30 April 2014

The Run Diary - Week 11 - Berk Time.

So here we are - just under three weeks now until I run 23 kilometres.

In fact, if you want me to be accurate it's 18 sleeps.

And I have a broken toe.  And a cold.

How do I know I have a broken toe?  Because the hospital x-rayed it and told me.  How do people normally know they have a broken bone unless it's the kind of break which sticks out sideways and spurts blood.  It's been the question most people have asked me - how do I know?  It's odd that people would self diagnose a break often enough that people assume toe fractures are ALWAYS self diagnosed.

Anyway, I digress.  It's meant a week of not running.  And technically it will take 6-8 weeks to fully recover.  But as you know, I don't have that time.  So I'm being one of those berks who run regardless. The thing is - I'm confident that the pain will be mostly gone as it's come on great guns in the last few days, and if it hurts like a horrible thing at the end of the 23 kilometres - who cares?  I will have done the run and there will be wine.

Medicinal obviously.
Lisa and I obviously share friends
And the cold, well it's stayed off my chest so far so it shouldn't make any difference.  The difference is more likely to be evident from the two weeks without having completed a stupidly long run because we're about to enter 'taper' phase.

This is where you spend a couple of weeks running half the distance so your body can recover and be ready for race day.

My body has the rest of it's life to bloody recover from the 23 kilometres.  In the meantime it's just going to have to swallow some cement and harden up.  Because I have to fit in a 20 kilometre run before I can start all this tapering business.

And my last long run was interrupted by an unwise lunch choice.  The great thing about that unwise lunch choice was it was a)delicious and b) I ran the fastest kilometre I've ever run to get to the closest example of modern day plumbing.  The less great thing was the amount of time I spent gazing at the back of a toilet door at the new Holbroyd Rowing Club.  Very swish.

And then I broke my toe before I had the chance to re-do that. And I have to fit in that 20 kilometres. I really do.

It's not a running obsession, I just don't like being thwarted.  And by a toe.  Honestly, I would have accepted a broken leg as the result of a heroic leap in front of a car to save the life of an orphan but a broken toe because I accidentally stubbed my toe on the couch?

It's ridiculous.  So I'm taking the seven days 'rest' period like a good girl and then I'm being a berk.

Who knew I had it in me?

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29 April 2014

Labor! Labor! Why have you abandoned me? #ibot

Dear Labor,

As even the people that voted for the Liberal party start to question their sanity, the loudest sound is your silence.  And it bothers me because silence always reeks of complicity when it comes to politics.

Where is the voice of Bill Shorten?  Penny Wong? Tanya Pilbersek? Stephen? Mark, Jenny? Kate? ANYBODY?

Your website says you're for a stronger and fairer Australia.... but um?

Look, I get that you started this stupidity over in Nauru and Manus as a means of distracting people from the pigtail pulling and other school yard antics of Rudd and Gillard but it's time now to admit that you made a mistake and being complicit in the this gargantuan violation of people's human rights is probably not the way forward?  And definitely not part of what you supposedly stand for! Have the courage to say 'WE GOT IT WRONG - SORRY!'.

And it's probably not a bad time to start some interpretative dance about the dismantling of the Gonski reforms, the selling off of endangered forests and the tax breaks for big business that are directly affecting our aged and infirm.  You know, just so people feel that somebody is noticing that the world is going to hell in a hand basket and you're not actually okay with it?

What about some informed debate or some vocalisation about our economy being one of only eight in the world with a AAA rating from the three credit agencies meaning we're in pretty good shape no matter what they heard from Bob who once knew a guy who had a cow who worked in a bank.  Or read in the Daily Telegraph.  Or how about coming out even and saying - look the LNP have a great suggestion re BLAH but were probably drunk when they wrote the rest of the budget?  SOMETHING!

How about we start clapping our hands and hollering about the state of Indigenous Health and the fact that we still haven't recognised them in our constitution?  Sure Tony said he's going to do it but he also said he wasn't going to make changes to education, blah, blah, blah.  And we just bought billions of dollars worth of fighter planes when we don't even know if we can keep Qantas.  Surely there is more demand for an airline that gets people around the country than planes to.... actually WHAT?  What the f**k are we doing with those planes? Does anybody know?

I get that you all have to say things to get into power.  And that sometimes it's not all that practical to carry it through.  But some LEADERSHIP?  For the love of Roscoe Arbuckle - give us something Labor.  Show us! Empower us! Speak to us!  Take your inspiration from the delightfully Green Scott Ludlam who might have been speaking to an empty chamber but people were listening.  The man got half a million views in three days because HE SAID SOMETHING.  The fact that it was brilliant and TRUE might have had something to do with it.

But apart from that, the only voice that ever is heard in opposition to anything the LNP is Clive Palmer.  CLIVE PALMER.  That man doesn't need a government - he's rich enough to do what he wants.  He's just having a great time pissing people off.  Mainly Newman which makes it amusing, but not exactly a sure fire way to being an Australia we can be proud of.

Sigh. Labor! Labor! Why HAVE you abandoned me?

Me x

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Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

28 April 2014

It's not them, it's you.

So around Australia today, people with school aged children are prepping lunches, ironing uniforms and saying to themselves 'so pleased THAT is over' as they coax their children out the door back into the world of learning.

And for the last few weeks the interweb hass been aflame with the exasperated laments of parents who feel that the school holidays lasted too long, about three minutes after the final bell of last term.  And because Australia inexplicably can't line up it's school holidays or time zones, it's not a neatly contained fortnight of lamentations but about a month's worth of reasons some people will never have children.

There's an element that runs through 99% of the upset though. And that is basically that YOU, the parent, are the unreasonable one.  Is it possible YOU set the bar so high, YOU were never going to enjoy the time with them? (If you already threw something at the screen, I'd leave this blog now - because YES I am suggesting that you might be the arse here not them)

I give you this example:

The zoo.  3pm or thereabouts.  Parent screaming at children 'I JUST WANTED A NICE DAY OUT WITH ALL OF US TOGETHER AS A FAMILY'.

Translation - 'I just spent $300 fucking dollars on tickets, crap food and parking and you will have a good time damn it and there will be good fucking photos to prove it or you better hope there's a fucking god'.

Or this example:


Translation - 'Oh for fuck's sake - how did I end up with my own version of the Osbourne family when I intended to raise the fucking Von Trapps?'

Or this example:

At a nice eatery, surrounded by people with seemingly beautifully behaved children. 'GET YOUR FINGER OUT OF YOUR NOSE AND EAT YOUR VEGETABLES OR THERE WILL BE NO DESSERT"

Translation - "Oh fuck. I've turned into my mother".

Sometimes kids don't want to hang out with their family, go to zoos, or have big day outings or dinner at Jamie Oliver.  They just want to play with their friends, make loom bands, see if they can pull off high heeled sneakers, prostitute chic and a trilby hat, and eat pizza.  They've probably had a great holiday apart from you being a shouty parent for two weeks.

And those beautifully behaved children at the next table? Bribed. No doubt about it.

What is something that you got cross about that you know deep down was because you sometimes forget that you have real people in your family, not the fantasy version that you dreamt up when you first got knocked up?

Linking up with the delightful Kimberley over at Melbourne Mum for the Laugh Linkup

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26 April 2014

How to change a toilet roll

Late last year on my personal Facebook page I asked my friends what etiquette was sorely missing in the world today.  Over fifty vehement, ranty suggestions (I had obviously hit a nerve) later, I present 


In no way are these posts endorsed by the likes of June Dally Watkins or any professional royal butlers.

Let's start at the beginning.  

What is etiquette?

Etiquette is defined as "the customary code of polite behaviour in society or among members of a particular profession or group"

You may know this more commonly as 'How not to be an arse'.

You can see the first post 'How to RSVP' by clicking on the word 'dandelion'.

This second post on the subject of etiquette addresses the lost art of changing the toilet roll. Now the first question you may ask is "When do I need to change a toilet roll?"

It's an easy answer.  If it looks like either picture below it is empty and needs to be changed.  Leaving one sheet on the roll is even more annoying because it means you've actually put thought into being an arse rather than just naturally being one.

Exhibit A: Clearly Empty

Exhibit B: One sheet counts as empty
So then you need to remove the strut that holds the empty toilet roll holder and slide off the empty cardboard roll.  Best you recycle it, but at worst, drop it on the ground for later. We focussed on changing it here, not your bathroom's cleanliness factor. 

You may need to use two hands
but I was taking pictures with the other

Then you locate a fresh roll of toilet paper.  These can often be found on a shelf in the room the toilet is located in, in a box in the laundry or garage, under the bathroom sink or on a stand beside the toilet.  In an office environment, spare rolls are often found piled in front of the mirror in the hand washing area or on the hook behind the door. 

Wherever they are, the rough size and shape of every roll is as per the picture below and you keep hunting until you find one okay? 

A roll of toilet paper
Then, if necessary, you remove the wrapping and slide the full roll of toilet paper back onto the strut and put the strut back in place. 

Careful, it's heavy
Then last but not least, you pull the first piece of paper down so if the next person to use the toilet happens to go in the middle of the night or the light has blown, they don't need to be fumbling around trying to find the 'edge' to unravel the roll and crying with frustration as they think about what kind of monster only does half the job! 

Over is best
but not essential
It is that simple.  The only reason you might NOT change the toilet roll after you use up the last of the paper is if a giant tornado rips through your house/office and tosses you into another country before you have a chance to do so.  In which case you better be found with your pants round your ankles and a dazed and confused look otherwise you'll just be known as that 'selfish arse who didn't change the toilet roll'. 

And that my friends concludes our second lesson on etiquette in the modern world.  It's not turning out to be that hard now is it???? 

(PS: Before you ask, it's not a sponsored post, it's just the toilet paper we use because social enterprise is good and I'd rather give money to projects like this than Kleenex - even if they don't use fluffy puppies in their adverts)

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25 April 2014

Forgive us for we do forget

Lest we forget.

Yet we do.  Time and time again, countries turn their weapons in the direction of other countries. Time and time again, countries turn their weapons on their own people.  War is not becoming less common, just less structured, more covert and more destructive, the enemy less obvious. 

Our family histories are no longer one long clearly demarcated line of loyalty.  Modern day Australians have grandparents born in Australia, England, Japan, Germany, Malta, Italy, Russian, Ukraine, Spain, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and the list goes on.  There is no longer a 'them' and an 'us'.  

Being citizens of the world makes it harder to declare war on any one country - so we go to war on terrorism, drugs, refugees, religion, and so on.  We become oblivious to the language, to the context, to the casualties, the suffering involved in 'war'.   We pride our soldiers on their 'leave no man/woman behind' but yet we are content in life to say 'every man/woman for himself'. 

War is a collective effort.  A mammoth collective effort.  And nobody is unaffected by the outcome.  The ripple effect reaches all elements of society, impacts generations of families - no matter whether you are the conqueror or the conquered.  

William Owen wrote a poem which I first read in high school and which I think of every Anzac Day as we rightly remember and honour the fallen with the more palatable 'In Flander's Field' and 'Ode of Remembrance'

It aptly illustrates that no matter what we read, or how brave the individuals who participate, how stoic the families, how clever the strategies or how history may shape it, war is not glorious. 

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood 
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, 
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, 
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest 
To children ardent for some desperate glory, 
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est 
Pro patria mori*

*The old lie "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" translates as "it is sweet and right to die for your country"

It's not.

Lest we forget.  

24 April 2014

Confessions of the not yet famous


I mean NO!  She didn't? He didn't? Did he? BUT BUT BUT BUT....

Cue general outrage and a veritable storm of protest about something somebody did before they were famous, before they'd actually grown up or just because one time they acted without thinking about the consequences!

We out here in interweb world are a really judgemental pack of bastards sometimes.  It's not like we all haven't got a few 'skeletons' lurking about in our cupboard, packed away in a photo album or sitting in somebody else's memory bank just waiting for some journalist to come along and pay for our story.

And it's not about he who is without sin can throw the first stone.  No sirreee.  If you've lived your life without making a single decision which could be misconstrued in later life - than I am assuming you've been in a coma since birth.  Even Mother Teresa went to confession.  YES MOTHER TERESA.

Here's a few of mine

1. I dressed up as Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act, The Jackson Five and a Black and White Ministrel for various fancy dress parties when I was in my late teens and I blacked my skin for it.  What can I say? Would I do it now - no.  Does it make me cringe when I think on it now - yes.  But then? There was no malice or intent to offend - just access to a whole lot of theatrical makeup and a nun's habit.  I'm a whole lot better educated about the insidious cruelty of casual, unintended racism and quite simply, life experience has put me in a position to understand that I would have been better off making different dress up choices.

 2. When in Rome on my way back from Russia at the tender age of 17, I consumed an entire bottle of Russia's version of breast milk and passed out, fully clothed, in an empty bath.  My friends gleefully photographed me and then produced the photographs (which I believed to have been destroyed) at my 21st. The only reason I confess this is that if they were prepared to produce them in front of 100 of my friends AND my parents AND my uncle, The Very Reverend Father AG, they are prepared to sell them to the press. I'd do the same.

3. I did on three occasions try the 'marrywahna'.  It did nothing for me the first, second, or third time and so I gave up.  I did however inhale and there were witnesses.  Since most of those witnesses have gone on to be committed pot smokers right through their adult life, I somehow suspect this could have remained secret as most of them have trouble remembering their names these days, but hey - if I'm going to be President of the new world or the middle aged Bieber I need to own it.

4. Long before Banksy and the Royals made graffiti white collar, I started to scratch 'Ms Kelly sux' into the wall of the pool where we were having our high school swimming carnival.  I was using a bobby pin and I had gotten to the letter 'K' when Ms Kelly busted me.  I was given a week of lunchtime 'scab' duties (pick up the litter) for the offence and an additional week for failing to give my parents the letter that told them of my transgression.

5. The very first time I voted, I voted Liberal in a local election.  All I have to say for myself is I'm sorry.

There you go, five skeletons which could bring my future celebrity into disrepute.  What about you? If you were to become famous tomorrow, what do you need to confess before the press confess for you?

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22 April 2014

Children should watch more TV

I never have understood the thinking that makes parenting as hard as possible for the individual.  I mean people have been doing it for years - why reinvent the wheel?  Take advantage of the world around you and what others have learnt as they hauled their children from birth to adulthood. 

And TV definitely falls into that "don't knock it, until you've totally abused it's babysitting capacity" category. 

Sure, you - the adult - is not the target audience but there are heaps of things children can learn from TV which saves you the bother of having to teach them later on.  Not only that - it exposes to them a set of characters and scenarios that might be well be beyond your personal set of experiences and skills. 

I pride myself on bad efficient parenting.  And I thank the creators of the all the shows for my daughters' understanding of the following:

'Nuff said
The cause and effect between income and effort. They can use the word doubloon in context (gold/money) and they recognise you have to work to get doubloons and that sometimes - others want you to do all the hard work and then just steal the rewards. 

Regardless of gender - when they grow up they can do whatever the hell they want to do.

a doctor 

a helicopter pilot 

a pirate
Not everybody needs to understand you for you to be successful 

(I mean honestly - WTF?????)
Being able to enjoy the small things in life is probably going to make your happier than anything else

Loving books doesn't preclude you from being a rock star

Music is awesome

And friends are really important.  So you should be lovely to them no matter how bonkers they are in everyday life.  You probably chose them for a reason.

So go put those kids in front of the TV, pour yourself a wine and congratulate yourself on your exceptional parenting. And Steve Biddulph Sir - I'm more than happy for you to reference my genius in your next parenting guide.  

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21 April 2014

Defining your personality - how not to do it.

Hi, my name is Alison and I'm .....
  • a Daisy
  • a Blue Aura
  • Claire Standish from the Breakfast Club
  • Penny from the Big Bang Theory
  • Phil Dunphy from Modern Family
  • A tiger
  • The colour red
  • The game of football
  • A muggle
  • Somebody from the Game of Thrones*
Hi, my name is Alison and I'm SO over Buzzfeed type quizzes that profess to tell you something about yourself that is profound and meaningful.

I can help you.  Your name is X and if you are so unsure about who you are - I have one word - Therapy.

If you are finding your life so beige that it truly delights you to find out that if you were a character on a show you are most likely to be a psychopathic dwarf with incestuous bloodthirsty urges - we really shouldn't be friends.  

Because that's weird.  I'm okay with your bird phobias, horse obsessions, secret gaming habits or inexplicable loyalty to the Liberal Party - but I'm really not okay with having to rethink eating meat at your place because your mother is 'on holidays'. 

We all have our idiosyncrasies. The internet gives us glimpses of those.  I mean before we had the interweb how on earth would we ever have discovered the worldwide obsession with cats?  If somebody had claimed the cat phenomenon for themselves - it would be on the census by now and surely outrank Christianity.  

People like to believe.  I get that.  But PLEASE stop clogging up my social media with your journey of self discovery.  Let those little quizzes be your secret shame.    

I forgive it all - your baby poo posts, your snapshots of every meal and your bitstrip pity posts.  Go bonkers my green auraed Spiderman shaped sunflower.  I forgive it all.

*No quizzes were actually done in support of this post.  I didn't read 50 Shades of Grey either and it still annoys the hell out of me. 

I am hosting #LaughLink this week - so please - feel free to join in the merriment by linking your post below.

And remember - next week's #Laughlink is being hosted by the fabulous Kimberly at the craft free Melbourne Mum

17 April 2014

The long weekend acometh

Whether or not you're a believer in Christianity, chances are if you're reading this blog, you're probably living in a country which is benefiting from it.  Except for the Aggarwals and the Phillips who seem to read it occasionally and they are all living in the Middle East.  Oh, and the O'Hagans and the Ansells in Asia.

But the rest of you in first world countries running on a Judeo-Christian calendar - I am talking about public holidays people.  Public holidays.

And most pressingly - the four day long weekend otherwise known as 'Easter'.  Be you a believer it's in pagan origins, it's Christian origins or you believe all of it to be a load of codswallop, you're getting a four day weekend. Starting this afternoon.

If you're a grown up that is.  If you're a child you're on school holidays or being forced to work for minimum wage in fast food outlets around the country so people who forget that the supermarkets are not open on Good Friday can still feed their families.

And petrol station attendants.  For those that forget that Good Friday means everything is closed and they haven't got the petrol to get to Macdonalds.  So they get some petrol and a four pack of mac cheese and sit tight until Saturday.

And supermarket employees who will be working on Saturday for all those who forgot to buy eggs and something to eat for Easter lunch.  If the supermarkets are busy today, my guess is that you are going to need crack SAS teams to manage the stampede of shoppers on Saturday.

And then all the small corner stores that open on Easter Sunday and for all the businesses in Manly, NSW.  Everything always seems to be open there no matter when you visit.  It's a little disconcerting to be honest.

But.... original point unproven.  Turns out loads of people work all the Easter weekend.  Even the Royals aren't getting to stay in their PJs and eat chocolate for every meal.  (Or little r royals if you're having a republican moment.)

Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you do or don't believe in, I hope you have a very splendid long weekend/not long weekend/chocolate feast/visit to church/time with your family/time hiding from your family/day in bed/trip to the Easter Show/family camping trip/other.

And if you're on the road, for the love of Roscoe Arbuckle - turn your freaking lights on, slow down and stay alive. Not everybody gets to rise again come Sunday!

16 April 2014

Not quite a winner

I was very chuffed to be one of the nominated blogs for Voices of 2014.  Sure I let you all know about it and even shamelessly plugged it, but it meant that somebody loved me, or the blog enough to do it.

And that was awesome.  I have not made the top 100 blogs.  And of course it's disappointing that the judges failed to recognise my supreme wit, smoking hot vocabulary and brilliant ability to arrange the alphabet into an assortment of words which appeal to one or two of you out there.

Everybody makes mistakes.  Something like nine publishing houses rejected J.K. Rowling's first draft of Harry Potter. That's gotta hurt in retrospect. [Judges take note :-)]

But seriously, I am okay. (Catches sob, brushes eyes dramatically and gives artful shrug of her shoulders, raises head defiantly and smiles at the Muggle ahead of her.  Or something.)

I enjoy blogging.  Like really enjoy it.  I enjoy writing.  I enjoy having an outlet for my inside thoughts and those random brain explosions which always sound much less articulate if voiced without due consideration.

I also enjoy reading blogs. And I absolutely adore meeting the people behind the blogs.  Even when they write brilliantly, they are generally even more awesome in real life.  And funny.  You can't be putting your life out into the public arena and not have the ability to laugh at both yourself and others.

Because life is generally fairly ridiculous.  And taking yourself seriously all the time must be so debilitating.  Never doing anything differently because it might not work out.  So yes, I didn't make the top 100 this year, but I can always try again next year or basically just write the blogging version of Harry Potter and retire to write 'proper things' like JKR did.

And in the meantime my friends - there are so many brilliant blogs in the Top 100.  You've got an Easter weekend looming, so I recommend (in no particular order but with unreserved gushing) With Some Grace, The Plumbette, Cooker and A Looker, BoyEatsWorld, Reservoir Dad, Mama Stylista, Little Grey Box, Keeping up with the Holsbys and Dad Down Under.

Fashion, food, fun, travel, design, vasectomies and all that.

And an honourable mention to three hilarious women who were definitely 101 - 103 and are also funny, interesting women - you'll want to make sure you're an early adopter of Have a laugh on me, Champagne Cartel and Blah Blah Magazine.

That said, in what is a blatant plug for another award - you can make me the People's Choice Awardee in case the judges at AWC fail to recognise my genius as well.

Click on the link below to go vote for me like a boss.  It's alphabetical so I'm SORRY but you'll have to click through to the letter T!
Click here
Last but not least a huge big fat congratulations to all the bloggers in the Top 100 (and my future career as a reclusive billionaire writer).

15 April 2014

The Run Diary - Week hmmmm - A beginner's guide to running

Running is a bit like having a baby.  People spend a lot of time telling you about the things you ultimately don't really need to know, and absolutely nothing about the bits you do.

I'm there for you.  Here are the things that beginner runners need to know.

Catherine told me so it must be true. Please. 
  1. Running hurts.  It's not natural - all the professionals agree that the body is not designed for you to haul your weight around at a stupid pace for hours on end.  Which is why muscles you never knew existed start to hurt and you feel that your knee cap is going to explode, or your shoulder aches, or you get that weird pulsing muscle in your groin that feels like gremlins are trying to dig their way to China.

    And unlike childbirth - nobody offers you pain relief.  They try and positive mantra your arse off and tell you to push through the pain.  Even in childbirth they encourage you to take a break and get your breath back.  Like childbirth though - profanity is perfectly acceptable and drinking wine afterwards thoroughly recommended.
  2. Running is really bloody expensive.  They say that all you need is a good pair of running shoes and an open road but that's just bollocks.  It's like people that say to have babies all you need is a pair of boobs and some nappies.  A good pair of running shoes sets you back a couple of hundred dollars.  Which you have to replace every few hundred kilometres.  Which happens faster than you think.  Then you need a good bra, a really good bra, so your boobs don't knock out your fellow runners. If you are running distances, you need the hydration belts, and gels, and watches.  Even for shorter runs you need good underwear so you don't get chafing, proper running shorts/leggings so you don't get chafing and a good top... so you don't get chafing.  Plus all of a sudden you're eating better which costs money and the list goes on.
  3. Dynamic training is mind numbingly boring and repetitive.  The name lies.  You basically run on a wet oval, around and around and around in circles at various paces.  Your feet get wet, the mosquitoes eat the shit out of you and there is no decent scenery to distract you from the fact that you are basically running in circles for two hours when there are so many more fun things you could be doing.
  4. Footpaths are never straight.  And the steeper it is, the more likely it is to be tilted to one side.  So when you see people running up a hill, one leg is running a lot less, because the ground is likely to be higher under their left leg and lower under their right.  Which is why even really good runners look like their are lurching sometimes.  If you're on a road, just when it is steepest they dig it up so you're essentially running on cobble stones.  It's very likely that every local council in every city around the world is full of people actively designing surfaces that make running difficult.  And they are laughing so very very hard.
  5. Running never gets fun.  The longer you run the happier you are to finish.  And the more emotional.  I wept like a small child deprived a chocolate bar after my 16.13 kilometre run the other day.  And I have to learn to run another seven on top of that.  I get that some people regularly run marathons, ultra marathons and the like - but its not for the love of running.  It's to complete the run.  It's to be able to say 'I did this in x amount of minutes'.  If people were running for love of running they wouldn't need to run races.  Fact. And even professional runners say that when running feels easier, you need to run faster.  It's a fool's errand my friends, a fool's errand.
  6. Running is not for weight loss.  The only way you're going to lose weight running is if your leg falls off. Fat turns to muscle.  Muscle weighs more. Michelle Bridges only wants you to believe it works so you buy her running pants.  Running might be good for you in a lot of ways (none of which I have yet discovered), but if you really want to lose weight, just don't eat. It's quicker, less painful and doesn't involve dynamic training.  
I'm not saying don't do it. Doing anything you've not done before is always intensely satisfying. I'm just sayiing that if you have the choice, take up roller blading. It's much faster, much more fun and much much kinder to your boobs.

14 April 2014

Well that was awkward

Everybody has them.  A plethora of stories that showcase extremely awkward moments which are actually incredibly hilarious.


Never at that particular moment.

And you always hope that nobody ever repeats what happens.  And if they do, they don't have a blog post about awkward moments. So you never ever read the post and realise she has never forgotten the time when...

  • your child gave a spirited and detailed description to the grandparents about how hairy your hoohar is
  • you wrote in an email to your boss "I'll be in naked to talk to you" rather than "I'll be in later to talk to you" 
  • your child dropped some paint at childcare and yelled 'fuck this shit' at top volume
  • you got really drunk, hugged a cactus and couldn't remember it so thought you had some bizarre disease that meant you couldn't lower your arm without pain
  • your mother described somebody, in all innocence, as a right 'twat' to somebody British
  • your child nominated 'Scissor Sisters' as their favourite family band
  • your child walked through your office with tampons stuck in each ear that day you had to pop into work on a non-work day and you didn't notice until after you'd introduced them to your MD
  • you did your entire bridal waltz with a post it note on the back of your designer dress saying "kick me" and still haven't worked out who put it there
  • you sent a raunchy text to your father-in-law instead of your husband just as you sat down to dinner with them at a posh eatery and couldn't understand why he wasn't speaking to you until afterwards
I have a million moments myself of awkward, where trying to make it better just makes it worse.  But when you look back, you just laugh and laugh and laugh.  Or at least, your friends do while you still feel that slow burn of embarrassment.  But hey, life can be a little bit slapstick sometimes and we really need to just roll with it.

A thousand thank yous to the people whose stories I have shamelessly shared in this post and please know that every time I recall them, I smile.  They are truly gifts that just keep on giving.  

Have you got any moments of awkward you are willing to share?  Any of mine you want to share? 

Linking up with the hilarious Emily at 'Have a laugh on me' with LaughLink

11 April 2014

GAFF - an explanation

I invented a highly scientific acronym known as GAFF.  GAFF ratings range from 1 (being low) to 10 (being high).

The methodology is highly subjective.  Highly.

GAFF stands for your 'Give a f**k factor'.  It is variable and completely dependent on topic, sleep patterns, people involved, time of day, hunger levels and so on. It is also transient. And can move from low to high in a matter of moments.

For instance - house a pigsty, needs a tidy - Meh (1).  People coming over - Hmmm (4). My highly housework obsessive mother or sister are coming to visit - Arrrrgh - HOUSE CLEAN MUST BE DONE RIGHT NOW (10).

Or - house a pigsty, needs a tidy - Meh (1). Urgent deadline for work - Arrrrrgh - HOUSE CLEAN MUST BE DONE RIGHT NOW (10)

I jest but GAFFs are a highly contentious element of every day interactions.  They are the things that lead us to judge ourselves, each other, complete strangers.

Your GAFF can make or break a relationship if it remains non-compatible with your partner's GAFF.  It can cause intense frustration at work.  It is responsible for road rage. Queue rage. Indignant rants on Mummamia posts about the mother who fed her baby with a bottle without publicly outing herself as a bad parent. Your GAFF allows you to pour that glass of wine and watch the TV even though you know you probably have something more important to do.

Your GAFF contributes to your empathy levels. Your sympathy levels. Your performance. Your achievements. Your complete inability to ever master the art of cooking.  It differentiates the Block fans from the MKR fans from the people that don't watch either. Some people have incredibly high GAFFs for personal appearance. Fashion. Possessions. Others find their highest GAFFs centre on sports, art, film, changing the world.

The diversity of GAFFs is incredibly important.  It is what makes life interesting.  But it is equally  important to recognise their changeability.  Today's GAFF might be completely different from tomorrow's.  This years GAFFs unrecognisable next.  And that is the glory of the GAFF.

So be not afraid people to use it.  If somebody is disagreeing with you on a topic - say to them "I recognise you have a GAFF 9 on this, but I've only got a GAFF 3, maybe 4, let's revisit it later or even just agree to disagree"

And because it's scientific - they can't argue with it. It magically diffuses the tension and your world remains a place of love and understanding.

Unless they are evangelical creationists or Andrew Bolt, in which case my friends, you're on your own.

Linking up today people with the delightful Ms Grace

9 April 2014

The Run Diary - Week something - Drugs in sport

Turns out I am the worst in the world at doing a weekly Run Diary.  

We are now six weeks out from the Great Ocean Road Ultra Half Marathon.  23 kilometres of up, up, up, down, up, down, up, down, level. 

A few weeks ago I ran 12.5 kilometres and was so chuffed with myself for breaking the mental barrier of 'half the half' and yet nobody pointed out to me until I crossed the finish line that my maths was fundamentally flawed and I could have turned around at 11.5 kilometres to achieve that same mental breakthrough.  

Cheeky bastards.

And now I've run 14 kilometres.  And ran all the way.  I'm experimenting with gels and honey shots and water loading and breakfast types in a way which makes me feel that I should have tried party drugs when I was younger, because if the rumours are true, a dose of ecstasy would be the best of all things to keep me running for the entire 23 kilometres.  

Because nothing is worse than wondering if it's gas or something more as you shuffle forward like a lecherous old man with an attractive nurse in his sights, miles from any kind of acceptable toileting system.  So far, unattractively, it's only been gas, but I've heard the stories about when it's not.  And I only have one pair of running pants - I can't afford to go down that path.  

This weekend just gone I did the Lindfield Fun Run.  It wasn't the easiest run but ultimately, depending on how fast you ran, it was just 30-90 minutes of running up extremely steep hills and swearing a lot.  Which doesn't really equate to the hardships endured by Shackleton and his mob as they plodded towards whichever Pole it was.  Though, they probably went faster.  Even when they got stuck in the ice. 

The best looking of my running group
(it's okay nobody reads my blog - they'll never know I said this)
Our coach Christie is a professional athlete. This means she gets paid to exercise and people give her pants to wear so if she does ever discover that it's more than gas, she has a spare pair of pants.  The downside is she has to take exercise seriously every day and be mindful and healthy and all that kind of stuff constantly.  

She's been recovering from a 'career impeding' injury and just this weekend returned to professional competitions.  She aced it of course (bar almost forgetting to actually cross the finish line) but I have noted that none of her thank you essays have included adequate homage to the power of profanity. I consider this a serious flaw in her coaching technique despite my overall admiration for her. 

Positive mantras be damned.  I run along thinking 'Fuck cancer', 'Fuck cancer', 'Fuck cancer'.  

Not because I'm noble. Not because I hate that it affects my friends and family. But mainly because if cancer didn't exist, I wouldn't have to fucking run.  

That's altruism for you.

So if you're in Sydney this weekend, and you want to join me for a 16 kilometre run, I'm the chubby one at the back uttering profanities.  Hopefully high.

8 April 2014

Learning to grieve

I was fifteen years old when the first of my friends died.  We'd been friends since Year 7, were now in Year 11 and Jill had Cystic Fibrosis.When she passed, she'd just got her driver's license and was terribly chuffed.  When we talked about what would happen after college, she said she'd like to make 25, maybe get married and do some University.

The idea of Jill dying was something we were comfortable discussing even if we didn't truly fathom what it would actually mean.  When somebody lives with a terminal illness, there is no point in ignoring the impact is has on their lives - the frequent trips to hospital, the simple activities they can not participate in and the backpack of medications or equipment that needed to come everywhere with us.

The same night she died, a chap in the year below us hung himself. I didn't know him, but others did.  All I felt was internalised red hot rage at his selfishness.  All Jill had wanted to do was live and he'd thrown his life away.  I was grieving and I was angry.  Not dissimilar emotions, but the intensity of my rage had no real outlet because I did not yet understand that it was possible to be sad and mad at the same time.  And that I wasn't only mad at him for dying. I was mad that Jill had died.  It didn't seem fair. It wasn't. It never is.

Over the next seven years, I lost two friends to Muscular Dystrophy, a best friend's new born to SIDS,  two friends to suicide and a handful of relatives to old age.  I'd made my peace with death, it comes to all of us, but I truly struggled to feel compassion for people that passed due to their own actions.  Too many people, people who I knew and cared for, were desperate to live and I could not understand how people could be so careless with their own lives. In some way, it seemed disloyal to feel the same grief when death came in such different ways.  It did not mean I did not grieve. I did. But I still did not have the words to articulate the conflict between rage and sorrow.

As a society we are not good at grief.  We seek to contain it, to measure it, to judge it.  We put time limits on how long grief is allowed to be manifested.  We have a terrible habit of canonising people so that we gloss over their faults, turning them into smooth edged, dulled, icons who are one dimensional.  The ability to create for instance, need not be deified where the artistic temperament (read moody bastard) behind is vilified.  It is our dark and our light, our highs and our lows, our kindness and our cruelties that make us who we are.  To deny the history of one who is passed, or to pretend the negatives never existed, is to deny the humanity of the person.  For when they were alive you loved them in their totality, why would you only love half of them when they pass?

More friends have died in the last 18 years. More relatives. More babies. I had learnt by my mid-twenties that it was possible to be mad and sad at the same time. That I did not need to categorise my grief according to the manner of their passing.  I have learnt that it is possible to be so low, so broken that death seems to be the only option and I have learnt to accept that hopelessness is not always visible on the outside. I have learnt that I can not fix the world or make it better just by believing it can happen. I have learnt that contrary to others opinion I did not need to wail in public, beat my chest or be the loudest about loving somebody to be genuinely grieving.  People grieve in different ways and we all sorrow for what we have lost, the words unspoken and the future we will not share.

So as the media rabidly pull apart the tragedy that is Peaches Geldof's premature death, I want all of us to remember that she was part of a family and a friendship circle that knew her.  Really knew her. That we, the public, only knew of her.  Let her family farewell her, lament her loss and let us not judge her passing, blame her genetics or criticise how they choose to celebrate her life.  Let us remember that one day, we too shall pass, and all we can hope for is to have been loved for all that we are, the same way Peaches and all those that go before us were loved for what they were.

The good. The bad. The madness. The hilarity. The slightly illegal. The beautiful. For it is the combination of all those things that truly create the most poignant, the most beloved of our memories.

Go well Peaches. Go well.

*If you, or anybody you know needs help, please do not hesitate to call the fantastically supportive people at Lifeline on 13 11 14. 

7 April 2014

Top Five Reasons I'm not Florence Nightingale

My youngest gorgeous girl was very sick last Monday - the kind of sick where the doctor sends you to emergency because the fevers are high, the breathing is rapid, the child is non-responsive and the signs are all pointing to 'not just a cold'. Which I really wanted it to be.

I'm okay in a proper parental panic situation.  In fact, I probably err on the side of under-reacting.  When the eldest child fell off her trike aged 16 months, striking her head and bleeding out of her mouth, losing teeth - I worried about going to the hospital in case it wasn't 'that serious'.  It was a freakin' head injury resulting in a loss of teeth and copious bleeding.  But one really doesn't like to 'make a fuss'.  

So there I am being all properly under-reactive like all super parents. And we got to the emergency room WHICH THEY MOVED WITHOUT PERSONALLY NOTIFYING ME.  Honestly, these hospitals.  

And as I cuddle my gorgeous girl, I am watching the nurses pad around the emergency room in their blue uniforms individualised with gaudy comfort footwear, coping admirably with the plethora of human kind that has swamped the emergency ward that afternoon and I thought -

I could not, would not, be a nurse.  

I have worked out the five main reasons. 

1. Patience  

I have none at the best of times but when some eejit woman limps up complaining that she's sprained her ankle and can't walk properly after slipping on the kerb and she is STILL wearing her stilettos despite the swelling ankle and the nurse takes the time to triage her nicely without just yelling 'take your stupid shoes off woman'.  Wow.  

2. Vomiting

There are a lot of people vomiting in hospital.  From emergency through to paediatric and all the way in between there are people yakking up into bags and the nurses swan through with nary a dry retch of their own.  I can cope with my own vomit and my children's vomit - but even my husband wouild only get a desultory pat on his back before I retreated into the distance to utter soothing sounds at yelling levels. 

3. Latex gloves

On. Off. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off. Blow one up as a balloon to distract sick child. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off.  On. Off.  On. Off.  On. Off.  On. Off.  On. Off.  On. Off.  On. Off.  On. Off.  On. Off.  On. Off.  On. Off.  On. Off.  On. Off.  On. Off.  On. Off.   on you get it by now.

4. Smoking

I haven't had a cigarette since the 1 March 2006.  I miss it but this would completely rule me out of the nursing profession.  I really don't want to take it up again and yet it appears that about 85% of nurses in the world are committed nicotine addicts.  And I'm a bit of a joiner you know - I wouldn't have the self control to be part of the minority.  I'd want to be out there puffing and gossiping and doing whatever the nurses do in those little huddles of blue.  

5. Patients

It seems that you can't be a nurse without patients.  And I really think this would be the deal breaker for me. Looking up people's rectums, poking their bulging cysts, strapping their manky feet, soothing their fevered brow, taking temperatures, poking aspirators up noses, rocking distressed babies, calming anxious relatives, admiring urine samples, sticking needles into tense arms, assisting with operations, the list is endless.  

So to all the nurses out there - I salute you and to the ones I know personally, I love you. 

But I really don't want to be you.

What professions are completely beyond you?

Linking up with the delightful Ms FiveFrogs for the inaugural Laugh Link today.

2 April 2014

In a world without men there is a question to be resolved

Recently the Tullinator was playing 'mums and dads' with her friend.  The friend had chosen to be Mum, various dolls were the children and my little one had opted to be Dad.  She was heading off to do the ironing when I said to them (because I'm that kind of pain in the arse parent that does this kind of thing)  "You know that some families have two Dads or two Mums instead of one of each don't you?.

The Tullinator has looked at me quizzically.  The friend has ignored me. This is fairly normal.

"Two mums???"
"But who does the ironing?"

Good question, as you were.

Obviously my ironing contribution has not increased in the year since she asked me if I'd asked permission to use "Daddy's toy" the day I had to iron something myself.  It was poor planning, otherwise I'd have asked Nick to do it for sure.
This is like Genius.  I wish I knew who did it.
 But thank you.
But I love that while she has very clear views about what 'Mums' and 'Dads' do - they're not entirely stereotypical.  Or locked in.

She learned about both Iron Man and The Little Mermaid from a young chap named Robert.

She thinks Mums do cooking.

She thinks Dads do ironing.

She thinks Mums do running.

She thinks Dads do the funniest farting.

She thinks Mums do the best singing (may have been bribed!).

She thinks Dads do the best lego.  (thank the gods - how BORING is Lego?)

She thinks that dancing is best done standing up. By anyone.

She thinks lawn mowing is done by the person who can't think of a good excuse not to do it.

She thinks that her Dad looks 'very pwetty' when he shaves.

She wants to be tall enough to drive a cement mixer.

She wants to be a doctor.  And a ballet dancer.  And a giraffe.

She loves to play with Fire Engines.

And dolls. And pirates. And dress ups. And puzzles. And books.

She does like pink.  But she likes brown too. And blue.  And oweeeeeenge.

And deep down, I think we're doing something right.  Because she is who she is.  She will like what she likes, and she will like what her friends like for a period far longer than her adult self will be able to fathom.

She likes things that make her father and I weep into our wines.  Things like Barbie mermaids.  And she danced once to One Direction.

But her concerns about a life without men is apolitical.  It's not doubting that two mums is a good thing.  It's not thinking it's wrong or right.

It's about the ironing.  If there are no men, who does the ironing?

And quite frankly, it's a jolly good question.  If there are no men - who DOES do the ironing?