Friday, September 22, 2017



I've had two oral examinations in the past two days (I mean one-on-one exams with a teacher, not dental work) and I was so nervous. I don't mind written exams, but having a teacher stare at you waiting for the specific answer they need... you never get used to that, even at my age.

I had one role-play in class (I'm the librarian, the teacher is a customer with a research request), we did a practice last week and I was a bit awkward so I practiced all week - thought up scenarios and went over and over everything I needed to say. And I nailed it! I remembered everything, spoke smoothly, friendly yet professional, my teacher said I was excellent. All the rehearsing paid off!

Then I had a weird one today over the phone while at home, for one of my online subjects. I was given some brief scenario notes but wasn't very clear on what was going to happen, so I didn't get to do any specific practice (except making sure I knew the course content, obviously). The teacher half-heartedly pretended to be a customer for part of it but mainly just asked me questions. I did stumble on one bit that I didn't know - until the teacher gave me a hint that I wasn't supposed to know how to do that bit (being only a junior nobody in the library) so I reassured the 'client' that I would get the problem solved and said I would refer it to a more senior staff member and follow up to make sure it was done. I think I did pretty well overall, certainly passed, maybe not quite as 'star pupil' as the other one but good.

Now I have four assignments to finish over the two weeks holiday, and a tricky written exam first week back that I need to study for. But I'm going to take a proper break from study over this weekend before I start on those. I need a rest.

I've had a bit of nausea on and off since I started Duromine, only mild after the first couple of days and I was prepared to put up with it. But the past three days were really bad, strong nausea for a lot of the day. I'd do a huge burp and feel a bit better but it would soon be back. Very unpleasant. It may have been exacerbated by stress, and Tim did have nausea when we all had the flu a couple of weeks back, but I think probably the Duromine. I don't know why it suddenly got bad. For most people it's the other way round - you can start with bad side effects but they reduce or go away completely after a while. I decided to stop taking it for a day or two and see how that goes, I didn't take one today. On the forums, some people had success with reducing side effects by taking a little break. I hope it works, I don't want to stop Duromine yet as I've been having good results, but the nausea was too much. Also, while nauseated I was nibbling dry carbs to settle my stomach so I wasn't sticking to my healthy diet anyway - and I certainly wasn't exercising - so it was kind of defeating the purpose.

Today I wasn't as bad, but still felt queasy straight after breakfast, and then again in the afternoon when I hadn't eaten for about three hours but worse after I did eat... I'm not seeing any pattern. I had a little nap in the afternoon.

I didn't notice being any hungrier today, but there was a psychological difference. A little voice whispering "You didn't take an appetite suppressant today, so obviously you're not 'on a diet', so why don't you just eat some junk food even if you don't really want it?" Shut up, annoying voice, I'm not listening!

Tomorrow is going to be really hot, so I've put the pool heater on today to warm up the water again and we can swim tomorrow! It will be a nice start to the school holidays.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017



I did a lot of running around today. Well, not actually running. Driving from place to place. Tim's phone's charger hole regularly gets clogged up with fluff from his pockets so it won't charge any more, so I took it into the Apple Store so a 'genius' could dismantle it and get the fluff out. The genius asked if my husband was in the construction industry (to explain gunk in pockets) - no he's a lawyer! I have no idea why this keeps happening, I keep my phone in my pocket and have never had this problem. Anyway, it's good now for another six months at least.

I bought myself a new pair of jeans in a smaller size, my current ones are baggy. The new ones look nice from the waist down, but are a bit too snug which creates a bulgy muffin-top above. I'm counting on losing more weight, and I have to put the jeans in to be shortened so I won't be able to wear them for a week or so anyway. Maybe it was a silly purchase, we're heading into warmer weather when I wear (long) shorts instead, but summer isn't quite here yet. And my baggy pants don't show off my weight loss.

Then I drove to another shop to get a couple of sun lounges to put by the pool - to be told they wouldn't fit in the car. So I didn't buy them. Finally a visit to Aiden's school to buy him a new sport's uniform. They change to summer uniform after the holidays.

Not much study today. I have an assessment tomorrow in class and one on Friday at home, so I need to do a bit more work tonight.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017



I've been consulting with my aunt about my father's gravestone, she lives there (12 hours drive away for me) so can compare gravestones in person. I think everything is decided now so I've emailed the details of the inscription to the company. It's been a bit sad, but also very funny fielding suggestions from Aunty Pat. Twice she suggested that I have my mother's name put on it; "beloved husband of Barbara"! My parents had been divorced for 40 years before they died within months of each other, mum knew as she was walking down the aisle on her wedding day that it was a mistake, and dad remarried and was with his second wife longer than mum (divorced again) and was with a new girlfriend when he died. Mum would have hated being on his gravestone! I vetoed that one politely.

I accepted all her other suggestions except the last one, to put RIP at the end. I felt that a Christian phrase was very inappropriate for such a staunch atheist as my father. My aunt is lovely but I guess she just had certain ideas about the way things should be done. And I did ask for her input! I went with most of her ideas but I'm paying for everything so I have final say when I think it's important.

I was thinking of mum today, too, as I watered the garden. She would have loved the pool and new garden, and having us live close. I miss my parents.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

More than 5 kg


The weight loss continues. Another 1.0 kg, so I'm down to 78 kg!

I've talked before about how I have some kind of barrier to losing more than 5 kg, ever in my whole life. I manage to lose 5 kg, then somehow give up and put the weight back on with maybe a bit extra. Well this time I've smashed that, 6.7 kg lost! I'm excited to have finally got through that roadblock. Now I've got to another milestone. I'm pretty sure 78 kg is the lowest I've been since starting this blog seven years ago, and proabably for quite a few years before that. Up until now, I've been losing and regaining the same fat. From now all, it's virgin fat territory!

I spent the afternoon working on an assignment and trying to prepare for a 'role play' for one of my online subjects (in addition to the one in class for another subject), and I was given the scenario that I will be dealing with - and as far as I can see we've covered only half of the information needed for it! I got quite stressed about it, actually. I have emailed a query to the teacher. Have I missed something? If so I need to know right now! It's a subject where the teacher left and another teacher had to pick it up and I (and other people) have had endless problems with it. So disorganised. Coursework not available, teacher not responding for weeks, inconsistent information about when assignments are due... I've tried to just query stuff then get on with other things while waiting but it's been quite bad. And the online coursework itself is (I think) terribly written (I don't think this teacher prepared it) and I've basically had to teach myself by trial and error...

This is the last week of term, then two weeks off. I feel like I need a break!

Saturday, September 16, 2017



We went to a plant nursery yesterday and bought as many weird and interesting tropical plants as we could fit in the car.

Then we spent a good chunk of today planting them. It took a long time because no matter how much we work the soil beforehand, when we dig holes for plants we find yet more rocks, roots, and now a lot of shards of broken terracotta pots for some reason. And curl grubs.

Anyway, we got enough to go along one fence out by the pool, about a quarter of the total area we need to fill. The plants are still quite small of course, but in a few years they will be crowding each other in a lush tropical kind of way.
We did get an unpleasant surprise when we got home yesterday and I checked growing conditions for bromeliads, which we bought in flower (in the top picture the weird pink spike in the middle and the two with gold star-like flowers) - it turns out they only flower once, when they are fully mature at 3-4 years old, then die! So three of our plants will only live through the summer then drop dead. They are supposed to send out 'pups' (baby plants) as they die so maybe we will get some little ones in years to come. We also bought palms, several varieties of cordylines, and bird's nest ferns. It looks nice already. We need to get some mulch next, then move on to the next section. The part we did is the shadiest, other fences get a lot more sun.

Friday, September 15, 2017



Yesterday was my long day, up early for TAFE and home late from driving the kids around to their various activities. I just pop home in between for a couple of very short periods. I was supposed to have an assessment in the afternoon but as I'd missed two weeks sick and hadn't had a chance to practice, myself and a couple of other people are doing it next week instead. It's a role-play thing where the teacher pretends to be a library customer needing help. Easy in some ways but the teacher has a list of very specific things she wants us to do and ask so it does take a bit of rehearsal.

Today Aiden forgot to take his backpack to school, he rode off without it and I didn't notice or see it sitting on the floor by the door all day. Turns out it wouldn't have made much difference - as I forgot to pack his lunch this morning! Very unusually disorganised. We weren't even rushing today. Just got distracted by Aiden finishing off some homework due today... which of course got left at home. The school could have called and I would have taken his bag up, but they just gave him some food from the canteen for lunch which I'll pay for on Monday.

Makes Tim look less bad for letting him go to school with his pants on backwards, as he quickly pointed out to me tonight!

When the kids were home this afternoon I made them come outside with me and we ate our fruit salad sitting my the pool. While Jasmine watched a YouTube video on her iPad. Oh well, I got her outside. Baby steps.

I tested the pool water and I've finally got the pH balance right! But the chlorine levels are still way too low, and the alkalinity too high. How do I reduce the alkalinity without stuffing up the pH? That doesn't make sense. If I add more acid, the pH will change! We have a 'mineral pool' which means we have some nice minerals in that make the water feel soft, and the chlorine is created by a machine thingy somehow instead of us adding it - but I still have to pour in heaps of hydrochloric acid to adjust the pH. Yes, you read that right, hydrochloric acid! H2SO4. Nasty stuff, it burns when you get a drop splash on your hand. I wore gloves once, a drop got on the glove and started sizzling and turned red. Easier to just quickly wash it off my skin than try to pull a sizzling glove off!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017



Today was the promised hot and sunny one - and I believe it got up to 33C! Crazy for only two weeks into spring. But lovely. And I finally got into the pool!

It took me a long time to ease in but I ended up going in up to my neck. We've been heating the pool for the past few days and got it up to 25C. Aiden was cannonballing off the top of the waterfall (we waited until he got home from school). Tim was home too today. Jasmine didn't get home until late so didn't go in, but she braved it before when it was first filled. 

It was so good to finally get to use the pool after a year of construction and delays and then a couple of months of winter. Today's heatwave was a one-off, the weather will be going back to normal spring for a while so I don't expect to swim again for another month at least. 

I had some of my energy back today, I potted up some herbs in the garden - in the morning before it got hot - and went for a walk after it got hot which was a bit... hot. Otherwise lots of TAFE homework.