Monday, October 29, 2012

Exercise... And Me

I've never been good at a fan of exercise. I know, I know, before you all go jumping up and down and telling me how I need to get on top of that, and how it's good for me etc etc... just keep reading.

As a teenager, I only ever played sport if it meant that I could hang around the guy I had a crush on at the time. I forced myself to endure the sweat, the uncoordinated jumble of limbs, and inevitable headache that I would get at the end of the day.

For most of my life (I said MOST - not all - cue photos of me in Belgium and travelling Europe - and thank goodness I had to ride a bike everywhere I went in Belgium, or goodness knows what could have happened!) I have been genetically blessed enough to not need to do REAL exercise to stay relatively in shape. And I know, this will come back to haunt me!

As a teenager I once joined a gym briefly. I had delusions about wanting to stay fit and get healthy, but ultimately spent more time in the sauna than actually doing cardio. My brother and I started playing tennis as children, and Jackson ultimately became much better at it than I did. I got sick of losing pretty quickly, and the novelty soon wore off.

In my early 20s I was a regular in clubs around Brisbane. The constant dancing and lack of sensible eating did wonders for my waistline. This, however, was unsustainable. One can only live this way until they have children.

When I eventually had my own children, I was so sick during all of the pregnancies, that I came out of hospital each time weighing less than I had weighed when I first discovered I was pregnant. Of course the weight sat differently on me, but I was still not unhappy with how I looked. I had had children, and my body reflected that in many ways, but I was still comfortable with my body. (Perhaps that comes with age).

Over the next few years, I felt that I needed to do something to start 'getting fit'. This wasn't about losing weight. It was about looking and feeling good, and taking control of my lifestyle again. I couldn't bring myself to walk though. Because of where we live, I felt that it was either too hot, or too cold, or that maybe there would be a brown snake on the road, or a bull, who would possibly try to run me down! In any event, I never really did go walking. You could count on one hand the number of times I did. And then I used my kids as an excuse.
"Oh, I can't go walking. Who will look after my kids? I can't leave them at home...etc etc."

I conned my next door neighbour into driving over so that we could walk together, but again, the children got in the way, slowed us down or just made it plain unbearable. It was fun, exercising with another adult, but short lived. My neighbour and I often talked about starting bike riding. The roads out here are rough, but we had theorised that a brisk cycle on a bike, where we would rendezvous half way between her place and mine, would be great. But alas, that never happened either.

More recently, I did start riding a bike. I decided to talk hubby into buying me a good mountain bike so that it could handle the roads. He decided that I should borrow his mother's old reliable one, and see if I would use that as a means to gauge how much use it would actually get, before he went and spent money on a new one. His lack of faith in me was unsettling, but legitimate. I did that a few times before I gave up that idea too. I had decided that I was more of an 'inside exercise' sort of person.

I have amassed quite a collection of free Yoga and Zumba DVDs (mostly taken from Courier Mail Newspaper Giveaways). Maybe these were the exercises I needed to start considering? But after a month or so of mostly looking at their covers, I put them back in a safe place as well. Perhaps time was the problem with me? Or lack thereof... I have even tried Wii Fit and Wii Dance - both of which I love. The kids can also join in on this too, and we have had quite a bit of fun with this on and off over the years (Admittedly more off than on though). Our Wii now sits mostly unused in a container under the television now too. See a pattern here?

Exercise bikes, treadmills and whatever else you can buy off morning television shows were not for me. Our house isn't particularly huge, and storage is a problem. I learned this after buying an Ab King Pro (which I thought was the answer to all my problems), which now sits unused out in our shed.

We even put in a pool to give me an excuse to exercise. It has totally paid for itself, in that all three of my children have learned to swim in it, but my pool use is mostly limited to kicking back on an inflatable with a cool beverage in hand.

Yes, I look at pictures of Sonia Kruger and have leg and arm envy.In fact, I blame Sonia Kruger for my new found obsession with wanting to like, nay LOVE, exercise. I want to be almost 50 and looking hot to trot. I mean, look at those arms and legs?!

Actually, I know this will never be me, but she has still inspired me... almost 50 and HOT!

My mother and sister are both exercise fanatics. They sacrifice sleep for exercise, and that is how I know I am still not ready to fully commit to a new regime of exercise in my life.

Mum even has a special app on her phone that plots her track, times her and helps her challenge herself to improve on times etc with every future run/walk. I also downloaded a Nike Training app for my phone. It's AMAZING. I thought I would start with the beginners half hour cardio session. 10 minutes in I had to stop for a break. Don't worry, I feel bad enough about it myself. I'm not going to give up entirely. This whole 'me exercising' thing will happen. I just need to stop making excuses, and start making time. The benefits will speak for themselves. I am not unhappy with how I look. I have just reached an age where I need to start getting serious about how I treat my body. Things aren't springing back the way they used to, and I'm not getting any younger. And I will never achieve results like those above, by just sitting here and writing about it...

Stay tuned.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Bad 'Farmer's Wife'

I love my husband. We have (finally) struck a happy balance in our life. It's only taken ten years.

I actually don't know how he puts up with me. I am a bad 'farmer's wife'. A good wife, but a bad farmer's wife!

I still wear synthetic clothing, all these years later. As a sheep farmer's wife, I should wear more wool. Ironically, as a sheep farmer's wife, I probably can't afford to wear more wool. I should wear more cotton then. And I certainly wear more cotton now than I ever have before... but I am still only warming up to collars and buttons. And everything I wear is far tighter than a good farmer's wife would normally wear. And I'm not a fan of linen. It looks awesome on some people - but it's an ironing nightmare! I don't like ironing. Period. And ironing linen is the pits.

I struggle to cook meals every night and am not any better than average in the kitchen. I do try hard though! I'm still mastering the art of making a perfect gravy, suitable enough to go with a roast dinner. I forget to double all my baking ingredients to leave some to freeze as reserves. I've never attempted to make jam. I can count on one hand the number of times I've made fresh bread. I think scones taste bland, and will only eat them if they are slathered in jam and cream. I burn things. I am, however, excellent on the barbeque! I am an excellent hostess - and thoroughly enjoy socialising. CP thinks I am too social at times!

I don't keep an immaculate house. I have 5 piles of washing and folding that are taking over our spare bedroom. I leave my washing on the line for over a 24 hour period occassionally; in spite of warnings about what will happen to my 'stuff' if I keep doing that. I am a compulsive binge cleaner. Most of our cleaning gets done in the hours leading up to a social event.

I don't own boots or an Akubra. All my boots have heels. I do, however, own a pair of RM Williams 'boots', but they hardly ever get worn as I struggle to deal with my calves in ankle high boots.

I don't really like country and western music. I have warmed up to some country and western artists (read my post about Big and Rich here). But the songs I DO enjoy are few and far between. I am more of a 'top 40', or retro kind of girl.

I don't help with mustering and sheep work. I always remind hubby that when the kids are all at school and I have more 'time' up my sleeve, I am actually excited about getting more involved. As it stands, I don't get hubby to help me in the classroom, and so I leave him to do his stuff without me getting in the way.

I can't drive a tractor (at least I don't think I can - I've never even tried), or a motorbike (all the ones on our farm are too big for me to ride on my own) and I can only barely tell the difference between a Merino sheep, and a cross bred sheep.

I don't have a green finger in my body. I love our garden, and owe all of it to CP. I struggle to remember names of plants and types of grass. CP just 'gets it'. I love fresh fruit and veges, and would love our own little home grown plot at home (which we have had on occassion), but until I can ensure the survival of anything we plant, I have to be content with having our neighbour supply us with an abundance of home grown veges.

But I love him. I make our home a happy and healthy environment filled with love. I am interested in our farm, and in what hubby does to fill in his day. I try hard. One day I aspire to be the better version of myself. But for now, I'm happy just being a bad farmer's wife, but a happy spouse, home maker and mother.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rodeo Queen

Ten years ago I didn't even know how to pronounce the word 'rodeo'. (I mean, was it like Rodeo Drive, in Hollywood, which is more 'Roh-day-oh'; or was it more 'Roh-dee-oh.') In any event, I didn't really care. Mostly because I had never been to one - nor had any intention of going - and they didn't interest me in the slightest. And yet rodeos have been growing on me; slowly. I didn't even notice at first.

I remember visiting my sister (who lived in the Queensland city of Rockhampton at the time) who took me to 'The Great Western' pub/bar in the middle of town.

The bar happened to have a rodeo ring built into the middle of it. You could have floored me. I had never felt more uncomfortable and out of place in my life!

In my first year of teaching in St George, I helped co-ordinate an end of year dance presentation. The girls involved all desperately wanted to do the dance from '8 Seconds'. I didn't know then that '8 Seconds' is a movie about champion bull rider, Laine Frost. My eyes glazed over at the mention of dancing to a country and western song. And so it was decided that the main dance presentation would be to the song 'I Like It, I Love It' by Tim McGraw. Several weeks in I realised that this song would be forever and ever eteched in to my brain. Amen. It's still there! Even more tragic, whenever I hear that song I STILL remember many of the dance moves the girls did all those moons ago.

Flash forward seven or so years. SOMEHOW (and actually I know how, but let's just say that CP can be too nice sometimes), CP got roped into the local Show Society, as the Rodeo Section organiser. This meant that I was also roped into organising the rodeo. I was mortified. There was no way I could possibly organise an event that I couldn't even pronounce!

I had a crash course in 'rodeos' with the outgoing rodeo organiser. It didn't look too difficult, but I still found it disconcerting keeping up with phrases like 'bucking stock', 'saddle bronc' and '2nd division bull ride'. Not to mention the phrases 'poddy ride' and 'mutton busters', which I have blogged about previously here.

It didn't take long for me to really start enjoying myself! Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding and the kid sections are ALL very interesting. Yes, they can be dangerous, and yes, it's not for everyone, but over the last few years I've become quite fond of the old Rodeo Circuit. There is a certain excitement level at a rodeo. The anticipation, the noise, the crowd.

At Mingenew Rodeo, WA - pic by Roz Bryce - Rozbys Gear.

If someone had told me ten years ago that I would have even been capable of doing this, I would have openly laughed in their face. But now I consider myself something of a Rodeo Queen (not to be confused with a Buckle Bunny)!

Who would have guessed?

And I really need to stop saying 'never'...