Friday, December 31, 2010

final tally

Well I may as well do my sums and get my mileage up for the year. I wanted to ride today, but we had thundery showers here on the coast, and the roads on the inland loop I was thinking of are closed due to flooding. So we went for a hike up Castle Hill instead, sticking to the road as it was a bit wet and slippery. We caught a shower near the top and were grateful for the cool off!
(image from wikipedia, a nice entry about the hill)
286m climb over 3.3 km. I cannot even imagine doing it on my bike. I always tell people who chide me for not having a go that I have to save something for my 60th birthday. That gives me 9 years to get psyched up.

In case you are wondering, we live just beyond the upper left hand corner. That strip of beach is the Strand. Not sure why Townsville opted for the German, while Cairns went with the French Esplanade, and neither uses the obvious term 'Beach'. We have coffee on the strand with a big gang of other cyclists every Saturday morning.

Mileage - well it seems I only slightly bested last years total. Pretty bad when you consider I was away for 6 weeks and more last year, and hardly left town this year. Now that I am properly dialed onto the new bike I hope to get my weekly totals back up. This wet season could be a challenge though.

I use a super spreadsheet by Mark D Pankin (available here) to keep track of my daily kms. This years has some improvements like including last years monthly totals and best totals for inspiration. I think I am going to need a bit of that!

Happy New Year and safe cycling!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

stuff and bother

I am probably going to move in 2011, we have a huge empty house and I grow tired of cleaning it. We migrated to Australia in 1995 with suitcases, and now we have a 5 bedroom high set house that is FULL. Where did all this stuff come from? I am NOT packing it and moving it.

I spent part of the day trying to revamp my files. Honestly, how much paper do you need to hold on to? Is there any point in retaining 10 year old rates notices (except to lament that it was cheap then, and now it is dear??) I am trying to focus on the now. If a cyclone wipes us out, what do we need to have at hand? If I get killed while riding, what does my family need to know, and is it all in one place?

I tried, really tried, to toss old cartographic equipment today. I will never use a ruling pen again, or a scriber, french curves, texture boards, erasing shields... but I couldn't do it. *sigh* I will take it to the office where it can languish in style. I may have occasion to shock and amaze young people with the way it was "when dinosaurs ruled the earth".

So much accumulated stuff, what a bother...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

Christmas day for us usually starts with a group ride, but it was raining hard this morning so that didn't happen. So a few coffees and phone calls with family, breakfast, then presents and pottering around. The full turkey monty lunch. It was lovely, if a bit dark while the rain pelted down. Certainly worth leaving the tree lights on all day, the house would have been gloomy otherwise.

Then our son went home, and we were left with nothing much to do in our empty nest. The sky got bright, and I looked at the radar and there was no "incoming" in sight. Quick! Lets go for a ride!

We had a fantastic ride to the dam. It felt wonderful to put all that turkey to good use. We carried on to do an additional loop around the back blocks, and the rain caught us. I really thought we were in for a decent break but I was wrong. We were just over that half way mark and made towards home in conditions that were sometimes blinding, with gusts to 50km hour. Thank heavens it was nice and warm!

So we got home completely drenched, elated, and with another 40+ kms under the wheels. What a great Christmas day. Now after a hot shower, with the old dog fed and content at my feet, a glass of champaign in hand, I hear-by declare this an excellent Christmas day. I hope you had a ripper too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thanks Greg!

Thanks Greg and Gwen for the lovely flowers for the holiday season. They are the perfect combination of Christmassy and tropical. Looking forward to the smell of lily taking over for a few days.
p.s., I love the red holly leaves and I hope I can keep them for next year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

seriously on holidays

number of kms cycled this morning = 49.4
number of give ways to wallabys crossing the road = 1 (for 2 wallabys)
number of peacocks clogging Hammond Way = 4
number of cyclists overtaken = 1 that matters, and he was on a mtn bike!
number of hills climbed = 1 and it was too easy
bliss quotient = very high
litres of sweat lost = many
happiness factor = 1001
dogs still present = 1
exercises done = all
laundry done = ditto

am I bored yet? a bit, but very happy

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

a spell of weather

So while I am just ramping up into the cyclone season, it seems that my old stomping grounds on NS, Canada is having a spell of weather
That is my cousin Paul looking at the damage to his business in my old home town. Sorry to see it happen, hope the insurance payout is stress free mate. Images and story from The Chronicle Herald (or the Comically Horrid if you are a local). Thank goodness it was warm.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

space alien

OK, I have long suspected it, but now I know. I am a space alien. After all the hype and press I saw that Oprah was on at 8pm, so I turned on the TV ( a rare even) and settled down to watch. And I just couldn't. What a display. What pathetic losers and weirdos were screaming in the audience. It was weird and scary. I don't get it.

I think I'll read a book now.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

sounds of summer

Nothing like a proper tropical downpour. It is raining less hard now, but lots of thunder and lightning. The mold is starting to appear already! *sigh*

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas flowers

I am on holidays, so Christmas is really happening around here. I am a real home body, so I like nothing more than pfaffing around the house and fluffing my possessions.

The lights are up in the yard, the tree is up and decorated, and I have just cut a Christmas bouquet.
Heliconia may seem a bit weird for Christmas, but this is when they are really coming on, and you have to admit the colour is pretty perfect.

Add some Canadian Christmas kitch and there you go! Sadly, my much loved snow domes are getting pretty yucky inside. The snow has dissolved and they have eerie slime clouds... just don't shake them and they look OK.
The full effect, we have had the same fake tree for more than a decade, so I guess that is pretty green. New LED lights this year though, and I will free-cycle the old ones. We are having a party before Christmas to cycle around and see some Christmas lights, so I have the motivation to get the house decorated. The Aussies love my Canadian take on the Christmas tree (a lifetime of accumulated, meaningful decorations) and I love thinking about everybody who gave me a special decoration over the years as I take them out of the box and place them on the tree.

I am feeling rather blissful. I have shopped online and gotten BoaB's gifts all sorted. I have a few things to get my son, but that will be fun. Rusty is still with us! (but he is very sleepy). Should be a good Christmas break.

Alarm set for a 5:30 start, I may be on holiday, but I have to ride!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

the rules

I get a kick out of reading blogs, and you tend to develop loyalty to a few bookmarked favorites. The velominati are a blog I follow. I find the male tribal lust for conformance and acceptance quite amusing, and I have perused all the rules they have cooked up that you must follow to be a true 'keeper of the cog'. They almost lost me with their anal take on road cycling, but the reference to commuters in the "yellow vest of righteousness" was so funny and clever that I was won over. Try being a sports cyclist and President of a BUG and you will treasure that too.

Then another true treasure of blogdom: ONCE KNOWN AS THE BADGER commented: "According to the Velominati and The Rules (they're a bunch of guys overburdened with the glories of the past because they never lived through it. And they have way too many rules...)"...

and I didn't feel so 'outside' any more. I totally respect and revere OKATB, he is my hero, up there with the very best and hardest of the life long hard men. So here is an old(er) women's take on the rules:
Rules 1, 5 and 10 are the only rules that matter. Live by those.

Be proud to be a cyclist. Rule 7 separates the sheep from the goats.

Rule 12 is your justification for shopping. nuf said.

Some rules regarding placement of tire pumps and seat bags and other nonsense should be ignored if you are a commuter. And I wear mtn bike shoes on my carbon road bike. I may have to walk some days, get over it.

Make cycling your own, develop your own style, be the best you can be. Apply rule 5 daily though, it isn't raining all that hard...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

the sauna of summer

Steam heat. I love leaving the house without a hesitation due to cold. I love not having my nose drip and my eyes water. I love the fluid caress of the humid breeze. The cicadas shrill and frogs grump along the river. I am serene as I ride in this liquid world. Then I stop and my body gushes sweat. Rivulets cascade from my elbows and my eyes sting with salt.

Summer, my season.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

a physio 'graduate'

I mentioned I started physio a couple of weeks back. Now the magic thing about Uni students doing physio with you is that they just want you to get better. They are on a 4 or 5 week placement, sothey don't have a vested interest in locking you in for months of manipulations and massages. So you get a thorough assessment, a bit of massage and a LOT of exercises. I got three new exercises a week so I now have 9, but tell you what, it has made a huge difference. After this weeks session I was pronounced"cured, but reliant on an exercise program".

So I am a graduate with top results. I will keep up (and expand) my shoulder, neck and core fitness work. Of course you have to suck it up and make an effort, but your body needs it. I am so happy to be so much better. 3 weeks physio = 7.5 hours = $15.00. The bargain of the century.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

arbitrary goals

Today I rolled 10,000 for 2010, so that is my minimum goal met. Not much of the year left to try and set the bar higher, and it looks like the rainy season is settling in to stay (flash flooding forecast for today).

I really thought I would get to 10,000 earlier, but what with the dreaded jury duty, new seat that I couldn't break in issues and rain when you least expect it, I am lagging behind. Ah well, I'll do better next year, you do have to leave yourself some goals for the future!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

the crack! of summer

It is nearly 8 at night, and the lightning is flashing while thunder cracks. Old dog knew it was coming hours ago, he was panting heavily when I got home just before 6. Nervous and knowing it was coming. We had a peal of thunder that shook the floor, and he had to move into the 'kennel' space at the end of the sofa where BoaB sits at his laptop. Comfort in small spaces.

This will be a wet season to be remembered.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

suffering for my art

I confess I am a cycling tragic. My body is a machine which delivers the goods in endorphins, kms and the satisfaction of a job well done. But my body is 51 years old, and I have had some issues.

I am working away a couple of weeks ago and I get an email from @jcu with university 'news', and on there is a reminder that we can get physio for 10 bucks the first visit, and 5 bucks there after. Yes they are students, but I figure I am sitting at my desk feeling like Quasimodo, so why not.

My first session was 3 full hours. I kid you not. I had every muscle assessed. My whole story noted, and a program of remedial exercise prescribed. I did a week of exercise, and went back for another assessment a week later. Better, much better, but feel this muscle? Can you control this? Can you hold your shoulders thus and flex this core muscle like this? Of course she can! She is an athlete! So make her learn this flexation, and do these exercises!

I swear I can't feel the pain in my shoulders because my ribs are killing me. I didn't think I would get through my program of six exercises this evening, but I guess the good thing about being "an athelete" is that you know how to HTFU and just do it. so I did. I feel better, really. Just DON'T touch my ribs, or my arms, or...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

spring is autumn

Late spring/early summer is always an odd time of year for me. It is certainly spring, I even have a few spring bulbs to bloom and remind me. I assume this is an allium, what else could it be? This time of year it pops up in all the old gardens. One of those plants which was once fashionable and is so tough that it remains, hidden until a trigger of temperature or rain makes it appear.
I love its hot colour. Perfect for the first flushes of heliconias that are near it. When I planted this bulb (a find at the local market) it was in a sunny location at the front of a border. Now it is in dappled shade near the back, but it doesn't seem to matter.

I don't know the name of the coral coloured plant in the photo. It was a gift from my sister and is a good spreader by self seed. A salvia? Anyway, the tropical leafyness of the garden reminds me that I am not in the Maritimes anymore. I note too that the sugarcane mulch is holding up well.
So why am I confused that late spring is here?
Because it is pickling season! Winter is when I grow all my 'normal' veggies, like swiss chard, beets, onions and dill. You can never buy dill heads anywhere, so it is a treat to make some dill pickles now that my dill is ready. Beans are very cheap right now, so I will try and get some more jars together and get another batch or two done this week. They make a great hostess gift when you go to a party, because the locals have never heard of such a thing as dilling carrots and beans. It is funny to be such an "ethnic".

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

a run of luck

Three times lucky this morning.
1. got past the road works without a single car overtaking me
2. had someone actually slow and let me by before turning left rather than trying to t-bone me. Quite extraordinary.
3. shoulder checked where the road shoulder ends just before the dam turnoff so I saw the truck coming at me and hit the dirt. Kept the rubber side down too.

I am grateful every day for the combination of skill, luck and good karma that keeps me cycling.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

love on the beach

Today was special day. We went to a wedding. I picked a basket of flowers and we went to a pretty beach location to bear witness to the marrage of our Vet, and his amazing cycling bride.
It was a lovely day, but grey skies meant I needed to harvest a bit of sunshine to strew about. When we got to the beach the Marriage Celebrant had been busy and there was a very tropical setting for a wedding.
A heart of fresh frangipani blooms in which to take your vows. How special is that? When the vows were taken we celebrated with a burst of colour!

Love is so grand! Mr. and Mrs. check the quality of my work on their excellent camera.
A wedding party of four. What a privilege to be asked to witness a wedding. They will have a bigger affair later down south, but this was the real deal. A lovely, lovely experience.

As we left the beach there was a man playing beautiful music on his guitar. Totally unplanned or expected, and absolutely perfect. The benefit of so much good Karma in the group.

Friday, November 5, 2010

give me a gift

Lots of bloggers carry on about causes and raise funds for charities. I am not doing that. I am asking you to hurry and vote for a great local cyclist for Australian cyclist of the year. Ruth is a lovely and tough lady who came late to cycling. This means that she is a Mom in her 30s, and has had none of the 'development' opportunities that young talent gets.

They kept ignoring her, and she kept showing up and winning races. Last year she took out the female road cyclist championship for Australia. This year she raced in India on the wrong bike (the Australian handlers SO stuffed up!!) for the Commonwealth games and didn't win, but was so disadvantaged it is no wonder. Phil Ligget kept wondering if she had dropped out, and we could all see her in the front of the pack, but they gave her the wrong bike and it had no transponder!! Doh!! I have never yelled at the TV so much!

So please, please. Give me my Christmas gift. No matter where you live, go to

and type in Ruth Corset as your nominee for Australian cyclist of the year. She SO deserves it, way over and above the girls who have been trained up at tax payers expense for years and years. She has re-mortgaged the house. She misses her kids. She dreams of the Olympics. She makes us so proud in Townsville.

you have until midday (AEST) Sunday 7 November. That would be like NOW in Canada!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

happy halloween!

Tomorrow is November already. The weather is magnificent, still cool (if a high of 32 is cool) and blue skies. I am sorry I didn't get more kms in, but it is too late now.

Not much happens here for halloween. It is the wrong time of year anyway, although it is harvest time in the garden, and there are fall like things is spring (like falling leaves) which confound the ex-pat Canadian. Anyway, if we had a trick-or-treater I would be shocked, we never have before.

To help me celebrate my roots, the produce suppliers have decided to sell cabbage for the cheapest price I have ever seen. Remember that this is the tropics, so a cabbage probably has to make a bit of a journey to our stores. We got a huge one, a real prize winner, for less than 3 bucks last week, and I have really enjoyed it. Coleslaw, a shredded cabbage casserole that is the lazy cooks answer to cabbage rolls, tonight I am baking coriander crusted pork with cabbage, tomorrow I want cabbage and chick pea/vegetable soup, and then I will need another cabbage! I still want creamy Irish mashed spuds with cabbage, and Vietnamese cabbage salad, and Chinese cabbage wontons.... and don't forget corned beef and cabbage with onion sauce!! Hope they are still on sale!

Cabbage doesn't seem like a treat back home, but I have paid $7 for a small one, so excuse me while I go completely nuts with cabbage dishes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday holiday

I know i said I was going to ride this morning, but when I got up BoaB gave me the choice of a ride, or a trip north to Ingham to visit a wetland I have been keen to see. So we reverted back to a former life when we were birdwatchers, not cyclists, and off we took.
Road trip! It is green like I have never seen in October. Unbelievable.
The Tyto wetlands are in a town about 100kms north, where it is alway green and the heritage is very Italian. After the hike and breakfast we cruised the back blocks, and check out this old Italian private hospital (now looking like a very huge private residence). Nice to have the info on the sign out front.

We saw 4 or 5 birds we have never seen before today, which is pretty thrilling. There was an interesting tree which seems to have very different male and female blooms:

Sorry that the red one is not quite open, but it was the only one low enough for little me. They were very different though, the red bloom being very heavy and fleshy, and looking like the "female" fruit bearer.
A wetland in a coastal area in the tropics would be naked without one of these signs. Yes we get a lot of Germans tourists.
I just send some bait ahead ; )
Beautiful blue skies and favorite plants. A Pandanus in fruit. In theory it is edible, if you know what to do with it...
Pretty faced wallaby, not at all shy. There were full sized kangaroos too, but you couldn't get near them, which is just as well since they are bigger than I am.
Really bad crop of a crimson finch. They are so pretty but they move around a lot and don't come close! Anyway, we had such a nice outing, and bought some groceries from the Italian deli (the best flours for pasta, and so many olives to choose from!). I want to go again soon!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

red sky at night

...sailors delight. Tomorrow we ride!

Saturday at home

Hurry up and blog! I want my dinner!
I love being home. I don't want to go anywhere, cycling excepted.
Last night it bucketed rain, and around midnight the wind picked up and the palms lashed all night. Usually I ride at 5:20 am Saturday morning, but by 5am we were up to 50kmh+ gusts and sustained 35kmh winds. I have had a half assed health week (Academics suffer more than most from 'presenteeism', and then they all come to my office) so I stayed in bed while BoaB rolled out.

The result is that I am in fine fettle for a Saturday. It is great to go for a big morning ride, but I am in a stupor the rest of the day. Today however I have done some serious pre-wet season gardening, under house tidying and slow cooking ( a cajun bean dish that needs to simmer for hours). I haven't even napped!
In the garden. I have just planted the former eggplant bed with lettuce seeds and marigolds. Now it had big holes, and I saw a female rhino beetle extricating herself from the soil. What to do? So I looked up rhinos on the interwebs, and it looks like she was being born, not laying eggs. I often find the big rhino larvae in the garden, but it seems they are my friends. The female lays eggs in the rotting vegetation parts of the yard, where the larvae do good work chomping the dead wood and leaves. Then they hunker down and pupate and emerge as adults, so they are not interested in my living crops, and are assisting in the recycling of my slash piles.

Now for some flowers.

OK, I know I need expert assistance in the art of flower arranging as well as the use of my 80 dollar bang box. Some day I hope to study Ikibana. I am saving it for when I am 60, as you have to have something to look forward to in life. In the mean time, when Scott hands me an armload of blooms from the garden, I just put them in vases.

Heliconia are a sure sign of summer coming on. I can now look forward to a fresh arrangement every weekend until ?? April? May? They just go on forever, and the more you cut the more you get. Carol, note the perfect runner for the sideboard! Thanks!

And now some link love. If you are a Canadian who grew up in the sixties this will slay you:

Can you still buy Phentex? I sure hope not!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ride to Work Day

Yesterday was national Ride to Work Day. As usual, I celebrated by getting up very early indeed and DRIVING to the Uni. with a bunch of stuff to hold the community breakfast. Normally this drives me completely nuts, but this year it was really rainy so I didn't mind having a good excuse. It never rains in Townsville in October, I swear, but yesterday was like the wet season was upon us. Despite that 30+ brave people rode in and attended the community breakfast, and I am sure many more just rode in as usual.
Here I am with the first riders of the morning. It was a pretty crappy morning and I figured this could be it, so i got a group photo.
Lots of riders turned up though (if you think 30 is lots) so it was worth all the bother. As a bonus Facilities Management let me use one of the solar powered carts they have for transporting everything to the BBQ area. It was so fun to drive!

I am really proud of the banner I designed last year. It is easy to hang anywhere because of the ropes, and it has a big plastic pocket so it can be used for any and every event. I think it looks great!
I had lots of stuff to give away, including tire repair kits and personal alarms. I thought the alarms were a bit weird, but the water bottles and stickers were popular. All thanks to TravelSmart Queensland, who sent me all this stuff without me even asking!!
The JCU BUG's presidents award for the best bike goes to Dr Alison Cottrell for her fabulous Peugeot. I swoon whenever I see it! I confess, it is a rescued bike from one of the colleges (they used to send bikes to the dump!! Imagine!!) and I had taken it home for myself. However, Alison needed a step through bike, and while you can buy cruisers, they are really heavy and have huge tires! This is a 30 year old French original with 3 speeds and a light steel frame. It is just gorgeous.

So as usual it was exhausting and a bit stressful to organise a RTW Day breakfast, but I will do it again next year because it is very fun and worthwhile in the end.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday already!

Flower of the week. A gardenia grandiflora which has lots of buds, but this is the first bloom of the season. It makes me feel like I am going to the Prom with the perfect corsage. Creamy and soft, so fragrant and perfect to look at. What a star.

Geeze I am turning into a weekly poster. Sorry. I am a bit stressed and ill, and it is rendering me kind of stupid and sleepy. Anyway, we are enjoying a time of plenty in the garden. Paw paw (or papaya if you like) are too plentiful. Tomorrow I am going to try my first ever Thai green paw paw salad. Why not? Theresa, if you are looking, please email me to arrange a visit and pick up some fresh produce. I can't cope. The little bowl of tomatoes indicates that finally, after several kilos of fruit, the plants are slowing down. I have dried a fair few and will prune and rejuvenate the plants.

The Commonwealth games has been well covered by TV. I find it all a bit cringe worthy, especially since it is in such magnificent city which is obviously detached from such an anachronistic event. But go you Aussies and Canadians and Poms, because it is all about you after all. Even the cycling fails to excite.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

cycling marathon

Phew. for someone who hardly ever watches television, I have done a marathon session. I have watched every minute of the UCI world's cycling championship. All of it. FANTASTIC.

As a result the TV room is as clean as a bean. I can't just sit and watch tele so I have washed the windows, walls and baseboards, dusted, tidied, scrubbed. I started to sand the widows so I could paint but I couldn't hear Phil Liggett.

Since I was home for days ( I hadn't intended to take Thursday off but I was sick, so began the marathon) I freecycled a bunch of stuff. If we are going to downsize we had better start shedding some stuff. So Stanley's wading pool, some deck chairs, fans, our giant fish tank - all gone. I'll be eyeing up more things to go. We arrived with almost nothing, and now we have a huge house full of STUFF!

We are so a consumer culture....

Thursday, September 30, 2010

prizes etc.

My sister commented that I didn't reveal the fabulous prizes I won in the tri. So here is a prize that was very suitable for a women's team, SHOES!
They are fancy leather thongs with a contoured footbed from a podiatry shop. For free!! I also got a $100.00 gift certificate from my favorite bike shop, as well as a water bottle and lots of coupons for dollars off massages and stuff, I shirt that fits Scott and a hat etc. Not bad for a bunch of amateurs who expected nothing!

My runner has already gone from ""never again" to "will you be on my team next year" She crunched all the results. We came 13 of 29 in the corporate women. She came 12/29 of the runners. Our swimmer survived the seas from hell - enough said. I came 6/29 of the cyclists. What fun, I am in for next year and I will do better!

Now some flowers:
This is a gardenia developed by a local nursery, I think. I was sure it was something bred by Limberlost Nursery in Cairns, but a google search nets me nothing. It is very sweetly scented, and the blooms are sticky to the touch. They open cream and fade to dark yellow.

Almost the weekend! I will be glued to the TV for the next three days for the world cycling championships. On Saturday HHD1 are covering the Womens road race from start to finish. The whole thing! I have NEVER seen a womens road race on TV. Just bits and highlights, and those are very rare. I am very excited to have the chance to see women race! Hope I learn a thing or two (probably HTFU and train harder).

I am now in the "off season" so I have organised a slow girls ride on Saturday. The Cycleccino's bunch ride has gotten too big, unruly and fast for the newbies. Since I train all week, I have decided to take Saturday off and get some of the girls who have been left behind back on board. It should be social, fun and a way to get a new bunch smitten by cycling. Come on girls, we can do it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

tri photo

I didn't have a photo of me in the tri, but I got one today by email:

I am glad I am smiling, because asking your legs to run a few hundred metres after you have cycled hard for 16 kms is actually quite a challenge. Thanks to the "tribrarians" from the JCU library for the photo.

As mentioned before, we were the oldest team. We came 13/29 in the womens corporate class. I was SLOW at 31.5 minutes for the cycle leg. We rocked though, because it was fun. Fun is all that matters really.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday without flowers

I may have to do the flowers thing once a month, because even in the tropics there really isn't much new every week. I will look around tomorrow and see what I can post.

I didn't spend much time in the garden today because I competed in the TP Human Capital Corporate Triathlon. Yesterday BoaB competed in the Top Brand Criterion. This is all part of the annual Go Troppo Tri Festival and was great fun, but sure sucked up a lot of the weekend.

Corporate events are all about team building, so I was really pleased when we formed a team from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences that was one quantitative scientist, one qualitative scientist, and one technician (that would be me). In a male dominated school there were two all female teams. Our team had three women over 50.
My team mates. Fabulous, fit, over 50 females.

It was a bad day for the swimmer, because it has been really windy and the water was very choppy and silty. She made it though, and I took off into a stiff tailwind, then had to turn into the stiff headwind, and do 3 laps of that for 16kms. My runner was fast and fleet and came home in good time.

We didn't win on time, but we did have the "oldest team". I am shocked, because we think we are young! However, we are going to enjoy our nice prizes. Surely next year there will be more 'mature age' competitors forming teams, but if not, well we will be 3 years older and ready to win again!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

cycling tribes

I was properly riled to read the letters to the editor in the latest Cycling Australia (or is it Australian Cyclist?!) magazine. Someone suggesting that a ped/cyclist collision was obviously the fault of the "lycra clad, carbon bike riding" cyclist.

Just what we need, not just fashion police, but a firm assessment of character based on dress and bike choice.

My pat answer to the 'why do you wear lycra' question has devolved to "to piss off people who don't like it". Now I can add my carbon bike to the weapons I wield in an attempt to so anger busybodies that they choke on their bile.

What have these righteous haters of comfortable kit done for cycling today I wonder? Penned a letter that further divides our tribe. Called again for registration (and this from a cyclist!). Harped on about cyclists being a danger.

It gets harder and harder to be positive and friendly on the bikeway every day, but I must try. Someone has to knock the silly haters on the head with niceness. Kill them with kindness. And do it while wearing full kit, and on your very nicest bike!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

more Sunday cut flowers

After a stunning ride on Harvey's Range yesterday (sorry, I was busy riding, so no pictures) and a nice brisk walk at a fun run this morning, it is nice to have a quiet wander in the yard and see what is happening.
This orchid gets no love at all, it just lives in the base of the dracena and does its thing. Too good to cut, it stays in the yard and I visit it every day.

This shrub doesn't look great for cut flowers, in fact it makes a pretty scrappy looking bouquet:
I haven't cut it for its looks. It is Brunfelsia americana, the 'lady of the night'. As soon as the sun sets it will fill the house with a complex, sweet perfume. I had to do some googling to identify the plant. As with so many great plants it was purchased from a local market by the common name. I am amused by some of the descriptions I read, saying it is too small and spindly to be properly called a shrub. well mine is a good 7-8 feet tall and has been pruned back a few times. It is thick even though it gets shade, and in Townsville enjoys successive flushes of bloom every few months for weeks at a time. Right now all the brunfelsia, including the (I think) rather stinky but more lovely to look at Brunfelsia pauciflora (yesterday, today and tomorrow) are blooming their little hearts out. Spring fever!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday cut flowers

I usually cut flowers from the garden on Sunday, and since I also update the "who's counting" part of my blog on Sunday as well, I have decided to make a weekly feature of my cut flowers. It should inpire me to bring in lots of different stuff every week, instead of the same old.

The heliconia are currently getting the machete treatment from BoaB. They have gone a bit feral and need refreshing, so I went out and rescued some of my favorite blooms. Heliconia only bloom on new growth, and because they are so overgrown with last wet seasons growth there are not a lot of blooms right now. Lopping them all down and chucking on a few buckets of chicken poo pellets and we will be harvesting armloads this wet season.

I couldn't resist adding a few amaryllis as the colours were so complimentary. I do love hot tropical colours in the garden (and in the house).

This should keep the Atlantic Master Gardeners amused through the winter Carol!