Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting To Know Me- Its An Epic

You people know i love a meme or two so, in the spirit of particpation, I've decided to take part in Andy's " Getting to Know You Week ". And, in the vein of Andy's most recent post ( involving what may or may not have been a ghostly car chase ) I've decided to tell you all about a small part of my trip to Peru. The spooky part. Sure, the story is not from my childhood, but is from my past which is an integral part of getting to know me, so i'm going to assume Andy wont mind me slightly bending the rules. One or two of you may have heard this story before - for those of you who havent, hold onto your seats....

For those of you who are not up on your geography or world heritage sites, that is Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca city built into the Andes mountains. You may recognise it from Lonely PLanet guidebooks, National Geographic calendars or any of the 1001 travel shows being broadcast around the globe. It is, undeniably, a popular tourist destination - and the best way to get there ? On foot. Yes - foot: a four day trek through the Andes, starting at an outpost known as KM88 and finishing at Machu Picchu ( hopefully at either sunrise or sunset, if you time it right ... ). So that's we're i'll start my story - on the Inca Trail, on the 2nd day of the trek.
I'm not going to lie - the Inca Trail is no easy slog. Its not like i was some kind of ultra-fit, athletic superwoman . I was a slightly-larger-than-I-am-now trekking novice who'd never done anything at altitude before. But it promised to be the adventure of a lifetime, and who was i to turn that down ( even if it did feel like my lungs were going to explode ) ? Just making it into camp on the first day - accompanied by my all-male encouragement troupe, 3 guys i'd only known a few days before who insisted that singing " Eye of the Tiger " would motivate us up the mountain - was a Godsend. Day two promised to be harder. By mid mornng we would be ( slowly, painfully ) making our way to Warminwayusca, or Dead Womans Pass. This pass is 4500m above sea level and, as the highest point on the trek, is considered the toughest part of the journey. With the whole group having reached the summit, we stopped for a snack and a photo opportunity. It was from here that everything went downhill- both literally and figuratively.

My boys, after the trek - i believe they had moved onto Spice Girls songs by then
When our guide said it was time to pack ourselves up and get on the move, i tired sitting up but i felt all lightheaded and lethargic - it was like all the energy had been completely drained out of my body. I took a minute and tired to gather myself together but, when i looked a little wobbly on my feet, my guide and one of the other guys volunteered to walk at the back with me. Within a half an our, not only was i wobbly on my feet but i could barely seem to lift my arms - rather than walking with my walking sick, i was dragging it behind me in the dirt. My trekking buddy, Lachlan, said he'd carry my pack for me and my guide Jugo supported me on one side. I'd been drinking water and we'd only just eaten, so i should have all the energy in the world, but within another half hour, my vision had gone blurry and i was now being supported on both sides. I wasnt so much as walking, as being slowly dragged up the mountain side by an ex-Army recruit and a small Incan man. Mind you, all the guides are trained in first aid and a nurse in our group mentioned she thought i might be dehydrated or could possibly have altitude sickness.

And so we stopped. Jugo radioed ahead for one of the porters to come back with some blankets and he sat me down on a very comfy rock on the side of the trail. He gave me me water and put me on an oxygen tank for 20 minutes. He also made me inhale some foul smelling yuck, which apprently alleviates the symptoms of altitude sickness. All of that and - nada. I could barely breath, by this time could barely see, and felt like both my arms and legs were being weighed down by concrete. To be quite honest, i wuld have been perfectly happy to curl up on that there rock and die. Obviously, leaving me to die on a barren hillside isnt wasnt exactly part of Jugo's job description so... they carried me. Yes, you read that right - Jugo, Lachlan and Alejandro, the young guide who came back with the blankets, carried me. On their backs, They tied me on with the blankets, just like Peruvian women do with their babies.Hell, they even ran! Lachlan was a big guy, but Jugo and Alejandro were typically short, small, Incan men, and they ran with my whole 60kg/150lb of weight on their backs. I was slipping in and out of conscious - the only thing i do clealy remember is catching up to the rest of our group and Jugo telling them they had to get me immediately to camp.
Which is where i woke up. I woke up with Jugo leaning over me, stroking my head, telling me i was going to be okay, not to worry, he was sending someone into see me. Yep, no worries - zzzzzzzzz. Next thing i know there is a " Hola, senorita ? Hola ? " at the opening to my tent and in comes this really old guy. Here comes the cool part - he props my head up and starts muttering, kind of chanting, in the local Incan language. I was already almost completely out of it, too far gone to make any objection to what he was doing anyway. So the old guy keeps up the muttering and then he lights up something a bowl until it starts smoking. Once he had his smoke going, he blew it all over me: directly into my face, over the top of my head, down the front of my shirt, everywhere. He rubbed whatever he'd crushed up in his bowl over my face and arms, finished up with his chanting, said " Buenos noches, senorita ", and disappeared. Two of my female trekking companions them came in and helped me put on more clothing layers and then - blackness. I passed out or fell asleep for a while and then rested very fitfully ( i;d say slept, but i dont think i really did ) for the rest of the night.
Morning comes and .... i feel awesome. I wake up feeling great, go out and eat breakfast with everyone - albeit while copping some very strange looks from my trek buddies. Everyone wants to know how i feel and Jugo takes me aside to make sure i'm feeling okay. And that was it, we set off for the day. No-one rally talks much about the day before, except to say that i looked terrible, all limp like a rag doll and one of our older members thought i might have been dead. No-one bothers to tell me what may or may not have been wrong with me, but it didnt really matter because i was doing fine. It wasnt until our first snack break that anyone decided to let me in on what went on the previous night. So, take a deep breath people, here it comes : I WAS POSSESSED. Don't re-red that to see if it makes more sense, it wont. Apparently, whilst i had been laid up in my tent, delirious, Jugo had taken everyone else aside and told them what was going to happen, because he didnt want them to think i was being taken advantage of or anything. He, and the other porters - all Peruvian indian men - thought i had been taken over by a mountain spirit, spirits that the Incan people believed kept guard over their trail. The elderly gentleman, who turned out to be one of our porters, was also a kind of Incan medecine man, was going to go in an perform some kind of exorcism ritual, and expel whatever spirit it was that had taken me over.
And there you have it - when all the scientific medecines didnt work, when i only continued to get worse, it was decided that i must have been possessed and only pagan magic could save me. And you know what ? It did. The oxygen, the foul smelling inhalant, the water and pills, none of that worked but the chanting and the smoke blowing had me feeling as fresh as a daisy. Not only did i not struggle with the rest of the trek, but i was the second person to make it to the gateway to Machu Pichhu. It was like i'd been suddenly blessed or something. When we had finished our tek and met back up in town with our other tour guide, Jonathon, he told me in full what had gone on. He said he had only heard of two other women in 15 years of leading tours who had got so sick, so suddenly, and in the same spot on the trek ( straight after Dead Womans Pass ), and the same smoke blowing, chanting, praying-whatever worked on them too. You can believe what you want but, having lived the experience and being of a hippie-dippie spiritual mind anyway, i'm like 95% sure something otherworldly happened to me up there.
Either way, it sure beats the hell out of most peoples vacation stories....

Monday, November 24, 2008

My weekend by the numbers: a recap

1 - number of fetes i attended. A fete is pretty much a country fair for all you non-Aussies. I took my neice because i knew she would appreciate the jumping castle and face painting.

4 - times i ate fast food over the course of three days. A serious blow out. The next thing to be blown out ? My stomach.

1 - number of doctors bills paid. Yep, the bill from my wisdom teeth removal.

670 - amount in dollars that it cost to have those teeth removed.

3 - display homes visit. For anyone wondering what a display home is, its a fully built replica of a home you can have built for yourself. I'm kind of thinking of building one, you see - if i can afford it.

245 000 - amount in dollars of the cheapest house and land package being offered in my town right now. Maybe i cant afford it.... but we'll see.

24 000 - amount in dollars the Australian government is offering as a first home buyers grant. Sure helps a bit with that affordability thing....

1 - number of handbags i bought myself. White, textured, Fiorelli tote. Not a Birkin bag by any means, but cute, classy and functional.

3 - number of days i saw my neice this weekend. Yep, that would be every day.

2 - number of days i saw my 7 month old cousin this weekend. Apparently, it was a weekend for the kiddies.

And there you have it. Look forward to next weekends recap - I've taken the Friday and Monday off work because, well, i havent had any actual holidays this year and i figure i deserve a long weekend. The forthcoming recap may or may not involve one or more the following: facials, $10 Tradie Lunch, " Australia ", visits by new reps, trips to the mortgage broker, old houses, new houses, broken hearts and children. Guess which ones i'm looking forward to ?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Is that a challenge ? Double dog dare me ?

Five weeks til Christmas - can you believe that? 35 days to go until the Big Red Man comes and i get to stuff my face with prawns and Christmas icecream ( yes, you read it right - i make Christmas icecream ). And, knowing that there is only 35 days til my Christmas, our branch manager decided today was the day to put all the Christmas decorations in our store. Of course, everyone knows that you risk certain and eternal Christmas bad luck by decorating before December 1st ( yes, this means you too Andy and Capricorn ), but she insisted today was the day. Seriously, you've never seen an office covered in so much Christmas kitsch. It was cute and fun and cheery today, but i 'm guessing by the end of, lets see, next week, its going to be nauseating.

Anyhoo, like i said, decorating the office was quite a cheerful experience for the day, which got me to thinking - why dont i concentrate more often on the cheerful stuff ? Sure, when the big stuff happens - like birthdays or parties or exciting experiences - i'm all about the cheer; but I dont readily acknowledge the everyday things that make me smile and keep me from spending the day with my head under my bed covers. And so, in the spirit of the season i have decided to conduct an experiment - everyday up to and including Christmas Day, I am going find one thing that makes me smile. And, furthermore, I am going to let things slide - dont sweat the small stuff, you know ? Seems to me, after years of having listened to Oprah say it over and over ( hey, so maybe i dont pick things up so easily... call me stupid ) that actively focusing on being happy will..... make you HAPPY. Who woulda thunk it ?

In kicking off the challenge, here is the list of things that made me smile/smirk/giggle/cack my pants with laughter today :
* The radio playing " Run to the Water " by Live on my way to work - i love that song!
* A young girl coming in with her mum to look at sunglasses - she had the most gorgeous curly hair.
* Selling sunglasses - i just really enjoyed the customers today.
* The amount of Santa ornaments my manager has accumulated over the years - its like a Santa City in my dispensary right now!
* A bumper sticker that said " Nurses - We Can't Live Without Them " - thats it. No joke, no punchline. Just nurses are so under-appreciated. Big cyber hugs for the nurses out there...
*Andy and Ben's co-blog - laugh at loud funny.
*Chit chatting with J during work - when we werent busy with customers, we were busy being fools. Laughing makes the day go quicker, thats for sure.
* Eating gooey caramel-ly icecream for dessert - can you say yum ?

Which brings me to now. I'm currently texting back and forth with P while we watch " The Amazing Race " and after that , it'll almost be time for bed. Add one more to the list - sleeping always makes me happy.....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Are your teeth still sick ?

I really, really, hate throwing up. I have no idea how bulimics do it - i hate the spasms, the sore throat and the lingering feeling of nausea. Lets face it, throwing up is just not pleasant. Neither is knowing that the three kinds of medications you're on are the cause of the nausea, so in order to keep yourself free of bacteria and infection and whatever else, you have to walk around in a constant state of feeling sea-sick.

Oh, yea - guess who i'm talking about ?

But i'm back to work tomorrow. I'm not particularly looking forward to it - because i dont particularly fancy sitting at my desk with my stomach in a knot - especially seeing as i have to go in early for a conference call. During which everyone will ask how i'm feeling and i'll have to grit my teeth and go " Yea, i'm doing fine ", rather than admit i'd prefer to be at home asleep. The doctor did give me a week off, so technically i dont have to be going back, but i kind of feel bad leaving J a little in the lurch. Plus, its J's birthday tomorrow and i have her present in my handbag - i dont want to have poor J working on her lonesome on her birthday. How depressing!

Speaking of birthdays, it was my adorable little neices birthday today. She turned the big number 3 ( or " I'm this many " as she'd say, holding up three fingers.... ) and she got one of the best presents any child could ask for - a trampoline! She's really excited now that she has her own. We have one here at " Poppy's " house, but now she has one in her own backyard she can bounce away to her little hearts content. She was also impressed with the cute little shirt dress i bought her, and the cd player one of her other aunties bought ( " Its for moozik! Mum, its a moozik thing! " ). Kudos to my sister-in-law for the cute little cupcakes she made.

And now, on to tomorrow. Or at least, on with the show of trying to keep my stomach from turning inside out....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Post-Op Hiatus

And they're outta here! My wisdom teeth, that is. Its day two post-op and, suprisingly, the pain isnt as bad as i thought it would be. I was expecting some pretty sharp pain, but with the pain killers i'm on its a bearable dull ache and a little stiffness in the jaw. But hey, just means i get to eat jelly and icecream for a day or two, while i chew gum in between meals to exercise my jaw. The only other thing that is proving a little unpleasant is the taste in my mouth - stop me if this is an overshare, but there is no bleeding anymore but because there are still open wounds in my mouth, and a fair amount of bacteria, i get to be swallowing a lot of funky yuck.

On the upside, i get to lie around and do a bit of napping for the next day or two. The antibiotics and pain killers i'm on make me a little drowsy, so i have the perfect excuse to fall asleep on the couch. I'm also using my sick days to watch some movies and crappy reality tv - what a better way to spend my hiatus from work ? I've just finished watching " Superbad " which, sadly, was not as good as i thought it would be. I've also got " Freedomland ", " Tristan and Isolde " and " Zodiac " left to watch, so we'll see how they turn out. Perhaps i'll even do up a review or two.

Actually, i used to do that a lot. Back before the birth of MySpace and Facebook, there was a little site called Bolt. I loved Bolt - i had a tagbook on my page, where i could post questions and anyone else on teh site could answer, and i was a member of a film forum. Every month, my fellow film buffs and i would post a list of the films we'd watched and what rating we had given them. I suppose to some people we seemed like a bunch of film snobs, but it was really refreshing to be able to disect a film with like-minded people. I even had an official Top 10 Films of all time, but i havent updated that for quite a while.

Maybe thats something i'll start up again. Anyone interested in joing me ?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Free at last, free at last...

No, this is not a post in relation to either Martin Luther King or his recent incarnation, Barack Obama ( my belated congratulations by the way ). No, this is about something far more serious...

It's on like Donkey Kong people! Tomorrow, at 1:30pm, I am finally getting the bastard wisdom teeth taken out. I'm booked in for day surgery to have the two bottom teeth removed and, although i'm a little apprehensive - lets face it I am, after all, having surgery - I'm looking forward to not having pain every three or four weeks. That being said, it has grown strangely comfortable having a constant, dull, ache in my jaw every few weeks or go. Even though its been extremely irritating, I've grown used to it.

But make no mistake - I will get unused to it! I'll endeavour to try and make an entry post-op while i'm still groggy from the anaesthetic, or while i'm high on painkillers. It could make for some interestin reading......

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Madness

Todays post is brought to you by the letter M - Mondays, madness, mayhem and mirth. Ah, Mondays, oh how you amuse me.

* You guys remember how my my damned wisdom teeth have been growing in and causing me a pain in the arse ( alright, a pain in the jaw, but you get it.... ) ? Yea, well i was supposed to have an appointment with the dental surgeon on Wednesday at 6pm and this morning i get a call from his secretary. My appointment is now at 8:20am on Friday morning. 8:20am ? Poo to that! Who wants to get up extra early to go to the dentist, before work ? Plus, dont they know how much these teeth are annoying me - i'm this close to taking a pair of optical pliers from my work set and ripping them out myself.

* I love my workmate, J. She's older than I am but we have the same kind of sense of humour and we get on like a house on fire. What i also love about her is that she, like me, sometimes does ridiculous stuff and all we can do is laugh. Like for today example. We sell sunglases in my practice, and all sunglasses are locked away in a glass cabinet so nobody can steal them ( i mean, unless we leave the cabinet unlocked and thats just asking for trouble really ). Anyhoo, today J locked the keys to this glass cabinet - inside the cabinet. Yes, thats right, when showing a pair of sunnies to a customer she placed the keys on the bottom shelf of the cabinet, presumably so she could pick them up when she was done and put them back in the draw. But no, J finished the sale, got distracted by a phone call and then realised she hadnt locked the cabinet, so she slides the door shut and presses the lock closed. It was only about 15 minutes later, when we had another prospective customer, that she realised her mistake. What a laugh ! And whats even funnier ? Yes, we have a spare key - on the same key chain. Idiots ? Yes, indeed.

* I ran into RNG this afternoon on my way to the post office. Perhaps he doesnt deserve the tag Really Nice Guy after showing little interest since my decision to move back in with my parents ( or perhaps he is a RNG who just doesnt fancy hanging out with his chicks family so much). Anyhoo, I hadnt heard from him in a while and i'd sent him text only yesterday just to see what he was doing, so it was kin dof strange just to run into him out of the blue like that. He looked good. Thankfully, however, i wasnt looking too shabby for 4pm on a Monday afternoon. I mean, my work uniform isnt the most impressive outfit in the world, but i was having a great hair day and i didnt have anything on my face, so yay for me. The last thing you want when running into a guy you had one or two dates with is for him to take a look at you and go " See, thats why i didnt call back". No, a lady wants to make a " Damn - i gave THAT up ? " kind of impression.

* I have been officially rejected. By the blood bank. Donating blood is my thing, its my community contribution, and I've been banned from giving any for the next 6 months. Why ? Because i am apparently too low in iron at the moment, so they give you a mandatory 6 month rest period to get your iron levels back up. Poo to that! So it looks like i better be eating some more steaks and less chicken. On the upside, this would make for a great time to get another tattoo - i already have to sit out 6 months, why not 6 months more ?

Okay, so reading back over that, i guess it wasnt exactly " madness ", more like " maddening ". But hey, that word still starts with M so i'm completely on track. Tomorrow - Tuesday. Officially the most non-eventful day of everyones week....

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Making of Me : A 10 Year Retrospective

Just so we're clear, this meme was originally started by Sheena and even though i wasnt officially tagged i've decided to do it anyway. Basically its a quick rundown summarising the last 10 years of my life. And so, seeing as i'm 24 this year, we start way back in 1998, at the tender age of 14....

1998 ( 14 yrs ) - If i remember correctly, this is the year where i first started to feel a little dark inside. Not that i want to make out everything was doom and gloom, but it was around this time i first started to listen to those self-loathing thoughts in my head. It was also the year i got my first mobile phone and we had internet on our home computer for the first time. And so started my addiction to the Inter-Web.

1999 ( 15 yrs ) - The tenth grade of high school. This is where things started to become serious - important end-of-year exams, getting to invited to parties was almost the be all and end all, and friendships were tested. I got drunk for the first time ( on Stolichnaya Lemon Ruskies .... so old school ) at my friends Brads birthday party. I felt ridiculously cool but was terrified of my dad busting me. Thankfully he didnt and i spent quite a few parties that year ( and all the years following ) getting my drink on. Also, despite being released the previous year, this is the year i started my love affair with " Dizzy Up The Girl " by The Goo Goo Dolls - to this day, one of my top 5 favourite albums.

2000 ( 16 yrs ) - I wrote a lot of poetry this year. You know, the world-sucks, i-wish -i -were-dead, emo kid kind of poetry. I carried a notebook of poetry in my school bag, so that everytime i was upset, angry or plain old bored i could write. Words have managed to sustain me, in some form or another, ever since then. The memory of good times that sticks out in my mind is from my two day biology camp. I sang - the one and only time that i have ever had the guts to sing by myself, in front of other people. What did i sing ? " Slide " by the Goo Goo Dolls.

2001 ( 17 yrs ) - Final year of high school baby! Thank the freaking Lord, because by this point in precedings i was well and truely sick of the place. I loved getting to hang out with my friends, i enjoyed being able to debate intellectually in class discussions, i even enjoyed some of the assignments I had to do - i just hated the institution. I disliked most of the teachers and thoughi dont have a huge problem with authority, I hated being told what to do by people who were, quite frankly, total douches. I hated my English teacher and i'm pretty sure he hated me too. Two months before end of year exams, i walked out of his class never went back. Screw you sucka! The only good thing about gthe final year of high school was the end of it - that is, our Year 12 Formal ( thats a Senior Prom, for you North Americans ). My Formal was pretty ace. The graduating song we chose ? " Higher " by Creed - yep, we rocked much.

2002 ( 18 yrs ) - No more school meant starting work. I've never been to university, not because i'm stupid or lazy, but because i had ( and still have ) no solid idea what i wanted to do with my life. I also did not have the money to waste on some random course that i might drop after a semester or two. So i got a job working retail and tried to save some money. It was in the first few months of this that i was officially diagnosed with depression and social anxiety disorder. I had to watch one of those horrid public service type videos- you know, like if my life were the Simpsons, the film would have starred Troy McClure . Hi, I'm Troy McClure, and you may remember me from such films as " So You're Having a Mental Breakdown! " or " Parties? Who Needs Them ? " ...... I had to break the news to my family and my immediate bosses at work that i was, ahem, " mentally ill ", and started a course of cognitive behavioural therapy with a counsellor. In short, this year was not my best.

2003 ( 19 yrs ) - All that counselling was doing me some good. I wasnt cured and i was still on meds, but I started to develop interests again ( beyond napping - i'll always be interested in that ). I started thinking about a possible career path and i thought i might enjoy working with kids. I started volunteering at my old primary school on my days off, working as a reading tutor with the kindergarten kids. I did that till 11am, and then in the afternoons i'd do a volunteer shift at a childcare centre, just helping out. I enjoyed it, but i still wasnt ready to make a career commitment. I kept working retail and basically just concentrated on getting mentally healthy. It was hard with my best friend moving away this year, but i managed to stay alive.

2004 ( 20 yrs ) - I'd always wanted to go overseas and this year was the year to make it a reality. I figured that because i didnt have the money to just holiday, i could work for my trip. I applied for a position as a camp counsellor and, after many months of waiting, was knocked back because i only had experience with kids under the age of 7. Once upon a time, this news would have knocked me on my arse, but I decided to keep on trying. This proved to be the best decision I ever made - this time i applied to work as an Au Pair in the USA, and was accepted by a family living in New Jersey. I packed up my shit and moved to the US in early November.

2005 ( 21 yrs ) - 2005 started in Times Square, New York City. Fabulous start to a fabulous year, i'd say. I learnt a lot about myself, and who i had the potential to be, whilst living overseas. I loved my family - my three boys, M, T and H - and i made friends with some gorgeous girls from all over the world. I did a four day trek through the Andes to Machu Picchu in Peru ( where i was possessed by mountain spirits - long story.... ) and tested my mental and physical toughness; i went to DisneyWorld on my own and got to skip to the front of the lines; I did 4th of July at South Street Seaport, Rosh Hashanah in Conneticut and Halloween in my local neighbourhood. I joined a gym and fell into being a gym junkie, losing 10 kgs ( about 25lbs ). I returned to Australia a new person, and to be greeted by a new person ( my neice, D.O.B 18.11.05 ). 2005 was a good year, perhaps the best thus far.

2006 ( 22yrs ) - I started the new year with a new job and a new outlook. The previous year had proved i didnt have to live under my bed covers, that if thrown in the deep end i did, indeed, have the ability to swim. I started hitting the pub every weekend, not drinking ( again, anotyher long story ) but just dancing and living it up. I lived for Saturday nights and Sunday morning sleep ins.I definately looked good and i had never felt better.I had a brief relationship with a guy a year younger than me. He was, sadly, so immature that it eventually felt like dating my younger brother, and i broke it off. This was also the year that i i lost my blog virginity. I didnt write poetry much anymore, and an old school journal was just, well, so old school. My bloga attracted the readership of two awesome internet buddies, both still readers now, and our three way conversations became the stuff of legend. By the time Christmas rolled around, i was completely addicted to blogging and had already been to meet with one of my other readers. I'd like to say it wasnt an excuse for a dirty weekend, but that would be a lie :)

2007 ( 23 yrs ) - Ah, the year of living dangerously. Well not technically dangerously, its not like i was running with a gang or anything, i just lot a lot of my old inhibitions. Yes, in THAT way too ( perverts ). I become a fan of local rugby players, and a fan of drunken midnight texts. I maintained my internet buddies friendships and even got the pleasure of meeting up with one of them. Last year felt like a golden year, save for a few small mistakes - things i said but didnt really mean, things i should have said but didnt, things i missed and things i really wish i hadnt have been there for. Most of 2007 was an adventure of sorts, thats for sure....

2008 ( 24 yrs ) - Which brings us to present day Amy. This year has had its ups and downs. Finishing my optical dispensing course = UP. The Mary Incident = DOWN. My best friends wedding and subsequent joy = UP. Slipping back into depression and having to see a pyschiatrist again = DOWN. Getting a payrise = UP. NOt hitting the town for a record 6 months straight = DOWN. Waiting to be an aunty for the second time = UP.

With two months left to go, who knows what could be in store ?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

And they're racing!

Ah, Derby Day. Horses, hats and, eventually, hangovers. Or, in my case, no hangover but some mad, bad, lobster red sunburn.

Let me elaborate - for those of you not in the know ( so, anyone who isnt Aussie ), today is Derby Day. Yes, its a horse race, just like the Kentucky Derby , only the race isnt in Kentucky, its in Melbourne. Its also the day where smaller race courses around the country hold reciprocal eventas, and its one of these race meets that i've been at today. Now I'm not sure how much you guys know about race ettiquette ( and truth be told i'm no expert myself ), but traidtion decrees thatw omen pretty themselves up , men wear suits, and hats or fascinators are the order of the day. So i picked myself a dress from the 30 or so in my wardrobe, found a semi comfortable but very cute pair of open toe heels and bought a relatively simple fascinator and headed to the track. The key ingredient that i missed ? Bloody sunscreen! You would think living in the country with the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world that i would be well versed in the ways of sun protection, but the one day that i choose to go hanging about outside, swanning around and sipping on wine, i forget to coat myself in sunscreen first. Consequently i am now a nice shade of lobster red and am very much NOT looking forward to taking a shower in the morning ( sunburn +hot water = ouch! )

I am pleased to say, however, that i did not lose a packet of money at the track. I only put a bet on two races, and a very modest bet at that. I didnt think putting $5 for a win on a horse would break the bank, and who could resist putting money on a horse with a name like " Gangster in a Suit " ? Seriously? Incidentally, i've had many a conversation with my father about what we would name a race horse if we owned one - I'd go for " Ultimatum " ( classy, yes ? ) and he likes " BustaGut ".

And so, on to Tuesday, and the Melbourne Cup. Or, as we Australians like to refer to it - " The Race That Stops A Nation ". And it does - i remember being a senior in high school and having our teachers bring a tv into the classroom and halting the lesson for the three or so minutes the race was run. We did the same thing in my office last year - set up a tv where everybody could see it, watched the race coverage starting from 12 noon ( the actual Melbourne Cup isnt run until just after 3pm ) and offering the few lucky customers who entered the shop just as the race was starting a piece of celebratory cake. I usually place a modest bet on the Cup every year but i've only ever won any money once. I think i was in the 9th or 10th grade and won about $50 on a horse called " Rogan Josh ". Not a bad windfall when your 14 years old. I'm thinking of putting a bet on this year but dont go asking me for any tips - i'll scour the race guide on the morning of the race and base my decision on one of three things - the horses number, the horses name or the jockeys colours.

No need to pay attention to age, weight or race stats - just go with a good colour combination and your lucky number.....