Summer bliss

I spent time with my family in Melbourne over Christmas, time with my friends, and I am now back in sunny/raining cats and dogs Brisbane with my husband and step kids, painting desks, enjoying quiet summer days with books and Wii games, wishing I could get to work but coping so far with the necessity of child minding while the summer holidays lasts. The dog is ok but on his last year I think – the Pancreatitis attack really knocked him about and now he wanders in a crazy way about the house (which he is not supposed to be in) and sleeps a lot. He only copes with 20 minute walks now. He really is a wonderful animal and I will miss him terribly when he goes. Except his smell, which, even after washing, is pretty appalling.

The step children are being wonderful at the moment, both of them. They are not taking it in turns to be horrible: instead they are both being helpful and polite and sweet and cheerful. I love it when kids are like this. Lachlan (the 12 yr old and the eldest) brought up the vacuum cleaner from downstairs when I asked and then, without prompting, decided to vacuum the whole top part of the house. I was astounded. The dog has been shedding like crazy and he normally stays outside the house, but now that he is completely senile he comes into the house and leaves a trail of beagle dog hairs everywhere. Lachlan took the initiative and just did the job without being asked. Amazing. And Zoe has consistently been cheerful and happy and very very helpful. They are now both cleaning up without being asked and helping in the kitchen. Such a change from 2010.

We’ve been painting Monty’s old desk which I had had commissioned as a special size about 9 years ago. An ex-boyfriend painted the pine desk in pretty gross colours: gloss black, burgundy trim and truly hideous green stencil initials of Monty. We sanded it back yesterday and the kids and I painted the undercoat on this morning. It was a pretty quick and easy job and the kids were terrific. They got in and painted thoroughly and were totally accepting of me “finishing off” as it were. We’ll put on the first lurid pink top coat tomorrow and finish the job on Friday, I hope. The desk is perfect for Zoe and should look a treat once finished.

We’ve planned a number of activities this hols to keep the kids amused, including friend visits and sleepovers, golf mornings, movie afternoons, painting the desk, plus Wii games galore. We bought a dance Wii and it’s proving so much fun for the whole family! Scott, surprisingly, considering his two left feet, is consistently winning. And Lachlan the twelve year old is really very good too. Zoe the ten year old is, of course, the best, but I’ve managed to beat her once or twice when dancing to Viva Las Vegas. The kids were also given a Masterchef cookbook and have been working through the recipes with my help. It has proven to be a brilliant way to reintroduce flavours  and food they previously hated. Gee I’m clever.

As to New Year resolutions: so far I’ve been sensible with my eating in the new year and have noticed a ravenous hunger, which means I’ve been eating too much. I’ve stopped drinking on weeknights and already am sleeping better and have more energy at night. It should be good for my work AND my teaching. As Scott noticed last night, I’ve been pretty good, but he could have murdered a beer last night. So he had a water and felt better. And I’m finding I need to drink lots of water as well. But generally feeling cheerful and alive. So it’s all good so far! Bring on the weight loss, I say. After having a busy few days weeding the garden, playing and dancing to Wii, and generally moving more, I feel confident that the enormous weight I’ve suddenly added to my hips, thighs and tummy will soon dissipate. I’ve checked out the activities at UQ, and will try to get to some Yoga classes there and generally improve my fitness and flexibility. When I do even the slightest exercise, I tend to lose a bit of weight – not sure I can cope with the hideous Brisbane humidity in February, but I’ll give it a shot.

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