Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mind Control and Car Accident

later Wednesday:

A couple of days ago a friend brought over a Christmas present she'd received - a mind control device for your phone. You put it on like a headset, touching your skull in three places plus a clip on one earlobe, and then use your brainwaves to control your smartphone. So cool! At the moment there aren't many good apps for it, but she showed me one and I had a go. You have to use your active brainwaves to blow up a barrel of fireworks - I had it fizzing but couldn't get it to blow up. Then you use your calm brainwaves, like meditating, to make a ball float into the air. I did better at that one, even though I suck at meditation and calming my brain! I did exactly what I do if a doctor is about to stick a needle into my arm (I am not at all scared of needles, but I know how to make it hurt less), I looked away and made my body go limp. And the ball on the screen floated up. I thought it was interesting that relaxing my body immediately calmed my brain (deliberately unclenching my jaw works too if I'm angry). But as soon as I looked at the screen, the ball started to sink again. It was really fun but you'd need more games than that to keep the interest going.

In other news, my father-in-law and his new girlfriend, who we met at Christmas a week ago, were supposed to visit a couple of days ago but postponed at the last minute so they could do something more fun on New Year's Eve. They were on their way here this afternoon when they had a car accident about an hour away. They are both fine, thank goodness, but apparently the car lost a wheel so it sounds pretty serious. Father-in-law says it was the other guy's fault, but I don't have any other details yet. They are getting the car towed to the nearest town and Tim has headed off to pick them up.

They were going to stay for two nights, no idea now. Might depend on the car getting repaired. Or maybe it's totalled.

This is the second car accident Des has been in in the past couple of years, which worries me. The other time he left the road in the dark and went down a short embankment. I had been starting to get concerned about my mum doing the long drive here at her age - she won't be doing it any more, we'll always visit her - so now I have to start worrying about Des instead! And my own father has a six hour drive here in a couple of weeks, on his own. Why do people have to get old?

My mum is feeling much the same. Her leg hurts if she puts weight on it but otherwise no pain, but she is tired all the time and mostly sleeps. She has her appointment with the radiotherapy doctor on Monday.

Happy New Year


Happy New Year everyone!

After a troubled night's sleep due to the heat, I got up and did an 8 minute standing yoga session then a 30 minute walk so that was a good start to the New Year. I didn't actually enjoy the exercise; yoga is difficult and boring (I am getting so old and creaky!) and outside was hot and full of flies ... but I did it anyway! Tick.

I just read through the last couple of years' NY resolution posts and it was a bit depressing. Same talk of weight loss, finishing my novel, drinking more water etc. Things I still haven't achieved. I weigh more now than I did in either of the previous two years. I think reading those posts was a bad idea. Forget them and look forward.

Starting weight for 2014 is 82.5 kg.

I worked out my Uni timetable and full time would be five pretty full days, with three days going past the end of my children's school hours, requiring after-school childcare. And that is not including study or assignments. No time for writing my novel, grocery shopping without kids, exercise, helping kids with homework or anything else. And the children already have extra-curricular swimming lessons, dance, karate, and violin to fit in. I am going to investigate part time. It will take a lot longer, of course, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? For now, I just can't manage 19 face-to-face hours per week plus study and homework. I have a course advice session this Friday so I will be able to chat to someone.

New scale

Tuesday night - NYE:

I'd been feeling very tired all day and this evening my lower abdomen was having some ominous pains so I sent Tim and the kids out to see the 9.00pm fireworks without me. Couldn't risk being far from amenities, in case of a digestive emergency. I do feel a bit sad, home alone on NYE, but they'll be back in a while.

The last time I bought bathroom scales, when my digital ones stopped working, I decided to get old fashioned dial scales. I felt that getting ones that digitally showed your weight within 100 grams plus fat percentage and hydration and twenty other things was silly because they just weren't that accurate. You could get a variation of a lot more than 100 grams just by getting off then on again. But now, I dunno - six months later maybe? I'm terrible at estimating time past - I've changed my mind and bought a new set of digital scales. Nothing fancy, just my weight. I got sick of trying to estimate where the dial was - is that 81 and a half or 81 and three quarters?

I was fully prepared for my old scales and new scales to register very different weights. I got out the new one tonight for an unofficial weigh-in to compare them. I won't tell you the number - evening and fully clothed doesn't count! But to my astonishment they gave me exactly the same number (as exactly as I could estimate the dial one). So I am going to trust my new scale.

Not weighing myself every day has NOT worked. I have put on quite a bit since I stopped in April. So from tomorrow I will weigh myself every morning and plot the number on my graph like I used to. I have to learn from my experiences of the past few years since I seriously started trying to lose weight and use what works. Weighing every single day keeps me accountable, and daily fluctuations don't stress me because I've done it for long enough to know that that can happen. As long as the up and down jags tend downwards overall.

See you all in 2014.

Monday, December 30, 2013


Tuesday - New Year's Eve:

'Tis the time for reviewing the old year and looking forward to the new one.

For 2013, a couple of stand-outs for me are writing half a novel and finding out my mum has cancer. One good, one bad. Did anything else big happen? Not that I can think of right now. Health/weight stayed much the same (overall probably a bit worse). Same house/husband/children/friends as before.

2014 is shaping up to be a big year. I'd been wavering about Uni but my Poppa (grandfather) gave me some money at Christmas so I feel less guilty about that side of it and decided to go for it. I've enrolled to start full time in February. We'll see how that goes, might have to change to part time.

As I mentioned, I wrote (nearly) half a book in the second half of 2013. I was hoping to complete it in that time, but didn't. And then I stopped entirely with worrying about my mum, then going away on holiday and Christmas and now school holidays plus finishing reading nearly 200 short stories for an award I am judging. But I am not going to abandon my novel, even though I'm planning full time Uni and have all the usual other commitments of family and health. It was going really well and it is something I've always wanted to do. I'll just have to make time, somehow.

As usual, my main NY resolution is to work on my health. Good food (not too much), exercise, drinking water, sleeping, enjoying life. A few blogs I read this morning talked about picking a word or phrase as your theme for the year, and I loved "Thrive". Not just staggering through my days, but unfurling the tendrils of being. Looking after my health without punishment or guilt. Nourishing my body and my mind and appreciating the results. Feeling gratitude for what I have.

(Mother's Day 2012, my mum and me and the kids)

(December 2013, my mum and the kids)

Sunday, December 29, 2013



I've often said that I don't really have a problem with sugar (I have other issues, of course) and it doesn't particularly tempt me. Over the several-day family hop that is Christmas I had a lot more sugar than usual; desserts, nibbles between meals, and worst of all soft drink (fizzy, sugary stuff - I think Americans call it soda).

I don't even know why I drank it, I can't stand the stuff. So sweet and cloying. But it was mostly what was offered and I was too lazy to get up and get myself a glass of water, I guess. With that plus juice at breakfast I had gone from zero sweet drinks to four or five a day. By lunchtime on Boxing Day I could actually feel it sluggishly filling up my bloodstream, it was making me feel physically sick. So I vowed not to have any more, and I didn't.

But since then, whether from the liquid sugar or just the general treat-fest, I have been craving sugar. I've eaten most of the little treats from my two Christmas stockings, even the ones I don't like and couldn't believe I was eating them. Peppermint candy canes in particular have become irresistible. I can see this is going to take a bit of work. Getting back to normal after Christmas isn't as easy as I expected.

Friday, December 27, 2013

My Christmas


We drove to Sydney on Christmas Eve to stay at a hotel on the beach. We hadn't been to this particular hotel for a while but it used to be a favourite with my husband and I before we had kids. It always seemed the height of luxury, with lovely rooms overlooking the ocean. Well, maybe it was ritzy ten or more years ago. But I don't think they've done any refurbishment since then! Our room was disappointingly shabby with threadbare carpets and smelled funny. The kids' beds were blocking the door to one of the tiny balconies so I'm sure it wasn't originally a "family" room. The available balcony overlooked the dingy backyards of local restaurants, full of rubbish bins and cardboard boxes. Yet it was still as expensive as we remembered!

However, we tried to ignore all that and concentrate on Christmas cheer. We put up our little travelling tree and then the kids went for a swim in the rooftop pool while we grownups read in the deck chairs, enjoying the ocean-scented breeze and (finally) an amazing view. Then a walk along the beach-front to a nice restaurant and back to try to settle the excited children for sleep.

Of course all being in the one room meant that we had to turn off the lights so the kids could sleep, yet my husband and I had to stay awake to put out the presents once the kids were asleep. And put them under the tree in almost pitch-darkness. But finally we were allowed to go to bed. I slept very poorly, excited about Christmas (honestly, I'm as bad as the kids) but also kept awake/repeatedly woken by the revellers shouting and breaking bottles under our window, the garbage truck doing its rounds at 3:15 am (on Christmas morning!) and AGAIN at about 6:00 am.

But finally it was time to get up and open our presents! Yay! We all got lots of things; books and music and jewellery and computer stuff mostly. We bought Aiden a proper drum kit but the car was packed even without it so we just wrapped the drumsticks and left the rest at home. Buffet breakfast at the hotel (a bit lacklustre) then off to Tim's brother's place for big family lunch.

It was lovely to see everyone and share lunch to which everyone contributed, and play with my baby niece who is 9 months old now and very cuddly. Then my kids got to play Santa's helpers and hand out all the presents under the tree. I did have a bit of a disappointment at this point. I got a book from my father-in-law and a massage gift voucher from my brother & sister-in-law, but the rest do a Secret Santa, spending quite a lot of money on the one person, and I didn't receive anything. The person who was supposed to buy for me had a premature baby a few weeks ago (or rather his wife did) and he apologised and said he hadn't had time. Of course I said I understood, and I did. But still. There was no offer of getting me something later, or money to chose myself something or anything. A bit of a downer to get nothing when the kids are piling up stacks to the roof (they still get presents from everyone). His wife also didn't get anything for her recipient. I don't want to seem petty, of course I do understand, but it was a bit of a sad moment during the present orgy.

So, anyway, then off to see my mum and take her to her father's (Poppa is still going strong at 95) for Christmas dinner. Lucky I like turkey! More food, chatting with family, more presents for the kids, three toddlers running around, my cousins who are all younger than me suddenly seeming like adults now they're mostly married with kids, my aunts in the kitchen all evening as usual, rubbishy Christmas crackers with junky "prizes" and stupid jokes inside, Poppa spending forever trying to set up his DVD show us a video of my cousin's engagement party. Good times.

Another, different hotel near my Poppa's - a fairly new building and so much nicer! Really lovely. And an amazing breakfast buffet. I had a special treat of two glasses of freshly squeezed juice, nothing like stuff from a bottle!

We went back to my mum's and helped her with the housework. She is not feeling as tired as she had been, now she's been on the medication for a week, but is finding walking and standing painful and difficult. She still doing her own shopping, and is worried about losing her independence. She spends most of the time lying down. Hopefully if the pills shrink the tumours in her hips it will help with walking.

Then back to my brother-in-law's for Boxing Day BBQ lunch - it is my father-in-law's birthday on Boxing Day so we always all get back together again. Then we all went to see "The Hobbit part two: The Desolation of Smaug" - in two shifts so there was always someone to look after the children. Great movie! Leftovers for dinner and we stayed at my brother-in-law's overnight.

Have I mentioned the spare-room bed there yet? My sister-in-law's parents chose it when they were staying for about 9 months, visiting from China. It looks comfortable enough, a huge thing that takes up the entire room and is much higher than a normal bed. Looks soft, right? The first time I climbed onto it I thought I had bruised my knees. When we travelled in China we found all the beds, even in the Western-style hotels, horribly hard, and this one follows that pattern. Good for your back, they say. But I honestly think decently-thick carpet would be more comfortable.

Friday a smaller family group assembled and we played some games, a relaxing morning after all the bustle of Christmas, then we did the "car tetris - advanced level" challenge, packing everything in somehow and set out for the long drive home. Overall it was a lovely few days. But so nice to be home in my own bed!

This morning I weighed 82 kg, up half a kg (1 pound) and went for a 1 hour walk before it got too hot. I didn't overeat at mealtimes but I did have quite a few unhealthy snacks in between. Back to normal eating and regular exercise!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ready for Christmas


Spent today cooking for Christmas and sorting all the clothes I washed after our holiday and packing bags. Heading to Sydney tomorrow for several days of family Christmas. And seeing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on Boxing Day.

I think we're ready for Christmas!

Merry Christmas one and all, have a great festive season.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday snaps


Spent today washing several suitcases worth of dirty clothes, wrapping the last few Christmas presents, and relaxing. Doing all my share of the Christmas cooking tomorrow.

I weighed myself this morning, 81.5kg which is my pre-tummy-bug weight so I think I did ok considering we ate out several times a day for a week.

Here are a couple of photos of me on our holiday.
Aiden and I on a ride at SeaWorld. Aiden flew very safely so that I wasn't scared.

At the beach with Aiden and Jasmine.
I received my acceptance letter from Uni last night, so I can study Bachelor of Human Nutrition next year if I want. Still a little hesitant, I'm worried about three more years of me not earning anything, in fact with fees and maybe some after-school care for the kids it would be a drain on our finances. Also I'm only halfway through writing my novel but doing well enough that I want to continue with it. It is partly dependant on if Tim decides he just can't stand the work he is doing any longer and we both end up as check-out chicks! At the moment he earns enough for us both, but it is a very high stress job and we're not sure what is going to happen if he doesn't find another job soon in the same field. Uni starts in Feb and I have until mid-Feb to back out without paying anything or registering a fail. Mum's health is another issue. I love study but I'm just not sure at the moment.
Mum's oncologist gave her a much better prognosis than I expected. Apparently it is grade 1 cancer, the easiest to treat, and the tumours are feeding on oestrogen so they are giving her one pill a day to block the oestrogen production. Hopefully the tumours will shrink and then they can do radiotherapy on the bone and breast tumours. No lengthy chemo in hospital, and she shouldn't feel too sick. So that is great news. At the moment she is having a lot of trouble walking any distance (like the long corridors in the hospital to have tests!) which is bad but will hopefully improve with this therapy. Such a relief, I was really bracing myself for much worse news.
Only three sleeps until Christmas!

The illustrated holiday


Just got back from a lovely holiday to Surfer's Paradise, a small city on Queensland's Gold Coast (north-eastern coast of Australia, all golden beaches and blue skies). Beautiful mild summer weather, perfect for beach and pool-going, and ironically we left a heat-wave back home.

We started with a visit to my mum and then my niece in Sydney, then flew north. I don't like heights and I'm not a good flyer but I did ok and it went smoothly. Given my fear of heights, I was a bit worried about our holiday apartment on the 33rd floor:
But I was fine. Admittedly I only went out on the balcony a couple of times. I loved lying on the bed looking out at this view!

The first afternoon we just hung around the hotel pool, which had a pirate ship waterslide. My daughter must have gone down it a hundred times.

The next day we walked to the beach. The surf was a bit rough so we stayed well within our depth and toyed with the waves and built sand castles. I spent quite a while sitting on the sand with waves washing over my legs. Very peaceful and lovely. Unfortunately, despite being covered in sunscreen and only being out for an hour, I got quite sunburnt in a distinct line on my shoulders and chest where my cossie had covered when I was putting the sunscreen on, but then the material must have moved down a little bit as I moved around. Burnt on the first morning! Curse my lily-white skin.

We stayed out of the sun in the middle of the day by going on an Aquaduck after lunch. This is a bus that goes into water (calm water, Surfer's Paradise is a long strip a few blocks wide with an ocean beach on one side and the broadwater on the other) and chuggs along beside the enormous houses of the rich and famous. I spotted a couple of dolphins. Then in the afternoon it was back to the hotel pool for more slides and then time in the indoor heated pool and spa.

Next day we went to Movieworld ("Hollywood on the Gold Coast!") which I think is like a miniature Disneyland. Rides, shows of motorbike stunt riding and precision car driving, a short 4D Ice Age movie where the chairs shake and water gets sprayed at you at appropriate moments, people wandering around in moviestar costumes. Willy Wonka, Marilyn Monroe etc. The kids loved it, not so much me. I didn't fit on the kiddie rides and the adult ones were much too scary for me. I got to try Ben & Jerry's ice cream which I was very interested in doing because it seemed to be so popular in the US but it was horrible! Some kind of chocolate variety - chocolate temptation I think. So sickly sweet and rich. It cost a fortune and I could hardly eat any of it. What a waste. However, the kids had a great day and Tim got to go on a couple of grown-up rides so it was a good day overall.

Another morning at the pool. We unwisely stayed out for more than two hours and this time poor Jasmine got quite badly burnt on the arms and Tim on his shoulders. We spent the hot after-lunch period playing putt putt golf (mini golf) in a sort of indoor warehouse space so we were out of the sun. We had planned to go to the beach in the late afternoon but couldn't risk any more time in the sun so it was back to the pool which was shaded by the building in the afternoon.

On our last full day we went to SeaWorld which was my favourite day. Sea-lion and dolphin shows, a SpongeBob Squarepants parade, more rides for kids and grown-ups (and I fit on the kids' ones), patting manta-rays, an enormous lagoon aquarium, a SpongeBob 3D movie (not as gimmicky as the 4D movie, but better), dinosaur island (not sure how that fits with the sea theme) and my favourite was Buccaneer Bay which involves sailing around a little bay in a pirate ship shooting water cannons at people on shore while they fire back. We got soaked! Awesome.
Dinosaur island, obviously.

Buccaneer Bay!

Dolphins showing off nose strength!
We tried really hard every day to avoid sunburn but I guess that was impossible unless we had stayed in the room all day. Jasmine's arms were exposed to more sun as we walked around SeaWorld and even Aiden, who has more olive skin, was a bit pink.
On the final morning the kids had one last quick swim before we packed up and flew home again. It turned out that we only played at the beach once, on the first morning, but we were near the beach many times walking to and from restaurants for lunch and other outings so we got to enjoy the sight and the sea-breeze without the sand in our cossies. 

We were exhausted at the end of every day and I usually crashed at the same time as the kids each night, straight after dinner. We ate out every meal except for two breakfasts of fruit and toast in our room, and also had snacks while out and about. I haven't weighed myself yet!
The flight back was a bit more trying as there was a bit of turbulence at the end. I spent the final couple of minutes hyperventilating and hanging on to the arm rests, in tears. But we got down safely.
I'm not in any of these photos because I took them with my iPhone, Tim also took lots of photos with an actual camera so I'm in some of those. I might post some after I've seen what they look like. Or not.
It was a really great holiday but I also love being home again. My own house, my own bed. Can't beat home. 

Friday, December 13, 2013


Friday night:

It may be controversial, but I love "Next Top Model" shows. You get to see that these "perfect" girls are still just people with many flaws (both physical and emotional) and they often only look good with heavy make-up that took experts a couple of hours to apply and then they take a hundred photographs to get one good one.

And then, apparently, in the real modelling industry if not on these shows, they air-brush the photographs. A lot.

What you see in the magazine is nothing like what the girl started her working day looking like. It's reassuring to know that.

And I'm a sucker for a transformation, too. Love that you can take a weird-looking person and make her look fabulous.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Emotional eating


I am very much aware that I am an emotional eater, primarily reacting to boredom and tiredness but also (I would have said) stress. I don't eat so much when happily busy, and I've never had a problem with big celebrations like Christmas because I actually eat less when around lots of people and chatting and cooking and everything else. I am much more likely to overeat when alone, bingeing on a bag of chips in front of the TV.

I would have thought that all the stress and worry about my mum would have pushed me towards overeating but it's had the opposite affect. Even though I've had fast food a several times and dessert at my sister-in-law's and lots of access to Christmas treats, and I've been sleeping really badly which would usually be another trigger, I actually lost nearly a kilogram in that first week. When we had McDonald's recently while travelling I got my usual order but then only ate half of it, and that has been my pattern lately. I have to remember to have a snack to manage my blood sugar. I just haven't been much interested in eating.

Then of course the past few days I've been quite sick and I lost a lot more (I'm sure temporary) weight, yesterday morning I was down to 80kg. So I've lost about 2.5kg (5.5 pounds) in a week and a half.

Of course the irony is that the reasons for me losing the weight are totally not worth the result. Any other time I'd be so excited to lose weight so rapidly. But not now.

I am quite a lot better today, up to eating a whole piece of toast for breakfast this morning and able to walk the kids to school (well, halfway, I got them across the road then they walked the rest of the way without me). I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get out this afternoon to do the grocery shopping and return our overdue library books. Trying to mainly take it easy though, and not think about the 50 million things I need to be doing in the lead up to Christmas. At least we aren't hosting this year!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Visiting mum and stomach bug


I haven't posted for a while, partly because for the last few days I've been down with a nasty stomach bug and haven't been out of bed. Just starting to try food again now.

The first 24 hours I was able to still feel a lot of gratitude that I had got sick now, this week, and not when I was trying to visit mum or during Christmas or while we were away on holidays soon. But after the first day or so it's hard to keep up the positive attitude!

Also I've been struggling a lot with sleep. Since hearing about mum's cancer I've been sleeping really badly - taking a long time to get to sleep, waking during the night, and waking early. Worrying. So tossing and turning with stomach cramps these past couple of nights hasn't helped.

We saw mum on the weekend. I hadn't seen her for two months and she's already lost quite a bit of weight. Her hips are hurting her so she limps and rests a lot. But she's still able to get around and look after herself. She's finally got an appointment with the oncologist but not until next week which I am really mad about, I want them to get started on treatment as soon as possible. She showed me her x-rays and her bones are riddled with cancer everywhere. I don't know if they can do anything for her but we won't know until she has at least seen the specialist.

While we were there I did weeks' worth of washing up while Tim vacuumed and mopped the floors. And my brother, who lives there, sat around and watched or played with the kids. It's so frustrating. I've already talked to dad, who has agreed to take him if the need arises, but that might be a fight. Yes he has OCD which makes him wash his hands a lot and hoard stale food, but he is also just a lazy selfish bastard. I live four hours away but I have to come and wash a kitchen full of dishes! I had to keep reminding myself that I was doing it for mum, not for him, even though most of the mess was made by him.

So, anyway, I'm not feeling at my best right now. Time to go get some more rest.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Getting organised


I'm feeling a lot more in control today. We've organised the next few weeks around seeing my mum several times for short visits. We're still going on our holiday, but have changed the travel arrangements around a bit so we can see her more. Since she's not having surgery, there'll be no immediate change to her level of health or need for care. Or course chemo can make people pretty sick so I might be staying with her after each round, or else she might stay at her sister's. Not sure when that is starting. I am definitely a planner, and it's really helped me to be able to work out what I'll be doing for the next few weeks leading up to Christmas. At least it means I don't have so much uncertaincy on top of the shock and grief.

We had some lovely news today, a bit earlier than expected, a close family member had her baby yesterday. Little Eliza. I'm not sure exactly when she was due but it wasn't for another few weeks. But she and her mum are doing fine so that is great. That was the baby shower I missed last weekend. The present I bought for that will do just as well for a "welcome to the world"!

I spent today Christmas shopping. Nearly all day by myself, then after getting the kids from school we went out again to buy their presents for daddy. By the time we got home (time for me to start dinner!) I was utterly exhausted with aching legs. But it was still better than the previous two days when I just wandered around the house in a daze. Good to be out doing something. I feel a bit less helpless and lost. More Christmas shopping tomorrow.

I haven't been thinking about weight loss for the past few days, but neither have I been turning to food which has surprised me a bit. I'm eating about the same or even a bit less than usual. So that is good, but I can't claim any credit for it. I just haven't really felt like eating.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013



Mum has seen the breast surgeon and they are not going to do a mastectomy. Mum is really relieved not to have to go through that even though she knows it is because it is too late. She was dreading the surgery.

She is going to have chemotherapy and radiotherapy but only to stop the cancer spreading further. She hasn't seen the oncologist yet, an appointment is being made. There is no hope of cure, just keeping her as well as possible for as long as possible.

She seemed very resigned and not even unhappy. I think knowing for sure has helped her, she talked about letting go of unimportant things, like work.

I am not feeling resigned.


later Tuesday:

I had a long talk to mum, today I was better able to process information and ask questions. The one, very surprising, piece of good news is that my brother Darren is suddenly being very helpful since she told him last night. He's washed the dishes and he answered the phone when I called (normally he wouldn't bother, just wait for mum to get it) and offered to take her to the specialist tomorrow. She accepted, more to encourage his behaviour rather than because she actually wanted him there I think, but it is great to know he is helping rather than being a burden.

The other news is all bad. The breast cancer that spread to her bones is in her pelvis, right shoulder and the back of her skull. I can't remember now if she said spine as well. The pain and stiffness in her hips is making it hard to walk. It's spread so far that I can't imagine a good prognosis. She is hardly eating at all. She is being positive though. The person she is seeing tomorrow is the breast surgeon, she hasn't seen an oncologist yet.

She says she doesn't need me to come and stay right now, she just spends her days resting and she has her sister ready to do anything needed, but accepted that she might need me later after surgery or during chemo. I'm relieved she doesn't seem to be resisting that. As I expected, she encouraged me to still go on our family holiday. I'll wait until hearing from her tomorrow to decide and finalise our arrangements. She's happy for us to all visit this weekend as long as it is a short visit, she'll probably needs to go and rest fairly soon, so we'll organise that as well.

I'm going to do her Christmas shopping for her and maybe stuff for her hospital stay as well depending on when that will be.

At the moment I'm in practical mode, just getting things done.

Monday, December 2, 2013



I slept very badly last night, worrying about mum, and haven't done much today other than wander around the house. Considering the fact that the cancer has already spread to her bones, I don't think the prognosis is going to be good.

I got this from a UK cancer website about breast cancer survival rates:

In about 1 in 20 women (5%), the cancer has already spread to another part of their body when they are first diagnosed. Sadly, the outlook once a cancer has spread to another body organ is not so good. It is not curable at this point, but may be controlled with treatment for some years. Women with stage 4 tumours have a 5 year survival rate of around 13%. About 1 in 10 women (10%) will live for more than 10 years.

Only 13% will live for 5 years.

I don't have details about mum's case yet, and no one can know for sure what will happen anyway, but it doesn't sound good at all.

I'm stressed that she is resisting me visiting her. I don't want to make it all about me, I want to respect her wishes, but I really feel strongly that I should be there. I'll talk to her about it again tomorrow after she has more information. Maybe she will have surgery or chemo dates by then.

We were going away to Queensland in a fortnight for a holiday on the beach but I don't think I should be away right now, even further away than the current four hours drive. It will depend on her schedule and her wishes I suppose, but it feels wrong for me to be going on holiday.

I'm stressed about my brother. I don't know if I've talked about him much here. He is 45, still lives with mum, no job, no life. He has obsessive compulsive disorder and hoarding tendencies, mainly out-of-date food which fills the fridge and stinks up the house, and refuses to take the medication or see psychiatrists or do anything about it. I personally think his lifestyle is half OCD and half lazy bastard. He freeloads off our mother and spends his time either in bed (for up to 24 hours at a time) or watching TV. Since mum's been so sick he's just messed up the house, without her cleaning up after him, and done nothing whatever to help. If I end up staying there to look after mum I will try to organise him to stay with dad for a while - dad lives out in the country in another state. Neither of them will like that much but it's the best option I can think of.

I talked to my best friend about it today and she offered to help with the kids after school if I needed to be in Sydney which was lovely of her. She works most days but it would help if Tim doesn't have to rush home early from work every day.

I wonder if she will be in hospital for Christmas. I'm so glad I'm not hosting this year, at least I don't have to worry about that side of it.



My mum rang with her test results. She has breast cancer, and bone cancer. She'd suspected it was something bad but didn't tell anyone until she was sure, today. She's seeing the specialist on Wednesday.

I'm still a bit in shock and I don't really know how bad it is. I guess she doesn't either.

She doesn't want me to come to Sydney right now - I talked about driving down tomorrow. She isn't even sure about the weekend, she'll let me know. Should I just go anyway? Tim suggested she might prefer if I went by myself, rather than all of us (we'd all go to Sydney but only me to see mum), I didn't think of suggesting that. I'll wait until after she's spoken to me on Wednesday, anyway, because that's what she wants. My brother is worse than useless, but her own sister and brother live nearby and will be a big help.

Trying not to break down in front of the kids too much.

She said at one point she wasn't scared of dying which I thought was positive but now I'm not sure if she meant she's feeling so sick and awful she wouldn't mind. She talked about things unfinished - she's a couple of months away from a uni degree after years of study. She's been taking a lot of sick leave from work and she's going in tomorrow one last time to delegate work but she says she's not quitting or retiring yet (she's 72) so I guess that is a good thing. She's just going on more sick leave. There is only 2 or 3 weeks left of this school year - she's a teacher.

Scared she is going to die soon.

What do you do with yourself while you're waiting for test results?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Staying home after all


As usual, making plans is just what you do while you're waiting for life to happen.

Aiden started vomiting early this morning, and has continued every half hour or so since. Tim and I take it in turns to hang around that end of the house so we can hear him when he needs us. My poor little boy.

I could have left Tim here to look after him while I went to Sydney with Jasmine. But there was no way I was going to risk passing on more germs to my mum, sick as she is, and I decided my pregnant cousin-in-law deserved the same care. Also, it would be about 8 hours driving in one day for me, there and back. And I don't like leaving my sick baby.

Now what am I going to do with three dozen cupcakes?

Lots of chocolate cupcakes


Today we did a bit of Christmas shopping as a family and put up the tree. After dinner I made and iced 36 delicious chocolate buttermilk cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for a baby shower tomorrow. It took rather longer than I expected, and now it's bedtime and my back is aching!

Not really sure why I was asked to make cupcakes; the mother-to-be's sister-in-law is the cupcake queen of our family, she's done a decorating course and everything. Maybe she's doing some too (in which case mine will look rather pathetic beside hers, but of course will still be very tasty) or maybe she was given other duties. Anyway, I was very happy to do it.

My mum still isn't feeling any better, she'll get some more blood test results back on Monday. We are going to see her tomorrow before the baby shower. Then Tim and Aiden are off with the other boys to play Laser Zone while the girls sit around and eat cakes and play games like guessing how big the pregnant woman's stomach is.

The kitchen is a bit of a mess but I don't care, I'm off to bed.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Nearly half way


Friday is one of my two weekly shopping days and I usually do it first thing in the morning, but after two days with no writing I decided to get that done first. I went to the Arboretum and wrote for an hour. After a few really hot days we had a dramatic cold change last night and the café hadn't yet sorted out their air con - I had to stop writing after an hour because my fingers were nearly frozen!

After each session I log how long I wrote and how many words, and I discovered I am a few words shy of 46,000. That is only two or three writing sessions away from 50,000 which is my unofficial halfway point! That is so exciting! I've written nearly half a novel, by far the most I have ever written on one project. Well, not counting this blog which is likely a lot more than that!

I'm a bit worried that starting uni next year will stall my novel writing. I've got two more months, but almost all of that is school holidays which is very hard to write much in. I really don't want to put this novel aside to study and let it get forgotten, not when I am doing so well. Not sure how I'm going to get around that.

Did the grocery shopping and a little bit of Christmas shopping. Also presents for a baby shower. It is really hard to find gender-neutral stuff! I'm not sure if the prospective parents really don't know the sex or if they are just keeping it to themselves. I eventually went with green & white; a little outfit, a towel and some baby face washers (little soft cloths). I always buy new parents baby face washers, they are so useful for wiping up milk drool as well as for bath use. And once the baby is born, I always try to be the one to buy their very first book!

Christmas is looming. I think I've relaxed a bit because I am not hosting this year - but I still have to buy presents! And people are asking me what I want and I don't know that either! Apart from a big stack of books.

I just took the weight loss ticker off - after only a few weeks. But I've put half a kilo on and it was just too depressing to have it sitting there with no weight lost. I made the connection the other day that recent small weight gain might be connected to my new contraceptive pill. Or it could just be my very erratic diet and exercise regime. Not sure.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013



This afternoon I went in to uni and put in my application for a Bachelor of Human Nutrition. I should hear within a week whether I got in (I can't see any reason why I wouldn't). I'm still pretty unsure about the whole thing. I love study, but it sounds like a huge investment of time and hard work too, for uncertain benefit. I didn't even like Chemistry in High School (although I believe that was due to a terrible teacher) and it's the first subject I have to do. What if I don't shine? The school year starts at the beginning of Feb, and I have a few weeks after that to withdraw without paying any fees so I don't really have to decide, now that I've got my application in.

Cost is another factor. We have a deferred payment scheme here for uni, you don't have to pay anything until you start to earn a certain amout of money per annum, but it's still thousands of dollars in the end. And in the meantime there are other costs like textbooks. We can afford it, but I would hate to feel like I have wasted a lot of time and money if it doesn't lead anywhere.

My husband and I both agreed that I would stay home and look after the children when they were little, he earned a lot more than me and my RSI was starting to get really bad at that stage so it was a good time for me to quit my job. But now the kids are older (9 and 7) and I feel like I should start contributing some money to the household. I'm feeling guilty about that, and worried about the continuing problems of my RSI, and just generally uncertain. But Tim says he's happy for me to go and do more study.

It was another day that I thought would be relaxed but turned out to be quite busy (but both more productive and more enjoyable than yesterday). In the morning a friend/work contact called (she got me the public service job earlier this year) and asked me to come to a nearby café for a chat. The last two times she called I wasn't able to, so it was important I went today or she might think I was avoiding her. Tim had the car so I walked to the café. I was quite hungry but didn't want something sweet (they have beautiful looking cakes at this café but I never seem to be there at a good time to have one!) and she suggested we share a breakfast. I thought this a slightly odd suggestion for non-family but agreed to it and we got bacon & poached eggs and divided it onto two plates. It was very nice and a great idea to share - I didn't even quite finish my half!

We talked for an hour then I walked home again - she offered me a lift both ways but I walked to get a little exercise in - and it was starting to get really hot. I did a bit of reading for the comp I'm judging and had lunch then my husband brought the car home for me (he'd been at a different work location than usual) and rode his bike in to his normal office. I had to go into uni in person because their system wouldn't let me apply online - I was caught between "you've been to this uni before so you have to use your old details" and "you are not currently a student so you can't use your old details". It was one of the more frustrating things yesterday that I spent a lot of time on both online and over the phone.

I was at this uni in 2009 for my Grad Cert, but since then they have changed the whole parking system and I could no longer get in to the first two parking areas I went to. I ended up parking on the street and walking some distance. Then I couldn't find the Student Centre and wandered around a bit. After putting in my application I went over to look at the buildings I would be in, at the opposite end of the uni to where I was last time because that was Arts and this is Science. I had thought of having a chat to someone about career prospects if there was anyone around, but then I had a drink from a bubbler and got water all down my front so I was feeling rather less inclined to seek out a future teacher. Walked all the way back to the car which was now an oven and picked up kids from school, feeling a bit wiped out from the heat. Really stinky hot day.

I need to work out how I am going to keep writing during school holidays. Aiden likes me to pay attention to him when he is home so I struggle to concentrate on writing when he is not at school. And the kids deserve my attention, of course. But don't want to put the novel aside for six weeks over summer! And there have been quite a few days like yesterday and today when I haven't got any writing done before they get home. I need something to distract them with.

Spinning wheels


Had one of those days when you feel like you are just spinning your wheels.

I started well with a nice walk to the fruit markets. I filled up my backpack with strawberries and mangoes and grapes and nectarines and even a few cherries. Yay for summer fruit! Then back home I had a long list of little admin things to do that wouldn't take long, I thought.

It took four calls to one place, throughout the day, before I finally got through at about 7pm. Another place had no bookings free before Christmas but wouldn't book any further in advance than that and told me to call back in January. A third place put me on hold a long time before sending me through to someone else, who eventually gave me a number to call that turned out to be just back to the first person... Another place had an automated phone system that didn't have any options I wanted and wouldn't put me through to a real person. I tried to download an interactive iPhone app for the uni course I want to do but apparently my phone is too old (it's a 4s, I've had it about 18 months I think). By the time it was school-pick up I had achieved exactly nothing! Hours of sitting on the phone or trying to navigate online sites.

I persisted over the afternoon and early evening, and did eventually manage to tick off quite a few things. But I got no writing done, when I thought I would have hours and hours today! Silly me. Oh well, it's not like anything terrible happened today, just a bit frustrating. At least I got my walk in!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Human Nutrition

more Tuesday:

I've been wondering for a while what I am going to do next in life. I am busy writing my novel and want to continue with that, but it is not really a good way to earn an income even if I do manage to sell it to a publisher after a lot of editing and polishing (and I'm only a third of the way through after nearly five months). Freelance editing fiction is great in terms of flexibility, but barely makes enough money to be worthwhile. Editing for the government pays a lot better, but my RSI doesn't let me do even normal part-time of about five hours a day - and it would be very difficult to find a job that offers less hours than that.

I've thought about going back to Uni (again). My undergraduate degree is in Linguistics and I did a Grad Cert in Editing in 2009. I considered more Linguistics, but where would that lead? So now I'm thinking about ... Bachelor of Human Nutrition.

It is what interests me at the moment, after all. It's a science degree, with Chemistry, Biology and Anatomy as well as more specifically nutritional subjects. I haven't done science since High School!

I still don't really know where it would lead. Food science, writing for health magazines, some kind of research. I need something only partly dependant on desk work so my RSI wouldn't be a problem. It means three more years where I'm not earning income, keeping the burden of that squarely on my husband's shoulders. Or six years part time. Part time uni plus part time work as a check-out chick or something that wasn't at a desk? Can I continue writing while I study or would that be too much typing? I haven't worked it all out yet. But I love studying, and learning, and the whole atmosphere of uni.

I called my mum this afternoon, I haven't spoken to her for a few days. She still isn't feeling at all well (she had an undiagnosed kidney infection, now on antibiotics) and is going back to the doctor tomorrow. She lives four hours away so I can't just drop in, but we'll go and see her this weekend. My brother lives with her but he's no help, he just makes her life more difficult. I suppose at least he could call someone in an emergency. She was lying down the whole time she was talking to me and didn't sound good at all. Worrying.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Intrepid hiking


Spent the weekend recovering from whatever germs attacked me this time, all better now. I went to the Arboretum this morning and started with a walk in search of the eagle's nest sculpture. The one where I scoffed that it could possibly take half an hour for 850 metres (half a mile).  The first bit was on a path past the wedding/events pavilion, then a sign appeared to point me straight up a steep, uneven grassy hill between the young trees. That couldn't be right, could it? But there didn't seem to be any other way to go, and I could see the lookout way up at the top, so I started on up. Even if it wasn't the right path, it would get me there in an intrepid sort of way.

After a fairly short distance I came to a signpost stuck amongst the trees. Seems this was the path, un-path-like though it might seem. I could see another signpost further on, and sure enough they eventually led me to the top. Gasping for air, calves burning.

I make no claim to fitness, but anyone less fit than me might not have been able to do it at all. I no longer scoff at the suggested timing. It took me 20 mins, pushing reasonably hard. Lovely view though.

You can see why Canberra is called "the bush capital"! It looks like I'm out in the country rather than 10 minutes from the centre of the city, which is more or less in the direction the camera is pointing, around the lake.
I hiked back down, at about the same speed as I went up because I was being careful of my ankles on the lumpy ground. I got my laptop from the car and sat in the café with my pot of tea and suddenly slumped with exhaustion. It seem to have this rapid-onset fatigue thing going on. I could literally hardly keep my eyes open. I had my tea and played with my iPhone a bit but it took me half an hour before I was ready to get to work.
Had a really good writing session until lunchtime when the café started to get a bit busy and noisy and it was time to go. Actually I was interrupted several times today - does that mean I looked more friendly and open than usual? Normally no one speaks to me when I'm typing away. First an older gentleman came over and commented on what a lovely place I had chosen to work and we had a short chat about the amazing view and he told me a couple of other places he also liked to go. Then a bit later a man with quite a strong accent (German I think) brought his phone over and asked if I would listen to a message someone had left for him and tell him what was said as he couldn't decipher it. Neither could I! I listened to it twice and it was definitely an Australian accent (so you'd think it would be easy for me) but I could only pick out a few words here and there. The best I could do was tell him the other person asked him to call them back, but I couldn't even get a name or any idea of what it was about. A bit embarrassing really. Both of those were quite nice encounters, but finally a large group of toddlers moved to a couch nearby (with a couple of carers) and one of them was the exploring, friendly kind. He liked to stand very close and stare at me, and seemed to have a fascination for sugar pots. Several times he was rescued in the nick of time from being covered in sugar as he liberated a pot from someone's table and tried to upend it over his curly head. It was time to go by then so I finished up.
Stopped off at the library on my way home. I love the library. Free books and magazines!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dozing in front of the cricket


Felt exhausted and a bit unwell all yesterday, even drove the two blocks to school to pick up the kids. And got take-away for dinner. Today still fatigued plus sore throat. I seem to have been sick an awful lot over these past six months or so, I guess it shows a pattern of general ill-health. Oh well, at least there is cricket!

One of the joys of summer is to doze in front of the TV with the cricket on. For those who don't know, a test match of cricket takes five whole days to play so there is plenty of time to nod off and not miss much. They also have one-day matches (very controversial when they started) and now even 20-20 matches (20 overs each team, only takes a couple of hours). Excellent for the long hot days.

I'm trying to enjoy a quiet weekend with the family and not let the unwellness get me down, we just spent a couple of hours playing D&D. Nice until my throat got too sore to continue talking.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

This is why I always wear shoes

more Thursday:

It's been a hot day. We just had a very brief storm that made it more humid rather than cooler. I thought, stuff it I'll take off my socks and enclosed shoes for once. Walked through kitchen. Eew, a bit sticky. And gritty. Ok, ignore that, will sweep later. Sit in rolly desk chair and tuck chair under desk. Wack heel with foot of rolly chair. Skin removed. Go back to bedroom and put shoes and socks back on.

For some reason this made me think of the first time I went for a promotion in my public service job in my 20s. I had an interview in another building, and afterwards got stuck in the stairwell on my way out. None of the doors opened from inside the stairwell without a passcode. I had to knock and get them to let me out.

I didn't get the promotion.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Zig zag


Here is a picture of the Arboretum that shows where I walked today (credit thtstudios):
I don't know how long ago this was taken, the hillsides here seem to be empty. There are young trees now on the far hill, although it is still probably the barest part of the Arboretum.

Went there this morning, parked at the café on top of the hill and then walked down. You can see the zig-zag gravel path in the picture. It must go back and forth 20 or 30 times. I didn't bother with the path on the way down, I walked on the grass beside it straight down the slope, but I did use the path part of the way back up. The hill is steeper than it looks and quite long. Lots of zags! 30 min walk in total, half of the distance (and two thirds of the time) uphill. It was nice except for the flies, by the end I was sick of doing the "Aussie Salute" - swishing flies away from my face.

When I was looking for nice photos of the Arboretum, I found a lot of this:
It is a huge sculpture of a nest made out of metal spanners and things. (this photo by KatieTT) I'll have to go looking for this in future walks, I've never been away from the immediate environs of the café. Who knows what else I will find?

... I have a little map and apparently this is at a lookout, 830 metres from the café, which they say to allow 30 mins one way to walk. 30 mins for less than a km, half a mile!! I guess that is for the elderly with walking frames. Or maybe people with toddlers who get distracted by every plant and bug. 'Cause that is damn slow.

I settled into the café with my pot of tea and my laptop and suddenly felt exhausted again. My husband has also mentioned fatigue the last few days, and of course my son was home sick the other day, so I think we're all fighting off germs. I feel ok mostly, but tired. I played with my iPhone for a little while and had some tea, then pushed myself to start writing and in the end had a good session. Sometimes it is just a matter of getting started.

I only stopped, really, because after two cups of tea I desperately needed to pee. I can't leave all my stuff on the table so I have to pack up to go to the bathroom and I usually then call it a day. I considered having lunch there and then continuing, but all the foods seemed primarily made of pastry (pies, pizza, quiche) so I came home instead. Another unhealthy food choice avoided!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Unexpected walk


My annual parking pass for the Arboretum finally arrived so I was going to go and write at the café there this morning, but apparently there was a five-car pile up near there and the traffic was really bad so I ended up going to the lake for a walk. I was dressed right for a walk because I'd planned to go on a short stroll at the Arboretum anyway before getting down to work, but I didn't have a drink with me or sunscreen on my arms (only SPF face-cream on my face and chest).

It took me a while to get into a good walking rhythm. It was a really hot day, even at 9.30am, and I don't like the heat much, and the flies were really bugging me. But after a while I started enjoying it. I was listening to a zombie mission and my own music playlist and there was lots to look at and find pleasure in. The circuit between the two bridges used to be 5K but they've done some work on the paths and the road crossings and I think it is significantly further now - actually just checked my zombie app and I walked 5.73 km - at around 4.5 km/h, which for me is brisk walk. So it took me well over an hour. About one km from the end I suddenly ran out of energy. I could barely drag myself back to the car, and I would have stopped to rest except I was also really hungry and thirsty. There are bubblers (drinking fountains) at intervals around the lake but I'd only had one drink early on and then didn't find another one in the last bit when I needed it.

I had a banana in the car so I sat in the shade and ate that, and then I had a dilemma. I was really thirsty, and there were a couple of food outlets within a couple of hundred meters of my car where I could have bought a bottle of water. But I was also ravenously hungry, and I didn't trust myself to make good choices if I exposed myself to the sight and smell of calorie-laden food. I'd already decided not to go into the library to write, I was too hot and tired and sweaty, so I just went home. All the way home I imagined tearing into a slice of roast beef! I used that to keep my mind off more starchy and sugary foods. As soon as I got home I had two glasses of water and ate my lunch (even though it was only 11.15) of leftover roast. Delicious.

The soles of my feet were very sore by the end, I need to toughen them up again with more long walks. My hips didn't hurt while walking but they were very stiff and sore when I got out of the car at home after sitting for a quarter of an hour after the walk, and still hurt now two hours later. Got to get this body a lot fitter and more flexible! And maybe start carrying sunscreen in the car; the sides of my neck, exposed by a ponytail and not covered in face cream, are a bit pink.

So I've done my exercise for the day, 9000 steps so far, but that doesn't absolve me from my other work so I'd better get on with it.

photo by longreach

Monday, November 18, 2013

Rabbiting on


My son is home sick today and I'm not getting any work done so I thought I'd just come here and rabbit on a bit.

I'm doing better with the food. Exercise is still a bit of struggle. Am I still getting over my illness of last week, or are my vague symptoms of achy legs and stiff neck and tiredness just the usual ailments of someone carrying an extra 20 kgs and not moving their body enough? I never know. My compromise is to do gentle exercise like walking.

Yesterday I was trying to write and the words were coming slowly and painfully so I ended up going out for a walk instead. And that got the creative juices really flowing - the scene I was struggling with suddenly became clear. Walking is good thinking time.

I watched a documentary about obesity last night, I think it's one I've seen before, with a rather judgemental skinny female doctor learning that obesity is not just a matter of character. She was stunned to be shown hormone levels from an obese person compared with her own, and how different they were. So fat people aren't just lazy slobs? The obese person's hormones never signalled fullness properly, so they were at least a bit hungry all the time. And they did an experiment on her (disguising what they were actually testing for) where they made her fast for 24 hours, then offering her a wide variety of foods and when really hungry she went for the fatty sweet carb-laden foods that she would normally avoid. When her hormones told her that's what she needed, she gave in at once and obeyed. And when they altered an obese person's hormone levels by giving them a gastric bypass, the person made food choices like a not-obese person. [They didn't say this in the doco, but I think it's a vicious cycle with high levels of body fat affecting hormones, which affect diet, which increase body fat etc.] They also looked at identical twins and how life stresses had put one twin on the path to obesity and not the other. Anyway, the doctor was really amazed at how things other than just lack of willpower affect obesity, and that it is actually more difficult for some people to be a healthy weight. One of the researchers on the show hoped that work with the vital hormones ghrelin and leptin would help obese people in the future without having to section off most of their stomachs.

So that was interesting.

I've had similar dreams two nights in a row. First my son was somehow out of the car (he has just turned 7, still my little boy) and we had trouble finding somewhere to stop and park then had to walk up this long hill and I was hurrying and looking and walking and finally found him. My legs were really sore yesterday morning and I wonder if I was actually trying to walk uphill in my sleep? Then last night I got on a bus with him and realised I didn't have my money so told him to stay in his seat and told the bus driver to wait just a second and got off the bus and it drove away. And I was walking and walking miles following it, trying to catch up. I wonder what these dreams mean, what my subconscious is really worried about.

I talked a while ago about why I wasn't going to go to my cousin's engagement party. Yesterday I told my mum (by email) about how I felt like a slug amongst butterflies around them. She hasn't responded yet. She is the only other overweight one in the family, so she may have been dealing with the same problems her whole life. I wasn't going to talk to her about it but she was wondering why I wasn't going so I decided to. I feel a bit guilty because it is her family and I hardly ever see them, I see my husband's family much more often and feel more comfortable with them.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Staying away from the party food


I managed to avoid two kid's birthday parties today, and all the junk food that entails! My husband took the kids to the first one and hung around because it was a low-supervision party in a park, then straight from there he dropped the invited child to the other party and came home, and I went and got him later. Parties are a dangerous place for me so I was glad to skip them. I had a healthy lunch at home. And in addition, I got an hour and a half of very productive writing done when everyone else was out.

I don't expect to have lost any weight this week, though. I was sick enough to not exercise for three days, lazy enough not to exercise a couple of other days, but only sick enough to be off my feed for one day.

My mum has been feeling unwell for at least a couple of months now and she finally just found out she has a kidney infection. She's a bit annoyed because she's been to the doctor lots of times and they failed to diagnose it before. I know doctors can't be perfect but she feels they should have picked it up earlier and that it's time to find a new doctor. She's in bed with antibiotics now and taking some time off instead of trying to drag herself into work every day. She's 72!

Why does the weekend always go so fast? Sunday night already.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lovely lovely sleep


I've been down with a stomach bug for a couple of days, this evening is the first time I've been out of bed for any length of time all day. Feeling considerably better and I haven't really minded having a whole day resting in bed. My husband stayed home from work today with a lesser version of the same ailment so he was able to do the school run and make dinner, I just slept.

One of my favourite TV shows "Beauty and the Geek" is on later so maybe I should go back to bed for a while to get the energy to stay up for it. They are doing make-overs on the geeks!

Monday, November 11, 2013



I did dancing today for the first time in a couple of weeks. So much more energetic than walking or yoga! I did "Sweat Mode" which means the tracks are continuous with no mucking around while you choose the next song. 30 mins of that and I was ready to collapse. But then I bought an alternative version of Gwen Stefani's "If I was a rich girl" with my earned tokens so I had to try it. It used a chair as a prop! Very burlesque, very tricky. Fun. Then it automatically showed me a clip of myself doing it. Hmm. I looked even less like the dancer than I had imagined. But I don't care, I enjoyed it anyway. I can't let what I look like now stop me from doing things I want to do.

The food side continues to be a problem. After the party I got my husband to hide some leftovers for future D&D sessions and I threw out all but one slice of the cake, which I put aside for my daughter (it was my son's birthday but he doesn't really like cake). I forgot to offer it to her and then remembered it last night ... and ate it. I'd been so good all day, too.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weight ticker


Well there are still many mysteries of the blog settings that elude my understanding (how do you have separate pages for favourite topics instead of just your daily blog entries?) but at least I managed to put a weight loss ticker on at the top to motivate me. Starting weight/current weight is still 82kg. I want to lose 22kg and get down to 60. Frankly I would be delighted with 70. But either way, one kilogram at a time.

Apparently 22kg is 48.4 pounds, which sounds even worse. But I suppose at least you can say "I lost a whole pound!" instead of "I lost less than half a kilo!"

When my weight went up, my online calorie tracker decided to allow me 1750 calories a day instead of the old 1340 I had when I was about 78kg. That seems like a big jump. I'm aiming for around 1500.

I failed dismally at the drinking more water and exercising every day this week. Nevertheless, I am adding eating more fruit and veges to the list.

I tried yoga again today. I did the "lying on my back" bit and half the "hands and knees" bit then skipped ahead to the "standing up" bit. Then I just got really bored. Still didn't manage to finish the whole class. Maybe it seemed so dull because I accidentally left the TV on in the lounge-room and I could hear the news. Sounded so much more interesting than what I was doing. Maybe I should stick to the 8 minute version for a while, I enjoyed that one.

Pouring rain and freezing cold today, after we had a few summer-like days last week. Crazy weather has been all over the place. It never seems to be safe to wash and pack away my jumpers, or be time to stop making casseroles and roasts. I'm glad my daughter is just as unwilling as I am to go out in the icy rain this evening to her dance class. Staying at home in the warm and dry.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Party accomplished


The past few days I've spent most of my time shopping and preparing for my little boy's seventh birthday. The party was this afternoon and went really well. Exhausting though! I haven't been completely "with it" lately, I thought I was coming down with something but everyone says it's a really bad allergy season so it's probably that. I've been a bit fogged so my decision-making skills haven't been perfect, I even didn't leave myself enough time to make the cake and had to go out this morning to buy a generic shop one which I iced myself (it had to look like a snake).

I offered a mix of foods, healthy turkey burgers plus unhealthy meat pies for lunch, then some chips and lollies as well as yummy fruit skewers which I think were the most popular item. Watermelon, strawberries, mango and grapes stuck on a skewer. Yummy. Thank goodness summer fruit is starting to come in. I had a bit of everything but I never eat much when I am running around busy. Left-overs will be more of an issue.

After everyone left, Aiden went off to his room and put together the Star Wars Lego kit that was one of our presents to him, all by himself! Very impressive, I thought, usually daddy helps. We also got him a remote control helicopter which I thought might be too difficult but it didn't take him long to get the hang of it. My little boy is growing up. Seven!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Yoga part 3 - down dog and tears


This morning wasn't going well. We were already a stressed house, my husband is having a hard time at work but he can't get away from that job because the new government has basically frozen all public service hiring. Then our big 80 litre fish tank sprang a leak and we had towels trying to protect the carpet. Then my daughter made herself a raspberry smoothie for breakfast and spilled it all over her school clothes, table, upholstered chairs, floor ... a sea of pink.

I got that cleaned up and the kids off to school. Came back to try to find the leak in the fish tank, luckily it turned out it was just the filters being completely clogged so the water couldn't get through and was overflowing over the top of the tank. I did an emergency clean on the filters, as I picked them up a heap of gunk was released back into the tank. Luckily it doesn't seem to have killed the fish and over the next couple of hours the cleaned filters have cleared the water again.

I finally sat down to some breakfast, which helped settle me.

Then I decided if yoga was ever going to help me, now was the time! I tried a one hour "standing yoga" basic hatha yoga class, the same guy as the short session I did last night. He's an older guy with grey hair and a hippie beard which I laughed at at first but I rather like his calm voice (his accent reminds me of Bill Oddie from the Goodies) and I find him less intimidating than the skinny women who twist themselves into pretzel shapes.

It was labelled as standing yoga but it actually started with 10 mins lying on my back on the floor, which went ok, then 10 mins on my hands and knees which I found quite hard with my damaged shoulders. I persisted though, taking a rest back on my heels when I needed to. Then I had to go from hands and knees to on my hands and toes with bottom up in the air, what I think he called a down dog (actually I always thought it was downward dog, maybe the name varies in different countries). I didn't know if I could do it at all but I gave it a go and got into the pose ok, my arms trembling with strain but shoulders not hurting. Then I burst into tears.

I've done one "real" yoga class ever (in a gym with a face-to-face instructor, I mean), more than ten years ago (maybe twenty) and I cried then too. I think I hold a lot of tension in my body and releasing it can be emotionally uncomfortable.

I finished that sequence of moves, taking more and more breaks for my shoulders as the repetitions got too much, then finally we stood up. I did the deep breathing and centring of the body then ended the session after having done half an hour total. I was feeling tired and trembling and emotional and that seemed enough for one day.

Yoga part 2

later Wednesday:

On Jennifer's advice after my last post (thanks Jennifer!) I had a look at some yoga videos on YouTube and I ended up choosing Ekhart Yoga. I just did a 8 minute basic standing yoga video. It was very very basic, which was excellent! Some calm breathing while moving my arms around and then some gentle forward bends. Really good for someone currently creaky and inflexible like me. I think it would be perfect for first thing in the morning.

The site has programs you can pay for but also quite a few free videos, including what looks like a one hour version of what I just did.

The weird thing was that it was just moving my arms a bit, but when I stopped after 8 minutes I could feel tingling all down them. Definitely got my blood circulating. Or maybe my chi. Felt good.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013



I've tried three different yoga sessions in the past couple of weeks. The first one just came on TV at lunchtime when I was channel surfing so I tried it out. I enjoyed the initial deep breathing but then they quickly got into floor work that my damaged shoulders couldn't handle. I can't twist them much or support my own weight for long, and they were doing a plank and curving their back.

So I borrowed a "Yoga for Kids" DVD from my library. It was clearly copied over from an old video tape, really poor quality, but I sat through the poxy song and the clowns making balloon animals and the kids getting face-painted and some information scrolled across the screen about how great yoga is. Then I tried skipping ahead a bit. Penguins. Penguins walking around on the snow, penguins swimming. Voice-over about how cute they are. I gave up. So I don't know if you can call that an attempt at yoga, I didn't actually do any!

Another DVD from the library, a yoga for relaxation and stress relief one. Sat through the introductory chat, luckily not too long this time. Enjoyed the relaxing deep breathing (although I was a bit worried because the instructor was sitting outside and I could see her shoulders and chest were a bit sunburned already) but then she quickly went into shoulder contortions. My arms are fine to the front or to the sides (as long as I don't have to support weight) but I can't lift them straight up or behind my back (can't do up my own bra, which is very inconvenient).

I feel like I am getting old and creaky and I need yoga for flexibility, but with my shoulder injuries I just can't even attempt most of the exercises. I don't expect to be like the instructor straight away, but I can't even begin to do most of the poses. If anyone knows a good beginner DVD or has any other ideas I love to hear them. I feel like if I could start gently my shoulders, and the rest of my joints, would improve, but it's hard to even begin. I prefer to be standing or sitting on a chair, no floor work.

I guess I'll keep on with walking and dancing. My legs still work great, thank goodness!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Some not very good photos of a lovely view


I've been going to the Arboretum to write in the mornings (I need to get an annual pass for parking, it's very expensive) and it is beautiful there. I took a couple of pictures, unfortunately my camera skills are sadly lacking. This first one, since I took it from my café table, shows you what seems to be a vast expanse of bare café. If you can get a close up of the window it is very pretty. And I suppose you can also see that it is a very roomy space for writing, no noisy neighbours butted up close to your table.
And this one, outside the pavilion where they have weddings, draws attention to a sandy patch of ground rather than the little pond and then the lake behind it. Honestly, it's lovely. I never even noticed that bare patch when I was standing on the balcony!

The little green dots down the hill are baby trees. There are more mature ones on the other side of the café and all around other directions, these are the youngest ones but I was trying to capture the view of the lake. Oh well. And even the biggest trees are only five years old.
I went for a walk after I'd done my writing session, from the café around to the wedding pavilion and then down the steep slope of a grassy outdoor auditorium. Lovely manicured green grass, soft for audience bottoms, nothing like the sandy stubble in the pic. I jogged up the other side of the bowl and made it about 2/3 of the way up before I ran out of legs. Then I realised I'd probably forgotten to breathe while I was running uphill, because it suddenly seemed like there wasn't enough oxygen in the world! I kept walking the last bit while trying to get some air. It's a nice area, I'll have to do some more walking around there. Lots of hills.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Trying little changes


Apart from my little slump the other day, I've had a happy and contented couple of weeks. I was so miserable on Whole30 that when I stopped the whole world seemed brighter. Everything was more pleasurable - I don't mean food (although that too), but things like cool brisk air when walking the kids to school or the smell of a lavender bush. I just appreciated everything so much more. No more headaches or endless fatigue was nice, but more importantly the depression was gone. Depression is not something to mess with, in my opinion.

So for a couple of weeks I was in between the two ends of the diet pendulum. At one end is eating everything in sight but feeling guilty about it, at the other end is restrictive dieting and feeling virtuous but in the end no able to sustain it. In between is relaxing, eating and behaving in a way that maintains my current weight. Or so I thought. After already deciding I need to take start working at it again, I weighed myself this morning and I'm up to 82 kgs. Why is loss so slow and gain so fast?

Time to get the pendulum swinging back to weight loss again.

The pendulum metaphor is sad because it is true. The harder I push in one direction, the faster I swing back the other way.

So instead of jumping on the latest diet fad bandwagon (which I do not because I am expecting to find the perfect miracle diet, but because I find a new diet exciting and motivating if only for a little while) I will try to make some small permanent changes and build on them.

I want to load myself up with new rules, but I am resisting that. Two things: drinking more (my fluid intake is always terrible and a constant struggle for me) and exercising regularly. When I've got a handle on those I will add more improvements.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Some unresolved issues


I grew up very close to my mum's side of the family, some lived in the same street and all of us had Sunday dinner at Grandma's every week. I was the oldest girl. I moved cities around 15 years ago so I've gradually met up with them less and less, now it's every second Christmas plus weddings.

In those fifteen years I've put on a lot of weight. And they haven't. I have three aunts in their 60s who could all star in an infomercial about the latest abdominal toning equipment or miracle face cream. My cousins (male and female) are all toned and tanned and slender and athletic. They play sport and watch sport and coach sport and at least one has done some modelling. My mum and I are the only overweight ones.

They are lovely people. They have never done anything to make me feel bad, not deliberately. But in contrast to them I feel short and fat and dumpy and inadequate.

No other group makes me feel like this. My husband's family are all shapes and sizes and I feel very comfortable with them. I am probably the fattest of my friends, but that doesn't bother me. But I am growing to dread every second Christmas. About six months before I generally go into a bit of a diet panic. Six months is long enough to make a difference. Then the months pass and I haven't lost any weight and I feel worse and worse and more desperate.

One of my younger cousins has just got engaged. She's having an engagement party in a month, and I felt like we should go even though I was never close to her, she is nearly 20 years younger than me and she was only little when I moved away. Her big sister is my favourite cousin. But I was dreading it so much that I was lying awake for ages last night agonising about it. Thinking I'd have to get something new to wear but no matter what I bought I would still look dumpy. Not fitting in with the beautiful people partying on a rooftop in the middle of the city. Feeling awkward and clumsy and FAT.

I said earlier in the week that I'd had a bad dream and started the day off badly. At the time, I didn't connect the dream to this. I do now. In the dream I was at my grandma's place with all my cousins and I was being ostracized by everyone. I would try to play with them and they'd slip away and I'd look out the window and they'd all be outside. So I'd go outside and they would leave again. My identical twin sister (who in reality died when we were babies, but she was alive in my dream) was standing up for me a bit, but it was obvious she was just tolerating me to be nice. My grandma was being horrible too.

Nothing like that ever happened in real life! As one of the oldest children I was the leader of the girls. I was the one inventing the games, with the younger ones following me around. And, as I said, they are all lovely people. When I woke up I was sad and upset but I didn't think it meant anything. But I guess that is how I feel inside about my relationship with them now. Despite their best efforts to include me, I feel excluded and just not good enough.

After stressing about it half the night, I told my cousin this morning we couldn't go to her party. So now I just have Christmas to worry about. It makes me think crazy things like "maybe if I only eat vegetables and nothing else between now and then ..." and I know that is stupid so I just want to give up on trying to lose weight altogether.

I have lots of reasons to want to lose weight. This isn't a good one because it doesn't motivate me in a good way. It just makes me feel depressed and desperate and a failure. I've sort of worked through my feelings, last night and today, and I'm ok but completely exhausted.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

View from the hill


Two really good writing sessions the past two mornings. Both times I went to the National Arboretum. The trees are all still pretty small but at least they have Spring-green leaves on them now, and the view from the café, on top of a hill, down to the lake with the mountains behind is just beautiful. Very inspiring.

I've invested quite a few hours over the past couple of days organising our holiday over the Christmas break; hotels and flights etc. We're going to Surfer's Paradise which is a beautiful beach-side city in sunny Queensland. It is also the theme-park capital of Australia so we'll be going to Sea World and maybe Movie World. We tried one of the water parks last time but it was mainly huge water slides and rides much too scary for me and the little kids. Tim went on a couple, the queue for one must have taken about an hour! But Sea World is awesome, dolphin shows and baby polar bears and an amazing aquarium and pirate ships where you squirt the other ships with water canons as you sail around and lots of rides suitable for smaller children.

Holidays yay! Still a couple of months away though.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Comfort breakfast


I woke this morning after a sad and upsetting dream that I found really hard to shake off. So I ate the wrong kind of breakfast. And felt worse. "Comfort food", stop pretending you will make me feel better. You are not really comforting at all! A big hug from a real person works much better.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dungeons and dragons


Having a quiet weekend home with the family. We decided to introduce the kids to Dungeons and Dragons. We don't let them play violent computer games but they watch us play some (nothing too bad) and they're allowed to play games designed for kids, some fighting but no actual blood. The younger child is about to turn seven. D&D, if you don't know, is a game of the imagination. One person, the DM or "Dungeon Master" (me, in this case) creates an adventure and the other players create characters and decide what to do. You have certain skills and you roll dice to add a luck component to actions. [So for instance, to see if you could balance on a narrow bridge over a ravine, you would add your dexterity to your training in acrobatics and roll a 20 sided dice to add a random element. If the total number is high enough ("high enough" determined by the DM) you walk over successfully, not quite high enough means you stand still wheeling your arms for balance and can have another try on your next turn, a lot too low and you fall into the ravine.]

I made a short adventure where they had to rescue some people from kobolds (little lizard people). It involved fighting, but nothing too scary or adult in theme. It's good maths practice for them, lots of adding and subtracting.

They loved it! We played for about four hours on Saturday afternoon, and they wanted to play again today so I worked out another little adventure and we played for another couple of hours, this time not finishing the story yet. Tim and I play every Tuesday night with some friends and have done for years, it is a great game. A campaign, or long adventure, can go on for years. I've heard some Christian groups object to D&D because it has supernatural elements, but most people play as heroes, defeating the forces of evil, so I don't see how anyone can object to that. It's like getting to be a superhero.

The only bad thing about D&D is that it is nearly always accompanied by junk food!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Novel


I've mentioned before that I've taken some time away from paid work to write a novel. It's something I've always wanted to do and planned to do but never made time for. I've made a few starts before but never got past a chapter or two - I'd say that 10,000 words is the most I've ever written on one project.

I started this novel at the beginning of July and gave myself until the end of the year, six months, to show it was something that I could commit to and make decent progress on. I hoped to have a first draft written by then. I can only type for a couple of hours a day, with my RSI, but it still seemed do-able.

I am making some great progress, much better than ever before. I am about to hit 25,000 words. But that is not where I'd planned to be by this point! Nearly four months have passed, I should have written twice that much or more. But I write nothing during school holidays, or all those weeks when I was sick, or if I am busy ... some days I have to choose between writing and exercise. And on days when I do write, it's generally for one hour not two. I'm still not managing my time well enough to fit in all the things I want to do in a day.


I'm still very excited to have got this far! 25,000 words seems awesome to me. That's a quarter of a book, more or less. I'm definitely pushing on with this. I am going to get this done.