Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Full marks


I got another exam result, full marks which will count for 40% of the total for that subject. So that was exciting. I have one more exam on Monday, and I've handed in three assignments but don't have the results back. Four people in that class got full marks and it was the people you'd expect - the ones who studied! I was amazed to learn some students don't even do their homework let alone revision... I thought that as adults everyone was there to get the most out of it but I guess they are doing that in their own non-swotty way. Its all pass/fail in the end - but I want to work in this field so I want to learn as much as possible and master the subjects so I know what I'm doing when I get a job.

I am loving the website I am designing so much I could burst. I am writing snarky little bits of text for it and using all my own photos instead of taking them from creative commons websites. I still have to ask plenty of questions in class - I've never even used photoshop before to shrink a picture. But I ask, and I write down the steps.

There is one subject that is NOT a joy - "Industry Knowledge" where we learn about the legislation that relates to libraries, annual reports, budgets, staff hierarchies and career paths, all that stuff. The career path stuff was ok but the rest is both boring and difficult!

The pool is about a quarter full of water we've had so much rain. Not great as we'll have to pump it out so they can surface it. But that is still weeks away. The permanent fence has to be up first. We've had so much trouble with that. Getting a couple of companies to come out and give quotes; one never called back, one wouldn't do what we needed, one wouldn't lower his high price, back and forth. Finally nailed things down for the pool fence today but got someone coming out about raising the side fences tomorrow. Crossing fingers he will ask a reasonable price. The other drama is the heat pump - the one we paid a 50% deposit on was sold from the warehouse to someone else before it could be delivered to us! Apologies and all that but now it will be 2-3 weeks before they get more in stock. Meanwhile we have pipes full of electrical cables still lying on top of the ground everywhere. One day we'll look back on this whole process and laugh... or just keep telling everyone "If you want a pool, move to a house that already has one!"

Sunday, March 26, 2017



We spent the weekend at a beach wedding, my cousin Lara who is the youngest of my generation on my side of the family - she was flowergirl at my wedding! And now all grown up and married. We drove down the coast on Friday evening, arriving about 9:30pm. In the morning the weather was as it had been for weeks - cloudy with intermittent rain. The ocean was beautiful but not something you'd dare swim in.

But this was the view from our cabin! Very friendly resident kangaroos.
We had breakfast at the café by the resort pool, walked along the beach, then lazed in our cabin or on the little balcony. I sat for a long time with a cup of tea just enjoying the sound of the waves and the smell of sea air. We were absolute beach front. The kids had a very short dip in the pool and came back blue with cold.

Back to the same café for lunch (nowhere else to go without driving to the next town), and just as we were finishing it started to rain in earnest. An hour before the outdoor wedding! But luckily the rain stopped just as the bridal party arrived.

So many people in the bridal party! Seven groomsmen, five bridemaids, lots of little flowergirls and a couple of page boys. (They stood in the traditional lines for the wedding, this photo was grouped afterwards, also father of the bride on the left and father of the groom on the right.)

Finally I present to you Mr and Mrs Walker! Lara was/is absolutely stunning. She is probably the most beautiful person I know. Also very smart and super athletic. She has a double degree and plays five different sports competitively. James is a doctor, and has climbed the highest mountain in South America and done seven marathons in seven days across a desert so I guess they are suited. He proposed five weeks after they met.

Me and Tim.

The reception was ok but I don't really have much to talk about with my relatives, they are nice but we just don't have much to say! I enjoyed chatting to a few cousins and seeing my Poppa (he will be 99 this year!) but there is one cousin who I am not fond of (I don't think he realises though!) and he managed to insult me about four times in his "joking" way - like commenting I was "pigging out" as I had a tiny prawn canapé... Anyway, we went back to bed early, after the speeches and a little bit of dancing.

Sunday dawned bright and clear and we actually had a sunny day. We went down the beach and Aiden had a splash in the waves while Jasmine and I took lots of artistic photos.

The kids patting a sleepy baby kangaroo.

We drove back up the coast with a long break at another little town for lunch. It was a good weekend away, we should do it more often!

Oh, and I got back to find I'd received 48/50 for the exam in my more difficult subject, yay! Haven't got any other results yet.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017



It's exam and assessment week! Middle of first semester. I study and do my homework so I'm not too worried, but it's been a bit hectic. I got in two assignments last week, a little early so I could get them out of the way and concentrate on studying for exams. First one yesterday - how long since you've done an exam btw? Only about ten years for me - I've been back to study a few times but often my subjects have assignments you do at home rather than exams. Anyway I knew I would be comfortable with yesterday's and I was. Unless I went into a stress trance and wrote "I am a fish" for every answer without realising it (Rimmer does this in Red Dwarf for his officer exams, he came out thinking he'd done quite well) then I am 100% certain I passed and very confident I did a lot better than just a pass.

Tomorrow morning I have my tricky exam, that I'm not as confident about. I'll pass, but while doing at home-revision I am yet to get every question correct. It's an open-book exam and I should have plenty of time, but there is so much to know that I may still miss things. Definitely my hardest subject, but also one of my favourites! I've been studying tonight but it's time for bed now.

Then next week I may or may not have an exam on Monday - we were supposed to but our teacher was away this week and the substitute said we would do revision next week and the exam the week after. Also an oral quiz in a one-on-one with a teacher (we've practiced twice and she said I was fine and she would have passed me on the practice performance). And then we're handing in the first part of our website design assignment next week too, which I've done most of.


Speaking of the website design class, there was one woman who missed week 3, so that on week 4 she didn't know what was going on and needed a lot of help. The teacher said she should have attempted the work at home to keep up. Then she missed week 5 and 6. Again not attempting the work (she was sick, so it's understandable), turned up today week 7, we're working on our assessment task and she is so far behind. She asked a few questions at first but then sat quietly and didn't do much. Horrible position to be in. I hope she can catch up, all the lessons are online. But learning computer code can seem quite daunting and it's so much better if you're there for the teacher to explain it.

When we've finished our two-page mock website (for a non-existent library) at the end of semester we'll be putting it live online so we can do analytics on how real people navigate around it - I'll give you the link to have a look! I am really enjoying this class which surprised me a lot, I wish all my classes were so much fun. Pearl Cove library website coming soon.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A week


Goodness me, has a whole week gone by?

Weight 79.4kg, up a bit again. Still losing and regaining that one kilogram.

It is the middle of the semester so I have exams and assignments due. Very busy. Having a little trouble with shoulder pain. Tricky to balance getting all my studying done with taking lots of breaks from the computer. I expect to pass everything, but I'd like to do a lot better than a pass.

Also three birthdays (husband, sister-in-law and niece) and a wedding so I've been shopping and hosting and going to parties with more over the next week. I spent all day last Thursday present and clothes shopping, I needed something to wear to the wedding and everything I tried on looked awful. Went again on Saturday with Jasmine and found us both dresses which was a relief. Jasmine keeps growing out of her clothes, she is delighted that she is within a whisker of my height now. Not that that is so very tall! She probably weighs half as much as me. She does seven hours a week of after-school sport!

After a superheated summer we've gone into autumn with a month of almost continuous rain. It's cooler, but so humid. You start to wonder where all that water is coming from, don't the clouds run out eventually?

Time to head off to the city again. I will use the train ride to study!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Another Monday


I seem to be out of whatever funk I've been in. Maybe it's the study pressure - next week is mid-semester assignment/exam time!

Also it's Tim's birthday in a week and I haven't done any present shopping yet. Also my niece and sister-in-law. Arg!

And trying to get the pool finished just drags on...

My weight this morning was 78.8kg. I haven't recorded it for a while but I think it's been 79.9 the past couple of Mondays? So it was a nice loss, back down to my "lowest weight". I keep losing that kilogram then finding again (I think it hides with the cheese and crackers).

It was warm and sunny earlier today but now grey and stifling, like we're under a big sweaty blanket. Big storm forecast. I wonder if we'll get hail. I hope it holds off until Jasmine is safe home from dance class. I don't fancy driving through a hailstorm. Apart from today we've mostly turned to cooler autumn weather.

Saturday, March 11, 2017



Tim and I went to see Adele last night. She has an amazing voice, sounds just as good live as on CD. I didn't know her newer stuff as well, I asked for (and was given) the CD for Christmas but it's still somewhere unopened, I can't find it. I was able to sing along with the "21" songs.

We were about 2/3 of the way back, very steep huge stadium (95,000 people), I felt like I was sitting on the edge of a cliff which was not great for my fear of heights! There was a great moment when Adele asked everyone to turn on their phone flashlight, it went from dark to a stadium of stars! I can't seem to download my photos today, which is annoying. But she is just a tiny speck in the distance anyway.

They run special buses to events at the stadium and one runs practically past our front door. Took about an hour to get in, but two hours to get home. Long long queues to get on the bus because obviously everyone is leaving at the same time. A lot of people catch the train or drive, but even if less than a quarter catch the bus that is still 20,000 people! Then shortly after our bus left the stadium we got stuck in one spot in traffic for literally about half an hour. We'd roll forward a few metres, stop for another 5-10 minutes, roll forward another two metres. Maybe an accident ahead? We got home around midnight and let grandad (babysitter) go home. Apparently he and the kids were up watching movies until after 11pm!

I had one really bad moment that stained my whole evening. Since talking to the doctor about arthritis I've been eating better and had already re-lost that kilogram I keep losing and regaining, I was dressed nicely and had makeup on and thought I looked ok. We were sitting waiting for Adele to come on and Tim took a photo of us with the reverse camera on the screen so I could see myself. Is that really what I look like? I often get that shock when I see photos after an event, but I don't usually have to see them at the moment they are taken. I looked so awful. My mirror at home is so much kinder. Fat shiny red face, deep grooves from nose to mouth so my saggy cheeks make me look like a bloodhound, no lips. I felt so incredibly ugly and fat. I went from enjoying singing along to the warm-up music they were playing to miserable and quiet. I tried to focus on the music when Adele came on but that image kept coming back to me. It's not even the "fat" that bothers me, you can be overweight and still attractive, it's the "ugly". I don't know if I've ever felt less attractive in my whole life.

On the positive side it stopped me eating any of the unhealthy snacks we'd brought along.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017



I went to the doctor this morning about my ongoing pelvic pain. I really need to change the medical clinic I go to. Mine (a tiny place but it is free and I have no trouble getting an appointment quickly)has one regular male doctor (who I haven't seen, but my husband didn't like that much) and a different female doctor every six months - part of their work experience straight after their training. I've liked all the female doctors well enough and don't mind that they are quite inexperienced - at least they are up to date! But a new one just about every time I go gives no continuity of care. There, that is decided. In Australia you can go to whatever doctor you like, there are plenty of others nearby to chose from. We started going to that one because it is walking distance.

One part of my pelvic pain that seems affected by the time of the month needs to be followed up with my gynaecologist so that wasn't today. But I've realised that part of my pain is in a close but different place, pain and stiffness in my hipbones especially first thing in the morning and after I've been sitting for a while. The doctor examined me and thinks it might be arthritis. I need more tests. I do have a CT scan from last year that mentions arthritis "with no inflammatory component" whatever that means. She wants to do an X-ray.

She said the best treatment for arthritis is weight loss, and made a longer appointment for me to go back next week to discuss diet and exercise etc. I found it quite depressing. I'm 46, I'm not ready for arthritis. And maybe all the pain in my hands is from it too. And a lecture on diet and exercise? Like I don't already know what to do (just don't do it). I've probably read more about diet and nutrition than any five doctors put together. I've been trying to lose weight for the past 20 years. Since I plan to change doctors anyway I think I will cancel. What can she tell me other than the official government recommendations? Give me a will-power machine and I'll use it.

She measured my height at 152.5cm which is 1.5cm less than my previous doctor said (5ft instead of 5ft and half an inch) then weighed me in jeans and a belt even though I weighed myself in underwear at home this morning (adding a couple of kg) and worst of all took a waist measurement that was nothing like the number I've got at home! I think she said 105cm instead of 98! That is a big difference. Maybe she measured in a different place than I do. I'd given up politely disagreeing by that point. Why bother. I know I'm fat, what does a few cm matter.

Fail day


I had a bit of a fail day today. After a 90 minute commute to the city for my one and only Wednesday class (I never managed to get before-school care for Aiden, so I couldn't do the early class), I found out the teacher was sick! The lesson was on the online resource (which I could have accessed at home) so we all sat quietly and worked through it. The guy I sit next to, Tim, is very good at the website-building stuff so I asked him when I had a problem. It took me (and Tim) 45 minutes to go through the lesson and apply the new stuff to the website we're working on. Then that was it for the day - another 90 minute commute home. Oh well, at least I had time for a real lunch for a change. I went to a Thai restaurant. That was funny, I nearly complained/queried because I ordered a dish with cashews and there were clearly no cashews in it... but I didn't say anything and in the end I did find cashews - three of them! Easy to miss. But I enjoyed it anyway.

The other fail was dinner tonight. I tried making Rogan Josh, an Indian curry, but the lamb was tough and the kids and I didn't like the flavour at all. Tim (husband not classmate) ate it but the kids and I didn't. I made some pasta (gluten-free, Jasmine isn't eating wheat) for the kids but only had half a packet so not really enough for me. I shop tomorrow, the cupboards were a bit bare. I ended up making myself two minute noodles! I felt a bit tired and hungry and cranky, I hate when I spend so much time on a new dish and it isn't nice.

Nothing so very terrible. But not a great day.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Peter Rabbit


I was walking through the Grand Concourse of Central (Sydney train station) this morning and found a large part cordoned off with signs up that they were filming a movie "Peter Rabbit" and by walking through the area we gave permission to be in the background in the movie! Pretty sure they weren't filming while I walked through - but I was wearing denim shorts and a pink and white striped top, purple backpack, blonde hair in a ponytail, short plump middle-aged woman, just in case! I looked it up later and it's a real big-budget movie with Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) and Margot Robbie. Huge camera and lighting setup the size of a house and a tiny white bunny on a stick in the middle of it all - they use that so the actors know where to look and add the CGI later. Didn't see anyone famous and I was told to move along when I paused to take a photo. Lots of catering trucks outside. I'm imagining something like Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Last night we had various family members over for dinner as usual, Martha was looking for something to give her toddler as a little plate and ended up with my Royal Albert saucer! We have all this ordinary crockery and she picks the one expensive thing in the kitchen that I would hate to have broken, and she must have pulled it out from under the delicate porcelain teacup. Of course I said nothing (I should have, nicely of course), I just watched it like a hawk and prayed. I got it back, unbroken. Next time I'll hide it!

Friday, March 3, 2017



I took Jasmine to get an eye test today because she's been getting tired eyes at school and is finding the board a bit blurry. It turns out she does need glasses, so she picked out frames and we've ordered them. I remember when I found I needed glasses, a couple of years younger than Jasmine, I was very stressed at first (thinking I was going blind!) but once I got them I was amazed at how clear the world was. Trees with individual leaves not just a clump of green! Do you mean everyone else could read the board all along? I'd had no idea there was anything wrong with my sight, I thought it was normal. Jasmine's is less dramatic I think. And she doesn't seem bothered by needing glasses, several of her friends wear glasses in class.

I ended up getting LASIK surgery in my twenties and that lasted 20 years, I've only started needing glasses again recently.

I've been a bit unwell all week, two different things. Firstly bad headaches like a clamp on my temples, my left eyebrow is very sore to touch which makes me think it's a sinus problem (the tubes run just under there) and today my neck and shoulders ached and my legs were weak and I was so tired. Luckily it was an at-home day and I even got an afternoon nap.

The other thing, well that operation I had last November did "fix" my periods in that they are no longer so heavy and go for weeks. So that is good. But I still get other symptoms around that time of the month, as bad as ever. PMS that left me miserable and grumpy so that the safest thing was just to sit in a corner and not speak to anyone in case I said something I would regret or burst into tears. Pelvic pain (it comes and goes, seems worse at that time of the month but never completely gone, not helped by the operation unfortunately) teamed with backache.

But once the PMS misery was over I've felt quite happy this week.

On Wednesday I had an unfortunate day with the trains. In the morning I caught an express which was good except it went to an unfamiliar end of the city station (huge station with at least 26 platforms, some underground) and in trying to get to my exit I found myself emerging way over on the wrong side. That added a lot of walking to get back (and I wasn't feeling well). Then in the afternoon coming home I was trying to get on my train with a crowd of people (but the train wasn't full or anything) and they closed the doors in my face! I stood there with my hands on the doors saying "Hey!!" in disbelief. I looked down the platform and the employee with the whistle signalled them to open the doors again and let me in. I felt quite rejected! But at least they did let me on.