Monday, July 13, 2009

Dreaming of a dreamless, deep sleep...

Back to TAFE today, and straight into a week of exams and assignment due dates. I've been steadily putting on weight, and have made some really bad food choices over the last few weeks... aagh! That being said, when I'm stressed and sad that tends to happen. Hopefully getting to a happier place in my mind will mean getting to a healthier place on the scales. I plan to see a counsellor to help me manage stress levels, get running in the mornings to put me in a good frame of mind, and try to pack lunches so I always have something healthy and yummy to fuel my brain each day. However, the most important thing I plan to do this week is to tackle my insomnia - each night I'm going to have a hot shower, then get into bed at 11pm with a herbal tea and a book or my laptop, lights out at 11.30... I'll let you know how it goes.

I probably won't be posting much this week because of the stressful tafe situation, but I'll try and do some cooking/photo posts as I've been slacking off on the cooking front lately. Maybe a nice soup, what with this super cold weather and rain we've been getting...

OK, wish me luck! See you after exams :D

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Loving a reality TV show... what the?

I am loving Masterchef at the moment, and was so keen for more cooking reality fun, I tuned into 'Ready Steady Cook' this afternoon - I had to turn it off, it annoyed me so much. Luckily, I had just got my hands on some 'Iron Chef' episodes and so got to watch American chef Bobby Flay beat Iron Chef Morimoto and challenger chef Kandagwa beat Iron Chef Sakai in the '21st century battles' episode... very entertaining!

Masterchef is getting so exciting, and the contestants have all improved so much. Sam left the comp yesterday, and I was sad about that because he seems like such a lovely guy, and obviously had a lot of talent to get that far. The thing I admired most about him was the way he stepped up whenever he was put under pressure - who survives 10 bouts of elimination rounds and survives? Very impressive. I felt that the pannacotta/macaroons challenge yesterday was a really tough one and that he went out on a real challenge. Better that than to have left on one of the taste testing elimination rounds, where for example Tom's guess of 'thyme' instead of 'oregano' kicked him out of the competition.

I like Julie best, she seems so down to earth and unpretentious. Each week she is improving so much, and getting more praise from the judges, but she takes it all so humbly. I just want to hug her every time I watch the show. She seems like a real 'mum' sort of figure, and I think if she sets up her home-style cooking restaurant after the competition, I'll be heading wherever it is to sample the fare!

I really like Justine too - she's given up the challenge of facing a celebrity chef a few times now so that someone else can have a go, and it is just refreshing to see someone in reality TV who isn't constantly playing the game. I also like the way that she seems so young but seems so talented and 'with it'. She does a good job of being in charge of others or working in teams - I get the feeling she'll do really well outside of the competition when she's working in a real kitchen.

I think what I've loved so far about Masterchef - yeah it's got a bit of the trappings of reality TV, but on the whole the judges aren't horrid to the contestants, in fact they seem quite chummy and supportive, and most of the contestants have come across as really good natured. It's refreshing!

Anyway, tonight's episode is about to start! Time to get on the bike and see if Julie can beat a celebrity chef to go through to the finals :D

Sunday, July 5, 2009

No pain no gain as they say...

I'm so happy today, despite the fact that my good leg aches like a biatch, and I'm so tired I'm heading to bed really early (unusual for me!).

Today was the coaching session with Wheelchair sports Victoria. Tim Matthews was there to help us, and having read a bit about him and his sporting and paralympic achievements, I was a bit embarrassed and shy to be getting on that track in front of someone so impressive - after all I'm a bit overweight, very unfit, and new to the whole running thing.

I might have been gasping for breath for much of the session, but you know what? I came away feeling proud and excited and exhilarated, not embarrassed. I've been running for such a short time, and have been exercising for less than a year, but I was motivated enough today to get on a track and run till I felt like I'd hurl or keel over. And look, it can only get better from here - my difficulties today make me feel like working my butt off to get fitter before the next session so I can get even more out of it.

Tim was very approachable, and very helpful. I got some fantastic advice - I need to lift my knees up higher when I run, and push off more from my good foot. I also swing my leg out slightly as I run. I felt like my technique really improved today, but I'll need to keep those tips in my mind all of the time so I don't fall back into the old way of running.

One of the best things about today was meeting another amputee who has a c-leg and a running leg, and just looks so fit and healthy and is running so well. It was very inspiring! It was great to see the people in wheelchairs (coolest wheelchairs I've ever seen) doing the athletics stuff too. It was clear that ther were a lot of people who had just gotten on with it, despite their disabilities. It was a really affirming experience. Today I got this sense of being in touch with myself and my body for the first time in year - I was always at pains to reassure myself and everyone around me that I was coping fine, that the leg didn't bother me or affect me at all, and that I didn't think of myself as n amputee or as disabled. And yet ignoring the leg and my experience of amputation for fourteen years didn't work all that well: I've been so busy trying not to think about my disability and trying not to seem 'disabled', I've actually closed myself off from accessing all of the amazing opportunities and information that have been out there the whole time.

But today I ran, anyhow. Tim suggested I run about three times a week - I normally run from bus stop to bus stop, pausing at each one for about 5min to catch my breath and rest. Now I have to run from the first bus stop to the second, then straight away walk back to the first. Three of these to begin with, then five, then eight... on the days I don't run, I'm going to get on my exercise bike - Tim suggested about 40 to 50 seconds of normal pedalling, then ten seconds of pedalling as fast as I can, then back to the normal pedalling again and so on.

And on Thursday I'll have enough to become a member of Disabled Wintersports Victoria, and hopefuly learn how to ski. The parentals are helping me with the cost of that, and a friend who does skiing has offered to lend me some decent gear too! Very excited at the thought of learning a completely new skill.

Finally, there's the gym - I want to get there once a week to do machine weights, fitball/handweights, and treadmill. I think I'll get to the gym tomorrow so that I can improve the fitball balance and core strength stuff before my next physio session on thursday.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Holidays speeding by, reality setting in...

I've been up in Phillip Island for a little while, and boy was that good for the soul/body. Relaxation, walks/runs on the beach and along the coast road, delicious healthy food, and time spent with family... Sorry I've been out of touch on the blog!

However, the dream had to end - I had to go to tafe today to sit a prac I missed during last term (nice of the teacher to give us that opportunity), and today my off campus material arrived for the Shakespeare subject I'm studying at Deakin this semester.

I decided that tonight I'd try reading the first Shakespearean play that we're studying, Henry IV Part 1. It's meant to be a cold, stormy night so what better way to spend it than reading a play that is meant to have been extremely popular in it's time? I'm also planning to watch 'My Private Idaho' tomorrow, which is meant to be loosely based on the play.

My other exciting news is that I finally have access to a camera again (yay!) so I'll be able to resume my cooking challenge... apparently taking photos of the food as a document of my success/failure is a big part of the fun for me, as without my camera I never managed to complete a dish past asparagus rolls (maybe I lost a bit of motivation when they sucked too haha! I will be trying them again at some stage...).

My nieces are coming over on Saturday, so I'm hoping we can all make some banana date scones together from Julie Stafford's More Taste of Life. I'm tring to think of something yummy and healthy and (most importantly) quick and easy that we can also cook for dinner - something that little kids would like to cook, and then eat. I found a recipe in Stafford's book called 'Party Sausages', which are vegetarian and sound similar - but healthier - than something I already make. Hmmm that might be a winner...