Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye 2017, Happy New Year 2018


Time to look back, time to look forward.

Since this a weight loss blog, start with that! This morning I weighed 75.4 kg. I lost a total of 3.8 kg over 2017. Actually of course I gained a bit then lost more. Looking at the total difference over the year explains why people didn't notice my weight loss and I don't need a smaller size in summer clothes, I'm not really that much different than I was this time last year. But 3.8 kg loss is still a win! And I lost 0.8 kg this week, despite Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve, several family events. I'm restarting the BSD (blood sugar diet) in earnest today, I've been sort of doing it for four days already but with added treats.

Yesterday I arranged with my cousins to go out and see Poppa for lunch, since he wasn't available at Christmas. My mother's father is 99 and still living in his own home. His younger son lives right across the road but he still looks after himself.

I let myself get a bit worked up about seeing that side of the family, all my cousins (and aunts, for that matter) are thin and I hate that I'm always the fat one. The only fat one. They are all very attractive, too. And nice people. Don't you hate that? Anyway as usual I got quite stressed and unhappy when I should have been excited to see them. But it was ok once I got there, it was nice to see everyone. And I was reminded not to assume that thin = happy. My favourite cousin was stressed about some stuff going on in her life, and clearly had low self esteem about some things. Also, when I complimented the salad she brought, she mentioned that she and her sister ate it often when they were trying to lose weight. So they are no magically thin with no effort! It's always seemed to me that they eat what they want, but in reality now we're adults I only see them at celebrations like Christmas and weddings when of course everyone is having dessert and other treats. They don't eat like that every day!

We had Tim's side of the family over here for dinner, they stayed until about 9:30 but most have young children so didn't stay until midnight. I usually go to bed myself, but for some reason allowed myself to be convinced to stay up. Not really worth it in my opinion, I'm paying for it today with tiredness.

Overall 2017 has been good for me. I've really enjoyed doing my TAFE course, our swimming pool is finally finished, and I lost a bit of weight. Probably bad stuff happened too, plenty of frustrations along the way, but I'm going to focus on the good.

And 2018? The two big goals are to finish my TAFE course and find a job as a Library Technician somewhere that doesn't have a hideously long commute, and lose some more weight. Ultimately about 18 kg but I'm not putting a time limit on that. I'm not in total control of what I weigh, only of my behaviours. I'll do the BSD for 8 weeks as a start, exercise for 30 mins five days a week, drink more water.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Taming the grass


I was planning to get serious about my food from 1st January, but then found two good reasons not to wait. On Wednesday night we were at Nick & Ping's and did a bit of a Just Dance game, and my niece Emma insisted on watching all the replay videos. Oh my goodness I'm still so fat. It always surprises me, especially since I've lost a bit of weight recently, that I am a lot fatter in reality than I am in my head. Mirrors, photos, and apparently videos all ambush me.

Then I weighed myself Thursday morning to find my weight, which had stayed pretty steady over the Christmas indulgences, had suddenly caught up with reality too and jumped up a fair bit. I was unhappy with the number. So I decided not to wait another four days to stop eating so much junk.

I spent an hour and a half at least in the garden, working on the garden beds that don't yet have an edging of rocks so the pampered lawn has really invaded. I turned bits like this:
 Into this:
It was quite hard sweaty work, the grass had put down lots of roots along the runners and took a lot of effort to rip out. Next cooler day I'll work on getting the rock edging in.

We had people over in the afternoon for a swim and Tim's dad also dropped in with Jo, and Jo's daughter and granddaughter, on their way home from spending Christmas with Jo's family. I put out lots of leftover chips and chocolates but only ate a little bit of cheese, a few grapes, and one Lindor ball. I call that a win! Calories good for the day.

I had a really bad sleep last night. That operation I had a year ago to remove fibroids fixed the heavy periods but didn't take away all the pain. It gets bad each month the week before my period, and I was lying awake in a lot of discomfort for quite a bit of the night. Still aches today. It's 34 C here so I'm tired and sore and hot and not feeling very happy. Still staying away from the bad food though. We still have some in the house but it should be all finished off on Sunday night. Anything left after that will go in the bin.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas!


I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas.

We had guests over for lunch and a swim on Christmas Eve afternoon, then had a quiet evening watching carols on TV.

On Christmas morning we had a lovely time opening presents. At the crack of dawn of course. Tim and I were a bit sleepy but the kids weren't!

Tim's side of the family, plus my brother, came over for lunch. I wish I took more photos, but I was too busy! Here is one Tim took of me with cousin Daniel and his wife Martha, my brother Darren in the background.

And the dessert buffet! Mango cheesecake, sticky date pudding, lemon tart and a fruit platter.

As usual we were stuck with everyone's recycling garbage; all the wrapping paper plus bottles, boxes etc. We drop hints and one year asked outright if anyone could take some but no apparently they had no room in their bins. THEY have no room? This is what was left after we filled our recycling bin, we will have it sitting there another week before the bin is emptied and we can fill it up again. May take another fortnight!
Oh well, at least we managed to get all the other garbage (food scraps etc) into that bin which has been collected so we aren't left with stinky bags like some other years. Recycling stuff doesn't smell.

We had 18 for lunch and 12 for dinner on Christmas Day. I was glad to collapse into bed, to the soothing slosh of the dishwasher running for the umpteenth time.

A couple of people returned for lunch on Boxing Day to eat leftovers, then many of the Christmas group gathered again to go and see the Star Wars movie, a bit of Boxing Day tradition for us (a couple of people on child-minding duties went to a later session) and dinner at a restaurant which I suggested because it almost sounded like people were expecting to come back to our place and I wasn't prepared for that!

Today I basically insisted we see no-one, I needed a day to recover, but then our sister-in-law Ping has invited us over for dinner at their place which is lovely of her so we'll go there. I'd kind of rather crash at home watching the cricket but at least I don't have to cook!

A few of the more interesting events of the past few days:

I smashed two glass items on different days. On Christmas I pushed some items down the counter top, not seeing there was a glass hiding behind a box of crackers. It got shoved off the edge onto our unforgiving tile floor and smashed into a billion pieces. In a house with little children including three crawlers! Broom, dustpan and brush, vacuum, and hope we got it all. One of the adults did find a few shards - with their bare foot - but no real damage to humankind.

Then on Boxing Day I moved a casserole dish to the counter, somehow the thick glass lid slid off as I put it down and it went over the other side, again onto the tile floor. Huge smash! Broom, dustpan and brush, vacuum, Roomba. It was Aunty Vanessa's dish, luckily I had the same dish in a different pattern but the same size lid to give her. Not that she would have asked for it, she wasn't even there, but it was my fault so I was glad I had the lid to return.

There was a funny saga about dessert. When we were still deciding who would bring what, in chat online, A said she would make a trifle, but B said no she was going to, so A gave in though slightly miffed. Then B was talking about how she made 'healthy' jelly (jello) for the trifle because there is no need for desserts to be unhealthy so C asked for the recipe. Turns out it was just supermarket jelly with 'natural colours and sweeteners'. And then B didn't even bring a trifle! She just brought 'healthy' jelly and custard for the kids (I suppose those are two elements of a trifle!) -- but then she asked if she could take home leftovers of some of the other 'unhealthy' desserts! I thought it was pretty funny.

I found it a bit less amusing that B brought only a small amount of another food that fit her special dietary needs, basically only enough for her own slice of the family, even though she also ate other things on offer and everyone else of course shared everything and would have liked to try her dish. I didn't even realise she'd brought anything, I didn't see it, but others commented to me later. Ah, family dramas. They keep life from getting boring, don't they!

I was given headphones for Christmas by my brother-in-law Nick. He knew I wanted some good ones, not little earbuds that always make my ears sore, but small enough to wear on the train or out walking, and his speciality is tech stuff especially music. I didn't get a chance to try them out until Boxing Day morning and then I literally had tears in my eyes at the sound quality. Amazing. Surrounded by music.

Most of the 'real food' leftovers are gone but there are plenty of packets of chips and lollies, and boxes of chocolates, hopefully all with be eaten during the next couple of family gatherings before midnight New Years Eve. Back on strict diet from 1st January 2018!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Three quiet days


Nothing exciting. Again, too hot to go out (but cool change late afternoon). We did some colouring-in, Jasmine made cupcakes, Aiden put together a Lego Darth Vader from last Christmas that turned up when we were tidying his room yesterday, we worked some more on tidying his room (nearly done), played computer games. Nice day, really.


The kids and I went to see the movie 'Ferdinand'. We actually wanted to see 'Murder on the Orient Express' (it's one of my favourite Agatha Christie novels - and I have them all!) but I didn't realise that they stopped daytime screenings literally yesterday. And I can't be bothered going out in the evening. I'll wait until it comes to Netflix or TV. Aiden had already seen Ferdinand as a school excursion last week but was ok with seeing it again. I thought the shops would be super busy but it wasn't too bad at all. We popped into a couple of shops while there and didn't have to battle crowds or long queues. But my sister-in-law was there later in the afternoon and said it was terrible. We bought some plastic crates for the kids to store toys in to organise their rooms.


In the morning we did the big Christmas grocery shopping trip. I took the kids and Jasmine pushed a second trolley. I still have to pick up the turkey tomorrow but otherwise we're ready. I've been having a few treats this week (and my daily weight is reflecting that) and last night I had a candy cane. I enjoyed eating it, but my mouth reacted badly afterwards. I get this thing where if I eat too much sugar my tongue feels scratched and swollen, really sore. I don't have a big sweet tooth but I do eat stuff sometimes, but only rarely something like a candy cane that is basically five teaspoons of sugar at once. Not worth it for me in a reaction vs enjoyment balance.

This afternoon we finished tidying and organising Aiden's bedroom. You can see the floor! That was a major task, spread over three days. I hope it lasts more than 5 mins.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Staying inside


We've had a few cooler (comparatively) days, but back to blazing hot today and tomorrow. We couldn't leave the house this morning waiting for tradesmen, but I don't think I would have wanted to anyway. Even going to the movies or something indoors would probably involve leaving the car outside in the sun for a while. So hard to drive when the steering wheel is burning your hands.

We'd had a minor problem with the heat pump for the pool, one corner of the touch screen wasn't responding which was annoying. The screen part was replaced this morning. Still under warranty, obviously. We haven't been using the heater lately of course, no need to in summer.

Also I had organised a Salvation Army pickup and that was this morning. Two bicycles that the kids had grown out of and a few bits of children's furniture and other things a bit heavy/big/unwieldy for me to get to a drop off centre. Tim and I put it all in front of the garage this morning and later in the day it all disappeared. I assume it was the Salvos! If they knocked I didn't hear. But they had a list of what I wanted to donate so it was probably obvious that this cluster of items was for them.

I made an gaffe over it though. Two years ago when we moved here, Tim's cousin gave us a house-warming present that didn't suit my personal taste. On the weekend I put it next to the door to remember to put it out for the Salvos, still in the original box. And that cousin came over for dinner on Sunday night. They didn't say anything and I only realised after they had gone that it was a bit obvious I had never used it and was getting rid of it. I hope they weren't offended. I think they are too sensible to be bothered. Not everyone likes the same things. My sister-in-law has been known to give something back to be exchanged, and I didn't mind at all. I'd rather she had something she liked (or in that case was cookware that didn't fit her small oven).

We still have a lot of things to get rid of, but not worthy of passing on, and I have organised a council pickup in January. The garage is already looking much emptier.

Another cleanup project was started today, Aiden's bedroom. He has a small bedroom and a lot of stuff. He is given more and more things every birthday and Christmas, and we don't cull much of the old stuff. A lot of it is great, for instance for his birthday he got a big remote-control boat (used in the pool when no-one is swimming) and a couple of build-your-own-robot things. Lots of fun, but they are bulky items that take up a lot of shelf space. Today we cleared half the floor and the top of his chest of drawers. A good start. I need to buy some boxes for his Lego. He has accumulated a huge amount over the years and it's currently in a couple of really big plastic boxes that he can't lift or move. I think several smaller ones would be better to make them accessible. He's not as keen on Lego as he used to be though. In a few years we can pass it on to the younger kids in the family.

We swam later in the afternoon when the sun was less burny.

Here is Grumpy the blue-tongue, looking bad-tempered as usual.
 And Draco the water dragon.
 He went behind the big pot, climbed up, and is peeking at me from over the rim.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Treats at Christmas


Weight today 75.8, a loss of 400 grams. Not sure how that happened! But I'll take it. I've been eating mostly healthy meals, but with some added festive treats.

I've been in a (polite) argument in a weight loss forum about treats at Christmas. Someone posted that they would be taking the day off their strict diet and I agreed that I would be having some non-diet-friendly foods (actually I am every day at the moment, but I didn't say that) like dessert. The forum is anti-sugar and generally low-carb promoting. Another person argued that we shouldn't see unhealthy food as a 'treat' when it's so bad for us, can derail all our efforts, sugar is poison not a treat, you can enjoy Christmas without traditional junk etc. I said that some people do better if they allow some treats to avoid feeling deprived which can cause people to give up entirely. She disagreed, believing that planning to cheat on your diet is not a good plan, and you should forgive slips but not give yourself permission to slip beforehand. I can totally see her point, but I don't really respond well to someone else telling me what to do. It makes me feel very resistant! I respond better to people setting a good example, telling their story, without saying essentially "you are wrong do it my way which is the only true path." Does that approach work with anyone? We have all been very respectful and I know she is trying to help but it still gets my back up.

Jasmine went a friend's house yesterday and got sunburned despite sunscreen (as usual). Poor girl, she can't go in the sun at all without burning. It might take a few more hard lessons before she decides to wear long sleeves and big hats all summer. Not sure what else she can do other than never going outside at all.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

End of the school year


It was the kids’ last day of school today. Jasmine played games like UNO all day and Aiden’s school had some kind of talent quest. They now have six weeks summer holiday then start Year 9 and Year 6 respectively. I didn’t do anything exciting on my last child-free day for a while, grocery shopping then a nap. I’ll enjoy having the kids home - at least for the first few weeks!

My diet (I mean that in the broader ‘way of eating’ sense as well as the more narrow ‘restrictive way of eating’ sense) has been gradually slipping for the past couple of weeks (or months). With Christmas so close, I am officially taking two weeks off worrying about my weight. I will be spending a relaxed week with the kids that may/will include treats, then Christmas festivities and another week to eat leftovers and gift chocolates. I will start focus on weight loss again on January 1st - new year, new month, even a new Monday! Don’t worry, my unrestricted eating isn’t so very terrible, I’ve never eaten a whole box of doughnuts or McDonalds three times in one day. A ‘bad’ day might be 2200 calories. I won’t be tracking. Today I made nachos for lunch followed by a Magnum ice cream, and had a little lemon tart in the afternoon. But I’ve also eaten lovely fruit and I’m having salmon and salad for dinner. I’m trying not to put too much focus on food either way, neither ‘must eat healthy’ nor ‘must eat everything before I back on a diet’. Food is a pleasurable part of life, to be enjoyed, but not the only good part!


I knew it would happen one day. We have a rock feature at one end of the pool -- a waterfall when we turn it on but usually we direct the water to the spa jets -- that is perfect for little boys to jump into the deep end of the pool from. The tradesmen who made it joked about how Aiden would love it, it easily supports his weight and Tim jumps from there too. But I knew that eventually someone would fall the wrong way, into the garden rather than the water, and it is quite high. I specifically planted soft non-spiky plants there, though they are not very big yet. And soft-ish mulch. And today Aiden fell off. He scraped his leg a bit on the rock on the way down so is covered in bandaids but he is fine.

Here is the back view of the waterfall, that bird bath is not as close to the wall as it looks. But I might still move it further away! I haven't yet been out to check the plants and see if they are squashed. (Photo not taken today.)
 And the fun jumping side. Note the easy steps up.
I'll just continue to make sure it's all grass and soft plants at the back for an easy fall!

Thursday, December 14, 2017



Absolute scorcher today. 39C. I didn't dare go in the pool in the middle of the day, any exposed bits of me would be burned to a crisp. Better to wait until a bit later, when the kids got home and the sun wasn't directly overhead. So I watered the garden first thing, then mostly sat in front of the cricket on TV, sapped of energy despite the air con being on, drinking water and eating cherries. And doing detailed menu/shopping list planning for Christmas.

We are expecting this kind of weather for most days for the next couple of weeks.

Didn't go in the pool until 4:30, but then in and out until about 8:00pm. Definitely don't need the pool heater - the water gets over 30C without it! We do need a bit more shade out there, it will be years before the plants grow. There is a big umbrella but the wind pushes it around so it's not shading where we sit. Will have to move it once Tim's pulled back is fully better.

Good news I am feeling much better today, I think I am over whatever that was.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tan lines


Tim is very stiff and sore today. He moved around slowly watering the garden, then we went to Jasmine's assembly where she got an award for music/band and technology (she also got her report card and did very well) then Tim went to work. I came home and had lunch then a nap. Actually I had a nap in the morning too after getting the kids off to school.

I continue to feel pretty awful in the mornings. Achy body, like I’m sick or hungover, sometimes sore throat, upset tummy with some unpleasant bathroom experiences. This morning my arms and hands feel swollen and poisoned. But from a couple of hours after getting up I’m mostly ok for the rest of the day. Tired early in the evening. I suppose I have a virus.

When Aiden got home from school we had a swim, then picked up Jasmine from her after-school activity and had another swim. The pool is certainly getting a lot of use! I am so happy with it, it's beautiful. Just have to be very careful about sunburn, outside so much.

How do other people get lovely even tans? I have relatively brown arms and a circle high on my chest, exposed by T-shirts. Now I have lighter tanned areas on my shoulders and cleavage, from wearing two different swimming costumes. Like concentric circles in shades of brown. White strap lines. I'm about four different colours just on my chest.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Not a great day


Today I spent three and a half frustrating fruitless hours looking for clothes for myself. Something pretty to wear on Christmas Day, and a new swimming cossie. Despite browsing in or at least poking my head in every single clothes shop in the enormous Miranda complex, I only tried on a handful of clothes. In two shops. I didn't buy anything. Everything was either hideous, or too small. Many clothes didn't even come close to my size. And if I go by what was on the racks, now swimming costumes are only made up Aus size 14 (US 12, Europe 44 I think) which I can't quite squeeze into. I tried. The two shops exclusively selling swimwear didn't cater to my size at all, nor did the department stores. Yet I'm not unusually large. Overweight, yes, but in a pretty average way. It seems larger people are expected to wear floaty nylon blouses, and never go swimming. Depressing waste of a day.

I know the big cheap stores like Target and Big W will have bigger sizes. (Target in Australia is not affiliated with Target in the US.) Luckily fat people don't care about fashion, or comfortable non-sweaty fabrics, or trying to look good. Why bother, right? Arg!

Feeling fat.

Tim pulled a muscle in his back at the gym today, and is very sore and walking around all twisted. He goes to the gym regularly at lunchtime, but had been too busy to go for a while, which may have contributed to the injury. I think it’s likely he’ll stiffen up overnight and be worse tomorrow, too.

In spring the pool heater took two or three days to get the water up to a nice temperature. More recently, only half a day. Today, when I checked in the morning it was already above the set temperature, without having to turn it on at all! We keep it at a lovely 29C. The kids and I went for a short swim after school (I stay out of the sun before that), then after dropping Jasmine at Acrogym Aiden and I went in again. And in the evening Aiden wanted to go in again, even though the air had cooled down a lot (water still warm of course) so Jasmine went out and watched him swim in the dark. We have solar garden lights and a pool light but they are all fairly dim so you definitely know it’s night time. I have a rule the kids aren’t allowed to swim alone, someone must be either in with them or watching prepared to rescue.

Monday, December 11, 2017

lots of swimming


The kids had their Acrogym Christmas party on Friday afternoon. Started with a crowd of kids on a jumping castle and tumble mat and a few other gymnastic equipment things, then the 'development groups' (including Jasmine) did group performances and all the little kids got participation medals. Jasmine's group - level one - was pretty good, but oh my goodness the level six performance from the really experienced kids! Gasps of awe from the audience.

Saturday was Christmas shopping for extended family, and a swim in the afternoon. Sunday was BBQ lunch and party for my niece Ashleigh turning one, she's the youngest of the three born at the end of last year. Then another swim in the afternoon. Tim and Aiden went with the other boys to see Justice League in the evening, Jasmine and I weren't interested.

I'd been feeling a little achy Sunday morning but then better during the day, but by about 7:30 at night was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open. I thought maybe it was just the result of a big meal after a big day and went to bed at 8:30, before the boys even got home. But this morning very achy back and also a sore throat. Dammit. I do not want to be sick again. I just got better after four weeks of flu!

Some good news today about a story I've been following (story is the wrong word, don't know what the right one is). The winner of this year's Eurovision song contest, Salvador Sobral from Portugal, has been in hospital for months waiting for a heart transplant. He was even unwell during the actual Eurovision, his sister stood in for him at all the rehearsals and he wasn't allowed to leave his doctor's care for long, he just sang in the actual competition. Some people say he got a pity vote but I thought he was wonderful. Shortly afterwards he had to retire from his music career because of his health. He was offered a new heart in October but was too sick at the time to have the operation. Anyway in the news this morning he has finally got a new heart and is recovering well from the surgery so I am grateful for that. I know it means that someone else has died, but at least they were able to save one person's life - maybe more - who would have died if they hadn't been an organ donor.

My weight this morning was 76.2 kg, still slowly creeping up. That is 1.1 kg up in four weeks since I stopped Duromine. And still two weeks to Christmas! So much temptation around. This past week it was that time of the month and I was just hungry all the time. I ate and ate. I think I'm also feeling the effects of 'nothing to do'. Of course there are always things to do, but there is nothing pressing to take my mind off food! Exams are over, kids still at school, Christmas shopping done, I'm not even into any games at the moment. It’s not that I'm not enjoying leisure time, it's just that I'm enjoying using a lot of that time to eat. Eat, watch TV and read. Nice. But not slimming.

I wrote about moving the spider, Gertrude, from too near the pool seating over to the corner. She has stayed where I put her and seems happy there, in as much as you can tell with a spider. But her identical twin sister, Beatrice, has spun her web almost directly in front of the mailbox! Very uncomfortable getting super-close to fetch the mail. I might have to move her too. And near the laundry door there was a messy web (obviously not one of those that gets eaten and remade every day) with some very large bugs stuck in it - including a whole cockroach - beside a hole that the spider hid in. I didn't know if I wanted to know what sort. Turns out I didn't. Seen Lord of the Rings, with that spider Shelob? Yeah, like that. Shudder. A red back. Venomous. Biggest one I've seen. Too dangerous to leave there with kids around. I pumped half a can of fly spray into her lair, and scooped the body into the bin so no lizards could eat it.

Another swim when the kids got home from school. We are really making the most of having a pool! There is a very hot week coming up, forecast of 38C on Thursday. My new and not so new swimming cosies were both in the wash so today I dug out a really old one. Saggy and horrible. Public pool chlorine had taken its toll. I wore it with a Tshirt over the top but put it in the bin afterwards. I need to buy another one. Something pretty. I enjoy feeling much better in a cossie than I did 8 kilograms ago.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Arachnid relocation successful


For a few weeks we've had an orb spider spinning its web between two pot plants right under the shade umbrella.
I moved the sun lounges further away but when I wanted to unfurl the umbrella I had to stand with it literally half an arms' length away from my chest - way too close! Both Tim and I are scared of spiders, I think he's even worse than me. He once broke a window trying to kill a Huntsman with a broom. To be fair, it was the size of a dinner plate. Yes I mean that literally. Biggest damn spider I've ever seen. A big dinner plate.

I just looked up orb spiders and their venom isn't very toxic to humans but the top two searches said "non-aggressive, seldom bite" and "most common spider species to bite" so I don't know which to believe! Either way, it was non-aggressively doing its job eating insects for me and I didn't want to kill it but I also didn't want it so close to where I sit trying to relax by the pool. So yesterday afternoon I got a very long stick and scooped it off its web and carried it over to the frangipani in the corner by the fence, out of the way but with lots of branches to string its web between (they make a new web every night and eat the old one). It was very co-operative, sat right on the end of the stick (didn't come scuttling towards me, which would have resulted in screams and throwing of the stick) and crawled off onto its new home straight away.
And this morning there was a neat new web among the frangipani branches. I was worried it would make its way back to the old place, only a few meters away, but hopefully it will be happy in the new spot.
As spiders go, it's not too scary or ugly. Quite pretty really. If you know Australia, you know we have a lot of 'nopes' (because you look at them and say 'nope' (no) as you back away) that are much bigger, hairier, and filled with the lust to kill. Try looking up Funnel Web Spider. Gertrude isn't so bad.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Grumpy's wife


We have two kinds of weather at the moment, blazing hot or stormy. Neither is particularly good for gardening (but great for the garden) and the grass has got very long. I went out the back, considering a bit of a mow by the pool, but I could feel the hair on my arms crisping up so decided against it. But I was pulling a few weeds as I wandered around when there was movement beside me and I jumped about a foot into the air.

It seems Grumpy has found himself a wife! She's hiding between the rocks in the shade of the passionfruit vine. She was probably sunning herself on the paving tile before we startled each other.
I wasn't very impressed with Grumpy, he stayed still while I watched but the moment I turned away he scuttled off behind the shed, leaving her alone to face the human. I know almost nothing about lizards but I'd already decided that Grumpy was male and this new one is bigger and more blue/grey, (he's more brown) so that is good enough for me to label her as the female (and maybe pregnant because she is fatter!) Wouldn't it be lovely if they had a family.

I'll have to think of a name for her. I'm not going to call her Mrs Grumpy, how old fashioned and sexist!

I had a swim by myself this afternoon because I knew we wouldn't have time after school (but I might suggest an after-dinner swim if it's still hot). I say "swim", I mean I mostly sat in the water or moved slowly around. The only place in the shade in the water at that time of day was in the grotto, a sort of cave under the waterfall which has a ledge under water to sit on and another ledge out of the water that you can put things on. The water feature sticks out all around, so to get my book there I held it in my mouth and dog-paddled over! Dried my hands on my hair then sat and read in the shade, rib deep in cool water. It was lovely.



I forgot to say that my weight Monday morning was 76.0 kg, which is up another 0.3 from the 75.7 the week before BUT the mornings since then have been 75.5, 75.6 and 75.4 kg so I think the 76 was an outlier that can be ignored. If I look at the following three days I'm actually down a little bit since last week.

In light of the Time magazine person of the year being the #metoo movement (or so I read), I will tell a #metoo story of my own though I don't really like thinking about that kind of thing. It was late-ish at night, I took a taxi alone from a group gathering in the city to the train station. I was a Uni student at the time, so around 20 years old. I don't really like being in the city at night but felt safe once I got in the taxi. I got in the front seat, which seemed normal to me then. I don't do that anymore. The driver was male, maybe in his 30s. I asked him to take me to the train station. Once the car was under way, he put his hand on my arm and suggested he could drive me all the way home instead. I was terrified. I said I didn't have enough money for that. He suggested money wouldn't be a problem, I don't recall the exact words but it was clear he was offering to drive me home in return for sex. It is not in my nature to react aggressively to confrontation, and also I was scared of what he would do if I was 'rude'. He was a man, much stronger than me and older, and in control of a moving vehicle. I stayed extremely polite, said no thanks, the station was fine, just the station, probably shaking and stuttering. I tried to memorise his details from the licence hanging on the dashboard. He tried to convince me but ended up dropping me at the station.

He was not verbally threating and I'm pretty sure now he wouldn't have done anything without my consent but I felt completely powerless. I considered throwing myself from the taxi when we were stopped at the lights. I said 'no thanks, just take me to the station' several times but in quite a weak polite way. I did not wrench my arm away from the contact, I didn't know what to do. I was scared to make him angry. And I was scared to get out of the taxi in a random location in the city at night, would I be any safer? Should I get out? Would he make me get out if I was 'rude'? But was he going to drive me somewhere of his own choice? I didn't know the city well, couldn't even be sure he was taking me to the station. I had no power, so scared, trying to make plans of what to do if...

When I got home I told my older brother. He was of the opinion that the taxi driver was just offering, he hadn't hurt or threatened me, and how else was he supposed to pick up girls or find out if they were willing to exchange services for sex unless he asked them? And I hadn't strongly told him to piss off so I was giving mixed messages. The driver hadn't really done anything wrong. Not the response I was hoping for. But pretty common male thinking apparently. I can see that side of it, but it seems they can't see what it's like to get an offer like that in a situation of such power imbalance. If I was in a club surrounded by friends and other people it would have been a different thing (although the touching would still be creepy); but alone, when and where it happened was very threatening because I had no way to get away from him or control where we went and no friends to defend me. I did try to complain to the taxi company but nothing ever happened, I can't remember now if I wasn't able to remember the driver's details or if they just never got back to me.

Well that took longer than I expected to write.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Nap time


On Sunday we had family over for Dungeons and Dragons as usual and dinner. I managed a quick 10 min dip in the pool before they arrived, it's the first time I've been in the pool all by myself. Peaceful. I would have stayed in longer except I had cleaning and cooking to get done. It wasn't really a hot day (but the water was warm) which is why no one else came in.

Sunday night Tim came down sick, and was home all Monday. I'm not sure if I had a touch of the same thing, my tummy has continued to be a bit upset since the antibiotics, despite drinking Yakult (fermented milk drink, sounds horrible but tastes like melted ice cream). I'll try more home-made yoghurt. Anyway, Tim is fine now. He's been very overworked lately and needs the upcoming Christmas break.

I've done a couple more Christmas shopping trips and have now (I think) finished getting presents for Tim and our kids as well as the other children in the family. Just a few more things to get, now; father-in-law, brother etc. I feel very organised this year. We have also already sorted out who is bringing what food on the day. And the least-reliable person is bringing things I don't like anyway, so that is perfect! I don't care if they forget. My part, the turkey and roast vegetables, is no more than I do most Sundays anyway. I'm feeling very relaxed about it all.

I've also spent time organising my study notes and I've started writing a summary for one of my subjects that I did in first semester before I realised it was the aspect of library work that I wanted to pursue. The manual we were given is good, but for other important subjects I've already written detailed notes that have been invaluable in exams and I think useful for when I get a job. I haven't bothered for subjects like Event Management or Promote Literature, but a ten-page summary is a very useful resource when you need to assign a Dewey Decimal Number.

One thing I plan for this two-month holiday break is to make a start on the novel I've been thinking about. I still like my first book, it's my first-born, but I can see now that it has its flaws. I sent it to a couple of places ages ago but I don't think I will continue to try to get it published, at least not at the moment or in its present form. Maybe I'll revise it one day. I'm not sad about shelving it, the work was not wasted if it makes me a better author. And I don't really want publishing houses to associate my name with anything other than my best work! I've been thinking about a completely different story for a year or so, too busy to write during term (and I get all the computer time my RSI can take while studying), it would be good to get a start on writing it down. And my last semester will be a much lighter workload, only three subjects plus placement (work experience) instead of the six subjects per semester I had been doing.

Our garage still has a pile of boxes that don't seem to have anything essential in them, I want to finish going through them (two years after we moved!) and we have also accumulated a bunch of other stuff filling the space - children's bicycles too small for them, broken wheelbarrow, rolls of old carpet. So I've organised for a charity to come and pick up the good stuff like the bicycles and then booked in a council clean up (we get two a year as taxpayers and haven't used the service yet) where they pick up a pile of junk from your curb. We're supposed to have two-car garage here but have never fit in the second car!

Aside from all that, I've been resting! Nothing can send me off to a peaceful afternoon nap like watching the cricket on TV. The commentators drone along about how this is the highest score by a red-headed Englishman on a wet Tuesday and I nod off. The short forms of the game are exciting and I love the Big Bash (three and a half hour long matches) but the original five-day Test matches are long hot summer day dozing material. It's pouring outside at the moment - even better for a nap!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Summer and the tree


First day of summer and it was a scorcher!

After four weeks with pretty much no exercise (I was sick most of that time, I’ve finished my course of antibiotics and I’m fine now except for a disordered gut microbiome) I decided to start easing back into it. I did 15 minutes of dance and stopped while I still felt ok. I probably could have done more but the last couple of times I tried I set back my recovery so I’m being careful.

In the afternoon we went in the pool. Jasmine is still pink in the arms and face after last weekend so she wore a shirt over her cossie and we didn’t stay in long.


We had another swim this morning, then storms swept in and gave the parched garden a nice watering. I did another 15 minutes dance exercise.

After lunch we put up our Christmas tree. Red and silver theme this year:

I've had a poster of Legolas for many years, it's been through at least two moves with us. Jasmine had the idea of getting him into the Christmas spirit:
The tip of the arrow really does follow you around the room! No matter where you stand, he's aiming at you.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017



Today Aiden's school had a special end-of-year assembly (only two weeks of school left) and we were warned beforehand that he would be getting an award. Tim took the morning off work so we could both go. Aiden got an award for Excellence in Mathematics. So proud! He's finishing year 5, one more year in Primary School before he moves on to High School.

Then I had an appointment to see an Apple Genius about Jasmine's iPad which wouldn't charge. I thought it probably just needed a clean inside the port, but the Genius couldn't get it to work either. So he gave me a new one! Free! That was unexpected. Apparently because there was no obvious damage (it hadn't been dropped or drenched with water, for instance) under consumer law we get a replacement, even though it was nearly two years old. Nice. 

I also got a replacement for my sneakers. You may remember nearly a month ago I bought three pairs of shoes: black almost-sneakers which are very comfortable and I still have, black "dress" shoes with a bow on which I hated as soon as I got them home and returned and bought black boots instead which are lovely but I haven't actually worn them except to try on as I've had no occasion to, and new sneakers (gym shoes) as I wear them nearly every day and mine were starting to fall apart. But the new ones just weren't as comfortable as sneakers should be and I didn't like the grey/bright fuchsia colour scheme either, so today I took them back. It was within the 30 day return policy so I got new (light blue, very comfortable) sneakers instead! Even though I'd worn the others quite often. One out of three is not a good average for me with shoe choices! But today was a good day for customer service. 

On the other hand, remember that Christmas present that was going on sale today? Yeah, sold out by the time I got there after Aiden's assembly. After a bit of a search I got it somewhere else on sale for a bit more than that place, but still a lot less than full price. Not too bad I guess. 

This morning I got an email from the gravestone (memorial stone, they call it) people about dad's memorial stone, it is finished and installed and they sent me a photo. So that is done. It looks nice. 

Christmas shopping


Today I did a moderately epic Christmas shopping excursion. A lot of catalogues arrived in the mailbox on the weekend and I went through them carefully and made a suggestion list for myself. Things don't always look as good in the shop as they do in the catalogue - or in some cases are not age appropriate for the little kids - but today I did very well. A couple of things each for my children and husband, and completely finished the purchases for the five small children of the extended family (2 are four years old, 3 are one year old, or will be by Christmas). A very satisfying pile of presents. And after showing the non-husband ones to my husband I can wrap them. I love love love wrapping presents!

I haven't got "main" presents for my children yet but I know what I'm getting them, one item goes on sale tomorrow! I didn't note the date on the catalogue and went to buy it today but the salesman mentioned that the price will be significantly reduced tomorrow, which was nice of him. I would have realised once he rung up the price, but he didn't know that, so he didn't have to tell me.

I'm sure Christmas shopping would be horrible if it was a last minute desperate search for something vaguely appropriate, but I have plenty of time and I love it! We are pretty big on presents in our family, we buy things the receiver will actually want and put a lot of love and care into the process. I've heard people complain it's just a waste of money buying junk no-one needs, that is not the case in our family. But then we don't go out and buy whatever we want in between times, not if Christmas or a birthday is coming up! It will be a mix of things people have actually asked for, and surprises they didn't mention - maybe they didn't know it existed - but we think they will love. And a couple of cheap fun things in their stocking along with chocolates and lollies from Santa.

Big family gathering, special food, presents. I love Christmas!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Peeping lizard


I was brushing my hair this morning when I heard a strange rustling outside the bedroom window. Grumpy the blue-tongue lizard was making his slow way along the sill outside.

He seemed quite interested in watching what I was doing. The wooden part of the sill is narrow and he kept half slipping off onto the wider brick part but getting himself back on. He was licking the glass occasionally, maybe picking up insects or little spiders? Or maybe just doesn't understand windows. He got to the end eventually and went and lay in the sun. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017



I weighed 75.7 kg this morning. Up 0.5 kg. Definitely time to rein it in! I’ve still got a month until Christmas, time to lose a little or at least maintain. So I’ve started tracking calories again, which I haven’t done for a couple of weeks. And I went for a walk this morning despite a light rain. Pretty tired today after the big weekend. I watched the Miss Universe competition (Earth won again, the rest of the Universe needs to get its act together) and had a nap and just enjoyed not having to study!

On Saturday another person noticed my weight loss, only the second person to say anything. And I think she was shocked when I said I’d lost 9 kg! It really doesn’t look like I’ve lost that much. Clothes that were tight are now looser, but I haven’t gone down a size. I do have one pair of shorts in a smaller size that look good, but the smaller jeans I bought are skin tight and I’m scared to wash them because I know they will shrink a bit and I won’t be able to get them on. And I just got board shorts to go over my swimming cossie and I had to get my old size and they are still snug! I know that different designers use different measurements for their sizes, and also it depends where on the body you lose/gain weight, but I guess I thought 9 kg would be enough for a size down.

I just had a look online, a lot of people were saying it took around 10 kg for them to drop a clothing size, but a couple of short people said 5 kg (I’m short!) and others said they’d lost 16 or more kg and hadn’t needed new clothes! So it varies a lot! It’s not the number on tag that I’m after, exactly, except it’s an affirmation; it’s more that I want to buy some new clothes but I don’t want to waste money if I’ll soon need a lower size. Well without Duromine I’m unlikely to lose as quickly as I was, so I’ll just buy whatever fits me now. I don’t buy a lot of clothes, but I always like to have something new for Christmas. I’d buy more if I felt I look good in them, and I’m getting there.

Was I bemoaning only yesterday that I don’t get the family gossip any more? I miss those peaceful days already. I contacted my favourite cousin Kimberley about visiting our Poppa at the same time, she has passed on that my brother isn’t going to be invited to another cousin’s wedding. He’s frequently very late everywhere and sometimes drops out entirely (he didn’t come to the last wedding or even to our father’s funeral - he has OCD and finds socialising very difficult) and apparently they are worried about spending all that money on his place when it will likely be wasted. He arrived at this person’s engagement party after just about everyone else (including me) had left. And this wedding reception will be on a boat, if he misses it there is no way to join it late. I can understand their point, but also, well, it doesn’t seem very family to exclude him. Kimberley is angry about it, but then her side of the family is a bit at odds with the groom’s side at the moment due to the groom buying land from Poppa at what her side thinks was an unfairly low price (I disagree, the land was valued and I thought it was fair, and anyway we were all offered the same deal) ... I don’t want to be involved in that feud! But do I have to say something about excluding Darren because he is my brother? He probably wouldn’t even hear about it except through me. I haven’t got my invitation yet but the groom just checked my address with me so I assume it’s in the mail. Not even sure if I want to go. On a boat (I assume a harbour cruise) I won't be able to leave when I want to, I'll be tired and trapped, and I might get seasick. But this will be the last family wedding for my generation - unless someone has a second go later on! Everyone else is married, except Darren. He's the oldest, he'll be 50 next year.

Several guests yesterday brought gifts of wine or champagne which I know is a fairly safe hostess present for people you don't know well (there were some people from Tim's work, and some friends of a relative who was spending the day with them), but I don't drink much, so the gift I really appreciate was these beautiful flowers - peonies I think. Just lovely. I don't often buy myself flowers, maybe I should. I enjoy them growing in the garden though.

Pool party


We had beautiful weather for our pool-warming party. Sunny and hot, but not too hot. But exhausting. Such a busy weekend! I am resting my tired feet now as I watch Love Actually.

After a morning at a four-year-old’s birthday, we spent Saturday afternoon in and around the pool. We enjoyed a swim but Tim and I were also trying to get the backyard perfect. Mowing the lawn, trimming the edges, weeding, finishing the mulching, cleaning the pool. Then Sunday morning we concentrated on the inside of the house.

People were slow to arrive but by lunchtime we had more than 30 people here, including quite a few kids. Some were in the pool while Tim manned the BBQ and I prepared the other stuff. Then we had a huge spread for lunch, and then Tim and I got to enjoy time in the pool with more people than we’ve had in there before. Other people sat in the shade in our lovely new garden and talked. There was also interest in our VR (virtual reality) headset back inside. Most of the non-family left around 4 (which was the official end time) and the remainder tucked into afternoon tea. As usual I over-catered  and we’re left with a fridge and pantry full. And everyone brought drinks so we’re left with more than we started with!

Everyone agreed that we have a beautiful pool and provided a lovely lunch, but then they would say that anyway wouldn’t they!

I didn’t get sunburned (a first!) but Jasmine was out in the pool all day and is very fair so she’s rather pink tonight, despite frequent applications of sunscreen. And Tim burned his nose yesterday. One of our guests spent a lot of time floating around on a blow-up pineapple and I think she was turning pink too. I hope no one suffers too much.

Turns out most of the part of my side of the family that lives in Sydney is going down the coast this year to spend Christmas with my cousin Lara, who married this year (or was it last year? Not that long ago, anyway). They are taking Poppa, my 99 year old grandfather, with them. So I won’t be seeing them for Christmas. That is two years in a row. Since my mother and my aunt died it seems the family has drifted apart. I no longer have a conduit for gossip or family news, I have to chase it. I thought I’d see them more often since moving to Sydney, but without mum I actually see and hear from them less. To be fair, I didn’t invite any of them to the pool party! I’ve arranged with a cousin that we’ll go out and Poppa at the same time so at least I’ll see a few people then. I’ll invite my brother here on Christmas Day as usual.

So, after today, do I dread weigh-in tomorrow? No, not really. I don’t generally overeat when with a group, I’m more a secret-eater type. So I didn’t eat more (or not much more) today despite all the piles of food. The left-overs are more of a danger.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Last one


I had my last assessments for the year this morning, a short-answer online exam and then the teacher called and asked a few questions for two subjects. It wasn’t really a role-play like I was expecting, she just said “what would you do if” and “what can you tell me about”. All fine. And then I was all finished for the next two months. I enjoy my studies, but it’s nice being free!

I won’t have a lot of leisure time for the next few days though. Luckily I think the antibiotics are working, I’m feeling a lot better today.

I spend most of the afternoon doing a mammoth shop for our pool party on the weekend. So much food! We’re doing a BBQ. I hope everyone who said they will come, does. Should be lots of fun.

It was hot today so when the kids got home from school we went in the pool. I shouldn’t have waited for them though, the weather turned very soon after and we didn’t stay in long. I managed a bit of gardening under a grey sky. Hailstorms west of us, though they didn’t make it here. It should clear again for the weekend.

And after that I guess I start planning for Christmas!

Thursday, November 23, 2017



I’m on antibiotics now, hopefully I’ll be able to kick this throat and sinus infection. I’m not deathly ill by any means but I don’t feel great. I’m sure would teachers would have allowed me to delay exams and assignments, this is the last official week of term (and the year) but I know some people have arranged to get extensions to next week. But I’ve been sick for three weeks now and have no idea if I’ll feel any better next week, I decided to just get it over with. One more day.

I had two in-class exams today. Cataloguing in the morning, a couple of little things I wasn’t sure of but mostly good, and Reasearch and Analyse (researching information for clients) which was short answer questions, hand-written not on screen, for two hours. How retro! Our teacher says reading them all on screen hurts her eyes so we have to write. It was fine. I’m a bit less confident about tomorrow’s as I finished one subject six weeks ago and haven’t really refreshed my memory yet. There’s still time!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Exam week


My weight this morning was 75.2 kg, up 0.1 kg from last week. I consider 0.1 kg maintenance rather than a gain, that is half a glass of water, but obviously I need to keep an eye on it. I've "gained" 0.1 kg two weeks in a row! I am not actively trying to lose right now (while sick and stressed, and after 3 months of dieting) but I do not want to undo what I have achieved.

I had another phone role-play exam this morning, where I pretend to be library staff and the teacher pretends to be a customer/other staff. I'm good at customer service and I know the subject matter because I study, but I still get gut-twistingly nervous. Literally spent 10 minutes on the toilet with cramps, panicking that I was going to get back to my desk too late and miss the call. I was the same before opening night when I did theatre. Once the performance starts I'm fine.

Several people asked me to buy them tickets for Jasmine's dance concert yesterday. One who had not paid me yet for her families' tickets called 10 minutes before the show started to say they had a sick child and couldn't come. I doubt the sick child needed both parents' care, why couldn't one parent plus other child come to the show? Or they could have called a little earlier so I could make other arrangements! Luckily I knew someone who wanted to come but couldn't get tickets and who lived very close, so I called them and left the spare tickets at the desk for them, they had made other plans so could only come for part of the show but at least they saw Jasmine's first routine and the tickets weren't totally wasted. If I sound ungenerous about someone with a sick child - well some people you just run out of generosity for! That is $73 I'll never see again. And I have to bitch about it somewhere.

I didn't mean to have a nap today but I lay down on my bed "for just a few minutes" after lunch and fell asleep straight away. My throat is still sore too. A bit better each day though.

We are getting alternating rain and warm sunshine at the moment. The garden is loving it - particularly the weeds! We haven't finished mulching the new garden beds at the back and the once bare earth is now a sea of purslane. We've had a few things from the vegetable patch: zucchini, cucumber, lettuce and beans, plus herbs. The only things that refuse to grow are the peas, they don't die but they sit there the same size as when I planted them out as seedlings two months ago. Snow peas and garden peas - three punnets of seedlings at two different times weeks apart. No idea why, I haven't had trouble with peas before. Everything else is rampant.

Prance and dance


On Friday I should have been studying but instead slept most of the day except doing the grocery shopping, where apparently I forgot some stuff I needed to get. But three naps in one day seemed to help and I was feeling a lot better by the weekend. Still not 100%, but a big improvement. Lucky, because we had a super-busy weekend.

On Saturday morning Jasmine had her State Final Acrobatic Gymnastics competition. It's an enormous venue, you can only see about a third of it in the picture. Here the gymnasts are lined up ready to start, Jasmine is at the back of the line wearing black closest to the camera. See the group in red, twice as big as any other school, at the far side? Yeah, they basically won everything.

Jasmine and her partner didn't make it to the podium, but she did get a 'gold band' medal - I guess equal fourth? So that is still an awesome result. She also goes up a level next year. I didn't get a great shot of her receiving her medal. I do have good videos of her actual performances (they do two routines, a slow 'balance' routine and a faster 'dynamic' one), and there is probably a way to take stills from that but that's a bit too technical for me.

Then we had about an hour at home before my niece Emma was delivered. We were babysitting so her parents could go to a wedding. She was here all afternoon and stayed overnight. As it was her very first sleepover, and she is only four and doesn't hesitate to air her opinions and feelings, we weren't sure how it was going to go, but it was fine. Tim took all the kids out to an indoor trampoline place in the afternoon so I could study, then we watched 'Sing' in the evening, and she went to sleep quite easily in Jasmine's room on a mattress (Jasmine had to stay in the room for the going to sleep bit even though it wasn't her own bedtime yet). And woke after 6am so I call that a win!

After she was picked up by a slightly headachy and hungover daddy, we only had a short time before heading off to the local Entertainment Centre for a day of Dance Concerts. Emma had her concert first (lucky she got a good night's sleep) with all the pre-schoolers. They are not exactly stellar dancers, but very cute. And only three left the stage in tears over the course of the morning. A few did just stand there with fingers in their mouth. Emma got distracted a couple of times waving to us in the audience, but otherwise got through her routines with confidence. Each group had a couple of teachers or older kids with them to help them remember the steps, and get them on and off stage.

Then in the afternoon it was Jasmine's turn. Not allowed to take photos, unfortunately, we have to buy official ones if we want any. The dance routines were rather more professional than the morning, the serious 'troupe' kids were really excellent. Jasmine was with the 'fun' group, doing tap dancing, modern/contemporary and jazz funk. (Aiden thinks it's hilarious that Jas dances jazz). She did really well, very enjoyable to watch. She still enjoys dance, but I think her focus is more on gymnastics now.

It was a very long day/weekend, and I have an exam tomorrow morning, but I think I'm well prepared and I'm feeling a lot healthier than I was a couple of days ago so that is good.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017



I'm feeling a bit cranky because I am still sick. Two weeks now! It is affecting my exam confidence. Five exams next week to study for. I was quite a lot better yesterday but this morning woke up with throat really sore again, aching legs, headache, fatigue, all as bad as ever. Frustrating. At least Jasmine has recovered from her relapse.

It's hard to know if stopping Duromine has had any physical effect because I'm feeling rotten anyway, it may be the cause of the upset tummy. Or not. But one I'm sure of is that the night sweats have immediately returned with a vengeance as they have every time I've stopped taking the tablets for a day or two. How many years does peri-menopause take? It's been at least... I'm not sure... four years so far? Maybe longer. At least four. Last night's accompanying stupid dream was about realising I'd left my school uniform by a swimming pool, on the other side of a shopping complex, and sending Aiden to get it but knowing he wouldn't be able to find it and that I was going to be late for school... We do wear uniforms all through our school life in Australia but not as an adult at a tertiary institution!


Dragged myself around TAFE today because it was the last week before exams and I didn’t want to miss last minute info, and we also had a timetabling session for next year. Sore throat and tired and horrible headache all day, even with Panadol. And then I got a call from the Intership people, I didn’t get it (Lauren did). I didn’t even think they were deciding yet, but clearly they did. A bit relieved because I don’t think I would have been able to work with the times they wanted, but mostly disappointed.

Slept in train on way home, and at home in front of TV. Most of my life sleeping atm.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Three months


My three months with the appetite suppressant Duromine (phentermine) are over. I didn't lose any weight this week (in fact 0.1 kg up), I don't think the tablets were having any affect any more but also I've continued to be sick all week so haven't exercised. But over the 12 weeks I've lost 9.6 kg, by far the most I've ever lost on any weight-loss strategy. I think that was well worth my relatively minor side effects of occasional nausea and constant dry mouth. But I'm kind of glad it's over, even 'relatively minor' side effects get pretty annoying after 12 weeks!

Starting weight 84.7 kg
Finishing weight 75.1 kg

This is the lightest I've been for at least 10 years. I am much more comfortable in my own skin, 15 kg overweight feels very different to 25 kg overweight. My goal is now to maintain that for a while over the Christmas period.

I'm on day 12 (I think) of this flu or whatever. I seem to get worse every time I exert myself at all. After a tiring afternoon yesterday I got much worse in the evening, and so did Jasmine. She's gone to school anyway because she has too much she can't miss, she said. It's such a busy time of year. She's got both her dance concert and the gymnastics State competition next weekend, with lots of rehearsals all week, so it's going to be really tough for her if she continues to feel unwell. She also has a test at school today plus sometime has to do the one she missed when she was away sick last week.

Saturday was when we'd planned to have our pool-warming party (second try) but by mid-week the weather forecast was pretty bad so we postponed again. Then the weather turned out quite nice after all! However I was still sick so all for the best. Hopefully in a fortnight it will all come together.

Sunday afternoon was Aiden's birthday party at one of those Laser Zone places where you run around in the dark shooting each other. He had some school friends but also Tim and a couple of uncles who are basically big kids anyway. There was a bit of awkwardness, grandad found out about the party - we hadn't invited him because it was really supposed to be a kids' party and also he he's been busy looking after Jo and has declined other invitations to things lately - and he wanted to come, I was really worried we'd hurt his feelings by not inviting him (we had a separate dinner for family to celebrate so he wasn't left out of everything!) so we organised an extra place but then he decided he wouldn't come after all!

I wasn't part of the Laser Zone party, I'd planned to get some more study time in with only two weeks to go, but was asked to babysit my nieces so Uncle Nick could be at the party (Ping was working). I took them to a kids' indoor playground next door along with cousin Veronica and her baby. It went better than expected, four year old Emma only had two tantrums (one about her hair clip coming out and no one was allowed to put it back in except daddy, who wasn't available; and one about wanting to take the pink balls from the ball pit home), and little Ashleigh was ok as long as she was glued to me and only cried when her big sister did. It was tiring though. Then family all came to our place for dinner to celebrate Aiden's birthday - well we have family dinner most Sundays anyway - and usually I love that but by then I was feeling tired and sore throat and quite unwell so I was glad when they finally all left, I was almost asleep on the lounge.

My plan is to sit and study and do as little physical activity as possible until I'm truly well. No moving rocks around in the garden! Rest and nutritious food.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Internship delay


I got a call about the Internship today, basically they are delaying it until early next year and are not making a decision until everyone knows their schedules. It seems they could take both Lauren and myself, or just one, depending on availability, or that is the impression I got. It could be an issue for me if they want me there for normal work-day hours because it's a long commute and I have kids to be home for. But I'll wait and see when we talk again in January. Maybe if I time-share with Lauren it will work out. It's two months until they plan to call back - I'll worry about it closer to the time!

I was glad to get the call even though I didn't get a final answer, at least I don't have to worry about time management these last two weeks of TAFE with all my exams, and she gave me some more details about the job, and I don't have to check my email every half hour anymore!

I'm still feeling pretty rotten today. Headache and body ache and very tired. Urg. But by late afternoon some improvement.

My little boy Aiden's birthday! I can't believe he is eleven. Born 3:30am after five hours of labour (compared to 56 hours for Jasmine! My official records only count nine hours when the contractions were five mins apart or closer, but I count the whole time from when it started.) Aiden is still my baby. But eleven!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017



I thought I was over the flu (or whatever it is) but continued to feel tired and needing a nap every afternoon. Exercise or anything strenuous made me feel dizzy and sick. Yesterday I felt worse, and Jasmine was home sick with it - so now the whole family has had it! - and today am worse again and stayed home from TAFE. It wasn't a good day to try to sleep, the council are doing some gardening just across the road - with chainsaws! And a woodchipper. Not kind on a headache.

I emailed my cataloguing teacher to ask for today's lesson and homework. I'd been increasingly worried about the exam I did last week considering I was coming down sick at the time, but turns out I got 100%! So I'm very relieved and happy about that. I was slow, but thorough, so that is ok.

The weather forecast for the weekend wasn't good, so we've postponed our pool-warming party again. Maybe we should have waited until summer in the first place, but we had some really hot days! Then cold and rainy. Now it's gone back to around 22C, quite nice but not really swimming weather.

OMG will they please shut up with the chainsaw already!!

Monday, November 6, 2017



We had a visit from a dragon today. I was out gardening and I had just edged around our resident blue-tongue lizard Grumpy (I wasn't scared of him, I just didn't want to disturb him) who was out getting some sun, when I saw a flash of extremely fast movement go up the rock wall and over the lip of the pool. So I walked around to the other side (no sudden movements) to see a water dragon clinging to the wall, unsuccessfully hiding from me.

It's a mineral pool, so it's not exactly drinking quality but shouldn't hurt him/her. It is good to know that despite us ripping just about every original plant out of the backyard and being a construction site for a year, the wildlife is still happy to live here.

I did an exam this morning, I do that subject online and it was multiple choice so I got my results straight away - 100%! It's worth 50% of the total for that subject - Copyright. So yay.

I thought 100% was pretty good, but then Jasmine came home and said she got 103% in her Spanish exam by getting everything right plus some bonus marks. Snotty kid.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Getting lighter


75.0 kg this morning! I am very happy with that. 0.5 kg loss this week, 9.7 kg loss total in 11 weeks on Duromine, one week to go - mainly the lower dose tablets. A good way to wean myself off them, if such a tactic is needed. I will miss the appetite suppressant effect and the extra energy (both have faded anyway) but I won't miss the constant dry sore mouth!

I was sick for about three days, better on Sunday. Which is when Tim came down with it! He's home sick in bed today. Aiden was only sick for one day, and Jasmine not at all (yet). We cancelled the family dinner we usually host on Sunday - now what do I do with roast lamb for 12? Lots of leftovers!

It's also been pouring rain for three days, so with sickness and weather I feel like I haven't seen the sun for a week!

I just realised that I had to set up a blog for a TAFE project and give two teachers access to it, and I think that means that if they wanted they could easily see this blog which is public and attached to my name... I hope I've only said nice things. I think so. I love all my teachers. They are all fantastic and smart and very kind when it comes to marking. Especially Gary and Mary - love you guys!

Friday, November 3, 2017

No Show


I continue very tired, and now rather achy all over, and Aiden was also home sick today. This morning his voice was so hoarse he sounded like a heavy smoker. He’s much better this evening, but I’ve got worse as the day has gone on.

Unfortunately Tim and I were supposed to go out tonight, some time ago he bought tickets to see Guy Sebastian (he won Australian Idol about ten years ago, I think the first series) who we both like. We had some obstacles; difficulty finding someone who could babysit, my resistance when I found out I had to get to the venue by myself at night in the city and meet Tim there - Tim managed to solve all problems. But he couldn’t work around sickness. I'm never that keen on going out in the evening anyway, but I feel sorry for Tim who planned it all.

And now I’m worried about the exam I did yesterday. I thought it went ok at the time, but I did notice that I wasn’t one of the first to finish when I usually am. Today I feel so slow and foggy. I hope yesterday was just the slow part. I do know I added some extra information that wasn't strictly necessary, and also being puzzled over one bit for a while before I worked it out - talking to Lauren afterwards she didn't add the extra stuff and she thought the exam was easy... she finished way before me... and I don't actually remember checking over my work maybe I did... dammit I hate being sick!

I seem to be catching up on my sleep. Solid sleep at night, another nap this afternoon. can't keep my eyes open. This post has been written over several sessions.

That last job interview I went to, some weeks ago, I realised how shabby my “good” shoes had become. My usual footwear are sneakers, or a couple of variants of sneaker-like shoes. I have winter boots, and one good pair of black shoes which I keep in their box between occasional good-shoes-required events. But they had become rather scuffed and peeling, time for a new pair! Last week I went shoe shopping, a very rare occasion (I get new sneakers about once a year, anything else approximately never), and bought two pairs of shoes; comfy black almost-sneakers and fancier (and expensive) black shoes for work, should I ever get a job. When I got home I looked at the fancy ones again. What the hell was I thinking? Long and pointy with little black bows on the front? I was never going to wear those. So not “me”. I’ll be taking those back - I was planning to today except for being sick. Instead, I ordered online ankle boots that I’d liked in the shop except they only had brown ones and I wanted black. They arrived today and I love them. Now they are “me”. Here is the comparison me/not me.

I burned dinner tonight. Luckily salvageable. Just not thinking very well. But apologies if this post doesn't make sense.

Thursday, November 2, 2017



I had my second cataloguing exam this morning. I think it went ok. Afterwards, my teacher told me about another cataloguing job going (a paid job this time, not a short-term internship, which I haven’t heard about yet), but it’s way over the other side of the city and would be about two hours travel each way. No way I can manage that within the kids’ school hours! I might investigate whether there is any option for working from home, but that defeats part of the purpose of working, for me. I’ve been home by myself too long.

I was feeling crushingly tired last night and went to bed early. I wasn’t worried, I’m usually tired in the evening. But today I was exhausted all day. Walking up stairs was like climbing a mountain, I could hardly keep my eyes open in class (not great in an exam!), fell asleep on the train on they way home and then napped at home until it was time to take the kids to gymnastics. Takeaway for dinner. I assume I’m coming down with something, hope it’s not too bad.

Speaking of sleeping in class, that girl Jessica still spends most lessons face down on her desk. When she is awake, she can be quite argumentative, often about random things nothing to do with the work, like politics. But mostly she sleeps. This afternoon she snoozed through the teacher’s explanation and while we were working on an exercise. Then we went around the class giving the answers. She was prodded awake but obviously she had no answers to give! She hadn’t even turned on her computer. After a moment the teacher moved on. I still wonder why on earth she is there! Why does she come to class? And why do the teachers put up with it? I suppose they may know something I don’t, that excuses her behaviour.

Lauren was having a bad day. She’s the other girl up for the internship. In the morning exam, right near the end, she knocked over her water bottle. She and Jake next to her had to scramble to keep everything out of the puddle, and it took her three trips to the bathroom at the other end of the hall to get enough paper towel to clean it up. But at least it was only water. At lunch, I was sitting with her and a couple of other people when she spilled her salad (with dressing) onto herself. And in the afternoon class she suddenly said she was getting a really strong smell... she investigated her backpack and found that her bottle of hand sanitizer had ‘exploded’ in her words. She wearily dragged herself and her bag off to the bathroom. Some days maybe you just shouldn’t get out of bed.

Speaking of which, time for sleeping.

Monday, October 30, 2017



My weight this morning was 75.5 kg, only a 0.4 kg loss this week but still a loss. I've definitely been eating too much junk. I've only got two weeks of Duromine left - some 30 mg and some the lower dose 15 mg that I started on - and I really want to make the most of any appetite suppressing effects they still give. I think my body has mostly got used to them though. Less than a kilogram to go for a 10 kg total loss, so that is what I am aiming for over the next fortnight.

We were too busy this weekend to have our pool-warming party, which was a shame because we had really hot weather! It was planned for next weekend but the forecast is for cold and rain so we've moved it further back and crossed fingers it warms up again.

On Saturday we went to Samuel's 1st birthday party - the second baby in the family born last year. It was a lunchtime event and we sat outside under a pergola thing. It was so hot! I think the heat frayed the ability of some of the little kids to get along. There were some tears and tantrums. I was desperate to get home and jump in our pool. Aaaahhhhhhh yeah.

Then Sunday Jasmine had another gymnastics competition. It was another 'trial' for people to get into the State Championships, Jasmine and her partner Elise were already through but it's good practice. They got another blue ribbon. Probably 50 or 60 kids there - only one boy! - but some compete in trios whereas Jasmine is in a pair so they are not all in the same group. I think eight pairs earned a blue ribbon this time.

Back home, and into the pool again! With the pool heater on for a couple of days and the warm weather, the pool was up to 29C. Beautiful.

We had family over for dinner, and most got into the pool in the evening. An impromptu pre-party. There is a pool light and some very dim solar lights out there, it is quite dark really. I would be too nervous to swim by myself at night but it was nice with a group.

But I think my sister-in-law Ping is scared of water! Even the kids can easily stand in the shallow end, or there is a super-shallow bit for tiny kids (sort of an extended step) but Ping wouldn't come in. I'll have to work on her.

Today we swam again after the kids got home from school. The weather turned while we were out there, and now it's going to be cool for at least a week. We made the most of the hot weather while it lasted. With the cooler weather I'll be able to get more gardening done.

The final date for the library internship applications was today (I got mine in the day after I was told about it) so hopefully I will hear soon about that. I really want it, even though I'm stressed about how I would cope with the workload of these final four weeks of semester!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017



Some excellent news today, we finally got our Final Occupation Certificate for our pool! We've been waiting a couple of months since the inspection, because of the complaint (which was later withdrawn). There has been quite a bit of stress involved with that process. We can now sell the house whenever we want (hopefully not for many years) but more immediately we can get our bond back from council - a significant amount of money - that they were holding until they were sure we hadn’t damaged council property during the installation. And just having it done and approved is the main thing, no longer weighing on my mind.

Here is our pool today:
Doesn't the turf look lush! It has not only survived, it has thrived. That's what watering twice a day during the first two weeks will do. I won’t show the front lawn, which is still bare compacted dirt and weeds! We’ll get to it.

I didn’t do much today. My tummy has been upset since yesterday evening. I had a restless night and I was still uncomfortable all today. A good day to get some study done.

Oh, and my friend Cathy from last semester, who is studying online now because she’s working, contacted me for a chat so that was nice. I’ve missed seeing her for lunch. It’s a shame she doesn’t live closer. The only person who lives near me is one of my teachers!

Monday, October 23, 2017



This morning I weighed 75.9 kg, another 0.7 kg lost. Under 76 kg is a big milestone for me. I remember quite clearly that when my weight was on the way up, sometime after getting married (when I got down to 69 kg) but I'm not sure when exactly, 76 kg was the point where I really started to feel uncomfortable with how I looked. I'm not going to say I hated myself or any part of my body, but at that point I went from just wanting to lose weight to really feeling fat. Weight loss went from a casual desire to one of the big issues of my life, something to struggle with nearly every day since. Getting back under that is awesome, and having someone notice my weight loss yesterday a bonus!

I am terrible at taking selfies, but this is me today.

I had another phone role-play exam this morning, this one about helping a customer find fiction to read ('I really liked Bridget Jones's Diary, do you have anything else like that?). I was a bit nervous already, I like written exams but not face-to-face (or in this case .... mouth-to-ear?), I get performance anxiety, but it went ok. I hadn't realised that the preparation I'd done on the weekend was only for a practice example, but I was given time to prepare the real thing before the phone chat.

My father-in-law's partner Jo didn't come to dinner last night. She's had four weeks of chemo and radiotherapy, with two to go, and is starting to feel pretty sick from it. Des tries to stay upbeat but I think he is pretty worried. I sent food home with him but I don't know if she'll be able to eat it. Cancer is a real bastard.

We've been keeping an eye on the weather forecast as we want to have a pool-warming party now that it is finished and landscaped, but the temperature has tended to plummet on the weekends. We're heading into Christmas season when everyone is very busy so we've just made a decision and are having the party in a couple of weeks, before everyone's time gets booked up. We'll heat the pool and just hope we don't get a storm or something! Warm/hot weather would be nice, please weather gods.

And I get two more weeks before everyone sees me in a swimming costume...