Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Lily Rush and The Librarians

Telly on a Wednesday night just does not get better than this! First off, Cold Case with the delectable Lily. Tonight we find out if she survives the shooting from last episode. She must do! They wouldn't kill her off. Would they.....?
Then at 9.30pm the premiere of The Librarians on the ABC. I can't wait! Finally, a show about me! Well, not just me - all us wonderful librarians out there.
Once you've seen the episode, head over to Second Life on Thursday night, 1 November (7.30pm AEDST, 1.30am SLT (PDT) and chat about the show with other librarians at the ABC Auditorium, ABC Island Second Life.
Don't even think about ringing me up tonight. I will not be available. My seat in front of the telly is booked!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The big 5-0 creeps another year closer

Today is my birthday and I get to spend it at work - in my little windowless library. Not nearly as much fun as last year's birthday. For those of you who read my other blog, you'll know that this time last year I was trekking in Nepal. I woke up in Besi Sahar, spent half the day on a bus travelling to Pokhara, and then had pizza and birthday cake for dinner. Lovely!

Smithy is taking me out to dinner tonight. We're going to one of our favourite restaurants, the Tibetan Kitchen in West End, which I'm really looking forward to. I love their food. Mind you, with the Tibetan Moon Cookbook that Smithy gave me today, I'll be able to make all our favourite meals whenever we crave them. Mmm momos.....

Friday, September 28, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

Sans Smithy

Smithy's been away for about a month now, and has been keeping me up to date with her adventures with lots of emails. Having read what she's been up to so far, I'm not so sure she should be allowed out by herself anymore.
  1. On the trip out to the Galapagos Islands, she had to sit up all night to make sure her semi-conscious, seasick cabin-mate didn't suffocate on her own vomit.
  2. In Santiago, just escaped from being hustled by three guys
  3. Nearly got swept away by the current when she developed stomach cramps whilst swimming across a tributary of the Amazon

I only hope she hasn't fallen off the roof of the Devil's Nose train!

Meanwhile, I've been coping with her absence by doing housework. Very disturbing development! So far I've done all the ironing, scrubbed kitchen shelves and canisters, polished all the louvre windows in the project room, as well as the kitchen and study windows, dusted and vacuumed the house, weeded what used to be the lawn and dusted and de-cobwebbed all the gym equipment on the back deck. With another five weeks before Smithy's return, the house is going to be gleaming by the time she gets back!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Race for Tibet

Today marks one year to go until the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Organisations around the world are using the occasion to highlight Tibet's plight. Let's keep the pressure on China regarding its continuing occupation of Tibet and its appalling human rights record.

Help send a Tibetan team to the Olympics

and check out to find out what you can do to help make the Beijing Olympics a catalyst for change in Tibet.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Home alone

Smithy flew out this morning to begin her 9-week South American adventure, leaving me home alone for all that time. Just as well I have two jobs to keep me occupied - I won't have too much time to miss her. It will be very strange without her. Apart from a 3-day trip to New Zealand that she did back in 2004, we have not been apart in the 5 1/2 years we've been together.
At least I will be able to get stuck into some of the things I don't do when Smithy is around. Like write this blog, do some work on my website, write my novel. And I'm going to start going to a local Buddhist centre to do some meditation and take some courses in Buddhism. And start to teach myself Tibetan.
Only 60 sleeps to go before Smithy comes home....

Monday, July 02, 2007


Yesterday Smithy and I entered in our fourth Gold Coast Half Marathon. We usually use the 21 and a bit kilometre race as training for our Himalayan treks. We only ever walk the half marathon - never run it - and our goal this year was to break the 3 hour barrier. In 2003 we did it in 3 hours 3 mins, in 2004 we did it in 3:05 and last year in 3:03, so we've been close. And we went at what we considered our top pace and didn't really think we could go under 3 hours without breaking into a run. Still, we thought we'd give it our best shot this year.
So, the alarm went off at 4am and we reluctantly rolled out of our lovely warm bed into the chill, pre-dawn morning. A big bowl of porridge for breakfast, two cups of coffee and three glasses of water later, we were on the road to Labrador - an hour's drive down the coast.
Parked the car a little way from the start line and joined a number of other crazy people all making their way to the race course. The crowd got bigger and bigger as time went on. By 6.15am, we had stripped down to shorts and T-shirts, handed our bag into Left Luggage, and made our way up onto the road to wait for the starting gun, just as the sun was making its first appearance over the horizon.
At 6.30am, there were thousands of people on the road. The wheelchair athletes set off on their half marathon, sent on their way with a huge cheer from the crowd. A few minutes later, it was our turn. The starting gun went off...and we stayed put! The crowd was so big it took ages for us to shuffle off and get to the start line! Five minutes after the gun went off, Smithy and I crossed the line with more than 4,000 runners in front of us!
We always start the race by jogging the first 500 metres or so and then settle into a fast walk and this is what we did again yesterday. As the kilometres crept past neither of us felt optimal. My right leg was a bit stiff from carrying pavers and squatting to lay them the day before and Smithy complained that she couldn't get into a rhythm. Despite this, we covered the first 7 kilometres in 58 minutes - right on track! Another kilometre went past, and the first of the runners started coming the other way. After that, they just kept on coming. The sound of several thousand runners - slap of feet on tarmac, gasping breath - is quite something. By the time we reached the 10 kilometre mark, the runners were well gone and the slow joggers and faster walkers were starting to pass us going the other way. Another 500 metres and we hit the halfway mark ourselves. It's all downhill from here! At least the sun was no longer in our eyes, but we did have to battle a small headwind all the way to the finish line.
My knees and groin were feeling stiff and Smithy had a really sore toe by this stage, but we kept on going - breaking into little jogs every now and again to relieve muscles. As we passed the fourteen kilometre mark we were ecstatic to find we were still right on target timewise - we'd thought we'd slowed down somewhat during the second third of the race.
Getting to the 16 kilometre mark is a big pyschological boost - only 5 kilometres to go. But by then, I was really beginning to struggle. My right knee and groin were really really sore and walking was starting to hurt. Eventually I told Smithy I had to stop. She went on ahead while I slowed right down. That helped a bit. Then I shuffle-jogged a bit and that helped too. I sped up a little bit but couldn't catch Smithy. As the last drinks station came into view, I remembered the headache tablets I'd put in my pocket earlier. Grabbing a cup of water, I popped the two tablets into my mouth and kept going. Shuffle-jog, walk, shuffle-jog, walk. I shuffle jogged up a little hill and managed to catch up to a very surprised Smithy. We had just over 3 kilometres to go. We had to cover that distance in 25 minutes if we wanted to finish under 3 hours. Could we do it? Back at the 17 kilometre mark, we thought we'd blown it. We were taking nearly 10 minutes to complete a kilometre. Simple arithmetic told me we wouldn't finish in under 3 hours. Oh well, at least we'd finish.
On we went, as fast as we were able. Finally, the marker declaring 1 kilometre to go came up. 'We can't do it, can we?" Smithy asked. I glanced at my watch. "Yes we can! It'll be tight but we can do it!" I don't know how we did it, but we had managed to cover the last two kilometres in just 17 minutes. We had a real chance at cracking the 3 hours.
People lined the last 500 metres, cheering and clapping every marathoner that ran past (yes, we were being beaten by marathon runners who had run 21 kilometres in the opposite direction to us before turning around, running our course, catching up and passing us. And they were the slow ones - the winners had passed us with 8 kilometres still to go!) and encouraging us halfers. With just 300 metres to go, we broke into a shuffle-jog, passing walkers who had been in front of us for most of the race. One hundred metres to go and we could see the finish line. I picked up my pace a little but Smithy dropped back. 20 metres to go and I broke into a sprint (gawd only knows where the energy came from) and crossed the finish line with head held high. I looked at my watch - 9.37am. I'd done it. I finished in under 3 hours. Excited and anxious I waited for Smithy to cross. It seemed an age before she joined me, but a glance at my watch showed she had also made it in under 3 hours!
Exultant, we staggered off to the recovery area for drinks and fruit before handing in the race chip (timing device) and claiming our T-shirts and medals. To our huge disappointment, they had run out of medals and we had to put our names down to have one posted to us - but at least we came away with our official 'Finisher' shirts.
We spent the afternoon relaxing at home, stretched out on the settees, enjoying a glass of wine and watching DVDs and rugby league. Pizza for tea, then an early night for our weary bodies. Smithy woke up fine today, but my legs are really stiff. We treated ourselves to a massage, which was really nice, but if I don't keep moving I just stiffen up again.
We got onto the race website this morning to get our official times. Me: 2:59:28 Smithy: 2:59:48.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Where the wild things are

In our house mainly. Of course, we have the usual geckos living behind the picture frames. They chase each other across the walls and squabble on the ceiling but for the most part are no bother at all. Except for the odd occasion when one falls off the ceiling and onto one of us or, with a loud splat, onto the floor. They sprawl there for a moment or two with a stunned look on their faces, then scuttle off under the settees.

Lately though, it's like our place is a wildlife hotel. It began back in 2004, when Smithy and I came home after a two month trip to Nepal and found a ringtailed possum had taken up residence in the dining room window. We have wooden lattices on the outside of the windows and there's a six inch gap between the glass and the lattice. Apparently, just the right amount of room for one little male ringtail! He spent most of the summer there - going out foraging at nighttime and sleeping through the day. Course, days were really hot, so he would lick his balls and paws in an attempt to keep cool and lay sprawled on his back to catch the passing breeze! Eventually, he left and we were able to open the window again.

Then the brushtailed possums moved into the roof. Climbed up under the eaves and broke their way in. Noisy buggers, those brushtails. They'd scamper across the roof and you'd swear they had hobnailed boots on! Their favourite game was to jump from the cassia in the back garden onto the roof, race each other up and over and leap into the gum tree out the front.

Last year, we went away for three months to Tibet and Nepal (read my other blog for an account of our adventures). When we got back we found that another ringtailed possum had moved into our window - this time with twin babies! They lived there for about two months, making themselves ever so comfortable with bedding from twigs and leaves. Then Mum left the kids to their own devices. About a month later they stopped coming by, but not before Mum came back with a tiny baby in her pouch!

They've all gone now, but every now and again a couple of them will visit during the night. Perched on top of the lattice frame, they'll sit there and snack on the leaves of some shrubs before disappearing into the night.

Then, just last week, Smithy and I were tucked up in bed watching telly when we heard footsteps in the house and a brushtail came to the bedroom door! It had walked the length of the house to get there from the back deck. Cheeky little blighter!

Ringtailed possum and her twin babies