Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A merry Christmas to all!

This will be my last post here I think... I micro-blog on Instagram almost daily and this poor old blog just gathers spiderwebs! Even if you don't have IG you can peep on my feed by just typing gillsan63 Instagram into your search bar.
Nearly Christmas! Daughter and her partner arrive from Tasmania tonight for a week. I need to clean the house from top to toe. Already made rum balls, ginger biscuits and will do MORE shortbread and a Yule log for tomorrow night as S's partner's family are coming for Christmas Eve dinner.

All is good here. At the moment I feel incredibly well and happy every day. Sleeping well again, leg pain under control with doses of iron. Still waiting on my arm surgery but not bothered by the wait.

Our son did his year 12 exams and obtained great results, should be enough to get him into Monash University Arts next year. I'm taking him out nearly every day to build up his driving hours to get his driver's licence. Much to my surprise I'm a good instructor! Daughter is happily about to clock up her first year in Tasmania and is at last well again after some corrective surgery and fantastic medical treatment by doctors and a surgeon in Burnie Hospital. She completed a year of fine arts by distance education and is champing at the bit to work and study next year. Husband clocks up one year in his "new" job next February and is enjoying  having a whole heap of religious holidays as well as annual leave. Next year we'll have a holiday at Pesach instead of Easter like everyone else!

It has been a huge year of change for our family. 2016 will see more and I love it. Beginnings are exciting good times. Merry Christmas and a happy healthy!! 2016.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

sunday musings

Here I am again, trying to catch up with this blog!

This will be a hotch-potch of a post, be warned.

First and foremost, the dreaded insomnia. I feel like I'll curse myself if I say this aloud, but it's getting much better. I tried EVERYTHING recommended to me I was so desperate, even sleeping pills which were a total waste of time. The first night I went to sleep but only for 90 minutes; the second night I just had hallucinations and felt manic so the third one was flushed down the loo.

The GP gave me some information printed off the Beyond Blue website which was probably the most consistently helpful, particularly as by the time I went to see her I also had had restless leg syndrome to contend with, which meant if I managed to sleep I would wake up after an hour with itching, burning, cramping legs, which lasted for anything from 30 to 90 minutes.

 After studying the GPs notes I trained myself into a really strict routine of no food, alcohol or caffeine after about 7 p.m. (if I was home), a long hot bath or shower in which I would meditate; no reading and lights out and earplugs in every night at the same time (10.30 p.m.). I started going to sleep normally, even if the restless legs woke me up later. A couple of nights I also got out of bed and went downstairs for half an hour ( at 3 a.m.) and read until I felt like I could sleep a bit.

About a week ago, this routine started to work for me, then the last two nights I have had no leg cramps, which I'm attributing to the iron supplement I've been taking for a month for my anemia: finally it seems to be kicking in and I have more energy during the day. So keep everything crossed for me that the insomnia is over for a bit - that month of November was HARD.

What else has been happening? Little bits of home renovation here and there. B painted the front fence ( which was ugly white) a great colour called Tomato Bisque - my choice -  so it blends nicely with the roof tiles which is all you can see from the street, as the house block falls away quite deeply to the back fence. As I've had more energy I've been able to work a little in the garden nearly every day, mainly cuting things back and tidying rather than planting: no rain so not much point putting in anything except a few summer vegetables.

the roses are glorious
Peaches! these were netted today

only a few sunflowers have come up so far, but they're looking healthy
We've also hung a few more pictures and I've started hanging a whole wall of PLATES. Also put on a new loo seat downstairs and have have been sorting out J's room with him as we re-organise him to spread over two bedrooms, one for sleeping and one for when he wants to hang out on his own and watch a movie or do some gaming. Apart from all the school stuff, he gave away bags and bags of clothes.

 I went through my clothes and the linen cupboard and added to the pile. I even filled a couple of boxes with books.

The next excitement ( hopefully) is getting floor to ceiling bookshelves in the strange room at the back of the house that the two kid bedrooms open off.

Here is an old photo of one end of that space. It's a walk though area ( although very wide) so you can't really use the space in any useful way. Our friend M who is a carpenter and furniture maker is coming to dinner on Saturday and bringing his tape measure to give us a quote. I hope we can afford him!

One last thing, reading here has been slow as I haven't been reading before bed, but as there is NOT ONE THING worth watching on TV we have the beast off most nights now and I'm right back into it. Read Phillipa Gregory's latest, The taming of the Queen about Kateryn Parr, which I liked, and I've just started Bill Bryson's latest book about the UK, which is a hoot, as expected.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

at the Oasis Bakery

In about June, one of my oldest girl friends booked tickets for four of us to attend a cooking class and dinner at the Oasis Bakery.  

I was a few days away from leaving work, sick and exhausted, didn't really know what it was all about but wrote it in my diary for November and sort of forgot about it. The girls had eaten breakfast there once or twice and other people I know had raved about it, but as it's so far away from where I live ( about 40 minutes south) it's not on my radar at all.

The Sunday dawned and I was ill and delerious from the insomnia, and my husband deemed me to too sick to drive so he drove my friend and I to the bakery. He is the kindest person ever.

Well , the bakery is AMAZING. It encompasses a big supermarket packed to the rafters with middle eastern food and cooking ingredients; a bakery, producing cakes and breads, and a cafe: just look at the breakfast menu and tell me you're not tempted.

Upstairs is the cooking demonstration room, where 18 of us sat in a horseshoe arrangement and watched chef Marwa and her assistant Nicole make vegie burghul,  maftoul salad and dawood basha
 ( spicy lamb meatballs in a tomato sauce), all the while talking about cooking and food and techniques in a really entertaining way while she cooked. Then we were all served a most magnificent dinner, along with Lebanese coffee and little sweets, and hot spicy apple tea.

The last part of the night was where we were taken through the supermarket, able to buy all the special ingredients used in the dinner. I just bought some bread, pomegranate molasses and the apple tea and some garlic dip and spice paste: other people filled trolleys!

Even if you don't want to do a class, you really should go and see the incredible range at the supermarket, particularly if you like middle eastern cooking. Every spice, sauce, oil you could ever want in cooking, just amazing. The classes are wildly popular but book ahead and go with friends - nearly the whole room was groups of women having a lovely alternative to a night out in a restaurant.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Insomnia has not quite killed me, blogging tomorrow!

Yes it goes on, but so does life at a very cracking pace. Tomorrow I promise to write a post about the wonderful cooking class and tour I went to at Oasis Bakery. This is over a week ago now but I took photos so come back here tomorrow so you can see. Sorry about the slack blogging, I do want to keep going here, however erratically, but but my bloody health means that I'm operating at less than half speed!

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Thank you so much for your comments, suggestions, and for the commiserations from the fellow insomniacs. I'm now up to Night 14 of this torture, and it takes me back to the first non-sleeping year of the non-sleeping baby. One night I remember saying to my poor husband ( over the screaming baby who was ten months or so) that was IT, I was getting on a bus and going to Queensland and never coming back and the whole baby thing had been a stupid idea anyway.

But I survived then and I will survive now. I've tried all the lovely herbally gentle calm things and now I'm going for the big guns.  If I don't sleep tonight I going to the GP tomorrow and begging for a sleeper. I only had a twenty minute nap today and have tried to be more active, very hard when you feel so dozy. A few nights ago I had a really warm bath for nearly an hour ( I never have baths) and actually fell asleep in it for a minute or so. Beautiful. I was so relaxed and warm I quickly dried off and got into bed and slept for an hour before the cycle started again.

Aside from this, things are  going along as normal. J has his last Year 12 exam tomorrow. None of them have bothered him at all so I'm hoping Australian History isn't a shocker. S has to move house because her landlord in Tasmania is selling the house, they have found another cute one in a nicer area so fingers crossed. Husband keeps saying "the year is over", which it really is in his industry once Cup Day is done with - the rest of the year is about finishing up and clearing up unfinished business.

Because I am clearly insane I've been planning Christmas soirees today and now have 12 for dinner in the middle of December. They are bringing pretty much everything, all we have to do is buy some cooked chooks and set the table. Otherwise, so far, there is a book club breakfast OUT; and I want to have S's in-laws over for a mince pie and a drink on Christmas Eve. Otherwise we will have some other friends over for fish and chips in the garden one night. My sister and my niece ( the saints) generously cook Christmas Dinner for us all which we love every year.

Wish me luck tonight.