Thursday, November 12, 2009

Over the Top!

Coming out of blogging silence, as I've been tagged by the lovely Amanda.

I think it's very cool to have friends that live on the other side of the world, must one day conquer fear of flying and go for a visit!

Anyways, here's the deal on the tag, Amanda has given me an award! :) Which comes with the nice badge above. Don't know that my blog which has been shamefully silent can be classed as over the top, but hey, I'll take it! :)

Part of the deal is also the following survey, which I have to answer with one word for each question. Here goes:

Where is your cell phone? desk
Your hair? ponytail
Your mother? home
Your father? home
Your favorite food? pizza!
Your dream last night? disturbing
Your favorite drink? chardonnay
Your dream/goal? fitness
What room are you in? work-pod (I can make up new words if I want :) )
Your hobby? photography
Your fear? death
Where do you want to be in 6 years? unknown
Where were you last night? home
Something you aren’t? confident
Muffins? pass
Wish list? Jillian (to meet and/or train with her. This totally doesn't count as cheating putting more words in brackets!)
Where did you grow up? Sydney
Last thing you did? work
What are you wearing? Kathmandu
Your TV? Big!
Your pets? Dogs
Friends? few
Your life? changing
Your mood? stressed
Missing someone? Yes
Vehicle? Honda
Something you’re not wearing? shorts
Your favorite store? Lorna-Jane (dashes are not cheating!)
Your favorite color? blue
When was the last time you laughed? forgotten
Last time you cried? recent
Your best friend? husband
One place that I go to over and over? work
Facebook? addicted
Favorite place to eat? home

As I suspect Amanda is the only person who still reads this blog, I won't tag anyone. But hey, if I'm wrong, feel free to comment and let me know you are there! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Number 1!!

I've been playing games on the It's Your Turn website since April '01, and today, for the first time, I am number 1 for Backgammon on the Open Turbo 100-hour Ladder!! :) :)

Here's the proof:That's right folks, out of 288 people, I'm number 1!!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Taronga Zoo

B and I took the day off work today to spend some time together. B is going overseas for two weeks on Sunday, so we wanted to spend some quality time together before he goes. So today we decided to go to the zoo!

The zoo has a pretty good view as well ... here's the Sydney Harbour Bridge ...

And a closer shot of the Opera House:

We saw giraffes:

... and a tiger:

... and a baby elephant:

awww :)

We had fun, there were heaps of people there due to it being school holidays, but we didn't have any trouble getting around, good time had by all.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sins of the Past

I have a secret to confess ... I have long been a fan of the TV show Xena, Warrior Princess. In fact, we own all the seasons on DVD. So, seeing as I'm loving the idea of a project after reading Julia and Julia, and now having also seen the movie, I feel like a project of my own. I will watch each episode of Xena, and blog about it. Fear not, it won't be the only thing I blog about, as it's not like it is the only thing happening in my life. But, it seems like a fun thing to blog about, and it will help me get back to blogging on a regular basis.

So here goes ...

Season 1, Episode 1

Title: Sins of the Past

The very first episode .. and what an episode. It starts with Xena trying to make a new start, to turn her back on her evil warrior ways, forsaking violence ... which lasts about 10 seconds (at least the forsaking violence part). She happens to get in the way of some other evil dudes, who have just kidnapped some women from a local village. And here is where Xena and Gabrielle meet for the first time. Xena saves the women from the evil dudes, the local village for some reason tells Xena to rack off (very ungrateful), and Gabrielle is sold on the idea of joining up with Xena, even though Xena could care less and tells her so.

Gabrielle nicks off in the middle of the night to follow Xena, after an amusing conversation with her sister Lilla ... (NB, the following conversation is not a direct transcript, just my memory ... and I'd had a couple of glasses of chardonnay so it may not be 100% accurate)

G: I want to become a warrior
L: You, a warrior, I can beat you up!!
G: You're very strong for your age ... anyway, you know I'm different to everyone else in this village
L: I know you're crazy ...
G: call it whatever you like

Renée O'Connor is just brilliant as Gabrielle, very funny indeed

This episode also had the character Draco (played by the guy from Water Rats), who is in a few future episodes. Xena wants to go back home and Draco explains that after her evil warrior days she can never go home again. She tries anyway, her Mum snubs her, and then Draco and Xena have a fight. Which for some reason had to be fought on some very flimsy scaffolding ... which was in a pub ... and we're not sure what the scaffolding is for ... and it falls apart in about 2 minutes into the fight.

Xena of course wins the day, doesn't kill Water Rats dude, they both live to fight and partake in witty banter for another day. Xena's Mum forgives her, and then Xena tells her that she can't stay for long and nicks off into the sunset with Gabrielle (why she can't stay isn't clear and this turns out to be a recurring feature in Xena episodes, as soon as she is happy somewhere she has to move on ... )

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chicken Cacciatora

One of the good things about finishing my course is that I have more spare time on my hands to do other things I love. For instance, cooking a new dish. I was reading Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, and it struck me that it had been a very long time indeed since I'd cooked anything new. After a bit of debate with B, and trawling through recipe books, I decided to cook a recipe in one of my Delia Smith books.

Chicken Cacciatora was the end result, from Delia's book How to Cook, Book two

After doing this recipe, I can now add jointing a chicken to my cooking repertoire! :)


Serves 4

1 x 3lb (1.35kg) free range chicken, jointed into 8 pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
2 largish onions, peeled and thickly sliced
1lb 8oz (700g) ripe red tomatoes
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, bruised and finely chopped
1 bay leaf
10 fl oz (275ml) dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

You will also need a lidded casserole dish with a capacity of 6 pints (3.5L)


First of all heat the oil in the casserole over a high heat and season the chicken joints with salt and pepper. Then, when the oil gets really hot and begins to shimmer, fry the chicken – in 2 batches – to brown it well on all sides: remove the first batch to a plate while you tackle the second; each joint needs to be a lovely golden-brown colour all over. When the second batch is ready, remove it to join the rest. Now add the onions to the casserole, turn the heat down to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until they are softened and nicely browned at the edges.

Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes. To do this, pour boiling water over them and leave them for exactly 1 minute before draining and slipping off their skins (protect your hands with a cloth if they are too hot), then chop them quite small.

When the onions are browned, add the garlic to the casserole, let this cook for about 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, tomato purée, rosemary, bay leaf, white wine and white wine vinegar. Now add some seasoning and bring it up to the boil, then let it bubble and reduce (without covering) to about half its original volume, which will take about 20 minutes. Now add the chicken pieces, stir them around a bit, then put the lid on and allow to simmer gently for 40 minutes, until the chicken joints are cooked through. This is good served with green tagliatelle, noodles, rice or a simple vegetable. (I served with rice, worked well)

The finished product:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Getting back in the swing of things

Hey, I'm still alive peeps! Been super busy with the PT course, which finished up recently. That's right folks, I'm now a qualified personal trainer, lookout!! :)

I start at a big gym in November. It doesn't quite feel real. It just doesn't seem that long ago that I was procrastinating over doing the course, then finally applied, got in, four months of course, done!

What I didn't expect, and what has been such a huge bonus, is the fact that the class I was in, was absolutely awesome. It was a great group, and great friendships have been formed. To the point where now that it is over, we all feel a little lost, we're missing seeing each other so regularly. Guess that is normal after seeing them three times a week for 4 months!

New beginnings ... for once I'm really looking forward to the future.

In other news, B is going away overseas for two weeks the middle of October, and I'm quietly freaking out about being by myself for that amount of time. I keep telling myself, "I'm 36, I'm a strong, capable woman. I am not defined by my husband, I can be enough by myself, I'll be just fine!"

Planning on catching up with lots of friends, and keeping busy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bits and pieces

I’ve had a lot on my plate lately, which is why the blogging has yet again kinda sputtered to a halt. Sometimes there is so much going on in my head that it is difficult to make coherent sense out of it, coherent enough to write anyway.

But, here is some of what is happening in my world:

Shannon, of Everyday Stranger fame has had her 6 year blogging anniversary. I’ve been a regular reader for about 5 of those 6 years, and I am consistently blown away by the quality of her writing. She is an amazing woman, and it has been an honour to get to know here through her writing. She has a way of expressing her emotions that is so brutally honest that it takes my breath away. One day I hope to meet her and buy her a drink.

The personal training course is going well. We’re being given a lot of information in a short space of time, so it’s been a little stressful, but I’m enjoying it a lot. The class I’m in is a good group of people; we all want to get as much out of it as possible. We had our first assessment on Sunday, I find out tonight how I went. I’m quietly confident, but we’ll see.

My knee is improving, slowly but surely. The physio sessions have been good, they have been able to provide me with an ‘interesting’ level of pain, which I expected. Tight muscles are a bitch to loosen up, so they have to get their knuckles/elbows/forearms etc into them. And yes, that does hurt like hell. But I don’t mind, whatever it takes to get me back up and running, I’m willing to have happen.

Friendships – ah, this has been doing my head in. I’ve never been particularly good at friendships, with women in particular. I struggle with knowing what is too much to expect out of a friendship, how much time I should spend with people, how much to share, how much to let them in. This was hammered home to me in no uncertain terms by someone in my life who I thought was a very good, close friend. I won’t go into too much detail, but we met up for lunch last week, and by the end of it I was left hurt and shaking. I have pressured her too much, expected too much, and had the temerity to disagree with her on things which she felt I had no right to disagree. She also felt hurt, so I ended up apologising completely, taking the full blame for the situation. She assures me the friendship is not damaged, that she still considers me a dear friend, but time will tell.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Not so bad

So I was able to get an appointment at the physio this morning, not the guy I wanted to see, but one of his colleagues. She was very nice.

Turns out I dislocated my kneecap, and have a slight tear in my calf muscle. Apparently if I was going to do something to my knee this is one of the better things to have happened, I should be back up and training in a few weeks.

So that's good. I'm relieved that it wasn't something worse, but I still feel really down, and I'm not really sure why. Maybe it's just been a stressful couple of days and it takes a while to get over that. I'm very tired, and just want to crawl under a doona and shut out the world. Luckily I have tomorrow off from work (still have a lot of swelling around the knee, need to bring that down with ice, Voltaren, rest, elevation, and a compression bandage). So a quiet day for me tomorrow, after which hopefully my mood will have picked up.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bad knee

So I'm writing this down to get it out of my head, in the hopes that I can get out of the dark place I'm currently in.

Yesterday I went on a cross country run with a couple of friends. I ended up being carried out of there. :(

Started off fine, all good, having a good time. Then, came to a part of the track where a log was across the track. I could have hurdled it, but the ground was wet from the rain, so didn't want to chance slipping. So decided to step up and over it. Unfortunately the log was also wet and slippery from the rain. My right foot slipped sideways, and my knee buckled and gave way. I hit the ground in absolute disbelief. This could not be happening, not again. You see, a few years ago, I snapped the meniscus in the same knee playing touch footy. Six months of physio ensued, and it was an experience I had fervently hoped would never happen again.

Luckily I was with friends, otherwise I would have had to crawl out of there I'm guessing. My knee didn't swell straight away, and I could straighten my leg, but when I first touched my knee I had to move something back into place (kneecap I'm thinking). I was in pain, I was scared, I was angry, I was upset. Rude words were said. Followed by words of denial, no, this is not happening.

My friends took turns piggybacking me out of there. By the time we got back to the cars my knee was starting to swell. So they took me to a local cafe where we could get some ice to put on it. One of my friends then went to the chemist to get me some Voltaren. While sitting in the cafe, I started to feel nauseous, then my fingers started tingling, my lips were going numb. For a minute there I thought I was going to pass out. Apparently at this point, there was not much colour in my face. My friend got me out into some fresh air, which cleared my head. Then I started to shake. I was told this was shock. A warm jacket was brought, and they drove me home.

Once on the lounge at home I started to feel a little better, it wasn't hurting quite as much. Drinks were had. Not a wise decision, but I wanted to forget, I wanted to deny that something serious had happened. Texts went out to friends, messages of support came back. I spoke to my personal trainer/friend, to get her up to speed on what had happened.

Went to bed sore and aching, and the tears came. I'd not cried up til then, but there's a limit apparently to how long I could stave off tears.

So, tomorrow, I'm off to the physio, I'm taking the day off work. Let's see how much damage has been done. Maybe it isn't as bad as I fear.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Busy, busy

So from next week my schedule is going to get a bit busy. I need to fit in the following:

work 8.30-5
bootcamp 6.30-7.30

work 8.30-5
fitness course 6-9.30

work 8.30-5
bootcamp 6.30-7.30

work 8.30-5
fitness course 6-9.30

work 8.30-5
bootcamp 6.30-7.30

session with trainer 7.30-8.30

fitness course 9-5

As well as spend time with husband, do any additional study required for fitness course, clean house, cook meals, prepare lunches for myself ... for the next 16 weeks. Quietly freaking out a little ...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A new direction

Choosing to ignore the fact I haven't blogged for over a month, will just pretend like I've been blogging all along ... ahem

Anyways, next week marks the start of a new thing for me. After much procrastination ... along the lines of "I wouldn't be any good at it anyway" "I'll get to that some time" "Do I really want to study again?" ... I've finally sucked up the courage to start studying to become a personal trainer.

So next week I start part time studying for my Cert III and Cert IV. It will involve going to class every Tues and Thurs evenings, and all day Sunday ... for 16 weeks. Not that I'm daunted or anything, I'm sure those 16 weeks will just fly by ...

I'm looking forward to it though, for a couple of reasons.

One .... I haaaate my current job. Every day I get up and drag myself to work. The people there are great, it's just the actual job that does my head in. Basically I work for a big company, and I have a customer which is another big company. So I'm helping two big companies make more money ... meh ... I'm sure that's great for them, but for me it doesn't do much.

Oh, except pay the bills. Ahem, yes, that's quite important. The mortgage is not going to pay itself sadly.

So basically the first reason is that I want a job which I don't hate, a job that I will want to get out of bed for.

Two ... I want to make a difference in people's lives (doesn't that sound corny!). Now, I know how much having a personal trainer has meant to me in my life, and I want to pay that forward. If I can help someone as much as I've been helped, I'll be a happy camper.

This is actually the bigger motivator for me. As an atheist, I don't believe in life after death, so this life is all I've got. I want to make it count for something.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Real names revealed

So was going through my unread items for the blogs I follow, and I came across Everyday Stranger's last post.

Reading away, and came to the following line:

"Angus and Helen, as you know them, are no more."

My heart took an instant dive, I was sure at that point that they had split up.

But no, to my very great surprise, Helen revealed their real names!

Alistair and Shannon

Alistair suits him down to the ground, very good English name, it suits him very well.

As for Shannon, so pleased to know her real name. Mind you, it is going to take a while for me to rewire my head to think of her as Shannon, instead of Helen. I've been reading her blog for years now, and it's fairly well ingrained that her name is Helen.

So hats off to you Shannon, thanks for sharing.

From across the other side of the world

It blows my mind how fast the internet can be. I was just on Facebook having a lovely chat with Amanda. So, she's in America, I'm in Australia, we've never actually met, but there we were chatting away in real time, quite happily, about the merits of Twilight, and the movie/actors. Very cool indeed.

You know what? I think this internet thingy may take off, it seems quite popular! :)


Not sure how I managed it, but I didn't gain any weight this week.

Weight: 52.4 kgs
Waist measurement: 72cm

Now I know for a fact that my calorie intake was way more than my calorie output, so this doesn't actually make sense that I didn't gain this week. I'm not unhappy about it, by any means, just a little confused. Maybe I was eating too little in the past, will have to keep an eye on this.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

All or nothing

I'm an all or nothing kinda person. I recognise this is not the best thing, but the middle ground is a place I tend not to be.

I've just had the last week off. During that week, what I chose to eat and drink was not the best. Lots of bacon and eggs for breakfast, a couple of fish and chips meals, a pizza meal. There have been some healthy meals (yummy stir fry cooked by B last night), but not enough. I am capable of doing better, and I will endeavour to do so.

And the drinking ... oh dear. Way too much, too many days in a row.

Each week on a Monday morning I weigh myself, and take a waist measurement. It will be interesting to see what it is tomorrow. I am determined to get back on the straight and narrow. It will be done, I am capable of it for sure.

Instead of beating myself up about the past week, I am looking at what I can learn from it. I need to figure out what triggers me, and put into place better ways of dealing with it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Back to the real world

So we got back from our holiday to Terrigal yesterday. We had some good weather, some good food, some good company, some good views from out hotel room:

We met up with B's cousin and family for dinner one night and I caught up the next morning with B's cousin as well. It was great to catch up, with them living on the Central Coast we don't get to see each other often.

Friday, April 3, 2009

TBL Season 7 Episode 14

Man, what an episode of The Biggest Loser this week. I felt so so sorry for Nicole. She put in an absolutely awesome effort to lose 87lbs at home, then she only got to come back into the house for one week. No one, least of all herself, expected her to put on 5lbs when she weighed in.

But as soon as that number came up on the scale, I knew she was gone. Everyone there was so threatened by what she did at home, there was just no chance they would let her stay.

And man, I feel for Tara, she seems to be unravelling massively. When they showed her talking to Nicole whilst they were out walking, she was just talking a mile a minute, no wonder Nicole felt a bit overwhelmed. Jillian put it best though when she told Tara she was being manic. There seemed to be positive signs though when Tara was talking to Jillian, looks like she is finally starting to open up to her. Let's hope that Jillian can help her pull herself together. If she does, then I reckon Tara will be the next winner of The Biggest Loser.

Work week done!

After a ten hour day, finished up work just after 6 today. Stupidly busy day, way too much had to get done. I got the must do stuff done, but there was still more I should have done. Ah well, c'est la vie.

Thank goodness it's the weekend now, Friday night and I am tired. Got a busy weekend planned, then off to Terrigal for next week.

Tomorrow have a session with my trainer at 7.30 for an hour, then B and I are off to the races! I bought a new dress from DFO a few weeks ago, especially for the races, will have to post pics. Me in a dress is not something that is seen very often, maybe once a decade lol.

Then on Sunday we are going to the zoo! Yay! I've been wanting to go for ages, so really looking forward to it.

Weekend, here we come! :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Holidays very soon

Work was just crazy busy today, I'm going on leave for a week next week, and all the things I'd been procrastinating about at work have come back to haunt me ... gaaaah!

So, it was in early today, work back a bit tonight, will be going in early again tomorrow, and hoping not to have to work back too late as well. At least by this time tomorrow I'll be certain to be needing a holiday :)

Nice thing is that end of next week is Easter so I get the public holidays tacked onto my annual leave, making for more time off work, yay!

B and I are heading to Terrigal for a few days, to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary. We'll also be catching up with a cousin of B's and her family which will be great, we always have fun when we see them. His cousin is such a lovely lady, I'm lucky to have her as a good friend as well as a relative. She has to have one of the biggest hearts, I swear. And she is good to share a glass of wine, or two, or three with ... lol.

Will be good to relax, can't wait.

Friday, March 27, 2009


In the last couple of months I've had quite the influx of Christian people/friends in my life. As an atheist, you'd think that we wouldn't have that much in common. But the ones I've become friends with I find are absolutely amazing people.

I was talking about it with a work colleague/friend at morning tea today. I've found that I am really attracted to them (not in a romantic sense) and it's because they are happy, positive, caring people. We've found common ground in that we are both trying to improve ourselves, them through their faith, and wish to become better people/Christians, me through my diet/lifestyle/opening up to people. And also some of them were doing bootcamp with me, so we bonded through exercise, encouraging each other to do better.

So, although I don't think I'll ever be a Christian again in my life (I'm guessing not believing in God is always going to be a sticking point lol), I am lucky to have these people in my life, and I embrace the positive that comes from it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Yes, I am still alive

It's been a difficult couple of months personally/emotionally/mentally. Couple that with a rock bottom self esteem and you get a pretty silent me on the blogging front.

Towards the end of last year I was in a more positive place. I'd lost the weight I'd wanted to lose, I wasn't drinking, I was eating healthy, and I was starting to open up more to my friends.

Then, just before Christmas I went on leave for a couple of weeks. Cue me going back to all my old habits. My diet became unhealthy, I went back to drinking excessively, and I became more insular. I was still going to the gym, but not as much, and my motivation to go had taken a dive. And I don't really know why. It was like I suddenly went into a massive downward negative spiral. All I knew was that I was falling apart big time, and I wasn't sure how to pull myself out of it. It was very scary, I was fully aware I was in a bad place in my head.

So, I reached out for help.

I think I've mentioned before that my personal trainer has over time become a friend as well. This was true, but it was also true that I hadn't really opened up to her, hadn't let her in. She didn't know about the panic attacks, she didn't know about the drinking. I started to doubt that she was even a friend, that as far as I was concerned, she just saw me as another client.

I think I knew deep down though, that she did care. So one day I emailed her, and let her know that I was really struggling. And she's been amazing. She is my friend, and she does care about me, which I find absolutely amazing :)

My diet is back on track, I'm 8 days alcohol free, and I'm exercising hard 4 times a week.

I know I've got a lot of work still to do, get to the bottom of my issues, work out how to guard against a free fall again. I'm off to the psychologist again next week, and I need to do the deeper work, to work through my issues.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

No luck

No letter came back from old friend from last post. And I ended up calling the phone number I was given, as it was killing me wondering if the address was right and she just didn't want to resume contact, or if she no longer lived at that address. Phone number came up as not connected, which leads me to believe she no longer lives there. *sigh*

Lot of energy wasted for no result. Makes me sad. Can't think of any other way to get in contact, so I guess that's it.

One last gamble ... on the off chance that you google your name, Rev Sarah Plummer (maiden name Beggs), check the post before this one and leave a comment ...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Old friends

Bou posted a lovely story about thanking a person who had a big impact on her many years ago. Which is quite a coincidence as I've tried to do the same thing the past week.

I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately and what it means to me. Part of that has been looking at my past and the regrets I have for some friendships that I let go. No rhyme, no reason, the friendships where you just gradually lose touch. I think I became too insular, and I took some people for granted, not realising how quickly the years pass and how easily friends can slip through your fingers.

One night this week I had a dream that I met up with an old friend of mine, one I haven't seen for about I'm guessing 16-17 years. When I woke I felt a longing, a wish that it had actually happened. But geez, how do you find someone after that amount of time. And even if you find them, what if they don't want to regain the friendship?

On the off chance that it might work, I googled her. Took a little while, but I found an entry that she was teaching at a college in 2007. There was an email address for the college, so I shot an email across asking if they had an email address for her, wondering if I'd get a response. It sounded like such a spam email .. "Hi, I'm a friend from the past, do you have an address for ...". Anyways, not long after, I got a reply from the college with an email address. I was at work at the time, so had a bit of time to think about whether I'd actually email this lady.

Got home, sucked up my courage, and sent an email, basically saying I regretted letting the friendship go, if she'd like to get together for a drink/coffee that would be cool, if not, no dramas.

Two seconds later, mail delivery failure. grrr

Sent an email back to the college, any other email address they know of?

Next morning got an email back with a home address and phone number. Hmmm ... phone call? Way too confrontational, way out of my comfort zone. Post a letter? I haven't done that for over 20 years ... Plus at this point I wondered if this was a sign, a sign that I shouldn't be getting in contact, it was all getting too hard. Plus, it was starting to feel a bit like stalker behaviour.

Anyways, procrastinated for a while, talked about it with a good friend from work, who encouraged me to send the damn letter, what's the worst that could happen.

So I had a good long think about it, and thought about our old friendship. This lady had a big impact on me, she was always there for me to talk to, and she helped me through some issues. So, I decided to post her, if for nothing else to let her know how much she helped me out back then.

Letter posted last Thursday, let's see what happens.