Sunday, December 31, 2006

The last day

I have had a lovely day today. Up in time for Mass - and funny enough it was the feast of the Holy Family and was all about FAMILY. Ha, just as I have managed to be alone with no family around for a few days and here they were espousing the joy of family. I could have felt guilty but I didn’t. I know this is not 'real' life and I'm sure I would get bored after a month or two. And yes, I do love you all, but it's so nice being able to do ANYTHING I want WHENEVER I want. No cooking, no meal times, no cleaning, no dishes, no talking, no noise, no mess, nada, nothing. I LOVE IT.

But it all ends tomorrow. I'm off to join up with Seán and his guys for a few days in sunny (it better be!) Timaru. Then Zoë arrives home from her time on a farm and it will be back to having to be someone other than 'just Jo' for another year...

Anyway, I did have a lovely day today and it's not yet finished...

Church (tick), walk (tick), coffee (tick), movie (tick), coffee (tick), karate (tick)...yet to come, ummmmmmmmm...dinner? naahh…whatever I like (tick).

My walk was a spectacular series of wrong turns. I was trying to walk up Signal Hill. I found the sign at the bottom of the hill and it was very explicit about 'Stay on the formed track' and had little yellow arrows, but the arrows pointed away from the formed track to a slightly less formed track, I dithered here and there and took about five different tracks all which petered out or didn't head the way I wanted. I finally found a 'formed track' that seemed to head in the right direction. Thirty minutes later though I was still on the wrong side of a stream and could hear dogs baying and I began imagining that they were chasing me. It was a very primeval place (see pix - click to enlarge). I finally started going up, but was sure it was the wrong up. And it proved to be. I ended up on the wrong hill. And the dogs were from the SPCA, safely in cages. I'll try again tomorrow.


I drove around a bit to find another walkway (after traipsing 30 minutes back through mud, to the car) and after a long vertical climb found the most spectacular view of the harbour I have seen for a while. I whipped out my camera but the thing was out of batteries. So I sat and looked at the view. I'll do it again with Seán and take a charged camera.

All this walking is in aid of a three-day tramp I'm doing in a couple of weeks. I'm wearing in my boots; and today I had the most delicious pair of socks on. Odd to go on about socks but they are truly divine and felt like slippers inside my boots - I want more! They originally cost $33 but I got them on special for $19. New Year sales, maybe?

I'm on a mission…for socks!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Listen to me!

I had my hair cut yesterday, the hairdresser told me all about her ex son-in-laws attributes, mostly negative (including having-it-off with a co-worker in the toilet at their work do...way too much information here lady!). I didn’t want to hear it.

Does she not realise that one of the pleasures of a hair cut (apart from the head massage - joy, oh joy, if I was rich and famous I would have one every morning) is the ear of a minion to blurt out all of YOUR problems to, duh!

Now they are all stored up, ready to burst out into the first sympathetic and probably inappropriate ear.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Stairway to...

This morning's walk was just an hour. A loop from home that I have walked and run before. It consists of as many sets of stairs as I can find, I was on the track of a forth set but recalled that I had to get home in time to drop Zoë at the bus station.


Stairs - Barr Street to Shirley Place
















Stairs - Hocken Street to Kenmure Road
















Stairs - Mailer Street to Glenpark Avenue (down and up and down)















Harbour view at highest point of walk





Another harbour view with my tennis club in the corner

What to do?

I have made a list of all the things that I both enjoy doing AND that are good for me. I have little planned for the holidays and so intend to do at least two things off the list each day. It's up on a whiteboard and I’m ticking things off when complete (x's here, as the lovely ticks I did in Word didn't transfer :-(). It's not as good as keeping an exercise journal, but it's working so far (all three days of it!) Walking is actually the most useful and necessary as I have a three day tramp planned for later in January, with lots of UP.

So far the list consists of:
• Gym x
• Walk xxx
• Run
• Swim x
• Bike
• Karate x
• Tennis x

I should probably add:
• Housework- clean out wardrobe, drawers, clean kitchen floor, etc…
• Gardening- cut grass, weed spray, sweep paths, clear vege garden, etc…

But hey, it’s holidays and those things are so not fun!

Also important (but not on the list due to their adverse affect on my fitness) are:
• Reading
• Watching Videos
• Blogging
• Txting
• Emailing

Zoë is off for a week on a farm in Waikaia. Jed is away to his dad’s from tonight. Jack is in Timaru with his dad. Ben (who doesn’t live here anymore, but he’s still mine!) is off on a ‘road trip’ to Nelson, for the New Year. And so I am here, finally, I think, ALONE…lets see how long I last. I have always found, in the past, that this longed for peace and quiet begins to pall about the third day.

I'll go and pump up my bike tires and see if I can squeeze a wee ride in amongst the rain showers.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wet, wet, wet...


Even though it is grey, misty, and just a tad chilly, I thought a swim was due. I swam a lot last year and got to be a regular at the St Clair Hot Salt Water Pool, but that was because I was training for a few triathlons. This year my focus has been karate, which doesn't really involve a lot of swimming :-p

I like swimming, but unfortunately my shoulder didn't today and I felt every stroke with my left arm as I churned out my 1km. I'll see what it feels like tomorrow.

This pool is always a delight to swim in. On a cold day it is pleasantly warm, on a hot day it's just lovely to be swimming in clear water outdoors ( a rarity in Dunedin).

On hot, sunny days I always have an opposite case of 'the grass is greener'...If I'm at the pool I look over at the beach and think yaah, I'm not getting sand everywhere and being buffeted by waves; if I'm at the beach I look over at the pool and think, 'you silly people, you should be out here in the real world'. Fortunately I always think I am in the right place.

They have a Web Cam so you can check out how busy the place is before you go (I only lane swim and detest having to share!) - it's actually just a surf/weather camera, but hey, I can pretend it's for my own personal benefit :-)

A known quantity

I know breast-feeding is best! I loved it, miss it, would love to do it again, and admire those that do it, but.....when it's not working and the bottle has to be used...there is nothing more satisfying than watching a bottle of milk disappear down a baby's throat!

'That' much milk has gone into that baby...she HAS to grow.

Boxing day

My washing machine broke down a couple of days ago so I have been making frequent visits to my dad's house to do washing. I'll try the repair shop tomorrow, but I expect there will be no one around until after New Year. Meanwhile the water left in the machine is getting smelly....I need to find a length of hose and syphon it out. Tomorrow's job.

I began today well with a visit to the gym, weights and a couple of sessions on the treadmill. Then I came home and ate dumb food, again. Jed popped in and out and in and out with his mates, they are all at a loose end. Ben and Zoë hit the shops - Zoë finally scraping up enough cash for an ipod nano (in pink!)

About 5pm I walked down to the hospital (took about an hour) for a Phoebe visit. Zoë and I then mooched around eating cherries and trying to spit them into rubbish bins, very unsuccessfully, I have no spitability at all. A nice chick flick - The holiday - predictable nonsense but good actors -then a stroll home through dark streets and mild drizzle to arrive home at midnight.

A day done.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas day in Dunedin

Lovely Christmas day, very relaxed!


Scrumptious food.















A great game of tennis – finally children old enough and skilled enough to play, I have waited years for this!














And a lovely end when I ‘baby-sat’ Phoebe for hours and hours at the hospital while Jane and Stephen had Christmas dinner with his parents. She took a full bottle off me and was a special wee bundle to nurse quietly on Christmas night.

Frustrating!

I haven’t been able to post for days! Some weird message keeps pooping up when I try to upload anything…

“Safari can’t open the page “http://www.blogger.com/login.do”. The error was: “lost network connection” (NSURLErrorDomain:-1005) Please choose Report Bug to Apple from the Safari menu, note the error number, and describe what you did before you saw this message.”


It’s not just in Safari, it happens when using Firefox too. I’ll give the Apple bods a ring and see what they say. As it appears to be random since I’ve logged in today.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

No more work

Whew! That’s it for the year. No more work until January 18th.

I have huge plans to get stuck into some serious training. Biking out to Brighton in the mornings, and then off to the hot salt-water pool, at St Clair, for a few laps each day.

I was down at the gym on Monday and tried to go through my normal weights routine but was horrified to feel my shoulder start to ache. I might leave all those exercises for another month or so.

Running is going well. I ran the walk I did on Monday (5.8km) and it was grunty run. Lots of stairs; one of which you run down and then run back up, because running down stairs is such a waste of time. You then have to run down them again, to carry on the loop.

But Christmas first...

Phoebe returns to Dunedin

Phoebe is home for Christmas! And so, at 10.30pm, Zoë and I rushed off to the hospital to see her. We were vetted at the door before they would allow us in and then escorted to the children’s ward. Phoebe is not yellow anymore, but was sleepy from feeding and traveling. She has tubes running hither and thither and it was hard to know where to grab her without disturbing them. More visiting tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hello Darling!


A big, warm, welcome to my husband, Seán, who has decided to read my Blog. He feels that I don’t tell him enough about my life and so is going to catch up here :-)

Beach education vs shopping

A busy day today, in a weird way. Theoretically Tuesday is my day off, but I had signed up for Jack’s ‘Beach education day’ This involved transporting a car full of 9 and 10 year-olds to the beach and then making sure they didn’t drown. Since there were about 5 lifeguards involved in the ‘beach ed’ day, I figured that I was a little redundant once arriving at the beach. The teacher thought so too, and so most parents were told they could go ‘off’ if they liked and be back for lunch and the swim at 12.30ish.

Suited me! I whizzed off with Zoë and did a little shopping in Mosgiel*, had a coffee and then went home to make some lunch. Back to the beach to watch the lifeguards protect the children while swimming. Redundant again! Stood though an achingly long and noisy beach safety talk and brought the children home again.

Funniest moment of the day was when all the children were made to lie down, feet facing the beach, and then watch an enormous wave rush up and drench them all to a chorus of screams (especially the boys!). I wish I had had a camera to catch their horrified faces. The air temperature was 17, but I imagine the water was a little chillier.

I’m home now baking chocolate chippie biscuits for my brother’s 49th birthday do tonight. Smells good!

* Mosgiel is a wee town just outside of Dunedin. Being over the hill on the Taieri Plain it both avoids coastal breezes and is dead flat. Making it the perfect location for OP (old people). Trillions of rest homes, hospitals, retirement complexes, etc are situated there. The main street is well known as one of the most dangerous around – just so many inattentive people!

However it was the footpath rather than the road that very nearly proved to be my downfall. Zoë and I almost being bowled over as two scootterised OP and a third with a walking stick all swerved and halted, in a synchronised fashion that suggested this is a daily occurrence, to have a wee chat.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Last run to holidays

I was delivering a bag of books to one of my housebound Bookbus customers this morning and as I approached her doorway this vile “Ho, ho ho!” rang out, followed by the raucous sound of “Jingle bell rock”. I jumped, but the cat that was sunning itself on the porch just gazed at me.

Nasty, nasty, Christmas decoration.

Delicious day in Dunedin today, calm and still. I went for a walk at 6am and had the town to myself. I always feel the need for a notebook around my neck when I walk. My brain goes into hyper-drive and I have the most amazing ideas and insights. All forgotten, of course, as I walk back in the door at home. Maybe my heart-rate monitor could double as a Dictaphone?

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Blog 'Granny' comes to stay



Anne and Jean Michel leave Dunedin today and head up to Timaru. They stayed with us for two nights and our family enjoyed the experience immensely.

MD was able to dust off his French again and draw Jean Michel into the conversation while Anne, with her delicious French accent (with a tiny tinge of Ireland?), entertained us with her many inspiring stories. You could not wish for more perfect houseguests.

My only regret was that I had to work both Thursday and Friday mornings and so missed out on breakfasting and chatting more.

My children were entranced with Anne and she seemed to be entranced with them. I think this lovely lady sees only the good in everyone she meets and so only the good occurs. I would like to keep her in our house to ensure that we stay the way she sees us.

Anne intends to travel abroad for seven years, returning home occasionally for the birth of a grandchild or any other major life experience happening in her family. So keep an eye out for her, because it would be your lucky day to run into ‘Granny’.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Blogger meets blogger?

Very exciting! Tonight I will meet my third blogger, from another country, face to face!

First there was Julie whom I meet up with in New Caledonia.

















Then Kate from North Carolina who was staying in Dunedin for a while.














And now Anne, a close friend of Julies, is coming to stay with us.

My family thinks I am mad linking up with ‘strange’ people, but I think I am fortunate to meet these lovely people.

Blog on baby!

Happy 50th Anniversary Jane and Bill Bailey


If my mum were alive today it would have been her 50th wedding anniversary.
Does that mean that it is my dad’s 50th wedding anniversary today because he is alive? Or do wedding anniversaries end when people die?

Anyway – “Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary Jane and Bill Bailey”

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Phoebe smiles again


Zoë’s sister Phoebe (eleven weeks old today) gives her first smile after a Kasai operation to fix her dud liver. She was diagnosed with biliary atresia a few weeks ago and is up in Starship hospital (Auckland) with her mum and dad.

Hope you are home for Christmas sweetie!

5th Kyu


There was only one funny thing about my grading to 5th kyu last Saturday and that was my belt. It had a mind of its own during the entire 2 1/2 hours, slipping further and further around to my back. I later found out that the higher ranked karateka, who were scattered around the dojo, took a great deal of amusement from watching its travels. “I’ve never seen a belt do that before!’ one Kyoshi commented, asking, “ Did I have trouble dressing myself this morning?”

That aside, the grading was as hard ever. I had two hopes going into it. One, that at last I was as fit as I have ever been and maybe that would make it easier. And two, on finding out that there were only six people grading that it might be a little shorter than usual.

One, being fit didn’t seem to help. I’m sure it did really, but I felt just as shitty as usual during several phases of the grading. Maybe because I have to work harder to reach my limits, which are higher, and I end up feeling just as crap. Good, I suppose, because if you cruised though a grading it would be pretty naff.

Two, having fewer people going for the grading made no difference at all. Jun Shihan went though every possible block and strike and what seemed like trillions of push-ups between each set.

There were two yellow belts grading to 5th Kyu, which was good as I dreaded being the last on the floor. The very last thing we did were our kihons, one at a time while the other was in push-up position with someone sitting on their shoulders. My fellow yellow belt was a ten year old who seemed to take forever to finish his stuff while my arms trembled mightily under a Senpai’s weight.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fab site!

You (vast number of readers) probably already know about this site. I figure that by the time I know of anything vaguely cool; Blogs, u tube, whatever, it is not actually cool anymore. But hey, just trying to help.

Google reader (well the minute portion of it that I utilise) is basically an inbox for all your favourite web sites. I am only using it for my favourite Blogs. It means that I can open up one site and it tells me which Blogs have been updated. No more opening each Blog each day (or five times a day when bored) just one look and I can see who has been productive straight away.

It’s easy to load them; they have a wee box that searches for ‘feeds’. Only two Blogs out of the many loaded don’t seem to have feed. Kim (?) why?????

But it has revolutionised my blogging. Super cool. Thoroughly recommend it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Awesome Zoë #2


Zoë kicking Jed during his 1st kyu grading – that’s what little sisters are for isn’t it?



"She puts on that karate face
As cool as cool can be
Up herself like no one else
Her name is Awesome Zoë"



A few lines that Zoë’s friend Kim scrawled a while ago…Hope you don’t mind Kim!

Awesome Zoë #1

Zoë, Jed, Jack and Ben - September 2006



My darling daughter is 15 today. She is flying up to Auckland to visit with her dad, Jane and her baby sister Phoebe.

Phoebe is up at Starship hospital after being diagnosed, at 8 weeks of age, with biliary atresia . Basically, her liver is poked and she will eventually need a transplant. First though is an operation (Kasai) that will place small pieces of her intestine alongside her liver to take the place of bile ducts that never formed. There is a 50% chance that this will work and keep her well enough to grow big enough for a liver transplant to be viable.

It’s been a tough few weeks for Stephen and Jane. Phoebe has been such a long awaited and hard fought for treasure of a daughter and this liver problem has been such a shock to us all.

But, back to my daughter… Zoë is (in her fellow student’s words) awesome. She is so mature and capable. I know she will cringe, but we are reaching that stage in our relationship were she is more like a sister than a daughter. We can share (often far too much information, in her eyes) just about everything. Actually, I think it’s more me sharing with her! She has a wee habit of putting her finger to her lips and quietly saying “shhhh” if I share too much. She has started, helpfully, pointing out advertisements on the TV such as incontinence pads and hormone replacement treatments. I’m not that old yet thanks honey!

She is as stubborn as a mule and doesn’t put up with any shite from anyone. She has never gone though those foolish teenage girlie years, maybe that’s a wee loss to her, but she just doesn’t see the need to primp and pose and ogle after the boys. She forms strong friendships with those she admires and sticks by her friends even when she doesn’t approve of their behaviour. She has no time at all for posers and bitchiness. Zoë is no drama queen.

Zoë is a 1st kyu (brown belt) in Seido karate. This means that her next grading will be to Shodun (blackbelt). She is a tough wee girlie who has put a lot of time and effort into her karate.

She is enjoying having a baby sister after living with three brothers. Her school is just over the road from her dad’s and Zoë has made a habit of calling in before and after school to visit with Jane and Phoebe. Her excuse for being late to school one day was that she was changing Phoebe’s nappy. Another day, sitting in maths (I think), she realised that she could smell Phoebe. In fact, it was her clothes that smelt like baby - in a good way - as they had been washed together :-)

I hope you have a lovely visit with Phoebe in Auckland and give her special hugs from all of us left back in Dunedin. I know you will be a great support to your Dad and Jane over the next few days.


Happy birthday and God bless you, darling girl!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Camp


Karate camp was a blast. The weather fantastic, blue skies and warm. I had a very smelly gi after wearing it for two nights and ten sessions - including beach training (rolling around in wet sand) and two runs.

I have decided that the army missed out on a great recruit in me. I loved the routine of living to the bell and being told what to do and when to do it. There were no decisions that I had to make about food of clothes or organising anything. Just so relaxing!

Cell phones and watches are banned leaving you at the mercy of who ever are running the camp. A large bell was used to call everyone in for each session, including in the middle of the night; from fast asleep you had to race into the hall to perform one thousand kicks or punches and various other karate stuff. Bleary eyed and tousled headed you then fell back, all sweaty, into your bunk. It was very surreal.

The beach sessions were hilarious, sinking wrist deep into the sand while doing push-ups and splattering other people's gis with sand splots when kicking. Undies appeared like magic through soaking wet gi pants, after doing sit-ups – very colourful. I was slightly worried as I was wearing a delightful beige pair that I imagine became translucent when wet.

The people were friendly, the food was plentiful, the etiquette, while enforced, was not overbearing. It was great to see so many higher ranks all together. Dunedin dojo is quite small and we are in awe of our three Kyoshi (5th dan), but here there were 7 or 8 Kyoshi, a number of Jun Shihan (6th dan) and the boss Shuseki Shihan (Renzie) top guy for Seido in New Zealand.

We didn’t get to see them do much as several gradings were going on over the weekend (including MDs) and they were busy with those. We did have quite a few sessions with various Kyoshi though and that was always illuminating. The camp was quite top heavy in the higher ranks, over half were Shodun (blackbelt) and above. Only eight yellow belts attended, three from Dunedin. That was a shame as I was looking forward to having a greater variety of partners.

My shoulder held up wonderfully and although every muscle in my body aches, it is that good ache of a body well used, not abused. I think I will be going for a grading this weekend. I’m annoyed I didn’t do it at the camp, but you had to register a month ago and I wasn’t confident of my shoulder. Their grading was half the length of the gradings we have down here. Next year maybe?

MD’s grading was eighteen hours long. All he can tell me about it is that his preparation was perfect. It is all secret squirrel stuff and very mysterious. But he did well and looked strong and happy on his return to the camp. He is now a Yondan (4th dan) and is called Sensei. Cool. Well-done sweetie!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Nothing to do.

I’m just about to roll into bed after a lovely weekend. A weekend where we had nothing scheduled! Just bliss.

Saturday MD got up to do his last mammoth Saturday morning karate session before his Yondan grading next weekend. I stayed in bed until…..12.45pm! Wheee… that is a record for me. I was there so long that MD joined me, post karate, for a while ;-)

Lunch was delicious concoction of bacon, asparagus, mushrooms and spinach, mmmmmm! The day meandered on with long reads in the sunshine interspersed with hanging out washing. I did NOTHING!

Tea was grilled chops, spicy cubed potatoes, mushrooms (again), carrots and a spinach salad. I’m on a roll here.

Settled down to watch a DVD, Rocky - the original. It’s become a bit of a tradition for MD to watch this prior to a grading. It was great.

Sunday lolled around until 9.30, gulped a breakfast of Bircher muesli and then off to Kata class. Hurrah, very few of the wee children dudes turned up so it was great class with lots of time spent on my stuff. Then a visit to my eldest son (Ben) that ended up being a discussion of his next year’s varsity papers – so much choice.

Home for another bacon, mushroom, asparagus, spinach mix, plus two eggs (hungry!) Then race down to MDs work to listen to Stephen give a floor talk of his exhibition My Pix. MD was introducing him as he curated the exhibition.

Then off for the last big walk before the grading. 3 1/2 hours from the Woodhaugh Gardens along the Leith Stream and up to Ross Creek reservoir and then up the Pineapple track to the summit of Flagstaff, then down onto Whare Flat road, on to Taieri Road, along Dalziel Road, down Fraser’s Gully and along Kaikorai Valley home, whew. According to Gmaps pedometer it was 16.7 km.

Tea was vegetable soup with sausage rolls. We had been invited to Stephen’s for tea, but he got called out to the icebergs again. They have found five more on their way up the coast. Luckily Ben got to tag along. Haven’t heard about it yet, but I imagine it will be in the paper tomorrow.

A lazy hour watching a DVD of Lonesome Dove and then to bed. I’d like weekends like this all the time.

Oh, a word on our wonderful weather. We had outdoor Mass at Kavanagh at 12.10 and Zoë got sun burnt in 30 mins. Late on our walk we had thunder, lightening and rain and then on the final stretch home hail! Dunedin – Four seasons in one day.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The gym today

I dragged myself down to the gym today for my PT session with Mat. I warned him that I was in a foul mood, didn’t want to be here and felt fat, old and tired.

One hour later I was feeling great! Amazing what a little exercise can do. Nice man that he is, he made me do just as hard a workout as usual - even though I explained that my legs wouldn’t hold me up for the lunges this week, and that I had done the stair run last night (x5) and was feeling a little jaded. He just changed the lunge to one on a Bosu (sort of half a Swiss ball) this was what he had told me about last week that was to be a progression from using the weights bench. Bloody thing wobbled all over the place. I accused him of just making up these exercises to make me feel silly. He smiled. Last week he had me doing a calf stretch by holding weights while walking around on my tippy-toes. Now that really does look stupid.

While doing Ab-crunches on the Swiss Ball he said he couldn’t fault my technique. That made me laugh and stuffed up the last two completely, but he was, I think, trying to cheer me up.

I have bruises all down my arms from practicing some of my karate syllabus and when anyone asks about then I just say ”My husband did it” All true of course but I must get some arm protectors. It doesn’t really hurt at the time, but does the next day. Karate camp soon…yeah haa!

Time flies when you have little to do…

So where did this week disappear to? So little to say about having done so little.

All the children are in exam mode and it keeps them vaguely quiet as they attempt to study. We have all types of studiers.

One that announces to all and sundry that “I’m going to study now!” and who lets you know when, where, what, how much, and oh gosh, “Can I show you what I’ve done?”

One that cannot study in his own house - even when he is alone. This is the guy who has cruised all year and failed his school exams, but is actually attempting to salvage the year with some serious (I think) study. But only at his grandparents house…his father kindly lent him a wee red MX5 (?) red sports car thing for the weeks of study, which I think has helped.

One who has decided that this year is a waste of time and she does perfectly well without studying, so why bother when “It doesn’t count anyway”.

One who pedantically studies, for a while, when told to.

These guys all have exams to do yet, but my eldest son (1st year varsity) has his results back already (A+, B+, and A-) for this semester and is out working full time for the first time in his life – very tiring apparently :-)

And of course the nine-year old who is years away from such torture.

Zoë (14) wistfully said today, “I’d like to go back to primary school”. And didn’t appreciate my suggesting she could – as a teacher.

Monday, November 20, 2006

S.O.S.O.

Only two weeks to karate camp. Interesting news in that they are delaying a general grading until the week after camp. This means I will have an extra two weeks plus a whole weekend of tuition, so I am seriously thinking of doing the grading.

If my shoulder is OK after camp I will definitely do it. It’s only the push-ups that concern me at the moment; I haven’t done one in three weeks. Camp equates to eight lessons, so I will have the right amount of classes and I am pretty confident of my syllabus and as fit as a flea. So it will be ‘shoulder watch’ for the next two weeks.

MD and I ran up Signal Hill in 32 minutes the other day. It’s uphill for 4.4km (very steep!) with a stunning view at the top. We had a great walk up Mt Cargill on Sunday afternoon. The book suggests 2-3 hours and we did it in 58 minutes. No iceberg sightings this time.

I piked out of a stair run on Saturday. We did it last week and I had sore calves for a couple of days. MD went out and did it without me, up 198 stairs 5 times. I was knackered the last time, possibly the hardest thing I have done for some time. I’ll do it next week with him.

I did some lunges the other day at the gym that got me pretty wobbly. It was my PT session, so I couldn’t wimp out, but it was hard! One leg up on the weights bench behind you and a single leg lunge, slowly! Times twelve and then swap legs. I did this twice during a couple of leg circuits and found muscles that I didn’t know existed. I can still feel them four days later! I’m not looking forward to next Friday’s session, because I know he’ll make me do it again.

Same refrain as usual: if I could just eat more sensibly I would be both looking and feeling fantastic!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Chill baby!



Amazingly, I was looking at this iceberg off the coast of Dunedin this afternoon! Who said summer was just around the corner? Summer officially begins December 1st and today was a balmy 22 degrees C while I was looking at it. I didn’t see it quite as well as this. I could see that they were icebergs and not ships but they were still a fair way out to sea. A lovely man next to me loaned me a better pair of binoculars, which was great.



Icebergs have not been seen from Dunedin’s coast since the 1930s but these babies made it all this way. The media have been chasing them and yesterday a good friend and Illustrations Editor for the local paper went out to visit by helicopter. He now has a freezer full of ice that he says goes down nicely with a glass of whisky.



I finish work at 1pm on Thursday so I rushed to my physio appointment and then up to Jack’s school and pulled him out early. It was then a good twenty-minute drive to the top of Mt Cargill, worth it for the view of two icebergs.

As Stephen said in the paper this morning, “It has long been my ambition to visit the Antarctic – never in my wildest dreams did I ever think the Antarctic would come and visit me.”

Cool!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pins and needles

My shoulder aches today. It has been sore for about eight weeks and two weeks ago I had had enough and made an appointment with a physiotherapist. He has given me exercises to do, massages it and lately has been sticking needles into it. But is it getting better or worse? I just can’t tell.

I think about it so much now that it aches in response to me thinking about it. Some nights I can sleep better than before, some worse. I can’t seem to do pushups anymore – I‘m not sure if I can or if I’m avoiding pain. It’s so confusing and annoying. I was at karate last night and we were punching a pad that was held by a partner and then holding the pad while they punched. I usually really enjoy this; it’s not that often you get to vent your frustrations with life out on another person (almost). But I couldn’t hit it hard enough without a stab of pain.

So, do I sit around and wait for the shoulder to get better, or do I go and be useless? Grrrr! The physio has told me that he had a similar injury with his shoulder and he couldn’t sleep on it for a year! A year! Officially it’s a strained infraspiratus (rotator cuff) and also anterior joint capsule adhesions.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Bye Kate!

My wee, blogger, buddy Kate has left Dunedin! She’s off to London for a flying visit to a friend and then home to her family in North Carolina.

Kate tried to leave us yesterday but was politely told at the check-in counter that her ticket was for Sunday the 12th. “But” Kate protested “I’ve got to be in London on the 12th!” She hadn’t really checked her departure date and assumed that she had to leave a day early to travel 18 hours and arrive the next day. But that’s not the case in New Zealand. We are ahead of everywhere else in the world and so, when traveling around the globe, we often arrive on the same day we leave. The down side of course is when returning we lose a whole day somewhere.

So this is Kate at the airport on Saturday.


This is Kate out at Long Beach having gained an extra day to sight-see.


And this is Kate actually heading towards the plane!


And Jack giving the plane’s belly a wee tickle to make sure the flight to Christchurch would be an enjoyable one.



Loved having you around Kate!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ish is my nu outhgard




This is my new $75 mouthguard! Fitted just for my teeth, or lack of them. So when people hit (by accident) or kick ('cos they are allowed to) my head, my teeth should stay put. Or as the dentist nicely put it. "If they do knock your teeth out, the mouthgurad should keep them in place until you get to a dentist."

Reassuring indeed.

Expectations

I have disappointed one of my most regular bookbus patrons. I am annoyed at feeling guilty that I have disappointed him. He is a longtime (forever) resident of Ravensbourne, a small harbour side community that I visit once a week with my lovely bus. Mr B visits every week and gets one Large Print action/adventure type book; Wilbur Smith, Clive Cussler, et al. I have, over three years, developed quite a nice wee relationship with Mr B. Probably because he is about the only person who visits this stop each week and of the 45 minutes I am there we chat for 20 minutes. The Ravensbourne School sends down a class about 10.15 and that is Mr B's cue to leave the bus.

He is as deaf as a post (thanks to shelling at Monte Casino and various other WWII hot spots) and probably doesn't wash his clothes quite as often as he should. His teeth are not good. But he is an interesting old chap and having no family of his own is inordinately interested in mine. He was a bit of a runner in his hey day and loves any sports. During rugby season he follows my two boys' games and often knows the score when I don't thanks to the sports roundup in Monday morning’s paper. He enjoys my daughter’s hockey exploits, comparing them frequently to his cleaner’s daughter’s hockey results. Yes, he probably does live vicariously though our children, but where is the harm in that?

Anyway, I have done a couple of half-marathons and a couple of bloke-free triathlons and a couple of Special K duathlons. Mr B loves to hear about them, likes to check my times and basically keep an eye on my training. This has been fine and it was possibly due to his interest that I did the last two. I enjoy the training mightily, but don't get much of a thrill on the day and dislike competing. Last year I took up karate and am quite enamored with it. Love it, enjoy it immensely! Mr B doesn’t quite understand. It's like a secret club and unless you have partaken of the martial art bug it all sounds vaguely ridiculous to a casual observer.

So last week when Mr B started asking about my training and had I got that bike out yet to start getting some miles under my belt, I just straight out said. "I'm not going to be doing anymore triathlons". There was silence. He just looked at me puzzled. So I continued with my spiel. "I want to concentrate on karate and I have done a few of the triathlons and don't feel the need to do anymore.” He just stared at me. I felt that I had to add. “I’ll still be running to keep fit for karate.”

I suppose he ran for twenty years of so, only stopping when injury or age slowed him down. But I feel like I am letting him down, because he just doesn't get karate. We can't discuss it like running trails and times and so on. I feel bad that I have let him down and that is just daft and, as I said, annoys me. I have failed (again) to live up to someone else’s expectations of me. Pfft!

But I really like karate!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

More days like this please.

I like this no study thing I have going on now. We got up reasonably early and called in to the Farmers market down by the Railway Station. I had only $10 on me, and after we bought a ciabatta loaf and rolls, and lemonade for Jack we had $1.50 left to spend. This was a mission! Finally found a stand selling individual pieces of Turkish delight for 50 cents. Yummmmm.

Jack and I picked up Kate at 10am...

...and went to Tunnel beach.








Conditions (weather) were perfect for a change. I’m so tired of dragging Kate to beaches on freezing, windy days. We have been waiting for weeks to go to this beach as the access route had been closed for lambing and only reopened on the 1st.

We were first to the beach, which was pristine. The tide was out and we had it all to ourselves for about 40 minutes before other people started straggling down the tunnel.



Kate and Jack managed to climb every rock on the beach, explore the cave, find shattered birds eggs, play with seaweed, draw horses and love hearts on the sand and have a game of ‘rescue the driftwood from the top of a rock’…you had to be there!






I lay on the beach and did my physio exercises. A sign of my age: no longer climbing to the top of every rock. I know I could but the coming down is now a concern :-( Bring on the walking frame!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My other Gnome


I would have rather won the golden gumboot, but my aim was not so good over the longer distance.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Jack the gnome


It was a garden book launch - what other possible reason could there be to look so cute?

Flight of fancy

Today on my run (which was exactly 6.0771km, according to this fun site: Gmaps pedometer) I saw a pair of sparrows flirting.

There was a low fence running alongside a field and the sparrows were slaloming in and out of the fence posts just ahead of my feet. They would whisk in and out and pause, I would catch up and they would whisk in and out - twittering away.

It was the most enchanting 100m I have ever run.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Walkies anyone?

The pedometer challenge has been going for four weeks now. Luckily for MD it coincides with the huge increase in exercise he is doing as training for a karate grading in December.

Because you can’t count the steps for many activities the ‘powers -that-be have allocated step amounts for such things at swimming, canoeing and biking. This adds dramatically to our step tallies, with martial arts being give an enormous tally of 9091 steps per half an hour.

Now I don’t begrudge MD having those steps because his training is extreme and strenuous. But an hour-long kata class does not really push my heart rate up that much. And so, I take only half the amount and feel guilty at that. Add three karate classes, three sessions of weightlifting a few runs and our 2 – 2 1/2 hour weekly walk and I have been hitting the mid 30, 000s!

Now, they recommend 10, 000 steps if you want to lose weight and keep fit, so why am I not fading away to a shadow? Am I so metabolically challenged that my body doesn’t understand the maths? Do I really eat that much more than I should? It’s a little distressing at times. What on earth do I have to do to change me? Because I really don’t think I can do anymore.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The desk has docked



It might look messy but this is actually a desk at rest! Look, no books, no study material, no pens (maybe one?) no scrawled notes, no cups of coffee, no lolly wrappers, no scrumpled up paper - nada, nothing, empty!

My third and final assignment has flown away for marking. Probably won't hear for at least a month, but do I care a whit, No!

Free, I am free, I am free!

Free to be a sloth, free to do housework (ha, ha), free to play tennis and to go for walks and to go shopping and to READ! No stupid deadlines slumped on my shoulders. Ohhh, a nice massage would just do the trick. A seven hour stint at the desk today has left me with a backache and tight, tight shoulders. Off to karate in a minute and then to the movies with Kate. Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah.

Sigh.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Labour day weekend

Traditionally this is a gardening weekend. Late October is the time to get the garden in in chilly Dunedin - still time for new potatoes and carrots for Christmas.

But not here, I have been assiduous in my dedication to my library diploma. Sore eyes, sore back and a non-communicative holiday weekend. All for the greater good I am sure. I can't wait to push that button and whizz these away to the markers. Probably about Wednesday night at 11.42pm.

No more blogging ;-P

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fitness

I suppose an update is due. I am still fitticising. During our holiday in Noumea we went for four runs had two or three karate sessions in the gym and I also swam lengths in the pool, but only once as I had no goggles and had sore eyes for a day after the swim.

So, the routine for now is personal training once a week on Fridays, same routine alone Mondays and Wednesdays. Karate Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. A long walk on a Sunday with MD and a 20 minute cardio session Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday on the treadmill.

Sounds mighty!

If I didn't eat so much I would be superwoman, but I do and so I am not.

I'll attempt to cut back on the lollies, chips and other crap that have crept back into my diet. I have the karate camp in December to aim for. Oh, and my fathers birthday when I get to see older, thinner sister again, yee bloody hah.

Wedding inanity

Kim and David are now married.

She looked lovely and he looked young.

The speeches were abysmal and the music was (if possible) worse.

The food was delicious.

I forgot my camera, so no pictures.

It was a paint-by-numbers wedding, with all requisite parts in the right places at the right times,

I suppose it was special to them.

Seemed a little pointless.

I think I am jaded.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A+

Oh well, I suppose it's slightly encouraging. I received my 2nd assignment back in the post yesterday and got 87% - not such a bad effort after all. An A (83%) for my first one, and so even if I completely fluff this assignment, and get a C, I should still get a B pass for the paper???

Whatever, I sit here at the computer desk with notes surrounding me and my heart sinks. So much effort required and so many books are sitting beside my bed, calling out to me. "read me, read me, read me....." I am not designed to be a student. However, with Monday being a public holiday and me not working Tuesdays and Wednesdays that means I have a clear run through to Thursday to make some progress.

So, I'll sign off this monumental time-waster of a site and get to it!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Little goals

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with my study efforts (again). I am not a good student, I dither and prevaricate and make everyone’s life a misery until my wee effort is over. I get no satisfaction with gaining good marks or having finished. The only thing I look forward to is the not having to do it next year.

• October 21st - Kim and David's wedding
• October 29th - Peg's 80th birthday
• November 10th - Dad's 75th birthday
• November 10th – Assignment due and my life begins again :-)
• November 11th Kate leaves Dunedin
• December 1st – First ever karate camp
• December 1st-3rd – MD’s Yondan grading
• December 5th – Zoë’s 15th birthday
• December 11th – Jack’s 10th birthday
• January 12th – Ben’s 19th birthday
• February 4th – Jed’s 17th birthday


The art of finding balance

Monday, October 16, 2006

Glowing in the dark



This is my mate, Kate! She has just been stunned by camera flash. This after peering intently at glow worms up near Nichols Falls in the Leith Valley, so her pupils were fully expanded. It was very funny as she couldn't see for quite some time. However, I do have to say that the doggie poop she managed to step in happened prior to having been blinded :-)



This is Kate again, struggling with a nine-year-old for possession of a toy gun. She won, but only because underneath those lovely overalls are....camouflage pants! Has she had secret training?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Step on by...

We were all given pedometers last week at work. The theory being that we will record our steps and life a long and healthy life. It isn't a competion but there will be spot prizes. It's a good idea to encourage people to do a little more activity each day.

The trouble is that I am starting to feel bad on 'low' days. I vary during the week between about 3,000 steps (study days) and today's high of 25,000 (gym, karate and a two hour walk). The aim is to hit 10,000 a day. Balance, always balance. But life isn't always balanced.

It's very addictive watching those wee numbers climb up and up.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Re focus

Well and truly back into the swing of ordinary life in Dunedin. From the snow showers on Tuesday to a thirty year record of 29.7 degrees on Friday, this is the Dunedin I know and love. It certainly gives everyone something to talk about. Moan, moan, moan, too cold, too hot. It's all OK though, gives me a chance to break out the summer clothes at the same time as getting a last use of lovely winter jackets.

The children are back into their summer uniforms, which for some reason look much smarter than the winter ones. I think it is just little boy's knees that I like. Zoë refuses to change to her summer kilt however, it doesn't have a pocket. This is crucial to her life as her school bans cellphones and no pocket means no way of hiding her lifeline. It's one of those daft rules that is not enforced and so is completely ignored by everyone.

MD is well on track with his karate training and I am doing bits and pieces. Still on the treadmill and keeping my speed up and doing weights a couple of times a week. Just enough to be stable, but hoping to up the ante and have another burst of enthusiasm before Christmas. In the vain hope that we may get more hot days and may end up at the beach in Dunedin in that bikini! I have some Personal training sessions all paid for that I need to arrange times for and I'll make that a wee goal for next week.

Also I'm on to my last assignment of my last paper to complete my library diploma. November 10 is the date to have it off by but I'm going to push and try and do it all by the end of October. What a weight of my shoulders (and MD's) that will be. I am not a good student. I am a moaner who takes twice to three times as long to do everything and in the meantime achieving nothing at all around the house. It is my excuse for doing nought. Oh, I have study to do. No, I need to study. Bollocks really. Just sit down and do it!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Just another spring day in Dunedin


This was the view out of our window yesterday morning. And, yes, that is snow you see!

Click on the picture and you can really see how chilly it was.

The bikini was worn :-)



The best things about Noumea?
• Meeting Julie and her lovely family - Lunching on their balcony.

• Watching MD converse in French.
• Snorkling! The fish! The coral!
• Seeing a sea snake or tricot rayé.

• Eating crepes at Le Rocher.
• Finding Le Rocher!
• The warmth.
• Just chilling out on a beach with a book and a man, bliss.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The day before the day before I leave



Jack and I at Moeraki today. As you can see the weather is not 'spring-like'.

Clothes are scattered on the bedroom floor, yet to be tried on.

MD has succumbed to germs that sick children have surrounded us with and he is wheezing and snotting and generally making everyone near him miserable. I hope it's under control by Tuesday as I don't think I could stand three hours next to him on a plane. Every sneeze is accompanied by a self-pitying sigh or three and then there is the nose blowing...on and on and on...

Five hours today in a car and the front seat was swimming in tissues, eeewwghhhhhh! He was kind enough to wipe down the steering wheel when it was my turn to drive, he is thoughtful like that :-)

I'll pack tomorrow. I'm working Monday morning and then fly to Auckland that afternoon and by Tuesday afternoon will be reclining on a beach, a cool drink in one hand, a book in the other...bliss for 7 days.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Whoosh....

That's the sound of my assignment whizzing though the ether to the big marking school in the sky. My assignment is away and I am free from study - at least until I return from my holiday. Hurrah, hurrah, now I can think about packing, joy :-D

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

All +ve

It's going to be a lovely week. I have just looked back over my postings for 12 weeks and realised what a big moaner I am.. Possibly that's why I started in the first place - to stop driving MD and my family mad with my whining? Anyway, enough!

'All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well' so says my mate Julian of Norwich and I'm sure he knows all about it.

Ok, just one last wee moan...I took my 'after' photos today. And guess what? I don't look any different. Sigh. But I do feel different-so that can be what counts today :-) I think I am just not a bikini person and I will now accept that fact happily and get on with life.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Last gasp

Monday again and I fly out in seven days. It's that weird point were you realise that 12 weeks hasn't really made you bikini ready. Do you give up for the last week or persevere on, knowing that one week is not long enough to make any more difference?

I've eaten and exercised better than ever before and feel as fit as I have ever been in my life. But I have to accept that at 43, and having had four babies, my stomach just isn't up to public scrutiny. Oh well,...move on.

I still feel vaguely ill, headaches and sore ears and so on. I'm on all sorts of vitamins in the hope it will all just go away magically by next Monday and I will have a lovely week on the beach. The other alternative (too horrible to contemplate) is that by relaxing it will all come rushing in and I'll be sick for a week in a lovely warm place ;-)
I have ¾ of my assessment done and hope to have that finished on Wednesday, leaving 3 or 4 days to organise my packing. Can’t wait to get on that plane.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Breathless

Not physically because on Friday night I won a prize at my gym's dinner for being.....'The fastest women on the treadmill' Da, da!!! I got a beanie and a wheat bag - really random prize but rather that that a one-on-one session with Cindy in the pool. I've always wanted a running hat and this even has a wee tick on it. That was the end result of the winter challenge mention yonks ago. 9 weeks of treadmill, rower, bike and ski trainer boredom, teams of ten, and going the length of New Zealand. I'm very pleased (a) that it's over and (b) that I got a prize :-)

But, breathless I am because I'm going going holiday in 13 days and I'm not ready and I have too, too, too much to do. Why did I say I would host the bookbus lunch? Why did I arrange for lunch with my sister? Why is my child sick today? Why didn't I get off my arse and do my assignment earlier? Why did I arrange to have extra karate lessons at the weekend? Why have I done NO house work for months? Why do two of my friends have to have birthdays on Friday when I work? Why do I feel breathless when it's just life. Why do two of my children cough all night and sleep when I can't?

Make a plan and get on with it! Stop typing here and go and write about reference interviews. Yes, that sounds like fun, I'll go and do that.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Drs!

This is the list I took to the Dr this morning:
headaches all the time
gritty eyes
sore throat
sore glands
blocked ear
can't sleep
racing heart
tired, tired, tired
having too much panadol
sore elbow (random one, from karate incident)

he said I was fine and becasue i was sooooo fit my body was doing a really good job fighting off whatever bug was in me and he wouldn't give me any pills! $35 to be told I'm fine, when it's perfectly obvious that I'm not. Hmmph! I have some blood test to do tomorrow morning too, fasting ones, so I can't eat from 8pm to 8am. So guess when Jo is going to have a mighty craving?? Oh about 9pm tonight I'd say.

And I haven;t done any study and I feel like CRAP and it's only two weels to my holiday and I want to feel well.
So bloody there!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Brain fog

I have had my first yellow belt karate class, two in fact. One kata class one on one with MD. He is very complimentary which makes it hard to know if he means it or loves me. Hopefully both.

It has been hard to get back the enthusiasm for training and eating well since the grading. I just feel tired all the time.

Really starting to look forward to our holiday but I have several study assessments to complete and I'm panicking about finishing them, well starting them really. Another day laid to waste as I type.

I have been researching Noumea through blogs and found the perfect sight to explore, to the point of connecting with someone in Noumea. I want to pass this all on to MD but don't want him discovering my blog. Not that there is anything very exciting here, just that once he knows it is here it will no longer be mine. I don't like to share :-) no surprise there.

My eating is going well. I seem to have lost the ability to gorge, but am still mightily attracted to sweet food. The thought of this body in a bikini is, mostly, enough of a goal to stop any wayward eating. The exercise component needs to step up a bit. Tone, tone, tone - it just never quite happens. I can feel a body just hovering underneath my skin and I don't know if it is fear of attaining a goal that drives me to eat just that little too much or to do just that little too little in the gym. Our brains are wonderfully scary things.

I am so tired of being me

Monday, August 28, 2006

Yellow, yellow, yellow

Yellow is not a colour I wear, ever. I have no yellow in my wardrobe - it makes me look ill. But now I have a yellow belt! At least it won't be next to my face;-)

The grading was great, tough at times, and I felt really ghastly now and then - spots in my eyes and ringing in my ears- but the three other adult blue belts and myself were double-graded to yellow. Missing out on the black-tab stage of the blue belt. Very scary as it means straight into new syllabus with a chance to really bed in the blue belt stuff. But super cool as it moves us up the ranks away from some pesky wee blue belts.

Sore calves today. I think from the warm up run without shoes. I remember running barefoot on the beach a few months ago and the same thing happened. Must try to remember that and go for a few barefoot runs next time.

My son was amazing, his sparring skills have improved immensely since the last grading and he fought well right to the end. I'm very, very proud of him.

And so it is Monday and now 4 weeks to holiday and back on the food and exercise routine that this blog started with. Had a good day today, but ended up working an evening shift and still need to hit the gym, about 8.30pm, and then home for tea. But positive.. Four weeks is do-able!

Friday, August 25, 2006

2 out of 6

Two of the six reasons to be "slim.....etc" arrive tomorrow: the karate grading and my older sister's birthday. I probably won't see my sister and the grading is not really about appearance, more performance. However, I have arrived at the day feeling pretty good. The gym and fitness regime has set me up really well for the grading regards any cardio we do. The actual syllabus I know and if I muck up on the day it will only be nerves and nothing that a few years training in technique won't fix.

My 16-year-old son is grading to 1st Kyu and I anticipate a battered boy at the end of it. Thiry fights after an intense grading. I know that I will be in tears near the end of it as it is not fun to watch your babies being beaten up. My daughter did it a few months ago and was quite chuffed to be able to go to school the next week with two black eyes - a dubious honour. Both will then be only one step off a black-belt in Seido karate. But that's a year or three away.

My own goal regards karate, is to make it to brown belt (2nd Kyu) by the time I am 50 ;-)

Having this week off form any food and exercise regime just proves to me how you fall back into the same old bad habits. Chips, chocolate, carb, carb, carb all day. I can hardly wait until Monday and another burst of healthiness.

Oh, I bought the bikini.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Five weeks

I can't read a calendar, apparently. It's 5 weeks to my holiday instead of the four I was expecting. All good, really. I am having an 'off' (excercise/food) week this week, which leaves four more weeks to tune and tone up. I have been having late mornings every day 7.45am wake-ups instead of the 5.40am starts of the last few weeks. It hasn't made an iota of difference yet, but I'm sure it's good for me. I am fighting of a cold and have felt all stuffy and headachy these last few days.

I tried a bikini on yesterday. It was officially a 'snow day' with all primary schools cancelled. Somehow the snowman didn't bother looking out the window and there was no snow in the city, so with my 9 year old son in tow I went to the gym (it wasn't real exercise, just a wee tootle on the bike and the rower) and then shopping! Bought the same dress as in the weekend but in blue. V.happy with that. Justified it by trying on 3 or 4 dress on Monday that were just ghastly and feel that at least I have two things that suit me and make me feel pretty!

Back to the bikini - I took about 12 separates into the fitting room. All from the oddment rack as the new season swimsuits haven't appeared yet since it is still winter. This is good as I like a bargain! Anyway after trying on every possible combination I decided that a few bits weren't too bad. Not sure if their mirrors aren't fixed, but I didn't recoil as in the past with bathing suit expeditions. It's on hold and I'll make my mind up tomorrow.

Finally hit the sun-bed today after signing a disclaimer stating that 'Yes, I know sun-bedding is very, very bad and it's all my fault if I die of a melanoma - vanity, vanity - never again. I have booked about 6 sessions ahead and have a 10 session concession, so hope to see faint tan by then. And as pointed out by MD I have 5 weeks to go!

Monday, August 21, 2006

A dress

Four and a half weeks until Noumea!

Just bought the cutest beach dress. Feel quite relaxed now as I can wear it everyday on holiday and who will care? MD says to go and buy another in a different colour; daughter says go find another dress; MD says do that too. Spoilt for choice.

I could handle a new pair of sandals though. Maybe some sketchers? They need to be good for walking. Might go to town tomorrow and have a wee look. I have my comfy old running sandals but something a little prettier would be good.

Bombed out at the weekend. All the early mornings and training just hit me. Panadoled up all Saturday and relaxed (apart from a game of tennis on Sunday).

Have sworn off all early gym starts this week so that I am fitting fit for my karate grading this Saturday. Then a final three-week burst at the gym until I hit the beach.

Tan, tan, tan, gotta make an appointment!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Weary :-(

Tired, tired, tired this week. Have to get stuck into more study and delaying as usual. More incentive than ever as our holiday coincides with the day I have to have the next assignment away. Means, not a lot of time to contemplate holiday and plan as dull old library study takes over my life.

Body is weary of the gym too. I love it down there in the morning and feel strong and fit, but by about 5pm I am knackered. My back hurts and I am tired of food this week. It's all so nice, but I want other stuff! And so the slide begins, a biscuit here (or two) a bite of this and that and then the evil mind takes over and its 'Oh well, too late now, have another one" I down copious quantities of water to halt it all and then feel bloated and think its fat. God, help me. If I could just shut my mind up a little.

It doesn't help having teenager daughter who manages to put 'Diet' in every sentence! And two teenagers who want all MY food. Or a husband who cooks MY food for tea. Moan, moan, moan.

I need to re-group, re-focus and get on with it. This is the best I have followed any plan (it's not a bloody diet, Zoë!). I think the bikini is not going to be an item, but hey, I can still feel good in a tankini, or a bikini top and wrap. Tried to start the tan thing today but dippy hairdresser girl booked the wrong time I said 1.15 and she booked 1pm. Try again Friday.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Feeling great!

Sent my assignment off three days early, hurrah! Movies on Saturday night and lovely Sunday, relaxing and reading with no guilt. Start on the next batch of study on Wednesday. Assignment for it is due the day before I leave on holiday, 5 1/2 weeks away. Phew, doesn't seem like very long! Either for study or for my bikini body ;-)

I must get on to the tanning, with news items on melanoma I feel guilt over that too, but I refuse to be pallid on the beach. We only have a week and I don't want to worry about burning there.

Went on a run with MD on Sunday, pouring rain and even a spatter of hail at one point. It was a 58-minute run and I felt like my legs were made of steel springs! Ran really well and blitzed MD up the last hill. He wears glasses and finds it really hard to contend with both steam and rain. But I was running well. Tempted, tempted to do the 1/2 marathon early September, but I haven't really put in many long runs, so I may resist.

Karate grading to 7 kyu on 26th August.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Busy is good

Study full on at the moment, assignment due August 15th and so not a lot of time to think about food. Which is good. I'm getting the exercise over and done with in the morning and just eating what I should. An occasional handful of dates or a banana that wasn't scheduled, but OK- and dull.

I've stepped up the aerobic content. The twenty minutes business is fine, but I have a winter challenge on at my gym and have a set number of Kms to complete on the bike, treadmill, stepper and rower and twenty minutes wasn't going to get me there. I think I feel better for it too.

Had a chap, who is at my gym every morning, come up yesterday and compliment my running style! Made my day. Asked me how fast I was running and said "marvellous, marvellous!" I love it. He used to run alot himself, but has a buggered knee now and only does weights and walking. Made me feel great all day :-)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Brag, bang, chocolate

That about sums it up. Feeling good - say so - fuck up.

Suppose the only 'good' thing was that I threw away half a slab of perfectly good Whittiker's coconut chocolate, instead of saving it for today

Out for periodic maintenance, hence the chocolate, hence the slight ding on the back bumper of my car. Thank God I don't fly airplanes, is all I can say.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The week begins again

Well, Friday was a bugger! Biscuits! I don't even like biscuits. I had lunch in town with a friend at Minami - a lovely bento box that fitted in with my plan. But on arrival home I immediately craved sweet things. And so I ate biscuits, lots and lots. Semi saved the day by declaring it an early 'free day' meaning that there was no free Sunday to look forward to.

Fortunately it worked for me. I tried not to dwell on it and ate some chips and chocolate Friday night to thoroughly feel as though I had had my 'treaties' and then Saturday and Sunday I was a model Body-for-Life programmes follower! I am amazed at myself

This is my forth week. MD says I’m looking trim and even 'svelte'! But then he loves me dearly and isn't really very objective. Clothes feel much the same but I do feel really strong. I want to weigh myself but am resisting mightily as I don't want to see any numbers yet.

Seven weeks until the holiday, have to get on to the browning of alabaster flesh.

I've settled into a food pattern quite easily. I have the same breakfast (English muffin split with tomato, bacon and cheese), lunch (tortilla wrap with meat, tomato, lettuce, salsa, cheese), morning and afternoon snacks (yoghurt and cottage cheese) everyday. Tea is just whatever the family has but watching portion size and balanced carbs and proteins.

It's probably not perfect but it's a lot healthier than I have been eating for years. And, I don't feel hungry, just a craving or two now and then.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Six reasons

Six reasons why I want to be 'Slim, Fit and Healthy' soonish…
(Doesn't that sound better than, 'Why I want to lose weight'?)

1. Karate grading-August 26
2. Older, taller, thinner and neater sister’s birthday-August 26
3. Gym party-September 8
4. Beach holiday-September 23
5. My birthday-September 26
6. Wedding (not mine: done that, been there, x 2)-October 22

Last pilates

Had my last pilates lesson today. It was really good, there were only two of us in the class so heaps of attention. I really feel the benefit of the classes and wish I could keep on, but $$$. Karate and the gym thing are enough. Might have another 10 lessons later on in the year.

The BFL programme is going well. Pretty much into the swing of eating they way they like. Still have cravings but have posted a lovely bikini body on my computer screen as motivation. Only 8 weeks until the holiday. Loving the exercise, the weights are getting heavier and heavier each session and I can really feel my biceps and quads. It's all going to be great for karate. Just need those abs to tighten up, although the four children who stretched my belly to extremes probably did such a good job it's never going to look like my screen pix ;-)

Had lovely lunch in town with My Darling today. He is going well with his weights programme too. Funny, after all the excitement of finally owning a weights bench I have only used it once, having had a revival of gym visits. But MD is getting plenty of use from it. We are going to be one toned couple! I hope, I hope, I hope! Men, I think, naturally tone up faster. Women have that lovely layer of fat that conceals our rock hard abs!

Study calls...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Weight Blogging

So many women out there obsessed with weight. It is, on occasion, very affirming and at times down right depressing. All struggling to fulfill our idea of what we should look like. Two weeks into BFL and I am starting to feel comfortable in my clothes. It's such a delicious feeling of looseness that it becomes tempting to say, oh yes this is fine, this is where i want to be. But then I look at those ghastly before photos and realise there is a way to go yet. If I knew how to link (Kim, where are you when I need you?) I would point you to a blog where someone posted a lovely bikini body. Now, I know that at 43 attaining this is 'pie in the sky', but wouldn't it be nice?

Today is Sunday and on this programme a free day to eat all those things you hunger for during the week of 'good' food and exercise. Funny thing is that eating chips and chocolates is just making me feel ill. I don't want to eat them today. I wanted them on Wednesday and Thursday. Our brains are such weird contrary beasts.

The house is full again, well 2 adults, 3 children, 2 more arriving tomorrow. But I had a lovely 'alone' time over the weekend. Even, in a fit of 'extremism', visiting my gym at 10.30pm last night. It was great, all alone on the rower. Completed my 20 minutes aerobic session and then home to a good book, bliss.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Alone at last

I have two whole nights and days alone in my house! Hurrah! I so look forward to being alone. No one to talk to, no one to feed, no one to have to care about. It's so refreshing and so hard to organise. Last year we had nine in the house. Me, my darling, my three children, his three children (half the time) and Jack our own son. Ages at one point in the year were 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, and 9. So now you can see why I am so delighted to have two whole days and nights alone, alone, alone, yee-bloody-hah!

How I achieved this? Well... My oldest son now lives with his dad - closer to the uni, less noise and hassle. My Darling is away for three nights to farewell his oldest son off to Germany and took his other children to wave goodbye. That leaves two, and they are off to their dad's for the weekend. This will leave my normal household at seven this year, but just ONE this weekend. Me, me, me.

Now, it's all good except for one thing. I don't actually know what to do when I'm on my own. Too many years of 'mothering' has left me bereft of the ability to think for myself. Reading is obviously way, way up there as a preferred activity. Watching second son's game of rugby Saturday morning will figure, an evening out with the karate bods on Saturday night. I have study to do, so will block in a few hours each day for that and then...maybe a wee shopping spree? Winter sales are in full swing and I need boots and a skirt or two. Lunch in town to follow? Oh, and a karate class on Sunday morning. Sounds perfect. Double oh, oh - and fit Mass in there somewhere...maybe a Saturday Vigil. Triple oh, oh, oh - I've been invited out for tea tonight.

All so much fun and all just for me.

And best of all, Sunday fun-day to look forward to, and eating something delicious and decadent.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Another one down

Well, there is one less child in the house as of tomorrow, down to five. My stepson (18) is off to Germany. Roast pork for the farewell meal and then waffles with jam and cream for supper. Still deciding whether or not to eat a waffle. I’ll probably manage not to eat one. Roll on Sunday, 'free-eat' day!

Hunger pangs

The food is delicious, filling and I'm never hungry. So, why am I hungry? That sugar craving is intense at the moment, and my mind is saying, "Oh, just a little won't hurt", and the silliest one of all, "No one will know." As if anyone else, apart my poor sad self gives a toss about what I eat!

I just had the most scrumptious chicken wrap for lunch. Defrosted a tortilla in a fry pan, spread it with cream cheese and filled it with chicken (from last night), tomato, lettuce, cheese and salsa. MMMM mmmmm.

So, why am I hungry?

Monday, July 24, 2006

One week down

Day eight began as day one did, alarm clock mishap. Weird, as it's been fine all week. Anyway, familiarity with the programme meant that I could get through it all, make breakfast, morning tea, lunch and get to work on time!

So, one week down and done rather well, I think. Just a slight biscuit mishap on day three. Haven’t really felt hungry and having Sunday to look forward to was fun. I didn't even over-indulge too much on Sunday. A bag of chips, a bowl of lollies and Sweet and sour wontons for tea.

Went for two runs on Sunday which is officially a rest day. A 23-minute run to karate with my daughter and then later in the day a 40-minute run with MD around Ross Creek.

I feel fit and strong and that's only one week. The main thing I'm going to concentrate on this week is eating at the right times.

I sat down on Sunday night, with my bowl of lollies on my lap, and planned my meals for the week ahead. I feel quite virtuous.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Snow?

All good! Food good, exercise good. Really looking forward to Sunday, free day! Chocolate is definitely on the menu.

Hoping for more snow tonight so that I don't have to traipse to Waikouaiti, to watch U10s play rugby, in the morning.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Yum Oh Yum

Just discovered the perfect food. Greek pinwheels in the BfL eating for life book. A rolled tortilla filled with feta cheese, cream cheese, oregano, olives, spinach and a little turkey breast. Beautifully prepared the night before and transported lovingly to work for a mid-morning snack. Oh, truly scrumptious. This will be a life-long favourite.

Twenty minutes on the rower this morning. Feels really hard at the time, but afterwards you look at the clock and think 'Twenty minutes? I feel like I should do more.' That said, I have felt my inner thigh muscles all day.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

First slip-day three

Ate lunch, but was still starving, so ate some biscuits. Idiot, they were not even nice biscuits, well actually they were Nice biscuits, but they are not that nice as to be a real treat. After eating them and feeling like a twit I suddenly remembered that I had missed the 10.30am snack, or 'mid meal' as the BfL people like to say. Maybe that was why?

Two full work days ahead, need to be super dee duper ree organised with food. Seem to live at the supermarket, always forgetting this and that. Tomatoes today.

Tired. It was lower body at the gym today, leg weights and lunges, etc. Found it very hard to hit the right level of intensity. Either I am really really strong, I'm not doing the exercises quite right, or I just didn't pick hard enough weights to start with. It's all recorded though, so can adapt for next week.

Settling in

I ended up having company much of the day yesterday which may have saved me from myself. Spent an hour or so checking out more meals to replace yukky ones encountered so far. Made a delicious protein shake with pineapple pieces in it. This might be their saving grace? Make each one a fruit smoothie? For breakfast this morning I had an English muffin with tomato, cheese and bacon on it. I can live with that, yum.

Quite hard to get all the water down. You are meant to have 10 cups a day and I can only get up to 6 or 7. Once 8pm hits I just can't seem to drink any more.

Off to the gym now, lower body weights and then a pilates class. Then study, study, study. I'm back at work for the next two days so will need to be super organized with food.

What I'm liking, so far, about this programme is the lack of exactitude. There are no hard and fast rules on portion sizes and so I never feel as though I am eating too little. It's odd and I can't really explain. I'm certainly not 'cheating' and eating enormous portions but neither do I feel as though I'm doing without. Maybe there is something in this eating every 2 1/2 - 3 hours and the blood sugars do stay stable? Too soon to say, I suppose.

The odd thing is that I don't have working scales and don't intend to weigh myself until the very end of the 12 weeks. This means no progress reports, apart from 'feelings'. I hate those wee numbers and hate myself for believing a certain weight is right or wrong. This means no encouragement, but also means no disappointment. I'm working on fit and toned, not a random number (she says forcefully!).

PS: I did have a full weigh, measure, fat thing happen at my last gym assessment, a couple of weeks ago, so I will have measurements to compare at the end

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

one down eight-four to go

Ate some ghastly food yesterday. Found that protein shakes are not my thing. But never felt hungry and got to bed safely. One day done well.

Have done my 20 minutes of cardio (seems so little), on a bike today. I'm going with the BfL theory that exercise should be in the morning, prior to eating, and I quite like getting up early. I did feel foolish entering the gym and leaving within 25 minutes though. But it's done.

Study day today, at home.

I think I might be developing an aversion to eggs, as well as protein shakes. I feel slightly queasy after my breakfast, an omelety thing with mushrooms, onions and peppers on a pita bread. All things I like and it looked and smelt great , but now I feel revolted by it. Maybe it's too much having a cooked breakfast. I must explore the book again...

Monday, July 17, 2006

It can only get better

Woke up, alarm had not gone off, 45 minutes late. Period started:-( Too late for gym and so downstairs to new weights bench. None of the exercises I had planned were useable because they relied on gym machinery. So, a very quick remodelling of the programme that I had worked out so beautifully during the weekend. Unfamiliarity with both the equipment and the techniques made me slow, tick-tock, tick-tock.

Raced up stairs at 8.15 to find youngest son still fast asleep! MD thought he could have a wee sleep-in on the first day back to school. NO!!!! Wake gently (do not panic, or yell) breakfast thrust at him; make my own breakfast, no time for a shower, eeewwgh. Fast wash. Throw clothes on. Find food for mid-morning, and lunch. Race, race. Out the door at 8.35. Defrost windscreen. Drop boy at school, race to work (very carefully on icy roads) Park, grab enormous bag of books and lunch, trot to work. 9.05, only 5 minutes late!

Forgot water bottle. But I have begun.

Lesson to learn? Check alarm clock tomorrow morning.

Ready, steady...

Ahh well, the daughter has discovered the blog; hello Zoë! She knows I'm a fool anyway so hopefully nothing too revealing here. I promise not to talk about sex.

Spent most of the weekend reading, rereading and taking notes for the two books I have at home. It is easy, but I feel that I need to have it all sorted to get a good crack at it for the first week. The weights routine, while simple, is just unfamiliar to me and will take a week of two to fall into place. The food again, is simple, but I want to make sure it's all in place and relatively family friendly so I don't have to prepare meals for me and meal for them.

Ate far too much today. Silly and feel like shite. Must remember this feeling, ugh. Then again I'm already looking forward to next Sunday which is the designated 'free' day.

The spare bedroom is now 'Jo's gym'. Weights and bench, swiss ball, skipping rope, stomach wheelie thing(never used) and pilates mat, study desk neatly in the corner.

MD took revolting start photos, begged him not to look, but he said he had to, to aim. Ripped camera off him before he could check the screen and have just uploaded them to my secret space on the computer. Ugh and double ugh. That bikini look is not very flattering. However, bright spot...we went for a run about 7pm this evening and he said he found me intimidating to run with and always feels inferior to me when running, yaah. I felt really strong out there. I know he could run faster than me, but I must make it look easy.

Ohh, it's now Monday morning I am now on the BFL programme! Roll on twelve weeks.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Gearing up

Fridays PT session went really well. I liked Harumi and if I didn't have this body for life thing stuck in my brain, I would be perfectly happy with the programme. But! I have made a (yet another) decision and Monday morning I will ring the gym and ask them to delay my PT sessions for 12 weeks. I'm going to do the body for life thing.

MD is keen and supportive. We have bought a weights bench (Trade me (cheap!)) for both of us to use. I'll probably use the gym more than stuff at home but it will be handy to work out correct form and get the timings right. Very tempted to go the whole hog and get a treadmill while we are at it.

I have even bought some of the protein shake stuff. Hope to only use it once a day and eat real food the rest of the time. I have the eating for life book out form the library too and the food looks scrumptious. I don't want to get caught up in supplements and stuff. I just want to tone up and be really, really, really fit. Roll on Monday.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Decision made?

Dithering over the last few days since reading those Phillips books. I know I am a sucker for a new idea, but those before and after photos are very compelling in a sick way. I know very well that they are the extreme people and there will be thousands if not millions who have done a week or whatever and have little or nothing to show for it. But, I want to do it. But I don't want to muck up prearranged personal training or the body for life by overdoing or mixing and matching programmes.

So two days of mucking and now I have left it too long to cancel my PT session. That decision not made, I am just going to go for gold and try to do it all.

MD has news of an impending karate grading, which will require an immense amount of training on his part too, so maybe we can support each other. We usually run together when he is training but I think we will have to forgo that, as it will be contraindicative to my programme. The idea of 20 mins cardio is very appealing to me.

So, off to PT session this afternoon at 2.30. See how that goes and then I have reams of paperwork and stuff to organise and plan for over the weekend to start ‘body for life’ on Monday. Worried that the weights sessions sound very confusing, especially when I haven’t done free weights for so long. I expect the first few weeks will be awkward as I find my way around a new part of my gym.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

An empty house

Bliss, two hours with no one around. Study beckons. A good morning exercise-wise. Another ride down to the gym and then just a little cardio, 20 mins on the treadmill and 5 on the skier, then the real reason for the ride, the 40 minute walk home. The pedometer was working brilliantly and it's about 4,800 steps home. No one up when I arrived so a leisurely breakfast and then back to the gym for my regular pilates class at 11am.

I'm in a seniors class; our gym has only started offering these classes and there weren't any times that suited me and so I am the youngest by 20 years. The instructors Cindy or Stephanee are really good as they come and whisper to me how to 'progress' each move and I end up with quite a nice workout.

Home for lunch and then two sons away with their Granddad for the afternoon and daughter off shopping yet again with friends. The stepchildren haven't arrived yet (tea time) and MD at work and so peace, perfect peace for at least two hours, hurrah! The body for life book has arrived at the library, I'll pick it up at work tonight and then read both the body and the eating books over the weekend and be inspired. I will have ten weeks to make a difference. Exercise is looking good, just need to modify drastically my food inhalations.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A day at home

Usually a study day, but since it's the school holidays the darlings are scattered around and the house isn't conducive to study. I can't bear to go to the library to study as I have enough 'working mother' guilt already. And so, all study is on hold until next weekend.

Had a lovely start to the day with a ride down to MD's work. I trotted over to the gym and did some winter challenge cardio, 20 minutes on the bike and 5 mins on the ski thing and then left all hot and bothered for a 45 minute walk home. Gathered youngest son and back to town to buy this and that; pillow cases, trousers, pedometer and a nifty wee vacuum cleaner for the keyboard.

So the exercise thing is taken care of. Karate tonight as well. But having trouble starting the food thing. I seem to be eating all the 'not so good' foods in the house so that they won't be here to tempt me. I can't quite throw them out, juts hoping not to replace them next time I'm at the supermarket.

Reading Bill Philip's 'Eating for life' and enjoying it but only got it out of the library yesterday so no time for huge food revelations yet. the before and after photos are almost too unbelievable. But little secret hope that maybe if one did it all really, really, well?????

So, all OK. Looking forward to Friday and my new weights programme at the gym. Then I will know I am really on my way. Oh, investigated sun-beds today. I know, I know horrid unhealthy melanoma producing things, but still I want to be brownish rather than translucent white on that beach. eleven weeks away! Start that early August I think. No idea where all the time is going to come from for all this self-indulgence?