Archive | October 2013

Hallowe’en, not dropping it

I thought I’d be strong. I thought I’d resist the lollies. But there’s something about an open bowl of lollies.

Teeth lollies. Who doesn’t love them? Full of memories of childhood and pretending you had false teeth.

And gob stoppers! Those mouth full of gum that parents banned.

Still, I think I have been somewhat restrained. Only one teeth lolly and four gob stoppers. Ending Droptober with some sugar. Oh well! Remember the no recriminations rule! It could have been worse. I could have eaten chocolates and biscuits today.

Most of the lollies have been given out. And I know my sons will save me from the rest.

Yes, I’m one of those. An Australian who loves Hallowe’en. As I don’t believe in supernatural beings, I don’t care about religious objections. And as I love a bit of fun, I don’t care about the objection that it is “American”.

I decorate my house in a modest way. As do some of my neighbours. I give out lollies. I used to dress up my sons. Now they are too old for it but one still loves seeing all the kids come and loves giving out lollies. He even rang me at work earlier today to ask where the lollies where so he could get ready for the kids.

After dark, we don’t get many knocks. Australian trick-or-treaters mainly come in the day light. Well, it is daylight savings. (And the kids here don’t really get the concept of trick or treat; some simply smile and ask for lollies, but they do dress up. Who doesn’t like an opportunity for fancy dress or playing dress-ups?) Householders who welcome kids hang out decorations or in the very least, black and orange balloons.

I actually wasn’t going to put up any decorations this year. I was exhausted from work and I thought my youngest son was past it. But a neighbour said I just had to. So in between exercises yesterday I popped up these:

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Last year’s effort:

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Mmmmm. The front shrubs need a pruning. Looked much neater last year.

When’s diiinnner?

In the main I have been careful to make sure I have food to eat at times I know I will be hungry. There has been one slip up – last Friday, when I ate the scones with cream and jam for morning tea.

One slip up, that is, until today.

Tonight was my husband’s turn to cook. I was starving. It was late. He was exercising. I ate a slice of bread with marg and honey and two handfuls of Nutrigrain. I could not stop. He would not cook dinner to my schedule. (I am channelling Hemingway with the short sentences and no adjectives or adverbs. Too hungry for superfluous words. See, I am really not myself; my verbose, loquacious self.)

My first real fail at a home in a time I know I normally get the hunger cravings.

Normally my darling husband likes to eat early and complains when I serve dinner after 7pm. I had to leave to go back to work at 7.10 and dinner wasn’t ready and it was after 6.30. If I had known it wouldn’t be ready in time, I would have cooked. Instead I tried to fill my stomach with things and whinge. Loudly. Repeatedly.

Getting shitty didn’t help me but I wasn’t going to let reason stop my ranting and raving and blaming my husband for my bad food choices. His hobbies taking precedence over my hunger was reason enough.

Lesson learnt. I need to have some food ready to nibble, like carrots and hommous. I have been ending to make my own hommous for weeks. I will really have to get a move on.

Actually, I must have been suffering from male pattern blindness. There was some tzatziki in the fridge. And leb bread. Now that would have been a better choice than honey on bread and Nutrigrain.

So real lesson learnt. Don’t grab and run when you are hungry.

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Lucinosophy (and a post with many asides)

The central thesis of the philosophy of Lucinda, aka Lucinosophy, is weekends need to be fun and gorgeous.

If I was asked to be a referee for this weekend, given that anything to which I put my name I must speak honestly and with integrity about because it is my name (thank you John Proctor, “leave me my name” – though if I was going to be burnt as a witch I would give up my name and make up a new one) I could not whole-heartedly recommend this weekend.

Yet, I believe I may be a little to quick to condemn this weekend.

On reflection, while not having the flash of a Catherine Wheel or the bonhomie of a game show host or the gorgeousness of a sequinned top, there was a soft glow like that from a slow burning taper. So maybe I would give this weekend a job.

A long slow breakfast, with a perfect cup of tea served in beautiful Wedgwood, and the Saturday paper took until midday. Followed by some household chores. (Gotta love a shiny bathroom!)

I vented via a long post for my blog which I have not uploaded. (Who wants to read a whinge about whingers? And this blog is about sweetness and light and happy, happy, joy, joy. Not grinchy, bleak house, world issues.) Off loading the anger left me free to do an afternoon walk with a neighbour for fitness and gossip time. Then time to do my set exercises. (And becoming quite chuffed with my planking ability and my shrinking waist.)

Enjoyed the cool of the evening with takeaway grilled barramundi and chips on the back verandah with the family. (I have discovered a new taste for fish and chips but grilled not battered and deep fried.)

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Then watched Miss Fisher on iView. A murder mystery, with a touch of romance and the most gorgeous fashion ever! What a lovely Saturday night viewing. (Why doesn’t the ABC release a line of the clothes? I would break my Great Wardrobe Diet to wear Miss Fisher’s outfits.)

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Sunday and another slow breakfast with time to read the paper. I did my community service with time at a working bee at a local school. (No, it’s OK, I don’t need a medal.)

More household chores that those of us without real life help must do. (But oh the joy of getting into sun bleached sheets tonight! And ironed pillow cases!) Menu planning and grocery shopping sealed the weekend’s chores.

Now time for some champagne cocktails (fancy term for bubbles and cranberry juice) while watching more ABC comedy on iView.

A family dinner of salad (curly lettuce, tomatoes, roast sweet potato and cucumber in a balsamic dressing), pasta with pesto, mushrooms and onion and, for dessert, rockmelon. Again on the verandah. (It is that time of year the where for the next 7 months we eat outside on the back verandah, but when it is light before the mozzies come out.)

Soul soothed, mind calmed, house ready.

Bring on the next week.

Exercise log

The pain buggers off and you can’t remember what a cripple you were, right?

Well something miraculous happened this week since I’ve been back at work.

I kept exercising!

I know, I’m impressed too.

I’ve already posted today how I have resisted most goodies, except the scones. (And I don’t care, I’m no Michelle Bridges and I will call them goodies even though I know they are bad for me, and it sounds like deprivation to say I am not eating goodies.)

My back needs me to strengthen my backside and stomach muscles and I’m not going back there!

So you think my core should be strong because of how long I’ve been doing Pilates once a week? Nah! I talk too much while I’m there and do more old-lady-stretching-and-low-reps style of Pilates.

Behold the record of my continued commitment and ignore my son who exclaimed, “So when did you become all exercisey and fit?”

Day 1: 3.2km walk.
Day 2: My set exercises.
Day 3: 4.2km walk.
Day 4: 3.2km walk and half an hour of Yoga stretches.
Day 5: 1 hour Pilates.
Day 6: My set exercises.
Day 7: Nothing! Had a really bad headache. Just had to lie down.

Yah me, the exercisey fit thing signing out.

Oh, bugger it. I’m not signing off just yet.

I just have to brag. I can’t finish the post unless I do. I can hold the planks for 40 seconds. Three times. No worries. And I can do the side plank from my toes. And hold each side for 40 seconds too.

Good. I feel better for letting you know bragging about how strong I am becoming.

Quitting time

“I’s the boss. I say when it quitting time.”

“OK.”

“Quitting time.”

I realise that it has been over a week since giving you an update on Droptober. That’s because I have been rather successful at it. And, as I have written before, success makes for rather a boring blog. There’s no drama, no need for readers to commiserate, no heightened emotions.

So why have I been able to drop the junk?

There has been the occasional chocolate. (Allowed under my sub-rules, so no breaking the Drop.) This month is not about total deprivation. It is about dropping the unhealthy snacks. One little daily treat is allowed. The treat is savoured rather than shoved down the gullet in the handfuls. Knowing I can have the chocolate is often enough; there have been days when I just didn’t even feel like one.

It may be my mind is like that when I did Dry July? It is only a month, we can cope. Possibly. But I think my internal thinking really is more along the lines, “Treats are for sometimes. Your health and weight loss are more important that eating junk every day.”

But those who can’t stand to hear that others are successful where you are not in battling the reaching for fatty junk food, fear not. I succumbed yesterday. At a meeting off-site, so no access to my office or work fridge. Meeting started at 8.30, and by morning tea time I was famished. My tummy was grumbling. I ate two small scones with jam and cream. Didn’t feel bad about it, just wished there was a more healthy choice. I couldn’t not eat because I would have been making earth shattering grumbling noises by lunch, (which was a Thai beef salad and fruit, quite healthy).

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I didn’t eat the chocolate last night as I had already eaten a treat with the scones. Remember the concept of treats? They are for sometimes, for special occasions, not for being the major source of calorie consumption or eaten throughout the day, everyday.

Earlier in the week I explained to a colleague that I had eaten enough biscuits in my life and really didn’t need another Arnotts assorted to feel like I had something good in my life. Much better to be healthy and look forward to the treats that will come at Christmas.

My husband is doing his best to support. No negative comments, no saying “You shouldn’t eat that.” Yesterday evening he was siting outside. I went to talk with him. “Don’t come out here!” he called with a sense of urgency or warning.

“Why? Did you fart?”

“No, I’m eating liquorice.” Bless him. He didn’t want to tempt me, knowing I don’t want to weaken and break my Droptober.

But you see, it is the same as the Great Wardrobe Diet. Get over the initial addiction, and it becomes much easier.

Reading Down the House

As you all know, I am always up for a challenge, one that will add to my journey to gorgeousness, health and organised living.

So I am jumping straight into an exacting life’s challenge: reading down the house; reading being one of the cornerstones of my idea of a gorgeous life.

Like an exacting life, books somehow seem to enter my house. I do buy a new book every second month (I take turns with a fellow bookclubber and we share the book for that month) for my book club, and there are always new titles coming out that call their siren song. And I do like to support writers. So the arrival of some books I can account for, but others just appear.

When I take books to the second hand bookshop to trade in, I walk out with a couple of replacements. I keep hoping that I will reach that point where my trade-ins will not get me a book. But that point never seems to be reached – because I keep buying new books and exchange most of the book club books after we have discussed them.

I have drastically reduced the number of books I buy, mainly using the public library, which is a four minute walk from my home, or the library at work. Yet when I look at a shelf to do some decluttering, I am reminded of books I bought but have not yet read, some that I don’t even remember buying.

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Here’s my goal: to read these 13 books by the end of next year. Some I have bought new, some second hand. A couple I bought recently; most have been on my shelf for years. A couple I started but just couldn’t get into. (I am hoping Wolf Hall won’t defeat me again.) Two, the Waugh novels, I am re-reading after having read the first in the trilogy, Men at Arms.

The books:

  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
  • The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey
  • Officers and Gentlemen & Unconditional Surrender by Evelyn Waugh
  • The Second-last Woman in England by Maggie Joel
  • When Will There Be Good News? & Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • Hannah and Emil by Belinda Castles
  • The Somnambulist by Essie Fox
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • and finally Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
  • I will be buying new books. As a member of a book club, I read a new book every month. And my book club meets in a book shop, which in itself is dangerous as there are other books that fall off the shelves into my hands, clearly wanting a home. So that means I will be reading at least two books a month until the end of 2014. (No, my maths isn’t out. Wolf Hall counts as two books at the very least.)

    I am starting with Hannah and Emil.

    Any on this list you know, like, loathe, recommend?

    Your Ideal Wardrobe

    Here’s something I am asking myself: if I could start over again, what would be in my ideal wardrobe?

    Are there items already in my wardrobe that I would have in my ideal wardrobe? Yes, most definitely. But there are other things getting in the way.

    What would I have in my ideal wardrobe?

    I’d definitely keep my jeans. And I love my dresses. I’d keep, and have a few more, sequinned tops.

    And what would I toss?

    Faded denim jacket. Who needs two when they don’t wear one? I keep thinking everyone needs a denim jacket and I’d look cool in one. Never happens. When I put it on, I just look frumpy or bogan. And in faded I look even worse.

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    Goodbye this skirt from a suit. I loved it but the skirt sits funny as the lining is ripped and frayed and the material is past its best. I will keep the pants and the jacket. (No one wants matchy matchy anymore.)

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    Out goes a skirt with a flattering cut. It has pilled and has pulled threads. I’m too old to have mangy clothes.

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    Donated to find a new home with someone who feels the cold is a heavy, woollen coat. Why declutter this? It shows the decade from whence it came. Dated cut. And really, it is not that warm with a big split up the back which lets in the cold. It also fails on the weight to warmth test.

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    And this cropped lace top, how did it ever survive even getting into the 90s?

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    But this sequinned top is definitely a stayer. Luff it!

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    And this outfit is for keeps. The skirt doesn’t show up too well, but it is pink pleats.

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    And a bit of leopard skin print on a furry, soft jacket. Mmmm. No stockings were injured in the making of this jacket. Of course, it is too hot even to think about wearing this at the moment.

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    Illuminating question, this.

    So if you could start over, what would be in your ideal wardrobe? And what would you toss?

    Get it out of the house

    This is what Michelle Bridges says to do if you want to start her body transformation.

    Throw out all the crap food in the house. Clear out the cupboards of all the sugary, processed and tempting refined foods that have been holding you back. Restock with fresh whole foods.

    But when you are not the only person in the house, you can’t do this. I know, I know. People say, “But you’re the mother and you should have healthy food for your children.”

    Well, one of my kids is an adult and the other one is nearly there. They both will buy junk if it is not in the house. And as they both also eat healthy food, and do not have a problem with their weight, why should I deny them access to the treats that until two years ago I enjoyed without any impact on my weight or cholesterol?

    And then there is my husband. He enjoys chocolates and biscuits and the occasional ice cream. If I don’t buy them, he makes a trip to stock up on Darrell Lea favourites. And he asks where the biscuits are from my fortnightly grocery shop, if I don’t buy any. (As do the kids.)

    But I know that in moment of need weakness, if junk is present, I will reach for something naughty. Like last night for instance. My youngest was eating Darrell Lea liquorice after dinner and left the packet open, in full view of me. The smell is quite strong and I succumbed. (Though I did stop at two little pieces. And I didn’t eat my allowed chocolate as I had the liquorice instead.) But it just goes to show. I didn’t want it until I saw and smelt it. Imagine when I am feeling down or have a craving for something? I will scoff it if it is there!

    So how to reconcile the competing needs? My family’s need to have the junk they like. And my need not to be tempted and to protect my health and weight.

    Well, last shopping trip I bought these:

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    My husband loves them. I hate them. No matter my sugar craving, I won’t be tempted.

    And I bought him these:

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    I love Darrell Lea soft eating liquorice. But I won eat hard liquorice and I won’t eat bullets. These can be sitting right next to me, and I won’t be tempted.

    I found this in the rubbish bin.

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    My darling husband had bought these for himself but hid the packet as he knows I love them, won’t stop at one if I see them in the pantry and am doing Droptober, so these are dropped. So his hiding them wasn’t an act of selfishness but an act of support and kindness.

    And you know what? When I saw the empty packet I didn’t feel left out or deprived. I know these chocolates will continue to exist and when my weight is down and it is an appropriate treat time, like Christmas, I can have some. I don’t need them every day!

    (And just a little brag. I had my hair done yesterday. While I am waiting for the colour to set, my hairdresser brings me a cup of tea and either biscuits or scones with cream. I told her I was doing Droptober, so she gave me a small cup of almonds with my cup of tea. And in the afternoon I visited my sister-in-law who put out a plate of Aldi chocolate Christmas treats, which she says are divine, to go with our cup of tea. But I said no thank you. Told her about Droptober. [She had already noticed how good I looked and how my waist looked slimmer.] I ate some yummy grapes instead, EVEN THOUGH THE TREATS SAT ON THE TABLE THE WHOLE TIME I WAS THERE and my sister-in-law ate one and made a face of ecstasy and said how heavenly they were. I will wait till Christmas to try them. God, I’m virtuous.)

    So my journey to gorgeousness continues! And today I am off to lunch here:

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    I won’t lie to you. Beers will be drunk. And pasta eaten. My tax will have to wait for another day. Fun is the order of this weekend.

    Woo Hoo!

    Who can believe it!? Look at this!

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    I have 100 people following my blog. Who cares if half of them are spammers, or no longer exist, or don’t even read my posts.

    There are people who care to read my scratchings! Scratchings which may be considered typing rather than writing. (Damn it, why did someone else think of that line first?)

    Anyway a shout out to those who bother commenting. I am really chuffed that you do.

    So hi to Jo, Sarah, Just Peachie from Simple Savings, an exacting life, Cathy, Tif, Barb, Megan and all the others who have posted comments.

    And to all the followers, hope my typing is either entertaining or motivating. Or at the very least provides an excuse to procrastinate any task that needs doing as you catch up with your blog reading.

    Sloth: the sin that needs no effort

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    We all know it is easier to sit and not do exercise than it is to get off your butt and do something.

    Even when you know doing nothing will hurt your back, let the calories convert to fat on your hips and waist, assist the growth of bad cholesterol.

    So they say ….

    Find something you enjoy! Yeah, right! I enjoy sitting and reading, or watching TV, or chatting with friends, or daydreaming.

    OK then, make exercise a routine. Yeah but when it’s cold or wet or dark or I have to do something for the family or there’s a work function, things intervene. Also these things vary so I don’t always have the same time free.

    Well, you need to make time for you. You won’t be able to work if you’re ill. Yes, but work pays the bills. And no work, no house, food, electricity.

    Look, just bloody well do it. OK, OK. I’m off backside and out the door.

    Let’s just admit, sometimes you’re tired, or it’s cold, or you couldn’t be arsed, or it is easier just not to. But do you want to be slimmer, fitter, more healthy? Or do you want to moan that the dress doesn’t fit, that your waist is expanding, that you get puffed walking around and that if Bunnings had wider aisles you could drive along them and that’d help you!

    Or do you want to take the pills and the surgery to fix your heart or cholesterol or blood sugar levels or knees when you’re older?

    So you can take the easy way out and remain unhealthy and continue to gain weight. And hide the realisation that you are the only one hurting yourself.

    OR

    You can put down that bag of chips and do some exercise.

    I came home from my first day back at work yesterday quite late. It was a long day. At work from 7.30am to 6.15pm, with no break – ate lunch while in a meeting. When I made it home, I could have sat and enjoyed a glass of bubbles but I dragged my husband with me on my walk so we could talk as we walked. And I did not have any bikkies, cakes or lollies at work. I was given a freshly made profiterole. And still I didn’t eat it.

    Win all round.

    And here’s my other favourite sin:

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    Loving the return of my waist!