Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A little cold can't stop me


I went to bed last night feeling ok, but during the night developed a throat tickle and blocked nose. In the morning I felt pretty awful. Cold or flu, we've all been there. This often happens when I make changes towards health, although this time there was no over-strenuous exercise and I didn't try to cut out caffeine or sugar so I don't know why. Probably all psychological - I just resist healthy efforts by saying "I can't diet/exercise, I'm sick!" Not this time.

By mid-morning I felt well enough to go out and do the grocery shopping. It was freezing! I don't know how my husband rides his bike to work every day, and he goes much earlier than I was out. My hands hurt from the cold. I bought lots of healthy food, no junk. Later in the day the tiler came to fix the roof, and then I remembered I needed to exercise so I went out for a walk. Now the warmest part of the day, it was still so cold and I didn't feel well so I cut the time down to 15 minutes. Saw some pretty Sulphur Crested cockatoos, hanging out with pigeons and one Major Mitchell cockatoo (the pink and grey one). There was a rainbow lorikeet too but it flew away before I got close enough to take a picture.

Came home for some hot vegetable soup.

The hardest part of the day was when a friend came over so our kids could play. I had some of the cheese and crackers, and strawberries, that I provided but there were also yummy biscuits that I didn't feel were healthy for me at this time. I managed to resist, and the others polished them off before I could give in to cravings. It was my friend who is a nutritionist, and we talked about my Vitamin B12 deficiency and looked at my results from earlier tests and how they hadn't tested for that (even though I've complained of being always tired for several years), so she thinks I could have had this problem for a while. She thinks I should forget the tablets and ask for the injections straight away! But I'll stick with my doctor's advice, if the tablets work then I won't need monthly injections for the rest of my life.

When Tim got home he said he isn't feeling well either, although he refuses to get sick. I hope we can both shake it off quickly.

Report card:
Diet: Excellent.
          Breakfast: Two poached eggs, one toast with butter. Fresh tomato. Tea.
          Morning snack: Banana.
          Lunch: Two lamb chops. Lebanese cucumber. Vegetable soup.
          Afternoon snack: Camembert cheese and crackers. Strawberries. Vegetable soup. Tea. Peppermint tea.
          Dinner: Peanut beef with Asian vegetables. Quinoa.
I feel like I'm getting a good balance including lots of fruit and vegetables.
Exercise: Good, considering I'm not feeling well.
Water: Excellent. Eleven glasses.
Sleep: Ok.
Mental health: Ok.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Strong day

later Monday:

I've done well today. I went for a 30 minute walk in the afternoon and kept within my calorie limits (around 1400--1600, my Fitbit allowance varies depending on exercise). No junk, all healthy food. I had two afternoon snacks because I got really hungry. Or stressed? But kept it to real food, and tracked everything. And I have some vegetable soup simmering on the stove for if I start to panic about not being allowed any more food today or feel deprived that I only had two tacos.

Report card:
Diet: Excellent.
          Breakfast: One slice of toast with peanut butter. Fresh orange. Tea.
          Lunch: Chicken breast. Salad. Tea.
          Afternoon tea: Fresh strawberries and Greek yoghurt. Tea.
          Second afternoon tea: Small apple and some cheese.
          Dinner: Two beef tacos with lots of salad.
Exercise: Good. 30 minute walk in the sun (also good for Vitamin D).
Water: Excellent. Ten glasses.
Sleep: Ok, and I used the CPAP. I've got my own CPAP brain back tonight, slightly adjusted, with continuous air pressure rather than varying, so that is good. But as discussed in the last post, lack of sleep may not actually be my problem. I've taken my Vitamin B12 tablet. A note on B12, because it comes from animal products I get plenty of it in my diet (vegetarians and especially vegans can have problems getting enough but I am most definitely a carnivore). Absorbing it is the problem, I may have something called pernicious anaemia -- the doctor mentioned this, I didn't just get it from the internet -- we'll see.
Mental health: Surprisingly good. While all these medical issues are scary, there is always a certain exhilaration to the start of a new diet when you feel like you have the motivation to tackle all your problems. Well, I find it so, anyway.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Health issues - the results


I saw my doctor and the sleep clinic today and got a lot of results back, good and bad. I'm going to list them all here, mainly for my own records.

Firstly I saw the technician at the sleep clinic. I'd had the borrowed CPAP brain for two weeks to get some more readings on how I'm sleeping. The result is that my tiredness doesn't seem to have anything to do with my sleep apnoea. The machine is working well, I'm using it correctly, I'm having a sleep apnoea "event" on average 0.1 times per hour (that is about once every second night), which is negligible. They have now increased the air pressure to eliminate even that occasional event, but it's not really going to make any difference. So, that was not the problem.

Then I saw my GP (general practitioner, my family doctor) to get the results of my glucose tolerance (diabetes) test and all the other blood readings. That was interesting and a bit scary.

Four years ago, when I was first flagged as having pre-diabetes / glucose intolerance, my blood glucose was 10.0 mmol/L. Normal is 7.7, diabetes is 11.0. So it wasn't good. I worked on it. Two years ago it was down to 8.2, nearly normal. Great work Natalie. Today it was up to 10.8 mmol/L. That is not good at all. It's 0.2 from a diagnosis of diabetes. Doubly bad, with my father recently dying of (probably) diabetes complications. I have gained weight back over the past couple of years, I was down to 78 kg for a while, I desperately need to lose it again, and more. This morning I was at my highest for a long time: 84.8 kg. That is a couple of kilograms (5 pounds) in less than two weeks. I was hoping the weight gain was partly a monthly fluctuation, but apparently not.

Obviously it's time, way past time, to get really really serious about my health.

That wasn't the only result. The next most important was my level of B12, which are very low. It seems I'm not absorbing B12 from food. And guess what, low levels of B12 make you very tired. We may well have a solution to my constant fatigue. I'm now on Vitamin B12 supplements for 2 or 3 months, then will be retested. If I still can't absorb the vitamin from the tablets, as is quite likely, I will need regular injections of it. This was completely unexpected news! Lucky I'm not scared of needles. In a way I am excited about this result, because it means I might finally get a resolution to my constant tiredness. An injection every month or so in return for normal levels of energy? Bring it on! Or maybe the pills will help, which is even better.

My cholesterol is too high. I've always had high cholesterol, but last test it was down to almost normal. This time is was up again, to 6.2. Should be 3.5--5.5. Probably tied to my obesity, and another reason to lose weight.

My blood platelets are up a little bit. High enough for my doctor to point it out, but not high enough to worry, she said. They can go up due to an infection, so if I had a cold or something (and I have had a sore throat) that can cause the reading. When I got home I looked it up and the other thing that causes increased blood platelets is cancer. Ah, the internet, so comforting. I'm trying not to worry about that at this stage. I was only a little above normal. But another thing to keep an eye on.

And finally my Vitamin D levels are low. I was put on tablets for this before, but stopped taking them (without consulting my doctor) when I started walking regularly and was getting plenty of sunlight. That fizzed out a while ago. So now I'm back on the pills.

I'll be tracking food, counting calories and carbohydrates. And exercising every day.



We went to a friend's house for lunch today, at least it was lunchtime but the food was bacon and eggs. Is it still brunch if it's after noon? And if you've already had breakfast? Anyway it was great company with I think nine adults and eight kids, our kids were the eldest. It was a nice summer day so the kids were outside most of the time while the grown-ups sat around and enjoyed adult conversation - like the worst toilets we've encountered in various countries around the world. And the worst flat-mates people had back in their younger days.

Then at home in the afternoon we played our family Dungeons and Dragons game. They followed the rumour of a scary ghost and found he was a noble knight guarding his master's tomb and not a threat unless you were a grave robber.

The only bad thing today was a very disappointing cut of meat for our Sunday roast. I'm not at all confident that I got the expensive cut I paid for.

My thighs are so sore from all those stairs yesterday! I can hardly get up out of a low chair. But I don't mind that, makes me feel like I got some good exercise in yesterday.

Report card:
Diet: Mostly good, and no food after 8.
Exercise: As I was about to write this post I realised I didn't want to have to say I broke my promise about exercise, so I got up and marched around the lounge room for five minutes. Not much, but it was something. Otherwise a very sedentary day.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Tick for CPAP. Seeing the technician tomorrow. Ok sleep. I slept in an extra hour this morning, which was lovely.
Mental health: Good. I listened to my meditation while dinner was cooking. Didn't hear most of it, of course, as I drifted off. But it still counts.

(Edit: I broke my no food after 8 quite late this evening, picking at leftovers then toast. I should have eaten more at dinner, but I was very unhappy with the meat.) (Further edit: that is just an excuse. I ate when I shouldn't have.)

I've decided it's time to step things up a bit. I think maybe each Monday I'll increase one or more of my promises. So from tomorrow I will start tracking my food, without a requirement yet for keeping within any calorie limit. I just have to track it. Also, with exercise I still have a requirement to do something, no matter how small, every day, but this week I will do at least half an hour on five of those days.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Saturday (written Sunday):

I spent the entirety of Saturday watching Dancesport. That is competition ballroom dance, everything from pretty waltzes to energetic jive. But nothing modern like hip hop or contemporary dance. They have a big competition here every year and we have been going for a while, in fact Tim's cousin used to compete. Tim took the kids out to shop for birthday presents for me for a while, and we all went out for dinner then came back for the evening finals and professional exhibition dance, but I was sitting in that seat for eight and a half hours!

I took quite a few pictures, but apparently an iPhone 4S wasn't really up to the task of taking clear pictures of swiftly moving objects!

Despite spending most of the day sitting, I got in nearly 9,000 steps and 22 flights of stairs. We were down in the second row and had to climb frighteningly steep stairs to the top to get to the toilets and food outlets (you can see the start of the steep stairs in that second photo). My thighs got really sore from the climbing, and this morning I feel like I spent yesterday doing too many squats. I had some unhealthy snacks, and fried fish for lunch, but I also took along fruit and water and we went out for a proper dinner so I didn't do terribly. And I really enjoyed the day.

Report card:
Diet: Tick, nothing after 8. Otherwise poor.
Exercise: Not sure if I get a tick for this one as I didn't do any "deliberate exercise" but I climbed all those stairs! So good exercise overall.
Water: Tick, I think. It was hard to keep track, with the kids sharing my water bottles. But I think I did.
Sleep: Tick, and ok.
Mental health: Good. But I am running out of time to do my meditations. Let feel some extra stress over that, shall we?

Friday, June 26, 2015

We return to our normal programming


I've been talking a lot about other stuff going on in my life (which I don't apologise for, it's my blog!) but I am going to try to talk more about the health stuff. This is primarily supposed to be a weight loss blog, and I need to work on losing some weight, so that is probably what I should talk about.

I'm feeling very out of control with food at the moment. Indulging in whatever, whenever; giving in to impulses. I'm not sure how to halt this free-fall.

On the up side, I went for another walk today. Another nice sunny day, I didn't even need a jumper. Much. Only wished for one when I was in the shade.

We got our TV back today, which means Foxtel but also Xbox games. With my shoulder better, I can try dance again. Sometime. At the moment even getting out for a walk is a big effort.

I hate being all grim and gloomy and whiney but that is how I feel a lot of the time just now. Still struggling to get enough sleep, to fuel myself with healthy food, to get my body moving. I'm tired and have a sore throat. No wonder I feel sluggish and sad. I'm relying on calories and caffeine to keep going. But at least I am keeping my little promises.

Report card:
Diet: Tick, no food after 8. Otherwise poor.
Exercise: Tick. Ok.
Water: Tick. Good.
Sleep: Tick. But poor.
Mental health: Poor. I need to get onto my promise of doing two meditations in this week.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Time limit


I went for a walk this morning so I got half an hour of genuine exercise in. The best I've done for weeks. We had heavy fog this morning that burned off later to reveal a clear and relatively warm winter's day so I took advantage of it. I also did some thinking while I walked and decided on a three step plan about where we are going to live (subject to husbandly approval, of course, but I think he will like it).

1) Decide whether Sydney is included in places we want to live, or not. We've been wavering about this and need to make a decision. It is the most likely place for Tim to find a good job aside from where we are now. I've talked about the many pros and cons before; family, traffic, climate etc. I'm currently leaning towards a yes.

2) Set a fairly short time limit, maybe four to six months, on finding a job outside Canberra; whether that is in Sydney or somewhere away from the big cities.

3) If we get to the end of that time limit, towards the end of this year, without good prospects of a job elsewhere, then we commit to our current location in Canberra for another ten years or so. Buy a bigger house or else do a knock-down rebuild on this block, and settle in. 

We are sick of not knowing where we are going to live, not being able to make long term plans. We started to think about moving away from here about five years ago, and have therefore put a lot of things off because of not knowing if we'd even be in this city. Schools, renovations, even whether to buy a new TV or not! I want to set a time limit then make a commitment.

Report card:
Diet: Tick, no food after 8. Otherwise poor to ok.
Exercise: Good.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Tick, kept the CPAP on. Ok sleep, not great.
Mental health: Good.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Little promises, and not going anywhere


I'm not feeling ready for a big push towards becoming perfect in every way, but I can't just drift along as I am and gain a lot of weight. So I am going to make some little promises. It worked before! There is only one week left in June, and I promise that for the next week:

Diet: I will not eat after 8:00pm. This should save me hundreds of calories a day, without sending me into a panic binge about giving up my comfort foods.

Exercise: I will do some deliberate exercise every day, even if it is just a 10 minute walk. I am going to establish a habit of exercising again.

Water: I will drink at least 8 glasses a day. Some days this seems hard but I know that my body doesn't give reliable signals about being thirsty and I need to push myself to do it anyway. When I don't drink enough, I get very dehydrated, my skin dries out, and I think it affects my energy levels.

Sleep: I've been struggling a lot with the new CPAP. At least, it is my own CPAP but with a temporary new brain. For some reason it's been very difficult for me to use it consistently. I have changed the humidity/temperature settings back to what I like (the sleep doctor changed them to stop my throat drying out, but I hated having hot moist air blown up my nose even in winter) but the main difference is that this one has variable pressure - it blows softer or harder depending on what it decides I need at that moment. Last night I decided I just have to make it "no choice" again. Minimum four hours, I'm not allowed to take it off before then. And it worked, I kept it on for nearly seven hours and slept really well! I think taking the choice away helped a lot. Hopefully I'll have enough readings for the technicians when I see them next week, so they can reset my own CPAP brain to exactly the right settings.

Mental health: This is a tricky one. How do I enforce good mental health, even in a small way? Telling myself not to stress so much doesn't really work! I promise to use my meditation app at least twice this week. I can spare 20 minutes of stillness. As I plan this, I can see myself lying there listening but thinking "I need to be doing x and y and z!" and getting more stressed! But I need to teach myself to relax somehow. I don't mean to imply that I am working hard all hours of the day and night, but just that it's when I try to be still and calm that I can start to feel the pressure building.

So, that is the plan for this week.

I renewed my driver licence today. For once I remembered that they take your photo, so I was careful with hair and makeup. So I was disappointed with the picture; not only do I look old, fat and tired; one clump of my hair is sticking out! The wind must have got it just before I went in. Of course the photographer doesn't care what you look like, just takes one photo and there you are for the next five years.

I also had my last physio appointment for my shoulder! So much better now. I need to keep up the home exercises.

Tim called this afternoon to say he didn't get the job on Norfolk Island. He came second in the selection process. Apparently there were a lot of applicants, and one was considered just slightly more qualified in this particular area.

Obviously I'm disappointed and sad, and also a bit surprised. I was pretty sure we were going. I really wanted to go. But I'm very glad to at least finally know, and not be in suspense any more. Also it removes a lot of stress about the whole process of moving in a hurry, and readying the house for renting out, and also about Jasmine missing the last six months of her primary school and the first six months of her new high  school next year (Australian school years are Jan-Dec, or I suppose Feb-Dec as Jan is all summerholidays). And she was going to miss the upcoming dance concert.

Also I was a bit worried about being inaccessible during the sale of my father's house and assets, and all that process.

This leaves us back where we were a couple of months ago, not sure what we are going to do next. Tim will continue to look for work outside the big cities, but what do we do in the meantime? Stay and wait, renovate, move to a bigger/less run-down house? I guess not all the stress is gone! Geez, I need to learn to relax for a minute.

I ate some comfort food, I felt quite let down and seriously considered deleting the first half of this post and forgetting all about those promises I just made because, well, I was sad. That is a good excuse, isn't it? But then I got stubborn, so:

Report card:
Diet: Tick. I ate some very unhealthy food today, but nothing after 8pm.
Exercise: Tick. I marched around the lounge room for 5 minutes.
Water: Tick. Forced down my 8 glasses before bedtime.
Sleep: Tick, and great sleep last night.
Mental health: Poor. Feeling deflated.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Glucose tolerance


This morning was my biennial glucose tolerance test for diabetes. It involves drinking a revoltingly sugary drink (75g of sugar, twice as much as in a Coke) then sitting still and feeling queasy for two hours while they take tests of your blood and urine. Easy! Compared to going to the dentist yesterday, it was like a morning in a luxury resort. Results in a few days.

Home for lunch and some work trying to organise the roof being fixed (another tradie coming Friday), the TV fixed (trying to decide whether to pay the exorbitant price I've been quoted or just buy a new one), the curtains installed (in two weeks) then off to the hairdresser. I hadn't had my hair cut for a while because I am trying to grow it longer again, but it was looking really ragged and needed to be neatened up. As many women (and maybe some men) would know, that in-between stage is very tricky! It looks ok I think, I'll know better after I've washed it and done my own styling because I could never blow-dry like this again even if I wanted to.

Report card:
Diet: Ok.
Exercise: Poor.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Ok. A bit better.
Mental health: Ok.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Facing my fears


I had two things to dread today and have got one of them over with, the dentist visit. I am very dentist-phobic (I bet there is a real word for that - there you go, ondontophobia). I have no problem with doctors or needles or intrusive examinations; but put me in a dentist chair and I'm a trembling mess who gags every few seconds as the dentist tries to do something horrible like, oh, clean my teeth. It is actually a very stressful experience for me. After I had to have a root canal, which took several hour-long visits, I didn't go back for four years. This time it's been two years since my last visit, and I tried a new dentist, the one I take my kids to. She is lovely, and she tried a few things to help me. She let me sit up instead of lying back, and that was enormously helpful. It's not pain I'm scared of, I think it is mainly that helpless feeling. Also I can feel like I'm drowning. So sitting up was much better. Also she put some salt on my tongue. I've never heard of that before, but it actually helped stop me gagging so much. Weird. And finally she did half the clean with the usual electric stuff and the water spray and suction etc but decided I wasn't handling it well and went to just a manual pick. She deals mainly with kids and I think she was great!

The best thing was no cavities so I don't have to go back for another year. But when I do, it will definitely be to her. And she asked me to put a review online, I will and it will be glowing!

The other worry for today is getting the roof inspected, I need to get the tiles fixed asap but it's hard to find someone to do it soon. I've got the representative from a big company coming today, and I've just got the feeling they are going to be very pushy about getting the whole roof restored or something I don't want or need. So I will have to be assertive, which I find a bit scary. But hopefully it won't be like that. I try not to worry about stuff that might not even happen.

The roof guy was very nice but as I expected pushed for total roof restoration which is not something I want to do right now with the future so unsettled. The interaction was fine, but he said there isn't really a temporary patch-up that he can do. The worrying part is that I actually believe him about what needs to be done, I've had quite a few handymen/insurance people etc come out here lately and this house really needs some work. But I don't want to spend thousands when I don't know if we're staying, or going away for a year, or renovating, or maybe selling permanently. Yet I don't want the roof to leak every time it rains and destroy the new floor and ceiling (when we get a new ceiling)! Troubling. I plan to get another opinion about the roof from another tradesman, and I'll see if they give different advice.

I was just finishing dinner and feeling good when I got yet another phone call from those scammers. They call from India, so there is nothing the local police can do, and it may be one group or several with similar stories, but it is basically the same scam: "we are from x internet company and we can fix your computer remotely if you give us access". I was nearly caught out the first time because I was indeed having serious computer problems and they seemed to know about it, it was just bad timing (for me, perfect for them). I was lucky they didn't get away with anything. This is, what, the sixth time they have called me? And most of those in the past month or two. I responded much as I did last time: "Does your father know what you do for a living? Does your mother? How can you live with yourself?" Last time the woman hung up on me straight away, this time there was just silence until I hung up on the man. Then I started shaking. I could hardly walk for a minute, my legs were trembling so bad. I really hate confrontation! And part of me actually feels sorry for these people in a country with so much poverty where they might not have much choice. Would I steal food if I was starving? It's just a more sophisticated form of doing that. What if your choices are starvation, prostitution, or working for internet scammers where you never have to meet your victims? Of course some of them are probably heartless bastards. But some of them might feel guilty every day.

Report card:
Diet: Ok. Better today.
Exercise: Poor. Very short walk. It was something.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Poor. It's been a very stressful day. And I was really hoping to hear about Tim's job, but no.

Sunday, June 21, 2015



Not much to say about the weekend. I rested, mainly. Continuation of less-than-stellar food, no exercise, not enough water, poor sleep. But I feel ok mentally and still determined to somehow get that all fixed. Being relaxed about food is not working for me - I'm putting on weight already. I need some kind of plan.

We haven't heard about the Norfolk Island job but they called Tim's work referees so that is a positive sign. The more real it gets, the more scared I get! Not so much about living there, but the process of moving and getting this house rented out etc. so much to organise in a hurry, if it happens.

Report card:
Diet: Poor.
Exercise: Poor.
Water: Poor.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Ok.

Determined to do better tomorrow!

Friday, June 19, 2015

More sleep


I felt pretty good today until late afternoon when I sort of crashed. But most of the day I had much more energy. I seem to have slept better, rather odd because I only wore my CPAP for the first two hours, up until the first child event of the night. I'm really disliking the new settings, with the air very warm and humid. It was what was recommended, but I need to adjust it. But with or without it, I did manage to get some sleep last night. I got through the day without a nap.

I stayed home today - except for taking my daughter to ballet - and various people came and went to look at the roof and take away the broken TV for repair etc. I managed to get quite a lot of housework done, and a little editing. So it was a productive day, overall. Health-wise, not so great. I am still really struggling to get into any kind of routine.

Report card:
Diet: Poor to terrible.
Exercise: Poor.
Water: Poor to ok depending on how much I catch up in the next couple of hours.
Sleep: Ok. Definitely better.
Mental health: Mostly good.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Not feeling very perky


My Fitbit says I'm sleeping better but it doesn't feel like it. I feel exhausted and yuck. Definitely trying to fight off some kind of illness, it seems without much success. Just wanted to collapse in front of the TV. Alas, my schedule was a bit full for that. I don't think I've been so busy in my life as I have these past few weeks! At least tomorrow involves me sitting at home while the roof guy comes about the leak, the cleaner comes back to do the floors, and someone comes to pick up our broken TV for repair. Easy.

Well I got my To Do list done then after the kids got home I took a nap for an hour.

I was a bit blasé in the last post about using our old TV while the newer one is repaired. It is so small, a squat cube that weighs more than the big flat screen. I laugh to think I considered it quite large when we bought it ten years ago. Watching it is quite a different experience to our large screen. We can't even plug in the Xbox, so can't watch Foxtel on it. Had to use Tim's computer to watch RuPaul's Drag Race last night. My computer screen is quite small too, since my other one broke, so I'm downsizing all over the place. Such a first-world problem isn't it! Oh dear, my TV doesn't take up half the wall any more, woe is me, my life is so hard.

The highlight of my day today was being able to give directions to the Post Office to an elderly lady. She thanked me so nicely and I just felt really good! It only cost me a few seconds but I was able to help someone who was lost. It made me think there might be something in this helping others idea.

Report card:
Diet: Ok.
Exercise: Poor. Still raining, and I feel a bit unwell.
Water: Poor.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Good.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015



Bit of a hectic morning. I was expecting the cleaner at 8:45 and the handyman at 9:00, but I was still in the middle of a hurried breakfast of peanut butter on toast (no time for eggs today) when there was a knock on the door and it was the guys here to do the floor out in the studio/junk room. Who I was expecting tomorrow. I checked the paperwork, definitely tomorrow. But I decided it didn't matter, get it all done today. So they got started prepping the floor.

And then I realised it did matter. Because one of the handyman's jobs was to replace and paint some damaged plaster in the ceiling out there. And he was bringing someone to help him with specifically that job. And they were on their way and would be here any minute. And if the underfloor was still drying he wouldn't be able to access the ceiling. I had a bit of a panic but after speaking to the floor guys they said the prep stuff was only going on the uneven bits, not the whole floor, so it would be fine. Whew. Until they called me out to show me the roof was leaking.

The ceiling had been damaged by rain a few years ago and I'd had the tiles fixed then. Or so I thought. I don't go out there much so it could have been still leaking every time it rains. Right now it's been raining heavily for a couple of days. And the damaged spot is dripping. And it's probably a lot more damaged than it was originally.

So I called my insurance company to get them to organise getting it all fixed. In a way I guess that is a good thing because I might get the whole thing done for only my excess instead of paying out of my own pocket. They are coming out Friday to look at it, don't know when it will actually be done.

I told the handyman he wouldn't be doing that ceiling now but there was plenty of other work for him and also for the other guy so it worked out ok. Having the cleaner here just before the handyman probably wasn't the best arrangement - in fact he's coming back on Friday to finish the bits the handyman messed up. I didn't even ask him for that, he just said there was no point doing the floors now and he'd come back on Friday. How nice!

And he cleaned up my gravy disaster. Did I mention that? Whole pan of gravy upside down all over the oven and floor? Obviously I cleaned up at the time, but there were still yucky bits like the oven drip tray. I am enjoying having a cleaner! I have to tidy up before he comes, but then he does kitchen and bathrooms and it all looks lovely.

You know my big problem today? Access to the bathroom! Either there was someone actually in there cleaning or fixing, or in the hallway doing something and blocking my way with a ladder or a dismantled door or something, or I was called over to discuss one of the jobs or I was on the phone to someone. Did a lot of holding it in.

The handymen were here all day and I now have working doors and gates and tiles re-glued and everything. Then the floor guys came back, once the underfloor was dry, and laid the vinyl floor. So that is all done. Now I am only waiting on the curtains. Oh, and the leaky roof... there is a bucket out there at the moment protecting the new floor.

And our TV has finally died after weeks of shilly-shallying. Don't know whether to try to repair, or buy a new one, and will at least wait until we hear about the job. We have a tiny old TV to watch.

Tim had his job interview for Norfolk Island today. He said it went well. He was able to ask some questions, and the main new-ish thing he learned was how little we'd be able to take with us. I think it would just be one standard airline suitcase each! Anything else would go by sea and take a couple of months to get there - and I don't know how much that would cost so obviously we'd need to be really minimal in what we'd take. The rental houses are furnished, so we wouldn't have to worry about furniture, but I think we'd have to go digital for books and most games! I'm still keen, it would be an adventure!

It's a bit hard to tell if the new CPAP settings are helping, because I think I am slightly unwell which doesn't help me sleep. I had the upset stomach for a couple of days, and now a sore throat. I'm maybe sleeping a tiny bit better.

Report card:
Diet: Ok.
Exercise: Poor.
Water: Poor.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Ok.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mortgage and eggs


I think I mentioned some months ago that we were able to pay off our mortgage, which is a wonderful feeling. But it wasn't really as finished and done with as I thought back then. It's not just a matter of paying off the loan to the bank. You fill out forms and give them a paying-off-your-mortgage payment. Was that a fee to give them money? Yes, yes it was. Then you wait to hear from the lawyer. And fill out more forms, and make another payment or three. More fees because you no longer owe the bank any money? Why yes. Then you wait a bit longer for more paperwork, and fill in more forms, and then today I had to go - in person - over the other side of Canberra to lodge this paperwork with the Office of Regulatory Services. And make another payment which seemed quite a lot for their two minutes of work and the printout of one document. But I think it is all done now. The Title has been officially transferred into our names. We own this house! Yay!

Except of course in Canberra the land isn't actually sold, it was leased from the government for 99 years, presumably so they can get it back eventually if they want it, without having to fight anyone or pay any money. I'm not sure what exactly will happen in 2067. We own the house, I think, but not the land, so presumably we could take the house with us... maybe the government could demand that we get our damn house off their land! Well, I don't expect to be here (in this house) in 2067. This isn't the usual arrangement in Australia, only in Canberra. They like to do everything differently in our nation's capital.

Which segues nicely into my eggs, which I am going to do differently. I struggle to find a good breakfast. I need protein to keep me full and make my stomach happy, carby foods tend to upset my digestion first thing. I don't know how anyone can eat cereal for breakfast (like my husband does) I can only have it later in the day, like supper. I love bacon but all that salt isn't very healthy (the judges are still in disagreement about the fat content). Eggs tend to get promoted by all factions in war of the diets. But I find them boring. So this week I decided to cook eggs a different way each morning. I've started with the familiar - yesterday a little omelette with mushrooms and cheese, today poached on sourdough bread with bacon. I intend to now venture into styles I'm less familiar with. Scrambled tomorrow, then an Asian style that involves deep frying (looks like poaching, except in fat instead of water). Any other ideas? I don't know how long I will stick with it, I'm a bit bored with eggs already.

Report card:
Diet: Ok.
Exercise: Still none. Cold and raining all day.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Ok.

Monday, June 15, 2015


I was just reading an article in New Scientist about how much various things statistically affect your lifespan, measured in half-hour increments called microlives. For example two cigarettes loses you a microlife.

It said that exercising for 20 minutes gains you one microlife. That applies to the first time each day, after that you have to exercise for another 40 minutes to earn another microlife. [Edit: men get another microlife after 40 mins, women only get half a microlife for 40 mins - ie 15 mins extra life.]The implication is that this is a good thing. But what they've just told me is that I "spend" an hour of my day exercising, then I "earn back" an hour of life. The hour I just wasted? I might as well not bother.

If you enjoy exercise, then yay you'll live longer overall and you don't really need that motivation anyway to do something you like.

If you hate exercise, then you'll live longer but only the same number of hours you've put yourself through that torture so you might as well just sit on the couch. In fact if you exercise more than half an hour a day, then you're actually earning less time than you are spending. So that deal sucks.

I'm joking, really. Sort of.

I guess the question is, would you rather spend an hour exercising, or would you rather spend that hour dead?

And if you keep it to 20 minutes a day, then you are earning back 30 minutes so you end up ahead.

And this is statistical averages, individual people will be affected more or less than others.

And exercise doesn't just affect lifespan, it affects quality of life.

And maybe if I exercise enough, I'll get to like it. Then I get the lifespan and the fun life.

I hate you George R R Martin


Oh boy watched the finale of Game of Thrones today, no spoilers but I hate you George R R Martin I hate you Game of Thrones you suck. I'll never watch you again and now I have to wait until next April for the next season and Martin hasn't even written the next bit yet? Arg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actually I need to re-read the most recent couple of books because the series has diverged quite a bit.

Last night I was feeling quite nauseated when I went to bed so I didn't wear my CPAP - it doesn't team well with nausea - and I had the best night's sleep for weeks! I woke today feeling refreshed and happy. I did the shopping this morning and had no urge to buy any junk food. Life suddenly seemed so much easier. Bit tired in the afternoon but one good night can't undo weeks of bad sleep, overall much better. And that is even though I've had some ... digestive distress, shall we call it, today.

I checked my Fitbit stats first thing, curious to see what they showed. And the computer said "did you forget to log your sleep?" It usually does that automatically, I don't know if it goes by movement or heart rate or both, but last night it didn't even recognise that I went to sleep at all! What the? So I put in the times I was in bed, and the pattern of restlessness was very similar to previous nights, perhaps a little better. So I have no idea why the Fitbit didn't recognise it as sleep, or why my sleep felt so much better.

I called my sleep clinic and at first couldn't get an appointment until next week but then got a cancellation this afternoon, which was lucky. Checking my CPAP was the obvious first step. At first the sleep doctor was flummoxed because the stats showed the CPAP is working perfectly, there is minimal leakage so I don't need a new head-strap (mine is slightly stretched but not enough to be worth spending the money for a new one - I thought $25 plus $33 postage and handling from the US was bad but he charges $90! Just for the strap! He said he was embarrassed to charge so much but that is basically what they cost him), I've been using my CPAP consistently, no reason for my poor sleep. But then he looked back a bit further and saw that I only started using it consistently for around three months (since my promise in April) and the light bulb went off. Because I hadn't used it much for a while before then, I counted as a new user at that point and a certain percentage of people have this problem at around the two or three month point. The body adapts or something. It's like when I start drinking more water, my body realises water is available and I get thirsty all the time. When I started getting more air via my CPAP, after a couple of months my body realised more air is available and starts craving even more! I'm trying to suck in more air than the CPAP is giving me. Weird, huh? The doctor has given me a different CPAP to use for a couple of weeks to get readings then they can readjust mine to what I need now. It will be great if this works and I can sleep properly again. Even in the meantime, this new one should help. Mine was set on a steady pressure of 10, this one will vary between 9 and 16 as I have a sleep apnoea event and need a burst of air.

I wonder if this has happened before, and contributed to me slacking off on using my CPAP several times over the past year?

Report card:
Diet: Good. Much better today.
Exercise: Poor. Still none.
Water: Ok. Still two to go, but I think I can manage that before bedtime.
Sleep: Ok. Better!
Mental health: Good.

Sunday, June 14, 2015



I was so exhausted today I wondered if I was coming down with something. But I don't think so. Just a particularly bad night in a long string of bad nights. I will call first thing Momday morning to make an appointment with the sleep doctor, so that I can see if the CPAP machine is involved or at least rule that out. I'm feeling as bad now as I did at the worst of my sleep apnoea before I got the machine.

I don't need to get to bed earlier or spend any more time in bed, I'm generally in bed for 8 or 9 hours. And I get to sleep ok. But then I wake a lot, and toss and turn, and I'm restless during periods I thought I was asleep (according to my Fitbit). And so I'm exhausted all day.

My shoulder is good now, so it's not pain keeping me awake. Stress might contribute, but I'm not aware of thinking about anything in particular while I lie awake. I'm hoping it's just that the CPAP needs adjustment because that is fixable!

I spent a lot of the morning in bed trying to nap, after the sleepover guests went home, but it wasn't really working. Even if I do have a nap during the day it's rarely more than 20 or 30 minutes. At least I got to lie there for a couple of hours with my mind blank. Aiden crawled in with me for a while and we discussed the difference between helicopters and jump jets. Didn't help me nap, but I did enjoy the cuddle.

I've started a new Dungeons and Dragons campaign for the kids. I stopped playing months ago when I got sick of it after ten years of weekly play, but the kids really enjoy it so I've agreed to a family game. We're using the new 5th Edition rules so there is a bit of a learning curve for all of us even me and Tim. It's quite fun, I enjoy being the Dungeon Master (DM) who runs the game and controls the story and the monsters.

Report card:
Diet: Ok. Had some sleepover leftovers.
Exercise: Terrible. One of the least active days of my entire life.
Water: Terrible.
Sleep: Terrible.
Mental health: Ok. Hoping for a solution to my sleep problems soon.

Saturday, June 13, 2015



Jasmine has some friends over for a sleepover tonight. It has created somewhat of a dilemma for me. She's been to a few sleepovers recently and they all seemed to be completely unrestrained in terms of food and bedtime. I think letting eleven year olds drink cola late in the evening and then stay up watching TV (unable to sleep after all that caffeine, I imagine) until the early hours of the morning is unwise, but maybe I'm just an old fuddy duddy. I don't want to be a complete wet blanket! They seem to gorge on fast food and sugary drinks from the moment they arrive onwards. One of Jasmine's friends (and her parents) is very overweight which I think is sad to see in a young child, what chance does she have of having a healthy bodyweight as an adult? I know a sleepover is a special occasion, but still.

So I'm trying to walk the line between allowing "fun" food and not pouring sugar down their throats. I'm cooking a proper dinner, but they can have chips and chocolate and homemade popcorn for supper while watching one or more movies later. Some sugary drinks and juice, not unlimited amounts, and no cola! They can stay up late, but not too late (still to be negotiated), and no doubt will lie awake talking and giggling for a while. I gave them afternoon tea which included meringues I made myself, so it wasn't exactly healthy, but later they were in the bedroom eating lollies (candy) which someone else must have brought along.

I seem to be quite strict about some things compared to other parents I know. I don't let my children watch movies that are rated well above their age group - like I was shocked at someone letting their six year old watch Jurassic Park, that movie gave me nightmares as an adult! Another parent was surprised I wouldn't let my young children play a semi-violent video game (World of Warcraft), considering I play it myself. Um, I'm not a child?! The age rating labels are for a reason! My children only have soft drink as a special treat at parties or at a restaurant. As a family we have fast food around once a fortnight or less (I might have it more often if I am out at lunchtime). My chocolate stash is out of their sight and reach. In the case of food, I should really give myself the same rules I give my kids, but at least I try to look after them. They have plenty of treats, but are both a normal healthy weight and I'm trying to keep it that way.

Report card:
Diet: Poor, I guess. Meringue with cream, and for dessert after dinner a small crème brulee. Actually surprisingly little sugar in that, but a lot of cream! But real food for meals.
Exercise: Poor.
Water: Ok.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Ok.

Friday, June 12, 2015



If yesterday was all sitting at home, today made up for it with a million errands. I was running around all day. I thought I would have some time at home but then got a call that one box hadn't been ticked on my son's passport application (interviewer's fault, not mine) so I take in some documents I'd already provided. Annoying. One other errand was frustrating at the time but turned out kind of interesting.

I'd decided I just had time to drop in and pay the deposit for the flooring we are getting installed next week, between picking up a book from the library and going to my physio appointment. I only had a few minutes to spare but I figured if there was a queue I'd just leave and come back later or another day. I was able to park nearly out front, and only put 10 cents in the parking metre, giving me 3 minutes. The store was empty save for two staff, perfect. The man who I'd been dealing with throughout the quote process wasn't there, so I was served by a fairly elderly man. Who was sloooooow. And didn't seem that keen on the whole technology thing, you know, computers and credit card machines and such. He passed my credit card through the machine every way except the right one, despite my helpful suggestions, and couldn't understand why he couldn't get it to work. He asked what day the flooring was being installed as he peered at his screen. Next Thursday, I said, the 18th. He couldn't find it. It's there on the invoice, I said, pointing. Still couldn't see it, as he scrolled around. Finally found it. Possibly realised he didn't actually need that information.

I'd remained standing so far, but now he invited me to sit while he carefully wrote me out a receipt, by hand. Slowly. Then printed out the computer receipt. Ambled to the printer to get it. Found the print-out from the credit card machine. Stapled them all together. Held it out. My intestines were wound pretty tight by this stage, I was calm and polite on the outside (to be fair I never said I was in a hurry) but knowing my parking would have expired (and Canberra parking officers are notoriously strict) and I was going to be late for physio. So I jumped to my feet and took the receipt. Or tried to. He wouldn't let go. He held tightly to it so he could point out various important notations. The total price. What I had paid. How much was left to pay. The fossilised remains of his last client's will to live. I thanked him, managed to wrench it out of his zombie hand, and leapt into action.

I kind of wish I could have seen his face, it might have been amusing. I went from a standing start into a sprint. I literally ran across the store to the door, ripped it open and ran down the street to my car, and sped off (not actually breaking the speed limit, or course). Luckily didn't get a parking fine, and made it to my appointment not noticeably late. But the funny thing was I really enjoyed sprinting out of the store. I have a mental image of this old guy gawping after me. Ah, the young kids of today, no patience.

Report card:
Diet: Ok. But I see chocolate in my near future.
Exercise: Ok. No deliberate exercise, but I moved around a lot today.
Water: Ok.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Ok.

Thursday, June 11, 2015



My husband fixed my computer last night by swapping my screen with an old one. Turns out that was the problem, it works fine now. This screen is so tiny! It's not really, it just feels that way compared to my huge one. It's great to have a working computer again after several days of it blinking off all the time. I won't buy a new big screen until we know what is happening with the possible move.

It's only three weeks until my 45th birthday. We haven't made any plans at all. We don't even know where we'll be! I rarely remember it's my birthday coming up with all the other stuff filling my head. I haven't even asked for anything, we are usually pretty big on presents in this family. I don't want bulky items I might not be able to take with me. Hmm, jewellery? That's very portable...

The 4 week dietbet I was doing with my husband finished today. I haven't even been trying, and my weight is more or less the same, as expected. But Tim has been working hard. He already cycled to and from work, and he added some jogging at lunch time and sit-ups etc in the evenings. He stopped snacking in the evening and ate very little junk of any kind - just a couple of desserts while we were away. He lost 2 kg instead of the 3 kg he needed for the bet and is very disappointed. I guess the problem was he didn't have a lot to lose so it comes off more slowly.

I haven't enjoyed Tim being on a diet. I guess part of that might be guilt because I wasn't trying along with him as originally planned. But it's also that it turns out I liked his attitude to food before. He's sometimes (often) said that I think too much about food and dieting and that I should just exercise more. He ate whatever I prepared and didn't snack much, but didn't stress about eating if he was having supper with friends or if he wanted to make pancakes for the kids or something like that. It was all just a part of normal life, food wasn't the enemy. He exercised, by riding his bike to work, for at least 90 mins five days a week and took other opportunities to move as well. And although I always felt he didn't understand how hard it was for me, as an overweight person with food issues, to just do as he did, I did approve of his general attitude.

I didn't like it when that attitude changed to "can't, I'm on a diet." It was kind of disturbing. It seemed all wrong. I'm glad that the diet is over and he can go back to his healthy relationship with food. He is only a very little bit overweight, so maybe he could be mindful of eating a few less biscuits on the weekend or something. He does have high blood pressure, controlled by medication, but I believe that is almost entirely from stress. He could healthily lose a few kilograms over a longer period of time, but not at the cost of obsessing over it!

I'm sick of being on a diet. Thinking about food all the time, mainly in terms of what not to eat. Obsessing about it all, yet never losing any weight. And I can now see more clearly how that looks to those around me. I have a daughter soon to reach her teen years, and I don't want her to inherit all the issues I learned from my mother. Yet for me, not being on a diet is synonymous with eating as much junk food as I want - which is a lot. I have yet to find the happy medium of just eating "normally".

One of my very wrong-headed ideas goes like this: There is a day/event coming up soon when I am going to eat something that isn't healthy. Therefore I can't start eating healthy yet, I have to wait until after that event. Isn't that illogical! I should just start now, and have a treat when the time comes. For some reason it's really hard for me to get my head around that. But I need to, because there is always some kind of event approaching!

I made myself go out for another walk today, even though I really didn't want to. 20 mins. My body seems to be in winter hibernation mode and doesn't want to move - especially out in the cold!

I tried to have a nap this afternoon but was woken after 10 mins by a parcel delivery. I'm looking for a solution to my very poor sleep at the moment, and I have noticed that my CPAP straps seem a bit loose and I have to keep moving them back into place. The straps are elastic but not adjustable. I have looked online and found some people complaining about them, one said they stretch out within 3 months and I have had mine over a year. I can buy them online from the US for $25 plus $33.80 delivery to Australia so I'm investigating whether I can buy just the straps locally. I can buy the whole headset replacement here for about $270 so I don't want to do that until I need to, I already had replacement nasal pillows and filters so I don't really need the whole thing yet.

Report card:
Diet: Ok.
Exercise: Ok.
Water: Poor.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Ok.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

One step forward


Tim has an interview for that job in Norfolk Island! So things are moving forward, slowly. It's not until next week. Which will leave exactly two more weeks before the proposed start date! And he presumably won't even be told on that day, they have to do all the paperwork, and then he has to give some notice to his current work if he gets this job, and I just can't imagine how they expect someone to start on 1 July. That was the date on the job description, but maybe it's going to be put back. We are trying to be as ready as we can be, just in case, but moving a couple of thousand kilometres with less than two weeks notice? Insane.

This morning I was lying awake stressing that we're not ready to start packing yet; until the studio floor is put down and our curtains are replaced and the handyman has been next week, we don't have anywhere to put packing boxes. All these people need access to various bits of the house so we can't clutter it up with boxes. But now I realise that all this stuff will likely be done before we hear about the job anyway! Everything except the curtains is now organised for next week, which is great. I'm trying not to stress too much, it's difficult.

The really good part of all this is that it's forced me to stop procrastinating and get all these things done!

I always put off buying new jeans (and most other clothes) for a long as possible because I always hope I will lose some weight and go down a size first. But both my blue and black jeans are starting to give at the seams, and they are basically what I wear every day, so today I went and bought two new pairs. I don't actually have them yet, I always have to get them taken up because I am short. But I did all the trying on and choosing and paying for bit, and they will be ready in a couple of days. Sigh. Maybe next time I can go down a size.

I made myself go out for a short walk today. I forgot to mail a letter when I was out shopping, so I walked to the nearest post box, about a 15 min round trip. It's a start. Then I had a nap. I've been trying not to nap because I worry I'll sleep even worse at night, but the past two days I've been unable to resist. Less than an hour each time, because my children get home from school.

I'm writing this on my iPad because my computer has stopped working, blinking off as soon as it turns on. Ironically, the TV was doing the same thing until we threatened it with the repair shop. I still have to thump it a couple of times some days. I haven't tried thumping my computer yet.

Report card:
Diet: Ok. Better.
Exercise: Ok. A short walk, and with shopping I'm nearly to 9,000 steps.
Water: Ok.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Mostly good.

Better than yesterday! I've very excited that at least we have an interview.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015



I caught up on Game of Thrones this afternoon. Bad move. No spoilers, but something sad happens - gee who saw that coming? I'm thinking it was the show combined with recent life events that made me break down and cry and cry and cry. Probably good for me, but it didn't feel good. My chest hurt for half an hour afterward.

I made a bad decision with food today. I'd been wanting some of my favourite cake from a local bakery for a few days or longer, but they only sell it by the half or whole big cake which is way too much. Yet inferior cakes aren't good enough, it had to be this one! Today I decided to buy the half and take it to my friends' house for afternoon tea between six people - a hearty slice each. But she cancelled so I was left with half a chocolate layer cake between me and my kids.

And the cake is a great example of something I was thinking about this morning. I get a lot of pleasure from food, and I hate the thought of giving up everything I like to lose weight. But I distinguish between eating something I really enjoy, and eating whatever because I am bored or stressed or because it is there in front of me. Today I did both. The first slice was lovely, just what I had been looking forward to, and I didn't regret it. An hour later, a second slice that I didn't really want but in some sense I guess I did because I ate it, made me feel a bit sick and I certainly regretted that one! I need to enjoy the good food, whether healthy or not, and stop eating stuff that makes me feel bad rather than good. I do know the difference - even before I eat it! But if it's there in front of me...

So, it's been suggested I return to my report card. I was kind of hoping things would improve first, but that hasn't happened yet, so here I go.

Report card:
Diet: Poor.
Exercise: Poor.
Water: Ok.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Mostly ok. Except when George R R Martin rips my heart out of my chest.

Monday, June 8, 2015



Not much happened today. It was a long weekend and I had a handyman lined up to be here all day (we both knew it was a public holiday) but he ended up postponing. I was really tired and kind of zombied through the morning, played games with the kids in the afternoon.

One of my back teeth is a little sore and wiggles which can't be good. I need to book in to see a dentist, I haven't for two years. My old dentist left the clinic and I didn't like the new one. She didn't believe I flossed regularly which made me mad because I do at least twice a day - I just have some tricky gaps. And she kept pushing for procedures I didn't want so I'd book (to avoid standing up to her) then cancel. Three or four times in a row.  So I'll start going where I take my kids. They mostly do children's teeth but the dentist said they are happy to take adults too. And she should be used to nervous patients!

On the up side, my shoulder is great. Not troubling me at all. I just need to keep working on getting mobility back.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

empty room


Another day clearing out that damn junk room! We moved all the "to keep" boxes and furniture into the house or garage, depending how precious they were. The hardest item was the treadmill. How on earth did we get it in there originally, fully assembled? We damaged the fly screen door forcing it out. And it's only temporary, we'll have to put it back in again later!

Then we (I say we, but I didn't do much of this bit) ripped up all the old carpet tiles and swept/shovelled up the old glue and backing stuck onto the concrete floor. That stuff all went into the little corners and cracks left in the very full skip bin. So now the room is ready for the new flooring.

I need to somehow get back to basics with my health plan. I'm sleeping so poorly, but I don't know how to fix that. More exercise maybe? Get back into some meditation? My water intake is not bad, but my food isn't great. I have good intentions, but give in to every impulse to eat whatever I like. I know I have been under a lot of stress so I'm forgiving every past mistake, but I don't want to keep using that as an excuse. Life is never perfect, I need to deal with that and keep my health plans going smoothly and consistently in the background as Sean would say. I think not getting enough sleep weakens my resolve a lot. Trying to make each day a little better than the last.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Wait, weight and weights


We are settling in to wait for news about the possible year on Norfolk Island. Surely they must notify people soon if they want a 1st July start! Unless there is already someone doing the job and they plan to keep them another year but had to do all the job selection process to make it "fair" and official... Government work can be like that.

After much thought and discussion, Tim has also applied for a suitable job that came up in Sydney. On balance, we decided that we would still rather move than stay. It wasn't an easy choice at all, there are many pros and cons to each side. But jobs at Tim's level are few and far between at the moment so it seemed right to at least apply.

I weighed in for my 4th month of my six month dietbet this morning.  83.2 kg. Basically the same as I have been for years.

I felt like I spent the afternoon carrying weights: all the furniture and boxes up the driveway to the skip! A lot of it was quite heavy. We filled the 3x3m skip and still have more old furniture left over. We also have to clear out the stuff we want to keep so we can get the new floor put in, and the ceiling repaired. More work tomorrow! My calves are a bit sore, it was a good workout.

This is the floor we want to get rid of. Note the 1970s colours and the loose carpet tiles revealing glue that has turned to dust.

This is the room before we started clearing stuff out. I don't feel this picture really does justice to how full it was, and doesn't show the right side of the room. It's a big room, I think it was the original single garage.

If we go to Norfolk, we will use it to store all our furniture while we rent out the house. If we stay here, we will get an extra room we can actually use instead of just for junk. And if we move to Sydney, well it will look a lot nicer when we try to sell!

Last night for the first time I pulled my CPAP off while I was asleep. I was kind of dreaming and became aware I was holding my face mask down by my side, trying to stop the noise of the air whooshing out (it's much noisier when you don't have it on). I woke enough to turn it off before going back to sleep. Then had a very restless night, according to my fitbit. I've never pulled the mask off while I was asleep before, I've heard other people can do that quite often. I hope it doesn't become a habit.

Friday, June 5, 2015



This morning I was so tired. I guess from all the emotion of the last few days and the driving and I haven't been sleeping well even with my CPAP all night. I got through a busy day, though. I had a physio appointment in the morning and my shoulder is a lot better. It barely hurt during the long days in the car which is a big change from just a couple of weeks ago. All those massages are doing me good! Then I did the grocery shopping, and in the afternoon saw the man who is going to give me a quote about re-flooring our studio. I still have a long "to-do" list, but I'm gradually getting things done.

Unfortunately when I was shopping I somehow forgot Jasmine had ballet tonight (as she does every Friday) and I didn't buy anything that could be cooked quickly when we got home or else slow-cooked throughout the day. So I got take-away chicken on the way home. Not ideal. And for once I actually didn't even want fast food! After eating bland small-town food for three days I really wanted home cooking. But it was freezing and I was so tired and we were all hungry and we would have been eating too late. I bought our normal amount and it all went very quickly with everyone wanting more. I had to give some of my share to the kids. At least I didn't get to overeat. But it was probably the cold making us all feel like we were starving.

Not even sure how I feel today, emotionally. Too tired to think about it. But I can be glad my shoulder is much better.

We have a three day weekend now. A skip (big rubbish bin) has been delivered so we can fill it up over the weekend, all the stuff not good enough to go to the Salvos. But I also intend to do some relaxing.

Eulogy for dad

Eulogy for Lyle (with photos taken after the funeral)

I have a letter from dad, written back in 2003, that says: "Often I look around my trees and the sunset and say to myself 'how could I ever leave?'"
(dad's little house)

Old Toolamba was dad's home, always. As an adult he lived in other places as his work demanded but he always came back here for a month every summer, and as soon as he could he retired here permanently. He loved everything about it; the river, the trees, his family, his childhood memories. I don't think he was ever really happy anywhere else.
(the Goulburn river in dad's backyard)

Dad was always the fun parent. When I was very little dad would mow mazes in the back lawn so my brothers and I could run around in them. When we were a bit older and my parents were divorced, dad would take us out every second weekend to do fun things. Horse-riding was generally my choice, trail-bike riding was Darren's. Dad wouldn't ride but he would take long walks around the area while we tried not to fall off whatever we were riding.

Later dad bought us the Odyssey, a dune buggy; and then the Swordfish, a jet-ski bike. He was the one to organise all the paddock cricket where his tree farm is now, or treasure hunts down Cemetery Bend, following the clues. His idea of fun always seemed to include family. Dinner at a Chinese restaurant or an evening playing cards were all he asked for socially.
(my children playing paddock cricket with newly-discovered second-cousins)

He taught me to play cards early. 500 was the favourite, but we also played Hearts and ABC Poker. I spent many an evening playing cards with dad and Uncle Glenn and Aunty Helen. He also tried to teach me to play chess but I didn't enjoy that as much, even when he gave me a Queen head start. He would beat me every time no matter how many of his pieces he took off the board at the start. I could hold my own with 500.

Of course during the long hot summers he would take us to the sand-beds on the river. Growing up, that is what I thought a beach was. Mainly we went around to the Big Sand-bed, or sometimes just swam off the log down the back here. Dad taught me to swim here. He was always involved in any activity and organised inner-tube flotillas down the river, having as much fun as anyone and more than most.

He didn't take well to technology. When he moved back to Old Toolamba, he didn't have a phone of any kind for a long time. Only when his health demanded it did he buy a mobile phone so that he wouldn't be completely isolated. He had a TV for watching sport, but never owned a computer. If he wanted any information, like the starting time of the Stawell Gift, he would ring me in Canberra and ask me to look it up for him. He also asked me to join him up for a computer dating site on my computer, but I explained that it wouldn't be so practical for him to review the women and check all his hits with me and my computer so far away. He ended up sticking to advertising in local papers, and had no trouble getting plenty of dates.
Dad always bought his cars new. He said it didn't matter that a new car lost value as soon as you drove it away from the showroom, because he didn't intend to resell. He would drive it carefully and it would last at least ten years, even with the long trips between Toolamba and Sydney. He taught me to drive like I and my passengers were VIPs, very important people who you would never take risks about, and leave 2 seconds between me and the car in front.

I have two memories related to cars and dad. Dad taught me to drive, and I learned by sitting on his lap when I was too little to reach the pedals and steering as we drove around the streets of Beecroft. They wouldn't allow that nowadays! Then when I was a teenager I had full control of the car driving around the paddocks at Toolamba but dad forgot to tell me I needed to use the clutch when stopping. I had changing gears down fine but every stop was a serious of bunny hops until I worked it out for myself!
The other memory is that every time we arrived at Toolamba, dad would cut the engine at around the turn-off to the town and try to roll the rest of the way without power. He won the game if he could glide up into Nana's front yard and stop without having to use accelerator or brake. I think he managed it occasionally.

To nieces and nephews, he was "Uncle Carbuncle". To my children, he was "Grandad Stories". He made up weird and wonderful tales like "The Naughtiest Child Competition", starring a girl called Jasmine (but not this Jasmine!) and  a boy called Aiden (but not this Aiden!). Or sometimes it was a boy called Jasmine and a girl called Aiden.
He visited every school holidays except winter. I had to ban him from the house in winter, or rather I said he was welcome to come but he wasn't allowed to open the windows. His mania for fresh air when it was below zero outside was too much for me. But every other holidays he would visit for a few days and we would go to Canberra's flower festival Floriade or on a boat tour of the lake or to a lookout on top of one of the mountains. Always outdoors as much as possible, seeing nature.

As far as I am aware dad never went overseas to explore the world, and despite having been in the air force he never seemed to fly anywhere. He was perfectly happy driving from place to place within Australia, staying in cheap motels and enjoying the beauties of his own country.
Back at home, I encouraged him to have a proper garden and once gave him a lemon tree, which quickly died. But he preferred planting and nurturing his forest of gum trees. Each one is named after a family member, everyone has their own tree. We would go on trips down Cemetery Bend to find new seedlings of as many varieties of eucalypt as possible. He would always choose seedlings that wouldn't survive if left where they were, like in a dry billabong that would fill up in the rainy season.
 (the paddock beside dad's house, with his gum trees)

He designed and built this house himself, with some professional help, surrounded by all his trees and next to his beloved river. Old Toolamba is where he will stay.
(the coffin, at Old Toolamba cemetery)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Driving home


Most of the day was driving home. Long tiring day. Good to be home.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015



Today was dad's funeral. It went really well and the only thing I would change was that it was really cold. But at least it was sunny. Dad lived in the country on a big block covered in the gum trees he planted. We had the ceremony outside surrounded by his beloved trees. I took some photos later on, I'll post them tomorrow when I get home. I got through my eulogy ok, and only cried afterwards when we were walking behind the coffin to the hearse and my cousin was playing guitar and singing. We drove the kilometre or so to the local cemetery and - is interred the right word? - him while kookaburras (native bird) chuckled in trees nearby. Then back to the house for a light lunch and lots of conversation with relatives I rarely see.

As a child I spent a month every summer on my grandparent's farm there, and I had a million cousins all around. Ok, maybe about fifteen. A lot, anyway. Some grown up enough to have their own children around my age. After my grandparents died and we grew up most of my generation moved a bit further away, into town or even to a city. We only visited the farm occasionally, usually dad came to us. It was lovely to see these kids I spent so much of my childhood with, no longer kids! I didn't recognise them all, or them me. More people came over to me after my eulogy, because I'd been introduced for that and now they knew who I was! My kids played paddock cricket with the next generation, which was lovely to see. It was something my dad always had the kids doing when I was young.

We've been invited over to a cousin's house for dinner tonight with a few other close family, the people I spent the most time with as a child, so I look forward to that.

It was weird to see everyone grown up! I still have them as teenagers in my mental image.

So, despite the sad nature of the occasion, I had a pretty good day. We shared lots of memories of dad. He won't be forgotten in a hurry. I found with mum as well that a funeral is really important in saying goodbye.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Oh, brother


We spent most of the day driving. Before we left this morning, just in case, I sent an email to my brother saying no one could contact him so they were all bugging me but I couldn't either, and did he want to be a pallbearer and when was he arriving etc and could he please call someone. 

So about 2pm he called my mobile, I was driving so Tim answered. Darren has decided not to come. My brother is not coming to his own father's funeral. There is no estrangement or anything like that, it's just that Darren is a useless selfish bastard who can't be bothered. I spoke to him briefly after I pulled over, but had no interest in prolonging the conversation. 

On his side of the argument, it is a ten hour drive for him and he doesn't have anyone to share the driving or keep him company. On the other side, it is his father's funeral! He'd been thinking about catching a train here, I don't know why he abandoned that idea and I didn't ask, except that he did say it was a long way to come just for one day then turn around and go back again! He had asked Tim to bring back some photos of dad for him, and also dad's mobile phone to replace his unreliable cheap one. Unbelievable. I get a strong premonition that I'm going to forget to fulfil these requests. 

You may have noticed I'm a bit annoyed with him. So often I've just decided to totally give up on him, but then no, he's my brother. But I'm not going to cater to his requests when he makes no effort whatsoever for other people.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Looking for closure


I had a few things to do this morning so I was out and about until lunchtime, but I was moving very slowly the whole time. No energy at all, I probably looked like I was competing in a "slowest walk" race. Just shuffled around and got everything done eventually.

I'm sleeping poorly despite wearing my CPAP all night. Also eating badly, although I am trying to improve. Too much stress. Maybe when the funeral is over this week it will get better. I have been pretty anxious and depressed all year, for good reason, I keep wondering if I should talk to my doctor but I keep hoping time will help but then something else bad happens! I don't think I could take sleeping tablets anyway, with sleep apnoea (it might relax my throat too much) so it would probably be counselling which I don't want right now. I just need a stretch of a few months without a family member dying. I've been trying to write a eulogy for dad and I'm finding it hard. Still, I think I got it finished. I don't even know who else is speaking, or if anyone is. I think I'm the wrong personality type to have handed over control of the funeral. I should have just arranged everything myself by phone. But if I'd done that I would now be moaning about how difficult and stressful that was. You just can win in a sad situation like this.

I'm trying to find some enjoyment each day - and trying not to make it food! I can't think of anything for today. I didn't get out for a walk. And damn, I just realised I missed Game of Thrones this morning. Oh well, I can watch it when we get back. At least I can feel the satisfaction that I got some important things done today.

... talked to my aunt this evening so I know who is speaking now and have told her the subjects I am going to cover. They seem to have everything organised. Maybe I can just relax about that extraneous stuff and take the time to say goodbye to dad. We are off on our road trip to the funeral tomorrow. I hope everyone (including me) can get some closure.