Strip that down…

I went to the Osteopath today.  No, don’t be silly, you don’t need to send me flowers, I’m alright, I just have a bung knee. I know, I’m a trouper, I’ll battle on through with my injury, carry on soldier, so strong.  *closes eyes, lowers head and nods slowly* It’s just the way I am, I have to keep on going, my people need me.  OK, enough, seriously, I’m fine. As I was sitting in the quiet, peaceful waiting room, I glanced around the room and noticed all the things that I love to see in waiting rooms.  Magazines (all relatively recent and there were some gems in there like “Woman’s Day” and “New Idea”,  score!), tasteful interior design (nothing too over-the-top, just calming colours with simple furniture),  a water jug with cucumber floating in it with some small glasses in case I get thirsty, little extra items for sale (wheat packs, vitamins, muscle rubs, little spiky balls used for muscles – am sure these have a technical name, but I prefer to refer to them as “spiky balls for muscles”)…then I spotted it. Nestled amongst the calming photographs of nature, there was a photograph that I assume was meant to convey an Osteopath treating a patient. My heart began to race, my eyes widened, my palms started to sweat…the legs of the patient were…*gasp*…naked! A la Naturalle, starkers, bare, free from clothing, as mother nature intended.  Now, I am no prude (if I am completely honest I am actually a giant prude but for the sake of this post, we shall continue as though I am not), I have no issue with a health professional requiring clothing to be removed, I just am an awkward naked person.  I’m even awkward when it’s just me and the bathroom mirror.  If I happen to glance at myself in the mirror as I go about my morning routine I apologise to myself for having to deal with allllll of that, like a sincere apology, begging myself for forgiveness and making all sorts of promises about it never happening again.  I’ve never really had the ‘bod’ that screamed “Free me!  Let all see the amazing human body that is hidden under these clothes!” and this is where I think the issue begins.

I am a master at changing my outfit without baring flesh…you should have seen me in my teens, I could change from my school uniform into my PE gear like a ninja.  I can change from swimming togs back into my clothes without showing so much as an elbow. I have mastered this art and have considered putting it on my CV as a skill, however, as I work with children, I do not think that this would be considered a skill that was advantageous to my career.  There are several places where you are required to ‘disrobe” in this life.  You know, when you follow a professional into a room and they smile at you nicely, gesture at a hook/chair/shelf/cupboard and flippantly tell you to get naked before smiling again and closing the door quietly.  I have made my way through life trying as hard as I can to keep my skin covered up so when I hear the words “just strip down and I’ll be back in a moment” I enter a world of panic and fear where I look repeatedly back and forth between the closing door and previously mentioned hook/chair/shelf/cupboard hoping that it isn’t so…

There are two main reasons why this fills me with dread.  1. I’m a bit stupid and I’m also a bit too concerned with looking as stupid as I actually am.  And, 2. I’m embarrassed about being naked.  Let’s start with number 1…

“Just strip down and I’ll be back in a moment”, says the Doctor, Massage Therapist, Osteopath, Chiropractor, Dentist (no, wait, that’s not right!), Nurse, Airport Security Officer – the list goes on… I smile and nod and watch the door close then I panic.  If I’m in for a facial, do I need to strip right down?!  I mean, they are going to be working on my face, right? But I don’t want to seem like a prude or like I am just an annoying customer who doesn’t listen and does whatever she likes….?!? But then, I don’t want to be starkers and then for her (or him, but please God, make it a ‘her’) to be questioning my understanding of a ‘facial’ the whole way through… This is what I mean by being a bit stupid and being overly concerned with looking as stupid as I actually am. I know…stupid, right?

Number 2 is purely a vanity thing. As mentioned in previous posts, I have plenty of junk in my trunk, a ‘cuddly’ figure with ‘strong’ legs, plenty to love (and all the other euphemisms for a chunky lady).  My constant fear is that someone is going to let out a gasp when they see parts of my body.  Not the gasp that says “Wow, you’re fantastic”, but the one that says “Holy hell woman! When did this get so bad?!”  I have talked about this with many friends and they all give me the same kind, sweet, caring lie – “Don’t worry, they’ve seen much worse!” (with an encouraging smile and nod) and they usually follow it up with – “Don’t be so silly, you’re lovely!” – I know I’m lovely, I’ve built my life on being lovely, but I have also built my life on pizza, cheese, chocolate, wine, lollies, pasta, bread, creamy sauces, pies, burgers and fries with aioli and life doesn’t process all that goodness so well!

Just to put your minds at ease…I didn’t need to ‘strip down’ at all.  I was fully clothed throughout the appointment which filled me with sunshine and happiness (that and the fact that my knee felt great) as I danced out of there in a scene that resembled that scene in Titanic when Jack takes Rose down the third class and there is booze and Irish music – ahhhh, 1990’s Leo is my favourite.  There was a brief moment where the Osteopath questioned the stretch of my jeans, but I quickly assured him with a hysterical, nervous laugh that they were ‘super stretchy and there was no need to remove them’.  If he was unsure about this, the wide eyes and forced smile resembling that of Jack Nicholson in Shining ensured that he didn’t press the issue.

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Cry Baby

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 5.51.14 pmIs it just me?  Am I the biggest baby out there?  I think I have a serious issue.  I cry all the time. ALL the time. It’s like I have no control over the liquid that pours out of my eyes. There’s the obvious things – funerals, sad movies, baby ducks following their Mum, when you think you have half a bottle of wine and turns out you only have enough to half fill a glass, so fricken sad –  It’s normal to show emotion, I get that, but there are things that make me cry that are just stupid.

Bagpipes. What the hell? Bagpipes?!? Damn those nasally, droning pipes, they get me every time. Christmas Parades are a killer – it’s all lolly scrambles and tinsel until the bagpipes start a-wailing and those snare drums start ‘rat-ta-ta-tat-ing”. My daughter did highland dancing for a while and I was eternally thankful when she decided that she wanted to move back to ballet, as I was a weeping mess once a week as she flung her legs around the place in her tartan kilt.  I think some of the other mothers thought I had a strong aversion to tartan and knee high socks.

Then there’s the Haka.   Strong men chanting in Maori, stamping their feet, waving their arms and leaping around, not exactly tear jerking, but it gets me every time, even worse when its a group of school kids – holy hell!  I staunchly try to think of other things to stop the tears from brewing  (shopping lists, my sock that has rolled down inside my boot, that tooth at the back of my mouth that most definitely needs looking at…) but nothing will stop my eyes from filling.  I don’t know whether it’s the fact that kids are doing it or the whole spiritual background of the Haka itself? Either way I try my hardest to hang on  in there until that last ‘Hi’, and quietly congratulate myself if I can manage to sneakily wipe the tears away without anyone noticing.

Singing is another trigger.  Don’t get me wrong, I can listen to the radio without sobbing, but when people stand up to sing in front of an audience, it’s like a feel all their tension and my throat begins to tighten and I start to make that weird upside down smile, the once where you kind of pull the lips into your teeth and jut your chin out – not the most attractive of looks.  When there is a mass group of singers it’s twenty times worse – school choirs, adult choirs, church choirs, when internationally renowned pop stars reveal a massive gospel choir in the middle of one of their slower hits (don’t try tell me that when Michael Jackson brought out the gospel choir in ‘Heal The World’ you didn’t feel anything – you monster!).  Even listening to the kids sing high pitched, sweet, sappy school songs at my kids school assemblies makes me start blinking uncontrollably and try hard to find that kid that is picking his or her nose so I can focus on the spread of germs and the fact that they are still so young and blissfully unaware of how picking ones nose is reserved for private times – I see all your shocked faces, don’t judge me for being honest about the fact that I pick my nose in private – there are some boogers that will not come out with a polite nose blow, and you don’t want those suckers flying out at inappropriate times!

So, now we have all addressed the fact that I really am an over-emotional freak (who picks her nose in private – don’t worry, I wash my hands! Geez!)  and we all feel comfortable with that label – yeah, I’m good, I can own that – can we move onto the issue of just having teary eyes?! Too cold? – tears. Too sunny? – tears. Something funny? – tears. Windy? – tears. Like I said, it’s a serious issue!  I am constantly having to explain that I am actually ok and not losing my grip on life (it’s hard to make people believe this on a good day, so when I have tears pouring down my face, the struggle is real!).  To make matters worse, I wear glasses on most days, so if it’s cold, they fog up – like the inside of a beaten up 1984 Ford Laser on a winters morning…misty fog takes over the lenses and I can not see a thing. If I happen to have contacts in then there’s a high risk of one just getting washed away in the waterfalls that pour out of my eyes.

My mother (who, interestingly, has similar issues to me – now we know where to throw that finger of blame! – although I don’t recall her picking her nose, we’ll give my Dad the credit for that bad habit.) used to say that my bladder was too close to my eyes, maybe she was right?  Maybe this is an issue that needs to be addressed?! An unusual medical case?! Or maybe Frankie Valli was wrong all along, and big girls actually DO cry. Either way, I have no option other than to follow the advice that Justin Timberlake gave me (yes, I believe he speaks to me through song) back in 2002, and cry him a river daily.

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Winter is coming.

This is the post excerpt.

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With the end of May comes the beginning of winter. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate winter. Yes, there are the cold nights, wet days, freezing mornings and endless days of being trapped inside, but wait, there’s more…

Winter is by far my favourite season.  I love the cold, I love the frost, I love snuggling up under duvets and blankets in new PJ’s, I love getting home and pulling the curtains – if I am honest I love pulling the curtains so that I feel no shame at putting on previously mentioned PJ’s at a ridiculously early time.  I’m not going to lie, winter is great because you have every excuse in the book to be a sloth. It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s wet…and this makes me so happy!

Let’s start with the fashion.  Being a womanly woman (fat, ok, I mean fat.  I am a fat woman, with arms that wobble, a belly that jiggles and legs like the Mum in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” – which by the way, is a brilliant movie) the layers that are required for winter are glorious! Long pants – boom, take that chubby legs and cankles, you are no longer on display! Oh, don’t get me wrong, people still know that I have chubby legs but I get to cover them up.  Describe my legs?  Now, here is where I find it hard. Legs are meant to be bigger at the top and slim down as you near the ankle, but, you see, mine do not.  My legs resemble a pair of pork sausages. They are plump, full and dimply  the whole way down – I have knees, I have ankles, but they are not really visible because my legs just sit like two plump sausages under my bum.  But, they are two functional legs that allow me to walk, skip and sometimes run (ok, ok, walk quickly) from place to place. Anywho, come the winter months, those puppies are all covered up – nice!  Layers of tops, cardi’s, jackets etc…”Must keep warm, so layer me up!” Arms are covered, tummy is smothered in layers and boob cleavage is hidden under higher necklines and scarves. Oh, scarves – how I love scarves.  I have over 25 scarves.  I probably only wear about 7 of them but I pretty much have a scarf in every shade.  I successfully conquered my goal of finding a scarf in a particular shade of mustard a couple of weeks ago, thank you, it was a huge achievement for me and the pride I had when I wore that scarf was enormous.  It’s my favourite scarf at the moment – shhhh, don’t tell Big Red.  Big Red has been in my life for over 10 years and is still going strong.  I love him, but Ol’ Mustard is numero uno in my scarf ranking right now. (I will always love you Big Red).

Next on the list of what makes winter so freaking amazing is TV. With the introduction of Netflix into my life, I am constantly dealing with the struggle of what to watch – So. Many. Choices!  With winter being so very cold and miserable (cue shivering children standing over a fire in an old oil drum in the snow somewhere in urban LA) , sometimes the only thing (yes, the ONLY thing) to do is watch TV.  TV watching is made even more delicious when you add PJ’s, snuggly blankets and wine, I mean, coffee, I mean herbal tea, ah, fuck it, I really mean wine. There are so many movies and TV series that are so damn watchable – there are also plenty of them that are so God damn awful, yet I find I am unable to stop watching (Geordie Shore, you will be the death of me!).  I sometimes hope for a minor respiratory infection so that I am ordered to spend a week on bedrest – imagine the Netflix hours I could clock up in a week of bedrest.  (*stares off into the distance with a blissful look of peace on face*)

FOOOOOOOOD! Summer months are spent enjoying the fresh, ripe, sweet nectar of delectable fruits, and we all love a good BBQ, but come winter, those options just aren’t available.  Fruit isn’t as heavenly, BBQ’s are just ridiculous in the cold and all we are left with is good old fashioned comfort food. Soups, red wine,  cheesy pastas, red wine, Eggs on buttery toast, red wine (obviously not at breakfast though…right?), pulled pork, red wine, fondue (fuck me, fondue is the food of the Gods!), red wine…the list goes on. Plus all the warm cups of coffee and tea that one must consume throughout the bitterly cold days to keep up ones strength.  Then there are those nights when you get home and realise that the fridge has consumed every possible dinner option and you have to (yes, you MUST) order pizza! Pizza that comes straight to your door (often delivered by a man who I can not understand, seriously Raj, if you wanna have a conversation with me, you’re gonna have to work hard to pronounce things real Kiwi-like, I am so damned focused on that cheesy goodness in your little black case, (after writing that last bit, I feel kinda dirty) that I don’t have energy or time to politely smile and reply with a comment that might sound like I knew what you said.) Pizza, pizza, pizza. I think it’s my favourite meal. And, yes, I know it can be a healthy, light option for a meal, but I am talking about the dirty, greasy, cheesy, hardly any source of nutritional goodness pizza that comes from a store. So. Good.

So, yeah, winter is coming and I’m ready to embrace it, to hold it dearly in my layered up arms, to snuggle it closely into my chest and dance with it like Patrick Swayze danced with Jennifer Grey at the end of Dirty Dancing.  I’m here Winter, take me, I’m yours!

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