Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Stress Relief!

My contract has been extended for 4 months! Phew.

What (was) for dinner Wednesday

Seafood again! We hope to move out in a couple of weeks time, so I'm clearing the freezer and we have a few bags of prawns, scallops and marinara mix to finish off. Here go the prawns... (Sorry Kat, these recipes aren't much use to you are they?)

Milord requested a seafood pasta on vermicelli (really fine spagetti) in a creamy sauce. This is not a very calorie-friendly recipe, but it sure is yummy!

Milady Saffa's Seafood Pasta

500g peeled prawns, fresh or frozen (don't defrost if using frozen)
1 coarsely chopped large red onion
4 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp crushed ginger
2 tsp crushed lemon grass
2 tbs olive oil
2 handfuls coarsley chopped suger snap peas (or mange tout/snow peas, or even frozen peas)
1 tbs Thai red curry paste
Vermicelli or angel hair pasta (however much you feel like)
375ml fish stock
2 tbs plain flour
2 tbs butter

In a wok or large frying pan, mix up the olive oil, prawns, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, curry paste and onion. Cook on high heat until the prawns turn pink. Remove from heat and set aside.


Make a white sauce: In a sauce pan melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, forming a blob, and allow to cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and add a splash of stock. This will create a paste. Keep whisking until all lumps are gone, then return to the heat until it bubbles and thickens. Do not stop whisking. Remove from heat and add more stock... repeat until all the stock is used up. You should have a smooth creamy sauce.

Cook the pasta in boiling water with a splash of olive oil until al dente. Drain.

Mix together the seafood, sauce and peas. Heat until bubbling and serve immediately in warm pasta bowls.

Fab with a crisp dry sauvignon blanc!


I think I'm getting the hang of photographing my food. Extreme close-up works well, although the lens kept steaming up!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Stress

We're a bit stressed.

Our finances are under enormous strain. Every cent we can pull out of the bank accounts is going to the renovators, and even so we are having to pay the guys off in installments. Our normal living expenses are all going on credit card, and the debt is getting scarey. We are paying a mortgage, rent and storage on top of everything else. According to my calculations, once we move into the new house we will be paying off the credit card for at least two months, after which we need to save up for the continuation of the renovations. Everything up to now has just been to get us living in the house, we haven't even started on the extension. We have no kitchen. I can see daylight through the living room roof. Our backyard is unusable. Wah!

Milord hates the word "No" and I am having to use it far too often lately. Of course I want to buy everything, but we can't afford to, and I think a dishwasher is more important than a new plasma tv. A fridge is more important than a new bbq. Cupboards are more important than a spa tub. We do not necessarily agree. Milord's priority right now is get us into the house, and we are hitting obstacles every way we turn. He's freaking out and it doesn't help when I nag and complain about what is happening.

I have one week left on my contract. I don't know if they are going to extend it, and I absolutely cannot afford to be out of work right now. I look at our shocking budget and try to imagine it without my substantial contribution. Not pretty. Not possible. I know I'll find work easily if I don't get an extension, but even a week or two out of a job will knock us hard.

We both react to stress by leaning on food and drink. This has caused us both to gain weight and we're both feeling a bit unattractive and lethargic. And then we bemoan the cost of the food and wine we're getting through. This past weekend we mostly slept and watched tv. When we did leave the house it was to shop for the new house, or to go out for a pub meal.

We're also supposed to be trying to a baby, but the stress, drink and lethargy is putting a spanner in those works. So I'm cranky about that too.

We're not much fun to be around at the moment!

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Weskus Mosaic

These are all from near my Dad's house. He lives in Saldanha, about an hour up the west coast from Cape Town ("weskus" means "west coast" and is the informal name of the region).



make your own...

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Running etc

Yay - I've done 5km in 30min! Goaaal!

It was jolly hard though. I "hit the wall" at 20min and I really didn't think I'd manage to keep my speed up. I talked myself into at least finishing 4km before slowing down. Then I saw I only had to keep it up for 6min more and pushed on. My legs were like lead at the end and it took 5 minutes of cooling off to get my heart rate down to something sensible!

I'm very pleased. Now I can try to go faster, or uphill, or both perhaps! I have to keep it interesting or else I know I'll stop going. The best part about running 5km in 30min is that I have more cooling off time before I have to get back to work - 7 minutes more than when I first ran it!

Hmm what else in the weight/fitness arena? I resorted to living on juice for a couple of days this week to detox a little and kick some weight because I broke 70kg in the wrong direction over the weekend. I cheated a lot though - purists would be horrified - and bought all my juices from the supermarket! 1 litre of fresh juice in the morning, 1 litre of V8 veggie juice in the afternoon, 1 litre of water in between and miso soup for dinner. I dropped half a kilo and I'm sure just being off wine and starch and dairy was good for me. I may have had far too much salt though - I didn't realise how much was in the V8 until too late, and miso is definitely salty.

Now, as I say at least once a week, back onto weightwatchers! I really would like to look fab at a friend's wedding in October, and that's also the start of our sailing holiday. Bikini time!

Hard to think about bikinis today... it's cold and wet and blustery. The last few World Youth Day hangers-on look tired and cold and bedraggled. Poor things. When I come out of the office to head home to my cosy house I see them loitering about in the dark with their "pilgrim passports" slung around their necks. I keep getting visions of Paddington Bear standing alone with his suitcase and a note saying "Please look after this bear. Thank you".

Bless...
Now go home!

Drinking is bad for your health

Last Sunday Milord and I had a glorious lazy day. Ok, so that's true of most weekends lately. Shut up.

We stayed in bed reading the newspapers with coffee until midday, then threw ourselves in the shower and went looking for lunch. We walked into Leichart, the next suburb, which has a predominantly Italian population. Obviously we were looking for Italian food! There's a shopping/eating/apartment block at one end of the high street called the Italian Forum, all built around a central courtyard that reminds us both slightly of St Mark's square in Venice. The restaurants spill out onto the courtyard and small children run riot in the middle.

We found a table that was both outside and tucked away from the crowd, and close enough to the gas heater that we were comfortable. We ordered a bottle of champagne and a plate of antipasto and settled back to watch the world go by. When the wine waiter returned he had a shadow - he was obviously training a newbie and I listened with half an ear to the knowledge he was imparting. I spent several years waitressing while at uni - it was an interesting life lesson and I hope never to have to do it again! I'm not sure I could now actually... when I first moved to London I did a bit of waitressing until I found real work and it drove me nuts... I've been a "professional" for too long!

After the wine waiter had poured us a mere dribble of champagne (sacrilege!) and took his shadow away Milord topped our glasses up to the top and commented on the teaching. "What bollocks!" he said. "'Point the bottle away from the customer because it might go off!' Rubbish. Where do they get this stuff?"

I laughed. "I once shot myself in the eye with a champagne cork while waitressing."
"Wow, really?!"
"Yep, and to this day I don't bend over the bottle when I'm opening it!"

Life lessons indeed! What small but important lessons have you taken away from your college jobs?

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

What (was) for dinner Wednesday

I have had Milord on cooking duty a lot recently. I'm working long hours at the moment so organising the evening meal is a pain in the butt. He doesn't mind cooking and in fact is really good at it - I'd say the only thing he doesn't do is plan ahead. I think it's a guy/girl thing: when I am picking up the Sunday lunch groceries on the weekend I'll also have about 4 other meal plans in my head for the week ahead and I'll get the staples for them too. Milord will only decide on a meal once he's home from work and then he'll have to get everything at that point. Anyway.

The other day Milord made his first ever paella! We took the recipe from the internet and I can't find it now, but this is close. In fact now that I look at it it's probably better than the one we used! The changes we made were to use a seafood mix we already had in the freezer, so there were no shells to fiddle with. And we forgot to get peas - no great loss! We only used one cup of rice and 3 cups of stock and there was enough left over for Milord's lunch the next day.

It was far easier to make than I expected, and really delicious (Kat, you could substitute chicken for fish if you wanted to). Here's a picure:


It's surprisingly hard to photograph food so that it looks yummy. That chilli was on Milord's portion. "They're not hot!" he said before chomping one... turns out they were, rather!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Wedding Mosaic



Make your own!

World Youth Day: why are you still here?!

Yesterday Milord and I came in to work together and we commented on how nice it was to have the streets clear of pilgrims. No roads closed, busses back to normal, sidewalks empty of non-suits - lovely.

Turns out they may just have been sleeping late... at lunchtime I took a walk to my nearest big park. Called "The Domain" it is a big green park on the edge of the botanical gardens, and at lunchtime is usually full of folk eating sandwiches in the sun, or doing a bit of boot camp or jogging. My intention was to grab a coffee and soak up some rays, as it was bitterly cold in the shade.

As I got close to the park I saw a clump of pilgrims. "What are they still doing in town?" I wondered as I gave them a wide berth. At the end of the street I ducked between a few old buildings and emerged at the edge of the park. Which was utterly overrun with the dratted pilgrims - thousands of them! They were behind a temporary fence, so I guess you needed a ticket to get in there. As it was I stood outside the fence for quite some time gazing on the spectacle. Not unlike being at the zoo.

I spotted some Saffa freaks so took a picture:


The atmosphere seemed cheerful. Singing and drumming and chanting and waving flags and parading... But seriously: what are they still doing here? I thought the WYD stuff was over. Isn't it time these people went home, or at least did a road trip to Queensland in search of warm weather? Go on - shoo! Get out of my city!

One of the funniest things I saw though was a boot camp trying to continue as normal in a tiny un-fenced bit of the park, right alongside all the festivities!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Money Pit

I'm getting very tired of pouring money into the new house. It's putting a huge strain on Milord and me too as he tries to finish the damn thing off and I try to close the purse strings. Yeesh, not pretty.

I don't have any good pictures of the new wood floors or freshly painted walls because the place is covered up with floor protection and full of builder's mess. Today I get the glorious job of helping to carry rubble and other delightful goodies to the skip outside.

Oh well, at least the floor is in and the walls are getting painted. I hear we have lighting now too. Our bathroom tiles are still AWOL and the plumber is MIA. Whose idea was this anyway?

Friday, 18 July 2008

World Youth Day: go home already

This is doing the rounds here as "Darth Vader was in the pope's procession!":


Made me laugh, but the actual photo was taken in Iceland earlier this year ;-)

I'm Getting Old!

Well, of course I am, every second - but that doesn't mean I have to like it!

I can fool myself most of the time: I dye the grey out of my hair; I moisturise and stay out of the sun; I hit the gym and tone things up; I have learned (usually) when to stop drinking so that the hangover doesn't hit too hard; I quit smoking nearly a decade ago. I'm probably in better condition that some 20-somethings!

But you can't fake everything... the latest item to age on me is my eyes. How annoying is this?! I've had perfectly good eyesight for 36 years and now I don't. My computer monitor gives me a headache. Just that. I can read books ok, but I can't look at a computer for more than a few minutes without it feeling like someone is trying to drill a channel behind my eyes.

Guess what I do for 8 hours a day 5 days a week? Yeah. Fab.

So now I wear glasses for the computer. For a couple of years I only needed them at work, and then only if I was working too much or hungover. Now I need them all the time, and I find I need them at home for the laptop too.

*growl*

Thursday, 17 July 2008

World Youth Day: today

World Youth Day is apon us. Whee. Woot. Squee. Pish. Pfft.
("Bah humbug" said a girlfriend of mine this morning, and she's catholic so I'm allowed to be snarky I reckon)

Pilgrims were swarming in Sydney on my way to work this morning, but when I popped out to the gym a little while ago it was strangely quiet. Just us suits and lots and lots of police... I think the pope is on the move - the TV screens in the cardio room (yes! I broke 31 min for my 5km run!) showed him on a boat - and all the pilgrims must be over thattaway.

I think his motorcade passes through the city later this afternoon, hitting the CBD (where I am) just as people want to go home. Way to thrill the workers, dude. "Luckily" I'm babysitting the testers tonight so I should miss the worst of it.

Hey I was wondering... it's full moon tonight (I noticed this last night because I had to walk home in the dark because my busses are screwed right now. Damn catholics). Did they take that into account when planning WYD, like for Easter? Why does Easter follow the moon phases anyway? Yes I know it's a pagan thing, but I don't get it.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

World Youth Day: 1 day to go

Today at lunchtime I decided to soak up some winter sun and watch the pilgrim freakshow.

In three words: Colourful, cheerful, everywhere!

I take it back about the WYD not affecting the city much - it's taken the thing over! Everywhere you look you can see the distinctive red and orange backpacks, country flags, silly hats and official t-shirts. Groups cheer when they pass each other, which they do a lot because no group seems to be heading in the same direction as another!

I was near the Sydney aquarium in a very touristy part of town, so there were families and tour groups on holiday there too, but they were vastly outnumbered by the pilgrims. The pilgrims themselves comprise all kinds of people of all ages. I saw elderly folk and little kids in addition to the hordes of teenagers... and lots of nuns.

Gotta love people-watching. Sadly it's a work day otherwise I'd love to have settled into one of the restaurants with a bottle of wine and watched people all afternoon in the sunshine. And I always have the same thought when I'm watching people: "Where are all the good looking ones?"

What (was) for dinner Wednesday

I'm taking inspiration from Suzanne who's having a go at blogging 365 days in a row... no, no, I'm not ready for that (yet) but I noticed that she's staying sane by having recurring themes in her posts, like "What's for dinner Wednesdays" and "Soundtrack Sundays".

I haven't bought a CD in ages (The Eels I think, and that was a gift anyway) so I shan't be boring you with my musical taste or lack thereof. I do cook a lot though, and blogging about it may get me to try more adventurous recipes! Oh by the way, I was following links and found this asparagus with soft boiled eggs recipe which sounds divine and the photo is totally food p0rn! I'll be trying it out real soon. Cool blog too - a mum is trying to get her son to like vegetables by going through them A-Z (she's just blogged Zuccini so they're at the end!). I adore veggies... mmmm.

A couple of years ago Milord and I decided to cut back on starchy carbs in our evening meals and to drop cheese or fried foods in general, so you're not going to be seeing pizza here much! We lean towards salads and stirfries, chicken, steak and fish, and the odd roast or slow-cooked stew in cold weather. Instead of potatoes or rice we double up on the veg.

Wednesday's are not a very creative day for me dinnerwise in general, so I'll be picking something from the past week!

My newest winter warmer is Bacon Hock and Bean soup. I made it on Sunday afternoon while Milord and I nursed our monster hangovers in front of the TV. It is just super yummy, and because I skimmed the fat off and didn't add any starches it's not too calorific. It was a bit of an experiment based on something I saw on a cooking program, and inspired by my Dad's bean and bacon soup (Hi Dad!). I've always walked past the butcher's counter and looked at the bacon hocks and wondered what they'd be like, so last week I bought one to give it a try. The whole recipe probably cost me AUD15 and it lasted for three day's dinner. Awesome (plus hardly any dishes to wash for a couple of days).

Bacon Hock and Bean Soup (serves 4 maybe 6)
1 Bacon hock
4 onions
1 bulb or garlic
4 carrots
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans
1 can lentils
1 can butter beans
olive oil
pepper and herbs (don't add salt, the hock and canned beans are already salty)

Roughly chop the onions, carrots and garlic and fry them in olive oil in a casserole dish until soft. Add the bacon hock and pour in enough water to cover it. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for a few hours (at least 2). Remove from heat and pull the bacon hock out to cool. When the hock is cool enough to handle shred the meat from the bone, discarding any fat or skin. Skim any fat from the surface of the cooking liquid, then return the meat to the dish. Add the tins of tomatoes and beans, season to taste, and heat until bubbling. Serve when ready, but the longer you let it rest the better.


Image stolen from here because I didn't take one... close enough.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

World Youth Day: 2 days to go

Sydney is a ghost town.

We are supposedly inundated with catholic pilgrims, many important roads are being closed, police and protesters are rattling sabres, and anyone who doesn't need to be in the city is staying away. The place has totally lost its mojo and small businesses must be struggling.

Apart from more police around and hardly any traffic I'm not noticing much, especially as I walk to work. Sitting on the 21st floor of an office block I can't see or hear the fuss - apparently the Cross and Icon paraded down a street a block away yesterday afternoon and I didn't know. One of my collegues is hosting two German teenage girl pilgrims, which has earned her some gentle teasing.

And the weather is glorious - divine providence maybe!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Keep your pets away from me

The house we're renting/housesitting has one of those ponds-in-a-pot in the backyard. It's kinda cool... a lovely big wide pot filled with water and some reeds and lily pads and three goldfish/koi. The filter creates a constant bubbling and it must be lovely on a hot summers day to have that splashing away under the trees. As it's the middle of winter and rather cold we don't spend much time outside though...

A few weeks ago Milord and I decided that the pond needed a clean because the filter kept clogging and we couldn't see the fish through the murk. That was easier said than done! We caught the fish and put them into a salad bowl filled with stinky pond water. Then we hoiked out the plant pots and tipped the filthy water and heaps of pebbles out onto the floor. By this point I was wet and cold and smelly - whose idea was this anyway? We scrubbed and hosed and rinsed pebbles by hand under freezing water to get the decaying leaves off (did I mention the pond is under trees?). Then we put everything except the fish back in and filled the pot with tap water. We had to leave the water standing for at least a day to dechlorinate or something - Milord knows more about these things than I do!

The following day we floated the salad bowl in the pond to acclimatise the fish to the temperature of the water, eventually releasing them into their pristine pond. It all looked great! For a few weeks anyway, and now it's gone slimy again (oh yeah, turns out you shouldn't feed pond fish in winter because they're not eating and the food rots and it all goes slimy. Who knew?).

Ok, slimy, now what? Snails maybe?

On Sunday Milord and I popped into an aquarium shop and spoke to the strange men there about snails. "Nah" says one, "You need catfish instead." Ok, fine, whatever you say. We bought 4 cute little catfish, all nicely bagged (I kept thinking of Nemo and had to resist shaking the bag shouting "Fishy wake up!")

"How do I go about putting them in my pond?" I asked... "Just float the bag in the water for 20 minutes first" says the man. Easy, I can do that. So we took our lovely little new catfish-in-a-bag from the hot and steamy shop and plonked the bag into our bloody freezing pond. Zap! Four dead catfish. "Maybe they're just playing dead?"

Milord went straight back to the shop to complain and they blamed us! A bit rude - I don't know anything about keeping fish and I just did what the idiotic man told me to do... To add insult to injury they wouldn't sell us any more fish either!

Huh.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Pretty Feet?

I read somewhere* that most women don't like their feet. Isn't that strange? Why wouldn't you like your feet? Is there an "ideal foot" equivalent to a J-Lo bum or Angelina's lips?

*(If you google "women don't like their feet" you don't half get some strange hits. Seems there are a lot of foot-fetishists out there!)

Friday, 11 July 2008

World Youth Day

Next Thursday 17th July will be World Youth Day held in Sydney. As far as I can make out this is "come and see the pope in another country with 250000 like-minded young catholics". So we have a crazy number of "pilgrims" making their way to my town in the middle of winter (did I mention it's freezing here?) to see the pope and - um - hang out with each other I guess. Sounds like fun - I'd totally have been up for that when I was a teen (apart from having to be a catholic I suppose).

Sydney-siders are not impressed. It's costing us a fortune, disrupting the city, and they've passed special laws against being "inconvenient" or "annoying" that I bet don't get dissolved once this event is over. We've only just had APEC, which was annoying (pun unintended) enough - that event actually forced businesses to close for a day - as a contractor that's a good way to get up my nose!

Why not hold these things in the capital city, Canberra? Or the city that tries to be Sydney's "rival" (in their dreams), Melbourne? Yeah, right. The outside world only wants to come to Sydney. Before I moved here I honestly thought Sydney was the capital city! I asked Milord and apart from Uluru we can't think of any cultural icons that aren't in Sydney that a foreigner would know.

Apart from the possible disruption to my commute the only other downside to WYD seems to be the amount of religion in the news: victims of priestly abuse coming forward after 20 years; something about women bishops; half an hour of some cardinal on tv last night defending priestly abuse; pope this; condoms that; ugh.

One more week and we'll go back to normal...

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Running...

This time last year I was a bit broken. I'd overtrained for the 14km City to Surf fun run and it turns out I was using the wrong shoes too so my right ankle gave up on me. Every time it seemed to clear up I'd run on it again because I was desperate to train, and I'd make it worse. Then I did the fun run anyway and walked it, and discovered that it was fine to walk the thing, most people do anyway, and it is so busy that I would struggle to run much regardless.

This year I'm taking my training far less seriously and I'm having rather good results. All I'm trying to do is run 5km in 30 minutes - I reckon that will get me fit enough to handle the walk-jog-walk I expect the City to Surf to be. If you're a real runner (Hi Dad!) you'll know that this is actually a very slow pace. Not for me it isn't! Today I did the 5km in 32 minutes, my best so far and 1min off last week. My average heart rate was 170bpm. (Yes way. Apparently some of us just have a nutty exertion bpm. My resting rate is normal, thanks)

Last year I remember bewailing the fact that I wasn't losing weight or size in spite of gaining fitness. Don't give me the "muscle weighs more than fat" argument, I don't buy it. The real reason I don't lose weight is because I reward myself for doing well on the treadmill! I did it a minute ago when I got back to the office: "I'll just add feta cheese to this tuna salad because I'll have run off lots of calories".

Sure tasted good though! Now I'm trying to resist the siren call of milo with hot full cream milk... aargh

When I am old

It's freezing here this week!

Ok, it's not actually freezing - I am in Sydney after all - but it's jolly cold. It got below 10C at night this week and isn't quite getting to 20C during the day. The wind goes right through me and my really warm clothes are. still. in. storage! Aaargh! We should have our hands on our stored gear in a just a few weeks so I refuse to go and buy a new wool coat, but it sure is tempting.

This morning I layered up with a vest, woolly polo neck and fleece jacket for my walk to work. It was a clear breezy morning and I was enjoying the sunshine as I climbed the long rise onto the Anzac Bridge. As I got to the middle of the bridge I noticed an old man walking on the wrong side of the path (bikes and pedestrians use the keep-left rule). "Bloody tourists" I thought.

As I got closer I realised that he wasn't walking as much as, well, staggering. And his shirt was unbuttoned and flapping in the breeze so that his substantial torso was bare (remember it's freezing). The walkers and cyclists passing the man were all glancing back at him in consternation and I was terrified that not only his shirt was going to be unbuttoned when I reached him! I drew level, carefully looking straight ahead, and when I was past I looked back - luckily his pants appeared to be in place but the man really wasn't looking well. He looked confused, distressed, and on the point of collapse.

What to do? I didn't want to go near him - he scared me. What if he attacked me or abused me or collapsed and I had to - ew - resuscitate him? What if he made me late for work? Everyone else seemed to be thinking the same thing... but then I saw one of my fellow walkers pull out his phone and make a call while keeping an eye on the old man. I could hear him talking to the emergency services which was a relief, although it troubled me that even the man calling for help didn't stop walking.

I don't know what happened to the old man because I walked away. We all walked away. We left him half dressed and in distress in the middle of a high bridge with 6 lanes of traffic roaring past.

I feel bad. What if it had been my Dad? I should have stopped.

When I am old and I'm in trouble I hope the young suits on their way to work will stop and talk to me. And in return I'll try to remember not to attack them!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

House

It looks like we may be in our house before the end of the month! Squee!

The (pale gum) wood flooring goes in tomorrow! Next week we can get the interior walls and ceilings painted (cream) and the skirting boards (white) put on; then we can get the floor sanded and lacquered; and then we can start moving our stuff out of storage into the house. The plumber is there today trying to finish stuff before the floor goes down (after which he'll have to wriggle under the floor, heh). Our bathroom is still a couple of weeks away because we're waiting for the dratted tiles, but the moment that's finished we will move in. Electrical sockets and light fittings (halogen downlights) will be finished in between the rest of it. It's all go go go!

Then we'll be camping in our new house. We will be borrowing old curtains from friends to cover the bedroom windows until we can afford plantation shutters. We're going to set up a kitchen sink in an old table against the wall and have a rented stove just free standing until we can afford the new kitchen. It'll be fine. Provided it is warm and clean I can handle just about anything!

Milord is totally stressed as he's project managing the thing. I wonder if I was this cranky when I was planning the wedding? Hmmm. Don't answer that!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Weight Update

So yah. I've was a bit uninspired last month. I suppose I'm lucky I didn't gain much, but I sure didn't lose much either!

Weight Graph June:


Weight Graph to Date:


I've started doing sit-ups and push-ups before work in the mornings after my shower, as I just don't seem to make it to the gym lately. I can now do 5 full push-ups, followed by 20 from my knees. My goal is 20 full ones. I do a variety of sit-ups: crunches, obliques, leg-lifts and back extensions. This takes about 15 minutes while Milord has a lie-in. Lazy bugger - what is it with men and sit-ups? They'll jog, cycle, do weights, but rein in the belleh? Pffft.

I walk to and from work most days, which adds up to about 8km per day several times a week I suppose. I can't wait for the evenings to get a bit lighter though, the walk home is boring in the dark!

And I'm trying to run 5km in 30 minutes on the treadmill - I do this every Thursday lunchtime. Today I did the 5km in 33min - down from 37min 4 weeks ago. If/when I get to 30min I'll work on getting my heart-rate down, and once that's reasonable I'll play with more speed and inclines and stuff. It is 5 weeks to the 14km fun-run, but if it's anything like last year there simply won't be enough space to run around the walkers so I'll be lucky to break into a jog from time to time. My 5km training will probably be enough!

Detox

Before I begin, if you have issues with weight-loss (or just fancy another perspective) go check out 15 Minute Lunch this week. It'll give you a giggle. I wonder if generations to come will look at what we do to ourselves today and go "WTF?"... I just bet they do. I now have "slap that fat!" stuck in my head.

I started this week totally bummed. All weekend I had been lethargic, just wanting to eat junk and drink booze and sleep in spite of the glorious clear crisp weather outside. Everything was too much effort, and after Milord kept me awake most of Sunday night with snoring I didn't even bother to go into work on Monday. I felt like rubbish. I was grumping my way in to town on Tuesday preparing a litany of woes to blog about when I realised I was being stupid. There is nothing wrong with my life. I earn a fortune, I am newlywed to a man who spoils me, I'm about to move into a house shaped to my specification, I am disgustingly healthy, I live in Sydney, it hasn't rained in weeks, and people around the globe care about me.

So why do I feel so rotten? Yes I have a few annoyances but they're hardly biggies. It's not my TOTM. Milord's been cranky but he always is when I am.

So what else? Perhaps it's the garbage I've been pouring into myself lately. The snacks, the wine, the carbs and savouries and sweets... hasn't my weight been creeping insidiously upward? Don't I have a spreading spare tire? Aren't I a bit of an alcoholic?

Time for a detox! Nothing radical, just cut out the bad stuff for a few days. So instead of a sandwich for lunch I have a simple salad, and I snack on lots of fruit. Replace normal tea with chamomile. Drink a litre of fresh fruit juice in addition to the usual litre of water during the day. Stop wine. I still have a slice of seed bread toast with a cup of coffee in the morning, and Milord is on cooking duty all week and has been conjuring with seafood for dinner. Salmon risotto last night and clam pasta tonight... mmm.

It seems to be working. I sleep better, I feel brighter, I've lost a little weight - and as I cheer up so does Milord... funny that! On Friday night we have a date at a steakhouse (3rd month married!) and will fall back off the wagon, but I think my body is enjoying the break for now.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Latest House Update

Original house pics here

Our house is now quite close to being finished, although that's a bit hard to tell at the moment! We still need flooring, painting, hot water and the bathroom installed. Plus a temporary kitchen sink and stove point to tide us over until we can afford the next stage of renovations... mid-summer I hope. Don't worry if the place looks awful to you, you need a lot of imagination to envision the warm, light, airy, modern place it is going to be!

The main living room is going to be raised level with the rest of the house this week, and then we will put in a temporary plywood floor until we extend the back wall by a couple of metres. We will put polished wood floors in the bedrooms and corridor now though and finish them off.

We are waiting for our bathroom tiles to turn up too. Somehow we ordered tiles that have to come from Italy! and they are on a ship... huh. That's our biggest hold-up, as Milord has promised me that we will not move in until the bathroom is finished. The thought of using the disgusting, cold and draughty shower room out the back is quite horrifying!

With no further ado - house pics!

Front:


Bedroom 1:


Bedroom 2:


Corridor:


Bathroom:


Living Room:


Backyard:


While I'm sharing photos, how about I give you an idea of our street? These are the houses over the road - quite cute really.


This is looking up the road towards the high street. That church marks the start of the shopping strip, and a really excellent coffee shop is on the corner.


A little way down the road from our house is sweet little park:


And this is how low the planes overhead get sometimes! Luckily not all the time - the bulk of them pass about a kilometer to the east.