Thursday, March 31, 2016

Three: walk


I had a much better sleep last night, and a much better day today. I went for a walk to the library and got some editing done. I stuck to my food plan and at time of writing I still have two glasses of water to drink - I like to finish by 8pm so that I'm not up all night. I'll have another in a minute.

This is such a nice little area, 200 meters from our house the street ends and it looks like this:
Wild looking valley. There are houses nearby in all directions but you can't see them!

What I ate today:
Breakfast: Yoghurt with raspberries, tea.
Lunch: Satay chicken and vegetables.
Snack: Cheese.
Dinner: Beef fajitas in lettuce wraps.

Water: 10 cups - confident of 12 before bed.

Exercise: 30 minute walk.

Tim went to work today, he drove instead of riding his bike and said he didn't get much done, but he is gradually getting better.

One of the celebrity judges on my favourite cooking competition show is a Paleo diet cheerleader and has written several books. I often wonder how he reconciles that with his job on the show where he has to eat grain, dairy, sugar etc. Does he take a mouthful on camera then spit it out afterwards? Or does he just eat it and suffer all the horrible ills that he believes these foods wreak on your body?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Two: courtyard


Still both feeling yuck, Tim home from work again. He had a horrible night, I think the cold is affecting his asthma which is usually well controlled. Hopefully we're on the mend now.

What I ate:
Breakfast: rotisserie chicken, cucumber, orange, tea
Lunch: cold roast lamb, reheated roast vegetables, tea
Dinner: satay chicken and vegetables on a bed of wom bok (Chinese cabbage)

Water: 12 cups

It looks like a lot of meat but I have a little meat with a lot of vegetables, I like to have protein with every meal. Sometimes it will be eggs, cheese, yoghurt or nuts.

Last week I cut down from 1 sachet (3g, less than a teaspoon) of sugar in my tea to half a sachet. And this week none. I'm determined to follow this diet properly this time.

I did some guitar practice today after none since I brutalised my fingertips a few days ago. It made me feel like I achieved something today.

Our little courtyard area is looking lovely at the moment. The row of large shrubs along the fence turned out to be camellias. This is the view from my kitchen sink:

And they smell lovely. Did you know that you make tea (normal black tea) out of camellia leaves? Probably not these particular varieties. The flowers don't smell like tea though.

Two days of "perfect" eating! I look forward to being well enough to add exercise. I think a little walk tomorrow. I have an overdue library book, so that gives me a destination.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

One: round two


Tim was home sick from work today, and I was feeling worse. So most of my plans for the day went out the window. Most, but not all. I may not have exercised or worked on my book or practiced guitar, but I did stick to my food plan and drink my water (some in the form of soup). I did the grocery shopping and cooked a healthy dinner. Time to slump in front of the TV for a while then go to bed.

I don't usually remember to take photos, but here is what I ate.
Breakfast: two eggs, cucumber, tea (no sugar)
Lunch: rotisserie chicken, cucumber, pineapple
Snack: two mugs of vegetable soup, raw tomato
Dinner: zoodle (zucchini noodle) bolognaise

Water: 12 cups

Monday, March 28, 2016

Long weekend


Tim is sick and miserable with this cold, and sad that he's missed half the long weekend. He might end up home from work tomorrow. I am only moderately sick, and part of that might be a lack of sleep from listening to Tim cough and sneeze and blow his nose all night. When one of us is sick I wish we had a spare room so the other could get some sleep. Anyway, it was a day at home not doing much.

I ate quite a lot of my big Easter egg but it will be getting put away now. From tomorrow I am doing that eight week plan again - low carb/low calorie Mediterranean diet that then becomes a Mediterranean lifestyle at the end. I got some results in January even when I didn't stick to it faithfully, this time I'll do better.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter


We started the day with an Easter Egg hunt, inside because the Easter Bunny knows there are too many creatures outside that would be very attracted to shiny foil and the smell of chocolate. This is my personal haul - big egg and bunny from Tim, little eggs from the hunt:
My plan is to eat some today and tomorrow, then put the rest away for occasional treats. I'm starting my healthy lifestyle change on Tuesday. How odd not starting on a Monday!

Actually I didn't feel much like eating chocolate today, and hardly had any. Aiden has had a cold for a couple of days and now Tim and I have it. At least Aiden was better today! Tim took the kids to see Kung Fu Panda 3 while I had a nap in the afternoon and then I felt a lot better, and Tim seemed ok in the early evening.

Ping was celebrating her birthday with dinner in a Japanese restaurant tonight. The company was good and we had a nice chat, but I was grumpy about the food. First they brought a little complimentary miso soup for everyone - except me. I was invisible. Then my main didn't quite look like what I thought I ordered. I queried it but was told it was right. I didn't like it at all and only picked at it. Then we worked out at the end that my main had got switched with someone else and they had eaten it all. I survived by stealing food off Aiden's plate.

Worse, though, was that Tim was rapidly going downhill throughout the evening. He was starting to look really sick. He realised eventually that as well as the cold, he was reacting to someone's perfume. We left as soon as we'd finished eating. Or in my case, not eating!

All those little temporary problems, however, are so fleeting. One family member didn't come to dinner because her father died today. Getting the wrong food, or having a cold, are nothing compared to something like that.

Saturday, March 26, 2016



I haven't been as diligent with my guitar practice recently, and in particular I've been avoiding the exercises where you have to do fast chord changes. I found it very difficult to get my fingers into the correct arrangement in time. But today I was determined to master it. I did the same exercise over and over (the chord order is random so you can't anticipate what will come next), way past when my fingers were hurting really badly. And finally I got my perfect gold star score!

Now I have lines of blood under the skin on the tips of a couple of fingers. Ouch.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Royal Easter Show


First day of the long weekend, we went to the Royal Easter Show. Country comes to the city!

It was the usual kind of stuff; animals, rides (we didn't go on any, but they were there), showbags, woodchopping, and displays of various foods and arts and crafts. We were all rather taken with the skill of this wood carving. 
Not something I would want in my house, but very realistic!

Walked over 11,000 steps and my feet are a bit sore! I've decided I actually prefer a smaller "show", the Sydney Show is so big you spend half your time walking from one thing to the next, trying to get through the crowds. And because it is over several weeks, the more interesting events are spread out and diluted. In Canberra we could see trick motorbike jumps and jousting and pig races and dog obedience all in one day. Today we sat in the stands and got to see some women being judged on how well they sat a horse, and in another arena poodles were being floofed. Not much on, really. And we kept being blocked from going into animal pavilions because they were about to be taken to the main arena or something. I didn't get to see my favourite cows at all! Overall it was a good day but a bit disappointing in comparison to other Show days I've experienced.

Thursday, March 24, 2016



Had a weird morning, Jasmine was still home way past the usual time she usually leaves to catch the bus so I asked her when she had to go. 8:50. Are you sure? She thought about it. Oh, 7:50! Aiden was still asleep as his school starts much later, I dragged him out of bed and put him in the car still in his pyjamas and drove Jas to school. Just made it in time. Don't know what happened to Jasmine's brain this morning.

That one good sleep I had the other night reminded me what a difference it makes. I am an altered person. When you're tired all the time you don't have much mental energy for work, emotional energy to resist junk food, or physical energy to exercise. After a good night's sleep I was suddenly able to do everything I feel like I "should" be able to do but usually don't. One of my major sleep issues is of course my sleep apnoea, and with the long hot humid summer I haven't worn my CPAP for months (it's the machine that keeps me breathing properly all night so I don't wake gasping multiple times an hour). Yes I know it is vital for my health, but before you get too disapproving, just imagine wearing a sweaty face mask in a sauna and trying to sleep with it on!

We are into autumn here now and the nights are cooling down, it's time to try my CPAP again. Hopefully by next summer I'll have lost enough weight to cure the sleep apnoea (in my case it's almost certainly a fat neck causing it, so losing weight should help). I'm also thinking about another option, a mouthguard that holds my mouth in a position that helps me breathe. It was offered to me originally as one of my choices (surgery is another option) but I decided to try the nose pillows first. It seems like a mouthguard that pushes my jaw forward would be difficult to sleep in too. But maybe I should try it. Has anyone tried one of those? The technology improves all the time, and I have seen advertisements for a new type.

Whichever I go with, I am determined to adjust my mindset. Not "I hate wearing this thing" but "this is helping me breathe smoothly all night".

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Another uniform


Today was Jasmine's turn to get her winter school uniform, so I drove her to school instead of her taking the bus (too far to walk). She is short (like me) and the trousers were way too long! The lady said they shrink up a bit in the wash so not cut them straight away - or at all - she suggested something called Magic Tape to fold up the bottoms until Jas grew a bit then they could last years.

There was an embarrassing moment at the end. I also bought Jas a school jacket and she wanted to wear it today so the lady gave me a permanent market and I wrote her name on the label - and only then realised I'd been given the wrong item! It was the other lady's fault but now I'd written my daughter's name on the tag in permanent marker. She changed it for the correct item immediately and I checked very carefully this time before I wrote in it, but felt a bit embarrassed that they now had an unsalable jumper. I suppose they could put it on the second-hand rack and sell it at a discount.

All my energy from yesterday seems to have fled. I edited in the morning, then listened to a Headspace meditation after lunch and dozed off, then felt groggy for the rest of the afternoon. Very glad Wednesdays don't have any after-school activities.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Three walks

later Tuesday:

After my best sleep in ages (probably due to cooler weather) last night, I felt quite energetic today. I walked up to Aiden's school and bought his winter uniform from the school shop. After being home for a while I decided I would walk up to the shops to do my errands since I didn't have anything heavy to carry. Two walks in one day!

I'd tried to investigate book clubs through the library online but didn't get anywhere, today I went in and asked. And joined a general fiction book club that meets once a month in the afternoon which is perfect for me. It turned out they were meeting today (in about an hour from when I asked) and I could have gone along but I'm a bit shy and decided it would be much easier next month having read the book so I would have something to say. The library gave me a list of upcoming books and study questions. Next month's book is Longbourne, which I actually read a couple of years ago when it came out. I'll read it again to refresh my memory. It is the story of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice but from the servants' point of view. Elizabeth Bennet might worry more about dragging her skirts through mud if she was the one who had to clean them!

Then Aiden needed a haircut after school and I decided we could all walk back up to the shops instead of driving! Oh my goodness, I willingly went on three walks today. Over 10,000 steps in total.

So, naming the negative voice in your head is a thing (hi Dee!) and I've decided to call mine Iago. Not just the evil parrot in Aladdin! Also an evil manipulative bastard in the Shakespere play Othello. He played people off against each other for no reason other than that he could. Convinced Othello that his wife was being unfaithful. He was a liar! For fun! Seems like a good name for my inner bastard.

I bring up the subject of my inner voice because it was telling me that three little short puny walks was an insignificant amount of exercise. Didn't even work up a sweat. Maybe an hour of real exercise would count, but not mere walking. And I'm proud of this? Not good enough. Never good enough. Iago is a prick. And I refuse to listen to him.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Self belief


After going to bed early last night I woke this morning when it was still dark and couldn't get back to sleep but was feeling cosy and comfortable and I didn't mind at all. I started thinking about an article I'd read a couple of days ago. In this particular study, they gave a lecture to new college students about how the first semester can be hard and people might do badly in exams, but that generally students got themselves together and did well after that. Other students didn't get this lecture, and some of them felt that an early failure meant a total failure. The ones who did get the lecture were more likely to think that a setback wasn't the end of the world, and they went on to do well.

Apparently there are two ways of thinking about yourself (and other people). One is "this is how I am, I'm good at a, b and c; I'm bad at x, y and z; that is just the way I was born." This is generally the way I think. The other (arguably better, more successful) way of thinking is that people can change and develop, and nothing is set in stone.

My inner belief about myself includes plenty of positive things: I'm smart, I have a nice singing voice, I am a good cook, if I consistently practice guitar I will get good at it, I am a good writer, and many other good things. But when I look at how I think about my weight and health, it is all bad.

I cannot resist certain foods.
I am lazy.
I hate being hot.
Exercise makes me depressed immediately afterwards.
I will be very unhappy if I'm not allowed to eat whatever I want.
Running makes my shins hurt.
My shoulder injuries inhibit me from doing many kinds of exercise.
Exercise is difficult and boring.
I have always been a poor sleeper.
I fail every time I try to diet.
I get sick easily and often.
I hate having to go to the bathroom so often when I try to drink more water.
I suck at meditation.
I have no core strength which makes many exercises difficult or impossible.
If treat foods are in the house, I will eat them.
I deserve to eat junk on special occasions.

and worst of all?

I am incapable of losing weight.

There is evidence to support all of these beliefs, after all the last 20 years have been a constant struggle with my weight and I have never successfully lost more than 5 kg - which I have then put back on. I have genuine injuries and health problems. But. I look at this list and wonder; how is this list of beliefs affecting me? Which is the cause, and which is the effect? Do I fail at diets because I believe I will? What would happen if I believed something else? Where does knowing yourself cross the line into trapping yourself into a certain mould? How do you go about changing beliefs that you've had for years?



It was Tim's actual birthday today. He was able to come home early, which was lovely. We didn't go out anywhere as both he and Jasmine have activities on Monday. We had yummy afternoon tea with birthday cake from yesterday, watermelon and treat leftovers. I made lasagne for dinner (often requested for birthdays!) but I couldn't face dessert. After yesterday and this afternoon I felt like I was drowning in sugary junk. My body needs a break before Easter next weekend. And after that it needs a long break from being fed rubbish.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Birthday party


Tim's family over for his birthday lunch today. Unfortunately he pulled a muscle in his back tidying up in the morning so he was feeling pretty stiff and uncomfortable all day. But aside from that it was a good day. We played board games in the afternoon. Tim and I aren't usually allowed to be on the same team but for some reason we were today - and we won both games. It was quite funny to see everyone else ganging up on us in Trivial Pursuit. That was a close one. But luckily we know lots of pointless trivia.

The other game was Articulate, where you have to make your team say the word on the card in your hand - as many as possible in the time. For example I might say "Australian animal, marsupial, has a beak like a duck," and they shout "Platypus!" Or if you are not so good at the game (looking at you, Des (father-in-law)) you might say: "An animal" (Dog?) "No another animal," (Cat? Horse?) "No, an Australian animal," (Kangaroo? Koala?)...

Some of them are very tricky, like the Geography ones (how do you describe Essex?) or the "famous" people you have never heard of. Or maybe you've heard of but no one else on your team has! The table record today was seven in 45 seconds.

Once everyone left I was tidying up and putting leftover birthday cake away and was tired and careless and silly, angling the knife towards my other hand and forcing it against resistance which suddenly gave way. I cut my left thumb a bit but was very lucky it was only the cake knife and not something sharper. Could easily have been a trip to the emergency room for some stitches.

I really enjoy these family gatherings but they are exhausting! Time for a soak in the bath.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Wildlife Park


To celebrate my niece Emma's third birthday, we all went to a wildlife park. It was mostly Australian animals and farm animals for petting with, rather incongruously, a couple of tigers and a small group of meerkats. I assume they are gradually morphing into a "real" zoo. We had morning tea, wandered around the zoo, and saw a reptile show. It was a beautiful day for it, much cooler than recently but not raining like it has most of the week.

Meerkat keeping watch.

Koala, asleep as usual.

Pass the parcel.

Rather oddly, a pen full of guinea pigs.

Lots of kangaroos resting in the shade, including baby joeys.

Emu hoping my iPhone was edible.


Fruitless shopping


I seem to have spent most of the week shopping for these upcoming birthdays. I've found things for my sister-in-law and niece but struggled to find things for Tim. We don't usually buy ourselves much on a day to day basis (except books!), we usually wait until birthday or Christmas for the new phone or handbag or CD, so generally there are plenty of exciting things to buy each other. But this year he hasn't been able to suggest much and I couldn't think of anything! I hate the idea of just buying "stuff" that he doesn't really need or want.

Also I had a couple of good ideas but for one I was told "we sometimes have them but they sell out really fast" (if they are a good seller then order in more you stupid cow!) and the other I was told "they don't make them any more". Sigh. So I'm afraid the presents will be a bit mundane this year. Luckily birthdays aren't all about the presents!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016



Jasmine got an A for her cake decorating! I think practicing at home helped. She also got 89% in a maths test this week so she is doing very well. Maths isn't usually her strongest subject. But she is very diligent with homework and I think her Primary School gave her a very good grounding. They have started writing essays in English and they are completely new to a lot of the class, but Jas has done them before in Primary - called "information reports" but basically the same thing. She has settled into High School (Yr 7-12) without a hitch.

She brought home most of the lolly cake decorating toppings, and the cupcakes. I had a cake (the pawprint one) and quite a lot of m&ms. Urg.

I really need to get back on track with my eating, I know I do, but in the next two weeks I have three birthday celebrations and EASTER and the Royal Easter Show which I love. So I should eat healthy at least on the in between days but there don't seem to be any in between days with no good excuse to eat junk.

The Sydney Royal Easter Show is ten times the size of the little Canberra one. My mum used to take us every second year, she said that was all she could stand. I made a special trip to Sydney a few years ago to go to this one, stayed at an old school friend's house and went with her. We got there and I said "Let's go see the animals!" and she said "Actually I seem to be allergic so I can't go near the animals. Let's go on some rides." and I said "Actually I'm scared of heights and hate going fast." We ended up stuck with the displays of fruit and quilting! It was still a fun day. At least we both liked the woodchopping. We did go on one ride in the kid's area that I remembered enjoying as a child, you sit in a thing like a swing or a chair lift, lots of them all hanging off a big ring, you get lifted up and spun around and up and down. I was terrified. All these 8-14 year olds were loving it, and I had my eyes closed the whole time. Every so often I would open them for a second, squeal in fear at the nightmare combination of height AND speed, and squeeze them closed again.

Daddy can take the kids on rides this year. I'll pat the cute lambs.

Monday, March 14, 2016



I've been needed to go into the city for a while to lodge some forms in person regarding our home purchase (the lawyers would have done it, for a fee! Tim works over the other side of the harbour, so it wasn't practical for him) but have delayed due to the heat, it is going to be cooler this week but also raining so I decided that heat was the lesser evil and went today before the storms started (and not a moment too soon, the clouds rolled in before I'd been back home an hour). I don't mind a bit of rain, but didn't relish the idea of walking around the city in storms and maybe hail.

At that time of morning (after getting the kids to school) there was no parking near the station so I had a bit of a walk, then a train ride of nearly an hour. Australian trains are pretty good, and air conditioned! And it was after peak hour so there was plenty of seats.

My excursion took me to the older part of the city which is rather attractive. Hyde Park:

St Mary's Cathedral (Gothic Architecture was all the rage in Sydney a couple of hundred years ago, I love it):

This is the building I had to go to, quite attractive for a government office:

It took nearly an hour of waiting my turn, but was otherwise easy. I then went to a rather more modern building and had lunch. This was my view upwards through the glass ceiling:

I chose Chinese food, as I often do, and quite often I'm disappointed! I really need to stop thinking it's the easy safe option. It was pretty bad, very greasy and I mainly ate the rice on the side. This seemed to justify trying - as I've wanted to since I heard of them - a cronut! This is a cross between a croissant and a donut. Mine had chocolate cream inside and a macaron on top. OMG it was great. The best pastry I've ever had. Flaky and fluffy and chocolately. Some things are just worth the calories (and the $8.50 price tag).

I did a bit of shopping - it's Tim's birthday next weekend and my sister-in-law Ping AND my niece! But didn't get much. I found the enormous shopping centre - 5 floors over two city blocks - rather overwhelming and I didn't know where anything was or what I wanted to buy anyway. I was tired and hot and wanted to go home. And I had to be home in time for the kids getting home from school.

Here is our Town Hall - more Gothic:

Some river or other we crossed on the train.
Then a hot trudge back to the car with a heavy bag - 10,000 steps today! And back home to collapse. I grew up here in Sydney but in the suburbs, I'm not really a city girl. But it's fun to visit sometimes.

Friday, March 11, 2016

No vegetables


Those tablets seem to be still working, which is awesome, so now I am back to my baseline of obese woman who doesn't take good care of her body and doesn't like hot weather. Actually no one is getting much sleep around here with the horrible humidity. Looking forward to those cooler rainy days forecast for next week!

I had a bit of a "funny turn" earlier. I used to have bad reactions to either low blood pressure or low blood sugar, not sure which, but not serious or often since my diet improved. But today I got home from shopping rather late for lunch and really hot, was warming up leftover Indian food in the microwave while unpacking groceries, suddenly felt really shaky and strange and had to sit down. Ate some quick carbs then lunch, kept trembling for an hour afterwards. It's another reminder I'm not looking after myself in the truest sense. I need to give my body nourishment not just sufficient calories. When I'm not "on a diet" I eat more junky food but more importantly I eat a lot less healthy food. My fruit and vegetable intake goes down to almost zero.

Yesterday for example I think I ate grilled cheese on toast for breakfast; roast beef and potato for lunch; a Paddlepop (ice cream) in the afternoon; crumbed squid, beef vindaloo (meat in spicy sauce) and rice for dinner. A couple of chocolate biscuits. Three cups of tea. I don't think any of those things are particularly bad in themselves, but the menu is definitely missing a lot of things I should be eating. Like vegetables in a variety of colours not just white bread, white potato, white rice as my only plant foods. I'm not doing myself any favours. But I'm having a lot of trouble turning this around.

I did have some salad with dinner tonight! Will do better tomorrow.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A mysterious smell


Tonight after Acrogym we picked up Indian takeaway: butter chicken, beef vindaloo (they asked if I wanted hot or medium, it's hard to know with a new restaurant but I said medium - so lucky I did! I could barely eat it even diluted with rice, I had to keep a glass of milk handy, I hope I don't suffer too much tomorrow) and salt and pepper squid.

As we got in the car, Jasmine commented on a horrible smell. For a moment I couldn't smell anything, but then there was a strong unpleasant fishiness that we could all smell. Was the squid badly past its use-by date? We drove home with the windows open, smelling it all the way, me thinking that I would have to throw out the squid as soon as we got home - straight into the outside bin. But we got home, took it inside, I smelled the squid up close... nothing. Light odour of spices and cooking fat. Minimal squidiness. Smelled everything else. Nothing. Went back out and checked the car. Nothing.

Maybe we followed a garbage truck home, with our car windows open. It was very odd.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Cupcake decoration


The unrelenting heat is set to continue through the rest of the week at least. I went out for a walk this morning as soon as I'd got the kids off to school and nearly melted. Luckily I don't have to go out again, it's going to get a lot hotter. Poor Jas on the crowded school bus on the way home!

One of Jasmine's school subjects is Cooking or Home Science or whatever they call it (it was Home Economics back at my school which is a weird name for a cooking class, as far as I recall there was no budgeting or anything like that). They've been doing mostly healthy food but they have an assessment task of icing cupcakes. She's chosen an animal theme with a sheep (mini marshmallow wool) turtles (spearmint leaf lolly shell) and paw prints (oreo cookie and brown m&ms) - all researched on the internet by herself - so I walked up to the shops and bought a truckload of sugary junk for her. This afternoon she did a practice batch.

Not bad! Not sure about the sheep's head. And she used pink marshmallows for practise, saving the white ones for the real thing.

These (banksias I think?) are just outside our front door, in full bloom. I think this variety is called "birthday candles".

And these grevilleas are overgrowing our mailbox. Both plants attract lots of native birds. And some interlopers. I got dive bombed by a pestiferous Indian Minah Bird on Monday. Little bastard. It's early autumn, not even the season for making nests from my hair or protecting nests, unless he had late chicks.

New Science


I was reading the latest New Scientist while drinking my post-lunch cup of tea, as you do, and I thought I share a couple of things that interested me.

In Sweden, they are trying to wipe out racoon dogs, which are not native. They got most of them with various strategies including sniffer dogs, but the way they are finding the last few struck me. They get a sterilised male (which they name Judas), tag him and let him loose. He looks for a mate, one of the few left hiding away. When he finds one, Wildlife Management shoot her. So Judas sets out again to find another. Who gets shot.

I know the humans have their reasons for eliminating this introduced pest, but still. What a horrible sad lonely life for Judas. Always looking for love, bringing death with him. That made me sad.

Another thing, which I don't know if I'll explain very well. A research team thinks we have the wrong strategy in aggressively killing off as many cancer cells as we can. This leaves a lot of space for the really nasty cancer cells that are resistant to chemo, and after a short remission period they often take over and kill people quickly. In studies with mice, the mice lived a lot longer if the original cancer was controlled but not wiped out. The "weak" cancer took up all the space so the "strong" cancer couldn't multiply so fast. It would be different if we were able to kill all the cancer, but often we can't, so in many cases it would be better to live with a milder form. I'm sure there will be a lot more research on that.

And finally, there was a study where people were led to a room by a guidance robot (like a garbage bin with wheels and glowing arms to point the way) and then had to fill out a questionnaire about it. Then there was a fake fire alarm. People had the choice of running out the way they had come or following the instructions of the guidance robot who pointed a different way. The researchers thought people would have trouble trusting the robot after such a short acquaintance. But 26 out of 30 followed the robot's instructions. I guess we trust robots already.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Weird plant


It's been too hot here to do anything much, what we mainly did on the weekend was play World of Warcraft (computer game) as a family team of four. We've been playing together since we moved a few months ago, and just got to level 60 (out of 100 levels). Of course there are challenges playing with children. Aiden's character sometimes leaps ahead into combat whether we are ready or not, Jasmine has a tendency to run away if things are going badly. I act as the team's healer, so as well as fighting it is my job to watch over them all and keep them alive. And it's a job I take very seriously! I also do the virtual cooking. It's a lot of fun. Tim gives the kids virtual money, and gets overexcited during combat and shouts instructions.

Have I posted this picture before? It's Aiden's Kylo Ren lunchbox - which I bought before we saw the movie, after we saw it we weren't so keen on him! Sulphur-crested cockatoos (big white parrots with yellow crests) are a problem at his school and the kids are told to keep their backpacks zipped up and turned to face the wall outside. According to Aiden, one actually unzipped his bag. Not sure if that is true but they are pretty smart birds. This is the damage they did to his lunchbox trying to get in to his sandwich and apple!

He has a Minions lunchbox now.

Here is a random photo of our wild backyard. So far as I know, this weird plant is called a "black boy" (ie Aboriginal child) but it's likely they've changed the name to something more PC. It's doesn't look exactly like a child to me! Hmm, maybe that's not what they mean by the name...
It's not burned or anything, it just looks like that. You can see some little ones on the ground around it. A bit creepy really. It's probably old and valuable, but I think it's horrible. Interesting though.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Not spam

Apparently I have a spam filter. And it's been deleting some comments to my blog. I've just gone through and reinstated them (or course some really were spam) so apologies to anyone who had tried to comment on my blog but been blocked. Hi Mollie!

I am not tech savvy at all, I only found this out when someone else mentioned my comment on their blog was caught in the spam filter and they had to rescue it.

Really sorry if anyone felt rejected. I didn't mean it!


Public property


When I started this blog it was a high-tech version of the hand-written journals I'd been keeping on and off since I was a teenager. Talking about what I'd done that day, how I was feeling. Written for me, although it was exciting to get readers and comments.

My husband started reading it, which I both liked and didn't like. It meant I couldn't say anything negative about him (he's lovely, but everyone is irritating at some point) but also it made me conscious all the time that someone I knew in real life was going to read it, and that was a bit inhibiting.

And also, a couple of times he suggested I edit posts where I'd said things about our children or neighbours, because what if they read it one day? So I stopped talking about the people in my life except in the most banal way. Nothing too personal. Nothing that was meaningful.

But I could still talk about myself, right? About how I was feeling.

A couple of posts ago I got a comment that I was being a bit whiney. To suck it up and stop complaining so much. I do vent a lot here - I mistakenly thought it was my personal space where I could do so without offending anyone - it seemed a better option than always whining to my family who aren't allowed to walk away or ignore me.

I guess I was wrong. I was wrong the whole time. This is public property, and everyone from my husband to complete strangers get to decide what I can and cannot write about.



Well I don't know if it's the tablets I've been taking or coincidence (a bit early to tell, it's only been a few days) but I haven't had any night sweats or other symptoms since I've been taking them. It's very hot here so I have certainly been sweating, but night sweats and daytime hot flushes feel very different to normal "being too hot". And no depression. So I'm certainly going to keep taking them, despite the nasty taste! I've been getting a lot more done, too.

Jasmine is safe home from camp. The only thing she forgot was a hat, but that was an important omission. Her face got sunburned both days, even with lots of sunscreen on. But she had a great time.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Not very action-packed


Let's see, a summary of my action-packed life over the past few days?

On Tuesday Tim forgot to take the lock for his bicycle when he rode to the station, so after I got the kids to school I drove over and locked it up for him (it was still there!.) I was a bit nervous about doing this. Firstly I wasn't sure where he parked his bike (I found it easily from his instructions) secondly I was only 95% sure that it was his bike I was locking (it was) and thirdly I was scared I would get the combination wrong when I was locking it was he wouldn't be able to unlock it on his way home (didn't happen).

Yesterday we went over to Tim's cousin's house for dinner, the one that lives a block from the beach. Tim met us there after work. Jasmine needed a couple of things for camp so we went shopping on the way then had a churros share plate at the chocolate and churros cafĂ©. I'd had one dessert there before but not tried their speciality churros. They came with chocolate dipping sauce and strawberries and were delicious. And we shared so it wasn't too much. Then we found parking at the beach and went to a playground for a little while. I sat enjoying the view and the fresh ocean breeze while the kids played. Unfortunately Aiden fell off a low wall and scraped all the skin off his knee on the way down. Not a deep wound, but wide. And covered in sand. He limped to Matt's apartment (actually Jasmine gave him a piggy back part of the way) and we cleaned him up. He was very brave.

Dinner was great, and very kid-friendly. Tacos with all the ingredients in the middle of the table for people to choose, which is how I serve them at home. It's such a relief when hosts cater to children (and fussy adults like me). Dessert was similarly served, ice cream with a huge range of toppings available - strawberries and blueberries and chocolate sprinkles and caramel sauce and other things. It was a great idea.

Jasmine was off to an overnight school camp today. I didn't even check her packing, the school gave her a list, so I hope she's ok! She has packed for herself for years but I do usually check. She even labelled everything herself after I reminded her to. Her other school went to this very same camp location last year (it was a much longer journey from Canberra than from here!) so she knows what to expect.

My work on my book is going well. I am making some drastic changes which was hard to get started but now the ideas are flowing. I think it will be much better for the changes.

I went for a walk today but it was very hot. I think this is the longest string of days above a certain temperature in recorded history here. Autumn has just begun so maybe it will get cooler soon.