Sunday, February 24, 2013

Last of the summer blouses

Today I finished sewing what I have decided will be the last of the summer blouses. When I was in Brisbane a few weeks ago I made flying visit to Gardam's in Edward street and bought the last of the roll of this beautiful rose pattern broderie anglaise. And I decided that I would make one last of what has become my standard sleeveless summer blouse. I think I have made about 8 of these since the sewing bug bit me last birthday. They have been awesome with pants and skirts all summer. But with autumn around the corner it's time to start sewing things with sleeves. Here is the finished product. No doubt I will be able to wear it for a while yet in what passes for Queensland's change of seasons.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Virtuously hungry

I'm starring in my very own, home-made version of The Biggest Loser at the moment. We're just reaching the end of the first week. Unlike the TV version there have been no tears, no fights with other contestants and nobody has screamed at me while making me do ridiculous physical challenges. It's all a lot more sedate than that. It started last Saturday night when the parents and I snap-decided to go to Tasmania in May. After booking the flights we all looked at each and realised we were terrifically unfit, and let's face it, if we're being honest, fatter than we should be. If we were going to trek about on a proper holiday we had to increase our general fitness. We have 11 weeks. I knew weight had crept on over the past two years. Since August 2010 when I had surgery I hadn't got back into any kind of exercise routine. Work involves lots of sitting down and long days meant I wasn't making time for physical activity. So, I took a deep breath and weighed myself for the first time in years. EEEEK. It was worse than I had imagined. I am the heaviest I have ever been in my whole life. This called for action. Within half an hour I joined Weight Watchers Online and started making a plan. The first step was to throw out all the unhealthy food in the house because if it's there I'll probably eat it. When I say unhealthy food I'm not talking soft drink, chips, lollies, cake, buns, pies or junk food. I don't buy those things and really don't eat them very often. There was a packet of bought biscuits that went in the bin. Then I made a big list of good food and hit the grocery shop on Sunday morning. Recipes in hand I spent the day cutting up fruit, celery and carrot for snacks, and cooking meals for the freezer in acceptable portions. I made some raspberry and banana muffins from the WW site and froze them in ones. I also made lite jelly and started planning my menu for the next day. So after a week of following the WW points plan I have been virtuously hungry some of the time. I have exercised every day - either walking or cycling for between 20 and 30 minutes - I'm starting slowly. I have realised that it wasn't that I was eating bad food, I was just eating too much of it at certain key meals. Breakfast has changed the most. I'm eating about a third of the cereal/muesli I was having but I'm eating way more fruit. The other thing to go is the daily takeaway coffee as even though it was skim milk, one coffee a day was blowing my dairy intake over the top. And bread has become a sometimes food instead of an every day food. This is sad because I love bread. I'm allowed a treat once a week which I had this morning in a large chai latte and delicious BLT. Any results? Well I decided I would measure my waist and weigh myself once a week. I measured my waist today and have lost 2cm. I haven't weighed myself yet today, but I cheated and snuck in a "weigh in" on Thursday. I had lost 1.7 kilos. Hurrah.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

an at home weekend

Well it's been a big February so far. It took two weeks for me to be able to move back into my house properly. Even though I was sleeping here after a week of the flooding I had no hot water system so was living a strangely displaced existence with half my clothes at my parents' so I could shower there and get to and from work in a relatively respectable fashion. Then just as I got back to work it was time to high-tail it to Brisbane to the wonderful NLS6 conference. It was an amazing relief to escape Bundaberg. The conference was awesome. I got to listen and talk to lots of fantastic people. I also did some shopping therapy before leaving to come back home. Finally on Friday a new hot water system was installed and I felt like I could really move back home properly. So this weekend I have been nesting. The fridge and cupboards were bare so I went shopping and filled them up. I have cooked all day today to restock the freezer with meals. I've made an Irish stew, spaghetti bolognese, raspberry and banana muffins, fruit salad for the week and jelly. I have healthy fruit everywhere and am enjoying lovely cups of tea made in my own kitchen. I can even wash up without boiling the kettle first. Yes, I do realise these are all first world problems but they're my first world problems so I'll take responsibility for that. Yesterday I sewed and nearly finished my dark green dress. I also went out and bought some cute blue shoes from Saskia's after a delicious chai latte and bacon and egg burger breakfast. And then in the afternoon I had a gorgeous nap on my lounge. It seems like months since I had such a beautiful at home weekend. And joy of joys, on Thursday I nabbed my They Might Be Giants tickets for May 8 in Brisbane. And the next day I'm flying to Tasmania for a ten day holiday. Things are looking up!

Friday, February 1, 2013

The river ran through us

After waiting for the Burnett River to peak all night Monday and into Tuesday it stopped at around 9.5 metres. I spent Tuesday obsessively checking the BOM flood warnings and gaining a new insight into things like catchment areas, rises, falls and just how water works. Ultimately, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world because although the water seeped into my newly renovated garage/music room, it DID NOT go through the main house. What an amazing relief. And even though once the water receded the yard stunk like an old chook pen or stagnant pond I didn't care. My little house had looked the record flood water in the face and like Gandalf in LOTR it said "YOU SHALL NOT PASS" (or whatever it is Gandalf says if indeed it is Gandalf). So much of Bundaberg has not been as fortunate as me. North Bundaberg looks like a war zone. There are gaping holes in the road that are up to 20 metres deep and 100 metres long, houses have moved from the stumps sometimes all the way down the road. Others have been completely destroyed and so many more will contain the ruins of people's belongings. As yet we have not heard officially of any loss of life in that area but I worry that it is only a matter of time. After the initial joy at my own good fortune I felt a little bit guilty. How and why could I be so relieved when so many others were still devastated? I know there's no real rhyme or reason to it. That's what makes it seem even more awful and unfair. Tomorrow residents of North Bundaberg are going to be allowed to cross the bridge and look at their houses, or where their houses once were. I can't begin to imagine what that would be like. The recovery for them (if that is indeed the right word) will be slow and long and no doubt painful and frustrating. People help in any way they can. After I got myself mostly organised with my house, I figured if I could only help a few people that would be better than no help at all. I gave clothes to a piano student who had to be evacuated from her North Bundaberg home with her husband, young son and twin daughters. They are living with friends. She was delighted because it turned out that water hadn't actually risen as high as the ceiling. My mum and sister and I cleaned out our wardrobes and took clothes to one of the many evacuation centres. I bought up big on soap, shampoo, deodorant, breakfast cereal, bread and fruitcakes and took them to another evacuation centre. I gave a blanket extension to all students in my course. Their final assignment was to be due on Monday. After about the 20th student emailing or phoning in the last couple of days, all with stories of the flood, our university deadlines paled into insignificance. These students needed compassion and support. As educators we are to provide them with that as best we can. No doubt there will be more to do in the days and weeks and months ahead. I'm ready. I think Bundaberg is too.