Sunday, December 28, 2008

Flight Of The Hungry Hippo.

For those of you that have been around a pregnant woman, or have been pregnant yourselves, you may have witnessed the phenomenon that can be a pregnant woman's appetite. No matter whether she's full on a small or large amount of food for many women there is the moment their body signals not the plain old hunger they've known all their lives but an all consuming ravenous bestial HUNGER! My husband has learned two key survival tricks: Don't ever get between a pregnant woman and her food/water supply. And don't get between a pregnant woman and the nearest toilet.

My HUNGER beast comes out approx every two and a half to three hours, but I'm eating smaller amounts than I did before. Leading up to the red-eye flight out on Christmas Eve I'd been worried about getting enough sleep on the trip because I never sleep on planes. (Mouth breather and the air is too dry.) The food I never worry about. We always take a good variety of snacks on the plane, both carbs and protein, but I admit this time we did neglect to take any bread products like pretzels or chips. Since these days everyone has to be at the airport hours before a flight actually leaves, we usually end up eating a smallish meal at the airport. I say usually because this trip that was not the case.

I don't know how much things were different because it was Christmas Eve or it was simply because this particular terminal acts more like a municipal airfield than a large international airport--We've noticed previously they close earlier than the other terminals' restaurants—but all of the restaurants in this particular terminal were closed by the time we got there. So closed in fact that the cleaning staff were almost finished their stint. Just after 10pm. Not only were the restaurants closed but so were all the refreshment kiosks. And not a vending machine in sight. In a terminal that has flights leaving until 1am!

I will half grant them the fact that there were two water fountains available, but not everyone can drink from those and we're no longer allowed to bring water through security. There went not only any chance of purchasing the food I wanted but also the water and Gatorade I'd need to drink on the plane. I do believe I had a full thirty seconds of mental screaming in panic. Thankfully, none of that translated to the surface nor did the running around in circles. I made sure to scout the entire length of the terminal. . .not even the Duty Free Shop sold water.

At this point I wasn't thirsty because we'd each finished off a whole 600ml bottle of water while standing in the security line. I knew I was gonna be hungry soon though. All I'd fancied to eat all day was cold roast chicken sandwiches, so each meal was one of those. For this meal my body was demanding something hot and filling. No such luck, kiddo.

So I queued up in front of the desk at our gate to ask one of the airline staff about supplies available to be purchased on the plane. The line was only five people deep (me in the third position) when a guy angled in from the side and cut in line between one person leaving the desk and the other person waiting to be called forward. Not quite realising what he'd been doing till he'd already asked his question all we could do was watch him ask his question and then leave. A question involving whether or not our delay of less than thirty minutes would effect him catching his next plane which was due to take off an hour and a half after our new arrival time. A question that was important to him, yes. But I fumed inwardly. I mean, c'mon! The line is only five deep and it's moving quickly plus it was still an hour till the plane would take off.

As the line crept forward after each subsequent person asked their own questions, I watched the guy who was fifth in line start to inch forward and sideways to do the same procedure. Hell No, buddy! I thought.

And when he stepped forward to cut me off, I said in a polite but VERY firm tone, “There's a line you know!”

He replied, “I know, but I only have a question.”

And my tone got firmer, “We ALL only have questions. Wait your turn.”

“All right, just relax!”

The airline guy beckoning me forward silenced any retort I may have come back with. But on the way back to my seat in the lounge I thought, RELAX! he says. I'm worried about whether I'm gonna be able to eat and/or drink on the plane other than a soda and some pretzels, YOU'RE jumping the queue, and you're telling ME to relax! You rude fuck! Was he THAT shocked that a short, fat woman spoke to him in a firm tone, without being rude, aggressive or swearing at him thereby leaving him no other option than to be embarrassed by being called out on his actions? LOL Idiot. Relax? WTF!

I ranted to Alaskaboy for a couple of minutes about it and then realised I was all of a sudden hungry. (Not yet HUNGRY) Trying to make the best of the situation I nibbled on some dried mango strips, some unsalted dry roasted peanuts and some choc-coated raisins. It wasn't satisfying but it did shut the rumbles up. It also put me in a better mood. By the time we were on the plane and taking off I was miserable. SO thirsty that I was wishing I'd given in and drunk from the fountains. L.A. tap water is so hard it tends to give me an upset stomach, but an upset stomach later HAD to be better than perishing of thirst while we waited for the flight attendants to be released to bring us a drink.

At one point I turned to Alaskaboy and asked, “Haven't they usually begun the beverage service by now?” And if I'm to be honest that question had more whine in it that a roomful of toddlers could manage. He showed me the time, and we'd only been in the air for fifteen minutes. I would have sworn it was closer to 40 minutes. Crap! Then, when the seatbelt signs went off, someone sitting a few rows in front of us called the attendant straight away, and lo and behold they brought him a cup of water. My hand was up to catch his attention licketty-split.

Not sure if the water was from the airplane's tank or not, same end result as L.A. water, I sipped very cautiously. I managed to get through half of it by the time they pulled the cart up past us. Then I saw the big bottles of spring water perched on top. GULP! The rest was gone.

When they got to us, I asked to purchase two of the bottles of water. They couldn't sell them to me. But when I informed her that I usually drink two litres during the flight, she poured me three cups of water without question and told me to ask for more when I needed it. Which I never needed to ask because she was always back offering me three more as I was finishing off the last one. Much friendlier than other flight attendants I've had who've begrudged pouring me a water and a soft drink at the same time before.

Thirst quenched, my HUNGER stopped waiting its turn and roared out of hiding. I've always refused to buy those snack boxes they have on the planes. 1) Because the snacks we bring on are usually enough and 2) Just put the price of the tickets up already and bring back “free” luggage and inflight meal service! $5 for a little box of nothing! Bugger that!

This time I was begging Alaskaboy to ask them what was in the snack boxes. PLEADING with the universe that there was at least some sort of cheese-like product in there and some crackers plus anything else I may be able to eat. Fruit and nuts weren't cutting it anymore, were in fact making me nauseous at the thought of eating them. When the stewardess got to the first items on the list and they were cheese and crackers, I said, “I'll take two!” She only heard me agree to take a box, and then tried to give Alaskaboy back the second five dollar note he handed to her. No, no, no! TWO!

Finally, I had a box of food in my hot little hands. I couldn't get that plastic wrapper off fast enough. When I opened the lid and the first things I saw were a small bag of pita chips and a small can of tuna, my heart stopped under the weight of all that hope. When I saw it was a kind that contains wild caught tuna, I may have fainted in delight. And the swoon only got deeper as I uncovered a bag of cookies AND two kinds of REAL cheese plus two packets of crackers.

It took my suddenly wobbly hands forever to peel the ring pull lid off the can. It didn't help I was afraid I'd pull too hard and that precious mother lode would fly out of the can and go splat on the window or the head of the guy in front of me! Drowning in a combination of heavenly lemon pepper scent and the flood of drool it produced, I lifted that first mouthful to my lips. I know for a fact I would have done a porn star proud with the sounds I made as I slid the little plastic fork back out of my mouth.

Crappy little five dollar box of nothing? Let's call it the best five dollars I've ever spent! And thanks to my inability to judge my meal sizes still, I was full after the one box. Full as in stuffed to the gills. So, I turned to Alaskaboy, “I'm really stuffed. Here, you eat this.” I said, holding out the second box to him. He got a little wild-eyed and said, “Do you think I'm crazy or something? We still have hours to go before breakfast yet. You keep that in case you need it.”

I guess the survival lessons have sunk in bone deep. LOL

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I know I've been kinda quiet lately, sorry about that. We've been flat out preparing all of the usual Christmas stuff; wrapping presents, writing Christmas letter and sending out cards. This year our efforts were hampered a little because I really wasn't there all mentally. After the banana and avocado episode where I felt so wonderful, I continued to feel wonderful for a few more days, and then my brains pretty much got scrambled, even more so than they have been lately.

However, it is a good thing to have my brain doing this at the moment. Not so good for me or for our To Do List, but it does mean that my body is full of wonderful hormones that are briskly going about doing their jobs. After I had some spotting last week and the week before I was really afraid that they WEREN'T doing their job properly and I pretty much stopped posting all together to rest up as much as possible. (I didn't even write some of the Draft mode posts I've been secretly doing and will now hit Publish on.)

We went in today for our next scheduled appointment and were happy to see that all is well and proceeding normally. Yes, all this obscure talk means that I am indeed pregnant. If all goes well, we'll be expecting to increase our family by one around 10th of July next year.

Sorry it's such a short update but we are heading out for our Christmas vacation tomorrow and so we're kinda in the middle of preparing for that. Thank God there's only one of us having pregnancy brain else we'd probably fly out with all the wrong clothes or something. LOL

Hope everyone has a fabulous holiday season and that the new year is a healthy and prosperous one.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's Not Pickles And Ice Cream. . .It's Weirder!

After my lasagne cum meat pie episode the other day, I thought I could safely assume that would be the weirdest my eating would get. Ahhh, nope.

Today for lunch I wanted the leftover tuscan beans with sage (chickpeas/garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes, sage, garlic, lemon juice, simmered till it's a sauce). That in itself is not weird. I normally throw a dash of fresh ground black pepper on it and serve it over pasta shapes of some kind.

After how much pasta I've eaten lately, I felt like eating it with buttered toast today. The pepper wasn't quite doing it for me, so I added in some parmesan cheese. A bit of beans then a bite of toast...tasty, but still not right.

What I really fancied was Vegemite toast.

I spread some on, assuming I'd eat it after I finished the beans.

But after a couple more spoonfuls of beans, I knew I had to eat the toast WITH the beans.

{shudder}

Not alongside, as in alternating bites. Literally spoon some on to the toast and eat that! Then repeat.

God it was good. Weird, oddly nauseating to look at yet very tasty.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kravings.

The last few days I've felt like I've been moving through mud. Everything was an effort, physically and mentally. I also felt thirsty, no matter how much water/fluids I drank and peed out. Saturday for lunch I felt a strong urge for a bowl of pumpkin soup, a strawberry and banana smoothie, and some steamed cabbage for lunch. Even that didn't help in the long run, so by Sunday night I HAD to drink a bottle of Gatorade rightthatverysecond.

Yesterday, I again skolled a bottle of Gatorade as my breakfast drink. And then, in the pool, (yes, I said IN the pool, most competitive swimmers end up learning to do it because there isn't TIME to get out during training) I peed at least two and a half times as often as I normally do. Now, this usually happens when I've eaten a little too much salt in the preceding days and I'm retaining fluid. I swear the pool acts like one gigantic circulation stocking at that point: Squeeeeze goes the pool and Peeeee goes Kada!

All afternoon the remaining three bananas in the fruit bowl were beckoning me, despite their completely black squishyness, but when I opened them up, they were beyond even smoothie or cake making. Bummer. When my stomach announced it was dinner time, it emphatically ignored everything in the house and demanded I go and get it bananas from the shop right then, plus lettuce and avocados to make a sandwich to go along with the smoothie. So, I ventured forth into the grocery store during a time I usually avoid going out on the streets; right smack dab in the middle of all those hungry people madly shopping for dinner on the way home from work.

I got in and out fairly quickly, (hooray for 10 items or less lines!) and got back to the car to discover my banana buying obsession had caused me to forget to lock the car. Something I NEVER forget. Nothing was missing, thankfully. . .except bananas from my belly, so I had one of those peeled and eaten before I got half way home. Bear in mind we normally buy the smallest bunch of the physically smallest bananas we can find. Last night however, I bought the two largest bunches on the table of the bananas that are nearly a foot long each!

Again with how apathetic I felt the last several days, I was still ignoring the dishes, thus the blender was dirty. My body also wasn't willing to wait for me to wash it. Now that I'd had the banana, the rest of the smoothie component was demanded; in this case it was one of the vanilla UHT milks, straight from the cupboard. No time to wait for ICE! You must drink it now and then make my sandwich, woman!

Two slices of bread, each with half a smallish avocado mashed onto it, a splash of salsa and some red leaf lettuce to top it with and I was in open-faced sandwich heaven. And as I found out this morning when, out of curiosity, I researched avocadoes, I was even more in potassium heaven than I'd figured. I guessed once I wanted heaps of Gatorade and bananas that I was probably depleted/unbalanced after all that salt and peeing. But for my clever body to know about avocadoes being a high source of potassium, when I had not the slightest clue? Now that's intuitive eating!

Funnily enough, this morning I woke up, bounced out of bed, had a bowl of cereal with another honkin' huge banana on it, and was starting the dishes before I'd even got dressed! Holy renewed energy, Batman!

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Okay, That Was OFFICIALLY Weird!

On the way home from my swim this morning, I had a sudden urge for a meat pie. Knowing I wasn't hungry due to my post swim snack of almonds and dried mango, had eaten plenty of beef recently, and was unable to GET a pie without making it myself, I acknowledged the urge then let it go.

I got home and hung out the various bits to dry and chucked my bathers in a portable sink to be hand washed. Then, feeling a little out of sorts, neither hungry, tired enough to nap, nor motivated enough to do anything else, I jumped online to catch up on anything I may have missed over the weekend. No emails other than junk. Only a few updates on websites. I guess everyone else is in the middle of being busy too. I've heard that happens this time of year. {wink}

Eventually enough time passed that I was hungry. But I really didn't know what I wanted. HATE that! I did my best impression of a teenager, staring wistfully into every single food cupboard in the kitchen. I even stood with the door to the fridge open for a good five minutes. . .and closed it, still empty handed!

{cue gusty sigh}

Even better was my other impression; a teenager being blind to the absolute disaster in the kitchen, even though it was on my chores list for the weekend. LOL

When my stomach suggested lasagne (Again! I'd already had four serves since I made it on Friday!) I went along with that as it was easiest. Pulled a hunk out of the freezer, unwrapped it, dumped it on a plate and microwaved it. It wasn't quite heated through after the first go, so I put it on for a few more minutes, and wandered around trying to find something interesting to do. Cross stitch? Nah. Mario Galaxy? Nope. Read? Read everything already.

Ohh, I know. I'm hungry. Really hungry. And I want mustard pickles! No, not pickles and cheese or chicken, just a pickles sandwich! With those yummy chunks of cauliflower in it! {drooool}

So I made that up and shoved it in so fast I think I forgot to breathe.

Finally the lasagne was warmed up. . .except I'd overheated it. It was a lean beef sauce to start with, so there wasn't a lot of grease in it. Now that I'd overnuked it, a lot of the sauce had been absorbed into the pasta, leaving behind well-flavoured meaty bits in only a little bit of sauce. And the yummy crunchy cheesy bit on top was even crunchier! I chopped the lasagne up to allow it to cool quicker. But had to wait a few minutes till I could eat.

The first bite was not nice, it was dry. Hmmm. So, I did what I do sometimes when the mood strikes with reheated vegetable lasagne, I put ketchup/tomato sauce on top. And you wanna know the REALLY weird thing? Somehow. . .with the sauce, meat chunks, the soft noodle bits plus the intermittent crunchy bit from the top layer of lasagne. . .it tasted exactly like, and had the mouth feel of, a meat pie.

I shit you not! The more I ate the more it was like a pie. It probably helped that my nose was a little stuffy after the swim, but I'll swear on anything you want me to swear on, it was like a meat pie. (And no, I wasn't drunk, high, or under the influence of a hypnotist or some weird meat pie cult.)

Good news is, it satisfied my pie craving and now I don't have to make one. But it definitely would have to be one of my weirdest meals ever!

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Oh For F's Sake!

I'm at 9 weeks pregnant today. The maternity bras I ordered online, thanks to being unable to find any that fit in any shop around here, arrived today. Since I grew out of my my old bras (40DD) I've been wearing XL sports bras/crop tops. Unfortunately since about a week ago, they really don't offer enough support for daytime wear, so I've been walking very gently recently. Now those bras are only good for sleeping in, which believe you me is a necessity.

The three bras that I ordered; 38-42F, 42-46F from the normal people section, and a 42F* in what they call the Supreme section. (A nice way of saying for us bigger lassies.) Now, the supreme bra I ordered as an afterthought, assuming because my measurements were correct that I'd fit into the other Original nursing bras.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I really don't know WHY I would think such a thing. I've always been in the super sturdy, thick straps'n'umpteen million hooks kind of bra. Thus, it always amuses me in the movies when the hero undoes the heroine's bra with only one hand. Even Houdini couldn't undo MY bra with only one hand! OF COURSE once again I'm in the super duper curvalicious section. None of that croptopesque nursing bras for me. We need some serious hydraulic support now!

And of course, the bras only come in white and a skin tone-kind of colour that they term butterscotch. (Ya know, it's still old lady blah! No matter what you call it!) No black, pink, blue, green, or heaven forfend leopard print, or some other colour for us bigger girls. No, we get white and blah. But ya know, I find myself falling into the properly grateful frame of mind that us fat girls are supposed to be in. . .because after all they at least have bras in my size!

And grateful I truly am. I now know exactly how The Diva felt when she first tried on Otto Titsling's new creation! LOL



*And I'm an F already? Holy crap what's it gonna be like when my milk comes in!

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Star Wars!



This is taken from the Info section on the you Tube page

"JOHN WILLIAMS IS THE MAN!
(A Star Wars-themed four-part a cappella song)

GET THE MP3 (AND READ THE LYRICS):
http://www.moosebutter.com/starwars

A BIG thank you and ALL musical credit goes to the a cappella comedy group Moosebutter (from Provo, UT), who greatly assisted me in the making of this video and memorizing their brilliant song "Star Wars" from their 2002 album 'see dee'. This video was done with their blessing and their support. Check out their website here: http://www.moosebutter.com/"

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Happy Holidays.

Holy Shiiiiit! How'd it get to be the first of December already? Twelve months ago everything necessary for Christmas was done and we were frantically getting ready to go to Australia. This year I haven't even written my Christmas letter yet! Sure, some of the presents are bought, but I'm behind! Aiyeeee! Now I can appreciate why some people find the holiday season to be stressful.

My To Do List for this week is insanely long, but I did make sure to add exercise to it, specific kinds of exercise. I know exercise helps with my stress levels, especially swimming. It was SO nice last week when I went, the water was deliciously warm. I didn't swim as far as usual, but that's fair enough considering I hadn't swum for over eight weeks. The real shocker though was when I got back out of the pool and headed off to the changing rooms. The main hallway is a T-intersection, with the pool on one branch of the T and the changing rooms on the other. BUT! At the bottom of the T, it does a 90deg turn and less than ten metres away, there's the door to outside. Now, during summer and autumn that's not so bad, but in winter? Even here in CA the breeze is nasty when you're dripping wet and just got out of a pool that's almost bath temperature. Talk about freeze ya tits off! (And believe me, with my rack, that takes some doing!) So, this week I'll be taking along a bath robe to wear. Those old ladies aren't so silly after all!

Thanksgiving was lovely. I have a lot to be thankful for, this year especially. It's always nice rolling out that list of stuff over the dinner conversation with Alaskaboy. It always makes us realise just how much we're thankful for and how deeply grateful we are. The late-lunch/dinner itself was delish. We had a roast chicken, with Alaskaboy's saffron stuffing, mainly because we already had one in the freezer and the small organic turkeys were at least $45 a pop. And that was from Costco! Our side dishes were roasted sweet potato, roasted turnip, roasted carrot, and roasted shallots; steamed napa cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli; mashed potatoes; the stuffing; home made cranberry and orange relish; and home made onion gravy. With of course a pumpkin pie for dessert, but we only managed a small piece of that for a snack/dessert a few hours later. Oh and Martinelli's sparkling grape and apple cider for drinkypoos. (there is a picture, but since the digital camera is in the shop...it's a real photo and not yet developed.)

It sounds like a lot of food, and it was, but with such variety we picked and chose exactly what we wanted and ate until we'd had enough, with plenty of leftovers for later. The traditional way we eat the roast veggie leftovers at my house is to make Bubble And Squeak. Pretty much you grab a nice mix of the roast veggies and steamed veggies (with the main base being the potatoes, mashed or roasted) and lightly smush them in a saucepan or frying pan while sautéing in a little butter until warmed through. Can add a little milk in if it starts to stick too. The name is suggestive of the sounds it makes while warming up in the pan. It kinda bubbles like oatmeal/porridge does when almost cooked and can even squeal/squeak as some of the steam escapes. Some people have a different name for it, but no matter what you call it, it's fan-bloody-tastic on toast for breakfast. I'm betting it'd even be good made into vegetable patties. NOM!

The weekend was pretty relaxing. We spent it talking on the phone, playing card/board games (I adore Dutch Blitz!) and just generally spending time with each other, and family however possible. Speaking of family, this year for Christmas we're flying out early on Christmas Morning to visit the in-laws. So early in fact we arrive just in time to get up for the presents on Christmas Day. Wonder if we'll spot Santa from the plane window as he flits across the country on his merry way?

Well, I did have more to talk about, but this isn't helping get anything crossed off my own list, which I haven't checked once yet, let alone twice. Yesterday it REALLY didn't help that we bought a Wii. I must admit we spent more hours than we should have playing Mario Super Galaxy, and I snuck in an extra galaxy or two this morning waiting for breakfast to cook. LOL I am hopeless when it comes to rationing myself with games, Nintendo ones in particular, so if push comes to shove, I may have to get Alaskaboy to take the controllers to work with him. Hopefully not though. I'd like to think I've grown at least a leeeeettle in the years since the GameCube came out.

Hope you all had a pleasant weekend/Thanksgiving and that you've got your holiday stuff if not finished, at least started. :)

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Should Buy Shares in Ferrero!

With a long break between my first bout of nausea and the second, I assumed I was one of those women that'd have only one or two moments and then be fine. Um...no. I haven't had a lot of nausea compared to many other women, but what I am experiencing is plenty, thank you very much! Fresh made (but weak) ginger tea and Tic Tacs have been my bestest friends since Saturday. And as I discovered when Alaskaboy bought home some orange ones for a change of pace last night, it must be Bold Mint Tic Tacs for it to stop the wave of nausea cold. The orange ones taste nice, but they're missing that magical something.

The nausea itself I don't really mind, I pretty much laugh at myself once I'm done with a round of gagging, just because it sounds so funny in the middle of a sentence. "Blah blah blah URKurkURK blah URK blah." When combined with the wooziness in my head and the tweaks, twinges and aches in my breasts and uterus, then I feel just downright revolting and it's no longer funny.

I'm not really having any cravings for anything, and some times have trouble knowing what to have for a meal. Oh, It's easy to know what I DON'T want, but what I do? Sometimes it's a little difficult. I've even caught myself saying out loud, "Well, c'mon then, tell me what we DO want for a bloody change!"

My intuitive eating has switched gears again. It's not intuitive in what to eat, it's completely intuitive with regards to how much I eat. Especially now that the nausea's kicked in, if I over eat at any particular eating time, even by a few mouthfuls, I'm extra nauseous pretty soon after. I've also learned that my body means it when it says, "I don't WANT to eat this meal time, I'm busy doing other stuff right now." Other times I've pushed it I've had indigestion and felt really queasy. My reward for only drinking ginger tea the night that I had the Jack In The Box for lunch was to sleep soundly and wake up hungry for breakfast the next morning.

Oh, and to know exactly what I wanted. Which was lovely. Nothing worse than standing there trying to find something you want to eat in the fridge or pantry, knowing a big part of the nausea is how hungry you are, but trying to avoid looking at anything that may set off a gag reaction. When I know what it is I want, I simply reach in, grab what I want and pretend I see nothing else in the fridge at all!

Holy crap! I hope I'll be able to eat the Christmas pud! Note to self: Pack suitcase half full of Bold Mint Tic Tacs, just in case. Can wear clothes any old time, pud only comes around once a year!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Now Bring Me Some Figgy Pudding.

In response to my patchwork post, Erin says, "I have no idea what you have hung up or why or what is in it."

Just like the figgy pudding in the Christmas song and like many other Christmas puddings made throughout the ages, it is simply a fruit cake that has been boiled/steamed. (In England, pudding is often slang nowadays for dessert also.) To most Australians, when you say chocolate pudding or sticky date pudding, they'll automatically think of something that looks like this. A cake that has been baked or boiled so that there is sauce in the bottom of the pan. It is of course usually served with icecream thusly. I don't know if I'll ever connect what Americans think of as pudding with the term pudding. To me it's a milk based gelatine or perhaps instant flavoured custard.

My particular Christmas pudding recipe contains:
Suet(rendered beef fat suitable for human consumption)
Flour
Breadcrumbs
Brown Sugar
Eggs
Brandy
Bicarb soda/baking soda
Hot water
Mixed Fruit (Sultanas/golden raisins, Raisins, Currants, Mixed Peel, Glace Cherries)
Extra mixed peel
Blanched almonds
Chinese five spice
Nutmeg
Allspice

After mixing, the batter is placed on a square of muslin/calico cloth, tied closed then boiled for three hours. If we were eating it straight away, I'd boil it for five hours. But, it's much more flavourful if left to hang/cure for at least four weeks. Then boiled for another two hours before serving piping hot with whichever accompaniment ya like best.

It does taste different to fruitcake. I detest Christmas fruitcakes, especially the boiled kinds with loads of brandy soaked into them. But Christmas pudding, I adore. And to me, it is part of what Christmas is about. I have vivid memories of helping Dad to make it every year since I was fairly young. I'll always associate the smell of Brandy with making puds too. My how times have changed since I used to hold my nose, because I couldn't stand the smell of it, before pouring it into the bowl. LOL

Hope that helps explain what it is in the pictures.

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Minestrone a la McDonald.

(measures are US not Metric)
2 c onion diced
2 c carrot diced
1.5 c celery diced
2 c cabbage diced
2 c zucchini diced
1 bulb garlic, chopped. Yes, bulb, not clove.
2 c kale leaves, chopped.*
3 * 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
3 * 15 oz cans kidney beans, drained
1 * 10 oz can tomato paste
big sploosh of red wine
8 c chicken broth(or 12 cups broth and no water if use low sodium broth)
4 c water
1 level tsp sugar
s & p to taste
slightly more basil than oregano. Sorry can't be more specific with herb amounts than that, it depends on your own tastes/smells. Can always add a little more in towards the end of cooking to brighten it up a little.

In a BIG pot, sauté onion, celery and carrot until onion is translucent.
Add cabbage sauté for a few minutes. Repeat with zucchini. And then garlic.
Add tomato paste and stir to combine, cook for a minute or two. Deglaze with the red wine.
Add rest of ingredients and bring to a boil.
Simmer at least 40 mins, stirring regularly.
Taste, adjust seasonings and water consistency. (Sometimes it's too thick so I need to add water, sometimes too thin so I need to cook a little longer.)

Now, this can be eaten without pasta in it. The Italian place I worked for served it that way. If you prefer pasta in your minestrone that's fine. Just boil some up before serving. Don't want to cook it IN the soup else it goes all soggy and nasty before breaking down completely. Although if making a small enough pot that it will all be eaten and doesn't need to be stored afterwards, you can cook the pasta in the soup for the last fifteen minutes or so.

*(Usually use curly endive, but didn't have any. Kale leaves worked just fine though.)


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A Patchwork Post...bit o' this and a bit o' that.

We were in bed early Friday night to get up at 6am to take one of the cars in for a service. After dropping the car off, we were a bit hungry so grabbed some bread and cheese from the nearby Mexican grocery...and oh god the freshly cooked chicken nuggets in the hot food display case were torture! I wanted THEM on my sandwich instead of daggy old plastic cheese. But, cheese it was.

Feeling fortified after the sandwiches and a drink of OJ we headed back on down to our area to our local grocery store. It was weird being there before 8am, so quiet but surprisingly not as empty as I thought it'd be. Back home to drop off that stuff and have a better breakfast then out again to continue at other grocery stores.

By the time we'd covered the three stores I was again ravenous...but feeling decidedly queasy. I also had a headache and was terribly grumpy. I didn't realise why until Alaskaboy pointed at the sky. Holy Smokular Ashes, Batman! The ash cloud from Friday's fires had finally drifted our way, and was settling in for the duration. Add in the fact the temperature was in the 90s(30s) when the week before it had been Autumn temps...Not Happy, Jan!

I'd planned to do a whole bunch of cooking that afternoon, but I was way too hot to even attempt it, especially once we closed up the house. But I'd rather too hot than gagging and choking on that godawful stench. Having to go back and forth to the laundry to wash the towels was bad enough! I made Alaskaboy go out and retrieve the finished load because I could NOT face a third trip out. So much for the long walk we'd planned for that evening! We thought about going down to the beach, but with no guarantees it'd be clear down there we elected to stay inside and do chores.

We cleaned the kitchen, and then decided to go with cooking despite it being almost dinner time, because neither of wanted any of the lovely fresh food...except for the minestrone we'd planned on for dinner. So, we had a snack, and then I coached Alaskaboy, from a distance, on how to make the minestrone. It's something he's always wanted to learn because of the soups I make it's one of his favourites. We even remembered to measure things this time. (recipe will follow in another post.)

We prepared the ingredients together but then I asked him to do things in the order he thought it should be cooked. It was fun watching him make it. It's also interesting how much he has learned over the past five years, I guess from watching me cook and from sampling what I do make, plus he does have good cooking instincts anyway. Other than not knowing about putting in a little sugar to combat the tomato acid he pretty much got the soup spot on smell and flavourwise. (We added the sugar in towards the end since I forgot about until then as well. LOL)

And then, after eating tasty soup for dinner that he'd cooked himself, he was feeling all inspired, so he made butternut squash soup as well. I must say he made this better than I have in a long time. He actually had the patience to let the soup cook down enough to a lovely thick consistency. I usually give up before I should and settle for thickening it with cornflour. LOL

We nattered on the phone with my parents while it finished cooking, and by the time we got off the phone with them, I was beyond grumpy into emotional. Being overtired tends to make me revert back to about 3 years of age, I swear! And since Alaskaboy was the cook of the evening, he got the fun of staying up with the pots in front of a fan praying that they'll cool enough to go in the fridge/freezer sometime before the next century! While I got to go to bed and suck the paint off the ceiling. :D

Sunday we were again up at 6am, was just the time we woke up. We spent the morning doing chores, and then because the smoke had cleared a little it was time to think about making the xmas puds. Umm... except we only had one cloth left. Luckily, Mum had sent us a store bought pudding cloth the other year. Also lucky that we were making three puds this year: one full size and two half size. So, I hand washed the store bought cloth, while Alaskaboy hemmed up the cloth we did have plus made a patchwork cloth out of leftover pieces from the other ones we've cut out over the years.

But, he also had trouble with the sewing machine like he'd had earlier in the day when he repaired a torn seam on our cooler/esky backpack. For some reason it just wasn't picking up the bottom thread. He spent a fair bit of time hand turning the machine. I spent a lot of time head down in my cross stitch. Especially after he sewed one of the pieces on with the seam on the wrong side....

But eventually we got it done, and the puddings cooked and hung. Patches will stay here for us to eat when we come back from Christmas vacation. Big Fella is off to Dr Kay's next month, and High Flyer will accompany us on the vacation.


It's not a Magic Pudding but a Patchwork Pudding!

Yesterday morning we were up even earlier! 4am. Alaskaboy had a 6am start, but breakfast is always half an hour earlier than the start time. (After breakfast with him, I drove back home again. 6:28 my head hit the pillow. 6:30 I was out like a light!) Now, between a choice of a three hour round trip bus trip to go to a meeting I had to attend, or getting up early to drive him to work so I had the car...it was a no brainer for me. Especially since once the appointment was done I could drive back up to the location and while away the afternoon doing some shopping and browsing through a bookstore.

Except...the shopping was done super quick, it was hot, and there was no bookstore where there was s'posed to be one! Grrrrrrr. To make matter worse, the burger I'd had for late lunch (because it was the only place I could eat at along the way that wouldn't be too expensive) was not sitting well. I now know I do NOT like Jack In The Box, and why. I'd had it once before, several years ago, but assumed I didn't like it because I was in the Australia = Wonderful / America = Terrible phase of adjusting to living in a foreign country. Ahhh. Nah! Bun = too sweet. Sauce = blech. Pickle = {shudder} and just the flavour combination I did not like. The ONLY thing I liked was the actual meat patty. But I was hungry, so down it went. And I felt disgusting the rest of the day. I didn't even eat any dinner it was that heavy in my stomach.

Felt much better this morning when I woke up. Made myself breakfast of porridge with honey and milk, plus a toasted swiss cheese and mushroom sandwich and a glass of orange/pineapple juice. Yum! I'm finding since the food poisoning the other month my body really is preferring the cleaner foods, except when necessity dictates like yesterday's lunch and convenience wins. Even then though, it lets me know natural stuff is better than junk food.

Felt so good in fact that after breakfast I donned my swimsuit. Then the phone rang. So I yabbered, made some more calls, and then was finally able to finish getting dressed. Halfway through getting dressed I remembered Alaskaboy had taken my car today...and his was still getting repaired. FUUUUUCK! So much for a swim. Oh well, now the air is clearer, I can go for a walk later when it cools down a bit.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

That Wasn't There Before!

Of course, the major reason I'm really not so keen on the exercise at the moment, which I can't tell you yet, is that I'm waiting for the all clear from my doc as to what exercise is okay for me to do. I had a bit of a scare last weekend when most of the few pregnancy symptoms I've been having went away.

I mean, I could not only stand facing the shower spray, but my nipples were perfectly fine with being touched by the bath towel. WTF? Sure I still had that heavy, slightly crampish feeling in my lower belly, and my boobs eventually shifted to feeling tender in a different spot than that had been but that was about it. Oh! And Sunday afternoon I had this weird bout of dry retching and feeling nauseous for about half an hour. I'm guessing it was my first, and only so far, go at morning sickness.

Although, there are some times when I do feel nauseous, but I've figured out that it means I'm hungry and eating pretty much stops it cold. Speaking of eating, my eating habits also changed pretty drastically over the weekend. I went from my beef and greens love fest to an orgy of carbs. I mean, literally a carb orgy: Four plain white rolls and a handful of hot chips for dinner on Sunday night, with half a can of Sprite to wash it down with! From then up until today it's been all about plain and simple foods. Chicken with mashed potatoes. Chicken with rice. Chicken with bread. Mashed sardines on toast. And some meals I didn't even feel hungry or know what to have when I WAS slightly hungry. Last night, Alaskaboy was home early enough to cook dinner. I had so little interest in food that I washed dishes while HE cooked. And I didn't interfere once! No Way! I hear you say. Yes Way!

He did make a delightful tofu puff and veg stir fry. Which I ate and enjoyed as much as one can with not much appetite. Not much appetite also came from a bit of a binge I had yesterday. Over the course of the afternoon I had two packets of Korean seaweed and about half a packet of dark chocolate McVitie's Digestives. I'm pretty sure the binge was equal parts relief, fear, and impatience.

Relief: I took another pregnancy test on Monday, and the positive line came up even before the control line! (Last week I had to wait a little bit after the control line.)
Fear: Is the baby viable? Will we hear a heartbeat at the ultrasound etc plus all the usual fears of a pregnant woman. And, why don't I have many symptoms?
Impatience: I know my doctor's appointment is this Friday afternoon, and she'll be able to confirm the pregnancy with blood tests but the system sucks! Why do I have to see my GP to get a referral to see my OBGYN? It's stupid! But, I'm also trying to wait as long before official tests so that when I do get to the OBGYN's office, he'll be able to do the 8 week scan straight away. I didn't want to go in earlier before there was a chance of hearing the heartbeat. Because as we all know, I'd fret even more waiting to go back for the next test. Plus it's another trip I'd have to do all the way up there.

Then last night in bed, my lower belly was itchy, as it sometimes gets along the fold under the pannus, and as I was scratching it I noticed something. Usually around my pubic region under the skin I can feel the very bottom of the abdominal muscles. They feel kinda like a flat sheet of muscle that thickens when I tense them up.

Instead of that usual flat sheet of muscle, plus the various spongy bits, I felt something firm. A different kind of firm to what's normally there. I poked, pressed and prodded very gently, kinda how I remember feeling gynos do before but even lighter than that. Then I had to get Alaskaboy to double check my discovery. He too gently probed that area and sure enough, he felt the same thing I did.

There in my lower abdomen we felt a firm, slightly rounded shape about as big as a squash ball. Then it truly hit me. OMG! There's an embryo in my uterus! I really am pregnant and having a baby.

Funnily enough, my appetite came back at 4am this morning. I had to get up and make myself an egg and parmesan omelette with a slice of toast and a glass of Gatorade. Breakfast, when I got up again at 8:30am, was leftover stirfry from last night, plus chicken galbi, sesame leaves, rice, and young radish kimchi. With another glass of Gatorade. (It's been a bit dry the last few nights here.)

So, now I'm kinda excited about Friday. And hoping that next week I can go in to have the ultrasound confirm everything's going great. :) And now, I really am off to have that swim.

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Cooling Down.

Now that the weather is cooling down--as much as it does here in L.A.--I find myself wanting warm foods again. I'm still trying to find a good vegetarian baked beans recipe. Anyone got any ideas for me? I've been wanting eggs on toast for breakfast with hot cups of tea, both herbal and caffeinated. The beans are also good on toast or as a side for a meal. But our meals have been mostly asian-inspired ones recently.

I made a chicken green curry the other night, but wanting to space out the chicken as we only had a couple of breasts left, I used only one. I added my usual veggies; onion, carrot, potato, butternut pumpkin. Also not really in the mood for a whole bunch of saturated fat because I'd eaten a LOT of Dr Kay's cheesecake recently, I added a can of fat free evaporated milk along with a can of coconut milk. (We usually use 2 cans light coconut milk. The too rich full fat kind has been the only one available recently though.) Chucked in a bit of brown sugar and fish sauce, the limes were a goner, and there was no green beans. Hmmmm. At the end of cooking time it wasn't quite right, apart from the other missing veg there wasn't enough meat really . So I threw in half a block of diced firm tofu and let it simmer for another ten minutes. MMMmmm Mmmmm. I know I'll be making THAT version again.

Not really knowing what to eat for lunch. . .I think it was Saturday, coulda been Sunday. . .one day last weekend, I reached for an old standby; canned salmon mashed with mayonnaise and a bit of lemon then eaten with crackers. But, I wasn't in the mood for it really, I wanted warm food. Not pasta, not leftover chicken stuff, not korean food or indian, something definitely with the salmon. Hmm, mushrooms, broccoli, red capsicum, onion, garlic, carrot, and some spinach...oooh I know what we haven't had in awhile! Salmon and Veg Mornay.

Nothing simpler than making up a quick white sauce, tossing in a bit of cheese, mustard powder and ground pepper, then dicing up a few veggies, sauteing them and adding in a couple cans of fish, plopping on the sauce, stirring in the baby spinach and serving it atop leftover rice. Alaskaboy wasn't sure if he was hungry, so he dished himself up a smaller than usual amount of the mornay over the rice...and within a few mouthfuls went back and added half as much again. From his comments I guess it satisfied something in his soul too this weekend.

Speaking of soul satisfying, I'm finding myself with not much inclination to go swimming lately. Which is odd. I'm guessing that's to do with the colder weather. All I seem to want to do is nap (doesn't help there's arguments outside every other night, sometimes more than twice a night), and perhaps go for a light stroll in the sun. Oh! LOL Perhaps I'm still shell shocked over the fwiggin' fweezin' water down in San Diego. BRRR.

Perhaps it's also to do with gearing up for the holidays. I'm really looking forward to going to visit the in-laws this Christmas. Although it's hard to believe it's Pud Making Weekend this weekend, Thanksgiving in two weeks and then Christmas a month after that. WHERE has the year gone? I used to laugh at my parents when they'd say, "As you get older the years get faster!" But oh, oh, how it's true! It's probably helped that I have been so busy with writing stuff this year so I haven't been sitting around and moping as much. Plus the therapy and exercise etc. Hmmph. Yeah actually living a life does make the days go faster, doesn't it? My house may be messier than other years, but I'm happier and more fulfilled. I'm also stitching like a madwoman to get all the cross stitches finished for various Christmas presents. AIYEEEEEE!

Being busy and more fulfilled is also probably what's behind my cooling down towards exercise too. I don't feel the frenetic need to change and sculpt my body into something acceptable like I have done in previous years. (I'd even exercise extra leading up to christmases with either side of the family in hopes of magically losing several dress sizes and not feeling like the largest person in the place! Perhaps I figured also it'd mean I was worthy of their love and respect if I was thin? Idiot!) Exercise is now an enjoyable part of my life. Sometimes my life doesn't allow me time or energy to exercise for awhile, but I'll always come back to it, without the need to punish myself by acting like a bull at a gate for the first few weeks. I remember when I'd exercise for hours on end just to have something to do during the day. Sheesh.

Wow, looking back over this post, I must be feeling a little whimsical this morning. That, or it's the hot glue making me high. They had to cut up and change a section of our hallway carpet today. A couple of days ago, not only did my kitchen sink back up(with no overflow thankfully!), two other apartments had backed up pipes also, AND the apartment above us...their toilet overflowed. Upstairs' bathroom flooded completely and then it streamed on down through our hallway light fixture and through a few little holes in the bathroom doorway, plus in behind the wall. That was an exciting fifteen minutes or so until I got all the buckets arranged and tracked down the maintenance guy to let him know. I was actually the first to tell him what was going on, the poor bugger upstairs was too busy bailing to go for help. (And of course, small world that it is, one of the carpet guys had been to Australia for R'n'R while a Marine during the 50's.)

Actually ya know what? After all this talk of water, I think I am off for a swim. Or to at least get there and test how warm the water is, and then get in if its comfy. Toodles!

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Intuitive Like Never Before.

Before we went to San Diego, we had suspicions I may have been pregnant. Not only was I going on high beam in breezes that normally wouldn't bother my breasts, but I was Tired and Moody. I figured it was mainly because my body was still a little sensitive after the food poisoning, thus I was run down and the PMS was stronger than usual.

When I missed my period, I assumed I hadn't ovulated due to the stress of the food poisoning. (As had happened once before, so I had precedent.) All I had were two brief spots on two different occasions, by brief I mean pale pink and the size of my little finger nail clippings. Leading up to Dr Kay's arrival I was again TIRED. So tired in fact that I had palpitations and brief dizzy spells whenever I pushed myself hard by...oh...say...doing the dishes. At this point I figured it was my body finally reacting to the pepperoni I'd eaten over the last few months.

Alaskaboy believed I was pregnant. So much so that last Thursday morning before going to work, he leaned down to give me my usual morning kiss and to tell me he loves me, and then he kissed my belly as well and said, "And I love you." I laughed at his whimsy then went back to sleep.

Over the course of the time she was here it seemed to be a competition between Dr Kay and I as to who was the most tired and who could consume the most red meat and leafy green vegetables. Both totally seeking out what our bodies need. In a way she wins though, her SlowFe tablets have a higher iron dose than my prenatal vitamins. LOL

And the peeing. Oh God, the peeing. It's part of the reason I haven't been getting enough sleep lately. Peeing every hour on the bloody hour, and also waking up because my sore boobs have been touched just the wrong way by something; probably the bloody air for all I know! And despite all this peeing, I'm still up at 7am every morning. Which of course means I need a two or three hour nap during the afternoon.

And I was waking up hungry at 4am. Hungry enough to eat an egg or cheese sandwich and go right back to bed, with no indigestion. Thankfully, I've made up the lost weight. I've also now figured out that a bedtime snack of carbs and protein stave off the middle of the night munchies.

Tuesday morning, I woke up not having peed all night, and Alaskaboy hadn't gone to work yet, so I accepted the timing offered and took the test. It came up positive. Bit of a shock I must tell you. I'd been focusing so hard on not getting my hopes up, to avoid the same disappointment of the previous two months, that I'd sort of half kidded myself that I wasn't pregnant. But there was the proof in the two little pink lines.

I went out and showed him the test, in the middle of his yoga session, he said, "I told you!" LOL So yeah, Lil Miss Intuitive was surprised and her husband knew long before she did. I am excited, even though it hasn't really sunk in yet. This is the first positive home test I've ever had. Last time we were pregnant the blood tests at the gyno's office showed I was pregnant, but never the home tests. This time there was indeedy a positive result. Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it means we've got a viable embryo this time.

Will be making an appointment with my doc next week and then she'll give me a referral for my obgyn. Am hoping that by the time I go in for the first check up with the obgyn that there'll be a heartbeat. Possible, since I'm probably about 5 weeks along now. :)

It is interesting how my body has shifted from multiple smallish meals a day to four calorie dense meals. Thank God I've got this intuitive eating stuff worked out or I'd be freaking out about wanting a piece of cheese cake every single day! Especially on top of all the meat and other dairy products I'm eating. The current pattern over several days seems to be, meat and carbs, protein and carbs, meat and veg, meat and carbs, with a bit of calcium at every meal and then a meal that is completely vegetarian.

And if I don't eat when I get hungry, then the nausea hits. So it's even more imperative to eat when my body tells me than it has ever been before. No puking yet, but the hunger-induced nausea is sufficient thanks!

(I'm also having to fight the urge to hit publish post on this instead of save draft. LOL But I will post it when the time comes to reveal all!)

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Friday, November 07, 2008

San Diego The Sequel.

No I haven't forgot my trip report for the first trip, but it's taking awhile to write with how busy we've been lately.

This trip was MUCH better. No food poisoning. And Alaskaboy took Friday off and drove down with us. Ahhh, luxury compared to the first time we did the trip with Dr Kay when I drove from L.A. to San Diego three times in the one weekend!

Getting up at 7am on Friday after only 5 hours sleep was a bit rough, but that's what Alaskaboy and I get for farting about and failing to make sure we were packed and ready to go. We actually made it out the door only 16 minutes late. A big improvement on the last time when Dr Kay and I were over an hour late. I'm betting it helped this time that we were too tired to talk much in the morning. LOL

An uneventful trip down was made delightful by both the pleasant weather, the good conversation and the delicious breakfast/snacks we'd packed: peanut butter and lingonberry toasted sandwiches, beef jerky and some of the $2.99/lb oranges.

We arrived in time to throw Dr Kay out for her conference, then we drove off to do some sightseeing and shopping. Surprisingly, we pretty much got it all done in time to pick Dr Kay back up when she finished earlier than expected that evening.

We'd planned to have dinner at the wonderful restaurant we'd discovered last time and bragged about to Alaskaboy for months, and then head on out for a splash in the pool and the spa. But again we were all so tired, our usual enthusiastic foodie conversation about the meal was muted. Even the cup of chai wasn't enough to do more than raise my eyelids momentarily above half mast. So, to bed we went.

Saturday we were up bright and early. LOVE to watch the sun come up. We had breakfast in our room, shooed Dr Kay out the door and then went off to work ourselves. I was so pleased with how well the scouting worked out this time. I found most of the key places I was looking for that were important for plot points. And what I couldn't find, I'll be able to look up on the internet. Took several rolls of film worth of shots, then it was time to go get Dr Kay for lunch. Her introduction to In'N'Out burger. Which she liked, despite having to wait in line forever for the meal to come. Big mistake actually going at lunchtime! Oy Vey!

We whizzed her back in time for her next lecture, then dropped the car off at the hotel. After having a stickybeak around the whole exhibit hall, we took in a few of Dr Kay's next lectures with her. Then we schmoozed some more, with yummy appetisers and wine while we wandered the exhibit hall, this time tagging along behind Dr Kay.

With our appetites whetted and our feet sore, we headed off to the supermarket to buy supplies for our poolside picnic. There's something decidedly decadent about sitting on the pool deck many stories high and watching the stars come out while eating an array of appetising goodies. We lingered as long as we dared, but it was heading on towards closing time and after the previous evening's fade out we wanted IN the pool tonight, dammit!

For a change, I was the wuss when it came to getting in the water. They were in and frolicking while I was still standing shivering on the bottom step. Normally I'm the first one in and teasing the other babies about how wimpy they are. Lemme tell ya, pay back is A BITCH! LOL Eventually I got in and then it was pretty much like any other cooler day, warmer IN the water than half out.

I did get a little redemption when I kicked their arses up and down the pool with a few races we had. It was, however, short lived triumph. I was the first out of the pool because I couldn't stop my teeth chattering. Yeesh. I've always had a problem with overheating in spas/jacuzzis so I did my usual trick of rotating between sitting on the top step and the side of the spa. This year it was a decidedly cool breeze blowing, so I wrapped a towel around my shoulders...eventually dipping it in the warm water periodically to stay comfy enough all over.

We pushed it as late as we could, knowing the end of daylight savings would give us an extra hour's sleep. I was still shivering on the way back up to our room, even after drying off and sticking my sarong and t-shirt on. I felt like the biggest baby in the world. I also felt like I'd done nothing but say, "I can't do this, and I can't eat that," all bloody weekend. A huge change from how fit I felt last time we did the trip together. At that time I was also in the honeymoon phase of Intuitive Eating so I felt REALLY good.

After whining to Alaskaboy and then blubbering on Dr Kay, followed by my first full night's uninterrupted sleep in a week, I felt much better. But still tired with all the walking we'd done over the previous two days. So, after checking out, Alaskaboy and I spent a quiet day in the exhibit hall, either reading or attending lectures or using our laptops for work. Lunch was lovely. We finally got to attend the Bondi restaurant that the Aussie group had been raving about. We shared a roast lamb shank meal, blue grenadier fish and chips, a roasted vegetable sandwich and had some beer. Everything was tasty, and since the conference had cheap and nasty food for about the same price we would have paid for this meal, we were definitely satisfied.

Dr Kay fell asleep on the way home in the car, not surprised since she's a bit anaemic at the moment. I was starving by the time we were 2/3rds of the way home, but there was nothing we really were interested in stopping for. I'm thinking we were all completely fed up with eating restaurant meals, despite how fabulous they all were, because when we got home and I made a simple chickpea and veg pasta meal we wolfed it down like it was the best thing we'd eaten all weekend. LOL

And of course we were so tired we didn't even clean our teeth before falling into bed.

One regret is that we were too busy to meet up with some friends of ours who live down there, but next time we'll go down to visit just them.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's A Pillow!

Now that Browneyedgirl has opened her present, I can show you the pictures of the completed project.



Alaskagirl told me on the phone this evening that when Browneyedgirl unwrapped it, she exclaimed, "It's a pillow!" And promptly laid down on the floor with it under her head.



I was hoping to make a pair of pyjamas for myself out of the material we used on the rear of the pillow but there was only three yards total remaining on the roll. I grabbed it all in case I could make a tank top or something for me out of it in future. (Mine all mine!)



When I got the remainder of her present (bought months ago) together to wrap it all up, I laughed my arse off when I saw I'd managed to colour coordinate everything. LOL



Her big sister, DuoLoq*, liked the pillow too, but was more eager to get her hot lil hands on her sister's bubbles. Especially since HER birthday bubbles were all gone. I might just have to look and see if I can find some more of the same kind as part of their Christmas presents. I bet we'd have fun seeing if the bubbles froze before they popped. And if not, pretty splotches on the snow!

Yeah, I'm a big kid at heart, but you already knew that!



*She talks A LOT, in two different languages = Duo Loquacious or DuoLoq because it's easier to type.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fresh'n'Easy.

Inside our refrigerator we have so much fresh produce that we have to excavate half the fridge to find the desired ingredients whenever we want to make a meal. Situation normal there, especially after we've been grocery shopping.

However, I didn't realise just how much Alaskaboy and I are known for being...well, I guess gourmand IS the correct word. We're not usually gluttonous, but we do LOVE good food and are prepared to pay a little more for what we like. Case in point, the other day at the supermarket I had successfully wrestled open the painfully thin plastic bag and was making a beeline for the oranges. To be precise, the Riverside brand Australian navel oranges. I passed two well-dressed ladies (this supermarket was in a richer area) who were standing maybe three feet away from the orange display and I overheard one say to the other, "I'm not paying $2.99c per pound!" She made a disgusted sound and her friend murmured some sort of agreeing noise. Then they faded from my attention as I focused on the price of the oranges, realising with a frission of delight they'd been talking about what I was fixated on. "You little bewdy! More for me!"

To me, there are certain kinds of frugality that don't make any sense. If I'm gonna buy something I WANT and LIKE to eat, then less of the stuff is gonna rot due to wallowing neglected in the fridge. Plus, I'll simply buy a few less than I would of the cheaper but yucky tasting oranges. In some ways, I guess to me it feels like the diet mentality or the punish yourself mentality. Don't deserve extra tasty but slightly more expensive oranges, so I'll go without oranges until they're at a price I'm allowed to pay. And when the difference is all of 70c per pound more? C'mon! Well, okay if oranges are on special they can be as cheap as $1.50 per pound, but those are usually dried up old sour oranges, not even fit for juicing.

Several more aisles into the same shopping trip, we stopped in the tinned soup aisle. After the mere mouthful I got, which was half of the appetizer-sized bowl of french onion soup that Alaskaboy and I shared the other night, I was in the mood to make some this week. Only, shock horror, beef consommé has gelatin added to it. Man, I'm gonna have to make my own consommé. Since it's too hot to be farting about boiling stock for hours, I went with my second soup hankering. And stopped by the dairy aisle to get the ingredient for its accompaniment.

Later that evening, I called Dr Kay to natter. When I told her what we'd had for dinner, canned cream of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich made with plastic cheese, she said, "WHAT! Are you ill or something?" LOL Pretty funny considering Alaskaboy and I also realised we hadn't had such an easy dinner in a long time. Even if most nights soup is on the menu we've dug it out of the freezer and heated it up to eat, soups we eat at home are usually home made.

But....see! I may prefer to do fresh, but I can do easy too!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Making it Sew Complicated!

Our youngest niece, let's call her Browneyedgirl, has a birthday this month as well. As part of her present I'm doing a cross stitch piece that I hope she'll like. (The other part I know she'll like and it ties in with the theme in the picture.) Now, considering how young she is, I realised that a cross stitch in a photo frame would be pretty boring for her. So I decided to liven it up a little.

She has a plush toy named Buddy that she adores. I'm not aiming to replace him, but am hoping this is something she'll like to cuddle, look at, throw around, or perhaps even Buddy might use it for himself. A pillow. Only problem is, I'm not much of sewing-type person and had no idea how to attach a cross stitch to a pillow. I figured maybe I could sew it on with a nice border to help frame it. But, I really couldn't find a pillowcase that looked as good as the picture I had in my mind.

Once I found this webpage, I thought all my problems were solved. I went to the fabric store and had great fun picking out materials for the pillow, but then realised my sister-in-law, Alaskagirl, would probably want to wash the pillow at some point. So, I changed the plan to making a pillow case to go over a small pillow, instead of a stuffed cushion like the pattern wanted me to do. Luckily they had smallish 12"x16" pillows for sale at the shop. :) Score!

Also having NO idea how much material to buy, I ended up with far too much. Oh well, plenty for future products, in three different materials no less since I bought another pretty print to make a test pillowcase. Fortuitously, near the register were a bunch of felt rectangles, so I grabbed one in the only colour that would look good with the material to act as a substitute for the cross stitch part of the equation.

All set. Easy peasy. Right? Wrong! When I typed in the numbers in the pattern maker to allow the pillowcase to be long enough to fit the pillow, it was now two inches too wide. Bugger. So, we were going to have to reverse engineer the pattern. Now, here's where it gets complicated. Not only were we changing it from a tuck cushion pattern to a pillow case pattern, but also making it an Australian-style pillow case.

Australian pillowcases differ from the American ones I've seen in one very basic way. American pillowcases are like a three sided sheath that's a little longer than the pillow, and the excess length you tuck under the pillow when placing it on the mattress. I'm forever chasing my pillow out of the case. I'm used to Aussie pillowcases which have a flap on the inside of the pillowcase to hold the pillow in. Kinda like an envelope when you tuck the back flap inside the envelope to hold the piece of paper inside. (but this flap is stitched so that it remains inside the pillow.)

E.G. This is the flap on the one we made.
I also figured this was a safer way than buttons or press studs or other types of fasteners to keep the pillow in the case.

Finally after much deliberation, swearing, measuring, miscommunication, arguing and generally having a good time working on a project together, Alaskaboy and I had a pattern all worked out. We shared the cutting out and the fusing of the webbing binding stuff. Again, a whole lot of swearing went on because the only iron we have is this and the actual ironing surface isn't even as long as my hand. Took forever! But finally we got it done.

Alaskaboy is a much more patient and steady handed person than I, aka anal retentive and great with fiddly little shit that I do NOT have the patience for plus near enough is good enough for me, so he got the job of sewing it all together. Besides he'd already done a few little test runs on the machine and knew it's quirks. (Aren't I lucky, he cleans AND he sews!)

And this is our finished product.

I couldn't help grinning like an idiot when it was finished and kept remarking in a gleeful kind of voice. OMG, it's so pretty. And we made this. And Oh wow it's so cool! I couldn't figure out why I was so excited over a dumb pillow. (Especially when we forgot to hem one of the side pieces despite allowing enough material TO hem it. Oh well, we'll know for the actual pillow. Hooray for a test run!) Then Alaskaboy said, "It's because you created something!"

"But you sewed it!"

"So? We both still created something."

"Oh, wait, yeah I did create something. I had the original idea, picked the materials, helped adapt the pattern and helped in the assembly."

"Exactly!"

It may be just a stupid pillow, but it's my stupid pillow. I'm betting that stupid grin and glowing feeling I had is even better when it's my own stupid book I hold in my hands one day. For now, I'm enjoying this creation buzz. And looking forward to actually cutting out and doing all the fusing stuff for Browneyedgirl's pillow tomorrow. I'm really worried now whether the two contrasting materials I got will work together. {fingers crossed}

Hopefully, Alaskaboy will have time to sew it over the next few nights and we can send it off to arrive time for her birthday. :)

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Celebration of Me.

Don't really have anything celebratory planned for today, other than making myself a steak dinner. Perhaps I'll even defrost some of the cake in the freezer, if I feel like it.

I remember when living at home a birthday was always a special thing. Cake, presents, loved ones gathered to sorta celebrate your day, but mostly to hang out and share their affection with you. Perhaps even a gathering on a different night out with friends for dinner as well. On a good year it was a birthday week! Several nights all celebrating you.

Birthdays are another day I feel kinda lonely. All the ones I want to celebrate it with are elsewhere. I miss the people and the conversations and hugs, and I miss the glee of fondling wrapped presents that are just for me on my special day. I love everything about presents. Taking the time to select just the right one for each person, wrapping it in paper and ribbons they'll hopefully like, and then watching them open them. Or at least knowing they'll open them full of excitement at the promise of what's nestled inside.

Alaskaboy truly believes that one of my Talents is presents. Whether buying or making something, I'm usually pretty good at getting what a person will at least like, if not love. And I think that's part of the reason why I love getting wrapped presents in return. The promise of something chosen with forethought for me by those I love. And of course wrapped goodies allow for fondling! The sheer joy of the pretty paper is even surpassed by the ecstasy that is fondling my gift and trying to figure out what's inside. (How about you, are you a fondler?)

This year, as usual, the present from my parents will be late. I received a card from my in-laws, with a cheque inside. And the cheque, like a gift card, is always fabulous to receive because then it can translate into books which I'll have a blast picking out and reading. I fully appreciate the love and respect that comes with the giftcard and/or cheque because it's acknowledging they know me well enough to get me something I'll love. But sometimes? I still miss an actual wrapped gift and all its attendant pretties/thrills.

One gift I'm getting this year is Dr Kay's presence here for a convention in a couple of weeks. So that drags the birthdayness out for over two weeks. Woohoo! I guess what brought this post up is at the writing group I belong to is the girls there wished me happy birthday in cute ways, and I realised that's the sucky thing about working from home alone. There's not even an office party.(Not that I could eat the cake anymore anyway, but still.) No drinks after work. No face to face socialising. My usual gripe. And another way in which I guess being grownup wasn't what I expected it to be.

And so today I'm going to spend my birthday doing something that's a little unexpected for me. I'm going to spend the day like a lot of Chinese people do. Not as a day of celebration, but as a day of reflection and introspection. A quiet day doing what I want to do in my own home, enjoying my own company. And appreciating all the wonderfulness I do have in my life. Presents and pretty paper are lovely, but I have some pretty special gifts that money cannot always buy. My health, my friends and family, a happy home, easily accessible food and clean water, and my life. And I'm thankful every day for them.

How about you all. Are birthdays a special day or a day you'd rather forget? What does the anniversary of the day of your birth mean to you?

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

San Diego and Food: Part 1.

Monday:
I didn't sleep well last night, as per usual when I'm travelling the next day. Consequently, I was slow getting going despite getting up an hour earlier than planned. The day was also Very Hot and Very Dry, my second most loathed weather condition behind hot'n'humid. Dishes had to be rewashed, laundry had to be done, lots of maps and directions to be printed...just one more friggen thing after another had to be completed.

And everything seemed to take twice as long to do as I'd expected. e.g. My laptop hadn't been turned on in over twelve months. What should have been a simple upgrade of my wordprocessing software became a nightmare of updates all trying to happen at once. Virus scans, Windows, hell, nearly every single bloody program wanted to stick their finger in the update pie. It was a mess! 2 hours it took me to get it all sorted, and that was hovering at the machine, endlessly clicking closed update windows as they tried to happen and restarting my laptop whenever it got overloaded.

Halfway through the morning Dr Kay called for a natter, which was fine, it allowed dishes to soak, laundry to dry and me to decompress a little. By midafternoon--the time I wanted to be arriving!--I'd got everything in the car. I didn't want to have takeaway food for lunch, 4th time for burger in ten days yeesh, but there really was nothing left to do except get something to eat on the way. In'n'out seemed the fastest, easiest and safest option. Especially since there's a petrol station right nearby.

I didn't take the time to take a food photo but here's a nice example of what I had. The burger on the left is an animal style cheeseburger. As well as the root beer that came with my meal, I got a strawberry shake because I realised it was a long time since I'd had breakfast, and a fair while before dinner as well. The caffeine in the root beer helped keep me awake on the trip, but I only finished about a third of the shake. (yes I drank water too. I can't get by without my water!)

Arrived in San Diego and got my bearings. Checked in at the hotel, peed for what seemed like an hour, unpacked my work stuff and realised I'd forgotten both my antihistamines and any drawing paper. So, after sneezing my head off and reattaching it then turning the A/C on, I headed out to ask where the nearest drugstore was located. Conveniently, there was one at the hotel. Inconveniently, they didn't have the kind I could use. At least they did have directions on how to get to somewhere that would sell them.

The sun had gone down by now, but there was still no relief from the heat or the dryness. To make things even more fun, night driving in an unfamiliar area. Ohboy, ohboy! I reined in my temper, my sarcasm, and my negativity and tried to look at it as a kind of research. Travelling business types need to do this all the time. Grown ups of all persuasions too.

Supplies procured, I had to go BACK to the hotel to get the directions to the grocery store as it was nearing time for Alaskaboy to finish and I was making dinner tonight. I soon came to feel almost like I was coming home within a very short period after all the to-ing and fro-ing I did outta that hotel.

Again with taking longer than expected. Whole Foods was laid out unlike ANY other Whole Foods I've EVER been in. So illogically that I did more than ten laps of the shop before finding everything I needed.

And my list was NOT a long one:
mini wholewheat bagels, trail mix, cereal, can tuna in ginger oil, spring water, can salmon, 4 bananas, 6 lebanese cucumbers, lettuce mix, 3 limes, 2 lemons, 4 tomatoes, 4 nectarines, edamame, uht milk, corn thins, large waters.

Back at the hotel, I gave up on the idea of getting any work done that evening and took a shower to cool off and just relaaaaaax. And I needed it, I'm not so unorganised usually, it was just one of those days.

Feeling much better, I played around with the ingredients for dinner and came up with this shot:


When Alaskaboy got home I helped him unload the car and chatted to him while he showered. Well, okay, ranted and THEN chatted. ;) My mood improved considerably further, we made the asian-flavours-inspired dinner together. Both of us were pleasantly surprised at how well the ginger oil from the tuna plus a squeeze of lime juice worked as the dressing. (Liked it so much that on a subsequent trip to WF we bought 4 tins of the tuna to take back home. LOL)

I ate:
1/4 pack lettuce: 92c
1/2 tomato: 45c
1 cucumber: 36c
1/2 can tuna slices in ginger oil: $1
1/2 nectarine: 47c
1 mini bagel: 29c
1/2 lime: 24c
1 vanilla milk: 99c
1/2 packet edamame: $1.55c


Total: $6.27c Even with the in'n'out meal, well below my per diem of $25. (Alaskaboy actually got 32.50, but they assume they're eating at a restaurant.)

Tired from my frustrating day but now relaxed after a lovely meal and nice evening conversing with Alaskaboy, I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep!

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Still Sick.

I can see why dieters get excited about juice fasts or liquid diets. Woke up today and weighed myself and there was 10lbs of water weight gone since Wednesday morning. Sheesh! No wonder I'm starting to look flaccid, instead of nicely plump in all the right spots.

I probably would have been an order of magnitude better today, except I got a little carried away with my reintroduction of solids yesterday. (Yeah, Mum, I now get WHY you made me wait a little longer all those times even though I was STARVING for more food.) All good, bland and easily digestible foods, I merely ate too much and so relapsed last night in a fashion reminiscent of Linda Blair in The Exorcist.

Famous last words, "Oh, man, my stomach HURTS!"

Today I stuck with even blander things, (plain toast no vegemite, broth and none of the chunky bits from the chicken soup I made yesterday). I even thought to cook the rice into a congee so it was easier on my stomach. Also had success this evening making some jelly/jello out of orange crush cordial plus agar agar. Hooray! Jelly's back on the menu! Was so nice to have a different mouthfeel than rice, toast, herbal tea, broth or bananas.

Here's hoping that excretory output almost completely halting is a happy sign and that I've done a good job today, no Lindaesque performances once I go to bed tonight!

Oh and I'm PISSED that when I switched from unflavoured pedialyte to grape flavoured, I'd already opened and taken a sip before thinking to read to the bottom of the ingredients list. Sucralose! Whyinhell put artificial sweeteners in something infants are supposed to drink, especially when there's already dextrose and sucrose in it? WTF! It's like giving Splenda water to hummingbirds.
And for me, just goes to show I really must learn to read to the bottom of the list, even if I assume there couldn't possibly be artificial sweeteners in it. {shudders} I hate to think of the headache/effects I'd have from drinking a liter of that in my already depleted state.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Home

We're home a day earlier than expected. Ironically because I got food poisoning yesterday from the ONLY meal I ate at the hotel's restaurant.

Too tired and blah to write more. Off to bed now.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Travel and Food.

Tomorrow we're off on a location shoot to San Diego. Since I need to research for a story of mine that's set in and around San Diego and Coronado I'm treating this like a business trip instead of my more usual attitude, “Let's swan around on the pool deck, and view the sights while he's working!” But, I realised today that it also means I need to rethink my food for the trip. Especially since this trip is also longer than I've done before: 5 days instead of 2 or 3.

Usually I take a rice cooker, esky/cooler, picnic set and food along with me, so that I can make meals. This time I'm trying something different. Alaskaboy gets a daily allowance for food as do most business people when they travel for work purposes.. I'm going to try and stick to a food budget for myself as well. I'm treating it as though I've had to get on a plane and fly to a distant destination. All I'll have on hand are the shops around plus whatever is available in the hotel room. (which seems to be a coffee pot and an ice bucket.)

Is it possible for me to travel and work plus keep up a healthy diet on a budget? I hope so! I've researched what grocery stores are available in the area. Which does include a Whole Foods and a Ralphs, two stores we generally frequent. I'm really happy about the Whole Foods because they usually have a hot buffet so if I feel the need for a hot evening meal, I can get something from them which is a more reasonable serving size than what I'd get at a restaurant.

Speaking of reasonable serving sizes. I've discovered these recently: Individual serving size UHT milk. They come in plain, strawberry, and vanilla as well as the chocolate. I have tried each kind over a few shopping trips lately when I've fancied a flavoured milk while out and about. I've enjoyed being able to finish my milk drink instead of having a bottle that's more like 2-3 servings. (Which, of course them I'd either drink or throw out.) I've also REALLY liked that it's naturally flavoured and naturally sweetened milk. Can't stand HFCS sweetened and artificially flavoured milk drinks.

Most importantly for this trip, Whole Foods sell the milks and they're gonna work brilliantly for breakfast. They're small enough to fit in the icebucket over night to chill for my cereal. Woohoo! Breakfast was the one meal I was kinda stuck on what to eat. Alaskaboy is lucky; he gets breakfast and lunch provided. I'm gonna have to think about each meal as I want it.

{grin} Since I have to make extra meals I'm thinking of taking along one set of everything from the picnic set, as well as the teensy sharp knife and chopping board. If I was travelling I could fit them in the suitcase....but do you think that's cheating and should I only go with what I can buy on site?

Any of you travellin' types got any hints/tips for how to do this? I really want to avoid eating at a restaurant if I can.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

New writing blog post is up.

Over there, if you're interested.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Family, Part 1.

I've gained a lot of understanding about myself this year but I've also gained a lot of weight. During the first several months it was comfort eating while using self help books to work through a lot of my issues. The next couple of months after that it was avoidance/denial eating.

For so long I denied how jealous I was of my cousin...oh, let's call him, Joat. (JOAT: because he's a jack of all trades.) I avoided mentioning anywhere but deep in the secret parts of my psyche how hurt I was that my family were heaping praise on him for going to therapy. He went for anger management and for alcohol abuse. And now, all of a sudden instead of the long held concerns they'd about him, he was wonderful and doing great.

Joat this, and Joat that, and Joat and family are sorting through their combined issues too! Hard to take, when in some ways he'd been a bigger screw up than me and I was STILL feeling like I was going around in circles. He's always been like an older brother to me, and I felt like HE was leaving me behind. And that led to wounded pride on my behalf. I also felt like all of a sudden HE was the favoured child of my parents (despite being a nephew), always popping in to see them, when I couldn't. (Which also tied in with a much earlier issue where I'd felt, at the time, like they'd chosen him over me.)

Added to this mess was me also denying how I really felt about our Christmas holiday to Australia last year. Seeing nearly everyone that I consider as my immediate family there for Christmas dinner; Alaskaboy; my parents; my brother; Joat, his wife and kids; Joat's Mum(my mum's sister); my parents-in-law; my brother- and sister-in-law and my nieces; and of course Scruffy, brought it home HARD how much it hurt having my family so far flung. The hurt only increased when my USA best friend showed up for her two week stay and my all time favourite Aunty cut short her Outback trip to stop by “on her way home”. (yeah, Melbourne's really on the way from Alice Springs to Newcastle!). And once again when my best AUS friend and my best USA friend got to meet each other when we all went out for dinner one night. (Gah! I hate the term best friend. It sounds so primary schoolish, but I don't know how else to easily, simply and quickly describe those two women I love like sisters.)

I really couldn't reconcile how much love I have in my life with how much hurt that love was causing me. I couldn't believe how much my parents home had changed in the three years since I'd been back. How it was all of a sudden THEIR home and not mine anymore. How much the whole town, and all of the people dearest to me, had changed. With how doddery both Nan and Scruffy were. I couldn't cope with the consequences of moving so far away finally come home to roost. I had great difficulty fitting my newly changed outlook in with old behaviour patterns. So I ate.

And I ate. And I knew something was wrong, but I didn't know what. Or more importantly didn't want to admit what was wrong. I knew it was something big. Something hugely scary that I couldn't deal with on my own. In so many ways, for me, coming to terms with relationship breakups, friendships ending, sexual abuse, and all those other issues from my past were easier for me to deal with than the ones I was now ignoring. I ignored and denied everything until eventually I was a few pounds HEAVIER than my initial start weight two years ago.

So much of my weight gain I blamed on my body still recovering from the effects of the antibiotic poisoning, but when I took a realistic look back at what I'd been eating and the exercise I was slowly adding back into my life, I could no longer blame that entirely. I was back to the same level of comfort eating I'd been doing right before I started on this intuitive eating journey. And me and my body said, “Enough!”

Whatever big, bad and scary was going on, we needed to fix it. When I broached the issues I thought I was dealing with in my intuitive eating group, they unanimously agreed it was something I needed to talk with a therapist about. Taking down the number of one of their therapists, I summoned up my courage and went.

Expecting to deal with perhaps lingering stuff from the issues I'd already confronted during the past two years, I never expected to hear the therapist use the word enmeshment. I've talked a little bit about my therapy on here and how I've coped with the enmeshment, but what I didn't deal with for the longest time was how I felt about going to therapy and talking about my family.

To be blunt, I felt like I was betraying my family and that I was telling myself and the therapist that I had a bad family. While I know I have a good family, there we came up against my perfectionist thinking again. My family wasn't just good, it was perfect! All my friends told me so! I had the best and coolest parents in the world. And by talking about them and how we have interacted with each other in the past and the present, I was ripping away my girlish ideas of perfectionism.

Not only that I was coming up against emotion, thoughts and memories I either suppressed because nice girls don't get angry, or I felt I was the dutiful daughter, or because I wasn't able to cope with what I was feeling at the time. The other big reason behind the suppression is there were instances where MY thoughts at a very young age had led to behaviours that I was blaming on a lot of other people. Not perfect and WRONG on several accounts? Holy shit.

Nothing brought that home harder than the conversation I had on the phone with Joat earlier this week. We actually had a conversation about emotions, our childhoods, our differing therapy treatments and the reasons behind why we went into therapy in the first place. It was a real eye opener. I could hear the man he'd become instead of the angry boy-man I remembered. It was astounding to hear his side of the story. His explanation, that all he could feel and express were anger and negative emotions because, as a boy, that's all he was taught to feel, made complete sense to me. It was like we were the flip side of the same coin and society and family had made us that way.

He chose alcohol to cope with all the feelings and words he didn't know how to express, I chose food, but it was the same problem at its heart. Our family had broken us. But, it had also made us strong enough to seek out help when we truly needed it. I'd made the mistake of seeking help FROM my family. Again the God-like perfectionism of my parents meant they should have been able to help me through all the things I was trying to sort through. But no. An uninvolved third party trained to help me through my crisis was what I needed. She helped me deal with my past issues without compromising my current good relationship with my family.

In fact, our relationships are better than ever. Mainly because I'm now interacting with them as an adult instead of a child. But more about that later.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

For Those That Were Interested.

My writing blog can be found over here. Am hoping to post over there more regularly since therapy is over and now that I've caught up on my coursework.

Thanks, Raina for the lovely blog design.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Fear

I think I now understand a little how bulimics can do what they do. We went out this evening and had a lovely dinner. My first time eating Korean BBQ. We made sure our Korean friend ordered all beef meats, and that I stuck to the vegetable banchan (side dishes.) Towards the end of the meal I was very excited to try the Kimchi Jigae (a kimchi stew.) The jigae was not at all what I was expecting, sweet and almost reminiscent of a tomato-based soup.

What I also didn't expect, was the chunks of meat that Alaskaboy pulled up on his spoon near the bottom of the pot. I'd assumed the sweetness came from the tofu chunks in the stew. I also made sure to ask our friends how the soup was made. (pretty cool soup which I now know I don't have to throw any "old" kimchi out!) We all assumed the meat was beef since we'd specified beef for the whole meal. I also made sure to specify no chicken broth in any of the soups.

When I got home and looked up the restaurant's menu I was horrified to discover that it was a pork and kimchi jigae. Swine over here is given enrofloxacin. Yes, a member of the quinolone family, the one I reacted to last year. I think my subconscious knew at the restaurant that it was pork, but my conscious mind was hoping it was beef since I'd already eaten some of the soup.

I was a little more than comfortably full, but in no way was I ready for puking up my food. The little voice in the back of my head was also arguing the cost of the meal. The cost of my health completely swung the scales in favour of upchucking though. So after a brief cry, I assumed the position. And nothing happened. I couldn't do it. All I could do was sob into the toilet.

My brain was also trying to convince me that I'd be fine and it was only a wee bit of pork. But when I also read that the zucchini fritters had egg in the batter, and the macaroni salad had egg in it was well, I didn't want to take any chances with my health, well any more than I'd already taken this evening. And it was in that moment, as I drank heaps of water (tap water too, which is totally foul tasting here) and opened a clean toothbrush that I began to understood bulimics.

When I went back for a second and third round of drinking water in between puking (I'd had very little to drink today so I assumed drinking water would help ease the food up my oesophagus, and it did) I REALLY felt I understood them. They must fear fat, or losing control, as much as I feared my body's reaction to any remnants of the antibiotic in the pig meat/broth I'd ingested. Their fear is so great, as was mine, that they'd go to any lengths to rid their body of the previously yummed up but no longer wanted food. And having no ipecac syrup on hand, I figured the toothbrush down the throat was the quickest method of ridding myself of the food with the minimum of digestion happening. Especially since it'd been half an hour or more since I'd finished eating.

So, yeah, lessen learned. Don't make ANY assumptions about food ever again. Because I refuse to go through this again and I refuse to go through what I went through as a result of taking that antibiotic. I refuse to sob my heart out in fear of my life and my quality of life. No food is worth that. Embarrassment and being a nuisance in asking to make sure I get food that my body can deal with is worth every bit of awkwardness. I don't want to ever be that afraid again.

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