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.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Continuing library tour


My TAFE holidays are longer than the school holidays, I've had two weeks already. But this is the last day of the kids' term. Halfway through the school year! Tim doesn't have time off so I'll need to think of things to do with the kids. I haven't been so successful at that lately. Getting Aiden away from the iPad takes a bit of muscle power!

It's my birthday in two days. I'll be, um, 47. That isn't near 50 at all, shut up.

Yesterday I continued my local library tour. One small branch library and the big central one which I had visited before but only briefly. Compared to all the little ones, which seem to have 2 or 3 staff at any given time, Sutherland had at least 10-12 staff that I could see and probably more in the private offices. It would be good to work there, probably a bigger variety of things to do and maybe even some 'technician' tasks which I am working towards with my degree, but there is also something appealing about working in a snug little branch library. I probably won't get a choice anyway so I'm trying not to get too invested in any particular place. If I get the job. If I even get an interview. It's been so long since I had written a job application I have now rather lost faith in my submission. But I tell myself it's no big deal if I don't get it, I'm still studying and there will be other opportunities later.

While I was in Sutherland library wandering around the HSC section (resources for the last couple of years of High School) I noticed study notes for the book 'Cloudstreet' by Tim Winton. This was voted the post popular Australian book of the past 20 years or something like that so I'd previously tried to read it and disliked it intensely so gave up. Not my kind of book at all. Sad, desperate people struggling through the 1940s. Alcohol and gambling addiction, financial problems, family fights. Just depressing. Anyway, I saw the study notes so I sat down and read the twenty-page or so detailed summary of the plot and a few of the other discussions. Nothing that made me regret not reading it! But I'm glad I know the whole plot now since it's such an 'important' book. Do you have a book like that, that other people love and you can't get into? I feel the same about Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. I read mostly fantasy but I do read other things too. Just not miserable depressing things.

I have all my results back from term one, all 'satisfactory'. That is all they tell you. Hopefully when I go back I'll get to at least see my exam papers. I hate just having satisfactory/not satisfactory!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017



Today I saw the dietician - you know, the one I get a couple of free sessions with because I'm so fat?! Well, she was very nice, we chatted about what I eat etc. We've decided to start with my snacking habits as I tend to eat "real" food at meal times but then pig out on junk in the afternoons and evenings. Next session we will look at portion sizes and other stuff. In general terms probably less meat and more vegetables.

Basically I am allowed to have snacks, but I have to keep them small and go for, say, a small portion of nuts instead of a bag of chips. Fruit or a small amount of dark chocolate if I want something sweet. I've got a list of suggestions. I will be keeping a food diary and seeing her in three weeks.

It's been a week since I saw the exercise physiologist. I've done my hip stretches twice - could do better there - plenty of walking so that is good, no dance yet. Need to work on that. I'd planned to walk to my session today but it's cold and raining so I drove. I'll have to do something else (dance?). I'm trying to do some kind of exercise every day. The days I have done lots of walking I've also done extra eating!

After my session it was lunchtime and I was craving KFC! Crazy I know. I'd just been talking about improving my diet. Probably that was why, a sort of deprivation panic. But I haven't even liked KFC the past 20 times I've had it. Keep trying anyway. Idiot. Anyway, I didn't have it today - because my dietician's office overlooked the carpark and I was worried she would be able to see me go through the drive-through opposite! So the visit did me some good already.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Visiting Canberra


We lived in Canberra for 15 years before we moved back to Sydney - I hadn't been back for a visit in the year and a half since we moved. Tim had taken Jasmine back to visit friends a couple of times, and he's been back there for work too. This past weekend Jasmine wanted to go to a friend's birthday party there - they've kept in touch this whole time - and Tim wasn't keen but I decided I was ready to return. I'd had no interest before this - when I move on I move on!

It's a three hour drive, we got there just before lunch time Saturday for the very end of the party - the time had been changed a couple of days before, too late for me to change all my plans and bookings even if I'd been willing to drive up Friday night which I wasn't - and left Jasmine with her friend for the weekend. My first item on the agenda was Kingsley's for lunch. It has fried chicken, much like KFC but not as greasy and I loved it the whole time we lived in Canberra. (Also nicest roast chickens, but I was craving the southern fried.) It was still tasty, but turns out 'not as greasy' is still very greasy! I ate most of two pieces and felt a bit nauseated. Oh well, maybe I'll stop craving it now!

There was a stationary store that sells my favourite pens a block away so I popped in there. I can get them in Sydney but not anywhere near where I usually shop. They are a bit more expensive than normal ball-point pens but I love them because they are 0.7mm instead of the usual 1.0mm, usually it's hard to find fine point like that other than felt tip. I've bought quite a few over the past few years but of course they keep mysteriously going missing from my desk. It's like teaspoons and socks. Some little gremlin somewhere likes to eat them. How often do you use up a pen before it disappears? Never?!

I drove past our old house. Apart from some pot plants by the front door I couldn't see any changes. It was the back of the house that really needed work, but I didn't dare creep around and look. It didn't feel like home at all, I got a cold grey vibe from it.

I drove down to the lake and went for a walk, it was always my favourite place for walking. As I had rather expected, there was a very cold wind off the water, chilling my hands, ears and nose. Winter in the mountains. I lasted for 20 minutes before I went and had a cup of tea at the library café.

Here we see the National Library from the vantage of my lake walk...

After my cup of tea I joined the library tour. It was only of the public spaces, unfortunately, but it included some interesting information. I knew that the book storage goes several stories underground, but I didn't know that that part of the building is much wider than the above ground part. It stretches out under the lawns and car parks. The tour guide lady also took us into the national treasures gallery, stuff like Captain Cook's writing desk from his ship and personal log (he "discovered" Australia for England, not counting the Aborigines who'd lived here for tens of thousands of years or the Dutch who visited the other side of Australia before Cook got here).

I did enjoy the tour but I was glad to go at my own pace around the other exhibition there, of Japanese woodcuts (illustrations) from traditional novels. The art was interesting but the best part was the little summaries of the books they were from. Like: a man falls in love with a peasant girl but his family forbids him to marry her because she's a nobody so he becomes a monk. Then he finds out that she is actually a noblewoman, but it's too late. So he commits suicide. So she commits suicide. Sounds a bit like Romeo and Juliet. Lots of moral tales, like the woman who leaves her husband for a rich lover then eventually comes back but her husband and son don't want her back and she learns the error of her ways. The pictures are apparently all full of symbolism; the pattern of her dress means this, surrounded by autumn leaves means that, two children in the background means something else. Fascinating.

Time to move on to my next appointment at the National Museum. I had time for a slice of chocolate raspberry cake - turned out to be the only really delicious food I had all weekend, and it was the only unplanned one! - before going to my Virtual Reality session. It was an underwater dive on the Great Barrier Reef narrated by David Attenborough, taken with a 360 degree camera. We were in swivel chairs so we could easily look around in every direction. Then there was a bit about earliest life in the sea, showing us trilobites and eight-foot long sea scorpions and stuff. Very enjoyable. When I took my feet off the floor it felt like I was floating around.

It was starting to get very cold. I booked into my modest hotel room then walked a few blocks to my favourite Chinese restaurant which we used to go to often and ordered my favourite dish (Shan Tung chicken). In the past it had varied from moderately spicy to very spicy. This time I think they forgot to put in any chilli at all. Bland bland bland. Walked back to my hotel in the freezing evening air and snuggled down for the night. Luckily The Fifth Element was on TV.

In the morning it was still hovering around freezing so I stayed in for a while and had leftover Chinese for breakfast. Bland is ok in the morning. I finished the book I had with me then checked out and went to Questacon, the interactive science and technology museum. Lots of interactive stuff to do. I used to take the kids there a lot, we had an annual pass. It was more a time-killer this time, somewhere inside in the warm.

Finally it was time to go and meet Caroline, my best friend from Canberra. We had lunch at the arboretum, I used to go there a lot to write as it has lovely views. Our lunch table was right by the window.
The view was great, the company was excellent, unfortunately the food (yet again) was a big disappointment. Oh well. I had two lovely hours chatting, I don't really care that I left most of the meat on my plate. Beef cheek that was gelatinous yet tough. Urg. I ate the vegetables and ignored the meat.

I picked up Jasmine from her sleepover then we had the three hour drive home. I was pretty tired by the end. Family was over at our house to play Dungeons and Dragons, just the boys, but also my four year old niece Emma who was bored out of her skull and latched on to me as soon as I walked in the door wanting attention I was too worn out to give. I just wanted everyone to go home so I could have a quick dinner and collapse. But they were there for another hour. I ended the weekend exhausted and grumpy. But otherwise it was a nice couple of days.

After weeks and weeks of 'finished by the end of the week' promises, our tiler turned up and finished putting the paving down in the narrow corner bit. He still has to finish the grouting and then seal it all. 'By the end of the week'. Sigh. It looks nice though.
Haven't heard any more about the heat pump issue or when the interior of the pool will be finished.

Jasmine is home sick today. Down with a cold or flu, she was starting to get sick yesterday. I always let her stay home when she asks because she so rarely asks - she loves school. Aiden would stay home every day if I let him.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Library tour


I decided to combine exercise with a tour of the local libraries. There are eight in the area, if I get a job with local council I could end up working in any of them. Of course I have been to my own local library many times, it is within walking distance and right next to my shopping centre. I have also popped into the main library (much bigger) once but I will include that on the tour to get to know it better. I am in the extreme west of the Shire, it is probably 30 minutes drive to the other cardinal points.

Today I went due east, to the coast. I deliberately parked a long way from the town centre and had a lovely 30 minute walk along the shore, there is a great walkway all along there. It is well into winter here and back in Canberra it would have been unbearable to walk near the lake with the frigid wind coming off it, here there a warm sun and gentle sea breeze. I was comfortable in long sleeves with no jumper, a little too warm by the time I got there.

I wandered around Cronulla library a bit. I noticed four staff members, the two doing the shelving both very young. It looked very new and modern, part of a new-looking community hub building. Not really my style, but it would be nice to work so close to the beach! There were plenty of people using the library and walking along the shore today, but not many on the beach itself - just seagulls.
But there were surfers in the water, bobbing up and down like black seals. Presumably in warm full-body wetsuits.

I walked 30 mins back to the car, it had warmed up and my clothes seemed much too hot now! And I'd decided lunch could wait, it wasn't even noon yet, but as soon as I left the cafĂ© district I suddenly got very hungry. By the time I got back to the car I was hot and tired and ravenous and not enjoying it nearly so much.

I had thought to fit in three libraries today but decided to cut it down to two. I parked near a big shopping centre and ripped into a quesadilla (yum) then walked to the music shop to buy Jasmine a new reed for her clarinet then to library number two. Much smaller, smaller even than my local Menai. Very quiet, only a few people there, and one staff that I saw. It is near a major shopping hub but tucked away out of sight.

I walked back to the shops and did a quick grocery run, then drove home. In all nearly 12,000 steps, and the day isn't over! I'm pretty tired and my hips are a little sore. Hmm, did the physio say something about not doing too much to start with? I've started wearing my Fitbit again and I'm loving looking at all the reports on what I'm doing. The physio is supposed to email me my exercise program but hasn't yet. I should still do my hip stretches.



I saw the exercise physiologist today. We had a good chat about my current limitations (shoulders and hips) and she gave me some stretches/strengthening for those as well as talking about reintroducing cardio into my life. She wants me to start dance again (on the Xbox at home) because it is cardio with a wide variety of movements, whereas a lot of cardio is very repetitive and doesn't use the whole body. She gave me a little fitness test so we can compare next time (in a month). With that, and going through the hip stretches and free weight lifting, and walking there and back I really feel like got my exercise in today! Actually my hips feel quite tired.

She had an interesting suggestion, that the hip pain could be a hang-over from the pelvic problems, after two years of pelvic pain before it was resolved the muscles could be overtensed and sensitive from trying to protect me. In which case the stretches should help quite quickly. I will be very happy if it's not arthritis!

One thing I struggle with is her wanting me to start slow, even though I understand it is better for my unfit body and much more realistic that I will actually do it. But there is part of me that says it is not enough! That a little bit isn't worth doing and won't make any difference. But I have to trust the process. And actually do the exercises!

Sunday, June 18, 2017



Dramas with the unfinished pool continue. We're waiting for the team who do the interior surface to recover from illness and catch up on their backlog, no idea how long that will take. That was supposed be the last thing directly related to the pool itself (not the landscaping) but...

Today I got an official letter saying there had been a complaint from a neighbour about the pool's heat pump, saying it might be a noise nuisance and do we have approval for it.  !!  First of all, the f*cking thing has never been turned on so how can they complain about the noise already? It supposed to be the quietest available, a brand new model, but to be honest I have no idea how noisy it will be. But neither do they. The neighbour was not named, but I assume it is the one the heat pump is nearest - also the only neighbour we actually know. It is not near their house, it is up the back of the property. On the other side of the fence is their pool. Over the back fence is also a pool, if it was those neighbours. I mean, WTF?

Oh, and if it was either of those neighbours (and who else could it be) there are a few things we could complain about if we were the type. But I have no intention of getting into escalating neighbour wars.

And secondly, what "approval"? I have spoken to the pool company, who are following it up for me, and they said they have never had to get approval or had any problems before. I can't find anything on the internet with a quick search about having to get approval for it. But there is probably a local council rule somewhere. Oh boy. What fun.

Of course the tiled area next to the pool is still "almost finished" as it has been for weeks. Every week the tiler promises "by the end of the week". I swear I didn't have this much trouble with tradesmen in Canberra. I think our tiler got behind due to illness and is now juggling a lot of jobs and we are just low on his list of priorities. It's all very disappointing.

In hopefully good news, I got my job application in for that part-time library assistant job. Applications don't close for another week so I won't know for a while if I got an interview.  Who wouldn't want me, right? But I haven't done a job application for a long time, I'm a bit out of practice. Both the people I asked were happy to be my referees.

I'm more used to my change in hairstyle, it's ok. Very pale blonde though so my dark blonde roots are going to be very obvious! And my sister-in-law was here for dinner and said something about my hair getting so long when I'd just had a dramatic (I thought) amount cut off! But usually I have it pulled back and now it's out around my face.

I have sleep apnoea, diagnosed three years ago, and I was compliant with my CPAP at first but really dislike it so haven't used it consistently for ages. It's important because it keeps me breathing at night, but I just can't sleep with it on. Today I had a consultation with a specialist dentist about getting a mouthguard made that holds my jaw forward which is supposed to help keep the airway open. I don't know though, it cost about $1200 and no guarantee it works. Like most of my other health issues, my sleep apnoea would probably be resolved by me losing weight. Wish that was as easy as it is to say.

My hips have been bothering me a lot, on and off. I'm seeing an exercise physiologist tomorrow. I wonder if she'll tell me to lose weight too. Good advice, really.

To end on a happy note, next weekend I'll be taking my daughter on a visit back to Canberra to a friend's party. Tim has taken her a couple of times but I didn't go, I haven't been back since we moved. This time I'm taking her and have lined up a few favourite people and places. Should be fun. But very cold! It's nearly mid-winter here and Canberra in the mountains is much colder than Sydney on the coast.

Thursday, June 15, 2017



Well I may have a few weeks break between semesters but I am certainly keeping myself busy! All those things it was hard to find time for before. As I've said before, I don't know how people who work full time (and maybe have kids as well) get time to do anything!

I picked up my timetable for next semester, although "picked up" doesn't really describe the process. Lots of students there milling around queueing up to see teachers. The three subjects I didn't do in first semester are still at the same inaccessible times, so I'll be doing those online, plus two face-to-face subjects from second semester. I'd rather the balance was more in favour of face-to-face, but if I do get the part time job I suppose I'll be glad.

I'm still working on that application, it's been many years since I had to write one! The teacher I asked happily agreed to be a referee, I haven't heard back from my editing colleague. If I have to ask another teacher, which one? One is on long-service leave now, one is a bit scatty, one got my name wrong twice recently and I'd be worried she wouldn't know who I am, one only teaches me online... I'm hoping Cathy still has the same phone number and gets back to me!

I had another dentist appointment, for a filling, and saw my doctor to get referrals to a nutritionist and an exercise physiologist. I have also booked in to see a specialist to consult about maybe getting a mouth guard made for my sleep apnoea instead of the CPAP that I never use.

Today I had my hair cut and coloured. I was "growing it out" and haven't been to a hairdresser since we moved a year and a half ago. But I decided really long no longer suits me. And I'm naturally blonde but getting darker with age so I wanted to go lighter. Well, my hair is lighter and shorter! I don't think I like it. I think I look older, the pale gold reminds me of little-old-lady white hair. It's shoulder length now and isn't sitting how I want. I don't feel glamorous at all. Hopefully it will settle into something I like.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Last exam


I had my last exam for the semester this morning, I was well prepared and I expect high marks. I now get a three and a half week break before next semester, except I have to go all the way into the city again tomorrow to get my timetable for next semester which is a bit of a bugger. There is a special compulsory session for it. I did knock on the head teacher's door today just in case, to save myself a trip of over an hour each way, but she wasn't there. Oh well, my schedule is a bit complicated due to my part-time-ed-ness. I'll probably end up doing some of the second semester classes along with the ones I missed from first semester, with the new intake of students.

Anyhoo, while I was there today another student remembered what part of Sydney I'm from (the TAFE is right in the city so we come from all over) and mentioned there are jobs going at the public libraries here, one full time and one part time. Or possibly more than one of each, I suppose, they could be interviewing for a few. I hadn't been looking for work yet, being only a third of the way through the course, but this is too good to miss, being local and part time. It is an entry level position (library assistant, shelving books and helping customers) so I will eventually be overqualified but it would be a great foot in the door and a way to get experience. The job description specifically says that "working towards" qualification is fine. If I get it I will have to drop back my studies even more and take longer to finish but I think it would be worth it. I mean, the whole point is to get a job eventually. Of course there is no guarantee I will get it!

The application requires two referees which is tricky. Since I left full time work 15 years ago I've raised children, written a book, earned a degree and half another qualification, and set up my own business as a freelance editor. None of which give me a "supervisor". Luckily I did do a short editing stint for a government department and I should still be able to contact my supervisor from that, she was also the president of the local editing society which I was active in so I think she would remember me. That was four years ago. The only other referee I can think of is getting one of my current teachers to do it! I think that will be ok. I just have to give a phone number (obviously with their permission) they don't have to write a report.

Hmm, I need interview/work clothes! What do aspiring librarians wear? Glasses obviously. Cardigans? Flat heels thank goodness. Beige twin set with pearls....

Friday, June 9, 2017

Uncle Max


My Uncle Glenn (dad's younger brother) called this afternoon to say my Uncle Max (his and my dad's elder brother) died today. It took me a few moments to sort out in my head who he was talking about. Went I was very little I saw him occasionally as he lived just down the road from my grandparent's farm, "next door" but quite a hike for short legs; his five boys were all considerably older than me so I didn't visit there much. I have one clear memory of Uncle Max being there when I walked down to see if the younger two boys were available to play with. That is really my only memory of him! When he and Aunty Dawn divorced he moved away and later remarried. Uncle Glenn says he was at dad's funeral two years ago but I don't remember seeing or speaking to him - after 40 years we probably didn't recognise each other! Or maybe he spoke to me and I don't remember. Dad visited him regularly and passed on any news. He had been in ill-health for years and he was 86 so his death wasn't unexpected.

Funny story (I think) about Aunty Dawn who continued to live there, when I visited dad once a few years ago I went into the local store which she ran (tiny town, about 120 people, with one general store and one pub) and thought the lady looked vaguely familiar so I asked "Are you my Aunty Dawn?" and she said "I don't know, am I?" I thought that was an odd way to answer! I explained who I was and she said she was, indeed, Dawn Lockwood.

I am at the pointy end of the semester of study, I now only have one exam left, all other assignments and exams done. I was quite worried about the exam this morning, by far my most difficult subject, and I'd think I had it but then do some more questions at home and get a lot of them wrong! Pretty sure I had it mastered in the end. I hope. We'll see when I get the results.

My other stress is the continuing saga of the tiler, doing the paving next to our almost-pool. Or not doing the paving, in actual fact. It's been seven weeks now, when I chose him partly because he could do it straight away. Excuses have included sickness, sprained ankle, running out of tiles (twice) and now the weather. It is mostly done, but I am in some doubt as to whether it will ever be finished.

The fencing has been approved by council (verbally, still need paperwork) which means we can finish the pool, surfacing the interior. When it stops raining in a week or so.

I've had a cold or mild flu all this week. Hopefully that is over now.

Long weekend this weekend!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017



I went back to my "old" doctor today - from the clinic I've attended regularly since we moved here but I've only seen this doctor once before because they change every six months - because I wasn't impressed with the new one I tried. "Old" doctor confirmed that the blood test results are nothing to worry about because although they showed a high protein (?) count none of the other markers were there for something serious.

Instead of the other doctor's "you're fine, just lose some weight" response to my high blood sugar and hip pain, at least this one tried to give me more active advice. As well as going over the diet and exercise stuff that we all know, she is going to arrange for me to have some free dietician and hydrotherapy (gentle water-based exercise that won't hurt my hips) sessions. Apparently I am fat enough to qualify for five free professional health sessions. Hmmm. Also, if I haven't made progress in three months she recommends maybe trying medication, she mentioned Duromine which is an appetite suppressant and she said speeds up the metabolism. I'm not very keen on taking medication of any kind, but at least this doctor is laying out some options for me.

Unfortunately she will only be at the clinic for another month. Who knows who I'll get next?

I told her I won't do anything for a couple of weeks because of exams, but then will investigate dieticians etc for her to give me a referral to.

Monday, May 29, 2017



We had a productive weekend. I spent most of Saturday studying, got all my work for the previous week mastered. Our tiler has now sprained his ankle, but he finally sent a substitute so there were a few guys here working on that - they got it mostly finished but ran out of tiles (again) so there is one tiny corner not done and then they have to seal it. I was given the impression they would be back on Monday, but no sign of them (of course). We've paid for more than enough tiles but I think the tiler hoped he wouldn't need to get them all and could keep a bit of the money because they've run out twice. [Just contacted him, he's ordered more tiles and will be back to finish at the end of the week, yet another 'end of the week'...]

On Sunday we did some work in the garden, moving the dirt away from the fence and adding a bit more Perspex behind the heat pump, we finished doing everything needed to get the fence approved (very strict laws in Australia about fences around pools). I have contacted the approval guy and am waiting to hear back from him. Once that it approved we can finish the last stage of the pool and fill it with water. Of course now the temperature has plummeted, it is freezing here (two more days until Winter) we will have some kind of "pool party" when it's finished but I don't think anyone will go in the water, even heated! And I'm getting ahead of myself - it probably won't be finished until next spring anyway the way things have gone so far!

I slept really poorly on Sunday night, my left wrist was quite sore from all the digging and woke me, and then I was a bit stressed about my big presentation on Monday, and also Tim had to get up very early for a flight to Canberra for the day so of course that woke me too. And after 15 mins doze when he was gone I had to get up because Aiden had his drumming lesson before school. I was so tired and dopey I rushed out of the house to catch my train and only when caught in peak hour traffic on the way to the station did I realise I was half an hour early!

The presentation was in the afternoon, I'd prepared carefully and I think it went well. Three other people also did theirs in the same lesson and mine was at least as good (I think). But in my morning class we had an oral quiz that was originally supposed to be this week, then changed to next week, then there was a problem with that and after some discussion trying to find a time we could all attend the teacher asked if we could move it back and do it that day. We all said yes but I didn't feel well prepared; and I hate oral quizzes, I get stressed and freeze up when people look at me although I'm fine with a written test.

The teacher tried to make it as relaxed as possible, we all grouped together and she asked questions and we could jump in and answer whichever ones we were comfortable with while she kept track. But I wasn't as quick to jump in as some others even when I knew the answer so the teacher directed a question specifically to me and of course it turned out to be one I wasn't completely sure about! I stumbled through it and knew she wanted more from me but had a brain freeze and didn't answer fully. Unfair - everyone else basically got to choose their own questions! I hated being on the spot like that. After that I kept jumping in to answer everything until the teacher told me I'd answered enough so I shut up and let other people answer. It's worth 10% of the total mark for that subject and I have no idea how I (or anyone else) was scored. In the end the whole subject is pass/fail but my marks matter to me!

I only have two weeks left of semester, one assignment (which I've nearly finished) and three exams to go.

Saturday, May 27, 2017



I had my annual glucose tolerance test on Wednesday and got the results today. Not good. Two years ago my reading was 10.8mmol/L (11.0 means a diagnosis of diabetes, so much too close for comfort), last year I got it down to 8.9 which is much better but still not normal (7.8 is limit of normal).

This year back up to 10.7mmol/L. Not good at all.

I am very inconsistent in my habits. I'll be "good" for a while then fall back into old habits and eat all the wrong things, even things I know send my blood sugar shooting up. Rarely exercise.

The doctor just said (as some other doctors have before her) "You don't have diabetes, just lose some weight, you'll be fine. Walk regularly." Hmm, as if I haven't been trying for 20 years to lose weight! And 10.7 is not fine!


I didn't realise I didn't finish this post. To continue.

Later at home going through my tests I noticed one she hadn't mentioned. I think it was one she ordered because of my hip pain, possibly arthritis, to see if I had inflammation. There are 8 pages of results so maybe she missed this one.

It's for C Reactive Protein. The sheet says it should be 0--5 mg/L. Mine is 12. Some internet research seems to suggest that anything over 3 is high risk for various things, and over 10 shows significant inflammation that needs further testing and could be something serious. 12 is very high! But the doctor didn't mention it as far as I can remember, we talked about the pre-diabetes (you'll be fine) but she scanned everything else and said it was all fine, nothing to worry about.

I went to this new place because I was sick of the old clinic changing doctors every six months (they are doctors who have just finished training, on one of their first placements I think) and because the most recent one wanted me to come in for a long appointment for a discussion about my weight - which I felt wasn't necessary because I already know everything after 20 years of experience trying. I know what to do, I just don't actually do it.

But now I have the choice between someone who actually wants me to take action and will do their best to help, or someone who ignores flagged results and just says "you'll be fine." I'm going back to the old clinic! If the doctors are young and experienced, at least they are enthusiastic and up with the latest information.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Another week.


Let's see, what has been happening this week? One thing that was important to me was getting the permanent crown put on my tooth! I'd been so uncomfortable for three weeks with the temporary one.  The real crown just feels like a normal tooth instead of something pinching against my gum and leaving a nasty metallic taste in my mouth. So yay!

The tiler called last weekend to say he was better and would be back during the week to finish the work. But apart from dropping some extra tiles off (when I wasn't home) there's been no evidence he still exists. I don't like to hassle him, I don't know whether he's sick again or just running around trying to catch up other jobs. It's annoying though.

Also the heat pump was delivered but it has to be moved to the right spot - it weighs 125kg so we can't do it ourselves - and that was supposed to happen Friday but nobody showed. So we can't move the dirt pile away from the fence yet. So we can't get the fence approved. So we can't get the pool surfaced and finished. It's a long chain of can't move on until the first thing is done!

Only three weeks of semester left at TAFE so I'm very busy with assignments and preparing for exams. Still lots to do, but I feel like it's under control. My body is suffering a bit though, too much computer use makes my shoulders, arms and hands ache. Looking forward to a few weeks off before it all starts again. But I have to get through three more weeks first!

I'm having my annual glucose tolerance test on Wednesday so today I started carb-loading. I do enjoy eating more carbs than usual, but it makes me feel kind of sluggish and sleepy. Two years ago my blood glucose was 10.8 mol/L - very close to a diabetes diagnosis - but last year was down to 8.9, much better. I really have no idea what it will be this year! I am so inconsistent with my lifestyle, but I probably weigh exactly the same as last year. I've had diabetic-level readings at home after bad foods, but not under the controlled conditions of the test. Fingers crossed.

Thanks to everyone who looked at my website, I could see on Google Analytics that I've had visitors from overseas! I've made the final tweaks and it will be up collecting customer data for another couple of weeks.

We saw Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 yesterday, really fun movie. baby Groot is so cute! The only thing I didn't like was the soundtrack, the music in the first movie was so good but I didn't know most of the songs on this one. Maybe well known in the US? I only knew a couple, like the Cat Stevens one at the end. Otherwise the movie was great.

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day


I had a lovely Mother's Day yesterday, although of course I missed my own mum. The kids made breakfast then I did the grocery shopping (that bit wasn't particularly fun, but I'd still rather do it myself), take-away for lunch and played some computer games.

My afternoon probably won't sound fun either but it was satisfying. I'd been struggling with this week's lesson in my most difficult class, and was getting more than half the exercises wrong even when I thought I 'had it' - very frustrating. So I spent a couple of hours over the weekend really getting it into my head and I finally did work it out. It wasn't fun to do but a big relief when I got a good mark in the online quiz.

Then we had family over for dinner, I got to stretch my new oven to its limits and it performed well, and a Eurovision Song Contest party in the evening with a few extra people joining us. I really enjoyed it, in fact it was a very good day overall.

My website project is live - its a website for a pretend library, you can find it at There's only two pages so not all the links go anywhere. We need people to have a look so we can get some Google Analytics data for class, so I'd love you to check it out! You don't have to do anything to give feedback, the Analytics tell us how many people visited, how long they stayed on each page etc. If you want to compare to other people's you could try putting in a different number at the end (like 587 etc), I'm not sure which numbers are valid but I was one of the last on the list so the other numbers might be higher than mine if they are in sequence. (I have looked at other students' but by clicking on a link so I didn't pay attention to the number).

I hope everyone had a lovely Mother's Day and a great weekend.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fifteen years


Today is my/our fifteen year wedding anniversary. Fifteen years!! Just over a third of my life, married to my lovely Tim. We're going out to dinner tonight. Last weekend a family member looked up that 15 years meant crystal was the traditional present, and Tim mentioned that he wandered into the Swarovski store this week but not if he bought anything! I won't reveal my present to him as I haven't given it to him yet, but it's not crystal.

The replacement oven was delivered yesterday and works fine so yay for that. I've cooked a few things already but the real test will be big Mother's Day dinner on Sunday.

Our tiler was making good progress on the paved area outside, but Friday lunchtime last week he said he needed to pick up more tiles and left with his two assistants. And didn't come back. On Tuesday I sent a slightly cranky text asking what was going on. Turns out he had been hospitalised on the weekend and was still on bed rest with a ventilator four times a day! Asthma exacerbated by allergies I think. He had been very wheezy carrying tiles around - I thought he was just unfit! I feel bad for him and hope he feels better soon for his own sake, but there were three of them working you'd think one of them could have called to tell me what was going on. Anyway, no sign of their return so far. I just try to suspend all expectations of when the pool will be finished, nothing has gone as planned. More than nine months now.

Eurovision starts tonight, or at least the Australian coverage of it does (actually I think both semi's have already finished). If we wanted to watch it live from the Ukraine it would be 5am, so we wait for primetime viewing. We'll have people over Sunday night (also Mother's Day) to watch the final. Love the Eurovision Song Contest!

Thursday, May 4, 2017



It's been a day of ups and downs.

Firstly the tilers were here all day and got a good portion of the tiling done and it looks great.

Actually it looks darker and dirtier in the pictures than in reality, maybe because I took the photo when the day's light was failing. The tiles are actually a very pale blonde.

Then the oven was delivered. Not great news about whether it would fit in the space, the previous (old) wall oven was an odd size that we couldn't find an exact replacement for. This one is close, but a little too tall and too narrow. So we might need a carpenter to do a little cabinetry, at present there is a gap down the sides and the doors of the cupboard above had to be taken off. But I was very excited about having an oven again. Until he turned it on and there was a loud pop and the element blew or something. They have another one in the warehouse and at first said they will deliver that tomorrow. So I did the grocery shopping and took a chance on hoping I would have an oven from tomorrow! Bought ingredients for roast chicken and BBQ pork ribs. ... and then they called in the evening to say they couldn't deliver until next week. Which, with my schedule, means next Thursday. I can use the top part of this one, I wasn't going to if it was just one day but I will since otherwise I won't have an oven at all for another week.

Finally in up/down news, I got the final cheque from mum's solicitor, the last payment from her  estate that he had been hanging on to until he got the tax returns done. It's been more than two years and I had to get the executor to give the solicitor a nudge. Anyway, it came in the mail today so I was feeling that finally I didn't have to deal with that side of her death any more, everything was finalised. And also we need the money for the pool, which is like a cash-sucking vampire. But when I was at the shops today I was surrounded by Mother's Day cards and flowers and present ideas - it's only a week away. And I realised that mum's death will never be "finalised". Well, I'm still glad the money side is done with.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017



Well my mouth continued to be sore for four days after the dentist appointment, up to today when I'm finally able to chew (carefully) on both sides. Apparently this was normal after what I had done, they gave me a leaflet on how to deal with the discomfort. I've been feeling a bit miserable the past few days because I don't like pain (who does?), much better today. I'm not looking forward to the follow-up.

Last week my favourite person at TAFE, Cathy who looks like a young librarian already, said the library where she'd been doing some work with children (she's a music teacher) offered her some temporary work and she was trying to decide whether to take it or continue her studies or both... well she hasn't been in class this week and someone else said she took the job and has switched to online study. I've very glad for her to have this work experience but I'll miss her. I think the job is only for three months while someone else is on leave, so she might be back next term, but you never know. She seems like an ideal employee to me, one of the top students and very nice as well, they'd be mad to let her go.

I don't really want to look for work yet, I want to get my degree first. I couldn't juggle both.

We had lots of family gatherings on the weekend. Lunch after a christening (we didn't get to the service due to sport commitments), a birthday party dinner that night, and another family dinner the next night. I didn't have to cook all weekend! We have chosen a new oven to replace the broken one and it should be delivered on Thursday.

The pool tiler continues to show up occasionally, erratically, and do I don't know what. Preparing the surface. No actual tiles yet! I thought it would all be done last week, silly me. You'd think I'd have enough experience with tradesmen by now. He wants an interim payment but I'm feeling a bit reluctant.

Friday, April 28, 2017



Another week gone by. And as usual I turn to my blog after a bad day. It gives rather a skewed view, my life is usually pretty good! But good days are often not much to write about.

But today I had a dentist appointment (shudder). I'm not scared of doctors or needles, but I'm very phobic about dentistry. Fear, a small mouth, and a strong gag reflex. I hadn't been for a bout two years, not since we moved to Sydney. And I might not have 'got around to it' this time but I thought I'd lost a filling and could feel a big gap - actually it turned out a piece of one tooth had chipped off and there was another big crack in it. I seriously considered having the tooth removed, but decided to be brave and get the work done.

An hour and a half in the chair today, with two more shorter appointments in the future. It was horrible. Ten hours later and my mouth is still sore this evening.

I wanted to just go home and collapse but we'd organised for me to drop Tim's car off for a rego check, so I did that and faced a long walk home on trembly legs. But then I saw my sister-in-law come out of a shop across the road and I managed to get to her car before she reversed into me (I think she was a bit startled by this crazy person running up to her window waving their arms frantically) and of course she drove me home - I was so grateful! It would have been a pleasant half hour walk if I wasn't miserable and shaky and probably still drooling from the anaesthetic.

The car was supposed to be ready by 1pm but it wasn't done until 5, too late to pick up today, so that meant I didn't have to walk back either! Tim can go tomorrow.

In other news term has started and we're all back into our studies. I got my other exam from last term back and did well, only one question wrong again. I wouldn't say I'm breezing through - I'm working hard for my good results.

On the pool front we've engaged a tiler to create an area next to the pool to put our chairs and things on (we'll fill the rest of the backyard with tropical plants so it's like a resort), after rather more delays than he'd anticipated he finally started today. The pool fence inspection guy came yesterday, unfortunately there are some issues we'll have to fix so that still isn't done. And we can't get the pool finished until the fences are compliant. Sometimes I fear it will never be done! But surely one day we'll have a usable finished pool.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017



I'm feeling a bit cranky and discombobulated. Bloody tradesmen.

The oven repair guy who couldn't find anything wrong with my oven a couple of weeks ago came back today now that it is completely dead. He was supposed to come "morning" so we sat at home all day, at 2pm I called the company, he turned up at 3. He poked vaguely at the oven and told me it would be cheaper and easier to get a new oven. He barely looked at it. I couldn't stand his cigarette reek, I only got him back because with a new company I'd have to pay the exorbitant callout fee again. I know the oven is old - the whole kitchen is old - I was hoping to not need a new oven for a few years until we'd recovered from paying for the pool, and get the whole kitchen remodelled then. Replace the lino countertops as well as the ancient fixtures. But looks like we'll have to get a new oven now. It's a wall oven, too, so we have to get one that fits that space... very restrictive... Arg!

Oh and the pool - we finally got the side fences raised to the required height. But the site manager came by and looked at them and he's not sure they will pass council safety inspection! Double arg!

And I went to order a skip bin for the weekend only to find they are about twice as expensive here as I remember from Canberra only two years ago. I was so horrified at the price of the place that advertised "cheapest in Sutherland Shire" I said I'd get back to them, tried elsewhere but it was even more expensive. I suppose I'll have to call back. I feel like we're haemorrhaging money.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Easter


We had a nice Easter weekend, family over for dinner yesterday. We managed ok without the oven.

One of our traditions is to create our own little Easter baskets for the egg hunt, usually out of cardboard but this year I bought bags with a bunny silhouette that we then decorated with various craft supplies.

Mine (it had a lot more 'hair' on the back):


Aiden's (that is a moustache drawn on, he tried a pipe-cleaner but it wouldn't stick):
Jasmine's (she spent ages gluing all the sequins onto the dress): 

We had our own Easter egg hunt at home in the morning, but when family came over my cousin-in-law Martha also arranged a hunt in our garden for the four children.
Eliza (Martha's daughter, in pink) isn't allowed much junk food so the hunt was mostly little toys and things like sultanas in plastic egg shapes, plus a few very small chocolate bunnies. The rest of us waited until Eliza was taken home to the babysitter before we got stuck into the chocolate!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Emptying the pool

later Thursday:

Hopefully we are close to getting our pool surfaced, so today Tim hired a pump to empty out all the rainwater. It was about a third full! A bit swampy looking. And very cold.
The pump was a bit tricky actually. It didn't come with any instructions and Tim said the employee he picked it up from was a bit surly. We didn't know -- do you put the pump bit in the water and the hose out, or the hose in the water? It seemed safer to try the second way first, the pump part did have an electrical cable attached so we weren't sure about submerging it. But the hose didn't suck up any water, so we carefully tried it the other way, keeping the electrical cable out of the water, and it happily pumped water out.

We ran the hose directly to a drain behind the house (and checked, it came out in the gutter in front of our house, ran down beside the road and into a stormwater drain) but we couldn't get the grill off to put the hose inside so had to hold it in place for the whole two hours or so. Quite uncomfortable. I found the best way was sitting in a chair and holding the end in place with my feet.

But eventually the water was all out. So much easier and quicker than trying to bucket it out!
Now hopefully it will dry out, and we don't get any more rain for a little while.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Broken oven


My oven seemed to be working ok, a bit hotter than usual maybe, since the repair man came and did nothing. Until this morning, when Tim noticed the oven clock wasn't lit up. So we tried the oven, the grill, checked the powerboard outside, checked other appliances -- just the oven unit (including grill) not working. Completely dead. With Easter dinner for 14 (not including babies) to cook tomorrow and no chance of getting a repair man before then.

My menu included roast lamb with roast vegetables, garlic bread cooked in the oven, roast tomato soup, lemon tart (cooked in the oven)... I went into a bit of a panic. I knew the shops were open today so I could buy all new stuff, but catering for 14 isn't easy with just frying pans. Luckily Tim remembered we have an outdoor BBQ! We only use it a couple of times a year, but tomorrow will be one of those days! It's not one I can do a lamb roast on, unfortunately.

So I'll be off to the shops soon to stock up on meat and a pre-made dessert.

We decided not to go to the Royal Easter Show this year. It started life as an agricultural show but it's huge now; show animals, rides, sideshows, showbags, show jumping, pig races, best fruitcake, best quilt, dress made entirely of rose petals, petting zoo, alpaca wool fashion show, motorbike trick riding, giant robot dinosaur that eats cars, fireworks, more rides, food pavilion with lots of tastings, cooking demonstrations, shearing demonstrations... it's fun but exhausting. I now understand why my mum would only take us every second year - and it was a lot smaller then! Anyway, instead last weekend we went to a little "family show" with my brother-in-law's family, it's in competition with the Easter Show and apparently isn't allowed to use "Easter" in the title after a fight with the big Show; it was tiny and mostly sideshows unfortunately but there was a petting zoo and a Lego exhibition and a little circus so it was an ok day. I'm kind of wavering a bit about still going to the real Show, no one else cares but I still have happy memories of it.

It is school holidays, I took the kids to see Beauty and the Beast last week, it was pretty good. We've been having lots of treats, I think I've put on a kilogram and it's not even Easter yet. The Easter bunny is usually pretty generous in this house!

Thursday, April 6, 2017



The pool fence is in!

The oven repairer also came, that was less conclusive. He turned on the oven, horrible burning smell again. He didn't seem to be able to smell it - but he was obviously a heavy smoker and emitted a horrible burning smell himself! He said I must have a very sensitive nose. I was quite annoyed about that - how can he do his job probably? I felt quite ill from the stench (from both sources). He left the oven on very high for a while, it did heat up successfully and the smell stopped after a while (still filled the kitchen, but no new fumes being generated). He thinks it was probably just something spilled on the element (it didn't smell like food burning to me) but it is a very old oven and it could be a loose wire somewhere that will require replacement parts - if he can find them for a 20 year old oven. And to call him if it happens again. I suppose he can't fix what doesn't seem broken but it was frustrating. I guess I will try using the oven and see what happens.

Not tonight though. I'm still feeling quite sick and I think Aiden has come down with it too. I'll grab take-away when I pick up Jasmine from gymnastics. I made her walk there so I didn't have to go out twice but I'll pick her up as it will be dark then.

It's been weird sitting at home doing nothing all day. Felt very purposeless. Computer games are boring when you are just killing time. Nothing on TV. I did manage to have a nap after both tradesmen had gone. I must be really be enjoying my studies if I'm lost when I can't do them! Of course feeling sick doesn't help my mood.

Tim has been away all week, home this evening. I hate when he is away. Be glad when he is home and I can just crawl into bed and sleep.

I haven't told him about the fence being in, they only called on Tuesday to say they could install it this week. I thought it would be a nice surprise. Except it will be dark when he gets home... maybe I'll tell him in the morning.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

End of term


Today was my last day of term before two weeks holiday, I didn't make it in even though it was one of my favourite classes (website design) because I wasn't feeling well. A bit sick yesterday, rather dreadful today. Hopefully I will get over it soon. I'm not worried about missing the class, the teacher puts extensive notes online and I've been keeping up fine so far with the work.

I've got such a long list of things to do in the holidays! And so far the list doesn't include fun things with the kids. Have to work on that. One thing I need to do is send out my book to some more publishers. I haven't heard back from the two favourites that I sent it to three months ago, I've been so busy with TAFE I haven't done anything else. Time to send it out to more places.

Good news is our pool fence is half up - I wasn't expecting it for 2-3 weeks from when I confirmed colour etc but it only took a week for them to manufacture it. Should be finished tomorrow. I love the colour, design, the fact that it is curved (it is a curvy pool). Still waiting to hear back about the side fences. Why do they have to be 1.8 metres tall when the pool fence only has to be 1.2 metres? It's ok if my child climbs in and drowns but not the neighbour's kid? Not sure of the logic. Our current fences are 1.6, over my head. Anyway, the pool fence being mostly up feels like a big step forward. Temporary fencing will be taken away tomorrow as well.

And the oven repairer is coming tomorrow too.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Last exam


I had my last exam for the term today. I think it was fine. I've got results back from two assignments, both "satisfactory" (you only get satisfactory or not satisfactory, but the comments were good).

Pouring rain. Was soaked to the skin getting home, even with an umbrella. I'm supposed to go over and chat to both neighbours about the side fences being raised, but it's pissing down out there! Tomorrow is soon enough. Not that it's likely to not be raining, but maybe it won't be so hard.

My weight this morning was 79.5kg, I continue to bob up and down within half a kg or so. It wasn't exactly a diet-friendly weekend.

On Saturday we went to see Shen Yun - a Chinese dance company, my birthday present to Tim. They were good, but it turns out they are heavily political, supporters of Falun Gong which is a persecuted religious movement in China. Some of the dance routines involved the evil Chinese government beating innocent Falun Gong supporters with sticks. Not included in the advertising for the show!

Before the show we had lunch by the harbour, then went to a Zumbo patisserie. Zumbo is an Australian celebrity chef, specialising in cake and desserts, he was a guest judge on MasterChef and had his own TV show briefly (it flopped). The food was nice, but we wished we didn't get a dessert each - two between the four of us would have been plenty. So much sugar! We brought home the other halves but they didn't survive the journey very well. Mostly ended up with a puddle of sweet goo.

Sunday we had family over for Dungeons and Dragons and dinner. Our oven is broken at the moment and I don't have as many free days as I used to to sit at home all morning and wait for a tradesman, so I used the slow cooker and it really is a lot slower than the oven! Five hours on high was barely enough for the casserole, would have been better with much longer. Hopefully the oven will be fixed this week. It's just the weather for casseroles and roasts.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Full marks


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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 26, 2017



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

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

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

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

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

Me and Tim.

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

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

The kids patting a sleepy baby kangaroo.

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

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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017



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

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

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


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

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