Monday, October 29, 2012

Random Monday

You want living maths? I'll give you living maths!!! How about the Fibonacci Cabinet?

Whinge time. (do you "whinge" in the U.S.?? It is probably an Aussie/British thing). Anyway, my complaint today is about husbands who hog the remote. It. Drives. Me. Insane. Apparently, there is only one person in the room watching the TV - except he is attempting to watch about 5 channels at once and never watch an advert. I don't think I ever get to watch a show in its entirety when Mr DF is in the living room. Drives. Me. Nuts. It is just uber-selfish! And it's not as if I've sat meekly our entire 17 year marriage and put up with it. I have whinged directly to the source of my frustration, but nada. Nothing. He still does it. Drives. Me. Bonkers. 

I do believe that I'm not alone in my annoyance....

 My daughter wants to go Trick or Treating. I'm not happy about this. It is only in the last couple of years that Halloween has become a big-ish thing in Oz. I personally don't get it - but that may just be my cranky old whinger self coming to the fore. I don't want to bother making a costume (that's why we homeschool, so we don't have to do the dress-up days at school!) and I don't like the idea of her wandering the streets harassing old people for lollies. I could, however, be convinced to make this! I wonder if that would satisfy her Halloween urge?

Ermagud!!! I totally loved Edith Ann (the very clever Lily Tomlin before her Ms Frizzle days)!!!

And so I have to revisit her sandwich making skills:

Happy random Monday! Go visit Deb at Not Inadequate so we can take over the whole internet.

The reunion weekend

So.....I had my 25 year school reunion!

Firstly, can I just say how blissful it is to stay in a hotel room by yourself? No husband. No kids. No extra baggage (literally and figuratively). Your time is your own and how you want to spend it is up to you. I. Just. Loved. It.

I also had lots of time to make myself beautiful. Probably just as well. I bought the dress, and a cheap pair of spangly earrings. And some new lippy. Did the nails, hair and make-up. And am totally unable to take a decent selfie:

When I first rocked up, everyone was in pants and tops, and I was a little freaked that I was over-dressed. But, sure enough, there were some other girls (err, umm, women? ladies?) arrived who had frocked up too and then I relaxed a bit more.

I think I made the best of a bad situation and that underneath that extra 20kg is a pretty nice looking girl/woman/lady. But there were a few photos that make me even more bloody determined to show up to the next one looking badass! And it was reassuring to know that others were definitely feeling the same way as me.

Check out that double chin - it's gotta go!

We're belting out the school song...well, some of us are!

And the weekend was a bit of a bust diet/exercise-wise. Although I definitely drank less than last reunion and  made better choices (vodka, lime and soda rather than champagne; had salad instead of fries at Maccas on the car trip), I haven't exercised in 5 days.

Post-reunion footsies!

So that was fun and all, but back to the hard work! I'm so determined to look at myself in a photo in the near future and not think "who the hell is the fat chick?"

Friday, October 26, 2012

Big night out

It's not quite how I imagined it - this weekend I'm attending my 25th yr School Reunion. Eeek! 25 years since I left school. I never really thought I'd be going weighing nearly 80kg.

I thought I might use the upcoming event as "motivation" to lose some weight this year. Apparently external motivation doesn't work, because I didn't!

And so, the question begs - what to wear when you are not looking your best, but need to make a good impression (because Toni will be there again, looking oh-so-gorgeous and glam and slim).

I was going to opt for my Little Black Dress that I had in the cupboard - a Jacqui E dress from a couple of years ago, that is very comfy and shows off my boobs and has little capped sleeves, but I'm looking a little preggers, if I'm being honest with myself...

We don't have a full-length mirror (probably with good reason)
It's a nice dress and it's comfy (did I mention that), but I was a little unsure of whether it would be too dressy for a reunion and whether looking 4 months pregnant is a good look at 43.

My friend said she was wearing a top and pants. I considered this, until I looked at the top of choice in a photo and decided I looked too much like a green whale...

That would be me in green...with grey hair.... Not going there. But maybe I should head off the hairdressers which is long overdue:

I wanted to go lighter, but apparently there were all these technical reasons why that is impossible

OK. So hair is order, but the issue of "what to wear" is hanging around, so with my lovely new hair I took myself off to the shops (which is not much of a choice in our tiny town), on a budget because I just spend $154 on my new hair...

I managed to find this baby (still black) which was marked down from $69 to $48:

So. What do you think? Add black high heels, lippy and some spangly earrings and I should be good to go?

Do you attend your high school reunions?
If you do, you stress about your appearance?
Should I buy the dress?

I got the homeschool blahs...

This has to be normal, right? You know, the ebb and flow, the ups and downs, the troughs and peaks, the...can't think of any more metaphors! I've temporarily lost my homeschooling mojo. It has left the building...although the kids are still working away.

Tackling grammar - Video Boy rocked this!

I feel like I'm in a bit of a homeschooling funk. Nothing super-major, but just a sense of "gotta think of what to do next, and I don't feel like doing it". Maybe it's because it's the end of October and the year has been a bit...disjointed? Maybe because we don't have anything juicy to get our teeth into and it's all a bit ho-hum. Maybe I need to go on a holiday?

Writing a story about a two-headed, multiple personality sea serpent!

Whatever it is, I'm sure it's just a passing phase. And I share with you because I'm sure (I think) that most homeschooling parents go through this? A sense of Groundhog Day - that feeling of more of the same, stretching on forever.....

Looks like squiggles - is actually a physics experiment!

Except when I'm rational, I know it won't last forever. My babies are growing up. The work they are doing is getting high-level! It won't be long before I pack them off to university (a mother has to have dreams, you know!).

Playing Spot It - a lovely new game addition (thanks Jane!)

We do have some exciting things coming up - there are more homeschoolers in our area now and group things are starting to happen - things like art and bushcraft and getting together with other kids that are my kids ages. I've learned from experience here in blogland not to say "and soon we will do this" because inevitably it doesn't happen...but hopefully there are some lovely new things to look forward too.

I think we just need some "quality" time. Snuggles on the lounge reading together. Walks along the beach in the spring sunshine. Cooking up a storm. Enjoying these moments of being home with my kids. Just because we can. Just because we homeschool and I am in the precious, enviable position of being able to give them what they need. I couldn't get tired of that!

Do you ever have homeschooling blah's? (please tell me I'm not alone)
How do you find your homeschooling mojo?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday Weigh-In

So, this week I've been entering all my food into My Fitness Pal app, running 3 times, walking 3 times with only Sunday a day of rest.

Even took hubby on one walk!

I've also been trying Celebrity Slim Rapid shakes because this weekend I have my 25th school reunion (eek!) and I would love to be couple of kilos lighter.

Which I am!! This morning was 77.8kg! Wow. It's amazing what a bit of exercise and watching what you eat can do....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Random err "Monday"

...because of course, I'm running late again....

Did you know that you can now Google any actor/actress' "Bacon Number"?? In one, easy step you can now sleep soundly in the knowledge that:

  • Michael J Fox has a Bacon Number of 1 - they both starred in The Magic 7
  • Pierce Brosnan has a Bacon Number of 2 - he starred with Denise Williams in The World Is Not Enough and she starred with KB in Wild Things
  • Grant Dodwell (Australian actor from A Country Practice about a billion years ago) has a Bacon Number of 3 (who'da thunk?). I'll leave you to Google that one.

Ermahgerd! There is now an Ermahgerd Translator!

Get your tissues ready because this is the most awe-inspiring, beautiful thing you will see for a while - fireworks, I tell you!

Joining in with Deb at Not Inadequate

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ahh - Push It!

Ah, push it - push it good 
Ah, push it - push it real good 

So...our last "Warm Up" week! Monday starts "PreSeason" and some non-compulsory challenges - I wonder what on earth they could be?

This week, I've run 3 times and walked twice. I've cut back on alcohol - changing to gin and diet tonics, low-alcohol wine and trying (not always succeeding!) to have only 2 a night. Last night I drank only mineral water! It's baby steps.

This morning got out for my run. I thought I was doing Week 2, Day 1 of Ease into 10K. But I didn't check my phone properly and it defaulted to Week 3, Day 2 - the next day after where I finished up last year! I thought those 4 minutes seemed awfully long! They were! They were 5 minutes long! No wonder I was a bit hot and sweaty after that:

The app I use is the Ease Into 10K app from Bluefin software. If you've never run before, I wouldn't start with this one - go for the Couch to 5K one. But this suits me after a little break from running - the run/walk intervals are just right (provided I do the right week!). I also like the progress charts:

Got out yesterday for a walk with Maxie - don't let me tell you that I have nowhere to walk...

But to get there we have to trek down a bit of a dirt road, which is a bit of a puddle-fest after the recent rains:

Anyway, so excited to be doing something positive about this weight. I just needed a program or something to hang off - looking forward to next week - bring it on!

Oooh, baby, baby 
Baby, baby 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday Weigh-In!

Got up, checked Facebook (as you do) and there was a reminder:

My scales are not that pretty and neither is the number that is going to show up.  OK - let's get it over and done with:

79.3 kg - 174.8 lbs
Small loss. I'll take it.

Up early and I finished "Week 1" of the Ease Into 10K program this morning:

It felt hard, but I pushed on and my pace was a bit faster, so I'm happy with myself.

Further motivation - Michelle Bridges encouraging everyone who can to get out running:

I encourage all my team who can, to RUN! If you are time poor, running is great value for money when it comes to getting that heart rate up and burning truck loads of calories!! Xx

I'll be happy when I look like her! 

And it's the little choices - last night after a long day at work, my hubby suggested it was Tuesday and that maybe we should just call Dominos....but I was strong (and if I'm honest, cranky with him for leading me astray), and went to the shops, bought steak and salad and cooked it. I wouldn't have done that last week!

I ran past my daughter's piano teacher this morning, just as the voice in my earphones said "run". I sighed and she said "it's just got to be done, doesn't it?!" And she's right - just gotta do it (mmm, might be something in that).

Monday, October 15, 2012

But wait! There's MORE paper-folding madness!

"I know it is wet
And the sun is not sunny
But we can have lots of good fun
That is funny!"
      (Dr Seuss)      

Inspired by Nikole over at Verde Mama (who in turn was inspired by us and made Popup Fractals!), we had our own rainy day.

Well, I'm pretty sure she didn't actually inspire the low pressure system that brought 233mm of rain to our tiny coastal village in 24 hours:

That moment when your street turns into river...

...and that river heads down your driveway and into Video Boy's bedroom...

She did however inspire us to watch Vi Hart's latest vids on flexagons. Now I thought I was pretty clever, back in the day, making "cootie catchers" (or chatterboxes or paper fortune tellers). We spent many a maths lesson making those! But these flexagon thingies are a whole 'nuther ball game! How on earth could I have missed them??? Misspent youth? Anyway, prepare to have your mind blown. I'll sit and wait...

Full-on, right? But Vi wasn't finished - oh no. October is Flexagon Month and she has more in store for us:

And so, of course, there's nothing left to do on this cold, cold wet day, but to make flexagons!

Easier said than done.

We tried really hard to follow Vi's instructions. She talks fast. So we paused and rewound and played a lot. But we got a bit frustrated.

It was time to call in the big guns! Google for more instructions

Video Boy conquered a tri-hexaflexagon:

and then he and Wombat Girl and I did hexahexaflexagons!

They aren't as pretty to photograph as the popup fractals, but damn! They are trippy to play with  :-) So you've just gotta go give them a try.

What's your favourite rainy day activity?
Have you ever had housing disasters related to rain (or wind, or snow)?
Did you ever make flexagons in your youth 
or were you sidetracked by some other mis-spent activity?

PS: This is Defying Gravity's 200th post!!!! I had no idea I would have written/photographed that many posts when I started! A big thank you to my loyal band of followers and especially to my regular commenters - you all make my day! I love that someone out there in cyberspace likes what I have to say and is even inspired by what we do. Totes chuffed! And you don't care that I over-use exclamation marks like crazy!!!!!

I'm so ashamed...

Today I was rifling through my large assemblage of running magazines, Million Kilo Challenge recipes, physio exercises etc and came across my old Fit For the Job Challenge folder (mmm, now defunct - no link available). I did this a few years ago now when I was working at the local high school. A bunch of us teachers got together for a 12 week challenge to lose weight, reduce stress etc (sounding familiar?). We got a 12 week exercise program and DVD, healthy eating plan and weigh-in's at the local gym. I do remember that I managed to get down to 66kg and feeling very proud of myself.

But at the start, I remember feeling like I did yesterday - it's time to make a change before this weight gain gets out of hand, my clothes are fitting anymore etc etc.

I found the slip of paper for my first weigh-in.

Weight: 69.8kgs (153.6 lbs). OMG. That's 10kg lighter than my current starting point.

I'm so ashamed that I thought that I was heavy and I've let myself (after bootcamping, and two lots of C25K and a 9km fun run and multiple "programs") get to 79.8kg. No wonder my size 14 clothes are tight. It's not that the sizing is getting smaller. It really is because I've stacked on the kilos. I'm going to my 25 year school reunion in a couple of weeks the heaviest I've ever been. Hello! Reality check! 

So I went out for my run/walk this morning feeling very large, very ashamed of myself. I felt like saying "I can do this running thing, you know, I'm just starting again and these clothes used to fit me 12 months ago". 

And that's the thing, isn't it? You just have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start bloody again. And keep going. And going. It's not easy (well, I obviously don't find it easy).

On the bright side? There were a lot of overweight people out there this morning, walking the walk, putting one foot in front of the other. They were beetroot faced and sweaty too. They looked admiringly (or was that sympathetically?) at me running. I did get out of bed this morning and do it, unlike last week. I keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Here it goes again!

Oh, just when you think you're in control
Just when you think you've got a hold
Just when you get on a roll
Oh, here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again

You know how I said that if the blog suddenly stopped and no more posts appeared it meant I had gone off the rails, off the weight-loss wagon? Well. Yep. Kinda did there for a while.

The results were amazingly fast. I must have broke our old scales, because we had to buy new ones. And the bad news - as of last week, I was:


My size 14 clothes are getting tight. I actually tried on "larger ladies" sized clothing in Target last week. I nearly cried when I saw myself in the changeroom mirror.

It's time to "do something". I thought I could do it by myself. I thought wrong. I need a goal, or a program or something to help me along.

I think a combination of this ongoing hip/hamstring issue plus no program to follow has me unmotivated. I'll do a run, or a even a couple for that week, but then I'll stop. The same with diet - I'll do well for a few days, then hit the wine, cheese and bikkies and even takeaway again if I have a busy day.

Well time for a BIG change before that first number hits 8. Before I actually purchase larger ladies clothing.

I met with a friend who I hadn't seen for a while. I had actually inspired her to start running with C25K. She looked TOTALLY AMAZING. Not just thinner than I had ever seen her, but glowing with good health. Muscle definition in her arms. No double chin. Pouchy tummy gonskies. Planning to run a freaking HALF MARATHON!

She had started with Weight Watchers, but she said the turning point for her was Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation program. She went so far as to say it was the best $200 she had ever spent.

I had looked at the webpage before. They give you exercises and diet and the biggy - mindset changes each week. I wasn't sure about spending the money. But looking at my friend yesterday I signed up. $19.99 per week. I reckon I'll save that in wine! 

So here we go again. Hopefully with big results and lasting changes. And maybe, just maybe I can half marathon in 2013. 

So stay tuned kiddies - and get ready to watch those numbers on the side go down!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Glad to be homeschooling!

Generally speaking, I am pretty happy with this decision to homeschool of ours. We've been through the birth of fire and have settled down into a routine (of sorts) that suits us.

That's not to say it's all smooth sailing around here - many days it is not. We have tears, we have tantrums. And that's just me!

But every now and then, I am able to sit back and observe the kids. And be very grateful that they are able to be at home. Because I fear if they were at school, the consequences would not be pretty. For them or their teachers.

Imagine the following scenarios (played out on a daily basis around here) in a school situation, rather than at home:

  • Wombat Girl is supposed to be doing questions on trigonometry (Yr 9 work). You know - sin, cos and tan. She is supposed to just be writing the correct ratios of selected angles on her worksheet. She has decided instead to calculate the missing sides using Pythagorus' Theorem then using the solutions fully calculate sin, cos and tan for each angle, in each triangle, to 2 decimal places. 
  • Video Boy is supposed to be doing some trigonometry practice on Khan Academy. Instead he is under a blanket watching YouTube videos on the iPad. He has not taken his medication. I coax him out (gently) but am met with tears, shaking and muttering. It is nearly midday. He struggles to concentrate on each question, but after constant re-focussing from me, the medication kicking in he is able to finish three sets of 8 questions and then move onto answering questions from his physics textbook (which he types into Word) all by himself. 

In either of these situations at school, the kids would not even be doing the work listed above - it is years above their age grade. They would be bored by the content. The teachers would not like them going off-track and doing more than required by the questions. They would not be as patient with "immature" behaviour. They would be reticent to use technology to overcome issues with writing. It would be a lose-lose situation. Their strengths would not be catered to sufficiently and their weaknesses would not be supported enough.

The kids are so lucky (and I keep reminding them!!) that they have me and my seemingly endless stores of patience, because if they were in regular classroom, they would be bored, frustrated, annoyed and depressed. Their teachers would be annoyed, frustrated, disappointed and irritated. This would not be a win-win situation.

As it turned out, the work (and then some) is completed. They are happy and proud of their accomplishments. They are doing work that stimulates them mentally. They have some "products" to show for their work. I haven't lost the plot with them and they haven't (totally) blown their cool either. We will go on to do more cool stuff in the afternoon. Life is good - even with tears.

Have you had moments lately that made you appreciate your decision to homeschool?
What is it about homeschooling that really works for your kids?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

More popout fractal madness!

So after my last post where everyone loved the fractal popouts so much, I put up the link to the activity.

You see the first lot we made were from the back of Maggie and Abacaba Genies book - no template there and it took us a while to figure it out!

So, in case you are reading the instructions and quietly saying WTF (why the face?) to yourself, rest assured that I had difficulty too. Wombat Girl figured it out and showed me, but many pieces of coloured paper were abandoned by all of us in our attempts to pop out fractals. But once the penny drops (fold first, then invert), you should be on your way to this:

But wait! There is more!!! I hadn't printed out the template for the more complicated version. So today we did and put contrasting paper behind them and look how fabulous they turned out:

But there's still more!!!!!! I googled "popout fractal" and found this page and attempted that one as well (which is hidden in the sandcastle of Maggie and the Genies)

 and they look great too!

If you look at these side on, you'll find they look like Sierpinki's Triangle, which in turn is linked to Pascal's Triangle.

Now if I lived anywhere remotely close to Albuquerque, New Mexico, I would be headed to the Fractal Show, but at the very least I think we will be exploring some more activities found here and share with you a beautiful fractal world:

So have you been inspired to fractal?
If you blogged about it, please put the link in the comments below and share!

Nikole at Verde Mama fractalled!! 

52 Ancestors - Unusual Name

In this week's post, we have been asked to look behind an "unusual name" and I've chosen my great-aunt's husband, Fred...