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

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.