Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tan lines


Tim is very stiff and sore today. He moved around slowly watering the garden, then we went to Jasmine's assembly where she got an award for music/band and technology (she also got her report card and did very well) then Tim went to work. I came home and had lunch then a nap. Actually I had a nap in the morning too after getting the kids off to school.

I continue to feel pretty awful in the mornings. Achy body, like I’m sick or hungover, sometimes sore throat, upset tummy with some unpleasant bathroom experiences. This morning my arms and hands feel swollen and poisoned. But from a couple of hours after getting up I’m mostly ok for the rest of the day. Tired early in the evening. I suppose I have a virus.

When Aiden got home from school we had a swim, then picked up Jasmine from her after-school activity and had another swim. The pool is certainly getting a lot of use! I am so happy with it, it's beautiful. Just have to be very careful about sunburn, outside so much.

How do other people get lovely even tans? I have relatively brown arms and a circle high on my chest, exposed by T-shirts. Now I have lighter tanned areas on my shoulders and cleavage, from wearing two different swimming costumes. Like concentric circles in shades of brown. White strap lines. I'm about four different colours just on my chest.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Not a great day


Today I spent three and a half frustrating fruitless hours looking for clothes for myself. Something pretty to wear on Christmas Day, and a new swimming cossie. Despite browsing in or at least poking my head in every single clothes shop in the enormous Miranda complex, I only tried on a handful of clothes. In two shops. I didn't buy anything. Everything was either hideous, or too small. Many clothes didn't even come close to my size. And if I go by what was on the racks, now swimming costumes are only made up Aus size 14 (US 12, Europe 44 I think) which I can't quite squeeze into. I tried. The two shops exclusively selling swimwear didn't cater to my size at all, nor did the department stores. Yet I'm not unusually large. Overweight, yes, but in a pretty average way. It seems larger people are expected to wear floaty nylon blouses, and never go swimming. Depressing waste of a day.

I know the big cheap stores like Target and Big W will have bigger sizes. (Target in Australia is not affiliated with Target in the US.) Luckily fat people don't care about fashion, or comfortable non-sweaty fabrics, or trying to look good. Why bother, right? Arg!

Feeling fat.

Tim pulled a muscle in his back at the gym today, and is very sore and walking around all twisted. He goes to the gym regularly at lunchtime, but had been too busy to go for a while, which may have contributed to the injury. I think it’s likely he’ll stiffen up overnight and be worse tomorrow, too.

In spring the pool heater took two or three days to get the water up to a nice temperature. More recently, only half a day. Today, when I checked in the morning it was already above the set temperature, without having to turn it on at all! We keep it at a lovely 29C. The kids and I went for a short swim after school (I stay out of the sun before that), then after dropping Jasmine at Acrogym Aiden and I went in again. And in the evening Aiden wanted to go in again, even though the air had cooled down a lot (water still warm of course) so Jasmine went out and watched him swim in the dark. We have solar garden lights and a pool light but they are all fairly dim so you definitely know it’s night time. I have a rule the kids aren’t allowed to swim alone, someone must be either in with them or watching prepared to rescue.

Monday, December 11, 2017

lots of swimming


The kids had their Acrogym Christmas party on Friday afternoon. Started with a crowd of kids on a jumping castle and tumble mat and a few other gymnastic equipment things, then the 'development groups' (including Jasmine) did group performances and all the little kids got participation medals. Jasmine's group - level one - was pretty good, but oh my goodness the level six performance from the really experienced kids! Gasps of awe from the audience.

Saturday was Christmas shopping for extended family, and a swim in the afternoon. Sunday was BBQ lunch and party for my niece Ashleigh turning one, she's the youngest of the three born at the end of last year. Then another swim in the afternoon. Tim and Aiden went with the other boys to see Justice League in the evening, Jasmine and I weren't interested.

I'd been feeling a little achy Sunday morning but then better during the day, but by about 7:30 at night was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open. I thought maybe it was just the result of a big meal after a big day and went to bed at 8:30, before the boys even got home. But this morning very achy back and also a sore throat. Dammit. I do not want to be sick again. I just got better after four weeks of flu!

Some good news today about a story I've been following (story is the wrong word, don't know what the right one is). The winner of this year's Eurovision song contest, Salvador Sobral from Portugal, has been in hospital for months waiting for a heart transplant. He was even unwell during the actual Eurovision, his sister stood in for him at all the rehearsals and he wasn't allowed to leave his doctor's care for long, he just sang in the actual competition. Some people say he got a pity vote but I thought he was wonderful. Shortly afterwards he had to retire from his music career because of his health. He was offered a new heart in October but was too sick at the time to have the operation. Anyway in the news this morning he has finally got a new heart and is recovering well from the surgery so I am grateful for that. I know it means that someone else has died, but at least they were able to save one person's life - maybe more - who would have died if they hadn't been an organ donor.

My weight this morning was 76.2 kg, still slowly creeping up. That is 1.1 kg up in four weeks since I stopped Duromine. And still two weeks to Christmas! So much temptation around. This past week it was that time of the month and I was just hungry all the time. I ate and ate. I think I'm also feeling the effects of 'nothing to do'. Of course there are always things to do, but there is nothing pressing to take my mind off food! Exams are over, kids still at school, Christmas shopping done, I'm not even into any games at the moment. It’s not that I'm not enjoying leisure time, it's just that I'm enjoying using a lot of that time to eat. Eat, watch TV and read. Nice. But not slimming.

I wrote about moving the spider, Gertrude, from too near the pool seating over to the corner. She has stayed where I put her and seems happy there, in as much as you can tell with a spider. But her identical twin sister, Beatrice, has spun her web almost directly in front of the mailbox! Very uncomfortable getting super-close to fetch the mail. I might have to move her too. And near the laundry door there was a messy web (obviously not one of those that gets eaten and remade every day) with some very large bugs stuck in it - including a whole cockroach - beside a hole that the spider hid in. I didn't know if I wanted to know what sort. Turns out I didn't. Seen Lord of the Rings, with that spider Shelob? Yeah, like that. Shudder. A red back. Venomous. Biggest one I've seen. Too dangerous to leave there with kids around. I pumped half a can of fly spray into her lair, and scooped the body into the bin so no lizards could eat it.

Another swim when the kids got home from school. We are really making the most of having a pool! There is a very hot week coming up, forecast of 38C on Thursday. My new and not so new swimming cosies were both in the wash so today I dug out a really old one. Saggy and horrible. Public pool chlorine had taken its toll. I wore it with a Tshirt over the top but put it in the bin afterwards. I need to buy another one. Something pretty. I enjoy feeling much better in a cossie than I did 8 kilograms ago.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Arachnid relocation successful


For a few weeks we've had an orb spider spinning its web between two pot plants right under the shade umbrella.
I moved the sun lounges further away but when I wanted to unfurl the umbrella I had to stand with it literally half an arms' length away from my chest - way too close! Both Tim and I are scared of spiders, I think he's even worse than me. He once broke a window trying to kill a Huntsman with a broom. To be fair, it was the size of a dinner plate. Yes I mean that literally. Biggest damn spider I've ever seen. A big dinner plate.

I just looked up orb spiders and their venom isn't very toxic to humans but the top two searches said "non-aggressive, seldom bite" and "most common spider species to bite" so I don't know which to believe! Either way, it was non-aggressively doing its job eating insects for me and I didn't want to kill it but I also didn't want it so close to where I sit trying to relax by the pool. So yesterday afternoon I got a very long stick and scooped it off its web and carried it over to the frangipani in the corner by the fence, out of the way but with lots of branches to string its web between (they make a new web every night and eat the old one). It was very co-operative, sat right on the end of the stick (didn't come scuttling towards me, which would have resulted in screams and throwing of the stick) and crawled off onto its new home straight away.
And this morning there was a neat new web among the frangipani branches. I was worried it would make its way back to the old place, only a few meters away, but hopefully it will be happy in the new spot.
As spiders go, it's not too scary or ugly. Quite pretty really. If you know Australia, you know we have a lot of 'nopes' (because you look at them and say 'nope' (no) as you back away) that are much bigger, hairier, and filled with the lust to kill. Try looking up Funnel Web Spider. Gertrude isn't so bad.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Grumpy's wife


We have two kinds of weather at the moment, blazing hot or stormy. Neither is particularly good for gardening (but great for the garden) and the grass has got very long. I went out the back, considering a bit of a mow by the pool, but I could feel the hair on my arms crisping up so decided against it. But I was pulling a few weeds as I wandered around when there was movement beside me and I jumped about a foot into the air.

It seems Grumpy has found himself a wife! She's hiding between the rocks in the shade of the passionfruit vine. She was probably sunning herself on the paving tile before we startled each other.
I wasn't very impressed with Grumpy, he stayed still while I watched but the moment I turned away he scuttled off behind the shed, leaving her alone to face the human. I know almost nothing about lizards but I'd already decided that Grumpy was male and this new one is bigger and more blue/grey, (he's more brown) so that is good enough for me to label her as the female (and maybe pregnant because she is fatter!) Wouldn't it be lovely if they had a family.

I'll have to think of a name for her. I'm not going to call her Mrs Grumpy, how old fashioned and sexist!

I had a swim by myself this afternoon because I knew we wouldn't have time after school (but I might suggest an after-dinner swim if it's still hot). I say "swim", I mean I mostly sat in the water or moved slowly around. The only place in the shade in the water at that time of day was in the grotto, a sort of cave under the waterfall which has a ledge under water to sit on and another ledge out of the water that you can put things on. The water feature sticks out all around, so to get my book there I held it in my mouth and dog-paddled over! Dried my hands on my hair then sat and read in the shade, rib deep in cool water. It was lovely.



I forgot to say that my weight Monday morning was 76.0 kg, which is up another 0.3 from the 75.7 the week before BUT the mornings since then have been 75.5, 75.6 and 75.4 kg so I think the 76 was an outlier that can be ignored. If I look at the following three days I'm actually down a little bit since last week.

In light of the Time magazine person of the year being the #metoo movement (or so I read), I will tell a #metoo story of my own though I don't really like thinking about that kind of thing. It was late-ish at night, I took a taxi alone from a group gathering in the city to the train station. I was a Uni student at the time, so around 20 years old. I don't really like being in the city at night but felt safe once I got in the taxi. I got in the front seat, which seemed normal to me then. I don't do that anymore. The driver was male, maybe in his 30s. I asked him to take me to the train station. Once the car was under way, he put his hand on my arm and suggested he could drive me all the way home instead. I was terrified. I said I didn't have enough money for that. He suggested money wouldn't be a problem, I don't recall the exact words but it was clear he was offering to drive me home in return for sex. It is not in my nature to react aggressively to confrontation, and also I was scared of what he would do if I was 'rude'. He was a man, much stronger than me and older, and in control of a moving vehicle. I stayed extremely polite, said no thanks, the station was fine, just the station, probably shaking and stuttering. I tried to memorise his details from the licence hanging on the dashboard. He tried to convince me but ended up dropping me at the station.

He was not verbally threating and I'm pretty sure now he wouldn't have done anything without my consent but I felt completely powerless. I considered throwing myself from the taxi when we were stopped at the lights. I said 'no thanks, just take me to the station' several times but in quite a weak polite way. I did not wrench my arm away from the contact, I didn't know what to do. I was scared to make him angry. And I was scared to get out of the taxi in a random location in the city at night, would I be any safer? Should I get out? Would he make me get out if I was 'rude'? But was he going to drive me somewhere of his own choice? I didn't know the city well, couldn't even be sure he was taking me to the station. I had no power, so scared, trying to make plans of what to do if...

When I got home I told my older brother. He was of the opinion that the taxi driver was just offering, he hadn't hurt or threatened me, and how else was he supposed to pick up girls or find out if they were willing to exchange services for sex unless he asked them? And I hadn't strongly told him to piss off so I was giving mixed messages. The driver hadn't really done anything wrong. Not the response I was hoping for. But pretty common male thinking apparently. I can see that side of it, but it seems they can't see what it's like to get an offer like that in a situation of such power imbalance. If I was in a club surrounded by friends and other people it would have been a different thing (although the touching would still be creepy); but alone, when and where it happened was very threatening because I had no way to get away from him or control where we went and no friends to defend me. I did try to complain to the taxi company but nothing ever happened, I can't remember now if I wasn't able to remember the driver's details or if they just never got back to me.

Well that took longer than I expected to write.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Nap time


On Sunday we had family over for Dungeons and Dragons as usual and dinner. I managed a quick 10 min dip in the pool before they arrived, it's the first time I've been in the pool all by myself. Peaceful. I would have stayed in longer except I had cleaning and cooking to get done. It wasn't really a hot day (but the water was warm) which is why no one else came in.

Sunday night Tim came down sick, and was home all Monday. I'm not sure if I had a touch of the same thing, my tummy has continued to be a bit upset since the antibiotics, despite drinking Yakult (fermented milk drink, sounds horrible but tastes like melted ice cream). I'll try more home-made yoghurt. Anyway, Tim is fine now. He's been very overworked lately and needs the upcoming Christmas break.

I've done a couple more Christmas shopping trips and have now (I think) finished getting presents for Tim and our kids as well as the other children in the family. Just a few more things to get, now; father-in-law, brother etc. I feel very organised this year. We have also already sorted out who is bringing what food on the day. And the least-reliable person is bringing things I don't like anyway, so that is perfect! I don't care if they forget. My part, the turkey and roast vegetables, is no more than I do most Sundays anyway. I'm feeling very relaxed about it all.

I've also spent time organising my study notes and I've started writing a summary for one of my subjects that I did in first semester before I realised it was the aspect of library work that I wanted to pursue. The manual we were given is good, but for other important subjects I've already written detailed notes that have been invaluable in exams and I think useful for when I get a job. I haven't bothered for subjects like Event Management or Promote Literature, but a ten-page summary is a very useful resource when you need to assign a Dewey Decimal Number.

One thing I plan for this two-month holiday break is to make a start on the novel I've been thinking about. I still like my first book, it's my first-born, but I can see now that it has its flaws. I sent it to a couple of places ages ago but I don't think I will continue to try to get it published, at least not at the moment or in its present form. Maybe I'll revise it one day. I'm not sad about shelving it, the work was not wasted if it makes me a better author. And I don't really want publishing houses to associate my name with anything other than my best work! I've been thinking about a completely different story for a year or so, too busy to write during term (and I get all the computer time my RSI can take while studying), it would be good to get a start on writing it down. And my last semester will be a much lighter workload, only three subjects plus placement (work experience) instead of the six subjects per semester I had been doing.

Our garage still has a pile of boxes that don't seem to have anything essential in them, I want to finish going through them (two years after we moved!) and we have also accumulated a bunch of other stuff filling the space - children's bicycles too small for them, broken wheelbarrow, rolls of old carpet. So I've organised for a charity to come and pick up the good stuff like the bicycles and then booked in a council clean up (we get two a year as taxpayers and haven't used the service yet) where they pick up a pile of junk from your curb. We're supposed to have two-car garage here but have never fit in the second car!

Aside from all that, I've been resting! Nothing can send me off to a peaceful afternoon nap like watching the cricket on TV. The commentators drone along about how this is the highest score by a red-headed Englishman on a wet Tuesday and I nod off. The short forms of the game are exciting and I love the Big Bash (three and a half hour long matches) but the original five-day Test matches are long hot summer day dozing material. It's pouring outside at the moment - even better for a nap!