Tag Archives: travel

Extended

Standard

A couple of weekends ago I had to fly to Brisbane. It was for a 90th birthday, a beautiful gentleman who, when asked what it felt like to be 90, replied with, “Up the shit!”.

The last time I flew was around two years ago. That flight, I was heading to Melbourne. I remember the angst on the lead up to the flight.

I knew without a doubt that I would need a seat belt extension. Some people don’t even know what they are, or even that they exist. You know the seat belt they use in the safety briefing before you take off? Well that can click into both ends of the standard seat belt on a flight, thus extending the length of the belt so that every passenger can be safe. I rang the airline to get the seat measurements. I wanted to be sure that my sizeable bottom would fit. I contemplated booking two seats, so that my overflow wouldn’t affect the person sitting in the same row as me.

Because that’s one of the things I used to worry about, that my too-bigness would infringe upon other people. That taking up too much space would inconvenience the people around me. That I should do whatever I could to make amends for being the size I was.

That I should wear a sign, apologising for myself.

For me, my weight was a shame that I wore on the outside for the world to see. I took on the stares and the comments. I absorbed the giggles from children in the street. I carried every single one of the observations about my size and even though they were pointy and hot and uncomfortable, I carried them close to myself until they became myself and there I was, a walking ball of shame and grief and sadness and disappointment.

For me, my size mattered, 100%. And a lot of my time was spent trying to minimise it. I’d sit hunched and curled into a ball. I’d move with a nimbleness that belied my size when I felt like I was in someone’s way. I’d stand rather than sit, lest I break a chair or block an aisle.

Now, I still stand. But it’s more about not wanting to sit still. And now, when I do sit, I tend to sprawl in a most unladylike manner. Because screw being a lady.

When I booked the flights to Brisbane, that little voice made me wonder. Would I still need a seat belt extension? I’ve tried and tried again to explain how hard it is for your brain to catch up when your body changes. I knew that in losing over 50kg, the chances of me needing that extension were pretty slim. But what if. What if I hadn’t really changed my body shape that much? What if that apron of skin was going to be still too big for the standard seat belt?

Turns out, it wasn’t.

17820543_10154537686115897_1917689240_o

And it also turns out that the tray coming down is a thing. The tray never used to come down. Not even close.

17522195_10154537658080897_1796681640_o

No worries.

These are the victories that, for the run of the mill person, seem a little odd. If you don’t even realise that a seat belt extension is a thing, then what’s to celebrate if a normal aeroplane seat belt fits you?

Here’s what’s to celebrate:

I didn’t have to walk sideways up the aisle. I didn’t have to whisper that I needed an extension when I boarded, and hold it close to my body as I took my seat so that nobody would notice. I didn’t have to tuck it down the side of my seat when I got off the plane, trying to hide the shame I felt. I didn’t have to pre-book a specific seat at the window, so I could at least spread in one direction in an attempt to minimise the impact I had on the person sitting next to me.

You might think I am being too hard on myself. You might think that most people wouldn’t care.

If that’s the case then thank you, you’re a human with a beautiful heart.

But the reality is that a lot of people are not like that, particularly with strangers.

I’ve discovered that as a whole, society still believes that fat is something that people choose and therefore something they can quickly change. And as a result we have created what seem to be quick fixes for this problem. I’ve always been very careful to state clearly that for me, what was going to work was earning every single gram lost through sheer hard determination, through pushing my body, through walking and running and riding endless kilometres and lifting and pushing and pulling different weights. I had to respect what I had done in order to maintain the weight loss. For me, and I can only speak for myself, that’s what I had to do. Not everyone’s solution looks like that. But I can’t speak for everyone, only for myself.

As the seat belt clicked shut, and I tightened the strap, it sounded like victory.

But in my victory, as in any victory, I remembered the battles lost in winning the war.

So to the me in the plane. Taking up space. Wearing an extension. Desperate for the flight to end:

I’d rather you were safe with the extension on. You have an equal right to be on board this flight. Where are you going? Are you excited? Who are you seeing? Don’t let this moment rob you of your joy regarding travel. You go, you get there, you have an absolute blast. Because regardless of your size, you matter. Your heart is ticking, your soul is full and your smile lights a room.

Extensively.

 

Advertisements

The Red Parrot

Standard

Ah, Melbourne. I’ve just arrived home after a visit to the flatmate who isn’t my flatmate any more. I had a great time, experiencing her city and visiting her local hangouts. It was great. Grey… but great.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Even the graffiti seemed more friendly than what is thrown around in Sydney:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

In fact, the constant overwhelming feeling I get from Melbourne is best summed up like this:

Source: buzzfeed.com

Source: buzzfeed.com

I was reminded of a few things while I was there.

I was reminded of friendship. Of the difference it makes. Of my good fortune with the people in my life, and the friendships that time and distance just don’t interfere with. That there are bonds that tie people together, creating joins that just can’t be broken. And it’s a beautiful thing, to have friends like this. It really is.

I was reminded that people matter. No, I mean really matter. There was a piece of street art, dedicated to a woman that I am guessing was a regular figure in the streets. And I missed my chance to get a photo of it, but that someone had taken the time to create it really made me smile. And there was the Bead Man, with his red beads. And the groups of people sitting together that seemed to be connected simply by time and space.

And I was reminded of the ways I tend to walk through the world with the ill-fitting shoes of Aspergers making things slightly difficult for me. We were at a cafe and a cheeky chap approached us and pointed out a red parrot. I turned to look for the bird, and was still looking as I heard the flatmate who isn’t my flatmate any more laughing with the cheeky chap in question. I couldn’t see the red parrot anywhere. But it turns out that it was a sneaky ploy to swipe some wedges. And it did not occur to me at any stage to question the existence of the red parrot decoy. And I know this is kind of minor, but there are things I just don’t get, and things I do that seem out of place and odd and peculiar.

And I was reminded of this and it made me sad, and the flight home was long because I was caught up in thoughts and grief and sadness and anger and missing my friend and wanting to be home and really being nowhere, just hovering over the world in a plane full of strangers that probably all had their own internal dialogues happening. And hovering in the plane and looking at the sky and the clouds and then the tree tops and the patchwork quilt of life and stories and people, and seeing it but not being of it, and seeing it and knowing that even when I land I’m still not of it.

And when I got home and my beloved picked me up and we had dinner and talked and laughed and shared stories, I was reminded that you don’t need to be of the world to just bloody well exist in it. And not just exist but also make a difference in it, either good or bad, and live and be and breathe and hope and aspire and daydream and achieve or not achieve and to sometimes believe that there are red parrots, because you believe in the ability of nature to impact a city and capture attention and become worth speaking about.

To sometimes believe that there are red parrots. Because you believe in the ability of nature to impact a city. To impact a city, and capture attention. To capture attention, and become worth speaking about.

Become worth speaking about.

Cows and Purple and Nerves

Standard

Beloved and I went to visit beloved’s daughter yesterday. She works on a horse stud a couple of hours away. It’s been a rough week for Miss T, who had to have her best horsey friend euthanised after a run in with a fence. She’s doing OK though. This is the view from her balcony:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Those two horses eyeballed my beloved for quite some time. To the point where she started asking them what their problem was, and eventually turned her chair around to break their gaze. When it came time to leave, we were met with a different challenge: cows.

Now, we’re no strangers to cows. They have a lovely time playing in our front yard occasionally. They leave steaming piles bigger than Zelda in our park across the road. But there just seems to be a theme of sorts. They… like us.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

When we finally made it through the cows and the hills and the roads, it dawned on me that I had not a lot of time to achieve many things. I had to apply for a job a friend had told me about. I had to get that ridiculous pink polish off my toenails. And I had to PACK! Yes! I’m going to Melbourne to visit the flatmate who isn’t the flatmate anymore. So very exciting! And because she has known me for so long, she has already forgiven many outlandish behaviours, but somehow I don’t think the pink polish would be accepted.

So I went with purple:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

This was quite a brutal pedi, by the way. Did you know they PUNCH your LEGS? A friend told me it was for circulation but I call it assault. Next time I feel the need to wallop someone, I’m going to tell them it is to assist their circulation. Not that I’m likely to wallop anyone. Ever.

And now, it’s Monday and I am mostly packed and still in my jarmies. Beloved is cooking brunch and I’m trying to settle the anxiety that rises up for me with this kind of thing. It shits me that the joy of seeing the flatmate and the excitement of it all has to be tarnished with anxiety, but it’s the way I roll apparently. Maybe I should wallop myself to get that anxiety circulating so it can fuck off.

And as I listen to her singing and watch her dancing with the tongs in her hand and her New York jarmies on, I know I will miss my beloved for the next few days. The dogs will be fine, but beloved might struggle. Apparently the difference in her lunches that she takes to work when I am not here is quite striking. To the point that she gets comments. I have no idea what she winds up taking when she packs it herself. A playing card with Vegemite smeared across it? Who knows. But I’ve stocked up the fridge and if all else fails there’s still half a Toblerone cheesecake in there.

Besides. It means she’ll be extra happy to see me upon my triumphant return.

So, Melbourne. Have you been? Do you live there? What can my flatmate who isn’t my flatmate anymore and I get up to?

To Melbourne

Standard

Remember when I used to live in a bakery, next door to the Bear and the Buddhists? I lived with my best friend, a very forgiving and patient girl. Anyway she moved to Melbourne and it is for this reason that I am currently slothing around in a very cold lounge room, with the seasoned familiarity that comes from almost eight years of past cohabitation. As my besty left for work, she told me to help myself to whatever, including ingredients to make her some lasagna. And so, while not one but two lasagnas bake, I thought I’d come and say hello.

Hello!

My flight was an hour delayed, and the entire trip was like being inside a cocktail shaker but without the alcohol. So. Much. Turbulence. Added to this was the high population of kids on the flight. They were pretty good, actually – it was hard to hear anything over the rattle of the plane and the snoring of the fellow next to me. I was pleased to get off the plane when we finally landed, except I couldn’t. I was stuck. I couldn’t pull the leg of my pants away from the seat. It had spent the hour and a half plane trip steadily adhering itself to the gum that someone had stuck there. Fucking awesome. That’s the vast majority of my packing done for, even before I get off the plane.

We’ve had adventures!

Here’s a questionable hot dog place I spotted:

image

Image by The Naughty Corner

Call me a prude but I wasn’t keen to swallow.

With my beloved in mind, we visited The Block Pop Up Shop:

image

Image by The Naughty Corner

After strolling limping around Melbourne for the day, we decided to take in a doco at Imax. Here is us in our 3d glasses. I forgot the flash though, but you get the idea:

image

Image by The Naughty Corner

Tonight, while the besty works, I’m off to catch up with the pseudo sister, who is also in Melbourne. We couldn’t work out schedules when we were both in nsw – go figure.

It’s a fleeting visit but I love hanging out with her. Having lived together for so long, missing the besty has been like missing part of myself. But you know what? We pick up exactly where we leave off every time, and the distance is purely physical.

I’m lucky.

Ways in which to test my resolve

Standard

Today started well, I thought. I slept well, woke in plenty of time to get the day started, threw the ball for Scouty. Harry and my beloved had some quality magazine time:

Interior design is serious business. Image by The Naughty Corner

Interior design is serious business. Image by The Naughty Corner

Plenty of time turned out to filter through my fingers very quickly, and I dashed out the front door with five minutes to make a 15 minute drive to my first appointment for the day. My beloved’s daughter had parked behind my beloved’s car – the car I’m currently wrestling with while I hunt for a car of my own. Two minutes down, I arrived to my first appointment 10 minutes late. A very disturbing thing for me.

I left that appointment in plenty of time to get to my second appointment – acupuncture. My first ever acupuncture appointment. So I was feeling a little nervous, and still floating on the frustration of being late. On my way, I stopped to get fuel, which could have been when my mind wandered. Because as I pulled into the parking lot, took my parking ticket and begun the shitfight that is parking in school holidays, I had no idea that I was in entirely the wrong suburb.

I drove around for ten minutes looking for a park, until it dawned on me that it’s Kotara that has a Lindcraft, not Charlestown… so why would Charlestown be advertising Lindcraft? I’m ashamed to say it took me several moments to digest that but the result?

Total panic.

I left the carpark, and kept driving. It was just as I pulled out that I heard the storm warning for my area, and quickly rang my beloved regarding the horror bundle of joy that is Zelda. Zelda tends to lose her shit during storms, and it can get very full on. She’s been known to scale fences, escape out of holes 2 inches smaller than herself, shift bricks and stones. So I alerted my beloved to the impending storm, and continued on to Charlestown. Not Kotara. Charlestown.

I pulled in, grabbed another parking ticket, and started the parking stalk and duel.

Found a spot. Manouvered the truck to slip in, and nope. Not the right angle. Reversed, tried again. Wrong again. Glanced at the time. Officially 15 minutes late. Tried again. No no no no no.

It was around this time that I just gave up.

Opened my mouth and released a stream of profanities that I had never heard before. And they kept coming. They continued as I decided against acupuncture. They continued as I gave up on parking the truck. Continued still as I went to exit the carpark.

It was the traffic jam in the parking lot that silenced my foul mouth.

Total silence.

There was a line of cars – so many of them – and they were all going absolutely nowhere.

I kid you not – I sat in that damn traffic jam for a good 25 minutes before it started to move. By this time, I had given up not only on acupuncture and on parking the truck but also on life itself. The only thing that spurred me on was the promise of daylight.

I finally pulled out of the parking station, and realised it had hit.

The storm.

The windscreen instantly fogged, reminding me to remind my beloved to get the air conditioning fixed. I opened the window and was immediately drenched. The rain fell harder and harder and instead of heading towards home, I drove with the simple aim of finding somewhere safe to pull over while I tried to de-fog the windscreen.

I pulled over just as it really hit.

Hailstones fell. Rain torrented.

This was when I bawled and bawled. Rang my beloved, sobbed down the phone at her in an unknown language. She offered to get me but for some reason the image of her being hit by hail made me cry even harder.

I waited it out. Tried to calm myself by working out where the hell I was.

As the sky cleared and the windscreen joined it, I looked around. Started the car again, and pulled out. Saw a sign for Warners Bay. Yep. In trying to get to Charlestown, I’d gone first to Kotara and then carried on to Warners Bay on the way home.

I am fucking exhausted.

Tell me your day was better than mine?

Thought of you

Standard

2014 has been the year of TRAVEL so far. It’s also been a year of many other things, but TRAVEL is the theme of this particular post.

Well, less about travel and more about souvenirs.

Those little bits and pieces that you collect throughout the trip to give to those who stayed behind and worked or studied or envied. Trinkets, usually. A pen, a postcard, duty free cigarettes and alcohol, carved wooden penises. Things that you see while you are a world away, relaxing and daydreaming. Something catches your eye (not literally if you are lucky) and you think of a worthy recipient. 

I’ve received some ripper souvenirs. Nipple warmers. Finger puppets. Miniature Crocs. A sheep dog whistle. Drums. So when it was my turn to travel… I had some catching up to do.

But alas, I broke my ankle on day three of the cruise, so the majority of the shopping had to be carried out on board the Carnival Spirit cruise ship. While the shopping was good, nothing says love like a carved wooden penis.

Which is why I bought three.

This is the gift I collected for my dear friend The Cuppy Lady. It’s pictured below, with a crocheted poo that I made for her on the ship while sitting in a wheelchair with a broken ankle throbbing away:

ImageSize doesn’t matter when you live in the Pacific Islands. Life is just too damn beautiful.

Which seems to be the inspiration behind the gift the Cuppy Lady and her hubby brought home for me after their recent trip to Thailand.

Size doesn’t matter. It’s important to relax. Live like you’re a Thai ashtray. I’m positive that these are the messages this particular gift is meant to convey.

I can imagine the conversation as Cuppy and Hubby perused the gift shops. Apparently it was Hubby who spotted this particular gift, which was quickly met with approval from Cuppy. When it was given to me, I was told to avoid letting the Cuppy child see it. It was in a black bag, wrapped in newspaper. It was heavy. It felt circular and emitting a fragrance that resembled mischief and shame.

Ready?

Here it is:

ImageYep. That’s an ashtray.

Yep. That’s a naked lady straddling the ashtray.

Perfect, huh.

There really aren’t a lot of words that can follow that picture.

Suffice to say it is taking pride of place on the bookshelf, just in front of the roses one of my Cubs gave me. I won’t use it as an ashtray, in case it has voodoo properties and Cuppy begins thinking she’s menopausal. Plus, it would be terrible to age the female model by giving her ashy gray pubes in such a well-groomed area.

Over to you. Your best souvenir? The worst of the worst? What would you use my Thai Vag Ashtray for?

The week that was…

Standard

It’s been a total cow of a week, friends. One of the worst. But, thanks to some wise advice, I’m allowing myself some breathing space. If you missed it in the Newcastle Herald, there’s an article that might give a few hints. I can’t add to it (yet) as I am under a media ban. 

Until Monday 🙂 

For now, let me tell you some of the good stuff. 

My beloved is having an amazing time in New York. She saw the Yankees play this week, and as only my beloved would, went and saw Rocky The Musical on Broadway. Here’s my favourite snap of her this week: 

Image

 

Over on the Facebook page for The Naughty Corner, it was an update on my productivity being hijacked by procrastination that got the most interest. Seems we are all masters of this special skill! A good example of this is the back yard. I have had it as my special project while my beloved has been away. So far, I’ve done lots of things in the backyard, but I feel I have been simply delaying the moment when I will have to actually tackle the major tasks. But my pallet vege garden is growing a treat! This is how it looked when I first planted everything. Already things are going apeshit and even though the dogs have helped me by making sure the plants are squashed to buggery pressed in very firmly, things are thriving. I’m sure there’s a metaphor somewhere in that… 

Image

 

That’s Scout’s ear in the foreground, and her shadow on the bottom right corner. 

The week has finished nicely though. I’ve just watched Saving Mr Banks with my beloved’s daughter. Have you seen it? I can’t wait to watch it again, that’s how much I enjoyed it. It makes me want to get writing. So I’ve decided to get cracking on the 2nd book. I’ve also had a children’s book bubbling around in my head, so I’m going to try to get that out, too. 

This weekend, I plan to write, finish start the back yard, and finish the couple of crochet projects that have been neglected through the shit storm of this week. How about you? What are your plans? Go on, make me jealous!  

Weekend wash-up

Standard

After a particularly shitful week, I was glad when my sister rocked up to spend the weekend. Even when she ate pink chicken, we still laughed. As her tummy gurgled, I cackled. 

We tend to spend a lot of time munching, when my sister is here. We went to Yogurtland, where she got a brain freeze: 

Image

 

I watch The Bear’s Mini Me play netball again, and listened to a kid have a ground kicking, grass ripping, red faced tantrum for the duration of the first quarter. 

Didn’t get a photo of that, but then again I’m not that keen to remember it. 

did however get a photo of the impact my sister had on my fur babies. She turned them into creatures with a desire for crazy time. Zelda was humping and crapping, Harry was rolling and cuddling, and Scouty squeaked her Monkey like her life depended on it: 

Image

 

With a world of pain and sadness whirling around in my head, it gave me a HUGE smile when I saw my beloved being a lady in New York. And not just any lady. She was THE LADY! 

Image

 

The other thing that had me smiling this weekend was the smell that filled the house when I lit this: 

Image

My mate Sally is churning out all kinds of amazeballs with her House of Damask. You should check her out. Tell her I sent you. What I like best about this candle is that it’s got the wrong label on it. It is actually a baby powder scented candle. And friends, there’s nothing better than that awesome smell of baby powder when there is no baby responsibility. 

How was your weekend? 

 

Dearest Beloved

Standard

To my dearest beloved, 

We left for the train station this afternoon and when we got there, the excitement bursting out of you and your best friend was palpable. Armed with your suitcases and your carry on and the magical bottle of special juice that your besty had packed, it was clear that the moment had finally arrived: time for the trip of a lifetime.

Image

 

The two of you together! Oh man. I hope they’re ready for you! The sister we see usually just once a year and the brother you’re seeing for the first time in 16 years – wowzers. He’s going to love you, by the way. You’re good enough. More than. 

You guys have some big plans for this trip (and so do I, for the time you’re away). I can’t wait to see the bounty you catch in the Hudson River – and if it’s fish, please don’t eat it. I emailed Melissa Etheridge but darling, she hasn’t gotten back to me yet. If I hear back I will let you know, but I wasn’t serious about the hall pass. At all. 

What I would most love for you to bring back is a crate load of memories. I cannot wait to hear all about it. And even though I would love to be doing this with you, it’s right for you to be with your besty. You guys have been friends for over a decade and have blazed many trails together. This is an adventure that you have to do together. It’s honouring to the friendship you have, the family you are for each other, and the many years ahead that you can spend reminiscing. 

This is going to be frigging awesome. Amazing. Crazy. 

Be safe. Have fun. 

Remember that I love you. 

And don’t get cross when you find out about the PLANS I have for while you’re away. 

xxx

 

The quandry

Standard

My beloved is asleep. She’s an early-to-bed kind of person. I am not. I tend to err on the side of “less is more” when it comes to sleep. 

It’s 10 pm and I’m watching one of the many versions of shows about people who hoard. Usually they have at least 5 cats, 7 heaters and 18 toasters. Oh, and a hidden past. 

All is well until my eyes fall upon this: 

Image

Yum, right? Very much so. 

But… not mine. 

My beloved scored these for Mothers Day from her son. She has had them for over 24 hours and has not opened them. Surely this means she doesn’t really want them? 

Why is it that stolen chocolate always tastes better than chocolate that is rightfully yours? It’s the same with mangos. My flatmate and I both enjoyed mango nom noms in Summer, and when we realised we could pilfer them from the tree over the fence, well! Mango season was one big swipe-athon. The only thing better than the stolen mangos off the tree was the stolen mangos off the tree that my flatmate had claimed as hers. They were so. So. SO good. 

But I digress.

Poor little box of Maltesers. 

I have comprised a list of why I should not steal them: 

  1. Because they are not mine.
  2. Because they were a Mothers Day Gift.

I have also comprised a list of why the Maltesers are rightfully mine: 

  1. I like chocolate.
  2. I have no chocolate.
  3. What’s mine is hers. 
  4. I like chocolate. 
  5. Particularly Maltesers.
  6. I like chocolate. 

The list goes on for quite some time. There are many, many reasons why I feel it would be OK for me to pop the pack and go munching. 

However. 

My beloved leaves for two weeks away tomorrow. And I know she is saving the Maltesers for the plane trip. And I have this beautiful mental image of her and her best mate rolling the Maltesers down the aisle of the plane, giggling like crazy women as they embark on the trip of a lifetime. I have had visions of them overstepping the line, and pegging Maltesers at the other passengers. Building elaborate Malteser sharing devices, using their tilt trays and disposable cutlery. So really, their need is greater than mine. 

And because I am so excited for my beloved and her besty. Because I want everything to be perfect for them. Because I am, in general, a pretty awesome chick. 

I will not steal her Maltesers. 

She better bring me back something impressive, though.