Wednesday, March 31, 2010


You know those days where you would have been more productive if you’d stayed in bed…yesterday was one of those days.  I dropped things, it rained and I have no umbrella, I was running late but it was humid so I was sweaty when I got there, things fell out of cupboards onto my head, no one answered their phone when I rang, people gave me incorrect information.  It was a nightmare.  Even washing my hair was difficult – the shower door fell off its hinges and then the conditioner container was blocked and I couldn’t get any out until I forced it and then it globbed and blobbed all over the shower floor.  I had a huge fight with my computer and printer which lasted most of the day until finally in a stroke of genius (after I’d seriously considered buying a new printer just so I didn’t have to deal with it anymore) I realised all I needed was a new download.  Gratifying in the end but so frustrating I was ready to return to a notebook and pencil, the tools of writers old.  At 7.30 Butch (being far smarter than he looks) realised that since I hadn't managed to run, what I needed was a good long walk and he stood there staring at me until I capitulated, leaving the computer to find the download itself.  Down the street we walked, turned the corner and coming eye to eye with a view of our magnificent city.  Centre Point tower, the harbour bridge...a full moon.  A full moon!  That explains everything.  Full moons are always a nightmare in restaurants, people are particularly difficult and the evening seems interminably long.  My disaster day had been explained.
But the moon only comes out at night, so I should be fine for today at least.  It is one of those magnificent autumn days.  Still warm and full of sunshine but with the hint of change in the breeze.  This is the Easter weather I remember from my youth.
I am glad to be home.

Monday, March 29, 2010


I had an audition tonight and it’s been a fair while since I’ve been to one, so I was disproportionately nervous.  I had replaced my nausea with nerves.  Excellent.
And so because I was nervous, I did exactly what I told you I wasn’t going to do…I ran.  I had to.  It was the only thing that could help me.  Up and down the stairs I trod imagining the perfect audition.  I would stride in, cool, calm and collected, greet the panel members without doing that weird awkward semi-acknowledgement thing where you always end up giving more weight to one person than the others, take my music over the accompanist without tripping over nothing, be sure to give the correct tempo so he doesn’t play it like a chipmunk recording, return to the centre of the room and stand exactly where the panel wants me to so I don’t have to do that even more awkward shuffle while they adjust you like you’re facing a firing squad and then sing…like a dream.
The problem with Australian auditions is that they are so few and far between that you’ve often got up to two whole weeks to stress about them.  In New York, you could do four - even six in one day, not to mention afternoon callbacks, and the only thing you’re stressed about is whether you’ll get out of the dance audition in time to get to your waitressing gig.  Over there it’s a well-oiled employment/rejection machine.  Over here, it is an agonising, drawn out, torturous affair that results in exactly the same outcome of either employment or rejection.  So I did what I could to help myself and imagined winning the role.  Any decent sports psychologist will tell you that envisioning success is key to actually achieving it.  I’ll let you know if it works… 

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Yesterday I had a headache and felt rather queasy, like the hot cross bun I’d had for breakfast might make a return visit.  But since I hadn’t run the day before, I was itching to stretch my legs.  I am like a dog.  I need the outdoors.  I need the fresh air.  I need the exercise…even if with every step I took I was also scouting for the nearest garbage bin in case I had to make emergency use of it.  Still I plugged on, determined to do the 10k’s I’d started out for, even though my stomach was starting to cramp from the nausea and my head was pounding in time with my feet.
There is a word for people like me.  Obsessive. 
Actually there are several words…compulsive, fanatical, excessive, pathological all come to mind quite easily.
Is this sort of behaviour really necessary? If I were training for the Olympics I would commend my commitment.  But I’m not, so it just makes me seem like a weird, overly focused individual with no ability to mediate my own behaviour.
I am not normal. 
But today I’m striving to be so.  I still don’t feel great, so rather than reenact yesterday’s woeful performance I’m going to stay right here at my desk, drink my fresh ginger tea and write.  The muses usually get released with the endorphins of my run, so I’m going to have to find another way to entice them out.  Conventional methods, like persisting with my block, forcing myself to stay strapped to my chair, completing writing exercises till the floodgates open.
Wish me luck…this is unchartered territory…

Friday, March 26, 2010


A lady in my writing group told me about a funeral she went to the other day.  The deceased was an acquaintance of her husband’s and my writing buddy got talking with his widow.
“I knew he was going down hill the last couple of days,” she told my friend.  “One day he was lying in bed calling out to me, ‘Help, help’ he kept saying.  And I said, I can’t help you, you’re dying!”  And then she said… “Do you think this means I can join RSVP?” 
Grief affects us all in different ways I suppose.
I am a different kind of widow.  To borrow a phrase from my friend who owns a bar with her boyfriend, I am a hospitality widow, though I’m not considering joining an internet dating site.  Instead, I spend 6 days and nights a week waiting for that one twenty-four hour period when I might get some time with my beloved.  That is if he’s not too tired or distracted to notice me. 
I am being rather melodramatic.  It’s really not that bad, and I’m often the one with my nose at the computer madly typing anyway. 
Or running. 
You’d think since he only has one day off a week I could manage to control myself, but ofttimes I can’t.  Out I go, promising to be back in forty minutes, so we can settle in for some quality husband and wife time.  Except the other day, when I was struggling and my run took me a good ten minutes longer than usual.  Isn’t it incredible that your pace can vary that much?  As an amateur.  I doubt that happens if you’re a professional.
I do keep silly hours to try and see Gregory – up early for me and up late for him – which I think attributed to my poor run.  I was tired.  Simple problem, even simpler solution.  But since I didn’t manage to get any more sleep last night, I skipped the run today.  Which means I’ll be itching for one tomorrow despite the fact that it is, of course, Gregory’s one day off.
Is this what marriage really boils down to?  Whom do I please?  Myself or my beloved?  Sacrifice and compromise.  Forsaking ones needs for the betterment of others.  
To run or not to run.  That is the question.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Yoga is like dental floss. 
It’s annoying but necessary, and I wish I had discovered its benefits long ago.  All this running means I have hamstrings tighter than a struggling actor’s purse strings, calf muscles shorter than my list of Broadway callbacks and joints so stiff, if you smoked me you’d be high. 
I’ve been doing yoga on and off for the last ten years now, more regularly than not, as I bargain with myself that if I do one class a week I can run as much as I like.  So far back in Sydney this hasn’t happened but I will start again as soon as I find a yoga mat for less than the $80 they’re selling them for at the local Yoga studio.  Are they serious?  It’s a thin piece of rubber.  My one in America cost $7. 
I know it’s good for you, but I find it very difficult to take Yoga seriously.  Firstly they call you a warrior.  What am I fighting?   A couple of tight tendons and a knot or two.  Secondly the outfits.  It’s like being at a semi-nudist colony - everyone decked out in their high-waisted lycra short shorts, so that when they bend over in a stretch, the personal behind them – usually an unfortunate me – gets a close up view of what makes them the gender they are.
Then there are the phrases they use – “full appreciation of the pose,” and “engage the body, learn to reach and recede.”  It’s a bit too up in the air for me.  I need definites.  “Stretch till it hurts,” or “hold till you shake,” would work better for me.  Tangible objectives that I can actually determine.
This is why running is so much better for a personality like me.  Distance, time, rate of breath and level of discomfort, these are all easily determined in a good old fashioned run. 
And since I am still boycotting expensive yoga mats, it is still the only form of exercise available to me.  And that is just the way I like it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


When Gregory and I lived in LA there were times when we were really quite stressed.  Gregory had a very demanding job and I can be a very demanding wife.  No, that’s not what I meant.  I meant…oh never mind.  Anyway, we often combated our stressors by driving – not walking – around the corner to the 7-Eleven store and purchasing not one but two punnets of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.  Our buckets of choice were half-baked (a delicious combination of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, cookie dough and chocolate brownie – my choice) and Americone dream (vanilla ice cream with chocolate covered waffle cones – Gregory’s selection).

We would then drive back around the corner, sit on the couch and consume our treats so rapidly the condensation didn’t even have time to form on the outside of the carton.
Today was an Australian one of those days.  Gregory again has a very demanding job but in this instance I am not the very demanding wife.  Truly, it was just Gregory’s job.  So, we put the dog on the lead and managed to walk this time, around the corner to the local BP and came back with some Sara Lee’s Rocky Road ice cream…
I am very sad to report that Australian ice cream falls far short of the full-cream, full-fat splendour of our American brothers and sisters.  I don’t know what their cows get up to over there, but the product is so far superior we’re going to have to switch to Tim-Tams during times of Australian stress.
Don’t get me wrong, I still shoveled all of it in, and because I didn’t run today, my inferior Australian ice cream will likely take up permanent residence on my upper thighs.
I didn’t run today because I made an early morning visit to Ikea with a friend who has just moved into a new place.  He needed a bed and a way to transport it, and I have a car and was easily bribed by the promise of Swedish meatballs and a Scandinavian designed toilet brush. 
Besides, we probably covered as much ground as I do on one of my runs, walking through that showroom.  Kilometre after kilometre of neatly mapped out pretend rooms so you feel like you’re on the set of the Truman Show.  Everything is clean lines and bright colours, storage ideas so you never have to dust again and drawers hidden inside cupboards behind walls.  My divorced cousin calls Ikea the one stop divorced man’s shop, as you can walk in with nothing and walk out with an entirely outfitted house.
The best part is their concept of self pick-up, which essentially means Ikea doesn’t actually have to do a thing.  Once you’ve made your decision, you head to the basement, locate a couple of specially designed trolleys, and hand pick your selections off the shelf. 
In theory, this should happen easily and smoothly, but as Paul and I wrestled his bed frame onto our trolley that had a tendency to wander away from us, I began to doubt their Scandinavian logic.  By the time the furniture was out of Ikea, into the car, out of the car and into Paul’s place, I had sweated as much as I do on the Bay run and figured I had more than made up for my lack of run.  Which means the bad Australian ice cream won’t stick to my thighs, which means that if I keep running I can validate my quest to conduct a research project to find the best ice cream in the whole of Sydney.  I am fully aware of the importance of this endeavour and I promise here and now, to take my responsibilities most seriously.  Stand by for fully homogenised, partially pasteurised, 100% dairy updates.

Friday, March 19, 2010


We – like most of Sydney – have an ant problem.  When they first appeared, Gregory had at them with some ferocious pest killing product left from the tenant before until I confiscated it and told him he could use lavender spray or nothing at all.  He stopped bothering after that, as I also told him that they just drop in for a visit, then disappear again anyway.  Which they do.  They love our shower during the day, but come sundown there’s not a single one to be seen so I figure they are welcome to use our shower rent free whenever we’re not using it. 
Wouldn’t it be nice if that were the way the whole world worked?  Oh, I’m not using my villa in the Greek islands – would you like it?  I understand you’re going to an important event, borrow my diamonds, these old things have just been sitting in the cupboard gathering dust.  Bus tickets even – hey, I’m going on holidays, want to use up my pass.  It’s got a good two weeks on it yet. 
Right now, you’d all be welcome to borrow my tap shoes as I haven’t started up class again, my soda-stream which makes bubbly water and I’ve run out of cartridges and don’t know where to get them from, which means it is currently not working, but you’re still welcome to borrow it, and my heavy winter New York coat.  None of these things may suit you, but it’s the best I can do.  Oh, we also have a tent you’d be welcome to if you’d like.
You know what it is that I like about the ants?  Their order, and their inquisitiveness.  Some ant gets a great idea to explore a human’s shower and the rest of them follow along, single file, no doubt that their leader is taking them on a wonderful yet safe adventure.  And once they’re sure everything is ok, they return time and time again always traveling the same path.  I am much the same way.   Once I find a route I like, I will run it again and again.  As long as I’m outside, breathing fresh air and not the pumped ice from a Gym’s AC unit, I will happily run the same route for years.  One foot in front of the other, knowing exactly where I’m going but excited to see what might be different about it this time. 
Today I headed to the park with the steep set of stairs, but because Butch the dog made me feel guilty because I hadn’t taken him for a walk yet, I brought him along.  My plan was to walk him there, tie him to the trunk of an interesting dog-sniffing-worthy type tree and make him watch me while I squatted and lunged my way across the lawn in accordance with my personal trainer brother’s instructions.  Butch had other ideas.  Firstly, it’s a park so he wasn’t the only dog there, but Butch’s name is a complete misnomer.  He is a total sook and scared of every other dog he comes across be it a Great Dane or a chihuahua.  This makes moving away from him rather difficult when he cowers and cries and makes you feel like you should dob yourself into the RSPCA for being such a wretched owner.  So then I tried to lunge with him next to me, but he doesn’t speak English and kept wandering across my path so we’d both end up tangled in his lead and providing unexpected entertainment to the nearby picnic-ers as we tumbled to the ground in a heap of dog and sweaty human mess.  Eventually he settled for me doing squats by his side, as long as I didn’t stray outside of the reach of his lead. 
We two are not like the ants. 
But he’s thirteen years old and won’t be around forever.  All he wants is a bit of love and protection, the occasional treat, a bit of a daily adventure, and a comfy rug to lie on and someone to fill up his water bowl when he gets home. 
When you look at it closely, we’re really not too different he and I.  

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Yesterday I played a focus game with my senior voice students to try and get them to concentrate.  They are like a gaggle of electrocuted geese squeaking and squawking at decibels and pitches I can never get them to sing at.  The worst culprit is a girl who is homeschooled and turns up to the academy totally starved for peer conversation and won’t shut up if I pour cement in her mouth.
So I ask them to go around the circle and state different countries and when they can’t think of a new one, they’re out.
I’ll start, I say, as they look at me blankly.  Clearly they need an example.
Australia.  Now it’s your turn, I say to the girl on my left.
No a country.
Oh right, Queensland.
That’s a state.
I think you mean Italy but yes, close enough.  Moving on.
Try again.
Which is part of…
Does Mexico count?
What about Kangaroo Island?
Oh you know, where we went to war.  Something-stan.
I think you’ll find it’s called Afghanistan, and yes it is a country.
Los Angeles.
Hong Kong.
I know us southerners like to think we’re better than Queensland, but are we really teaching our children it is its own country?  I am now very concerned about the state of our education system.  And no, the girl who was homeschooled wasn’t much better so you can’t blame the teachers.  Either the geography curriculum has completely abandoned the rest of the universe, or we are breeding some seriously silly humans.
And because they couldn’t manage to play the game, it didn’t help them to focus and they cackled and giggled their way through the hour while I tried in vain to turn their barnyard noises into a choral masterpiece.
I thought about this while I was running today.  I’ve only just started teaching them and while I would say I have control of the class, I am no Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act.  Why are they here?  If they don’t want to be and they don’t have to be, why are they here?  In all truth, I’m not doing too badly with them and fundamentally, they do want to be in class, they’re just teenagers whose bodies’ are hormone charged tornadoes with a slow leak oozing adolescent angst, bravado, and insecurity. 
But it got me thinking about people who do things even though they don’t want to.  Like exercise.
I like to eat, but I also like to run and so far the two of them seem to be working quite nicely together to prevent me from turning into a beached whale.  But there are those for whom exercise is a torture of the highest order.  It hurts, they sweat, it’s boring, results take too long, it’s a waste of time they don’t have, it’s not social because you’re puffing so you can’t talk anyway, there’s a chance of injury, they’re not competitive even with themselves, the outfits are uncomfortable, it can be expensive…the list goes on.
And I wonder about this as I run up and down a set of stairs till I can’t run anymore and I think…they might be onto something. 
What the hell am I doing this for?
For sanity.  That’s what for.  For self-esteem - oddly enough.  I talk to myself while I’m running and repair some of the damage my chosen profession may have inflicted upon me that day.  For time-out, for perspective, for the runner’s high.  I want to do this.  It makes up for the plenty of other things I don’t want to do but have no other choice.  Like most of the jobs I have, that I do to keep afloat in the hope that another performing or writing gem will come unearthed along the way.  Not the teaching, I should clarify, I do enjoy the teaching.  Even if I feel like Old Macdonald in an acoustic barn with no escape from the animals.  Eey ay Eey ay oh. 

Monday, March 15, 2010


Yesterday I got overtaken by a female runner wearing full brief underwear beneath her shorts.  I am not convinced this is a comfortable way to run.  I am not a fan of the full nicker at the best of times, but definitely not when I’m moving my legs in a continuous motion that has the dual action of propelling me forward, and most definitely sending poorly selected underwear right up my nether regions.  While I studied her rump from behind, I considered what it is about her shaped bottom that prevents such wardrobe malfunctions from occurring.  For a white chick, I’ve got a rather round butt.  It’s relatively high too and there must be something about its design that prevents underwear from staying where they’re originally intended.  If that were me, I would spend the whole run trying to decide whether to pick the offending material out of my crack and risk the chuckles of the runners behind, or leave the wad of fabric stuck up my butt and still risk the chuckles of the runners behind. 
These are the things you consider on a 20 kilometre run.  That’s right folks.  Twenty whole k’s.  In a not so respectable time of closer to two hours than an hour and a half.
Whenever Gregory is having a rough day and feels like I may have something to do with it, he calls me Big Enemy.  Well, yesterday my body was Big Enemy.  It took me nine kilometres just to get into stride.  I stopped and started a few times at lights which really messes with your groove, had eaten some nuts evidently too close to running and was fairly tight in the abdomen the whole way, and then those nuts worked their way through my system (I think all the jostling sends things through your colon faster than a shot of castor oil) so I then spent the last ten k’s needing to go to the bathroom. 
It was, at least, quite a beautiful run; into the city, around the back of Glebe and towards the fish markets, which also messed with my running mojo.  It’s hard to maintain an even intake of breath when you’re gagging on the smell of fish guts every time you inhale.  Around another few bays, over the Anzac Bridge (being overtaken by fearless bikers on their daily commute) then down to my usual run to make up the extra distance.  The toughest part was running directly past my house and not stopping, but I paralleled it to my life, and the frequent times I’ve wanted to sit in a pile of mud and not pursue the arts, yet I’ve found the will to get up and try again.
I worked my way through Muse and the Russians and then plodded home to some gentle Colin Hay singing about his beautiful world.  His might be, mine definitely wasn’t.
Upon my return, I refrained from kissing my husband hello owing to some seriously powerful runner’s breath – similar to singer’s breath I suspect.  You know, when you’ve been consuming more oxygen than the average Joe and sticky bits collect in the side of your mouth, your tongue gets thick and you feel like you’ve swallowed a cat.  It’s not pretty.
I showered, then inhaled a delicious dinner of roasted vegetables and steak, and promptly followed it with a plateful of salt that I all but got down and licked to replace my depleted sodium supply.
Running is not an elegant activity.
And so today I rest, which (according to my Half Marathon Training Guide) is what I was meant to do yesterday.  Ah well, I’m already five weeks out of sync, what’s another day?

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Right people.  The Sydney Half Marathon is on in 9 weeks and I am their 4557th contestant.  I downloaded the beginner program for a bit of a helping hand (the advanced was only for people who held Olympic qualifying times it seemed) and it doesn’t look too bad.  Although I don’t have a stopwatch or any ability to judge distance so it could be somewhat difficult to follow the program correctly. 
The other concern is that it started 5 weeks ago.  Without a single stride, I am already behind the field.  Doesn’t matter though, because each week begins with an inspirational quote.  Listen to the ones I’ve missed already:
WEEK 14  “Life begets life.  Energy creates energy.  It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.” 
Good start.  Encouraging, slightly cryptic, gives you something to think about so you don’t think about what it is you’re actually training for.
WEEK 13  “One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”
I think Leonardo da Vinci said it better.  He said; “For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will always long to return.”  
Actually, this quote resonates more profoundly with me than any other I have come across.  I found it printed on a card in a little town called Bar Harbour in remote but beautiful Maine, where I happened to be performing for a summer.  It was at a time when I had just finished a fabulous season of shows and while coming off the actor’s high, was acutely aware that I was a long way from home, particularly when I got news that my Aunty’s cancer had returned. 
What to do?  This was the life I had chosen.  Or rather it had chosen me.  Because I don’t know if anyone with any sense would willingly traverse such a tough career path, it’s just that the feeling in your heart doesn’t allow ‘sense’ to guide you any other way.  It can be quite debilitating as you struggle to reconcile your lifestyle with family needs, poverty, stunted relationships and the tyranny of distance.
WEEK 12  “The only place you will find success before work is in the dictionary.”
This old one.  I think this saying stopped holding any power when I was twelve.
WEEK 11  “Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment.”
Napoleon said this, apparently.  I read there was speculation that he died of arsenic poisoning.  There wasn’t much hope for him with that was there?
WEEK 10  “Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.” 
John Updike wrote this one, but he is also quoted as saying he attempts “to give the mundane it’s beautiful due.”  I like this one better.  I always try to find beauty or humour in an otherwise boring or ugly situation.  Most often you can, if you change your perspective and you’re not afraid to overturn a stone or two.
Thus begins week nine, which according to the program is a recovery week.  Obviously I’m not quite sure how to proceed.  Recover from what?  I think I’ll do an assortment of routines from the past 5 weeks and try to consolidate them all into week nine.  It’s a little ambitious, but never fear, this week’s quote will keep me going…
“Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons.  Science is used to raise money for the expeditions; but you really climb for the hell of it.”
I am a mountain climber.  Climbing for the hell of it.  Daily I am climbing, hear me roar.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Are these really the last vestiges of summer?  Come on Sydney, I just left a New York winter, can’t you drag it out a bit for me…please…
To be honest, I love the winds of change, even in New York I found it exciting.  Fall in NYC really is the most beautiful time.  I would run through Central Park, breathe in the crisp but still polluted air, dodge the leaves as they gently fell and just like I do here, solve the problems of my world. 
I know it’s the precursor to winter, that’s the problem.  And unlike New York, where the superintendent heats your apartment so hot all you need to wear are shorts and a t-shirt and still crack the window, Aussie’s don’t heat properly at all.  I know it’s bad for the environment, I know I should suffer for the sake of global warming, but I hate being cold.  It ruins everything and it makes me so miserable I want to hibernate like a little squirrel and come out six months later.
So come on Sydney, put on a show for me and extend this summer to the end of April at least.  We’ll cruise through Autumn for May, June and most of July, I’ll let you get cold for August then we’ll head to warmer days as soon as we arrive in September.
Not that yesterday’s run was cold.  Not at all.  I had limited time and couldn’t even make it around the bay before my next project, so I sprinted to a steep set of stairs and entertained the people sitting on their decks enjoying a Friday evening cocktail while I ran up and down them like a loon.  It’s therapeutic though, repetition.  Some people like ironing, I like running stairs.  Gregory finds dicing onions and peeling potatoes gives him the same thrill, which I think is just odd.  And it definitely doesn’t count towards training for a marathon, which now that he has started working, has been studiously avoided in conversation of late.  He’ll ask me how my run was, but in an abstract way, as if it has nothing to do with him.  We are beyond the six-month mark now and my ‘team’ are looking like a bunch of pikers.  Eldest brother has bowed out without even bothering to find an excuse.  Gregory as I mentioned, is avoiding the topic entirely and youngest brother didn’t think I was serious when he first agreed to do it, which I think is a bit unfair.  I mean Oprah ran a marathon, surely I can.  I actually run regularly and have done for years, that’s got to give me some credibility for sure.  Oh well, it’s early days yet.  I’ll keep up my little plan, and like I do in my quest for a career in writing and on the stage, just keep plodding along.  I am the tortoise.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


No run today but I have a very good defence.  The family dog – Butch - who we inherited years ago and all adore, went missing today because the painters doing my parent’s house left the gate open.  They released he was missing at lunch time but in an act of brilliance and in spite of having both parent’s phone numbers, decided not to alert anyone until my mother came home 4 hours later.  She was planning on coming straight to me directly from her work, but thankfully, detoured back home because I had asked if I could have Butch for a few days.  (I am a bit lonely now Gregory is at work all day and I don’t feel as mad talking to a dog as I do to the couch).
He is a wonderful dog. Thirteen years old, graying with distinction and very easy to love.  I’ll admit, he’s not the most attractive thing.  He’s a bit low to the ground, has large hips and one floppy ear.  But I find that ear endearing.  It reminds me of my cow costume in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.  My family picked me out based on the fact that I was the only one onstage with a droopy ear.
We found him, he wandered back up the yard just after mum and I pulled our cars in from scouring the streets to no success.  I guess he’s smarter than we all think. 
It’s hard to tell if he knew he was missing, he was more snuggly than usual, but he’s a bit of a cuddle whore so it’s hard to tell if he was glad to be home or just lapping up our extra love. 
Regardless, for the duration of the painting, we have moved him from his home in the ‘burbs and he is now at his second home in the groovy inner west.  Most dogs should be so lucky.
So.  I didn’t run.  Rather I stopped and started on a walk with Butch while he sniffed and snuffed every tree, bush, pole and fence in the entire Balmain area. 
There is no danger of getting fit with a 91-year-old dog around.  But boy am I glad he still is.

Monday, March 8, 2010


I wasn’t sure it would be wise to run yesterday.  I slammed my fingers in two drawers – I am certain my ring nail is going to fall off.  I plunged the coffee all over the kitchen floor, spilled the laundry detergent, stubbed my toe hanging the laundry out, wacked my head on a low flying branch and had pea puree for lunch.  That’s baby food isn’t it?  It was gourmet pea puree, left over from the dinner party last night, but I’m still not sure pureed peas with butter, garlic, herbs and spices constitutes a balanced meal.  Still, after sitting at my desk writing from 8am until 6.45pm, stopping only for the aforementioned disasters and hanging out two loads of washing, I needed it.  I didn’t run with the same vigour as Sunday – there were no sprinting teenagers about – so I only had to beat the walkers and talkers again, but it was a lovely way to blow out the cobwebs and I managed to complete the run without any physical mishaps.  
I am also going to finish this blog before I incur an injury here too.  As pathetic as it sounds, I'm not going to type any more for fear of causing myself greater harm.  I’ve persevered all day, but my fingernail really hurts.  Who knew writing could be such a hazardous activity?

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Yesterday I was trying to accomplish far too many things in a very short space of time, and slotted my run in between working on a writing assignment and having to put the meat in the oven at a time specified by my chef husband.  Based on having completed said run in forty-five minutes twice now, I allocated fifty-five minutes to allow time for changing into running gear and locking up the house.  What I didn’t account for was my mother ringing two minutes before I needed to start my jog, my parents’ ancient dog (that we are taking care of while they’re away) being highly resentful that I might want to consider making him leave the verandah floor and lie on the dirt outside instead, the windows not locking easily, losing my sunglasses and forgetting the key.  I was now six minutes behind schedule.  I stepped out the front door, started running and was hit with a headwind so strong, it blew my cap right off my head.
I hadn’t accounted for environmental sabotage either.  Crossing the bridge proved to be a dangerous exercise and I spent about 5 k’s of the run nearly tripping as each time I lifted my legs, the wind would push them to clip the one I was currently standing on.
Still, I persevered.  I play a bit of a game on this run, the game being to overtake everyone in front of me.  Usually it’s not too hard to achieve as most people are old or walking with a pram, but today there was a runner, a girl no more than eleven years old, her father riding his bike at her side.  She was steaming.  Nothing slowed her pace (evidently she wasn’t having the issues with the wind that I was) but I was determined to catch her before the run was out.  I did.  Eventually.  It took me six kilometres to do so, and then I knew I had to keep up the pace because it would have been really embarrassing if I’d overtaken her, only to slow down and have her overtake me almost immediately, but I was spurred on by ego and the meat that had to get into the oven.
I made it home, exhausted, exalted and eight minutes late on the oven front. 
Maybe I need to run the marathon this way - book a plane trip or something, so that I have to run it in a certain time or I will miss my flight.  Extreme to be sure, but so is running 42 kilometres.  

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Everyone’s got to have ambition don’t they?  It gives you direction and focus and makes you sound really cool to the entire world of cyberspace…until you don’t actually do the thing you were going to and you now have to explain why you didn’t to that very same entire world.
I did not run twice around the bay area. 
According to friends with iPhones (we can’t get one on account of having no Australian credit) it is in fact 7 kilometres around the bay, which means that I did in fact run 10 k’s in 45 minutes.  Yes, I am very impressed with myself as well and feel that a place in this year’s marathon really isn’t out of the question.  Apparently you win money if you place in the top few…that’s a good incentive for a pauper like me.
I digress…and I owe it to you to explain why I didn’t complete my objective. 
It was hot.  Very hot.  And I was sweating like a homo eating a hot dog before I crossed the bridge.  Also I had not eaten enough – cereal for breakfast and an orange for lunch.  Not enough sustenance for a 90 minute run (assuming I could keep the same pace for the entire run which is somewhat doubtful).  I did however, do some push-ups and sit-ups on one of those built in gyms at the park with two guys who had taken their shirts off on account of the heat.  I am a married woman people, so my eyes do not wander.  Rather, I find it somewhat disconcerting to be struggling with my five tricep dips (they are my body’s forgotten muscle) while the next Calvin Klein model effortlessly chugs out a couple of hundred without breaking a sweat.
But never fear, I’ve got the Pollyanna perspective - she used to play this game called the ‘glad game’.  No matter the circumstance, she would find something to be glad about.  And that’s today’s lesson people.  There’s always a positive way to look at things.  Watch...I am glad my run made me so hot I almost cooked my organs, because I could justify last night’s margarita consumption on the basis that my glass was rimmed with salt and I was therefore responsibly replacing the sodium I’d lost on my run.
Now if I can only find a reason for drinking red wine.

Friday, March 5, 2010


We are sleeping on a waterbed.  I know, I too thought they died in the 1980’s along with shoulder pads and acid wash jeans, but since those two have made a resurgence in today’s society (or at least they have in Norway) we may as well let the floating sleeping device back in too.
Or maybe we shouldn’t. 
Gregory and I can’t work out if we love it or consider it the most wretched way to pass an evening.  The first night we had the giggles.  Every time one of us moved there was a mini tidal wave across the bed.  This continued throughout the night and we awoke wondering why we’d even bothered trying.  It’s a bit like sleeping in a life raft.  They say you get used to it within the first couple of weeks, so I’ll keep you posted.  To be fair, I should mention that my back pain is significantly reduced.  But I also haven’t run in the last couple of days so I’m not giving all the credit to that floating sleep vessel.  Tomorrow I am planning a long run  - twice around the bay if I can make it.  The other day I ran it in a time that seems highly unlikely – I know it’s flat, but I’m just not that fast, so I’ve decided to see if I can make it twice around and back home which should (according to the map) be roughly twenty k’s.   I will well and truly deserve the margarita’s I’m making for tomorrow night’s Mexican Fiesta after that.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Guess what people?  I have a new local run!  Last night we moved into our new place and it has made this little runner very happy indeed. Today I got to join the locals on the Bay run in Balmain.  Round we went, amateur footballers on one side, the resting ocean on the other.  Walkers, talkers, runners and bikers, all of us working towards something…a smaller waist, lower cholesterol, learning the latest gossip…it doesn’t really matter.  We were all having fun, I think.  I know I was.  The course is almost completely flat so you can run hard and fast and feel like an absolute champ.  And it’s invigorating to be around others enjoying the same thing.  I’m a solo runner by choice – I enjoy the time out – but I do get a real boost out of seeing others enjoying the runner’s high.  The move is also the reason I’ve been off cyber-space of late.  Since I’ve been away so long and Gregory isn’t from here, we’re both treated as foreigners with zero credit rating, which equals 100% refusal from companies to grant us an internet and phone contract.  Persistence will prevail and I will be blogging daily again before you can make a comment on twitter.    

Monday, March 1, 2010


 Yesterday was not a good day.  Mostly because everything that went wrong could have been redeemed by a good hard run.  I just couldn’t fit one in.
Firstly, I spent the day stamping people’s booklets at a fair.  Now you would think this would be an activity people could manage on their own, but evidently these home and gift buyers are a violent lot and they had already broken four stamps.  I was therefore charged with taking possession of the remaining mangled stamp (and covering myself in ink in the process) and preventing further damage by doing the stamping myself. 
Is it any wonder we can’t solve serious problems like global warming and child poverty when the average intelligence doesn’t allow one to successfully manage a stamp?
Along with this inability to accomplish a simple mechanised device, comes a complete disinterest in working anything out for yourself.
“What do I do now?” they would ask, staring at me dumbly.
“Well Sir, I imagine you fill in your details, so you can be contacted in the event that you win, and then you drop your booklet in the GREAT BIG BOX RIGHT NEXT TO YOU THAT HAS A SIGN ON IT SAYING PLACE ALL ENTRIES IN HERE!”
So, after seven hours of donating my brain cells to undeserving members of the public, I headed to an audition hoping to just make the last time slot of the day.  An hour and a half later, having gotten lost due to a technicality with the GPS, I arrived, and flustered and wet due to a sudden downpour from an unfair Mother Nature, auditioned well enough to be informed that in addition to it being a nonpaying gig, we would actually be asked to cover costs as well.
Just once I want a job with a salary, superannuation, sick leave.  Plenty of people who can’t mange to use a stamp have one, what’s wrong with me?
I don’t want any of those jobs, that’s what’s wrong with me.
What I needed to do then, was go for a good long run and get away with crying as I’m convinced people will think my red face and eyes are the result of my incredible speed  (see previous blog).
Instead what I had to do was front up to a dinner party and fake it till I made it.  Luckily, I know these people very well, and a few choice swear words and a couple of stiff drinks almost made up for my missing run.
Today hunger won out over exercise and I fear that as tomorrow is move-in day, my marathon training is going to suffer again.  I wonder if unpacking boxes and rearranging furniture counts as cross-training?
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