Sunday, July 30, 2017

Not great


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 27, 2017

New people


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mind and body


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Bell curve


Two weeks ago we were told the pool should be finished over the following two weeks... guess what? No prizes for guessing correctly. Nothing yet. Except the final invoice arrived, to be paid on the day it's finished. I certainly won't be paying before then!

I heard bad-ish news from my TAFE, I was only doing two subjects face-to-face this semester and one of them has been cancelled due to low numbers so I have to do it online along with most of my other subjects which were being taught at times I couldn't get to class. Leaving me with only one face-to-face. As well as being better for learning, I like being there in person for the social aspect! I've made some friends, I get out of the house, I get to interact with adults. Do you know I've spent most of the past 15 years at home, mostly alone or with small children? I'm an introvert so I do like being alone, but not for 15 years. So I'm a bit sad I'll only have one day, one class, with real people.

I was checking online updates to TAFE when I found something curious. My score in the most difficult exam has been changed from 40/50 to 48.5/50! At first I thought a question must have been marked wrong originally but my friend Cathy said her mark has changed from 23 to 37! That is more than one question. I don't know how bell curves work but maybe the whole group struggled so much they changed the grading system?

I saw my exercise physiologist this week and she gave me a whole lot of new resistance exercises to add to my routine, I've been doing pretty well with the walking but not much else. And I saw the dietician again. Kind of pointless because I already have all the information, I know what I should be doing but I just don't do it. But we had a nice chat. I don't plan on seeing her again but I will see the physio in a month (I get 5 subsidised sessions in total, after that I have to pay).

My sleep has been really terrible. I've worn the CPAP again the past two nights (couldn't wear it for a week due to head cold and runny nose), once for four hours (actually asleep maybe half of that) last night kept it on for two hours without being able to get to sleep at all and gave up. I'll keep trying. It's frustrating lying there awake when the stupid thing is supposed to help me sleep. Well, actually it's supposed to keep me breathing while I sleep. I'm trying very hard to look at the machine in a positive way (when it's on), feeding me life-giving oxygen. Like I'm in a stasis pod on a space ship.

Being tired makes me hungry. It's the usual vicious cycle: I'll sleep better when I lose weight and I'll lose weight when I sleep better.

Friday afternoon - weekend time! No plans except the usual family gathering. Should get out in the sunshine again, I'm doing that more.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Staff development day


The kids were supposedly back at school today (and Tim back at work) but after I sent Aiden off on his bike I got a call from his school to say it was staff development day (pupil-free) and was there someone home for them to send Aiden home to? Of course I said yes and he rode back. Freezing cold, we snuggled back in bed together for a while. I knew Jasmine has a day off next week but no idea about Aiden's. Despite frequent attempts I can't seem to get his school newsletter automatically emailed to me and I often forget to check their website so I miss things.

I continue to gain weight. 84.1 kg this morning. Since I am very short, that is a horrible number. I've gained more than 2 kg in the past three weeks, which is very fast for me. Usually I gain slowly and lose slowly. It's depressing. I'm not sleeping well, it's cold, I'm a bit bored, all things that encourage me to eat more. I've found that exercise triggers me to eat a lot more too. I need to get this under control. It's not a weird unexplained weight gain, it is very easily explained.

I see the exercise physio tomorrow then the dietician on Wednesday. Not sure what I am going to say to her.

We've had bad news in the family. My father-in-law's partner, together at least five years maybe more (he is a widower), has just been diagnosed with lung cancer. Jo doesn't smoke, I don't know if she used to. They are still doing more tests and biopsies but they may have to remove the lung, or part of it. She is 70 and morbidly obese, I don't think surgery would have a good outcome. Her sister died recently of cancer. Very scary for her. If she does come through an operation she is going to have a hard time getting around with only one lung, she already has lots of hip and knee problems and not being able to breathe fully would be horrible. We're hoping for good news from the tests that they don't need to operate.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017



We went to archery yesterday, at Sydney Olympic Park (where they held the Olympics). Tim has quite a lot of experience and actually had his own bow as a child (still stashed away at his dad's house somewhere), I've done it a few times, Jasmine once at school, Aiden never. Since we all like fantasy stuff which includes a lot of medieval Europe settings, archery appeals to all of us. Pity the park isn't really that close to us.

Tim did really well, getting several bull's eyes and popping the balloon on his target. I did ok at the start, got worse, then improved back to my starting level! An average of 2 out of 3 arrows at least hitting the board. Jasmine only a few hits. Aiden was the dark horse, after never having picked up a bow he got two bull's eyes including one right in the very middle of the middle, a perfect shot, and also popped his balloon. He had a smaller bow and a slightly closer target for kids, but not that much closer! You can see in the photo. I didn't get many photos as we were all shooting at the same time and the instructor made sure we all walked up to get our arrows at the same time so we couldn't really muck around or we'd delay everyone.

It was fun. I think Tim could have gone for another hour but my fingers were sore.

Jasmine has been doing holiday gymnastic sessions. She is getting quite serious about it. She does partner work, with her as the 'big' partner lifting a little girl and will be in competitions this year. She can do full splits now, and all the stuff I could never imagine being flexible enough to do like touching her forehead to her knee. Still is still doing dance classes (tap, modern and hip hop) but not at performance level and she seems to like acrogym more now.

My sleep has been so bad lately that I dragged my CPAP machine out again, as I do periodically. I hate wearing it, but I know I should. [I have sleep apnoea, which means I stop breathing frequently while I'm asleep, in my case 15 times an hour which is 'moderate' level. It is often related to obesity, when the neck muscles relax all the fat pushes down on the airway and closes it off. You wake with a gasp, often not really aware of it before you go back to sleep, obviously meaning you get a terrible night's sleep. It is not my only sleep issue but it is a major one.] The CPAP machine blows air continuously up my nose which holds the airway open. I have the one with just a nose attachment, not a full mask. It is as comfortable and quiet as they can make it, but it's still very annoying having a big hose attached to your nose when you are trying to sleep. Often I give up because I just can't get to sleep at all. In summer it is sweaty and horrible but at least that isn't a problem now.

I gave the machine a good clean and managed to keep it on for two hours, getting a bit of sleep during that time. But by then my nose was very sore, it takes me a while to build up tolerance, like wearing a new pair of shoes. I'm such a delicate flower. So I took it off, planning to wear it a bit longer the next night. But then yesterday I came down with a cold. Sneezing and runny nose. So I can't wear it. Or won't. Yuck. Hopefully I'll get over this cold soon. I don't think it's the nasty flu going round, I don't have muscle aches or anything.

Tim is home this week, I think he would have liked to get away but Jasmine has an activity or party literally every day so we can't (Aiden is a homebody like me). He has been doing lots around the house. I mentioned that 'Spark Joy' book to him about decluttering and he went and sorted his clothes and threw heaps out!

I've had four weeks off and I'm quite keen to get back to my course. I feel a bit adrift and purposeless at the moment. Of course it's lovely to have lots of time to read and play computer games (and see my family of course, but I see them anyway) but I am ready to get back to work. Mental work. Not housework. Never keen for that.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Didn't get it


I didn't get that library job, or even an interview. 😢 Email this morning said they had an overwhelming response so they chose the best qualified. Fair enough. I'm less than half way through my studies. And I don't think my application was great, I'm out of practice. And I need to focus on my studies not divide my attention with a part time job.

Still disappointed.

I'll wait until I've finished my course in 12 months before I apply again I think. I hadn't been intending to apply for anything until then anyway, until this one came up.

My weight has been creeping up slowly for a while and these past couple of weeks it has jumped up. 83.2 kg. Not good. I've been exercising a bit more (not enough to burn a significant amount of calories) but eating badly. I think due to a combination of cold weather, my birthday, school holidays with the kids and now my husband home, and most importantly I've been sleeping terribly. Really restless, frequent night sweats accompanied by stressful and frustrating dreams (like last night I was supposed to go and pick up a dog but my car was blocked into the car park so I couldn't get out, and then I was at a lunch buffet where my husband was eating doughnuts but all I could see was raw chicken drumsticks and Aiden was crying because he didn't like sausages. All weird nonsense.) Of course lack of decent sleep makes me tired all day, which makes me want to eat to keep myself going. And not exercise.

It's so frustrating. If I don't count not getting the job my life is really good with nothing to complain about - except that I feel tired and sick all the time which sucks so much. And I can't lose weight. I'm in a bad-health hole that is affecting my whole life. And my family's lives, they have a lethargic headachy cranky wife/mother who never wants to do anything.

Ok, lets move away from that train wreck. I just read 'Spark Joy', that book about how to declutter. I quite like the idea of keeping only things that bring you joy and getting rid of the rest, but the detail she goes into about the correct way to fold clothes seems a bit excessive. And the idea that you should get rid of most books after you've read them! No no no.

We've lost momentum on our box-of-the-day sorting. We did it all last week but then stopped. At least what we have left is now stacked neatly in the garage. That sparks joy for me!

Ninja Warrior Australia has just started here and we are watching avidly. They are all so athletic! If I could be awesome at one sport, it would be that parkour stuff.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Box of the day


Life continues in much the same round. Little activities with the kids. Tim has managed to get next week off after all so that will be lovely.

Today's box of the day (unpacking) was framed photos and various other memory items. Some are now on display, some back in a nicer official 'memory box'. Quite an emotional mix, from cute baby photos to newspaper clippings from when my eldest brother Craig died in a train accident when he was ten. Also my mother's ashes! Not sure what you do with an urn. My original idea was to have it buried at the crematorium with a memorial rose bush, they do that a lot. Until I found out the cost. Thousands of dollars a year for upkeep of a single rosebush. Mum wouldn't have approved of the waste, so I don't feel guilty not doing it. Now we're settled in a new home I could bury it here, I suppose. Aiden thought it was weird having grandma's ashes in a box, but I grew up with Craig's ashes at home so it seems normal to me.

Yesterday's box of the day was also interesting, it was all the things we shoved in the last box at the last minute when we moved out. Quite a few cleaning items (boring) but also all the things that were lost behind furniture until the removalists came. All the lost bits and pieces. I'm rather enjoying this unpacking a box every day process. When we moved we did most of it but ran out of enthusiasm before the end.

In the latest pool news, I managed to contact the tiler and he is finished except for the clean up. I won't hold my breath. Just happy it's done. We'll do a big clean up ourselves when the whole thing is finished. And the pool people say they will be finishing over the next two weeks! Looks like they will be done before 24 July, the one year anniversary of when we signed the contracts. Maybe. Not holding my breath for that either!!

We watched the first three episodes of 'The Librarians' series that I was given for my birthday. I'd say it's more like Dr Who than anything else I could compare it to. A group of miscellaneous genius's in a pan-dimensional library saving the world (which has more magic than most people know about) from various villains. We enjoyed it.

The other day we visited the smallest library in the region. It's actually a school library, in a little town in the national park next to the ocean, open to the public only a couple of afternoons a week. It was a longer drive than I'd expected, 40 minutes. I think it is extremely unlikely I'd be asked to work there, only one staff. Tiny. We tried to borrow a couple of books but couldn't because we'd taken them from the school-only end of the shelves not the public end. Luckily the drive through the national park (forest) was nice. And got us out of the house. It's very cold here (by Sydney Australia standards - so still well above freezing even at night but we're not used to the cold) so we spend more time in than out.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017



Today the kids and I saw Despicable Me 3. Fun movie. All that series have been good. Possibly too many fart/bottom jokes for my sensibilities. I loved the music, which was all 80s.

Our tiler, who rarely keeps his promises to come and do some work, actually turned up this morning before we were even out of bed. Two guys were here for a couple of hours then left without comment. It looks... finished. It looked kind of wet and sticky for hours, parts in the shade took all day to dry, I assume that is the sealant? I am cautiously excited that the paving is finally done, after more than eight weeks of being stuffed around. It looks really good, I don't know why it always looks slightly dirty in photographs.

But... if it is fully completed would he just go without saying anything? Wouldn't he want to let me know? Maybe he didn't want to be held to his promise of cleaning up after himself! Honestly I don't care much, as long as the paving is done. He left the gate open, too, I thought maybe he was coming back soon... of course no. I will contact him tomorrow to find out what is going on.

The kids and I have a holiday project of sorting the boxes in the garage. There were a dozen or so, things we didn't unpack right away when we moved a year and a half ago. Obviously nothing vital! They were originally stacked neatly to the side but as months passed we rummaged through some of them to find things and gradually got more and more disordered and in the way of parking the car. We've stacked them neatly again and sorted through four boxes of toys and 'dress-up' clothes. Keeping one box-worth, the rest to younger family members, charity, or a lot straight to the bin. Our plan is a box a day over the holidays which should get it done. Actually we already know quite a few boxes will stay sealed and out there so we won't be sorting those for now. It feels good to be getting that done when it's been an eyesore for over a year.

Sunday, July 2, 2017



I'm waiting for Tim and Jasmine to finish icing my birthday cake for afternoon tea...

Last night we went out to dinner at my favourite local tapas restaurant. I love being able to have little bits of lots of different things rather than a plate of all the same thing. It also allows you to try something new without being afraid you will hate it and waste a whole meal.

Then this morning I was given some exciting presents. The two most memorable are probably the purple contact lenses with a weird design on them (I will try them tonight when people come over) that they got at Comicon, and the warm rug shaped like a mermaid's tail to snuggle under when watching TV. Oh, and a DVD series about secret superhero librarians!

Most of the day has been relaxing and playing computer games, but tonight we have family over for birthday dinner. Lovely day so far. And cake soon!

.... ok here is my lovely cake.
I did NOT eat this huge slab! I only had a few bites. Very rich and sweet.

We shared most of it with the family later, and I gave Tim candles to put on it. So he came out with the cake saying "Natalie wants candles and a happy birthday song." !! How embarrassing. Adults are supposed to cringe with awkwardness while people are singing Happy Birthday, not ASK for the experience.

Here is me preparing dinner. I've started wearing an apron when cooking, to protect my clothes. Handy devices. Doesn't the food look healthy! Luckily you can't see the chicken in cream sauce or the potatoes with crispy bacon.

And here is me with my mermaid tail rug. I love it! The 'necklace' is supposed to be a tiara but didn't really fit on my head. It's glow-in-the-dark. And goes well with the tail.
I tried to put in the weird contact lenses but they were too uncomfortable. I'll try again another time after I've washed them, but I don't know if they fitted me properly. I used to wear real prescription contacts and I had no trouble with those.

We played choose-your-own Trivial Pursuit after dinner. We have several different sets and for each question people got to choose normal questions, children's (only if you were a child), Harry Potter theme or World of Warcraft theme. I had a very nice birthday.