Friday, 29 June 2012

Couldn't sleep. Drew a picture.

I had this image in my head so I tried drawing it with shapes.

  • I am me. I am blissfully unaware of any problems. 
  • I am me and I don't like myself. YAY! I am given labels to explain why I don't like myself.
  • I AM depression and anxiety. I hate myself.
  • I have depression and anxiety in me.  I hate them and I am fighting within myself.
  • I have depression and anxiety attached to me.  I hate them and I am fighting them and accidentally punching myself in the face, as shown in the picture on the left.
  • I suffer from depression and anxiety.  I am a victim and I am fighting the depression and anxiety.
  • I have depression and anxiety.  I am fighting the depression and anxiety.
  • I accept that I have depression and anxiety.  I am acknowledging the depression and anxiety.
  • I am me.  I am reducing the influence of problems in my life and discovering preferred stories of identity. They are shown as boxes waiting to be described and unpacked in the picture on the right.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

During House Renovations - Scrubbing Day with Pippi Longstocking

When I was little I used to have amazing birthday parties and when I got a bit older I used to have amazing sleepover birthday parties.  After all the party games and the salad platter and the giant bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (before it became KFC) and the oranges filled with jelly and ... no wait, I'm going to have to write a separate post about how much I enjoyed my birthday parties.  Moving on - after all that, we would fill the loungeroom with mattresses and get into pyjamas and sleeping bags ready to watch videos.

My parents would hire a VCR for the occassion (a VCR is like a BluRay Machine Thingy or a DVD Player but chunkier).  This would happen for my birthday in June and again for my sister's in July.  In my mind my parents hired a VCR, returned it, hired it again and returned it again for several years in a row before they thought to purchase one.  I'm pretty sure other people were using VCRs on a daily basis but it was a special birthday treat for us.

Every year my parents would hire two movies - 'The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking' and 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?'.  I loved those movies and I reckon we watched them every year, I suppose it was twice a year, throughout our childhood.  The only thing I remember from Pippi Longstocking is the theme song and the part of this clip from 0:15 - 0:16 but this preview makes me want to watch the movie again.

Getting closer to the point...

I was pleased to find polished floorboards in the bedroom, except for the half a dozen that were replaced with plain timber after the cellar fire of 1999.   I was again pleased to find polished floorboards in the loungeroom.  I was not pleased to find them encrusted with the black rubber of the underlay that had been crushed into the wood over at least 30 years.

After scraping off the majority of the black rubber, which was like super adhesive charcoal, it was time to scrub the floor.

Enter Pippi Longstocking.

Sadly, there were handles on my scrubbing brushes so I couldn't strap them to my feet and glide across the room but after more scraping and lots of scrubbing, I strapped paper towels to my feet to lightly clean the floor, or was it to dry the floor?  Either way, it was most efficient and made me feel like I was Pippi Longstocking.

Pippi Longstocking is coming into your world.

More photos of me mucking around during House Renovations:
During House Renovations - Flipping Underlay Residue
During House Renovations - The Varnish Discovery 

Photos of House Renovations where I'm not mucking around:
House Renovations - Bedroom
House Renovations - Loungeroom

A tragic story about curtains which features the loungeroom floorboards:
Out, damned spot! Out, I say!

During House Renovations - Flipping Underlay Residue

Take me back to the thrilling saga about the curtains.  

Photos of me mucking around during House Renovations:
During House Renovations - Scrubbing Day with Pippi Longstocking
During House Renovations - The Varnish Discovery 

Photos of House Renovations where I'm not mucking around:
House Renovations - Loungeroom 
House Renovations - Bedroom

Monday, 25 June 2012

8 hours sleep

I slept for 8 hours from 1am to 9am, heard my alarm, woke up and got out of bed.  I'd be more than happy to sign autographs if anyone was interested.  My thighs feel like jelly in a bowl of lead but it's a small price to pay for finally getting 8 (and only 8) consecutive hours of sleep... within sleeping hours.  Thank You, Thank You!  *The crowd goes wild.*

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Fridge Contents #3 - Code White

Cheese and Butter Diet?
The door looks fuller but that's because I was storing 2 jars of jam in the cupboard when they should have been in the fridge.  There is a jar of curry paste which will come in handy when I buy something to accompany it.

Foods in my fridge that are not spreads/condiments: 
  • Grated Cheese
I was going to have a nap then attempt a trip to the supermarket.  I woke up 14 hours later.  I am so bad at napping.

Mastery!...Let the spectacle astound you!

When I do something amazing I think of this song and replace 'Masquerade' with 'Mastery'.  All the other lyrics are replaced by the inspirational words 'la la la la la la la'. 


Excitement & Pride
Ignore the last few seconds of the clip.  Replace them with this image of me filled with excitement and pride.  I took this photo in 2006 immediately after being accepted into a Bachelor of Speech Pathology at Flinders Uni.  It almost emulates the exhilaration I felt as a result of today's massive achievement.  That's right - I emptied and re-stacked the dishwasher!!!  You'd think that having a dishwasher would mean I'd have no trouble washing dishes, right?  Well, the last two times the dishwasher needed emptying I left it until almost all the other dishes had been used then The Dishwasher Fairy emptied it for me.  Both occassions suspiciously coincided with my Dad staying at my house.  I wonder if he saw The Dishwasher Fairy.

This time, not only did I empty the dishwasher but I re-stacked it AND made 2 minute noodles AT THE SAME TIME!  I guess that's what happens when I wake up from a 14 hour nap with no idea what day it is.

Next time I empty the dishwasher I'm going to try to get it done BEFORE the dirty dishes start collecting on the sink.  Ambitious, I know.  There were only 10 today which is pretty good.  Let's make it ZERO dishes waiting to be washed when I empty the dishwasher next time. 

The record to beat:

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The challenge of not being able to drive.

31 days of getting out of the house without my driver's licence.
the ones that proved too much of a challenge...

A Doctor's Appointment (18mins by car)
a) walk 20mins, bus 23mins, walk 1min (44mins)
b) 4mins walk, 19mins bus, 4mins wait, 17mins bus, 2mins walk (47mins)
c) 2mins walk, 10mins train, 4mins walk during 22mins wait, 10mins walk (55mins)
A Pre-Employment Course Session (30mins by car)
3mins walk, 14mins bus, 1min walk during 5mins wait, 9mins bus, 5mins wait, 20mins bus, 5mins walk (1hr)
Why is it that I focus so much on this one I didn't get to and refuse to acknowledge the one I did get to?
My Friend's Art Exhibition Opening (27mins by car)
To get there, I had a choice of:
a) 3mins walk, 14mins bus, 1min walk during 6mins wait, 16mins bus, 7mins walk (46mins)
b) 4mins walk, 5mins bus, 1min walk during 8mins wait, 25mins bus, 3mins walk (45mins)
To get home, I had a choice of:
a) 5mins walk, 18mins bus, 1min walk during 17mins wait, 13mins bus, 3mins walk (56mins)
b) 5mins walk, 25mins bus, 1min walk during 7mins wait, 20mins bus, 3mins walk (1hr)
It was also dark and cold.  I stayed home.
2 x Employment Service Provider Appointments (30mins by car)
I had a choice of:
a) 4mins walk, 7mins bus, 1min walk during 7mins wait, 15mins bus, 5mins wait, 5mins bus, 2mins walk during 12mins wait, 20mins train, 8mins walk (1hr23mins)
b) 3mins walk, 14mins bus, 2mins walk during 9mins wait, 14mins bus, 8mins wait, 34mins bus, 4mins walk (1hr26mins)
c) 4mins walk, 7mins bus, 1min walk during 7mins wait, 9mins bus, 1min walk during 6mins wait, 25mins bus, 1min walk during 7mins wait, 19mins bus, 5mins walk (1hr29mins)
d) none of the above
I chose (d).
My Cousin's Engagement Party (32mins by car)
To get there, I had a choice of:
a) 4mins walk, 5mins bus, 1min walk during 5mins wait, 22mins bus, 8mins wait, 19mins bus, 4mins walk (1hr7mins)
b) 3mins walk, 14mins bus, 1min walk during 12mins wait, 14mins bus, 2mins walk during 15mins wait, 20mins bus, 4mins walk (1hr22mins)
c) 3mins walk, 14mins bus, 1min walk during 5mins wait, 9min bus, 5mins wait, 5mins bus, 2mins walk during 10mins wait, 11mins train, 10mins walk (1hr12mins) 
but that didn't count for much considering my choices for getting home included:
10,13 or 21 mins walk in the dark, cold, possibly raining, plus 3 buses or 2 buses and a tram (1hr30mins - 1hr44mins)
I had also forgotten to buy any "cocktail attire" and my absolute nicest going out clothes are black jeans, a fairly casual top and either a black cardigan or a black polarfleece jacket.  I'm unsure whether I have no dressy clothes because I don't go out or if I don't go out because I have no dressy clothes.  I opted to stay home in my pjyamas.
Lunch with a Friend
lifts from friend
 All I had to do was roll out of bed and stumble into the shower and all of that stuff people do without thinking and then open my front door so my friend could take me to lunch.  Obviously this one had nothing to do with being overwhelmed by bus transfers.  I was overwhelmed by transferring myself from horizontal to vertical.
Wednesday Night & Thursday Night Theatre Performances (30mins by car)
4mins walk, 5mins bus, 1min walk during 29mins wait, 1hr1min bus, 2mins walk (1hr41mins)
That Wednesday was the first day I was no longer allowed to drive.  I took it pretty well, if you consider "pretty well" to mean sitting on the floor in a towel for a couple of hours before mustering up the strength to put on pyjamas.
 I didn't make it to these things but there's a whole heap of things I did get to.

Getting out of the house. It can be done.

31 days of getting out of the house without my driver's licence.
from least to most difficult...

Birthday Celebration & Strategic Planning Meeting - 30mins by taxi 
This was the easiest because I didn't feel like I was inconveniencing anyone and I didn't have to do any prior planning.
2 x evenings of Cabaret Festival with my Dad - lifts from dad Thank You!

A Fete & My Sister's House with my Sister - lifts from sister Thank You!

Saturday Matinee Theatre Performance with my Friend - lift from friend Thank You!

Saturday Night Theatre Performance with my Dad - lift from dad Thank You!

Dinner with Relatives - lifts from auntie Thank You!

My Friend's House with my Friend - lift from friend's partner, trains and walk with friend 
Although this involved more than an hour travelling each way, I coped fine because I was with my friend.  Thank You! & Thank You!
The Supermarket with my Friend - lifts from friend's friend Thank You!

My Friend's House (1hr4mins by car)
getting there - 4mins walk, 21mins bus, 1min walk during 11min wait, 10mins walk during 16mins wait, 47mins train, 6mins lift from friend's partner (1hr45mins)
This was not too difficult because I spent half a day getting there at my own pace and told myself it was an adventure.
Dinner with Friends (22mins by car)
getting there - 4mins walk, 21mins bus, 1min walk during 5mins wait, 20mins bus, 5mins walk, 2mins wait, 7mins train, 2mins walk (56mins)
This seemed reasonably easy because I had spent several hours on Google Maps planning how to get there and I was excited about seeing my friends.
7 x days of Voluntary Work & A Pre-Employment Course Session (30mins by car)
3mins walk, 14mins bus, 1min walk during 5mins wait, 9mins bus, 5mins wait, 20mins bus, 5mins walk (1hr)
Falling in and out of sleep is mentally and physically painful.  I'm finding it fairly difficult to make two of these trips each day which is why I've only made it 7 times out of a possible 18.  But I did it 7 times so that's something to be proud of.
A Doctor's Appointment (7mins by car)
getting there - 4mins walk, 5mins bus, 18mins walk (27mins)
getting home - 18mins walk, 21mins bus, 3mins walk (42mins)
Dinner with Friends & Theatre Performance Viewing at Cinema
lifts from friend Thank You!
I had been looking forward to this but hadn't figured out how to get there so I thought I'd just stay in bed.  I put a message (sob story) on facebook and half a dozen people offered me a lift.  I was so happy I cried.  
Friday Night Theatre Performance (32mins by car)
getting there - 2mins walk, 9mins train, 1min walk during 10mins wait, 35mins train, 9mins walk (1hr5mins)
getting to friend's house - lift from friend Thank You!
That was an epic Friday because not only did I make it to the theatre but I also performed in the show after two nights absence.  That day I helped celebrate the 16th birthday of the community centre where I volunteer and I participated in a strategic planning meeting including typing up the second half of the strategic plan.
Lunch with a Friend
lifts from friend Thank You!
All I had to do was get to the front door.  I made it easier for myself by cutting out the difficult part - stumbling into the shower.  I was able to change from pyjamas into clothes and stumble out the front door.
 I made it to all these things but unfortunately I didn't make it to all these things.

"Just catch the bus", he said.

I was lamenting my inability to stay awake while driving and wondering aloud how I would get somewhere.  "Why don't you just catch the bus?" suggested my friend.  THE bus?  THE bus?  There's no bus that picks you up and takes you where you want to go.  Catching the bus is not like catching a cold.  If you haven't used any mode of transport other than your car, try getting somewhere using public transport before you suggest I "just catch the bus".

I should clarify that when I refer to "my friend", it is not the same person each time.  I'm venting my frustration about things said by many different people.  This is a great forum to share the opinions I don't share with my "my friend"s.  That is, until they read it and discover that I have opinions and they chase me with swords and pitchforks.

In the last 31 days I have still managed to get out of the house a bit which is much better than last time.  It makes a huge difference being able to picture in my mind how close the bus stops are.  I just have to get across the front lawn, up the hill and around the corner.

Maybe this is significant for other things that I find overwhelming.  If I can visualise how to complete the first step, I will probably take it but if it is too far away or too complicated, I will probably not try.  I think it was the main reason I didn't make it to some important things recently.  Looking at it this way, I can give myself a bit of a break for feeling overwhelmed about getting to things.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

People who refuse prize money

I am such a non-gambler that I can't comprehend the mentality of a gambler at all.  I got ten $1 scratchie tickets for my birthday.  I read the details of how to win but there were no instructions.  Each card had a noughts and crosses grid and you could win by getting three of the same number in a row, column or diagonal.  I assumed you had to choose which row, column or diagonal to reveal but the girl at the newsagent said you scratch the card until you can see everything including the barcode then you use the machine to check if you've won.

Doesn't that take away the mystery of wondering if a different choice would have revealed three of a kind?  It means you don't have to be careful not to scratch too many panels and you don't have to figure out if you've won because a machine can do it for you. In fact, you could probably get away with ONLY scratching the barcode.

I couldn't see any matches on 7 of the tickets and the machine confirmed I was 'NOT A WINNER' seven times.  Luckily, I didn't take it personally.  It does sound better than 'LOSER' but it doesn't fill me with optimism to be told I'm not a winner. 

1 of the remaining 3 tickets earned me a free $1 ticket.  I'd just scratched my way through 10 tickets so it wasn't a great prize.  My fingers were a bit sore from gripping the coin and my arms were hurting because they are weak and pathetic and can hardly even hold a hair brush to brush my hair.  I'm convinced that this ridiculous muscle weakness has something to do with my fatigue but what would I know?

1 of the remaining 2 tickets could be exchanged for $2 and the final ticket was a winner of...$2.  The newsagent girl confirmed this by saying "four dollars".  I have to admit that I was slightly excited because I'm terrible at maths yet I managed to do this equation without a calculator.  I looked at the girl, she looked at me, I looked at her.

Ooh, I haven't gone off on enough tangents lately but that reminds me of a song I like.  It is a great one for hiking or while sitting around a campfire. 

The Bear with Groovy Shoes

Note: Each verse is sung by the leader (then echoed by the group) then the whole verse is repeated by everyone.

The other day (the other day)
I met a bear (I met a bear)
With groovy shoes (with groovy shoes)
A smashing pair (a smashing pair)

The other day I met a bear
With groovy shoes: A smashing pair

 [This isn't part of the song but I just realised how much easier it is to stir a small amount of boiling water with coffee and sugar then add the rest of the boiling water and some milk.  Why have I been waiting until the cup is full to the brim before I try to stir it?  I will probably forget this discovery and write about it next time I discover.]

I looked at him (I looked at him)
He looked at me (He looked at me)
I smiled at him (I smiled at him)
He smiled at me (He smiled at me)

I looked at him, he looked at me.
I smiled at him, he smiled at me.

He said to me (he said to me)
"Why don't you run? ("Why don't you run?)
I see you have (I see you have)
Not got a gun." (not got a gun.")

He said to me "Why don't you run?
I see you have not got a gun."

And so I ran (and so I ran)
Right out of there (right out of there)
But right behind (but right behind)
Me was that bear (me was that bear)

And so I ran right out of there
But right behind me was that bear.

In front of me (in front of me)
There was a tree (there was a tree)
A great big tree (a great big tree)
In front of me (in front of me)

In front of me there was a tree:
A great big tree in front of me.

And so I jumped (and so I jumped)
Into the air (into the air)
But I missed that branch (but I missed that branch)
Away up there (away up there)

And so I jumped into the air
But I missed that branch away up there.

Now don't you fret (now don't you fret)
Now don't you frown (now don't you frown)
'Cos I caught that branch ('cos I caught that branch)
On the way back down (on the way back down)

Now don't you fret, now don't you frown
'Cos I caught that branch on the way back down.

So now I sit (so now I sit)
Up the great big tree (up the great big tree)
And the great big bear (and the great big bear)
Looks up at me (looks up at me)

So now I sit up the great big tree
And the great big bear looks up at me.

The moral of (the moral of)
This story is (this story is)
Don't talk to bears | with | groo-oo-vy shoes.

Continued from above...
The girl repeated "four dollars" and I felt like she was asking me to pay HER instead of the other way round.  More blank staring ensued.  She then asked "Do you want the money?".  What do you mean 'Do I want the money?'  It's MY money!  I just won the money as a prize.  I'm not giving it to YOU.  Why WOULDN'T I want the money?  Do people hand over winning tickets then choose NOT to accept their prize?  What sort of person, having won money, REFUSES the money?  A gambler, that's who.

It was like I was the only person to ever contemplate NOT buying scratchie tickets with my prize money.  The girl looked defeated while handing over my money; as if she wasn't going to get paid that week because she had failed to adequately promote gambling.

If you've been following closely, or if you scroll up and re-read because some idiot went off on tangents from tangents, then you will know that I still had 1 scratchie ticket left.  Did I win $20,000?  Tune in after the break to find out.

It was a short break.  No, I did not win $20,000 but I did win.....another free $1 ticket!!!  Ooh, the ecstasy.

I am in no way ungrateful for the birthday presents bestowed on me by my dear, wonderful friend but by now I was sick of scratchie tickets and wanted to go home.  My friend actually gave me heaps of amazing birthday presents, the scratchies being the ONLY thing I didn't adore.  I was overjoyed with the other gifts and even cried a bit because they were so beautiful.  I wanted to give her a huge hug to thank her for her thoughtfulness but she was elbow deep in about 50 kilos of mince meat and was having way too much fun pounding it with her fists.  Oh, the jokes we made.

So, what did I gain from my second free $1 ticket?  I was lucky enough to win ANOTHER free $1 ticket.  Was this a trick to see if I would be SO OBSESSIVE that I kept playing until I'd scratched ALL the tickets?  I didn't have to scratch any of them but I did.  I got wise to the little test though, so I threw the last scratchie in the bin, because I don't need to complete everything.  No, I'm just kidding.  I'm coming up with this rubbish as I write.  I won $6 on the last scratchie.

The other girl working in the newsagent served me this time.  "Six dollars.  Do you want the money or the scratchie tickets?"  GIVE ME THE MONEY! 

I assume that my friend spent $10 on the ten $1 scratchie tickets.  Thirteen scratchie tickets and a lot of icky scratched off scratchie residue later and I had "won" $10.  That's probably seen as a good result.  Hmmm.  I am still convinced that I am "winning" more by not gambling.  I tried to argue that once and apparently it's not winning if you don't enter the competetion.  I think it's not winning if your expenditure equals or exceeds your income or if you pay money and receive no goods or services in return.

It was a lovely thought to give me a chance at becoming rich but I think I'd have to say that I'm anti-gambling. 

What makes it awkward?

The Missing Claws: A Modern Story
When the bear has no claws.  Being a bear.  When no claws are sharp.  When the bear hugs.  That day when the girl with pigtails turns into a pig to disguise herself from the bear.  When liking the pig.  That sudden impulse where the bear kills the pig even though the bear has no claws.  That year when it is the year of the pig.  When the bear has no claws.   
This is the manner in which people are writing and talking these days.  I don't understand it.  I can't tell what people are trying to convey.  If they write "That awkward moment when you trip over.", what do they mean?  Tell me about that awkward moment.  What about it?  Why is it awkward?  Do you like it?  Do you hate it?  Have you forgotten the rest of the sentence?  

Here are some options:

"That awkward moment when you trip over is funny but when you dance I want to hide."

"Do you remember that awkward moment when you trip over at the start of the video?"

"I've always wondered why you insist on eating cake during that awkward moment when you trip over."

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Chico baby in an elevator

I saw a chico baby stuck to an inside wall of a glass elevator.  I smiled.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Product Review #2 - Liquid Highlighters

So pretty.
I really like highlighting and I really like new stationery.  I found two packs of 3 highlighters at my house and was about to start using them when I realised they had all dried up.  That's 6 different highlighters - all dead.  There was nothing I could do.  It was too late.

Luckily it wasn't long before I came across a Smiggle shop.  They sell stationery.  Sometimes they sell other stuff like talking clocks but they should really stick to what they're good at.  I found a pack of 6 liquid highlighters.  They are the most glorious highlighters I have ever owned.  They're also scented so I feel like I'm being reminded of 6 different things from my childhood but I can't figure out what.

They make me so happy it's like I'm on drugs.  Maybe I am because there's a sticker on the back that says "liquid high x 6".

Product Review #1 - Talking Clock

Wheeee! Time flies.
Sometimes I don't wake up because I don't hear my alarm.  Other times I hear an alarm noise and fall asleep before I realise its significance.  Then there are times when I wake up to my alarm, tell myself no-one cares if I'm alive and fall asleep again. For a long time I've thought that recording a message for my partly conscious self might be an alarm I'd wake up to.

When I saw that you can easily record your own voice on this clock I bought it immediately.  I figured it'd be easier than recording my voice to my computer, burning it onto a CD and putting the CD in my CD Alarm Clock.  I planned to deliver an inspirational speech which was guaranteed to connect deeply with my future self every time I wanted to stop sleeping and leap out of bed.

I set the time and noticed that it was difficult to accurately position the alarm hand at a specific time.  It also ticked loudly.  I can't stand ticking clocks.  I tested the volume and quality of the recording with a test message of something lame like "Good Morning, You should get up because it's fun to be awake!".  I only just managed to fit it in.  That meaningless greeting was almost too much for the little clock because it only records 6 seconds worth.

How was I going to convey the beauty and splendour of emerging into a new day from a peaceful slumber within 6 seconds?  I bet you can't even record a decent "Good Morning Vietnaaaaaaaaaaaam" lasting less than 6 seconds.

The playback was really quiet.  As quiet as the ticking was loud.  That makes no sense.  Neither does a clock that only records for 6 seconds.

I do not recommend this product.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Small Things #3 - Toast Print

I sat down with a bowl of soup and two pieces of toast.  I couldn't be bothered getting a plate so I put my toast on the clear plastic table protector.  When I picked up the second piece of toast there was a patch of condensation.  I drew some lines and dots thus creating a masterpiece.  I thought so anyway.

Toast Print

Incomparable Cabaret

Now for another rant about judging...

I experienced two cabaret shows by the Class of Cabaret 2012 at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.  There were about 30 young people divided into the two shows; Year 11 or 12 students from 14 different schools across the state.

Each performer spoke about something important to them then performed a song, sometimes also dancing or playing a musical instrument.  I enjoyed the first performance so much that I went back for the second one.  Not because it was all happy, lively, feel good tunes.  I enjoyed it because it was real people talking about things that were real to them and sharing of themselves via song.

I felt so priveleged to experience two shows where more than a dozen young people performed, one after another, without being compared to each other.  No-one got judged.  No-one got voted off.  The focus was not on who had "the best voice" or who was "the best performer".  Every performer was unique and special.  Every performer sang from the heart. 

These days it is common to see people on TV being compared and judged on their singing.  It was so refreshing to be able to appreciate the performances and hear what the performers had to say without someone coming along afterwards to say they didn't like the quality of the singing.

I hope people realise there are shows out there where you can appreciate a performance without having to compare, judge or vote.

They tricked me into judging

This "article" from the "news"paper was so bad that I forgot to include it with the worst articles of the week.  It still makes me shudder.

There I was, minding my own business, when I suddenly got slapped in the face with:

The question appeared beneath a photo of an actual human being.

I was being asked to contemplate whether or not I thought a stranger, a woman I knew nothing about, might, in my opinion, be fat.  How is that any of my business?  What right do I have to go around deciding such things?  Do people really do that?  What would it matter if I thought she was fat?  What would it matter if anyone thought she was fat?  Is it bad to be fat?  How much body fat makes a body "fat"?  Do I think she's fat?  Oh no, I just asked myself if she's fat.  They got to me with their shock tactics.  I really don't feel qualified to judge her fatness or lack thereof.

No, wait, they weren't directly asking readers for their opinion.  It was just a headline, like 'Do bears like honey?' then you turn to the page about bears and there's a story about how they do or don't like honey.  I feel so much better about the world.  It's just them imposing their views about the poor woman's body, they're not actually imploring people to evaluate and judge her.

Fair enough, I'll see what they have to say when I get to the Body and Soul liftout.

Really?!  The cover of the Body and Soul liftout was this question next to a photo of the woman.  They really are asking me if I think the woman in the photo is fat.  Are they allowed to do that?  Surely not.  Am I supposed to be classifying people this way?

The article included another full page photo of the woman, whose name is Melanie, which is good to know after you've just evaluated the size of her body.  The article basically said that some expert labels Melanie as slightly overweight.  There was even a section on the dangers of being overweight and what you should do if you thought you were overweight as if having a Body Mass Index of a certain number means you should whip yourself into (a smaller) shape, you big fatty, even if you're still perfectly fit and healthy.

As if that wasn't enough, they had to go and ask people "Do you think this woman is fat?"  Surely that's not allowed.  Surely there are rules against that.  People actually responded.  They responded as if they had a right to respond.

They were shown a photo of Melanie and told that her body represents the body of the average Australian woman.  I can only assume they didn't see Melanie in real life because at least one of them would have had at least one black eye from Melanie punching her after hearing the appalling comment she made.  I can only comfort myself in thinking that Gemma, 19, was being sarcastic.  If she was for real, I...I...I just don't know.

So, Gemma, do you think this woman is fat?

Does she mean South Australia: The Festival State?  Well, being in the same state as Melanie, I have just enjoyed some shows at the Cabaret Festival.  I felt quite comfortable in the audience, I was very much at ease laughing and applauding...oh, wait, she doesn't mean SA.  What state is she on about?

How disgustingly, horribly, morbidly gigantic is the woman she was referring to?

She must have really let herself go.

Does she even fit on one page of the newspaper?

Maybe Gemma was trolling.  Please don't be serious.  Meanwhile, now I've gone and judged Melanie's body as not fat.  I didn't want to judge.  It was a trap.  They made me judge.  This is one of the reasons I don't read the newspaper.

UPDATE: I can't believe I forgot about this bit...

YAY!  Let's all judge her body together!!!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Blarpio is not responsible

Wellness in the Workplace
June 14

left hand side - Grief as it is now.
right hand side - Grief as I want it to be.

The picture on the left is me holding onto the strings of some big messy intermingled balloon clouds.  Each cloud is grief but I don't know what it is.  The grey patch below the clouds is covering up some of the things I figured out I might be grieving over.  I came up with the list during the workshop as people mentioned things that might cause grief such as not having a job.  I had only considered death to be a cause of grief so I was able to figure out other things that might have affected me.

I think a lot of events, thoughts and beliefs have been attributed to having a mental illness.  I have only recently realised that calling everything "Plorabi" or "Liporba" or "Roibalp" or "Blarpio" or "Bipolar" doesn't help me process it any better.  In the picture where I'm holding onto the strings, I used to think it was like I had a deformed hand that grips tightly to strings whereas now I think it's like there's nothing wrong with my hand and I'd like to look at what's going on in the clouds so I can stop carrying them round with me.

The picture on the right is me having let go of the grief but knowing it is still there.  I am grounded and the grief is well defined and separated and the tangled mess of each one is concentrated into a smaller space.  When we discussed my picture as a group we realised that I want my grief arranged in the same configuration as the southern cross.  I don't ask for much.

Boundaries and Qualities

I attend a workshop called 'Wellness in the Workplace' and one of the things we do is draw pictures and share them with the group.

Feb 16
I can't remember what this picture means so I want to write what the others mean before I forget.

The left hand side of each picture always represents how things are currently and the right hand side how I want them to be.  Presumably I wanted my boundaries to be more consistent.

May 17
Qualities needed for a chosen job

Before drawing the picture we discussed what would be needed for our chosen job.  I chose Child Care as my job and we came up with the following personal qualities (left column) and other prerequisites (right column).  I had to circle the qualities I wanted to work on then draw them.

Authority & Patience
The picture on the left represents my current authority and patience - qualities I don't have at their best yet.  The picture on the right shows how I want my authority and patience to be.  The coloured outline appears around the people who are misbehaving - there is only one coloured outline on the right.

Although I haven't worked in child care, my experience of looking after my nephews, performing puppet shows in primary schools and leading children and youth in scouting has shown me that I need to show more authority. 

Qualities I don't have at their best yet

I am on the left.  The child is on the right.  In response to them mucking around I have joined in as though I am their friend.

The child is still mucking around but I want them to behave.  I don't feel like I can tell them to behave when I've become friends with them.

The child's behaviour has become increasingly worse.  I don't feel like I can tell them to behave because I'm scared of them.

Qualities as I want them to be

I am on the left.  The child is on the right.  In response to them mucking around I have told them that their behaviour is inappropriate.

I am able to talk with the child because they understand that I am not a friend who mucks around with them but someone they respect.  I am there to listen to them and support them.

The child and I are able to responsibly have fun.

I'm not entirely sure where patience fitted in but it could be that if I am patient in earning the respect of the child, I will be able to show authority.

Facebook Friend Payments and the Forever Sneezing Man

What, pray tell, is a "Facebook Friend Payment"?  Do people pay their facebook friends for agreeing to appear as a friend on facebook?  If I don't make any friend payments, am I liable to lose my friends?  Or are the payments made in the currency of friends rather than money?  "I'll trade you 3 of my friends for a pizza"? "How many friends do you charge for a new stereo system?"

Facebook Friend Payments

Why is this man about to sneeze?  I have never seen him sneeze but he is constantly preparing to sneeze.  He is in a state of "Ah" where he never reaches "choo".  If he does eventually sneeze one day, he will shower his sneeze all over the customers entering the lolly shop beneath him and he won't be able to cover his mouth and nose because his hands are full of lollipops and the sneeze will get caught up in his moustache and his glasses will fly off and smash into tiny pieces and it will be an all round disaster of catastrophic proportions.

Hurry up and sneeze!

Recovery Rant

When I first saw this poster, I thought I had found the answer.  I wasn't entirely sure what the question was but I figured this had to be the answer.

Of course!  Recovery isn't about creating something out of the scraps that remain.  Recovery is about developing meaning and purpose despite being scrappy.  If I just build on those lists of factors, I will become a new and improved person.

I thought it was great at the time (October 2011) but I think it's absolute rubbish now.

It's much more complicated to give a concise account of what I think now.

I guess it's somewhat defined by what I don't think:
  • I don't think I have been destroyed by an illness or that an illness has had catasrophic effects on me.  
  • I don't think that focussing on limits is a good way to progress.  
  • I don't think professional assistance is any better than the help of friends and family.  
  • I don't think medication is really that important considering I'm not actually a broken, defective person suffering from an illness.
  • I don't think I need to recover from or to anything.  
I need to interpret events differently and they'll have a different effect on my life.  The way I see myself is not conducive to me living the life I want and deserve. That doesn't mean I am ill.  It means I need to work on how I see myself and how I can live to fulfil what I believe is important.  I know that the methods used in Narrative Therapy can help me to do that.  I've already seen them in action.

How would I build an internal factor of hope in order to be a better person because the person I am now is merely a shell after the insides were hollowed out by the catastrophic effects of a mental illness?  "Right, today I shall work on my hope." *crosses fingers, squints eyes and thinks really hard about hope*

I might leave it at that for the first time I've actually put my thoughts into words on this topic.

Crossword Crisis

Such is my need for positive reinforcement that if I don't get any feedback, I go crazy...

Here I am, having finished a crossword, knowing that "nosser" is not a word, realising the newspaper containing the answers is not the one I'm holding because I gave that paper away. 

If I experience this much despair and disillusionment from not being able to check my crossword answers, no wonder I struggled without timely feedback on my anatomy and physiology assignments at uni.  My lecturer was so overworked that by the time we got our assignments back we had already handed up the next one.  It did not help me learn.

As for the crossword, while I was playing with my camera I noticed I could change "nosser" to "tosser" and "lean" to "list" thus "_g_n_a"  was actually "_g_n_s" so it could become "agents".  Crisis averted.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

I'm so glad I know she wanted a cashmere cardigan

The Advertiser sent me a letter advising me that I was under no obligation to receive free newspapers for a week.  It was in one of those brightly coloured envelopes addressed to "The Householder" so I didn't open it until it was too late to cancel the newspaper deliveries.  No obligation?  They threw a new newspaper on my driveway every day for seven days!  I couldn't sweep them onto the street and pretend they weren't mine.

I tried reading the newspapers but it was painful.  I photographed some of the worst articles and I'm slowly working through a week's worth of crosswords.  The photos didn't turn out very well so you can't actually read the articles.  No loss there.

A selection of the worst articles

Headline: Monster moggy claws at record

Summary: Someone's cat is big.

Headline: When it comes to beards it's only a matter of trust

Summary: Some people don't trust men with beards.

Linked Articles: To find out if men with beards can be trusted they asked 5 men with beards.  At least the men gave decent answers and Ryan was funny.

Headline: Retailers hopeful of $30m spend at sales

Summary: A lady waited for a shop to open.

Caption: BARGAIN HUNTER: Marlene Taylor waited alone for David Jones to open for the start of its sales yesterday to buy a cashmere cardigan.

Caption: "Our clever dog Charlie enjoyed reading the TV guide" Gwen Kelsey says.

Summary: Someone has a pet dog.

Headline: Stopping all over

Summary: Traffic Lights: They go red.

Headline: Life is unreal

Summary: A girl was given a new apartment to accomodate the film crew of a reality show.

Headline: Blockbuster concert fit for a Queen

Summary: A concert was NOT fit for the Queen.

(Excerpt below)

Headline: Sequins make a dazzling comeback

Summary: Someone likes sequins.

Headline: Bigger spend-ups now suit men

Summary: Men are buying more suits.

Headline: Men return to shopping

Summary: Men are buying more suits (still, the day after the first article about men buying more suits)

And finally, the week in sports...

Summary: People pulled funny faces.

Simple "meals" that are better than starving.

"Baked Beans are not a meal.  
Toast is not a meal.  
Baked beans AND toast?  
That's a meal."
This advice from a friend has really helped lessen the guilt I feel about not having cooking skills.  I just imagine I'm like a twenty-something bachelor living alone instead of a hm..hang on, I kind of fit in that category but I'm female instead of male. 

Some "meals" I can make without falling asleep or losing strength in my limbs and/or neck...

 Baked Beans and Toast
The good thing is that it doesn't really matter in which order I do things.
  • Put beans in bowl
  • Put bread in toaster
  • Microwave beans for 1-2 minutes
  • Toast bread until it pops up
  • Combine beans and toast (and cheese if available)
Baked beans and toast?  
That's a meal.

EasyMac Macaroni Cheese
Reading the directions overwhelms me but luckily I can count to 4.  I just have to remember what the numbers relate to.  The whole time I'm making it I keep counting through from 1 to 4 and I normally check the packet to make sure I have the numbers assigned to the right steps.  I'm writing this not to highlight how demented I am at cooking but because maybe it will help me figure out why I find it so difficult.
  • 1 put macaroni in bowl
  • 2/3 of a cup of cold water in bowl
  • 4 minutes in the microwave
  • put cheese in bowl (I can do that bit without a number because without it I would have Macaroni Water instead of Macaroni Cheese)
Macaroni and Cheese?  
That's a meal.

2 Minute Noodles
Again, the directions seem backwards and they confuse me so I find it easier to think about what I need to do - cover noodles in water and heat.
  • Unlike the EasyMac, this one requires boiling water so I put the kettle on first. Most of the time. Sometimes I forget and have to do it after I've opened the noodle packet.
  • Put noodles in bowl.
  • Cover noodles in water (this avoids the hassle of having to measure a particular amount)
  • Put noodles in microwave (sometimes I forget how long to put them in for until I remember they're called 2 minute noodles and I praise myself for being such a genius)
  • Tip noodles into a strainer then back into the bowl.
  • Add Hoisin Sauce.
Noodles and Hoisin Sauce?  
That's a meal.

I found out recently that spreading butter on frozen bread works better than spreading butter on fresh bread so I don't even need to have fresh bread or defrost frozen bread.  UPDATE: My friend read this and excitedly said "Yeah, I discovered that too." I had to tell her that she was the one who told me.
  • Switch sandwich press on to heat up
  • Butter pieces of bread
  • Slice pieces of tomato
  • Put bread in sandwich press - butter side down
  • Add tomato and cheese
  • Top with bread - butter side up
  • Toast in sandwich press
Toastie with Cheese and Tomato?
That's a meal.

The next one is a bit of a stretch but at least it's green.

Mixed Lettuce
I had used the last of a tomato to make a toastie and at some point I chomped through the remainder of a cucumber so the only fresh food I had was a bag of lettuce.  Fancy lettuce though.  I also had half a lemon.  I'm still convinced that the other half was used to make a salad dressing.  I should really ask my friend how she did that but I had a go because I was feeling adventurous.
  • Cut the crusty edge off the lemon.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice into the bag of lettuce leaves.
  • Add some pepper.  For the record, I added too much pepper.
Mixed Lettuce and Salad Dressing?
That's a meal.

I may have taken the "a AND b equals a meal" theory a little too far with the lettuce but it's certainly a better choice than not eating.

That's a summary of where I'm at.  When I say "I can't cook" or "I don't know how to cook" or "I'm too tired to cook" I actually mean "If I'm not too fatigued I can combine a couple of simple things and follow a couple of simple steps".