Monthly Archives: September 2010

My Sky

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Blog this has a photo challenge – take a photo of the sky where you are.

Well, I don’t know how much freedom of interpretation they allow  in these challenges, not having done one before, but for me the sky lies in my family’s eyes.

They all have blue eyes. Little Lion’s eyes are the crystal clear blue of a cloudless spring day – light and shining. Blossom’s eyes are the storming, broody sky just before a storm – all greys and greens and deep, dark blue. Mr D’s eyes are the sky in every mood – sometimes bright, sometimes cloudy, sometimes stained and sometimes clear, but always vast and powerful.

So matter what the weather, no matter what time of day, this is the sky I see where I am:

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The ABCs of minding your Ps & Qs

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Recently, a certain reader expressed their discomfort with the kind of language I use on my blog from time to time. Initially I thought, “Well, F U”, but that was only a momentary reaction that illustrated her point beautifully.

It has been a recurring theme in my life (see my memoir, Wobbles – An Olympic Story – cracking read, etc, order here, etc), and I blame growing up in a teenage-male-dominated sporting arena where the S-bomb, the F-bomb and the big C-bomb were regular parts of speech. If I was to survive in this testosterone-charged environment without making life any harder for myself than it already was, I had to blend in (as much as an overweight, depressed frump can when spending most of her time in a swim suit surrounded by boys… again, see the book!).

As a consequence, I tend to swear freely. Not excessively, but, given the right company, freely. My husband does not object to using the odd expletive himself, especially when venting the frustrations of daily existence. So, surely I can feel free to use such language when venting to you. Surely this does not make me an uneducated gutter-snipe (btw, does anyone actually know what a ‘snipe’ is?). It’s not as though I’m “shitt-bugger-bum-bitch-piss-cock-fart-ing” my way though every post. And I’ve taken down the particularly offensive picture book cover that made Cate P snort her tea with glee. But, maybe censorship has a place and maybe she has a point

You see, I am becoming increasingly aware of the Little Lion who is beginning to suffer an identity crisis of sorts. He is becoming a parrot. In fact, only recently he began marching around the garden saying “Buck-sake”, to which I rapidly replied, “Cup cakes? Would you like cup cakes? Good idea! Let’s make cup cakes!” Do you think the strategy will work? And I know, he’s parroting what I say, not what I write, but I take pride in my blog being authentic, 100% me, no bullshit (oops! there I go again!). So if I am to curb my vernacular, it will have to be a total revamp. So here is the ABC strategy I’m going to have a go at. I am not guaranteeing success.

A is for Abstinence.

That’s right. Just quit swearing. Just stop. Give it up. Cold-turkey. Yep, as easy as… oh, I don’t know… giving up chocolate, quitting making cups of tea that I never drink, getting The Blossom to sleep on command or getting The Lion to eat broccoli.

B is for Bulk Bill

A girlfriend of mine instituted the swear jar shortly after her little munchkin hit 6-months and in no time they had a sizeable nest egg for Munchkin’s education. Setting the price could be a problem – do you go with fixed pricing or a sliding scale depending on the severity of the word? I do fear that we may be going hungry towards the end of the month, though. Can you IOU the swear jar? Or perhaps I can get credits every time I substitute a ‘shit’ with a ‘shivers’ or a ‘fuck’ with a ‘freak’.

C is for Chastise

This method, I fear, is the most practical, but also the most challenging. I could employ said disgruntled reader to berate me every time an expletive passes my lips (or finger tips). My fear is that you will be reading about a homicide via soap-eating soon after employing my Chief Chastisieur, so I think this method of cleaning up my linguistic act will require further consideration.

If all else fails, I guess I can always get me another blog called “smut-mouthing” or something similar – a blog that I don’t make public; a blog where I can drop all the bombs I want without fearing for my reputation; somewhere to ‘dang’ and ‘dash’ and ‘darn’, to ‘bother’ and ‘blast’ and ‘bolder-dash’, to ‘gosh’ and ‘golly’ and ‘geeze’ to my heart’s content.

Anyone got any other ideas? Because I think I’m about to be pushing blasted excrement up hill!

Lessons from Last Weekend

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Lesson 1 – Take The Arsenal

Never ever ever travel anywhere without an arsenal of every kind of drug available over the counter (or not). This includes kids’ versions of said drugs, but really, anything will do. If possible, include some kind of sedative (for you and/or child). Ensure the arsenal is kept near at all times, but especially at 9.30pm when your eldest child is likely to wake, realise that dad, granny and everyone else is at a party so mummy is vulnerable, and will begin TO SCREAM INCONSOLABLY for no apparent reason. At this point, begin dispensing drugs so that your eldest child does not continue screaming for the next THREE HOURS!

Lesson 2 – Stick To The Plan (otherwise known as Don’t Feel Guilty or Don’t Be Nice)

When, during your child’s screaming fit, you realise that Granny has no appropriate drugs in her house and you ring Husband at party, ensure you have a clear idea of what you want him to do. Advice (or lack thereof) over the phone is not enough. When your child suddenly stops screaming, smiles and says, “Mummy talk Daddy. Mummy cranky. Ha!” DO NOT change your plaintive cries for your husband to return home NOW! Do not be fooled. Your child has not “calmed down”. He has not “settled”. He has simply reached the Midnight Madness which makes your child appear wide awake, jovial, but dissatisfied with everything from where he is sleeping, where mummy is lying, the position of his teddy bear, etc. This is no less torturous than the screaming and you still require backup. Don’t pretend you’re ok.

Lesson 3 – Cake And Tea At 1am Is Not Okay.

When Husband, Granny and Aunty return from party (drunk-ish enough to think your child’s antics are quite funny), do not graciously accept to share cake and tea with them while your child sits on Daddy’s lap and partakes (in YOUR piece of cake, of course). The reason for this is twofold – they will want to share with you all that you missed at the party (including photographs) and they will continue to remind you of how funny it is to be sharing cake and tea with a two-year-old at 1 in the freaking morning! Your nerves will be frayed enough. Don’t do it to yourself.

Lesson 4 – Don’t Go Back For Seconds

Try to avoid repeating the scenario the following weekend. Why? Well, I’ll tell you after this weekend at Granny’s house.

It’s Flog Yo Blog Friday! Hop over to Lori’s list at  http://www.rrsahm.com and browse some fab blogging!

So what’s stock reduction anyway?

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Morning Blog-o-sphere! Early? 7.21am? Well I got up at 3.00, mopped vomit at 5.45, Lion’s having his post-vom midday nap, so that makes it lunchtime by my reckoning. Besides, it’s Friday and I’m keen to get flogging – I had a blast last week! So here it is:

At the beginning of the week, my publisher sent me an email declaring that sales of Wobbles had tapered off and it was time for them to begin ‘stock reduction’. For those Friday Floggers who are unfamiliar with my literary triumphs, Wobbles – An Olympic Story is my memoir, a cracking read and you really should buy one.

Upon reading this rather mysterious term, ‘stock reduction’, my mind went wild with visions of grand machines shooting laser beams into piles and piles of unsold books, reducing them to The Pocket Edition Wobbles, perfect for that Kris Kringle present you really didn’t want to have to buy.

Or, I thought, perhaps stock reduction involves bonfires. This got me wondering if anyone would bother protesting the ‘reduction’ of my life to a pile of smouldering ashes and whether I was entitled to royalties on burned stock.

Or perhaps they intended to treat the excess numbers of books in their warehouse with an approach similar to the one you might take for excesses of rats or cockroaches. Maybe they would bring in the men with space suits and toxic chemicals to spray an acid wash over my labour of love, dissolving it into nothingness.

Or maybe Wobbles was destined for the pulp mill where it may be reborn as an environmentally friendly Guide to the Good Life or fancy recycled paper for scrapbooks, home made wedding invitations and over-priced wrapping paper.

The options seemed endless, but as I read the very next sentence, it became clear. ‘Stock Reduction’ is actually code for an End of Season Sale.

That’s right, people. My publisher has offered me as much stock as I want at bargain basement prices so I can pass on the savings to my loyal followers. So buy now for Christmas, for anniversaries, for birthdays or any other celebration you feel the need to mark with a gift. If you order them from me, you’ll have them personalised and signed and cheap, cheap, cheap.

Help save the remaining copies of Wobbles from whatever fearsome fate awaits those left on the shelf, and have yourself a rollicking read through the tragedies and triumphs of the most honest and entertaining sports memoir to date – a story about the ‘also-rans’ who made it but never quite ‘made’ it, who did extraordinary things in very ordinary ways and who came out the other end to tell the world the truth.

Enjoy!

PS: It does beg the question: If ‘stock reduction’ involves selling more copies of the book, why would they not have employed a strategy called ‘marketing’ to move more of the stock in the first place? Why does it always fall on the shoulders of the writer to recreate herself into marketing guru, sales executive and tele-, email-, door-to-door-, blog- flogger? Hmmmm…

PPS: I realise this is a Double Flog. Sorry to those offended.

PPPS: Actually, I retract that. I’m not sorry. Or ashamed. I’m desperate.

Jog Blog Update

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International Triathlon Union (ITU)
#221, 998 Harbourside Dr.,
North Vancouver, BC,
Canada, V7P 3T2

 

Dear El Presidente Marisol Casado,

 

A good friend of mine has alerted me to the possibility of an alternative alteration to triathlon law, should my suggestions yesterday have met with disapproval (for some absurdly childish reason that I can’t possibly imagine).

 

If changing the order of events is too difficult for your die-hard fans to come at, I would like to suggest a sliding scale of distances for each part of the race. Let me explain:

At present, the Sprint Triathlon that I intend to complete (on 18th December, Marisol, you’re on a deadline to get this sorted) consists of a 450m swim (why the odd distance?), an 18km ride and a 4km run. When looked at like this, it is clear that the required distances are totally unbalanced. To rectify this, competitors should be required to swim, ride and run for the same amount of time. So, a competitor who completes the 450m swim in, say, 6 minutes, would then be required to ride their bike for 6 minutes and run for 6 minutes. The person who gets furthest away from the starting line within this time frame wins. Easy.

 

I look forward to your response in this matter. Should you have any further questions, I will be pleased to direct you to the genius who came up with the idea in the first place, a fellow ex-swimmer and now-mother, Ms E.

 

Many thanks,

Nadine

 

PS: Your Lion Cake has been taken by an associate of mine, so should you still need a bribe, I have a bucket of freshly collected snails and a pile of bindis (not the Irwin kind, thank God, although just as painful if handled without protective equipment). Let me know which you would prefer.

Jog Blog

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As the title suggests, I went for a jog today. Actually, it was more like a Cliff Young shuffle interspersed with significant periods of walking, but at least I was out there.

In fact, the last three days have seen a level of dedication to physical fitness that I have not had in the 10 years since I retired from swimming… OK, except for the annual ‘I’m making a comeback’ fit that would take hold for a week or three every time a major international swimming event came up on the calendar. And no, it has nothing to do with the approaching Commonwealth Games. Seriously. I swear. Not even the tiniest whisper of a hint. Honest. I don’t want to make a comeback. Scout’s Honour.

(Not because I couldn’t do it, mind you. I mean the times they are swimming aren’t THAT much faster, especially since they’ve banned techno-doping with those Star-Trek ‘Beam me up Scotty’ suits. I could make a comeback, if I really wanted to. All it would take is a full-time nanny, housekeeper and live-in massage therapist, me to quit breastfeeding the Blossom and to forget about having any more kids for a few years, and the kind of monastic devotion to a masochistic training regime that would make SAS training look like a walk in the park, but I could do it. Seriously. What? You don’t think I could? You want me to prove it? I will. I’ll make that comeback, just say the word… Ahem… Sorry… Where was I? … OK, I don’t want to make a comeback and the Commonwealth Games are just another sporting event. Right.)

  

So, what has brought on my two bike rides and one ‘run’ in the last three days?

Firstly, my parents have been visiting so I have had babysitters. A luxury not to be sneezed at. An opportunity to be grasped.

Secondly, motherhood amnesia. Again. I know, a running theme with me.

This bout of amnesia has seen me commit to two rather daunting events requiring the kind of physical prowess I no longer possess – A 24hr MegaSwim to raise money for MS Australia (committed to when I was 3 months pregnant with Blossom and clearly delusional about how I was going to juggle two kids) and a Sprint Triathlon to be completed before the end of the year. I am, unfortunately a woman of my word an despite my efforts to learn the N-Word and my recent spate of withdrawing from a number of fun social engagements because of the kids, these two are proving hard to shake.

The MS MegaSwim has the obvious ‘good cause’ guilt attached, but thankfully it is a relay, so provided I get more than the current one member in my team (yes, that one member is me), we can all take turns. If I remain the only member, I may have to band in with someone else who is a whole lot more organised than I. At least it is a swim.

The other, however, has the personal challenge thing attached, and in this world of motherhood where competition is futile and generally heartbreaking (I mean, who wants to compete and then find that everyone else is a better mother and your children have the odds stacked against them already simply because of your ineptitude? It’s better to just not go there.) my natural need for a competitive outlet has latched onto this Sprint Triathlon mission. Only problem is, the end of the year is fast approaching and I have done three days of preparation.

So as I pounded the pavement (and I mean, every inch of the pavement, that’s how slow and arduous the shuffle was),  I began to think how I might make this a more realistic goal. Because, if I am honest, three days of training during each of  my parents’ monthly visits isn’t really going to cut it. Sure, whenever I mention that I’m going to do this thing people say, “Oh, you’ll shit it in. You can swim 400m with your eyes closed. Easy.” But they neglect to consider that it is called a TRI-athlon for a reason. If it only involved swimming 400m, I may well have committed to doing five of them back-to-back. But it does not, eyes closed or otherwise.

The problem for me is the land activity and, as I have discovered today, particularly the run. You see, on a bike there is a certain amount of inertia that helps you along. You can stop peddling and let gravity do it’s thing as you go down the hills. You can gear up or down to get the biggest bang for your pedal-power buck. But when running, it’s all up to you and those non-existent leg muscles that have withered and died from so many hours parked in front of the computer, blogging.

It was this on the final up-hill stumble towards home that I realised the solution was simple. They just had to change the order of events. If I could run first, ride second and swim third, I wouldn’t have to face the hardest part when I was already completely and utterly fucked.

So I have penned this letter to El Presidente of the International Triathlon Union and I will let you know when the new rules come into effect.

International Triathlon Union (ITU)
#221, 998 Harbourside Dr.,
North Vancouver, BC,
Canada, V7P 3T2

 

Dear El Presidente Marisol Casado,

I am a mother of two small children and aspiring Sprint Triathlete who has noticed a rather obvious flaw in the way your sport is run.

As I am sure you are aware, the current order in which the three sports making up a triathlon are programmed , namely swim, ride, run, leaves competitors facing the hardest event last. This is a rather unfair and unnecessarily masochistic approach. Your sport would have a much wider appeal (and I dare say records would tumble) if you were to change the order to run, ride, swim.

The new order will allow competitors to cane themselves in the run without fear of what is to come, ensuring faster times overall. The following ride would allow competitors to work the lactic acid build-up from their legs, while making the most of inertia and down-hill runs on the bike. Finally, the swim would provide the perfect cool down to ensure athletes did not injure themselves because of post-race stagnation brought on by the completely-shattered-can’t-move syndrome that currently affects many competitors in your sport. I mean, who doesn’t feel better after a dip?

While I understand that there are a number of unreasonably fit fanatics who enjoy partaking in triathlons like the Port Macquarie Ironman and other such ludicrous events, and who may appreciate the added challenge of running at the end of such an event, but for the majority of would-be competitors, this is a clear indication of elitism in the sport. We unfit mothers of the world would like to be given a chance and by changing the order of events you would be sending a clear message of inclusivity to the world.

I propose that these changes be made before the last Sunday of 2010 to ensure I have the best possible chance of achieving my Sprint Triathlon goal.

Thank you.

Your humble servant and sports visionary,

Nadine

PS: If you require a bribe, I would be happy to make a Lion Cake for you.