Wednesday, September 29, 2010


My Grandma is gravely ill at the moment. She turned 94 in August. Her health has been declining in the past couple of years, but so much more in the past 6 months that she doesn't really go out much anymore & can barely see. She developed a cold last week, which turned into a chest infection. Antibiotic's picked her up after a couple of days, but then rapidly declined & now has a lot of fluid on her lungs, is on oxygen full time & her heart is not really coping.

My cousin Jax & I did an emergency trip down to Port Fairy (3.5hrs from Melbourne) & back on Sunday, wanting to see her, as this is probably it. Although Mum (nurse) said she could take 6 hours to 6 weeks to pass. She is still hanging in there, but they've moved her to the Palliative Care part of the hospital since Sunday, as she needs more care, ie someone to feed her, look after her comfort, cleanliness etc & there is not enough nurses per resident where she is to provide the higher care needed.

My sis said "the room she is now in is beautiful – more spacious & modern with couch & tea/coffee making facilities for family & friends, big window, nice outlook, nicer bigger bathroom etc. It’s the room where people see out their last days. She is only allowed to be there for 2 weeks though. So if nothing happens in 2 weeks she will then probably have to be moved to Belfast House which is where all the bedridden oldies end up where life basically consists of food/fluid in food/fluid out.

I suppose it’s just a matter of making her as comfortable as possible & seeing what happens."

While I am quite OK with the fact that she has had a long & fulfilling life & is ready to go - she actually told me this on Sunday - I am still feeling quite sad. It is also difficult waiting & I've been a bit on edge, waiting for the call.

Plumbing Boy & I had already planned to go this weekend to catch up with family & see Grandma anyway, & Jax & her brother J are coming as well. J hasn't seen Grandma yet, so for his sake I hope she hangs in there. I just want her to be out of pain & at peace. She's been "seen too" in Grandma's words, by the local minister & has her affairs in order. It's just a matter of how long her body hangs in there, now that her mind seems ready to let go.

Grandma just before her 90th Birthday August 2006

An interview with Grandma (Mum's Mum) about her life before she got married.

Rita Jean, Born Geelong West 20/8/1916

Father – Stewart b. Londonderry Nth Ireland
Mother – Alice Elizabeth b. Ceres Victoria
They married 9/8/1915

Younger siblings - Jack & Leila

I started school with my cousin Keith on my 6th birthday - 20th August 1922. We walked from Autumn Street in Geelong West (just close to Elizabeth Street) to Neossia state school. It was quite a long walk for six year olds. We were met by our teachers Miss McAuliffe and Miss Salmon. We lived in Minerva Road – the last house from the cemetery. I remained there with my brother, sister and cousins Mavis and Keith until my family moved to Mt Moriac.

Our home was the old police station (with lockup which was later taken away) next door to school number 1609 and the teachers’ house. After primary school I attended secondary school for years 7 & 8 in Geelong, boarding with Aunty Jean in Minerva Road. This became too expensive for the family & when correspondence lessons became available I returned to Mt Moriac primary school to do years 9 & 10. I was helped by the teacher who was a likeable man and his wife was a sewing mistress who taught me sewing, fancy work and knitting.

In my time at Mt Moriac, a Queen competition was held with Dulcie M, Thelma T, Lilias D and Alma G raising money for the tennis club. Dulcie raised the most money. I played the piano and read a poem. A Young Peoples club was formed in Mt. Moriac and we played table tennis against other towns in the Barrabool Shire such as Moriac, Modewarre, Ceres and Waurn Ponds. I can remember winning the Ladies Championship from Ellie Q in three sets by winning the last set 23-20 after being down 10-20!

The family spent some time at Torquay in a tent when my father was working on the Great Ocean Road. I have a photo of my mother cooking on an old fashioned wooden stove. Later we rented a house in Anglesea with Eric H who worked under Pop. The house was behind the Post Office, near a tennis court and the river. I learned to dog paddle from one set of steps to the other and eventually across the river – my only swimming lessons!

After finishing the Intermediate, I sat for a Commonwealth Service examination for telephonists in reading, writing and arithmetic. 900 sat for the exam in Melbourne. Before going to Melbourne I did some housekeeping and then worked with Marion in a “milk bar/café” at Angahook – Anglesea. Leila came down later and looked after the owner’s children. Marion later bought the shop which became known as Marion’s. After 3 months I was called to the Spencer Street Post Office for 6 weeks tuition before being sent to the Central Exchange. There were 5 girls in our group and I have kept in contact with Nell W for 70 years.

I was employed at the Central Telephone Exchange in Lonsdale Street at the local call switchboard with a couple of hundred other girls. My first pay was 36 shillings but after 12 months rose to 2 pounds. I could afford a trip home to Mt. Moriac as previously I needed to work a Saturday or Sunday for extra money to pay for a train ticket.

We worked a 48 hour week with some weekend work and shifts were between 7.30 AM & 10 PM. The technicians took over at 10, as females did not have to work the night shift. Once a technician took us underground to see the cabling and we followed them via tunnel to the Elizabeth Street Post Office.

I boarded first with a former teacher at Ascot Vale, then the Salvation Army Hostel in the city and later in Albert Park. I would catch the cable tram to Market Street. We would often sit on the outside and they seemed to go round the corners faster than on the straight line! Spare time was spent doing “fancy work”.

I travelled home to Geelong every 1 or 2 months by train. I worked there for about 2 years and came back to get married to Clifford Hugh on the 14th of April 1937. Female Government employees had to resign when they married. Automatic telephones were being introduced as I left. Walkabout magazine took my photograph sitting at the trunk line switchboard and it was not until after I was married that a former work mate saw the photo on display at Yarraville Post Office for promotional purposes.

My mother - Alice entered cooking in local shows around Geelong & as far as Colac. She won the Geelong aggregate 2 years in succession. The trophies were 2 silver trays donated by GJ Coles. Alice cooked plain food ie meat & vegetables but had some family recipies for sweets & cakes. She cooked for the Barabool Shire Council meetings and hosted them in our own home (at Mt Moriac)! My earliest memory of cooking aged 6 – making scones; otherwise I can only remember being allowed cook cakes.

I can remember entering some shows as a teenager at Mt Moriac, Modewarre & Waurn Ponds. I cannot remember entering any more shows until the end of child rearing ie Koroit – cooking and flowers? I was taught fancy work by a Mrs. Fitzbibbon? My first entry in lace work was rejected because the judge thought it was shop made! It was done on unworked muslin given to me by my school teacher’s wife (a sewing teacher) who was disgusted when she could not change the judge’s mind.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

FFF Challenge After W12

Thought I'd better do a proper weigh in & stats after being slack for the past couple of weeks.

I'm still .5kg heavier that the LIGHTEST I've been on this challenge. In 12 weeks I've really not achieved that much, but I think I'm really just starting to get into the zone. I've cut out booze Sunday - Thursday which will have to help, so long as I don't look for other sweet treats. I'm getting into running a bit more & ran a personal best distance wise last night of 7kms. I was stoked!!!

Weigh this week: 63.5kgs
Lost/gain this week: -.5kgs

Measurements (Starting after week 1):
Waist (Belly Button): 88cms; W12 82cms (lowest on this challenge is 81cms)
Pot Belly: 94cms; W 12 89cms (lowest to date!!!!)
Butt (broadest part): 108cms; W 12 104cms (lowest, but has remained the same for 6 weeks)
Bust: 97cms; W2 95cms; W12 92cms (lowest, but has remained the same for 4 weeks)

Total since W2: -20cms

Body Fat Percentage After Week 8: 24% haven’t measured, will do this monthly. No change @ week 12

My maths have been a bit off lately - I thought I had 3 weeks til my birthday, then another 3 til we went on our big dive trip. My birthday falls in the middle of week 3; holidays will effectively start after week 5 (as in won't be able to exercise in week 6). I definitely won't be able to run 100kms before we go, but I'm going to aim for 15 kms per week.

My right hip is a bit sore after yesterday's effort, so I don't think I'll be able to go running tonight; I've got visitors Friday - Sunday so not sure how I'll go sneaking off to the gym, but I'm keen!!!!

Thanks for the lovely comments I received on my last post. Seriously, I can remember only being able to run for 1 minute at a time. I can also remember the first repetition of bicep curls I did. I was using a 1kg weigh & 6 broke me. Wuss bag or what! You will be surprised how quickly your fitness improves once you get into it!!!!!

Week 12: Thursday September 16th – Wednesday September 22nd

Thursday 16th September

B: Juice, Coffee, Porridge with honey & plain yogurt

S: Salad w Vegemite

L: Chicken Burger with chili; Apple

D: Lasagna & salad

***No Booze

Friday 17th September

B: Juice, Coffee, porridge with honey & plain yogurt

S: Vitawheat

L: Tuna & salad

D: Chicken Parma w veg n salad
Cider x 3

Saturday 18th September

B: 2 x poached eggs on toast; tea

L: shared salad, fries, trout, chicken skewers, dips & 2 bottles of wine with the girls

D: Chicken snitz; 3 cheese potato bake & salad (at a friends)
Cider & vodka lime & soda’s

Exercise: 5km run

Sunday 19th September

B: Tea, Coffee

L: Rice Crackers with sour cream & chili, Ham, sweet potato chips with mayo, left over cold chicken

D: Tomato/Bacon/Eggplant pasta
***No Booze

Monday 20th September

B: Juice, Coffee, Porridge with honey & yogurt

L: Steamed veg with cold chicken & small portion of Jax tuna pasta; apple; tea

D: Chicken Curry (no rice)

***No Booze

Tuesday 21st September

B: Juice, Coffee, Toast with Banana & Honey

L: Steamed veg with cold chicken; Apple

S: 10 pringles

D: Home made hamburger patties on lettuce, tomato, beetroot, with mayo & chili sauce; Red wine (had visitors)

Wednesday 22nd September

B: Juice, Coffee, Porridge with banana & honey

S: Coffee

L: Steamed veg n tuna; Apple

D: Steak & coleslaw of red cabbage, carrot, capsicum & asparagus

Exercise: 7km run!!!!!
***no booze

Week 11: Thursday September 9th – Wednesday September 15th

Thursday 9th September - Port Douglas

Friday 10th September - Port Douglas

Saturday 11th September - Port Douglas

Sunday 12th September - Port Douglas

Monday 13th September

B: Juice, Coffee, Ham, Cheese & tomato toasty

L: Nurse Noodles; apple

S: Rice Crackers & Sour Cream

D: Steak & Salad; Cointreau & Soda

Tuesday 14th September

B: Juice, Coffee, Porridge with honey & plain yogurt

L: left over pasta with tuna; apple

S: Rice crackers & SC.

D: Pork Chops, spuds, pears, rocket & spinach;

Exercise: 5km Run
***No booze

Wednesday 15th September

B: Juice, Coffee, Porridge with honey & plain yogurt

S: Viatawheat

L: Turkey & lettuce sandwich; apple

S: Rice crackers with sour cream

D: 6 x oysters; chicken n veg stir fry (no rice or noodles)

Exercise: 1Hr THT class; 15 min power walk on tready
***no booze

Week 10: Thursday September 2nd – Wednesday September 8th

Thursday 2nd September

B: Juice (1); Coffee (1); Honey on Toast (4)

S: Birthday cake (NFI)

L: Chicken Stick (5) & 2 x steamed dimmies (3)

D:Lasagna with steamed veg (5?)

Total: 19 plus cake
Exercise: Run 4.5kms/25 minutes plus warm up & cool down.

Friday 3rd September

B: Juice (1.5); Plunger Coffee (1); Tomato on Toast (4); tea

S: Birthday cake (NFI); tea

L: Left over steamed veg with 1 x hard boiled egg (2)

D: Indian (out for dinner)

TOTAL: Free Day
EXERCISE: 20 minute run

Saturday 4th September

Didn't record

Sunday 5th September

Didn't record

Monday 6th September

Didn't record

Tuesday 7th September

Didn't record

Wednesday 8th September

Went to Port Douglas - Didn't record

Monday, September 20, 2010


I've dabbled in running on & off for a while now. I don't exactly love it, but it does give me happy endorphins (just ask my cuz, I was "boinging" off the walls on Saturday).

I usually run for a time period, instead of distance. I created a play list to suit, that had me running for 20 minutes. I've gradually been increasing the speed, sometimes doing a sprint in the middle & I usually do a 1 minute sprint at the end. Recently I became curious about the distance. I've been reading about goal setting a bit & of course like many peeps don't really have any exercise goals other than to be fitter & more toned which are a bit general.

So. A couple of weeks ago I took note of the distance I run in 20 minutes, which was just under 4kms (excluding warm up & cool down). Hmm. That's not far off 5kms. I set a goal to be running 5kms by my birthday. Before we went away I pushed myself one night to 4.5kms.

Last Tuesday night I said "bugger it" I recon you can do 5kms. So I did! My knees were a bit sore towards the end, & it didn't help I was on one of the "dumb" machines (our gym has 2 types of treadys & I like the OTHER ones but they were all in use), which automatically stopped at 30 minutes (I was unaware of this) when I was in full flight & had to reset it. I could have quit, but didn't! Bloody tready. I'm also a bit prone to blistering the instep of my left arch, true to form, one grew.

Saturday morning I had another crack on a "good" tready (with taped up blister) & again made the 5kms; this time without sore knees. I am gonna try now & do 5kms 3 times a week til my birthday (only 3 weeks away). I'm kind of thinking I'd like to then work up to 10kms, just to see if I can do it! Perhaps that will counter all the social excesses in the lead up to Christmas :0)

Between by birthday & our oversea's dive trip, I've got another 3 weeks, so hopefully I will have vastly improved my cardio fitness by then. Perhaps I should aim to run 100kms in the 6 weeks between now, & then :0)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Angus Pt 2

So. We left work a bit early last Wednesday & arrived at airport in time for a quick beer before boarding our flight. Unfortunately, we went via Brisbane (both ways) as we booked at the last minute & they were the only flights we could get on that suited.

On the upside, it must have been happy hour or something, as alcoholic bevvies were free! 2 hours & a couple of Sav/Blanc's later we touched down in Brissy, to find our departure gate was the same as our arrival gate! Easy Peasy. No more free drinks, so had a few waters to rehydrate, a bit of a nap & 2.10 hrs later we touched down in Cairns.

Our flight was arrived 20 mins early, but luckily my Cuz M had just arrived & we wandered straight out & into her Ute for the 45min drive up to Port Douglas. Home by 11.30pm, a bit of a natter & then we hit the sack.

Thursday we spent lazing by their pool & introducing ourselves to & making friends with her daughter (our goddaughter) R. A walk on the beach, then on to the park, then to the local cafe for coffee (or "fluff" as R calls her babychino's), then home. A Nana nap in the arvo & a bit of read. Perfect!

Friday M had made a few plans of things we could do as, it was R's usual day at Day Care. In the end R stayed with us as we were only there for a few days & Saturday we were out on the reef & R was with her Nana Wo Wo (Jo).

Again we just pottered about with M & R, catching up on family news & life before a late afternoon jaunt to the beach with a few bevvies & nibbles. M's husband S also had his Sis, her hubby & their 15 year old son staying.

The boy's had been off on a bit of a camping/fishing/boating adventure when we arrived. They returned Friday arvo & joined us down the beach. The mozzies kinda shut down the sunset watching & we wandered back home for an early night.

Up bright & early Sunday for a day out to the reef with Calypso.

I'd not been out on this vessel before, as M had worked on another boat which has since changed hands & all the old staff have moved on. It's about 1.5 - 2hours out to the reef, so we prepared our dive gear, had a coffee & got to know the dive instructor Jay on board.

Plumbing Boy, S & I ready for our first dive. S's BIL & son also did this dive with us. Pretty ordinary actually, we all had leaky or foggy masks & the site was really basic & not a lot to see. In my case, I spent most of the dive letting water into my mask & then clearing it to get rid of the fog!

M & her sis in law. Pretty much all of the boats that go out have an on board photographer who take pictures throughout the day & then flog them to you at the end of the dive. M has done this job on numerous boats before & had decided to buy the disc for S's sis & family, so worded the photographer up before hand to make sure he took plenty of pic's of our group. Don't you just love the number plate she is holding? The photographer does this with every single snorkeler! Bah!

M & Angus. Our second dive was much better, truck loads of fish & at the end of course was Angus. The photographer could pretty much grab his snout & push him into what ever position he wanted, thus able to take photo's with the snorkelers who could duck dive. How do you like M's fins? yes, there really are as big as they look. They are at least half her body length. Can you see her "bump"? She is due December 5th. She is only in around 6 metres of water here. She can free dive to around 15 metres when she's not preggers.

M & Angus again.

Me on the first dive. I can actually see here. The photographer asked us to do something fun when he was taking pictures. I am in the process of rolling over to stand on my head.

He'd moved on by the time I was inverted. The boat & Angus below. BTW Calypso was a really good vessel, the staff were all friendly & helpful & I'd highly recomend them.

Plumbing Boy & Angus

Both of us with Angus

& Again.

Our god daughter R.
I couldn't resist this picture of R's duckies all lined up along the edge of the bath tub; which is on the deck adjacent the pool!

We returned from the reef (obviously!) with out incident; well, other than having to do a Uie for the Captains daughter's hat which had blown overboard & slowing down for a pod of around 30 - 40 dolphins who were riding our bow wave so everyone could have a good look. Love dolphins!

We took M, S & R out for dinner Saturday night as a thank you for having us; always tricky with a toddler, but eventually R nodded off in the pram & M was able to eat her dinner in peace.

Sunday morning saw a big breaky & one last swim before we left for the airport & home. It was 30 degrees C every day with low's of 20; I almost defrosted! It was awesome to see my Cuz - she's a bit out of the family loop being so far away & she's a shocker with email etc, but she's recently joined FB so hopefully that will help. As always I am really grateful that I have such lovely relatives who like us enough to let us stay with them & who live is such awesome locations!

My FF& F challenge has not been going so well (hence the silence). I weighed in before I left at 65kgs (which was my original start weight). Today I weighed in at 64kgs. I'll do a proper weigh in next week with measurements n all. After seeing my cuz & feeling my lack of cardio fitness with diving we are both on a mission to improve our fitness before our big dive trip in November. Watch this space.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Angus Pt 1

I'm Baaack.

We had 4 nights in beautiful Port Douglas with my cuz & her hubby; met our God Daughter (almost 2); met the bump (expected Dec 5th); swam, ate, drank & spent 1 day out on the great barrier reef where we met Angus.

I patted Angus - he's Maori Wrass, with a weakness for roast beef according to the photographer.

More later.........................

Saturday, September 4, 2010


My sister has new chickens, which have finally started laying. Don't ask what happened to the last lot (not sure if you remember the rooster named Love?). She emailed me this picture yesterday. The brown ones are shop bought. Apparently one chook lays blueish tinged eggs, the other greenish.

I'd love to have chooks one day. But then again, you have to be around to feed them. That "one day" I also hope to be rich & flitting about the world on my private jet. I suspect I'll be getting the chickens, before the jet :0)

Speaking of jets, we are off to Port Douglas on Wednesday night after work for a long weekend. Last year (?) my cousin asked us to be god parents to her daughter Roxy, who will be (oh lordy, just had to look back over emails - do you believe I don't seem to have the actual birth date!) 3 soon. We've yet to meet her.

Plumbing Boy was adamant that since my cuz couldn't make it to our wedding (because she was sneaking off to get hitched herself) that if they didn't come down to Melbourne this year, we'd go up there & he wanted to do it before we go away in November. Said cuz has another bun in the oven, due around December, so we can sort of meet the bump!

She has Roxy in day care on Friday's so if the weather is good, she insists we go out to the reef for a dive (she will snorkel) bless her. I'd probably be happy to laze about her swimming pool. I guess they are used to that life style & it doesn't seem like a treat. If the weather isn't so good, apparently we are going here.

Can't wait to feel that warm sun on my skin. Just in case you've forgotten what her place/swimming pool looks like go here to drool. Envious? Me too. I could so live there.

One day when I grow up.................................................

Friday, September 3, 2010

FFF Challenge After W9


Week 9: Thursday August 26th – Wednesday September 1st
Start Weigh: 65kgs
After Week 9: 63.5kgs

This Week: +.5. Ooops.

All in all pretty slack week. I had 2 free days & ate a quite a bit of lard laden food. I had a couple of very high point days when I was counting, I didn't do any pump classes, although managed 3 runs. I ate a fair bit of chocolate too, but there are times when a girl just has to have her chocolate if you know what I mean. The fear of bearing my body in bathers next week seems to have had little impact on my eating! I'm not overly concerned though. Perhaps I'll do better next week :-) OR NOT!

OK. stats for anyone who is remotely interested. I do appreciate this is all incredibly boring. I post it to TRY to keep myself honest.

Measurements (Starting after week 1):
Waist (Belly Button): 88cms; W8 81.5cms W9 83cms
Pot Belly: 94cms; W8 93cms W9 91.5cms
Butt (broadest part): 108cms; W8 104cms W9 104 cms
Bust: 97cms; W8 94cms W9 92cms

This week: -2cms
In reality, my waist measurement went up, my pot belly measurement counteracted that by going down the same amount, butt stayed the same & my boobies shrunk! Not really a true indication.

Total since W2: 16.50cms

Body Fat Percentage After Week 8: 24% haven’t measured, will do this monthly.

Exercise Goals:
Thursday Night: Rest
Friday night: Run/Walk & Cycle – 20 minute run
Saturday: Pump (depends if I have to help PB with heater installation) –
yes, I was a plumbers labourer. He had a site meeting first in Brighton, so I wore my gym gear & did my run again along the foreshore! Very posh running along Brighton beach.
Sunday: Zumba - no, too hung over
Monday: Pump - no
Tuesday: Rest -
20 minute run
Wednesday: Pump no. slacked off

Food Goals:
Didn't set any.

Had 2 x free days & averaged 23.6 points over the 5 days I did track.

Thursday 26th August

B: Juice (1) Plunger Coffee (1); 2 hard boiled eggs on toast (4)
S: Vitawheat (.75)
L: Evil burger pack. (20)
D: left over steamed veg with 1/2 tin tuna (1.5)

TOTAL: 27.5

Friday 27th August

B: Juice (1.5); Plunger Coffee (1); Honey on toast (4); tea
S: Plunger Coffee (1); 1/2 hard boiled egg (.5)
L: Left over steamed veg with 1/2 tin tuna 1 hard boiled egg (3)
D: Rack of Lamb with baked pumpkin & steamed cauli, broccoli, carrot & corn (7)

EXERCISE: 20 minute run + warm up & cool down

Saturday 28th August

S: Skinny Late (1)
B: 2 poached eggs on toast with bacon (shop bought, very average!) (6?); tea
L: Chicken Kebab (shop) guestimate (9)
S: Red Rock Chili & Sour Cream Chips (3)
D: Chicken & Mushroom pasta (10?); wine (lots)

TOTAL: Free Day
EXERCISE: 20 minute run + warm up & cool down.

Sunday 29th August

B: 2 Poached eggs on toast (4); tea
S: Rice crackers with sour cream (2)
D: Roast Pumpkin & mushroom risotto (???lots); garlic bread (???) wine (1.5)

TOTAL: free day again too

Monday 30th August

B: Orange Juice (1.5) Plunger coffee (1); Honey on Toast (4)
S: Vitawheat with peanut butter (1.5)
L: Steamed veg with hard boiled Egg (2); Apple (1)
S: Banana (1)
D: Steamed Veg with lamb curry sauce & ¼ Chapati (3); wine (3)

EXERCISE: Nil - piked

Tuesday 31st August

B: OJ (1.5); Coffee (1); Honey on Toast (4)
S: Vita wheat with peanut butter (1.5)
L: Left over veg with 1 x hard boiled egg (2)
S: 3 x Lindt Balls (6)
D: Rib Eye Steak with homemade oven fries & salad (10) wine (3)

TOTAL: 29 oopps

Wednesday 1st September

B: OJ (1); Coffee (1); Muffin (4)
S: Vita wheat with peanut butter (1.5)
L: Left over veg with 1 x hard boiled egg (2)
S: Lindt Balls x 4 (8) evil bloody chocolate.
D: Grilled chicken breast with salad & some grilled spud (5); Wine (3)

EXERCISE: does baking a birthday cake count???