09 December 2010

Final Continent Expedition

I used to work with Hap a few years back, in his Australian phase.
He is an inspiration.
He sets his mind to something and does it.
With flair.

Watch the video to be inspired too.
The link to his blog is on the right.

26 November 2010

On Open Letter for MOvember

So, you’ve seen me around, you’ve laughed, I’ve itched...

Or maybe you haven’t, you’ll just have to trust me :)

You’ve hopefully asked me what on Earth I’m doing with that thing on my face?!

I’ve hopefully told you that mens health issues don’t just affect men, and hence I’m standing by the men in my life in order to raise some awareness (and hopefully some money) for MOvember.*

If you do nothing else, please visit

http://www.nibmanmuster.com.au/health.php

And learn a little about some of the issues that you (or the men in your life) may face, and how to keep on top of your form.

If you have an extra few minutes (and that’s really all it takes) then please donate something (everything helps) to a very worthy cause:


These things don’t just affect men, they affect everyone they know and everyone they care about. The Woodie Woodie team (Woodie Wooded Wizards) are aiming to raise at least $2000, and but if we can beat the West Perth team that would good too!
Remember, you can donate from anywhere in the world!
Thanks for reading this far!

The Mo will remain around ‘til the end of MOvember, so feel free to keep laughing at me!
(as long as you promise to consider the serious side too!)

Ellen



*The more detailed answer to “what on Earth I’m doing with that thing on my face?!” is that my friends father passed away from complications to prostate cancer, because he didn’t get checked until too late. As a result, we’re prowling the minesites of WA with the aim of stopping others going through what her family went through. So for the last week, and until the end of the month-formally-known-as-November I am sporting different yet equally attractive (and itchy) Mos, in styles such as “The Scoundrel” (top), “The Bandit” (bottom) and todays special, “The Casanova”.

09 November 2010

:(

My fiancés father is having some trouble at the moment;  He's been signed off work since mid October, had a transient ischemic attack (a mini stroke) that put him in hospital last week, and he had an appointment with the surgeon yesterday, with the surgery happening on thursday. I don't really know many details about it. unclogging his arteries I think...

He's in England, we're here, and to make it even worse we both work away, so I'm in one place and he's 800km away from me. My fiancé is mostly pretending to be tough, but he's also very worried, upset and not sleeping.

I don't know what to say to him, apart from "I love you and will always be here for you", and I feel guilty because I was the one who originally 'dragged' us both over here, though he was more than willing after a little persuasion. I keep feeling upset (tears in eyes etc) when I think about it because its my worst nightmare pretty much realised. But I need to stay strong too!

We're planning a trip home at Christmas now, but at the moment that seems such a long way away.

08 November 2010

Pink Triathlon 2010 - A whole year of blogging!

So, I started this blog with a post about the Pink Tri, and I'm happy I did as I now have something to go back and compare to!

So last years course was 300m swim, 10km cycle and 3km run.
I finished in 1:02:44, with some dodgy timing that didn't separately record transition breaks, so it all merged together. But overall that put me 302nd  overall and 29th in my category (I jumped up a notch this year!).

So then this year came, and I knew I wanted to do it again, but what with everything else that has been happening I didn't get much training in...

The day started OK, we got The Boys bike into the car, got there with time to spare (though they'd already set the kids off before they'd closed registration, so they were trying to get us all out of transition before there was time to set up) but I realised as I was waiting for the race briefing that I'd left my goggles in transition. NIGHTMARE! So I sent they Boy off to get them, and he got back just in time for kick off despite having to haggle for entry to transition :)
Then came my turn to jump in the pool and I instantly got mild cramp in my right calf, so swam the first 75m with only my arms, trying to stretch my leg out without stopping! It came right again eventually. The swim is my weakest point, so I was happy to complete it in much less time than last year- 7 minutes! (and 8 seconds)
Then on through the longest transition in the world! The pool they used this year was well away from the racks, so there was a long waddle through crowds and over gravel and sand and some attempts at matting. At least by the time I made it to transition I was quite dry :) 5 minutes was pretty bad time-wasting though!
Onto The Boys bike, which was awesome. Compared to my hybrid, his road bike felt like it was powering itself. I wooshed up and down the 9km at ridiculous speed, only to loose balance and nearly drop the bike on the way back into transition! It was all good though; the bike was fine and so only I was left with scratches and bruises down my shin...
On to the run and... I got a stitch. My best leg, and I got a stitch. I was pretty gutted to be honest, but at the same time I wasn't really doing it as a race-race, more a fun-race so it wasn't too bad. 3 laps around the new athletics stadium and it was all over, in a massively improved 53:26!
Even when you add in the extra 1km on the bike, thats only another3 minutes, so 6 minutes chopped off in real-ish terms. Not bad over such a short course.

179th overall (down from 302nd, with similar)
34/89 in my category (29/58 last year)

07 November 2010

My First Dress

My First Dress!
For our engagement/residency/birthday party soon.

Dress code is bright, and this sure is bright :)

28 October 2010

I resigned!

As of 13th December there will be no more bush work.
I have mixed feelings, as I mostly love my job, but I do need to move on and up.

No actual new job yet, but enough leads to be pretty confident of no unemployment.
I'm on the books until mid-January anyway, due to my back log of annual leave, so there's lots of time to decide on the right job.

23 October 2010

Lots to tell!

Its been an exciting few weeks!

We went to Cambodia to get our Australian Residency granted, and while we were there Dave proposed :)

The wedding will be back home, probably in early 2012, and to get my ideas in order and let everyone back home know what we're thinking, I've decided to start a[nother] wedding blog...
If thats the kind of thing that interests you, see

http://ellenanddave.blogspot.com/

08 September 2010

City To Surf 2010


OK, so my blogging dropped off with my lack of marathon...

My knee issues meant I didn't put in enough training to do the full marathon, so a few weeks before the big day I dropped down to the half, and was slightly concerned about even doing that!

The day dawned warm and sunny, not ideal conditions really, especially since the half only started at 9.

For once, I was glad that I wasn't one of the good runners, because the first major mess up of the day was the lead cyclist taking the wrong route, meaning that the lead runners ran up to 3km extra. Not good! It took them days to declare the results of the female race because noone quite knew who had run what and how the finishing order related to anything. Not good when you're trying to up the profile of the race and offering big prize money!

I told my knee that it had to behave, then listened to it. After about 11km it started twinging, so I stopped and stretched and gave it a bit of a rest for a while. I didn't race, there was no zooming in on people and keeping up/overtaking. All I wanted to do was finish without rooting my knee.

So I was pleasantly surprised to finish faster than last time, despite training really hard and specifically last time. I had a piece of paper with a the Hal Higden training plan and actually stuck to it. This year I just realised I was already running far, hurt my knee and hadn't run more than 8km for 2 months. Goes to show what overall conditioning does!

The organisers attempt to separate the longer distance runners from the rabble running/jogging/walking/3-legged-racing the 12km route, so where the route is the same they partition the road with a fence. There still managed to be lots of people managing to cross over and getting in the way. It wouldn't be so bad if they were going at a decent pace. The best bit is where it splits off. I told 3 people they were in the marathon lane. The look on their face when they realised they were being split off and potentially "running a marathon" was priceless.

The other major problem was the lack of fluids. There were meant to be drink stations every 2km, with water and poweraid, and Gu packets at a few of the stops on the marathon lane. A lot of the stops just couldn't keep up, especially on the joint sections. 40,000 people is a lot for a Perth event, and a lot of the volunteers looked like they were forced to be there (think community service components of school/TAFE courses) and hence weren't really even trying to keep up.
Being at the back of the pack I saw only empty Gu packets, and not even many of those. Only 3 of the stations had Poweraide, and at one point I got so frustrated queuing up for water that I just ran on, even though I could feel the need for a drink. 

Because of the heat and lack of water, there were lots of ambulances and people in a bad way at the side of the roads. Not a nice sight, and even worse for the people themselves. As far as I know they were all OK in the end.
Overall, I had a great day. I finished pretty well, had a really good massage (the Boy's work had a tent in the finish area, with 2 masseurs for 40 people, so we got decent massages rather than the usual 2 minute corporate rub-down I'm used to) and had nice easy run chatting with people and enjoying the view!

02 August 2010

29 July 2010

RFDS Boxes


We finally have a Royal Flying Doctor Service medical chest for our remote exploration camps, so we headed to their Perth offices to learn whats in it, and the procedures involved in using it. Its got lots of  basic equipment, prescription drugs and some very hardcore drugs (adrenaline, morphine etc etc)

For those that have never really heard of the RFDS, its basically what it says on the tin! It was the idea of the Rev John Flynn, a minister with the Presbyterian Church. He witnessed the daily struggle of pioneers living in remote areas where just two doctors provided the only medical care for an area of almost 2 million square kilometres. Flynn’s vision was to provide a ‘mantle of safety’ for these people and on 15 May 1928, the Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service (later renamed the Royal Flying Doctor Service) came into service in Cloncurry, Queensland. 

It spread throughout Australia, and in 1936 the first services in WA officially started up, working out of Port Hedland. Some planes were working in the Goldfields area prior to that, but not as an organised service. They provide healthcare advice over the phone (and still sometime over long distance radio, but that is being phased out) to people who can't get to a doctor in any kind of reasonable time frame, and provide emergency evacuation when needed.

The RFDS now operates 53 aircraft out of 21 locations across the country, and are a lifeline to people living and working in the remote heart of the country.


So what does the chest mean to us?

Well, in theory, we're moving our camp about 4 hours drive away from site, which means we're about 8 hours drive from Port Hedland and probably about 4-5 hours from Newman. You don't want anything to go wrong when you're that far from help. So now, if something does go wrong (broken leg, dislocated shoulder, general unknown illness, car crash, snake bite, even just a bad headache) we can ring up and get a doctor to assess the situation, prescribe drugs to relieve the symptoms and let us know if we need to get them out in a hurry or when we can or if they're going to come and get us.
And everything in the chest is numbered as well as named, so theres no worry about not being able to figure out some random chemical name- "Give him 2 tablets of garble garble-adine, its number 32 and it will be in try B". A very good idea in a stressful situation!

Which means I'm much happier about being responsible for a big bad drill rig and a heard of people in such a random location.

Lets just hope we don't have to use it!

26 July 2010

Residency...

I had a post all planned out in my head about how horrible and drawn out the visa process for Australia is.
And, you know. Fair enough.
But its very horrible when you're lost in the system for over a year and have no real way of knowing what is going on.
My migration agent thought that the thing that was holding us up was maybe our de-facto status. 5 years and no ring seems to confuse people. So she asked if we had any further proof of our "ongoing committed relationship"

But...

When I got off the plane I had a text saying to ring her.
We didn't have to worry about the extra documents, but to book some over seas flights instead.

WHOOP!
They let us in.

She'd had to ring up at the end of last week to sort something out with a different application and got a really helpful woman, so she pushed her luck and asked if she could have a look over our case, as we're in Australia, both working, nothing controversial that should be holding us up... but nothing seemed to be happening.
And today the confirmation came through.

Sp now we need to leave Australia for about a week, and our old visas will be dissolved on leaving and then the residency will be officially processed and when we re-enter we'll be residents.

I feel great!

22 July 2010

And here's me freaking about my mini marathon efforts...

My friend Al just finished his first Ultra.
In Iceland.
Around the volcano thats been causing all the chaos.


55km in 6h:33.
Youch!
And third in his age group.
Across terrain like this.
If you're as impressed as I am, go sponsor him here:

17 July 2010

25 down, 17 to go.

So, this morning I set out to run at least 10km, preferably 15, but not to push my dodgy knee too far too soon after 2 months of minimal running.

I didn't take any of the energy gels I bought in an effort to sort out a running nutrition plan, because I wasn't running far enough to need it.

Then at about 12km (I use the MapMyRun iPhone app on runs like these where its all free form and unplanned) I decided I was feeling pretty good, just a little fatigued but not muscle soar. So I decided to carry on and try and get to 21k. After a stop at the shop to get one of those breakfast replacement things to power me up a bit. I only drank half though, from fear of stitches and because it didn't taste too hot!

After 19km I decided to carry on even further.
After 23km I got a call from the Boy to make sure I was still alive :)
After 25km I got home.

Then post run brunch of chicken omelet with wholegrain toast, coffee and electrolyte drink.

So fingers crossed I will survive this!

I just love the feeling of getting to an intersection and knowing that I could turn left and head home, but choosing to go right. Over and over and over again. :)

16 July 2010

Curry Night!

Last night we had a couple of friends round for curry and interesting beer.

I made (from scratch):

Lamb Saag (based on this)
Chicken Jalfrezi (from the "Ministry of Food" book)
Bombay Potatoes (from here)
and
Naan breads
with rice.

It was awesome!


We got lots of beer from our local amazing bottleshop too,

Pomegranate Ale, Chocolate Oatmeal stout, Japanese Owl Beer (Hitachi Brewery), some from BrewDog.
And we finally drank the Christmas Ale we bought at the TangleHead brewery at least 18 months ago... It had kept brewing in the bottle so it was more like christmas wine. Not too good anymore, but I think it would have been good up to a year ago... Ah well! Lesson learnt!

13 July 2010

New shoes, New Challenge

Ok, I've hinted at it before, but I just signed up for the 

Chevron City-to-Surf Marathon.

Yes, all 42km of it, complete with hills from the half way mark.
I was doing well with training before I went off on my jollies, and I've had these chest issues in the last 2 weeks, but its nearly time to get serious. There are 2 month to go (well, actually probably more like 6 weeks), but I think I'll be OK. 

The plan is to do hill and distance training, and running at least 30km in one go (preferably 32) before the big day. Hopefully I'll be in and around camp, not way out bush, so I'll be able to get some treadmill work in. If not, I'll just have to find a way.

And I have no running time aim. The cut off is 6:30, and I put 5:30 as my estimate...


And the new shoes?
After accidentally leaving my good trainers in the back of a taxi in Cairns, I started running in my older but still OK pair again, but just couldn't go back after the luxuary of really good trainers. So today I replaced them with some gel Kayano 16s. So pretty, and oh so comfy. And $100 off in the sales!


11 July 2010

Sick leave Make and Create

So, I've been back home nearly a week, and been ill for nearly two. :(
I'm meant to be at work, but the doctor wouldn't allow me out of Perth because the cough (that came with whatever little bug both Dave and I have) has badly affected my asthma, especially since my lungs were weak and irritated anyway from my allergy to my parents Dogs.
So I'm on steroids to keep my lungs open, but other than that I'm not to bad... but VERY bored.

So, after watching lots of boring day-time TV I cleaned out the wardrobe and made some extra space and better organised it all:

Then I decided to try some more projects with my sewing machine.
And voilà - Two new cute bags, based on the ButterCup Bag pattern:

The one on the right is meant to be a strawberry. 
The leaves are much more green in real life.

I made some pretty accessories too:
This necklace is made out of rolled up pages from magazines.
And from all the scraps of material I made a million flowers, as broaches and hair bands and clips and decorations and whatever :)



Here's to being ill!

27 June 2010

Vikis Wedding!




The wedding finally happened and all went well :)
Back in Aus a week on Monday, so time to update then!

02 June 2010

Home!!!

I'm currently "packing" to go back home.

5 weeks of glorious English summer time and wedding celebrations.

Woop!

31 May 2010

Life out in the Sticks

So, I often say that I'm off "out bush".
But what does that mean, exactly?

See that map of West Australia on the side bar?
The red star in the North is where I work. About 6 hours drive from Port Hedland, the same from Newman. And forget about sealed roads. We have none. In fact, often, forget about roads...

But despite the lack of roads, we have to live somewhere:
But thats just the office and storage space.
We cook on the fire:
And this is my bedroom:
And I mean bedroom; it may look like a swag, but inside are fairy lights, a weather station, alarm clock, "bathroom cabinet" (ok, tooth brush, toothpaste, hairbrush and mirror) and entertainment system (ok, iPod and book). 
  In winter its freezing. Because we're so far in land and on the edge of the desert there is nothing to keep the heat in, so night time temperatures drop to just above freezing. You can pull the top over the swag, and we've got decent sleeping bags, but its still cold. 
In summer, the night time temperature doesn't drop below 30 degrees C, and its horrible and sweaty and its really hard to sleep. I end up pouring water all over me and sleeping in a wet bed with no covers and fly screen down (risking the spiders and scorpions) in attempt to catch any breeze that might cool me down.

Its not all bad though. We have a washing machine, and satellite internet!
And we used to have a gym, but someone took the tarp away, so now we just have a smattering of exercise equipment that we never use because we're too busy, too tired, too hot, too cold, or fed up of falling over in the bull dust.

Welcome to my life!

25 May 2010

Run For A Reason - Race Report

Sunday was the inaugural 14km HBF Run for a Reason.


It dawned dark and stormy, after a very wet day on saturday. I wasn't optimistic! Actually, I was out the door before dawn, but I already wasn't optimistic. I hate running in the rain!


Start was pretty chaotic, but after thye first few hundred meters the field spread out and we were good to go.


The route started and finished at the WACA, and ran mainly on freeways and through the Graham Farmer Tunnel under the city. That was a major selling point for me, especially the tunnel. Now I've cycled and run through it! Its so hot and stuffy in there though, even though it was cold and windy outside.


Out of the tunnel marked the halfway point.


10km in and I was about equalling my 10k PR according to my watch, though I've heard that the markers were a bit out. The last 5km were hard... the wind was crazy strong, and there was a bit of occasional drizzle.


On the home straight, past the 14km mark, full on finish sprint... and still no finish line... and still no finish line... and still no finish line... finally we were in the WACA and the finish line materialised. Apparently the final distance was 14.484km:


Just to let you know, given the nature of the HBF Run for a Reason course (along freeways and through the Northbridge Tunnel), we were unable to get an exact measurement until event day as the method used for measuring courses isn't permitted on the freeway during its normal use. For those of you who are looking for an exact measurement, it's 14.484km


Now, I MapMyRun-ed it once I knew exactly how it went, and I got 14.5km. So surely they could have given us a heads up without needing to wait for the route to be measured officially on the day...
500m isn't too much to worry about as part of a 14km race if you know its there, but it is when you're using all your remaining "go" to get a strong finish, and at 13km you can see yourself finishing in under 1:20, its a bit annoying when the end  is so much further away than you think.





Good points:
I ran a decent race despite running 21km as my "long run" on tuesday.
The entertainment on the way round. I love races that do that.
I cycled there and back too. I'm now one of *those* people.


Bad points:
I didn't run quite as fast as I would have liked.
The start was crazy
The end was silly.

Spun Out 2010 - Friday and Saturday



"SpunOut is back for the 6th year in a row and promises to be even better than the last!

SpunOut is the Perth Fire Group's annual fire and circus skills workshop weekend. The event is open to anyone wanting to have a go at fire and circus arts and caters to all levels of skill, from beginners to professional performers.
Workshops will be held in all levels of poi, staff and twin staff as well as fire eating, hula-hooping, stilt-walking, uni-cycling, ball and club juggling, contact juggling and much, much more."

And what a weekend it was! 

Friday night was getting used to fire, so tracing and fire eating.
Say goodbye to those arm hairs!
I was never quite brave enough to actually eat the fire, especially because my lovely mentor and expereiced all round circus person Colin (the guy on the unicycle around the foreshore, for any of you Perthites) only put small amounts of fuel on my sticks, so by the time I'd got my confidence up they were about out! But at least I tried :)

Saturday dawned misty, so I went for a walk down to the lake:

Then the days festivities kicked in:




Unicycling- I fell off, but it was fun, and I did pretty OK.
Hooping was great fun. We learnt to keep it spinning around our waist, then get it to come up over the head, then back down again. Then down to the knee, but then I just looked like an idiot maniacally trying to keep it going!
Dave taught the intermediate/advanced 3 ball juggling :)
Stilts! Coming off the learner stilts but loving the real ones.

Saturday night was the fire show...
TBC!

21 May 2010

Dino Pyjamas :D

So, when I went to the shops to buy the brides Ruffle Skirt material they had this oh-so-cute flannelette material on special:
I'm a geologist, they're dinosaurs. It was always going to happen.
So I bought a couple of meters and decided to make some new PJ pants, since its getting cold in Perth now.
I followed these instructions.
Hopw cute! and so warm:
Apologies for the bad photos! 
They're elasticated, but with a cute little bow on the front, just because.
I'm going to appliqué some panels of the dinos to a cheep T-shirt too, so I have a matching dinosaur PJ set. Cute pyjamas are no longer the realm of little kids :D


I'll do my catch up posts soon!
Promise.

20 May 2010

Burlesque Ruffle Skirt Project

I'm so far behind with my diary-ing/blogging!
But I just had to share this :)
Its a ruffle skirt I've been making for the hen night I'm going to/organising back home.
We're doing saturday night out on the town, burlesque themed.
So I'm thinking this, with the heels and some fishnets, and an as yet unknown top, long black gloves and feather boa...


It ruffles amazingly. I keep putting it on and doing belly dance moves to make its ruffle and shake.

Now to make a second for the Bride, in white and baby blue. 
This time I'm going to be a bit more careful with the ruffling and make sure it sits symmetrical. 
I've not seen the bride in person for a couple of years, so its going to be a bit of guess work and a last minute fitting to get it to fit!

If you want to make your own, I got the inspiration and a tutorial from my new favourite site!

12 May 2010

I'm alive!

But still super busy.

Cairns was amazing! And it was really good to catch up with my best friend again after these long 3 years. Even if I would have seen her in 3 weeks anyway.

I went to my first ever wedding!
SO that was insiteful. At least I know what I'm in for now.

And now I'm posting from my slow satelite internet out bush... roughly -22 S and 120 the other one, if anyone knows Lat/Long.
Drill rig is going big guns, then followup work and cooking leaves little time for typing, even if the internet was better.

Hold out til monday!

04 May 2010

So busy!

So busy!


Do you ever feel like the world is spinning really fast under your feet, but youre never quite touching the floor?!


I was out bush all last week on a Heritage survey. It went surprisingly well actually, apart from them not turning up on the day they were supposed to.


Off to Cairns tonight to catch up with one of my best friends from home, so spent today and last night getting some of the stuff I should be doing sorted. It should be a good few days though.


Ran 17km this morning.
Still 4 months til the City to Surf.
Maybe I'll do the marathon...

27 April 2010

What a week!

The past week has been ful of fun times and laughter and pain (but you've kind of got to accept that when you're learning to ride a unicycle!).

Cats was amazing, though food in the restaurant wasn;t so good before hand.
Spunout was awesome.
More to come, but I'm out bush all week so don't know exactly when...

Here a pictures to whet your appetite though!