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Very remiss..

  • May. 17th, 2016 at 9:37 PM
Calestina
I have been horrendously remiss in not posting in here... but that's going to change.

I attended a workshop yesterday evening which has given my mojo a big kick up the bum. I've been very slack, or so I keep telling myself, but after driving the equivalent of Sydney GPO to Albury and back the week before last (550kms or thereabouts each way), on my own, wildly trusting my brand new scarily intelligent satnav, I think I have breached the barrier.

I no longer feel that I have to have permission to do things. I was absolutely terrified of the drive down at first... the butterflies in my stomach were the size of 747s... but once I got onto the motorway I relaxed and remembered that I do like long drives. Then of course the satnav decided to be clever and cut a particular corner off - instant freak out and quick detour through the carpark of a university and then a 'oh well, might as well trust it as I have no idea where I actually am' and I followed its instructions. When I looked at the map later (I had a road atlas with me too!) I realised it did cut off a decent sized corner so in future I will follow that route on the way down, but coming back I'll go the way that is the cut off corner simply because getting back on the A1 via the shortcut at peak hour is not recommended.

A couple of minor scenic detours on the A30 down in Devon had me going in circles for a while until I swore at the satnav and got back on the main road... then coming back I completely bamboozled it by turning left instead of right and kept insisting on staying on the road I was on until it eventually conceded defeat and let me get back to the A30 the better, if longer, way. Going down it had taken me on the quickest route but it was a B road and pretty ghastly (and involved a couple more scenic detours).

I'm loving my job... today I had an incident with an evil bottle of stamp pad ink. Ink went everywhere (luckily the bulk of it onto the stamp pad but the rest all over my desk - fantastic spatter pattern for a CSI operative to examine). Back where I was working in Oz everyone would have tut-tutted at my very australian expletive and left me to sort out the mess by myself. Here? One co-worker handed me a stack of paper napkins to mop up the mess and a spray bottle of citrus cleaner, the department boss laughed and said 'oops' and my immediate boss was worried the ink had splashed on my clothes (it hadn't).

I feel totally at home, both at work and at home. Still got a few bits and pieces to sort out and tidy up, but as I said to my sister, it may not be my house but it is my home and if the landlords happened to stop by and see what I've done in the courtyard they'd be quite pleased. If only they would get the fences fixed!!! My sole complaint now about the place.

So my life has definitely improved out of sight... now all I have to do is find a good bloke who will look after me in my dotage and not mind my craziness.

Settling in nicely...

  • Oct. 17th, 2015 at 12:48 PM
Calestina
Well, time for a catch-up. Photos will follow once my chest of drawers has been put together (have to buy it tomorrow though - hope they've still got one in the store!) but my sister's comment last weekend when she came over for lunch was that it looks like I've been here for years - I moved in just over a month ago!

I'm getting used to the neighbourhood... and learning to drive into it very slowly because not only is the street quite narrow and there are loads of cars parked on each side, but there are some people who drive through it quite fast! Nearly had bingles twice with one person in particular who hoons along like he owns the road.

My next door neighbours are terrific - they are Polish with 2 youngsters who don't make loads of noise (well, one is still a baby) and the husband has been a great help. In exchange for being able to change a 10 pound note one weekend, and accepting a delivery for them last weekend, he's helped me put up my shower curtain rail and hauled a small bookshelf upstairs to lie it on top of the other two small ones I have that hold all my craft gear.

My study is now pretty much sorted. The final sort out will happen when I can sort out the wardrobe in the bedroom... which will be on Tuesday when said chest of drawers gets built!

Maybe now I can get back to doing some writing... and finish off the final check through of The Novel and send it off to a publisher before the end of the year.

Geekiness

  • Nov. 28th, 2014 at 12:11 PM
Calestina
Geek mode fully engaged this morning, after numerous bouts of swearing by my sister at her computer.

For some reason known only to Microsoft, her login had died completely. She was able to get in via other user accounts (a couple of grandchildren and I have logins - me so I can access the printer) but it was very frustrating, especially when I wanted to upgrade her virus protection which had run out.

So, after reading up on what to do I tried to print out the instructions but could not see her computer at all, even when logged in as me (the printer is local to her pc, not networked - and that is going to get sorted at some point!). Much under-breath swearing, including at the one cat who loves sitting on the lap of whoever is on that computer (and apparently watched from start to finish the video of the horse meeting water for the first time).

So it was out with the little notebook pc I have, which of course had no charge in the battery. Cables draped all over the place, the notebook perched precariously on the end of the desk so I could read the instructions, and of course Adobe Reader had to update itself while I'm trying to scroll through the instructions!

Finally, all instructions were complete and I restarted the computer... and she was back!

Now to deal with the heating!

Getting skinny...

  • Nov. 2nd, 2014 at 9:23 AM
Calestina
I've decided to refrain from posting my weight-loss statistics on Facebook because my sister is getting disheartened at how quickly I'm shrinking... and she isn't!

Today, being first Sunday of the month, was "weigh and measure before breakfast" day. I am so close to my target weight of 70kgs it's almost guaranteed I'll be there by Christmas. Reason being - I lost nearly 6kgs (12.5lbs) in the last month!

I had targeted 75kgs but I'm now 1.25kgs below that, at 73.775 kgs. Overall since I began this latest round of stats (Boxing Day, 2011) I've lost 44cms overall, and 16kgs. Mind you, in February 2013 I was at my heaviest at 92.7kgs so you could say I've lost 18kgs in total.

I'm pleased, very pleased. Although the new jeans I bought just last week are already beginning to feel loose!

Of course, my Slimming World stats are higher because I'm wearing clothes for that weigh-in, but I've found the lightest pair of track pants I own and always put on a light top under layers.

By the time my belongings arrive from Australia nothing will fit - but I'll keep them so when my sister gets skinnier she can have them if she likes - nothing like hand-me-ups!
Calestina
In seven days I will have changed my address big-time. From one side of the planet to the other. This time next week I will probably be sprawled on my sister's couch with a mug of tea, smothered in cats, and the pair of us will be talking our heads off for at least another hour. Well, that's how it happened last year and given my flight lands at the same time as it did last year... :)

The last few weeks... heck, the last few months... this whole year... have been crazy, emotional, uplifting and have gone so fast.

It all started with the health issue. That is now nicely settled down even though my scar is still very red, but at least it is all healed and I am still being careful with how much stuff I lug around.

Then Mr DM landed his work problem on me and that straw was what broke this camel's back. I am still amazed that he has taken this whole separation so well, amicably and relatively calmly. Of course, I have no idea what he says about me behind my back, and I'm not going to stress over that! I'm also pleased to know that the cat is settling in well at her new home, and first encounter with one of her canine siblings went well - no hissing or language. Mr DM is taking her introduction to the whole house very slowly, and was quite surprised when I told him I'd had her micro-chipped so if anything did go wrong, she would be returned to her owner and not become lost in a totally strange place.

I've really only let the tears flow this week... when the dog-man came to collect the cat on Monday she got rather soggy... when Mr DM drove away that night I nearly flooded the living room because I will never see him or hug him again... and as the house emptied quite a few tears were shed.

This afternoon I will be back there to oversee the plasterer fixing up the mess the painter left - honestly, I cannot believe what he did. The living room ceiling is stippled, so you would think he would repaint the repairs with a roller that leaves the paint stippled - right? Nah, not this bloke. He simply repainted the whole ceiling leaving the repairs standing out like dogs whatsits! If I didn't check up on this and just paid the plasterer, the final inspection on Wednesday would result in the contract being ripped up and I'd be back where I started.

The motel I'm staying in is lovely and comfortable - small room but big bathroom and they are providing little extras for me given I'm here for 12 days all up.

My car gets picked up on Thursday - bit of walking will ensue after that but that's no problem.

I spoiled myself yesterday when I noticed Target had the same style of jeans I adore... tried on a size smaller because my current jeans were getting loose, but I'm not quite there yet, and luckily they did have a pair of the right size, so those and 2 new bras came back with me yesterday. Weight loss is progressing... I think... won't know until my shipment arrives and I can unpack my scales.

It is slowly sinking into my brain that I can do whatever I want now... go learn taiko drumming (I've already looked up where the nearest place is for that!), get back into drama, whatever I darned well please!

Welcome to my new life!

Strange feelings...

  • Aug. 7th, 2014 at 11:18 AM
Calestina
So reality is really kicking in now. With Mr DM having packed up 95% of his stuff, and me selling off a goodly portion of my DVDs, the house is beginning to feel a little empty.

Yesterday there were two inspections on the house, both said the house was very neat and tidy, and the word pristine got mentioned. Kudos to Mr DM for the painting he did! They wouldn't have said that if he'd just slapped another coat of paint on the walls without getting rid of the lumps and bumps. He even repainted the patio floor and the bit of concrete slab visible under the sliding door that used to be the carport.

An offer was made... lower than my minimum (we've put the house on at offers over $280,000) but they have come up to that, but I'd like to see what kind of action happens on Saturday when there's an open house. The agent is being canny and has told them (they are buyers in Sydney) that she can only get hold of one party (ie me) and won't be able to get hold of the other (Mr DM) until the weekend.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed this doesn't affect my health - yesterday when I got in the lift to go home I had a dizzy spell, and felt wobbly and mildly nauseous all the way home. So much so that I didn't have anything to eat apart from half a biscuit around midnight, and half a cuppa, and stayed home today because I still felt wobbly. So I'm attacking the books in the bookcase that my niece is taking - haven't kept many and the others will be appearing on eBay at some point in the not too distant future.

This is all getting very real!

Reminder to self - you are starting a new life, you are allowed to grieve over the life you are leaving, so if some of the books get a bit tear-stained that's okay!

Life...

  • Apr. 27th, 2014 at 11:15 AM
Calestina
Thought I'd pop in for a minute - haven't been in here in way too long and I have missed lots but given I will be off work for the whole of May I'll have plenty of time to catch up.

Going into hospital tomorrow morning, and not looking forward to what I have to drink this afternoon to clean my insides out (I definitely won't go into details!). Apparently some bits of me have decided they don't like me any more and want out, so tomorrow I get sliced and diced and hopefully only one bit has to come out and not the whole lot!

Thinking positively (the last time I had any kind of surgery was 30 years ago and I woke up in ICU because they nearly lost me) I will have two fat books with me (thanks Glenda!) and I've printed out some Brain Food Factory newsletters which will keep my brain active while I try to get my body back into a semblance of activity.

I'll probably be in there for a week, hopefully less, and it may be a day or three before I am capable of sitting in front of the computer again, but Mr DM has been given a list of people to contact if things do go wrong and no doubt they will inform the wider circle of mutual friends.

So, I will catch you all on the other side!

I might even get some writing done while I'm off work! Might even finish The Novel! Now that would be a nice shock to the system :)

Yummy soup...

  • Sep. 1st, 2013 at 2:06 PM
Calestina
While I was in the UK my sister whipped up a batch of Speed Food Soup. Well, okay, she had some in the freezer and microwaved it because it does take time to make (apparently swedes - the veggie variety - are very hard to chop up), and it was delicious.

So, for all my foodie friends, here is the recipe:

1 can mixed bean salad
1 can green lentils
2 cans chopped tomatoes
1 can baked beans
Handful of split lentils
2 large leeks
1 large onion
4 medium carrots
1 small swede
1 each of red, green and yellow capsicum
2 stock cubes
Salt & pepper to season
Mixed Herbs
Water (enough to cover all ingredients)

Chop and put all veg in a large pot with everything else
Cover with water and bring to boil
Simmer until soft

And that's it - simple, yummy and very much along the lines of the KickStarter Soup they've been promoting over here.

Can be left chunky or blended if you prefer
It also freezes and tastes great!

And on the veggie front while I was away my beans and peas did fantastic things - I already have 3 serves of beans in the freezer and the fourth batch was with dinner last night, along with a good haul of peas fresh from the garden. Scrummy!

Family...

  • Aug. 7th, 2013 at 4:37 PM
Calestina
I'm here in the UK, finally. My flight that said it was going from Brisbane to Dubai went via Singapore, slightly unexpected but good in one way. My seat was one in from the aisle in a row of 4 seats - and no-one else was sitting there so for the first leg, mostly, I was able to stretch out fully and sleep properly... for one hour when a crew member slammed the tray table open by my head "to have a tasty snack". Gah - this was beyond ridiculous because it was ONE AM! So I dutifully ate said tasty snack (which was tasty) and went back to sleep. Managed another 4 hours and then brekkie arrived. And a young woman I'd exchanged smiles with at the airport who moved from her seat and stretched out on the further 2 seats in my row. So no more comfy sleep for me. I made the mistake of watching a movie and paid for it with a stinking headache most of the rest of the day.

Singapore was only 1.5 hrs but when we got back on the plane I had company so definitely no more comfy sleep. What sleep I did get resulted in a slightly misaligned jaw which sorted itself out on the Saturday night after a solid sleep where I was so relaxed it realigned itself... and I learned that alcohol and jetlag do not play nicely together... unless you've got a misaligned jaw that needs total relaxation to fix!

My sister (Sue) and one of her grand-daughters met me at Heathrow. Amy is a typical 17-yr old, totally focussed on her phone!

Saturday my niece who's just had her 7th child arrived with various of her kids in tow then that night we went to another of my niece's party where I caught up with eldest sister (who now lives in a care facility), her ex (!), all but one of my other nieces, none of my nephews (doubt I will get to see them this trip) and a whole bunch of other people. Had a great time and managed to leave my sunnies on the garden table!

Then Sunday we went grocery shopping, met up with missing niece and her little boy then as we were wandering around we bumped into Sue's ex!

It's been a full-on family reunion the last few days!

Long weekend updates...

  • Jun. 15th, 2013 at 7:27 AM
Calestina
I have had the best weekend... it started last Wednesday June 5 and finished on Tuesday June 11. A nice loooooooooong weekend with family and friends and intelligent conversations and fun and balloons and hand-me-ups ...

My sister, the one with MND, turns 70 on the 23rd of this month. Her ex turned 70 on May 31. Their daughter (the one who gave me the hand-me-up - nice trendy pair of jeggings) had originally planned to hold 2 birthday parties until I pointed out there was a lovely long weekend available smack in between and would be far more convenient for everyone to only have to congregate once. So that was the plan, and it worked well.

I flew down on the Thursday morning, spoiling myself rotten with a business class seat (I had enough points), spent Thursday evening "doing" Vivid Sydney - fantastic light shows all around Circular Quay and Darling Harbour - the Opera House looked fantastic. Then Friday was spent doing nothing because I was so sore from all the walking the night before (niece and I had also walked from Town Hall to Central to meet up with her NZ aunts and cousins). Oh, I did do something on Friday (apart from a bit of writing) - I babysat Sarah's laptop which had been doused in wine on the Wednesday evening. Why is this important, I hear you ask? Sarah had done up a powerpoint presentation for the party - she'd scrounged photos from everywhere she could of both her mum and dad - so to have the laptop out of commission was a disaster as she hadn't backed it up to anything!

Saturday I was shuffled over to Kym and Fiona's place. This was the part I was dreading. For those of you who know me on Facebook I put up a post after I'd spoken to Kym on the phone about how terrible she sounds and how upset I was. So to see her face to face was possibly going to be an ordeal. I was wrong. She's doing fine relatively speaking. Yes, her voice is much affected and she has to pace herself speaking so her breathing can keep up, but her mind is sharp as a tack and she is very philosophical about the whole situation. They are all sorted out about their move to Taree, and the wheelchair is ready and waiting for when it is needed.

Fiona, her business partner and now full-time carer, is doing a wonderful job. So caring and so comforted knowing that she will get as much support from all of us as she is giving to Kym.

We drove up to Wyong where the ex lives (yes, they are still on very good terms) on Saturday afternoon and met up with kiwi family again, had a huge dinner (ie lots of people and plentiful food). All the geeks in the family hovered over the laptop, coaxing it into life.

Sunday morning, it was on. Balloons being inflated and tied with streamers, tables being set up, food appearing from all over, crockery, glassware... Carolyn, the ex, lives on a golf estate and we were using the community room for the party. She was beginning to get quite cranky about all the attention being paid to the laptop, not knowing about the presentation.

Party time arrived and we got dressed in our finery, trooped over to the community hall and the rest of the day was full of laughter, good food (spit roast lamb and pork with veggies), fun, hilarity, touching moments - I teared up when Kym and Carolyn cut their combined birthday cake and then hugged - having a Doctor/Donna moment when an old friend I hadn't seen in a couple of decades pointed at me and mouthed my name, then pointed at herself and mouthed her name, and I was up on my feet giving her a huge hug! We had a big catchup.

One of the kid-sized kiwi cousins decided to collect every loose balloon and tie their streamers around a very heavy glass - even though she did manage to tie every balloon to it, it still wouldn't float up!

After sunset people started drifting off, and the rest of us staggered back to Carolyn's house and wound down and by 3pm Monday afternoon it was just me and Carolyn, having a good catch-up because I hadn't seen her in a long time either. Then she dropped me off at the station to get the train back to Brisbane.

Again I spoiled myself rotten - I booked myself a first class sleeper! Got back to Brisvegas only a couple of minutes late, caught the train to Caboolture and crashed! I swear, the train track between Taree (had to get the coach from Wyong due to track works) and Brisbane is all curves and BUMPS! The only straight bits were bridges and stations. If I wasn't sliding down into my feet I was sliding up into my head all night! At least the stars were pretty when it wasn't foggy!

So all in all I had a fantastic time and I'm looking forward to my trip to the UK in August!