March 19, 2012

The last 2 days – where Priya wait for it

by Priya Chandra

The weather for the final two days of my Walk in Her Shoes challenge for Care Australia was lovely which was good – I don’t think I could have handled another 2 days of walking up and down inside my house!

I did not have a particular place that I wanted to walk so I took the opportunity to walk through my local neighbourhood on both days. It is really quite a nice place to walk, particularly through the area called the Stock Route.

This area is tucked between the two suburbs of Flemington and Kensington and is what remains of the cattle yards and route taken to transport cattle to market. Nowadays it is very quiet, away from traffic and noise and the perfect place to go for a walk.

I went all the way to the Maribyrong River and walked along the edge of the famous Flemington Racecourse – no horse racing at this time of the year obviously so a good time to go there.

I’m amazed at how well my feet have held up during this week – as I said in my first post 10,000 steps is a lot further than I thought. I was expecting blisters and some rubbing but apart from sore ankles really I’ve done ok.

The four different shoes I used

I do want to keep on walking 10,000 steps a day simply for fitness reasons but from now on I’m going to be doing it in more sensible shoes – i.e sneakers!

Thank you again

Thank you again to everyone who has donated to this cause, provided me with support and kept me going for the week.

You all totally rock. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

If you have not yet donated, there’s a small window of opportunity available where you can still help provide clean water, education and improved living standards to women and girls in Africa – race on over to http://walkinhershoes.org.au/priya_chandra.

The end

And I'm done

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March 17, 2012

Days 4 and 5 – Where Priya battles rain, parking woes and more rain

by Priya Chandra

Ahh Thursday and Friday (or day 4 and 5 of my self-imposed torture regime as I’ve taken to thinking of them) – what wonderful days they were – if you’re a duck or someone with a garden.

For the rest of us, who don’t enjoy walking in the rain, it was a bit of a pain trying to fit in 10,000 steps each day. But I did it – because I’m nothing if not creative and determined to finish things that I start.

Thursday

This was quite a busy day as well as being quite rainy so I was quite concerned about fitting in the 10,000 steps. Luckily I had a teaching engagement at Deakin University in Burwood, Melbourne.

For those of you not familiar with this fine establishment it is very large and there is very little parking available either on campus or in the side streets surrounding it. I’d been warned by my contact at the University that this was the case and I blithely ignored him. 20 minutes of searching later I was convinced I would never find a car spot – seriously this was worse than Russell Offices in Canberra and I thought that was bad.

Anyway I finally managed to find a spot and set off walking – luckily the rain had stopped as it was a good 15 minutes (at the fastest pace I could muster) to get from the car to the lecture theatre.

All this aside, the distance was actually really good as I managed to get 6,000 steps up during my time at Deakin.

Later that day

So how did I get my remaining 4,000 steps completed given that Melbourne experienced a fantastic thunder storm later that day and I had to work at Government House? Well, the House (which is absolutely beautiful) is quite large and in the course of a 3 hour event I managed to walk over 4,000 steps.

The shoes weren’t quite ‘high heels’ but they certainly weren’t flats or sneakers either and believe me after 3 hours they are just as uncomfortable as my regular heels – in fact they are a lot worse.

Friday

Friday was really quite rainy and I was not at all inclined to leave the house – except to get my coffee of course, which is something that must be done regardless of the weather.

So, what did I do? Well I ran a few errands in between the rain and then I went all 1950s, donning my high heels and an appropriate dress to clean and tidy the house. I did not go quite as far as putting on a full face of make up though!

I still had a few steps at the end of all of that so if you can, picture me striding up and down my house and up and down the stairs with ABBA (yes I’m a dork, we all know that let’s move on shall we?) playing in the background. The cats thought it was a lot of fun to trail after me and sit on the stairs watching me until a tail got in the way of a foot.

Then it was less fun and they both harrumphed off to their beds for some sleep time.

I managed to do it though – 10,000 odd steps achieved, even though it was mostly indoors.

Thank you

Thank you to every one who has donated so far – the money raised so far:

  • can provide a girl with an education scholarship that includes uniforms, travel costs and food for one year, so she can stay in school longer and
  • can provide a simple rope water pump and maintenance training for a community, to reduce time taken walking for water.

How cool is that?

If you haven’t yet donated there’s still plenty of time – donations very gratefully accepted at this website: http://walkinhershoes.org.au/priya_chandra

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March 14, 2012

Day 3 – Where things get a lot better

by Priya Chandra

So after Tuesday’s ‘debacle‘ the first priority for today was to swap out my faulty pedometer.

The staff at Rebel Sports were fantastic and even though the pedometer stubbornly kept on working when I was trying to show them the fault they agreed to swap it out.

So off with the old and on with the new – I was slightly paranoid though and kept checking the thing all day. So far it seems to be working ok – fingers crossed that it keeps on working.

shoes and a pedometer for my Walk in her Shoes challenge

Today's shoes and the old, bad pedometer

Where should I walk today?

I didn’t have a particular walk planned for today – just keeping it real you know man. (do the kids still say that? Did anyone ever say that?)

So, I decided to pretty much make it up and the result was a lot of fun and some interesting twists and turns. I did some walking in the CBD, just getting to know some of the smaller streeets and then headed out to the Yarra river. It was close to going home time by now and there were quite a few people walking along the river – most women had swapped their heels for flats though or sneakers *cough* wimps *cough*.

I strode on confidently along the riverbank negotiating such obstacles as cobblestones (have turned my ankle a number of times on those dastardly items), wooden boardwalks (seriously, do they measure the gap to ensure one’s heel will get caught in the gap?) and roadworks to reach my final destination – Docklands.

Once there I managed to completely befuddle a tourist with my complete lack of Melbourne street knowledge (she had to walk 30 metres to a particular street and I almost sent her off on a tram into the city – luckily GPS on the phone saved us both.) I had a drink with my sister and her friends to celebrate my reaching 10,000 steps for the day and then off home with quite sore feet.

Getting that photo before I take the pedometer off this time

Surprise, surprise

These shoes have been the least comfortable of all the pairs I’ve worn this week and I was very happy to get home and find a surprise from Care Australia and the Body Shop waiting for me.

This stuff actually worked. Thank you Body Shop and Care Australia

Thank you to every one who has donated to the cause so far – I am humbled by your generosity. If you haven’t yet had the chance to donate, there’s still time – I’m here all week folks, tell your friends!

The donation page is right this way.

P.S There’s no dorky photo today – please don’t hate me.

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March 13, 2012

Day 2: In which Priya’s heart is broken

by Priya Chandra

An absolutely beautiful and hot (31 degrees!) autumn day in Melbourne today – perfect for day 2 of my Walk in Her Shoes challenge.

It was a busy day today, but I managed to get to St Kilda beach for my main walk in heels.

My sister and I walked along the beach, enjoying the sunshine and trying to work out why there were so many people on the beach. After all it is Tuesday – a so-called working day – and yet the beach was packed with people sunning and swimming. Lucky people.

St Kilda is absolutely gorgeous – lots of old buildings and a stunning cafe perched at the end of a pier that we walked to. The cafe is an almost exact replica of one that has been there since 1904 but sadly burnt down in 2003.

Isn't it gorgeous?

The breaking of my heart

But none of this is explaining why my heart was broken today.

Well, after walking up and down the beach for at least 1 hour as well as taking another hour’s stroll through the famous Acland Street shopping strip my sister and I got back to my car with my pedometer reading a very respectable 8,800 steps taken in the following strappy sandals:

I took the pedometer off to get into the car AND boom, the damn thing reset. Seriously, both the daily and full total (goodbye yesterday’s 13,000 steps) disappeared into the pedometer ether. All that was left laughing at me were a series of zeros – nothing to show for my efforts over the past 48 hours.

But that wasn’t the worst part.

When we got home I did the additional 1,200 steps – walking to and from the supermarket, up and down the stairs and back and forth in my house (all in heels naturally) – with the pedometer on my belt. I decided to get a photo showing at least SOME steps for today and took the pedometer off. Guess what?

Yep, the farking thing reset itself again.

So I am terribly sorry but I do not have a pedometer photo for you today to prove my steps – I can only swear, hand on my broken heart, that I did indeed walk those steps today.

I’m off to town tomorrow to swap my obviously broken pedometer so stay tuned for the results of tomorrow’s walking adventure – hopefully this time with actual pedometer pictures!

Want to help?

Oh, and if you’d like to donate to help Care Australia educate women and girls in the developing world, and bring their families out of poverty with them please head on over to my donation page: http://walkinhershoes.org.au/priya_chandra.

We’re currently at the point of being able to provide a simple rope water pump and maintenance training for a community, to reduce time taken walking for water. The next target is to provide animals, enclosures and training so that women can work closer to home and earn an income for their families.

P.S

Today’s dorky photo for your viewing pleasure.

Looking for 10,000 steps and a pedometer that works!

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March 12, 2012

Day 1 – Where Priya discovers just how far 10,000 steps actually is

by Priya Chandra

So today was the first day of my Walking in Her Shoes Challenge and I’d like to start by thanking all my very very generous donors – I’ve not only reached but surpassed my original total of $400! Thank you so very much for believing in me enough to donate (and thanks for the wonderful words of support too).

So what did I get up to today on my very first day of walking 10,000 steps as part of CARE’s Walk In Her Shoes challenge?

Well, as flagged in my earlier post, I chose to walk to the house used in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – scroll down to the bottom of the post for a picture of me looking like a dork in front of the house!

And yes, it was only about 3.5 km and yes it only took me about 3,500 steps to get there. Moral of the story? I must remember to take smaller steps in future or face walking close to 10km a day to get my quota of steps completed.

So to get to the rest of the steps my mother, sister and I went shopping in the wonderful town of Melbourne and after a few hours of walking the various laneways, discount shopping centres and arcades that pepper this city I had reached this:

Unfortunately that was not the end of the day – we still had to get home and by the end of the day it turned out I’d been standing and walking in my heels for about 5 hours solid and had done just over 13,000 steps.

I can certainly feel it and have invested in a pair of gel pads for the balls of my feet (the women reading this blog will know what I mean) to make the rest of the week a bit more comfortable.

And yes, there are still 60,000 steps to go – so I’ll be doing it all again tomorrow. Not sure exactly where I’m going to walk to but I’ll be taking photos and telling you all about it tomorrow – stay tuned!

If you haven’t yet donated but would like to help me get to my new target of $650 – the page is here: http://www.walkinhershoes.org.au/priya_chandra.

I just love this house – isn’t it stunning?

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March 6, 2012

Walking in Heels for a good cause – not just because my legs look good in them!

by Priya Chandra

So next week (12th March) I start the Care Australia “Walk in Her Shoes” challenge, where participants sign up to walk 10,000 steps a day and fundraise for Care projects around the world, but mainly in Africa.

I’m looking forward to it, not least because I intend to take the opportunity to walk around parts of Melbourne that I have not yet been to. One of the disadvantages of working from home is that I need to make the time to walk – it is not as simple as parking a bit further away, or getting off the tram one stop earlier.

And, I’m going to be doing it all in heels – no comfortable walking pants or sensible sandshoes for me, no thank you. I am going to be wearing an (old) pair of heels and the appropriate clothing for the heels.

My first trip next week is going to be a walk from my place to the house used in Miss Fishers’ Murder Mysteries – according to Google maps it is only 3 km away from my place so I’ll probably have to walk there and back to get my 10,000 steps up. But it will be fun I’m sure. I am really enjoying that t.v show and it will be nice to see the house they used in the show up close and personal so to speak.

shoes and a pedometer for my Walk in her Shoes challenge

These are the shoes and the pedometer I’ll be using for the challenge – shoes from Diana Ferrari and pedometer from Aussie Fit. Thanks for the unofficial sponsorship guys!

And if you’d like to donate, my fundraising page is here: http://walkinhershoes.org.au/priya_chandra

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January 10, 2012

Craft projects – success and failure

by Priya Chandra

So I’ve been feeling a bit crafty lately and decided to do something I’ve been wanting to do for ages – make a standing desk.

There’s heaps of research about on how standing is better for you than sitting (to a certain degree, obviously standing on your feet for 12 hours a day is not good either, but in moderation it is better than sitting for 12 hours) and I know that when I was on the USS Cleveland (this one time, in Band Camp) I certainly felt better if I was able to stand to do my laptop based work.

So anyway I’ve been putting it off because of cost and laziness and today I decided to just go ahead and do it by just putting a small coffee table on our dining table. I have to work at the dining table since I don’t get internet connection in the lovely study (I think it is a ploy by the DM to ensure he gets the study all to himself). Putting the coffee table on the dining table makes sense – it is the perfect height and it is portable so when it comes time to eat dinner it is easy to move out of the way (unless of course we decide to eat in front of the T.V on the sofa, like two old people, which we never do of course.)

And here’s the finished product:

standing desk arrangement

By the way did you see the cream/beige object on the laptop? That is my failed craft project – a knitted toy for the cats.

It was meant to be something that they could really get their claws into, by scratching at it and doing bunny kicks against it for fun. I got the idea from an Etsy shop but it has been a complete failure. I even put catnip in it to try and encourage them to take an interest in the thing but no dice.

I’ll keep trying but I’m not hopeful I must say. Oh well you can’t win them all I guess.

 

December 19, 2011

Time is so very precious. Thank you Aki.

by Priya Chandra

I’d like to officially and with all my heart thank my younger brother Andrew ‘Aki’ for house-sitting our place recently.

His generosity in coming to stay at our place meant an additional hour travelling time for him and a severe curtailment of his social activities.

Our gorgeous fur-kids

However, for us it meant peace of mind knowing that our beloved cats were being looked after in their own home by someone who we trusted to take complete care of them.

And he did.

They looked extremely happy when we got home, and they obviously took to Andrew – Xena even slept with him last night in preference to sleeping with us (and yes, her new nickname is ‘that Traitor cat’).

Andrew often says that time is ‘all’ he has to give, so he’s happy to give it. Well, writing as someone who never seems to have enough time, that is an exceptionally precious gift to give and DM and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

This post brought to you by My Year with Chris

Oh, and thanks for helping move the rooms around today too – they look great!

Christmas is a great time for thanking people – anyone you’d like to thank?

December 18, 2011

Easter eggs at Christmas

by Priya Chandra

Google.com is probably the best known way to search online at the moment. It is even a verb now – ‘just google it’ is a phrase that people use in everyday language without even thinking.

But there’s more to Google search than just finding stuff. We’ve all seen the Google Doodle where the Google logo is amended to reflect a particular holiday or event – there’s a full list of them here if you’re interested. I love these doodles – not just because of their artistic value but also because of the opportunity they give me to learn about historical figures that I might not otherwise have heard about.
Google Cat In The Hat Doodle
Image from Flickr user Casey Florig

And every so often Google search engineers develop ‘easter eggs’ – fun things that happen when you type a specific search phrase into google.com (or your local google version).

Today for example, in honour of the white Christmas so beloved of the Northern Hemisphere, typing the phrase “let it snow” (without the quotation marks) into google.com will cause virtual snowflakes to fall down the screen.

A favourite one of mine is typing in the phrase “do a barrel roll” (again without the quotation marks). It shows just how clever the Google engineers are and just what amazing things can be done on the web nowadays.

Do you have a Google easter egg to share? Let me know in the comments.

This post brought to you by My Year with Chris
December 14, 2011

Simple = Easy?

by Priya Chandra

Lots of things are simple aren’t they?

Eat less junk, eat more healthy food, exercise more = lose weight, become fit, feel better
Go to bed earlier, sleep more = less stress, feel more energetic, get more achieved
Write every day on a pre-set blog topic for 1 year = get 365 blog posts
(Just to name a few items that are currently high on my list of things to do)

But they aren’t all that easy in reality to achieve. I’m working on making my ‘simple’ activities as easy as possible but it ironically it takes a lot of hard work to achieve that.

In fact, nearly every day I am reminded that the swan – most graceful of all water birds – might glide serenely across the surface of a lake, but below the surface her feet are paddling away madly.

Swan on the Water
Image via Flickr

Simple does not equal easy.

This post brought to you by My Year with Chris