Friday, November 7, 2014

So much to do, so much to say!

Autumn has arrived and with it more changes than I can keep abreast with. Suffice to say I am glad to have a weekend before me with one whole free day. So far...one whole free day. But I digress....Changes!

So we moved from a cupboard in Aarhus with 1/6 of a bathroom, and about the same kitchen space, to a house with 3 bathrooms and a walk in wardrobe next to the kitchen. The mind still boggles as to why you would need a wardrobe off the kitchen, but it's a wardrobe bigger than our whole space in Aarhus so we no complain.

I've managed to give the postman a thrill twice already, being caught in my underwear, on my way to the washing machine, when he's knocked on the rather not opaque door to deliver a package. And that wardrobe, that I told you I would have left in the street rather than walking it up 5 flights of stairs in pieces, not only came down those 5 flights, but went up a further flight to be installed on the second floor of our new home.... it is never ever moving again. Never.

A peculiarity of Danish homes is that they do not come with installed light fittings. So when you move into a home, you then spend a week dining by torch or lamp light until your handy Danish man/person, who comes with a degree in IKEA reconstruction and a minor in electrical engineering, manages to install all of your light fixtures without giving himself a new and interesting hair style. And all the Australians go 'why would you do that??? Why not just have lights installed when you build a place?'...and when I ask that same question all the Danes go 'why would you do that? then you can't choose where the lights go'...There are some cultural differences that just can't be explained in simple terms...apparently the appropriate timing for light fixture installations and the Danish fondness for lining up are amongst them :)

Since my last post, we have also acquired two new babies. Felix and Fabian. We had gone to the cat centre to adopt a new cat. On arrival, Fabian walked over to me, straight up my leg, into my arms, and started purring. So you would think that would be that. However, Fabian had a twin brother who is not so smoochie and the cat centre was most insistent we could not take one without the other. And two days later I was waving one cat off a bench while the other one ran past with a steak bigger than itself, growling and drooling all the way. Needless to say they are settled in happily and already getting their own way too much, as well as substantially fatter than they were when they arrived. We can now hold kitty skype sessions between my Danish and my Australian kittens. Oddly enough they don't seem so keen.


The new shooting range is about 7km down the road and so it becomes more necessary to address my slight issue with bikes... or rather my slight issue with falling off bikes. And I had thought things were progressing nicely until I realised that for some reason when I try to turn right, my brain malfunctions and I try to commit suicide by wall/bush/tree/ground....so I have spent the better part of a week practicing that whole not falling off when it isn't a straight line or a left turn and today I think we can declare the bike is no longer my arch nemesis, but more my rather untrustworthy, don't turn your back on him, ally. We might make a Dane of her yet...(as long as she doesn't have to eat herring or say words like Sorø).

Speaking of unpronounceable Danish words... My new classes start with a vengeance next week. I will have 18 hours of Danish a week and my first exam will be before Christmas. I had an evaluation test on Monday and although I can still barely string a sentence together, apparently my reading and translation skills are adequate enough to bump me into a harder class. Of more importance, I drove there on my own and no one died from the experience despite the whole of Denmark driving on the wrong side of the road and their cars being arse backwards... I don't even have bruised knuckles, from smacking my left hand on the door, when I forget which side the gears are on.

And shooting... we had a quick trip over the border, for a coaching day in Hamburg, and I shot a few rounds of indoor to start the season. It was ugly. Not 'fell of the ugly tree and hit every branch coming down' ugly... but certainly not pretty. In my defence, it was on the back of days of moving and painting and much stress... but it was still depressing! Now, settled into new surroundings and slowly recovering, I seem to be shooting about a 570 average. A year ago that was great shooting for me, so with an untuned bow and not so much practice, I think it is a great place to start. Bring on indoor.



Saturday, September 13, 2014

So let me tell you about Christine

So I haven't had much to say for a while. Well that's a lie... I always have a lot to say...But I haven't had anything to SAY. I've had an amazing few months with shooting and family and settling into Denmark, but we lost someone special and all the things you want to say never seem to be enough. But maybe we need to say them anyway.

So let me tell you about Christine.
She was born prematurely and she left us just as prematurely. And she was all the things we should be: funny and beautiful and unfiltered.

She gave you a headache, now and then, because she told the truth and sometimes people don't want to hear the truth. But how much simpler would life be if we all just told it how it was, plain and unvarnished? 'The Invention of Lying' was a movie practically based on my family; we seem to drown in the comedy of things people probably shouldn't say. Sometimes the truth makes you wince, and sometimes the shocking honesty just makes you laugh and Christine made me laugh and gave me someone who truly understood how hard it is to tip toe around a world that would prefer you just lied.

She was a talented athlete, a promising doctor to be, an active and passionate humanitarian. The woman could sew and cook as well. My Facebook feed was full of her daily updates on new and wonderful projections, sad and worthy causes, practical and educational facts and the awesome food ambitions that screamed our multicultural roots.

I had never realised how much we talked. She died less than two days after our last talk. It was mostly just Facebook chat. For one reason or another we were always somewhere else. When I was home she was not. When she moved to Melbourne, I moved to Hobart. That catch up coffee that just never happened. We sighed about the stupidity of anti vaccination campaigners and cured the worlds ills, if folk would just do the smart thing....and laughed at terrible things our family say and at the terrible things we say and rolled our eyes at always having to shut up before you say something honest...or always apologising because there is no filter between brain and mouth. And just generally planned evil genius plans to take over the world... and or save it, depending on the day.

So I hope you always appreciate that special person in your life who always just tells you the plain unvarnished truth and go and get that catch up caffeination today and bask in the blast of fresh air of plain and uncomplicated. Everybody needs a Christine. We lost ours too early.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bugger shooting Murphy...we should just shoot me.

It's a weird situation when you are exercising up to 6 hours a day and feel that you really could be doing more. I walk about 2 hours minimum a day. I go to gym for an hour of cardio most days and I shoot 3 hours or more a day. And yet I feel lazy and unfit. So I went to the gym to chat with a personal trainer and he recommended TRX bands. They suspend from the air and you use them to destabilise core strength exercises and hence make them really hard to do and therefore a solid core workout. So at my personal trainer's advice I went to the next available class... there may have been whimpering and unattractive face pulling. Instead of a fairly low cardio, but solid core workout I found myself in a class worthy of Cross Fit and at one point lying flat on the floor ordering my body to do what it's told and not getting much more than panting and twitching. After the 5 hours I had already put into walking and shooting that day...it wasn't quite how I was expecting to finish my day. The 30min walk home from the gym may have looked more like shuffling and getting up the next morning involved a lot more whimpering. And after that genuinely horrible experience... I'm of course signed up for next weeks class. No one ever said I was smart :)

And on the topic of fitness and walking it is rather amusing to realise that Danes are allergic to walking. If you tell them you walked somewhere they all immediately ask why you didn't ride a bike. They can all understand an hour ride on the bike...none seem to comprehend one might choose to spend that hour walking instead. And failing that they wonder why you don't catch the bus. Relaying the latest discussions on this with Martin, who was in Colombia on his way to practice, he added his agreement that it's crazy to walk when you can ride or bus. Only a few minutes prior he had been complaining of the waft of pee on the bus heading to practice (a common problem with shared transport) so I ask the question...which is crazier? Walking in the sun and fresh air or sitting in an enclosed space with persons of suspect hygiene and the stench of pee? I think I rest my case :D
I like walking and I hate waiting at bus stops and I fall off bikes great...so I guess learning to not fall off is in my not too distant future :)


In the midst of all this exercise I have started my Danish classes. Only two so far. So not expecting miracles, but I think I have it easier than many in the class as they are conducted in English and Danish. No one else in the class has English as a first language so I'm thinking the challenge is far greater for the Romanian who only speaks Italian and Romanian... although he very bravely asked me my name and nationality in Danish last class so he's doing great :)

Archery is cruising along. It occurred to me that I'm not shooting enough arrows so I'm pushing it out to shoot 200 a day. Still not strong enough to do that easily, but I think it's achievable in the next week. Until now the focus was more on technique and stability and as we had decided I'm strong enough with what I'm doing to put another turn on the limbs and up the poundage, so it's probably time to think about arrow fitness and scoring.


I have been swapping back and forth with the Carter Honey 2 and the Carter Target 3 releases. I shoot about 50/50 and am scoring a round with each. Shot a 1374 and a 1384 in practice with the Honey 2......

And then the flu struck! Shot a lousy 1333 in competition. Could not hit the proverbial. It was like the archery gods decided to swoop in and smack me silly for thinking maybe my shooting was finally improving. Finally halfway through 30m and way too late to save the day, Martin noticed my timing was out. Popped a twist in a cable between ends and I dropped 2 points in the rest of the round. Excuse me while I go bang my head on a brick wall! So it was awesome timing for Mor Damsbo to swing by and buy the kids ice-cream :)


Went to bed feeling really crappy and woke up feeling like I died a week ago and no one told me yet. Stupid flu.

Celebrated Martin's birthday with a most excellent lagkage... third time is the charm.. we need another birthday just to perfect it :D And my own birthday was awesome with a homemade strawberry tart (jordbærkage), BBQ with friends and a new phone and a bike :)
Shot a 50m comp and ranked 3 in women's with a 665. It's nothing to write home about, but I was blowing my nose constantly, coughing up attractive green stuff, my right eye was weeping and every shot was like running a marathon... so I'm calling it a win. I made it through the day and Martin only beat me by 10 points in the matchplay... then went on to shoot rubbish in a later match. I'm thinking we need to discuss when it's appropriate to shoot rubbish...like in a match against your sick girlfriend, the day after her birthday, is a pretty good time to shoot an epic miss... just saying :P



And you might not know it, but flu is especially hard for the pancreatically retarded. You need stupid amounts of insulin just to stay alive so I've been mainlining it like it's saline all week...then suddenly the flu starts getting better and suddenly I'm taking enough insulin to kill an elephant...except now it decides to work. I spent a whole day sleeping on the grass at the range while Martin shot. And finally I think we are on the home stretch. Some time in the next week I might start feeling less like a mucus ridden, swamp monster, and more like an archery bum :P


If the dog can do it....






Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Project Denmark

Life blurs into shooting, cardio, eating and sleeping and yet not being in the mix of things. It's somewhat depressing to be sitting on the outside looking in. Watching the first leg of the World Cup through updates and text messages isn't quite the same as shooting one you'll understand. But it's all to good cause - Project Denmark :)

So the hopes for next year is to try out for the Danish Team and the rules state that I need to be a danish resident for 1 year to qualify and I can't shoot for anyone else in that time. So this year is a bum year. Work hard, learn danish, knock out the kinks and shoot some local tournaments. It's already paying off in matchplay experience alone. I've shot about 20 matches this year already. That's about 4 times what I would get shooting in Australia in a year. But I miss World Cup. It's going to be a long year.

My new baby arrived from Hoyt (thanks Kevin!! And Hoyt!) - a purple Pro Comp Elite with Spiral X cams. Love the bow. Love the colour. And finally I'm strong enough to shoot my spirals again. Combined with the Carter Honey 2, I'm working hard on strong shooting and good back tension. And getting stronger everyday. The new bow is 1lb heavier than the old one and while the scores and consistency are still not there, I shot 673@50m last scored round in practice and the form is looking better all the time.

My new Pro Comp Elite and Honey 2

My latest epiphany is all in the bow shoulder. My arch nemesis. I get along with my bow shoulder less than I get along with my pancreas. If you watch any videos you can always detect a movement that just shouldn't be there. Some days worse than others. But yesterday was gold. I think maybe I use too much back and not enough chest to stabilise the shoulder and being hyper flexible and not strong means the shoulder moves out of line and I hit the arm a lot. So a few ends engaging more chest muscle to keep it still and things seem to be better. Cross fingers for me... I think we have worked it out.. now just need to shoot 3000 good arrows to make it stick and hope for the millionth time that I actually 'got it'  and not just think I do :D

And still making friends with the Carter Honey 2. The Target 3 is officially in the naughty corner until I fix what is broke. And there's no hint of panic shooting the honey. But it's easy to see how much I need to work on as my consistency is poor. There's a lot of work in shooting a hinge well, that you should do with a trigger too, but as I always thought... trigger with no hinge work leads to bad habits. A week before Mexico I shot a comp and missed 3 shots with target panic. So a month later and I'm not flinching at all and my scores are better than in over a year. It's small steps, but I'll take it.

I can read a lot more Danish than I can speak, but I think the speaking is coming. I can order my bread from the bakery (jeg vil gerne have to frokoststykker) and actually get what I asked for and tell people I don't speak danish and I can navigate a danish recipe without too much help and follow the danish subtitles more and more every day :)
I got as far as 'i brought my own bag' with the self check out at the supermarket before it had a cat and a nice lady came to help. Was quite hard explaining that I didn't want the english version because I need to practice my danish and I know kartofler and rugbrød so getting there :)
We're trying to incorporate more and more danish words. I need to remember to use the danish word when I know it... the worst bit is when I can think of three or four languages for a word...just not the danish one.  And I need to learn the money. We found over 300kr in my purse in coins because I can never work out the coins fast enough so I was just using notes :D

Gym is going great. I'm not pushing too hard because I was constantly sick last year, so baby steps. This is the first time in memory that I've been healthy for a whole month. Just 1-2 hours of cardio on top of shooting and a bit of core and stretching. And after a month my insulin requirements have dropped dramatically which is probably the best test for improved fitness levels, but causing a few issues with hypos. I'm becoming queen of the snack because I can't get through an hour cardio without a hypo any more unless I'm eating before hand and I'm taking less insulin than I was in my first year. My little fingers are full of holes. Feeling like the proverbial pin cushion and slightly evil eating in front of the gym bunnies :D

Got me some love in the mail. My sister sent me Vegemite, Tim Tams and Tom Yum soup all of which I had to excavate out of the hot chocolate powder that had exploded in transit. My home smelled like chocolate cookies :) And Petra from Germany sent me pocket warmers and an Easter bunny so I'm all set :)... although the vegemite is already running out :( but the chocolate is being carefully hoarded :)



Getting laughed at by danes for wearing my winter boots on a 9C day. It was evening mind you, so way colder than 9C by then, but maybe the fact that I was in the toasty kitchen standing next to the hot oven and still had 3 snow grade thermals and a jacket on was what got the smile. No I'm really not designed for the cold. Or maybe I'm just really comfy when it's warm :)

But we have had a few sunny days. Just to tease me and make me start thinking I don't need snow grade thermals today....




And my hon sent me flowers to make me smile :) So I'm off to gym with said smile :)





Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mexico!!

3 weeks in Denmark and I still haven't had time to unpack. The Damsbo boys wrestled an enormous wardrobe up 5 flights of stairs so that I had somewhere to store my one suitcase of stuff... It probably says something about Danes vs Aussies... I'm pretty sure the average Aussie would have taken one look at the wardrobe and decided it looked great on the ground floor... I know I would have :D Totally love my new wardrobe and owe the boys cake for finding it, hauling it up 5 flights of stairs and then putting it back together :)

On to Vejle - read royal clusterf#$k. So jumpy I couldn't hit the target by the last end. Indoor 50m and I couldn't hit the barn door, standing inside, with the doors shut. Soooo depressing. And we spent 3hrs standing in the cold to be told that the matchplay was cancelled...which I was happy about so you can see I was not having a good day. The only highlight was going home to drown my sorrows in left over Thomas' birthday cake (my first attempt at lagkage using Mormor Edel's recipe) and spending the evening in the indoor range trying to fix what broke.


So a few hundred arrows and a few days with the Carter Honey 2 later...and we still know it isn't Target panic. I can shoot with a hinge just fine (just doesn't group as well as my trigger -when it's working). And a few hours shooting with a hinge seems to help with the trigger. You can see how maybe my knees were somewhat weak at the prospect of getting on a plane to Versus Mexico with the worlds crappiest score behind me and zero confidence in my shooting. But I was flying with my guy and we made it to Guadalajara with our bows in one piece and it was about 25C when we landed after sun down. What's not to like?

I spent the practice day shooting hinge only, catching up with the other internationals and had tacos for lunch at the local hole in the wall. Good food, good company and good shooting. But a day or two of panic free shooting does not a cure all make. On the day of ranking I shot the practice ends with the hinge until the last end. The wind decided to pick up and my completely untested hinge shooting hit a snag....35 seconds an arrow and a hinge in the wind are not always your friend. Shot the last end with the trigger and had no obvious problems...yay me :) My ranking round was nothing to write about (no pun intended) beyond the achievement of all arrows on target and only one flinch. I ranked 20th with a 656 (if you had seen the shooting 5 days prior you would be more impressed) and enjoyed the day.


Next day we were sorted into groups of 6 for match play. We shot 5 matches and each match was worth 2 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss. I had 6 points and made the cut in the top 24. But my smile was for the score of 690 (5x15 arrow matches) which was an average of 9.2 per arrow and an improvement on the 9.1 average from the day before. When you're happy to just be hitting the target it is a great thing to improve your average from the ranking, and in the matchplay. Ruben Ochoa arranged a Mexican feast for us that night and we all went to bed fat and happy :)


Second round of matchplay I maintained my strategy of shooting all practice with the Honey 2 hinge and all scoring with the Target 3 trigger. I shot 704 for 5 matches with a 9.4 average. I only won two matches, but I was pretty happy with the score and made it through the cut to the top 12. Didn't win a single match in the next round, it was a tough draw and I would say it's been a long time since we shot 200 arrows on the competition field (including practice) so I was not disappointed with my day. It was a big turn around in 5 days from missing to 9.4/arrow average. Some battles are bigger wins than others.



Erika Jones and Linda Ochoa fought it out for Gold the next day and Linda took the match with in shoot off with closest to the centre. Mike Schloesser also won Gold on a shoot off with a closest to the centre call. I'll admit to eating some very tasty tacos while we watched :)

Versus Results

And now home again. Jet lagged as all get out and freezing my butt off, but happy to be home. Time to finally unpack :)










Monday, March 17, 2014

Down and out in Denmark and that stupid spoon...

So moving to Denmark...

Holy crap we did it!...I miss my kittens.

It would be a lie to say that moving is an easy and pain free procedure (I really miss my kittens)...and the distance you move seemingly expands the stress and inconvenience exponentially. But here we be... and we're still breathing so I think you could say I made it in one piece. My residence card arrived in the mail today and I am officially legal to work, sleep and sniffle in Denmark.... mostly I'm sniffling with my third bout of cold/flu this year. Either that or it's hay fever and I'm allergic to Danish boys :D

Aarhus
I'm missing kittens, real peanut butter, vegemite, decent tea, baths, strips for my nifty iBGstar glucose meter, 30C days and my family. Especially the Tyrannosaurus Rex currently posing as my niece all smothered in mulberry juice, looking like a flesh eating zombie, and my nephew who could talk the hind leg off a donkey and already has the skill of cornering pretty girls at parties and telling them boring old man stories (mostly about Gary the crocodile and car crashes that never happened) down to a fine art. And my fat, fluffy kittens who demand smoochies at 5am and can be bribed for affection in return for crunchies. And of course I miss my sister who will be the only person in the room with the same pained look and arched eyebrow as me when someone is being mind bogglingly stupid... some things need no words.

Shot the Danish National Indoor. Worked my way up to 4th in ranking and got knocked back down to 6th in the last end. Won through to the quarter finals and then lost to Camilla Søemod in the fifth end of set system by a point. Really happy with my shooting. Nothing special in the scores (I shot 568 for the ranking), but I was consistent and didn't fade half way through with exhaustion...so with a cold, jet lag, target panic and very little practice...I'm happy with the progress :) Yay me!

Danish National Indoors: Match Play Quarter Final

The drive home from National Indoor (Denmark)

And now we're moving into the outdoor season. It's been too cold and windy to do much so we've been shooting 50m indoors. I'm really impressed by just how cold it can be inside. Of course the Danes are fine...they're wearing their usual jeans, long sleeve tops, and runners and look comfortable. I'm wearing 3 thermals, ski pants, an electric vest and my winter boots and still need an extra jacket for collecting arrows....looking a bit like the kindergarten children in the snow here... little waddling penguins who can't escape their parents, let alone hungry bull elephant seals, because they're so buried with clothes.


Target panic is still floating in the background. Not so much target panic as trigger panic. I'm completely panic free with a back tension. It isn't owning me, but it's teasing my mind and spoiling more than the odd shot. I was struggling yesterday which could have been the trigger panic or could have been the shakes from our ice cream and chocolate cake lunch (still wondering how they eat ice cream on a 5C day, let alone with cake for lunch...but well we know danes are a little weird).... and Martin says to relax. So thinking back to a much older post, I recalled a Matrix moment... there is no spoon - bang the trigger went off... stupid spoon. So working on remembering that the spoon, that isn't there, doesn't exist and that seems to be helping. So most of my training right now is in my own head and the only physical stress is moving under a weighty mountain of extra clothes (just walking to the target is an aerobic work out :P). Ironically I don't think training in Denmark is any different to training in Australia for the world outdoor season. Always in Aus we are training in the middle of winter for what is the summer in the rest of the world...so fog, thermals and beanies for training and then 30C+ for the competitions. This next week is thermals and snow gear to practice for Versus in Mexico, where I think it's due to be about 30C.

Sunday Lunch

On the diabetes front, I think it's about time I owned my blood sugars. For all the folk who's pancreases work, every 3 months diabetics get a blood test that represents your average blood sugar control for that 3 months. Anything below 7% is considered good. Mine has been a solid 6.7% for over a year. My endocrinologist is a happy camper. Means he doesn't need to do anything. Says he would be out of a job if all his patients were as good as me. I think we can do better. So back into pin cushion mode. I'm blood testing like crazy and taking boosters if I'm out of range. Of course tighter control means you risk more hypos. I've had one every trip to the gym, this last week, which really slows you down and inconveniences your day... and freaks out anyone unfortunate enough to be near by when you fall in a heap. My own stupid fault. I'm just fighting on the food thing. I hate when food and insulin rule my life.... which is retarded. I take up to 8 blood tests a day and between 2 and 7 injections a day. I think my life is well and truly ruled by the needle. We're just arguing about the semantics at this point.

So gradually I am settling in. Got my man. Got my bow. The rest is just window dressing that we can fluff as needed. No hurry at this stage. Just finding my way and studying danish and game on for Mexico.




Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Eeeek!

So you know how people kill their fish by feeding them too much? Well feeling a bit that way now. My ex's dad used to have these golf balls he called gold fish that looked like they were more unnaturally buoyant than even fish have a right to. Such is the feeling of being loved to death by your family with hourly offerings of cake, schnitzel, wine and donuts, on the off chance that my new home doesn't have food :D Those evil saboteurs of good intentions and fitness classes... but it's food with love, and it could be a long drought before I get home made offerings that match those of my culinarily obsessed family. So I no complain :)

Shooting has been light on for someone with so much 'free time'....But I've managed a few days in and around the chaos. So hoping my bow isn't a foreign object come the Danish Indoor next week...but I suspect it is a lost cause. Still seeing a little jumpiness creeping in if I don't shoot everyday, but happy with the progress. And even pushups are a little easier this week.

Packing up my life and squeezing in visits with friends and relatives has proven more frantic than I expected...and gosh I have a lot of stuff! I'm one of those people who watches Hoarders on tv in morbid fascination.. and looking around at all my junk that fits in one room...I wonder how people can do it. I feel suffocated by the sheer volume and I don't own much. So it's been quite cathartic to throw out and sell off and rationalise the rest. A few things have survived the cull despite me trying to be ruthless... My ottoman... maybe just because people call it a poof and I get a giggle every time..Juvenile? Me?..And my hoolahoop.... haven't managed to part with it even though I know it won't get used. It's blue and silver with sparkles...how could I possibly give it away? The magical rediscovery of things long lost or forgotten and the mystification of why on Earth I bought that... or where on Earth did that come from? And that is never fitting in a suitcase!

In two days I get on a plane and my adventure begins. Are we nervous yet? :)