Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wanted: Dog

"If your dog is overweight, you're not getting enough exercise!"
This was the rather amusing quote on my biokineticist's noticeboard last week. It has, however, been on my mind since then. I'm currently not allowed to run, because the knee is still a little dodgy. It hasn't dislocated itself again (thank goodness!), but it has felt a little tender and unstable, and I'm not willing to risk running until it's properly healed. The problem, however, is that I'm doing a 5 day hike between the 6th and 11th of November, and I'm rather worried about being horribly unfit. I also need to strengthen my legs, because that will stop the dislocation happening again. So, instead of running, I've resorted to walking 5km every day, and doing it at pace. It's been going well and the knee is feeling better (increased blood flow from the walking is obviously helping). Plus, I'm not feeling depressed and helpless anymore, which is great, because I was really upset that all my hard work to get fit had gone out the window because of my knee.
There's just 1 small problem. I really love running - the pace and feeling of the movement. So, I'm finding having to walk (despite walking as fast as I can), a little dull. I usually look at what it going on around me, say hello to people and look for interesting houses, but it's still a bit boring. Hence, I have concluded that I need a dog to walk. Unfortunately, my dog, Pixie, is a) antisocial and likely to try to eat people and b) very arthritic, so that option is out. I am seriously considering seeing whether anyone I know needs their dog walked - as long as the dog isn't enormous and likely to drag me along the ground (which will probably be bad for more than just my knees)! Weird, I know, but maybe it'll help keep me amused during my walk. Failing that, I might need to start looking for a human walking-buddy! In the meantime, if you have a dog that needs walking, let me know!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tea for Two

Following all the drama last week with my knee, I needed a bit of a break, especially from all the essays and tests that I was busy marking, so HOMSI and I headed off to the Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank for high tea on Saturday afternoon. I had gone to the morning tea which the hotel had hosted for Mother's Day a couple of months ago, and had won a gift voucher for 2 for tea. I hadn't really had a chance to go in the last few months, and I was debating whether to take my mom or HOMSI. The decision was kind of made for me in the last few weeks, as my dad has been ill and my mom is reluctant to leave him at home by himself.
So, on Saturday afternoon, at about 2:30, we arrived at the Hyatt. I had dressed up a little (smart pants, a pretty top and a pair of flat sandals which could accommodate the cankle that I'd ended up with from the knee incident - I had clearly bandaged the knee so tightly that my calf, ankle and foot had all swollen up enormously) and (much to my amazement), HOMSI had forgone his usual shorts+t-shirt+running shoes outfit for his nice jeans (the ones that don't have ink stains on from work) and a smartish shirt. Okay, I will admit that I threatened him before he arrived and told him that I would be very upset if he wore shorts!
We were seated inside, with a view of the patio and fountains, and ordered our drinks - tea for me and pineapple juice for HOMSI. We were just about the only people there, and sat and watched the buffet table being set up outside while we started on our drinks. My tea situation proved to be a little more challenging than the average cup of tea - this being high tea, there were tea leaves in the teapot which I had to strain out using a little strainer and then had to add more hot water as well. It was a bit like a science experiment! The buffet table was almost fully completed by this time, but we were a little too shy to be the first people to approach it (which is a problem when you're really the only people there!). We sat and watched, however, as a very naughty sparrow inched its way towards the table, broke off a piece of quiche, flew about 2m and then sat under the table to eat its prize. The elderly couple who were sitting nearby were just as amused by this. We did decide though that we should probably go and investigate the food because any more birds got any ideas! The pastry chef, Bastian, met us at the table and told us what each of the dishes were (Bastian is from Germany and very enthusiastic about his food - and should be, because it's all utterly delicious! My mom and I have been to 2 other events that he's catered, and if it's possible to be fans of a chef, we are!). There was the quiche, sandwiches, bruschetta, fruit kebabs, a blueberry and custard tart, homemade marshmallows, chocolate and fudge brownies, a strawberry and custard tart, creme brulee, biscuits, chocolate mousse squares, strawberry smoothies and a cheesecake. And, if you were still hungry, Bastian could make you a waffle! HOMSI and I just kind of stared in shock at all this food and wondered how we would ever be able to taste everything! We started with the chocolate mousse squares, the brownies and the strawberry tart (which HOMSI fell in love with). I tried a spoonful of HOMSI's creme brulee, which was about all I could manage after all that sweet stuff, and then we moved onto the savouries. Everything was absolutely delicious and perfectly made. We didn't even almost manage to try everything, and very much wished that we could go for a walk around Rosebank and then come back for seconds. Through all of this, the cellist from the JPO was playing in the background and it was just a beautiful setting.
My favourite part (aside from not having to pay for anything because of the gift voucher) was HOMSI, because as soon as his pineapple juice arrived and the cellist started playing, he immediately said "We should do this again sometime!". I always wondered if my mom and I made too big a fuss about the amazing food and that HOMSI would suffer through the whole thing, but he has clearly been converted to posh high tea - if only because we still have another 40% of the buffet table to try!
PS - the only downside to the whole experience was having tea and toast with cheesespread on for tea on Sunday and thinking about all the amazing food that was sitting on that table. Yes, I'm having trouble adjusting to non-hotel food.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Things not to do: kneecap dislocation

As you may know, my boyfriend's nickname is He of Many Sports Injuries (HOMSI for short). This is pretty appropriate, since the first time that he and I spoke, he spent 2 hours recounting all his sports injuries to me (I was a captive audience at the time, having torn all the ligaments in my ankle and I was pretty drugged up and thus unable to escape - or walk, for that matter). He's dislocated both shoulders, broken his ankle, leg and arm (not simultaneously, thankfully) and spent a couple of weeks in traction for 3 slipped discs... Oh, and he also had 5 strokes at the beginning of the year, which seem to have been from a neck injury.
He and I are looking like a pretty good couple at the moment, since I'm currently recovering from having dislocated my kneecap in my sleep. Yes, in my sleep! I was fast asleep on Wednesday morning when I rolled onto my side and felt a pain in my right knee that was so intense that I woke up. I tried to straighten my leg and nearly screamed, as my knee was extremely unwilling to move. It felt like a really intense spasm at the back of my knee. I tried to straighten it again, and burst into tears from the pain. It was about 5:30 in the morning, and I was rather reluctant to wake up my mom, but I was somewhat stuck because I couldn't get out of bed. She actually heard me though - I think I swore as I tried to move my leg again - and she came to see what was going on. What followed was about 90 minutes of putting hot water bottles on it, calling my GP who thought it was a blood clot, me crying every time I tried to straighten or even move the leg, and my mom eventually calling an ambulance because she couldn't move me into the car (and my dad couldn't help, since he's in a wheelchair). In the midst of all of this, I was smsing HOMSI, who suggested that I see the biokineticists (problematic as I couldn't get out of bed), or stretch it (more problematic, as that was f&*king painful!). As we were waiting for the ambulance to arrive, I sat up and the pain suddenly lifted. I don't know what I did, since I'd sat up at least twice before, but it moved something and I could feel what had been out of place pop back into where it was supposed to be in my knee!
I went to go see the biokineticist that morning, since I had an appointment anyway. And I drove myself there, since my knee was feeling much better and since I thought it had just been a spasm. As it turns out, we discovered that my patella (i.e. the kneecap) has somehow slid off the knee and that was what the initial pain was from. The patella had somehow managed to make its way back into position though, which was clearly what had happened when it popped back into place. How I managed to subluxate (i.e dislocate) my kneecap in my sleep is a complete mystery though!
So, the last few days have been spent not running, putting ice on my knee, strapping it and taking anti-inflammatories. And getting increasingly annoyed by my lack of mobility. Grumble, grumble... Apparently it can happen again, which is why I'm being super careful, since the prospect of going through that pain again makes me feel sick. I can safely say that patella subluxation is not a good idea at all! And I'm clearly doing kung fu or something in my sleep, because I don't know how I managed to do this!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Transcribing Woes

I should not be typing this post. In fact, I shouldn't be on the Internet at all. I have about a billion things to do for varsity, and most of them are due for the end of October. This cartoon reflects my sentiments perfectly.

I'm busy transcribing interviews for my research project. Firstly, allow me to reveal that the interviews were, more or less, a flop. I was aiming for about 30 to 40 minutes with each of the 6 students and instead all my interviews (of which there were only 5) were between 5 minutes and 16 minutes. Epic fail. Transcribing is so painful though. It takes about an hour to do 10 minutes of audio, and I'm battling low blood pressure, tiredness and the heat. And boredom. Mostly boredom. It's so bad that I had to make a deal with HOMSI - we can only go out to dinner on Tuesday night if I have finished transcribing. HOMSI has been extremely supportive about all of this though - he treats my transcribing as free entertainment. He sits on the couch and looks through the property section and laughs when I get annoyed with not being able to hear exactly what my participant was saying in the interview or when I subvocalise when I'm trying to remember what to transcribe. Apparently I talk to myself a lot.

In favour of not having to make myself a toasted cheese tomorrow night - and instead being treated to a toasted cheese made by Nino's or Mugg 'n Bean - I will end this post and go back to transcribing. Begrudgingly.