm and I got a high five off the instructor. "You guys ROCK! You pump some serious weights. There are a lot of blokes you put to shame out there." Emm and I blushed.'Yeah, we're hard core - and stupidly competetive." We grinned at each other. We are stupidly competetive - in a very friendly way. The recognition felt really good.

2. Nuff Nuff moment of the week

Coming out of the gym after pump class, Emm and I clammer on the tram to go home. I hunt around for my house keys. No house keys to be found. Went though my bags and all the pockets. No house keys. ARGH. Called the gym - that was an ordeal in itself - stupid-centralised-bloody-computerised-switchboards. After five minutes, talked to the gym receptionist. No, no keys had been handed in - and she couldn't look in the locker rooms as she was the only one on the desk - but she took my details. I had my suspicions that my keys were either on my desk or in the lock of my locker at work (joys of hot desking - I keep my locker key with my house keys so I don't forget it)

Next, make a call to Glen Waverley, who lives a few streets away and is possession of my spare keys. He and Merijn were about to sit down to dinner. I said I'd be there in 20 minutes. Felt like a right idiot, in my gym gear, hobbit shoes flapping, tail firmly between my legs. The only good thing was that Merijn was looking just as fetching in her dressing gown as she greeted me at the door - both of us fashion plates. I'm really thankful that my contingency plan worked out. Glen Waverley drove me home with my spares. Without them, I'd have had to have stayed on Emm's new couch for the night. It's nice to know that this support network is in place.

My real house keys were found in the lock of my locker this morning when I got to work. Where I suspected they would be.

Still feel like a right nuffer.

3. Result of the Week

After a few weeks of having my blood pressure through the roof it appears to be coming down a little. The symptoms are subsiding and I'm feeling a lot more normal. This is thanks to the naturopath - and a clean up of my diet which had strayed from the course a little - and enough fish oil to make me feel like a salmon fillet. Sugar and salt (read sodium) have to be kept to a true minimum, milk is being imbibed in strict moderation. Cheese is banned. Back on 1400 calories a day with a slight gentling of my exercise regime. It all appears to be working in my favour. It's still a bit high, but not scary high. The energy is returning to it's normal levels. I have to say thanks to my naturopath - the thought of going onto blood pressure pills is as enamouring as having my armpit hairs plucked from my body with a set of pliers. Thankfully, the natural remedies are working well. Long may it remain.

Oh, and addition to this - as of this week, I've been six month clean of junk food. By junk food I mean McDonalds, KFC and that awful greasy take away stuff. I've had none of it for six months. One McDonalds coffee doesn't count. Subway doesn't count either as I only have the healthy choices there. Quite proud of myself. I also know that I can never have this stuff again. It does me no favours at all.

4. Discovery of the Week

Going out to dinner with the girls from my online weight loss support group on Saturday night, it was an everybody brings a dish affair. It was a lovely, healthy, varied meal. For dessert, one of the girls brought along this liqueur. Called Moonshine Madness, its brewed up in the Gold Coast Hinterland. This stuff, something like a mix of heavenly ambrosia and the devil's own private brew, is the perfect foil for quality vanilla ice cream. I swear, I could happily have drank the bottle, if I wasn't driving, and I didn't have to share it with the 14 others at dinner. The nip I had left me wanting more, and more, and more. A devilish mix of fortified wine, coffee and chocolate. At something like 26 percent alcohol, the one nip I had did me well in its grasp. Oh, my, oh my - I keep going back to that memory. Thinking of ordering a case. Then I rememeber that the naturopath has sworn me off alcohol as well as ice cream... dammit.

5. Outing of the Week

Another "dammit" moment - I got outed. .

Leaving work the other night, big boss asks me what I'm up to from across the desk. "Gym and client", I reply. "Client?" he asks. "Aha. Client." I respond.  Oops. Should have left it at "gym".

I'm not sure if I should add that I have a small soft spot for big boss. He's a bit enigmatic. I'm not normally one for suits, but there's a boyish, hyper-intelligent charm to this one .A bit too private school for my normal tastes, but he's proving to be a nice, intelligent, sometimes funny person to be around, as big bosses go.

I explained that I was a professional tarot reader, among other things. This was said with an immense blush. 'Really, what other services do you provide?" he questioned. "Oh, this and that." was my response. "No, really, what else do you do?" he pressed on.

"Reflexology, reiki, reference point therapy, aromatherapy, massage and website copy." I responded quickly, still blushing - aware that my "hobby jobs" probably made me sound like an alien to this corporate, career banker.

"A woman of many talents, eh."
"A woman with too much time on her hands and a real dislike of being bored."
"And you fit this in after the gym." he shakes his head.
"Yeah. It's called my life."
"When do you relax?"

"Between midnight and seven when I sleep - and Sunday nights." This is a bit of an overstatement, but there are times when it's true.

I felt very exposed. And a little bemused. Why would this ultra-corporate be interested in me - a lowly word nerd?

6. Tragedy of the week

It was announced in the paper today that Reader's Feast bookstore - an icon of the inner city, a place of peace among the heathens, an intelligent, rational haven of truth, beauty and wisdom - will be closing later in the year. This is an absolute travesty. This book store is run with dignity and honour. It's been an intelligent haven for many seeking a place away from the brash commercialism of Borders of the world. Run by the enigmatic Mary Dalmau, it will be sorely missed.

Mary is an institution among the book sellers of the world. It was noted in the paper that Mary championed the works of a Spanish writer, Carlos Zafon Ruiz - he who wrote "Shadows of the Wind. " (do read it - it's fabulous. Sure enough, a few years late, in the novelist's next book, there is a person working in a bookshop called Dalmau. Mary runs her bookshop with an iron fist. Is she wasn't running a book shop she'd be a school librarian. She's somebody I greatly admire for her taste, her dignity and her persistance.

I will miss Reader's Feast even more, as this is the bookshop that employs me every year to do its stock take. It is also the bookstore that runs the festivals at which I volunteer. All good things must come to an end. I'm really bummed about this. I love it there.

7. Travesty of the week

Last weekend on our local tourism show, "Postcards", they featured my favourite macaron shop. Please note, it is 'macaron', a delight of almond meal, sugar and wonderful, delicate flavours and not "macaroon", that slab of dried pastry topped with jam and coconut that took a litre of milk to wash down which your nanna used to feed you. What used to be a twice weekly treat stop on the way to my post office box has become and ordeal. There's always a queue there now. I love La Belle Miette, but I don't like the queueing. I loved going in, having a chat with Cyril in French and ordering my Vanilla and Olive Oil macaron. Now the shop is filled with Japanese tourists and plebs who ask for a dozen "Macaroons". I want to scream at them "IT'S MAC-AR-ON! You dimwit - now piss off back to the suburbs."

Okay, it offends my delicate Myponga-bred sensibilities - how dare they let plebs in La Belle Miette. I have a feeling Caty and Cyril may just think the same way. (For those interested, check out their website www.labellemiette.com.au ) Okay, I'm just getting old and grumpy. And I'm a snob. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea sempre culpa. You can hear the beating of my breast.

8. Purchase of the Week

I'm not one for impulse buys at the moment as I'm saving for a car and a flat and funds in case the work dries up. However, I'm trying to also make sensible choices when it comes to replacing things. Last weekend, on sale at my local shopping centre were quilts. I call a quilt a duvet. Most people in Australia call it a doona. Regardless of nomenclature, I bought a new one - almost half price - a nice, new, warm, pure wool stuffed thing that will go in a cover and keep me warm at night.

I'm a bedding snob normally. I love my bed. I love my high-thread-count sheets - but my duvet.... Well, it's a duvet. I always thought that this one would be retired when I finally got married and got to banish my current bed to the spare room and a new bed could be bought and enjoyed - with new bedding to match. Unfortunately, this has not happened yet, though we wait with baited breath.

So what, you say. Well, it's a bit of an end of an era. I've had my last duvet for nearly twenty years. The one I was sleeping under at the moment was bought down the Edgeware Road Markets in London in 1993. I remember buying this as it was the time I'd just split with my boyfriend Seb and was about to move into a share house the other side of Willesden Green. I bought my duvet for ten quid. Over the last nearly twenty years it's seen me though umpteen share houses, a number of very cold winters, quite a few dodgy paramours, the odd longer term boyfriend, a surgery or two, numerous bouts of bronchitis and flu and has played host to a few visiting cats and dogs who have come to sleep behind my knees over the years. It's always been used with a cover, aired out and stored during summer as it's just too heavy to use during a Melbourne heatwave. I've also worked out that in the nearly twenty years I've had it, it's never been washed.... like eww.

Part of me thinks ridding myself of this piece of bedding may lift some bad juju. Well, we live in hope.

9. Peaceful moment of the week

Was around at Blarney's for my normal Sunday afternoon visit. Chance is still not very well, though not unwell enough to be in hospital. On walking in the door, I collect the Maow Maow and shove him on my shoulder. He stays there for his normal twenty minutes or so. It's what we do. Then I find Chance in his greyhound run - an oversized play pen. Poor little bugger looks wrecked. Blarney tells me to give him a cuddle while she gets some stuff done.

Spending some time cuddling a sick baby - who was thankfully not too whingy - was lovely. He the size of a small bar fridge. He snuggled into my chest, gave me the odd gummy smile and waited patiently for the baby panadol to work. I read him a book or two. I passed his sippy cup full of water to him. I fed him some sandwich and berries, all from the warmth of my lap.

Despite the fact that poor old Chance was lurgy-filled and listless, he was a complete joy to cuddle. I have to make the most of these things - he'll be a teenager in to time - and you can't cuddle teenagers - they bite - everybody knows this.

10. Rediscovery of the week

Work has dealt me the most boring of jobs at the moment. I'm transferring and reformating documents. I have a fortnight of doing this - a thankless task that will make life better in the future. But I know that without music it will do my head in. I've got my iPod with me to help make the time go quicker - and I'm finding some gems. When I don't have my iPod, I beg some music off another member of the team - with various results. I wanted to tip one of the BA's iPods down the loo. My bosses iPhone had some great stuff on it. Danger Dood and I did a swap - he asked to borrow my catelogue of music - poor, misguided lamb. Appears my somewhat eclectic taste is not seen as bad here. I've converted another one to the Pixies's brilliance.

Today's rediscovery is the magic of Portishead. No, not the town in Somerset, the 90's band. Superb, edgy, experimental, sublime. Beth Gibbons' smooth lyrics with a bass and techno edge thrown in for good measure. Glory Box is still one of my favorite tunes ever. The whole album reminds me of another, far more edgy, far more innocent time. A time of jaded streets, of dodgy evenings in dimly lit bars, with a pint in one hand and a cigarette in the other. It reminds me of Cool Water for Men, a hand playing with a tendril of my hair and late nights home on the Jubilee Line. It is the music of illicit nights making love on the roof terrace looking over the chimney pots of North London.

Okay, you didn't need to know the last bit.

Needless to say, it's a special album from a very different time in my life.


Kath Lockett said...

Love the raunchy ending - we *did* need to know that!

Pandora Behr said...

No you didn't - but I miss that life - don't miss the smoking or excessive drinking, but I miss that life....

Jackie K said...

Thanks for reminding me about Portishead! Fantastic. Mine doesn't come with those same memories though... But like you I do love remembering my life in my twenties in NZ, Melbourne, London and Greece. A different life altogether.

Exchange Hosting Service said...

I loved the ending! Good work1

BaliMoz said...

fantastic post...what a busy weeks