Monday, March 29, 2010

Seven Girls called Tiffany - or the Support Act

The other feature of the weekend just gone was the two tarot jobs of Saturday - one birthday party down near Frankston, then a hen's party up in Boronia. The normal fare of people - the normal mix of female human conditions - the frumpy best friend, the unfullfilled aunt, the overacheiving career girl, the overweight cousin, the childhood mate who now works in a factory, and of course, Nonna - who needs the reading translated into Italian by her aging spinster daughter.

The big difference in this weekend is that I met seven women called Tiffany.

Five of the Tiffany's I can't really remember - run of the mill girls - dental assistants, stay at home Mum's  - nice enough girls, nothing out of the ordinary cards. Quick, light readings are my stock in trade at these events.

Next came Tiphany with a "ph". A young, eurasian girl, dressed differently to the rest with their off-the-rack dresses - better turned out, more self assured, classy jewellery - no Beville's charm bracelets or empty Pandora necklaces on this one. An artist, somebody who does a bit of this and a bit of that. A creature after my own heart. I saw what I could have been twenty years ago given some self esteem and nurturing.

Tiffany number seven was a bit of a basket case. She walked into where I was reading and I had to stop myself from saying , "Shite - you're a bloody giraffe!" Standing before me,a bulimic six foot, sixteen going on thirty, resentful Tiffany, bemoaning all the hideous luck of her sixteen years. She'd been ill recently and it had stopped her from auditioning for "Australia's Next Top Model." According to Tiffany, her life was over.

Dear me. How do you read for such a person?

Sorry for being so condemning and judgemental. It comes with the territory. I remember reading, telling her that respite was in sight and that all would work out. Can't do much more than that.

Reindert asked me if when I read tarot if I read the people or read the cards. It's a bit of both on these occasions. At these parties when you have five minutes to give a quick reading, you have to go by the cards - and a bit of instinct. You soon obtain the ability to read people pretty well. Once you open the cards that's when you get to the bottom of things - find out what makes the person tick. It's actually a very honoured position. How often do you get to look into the lives of strangers - and have them hanging on your every word?

I will also say that at every one of these events I will inevitably end up holding somebody's hand for a bit. You touch the raw nerve, the sensitive spot. The part they didn't want seen. Most often the words that set them off, "When did you last give yourself a break? When did you last pat yourself on the back?" or the killer, "You look after everybody else. Who looks after you.?"

When I read one-on-one for an hour, that's when the real magic of the tarot comes through. You can sort through stuff then. These five minute readings are teasers. It's a bit unfair, really.

These hen's affairs can be comical. I've not had that much experience at hen's nights - I've tended to avoid attending them in the past, always stating why go to something you have very little chance of hosting yourself.

Sometimes, more often with an older bride, you will find a more subdued and classy evening - days of pampering, elegant drinks served by a rather buff, topless young man from Wonthaggi (being the hired help, you always get to talk to the aforesaid waiter, never wanting him to ask to put his shirt back on - too nice a view.)

It's the young ones, the kid brides, the young girls from the outer suburbs who tend to have the tacky celebrations, with the plastic penises and the strippers and the blue party games like "Stick the Dong on the Donkey."

The hen's do on Saturday had some alternative entertainment. One of the blokes from Puppetry of the Penis was there to do dick tricks for the baying masses.

Had nobody told these women that a man standing there in socks, runners and a cape fiddling with his tackle isn't that interesting or sexy?

This is the third time time I've been the support act to the Puppetry of the Penis fellow. We ran into each other in the hallway between stints.

"I know you?" he says.
"Yep." I answer, "Still doing dick tricks, Dave."
"Pays the bills, Pand."
"Don't you get sore, Dave?"
"Yep. Don't these women drive you nuts wanting to know everything."
"Yep. Used to it. Don't you get sick of women looking at your bits."
"Used to it."
"Sluts for a buck, aren't we?"
"And we wouldn't have it any other way."

He went out to the lounge to entertain the throng, aged from sixteen to eighty.

My gig is slightly easier.

I stayed in the kitchen, getting some much needed fluid and food in my system before returning to read for the last handful of hens. I've seen the show once, in a theatre, years ago, that was enough. I let Dave and  his appendage have their professional space.

Returning home after seven hours of driving and reading, I fell quickly into a dream plagued sleep where I was stuck on a boat in the bottom of the ocean with an old gramaphone for company.

Didn't say that doing this didn't come without a price.

Of the challenge - 19 kms to go.... Yeeeehhhaaa - that, strangely, is doable.

Card of the Blog:  The Devil - lies, deceit and trickery. Not seeing the truth. Unseen blessings. Not seeing the out. Coming from a place of intellect to the self. The first dark night of the soul. The first steps towards courage.



Kilometres walked since 29 January: 172 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 109 km
Currently reading: Ice by Louis Nowra, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.7 kg

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Challege

The problem with being inspired is not the ideas it generates but the following through on the inspiration.

After spending the day with Reindert, I find myself re-inspired, wanting to climb mountains, run races, save Africa... you name it. Reindert instills this feeling in you - the subtle knowledge that you can do anything you set you mind to. It's great, but a bit overwhelming.

We've both got a bit to think about at the moment. There are crossroads to negotiate for both of us - professional and personal.  So we've spent the day talking about what to do.

I can't talk about his journey - it's his to blog for himself. But here I sit, knowing somewhere in me that I can run a marathon in Maine in October. I just have to put the work in.

Among other things.

Over lunch at a winery down the Mornington Peninsula we discussed what could be done with our lives. Here's me sitting here wanting to be the next JK Rowling or Lemony Snicket (though writing under my own pen name) wanting to know what to do next with work - which all looks bit uncertain.

Then he reminded me about manifesting - "Look at what you've done, Pand. Look at who you are now? Why aren't you patting yourself on the back? You, of all people, can do this. you manifested the trip to Spain you were longing for at your birthday last year - the one you never saw yourself taking. You've manifested your running self, the body you're proud of, a role in which you're respected. What else can you do?

When he puts it like that, it makes me thing a little differently about things.

Now, I have an immediate challenge - Looking at my tallies down the bottom of the blog, I have 33 kms to cover by the end of March to make it 300 km on foot in two months. I want to do this by the end of March. I have three days to do this.

April is 200 km month - time to step up things - get serious.


Kilometres walked since 29 January: 166 km

Kilometres run since 29 January: 101 km
Currently reading: Ice by Louis Nowra, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.7 kg

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Old Ones are Gold

I've been reacquainted with two old friends this week leading me to believe that the more you've seen each other through, the better friends you are. Both friends have seen me through some extremes.

Gareth, who's over in Australia with his family for a bat mitzvah, was about when my father died. We've known each other for nearly twenty years.  I remember him coming down to Surrey to stay with me when I was looking after a friend's house and cats a few weeks after Dad had passed. He was just around the place, checking up on me, making sure that the zombie I'd turned into wasn't doing anything too silly. I don't remember anything more than the gesture was appreciated - a lot of my friends weren't too good at dealing with death at the time.

Fifteen years on, Gareth is still Gareth. He has a small pot where a washboard used to be, there's more grey in his hair that there was. The jokes are still awful. But he still has his mobile clipped to his belt, his clothing is still of your mid range department store lines - shirt tucked into his jeans, sensible shoes, nothing fashionable, but nothing objectionable either. All very comforting stuff.  His quick fire mouth has been passed on to his nine-year-old daughter, who stangely has all of his mannerisms, the best of his looks and all of his guile.

Gareth's wife, Georgina, would be a close and constant friend if she lived here instead of in the UK. Her warm presence, down to earth nature and love of family have kept them together, happily married for twelve years now. I don't think I could cope with Gareth's dark side, reliance on convention and sheer bloody mindedness. Georgina and I met on the steps of the registry office at their civil wedding. We summed each other up and asked "who are you?" She was the bride. I was Gareth's - um, err - old friend (after a brief fling two years before Gareth and I worked out things were better being friends) She and I have get on like a house on fire. We're good at ganging up on Gareth - it's easy to do - we both know him very well.

Spending time with them on Wednesday night was like falling into an old armchair by the fire. It was a lovely quiet night, spend with a bottle of wine catching up on the last four years since I was last over in the UK.

I find a lot of comfort in the constant nature of this friendship. We don't talk often ,but they are always there.

The following morning, Reindert walks back in.

You are always going to bond with somebody you nearly get arrested with.

The halls of Tin Can, String and Whistle haven't been the same since he left, and I've enjoyed watching the ripple effect him being around has had on the guys around me.

Reindert's a bit of an enigma. A bit strange to look at, Popeye often calls him the "Great, bald, Dutch, white worm". Even I'll admit that Reindert is a bit odd  - I mean he runs a marathon a month. How odd do you want? He also is bald, by choice, thankfully not favouring the comb over his father wears back in Holland. I don't think he produces melanin either - being a fetching shade of eggshell all year round. There is a legend around the traps that when he announced he was going to Uluru to see the rock, self tanning lotion was put into his moisturiser that he was forever rubbing into his head. The aforesaid moisturiser tube was taken away with a note left for him saying "Can't having you go to Ayre's Rock looking like Ayre's Rock...."

Having him around for the next ten days is great. I've stopped bouncing around like Tigger chanting "I've got me mate back." Things have settled back to where we were before he left.

Reindert was the one who got me into running. He was the one who said I could do a half marathon, and the one who saw me across the finish line of the Adelaide half marathon.We also took a trip to transport the Grounded Dutchman's Landcruiser back from Newcastle to Melbourne after his accident - via Parkes, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga and lastly Rutherglen - where the near arrest took place. (Don't ask - how we got the Landcruiser up to 117 in a hundred zone I do not know, and don't ask me how he blew just on the limit and I was well under...).

Many people will say Reindert is one of the most generous people they know - one of the few in senior management who is truly guiding, inspirational and encouraging. There aren't enough people like him about.

I'm still a bit amazed that he's singled me out a a friend.

Unfortunately he's been called to Sydney for business for this part of his trip - we were rather looking forward to a night at beer club followed by a meal at a favorite cheap Malaysian restaurant - then churros. All not on the diet, but it doesn't happen often. I think he's as disappointed as I am. Will just have to catch up on a visit to the wineries of the Yarra Valley on Sunday. And do the beer club, Sambal and Churros thing after work lets him out next week.

I'm just seeking comfort in the fact that some much loved people have returned. I'm glad I have people like this around. In this aspect of my life, I am blessed.

Card of the Blog: The King of Wands - an active, vital, creative man. Mastering creativity. Joy. Passion.


Kilometres walked since 29 January: 165 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 98 km
Currently reading: Celebrity by Andrew O'Hagan, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.7 kg

Monday, March 22, 2010

Let's Talk About Sex

No, let's not.

Maybe it's because I grew up in Adelaide, born to a family of fervent Methodists. Maybe it's because I'm just a bit of a prude. Maybe it's because I'm single and I can't say that making the beast with two backs has been a constant feature of my life for a very long time.

But of one thing is going to irritate the excrement out of me it's when people I don't know that well start discussing their sex lives as if they were discussing their shopping lists.

Seriously. I just want to stand there with my hands over my ears and sing "I'm a Little Teapot" really loud.

It's been like this for a long time.

I have one old friend who lives interstate and I don't see that often who peppers all of her conversations with double entendres and smutty talk.  You'd think rolling my eyes and groaning every time she has done this over the last twenty years might tip her off to the fact that she's making me uncomfortable - but no. Last time I saw her, on mentioning that I'm ambidexterous she asked if that meant I can masturbate with both hands? Like, what? I'm 41 not fourteen - come if it. I have asked her to tone it down over the years. It makes no difference. She's an old friend, I deal with it. And I'm grateful she lives eight hours drive away. There's lots of normal conversation in between the smut too - and motherhood has tamed her a little, thank goodness.

However, tonight, on my way to doing some study, I popped onto Facebook. An instant message pops up. Joy. It's Virgil.

Virgil, good Thunderbird name. Alas, Virgil sort of looks like a thunderbird. Well he looks like a thunderbird mixed with your mother's creepy  second cousin that you have been warned about. Virgil, for all intents and purposes, has all the makings of a nice man. We met at work a few years ago. Never had much to do with him when I was there. I left that company three years ago now.

Then late last year he facebook friended me. And as you do, we got chatting. After a few weeks of chatting on and off we decided to hook up for a run around Albert Park Lake. No worries there. I've met Virgil's partner, a nice woman. Read her cards even at the company Christmas do two years running. I'm always looking for people to run with. And Sunday morning at Albert Park Lake there are lots of people around - so it's not like we're meeting in a quiet place to do anything nefarious. It's just running.

The thing I didn't know about Virgil before going running with him was that every second sentence that he produces has to do with sex. I knew from chatting that he could get a bit fruity, but the great thing about talking over the internet is you can turn it off if you have to.  (BRB - phone.... and go appear offline for the rest of the night)

After two laps of the lake I knew everything about him and his partners bedroom antics and what he'd allegedly like to do to me given the opportunity. I asked him to stop with the sex talk. He continued after a break of ten minutes. I asked him once again to stop - I wasn't comfortable with it. After ten kilometres of him telling me how he liked watching my breasts jiggle up and down while I ran, I promptly made the decision not to run with him again.

The really daft thing is that when he's not being pretending to be Werribee's answer to Ron Jeremy, he's quite sweet and nice to talk to.

Tonight, over the communicator, between stories of the bedroom kind, Virgil asked if I wanted to go running with him again. I've managed to put him off until after Easter - what with Reindert here this weekend, and Easter, and the fact that I don' think I can cope with his florid descriptions of his new lover that he's boasting about...

Maybe I'm just a prude  - or a glutton for punishment. Will I go running with Virgil again? Do I have to examine why I'm so uncomfortable when it comes to these matters? Do I wish the human race procreated through osmosis? Do I need a decent session with a fellow I fancy? (not a Thunderbird?)


Card of the Blog: Six of Swords - the divorce card. Travelling from rough waters to smooth, The Family Curse Card. Overseas Travel.


Kilometres walked since 29 January: 156 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 94 km
Currently reading: Celebrity by Andrew O'Hagan, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.7 kg

Sunday, March 21, 2010

One,Two, Three...

The young do not have a monopoly on having fun - they may think they do, but they don't. Last night proves this. I sit here, hoarse from screaming, aching from some bizarre dance moves, a little sinusy after having to walk through clouds of cigarette smoke.

I am also euphoric.

The Pixies are still God and I am their willing disciple. I bow down, awestruck, to the brilliance of Frank Black, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and David Lovering.

Yes, I am an unapologetic Pixies tragic.

I have always loved going to see live music, although I've never gone regularly to gigs. As I've got older, I've succombed to the perception that it's something those young things do. It might get violent. There might be mass drunken behaviour. Oh for pities sake - that's what I was doing twenty years ago, beered up, revving, out for a good dance and scream. I remember fronting to Football Park in Adelaide to see the Hoodoo Gurus, or the Tivoli to see Hunters and Collectors (still up there with my best ten gigs, evah!) and dissing the folks who went to see the B52s at the Thebarton Theatre when they were on their Love Shack tour - me the purist, had loved them since their Private Idaho and Rock Lobster days - how dare they love the sellouts.

Living in London, there were the rare concerts - David Byrne from Talking Heads, with this 45 peice Mariachi band was incredible. The Rolling Stones at Wembley Arena had to be done. I remember an old boyfriend dragging me to some dodgy Irish bands - and I ended up loving it - the feeling of just being there experiencing the music, the crowds, the general atmosphere.

When in England, I never did the festivals. Like lots of my twenties and thirties, there was nobody really interested in going with me - and live music needs to be shared. Coming back to Australia, it was a similar problem. My friend Caramel is big into Crowded House - she'd come with me to see them. Australia does good stadium shows - Robbie Williams and the Cure come to mind.There was the odd pub gig, but really, knowing I have dodgy music taste, finding willing gig goers can be a bit hard.

Things changed four years ago when I met Alice.

We sat next to each other at work,  got talking and were both amazed at the coincidences. Alice is a week older than me to the day. We lived a few streets away from eachother in London at the same time. We'd hung out at the same pubs and clubs around West Hampstead. We had never met before we sat next to each other in a financial software firm in St Kilda. Alice is also a live music fanatic, and finally, I found somebody to go to gigs with. Well the occassional gig - Alice also has a five-year-old son and a husband.

So after Jason Mraz and Billy Bragg at the Prince of Wales we hit pay dirt. The V Festival. We went up to the Gold Coast to see that most revered of bands - The Pixies. Until then, they had never played in Australia. We were in heaven. Alice had already seen them at the Brixton Academy and she managed to score a ticket to a renegade concert in Northcote. I was sooooo envious, but happy to shell out the money to make the trip up north to see this mose revered of bands.

I remember thinking at the time that it was a funny mosh pit. Lots of people  with the appearance of being in their late thirties/early forties, wearing in sensible shoes, daggy jeans, glasses, hair going grey at the temples, checking watches, calling home to see if the babysitter was okay. Without fail, everyone of these geriatric mosh pitters went for it harder than the young ones in the crowd. We knew every word to every song. We bellowed our never ending praise. It was the best gig I have ever seen.

So when the Pixies announced another round of concerts, I was in quicker than you could say "Debaser."

The last gig I'd been to before this was Jeff Beck at the Palais. The Grounded Dutchman and I got last minute tickets to his second concert. I have no idea how that man does what he does with a guitar, but it's a form of magic. It was one of those hot nights in Melbourne, when everything was trying to cool down and failing miserably. All you could to was sit back, drink beer and hope that something would take you away from the stifling heat. I only remember being transported to another place as this magical electric guitar music played on. GD has always said I'm funny when I listen to music. I seem to disappear as I let the beat and melody take me over.

He's right - music is like a drug to me - it's partly why I listen to talking books or podcasts when I'm in the car - other than it's too embarrasing when I get caught singing along and I tend to drift of. Talking books are much safer.

Last night was a bit different to other gigs. Alice is not having a great time at the moment. After a day which involved a few hours in a dentist chair, worrying about an imminent trip back to England to see her ailing father, her head was elsewhere. Her husband Dougall was also a bit quiet. He recently snapped his achilles tendon, so he's only just getting back on his feet. Thankfully for Dougall, he arranged a possie in the stalls, not in the floor, which really did look a bit feral. Though looking forward to the mosh pit, I think I'm glad we were up in the seats. I don't know how I'd go with crowd surfers overhead.

Festering, whoops, Festival Hall has been in existence since God was  boy. Talking to some folks on the tram on the way in, this fellow way saying he saw the Roller Derby there in the early seventies. This is possibly the last time the hall got a make over. You mention the place to some and the words 'death trap' come out. At least you can't smoke in venues any more. Mosh pits have lost their danger appeal now you can't lose an eye to a lit ciggy any more. Nor will the place be torched by the but ends (though the electrics might get it in the end)  But the accoustics aren't too bad - and they sell beer. What more do we need? .

Not much.

Being the magicians that they are, the Pixies delivered with buckets. Starting with a few B-sides, they went on to play the whole of the Doolittle album, end to end. Heaven. The bad day, the dentist chair, the Hell Week, a sick father and a dodgy leg all disappeared. All that existed was rock and roll, the manic movements of Dave on the drums, Frank Black at his creepy best, the etherial harmonies from Kim and Joey going hell for leather on the drums.

Alice has the advantage over me - being a good Essex girl she can whistle with her fingers in her mouth - I just have to scream. We did lots of both. We danced a lot. We got lost in the beat. I can't think why I don't do this more often.

Alice and I took bets on the encore. We knew there should be two of them. The first set was almost a forgone conclusion. The Second encore was going to be where the gems came out. Alice wanted to hear "Head On", the cover of the Jesus and Mary Chain song that they do. I just wanted to hear "Where is my Mind." And "Nimrod's Son". We got our wish. Along with "Vamos" and "Gigantic" as a third encore.

We left, amid a cloud of cigarette and dope smoke that had sprung from the crowd leaving the builidng - tired, hoarse and happy.

Today, I feel very flat. Maybe that's why they only play for such a short time so infrequently. Too much of a good thing would be dreadful.

But there can never be too much of The Pixies.


p.s. for those of you asking who the hell are The Pixies - without the Pixies there would be no Nirvana.

I give you my favourite ever Pixies song. "Where is my Mind."

Friday, March 19, 2010

So if Hell Week is over am I now in Limbo?

I've got my spring in my step back.

The good food and the running and the being nice to myself is all good. Hell Week officially ended last night at 9.30 pm when Pinochet gave me one last set of 20 push ups to do before bidding me goodnight and announcing that he may be leaving the gym. Not sure how I feel about this. Pinochet has been with me through the journey of the last three years. He's seen me go from a morbidly obese couch potato who had no flexibility to the woman, toned, fast, strong, looking to attempt a marathon in six months time. Not having him around may be strange. Okay, he's a bit of a soccer playing lunkhead - but he is my friend and he helps to keep me on track. We will see what happens there.

I'm also a bit pumped as I ran to work this morning - taking the 8 km route down Burnley Street and along the Yarra. What I didn't factor in was that at 7.30 am it was 25 degrees and you could cut the air with knife - not pleasant. Ran 5 minute intervals most of the way in, not wanting to collapse from the sweat. Also got bailed up by one of my team mates who was cycling in.

Cycling and running gear are great levellers. The day they start making sexy cycling clothes is the day I will take it up. Fortunately that day will never happen. Got to the corner of Flinders and Exhibition Street on the hour, my hydration bladder empty and my thoughts set to rain - and wishing it would. At least I feel like I've acheived something today.

However, this spring in my step is there because of Reindert - or Strange Running Ex-Boss. Reindert is due back in Melbourne for work for ten days. If there is one thing that will put a smile on my face it's the return of a friend. Noisy Raymond made comment 'Ah, your other work husband is coming back - Glen Waverley will divorce you for bigamy.' I'm just pleased to have my friend in close proximity. We've got a winery trip and a few runs already sorted and he hasn't left Boston. There's quite a few people who are very happy to hear of his return. Tin Can, String and Whistle is not a fun place to be. Lots of change and movement. Having Reindert around will help soothe a few frayed nerves.

The other person to re-enter my life this week is an old friend from London, Gareth - who's over here for his neice's bat mitzvah. Reaquainting with this one will be a bit strange. He and I went out together for a few months about fifteen years ago. After, we remained friends. His wife and I get on better than he and I do - which isn't a strange event for me. Whenever I'm in London I stay with them or at least visit. It will be odd to have them on my turf this time. After living in Melbourne for ten years, this is the second time somebody has paid me a visit.

I'm just finding it strange that people are coming back - normally they leave.

The third exiting thing to happen this week - I'm off to see the Pixies at Festering Hall on Saturday. I will elucidate after the concert. Needless to say, at 41 years old, I am still queen of the mosh pit...

Card of the Blog:  Seven of Pentacles:  Gain from steady work, keep working at things, seeing things come to light after hard work, repetition, lessons learned

Pand  x

Kilometres walked since 29 January: 150 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 94 km
Currently reading: Celebrity by Andrew O'Hagan, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.7 kg

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Other Side of Everything

I am standing in a line, dressed in white; waiting. The room is hot. The scent of incence is soft in my nostrils. I'm underwhelmed by the solemnity which I am supposed to be feeling. Behind me, there is the heavy breathing of a person struggling to walk.  And I realise that if life hadn't turned the way it has, I could well be in the same situation.

Hell Week is nearly at an end, I have made all of my commitments, enjoyed most of them, participated with gusto for the most part and now see that I can rest soon. Well, at least relax in the knowledge I don't need to be anywhere in the evening for a while.

The meltdown of last Friday has also sent ripples into life, providing different perspectives and challenging insights. As much as I hate knowing I suffer from periods of mild depression, I'm almost grateful for the chance it gives me to look at things in my life, and make some changes. Nipping it all in the bud early just means that things get to move a bit quicker. I'm also glad, so glad, I've taken the alternative route for dealing with this. Counsellors, psychologists, dream group all keep things in check. I don't think I'd get anywhere if I was medicated - not that I am critical of anybody who takes this path - I've just fallen into the other side of depression treatment - ant thankfully it works for me.

These insights really started kicking in when I was at my mason's meeting, listining to the person behind me heavy breathing, knowing she was to be barely able to stand for the time required - I started to fret. Was I ever like that? What that what life was going to be like for me in twenty years if I hadn't remedied some of the symptoms and causes? There are a few in the group who are as large, if not larger than I was a few years back. I watch them struggle. I feel their pain - and then count my blessings.

Following the meeting was supper. I try not to stay for supper at these meetings, but there are times when it's unavoidable - like it was on Monday. Supper is lethal. I'm not great around food late at night as I really do have no willpower late in the evening. They put asparagus rolls, the best home made vanilla slice in the world, plates of backlava and curried egg sandwiches in front of me at ten pm - all of my favorite things - and I just hoe in like it's my last meal. Rather than get depressed about what was eaten, I'm learning to just schedule in another run and eat properly for the next week. I no longer get angry with myself when this happens, which now is not that often. Live and deal - it's taken me forty years to get to this. So much better than being angry with myself.

Other insights are flowing - a little harder to fix than getting angry when I overeat late at night. Things I don't know how to fix. Like how to fix being alone? What to do about work? What to do about the fact that friends are morphing and changing?

One thing I do know is that I never make firm decisions when I'm coming out of these cycles. I caught myself thinking, "Gee, why not go internet dating again? What would I put in my profile? "Young 41-year-old, emotionally crippled over acheiver seeks similar"? "Running girl, sick of running away, seeks a stable rock to hide under"? "Nice man wanted for cuddles and more. Players, mummies boys, co-dependents and ferals need not apply"? After a few minutes of pointless pondering, I got rid of this thought very quickly - don't make any rash actions in the time around these cycles. (My forays into internet dating are for another blog - depressive spirals are not the time to hash over the joys of the aforesaid mummies boys, co-dependents, ferals, bogans and the eponymous Boring Richards.)

I just know that things are coming good. The sound sensitivity is fading. I'm smiling more, talking more, getting back into life.

Card of the Blog: The Sun: Freedom, self expression, life force, clarity, optimism.

Like it.


Kilometres walked since 29 January: 143 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 84 km
Currently reading: Celebrity by Andrew O'Hagan, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.6 kg

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sometimes You Surprise Yourself

If you asked me at 9 am this morning if I wanted to do this Run for the Kids - it was a resounding no. Here I was, go-faster-red singlet and hat on, number on my belly, bum bag strapped around my waist - I just wanted to go home.The race wasn't particularly well organised, the start was late, ther were no signs showing where the toilets and bag storage were, there were people everywhere - one creepy guy just stood there and stared at my chest - I wanted to deck him (moved away instead, quickly, losing him in the crowd), my hip was feeling funny, it sorta felt like I had the starts of a cold.... grumble, grumble, groan, groan.

An hour and 53 minutes and 14.3 kilometres (nine miles) later, through the Domain Tunnel, over the Bolte Bridge, through the Docklands, I made it through the finish line. Ran probably 75% of it. The sun was my main enemy - it felt like I was running in 35 degree heat again and I deliberately walked for bits I know I could have run for fear of frying and sunstroke. I was stoked! My legs held up well and my breathing was doing fantastic. I'm really quite proud of myself.

But I did it - and strangely, other than a blister on one toe and a bit of tiredness, I feel wonderful. This seems to have been the best antidote for the crappy mood I've been in.

After the run, I met up with a couple of girls from the Biggest Loser Club. These women are my inspiration. Being a member of the site for two years now they've seen me lose over 20 kg. The great thing is, as they have the same battles as you, they know what you're going through. The folks on the forums are the best. So Jo and Suze, thanks for the support. It was great to put names to faces.

Off to Kabbalah now - it's only an hour an a half. I can cope. Still running on the endorphins of this morning.

Kilometres walked since 29 January: 136 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 84 km
Currently reading: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.6 kg

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hell Week

I'm trying to work out whether to attribute the atrocious mood I'm in to hormones, a strained oblique muscle or the fact that I'm nearly at Hell Week.

So far today I've snapped at Eddie when he gave me my daily stupid question at 9.30 this morning  - "Pandore, what eez zee date today?". My normal answer, "Eddie, look at the bottom right hand corner of your computer screen". I've growled at a number of other daft questions I've had to field, and I know managing stupid questions is my job, but four in a row before ten 'o' clock? Geez.

The last straw was when one of my favourite people came into the office at lunchtime and I had to combat the ferocious urge to snuggle into his nice, large, broad chest and cry. I don't feel like this very often at all - but there are times when I just want a nice, safe, comfortable chest to fall into, feel a pair of strong arms around me, a large, soft hand at the nape of my neck and the express permission to bawl until it's all better. It doesn't happen in my real life very often - once every few years. To save face and keep my dignity, I grabbed my handbag and walked out into the street, sunglasses hiding the tears.

It could be hormones. It does fit the bill. My nickname in the office is Happy Noise. Glen Waverley (my Work Husband as he now wants to be called) and the Grounded Dutchman have often noted when I go quiet, "Oh, it's your girlie time, isn't it - you'll all teary and emotional", just which then makes things worse, but they are normally right.

The strained oblique is just plain frustrating. Seems it got pinged on Tuesday working out with Pinochet - it's a struggle to walk without it catching let alone run at the moment. Plying it with reiki, Deep Heat, Salonpas patches, lavender oil doesn't seem to help. And it's the 14.5 km Run for the Kids this weekend - don't know how I'll go or what I'll do if it's not fixed. This has got me a bit glum.

And on top of this, it's Hell Week.

I call it Hell Week because I'm overcommited to the max. I know I keep myself busy, but this is ridiculous. It sometimes happens that all my commitments fall in the same week - normally it's two or three things on a week, which I cope with. In Hell Week, being my introverted self, the overkill gets to me, and it's just a major form of purgatory.

So, this week, my evenings for the next week look like this:

Saturday - Tarot Reading at a Hen's Party
Sunday - Monthly Kabbalah Class
Monday - Co-Freemasons meeting
Tuessday - Book Group
Wednesday - Dream Group
Thursday - Pinochet Session and possibly a client

I'd make my excuses for the Co-Freemason's meeting, but we're getting a new Grand Poobah so attendance is mandatory (Seriously, you learn everything you need to know about Freemasonry from The Flintstones). The Tarot Reading is a long standing paid gig. It's my book choice at book group this month, so I really should be there - and I love book group. I may cry off Kabbalah - only to feel the wrath at Dream Group on Wednesday. It's all just a bit hard.
Oh, I also have to find the time to train, study, make a batch of biscuits for Monday, see a couple of clients, visit Blarney, clean the flat ... And work. And sleep.

Rational me knows that once Hell Week passes, I have lots of free time on my hands.

Once out of the building at lunch, I took myself off to clear my post office box, walking through Chinatown, letting the sunshine osmose into my body. I made a stop in at the Spellbox in the Royal Arcade, my favorite antidote to work and my calm place on stormy days - carefully avoiding my favorite chocolate shops - Chokolait and Koko Black. Chocolate may make things better temporarily, but a sniff of frankinsense and a look at the pretty tarot cards helps to bring me back to earth. Stood there for a while, spun the wheel at the back of the shop which gave me the following reading:

The Wheel speaks of Choice : An important choice will be yours to make; it's up to you which road you take. The easist way isn't always the best; The decision you make is a life-changing test. From thinking and logic it's time to depart; the way to go now is by way of the heart.

My tarot and Kabbalah training tell me that this is the Path of the Lovers. The path of discrimination. A path leading from your heart to a place where you can find what it is you need. It's a lonely path at the best of times. The Sword of Damocles hangs over your head. There are a few too many of these choices to be made in the near future.

Getting back to work after my roam around town, after a hug from the Amnesty representative in Bourke Street, thanking me for donating regularly, I run into my dear boss, Popeye. And I burst into tears once again.

I haven't told you much about the actual team I work with, but I have to say that I'm one of the luckiest women in the world. My team, all men (okay, overgrown boys) are fabulous. They are considerate, caring and fun. If I don't look well they send me home. They perch themselves on the end of my desk for chats. It's like I've got four adopted brothers. Friday afternoon one of them will send around a funny clip to make the afternoon go faster. It's a genuinely great team.

Popeye, my manager, is also a good friend. The antithesis of me - level headed, rational, calm, logical, I respect the fact that he's also a great people manager. I've rarely fallen into tears around him, but he knows how to deal with it. Today he just said, " Talk." - which I suppose is the work equivalent of the large, strong chest. He knows of my struggles with depression. He also knows I can deal with it.We talked of the difficult climate we have at work, the uncertainty, the aggravation a constantly changing environment has and the fact that people are leaving constantly and those who are staying are dreadfully unhappy. We talked about the fact that I'm Office Mum and this does rub off on me after a while. I told him that things felt they were falling in a heap. I also told him that admitting it was the first step to fixing it.

He told me to take a mental health afternoon - coinciding with the landlord calling to say the plumber was coming around this afternoon to fix the kitchen tap.

So, here I am at home, counting my blessings - for a wonderful understanding boss, great people to work with, the self knowledge that I can pull myself out of this, all the while a waiting for the plumber. I'm still pondering whether the atrocious mood I'm in is because of hormones, a pinged oblique muscle or hell week. Maybe it's all of it combined.

I just know it soon will pass.

Card of the Blog: The Moon - Overwhelming emotion, primal parts of the psyche, cycles and rhythms, working through the depths, seeing things in reflection.


Kilometres walked since 29 January: 132 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 69 km
Currently reading: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.6 kg

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The End of the Friendship

The New Oxford American English Dictionary New Word of the Year 2009 was "Unfriend".

Unfriend, verb, as in to delete someone as a friend on a social network such as Facebook.

In this time of new etiquettes and niceties it can be hard to know when to "unfriend" a person, or indeed, how to react when you have been "unfriended" yourself.

I'm a facebook nut. I organise a lot of my life through it - it's how I keep my book group on the straight and narrow, it's how I keep up with friends overseas and gym buddies get organised, it's how I arrange my tarot jobs. I'm currently arranging my overseas trip over it as it's how I communicate with family in the US. It's also how I live vicariously through other's lives and it's a way to be a voyeur on a limited basis - we all love to watch after all.

I think, with limitations, it's a great tool. I still make sure I meet up face to face or over the phone regularly. Facebook is not my life - it just helps to keep it running.

The wonderful thing about social networking is that you can participate as much or as little as you want to, and because of this, I've very que sera, sera about the whole internet friendship thing. I believe in tight security - other than an email address that my "friends" can see, I have no contact details or other identifying information. Nor is acceptance to every silly apps request taken up - I play the games I want to play with like minded people - so my Farmville addiction is kept to my other Farmville addict friends. My status is normally set to something running related and it gets changes every few days. It's just a way I keep in touch.

What disturbs me is when relationships change through this social networking. Again, I have no problems when loose aquaintences drop me from their lists. I'm pretty picky about who I have as an internet friend. As a rule I have to at least know them and have met them face to face. There are one or two exceptions, but this is my general rule.Other people may see it differently.

I've unfriended a few people over the while - normally guys I've had one or two internet dates with, will never see again and have no desire to see again after contact wanes. I don't have a problem with this. I've also got the odd message saying, "Not using facebook any more - don't think I don't like you." before contact has been removed.

It's when somebody who you've known and loved for years suddenly has removed you for no apparent reason, that's when I get uneasy. Which happened to me a few months ago. A friend from England, who has been like a brother to me since the mid nineties, after emigrating to Australia, we'd has been in frequent contact over those ten years. Suddenly, he jumps ship. This guy knows a lot of my friends, he's been on holidays with a lot of us. I was the first person he called when his father died a few years ago. Mid last year he moved back to Europe, changing countries in that time. Somewhere between moving from one European country to another, he unfriended me.

Perplexing me more, he's also not responded to emails, left a phone number or made any contact. I've sent mails telling him of the pending birth of Blarney's twins. I've let him know about the competition win. I've asked about his wellbeing and how things are on a few occasion -  no response. Zip. Nada. No contact from him at all.

I'm being as grownup about this as I can. It's not the act of unfriending that annoys me - though I do know he's still on the social networking site, I don't give a fig if he's my facebook 'friend'. It's the cessation on contact - I have no idea what I have done to make him break the contact. He's said nothing at all - not a word. Nor has he contacted my friends or responded to their emails. It's the passive-aggressive nature of the act that makes me so uncomfortable. We've known each other for fifteen years, seen each other through all sorts of stuff. We were chatting regularly online until his last move. I don't know what I've said or done. That's the hard thing.

I just want to say, "If you don't want to be my friend - my real friend - tell me to my face." I'd rather know than be left in the dark.

In this case, I find the act of unfriending is cowardly.

Card of the Blog:  Seven of Cups - making emotional choices for the right reason



Kilometres walked since 29 January: 118 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 65.5 km
Currently reading: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.4 kg

Monday, March 8, 2010

Today's Giggle

I know I shouldn't feel superior, I'm from South Australian for pity's sake. I pour tomato sauce over everything, I like reality television, I drink beer, I possess a tattoo. My sister, in Adelaide owns the Golden Retreiver, has the butterfly tattoo on her the base of her spine and her husband is building Bali Hut in the back yard. I have so many bogan roots it's not funny. I just like to think that I'm a bit beyond it most of the time.

This site is priceless.


I'm just back from Pump class. Literally and metaphorically, I'm pumped.

Last year, Pump Class was the thing that spurred me on to better things. After years of having gym membership I avoided all classes other than boxing or circuits. They all looked too hard, there were too many people in lycra looking too cool for school - I'd rather bash away on the treatmill or the cross trainer, walking. Then I discoved Pump - quick, light weights working all of the body. But I built up slowly, until at the end of last year I was doing the squat track with 20 kgs on my back, with ease.

That lead me to Spin, another 45 minute torture session using a stationary bike with gears - you come out looking like you've had a shower in sweat. The person who leads the class is often called the Spin Nazi. Spin Nazi's often take 5-6 spin classes a day. You may think I'm mental for wanting to do a marathon - these people are plain certifiable.

I still won't go to Body Attack - that still looks like a sponsored epileptic fit from outside of the aerobics studio.

Today was great. My favorite Pump instructor, George, took us. George is a bit of a legend. You watch his short, nuggetty, hairless body pump up and down, shouting encouragement in his super-optimistic way, you can't help but enjoy the class. George is also a trolly dolly, oops, cabin attendant for one of the national airlines. On a number of occasions I've been greeted by George at the gate on the way to heaven knows where and have received extra apples, free booze, papers from this lovely guy. His partner, also named George, is often on the same flight. He brings a bit of fun to the travel I do.

I really get on with weights -  more than I do running. I love how after doing weights everything feels toned and tucked in and how you can feel a slight tightness the next day. It goes with my body type, that broad-shouldered, stocky, slim-hipped type - good peasant and breeding stock. It's your thin-limbed aristocrats who run.

So I'm equiped with the body of a Romanian Olympic shot putter. I'm also equiped with some of the items runners, who own a body like mine, require to run without pain.

My current pair of Asic Kayanos are ten kilometres off dying. They smell dead. I've worn off all the tread on the balls of the feet and they're going through at the toes. Most annoyingly, I only bought them in November. Thankfully, I'm on first name terms with the guys at the Athlete's Foot in Collins Street. I pick up the ones I have on layby tomorrow. On chatting to my stepdad yesterday he couldn't believe that runners would ever wear out, or that anybody would spend nearly a week's rent on a pair of shoes.

Then there's the trusty heart rate monitor. Not everybody uses them, but it's been a fantastic investment for me. For those unaware of this exercise lark, getting your heart rate up is what burns calories. The fitter you get, the lower the heart rate over certain exercises. Also, the older you get, the lower you need to keep your heart rate. So for me - when running, if I can keep my heart rate at 75-85 %, or 135-150 beats a minute, I can go on all day. When it gets over 160 bpm I really know it and the breathing gets laboured. Once it gets over 170, I'm cactus. So, this little watch face helps to indicate when I should either speed up or slow down.  It's not without it's annoyances or problems.

In the gym yesterday while on the treadmill it way trying to tell me that I was sitting on 175 bpm - and I was really fine, I was barely panting. Do I trust my body, or trust my watch? I ran on a bit, but it continued to show a too high heart rate. I think there was some interference from another HRM wearer. It wasn't fun. As soon as I stepped away from the tready, my heart rate went back to 120 bpm. Daft piece of plastic crap.

But most of the time, I really couldn't do without it.

You can get heart rate monitors that show you how far you have run. They guys I go out with have lunchtime have them. "Gotta get a Garmin" they tell me. I'm happy to track my route on Googlemaps thanks.

The last piece of equipment I need is my trusty sports bra, actually two trusty sports bras. For me, running without these, both of them, at the same time, would mean black eyes, back pain and many, many strange looks. I have more chance of getting a snog off the Pope than I have falling flat on my face. Without the industrial scaffolding that keeps me in place, I could never run, let alone exercise. I have watched women on the Yarra track, flying along, breasts flying in all directions - the boys I run with love it. I have no idea how they do it. I'll continue to strap myself in, lest I knock somebody out.

Card of the Blog: Justice - the cosmic butt kick card, taking responsibility, learning to adjust, throwing out the old to let in the new.

Kilometres walked since 29 January: 105 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 61 km
Currently reading: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.4 kg

p.s.  Eight days in, still not chocolate, ice cream and chips (or Bejewelled Blitz) Doing well actually.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

That Certain Sadness

One of the joys of Facebook is connecting with people you haven't seen or heard from in over 20 years. I've just finished a conversation with a friend from high school - she is somebody special. One of those people who just got on with things, we shared a number of classes from memory and she was always nice to me. She's somebody I remember fondly from high school - there aren't many of those people about.

This evening she was telling me of the passing of her father, who after two weeks of hell in intensive care, departed yesterday.

It always puzzles me how as a society, we rarely broach the subject of death. It's all too raw, to messy - we don't know what to say - we'd rather say nothing than bugger things up. Most people say sorry and get the hell out of there.

I don't. When it comes to death, I tend to get my hands dirty - I listen and I ask if they want to talk. Albeit gently, I offer my support letting people know you're there. If I can't be there, flowers get sent. Immediately.

After giving my condolences I told her I understood what she was going through - my own father passed away nearly fourteen years ago. We talked.

She told me of the shock, the hurt, the fact that she can't believe he's no longer there, that her child was throwing a tantrum and that her family were all around. I'm so sorry for my friend's loss - but I'm so glad she has the support and love of her family around her.

I wish, when this happened to me, I had a similar experience.

Losing a parent is about the most awful thing that can happen to you. And unfortunately it will happen to most of us. It's different for everybody. For some it happens when you're young. For others, when you're at the end of middle age or later. And it's never easy.

When my own father died I was in London. I couldn't get back for my family or for the funeral. I knew my mother was happily remarried so she had my stepdad and my sister was all partnered up, so they had a support network.

The first I knew anything was up was there was a knock at the door - and there was a policeman standing there. He told me to call my mother. I knew something was wrong then and there. My flatmate had left the phone off the hook in his room, nobody could get through. Then and there, I knew it was either my father or grandmother who had gone. Mum wouldn't send the police for any other reason. It turns out Mum had been trying to get hold of me for more than 24 hours.

After the initial shock, the initial grief, I had a week off work to "collect myself" as my manager called it. I painted out the flat, happy to have a job to do that would keep me busy, but not to use my mind. The odd friend called in the week I was off, but I don't remember seeing anybody other than getting a fleeting glimspe of my flatmate. My downstairs neighbours I remember checking in on me, but again, it was fleeting visits.

The one person who sticks out in my mind was Maya - a friend from massage college. A free spirit and a great drinking mate. I remember her coming over to the West Hampstead flat, making me a cup of tea and telling me,"Well, this is crap. I've got you something to help." In a small zip lock bag was her stash of hash. Seven evenly rolled joints. My instructions were to smoke them if and as required. She would return after a week and if I gave her the remains of the stash back, so be it, if I didn't , that was okay too. She called every day to make sure I was okay too.

It was the best thing anybody could have done for me at the time. A simple, hands on act of kindness.

Three months after the event, well in to grief counselling, it occured to me that my own mother had only called twice, and my sister once, to see how I was going, on my own, on the other side of the world. And part of me thinks that is the part that still hurts the most.

Sometimes, just being there, in what ever little way you can, means far, far more than the silence.

Card of the Blog: Death - a card of great change and transformation. Time and tide. The necessary rhythms of life. The universality of humanity. Regeneration.

I promise normal transmission will continue as of the next blog and apologise for this indulgence.


Kilometres walked since 29 January: 102 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 57.5 km
Currently reading: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes, TS Eliot's "The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufock".
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 0.7 kg

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Can't Get You Out Of My Head

Nah nah nah, nah nah ne nah nahhhhh....

I have the very irritating habit of placing bad songs in people's heads and then getting the hell out of the vicinity. Like the surreptitious lift farter, I can place the snippet of a song in the brains of my colleagues that leave them tearing their hair out without getting caught. I rather enjoy quietly strolling through the aisles of Tin Can, String and Whistle Ltd humming such classics as "Mah Na Ma Nah". Had the Integration Engineers doing Dr Teeth's drum solo in harmonic unison the other day.... he he.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about see the link below - it's still funny forty years on...

Mah nah mah nah

Work Husband is a favorite target - the They Might Be Giant's classic Dr Worm is a favourite to drive him spare - that and the Discovery Channel Song all get into his head and he starts throwing things at me from over the partitions. Mind you, he got me back - driving through Apollo Bay in his hairdresser's car (his MX5) with the top down he blared the later treasure out the stereo. I just wanted to climb into a more sensible vehicle and die.

People are aware of my dreadful predilection. Sometimes they try and get me back.

Allow me to digress for a bit. Probably the best thing about Tin Can, String and Whistle Ltd is the multicultural nature of the office. I love that I work with people from all over the world. University fostered this love - having a lot of Asian friends I got to appreciate other cultures, foods, religions at a fairly early age for somebody born in the late sixties in Adelaide - a last bastion for the White Australia Policy. It was really formative and cultivated a love of travel, listening to stories, trying new food and going new places. Then living in multicultural England, my eyes were opened to even more.

I'm so fortunate to meet all these wonderful people and experience these cultures.  It's one element of my life I'd never give up.

So coming back to Tin Can, String and Whistle Ltd, within a staplers throw I find myself in the company of all sorts. People with origins that are based in China, India, Afghanistan, Algeria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Ireland, England, Lebanon, Vietnam, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Scotland... some have become Australians, some have been brought in by the company, some are becoming Australian. The best thing is, none of that matters. I work with a wonderful bunch of people. 95 percent of whom are men (or big little boys depending on the time of day, stress level and sugar consumption) You can find anything to eat from fried anchovies, seaweed biscuits, baklava, spekulaas, king munts, curries to cheese and biscuits sitting on the central pod tables there for the trying. You name it, it's sat in the middle of the table amongst the Tim Tams and Doritos waiting for somebody to screw up their nose - and finally appreciate the offering.

I've left one group out, the Dutch Mafia. Like the seven dwarfs, we had the five Dutchmen - Strange, Sweet, Silly, Smelly and Sexy. I'll leave them to fight over the monikers. One has since returned to the US (Reindert) and one is back in Holland for the moment. I've become an honorary Dutchperson, mainly because I can handle the double salt liquorice they love like redskins and after two years I'm understanding and speaking more of the "Hurdy Gurdy" they are prone to talking.

Digression over, Work Husband and his wife, both Dutch, got me back the other night in the song department the other night with this gem -
Schnappi Die Krokodil

It's the Belnelux version of the Crazy Frog.

Bastards. It's more insidious than a dentist's drill. It goes around more than that awful Kylie Minogue song.

And then after spending the afternoon with one of my Irish counterparts, what should come up but Dustin the Turkey and the Sultans of Ping FC.

So if anybody knows how to get "Where's me Jumper?" out of my head, complete with Cork accent, I'd really appreciate some advice.
Where's me Jumper?

On more regular topics, my head is getting around the running, finally completing the 20 minute week 5 run 3 psychological barrier on Tuesday. My head is getting back in the game. Also the no ice cream, chocolate and chip rule is going fine, as is the no Bejewelled Blitz. And I may have found that writing name...

Not the best of offerings tonight - other things are in the offing, my head is a bit full and only time will tell if I can divulge.

Card of the Blog: The Fool - not what you think (though rather apt) taking risks, leaps of faith, starting a journey.

Oh I hope so!


Kilometres walked since 29 January: 96 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 53 km
Currently reading: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 0.7 kg

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Lay of the Land

My calendar gets a bit stupid at times - friends would say most of the time, but rarely do I mix things up. Well, it happened tonight. Here I was thinking I had a mason's rehearsal when I wanted to go to the gym. At 7.30, ready for a night of boredom and watching little old ladies argue, I walked into another group's rehearsal, where a different group of little old ladies were arguing... oops. So I've spent the evening at home, penning Greek website pages, cleaning for the coming flat inspection and pondering my ironing pile. And here I was planning to do all this tomorrow.

Having an unexpected night free is bliss. I would have gone to the gym, but dinner was weighing heavily in my stomach and there were things to do around here. Floors for mopping, spare room to tidy, writing to complete... all fairly mundane stuff.

I'm not fond of inspection day. One of the great bummers of renting is that the agent comes through every couple of months to check things over. Not that the agent ever makes comment. Though, I'm not tidy, I'm clean. I'm not keeping twenty cats, running a meth lab, hosting a brothel or letting rubbish pile up. The place gets cleaned regularly, the neighbours, all of whom have been here as long as I have, never complain and the rent gets paid on time. And for the stupid amount I pay out each month, have undercover parking, locked gates to get into the place and being in Richmond, I walk to work. All is cool.

But nothing takes away the feeling that I'm being judged. Inspection Day is like when my mother comes over for one of her four yearly visits. I feel like I'm cleaning for weeks but nothing will ever be good enough. I'll get over it one day.

I suppose it gives a bit of excitement to life - work isn't providing that at the moment. Tin Can, String and Whistle Ltd isn't a fun place to be at the moment. The project I'm on is winding down, there are heaps of stressed people about, the work isn't as interesting and half the time I feel like thumping somebody or something. It's unsettling.

Looking around the office, you can see the stress people are under. Jurgen, the walking toilet brush sits on his phone and sighs in his wonderfully impenetrable German accent "This is nonsense..."(Classic Colonel Klink). Work Husband looks like he's going to cry. And then there's Eddie.

Eddie and I share a pod, along with absent Noisy Raymond and the soon to be leaving Dee. Noisy Raymond is lovely, just very loud. Most of his phone conversations can be heard at the other end of the office. Dee is leaving for another job in a few weeks. I'd miss her if she didn't work from home so much - she's cool.

That just leaves Eddie.

In a former life I must have been pond scum. There is no other reason why I would get stuck in a pod with Eddie. He's nearly as bad as the worst podmate in the world - that honour going to the inimitable Karen Tissington, dog breeder, constant sniffer, tea bag re-user, soup slurper and class A bigot from Tunbridge Wells. She liked Australians (bastards take all our jobs) as much as I liked John Howard. That was a really fun six months. I took up smoking when I was sitting next to her just to get away.

It's not that Eddie breeds dobermans or goes around like he's having root canal every Tuesday for three months - he's just Eddie. Eddie, who butts into every conversation I have whether it be work or personal. Eddie, who after nine months of using the new document system still asks me how to log in three times a day. Eddie, whose OCD has made him a legend in the fourth floor bathrooms, and Eddie, who at 2.05 pm every day crunches loudly on carrot sticks the size of baseball bats. Oh, did I mention Eddie only speaks to me in French, offers me dodgy herbal tea every day and when I tuck into diet coke lectures me on the harm of phosphoric acid. He asks every half an hour what the weather is doing. (LOOK OUT THE WINDOW, EDDIE!)

Most amazingly, I met Eddie's wife at Xmas. And she's lovely, normal, sweet, intelligent and kind. I asked how long they had been married. Thirty years she replied.

I sort of feel bad that my response slipped out unedited. "You get less for murder..."

And that is the lay of the land.

Back the the joys of Patmos. At least I get to run at lunchtime tomorrow, it makes up for a lot of the frustration I'm feeling at the moment.

Card of the Blog: The Star.  Wishes and dreams, one of the best cards in the pack, self esteem, self love, optimism.

Who are the cards kidding?


Kilometres walked since 29 January: 85 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 49 km
Currently reading: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 0.7 kg

This made my morning

I wouldn't laugh, but...