31 January 2010



I went in the pool.

In my bikini. Which was exciting for me, and the onlookers, I expect.

Only for about 10 minutes though.

And it was heated.

And indoors.

And was only 0.9 metres deep.

I stood up, and kicked around. It was such a funny sensation, floating and splashing in water deeper than the bath. I liked it.

It seems a bit silly, but in these past few weeks I've achieved a lot, physically. I do feel like a kid learning new skills. Some of the things I've learnt or done (bending my body in new ways, going in the pool) are things that people do every day. But for me, it's been either so long since I have done, or tried and failed once before, or not done the things at all, so for me to achieve these little things, and ENJOY doing so, is really exciting.

And my skin didn't hurt in the pool but tingles a bit now. It should be fine though. As I said, if the doctor said I can have a bleach bath, I'm sure the pool will be ok for 10 minutes.

Yay. Yay. Yay.

One small splash for me is pretty cool. Literally, I am MUCH cooler now!

To pool, or not to pool?

The world's most livable city, Melbourne, is right now an unlivable city for me.

It's about a hundred and eleventy degrees. Ok so the BOM says it's 34.5 degrees celsius. It doesn't feel like it.

To make up for the Body Balance class I missed on Friday due to soreness, I am going to a pilates class tonight. To keep up, and because the gym is airconditioned.

And then after class, I am considering going to have a sit in the swimming pool at the gym.

I don't know if this will be a good idea.

I have not been in a swimming pool since I was about seven years old, camping at Porepunkah. I don't think that was such a bad experience.

I went to the beach last January. I was quite covered up, and there were medical staff there. The people I was with weren't worried what I looked like.

If I wear my bathers to the pool (and yes I have a sexy mismatched two piece), I will be nervous. I haven't revealed so much of my body to another person for some years and some (but not many!) kilos.

I am worried about how my skin will go in the chlorine, but then again, the doctor suggested I have a bleach bath (yes, I know, BLEACH!!) and they did me no harm.

Google told me my skin may be ok in the chlorine. I am still dubious.

Then again, I could just sit in the bath filled with cold, fresh water at home.

I wish I could be like other people and give it no thought to whether I have a dip in the pool or at the beach. I wish I didn't have to consider the sun, the chlorine, the onlookers.

Decisions, decisions.

To pool, or not to pool? To cool or not to cool?

All creatures great and small.

I don't have any pets living with me.

My parents have two gorgeous Curly Coated Retrievers who I call my own, but my little upstairs flat is no place to keep a pet comfortable and safe. I have a balcony a little bigger than my work desk space, and a small yard accessible by all neighbours. And I don't really have the time to devote to a dog. I have enough time, and could walk the dog most days, but what about the days when I have uni at night, or am sick and can't walk the dog, or am in hospital, so not home at all?

So as much as I would like a dog (a retriever of some sort, even though it may well weigh close to my weight and I probably won't be able to control it on a lead) I can't have one until I get myself a house that I (or the bank) own, with a back yard, and I'll probably need to get a partner because then we will have enough time between us to spend with the dog. And both of those things aren't going to happen anytime soon.

I want a dog so much, and whenever I see a dog in the street that looks friendly and big enough for me to see what it's doing at all times (I am a bit afraid of little yappy things), I pat it and ooh and ahh over it.

The closest thing I have to a pet is a tiny lizard that lived under my front door,in the crack between the carpet and the bit of concrete under the door. The lizard never ventured much further than a centimetre or two from this crack. It changed its colour to match the carpet - sometimes it was grey, and sometimes it was brown. It often greeted me, in its impersonal, lizardy way when I got home from work. And the lizard and I share something in common - we both have scaly skin and like to be warmed up by the sun mid afternoon.

Today I think I killed the lizard.

I arrived home with a Vietnamese pork roll and the Sunday papers (disappointed to see Matt Preston has jumped ship from The Age to the Herald Scum), pleased to be out of the heat and spend half an hour reading and eating before I embark on THE BIG HOUSE CLEAN BEFORE THE CLEANER COMES TOMORROW.

As I shut the front door, I noticed a little thing kind of squirming on the carpet near the door. I thought it was a feather, but when I looked closer, I saw that IT WAS THE LIZARD'S TAIL. And the tiny little lizard's body was about 10 centimetres away. I CUT OFF THE LIZARD'S TAIL by opening the door!

I felt a bit sick, and a bit sad. I had not named this lizard, but I felt sad that I may have killed the lizard. I've killed flies and spiders, and once disposed of a dead mouse in my previous flat, but the lizard touched me.

Its top half of its body was upside down, and looked a bit panicked. Poor little thing.

I got my brush and dustpan, and swept up its tail and top half, and took it downstairs and put it in the garden. I apologised to it - 'I am so sorry, you poor little thing' over and over. My neighbours may have thought I was a bit strange, talking to a dustpan.

I haven't googled whether lizards' tails grow back. I really hope it will be ok.

I am sorry, little lizard.

30 January 2010

ChIPS Camp

So as I mentioned last week, I went to camp as a volunteer staff member for three days.

The camp was organised and run by members and staff of the Chronic Illness Peer Support (ChIPS) program, part of the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne.

It held on a large recreation campsite - the campsite featured high ropes, a giant swing, a dam, dart shooting, a swimming pool, and a number of dormitory houses.

Our group comprised 47 people - around 13 staff members and the rest Chippers.

It always amazes me that these extensively planned and smoothly run camps are organised and led by the Chippers themselves. The Chippers are between 12 and 25 years of age, and to plan and lead a camp as a young person in Chips is fantastic - I congratulate everyone involved.

We were placed into teams and partook in challenge by choice activities (raft building and racing, high ropes and giant swing), and did crafts, and had many activities to get to know everyone better. As mentioned in a previous blog post, there was a dress up party - a lot of fun!

There were some truly inspiring and emotional moments at camp - I'll remember these forever. I will also cherish the relationships I built on camp and throughout my ChIPS involvement and beyond. Everyone involved in ChIPS is amazing. And the friendships built are strong and long lasting, and empathetic.

I love seeing these young people develop and challenge themselves through physical an interpersonal activities, but above all, I love seeing them come out of their shell and be themselves in such a nurturing environment.

I challenged myself by going on the giant swing. The harness gave me the biggest wedgie ever. Front wedgie mind you. It hurt so so much. Hurt my skin like you wouldn't believe, but the rush of the drop from the (near) top of the giant swing made it worth it.

Here is a picture of me going up the ladder to be hoisted into the air on the giant swing.

And here is one of me wearing my end of camp medal on (the picture has been edited - the whole picture features my fantastic Fake Tan team members).

ChIPS is such a huge part of my life, and though I wasn't involved with it as a young person when I needed the support the most, I am so glad I've found it now, and I can help these wonderful young people.

At the end of the camp we receive books called 'warm fuzzies' - where everyone on camp can write a messages to each other. I treasure my warm fuzzies - to have someone tell me how I made a difference to them means the world to me.

PS - in case you are wondering what that orange thing is on me in both photos - it is my personal mascot to identify me with my team - team Fake Tan (orange) - I created a Gossip Girl like bow headband out of some orange material, some glittery material, a button and a safety pin - very Blair Warldorf - but it got too floppy in my face so I turned it into a Carrie Bradshaw like brooch.

Steve Poltz - Sewing Machine

I am finally listening to the USB of the Steve Poltz gig I went to at the Northcote Social Club on 2 January.

It is brilliant.

You've got to watch this - this is lyrical and performance genius.

I love Steve Poltz.

29 January 2010

Costume acquired!

Well that was quick!

I bought my costume from Ebay. It took about eight minutes to browse then purchase.

I know. Not a true superhero costume.

And not Superted. That costume looked too hard with my limited sewing skills, anyway.

I secretly just want to wear a hoodie with bear ears. Really. I plan on looking just as sexy and cute and impish as she does in the bear dress.

I am not sure how this costume will go in an Australian February - the hottest month of the year! But then again, I always find myself cold, so at least I won't be feeling cold when the aircon is on.

I plan to embellish it somehow to make it more superhero.

I will get my thinking cap on.

Yay for acquiring something that allows me to wear bear ears. Finally, at the age of 28.

Superhero costume

I've been invited to a superhero costume party in two weeks time.

I want to go as Superted.

And I want to make this costume.


I can't sew though.

Hello to all my blog followers!

Wow, I have four new followers today. Currently I have 31 followers (including me!). Wow!

I am very excited by this - knowing that people are actually reading my writing is really lovely. Thank you.

I received this comment on the Vogue Forums from She Wore It Well today:

'You exude happiness in everyone single photo!! I wish I was half as happy and content as you. Awesome!!!'

That is so nice :)

Please stop by and say hello on the comments form. I'd love to get to know you better, like you're getting to know me.

I'm so humbled and wowed by the positive comments I've received and the other bloggers I've 'met' through my blog.

Thank you.

28 January 2010

I love Rush.

It's Thursday night and I have just remembered that I cannot wait until Rush returns to TV.

I also remembered that I haven't told the world outside my Facebook and Twitter accounts and my 'real life' about my love for Rush. Ok then, it seems I may have told the world.

I love Rush.

It's filmed in Melbourne.

It has witty dialogue.

Hot boys in police uniforms.

Action scenes.

Rodger Corser.

Callan Mulvey, Callan Mulvey, CALLAN MULVEY!

What's not to like?

Here is how much I love Rush.

I love Rush.

Please note:

The above pictures were taken at Southern Cross Station, the Channel 10 studios in Melbourne, and the Rush premiere at Hoyts Melbourne Central.

I had a Rush theme birthday party thingy. Friends came over and we watched Rush.

The above pictures were also taken in moments of extreme silliness and idol worship on my part. Even the ones where Callan Mulvey wasn't actually there in real life.

The end.

A sore day but a good day!

Today my pain had not passed like I predicted it would last night. My legs hurt. My arms hurt. My body hurt. And my face hurt but only a little bit. This was all due to getting cold at the gym. As I said, the pilates movements didn't make me sore. I have no muscular soreness or tiredness. Everything that is sore is my skin. It's burning, agitated, inflamed, panicked, cold, hot, tight. It makes it so difficult to explain to people sometimes.

This morning I had my regular check up with the dermatology team at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. A big shout out to them - they are fantastic! There I have a team of about five regular dermatologists who are there year in, year out, and then registrars that rotate each year. I also have a dermatology geneticist who has provided me with a great insight into my condition. Fortunately for me, the head of the dermatology team is the best in Australia, and I get pretty good attention from him and the rest of the team.

When I have a check up, they rarely 'treat' me unless I am sick and need to be admitted to hospital. Generally they just prescribe me authorities for the creams and tablets I need, ask me how I am coping with life, and get numerous other dermatology student doctors, visiting doctors and specialists from other departments to come to look at me. Sometimes it feels like I am a zoo exhibit with so many onlookers, but these days I am asked whether I want onlookers before I get them. I have said no on occasions when I've not felt well enough to discuss my WHOLE MEDICAL HISTORY (how is telling them about the day I was born going to benefit the present day's appointment? I have asked them!).

Today it was good to go to the hospital feeling sore and sad (because of the soreness) so I could talk it through with the team. It's always good to have some reassurance from someone that they're there if I get too unwell, and of course someone who understands the pain.

Quite often if I see a new GP or registrar in the emergency ward, my skin condition is more of a novelty interest for them, and they focus on that rather the skin issue rather than my sore throat, or in the case of the emergency ward, they may not understand the severity of it, or be shocked by the severity of it! I guess it's so rare that the doctors less experienced in dermatology want to learn as much as they can from me, or put me in the too hard basket.

The dermatology team also focus on the whole of my medical care, and refer me to other specialist departments at the Royal Melbourne such as the eye specialist, ear nose and throat, surgeon and genetic counselors. If I need urgent medical attention they are there for me when I call the hospital. All this care for a public patient is wonderful. I never begrudge paying my Medicare levy or Medicare levy surcharge!

Even though I was really sore today, I left the hospital with a (small) chocolate pastry (the Royal Melbourne Hospital cafeteria ROCKS!) feeling really good about myself. It was really good to have a sounding board. And one of the doctors reiterated how 'amazing' I am to cope with this condition and lead such a full life.

Work was pretty fun too, which meant my soreness didn't worsen. I work with a great group of people and my work is very rewarding and friendly which I love. (I have also found it hard to switch back to the PC keyboard at work since buying my MacBook Pro!)

After work I wanted to rest up and elevate my legs, so didn't feel like cooking. I bought dinner, which is rare for me to get takeaway on a weeknight.

I bought sashimi (I adore raw salmon, not so much cooked salmon) and rare beef from Sushi Sushi, and prepared a very quick salad of blanched cauliflower, asparagus and broccolini, grapes, salad greens, the carrot from the sashimi and cherry tomatoes, with a dressing of lime juice, chili, sesame and sugar (inspired by Faux Fuschia). It was delicious, and very healthy. I loved the tang of the dressing on the salad paired with the sashimi. I didn't rate the rare beef though, and wouldn't recommend it - too bland, even with soy sauce on it.

Here is a photo of my dinner. It may be a bit bright and plastic looking because of the flash?

It was very yummy!

27 January 2010

This post features a picture of my thigh. Hotttt.

I went to another Body Balance class tonight. It was my fifth class. I didn't do any classes last week due to camp, and intended to on Sunday but was just too tired from the hen's night. I thought it'd be hard getting into it tonight, but I surprised myself and found I could do the moves just as well (or as poorly!) as the last time.

I pushed myself harder in tonight's class. I tried to last longer at the poses, tried to hold steadier. And I succeeded in lasting longer and holding steadier, and in doing so, I felt the moves were more effective on my muscles and posture.

When I stood on one leg, facing forward with both arms out, I was smiling as hard as I was working my bum muscles. For me, doing some of these poses and feeling happy to have achieved them must be a little bit like when a baby learns to walk - there is a huge sense of pride and achievement. They're only little steps that I'm taking, but it's making me feel so good. I felt more confident with my balance tonight. And there was someone who fell on her forehead, and that someone wasn't me! I'm definitely making progress.

The instructors are so friendly and encouraging, and so are the other participants that I've met so far. There's no pretentiousness or competitiveness, and the positive environment makes me want to return to classes.

There is one thing that causes me pain though, and it's not the actual pilates moves. It's the relaxation time afterward. My body is nice and warm doing pilates. Then when I stop, I get so cold and my skin gets a bit 'panicked' - it's a bit inflamed on my arms and legs, my movement is restricted, and I'm shivering. The thing with this skin condition is that it means I don't regulate my temperature well. So when it's a pleasant summertime temperature, I often feel quite cold inside, but hot to the touch. And on a 40 degree day, I can't cool down and my heart beats really fast and I feel pretty yucky. Tonight I put my hoodie and socks on during relaxation time, but it didn't help. I'm still cold and sore. I'm not as bendy as when I was doing the pilates moves. I'm going to crawl into bed and put my electric blanket on. I know this feeling will pass, but it's frustrating to think that the actual hard work of the pilates moves didn't hurt me as much as this cold feeling does.

If there's anyone who can give me tips about keeping warm after exercise that'd be great.


This is a sexy picture of my thigh.

Operation Beautiful

Starting from tomorrow, in my quest for wellbeing and wholeness this year, I am going to participate in Operation Beautiful.


This is a wonderful message written on the sand by Anne
, posted at the Operation Beautiful website.

I am going to write positive affirmations on post it notes and stick them on surfaces I pass.

To remind random people of their beauty, inside and out.

Who else has been inspired to take this challenge?

26 January 2010

Doodle 4 Google - Happy Australia Day

How beautiful is this?! It was designed by a 12 year old school girl, Jessie Du, for the Doodle 4 Google Australia Day competition.

(Image from Doodle 4 Google)

There was some controversy surrounding the editing of the original image to remove the Aboriginal flag due to copyright.

Either way, I think it is so clever and beautiful, and I enjoyed Googling today.

Happy Australia Day!

Me and my Dad

The other day I spoke to my Dad on the phone, and he made me laugh. I'm very close to my parents and we speak pretty much every day.

He said 'I was listening to Triple J and heard your friends are touring'.

I asked who.

'Angus and Julia Stone', he said.

He referred to them as my friends as I've been to so many of their shows and met them and was taken back stage by them in 2008.

(Above is me with Angus and Julia at the East Brunswick Club in 2008)

'I know they're touring, I am going to their show in March', I said.

'I know', he said.

'Why are you listening to Triple J?', I asked him.

I can't recall his exact answer but he said that he didn't mind it. I was suprised, given the only 'modern day' music that I like and he likes too is Crowded House. And maybe INXS, or 'Inksess' as he once called them, on community radio!

Actually a few years ago I did buy him Sleepy Jackson's Lovers album, which he said he liked, and he also liked Steve Poltz.

I like a lot of the music from his day - The Kinks, The Hollies, Simon and Garfunkle, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, The Beachboys and The Byrds. A few years back we went to see Bob Dylan play at Rod Laver Arena. I thought it was going to be great, and I felt very cool to be there with Dad, but honestly, it was the most boring night ever. Bob only played one song I knew. Boring.

Anyhow, this conversation, and the gifts that my Mum brought down to me on Friday, got me thinking about how much I appreciate and treasure the gifts my Dad has bought me. I have to preface this by saying I love every gift I receive, but there's something very special about a gift from Dad.

He's not much of a shopper in department stores. I get my love for shopping from Mum, too.

Dad loves Tasmania, and has been there three times in 2009. Many of the gifts he's bought me have been hand crafted from Tasmania.

I don't want to be one of those bloggers to just post pictures of their possessions, but I really want to share some of my favourite things Dad's given me. They are all really unique, and I get use out of them.

This is my favourite piece of jewellery ever. It's hand made with purple glass and gold. Even though I don't wear gold, I adore this piece, and when I wear it I get a lot of compliments. It's made by a Tasmanian artist and I've since bought a pendant quite similar, though the colours in the pendant graduate to something that looks like a sunset.

This is a leather pouch from Beechworth. Dad gave me this when I was about eight. Mum has one too, but her's is brown. I keep my silver jewellery in it. I loe the greeny blue of the leather.

This is a little bracelet made of shells, by an Indigenous Australian artist from Tasmania. It's so delicate.

This is a small pouch, 'upcycled' by a Tasmanian artist. It's made from a blanket and a shell for the button. I am not sure of the details of artist that made the pouch aside from her first name. Inside the pouch is a tiny necklace that is unfortunately too small to photograph properly. The necklace is made from enamel by an artist called Wendy Wells.

These are all of the beautiful things together, on a plate.

And this is me and my Dad. We are at Penguin beach in Tasmania. He's pretty awesome!

Australia Day breakfast

Happy Australia Day! Aside from the sometimes relentless heat, I am so happy to live in Australia, and thankful that we are still the lucky country, full of opportunities for everyone. I really hope we as a nation continue to progress with multiculturalism - racism seems too prominent in recent years.

Today I am staying home and pottering around the house and getting it in order before I return to work tomorrow. I'll be listening to the Hottest 100 - which I didn't realise starts at 12:00 pm this year. Later on I will crank up my indoor barbequeue that my parents bought me for Christmas - will have some lamb chops, sweet potato, capsicum and eggplant.

Cooking is a huge part of my life - I've certainly inherited this love from my Mum - and I realise I haven't actually blogged about cooking much yet. So I will.

I have just finished a delicious breakfast that I cooked myself. Breakfast (excluding cereal and eggs that aren't scrambled) is often my favourite meal of the day. I love salmon and avocado with scrambled eggs, bircher muesli, toast topped with honey and cream cheese and peaches, porridge with banana and brown sugar....

On workdays in the warmer months I make a smoothie with banana, and add berries, mango, peaches or whatever other fruits I have, and I put yoghurt and bran in with the milk. In winter I have porridge. I have a breakfast meeting with my managers once a week - we take it in turns to bring in breakfast. I love these days - it makes the meetings informal and I look forward to planning what to cook the day before.

I enjoy making breakfast but I also love going out to cafes. Yesterday I had corn cakes with bacon and roast tomato and aoli from a local cafe. Sunday I had bacon, egg and cheese crepes served with spinach and a thick, custardy hot chocolate to drink from Fraus.

Today I got up at the leisurely time of 9:45 am and showered and put on some washing, then cooked breakfast.

I have a book called Marie Claire Breakfast - I sometimes refer to the recipes, but generally I just make up recipes as I go along.

Chocolatey French toast with banana and peach and maple syrup.

I used three slices of the end of my loaf of bread (Edwards rye with soy and linseed - gluten and yeast free)
Two eggs
About a quarter of a cup of full cream milk
Two tablespoons of white sugar

Beat eggs and milk and sugar in a square container, and soak bread for about five minutes.

Heat pan with a teaspoon of butter.

When butter is bubbling, place eggy bread and egg mixture in the pan.

I topped one piece of bread with some small pieces of Green and Black Maya Gold chocolate (his is dark chocolate with orange and spices).

Cook one one side until golden, then flip bread and egg mixture over.

Serve on a plate with one cut peach and one sliced banana, and drizzle with maple syrup.

Please note - I didn't actually eat all of this at once - I have saved a slice of French toast for later, but I did eat all the fruit.

It was delicious!

25 January 2010

Connecting through blogs

@Rellacafa on Twitter recently said she's reading more blogs and getting to know real people, as opposed to reading magazines and getting to know celebrities.

I agree.

Though I love my magazines (not so much trashy gossips ones, but Frankie, Yen, Shop Til You Drop and InStyle), I've been reading more blogs since I started this one, and have come to discover some wonderful people and what they're made of - both people I've not met in real life, and people I've known for a while.

(I have connected with Rellacafa, or Caf for short, through Twitter, and I follow her blog and even did an essay based on her experiences with new media, but we are yet to meet - someday soon, though, I hope.)

I've been really happy to get to know some old friends better through their blogs - friends that I don't really know that much about.

It's great to see their talents for writing and photography, and also get an insight into their lives.

Here's two of note. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Live; Love and other anomalies
is a collection of photos and musings that are really well written, and quirky to boot.

A picture paints a thousand words is mainly a collection of photography - the photos are really beautiful.

Stop by to have a looksie - there's some very talented people in the blogosphere, some I actually know in real life!

The weekend just gone/still going

I'm loving this loooooooong weekend business.

My weekend started last Tuesday at 5:00 pm when I went to eat burgers, drink beer/vodka lime and soda, see Bran Nue Dae at the cinema with two friends. The movie was bizarre. Filled with messages (sometimes stereotyped) about Aboriginal and white Australian culture, and sexual innuendo at the same time. In parts I sensed bitterness. There was a great cast - Jessica Mauboy looked stunning, and Deborah Mailman played a great drunken harlet, and Missy Higgins was really ocker. I don't know though, I didn't feel immersed in the movie.

Wednesday - Friday was camp, and I'll dedicate a separate blog post to that.
I love this restaurant - it's got modern Asian food.

Friday night I had dinner at Tom Phat in Brunswick. I love this restaurant - it serves modern Asian food at a great price. I ordered the twice cooked duck in plum sauce with Asian greens, and for dessert I had coconut icecream with mango and banana crumble - yum! My Mum was down with two of our friends, and we laughed and laughed, so much so Mum was crying! It was a lot of fun - I love spending time with Mum, she is one of my best friends. And our other two friends are a scream - I enjoy being able to discuss anything with them, and there never feels like there is a generation gap between us.

Saturday, the four of us shopped til we dropped. I almost did drop after being so tired from three days at camp. But like all good shoppers, I have stamina, and managed to walk the entire giant shopping mall and then some. I love shopping. I particularly love finding bargains.

I was very happy with my purchases, especially the MacBook Pro which I've been eying for ages. And now I have it, it's as wonderful as I imagined it would be. Of course, I probably didn't need to buy a MacBook Pro, per se, I could have make done with a middle level PC. But since I bought my iPod Touch and iPHone, I've fallen in love with the asthetics of Apple's products. Using it makes me feel like Carrie Bradshaw.

Like this.

Writing this blog on my MacBook, sitting on my bed, makes me feel like I'm writing a proper newspaper column, just like Carrie did. Except I abhor her collection of beige bras. For someone so fashionable she wore the yuckiest bras most of the time, and exposed them underneath her fabulous fashions. I recall she sometimes even wore the bras as a standalone piece, AS OUTERWEAR. Gosh.

An example.

I would NEVER do this. I may expose a pretty pink bra strap under a dress, but not the WHOLE GODDAMN BRA!

Anyhow, I digress.

This is my MacBook, it features the draft of this very blog post. And so a new love affair begins.

I purchased a Catherine Manuell Design laptop case so my MacBook's home is as beautiful as it is. I love Catherine Manuell's luggage collections.

I had to google the instruction for taking a screen shot. My case is the black and white one with the flap, sort of in the middle of the page.

And I also have a collection of brushes and wipes in a little beauty case so I can wipe my vaseline from the MacBook and brush dust (ie, dead skin) away. It's quite a hassle being me, but more so interesting!

So as I mentioned before, I went to my friend Alana hen's night on Saturday. Alana and I met when I started at the department store back in 1999 - she was the first person I met on my first day (aside from my manager). She showed me the ropes. Her sister also worked there. We became friends, and we both moved away from the country, and it's only in recent months that we've met in person again.

I went to the hen's night only knowing four people, but departed having made some new friends, which is really nice. Everyone there made me feel very welcome.

It was a 1920s flapper theme, and everyone dressed up! I love it when everyone follows the theme.

There were a few games - popping balloons with body parts, a quiz about the hen from her partner's perspective, and lots of great food made by her family and those slushie machines filled with daquiris.

At 11:30 pm, the stripper arrived. I'd never seen a stripper in real life before. It was a little awkward, I found, and I sensed Alana and some other girls felt his closeness awkward, too. It was a lot of fun, and I did have a big giggle when he came to me and asked me to rub his bum, but I declined oiling him up with baby oil.

Most of the girls at the hen's night headed into the city to a nightclub after the stripper festivities. I haven't been to a nightclub since the last hen's night I went to in 2006. Wow, things have changed. Girls wear NOTHING now, it seems. I enjoyed myself there more than I anticipated, probably because I was with a great group of people and I got in amongst it on the dancefloor, dancing to some songs I actually knew.

I had a thoroughly good time, but didn't get home til 3:00 am and though I only had half a daquiri and the rest soft drink, I felt pretty ordinary yesterday.

Here are some pictures from Alana's hen's night. We all looked stunning!

Today I've been pottering around my suburb doing groceries, buying supplies for my computer and reading magazines. Tonight I will cook, for the first time in eight days - how I miss cooking! And tomorrow I aim to 'shop my closet' - as in clean it out and find some gems I'd forgotten about and pack the stuff I don't wear off to St Vinnies. The Big Day Out is happening - though I'm not going I will hear it from my place, well it will be a mix of that and the Hottest 100, for which the number one sing has already been leaked. I am liking this 'me time' too.

This is the life - long weekends should happen every month!

24 January 2010

Camp costume

Before I went to camp, I said I'd post a photo of me in my costume.

The theme was '10' - to signify 10 ChIPS camps.

On the second night, we had a 10th birthday party, complete with games that 10 years olds would have played (well before the trend for makeup parties, stretch hummers and laser skirmish). We played pin the tail on the donkey, pass the parcel, musical chairs and dancing statues Awesome!

My costume comprised:
- flanno shirt from Savers
- denim shorts
- Doc Martens that I've had since 1995 and STILL wear them and love them
- stockings
- the tee shirt that I made the transfer for - featuring a picture of Nirvana and a line from Smells Like Teen Spirit - 'here we are now. entertain us'.

It symbolised the song, and I guess, the grunge fashion era from the year that I was 10. When Smells Like Teen Spirit was the slacker anthem and Kurt Cobain was rock god.

This is one of the only solo photos I've found so far of me in the costume, Not a great pose, but oh well.

My first outfit post

Excuse the chubby legs. They're actually not as chubby in real life, the camera adds 10 kilos.

I have been inspired by some fashion bloggers to do some fashion blogging.

Here is a photo of the outfit I bought yesterday. I was wearing it at the hen's night. I felt fabulous, though it was a cold night.

I bought the shorts (which are kind of like a ruffled skirt) from a shop called Kinki Gerlinki, and the top from Forever New. The top was ridiculously reduced, just the way I like to buy clothes.

The shorts may well be the most outrageous piece of clothing I own. They were very comfortable, which negates that semi outrageousness, I like to use the term 'quirky'.

I will get permission from my friend, the hen at the hen's night, and maybe post a picture with our faces on, so you can see the top.

My Mum, two friends and I went on a mammoth shopping trip. 9:30 am - 5:00 pm! I haven't done that in ages. I actually only bought a pair of not-quite-Converse shoes for $11something from Big W, and the two pieces of clothing above, plus my MacBook.

If you don't count the MacBook, I didn't actually do too much bank damage.

MacBook Pro!

This is my first blog post from my new computer!

I bit the bullet and held my breath and bought a MacBook Pro yesterday.

Yay! I've wanted one for a long time.

It's very beautiful. So sleek and stunning. Deep down I know I only bought it because of its asthetics.

I've not done anything on it yet apart from use the internet to upload some photos to Facebook. I am keen to explore and welcome any tips or tricks as I am a first time MacBook user (other than using iMacs at uni).

The past five days have been great, but oh so tiring, and right now I'm pretty shattered, so I will report on camp and my fantastic weekend tomorrow or Tuesday (days off work = me time!).

But for now I will embed this You Tube footage of Darren Hayes performing The Lover After Me at his New Years Eve concert. My friend was there - she danced with Darren! (I wasn't able to watch much You Tube on my old computer because it was Just. So . Slow. But now, You Tube ahoy!

Bye for now :)

19 January 2010

Before I go to camp...

I just had to blog. I won't be writing or using the computer for three days. It'll be great to escape, but I will miss writing.

I've had this blog for about a month now. I've enjoyed keeping up with writing, telling my stories and observing some current issues. More so, I've enjoyed having an audience and getting some feedback. Your words are really kind, and I appreciate them so much.

Last Wednesday I put a counter on this blog and already it is nearing 1000 views. Ok, most of those are probably me checking back to see how many have read my writing. But still...around 900 of those views are you out there. Wow.

Keeping this blog has been an outlet for me too. The thoughts I tell the world aren't censored. It's allowed me to 'meet' interesting and intelligent and creative people, and that's nice.

So I'll leave you with a sneak peek of part of my camp costume. It's the DIY part. The rest of it is packed.

And I'll come back from camp full of inspiration and share some of my experiences with you all.

Bye for now, and thank you :)

It's camp tomorrow

I am about to leave for work. It's my last day for the week, and I'll return next Wednesday after Australia Day.

Tomorrow I am volunteering on the ChIPS camp. I am super excited! Camp is always an amzing, inspirational experience for me, and for the others who attend.

Here is me at the previous camp last year. I was about to be hoisted up in a harness to 10 meters off the ground.

I'll let you all know how camp was when I return.

18 January 2010

Get it?*

Two aerials meet on a roof, fall in love and get married.

The ceremony wasn't much but the reception was brilliant.

*c/- parents' joke a day calendar.

The Temper Trap review

The Temper Trap
The Forum 12 January 2010

My friend and I saw the Temper Trap last Tuesday night. I'm not much good at writing music reviews, but I'll try.

After the relentless heat over the previous weekend and Monday's 43 degrees, I wondered whether I’d be ok at a rather small venue in a crowd seeing a band. But fortunately the weather had cooled down to the high teens by the time I left to meet my friend in the city. Bliss.

We went for dinner at Movida Next Door – a fantastic tapas bar next to The Forum. It can be hard to get into Movida Next Door as it’s so small and popular, but my friend arrived early enough to secure a table for us.

The food was wonderful – we selected about 10 dishes from the menu to share. It was interesting and cooked to perfection, and the perfect amount of food for the hot summer’s days we’ve had. Each dish was a small meal in itself, different from the previous. It was a real adventure.

We had:
Quail (which I was dubious about but it was great!)
Calamari stuffed with corn and pine nuts and fruit and served with capsicum and bread sauce with squid ink
And skewered lamb
And sheep's milk cheese with dried baby figs
And crumbed anchovies on curd
And scallops in citrus dressing
Churros with custardy chocolate.

My favourites were the churros with custardy chocolate and the croquettes – I could eat the deep fried crumbed cheesy-jamony mash forever.

Afterwards it was delightfully cold outside. I usually get so cold and it’s unlike me to ever wear a dress without a long sleeved top underneath or a cardi over, but last night I had bare arms until about 10:30 when my skin got too itchy. I relished the cold and liked the breeze on my arms, which I don’t feel very much.

My friend and I sat in the booths towards the middle of The Forum. This may have been the furthest back from a band that I've been at a general admission gig. It was a great view, and I had the option to kneel on the chair or sit on the table (until security told me off in the second last song) for a better view. The Forum is a picturesque venue.

The Temper Trap were amazing! I read a review from their recent Sydney concert that described their music as ‘Starting with slow build-ups, swelling with energy until, like a well-shaken bottle of Fanta, the whole thing bursts and froths over in a flood of guitars and voices.’ I completely agree with this beautiful analogy.

I have been a fan since I heard Fader on the radio last year. Conditions has been on constant replay for me this past year.

Their live show wasn’t just a choice between spectacular music or spectacular vocals. It was a combination of both.

Leader singer Dougy Mandagi's vocals are interesting, and when I hear them, I feel immersed in the music. It’s both falsetto and anthemic. Most songs build into a beautiful crescendo.

Every song performed on the night was a hit. It wasn’t like one of those gigs where you’re struggling to know what song they’re playing because it’s an album filler. They were all great tracks.

My favourite songs of the night were:
Sweet Disposition
Science of Fear
Love Lost.

Love Lost is now my new favourite Temper Trap song.

'keep me in mind
when you're ready
I am here
to take you every time'


The Temper Trap definitely have the potential to become stadium rockers. But I was happy to see them at a smallish venue.

They were brilliant.

17 January 2010

Triple J's hottest 100 2009

Voting closes tonight for Triple J's hottest 100. I voted way back on Christmas Eve when I was in lazy holiday mode.

You still have just under two hours to vote at www.abc.net.au/triplej.

Here are my picks.

Mumford and Sons - little lion man - I love the banjo and catchy chorus. 'I really fucked it up this time, didn't I my dear?'

Angus and Julia Stone - and the boys - Julia's voice is divine. This song catches in my mind for ages after I've listened to it. 'And the boys goes on and on...'. I've been a fan of A&J for ages now, since Paper Aeroplane in 2006, I love their honest lyrics and wispy singing. I've seen them on each of their tours since 2006 and met them - they're lovely. I'll be seeing them in March.

Bertie Blackman - heart - this has a killer chorus and is the song that got me properly acquainted with Bertie. I saw her live last year and she was great live.

The Temper Trap - fader and science of fear - I have adored The Temper Trap since I heard Fader. When I bought their album I marvelled at the fact every song was a great song. Saw them live last week and I was blown away. Spectacular! I wanted to vote for Love Lost two but we're limited to 10 votes.

Bob Evans - not fair (Lily Allen cover), hand me downs, someone so much, pasha bulker and we're a mess - this took a lot of narrowing down! I love love love Bob Evans and his album Goodnight Bull Creek tied with The Temper Trap's Conditions as my fave album of 2009. I love the romance and smooth sound of his songs.

I had a few other contenders - Gossip's heavy cross, Phoenix's Lisztomania and Snobscrilla's song with no name. But I'd nerd to create another identity to vote for more!


It was 43 degrees last Monday.

I went to work, was grateful to be at work inside and under the airconditioning. I was at a loss about how to keep cool after work. My flat is like a Kettle barbeque. Wrapped in a heat blanket. It wouldn't have been possible to keep cool, and the hospital emergency ward was not an option so early on in Summer. Might save that for 47 degrees.

So I decided to go see a movie with the longest duration.


Wow. It is amazing. Believe the hype.

Well maybe the plot is a bit Hollywood. And the violence is a bit Hollywood. And I admit I got really bored in the macho scenes towards the end.

But the graphics are spectactular. The colours and the landscape of Pandora are like nothing I've seen in any movie.

The idea of an avatar is conveyed really well.

And Sam Worthington is divine. Even if you don't like the movie much, you will like it for Sam Worthington. His looks. His accent when it drifts back to sounding Aussie. His character. Hotttt.

Anyhow. Enough superficial talk.

Last semester at uni I studied the concept of avatars and the program Second Life, and how avatars allow one to create the identity they aspire to be. Sam Worthington's character got to do just that. He was in a wheelchair in 'real life' (by real life, I mean real life in the movie), but used the power of his mind to control his avatar's body. His avatar was able-bodied, strong and powerful. I now want to re-read my uni notes. I am also considering doing a piece on Avatar the movie in my thesis at the end of the year.

The movie really got me thinking.

Costume making

I'm moving to microblogging with this entry - it may be shorter than usual but I'm actually typing it on my iPhone which means the keyboard is a touch screen, hence micro! Not true microblogging I know, but I microblog all the time on Twitter (add me @carlyfindlay).

Today I'm finalising two costumes for events this week. Costumes are fun but I'm yet to go all out and custom make something on a sewing machine.

One is for a hens party - it's a 1920s flapper theme so I'll be wearing a vintage dress from Flair Vintage with a large headband and black heels. Probably not true 1920s but it gives me a chance to wear this dress!

The other is my ChIPS camp costume - it will be a surprise until it's revealed at camp on Thursday night. this costume is a bit more DIY - it's involved making an iron on tee shirt transfer. I actually created the picture in the design program Gimp which makes me very proud considering I'm bad at most things design on the computer. I have two pieces of clothing/footwear from my wardrobe that fits the theme perfectly, and I also sourced something from the department store-like opshop Savers. I'm very excited to reveal it at camp! And all will be revealed here post camp.

Ok Microblogging is tiring. Thumb is tired.


15 January 2010

Here I go again, I promised myself I wouldn't think of you today*

So 14 January passed. And I thought of him. Like I said in this blog post, I get sentimental around this time of year.

And I will continue to be a bit sentimental until 23 January.

Then I won't think of him for much more than five times a year.


It's weird. Because I know he won't be thinking of me.

I guess I am a hoarder - of possessions, and of memories. Sometimes I can remember things in such detail it scares me. I shouldn't look to the past so much and dwell, but I'm doing much better in living in the moment and setting goals for the future.

I have put other people out of my mind. But there's two, sometimes three, I can't shake. And sometimes I close my eyes and concentrate deeply to remember things that I'm scared I may forget. Incase I never find it again.

It'd be nice to find love again. Sometimes I worry that I am going to be a catless spinster (I don't particularly like cats, hence catless).

It's very difficult meeting someone when one looks as visually different as I do. In no way am I putting myself down, but realistically, it's hard for people to look past the physical exterior.

People say to me, 'of course you'll find someone'. Hmmm...sometimes that's an easy consolation. Finding someone may be easier when you don't have a chronic illness or disability.

Although I didn't really like the movie version of My Sister's Keeper, it warmed my heart to see Kate and Taylor meeting in the chemotherapy ward. The scenes of their relationship were beautiful. They had their cancer in common, and of course a mutual understanding of their special needs.

I once went on a date with a guy who sent me an email post date to tell me he didn't want to pursue a relationship because he couldn't handle my illness - it would place too much pressue on him. Yep. Not that it places any pressure or restrictions on me. Anyhoo.

Sometimes I wonder whether it would be more viable for me to build networks and possible relationships to potentially find love in the disability community, but then I feel a pang of guilt when I think 'I'm better than that' - but what I really mean is, I'm good enough to find love in all parts of society. Gosh I hope that didn't come across as being condescending, politcally incorrect or insensitive. Because that wasn't my intention.

I'm 28 and what if I get to 35, 57, 83 or 106 and have no one except for the memories I keep now?

Gosh I didn't mean to bring the usually uplifting tone of this blog down.

Finding love is not the be all and end all of life, right? There is so much in my life now - great job and colleagues, great friends, wondefully supportive family, study, volunteer work...

But every girl dreams of finding her Prince (or Princess) Charming, right? So I'll be dreaming.

*The opening line to The Lover After Me by Savage Garden

My amazing pilates achievement

PS - I like to think I looked a little like this while doing my amazing pilates achievement.

But I was more wobbly and have much curlier hair.

Friday night thanks

I went to my fourth body balance class tonight. So proud - I stood on one leg, held the other leg back with my hand on my foot, and pushed this leg out behind me while pointing the opposite arm into the air straight ahead. I was grinning so much I had lipstick on my ears. Not really. But you get the picture.

Right now however, I am treating myself to a smaller piece of cheese than usual with some blueberries. I read a tweet this week: 'why are blueberries more expensive than plane tickets?'. Mine were $2.99 at Coles Showgrounds Village. I swear I am so in love with Coles Showgrounds Village that I am going to marry it. The cheese may be counteracting my gym classes. But I've actually tried to stick to three meals a day this week, and if you don't count the maccasquarterpounderfriesandthickshake (written as one word so you may just glance over it and not make me feel guitly) on Monday before Avatar, I'd say I've eaten pretty well with smaller portions and less fat. Even the seventeen courses of tapas at Movida before The Temper Trap was pretty healthy!

I'm feeling pretty good in myself!

Next week it's ChIPS camp and I am super excited! Can't wait to see these young people develop in the three days of fun and challenges. It makes me very proud to be involved in their lives. Plus I develop and challenge myself, too.

A few blogs you should see -

Faux Fuschia - FF is the Queen of Glamour.

The Rock Lair - this is my friend Lucy's music themed blog. She writes so well.

Flair to Remember - the gorgeous Nikki documents her style.

I've put a counter on my blog this Wednesday and so far I've had around 150 page hits. That's amazing! Everyone who comments here or on Twitter or Facebook has been so positive about my writing. I love to write and am proud of this skill, so your feedback means so much to me. Thank you.

I'm going to put my feet up now with Shop Til You Drop magazine, my cheese and berries. Goodnight all :)

13 January 2010

Body balance classes

I haven't actually written about how my body balance classes at the gym are going. I don't want it to seem like there was a huge build up and I was all talk and now they've fizzled out. Because they haven't!

I've been to three classes so far. And I feel fabulous for going.

Body balance is a mix of yoga, tai chi and pilates. It comprises gentle movements that stretch, improve posture, and build and strengthen muscle - all using the strength of the body.

There are no noticeable body improvements yet. Though I think my arms look more toned? Maybe it was just a thin day!

But after each class I've felt myself walking taller and more flexible. Even more relaxed.

I'm not going to lie. The classes are hard. I'm uncoordinated and quite unflexible. Most of the moves hurt. And I'm slippery. So these are all challenges.

But I can feel the burn. And when I complete a pose or a stretch and it hurts there's still a smile on my face. Because I've accomplished something really difficult. And it feels great!

Tonight I did this move that began sitting cross legged on the floor and I lifted myself up off the floor with my arms. That was a proud moment. And also when I stood up with one leg off the floor and one arm out. I was grinning.

I aim to do two classes a week and a bellydance class too. Depending on my level of health on the day. I think it will do me wonders.

The instructors have been great - they've come to see if I'm ok and encourage me when I've achieved a pose.

So glad I've started going to the gym!

10 January 2010

10 years ago

I was thinking today, how is it that I can remember things from 10 years ago so vividly, yet when I was 18, in 2000, I couldn't remember things from when I was eight quite as vividly. I have a very good memory of most things. You will see that in this blog post, and maybe shocked at how much I can remember.

I remember 1999 and 2000 well. Maybe I've been reminded because it's been the turn of the decade and we've all been getting nostalgic. But I think it's because 10 years ago, my life changed so much.

In 1999 I completed my Higher School Certificate (HSC). I remember sitting up in the secret library room, studying during SWOTVAC, but mainly writing poems that were inspired by confused emotions about love, the John Donne poems I was studying for English, and also by Silverchair's Neon Ballroom album. Maybe I would have done better in my HSC had it not been for me writing the poems.

I also remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom creating artwork out of shells, poetry, onion bags and torn paper. Some paintings represented to sea. Others represented the isolation and pain I felt. Either way, I wasn't very good at art. Yet I was doing it for my HSC.

I also commenced a casual job at a large department store. This was such a great experience. I was learning professionalism. Responsibility. How to deal with people that asked about my skin condition in a positive and polite way. And I made heaps of friends that I'm still close to today.

At the start of 2000 I received an academic scholarship for university. This was a great achievement, looking back, particularly because it's helped to pay my HECS (university fees) and I now don't have a crippling HECS debt from my undergraduate degree, making my Masters much more affordable. I began uni, didn't like the course much at all, but I made lots of new friends there, too, some of them will be friends for life.

I was finally free of the restrictions of school. Not that I was a rebellious student. I was very conscientious and got mostly excellent grades, especially in English and History. I loved learning. And I loved succeeding.

School for me was restrictive because of the way I was treated by my peers. Teased. Misunderstood. Shunned. I was very lonely at school. I was pleasantly surprised to know that people liked me for me outside of school and wanted to be friends with me. There are people from school I am friends with now though. But sometimes I see people from school, the ones who gave me a hard time, and my mind goes back to a difficult place.

The end of 1999 and 2000 was the start of my new life. I attribute these years my confidence today.

I was in love with Savage Garden. I mean IN LOVE. Not just a fan. A fully fledged devotee. I knew everything about them. I had everything about them! Their lyrics made me feel secure. I identified with the darkness of Silverchair's lyrics because I was in a dark place. Not at home. Just with the isolation felt because I was so different. I just wanted proper friends and to be like everyone else. (Today is another story, I'm happy being me. Happy not truly fitting in. Mostly.) But with Savage Garden, I felt uplifted. I felt as though Darren was singing to me sometimes, reassuring me that I was ok, that I did belong, and everything was going to be ok. And for a few years I had a best friend that also loved Savage Garden and we were inseparable.

I used to listen to Savage Garden's debut CD over and over and over and over from when I first bought it at Brashs on 24 March 1997. I loved it. I still do. Darren Hayes was, and always will be, a big part of my life.

In August 1999, my life did change forever. Savage Garden's new single, I Knew I Loved You from the upcoming Affirmation album came out. It was released on radio around the country at midday on Monday in August. I had the day off to listen to it. Maybe I was unwell. But the day off was probably to listen to the new song.

I remember hearing it and thinking it was the most romantic song I'd ever heard. Well since Truly Madly Deeply. 'A thousand angels dance around you. I am complete now that I found you'. Sigh. It was divine. It was later revealed that Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones wrote this song as a bit of a piss take, as apparently Sony wanted a romantic, sappy love song. As I type this I am actually listening to the Affirmation album. FYI - The Lover After Me is my favourite song on the album.

After the song was played on the radio, I got on ICQ. Remember ICQ? That chat program. 'Uh-oh' it used to say, alerting users to incoming messages. ICQ was a big part of my life back in 1999 - 2000. I don't use it now.

An 'uh-oh' sounded. Just another random person looking to chat. He was 18, male and in Queensland. Nothing special about him. Nothing special was said to make me think about this new chatter.

A few weeks later, it was knuckle down time for my HSC. This was about to be the biggest two weeks of my life, ever. A bad score could mean working in retail all my life. A good score could mean getting into speech pathology. (The score I did get, however, placed me in an ecommerce degree.) I remember one night before an exam and I was talking to this person a lot. He said some things that caught my attention. Told me about how sad he was. Told me he had broken up with his girlfriend. Showed me a photo of himself.

He was sensitive.



Different, odd and eccentric.

Interested in me. Maybe more than anyone had been until then.

I didn't show him a photo of me yet. I was scared that he would shun me because of how I looked. I was supposed to be concentrating on my HSC, but all I could think of was him.

HSC started. I went to exams. Wrote a lot. I recall writing 24 pages in my English exam. It was hard. I wasn't quite sure what this exam period was preparing me for. I didn't realise my life was about to change for the better.

This boy and I chatted online regularly. I liked it. I was a bit certain he liked me too.

I told him about my skin condition. He was fine with it. I was surprised.

I showed him a photo of me. He said I was beautiful. No one other than my parents had said that before.

The day of my maths exam Affirmation was released. I remember going into town on the bus after my exam to buy it, and then playing it on my discman on the bus trip back to school. That and Rob Thomas/Santana's Smooth. It was magic.

One night before my second last exam, I told my parents how I had been chatting to this boy online. I asked if I could call him. They agreed.

So I called him the night before my history exam. We talked for ages, only about an hour, but ages for me, back then. I loved his voice. I loved that he was paying attention to me.

I remember feeling elated. Special. I had never spoken to a boy on the phone before, aside from when I was in year six and this boy rang me to thank me for giving him pictures of Cindy Crawford in scripture class. Hell, I was so nervous in year six. I was even more nervous in year 12.

The next day, before the exam, I told someone about the call I made to this boy. I told a girl that never treated me well. She asked me if he knew about my skin condition. I said yes. She said 'he'll never love you because of how you look'. I was devastated, but I was strong. This was probably the last time I'd ever see her. I told her that she'll never be beautiful because of how ugly she is on the inside. She cried a lot, right before her exam. That was maybe the most empowering, self defensive thing I've said during my school life.

The day after that, I had one more exam and my graduation presentation, and then school was over forever.

The boy and I talked more frequently now school had finished. He'd call me after he finished work at about 11 pm. We'd talk for four, sometimes five hours. Then he'd call again in the morning.

I loved our chats. We grew to know eachother so well through our coversations. Sometimes we'd never speak. Just breathe. But that was ok too.

I was also working more at the department store.

My confidence was growing so much.

We arranged to meet on 14 January 2000.

That was 10 years ago this coming Thursday. I remember it so well.

It must seem so silly, me recalling these moments in such detail. But I cannot reiterate just what a turning point it was for me. Though I don't dwell on those days now. But this week I'm thinking about it a bit more. I always do around this time of January. There is a great singificance of that Savage Garden song, I Knew I Loved You. The words ring true for my experience.

He stepped off the plane and I was really nervous. He was nothing I'd seen before. Probably quite a different looking person for the country town I was living in then. Long plaits. Knee high boots. Piercings. He was beautiful.

I remember him looking at me from the front seat of the car when my Mum had stopped for petrol. It was amazing. There was an entire butterfly enclosure in my tummy. He told me I was beautiful.

The 10 days he stayed with me were a rollercoaster of emotion. We had lots of fun together. I felt accepted. And loved. I still remember him and the time we spent together so vividly. He was willing to hold my hand. Unafraid to touch me - he knew he wouldn't catch my condition. He accepted me and loved me.

I remember when he was staying, I Knew I Loved You went to number 1 in America. This was huge! I woke him up to tell him the news. He was indifferent. More of a Marilyn Manson fan.

When he left to go home I was devastated. Absolutely devastated.

I've never seen him again.

We chatted on an off on the internet and by phone. He controlled when we'd chat. Things got really complicated and he is not the person I thought he was, not in the slightest. That's a long story, and I don't want to tarnish the adoring memory I have of meeting him on 14 January 2000.

Those that know me, and know the aftermath of this shortlived love story, will probably say he's not worth thinking about. That's true. He hurt me a lot, and hurt others too. The bad parts aren't worth thinking about.

But for me, the short lived love story really changed my life.

He gave me the confidence to believe in myself as a person. And I thank him for that.

Writing this really brought out some sad emotions. All my blogs are honest. But this one was difficult.

I've been sitting here listening to Savage Garden's Affirmation album, to take me back to 1999 - 2000. And the line from my favourite song from the album as mentioned (and possibly one of my favourite songs ever) resonates.

'I shouldn't be holding on, but I'm still holding on for you'

This was the way I felt about him for so many years.

I don't feel this way now, thank goodness. I'd be so unhappy and stuck in a space that would be bad for me if I did feel this way.

He was my first love. But he was more than that. He made me feel like a person.

Although I haven't spoken to him for almost five years, and he did some really terrible things to me, I sometimes think of him, and miss him.

Maybe I'll remember him forever.

The Marie Claire/Jennifer Hawkins debate

I bought that Marie Claire magazine today. The one featuring a nude and ‘un-retouched’ Jennifer Hawkins.

It was only over the Christmas break that I was saying to Mum that I am not sure what type of mag Marie Claire wants to be. Part hard hitting articles about terrorism, abuse against women and female circumcision. Part unaffordable fashion. And part tabloid trash – what does your sex fantasy mean?, what’s it like to follow Gwynneth’s diet? And putting the winner of Miss Universe on its cover to make women feel good about themselves.

After the media ho-ha last week, I had mixed feelings about the pictures and intentions of Marie Claire and Jennifer Hawkins. Jen’s beautiful, and I admire her body a lot, but I’m not sure whether the intentions of Marie Claire were to genuinely raise body image awareness and money for the Butterfly Foundation, or simply to sell more magazines.

On the 7 PM Project, Jackie Frank, Marie Claire’s editor, said that she is unapologetic about wanting to sell more magazines. She also said that she’d never put a person with an unhealthy body on the cover of the magazine.

Debate has arisen about the merits of a ‘real woman’. Is she thin and athletic and beautiful like Jennifer Hawkins? Or is she more like the women you know? Why should this matter?

I don’t entirely agree with the media and public criticising Jennifer’s decision to strip off. She claims she was doing it to support charity, and is embarrassed by the way the media and public have taken off with it. I don’t think she should be persecuted for being beautiful and having a healthy body image. But I also think the magazine should have taken more responsibility in how they drew attention to healthy body image. Do we need a supermodel to promote this?

Clem Bastow said there are more important things to worry about than defining one’s self by our body shape. I agree, though I think it is important to instil positive body image and confidence in everyone from an early age. I am not sure of the best way to do this, but I don't think a picture of a supermodel will help someone who is suffering from an eating disorder recover.

Lisa Pryor from the Sydney Morning Herald also states that the intentions to make average women feel good about themselves through using a nude supermodel on the magazine’s cover failed. There is such an emphasis placed on body size and shape. But I don’t think there’s enough emphasis placed on body diversity. As in multiculturalism. Illness. Disability.

It saddens me when a role model is defined as a clothes model. I hope when I have a daughter, her role models are those who are truly making a difference in the world. Trisha Broadbridge. Moira Kelly. Dr Fiona Wood. Sophie Delizio. They are true role models.

Another issue raised by Marie Claire was that of the photos being ‘un-retouched’. Now, that term seems like a tautology to me. Could they have used ‘non airbrushed’?

I understand we are seeing Jen in her natural form, without the aid of computer generated enhancements. But we see hundreds of people on the street every day who haven’t been airbrushed. Heavily made up and some fake body parts, tans and hair, yes. But media and celebrities insist audiences see celebrities in their most perfect, unnatural form. As though it’s a crime to appear natural.

Is this where the fixation for perfect looking bodies comes from? For people to have fake tans, fake nails, fake teeth, fake hair? Because this is a physical way of being airbrushed? Because looking beautiful is more important than being a nice person?

It hardly seems like a great feat for Jennifer Hawkins, bikini and lingerie model, to strip down to nothing. She admits to having flaws, but these seem minimal – a crease on her stomach, some uneven skin tones and some cellulite on her thighs. Beautiful, nonetheless. I did notice a large dark mole on her back which made me hope she has that checked out by a dermatologist.

It would be a bigger feat for someone who’s not a model or not in the public eye to strip down to nothing.

But what does it prove?

To me it proves that image is important. That beauty is clear skin, a lean, toned body and flowing hair.

That we measure a person’s worth on their image. If they are good looking, they are worth a lot. If they are not good looking or don’t conform to a model’s physique, their worth declines.

Of course, I am an admirer of beautiful people. I can gaze at flawless skin for hours, admiring the glow and texture and smoothness. Not I’m not creepy, but maybe I admire flawless skin because mine’s not and will never be. I also look at good looking men. Perve, if that's a more appropriate word.

Like these two.

But I am a firm believer that one’s worth, and beauty, is more than their looks. It’s their intelligence. Wit. Compassion. Creativity.

It’s time we move on from placing beautiful looking people up on a pedestal.

I leave you with a link to this article from The Age by Jacqui Bunting (my name is mentioned in it!). It was from around the time when the Fox FM Real Beauty Search took place. The one I entered. It was a beauty competition for people with disabilities and body differences. It really showed that beauty wasn't just being an airbrushed supermodel. It asked the reader to 'reassess our shallow concept of beauty'.

05 January 2010

Am I too ambitious with my physical activity?

Back to work today. It was hard getting up. Hard staying seated. Good to see people there though. I missed them. But hard being back after 12 days off. I'm going to do it all tomorrow.

One thing that did make my day interesting. Awkward but interesting. I wore my beautiful new shimmer purple and orange dip dyed maxi skirt by Tree of Life for the first time. I was in the lift and caught my reflection in the shiny panels. My skirt was tucked into my undies! Oh dear! I don't think many saw. I had a big laugh about it with the people at work. And I'm probably making you laugh, or cringe at the lack of care I paid to adjusting my clothes post toilet activity. Whatever. It was pretty funny. And I'll be more careful next time I wear it!

Tomorrow is the day I start by body balance class. I have my clothes laid out and bag packed, ready to go. I have light grey marle harem pants (I know my friends' stance on harem pants, and I disagree!), a watermelon coloured oversized tee over a charcoal longsleeved top. I am suprisingly excited. I want to challenge myself. And stick with it. This year will be the year of all encompassing development for me. Career development. Education development (I WILL graduate as a Master in December). And heath/fitness development.

I also found another bellydance school that has Saturday classes that I can enrol in until the second semester of the year.

So I want to try and do three pieces of exercise a week - body balance, pilates and belly dance, depending on uni and ChIPS commitments. And of course my health.

Am I too ambitious with my physical activity? Given that I currently do nothing but walk between shops? Maybe. But each class is only an hour.

In 2008 I signed up to one jazz dance class. Woah. I was so unmotivated. It was on a wooden floor. We had to get on the floor and do moves. I can't dance well upright, can't dance at all on the floor. What was worse, the movement on the floor caused my vaseline to create this massive perimeter of oil slick under me. I was like a seal pup caught in an oil slick, trying to get off the floor. A seal pup in a flippy skirt. I was telling my manager and colleague this story today, and we were howling with laughter. That exercise endeavour failed.

Here is a blog I wrote on 18 February 2008 about the jazz dance experience. Tomorrow's experience has to be more successful than this one!

It’s Britney, Bitch. (Carly’s dancing adventure)

So in light of my lifestyle changes - less spending, better eating, a budget - I decided to broaded my life activities in other ways.
Get fitter. Take up an enjoyable form of exercise.
Like dance. Belly dance - I loved that when I did it a couple of years ago.
But it's booked out.
Casual jazz classes will do. I know I couldn't say I think I can dance tomorrow, but I'd have fun and be ok??

First night was tonight! Couldn't wait. Rushed home from work. Ate a balanced meal. Styled myself up in makeshift gym clothes - cotton skirt over leggings and a tank top. It looked terrible in front of the mirror. I was like a bright red frump. That was only the start of it.

There was stretching over, under, on the floor, push ups, sit ups (which I could do) and funny backwards bends. My skin makes it very hard for me to bend, so I looked like I was doing it half heartedly when I was probably working harder than the other girls.

Me dancing, or even just stretching, is like watching a wet starfish try to pick itself up from the rock. Or even a wobbly drunken panda, really heavy and unsteady on its feet. Make that a wet starfish and a panda trying to move in an oilslick.

That's right, my leggings were very oily because of my cream I use for my skin, So I sort of had this massive circle of oil under me that I've made through moving on the dancefloor. Kind of like a snow angel that you make lying in the snow. Only mine was slippery and made me laugh. And was a OHS hazard for other dancers. Who managed to stay on their feet because they were 1345068 times better than me.

Hell, what was I thinking?? Aside from watching the male instructor's butt pull in and out for an hour, who was I kidding thinking broadening my life activities would include being able to dance to Britney Spears? As if I'm ever going to do that in every day life!

04 January 2010

Two giant leaps for Carly

Today I took two life changing steps. No, I haven't decided to buy a house or change jobs. Quite happy with where I currently live and work, though maybe where I work doesn't afford me to buy a house? Or maybe it's my love for shopping that prevents me. I don't know.

The life changing steps were only small. But big in my world.

I contacted two hairdressers today, one by phone and one by email. I am waiting on a response from both of them. I still have five more to contact. Here's hoping something successful will come from my quest. I have requested an appointment to discuss my special needs with the hairdressers.

It's so difficult to explain the impacts of my skin condition when it's not in person - some people assume it's not as big a part of my life as it really is. Like the time I used an example of explaining my condition to customers in a retail store I worked in as a way I have successfully handled a difficult situation. When I didn't get the job and asked for feedback, the selection officer said that this example didn't demonstrate life experience. Ok then. I've actually continued to use that example in job applications because I think it's relevant. I digress.

So by booking an appointment to discuss my needs prior to a haircut, it will mean the hairdresser has more information and understanding about my condition, rather than be confronted with it when I walk into the salon. Gosh I wish it wasn't so complicated sometimes!

The other life changing step I took was visited my local YMCA leisure centre. I had bumped into a friend in the supermarket yesterday and we caught up for a drink afterwards. she recommended a class called 'body balance' - a mix of pilates, yoga and meditation. It's low impact, gentle and will trim my tummy and thighs. The girl at the counter was so helpful. She showed me around the YMCA complex, asked me my needs and ability and advised the classes that would be the best for me. In addition to body balance, I think I'll do a dedicated pilates class. At least until my uni class doesn't clash with the bellydancing class I want to do. The YMCA caters for people with special needs, so I was more confident about approaching them. The other great thing is the classes are only $9 with my current student card, and $13.50 when the student card runs out at the end of my Masters! $9 for a pilates class!

It's very difficult for me to exercise as I don't sweat to cool myself down, have limited movement of some limbs, and my skin gets very dry. So my apprehension is justified, but I have realised that I can't keep eating salmon and camenbert and maintaining my optimum 55 kilos all my life.

The first body balance class is Wednesday. Wish me luck! I was actually disappointed I couldn't start tomorrow but there is a holiday timetable until next week. I was suprised at my disappointment about not exercising!

As I said, these are only small steps I've taken, I know. But really big ones for me. And I know I'm never going to look like Jennifer Hawkins, but there's hope, because she's a real woman, right?! (More on that in a future blog post.) But hopefully these two small steps place me on the path to making feel and look really super fabulous!


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