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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Posted by Louise in Uncategorized.
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New Web Page Friday, August 27, 2010

Posted by Louise in Uncategorized.
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I have finally crossed an item of my To Do list that’s been sitting there for a while (years?). I’ve now got my own domainname at ellashouli.com.

Please pop on over and let me know what you think (and update your bookmarks). Once I’ve got everything set up the way I want it, I will be closing off this blog.

In the meantime, I don’t have anything else worth blogging! I’ve done no running, no study, and bugger all of anything else. Pity about the no income as well…

Toast Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Posted by Louise in Uncategorized.

I bought a new toaster the other day. It was kind of an impulse buy (variety store; brand name toaster at very good price), but I’ve been thinking about it for a while. The old one was a cheapie that I bought when I first moved here 10 years ago, so it’s cooked a lot of toast for me. But it couldn’t handle big slices of homemade bread, and crumpets always ended up getting caught in the wire bit.

So I examined the box of this new one (heavily taped shut). Compared it to some others on the shelf. What sold me on this one was “Extra deep slots” … “Ideal for … breads out of bread-making machines”. That’ll do me. Perfect.

It even had a picture:

But in reality:

handle is down, toast is only ¾ toasted.

Not impressed.

To be fair, this was a particularly high loaf – it nearly reached the top of the breadmaker. But it’s about the same size as the picture on the box. This toaster is not THAT much deeper than my old one, and it’s not long enough to turn the bread on its side. On the plus side though, it matches my kettle, and it WILL do thick slices. Off to buy some crumpets (for research purposes)… :-)

And in more toast news…

I’ve had a rough couple of days since the rogaine. I’ve got an evil headache that won’t go away. Drugs aren’t working. Deep fried grease washed down with caffeine and sugar didn’t work. Crawling under the blankets didn’t work. I got *some* relief yesterday with a bottle of gatorade and a packet of salted cashew nuts, but it came back later at night. This morning (Wed) it’s a lot better, but still hovering around the edges. At least I can be miserable at home today, without having to tax the brain too much.

My shins are still very painful. I’ve been walking with a floppy-footed gait because I can’t lift my toes without hurting. Drugs aren’t working. Rest isn’t working. Finally rubbed some Anti-Flamme into them last night (that was painful) and again this morning. Not sure whether to risk going for a run (because running doesn’t *usually* affect my shins). But I don’t want to make it worse.

And I’m hosting a party of chilblains on my right ring finger. Seriously – there are 7 raised swollen hot spots on one finger. Drugs aren’t working (quickly enough). Very sore to touch. And lovely to look at, as you might imagine.

Talking of looks, I finally got a haircut yesterday (at Job002 – the hairdresser). First this year! 8½ months since the last one, which was only a trim anyway. So I got 6″ lopped off. Plus I let her have her way and give me some layers, so there are some bits that barely fit into a ponytail.

Of course, all that does is show off my grey bits. Apparently I would look good (better?) with some foils in the under layer. Yeah… maybe. It took me a couple of years to grow out the colouring-in that I used to do; I’m at peace with my greys.

Ashes and Vines Metrogaine Sunday, August 22, 2010

Posted by Louise in Orienteering.

It hadn’t occurred to me that this was going to be a 6-hour Street-O. I didn’t think Sunbury was that big! I teamed up with a new partner, Jane. I’m not fit, she says. I’m going to be really slow, she says. Hah. On the Go, she bolts out of the gate and powerwalks up the road, knocking over old ladies and young children. I eventually catch up to her halfway to the first control, after stepping around the carnage left in her wake.

Jane had worked out an optimal route for us, using some complicated maths and a piece of yellow string (I let her do it. Me? I would have just headed for the nearest control; repeat until done), and we powered our way up to the north of the map.

It got cold as we looped around to the west, and caught a few drops of rain up on the hills. Along with the wind, it got very chilly. The control we were heading for was in City Views. On the way was Carla Views, Mount Dr, View Tce… so we knew we were in for some hills! Back down the hill on a quiet country road and back into the western suburb.

We were making good time, and reached our last planned control with about half an hour to go. Competitive Jane then decided we could do “just a few more” before coming into the Finish. So we then had to jog the last kilometre or so to get back in time.

My shins had been getting sorer and sorer from about the 3-hour mark (they’re not used to powerwalking) and my hips were feeling a bit elderly too. But amazingly, it all went away while we were jogging, and I actually felt like I could have done more (shhhh, don’t tell Jane!). Got back with 5 minutes to spare.

Map: Sunbury
Distance covered: 33.9 km
Time taken: 5:55

Enjoyable day. No idea how we did in comparison to anyone else; I left before the results were announced. As it was, I didn’t get back home until well after dark, and had no energy for all the things I still had to do before Monday.

BSS @ Guy’s Hill Saturday, August 21, 2010

Posted by Louise in Orienteering.
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Today’s event was labelled “Election Ups and Downs”, and watching the results tonight feels like a bit of a roller coaster. To borrow a line from a previous US election: Don’t blame me, I didn’t vote for him.

At 10pm, it’s still too close to call, although it’s not looking good.

Anyhoo, my day started with a run to the gym and a Body Pump class. We’ve got the old instructor back, but she seemed to be in time with the music today. I was feeling a bit fatigued on the run in, but kept the weights at the same level and got through the class okay.

By the time I got out to today’s orienteering event though, I could have quite happily crawled into the van for a nana nap.

I dropped down a course to keep it a bit shorter, but ran out of legs on the first long leg to control #1.

Had a very clean error-free run, although I ended up walking a fair bit of it especially through the first half. I seemed to come right in the second half though, and trotted home to finish 4th (I think).

Map: Guy’s Hill
Course: 2, 8 controls
Course distance: 4.0 km
Distance covered: 5.4 km
Time taken: 50 minutes

Whirakee Wanderings Friday, August 20, 2010

Posted by Louise in Not Orienteering.
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It’s that time of year again. When Neil posts an entry in his blog saying to get out there and look at the Whirakee Wattle during it’s short flowering season.

I missed it last year. Or rather, I went looking, but (a) I didn’t know what I was looking for; and (b) therefore I didn’t find it.

I managed (just) to get out of the office by mid-afternoon, and drove into the nearby-ish Wellsford Forest. Parked up at the Gunyah Picnic area and headed north. There was an information board at the picnic ground which showed a photo of the Whirakee showing the shape of the tree. All I’d ever seen before was closeups of its flowers, which didn’t really give much of a clue of what to look for.

About a kilometre up the road, I saw one. After eyeing up Golden Wattles, the Whirakee punches way above its weight. It stood out like a Christmas tree.

No sooner had I taken its picture, than I saw another one. And another one. Pretty soon I was running around like a maniac going from one to the other.

As I left that patch of ground, I decided on a loop that followed the forest roads – although one was very vague. It ended up being a bit further than I wanted, and there weren’t that many wattles once I left the main road.

9.0 km

On the drive out, I saw dozens of Whirakees from the road – typical, now that I knew what to look for! But they were mostly still to flower fully. Should be good in another week perhaps.

Kangaroo Gully Thursday, August 19, 2010

Posted by Louise in Not Orienteering.
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The weather had cleared overnight (after buckets of rain and an electrical storm), so I grabbed the chance to get out for a run. I headed back to Kangaroo Gully, where the MTBO was a few weeks ago. I took the map with me so I knew where all the singletracks went, and did a meandering route from the car park area up to Sandhurst Reservoir and back through the middle of the map.

This map seems to be all uphill! Or maybe it was because the downhill bits were all narrow tracks which had turned into flowing creeks. Water everywhere – all across the track at the low points; the mining pits were FULL, and there was a pleasant foresty gurgle of running water everywhere. Nice, when you weren’t in it.

9.4 km

Humpday Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Posted by Louise in Bookkeeping.

I guess office work is too boring to blog, because I haven’t got anything worth blogging about.

Job001 on Monday. I got sent off to an appointment with their accountant and his sidekick. I nearly laughed when I met them. The accountant is this overly jolly introverted type who laughs too loud and looks uncomfortable in a suit. The sidekick is an introverted shy won’t-look-you-in-the-eye type who wouldn’t say boo to a mouse. OMG! No wonder the books are so dodgy – neither of them have the strength to boss the owner around, and the last bookkeeper was a bit of a mouse too (she and the sidekick would have sat in a room all day and not talked or looked at each other).

Job002 yesterday. The hairdresser. I finally plucked up the courage to ask the main receptionist to book me in for a haircut (and hoping for a staff discount instead of paying $69). She went back downstairs and never got back to me with a time. Ah well, I can either put up with it for another week or go for a $12 chop at the local shopping centre. But you get what you pay for – the $12 chick couldn’t cut in a straight line.

A non-working day today. Had a long “To Do” list, but did lots of everything else instead.

Had a myotherapy appointment in the morning – 5½ months since my last one. He did shoulders, lower back, calves, and psoas. Now my butt hurts. I really should go more often. And yes, I keep saying that. Actually, what I really want is a different quack. I have the name of someone else that I might try, and it turns out that a dancing friend is also a masseur (although I’m not sure that I want to strip down in front of someone who’s stood on my toes!).

Then the weather turned foul and I turned domestic goddess, making dhal (in the crockpot) and pitta bread (by hand). Unfortunately it doesn’t keep – like french bread. Fortunately it didn’t have to. Flour and water never tasted so good.

SS#7 @ Eppalock South Sunday, August 15, 2010

Posted by Louise in Orienteering.
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Woke up this morning with sore hip joints. Yep – that would be the wide-legged squats from yesterday. Was still sore as I hobbled towards the Start of today’s event. It was a “Ted” course, which usually means long and hard, so I wasn’t feeling particularly hopeful.

But as I ran up the hill towards the first control, I wasn’t even thinking about being sore. I wasn’t sore the whole way around. I had a very clean run, picking off features and landing on controls with no apparent effort. Amazing. I didn’t even realise that the map was at 1:15000 scale until I had finished and was chatting to Ewen afterwards.

I only had one minor brain fade approaching control #8. I was following the compass and counting gullies as I ran across them, when I panicked a bit because I thought the next gully I was heading towards was actually the one I was supposed to be following on my right. I went back and forwards a bit trying to make sense of the terrain (this is a bad map to lose contact on!). I spotted a few others off towards where I was heading in the first place, and followed them. A group of us ended up on a north-south track which took me a while to identify. A control in the saddle gave the game away, and I realised that I was at the top of the gully which I wanted to be in. Easy trot back down to find the control hiding in the greenery.

Only one other fumble when I tripped on a rock and grazed my palms (ouchy). Then about 5 steps later, I tripped again (but stayed upright). Walked for a bit to make sure I wasn’t going to do anything else silly, before running the last few controls into the finish.

Uphill finishes are evil.

Very very pleased at who I ended up beating today. You know who you are. :-D
Still wish I could beat Anitra though.

Map: Eppalock South
Course: 4 (W35A) 11 controls
Course distance: 7.7 km
Distance covered: 8.8 km
Time taken: 1:16

BSS @ Ironstone Hill Saturday, August 14, 2010

Posted by Louise in Orienteering.
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Started off the day with a run to the gym and a BodyPump class. The out-of-time instructor has been replaced with one who liked muttering to herself with the microphone off. But it was in time, at least. Quite a good workout – I didn’t drop the weights from last time, even though it’s been a month since I last did a class (oops!). I might be sore tomorrow.

5.7 km

Home for a late brunch then out to Jackass Flat for today’s event. The blurb said “This is an interesting area, consisting of old mining remains with a complexity of small features, and a good track network.” So I picked up a map for Course 1. No tracks. Shit.

Colin must have heard my feeble wimpering because he showed me his secret stash of Maps With Tracks. Oh, yessss.

I hadn’t fully registered that although Course 1 was contained within a fairly small area, he had designed a course that went round and round in circles (and that was without my own unscheduled “round and round” added on).

I actually had a fairly clean run, helped in no small measure by the prolific tracks on the ground AND on the map. The only control that I didn’t do well on was unlucky #13. The map showed it at the bottom edge of the large dam. I found the dam (no small task in dense forest) and wandered along its edge to the highest point. Found the inlet. No control. Wandered on a bit further in case I was at the wrong point. Spotted two sort of largish islands which weren’t on the map. Huh? Went back to the inlet. Still no control. Decided that I needed to relocate off a track – which I was actually trying not to do, as I wasn’t supposed to have tracks on my map. On the way out, I saw someone else come into the control. Ah hah – there?!

One of these things is not like the other

Then just one more loop over the road and back again and I was into the Finish.

Map: Ironstone Hill
Course: 1, 16 controls
Course distance: 7.1 km
Distance covered: 9.9 km
Time taken: 1:25


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