Wednesday, September 20, 2017



I did a lot of running around today. Well, not actually running. Driving from place to place. Tim's phone's charger hole regularly gets clogged up with fluff from his pockets so it won't charge any more, so I took it into the Apple Store so a 'genius' could dismantle it and get the fluff out. The genius asked if my husband was in the construction industry (to explain gunk in pockets) - no he's a lawyer! I have no idea why this keeps happening, I keep my phone in my pocket and have never had this problem. Anyway, it's good now for another six months at least.

I bought myself a new pair of jeans in a smaller size, my current ones are baggy. The new ones look nice from the waist down, but are a bit too snug which creates a bulgy muffin-top above. I'm counting on losing more weight, and I have to put the jeans in to be shortened so I won't be able to wear them for a week or so anyway. Maybe it was a silly purchase, we're heading into warmer weather when I wear (long) shorts instead, but summer isn't quite here yet. And my baggy pants don't show off my weight loss.

Then I drove to another shop to get a couple of sun lounges to put by the pool - to be told they wouldn't fit in the car. So I didn't buy them. Finally a visit to Aiden's school to buy him a new sport's uniform. They change to summer uniform after the holidays.

Not much study today. I have an assessment tomorrow in class and one on Friday at home, so I need to do a bit more work tonight.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017



I've been consulting with my aunt about my father's gravestone, she lives there (12 hours drive away for me) so can compare gravestones in person. I think everything is decided now so I've emailed the details of the inscription to the company. It's been a bit sad, but also very funny fielding suggestions from Aunty Pat. Twice she suggested that I have my mother's name put on it; "beloved husband of Barbara"! My parents had been divorced for 40 years before they died within months of each other, mum knew as she was walking down the aisle on her wedding day that it was a mistake, and dad remarried and was with his second wife longer than mum (divorced again) and was with a new girlfriend when he died. Mum would have hated being on his gravestone! I vetoed that one politely.

I accepted all her other suggestions except the last one, to put RIP at the end. I felt that a Christian phrase was very inappropriate for such a staunch atheist as my father. My aunt is lovely but I guess she just had certain ideas about the way things should be done. And I did ask for her input! I went with most of her ideas but I'm paying for everything so I have final say when I think it's important.

I was thinking of mum today, too, as I watered the garden. She would have loved the pool and new garden, and having us live close. I miss my parents.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

More than 5 kg


The weight loss continues. Another 1.0 kg, so I'm down to 78 kg!

I've talked before about how I have some kind of barrier to losing more than 5 kg, ever in my whole life. I manage to lose 5 kg, then somehow give up and put the weight back on with maybe a bit extra. Well this time I've smashed that, 6.7 kg lost! I'm excited to have finally got through that roadblock. Now I've got to another milestone. I'm pretty sure 78 kg is the lowest I've been since starting this blog seven years ago, and proabably for quite a few years before that. Up until now, I've been losing and regaining the same fat. From now all, it's virgin fat territory!

I spent the afternoon working on an assignment and trying to prepare for a 'role play' for one of my online subjects (in addition to the one in class for another subject), and I was given the scenario that I will be dealing with - and as far as I can see we've covered only half of the information needed for it! I got quite stressed about it, actually. I have emailed a query to the teacher. Have I missed something? If so I need to know right now! It's a subject where the teacher left and another teacher had to pick it up and I (and other people) have had endless problems with it. So disorganised. Coursework not available, teacher not responding for weeks, inconsistent information about when assignments are due... I've tried to just query stuff then get on with other things while waiting but it's been quite bad. And the online coursework itself is (I think) terribly written (I don't think this teacher prepared it) and I've basically had to teach myself by trial and error...

This is the last week of term, then two weeks off. I feel like I need a break!

Saturday, September 16, 2017



We went to a plant nursery yesterday and bought as many weird and interesting tropical plants as we could fit in the car.

Then we spent a good chunk of today planting them. It took a long time because no matter how much we work the soil beforehand, when we dig holes for plants we find yet more rocks, roots, and now a lot of shards of broken terracotta pots for some reason. And curl grubs.

Anyway, we got enough to go along one fence out by the pool, about a quarter of the total area we need to fill. The plants are still quite small of course, but in a few years they will be crowding each other in a lush tropical kind of way.
We did get an unpleasant surprise when we got home yesterday and I checked growing conditions for bromeliads, which we bought in flower (in the top picture the weird pink spike in the middle and the two with gold star-like flowers) - it turns out they only flower once, when they are fully mature at 3-4 years old, then die! So three of our plants will only live through the summer then drop dead. They are supposed to send out 'pups' (baby plants) as they die so maybe we will get some little ones in years to come. We also bought palms, several varieties of cordylines, and bird's nest ferns. It looks nice already. We need to get some mulch next, then move on to the next section. The part we did is the shadiest, other fences get a lot more sun.

Friday, September 15, 2017



Yesterday was my long day, up early for TAFE and home late from driving the kids around to their various activities. I just pop home in between for a couple of very short periods. I was supposed to have an assessment in the afternoon but as I'd missed two weeks sick and hadn't had a chance to practice, myself and a couple of other people are doing it next week instead. It's a role-play thing where the teacher pretends to be a library customer needing help. Easy in some ways but the teacher has a list of very specific things she wants us to do and ask so it does take a bit of rehearsal.

Today Aiden forgot to take his backpack to school, he rode off without it and I didn't notice or see it sitting on the floor by the door all day. Turns out it wouldn't have made much difference - as I forgot to pack his lunch this morning! Very unusually disorganised. We weren't even rushing today. Just got distracted by Aiden finishing off some homework due today... which of course got left at home. The school could have called and I would have taken his bag up, but they just gave him some food from the canteen for lunch which I'll pay for on Monday.

Makes Tim look less bad for letting him go to school with his pants on backwards, as he quickly pointed out to me tonight!

When the kids were home this afternoon I made them come outside with me and we ate our fruit salad sitting my the pool. While Jasmine watched a YouTube video on her iPad. Oh well, I got her outside. Baby steps.

I tested the pool water and I've finally got the pH balance right! But the chlorine levels are still way too low, and the alkalinity too high. How do I reduce the alkalinity without stuffing up the pH? That doesn't make sense. If I add more acid, the pH will change! We have a 'mineral pool' which means we have some nice minerals in that make the water feel soft, and the chlorine is created by a machine thingy somehow instead of us adding it - but I still have to pour in heaps of hydrochloric acid to adjust the pH. Yes, you read that right, hydrochloric acid! H2SO4. Nasty stuff, it burns when you get a drop splash on your hand. I wore gloves once, a drop got on the glove and started sizzling and turned red. Easier to just quickly wash it off my skin than try to pull a sizzling glove off!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017



Today was the promised hot and sunny one - and I believe it got up to 33C! Crazy for only two weeks into spring. But lovely. And I finally got into the pool!

It took me a long time to ease in but I ended up going in up to my neck. We've been heating the pool for the past few days and got it up to 25C. Aiden was cannonballing off the top of the waterfall (we waited until he got home from school). Tim was home too today. Jasmine didn't get home until late so didn't go in, but she braved it before when it was first filled. 

It was so good to finally get to use the pool after a year of construction and delays and then a couple of months of winter. Today's heatwave was a one-off, the weather will be going back to normal spring for a while so I don't expect to swim again for another month at least. 

I had some of my energy back today, I potted up some herbs in the garden - in the morning before it got hot - and went for a walk after it got hot which was a bit... hot. Otherwise lots of TAFE homework. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Grey and gloomy


PMS plus post-flu sadness has left me rather down today. It was supposed to be a lovely summery day; and although it isn't cold, it's grey and gloomy. Tomorrow is still forecast as hot - but windy, so I don't know if that is any better. We've been using the pool heater for the past three days which has definitely taken the chill out of the water (the best we could hope for at this time of year, considering we turn it off at night and don't have a pool blanket) in hopes of being able to try out the new pool tomorrow. I haven't been in yet. We'll see.

I spent the whole day studying. No motivation to exercise or go outside, except to water the turf again. It all seems to have survived the first week, which is good. The vegetable seedlings all look healthy too.

Headachy and cranky. I'll get over it.

Weigh in


Another Monday, another happy weigh-in. 1.3 kg this week, so a total of 5.7 kg lost in four weeks. Current weight 79.0 kg. And my waist measurement is down too.

I had a quiet day studying. My teacher for one subject finally updated things, so I was able to catch up on the past two weeks plus this week. I feel relieved to have got up to date with that one. Five other subjects to go! And I have an assessment this week - a mock reference interview (pretending she is a library customer needing help) with my teacher. I'm not worried about that, I did ten years of customer service.

I was feeling well today, but with none of the extra energy that I was hoping would return. Tim went to work, Jasmine went to school but not dance practice, and she's on antibiotics for her ear. Aiden is his usual bouncy self. I think we need a bit more time to get back to normal.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

I see it


I took Jasmine shopping this morning and we managed to find her some cute summer things. Hard to find something nice though. Only a few places seem to sell clothes for young teens. I never choose for her anymore, she doesn't like the same things I do! She didn't get all black today though - except the new sneakers.

In the afternoon I was feeling really tired and slumped in front of the TV. Dozed off a bit. Tim was cleaning the house, which I though was nice especially considering we were going to my brother-in-law's for dinner this week so we didn't need to impress anyone (or rather, not shock anyone). But then he mentioned people would be here in half an hour. Arg! Turns out they were coming here for the afternoon before we all headed over to Nick's for dinner. So I woke myself up and did some frantic tidying. Still tired and headachy though. Maybe not completely over the flu, although I was feeling good yesterday. Jasmine also had a bit of a return of symptoms.

We had dinner at Nick's but didn't stay long, and by the time we got home Tim was feeling sick! Not boding well for the week ahead.

No one has noticed yet that I've lost weight, a bit over 5kg now. I'm feeling thinner, but obviously no one else sees it. Today shopping surrounded by all those mirrors, for once I didn't hate seeing myself. I've still got a lot to lose but my stomach doesn't stick out so much. Oh well, I see the difference.

[nb Tim and the kids know I have lost weight - I keep pointing it out!]

Friday, September 8, 2017

Vegetable patch


Today I had Tim home to help me with the vegetable patch. He attacked the bed with a pick and managed to break up the rocks/compacted soil deep enough for my little seedlings to survive. Lots more rocks emerged, of course. They breed in the dirt. Jasmine and I planted out the baby vegetables.

They don't look like much yet, but they'll grow! Tomatoes, jalapeno chilli, capsicum, beans, peas, snow peas and cucumbers. I have some herbs to put in pots at the end but I accidentally put the potting mix in the garden bed along with the manure yesterday. I'll get some more on Monday. 

Jasmine's ear and throat seem to be all better, although she still has a runny nose. 

We are going to run the pool heat pump for the next few days and see how much it warms up the water, a heatwave is predicted for the middle of next week, up to 31C!! That is summer temperature, not the second week of spring! Maybe Tim and I will get to try out the pool. But not if the water is still freezing. 

More rocks, and a lost dog


I feel completely better today, yay! But Jasmine is still home sick, not yay. However, by late afternoon she seemed a lot better so yay.

I was heading home from the grocery shopping this morning, only a few doors away from my house, and there was a dog sniffing around on the road. A little black and white spaniel that I hadn't seen around here before. It showed no inclination to move. I stopped, it didn't budge. I rolled the car a bit closer. The dog looked up at me through the windshield and wagged its tail hopefully. I honked. It stood there staring at me. I live in a narrow street and when there are cars parked on both sides, as there was here, there is no room to go around. If you meet a car going the other way, one of you has to find space to pull over to the side to let the other pass. Even a little dog was a formidable barrier. And I was pretty sure the poor thing was lost. I was going to get out of the car but then a man came over from a nearby house and called the dog which ran to him. It obviously wasn't the man's dog, we shrugged at each other and I drove on. But then I felt guilty. I'd just handed responsibility for this lost dog over to someone else. But I had groceries to get into the fridge and a sick child at home, and I had a car sitting in the middle of the road. I hope the dog was wearing a collar with a tag, or at least microchipped (which is compulsory in Australia) and it wasn't too much hassle for the man.

In the afternoon I got stuck into some heavy gardening work. I'd already mostly weeded the area beside the house that I am going to use as a vegetable patch, it used to have plants in it but after various heavy machinery drove over it (and over, and over, and over) to get to the backyard we were left with a heavily-compacted wasteland with a few weeds. Oh, and lots of rocks, just like everywhere else on this property. Today I picked up another bucket-full of rocks, then spread out several bags of manure and compost and dug it in and raked it out ready for planting tomorrow. It looks quite nice (smells a bit manurey though, as Aiden pointed out, and so did I until I had a shower) but the problem is when I was digging I kept hitting rock only a few centimetres down. Big rocks, like maybe attached to the earth's crust. There is not enough soil over the rock, in about a third of the whole bed, to really sustain anything. I'll get Tim to have a dig tomorrow, he may be able to pull out a few boulders. Otherwise I'll be planting around those areas, maybe putting pots on top!

I was totally exhausted after an hour and a half, had a shower and fell asleep in my chair. But I feel like I actually got some exercise today, first time this week.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Ear and throat


Aiden went to school today but Jasmine is still home, now with an ear and throat infection. I took her to the doctor this morning, but they just said to wait and see. If it's still bad tomorrow she'll start antibiotics. But of course if it's a virus then antibiotics can't help. It's not just school she's missing, but also all her after-school sports and activities. It's only two weeks until her first acrogym (acrobatic gymnastics) competition.

I'd already decided before I knew Jas was still sick that I wasn't going to TAFE today, I don't feel great but at least I'm better than yesterday. It's hard to be patient while my body recovers. Sitting around. At least I'm getting lots of study done! I got those two assignments in, so I feel a bit more relaxed about that.

One of my online subjects is so disorganised though. There have been a few issues, the most recent was that I couldn't access last week or this week's content, although weeks after that were open. I contacted the teacher who eventually fixed it. On Monday I started last week's work, and it was something I had to start then the teacher does something before I can continue. And she hasn't done her bit yet. So I'm still stuck half-way through last week's task with this week nearly over. Going by the forum, it's happening to everyone. I'd forgive if it was one-off (who knows, she may be sick too) but this sort of thing has been happening since the start of the Semester. To be fair, the original teacher left and this subject was dropped in this teacher's lap two weeks in (but everyone knew the other teacher was leaving so very bad organisation).

I also did a tiny bit of weeding and pruning, nothing strenuous. And of course watering the new turf twice a day! It still seems to be alive. I've only been getting in around 4,000 steps a day while sick (instead of 10-12,000 recently), but ironically that was a normal day for me "before". And in the past a sick day would mean about 1,500 steps!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Share it around


I'm feeling a bit better than yesterday, but I have both kids home sick today. Looks like the flu has been shared around. Tim is achy too but went to work. Sydney is having a terrible flu season at the moment.



I woke up feeling like rubbish this morning, headache and all over body ache - especially my neck and shoulders. So I guess it's flu, not just a cold. Felt better during the day but awful again in the evening. I spent most of the day struggling to get some homework done. Two assignments due this week. Urg.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Another sunny day


Weigh-in day! 80.3 kg, another 0.9 kg down. Nice steady loss. My eating has been on-point and I've been doing lots of heavy gardening work and getting in 10,000 steps just moving around, but I think it might be time to do some more cardio. Back to dancing in my lounge room maybe. But not today, I'm still not feeling 100%. Jasmine is unwell now too.

I've noticed a couple of unexpected side-effects of the medication. I have had some dry patches on my face for years that flare up when I have a hot bath or shower (ie most days) and become red and scaly. Since starting Duromine they have completely gone. My skin is soft and smooth all the time, even after a long hot bath. I've found in forums that other people have noticed an improvement in skin conditions. Unfortunately it seems to go away as soon as you stop the pills.

The other thing is my night sweats, that I've been having 2-4 times a week for a couple of years now. They've gone too. I didn't realise until the last couple of night waking in the night a bit hot because of my sunburnt neck and suddenly remembered I haven't been waking drenched in sweat, not for weeks. So that is a very nice side effect.

One that is not so good, although it is more a primary effect than a side effect, is I have a lot of energy which means I don't want to sit still. I don't feel manic or anything, just energetic and keen to be up and doing. This is, from one perspective, a downside because I am much less interested in studying. I haven't finished last week's tasks and I'm really going to have to buckle down this week. I've got some assignments looming. And I got a couple of things back with the comment 'Good work, but a bit brief' instead of my usual excellence. I'd just much rather be out in the garden, or going for a walk! I haven't been playing my favourite computer game World of Warcraft at all (I don't care about that!) even though some new content and 43 new pets were just released. I did notice the restlessness yesterday morning when I was feeling sick but didn't spend much time sitting around, I still got in 10,000 steps by the end of the day pottering around the garden and cleaning the house and making family dinner. Normally if I was feeling sick I'd be sitting feeling sorry for myself. Instead I picked up rocks and felt sorry for myself!

I buckled down today and got some homework done. But also spent time outside watering the turf (twice a day while it's establishing roots) and planting some flowers in a sunny spot.

Tim was at an all day meeting in another city today and they worked through lunch with no break and no food all day! They were offered a glass of water, that was all. That is not normal! I would be fainting, or hangry or something. I'd at least bring up the subject! Tim just got something at the airport on the way home. How rude of the organisers.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Fathers' Day


Tim and I paid for all our hard work and time in the sun yesterday - aching bodies and sunburn today! We took it easier today but still got out in the garden, watering the new grass and tidying up a bit, moving some pots around. My cold seems worse today, and overall I felt quite unwell. I sat outside battling nausea and watching Tim vacuum the pool and wondered if I should cancel Fathers' Day dinner. Luckily by mid-afternoon I was feeling a lot better so it was still on. We had everyone over for a lovely family gathering. My goodness two babies and a toddler can be loud though!

I am proud of my efforts today. I was surrounded by snacks in the afternoon but I weighed out one treat and stuck to that. New-normal size dinner and no dessert. Only water to drink.

I spoke to my Aunty Pat on the phone, she is going to help me organise a headstone for my dad's grave as she lives there and I am 12 hours away. Also it's only a few years since she organised her husband's funeral so she knows what to do. But I have to think of what I want engraved. Dad was definitely in my thoughts today.

Happy Fathers' Day to all the dads out there.

Friday, September 1, 2017



This morning the rolls of turf arrived. We didn't know what time they would come, and it turned out to be while we were still in bed! I put on ugg boots and a jumper over my pjs and went out to direct the guy with the little forklift. He got them up the slope of our front yard, but Tim still had to carry them one by one to the backyard - and they weighed at least 10 kg each. Some a lot more, it depended how much dirt was attached to the grass.

Tim took Aiden to his tennis lesson and I measured the width of the grass rolls - the website had said 45 cm but they were 60 cm! This threw out all my levelling/smoothing calculations and I spent the next hour moving more dirt around.

When Tim got home we got stuck into the turf laying. It took about three hours. The grass is mainly a two-roll-wide strip around the pool, with an extra area in one corner for seating.


Neat rolls waiting in the shade:

And after:

Doesn't it look great! I was getting sick of looking at bare dirt. There is more than you can see in that picture as it goes around three sides of the pool, and Tim had to do a lot of cutting to fit them around the curves so it was a lot of work. Tim did all the carrying and cutting, I just helped place them, but I was still utterly exhausted by the time we finished!

The bare patches next to the fence will be filled with tropical plants, but we should probably wait until there is no danger of cold nights so they have a year to establish before they have to deal with winter. You can grow select tropical plants in Sydney ok but it does get a bit cold for them in winter so not a good time to plant.

While we were still working outside the heater guy came - luckily I had warned him that we might be out the back and if no one answered the door to come through the gate. He replaced the bits that needed replacing so we have a working heater again - although I don't know if we'll need it, it was beautiful today and is going to be 28C tomorrow! It will probably get cold again for a little while though before spring really kicks in.

I don't know if the plants are worried though, we have beautiful freesias popping up all over the place:

And our little peach tree in a pot is in flower:
Spring is a beautiful thing.



First day of spring. And it was lovely outside. Still freezing inside though.

I saw my doctor this morning. She was happy with my progress and gave me a script for another month of Duromine. The first pack of 30 pills didn't last a month because I was taking 2 x 15mg a day. This time I got 30mg.

I did the grocery shopping and had lunch then waited in my frigid house for the heater repair man to arrive (any time 12-4), gazing longingly out the window at the spring sunshine. I tried doing some study, but honestly I got so cold sitting still that I couldn't concentrate. I did things that involved a bit of movement instead like folding the laundry, and washing dishes (mmm, hot water).

The guy turned up at 2pm, not as late as I feared, he investigated and found that the heater itself is fine but the control panel is broken. So it will be expensive but not hideously expensive to fix. Bad news is he needed to get the part and will come back tomorrow. At least he could come on Saturday. One more evening. Once I have a hot bath and snuggle under the covers I'm fine.

After he'd gone I was able to get outside and stuck into gardening. Tim came home really early, to attend a Fathers' Day thing at Aiden's school in the afternoon, so he was able to help. We finished getting the ground flattened and smoothed for the turf tomorrow, and Tim put together the high pressure water cleaner thing that we are going to use to deal with the mess of powdered concrete the tiler left behind, and he cleaned part of the area before he got too wet and cold, and I potted up some plants for our courtyard area.

Then I remembered that I hadn't actually taken my script to the pharmacy so I walked up to the shops and did that. Tired feet by the time I got home. I still have a runny nose from my cold but I seem to have bounced back quickly and didn't feel too bad today. I've been getting in my 10,000 steps every day as well as all the gardening. It's lovely to have some energy.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cold squared


We are getting the heater repaired tomorrow (assuming they can fix it) so only one more night and day of freezing... I've come down with Jasmine's cold. I know you don't catch a cold because you are cold, but I think it lowers your defences! I went into TAFE today and got through my morning class but then went home at lunchtime as I wasn't feeling very well and just couldn't sit through another two and a half hours.

We are getting ready-to-lay turf delivered on Saturday for next to the pool. It will be nice when it isn't all just bare dirt! Well, bare dirt full of rocks. And tree roots. And tree roots entwined around rocks. There will still be plenty of space for other plants, but we thought a bit of grass would be nice to walk and sit on. Tomorrow is the first day of spring, and the weather is supposed to warm up on the weekend.

Tim gets Aiden ready for school on Thursdays after I've left. He usually has school uniform but today it was a book week thing so he was in mufti (he decided not to dress up as a book character). Tim didn't notice he was wearing a pyjama top under his jumper! Last week Tim didn't notice Aiden was wearing his school trousers on backwards. My darling husband is excellent with the kids, but I guess he doesn't think things like that are important. And I guess at ten years old Aiden should be able to dress himself!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017



This morning the heater refused to turn on. We have no idea what is wrong, and the scanty 25 year old instruction manual offers no advice, but Tim will clean the filter tonight (it's out of my reach even with a chair, on the ceiling) and if that doesn't help I will have to call a repair man tomorrow. Arg, more tradesmen! So I was very cold all day except when I was working in the garden in the late afternoon.

The council man came to do final certification for our pool. He said everything looked fine, which is awesome. Now I wait for the paperwork and get my bond back from council - the bond was to cover if we damaged council property like the sidewalk while getting the machinery in.

Aiden and I built a little retaining wall on a sloping bit of ground out of a few of the rocks that came out of the recent digging. All the rock from the actual pool excavation was taken away, but there are still big rocks in every shovelful of dirt! Basically we're sitting on rock here. Most of the ones I'd dug up were thrown in the skip before I decided I wanted to keep a few, so I didn't have the best ones to work with and they may be too small to make an effective wall.
Update: cleaning the filter didn't work - getting a repair man but not until Friday! Brrrr.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Where does the day go?


I am down another 1.2 kg this week which I think is pretty good. Of course I would love to be one of those people for whom weight just falls off when they do the right things (eat less/stick to healthy food/exercise) but I can't compare myself to those people who lose 5kg or something in a week on Duromine - especially since their starting weight was probably much higher. 1.2 kg is great, and 3.5 kg in two weeks is even better! I doubt I've ever lost so much so fast. My face looks better already.

Also I have almost none of the side effects (or only mildly) that plague other people. At this point I'd recommend Duromine (phentermine) to anyone wanting to lose weight, as long as it's approved and prescribed by your doctor who says it's safe for you, but with the caveat that everyone has a different experience and it may not be right for you.

The morning was spent visiting the library, grocery shopping and watching the finale to Game of Thrones (very exciting), then lunch and another hour in the garden moving dirt around. Tim inexplicably filled the wheelbarrow with rocks on the weekend, so I had to use a bucket! Lots of trips back and forth. A cup of tea while studying my garden design library books, the kids come home from school and I spend an hour helping Jasmine revise for a Maths test tomorrow, then pay some bills, take Jasmine to dance lesson and it's time to make dinner... where does the day go? What about my own homework that I planned to do? And the baskets of laundry that need to be folded? And a couple of phone calls I wasn't looking forward to (oh deary me, have to put them off again) and all the other stuff.

I got about half of the things on my to-do list for the day ticked off, is that a pass mark?

Saturday, August 26, 2017



This morning we went to see Jo in hospital. She's recovering well from the operation and will go home in a couple of days. She seemed in good spirits, considering, although she still feels that the 4 week delay since they found the mass might have made all the difference. Also, rather oddly, that her 50 years of smoking didn't cause the lung cancer. She sees the oncologist on Monday to find out what happens next.

Then we went to the Hardware store, which also has a plant nursery, and bought some garden stuff. We were there a lot longer than we expected and it was nearly 2pm when we left and I hadn't eaten since breakfast about six hours before! Tim and the kids had a sausage sandwich at the hardware store, and the kids also had hot chocolates at the hospital, but I was trying to stick to healthy food so waited until we got home. By then I was feeling a bit sick and trembly and almost teary, I assume my blood sugar was low. I'd planned to make a nice soup for lunch, no time for that obviously, I just shovelled whatever I could find into my mouth. I could never do a fast, at least not without bad consequences, I don't understand how people can feel good not eating. I feel horrible!

When I recovered, Tim and I did some work in the garden. Mostly digging up a huge rock and two huge plant root systems that had been left in the ground and were sticking up now that I'd levelled the dirt. He vacuumed the pool but unfortunately the filter thing got stuck in the skimmer box and we can't get it out! I've looked online and it's not uncommon, sometimes you have to break it (it's plastic) to get it out and buy a new one. I hope it doesn't come to that.

It's storming outside now. There was a forecast of rain for today, I'm glad it waited until late afternoon so we got some time outside.

Good and bad


Starting with the good news: this morning Tim and I were out the back discussing the soft landscaping (plants) and we saw Craig in his backyard (we have a high fence but if we are on the high part of our backyard and he is in the low part of his, we can see each other) so we called him over to ask how he felt about the heat pump noise. "Is it on right now?" he asked. I almost danced with glee. He was about 2 metres away from it and he couldn't hear it! So yay. He says it's fine, our air conditioner and the pump in the shed are louder (possibly an ungracious way to give in, to mention our other noises) and we had a nice chat. So the heat pump is fine, we can get on with the landscaping. Only one more hurdle to go - "final inspection" of the pool from the council. They already approved the fences, so I don't know what problem there could be, but you never know! I'll organise that on Monday, I was waiting to hear if we needed to move the heat pump first.

Now the bad news. I mentioned a few weeks ago that my father-in-law Des's partner Jo (they've been together at least 5 years but could be longer) found out she had lung cancer. Apparently she did smoke for 50 years. She is 70 years old and very obese, so the prognosis didn't seem good. The doctors spent a few weeks doing more painful tests - she wanted to get the lump removed straight away but there were frustrating delays - then operated yesterday, planning to remove the affected lobe of her lung. But the cancer had already moved into her chest. They closed her up without removing the lobe, no point. When we heard from Des last night, Jo was still recovering from the operation and didn't know yet. But this is obviously very bad news. They are going to try chemo and/or radiotherapy and ever-optimistic Des thinks she still could have a good few years. Having had both my parents die from cancer, I am more pessimistic. I feel very sorry for Des, he looked after his sick wife for years before she died about 10 years ago, now he is going to go through it again. I don't know if we'll be visiting her in hospital this weekend, we'll see what she wants us to do.

Maybe I shouldn't be so pessimistic. Some people respond very well to treatment. I tend to expect the worst, I think.

Today we did a lot of gardening, just about all the dirt is moved to where we want it. It was beautiful outside, like spring which is only a week away. Lots of hard physical labour with shovel and wheelbarrow. I had a lot of energy today. No interest in sitting inside, I wanted to be outside doing! The dry mouth was much less today which is great. Good appetite control.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Cotton mouth


I went up to 30mg of Duromine this morning. Still no manic energy or complete loss of hunger, but good appetite suppression and a little more energy. Not much different to the first few days on 15mg. Except this afternoon I started to experience the dry mouth side effect. I can live with that, it will encourage me to drink more!

Study, grocery shopping and moving dirt around the garden, pretty normal day. Oh, and the skip bin finally got taken away at around 5pm! Yay. Big ugly thing gone.

The best thing that happened today was that Tim came home! He's been away most of the week for work. But he got home this evening. So that makes it a great day.

Thursday, August 24, 2017



Brrrr it's cold!

Yesterday we finally got the heat pump for our pool plugged in. We turned it on for a few hours (we have no intention of running it all winter, it's to extend the swimming season into spring and autumn) and it seemed very quiet to me. I went over to our neighbour's house and told him it was on so he could listen and tell us what he thought, let us know if the noise was a problem. I was in and out of the house all afternoon, digging in the garden, so if he came over to speak to me I missed him. And I was out all today. So still don't know his opinion or if we need to get the heat pump (huge thing, and plumbed into the other pool equipment) moved to further away from the fence.

The tiler broke his 50 millionth promise to come and clean up yesterday, it's been over a month now I think. I didn't want to let him off the hook but it's taking up too much valuable real estate in my head! I plan to put a bad review online but otherwise let it go. Aiden and I attacked the stains (I think it's concrete dust?) all over our new rockwork with a scrubbing brush and a bucket of water, and it comes off with a bit of elbow grease. Or we could hire a pressure washer from the hardware store, maybe. I'm stick of waiting for him and stressing about it. Let it go.

And the other ongoing thing is this skip bin still out the front. I think I've called four times and texted twice. Yesterday he said, 'oh didn't the guys pick it up on Saturday? It was on the list.' 'Well no, they didn't, it's still there.' 'Ok, we'll pick it up today or tomorrow.' Well guess what tomorrow is over and it's still there. I guess I call again tomorrow. It's kind of funny really, but a pain.

After two days when I felt the Duromine wasn't working as well, I then had two good days, but today it seemed to have no affect at all. Hungry, tired. I've eaten my calories for the day and haven't had dinner yet. And slept on the train this afternoon. And I'm very cold, but I can't blame that on the Duromine, that is just winter. I am really really craving KFC right now and I don't know if I'll be able to resist when I go and pick up the kids from sport. I think it's time to increase my dose up to 30mg, which is what the doctor suggested I do after a week (it's been more than a week). I can always go back if the side effects are bad or something, but I seem to need more than the 15mg. Most people do. I'll give it a try.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017



I'd spent two days not really feeling it - eating a bit too much and not exercising enough. I didn't get to my goal of 7,500 steps either day. But I'm back today! Doing well with the calories, 11,000 steps and a session of digging in the garden.

We haven't done any planting yet, we're still moving the dirt around and picking out some of the big rocks, sticks, old tuna cans, plastic, cigarette butts, chunks of concrete etc. Hard work! Also did some TAFE homework. My mental focus probably wasn't as good today, I wanted to be up and doing instead of sitting still and freezing.

Monday, August 21, 2017



Monday is weigh in day, and this week that is an exciting thing! I started the appetite suppressants on Wednesday but I actually started eating healthy on the Tuesday so I lost my water weight before I started Duromine, so I'm just going to keep Monday as my weigh-in day. Other days just don't feel right as official weigh-in anyway.

Last Monday: 84.7 kg
Wednesday: 83.8
Today: 82.4
Week one loss: 2.3 kg

That is such an awesome loss! I'm very happy with that. My pants are already back to being comfortable.

Back to my 'normal' sleep pattern, unfortunately, waking at 5am for an hour of tossing and turning before drifting back to sleep for a little while. Managed about seven hours.

For some reason today I felt a bit down. No motivation or energy. I forced myself out for a walk, but afterwards was so sleepy I dozed off in front of the TV. I've got quite a heavy workload of study and I'm feeling a bit behind already, it's only week 5 of the semester. I need to get started on my assessments. And of course there is always a long list of other things to get done.

Normally if I'm out-of-sorts or depressed, food is my friend. Entertains me when I'm bored, cheers me up when I'm sad, keeps me company when I'm lonely. So what do you do when you're trying to change that toxic relationship?

One thing I did do, I realised I was whining to the kids (yet again) about Sydney tradesmen and suddenly realised what a first-world problem that was. So we've had delays getting things done, boo hoo. We've got a comfortable house, and a pool, and food on the table, and money for dance lessons... the kids joined in with me listing all the things (material stuff, this time) that we are thankful and fortunate for. Next time I'll focus on the non-material things, like family. I honestly did feel better after we turned the conversation around.

Sunday, August 20, 2017



This is our waterfall working! The water looks clearer now too. Sparkling green.

I had an awesome night's sleep last night! At least eight hours of solid sleep, no restlessness or early waking, woke just before seven. Amazing!

And here is a really weird thing that I don't think can be related to Duromine, miracle pill though it is, this morning I could almost do my bra up by myself. I tore my left shoulder years ago and have had several rounds of physio (rarely doing my homework) without getting much change, I could hardly put that arm behind my back at all. I could get my thumb to the small of my back. Well today I can suddenly reach all the way up to my bra, not quite enough reach to do it up yet. Not sure why the sudden improvement, I'm sure I couldn't do that a couple of weeks ago.

I don't know if I was actually hungrier today, but I ate more. 30 calories over my limit! I'm trying not to make a big deal out of that, but I'm a bit disappointed. On the other hand I didn't actually weigh my dinner so maybe I overestimated! We had lots of family over in the afternoon, when I ate some cheese and crackers but did NOT eat a brownie, then casserole and mashed potato when I had more than I really needed. Only two bites of dessert. Two bites too many!

Saturday, August 19, 2017



Another fairly poor night's sleep, not unusual for me plus see reasons detailed below, but of course the Duromine might have contributed. My weight continues to go down a bit each day which is awesome.

Yesterday before dinner I decided to do some exercise. I already had more than 10,000 steps but my Fitbit wasn't registering me as having done my 30 mins for the day, presumably walking around shopping centres and on gentle hills doesn't get my heartrate up high enough to count. I tried a bit of Just Dance but found it a bit hard on my shoulders, too much arm work (my shoulder pain varies a lot with things other than too much computer - cold weather, being sick, or that time of the month) so I switched to Kinect Adventures. I did a game where you are on a virtual conveyer belt and have to dodge obstacles as they appear. Squat and duck to get under, jump high to get over, dodge from side to side. Really intense exercise. I was puffing and panting, sweating, heart rate up to 150 at one point. Totally normal for my level of fitness.

The thing is, the medication has given me energy and motivation to exercise, but hasn't magically made me fitter or given me extra endurance. So half an hour of that was really tough, and then I realised after my shower how sore my legs were! All the squatting and jumping. I was stiff and sore for the rest of the evening, and it was one of the things that might have kept me awake a bit last night. Sore this morning but better once I started moving around.

Tim's plane home last night was delayed due to the weather - it's still really windy today - and he wasn't going to get home until nearly midnight so I decided to go to bed at my usual time of around 10:30. Just as I was drifting off there was a loud high pitched electronic beep. About 10 seconds later, again. I got up and tracked it down. The smoke alarm was telling me it's battery was low. Every 10 seconds, a horrible screech that echoed around the house. Problem was, even standing on a chair I wasn't even close to reaching it. The kids didn't seem to wake up. I decided to just go back to bed and wait for Tim, but I of course I couldn't sleep. Poor Tim got home after a day that started at 5am, after a long week, and had to deal with that.

A bit of nausea after breakfast again, and worse after lunch. I went for a brisk walk to get some steps in, won't be over 10,000 but should be over my current goal of 7,500.

We spent most of the afternoon with the pool guy here doing the handover. It took two and a half hours! Explaining all the switches and how to balance the pH of the pool and everything. Most of that time Tim and I were standing outside with him, and as the afternoon wore on it got sooooo cold. By the time we came in I was an icicle. BUT it's (nearly) all done. Sort of. We have to spend the week adding more acid slowly, then test again next weekend. Not that we want to swim anyway! We all put our arms in at various times to feel the spa jets or lift the filter and it was so so cold. The water feature looks great, it was getting dark when  I took a photo, I'll take a better one tomorrow and post then.

One problem came up though, the heat pump isn't wired up to electricity yet! The plumbing is done but not the electricity. Pretty sure no one told me I had to get that organised. But anyway, I'll call our electrician on Monday. So we still don't know how that is going to sound, or if we need to move it to pacify the neighbours.

You may remember we got a big skip bin two weeks ago for our big clean up. Well it's still sitting out the front. I've talked to the guy three times and he keeps saying he'll pick it up, yesterday he said he would today. But it's still there! What is it with Sydney tradesmen?

And our tiler in the past couple of weeks has promised Monday, then Thursday, now next Wednesday. Sigh.

Oh well, we have a pool with a working light and beautiful waterfall and it looks lovely when I'm not freezing my toes off.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ducks and drums


Busy day. I slept poorly last night. The Duromine might have contributed to that, but it's just as likely my silly brain being over-vigilant because Tim had to get up really early for a flight. There was extra stress too, he got a text last night that his flight had been cancelled and he'd been put on a later one, and he called them to see if there was anything earlier and was given the run-around and never actually got confirmation about what flight he was on! Just 'they would call if there was a problem'. So it's typical for me to wake frequently under those circumstances, to check the time.

I felt fine in the morning though, I haven't felt tired at all today. And my jelly legs are back to normal!

I had a full-size breakfast (omelette) then spent the morning out shopping. I went to the further-away big shops to get things I can't get locally -- like mascara that doesn't make my eyes explode, and books -- then grocery shopping. By the time I got home at 1:00 I was starving! I made myself a big stir-fry of vegetables with some cashews and garlic, but only ate about a third of the bowl. It's like my stomach has shrunk, or been stapled. I still get hungry, even ravenous, but a small amount of food satisfies me. The best thing is that when I'm not hungry I'm not obsessing about food or craving junk or sugar. I do still think about food and plan my meals but I'm not being driven to eat all the time just out of boredom or whatever.

Still slight nausea sometimes after eating, and I burp and feel better.

It is dangerously windy here today, driving home there were four lots of branches on the road. I had to change lanes to go around them. Tim's flight was ok getting away, I hope planes are still landing to bring him home again and not too bumpy! I walked up to Aiden's school in the afternoon to see his assembly, it was a bit scary walking under trees, branches dropping everywhere. Maybe I should have worn a bike helmet. But I was determined to get some exercise in.

On the way, almost opposite our house, were a lovely family of ducks.
Such cute little babies!

I went to assembly because Aiden was playing drums. He's been having lessons before school all year, for some reason they've teamed drums and ukuleles. And for this performance also the choir. He was the only one playing 'real' drums - i.e. a big drum kit, the others were playing little bongos. Or ukuleles, as the case may be. And there were two separate groups of choir/bongos/ukuleles who did one song each, but Aiden stayed on for both! Very exciting. But. I literally couldn't see him at all once they were all on stage. He was at the back, with everyone else standing or sitting in front of him. And he is very little. I could hear him though. I'm very pleased that he was chosen for the more complicated instrument, we are a musical family. It might have helped that we have a drum kit at home! (and three guitars, keyboard, ukulele, accordion, two violins, clarinet...) Not that he ever practises at home, of course. Jasmine hardly ever practices either. And I can't play anything - I only sing!

I had some fruit and yoghurt in the afternoon though I wasn't really hungry yet, and I'll have a nice dinner tonight of small steak and salad. I feel it's going really well. Duromine doesn't magically melt the fat off, but I'm definitely getting hunger suppression with minimal side effects. I do the rest.  

I also joined a Dietbet, where you have to lose 4% of your bodyweight in 4 weeks. I find the groups there very supportive. No trolls, just people cheering each other on. 

Jelly legs


Report on Day Two...
The Duromine didn't seem to affect my sleep at all. It was the same pattern as it has been most nights for a while now, get to sleep fairly easily, stay asleep until 5 am, an hour of restless tossing and turning and short periods of drifting off, then another hour of lying awake before I get up. And none of the 'cotton mouth' that a majority of users seem to get.

It was my day at TAFE. I always do a lot of walking on that day, over 10,000 steps just getting from place to place, but today it seemed harder than usual. Hills were exhausting. I chose to walk up three flights of stairs instead of taking the lift, normally that wouldn't challenge me much. Today it left me with jelly legs and out of breath! Unfortunate if I get less energy rather than the boundless amounts most people seem to get! I've been on the forums and it has happened to a few people. Like all side effects it should pass - I hope.

The actual promise of the diet pill is as a appetite suppressant. It seems to be doing that, a bit. I've eaten lots of small meals and snacks over the day. I definitely get hungry. But I can eat a smaller amount and be satisfied. And I haven't been tempted by junk. No apparent cravings.

A possible alternative cause of the tiredness is that I actually started eating healthy on Tuesday, a day before starting the pills (because you have to take them first thing and I didn't get them until late morning) so this is day three of no sugar or junk food. Could be withdrawal? Or the lower calories, but I am definitely still eating a reasonable amount of food. I want to eat a bit less, still getting too hungry between meals.

Anyway, I'm hoping that the weakness will pass. I'm due to increase my dosage after the first week, so that will be interesting to see if the appetite or side effects change. I can always drop back to the lower dose if that works for me better.

Here is the nice bench I sit on at lunchtime at TAFE, about the only pretty spot in the rather grim campus.
Oh, good news, my friend Sarah is back in class. She is working part time but her schedule changed so she is in one of my classes now. Yay! She is the English one. Looks a bit like Adele. So that was nice.

(Edit: Tim says he is crushingly tired the past few days and blames it on current pollen count or pollution from burn-off, so my jelly legs and lack of energy could be environmentally caused.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day One


For the record, I weighed in this morning at 83.8 kg.

I had my usual restless sleep last night, waking for a long time from around 5am then drifting off for a while into night sweats and frustrating dreams, then waking about 6:30 with a bit of a headache, when I got up and took my first pill. I mention the bad sleep and headache to show they predate taking the Duromine are not a side effect (necessarily) if/when it happens again. My night sweat frustration dream was funny, I couldn't find the diet pills and then was trying to weigh myself and had to wait in line for all my relatives to weigh themselves first and then the scales kept giving me crazy numbers like 2.5 kg or over 200 kg so I had to keep trying over again. Silly. I don't enjoy these dreams but I'm very glad I don't have scary nightmares instead, I can deal with a bit of frustration.

Early morning was much as usual, I never want breakfast and have to make myself eat so that I don't get suddenly ravenous mid-morning and make bad choices, no change there. Slight nausea after breakfast of homemade yoghurt with passionfruit and chia seeds. I've made a careful food plan for the next few days, just in case I lose all interest in eating - still have to nourish and fuel my body!

BTW the skin around my eyes is still sore and dry and inflamed after three days. I tried putting some soothing cream on but it stung like fury, which probably means the skin is broken. But then this morning I tried slices of cucumber on my eyes. So nice! And with lasting effect. Sometimes the old remedies are the best. Apple cider vinegar worked on my foot wart when none of the commercial preparations or freezing did.

When my Fitbit finished charging, I went and did some exercise. Half an hour of Just Dance (Xbox active game) then 10 mins Tai Chi to cool down. I felt a tiny bit lightheaded during dance and kept my eye on my heartrate (132bpm was the highest, which is fine, right in the zone. When I looked it up just now it said I should be able to talk but not sing - well I was trying to sing along to a couple of songs and really struggling so that was about right!) and made sure I was drinking. That is a lot more exercise than I usually do (ie mostly none) but I can't decide if the Duromine has actually given me more energy or if it's a kind of placebo effect, where I'm determined to make the most of any possible extra energy... whatever, I did it.

I was definitely hungry by lunchtime, certainly not 'no interest in food'. I had a nice stir fry of pork, cashews and vegetables. Again, a little nausea after eating, not too bad. I went for a walk after lunch, to the shops and back, 30 mins gentle exercise. My legs were tired, maybe after already exercising this morning, I found the hills hard. But that is a bit more exercise, a bit more fat gone!

But all this exercise meant less time to study today. I didn't get everything done that I wanted to.

I was hungry in the afternoon and ate my afternoon tea of fruit and cheese, and now dinner is cooking in the oven and I'm definitely hungry again!

Verdict after most of Day One: I've eaten less and exercised more with minimal side effects so that is a win. But I'm not sure how much is due to Duromine and how much to the general pattern of the first day of a new diet, when motivation and hope are high. Certainly no dramatic changes in the way I feel. Still interested in food. Which is not a bad thing! But I'll withhold judgement until I have a few more days under my (shrinking) belt.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Diet pills


When I last saw my doctor, she was concerned about my weight and arranged for me to visit the dietician and exercise physiologist. She said if that didn't work, the next step was diet pills - specifically Duramine. I was rather horrified by the whole conversation - firstly that I was fat enough to qualify for subsidised dietician visits, and secondly at the idea of medication. I rarely even take aspirin, turning to 'drugs' is not my natural impulse. But I did some research.

Durmine is amphetamine-based, an appetite suppressant that also gives you energy. Side effects can include insomnia and anxiety. Also 'cotton mouth' ie very dry mouth no matter how much you drink, although that and other side effects should fade after a few days or weeks. When I was about 14 (I thought I was fat, ha!) I stole one of my obese aunt's diet pills, I assume similar to Duramine. For three days I wasn't hungry (I ate at meals so people wouldn't worry) and was full of energy but had a lot of trouble sleeping at night. And I remember an episode of Family Ties where Alex takes a diet pill given by a friend of Mallory, so he can stay up and study. He instead spends the night frantically cleaning the house and even breaking into a neighbour's garage, then sleeping through his exam and missing it. A cautionary tale. I found plenty of people online who hated the side effects and thought it wasn't worth it.

But there are also lots of good stories on the internet chat rooms. People who have had little or no side effects (or thought they were worth it) and lost lots of weight, and kept it off after going off the medication. People who felt the risks inherent in taking any drug were outweighed (forgive the pun) by the health benefits of no longer being obese. Motivating weight loss, energy to exercise, food cravings gone. Short-term insomnia instead of long-term sleep apnoea. No diabetes or joint pain. For some, it really worked.

Well, going to the weight-loss specialists didn't work, in fact I have put on weight. So I did some more research on the diet pills available, and went back to my doctor today. Or rather, the new doctor, as they change every six months. Ugh, she was slender and stunning. I worried that I might have to convince her to prescribe it to me, but after looking at my history, BMI etc, she was quite willing. She did ask if the previous doctor had discussed other options with me. I thought she was going to say medication was a bit extreme and I should try more other things first. But no. She brought up the most extreme solution of all - surgery! I am fat enough that a doctor suggests weight loss surgery could be an option in the future, if Duramine doesn't work. How depressing is that. How long have I been kidding myself that 'I'm not really that fat.'

So I got a prescription for the lowest dose of Duramine (15). You have to take them first thing in the morning so they disrupt sleep as little as possible, so I start tomorrow. Excited/scared/hopeful. I'll keep you updated.

Sunday, August 13, 2017



It looks like I'm allergic to my new mascara. I've been using a fairly expensive department-store mascara for many years now but I'd run out and at the end of last week I grabbed a cheaper (but well-known) brand at Big W. The first time I wore it, the next morning I woke up with gunky eyes but didn't connect the cause and effect. I used it again yesterday and this morning the skin around my eyes is swollen and dark and very sore and I probably look even worse than I feel. Can't even cover it with makeup, I'm not taking that risk. Luckily my eyeballs feel ok, it's just the skin. I won't be wearing mascara again until I find my favourite brand, and my eyes have recovered.

I've been spending most of my time studying, working hard. Nothing particularly exciting happened in my face-to-face classes, I was really tired after a horrible night's sleep and struggling to stay awake. Speaking of dozing off in class, Jessica stayed awake this time but continued to stay in her own little world with little contribution. At one stage we spent about half an hour researching on our computers. Jessica sat the whole time doodling in her notebook, making no attempt to do the work. The teacher called on her first, causing a long awkward period of ums and ahs before the teacher moved on to the next person. I can't help wondering how all this is going to end. I have no idea what is going on in her life, or why she comes to class but actively avoids learning anything.

The swimming pool remains in limbo. We haven't had the handover so things like the filter and water feature still haven't been turned on, and I've put some chemicals in but it's not balanced so not safe to get in. And we haven't been able to resolve the heater issue. The tiler, despite his constant promises of 'next Monday' and 'by the end of the week' over and over, hasn't been back to clean up. We've picked up all the broken tiles and tuna cans etc but we want him to pressure-wash the rocks he's left covered in ... something. On our last contact I said if we had to get someone else to do it I'd be sending him the bill, got a prompt reply with a new promise, won't hold my breath.

We have started preparing the dirt for planting, but can't do much because we don't know if the heat pump will have to be moved, if the pressure washing will kill new plants etc etc. Waiting for other people, as usual.

Aside from those same complaints as always, and the sore eyes, everything is pretty good. We had family over as usual yesterday with a couple of extras, got to see one of the babies I don't see as often, my goodness Samuel has grown! Nine months old now. I got to hold him which was lovely, I don't get cuddles from little Ashleigh any more as she is going through a 'only mummy and daddy can come near me' phase. I think I'm going to enjoy being a grandmother one day, I love cuddling babies but I love being able to give them back!

Monday, August 7, 2017

We need to talk about my weight


I thought I'd halted the upward creep in my weight but this morning I was 84.6 kg, which must be up there with my highest ever. It's not just the scale; my pants are too tight, and my stomach is alarming. There is no mystery about it, I've been eating too much junk and fast food. I know it's unhealthy long-term, but it's also nasty short-term. Several times I've got mouth ulcers from too much sugar. I don't understand why I give myself permission. I've definitely got worse since seeing the dietician twice, I think I rebel against outside advice or maybe panic at the thought of deprivation.

Well if if it has to be my decision I'll make it my decision. I've eaten healthy nourishing foods today, plenty of vegetables, water... and some chocolate. I'm focussing on the healthy things that will do my body good rather than the stuff I shouldn't be eating.

I spoke to the pool people today, apparently the guy who does the handover is away all this week! So we have to wait. They did advise me to pour in a bottle of chlorine, and to fill the pool a bit more. So I ran the tap, and remembered it three hours later. It took 24 hours to fill to where it was but three more hours was enough to take it nearly over the edge! I stopped it just in time. Not sure if I should drain a bit out, or how I would go about that.

Then tonight Tim started the bath running for Aiden then went to pick up Jasmine from her dance lesson. I could hear it running and went up soon after to turn it off. Water overflowing! I had to bucket some out before I could get my arm in to pull the plug. No damage done. Kind of funny, pool and bath in one day.

The only other thing of note today was I did the shopping and was loading the bags into the boot of the car when the door sank down a bit without me noticing. I turned to swing a heavy bag in and brained myself on the door! A passing shopper stopped to ask if I was ok and say I needed to wear a hard hat. No blood, but I've got a sore spot above my left eye.

At least I got home in time to watch Game of Thrones!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Braving the cold water


The kids weren't willing to wait until summer, or even spring! At least it was a lovely warm (for winter) day, over 20 degrees C (68F).

Jasmine dove right in...

Aiden preferred the slow increments of pain...

But they both stayed in for around 20 minutes, turning blue.
At the moment it's just tap water, no chemicals other than those put into the drinking supply by Sydney Water. I figure it's safe enough for a few days before algae/bacteria start to build up.

Although I am keen to try to pool, I'll wait at least until spring! And hopefully with the heater on.

A chat and some hard work

later Saturday:

Well, you'll remember this morning my stress about our neighbour's complaints. I spent the whole morning worrying about that, and stressing because Tim (wanting to get Aiden to his tennis lesson, already very late) told him we'd go over later to discuss the matter. Also waiting for the skip bin to arrive. It was actually supposed to come yesterday, but the guy called and asked if 9:00am today would be ok, I said yes. Waited and waited. Eventually texted him, he called back to say he'd be here in an hour. Ended up getting the skip at 1:00pm. He confessed when he got here that he'd forgotten us entirely and was doing some gardening!

So without the excuse of sitting waiting for the skip any more, we went next door and sat down with Craig and his wife whose name I can't remember. I was glad I hadn't invited them to ours because they have an immaculate home and ours is always a mess. But then we do still have children at home. Anyway, Craig started with very closed-off body language, crossed arms and constantly rubbing his chin and neck. But he spoke calmly and we spoke calmly, I think having the two women there might have helped diffuse things, and he ended up being quite friendly. We basically apologised and expressed willingness to explore options to resolve any problems, after waiting to hear what the heat pump sounded like once turned on, how difficult it would be to move etc. He seemed ok with that. So it all turned out fine. But I was a bit shaky afterwards.

So relieved.

Then Tim's dad and his partner Jo came over and we all did a solid three hours work (with a break for tea and a biscuit) filling the skip with all the rubbish from the garden demolition and pool construction. I didn't think we could do it all in one day or with only one skip but we did! Amazing what six people can accomplish.


And after:

And it only took one skip:
Now we can do some proper gardening whenever we like!

I'm so tired though. I'm not a fit person but I pushed myself today. 8,000 steps does not tell the story of all the broken tiles and buckets of rubble I carried! I wonder how sore I'll be tomorrow.

Definitely a roller coaster day.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Roller Coaster


Life is a roller coaster, isn't it?

I was so happy this morning. The pool is finished, and full of water, we still have to do the 'hand-over' but it looks great.
And we're getting a skip bin put out the front this morning so we can get rid of all the piles of rubbish and get started on the garden.

But then Tim was taking Aiden to his tennis lesson, and was trapped by an angry neighbour outside. Craig is the one who put in the complaint about the heat pump for the pool, which has still never been turned on. We understand his concerns but haven't done anything about it yet, the pool company is supposedly following it up, we weren't too worried yet as we were not even going to turn it on for months, we're not using the pool in winter. We've got time to put up barriers and/or lots of plants or at least find out what needs to be done, like moving it further away from the fence (difficult and expensive). So a silent heat pump can hardly be disturbing him, can it?

Well it can. Tim was subjected to a 15 minute rant about everything from legal action about the 'non-compliant' heat pump (apparently he has access to information we don't?? He said he'd talked to our certifier which is very annoying as they haven't spoken to us) to concrete dust from the construction on his clothes on the line to us doing everything vindictively because we don't like him. Apparently we never speak to him, we never consult him about anything (I thought we did! About the fence, anyway, which I had thought was the only thing that would affect him.) Very confused, we fed his dog when he was away and I though we were fine if not good friends with them.

Right at the moment I don't like him at all! I'm utterly miserable. Have we been bad neighbours? Is he an unreasonable person? A bit of both? I feel guilty, sad, worried, frustrated, depressed. I've never had to live next to an enemy before. Seems like he hates us. Will we be banned from using our very expensive pool heat pump, and can we get our money back on the grounds they didn't tell us it wasn't compliant? Will Craig complain when we run our water feature waterfall - will that be too loud too? Or if we have happy children squealing as they play in the pool in summer?

Tim was surprised when one day I described them as our 'old' neighbours, he says they're not much older than us. Obviously I was getting the curmudgeon vibe from the start. Although they had a huge noisy NYE party soon after we moved here.

Or is he justified?

I just don't know, I'm too upset. We can't get on to the pool people or the certifiers today because it's the weekend, so we don't know what is going on. Does the pool company have information they haven't passed on? I've never had any kind of dispute with a neighbour before, I feel like I'm getting a stomach ulcer. I'm scared to go outside in case I see him and he yells at me. I would just start crying if he did.

In our last house we had a big tree that dropped a branch on a neighbours roof and broke some tiles. We were on very good terms with him, we had the rest of the tree branches trimmed so it wouldn't happen again and offered to pay for repairs (he had spare roof tiles which he put on himself so we didn't need to). It was all amicable and stress-free. I certainly didn't feel under attack by him pointing out the damage and asking us to have the tree trimmed, it was just something that needed to be done. It doesn't need to be like this. First we heard of it was a letter from the certifier saying he'd complained.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Nearly there


The big excitement for the day is that the pool is finished! They surfaced yesterday and acid-washed today. The garden hose is currently running a trickle of water overnight. Plus it is raining. It takes something like 18 hours to fill, apparently, but I don't want it to overflow overnight. I'll be here tomorrow to monitor the last bit. I'll take photos in the morning. OMG we have a pool!

In the middle of winter.

They have to come and do a 'hand-over' where they tell us how to run the filter, balance the chemicals (it's a mineral pool) etc. Not sure when that will be. We've got a skip bin being delivered tomorrow so we can dispose of all the mess from the site. Then we can do the 'soft landscaping' i.e. gardening at our leisure through the end of winter and spring.

I was able to go to full sessions of my classes today. I'm not sure how Tim managed it (i.e. staying a bit later at home this morning so I could leave), he's been super-busy at work at the moment and working very long hours. But I think the crisis is finally easing off. Unfortunately it was Aiden's school's open day today, where parents can come into the classroom and see their child's work, listen to the school band etc. I've been every other year for both children since they started school and Tim does his best to go too, we both feel bad for not going. It would have to be on my one day of class!

I have two main categories of subjects. One type is the more wordy, touchy-feely stuff. Customer service, promoting reading, event management. In general, most of my classmates seem to prefer this type. Then there is the nitty-gritty technical stuff. The Dewey Decimal system, html coding, MARC and RDA and all the other acronyms. This is the stuff I enjoy most! I think a lot of people hate it. I want to be a cataloguer when I grow up. And the assessments are exams rather than written assignments or presentations, I prefer exams.

Nothing exciting happened in class. The sleeper, Jessica, slept through the morning class (I didn't notice her in that class last week, she is less obvious in the corner tucked behind a computer) but stayed upright in the afternoon class. She doodled in her book while we were supposed to be reading stuff on our computers. But participated a little bit in the group discussion. A bit oddly, but she tried. The really quiet teenager tried too, although so softly and mumblingly I'm not sure what she said.

One part of the discussion was about difficult customers. Ha! I worked for Centrelink (unemployment benefits) for ten years. They know nothing.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017



Today Aiden was back at school but Jasmine was home sick. And I was feeling pretty yuck. But we're all much improved this evening.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Not great


Today is not going well. It started with an early morning because Aiden has his drumming lesson before school. He said he wasn't feeling well but I bundled him off anyway because I don't trust his judgement. Tim's car wouldn't start so I drove him to the station, through heavier than usual traffic. Someone tried to call me while I was driving but I couldn't answer it in time via the car system, and my phone didn't record who it was for some reason. I was worried it was Aiden's school. I got home and tried to get studying when the school called to say Aiden was sick and could I pick him up. Bad mother.

So I got him home and in bed, tiny bit of study, then time to watch Game on Thrones which is on at 11:00am here. But for some reason didn't start until 11:30 today which stressed me a lot as I wasn't sure if I was doing something wrong - we only get Foxtel for GoT so I'm not used to it. But it finally came on, I enjoyed watching it.

I'd planned to go grocery shopping today but that was out, so I 'made' some packet soup for us, Aiden was well enough to get up and have some. Soon after I started to feel sick. I assume from the same thing Aiden has, not the soup.

And I'm having trouble accessing all my study units online, not that I'm able to concentrate enough to learn anything.

So I'm feeling yuck, it's now pouring rain outside, and this afternoon I'll be expected to: drive Jasmine to a big further-away shopping centre to buy fabric for her sewing class tomorrow that we forgot to shop for over the past two weeks, get Jasmine to and from dance class, create dinner with no groceries, or find takeaway that can be tolerated by two upset tummies, and eventually pick up Tim from the station. Urg. One of those days I'd love to give up and go to bed.

On the weekend Tim was called in to work all day Saturday and didn't get home until after midnight. On Sunday we cleaned and had family over for lunch, this time my relatives from the country who I only see once a year or so now. It was nice to see my aunt and uncle, but we spent an hour looking at photos of people I don't know, hideous craftwork by people I don't know, the front and back porches and driveways of people I don't know, trees, a seagull, scoreboards of a bowls match my uncle officiated at, pictures of my uncle from all angles just before he had his hair cut, more people I don't know, pictures of their car parked outside their house, outside someone else's house, and at a park. At least there was the occasional photo of my cousins and their young children. Then my aunt convinced us to play 500 (card game), she is an addict of the game. I remember being a bit scared of her as a teenager, and her "but why did you play that card when he led a spade and you knew I bid diamonds" etc, she's mellowed a lot now and/or I'm an adult and/or I'm better at the game. But competitive is hardly a strong enough word once the cards come out. Anyway, it got us away from the endless photos (my uncle looked like he was willing to go on forever with those) and we ended up one game each so that was good, although she had to call their son to say they'd be late for dinner because she wasn't about to leave with the game unfinished.

I was telling Tim this morning that I had a million things to do today. Haven't done any of them.

Oh, and the pool guys were supposed to come back tomorrow to finish, they said, as long as the weather stayed clear. As I look out at pouring rain. And the tiler who said he'd call me tomorrow, a week ago? Yeah....

My aunt brought up that my dad's grave has now settled so it's time to get that finished. It's been two years. Headstone and slab I guess? I didn't realise I had to do anything, or where to begin. I've never had anything to do with a burial before, not even this time. Dad's girlfriend and dad's sister organised it as I live so far away. I just paid for everything, and was surprised it cost about the same as mum's cremation instead of a lot more. But now I suppose it didn't include everything. I guess I'll call Aunty Pat. But not today.

(Edit: when Jasmine got home from school she wasn't feeling well either so we're not going shopping or to dance. Easier for me but not good that we're all sick! I hope Tim is ok, he's the most busy and overworked of us. And btw my aunt was getting over being sick yesterday. Do germs take effect so fast?)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

New people


I went in to TAFE yesterday to do my two classes. Due to stuff being all over the place on that particular day I had to go in more than an hour late and leave half and hour early, and also take my daughter Jasmine with me! She was fine sitting near my classroom with her iPad and headphones and snacks, but I was conscious of her being there waiting for me. It was just that one day though.

Strangely, most of my classmates were new to me. Hardly anyone I knew from last term, even though these people must had also done those classes at some point - these classes built on previous study. I only knew a couple of people, and none of my particular friends were present. My best friend from last term, Cathy, is currently working so she's doing the course online and is in at least one of my online classes and we also text each other sometimes. No idea where Sarah has gone. Everyone is nice though, I'm sure I'll make new friends. There is around 12 people in each class, mostly the same people morning and afternoon with a couple of changes.

I was very happy to see my favourite teacher in the morning class, back from a few months off. She seems to teach the more technical classes, I know I'm going to enjoy it.

In the afternoon class my teacher (who I've also had before) went around the class and got us to introduce ourselves. On average, library technician students are mid-thirties with a career behind them and probably a family, female, and friendly; but of course in reality there is a lot of variation and I thought I'd tell you a couple of the more interesting stories.

I'd noticed Nerida last term, hard not too, she was so overweight it looked like she had trouble walking and fitting in chairs. I dropped out of the only class I shared with her and didn't know anything about her. This term she is still very big, but I think maybe she has lost some weight. She told us she used to be in the army but hurt her knee and was invalided out. She didn't go into any more detail but it got me wondering. Even if she ended up in a desk job, she must have started out with a certain level of fitness. Did injury stopping her moving and maybe depression at losing her career send to her food and spiralling into obesity? Study and weight loss may indicate she has now turned her life around. Of course this is all speculation on my part.

Jake, one of the rare males, wears glasses with bright pink lenses. Not sure if this is a fashion statement or if it helps with dyslexia or something. He seems to always sit curved forward with his arms crossed over his abdomen like he is protecting a gut injury. Probably just bad posture. He described himself as a gamer (ie seriously into computer games) and said he has around 300 pets - dogs, cats, chickens, lots of animals. Don't know if he lives on a farm. He definitely called them pets though, not just animals.

Michelle was a real youngster, straight out of High School. In contrast to the rest of us who are mostly confident speakers, she huddled in the corner and barely spoke above a low mumble. Aside from being forced to introduce herself I don't think she said a word.

Jessica, ah now Jessica was a puzzle. She sat at the front of the class, mid-twenties I'd guess, with an unhealthy bloated look and a incipient moustache, and as soon as she sat down she put her backpack on the desk and rested her head on it and appeared to go to sleep. We weren't waiting around for the teacher or anything, she came into the room with us, but Jessica kept her head down while we all introduced herself and had to be shouted awake when we got to her. She lifted her head but didn't sit up, told us her name and a few sleepy slurred things about herself like that she was hoping study would motivate her but it wasn't working so far, then went back face down into her bag! So rude and strange. Our poor teacher wasn't sure what to do about it (and by the way why sit right up the front where you are so obvious?) and just went on with the lesson. After an hour, we did a little group exercise. Jessica was roused again and told with as much sternness as our gentle teacher could muster that she had to sit up and participate. She did sit up for the rest of the lesson, she was in my group and didn't contribute anything, sitting slumped and dopey. Drugs or just tired? If she couldn't stay awake she should have left the room. I'm interested to see if she's like this every week, and if she'll get kicked out of class! She must have passed first semester or she wouldn't be in this class.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mind and body


TAFE has started this week, yay! I've completed work for week one in the two subjects I have access to so far. I have two more online subjects that I'm waiting for access to, and also two face-to-face classes coming up. I was only going to do one, but Tim has organised to go in to work late one day a week (staying home to get the kids off to school) so I can get to a morning class. Isn't that lovely! Unfortunately he can't do it this week, and there is also other stuff going on with the kids that day, so in week one I'll be very late to one of my classes (1.5 hour late in a 2.5 hour class) and then have to leave early from the other! I was a bit stressed about that at about 5am this morning, tossing and turning, but I'm sure it won't be a big deal really. If it was any other week (than week one) I wouldn't be bothered at all, but I'm going to miss the introduction to my morning class and being told what the assessments are and all that, and also possibly make a bad first impression on the teacher (I don't know who it is or if they've taught me before).

That aside, I'm really happy to be back into study. I feel full of purpose again.

Yesterday the pool people finally turned up and did the first bit of the final step with more-or-less promises that it will be finished this week. That would be exciting but I won't be holding my breath. Monday was the one year anniversary of when we signed the contracts and were told it would be done by Christmas! 12 months...

It's three weeks since the tiler finished and said he would come back to clean up - main problem is a lot of white stains (concrete?) on our stonework - and I've decided I WILL hassle him about coming back. Why should he get away with it? My expectations had got so low that I was happy the job was done, but it's not really finished while the area is a mess. So I've started that process, and got a 'call u 2morw'.

I've been persisting with wearing my CPAP at night but without much luck. I still have a lot of trouble getting to sleep and wake up again (and take it off) after only a couple of hours. I'm restless anyway, even without it. I've never liked meditation but I've been doing some beginner Tai Chi which I'm enjoying so maybe meditation in motion? Less boring. Maybe it will help to calm my mind.

I was thinking the other night (lying awake) about how much I separate mind and body. ME is my mind, my body is just the vehicle. If I was given a body transplant (no such thing as a head transplant in my view, the head stays the same the body is changed) or my consciousness was downloaded into a robot or magically transferred into a cat, I would still be ME. Yet this completely discounts the interaction between mind and body. Each affects and shapes the other. In reality I am both. They are one. I need to take more ownership of my body. It's just as much ME as my thoughts are. What do you think?