Thursday, January 30, 2014

Understanding Nutrition


Uni doesn't start for a couple of weeks but I've read Chapter One of my Introduction to Nutrition textbook and since this is mainly a health/weight-loss I though you might be interested in what I am learning.

Understanding Nutrition, Whitney et al, Cengage Learning, 2011

Chapter One was an introduction and overview and didn't really contain new information for me, but it was reassuring to have some familiar concepts reinforced (as opposed to my Biology textbook which was nearly all new stuff).

It went through some reasons why people make food choices; including taste, habit and social/cultural conventions among others. It went on to list the macro and micro nutrients (proteins, fats, vitamins etc) and talked about kilojoules/calories. In Australia we officially use kilojoules, but a lot of people including myself think in terms of calories so I will need to get used to kilojoules (1 kilojoule = 4.2 calories).

Here is a fun fact, what most people call calories are actually kilocalories. The name has been shortened which is very inaccurate - imagine if we started calling kilometres "metres" because it is a shorter word! Not the same thing at all.

Then there was a brief discussion of the role of food in the body, ie not just to provide energy but also the raw materials for building and repairing the body and dozens of other things. It touched briefly on the importance of water, which will be discussed more fully later in the book. My biology text also emphasised the role of water in just about every process in the human body. It has vital differences to every other liquid and is essential on the cellular level. It's not just there to flush out salt and keep blood flowing! Lots of the molecules in your cells (or was it all of them?) can't even attach to each other without water. We'd just fall apart.

The authors talked about what constitutes valid, reliable research and how we know whether we can trust new information, ie peer reviewed journal articles vs claims on a website trying to sell you a weight loss protein bar.

Finally they discuss how recommended dietary intakes are established, including how more of an essential vitamin does not mean better, and talk about how to do a nutrition assessment of an individual or a population.

The book includes access to a website with quizzes and stuff but, frustratingly, I haven't been able to log in yet. I'm really impressed by the book though, it is very clear and interesting so far. It seems to get across a lot of information without being overwhelming.

Birthday girl


As usual, the menu and daily activities were entirely chosen by the birthday person. I'll say up-front that I do not put responsibility for what I eat on my daughter - totally my choice to indulge today!

We started with presents in the big bed, then I made French toast with raspberries. Big doses of carbohydrate seem to affect me more and more these days, and two slices of sourdough bread (which doesn't sound that much to me, that's just the same as a sandwich) soaked in egg, cream and sugar etc left me feeling overfull, bloated and sleepy for hours. I am not planning to completely ban any food as that seems to put me into a panicky fear-of-deprivation mode, but I feel much better if I eat smaller amounts of wheat-based products and sugar. So breakfast was a (daughter's) birthday indulgence. Even so, I don't really want an indulgence that makes me feel like that! Still, I don't regret it - I enjoyed eating it and I am done with regrets over insignificant little choices like that.

The rest of the morning was filled with utilizing the various presents. We listened to the soundtrack from "Frozen", the kids watched "The Croods" and "Despicable Me 2" (yes, two movies in one morning!) and played with the various little girly toys like Littlest Pet Shop miniature animals that she is collecting. She had 21 before today and I must have got her another five or six.

We've tried not to be gender-biased in the treatment of our kids, presents we give them or activities we suggest for them, but it has just turned out that Jasmine is a very girly girl (I wasn't) and Aiden is a boyish boy. They were just born that way.

Then into the city (such as it is, Canberra has a population of around 350,000 so the "city" is just the biggest collection of shops) to pick up Tim from work and have lunch at our favourite Chinese restaurant. The Shan Tung chicken can vary a lot in amount of chilli, today it was super hot. But very tasty.

After dropping Tim back at work we went to uni so I could return my borrowed Biology textbook. I had read the first four chapters, I haven't done any Science for 25 years and I can see it is going to be very challenging. A lot to learn. Maybe it's a good thing I will only be able to fit in three subjects this term instead of four, don't want to overtax the aging brain. While we were there I bought my Chemistry and Nutrition textbooks and I've started reading the Nutrition one. Fascinating stuff already. I can see I am really going to enjoy the core of this course. I'll keep you posted on things I learn.

It was really hot again outside and just walking back to the car with two very heavy textbooks was tiring. Back home to relax for the afternoon, with Jasmine creating some glow in the dark stickers, then her favourite lasagne for dinner and ice cream for dessert. And then watering the garden with daddy which seemed to get more water on them than the plants.

I think my little girl had a good day.

I had some great news, my mammogram came back clear. I hadn't really been worrying about it, but it's good to know.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tender little hands


I'm not sure if I really did well or not at supper last night. I started off by staying away from the table of snacks when people first arrived and had the usual half hour of chatting and eating. I wasn't deliberately avoiding the food, that was just a lucky side effect of my trying to juggle three TV shows I wanted to watch - recording two and watching snippets of the other.

But then I had to join everyone to actually play our game; we go into a different room (what would be a dining room in someone else's house is a library/games room in ours) but we take the snacks with us so I still had it all sitting in front of me. I nibbled at this and that. I didn't feel ill with overeating so that is a good sign. I don't think I had an excessive amount.

Today I vacuumed the house then later did 20 mins of dancing. The vacuuming was more exhausting! (My husband usually deals with the floors.) It hurts my soft baby hands, too, pushing the vacuum over the carpet. Any more and I probably would have raised a blister. I have to laugh at myself sometimes, the only callus I have is from holding a pen --- and just checked, of course that is long gone! How often do I hold a pen nowadays? On long walks the soles of my feet give out long before my muscles do. I guess I just have very carefully protected tender skin. I always wear gloves for washing dishes or gardening, and always shoes with socks, even in my own house.

My daughter's birthday tomorrow. I can hardly believe I have a very-nearly-ten year old. Surely I'm not old enough or responsible enough for that?

Sunday, January 26, 2014



Ok, so I wasn't as "better" as I thought I was, felt pretty sick and miserable yesterday. On the mend today, I hope, although my stomach is saying maybe not.

Monday weigh-in: 82.3kg.
Basically no change.

On Saturday I was determined to work on gratitude and happiness and felt pretty happy all day, just doing my normal things living my normal life. Then Sunday when I felt sick I was very unhappy all day. From the outside my life would have looked much the same, I had a sedentary weekend with lots of reading and watching TV. But on Saturday I was really enjoying that: immersing myself in the exciting book I got for Christmas, getting emotionally involved in a close cricket match on TV, playing a cute new app on my iPhone. On Sunday I did much the same activities but I felt sad and unwell and guilty that I was wasting my life sitting around. What a difference an attitude and/or feeling sick can make.

I wasn't what I was doing that was different, it was how I felt about it.

I need to work on finding the fun and enjoyable aspects of everything, whether that is work or study or exercise or leisure time. The achievement of having a clean kitchen, the taste of a healthy meal (and if I've chosen to have a treat, I need to damn well enjoy it, not spoil it by feeling guilty while I eat it!), the satisfaction of physical exertion, the joy of a good book.

Still working on it.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Waiting to be happy


A couple of quotes came up on my Facebook today that really spoke to me:

I've got to stop waiting for circumstances to change so I can start being happy! Sure being thin would be nice but it isn't going to magically change my life. Or what if it does? Should I waste all this time now that I am not thin? Sometimes I feel in limbo waiting to move back to Sydney, waiting for uni to start, waiting for something. But there is so much to appreciate and enjoy right now.

Our society seems to put a more value on looking good that being a nice person. Some days it seems like my whole life revolves around my weight. Yes my health is very important. But being 20 kg overweight does not make me a bad or unlovable person.

I mentioned yesterday that I was having a spoilt child tantrum about having to manage my weight. Well last night I externalised that. I dreamed that I was the full-time carer of a spoilt child! He was overweight and bratty, simultaneously neglected and overindulged by his parents. It was my job to cater to his every whim, a lot of which revolved around food. At the end of the dream he asked if I would be his girlfriend (he was about 12) and I said no but that I would help him get one, and I realised my job should actually be to help him change, but in a loving and caring way. I don't need a therapist to help me analyse that one!

We were supposed to visit Sydney this weekend but Tim is still sick with whatever germ is going round the family.

My mum is feeling a lot better after the chemo pills and a week of radiotherapy every day. I'm so amazed and thankful that she is going so well. When she first told me she had breast cancer that had spread to all her bones, even her spine and her skull, I was sure there was no hope and she was probably going to die within months. But the treatment is helping so much and the doctors seem to be very hopeful, there doesn't seem any expectation that she will die soon. I have a lot to be grateful for.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Les Liaisons Dangerouses


Much better, thank you. My husband is not feeling so good, but he went to work anyway.

Having a bit of a childish tantrum today. I don't wanna! Why should I have to? Why can't I just eat what I want and not exercise and yet be slender and healthy it's not fair!

As the Marquise de Meteul (sp?) says in Dangerous Liaisons: "You have spent your life making it necessary."

I made pasta with chicken for lunch, I ate mostly chicken but some fettuccini. And I feel so heavy and sleepy now. Not always, but carbs? wheat? something seems to strongly affect me sometimes. My stomach feels bloated and I can hardly keep my eyes open. It wasn't even a big serve.

I am looking forward to school going back and Uni starting in a few weeks to give my life some structure and purpose again. These summer holidays seem so long! And we went away before Christmas instead of after, so that is lots of weeks of just me and the kids at home. It is not really a holiday unless Tim is home as well.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another day at home


Aiden and I are sick today. Don't know with what, exactly, as in this house we have our own particular responses to illness rather than varying them due to which germ. My daughter always used to throw up when she was sick, even if it was just a cold (but luckily she has hardly had a day's illness for about five years). My son won't eat and cries a lot over minor issues, and gets a temperature you could fry an egg on. I nearly always get a sore throat and general fatigue. And also my chronic pain flares up - I have issues with my shoulders and down my arms and hands - which is unpleasant but at least I know it is temporary.

So no exercise today but I'm still controlling my food intake.

Our washing machine, after months of making thumping noises and refusing to obey its buttons, finally died on the weekend and we got a new one delivered today. So that was a minor thrill. And it apparently only takes just over an hour for a load instead of more than two hours! Yay.

Got my boy down to sleep early, I might follow soon.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Eating clean, and then not


Got up and did a half hour walk this morning. It was a good, brisk walk - although the time I took indicated it wasn't as brisk as I used to walk. It felt like I was pushing, though, which is the important thing. I had the usual voice in my head telling me that a half an hour walk was nothing, pathetic, couldn't even start to combat the other 23 and a half hours I spend sitting down, I wasn't going fast enough, just NOT GOOD ENOUGH. The thing is, I get that voice no matter how much I do or how hard I push myself. Run/walk a 5K? Not enough. Two gym classes back to back? Not enough. Pushing hard enough that I am getting dizzy and nearly vomiting? Not enough.

One day I hope to be able to turn that voice down so I can hear the other voice, the one that tells me I am doing a good job. Because the one that tells me I am not doing enough really isn't a good motivator.

I took the kids to see another movie, "Walking with Dinosaurs". I found it quite boring, but they enjoyed it. They had a treat each but I took in some grapes for myself. It was lunchtime when we came out but we still had some things to do before going home. I couldn't see anything in the Food Court that seemed like a good option for me. Some things could have been ok but I had no way of knowing what was really in them so I had a handful of almonds to tide me over while the kids had Happy Meals. I am a bit worried that I have linked "going to the movies" with "eating junk" for them. We did a bit of shopping and went to the library before finally home and I could eat a late lunch - I was starving!

Just a banana in the afternoon then a healthy dinner and so ended the official eating day well under available calories. When my weight went up (again) over the past year, my calorie tracking app changed my allowed calories from 1340 to 1750. This seemed like a big jump to me. Of course I still regularly went over this higher limit. But today I decided to manually change my allowance down to 1400. And I was comfortably under that.

And then Dungeons and Dragons supper happened. Doritos and chocolate happened.

I was feeling frustrated with myself that yet again I had failed, I hadn't even managed one full clean healthy day. I really felt like giving up (again). But I plugged in the calories I had eaten.

And you know what? I had still only eaten 1600 calories today. Sure, it was more than I wanted, and not entirely the type of food I had planned, but because I had eaten so mindfully all day my binge wasn't the total disaster I thought it was. I'm not saying it's ok that I ate a lot of junk, but that number consoled me enough so that I don't want to give up any more. I'll keep going, keep tracking my food both good and bad, squash down the voice that says I can't do it. Good day plus supper is better than bad day plus supper. Every slow dragging step is one step closer to my goals.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chasing the Stars


Monday is currently my official weigh-in day, although I weigh myself every morning, and today I was 82.2kg, back to where I was a fortnight ago. So I guess last week's jump was more time-of-the-month than anything else.

Last night a cool change came through so it's only 26C (79F) today instead of the 40C (104F) it has been for a week. So much nicer. It was so hard getting out of bed this morning, my body wanted more of that beautiful beautiful sleep in the coolness! But I had to get up because I am minding a friend's children all day. They are the same ages as my two and have been friends since the boys were born seven years ago, so I don't need to actually do anything other than feed them. The four of them should play happily together all day. I don't quite feel it would be responsible of me to go and have a nap, though.

When my dad was here and laying out all the pills he needed to take before dinner, Aiden asked him about some of them. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes medication! Last I heard he was only pre-diabetic. I asked him if his diabetes educator had advised him against some of his dietary choices (like 4 or 5 glasses of wine a day) and he looked at me sideways and said "they say all sorts of things". Obviously has no intention of changing. Dad's health started really going downhill only a few years ago, and now I have both parents to worry about. Dad was really active until he started having heart troubles, but he has always had a meat and alcohol-heavy diet, despite his heart bypass twenty years ago. Now he gets tired even on a brief slow walk, but he still consumes all the fat and wine. He has never worn a hat (or shirt!) or sunscreen when working outside all day (too cissy) so I don't know what is going to get him first: his heart, skin cancer, blood pressure, or now diabetes.

Sometimes my own self-inflicted weight problems seem petty but I shouldn't think that way. Maybe part of it is just vanity (not that self image is trivial) but health is so important. My health is important to me and my family.

I've joined a virtual 5K program:
It was set up by Kyra at . She has chosen 10 weekends throughout 2014 for followers to run or walk a 5K (a "real one" if one happens to be on and you want to, or otherwise just your own) and then post their results. It's not a competition, except against yourself, but it's a challenge to do all ten. My shins hurt when I run so I may never be able to do more than break into a jog occasionally, but I'm going to do the challenge anyway. Walking is way better than sitting on the couch, and it's nice to be part of a community doing it. And there are prizes! It starts in 10 weeks (or maybe a bit less, now) to give people time to build up to it. Lucky for me, because there is no way I would do it in summer.

I've been thinking about joining the gym at Uni but I'll wait to see what my timetable looks like. I'll probably have two mornings free of classes, but on the other hand I might need that time for study, doing assignments, grocery shopping etc. I don't want to spend the money if I hardly ever use it. But back on the first hand, I need to get some exercise in some time! Now that the temperature has dropped (briefly) I can at least imagine being able to exercise again.

Biggest Loser started here last night. They are going to have the usual 14 people starting the intensive training in The House, but they are also trying to help an entire town of 11,000 people; one of the most obese towns in Australia. It will be interesting to see how that works. I know a lot of people don't like the show, saying it humiliates the obese contestants, that the training is unrealistic and divorced from the real world, that it is a freak show and voyeurism etc. Well, any reality show is voyeurism. But I don't see it as fat shaming. I see a group of people who ask for help and get it. Sure they have to go back to their real life afterwards and learn to cope with temptations, but at least they are given a start. On the Australian show they have got rid of the controversial "temptations" episodes where contestants could eat a lot of junk for the chance of getting immunity, which I think was a good move. Anyway, I know not everyone approves but I love the show. I love seeing people transform.

Even on the very first episode, they got the contestants to walk up a very challenging track (I looked it up later, the website said the walk is 3.6 km and is a 20% gradient). One guy said after 200 metres he nearly gave up. It just seemed too hard. But the trainers badgered and encouraged and every one of them made it to the top of the mountain. A lot of them were amazed that they were able to do it. But once they realised that they could do something like that, they were filled with hope for the future.

Saturday, January 18, 2014



Dad just came to visit for a few days, as he does several times a year. We always struggle a bit to find things to talk about, so thank goodness it's cricket season. We were able to watch a couple of games together (on TV) and talk about that. It was too hot to go out anywhere, except one visit to a toyshop so he could get the kids something.

Nothing else to report. Too hot to exercise. Too hot to think.

Biggest Loser Australia starts tomorrow. Very excited. They are taking on a whole town.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014



I was heading for bed a bit later than usual last night, about 11pm, and was brushing my teeth when I saw in the mirror that my husband, standing behind me, had an odd look on his face and was keeping his distance. "What?" I gurgled through a mouthful of foam. "Oh, nothing," he replied unconvincingly. He waited until I had rinsed my mouth before pointing out the huntsman spider in the corner above me.

If you haven't heard, Australia has some big spiders. This one was yet a baby, not much bigger than the palm of my hand, but fat and hairy. (Makes me think of Hagrid talking about his pet spider Aragog, so cute when he was just born, "Tiny thing, he was, about the size of a Pekinese.") But no kidding, we've had one hiking along the outside of our house that was literally the size of a serving platter. I think that was the time Tim broke a window trying to kill it with a broom.

We have an ensuite bathroom but for some reason the sink is in our actual bedroom instead. So this spider is up in the corner of our bedroom. And both Tim and I are arachnophobic. No way either of us are getting closer than the end of a broomstick. And even that is with much girding of loins and darting backwards in terror if the spider moves. And it was on the blinds, which of course just ripple if you wack them, leaving the spider unharmed but agitated, or maybe flicked off and propelled towards you as you scream in terror.

Tim was rather against using spray in our bedroom at bedtime but we couldn't see any other way. So he emptied half a can of spray on it from as close as he could make himself go and it reeled around drunkenly for about 15 minutes, sometimes in view and sometimes hidden behind the blinds, slipping and scrambling up again, it's back white with flyspray. And it as guarding the window so we couldn't get close enough to open that and let some fresh air but we couldn't take our eyes off the spider, it could go anywhere and disappear and then we would be living in fear forever! so we had to stay and endure the fumes. Finally the spider got sick enough that Tim was able to sweep it onto the floor, thump it spasmodically a few times with the broom then stomp on it with shoes put on specially for the purpose.

And we opened the window and left the room for an hour to watch half a movie before going to bed very late with the room still reeking. But at least spider-free.



Today I had my first mammogram. I'd been meaning to have one for a couple of years, and of course mum being diagnosed with breast cancer made it more urgent. When I asked her about them she said she'd had one once, years ago, but it was so horrible she never had another one!

Sure it was pretty uncomfortable, enough to bring a tear to my eye. I would rate it about the same as having my blood pressure done, which I hate. I've often wondered if those would hurt so much if I had strong muscular arms instead of wobbly fat ones. The squeezing! The pinching! Anyway, having your bosoms squished flat isn't at all pleasant, but not bad enough to avoid, considering the risks. I can grit my teeth for 10 or 15 seconds (4 times). I'm much more likely to put off going to the dentist.

Tim looked after the kids while I was there then took the car and we came home from the city by bus, which the kids found quite exciting - especially as we got a bendy bus which is like two busses stuck together end to end with an accordion bit in the middle so it can get around corners. There were never more than about six people on it, including the three of us, so it seemed a bit wasted. Presumably it is good for peak hour services.

It's a super stinky hot day so once home, especially without the car, we didn't go out again. I read my last short story for the Award (now I have to duke it out with the other judges to pick a winner), lunch, nap on the lounge under the air conditioner, folded a couple of baskets of clean clothes, watched some TV, made dinner. Slow day.

Breakfast: two nectarines
Snack: cream cheese on crackers, tea
Lunch: Caesar salad (awesome)
Snack: cup of tea
Dinner: T-bone steak, corn, salad
Snack: mini ice cream cone

Calories: 1408
Exercise: 10 mins walking
Water: six glasses (but should drink at least one more before bedtime)

Today was a good day. This afternoon I watched a show detailed the most amazing transformations of past Biggest Loser contestants (the new season starts on Sunday, love that show, very excited). Not just their physical change and makeover, but the change in their mental attitude. Afterwards I was making dinner and smiling to myself, feeling very happy. I love seeing people change their lives and realise that they are strong loveable people after all - and that they always were.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014



I spent the morning reading and I have now read all but one of the nearly-200 short stories I had committed to read. One left! I just didn't have time to read that one and give it the attention it deserved. Tomorrow.

In the afternoon the kids and I went to see "Frozen". They had already seen it with grandad but I didn't go that day, and they wanted to see it again. Very good kids movie, entertaining for adults too. Lots and lots of singing! It was nicely cool in the theatre, scorching outside.

Today's food intake:

Breakfast: a mango, a quarter of a peach from our own garden, half a passionfruit, tea
Snack: cream cheese on wholegrain crackers
Lunch: leftover san choy bau (pork and lots of vegetables in lettuce cups)
Snack in movie: three squares of Crispello Cadbury chocolate
Snack after movie: a banana
Dinner: satay chicken with lots of vegetables on quinoa. I love quinoa but rarely cook it because I'm the only one who eats it, everyone else has rice. At least I've changed them from Jasmine rice to Basmati. They won't eat brown!
Supper during Dungeons and Dragons: a cider, a cupcake (which I made myself) and a couple of slices of watermelon. Within my calories for the day and doing well. Then the Burger Rings came out. And I caved. And ate and ate. Then had a row of chocolate. In all, my evening binge was worth over 1000 calories. As usual, feel all yuck. And frustrated with myself.

Calories: 2326
Exercise: nil
Water: 7

I felt like I was doing well today, lots of vegetables and fruit, healthier carbs, a small treat at the movies. And then, as usual, I didn't make it through the Tuesday evening junk-fest unscathed. So what if people bring tempting rubbish? I am totally in control of my own actions. Yes, it is harder when the stuff is right in front of me, but I do not relinquish responsibility for what I put in my mouth. I will do better.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Food log


Breakfast: two nectarines, tea (with milk and sugar)
Lunch: white bread roll with butter, lettuce and supermarket rotisserie chicken (meat and skin) - delicious!
Snack: two slices watermelon, tea
Snack: leftover roast carrot/zucchini/onion/celery - about two serves of vegetable - I was ravenous at around 5pm and couldn't wait until dinner
Dinner: beef empanadas and salad. (I thought this was a pretty healthy meal, the homemade filling was good, but then I looked up the puff pastry! It was about 300 calories for the relatively small amount.)

Calories: 1325
Exercise: nil
Water (including tea): seven glasses - which means I am pissing like a racehorse

I've been wandering around these last these past couple of hours wanting to snack on something even though I am not at all hungry. Knowing that I am allowed, I could have something else and still be within my calorie limit for the day, really helps me NOT eat anything. I know that sounds contradictory. But it's when I say "no more" that I feel all deprived and frantic. Knowing that I can if I want makes me feel empowered and safe. So I don't need to. Still a niggling desire though.

Looking at the day, I need to start exercising and also I need to work on the quality of my carbs. Less of the nutritionally empty white stuff! Also only had about three serves of veges all day. Decent start though, I had plenty of chances to eat junk food while out shopping with the kids or tripping over the chocolate cupcakes we have here at home. Again, knowing that I could budget for a treat if I really wanted it kept me strong.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Apply the breaks!


My weight jumped up in the middle of last week and I didn't worry about it because, you know, that time of the month. But it's still going up. Today 83.3 kg. I'm pretty sure that is my highest weight since I started this blog three and a half years ago. I didn't allow for weight gain on my daily graph so I'm now over the top of the ruled lines.

No more messing around. Taking action instead of just complaining. I'm tracking my calories and if I want more than my Calorie King app allots me for the day then I have to earn them with exercise. I'm not cutting out any food groups, just eating a bit less of everything and especially "junk" food. I'm doing the weekly shopping later today so I'll plan a fresh healthy menu. It is going to be really hot here all week, 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) so it will probably involve lots of salads. And fruit.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

School holidays


Tim is back at work this week and the kids are at home. Our daily pattern has been that I do some reading for the Aurealis Awards in the morning (running out of time to get that finished!) while my children play very nicely together - I am very lucky that my children get along well and enjoy each other's company. Or not "lucky" so much. I chose great genes for them by marrying my husband and then we are both wonderful parents, or I have to assume so from the way our kids have turned out! Lately they have spent a lot of time pretending to be puffles, whatever kind of creature that may be.

Then after lunch we have some kind of outing. We saw "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" the other day, yesterday went to the library then a big outdoor playground at the Arboretum, today we went to an indoor playground with giant slides and a jumping castle and ball pit and all that kind of stuff. First we stopped off at the uni library and I borrowed the Biology textbook I'll be using this year so I read that for the two and a half hours we were at Kid City. I haven't done Biology since Yr 10 in high school, which was ... 1986? I didn't do Biology for the last two years of high school, I did Physics and Chemistry because I thought I wanted to be a doctor and those were prerequisites for the  Medical course. Ended up doing Linguistics instead, so it didn't matter anyway.

I keep finding more things to worry about with going back to uni, the latest one being that the uni holidays don't coincide with the kids' school holidays. But I am going to push on and see how it goes.

One benefit of going to this particular uni is that it is less than 10 mins drive away. The downside is that it looks like a conglomeration of mismatched concrete boxes. My first tertiary institution, Sydney Uni, was/is a beautiful place; all lovely gothic stone with gargoyles like somewhere in England. I felt inspired just being there, like I was a part of history. Canberra Uni is just ugly. Oh well, I can balance that against 10 mins travel instead of the 90 mins I used to have in my picturesque youth.

Feeling a lot more cheerful today, and a lot less likely to bite someone's head off.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Not the best week


So we're already a week into 2014. How are we all doing?

In terms of sticking to my health and weight-loss plans, I'm not doing so well. Still eating lots of extra junk, haven't really exercised since 1st Jan except a few minutes each day of standing on my wobble board. No valid excuses.

Major binge last night at our weekly Dungeons and Dragons snack-fest. Table full of junk food. Over the past eight years or so that we've been playing, occasionally one or more of us will decide we need to eat healthier and push for better foods, bringing fruit or maybe vegetable sticks instead of Doritos and gummy bears. It never lasts more than a couple of weeks. It's at my house, so even if I stopped playing, the food would still be there. I have sometimes, while "on a diet" resisted all the junk. That's never lasted more than a week or two either.

I know what healthy eating is, and this year I don't want to do any fad diets that are unsustainable. But the problem is, hard as I find strict diets, I find "just eat healthy" even harder. If it's ok to have a bit of some "treat", then it's ok to have a little bit more, and a bit more, and then a lot more. I want to have a relationship with food that doesn't involve banning some things or demonising them, but maybe a more relaxed attitude just isn't going to work for me.

I guess one possible solution is calorie counting - not banning any particular food but still having strict rules about how much in a day. I've tried it before, of course.

In the past three and a half years I've tried a lot of things.

I get discouraged having to write down all the terrible stuff I am eating, and give up.

I have PMS this morning. I'll feel more hopeful in a couple of days.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Weird person 1

As my nine-year-old daughter and I came out of the change-rooms, the attendant did a double-take and stared at Jasmine. Then in a shocked, almost disapproving voice said something like "You are so white!" (like we didn't know) "Do you dare go out in the sun? Do you put on lots of sunburn?" (I assume she meant put on sunscreen.

Then she just stared at her, bending right over the counter to get her head down to my daughter's height. Jasmine tried to respond appropriately to the rather weird attention, and we left. Odd woman.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Wobble board


Today my daughter and I left the boys at home and went out for a marathon four-hour shopping session (for her). Firstly we went to complain about a present I'd got her for Christmas; when she got around to opening the Sims 3 Pets expansion, there was no disk in it! It had a sealing tape sticking it closed, but whoever was supposed to check before putting that on wasn't doing their job that day. My husband had already been in but they wouldn't give him a refund/swap without the receipt (which I couldn't find even though I carefully kept all the Christmas ones together), even though it had their price tag on it and the sealing sticker also had their name. So today I took in my bank statement which listed their shop on it because I bought the game with my debit card and they were able to use the time stamp to bring up a list of all the things I bought on that day. Pretty amazing. And they gave me the game disk.

Then we bought Jasmine new jazz shoes for her dance class, other shoes, shorts, tops and underwear. And some shorts for Aiden (didn't need him there for that). By the end of four hours I was pretty tired, but she would have been happy to keep going and buy more stuff.

I had bought myself new exercise shoes (cross trainers) a few days ago and today I bought myself a wobble board. Not the Rolf Harris kind that he makes music with, the kind you stand on and have to balance while it wobbles. New way to strengthen my core and my ankles, all while watching television. I tried it out a bit in the shop and found it quite tiring very quickly, which is great.

Came home and slept on the lounge for half an hour. Lovely.

Too hot


I've really been struggling with the heat the past few days. I've had a lot of trouble sleeping at night, and then dozing off into an uncomfortable hot stupor during the day. Too hot to move. But the coming week is forecast for much milder temperatures so things should get better.

Tim goes back to work on Monday, still four (or is it five?) weeks of school holidays left. Have to start thinking of things to do with the kids. It will depend a lot on the weather. Air-conditioned movies sound pretty good at the moment!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Losing a wheel


I've heard more about my father-in'law Des' exciting adventure yesterday. He was driving along the highway in the fast lane when a ute (utility vehicle, car with a tray at the back) decided to overtake on the outside and then cut back in too soon, clipping Des' car and knocking him into the steel fence between him and oncoming traffic (that goodness for the fence!). The car scraped along the fence, losing a front wheel and sliding along on the base of the car, quickly coming to a halt on its own which was lucky because the brakes no longer worked with the wheel missing.

A policeman, stopped nearby booking a speeder, got the whole thing on tape. The ute drove a bit further then stopped (possibly only because there was a policeman right there!).

Very frightening, and incredible that neither Des on the fence side nor his girlfriend on the passenger side which was hit by the ute, was hurt. The car was a total write off. They are going to catch a bus home tomorrow and start pursuing insurance. Clearly the other guy's fault, and they have it on tape to prove it.