Thursday, 27 September 2007


A blog that I've recently discovered is Criticism & Friends. From what I've read, I really admire Bathsheba's commitment to training, and the way she expresses herself with the written word.

I think it was a posting I read whilst trawling through her archives that inspired me to drag A down to the nearest oval last night and attempt to do interval training.

Now I have to come clean:I've been an on-off-on-off-again amateur jogger for years, but I don't have the faintest clue what I'm doing. I've done 5 city2surfs but never done more than 5 training runs for all 5 of them combined. I hate jogging on the treadmill, and the last time I dragged myself to an outside run was well over a month ago. In short, I'd have to say that I lack motivation, discipline and commitment.

What appealed to me about trying out intervals in the first place was the fact that it was an activity that A and I could do together, yet go at our own pace. It'd also mean we get outside and get to take advantage of the warmer nights we've been experiencing this week. Plus it'd be all over in 20 mins, even if it turned out to be a disaster.

So last night we headed down to the footy oval a few streets away and did some interval sprints. I've never in my life attempted interval training, not even on the treadmill, so I wasn't really sure what to do.

I decided to sprint along the straight part of the oval, and jog around the curvy bit. After the first few laps that changed into a sprint/walk combo - it was tough!! But you know what, it was damn fun! I loved the rush of giving it everything you could - that's what I normally do toward the end of my 30 min slow jogs - but this time I got to do it every few minutes. Major endorphins!

After 20 mins I was red, puffed and sweaty. But happy. And even happier that A enjoyed it too. We've decided to try and do this twice a week or so. I'm hoping I feel this good after every session!!

The fate of the rhubarb...

...turned out to be, not as predicted, a crumble.

Instead, after spending the previous two evenings polishing off the apple crumble that Mum gave me, I decided something else was in store for the rhubarb. I did some googling, and flicking through my cookbooks before deciding upon Nigella Lawson's Rhubarb meringue pie.

Rhubarb meringue pie

It was pretty easy to make, though took a while to assemble all the various parts. Due to our lack of food processors and electric beaters, I had to make the pie crust and meringue the old fashioned hand way, making it more time consuming than it otherwise needed to be.

Still, I'm on holidays, so I'm not complaining about the time.

Neither am I complaining about the fact that all I've eaten for lunch today is another slice. Time to go have a sandwich, methinks!

Monday, 24 September 2007


Yesterday I went down to the Gong to celebrate my Dad's birthday. My brothers and I joined my parents and their bushwalking group on a short walk along the escarpment cliff tops at Mt Ousley.

We sat and ate a picnic lunch on the side of the cliffs at Broker's Nose, overlooking the northern suburbs of Wollongong. You'll have to trust me when I say it was spectacular, because despite being organised enough to take my camera, I was not organised enough to ensure it contained a memory card. Boohoo!

After lunch we went back to my parents house and ate chocolate muffins and freshly baked apple crumble. Again, you'll have to believe me when I say my Mum makes the best crumble ever. That's not something you can capture in blog format.

In the fading daylight I wandered around my parents backyard. We looked at a nest that a bowerbird has recently been constructing near their front door. The bowerbird was hiding behind the fence dividing the nest from the next-door neighbours house, so I only caught tantalising glimpses of its midnight blue feathers. I love the way they collect and hoard blue trinkets - this one had milk lids and clothes pegs aplenty.

Continuing through the garden, I scored aplenty as well. First, a bunch of beautiful purple azaleas.


My parents are gardening freaks and literally have well over 20 types of azaleas growing (not to mention all their camellias). I had my choice from dark purple to pale pink to weird stripey kinds.

I also scored a bunch of brilliant blue lavender from their front yard.


I don't think it's as fragrant as the regular lavender (although my Mum disagrees), so I actually nabbed a bit of the regular stuff too. I'm attempting to propagate it in one of the pots on my verandah. Fingers crossed.

I would have loved to take some scented fresias home as well, but was a week too late as most of them had withered in the grass.

My Dad's veggie patch was also kind to me. He picked a big juicy bunch of rhubarb for me.


Hopefully I'll be making some crumble of my own later this week!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

So how did I not know about until now? rocks! So much better than listening to crappy ad-infested radio stations that play the same ten songs over and over all day long and have announcers whose voices make you want to go and put your hand in between the blades of a blender.

Plus you can choose what kind of music you want: “chilling”, “electro”, “grunge” or a mix of anything and just go from there.

I’d say that at the moment it has re-connected me with old music I had forgotten about more than discovered new good stuff, but it’s definitely given me ideas for fresh tunes to put on my iPod.

It’s now officially my preferred musical entertainment when stuck in front of the computer for hours on end. Within the space of one short week, I now don’t know what I’d do without it!

Chilli bean soup with cornbread

I posted a link to this recipe on HealthNuts a while back, so this is nothing really new. Except last night when I made it again I took pictures!

I'm going to repeat the recipe here as well, just so if when I add new recipes here, they'll all be in the one place.

Chilli bean soup with cornbread

With many, many, many thanks to (and a few comments by me in italics)...

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 2 tbs olive oil (I just add a small splush)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 roasted capsicums
  • 2 small red chillies, seeded, chopped (I normally add 3)
  • 900ml vegetable stock
  • 700ml tomato passata
  • 2 tbs sun-dried tomato paste (or some sut up dried sundried tomatoes)
  • 415g can red kidney beans, drained, washed
  • Sour cream and coriander, to serve

Corn bread

  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 175g instant polenta
  • 100g goat's cheese, crumbled (I use half fetta, half cottage cheese normally)
  • 310g can creamed corn
  • 2 red chillies, seeded, diced
  • 1 tbs coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 175ml buttermilk
  • 50g butter, melted (I skip this, or sometimes add a splash of olive oil instead)


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan, add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until soft. Add garlic, capsicum, chilli and cook for 1 minute. Add stock, passata, tomato paste and kidney beans. Stir to combine.
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 25 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly, then blend in batches.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  4. To make the corn bread, sift the flour, polenta and 1 teaspoon of salt in a mixing bowl, add goat's cheese, corn, chilli, coriander, honey, buttermilk and butter, and season with black pepper.
  5. Stir to combine and transfer to a greased 20cm spring-form pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Swirl sour cream into soup and garnish with coriander. Serve with corn bread.
  7. Go to heaven cos it tastes so damn good!
Chilli bean soup with cornbread

Sunday, 16 September 2007


I've been doing a bit of procrastinating reading about motivation, desires etc. Here's something I came across that really struck a cord with me. Maybe you'll find it useful too. I've edited and abridged it a bit, but you can read the complete version here.
When we’ve brought awareness to our desires, we can begin to work with them...take the impulse that longs for pizza and romance and caffeine and new toys and find a way to transmute it so that it fuels your deeper goals...

[Ask] yourself the question, “What do I want by getting what I want?”

You can apply that query to almost any desire, and the results are often surprising. What do I really expect to get from eating that sweet? What do I really want from the dream lover I pine for, or from the recognition I hope to achieve, or from making 100,000 a year?

Your first answer might be ‘intimacy’ or ‘companionship’ or ‘security’. But if you keep asking (“What do I want from intimacy? What do I want from security?”) the answer will almost always be something like happiness, fulfillment, love, or peace of mind.

The desire for happiness is really the bottom line, the underpinning of all desires. Once you realize that, you are, once again, in a position to ask yourself whether it might be possible to feel happy without necessarily getting what you want...

When we’ve learned to identify our deepest desires, the longings of our soul, we can truly take advantage of the creative power of desire. That’s when our intentions, instead of being wishes or fantasies, become powerful engines that awaken our life...

Working with desires

Are you wondering whether a particular desire is healthy or unhealthy? Here’s how you find out.

First, bring the desire fully you’re your conscious awareness. Notice the words associated with the desire. Especially, pay attention to the feeling quality of it. Notice where you feel it in your body. Notice the emotional state it induces. Do you feel excited? Do you feel uncomfortable?

Once you’ve identified what the desire is, and how it feels like to be in a state of desire, ask yourself:
  1. How does this desire fit in with my greater priorities?
  2. Will following this impulse hurt others? Will it hurt me?
  3. Does it take me closer to my higher self, or will it create more barriers between my soul and myself?
  4. Is it beneficial to other people as well as to myself?
  5. What will I have to give up if I follow this desire?
  6. What will I have to give up if I don’t?
  7. What do I really want by getting what I want?
Turning a Desire into an Intention

Once you’ve identified what it is that you really want, articulate it. Even if it is something that feels vague, like “to be happy” you can still put it into the form of an intention. You might say, “My intention is to experience happiness in an intimate relationship.” Or “My intention is to experience happiness no matter what is going on in my life.”

Thursday, 13 September 2007

decluttering - zones 2 & 3

Top of chest of drawers is now done:

I bought the bookends from Officeworks. Was sceptical they’d withstand the weight of my textbooks but they did!

Next challenge was the table next to the bed. As you can see, it was covered in crap.

Bedside table - before

You couldn’t see the top of it, let alone appreciate the fact it’s made out of a recycled surfboard.

My brother made that table. He's a bit of a legend, isn't it?

So that’s zones 2 and 3 done. Now I’m down to the hard stuff. Here’s what remains behind my door:

Still pretty shocking, but better than what was there back in May:

Monday, 10 September 2007

New exercise plan

For a while now (12 weeks to be exact) I've been planning and tracking my exercise on 43 things and trying to do something every day. Looking back over my past entries, I've been pretty good about doing something, but not very good about doing what I'd planned to.

That's why plans are merely guides and not set in stone right?

The trouble with not sticking to a plan is that it's easy to stop pushing yourself and become a bit complacent. For me, any opportunity to slacken off and make excuses is just inviting danger and sloth-dem.

Now that I'm home for the next 3 weeks I've decided my generic plan needs some alterations if it's going to be closer to reality. The main changes I'm making are to:
  • Do more weights at the gym (Pump classes).
  • Take advantage of the $5.50 weekday yoga classes at the studio less than 5 mins walk from my house (thanks Mary for introducing me to this place!!)
  • Get off my butt and do the Bay run in the beautiful weather we are experiencing (fingers crossed it lasts). Otherwise if the weather is nasty, go to the Gym instead.
  • Do my exercise in the morning - why not when I'm at home anyway? What a start to the day and beats going to the gym in peak hour! Plus I can get a coffee on the way home.
After poring over my gym & yoga timetables, here's what I've come up with:

Exercise timetable

Don't freak out over Saturday. It's basically saying I've got yoga, Pump and BodyAttack all going on. That's so not going to happen but it's good to remember all those options are available.

So that's the plan for this week. Next week will be different because I've got exams all day Monday and Tuesday (eeek!) but I'll worry about that when I get there. One day at a time!!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Lust, thy name is Crocs!!

Crocs seem to have become the new religion and politics - something you can't talk about without creating an argument. You either love them or hate them. I'm the former.

I have been an avid croc-wearer for about 3 years now. The first time I ever saw these shoes was at the Glebe Street Fair in 2004. There was a stall there selling the classic croc shoe, holes and all.

I had walked past the stall without even noticing it, but my mother - whom I attended the festival with - made me stop for a closer look. This was a few weeks before I was heading to Ecuador for 2 months. My everyday, most comfortable Birkenstock's that I'd owned for about 5 years had just died, and I was moaning to her about what shoes I was going to take with me. I didn't want to fork out $130 for a new pair of Birks just to wreck them in my first few months of owning them. The only other sandals and thongs I owned cut up my feet if I wore them for more than 15 minutes at a time (yes I know I must have weird feet if even Havaiana's can cut them up).

So my Mum made me stop and look at these funny looking shoes.

This was back before you could buy them in shops. The stallholder was telling me they were soon going to be stocked in Rebel stores, but at the moment they were trialling them out in Australia only at festivals like this. Apparently they were already big in America, but I'd never heard of them.

I wasn't convinced until I picked them up. From that moment on, I was sold. They were light as a feather and made of plastic so they were completely cleanable. Covered most of the foot so they offered a lot more protection than thongs but you could still wear them at the beach. The ultimate hybrid between shoes and thongs. All in all, the perfect travelling shoe. I can't remember if I put them on then and there, but had I done so I would have immediately been impressed by how comfortable they were from day one. No painful breaking in required.

My time in Ecuador only cemented my love for these shoes. I wore them pretty much every freaking day. To the beach, to the school I taught at, in the cities, the mountains and on boats. I walked across a road with hot tar on it - which removed a bit of the sole, but not enough to make a lick of difference. I walked up a volcano wearing these and a pair of socks. I had locals curious about the holes in them, but later admiring my shoes as I made them feel how light they were. One night I was at a bar and met an American girl wearing a pair. We danced and bonded together over our matching footwear. I lived in these shoes.

By the time I arrived back in Australia crocs had hit the stores here and were already taking off. I was excited to see other people sharing the croc-love. My parents were about to go to the US with some friends and visit Colorado, the original home of the croc, so I put in an order for myself and A. By this time I had checked out the crocs website and seen you could get more than one style. I went for a black pair sans holes on the top, but still with side ventilation, so they could pass off as shoes even better.

The perfect hospital shoe, I thought. And I was right. All year long I've worn these whenever I've done a surgical rotation. They are the perfect shoe to wear when you have to stand still for hours at a time.

But even I, despite my love for these shoes have admitted they're a bit funny-looking, and not exactly the epitome of style. Until I saw the new range available. I've fallen in love all over again with not one, but 2 of their new styles.

I don't know if you can buy these in Australian shops yet, but after my exam I will definitely be investigating. And if not, I forsee a purchase from coming up very shortly!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

decluttering - zone 1 finished!

I’m happy to say the space between the wardrobe and my desk is now complete. Doesn’t it look a lot better!

Next challenge: the top of my chest of drawers. Not exactly overloaded, just in disarray (and in need of a good dusting!)

How to make rain in 5 easy steps

Attention farmers and other drought-ridden people! Rain can easily be conjured up. Here's how:
  1. Have me decide to go out for a walk, a coffee, or a combination of the two.
  2. Have me think "I'll just have a shower", "I'll just do the vacumming", "I'll just read one more chapter" or "Ill just [insert other task] first".
  3. Complete task.
  4. Look outside and witness sunshine that was there 10 minutes ago replaced by grey skies and rain.
  5. Sigh at the world and all it's injustice.

UPDATE: This routine has now worked successfully for 4 days in a row. You cannot argue with statistics like that!!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Ooh ouch!

I was going to write a long entry earlier today, moaning about the agony I'm in after doing a Pump class on Monday morning.

Yesterday was bad enough but this morning when I woke up I felt like I couldn't even get out of bed. I seriously don't remember ever being this sore - not even after jogging the City to Surf!

I haven't done a Pump class oh for about a month, and I haven't done it regularly for a few months longer than that.

Just goes to show how quickly your muscles can get deconditioned from doing weights, even if you have been doing other high-intensity exercise. I'm especially surprised, because my quads are hurting way more than my pecs or arms are. If I had to put money on it I'd have said my legs were a lot - well stronger isn't the word, but I don't know what is - more "worked out" anyway. Clearly they are not.

So I was going to write this long, whiny post. But then I read M's entry today (from which I blatantly appropriated this title) where she was revelling in the ache, instead of just moaning about it. And then I felt bad!

For the last few hours I've been trying to revel in it. Really I have. I've also promised myself I'll go to another class on Friday morning AND I'll brave the weights room at the gym and actually start to use it every now and again.

I need to not be this sore from one little class ever again!!

Fried Green Tomatoes

Image thanks to timeoutA while back I emailed redroomdvd requesting they get a copy of this movie.

Today I got an email saying they now have a copy! Now I just need to go grab it.

Sometime soon hopefully – it’s a great night-in movie.

I love redroomdvd!!!

Like most books made into movies, the book is infinitely better: both happier, sadder and a lot more happens. I used to own a copy of this book, but have'nt actually physically had it for years. I have no idea what happened to it.

I think it could be time to find a replacement or join a library!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Decluttering my room, one item at a time

The obligatory BEFORE shot.

This isn’t technically either inside my wardrobe, or behind my door, but it’s where I’m focusing on tidying up right now.

Clutter, clutter clutter.

Some of these things have been sitting here in this particular spot FOR 3 YEARS. Unmoved.


Sunday, 2 September 2007

A mixed bag

Yesterday was a day full of activity. Some good, some bad, some just plain frustrating. A real mixed bag.

It started out well with a relaxing morning at home. Porridge for breakfast and then a few hours worth of low key study.

I'd booked a car share vehicle for the afternoon since A was coming along. We decided to visit Westfield Burwood to do some Fathers Day and birthday present shopping. You know you're a converted scooter rider when driving a journey in a car that you normally do 5 times a week by scooter fills you with rage the one time you do it by car. Stuck at the same traffic light for 3 red lights because traffic is at a standstill? Doesn't happen on a bike baby.

The main event of the day was our netball final. By the time I got there I had worked up a decent amount of pent up aggression thanks to the traffic into Burwood, the lack of decent electronics shops there and the fact it took us 15 mins just to get out of the carpark.

The game itself was a close one, but didn't turn out so well because we lost by 2 despite being even at one stage in the last quarter. Such a close loss is pretty heart breaking, especially when one of the umpires was just terrible and made so many bad calls against us. But what can you do eh?

My afternoon was salvaged however by a treasure hunt that turned out right. Thursday night I had been out for dinner and as I was walking back to my bike I felt an earring fall out and land on the grass around me.

Riding a bike is an inherently earring-unfriendly modality due to all the helmet insertion and removal involved. In the 3 years that I've been riding I think I've lost about 5 single earrings so far. Every time it's heart-breaking; I love my earrings like some people love their shoes.

Thursday night was particularly frustrating because this happened whilst I was still metres away from my bike and had nothing to do with my helmet. I was pretty upset because it was one of my favourite pairs of earrings. I'd only bought them a few months ago in the OC so wasn't yet ready to part with one.

I scrabbled around in the grass looking for the missing earring for a bit, but gave up because it was cold and dark and at 10:30pm I was bushed! I vowed to come back and search in daylight, and I did just that on Saturday afternoon and look what I found: my earring. Yay!


Once I got home I had a moment of panic because I couldn't find the matching earring that hadn't been lost. I was getting worried that I had thrown it out until I found it stashed in the handbag I was carrying that night.

As part of my search I found 2 other earrings who had suffered the same fate thanks to the motorbike helmet and are partnerless.


I haven't parted with them yet, but perhaps I should. I don't think the whole wearing mismatching earrings look is ever going to be in style, do you?