Friday, September 30, 2016

Long weekend


We have a long weekend here and Tim arranged to get today off as well for a four day weekend! A bit last minute though and we don't have any particular plans. Just some time all together.

I was doing the grocery shopping this morning and came across both good and bad sides of humanity. Two different people tried to "push in" in front of me in queues (it was very busy, long weekend plus school holidays) - one was prevented by another customer "I think this lady (me) was first" and the other was stopped by the cashier "I'm just serving this lady (me)". But on the up side I went to the bakery which only takes cash and I was 10 cents short for my order, I was asking the cashier to take out a couple of rolls but a nice gentlemen next to me handed me 10 cents.

I made pulled pork burgers with coleslaw for dinner and reassured myself that burgers can be yummy!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

No thanks


It was a good day for being inside a shopping centre as it was raining again. We spent a couple of hours getting new summer clothes for the kids. Then it was lunchtime. I didn't want to get something from the crowded noisy unhealthy food-court so we went to a burger place we hadn't been to before so we could sit and have a proper comfortable meal (even if only burgers). Actually I don't really like burgers so was disappointed to find they really didn't sell anything else - most places have some other choices! Oh well, I can eat a burger now and then, especially a fancy one. Jasmine ate hers and enjoyed it, Aiden ate the chicken out of the middle of his and left the bun, I had a couple of trial bites and left mine on my plate, eating only my third of a serve of chips. Yuck. I could have eaten the burger if I was starving, but not otherwise.

As we were leaving a server (or possibly the owner) bustled up and asked how our meal was. I usually say "fine" even if it wasn't, but with my whole meal still sitting on my plate and Aiden's half-eaten I just gave a non-committal shrug and an mpf grunt. "Wait a minute!" he said as he bustled back to the counter. Was he going to make amends for my uneaten food? I was a bit embarrassed, there wasn't anything "wrong" with it exactly, nothing to complain about, I just didn't like it. But no. He came back waving a card at me. "If you order home delivery next time, you get $10 off!" I wouldn't take the card, saying something like "No thanks, definitely not." I wonder if he later noticed I hadn't eaten my burger!

Both kids had shown interest in the cross stitch I've been doing - it's been "nearly finished" for a while now, been too busy during sunny daylight hours when I can see to sew, so we went into a haberdashery shop to look at buying them some kind of starter kit. We spent a forever sorting through the very small range of options - for a while going with larger ones they liked and collecting all the coloured threads needed before realised they were much too big a commitment for beginners - before choosing the most basic tiny ones they had. When we got home they I showed them how to do it and sat with them and they worked at it for at quite a long time. I spent a lot of time re-threading needles and unpicking mistakes! I had estimated they were two-hour projects, but of course that is how long I would take... might need to revise that to around five hours! Very glad we got these little (cheap) kits instead of the more elaborate ones we were looking at.

Even though I ate some leftover quinoa when we got home, my energy levels really crashed in the afternoon. I could hardly keep my eyes open. I assume lunch of a few hot chips just didn't cut it. I tried chocolate and some nuts, but it was home made tomato soup that hit the spot. Vitamins!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016



Lovely spring day so we went to Cronulla beach. There is some kind of football grand final on soon and the Cronulla Sharks are one of the teams in it, apparently, so there were flags and blue/white/black streamers everywhere. Although I grew up in Sydney, my father was from another state and followed a different football code so I've never even watched a... NRL? game. Still, go Sharks!

We had to park quite a long way from the nicest beaches (the closest one, Shelly Beach, lives up to its name and is a bit rough on the feet) so had a lovely 20 min walk along the shore until we got to the main beach. I didn't even put a toe in the water today, I sat on the sand and watched the kids who went right in up to their necks and body-surfed on little waves. The did come out a bit blue around the gills though, shivering. It is still only the first week of spring!

Even covered in sunscreen, I felt like my legs and feet started burning the moment I sat down so I draped a towel over myself straight away. I am pretty confident I didn't get burned for once, but I'll keep you posted. [later: sigh, I didn't get burned but Jas is a little pink on her upper back.]

After about 45 mins we walked a little further to our favourite lunch spot. The kids had burgers and I had chilli lime wings. Quite nice, but sweet rather than the spicy I was expecting.

Then a nice walk all the way back. There was a little beach down below the cliffs that we want to visit sometime, it looks like you have to clamber over rocks quite a long way to get to it. Next time. It even has shade! And only a handful of people. A secret beach. Ok, not secret, you can see it from the path above, but it looked very exclusive.

Jasmine took this last photo, she liked the framing of the trees.

We had to hurry home because another company was sending someone to give us a quote to remove the trees. I was not impressed with this one! He quoted three times as much as the cheapest company, and that was for "cash" ie so he doesn't have to tell the government and pay tax. So he was trying to cheat me and the government! We are very law-abiding people and would not be using his company even if his quote was reasonable. As Jasmine said "how are they going to pay for schools and roads if no one pays tax?"

I am getting none of my usual work done but I'm having a nice school holidays so far and so are the kids (I hope). Tomorrow we have scheduled a shopping trip for new clothes, the little blighters keep growing!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Butter and sugar


We made sure to take advantage of a lovely day today. We spent quite a bit of the morning in the garden. We did some satisfying hard sweaty work trimming the shrubs each side of the driveway, weeding, and generally tidying up the front. Then had ice cream! Then there were a couple of wooden toilet roll holders that I bought online and which unexpectedly arrived as raw pine, so I bought some wood stain and the kids sat outside and painted one each, which they seemed to enjoy a lot. They also created wands with sticks, glue and wood stain.

When tidying up I got some stain on my hands and washing with soap left a tacky residue. I remembered an old trick of my grandmother's and used butter and sugar. Worked a treat, leaving smooth clean hands. Of course you have to then wash off the greasy butter. Sugar is an excellent abrasive. Salt would probably work too, or even sand. But I like butter and sugar.

Aiden bites his fingernails and always seems to have his hands in his mouth. Today we bought some of that nasty stuff you put on your nails. Oh how he hates the taste! He has to go spit in the sink and rinse his mouth. So hopefully it will work.

We went up to the library for my book group, which was nice, the kids sat in the kids' area (surrounded by books, but playing their tablets, growl) while I chatted to the other ladies for an hour about this month's novel. They are all of my mother's generation or older, it becomes more obvious when they talk about training for nursing in the 70s, or how they need an audio reader because they can no longer read print. I guess they are the only ones who regularly have a weekday afternoon free. It doesn't matter anyway, I enjoy talking to them.

Two companies sent people out to give us quotes on removing trees in our backyard. Most of the plants are ugly (in my opinion, their parents probably think they are lovely) but I will try to keep some of the nicer ones like this which is small enough to move:

Jasmine made cookies. Nice day.

Of course I paid for the gardening later. Aching muscles and creaky joints!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Good news and bad news


It was another day of sun in the morning then cloudy and grey in the afternoon. The kids and I did the grocery shopping in the morning (yes we did get a treat from the patisserie but we also bought a lot of fresh fruit and made a lovely fruit salad in the afternoon) but by the time we got around to wanting to get out in the sunshine, it was gone. We'll have to make sure we snatch the sunshine tomorrow, if there is any.

Two kookaburras are now visiting several times a day hoping to be fed. And I saw three little skink lizards basking in the sun outside near our bathroom, and have decided to believe one of them is Skinky with his new girlfriend.

The good news today is that we have word we are allowed to remove the problem tree that would otherwise block our pool, so that is moving forward. Yay! We'll still have plenty of native plants around the house.

The bad news is that when my father died last year he left a bit of money to my children. Since they are not yet 18, the executor is in charge of what happens to it until then. There are ongoing issues of organising that which I find very frustrating. Endless emails back and forth. There is goodwill on all sides, it is just normal bureaucracy I guess. I've hated the whole process of dealing with both my parents' estates.

It was nice having the kids home today. House full of giggles.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Professional ethics


Tim was exhausted by the week away and I'm always pretty tired, so Saturday was just hanging around the house relaxing. Lovely!

Today we babysat my three-year-old niece Emma for about six hours so her parents could go to the theatre in the city to see Aladdin. She was happy and well behaved all day, Jasmine did most of the minding with help from Aiden and Tim. Tim is so good with kids! We managed to head off a couple of "where is mummy?" moments. It's funny how bad a three-year-old is at Hide and Seek! She would say "I'm going to hide under Jasmine's bed!" then run off. Um, that is not how this game works. And when she was supposed to seek, she counted to ten beautifully then stood still and looked in a vague circle and said to me "I can't see them". I had to take her around the house and say "let's look behind this door" etc. A bit young I guess but she enjoyed it.

Tim's dad and his partner came for lunch and stayed most of the afternoon too. He has recently self-published the second volume of his trilogy and wants me to read it (I have read an earlier version a couple of years ago) and put a review online. I said yes but I find the thought a bit stressful. He is so excited about his books and basically thinks they are perfect. I think they are quite good. Me giving them anything but a stellar review will be upsetting, disappointing and confusing for him. It's going to be a fine line to walk. I am not willing to outright lie to please him, I have been a professional editor and book reviewer and fiction judge in competitions. This is my conscience and my reputation! Obviously I'll emphasise the good and minimise the bad, but I think anything less than "best book I've ever read" might be a problem...

We have a kookaburra visiting every day again, so maybe they will come every spring when they are nesting and like having that easy source of fresh food. They are very picky and only seem to like raw meat. But they are so nice to look at I indulge them. I haven't seen our resident lizard Skinky for a few weeks now so maybe he has moved on or died. :( He made it through the winter so I'm choosing to believe he's gone off in search of a mate now that the weather has warmed up and he no longer needs the bathroom heat lamp. In spring a young lizard's thoughts turn to love.

Friday, September 23, 2016

End of term


Today was the last day of school term for the kids (three out of four terms), we head into two weeks holiday. Tim doesn't have any time off so it will be the three of us finding things to do. If we get some nice spring weather we'll definitely head over to the beach a few times.

I completed my goal of finishing this round of editing by the end of term, scribbling on the hard copy print out which Tim had also made suggestions on, and I'm part way through typing up the changes. I can finish that with the kids home, no problem. The thinking part is done. I hesitate to say my novel is completely finished because I keep thinking of new things. This is version nine of the manuscript and there have been some pretty big changes since the first draft!

It's so nice to have Tim back home. And now it's the weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2016



Tim is coming home today, yay! I didn't mention my husband was away all week because I don't advertise stuff like that on the internet "defenceless female home alone" or "home vacant for a week while family on holidays", just in case someone tracks down my location. I only talk about it after the event. But he has been away on a business thing since Monday morning and gets home tonight.

Of course I have missed him a lot, but the worst thing has been trying to sleep. You'd think lack of asthmatic snuffles beside me would help! But I get nervous without him here. It's weird because I lived alone for years before we married, and liked it, and didn't get scared at night. I guess I'm not used to it now, or maybe it is having children to protect. The last three nights I've been on high alert, unable to relax to sleep properly. Couldn't shower late at night because I felt too vulnerable. I had to get up earlier, which is fine because I was awake anyway. So after three nights of this I am so tired! My face feels all droopy. But Tim will be home tonight and I'll be safe.

Nigella Lawson seems to be able to feed sixteen people on one roast chicken, with leftovers. I cooked one last night for the three of us, there is one tiny piece of breast left. Aiden ate daddy's share. He is nine and ate half a chicken all by himself! He scrounges for food after dinner too. Growing boy. He is so little (with us as parents he is never going to be tall) with no body fat, but active. Luckily he likes real food and it's easy to direct him to have an apple, or some (homemade) yoghurt. Salad is one of his favourite foods. When he was little enough to fit in a shopping trolley seat I use to give him a whole capsicum (red pepper) to eat as we went around the supermarket and strangers would often comment about it. He doesn't like cheese or potato (except chips) and only recently started liking chocolate. Unusual taste buds.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016



I seem to be affected by the weather much more than I ever remember being - although maybe I just didn't notice before. On sunny days I am happy, on grey cloudy days I feel sad, lonely, and trapped. Perhaps because this is a particularly dark house with inadequate lighting, it is very gloomy on rainy days like today. Come on spring, get your act together! And I need an electrician.

I also feel a bit unsettled because I just found out something, by accident, about a close family member that I really feel they should have told me about. Because we are family, and because it is not about me but it does affect me. I'm going to need to bring up the subject with them. A bit awkward. I won't talk about it here because if they don't think it's my business, they certainly wouldn't think it was your business! I do respect their privacy, but as I say it does affect me and I need to talk to them about it.

... well I spoke to them and they thought they had already told me, were sure of it, so there you go.

I'm still going back and forth with the council and the pool builders about the big tree. Waiting for a final decision.

I just checked the weather report and it's clouds and rain for days. Blah. Maybe I need some kind of sun lamp.

Another Tuesday


I meant to get out to the park, I really did. But the weather turned a bit gloomy in the afternoon so I knuckled down and worked at home in my comfy armchair and got some really good editing done. My goal is to get that finished by the end of this week, which coincides with the kids' end of school term. I'm scribbling changes on a hard copy print-out, so I'll still need to type them up, but that is easier than the thinking creative work I've been doing. It's nearly done, and polished, and a reasonable approximation of as good as it's going to get! It's been a long process, even not counting 40 years of practice. Over a year of writing, then a long break due to life happening, then about a year of rewriting and editing and polishing.

Then the scary bit, looking for a publisher.

I spent some time this morning dealing with issues about our planned swimming pool. It's those damn trees. The council decided one big tree right in the middle of the backyard has to stay, there is also a protected zone around it so that is most of the backyard blocked. They sent a suggested revised plan with the pool squashed down one side. The rest of the yard would remain wild scrub, I guess; full of lizards (nice) and spiders (not nice), under the tree constantly dropping leaves and branches (Australian gum trees like to drop branches with no warning, and although they are evergreen (ever-grey more like) they drop leaves all year round), not great for a pool. Or a pretty garden or lawn or seating around a bird bath. We had to get a big gum tree lopped at our old place in Canberra because it dropped a big branch on our neighbour's roof and broke some tiles. It is not a particularly nice tree either, it's not the one I thought we were going to have to keep. So I've been in conversation with our pool people, I told them about the bushfire protection rule which seems to allow us to remove the tree anyway because it is close to the house and we are in a bushfire-prone area. They haven't confirmed yet. It's a bit of a worry, but I guess we'll work with whatever we have, even if it ends up being a little plunge-pool in one corner. That would be sad though. I feel like we have a completely unusable back yard at the moment. None of us have been out there for ten months except to plan the pool! The kids need a backyard they can play in.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Nasty dream


My weight this morning was 83.8 kg, a tiny bit up. It was down all week but Saturday undid that. Not that I "earned" any weight loss, I wasn't paying any attention to food or exercise all week. It was a hard week. Pelvic pain and headache all week, day and night, hopefully it will ease up now.

Yesterday we had family over in the afternoon, the boys played Arcana Evolved (a variant of Dungeons and Dragons), Jasmine looked after little cousin Emma, I just mooched around. Actually I spent a lot of time over the weekend working on my little cross-stitch that I am making for when Ping has her baby, I can hardly tear myself away from it. It is supposed to be a ten hour project, I am a bit out of practice so it might take me longer but I'm half-way done now. The problem is that the house is so dark and my eyesight isn't what it once was. The original plan was to sew while watching TV in the evening but the light is too poor. I do it anyway, and have had to unpick sections a couple of times! I sit near a window during the day.

I had the most horrendous dream last night. I've been having bad dreams through this whole peri-menopause or whatever, but this one was worse and I need to write it down to debrief. Skip if you are squeamish. For background, I do have four cousins who are heavily pregnant right now, and I recently read a book where a dangerous snake had its head chopped off. So the dream imagery wasn't completely out of the blue. So in the dream several snakes had escaped from somewhere and one was very venomous. I had a little hand axe and was trying to chop its head off, but kept missing. It was slithering between several very young children who didn't seem to notice it. Eventually I got it. Then I had to continue going after more snakes. I saw my cousin; lying naked, tanned and heavily pregnant (she is not actually one of the ones pregnant in real life) and I went over and used the axe to start to chop into her stomach. I don't know why except it was something to do with the snakes. I was trying to get right through the huge belly to sever her spine but it was hard work. She was screaming and some other people looked over but decided everything must be ok because it was just me and I must have good reason for what I was doing. Then I woke up, very shaken. So vivid and gory and disturbing. I still feel a bit ill now thinking about it. It was 1:30 in the morning when I woke and I was dismayed that I still had most of the night to get through.

The only reason I can think of for the dream is maybe wanting to get rid of the fibroid growth in my own uterus and being scared of surgery? Or, since I'm not aware of being scared, maybe it just shows my eagerness to get on with it. In a horribly brutal and violent way. It was like being in a horror movie.

Anyway, today was quite nice. The weather turned again and we had a sunny day. I didn't get out much, only to the library and shopping, I plan to go to the park tomorrow.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Baby Shower and Birthday Party


It was a busy day with a baby shower then a birthday party at a restaurant.

The baby shower was lovely, a group of about 20 women, some of whom I knew well, some I had met a few times before and some I'd never met. I didn't really get around to chatting to new people but I was particularly happy that I was able to have a good talk to a woman I'd met a few times and liked but hadn't had time to get to know before.

There was plenty of food, mountains of food. Cupcakes and little tarts and mini quiches and all sorts of things. I ended up trying at least five different things but most of them only ate a little bite or two then left on my plate. My favourite was a pikelet (little fluffy pancake) cooked with raspberries all through. Not sweet, but delicious. Jasmine was invited too, she ate so much! I don't mind as long as it's not too often.

Veronica cried when she opened her gifts and we all laughed at her when she blubbered out "it's the hormones!"

Tim's brother Nick chose to have his birthday party at a German restaurant. I didn't even know German restaurants were a thing. Don't they just eat sausage and cabbage? It reminds me of that joke:

Heaven is where the police are British, the lovers French, the mechanics German, the chefs Italian, and it is all organized by the Swiss.

Hell is where the police are German, the lovers Swiss, the mechanics French, the chefs British, and it is all organized by the Italians.
Except I thought it was German cooking in hell. Because we were in a big group, of course we had to have a set menu instead of choosing. There was quite a lot of concern amongst those who don't like pork! But German is apparently Nick's favourite and it was his birthday so he got to choose! There were certainly lots of sausages, about six different types, and several kinds of pickled cabbage! Pork knuckle and ham and prosciutto, mainly pig products. But there was also schnitzel and pork belly with crispy crackling so that was yummy. And very fatty, I felt a bit ill. And tired, we got dessert (which I didn't eat) at 10pm.

Usually I would say the company made up for the food, but unfortunately it was one of those places where the background noise of music and crowds of people is so loud you can only talk to the person right next to you by shouting and repeating yourself. Aiden was very bored, he played on my phone until the battery ran out then moved on to daddy's. I didn't really get to talk to anyone, so it wasn't a great night for me. Came home and went straight to bed, was probably asleep before the kids. Best part of the evening!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Car and cup


I spent the morning getting the car sorted. Took it to be inspected (browsing at Bunnings Hardware while I waited and buying some gardening gloves) then drove to RTA, unscrewed the license plates (again) this time not having to chase a gleefully escaping screw under a parked car, very tricky that was on Wednesday, or finding a large spider like I did the first time; waited only a few minutes for my number to be called at the RTA, this time all paperwork present and correct, new plates handed over (for a fee, of course), screwed them on, DONE! Car now registered in correct state. It's only taken ten months...

I exchanged my cracked teacup with no problems, and they gave me a two year warranty so they will replace this one even if I break it myself! Nice.
It was in a gift set with a matching plate. I had to buy the triple-choc brownie separately. I tried it out for my afternoon tea when I got home, in future it will be my breakfast set.

I always wash my delicate cups by hand, at the moment our dishwasher is broken so I'll be washing everything by hand. Or, alternatively, not washing. The kitchen bench is piled high.

I decided to make a cute bunny cross-stitch for my new niece due in a couple of months, and I bought the material and threads today after seeing the pattern in a magazine. I used to cross-stitch quite a bit, before I had children of my own and no longer seemed to have the time or energy. I have a large project that has been in an "almost finished" state for twelve years. This is a little project that shouldn't take me too long, maybe it will get me back into it. I like to have something to do while watching TV. TV only takes one eye and a quarter of my brain.

There might be a problem with the pool, the council have decided the biggest tree right in the middle of the backyard has to stay. Bugger. Need to squish the pool right over one side and turn it the other way, and have leaves drop in it all year. Unless we find it's close enough to the house to constitute a bushfire hazard, need to measure the distance. Not that the council told us about that. It's like in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy where information is "on display" in the basement in a locked filing cabinet guarded by a leopard.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Another broken cup


Not a very successful morning.

After moving we were supposed to get our two cars registered in the new state. I had to get them inspected and take in paperwork and it took several visits to get everything together, eventually got everything done for one car. I couldn't find the old rego papers for the other one so I sent away for a copy then forgot about it. Five months later, still haven't received it but we found the original paper. So today, yet again, I went in to the Motor Registry, unscrewed the licence plates, waited for my number to be called... and was told that the car was inspected five months ago but it's only valid for 40 days. Which is fair enough but I didn't think of it. So I've booked the car in to be inspected again on Friday, then I'll go straight back to try again! We've only got ten days until the old rego runs out.

I had some shopping to do at the big mall, but didn't have much luck there either. Spent ages looking around for a few things without finding what I needed. Tired, headachy and discouraged. But then I saw that a big department store had the brand of teacups that I broke the other day, some on special for 50% off! I bought one, not the same as the old one but similar, it was in a pretty gift box. Got home, took it out of the box... huge crack in it. Not having a good day. Or week.

On the bright side, I have to go back on Friday anyway to the Motor Registry so I can return it on the same trip!

And I had some really good news yesterday, I'm booked in for my surgery in a month which is sooner than I expected. It won't solve all my problems, but should fix my pelvic pain and maybe some of the hormonal issues.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Disaster in a teacup


I started the day miserable in a general sort of way - very tired and "time of the month" and quickly went to miserable in a specific way. I had recently bought a new cute creamer (little milk jug) and sugar bowl set, and this morning I decided I needed sugar in my tea to make me feel better (ha!). I was lifting it down from the shelf and the lid slid off and smashed into several pieces on the bench and floor. I was a little upset but not terribly so, it hadn't been very expensive so I could replace it easily, but it was still annoying. Especially since it was brand new, and had finally replaced one I broke when we first moved here. But then as I was picking up the bits I realised that one piece was the handle of my Prince Albert teacup! That was a special Mothers' Day gift from my son a couple of years ago and I have used it for my morning cup of tea every day since. It retails for about $150 for ONE cup and saucer. The emotional loss is worse. I am so unhappy about it.
Maybe it is repairable, but it is very thin and delicate so I doubt it.

Not a good start to the day.

Another week


Is it Monday again already? This morning I weighed 83.7 kg, which is a gain. I did very well with food and fluids today, but no exercise. I planned a walk but as always when increasing my fluids I didn't dare get too far from a bathroom. I must have the smallest bladder in Australia! I have to keep up the drinking for a few days to get used to it.

Is it just me, or does everyone feel like they should be doing something else? If I'm writing, I should be exercising. If I'm walking, I should be doing housework. If I'm watching TV, I should be spending more time with my family. There is always something I should be doing that isn't what I'm doing right now - or that is how it feels!

Oh well, I can live with constant low-grade guilt.

One thing I love about Mondays is they always seem like a clean slate.

Sunday, September 11, 2016



Today we had visitors from Canberra. Tim regularly skypes with his friend there but I hadn't seen them since we moved. They planned to come over "in the morning" (arg! I need more detail than that!) but at 11 they called and said "lunchtime". So we spent a lot of the day sort of waiting around. At least the house is now very clean! And when they arrived we had a nice chat over lunch and then played Boggle while the kids used the Virtual Reality headset. I lost every round, you'd think a writer could hold their own against a physicist and a lawyer at a word game, but no. Janet wasn't feeling well and had a little nap while we were playing. I bet she would have beat me too. I'm just no good at seeing words in a jumble of random letters.


Today was Comicon. Last year we came to Sydney especially for it, I went with them into the city but went to a show instead. This year I was very back and forth trying to decide. It didn't really interest me, but the thought of sitting home alone didn't either. Originally there had been some plans for "the girls" to all go somewhere else together, but they are all heavily pregnant and not so up for running around the city. I had been leaning towardsgoing along to Comicon and seeing what it was like. But the last few days I'd been feeling pretty uncomfortable with the pelvic thing, and today I woke up with PMS hitting me hard. I decided being miserable at home alone was easier to deal with than being miserable while wandering around Comicon. I think it was a good choice, I was pretty teary all day. Also there was a "Festival of Chocolate" on in the city and we all know I need to stay away from that!

Tim and the kids dressed up:
Santa Claus gave Tim the Darth Vader costume for Christmas so he could wear it to the new Star Wars movie premier on Boxing Day, Jasmine's Hunger Games outfit and Aiden's stormtrooper were bought specially for Comicon.

I did manage to get out of the house, I went for a walk up to the shops to buy ingredients for lunch, and also a chocolate éclair for dessert. And other junk. I really didn't do well at all with food today.

Friday, September 9, 2016



Shopping and editing today. 

I am currently only editing my own novel, but I have worked as a professional editor. Last night an old colleague (ie I used to work with her, she's not old) texted me to say there was a job I might be interested in. But it was back in Canberra, she didn't know I'd moved. Still, it was nice of her to think of me. She was the president of the local editing society at one time, and she'd got me work before. Boring government work - much better paying than my freelance fiction editing business!

The last job I did with her was at the Department of Immigration (Australia). Our task was to turn their entire website into "plain English". This was particularly important considering a lot of the users had English as their second or third language. But the trouble we had! We'd write our translation of department jargon into plain English and send it to each section to be approved. Often as not it would be returned changed exactly back to the original! No compromise at all. Our contract there kept getting extended because of all the back and forth, and in the end I left saying I had a prior commitment, but actually it was mainly that my RSI was returning with the longer hours we were working.

And I thought fiction writers had to be handled with kid gloves...

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Housewife Day and musical soiree


I designated today as housewife day and tried to get some things done around the house. Laundry, filing a year's worth of paperwork (we need to do our taxes), making phone calls I've been putting off, that kind of stuff. Not very exciting, but good to get done. Of course I didn't get everything done!

After school the kids had Acrogym (acrobatic gymnastics) then we had a quick dinner then off to Jasmine's musical soiree. Every term Jas' school puts on a little concert for both Primary and High School; the school band, African drums, a few little girls singing with squeaky voices, piano and violin solos, very talented teenage boys playing Metallica etc. It was supposed to go for one hour but went for two! I could see a lot of improvement in Jasmine's group (High School band - she plays clarinet which she only started last term, in the past she has learned violin and trumpet). Most of the evening was quite enjoyable.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Another coast walk


Feeling much better today after a decent night's sleep.

I was waving goodbye to Aiden this morning when the tree guy from the council arrived. I didn't have any notice of this one coming, he probably didn't need me to be there. He looked around the backyard and made notes on his little map, singing or humming the whole time. I asked if he foresaw problems with removing any of the trees and he picked out one gum that was a lemon-scented somethingorother. It is the nicest looking tree out there and right in the corner where it won't affect the pool, so although it doesn't fit with my theme for the future garden I won't really mind if we have to keep it. It's the ugly scrubbly and/or dead ones I want to get rid of, as well as the ones where the pool will be.

I decided to drive over the coast again for another try at the walk/edit combo. I was able to park right next to the beach so I could leave everything in the car and walk unencumbered. I walked for a bit over an hour, and got tired and hot and sweaty which is great. I like to feel tired at the end so I know I am pushing myself a bit. It was a bit cloudy today but still very warm, perfect for walking.

I then walked a bit more around the restaurant and shopping area to find a nice caf√© for lunch. Full sugar disclosure, I had a lemon squash "spider" (ice cream float) without even thinking about it. At home I only drink water and tea, but when I'm hot and tired I suddenly want instant calories.

My feet were sore by this stage, the down side of having skin on the soles of my feet as soft as a baby's bottom is that they abrade very easily and even the best of socks start to feel like sandpaper! I really need to toughen up.

I picked up my manuscript from the car and strolled into the park by the beach. I had a lovely view and the scent of the sea, but it didn't work out. There were no tables free, and trying to wrestle an unwieldy stack of papers into submission on a sloping lap while I sat on a bench, making notes and sometimes looking things up on my phone, was too hard.

So I drove home again. So sleepy from exercise and sun! I thought about crawling into bed but I knew that if I had a nap I wouldn't sleep as well tonight. Cup of tea instead.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tired and cranky


Today was a struggle. I had a bad night, partly with worse than usual pelvic pain, partly because my poor husband had to get up at 3:30 to be at work in the city at 5:00 (very unusual occurrence), partly because I had to get up six times to pee. SIX! You'd think I'd been drinking ridiculous amounts but I only increased my intake to eight glasses - and that includes my two cups of tea. Only one glass was after dinner. Yet going from my usual (maybe four glasses) up to eight sent my kidneys into overdrive. It does always happen when I increase liquid, but not usually to that extent.

So, losing that much liquid means losing a lot of weight overnight, right? Not really. 200 grams.

Anyway, so I was tired and cranky. And I had a lot of pelvic pain all day, which I don't usually have much of during the day (I did when this all started last year but now it's generally only at night, can't wait to have the surgery and get this fixed!) And it's day two of no sugar/low carb. I compromised by having a bigger lunch and dinner with more calories that I otherwise would have allowed myself, but still no sugar.

Time to smile and remember gratitude!
It's a lovely day outside. I am looking out my window into our shady courtyard with sunny side garden behind it, and three different flowering plants in different shades of pink.
Tim's cousin just sent me information about removing trees on your own property, apparently even if for some reason we don't get council approval we can do it anyway because we are in a bushfire area!
I could go and have a nap if I really wanted but I think I will wait and just look forward to a good sleep tonight.
My cup of tea isn't entirely horrible, even without sugar.
My foot continues to be pain free and walking is a pleasure not a trial.

Life is not all bad!

Monday, September 5, 2016



Today's weight: 83.2 kg. A little down. As usual, Monday has inspired me to tighten my diet up again. Lots of vegetables, and plenty of water! I ate too much junky stuff yesterday. There was some dessert left over and I've resisted it all day! Should be finished up by the rest of the family tonight.

I went out for a nice walk this morning, around 45 minutes. Sunny but a bit cool, which is good for walking.

I made a random purchase of a frozen duck on Friday because they were on special and I'm cooking it tonight. Duck is one of my favourite meats, but it's definitely a special occasion food and I rarely cook it myself. I order it in restaurants sometimes or my Chinese sister-in-law sometimes cooks one. They aren't particularly healthy, very fatty, and not much meat on one (perhaps the relatively small portions are a good thing). Anyway, I looked up some recipes this afternoon and they suggested things like 4 hours drying out time then 5-6 hours slow roasting! No time for that. I've put some spices on and shoved it in the oven on a rack so the fat all drips down on the vegetables... hope it turns out ok. Not sure about the mix of spices.

Jasmine didn't go to dance tonight. On Saturday evening she hit her hand against a rock and one knuckle is sore and was swollen. I think it is just bruised but it still hurts her and apparently at school she was trying to write with her left hand. What if it is broken? I've said if it still hurts as much tomorrow I'll take her to a doctor. I remember a story from my mum about my big brother falling off a swing at kindergarten and the teachers didn't realise he broke his arm! He didn't get any care other than cuddles until mum picked him up and realised. And without a car, pushed him to the doctor or hospital in the stroller. So I hope this isn't too serious, it's only been 48 hours I guess so a bruise could still hurt.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Fathers' Day


It's Fathers' Day here in Australia. The kids gave daddy a Darth Vader BBQ apron and a World of Warcraft theme Trivial Pursuit game. Then we had the whole family over for lunch. Well, we planned to, someone forgot to come, someone was sick, you know how it is. I always prepare too much food anyway, with not everyone here it was just ridiculous! I got everyone to take some home and there is still enough for us to reheat for dinner and also for Tim to take for lunch tomorrow.

As usual it was both fun and exhausting. Lots of preparation with cooking and cleaning, then pleasant company for a few hours (actually until 6pm), then I collapse. Tim mastered the BBQ grill while I made the sides and desserts (a couple of other people contributed too). It was a very nice day, but my knees are aching a bit and I'm glad I can sit and watch TV tonight and not do any more work.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Backyard inspection


So it's absolutely pouring rain today and I was delaying going out the shops hoping it would ease up a bit (it's an outdoor carpark so I would be trying to manage a trolley and an umbrella, and the groceries would get soaked anyway) and then the Council called about our pool application, the poor man had to come out and inspect our backyard!

We stood out there with umbrellas while he took photos and then sat under the covered courtyard while he asked a couple of questions, he doesn't foresee any issues with his bit (far enough from fences, how sloping the ground is) but we are still waiting on approval to have the trees removed and the neighbours have a couple more weeks to protest. They all have pools so I don't know what grounds they would protest on! Not expecting it. It's only the trees I have a slight worry about, just in case there is some rule about removing too many natives. We could end up with a pool surrounded by leaf-dropping gum trees instead of a nice paved area and garden. I hope that doesn't happen.

I did the grocery shopping after he left, taking a beach towel to drape over the trolley to keep things more or less dry getting back to the car. A tarp probably would have been more useful but we don't have one. It was a big shopping trip because we are hosting a Father's Day BBQ on Sunday.

I had planned fish for dinner - for me and Aiden, Tim and Jas won't eat it, they were going to have pork chops - but who wants to eat fish on a cold dreary day like today? Maybe if you are a fish lover, and you deep fried it! I eat fish a few times a year in a fit of virtuousness. Anyway, I bought a chicken instead to roast with lots of chilli and lemon zest. Much more warming and cosy.

I saw online today "Words cannot express how beautiful you are. But numbers can. 3/10." Lol.

Oh, that reminds me. At the shops there was a stall where kids could get a free photo taken of themselves with a little printed message, to give to daddy on Sunday for Father's Day. One message was:
OMG are you serious? Is this deliberate so it looks like your three year old wrote it? That's the only excuse I can think of for not knowing the difference between your and you're. I wanted to say something to them but they were busy photographing kids so I didn't.



It's the first day of spring! A lovely day, too. The forecast for the coming week is all over the place: sun, rain, wind, warm, cold... but today was perfect weather. I went out for a long walk that included dropping in to my son's school and then the library which is just as far in the opposite direction. By the time I got to the library I was embarrassed for people to see me, I was a bit sweaty! Even allowing for the short stops, I was walking for over an hour and it was pretty warm outside.

It's odd how you see a lot of people in public in yoga pants and gym gear but (unless they are actually jogging) they never look sweaty. Are they doing their shopping on the way to the gym?

I did well with healthy food most of the day, but then just as dinner was cooking I suddenly became ravenous and shovelled lots of calories in my mouth. Then ate my planned dinner half an hour later. So that wasn't so great. But overall, a good day.