Friday, September 30

The Grampians!

I had tons of fun in the Grampians, although I really did not climb that hard. My main point for this trip was a) to investigate the grampians as a possible bouldering, climbing, trekking venue, and b) to ensure that my finger was recovered.

The first point was somewhat successful in that I investigated only the bouldering scene. And boulders are aplenty, from V0s to V9 plenty for everybody to mix and match. The rock is a unforgiving sandstone, with slopers and crimps aplenty.

By the end of the trip I had to tape nearly all my finger tips because they were almost seeping blood. The second point was even more successful. My finger is almost 90% recovered. I do not trust it completely and my left had biceps is about 2cm smaller than my right hand biceps but it did not hurt while I climbed, and that is all that mattered. The hardest that I did was a V4, but I almost succeeded on a V5, on a V6, and on a V7, so there is hope. The guidebook that I had not only had the pictures of the boulders but also their description, a star-based rating, and the lines on the boulder drawn. This is a two-star V3.

The Adelaide boulderers are a close-knit team and I felt very luck that they let me tag along.

I felt extremely safe with them (landing areas also are much cleaner than in Font, I felt) and I never once thought about going too high or topping out, or not committing fully. This is rare for me, as I am always the wuss.

There were beautiful routes for every preference. Dynos:


Slopey - crimpy

And the camp always had visitors.

All in all, I am definitely going back there again, for sure when dodo comes this year, and next year with san, hint hint wink wink. The full set of phootos is here.

Wednesday, September 28

On mentors, father figures, and the rain outside

My parents divorced when I was three and I only met my father when I was 18. I only met him then because I looked for him and insisted I meet him (at the insistence of my then boyfriend, who thought fathers were important). My father did not look for me, did not want to see me, and not have anything to do with me. His reason (ahem)? He wanted me to look for him, to make sure I wanted to see him and his presence was not forced upon me. Motherfucker.

I am not gonna tear you up with a sad story of a fatherless claudia growing up missing her father and thinking about him many many times. Truth is, I didn't miss him or anything, but I do think that his absence left me with a need for father figures or at least [older male] mentors. Or maybe not and all I am talking is bullshit, consequence of the very gloomy and wet weather outside.

What I want to say is that I do have a sort of life/mountaineering mentor and I do think of him at least once or twice a day, which is more than I think about my own father. While in the grampians, I thought even more about him. Actually, I thought about him everytime I entered the tent I had pitched.

Because you see, I had to pitch the tent at 1:00 am in the morning. Now this only can lead to a series of unfortunate events. Luckily, I didn't pitch the tent near a) the bathroom, nor b) the fire.

But out of the entire VERY flat campsite, I chose the only inclined spot. After slowly sliding the entire night: "on the mat", "off the mat", "back on the mat", "off the mat", "back on the mat", and being able to sleep on only one side (facing uphill) because sleeping on the other side (facing downhill) would land me straight on my nose, I decided the next day that anyway I'm gonna be here for a little time so there is NO POINT in moving the tent. However, everytime I entered the tent and saw that everything in it was slanted to the right, I would hear my mentor scold me: "You should have changed it. Why didn't you change it? I told you to change it. It was a better idea to change it." which is something that he does when one tends to fuck things up (turns out, I fuck things up easily and often).

Problem is, that little voice in my head was right. Turns out, sleeping for three nights in a slanted tent becomes worse and worse as your body gets tired and tired from climbing. Turns out, this may lead to back pain, especially since one is not young anymore.

Tuesday, September 27

One picture Tuesday

You know you've become a chili addict when colleagues bring you this as gift. My new office plant!!!

Thursday, September 22

War of the boobs

I am going to the Grampians today. To boulder!! I am extremely excited about this, and of course I went and bought a pretty sports bra. I also did this because all my other sports bras were still (ahem) in the laundry basket. So anyway, I walk into this shop.

Me: "Do you have any colourful sports bras?"

She (Looking depreciatively at me): "In your size?! Um, maybe, let me have a look…" So she goes and wonders around the shop, and finally reaches the colourful sport bras.

I pick a color and I say:

Me: "Um, great, I like this one, can I have a S and a M?"

She: "Um, I think I'll give you an XS and S to try and see from there. And she gives me and S which i swear is as big as an XL in Singapore.

She: "Would you like the padded ones?"

Me: "Yes, I have no boobs". Bitch.

I go and try and lo and behold, I am a size S, despite the ginormous back muscles - they look most scary now that all the fat on them is gone (running really makes one skinnier). She won this time. Bitch.

Tuesday, September 20

One picture Tuesday

You know you have a problem with chilli addiction when this picture makes you drool.

I might be getting old

This was a fun-filled weekend.


1. Woke up around 8-ish to go trek Mount Lofty. I have sort of found an outdoor buddy in the person of another new guy here. Too bad he is going away for a month. Mount Lofty turned out to be an ok trek, a bit steep in some places, but not severely steep - they were advertising it as VERY VERY steep but methinks I can easily run on it carrying a backpack.

2. After mount Lofty we went to lunch. I mention it here because lunch was in a coffee shop that also sells furniture, so you can sit on the furniture, eat at the table and then buy it.

3. After lunch we went to boulder. As my finger is finally back from the dead, I bouldered to failure. After 3 hours of bouldering we called it a day. Had a horribly dry throat so went in search of a smoothie. Found the smoothie, drank it. Headed for dinner with some colleagues and then headed home. Arrived 9:30 pm.


1. Woke up at 5:15 am to go to the City to Bay 12 km run. I had to get up so early because the run was passing on my street so I had to get out before they closed the road. Race started at 8:00 am. Ran with a colleague, who is now my running buddy. We did 7km in 36 minutes and then slowed down because we had decided to do Bay to City as well. Out of the 34000 people doing the City to Bay, I think we were about the only two idiots doing the full Bay to City as well.

2. Bay to City (another 12km) was not such a great idea because it was by now 10-11 am, we had cooled down after our initial 12 km and we had also had (another) espresso which dried us somemore.

3. After that went to my running buddy's house where his wife cooked an amazing mexican lunch. Relaxed. Enjoyed their two cats.

4. Around 5pm went to see some climbing friends. They had opened a wall in their backyard and wanted to show it around. Turns out, they were pregnant and wanted us all there to celebrate. I BOULDERED for a while.

5. Arrived home at 9:00 pm. Talked to Marian and mom. Had a shower. Fell asleep while chewing. Woke up, threw the slice of bread I was chewing away and went to sleep.

The fact that I fell asleep chewing my food leads me to believe that I do not have as much energy as I used to.

Friday, September 16

Now that my finger is better ...

I do a pull-up every time I pass my door. I have just started today but let's just say, that this has decreased the amount of time I spend wondering around the school. And about the benefits of this, I just want to say that without these pull-ups, I would never have discovered the papers ON my bookcase.

Wednesday, September 14

Surf chick

When I was young(er) I had a boyfriend who used to rave about surfing and climbing and sailing with the whales (I kid you not) and stuff like that. This was in a time when I was in Romania and whales and waves were really hard to find :) Nonetheless, the idea of surfing and riding a wave has always fascinated me - to say nothing of the cool surf videos that are all over youtube. So yeah, I've been wanting to surf for about 11 years now. This wish of mine FINALLY came true this weekend.

Verdict? IT'S FUCKING HARD. You have to paddle, and stand up, and watch the waves, and balance and fall properly and watch your head and don't swallow the water and don't panic and AAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!(did i mention that i can't really swim!?) Ah well... My luck was that I had a really really patient teacher. At first he tried to teach me everything, like paddling and turning and stuff. It went well, and I almost stood up, but then I got hit in the head by the board. Afterwards, he decided to push the board (rather than have me paddle), tell me to forget about all the things i have to do, and just stand up and ride.

It was MAGICAL. About 30 milliseconds of magic followed by a very big splash, but still. MAGIC.

The muscle soreness that followed the next day? Absolutely horrible. My right triceps hurt in ways I never thought it would hurt, and my abs were BURNING. Nonetheless, I suppose it gets better with practice, and practice I will.

Tuesday, September 13

One picture Tuesday

More about my weekend tomorrow. For now, I had fantastic homemade breakfasts throughout the weekend. One of them was this: (poached egg, smoked salmon on toast, with spinach and avocado). I actually implemented it today (save the spinach) and it was DELISH! My sekret plan is to prod my chef friend for his breakfast ideas from now on ...

Friday, September 9

I got attacked ...

As I was doing my mid-week run this Wednesday around the river Torrens (7km in 36mins woo hoo!) I stopped numerous times to photograph Spring.

There was a family of ducks that was basking in the sunlight, so I dropped to my knees and got VERY close to take pictures. The mamma-duck was quite ok with me taking photos. These are some of them:

After I had taken enough pictures, I stood up, turned around walked for a bit and started to run again, away from them. It was then that the mamma-duck decided that I was a threat and swooped over my head, flapped me twice with her wings and her legs. I was in shock and utterly devastated at this sign of unfriendliness, but the next thing I saw calmed me a bit:

After a couple of kms more I saw a family of swans and their swanlings. Needless to say, I did not get as close this time, because I don't think I would have been left standing had the mamma-swan decided I was a threat as well.

Tuesday, September 6

One picture Tuesday

The Spring edition.

This saturday I went to the Mount Lofty botanical gardens to see the blooming magnolias. Before I got to the magnolias, I got a look at the beautiful camelias and rhododendron.



The magnolias!!

My favorite one (love the texture of the leaves!)

If i ever have a garden, i wanna plant a magnolia in it...

Monday, September 5


URGH!!! And shiver me timbers and ohmygodohmygodtakeitoutofhere!! While i do love all god's creatures and i usually avoid killing them, even if they are bugs, last night i was truly tested. THIS was on one of the living room walls!

I pondered, and i thought, and I didn't know what to do, and I thought some more and decided that it was most probably not poisonous. So I told it that if it does not move AT ALL I will leave it where it was.

Apparently spiders (huntsman spider, i found out today) have a really hard time understanding "AT ALL", so the thing moved. I decided that I won't be able to sleep if I know it was there and MOVING, so I decided to remove it and take it outside.

I used this as my tool, although today I found out that you can use a jar (although that jar implies that you have to get within 30cm of the thing urgh).

I opened the door and used a chair to block the screen door open. I shooed it until it got over the door and then with a quick swoosh dropped it to the floor. It started to scurry to get back in, at which point I think i might have killed it because my broom sweep was not so light and a bit desperate. I still shudder when I think about it scurrying back in. Bastard.

I spent the next minute panting from the adrenaline and afterwards inspecting the chair with a flashlight (it was night) to ensure that the thing was not hiding under the chair (seen too many horror movies). Turns out, they're harmless.

Friday, September 2

I visited my school!

Three days after I arrived I registered for the "Scientists in Schools" project, in which a Scientist (that would be me, ha!) partners up with a teacher from a school and they share and do interesting stuff for the benefit of the kids at the school. I thought it was quite a cool idea and I think that I would have appreciated it when i was young (not so sure about now though) ... After three months and a police database check (i kid you not) I was finally approved and got a partnership with a MATHS (!!) prof in some secondary school (can't say the name Google!)

It's gonna be a bit difficult at first because while the math level we are talking about (level 10) is very very very low (they do quadratics! in year 10! ) both the teacher and i are total noobs at this.

Nonetheless, we were thinking about how to make students see that the maths they are learning is applied everywhere in real life. So far, examples we could come up with were: a) gps triangularization and b) angry birds (because of the trajectory and hence the quadratics)

So i ask you, esteemed council, what other examples of quadratics (ax^2 + bx + c = 0) or simple statistics in real life would you have?