Monthly Archives: June 2010

The Text in Context

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The past week has had me asking some pretty serious questions. The query at the frontline of my proverbial war on words has been “what makes me happy?”

I lost nearly a kilo this week which had me in a lather of personal achievement (for all of five minutes) but was soon overshadowed with the sense that the monkey on my back is far from falling off with a swift slap to the head, instead preferring to fang in with even greater savour.  

I have all the signs of coming of age. I now accept the eccentricities that are me: I keep a pen in my bra, I like to read a map upside down, I like to wear woollen shawls (and prefer to call them “capes”), I occasionally wrap my cat in muslin and rock her like a baby (put the phone down PETA, she loves it, I’m telling you), I prefer flat shoes for any occasion, and nothing warms my cockles more than a good size plastic container.

So having matured enough to accept all that with open arms, I can only think that my general displeasure comes from desiring most what I cannot have. I have been prescribed a rather nasty medication for a rather nasty disorder of the skin that has rather nastily (have I said nasty?) reared its ugly head in the past ten months.

In the same way that some may be envious of my curls and rather ample bosom (even if the toolman predicts that in time “deck hitters” may be a better description), I am envious of those with smooth and unbroken skin. The psoriasis I have developed has left me with scaly and occasionally bleeding hands and feet; a rather gruesome affliction for a young woman.

The drama continues as previous treatments have proven ineffective and it is now considered a reasonable therapy to try a rather toxic drug. Side effects aside, babies are off the cards whilst on the drug which may mean a few years without child.

“What me wants, me can’t have” as someone rather gloomy and blue (me) once said.

Ovaries, mental health and crusty complaint aside, I try to convince myself that things can only get better. There’s always another uniquely shaped plastic container to add to the collection….

And then, when things just seem too much and I’m delirious enough to ask the heavens why someone up there is intent on withholding me the most special of gifts, I open the good book. Give me a sec…this may not be going where you think it is.

I have three loving and loyal siblings. One of them, the eldest is a considered communicator and rarely says much without some forethought. The other two, bless them, say some important and meaningful things but you generally have to wait patiently for these little gems to pop up between much loved scandal and chat.

One day, about a year ago, the eldest gave me a book which at the time I thought was an odd gift. But later, upon opening it, I realised it was his way of saying, “Keep your chin up. I love you”. It’s times like these that I open the “good book” and read from it.

“I’m afraid that some times

you’ll play lonely games too.

Games you can’t win

‘cause you’ll play against you.

 All alone!

Whether you like it or not,

Alone will be something

you’ll be quite a lot.

 And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance

you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.

There are some, down the road between hither and yon,

that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

 But on you will go

Though the weather be foul.

On you will go

Though your enemies prowl….

 ….On you will hike,

And I know you’ll hike far

and face up to your problems

whatever they are…

 …You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So…get on your way”

 – Oh, The Places You’ll Go (Dr. Seuss) –

When in trouble, some have the Bible, some the Qur’an, I have Dr. Seuss.

And that’s what big brothers are for…

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Seesaw Shenanigans

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I ventured out in the cold of the southern hemisphere last night to see the quintessential girls’ movie of 2010 – Sex in the City 2. I won’t bore you with the details of my absolute disillusionment with the film, but rather explain to you how a terrible event left me very much on the other side of “the fat war”.

The war I am referring to is the one that us ladies battle most days when out in the world (as opposed to snug as a bug under the covers picking the choc chips out of our cleavage). My cousin and I were sitting quite innocently on the end of a wooden bench, chatting happily about the woes of wifehood when a rather rotund looking woman sat on the other end.

She spent some time rustling around in her bag looking for something, with pants that were riding too low round the back. Satisfied that she found what she wanted, she decided to settle in. My cousin and I became quite literally airborne, grabbing each other in the process, but once stationary again, found it quite hard to control ourselves. And when I say we, I really mean me.

I had enough sensitivity to roll my giggles into the retelling of a fictional story, but once the woman spotted her friend and left the scene, I was crying with the hilarity of it all.

And then it hit me – she was me. Or really, only a few stone from being me and is therefore quite likely to have the same excruciating experiences of being in the world at large, or is that large in the world?

Being thrown through the air without warning left me laughing at the shock of it. And if I am being truly honest, I laughed with the relief it wasn’t me. And when I heard my cousin chime in at the retelling of the story, “yes, she was quite a large lady”, I said nothing and felt like a traitor.

But if my cousin referred to her as quite a “large lady”, it must have meant that she was much larger than me and in that moment, this woman’s plight was not my own and I was relieved. I felt this woman’s embarrassment but preferred not to acknowledge it. Maybe that’s why women the globe over are so dismissive of larger women; they’re all just afraid that if they get too close, they might catch it.

And just relieved it’s not them…

Spice of Life

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Well I won the bet by default, as mother was unable to make it to weigh-in today. I won’t chase her for payment as I suspect mother’s determination to lose weight has waned over the past few months and I am unable to find the right route of encouragement to mobilize her efforts once more. I however, have been ramping up in my little kitchenette, alla Julia Child, experimenting with new flavours to satisfy the taste buds, rather than the stomach.

The toolman has commented more than once that the first time I cooked for him, I unwittingly cemented the relationship for at least the next few years. I cooked him a pasta dish; the sauce full of hot salami, olives, capers and chilli. But having cut carbs, fat and yes it seems, flavour from my dishes in the last few months, I didn’t realise how my disinterest in food was driving him to have sneaky expeditions out for lunch during the week to satisfy his need for rich, flavourful food.

When you are trying hard to lose weight, only the most motivated can whip up nutritious and low fat food every night. Yes, I can hear you cry out in objection already, but sweetheart, you may be happy with fish and steamed veggies- I’m just not. The food I cook instinctively involves meat, tomatoes, basil, cream, cheese…(I just wiped the dribble off my keyboard) and denying myself these flavours often results in a rather dry looking piece of chicken and some very sad and limp veggies, consumed with a good dollop of,

“Mmm, this is really good” or “This is not that bad”.

That’s usually what comes to mind when cooking fat reduced sweets and savouries; it’s never, gee this is great, How delicious! Always, it’s not that bad. I do myself an injustice, as I am well trained by a lineage of very talented female cooks in the family, and I too can cook. I just can’t really, well, be bothered thinking about food. I’d lost interest.

But yesterday I ventured down the road, less than a kilometre from where I live and decided to take advantage of the endless strip of Vietnamese grocers and restaurants that make up “Little Vietnam”. Dodging the “less fortunate” and their furtive appraisals of the likelihood I would open my wallet and pay them for drugs, I filled my basket with fresh and vibrant flavours; garlic, ginger, lemongrass, chilli, star anise, coriander, thai basil, tamarind, and dry spices. I eat these foods all the time, I just happen to do so in a restaurant decked out with plastic chairs and tables. Why not make it myself? And boy, am I on a winner.

This whole weight loss ordeal can be very tiresome my friends, so this week I plan to spice up my life. And the best bit of all, after one taste last night, the toolman declared it to be just “Delicious!”.

And I may have just secured myself another couple of years.

Cash Coup

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Poo, Damn, Darn it, Blast!

It’s too easy to climb under the security of a soft doona when you can rest on laurels of weeks gone by. For some, the decreasing number on the scales only pushes them forward with an even greater gusto for shedding the weight. But for me, it’s often my demise.

I’ve been exceptionally grateful to all those who have encouraged me over the last few weeks. The occasional, “You look great!” and “How much have you lost now?” adds oodles to my self esteem but makes it easy to fall into the thinking that my job is done. In actual fact I have still just over 15 kilos (33 pounds) to lose. And this week I’ve gained.

They say that our body remembers times of great fitness; that this “body memory” helps great athletes regain peak form before a competition. I have a different sort of body memory that is ever so slightly starting to reveal itself. More of a déjà vu really. Did I imagine that chair was easier to sit in, was there really a time when I could no longer cross my legs, did that shop assistant really ask me if I would like to try that on?

And then today, Oh joys of joys. A. MAN. OPENED. A. DOOR. FOR. ME. Feminists relinquish immediately- you have an angry fat girl on your hands. This is not your fight.

For too long I have not been seen or even bumped out of the way as I have converged on an unopened door, a parking meter, a check out line at the same time as any man (and woman but that didn’t hurt). The mark of my self esteem is of course, not directly linked to the men of the world, but gee it’s nice to be seen.

There is no doubt that there is less wobble in my step these days; that my head is held slightly higher when I walk; and that I have dared to flutter my eyes in passing. But I still have all the characteristics of a very large woman- thighs that burn from rubbing together, a rather undefined waste and a rather voluptuous back…known as “back boobs” in the bizz.

And so, not yet satisfied with the status quo and desperate to propel myself with a revised relish into the week ahead, I set myself a little challenge. A head to head contest with a woman against whom I would not usually bet against. My mother. One week, one set of scales, a small sum of money to win.

Hey, obviously the promise of a life full of open doors hasn’t done it for me…maybe the cash will.

Poo, Damn, Darn it, Blast!

It’s too easy to climb under the security of a soft doona when you can rest on laurels of weeks gone by. For some, the decreasing number on the scales only pushes them forward with an even greater gusto for shedding the weight. But for me, it’s often my demise.

I’ve been exceptionally grateful to all those who have encouraged me over the last few weeks. The occasional, “You look great!” and “How much have you lost now?” adds oodles to my self esteem but makes it easy to fall into the thinking that my job is done. In actual fact I have still just over 15 kilos (33 pounds) to lose. And this week I’ve gained.

They say that our body remembers times of great fitness; that this “body memory” helps great athletes regain peak form before a competition. I have a different sort of body memory that is ever so slightly starting to reveal itself. More of a déjà vu really. Did I imagine that chair was easier to sit in, was there really a time when I could no longer cross my legs, did that shop assistant really ask me if I would like to try that on?

And then today, Oh joys of joys. A. MAN. OPENED. A. DOOR. FOR. ME. Feminists relinquish immediately- you have an angry fat girl on your hands. This is not your fight.

For too long I have not been seen or even bumped out of the way as I have converged on an unopened door, a parking meter, a check out line at the same time as any man (and woman but that didn’t hurt). The mark of my self esteem is of course, not directly linked to the men of the world, but gee it’s nice to be seen.

There is no doubt that there is less wobble in my step these days; that my head is held slightly higher when I walk; and that I have dared to flutter my eyes in passing. But I still have all the characteristics of a very large woman- thighs that burn from rubbing together, a rather undefined waste and a rather voluptuous back…known as “back boobs” in the bizz.

And so, not yet satisfied with the status quo and desperate to propel myself with a revised relish into the week ahead, I set myself a little challenge. A head to head contest with a woman against whom I would not usually bet against. My mother. One week, one set of scales, a small sum of money to win.

Hey, obviously the promise of a life full of open doors hasn’t done it for me…maybe the cash will.