Slight Improvement

Well, it’s just over a week since my last post. So I am going to try to post here on a more regular basis. Mind you I have said that before, haven’t I?

Well my mood has improved a bit this week. Not massively, but a bit. I applied for 8 jobs on Wednesday. I am only required to apply for 6 jobs per fortnight. Some fortnights I have applied for up to 16 jobs per fortnight. We’ll see how things go.

It’s still difficult. The constant applying for jobs and only rarely being called for an interview is very soul destroying. I had an agency tell me last week, as feedback, that I didn’t have formal qualifications. I pointed out that I have Business Administration Certificate III and Business (Legal) Administration Certificate III. To which he responded that they have people straight out of high school with Diploma qualifications. I then pointed out that they wouldn’t have almost 40 years work experience to back up those qualifications, but I do! It’s just another example of the ageist attitudes that some employers have against people like me. They can’t see the fact that we can do the job, that we have not only the qualifications but that we have the practical work experience required in order to do the work. All they see is that we are over 50 (or in some cases, over 40) and so they don’t want to know. They think we can’t do the work and they won’t even try. Instead they employ the young person who won’t stay at the employer for very long. Maybe a year or two at the most. I am happy to stay for 10 years. This would put me at beyond retirement age by then. But I want to get to Long Service Leave again before I retire. But the longer it takes the longer past retirement age I will be in order to achieve that goal.

My weight is fluctuating again. Sigh. This is another reason I want a job. I could then reactivate my gym membership and then go for a swim a few times a week, until my weight comes down to a more reasonable level so I can do some more strenuous exercises.

The clutter is not under control. I still don’t have the full motivation to deal with it. I am thinking about asking my Relief Society President for help. But I just worry about that. The last time I had help (many years ago), things were done that I didn’t agree with and things were thrown out that I needed (a refund cheque that I hadn’t have a chance to bank yet, for one). So I am a bit hesitant to ask for help for that reason. But the thing is, I can’t find my passport! The last time I definitely know that I had it was in December, a couple of weeks before Christmas, when I went to an employment agency at Burwood for an interview. I had it with me to prove I an an Australian Citizen and eligible to work here. So I know I had it then. I have a vague recollection of putting down somewhere in the house and thinking at the time, that I would leave it there for a short time before putting it away in a more permanent place. I am hopeful that that vague recollection is right and that it was after the Burwood interview. It’s just that I can’t find it at the moment. I have searched in the logical places, but I can’t see it. So I am hopeful that I have just put something on top of it and it is hiding here in the house. Besides, I like the wallet that it is in. It was a gift for my 21st birthday (many years ago now) from a friend before my very first overseas trip. Plus, my very expired Canadian passport is also in the wallet!

If I don’t get a new job soon, I may just have to tell my Superannuation find that I have ‘retired’ to access my money. Then I can get the things done around the house that need to be done. Like the peeling paint on the walls and ceiling in the kitchen/dining room and the bench tops which are lifting in places. Both bedrooms need painting, and the ceilings in both bedrooms need professional work because of the water damage, including the mould on the ceiling in the master bedroom from the 1999 hailstorm. There are a couple of other things I would like to do such as rewiring the house and tiles on the floor of the toilet and laundry… and maybe in the kitchen area……. Ideally I would like to get rid of the carpet and polish the floorboards. I have Cypress Pine floorboards which I know are in good condition (and termites hate them) and they would look good if they were exposed. Problem is, I don’t think there will be enough money to do everything. I also will need some of the money to pay the balance of my trip next year (and some spending money). Sigh. So the priority areas to be targeted are kitchen/dining room, the bench tops and the bedrooms and the trip. Once the house is fixed up, I could then look at having someone come live with me to help with the bills. The condition the house is in at the moment, that it not really an option. Problem is, the house is not in a condition to be able to ask someone to pay to live here and I need money in order to have that work done, which I could get if someone was here…. The definition of a Catch 22, I think. Anyway, I need to get the clutter under control first. The painter wouldn’t be able to get to the walls at the moment. I can’t do the work myself, because I have 9ft ceilings in this house, with decorative cornices, so it needs a professional who will have the equipment and skills to be able to do the needed work.

Well, I think that is all for this week. Talk to you again soon.

Where to Begin? Why Bother?

I have been away from here for quite some time. Probably it’s been a year or more. So much has happened since I was last here. Not sure it’s been all for the good.

In three weeks will will have been a year since I left my job. Even at this distance I am not sure how I exactly feel about it. I miss the work, and I really miss the income (more on that soon). But there are things I don’t miss, but I will not be going into more detail about that. Just suffice it to say, it wasn’t the healthiest place for me at the end.

In the almost 12 months since I left my job I have been looking for work. To satisfy the government requirements for my unemployment allowance, I must look for at least 6 jobs each fortnight. It is not uncommon for my to apply for up to 16 positions in that timeframe. Despite that, I have had very few interviews. It’s very demoralising. You are putting yourself out there, saying ‘Pick me!’ and often you get no response at all. Why is that? How hard is it in this day and age to take a few seconds to acknowledge an application. How hard is it to let people actually know that they haven’t been successful in their application? With many people, it apparently is too hard.

There are a small number of employers who, even though they don’t tell you themselves if you have been successful or not, do make it easy for you to find out what is happening with your application. They have on their employment section of their websites, information about the progress of the vacancies. At first is shows the vacancy as ‘Advertised’. Then it will change to ‘Shortlisting’, so that means you still have hope because you may be getting a call or email invitation to interview. The final stage is ‘Interviewing’. Once it changes to this final status if you have not received an invitation, you then know that your application has not been successful. That’s a much better way of doing things. You’re not left in this strange limbo wondering what’s happening. Unlike other employers who don’t even let you know that they even received your application in the first place!

So yesterday I received an email telling me that my latest interview had been unsuccessful. Consequently, my emotions are not very under control at the moment. In fact I am fighting back the tears at the moment. And not very successfully. I know that at my age, the longer it takes to get a job, the less likely it becomes that I will every get another job.

So, my weight has not been great during this past year. After I left my job, I became very depressed about things. Not the least of which was (and still is) the financial position this has put my into. I am still intending to go on the trip next year. The trip is now less than 600 days away. But I have saved less than half the money I need to pay for the trip, let alone any spending money or new clothes etc. If I have not found a new job by August or September this year, I will have to just tell my superannuation company that I have ‘retired’ so I can access that money. It will mean I will be able to also fix some things around the house, like the peeling paint on some ceilings and walls, and then I would be able to have someone come to live with me to help with some of the bills. My weight went up to a high of 152kg at the worst point. I’ve now managed to bring it back down to under 140kg. During this time, since some time in November, it also went back up from 140kg to 147kg around Christmas time. It’s going back in the right direction now. Downwards.

Talking of bills. Because I only receive the money for my unemployment, I have had to drastically cut back my expenses. My private health insurance has been suspended for a while. I couldn’t afford the money at the moment. I have had to suspend my gym membership as well. I just pay a token $10 per fortnight, so that when I can afford it, I will be able to go back to the gym and not need to pay a joining fee again. I have cut back the costs for my phones, and I didn’t upgrade my mobile when it came off contract. I have even had to cancel the insurance on the house. I didn’t want to do it, but I just did not have the money for the payments. At the moment, I haven’t needed to pay a water bill or electricity bill because I was into credit with them both, so I am allowing my usage to use up those credits. Even though I have cut back my expenses to the bone, I don’t go out very often in order to save money. I only go out for Church and if I have an interview most of the time. Even with all these economies, I still don’t have the money to buy food. I am having to rely on Church to be able to buy food. Oh well, it’s helping with the diet.

So I am going to go now. I will try to do a bit of tidying up for a while before I plant myself in front of the television for hours. Like I said, the depression is back, big time. So the motivation is falling way below the floor. I mean, what’s the point of applying for jobs when no one apparently wants me? Why bother? Why put myself through the pain of putting myself out there, just to be ignored, or told ‘We think you’re over qualified’? I need a certain income level to cover all my bills. And $35-45,000 is NOT going to cut it. And that is an insult to someone with almost 40 years experience in the workforce and who has taken the time and effort to return to TAFE for training and to have formal qualifications to prove that I can do the things I already had learnt while I worked over the years. Treat us with respect!

Week 2 Done!

Well,  I have successfully completed week 2 of my new diet.  I haven’t really struggled with the foods.  I have been planning what I will eat and I play around with the serving sizes so I can make sure I don’t go over my calorie allowance each day.  I try to get within 100 calories of the target.  They say you can be within 200 calories, but I don’t want to under eat too much, so I say 100 calories is far enough away from the target.

Now for the report.  In two weeks I have now lost a total of 5.4kg!  That’s the first of my 5kg mini goals gone.  There are a lot more to go until I get to goal weight, but I am very proud that I have managed to get the first one out of the way so quickly.  I know that the weight loss will slow down as I go along, and I know that there will be plateaus along the way as well.  But this good kick start is a great encouragement to keep going and really do it this time.

I am planning to go to the gym (which I have been paying for all this time, but haven’t attended in well over a year) tomorrow.  It’s the Australia Day public holiday, so I can go a little later in the day than I plan to do during the working week.  The gym opens about 10am tomorrow.  I will go for a swim there. 

Because I haven’t been for so long, they will probably want to arrange what is called an ignition session to get me back into a program of some sort.  I will see if they can organise it for Friday, as this coming Friday is my normal rostered day off (RDO).  I will then be able to come in during the day to do this and maybe stay a little longer to do the things they are setting up for me. 

Once I have a program, I will try to get to the gym two or three times a week.  At least once for a swim and at least once for the program.  The third (hopefully) visit I might alternate between a second swim or the program. I do like my gym.  They are a friendly people and the gym isn’t all about the ‘beautiful people’ posing in front of the mirrors.  The ethos of the gym I belong to is to get people fit and healthy and for them to have fun and enjoy themselves while they do it.  The name of my gym is Virgin Active.  I belong to the one in the city, it’s only a couple of blocks away from my office, so I should be able to get there either very early in the morning before work (it opens at 5:30am during the week) or straight after work in the afternoons.  Plus I can go on Saturdays and Public Holidays.  It isn’t far from my bus service to come home and it only takes one bus to do it.  Some other gyms I investigated that also had a pool would require lots of changes of transport to get there or back.  Something to make it a bit difficult and less incentive to go with that sort of thing.  I do miss having a car at times.  Sigh.

I have to also increase my consumption of fruit and vegetables in my diet.  So with my grocery shop this week, I have done that.  Now to consume it.

So, I promised that I would be accountable and report on here each week – even if no one bothers to read it.  So I have done that this week.  I have to go.  I am meeting someone for the Chinese New Year’s markets near Central Station.  See you all next week.

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I’m Back! (Again)

Well, I’m back, again. I know it’s been so long since I posted last. I know, I haven’t been here since May 2013. I am now committing to you all (if there are any of you left) who ready this to be more regular with my posts here.

I have recently rejoined the Biggest Loser Club Online in Australia to refocus my weight loss goals. I have a total of about 84.3kg (185lb) to loose. I have set mini goals of 5kg (11lb) as I find 10% goals too large and 5kg is a bit more manageable to achieve. I have my first weigh in today. I have lost 3.3kg (7lb 4oz) in a week. An excellent start. I’ve almost knocked off my first mini goal already! I am planning to add exercise to the program in the coming week, so that should help boost things along. I am on a express program so I currently have a 1,200 calorie budget. I try to keep as close as I can to that target. I haven’t gone over my target calories all week, and I haven’t been too far under either. I think the worst level under I had was 191 calories under on Wednesday.

Since I last posted, I have actually been on a plane. I was at a Labor Party fundraising dinner in July out in the western suburbs of Sydney. Our table pooled our money ($20 each) and bought a large number of tickets between us. The just put our table name on the stubs and the tickets were randomly handed out around the table. I won the first prize! It was two economy trips to Auckland, New Zealand and two nights in a 3 star hotel! I didn’t even have a valid passport at the time. Because I would be travelling alone, I was able to negotiate three nights in the hotel instead of just two. I upgraded (at my own expense) the ticket to Air New Zealand’s Works Deluxe. It means you are seated towards the front of the plane and are guaranteed an empty seat next to you, access to the airline lounge before the flight and all food and entertainment on the flight. The staff on the flight were very nice and very discreet about my weight. They discreetly gave me the extension for the seat belt and because I had originally been assigned a front row seat (the arms do not move in that row), they moved me to the 4th row (which was completely empty) so I would be able to sit comfortably. I had to sit with the armrest for the next (empty) seat up for the whole flight. I put my knitting bag on the empty seat and even put the seat belt for that seat through the handles of the knitting bag so it was firmly strapped in. That way, I didn’t have to put it under the chair for take off or landing. On the flight over to NZ, I wasn’t game to try to go to the toilet because I remember them being very small and I wasn’t sure I would be able to fit. As soon as I got off the flight, I had to go find the nearest toilet in the terminal, before immigration and customs, because I was now dying to go! Luckily the flights between Australia and NZ are less than 4 hours, usually. The return flight was not so good in that regard. We were late boarding the flight for some reason, and then we were delayed twice on the tarmac with faults with the plane. SO despite going to the toilet in the lounge before boarding, I had to use the toilet twice during the flight. It hadn’t helped that my stomach had decided to play up (badly) on the flight. So I had no choice. I had to go to the toilet on the plane. It was a little tight in there.

So this trip has crystallised for me that I -must- lose weight before my trip on 2016. The trip is now planned for later in September into October 2016. So I won’t be able to go to General Conference in Salt Lake after the girls trip. I may still go up there for a couple of days to hit the genealogy library and Deseret Books. I might be able to see some friends in the area too before I come home.Auckland 1979
This is me in Auckland, NZ in 1979 at about my goal weight. I don’t expect to be this weight by the trip, but I do expect to be a lot closer than I currently am.

I’m Back!

I know.  I have been away for a while.  I needed to get back into this blog and the reason I originally started it in the first place. 

I just signed up to Weight Watchers 360.  This means I have access to pretty much every avenue to Weight Watchers.  I can go to meetings, I can just do it online, I have access to the apps and the website to track both my food and my activities.  I had to do this,  I weighed myself this evening, and I was shocked.  I hadn’t realised it but I had put on weight recently.  I am currently 150.1 kg.  That works out to be about 330lb to those who only think in pounds, or 23.5 Stone to those in the UK.  That is now officially the highest I have ever weighed.  My previous worst was 149.7kg.  The last time I weighed myself I was about 142kg, so the weight has sneaked up on me and I really do have to so something about it.  I have 3.5 years until my trip to the US in 2019.  I don’t expect to lose all my weight by then (I need to lose about 89kg!), but if I don’t start now I won’t be able to fit onto the plane at all!

I had a dreadful weekend this past weekend.  It was Mothers Day here on Sunday.  I hate Mothers Day.  It just rubs salt into the wound of my not having children, and that I will never have children.  So I spent a large part of the weekend crying.   Some people just don’t get it.  They are usually the ones with the children who think I should be thinking more about my mother on Mothers Day.  They just don’t get it.  I went to church once on Mothers Day.  s I walked into the foyer, they had a small table set up and the Counsellors to the Bishop were there, handing out flowers and chocolates.  As I came into the foyer, one of them said (quite loudly), ‘You can’t have any.  You’re not a mother!’  Thanks a lot!  As if I didn’t already know that.

I Haven’t Died

I know I haven’t been here for a while.  No, I haven’t died.  Just been doing things and had a bit of depression so wasn’t really very energetic over the Christmas period.

However, I did manage to finally get my thread stash organised.  It took me about three nights to do it over the Christmas holidays.  I made an index card for each of the DMC threads that I had as well as one for those I don’t have.  I found my missing thread stash too.  It was an accident.  I was moving my Harry Potter colletion, and there were the tubs with the thread stash that was already organised into Floss Away Bags.  I had bought some nice cloth style CD boxes.  I bought 3 of them….. I will need more!  With just the missing stash, I don’t have enough boxes.  I’ve sort of ogansied things into the three boxes, but the rest is in the tub in which they were missing.  All organised by number.  Some of the colours have been made obsolete or have changed their numbers.  What I have done for those ones, I have made the card for the original number with a cross reference to the new number and stored the thread in the new number bag.

 

I then had to organise the threads that I had which were just in the bag from Lindcraft where I bought them when they had a sale a number of years ago.  there were over 200 threads in this pile.  They are now organised by number on three rings…. waiting for me to have the money to go buy more boxes to integrate them into the rest of the stash.

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There were still about 40 threads of the standard DMC threads which I didn’t have.  I bit the bullett and have ordered them from 1-2-3 Stitch.com  I have bought things from them in the past and they have good customer service.  I had a very disappointing experience with Herrchner’s.  I had questions about where they were sending the goods (the confirmation email had an address which didn’t look like it was being sent to Australia).  I was getting an automatic email response which promised me a personalised response within 24 hours.  I have to tell you now…. It never happened.  I sent them three emails, and all I ever got from them was the automated response.  I am very disappointed with them.  I had heared good things about this company in the past.  I will never use them again and I will not recommend them to anyone else either.

Now for a bit of a report on other things.  The diet is not happening at the moment.  Sigh.  My savings however, I have to say, is getting better.  I have started a program this year of putting into my online account $1 for each week number of this year.  So for the first week – $1, second week – $2, third week – $3 and so on.  By the last week it will only be $52 but the total saved, not counting interest earned will be almost $1,400.  That will almost completely make up for my replacing the TV and digital recorder last year.  I will probably continue to do this each year as this will increase the amount of my savings and give me a bit of a buffer in case the Australian $ value drops against the US$ and so the trip costs more than what I have originally set as my target.  I am still having an automatic $50 per week taken by my pay office and transferred into the same online account.  Not counting taking out the money to pay for the trip in bits and pieces from about August 2014, and not counting the money saved last year, I will have over $14,000 by the end of August 2016.  Allowing the amount originally quoted as the cost for the trip ($8,200) I will still have over $6,000 towards my spending money.

The weather has been dreadfull the last few days, so I haven’t been out of the house at all this weekend.  Means I haven’t been shopping either.  I will have to go straight after work on Tuesday ( I have a meeting on Monday night, so I can’t go then).  I signed up to the Woolworths Everyday Rewards program.  I hadn’t done that in the past because I wasn’t really keen on them knowing everything about my shopping habits.  However, they are able to be linked to Qantas Frequent Flyer Points for no additional cost.  Plus, with the Qantas Frequent Flyer Points I can attach my bills from Optus and earn points for paying those bills (2 points per $ paid).  The more points I can get, the better.  If I can get about 45,000 points, I would be able to upgrade by ticket on the way home from the trip to Business Class and stretch out and maybe get some sleep.  If only I had known all this last year.  Just from my Optus bills alone, I could have earnt over 3,500 points by now! Anyway, even with all my shopping at Woolworths and Big W (I don’t drink, so the alcohol outlets won’t help me), I will get points towards my trip.  I have decided that I don’t want cheaper petrol (I don’t have a car anyway), but that I want Qantas points instead.  A friend has given my card to her husband and so when he buys his petrol at Woolworths branded petrol station I will get the points.  He knows he won’t get the cheaper petrol.

Well, I had better go.  It’s a bit cool at the moment and my feet are getting cold.  I always take my shoes off when I get home and walk around the house without any shoes on.

Talk again later.

Mystery Solved

It’s been a while since I posted.  I think the last time I posted, I had been on the receiving end of a lightning strike which destroyed my TV and digital recorder.  Well, I have replaced them both.  I took the opportunity to upgrade my TV to full HD as well as 3D.  It came with 4pairs of passive 3D glasses.  This means I don’t need to charge them up with batteries, they don’t cause problems because of flickering like the active type glasses.  I even have an app on my ipad to run the TV if I prefer to use that rather than picking up the remote all the time.

I finally managed to go amd see Mousetrap this week.  I have wanted to see this play for many years, but wasn’t sure I would ever get to London to see it.  So I was very happy to learn it was coming to Sydney. So I booked a ticket to go see it on my birthday back in July.  Unfortunately, I was very sick and the closer I got to the theatre, the worse I felt so I had to come home.  I was so disappointed.   It made me feel worse than I was already feeling because of my illness.  I was very happy to find that they were coming back to Sydney for a very short return season.  So I immediately booked a ticket to see it.  I managed to get there on Friday.  Can I just say…. The Sydney Theatre is nowhere near public transport unless you are going to a Friday or Saturday night performance.  And can I say…. do not believe the website which claims that is is a ‘brisk 15min walk from Circular Quay’.  It’s a lot further than that!  Up hill and down dale.  I was exhausted by the time I finally got home!  The play was fabulous.  I am so glad I finally got to see it.  I did not see the answer to the mystery coming.

I got sick again a while ago.  Bronchitis.  I had that really badly when I was young.  Unlike last year where I waitied to get better by itself until I could be heard coughing in the house next door during the night, this time I was off to the Dr much more quickly.  I ended up off work for a couple of weeks.  But the whole thing was over a lot more quickly than last year so it was much better that way.  The consequence is that I tend to go waaaaay off my diet when I get sick.  So I will wait for Christmas to be over (it’s only a couple of weeks away now) to get back on track.

I will have to really focus on my budget too in the new year.  I had to raid almost all my big US trip in 2016 money to replace the TV and recorder.  Yes I went through my insurance, but with the depreciation of the goods since I bought them, and the excess (what Americans call ‘deductible’) I only receieved $346 back.  A little over 1/5 of what I paid to replace the good.  Plus my insurance will go up next year because I lose part of my no claim bonus.  Sigh.  I will have to really tighten my belt and save extra for about 30 weeks to make up the money I took out.   Sigh.

To make things worse, I have to take the cat to the vet for a check up and to renew her medications (she has a thyroid condition), and then to top it all off…. one of the flippers on the washing machine agitator broke off!  Well, it is 18 years old, so I guess I shouldn’t really complain.  I have ordered a replacement agitator and according to what I have read, it is very easy to replace.  Will let you know about that….. I should have it by the end of the week and if it is as easy as they say, it should be all replaced by the next week.

I still haven’t started my cross stitching.  I am still tidying up around the house, and I need to get a chair to sit in while stitching.  I may go looking around over the holidays..  See how it goes.  I want to start stitching.  I have my wonderful frame.  I just want to use it!

Better go.  Have things to do.  Talk to you later.

Stormy Weather

Well, I have had a bit of ‘excitement’ over the weekend.  It was my day off on Friday and I was having a ‘nanna nap’ in the afternoon with the cat.  Suddenly I was awoken by a very loud and very close lightning strike, followed immediately by the thunder.  I was a bit frightened it was so close.  Then small hail stones started to fall.  I reached for my iPad in order to post on Facebook ‘We have hail’, only to find I had no internet.  I didn’t think much of it at the time.  The hail was quite heavy, although only small in size.

I went out onto the front step of the house, under the car port, to watch the hail hit the water tank of the house next door.  When the hail turned into heavy rain I went back into the house.  That’s when I noticed that the light on the answering machine was off.  That explains why I had no internet.  I had no power!  I have safety switches on the electrical switchboard outside the house, clearly the lightning had tripped the switch and turned off my power.  I waited until the rain had eased off, then I went out and turned the power back on.  When I came inside, that is when the real fun started.

My Topfield 2400 PVR would not switch on at all.  Not with the remote, not by pressing the buttons on the device itself.  I had to reset my Pay TV box.  But even after I had done that, I still couldn’t see anything on the TV.  It took a while to work out that the problem may not be the Pay TV box, but with the TV.  It turns out all the audio visual ports (4 x AV, 2 x HDMI) are all dead.  We cannot see any of our devices on the TV at all.  The Pay TV box is lighting up, even looks like it is recording where it has been preset, but I can’t be sure at this stage.  The blu-ray player also lights up and if you put a disk into it, it says it is reading the disk.  Only problem is that because of the AV port problem, we can’t see it to be sure.

The TV also seems to have taken a bit of a hit as far as the tuner is concerned.  All the ABC channels are missing digitally, although I can get ABC1 on analogue.  I can’t get any of the Channel 10’s on digital, but a slightly fuzzy analogue.  I can’t get all the others clearly on their SD channels, and most of the HD versions are ok, as well as the analogue versions of them.  At first I thought it might have been a problem with the aerial, however the computer (which is at the back of the house) is connected to the same aerial and all the channels are fine on the computer.  So it looks like the tuner is damaged as well.

I have ordered a new TV to replace the damaged one.  I am having it delivered on Saturday.  It’s a bigger size than the current one, plus it is Full HD (the current one is not) as well as 3D.  I had always planned to upgrade my TV, but just not yet.  I have already had delivered a replacement Topfield from IceTV. It’s a bigger unit compared to my fried one.  I found the original receipts for the TV and PVR and a repair company came to the house this afternoon to take them both away for assessment.  My insurance wants a written report as to if they can be repaired or if they are to be scrapped.  I am hoping they will be scrapped, which will mean I will be reimbursed almost all the money I have paid to replace them.  Mind you, the replacements have cost me less than what I originally paid for the TV and PVR.

Although I am a conservative when it comes to religious matters, I am more left wing when it comes to politics.  I have found recently that people who I regarded as friends who are also religiously aligned with me, but who are nore right-wing politically are not able to handle it when we have a political discussion and I oppose their views.  Especially when I use facts to support my position.  Two of them have de-friended me on Facebook in the past week.  Both of them with out even telling me they were going to do it.  Cowards!  Guess they can’t stand a robust discussion then.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you all.  My new stitching frame and stand arrived last week from Needle Needs in the UK.  It was easy to put it all together, once I had worked out what went where.  The feel of the frame and stand are wonderful.  The quality of the workmanship is first rate.  It feels wonderful to hold.  I still need to work on finishing tidying up the house and organising my threads and stitching supplies and then I can get started.  Because I have had to replace the TV and PVR at this time, I have had to raid my savings which were for my big trip to the US in 2016.  Will have to up my savings in order to make up the money (if they are not scrapped under the insurance).  That will stop me going out or spending too much money for a while.  More time for stitching, I guess.

It isn’t a great photo, but here is the frame sitting on the matching stand.

Well, I will post again when the new TV has arrived and I have it all hooked up.  Hope everything else is working.  Talk to you all soon.

Sick Little Aussie Ragdoll

I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks.  I had a dreadful cough last year that went on for about 6 weeks.  My coughing would be so loud that I could be heard from inside the house next door in the middle of the night.  I started coughing again this time, and went to the Dr within a couple of days.  I had lost my voice by the time I went to the Dr.  I’ve been off work for about two weeks now.  I am hoping to be back at work on Monday.  That tells you why I have been absent for the past couple of weeks.

I think I might have over done it on Halloween though. My front door is at the bottom of the driveway and is set into the house.  Consequencely, the front door is not visible from the street.  So I always stay out by the front fence so parents have no worries about not being able to see the children the whole time.  I did four Jack o Lanterns this year, but one of them had started to rot before I put it out.  I had to remind people not to touch that one, because it was quite ickky to touch.  When I went inside after 2.5 hours, I took that one straight to the compost heap.  The others were left on the front fence with the lights flashing during the night.  I have to acknowledged the wonderful website pumpkinlady.comfor most of the designs I have used of the past couple of years.  what I love is that they tell you which bits to carve out first.  I was exhausted when I came inside the house.  My back and my feet ached for hours, and I had a thumping great headache.

This is called Get into the Spirit

I have had some questions asked of me about this blog and I don’t know the answer.  Are blogs supposed to be a one way conversation or a two way conversation?  I don’t know.  Does anyone else know?  I guess, for at least this point, it would be a two way conversation in order to answer the question.

I was also asked about my order with Needle Needs in the UK.  Well, I got an email from Marissa last night.  She wanted to know if I wanted the longer arms for my stitching stand because I have ordered 24″ rods & 15-18″ stretcher bars for my stitching frame.  I was going to email her back, but decided it would be simpler to just phone them.  I spoke with Marissa and explained that I was sooo excited about the frame and stand, that I wasn’t concentrating when I placed the order.  As soon as I completed the order I realised that I would need the longer arms for the stand.  So I immediately got back onto the website and placed a second order for the longer arms for the stand, and also for a pair of bar parks.  Bar parks are used to hold your bars together in pairs, and also hold the dowel in place when you are storing your frame.  I made a request at the bottom of the second order, asking that all the items from both orders be shipped together, if possible.  Marissa hadn’t realised that there was a second order.  Once I had explained it, she was able to tell me that they would be able to ship all the items out that day.  So, the answer is that no, I don’t have my items…. yet.  However, they should now be on the way.  With any luck they may be here sometime next week.

I haven’t stitched for about 8 years.  I am looking forward to getting back into it.  I still haven’t been able to find that Christmas Stocking that was almost finished.  I just had to complete the backstitching and do the beading (because I can’t do a french knot to save my life!) and then make it up into the Christmas Stocking.  Big disappointment that I can’t find it.  I am still hoping to find it so I can finish it off.  I also can’t find the magnifyer that I had.  What I loved about it was that it hung around my neck. I can’t even seem to find another one to buy to replace it.  The other thing I seem to be unable to find is a small storage box that had a relatively large number of DMC threads in floss away bags on rings.  I don’t know where that is either.

This is the set of squares to make it easier to find the starting point.

I have something to say about the fabric that comes with the Disney Dreams kits.  I’m not a huge fan of Aida at the best of times.  When I measured the fabric that came with the kit, I found that it only allowed a 2″ margin for framing.  I prefer 3-4″ on all sides for penty of room for framing.  I prefer to start my stitching from the top left corner of the design.  To find that spot you need to work out the centre, and with rulers that have markings for the fabric count, you measure to the top of the design, and then to the top left position.  By having between 3-4″ allowance, if you are out of position by a few thread counts, it won’t matter too much.  If you only have 2″ allowance, if you are out of position by just a few threads, that can leave you with not enough fabric for framing.  To help with getting to the right spot, I just bought a set of three squares from my favourite stitching shop stichesnthing.com This is a brilliant real, bricks & mortar stitching shop in Michigan in the US.  I have been dealing with them for many, many years.  The sqaures are made by In the Company of Friends, but I like to get things from Deb at Stitches N Things because, aside from the great customer service, she often pops in some free designs with your order. Can’t beat that!  So, with these squares, just choose the one you prefer and line it up with your fabric and there is your starting point.  Easy to find!  Why didn’t someone come up with this before?

Because I prefer 3-4″ allowance, I needed more fabric than had been supplied in the Snow White kit. With a 4″ allowance, I needed fabric 60cm x 50cm.  I was able to get fabric at a craft fair from a company called sewitall.com.au I was able to get a length of 18 count cream Aida (same as the kit) 180cm x 50cm.  So now I have enough fabric for 3 of the Disney Dreams designs.  I currently have 4 of these designs (Snow White, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast and Lion King), and would like to get the Little Mermaid one too.  I have made a copy of the design for Snow White.  It’s a working copy.  One I can mark up and scribble on if I want, but still have the patterns just in case I want to make it again.  I found that there is a website (can’t remember the address at the moment) where you can get the conversion information into DMC threads in case you want to do it all again.

So, with the frame and stand on their way, I should be stitching before Christmas.  Squeee! So excited.

Oh on a final note, I haven’t been on the diet for the last two weeks.  When I am sick I tend to go for the comfort foods.  I have, however, not been howing into the left over halloween lollies.  But if someone doesn’t come and get it soon…. that might change.

Well, I know this has been a long post (I’ve had to do it twice actually).  But then again, it has been a while since the last post so I guess that explains it.  I like hearing feed back from people.  Let me know what you think.  As long as you are nice about it, I won’t be mad, even if you make a criticism.

Talk again next time.

Sorry for the Delay

I know.  I haven’t been here for over a week.  Bad Aussie Ragdoll!

I guess I should start with a report on my diet progress.  I have lost some more weight, but I did have a blow out over the weekend.  I do love my Perky Nanas though.  I have been trying to be better this week.  Still not perfect, but a bit better than before I started the whole journey.  I still have a long way to go.  I do record my food intake in My Fitness Pal.  It’s a free app you can download for iPhone and use on iPad.  You can also use the online version.

I have heard that if you have the Body Media device, you can now sync the data from that device with your My Fitness Pal data.  I do have one, but I ceased my subscription to the device.  I do have a Polar F7 monitor and watch.  When I finally get to go to the gym for a swim I will be able to wear it for the walk to the bus as well for the swim itself.  The Polar F7 is water resistant and can be worn in the pool.  The Body Media device is not water resistant, so if you are using swimming as your primary method of exercise (because of weight and injury issues, for example) you cannot use it to monitor your calorie expenditure during that exercise.  I wish My Fitness Pal was able to import data from different devices, like the Polar series.

I found today that I can’t always trust people.  Let’s just leave it at that.  I will say that I am very disappointed that they couldn’t come to me first.

The house hasn’t progressed any further yet.  Still a very big work in progress.  The new stitching frame still hasn’t left the UK.  If it hasn’t left by Monday, I think I will need to phone them to see what is happening with it.  Everything I ordered was in stock when I ordered it, so I don’t quite understand why the delay in shipping them.  Sigh.  I guess this is supposed to teach me patience.

Talk again later.