Thursday, 21 November 2013


Today's inspiration to get me going again:

Source: Pinterest

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Healthy Habits Week

A great local charity, Cancer Support WA are currently holding a Healthy Habits Week starting on 23 November. Its been a bit of a siren call out of my no-blog-writing, couch-loving, chip guzzling stupour to get back on the wagon again. Healthy Habits Week has challenged me to look at my four unhealthiest habits from the areas of Stress, Nutrition, Activity and Purpose, and do something about them. Stress, nutrition, activity and purpose. That stands for SNAP, get it? It didn't take me long to identify what is holding me back, after all self-criticism is probably one of my most honed abilities. Or is that a bad habit too?

As for stress, well, the truth is I have always wanted to meditate regularly and I rarely do. So for Healthy Habits Week I am going to commit to a short meditation session every day, for one week. I have borrowed a guided meditation CD and I will listen to it and follow it daily. I eagerly await the self knowledge, peace and awakenings it will bring. I want to float amongst the stars like Elizabeth Gilbert or at least not yell at my children quite as much as I do. I want just a notch more calm in my day. It seems like a small effort to make for a big reward, and I don't know why I don't do it more often.

When it comes to nutrition I have a thousand bad habits. Luckily I only have to address one! My worst habit, I think, is my consumption of sugar. That sweet, sweet poison that calls me daily to heights of temporary bliss before plunging me rapidly to my former grumpy, despairing state. My waistline and my teeth could both benefit from removing sugar from my life. But the quiet truth is, I am not sure I can do it. I have a few books on sugar free living, a recipe book too I think. The intelligent part of me knows that sugar is a drug and I should renounce it, but like any addiction, I know this one will fight back. I am going to give it a go though. No sugar, starting 23 November for one week. Perth, be warned. That snarling vicious frizzy haired vixen on the street corner, unable to locate her keys or cope with her children or remember her passwords? That will be me. Keep a wide berth.

As for activity, well that one is easy. I love to run and I will cover at least 25km in the course of the week. In fact, I relish the discipline that this will enforce because it seems that without a goal, I am far too good at making excuses. Without a goal I don't train and my health and my waistline really suffer!

Finally my purpose. Another tough one. Oprah tells me its the thing I do where I feel most myself. Thing is, Ms Winfrey, I don't fully know where that place is yet. But I have a few ideas. I love to create, to craft, play with my kids and to make gifts for people. The home-made variety. And I love to write. I have a goal of publishing a book about Thomas Melvill and making a gift of this to my father. So for one week, I will pursue that purpose a little more. I will write something every day, even if its just an update on this blog. And I will love doing it. In fact, I can't wait.

What are your unhealthiest habits and what are you doing about them? Sign up for Healthy Habits Week and, if you like, you can sponsor me or raise your own funds towards a fantastic charity. I will let you know how it goes!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

The happiest day of my life.

Its been just over a month now since I ran my first half marathon. (And since I last updated this blog. Yes, sorry about that.) I've had just enough time to let it all sink in and I think I can say, with some confidence, it probably constitutes the happiest day of my life.

This probably seems like an odd thing to day. I mean, we are talking about a race after all. A long, sweaty, uncomfortable, painful race involving a lot of sweaty, uncomfortable, painful training. When talking about the 'happiest day' its usually a wedding that people are espousing, and mine was no different. It was a phenomenal day full of beautiful places and things, wonderful people and very sincere vows. It was a deliriously happy day. But there were a few moments, there always are, of compromise and politics. Not enough to sully the day, but enough to evoke the occasional sigh when you look back at it.

And as for the other euphemistic happy event, the birth of my two children. Those were overwhelmingly happy too. Two perfect, healthy, much wanted little people who have given me far, far more than I deserve. But the births themselves were f&*#ing sore and the second one in particular coloured by much anguish over his massively complicated pregnancy and prematurity.

But last month's run? It was perfect. It was possibly the only event I can think of in my life that was done my way, on my terms, because I wanted to do it. When I look back on it, there is not a single stain on the memory. I had the blessing of friends and family who were on hand to advise and to help. My husband ran with me but at my pace. He supported my training unconditionally, and took brilliant care of the kids while I was out. Once or twice he even surmised my route and arranged to be at my finish spot just to congratulate me and hand me a drink. Each time the thoughtfulness and sheer surprise of this touched me more than a hundred bouquets of roses.

And when the race day dawned and I had only me to think about. In a household where morning routines are usually dominated by packing lunchboxes, finding errant shoes, yelling at unresponsive children and racing the clock before the school bell it was purely blissful to wake up, pull on my own kit, sip my own coffee, casually stretch and then head out the door. The children were at a sleepover so the unfamiliar peace of the house was peculiar but lovely.

And from the starters gun, to the tentative wobbly first kilometres on an untested leg, to the panoramic vistas of King's Park, to the metronome of Broadway's finest crooning and sashaying me on through the headphones of my ipod, to the growing confidence ballooning up through my body, to the encouragement from the other runners and the joy of the finish line, it was just a perfect day.

But the main reason I loved it so much was because I proved to myself that I could do it. For years I had believed the whisperings in my head that I was too slow, too fat, too busy, too frizzy, too unsuitable to be anything else. But having set the goal, having found the support and the motivation to achieve it, I finally did. And to be honest, that is why it was such a happy day. The sirens who loll so artfully on the rocks of apathy and sing that blissful, inviting song about stopping, turning around and opening another packet of biscuits were for once, perfectly silent. And the medal that now hangs beside my bed is my quiet nod to the goddess within me, one who has banished the doubts, at least for a little while.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

My first half marathon

I can't believe it, I did it! I didn't die. I didn't stop running, not even for a moment, and yes, I finished. I finished! I am a half marathon runner and I barely recognise myself.

But to go back a little to the beginning, or at least, to the night before. For the first night EVER in nine and a half years, both our children went to a sleepover at a friend's house, and hubby and I found ourselves alone and childless. It was a very strange experience. The plan was to enjoy a carb-ish dinner (tuna macaroni bake) and an early night's sleep. I've been battling ITB for five weeks so before bed I did my stretches and a final, painful session on the foam roller. Or should I say, pool noodle. No wait, foam roller sounds so much more like I know what I'm doing. I took two nurofen (they have anti-inflammatory properties) and we headed to bed.

It wasn't a great night, to be honest. My leg hurt and my head raced, and hubby and I both slept fitfully and not much. Finally I drifted off at around 5.30am only to be roused at 6.30 and having to race through the morning preparations. I didn't meditate, which I had planned to do. I did however, eat breakfast (which is rare for me), gulped the indispensable coffee and sought some advice from hubby who is a far, far more experienced runner than I am. He was very consoling, reminding me that I had done the miles, and kindly omitting the obvious point that I hadn't run in five weeks. He assured me he was proud of me and that he would run at my side, at my pace, the whole way.

I knew that the key to a successful day would be entirely mental. I hadn't slept, I hadn't run in five weeks and I had an excruciatingly sore leg. But I also had an enormous store of inspiration and to make sure I didn't forget, I scribbled some notes on my arm. I wrote the names of all the generous believers who sponsored my precious Miracle Babies cause. And I wrote my new mantra "pain is temporary, pride lasts forever" which I read on a running blog a few nights ago. And then we headed out the door.

The trip to the starting line was easy enough, we caught the train and walked to the Perth Convention Centre. We dropped off our bag containing dry clothes for after the race and joined the throng in the waiting hall. We did our best to warm up and stretch, and keep the nerves at bay. I took another two nurofen tablets even though I know you're not supposed to. But I wanted to keep the ITB pain at bay for as long as possible, and desperate times call for desperate measures. Then it was time to go!

We actually had to walk almost a kilometre to the start line from the waiting hall, and during this time my garmin 210 went back to sleep which means I missed the 'start' and only really began recording my run a few hundred metres in to it. The first few kilometres were a bit of a blur, as I did everything I could to take the focus off my sore leg (which began complaining straight away) and find ways to distract myself. I looked at my arm. A lot. I dedicated each km or so to every friend who had sponsored me, and I thought a lot about who they were and how my life was richer for knowing them. And slowly as the kms slipped by, I realised I was enjoying myself. The pain in my leg was still there, but it wasn't getting any worse and this knowledge began to give me confidence. As we streamed through Kings Park I feasted on the boundless vistas over the river, across lakes and through trees. I revelled in the music that was pushing me along, and I marvelled at the smile that was constantly spreading across my (goofy and sweaty) face.

To be honest, I loved it. It felt a lot easier than the 12km run last year, across much of the same course. Perhaps I am fitter now? I just know there were times when I felt I was flying, that I was free. Of course, that elation gradually wore off as the course wore on and to be honest, the last 4 kms or so were really, really hard. Hubby began counting down the kilometres to go and we high fived as each one passed. But the hills by now were pure torture and I glared at drew strength from my arm constantly. I knew more than anything what I wanted from the day. And that was to run without stopping and to finish. So I chanted 'I did not stop, I did not stop' like the little train who was desperate and forced my cement-laden legs to the top. I tried not to pay attention to the walkers who were going at the same pace as me. I ignored the lady in the wheelchair who sailed passed. I was breathing like a steam train and finally, finally the finish line appeared like a mirage and Hubby and I approached it arm in arm. The feeling just defies description.

The instant I stopped running my legs swore viciously at me and vowed never to bend again. I had to walk down the slope like my legs were solid metal spokes but as soon as I was handed my medal I didn't care. I allowed myself the indulgence of a tearful moment and Hubby and I shared a triumphant kiss. Running at my pace must have been sheer torture for him but the fact that he was prepared to do so, and to be proud of me for my efforts, speaks volumes about him.

Our finish time was 2h27 I think. (Snails and turtles were faster.) But truly, I don't care. Once again I had garmin problems at the finish line, this time forgetting to hit the 'stop' button so I inadvertently added about 3 minutes and several hundred metres to the stats.

At the finish line we spent a bit of time looking for the other runners from the Miracle Babies team but sadly couldn't find them. And we didn't have a whole lot of time to spare since our kids were being babysat so we headed out to the buses and back to the train station, and then home.

I just want to say a heartfelt thank you to the extended team who got me to the start line and all the way home again. Thank you to everyone who sponsored me. Thank you to my dear friend down the road who babysat my kids. Thank you to my family and friends who believed in me. Thank you to my darling husband for all the reasons he already knows. And finally, a great big middle finger 'up yours' to all my doubters, most of whom lived in my head.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Nerves and inspiration

I have a big personal milestone looming, and I am both excited and terrified. A year and a half ago I set myself the goal of running a half marathon. So I signed up to run last year's Perth City to Surf but then got quite seriously ill, and downgraded to the 12km due to lack of training. Even that 12km was a milestone though, I think at the time it was the longest distance I had ever run. I gloated in my sense of accomplishment for a while, then set my sights on this year's half marathon.

Twelve months later I find myself on the eve of the big race. I have done a year and a half's worth of training and it has all gone very well, apart from the last five weeks. I developed an excruciating ITB injury although I was initially mystified as to why. The books say its an overtraining injury which makes me snort, because hah! Me? Overtrain? If only they knew. As I have previously written I am slow, ridiculously slow, as in grannies with walkers can overtake me slow. Also, I only increased my distance by 1km a week and sometimes not even by that much. But on getting lots of advice I realise that I really haven't been doing everything I should. I haven't really been cross training. Or stretching. My glutes are absurdly tight and weak and my feet clunk. Yes. That's a technical term.

So for the last five weeks instead of training, I have been visiting a sports injury specialist and yesterday afternoon I persuaded a rheumy doctor to give me a cortisone injection. And despite never having run more than 15km in one session and not having trained in yes, five weeks, I will be lining up at tomorrow's start line.

I have two main reasons. The first, is that I am nothing if not goal focussed. And what's the point of having a goal if you don't at least give it a try? The second is that I have been fundraising for a very special charity called Miracle Babies. Five years ago I went into extremely premature labour at 23 weeks gestation with our second and much longed for son, having spent five years and ten IVF cycles trying to conceive him. We teetered on the brink of losing him for several excruciating weeks and I was hospital bed bound for the best part of three months. During that time I got to know the staff and the parents in the Neo Natal Intensive Care Ward very well, and the experience has left an indelible mark. In the end, our son was born early but safely, and is now a thriving and healthy four year old. However I am cripplingly aware that many stories don't have our happy ending, and that many babies are born even earlier, or with more complications. I remember the time spent sitting beside that bleeping, dimly lit fishtank containing my morsel of a boy whose nest of wires and tubes made him look like a cross between a chicken and a science experiment. I remember the fragility of those moments. I remember the heartache and the tears. And I remember being so deeply moved by the tenacity of those babies and their parents, and the genuinely concerned and tender care we received from the amazing staff.

Thinking back to just before he was born, I remember one particular night vividly. I went into labour again and I was only, I think, around 25 weeks or so. The staff in hospital explained that despite having taken every precaution, the beds upstairs in the NICU were full (there was a rush of preterm babies that night) and so while they had a bed for me the mum, there was nothing available for the baby should he be born. So they rushed me into an air ambulance (thank you Royal Flying Doctor!) and FLEW me to another hospital an hour and a half away, where I stayed for a few weeks until things settled down as much as they were likely to. I am both grateful for the experience and cognisant that the lack of NICU facilities can be a real problem.

So I signed up to support Miracle Babies and so far, have raised $680 just by fleecing my family and friends. (Thanks guys!) If I'm honest, its this knowledge that is the real wind in my sails, and I will be running (or hopping, as the case may be) partly out of sheer gratitude for the support I have received from so many amazing people.

I am going to write a few things on my arm to keep me going. And one of the most dominant will be a quote I read a few nights ago, that "pain is temporary but pride lasts forever." I am proud of my family, my prematurely born son, my husband's phenomenal support and the achievement of just showing up on the day. I am proud of who I will be when I finish but even if I don't, and its a real possibility that I won't, I can be proud that I tried.

Support my Miracle Babies Fundraising efforts here. Please?

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

2013 HBF Run for a Reason

Sorry its been so long since I updated. I know you missed me. (Pause while we listen to the crickets chirping). A few weeks ago I ran the Perth HBF Run for a Reason 12km, and had an absolute ball. The atmosphere was amazing and I took time out from the run on several occasions to just groove. They had lots of roadside entertainment and seriously, who can't stop to salsa when the steel drums are playing? I just have one thing to say though, and that is that dancing is much harder than running. And much more tiring. If you look really carefully you can just catch a glimpse of me jeteing into view at about 2:20 in the video :) I'm the one in the pink hat.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

This fallen apple.

One of my goals for setting up this blog was to research and write about a fascinating man, one I discovered nestled in the leaves and branches of my family tree. His name was Thomas Melvill and he is my fourth great grandfather. He was born in 1758 in Scotland, travelled the world many times and died in South Africa in 1814 at the ripe old age of 55. These fact seems unremarkable until you learn that they frame a truly unusual life.

But first, going back a little...

I have always been fascinated by genealogy, even before it became fashionable or TV shows like 'Who Do You Think You Are' became mainstream. I can remember sitting at my grandmothers kitchen table in Port Elizabeth, South Africa when I was around six years old and asking her to tell me the names of her parents, her brothers and sisters, her grandparents, and wanting to know their stories. My beloved grandmother, who I called Nanna, brushed me off saying I didn't need to know all of that stuff but the thing is, I think I do. For me anyway, its a journey of discovery and identity. Its about knowing where I came from and why my life has unfolded the way it has. 

About eight or nine years ago I started to turn my whimsical (and distinctly unfashionable) interests  into proper research and my mum-in-law introduced me to an online family tree research forum called Geni. By plugging in the bare basics and collaborating with several family members, more and more fascinating people began to emerge from my genetic canopy. For example, Piet Retief (that bastion of white south african history and much lauded/loathed Voortrekker leader) turns out to be a cousin. If only I had known that sitting through endless primary school lectures on the Groot Trek. I might have woken up a little!

It turns out I am related to a lot of people. (Well, everyone in fact.) But for some inexplicable reason I find myself repeatedly drawn to one fascinating man, my fourth great grandfather Thomas Melvill. I have 64 fourth great grandparents, so its hard to articulate exactly why this one keeps drawing my attention but there you have it. I am besotted. The more I learn, the more I seem to want to know. And this blog is intended, at least in part, to track my discoveries and my opinions and to form the basis of a book I hope to write for my family.

Thomas Melvill was a master mariner, a ship's captain, a transporter of convicts, a world traveller and international prize-winner. One article refers to him as the 'man who saved Sydney' when he brought food and supplies to the then struggling Australian convict colony in 1794. He was a surveyor, a captain in the Australian Third Fleet, an explorer and in time, a prisoner-of war. He was once the world expert on whaling and he was part of a team that killed the first ever whale in Australian waters. The then governor of New South Wales awarded him a trophy for this achievement. He was the second ever legal whaler to round Cape Horn in the Friendship in 1789, at a time when this was thought almost impossible to do. The British Government awarded him a prize of L600 (British Pounds) for this  ground-breaking (water-breaking?) accomplishment. 

I find it both humbling and impressive that Melvill could sail around the world without the use of a satellite or a GPS when I struggle to make it to the local supermarket without one. I wonder what it must have been like to be in a tiny rowing boat, trying to spear something larger than a bus with something about the size of a safety pin. Well, you know what I mean. How strange it must have been to see sailors and colleagues struck down with scurvy and to not fully understand why this was happening. And how remarkable, really, that he survived.

Melvill retired in South Africa where, amongst other things he set up a ships chandler store in Cape Town and stood security in court for a black man who was applying for British citizenship. I don't know for sure, but I feel that this must have been really unusual at the time. He was also a prisoner of war for a time, when he and other British subjects refused to swear oath to the Batavian Republic. He and his son John used this time to build a boat.

Melvill has left his mark in numerous ways. There is a street in Parramatta, Sydney, named after him, in the place where he once owned property, and another in Hobart named in his honour by his son-in-law and Tasmanian surveyor George William Evans. His children continued his surveying feats, and the suburb of Melville in Johannesburg is named after his great-grandson Edward Harker Vincent Melville.  If exploring unknown lands and sailing unexplored seas wasn't enough, Melvill's great-great-great grandson Mike Melvill became the first ever commercial astronaut to pilot a ship into space and bring it back safely back to to earth in 2004.

They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. While I know there will be no space-exploring adventures in store for me, lets hope that this particular fallen apple can accomplish something special in her lifetime, even if its just reporting on a truly remarkable man. 

Saturday, 23 March 2013

My ottoman empire

Or, how I turned an abandoned coffee table into an ottoman. Warning, this post might run a little long. Run, get it?

I absolutely love browsing other people's design and DIY blogs, one of my favourites being Young House Love. From time to time they issue Pinterest challenges where you're supposed to find a Pinterest inspired project and actually implement it instead of just pinning it. Alongside this I had seen another blogger's project about turning a coffee table into an ottoman, and since I have always wanted a zebra upholstered ottoman and never been able to find one I liked, or afford it for that matter, I finally decided to have a go.

Like many of my best ideas, it all started on a run. It was council clean up time, which means a lot of the local residents had put out unwanted household stuff and I quite literally almost stumbled across this abandoned beauty on the verge.

It was in pretty bad condition. The varnish had cracked and peeled off years ago, and the top was bowed and buckled beyond any redemption. But that was okay. Because it had good legs and really, that was all I was interested in.

The first step was to remove the drawer, which I didn't need, clean the table, tighten the wobbly legs (turns out, the girl can rock a socket wrench!) and apply a couple of coats of stain and varnish.

Once this was done, I decided to add some timber around the bottom of the table so that I would have somewhere firm to stretch the fabric over later, that would be parallel to the edge of the coffee table lip and allow the ottoman to retain its rectangular proportions. Adding the timber involved a trip to Bunnings, buying some $2 pine planks and sawing them to size before nailing them on. All done by a girl who doesn't normally know which end of the screwdriver to hold!

I make it sound like this was a breeze but really, the whole process to this stage took about two weeks. In between shopping for the necessary bits, (which I was determined would cost next to nothing) finding the time and energy to do it all and panting for breath between sawing etc.

Once the timber base was securely in place I covered the scabby old table top with wood glue, and added a foam cushion. I had originally tried to use part of an old foam mattress (also found on the side of the road) but it turns out this was too thick and would have made the top of the ottoman too high, so I buckled an ordered the foam from a warehouse in Perth which cost about $30. It was worth it though, because it was the perfect size and totally clean and pretty.

Then I covered the whole shebang with $6 batting and discovered the fabulous therapeutic benefits of wielding a staple gun.

And with the batting more or less in place, it was time to add the zebra upholstery fabric. Initially I had wanted really 'fat' zebra stripes but this proved really hard to find. And anything even vaguely suitable online ran to hundreds of dollars. So I was more than prepared to 'make do' with this $11 upholstery from Spotlight which I stumbled upon by happy accident. Just like the batting, I cut it to size, stretched it tight over the frame and thumped it into submission with my all-powerful staple gun.

The corners proved to be a little tricky. I couldn't figure out how to make them look fancy and 'upholstered' so in the end I just 'gift-wrapped' the table top. It looks okay but if I were ever to do this again I would probably spend the time figuring out the fancy corners.

Then I brought the whole thing inside and tried it out in my living room. It looks good, but not as wonderful as I had hoped. I think the stripes are too narrow and 'busy' and fatter, glossier ones would have been better. But hey, for a free coffee table and my first ever DIY attempt I reckon I deserve to be reasonably happy. And I am.

Just to finish it off I hammered in upholstery tacks along the base of the frame. I used a piece of string to help keep me in a more-or-less straight line and placed the tacks about 2.5cm apart. I had hoped this would give it an upmarket, store-bought finish but in fact, its not all that easy to spot them in the higgledy-piggledy zig-zagging craziness. Still, it adds something and was definitely worth the effort.

And here's the finished product.

And as for the budget breakdown, I'm pretty happy with that too. The table was free, the timber cost $6, the batting cost $6 and the fabric cost $11. The upholstery tacks were about $25 and the most expensive part was the foam which ran to around $30. So for around $72 I think I can afford to be happy with my not-quite-perfect ottoman. Perhaps its the start of my ottoman empire?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Pop six squish uh uh

I am a very slow runner. I know this because when my husband and I entered a race together last year he had to run backwards in order to run at my pace. Backwards, and also sideways (those horsy looking gallopy things you do up hills) and then large looping circles so that he could rejoin me in my position as permanent back-of-the-packer.

But here's my excuse. You see, I love musical theatre. I adore it. And its on my playlist so my running is constantly interrupted by my need to pop six squish uh uh or gliddy gloop gloopy nibby nobby nooby la la la lo lo. Running on its own isn't easy. But try doing it with jazz hands because Velma demands it, waving at strangers because Tracy says good morning Baltimore, or step-ball-changes because the Joseph ensemble is in the gloriously glittery final throes of the megamix finale. You see? That's why I'm slow. No other reason. None at all.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

I run because I can.

Friends who've known me for years are often bemused by the fact that I've taken up running. After all, they knew me when I was a plumpish couch potato with a penchant for reality tv, harry potter, ice cream and daydreaming. So I often get asked why I do it, and how I got started.

Its a tricky question to answer. But I think I have four main reasons. The first is that I have found, quite by accident, that running helps to quell the rising anxieties I have battled since we moved to Perth from Sydney three years ago. The second is that I have discovered that running is, surprise suprise, a child free activity which is rare occurrence in itself, but also one that has my husband's full blessing and support. The third is that I find setting myself goals, working towards them and ultimately achieving them (like running my first 10km, 12km etc) makes a massive difference to my self esteem, perceptions of what I am capable of, my health and weight, and ultimately my happiness levels.

But perhaps the most powerful reason that I have learned to love running is that I have learned that I am fallible, and that I will not last forever. My husband was diagnosed with cancer several years ago, but is thankfully now fully recovered. My dear friend Marion was diagnosed with a brain tumour last year, and sadly she passed away a few months later. And another long-standing friend who lives overseas is currently doing a spectacularly brave battle with ovarian cancer. As I stand by helplessly and watch these three dearly loved warriors fight for their lives, and hear stories about many others, I realise that the one thing that cancer patients all long for is the one thing I take daily for granted: a healthy body. And to use it, enjoy it, test it and push its limits is a truly privilege and an honour, and a temporary one at that. So when I run, I think about the joy that comes from running on behalf of the loved ones who can't join me. And I think about the fact that one day I might not be able to run either, but at least I can look back at myself and say, hey, I did well there. I tried and persevered and succeeded. And ultimately, I run because I can.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Read. Write. Run. Repeat.

I am a Perth-based mum, wife and blogger wanting to improve my direction and inspiration in life. I know I am designed to do a few things well: I am a devoted mum and a loving and loyal wife. I am also a passionate reader, researcher and reasonably talented writer with a dream to publish a book about the life of a remarkable ancestor of mine. And on top of that, I am a beginner runner, having started running about a year ago, and with a goal to run a half marathon in 2013.

I hope to use this blog to process my thoughts, share insights and start conversations. Everyone is welcome.