Monday, January 11, 2021

Hello 2021


I’m wondering if it’s time to retire this blog, it’s been 10 years and I rarely post now. But I suppose there’s no harm in it being here if I want it.

Australia continues to be relatively lightly touched by COVID, any time there are a few cases all the state borders close. Masks have finally just been made compulsory in Sydney. I am still out of work, still hoping I can go back to my dream job otherwise I’ll have to start applying elsewhere. Some places are hiring again. At Christmas we were allowed ten guests plus children, which worked out exactly for us.

We just went ‘away’ for a week, less than two hours up the coast for a beach holiday. It was mostly warm but not swimming weather with a fair bit of cloud and rain - probably lucky for us as on our last day it was finally beach weather and we all got sunburned (except Tim who spends more time outdoors so has more protective tan). It doesn’t matter how careful we are with 50+ sunscreen, hats, Tshirts etc; two hours in the sun is too much. The other days we went for walks, ate, and played board games.

We’d been trying for about 18 months to get our dismal front yard landscaped, finally found someone who actually followed up their visit with a quote and the work is now nearly done. Retaining walls, new plants and turf, and most importantly steps up to the front door instead of just the steep slippery driveway. Oh, and a decent mailbox!

I went to a specialist about my foot pain and numbness, they now think nerve damage, possibly from years of pre-diabetes but a third of cases are of unknown cause. The specialist told me to lose ten kilograms (the amount I’ve gained during COVID semi-isolation) before I see her next in three months. That depressed me so much I went and ate junk. Two of the three months have passed and I now weigh more than I did then. I am on and off the CSIRO diet which is mainly large portions of vegetables with moderate amounts of everything else. Obviously not sticking to it at all.

This morning, just back from our holiday, I was 86.8kg which I believe is my highest no -pregnant weight ever. Not great.

Thursday, November 19, 2020



After a cool rainy spring, summer seems to be here with 30+ C days and cicadas screaming outside. One is clinging to the fly screen of the kitchen window, I can mostly see its belly but I think it is a 'Black Prince', much prized when I was at school due to their relative rarity. 'Greengrocer' is the one you see most often. Cicadas are a huge fat insect, size of a mouse without a tail and rather threatening beady eyes, but completely harmless. Except the for the ear-drum shattering calls. 

Jasmine finally got her L plates and is learning to drive (she passed the knowledge test first time, but we had delayed due to Covid). I do not enjoy teaching, I get nervous with even an experienced driver let alone a complete beginner! I hate not being in control of the car. She is actually quite careful and hasn't done anything bad, but every time she goes a bit close to a parked car or her speed creeps up to the limit instead of super slow I nearly have a heart attack. I'm going to have a stomach ulcer after this. My husband has done most of the teaching so far, but he isn't around after school. We just go round very quiet streets so far.

The pain in my foot got worse, I had an ultrasound and a blood test and the doctor thinks it was gout - I didn't even know that was still a thing but apparently it is quite common. I had a course of steroids - Prednisolone - to reduce the inflammation and that helped a lot with the pain in my heel/ankle but I still have pain and numbness along the outside of my foot. I need to go back and see the doctor but I've been confined with a bad cold (which I got from my family, I didn't get a Covid test this time but they did and were negative) which I don't want to spread to the doctor's office. I'll go next week. 

I'm back on the CSIRO total wellbeing diet, focus on whole foods and lots of vegetables, you count units (3 carbs, 3 dairy, 2 fruits per day etc) not calories and can have one indulgence per day. I lost weight in week 1, put it back on in week 2 with sickness comfort food plus Aiden's 14th birthday, back on track with week 3.

Speaking of Aiden, several days after he'd seemingly recovered from his cold he came home from school exhausted and napped all afternoon. Then the next morning he woke with bad chest pain and a racing heart rate. Our doctor sent us to the ER where we spent a lot of the day - in the children's area they were playing Despicable Me on a loop and didn't bother to change it, we were watching it for the third time when we got to leave - an ECG was normal and he was feeling a lot better by the afternoon. Probably a virus but we don't really know. So that was a worrying day. 

My uncle who had a stroke is almost back to normal he says except for a bit of dizziness, and he won a tennis tournament last weekend so that is great. My poppa is ok at home with regular care visits I think but haven't heard just lately. I want to visit but not with sickness running around the family. Even if not Covid, I don't want to pass it on!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A walk


Well my employer was unable to hire me after all due to rules from higher up the chain - not for the rest of the year at least. They are not allowed to "back-fill" (fill places vacant from people going on temporary leave etc) at all. I could look for other work, but of course there is not much going. And that was pretty much my dream job. So that is depressing. Bored and lonely and sad at home. And still putting on weight. I think my sleep apnoea is back, and my pre-diabetes, and now I even might have an uncomfortable varicose vein in my foot. Very unpleasant. Most of my clothes don't fit. 

But, trying to find some good. Both my grandfather and my uncle are doing well and are at home. Poppa has a carer coming in every day so he doesn't have to go into a nursing home at this dangerous time. Uncle Greg is recovering from his stroke and even playing tennis again. I haven't seen either of them. 

I went for a walk yesterday in the spring sunshine. And saw:

*Four water dragons on the way out; the first one was on the footpath right outside our house. We often see him/her/them sunning in our backyard and leaping into our pool to hide if startled. I also saw one on the way home, not sure if it was one of the four or a new one as it was in a different spot to the others. 

*A man sitting reading a magazine at the edge of his open garage, but facing away from the street. Seemed odd. 

*A front yard completely covered in rich bare soil. A child-size blue spade sticking up showed someone was getting fun out of the dirt (or "helping") before turf covers it. 

*A man cradling a very tiny baby in a sling. All I could see was a little pink flowery hat. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

In brief


I never seem to get around to posting, these days. Maybe because I don't have a lot to say?

Bad news is, my weight keeps going up and up... Covid kilos. From sitting at home all day. And eating. Bored and lonely. I'm up to 83.6kg, getting very close to my highest weight that I fought so hard to lose (with the help of Duromine). Spring has just started here, I'm trying to get out for a walk on the nice days. And doing a bit of gardening. Cold and grey today though.

Good news is, after many months of silence my workplace finally contacted me to come in for some casual work. It's only for two weeks (so far)... and not until November! But it made me happy because it shows I am still their preferred fill-in employee, and I can expect more work as people start taking time off again. Everyone must have a lot of holiday hours saved up, since we can't go anywhere and no one has been taking leave. It will be lovely to get back into the library, seeing my colleagues and helping students. Giving my life a purpose other than collecting every battle pet in World of Warcraft - I now have 1157 pets and have the 9th biggest collection on my server and about 2800th in the world out of about 8 million players (collecting battle pets is only a sideline for most WoW players, it is not the main focus of the game). I have around 60 more to collect that are still available - until the new expansion comes out in about 6 weeks with probably lots of new ones to collect.

So that is what I do all day.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Bad news


Family health news has been horrible this week. I found out that my Uncle Greg had a stroke, not sure how long ago, without my mum to pass on news I don’t hear a lot from her family and only see them weddings, funerals and Christmas. But as a child we had family dinners at my grandparents every Sunday. He’s being looked after full time by his wife at home right now. He’s 67, I think. My mum, who was overweight and unhealthy all her life with asthma and allergies, died at 73 of cancer. Her sister, thin and fit and healthy all her life, died at 66 of cancer. Now Greg, also very fit and slender, who was still playing competitive tennis, has had a stroke. It’s rather depressing. I guess you can only mitigate risks, you can’t guarantee a long life.

I learned about Uncle Greg from a cousin, who actually contacted me about our Poppa who at 102 looks like he’s going to outlive all his children. He’s still living (alone for 20 years) in his own home, looking after himself, but has had a couple of falls recently and has trouble getting up from the floor, and is in bed since the most recent fall. My Uncle Greg, his youngest son, lives just across the road, but obviously right now he is in no condition to keep an eye on him. Various grandkids are helping, but it’s tricky. So the family, including Poppa himself, feel it might be time for him to go into a nursing home. But.... Covid. Nursing homes are terrible places to be right now. Lots of deaths. It’s hard to know what to do.

Then today, my father-in-law had some chest pains. They are keeping him in hospital overnight to monitor. We’re not allowed to visit. He’s very overweight, and has prostate cancer. Very worrying. I feel quite helpless.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

50 and All Clear


I turned 50 a couple of weeks ago. Chronological age doesn't really bother me, I like to think of it as an achievement, going up levels. +2 Wisdom, -2 Dexterity. Tim and the kids took the day off and we went to a lovely "High Tea" in North Sydney with gorgeous views of the harbour. It was lunch for us, rather than afternoon tea, with plenty of food; they gave us (each) eleven different dainty foods - a tiny quiche, macaron, cheesecake, arancini ball, little sandwiches, scones with jam and cream etc. And pots of tea, of course. We chose the kids' version for Jasmine and Aiden even though they are teenagers - more sugar, less 'fancy'. None of us got through everything!

Afterwards we went for a short walk down (then back up) a very steep path, not far because the day before I had slipped on our steep mossy driveway, hurting my hip and jarring my hand and shoulder, and I was still a bit sore; also the view was heavily obscured by thick foliage and everything was a bit damp. That night I felt a sudden stinging burning pain in my neck, and investigation revealed a tick! I've never had one before. I assume it got into my hair on the walk. Tim got it out with no lasting ill effects, but I still have a small lump there two weeks later. Maybe the universe didn't want me to get past 49.

Obviously no big party, we just had some family over on Sunday for dinner and board games.

Yesterday I had my colonoscopy. I'd noticed some bleeding months ago, but Covid-19 delayed hospital stuff for non-urgent cases until now. Luckily I got the all-clear straight away, no cancer, although they want to check again in a year. It wasn't the most fun I've ever had - I was unconscious for the actual procedure but you have to fast for a couple of days beforehand; liquids only for 24 hours then nothing for about 6 hours, and you have to drink a weird liquid that prompts your body to eliminate everything in a hurry. It made me feel both nauseated and bloated so I certainly didn't feel any of the magical purity some people get with fasting. And I was headachy because I don't like tea without milk and had some caffeine withdrawal. Oh well, it was an important test to have and well worth doing.

I haven't heard from work yet about term 3. We had almost got back to normal here but are starting to have a second wave of Covid so everything is still uncertain. It is the second week of the winter school holidays now, kids back to school next week. Tim took a week off but we didn't go anywhere or do anything much. Weather is cold and mostly bleak.

Thursday, June 25, 2020



New South Wales has been reducing restrictions which makes it feel like we're out the other side of Covid-19, but a neighbouring state has had an increase in cases (20 new ones, I think, Australia has been touched lightly in comparison to many places) and of course in some parts of the world the pandemic is at its peak or even just getting started.

I still haven't been offered any work. The current school term only has a week left, I had expected to get work next term but who knows? I may have to look for work elsewhere, which is sad. I really liked where I was working.

Tim, on the other hand, is swamped. He often comes home very late (one night 1.30am) or goes in very early, he has a long commute as well which makes it worse. His department had been offered Voluntary Redundancies at the start of the year, he's been there many years so it was a good deal for him with a chunk of money that would give plenty of time to look for a new job. But then Covid happened so after filling in all the paperwork and getting approval from HR we decided not to take it. He could always take his Long Service Leave for a break. Someone else in his section applied and was then told by their boss that she couldn't spare anyone! Bit late to mention it, after months of agonising and all the paperwork on both sides! But anyway, it means Tim doesn't have to regret the decision not to take it, it was never really a possibility after all. But then a new big boss took over and has fired half the management, including Tim's boss. Someone else left to get a promotion elsewhere. And now Tim is the only lawyer. He's supposed to work a nine day fortnight, but he's missed three of his last four rostered days off as there is no one to cover the work. I hope this doesn't go on very long, and they hire more people. It's crazy.

I have to do 30 hours a year of study to keep up my Professional Development, the financial year ends 30 June so I've spend quite a bit of time these past couple of weeks catching up on that. Only two hours to go.