Category Archives: Australian Culture

R U OK?

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Today is R U OK day. It’s a day where we can put borders on our profile pictures that say “R U OK?” and share statuses to prove that we’re always listening. Somewhere in that, is an attempt to dispel stigma associated with not being OK.

Most of my friends on Facebook aren’t psychologists or counsellors, so I don’t tend to write about it on social media when I’m not travelling well. I absolutely have friends that I know I can shoot a message to if I need support, and vice versa. I absolutely have friends that I know without a doubt would walk with me every step of the way to seek out help. First stop for me is generally my GP.

My GP is pretty good at helping me out when I’m not able to say that I’m OK. She’s equipped to manage that messy side of my head. And she’s able to help me get the help I need when R U OK profile pictures don’t really cut it.

I know this sounds pretty jaded. And to be honest, I’m feeling pretty jaded. I know that a lot of the LGBTQI community in Australia can’t say yes, I am OK at the moment. But who is equipped to actually help us? Not just do the whole “Sending hugs” or “Inbox me, babe” stuff, but to actually help?

Reach Out has published a resource regarding self care, and where to go for support if you need it. You’ll find it here.

It makes me very angry that already, those postal surveys have started arriving in mailboxes across Australia. You can tick yes or no. Then you post it back. And just like that, you get to make a decision regarding the lives of the community I am a part of.

Just like when I got to vote about your relationshi- oh hang on, that didn’t happen.

Just like when Howard asked us if we’d like him to change the marriage act – oh, wait, that didn’t happen either.

I’ve read lots of posts about the Church wanting to protect marriage because the Bible. They’re concerned about religious freedoms. I don’t think religious freedoms include being able to serve in a church if you’re gay, or being made to feel welcome and equal, but they do extend to being able to put money in the collection plate.

Look, I don’t agree with their argument, but I do understand how they’ve arrived at it. But I’d hoped that the overarching themes of love, grace, mercy and compassion would be resulting in a different slant on social media comment sections. Ultimately, it’s really unlikely churches are going to be forced to conduct weddings when both parties are of the same sex. It’s not like churches have a track record of respecting and accepting gay couples as equals, so why on earth would we want to celebrate our love there? I’ve particularly been impressed by the logic that drives them to say that children need a mother and father, which is helpful for single parent families; and that marriage is for creating children, which is helpful for couples who have found themselves unable to have children.

I have Christian friends who are some of the boldest supporters we have.

The No side are absolutely allowed to have their opinion and not be labelled homophobic bigots.

The Yes side are absolutely allowed to have their opinion and not be equated to paedophiles.

We’ve been put into a position where suddenly, the extreme opinions and voices have come out to play. There have been no protections on this debate up until yesterday. But it’s worth keeping in mind that every single thing you have said in this debate, you actually have to be proud that you said it when this is all over. Every comment you have made regarding another human being – you have to be OK with yourself when the dust settles.

Therefore maybe it is helpful that today is R U OK day. People die from this kind of stigma. People die because they feel alone or because they feel like there’s just no point. We have a mental health crisis in Australia – a crisis that could use all kinds of funding. In the past I’ve written about my own experience with mental health; I’ve shared how I’ve gotten through. And each time, it’s come back to the first step of going to my GP and getting help.

Because help is out there.

To Australia’s LGBTQI community, I’m sorry this is happening to us. None of us wanted this – to be made public property and to be at the heart of a huge amount of wasted funding. And in honesty, there are churches out there that really do live out the Bible, so if you are that way inclined, seek them out. If you’re not, head to your GP. Or check out the resources in the link above.

We’re a strong community.

We’re resilient.

We’ve fought when we shouldn’t have had to.

We’ve risen up with love.

We’ve stood up for love.

We have many allies.

We have people for us.

It may not be what we want, but eventually, somehow, it’ll be OK.

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Uninvited

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When we were kids the ultimate trump card was the birthday party. My birthday was, and still is, in December. If any of my friends or classmates in primary school wronged me in the months leading up to my birthday party, the simple threat of “You’re not invited to my party anymore” soon corrected the situation.

Deprivation of access to something that was going to be good. Refusal of entry, and power to make the decision that would deem someone invited, or not invited.

I am not invited.

In 2017, the common and socially acceptable (and expected) thing is to create a Facebook event for any gathering. We don’t tend to bother with sending invitations, and we certainly don’t stand in the playground with a circle of friends around us as we shuffle through a pile of envelopes, calling out the names of ones chosen to attend said social event.

The reason for this? Well, Australia Post has lost the ability to deliver postal items in a timely manner. Just last week we sent a parcel via Express Post, which has still not arrived at the destination it was sent to. Express Post is, as the name suggests, express. Essentially, the approach I (and many others I know) tend to take is, if it’s important, email it or message it via social media, or courier it. If it’s kind of not really important, or there’s no other option? Then post it.

This morning, our Senate rejected a plebiscite regarding same sex marriage, or as some call it, marriage equality. Or, as I call it? Marriage.

This means that a postal vote will occur. It was cost an estimated $122 million. It is not compulsory to vote, and the result may not be binding.

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I could make a list here of things in Australia that could benefit from a $122 million injection of funds. Health, aged care, education. But the thing is, I don’t know enough about politics to actually talk about those things in an educated way.

But what I do know about is what it feels like to be not invited to something. And to rely on the postal service when it comes to important deliveries.

As a gay woman in 2017, I feel a bit like the government has a pile of invitations at the moment, that they are shuffling while they clear their collective throats before calling out the names of people who are invited to partake in marriage. And I know my name is not on one of those invitations.

You see, the very moment I uttered the words that confirmed my sexuality, I lost my right to marry the person I would eventually fall in love with. In Australia, marriage is deemed to be between one man and one woman. Not two men. Not two women. One man. One woman.

So when you don’t have one woman in your relationship, or when you don’t have one man in your relationship, you are not allowed to be legally married in Australia.

 

We’re about to enter into what is already a pretty nasty period of parliamentary debate. Already, the Australian Christian Lobby has referred to the children of same sex couples as “the stolen generation”. There are going to be words flung around and opinions shrieked. Name calling and finger pointing. And outside of parliament, I anticipate that things will be worse.

The people I see at Tafe will be able to vote on my right to marry. And they won’t all be thinking that I should have that right. The people I see at work will have a vote. The people I stand in line with at the checkout, the people who have just moved in next door. Strangers and friends and acquaintances. They’re all going to have a say on whether or not I should be allowed to be legally married.

And to be honest, it scares me. And I’m out, I’m OK with who I am. Imagine if you were not OK? Imagine if you were still in the closet, waiting to find out if you were safe or not to come out?

My gut reaction, I’m ashamed to say, has been to act out of fear. To try to look less obviously gay. To think twice before holding hands in public.

But then I remembered the ones who are struggling with who they are. Who are still keeping quiet about their truth.

And I remember that at the heart of this, is, quite simply, wanting my love to be recognised as equal.

And so, the answer is not to hide it away.

The answer is to keep loving.

With the postal vote, yes or no, I don’t know what’s going to happen. And I don’t know how vehement people will be in voicing and acting out their disapproval. Am I going to be yelled at? Called names? Physically hurt? Because of who I love?

can’t know. But I have the assurance that I am loved. And that’s what I will rely upon.

And hopefully, as those invitations are shuffled and reshuffled, and voices cleared and names read out, I will one day hear my name on the Invited list.

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Time

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I mentioned last post about how I’ve been trying to not use my phone when I’m doing social stuff, because I want to be a part of things. It’s harder than you’d think, because we’re so conditioned now to document every meal and moment, and to take and re-take photos to prove our spontaneity. There’s a place for this, yes, but for me? I’m trying to be more in the moment.

But sometimes, I really do not like the moment.

This morning was the icing on a particularly nasty cake I’ve been baking for a while now. I was running late for a cycle class, and I do not cope with being late. So I took what I thought was a shortcut, and found myself going straight past the gym. I turned around and promptly repeated the exact same sequence of turns, and again… going straight past the gym.

As I sat at the lights waiting to do a third u-turn, I heard myself say something. Actually, it was pretty loud. Chances are the person waiting at the lights next to me also heard it.

One thing I am good at doing is talking to myself in ways that I wouldn’t dare or even dream of talking to other people. And to prove a point, I have turned what I said into a beautiful meme:

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And looking at those words, I feel ashamed of myself. I would unleash total fury at anyone who dared to use those words towards someone I love. Even towards someone I don’t know. You don’t talk to people like that, not in my world.

Except… I do. To myself.

And I’m sitting here, writing this, and I just want to cry. Because I know I meant it, at the time.

Time.

When I eventually got to the gym, I pushed myself through a big cardio workout, because I’d totally and utterly missed the class I wanted to go to. I was stretching afterwards, and a woman who’s become a good friend plopped herself down opposite me to chat.

We talked about time. About how moments are so important, and without investing in the importance of time – instant, immediate, now time – life kind of loses meaning.

It reminded me of a conversation I had last night, where again time was the topic. Don’t rush time, don’t force yourself forwards into things you can’t possibly predict the best outcome. Don’t worry about things that you don’t have the information about yet. Just be now. Time.

Which reminded me of a conversation I had on Sunday. Time. Time doesn’t exist, you just have now as your guarantee. Don’t let anxiety mess with now.

Time.

I need to remember those words I said to myself. Not because they’re true. But because of the horrific cruelty behind them, that I directed to myself. And I need to remember how I spent that moment, that time. Because life is so fleeting. I cannot put more time into talking that way to myself. Because fuck.

I might hear me.

I thought about things that I have heard other people say about me.

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photo by @kimmi_joy

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There comes a point where you can make a choice.

And I choose moments. I choose now.

And as hard as it’s going to be to change the thought patterns of a lifetime, I choose to remember that I have done something amazing. That I am strong.

And that I am about to help other people set themselves free.

 

 

Still, we walk

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Most people take a selfy at the beach and they look hot and beautiful and dignified. I take a selfy at the beach and I look like this:

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I am not classy, nor dignified. At this point I was being whipped by sand, my hair was in afro mode and I had hit the halfway point on my walk and realised that I had a particularly full bladder.

But still, we walk.

I’m currently doing the Walk for Autism. I’m on day two of seven days of 10000 steps. I generally do around that many each day anyway, but this is for a purpose.

What’s funny is that I think this walk is for promoting Autism spectrum awareness. I think awareness is shit. You can be aware of speed limits and ignore them. You can be aware of it being hot and know that you’re going to be out in the sun, and still choose to not wear sunscreen or a hat. Awareness doesn’t do anything.

I think we maybe need to be walking towards something more like acceptance, or acknowledgement. Seeing the speed limit and accepting it and following it. Seeing the sun and accepting it and respecting it. Seeing people who operate differently to you, and accepting them.

But these words mean nothing if we don’t actually teach each other how to accept. Which won’t happen, unless we actually want it to. Which is kind of sad.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about The Biggest Loser. The new format has copped a fair bit of flack, mainly because there is a woman on it who is 78kg. As a result of the sliding audience numbers, it’s now being screened during the day instead of during prime time.

This has made me come to several conclusions.

1. We wanted our contestants to be less like the everyday population and more overweight. I’m not sure if this is about wanting to feel better about our own weight, or if it’s the appeal of gawking at people who have huge struggles with their health. Either way, every day Australians were not appealing enough to sustain a large enough audience to remain in prime time.

2. We don’t understand that whatever someone’s weight is, they still deserve the chance to work on creating a body that they are comfortable with. We should understand this. Gyms are full – full – of people who are at a healthy weight for their body shape. But they still go to the gym. Everyone has something that they’re not happy with. We need to stop being judgemental dickheads and start cheering on each other. You’re at the gym at 78kg? Bloody good on you. You’re at the gym at 160kg? Bloody good on you.

3. We wanted a spectacle and we didn’t get a spectacle. We wanted to watch extremely overweight people deciding to take part in food challenges and eating chocolate to get secret powers at eliminations and challenges. We wanted what we’ve watched for years on The Biggest Loser. The new format? I think it was better, and certainly more relevant. But, it’s not what people wanted. And if people don’t want to watch something then they’re not going to watch.

There are days when I am not sure what happened to the human race. And then there are moments when I see humans helping each other, and it’s nice.

I guess the point of this post is that awareness is shit. Acceptance is optional but preferred. People watch what they want to watch.

And at the end of the day?

Still, we walk.

 

 

But “no fear April” is not as catchy

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It was funny, I was sitting in the gym car park this afternoon messaging a friend and openly told them that I was sitting in the gym car park. I was maybe 20% thinking I would just go home. I was tired. It’s been a few weeks of not a lot of sleep. It’s also been a pretty full on few weeks. Worlds get rocked sometimes.

But that other 80% of me dragged my bottom into the gym. And as I opened the stairwell door, I was confronted with hordes of teenagers from one of the local high schools traipsing down the escalator to the gym.

Friday afternoon sport.

To be perfectly honest, I automatically turned around and walked back to the stairs that would return to me to my car.

But I didn’t go up the stairs.

I turned back around and joined them on the escalator and went into the gym. As I went to get changed I had a little voice in my head whisper, “You know you packed a singlet to wear today, don’t you.”.

Now, singlets. They’re kind of my nemesis. I look at myself in them and see wagging, saggy skin; the way they cling to the skin on my tummy, the bulgey bits from my sports bras (yes plural, the girls are escape artists). But I’ve been getting braver.

And remembering I had packed a singlet when the gym was full of high school kids again made me contemplate the cleverness of my decision to push on with getting changed and doing a workout.

But I got changed. Walked through the selfies taking place. Went to my treadmill. Then to the weights. Stretched. Had a good workout.

And came home.

The No Fear November thing was awesome. And I’ve tried to keep it in mind as I’ve gone through the Cert III, and start the Cert IV next week. But it’s hard to change almost 40 years of thinking with one hash tag, which is why I tried to change my thinking just for November last year. The thing is, I discovered that I quite liked being brave. I enjoyed not being governed by fear and doubt. So yes, I tried to hang on to No Fear November.

But now it is April and No Fear April is nowhere near as catchy.

So instead, I think it’s going to come down to reminding myself not to be scared. Of life, of teenagers, of singlets.

It seems to be more of  a remembering what I’ve done and who I am thing, and remembering that my old responses aren’t how I need to respond now.

And just like that, this post has become more of a thought vomit.

Anyhoo, here is me in my singlet. Middle finger up, because you know what, I didn’t need to do this gesture at all at the gym. There were no giggles and no snide remarks. Instead it is up at the old thought patterns that still threaten to taunt me every now and then.

Fuck them.

I’m wearing the singlet.

#nofeareverymonth

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The fame game

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It’s been Christmas and New Year’s since I blogged last. Time has this trick of trundling on, especially when we aren’t paying attention.

The last few weeks have been chaos. I do not enjoy chaos. My hair would suggest otherwise, I got it cut today because I am sick of finding strands around the place and beloved has a shaved head, so I can’t even blame anyone else. I look like I have an afro at the moment, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m now thinking there might have been another solution to the finding hair problem, that didn’t involve me seeing the hairdresser.

I don’t understand the small talk shit you have to do at the hairdresser. The whole time I am wondering how I am meant to look at her, do I use the mirrors or turn my head? Other concerns include catching headlice, wondering why people lie about dying their hair at home, the unreasonable potato-form I take on when they drape me in the cape prior to the hair cut, and wondering if hairdressers get itchy from the hair that must accumulate on their skin after cutting hair all day long. It really is not a restful experience.

So, the last few weeks. I had big plans, all of which were thwarted after a phone call from my GP telling me to start fasting. I had a blockage in a kidney which needed fairly urgent surgery. Two surgeries, actually. The other thing I don’t manage well is changed plans. Chaos and changed plans. Incidentally, both start with CH and when I was a kid, I did speech therapy, and that CH blend is still a sound I struggle to pronounce. So the thing you sit on in my house will always be a SEAT. I also still lisp when I am tired but I am better at pretending I haven’t.

Anyway anyway, Christmas and New Year’s.

Both were good. Both were here. Both were spent with people that we love. Which is nice. Because it would be awful if we had to spend both of those events with people that we don’t like.

I was just sitting outside and the view was spectacular. Here, have a look:

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2017 is upon us. Let’s hope it isn’t the same kind of talent cull that 2016 was. That’s what everyone seems to be focusing on, when it comes to 2016. And the reality is that we lost a lot of talent. But we also lost a lot of normal people, a lot of run-of-the-mill people, a lot of people who mattered to someone. Just because it wasn’t on the news doesn’t mean it didn’t matter. Social media has added this funny element to life, hasn’t it. We spend a lot of time documenting ourselves, in much the same way these famous people were documented. But when we die, it’s our friends lists that are impacted. I suppose it comes down to where you create your world; to where you create your fame.

I am happy to be famous with my friends and family. And more and more, I want to be famous with myself. To respect what I’m achieving and to admire the attitudes and approaches. To be able to hit ‘like’ on the moments and the posts, to share the important things, to go viral with something like joy or love or self belief or something that actually matters more than ‘tag a mate who…’ or a cat using a human toilet.

What it comes down to is that I want 2017 to be a good year. And at the risk of sounding like a smug cow, 2016 was good. I got through it. I achieved some stuff. People I love achieved stuff. I witnessed survival and triumphs and laughter and friendship and kinship. I experienced moments and events that won’t shape a nation but certainly shaped my year. And on the 31st of December, the people I hold dear (s0me of them) gathered together and we said goodbye to 2016 and welcomed in 2017. Some of the people that were there, I didn’t even know til this year. Some of them, I’ve known for over 15 years. But in that moment, we were all there together. We smiled, we chatted, we ate, we peaked too soon (ahem. That was me.). We were together.

I do this thing quite often where I’ll step outside of the moment and look at it. Like I’m taking photos in my head. And the in those snapshots, I saw the culmination of the 2016 fame game. Hearts. Together.

2017?

Bring it on.

 

Two

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Two years ago, I was waiting.

The surgeon was running late.

I got a call from my sister, who was quite worried about things.

Beloved was by my side, the queen of my army of supporters.

And we waited.

Finally, I got wheeled off to surgery.

Drifted off to sleep, and woke up with a brand new ankle.

The original injury happened around seven years earlier: I’d fallen down a flight of stairs, severing the ligaments that support my ankle and gravelling off the end of one of the bones. The surgeon I had to see at the time looked at my body, looked at the xrays, and said (and I’ll never ever forget this) “If you were an athlete, I’d fix it. But you’re not”.

So, for the next seven years, I broke my ankle. Again and again. Or twisted it. Or sprained it. And it got worse and worse.

Then I saw another surgeon.

This man, he became one of my heroes.

He took one look at my ankle, gave it a tug and watched how that pull had no end point except for when my skin got too tight.

He told me how he would fix it, and when.

On surgery day, he was running late.

So two years ago, I was waiting.

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I didn’t know it then, but that surgery saved my life. It certainly altered the path of my life. It took another surgery on my calf, a procedure on my Achilles and a shit load of physio to get me walking correctly again.

Exactly twelve months after I took my first steps, I did my first fun run. The Variety Santa Fun Run, raising money for the Variety children’s charity. I got slightly lost on the course and did an extra kilometre, but I did it.

Since then, I’ve done at least one fun run a month. I’m not sure on what the final tally is, but I’ve collected a swag of finisher medals and shirts and bibs.

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So far this year, according to the app I use, I’ve clocked up almost 800km. Just me and that repaired foot. And I still, still, get that buzz of joy every single time I start.

It’s not until you’ve been unable to do something for so long that you realise how much you love it. Love the freedom that being functional offers. Love the sense of achievement that one step after another brings. It’s been hard though. Realising that the barrier that I had for so many years no longer exists.

It’s so hard to explain, the fullness of the emotions that surround this day. Grief, for the years spent just… unable. The joy at these new days – and yes, even after two years, they’re still new days. The sheer amount of time I lost, not able to do stuff. The things I avoided. But now, the almost daily surprises I get when I do something that I couldn’t do. Or when I jump on and off beloved’s truck tray, then realise that I stuck the landing.

I stick the landings now.

In November, I’ll be back where I started with these fun runs. To finish off the year of fun runs, I’m taking on the Variety Fun Run again. I’d love it if you could throw in a buck or two, to help Variety help kids in need. Here’s the link for my profile.

It’s funny. It’s joyful, but it really is a sense of sadness about those years spent thinking that the first surgeon was correct; that I didn’t need or deserve surgery because of my body shape.

Well. I’ve fucking shown him.

But I know, without doubt, that I couldn’t have done it without that new surgeon, beloved and my beautiful army of supporters.

Thank you.

 

Picture This

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As far as I can see, the one thing that will absolutely be given to you with wild abandon and on a sparkly silver platter is a photo of a penis. The dick pic. Personally, I am not too sure what the fuss is about. In fact, I don’t know any person who has ever been delighted and overwhelmed with feelings of love and joy after receiving a dick pic.

In years gone by, we relied upon personality and witty repertoire to attract potential suitors. In some circles this has been simplified to one duck face in exchange for one naked mole rat, and badda-boom badda-bing, we’re away.

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Naked Mole Rat. It could be worse.

But again, I am yet to meet someone who has rushed out the door to meet someone after they have been in receipt of an image of a fellow’s naked mole rat. So obviously, I am generalising.

The thing is, I’ve recently been part of some discussions regarding this phenomenon. And to be completely honest with you, the chatter and comments are not about berating the owner of the photographed penis – they tend to revolve around total mystification about what on earth prompts this kind of thing.

I’ve done the online dating thing in the lesbian world. Number of unsolicited pictures of boobs or lady gardens: ZERO. None. Nil. Not a single one. Or pair, in the case of boobs. There are two possible reasons for this, as far as I can see:

  1. I was not worthy of receiving such pictures.
  2. Women… we just don’t do that shit.

I can honestly say to you at 38 years of age, I have never once been tempted to stick a camera between my legs and send the result to people I have never met. Or anyone, actually. Maybe I’m just not living on the edge. But the idea has never entered my head.

I guess the female equivalent to the dick pic might be the selfie? Social media is awash with these suckers, and there are NO RESTRAINTS with the selfie. Young, old, male, female – add a few filters and you’re looking fine and dandy. Which actually makes me think that maybe we’re like peacocks gone wrong. The male peacock fluffs out his feathers in an attempt to attract female feathers, while the female… um, I don’t know what the female peacock does. Actually is she even called a peacock? Is she a peavag? The big questions.

I wanted to research dick pics, to see if there was some kind of social liberation movement regarding it. I typed “dick pics” into Google and waited for the results. This was my face:

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And the results came up. Link after link.

And I’m sorry, but I just could not bring myself to click on a single one of them.

Here’s my summary:

If you have an appendage worthy of a dick pic, you stand tall and proud. But keep that pecker to yourself. If you’re a selfie type, you stand tall and proud… but this one is getting closer to where I reckon we need to be. Selfies tell a story, capture a moment – and while the dick pic might do the same, I want to see your eyes when you’re proud of something.

Because there are things way more attractive than the naked mole rat, and any other appearance of beauty.

Confidence. Humour. Time. The ability to maintain a conversation. Self respect. Respect for others. The ability to care for others.

And at the end of the day, those things are worth more than anything else.

Five

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I just did a very small amount of research to learn what milestones the average five year old child should be closing in on. Now, we all know there is no average child, and that these things should be fluid to allow for individual quirks and development, and so on and so forth. But hang in there with me. This is the site I went off, if you’re keen.

The milestones are in four categories: social, communication, cognition and physical. At five years old, kids should be:

  • wanting to please their friends, and be like their friends
  • showing concern and sympathy for others
  • speaking clearly and telling stories
  • counting to ten
  • copying shapes
  • using the toilet independently
  • balancing on one foot

… as well as several other key things.

Now look. I don’t know how much I agree with this list. I’ve met adults who struggle with some of them, and childhood seems to be such a small window, doesn’t it.

If I had to write a list for what I’d want five year olds to be able to do, it would look kind of like this:

  • know who you are, and what you like and what you don’t like – but be open to trying new things
  • know that even though some things might seem scary, with people you trust helping you they might not be so scary after a while
  • be able to be as independent as you need to be in given situations
  • be able to play on your own happily
  • be able to play in a group happily
  • treat people, and yourself, nicely
  • be excitable and silly and roll on the grass at every opportunity

Beloved and I are celebrating five years together today.

When she left for work this morning, I told her our jobs today were to come up with a list of five highlights. Here are mine.

1. Beloved is able to grow her love for other people. She never seems to have an empty love bucket, and she shares that stuff widely. When we meet new people, she welcomes them openly. When we make new friends, they are friends for life. She’s like the Magic Pudding, but with love.

2. When she laughs she laughs loudly and it cannot be contained. It’s frigging awesome. The people around her start laughing and then she laughs more and it carries on and on. It’s just the best.

3. When I broke my leg on the cruise she tried to not get off at the different ports, because she didn’t want to leave me. I made her get off, but to think she’d prefer to shove me around in a wheelchair instead of seeing some beautiful islands blew me away. And she didn’t bitch about it, didn’t complain – the broken leg didn’t bother her one iota. Not because she didn’t care, but because for her, it was more about the being – not about the doing.

4. I have a collection of photos of my beloved bending over. She might be looking for a DVD, or weeding a garden, or putting shoes on – any time her bum is up in the air, I take a photo. And every single time, she looks at me with the same expression on her face. Shock, and a kind of bewildered “Again?” look. I tell her I am going to make a Beloved Bum Calendar but I haven’t (yet). But this is the thing. She seems to enjoy my quirks, my humour, my strange little heart. And she’s made me see that maybe, just maybe, I’m not as bad as I used to think I was. So I will continue to photograph her arse. Because it makes me laugh, but not as much as the expression on her face when she hears the camera snap.

5. Finally. Beloved has been through so much with me. Surgeries. The Aspergers diagnosis. My stubbornness. My lack of flexibility when it comes to achieving something. My over-parenting of the fur babies. My frustration with her technology skills. But she keeps on loving and she keeps on adapting and she keeps on telling me it’s OK. And with her next to me, it usually is.

My list of milestones for a five year old are pretty much a summation of our relationship.

And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Kitchen Magic

Standard

I’m actually quite a good cook. Really, I am. I learned lots of things from my beautiful Nan, who could make the best meals ever out of not a lot. Lately we’ve been cooking without carbs or heaps of fat (my lack of gall bladder means I can’t manage lots of fat). This has been made easier with the introduction of this baby:

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The spiraller! This thing makes awesome noodles (zoodles) out of zucchini and carrots, and they appear a lot on our plates. I wasn’t always a fan of zucchini – kind of like a wet imposter for cucumber. But this little tool makes them awesome. I got mine from Ebay I think.

With beloved heading away for a couple of days, and with Cubs on tomorrow night, I wanted to make enough dinner for two nights. I’m practical like that.

On the menu in my head: Chicken Alfredo with zoodles.

According to the fridge: Chicken and veges in a fake creamy sauce, with cauliflower rice.

It’s a recipe I’ve pulled together many times now. It tastes so good but is actually really healthy. No major fat issues, no major carb issues, heaps of flavour and very filling. Shall we begin?

Right!

I started by cutting up the veges I had. I think there was a zucchini (but a small one), a heap of broccoli, a heap of baby spinach, garlic, a red onion, a kind of floppy carrot. I popped them aside then cut up a chicken breast. ‘Fried’ it off (using a small swig of water to stop it from sticking). Threw in my veges, with about 3/4 of a cup of chicken stock. Let that simmer away for a while.

I usually would serve this with zoodles but I felt like a change. I decided to use up the cauliflower that has been lurking in the fridge drawer. I hate cauliflower. However – and this is a very important however – I found a recipe for cauliflower rice last year. And it sounds like arse but it’s actually really good. If you google it you’ll find a recipe that works for you.

I made the rice, taste tested it, all good. Set that aside.

To finish up the chicken mix, I then added half a small carton of light evaporated milk, with a small amount of cornflour in it to thicken it up. If I have parmesan I add it; if I have some of the special garlic cream cheese I add it. But not both – just one or the other. And it is really awesome.  But!

For you to exactly create what I made tonight, I think this is the essential step:

Turn away for about five minutes, to allow for some random shit to land in the saucepan. It could be a heap of dirt, or maybe an old tea bag, or perhaps even a small bead of cat crap. Not sure what it was. It must have dissolved away into nothing though because buggered if I know what it was.

Anyway, continue on oblivious. It is important that you have no idea that something has gone terribly wrong. Make sure the sauce has thickened (cornflour people!). Put some cauliflower rice into your bowl, chuck some of the chicken stuff on top. Serve the second half into a container so you can warm it up tomorrow night. Yay, anticipation!

Load up your fork and shove it into your gob.

THEN RECOIL IN HORROR AND WONDER WHAT THE FUCK YOU HAVE DONE.

Where did it go wrong?

I have no idea. But I think two things are certain.

1. I am no longer a fan of cauliflower rice. I can only identify the cauliflower as the ingredient that I hate most in the mix, so I feel it is reasonable to lay the blame there.

2. Always have a back up dinner.

Here is a photo of what I cooked:

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And here is a photo of my back up dinner:

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What’s on the menu at your place?