Friday, July 31, 2015

Uncle Pete


2015 has been a nightmare for my family. I'm thinking maybe I should just go to bed with the covers over my head until it is over.

As you know, both my parents died in the first half of this year. In between, my mum's little sister Bev died at 66 of stomach cancer, eleven days after she was diagnosed. Obviously leaving her three children and my Uncle Brian in shock. And now Uncle Brian's identical twin brother Pete has died.

Uncle Brian and family lived only two doors down from us when I was growing up and we lived in each other's houses. I remember quite often going over there and seeing Brian on the balcony smoking but something being subtly wrong - then realising it was Uncle Pete visiting (not really my uncle, but close enough). They both smoked and drank quite heavily during that period but Pete was the less healthy of the two and that made the difference to his face. He would have been mid-sixties when he died, so young. Uncle Brian must be devastated (I haven't spoken to him yet, I heard from my cousin). His children have all married and scattered around the world in the last few years, and his wife and twin dying within months leaves him all alone. I hate to think of it. I wasn't close to Uncle Pete but I was very close to Bev and Brian and all their children.

I had thought my Poppa, my mother's father who is still quite hale at 97 and living in his own home without assistance, would be next to die and I have been fearing it since mum died. But everyone else keeps dying instead. And I still worry about Poppa. I don't know how much more grief my family can take, but I suppose we have to deal with it. You don't get a choice.

The hills of exhaustion


Another bad night. I'm not sure what to do about it. I spend enough hours in bed, I (usually) wear my CPAP, I've been walking during the day, I (usually) take my Vitamin D and B12 each day. Oh well, I'll keep going to bed each night and hope something changes.

I was exhausted and headachy this morning and decided to get out into the fresh air - I guess that is good progress, choosing a walk to try to feel better! -  so I went to the Arboretum. I wandered around among the winter-bare trees and climbed the steep hill to the "wide brown land" sculpture (it's a phrase from a famous poem about Australia).

I was feeling a lot better at this point. Bit of fresh air and exercise did help.

As I started back down towards the café I was suddenly bombarded with inspiration for work on my novel. I had to wait until I got down the hill and grabbed my manuscript from the car, then sat in the café and scribbled frantically for half an hour. By the end of that time I had my ideas down on paper, but I also had my headache and exhaustion back.

I dragged myself to the shops and had lunch and bought groceries then came home. I made some bad food choices today. Too tired to make the effort to struggle. And guess whether eating unhealthy foods made me feel better or less headachy? But when I am so tired it is just so difficult to make good choices.

The tradesman came on time and spent the whole day here installing the new ceiling in the rumpus room. I don't know why I got all hopeful about it getting finished, it still needs to be sanded and painted. Next week some time. Sigh. So we can't put anything in there yet. It's supposed to rain on the weekend, that will be the real test of the repairs.

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

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blah day


I woke this morning feeling a bit sad and out of sorts, and the feeling was reinforced by various events of the day.

Damnit. I called the real estate agent to arrange seeing that house we really liked which was supposed to go to auction in two weeks - and it sold yesterday. Within our price range. I knew we should have cancelled the relatives visit and go down last weekend so we could make an offer if we liked it. But I suppose we couldn't have because we still don't have an answer from Tim's work, and won't this week (hopefully next week but who knows). So it's Tim's work's fault. Anyway, we had only seen pictures on the internet so who knows if it was right for us? I do. I know it was. Sigh. Feeling a bit down about that.

I shouldn't even look at other houses online until we get a firm offer from his work. But I like looking at houses!

...Looked at more houses online. Nothing I liked.

The tiler came back this morning (I thought he must not have yesterday, it was getting dark) to finish the roof, which is fine with me, I just wanted it done. So now the outside is done, yay! Something good happened today.

And I went for a walk. It has been cold all week but my wattle tree seems to think Spring is on its way:

I've always been blonde but the past ten years or so my hair has been gradually getting darker, to "blondish". For about a year I've been lightening it out of a bottle. This afternoon, after the kids got home, I applied the stuff then sat around for the required 45 minutes. The instructions are covered in warnings to not go longer than that. I was just about to jump in the shower to wash it off when there was a knock at the door, and I heard Aiden open it (which he shouldn't have done). I had to rapidly pull some clothes back on and rush out there. It was a neighbour, so I stood in the doorway in the winter chill and chatted for a couple of minutes, aware all the time of my inadequate clothing, freezing feet, and bleaching hair! Luckily he only stayed a couple of minutes and the colour turned out fine.

My brother is really irritating me at the moment (when does he not?). But I just came back and deleted the long rant I wrote about that.

I feel like a pincushion at the moment with all the finger-prick tests, but interesting the only thing I've eaten that has raised my blood sugar continues to be that sweet chocolate I had twice. I have not been restricting my foods particularly, in fact I deliberately ate some dark chocolate this afternoon - blood glucose was fine. I had pasta again. Fine. Potato. Fine. I had a large amount of starch at lunchtime and my blood glucose went up a bit - but still within the normal range. Only the really sugary stuff has affected me. (Before anyone criticises my deliberate testing, I remember recently someone who got sunburnt just to see if they had lost enough weight to change the pattern of red!) I know from past testing that processed rice products - both 2 min/ramen noodles, and rice crackers, affect my bgls, and they are not sweet so I will keep trying and testing some more. I need to buy more test strips!

I've been watching a new reality cooking show Hotplate in which restaurants from around Australia compete, and I've been to the Sydney one that was on tonight! I went with my sister-in-law to a girls' night out only a few months ago, it is very near her house. How exciting. We thought it was pretty good when we went, and they did well tonight, scoring best so far.

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

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Roof, maybe?


The cleaner came this morning so I had no trouble convincing myself to get out of the house, anything to get away from the chemical smell of cleaning fluids! I'm not sure how I feel about the chemicals, but he does a good job and it's lovely to have a clean house. It doesn't smell for too long. I went for a half hour walk, enjoying the fresh air and buying some apples and tomatoes along the way.

I spent a lot of the day doing some critical reading for someone in my writing group. Their manuscript is really good - I didn't want to stop reading!

There has finally been progress on the roof of my rumpus/studio/junk room. After another call; "oh, didn't he call you back?" the tiler came and did the first half of the work; he had to let something or other dry before he continued. Several hours later it was getting dark, and we went to Jasmine's dance lesson. No idea if he came back to do the second half in the gloaming, or if maybe he'll come back tomorrow. I have organised for the plasterer to finish the inside on Friday. We may actually have a usable room by the weekend! Hopefully it will be waterproof this time. I would love to be able to move all the stuff back in there. We need an exercise section - with the treadmill and the weights and balance disc, and a music section with the drum kit and the keyboard, (we also have a guitar, trumpet, violin, flute and piano accordion but they don't take up so much space so we can keep them in the main house. The drum kit takes up half of Aiden's bedroom.) and a storage section for about a dozen boxes full of books and various other stuff. Christmas decorations, camping stuff that got used once (and not by me!), clothes that might fit me one day... We don't have an attic or basement like I read about other countries having in their houses, so this room is where all this stuff needs to go. It will be so good to have the room usable again, and with new flooring and a ceiling that doesn't leak! And the main house less full of clutter.

I've been testing my blood glucose and so far the only thing that sent my levels high was that same chocolate I had after the pasta yesterday. Today I had some by itself, so it was a lot less total carbs in one go, but my blood glucose levels still went up high. It was not quality dark chocolate, it was milk chocolate with a sugary filling. Hmm, maybe I can have pasta after all. As long as I have it without a sugar chaser! Everything else I've eaten over the past couple of days has been completely fine - including starchy carbs like the fajitas last night. I will continue to eat a variety of foods and check my blood two hours later so I know my personal limits.

Report card:
Diet: Good.
Exercise: Good.
Water: Still some work to do before bedtime.
Sleep: A bit better, at least my CPAP was working and I kept it on until 5am. Still restless.
Mental health: Good.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

No appropriate title springs to mind


I have a pimple on my nose. I need to learn to say, "No, I do not want that sugary food" in Natalie-speak!

After washing my CPAP yesterday it did that thing again last night where it wasn't expelling my outward breaths. This is not a trivial matter, it cannot be used in that state as I'd be re-inhaling my own breath and wouldn't be getting much oxygen. I'd say it was dangerous, except there is no way I wouldn't notice and rip it off. It feels like I'm suffocating straight away when it is doing that. I tried to clean the vents and make sure everything was dry and fiddled with it for a while but couldn't get it working so I gave up. And had a nasty headache this morning. I need to get this sleep thing sorted!

I finished that exercise motivation book "No Sweat". I felt like a lot of it doesn't apply to me, I don't need strategies to find time in the day or give myself permission to put myself first occasionally - although I do look after my family I already have a lot of discretionary time - and I am not trying to force myself to do kinds of exercise I hate - I already know several forms I enjoy if only I can get myself to do them.

But I did get something from it. Mainly that if I keep telling myself I should exercise for various (very valid) reasons then I'm going to resist doing it. It's like being nagged by myself, and nagging never makes you want to do something! The book's suggestion is encouraging myself to exercise because it will be immediately pleasurable. Exercise is not a chore, it is a gift I'm giving myself. Although this is true, it is hard to let go of all the should.

I drove to the library this morning (I had a huge pile of books to return, too many to carry to walk there) then walked along the lake a bit - for pleasure (or so I tried to tell myself). I did enjoy the first 30 minutes. It was bitterly cold earlier, but I had waited long enough that it wasn't too bad as long as I stayed in the sun. I listened to Katy Perry roar, and saw some ducks.
I walked for 45 minutes altogether and the last 15 to get back to the car wasn't so pleasurable, I was a bit tired and very thirsty, but overall it was a nice walk. The main thing I enjoyed was my body moving in harmony with itself.

I've been trying to reduce starchy foods lately (um, apparently except for cake. And potatoes. And some bread) but exercise is supposed to help glucose tolerance so I decided my nice walk meant I could have some pasta for lunch. I made a lovely boscaiola and ate a reasonable amount. I also had three squares of chocolate. Two hours later I tested my blood glucose. 12.8 mmol/L (230 mg/dl in the US). This is totally unacceptable, into the diabetes range. Half an hour later I checked again to see if it had gone down. 14.1 mmol/L (254 mg/dl). Even worse! That is doing my body damage. I think that is the highest I've ever seen it. Another hour later, so three and a half hours after eating, it was down to 8.7 mmol/L which is still not down into normal person range.

It's only a short time since my last official diabetes test and the doctor said to wait two years before doing another one because "you don't have diabetes" - I was 0.2 mmol/L under the official cut-off. But I am going to be more vigilant testing at home and review that decision if it seems appropriate.

Report card:
Diet: I thought good, but blood glucose results say otherwise.
Exercise: Great.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Terrible.
Mental health: Good.

Monday, July 27, 2015



Today I had to deal with a house full of leftovers. There were some proper food items, like the cauliflower soup and pulled pork I had for lunch; and some not-proper food items like the chocolate cake my sister-in-law brought and the cheesecake I made. We ate a little bit of cake (I finished the slice I started yesterday, it was too rich to have a whole slice) and threw the rest away, and we also finished the cheesecake for dessert tonight. Now we have some lollies like jelly snakes which aren't a big temptation for me, and some chocolate which I love but can be moderate with so I think I will be ok from now. That cheesecake was so good though, I just couldn't throw it away. All gone now. There is  also still some of my delicious baked lemon chicken which we will all be having for lunch tomorrow, nothing wrong with that. I had some really good cooking successes on the weekend.  

I did the grocery shopping this morning but was really tired today, worn out from the weekend I guess. I'm also still not sleeping well and struggling with my CPAP. No change there. I had a nap in the afternoon and also lay down for a while after my children got home from school. Headachy and tired.

We are planning to visit France sometime soon, probably early next year. We were talking about this year but then there has been the whole uncertainly of moving/not moving. Tim and I went to Paris as part of a European tour for our honeymoon. We went to the Moulin Rouge and Tim was called up on stage to be the ventriloquist's dummy! He always gets chosen when we go to a live show. He must have the right kind of face. Anyway, we both studied French back in High School (so long ago!) and Jasmine has been learning it this year. Jas and I downloaded an language-learning app tonight and have been practicing. It's a fun way to do it! I can only remember a few words and phrases from nearly 30 years ago so it's almost like starting again but a lot of words look familiar and I can kind-of do the accent. Richard if you're planning to comment in French remember I'm only up to "the cat is black" level! To remember that "chat" is a masculine word I have visualised a cat walking away from me with it's masculinity rather obvious... Newspaper is masculine so I picture a man reading one (no, not naked) but letter is feminine so the paper the letter is written on is pink... Learning another language is tricky! At least it has a lot of similarities to English. I used to study Japanese as well, that was much harder.

Report card:
Diet: Poor (real food plus cake and cheesecake).
Exercise: Poor (none).
Water: Ok.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Ok.

It's another one of those days when my report card looks bad but I don't feel like I have been that bad really. Just tired.

Sunday, July 26, 2015



We had Tim's family here this weekend, seven extra people (so eleven including us). Blow-up mattresses on every clear bit of floor!

I spent Friday in an extremely housewifely manner - shopping all morning (including finding these cushions to style our lounge):

And then I spend all afternoon cooking in preparation for the visitors. And cleaning the house, of course.

Saturday we went ten-pin bowling in the morning, and played board games in the afternoon and evening. Of course I also did a lot of cooking! I love cooking for the family.

Sunday they wanted to go to laser-zone (running around in a dark maze shooting pretend lasers at each other, hits get scored on the body armour but it doesn't hurt like paintball does) but it was booked out, so we walked to the school oval to play cricket.

It was utterly freezing so I turned straight around and came back home to the warm! It gave me a chance to get started on lunch, anyway. Everyone else returned when it started to rain, and we played another board game.

It was my birthday a few weeks ago so I was given a cake:
(This is the leftover quarter, not a slice!) We had it for dessert after lunch, then everyone settled into a stupor for an hour or so - except for my two year old niece Emma who ran around with a whistle and a toy sword stopping anyone from slipping into a coma. Then everyone went home (taking most of the leftover cake) and I packed the dishwasher for the billionth time, made dinner for the four of us, and finally got to relax! It was a really great weekend. Sometimes when they go I feel like I've been working the whole time and not enjoying the company, but this time I made time to join in the games.

You don't want to see my report card for the past couple of days, but my mental health is good!

** Just after I wrote this a Current Affairs program came on TV with the subject of how the citizens of Norfolk Island really really don't want to be taken over by Australia. They are nominally part of Australia now, but with their own laws etc. They don't pay taxes or get any government help. The job my husband applied for, and didn't get, was for part of the team to help the year-long transition to full Australian-ness, with our laws and taxes and health care. We knew that some people weren't keen on the idea, but this looks a bit more extreme than we thought. Maybe lucky we didn't go!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Character arc


I had a letter to mail today and it wasn't actually raining (though still rather damp and dreary) so I walked to the post office to mail it. There is a post box much closer than that, but walking for 30 minutes allowed me to buy myself a treat (twisties - cheese flavoured snack food). I haven't finished that motivation book yet, for some reason I'm having trouble getting motivated enough to read it (I've been reading old favourites instead, like Jane Austen and P.G. Wodehouse, which I always do when I am sick, sad, tired or stressed), but I have got up to one piece of advice which is to tie exercise to something you enjoy. A friend of mine only allows herself to watch a certain favourite show when she is on the treadmill, so that gets her to the gym. I'm not sure treating yourself with junk food is what they meant, but it got me out of the house!

That is three times in the past four days that I have walked, which is a good streak for me.

Other than that, I worked on my novel a bit, which I have also done several times this week. As you will remember, I was given a critique on my early draft by my writing group back in February. It took a little while to recover from hearing that it wasn't perfect, and then my dad got sick and died, and basically I wasn't ready to work on editing it for a while. But I am now. The group gave me lots of nice feedback, but a major criticism was that my main character didn't have any real wants or needs (this is a big flaw!). Things happen to her, like being enslaved and attacked by dragons and so on, but the group asked me "what does she want?" "To go home," I replied. "No she doesn't," they said. "She hardly ever even thinks about home, and she doesn't have anything compelling to make her want to go back. Sure, she doesn't want to get eaten by dragons, no-one does, but that does not give her a great character arc." etc.

For a movie example of how important this is, Bruce Willis in Die Hard doesn't just want to stay alive and maybe rescue a few random people, he desperately want to save his estranged wife whom he still loves. Even a motivation like "saving the entire world" isn't enough, it has to be personal to the protagonist. What matters most to them, what would they go through anything for? Frodo is going to Mount Doom to save the world, but Sam is going to protect Frodo.

This is something that requires a lot of thought and reworking. Part of my heroine's character arc is that she goes from being quite passive to taking control of her life, and that is fine. But she still needs a strong motivation - which may change during the course of her story as she finds out that what she wants maybe isn't what she really needs. Getting buffeted from dramatic event to dramatic event gives her a story-line, but doesn't make her a compelling character who you want to succeed.

So my current work on my novel is more thinking than writing. I get to the end of a session only having written a few notes, but hopefully with more things worked out. Actually most of my ideas arrive when I'm walking, driving, showering, or about to go to sleep. Not so much when I'm sitting with pen and paper!

The tiler came back today and stood on the roof with the garden hose, with me inside waiting for water to come through. Hopefully we have found the problem now, he is coming back tomorrow or early next week to fix it. It supposed to rain tomorrow which would mean it's too dangerous to be up on the roof.

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

I was extremely restless last night, and while asleep had vivid annoying dreams. An intruder who sat around in the house and wouldn't leave even when I prodded him with a little knife. Getting to the start of a 5k race and paying my fee then they wouldn't let me run because I was two minutes late. Stuff like that. Frustrating.

I learned something while watching the Tour de France bike race, I heard the word "bobo" and saw the translation of "small injury" come up on the screen. It's not a term I use but I've heard it a lot and assumed it was a childish thing. But no, it's French!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dismal cold rainy dark wet miserable gloomy freezing day


Dismal cold rainy day plus PMS. What fun. Dark wet miserable day. Gloomy freezing depressing day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Slow walk


This morning I had to fill in a form to get my dad out of jury duty. Weird and sad having to tick the "other reason" box with an explanation that he couldn't be a juror because he was dead.

In the afternoon I walked to the library with some very heavy books in my backpack, and returned with some less heavy ones, rocking along to Queen. An hour total walking, not including time in the library. I remembered to alert my fitbit that I was intentionally exercising so I could look at the stats when I got home. I was a bit shocked that I spent a lot of time with my heart rate up in the peak zone, even though I was just walking (effectively with weights, I suppose), up to 168bpm on the hills. Very unfit. I was pretty tired by the time I got home.

I am slow walker. I think I'm striding along, but I get passed by everyone; people pushing prams, little old ladies, business-women in high heels... today it was a blind man with his guide dog. It gets discouraging, but I just keep walking.

I watched a documentary about obesity (it was part 2 of 3, missed the first one) and it divided overweight people into three categories. Firstly "constant cravers". These are people who, due to gene issues that interfere with hunger signals to the brain, want to snack all the time. They might not eat a huge amount at once, but eat a lot over the course of the day. When walking around a fair, they looked at food, ads for food, people eating etc more than twice as often as the even the other obese people; drawn to it and thinking about it all the time. They were told to do Intermittent Fasting, dramatically restricting calories two days a week. If they said why this would help, I missed the explanation.

The second group were emotional eaters. Their issues were psychological, and often caused by trauma or abuse in childhood, or a period of food deprivation or uncertainty in their life. In a brain scan, when they were upset and then offered treat food the reward centres in their brains lit up much more than was normal (much more than if the same person wasn't upset). The strategy for them was to join dieting groups, get counselling, anything that would give them emotional support, rather than being given a specific diet.

The last group were called feasters. Once they started eating, they kept eating well past fullness. This was blamed on an imbalance of the gut hormone that was supposed to tell them to stop. The strategy for them was to make sure they ate very filling foods; protein, low GI carbs, fibre, lots of vegetables. Also soup, which surprisingly doesn't empty out of the stomach any faster than solid food.

They all lost weight in the first fortnight but then a lot started to stall and find sticking to their diet very difficult. Being given a tailored diet isn't particularly helpful if it isn't any easier to stick to than the million others you've tried! So I don't really know if all their research was very helpful.

The other thing covered in this episode was the effect of tiredness. They had one group with enough sleep, the other they deprived of sleep by keeping them up until 3am the night before. Then they were each sent to a supermarket with a general shopping list like "cereal" and "snack for after shopping". The tired group ended up with nearly twice as many calories in their trollies, with much more saturated fat and sugar. And that was after just one night! I know all about the effect of tiredness on my own shopping and eating habits.

There was a hilarious episode of Mythbusters tonight (my son's favourite show). They were trying to replicate something they'd seen on the web, where startled goats would go stiff in the legs and fall over. There was lots of goat chasing and lots of goats falling over, legs sticking straight up in the air. So it wasn't a myth, it was really true. Most of the other myths they pursue seem to involve guns or explosions, or car crashes.

Still no word on Sydney, or my roof.

Report card:
Diet: Good (but I'm writing this straight after dinner, and my recent record of evening eating isn't good).
Exercise: Great.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Ok.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Out and about


I had lots of plans for the day, although life got in the way a bit first. Tim had a problem with his bike so I drove him to work, which wasn't a problem, but then I decided to change my plans because I was over that side of the lake now. I went to the Art Gallery so I could work on editing my novel in the café there. After some trouble getting into the car park, I realised that in fact the place didn't open for another hour! So I ended up going with my original plan and headed over to the café at the Arboretum.

There is such a beautiful view from the windows. I first sat for an hour with my pot of tea and looked out the window and played games on my iPhone. This was definitely not wasted time, I was more relaxed and happy than I had been for a couple of weeks since I got sick, and I really enjoyed it. Still a sore throat today, but otherwise much better.
I then did some work on my manuscript, not a lot but it was a good start considering I haven't even looked at it since dad got sick.

It was a lovely mild winter's day, the only unpleasant bit was this entrance to the café, the approach is always frigid like the Ice King's morning breath. I think it forms a wind tunnel or something, and it's already on top of a mountain!

After my editing session, I went out for a walk among the trees. Some of them had woolly jumpers on, I think as an art installation rather than to keep them warm.

I took it pretty easy, but the whole area is on a steep hillside so there was a fair bit of up and down. I walked for about half an hour and enjoyed it! Such a lovely location.

I had lunch at the food court of the shopping centre and chose a Taiwanese chicken stir fry with a side of vegetables instead of rice. I ate half the chicken and all my broccoli. Then did the grocery shopping and came home.

I didn't blog yesterday, I didn't do much. I did eat some cake, and mentioned to Tim that I hadn't eaten any bread at lunchtime (we had steak sandwiches, I ate mine without the bread) as if that made it ok and he nearly wet himself laughing. I guess I didn't exactly mean cake was a good choice, or a better option than bread, I was just pointing out that I didn't have both.

We spent some time looking at houses for sale in Sydney. I printed out a floor plan that I thought was ideal for us (ie not just the right number of rooms, but things like having the kids' bedrooms near ours instead of right up the other end of the house or on a different floor), and then we found a house with almost that exact floor plan that had just been listed, in the area we want, probably in our price range (I rang the agent) although it's hard to be sure because it is going to auction and it's very competitive in Sydney at the moment. I really need to stop falling in love with houses I've only seen on the internet. But at least I have all the pleasure of loving them, while it lasts. We have a month to get there and see it before the auction, maybe they will take an offer before then? Can't next weekend, we have all of Tim's family visiting us. Anyway, we haven't got a definite yes from his work yet.

I have a lot of fun planning a move, and thinking about where the furniture will go and everything. And I'm not crushed if something (like Norfolk Island) doesn't end up happening. But while we are still in the planning stage, I do have some anxiety about someone else buying the house I want before I can grab it!

My other annoyance is that the tiling guy still hasn't come back, even though when I called last week they said by the end of that week. I need to get the ceiling fixed! And it's going to rain again this week, too.

I haven't posted photos of the new curtains yet. This is what the old ones looked like:

I haven't been able to get a photo that shows the true colours of the new ones, but the lounge and kitchen are a greyish blue:

Close-up pattern (yes that is the same as the previous picture!):

The study and games room are "string" colour, which I would call pale gold:

With the same pattern:

Sorry, that was the best I could do. They look quite elegant in real life.

Report card:
Diet: Mostly good.
Exercise: Good!
Water: Good, I'll get there by tonight.
Sleep: I thought I was very restless but I didn't feel tired today so I could be wrong. Wasn't wearing my fitbit for thrashing-around stats.
Mental health: Good.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Several naps


Reducing starchy foods may be great for my glucose intolerance, but it's not doing anything for my weight which is continuing to creep up. I am replacing starches with large amounts of fatty food, in particular cheese which I am binging on in the evenings. I'm not exercising or being consistent with my CPAP or doing anything else to promote my health. And I'm slacking on the low-starch, too.

I'm reading this book about motivation. So far mostly about what not to do. For instance, a movitation like "I must exercise every day to reduce my risk of diabetes, to lose weight so I look better, to sleep better and eventually get rid of my CPAP, and to feel healthier" is apparently wrong on every possible level. A) it sets up exercise as a chore, not a fun gift I'm giving to myself. B) it offers future rather than immediate benefits, which is hard to compete with current comfort sitting around. C) it has multiple reasons, which apparently reduces motivation rather than increases it, you are better off with just one reason to focus on.

One problem I have with where this book seems to be going, is that I have already chosen exercises I actually enjoy while I'm doing them (walking and dance, and even elliptical with the hiking videos). It's not that I'm forcing myself to do things I hate. Yet knowing I will enjoy it still doesn't get me off the couch. Getting started just seems too much effort. Not just exercise, many things I enjoy quite a lot. It's easier to not do anything. But I'll keep reading and hope for tips. I haven't got up to the how-to steps yet.

Yesterday I took Jasmine clothes shopping. We had a productive morning, I clocked up 6,000 steps and I didn't get home exhausted like the day before. My neck was still a bit stiff but otherwise I felt ok. In the afternoon we played Dungeons and Dragons, and Tim and the kids went on a bike ride. I don't ride, in fact my bike was stolen a couple of years ago and my insurance company replaced it but I have never even tried out the replacement. I only rode the original a handful of times, very slowly. I felt wobbly and unsafe and much too high off the ground even though I got the extra-small size. Yet as a child I rode all the time! But as a child I wasn't scared of heights.

Today unfortunately both Tim and I felt unwell again. Stupid germs. I went back to bed for a while in the morning, then after lunch tried to go out for a family walk but I felt ill straight away and turned back, then spent the rest of the afternoon lying on the lounge. At least I had a good nap! Maybe it will help. Tim spent a lot of the day playing computer games but did manage to cook a lovely dinner for us.

Report card:
Diet: Ok to poor.
Exercise: Poor.
Water: Very poor.
Sleep: Good if you count two naps today?
Mental health: Ok.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What am I reading?


Aside from, I've been reading "The Anchoress" by Robyn Cadwallader, about a woman cloistered in one tiny room in a church (like a nun, but even more extreme); "Raising Steam" by Terry Pratchett (comedy fantasy); "Mr Wilkinson's Simply Dressed Salads" by Matt Wilkinson (cookbook); "It Was Me All Along" by Andie Michell (a memoir about spending her first twenty years morbidly obese); and "No Sweat" by Michelle Segar (about how to motivate yourself to exercise, just started that one, I think it can be summarised as "do something you love" but maybe she has more to say than that). I like to read, and I like to have a choice depending on my mood. Also regularly reading "New Scientist", "Women's Health" and two recipe magazines.

I didn't do much else but read today. I did the grocery shopping and came home weirdly exhausted and with my neck really stiff and sore. Hurts when I turn my head. Still fighting off those damn germs!

Luckily Tim was home to entertain the kids. He didn't get home until well after midnight last night, he is so contentious he tries to clear all his work before taking even two days off. It hardly seems worth it taking a couple of days off if he has to work so late, but anyway it's nice to have him home. In the afternoon he took the kids to the interactive science museum Questacon. I should have taken a nap but looked at Sydney houses online instead.

I didn't take good care of my starches today, and didn't exercise.

Report card:
Diet: Ok, but too many starchy carbs.
Exercise: Poor.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Good.
Mental health: Ok, I'm a bit sick of feeling sick and wondering if I should have exercised anyway. I could have walked around inside away from the biting cold.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015



It was a freezing cold and drizzly day so we didn't get out much, just to the library. I don't feel too guilty about this because Tim is taking the next couple of days off so he can be the fun parent!

Our cleaner came this morning (Jasmine commented that we now have a gardener and a cleaner! Makes us sound very posh, doesn't it) so I rushed around first trying to tidy a bit so he would have clear surfaces to clean. It's nice having a sparkling kitchen and bathrooms. Five minutes after the cleaner left Aiden raided the recycling box armed with a pair of scissors so the lounge no longer looks freshly vacuumed. Bits of cardboard everywhere.

We all did some colouring-in,


I was typing away when Tim called, firstly to say he would be home really late tonight (to make up for taking the next two days off) but secondly that he has practically been offered a move to Sydney, to a different section within his current government department. He asked for it months ago and things have been moving very slowly but it is suddenly looking like it might actually happen! Not absolutely certain yet. We've been wavering about moving to Sydney, partly because of the horrible house prices there - they have gone up 25% in the past year, but have decided to go for it if this is our chance. I am keen to move, I really want a change. Even if it is to a bigger more expensive city with more traffic and pollution! We'd be nearer family, and the beach, and all the conveniences and entertainments of a real city. And it has a much milder climate, usually, than here. As I feel my fingers and toes slowly freezing, even inside with ducted gas heating, that is a big plus for me right now! If it happens, it would be whenever Tim negotiates with his current boss. Three months? Jasmine would get to do her big dance concert here but still start her new High School along with everyone else, which I think is important.

Funny that the movie we saw yesterday, Inside Out, was about an eleven year old girl going through the trauma of moving to a new city...

I don't think I'll be ordering a new fridge in the next few days.

It's good the house is almost ready for sale. Except that stupid hole in the roof.

But I'm not counting on moving until it is certain.


Ok back to today. Oh yes, colouring-in:

Then the library to get a big stack of books, some unhealthy takeaway lunch, and an afternoon hanging around the house. More colouring-in, reading, watching some TV, I did some paperwork relating to dad's estate. No exercise, which is bad. And the lunch was unhealthy (fried chicken, and a few chips) but I am still kind of proud that I resisted a lot of other things all day - I really wanted to go out and buy some cake. The weather actually helped keep me away from my favourite cake shop! And couldn't be bothered baking one myself. A small win.

Report card:
Diet: Poor lunch, good the rest of the day.
Exercise: Poor.
Water: Poor.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: A bit overexcited right now.

That report card looks really bad, but maybe a few of the categories could be given a more generous "ok" rather than "poor". I don't really feel like I did that badly today. It was just a quiet day.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Inside Out


Is it Tuesday? School holidays don't follow our usual daily pattern, so I get lost sometimes.

We went to the movies this morning, firstly doing a lap inside the shopping centre as a bit of a walk. We saw "Inside Out" which was really good. Luckily kids' movies these days tend to appeal to parents as well, because I rarely see anything else!

We went to a Thai restaurant for lunch and ordered two dishes between the three of us, one served with rice and one served with rice noodles. I didn't eat any of the starches, sticking to chicken and vegetables (and yummy sauces of course). I had a chocolate bar in the movie.

Then we did some grocery shopping and came home.

I've been feeling pretty depressed, last night and today. Part of it is thinking about dad's death, and partly these persistent germs (I have a sore throat again) but partly it is FogDog's fault! He is the latest of the bloggers I follow to give up sugar and suddenly lose weight (13 pounds in 13 days) with no cravings after the first few days -- not just no cravings for sugar but for any food. We used to be on the same page about the whole sugar thing, but now he writes:

"I've read a lot of literature on the evils of sugar. I've always held the belief that anything is OK as long as it is in moderation. I'm not so sure about that belief anymore."

I guess I don't want to believe this is true for me. I mean, I don't eat that much sugar, right? I just looked up that the average for someone from the US is 76.7 grams of added sugar per day, not including juice. Since my treats are usually savoury and I cook nearly all meals from scratch; most days I would have 10-20 grams of added sugar, primarily in my tea and  in chocolate. I've already given up all the yummy starches that I love. You want me to give up tea and chocolate as well! So unfair.

But it seems to work for so many people. And nothing I try does.

I have tried giving up sugar a couple of times; last year along with dairy, alcohol, soy and grains, for Whole 30. I didn't make it to 30 days. I felt depressed for eight days and much better when I gave up and ate a few chocolate chips, so make of that what you will. I always feel horrible when I go low-carb, so it's hard to separate out the effect of withdrawal from processed sugar.

... I left it there instead of continuing a rant about how much life sucked and why was everyone being mean to me by giving up sugar. About an hour later I suddenly connected several of my sentences together.
"I've been feeling pretty depressed, last night and today."
"I've already given up all the yummy starches that I love."
"I always feel horrible when I go low carb."

Seeing any connection?!

When I had this epiphany I was already feeling quite a lot better, oddly enough after eating a couple of tablespoons of All Bran as recommended by the Glycaemic Load book guy to keep fibre levels up. Hmm, any relevance there? You think?!

I felt an immediate huge emotional relief on top of already feeling less depressed after the All Bran. I wasn't just randomly miserable, it was my well established inability to handle low carb diets! (NB, it was nothing to do with sugar as I was still having my usual amount of sugar -- how I feel without sugar specifically is yet to be established.)

Clearly I need to be vigilant about getting enough carbohydrate while I cut out starches. It's tricky. I'm not allowed the most carbohydrate-rich foods and I don't like pumpkin or sweet potato, so I need to keep up the levels of other vegetables and fruit. And All Bran. Otherwise I'll be turning to more sugar and caffeine to prop up my mood.

Report card:
Diet: Ok. A bit too much chocolate (I think to combat depression).
          Breakfast: Bacon. Orange. Tea. It was a fairly small serve of bacon, two short rashers, but I shouldn't have it more than once a week (my doctor said once a year!). But I struggled with breakfast already and now I've cut out toast and all cereals it doesn't leave much that I want to eat first thing. I don't want eggs every day, I need to make sure I have some leftover meat available at least some mornings.
          Morning: Toblerone chocolate bar. Cheese.
          Lunch: Thai chicken and vegetables in peanut sauce.
          Afternoon: All Bran. One square of dark chocolate (melted over the All Bran to make it edible, it was pretty good actually, like a little chocolate and fibre cookie). Tea.
          Dinner: Bolognaise with zoodles (zucchini noodles) and cheese.
Exercise: Ok. A short walk.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Poor.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Lollipop Playland and dad


Today I took the kids to Lollipop Playland, the indoor playground next to the airport. It has a teacup ride:

And a big slide:

And climbing thingies:

And a couple of ball pits (this one is actually in the toddler area, there is also a bigger one):

Apart from one early incident where another boy was too rough with Aiden, they played happily together for more than two hours. I read and played with my iPhone and watched the planes take off and land outside the window. The play equipment looked really fun and I was kind of wishing I could join in, which would also be great exercise. Then as we were leaving I saw the big board of rules at the entrance and it mentioned that adults are welcome on the equipment! Maybe next time.

We had lunch at the foodcourt there before we went in. Aiden had Subway, Jasmine and I had roast chicken and hot chips (I only had about eight chips). I was still pretty hungry so I went into the supermarket and bought a banana! I was pretty proud of myself. We also got fruit as snacks for the kids to have when they needed a break from having fun, and I brought along a big bottle of water from home. When we came out of Lollipop Playland, the kids with the lollipop they give at the exit, I was really craving something... anything bad! I wavered quite a bit but then decided I would have something semi-bad at home instead of giving in and having something really bad at the shops. When we got home I had some Cruskits with vegemite and cheese. Not exactly healthy, but at least it wasn't all bad and had some protein from the cheese. And it satisfied my craving for crunch and salt.

Shortly after we got home, dad's girlfriend Wendy called. She is a very nice lady, but I find her very difficult to talk to. She talks round and round the subject and repeats herself (so many times!) and can't answer a straight question. It can be hard not to get impatient when I really want some information from her (of course I try very hard to be nice! and I think I always succeed). Today she called to say she had finally received dad's Death Certificate with his cause of death (determined by the coroner). She is sending it to my Uncle Greg, who is the executor of dad's Will, so I think I'll have to wait until then to get the full story, but what I did learn was that there was both heart disease and throat cancer. He'd had heart problems for years, and a double bypass long ago, but cancer had never been diagnosed. He did have a bad cough for a couple of months before he died, but that was put down to a chest infection. He wasn't a smoker, but I suppose you can get cancer anywhere. So that is both my parents dying of cancer.

The last couple of months, as you may have read here, money has been sprinting out of our bank account for various home repairs and minor improvements. And now I think we need a new fridge and a new car! The first two times the fridge shelves broke I was able to buy replacements. The third time, they said the model was too old and they didn't make parts any more. So we've had only two shelves in an already small fridge for a long time now. We didn't want to replace the fridge because we've been thinking about moving house for several years, and were hoping for a bigger kitchen with space for a bigger fridge. But now our fridge has turned into a giant freezer, presumably something wrong with the thermostat. Things that shouldn't be frozen are getting ruined. It's time to replace it, even if we are maybe moving soon. Who knows, we've been saying that for about five years now! Can't put essential things off forever.

The car is 13 years old and starting to feel her age. Needing repairs more often, being less reliable. It's a much bigger expense than a fridge, but at least it's not something that matters whether we move soon or not! We don't buy new, at least in the past we've always gone for a car a couple of years old. It's just a hassle researching and test driving. We've been very happy with this car.

What I really want is a new house!

Report card:
Diet: Good. Resisted lots of bad stuff while we were out.
          Breakfast: Two poached eggs. Orange. Tea.
          Lunch: Small quarter chicken in lemon sauce. Eight hot chips. Banana. Tea.
          Afternoon: Cruskits with vegemite and cheese. Tea.
          Dinner: Two trimmed lamb loin chops. Broccoli in cheese sauce. Salad. Hot chocolate.
Exercise: Poor.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Good. Kept the CPAP on until 6am then went back to sleep for another hour and a half. Best sleep for weeks.
Mental health: A bit down about dad, but otherwise ok.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Good report


I decided it was much too cold to go outside today but I did exercise, I put on some music and walked laps of the lounge/kitchen loop, interspersed with grooving around while balancing on my wobble board (not sure what it's really called).

The rest of the day was reading, playing with my iPhone, and playing DnD with the kids. I finished the Glycemic Load book I was reading yesterday, and I'm trying to follow its principals. Low starch, limited Glycemic load in each meal, and exercise to improve insulin resistance.

Report card:
Diet: Good.
          Breakfast: Orange. Bacon. Tea.
          Lunch: Tuna. Cauliflower soup.
          Afternoon: Cream cheese on crackers (4). Half a dried peach. Cashews. Orange.
          Dinner: Roast lamb. Small amount of roast potato. Broccoli. Cucumber. Gravy.
          Evening: One square of chocolate.
Exercise: Good.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Good.
Mental health: Good.

Good all round!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Glycaemic Load


The next book I chose to read was The Glycemic Load Diabetes Solution by Rob Thompson, MD.

The Glycaemic Index (GI) is a measure of how badly a food makes your blood sugar spike, compared to pure sugar which has a GI of 100. The Glycaemic Load (GL) takes quantity into account. For example, watermelon quite a high GI of 72. But that is calculated on someone eating enough watermelon to get 50 grams of carbohydrate from it. Watermelon isn't all carbohydrate. In fact 100g of watermelon has only 5g of carbohydrate, so it has a glycaemic load of 3.6 (72 x 5/100), which isn't much at all. You'd have to eat a whole kilogram of watermelon to get the 50g of actual carbohydrate used in the study. Similarly carrots have a high GI, but not many people eat 7 large carrots in one sitting. One carrot is fine, and will not make your blood sugar spike to that extent.

Some researchers say a much more important indicator is the Insulin Index, which studies the person's insulin response to the food -- i.e. how much insulin is released. This is correlated to, but not the same as, the level of blood glucose. You still release some insulin for non-carbohydrate foods like meat, which doesn't have a GI number. But this is much more difficult to test for.

The GI was determined by getting quite a small group of subjects (usually 10) to eat the food (seven large carrots doesn't sound fun), and then the results of the blood tests were averaged. I assume there was quite a wide variation, for starters anyone with diabetes or insulin resistance is going to have a much more dramatic result. And also Tim and I were discussing this last night and there is no indication anywhere whether the result is linear. By which I mean, is eating two doughnuts twice as bad as eating one? Is eating ten all at once, ten times as bad? Or is it only six times as bad, or maybe twenty times as bad? I have no idea, and I don't know if it has been studied. But at least all these tables of foods give eaters a way of comparing one food to another in terms of how likely they are to cause a undesirable insulin response.

Back to the book, which I'm a third of the way through and really enjoying. Dr Thompson explains about diabetes, GI and GL, why it's hard to lose weight when you are producing too much insulin etc. His contribution to GL is to give tables of foods in "normal" servings sizes rather than per 100g. So a sandwich includes two slices of bread. A can of fizzy drink is given as the GL for a whole can, not for 100 mL. One that confused me was his serving size of Life Savers (a small lolly, almost pure sugar) as one piece. Who eats one piece? Anyway, knowing the GL for a whole serve is quite useful; but they are US serves, which are large. He comments that the original GL table had a slice of Australian bread weighing 30g but he weighed the ones his wife brought home from the supermarket and they averaged 42g, so keep that in mind if you don't live in the US. I also like to be able to compare things of the same weight, which is hard when they are in serving sizes. But GL tables are available elsewhere anyway, and the serving size tables are quite handy.

The main theme of his book is that if you are diabetic or insulin resistant you have to avoid starchy foods. Wheat, rice, potato. He writes a bit about the chemical make-up of starch. It is processed by the body differently to other carbohydrate foods like fruit and non-starchy vegetables and even sugar. He isn't against sugar in small quantities, because although sugar has a high GI, a square of chocolate or half a teaspoon of sugar in a cup of tea has a low GL. Serving size is important! And even pure sugar requires a certain amount of processing by the body before it is absorbed. NB sugary drinks are a separate and much more evil case because they contain so much sugar... this doesn't contradict my previous comment about tea because half a teaspoon in tea is very different to 12 teaspoons or whatever it is in a cola or fruit juice). Anyway, but starch is absorbed almost instantly and provokes a disproportionately high insulin response which is very bad.

I haven't finished the book but the take-away thoughts so far are:
* Avoid starchy foods, and sugary drinks. (Can have a small amount.)
* Pay attention to the GL of other carbohydrate foods, and moderate your serving size accordingly.
* Exercise (even gentle exercise like walking greatly improves insulin response)

I really like his writing style, he has some cute things to say like Evian (an expensive brand of bottled water) being the word "naïve" backwards. I am well aware that I like this book partly because it aligns with things I already believe. It focuses on carbs rather than fat, but isn't totally anti-carb. It gives easy rules for managing pre-diabetes (and avoiding full-blown diabetes) without having to give up chocolate. Or fruit. Not that giving up bread or potatoes is an easy ask! Not at all! And of course flour is in nearly every processed snack: biscuits, cake etc, so like any diet I think is reasonable, it calls for an extreme reduction in processed food. I will keep reading for his plan on how to give up this tasteless yet somehow appealing substance called starch.

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

Friday, July 10, 2015

The roof saga continues


I had another semi-bad night with nausea, I am not sure what is going on and why I only get it when I'm lying down. Residual virus issues, I guess. Feeling ok today.

Today was supposed to include taking the kids to Flip Out (an indoor trampoline playground) then doing some grocery shopping. But we woke to pouring rain and Tim needed to be at work at a certain time (dry) and then there was a knock at the door while we were all still in our pyjamas and it was the guy back to do the ceiling in the rumpus room. Actually four guys this time. So Tim took the car to work and the kids and I snuggled down inside.

A couple of hours later I was called out to the rumpus room to be told and shown that the roof was still leaking! Obviously they aren't going to put up a new ceiling when it's just going to get ruined again. In a way it's lucky it rained today or it wouldn't have been noticed until the water seeped through again. I called the tiling guy to come back, hoping that with the ceiling gone and it currently raining he would be able to see where the water was coming in. I have no idea when he will come, he didn't today. This saga is so annoying! I don't want the new flooring ruined. Our house and garage is cluttered up with all the stuff that should be stored neatly in there. We don't even expect to be in this house in 3-6 months (either move or rebuild/renovate) so we don't want to keep doing work to it, but we can't have a leak in the ceiling! So much time and hassle over the past few months.

The workmen were here for around five hours, nonetheless, replacing the part of the roof that didn't have a leak (ie the part I didn't think particularly needed replacing). So now I am left with an even larger hole (it gets bigger every time) and an unpainted plaster roof with no light fittings. They will come back once the leak is fixed to finish.
 I am sick of looking at it.

So here is a picture of my delicious lunch, a tortilla with pulled pork and salad, pre-wrap.
I've been reading one of the books from the library, The Blood Sugar Solution by Mark Hyman, MD which seems (I've only ready about a quarter so cannot be definitive) to promote a sensible unprocessed plant-based diet, plus lots and lots of vitamin and mineral supplements. I did have a few doubts from an editor's point of view, things like one paragraph saying 'don't wait until you have diabetes, by then it's too late' but in the next paragraph saying 'it's never too late' and similar little gaffs, but overall it seemed reasonable with lots of citations to scientific papers. He has lots of case studies about patients whose lives he has improved by diagnosing all the problems other doctors have missed, and on page 100 we see J.P. "He had canker sores (gluten problem 2)" which immediately interested me as I get canker sores (mouth ulcers) quite often. He seemed to be suggesting that canker sores and gluten intolerance are related. So I looked up the quoted study on the internet; "Celiac disease and recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a report and review of the literature." Sedghizadeh et al. And you know what? It concludes "Our results demonstrated no significant differences between groups for ... recurrent aphthous stomatitis." and "no significant difference between the CD (celiac disease) group and the control group."
He is quoting a study that disproves his beliefs, not supports them. Are the citations just there to look pretty? This puts the whole book into doubt for me. Don't think I'll bother to read any more.
I've started another which I like much more, will talk about it next time.
Report card:
Diet: Good.
Exercise: Poor. Nothing today. A couple of months ago, I put my gym membership on hold with a med cert due to my shoulder, and that runs out on Sunday. From then I'll have nearly a month before my membership expires. I can't say that going to the gym is that appealing at the moment, but it's out of the cold!
Water: Ok.
Sleep: Poor. Confidently hoping for better tonight.
Mental health: A bit frustrated over the whole roof thing.

Thursday, July 9, 2015



We managed to get out of the house today. We started with a short walk around the edge of the local lake. I was told my new iPhone6 would take much better pictures than my 4S but so far I have struggled. Presumably my fault as a photographer. But sometimes it just won't respond to me pressing the button and I stand there jabbing at it while it takes forever to actually take a photo, which doesn't improve my aim, steadiness, or patience.

I don't think I've ever seen a white swan, even in a zoo. Funny to think that in parts of the world white swans are normal and black swans unusual!

I tried to take some photos of our new curtains this evening, but the light was bad and didn't show the colours truly (and also there was too much mess in the foreground!) so I'll have to try again in full daylight.

After our walk we went to the library for a while and borrowed lots of books. I found an old "Choose Your Own Adventure" for Aiden which he thinks is fun but frustrating finding the way through the maze of choices to the happy ending.

We had lunch at the shops -- crepes -- and then took a treat (Burger Rings for me) into the movies where we saw Minions. It was a fun movie, but I think the combination of high carb lunch then highly processed carb snack sent me into a bit of a carb coma. Even though I was enjoying the movie, I fell asleep. When I got home I tested my blood sugars, and even though it was three and a half hours after I'd started lunch (two hours is usually considered the peak) and the level was unacceptably high. I don't take this lightly, although I obviously wasn't thinking about it at the time. It is not a "treat" to make myself sick! Two of the books I borrowed from the library are about blood sugars and avoiding diabetes etc, I'll be using them to get my head back in the right space. I know what I need to do, but reading about it again helps keep me mindful. Until I get into some kind of habit, I need to remind myself again and again. Mostly natural foods! Not too many carbs at once! As soon as I got home I had some homemade chicken soup, I was craving protein!

Aside from this, it was a nice day out and I felt like we'd finally done some holiday things.

Report card:
Diet: Poor.
Exercise: Good.
Water: Ok.
Sleep: Poor. I'm still not completely over my unwellness and it seems to get worse at night, including nausea and stomach pains. I haven't been using my CPAP consistently; either only for a few hours or not at all, because of the various symptoms.
Mental health: Good.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Just dance


We spent most of today waiting around for the curtain guy, who was more than three hours later than I expected (to be fair, they only gave me an approximate time). Ceiling to floor blue in the kitchen and lounge, "string" (cream/gold) in the study and dining room, same subtle pattern like falling rain on all. Quite elegant. Also white blinds in Jasmine's room. I can't think of much else we did other than some housework. By the time the guy had enstalled everything it was too late to go out. Luckily the kids play very well together and entertain themselves, but we're a quarter of the way through their holidays and we haven't done anything yet! Definitely tomorrow.

In the evening I had my monthly writers' group. I didn't feel like going out but made myself. I haven't written anything for months but it's good to still be part of the community.

Report card:
Diet: Mostly good.
Exercise: Poor, none again.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Ok. Awesome dream including singing and dancing with a big group on stage (it was actually a routine from the Xbox game Just Dance) and the crowd going wild! I woke up happy, and thought of it often throughout the day, and even looked up the song to watch the routine! It wasn't just the performing and applause, it was being part of a group all having fun together.
Mental health: Good.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Double chocolate chip cookies


Oh, such a coughing and a sneezing and a blowing of noses in this house this morning!

Tim had the car today so it was another at/near home day. We did some colouring-in in the morning and I sent the kids outside for a while to jump on the trampoline while I watched last night's Masterchef. Jasmine cooked us macaroni and cheese (from a packet) for lunch, then we walked/rode to the nearest park for as long as I could stand being out in the cold. Which wasn't very long.

When we got back Jasmine wanted to do more cooking so I unleashed her on the kitchen and she made double chocolate chip cookies. She has a few things she cooks but I think this was the first time she cooked something entirely by herself following a proper recipe. I just moved the trays in and out of the oven for her. She made a huge mess, and they weren't exactly like when I make them, being rather plump, but they were pretty yummy!

She cleaned up, and then while I was cleaning up her cleaning up efforts I realised I was actually feeling pretty healthy! At some point during the day I had gone from woe is me huddled under a blanket in front of the TV, to nearly normal, without noticing until then. So that is awesome. Not 100%, but getting there. Hopefully I get through tonight without the stomach cramps I've been having every night.

Report card:
Diet: Ok, good apart from the macaroni cheese and double chocolate chip cookies!
Exercise: Ok, a very short walk.
Water: Ok.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Good.

Monday, July 6, 2015

School holidays again already?


Yesterday I sat around feeling unwell and sorry for myself, feeling like I was wasting my life watching TV and playing with my iPhone. I did NOT take extraordinary care (as Sean puts it) with looking after my diet or water intake. Tim was pretty much better and looked after the kids and the cooking etc.

Today I am feeling mostly better, Tim is back at work, Jasmine has a bit of a cough but is otherwise fine, Aiden didn't even get sick at all, so we're back to real life. (Edit: by evening Aiden had got the runny nose, so here we go again.) Two weeks of winter school holidays have started. The weather is cold and miserable so it's strictly indoor activities. Today we kept it to a big grocery shopping trip and the kids have been fine entertaining themselves at home. But I'll have to start thinking of things to do! There are two good-sounding animated movies on at the moment, so that will fill... several hours. Hmmm... the indoor trampoline park, the library, the awesome but expensive motorised go-cart track, the science museum, the dinosaur museum... we'll find something.

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

I need to finish shaking off this illness, but in the meantime stop using that and having the kids home as excuses to eat poorly! It was only a week ago that I was using my glucose intolerance as motivation. That health issue hasn't gone away!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Movie day


We were supposed to drive to Sydney today to see family but we are a bit of a house of sickness at the moment. Tim seems mostly better but I'm a bit worse and now Jasmine has come down with it. she never usually gets sick. So it's been a sitting around at home day. We watched the dance movie "Step Up" and were able to predict the whole plot from the start, but it was still entertaining. Then I took a nap. And in the evening we watched "Night at the Museum", which we also hadn't seen. I'm afraid that was my day.

Report card:
Diet: Good. Didn't even have a cupcake that my husband made.
Exercise: Nil, which is fine.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Ok.
Mental health: Ok. I'm sick, but not sad.

Friday, July 3, 2015

A big hole


I had a lovely day yesterday. It had the three things important to me on a birthday. Firstly being surrounded by people I love; my husband had the day off work to spend time with me, my kids were home after school, and I received lots of phone calls and texts and facebook messages. Of course I missed my parents, my first birthday since their deaths. Secondly the lovely presents I got yesterday; I spent quite a lot of time either colouring in or playing with my new iPhone. And thirdly food! Yes food is still a bit part of celebrating for me. I ate a gazillion calories -- actually my best guesstimation on fitbit was about 2,700 -- but I did keep my almost-diabetic state in mind and managed my carbs/sugar throughout the day. For instance I had a chicken breast in cream sauce for lunch (few carbs) then half a sweet dessert. And at dinner I had another third of a different dessert. Never too many carbs at one time, to keep my blood sugars steady even if I wasn't exactly eating healthy! And I had ten glasses of water.

Tim is home again today but unfortunately sick this time. We've both had various flu symptoms this week. My back is really aching today and I'm feeling generally yuck. I have not felt sick enough to stay in bed but Tim spent the morning in bed which means he is pretty bad. At least we were both more or less ok for my birthday yesterday so we could enjoy the day.

The man the insurance company appointed to fix the ceiling in the studio/junk room/rumpus (it's called rumpus by real estate agents so I'm going with that) came today and I thought that saga would finally be over. This is what it looked like before:

And at the end of five hours work, and the tradesman going home, here is the after:

Um, is this an improvement? There is a huge hole in the ceiling and lots of visible nails in the plaster beside it holding up that sheet, and new cracks where he pushed the sagging plaster up to nail it on. He didn't have the right cornice and will have to order it, he grumbled that he hadn't been given all the information, and then he decided that the whole room needs to have the ceiling replaced and has gone away to get approval from the insurance company even though I told him we are probably knocking the whole room down in a few months. I don't know if he is incompetent, or trying to get more money out of them, or if the ceiling truly does need the work. I don't have any choice in tradesmen since I handed it over to the insurance company, so I just have to wait. It is a complete mess now. Oh well, I guess we'll get a completely new ceiling which will look nice if we sell. It better look nice, or there will be trouble, I don't care how shy I am. But it is dragging on and on and we can't use that room and have all the stuff that was in it cluttering up the house and garage. Since I'm not feeling well today I think I found it particularly difficult to deal with the whole situation.

Definitely not as nice a day as yesterday.

Report card:
Diet: Mixed. I did well all day until takeaway dinner driving home from ballet.
Exercise: Poor, but I was sick so that is ok.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Ok.
Mental health: Poor.

Hopefully everything will be better tomorrow.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

My birthday!


My birthday started with presents. My main present was an iPhone 6 (I had been using a 4S) and my son chose this beautiful cover for it:

My daughter gave me body lotion, hand cream and lip balm.

My husband also gave me this stunning colouring book, with a set of 72 artist pencils.

I had bought my children colouring books for Christmas and loved them so much I bought one for myself, but this one is actually made for adults. Apparently grown-up colouring books is a thing now, as an anti-stress technique. I used to colour in a lot as a child before moving on to cross-stitch embroidery and then painting miniatures for Dungeons and Dragons. In all cases I am not required to be able to draw! The design work is done for me, I just get to choose the colours and soothingly fill them in.

It was a day of indulgence, and as such I am not going to give myself a report card today. But tomorrow is another day!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Last day at 44


I couldn't use my CPAP last night due to nasal congestion, but I feel much better today. Hopefully I've washed away those germs with all the water I drank yesterday.

My daughter had a little expo at school this morning, her class was showing off a recent project they did on animal biomes. Jasmine and her friend Jedda did a diorama and poster about the polar bear.
The black pellets are apparently representing polar bear poo. I didn't ask whether the polar bears were supposed to have built the snowman themselves, and if so where did they get the scarf and hat?

Tim and the kids rode their bikes up to the school and I walked. It was so cold, and very foggy. This is the school oval with the school in the background but you can't see it at all.

Tears seemed to freeze on my cheeks which was very painful, and my glasses fogged up. I could have driven there, but it is less than a kilometre away and I'm trying to get more activity in. And the kids do it every day, and Tim rides to work in every weather. I am just not used to it, safe in my warm cocoon of a home.

Back home, I spent several hours cooking. A healthy lunch, and soup, and casserole for tonight. I was really clumsy today, spilling things badly several times and also nearly tripping over myself. I'm sure it's the result of this flu or whatever messing with my inner ear. Probably not a good day to take up tightrope walking over Niagara Falls.

I did a meditation in the afternoon which of course segued into another brief nap. The program wakes me up at the end (when I count to five you will wake up -- it works); I really should turn that option off! That way I might get more than 20 minutes sleep.

With just two days of healthy eating plus drinking lots and lots of water, I have lost 1.5 kg, nearly all the extra weight I gained in the past few weeks. The problem will be keeping it off -- it's my birthday tomorrow! Tim and I are going out to lunch and I will have dessert, but I will try not to go overboard. 45 years on this earth, that is something to think about.

Report card:
Diet: Excellent.
          Breakfast: High fibre oats with linseed and Nutella, only half an "instant" serve as I was in a hurry. Cup of tea an hour later after I got back from the school.
          Morning snack: Cheese and crackers. Apple.
          Lunch: Quinoa "fried rice" with chicken and vegetables. One piece of chocolate.
          Afternoon snack: Two bowls of homemade spicy roast tomato soup. Cashews. Tea.
          Dinner: Chicken and olive casserole.
Exercise: Ok. Only did the walk to the school and back.
Water: Excellent. Ten glasses.
Sleep: Ok. No CPAP.
Mental health: Ok.