September (and off again!)

I'm beginning to feel like a regular jetsetter, given that now I'm off again - to Tasmania this weekend. Although I'm not sure whether Hall's Gap one weekend and then Tassie the next exactly qualifies as jetsetting. Nevertheless it's fairly adventurous for me. Also adventurous is leaving my eighteen-year old in charge of hearth and home and incontinent dog. Especially as she's already informed me that she plans on having a little 'gathering'. What the hell is a gathering, little or otherwise, and how is that different from a party?
And perhaps the really sad thing is that if I had the choice, I'd probably opt for a weekend at home. Preferably all alone in my pyjamas with hot chocolate and a good book and my feet up on the coffee table. When did that become my idea of bliss?

September (off we go, a'wandering...)

By the time this post hits the blog, I shall be reclining on the decking outside a Deluxe Family Cabin (Self-Contained) at the lovely and picturesque Halls Gap. As the sun will have just breached the yard-arm, or whatever it does, I shall also be enjoying a pre-dinner drink, or two. But this will not just be a put-your-feet-up-and-relax type getaway - no we'll be up there on serious business. Hiking, that is. And also touching base with my fellow Kokodians.
We arranged this getaway several months ago, and picked Halls Gap for the hills and dales and whatnot. Unfortunately for me I am actually not allowed to traverse any hills or dales or whatnots for another few weeks (recent knee surgery), and am allowed to walk on flat surfaces only. As this particular area is not known for flat surfaces, I figure that means I'll be doing a few circuits of the camping area and then it'll be back to the decking to await the return of my fellow-hikers. Ah, it's a hard life.

September (so not Aquarius)

I have decided that my star sign - Aquarius - is quite definitely a faux pas (possibly because I was due weeks earlier but couldn't be bothered moving). Because as a water carrier I'm an absolute failure. In fact, I'm probably the furtherest from a water carrier that a person could possibly be. With a bladder the size of a stunted pea, I'm barely able to carry a few drops before the damn thing is full and I go staggering off to find the nearest loo. Which, I've come to realise, is going to make the Kokoda trek a trifle tricky.

And there are a range of other minor peccadillos that may well make the endeavour interesting, to say the least. Like my addicton to Nicotine chewing gum (although I'm currently battling that one), or my dependence on good coffee at frequent intervals, and my need for absolute silence before falling asleep, and my incessant email-checking habit, and my fussiness about food, and my daily desire for cleanliness in the form of showers and soap and fresh clothing, and my partiality to crockery and cutlery and blow-drying my hair each morning (and applying a sufficient amount of PPS Matte Mud to give it that attractively ruffled, sticky-out look), and last but by no means least - my absolute penchant for my own bed (and my own pillow and doona and entire bedroom).

No, I'm not having second thoughts. Just being realistic about my foibles. Which, I've come to realise, have built up quite considerably over the years (certainly since those far-off days when I was quite happy to camp on the side of the road or even sleep in the back of the car). But there's good news as well - I have now lost five kilos (yeah me!) and my knee has mended to the point of being able to bend without me clutching at my hair and screaming obscenities. Which, I'm guessing, will prove quite useful when climbing all those hills and dales and over-the-top cliffs next year. And, who knows, may even go some way to offsetting all the other stuff. One can only hope...

September (reality TV - and me)

This last week has been a particularly pleasant one for my extended family because, for the first time in a while, we do not have a single person (a) in a hospital, (b) about to be admitted to a hospital, or (c) waiting to be picked up from a hospital. As you can imagine, this makes for a more relaxed family atmosphere all round.
Once apon a time, the hospitalisation of a family member meant lots of waiting and worrying and then (if all went well) lots of visiting and flowers and corny get well cards. Nowadays it still means all that plus a relatively new phenomenon - the need to be hyper-aware of an all-seeing, all-knowing hazard that stalks the corridors of select medical institutions, silently searching for suitable quarry, particularly those made susceptible by a surfeit of emotion. Yes, that's right, I'm talking about the dreaded reality TV crew.
My personal experience happened several weeks ago, when my sister was admitted to the ICU at the Alfred Hospital. On the first day, the entire family congregated en-masse in the waiting room (mainly because at that stage it looked like we would be saying goodbye), but fortunately the patient rallied during the afternoon. As she was to remain in an induced coma for at least a few more days, it was decided we would take it in turns visiting. The next day, Sunday, was my turn. First though, I decided to do my usual Sunday morning trek up the 1000 steps - apart from keeping up the training, it would give me a chance to clear my head. Then, as this little jaunt ran (metaphorically speaking) a little later than usual, I decided to skip my shower and anything else unnecessarily time-consuming. Like basic grooming. After all, it wasn't likely that I was going to run into anybody I knew. And in this, at least, I was quite correct.

You've probably guessed where this is heading, but picture it if you will. Still dressed in my walking gear but with a cardigan thrown over the top. Chosen - quite evidently - for comfort rather than class. Flushed face with nary a skerrick of foundation, sweat-slicked hair adhering itself to my scalp like a second skin. Plus of course, with all that was going on, it's not like I'd slept all that well and when I don't sleep well, it instantly adds about ten years to my age. Maybe even fifteen. I also, in some strange way, appear to shrink. In short (ha, ha), I looked like an elderly bag lady with chronic medical problems and bad dress sense.

Mind you, I did have a perfectly good chance to escape. As I rounded the corner to my sister's ICU cubicle and saw the microphones and cameras and all the other paraphernalia that clearly indicated television, I could have turned tail and ran, or at least hobbled, away. But the thing is I was so damn tired that nothing really registered and so I stood there, mouth agape, looking like an imbecile. Ergo: a perfect candidate for reality television.

And so now at some stage next year I get to see myself, in all my sartorial splendour, on a new Channel Nine medical documentary. I shall be the weird-looking one co-starring with the woman in the induced coma. And you know you've got problems when a person in a coma, just this side of the great divide, is looking far better than you are.