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.