Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cold squared


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

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

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

Tuesday, August 29, 2017



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

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

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

Monday, August 28, 2017

Where does the day go?


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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 26, 2017



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

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

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

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

Good and bad


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

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

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

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

Friday, August 25, 2017

Cotton mouth


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

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

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

Thursday, August 24, 2017



Brrrr it's cold!

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017



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

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

Monday, August 21, 2017



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 20, 2017



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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 19, 2017



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ducks and drums


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jelly legs


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day One


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 14, 2017

Diet pills


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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017



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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 7, 2017

We need to talk about my weight


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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Braving the cold water


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

Jasmine dove right in...

Aiden preferred the slow increments of pain...

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

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

A chat and some hard work

later Saturday:

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

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

So relieved.

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


And after:

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

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

Definitely a roller coaster day.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Roller Coaster


Life is a roller coaster, isn't it?

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

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

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

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

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

Or is he justified?

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

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

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Nearly there


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

In the middle of winter.

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 1, 2017



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