Friday, April 29, 2011

A New Goal!



Starting weight: 80.5 kg

Last week's weight: 71.1 kg

Current weight: 70.2 kg

Loss this week: 0.9 kg

Things are going well in the weight loss department. I seem to have conquered my need to constantly check my weight and I don't appear to have plateaued yet!

I have now reached an exciting stage in my Weight Watchers journey. Because I have lost 10% of my weight, I have been given the option to either move on the the maintenance plan or set a new goal weight.

I don't know how it works if you go to meetings, but I like this about the online plan. It means that WW acknowledges the fact that I've lost a significant amount of weight, am much healthier than I was before, and may want to just work on maintaining this loss. I think this would be a perfectly valid choice for lots of people, particularly if the 10% loss had put them within the healthy weight range for their height, or if the loss had taken a long time and they needed a break from losing for a while.

For me however, the healthy weight range is 50 - 62 kg, so I still have a way to go. And the loss hasn't taken very long, only 11 weeks, so I'm still feeling motivated and ready to keep going.

So I've set a new goal: 57 kg

I know it's pretty light (only about 125 pounds) but I'm short and I weighed in the 50-55 kg range when I was first married so I think it's probably do-able.

Onward and upward, or should that be downward?

Now I highly recommend that you click on the button at the top of this post and go visit Brandy at You Don't Know. She has a picture of her toxic toe blister that you just have to see! (She's a runner now.)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Anzac Day


On April 25, 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps - ANZACs) formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany. It was the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.



The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated, after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers had been killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli had made a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.

It is the day we remember all Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The spirit of ANZAC, with its human qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity.



I believe that Anzac Day has become the most universally significant holiday for Australians because the focus is squarely on our servicemen and women and their courage and sacrifice. There is no glorification of war, nor is there political debate on Australia's part in current conflicts. We pause to reflect and remember.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Addicted to weighing and trying to avoid the dreaded plateau



Starting weight: 80.5 kg

Last week's weight: 71.5 kg

Current weight: 71.1 kg

Loss this week: 0.4 kg

I was totally disappointed this week on weigh day. Why? Because a couple of days earlier I weighed myself and got 70.8 kg and I thought I might even get down to 70.5 kg and post a 1 kg loss. Then I got on the scales on "the day" and got 71.1 kg. Boo :(

Now that I've got my fabulous fancy scales I'm getting a little bit addicted to weighing myself. I really should restrict myself to once a week on weigh day only. How often do you weigh?

Now that the weather is getting a bit cooler and less humid here, I've started going for longer walks to amp up my exercise a bit. I've still got quite a lot of weight to lose and I'm concerned that the rate of loss is dropping off and that soon I'm going to plateau. I'm trying a pre-emptive strike of extra exercise to avoid this. I guess I'm concerned that my body will get used to working with less calories and will become more efficient and I'll stop losing weight. Does this happen? Does anyone else out there worry about things like that?

Now I'm going to do a bad, bad thing. I'm guessing that this post might get more traffic than my usual ones due to the fact that I'm linking up with Brandy at You Don't Know. So I'm going to include a link to my last post in the hope that if you're visiting from Brandy's blog, you might click on the link and check it out.

http://readersrandomramblings.blogspot.com/2011/04/you-host-me-and-ill-host-you.html

And if you haven't come from Brandy's blog then you should definitely click on the button at the top of this post and go visit her straight away!

You host me and I'll host you!

Plans for my World Tour 2012 are underway. The money for airfares is in the bank, so the biggest obstacle has been removed. Hooray!

(It turns out that we have built up a fair bit of equity in our house over the almost sixteen years that we have been paying it off, so the bank was happy to loan us a bit more!)

As you may know, I've been searching for potential house-swappers so as to eliminate the need to pay for accomodation. With accomodation costs minimised, the family and I will be able to holiday for much longer and really have an authentic experience of living in another country, rather than just playing tourist for a short visit.

The good news is...

...two different families in two different countries have offered to host my family! How kind and hospitable and wonderful!

The first family is an older couple who live in England. They are the parents of a very good friend of mine who have a large house in Exeter and have said that they would be glad to have us stay with them! How exciting! I am beginning to investigate things to see and do in both the immediate vicinity and further afield. Of course we'll have to see the sights of London; and I quite fancy getting "Lost in Austen" and my "Potter On".

We're also quite keen on popping over the channel to France! With a bit of luck and good timing, my sister and her family might be in Paris and able to show us around. They are hoping to houseswap with two different families, one in Paris and one in a small town in the Brittany region of France.

But that's not all! One of my blogging buddies who shall remain anonymous has offered us accomodation somewhere in the US! (I'm keeping it a bit mysterious at the moment until all the details are hammered out. It's still over a year until we'll be there and I want to give her every opportunity to back out if she needs to!) The most exciting part about it is that it's not an actual houseswap. She'll be there to host us during our stay! I cannot tell you how excited I am about meeting her in person and being shown around her town! I think we are going to have so much fun and paint the town red!

I'm really, really hoping that I'll be able to repay the hospitality by hosting her and her family one day when she visits Australia. I'm already planning all the things we'll be able to do and all the places I want to take her and things I want to show her! I think that this "you host me and then I'll host you" is soooo much better than an actual houseswap. So much more fun!

So as you can see, I was not kidding when I called my holiday plans my "world tour". We're definitely doing the UK, some of Europe, and some of the US!

Would you like to jump on board?

Would you consider letting my family stay with you next year? We'd happily sleep on mattresses on your floor or even camp in your yard! (We're planning on coming during the northern summer.) Don't make a quick decision. Just think about it. Obviously we'd have to get to know each other well over the next year to make sure that we trust each other. It's not an offer to make lightly. But if you hosted our family on our adventure, we'd be happy to repay the favour by hosting you on your Australian adventure.

I'm so looking forward to your comments!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Alana!


My beautiful girl turned 13 yesterday. I'm so proud of her! It's difficult for me to find the words to express how much I love her.



Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Discovery of Witches


If you're a sucker for a vampire (pardon the pun!) then you'll love A Discovery of Witches.

Likewise if you enjoy historical fiction or are interested in the birth of scientific thought.

Diana Bishop is a historian who specialises in the history of science. She's also a witch, descended from a long line of celebrated and powerful witches and wizards on both sides of her lineage. Studying in Oxford to prepare for a keynote address on Alchemy, Diana inadvertently finds a long lost manuscript said to hold the secret of the origin of witches, vampires and daemons.

The discovery of this manuscript puts Diana in grave danger, and as a reluctant witch who has never learned to harness her powers, she needs help to protect herself. Enter a tall, dark stranger...

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which I bought as a school holiday treat for myself. I tried hard to ration out my reading time to make it last, but here I am not half-way through the holidays and I've finished it already! I passed it on to Alana because I think she'll enjoy it too.

Much of the action is set in libraries - perfect for me! Along the way, Diana comes into contact with many old and valuable books, and explores them for clues to explain the source of her power and the relationships between witches, vampires, daemons and humans. If you have read Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code etc) and enjoyed his exploration of symbology, then you'll find the discussion of Alchemy and the illustrations and poetry employed by ancient scholars fascinating.

If you've ever fallen in love with an overprotective and morally upstanding vampire (Edward anyone? Stephan?) then you'll truly appreciate Matthew Clairmont. A knight who hunts animals rather than humans and has senses so acute that he can smell what Diana is thinking...what's not to love?

This book is the first of a trilogy and certainly ends leaving you wanting more. Damn that cliffhanger ending!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Attack of the Killer Sausage Rolls



So I told you all last week about my new scales. I've weighed myself on the old scales and the new scales and I've tried to figure out the difference all mathematically.

New, adjusted starting weight: 80.5 kg

Current weight on whizz-bang scales: 71.5 kg

So, although it looks like I've gained weight since last week's post, let's focus on the big picture and notice that I've lost a total of 9 kg! Yay! And who am I kidding? No-one other than me is really paying that close attention to the numbers anyway.

I feel like I've settled into a reliable routine when it comes to what I'm eating. It feels pretty easy. The problem comes when I have to eat out. Here are some examples:

I managed to offend a relative by refusing her home-made sausage rolls at a family birthday party. They were hors d'oeuvres before the main meal, so it wouldn't have been a big deal that I didn't eat any, except that my mum helpfully said something along the lines of, "That's how you're losing so much weight, Fiona, by not eating things like these sausage rolls!". Helpful. Later when I had a glass of wine with my meal, the sausage roll maker said, "Is wine allowed on your diet?" rather archly. Oooops.





After a family Christening, everyone decamped to the nearest pub for a celebratory light lunch. It was all finger food: crackers with cheese and cabanossi, pies, quiches and sausage rolls (again!), fried chicken pieces and cake. I'm serious, there was not a vegetable in sight, nor a healthy, low-points option. Now I could have just not eaten, but I was hungry because we'd had to leave home about an hour and a half before the Christening to travel. And then the service went for a loooooong time. And I knew I had a long drive home. So I nibbled on a spinach and cheese triangle and half a mini quiche and wished for a glass of wine but didn't want to waste the points on one since I was already eating buttery pastry and cheese.

It's Alana's birthday on Monday. We're going out for dinner with some of her friends to GPK - Gourmet Pizza Kitchen. They have a huge range of toppings so I'm really hoping that I'll be able to find something with lots of vegies that I can relax and enjoy. I know that WW includes extra weekly points for just these sorts of occasions, so I'm hoping to use some of my extras for birthday cake!


How do you manage when you have to eat out?

{This post is part of Brandy at You Don't Know Fat Ass Friday. Click the button at the top of the post to visit Brandy and/or play along.}

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Easter Bunny's Early Arrival

Even though the title of my most recent post included the words "Yay for shopping!", I don't really enjoy shopping. What I like is buying. Notice the subtle difference?

There's been quite a lot of buying going on at my place lately. We got a little cash injection via the bank to fund some orthodontic work for the kids and our planned holiday overseas next year. And while there's money to be spent, you can be sure that we can find things to spend it on.

We went shopping - the whole family - after Alana's ballet eisteddfod yesterday. We needed some stuff, like new shoes for the kids and new clothes for the husband. So we hit Erina Fair.

The husband likes shopping. He's a browser. We head into a shop with a specific item to get, and before we've taken three steps in the door he's become distracted by something hanging in his eyeline. Or we'll be striding down the mall, headed to a particular shop, and he'll veer off into a store just because something catches his eye! The people that design shopping centres in order to get you to part with as much of your money as possible have really got his number.

Anyway, while we were in KMart, supposedly looking for some new school shoes for Alana, the husband called me over to the home entertainment section. Uh oh. He showed me a Wii package and looked hopefully at me. He's been wanting a Wii for a long time, like since Christmas. He suggested that we ask the children if they'd like a Wii for Easter instead of chocolate.

What's a girl to do? A Wii definitely wasn't on the shopping list. We've got plenty of things to spend our money on that we really need. But the husband works hard and he deserves a treat. So I put on my serious face, found the kids, and put it to them: no chocolate for Easter, but instead a Wii. What do you think they said?

Now it's the first day of the school holidays and the Wii has been on since the crack of dawn. The husband is at work and I am wrangling the fights over turns. I wonder how the kids will feel on Easter morning when there's no chocolate? That's still two weeks away, enough time for them to forget that no chocolate was part of the deal.

Do you enjoy shopping with the family?

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Scales! Yay for shopping!

Starting weight: 78 kg

Weight last week: 72 kg

Current weight: 70.5 kg

Weight loss this week: 1.5 kg

Guess what? I went shopping yesterday and bought myself a whiz-bang set of digital scales. You know the fancy-pants ones that calculate your body fat percentage, muscle mass, bone density and body water percentage? Yeah, those ones. You are so jealous right now, aren't you? The scales were on special at Myer for $55 down from $149.95. Bargain!
 
I've tried them out and guess what? My old scales weren't giving me a very accurate weight. Who'da thunk it? So, boo, I'm actually heavier than I thought :( It doesn't take away my weight loss, it just means that I was heavier than I thought at the beginning :( Unless I have a super weight loss week it probably means that I'll show a gain next week because I'll start using the correct measurements.
 
Now click on the button below and go visit Brandy. I'm posting this even though she hasn't put her Fat Ass Friday post up yet because I know I'm going to be busy tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Graduation Roadtrip

Last week Chris and I took a mini road trip to Wagga for my graduation. Here are some maps to show you where we went. I'm starting with a map of the whole of Australia, then zooming in progressively so you can see our actual route.




It was about five and a quarter hours driving each way, and we only had one night's accomodation, so we didn't really leave time for much in the way of sight-seeing. I think that was a real mistake, as I'd never been to Wagga before. What we should have done was make a week's holiday of it and take the kids with us, but that just didn't seem like a viable option when we were planning. I'd definitely like to go back again.

The countryside that we drove through was what seems to me to be typical Australian farmland. I've enjoyed a fair few family holidays driving through New South Wales, and though I've seen it all before, it never fails to lift my spirits to see it again.



The above photos were taken near Gundagai. We stopped at "The Dog on the Tucker Box" on the way home because I'd never seen it before. Let me tell you a little bit about Gundagai and the dog...

First listen to this popular old bush song, sung by Australian country music legend Slim Dusty.





Now here comes a confession to my lack of Australian historical knowledge.

I knew the song, I knew it well, I'd sung it many times. But I did not know what on earth the dog on the tuckerbox was all about. I'd heard of it, of course. I know that "tucker" is Aussie slang for food, so I know that a tuckerbox is something you keep your food in. I knew that it was a story from Australia's pioneering days. I had some notion in the back of my head that it was a monument to a wonderful, loyal dog who had guarded a drover's food. But I didn't really know.

 We got to the dog.



And there I read this poem:

I'm used to punchin' bullock teams across the hills and plains.
I've teamed outback for forty years through bleedin' hail and rain.
I've lived a lot of troubles down, without a bloomin' lie,
But I can't forget what happened just five miles from Gundagai.

'Twas getting dark, the team got bored, the axle snapped in two.
I lost me matches and me pipe, so what was I to do?
The rain it was coming on, and hungry too was I,
And me dog shat in me tucker-box five miles from Gundagai.

Some blokes I know have stacks of luck, no matter where they fall,
But there was I, Lord love a duck, no bloody luck at all.
I couldn't heat a pot of tea or keep me trousers dry,
And me dog shat in me tucker-box five miles from Gundagai.

Now, I can forgive the bleedin' team, I can forgive the rain.
I can forgive the damp and cold and go through it again.
I can forgive the rotten luck, but 'ang me till I die,
I can't forgive that bloody dog, five miles from Gundagai.

Um, what?!?

That's the dog we build a monument to?

Anyway, as to the graduation itself, you can read all about it at my "other" blog here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Presents

I'm way overdue in showing you the rest of the contents of the package that Dillypoo sent me. I'm sure she's going to be embarrassed if I make too much of a fuss, but I really wanted to show you all what fabulous stuff she sent me. Waaaaay better than the stuff I sent her!


I looooove this all natural Lavender soap. It smells divine!



Something to put on my toast when I don't feel like Vegemite!





Cute! I'm guessing that the Armadillo is the state animal of Texas :)



Hahaha, I didn't mean to look so serious in this photo!



Lots of books! I've got enough recipes to cook something new every day, I'm practising my Texan twang, and I know just what to see and do when my family visits Texas.



I haven't used this cookie-cutter-in-the-shape-of-Texas yet. It's quite big, so I'd have to make quite a bit of dough to use it!



I have all four of the personalised tags Dillypoo got us on my keys. It makes me smile to see them there!



Last but not least, Dillypoo included a set of cards with pictures of "The Professor"'s artwork. Go here if you're curious and want to find out more!

Many, many thanks to the ever-delightful Dillypoo for all the gifts that she sent. She'll know better next time that international postage is a lot more than domestic!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fat Ass Friday, again.

Hey y'all.

Are you getting sick of me saying y'all yet?

Guess what? I went on a road trip this week! To attend my graduation, so I'm now officially a Master of Education, fat lot of good it's doing getting me a job. So yay for me!

Here's a picture of me in my gown, hood and trencher.


I'll write more about my graduation road trip when I get around to it. Anyway, on with the show...

Starting weight: 78 kg
Weight a fortnight ago: 73 kg
Current weight: 72 kg
Weight loss this fortnight: 1 kg

I missed last week's festivities due to package excitement and a Texan Feast.

I still feel like I don't have confidence in the weight loss that I've achieved so far. I feel like I'll step on the scales and suddenly discover that I'm right back where I started. My clothes and the tape measure are telling me that I'm getting slimmer, but I just don't feel like it's really sticking yet. Any of you guys feel the same?

I really wish I had a set of digital scales. I'm doing WW Online, so I weigh at home, and my scales are the old-fashioned dial sort. I can step on them three times and get three different weights. I step on and off about ten times and adjust the little knob to make sure the needle is pointing EXACTLY at zero before I finally record my weight. It's annoying. So if there are any digital scale manufacturers out there reading this, please send me a set and I promise I'll mention your brand and promote it to death!

Thanks for all the encouragement everyone. I love all your comments.

Now click on the button below so you can visit Brandy. While you're there, I recommend watching the video of her Zumba-ing!