Who is the biggest loser?

Last night, I sat myself down on the couch, kids finally in bed, and turned on the tele.  I had to do this manually, because my little delights had either hidden or misplaced the remote control again.  It’s very retro.

Running low on farks, I picked any old channel and plopped myself down.  I wasn’t prepared for quite how infuriated I would become.  You see, the first ad I was subjected to was the exciting announcement that our airwaves were soon, once again, to be bombarded by the objectionable, horrific car crash that is…

THE BIGGEST LOSER

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The two very buffed, smiley people heading up this year’s Biggest Loser

Indeed.  It appears that Network 10 has coughed up once more to document the ‘incredible transformation’ of a team of fat, unworthy souls, into improved thin people.  Meaning that once again, millions of viewers will be tuning in each week to watch larger bodied people with poor self-esteem (and even worse body image) being ruthlessly bullied, starved and demeaned, for our viewing pleasure.

…Or for their ultimate salvation, depending on the view you take…

The thing that devastates me is not so much that this terrible show exists (after all, reality TV has bought us some pretty dire rubbish over the years), but that come next week, the fat bullying will ramp up again.  And that a large number of generally well-intentioned members of the public will be sitting on their couches, soaking up the lies of the diet and fitness industry, and weaving these into their core values around food, body image, and what it means to ‘look after yourself’.

*hits head on desk repeatedly

I can hear the disgusted grunts and scoffs already, from some of the readers who have gotten this far.  Maybe you’re thinking to yourselves:

‘But those people are sad and unhealthy the way they are now.  This is helping them’

Or:

‘They’re lucky to be getting free diet advice and personal training from experts (cough cough), and they signed up for this’

Or my favourite:

‘This show proves that fat people can stop being fat if they just get off their asses, do some exercise and stop stuffing their faces with bad food’

Ugh.  Where do I start?  If you’re up for this… stick with me here.

Firstly, despite my ranty disposition, I don’t think you’re terrible people for being mesmorised by this drivel.  It’s pretty compelling stuff – I get it.  Hell, the ‘90’s me – fat-free yoghurt-eating, body-suit-wearing science and dietetics student – would no doubt have gobbled this shit up.

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’90’s Marnie was very into calorie counting and fat free food.  She keeps a museum of daggy cookbooks, to remind herself how uncool this was.

The fact is, we LOVE the miserable ‘before’ shots juxtaposed with the bubbly, successful ‘after’ shots.  It’s fascinating.  Seductive. And it’s why every week we see new diet books, online programs and ridiculous fat burning supplements popping up in our news feeds.  We all want a bit of that.

But what does this kind of entertainment really provide us with?  And why am I so fucking furious about the idea of watching fat people running around like sweaty turkeys, eating ridiculous portions of ‘clean’ food and being made to feel grateful for their chance to re-enter normal society?

It’s damaging, is the simple truth.  Damaging to both the people who are in the show, and the people who sit there and watch it.  And it’s perpetuating the myth that our worth and position in society should be measured by a number on the scales.

Let’s have a look at the sneak previews:

Steph is getting married.  She’s bought a dress that she can’t fit into (um.. alarm bells are sounding right there), and just wants to feel beautiful on her wedding day.

Simmo wants to find love.  Apparently, he is unworthy of love in his current (fat) body, so he wants to get a new body (by undertaking excessive exercise and restricting his food intake in an unsustainable way), so that he can become loveable, and secure a mate.

Man.  That just makes me feel really sad.

And what about Lynton, who stands to lose his job as a pilot, if he doesn’t slash his current body size?  I want to see the research that explains why fat people can’t fly planes.  Is it because they’re too busy thinking about donuts to concentrate on the flying?  Or do they just not make pilot uniforms for those with a BMI above 30?

No matter how socially acceptable it is to dis fat people, I assure you that they are no less worthy, or intelligent, or loveable than thin ones.  You absolutely can have a BMI above 30 and be healthy.  Just as you can be a thin, dashing looking pilot and suddenly collapse dead from a heart attack and bring everyone on board to an untimely, fiery end.

What does happen to people who bully their bodies into temporary smaller sizes?  Do they suddenly become happier and healthier?  Maybe on some level, and by some people’s measures.  Maybe for a nanosecond, in their long lives, they feel like they’ve reached their goal and fixed all their problems.

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If I knew who wrote this, I’d credit the author (and give them a high five)

But most of them – in fact 95% of those who diet – end up back where they were, plus a few extra kilograms and minus a few weeks/months/years of eating food they enjoy.  Not only are they fatter than they were ten years ago, they are now saddled with new feelings of self-loathing and fear, around the simple act of eating food.

I see people every day in my consulting rooms who have yo-yo’d up and down for years.  They’ve fallen on and off countless diet wagons, and progressively felt more hopeless and out of control.  And the overarching theme that always comes up is that they feel worse.  They feel like failures, who just didn’t have the self-control to sustain the diet.

Here, I beg you to watch this piece from exercise phyiologist, scientist and psychotherapist Dr Linda Bacon, explaining the complex physiological responses that happen in our bodies when we diet.  Linda says it much more eloquently than I, but a key player in this picture is the hormone called leptin.  Calorie restriction reduces the production of leptin.  Reduced leptin signals our metabolism to slow down (less calories burned).  It also increases our hunger levels, and makes us think more about food.  The result is that chronic dieters have lower levels of circulating leptin, slower metabolisms, and are hungry all the time.

I could go on (and on… and on) here, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll skip to the chase.

What is the take away answer here?

The Biggest Loser is sensationalist, misleading, fat-shaming rubbish.  Please don’t watch it, and don’t expose your kids to it.

Mind your own business. Keep your eyes on your own bloody plate.  Don’t denigrate your own (or anyone else’s) body in front of your kids.  And think about why you are judging people based on their physical appearance.  Then stop it.

Concentrate on your own health. And by health, I don’t mean weight.

I mean nourishing your body with a range of foods, eating what satisfies you and makes you feel good on that day, at that meal.  Eat the chocolate, or the cheeseburger, but learn how to eat it mindfully, and don’t make it your daily choice.

Be thoughtful about your food – sure.  But don’t buy into the clean eating rubbish that tells us carbs are addictive, sugar is the devil and anything processed is unholy.

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Favourite Christmas present this year – my profane pencil case

And find activities that move your body in ways you enjoy, and help it feel stronger and better.  Rather than desperately sweating it out just to budge a number on the scale, or squeeze into that too-small wedding dress, let your body find it’s comfortable, natural set point.  And appreciate your body for all the things it has done, and continues to do for you, every day.

If this post resonates with you, but the idea of rejecting dieting sounds kind of scary and impossible, you’re not alone.  Sometimes it feels safer and easier to drift back to the dark side, and try the next diet. Or fat pill.  Or detox.

Instead, consider seeking out a supportive, experienced, ‘weight neutral’ dietitian, who understands and practices the Health At Every Size paradigm.  They can help you understand how, why and what you’re eating.  They can help you let go of that tight grip you’ve had on food for so long (which hasn’t served you so well thus far), and show you a better approach to eating without the restriction, calorie counting and bullying.

We are out there.

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New year, let’s go

It’s not often these days that I have a moment to just sit down and write, but I figure 2016 deserves a quick wrap.  And what better time than on this New Years day, when I find myself in a ponderous mood, in a quiet kitchen, with a weird hangover (espresso martini’s will do that to you).

I’ve just finished spring cleaning the entire house.  Not because that’s how I get my kicks these days.  But because an idiotic miner bird flapped in, hid itself away, and then proceeded to crap all over everything (and I mean everything) while we spent a few days down the beach.

A house full of shit and a dead carcass.  Thanks 2016.  Up yours also.

The consensus out there is that 2016 was pretty rubbish on the whole.  We lost too many amazing talents.  Creative souls who wrote the soundtrack to our formative years.  Voices that carried us through love stories, heartbreak and adventures.  Suddenly gone.

And Donald Trump.  Donald Trump!!?  What a colossal, stupid-haired, sexist, self-obsessed, ill-informed blow hard.

< breathes deeply >

In 2016, my friends and I lost our beautiful friend Fee.  We watched her fight with the strength and grace that only Fee could.  She battled cancer – that utter fucker of a disease – with everything she had, until she was too tired and beaten to fight any more.  And one bleak day in June, we joined Jamie, her boys Lachie and Mitchell, and the throngs of others who also adored her, and said a heartbreaking final goodbye.

This year I signed a lot of papers and paid lawyers, and nearly two years down the track, received a rather matter of fact – and very official – Certificate of Divorce.  Yep.  You actually get a certificate.

I’m still deciding how I feel about that piece of paper.  I could see it as proof of a failed relationship.  A love story that went south.  A broken family.  Or I could see it as a certificate of achievement.  A neat end to a messy chapter.  Written evidence of strength and resilience, because I’m still standing.

What last year taught me is that while you can’t always choose how your life happens, you can choose how you live it, and where you direct your energy.  I’ve seen people handle divorce by staying angry and bitter, and using the bitterness as a force to drive them forward.  Surely the best way to keep things on a pretty crap trajectory, if you ask me.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Me?  I’m choosing to have a Coke and a smile, and to reflect on the good things that happened in 2016:  I journeyed to exotic places.  I hung out with some wonderful people, went to some amazing gigs, and danced my little twinkletoes off.  I squeezed my kids tight, and watched them grow and change. I opened up my heart again, loved and was loved back.

And I’ve got a feeling 2017 has a lot more good things in store for this divorced, sometimes potty-mouthed, mother of two.

So, (battle weary but still smiling), 2016 I give you this special salute.

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8 Fantastic Foods for a Happy, Healthy Vagina!

Yes, you read correctly.  And if you’re anything like me, your initial reaction was something along the lines of …..

What the actual fuck?

(sorry mum)

There I was standing at the kitchen bench, minding my business (simultaneously listening to my 6 year old’s reader and scrolling through my Facebook feed), when I happened upon this little chestnut from Mr know-it-all himself, David Avocado Wolfe.

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Now I have a lot of questions I’d like to ask David Avocado Wolfe.  And the first one is: What’s with the super-wanky name?  Since when is it okay to plonk “Avocado” between your first and last names and then go around acting like it’s perfectly normal?  Please explain.

Another of my many questions is this:  How is it that he’s scammed five million Facebook users (including some of my friends) into promoting his special brand of Grade A, nonsensical woo to the masses?  Because in addition to being the rock star and Indiana Jones of the superfoods and longevity universe (his words, not mine), he also happens to be a certified gravity denying, flouride-in-the-water-dissing, GMO-scaremongering, deer-antler-extract-peddling dingbat, with a scarily weak grip on actual reality.

Oh.  And he has a thing against ‘big pharma’.  How utterly original.

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But let’s not get too sidetracked here.  I want to get back to 8 Fantastic Foods for a Happy and Healthy Vagina!  Because I won’t lie.  I was kind of intrigued.  As both a dietitian and the owner of a vagina, I felt it was my business to know more about these vagina superfoods.

Of course, I was skeptical –  primarily because this is David Fruitloop Wolfe we’re talking about, and also because I studied nutrition for five years, and I don’t recall that bit.

<puzzled face>

Had this guy happened upon some official Vaginal Nutrition Guidelines that I didn’t know about? Had he conducted a meta-analysis of all the double-blinded, placebo controlled studies on whether yoghurt is good for your girly bits? Or did he just sit down on a fairly slow blogging day and think ‘vaginas’.  And decide to start with some fairly healthy foods and sciency words and make the rest up?

I’m gonna call it early. I think it might have been the latter.

So off I went to do a bit of my own research on the Avocado man’s vagina diet.  His first one was (duh!) Avocados.

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Short story: here’s a link to some information about why avocados are awesome.  They’re full of good fats, antioxidants and vitamins E and C. They’re also a surprisingly good source of fibre.  But have they been shown to strengthen the vaginal wall?  Hmmm.. no.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 4.45.48 PMDavid.  I’m actually with you here.   As popular opinion would have it, it’s probably a good idea to include naturally fermented foods and yoghurts with live and active cultures for their *potential* effect on vaginal flora and pH (ie. preventing icky bacterial or yeast infections of the lady bits).

Just as an aside, if like me, you were never quite sure if you were supposed to put the yoghurt on / up your vagina, or eat it, the answer is.  You eat it.

And also, if like me, you’re grossed out by David’s dairy = pus meme, you’ll find the inclusion of yoghurt in his vagina superfoods list a little perplexing…

confusedgrossed out by milk 'facts'

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Sweet potatoes are really good for you.  Let me see if I can follow his logic here:

  • Sweet potato has antioxidants – TICK! (it’s full of the little mofos).
  • Antioxidants mop up free radicals that can cause damage in our body – TICK!

But this is where it gets sketchy – the leap between sweet potatoes being good for you and the claim that they strengthen the vaginal and uterine walls.  Long bow David.  Long bow.

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Pumpkin seeds are indeed rich in zinc and vitamin E.  And fibre.  And good fats.

But just how do they regulate menstrual cycles, and cure the very vague ‘vaginal irritation’?  And how many pumpkins seeds do I take, and how often, to relieve menstrual cramps?  And why isn’t Jean Hailes (my go-to online resource for all things womens’ health-related) espousing the use of pumpkin seeds for cycle regulation and period pain?

Because there is no evidence for the use of pumpkin seeds for vaginal ailments, is why.

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Garlic is tasty and garlic is good.  It has a host of potentially anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, anti-carcinogenic and antimicrobial effects.  It’s also a prebiotic, which may promote the growth of good intestinal and vaginal flora.  Do we have any evidence that we can use garlic to treat established vaginal infections? Nope. So he gets half a point for that one.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 4.41.23 PMI’m a big fan of dark green leafy vegetables for many reasons.  Remember that study where women were fed dark green leafy vegetables or placebo, which showed the group in the intervention arm had statistically significant reduction in vaginal burning and itching sensations?  No?  Neither do I.  Nice one David.

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Cranberries and cranberry juice do have some evidence behind them in balancing the pH of the urogenital system and potentially preventing UTI’s – I’ll give him that (even if he did just link to another wellness blog, rather than a scientific paper).

But when we start talking about balancing ‘the body’s pH’ my woo radar is well and truly bleeping.  Don’t get me started on the whole acid/alkaline diet myth about how we can change our body’s pH.  I can’t even.

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David reckons chocolate is actually an octave of sun energy (but then he also believes that mushrooms are extraterrestrial, and solar panels are draining the sun of it’s power).  Even so, I’m totally on board with the legitimisation of chocolate as a dietary staple.  Maybe it does boost your immune system!

The bit I’m confused about here is the chocolate-induced dopamine production.  This happens in the brain, rather than the vagina.  Am I right?

In conclusion

  1.  Chocolate (like many other foods) is not only good for you, it is also extremely delicious.  How much it has to do with your vagina is anyone’s guess.
  2. Eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables and including both prebiotic and probiotic foods in your diet is probably good for the whole body, including downstairs.
  3. Doing pelvic floor exercises (as opposed to just thinking about doing them, which I frequently do) is a lot more likely to give you a vagina of steel than eating any of the foods on this list.

And going forward, I’d hereby like to be referred to as Marnie Zucchini Eggplant. Not one but two vegetables.

Up yours David.

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10 New Arguments Your Kids can have on School Holidays

I have a love-hate relationship with school holidays, which is reflected in my erratic demeanour and multiple-personality-style parenting between late December and February.

I wake up a cheek-stroking, sweet-nothing-murmuring earth mother – killing the Mum Game with my patience and enthusiasm.  But because my children are in training for the day that arguing becomes an Olympic sport, the warm and fuzzy quickly recedes, and in it’s place appears the other mum.  The frazzled and huffy one, who mutters barely audible profanities before saying things out loud like ‘Are you really?.. Surely you’re not starting …‘ and then just the resigned ‘I can’t even….’

This week, with the holidays almost over, I thought I’d compile some of my favourite arguments from these school holidays.  A shout-out, if you will, to the kids’ hard training over summer.

argue olympics

This is an oldie but a goodie.  My kids have been in training for years!

If your lot are looking a bit bored and seem to have run out of things to do before school starts, they may want try a few classic arguments from my list.

1.  Watch This

One of my favourite arguments these holidays is simply called ‘Watch This’. It’s convenient, can be performed anywhere, and is delightfully free.

Child 1: Watch this mummy!

Child 2: No mummy watch THIS!

Child 1: Mummy’s watching ME first. AREN’T YOU MUMMY?

Child 2: No she ISN’T you DUMMY she said she was going to watch ME FIRST

Child 1: MUMMMYYYYYYYYYYY!!! You always watch him! It’s not FAIR <dissolves into tears>

Child 2: <smirking> Mummy! Watch this!

2.  Play Pick Up Sticks

The beauty of a game of pick up sticks is in the subjectivity. Who’s to say the red stick moved? How can it be proven?

pick up sticks

(Note here I have outsourced the adult involvement to a more patient grandparent)

Unfortunately, you will need a parent or grandparent as a referee.  One who has to watch every single stick being picked up, and adjudicate every single  ‘Ah! You moved it!’ claim. Until you have no words….  Except for the silent faaarrrrk that escapes your lips as your soul leaves your body, and you finally expire from the mind-numbing tedium of it all.

3.  Let’s go to the beach

There’s nothing like seaside air to get the arguing juices flowing.  It usually starts before you even get there (because it’s odds on that if one wants to go to the beach, the other one would sooner die). And once you’ve argued your way out of the house and onto the sand, the opportunities for biffo abound!

They can kick sand on the other one’s towel (and then deny it ever happened), steal each other’s beach toys and splash the one who came to the beach but didn’t count on getting wet (it’s a free world after all).

Given practice, they’ll get so good they can argue who’s part of the beach the seagull just shat on, or who owns the water in the bucket.  And when the arguments are exhausted and it’s time to pack up and leave, one will be ready and the other will want to stay. Another great day at the beach!

4.  Mindful colouring.

Only the best arguers (mine) are so adept that they can turn mindful activities into full-blown arguments.

For example – what if they both want to colour with the same exact pencil at the same exact time? What if one is ever-so-subtly elbowing the other while colouring? Or one is humming annoyingly?

If this doesn’t do it for you, there’s always the classic ‘mine is better than yours / you’ve gone outside the lines’ takedown, to be pulled out at whim.

5. Go To a Cafe.

Cafe’s are just an argument waiting to happen.  Starting with what they’re allowed to order, and who’s will be better, and while they’re waiting for it to come, kicking each other under the table, wresting the salt shaker out of each others hands, spilling it on the table and then sulking when you growl at them through gritted teeth about never going out for coffee again.

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Here, Arlo models the classic cafe silent tantie, after an argument over sugar sachet container

 

6.  Play a game of Monopoly

Ah Monopoly! The game that’s been bringing families to the brink of breakdown since early last century.  Just roll the dice and pick your argument – or rather, roll the dice and accidentally knock all the houses and hotels off your opponent’s properties, and then have a barney about where they were and who’s fault it was.

And it’s long. Loooooong. That shit can last for days.

7.  Take the Dog to the Park

Dogs are great to argue over because they can’t talk back.  And they generally don’t give two hoots about what’s going down on the other end of the lead, as long as they’re being taken for a walk.  My kids like to argue over who holds the lead, who’s turn it is to throw the ball, and who the dog loves best (the answer, of course, is ME).

8.  Cooking with kids

Cooking with kids is calming, therapeutic, and a great way to develop their independence and self esteem. Unless, of course, there’s two of the little buggers, and they both need to stir the cake batter at the same time, and jostle each other off the stool while pulling hair and screeching ‘IT’S MY TURN!!!!’

9.  Go in a lift

Let them sort out who gets to press the buttons.  Just make sure you have the Five-O and paramedics on speed dial to be waiting at the next floor.

10.  Go on a ferry trip

Take it from me – this is a good one.

Don’t take an ipad or let them play on your phone. And whatever you do, don’t take food or offer to buy them any on the boat. Just sit back in your plastic seat, with the rest of the (interestingly dressed, heavily tattooed) punters, and watch the show.

To illustrate, I took notes on our last Sorrento-Queenscliffe ferry crossing. The shorthand version looks something like this:

who boarded the ferry first -> who’s got the best seat -> who’s leaning on the other -> who farted -> who’s feet are the smelliest -> who’s chewing gum is tastier -> who’s thirstier -> who’s sitting on mummy’s lap -> who’s breath stinks -> who would go first in the massage chair if tightarse mummy had bothered to bring any coins -> who’s getting off the ferry first.

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I’d like to say that although this didn’t happen in Australia and was definitely NOT me…. It’s not as far-fetched as it may first seem.

Happy arguing kids.  You’re welcome 😉

*****

 

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart

I think I must have blacked out for a bit there. And now I’ve come to, Christmas – that sneaky, emotion-charged season – is in full swing. Do you know what that means? It means it’s a whole year since I looked up from making pom poms (those bastard little school fete pom poms) to realise that my marriage was toast.  It also means I can legitimately buy myself (I mean the kids) an enormous tiger soft toy and listen to soppy Wham songs.

I’m doing those things right now.Wham. Tiger. Me

Yep. Last Christmas was positively craptastic.  There’s nothing festive about sucking it up and holding it together for the kids, when all you want to do is crawl under a large rock. I was lucky, though, to have my sturdy support crew, who propped me up through December and January while I stomped my feet and cried bucket-loads. Whatever it took (wine, inappropriate jokes, nose blowing) they had my back, and helped me stumble through the season in a pretty rock ‘n roll fashion.

This Christmas is so much better.

Some marriage break-ups stretch out over a bumpy, painful road for years. Mine felt more like a gut-wrenching supernova at the time. But once the shell shock subsided, I realised that not only was I still standing, I was starting to feel a little inkling of something good. It felt like one of those stinking hot Melbourne days we have, after the rain washes all the heat and stink away. When everything feels fresher and newer, and suddenly you can breathe properly again.

I won’t sugar coat it and say it was a walk in the park from there on. Some of this year was absolutely, mind-numbingly, face-palmingly frustrating.

And here’s what really blows about being a separated parent. It’s the stupid (and not so stupid) little things:

Stupid little thing 1

The school uniform that got left at the other house.  And by the way, it doesn’t make any difference how many sets you buy – they always end up at the other house.

Stupid little thing 2

The Goddamn Tuppaware and drink bottles and homework books that you need right now, this very morning, but are also at the other house.

Stupid little thing 3

The freaking 20-pack of kids socks and undies you bought last week, which seems to have migrated, on mass, to – you guessed it – the other house. Or the grandparents’ house. Or their beach house. Or ANY HOUSE OTHER THAN THE ONE YOU’RE IN RIGHT NOW.

< Deep breathing >

(not so) Stupid little thing 4

It’s when you’re in the car, absentmindedly fielding questions about McDonalds / why you shouldn’t play with your doodle in public / why the lady on that song just said shit… And then the littlest one hits you up with:

‘Mumma, can you explain again why Daddy had to go and live in another house?’

It’s the little things that make your heart feel like it might just implode. Because you realise that these questions are just floating around in their subconscious all the time, and it’s only every so often that they rise up to the conscious level and bubble out as words.

At times like these, about the only thing that can save you from unravelling then and there, is a really funny motivational meme.

YOU'RE ALL MISS UNIVERSE

But the good news I have is that at this point, I’m still relatively sane. And on the whole, things have been pretty awesome this past year. Being mindful of attention spans and word count, I’ve decided to loosely classify the good bits into the following neat categories:

People. Dancing. And The Universe.

People

This year, from the comfort of my lounge room, and thanks in part to this little blog, I’ve met people from all over Australia. They made me laugh out loud, and reminded me I was fun again.  They saw me travelling to Byron Bay for 5 days of yoga, mindfulness and slightly raucous gin and tonics.   And to Darwin, for my first crack at a long distance relationship. And two stops on the train, for renegade dietitian meetings. These beautiful new and old friends helped me start picking up the pieces and sticking them all back together again.

And the kids – my little people . They’re just as baffling, and high maintenance, and hilarious as they ever were. I can’t help but be happy when I look at their precious faces and sturdy little bodies. Sometimes I want to eat them.  I mean like literally devour them. And sometimes, when they’re arguing (which is a large percentage of the time), I also want to knock their bloody heads together.

Dancing

I dance a lot these days. I’ve always danced in the kitchen and on big nights out. But six months ago I twisted the arm of a new buddy into taking me dancing (it didn’t take that much twisting – just a few scotches).  I’m talking beginner swing dancing class.

It was equal parts excruciating, exhilarating and hilarious.   Not unlike year 10 dance classes, except this time we didn’t have pimples or bad ’80s hair. We walked out with two huge grins plastered to our faces, and were hooked.

Dancing is nice because it gets you touching other people (albeit sometimes strange and sweaty people), and laughing and being a dork. In the words of Amy Poehler – dancing gets you out of your head and into your body. And by the way, I am totally in love with Amy Poehler. She has a lot of piss-funny and wise things to say about life and divorce. One of them is this:

‘Someday you may be in a happy couple again. Someday you will wake up feeling 51 percent happy and slowly, molecule by molecule, you will feel like yourself again. Or you will lose your mind and turn into a crazy person. Either way, let’s just hope you avoided tattoos, because most are pretty stupid anyway.

Oh crap.  I wish I read that last bit earlier…

Amy Poehler

The Universe

The Universe is a funny thing.  Sometimes it knows stuff you don’t, and puts you in funny places at funny times, to show you that stuff.  Sometimes it taps you on the shoulder, and then when you don’t listen the first time, it gives you a big old shove.  And then it slaps you square on the bum and grins.  Kind of like this:

Universe: Hey – look over here

You:  Ah – c’mon.. That’s ridiculous!

Universe: Yeah, I know. But trust me – I’ve been doing this a long time you know?

You:  That’s outrageous!  It’d never work.  Surely you can’t be ….. ?

Universe: Yes I can. Just shut up and go with this.

Sometimes you just have to stop overanalysing and defer to The Universe.  Because it knows stuff.  And maybe there just aren’t enough newly tattooed, swing-dancing, bar-tending, biker mole dietitian types these days.

Simples 😉

The Obama ‘Hoff Inebriation Scale: A novel assessment tool for drunken behaviour.

It’s been a while between blog posts.  Again.  I suppose that’s what happens when you’re spending most of your time riding the intense single parenting train, and the remainder of it trying to be a grown up with a career and a social life.

But something got me giggling recently, in a very non-health-professional, snort-laughing kind of way.  And you’ll be pleased to hear that it has nothing to do with Pete Bloody Evans.

Last Saturday night was a big one on the social calendar.  The grade 3 parent mixer for my kids’ school.  It was going to be wall-to-wall couples, but I’ve known these people for four years now, and they’re a pretty cool bunch.  So I did what any self-respecting, awkwardly single parent would do – I took a deep breath, poured myself into my favourite supportive undergarments, put on my I’m Doing Better Than Okay face, and hit the scene.

Being a school event, it was local.  Meaning that most of us were within stumbling distance to our front doors.  And being parents, the feeling in the room was a mixture of exhaustion, and unbridled joy, to be out and kid-free on a Saturday night.

It started out nice: convivial, catching up on kids, jobs, holidays.  And then it got a bit rowdy.  And then there was dancing.  And then, all of a sudden, there were a lot of rather inebriated people in the room.  Parents – most of us in our forties and beyond – and yet it was like we were transported back in time.  Back to a time when it was de rigueur to get good and sozzled.  To hug and exclaim ‘I bloody love you!’ on the streets, and (inexplicably) to drink Bailey’s on the one-train-stop journey home.  Hilarious.

A friend, to whom I was relating the evening’s festivities, asked me this question:

So on a scale of 1 to David Hasselhoff,  just how inebriated were you?

I guffawed!  Because we’re all familiar with David Hasselhoff at his slurring worst.  And because as a health professional, I’m a sucker for a quantitative assessment tool. Entertainingly, we set about fleshing out this scale, and filling the gaps in between.

So without further ado, I give you The Obama ‘Hoff inebriation scale*.  It’s a thing now – I’ve registered it.  Please feel free to use it in your day-to-day practice.

Obama, bit drunk

Obama is after your first drink or two.  It’s nice.  A bit cheeky. You’ve got that happy buzz going on, and you’re working the room.  It’s a good place to be.

Tom Cruise, Oprah, couch

Tom is that excited, energetic zone.  You know the one.

Are you a bit drunk? Nah – you’re just invincible.  You spontaneously hug people.  You might fist pump the air.  And  (in my personal experience) this is where you might start pulling out some dance moves. You’re on fire.  The room loves you!

Tobey Maguire drunk

The Tobey is where things start to get a bit silly. Funny faces. Impersonations. Gossip. Poking fun. Giggling. You’re hilarious, and so are your friends.

Bill Murray, drunk

Ah Bill!  Who wouldn’t love Bill?

At this stage you’re getting pretty loose.  Silliness is peaking.  Coordination may be a little lacking, but it’s funny.  EVERYTHING IS FUNNY!  In fact if we all just stayed here at number 4, the world would be a pretty happy place.

Pam Anderson, Simon Cowell, Paris Hilton

It has to be a Pam / Simon / Paris montage for the half way mark.  Because at this stage you’re cutting up rough.

You might be Pam (the body is willing but the eyes are getting sleepy), you might be Simon (of course you should take a traveller for the trip home), or you might be Paris (surely no-one will notice if you take a little rest while you’re down there?).

Number 5 is where costume malfunctions start to happen, and it’s only a matter of time before you lose your footing.  It’s the ‘I bloody love youse all’ mark, but the dignity is slipping.

Britney Spears drunk

Oh dear.  When you’ve reached the Britney stage, you’re not fooling anyone (even if you’ve convinced yourself that you’re making a good fist of it).  The smile isn’t quite getting there, and the eyes are unseeing.  Best get yourself home – it’s all downhill from here.

Keifer Sutherland drunk moments

Okay, Keifer’s gotten himself good and drunk.

He’s bypassed the sleepy stage and gone straight to rowdy and inappropriate. Clothing is optional, and apparently pants-off at the table is pretty amusing.  He’s also fallen down for a bit there, but he’s not out for the count.

If you get to Keifer, you’re not going to remember a lot of the night’s proceedings.  And you may wake up without your pants.  Fun at the time, but in retrospect, not really advisable.

Gary Busey, drunk

Yikes! Gary’s not in a good way.  He’s dishevelled.  He’s finding it a challenge to keep upright.  His face says it all really.

DRUNK.  And a bit surly.

Courtney Love, wasted

Oh Courtney.  Can I get you a stretcher?

This is about as drunk as you can get without going the Full ‘Hoff.  Mouth open, eyes clocked off for the night, pasty, sweaty, highly vomitous.  There’s nothing pretty about getting to this stage.  She’s wasted.

David Hasselhoff, drunk

David Hasselhoff – AKA The Full ‘Hoff – is a sad state of affairs, I think you’ll agree.

He’s on the floor, eating with his hands, down to one syllable words.  All dignity is gone.

The only redeeming feature about getting this drunk is that you’ll have no recollection of the event.  Although if your kids are around and handy with the phone camera, it may just come back to haunt you.

Nobody ever means to go The Full ‘Hoff.  But sadly, it sometimes happens.

***

*Disclaimer.  Obama to ‘Hoff is not a scientifically valid assessment tool. And I’m not saying that drinking to excess is classy, or clever … but maybe it’s a bit funny when celebrities do it…

Bunny Shaming

Last weekend, my children took part in a yearly ritual involving a fantastical giant fluffy bunny and a shite-load of chocolate.  Some call it Easter, but in our (seriously non-denominational) family, it’s known as The Chocolate Holiday.

The holy chocolate day starts with the adult rising uncharacteristically early, and sneaking outside – under cover of darkness – to scatter the goods throughout the garden.  It is quickly followed by the stampeding of little feet, the ripping of foil, and the unbridled joy (and heavenly silence) that is legitimate chocolate consumption before breakfast.

At 8 years of age, my daughter is undoubtedly too old to believe in a giant, chocolate-bearing bunny (just as she’s surely too old to believe in Santa or the tooth fairy, yet steadfastly clings to such notions).  But she’s not letting go, or letting on, because …

CHOCOLATE

And you know what?  I totally get that.  In fact I applaud that.

As a dietitian, and a foodie, I believe that finding pleasure in food is a good thing. And following on from that, I believe that it’s okay to eat some foods not for their nutritional value, or health-giving properties, but simply because they’re luxurious / indulgent / insanely delicious.

And that’s why something I read this week made me feel very sad.

Surprise surprise, it was Pete Evans.  Pete with his special brand of blue-eyed, slightly unhinged dietary zeal, preaching once again to his tribe on Facebook.  But what got me this time was that he wasn’t just talking about himself. Nor was it another emotive, highly crafted ‘over to you’ tale of paleo triumphing over the woes of chronic disease.   This time, it was about kids – his kids – and how he was teaching them the ‘right’ way to eat.

Here it is what he posted on 13th April.

Pete Evans and the bunnies

On the surface it’s kind of sweet – is it not? The protective, nurturing father, guiding his daughters through life with a charming tale of (pure, disease free, enlightened) bunnies. And judging by the volumes of adoring comments it garnered, that’s exactly the way Pete’s tribe saw it.

But it’s the subtext that made my stomach churn.  Because when you read between the lines, Pete’s message to his daughters is that eating lollies at a party is a bad thing to do – that it would harm them, and essentially make them less pure.

His is a lesson in the dichotomy of food, and the warped idea that no amount of lollies is ever okay, if they want to lead healthy, happy lives.  It perpetuates the idea that foods are either righteous or sinful.  Tonic or toxin.  Pure or dirty.

To me, the bunny story is food guilt, dressed up as good parenting.  And it makes me sad to think what foundations are being laid down right now in his daughters’ impressionable young minds.  And – for that matter – in the impressionable young minds of children all over the country who’s parents buy into this militant way of thinking.

No bunnies were harmed

Because humans are not bunnies Pete.  We are emotionally complex, intelligent creatures who develop a relationship with food very early on in life.  We don’t just mindlessly nibble away on whatever we are fed – we learn and develop a belief system around foods from our family, friends and life experiences, which will lay the foundation for our eating patterns in the future.

Will Pete’s ‘bunnies’ grow up subscribing to his dogma and never want to eat a lolly?  Or (more likely) will they eat the lollies one day, and then feel the guilt?  What other ‘bad’ foods will they grow up feeling ashamed of eating?  Chocolate surely, and maybe grains, dairy foods, legumes, potatoes?  And how will they fare in their teenage and adult years when their world opens up to reveal a minefield of dangerously available, ultimately alluring ‘banned’ foods?

My opinion is that such teaching is a recipe for disordered eating in susceptible individuals.

And that’s why I won’t be banning my children from any particular foods, regardless of how nutritionally bereft they may be.  I won’t be staying at the party to slap their little hands away from the fairy bread, or cautioning the grandparents against buying them an ice cream.

I’ll be offering them mostly nutrient dense, minimally processed foods that I know will support the growth of their bodies and minds.  I’ll be teaching them that we eat not only to fuel our bodies, but also to indulge our senses, and to socialise, and be part of a community.  I’ll be letting them know that sometimes it is okay to eat food just for pleasure, and hoping to instil in them a mindful, moderate approach to eating, rather than a rigid, fearful one.

And so, ends my little Friday night stint on the soap box – with that vexatious, unsexy message of moderation again.  That, and a couple of questions to ponder:

1.  Are you sure no bunnies were harmed in the making of that statement?

And

2.  Is food the new rock?  Or for some, is it the new religion?

Pete Evans

Is Food the new rock? Image: http://www.news.com.au

Coeliac disease. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

So it’s official – you’re a coeliac.  A card carrying, villiously challenged, chronically inflamed misery guts.  It’s a huge shock.  But at the same time it’s so stupidly obvious, you wonder just how you missed it all along.

Most people you meet won’t know that Coeliac disease is actually an autoimmune condition, and that at present, it’s the only form of true gluten intolerance that we can prove exists – affecting 1 in 60 females and 1 in 80 males.

But you probably knew that.  And after all the poking, prodding and invading you’ve recently endured, you deserve to hear something positive.  So here’s what I’ve got:

The Good News

Firstly, know that Ryan is batting for you.

ryan gosling sucker punch gluten

He’s going to sucker punch gluten in the neck for you.  And look dreamy while doing it.

The other good news is that now you have the diagnosis, you also have the right to some good old fashioned sanctimonious revelling.  Because it turns out you weren’t a slothful, listless hypochondriac after all.  You were EFFING WELL ANAEMIC all these years (or at least chronically iron deficient), and have the approximate vitamin D level of a mushroom.

Now is the appropriate time to phone your family and shout at them ‘I’VE BEEN FUNCTIONING AT 20% CAPACITY FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS YOU JUDGEMENTAL, CAKE-EATING JERKS’.  After you’ve got that off your chest, you may also like to add that coeliac disease runs in families, and that any one of them could be next.

< insert evil laugh >

And what about your reputation as a walking, talking, high level environmental polluter?  It wasn’t your freaking fault!  Your insides are a hotbed of over-fed microbes and slaughtered villi, and it’s well time that everyone knew.

Shout it to the rooftops – Facebook it – Tweet it: ‘MY EXCESSIVE BLOATING AND FLATULENCE WERE THE GLUTEN ALL ALONG – I WAS A VICTIM OF THE BLOODY CIVIL WAR INSIDE MY BELLY DON’T YOU SEE?!?’  It’ll feel great – trust me.  And it’ll help you weed out your real friends from the hangeronerers.

Oh crap!  Are you crying now?

Can I just say something obvious at this stage?  Do me a favour and don’t just turn to Dr Google.  He’s not gonna hold your hand and walk you through the supermarket isles.

gluten is... google search

See a dietitian.  A certified glutenopathist. They’ll feel your pain, and the nice ones will probably shed a little tear with you, because they KNOW how much it sucks to be broken on the inside.  It’s just gonna take a pantry overhaul, a PhD in food science and a good twelve months, but you’ll be back baby.

And talk to the official Nerds Of Gluten at Coeliac Australia.  They know their rice malt syrup from their wheat glucose syrup (hooboy yes they do).  And they have apps, and hotlines, and experts, and seminars, and magazines, and even EXPOS dedicated to helping you get this right.

Better? Okay good.

Now most of you have already worked out how simple it is to eat gluten free at home.  No dramas there.  Except for the time when you’ll try making pizza dough on a whim and end up with a kitchen that resembles a white bomb-site and a pizza crust that doubles as a weapon against intruders.

The Not-So-Good News

The crappy news (you knew this was coming) is that popping out for a meal will never be the same again.

Ladies – you have a head start here, as you already possess the innate ability to ask what’s in your food without feeling like a twat.  Blokes – I just have to say right now that I’m really sorry.  Yes it does suck (It sucks Big. Hairy. Balls), but you’re going to have to man up, and start having that conversation.

wheat flour in everything meme

Gluten is a social creature.  It gatecrashes just about every dining occasion from your posh dinner out, to the backyard barbecue. Take that potato chip you’ve just been offered: Better check if it’s coated in starch or hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP)** from wheat. And that delicious, innocent-looking sausage over there?  Sorry, but you’re you’ll need to do some serious hunting and gathering (coeliac style) before it’s allowed on your plate.

**by the way, please stop freaking out –  HVP sounds very similar, but has absolutely NOTHING to do with Human Papaloma Virus 

Hunting and Gathering the Coeliac Way

1.  Hunt down sausage provider, by systematically questioning everyone present at BBQ

2.  Gather information regarding sausage ingredients, employing specialist bin retrieval tactics as needed

And while you’re hunting and gathering the sausage safety information, you may as well find out what mayonnaise was used for the coleslaw dressing, and whether that tempting pink dip has been laced with breadcrumbs.  Pass on the beer (once again I’m so, so sorry), but accept the wine.  DRINK THE WINE.  It will give you courage.

And you will need courage in the early days, as you adapt to your new life of planning EVERY meal in advance, and having to explain to EVERYONE how you’re not a prat – you just don’t particularly want to poison yourself.

coeliac fad meme

Because my final words of wisdom are that people can be nice, and supportive, and considerate.  But some of them can be assholes about it too.

As a general rule, most punters don’t have a clue what gluten actually is.  And here are some of the types you’re going to have to get used to:

1.  The well-meaning friends who love you but will annoy the crap out of you, when they:

  • Insist on taking you out for Yum Cha, then on realising there’s nothing you can eat, they offer to peel a dumpling for you.
  • Buy you cookies and cream ice cream, and then look horrified when you gently point out the inherent gluten threat from the ‘cookies’ component.  Ask them to bring you a bottle of vodka next time.

2.  The purely annoying people, who:

  • Insist that spelt bread is fine for coeliacs (these are the same people who claim to have cured their own ‘gluten intolerance’ with spirilina shots and kefir).
  • Make quips like: ‘Yeah well we’d all be better off without gluten wouldn’t we? It’s like, really fattening, isn’t it?’ A: No it’s not fattening YOU TWIT. 
  • Slip you the business card of their kinesthesiologist / aromatherapist / spirit healer because apparently they’ll fix you up in a jiffy.

3.  The evil people

  • The clueless, cocky person who says things like ‘C’mon – a little bit won’t hurt’ – at which point you employ a vice like nipple cripple and say ‘okay maybe you’re right, but tell me DOES THIS HURT?
  • The jerk who thinks you’re being uptight for not accepting the sausage in bread (or the sausage put in bread then removed from bread, which is now so cross-contaminated you can sense it acutely with your gluten-detecting spider senses)

And last but not least:

  • EVERY OTHER PERSON AT THE CONFERENCE who is trying to get at the sushi platter you’re so zealously guarding. That’s YOUR freaking sushi man!  It’s like, the only thing you can eat.  Slap those hands away, and jostle if you need to.  Just keep them away from that sushi like your life depends on it.

And get used to it, because from now on, you’re gonna be eating a lot of sushi…

***

Life in the Febfast lane

Yes, you heard correctly.  I’m doing Febfast.

If you don’t know me, you’ll be yawning about now and pondering whether to read on.  A dietitian not drinking for a month? That sounds about as newsworthy as your children giving up asparagus, doesn’t it?  Woop-de-fucking-do.

Well… maybe you haven’t met many real live dietitians before.  I’ll let you in on a secret.

Despite what Google thinks, we do not actually look like this:

dietitian image

Some of us don’t even like apples, you know? And the last time I whipped out a tape and measured fruit was, um.. I’m pretty sure I never have.

Oh look, you still don’t believe me?  Well here’s a picture I took at our staff meeting this month.

inside a dietitians' meeting

You see?  Wine is even mandatory during Tuesday night meetings in my workplace (it’s a good way to suss out the latest pregnancy news).

My friends will also vouch for the fact that I enjoy a good tipple, and that I hardly ever wear a lab coat.  Over the last few months, they’ve been lovingly administering me with more of the stuff than I’d care to admit.  And at the mention of Febfast, they’re now shaking their heads in sympathy – certain that I’ve finally lost my poor, tiny little mind.

You see, I’m just not a big one for swearing off things.

I’ve never quit sugar.  Actually I have a very healthy relationship with carbs (one of mutual respect and admiration).

I’m also totally rubbish when it comes to fasting – my only recent experience being when I tried the 5:2 diet to see what all the fuss was about. I lasted all of 17 hours on my meagre 500 calories, until at 2am I was wide awake and so deliriously hungry that I had to creep out of bed and make toast, least I chew my own arm off.

The truth is that I love food, and I especially love good food. And good food goes well with wine, which, in my books, is one of the perks of being a grown up.

Some foods actually demand an appropriate accompanying beverage.  Like these crisps, which – not being enough like crack cocaine by themselves – actually tell you to drink a beer with them.  I’d never noticed the fine print until this February.

chips go better with beer

It is scientifically proven that chips go better with beer

So why (I hear you asking) am I here? Very loudly and publicly vowing my sobriety throughout the month of February? Yikes, it’s hard to remember about now…

But I guess I figured it was time for some clarity.

February seemed as good a time as any to take a break from the booze, and start taking care of business.  And blimey, have I been TCB of late.

My mountain of paperwork is slowly eroding.  My bedroom hasn’t been this orderly since we moved in (one of the unexpected perks of singledom is all that extra cupboard space). And – if I do say so myself – you’d be hard pressed to find a more disciplined Tuppaware cupboard in the wider Glen Iris area.

tuppaware cupboard graphic

Suddenly it’s february 14th (blerk), and I haven’t had a sip.  Which means I’m over the half way hump already.  And considering my body fluid composition is now approximately 40% Perrier and 60% tea, I’m feeling pretty good.

I’m still waiting for the sparkling eyes, glowing skin and thick glossy hair that was promised – oh hang on –  I think I may have just confused Febfast with pregnancy there?  Forgive me.  I’ve been hitting the rocky road ice cream pretty hard tonight.

hit's of rocky road ice cream, straight from the tub

Seriously though, what I have noticed is the decided tinge of optimism in my demeanour these days.  I think it’s got a little to do with sobriety.  But no doubt it’s also just the passage of time.

So, fellow Febfasters – I know there’s a few of you out there.  I think you’ll agree that we all deserve a group hug and a pat on the back about now (or perhaps, just another mini Mars Bar and a cup of tea?).  Let’s chink our posh mineral water in wine glasses, and exclaim ‘gee, this is just so… refreshing!’ in unison.

There’s plenty of room on the sofa of sobriety at my place – we can clean out our email inboxes together, and submit our tax returns whilst knocking back peanut M&Ms like they’re going out of style.  And when we’re spent, we’ll pop on the tele and perve at the dishy Hotel Trivago guy, over, and over again. Ad nauseum.

On behalf of all the Febfasters out there, I’m dialling up a bit of Wilson Phillips tonight (in a totally ironic and self-effacing, Bridesmaids kind of way of course) and belting out a bit of ‘Hold On’ while I’m making the meatballs.

Go ahead and join me – you know you want to.

 

 

 

 

 

2014 – The Year That Shocked the Pants Off Me

Okay, no doubt you’re thinking it’s a smidge late for a 2014 Year in Review type post. And I wholeheartedly agree.  I realise all the Serious Bloggers had this one mapped out by November and scheduled to go in time for festive season reading.

I also realise that Serious Bloggers write for their target audience.  They don’t jump wildly between travel, cake decorating, fashion, nutrition, parenting, and flowery reflections on life, as the mood takes them.  And they fo’ shiz don’t disappear for months, without tacking the virtual equivalent of a ‘We are experiencing life difficulties – back in 5 min’ sign on the door.

Oops. But then I never claimed to be a serious blogger.

And the beauty of that, is that I can disappear when I just don’t have anything interesting to say, or when it all goes pear-shaped, as life often does.  And if I’m getting all excited about my revolutionary new system of Lego organisation, then I’ll bloody well write about that next (stay tuned folks – it’ll change your life).

But it’s true.  Last year did shock the pants off me.  And I think it quite apt that my first post for 2015 is written sans pants, from the shelter of my doona cave. It’s quiet, warm, safe… and there’s a whippet at my feet.

And so, let’s cover the good bits first, shall we?

In Blogging News…

2014 was the year I cracked the shits with celebrity chef Pete Evans and his ridiculous brand of food-wankery (you can read the post here).  Fortunately, this turned out to be the best move of my blogging career to date, as far as stats and follows go.  But more importantly, it got me writing about what I know as a dietitian.

So I’d just like to say thanks to Pete for the inspiration.  Thanks for making my blood boil every time I heard your name, and for introducing my blog to search engines around the world.  It was great while it lasted, but I’m kind of over you now.  You see, positive body image and moderation are the new sexy, and Rick Kausman has recently ousted you as top dog on my stats page.  Not sorry.

rick ousts pete 2

In Crafting News

For much of 2014 I crafted my arse off in preparation for the school fete – making some dear new friends and earning a few new frown lines in the process.

In the name of Hartwell Handmade I did things with parachute cord that I never knew existed, and discovered a plethora of uses for an enigmatic substance called Modpodge. I literally developed furballs while handcrafting 400-odd pom poms and then stringing them onto garlands.  And in hindsight…  I learnt about the dark side of Pinterest, and the virtues of delegating, and Ryan Gosling craft memes.

gosling

In Pet News

2014 was the year we adopted Billie the whippet puppy.  We mopped up lots of wee, and watched her grow from a needle-toothed little teddy bear into a sleek, speedy supermodel of dogs.

Billie was very busy in 2014.  She dug up the lawn, tortured the children’s beloved soft toys, and created her own doggy door by clawing and chewing at the back door until… it just wasn’t really there any more.  You see, Billie has persistence.  And mad DIY skills.

billie one year

And in other news

I’m not quite sure how to say this.  But I’m just gonna rip that bandaid off.  2014 was the year my marriage ended.

To me it was sudden.  Nonsensical.  Flabbergasting even.

‘I just think we’ve grown apart’

WHAT THE?..

‘I have feelings for someone else’

BAM!

And there I was, suddenly contemplating life as a 41 year-old single mother of two. And wondering how on earth it happened to me.

Rest assured I won’t be delving into the details here.  Firstly because no-one wants to read a 50,000 word thesis on the subject of my marital issues.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  And secondly because I might be tempted to use the term conscious uncoupling, and I’m pretty sure that doesn’t go with the type of expletives I’ve been using lately. I don’t think Gwenyth would approve.

So… What’s on for 2015 then?…

Ah!  Thank you – Great question!

Well, there will undoubtedly be a lot of refocusing, rebuilding and being strong this year (combined with a good measure of wine-drinking).  I’m also going to have to learn how to deal with scary spiders in the house, and inexplicable computer issues.  And my awesome friends and family will be there every step of the way.

Of course the two most important people in all of this are my beautiful kids.  I’ll be snuggling them tight, and trying not to miss them too desperately when they’re spending time with their dad (gulp).

Who knows?  Maybe I’ll throw myself into yoga, or meditation? Or swing dancing!  I already have the perfect wardrobe for the latter.  Or perhaps this year I’ll realise some deep, previously-untapped love for endurance sports or rock climbing. (No. That was a joke people).  What about a sweet (little) rockabilly-inspired tattoo? Why the hell not?

However it pans out, I’ll be sure to let you know along the way.  And I promise to think of a smashing topic that has nothing** to do with my marital issues, for the next instalment.

**well.. maybe just a little, if I’m keeping it real

This is me.  Being all positive and 'bring it', in front of a lime tree.

This is me. Being all positive and ‘bring it’, in front of a lime tree.