Friday, December 30, 2016

Last day of 2016

Saturday:

Can't believe it's the last day of 2016. Happy New Year's Eve to everyone. (Is that a thing, or only "Happy New Year" tomorrow?)

I'm not going to talk too much about resolutions, hopes and dreams etc today because I've been sleeping really badly in the heat so I'm tired and headachy, and also have PMS so basically whatever I tried to say would probably come out as "life sucks and I'm a failure". Maybe I'll talk about that stuff tomorrow!

We've had a bit of a heatwave here. Day before yesterday I refused to leave the house (and air conditioning) at all, yesterday Tim convinced me that the movies would be nice and cool so we went out in the afternoon. I'd already done the grocery shopping in the morning, it was pretty hot. When we got to the movies we found that everything was sold out - we often buy tickets online ahead of time but for some reason yesterday we didn't. So that was a fail. We decided to buy some books Jasmine and I wanted while we were there (no bookshop at the local shops near us, this was a much bigger complex). They kept making announcements over the loudspeaker that the power was out in some parts of the complex, some shops were closed I think because their registers weren't working. We had to go to both bookshops to find the three books we wanted but were successful eventually.

But then I decided to use my gift voucher at a kitchenware shop to buy a spiraliser (turns vegetables into spaghetti). They put through the purchase with the voucher then I said "isn't there 20% off everything?" which they hadn't done. This put everyone into a panic! The check out girl didn't know how to reverse it when using a gift voucher, the other girl didn't, the person they called gave instructions over the phone which didn't help, finally an older woman came back from her break and issued me with a new gift card that supposedly has the rest of the money on it, I have no way of knowing and from the fuss and panic I am not that sanguine. I was there a really long time during all this, dripping sweat (maybe air con was one of the things not working with the power problem), kids bored, husband carrying the slumped ten-year-old like he was three, queue built up behind me. It really felt like we should have stayed home! But I got my spiraliser in the end and love it, made zucchini (courgette) and carrot noodles last night.

Today we arranged to go and see my grandfather, Poppa. We didn't see him at Christmas this year due to that side of the family being scattered to the four winds. Poppa is 98, still lives in his own home alone and looks after himself with only minimal help from son and daughter-in-law who live across the road. I love my Poppa, but admit I was dreading the visit just a little because he is pretty deaf now. Also very hot today. But it turned out fine. Two sets of aunts and uncles were also there so there was plenty of chat around the table. It's an hour drive each way so we don't "pop over" often but should definitely go more than we have been.

Tonight we aren't involved in a big NYE party, we've invited some family over but with all the new babies in the family I don't know if anyone will stay until midnight. I never stay up that late anyway! Tim wants to let the kids stay up this year, Jasmine would be fine but I think Aiden will get very tired. We'll see.

Happy NYE everyone, I hope you have a good night and that the new year starts well for you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sand

Thursday:

Yesterday we took advantage of the fact we had no visitors, and relaxed most of the day. Then in the late afternoon, after the worst heat of the day was over, we went to the beach. The kids were very keen to try out their Christmas boogie boards (is that what they are called in other countries? like a cut-off surf board). They had fun, but it wasn't really a good day for it. There was a very strong wind, so every time they cruised in on their boards on the little waves they were pushed a long way down the beach and had to trudge back to where the safe area was marked by the flags (patrolled by life guards). And being on the beach itself was quite unpleasant, with the sand flaying skin off your bones. I still have sand in my ears despite soaking my head in the bath last night. But at least no-one got sunburned!

My husband is slightly right of middle in the blue Tshirt, with Jasmine in black behind him and Aiden over to the right with the orange/red board. It's the only photo I took between gusts of sand. I didn't deliberately put them in the side of the photo, but I could barely see what was in the frame and had to point and guess.

I did go in the water up to my waist for a little while but found it a bit cold and also full of displaced sand. I am really looking forward to our pool!

After rinsing off some of the sand in the public showers, we went out to dinner at a steak restaurant. Steak and salad was a pretty good choice for my diet but I also ate the curly fries.... and then we ordered dessert. Whoops. I had a deep-fried mars bar. Urg. I felt sick half way through but ate it anyway. My stomach looked like I had a balloon shoved up my shirt and I could barely stay awake the rest of the evening, but worse was my blood glucose level which was 12.2 mmol/L when I tested. That is into diabetic levels and possibly the highest I have ever tested. Really bad choice.

After nodding and dozing in front of the TV for a while, I went to bed and slept for nine and a half hours! For the last month or so I've usually only got around six. That was a good sleep, I guess, although I remember dreaming about being in hospital dizzy and with a fever. I was worried about my weigh-in this morning but I have already dropped back down to my lowest recent weight so that was good. I should end 2016 on a low for the year which is awesome.

 Today will be the hottest of the summer so far and I have no plans to leave the air conditioned house.

[edit: my brother-in-law Nick came over this afternoon and mentioned that he and my little niece Emma were at the same beach at the same time as us yesterday! They only dipped their toes in and played in the sand so they didn't need to be between the safety flags and were a bit further along.]

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Post-Christmas

Tuesday:

I'm back on my diet/WOE whatever you want to call it today. Back to healthy food! I had a light lunch to save some calories for the afternoon as we had some last minute guests, friends from our old city who were here visiting family and asked if they could drop in here for a couple of hours. Of course we said yes! I put out lots of leftover treats but only ate some cheese and fruit. The other stuff was very tempting but I made it!

I did make an error with some fruit tea. I was given three varieties as a Christmas gift, two apparently have zero calories. But the one I made a big jug of, which everyone thought was delicious, turned out to have 56 calories and 14g of sugar per cup! No wonder it tasted so nice. I made it weaker than the box suggested, and I only drank half my cup before getting suspicious and investigating, so I didn't injest all that sugar, but it was still a fair bit. Oh well, maybe it will ease the transition from Christmas.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas

Monday:

It's Boxing Day morning for me now. Yesterday was busy and exhausting and fun. I got the turkey in the oven early then we opened all our presents and relaxed while we could. Then I spent a couple of hours in a whirlwind of cooking then everyone came over for lunch. I think we had 16 in the end, not counting the babies. The only stressful moment was due to one couple (who didn't bring any food contributions - even though they said they would) who are currently only eating seafood. I had two people who offered to bring seafood, one forgot to bring the dish - and the traffic was terrible, they couldn't go back for it - and the other was late - again due to the unusual traffic - so for a while I thought this couple weren't going to get much to eat. I was wondering whether to heat up some fish fingers, but then aunty Vanessa showed up late with a beautiful salmon.

I've just got used to Tim's family, lovely though they are, being rather unreliable in things like this. It's been the same in previous years. People say they will bring a particular dish, or Christmas Crackers or whatever, then don't. This year two people didn't bring desserts when they said they would, one said they left it behind, the other just didn't mention it at all. This is why I over-cater! I'd made a chocolate cheesecake and a fruit salad and bought ice cream, and one person brought the trifle they'd promised. We were fine.

After lunch we opened more presents, ate snacks, and played Trivial Pursuit. We had several editions out and people could chose which box to take their questions from. Jasmine and I won playing purely from her new Christmas present "Harry Potter" trivial pursuit edition. Tim and Aiden were doing well mostly answering from the "World of Warcraft" (computer game) box, everyone else mostly used the normal questions with the occasional Harry Potter.

The babies slept almost the entire time. The two three-year-old girls were getting a bit tired by mid-afternoon. Most people left by late afternoon, I was pretty exhausted by then, but my brother stayed and a couple who had lunch with her family came for dinner. I cooked some fettuccini boscaiola to go with lunch leftovers. Finally everyone was gone around 10pm and we collapsed into bed.

To get up and do it all again today....

****

It's Tim's father's birthday on Boxing Day so we always all get together again for a BBQ. In the afternoon we usually all go to whatever big fantasy/sci-fi movie has just been released (so this year would have been Rogue One) but with three little babies didn't organise that this year. We set the house to rights, vacuuming and running the dishwasher for the umpteenth time and collecting all the empty glasses from around the house etc. Then it was time for me to start cooking again. Tim mans the BBQ and I do the side dishes and the desserts. We had another lovely family lunch (I think 16 again today, slightly different mix from yesterday) then I sat in the lounge with a couple of other women and a baby or two while others played Mah Jong and then Dungeons and Dragons, I was just too tired. Quiet chat was about as much as I could manage.

The only drama moment today was when one mother left her sleeping baby and happy three-year-old here briefly to drive her parents home a suburb away. Of course almost the moment she left, the baby woke starving. The daddy was trying to distract her when the three-year-old jumped down four stairs heavily and hurt her foot and started screaming louder than the baby. I took the baby and the daddy gave the little girl attention. I spent 15 minutes doing a tour of the house with a two-week-old baby who was very unimpressed at the lack of milk in every room, and not afraid to let me know it!

In the late afternoon it began to look like some people were expecting to stay for dinner. I was very tired and a constant stream of mothers using my quiet bedroom to breastfeed meant no nap for me, but at least we had enough leftovers that I didn't have to worry about cooking. I just threw together a salad to go with the leftover BBQ meat. I love having everyone here but four meals over two days is a lot to cater for a big group of people, and I've barely had a chance to look at my Christmas presents yet. I've had a good couple of days, but I'm rather glad everyone has gone and I can soak my tired legs in the bath and go to bed.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Eve

Saturday:

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! I hope you're all having a lovely festive period. If you don't celebrate Christmas, you could try Festivus which was invented by the Seinfeld writers. Wiki says it is non-commercial holiday which includes an unadorned aluminium Festivus Pole instead of a Christmas Tree, but I remember it chiefly for the "Airing of Grievances" where you tell everyone at the dinner table how they have disappointed you during the year. It's supposed to be celebrated (if that is the right word) on December 23 so we missed it, maybe next year!

We've spent the last few days feeling a bit unwell, trying to get all the cleaning and shopping etc done. I'm feeling a lot better today so I'm confident for Christmas tomorrow. Lots of cooking and cleaning today. I think I'll watch some Carols on TV tonight and go to bed early. Oh, but I'm looking forward to putting all the presents under the tree after the kids go to bed so I'll have to stay up at least that long!

Have a great day tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Trivial Pursuit

Wednesday:

Tim is home on holidays from today until the new year. Unfortunately he wasn't well today. Tim's brother Nick was sick when we saw him on the weekend so I blame him - that weird little surgical mask he wore did nothing! Jasmine and I had sore throats yesterday, I'm tired and grainy-eyed today, but Tim has had work stress and travel and late nights to deal with as well so it's hit him harder, he spent a bit of today in bed. As long as we're all well again for Christmas!

I did a partial shop today, all the non-perishable items like drinks. I'll do the big shop for meat, fruit, cream etc on Friday morning - and pick up the turkey! Then start cooking, I've got gingerbread cookies, a birthday cake, and two desserts to make ahead of time.

We played Trivial Pursuit this afternoon and Aiden won. We have an edition that has a box of questions for kids and one for adults and it is pretty well balanced for us, we all had 4 or 5 wedges at the end. We have a huge array of board games but we are more likely to play computer games these days, we play World of Warcraft as a family team.

Oh I can hear Jasmine coughing in her room. Should have bought more Strepsils.

Career

Tuesday:

I received another rejection email about my book, from the second literary agent. It was a thoughtful email suggesting the book needed a bit more work and a look from a professional editor. I had considered that already but since I'm an editor myself and I had some experienced readers look at it, I skipped that step. Fresh eyes are valuable and I am reconsidering that decision. My brain will be lying fallow the next couple of weeks then I'll have to decide whether to have the book professionally edited, keep trying to find an agent, or send it directly to publishers.

Another thing I am reconsidering is the full-time-ness of my writing. I haven't done any paid work for a couple of years now. Partly to work on my book, partly because I knew we'd be moving to another state soon (which we did at the end of last year), a large part due to my RSI. I have chronic pain in my shoulders, arms and hands which was caused by and still exacerbated by typing. I can only use the computer for two or three hours a day, spread out with breaks, before the pain gets bad. (Hand writing is worse, and I've tried voice-activated software but found it clumsy and slow.) A couple of years ago I tried going back to work part-time five hours a day and it was too much, I was in a lot of pain after a month and left after six weeks. I can write at my own pace at home. Freelance editing was also flexible, but if I spend my three hours a day editing then I can't write at all. And I like to spend a bit of that time on this blog and playing computer game World of Warcraft too. I'd love to spend more time on all these things, but can't. I often write these blog posts in instalments over the day.

So if did look for part time work, and still want to be able to write novels, I can't do anything involving a computer. Problematic, because otherwise I am ideally suited to deskwork! I love deskwork. After ten years at Centrelink (government department dealing with Pensions and Unemployment Benefits) I want to avoid dealing with angry customers, I'm too shy to teach, not sure what I would do. I considered landscape gardening for a while, and did some study there. I also dabbled in training as a nutritionist. Most jobs that involve brains also require frequent use of a computer, these days (not all, but most). And probably several years of training, which would also involve lots of typing and writing during study. I have always liked the idea of being a librarian. But yeah, study and deskwork again. Hmm. Requires more thought. When my brain gets back from vacation.

A workman wandered in this morning and took away some of the temporary wooden scaffolding around the pool that they used to shape the concrete. Then he wandered away again.

I took Jasmine to the doctor this morning, she's been complaining of breathlessness for a while now. The doctor couldn't find anything but gave her a Ventolin to try for a while to see if it helps. She had eczema as a baby which is linked to asthma, and both Tim and my mother had asthma so she is at risk. We'll see if the Ventolin puffer helps.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Babies

Monday:

Weekly weigh-in 79.7kg. Little bit up. I've been more or less the same weight for five or six weeks now, eating junky Christmas food is being balanced out by trying to eat healthy the rest of the time. Will continue like this for another week before I get serious again after Christmas.

Yesterday we went to see my new niece Ashleigh again, one week old now and at home. She slept almost the whole three hours we were there, I got a cuddle after her feed and she went back to sleep again. Her cousin baby Lucy was there too (more cuddles!), she is nine weeks old now and weighs almost exactly the same as Ashleigh does at one week! They are so different. Lucy was born small, a pale porcelain doll with a little fair hair. Ashleigh is big and olive-skinned with a shock of black hair. I say olive-skinned but olives are green or black (or purpley!) and she's none of those! As half-Chinese I suppose traditionally you could say "yellow" but I don't know why, I've never seen an Asian person who looks the slightest bit yellow to me. Light brown? I suppose I'm not "white" either, more a pale pinky brown with lots of freckles! Anyway, both babies are doing well.

Then we had family over to our place in the afternoon and for dinner. Quite a festive day.

The kids are home for school holidays now, we had to be home for a delivery this afternoon and just did the grocery shopping in the morning so not very exciting. I think Aiden is a bit tired after the school year and needs a bit of time to just relax at home. We probably won't do a lot this week other than get ready for Christmas, but Tim will be home too from Wednesday which will be nice.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Last day of school

Friday:

Well I've almost finished my Christmas shopping. I drove out in the rain today to the big shopping centre, then round and round for about half an hour to get a parking spot. It was worth it, I got the last things for Tim and Aiden and also a couple of pretty shirts/blouses/tops (what is the right word for a fancy T-shirt?) for myself. I don't buy clothes very often but it's my tradition to have new tops to wear Christmas and Boxing Day - with shorts, it is summer here remember. I now just need to get a couple of little gifts for peripheral people.

I had to go outside the centre to a shop a block away, I got rather wet but on the way back while waiting for the traffic lights a nice young man held his umbrella over me.

I came home hoping to be in time for today's parcel delivery, for the past three days they've arrived after 2pm (of course they couldn't all come on the same day, had to be one per day!) but today was the day they came earlier so I missed them. I still have plenty of time before Christmas to pick it up, luckily it was one that went to the post office after a failed delivery.

It was the kids' last day of school, they are now on holidays for six weeks over summer. Next year Jasmine goes into Yr 8 and Aiden into Yr 5. They are growing up very fast. Jasmine has changed a lot this year, she is doing excellently at school and she suddenly likes "cool" clothes instead of little girl pink and frilly. I suppose it was bound to happen, she is nearly 13. Aiden is still my baby, lots of cuddles.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Different kind of hot

Thursday:

I picked up Indian food for dinner tonight after the kids last Acrogym class of the year, butter chicken for the kids and tried a different curry (can't remember name, started with a Z) which I specified to be mild. I usually ask for medium for myself but I thought the kids might like to try some. Oh boy. Not mild. Not even medium, to my taste buds. Hot hot hot. Nice flavour, but I couldn't eat it without large portions of rice, naan bread, and some milk. I'm going to be sorry tomorrow.

Lovely cool rainy day today, about 15 degrees cooler than the past couple. Stayed home all day to receive another parcel. Walked around shops and library in the evening while kids were in Acrogym, very nice outside. I felt so much healthier than I did in the heat.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Still hot

Wednesday:

Another scorcher today. I tend to feel quite ill in the heat, which I don't really understand as I'm in a relatively cool house. I mean I'm not actually out in the heat. I have air con for when it gets too hot in here. I wear light cotton clothing. I should barely notice that there is a heatwave outside. Yet I feel very tired and queasy and wilted.

Cool change scheduled for tonight.

I waited at home again to receive another parcel. There will be a couple more coming this week. I really want to get out to finish my Christmas shopping by the end of the week so I hope they both come tomorrow.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Hot

Tuesday:

It was so hot today. I think they said on the news it was the hottest December day for 10 years. I stayed at home because I was expecting a parcel, but it wasn't a day to be out anyway. Air conditioning all the way! Tomorrow will be the same. Even with the air con on, I feel a bit sick with the heat. Wish we had our pool!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

New niece

Sunday:

Exciting news early this morning, my new niece Ashleigh was born! We went and visited in the hospital in the afternoon, after mum Ping had got some sleep. Ashleigh is less than 12 hours old here.

Yesterday we spent all day out at a big shopping centre, Christmas shopping in the morning and then we saw "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" after lunch. We haven't finished our Christmas shopping yet, in fact we have no idea what to get for a couple of people including my sister-in-law Ping! I don't want to just get baby stuff, I want to pamper her, and it's her second baby so she already has a lot of stuff. I asked her but she had no ideas. Also her parents are here looking after her so she doesn't really need me for anything. Hmm, still thinking.

Only two weeks to Christmas!


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Next

Thursday:

This morning I sent my synopsis and the first three chapters of my book to another literary agent. I only really have a choice of four Australian agents that I like the look of and that take my kind of book, and two aren't accepting submissions at the moment. I'll check those two early next year, but otherwise if this one doesn't take me I'll be querying publishers directly which is also fine, I just wanted to try the agents first.

It took me a few days to get this one organised because they wanted a hardcopy mailed to them instead of an email (I am actually a tiny bit concerned about how old-fashioned this is, what does it say about the company?), and my printer ran out of ink and then once I bought more and refilled that the printer decided it was hungry and spent an afternoon chewing up paper. But that is done now.

Jasmine's teachers were at a union meeting this morning so I drove her to school rather late, and somehow I'd forgotten to have breakfast and I had to stop at the post office anyway so I went to a café. French toast with bacon sounded nice (definitely not diet friendly) but it was horrible. The syrup was spiced with something I didn't like at all. I ate most of the bacon and about two bites of French toast. Such a shame. Probably a good thing for my waistline and my blood sugar levels that I didn't eat all that sugary sweetness.

Really stinking hot day. I didn't notice it much, at home in the air con, until taking the kids to their gymnastics class in the late afternoon. That building is so hot in summer and freezing in winter and always smells of kid sweat and feet! But I pretended I was in a sauna and tried to enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Charm

Wednesday:

Yesterday my weight finally went down to 78.8 kg! An official 5 kg loss, after eight weeks and one day. I'd bought a celebratory charm a couple of weeks ago when I got close, I put it on the bracelet yesterday.
It is the last all-purple crystally one. Nearly all my charms were "earned" with health and fitness goals accomplished, plus a couple of gifts. It's taken years to get this many charms!

It is now that time of the month and my weight is up again a little bit today... but the achievement still counts.

There's been a tradesman here the past two days, I thought he was putting in the decorative rocks around the pool but no he was just putting up the scaffolding for it, which looks rather imposing. Actual rock won't be until next week or the one after. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Rejected

Monday:

I'm feeling a bit crushed right now, my first choice literary agent has decided not to represent me after reading my book. It happens I know. You hear stories about how JK Rowling was rejected seven times or something. Tomorrow I'll send it off to my second choice!

I've now finished the official eight weeks of my Blood Sugar Diet. Despite many wobbles in the past few weeks my weight is finally back down below where I was three weeks ago.

Starting weight 10/10/16: 83.8 kg
Finishing weight 05/12/16: 79.0 kg
Total loss: 4.8 kg

I still can't quite crack that 5 kg loss! I plan to continue on the diet principles for another two weeks taking me to the end of school term and nearly to Christmas, then a relaxed couple of weeks before getting strict again. The BSD is specifically an eight week kick start to improve blood sugars (weight loss is an additional benefit) before moving to a more general Mediterranean diet with more calories and healthy carbs, but I think I need to be strict for a while longer especially since I haven't been sticking to it well. I read of other people's amazing losses over their eight weeks and feel jealous, but actually I am happy with 4.8 kg. It's a lot better than my usual attempts.

Yesterday we had family over in the afternoon and for dinner. I got to cuddle baby Lucy a lot. Veronica is a first-time mum and finding out how hard it can be, especially since Lucy has reflux which causes pain after feeding. I found myself in the slightly weird position of giving breast-feeding advice. I don't feel like I'm an expert, but on the other hand my children did turn out nearly perfect so I must have done something right! With Tim's help, of course.

It's hard not to feel a bit rejected and sad...

Friday, December 2, 2016

O tannenbaum

Saturday:

On Friday Tim stayed home again and I was sick too. Had a nap in the morning, another one in the afternoon, then was in bed by 8:30 and slept nearly 11 hours! Feeling much better today.

We put up the Christmas tree today, or at least Tim and the kids did while I was out doing the grocery shopping I would normally have done yesterday. I could have helped decorate when I got home but was too tired. Jasmine got the decoration idea from the internet, and it looks lovely.

In the morning we went to a three-year-old's birthday party, came home for lunch, I did the grocery shopping, then we walked across to the grassy area across the road to a Christmas Picnic in the Park that has apparently been organised by people in our street for more than 30 years. It was nice, we got to meet some neighbours and everyone was very friendly. A bit boring for the kids as most people were of the retired generation, although some younger people with kids came a bit later. There are actually a lot of children in our street but we didn't see many of them today. Aiden brought his remote control plane over and Jasmine had her phone so they were ok. We stayed about an hour and a half I guess. I was feeling pretty tired by then, it was a big day considering Tim and I were sick yesterday.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Not so chipper

Thursday:

Aiden was home sick yesterday. Tim home today and I'm not feeling so chipper myself.

I watered the pool for the last time today. I thought that was the only pool thing for a few weeks, but no. The guys doing the decorative fake rock formations and water feature at one end of the pool came yesterday to look at the site, and are coming back next Tuesday to do the work! So things keep ticking on.

Haven't heard back from that literary agent yet. I didn't expect to, they say up to six weeks, but I still keep hoping every day!

I learned yesterday that my side of the family isn't doing Christmas dinner this year! We usually have lunch with Tim's family then go to my Poppa's for dinner. Poppa is my mother's father, 98 years old and still in his own home with no assistance. Of course his daughters and daughters in law help with the big dinners.But my mum and aunt died last year, a lot of people will be overseas or interstate, and one cousin is having her second baby by caesarean a few days before Christmas so my other aunt will be looking after her and the toddler. Basically it would be me and one cousin instead of the usual crowd. Poppa will have a quiet Christmas dinner with his son and I've been told to visit a few days later. It's a bit sad really, I'm not close to that side of the family but it's nice to see them at Christmas and the occasional wedding.

On the up side, I'm hosting lunch for twenty and won't have to worry about getting them out of the house at a certain time so we can leave. Usually we have to rush the present-unwrapping. This year people could hang around for a dinner of leftovers if they wanted. Although with three new babies needing naps I don't know if anyone will stay! It will probably be the one year when everyone rushes home.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Secret Santa

Monday:

I'm feeling a bit disheartened by Christmas today. Every year we buy presents for close family, but also have a "Secret Santa" where we draw names and buy one present for a not-as-close family member. When I say "draw names", I am organising it this year like most years and I make sure it works out so people aren't Secret Santa for someone they would buy for anyway. We used to all buy presents for everyone, but as everyone got married and started having children the group got too big so we switched to this. People give two or three suggestions of things they would like. This year every person who has offered suggestions has asked for a gift card from somewhere.

Maybe that seems fine to you, and if that is what people want why shouldn't they get it?, but to me it seems we've gone from careful loving thoughtful gift buying each year to essentially just giving each other money. Might as well pass some cash around the table then back into the original wallet because that is what it ends up working out to. And no present to unwrap, just a little card in an envelope. Thank goodness the children still get real presents from everyone.

So how should it be done if I ruled the world? Well for example my suggestion for myself was a mortal and pestle or earrings. Two things I genuinely want, but gives the buyer a lot of scope to choose something themselves. I can look at a gift of earrings and appreciate that they took the time to choose them especially for me. How different to me walking into a big department store and taking two seconds to grab a gift card from next to the cash register, which is what I'll be doing. Having been given a suggestion, you kind of feel you have to get what they ask for. But it makes me a little sad.

It has been suggested that next year we only buy for the children and not adults in the extended family. Might as well.

I've been hosing down the pool every day while the concrete cures. Tim and I did a bit of gardening and clearing up yesterday but really we can't do much until the pool is finished. There are lumps of dried concrete sitting on our front lawn waiting until we get a skip bin at the end of the build, and the backyard is a mess.

My sister-in-law Ping is due to have her baby in a about a week. So that is exciting. Her father is funny, he has two daughters and they both have girl children so my son Aiden is the only boy in the family (his grand-nephew-in-law? not a very close relationship!) and he makes such a fuss of him! Aiden is a bit uncomfortable I think although always very polite. We know Ping is having another girl.

My weight was up 0.4 kg this week to 79.9 kg. Very wobbly two weeks.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Manageable chunks

Friday:

Yet another pool day. The tree-stump-grinder-guy came, ground up the big stump into sawdust and chopped up the roots into manageable chunks, and told me how he used to work for pool companies and there are no happy pool customers ever. So cheering. Well he was the biggest rip-off so far in terms of money for time spent, but I couldn't find anyone else who would do it at all. At least it's done now.

I swept the worst of the sawdust out of the pool (first time I'd been right down in the pool hole so that was kind of fun) then hosed down all the concrete which took a while. I have to do that every day for a week. Then in two hot sweaty sessions I moved all the "manageable" chunks of tree root out of the way. Actually they were a pretty good size and weight really, nothing I couldn't lift. There will be a big waste skip at the end of the pool build, hopefully that stack will fit in along with the big chunks of leftover concrete now decorating our front lawn and various other things. I certainly got in my exercise for the day. Hot and tired.

Then I waited around for the temporary fencing, it was two hours late so I could have gone out after all. The fence guy expressed surprise that we were only getting it now instead of as soon as the hole was dug a couple of weeks ago. I don't know if that was my fault or the site manager's, but he only just told me to get it two days ago. Aside from safety reasons, it's good to have the fencing there because it gives us a better idea of what the whole backyard will eventually look like and how much space we have for plants and seating etc.

Aiden dropped a full new bottle of lemon cordial on the tiled kitchen floor. Smashed everywhere of course. Sticky AND sharp! Took me ages to pick up all the shards then mop and pick up more shards and mop some more.

I plan to start Christmas shopping next week, assuming I don't need to hang around the house for more pool things. I've got a good idea for Tim, so that only leaves my kids, I think six adults, and everyone else's kids (11 children from about 4yrs old and under, I might just wrap a lot of things and hand them out randomly! No, not really, I love buying presents. And wrapping them. Does anyone else love wrapping presents? I should get a seasonal job at a department store doing the gift wrapping for customers.) If the pool was going to be ready I would have bought my kids lots of pool ponies and water games and stuff, but I won't now. Aiden just had a birthday so he's already got everything!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Concrete

Thursday:

This morning they concreted the pool, arriving around 6:30am and leaving by 10:00am.


It takes three weeks for the concrete to cure, and for the first week I need to hose it down every day. There's a couple of things happening tomorrow, but apart from that I think no tradesmen here for those three weeks.

I ate terribly today, but at least I went for a walk while the kids were at acrogym...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Skinky, son of skinky

Wednesday:

We have a new little lizard houseguest. Skinky I (the first) ended up in the ensuite bathroom before he disappeared some months ago (I like to believe he moved outside to enjoy the nice spring weather and find a mate), Skinky II was first spotted in the back hall so probably came in via the laundry door, he now seems to live in the kitchen. I do worry about stepping on him, he sometimes sits right in the middle of the floor. If I'm cooking and moving around there a lot he retreats to the wall. When I can't see him I assume he's under the fridge. He is so little and cute and unafraid. Not the same lizard as I'm sure he's smaller than the original became, but maybe he is the son of Skinky I.

The pool dramas go on. I've decided if you want a pool it's better to find a house that already has one and move! Today I've had the pool plumber to do some pre-plumbing, discovered he didn't know we want spa jets at the step/seat bit, organised for the site manager to bring those round today, soothed plumber whose schedule for the day is now messed up, organised a new tree company to come and look at the big twisted rooty stump remaining in our backyard - it came out of the pool hole - that no one seems to want to deal with, recovered from the price he quoted, got him to reduce it a bit but still horrendous. Got a list from the site manager of all the things I still need to do. Also the guy who did the steel cables last week came back to add a few more where the water feature will be.

Everything is covered in dust from the backyard, especially as Aiden likes to play out there in the dirt. He never went out there when it was covered in trees and shrubs. Yesterday he was smashing rocks with other rocks and breaking them to smithereens. Anyone read the Ramona books?

It's very hot for the third day in a row. Still only spring! The plumber pointed out that the plastic things holding the steel cables in place are melting. They've gone all wonky. I've spent a bit of time outside and I feel a bit hot and headachy. I don't know how the tradesmen do it. The plumber was there for hours in the heat. I did take him one cool drink.

I'm feeling a bit stressed and when I am stressed I eat. At least I can't go out and buy junk while I'm expecting various tradesmen at any time! I'm restricted to whatever is currently in the house. Cheese and crackers and cashews, while not unhealthy in themselves, add up to a lot of calories.

Oh and a couple of days ago I went back to a little bit (half a sachet so 1.5 grams) of sugar in my tea. So much nicer! I still didn't like unsweetened at all, after nearly six weeks to give my taste buds time to change. I still plan to buy a Stevia plant and give that a go, but for now I'll keep my tiny bit of sugar.

....oh yeah, cool change and a sprinkle of rain. I went and stood outside in it for a little while.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Drowning in pool organisation

Tuesday:

I seem to have a constant stream of tradesmen here for the pool (three different ones today for various things, including an inspector from the council to look at the framework), the idea that we ever could have had it done by Christmas is ludicrous! We'll be lucky to have it by the end of summer at this rate. Well, end of January I'm hoping, but they take a break from 22 Dec until 16 Jan so who knows. Excellent marketing, Mirage pools, promise everything but no guarantees! They need to give their salesman a raise.

I missed my book club again this month. The pool site manager seems to like coming to talk to me at lunchtime on a Tuesday, and turns up just enough late that I run out of time. Most of the time of course the tradesmen don't need me here at all, but sometimes they do need to ask me questions so I only go out when I have to and then do my errands as quickly as possible, just in case. I'm probably a bit over-diligent about it, after all they must have lots of jobs where all the family is out all day. They'd just call them or meet up on the weekends I suppose. Today I had to sign things.

I still need to organise fences and paving and coping (edging)...

Sorry to go on about the pool build so much. It has kind of taken over my life.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

50 pages

Monday:

Most exciting news first... the literary agent I sent my synopsis to last week has asked to see the first 50 pages! So a) she is looking for that specific kind of fiction b) she thought my story sounded interesting and c) she found my writing style acceptable. Yay! I sent the first 50 pages to her this afternoon, it will probably be several weeks before I hear from her again. And Christmas might make that even longer... arg the stress!

What else happened. On Saturday Jasmine went to a pool party and got quite sunburned, as she often does, despite sunscreen. We will definitely need some kind of shade-cloth to protect part of our pool area. The pool guy hadn't finished on Friday, maybe he went home a bit early because it was so hot. He was back again all day Saturday to finish, and has now taken all his tools away. The pool now has these plastic bits holding the steel cables in place ready for the concrete pour.
We spent the whole day Sunday watching dance performances. Jasmine and my niece Emma both go to the same dance school; Emma's concert was in the morning - leaning towards the little kids (Emma is three) but also with some older groups; Jasmine's was in the afternoon. Jas and Emma both performed well. The whole day was very professionally organised, most of the dancing was polished and the changeovers between dance acts swift. Very enjoyable day. The littlest kids were funny, in every group there was at least one little girl who just stood staring wide-eyed at the audience and didn't dance or move. One boy cried and was taken off, one girl started screaming the moment the lights came on stage. She sat there and screamed and screamed until she was carried away. The little kids had their teachers with them on stage dancing with them. Emma kicked off a shoe while dancing but calmly sat and put it back on then continued dancing. Jasmine does tap, modern/contemporary and jazz funk and was great. She is considering resuming ballet next year as well.

The dance school has a 15 year tradition that they get some of the dads of children in the troupe (the professional kids not ones in the "fun" groups) to dance at the end of the concert. It was hilariously entertaining. This year for the first time they danced with their daughters. There was a medley with different dads coming on with their children (only one son that I noticed, the rest girls) and doing disco, hip hop and a really moving sort of waltz. For that they played a song I haven't heard about dancing with Cinderella and daughters growing up, and it finishes with a line about Cinderella kissing you at midnight then she's gone (i.e. all grown up). I got so teary! If Jasmine joins the troupe I can totally see Tim enjoying being part of that dad's dance.

Between the two shows we had lunch and had to hang around because Jasmine had to be there early to get ready (actually we could have gone home for a while but I was enjoying being out). We sat at the little café then lay on the grass in the park next to the theatre, reading and playing with iPads. It was really lovely. I took this photo looking up at the tree I was lying under.

I had to learn to French braid Jasmine's hair because it is the signature style for her dance school. And I glued false eyelashes on her! Here she is with little Emma and aunty Ping after the show. Ping is a couple of weeks away from having baby number two, I think she found the long day very tiring.

Today, aside from the excitement of getting asked for a partial manuscript, I spent the time dealing with tradesmen. Andrew came back and put the posts for our pergola back on (the concrete for the pool is being poured on Thursday but they don't need much room for that as they use a big hose from the truck to the backyard) and an electrician was here for nearly five hours fixing all the lighting problems we've had for months. I should be able to read in the evening again, somewhere other than in the bath! It was the only place with really good light. Craig installed two new lights and fixed five others in various rooms so it was a big job.

Oh and lastly Monday is my weigh-in day, I was up 0.3 kg which I expected after a rather dodgy week, and eating out twice yesterday. Also I've been losing a decent amount every second week then maintaining or a little gain the other weeks. It's fine. If I weighed fortnightly I would only see the downward trend. I just like knowing day by day, and the fluctuations don't bother me.

PS Brandon you haven't posted for a while, are you ok?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Struggling

Friday:

I've really been struggling with my diet this week and haven't done so well resisting temptations. I've just been so tired. All week, dopey can-hardly-keep-my-eyes-open tired. Not sure why. Tim has been very tired too - maybe fighting off a virus? Whatever the cause, being super tired makes it so much harder to be "good" in food choices. I've slipped up over and over. Daily weigh-ins tell me I am going to have a gain this week, but that hasn't yet helped me rein in my eating.

There is part of me that says "might as well give up for now, start again after Christmas" but I'm not going to do that. I'll keep fighting every day. Keep trying to get good sleep at night.

After three days I think the steel reinforcements are all in for the pool.
There are still a few tools lying around so maybe not finished. The bulky hairy man (in sweaty navy shorts and "wife beater" singlet) who did this part of the job just got on with it without bothering to speak to me. I don't even know his name. I go out and look at the end of each day, once he's left, to see what he's done. Whatever machinery he uses to cut the metal cables starts early, before Tim and I are out of bed, but he leaves again by three in the afternoon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sending my baby into the world

Wednesday:

I took a step forward with my novel today, I sent the synopsis to my first choice of literary agent. Now I wait. Agents typically take around 15% of your literary earnings. They are picky about who they take on as clients, they only get paid if you make money. For that commission they try to find you a publisher and negotiate contracts for you. It is not necessary to have an agent, you can try to find a publisher on your own, but I felt that publishers are more likely to look at something that comes through a reputable agent. If I don't manage to get an agent I can then approach publishers myself, but you can't really do it the other way around. If publishers rejected my book first then I'd never be able to interest an agent because they'd have no where left to send it. Third stage, if I can't find an agent or publisher, is to either decide my book is rubbish or self-publish (or both lol) but it is very difficult to market a book yourself and get heard of and in bookstores. Getting picked up by a big name publisher would be much better!

I need to get on with writing book two, which is barely started.

A man was here all day putting wooden boards around the top of the pool. Whatever.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Nap

Monday:

Today I weighed in at 79.2 kg, which is a loss of 1.1 kg this week. Excellent. Especially considering Thursday and Saturday happened. I was very good yesterday despite being surrounded by temptations.

Yesterday morning I took Jasmine shopping for several hours to get some stuff she needed, then in the evening cooked dinner for 14. Big family dinner. Ping's parents are over from China, Ping is due to have her baby in about four weeks. Her parents expect to stay for about a year. Which is lovely, but they stay in Ping's house which is a little hard on Nick. No matter how much you love your parents-in-law, having them live in your house for a whole year is a bit of a strain. Especially as they don't speak a word of English, he doesn't speak Chinese, and come from a different cultural background. They have some different ideas about child-rearing. They stayed before for about nine months when the first baby was born. Both very nice people, but it's still going to be awkward at times.

Baby Lucy was one of the visitors and I got to have lots of cuddles. Four weeks old. So cute.

It was a very big day and I was so tired today. I even crawled in to bed for a while in the afternoon, after I'd done the grocery shopping. I don't have many naps these days, but I needed one.

Today's drama with the pool; the tree removers ground down the stump of the biggest tree and left the rest in the ground, which is what they contracted to do. The excavator ripped it out of the ground and left it to the side, not taken away with the rocks and dirt because it's not "clean fill" (which can be used in other building sites). It's no-one's responsibility. It is huge. I've got to find someone to take it away and dispose of it somehow.
I think I need another nap.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Laser Underground

Saturday:

Aiden had his party today at Laser Underground, one of those places where ten year old boys run around in a dark room shooting laser guns at each other. It was an organised party with food provided but I made the cake. I thought about making it last night but decided I would have plenty of time in the morning. I underestimated how long it takes for a cake to cool so you can put on the frosting! I even put it in the freezer for a while. I had to send Tim and the kids off to the party and wait at home for another 20 mins. Since we'd loaned Nick our second car, I had to walk up carrying the cake. It was about 30C outside and that cake was heavy! By the time I got there (15 min walk) the beautifully frosted chocolate layer cake was a bit slumped... managed to fix it ok when I got there and put it in their fridge, and it was still delicious. I took my own lunch instead of eating the catered pizza and lollies, but did have a slice of cake.

The boys had a great time, including Tim and the uncles who also played. Aiden's friends were ridiculously noisy. I don't think they had a volume below shouting. Give them a laser gun and they turn into screaming barbarians. I didn't do the games, so Jasmine was the only girl in there.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Birthday boy

Thursday:

It is Aiden's tenth birthday today! Happy birthday dearest. He'll always be my baby.

His proper party (or parties; a kids' party and a family dinner) are on the weekend but I had some snacks for when he got home from school. And I indulged. And felt like rubbish afterwards. Eventually I'll learn the lesson.

The excavator and bobcat finished up today, leaving a bit of a mess but also an exciting big hole in the ground.

Next week they reinforce it with steel poles, the week after they pour the concrete. No chance it will be ready by Christmas.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Divots

Wednesday:

It continues. So noisy and distracting. The excavator shatters rock in the backyard while the bobcat drives back and forth, back and forth, ferrying the dirt and rocks to the truck. The narrow path up the side of the house is a disaster area. It used to be the nicest part of the whole yard, what I look out on from my computer and from the kitchen window. The grass was green and lush. But now...

And the front yard looks like this:

Shouldn't complain, I'm excited that it's all happening!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rocks

Tuesday:

I thought the excavation machinery was relatively quiet yesterday... but not today! Yesterday was mainly scooping up dirt, today was breaking up rocks. Very noisy. I certainly wasn't able to do any creative work, but I did get some housework done!

The "pool" actually looks less advanced in a way than yesterday because it is full of pieces of rock. There is also a huge mound of rocks and dirt next to it. The bobcat is starting tomorrow to haul it all away (it works faster than the excavator so they gave the excavator a two day head start) so we should be able to see the progress more clearly after that.

It started raining this evening and is supposed to rain all tomorrow. I hope that doesn't cause problems. Mud might be harder to shift than dirt.

I had my post-op appointment with my gyno today, everything seems good. Apparently the fibroid was very big but they did a biopsy and it wasn't cancerous (they hardly every are). My menstrual cycle seems back to normal after more than a year, and although I had a little discomfort in the days leading up to my period that is gone now. So I don't think I need any extra treatment or a hysterectomy, which is great.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

It begins

Monday:

Not a great weigh in this morning; 80.3 kg is 0.1 kg UP from last Monday after lots of fluctuations all week. But there are reasons for it, one that was in my control and one that wasn't.

The "out of my control" is that it's a time of the month when I retain water. It happens, it will go again in a few days, I'm not worried. The "in my control" was yesterday's eating! We had a very busy day and breakfast was the only meal at home. In the morning we went to see baby Lucy - so cute! She was very small when born (no one seems to know why, she was full term) but is growing rapidly and at three weeks old looks like a perfect porcelain doll.


Then we dropped Jasmine at a birthday party and went to lunch at a nearby Thai restaurant. I did make careful choices, I thought, but the entrée (starter) chicken wings turned out to be crumbed and deep fried (I should have asked questions!) and my Thai beef salad was delicious but I'm sure had a lot of sugar in the dressing. I don't think I overate, and my estimation of calories was around 500 which is high for one meal on my current WOE but not terrible, but nevertheless afterward I felt tired, bloated and headachy. I wanted a nap. And then I wanted to EAT. MORE FOOD NOW.

We spent the afternoon finishing the gardening work, I am now covered in scratches and mosquito bites and have sore arm and pec muscles, and I snacked on some cheese and an apple. Hungry but trying hard. Then we went to my sister-in-law's for dinner, they did a BBQ and I was completely in control of what I put on my plate, I had a little more meat than I probably should have but also plenty of salad and no dessert so I think I did ok. But when I got home I shovelled in a big serve of mixed nuts. It was way more food than I have been eating and I kept wanting more. Might be a bit of PMS but I'm mainly blaming the sugar.

Today Tim and I sprang out of bed early because the guy with the excavator said he would be here at 7:00. At around 9:30 I called and was told Phil was just finishing up another job first and yes I had time to go out for an hour before he got here. So I went and did the grocery shopping. Phil came with the excavator at noon. That thing is huge, no wonder we had to do so much work to clear a way through to the backyard!




My favourite bit was when Phil used the excavator to build a ramp for itself, pulling rocks and soil down from the backyard wasteland. I wish Aiden could have been home to watch.

Then he set to work levelling out the backyard. Compared to the tree removal, the excavator isn't that noisy which is great, I was expecting more headaches. The site manager Angelo came and marked out where the pool goes, then Phil spent the rest of the afternoon digging. He is down to solid rock, so it's going to be harder from now on.




Friday, November 4, 2016

Pool chaos

Friday:

Our big issue with getting this pool is the access up the side of the house. It is narrow, lined with plants, and with posts holding up the pergola roof over the little courtyard. We already had one post removed and the roof temporarily braced, which is what the original pool salesman thought would be required. But the site manager Angelo came and shook his head and said it might be a problem and the excavator guy Phil came this morning and measured and shook his head and told me we have to remove another post! So I called up my handyman and he rigged up a bracing system so the pergola roof doesn't fall down, it had to be done by Monday morning as that is when they want to bring the excavator in! I've been panicking this morning and making frantic phone calls. But it's done now. I'm very grateful to my handyman who made the time to do it today for me.

Oh, and there is only a "slim" chance it will be completed by Christmas. So looking a bit gloomy. It all feels a bit too much at the moment but we've signed a contract and removed all those trees so must push ahead now. There is seven weeks until Christmas but three of those weeks are taken up by the concrete curing after it's poured.

Saturday:

We had a morning tea today to meet new baby Samuel, a few family members came over here as the new parents wanted to get out of the house! I got to give him a cuddle and bottle fed him (no idea why the mother isn't breastfeeding and not the sort of thing I ask). New babies are so tiny! Still haven't met Lucy who was born a week or two earlier but we are going to see her tomorrow.

I agonised a bit about getting yummy treats for the morning tea that I wouldn't be able to eat (I plan to have some of Aiden's birthday cake next week but otherwise no junk until Christmas), but finally thought "why am I feeding people I love junk I know is bad for them?" We live near everyone now so seeing them doesn't require "special occasion" food. I did get a small pack of chocolate biscuits - which didn't even all get eaten - but the rest was a big variety of fresh fruit, and some cheese and crackers. Even the kids went for the berries before the biscuits!

Then in the afternoon we did some heavy gardening work, pruning back everything that might be in the way of the excavators path to the backyard. A couple of camellias turned out to have quite a heavy pest infestation, I think they will actually benefit from being thinned out so the inner branches get more access to air and light. And I was very careful to keep a pleasing shape on the Japanese maple. Now I just hope nothing gets too badly damaged by the equipment! This place is going to need a lot of landscaping and gardening after the pool is in.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Stepping on dragons

Thursday:

I went for a walk this morning and was lost in my thoughts as I approached home, not realising a water dragon (big lizard) was sunning itself on the path in front of me - until it burst into motion as I was only a couple of steps away! Startled me a little. It dashed away and paused on the road to look back, but not for long enough for me to get out my camera/phone before it scuttled under a parked car. There were lots of sightings along there near the creek, and in my own yard, last summer, but haven't seen any for months. I guess they only like warm weather. It was probably as long as my arm to my fingertips, but I've never heard of them to be aggressive. I like them.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Shopping

Wednesday:

It's been a busy couple of days. I spent all of yesterday (school hours at least) at the big shopping centre buying things like steak knives, presents for Aiden's birthday, and specific clothes for Jasmine to wear in her upcoming dance concert. Why, when she has to dance in "normal" clothes, are they never things she already owns?! And I have to learn how to do a double French braid in her hair.

I reeled back in horror a couple of times while checking prices. I was considering some wicking sports socks until I was told they are $35 a pair! And then did you know official Apple iPad cases can be nearly $200? They were selling the front and the back separately, I think the back was about $100 and the front $80 or something. I went elsewhere. Oh, and a set of four mixing bowls, quite pretty in different shades of blue plastic, $70. For plastic. Am I being unrealistic to think this is crazy?

Today included a trip to the hardware store to get all the weird lightbulbs that match the fittings this house has, and I did about 83 loads of laundry.

I was very excited yesterday to find that my weight had gone down to 79.9 kg. Under 80! A real milestone. This morning it was 80.0 but I know it fluctuates daily and will go down again. This WOE is really working for me. I never feel hungry except when I should (when I haven't eaten for hours and a mealtime is approaching) and I don't have uncontrollable cravings. I can resist snacking even when I'm bored, or watching TV in the evening.

I still don't enjoy my tea without sugar though.

And I'm still waiting for wonderful sleep and boundless energy.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Monday weigh in

Monday:

Yesterday we saw Dr Strange which I thought was pretty good for a superhero movie - not usually my kind of thing. Rated M but ok for my kids.

Quite a few people in the extended family are sick at the moment - just with colds I think - but we didn't have a get-together yesterday and we haven't seen either of the two babies yet! Oh well, totally understandable with this bug going round. Aiden still has a runny nose but Tim and Jas seem ok now. Somehow I avoided getting it! I had a couple of days when I thought I was coming down with something - woke with a bit of a headache or aching back - but then felt fine later in the day. Maybe all this healthy eating?

This morning I weighed 80.2 kg, that is a loss of 1.0 kg this week and 3.6 kg over the three weeks I've been doing the BSD (blood sugar diet - it's based on actual studies done on diabetics). I've got through so many temptations already! I'm feeling quite strong. Next week will be a challenge, it's Aiden's 10th birthday on Thursday week. We'll have an extended family dinner before it, his favourite foods on his actual birthday, and a kids' party at Laser Underworld on the following weekend so it will be a whole week of temptations. I plan to have a small piece of birthday cake, and that is all. I'm a bit hesitant even about that. At least I'll be making it myself - he's asked for a lemon/lime cheesecake so I know it will be high fat and low sugar (which is good on this WOE [way of eating, for if you don't like the word diet]).

I had a bit of a sad afternoon. It's 18 months since my father's death and today I got the cheque for my share of the inheritance. He didn't have much, of course any money is welcome, but knowing that it is a result of his death makes it hard. I can't just think "woo hoo a bit of extra spending money!" It was worse last year when I got the money from mum (my parents died a few months apart, after being divorced 40 years, both from cancer) because it allowed us to afford moving to Sydney where real estate is much more expensive than where we were. The irony was that mum would have loved me to live closer when she was alive, but we couldn't afford it until she died. I still feel a bit guilty and conflicted about that.

I know it's Halloween today in the US, it's not really celebrated here in Australia despite the shops trying to push us to buy costumes and decorations and cheap lollies! I went for a walk this afternoon and saw one house with a plastic skull on a fencepost, so that was a token decoration. I'll have some fun-size chocolates near the front door just in case, I used to do that in Canberra too, I think one year a group of kids knocked. I'm not sure what lollies have to do with "real" Halloween anyway. Happy Halloween if you celebrate it.


Friday, October 28, 2016

New jeans

Friday:

Every year around this time I have to buy new jeans. I wear them pretty much every day all through the cold season, only switching to something else long enough to wash them. Jeans are so comfy when you work from home! Eventually the seams start to fray and I have to go through the torture of buying a new pair. Today I found some "crop" style jeans that would be mid-calf on most people but are normal jean length on me! I am vertically challenged. I think it's the first time in my life I haven't had to have my jeans altered because of my height. I did want to wait until I'd lost some more weight but my old jeans were about to fall apart. I could squeeze into the next size down but only with a very unappealing muffin top. These ones look much better, and I can sit down in them!

My old jeans were getting so saggy and baggy, and they never really looked that good to start with as I couldn't find any that suited my apple-shaped figure last year. Or the year before. It's really nice to feel like I look better than when I walked into the shop.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Samuel

Thursday:

The second of the four pregnant ladies in my family had her baby two days ago. Welcome to little Samuel. We haven't seen him yet, or Lucy who is a week and a half old (their daddies are brothers so they will be cousins very close in age!), and now this house seems to be plague centre; Tim and the kids have runny nose and sore throat and today I have a heavy head and aching back so I assume I've caught it. We hope to see the two babies on the weekend but obviously not if we are germy, no way I would knowingly pass a cold onto a newborn.

I went for a walk today to get the kids some throat lozenges. Worked on my book. Didn't take the kids to Acrogym - they are still going to school (it's just a cold) but I thought extra exercise probably wasn't best.


Neither a borrower nor a lender be

Wednesday:

I felt good yesterday after a good night's sleep, I had a bad night last night so guess what! Feel tired and grumpy and lonely and yuck today. Being well-rested is so important. I didn't make any plans for today because I was expecting the tree guy to call me confirm he was coming back today to finish cleaning up, but no call and no visit so I hung around for nothing.

I did some editing, housework, reading, mooched around. Feel aggrieved over nothing. Hopefully a good night tonight will fix my mood!

I'm re-reading all of Robin Hobb's Fitz and the Fool books (three trilogies, four if you count The Liveship Traders trilogy, and the very last book in the series hopefully soon to be published), this morning I put book one back on the shelf and pulled out book two - and realised book three is missing. So either it was lost in the move, or more likely we lent it to someone and never got it back. In fact now I think about it I'm sure that is the case and I've noticed it missing before but hoped it would turn up. It clearly hasn't and I will have to buy a replacement which is so annoying because the cover art is almost sure not to match the rest of the set, my copy is 20 years old and there will be new editions by now. I don't mind lending people new books but old ones are irreplaceable!

Tim and the kids are all sick with a cold, but still functioning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Did it work?

Tuesday:

The real question about my operation is, did it work? Did it do anything to help my various issues? Well I feel like I won't know for sure until I've had a full month of my cycle as there are definitely times of the month that are worse than others and I haven't experienced the bad weeks yet. But so far, after the slight ache from the surgery faded, I think I have improved a lot. I haven't been feeling any pelvic pain, even if I lie on my stomach. Before, even in the good weeks, if I tried lying on my stomach I would get pain within seconds and have to turn over. Now, I can even fall asleep lying on my stomach, which isn't so great because I then wake up later with my damaged shoulders aching BUT my pelvis still doesn't hurt after however long. So that is fantastic.

I am feeling really well right now, last night I had an excellent sleep, no pain in my pelvis, no pain in my foot (which has continued wart free ever since the apple cider vinegar worked when nothing else did). Some of that is from the op, the rest is from two straight weeks of eating healthy. Lots of vegetables, some fruit, meat, full fat dairy, nuts, olive oil. More fish than I usually eat (three serves last week!) Very little sugar (I would say none, but I've had two squares of dark choc and also bought salsa which had some sugar), no alcohol, low carb - I had some toast when sick and have had small serves of potato and of quinoa a couple of times but other than that no bread, rice, pasta etc. I mostly get my carbs from vegetables. After a four day stall my weight dropped dramatically since yesterday so week three is going well.

I'm already looking ahead to Christmas, I want to indulge but at the same time don't want to undo all the good I've done! I don't know if I do well with trying for moderation. I think the plan will be two days "off" (Christmas and Boxing Day, both of which I will be hosting up to 20 people) then get straight back on plan. Actually I don't tend to overeat when I'm tired and busy looking after other people. I remember last year I certainly didn't stuff myself on Christmas Day, but the next morning while waiting for people to arrive I ate most of a family sized bag of Burger Rings! Something to avoid. We are hosting two years in a row partly because we have the most suitable house, but also last year was our first year here near everyone, and this year three of the other families will have brand-new babies. I love hosting, anyway. But it is a lot of work!

The pool is also moving forward. The builder, Angelo, came out today to look at the site. The previous person, Malcolm, was I suppose mainly the salesman! He did a good job at that, considering we picked his company. Anyway, Angelo is a bit concerned about getting the excavator through our narrow side yard (has always been a potential problem) but I think it will be ok. I've been warned of possible damage to plants, and I need to cut a few back hard. And they should start excavating in two weeks! I'm not sure how long the excavation/pouring concrete part takes but I know that after that they have to leave it for three weeks to cure before finishing. Still looks to be on track for Christmas. It might just be a pool with some paving around it at that stage, but it will be a pool! Tim and I will have a lot of work planting in the heat of summer before it will look really nice, we want it surrounded by tropical plants for a real holiday feel.

It was supposed to be my Book Club today and I was looking forward to it - I actually really liked the book! But Angelo was a bit late, then I had lunch and forgot all about it, then suddenly remembered but it would have been nearly over by then and I decided not to rush up to the library just for the last 10 minutes. I walked up instead, lovely day outside, and arrived just as everyone was standing up to leave. We had a bit of a chat as we borrowed next month's book but that was all. At least I got some exercise in today.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday weigh in

Monday:

This morning I weighed 81.2 kg, down 0.3 kg from last week. Not much, considering I was very "good" with my diet. I did go a bit over calories on a few days I suppose. And didn't exercise all week. Oh well. It's a loss. I was actually down to 80.5 kg mid-week but went up again.

Not happy with my whole appearance at the moment. Aside from being fat, I don't know what to do with my hair and my face has these deep lines from the corners of my mouth curving down so it's like I have a permanent sad/grumpy face. I'm hoping once the chubby cheeks get smaller those grooves will be less noticeable. I just don't feel at all attractive. I've always though I was a reasonably pretty person, but not now.

Well, I am doing something about it. Two weeks under my shrinking belt.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Aquarium and waxworks

Sunday:

Yesterday we had a family day at the Sydney aquarium and our version of Madame Tussaud's waxworks. Ping had a voucher that allowed her to take ten people so we had six adults, my two children and two toddlers. We've been there before not that long ago but it was mostly good, I'll get to the bad in a minute.

The aquarium includes a couple of those big tanks that you can walk under so the fish are swimming all around and over you.
 The waxworks were pretty convincing. Here are the kids hobnobbing with royalty...

And me with Katy Perry. The crown and wig are props, they had lots of those for photos. Now I think about it, I'm a little grossed out that I put on a wig that probably a hundred people have had on their greasy heads every day for year. Euw.

We had lunch at Italian restaurant, I had grilled fish. Still being good! Lots of unhealthy snacks had come out earlier and we also stopped for morning tea, but I said no and told everyone I was having no junk until Christmas. I'd brought some peanuts with me, I don't usually have morning tea these days but I knew we'd have a late lunch since everyone else had morning tea junk, so I was very glad I'd brought the nuts so I could last until then.

As we were walking back to our car after lunch we saw a lot of people staring at this building (tall glass one) and noticed a lot of ropes hanging down from one of those dark alcoves near the top. There was a sign saying this weekend only you had the chance to abseil down 44 floors! The little figure at the top is someone just starting their abseil. How terrifying! I abseiled a few times as a teenager, but nothing like so high as that.

Now for the bad of the day. The lesser was that we drove in to the city, because of delays and trackworks on the train (we almost never drive in due to traffic and difficulty parking). We got there ok but on the way home we got a bit lost and missed our way three times, going round and after about 20 mins literally driving past the parking station we'd started in! Our GPS was a bit confused about whether we were on the street or down in the cross-city tunnel (we were in the tunnel), and we missed a turn-off, and I was trying to navigate with my phone instead, and it was just a frustrating shambles. But we got home safely after rather longer than we'd expected.

The worse thing was that on the way into the city in the morning I started needing to urinate. I've talked before about having a small bladder but the drive was only 45 minutes, I'd gone to the toilet before we left and hadn't drunk much with breakfast, there was no reason for the suddenly urgency. We were on a busy highway with nowhere to stop until we got to our destination. Over 15 minutes or so it became extremely painful, I was getting desperate. By the time we got to our multi-story parking lot I felt that I literally could not wait until we found a toilet somewhere and I just crouched behind the car to pee! Luckily no one was about. Now that is something I never thought I'd do. How embarrassing.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wasteland

Thursday:

The tree demolition team were here most of the day, six men for six hours. Very very noisy; chainsaws and wood chippers and stump grinders. And looked dangerous at times!

We were left with this wasteland:

Both Tim and I felt quite guilty about the poor trees who had been here a lot longer than we had. Once the pool is in we'll be able to do a lot of planting, but it will take a while to grow.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

GP

Wednesday:

I saw my GP (general practitioner/doctor) this morning, all good, she just told me what to look out for with infections. Really lovely day outside, I need to get out in it more. I chose instead to stay inside and actually get some writing/editing work done.

I tried to reheat the rest of that broccoli-base pizza for lunch. For some reason I found it disgusting. Nearly gagged after the first mouthful. So I had a tin of tuna and some vegetables instead.

Tree people are coming tomorrow to clear our backyard. That will be interesting.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Lucy

Tuesday:

One of the four heavily pregnant women in my family had her baby on Sunday (or Sat night maybe) and we just found out her name is Lucy. We haven't seen her yet, apparently she is a little small, not sure why as she is not early and her mother had gestational diabetes which is more likely to result in a large baby. I don't really have any details. Anyway, she is doing fine but still in hospital and we haven't seen her yet except for a cute photo. Crossed fingers everything works out well.

Another mostly-rest day for me but I did get out and do the grocery shopping and I'm fine really. I've made follow-up appointments with my GP and gyno.

I tried an interesting recipe for lunch - pizza with the base made out of broccoli. It took a long time but I suppose the dough kind does too. I food-processed the broccoli until it was rice sized, steamed it in the microwave, let it cool, mixed in an egg and some cheese, flattened it out, cooked it for 25 mins, added sauce cheese and shredded chicken and cooked it again. By this time it was 2:00 pm and it wasn't really seeming worth it! The crispy bits round the edge were pretty yummy but the whole middle was too moist and fell apart. I'd thought it was dry enough and didn't do the "squeeze the steamed broccoli in a tea towel" step. Silly me! I could get the same flavour by cooking some broccoli with cheese on it in the oven, so not sure if I will go through all that again. Still have half left though to reheat for another lunch.

I'm still going strong on the low carb Mediterranean diet, tonight I had my first square of (70% dark) chocolate for over a week, surely a new record!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Losing

Monday:

This morning I weighed 81.5 kg, a loss of 2.3 kg from last week. That is a lot, and I'm very happy with it. I'd say it's about half from deliberate healthy eating/carb control and half from not eating much after the operation.

Feeling much better today. Not quite well enough to work - but well enough to be bored! I feel like I've been sitting around waiting for the day to end, which is a waste, but lacked energy to do more than watch TV.

Still, I continue to improve each day and expect to get back to normal any minute now.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

No rush

Sunday:

I thought I would feel a lot better today but I ended up spending most of the day in bed. Weirdly bloated and a bit queasy, very tired - I slept nearly all the time in bed - and still sore throat which I'll get something for tomorrow if I need to. I'm up now, will have a small dinner and watch my Sunday night TV then back to bed early. I know my body just needs to recover more from some pretty major drugs (general anaesthetic). Not trying to rush it.

Recovery

Saturday:

Today was quiet recovery. I watched TV all morning and was very active on my internet forums on my iPad. Tired and weak, but main annoyance is my sore throat. That tube must have really scraped going down. Taking painkillers for that.

I had a nap after lunch, that was nice. Not eating much. Had a shower and got dressed late afternoon. Finally started feeling more normal around 5 pm. If only my throat would stop hurting! Maybe after another sleep. Off to bed now.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Operation day

Friday:

Morning: uterine fibroids removal day! I don't feel like I'm nervous, but I do feel a bit sick to my stomach so I guess I am! I had to fast from 7am so I got up early and forced myself to have an early breakfast even though I wasn't at all hungry at that hour, because nothing else until dinner time! Then crawled back into bed for a while. Then mooched around the house for a couple of hours. I want to get this over with. Tim has the day off to drive me around and look after me. Several family members offered to cook for us tonight, which of course was lovely of them, but it was funny they seemed surprised that Tim was quite capable of cooking a meal! I've only told a couple of people, actually. I want to be made a fuss of, but without me saying "please make a fuss of me!" Tricky.

Have to be at the hospital 11:30 for op at 1:30.

Later: well I'm actually writing this the next morning as I crashed when I got home yesterday.  I'm going to record everything I remember for my own interest.

We got to the hospital in good time and didn't have too much of a wait past my appointment to be called. The nurse asked a few questions about my health and did a pregnancy test. Fair enough, they don't want to go poking around in there then find a baby! Wrist bands with my name and details. Then back to the waiting room for an hour. I had brought a book but couldn't settle to read or concentrate on anything. Talked to Tim a bit, played with iPhone a bit, stared into space a bit.

At 12:30 they called me through and Tim went home. I put on the backless gown and paper undies and got into bed. Then another 45 min wait. I only had a sheet and thin blanket so I was a bit cold. An orderly finally came and wheeled me through the maze to outside the theatre where I was met by one of the anaesthetists. She carefully checked my identity and procedure I was here for with questions and checking my chart and wristbands. She put a warmed blanket on me which I was very grateful for because it was freezing there. Wheeled into a little alcove and met the head anaesthetist, Michael (the only name I remember). He was handsome and very charismatic! We joked around while he looked for a vein - hard to find as I was dehydrated, no water allowed since I got to hospital. No food for six hours, no water for two. Finally found one and got the cannula in.

My surgeon came in and introduced himself, someone who works with my gynaecologist (if I'd wanted her to do it I would have had to pay instead of all free). Don't remember his name either! He seemed nice though. Both he and Michael went through the whole indentity check again. I didn't mind, want them to be sure they are doing the right procedure! I was wheeled into the operating room. There were at least eight people in there! I wriggled across to the narrow operating table and was given another warmed blanket. I was fully shivering by now, partly cold and probably fear although consciously I just felt fascinated and a bit excited. I heard Michael say "let's get this started" and then I lost the next hour and a half....

[during that time they inserted a tube up through my cervix, threaded a camera and a scalpel through, and scraped off the fibroids]

I woke in post-op, slowly. Felt groggy and tired. Throat very sore. I hadn't quite realised why Michael has asked me to open my mouth wide a couple of times while he looked inside and told someone what size, but of course I had a tube down my throat while I was out. A nurse beside me commented that I was awake and held a glass of water with a straw for me, then left me for a while as I slowly woke.

Then I was wheeled back to my original ward where I fully woke up. I was allowed to get up about an hour after I first woke, and dressed, and was given a cup of tea and some cheese and crackers. Weak and a bit dizzy but not much pain. They called Tim to pick me up but he was already walking through the door with the kids! He'd headed back as soon as the kids got home from school. I found the hospital hadn't given me my scans back and had to sent someone scrubbed up into the sterile theatre to get them, while someone else's op was going on. Then we went home.

It was bad timing with peak hour traffic and took us a long time to get home. I'd been anticipating an evening sitting in front of the TV but the pain medication was wearing off and I started feeling worse and worse as we drove home. A bit sore in the abdomen, very sore throat, aching legs for some reason, weak and very tired. I stayed up only long enough to have some chicken soup then went to bed and slept for 13 hours! I did wake a couple of times and had to take some pain killers.

I bled quite a bit straight after the op but nothing since I got home.

This morning, I am feeling better, still sore and tired. Apparently general anaesthetic drugs take at least 24 hours to completely leave your system so that is this afternoon, still might be a bit groggy till then. Not sure about pain, it's not too bad. Glad to have it over with. Rest today.