Friday, August 15, 2014


This morning I weighed 10 kg or 22.5 pounds more than last September. Most of that gain has been in the last three months as I stressed over selling my mother's beach front house. Many days I felt as though I was in the middle of a nightmare. Hurt feelings abound.

In the end a potential sale fell through. Now we have some remedial work to get a Council Certificate of Compliance .... something which should have been done as soon as the building was completed back in 2000. Naturally this is not quite straightforward and again we are dealing with multiple opinions about how to go through the process of getting the items, mostly minor, ticked off to the satisfaction of the council inspector. I want to opt out of this process but realistically there is no way I can do this. Sometimes it's a pain to be needed.

In the meantime we have been to Christchurch for two weeks with our son and his wife. We are delighted, over the moon ecstatic, because they are having our first grandchild. Well, second really, the first one died at nine weeks gestation. It's great news and we look forward to a safe birth somewhere around New Year.

I'm still trying to get my head around my food/health thing. Yesterday was our first day home and somehow I only had one coffee instead of the 6-8 I had been creeping up to. That meant I drank a lot more water in the form of a tea infusion. My weight dropped by around 2 kg/4.5 pounds in one day. Just shows how bloated I had become.

Today I'll be coffee free. I also would like to be sugar free but I'm about to have coconut porridge and somehow it needs a little sweetener. Maybe I'll try some stevia before I resort to sugar. We are only home for a week before we go house sitting for friends but that's only for a week this time. I hope to have established my eating/health plan sufficiently to get me through that week.

I finished a gift quilt recently and am starting another for my sister. She had her 70th birthday early this year. I reckon I can get it finished before Christmas.

That's about it for now. See you soon.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


I hope you enjoy it. It was a fun thing to do.

Click here to listen.

 I tuned in with great trepidation. Would I sound like an idiot? Would the sound quality be acceptable in my ears? Would I be so nervous that I used my 'posh,' more English sounding voice? Would the Bells Palsy, which has affected my vocal chords, make me sound like a quavery old lady?

All my fears were for naught. 

John and I have just listened and agree that it went well. I thank Jimmy Moore and 
Dietitian Cassie for making it so easy. I lost nearly all my nervousness. This was my first time using Skype so pretty special for me. Chalk up another technology learning curve.

The shocker is, as always, seeing my photo on the Livin La Vi
da blog.. Even after 2.5 years with Bells Palsy my face dismays me.

I felt it was a great privilege to be on the show. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014



A few months ago I did something bold, bold for me that is. I contacteDietitian Cassie to go on the podcast show Low Carb Conversations with Jimmy Moore and Friends. Link here. I was very surprised when I received a reply email inviting me to participate with dates in May. All I needed to do was open a Skype account with a username and get some headphones. I had to get help from my daughter to set up the SkyPe account ..... another bit of technology learned. Then Dietitian Cassie's team worked out the time change between Minnesota and New Zealand. I was too excited to sleep, finally falling asleep in the early hours of the morning. What with that, the daylight saving changes and my wonky arithmetic I missed my date by nearly two hours. I thought that was it until I received another mail suggesting dates in June. I think they were intrigued that anyone my age would be interested in being on the show. 

Today was the day. We set our alarms and I went to bed extra early. Last time I had been too excited to sleep. This time I woke at midnight but went back to sleep and woke again at 3.30 am. That was good enough for me as the alarms were set for 4 am. I had time to make coffee, keto coffee with coconut oil, coconut cream and real NZ thick cream. I then found some Southern Gospel singing I could join in with to wake up my voice. I was ready. Not long after 4 am came the messages through Skype to make sure I was here and ask a few questions. 

A few minutes before the scheduled recording time the call came through and sound checks were made. Apparently my headphones, which are new, messed things up so they had to be disconnected and I was good to go. It will be interesting to see how the sound is. I am very conscious of my speech these days. Bells Palsy has affected my ability to pronounce certain letters unless I hold my hand to my face in a particular way. It has also affected my vocal chords so that I often sound quavery, like a very old lady. I won't know how I soununtil this podcast is released on the website.

The other guest was Ben, a fitness trainer an paleo nutrition expert from Ireland. He has begun working with Alzheimers sufferers. I'like to know more about his work there.

Cassie and Jimmy make things so easy. It was like a chat with friends which is exactly how they describe it too. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. My nervousness even disappeared. Now I am looking forward to Jimmy Moore's visit to New Zealand even more than previously. I must make sure I can be there.

I'll post the link when the show comes up. 

Friday, May 30, 2014


As you can see I am not here today.

You can find me here

Thursday, May 29, 2014



I really am surprised that it's only 6 weeks since I last posted here. I put everything on hold to sew. It seems that I may have worked off the early burst of single minded passion. I'm still spending more time sewing than anything else but I'm beginning to wake up the other interests in my life.

My weight is slowly, ever so slowly, coming back down. Today I weigh in at 84.1 kg/185.5 lbs. This is still higher than the start of the year but I did see that number touch on 87 kg once or twice. My level of exercise or movement is almost ZERO. My sleep patterns are much better. The things which add more stress than I need continue and I have some really bad times when I need to consciously work at getting my emotions into a healthy, (bearable), state again.

We've had my mother's house on the market now for 18 months. It's two and a half years since Mum died and the house is in a Family Trust. My sister and I lent money, part of our inheritance from our father who died 40 years ago, to the Trust. We cannot realise this until the house is sold and of course there will also be some benefit from out mother's estate. Our future is on hold until this matter is settled. Currently we have our first offer under discussion. It's not at all what we think the property is worth and means we will have about $50,000 less to work with than we expected. That's a lot of money and means a complete mental adjustment. It also means we may lose the sale as we try to negotiate.
We have struggled with mortgage payments for the last 7 or so years. That was not in our plan. We also live in a small town that was not part of our plan. My sister and I are over the waiting to sort out our futures. Patience does not come readily to me. Sewing has been an unexpected God-send. I quietly sew, sometimes listening to podcasts or music or a decent programme on TV. My focus on mixing colours and patterns is a wonderfully creative distraction.
Until I can get my head around writing more often I will keep only one blog going. If you want to keep up with our life you can follow me here I will try to keep it up to date and fun to read.

As an aside..... my keyboard is acting up. Until I get it fixed the 'd' only works because I cut and paste and I must do a lot of proof reading because other letters sometimes stick. It all takes too much time that can be better spent sewing.


Thursday, March 20, 2014


The top of my knee rug is finished. It's far from perfect and I'm happy about that. This was made up from things I looked at on-line and liked and from some things in my head. There was no pattern and I was not careful enough about making each block the same size so it's definitely skew whiff. Now that it's all together I can see things I could have done better. That's OK too because this is for me and it's a whole big learning curve. Plus there is no way I am going to unpick hand stitching. I'm hoping the quilting will disguise some of the imperfections. This is really a memory quilt of our trip to Hawaii last year. We stopped for lunch at Waimea and accidentally walked past a quilt shop. I could not pass up the opportunity to accidentally walk in. There was no way I was walking out without buying some fabric to remember this day.

I'm putting it away until I am able to go shopping in a city because I need backing fabric and batting. Next job is to work on the top for our other D-I-L

One thing about this addiction to quilting.... I don't have time to eat and when I do I don't waste time snacking because then I'd need to wash my hands.

Maybe I'll be able to sleep in tomorrow. I've been getting up between 5 and 6 am eager to get started again.

Now I can catch up with reading blogs too. Happy Days!

Sunday, March 16, 2014


This post was written a few days ago so I have updated it this morning.

Very funny!

For what I have been up to this past week or three pop over to Growing Older Gracefully. Should have the finished article ready to photograph and gift wrap soon. Done and delivered

Yesterday, now last Sunday, we went to Te Aroha where my sister celebrated her 70th birthday. Lots of family. Lots of very good food. We went to Bosson House, an older house, set in attractive grounds making it feel quite rural. The owners run a catering business doing all their own cooking and it is Delicious. The menu was 100% gluten free except for the bread and the birthday cake which was made by my niece and her children. The most delicious of all was a chocolate cake with ganache. It was made by blitzing whole oranges, from their own tree, and adding in the eggs and almond flour etc. I think the oranges were cooked in boiling water first. We were served delicious canapes on either tiny homemade crackers, or on potato based tiny squares. The main course consisted of thick sliced ham, bacon rolls, two of the yummiest leafy salads with various added extras, egg and potato salad plus the bread rolls and butter. The dessert was the afore-mentioned chocolate cake cut into 2 in squares and tiny meringues topped with whipped cream and a blueberry. Everything looked delicious and perfectly presented. The bacon rolls were a big hit too. Bacon was wrapped around chicken with a cream cheese centre. They were served cold and totally perfect. I was very impressed.

We left home about 10 am and it was after 6 pm when we got back so quite a long day and we were pretty tired when we got in. I had felt slightly unwell all day and the travelling added to it but otherwise totally enjoyable. We sat outside in the  garden most of the time. Shady trees kept us out of the hot sun. Right now it's raining so I think we were lucky with the weather.

We are hoping it will be a nice day for tomorrow's fishing trip. We have to be up before the birds. Our son and his wife are here on holiday from Christchurch. They have booked us to go fishing on the Muscle Barge, a working boat, which has been retired from it's original purpose. We have to hit the road about 6.15 am. The sun is not even coming close to the horizon that early. Sunrise here is about 7.05 am tomorrow. I need to pack some picnic food and my special keto coffee in a flask, as we won't be home again until after mid-day and I won't be eating breakfast before we leave.

My keto coffee consists of freshly brewed coffee with coconut oil, coconut cream/milk and thick cream whisked until the top has a nice froth. It's time I had a break from morning coffee but not when we have so many things going on.

Since writing this we have spent time with our son and his wife, on holiday here from Christchurch. I have caught the patchwork quilt bug. How on earth can I find time to do all the things I think are important. There are just not enough hours in a day, a week, a month. At least this keeps my hands busy but not so good about making time for walking. I can't wait to get out of bed in the morning to see what I am going to create today. I'm still stitching everything by hand. Perhaps I'll have to bite the spool on the sewing machine and do things faster.

Talking of hands. I could not have done this needlework before going wheat free. I am amazed by the strength that is now returning to my hands but the biggest benefit by far is being pain-free. My eyesight is sometimes a challenge but now that I can blink thanks to the tiny weight in my upper eyelid I can bear any discomfort an blurriness without the old frustration kicking in. I have an appointment with the optometrist next week so will be interesting to hear his verdict.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


WHY? Why would you want to eat nothing except vegetables. No eggs, No meat, No dairy, No fish. 

It appears to me that Vegans also eat a lot of processed food in order to imitate Real Food.

This was taken from another blog so I've modified it.

An interesting egg free "Egg Salad."

Begin with a block of tofu cut into small pieces.  More about my take on tofu in a minute.

Then you add in some Braggs Nutritional Yeast seasoning. I think this is used by a lot of people and I'm 

not sure what the New Zealand equivalent is.or even if there is one. This is popular with all people 

concerned about their health.

You add in some Black Kala Numik salt aka Indian salt, which supposedly tastes like egg! 

The eggy flavoupossibly comes from sulphur, an impurity in natural sourced black salt which is added 

to commercially manufactured version.

What about the Light Life Fake Smart Bacon made with these Ingredients
Water, soy protein isolate, vital wheat gluten, soybean oil, soy protein concentrate, textured wheat gluten, less than 2% of: salt, sugar, carrageenan, natural flavor (from plant sources), natural smoke flavor, spices, fermented rice flour, oleoresin paprika (color), potassium chloride.

Now you can build a nice sandwich in a bread roll, wheat of course. No butter allowed!

I did not set out to mock a vegan diet but I do wonder why it seems so necessary to imitate the taste 

of foods derived from animals. This seems like an oxymoron kind of thing to me.

I have always been accustomed to Real Food so this recipe horrifies me.

The fake egg sandwich would make me sick but that's okay because I wasn't the one eating it.

The person whose lunch I have described thought she was making the healthiest food in the world.

I know it's mean of me but I am waiting to see if this way of eating lasts long term or has any long term 

impact on their health. Currently the couple both enjoy very good health and are quite active, hiking 

and canoeing etc. My guess is that they are about 80% or more , vegan. They do seem to eat fish and

the occasional burger.

Tofu is made from soya beans and is common in some cultures. It's recognised as a healthy 

protein . But is it? I think one would have to be careful. There is a lot of information about the good and 

bad of soya products. Here is what Dr.. Mercola says.  

Soya beans or the plants are mostly GM modified and Soya beans are known to have a hormonal impact 

for many people. Too much oestrogen or something like that

I grew up in a farming family. One set of Grandparents had a dairy farm and supplied fresh, raw milk to 

the town with daily door to door delivery. My father's family had a mixture of farms but mostly fattened 

cattle and lambs for local butchering. We always had our own vegetable garden and backyard hens. 

There were even some fruit trees. How I would love to return to the lifestyle. It is so very sad to me that 

very few of the descendants of those wonderful people are now living off the land.


I think this post sits better in this blog.

I've had my follow-up visit with the ophthalmologist and case closed. My eye has healedd up nicely but I was warned it will never be perfect and I need to take care of my eyes. I guess I should use drops daily just as a precaution but I dislike them sooo much.

I've been preparing a quilted runner for one of our daughters-in-law. I'm waiting now until we go to town so I can buy batting and backing. This will be entirely hand stitched. Quite feasible on a small project. I find it so relaxing to sit and stitch but not the best at night. We really must get a decent floor lamp I can set beside my chair.

Why do I hand stitch? I know it's slow and I could do so much more if I used the sewing machine. I have never really enjoyed sewing although I once made all our own clothes and the children's too. A sewing machine is WORK. Patchwork and quilting is a hobby. I'll psot photos soon... Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Thank-you everyone for wishing me the best for the surgery.

As expected yesterday was a very long day and has left me somewhat exhausted, although not as bad as I thought I might be.

We left home about 7.45 am but I woke up about 4 am and could not go back to sleep. So annoying when I had set my alarm for 6 am.

We had a good drive to Hamilton. There was more morning sun than forecast, a couple brief hold-ups for road works and rain before for the last 30 or so minutes into Hamilton.

There was a lot of hanging around once we checked in at the Day Surgery Office. I felt as though I was on some kind of production line as I got processed from one waiting room to another. The surgery went without a hitch and recovery time less than one hour. The comparatively simple surgery with a local anaesthetic sent my blood pressure soaring. Before surgery it was 137/95. The anaethetist thought my BP very acceptable considering I take no medication. After surgery 188/86. I was afraid for a minute they would keep me longer but they believed me when I said it was an aberration and I'd keep checking it at home. Have not done so yet.

Our drive home was uneventful. We left the hospital just after 5 pm in peak traffic and stopped in Morrinsville for petrol and at New World where we bought crackers, camembert, diet ginger beer. (Bunerburg, of course), a packet of Whitakers Peppermint, Dark Chocolate mini bars and a small bag of roasted mixed nuts. We stopped under some lovely big oak trees and sat in the car to feast. The wind was too cold to sit out at the picnic table.

We walked in the door at home about 9.15 making it just 13.5 hours from home and back. There was not a lot of pain with this but even so I kept up the paracetemol to stay comfortable. I fell asleep somewhere in the hills, lolling around, hanging in my seat belt for half an hour.

I am glad to be home in my own recliner with no wheels moving under me.

I slept reasonably well last night and woke this morning with No Pain. My eyelid is too swollen to do anything so I cannot tell how successful the implant is. I am rather one-eyed today and have to watch out as my depth perception is way off. I must keep reminding myself to not let go of things until I hear them touch the table or whatever I am placing the object on and I am certain it is stable. In particular this applies to cups of hot coffee. I have to watch out for steps too but that's nothing new.

I'm simply eating what I feel like, so this morning I had oat porridge with sugar and coconut milk. Yummy even after burning the pot. John is a brick. He always cleans up my burnt pots, with plenty of complaining, I might add. For some reason he has taken over responsibility for most of the housework. I've decided it suits me so all I have to do is turn off from hearing the complaints that utter forth. I have some Nestlé cappuccino sachets which are helping to keep my coffee addiction alive an well.

I was given a prescription for ointment when discharged from Post Op yesterday. It was too late to fill it anywhere except the emergency pharmacy and we had no desire to drive into the business part of Hamilton in rush hour. John is away now getting some groceries and the prescription. If anything makes me mad-angry it is the lack of consideration toward the individual at big hospitals. I know the script was written out hours earlier and sitting in my file. It would have been so much easier if someone had given it to us earlier. John would have gone to a nearby pharmacy before they all closed for the day. He could have done with staying home today. Yesterday was demanding on him too. Driving through the hills on our narrowish, winding, twisty roads takes a lot of energy. There is no chance to relax, especially at this time of year when there are many tourists not to mention crazy NZ drivers who think it's safe to pass approaching blind bends.

 Just another little thing we have to cope with as long as we live on the Coromandel Peninsula. I would have opted for not driving home but we have been away such a lot it's nice to come home at the end of a day.

Later.... I was going to look for suitable photos but I'm done for the day. The swelling has gone down enough for me to work my eyelid. Yay! I have a nice black eye developing. I won't be going anywhere without dark glasses to hide behind for a while.

Let's see what tomorrow brings as that's all for today.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Would you believe our Christmas tree still stands in our living area in all it's glory? I fully intended to pack it all away before we went to Christchurch but could not get motivated. If I don't get my act together soon I may as well leave it for Easter and then it can stay there until next Christmas.

I'm content that I've got my head around my current situation and The Plan.

It feels a bit weird to be content after all the months of frustration. All I've done is lift the bar and make it easier for myself.

Do you lift the bar to make life easier or lower it? I was thinking of the Limbo bar when I wrote the original sentence but If you are think high jumping then of course it would be need to be lowered. Since I neither Limbo Dance nor High Jump let's say the bar needs to be no lower than 1.5 metres/4 feet.... I think I can get under that without touching if I crawl, or a couple of inches off the ground. I don't see me jumping successfully an day soon.

This last week my main focus has been the evening snacking. I had got into quite a habit of eating dessert, icecream, unlimited nuts and whatever was on offer between dinner and going to bed. It was easy to break the icecream habit but the nut habit is much harder. I'm exercising some discipline but it's  not easy to reduce my evening snacking. A habit crept up on me that must change.

I made some jelly/jello with flavoured tea bags. I do not use any sweetener in my tea but the jelly needed something. I added a little honey. This is all very experimental. My goal is to make a tasty jelly to eat instead of WW which has Aspartame. One of my favourite desserts/snacks is jelly with whipped cream. I will be very happy if I can fit it into my low carb template.

I am hoping to be able to live pain free very soon. The left side of my face has been affected by Bells Palsy for two years and have really lost hope of recovery of the facial nerve which controls animation. The muscles have wasted, my face is unattractively twisted. I drink with a straw because I struggle not to dribble, My speech is sloppy with some letters very difficult to pronounce unless I seriously concentrate, and the eyelid does not close or blink spontaneously. The affected eye is always sore, sometimes more than others. I do use drops but the best ones only partially relieve the problem. Not to mention that I hate eye drops and I cannot put them in by myself. I often cover my eye, tucking a tissue under my glasses. I've worked out something that keeps the lid closed, especially at home. I'm quite adept at being one-eyed.
I've been on the waiting list to have a special Gold Weight implanted in the affected eyelid. Each time the possibility of an appointment for this 'Day Surgery' with local anaesthetic, came up it was cancelled for one reason or another until I lost my place on the waiting list through no fault of mine. Finally I phoned yesterday to see if I could stir things up a little. This morning I received a call to say they have a slot tomorrow afternoon providing all the other ducks line up. They do so we are organising ourselves now.

We need to leave home before 8 am and I have no idea when we will get home. It's not a particularly difficult procedure, I'm told. But nor is it an everyday one. The specialist said he would only do one or two a year so now I'm praying it all goes well. I cannot imagine how horrible it would be if my eyelid gets totally messed up. Thanks to Jackie we have a voucher for a restaurant in Hamilton, near the hospital, which we will use for an early lunch before keeping my 12.30 pm appointment. I hope we will be finished there before 5 pm. It's a long way home if you feel miserable.

Whatever progress I've made toward The Plan could be undone tomorrow but that's okay. I now have an easy plan to find my way back to. The next step will be for the eye specialist to refer me to the plastic surgery clinic once he is satisfied his work has healed.

Monday, February 10, 2014



I promised myself I would start my 'New Plan' on February 10th. That's today.

Reading back on what I intended to do is a little scary so I have modified my beginning. I did say we would go dairy free from today but I'm simply not ready and I do not think John is either. I'll review this decision in 4 weeks time.

In the meantime I am eating normal, for me, food. It's higher in fat and lower in carbs but not thinking in terms of being ketogenic although I know that might be better for my brain and thus my mental health.

I feel slightly less stressed but will be starting on St John's Wort as soon as I do some shopping. I also need to get back into the habit of taking my vitamin B Complex Stress Formula.

We had a pleasant almost 3 weeks in Christchurch staying with our youngest son and his wife. This is the 6th day since we came home and it's promising to be a hot one. I hope it doesn't get too muggy as well. Yesterday I became most unwell while preparing dinner. Not sure whether it was the warmth and humidity or dehydration. It felt like a major hot flush ..... at 75 years old.... I ask you, Do they ever end? Today I don't feel too great but since the morning is cool it's better than last night. I'm thinking about going to visit our daughter at Simpsons Beach and having a swim this afternoon.

My weight..... oh this is so boring..... I weigh almost exactly what I weighed 7th January 2013. 85.8 kg/189 pounds. The good news is that I have lost nearly 2 kg since our long travel day last Tuesday. We left our son's house about 8 am and arrived home about 5 pm. It's the drive home from Auckland Airport that kills it, especially when all through the hills we were stuck behind tourists who are scared of our roads.

Now I need to read my original suggested plan again and think about what I am doing to implement it. I am very aware of the weight I have gained, about 5.5 kg/12 pound which is almost a stone in my old pre-metric language. I am also aware that I feel flabby since I stopped using the cross-trainer regularly.

I really appreciated Tom Naughton's, (Fat Head), explanation of why New Year's Resolutions do not last. Character or Chemistry is a well written, humerous and personal observation. Now move on to the rest of the series and read

Part 2. Do you recognise the people who you thought were secretly cheating and lying about eating like a bird and not losing weight?

Part 3  "Thermodynamic paradoxes" is a technical term which refers, in this case, to the fact that some people do not metabolize calories according to the law of thermodynamics. ie Calories in and calories out balancing out. Check it out on Wikipedia. 

Part 4 Some 'before and after' photos of people successful on LCHF diets and more about the chemistry that makes them work.

There is continuing research and release of fresh discovery every day it seems. One thing I keep in mind is that I am a woman, I am older than all of the subjects of research I have seen mentioned and I have seen suggestions that women might need more carbohydrates than men. It is just possible that a long term ketogenic diet may not be right for women. I have even read that potatoes are not as bad for a low carb diet as I had believed.

It's all a matter of finding what works and is sustainable for your own life and body. I cannot believe that I am only just beginning to scratch the surface of what this means for me. I hope I never lose the ability to learn and make necessary changes but sometimes I do feel too old to bother any more.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Check out this New Year post. I love the photos with thoughtful comments.

And for all of us wanting to make 2014 count for somthing in our lives how about this video. You have to watch it. It's only a few seconds :)

We had another quiet day. A visitor came for coffee this morning. It was lovely to see V who is married to one of my nephews. We enjoyed a good old natter and coffee.