Wednesday, November 15, 2017



I'm feeling a bit cranky because I am still sick. Two weeks now! It is affecting my exam confidence. Five exams next week to study for. I was quite a lot better yesterday but this morning woke up with throat really sore again, aching legs, headache, fatigue, all as bad as ever. Frustrating. At least Jasmine has recovered from her relapse.

It's hard to know if stopping Duromine has had any physical effect because I'm feeling rotten anyway, it may be the cause of the upset tummy. Or not. But one I'm sure of is that the night sweats have immediately returned with a vengeance as they have every time I've stopped taking the tablets for a day or two. How many years does peri-menopause take? It's been at least... I'm not sure... four years so far? Maybe longer. At least four. Last night's accompanying stupid dream was about realising I'd left my school uniform by a swimming pool, on the other side of a shopping complex, and sending Aiden to get it but knowing he wouldn't be able to find it and that I was going to be late for school... We do wear uniforms all through our school life in Australia but not as an adult at a tertiary institution!


Dragged myself around TAFE today because it was the last week before exams and I didn’t want to miss last minute info, and we also had a timetabling session for next year. Sore throat and tired and horrible headache all day, even with Panadol. And then I got a call from the Intership people, I didn’t get it (Lauren did). I didn’t even think they were deciding yet, but clearly they did. A bit relieved because I don’t think I would have been able to work with the times they wanted, but mostly disappointed.

Slept in train on way home, and at home in front of TV. Most of my life sleeping atm.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Three months


My three months with the appetite suppressant Duromine (phentermine) are over. I didn't lose any weight this week (in fact 0.1 kg up), I don't think the tablets were having any affect any more but also I've continued to be sick all week so haven't exercised. But over the 12 weeks I've lost 9.6 kg, by far the most I've ever lost on any weight-loss strategy. I think that was well worth my relatively minor side effects of occasional nausea and constant dry mouth. But I'm kind of glad it's over, even 'relatively minor' side effects get pretty annoying after 12 weeks!

Starting weight 84.7 kg
Finishing weight 75.1 kg

This is the lightest I've been for at least 10 years. I am much more comfortable in my own skin, 15 kg overweight feels very different to 25 kg overweight. My goal is now to maintain that for a while over the Christmas period.

I'm on day 12 (I think) of this flu or whatever. I seem to get worse every time I exert myself at all. After a tiring afternoon yesterday I got much worse in the evening, and so did Jasmine. She's gone to school anyway because she has too much she can't miss, she said. It's such a busy time of year. She's got both her dance concert and the gymnastics State competition next weekend, with lots of rehearsals all week, so it's going to be really tough for her if she continues to feel unwell. She also has a test at school today plus sometime has to do the one she missed when she was away sick last week.

Saturday was when we'd planned to have our pool-warming party (second try) but by mid-week the weather forecast was pretty bad so we postponed again. Then the weather turned out quite nice after all! However I was still sick so all for the best. Hopefully in a fortnight it will all come together.

Sunday afternoon was Aiden's birthday party at one of those Laser Zone places where you run around in the dark shooting each other. He had some school friends but also Tim and a couple of uncles who are basically big kids anyway. There was a bit of awkwardness, grandad found out about the party - we hadn't invited him because it was really supposed to be a kids' party and also he he's been busy looking after Jo and has declined other invitations to things lately - and he wanted to come, I was really worried we'd hurt his feelings by not inviting him (we had a separate dinner for family to celebrate so he wasn't left out of everything!) so we organised an extra place but then he decided he wouldn't come after all!

I wasn't part of the Laser Zone party, I'd planned to get some more study time in with only two weeks to go, but was asked to babysit my nieces so Uncle Nick could be at the party (Ping was working). I took them to a kids' indoor playground next door along with cousin Veronica and her baby. It went better than expected, four year old Emma only had two tantrums (one about her hair clip coming out and no one was allowed to put it back in except daddy, who wasn't available; and one about wanting to take the pink balls from the ball pit home), and little Ashleigh was ok as long as she was glued to me and only cried when her big sister did. It was tiring though. Then family all came to our place for dinner to celebrate Aiden's birthday - well we have family dinner most Sundays anyway - and usually I love that but by then I was feeling tired and sore throat and quite unwell so I was glad when they finally all left, I was almost asleep on the lounge.

My plan is to sit and study and do as little physical activity as possible until I'm truly well. No moving rocks around in the garden! Rest and nutritious food.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Internship delay


I got a call about the Internship today, basically they are delaying it until early next year and are not making a decision until everyone knows their schedules. It seems they could take both Lauren and myself, or just one, depending on availability, or that is the impression I got. It could be an issue for me if they want me there for normal work-day hours because it's a long commute and I have kids to be home for. But I'll wait and see when we talk again in January. Maybe if I time-share with Lauren it will work out. It's two months until they plan to call back - I'll worry about it closer to the time!

I was glad to get the call even though I didn't get a final answer, at least I don't have to worry about time management these last two weeks of TAFE with all my exams, and she gave me some more details about the job, and I don't have to check my email every half hour anymore!

I'm still feeling pretty rotten today. Headache and body ache and very tired. Urg. But by late afternoon some improvement.

My little boy Aiden's birthday! I can't believe he is eleven. Born 3:30am after five hours of labour (compared to 56 hours for Jasmine! My official records only count nine hours when the contractions were five mins apart or closer, but I count the whole time from when it started.) Aiden is still my baby. But eleven!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017



I thought I was over the flu (or whatever it is) but continued to feel tired and needing a nap every afternoon. Exercise or anything strenuous made me feel dizzy and sick. Yesterday I felt worse, and Jasmine was home sick with it - so now the whole family has had it! - and today am worse again and stayed home from TAFE. It wasn't a good day to try to sleep, the council are doing some gardening just across the road - with chainsaws! And a woodchipper. Not kind on a headache.

I emailed my cataloguing teacher to ask for today's lesson and homework. I'd been increasingly worried about the exam I did last week considering I was coming down sick at the time, but turns out I got 100%! So I'm very relieved and happy about that. I was slow, but thorough, so that is ok.

The weather forecast for the weekend wasn't good, so we've postponed our pool-warming party again. Maybe we should have waited until summer in the first place, but we had some really hot days! Then cold and rainy. Now it's gone back to around 22C, quite nice but not really swimming weather.

OMG will they please shut up with the chainsaw already!!

Monday, November 6, 2017



We had a visit from a dragon today. I was out gardening and I had just edged around our resident blue-tongue lizard Grumpy (I wasn't scared of him, I just didn't want to disturb him) who was out getting some sun, when I saw a flash of extremely fast movement go up the rock wall and over the lip of the pool. So I walked around to the other side (no sudden movements) to see a water dragon clinging to the wall, unsuccessfully hiding from me.

It's a mineral pool, so it's not exactly drinking quality but shouldn't hurt him/her. It is good to know that despite us ripping just about every original plant out of the backyard and being a construction site for a year, the wildlife is still happy to live here.

I did an exam this morning, I do that subject online and it was multiple choice so I got my results straight away - 100%! It's worth 50% of the total for that subject - Copyright. So yay.

I thought 100% was pretty good, but then Jasmine came home and said she got 103% in her Spanish exam by getting everything right plus some bonus marks. Snotty kid.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Getting lighter


75.0 kg this morning! I am very happy with that. 0.5 kg loss this week, 9.7 kg loss total in 11 weeks on Duromine, one week to go - mainly the lower dose tablets. A good way to wean myself off them, if such a tactic is needed. I will miss the appetite suppressant effect and the extra energy (both have faded anyway) but I won't miss the constant dry sore mouth!

I was sick for about three days, better on Sunday. Which is when Tim came down with it! He's home sick in bed today. Aiden was only sick for one day, and Jasmine not at all (yet). We cancelled the family dinner we usually host on Sunday - now what do I do with roast lamb for 12? Lots of leftovers!

It's also been pouring rain for three days, so with sickness and weather I feel like I haven't seen the sun for a week!

I just realised that I had to set up a blog for a TAFE project and give two teachers access to it, and I think that means that if they wanted they could easily see this blog which is public and attached to my name... I hope I've only said nice things. I think so. I love all my teachers. They are all fantastic and smart and very kind when it comes to marking. Especially Gary and Mary - love you guys!

Friday, November 3, 2017

No Show


I continue very tired, and now rather achy all over, and Aiden was also home sick today. This morning his voice was so hoarse he sounded like a heavy smoker. He’s much better this evening, but I’ve got worse as the day has gone on.

Unfortunately Tim and I were supposed to go out tonight, some time ago he bought tickets to see Guy Sebastian (he won Australian Idol about ten years ago, I think the first series) who we both like. We had some obstacles; difficulty finding someone who could babysit, my resistance when I found out I had to get to the venue by myself at night in the city and meet Tim there - Tim managed to solve all problems. But he couldn’t work around sickness. I'm never that keen on going out in the evening anyway, but I feel sorry for Tim who planned it all.

And now I’m worried about the exam I did yesterday. I thought it went ok at the time, but I did notice that I wasn’t one of the first to finish when I usually am. Today I feel so slow and foggy. I hope yesterday was just the slow part. I do know I added some extra information that wasn't strictly necessary, and also being puzzled over one bit for a while before I worked it out - talking to Lauren afterwards she didn't add the extra stuff and she thought the exam was easy... she finished way before me... and I don't actually remember checking over my work maybe I did... dammit I hate being sick!

I seem to be catching up on my sleep. Solid sleep at night, another nap this afternoon. can't keep my eyes open. This post has been written over several sessions.

That last job interview I went to, some weeks ago, I realised how shabby my “good” shoes had become. My usual footwear are sneakers, or a couple of variants of sneaker-like shoes. I have winter boots, and one good pair of black shoes which I keep in their box between occasional good-shoes-required events. But they had become rather scuffed and peeling, time for a new pair! Last week I went shoe shopping, a very rare occasion (I get new sneakers about once a year, anything else approximately never), and bought two pairs of shoes; comfy black almost-sneakers and fancier (and expensive) black shoes for work, should I ever get a job. When I got home I looked at the fancy ones again. What the hell was I thinking? Long and pointy with little black bows on the front? I was never going to wear those. So not “me”. I’ll be taking those back - I was planning to today except for being sick. Instead, I ordered online ankle boots that I’d liked in the shop except they only had brown ones and I wanted black. They arrived today and I love them. Now they are “me”. Here is the comparison me/not me.

I burned dinner tonight. Luckily salvageable. Just not thinking very well. But apologies if this post doesn't make sense.

Thursday, November 2, 2017



I had my second cataloguing exam this morning. I think it went ok. Afterwards, my teacher told me about another cataloguing job going (a paid job this time, not a short-term internship, which I haven’t heard about yet), but it’s way over the other side of the city and would be about two hours travel each way. No way I can manage that within the kids’ school hours! I might investigate whether there is any option for working from home, but that defeats part of the purpose of working, for me. I’ve been home by myself too long.

I was feeling crushingly tired last night and went to bed early. I wasn’t worried, I’m usually tired in the evening. But today I was exhausted all day. Walking up stairs was like climbing a mountain, I could hardly keep my eyes open in class (not great in an exam!), fell asleep on the train on they way home and then napped at home until it was time to take the kids to gymnastics. Takeaway for dinner. I assume I’m coming down with something, hope it’s not too bad.

Speaking of sleeping in class, that girl Jessica still spends most lessons face down on her desk. When she is awake, she can be quite argumentative, often about random things nothing to do with the work, like politics. But mostly she sleeps. This afternoon she snoozed through the teacher’s explanation and while we were working on an exercise. Then we went around the class giving the answers. She was prodded awake but obviously she had no answers to give! She hadn’t even turned on her computer. After a moment the teacher moved on. I still wonder why on earth she is there! Why does she come to class? And why do the teachers put up with it? I suppose they may know something I don’t, that excuses her behaviour.

Lauren was having a bad day. She’s the other girl up for the internship. In the morning exam, right near the end, she knocked over her water bottle. She and Jake next to her had to scramble to keep everything out of the puddle, and it took her three trips to the bathroom at the other end of the hall to get enough paper towel to clean it up. But at least it was only water. At lunch, I was sitting with her and a couple of other people when she spilled her salad (with dressing) onto herself. And in the afternoon class she suddenly said she was getting a really strong smell... she investigated her backpack and found that her bottle of hand sanitizer had ‘exploded’ in her words. She wearily dragged herself and her bag off to the bathroom. Some days maybe you just shouldn’t get out of bed.

Speaking of which, time for sleeping.

Monday, October 30, 2017



My weight this morning was 75.5 kg, only a 0.4 kg loss this week but still a loss. I've definitely been eating too much junk. I've only got two weeks of Duromine left - some 30 mg and some the lower dose 15 mg that I started on - and I really want to make the most of any appetite suppressing effects they still give. I think my body has mostly got used to them though. Less than a kilogram to go for a 10 kg total loss, so that is what I am aiming for over the next fortnight.

We were too busy this weekend to have our pool-warming party, which was a shame because we had really hot weather! It was planned for next weekend but the forecast is for cold and rain so we've moved it further back and crossed fingers it warms up again.

On Saturday we went to Samuel's 1st birthday party - the second baby in the family born last year. It was a lunchtime event and we sat outside under a pergola thing. It was so hot! I think the heat frayed the ability of some of the little kids to get along. There were some tears and tantrums. I was desperate to get home and jump in our pool. Aaaahhhhhhh yeah.

Then Sunday Jasmine had another gymnastics competition. It was another 'trial' for people to get into the State Championships, Jasmine and her partner Elise were already through but it's good practice. They got another blue ribbon. Probably 50 or 60 kids there - only one boy! - but some compete in trios whereas Jasmine is in a pair so they are not all in the same group. I think eight pairs earned a blue ribbon this time.

Back home, and into the pool again! With the pool heater on for a couple of days and the warm weather, the pool was up to 29C. Beautiful.

We had family over for dinner, and most got into the pool in the evening. An impromptu pre-party. There is a pool light and some very dim solar lights out there, it is quite dark really. I would be too nervous to swim by myself at night but it was nice with a group.

But I think my sister-in-law Ping is scared of water! Even the kids can easily stand in the shallow end, or there is a super-shallow bit for tiny kids (sort of an extended step) but Ping wouldn't come in. I'll have to work on her.

Today we swam again after the kids got home from school. The weather turned while we were out there, and now it's going to be cool for at least a week. We made the most of the hot weather while it lasted. With the cooler weather I'll be able to get more gardening done.

The final date for the library internship applications was today (I got mine in the day after I was told about it) so hopefully I will hear soon about that. I really want it, even though I'm stressed about how I would cope with the workload of these final four weeks of semester!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017



Some excellent news today, we finally got our Final Occupation Certificate for our pool! We've been waiting a couple of months since the inspection, because of the complaint (which was later withdrawn). There has been quite a bit of stress involved with that process. We can now sell the house whenever we want (hopefully not for many years) but more immediately we can get our bond back from council - a significant amount of money - that they were holding until they were sure we hadn’t damaged council property during the installation. And just having it done and approved is the main thing, no longer weighing on my mind.

Here is our pool today:
Doesn't the turf look lush! It has not only survived, it has thrived. That's what watering twice a day during the first two weeks will do. I won’t show the front lawn, which is still bare compacted dirt and weeds! We’ll get to it.

I didn’t do much today. My tummy has been upset since yesterday evening. I had a restless night and I was still uncomfortable all today. A good day to get some study done.

Oh, and my friend Cathy from last semester, who is studying online now because she’s working, contacted me for a chat so that was nice. I’ve missed seeing her for lunch. It’s a shame she doesn’t live closer. The only person who lives near me is one of my teachers!

Monday, October 23, 2017



This morning I weighed 75.9 kg, another 0.7 kg lost. Under 76 kg is a big milestone for me. I remember quite clearly that when my weight was on the way up, sometime after getting married (when I got down to 69 kg) but I'm not sure when exactly, 76 kg was the point where I really started to feel uncomfortable with how I looked. I'm not going to say I hated myself or any part of my body, but at that point I went from just wanting to lose weight to really feeling fat. Weight loss went from a casual desire to one of the big issues of my life, something to struggle with nearly every day since. Getting back under that is awesome, and having someone notice my weight loss yesterday a bonus!

I am terrible at taking selfies, but this is me today.

I had another phone role-play exam this morning, this one about helping a customer find fiction to read ('I really liked Bridget Jones's Diary, do you have anything else like that?). I was a bit nervous already, I like written exams but not face-to-face (or in this case .... mouth-to-ear?), I get performance anxiety, but it went ok. I hadn't realised that the preparation I'd done on the weekend was only for a practice example, but I was given time to prepare the real thing before the phone chat.

My father-in-law's partner Jo didn't come to dinner last night. She's had four weeks of chemo and radiotherapy, with two to go, and is starting to feel pretty sick from it. Des tries to stay upbeat but I think he is pretty worried. I sent food home with him but I don't know if she'll be able to eat it. Cancer is a real bastard.

We've been keeping an eye on the weather forecast as we want to have a pool-warming party now that it is finished and landscaped, but the temperature has tended to plummet on the weekends. We're heading into Christmas season when everyone is very busy so we've just made a decision and are having the party in a couple of weeks, before everyone's time gets booked up. We'll heat the pool and just hope we don't get a storm or something! Warm/hot weather would be nice, please weather gods.

And I get two more weeks before everyone sees me in a swimming costume...

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Someone noticed


Big day for me today - someone noticed my weight loss! My cousin-in-law (Tim’s cousin’s wife) was here for dinner and we were chatting in the kitchen. She said I was looking really good and obviously had been working hard. And later as she was leaving she said I needed to buy some new clothes. So that was lovely.

I’ve been dividing my time mostly between study and gardening. Weeding and mulching and potting up a couple of hydrangeas to go outside our bedroom window. I put in my application to do that internship. I’ve also been doing a sweaty hour of Dance Central most days. I have to have two showers most days, after the morning dance session then after some afternoon gardening. Sweaty and filthy!

I didn’t dance today, I had a headache and was a bit tired. I’ve had a sore spot beside my nose for a few days, I think I might have a bit of a sinus infection in there. It woke me in the night, and was hurting on and off today. I’m sore in a line under my eyebrows too - where the other sinuses are. I took it a bit easier today, but I still spent time working in the garden! And hosted a family dinner as usual.

Feeling thinner.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017



I got my results back from my cataloguing exam - 99%! One little mistake. But still pretty good! I know one other person got 99%, I don't think anyone got 100%.

While we were having a short break in the middle of the lesson, one of the head teachers came in and called me and the other girl who got 99% (Lauren) out into the corridor for a chat. The State Library had asked for some recommendations for an Internship there (unpaid, about 5 weeks long part-time) doing specifically what we were just tested on, so after consultation with the teacher of the class she chose the two of us. But there is only one position and two of us - and I don't know if they are also looking elsewhere or just at our TAFE - so I don't know if I'll get it.

It is my dream job so of course I want to go for it, it would be wonderful to get real-world experience in the work I actually want to do (not just returning books to shelves). And who knows where it could lead? There are a couple of potential issues though.

Firstly it is in the city, so with nearly three hours travel time a day plus the hours I'd be working there, when would I get my TAFE work done? We're about to hit the last five weeks of semester so I have a stack of assignments to do and exams to study for as well as weekly tasks. The quality of my work might suffer. Not to mention time for exercise, grocery shopping, talking to the kids and husband, sleeping, gardening etc. But I know lots of people deal with that, and it's short term so I'm prepared to give it a try.

The second issue is more of a worry. I have RSI - repetitive strain injury - from computer use. I manage it by moderating my time at desk-work but it still flares up if I'm not careful. I can just about cope with my TAFE work. Or, say, cataloguing part-time for the state library. But both at once? I'm quite scared I will end up in a lot of pain by the end of the semester. And the pain doesn't go away as soon as I stop. I would have to be super-careful, cutting out blogging and forums and anything non-essential, and doing lots of stretching.

But I'm going to go for it.

If you are one of those who think everything happens for a reason, then maybe I didn't get that other job because this one was around the corner.



Since a week off Duromine and then restarting, I've experienced gradually increasing insomnia. Last night I spent a lot of time lying awake. So today I skipped my pill and I'll see how I go tonight. Today of course I was very tired, I got the results of insomnia without the pick-me-up! I definitely ate more, and chose worse foods, as I always do when exhausted. I don't keep 'junk' in the house any more but there is always nuts, cheese, and dark chocolate!

I went shopping for shorts today, my denim ones wore through at the inner thigh where they rub. My requirement for shorts is that they go all the way to the knee, to cover the wobbly bits just above the knee. I ended up buying the exact same pair as had just worn out - in the same size. One size down zipped up easily but gave me a horrible muffin top. But now these ones, after only half a day's wear, have stretched a lot at the waist so maybe I should have bought a size down after all! I can't exchange them, I unpicked the stitching that held the hem in a rolled-up position (too short). Oh well, they are not that loose, I can certainly wear them.

Aiden's been away at school camp the past three days having a great time - except for the food - doing canoeing and archery and all that stuff. I only remember one school camp when I was a kid, and that was very educational, none of this adventuring stuff. I do remember me and my room-mates staying up very late and falling asleep watching a video the next morning.

I have no idea what he wore yesterday, but today Aiden came home from camp wearing shorts, a pyjama top, and shoes without socks.

More gardening - so much to do in spring! - and more study and assignments.

I went over and talked to our neighbour Craig who hadn't got back to me after I left a message with his wife last Friday - he didn't seem inclined to withdraw his complaint about the pool heater in writing (he said as far as he's concerned it's all resolved, and pointed out a couple of other things the certifiers had got wrong, and some problems he had with another neighbour...) but at least he said he was happy for the certifiers to ring him so I've passed on his number. I am bobbing gently above the waves of stress, not letting it bother me, it will all be resolved eventually. He has confirmed he has no problem with us, I've just got to get that communicated to the authorities.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cutting the grass


Yesterday my weight was down to 76.6 kg, another 1 kg loss. Actually it might be a bit more as I don't think my scale was on the usual place (I moved it and today I was 76.3) but whatever, I am happy with a kilogram.

I've been keeping busy. Today for example I watered the garden, had breakfast, walked up to Aiden's school to buy a new summer uniform (total walk 30 mins), faffed around on Internet (checking emails and blogs etc), 25 mins Dance Central exercise, shower, snack, TAFE schoolwork, visit hardware store to buy a push lawn mower for new turf (the new turf by the pool is up a couple of sets of stairs and we decided to get a little push mower to keep up there instead of trying to carry the heavy petrol mower up and down regularly) and some more plants, lunch, more TAFE schoolwork, cup of tea and chat with kids as they get home from school, put mower together, mow turf, another shower, start dinner, collect Jasmine from acrogym class (she walked there earlier), more TAFE schoolwork, dinner, TV.

Mowing the lawn (new turf in the backyard only) was interesting. I haven't used a lawn mower for 18 years, when I started going out with Tim and he started mowing my lawn for me. Using a push mower was fine, except it couldn't cope with even the smallest stick or piece of bark getting in the blades so I had to keep stopping to pull them out. And I didn't tighten the screws enough when I was putting it together (just attaching several pieces of handle to the base, nothing technical) so they all worked loose and fell off and I had to find them in the grass. And I still can't find one bolt.

We were worried about the timing of Jasmine's acrobatic gymnastics final. It's the same weekend as her Dance Concert (she learns tap, hip hop, and contemporary) which I have to buy tickets for long before we get the final timetable for the gymnastics competition. But we were told today that it wouldn't be Sunday afternoon, which is when her Dance is, so that is all we care about. Looks like she can do both, which is a relief after a year of rehearsal. We had a couple of stressed days. A picture from last weekend's competition of her and Elise, her partner, is on the official Gymnastics NSW website! (Scroll down in the facebook box) How special to be chosen.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Blue ribbon


We spent Saturday morning at a family birthday party, Lucy was the first of our new babies last year and she just turned one! The party was very nice but it is really pissing me off that no-one has noticed my eight kilogram weight loss yet! I'll go out somewhere feeling like I'm quite a bit thinner, but come home feeling like I must look just the same. Well I can see the difference.

We all spent Sunday morning working in the front yard: pruning hedges and pulling some of the weeds from the lawn and trimming edges and raking. Tim and I did about two and a half hours and the kids helped for most of that. It was a good workout.

I went over to our neighbor's on Friday to ask about getting something in writing that they are ok with the noise from the heat pump, Craig was away but his wife whose name unfortunately I can't remember said she would talk to him. I'm hoping that will be resolved soon. Today she saw us working in our front yard and brought out some warm apple muffins she'd just made and had a chat. So she is willingly to be friendly and repair any awkwardness or bad feelings.

Sunday afternoon was the highlight of the weekend. Jasmine had her trial for the State acrobatic gymnastics competition, she and her partner got a blue ribbon (the highest rank) and are through to the State final! It was a much bigger event than the little one a couple of weeks ago, with a lot more competitors, and held at an enormous Olympic-fitted gymnasium. Everyone from Jasmine's acrogym school did well. I know Jasmine certainly worked very hard. We are so proud!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Great day


Today was a great day. I had my cataloguing exam and I'm sure I aced it. And I enjoyed doing it! I had studied hard and was well prepared. I find the work something like solving a Sudoku or crossword puzzle, mentally challenging but in a good way with a sense of achievement when it's done. I am hoping for 100%, but I know it's likely I'll get something wrong that will have me saying 'doh' when I see it!

In my afternoon class I got my official result back from the face-to-face exam a few weeks ago. The teacher did give me great feedback at the time, but it was nice to see 'excellent' on the page!

And the third thing, chronologically first, was a big drop in weight overnight. When I weighed myself this morning I wasn't sure I believed it and had to weigh myself again to check. After three weeks of almost no loss, my weight had been going down each day this week but today a whole 0.7 kg drop. That gets me down to 76.2 kg! I have been eating more carefully but also exercising hard. I started up 'Dance Central' on the Xbox again, an hour each day of dripping sweat.

I'm sleeping much better and I'm feeling good.

The only thorn in my side is the ongoing pool heater drama. We need to get a final inspection certificate to say the pool is fully completed, safely fenced etc etc. We had fixed any interim issues, like the height of the fence, long ago. But then our neighbour complained about the potential noise from the heat pump, before it had even been turned on. And although once he heard it he said it was fine, that official complaint is out there being a nail in the wheel of progress. It's been going back and forth between us, the pool company who installed the heat pump, and the certifiers (who are very very slow to respond to anything). This has been going on forever! They came out to do their final inspection on 29 August, more than six weeks ago. I'm going to ask our neighbour to put it in writing that he is ok with it, and I also need to check that it is far enough from the boundary fence. Endless phone calls and emails back and forth.

Anyway, I'm not going to let that get me down. It will work out in the end. And I'm happy today!

Sunday, October 8, 2017



House all to myself again! Easier to get work done, but lonelier without the kids around.

This morning I weighed 77.6 kg. So a 0.2 kg loss without Duromine, its surprising because I ate a lot of junk this week! Of course I'm happy to maintain/lose instead of gaining as I expected. Not so happy about giving in to junk food cravings.

Night sweats again - three nights in a row, and I think four out of the last six nights. Making up for all the weeks with no night sweats. It's really messing with my sleep. Last night's dream was about realising I'd missed a whole subject at TAFE, and had to catch up on ten weeks' work with an assignment due tomorrow and the teacher saying there were no grounds for an extension (fair enough, I had no excuse except I forgot to go to class). And there was something about a broken chair. And being naked. I can deal with the annoying dreams but I wake drenched in sweat and clammy and can't get back to sleep for ages.

So ironically, considering that Duromine (phentermine) often causes insomnia, I started taking it again today. So I can sleep better (partly). Only a week off instead of the 10-14 days the doctor recommended. But the break was only to help make sure that it would work when I restarted. And it's definitely working. Interest in food decreased, energy increased. I feel good. Happy. Enthusiastic about life. Don't know about the night sweats yet, of course, will see tonight.

Duromine is usually prescribed for three months, so I am halfway through that now. I know I will have to go back to dealing with food without help after that. I don't think I have any physical addiction, or withdrawal without it (I just felt like my old self, which wasn't as pleasant as my new self) but I can certainly understand how people can get a psychological addiction. And I'm sure I have readers who think I shouldn't be taking it at all. I understand that. My answer to that is that I am under doctor supervision and it is for a very limited time and I have tried just about everything else except surgery. I don't stop eating altogether, I don't feel hyper, I feel like I think a "normal" person feels - I mean someone who has a healthy relationship with food and eats when they are hungry to fuel their body (but still enjoys what they eat) not for comfort/entertainment/cravings, and has enough energy to enjoy life. This is the "normal" I would like to be all the time. I'm sure people taking medication for anxiety or depression or other problems could have the same reaction, just relief to be... "normal".

I did some study for my upcoming exam and was pretty happy with results of my practice exercises, only one little mistake. Maybe by Thursday there will be no mistakes!

Then when the kids got home we had a lovely swim. The weather has been quite cool for the past couple of weeks and will be cool again from tomorrow, but for some reason today peaked at about 32C which is hot! I had the pool heater on yesterday and today in preparation and it got up to 27.5 which was very nice. I'm looking forward to a resort-style summer!

Saturday, October 7, 2017



Yesterday I was crushingly exhausted for no apparent reason, although sickness has been going around the family (Lucy's first birthday party was postponed from this weekend because of it and the only person able to come to dinner here tonight is my father-in-law, everyone else is sick). I sat in front of the TV all day and fell asleep there both morning and afternoon. Even when I was awake I felt foggy and exhausted.

Today I am much better. Tim and I moved the frangipani up to the backyard. We were going to buy an advanced one for that corner until we found they are about $1500 for a decent size tree, but luckily the previous owners had left one in a pot, which it had overgrown and its roots were delving though the pot holes into the ground. It had also slumped over at some point so was growing sideways. I thought the back corner had been dug over but it hadn't, still full of rocks and roots! So that was a fair bit of work preparing the soil then getting a reasonably mature tree out of its little pot and safely into the ground. It looks great, very architectural.
It looks very bare (and interesting) in winter, it is just about to burst into leaf and then flower. In summer it will look something like this random picture from the internet:
It has beautifully scented tropical flowers like this.

I'll plant some things around the bottom to fill out that corner a bit. 

I also started to tackle the little shady area behind the house that is lined with tree ferns. They look great and help shade the back of the house, but they had a lot of dead fronds. I worked my along about half, until I got too filthy and itchy! 

I did some study in the afternoon for my upcoming exam. It's my favourite but also most difficult subject. It was great to get back into a topic I enjoy after that last assignment!

My night sweats came back almost as soon as I stopped taking Duromine. Three times in the past five nights I've woken after a frustrating dream, drenched in sweat. Yuck. And my craving for unhealthy foods is fully back too. Weird to compare how I felt about junk food most of the time on Duromine when I could take it or leave it! Now I definitely take it. Yet I've actually lost weight this week. 

Kids are back at school tomorrow.

Thursday, October 5, 2017


I didn't get that casual library position, the interviewer (Sue) said they needed someone more available at the times they wanted. Fair enough. I'm not bothered, I wasn't really that keen on working weekends and evenings anyway. I barely even thought about it today until Sue called at 3:00 pm. I will continue to concentrate on my studies until I get my degree, then look for something that suits me.

Speaking of my studies, I'm still working on this horrible assignment - third of four I wanted to get done these holidays but I think I'll be lucky to get three done plus study for my exam next week. I really hate this particular assignment! Basically I have to recommend a new library computer system for our imaginary library, with lots of fully referenced reasons. It doesn't really cover anything taught so it requires lots of research, things I don't know about at all like 'open source' and 'in the cloud' computer stuff, and finding out about the different systems available. I suppose I am learning things I didn't know! But it's both time-consuming and boring. Hours and hours. Oh well. Just get it done and over with, Natalie!

Stop procrastinating.

[edit: yay finished the assignment!!!!]

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Interview at the library


I had my interview today. It was barely an interview really, more a ten minute chat. She mentioned a couple of points on my resume (You worked for Centrelink for ten years, so your customer service should be fine) and told me about the job (four hour shifts mainly returning books to shelves, told me wages etc). What they are looking for is someone who can work weekends and evenings  - the head library is open every weekday until 9. I can do weekends and I offered one evening (which was a compromise for me because evenings aren't really convenient for me). I don't know if that will be enough, she said evenings were important. I suppose it depends what other applicants can do. She said she will be letting people know tomorrow.

It's not a challenging position but it would be a foot in the door. It's in a good location for me and decent money considering the level of difficulty. But on the other hand I'm not prepared to completely neglect my family for a casual job.

I saw my doctor in the afternoon and got another prescription for Duromine. I told her that the past two weeks it hadn't seemed to have any effect any more, and she supported my suggestion that I wait a few days before restarting, but she said a 10-14 day gap was needed rather than the shorter gap I'd planned (it's already been 3 days). So I'll try that. I certainly haven't experienced any withdrawal symptoms or cravings for it or anything like that. I've been eating more, and making worse food choices, but that slide happened well before I ran out of pills. I need to keep a rein on myself, I'm ok with maintaining for a couple more weeks but I don't want to regain all I've lost! And I need to start some other kind of exercise now the bulk of the hard work in the garden is done - pottering around and watering like I'm doing now isn't the same as hours of digging and carrying rocks.

Monday, October 2, 2017



A kookaburra has started visiting us again. Apparently he likes cold roast lamb.

Today we got home at lunchtime and found a big lizard (some kind of skink, not sure if a blue-tongue lizard or not) on our front doorstep.
An hour after seeing him on our front steps, went outside and found him on our back steps! I assume it's the same one. We call him Grumpy, because he looks very cranky. Probably sick of us watching him. Can't he get a moment's peace somewhere in the garden? I gave him some cold chicken.

And finally a tropical hibiscus flower from our new garden.
(You know that thing in the middle is basically the flower's penis, right?)

I spent most of the day working on another assignment. A stupid one, that I feel is a big waste of time. Hours I'll never get back again. But it has to be done.

Tiny loss


It was a public holiday today, not sure what for, Labour Day maybe? We didn't do anything. We talked of going to the beach for a walk along the coast but on a public holiday there would be no parking anywhere. I was feeling pretty awful all day, Tim's been sick on and off too, still not sure if it's hay fever or flu. Both are around! I finished the second of four TAFE assignments I'm working on, had a nap while Tim took the kids to mini golf, pottered a little in the vege patch. Tim had some friends over in the evening while I watched Survivor on TV.

Tim is back at work tomorrow but there is another week of school holidays for me and the kids.

My weight this morning was 77.8 kg, so a tiny loss (300 grams) this week. Better than a gain I guess. I need to see my doctor for another script, but after two lacklustre weeks I'm not sure what to do.

Sunday, October 1, 2017



We all spent the morning in the garden planting everything. We also bought some solar-powered lights and we recently got a couple of sun lounges. There is still a bare corner and we need to mulch everything, but most of the work out there is done! It looks lovely. And of course it will only improve with time as everything grows.

Then in the afternoon and for dinner we had lots of family over. Of course we showed off the garden! We've promised a pool party next hot weekend. And it was Uncle Matt's birthday (Tim's cousin). So there was cake. And chips. I didn't eat a lot over my calorie allowance, but some of those calories were definitely unhealthy. Which made me feel yuck. It's not as easy to resist the bad stuff (or food in general) as it was when I started taking Duromine.

Friday, September 29, 2017



Well, that was unexpected.

You may remember a while ago I applied for part-time work at my local group of libraries, I didn't even get an interview and I thought that was fair enough as I wasn't even half-way through my degree and they said they had lots of more qualified people applying. And I was disappointed but not devastated, and got over it.

Well this afternoon I'd just gone out into the garden to start planting all the things we bought yesterday, when my phone rang. And it was a librarian asking if I'd like to come in and talk to her about doing some casual work! Of course I said yes and we set up a time Thursday next week. I suppose it is an interview, although it sounded more like an offer. Oh my goodness, how long has it been since I'd done anything like a job interview? More than 20 years?! Suddenly I am very grateful for those two face-to-face exams I had to do last week! Very good practice in answering questions confidently on the spot.

But what do I wear!???

And how much am I willing to compromise on working at times inconvenient to me (like when I should be driving my children to activities)?

I'm sure the work itself will be very basic - putting books back on shelves, manning (womaning) the front desk etc. But it would be such good experience working in a real library, and wonderful for my future resume.

Time management would become a lot harder. Start juggling!

But really - what am I going to wear?



I know weight plateaus can happen for no apparent reason and it's normal, even if you are doing everything right. I will start losing again eventually. But it's so frustrating! I am the same weight I was 12 days ago, with only small fluctuations in between. After a week I thought there were reasons, on four days I ate 1500 or 1600 calories instead of my target of 1200 so apparently that was enough for maintenance (even though I was burning 2000 calories a day), and I wasn't well so I wasn't exercising. But this week I'm back on track with eating, and I'm doing a lot of really strenuous work in the garden. Yesterday about four hours - carrying buckets of rocks and big bags of manure, digging, raking, sweeping, planting, laying out watering system, setting up trellis, up and down stairs. Dripping sweat, muscles aching.

And overnight I regained the 0.3 kg I'd lost, back up to 78 kg. Back to where I was 12 days ago. How can I not lose weight, eating 1264 calories and burning 2534? Arg!!!!!!!!

I'm assuming my body is holding on to some of the water I drank yesterday, it can't be fat regained.

We spent the morning at a garden centre. We took both cars! Didn't exactly fill both with plants, but bought a lot. Aiden counted them later, and including the ones we put in already there are 50 new plants in the backyard. So I think over 30 today. I planned what to buy and thought it would be enough, but now they they are placed where they are to go (but still in their pots at the moment) I think we need a few more. Need to move them around a few times before I'll be happy with final placement. I didn't do any planting today, I did the grocery shopping in the afternoon then was feeling a bit tired. Carrying them out the back and giving everything some water was enough for today.

Meanwhile Tim went over to his dad's in the afternoon to help out. Jo came home from hospital today so I guess she is much better. Jasmine also seems to have recovered except for a constantly running nose.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017



It looks like everyone feeling better yesterday was a false spring. Father-in-law Des and his partner Jo have some nasty form of flu, maybe swine flu, and Jo is in hospital. Jasmine has also relapsed and spent the day in bed, she has had four heavy nosebleeds as well. I hope she doesn't have the same thing, she's not too bad just needs rest.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Health worries


Things were looking very worrying here this morning. My father-in-law Des was very sick with the flu, and went to the emergency room last night with a high temperature and possible pneumonia. His partner Jo is just starting chemotherapy for her lung cancer which is obviously going to make her feel even more rotten than she already feels, and she needs to be driven to and from the hospital twice a day and probably help with meals and stuff too. Her family lives in another state. So they were in a pretty bad situation. Of course we were all going to rally around and help out, drive Jo back and forth and cook etc. Luckily we have few commitments this week and don't live too far away, Nick and Ping too but they have two young children. But we got news later in the day that Des is feeling much better and they seem to be able to cope without us for the moment. We're available if they need us.

Jasmine is much better today too and even went to her acrogym practice. I think she had hayfever, Tim and I have had symptoms too. All that spring pollen.

Tim and I spent a lot of today in the garden, more digging and digging and digging. My hands are stinging and sore from wielding a shovel, and Tim has a blood blister from using the pick. I rather enjoy wrestling with the stony soil. I hope to buy lots more plants tomorrow.

Monday, September 25, 2017



I didn't lose any weight this week, in fact I'm 100 grams heavier than last Monday (I don't really consider that a gain, that's a tiny fluctuation). It's disappointing of course, but there was the nausea I was trying to combat with frequent carbs all week, and two parties on the weekend where I wasn't in control of the food served and where there were no good choices at all. I feel back on track today. 

If anything I'm most worried that I have stalled right on that 78 kg mark, and have not yet broken into virgin fat. Again. 

78.1 kg.

It still looks better than 84.7 kg. 

I think no-one has noticed my weight loss yet (or at least hasn't mentioned it) because I am often around this weight. My shorts from last summer fit perfectly. I'm at the lowest end of my 'normal' weight variation.

Hay fever has hit here, going outside is a bit of a risk! We're all affected to some extent. Jasmine either has bad hay fever, or has the flu, not sure yet. I hope she recovers quickly.

More digging in the garden today. Tim does the back-breaking work first with a pick, then I go along with the shovel trying to incorporate some manure into the dust and rocks. Another trip to the garden centre soon for more plants. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Acrogym win


Today was Jasmine's first ever Acrogym (acrobatic gymnastics) competition. This was a small one, just three gyms competing. There are some much bigger ones coming up, so this was great practice. I videoed the performance which I won't post here, but took photos of the warmup. She is the blonde one, and is the base in the lifts so is teamed with someone smaller.

Her pair came first in the Balance routine, first in the Dynamic routine, and first overall!!

Really excellent performance. She and her partner had practiced very hard and even amateur eyes like mine could see the difference, they were much better synchronised than some of the other teams and with smoother transitions between moves. I wasn't at all surprised when they won!

Now they've got lots of rehearsals during the school holidays, state trials in three weeks.

At lunchtime we went to my brother-in-law's for his birthday BBQ, relaxed time with family including five children under five years old. Quiet evening at home.



We did some gardening in the morning, and while Tim was digging out yet more tree roots he found that they were attached to a big tree stump under the ground! When we had the land cleared for the pool, several large trees had to be removed, and they ground the stumps down but only to 20cm below ground level (I think). I had to get someone to come and completely remove one stump that was in the way of pool construction, but this one was left. We'll just plant around it. It will rot down eventually. In fifty years or something.

We had a lovely swim in the afternoon. With the heater only on for a day and a half in was still a bit cool in the water but you got used to it. Lovely hot day. The weight I've lost makes a big difference to how I feel in my swimming cossie. We're going to work hard on the garden this week while we're all on holidays and then have a pool party the next hot weekend.

In the evening we went to a birthday party, one of Tim's lesser-known cousins. It was a 1920's theme, some people really dressed up but we just wore our best approximation of flapper fashion from what we had. The party was fine but the food was awful! It was dinner time, there wasn't a sit down meal but plenty of finger food, little pies and mini quiches and deep fried stuff etc. Unfortunately, as well as all being terribly unhealthy it was all cheap inedible frozen food bulk purchased, that none of my finicky household could eat. Even the pre-sliced cheese was horrible. On the other hand, the dessert table was magnificent! I had to have something (not home til late) so my dinner was a spring roll, a couple of handfuls of chips and some petite fours. The macarons were delicious. I'm sure I had plenty of calories but I didn't feel like I'd eaten a single nutrient. Oh, except one fresh raspberry that I ate off a little tart then threw the tart away.

I did take a Duromine tablet in the morning after only one day off, no nausea all day. Tim and I are both having some hay fever symptoms so I don't know if that was affecting the queasiness. Either way, hopefully that has passed. I've been eating too many calories for much of the week and I weigh the same today as I did Monday. Only one more day to see some kind of a loss this week.

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. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Grey and gloomy


PMS plus post-flu sadness has left me rather down today. It was supposed to be a lovely summery day; and although it isn't cold, it's grey and gloomy. Tomorrow is still forecast as hot - but windy, so I don't know if that is any better. We've been using the pool heater for the past three days which has definitely taken the chill out of the water (the best we could hope for at this time of year, considering we turn it off at night and don't have a pool blanket) in hopes of being able to try out the new pool tomorrow. I haven't been in yet. We'll see.

I spent the whole day studying. No motivation to exercise or go outside, except to water the turf again. It all seems to have survived the first week, which is good. The vegetable seedlings all look healthy too.

Headachy and cranky. I'll get over it.

Weigh in


Another Monday, another happy weigh-in. 1.3 kg this week, so a total of 5.7 kg lost in four weeks. Current weight 79.0 kg. And my waist measurement is down too.

I had a quiet day studying. My teacher for one subject finally updated things, so I was able to catch up on the past two weeks plus this week. I feel relieved to have got up to date with that one. Five other subjects to go! And I have an assessment this week - a mock reference interview (pretending she is a library customer needing help) with my teacher. I'm not worried about that, I did ten years of customer service.

I was feeling well today, but with none of the extra energy that I was hoping would return. Tim went to work, Jasmine went to school but not dance practice, and she's on antibiotics for her ear. Aiden is his usual bouncy self. I think we need a bit more time to get back to normal.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

I see it


I took Jasmine shopping this morning and we managed to find her some cute summer things. Hard to find something nice though. Only a few places seem to sell clothes for young teens. I never choose for her anymore, she doesn't like the same things I do! She didn't get all black today though - except the new sneakers.

In the afternoon I was feeling really tired and slumped in front of the TV. Dozed off a bit. Tim was cleaning the house, which I though was nice especially considering we were going to my brother-in-law's for dinner this week so we didn't need to impress anyone (or rather, not shock anyone). But then he mentioned people would be here in half an hour. Arg! Turns out they were coming here for the afternoon before we all headed over to Nick's for dinner. So I woke myself up and did some frantic tidying. Still tired and headachy though. Maybe not completely over the flu, although I was feeling good yesterday. Jasmine also had a bit of a return of symptoms.

We had dinner at Nick's but didn't stay long, and by the time we got home Tim was feeling sick! Not boding well for the week ahead.

No one has noticed yet that I've lost weight, a bit over 5kg now. I'm feeling thinner, but obviously no one else sees it. Today shopping surrounded by all those mirrors, for once I didn't hate seeing myself. I've still got a lot to lose but my stomach doesn't stick out so much. Oh well, I see the difference.

[nb Tim and the kids know I have lost weight - I keep pointing it out!]

Friday, September 8, 2017

Vegetable patch


Today I had Tim home to help me with the vegetable patch. He attacked the bed with a pick and managed to break up the rocks/compacted soil deep enough for my little seedlings to survive. Lots more rocks emerged, of course. They breed in the dirt. Jasmine and I planted out the baby vegetables.

They don't look like much yet, but they'll grow! Tomatoes, jalapeno chilli, capsicum, beans, peas, snow peas and cucumbers. I have some herbs to put in pots at the end but I accidentally put the potting mix in the garden bed along with the manure yesterday. I'll get some more on Monday. 

Jasmine's ear and throat seem to be all better, although she still has a runny nose. 

We are going to run the pool heat pump for the next few days and see how much it warms up the water, a heatwave is predicted for the middle of next week, up to 31C!! That is summer temperature, not the second week of spring! Maybe Tim and I will get to try out the pool. But not if the water is still freezing. 

More rocks, and a lost dog


I feel completely better today, yay! But Jasmine is still home sick, not yay. However, by late afternoon she seemed a lot better so yay.

I was heading home from the grocery shopping this morning, only a few doors away from my house, and there was a dog sniffing around on the road. A little black and white spaniel that I hadn't seen around here before. It showed no inclination to move. I stopped, it didn't budge. I rolled the car a bit closer. The dog looked up at me through the windshield and wagged its tail hopefully. I honked. It stood there staring at me. I live in a narrow street and when there are cars parked on both sides, as there was here, there is no room to go around. If you meet a car going the other way, one of you has to find space to pull over to the side to let the other pass. Even a little dog was a formidable barrier. And I was pretty sure the poor thing was lost. I was going to get out of the car but then a man came over from a nearby house and called the dog which ran to him. It obviously wasn't the man's dog, we shrugged at each other and I drove on. But then I felt guilty. I'd just handed responsibility for this lost dog over to someone else. But I had groceries to get into the fridge and a sick child at home, and I had a car sitting in the middle of the road. I hope the dog was wearing a collar with a tag, or at least microchipped (which is compulsory in Australia) and it wasn't too much hassle for the man.

In the afternoon I got stuck into some heavy gardening work. I'd already mostly weeded the area beside the house that I am going to use as a vegetable patch, it used to have plants in it but after various heavy machinery drove over it (and over, and over, and over) to get to the backyard we were left with a heavily-compacted wasteland with a few weeds. Oh, and lots of rocks, just like everywhere else on this property. Today I picked up another bucket-full of rocks, then spread out several bags of manure and compost and dug it in and raked it out ready for planting tomorrow. It looks quite nice (smells a bit manurey though, as Aiden pointed out, and so did I until I had a shower) but the problem is when I was digging I kept hitting rock only a few centimetres down. Big rocks, like maybe attached to the earth's crust. There is not enough soil over the rock, in about a third of the whole bed, to really sustain anything. I'll get Tim to have a dig tomorrow, he may be able to pull out a few boulders. Otherwise I'll be planting around those areas, maybe putting pots on top!

I was totally exhausted after an hour and a half, had a shower and fell asleep in my chair. But I feel like I actually got some exercise today, first time this week.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Ear and throat


Aiden went to school today but Jasmine is still home, now with an ear and throat infection. I took her to the doctor this morning, but they just said to wait and see. If it's still bad tomorrow she'll start antibiotics. But of course if it's a virus then antibiotics can't help. It's not just school she's missing, but also all her after-school sports and activities. It's only two weeks until her first acrogym (acrobatic gymnastics) competition.

I'd already decided before I knew Jas was still sick that I wasn't going to TAFE today, I don't feel great but at least I'm better than yesterday. It's hard to be patient while my body recovers. Sitting around. At least I'm getting lots of study done! I got those two assignments in, so I feel a bit more relaxed about that.

One of my online subjects is so disorganised though. There have been a few issues, the most recent was that I couldn't access last week or this week's content, although weeks after that were open. I contacted the teacher who eventually fixed it. On Monday I started last week's work, and it was something I had to start then the teacher does something before I can continue. And she hasn't done her bit yet. So I'm still stuck half-way through last week's task with this week nearly over. Going by the forum, it's happening to everyone. I'd forgive if it was one-off (who knows, she may be sick too) but this sort of thing has been happening since the start of the Semester. To be fair, the original teacher left and this subject was dropped in this teacher's lap two weeks in (but everyone knew the other teacher was leaving so very bad organisation).

I also did a tiny bit of weeding and pruning, nothing strenuous. And of course watering the new turf twice a day! It still seems to be alive. I've only been getting in around 4,000 steps a day while sick (instead of 10-12,000 recently), but ironically that was a normal day for me "before". And in the past a sick day would mean about 1,500 steps!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Share it around


I'm feeling a bit better than yesterday, but I have both kids home sick today. Looks like the flu has been shared around. Tim is achy too but went to work. Sydney is having a terrible flu season at the moment.



I woke up feeling like rubbish this morning, headache and all over body ache - especially my neck and shoulders. So I guess it's flu, not just a cold. Felt better during the day but awful again in the evening. I spent most of the day struggling to get some homework done. Two assignments due this week. Urg.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Another sunny day


Weigh-in day! 80.3 kg, another 0.9 kg down. Nice steady loss. My eating has been on-point and I've been doing lots of heavy gardening work and getting in 10,000 steps just moving around, but I think it might be time to do some more cardio. Back to dancing in my lounge room maybe. But not today, I'm still not feeling 100%. Jasmine is unwell now too.

I've noticed a couple of unexpected side-effects of the medication. I have had some dry patches on my face for years that flare up when I have a hot bath or shower (ie most days) and become red and scaly. Since starting Duromine they have completely gone. My skin is soft and smooth all the time, even after a long hot bath. I've found in forums that other people have noticed an improvement in skin conditions. Unfortunately it seems to go away as soon as you stop the pills.

The other thing is my night sweats, that I've been having 2-4 times a week for a couple of years now. They've gone too. I didn't realise until the last couple of night waking in the night a bit hot because of my sunburnt neck and suddenly remembered I haven't been waking drenched in sweat, not for weeks. So that is a very nice side effect.

One that is not so good, although it is more a primary effect than a side effect, is I have a lot of energy which means I don't want to sit still. I don't feel manic or anything, just energetic and keen to be up and doing. This is, from one perspective, a downside because I am much less interested in studying. I haven't finished last week's tasks and I'm really going to have to buckle down this week. I've got some assignments looming. And I got a couple of things back with the comment 'Good work, but a bit brief' instead of my usual excellence. I'd just much rather be out in the garden, or going for a walk! I haven't been playing my favourite computer game World of Warcraft at all (I don't care about that!) even though some new content and 43 new pets were just released. I did notice the restlessness yesterday morning when I was feeling sick but didn't spend much time sitting around, I still got in 10,000 steps by the end of the day pottering around the garden and cleaning the house and making family dinner. Normally if I was feeling sick I'd be sitting feeling sorry for myself. Instead I picked up rocks and felt sorry for myself!

I buckled down today and got some homework done. But also spent time outside watering the turf (twice a day while it's establishing roots) and planting some flowers in a sunny spot.

Tim was at an all day meeting in another city today and they worked through lunch with no break and no food all day! They were offered a glass of water, that was all. That is not normal! I would be fainting, or hangry or something. I'd at least bring up the subject! Tim just got something at the airport on the way home. How rude of the organisers.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Fathers' Day


Tim and I paid for all our hard work and time in the sun yesterday - aching bodies and sunburn today! We took it easier today but still got out in the garden, watering the new grass and tidying up a bit, moving some pots around. My cold seems worse today, and overall I felt quite unwell. I sat outside battling nausea and watching Tim vacuum the pool and wondered if I should cancel Fathers' Day dinner. Luckily by mid-afternoon I was feeling a lot better so it was still on. We had everyone over for a lovely family gathering. My goodness two babies and a toddler can be loud though!

I am proud of my efforts today. I was surrounded by snacks in the afternoon but I weighed out one treat and stuck to that. New-normal size dinner and no dessert. Only water to drink.

I spoke to my Aunty Pat on the phone, she is going to help me organise a headstone for my dad's grave as she lives there and I am 12 hours away. Also it's only a few years since she organised her husband's funeral so she knows what to do. But I have to think of what I want engraved. Dad was definitely in my thoughts today.

Happy Fathers' Day to all the dads out there.

Friday, September 1, 2017



This morning the rolls of turf arrived. We didn't know what time they would come, and it turned out to be while we were still in bed! I put on ugg boots and a jumper over my pjs and went out to direct the guy with the little forklift. He got them up the slope of our front yard, but Tim still had to carry them one by one to the backyard - and they weighed at least 10 kg each. Some a lot more, it depended how much dirt was attached to the grass.

Tim took Aiden to his tennis lesson and I measured the width of the grass rolls - the website had said 45 cm but they were 60 cm! This threw out all my levelling/smoothing calculations and I spent the next hour moving more dirt around.

When Tim got home we got stuck into the turf laying. It took about three hours. The grass is mainly a two-roll-wide strip around the pool, with an extra area in one corner for seating.


Neat rolls waiting in the shade:

And after:

Doesn't it look great! I was getting sick of looking at bare dirt. There is more than you can see in that picture as it goes around three sides of the pool, and Tim had to do a lot of cutting to fit them around the curves so it was a lot of work. Tim did all the carrying and cutting, I just helped place them, but I was still utterly exhausted by the time we finished!

The bare patches next to the fence will be filled with tropical plants, but we should probably wait until there is no danger of cold nights so they have a year to establish before they have to deal with winter. You can grow select tropical plants in Sydney ok but it does get a bit cold for them in winter so not a good time to plant.

While we were still working outside the heater guy came - luckily I had warned him that we might be out the back and if no one answered the door to come through the gate. He replaced the bits that needed replacing so we have a working heater again - although I don't know if we'll need it, it was beautiful today and is going to be 28C tomorrow! It will probably get cold again for a little while though before spring really kicks in.

I don't know if the plants are worried though, we have beautiful freesias popping up all over the place:

And our little peach tree in a pot is in flower:
Spring is a beautiful thing.