Sunday, December 02, 2007

Happy Holiday!

We're off for six weeks of fun, food and family. And hoping to met some of you fellow bloggers while there!

I'll try and update once a week while away. I'm sure I'm gonna find plenty to talk about and compare to how different my attitudes to food are since last time we were there. Meant to post a lead up that was a little better than this, but oh well. Catch yas on the southern side!

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm A Cookie Monster No More.

A hearty lunch was s'posed to sustain us through the bunch of errands we had to do the other day. Alas, we remembered some more things to do while out and about, and so the fuel supply rapidly dwindled leaving us with hollow bellies. The few fruit lollies that we'd snagged from the freebies jar at the bank only made us hungrier.

Driving home at the start of rush hour traffic we decided to drive through and get a snack of chips/fries from whichever burger joint we happened to pass first. Instead, our famished selves espied a bakery...with a parking spot right in front! Unheard of in that section of town lemme tell you. Even better, there was still money left in the meter, woohoo!

There was no jangle of a little bell above the door as we entered, but the smell was all one could wish for when entering the abode of delectable delights. So. Many. Things. To. Choose. From. Bagels, breads, cookies, cakes, slices, pastries and more. Alaskaboy spotted the napoleon (aka snot block) straight away, so he knew what he wanted, I however was undecided. That is until I saw the raspberry shortcakes, also known as linzer cookies. Unfortunately the buggers were easily 5 inches in diameter. Biiiig Coookie. But, what's this? What luck! In the next case along there were the more usual ¾-1 inch sized ones. Hooray! I bought three, thinking to eat two myself and one for Alaskaboy in trade for a nibble of his.

I couldn't help the moans of delight as I bit into the first one...before we even crossed back out through the doorway. Heavenly! So heavenly I pushed the remainder of that first cookie on Alaskaboy (because he had to try it rightthatverysecond!) and dug in the bag for the second one. About ten minutes later we were done and well on our way into traffic. Stopped at some lights, I raved out loud how scrumptious the cookie had been and how they were in fact what I'd really wanted rather than the chips I'd first thought I'd craved. Then I mused, "I bet they're fantastic with a cup of tea."

Alaskaboy remarked I should have bought the bigger one so I'd've had some more to eat later. And I stared at him gape-mouthed for a few seconds and then said, “You know what? It didn't even occur to me to do that!”

Let me reiterate: It didn't occur to me to buy more in case I might want it for later.

When I was dieting I'd have bought several servings worth just to bring home and have, or would have eaten the big one then and there. Or gone back the next day, or made plans to find them somehow, someway again, or even to make them myself..but low fat of course. You all know the compulsive kind of eating/hoarding/buying of which I speak.

This week I bought precisely what I wanted, and exactly the amount I wished to eat in that moment, and didn't even think for one second about getting more. I was even (more than a little) gobsmacked when Alaskaboy suggested I should have gotten extra.

How mind blowing is THAT?!

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Holy Shit!

I didn't think I'd done this well this year.

See the difference eight lbs or 3.7 kgs can make!

I'm really proud of this since I've done it without the tonnes and tonnes of exercise that I used last year, and have had nearly as good results. This year (especially the second half, since I cannot exercise) has all been about dealing with my emotional and mental issues. Amazing what a difference it makes when I'm not self medicating with food!

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Can't Stop Progress.

I really miss exercise. Most especially I miss the sense of achievement that comes from knowing you've completed more reps, a higher step, or a longer workout than ever before. It was such a rush. Gotta love endorphins!
My physical sense of achievement this week comes from knowing that I did the most lines of cross stitch in one day since the adverse reaction. But not only that, I went grocery shopping, went to the post office, did some dishes, cooked dinner and critiqued a friend's essay. Plus a few other chores, but my sense of achievement was huge. That only doubled this morning when I woke up and my wrists know they've worked, but feel like they could do some more cross stitch today. And look, see, typing! Remember when all I could do was lie on the couch or bed and cry? All of this gives me hope that eventually I'll be able to do structured exercise once more. (And if I can't? Well, at least I'm able to live my life.) And when I say eventually, I mean eventually. One major thing this has taught me is to respect my limitations and have patience.

Even though I'm not exercising, I'm losing weight. Even more importantly I'm also losing fat visibly off my body. How visibly? The 40DD bra that I've been wearing comfortably for over twelve months, now all of a sudden can fit my hands in the cup with my boobs. So, I've needed to tighten the shoulder straps nearly a full inch this morning. The 16W jeans that I was wearing in my latest progress shots, I'm wearing them as wearable clothes, not just ones to test my progress. A few tops that I bought approx six weeks ago now sit awkwardly on me since my belly isn't big enough to fill them out. The tops slide back so that I feel like I'm choking on the collar after I've warn them for a little while. Shame too cause they're nice tops. Yesterday I bent down and tied my shoes while sitting on a chair...and halfway through realised that I was leaning down over my leg, with my belly lying on top of my thigh, not hanging down in the middle of my spread legs like I used to have to do. God, I remember back to when Alaskaboy had to tie my shoes for me because I couldn't reach at all, even with my foot up on a chair!

My weight is the same it has been for the last six weeks--up and down between 213.5 and 215.5--yet my clothes are fitting so much better! How am I doing this? Buggered if I know. I can only put it down to continuing to eat intuitively. Perhaps my body is also working hard to repair what damage was done, and is consequently using up more energy than I think it is.

What a relief it is lemme tell you to feel like I do currently. I eat when I'm hungry, I stop when I'm full, and I eat exactly what I'm hungry for. There are days when I nibble all day long in between meals, and some days where I eat only two large meals, or three smallish ones. Or days where I nibble without meals. Some days I'm really thirsty and drink over two litres, some days I'm lucky if I drink one.

Who would have thought when I was in the middle of all that awfulness in August and September that I'd come to realise that in many ways it has helped me go even farther down the road to good health. There in the mirror is someone I'm happy to see. Someone I love unconditionally. Someone I accept exactly the way she is. I must admit to being anxious when going out to eat either at a restaurant or a friends place, but that's to be expected with a food allergy. And it's now part of who I am. It also gives me practice to stand up for myself and say I can't have/do this. That in itself is a liberating feeling knowing I have the confidence to do that now, whereas before I would have kept my mouth shut in order to be polite, and hoped for the best. Sometimes it feels like whining, but then I remember that I'm respecting myself and my body, and my need to apologise evaporates...although it's usually snuck out of my mouth before I remember that point. LOL

I know that some of you are having a blech time at the moment, just remember, it will pass. With each breath you take it's another moment you're alive and another moment towards better health. Allow your body the grace to do it in its own time. Even if you go a few steps backwards, eventually you'll move forward again. That's the beauty of this journey, it's a life long one and there's nothing and no one to compete against, not even yourself. There isn't even really a finish line, unless you call being completely happy within yourself your final goal, and if that's the case, then look at all that life still to be lived once you reach that point. Isn't it marvelous? One reiki affirmation that's really stuck in my head recently is this one: This is the only time I get to live today, I choose to enjoy it.

Go ahead, somehow and someway, even if it's only momentarily, enjoy today.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Confidence Boost.

Well, that went well. Some months ago I'd donated a raffle prize of dinner for four, tonight was the night the winner claimed his prize.

The menu he chose from the four set menus I'd offered was:
First course - butternut pumpkin soup
Second course - roast potatoes, steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, orange roughy poached in a lemon and herb sauce.
Dessert - Apple crumble with vanilla ice cream.

Everyone was extremely satisfied. One of the women guests is involved in the restaurant business, of which I was unaware until I started to prepare the main course talk about pressure!, and her comment at the end of the night was "Courses flowed extremely well from one to the next with no dish overpowering any other, all complimentary tastes, and this was certainly a white tablecloth restaurant quality meal."

I'm guessing that means it's a good thing, about the white table cloths??

I'm especially pleased since I made up the sauce for the fish as I went along. LOL Not bad for someone with taste bud and smell issues still.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Just a quicky.

I walked a very slow mile on Tuesday. Two days later my body is still recovering..but I did it. I was capable of exercise for the first time since the adverse reaction!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pasta Salad.

Did anyone get to try the recipe yet?

I'm working on a more indepth post, it just takes me longer to type them than it used to. ;)
Hope everyone's having a good week?
{hugs}

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Long time no write!

The fluoroquinolone poisoning that I had last month has been an eye opener for me. It showed me all the things that I'd been taking for granted. My sense of smell, my sense of taste, the ability to get out of bed in the morning, the ability to eat whatever I want without fear it may have some weird effect on me, my body's ability to do pretty much whatever I ask of it, that my body was hale and healthy.

Now, my muscles aren't as strong, my tendons ache after simple short tasks, my tastebuds and sense of smell will hopefully recover fully within twelve months, I get weird aches zings and twinges in my body, I have no endurance for crowds or noise(hypersensitive hearing) and I don't exercise for fear of rupturing tendons and muscles.

But, all that aside, I now appreciate the health and body I do have. I've lost any and all interest in dieting and binge eating. Not having all of your sense of taste and smell tends to decrease the desire to eat for pleasure's sake alone. Occasionally I spazz out because my body is trying to taste things that the olfactory nerves aren't quite up for yet, but overall I'm eating intuitively without any guilt. And it does feel good.

Also what feels good is that I've had a turn around in how I think about my writing. I've been dreading the next draft of all my stories. Basically I'd fallen into a heap because of how sore my tendons get from just a little bit of writing, but mostly it's been a mental thing. The initial creating and writing is the easy part. There's nothing in the tank at the moment in regards to that, and I've found it really has come time to knuckle down and deal with the stories I have waiting patiently on my computer. Time to revise and polish.

And polishing a novel is very different to polishing a short story. I've been overwhelmed by the sheer size of the task and how much I don't know and OMGWHATIFISCREWITUP? Don't worry, this is just my nature. I was exactly the same when an apprentice chef. I'm a basket case momentarily when learning new things. I get embarrassed when I make mistakes. Even if I'm the only one who knows I'm embarrassed. I don't know if it's a defeatist kind of attitude or some kind of screwed up perfectionism, but if I'm sure gonna get it wrong, I tend not to even try. Comes from having the ability to learn things quickly and easily I guess. I hadn't really had time to build character in regards to try and fail and try again.

The FQ poisoning is teaching me some of that too. Gotta do as much as I can without hurting myself and then stop. Then when rested go again some more, if I can. If not, let someone else do it. I'm being forced to learn patience. To learn to relax. To learn that it's okay if I can't complete a task right away. I'm also learning what it is to be physically weaker, and I don't like it. But, at least I can still walk and perform basic tasks, if slower than usual. I'm learning to be grateful for the simple things.

And it was my brother who said a simple thing that that reshaped the way I look at my writing completely. I was telling him how afraid and daunted I was, and he replied that there's nothing to be daunted about. The bit that I'm up for next is the fun part. Basically getting in there and getting your hands dirty. Doing the nitty-gritty and having fun building your world and your story and your characters. Building on the foundation I've already created.

Buggerit, I do have more to say, but will have to save that for later. My tendons in my forearms and fingers are sore now, so I must stop. Damn FQ.

Basically just wanted to let yas know I'm still alive and still here.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Pasta Salad Recipe - Marinated Veggies.

Sorry, it's a little wordy. But, once you get through the blahblahblah, it really is a simple salad to make.

Ingredients:
50g or 1.75oz carrot, shaved* or grated.
50g or 1.75oz onion, diced small. (Can use 5-6 green/spring onions if you prefer)
1 Lebanese** cucumber, sliced fine. (or half a stalk of celery, sliced fine)
60g or 2oz broccoli florets, cut small then blanched. (Blanching is important brings out flavour of broccoli and stops the slight bitterness.)
100g or 3.5oz marinated artichokes, chopped.
115g or 4oz Roasted red peppers/capsicums, diced small.
75g or 2.5oz sundried tomatoes in oil, diced small.
2.5 - 3 cups of cooked pasta shapes.***
Dash of salt.

Dressing:
For this dressing I use some of the oil/vinegar mix from the artichokes, some oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, plus some golden balsamic vinegar to make a vinaigrette. I think I use between 1/4 to a 1/3 cup of dressing, certainly no more than half a cup all up. Don't use brown balsamic as the flavour really is too sweet and heavy for this salad. Definitely don't use malt vinegar either. If you don't have golden balsamic, white vinegar or a wine vinegar would be equally tasty. Not sure about apple cider or rice vinegar though. Have fun, experiment!
Make sure whichever dressing you make, or buy, that the vinaigrette ratio is 1:1 oil and vinegar. You want to balance out the oily, marinated ingredients with slightly more vinegar than would go in a traditional vinaigrette dressing. (usually 2:1 oil and vinegar)

Method:
Chop all vegetables, chuck in a mixing bowl. Once pasta is cooked to your satisfaction, drain and toss through ingredients. Add enough dressing to thoroughly coat everything. Season with a little salt if you like. Set in fridge to cool for at least an hour. Taste before serving and add more vinaigrette if necessary. That's a big mistake a lot of people make (I still do it sometimes too.) Make it up till it tastes great, forgetting that as it sits in the fridge, the dressing gets absorbed by the pasta and needs to be refreshed just before serving. That's why so many pasta salads can taste blah. Not enough dressing. Or it's been added when the pasta is already cold, so it's got nothing to stick to.



*For pasta salads I like to use the vegetable peeler to shave off long noodle-like slices of carrot, then cut them into approximately baby-carrot-sized lengths. It gives a nice amount of give for the teeth, without being too crunchy. But, by all means if you prefer to grate or cut into thin slices, please do.
**I'm not sure what you call them, but they're the smallish cucumbers with smaller seeds and pale green flesh. Definitely not the long ones that usually come wrapped in plastic, nor the dark-skinned, white-fleshed fat ones with bigger seeds.
***Preferably not elbow macaroni as it's too small, nor penne as they're too big. Shells, bowties, spirals or anything approximately that size are good. Measurements are rough because I tend to go by eye each time. Adding enough to balance without overwhelming the other ingredients in the salad.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

It must be good, right?

We went to a barbeque on the 26th of August. I had to prepare food right in the midst of a taste bud crisis! Luckily we had some of Alaskaboy's marinated beef in the freezer, and he was making up an Aussie delicacy called Cheesymite Scrolls--or Cheddarmite depending on which bakery franchise you buy them from in Australia--to share. That left me to prepare a salad or side dish of some kind.

I admit I panicked, completely. How the hell am I s'posed to cook when I'm exhausted, severely lacking in two essential senses for cooking, and I have only minimal appetite? Faaaark! I was going to make potato salad, but that really is a dressing I make by taste, like most of my recipes, and potato salad dressing is tricky to get juuuuust right. Besides, I really wasn't in the mood for a heavy, rich dressing when slowly introducing my digestive system to things other than broth, bread, eggs, bananas etc.

AHA! Pasta Salad. Okay, that's something I can make with my eyes closed..and didn't we just buy some roasted red peppers and fresh parsley the other day? {cue fossicking around in cupboards and fridge}

SHIT!

No, I'd only thought about buying the parsley, and hadn't, because they didn't have Italian parsley. Much nicer tasting than the curly English stuff.

NOW what'll I do?

Hmm.. we have that unopened jar of artichokes...and some sundried tomatoes in oil...and onion. Okay let's make a vegetabley, Mediterraneanish, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of salad. Thankfully if it's no good I'll still be able to eat some. ;)




So, I whipped up a new pasta salad. (There wasn't ingredients for a simple garden salad or I woulda gone with that!) Made enough for us to eat at the bbq, with leftovers for the following day's lunch.

Had a new writing-related group to go to the other Friday. And it was bring a plate. Well, fridge was even barer than the other day, but there was enough ingredients left to make another of the pasta salads...this time we had some cucumbers to add to it as well. Yippee!



That bowl was only one of two dishes scraped clean at the end of the night.

I made it again today for lunch..but there was no cucumbers, they'd gone off, so I used some celery instead. No spirelli either, so in lieu there was farfalle.

Bonus was I also remembered to measure out ingredients this time! And take photos.

Considering this is the third time I've made it in less than two weeks, and the fourth time we've eaten it, WITHOUT me being tempted to fiddle with the ingredients, I'm figuring it must be good enough to be a keeper. Also good enough to actually share with others.



The salad went particularly well with the grilled chicken breast and a glass of sparkling pomegranate juice. Good news is my taste buds are a little improved since I first made it and I can enjoy it a bit more each time I've eaten it. :) Alaskaboy's comment was "See, you can still cook, even when you can't taste."

If anyone wants the recipe, please do let me know. It's very easy to make.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Medieval Helpdesk

Tech Support comes out and explains how to read a book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQHX-SjgQvQ

{giggle}

I know some of you will get as much (if not more) of a kick out of this as I did.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Went to Doc's last night.

My ear is healed. Apparently it can be normal to still feel some itching with occasional twinges of pain even after you are healed. Just takes time for everything to settle down again. Oh, and same with the antibiotic reaction. All I can do is wait for my body to heal and recover.
Am suffering from anxiety and doc recommends that I go and see a psychiatrist. She said that with all I've been through in the past couple of months it's no wonder I'm anxious.

So, yeah. My favourite thing. Have patience and wait for my body to heal itself...

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sheesh

No wonder the weight's dropping off me. I visited calorieking this morning for the first time in a very, very long time. Calculated how much I ate yesterday, and I had eaten 1200 calories, and that was a GOOD appetite day.

In a weird way, I now understand how those still on the diet train can fall in love with the magic 1200cals per day. They'd love the idea of losing 6 lbs in a week. Before, I could never get my calories that low without feeling like my throat had been cut. Now, I struggle to put in that much, and it scares me. I still think about food, I long to be able to eat all he foods I adore, but, I can't eat much at all.

Yesterday Alaskaboy made buttermilk biscuits(scones) for breakfast. I had one with organic raspberry jam, and one plain. Lunch was approx 1/3 chicken breast and some rice(cooked in chicken broth). Snack was another plain biscuit. Tried to have some steamed veggies for dinner which is what I was really hanging for, but after putting two little slices of carrot, a nibble of cauliflower and the merest smidge of cabbage in my face, I was actually nauseated by the thought of eating anymore. Hungry, but nauseated is not fun. Dinner a couple hours later ended up being yet more rice with some extra chicken broth poured over to make a rice soup.

Breakfast this morning was two slices of toast and some cream cheese, with, yes, more chicken broth. My problem is twofold. The nausea is one aspect, but the other problem is if I push too fast, I undo all the patient work I've been doing to settle my gastrointestinal tract and end up with diarrhoea again. So, little by little I'm trying to introduce foods other than rice, eggs, bananas, bread and chicken broth again. Last time I went too fast after my initial success. Not this time. I actually wanted more of the chicken breast in the afternoon, but wanted to see how the first lot went through.

Might try some more today, but we'll also most probably be off to the docs this evening. Have got one more of the symptoms on the side effects list. Bloody vaginal discharge. Funny thing is, I don't feel like I've got thrush as there's no itching, burning, or cottage cheese-like substance, but I do feel like I'm getting my period. Not so bad you'd think, except I've already had it this week. So not normal for me, my cycle is like clockwork.

Bugger waiting for my doc to come back next week, we're off to see someone else after Alaskaboy gets home from work. Only reason I'm not going sooner is because I don't feel strong enough both physically and in concentration ability to drive all the way there. (is well over an hour away.)

So, any prayers good thoughts etc you can send me way would be much appreciated.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Not quite how I pictured it.

I've had a Fernwood Fitness Centre t-shirt hanging in my cupboard for years. It's one of the most comfortable shirts I have to work out in. Over the years I've tried to picture how I'd feel when fitting back into it again.

None of them came close to the reality.

I'm down to 215.5 lbs this week, and it's not in a healthy way. I never even thought that I'd be putting on my beloved t-shirt amidst a flood of tears at the terrible irony. A fitness t-shirt when I'm so weak that doing a full sink of dishes is more than I can handle. A t-shirt from a place you go to build strength, when I'm too afraid to do any form of exercise in case I rupture my tendons. A t-shirt to a place that supports health in mind, body and spirit and I'm currently so afraid if I'll ever be whole again; in any of those ways.

I'm debilitated by the effects of this god-damned antibiotic. The lacking in taste and smell was just the tip of the iceberg. Anorexia and yet there's brief moments of gut-wrenching hunger, suicidal thoughts, weakness, nausea, tingling/throbbing/burning in my hands and feet that come and go, pain in my muscles that also comes and goes, depression, lack of sleep, nightmares when I do sleep the one or two hours a night I'm currently able to get, feeling like my lung capacity is slightly diminished, and the list goes on.

And my doctor who was s'posed to be back tomorrow, is now out until Tuesday. I've been researching Avelox on the internet, the drug that I took one dose of nearly a week ago...and there's a chance that these symptoms may not go away, or may get worse, or have other side effects crop up weeks/months/years from now.

There's also the chance that these are temporary and I'll be healed soon enough. And that is the result I'm hoping and praying as hard as I can for. And of course that the ear that started it all will heal as well.

EDIT: Sis-in-law raises an interesting point. Perhaps I've got a virus of some sort also that's being exacerbated by the antibiotic reaction. Talking with her I've realised I had been a little tireder than usual lately too, even before this ear and antibiotic thing this month. Will bring this possibility up with the doc when I see one.

EDIT October 2013: In hindsight, I was having an MS relapse. 

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Can you taste it?

It leaves a sharp, tangy taste on the tongue, as if one has taken a nice long slurp along a rusted nail or frying pan. My taste buds don't seem to be working all that well at the moment, but they're fully able to savour the taste of irony. Oh yes, indeedy they are.

This last little while I've had what is medically termed anorexia. No, not anorexia nervosa, merely plain ol' anorexia; loss of appetite. It is one of the side effects from the antibiotics, and coupled with my greatly reduced sense of smell and taste, I've lost my joy and appreciation in cooking. And eating. But, I haven't lost my appreciation of food altogether, in fact I'm finding new ways in which to appreciate both food and my life.

The first few months of living here I've done nothing but complain about all the things I've perceived to be wrong about it; Arguing outside on the street; Cars going by with loud music blaring at all hours of the day; The occasional gunshots; Paint smells that linger still in some of the cupboards; The smell of Tide washing detergent that affronts my senses every time the washing machines disgorge sudsy water from the outflow pipes; That my husband doesn't cook as often as I'd like him to; The fact that I can't walk barefoot on this carpet even though it looks plush and inviting, but then there are not many acrylic carpets I can walk on; all of these things and more I've bemoaned almost continuously since we've moved in.

The other night, as I lay on my bed dreading what life would be like if I never recovered my senses, I noticed that I could see the moon. All this time I'd spent with the blinds pulled tight, or open to allow the afternoon breeze in, I'd failed to sit and appreciate what I could see from the window. Yes, there are buildings, but I can also see trees and sky, and sunsets, and as it turns out, glorious moonsets too. I've never sat and watched a crescent moon or any moon really, slip ever so slowly below the horizon before. I do know I felt a sense of wonder and childish delight as I quoted a line from that classic of American children's literature by Margaret Wise Brown. "Goodnight, Moon." I said as the highest tip of it disappeared behind the neighbour's roof.

This week, Alaskaboy has made me rice cooked in chicken broth. Previously I'd disdained to eat this unless it had onion, butter, and a rich chicken broth in amongst the ingredients. This week, plain canned Swanson's Broth and rice has been good enough. Miso soup with tofu, wakame and a hint of dashi broth in it, was a gentle way to get some protein, iron and friendly yeast into my system. Alaskaboy and I made it together. And I realised that I'd never shown him how I make the miso soup that he loves so much, I'd never even written it down like he'd asked me to, once upon a time.

That, among other things, has shown me that I've done the one thing I promised myself I wouldn't do. Watching Alaskaboy cook his own meals this week, or reheat ones that I'd previously cooked and stored in the freezer has given me a new appreciation, not only for my skills as a cook, but of his skills and joy in cooking too. I've stood in his way of enjoying time in the kitchen as the chef. Oh, it's been a subtle campaign indeed, but it's happened all right. I've let my enjoyment of cooking for him, usurp his enjoyment of cooking for me and for himself. I've dictated when he's allowed to cook...usually when I'm fed up of "cooking all the time" and yet I've jealously kept him out of the kitchen, or attached to the sink in oh so many terrible ways. I can feel my own words coming back to haunt me, the ones I said to my mother many times in regards to cleaning, "What's the point? You only come along and redo it anyway." or "Let me do it MY way."

Can you feel the flood of tang that just spilled forth into my mouth? Oh the irony people. So many times since we've been married, and even before, I've bitched and moaned to him about how he takes away any joy in my own achievements in regards to housework and cleaning whenever he's comes along afterwards and pointed out some spots I'd missed, or how I'd done it "wrong". And here I have been all smug about how I haven't done that to him in regards to cooking, when in fact I have.

It's been a little bittersweet realising how much I've bitched and moaned about things that I should have been grateful for instead. A husband who does like to clean and is more than willing to take on his fair share of chores. A body that is fit and capable of exercising as often as I want. Senses that are fully active and are even better than most peoples. The ability to have the choice to stay home and have a chance to fulfill my dream as an author.

I find myself humbled today. Humbled by the very abundance that is found right here in my life. Abundance that comes from this blessing in disguise. I have momentarily lost my appetite, my senses of taste and smell, but I have gained so much in return.

I find myself wanting to write about my adventures here as an expat Aussie, instead of the usual SF and F stories I pursue. Perhaps that is why I've found myself blocked when attempting to write those lately? And instead of listening to my current desire, I've plowed on ahead with what I think I should be writing.

Yesterday we went for a visit to a nearby park, something that we'd been meaning to do ever since moving here; go to a park, any park. Instead we've settled for time spent with exercise videos and hours of sweating within these four walls. What happened to taking in life along with gaining health? It felt so nice to lay on the grass in the shade of a tree and watch the wildlife and the people enjoy a nice sunny day. I couldn't smell the grass or anything like I used to be able to, but I could look, I could hear, and I could feel.

I also found ten dollars in the parking lot of the supermarket when we stopped to get something to eat on the way home. I had purchased for myself nothing but a simple roll, and Alaskaboy obtained ingredients for a dish he hadn't made in several years. Something simple that he calls cruel gruel...chopped slices of turkey sandwich meat that's cooked in a white sauce...but something he does like to eat.

Simple pleasures that have gotten lost along the way amongst my need for complicated meals, subtle interplays of flavour and of course complex entertainments, movies, computers, books, mp3s, instant gratification etc. I've been saying for some time that I'm exhausted and that I want to stop the world and get off...perhaps, instead of bemoaning what I've "lost" I should say thank you for being given what I've asked for.

How about you? When was the last time you took to enjoy a simple pleasure, or to be grateful for what you do have, instead of whining about all that you do not?

Care to join me in relearning the simple pleasures and the joy of patience?

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Enough is Enough!

ER Doc gave me some relaxant drug and another milder antibiotic to take (neither script which I've filled; full up to HERE with taking tablets) and now today I'm still having waves of weakness, sore thighs, am having to force feed myself past the non-appetite and nausea what little I can get in my mouth. Yesterday I had to force a banana for breakfast, the probiotic drink took nearly five mins to drink. Ate approx 3/4 cup of home made beef chilli yesterday with some tortillas for lunch, had a small handful of choc raisins for snack, and come dinner time tried to force some homemade butternut soup down my throat, but all I could taste was pepper and hot plastic from having reheated it in the microwave (was in the freezer), went with an oscar meyer hot dog a slice of bread and ketchup instead. Everything I'm eating I'm having to force feed myself after waiting out about an hour of nausea at the mere thought of eating.. And I'm hating it.

TMI Warning: and things are going on through only about half-digested.

Am gonna try some Ensure/Sustagen today, well if it's a good idea what with the whey protein and that (increases mucus production natch) and hoping and praying that this is all temporary and goes away. What's a writer with word confusion and a chef without more than 5% of her smell and taste and what she does have is screwed up. I mean, I confused bacon cooking outside with that wet hair barber/hairdresser salon smell! Me! Only knew it was bacon because Alaskaboy told me so.

My quality of life at the moment is literally in the toilet. Weak, depressed, can't eat, can't go out in sun in case of sunburn, can't concentrate on anything for too long, when I do eat am overcome by weakness and must go and lay on bed, laying on bed often includes more sobbing, and the ear is *still* a little sore/itchy. Let's not forget the hot throbby prickles in the feet that come and go, and the weird flashes of red I had through my eyelids at OhGOdO'clock this morning.

Anyone else have any experience with this kind of thing before and got any words of wisdom to offer? My doc isn't back until 23rd of August, and I figure if I go to the ER again, they're just gonna tell me to keep doing what I'm doing.

EDIT: A friend suggested go with mild and bland foods, so I've been sticking with bananas, rice cooked with chicken broth, and had a drink of gatorade plus the watr today. Feeling a little better appetite wise. Could smell a few more things this evening too. {fingers crossed for more improvement}

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ugh.

No one sees the depth of me.
The hidden worm inside.
Loneliness is his name,
and he squirms through my life.
Glistening.
Always coiled, deep in my heart.
Fear and Anger are his siblings.
Anger coats my tongue.
Fear hides in my gullet.
Combined, their weight fells me.
I wish to fly.
Instead, I cry.


Today I'm feeling drained. Emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I've had this ear infection, switching back and forth between ears, for a month now. Over the weekend the doc tried me on a short course of oral antibiotic, since the two lots of ear drops didn't seem to clear it up completely. A hot flush, diarrhea, even more loss of appetite, then two hours of nausea on Monday morning was enough to send me back to the doctor's. All with no improvement on the ear, mind you.

Yesterday, I took the first of a new set that I'd been given. Enter extreme mood swings, frequent urination, complete loss of appetite, and then approx 4hrs after taking it I was overcome by weakness and shaking. Alaskaboy was an hour away, and an ambulance was too expensive. Eventually I was able to get hold of N. (One of the people I've met through an online group.) Luckily she was home and lives about a ten minute drive away.

She took me off to the hospital, after one of my neighbours waited out on the footpath with me in case I fainted or something.
Alaskaboy turned up at the ER about thirty minutes later, and he had a dressing on his hand. He'd collected a two inch long splinter in his hand at work, and had been in the process of getting it seen to when I called him. We made a right pair.

N. stayed throughout the triage process with us and registration, then went off home. Short time later was seen by the doc. Apparently I'm the third case he's recently seen with this kind of reaction to this antibiotic. All there is to do is wait it out. He did prescribe something to relax me and a new antibiotic. The antibiotic he said hold off on getting for a couple of days as the ear does look quite good.

Didn't need help sleeping as I was exhausted by the time we got home. But, had to struggle my way through half a small tub of yoghurt...the first thing I'd eaten in seven hours. Was completely nauseated by teh thought of eating. Today I'm still weak, but I don't know if that's the antibiotic continuing through my system, or if it's the lack of food, or both. I do know my taste buds have gone haywire. My appetite is still non-existent even though my body's letting me subtly know that it's hungry. Have managed to force feed myself a half a cup of soup and some bread at 5:30am, a yoghurt around 10ish, and an egg sandwich about an hour ago.

I'm declaring myself done.

After the anxiety attacks last month, all the emotional work I've been doing lately for dealing with my overeating issues, dramas involved in getting tickets organised for Australia, and now another month of feeling like crap. I'm done. I can't do this anymore. I'm sick of not feeling like myself. I'm sick of crying. Have given up on calling shrinks, none around here seem to be taking patients.

I wanna stop the world and get off until I'm feeling well again. I want my dog here. I miss her companionship so much. These few weeks have been nice in one respect because Alaskaboy has been working shorter hours. But at the end of this month he goes back to his usual schedule, and I'm dreading it.

I'm hoping this feeling of blahness and depression is being exacerbated by the antibiotic reaction and that once it wears off completely I'll feel much healthier and happier. Am hoping that I'm merely exhausted from the hectic few months I've had.

Today my loneliness is unbearable. Today, and every day for the last little while, writing has seemed like a huge burden and a herculean task just to sit at the desk. Getting any other kind of job is unthinkable due to my lack of confidence. All round I'm feeling like a waste of space and a misery guts. And I hate that feeling.

I have so much to be thankful for, but today, I'm unable to appreciate it. Hopefully just for today, and tomorrow I'll be feeling better.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

new measurements

Sorry this post is blah today, but that's how I'm feeling. A month of having an earache tends to do that to a person though. Am pretty sure I swapped it back and forth between my ears when using the ear drops. This afternoon will make day four of a five day course of oral antibiotics..and the ear is STILL SORE! Not. Happy. Jan.

The progress? She is a happenin'. Turtle-like, but I'm okay with that.

Oh, and my waistline measurement is so much higher, well, because everything has firmed and lifted. My 16W cargo pants, they don't actually do up anymore. Anyone else find that? Clothes that fit, then didn't fit despite yourself being both thinner and lighter?

Feb's Measurements:
Upper Chest: 100.9
Bustline: 119.7
Upper Right Arm: 44.4
Midriff: 97.6
Waistline: 104.7
Upper Hips: 133.0
Hips/Buttocks: 136.3
Right Thigh: 71.6
Left Thigh: 73.6
Right Calf: 41.7
Left Calf: 41.7

TOTAL: 965.2 cms


This month:
Upper Chest: 101.0
Bustline: 118.3
Upper Right Arm: 44.5
Midriff: 96.3
Waistline: 107.1
Upper Hips: 131.9
Hips/Buttocks: 134.9
Right Thigh: 70.5
Left Thigh: 72.4
Right Calf: 41.6
Left Calf: 41.3

TOTAL: 959.8 cms
Loss of 5.4 cms / 2.1 inches

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Not Quite One Night In Bangkok...

But, feeling like the world is my oyster today all the same.

Got our tickets for the Aussie trip. We'll be there from 3rd of December and come back home on 12th of January.

WHEEEEEE!

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Hurdle me this, Evil Overlord.

Riddle me this, Batman. When is a chicken, not a chicken?

I was talking with my mum on the phone yesterday about how I'm fed right up to here {waves hand about a foot above head} with being a chicken. This is the third time this year that I've gotten below 220 lbs or 100 kgs. Each and every time I've scurried on back to the bigger side of the street. My coat? It's not dreamy, it's technicolour yellow.

As I was relating my frustration, Mum counted back the weeks that she'd been putting on weight. She thought it had only been three, but was in fact four. She's put on 700g over the last month. At first we thought it was a similar thing to what I am going through, but in this case, her number is 73 kgs. She got all the way down to 73.2kgs (161 lbs) her lowest weight in over twenty years and has now come back up closer to 74kgs. This time around, since she had the "That's IT!" moment that all the success stories seem to have, it's been very rare for her to put on more than two weeks in a row. Plenty of plateaus, yes, but not sustained gains over a full month. Something was afoot, but what?

All throughout her steady weight loss of 17kgs over the last two years, she had another woman at her weight loss group that always seemed to be a step ahead of her, and it was this woman that got all the compliments from the group. Mum was pretty much the invisible woman in amongst her circle of friends, as well as the whole support group. She'd complained a few times of being hurt by this lack of notice, but shrugged it off and kept plodding along her merry way.

Guess what's been happening the last 5-6 weeks or so? Every conversation we've had over that time she's told me of a new person, or even several people in the one week, who've noticed that she's lost weight. She's even getting comments on how much healthier and fitter looks since she started up water aerobics.

"A-HA!" I said. She's feeling embarrassed, and a little bit threatened by all that attention. It's okay to sit back and bitch about not receiving it, but when you're in that spotlight and receiving compliments left, right and centre, it's a little unnerving. Well, for the women in my family especially. It's like we took the tall poppy syndrome and distilled it before pumping it through our veins.

Now that we both have our secret hurdle out in the open, instead of merely wondering about it in the privacy of our own minds, it will be interesting to see if we make more progress. I don't know about my mum, but I'm sick of having some number on the scale or unexpected compliments, be the evil overlord of me.

Mine is a psychological and emotional attachment that I've placed on the value of 100 kgs; my mum's is compliments. What or Who is your evil overlord? And do you think it'll be more of a 100m/110m or 400m hurdles race to beat it?

BTW, a chicken is not a chicken, when it's a hurdler balking at a jump that's currently too high for their skill level...

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Just Relaaaaaaax.

Several years ago, a friend and I drove down to Venus Bay to frolic along the shore for New Year's Weekend. I adored swimming, my friend was more interested in hanging on the beach and drinking with the others. Leaving her to flirt and giggle, I shucked off my clothes and dove into the crashing waves. Bliss! The water was the perfect temperature for swimming, and the waves were big, but not huge. I swam back and forth along the shore for awhile, sported amongst the waves, and growing a little bored eventually, I looked back to shore to see whether anyone else was coming in with me.

Now, aged ten, I was swept along the beach a couple hundred metres when I didn't know about current, and panicked completely when I looked up and couldn't see my family anywhere. This look back at the beach carried with it that similar kick-to-the-gut feeling. But today, I hadn't been swept along, I'd been pulled out. The tide had turned and I was being inexorably coaxed out to sea. My ignorance this time was due to only having swum in bay beaches before, never along the coast. I'd assumed Venus Bay was also in a bay. No, the bay was there, but the water that the town faced on was coastal. Very different creature to bay waters let me assure you!

I turned my head to shore and swam as hard as I could. No lifeguards. My friend and our new acquaintances getting tipsy up on shore. No one looking out for me...and I wasn't going anywhere. Now, I'd had training as a pool lifeguard and been a competitive swimmer, and could be classified as a strong swimmer. Against the ocean that day, it was as though I was the puniest thing to ever venture a toe forth into water.

I admit, I panicked there for a bit. I felt like a cartoon character, arms and legs just a blur as I tried my utmost to attain my goal. To no avail. So I stopped. I tried body surfing in on the waves, but without flippers, I was now too exhausted to stay atop the waves and I'd roll off their backs like they were ducks and I was the annoying water droplets.

My guess is that I'd been out in the water for well over half an hour now...and still no one had looked to see where I was. Stuck out there, without the power to do more than thrash about uselessly, I realised that I could die. And my only hope of rescue was up there on the beach clueless as to my plight. I ceased all movement except what was necessary to tread water. I looked at the sky, I looked at the water, I looked back at the beach and I came to a decision.

Swimming, thrashing, panicking or any and all attempts to help myself had failed. All that was left to do was relax and accept my fate. Either I'd be swept even farther out to sea, or through the action of the waves, I'd be tumbled into shore, eventually. I can't say that I felt at peace, but I did feel that for the first time in my life I'd completely surrendered to my intuition, and to fate.

End over end I was tumbled. I didn't know which way was up or down at several points in time. There were some moments when I don't know where I dragged the last ounce of will power to hold my breath those few seconds longer to enable my head to break water and gasp another quick gulp of air before being turned arse over tit again. Through it all I hoped that I was being pushed closer to shore and not out into the wide blue yonder. I don't remember if I was afraid of sharks at this point or not, but I do know that out meant death and in meant life.

In was where I ended up.

That point out in the water where it was relax or thrash, hope or fear, live or die, is where I am right in this moment in regards to losing weight. All this thrashing about and gnashing of teeth and wailing that I've been doing this last week or so, is because I've realised that I am losing weight. I've been so afraid of this for so long. So many fears both open and hidden about losing weight are rearing their ugly heads. Led by my major fear of how easy this has all been recently. The other week I had it all together. I was breaking down my creative blocks, I was eating intuitively every meal, I was exercising regularly, and I was seeing visual progress in the mirror, seeing it on the scales, and feeling it in my clothes. And I panicked.

I haven't been out of the house in five days. I've hidden behind books and food, and haven't done any of my artist's way exercises for week three. In short, I've been thrashing about trying to get away from my fate. This morning it hit me, all that thrashing is getting me nowhere except exhausted. And just like that moment out in the water I've decided to relax, and see where my intuition and fate take me. I've fought for ten long years to hide behind my fat, and I'm tired. So very, very tired of hiding my true self. Tired of pretending to be less than I am. Tired of being afraid. Tired of being fat. And so, brought to a halt by all my useless thrashing about, I'm now ready to let myself go with the flow.

Here's hoping I end up back at shore.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

How High?

I didn't write my Morning Pages for two days running.*
I weighed in yesterday at 220.5 lbs. My inner voice said "Good."
Yesterday I binged on not only food but cross stitch and books also.
This morning I weighed in at 221 lbs. My inner voice said, "Even better."

So, I'm done with the scales. I've asked Alaskaboy to hide them again. This time for three months, and I'll see if I want to unearth them at that point or not, or whether they need to stay for another few weeks/months. (Undecided whether to weigh at annual physical checkup, or not. Will go with what feels right in that moment.)

This morning the reason for my formless anger and binging over the last couple of days became readily apparent. It wasn't somebody else that I was angry at, it was me. I was being a coward. Afraid of how much progress I've been making both in my personal and professional lives.

I was feeling threatened because someone had put a fair market value on my donation to a raffle. I decided to give my services as a chef and cook dinner for four people. Me, having the courage to be a temporary personal chef for people I haven't met yet. Wow. How cool is that? But, how scary that my time and effort is recognised correctly and given an appropriate price value!

I was feeling scared at how well my clothes are fitting. Not only fit, but some are starting to be a little looser than they've ever been before. Before I would have been ecstatic over this, but now I'm scared because it means I have the ability to lose these pounds in a healthy way, for good. I'm not using losing weight as a blind for my real problems, I'm losing weight because I'm dealing with my problems. Again, Wow, progress...but OH SHIT!

I'm worried that I may actually be learning to accept my job. I set aside a new book I bought last week and promised myself I could only read it after I've submitted two short stories. That book's still sitting there, untouched. I haven't even read the blurb on the back or cracked open the pages or even TOUCHED it since I sat it on the shelf; front cover out and in line-of-sight from where I sit to write. When I've done this in the past, that book is devoured within several days because I couldn't stand to see it sitting there unread. Wow. I'm learning to reward myself properly, and I've accepted that I WILL actually send those stories out into the world and thus the book CAN sit there until I've earned my reward. Gobsmacked is more how I'm feeling rather than afraid.

So, you see, progress is happening all over the place and I felt overwhelmed. This morning, my anger disappeared when I figured out that I wasn't being a coward. That binge the last few days was me pausing to gather my courage for the next step. I needed just two days to take a breather from all this self discovery.

Those two lbs I gained are no doubt only water weight considering the amount of salt and carbs I had in the last two days. But, I'm ready to lose another crutch. Buh-bye scales. Last time I ditched them and Alaskaboy hid them was in desperation. I had to break my addiction to weighing every day and letting the scales dictate my moods. This time I'm making a conscious and well thought out decision to put them away. I've been using them to stay "safe" at 220+ lbs. I'm not a little girl, I don't need my water wings to swim. I don't need the scales to lose weight. I don't need to stay fat anymore. So, look at me. I took two days to stand at the edge of the water and take deep breaths and psyche myself up for this next leap forward.

And here I go. 1..2..3..Jump!



*(3 private journal pages every morning a day for twelve weeks to help unblock creativity by getting out all the mental detritus that's worrying you. Part of the Artist's Way program.)

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Combination Plate

Sea Urchin. I'd heard about it, but had never seen it or eaten it.

I had a hankerin' for some sushi on the way home from getting my haircut today, and so decided to pop into the first restaurant I saw. Sat down at the bar and noticed I was the only non-Japanese person in the place! Felt a little intimidated especially since it was all businessmen, but I kept my cool and selected a mixed sushi combo from the menu.

Some delightful miso started me off and then the plate, freshly made by the chef in front of my eyes, arrived with a mug of green tea. There were some of the pieces I loved, but not my absolute favourite, Unagi, and one that I did not recognise; a little bright yellow one nestled on an ohba/shisho leaf and wrapped like the salmon roe sushi next to it.

After nibbling a few pieces, I decided to check out the pictures that were on my mug to see if the yellow jobby was to be found...gulp...it was Uni or sea urchin roe. Damn, I'd heard this stuff was alternately disgusting or heavenly, depending on who you were talking to. I ate around it some more, and pondered leaving it on the plate. But, then I figured no one I knew was there, so if I didn't like it, it didn't matter, but I also didn't want to lose face in front of the other people in the restaurant.

I turned it over so that the roe was hidden by the shiso leaf, gave it a dunk in the wasabi and soy sauce mix and put it in my mouth and chewed quickly. It didn't really taste like anything through the shiso leaf--at the time. Now that I'm home, I'm definitely getting a funky aftertaste on my tongue that I've never had from eating sushi before. I don't think I'll be eating the sea urchin again. There's so many other delicious varieties of sushi that I adore, so why waste money on something I'm not too keen about? Am pleased to say that I have tried it though.

I didn't realise how miserable my hair flopping in my face was making me, until the hairdresser cut it all off today. Hallelujah, I can see! That and the pretty nails have done much to reinforce my continued girly feelings.

My ears are pretty much cleared up now, the left still has a slight underwater feeling to it, but I'm hoping that'll drain away soon. If it's not gone within a week, I'll head on back to the doctor's again.

After my dramatic temper tantrum post of two days ago, I'm also feeling much healthier, mentally. That was a long festering thing that I'd been hiding even from myself. I'd kind of touched on it, or hinted at it before, but I'd never really sat down and dug right into the heart of it. Today, I'm feeling more positive about myself and the fact that I'm a woman.

Why?

Because look at all those strong healthy and happy women that are out there! Men don't have a monopoly on any of those things, no matter what my ten year old self may have thought. So what if I had nine older male cousins as role models against only two females. I loved to be a tomboy and revel in my muscles...no reason I can't be a woman and revel in my muscles too. Femininity and physical strength aren't mutually exclusive and my psyche has finally realised that fact.

Just because my mother was obese most of her life up until last year, one of her sisters is morbidly obese, another sister is in the overweight category, and only one has been at a healthy weight her whole life, doesn't mean that I have to stay overweight until I'm fifty. I took a good look at myself in every single store window I walked past today, and I'm me. I'm not my mother or my aunties, and I'm not my grandmothers.

Looking at both sides of the family, I've realised that what I thought was a genetic disposition to being overweight was in fact not. They've all had disordered eating patterns, some are still suffering and some are over it. The ones that are over it? Are in the healthy weight range or almost. I'm not genetically predisposed to being overweight. What I am, is genetically predisposed towards alcoholism and addictive behaviour. A lot of those cousins I looked up to when I was a kid have alcohol problems and aren't going to do anything about it. I have recognised my problem and am doing something about it. As far as I can tell, that makes me stronger than them. (“HA! Take that!” says my inner child)

I felt a little embarrassed the other day after posting that big long rant. No, I felt really embarrassed, for a good twenty four hours in fact. I have come to be sort of proud of the fact that I did post it. I've always been honest with my readers, and if I glossed over the childish parts of the emotional side of losing weight, then I'm cheating you, and I'm cheating myself. And I don't like cheaters.

Whenever I've cheated at anything it has always left me with a hollow feeling inside. It wasn't my victory earned by my strength and skill. It was a lie. I didn't win anything. So, when I get to the end of this getting healthy and losing weight trip and found out I had cheated along the way by pretending that everything is roses, or by leaving out the things that make me uncomfortable, then what kind of victory is that? It's not. It's a fake.

So, yeah, I'm still a little uncomfortable having that tantrum up in public, but it's a step on my journey and so it will stay up there where it belongs. And knowing that makes me feel relieved, because this is my journey, not anyone else's. San said it the other day, she's glad she only has a love of food and an inability to stop eating to blame for her weight loss. I find myself glad that we all have different reasons for becoming overweight in the first place, and I'm very glad that we all have different methods of achieving our healthy lifestyles...it makes for so much more interesting and varied reading after all! And I like variety. Well...sometimes.... I wouldn't have been suckered into eating that sea urchin if I hadn't gone for the combination plate!

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I am Woman.

These last two-three weeks have been a weird emotional roller coaster for me. Not surprising since I had both PMS and an ear infection at the same time. Now, the thing about having mostly beaten my emotional overeating, I no longer have a convenient escape route or excuse to hide behind. And so, I had to run the full gamut of my recent emotions. Not only that, I am now seeing how much of a drama queen, and oh boy what a Diva, I am.

I became convinced that the lymph node swollen in my neck was lymphoma. Convinced. So we had days of hysterical crying jags about the unfairness of it all, now that I'd discovered how much I really do love myself, my life and everyone in it. More anger, more pouting, and a lot less eating thanks to the cortisone and antibiotic ear drops I'm taking. Miraculously the node started to go down, but not quickly enough for the likes of me. No, on day three (of seven to ten, mind you) I was sure that the drops weren't working, and you guessed it, because it WASN'T just a MERE ear infection I was SUFFERING from.

Keep those eyes rolling, it gets better.

Two days later, my period finished, and look, allofasudden I'd lost 6 lbs. Weight loss is another symptom, I pointed out to my husband, SEEseeSEE! And then, I found a hard pea-sized lump in my belly, around the area of my spleen. Holy Schnappin' Duck Turd, Batman, you shoulda seen the panic then. Poking around in my belly, we found more, many more. I made an appointment to go see MY doctor the day after she got back from holidays.

Blood pressure 122/76 up from 116/76 the week prior. (Stressed much? Me? Nah!) Oh and down four lbs on the doctor's scale to 222lbs, something I haven't weighed there in a very long time. Doc pokes and prods, and I “Ahhh” then breathe in and out like a fire-breathing dragon at the appropriate moments.

The ear infection had jumped sides, so instead of ceasing to use the drops and getting an unbroken nights sleep for the first time in nearly three weeks, I still had another week of the stuff to go. (Me and the lack of sleep, we don't play so well together.)

Then I gathered my courage and told the doc about the lump in my belly. We couldn't find it laying down, but when I stood up, yeah, there it was. Poking and prodding again and a”Hmmm” from the medical professional in the room almost had me in floods of tears, but I managed to control myself. “Nothing to get excited about,” was the comment. “It's smooth, and it's not near your spleen. It's nothing more than a cyst.”

Oh.

We'll keep an eye on it, and since I've got my long overdue yearly physical at the end of August, well, she gets to have another poke and a prod then.

Called my Mum the next day and talked to her about that and some of the other issues I've been dealing with recently, regarding past instances of unwanted male attention and forced intimacy. Apparently, she had those hard lumps too in her belly as well and they went away eventually.

Oh, really?

“Just go look at a piece of steak” said Mum. “You know the fat isn't all smooth, it's layered and swirly and marbled and you have the little lumps in it too.”

Oh. Yeah.

I also checked up a Reiki book I have. According to it; cysts are cause by hanging on to past hurts. Hmmm, we know anyone who's been doing much of that in recent years? And fat in the stomach area is fear of being denied nourishment.

What nourishment? I've always been able to have all the food I've wanted to eat, always.

Funny thing is I woke up yesterday morning with a bit of an epiphany. Something I'd said to Mum on the phone over the weekend had been nagging at my subconscious, but I'd been ignoring it completely. The whole, fingers in-the-ears-and-I'm-not-listening dealy, with extra focus on how I'm losing weight and a shitload of inches, so ergo I must really be sick and the doctor wouldn't know how to diagnose her way out of a paper bag. Yeah, that doctor, my favourite one who'd I'd practically salivated over the chance of having her getting her stethoscope on my problems. Irrational little Diva ain't I?

I hadn't updated my weight tracker software in awhile, so I decided to plug in yesterday's figures. 219lbs, something I haven't been in a very long time. And out of morbid curiosity I wanted to see just how many pounds I'd lost allofasudden, 'cause of being, you know, s.i.c.k. an' all. And what I saw shocked me. Since the 10th of June, I'd lost a ginormous 200gms. Yeah, that's right, half a pound.

Half a Fuckin' Pound, People!

During the six weeks since then though, I'd managed to hover back up and down between 222 and 225 lbs.

Why? Why the sudden climb back up to 220+ and why the sudden medical freak out again this month? Why was the fact that I'd bragged to my mum about not having to shave my legs or arms if I didn't want to sticking in the craw of my subconscious? Why the sudden refusal to do my Artist's Way's morning pages when they were helping so much?

{back of hand to forehead moment} Why? Why? Why? Oh Why?

Fear. Pure and simple fear. Okay, maybe not simple, but still fear. You see, I'm fast approaching one of my scariest deep and darks. Not the abuse, not the career, not any of the stuff I've already been kickin' and screamin' my way through working out--but the incontrovertible fact that I'm a woman.

I'm 30 and loathing that fact that I got my period and these tits and pissed off about why the hell can't I walk around with no top on when it's hot, dammit? So very much anger still, over a betrayal that happened twenty years ago!

I hated having to wear a surfboard under my leotard as a gymnast.
I hated having to wear a bra.
I hated the fact that all of a sudden running hurt.
I hated the fact that men, and women, began to look at me differently.
I hated that I looked different. Where was my familiar body?
I hated the pain of my menstrual cramps that four Panadol didn't even touch. (All praise the Naprogesic I found in high school.)
I hated that it was now undeniable that even if I was a tomboy...I was still a girl.

All this ranting and raving and drama over my health has been a way to deny that yes I am getting healthier; yes I am losing weight, for real; yes I am regaining my feminine shape; and yes I'm finally ready to dig up and examine one of the major reasons I'm overweight.

My ten year old self was disappointed to learn that she was a girl, in truth, and no amount of strength training at gymnastics, no amount of football or any of the other rough and tumble sports, or tagging along after her older male cousins at family gatherings would change that fact. And slowly, but surely, all the double standards that still exist in this supposedly enlightened era began to creep into my soul. My ten year old self saw something that she didn't want to believe, and so tried her best to break out of the mold that society has set for people of the feminine persuasion.

At ten, I was a defeated feminist. And I've been turning my anger at that fact inward ever since, instead of outward, where it belongs.

Yesterday I began to celebrate one facet of my femininity, instead of being afraid and angry about it. I shaved my shapely legs. I left the underarms alone because I stink less with the hair there doing its job. I went and bought some groovy blue nail polish and some decals to stick on. I went to get my haircut, but the salon was closed.

On the way home I went and bought a snack pack of fried chicken and a whole bunch of stuff to munch on. When in fact I'd wanted sushi for lunch. The chicken and chips weren't even nice, but I ate them. The small bag of Gardetto's was, but I kept eating way beyond the point I'd had enough. Half way through I realised I was angry, but not yet why. I acknowledged the anger, but kept munching the crunchy goodness.

Got home and straight away thought about putting on to cook two packs of the ramen/2minnoodles that I'd bought, even though I had a headache from what I'd just consumed. I even went as far as putting on the pot of water to boil. May as well keep going since I'm already feeling like shit, was my rationale.

Then, I stopped. There I was punishing myself again for something that wasn't my fault. It hit me—the salon was CLOSED. And that made me angry. How dare they interfere with my girly day! After I'd surrendered to my womanliness! How dare THEY? And here I was stuffing MY face? Get a grip woman!

So, I did. I went and took some ibuprofen, and sat down to do my nails. The ramen stayed uneaten. At least until nearly midnight when I was finally hungry, but couldn't think what else to eat. I had one packet and went to bed. Woke up at 4:30 in a panic while Alaskaboy was getting ready for work because my throat was so very dry and I had a dry cough and oh crap, I must be reacting to the ear drops because I've been taking them for so long!

Cue panic stations again.

No...how about I had home made chicken tortillas for breakfast, fried chicken and chips for lunch, a whole bag of Gardetto's, and then ramen for late meal? And last night was drier than the night before, and I hadn't drunk enough water, and ooh lookie I had a bit of reflux from the crap I'd eaten. Can anyone say dehydrated?

Emotionally, in so many ways, I'm still that ten year old girl. I don't like this scared panicky person I've become. But, I guess it's just another part of the cycle of learning to deal with my life and my emotions without the numbing comfort of food to hide behind. All I can do is go through my emotions, feel them and learn from them as they occur. Oh, and I still have the fear of unwanted male attention, but at least I'm working on through the fear, instead of cowering before it! (More on that later, this post is already long enough.)

I'm again reading When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies and I can't get that awful Helen Reddy song out of my head. I'm still a little fearful, especially about how strong I can become if all my energy is focused on living my life instead of on dieting, but I'm not in denial anymore. I am a woman, and it's not something to denigrate, but in fact celebrate.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

PMS

We all know it stands for stands for Premenstrual Syndrome. For me, this usually means Polish off Many Smörgåsbords, Peruse Many Stories, Pettifog My Spouse, Punish My Self, and let's not forget Pulverize My Scales (due to water retention.) All of which adds up to Pretty Mean 'n' Scary.

The other night I did eat a wide variety of stuff and plenty of it, but that's been the only PMS binge I've had this week, and in years gone by I certainly wouldn't have called the amount I ate a real binge! I mean, shit, I went to bed and didn't even have the faintest hint of indigestion. And it only lasted one day. WTF?

Oh and for those that are keeping count, I got weighed yesterday by the nurse. I had on shoes and all my clothes; drunk a bottle of water on the way there; eaten breakfast before leaving the house plus drunk nearly another bottle of water; we can't forget the PMS bloating; and the scales said 226 lbs. Now, I remember a time when I'd be praying for that number to appear when weighing in naked and after going to the toilet to ensure every spare ounce of matter that could be gotten rid of was before I stepped on those scales. I haven't weighed at the doctor's for quite some time. And the only reason I did so this time was because I figured they'd need to know my weight in case I needed medication. Truly, you don't have to weigh if you don't want to. Was flabbergasted the first time I told them I'd rather not weigh. They had assumed I'd liked to know, but since there was no medical reason to, I didn't have to get on the scale. Score one in the victory to beat my obsession with the scales!

Oops, got distracted. PMS. Funny thing when I'm not eating my emotions away, even my hormone induced ones, I have to feel them. And apparently there's a whole lot of them. This morning after Alaskaboy had gone to work, I wrote my morning pages (an exercise from The Artist's Way) and during them, I had to pause and go grab my teddy bear and have a bit of a sob fest. Had cried a little before, because I missed having my family, and Alaskaboy around, always fun when he goes back to work after a vacation, but I let it all hang out at that moment.

After pages were written, I toddled off to the kitchen to make breakfast. Got out of the freezer one of the homemade hamburger patties and stuck it on a plate, then microwaved it to warm up. Wandered back through the house and looked at all the things that piss me off about the apartment (at least today in the mood I was in. Tomorrow it'll probably be different things.) And then I thought of all the things in my life that currently piss me off, and when the microwave beeped I walked back to the kitchen to get the burger out. In the process, I detoured past the couch and picked up one of the boomerang pillows lying on it and beat the shit out of the couch.

Feeling a little better I got out an English muffin and popped the burger into it and took a bite. I'd forgotten the tomato sauce (ketchup) and after swallowing the bite I put some sauce on and then went and picked up that same pillow, placed it against the top of the back of the couch, bent over placing my face against it and screamed for all I was worth. AAARRRRRGGGGGGGH!

This time I had the whining and keening kind of crying going on after I'd finished doing that. Ate most of the burger in between sobs, and then picked up a half box that had been pissing me off for days. We'd gotten it from the supermarket to help carry in some groceries, and of course never taken it out to the bin once we were finished with it. It'd been sitting on the side of the narrow walkway into the kitchen for nearly a week. To be sure it was on top of a case of San Pellegrino water, which we have nowhere else to sit just yet, but the case of water I could handle, that box I couldn't any longer.

I picked it up and hurled it at the couch. Then went after it. I picked it up, tore it open it so it was now pretty much laid out template style and said “Grrrrrrr” several times at it and maybe threw in a few more Arrrggghs. Then I put it on the carpet and jumped up and down on it a few times for good measure! Hurt my ankle a little as thongs aren't the best thing to be doing high impact jumping and stomping in, but eh, I felt better afterwards and the pain went away after about five minutes.

After all this wild emoting, I was exhausted and went off for some of that rest that the doctor had prescribed. But most importantly, I was binge free and I'd expressed all that rage, fear, anger, etc without hurting anyone else. Or anything else, like I could have by going out and attacking a poor tree with a plastic baseball bat. Never mind the legalities of actually doing that here where you can be sued for far lesser things. I could just see it now, the bat probably would have rebounded off the tree trunk and smacked ME in the head, or broken and gashed me somehow. At least the cardboard was inert, although the little turd did try and slip away on the carpet. Not that I blame it, 226 lbs of angry and hormonal woman is not something I'd wanna have jumping up and down on me!

So for today PMS can stand for Placated My Soul, and I did it without food. Man, does it feel good!

(I'm sure the couch and the box thought it was Premeditated Savagery!)

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Friday, July 20, 2007

That explains that!

The lymph node that's been swollen for a little while now, with no other symptoms other than a slight feeling of fullness in the ear...that's called swimmer's ear. And I've got it.

Certainly explains my instinctual avoidance of the pool the last couple of weeks even though I was very hot and thought I really wanted to swim.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request.

Our apartment is beginning to look like our home. Slowly but surely things are being put away and yesterday enough space was cleared on the floor that it was painfully apparent that we needed to vacuum. I had planned on doing it at some point and had asked Alaskaboy to finish off papering the kitchen cupboards. (We'd trialled putting down butcher's paper on the shelves since the paint they used tends to stick to whatever is placed in there for too long.)

We went and did some grocery shopping in the afternoon, as well as picking up a book that I'd had on hold at a bookshop and, since he was tired of borrowing mine, getting a USB thumb drive for Alaskaboy. Upon returning home I had some veg soup, one and a half boiled eggs left over from lunch, and cream cheese toast, Alaskaboy got himself something different for dinner. I read the introduction to The Artist's Way as I was eating, and realised I had to go back for a second pair of toast slices. Complete and utter emotional eating, but that's okay, I was feeling threatened.

Why threatened?

Reading this book, for me, was taking another active step to committing to being a writer. That, after the day before having bought a folding card table I can use for brainstorming or editing, or whatever. MY space for MY work. And I don't have to clear it off at the end of the day if I don't want! Previously, I'd been using the kitchen table. Not a good way to make myself or my work feel worth much of anything: Because clearing off the table to make and prepare dinner happens every evening, doesn't it?

In the background I heard the noise of the vacuum cleaner start up, but because I was engrossed in the book, I let it slide, assuming Alaskaboy was cleaning something in the study. Nope, he'd noticed the same thing I had and was vacuuming the place. That's all right, I was reading and was comfortable with him doing that as he really does like to clean. There's a reason the Dyson is known as the other woman in our marriage...Alaskaboy spends more time vacuuming with it than I do. LOL

I interrupted my reading, stood up and helped him move the chairs and stuff in the dining area so he could vacuum more easily. Also moved the fire extinguisher in the process. When I put it back, exclaiming how heavy it was, he offered to show me how to use it. I demurred and reminded him that I had seen it before. He offered to show it again, rationalising that the more I went through the motions the more I'd remember it if I ever needed to use it. I again declined. He picked it up and said something along the lines of, “It'll only take a sec.” and I said. “Listen to what I'm saying. No. I don't want to, I'm doing something that is very important to me. And I don't wish to interrupt it to look at the fire extinguisher.” (I didn't even swear. GASPSHOCKHORROR)

He looked at me a little funny but then put it down and went back to vacuuming. Big moment for me especially in light of all the people I've acquiesced to “for a second / few minutes” or “We've already gone this far, a little more won't hurt” or “just this once” in order to keep that boat on an even keel! (My stomach's churning thinking about some of those times as I write this.) I stood up for myself tonight. I didn't try and justify it by telling him I was reading a book related to my work as a writer, didn't tell him anything other than, “I don't want to.” and he respected that. For that, I love him even more than I usually do.

Not five minutes later I asked him to look at a bit of the book that I thought he'd be able to relate to. When he had the time or the inclination,of course, and after marking it with a piece of string I offered to show it to him right then! (Tricksy little LSED, now that I think about it, isn't she?)
He declined as he was busy.

Then approximately fifteen minutes later I noticed he was measuring the top of the deep freeze. Well, I thought he was, turns out he was measuring butcher's paper. Straight away, I asked him, “Are you doing that because you want to, or because I asked you to?” My reasoning was that if he didn't want to, he should not do it because he has to work tomorrow and he should relax this evening and fiddle with computery stuff, like I assumed he wanted to be doing.

He was doing it because I'd asked him to.

The conversation went on for a few minutes more inside my head after that point. Each time I thought about it I came up with reasons why he shouldn't be doing it.

1.I could do it tomorrow.
2.It wasn't that important, and besides hadn't he just vac'ed the whole place?
3.He should only be doing it if he wanted to.
4.Wasn't there more important things to be doing?

On and on the listing went until I finally got to a point where I realised what I was doing. I was making all kinds of excuses as to why he shouldn't be doing it--because I was the one who asked him to! And had asked precisely because he has the talent for fiddly fart-arsery like this, and I don't.

Now, how fucked up is that? There's many a time I can't be bothered but I'll make him some dinner, or do things just because he's asked me to. How is what he did any different? Why is he deserving of courtesy, help and having his wishes respected, and I'm not?

Why the hell was I so uncomfortable because my husband was doing something for the sole reason I asked him to do it?

Just when I think I've got it all figured out, another manifestation of my low self esteem sits up and begs to be noticed. At least I'm paying attention and can work on it now that it's slapped me a few times in the face with a wet fish.

Anyone else find themselves doing anything similar? Not the fish slapping, but the feeling uncomfortable/strange/whatever when someone makes an effort on your behalf.


P.S. Check out Marshy's fabulous guest post from yesterday.
Yaks in Hula Skirts.
Need I say more? LOL

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

For The Health Of It

I'm thrilled to have been invited by Kada to write this guest post, and I've spent a good amount of time pondering what I should bestow on Her Fair Blog.

With the panic that has taken a stronghold in Western Society over this 'obesity epidemic' there has been an infestation of propaganda and products all geared to weight loss.

Weight loss. Not health.

While I love blogging and I love the fat blogging community, there are many blogs out there that make me concerned. I love finding blogs where a sensible, healthy approach to living is taken, and then of course, the weight loss follows thereafter. Many others out there skip the establishment of a sensible, healthy approach to living, and jump straight to the weight loss - having no idea of what it takes to keep off the weight, and being so focused on the numbers going down and the weight going down that they are willing to sacrifice being healthy if it is necessary.

After trying several diets - Weight Watchers, The Heart Patient Diet, The Three Hour Diet, Body For Life, Herbalife, I have finally realised that while I want to be thin, more importantly, I want to healthy. And fit. I'm not prepared to sacrifice being healthy for being thin.

And that means healthy in the MIND, as well as the body.

We can lead ourselves to believe that we can be 'perfect' all of the time - live off celery sticks and lettuce and exercise five times a day. The fact is that we are human. And we crave. And food is a pleasure to us, and being deprived of it is damn miserable. I'm sure most of you know where I'm heading with this. I'm referring to the vicious starve-binge cycle that seems to be part of the package of losing weight.

But. It is NOT part of the package of being healthy.

Only when, and ONLY when, you decide that it is HEALTH that you are prioritising, are you able to get out of the starve-binge cycle. You might make the decision to lose weight because of your health, but it is still the decision to 'lose weight', not to 'get healthy'.

Getting healthy is not just eating five plus a day of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, drinking water, and so forth. It's respecting your body's natural cravings, and understanding that your body is a complex object. It should not ever be summed up by a single number. Yet we do it all the time.

I was having a conversation with Kada the other day about a blogger that was excited about a new weight loss plan they'd started. They had just under 7 kilos to lose, which is about 15lbs. A safe, permanent loss is approximately 1lb per week, with some leeway if you're heavier or lighter. For someone who is heavier, then perhaps 1-2lbs per week can be handled. For someone who is lighter, then perhaps 0.5-1lb per week can be handled. What is the safe loss for you can only be established by you, and your interest in your body's responsiveness.

My body takes a lot of activity to get any sort of response, since my numbers are smaller. My Asian heritage means that you're a porker if you're above 140lbs. I have a bit of height which can smooth things out a bit, but I understand that genetically, my body behaves in a particular way. I put weight on around my stomach instead of my legs and hips, which continues to put me at a high risk for disease even though I'm in the normal weight range for the general population.

But I'm digressing. This blogger had 7kilos/15lbs to lose, and the stock standard number given out to everyone is that 0.4kg/1lb per week is safe. This blogger was impatient, and put pressure on herself to lose at least 1 kilo per week, because they didn't want to wait for four 'whole' months to achieve that goal. Then to make matters worse, this blogger discovered that others on the program had managed to lose 4 kilograms in the first two weeks, and began to try and achieve the same result herself.

This sort of dangerous approach to weight loss makes me very concerned, and I was discussing this with Kada. There are so many variables as to why other people could've lost 4 kilograms and how it might have been perfectly safe for them to do so. Or, it might have been very unsafe for them to do so. How do you know? The fact is, YOU DON'T. You could hypothesise - it could be because their starting weight was heavier, it could be because they dropped a lot of water weight, it could simply be because they forgot to take their coat off before stepping on the scales. Though you can never know this about someone else's weight. You can, however, figure it out for your own weight.

Both Kada and I felt the same level of concern. We knew that this woman's approach was not healthy, and would do her head in in the long run. That she was focusing on the weight loss, and not on the health. And as often does when I'm talking to Kada, we chatted about cravings and whatnot and how it is best to indulge in your craving rather than dreaming about getting married to a chocolate brownie or a creamy pasta dish, and then finally caving in to eat enough chocolate brownies and creamy pasta dishes to feed the whole of Sudan.

Though when you think about it - how odd is it for me to be able to chat on a sensible level to Kada, the intuitive eating goddess, when I am Marshmallow, the calorie counting nut? Kada is all about listening to her body, letting it tell her when it needs food, and what it wants her to eat. I, am all about looking at the numbers, the graphs, calculating averages, analysing trends, and making scientific conclusions.

Kada has achieved the safe, sensible, healthy approach to weight loss by taking numbers out of the equation. She has reduced the number of times she's weighed in, and doesn't even think about calories and grams of fat, carbs, protein, etc. She's realised that weight is a simple representation of a complex thing, and that for her, taking time away from the numbers helps her to understand the complexity of her body.

Meanwhile, I am at the other end of the spectrum. I'd like to think I've achieved a safe, sensible, healthy approach to weight loss by putting numbers IN to the equation. I have increased the number of times I've weighed in, increased the number of graphs, constantly assessing the number of calories, grams of fat, carbs, protein, etc. Though I have also realised that weight is a simple representation of a complex thing, but for me, I've put more time into the numbers, and have used them as a tool to understand the complexity of my body.

I like this quote from one of Kada's earlier posts:

The number on the scale lies you see. It said I've gained only a little. But what does that mean really? All the scales can tell me is the gross weight of my body. Just like I was a packet of sausages you'd buy at the butchers. It doesn't tell me my “nutritional breakdown” ie how much fat, lean meat, water, fillers etc are within my casing. But, unlike that packet of sausages, I'm more than the sum of my parts.
And she's absolutely right. Though HOW can I agree with her, when I'm such a scale nut? When I'm on and off the scale two times a day?

The one single thing that makes our journey and destination the same is our commitment to understanding our body, and to make our body healthier, forever. Not for twelve weeks, or two months, or whatever. The only difference between us is the tools that we take along with us. Kada is the one who hikes through the woods with the 'whichever way the wind tells us to blow' approach. I'm the one with the maps and the compasses and the calculators and all of the measuring equipment that says, 'according to my calculations, the wind is blowing that way, so that is the way we should go.'

We both don't put pressure on ourselves on how long the hike should take. Because we don't know. We'd *like* to think it'd take a certain amount of time, but really, how the hell are we supposed to figure that out? Our abilities are certain to develop and change along the way, never mind that the terrain will definitely get more rugged as we go along. And of course, there'll be distractions. We'll drop some of our supplies and will have to turn around to go back and get it. We could stub our toe on a log or something - or perhaps, just stop and inhale the fresh air and pause to observe the incredible wildlife around us. We're not going to say, "It takes the average person 2 hours to climb that mountain, though I don't want to wait so long, I'm going to aim to do it in 1 hour." We're going to see whether our quads are as strong as these 'average people' that we've heard about, and we're not going to risk our health by trying to overshoot this Goodness Knows What Data This Is Based On number. We're not going to beat ourselves up if we take longer than 2 hours to climb that mountain. We're not going to beat ourselves up because we took a detour since we swore we saw a yak wearing a hula skirt and it just was more interesting at the time and in any case, you can resume climbing the mountain once you're done dealing with the distraction whereas that yak won't be hanging around for very long.

So what is the moral of this story?

There is no single, predefined way that one can truly get into the healthy headspace. Where you can stand back and make an assessment of your health based on your own individual feelings or your own individual numbers. You decide what tools you need - whether you need more, less, or none at all. What matters is that when one starts focusing on health, weight loss is a convenient side product.

It's not an obesity epidemic that we should be worried about, but an epidemic of unhealthy behaviour. And weight loss attempts without a focus on health? Dude, that ain't healthy.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Snot Block!

Found a bakery whilst out driving today.

The reason I'm sharing this is because I found something that I never expected to find here...Vanilla Slices! And not just any old vanilla slice but a double decker one! With real custard inside! Thick, slippery, yummy custard like you get at a quality bakery, not the hard jelly-like custard you can find in some vanilla slices back home.

They had chocolate éclairs also. Real choux pastry, not donut pastry like some shops use here and try and call it an éclair. Real chocolate ganache on top, and also filled with the delish custard. At first I was disappointed that it wasn't cream on the inside, but oh boy was that custard good! The poor éclair didn't make it home, Alaskaboy and I scoffed it down matching each other bite for bite.

We managed to restrain ourselves from eating the snot block long enough to take a couple of photos (for brag points cause this vanilla slice has to be seen to be believed!) but then it was promptly chopped in half and consumed with much finger licking along the way.

It was approx 4" long and 2.5" wide and between 1.5" & 2" tall. YUM! (They did have smaller ones if you only wanted a little bit of a nibble.)

Here tis!

ETA: Sorry got carried away forgot to tell yas. They're called Napoleons here. So, keep an eye out for things called that elsewhere.



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Sunday, July 15, 2007

That should be the end of THAT nonsense

Howdy everyone - this is Marshmallow, temporarily hijacking Kada's blog.

If you've noticed weird 'Read More' links appearing all over the place that don't actually do anything, that's my fault - Kada wanted to add a feature to her blog that allowed her to cut posts that were longer in length, and getting the 'Read More' to disappear from posts where it wasn't needed was a bit of a mission.

It should all be working properly now. :-)

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Sweet Soy Saucey Goodness.

My Mum was telling me the other day on the phone how my brother has been using kecap manis lately, but she finds it too sweet. I haven't had any kecap manis since moving here, and so had a sudden craving for some after that conversation. Went out and bought some and made a chicken and veg stir fry.
Kecap manis...again something I had neglected to introduce Alaskaboy to, along with the deliciousness that is mint and basil together in a Thai dish. So a Thai-style stirfry is what I went with. Was pissed off that we didn't have any ginger in the house, but funnily enough, it tasted fine without it.

Here's the recipe if anyone is interested.
Thai Style Chicken Stir Fry.
Serves 2.

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts – cut into short strips. If you don't like chicken, go with equiv amount of prawns/shrimp
1 smallish carrot – cut in half lengthwise then on the bias
1 smallish zucchini - cut in half lengthwise then on the bias
Half a red capsicum – cut into strips
approx 5-6 button mushrooms - cut in half then sliced
sesame oil for cooking.
Approx 2 Tbs Kecap manis – a sweet Indonesian soy sauce
Approx 2 cups cooked Rad Na, Udon or some other kind of wide rice noodle (Don't want too many noodles they're just a part of the ingredients, not the main one!)


Sauce:
approx 2 Tbs chopped fresh mint
approx 1.5 – 2 tsp dried basil (or 2Tbs chopped fresh)
sambal oelek or chilli paste – to taste
1 clove garlic or approx ¼ tsp garlic powder
juice of half a lime

As in all Asian cooking, it is best to prepare all ingredients before starting to cook.

Method:
1. Put on a pot of water to boil for noodles.
2. Mix all of sauce ingredients together in a mortar and pestle or a small bowl/cup. Let sit whilst preparing other ingredients.
3. Heat sesame oil in wok or heavy skillet / frying pan, add chicken and stir until half cooked. Blanch carrots in boiling water.
4. Add veggies to wok and continue cooking for approx 3-5 minutes.
5. Add sauce ingredients stirring to coat well. (Now's the time to add the dry noodles to the pot of boiling water.)
6. Let meat 'n' veggies cook for another few minutes then add the kecap manis to the wok. Stir to heat through then turn off heat once cooked to your satisfaction.
7. Drain and add noodles to wok.


Was rather tasty if I do say so myself. :)

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Apologies.

If you see anything weird going on, sorry about that. I'm trying to work out how to make my blog do what I want it to!

Well, I'm asking and the lovely Raina is the one doing the work of head meeting desk. {hugs}

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

And the truth is...

Yesterday Alaskaboy and I were sitting at the table, enjoying the breakfast he had cooked. Two slices each of grilled cheese and tomato on toast.
We'd been discussing my inability to have a psychologist, any psychologist, answer or return my calls over the last two weeks--and whether or not this was a sign that I didn't really need one.

You see, these last ten days or so since I made my declaration that I was going to go out and get a real job and contribute to this family financially, I've had a major back step. All of a sudden I was weighing every few days, spending a lot of time doing avoidance behaviour and as a result I've put on 4-5lbs.

It doesn't help that since I've been losing weight and getting in touch with my feminine side that I'm actually noticing my ovulation symptoms. Twinges in an ovary, sore, slightly swollen breasts, with very sensitive nipples; which lead to fears of being unexpectedly pregnant. (This happened last month as well. THIS month I took a test. Negative.)

Then I discovered strange lumpy bumpies under my left armpit and panicked for two days straight...until I realised it's the fat breaking down. No longer firm but more like cottage cheese. And of course with less fat on my body I'm discovering all these muscles, and ligaments and other things under my skin as well. Like lymph nodes, milk ducts, bones, glands and things that really do feel weird when I've been used to feeling nothing but firm fat.

All this stress and anxiety about my physical self was great to hide behind. Plus the addition of mental anguish. Revelling in it was great!
But, that's not what's really wrong. Here's what's happeni--
Nope, nope, nope. Don't want to face that. Surely there must be something wrong with me, so I NEED to see a shrink.

During last week it pretty much all came to a head. Days of rage made for an uncomfortable existence. Finally the reason for the rage came bubbling out one night and I cried out to Alaskaboy and the universe. “I don't want to go out and get some part time job. I don't want to be a volunteer worker. I'm a writer. I want to write! I'm an author. But, I'm afraid you resent having to earn all the money.”

Yeah. That's right. I'd been feeling pressured into having to go out and get a “real” job and bring in the spondoolies.
My grandmother worked. My mother worked full time when we were growing up, and still works permanent part time. My husband works long hours. And I was using these as excuses to hide behind. None of them were putting pressure on me. Well, Mum was a little, but she was listening to what I was saying, and I was lying to her. I was the one putting all the pressure on myself to go out and work because I thought I should be working.

Alaskaboy's response to my heartfelt cry was, “I only resent it when you're not writing.”

. . .”Oh.” said I, in a very small voice. Then proceeded to cry some more. Why do revelations always lead to tears?

The following day I told my Mum the truth. And she was fine with it. I felt like a bit of a dork for all those months that I'd been dancing around it with everyone and implying that I wanted to go out and get a job.

But, oh, the agony now that I've fully committed to being an author. I'm having to face the fact that I'm doing this. I will be pouring my heart, soul, sweat and tears into this job, and there's a very real chance that I'll be rejected over and over again. Also, with the added bonus of no guarantee of ever being published, let alone making enough money to help out with household expenses.

Rejection. Real rejection of something I care deeply about. That's the real reason I have only been playing at being an author. Fear of not making the grade when I give 100% of myself. Schoolwork, sports etc have all come easily. If it hasn't come easy, I tried something else, or pretended like I gave my all, but when it failed, I knew I hadn't given it my best shot so it didn't matter as much. This time, I've been backed into a corner. And I did it to myself.

All this work; the intuitive eating, the positive affirmations, the digging deep to unearth the crud from the past and free the real me, has lead me to this moment.

I am a writer.

And admitting that has scared the shit outta me.

“Courage is a writer's best virtue.” Those are the words that are up on my wall. Right beside my head where I'll see them every time I sit down at the computer. I've had the courage to come this far. I've jumped off the branch boys 'n' girls, and now I really am flapping for all I'm worth. Now, it's up to me whether I go splat or I fly where'er my courage may lead me.

Where has it led me so far? As we were eating that yummy breakfast, Alaskaboy asked me, “When was the last time you had cheese and tomato on toast?”
And for the life of me, I couldn't tell him.
There was a time when I ate cheese and tomato on toast two or three times a week. Some weeks it was every day. It's always been one of my comfort foods of choice. So, for neither of us to be able to remember the last time I had it, best we can gather is several weeks prior, is a huge thing. And it made me realise, that even though I had a brief lapse into a form of comfort eating and denial these last few days, I've come a very long way from where I used to be.

Today, I promised myself that, in seven weeks, when it comes time for my yearly check up (which I missed last year) that I'm going to give the doctor a pleasant surprise with how healthy I am compared to my last check up. In order to do this, I'm going exercise my body by doing things I love to do, exercise my creativity and my mind by writing and learning cross stitch and doing puzzles, exercise my soul by continuing to feel my emotions and say my affirmations.

Surely, if I'm living to the best of my ability, then I'll amaze even myself with how much progress I can make? I know that seven weeks ago I was nowhere near as happy and content as I am now.

Here's to the next seven fabulous weeks!

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