| Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Monday, August 28, 2006
Anyway, the girls. Why do I find the guys so much more interesting? I adore tiny little Jessica, but even I was saying to the Snook: "This was my sister's favorite song in second grade." Not exactly what the kids today are listening to! That Atlanta chick kind of weirded me out, and I kept trying to peg which Scandinavian country she's from. (Answer: She's not, but she *is* in Bjorn Again. Who knew?) I really want to like Klancie but, well, her chin bothers me. I can't explain it. And I wish she'd quit crying! Lastly, I have a complete girl-crush on Reigan, mostly because I've always dreamed of having masses of naturally curly hair.
So who's floatin' your boat? (I can't WAIT to see Bobby "Love Child of Willem Defoe and the Snook's Hair in 1996" Flynn perform tomorrow night...)
Saturday, August 26, 2006
The original plan was to head into the city to David Jones to get fitted for some new bras. (More on that in a minute.) Snookums decided to accompany me so we headed off down George Street. Just as we were coming up to Central, my jaw dropped. "Dude!" I said under my breath. "What?" said the Snook. "That guy we just passed is from Idol!" I had to ring Amy to confirm. It was indeed James Steele, Tassie drummer, dad, and member of the final twenty-four. Excellent! My first sighting of the year. Anyhoo, next stop was Capitol Square so the Snook could price some laptops. I wanted to go to "Capsule Paradise," having been recently told by a customer that they had awesome Hello Kitty gear. And they did! It's at the back past all the purikura booths (which I still find rather bewildering). It's basically a wall of those prize machines you see outside Kmart in the States, but with awesomely inexplicable Japanese toys. I got a Hello Kitty "Zodiac" charm for my phone (she's wearing a cow suit, which I think indicates "Taurus") while the Snook got a crazy robot with guns coming out of its head. Very fun.
Eventually we made it to DJ's and I managed to get someone in the lingerie department to fit me. As soon as she saw my current bra, she was like, "Yeah, you need to go down a size. You're a 14 now, not a 16." Woohoo! So after dealing with the embarrassment of having a total stranger see me topless, I got to try on about ten different bras and ended up buying four. The next time you see me, I will be much more statuesque. To cap off the outing, we decided to try Ichi Ban Boshi for the first time. The Snook was hoping to get some of the famed tonkotsu ramen but alas, it was long gone. I had the popular Tokyo ramen, while the Snook went for the spicy tantanmen. We also shared some gyoza, and I have to say they were some of the best I've ever had. Very crispy on one side with juicy, perfectly cooked pork inside with just the right amount of ginger. Thirty minutes later, we sloshed out of there with our bellies full of soup. It was a tiring excursion...
And just like that, we have a collar! As previously mentioned, I had to do some serious modifications of the pattern as this point. The depth of my neck shaping meant I ended up with a lot more stitches than the pattern called for, so I had to add in a bunch of extra cables and twists. I also wanted to cast it off with the red, so I ended up knitting it about a centimeter longer than I might have otherwise. But I like it! I think the zipper's going to go all the way to the top of the collar so I can zip it up into a funnel-neck. It's gonna be a warm jacket!
Friday, August 25, 2006
How do you turn a weird tube like this into an actual garment?
On a related mind-blowing note: "How many oceans are there?" Every American kid would say "four," right? Well, get this: Australian kids say FIVE! Or at least, that's what Snookums learned in school. He says they don't count the Arctic Ocean; they count the North and South Atlantic separately and add in the "Southern Ocean" around Antarctica.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I was playing with Dr. Amy Jones the other day when I noticed that her collar was looking pretty ratty. It's the same ol' Friskies collar they gave us when we took her home as a kitten, and it's not the most stylish feline accessory anymore. It also looks like it's thinned the fur around her neck a bit too. So we decided to take it off her, and now... We have a SILENT STALKER in the house. She just appears and disappears without any warning. We'd gotten so used to her having a bell that it's really kind of creepy now to turn around and suddenly have a cat staring at you. She, of course, loves it. And to her credit, Snookums thinks she's lessened the intensity of her pounce attacks (because she knows she's got the element of surprise on her side). It's kind of fun, actually. It makes her seem more mysterious and predatorial... in a cute little cuddly-wuddly kind of way.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
"In Indiana, they recently introduced the 'ranch style' variety which has had fantastic success with its inhabitants, especially amongst the South. The ranch is dipped or drizzled on pepperoni pizza."Who in the what now? I can easily believe that there are people who put ranch dressing on everything. (Hello, Kelly McMahon!) But this makes it sound like some sort of official thing that's happening everywhere. Is this for real? Spill it, Hoosiers.
Customer: "I'd like to exchange these knitting needles. They're too big."
Me: "I'm sorry; we can't exchange needles if you've used them."
Customer: "I haven't used them."
Me: "Then how do you know they're too big?"
Customer: "Well, I knitted a tension swatch."
Me: "Yeah. I can't exchange them once you've used them."
Sometimes it's like I'm speaking a foreign language.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Saturday, August 19, 2006
No, actually it's my gallbladder. I've had such a crazy week. Monday, you'll recall, was my first acupuncture session. It didn't really have any immediately noticeable effect, I thought. Then Tuesday I had one of my worst days of stomach pain in the past two months. It grew and grew all day til Leanne finally sent me home (in the hailstorm) because I looked like I was going to barf. I went straight to my doctor and told him that the current plan of "bland diet" plus Nexium wasn't working. He agreed. At this point, if it was actually a stomach issue I should've been getting better, and I'm not. So he took me off the Nexium and started the next round of tests. I got blood drawn to check for liver function and thyroid issues, and he recommended an ultrasound to check out the other organs that could be causing the gastritis. (Hence, the picture of my baby gallbladder.) I was in such pain I considered canceling the next acupuncture session; it obviously wasn't doing me any good. But then something amazing happened Wednesday: I woke up feeling great. It wasn't just that I wasn't feeling any strong pain; it was that I actually had energy and felt happy all day long. You don't realize how precious those days are until you have two months without one. And Wednesday was nearly as good! I really don't know what to attribute it to. I haven't changed my diet radically, and by all rights I should feel worse after stopping the Nexium. But I don't. I even had an APPLE on Thursday (which I'd been shunning out of fear of the acidity) and I was fine. So I went into my second acupuncture session feeling skeptical but also more than a little hopeful. After telling her everything that had happened, I got back on the table for another round of five needles. Two in my elbows and one in the center of my belly, again, but also two more either side of my navel. (Looking down, my belly button appeared to have antennae. Take me to your leader.) Friday was the ultrasound and I'll admit I was feeling some fear. What if he finds a tumor? In the end everything checked out okay, with one minor exception: there's a dark spot on my right kidney, and the technician thought it might be the formation of a stone. OH, GREAT. (My pregnant sister just had one and sent me a long, excruciatingly detailed e-mail about the pain she had in passing it.) He recommends I have a CT scan to verify. So I'm a little torn here, actually. On one hand, I have a scheduled gastroscopy in three weeks to investigate the possibility of an ulcer. This is a seriously unpleasant procedure though, and my doctor'd been hoping something else would turn up so I could cancel. A kidney stone though? Would seriously suck. Maybe my magic acupuncture shaman can blast it with some chi or something...
Friday, August 18, 2006
* I'm nine days free of the Diet Coke monkey! And I think I've finally broken the back of my addiction. I had some wicked headaches last week but that's all over now. I don't even have any cravings! So don't bother shipping me any Lordi Cola, Jussi. :)
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Update: I found us! They did screw up the times. You can see us on this guy's video. We're visible on camera 1 and camera 2. We cross the line about ten seconds after it starts playing, just to the right (as you're looking at it) of the central pillar. Snookums is also carrying a vest, if that helps you spot him. From camera 2 you can just see us raising our arms before we get to the line. You can also clearly see Snookums bopping through with all the energy in the world, whereas I pretty clearly collapse into a walk as soon as I'm over. :)
Update Again: Looks like they've fixed it! You can see us on our proper link now. (Although I noted that they did not publish my comment on the official City 2 Surf Blog where I called them out for the bug!)
Make your own zombie words here.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Dude, Sydney got hit by a mother of a hailstorm today. What's more, I managed to be out in it! At first I couldn't figure out why my footsteps were crunching as I waded through the alley behind the shop on my way home. Once I hit George Street, I could see the white pebbles starting to dot the sidewalk. Luckily I had my umbrella and I managed to get on a bus without serious injury. By the time we hit Town Hall, the roof of the bus was getting pummeled and the streets were starting to turn white. Driving to Central was actually really fun, watching the Sydneysiders huddled in doorways gawking at the hail. Weather as entertainment! Our bus driver was incredulous. "It looks like somewhere else!" he kept repeating. When we stopped at Central, he jumped out to grab a handful as if to convince himself it was real. Me, I sat huddled in my street grinning at their wonder. Most of these people have never seen snow, and this is as close as it gets in Sydney. It was actually piling up in drifts created by the cars splashing down the street. I found that if I squinted just right, I could pretend I was on the school bus coming home on a wretched Indiana February day. And suddenly I was so homesick it hurt. Strange what can bring it on, you know?
When I got home I went out into the backyard to take a few pictures. The flowerbeds got quite a dumping, as did the picnic table. Tracey's already got two nice shots up on Flickr, and other Sydneysiders are posting theirs as well. I especially like this one from Morgan. Ooh, and Mary-Helen's posted some too.
Update: Just did the interview, which they've taped for the show. Will probably be a short one, just 60 seconds or so. She told me that her show was really "quick" and "punchy," and it was suggested that I pretend I was addressing a bunch of 21-year-olds. So if I sound brain dead, that's why.
Monday, August 14, 2006
This morning I was checking out the website of the health clinic in the building where I work when I noticed that their acupuncturist claims to help with "gastritis." That's how I wound up lying on a table eight hours later with five needles stuck in me. I had a nice long chat with the acupunturist - Sam - and explained how I'd had some mild success with hypnotherapy last year. (I made sure to emphasize that I'm still not sure if it was the placebo effect though.) Then I gave her every single symptom and pain description I could think of. That's the best part of non-traditional medicine; everything you say is Very Important. You're craving bread? She writes it down. It's Very Important. Cold at night? Very Important. Chapped lips? Very Important. It's all so Very Flattering. Then I climbed onto the table so she could take my "pulses" and look at my tongue. She said we'd start simple: just a few needles in the important spots. I ended up with one on each elbow, one on each shin, and on in the middle of my belly. (I knew that one would get maximum sympathy from the Snook. We think bellies are sacred. I worship his; he worships mine.) They didn't hurt though, and I don't think they went in very far. They didn't even bleed when she took them out. But basically she just put them in, adjusted them, and left me to lie there and relax for fifteen minutes. Then out they came and I was done for the day. I'm supposed to see her twice a week for two weeks, then once a week for a month. And what sort of results should I expect? A "total recovery" from my symptoms. Hey, anything that keeps me away from an H.pylori diagnosis is fine by me! So what's the verdict? I think it's too soon to tell whether my "chi" has been unblocked. My stomach had been playing up when I went in to see her and it's definitely better now, but as Snookums pointed out, that may have been fixed by simply lying down for fifteen minutes. I'm trying to keep an open mind though. I don't want to buy into any snake oil, but I'm also willing to believe there's a lot about the body we don't understand yet. Anybody else tried it?
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Did you know that Sydney's City 2 Surf is the largest timed fun run in the world? AND WE KICKED ITS ASS. Okay, so we didn't even come close to Dickson's or Anna's times, but we did manage to jog most of the distance and finish relatively strongly. We started the day off by walking over to the start (about 20 minutes from our place), figuring it would be a good warm-up. Once we got there, we were just astounded by the number of people. They'd actually closed registration a day or two before as more than 63,000 people had signed up. We fought our way through to collect our red baseball caps and then nervously joined the other 19,000 runners in the HSBC start. (That's the "middle" group, behind the serious contenders but ahead of the walkers in monkey suits.) We heard the pistol as the elite group took off, and a few minutes later it was our turn. I'd thought to bring a stop watch so I started it once we actually got up to the starting line. (It took a while; 19,000 people don't get moving very quickly!) And then we were off...
The initial bit heading down William Street was so fun. Everybody was cheering and I felt like I could run forever. I kept turning my head to look at the sea of red surging down the street behind me. I've never seen that many people running in my life. Of course, the immediate problem was picking your way through the crowd. Just as you'd start get get up some steam, you'd run smack into ten soccer moms walking abreast in the middle of the road. (I honestly bet we probably ran an extra kilometer from all the sideways dodging we had to do.) It was also tricky to stay together since the red caps made it hard to spot one another. At any rate, we seemed to be making really good time and we decided to skip the first drinks station. (We'd done a good job of hydrating beforehand; all the more remarkable considering that this guy and this guy got Snookums drunk the night before.) I remember coming into Double Bay and just starting to realize how hard this was going to be and how much I was going to hurt... when I heard pumping rock music in the distance. We turned the corner to see a full-on 80's hair band wailing through "Paradise City" on the roof of the Golden Sheaf Hotel. It was AWESOME, like a scene out of a movie. Have you ever seen 10,000 people try to jog and head bang at the same time? I have.
The rest of the course is a blur, really. I remember passing a few jazz bands of old guys tootling away on their horns and clapping with delight. I remember enterprising little kids who'd set up lemonade stands along the route, as well as the more philanthropic kid with a bowl of ice cubes he was handing out. I remember people spraying their garden hoses over the appreciative crowds. (Did I mention how GORGEOUS it was today? Sometimes I can't believe I live somewhere so pretty.) I remember turning a corner and seeing the crowd surging up up up... So this was Heartbreak Hill. Two kilometers pretty much straight up. We walked the steep bits and tried to run on the flat bits, along with pretty much everybody else. The church at the top had erected a big sign congratulating us on making it the top, and I could've wept. An onlooker yelled out "AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE" and I screamed "OI OI OI!" "I'm surprised anyone has the breath!" said the woman struggling next to me. "I'm a new Australian, and that was my first official OI chant!" I grinned. We could tell we were making good time, even with my walk breaks (which became more frequent in the second half). Our stopwatch was running about twelve minutes behind official race time. As we passed the 8K mark at the top of the hill, I said to Rodd, "There! Now this is the farthest you've ever run." And when we passed the 10K, it was his turn to say it to me. I could see the ocean and feel the cool breeze as we neared Bondi. My stomach had been cramping the whole time and I started to get a stitch, but Snookums kept me moving. We were nearly there. The only accident came as we were heading down in to Bondi. I turned to tell Snookums I needed to take a breather, and a girl who'd been running right behind me swerved and tripped over my foot. She went down to the pavement and I apologized profusely as I hauled her up. It could've been worse; the St. Johns Ambulance people looked to be busy with folks who'd overexerted themselves.
We'd asked a lot of people before the race about their previous times, trying to gauge how long it would take us. The serious runners were all under 90 minutes, while the walkers were over two hours. Our previous 8K took us about 50 minutes so theoretically 14K should be doable in under 100, but with our lack of training (thanks to my stomach) and Heartbreak Hill, we decided to aim for two hours. Two hours, we figured, would be miraculous. Well, guess what? As we struggled around the final turn, I raised my head to the official clock. It read 1:56:00. "Look at the time!" I yelled. Screw the stitch; screw my stomach; screw my aching feet and jelly legs. I just started pounding one foot in front of the other. We crossed the line at 117 minutes, and I was trying so hard to keep moving and breathing (and not break down in tears) that I forgot to check the stopwatch. Whatever. Our time will get adjusted down anyway due to the delayed start, and we knew we were about 12 minutes off the official clock. So we're calling it 105 minutes. Which is AMAZING. I still can't believe it. The next hour was a haze of wandering through crowds and waiting in line to get a bus back to the city, from whence we walked back home to Chippendale. My face was gritty from the salt of dried sweat. After a shower, we headed out to the cafe for massive cheeseburgers. Then it was home for a long nap, followed by an hourlong massage (for me) and many hours of World of Warcraft (for the Snook). It's gonna take us a few days to recover.
So man, 14K is HARD. That's nearly nine miles. It's the longest we've ever run (or walked, for that matter) in our lives. And you know the craziest part? As soon as we finished, the Snook started talking about an upcoming HALF-MARATHON. I think we've created a monster here...
Friday, August 11, 2006
I was stopped on my way to work this morning by a very cute guy in blue coveralls handing out brochures in front of Town Hall. (Normally I try to avoid the chuggers, but like I said, he was cute.) I read the brochure as I waited for the lights to change. "What?! They're shutting down the 3801?!" The 3801 is the awesome old steam train we took on our trip to Hogsmeade, and I was really hoping to do it again for the next Harry Potter book. This is an outrage! I am drafting letters to my local representative, the Minister for Transport, and everybody else I can think of. SAVE THE 3801! I MUST HAVE ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO DRESS UP LIKE A WIZARD!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Special thanks to my fellow instructors Leanne, Mel, and Jane. You guys made it easy and fun!
So what's the upshot of all this? I've gained three kilos, which sucks. And we're committed to running the City 2 Surf this weekend, though I'm not sure if "speed" will be a priority. We're just hoping to finish sometime 'round about two hours. So all in all, a rather depressing DietBlog. I'm just looking forward to Spring and sunshine and being well.
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
Monday, August 7, 2006
Sunday, August 6, 2006
Update: Here it is! (1.3MB MP3) Huh. I say "exactly" a lot. And see if you can spot my shoutout to the Courthouse Stitch and Bitch group!
Friday, August 4, 2006
Update: Now he thinks they may actually be fishing cats.
Thursday, August 3, 2006
You wouldn't think a person could rattle on for three full minutes in a radio interview about the "Knit and Quit" classes her shop is running WITHOUT ACTUALLY MENTIONING THE NAME OF THE SHOP. But oh yes, it can be done (1.9MB MP3). That's me on Brisbane Radio 4BC this morning. In my defense, it was really early and I assumed they'd have mentioned the shop in my intro. But they didn't. Instead I managed to namecheck both Patons and the WoolBaa and bring up the stupid bikini anecdote AGAIN. Sometimes I'm too stupid to exist. So much for my fifteen minutes of fame!
Wednesday, August 2, 2006
As a soon-to-be-minted Australian citizen, I've been taking a greater interest in politics. I think it may be time to join a political party. This morning I checked out the websites of the three main options I'm considering: Labor, the Greens, and the Democrats. I have to say, the big picture of Kim Beazley "tearing up" Industrial Relations laws put me right off Labor. It's just so clichéd and ridiculous. Yeah, I know they're the only party with even half a chance of knocking out the Liberals, but somehow they just don't appeal to me. (Sorry, Peter.) It took me too long to find their platform details on their website and when I did, they were incredibly long and boring. The Democrats were better (and definitely have the best website), but I found their list of party objectives really vague and hippy-dippy. That leaves the Greens, who up til now I'd pictured as simply raving Greenpeace types. But hang on! Their little "Policy Snapshot" booket is surprisingly readable! It has actual plans in it! I like that. And I agreed with nearly all their positions. (I can't understand this whole fear of GM foods. Bring on the synthetic meat, I say!) So it looks like I might be a Green. Anybody want to try to sway me either way?
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
Later: NEVERMIND. The bastards cancelled on us. Something about not having a satellite truck available. It's been postponed for the time being. Of course, I've just wasted an hour of my life trying to get people around for it and probably alienated half the knitting groups in Sydney with my desperate pleas. Why am I doing publicity? I'm the STAR, dammit! I should just have to turn up!
That's sarcasm. But not really.
Eighteen hours later: Okay, here I sit and they haven't called. I must have been bumped. I got up early for this!
Eighteen-and-a-half hours later: The guy just called. He slept in! We're going to do it again tomorrow. Argh. This media crap is starting to piss me off.
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