I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Word salads; salad words; salad days

I am now really truly and seriously working on chapter seven. In it are Camilla's tampon; Annie Liebowitz; Virginia Woolf; the little model of St George and the Dragon that replaces the jaguar on the Queen's car when she rides out; a drinks coaster and a packet of chocolates. If only I could get the order right.

But in the meantime, I am driving to Glenroy to pick up a new thermometer for the incubator — and then driving back later that day with my wallet. I'm making a warm salad of zambucca prawns, polenta chips, fresh coriander, and yoghurt cheese. I'm meeting with students and going to meetings, and agreeing to attend lots more. I'm answering emails and paying bills. I'm watching the Australian women's hockey team win gold in Delhi. I'm watching Chilean miners ascend from the earth. I'm starting to think about a lecture I'm giving soon on John Forbes. I'm planning a trip to Perth in a couple of weeks; and wondering how to finish my essay on the Australian parliamentary obsession with Magna Carta before then. Thanks to a facebook friend, Gio Abate, I'm journeying back to the past, listening to Melanie Safka, "Leftover Wine". I'm checking the temperature in the incubator before finally setting the eggs tonight, while improvising a metal tray out of a cake cooling rack because the proper one has gone missing (I'll have to get something bigger in three weeks when the chickens hatch, otherwise they'll fall off the edge of the cake tray: hardly an auspicious beginning to life). I'm tidying up the garden because the designer has entered it into a competition, four years later. I'm experimenting with some new medication. I'm thinking about how to fulfill the annual leave requirements while serving out my term as head.

And I'm waiting for Paul to come home from Sri Lanka (no ordinary research trip, this one), as he's going with some indigenous AFL players to visit indigenous communities in Sri Lanka, a kind of reconciliation program through sport. Oh, and look what I've just found on YouTube: some raw footage of the doco they're making, with a nice soundtrack: keep watching till you see someone — is that Adam Goodes? — pick up the flag at the end of the soccer pitch and make like the didgeridoo with it:

You can't really see Paul here; except sometimes with his camera.

So that was what some of today was like. But it began (and here I'm responding to KG's curiosity after my FB update), with a boxing class at the gym.

Since Sophie, my dear trainer, left the gym a few months ago, I've been working on my own, though have also just started pilates classes. But for two weeks the gym made all its classes free for members, and I signed up for a trial this morning.

I'd done a tiny bit with Sophie, so had a rough idea what to expect. Alex the trainer is pretty tough, though. There were six of us in the group, so after a bit of a warm up, we divided into pairs. I held the pads for another woman for the first 15 minutes, as Alex took us (in his rather heavy French accent) through a sequence of various things. I can't describe them very well, really, but there's lots to remember. Left foot forward; keep both hands up in guard position; and then various crosses and jabs; punching directly into the pad held up before you; or swinging across, almost horizontally into the pad held at right angles; then ducking; then kicking up into the pad held low; then punching down, either quickly or strongly, into the pads the other person holds at thigh height. Then some elaborate sequences of left right, up and down, etc. It took me a long time to work out which bit I was counting, and my partner was very patient. So we'd do a sequence of five movements, with ten, then eight, then six repetitions, etc. Then we swapped; and she held the pads for me. Then we did a mini circuit of 60 second repetitions: skipping rope; jumping backwards and forwards on the rope ladder laid out on the floor; a little push-up assisting machine; steps up and down on a little step; a little wheel you'd roll out and back from a kneeling position; then resting your forearms on a big punching back lying on the ground, and bringing your knees up to kick it. Then another short punching session; then a stretch. I have to say it was a lot of fun. To my surprise (apart from the difficulty of co-ordinating and counting the sequences), I wasn't too slow, or unable to do most of it. There were two men and four women. Some skipped faster; did lower squats; and more full-length push-ups than I did (I'm concentrating on my form, here, to make sure I'm doing them right), but I held my own. And certainly wouldn't have been able to do that 12 months ago.

In keeping with the salad-theme of this post, I have now lost any thread it once had, and so, unusually, I'm not going to edit much. I'm going to bed, instead.


elsewhere said...

Believe it or not, I'm pretty sure I know Alex the trainer through his partner (who refers to him as 'The Frog'). He has a reputation for being pretty tough on endurance activities: he did a session with my workplace and only one person managed to follow through on everything. (If he's at a gym in Nth Fitzroy, I'm almost sure it's him.) But he is handsome and very polite, so that has to go some way.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Ah yes, the handsome polite French trainer in North Fitzroy: this must be he here

He is tough, as I know from a training session I did with him one time. But it's one of those cases where you work harder because someone really thinks you can do it, you know?

Penthe said...

Not just Parliament. Had a Magna Carta-heavy speech from Chief Justice Patrick Keane at an Administrative Law Forum this morning. The context was parliamentary I suppose. He was talking about how courts interpret laws as if the intentions of parliament are always the best possible intentions (frequently in the face of quite astoundingly clear evidence to the contrary). You would probably have to ask a lawyer present what he actually meant, though, I'm afraid.

I love Melanie. Her version of Alexander Beetle was a childhood highlight.

elsewhere said...

Yep, that's him. He's a marine biologist by training and seems to spend a lot of time researching in preparation for training from what I've seen.

Yes, it's always good to have someone to challenge you to a higher level!

meli said...

That sounds like such a nice list of things to be doing... chapter 7 sounds fascinating!

I was sort of named after Melanie Safka.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Meli, that's sort of pretty damn cool!

Penthe, yes, I've found a few of these...