Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Damn damn damn.
I just get used to one type of blog layout and they change everything!
Isnt this just like life?  Okay, building bridge now.

Back at work and the planets have all realigned in my household I think.  M is back to pottering happily around home without me there and I dont have to make him lunch anymore.  Bargain.

Had lunch with girlfriends last Wednesday.  Went down to Chatswood early so that I could do some shopping because it is a larger shopping centre and guess what, bought some new eye shadow and that's all.  Had lunch and then came home.  Things certainly are changing (mainly in my mind I think).

My sister and her partner came for lunch on Thursday which was a surprise and a great chance to catch up.  He had been up the Central Coast to visit his father, who by the way is 99 years old, and our place is halfway between their place and the Coast so he caught the train down and she picked him up.

Friday was cleaning the house day as I was planning to be out all day Saturday.  I made a HUGE mistake by moving that furniture.  Can't tell M or he will literally kill me.  I guess my back would not be sore anymore if that was the case.  Soldiered on as we all do and then spent the evening sitting with heat packs against my back.  Stupid stupid stupid.

Saturday went to into the city early and went to the Rocks Markets.  My shopping tastes have really changed.  There was nothing that caught my eye there except a little sparkly "L" for Lucy's collar.

Walked around to the Opera House and had lunch and then saw "the Scottish play".  J said I have got to stop referring to it by its proper name as it is bad luck.  It didnt finish until quite late so I went and sat by the harbour and waited for M.  Tourists kept asking me to take photos so I gave up sitting quietly and reading to go and find M.  Luckily he was walking towards me by that stage and we met up, tossed up whether to go and have a drink but ended up just sitting again looking at the ferries and the sun setting.

Friends picked us up in Macquarie Street and we went out for dinner.  Wont mentioned the place we went to because I couldnt stop laughing when they brought the food that we had ordered.  Large plates (not white, a small mercy) and small amount of nice food at exorbitant price.  Will not be going there again and certainly wouldnt recommend it.  Should have taken photos!

Then on to the rugby to watch the Waratahs play scintillating rugby for the first 27 seconds.  Oh well, at least they won.  Eventually got home at 11 which made it an extremely long day.

Sunday was just bits and pieces and of course the ironing.  I know I know I am the only person left in the world who seems to iron.  It is a habit I am trying to break.

Yesterday was raining when I woke up and it is dark again at 5:30 am.  Luckily by the time I got home it had semi-cleared so I was able to take Lucy for our walk although by the time I got home it was getting dark.  Magnificent sunset though. 

Now some good news - pretty much wheat free last week (99.9%). 
  • I am not eating as much fruit as I used to because I used to eat it as a filler when I was hungry between meals and after meals.  Not so hungry now.  Bread cravings have died and when I do eat potatoes it is mainly habit not because I want them.  Replacing with pumpkin etc now.
  • Lost a little bit of weight but that is not the main aim.  It is an aim but not the main one. The main aim is my health.  I want to get off some of the tablets I take if that is possible.  I havent lost any weight for the previous two weeks and it hasnt worried me at all.  I feel I am going along the right path now.
  • The swelling in my ankles has reduced majorly. The swelling was the reason for all the xrays and MRIs and the news was not good and I dont expect my diet to fix those existing problems as I dont think I can regrow cartilege  but I am hoping that no new problems will arise.The medicine has not stopped my body from attacking itself but this might.  Hope springs eternal!
  • I have more energy.  
  • I am sleeping better - no sleeping tablets for a month now.
  • I feel better generally.
  • I am going back to the gym today for the first time in months.  Nothing too strenuous just walking mainly and am seriously considering resigning from the gym and just concentrating on walking with Lucy.  As mentioned previously the gym was going to be my haven when I retired but at just under $1000.00 per year in membership fees I am beginning to doubt the value.  Not retiring for at least a year probably two so will think long and hard about this.
 I hope everyone is having a great week - I think I am!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Holidays are nearly over...

Have had a series of forgetful moments over the last week. Went specially to buy some fennel and left it in the shop. Had to go all the way back again. Sigh. And the funny thing is there was something else I was going to mention but I have forgotten what it was. Double sigh.

My kitchen has been the world centre for choko pickle making this week. We finally found a source for the chokoes, our butcher, as honestly we didn't want to buy them. I think the days of everyone having a choko vine over the back shed and chook yard are long gone. But anyway, M has made so many jars of pickles that we ran out of jars and have been scouring the neighbourhood for more.

Also he pulled out the tomato plant that has run rampart through my garden this summer and ended up with two big bowls of green cherry tomatoes so of course he made green
tomato pickles as well.

Today the butcher gave me another big bag of chokos. Honestly, will this never end. I now have a pickle display in my beautiful dresser in the dining room. He did it while I was away on the weekend otherwise it would never have got past by the board. Haven't got the heart to move them (he is so proud) and besides where would I put them all.

Cleaned out my plastic container cupboard the other day. It happened because I wanted to make pesto out of the abundance of basil that I had (first time ever). Because it is so heavy and M wasn't home I couldn't lift the food processor down, tried to use the little one but of course it is far too little to use so used the blender. Big mistake - the bottom was on so tightly that my poor old hands couldn't undo it so I spent a very very long time trying to get all the pesto out of the bottom of the blender.

I decided that perhaps I could downsize the plastic container cupboard (which used to be called the Tupperware cupboard but who can afford Tupperware these days), move some containers up to where the food processor was living and move the food processor down to a lower cupboard which is more accessible. I now have 3 boxes full of plastic containers destined for either J's kitchen, work because all the ones I bought for there have disappeared or LifeLine. Also at the moment the cupboard is super organised which makes me feel I have achieved something.

Went to trivia on Friday night and ate of all things, fish and chips. Why I didn't go with grilled fish and salad or even the thai beef salad still amazes me. On Saturday morning before I flew out to the Gold Coast I was in a very bad way. I even packed some Imodium in my purse because I didn't think I was going to be able to make the trip without multiple toilet stops. Luckily everything settled down more or less so was able to make the flight and travelled relatively okay.

To call our trip a flying visit is an understatement. We left Sydney at 1:10 pm Saturday and eventually returned at after 8 on Sunday evening and then had the long journey home. Lots of miles done.

Sadly Queensland didn't bless us with sunny weather just great company. We were up at 5:30 on Sunday morning, on the road to Kirra by 7 for the race briefing at 7:30 then J was bussed around to Rainbow Bay for the start of her 2km swim back to Kirra. It was raining when we left Main Beach but fined up along the way and I thought that we might be lucky as I had a 3 hours wait for her to return. But no it rained and I couldn't really move from my spot because a gentleman had asked me to mind his bag for him and I didn't want to disappear with his bag or leave it unguarded. So I ended up standing under the umbrella that was over my little table as sitting was not an option in the rain. The highlight of the morning was the arrival of the lovely Linda. Now I met Linda, firstly through her blog and then at a bloggers lunch in either 2005 or 2006 in Sydney at Chinta Ria at Darling Harbour and we have managed to stay in touch ever since.

First let me say that this lady is awesome. She looks wonderful. She drove all the way down to Kirra to chat in really cr*ppy weather. I wanted pictures but by 10 a.m. I looked and felt like a drowned rat and we both agreed that being photographed is something that neither of us likes very much.

And it was like we did this every week. I thought that I might not recognise her because it had been so long but I had no problem. She showed me how the Runkeeper app works and it is definitely something I will look into. I love charts and stats. Talking to Linda was so easy. I worried about J when she got out of the water because she can be slightly difficult (to put it mildly) sometimes but taking into account she had just swam 2kms, got kicked in the face, someone had grabbed her leg and pulled her backwards at one stage, got smashed by the waves coming into Kirra she became almost human when she went and changed and sorted herself out. I don't really mean this in a bad way, she is just this fiery little red hair kitten - all spit and hiss sometimes.

Went and had coffee and then had to say goodbye and back to Main Beach for lunch. Then we eventually headed off to the airport and after many delays arrived back in Sydney. I wouldn't let J drive me home from her place as it would have added another hour or more to her trip so I stayed on the train. She positioned me next to the guards compartment with strict instructions not to speak to strangers and if there was a problem to alert the guard. I felt like I
was twelve. I also had to ring her when M picked me up from the station and if I didn't, if I forgot to ring her and let her know I was safe, she would ring me every two hours for the rest of the night as punishment. I made it home and to bed by 11:30 pm and I remembered to ring her.

Yesterday we packed a picnic and Lucy and went up to the Hunter for the day.

Lucy ready for her big adventure!

View from terrace

I made salads and bought a cooked chook and we ate it with a couple of glasses of white wine while sitting on our friend's terrace looking out over tothe ranges. Lucy had a ball running around the vineyard and slept very soundly all the way home.

It was so lovely and relaxing and very hard to get moving again but we had family baked dinner night. I had to ring and ask the children to put the vegetables on as we didn't get home until after 6 when we had told G we would be home at 4. Oh well, this is probably karma for all the times they are late for dinner. I think we have been classed as irresponsible parents now.

Today is rainy. I thought I had to go to the dentist but it was next week. Just have to go and put the grocery shopping away and then I am going to put my feet up.

Was going to rearrange furniture so that I can install (just plugging in to the gas outlet) the new gas heater I bought but honestly don't think I have the energy.

Oh I forgot, went to see "The Most Exotic Marigold Hotel" movie last Wednesday night. M came with me and you could have knocked me over with a feather when he offered to take me. I have known him for over 40 years and he still has the power to surprise me. But we both enjoyed it. A lovely gentle movie with a wonderful cast.

Am doing my best to stick to wheat free (aside from fish and chip debacle) and to keep dairy free too. On the whole it seems to have settled down things that have been giving me trouble for a while. Am slowly reintroducing "normal" foods to my diet and losing the diet ones. I realise that small amounts of fat especially the good fats and oils, are not going to hurt me. Have managed to bring my consumption of fruit down to a normal level and am not having the munchies anymore. One problem is that I am leaving the gap between meals too long sometimes and I end up feeling slightly sick and off my game. I have so much reading to do about this subject but I will get there.
The winemaker also gave me the name of a naturopath to contact. She is in Byron Bay but maybe able to recommend someone down here or apparently she is thinking about relocating to Sydney.

Have a great week everyone and enjoy yourselves.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Holiday Time

I am finally on holidays. Great things planned.
Cleaning out that pesky cupboard in the kitchen that breeds plastic containers. We all have one.

M is making choko pickles today and while looking for the large pot (in my bedroom wardrobe - where else) found heaps if stuff that I have kept for goodness knows why but no pot. I actually think I gave it to future s-i-l as I thought I didn't need it anymore. See it just goes to show you should never throw or give away anything. We managed without it anyway. But I found a single bed doona. I don't think I know anyone who has single beds anymore so I have washed it and it is now on the line drying and I will take it to Life Line. Somebody might be able to get some use out of it.

Today is freezing. You can feel the snow in the air and it is actually snowing down the mountains. As you can expect my children are ecstatic about the thought of snow season starting again soon.

On Sunday night when we were down at Palm Beach we could see a storm building out west. Checked the radar and sure enough it was sweeping across quite a large part of the state from the mountains towards the coast. Spectacular light show. Of course we were an hour from home and could only hope that Lucy was okay.

Driving home we could see that there were a couple of tree branches down and the power was off in some suburbs closer to home. Got home and the garage door wouldn't open which means that our power was also off, the back deck was a third wetter than it should have been and a pot plant had been blown over. Lucy was okay and has since forgiven us for leaving her alone at a time she absolutely hates.

Anyway yesterday J rang me to check that we were okay. Yes everything is fine and I had actually thought that she would have copped it worse at Swansea where they were camping. What she was actually ringing about was that the next street over had been trashed by the storm.

Lucy and I went for a walk this morning down to our usual park at the bottom of the street. It looked like a cyclone had gone through it. I would say that we have lost at least a third of the trees. Talking to other walkers, everyone was a bit dazed as it was only in this corridor that the damage was done. Walked around a couple of streets, dodging tree loppers and clearer uppers, cars were crushed and houses had lost their roofs. It looks like a miniature cyclone went through there. The funny thing is that the pattern of all the trees lying down shows that the wind came from the north or maybe the northeast which is strange as the storm actually came from the west. Looking forward to reading the local paper this week to see if there is a logical explanation. Meantime I am in mourning for my beautiful park and the loss of all those trees.

Lifestyle change -
Going well most of the time. Energy has definitely improved and I notice the few times I have made a bad choice how tired I get and how much my digestion hates it.

I am surprised that my hunger levels are dropping. Don't need extra fruit at morning tea and lunch time now to get me over the munchies. Have actually said no to dessert a couple of times when we have been out and the times when I didn't, I wished I had been stronger and said no. I was eating to be polite or because it looked nice not because I actually wanted some.

Of course Easter chocolate has been a disaster but am trying to limit it to one piece a day (except for the Facebook bunny) and only good quality chocolate.

Am still reading lots and getting new ideas for modifying recipes.
Have a shopping list of ingredients to buy such as coconut flour and coconut oil. Had a look around the local supermarket quickly the other day but couldn't find it so will either go to Thomas Dux Grocers or the health food shop. Have found a organic grocer down at Artarmon so if all else fails I will go down there.

I made a version of shepherds pie the other day which was yummy (thanks Jenny T). Made two in individual pie dishes - M's had the traditional mashed potato on top, mine had cauliflower on top mashed with a little soy cream cheese but the meat base was the same. Nom Nom.

Have a whole stack of recipes to try too while I am on holidays.

My failing over the weekend was nibbles before dinner when we were out. Am going to have to take some cut up vegetables with me in future so that I have got something to dip or munch on. At one dinner I ate the rice crackers and then compounded the mistake by sampling the potato chips. Of course I couldn't stop - stupid woman. The other dinner I ate the grissini sticks with the hummus. I am still amazed that I listen to my subconscious but it is early days and I am determined I will make changes.

Have resigned or whatever from WeightWatchers online. That will save me around $360 a year which is a good thing. I had to laugh - when I first tried to cancel, a window opened saying did I really want to do this and if I would change my mind they would send me a cookbook and warning me of failure. But I have made up my mind - I am not dieting anymore, I am not worrying about portion sizes. I am not going to weigh myself every day or even every week.

Next step is cut down on:
Potatoes and sugar.
I love potatoes and even though I don't eat a lot of sugar I think I get hidden sugar in some things like fruit (was eating far too much) etc. Finding roast pumpkin and sweet potato is a nice alternative to potato plus last night I roasted some carrots as well.
Probably too much wine too but a girl has to have some sort of vice although as the designated driver twice over the Easter break I actually didn't have much to drink when we were out (notice I said when we were "out").

Anyway that is all for now. Going shopping tomorrow for my favourite candles - Lemongrass and I have forgot what. They smell absolutely heavenly. I have to drive out to Terrey Hills because it is the only place I know where to get them. Probably should research them more and find another source closer to home but I might visit some nurseries as well to get some camellias for a new hedge I am planning near the pool.

Friday night is trivia again and then on the weekend J and I are on the Gold Coast for the Cooly Classic. Staying with friends, hopefully catching up with Linda and then home again. A flying visit and hopefully we won't kill each other (J and I not Linda) being in such close proximity for two days.

I know it sounds like we don't get on but I think we are just going through role reversal and I don't want to be treated like a child so I am resisting. She has good intentions and her profession makes her bossy.

Anyway, off to see what I can do for the rest of today - bitterly cold wind blowing at the moment so I guess it won't be outside. Crossword puzzle book and kindle ahoy!

Enjoy autumn in all its glory.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Mellowness in Autumn

This week's weight went up a bit - 100g but the thing was I didn't exercise at all and also the only things I restricted were wheat and dairy (except on Friday night I had cheese and have been paying for it ever since I think - when am I going to learn to say no when we go out.)

It is not as hard as I thought it would be. I know I am not exactly following any plan but I feel okay.

I know I am eating too much soy cheese and probably too much fruit but that is slowly stopping because I only eat fruit when I am hungry and the hungries are getting less and less. Trying to drink more water too because I could see I wasn't drinking enough.

Daylight saving has ended thank goodness. I love exercising in the morning when everything is fresh and bright but because it has been pitch black when my alarm goes off I haven't been out and about but for the last two days Lucy and I have walked. No problem getting up at 5:30 to go.

Problems looming - another two joints have collapsed. Cried all the way home from the doctors yesterday but then got on with it and made appointments with neurosurgeon and ankle doctor and then went and had my hair cut and surprisingly, felt better.

Driving home I thought (or should I say the evil subconscious did) I want bread. Just bread - didn't have to have anything on it. A month ago I would have eaten it but then I thought why? I'm not hungry and it really isn't going to make me feel better or solve the problem so I had a cup of weak black tea instead and didn't think about it again. Now that really is a giant step forward for this woman.

I have done a lot of reading of blogs on Google Reader and caught up with the blends that I read all the time. I must go through and clear out the ones I don't read often. Jenny T has a private blog and it has been a big help with links and recipes and just advice on what she is doing. I now have a special book which I have copied down some of her recipes and links so that I can find them easily. Plus other recipes which appeal. Can someone tell me how to put a recipe tab on my blog?
Anne (NZ) if you do read this, I have lost access to your blog yet again. I know I would try the patience of a saint. Could I try again please?
Thanks to Lynda I watched a video clip called "The Cure is U". Hopefully by next week I will work out how to put a link to it on my blog. Really worth watching.

(Looking out my window at work, autumn leaves are floating past - so pretty.) I know I have mentioned this a million times but I love autumn. Today is glorious, sunrise this morning was spectacular and orange. I feel like everything is now back in the right time place.

Except I think I have been attacked by sand flies, maybe on Sunday when I was gardening. I am soooo itchy. I always have a really bad reaction to them and I have heaps of bites - sneaky little buggers.

Seriously thinking that I will resign from Weight Watchers online. I don't think I will go back. I know I cant track. Have tried and tried and tried and I am not sure I believe in them anymore. There I have said it out loud. This is a personal decision mainly because I don't think I want to be on a diet anymore. I cant see myself dieting for the rest of my life because I am so crap at it and getting worse! My weight was just going up and up no matter what I did. Will be interesting to see if this new relaxed approach works. Only time will tell. I think we have to do what suits us individually and I am always interested in hearing what others are doing and what works for them.

Now can someone tell me what protein powder is and where you get it. I would like to add it to my smoothies. Mind you I haven't had smoothies for ages but I think I will start again soon.

My goals are
Reduce or stop blood pressure medication (under doctors supervision of course) but my question is how do I know that I don't need it any more.
I am going to start reducing HRT to every second day.
Maybe just weigh in once a month instead of weekly and definitely not daily as I am a master at sabotaging myself.

Now news in brief:
J won 1 gold, 3 silvers and a bronze at the Police Games swimming. So proud of her even if she can be a pain in the neck sometimes. So bossy.
G and his girlfriend are thinking of moving in with her parents (who don't mind) to save for a deposit on something. Not sure how that will work out but I guess only time will tell and at least they are not moving in with us. We would go crazy.
Because I came home early from work yesterday I know what M does with his day (or at least yesterday). He spends hours looking for things he has put in a safe place. My suggestion to him was that we get a big box and write "safe place" on it and put it in the garage. Then he could put stuff in it and know where it is when he wants it. You can imagine what his response to that suggestion was! LOL.
Lucy the wonder dog is fine - her cough has gone and she can make it up two or three steps just not the big ones.

Today is my second last day at work before the school holidays and then two glorious weeks off. This weekend is very busy - M going fishing with male members of extended family tomorrow night to hopefully catch enough fish for Good Friday. His family has been doing this for ever, long before he was born. A lovely tradition with lots of funny stories. Male bonding at its best.

On Friday we go to his brother's house so that we can eat the fish they caught and have family time. Lots of cousins and their children and a few of us crusty old aunts and uncles. I think there may be fish in the freezer just in case but they usually catch enough fish and as it is fresh it is lovely.

Saturday we are catching up with friends we have not seen for a while and probably watching some sort of rugby.

Sunday or Monday we might be going to Palm Beach for a meal. Some friends have a lovely holiday home there and they came around last night for a drink and invited us up. Just trying to fit it in is the problem.

And then of course Monday night is bake dinner night - pork this week I think. So the children will probably be there as usual.

In the next two weeks I hope to go and see that movie on at the moment about the elderly English people who retire to India and I would really like to go to the Easter show. M of course wants to do neither of these things but that is what girlfriends are for.

Sorry this has been so long - Had so many things to talk about. Life feels very exciting at the moment (except for the medical side). Hopefully you hung in there. Have a wonderful Easter and may the Easter Bunny visit you.