Saturday, 30 April 2011

Wedding fever

Image from here
I was out with the school Mums last night. My eyes were glued to the box for much of the night. I got all swept up in the Royal wedding and found myself excitedly anticipating the kiss.

You can bet your bottom dollar Kate and Wills have kissed before, but not as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, so I wanted to see them in action.

As they approached the balcony, I was clinking my fork on the side of my wine glass Italian wedding style, much to the amusement  annoyance of my fellow pub-dwellers.

And then, they kissed.

It was passionate and sweet, but way too much like a pair of grandparents!

"What did you expect?" one of the Mums from school asked me as I drunkedly announced my disappointment.

I squeezed my two pointer fingers together in s demonstration of what the 'perfect' kiss would have been for me.

I should know. The Geege and I had many 'practise' sessions with out pointer fingers as we discussed the kiss at our wedding. I had this terrible feeling that I was going to go in for a pash and him for a peck (or vice versa) and I was determined it would be a bit 'choreographed' to ensure no-one was left sucking the other's face.

Maybe Wills and Kate practised their kiss too? Maybe it is the royal way? Hell, it was a hundred times better than Charles and Di's kiss. But I still reckon their kiss needed to be a bit longer.

Other than that, I thought the wedding was perfect.

And did you notice the chemistry between Harry and Pippa? Watch this space I tell you. There is something abrewing there ;-)

What did you think of the big event?

Friday, 29 April 2011

Food issues

Image from here
I had to fill in a form recently where I had to list any 'dietary variations'. I think I am fairly typical with my food. I am not diabetic, gluten intolerant or highly allergic. I usually leave the question blank on the form, or put vegetarian if I fear being served the leg of a hippo or something equally experimental. But when it comes right down to it, I do have a food fetish or two:

I don't do bananas. The fruit, the flavour, the texture. Ick!

Avocados are the same texture as bananas and will only be tolerated in sushi. No other forms of avocado for me.

I don't like raw tomatoes unless they are sliced or diced (finely). No 'wedges' for this girl.

I don't like cold soup. Call it Gazpacho or 'chilled soup' or whatever else you like, it is soup. And it should be hot.

I can't eat beef or lamb. Three poo January back in 2001 was the end of any dream of ever had of re-introducing red meat to my diet.
I wonder what is on the menu at Wills and Kate's wedding today? I bet they are having cold soup, roast beef and a banana fritter!
 
Do you think I am a freak or do you have your own little list of food issues? Don't be shy now. Tell us how you like your food.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

The day after the 30 days before

Image from here
Today is the first day after the Six Items of Less challenge. Let me tell you: I am absolutely NOT wearing a single item from my group of six. They are all having a well-earned rest, for services rendered.

I cannot even tell you how excited I was to slip into my jeans this morning! Jeans!

What I learned from all of this madness:

1. Six items is more than enough to have a varied wardrobe. When you think that there are millions of people world wide who would kill for six different things to wear, it bangs it home loud and clear that you really don't NEED all of those clothes in your wardrobe.

2. Autumn is all about layers and there is only so much layering six items allows you. If you are going to try this at home, might I suggest that you wait until the Summer months?

3. Six items or less is hard when you spend three days at work, and four days at home. My outfits were too dressy for home, too casual for work. A lose:lose really.

4. I am definitely rethinking the children's wardrobes this season and getting them far less than I have in the past. Less = less decision-making about what to wear = smaller piles of washing. I'm all for that!

5. I am having a 'spring clean' in Autumn and tossing anything in my wardrobe that I didn't miss over the last month.

6. Not one single person who sees me regularly seemed to notice that I spent the last month in the same clothes. Not one. I told my colleagues yesterday and they said: "Did you? Really? Everyday the same thing?". Just goes to show how little attention people pay to what you wear.

7. I think I over-wash. Usually I wear something once and it goes into the clothing hamper, but I snuck a couple of days in where my T-shirt may have been on one day more than was strictly legal, but with some decent over-night airing and deoderant, I got away with it.

8. Clothes aren't really made to be worn as frequently as I wore them this month. I had quite a few wardrobe malfunctions that required me to learn a bit of sewing! It was both horrifying and liberating to see myself on the couch hemming my pants or replacing a button. What is next? Darning socks? 

9. Accessories are the bomb. I mean, any outfit can work with the right accessories. My wardrobe will be more about that in the future. Fewer clothes. More accessories.

10. Next time, should there be a next time, I am not going without my jeans. I think I will live in them for the next 30 days to make up for lost time.

I think I am going to adopt the six items or less for each category of my wardrobe - six dresses, six skirts, six pairs of longs, you get what I mean? Do you think you could do that?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

I need a Bex and a lie down

Image from here
Over the Easter break I tackled three tasks that one woman with four children should not attempt on her own. I went okay, considering.

The first, a trip to the dentist, was surprisingly well executed and apart from poor Doo Dah who had to have a turn with Mr Buzzy (that is what the dental therapist called that high-rotation tooth cleaner she obliterated Doo Dah's plaque with) it was a drama-free event. I didn't have the heart to suggest that she think of a new name for her utensils - she seemed so happy with Mr Puffy and Mr Buzzy.

The second, which, as a true testament to my madness, occurred on the same day as the former, was a trip to the supermarket. At five O'Clock. The night before a public holiday. When every man and his dog stocks up their cupboards as though preparing for six months at sea. What is with that?

We chose a smallish supermarket, deep in the suburbs with the hope of outsmarting many of our fellow locals. It didn't work. My Mum, who called me during said trip to the supermarket, can attest to the high-volume, high frequency reprimanding that escaped my lips by the time we reached the frozen section and the fourteenth request for ice-cream was uttered. Not pretty.

The final task occurred today, after a blissful break down at Wiseman's Ferry. Feeling all relaxed and yet, somehow quite purposeful, I braved the hairdresser, on the last day of school holidays. It wasn't our usual barber (he was sensibly enjoying the extra public holiday that we scored because Anzac Day and Easter Monday happened to coincide this year), rather one of those drop in hairdressers.

The lucky girl who got to deal with Nugget's numerous cowlicks and Doo Dah's bouffant, was wearing an "18" on her necklace and a Bieber-esque coiff. Cute? Yes. Experienced? No.

The peroxide blonde who tackled the twins' commented that "she got all the hair and he is, well, a bit balding really". Poor ol' Dew Drop. Apparently you continue to add hair to your stocks until you are about seven. There is still hope for Dew Drop. The Minx, on the other hand, may resemble a baboon by then.

The cupboards are stocked, the children's teeth are clean, and their hairs are all tidy-like. We are all ready for the commencement of Term 2 tomorrow.

Except me. I think I may need a Bex and a lie down.

What have you been doing to get ready for the new school term?

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Now is the time to ... stretch

Image from here
My mother-in-law gave us this book called Now is the Time: 170 ways to seize the moment by Patrick Lindsay. It is neat. I have posted some things from it before, here, here and here.

So when I randomly opened the book today, here is what I found:

Now is the time to...

STRETCH

Watch a cat or a dog.
See their languid stretches.
Notice how much they enjoy the moment.
It releases tension.
It flexes the spine.
It tones the muscles.
Exponents of Yoga know the benefits.
Follow their lead.

"You are only as young as your spine is flexible"- Bob Harper (1965-    )

I love a good stretch, so today I am going to pull out my Yoga DVD (after I take my four kids to the dentist - now there's something I bet you wish you were doing today?) and make like a downward facing dog.

My kids love doing it too, so I reckon we will have a 'family' Yoga class (which means that one, two or more children will end up climbing all over me while I try to find my inner Zen). The laughter alone will be good for my soul, but maybe not my chi.

You have got to start somewhere.

How will you incorporate stretching into your day?

Addit 22/04/2011: I will be back on Tuesday, after a refreshing Easter long weekend break with my family at Wiseman's Ferry. I hope you have time to put your feet up a little and indulge in some chocolately goodness. x

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Vince and Jo

Image taken from here
I am still getting over the Prince and Princess's names!

After all the work that the readers of And Then There Were Four did with coming up with suitable names for the royal pair, my mate Mary goes and ignores our advice! They didn't even select from the shortlisted names that the Danish media assured us was definitive! What is with that?

After months of waiting, some reported extra-curricular activity from Fred on the night before the Christening, the twins' names have been revealed. Vincent and Josephine it is (along with a bunch of other names following the Danish royal's tradition of four names).

Prince Vinnie - well we can't be calling him Prince Vince now can we?- and Princess Jo.

Vince and Jo. There's nothing remotely 'twinnie' about the name pair.

But what about the whole Mary and Josephine thing? Sound oddly familiar from somewhere?... Hmmmm. Didn't quite think that one through did you, Maz?

I think they will always be Axel and Astrid to me.

What do you think of Mary and Fred's name choices?

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

An inherited skill of avoidance

Image from here
I was forced to mend my red blouse last night. The bottom button had mysteriously fallen off and needed to be reattached. Sticky tape wouldn't fix this little wardrobe malfunction and if it weren't for the six-items-or-less challenge, I would have stashed my shirt to the back of my wardrobe, never to be worn again.

I managed to sew it back on, channelling my inner Sewing Queen. She's pretty dormant around these parts as you know. Dormant, but surprisingly, semi-skilled it seems.

My Mum told me the other day that she spent most of her 'sewing' classes at school doing 'mathematical equations'. You see, if you mucked up in sewing class, you had to do maths. Mum deliberately misbehaved each lesson so she didn't have to sew. "Anything but the needle" she said to me.

You see?

It's hereditary.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Where do you fit in the Blogger School Yard!?

Image from here

I want you to make welcome Melissa who has graciously agreed to guest post here today. I am really excited to have Melissa in my space - hers is always such a fun place to be!

In her post she is making an interesting parallel between the blogosphere and the school yard and I think you will all enjoy it. Take it away Melissa...
You went to school, right? Do you remember {if your school was big enough, some of mine weren’t} the cliques or groups that students would get filed into? Maybe someone put you there or you might have selected a nice safe spot for yourself. You were either happy with your place or you weren’t.

Or maybe you didn’t have that experience at all? So just for a moment, picture every American teen movie, novel or television show. Got what I’m talking about? Good! Let’s go.

What I’m saying is that the blogging community works a bit the same. Sure. It’s not as specific. We cross over and back into some or all of the categories. But they exist. Well, I say they do, and here’s some I wrote down:

The Rockstar {Cool Kids} – They are popular, sponsored and at the top of their category. Everyone wants to be their friend. And usually because they are friendly, smiley and fun. They can be dismissive. They have millions of comments, page views and get offered all the cool stuff. They don’t go to people anymore; people come to them. Their motto is Life is Good.

The Average Joe – The Average Joe blogger could be a jock, if they worked at it. And probably don’t have the star power to be a cool kid. But they are good, loyal, decent and quietly achieving in their own way. It’s safer here too. They are the people you trust to be there. But don’t expect them to change much. Their motto is Good Things Come to Those Who Wait.

The Drama Crowd – Most commonly falling in the fashion blogger crowd, the drama crowd are flamboyant, talented and a teeny tiny bit over the top. They collect the beautiful. Celebrate the joys of life. They can be critical. But they are almost always fun. Unless you broke their heart or they are in a blue phase. Their motto is Life is a Stage!

The Jocks – A jock is focused and driven. They post often. And hone their skills. Writing, photographing, in their specific genre. They ask questions, join forums and seek out mentors. They are popular. But they work for it. And they will always work to stay at the top of their game. Things don’t necessarily come easily to them. They are annoyingly single focused sometimes. They could talk blogging in their sleep. Their motto is Practice Makes Perfect.

The Arty Farties – Crafty and savvy the Arty Farties can knit you a sweater, paint you a picture and redesign your blog in one afternoon. From craft to cooking projects these guys are the ones giving it a go. With varying results. Sometimes it backfires big time. Sometimes they pull it off with elegant finesse. They are adventurous. A little scatty {all those freakin’ projects people!} and regarded with amusement and awe. Their motto is Genius Sometimes Makes a Mess.

The Bullies – A nasty bunch of so and so’s. Avoid at all costs. There is one in every class. A person who gets a kick out of humiliating or undermining others. The saddest part about this is that it isn’t always the faceless villain that hurts us the most. It could be a former BFF. The bully’s motto is This World Ain’t Big Enough for the Two of Us!

What do you think? Do bloggers fit into general school yard type categories or is it more complex than that? And before we get too serious, what character are you? Go on. Pick one! Or if you don’t see yourself here anywhere, tell us, what high school cliché are you?

Because clearly, I am a Rock Star. Haha. Nahh. A Drama Crowd’er/Arty Fartie... Hmmm.

I can't say I have ever really thought about it before Melissa, but I reckon I am an Average Joe. Rockstar Melissa blogs at Suger Coat it where she writes about fashion, life and love through the eyes of an artistic, nerdy tech savvy property manager who is battling the bulge and trying to conceive. Pop over and say "hi".

Saturday, 16 April 2011

52in52: Fundraising

Photo found here
I am taking a leaf out of Kelly's book and setting myself something new to do each week in 2011. I am going to post about it each week on Saturday. I won't be doing this in any particular order, and will add the link to the post when it is complete. If I don't manage to achieve everything on the list, (highly likely) I will donate $5 for everything I missed to Oxfam for all the amazing work they do. So here goes...


I have done it! Entered the Mother's Day Classic and set up a fundraising page. Photographer Mum sponsored me yesterday (thanks Penny) fulfilling one of my 52in52 targets: Enter a fun run and raise money for a worthwhile charity.

I have to run 8km, starting at the crack of dawn on Mother's Day. I will be doing the Cliffy Young shuffle in Sydney, while other bloggers will be taking up the gauntlet in other states around Australia.

One of my friend's died of breast cancer last year. She was an amazing, strong and engaged woman. Inspiring in her approach to life, and death. It put things into perspective for me. Life is short. Shit happens to really good people. Only the good die young. Live each moment as if it were your last. Cliches all of them, but cliches came about for a reason.

I've never really known what I could do in memory of my friend but raising money for cancer research seems to be a good start. So when the Mother's Day Classic was advertised, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to give something back to the community that helped my friend for seven long years. She was worth it.

Now, if you want to help me and thousands of other runners around Australia raise money for breast cancer research, you have two options:

1. Enter the event yourself (early bird cut off is Sunday so there is still time)
2. Here's the link to my sponsorship page: http://bit.ly/fEQk5n Sponsor me a couple of shekels and I will do you proud.

You up for it?

Friday, 15 April 2011

Celebrating six years of parenting!


It's Nugget's birthday today. We have been opening presents, bowling, eating pizza and bushwalking with a cast of thousands to celebrate. It has been everything that a child's birthday should be. Carefree. Loud. Fun. Sugar fueled. Shared. Enjoyed.

I have been a parent for six years today.


Six years since I last 'slept through the night'.

Six years since I last went to the toilet on my own.

Six years since I left the house on my own, with just my wallet in my hand.

It seems like such a long time and a blink of the eye.

Happy birthday to my special big boy. You will never know how much you changed me; grew me. I will love you until the day I die, and then some. x

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The modern teenager's brain

Image found here
There was a recent low-grade social media issue in our circle recently involving a teenager we know (she wasn't the girl who invited the world to her party via Facebook in case you were wondering). Somehow I got dragged into the mess (as the alleged parental informant no less) and despite the fact that the whole incident was news to me, I found myself in 'trouble' with this teenage girl.

I didn't actually know any of this was bubbling under the surface until after the girl and I had met face to face and she had ignored me, averted her eyes to avoid eye contact, and disengaged from general conversation.

I noticed she was behaving strangely towards me (she is a polite, engaged young women whose company I adore), but I just thought she was "being a teenager" and having a day. Isn't she entitled to that?

I received some text messages from her mother, one before our face to face meeting (which I thought she had sent to the wrong person and ignored) and another after. After I received the second text, which addressed me by name but which made no sense to me whatsoever, I called her.

That one phonecall put the whole scenario into perspective, highlighted my innocence/ignorance and got me out of the dog house with my teenage friend. A case of mistaken identity.

I felt terrible for something I did not do.

This little case study educated me a bit to the workings of the modern teenager's brain. It is a scary place I think (I even remember that) and looks something like this:

1. Delete all adults from your Facebook page- then you can do what you like

2. When in trouble, make like moss and blend into the forest floor

3. Take life a day at a time - do potential employers really care what I did in 2011?

4. Gen X is like, so uptight!

5. You only get one chance - don't judge me or it is over between us.

Despite the fact that I had absolutely nothing to do with the incident that caused my teenage friend to learn one of life's lessons (the hard way), I still think that the trust between us has dissolved a little.

She believes that I 'dobbed her in' to her parents. Even though I assured her that I would have handled the issue differently, had I indeed been privy to it, she isn't 100% sure about me. She doesn't think I am her ally anymore. I am gutted.

So tell me, how do you mend breeches of trust with a teenager? Do you think they can cut you some slack and give you another chance (especially when you haven't done a thing 'wrong' at all)? Or do you think it will just never be the same between my friend and me?

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Honey facial cleanser

Image from here
Throughout this buy nothing new (BNN) venture I have been encountering quandaries. One of the areas has been beauty products.

I have a pretty simple beauty regime:
Face/neck - cleanse, moisturise, occasional mask (not often enough some would argue). I also use mascara, foundation and lipstick on work days.
Body - exfoliate weekly, body butter/moisturiser most days, deodorant daily
Hair - shampoo and condition every two days

I wouldn't say that I am high maintenance at all.

I haven't had a lot of turn-over in the beauty product department in the last couple of months. I did run out of foundation but found another one tucked in the bathroom cabinet, so that problem was averted. For now.

This week my facial cleanser ran out, and just like that I have had to come up with a solution.
The only thing I could think of to do was make my own. I am no stranger to DIY beauty products. My sisters and I used to cook up some lovely home-made recipes straight out of the Dolly magazine back in the day. I remember mess and difficulty keeping it fresh for more than a day (thankfully we were three happy adolescents in those days so were able to use the stuff up in no time).

So as I pondering my situation and squeezing the last drops out of my store-bought, chemical containing cleanser, I came across this post by Little Eco Footprints. The honey facial cleanser. Could honey be my saviour?

Well, I tried out my honey cleanser this morning (a little drizzled on my face-washer and applied to my face) and I have to say that I was impressed! I know a single day experiment is not much of a quality study, but I am just happy that I didn't have to cook up a stinky paste to clean my face the organic way. Simple. Neat. Inexpensive. Win. Win. Win. I am going to keep it up and see what my skin thinks.

Thankfully, I haven't had to think much about the other items in my beauty product list. One thing at a time suits me much better than a complete overhaul all at once. The shampoo/conditioner combination is looking to be the next casualty, so I will have to work on a plan for them next (bicarb soda and apple vinegar anyone?)

Have you tried cleansing in honey? What are your thoughts? How about other natural hair care and/or beauty products? Share your recipes and suggestions!

Monday, 11 April 2011

All talked out

Do you ever have those days when you talk from morning until night barely drawing breath? 

Today was one of those days for me. 

Meeting after meeting, phone call after phone call.

I am all talked out.

What do you do when you are sick of the sound of your own voice?

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Some things from the week...

Image found here
1. I don't care how many inservices I have attended on 'hand hygiene', experience tells me if one child gets a stomach virus and you live in a small house, chances are the other kids will get it too (and your husband. The mother is not allowed to be sick and hence refrains. For now).

2. Incendiary means 'capable of causing fire'.

3. There is a national move in process to combine the Vocational Education and Training and University sectors in Australia.

4. Some people just don't get it. It doesn't matter how hard you work at teaching them, or how relevant it is to their lives, sometimes they just don't get it.

5. When I don't 'diet', I snack a LOT at night. I have changed that this week and am feeling much more in control.

6. Crime and Punishment is brilliant.

7. Sometimes bad things (like children vomiting in the car) lead to good things (like Mum's finding the time to clean and vacuum the car).

8. I feel pressured by my newspaper subscription. Definitely a Sun Herald only kinda gal.

9. I believe in karma. On the week that I have done even more washing than usual (I didn't think it was possible!), I won some washing powder over at Lucy's. Thanks x

10. I think pyjama pants should be allowed out of the home.

So tell me, what are your things this week?

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Six items or less challenge: update

Since March 28 and signing up to the sixitemsorless.com challenge, I have only been able to wear six items of clothing (except underwear, outerwear, exercise gear and pyjamas). It has been an interesting 10 days!

Selecting the items:
The hardest thing was selecting the clothes I wanted to wear for the challenge. Not being an instinctive fashionista, I googled the challenge and looked through the images that other people had of the clothes they wore and read their blogs.

I discovered that too many patterns was out (limits the mix and match options).

I learnt that 'all black' was out (too dreary).

I learnt that all work and no play makes the wearer a little over dressed in situations.

I learnt you need to pick fairly durable clothes and nothing that needs dry cleaning because you need to wash your items frequently throughout the month.

I learnt that you need to be prepared for the unpedictable weather (especially at this time of year!). I opted for 'cooler' clothes rather than 'warmer' ones, rationalising that I can wear something from the 'outerwear' or 'underwear' range if need be.

But when it came right down to it, it is all about accessorising, so I selected things that I thought I had a good chance of dressing up or down with accessories, shoes, hats and bags.

The selections (excuse the photography!):
Dress; Vest;  Black T-shirt (shown as brown in the photos because the black one is MIA in the piles of washing); Black pants; Red blouse; and dark denim A-line skirt.



Not sure why the photo rotations are all over the place here?

Impressions from the first 10 days:
  • Lots of washing!
  • Have worn combinations of these clothes that I wouldn't have worn before with a positive result.
  • One of the hems on my black pants has already come down - am working on learning to sew it back up (not my skill set as you know) but have had to use sticky tape the day after it happened so that I had something to wear. Hmmm...
  • Have been cold at times!
  • After completing the Adventure race, I had to change back into my nominated clothes whereas I would have loved to have been able to stay in my trackie daks.
What do you think your six items would be and why?

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The girl who cried wolf

Image from here
Ever since our trip to Fiji at Christmas, the Minx tells us she 'has a sore tummy' if she wants us to pick her up. Over in Fiji, you see, she did have a sore tummy (Bula Belly as I named it) and we would carry her from place to place.

For the last three months, as we have trotted over the road to get Nugget from school each day, the Minx would often claim she had 'a sore tummy'.  She would look up at me with her big, brown eyes and say "Up-y Mum? I have a sore tummy".

At first her ploy it worked and I would pick her up, but as the requests increased in frequency and she has gotten heavier and heavier (have I mentioned how well-covered she is?), I have found myself telling her the story of The Boy who Cried Wolf.

She is all of two, so probably doesn't get it, but it relieves my guilt of not wanting to lug her around. We have often been seen, walking along together in the school playground. Her, whining and raising her arms up at me; me, ignoring her and scurrying along.

Today we had to go to Medicare and while we were at the shops, the Minx started up with her "I have got a sore tummy" and I started up with my The Boy who Cried Wolf banter.

An hour later she chucked for Australia all over the car.

*Sigh*

What do your children do when they don't want to walk somewhere? How do you determine the ploy from the real McCoy?

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Neck pain + fever = healthcare system at breaking point

Image from here
I really feel like I jinxed myself with the sympathy fatigue post last Friday.

On Sunday morning, after a spell of mattress jumping and wrestling with his brothers, Nugget complained of a sore neck.

We insisted that he have a lie down but after a half hour or so looking up at the ceiling, his neck pain wasn't getting any better and he was feeling hot to touch. I scanned his body for a rash and didn't find one. He was whiney and teary.

We decided that it was best if he was seen by a doctor and, given that there was a possible unwitnessed injury (from the wrestling bout), I decided we should brave the emergency department (ED). I did not make this decision lightly. My last trip was less than fun.

Nugget and I headed to the local hospital. The ED was chockers. I didn't like our chances of avoiding a long wait, but even  I was surprised that it took one and half hours to even see the triage nurse, with the expected wait to see a doctor, another three plus hours. Unlikely people.

Our public health system is in crisis. I wish Mr O'Farrell and Mrs.Skinner all the best in improving the ED waiting times to four hours. If Sunday is anything to go by, that will be a huge job, let alone dealing with the budget blow outs, wrong-patient, wrong-surgery errors, lack of clinical coders, implementation of electronic medical records, improving the Essentials of Care, dealing with the deteriorating patient more appropriately, ageing workforce, nursing shortages, pharmacist shortages, burnt out Allied Health staff, poor clinical governance and the poor man I heard about today who ended up with a naso-gastric tube perforating his brain.

Thems big problems.

So Nugget and I took our chances with the sore neck and fever he had and decided to self-medicate with Panadol and Nurofen and hope for the best.

Only he was feeling worse on Monday morning, and a trip to the GP lead to another trip back to the ED at the local hospital and a whole lot of mother's guilt.

This time we got straight in (note to self: Next ED visit should not be on a weekend), had his neck x-rayed, had some blood tests and a urine test.

No neck fracture. No viral meningitis. Just a  muscle strain and a coincidental viral infection. Phew.

I hope that we won't need to be going back to the ED anytime soon. Something really needs to be done though because those poor people we saw who came in with diarrhoea and vomitting who were given a vomit bag and told to sit and wait? Those people deserve better. And the people who were made to sit next to them? They deserve better too.

Have you experienced the ED lately? How did you find it?

Monday, 4 April 2011

52in52: The adventure race experience

Image from here
I am taking a leaf out of Kelly's book and setting myself something new to do each week in 2011. I am going to post about it each week on Saturday. I won't be doing this in any particular order, and will add the link to the post when it is complete. If I don't manage to acheive everything on the list, (highly likely) I will donate $5 for everything I missed to Oxfam for all the amazing work they do. So here goes...


It was an early start for a Saturday morning. The Geege awoke with sciatica. After appraising the situation, the sympathy fatigue kicked in and he was given the orders to take some Nurofen and take one for the team! We checked our back packs and reorganised our supplies.

Our team mate arrived in her brother's van at 5.30 to pick us up. Destination: Dora Creek.

The freeway drive was smooth and apart from a quick stop at the service centre to stock up on drugs for Mr Sciatica, we cruised to the bike drop off. And straight past it. And then back to it again. Hmmm... A sign of things to come?

We drove to the start, and after a briefing about remembering to stick our dippers into the correct box at the transition areas (causing waves of giggles from the group of novice adventure racers), we were bussed back to our bikes for the kick off.

An adventure race is made up of trail running, mountain biking, kayaking and navigation. The idea is to collect checkpoints (CPs) in the specified order, as quickly as you can. All team mates do all legs together and can be no more than 100m apart at any time. Everyone must pass within 20m of all the CPs.

Our first leg (apart from a quick ride to it) was running. Although the event organisers had messed up numbering the CPs creating confusion among the masses, it was our ineptitude in finding the first CP that caused us the most drama. I can think of nothing more frustrating /embarrassing than getting lost in the bush with a compass and a map!

Once we located CP 9 (labelled CP 1, just to have us questioning our orienteering skills even more!), it was smooth sailing through the other CPs (except for an unfortunate ankle sprain for me) and on to the next leg. Mountain biking.

I can't say I am a fabulous mountain biker. I hate the feeling of losing control so the downhill bits freak me out! Fortuntely the terrain was reasonably kind to us and although I was definitely the weakest link for our team (getting bogged at one stage in a large puddle), we zoomed on to the final stage - kayaking.

We were all nervous about the kayaking leg. It was the unknown quantity for us. We had done zero training in a kayak. My last adventure on one occurred about seven years ago when a friend and I embarked on an overnight trip, also completely unprepared, which was enormous fun but I learnt that I couldn't steer! I used this knowledge and opted to sit up front.

It was a problem-free leg. We all felt sore after about three strokes and then did the rest of the three kms comfortably numb. I tell you what though. Kayaking is bloody hard when you have no stomach muscles to speak of. The s-m life jacket I mistakenly took from the large pile of PDFs was fortuitous in the end as it acted as a brace!

Upon finalizing the kayak CPs we jumped on our bikes and raced to the finish. The end of a fun morning of activity. It felt great! By the time we had reached the van for the return journey we were already planning the next race in sept! No longer novices, we will tackle the classic course. Lots to keep us busy in the meantime - maps, trail running, conquering my fear of the downhill, and, of course paddling.

Have you ever done an adventure race? Keen to try? Check this website.

Friday, 1 April 2011

I am suffering Sympathy Fatigue

Image from here
As you can imagine, with four young children there are a lot of little accidents in our household. There are trips, falls, scrapes, bangs, thumps, slips and scratches every single day.

I noticed today, when Doo Dah banged his leg on a metal bike rack at Aldi (don't ask!) and his eyes welled with tears and his throat roared with loud cries, that my first (silent) reaction was "Not again!" but I caught myself before I responded with the obligatory soothing words, cuddles, rubs and kisses to 'make it better'.

I realised today that I am suffering Sympathy Fatigue.

I am most certainly grateful that none of these little accidents has required more than a band-aid, some words of encouragement and a soft touch to overcome but they are so common place that I am sort of annoyed by them! They are inconvenient stress inducing and I wish they didn't happen so frequently!

What am I like? I know I am in no danger of winning the Mother of the Year Award, but are there others out there who are in the same boat?
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