Sunday, January 29, 2017

Stomach flu


My upset tummy got worse rather than better over the weekend. Random stabbing pains. Fatigue. Sore throat. Mild nausea but also abdominal discomfort. Some... unpleasantness.

My Chinese sister-in-law hosted a Chinese New Year dinner on Sunday night but I didn't go. I really was not feeling well. And with three babies (and plenty of adults!) in the family I didn't want to pass this on.

My cricket team lost the final on Saturday night. By a big margin. 😢

Today Tim was back at work and Aiden back at school, Jasmine starts tomorrow so I had the day with her. It was her actual birthday, she'd already had her party. She wanted to see the movie Passengers but we couldn't because the only session time would have meant we weren't home when Aiden got home from school. Instead we did a bit of shopping for school stuff then went to the Lindt chocolate café for a treat. I was still recovering from my stomach flu which is now more like normal flu (runny nose etc) so wasn't up to doing any more than that. We'll watch the final Twilight movie at home tonight - even though my favourite TV show is starting! (My Kitchen Rules - reality cooking show.) I'll catch up on that tomorrow.

Jasmine requested lasagne for dinner (we use zucchini instead of pasta for the girls' half, Jas is now gluten-free and I'm trying to reduce carbs), I wasn't really feeling up to cooking something that complex tonight but I managed it with only one major mistake and one dropped/smashed bowl from our new set.😢 again. It's in the oven now - I hope it turns out ok!

Tomorrow it will be just me at home, a bit of a change after six weeks of holidays! I've got the rest of the week to get some stuff organised before my course starts next Monday, like finding some publishers to send my book off to. I've done nothing with that over the summer holidays. Actually I have a long list of things to do - don't we all! But I'll be taking it easy if I still don't feel well (and watch my TV show!).

Friday, January 27, 2017



I went into the city this morning to meet with the head teacher of my TAFE course and worked out my timetable, looks like I'll go in three days a week, be home in time for the kids after school, and do the rest online. I have one early morning where I'll put Aiden into before-school care, his school starts pretty late. Seems like it will work out well.

Silly episode while there; I went to the TAFE library and asked about getting a library card. They said I just use my TAFE ID card and told me where to get it. I went to that office, was about to press the button marked "TAFE card" to get a ticket in the queue when a helper came over and asked what I was there for. Told her I needed a TAFE card. She pressed the "TAFE card" button for me and gave me the ticket. A few minutes later I was called to the desk. "I'm starting here this year and need a TAFE card please." "Oh, we don't do TAFE cards here, you need to go to building G." !!!! I decided to leave that run-around for another day.

What I thought was car sickness on Wednesday has persisted so it obviously isn't just motion sickness - but travel definitely makes me feel worse. I didn't have any breakfast this morning to be safe, still felt quite nauseated in the train. Not really sick, just a bit queasy a lot of the time. Real food seems ok, junk food makes it worse.

It was Australia Day yesterday, we didn't do anything much. We were supposed to get together with some other family members in a park where they had some activities going on; I was feeling queasy and stayed home while Tim took the kids, and no one else we knew showed up. We just had a movie night at home.

BTW my cricket team did get through to the final which is tomorrow night. It was a very exciting semi-final - ended in a draw so they had to go to a "super over" which we won.

Today/tonight Jasmine is having her birthday party. She didn't want any activities, just picked out some snack foods. A group of girls spent three hours locked in her room giggling. Then half of them went home and we were left with a handful to stay overnight. I made tacos for dinner and we sat down together. None of the girls - even Jasmine! - would speak, if asked a question they would just look at each other and giggle. I can understand the other girls being shy but why Jasmine? They didn't eat much, probably because of afternoon snacks, and it was all a bit awkward. Was I like that when I was thirteen? We're putting a bunch of mattresses and blow-up beds in the lounge, they can watch TV late and do some more giggling I guess. As long as they have fun.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Bunnies on the beach


Our pool site foreman came this morning and we discussed various things, then we (we the family, not including Angelo the foreman) went off to chose the coping tiles. These are the tiles that are laid around the top of the pool edge. Not included in the contract price of course (although the laying is). We were sent to one particular company, I for one was happy to just go with their suggestion rather than visiting every tile showroom in Sydney. We picked some nice tiles, decided we'd be able to fit them in the car boot (trunk), got directions to the warehouse, missed the turn-off and got lost, found it with the help of the GPS. The tiles did indeed fit in the boot but the car certainly felt the weight! Scraped on the gutter on the way into our driveway later, never done that before. A workman has been here the past two days preparing the pool for the coping so hopefully they and the decorative rock bit can be done soon.

Then we went to the beach to have fish and chips with Tim's cousin and family. It was a cool cloudy day (lovely!), not one for swimming. The popular Cronulla beach was being set up for Australia Day celebrations tomorrow with a huge stage for live music, and rather oddly a cluster of giant inflatable white rabbits.

We had a very short walk before lunch, I was feeling extremely car sick for some reason and just wanted to sit and breathe the fresh sea air. I felt better after a while, especially after some fizzy soft drink which was always my mother's cure for nausea. Maybe because it makes you burp? We had lunch and a chat then we headed to a big shopping centre on the way home, Jasmine and I sat and had a cup of tea/iced chocolate while Tim and Aiden looked for birthday presents for Jasmine who unbelievably turns 13 next Monday. I can't have a teenage child! I'm too young!

I've been avidly watching 20/20 cricket for the past couple of months. Traditional cricket takes five whole days of play, but in the 1970s "one day" cricket (50 overs a side) became popular. A few years ago they brought in an even more restricted version of the game, 20 overs a side so it takes about three hours in total. It is much faster-paced and very exciting. There is an Australian competition called Big Bash, city vs city in a round robin that has been on almost every night, and my team is in tonight's semi-final. Hopefully they will make it through to the grand final on Saturday night! Go Sydney Sixers! (A six is hitting the ball over the fence for a score of six runs.) My women's team had their semi-final this afternoon and made it through to their final so who knows, maybe we'll get both trophies!

I'd rather study than work


Yet again I missed my book club due to having to talk to a pool tradesman. He was scheduled to come later, but rang to change the time. Tim was here but it's really best if we both talk to them. Book club is only an hour once a month, for goodness sake! I've missed so many, and at least three times due to the pool. Time to drop out of the group, I think, likely my TAFE course will interfere too. I hate being so unreliable.

I realised I won't be able to get to the general orientation meeting next week for my TAFE course so I've arranged to go in on Friday to sort out my timetable. I'm really looking forward to getting started! I love study, as you can probably tell by my frequent return to it. After high school I did a BA(Linguistics), worked for ten years, did a Cert II Horticulture course, had children, did a Grad Cert in Professional Writing and Editing, freelanced for a while, started a Bachelor of Nutrition but found it too lonely with all the teenagers, wrote a book, and now doing a Diploma of Library and Information Studies. I'd rather learn than work any day!

Saturday, January 21, 2017



On Thursday we went on an adventure to the Jenolan caves. Tim and I had both been there before as children. They were a bit further away than we thought, a full three hours drive. We bought tickets to one of the tours while we were still driving, so by the time we got there we didn't have time for lunch and went straight in.

You actually drive through a huge cave to get to the carpark! It is wide at one end but quite narrow at the other, only one car can fit at a time, and it felt very wrong to be driving through there. I didn't get a photo of that bit. This is the wide end.

The tour had been chosen because of the time it started, but it turned out that out of the nine or ten available we were on the most challenging one! 910 stairs in the cave itself (90 min tour) plus lots of stairs to get to the cave entrance. I found it physically exhausting going up, and emotionally exhausting going down narrow steep wet stairs in semi-darkness as I'm scared of heights. But the caves were pretty.

Then we had some late lunch from the very limited selection at the kiosk and drove home again. The first bit was very scenic and beautiful, then dense fog and rain as we went over the Blue Mountains back to Sydney, not so fun. It was an awful lot of driving, but Tim was happy that we'd got out of the house for a day.

The whole pool situation is still ongoing. Nothing much has happened for a month, now at least the workmen are back from holidays but it's still very slow. They come out and look at the concrete hole in the ground and tell us all the things that need to be done before other things can be done. The current issues are getting drainage and retaining walls so that any run-off during rain doesn't carry dirt into the pool (we are on a slope) and getting electricity from the house all the way back to the garden shed where the pump will be located. Expensive frustrating delays!

I've been having some exciting ideas for a new book, not in the same series as the one I've already written. Much darker. I've worked out in some detail the first half, but I don't know what happens after that yet. In my previous book I actually started knowing the ending and worked backwards, so this one is different. The author Stephen King says he generally just starts with a premise, like "what would happen in an evil car came alive?" and just starts writing. It seems to work for him! But I need to know where my story is heading before I begin, otherwise I'd just flail around and waffle on forever.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The fun of public transport


This afternoon I went into the city to an information session about this library course I'm thinking about doing. I was a bit apprehensive as it was so very hot, and I was right to be! I'd left time to get lunch before the 2:00pm session, after a 1 hour trip in (car to station then train), but I couldn't face eating in the heat, at least none of the greasy food from the hole-in-the-wall outlets I could find near the station. I ended up with a milkshake in a shady spot with a bit of a breeze, I suppose that almost counts as food. I asked for half syrup but it was still horribly sweet.

The info session was good, best thing was I can do some subjects in class and some online to make the timetable fit being home outside the kids' school hours. The course is a one year Diploma which would make me a "library technician" - somewhere between a librarian (managing) and a library assistant (stacking shelves etc). The course starts in three weeks, after the kids are back at school.

It was after 3 when I left, I thought about going home but felt I really should eat something first, even though it was still too hot for food to seem appealing. We don't have a big bookshop near home but there are a couple of great ones in the city, so I decided to head over to one and get food on the way, I had a particular restaurant in mind and could catch a bus up the main road. But the road was closed for roadworks, so no buses, and the restaurant wasn't there any more (ok it's probably been 15 years since I was there), so I trudged along the sidewalk in the heat, uphill, not interested in any of the fatty fast food that I would usually love. I could have got ice cream but there was no where to eat it except the hot street so I just kept trudging along getting hotter and more miserable.

I finally went into an air conditioned food court near the bookshop and had a cool drink and a crepe with strawberries. It wasn't very nice but I made myself eat it. And did feel a bit better. Then bought a book for the train ride home.

It was approaching peak hour but I got a seat on the train and was enjoying my book. A few stations from home the train stopped for a long time then pulled into the next station and we were all told to get off and catch arranged buses as there was a signal failure problem. I squished onto a bus with about a million other people, packed under some guy's armpit, and swayed to the rhythm of the bus driver's aggressive cornering. Confusingly it didn't go to my station, or even one on that line, but to the major shopping centre where we often go to the movies. There I was told to change buses, and caught an ordinary one that was heading where I wanted to go. Not directly, of course... first we took in the scenic back streets. Every time I thought we were headed in the right direction we'd turn a corner and head off on a tangent again. But all things must end, even seemingly interminable bus rides, and we finally got to the station where I'd left the car, a full hour later than I'd expected. To see a train pull in from the city and disgorge its load of passengers... I guess they'd repaired the problem.

I slumped the couple of blocks to the car in a defeated sort of way. At least I did well over 10,000 steps today!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Maybe by next Christmas


The pool builders are back from their Christmas holidays today. The guy who is doing the rock edging and water feature came out to offer his services for other landscaping (laying paving and building us new steps). We liked his concept and are waiting for his quote. But he told us something very sad, prefaced by "can I be honest?" (always a bad sign) he doesn't think the pool will be ready before the end of summer. We still have a month and a half left! But there is still a lot to be done: the plumbing and surfacing the concrete and a million other things. This guy isn't the site manager but he is pretty experienced in the industry. Sad and disappointing - we were originally told "by Christmas"! Maybe they meant Christmas 2017.

Standing out in the sun talking to him in the middle of the day for 40 minutes on a scorcher was no fun. Felt a bit sick. I should have got a hat but I didn't know we'd be out so long. At least Tim is home at the moment to talk to the tradesmen so he doesn't hear everything second-hand through me.

Although he took the kids out for an hour this afternoon and as soon as they'd gone there was a knock on the door - I thought it was him having forgotten something. But was a delivery guy with a stack of big boxes and heavy bags of rocks! Good timing Tim (getting out of the heavy lifting). I got the guy to carry it around to inside the side gate. Pool stuff like the filter and pump apparently, the rocks are part of the filter system?, we had no idea it was going to be delivered today (or any day).

...well surprise surprise, the back of my neck is now a lovely shade of magenta.

Saturday, January 14, 2017



We don't know our older neighbours on one side very well and at first thought they were a bit grumpy, but they seem nice now. We haven't spoken to them much but the husband suggested a couple of times (when he saw me home with the kids on school holidays) that we were welcome to use his swimming pool if we wanted. I really didn't feel like we knew them well enough, it was too awkward, although of course I thanked him and said we might. But then he asked us to feed his dog while the humans were away this weekend, and that made it seem fair for us to use the pool and also not having them there helped! We went over this afternoon, played with Casper, and had a swim in the pool - with Casper! He shed a lot of hair, both in the pool and out of it, poor thing looked so hot. He is an elderly golden Labrador.

I fed him in the evening, and as I'd been warned he inhaled his dinner in about 12 seconds. And looked around for more. It was the right amount of food for him, but I did feel a bit sorry for him that someone so motivated by food (as all Labradors are) only got to eat for 12 seconds a day. He should learn to savour it!

I've been thinking seriously about the "what am I going to do with my life" question, and one option I'm considering is becoming a librarian. There is a one year course that I can do either in the city (might be tricky to fit within school hours, especially with all the travelling) or online. And even while studying (especially online) I could look for work, my previous qualifications and work experience (not in libraries) might help. I want to work part time. I love books, there would be some desk work but not all day, quiet and indoors, contact with people but I wouldn't have to sell anything. The TAFE course has an information session on Wednesday that I plan to go to, and I'll also go talk to my local librarians.

As with any job or study, it will affect the time I have to write (particularly with my RSI that restricts daily computer use) but I can't stay home forever. I need to think about the direction to take my writing too... do I work on the sequel to my existing book that hasn't yet found a publisher (need to spend time there) or start on a new idea that is percolating?

Thursday, January 12, 2017



Yesterday we saw another movie, "Moana". The kids don't seem to want to do much else. Just mooch around the house, which is fine with me.

Today Jasmine had a friend over, and they spent three hours giggling in her room. Weirdly her friend had my exact boots (I don't know why she was wearing boots on a hot summer day) and when she took them off she had the same socks as I am wearing today. So do I have the fashion sense of a twelve year old, or does she have that of a 46 year old?

When Emily's mother dropped her off I invited her in for a cup of tea and we had a chat. I am trying to be brave and make new friends. Seemed very nice. I was a bit secretly miffed when she had two sugars in her tea, admitted to a sweet tooth and love of desserts, her husband works for Coca-Cola,and she complained about being slack about exercise since Christmas... yet is very slender! Nice teeth too.

I am thinking more seriously that I need to get some kind of part time job (school hours) for the social aspect and the sense of purpose as much as the money (but I would like to contribute money to the household too) - but I have no idea what. Maybe I should start by looking at local job ads and see what is available?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017



I knew my legs would be sore today, but I was wrong about which bits. My calves hurt the most when actually climbing up the rock stairs, but it's the muscles at the front just above my knees that are stiff and sore now. Going down stairs is very painful!

Didn't do much today. Just the grocery shopping. I feel guilty that we didn't do more but it was so hot today. The kids played board games and iPad games and got bored. Tomorrow will be worse, 38 degrees C.

I wish we had our pool.

Sunday, January 8, 2017



Weight this morning 80.1 kg, up a little.

I knew today was going to be hot, tomorrow very hot, Wednesday stupidly hot. So if we wanted to be outside at all, it needed to be this morning. We went to a park by the river, but the kids didn't approve as the playground equipment was all on sand and they didn't want to get sand in their shoes. So we went for a walk. "Along the river" quickly became an almost vertical climb up the side of the ravine. There were steps cut into the boulders and carefully placed rocks, up and up.

And up and up. A couple of times I stopped for a rest and claimed I couldn't go any further but we kept going until we got to the lookout more or less at the top. At least I think this was the advertised official lookout, there was a little plaque on the rock but no fence, I didn't go too near the edge! My calves were hurting quite a bit and I bet I'll wake up stiff and unable to walk tomorrow! I took some photos from the top but they don't really show clearly how steep it was or how high above the river, which you can just see between the trees.

We climbed down again (hard on the knees), had a rest in the shade, then drove home and had some ice cream! It wasn't really part of my diet plan for the day, but then neither was an exhausting hike in the heat. More than an hour later after a rest, ice cream, and a cool shower, I was still hot and tomato-red in the face. And rather shaky about the legs.

Family Tree


On Friday Tim was home sick, yesterday I felt awful, neither of us is fully recovered. This flu or whatever it is keeps going around and around the family, or I suppose it could be more than one virus. This bit was nasty.

We were supposed to have my aunt and uncle over for lunch today. My dad's brother and his wife, they live in the country (retired farmers) many hours away. I've probably seen and spoken to them more times in the past two years, due to my father's illness and death, than all the previous twenty years put together - but before that when I was a child a spent a month every summer on my grandparents' farm. They lived next door and had three kids, my cousins, around my age; so I spent a lot of time in their house. Anyway they were visiting their son (my cousin Ashley) only an hour away from here and were going to come over and see us and our "new" house. I was feeling rotten this morning and also worried about if I was contagious but didn't like to cancel when the visit was such a rare occurrence. But Ashley called to say that they were sick so couldn't come. Of course I am sorry they are sick but for myself I was so relieved! Wouldn't have to spend the day cooking, cleaning and being cheerful and social when I just wanted to collapse in front of the TV with a book. I hope we all feel better soon.

It turns out Ashley and his sister have been investigating our family tree and have put quite a lot online on an ancestry website. They gave me access and I was able to give them some more info about my branch of the family. It's fascinating!

Tim's dad and brother came over in the afternoon to play Dungeons and Dragons but I don't play any more so that didn't bother me or interfere with me resting. Jasmine looks after little Emma. My sister-in-law has been confined to the house for 30 days after giving birth to her new baby (Chinese tradition, to let the mother rest and get to know her new baby) although she did come over for Christmas, we haven't seen her much due to the illness going around so we haven't gone over there with our germs. That "moon time" is over in two days and hopefully we'll all be well and able to socialise again.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Still me


I hadn't realised I'd gone so long without a post... only four days I think but I used to post every day and even now at least every second day. Haven't had a lot to write about I guess. Health/diet has been much the same; I start every day well but end up eating some kind of unhealthy treat by the end of the day. I'm maintaining my weight, which is better than gaining but not as good as losing! Somehow I yet again deluded myself that a New Year would transform me into a different person who reacted differently to temptation and found exercise appealing. Well guess what, it's 2017 and I'm still me!

Tim is back at work this week. Today the kids and I went to see the movie "Sing" which we really enjoyed. It's animated, animals in a singing competition. Themes of being yourself, striving for goals etc. Cute and great singing.

It's only a 15 minute drive from here to the movies but Aiden fell asleep in the car on the way there, in the middle of the day. We've all been sick, on and off, since before Christmas with some kind of flu. Sore throats, headaches, runny noses, sneezing and coughing. The usual, nothing too serious. It got to Aiden last. I thought he seemed well today but I guess the falling asleep during the day - very unlike him - shows not.

Today I did some Xbox Kinect dancing, I only managed 15 minutes. I remember the days when I could do more than an hour. Jasmine danced with me, I don't think she broke a sweat. I had to go and have a shower. One thing I hate about exercise is I continue to feel very hot and keep sweating for at least half an hour or more afterwards, even after a cool shower. But annoying or not, I can't let that stop me. I'll build up again! And maybe when I'm fit I won't get so red-faced and sweaty for so long!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year


Happy New Year and welcome to 2017. Last night we had family over, we had cider and snacks and played the board game "Imaginif" which gets you to ask questions like "If Daniel was a dog, what sort of dog would he be?" And gives you six options to choose from. With that particular question I was explaining to Daniel's wife what all the options were; I could understand not knowing what a miniature Schnauzer is but who hasn't heard of a Golden Retriever? Or a corgi?! (The consensus was that Daniel was most like a Golden Retriever: big loyal and cuddly.) One I remember about myself was what sort of monster is Natalie most like; werewolf, King Kong etc. I chose vampire but everyone else said the Cookie Monster! Obvious really.

We watched the early session of fireworks on TV and guests were gone by 11:00 when I went to bed, I haven't stayed up until midnight for any reason for years. I get too tired. The kids both stayed up with Tim for the first time and they seem fine today.

Today we saw the Star Wars movie Rogue One (we remembered to pre-purchase tickets this time) and we all thought it was good. We'd decided to grab lunch there, before the movie, but it turned out there was a choice of exactly one restaurant open in the complex! The food court and everything else was closed for New Year's Day. Only the Chinese restaurant was open, maybe because they don't have their New Year celebration for another month. Luckily we like Chinese food.

I'm struggling a bit with returning to healthy eating with all the leftover treats still in the house. I've served them to visitors and taken things when we go elsewhere, but other people also bring us more!  I can't throw anything out with Tim and the kids here. We are down to a couple of boxes of chocolates now, mainly, but I love chocolate! Usually I just have 70% dark Lindt available. It's so much easier to resist junk when it isn't right under my nose!