Wednesday, September 17, 2014



I spent the whole morning writing at the Arboretum café.

I love the view there, and I had a great writing session. I've been really stuck for a couple of weeks on this final climactic scene and I finally decided to just write something, anything, and fix it later. I made some good headway.
I tend to write well when I get out of the house and away from distractions, but there are disadvantages too. One is cost. Pay parking is everywhere in Canberra, and the Arboretum is particularly expensive at $2 per hour. Then there is my tea, I feel obliged to buy something while I take up one of their tables for a couple of hours, and a pot of tea there is $4.50. It adds up if I want to go frequently!
Then there is the fact that I am there alone so if I need to go to the bathroom I have to pack everything up, and probably lose my table with a prime view. Drinking a pot of tea doesn't help this problem! Generally I call it a day when I need to make a second bathroom trip.
Some days, when I have other things to do as well, I struggle to fit in both exercise and writing (giving up something like evening TV to do so is a whole other topic). A lot of people argue for doing something every day to build up consistency. Today I decided if I don't have time for a good session of both, I'll just do one. I do better with a longer period of time on one thing instead of dabbling in too many things. So today was writing, tomorrow is exercise - I have a lap of the lake and another look around Floriade planned.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A stroll through Floriade


I went for a walk through Floriade, along the lake a bit and back again, sat and had my morning tea amongst the flowers, then home. It was sunny after rain, so very humid. Nice to get outside. Not including sitting time, I walked 4.5 km in an hour.

Not many tulips were out yet, but there were a few. Only yellow, they must be the earliest to flower.

Heartsease are one of my favourite flower. I suppose they are a kind of violet. Also known as Johnny Jump Up, and probably lots of other regional names.

Giant snails. Because, why not?

Weird giant balloon flowers that probably light up for Night Fest. Unless they are jellyfish. Probably flowers. Or jellyfish. Or flowers.

Pansies in wheelbarrows.
I didn't do much with the rest of my day because I came down with a horrible headache. I didn't mention it to anyone, just put up with it and doctored myself with Panadol when it got really bad which helped. But then at bedtime Jasmine came down with a bad headache. So it's not just me. Hopefully we'll both fight off whatever it is and be fine tomorrow.
We had Dungeons and Dragons tonight, so I had to negotiate that. I had a glass of wine and a couple of squares of chocolate.
I've signed up for a RunKeeper challenge to walk/run 50 km in a month, starting on the 18th. Is that a lot? 10 x 5k. 2 to 3 laps of the lake a week. That is do-able. You can win stuff. Spring is the perfect time to be outside in the not too cold/not too hot/just right weather. And (since I find I do worse if I put pressure on myself) if I don't finish the 50 km I will have still done something!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spending time with mum


I had planned to go to Floriade today but I still wasn't feeling well all morning so I didn't. Apart from a quick shopping trip I just rested at home. Felt a lot better by the afternoon.

My post yesterday got a bit long and I didn't talk much about my visit with mum. She's been sick a bit lately but was feeling well while we were there.

She has finally got her head around the thought of moving to a retirement home, which I think is great. She was really resistant to the idea before - she doesn't want to live with old people! But with inoperable breast and bone cancer she is going to need a lot more care as time goes on. She found that there is a retirement village in an area near a lot of her friends so that helped. Her reasoning behind waiting until next February to move was kind of funny though - she'll be finished with a couple of big institutions by then so she won't have to worry about giving them her new address or losing mail! I kept my mouth shut, I'm just happy she's finally thinking about moving.

Another incident typical of my mother was lunch. She is the worst cook in the universe, and now she is unwell she gets us to pick up something on our way there, which we are delighted to do. We brought a rotisserie chicken and since it wasn't lunchtime yet she put it in the oven to keep warm, uncovered. And she wondered why it was dried out and horrible an hour later! She really needs supervision in the kitchen. It has nothing to do with her age or illness, she just can't cook!

My brother is getting some training as a barista and is really enjoying it. He's basically spent his whole life living with mum and getting unemployment benefits, but I can always hope that this will work out and he'll stick to it.

It was a good weekend, but being home in my own bed was lovely.

Comicon or Strictly Ballroom?


On Friday I was feeling defeated and frustrated, and I'll admit I spend the weekend eating whatever I wanted. But I'm ready to give myself a shake and trudge onwards now.

We drove up to Sydney on Friday night. Tim and the kids were going to Comicon along with a lot of Tim's family. I had no interest in that and had originally planned to stay home. But without a dog it was suddenly a lot easier for me to go along and do my own thing and then visit mum the next day. We stayed at my brother-in-law's, which was great except for the horrible guest bed which feels like you're lying on an unpadded concrete slab (their own bed is the same). I didn't sleep well.

Saturday morning they all got dressed up. Pirate husband, superman son and unidentified cute animal (from pokemon maybe?) daughter.

Doing my brother-in-law's Green Arrow make-up. My SIL was Anna from Frozen, her 18 month old daughter (not pictured) was Elsa.

We drove into the city, in two cars, after deciding it was too hard taking the pram on public transport. When we were nearly there Tim realised he'd left his ticket back at the house! He couldn't even turn around for the long drive back because he didn't have a key to his brother's house. He'd have to meet up with them first. The plan was to see if he could buy another ticket, but we didn't know if there would be any left for sale. The kids didn't need tickets, they could get in free. At this stressful point we got to my drop-off spot and after some dithering I got out of the car. Then felt so guilty for leaving him to cope! The worry coloured my next hour or so until I heard that Tim's cousin had had a spare and they eventually got in ok, after a long search for parking.

It was a cold a grey day with some rain, so after wandering through Hyde Park ...

I went into the Natural History Museum. It had skeletons,

And rocks,

And stuffed animals like this seven meter salt water crocodile,

And of course dinosaurs.

I have fond memories of walking through with Aiden holding tightly to my hands. Not scared of the dinosaurs, not really...

Then I went and had lunch at Darling Harbour. Gnocchi with duck ragu. As you can see, the place wasn't busy. It really wasn't very nice weather for strolling along the harbour front.

Ever since I decided to come to Sydney, I had planned that as a special treat I would get an éclair from a favourite chocolate shop - but I couldn't find the place. I was quite disappointed. But then as I headed over to the theatre I found an Adriano Zumbo café right next door. Zumbo is a celebrity dessert chef who has set some particularly fiendish challenges on MasterChef. I bought a slice of chocolate cake there. And then, (I call it a "café" but there were no tables, just a long counter full of pastries) I tried to eat it outside the theatre. A bit messy. I only had a few bites of the actual cake, saving it for later. But I ate the fancy bits off the top - the little passionfruit/honeycomb macaron and the meringue swirl.

Finally it was time for the big event, "Strictly Ballroom". My mum had given me money for my birthday and I hadn't spent it yet so I bought myself a ticket. This show was made into a movie quite a few years ago but I don't know if it was seen outside Australia. It's about defying the strict rules of federation ballroom dancing to do your own steps and follow your heart, and a romance (of course). It was a lot of fun. In a word, exuberant. Even the seats were sparkly.

By the time it was finished, everyone had left Comicon and were nearly home, so I caught the train as we'd planned. Only problem was my phone died! It's weird how helpless I felt without a phone. I wasn't even sure if they still had payphones at the station! Luckily they did, so I was able to call to be picked up from there.

My SIL had planned to go out to dinner with her mother's group (child free) and invited me along. It was a big leap for me, I'm a bit shy with new people and I was tired. But I thought it might be nice, and also meant I could avoid my father-in-law's favourite pastime of arguing about politics. So I went, and had a great time. The other women were lovely, and very welcoming. The food was good too, but the service quite slow so we didn't get home until after 10. The kids were peacefully asleep, the adults had finished discussing politics. I went to bed content after a good day, trying to make the best of the horrible "mattress".

And woke in the dark hours feeling sick and ended up vomiting into a laundry bucket. Urg. I don't think there was anything wrong with the food. Either my recurrent stomach bug, or an inability to cope with two days of rich food.

Felt tired and a bit unwell all today. We went to visit my mother for lunch. The kids built a tent structure out of sticks and giant leaves.

Long drive home. Dinner at a Thai restaurant on the way, which I felt ok at the beginning of and terrible at the end of. And here I am.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Struggles and a gain


Official weigh in today.
Last week: 80.7 kg
This week: 81.4 kg

That's right, a GAIN of 0.7 kg (1.5 pounds). My weight went up after my indulgent Saturday last week, and it just never went down again. I weighed myself every couple of days hoping that sticking to my diet would get the weight back off again, but no. It barely fluctuated all week, just stayed up. I didn't expect a big loss like the first week's water weight loss, but I wanted to lose something! A gain? Are you serious?

It is so utterly discouraging. I have never successfully lost weight. True, before my wedding I went on an extremely restrictive and punishing diet (chosen and paid for by my mother) and lost 5 kg (11 pounds) in six weeks, and was miserable every day I was on it. Aside from that, I've never even lost as much as 5 kg. Some of that is failing to stick to diets, but not all. I always lose some water weight in the first week and get all hopeful, but that is about it.

I've tried Weight Watchers and low-carb and no sugar/wheat/soy/dairy/alcohol, and high protein and nutritionist-led and intense exercise.

A blogger I read was recently told that dieting was "easy" for him, which is nonsense. And yet, I guess as someone who can't seem to lose weight at all, it can seem easier for some people. They work hard, they lose some weight. I work hard, I don't.

I was really depressed yesterday. Maybe from knowing I'd gained back half of last week's weight loss and couldn't seem to lose it again, maybe from it being second day of low-carb (low-carb makes me depressed, which is why I am trying carb cycling), maybe a bit lonely without my puppy, who knows. But it wasn't "a bit sad", it was the edge of actual depression. I know what that feels like. I had post-natal depression after my first child, and there is no way I will willingly go back in that black place. In the evening I had some carbs and did think I felt better, I went to bed quite happy and slept well. But I'm miserable again this morning despite carbs with breakfast. So it might not be that at all. I have no idea.

I don't know what to do. I didn't stick to my diet plan for breakfast. I have a busy weekend coming up that I have to get through. Saturday being my treat day makes that easier, except that last week my treat day ruined the whole week's work. Do I keep trying carb cycling? Do I switch to alternating high/low days in case that suits me better than having two low-carb days in a row? Do I give up and eat whatever I want until next time I'm ready to start again? Do I crawl back into bed and stay there with the blankets pulled over my head?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hot chocolate


I struggled a bit today, no idea why. I just wanted to eat - I'm sure you all know what that feels like! In the afternoon I ate my snack very early, when I was still full from lunch, and ate too much, but kept to my food plan so I felt I hadn't gone too far off the rails. But then in the evening I had a hot chocolate, which is definitely not on my plan for a low carb day. I wasn't craving anything in particular, and I don't think I was stressed or angry or any of those things that can be an emotional trigger. I was just restless. I was alone in the house, everyone else at karate, and I gave in to the desire for something delicious. It's done, I'm not going to beat myself up about it.

My son was home sick today, but he slept until 10 and then leapt out of bed all bright eyed and bushy tailed. I didn't make him go to school, he wasn't faking being sick earlier and a rare day off won't hurt. I enforced a quiet morning while I worked (he played with his Lego) then let him watch TV in the afternoon. By the time Jasmine got home from school he was running around the house full of energy.

My exercise today was ten minutes of laps inside the house. I walked around the lounge/kitchen loop then jogged up the hall and back. I did 31 laps in the ten minutes. Ten minutes is my promise to myself for this week, even if I don't feel like it.

Breakfast was a slice of roast beef, cucumber, carrot, and 1.5 kiwi fruit (2 shown, I didn't eat it all). And a cup of tea. Still working on getting the sugar below half a teaspoon.

Morning tea was cheese, cucumber and tomato.

Lunch was pulled pork with salad which I put together in lettuce leaves for bite-sized goodness. The amount in the picture was shared with my son. Also a cup of tea.

No picture of my too-much cheese, then cashews and some other nuts, and later a carrot and my third cup of tea for the day. It was spread out over an hour or more of nibbling.

Dinner was steak with mushroom and onion. I made myself a little green salad with Thousand Island dressing and ate a little of it. I'd recently checked the label on a different bottle of dressing and that was high fat/low carb. But after a few bites of this I looked at the label and it was very high carb! Lots of sugar. So I didn't eat it.

Maybe that is why I was still peckish a couple of hours later, and had a hot chocolate.
It was very very yummy and I'm having a hard time regretting it. Good night, all!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

High carb day


It is Wednesday morning, actually, and I somehow forgot to post yesterday. So a quick catch up.

In contrast to the day before, it was cold and dark with intermittent rain. So I stayed inside. The morning didn't start well when my breakfast egg tried to fly and be free. Splat on the floor. I had to start again. I should have got a photo of that, probably more interesting than eggs on toast again!

I did some dancing but felt lacklustre and uninspired. I'm still having occasional queasiness for no apparent reason. I pushed myself to 30 minutes.

Morning tea was strawberries with yoghurt, and a couple of baby carrots.

Lunch was an oven baked chicken breast, potato, cucumber and carrot. It was a high carb day, obviously.

Afternoon tea was a pita pizza with low-fat pepperoni. Very yummy. My phone refused to take a photo, saying its memory was full, which was nonsense. I ate it early, then went to a friend's house after school where I ignored the several types of biscuits on the table and just had a cup of tea and a chat.

Took Jasmine to her dance class, came home to pulled pork and salad in a bread roll. I also had some cucumber on the side. And then picked at some more pork as I put the leftovers away.

I've come to realise that my protein portions are often too large. They are supposed to be the size of the palm of my hand. Since I'm having protein five times a day, I need to watch the portion size a bit more carefully. I weigh myself every couple of days, and my weight went up after my free day on Saturday and has been slowly going down but is still currently higher than my official weight last Friday. I've got two low carb days now to fix that.