Wednesday 30 December 2009

The Obligatory Christmas Post.

Well, you knew it was coming. There had to be a Christmas post describing the varied delights of the time of good will to all men (and women, and hermaphrodites and transgender, and all those along the continuum). No doubt there will also be an obligatory New Years post, it's a given really. I must admit I do love Christmas. There have been good bits and bad bits, and perhaps most importantly there has been ham.

Christmas has a smell that you can recognise anywhere. It's a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, Grand Marnier, and flustered present buying stress sweat. I love the decorations and the food. The novelty of people actually making an effort to smile and be cheerful. The traditional Christmas Eve movie, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. You know exactly what is going to happen yet you laugh every time. It's the one time of the year that I really love all the tacky trimmings. At the hospital where I used to work, we would dress up one of the skeletons with tinsel and baubles and he would sit with pride next to the front desk. It wasn't really Christmas until he was sitting out there topped with his Santa hat. No one cares how silly they look with their tinsel wrapped hair and flashing reindeer earrings. Everyone's a child, regardless of whether they are 5 or 95. Joy is in the air and the closest thing to bar humbug are those black and white lollies you buy at the sweet shop. Well at least for the most part.

Pre-Christmas Bob made his presence known. A simple trip to the den of iniquity also known as the Knox shopping centre, was punctuated by frequent trips to the rancid public conveniences to remove all traces of food from my body. I do fear I may have mislaid a liver or at least a kidney down that pungent porcelain but I was not in the mood to search and am willing to live with whatever I have lost. Whilst this does not in and of itself scream Christmas, I did get to experience all this with the joyous tunes of Deck the Halls, Jingle Bells and Joy to the World, screeching out of the tinny speakers in the water stained roof of the bathroom.

Ah the joys of Christmas shopping, the goodwill in the car park, the kindness shown to shop assistants. Oh wait a minute that's bizarro world. This is the worst part of Christmas. The time of year when people feel it is their right to screech like banshees and behave like morally bankrupt, self-centred two-year-olds all in the aim of buying a Wii or a copy of Twilight, to ensure they and only they have the Christmas of their dreams. There was the rude middle-aged woman berating a poor shaking pimple-covered shop assistant who was trying his best to maintain his composure. She ripped the receipt from his hand, screamed over him as he tried to explain and was generally a complete cow. Call me crazy but I don't think that is the best demonstration of Christmas spirit when buying Lego for your grand kids. There were the people swearing at each other in the car park because someone stole someone's car park. I do think the height of Christmas spirit are the thieves who break into people's cars at shopping centres to steal the presents in the boot. Bar Humbug! Thankfully David did the majority of shopping this year or I think I would have been emotionally defeated weeks before the big day.

I managed to bake and chop and stir and blitz with minimal damage. Though I will have to admit that my attempts at Turkish Delight ended up more comparable to 1980's version of The Blob than the delicate rosewater delight I was aiming for. It is actually possible to bake away to your hearts content with a nuclear powered air conditioner (sorry global warming but it's Christmas and there must be mince tarts), a chair in front of the oven, bucket loads of salty potato chips and a never ending supply of cold water. Collapsing, vomiting and nanna naps on tiles are optional. No? You don't believe me. Okay compulsory then.

The house managed to get decorated and thanks to the efforts of my industrious mother, the house was cleaned before the invasion of the hordes from the west, I mean the family. They know I love them, I'm just rather comfortable with our quiet and sedentary life. The addition of 7 extra people, including 3 children aged 4, 5, and 6, was like being strapped into one of those astronaut training centrifuges going at about 50 g (note that 3-6 g sustained for more than a few seconds can cause blackouts and death and you kinda get the idea).

Bob was kept relatively at bay on the big day thanks in part to a promise of gold, my left kidney, a date with a Victoria's Secret Model and my first born son (sorry Thomas, but it's just one of those things). There may have also been some influence from my rash decision to up my meds for the big day, for which I have well and truly been chastised by my very disappointed, zero-tolerance body.

My long thought out decision to wear a sleeveless baby doll top to accommodate for both the traditional Australian Christmas day heat and the obligatory ham and turkey OD was found to have a large flaw. Halfway through the day my eldest was nice enough to point out that if I bent over you could clearly see my mid-30s, 2 children, womanly pancakes. Thereby turning to stone the unlucky viewer. This is not the first time my children have chosen to inform me of my poor fashion sense at an inopportune time. Pre-Christmas my youngest decided to inform me that the maxi-dress I was wearing was completely see through. He had noticed this earlier in the day but decided to burst my blissful bubble of ignorance halfway through our weekly shop at the local supermarket.

I was very impressed with my culinary efforts on the day, so I must brag a little. There was turkey cooked to perfection. Potatoes and pumpkin baked in a bath of chicken stock, herbs, garlic and large globs of butter, which they soaked up and caramelised to gooey goodness. Warm roast duck salad with chilli, lime and general Asiany delights. I forked out for the good ham, and it was good, oh so good. Five days later I am vaguely aware through the haze of my ham induced high that I may be about to OD. A shudder of fear runs through me every time I look at the dwindling leg sitting in my fridge. Deep down I know that each slice brings me closer to the inevitable time when this pink salty nirvana will be over and the withdrawal will begin. Yet I continue to chase the porcine dragon with wilful abandon. There were other gastronomic delights, babaganoush, macadamias roasted with rosemary and sea salt, triple cream brie, smoked salmon and capers, but none truly compare to the Babe version of china white wrapped lovingly in its vinegar soaked ham bag.

I managed to have a glass of champagne, scored with the presents and overall the day went pretty well. No family feuds erupted and the kids didn't fight, scream or cry despite the ingestion of copious amounts of sugar. The good crystal survived the day, the dogs didn't attack the children despite repeated poking and even the teenager managed to speak in full sentences rather than the normal grunts. There was genuine laughter and smiles throughout the day and even after about 10 hours of family bonding we were truly disappointed that the day was over. If that's not a Christmas miracle I don't know what is.
So there you go that was Christmas for this year and we all managed to survive. The aftermath wasn't pretty but that's always the case, Bob or no Bob.

So I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.

OK that's it I'm off to nourish my ham addiction.

Michelle :)

Monday 28 December 2009

Apologies From an Errant Blogger

OK so it's been a few weeks. I'm a bad blogger I know. I will take myself out back for a bit of self-flagellation later on to atone for my poor posting efforts. But hey I'm going to pull the sick card, it's got to be good for something. So suck it up people. In my oxygen deprived state I was delusional and overly optimistic about the whole health thing. Now I have been firmly sat on my arse by reality and after a lovely little stay in rehab (aka my bed) I am able to at least attempt some coherent blogging, although there are no guarantees and what follows may be little more than line after line of dross filled waffle.

No talking about crappy health this week. No stories of migraines that threatened to liquefy my eyeballs, clumsiness that made me drop multiple vegetables onto my none too clean kitchen floor on Christmas day (30 second rule firmly in place so all OK), or nanna naps on my bathroom tiles where I was too fatigued and dizzy to remove myself from the way-too-close vicinity of a lone and shifty-looking, short, black and curly hair that I swear was slowly moving towards my face a millimetre at a time each time I closed my eyes. No! No more. Not today. Never again. Well...maybe next week.

The last few weeks I have lived vicariously through the Internet. Whilst my own output has been limited there are millions of champion bloggers out there who have been reducing their finger tips to bloody stumps in their furious attempts to keep us in their fascinating loops. I am amazed at the work ethic of some bloggers. The ones that post every day or at least a couple of times a week. I'm not talking about the ones that are just a perpetual list of crap twitter tweets disguised as blogs.

"Cleaning the fridge" Picture of said fridge pasted underneath. posted Dec 3 9:30pm,
"Off to scoop up dog poo from back yard" posted Dec 4 11:34am, ad infinitum, does not a blog make!

I am however impressed by the diversity of blogs out there. No matter what your fancy there's a blog out there for you. Check out one of those "What you Should Read" lists for an eye opener. 10 minutes scanning the list and I found everything from a blog devoted to the humble hedgehog (why?); a fellow who was happy to tell me the multitude of reasons I would burn in hell for all eternity thanks to my Godless and heathen ways (a real peppy people person); and the daily musings of a dominatrix. I had never realised the difficulties a dominatrix faced on a day-to-day basis. How do you explain a box filled with various leather apparatuses to the police at a road block? Well she can give you all manner of tips for dealing with just such a a situation. Who knows when you might just need that information?

What I do love are the blogs that demonstrate a level of conscious thought and creativity. These give me hope that there are people out there in the world who don't think Neighbours is comparable to Tolstoy, or that Lady Gaga's sagacious words "I'd like to take a ride on your disco stick" outmatch anything written by The Bard. People who remember that there was a time before "LOL smiley face heart". A mystical world where we were allowed to use whole words to express our emotions. (Okay so I occasionally resort to using these communicative abominations but I am like brain impaired, like, OK, umm, LOL).

I follow a range of different blogs which sort of represent the various little worlds (or the voices in my head) of Michelle . Health, Humour, Food, Music, Literature, whatever takes my fancy on the day. Of late I have made a deliberate move out of the health sphere to grab a little bit of the real world. Too many health blogs can make you rather depressed after a while. As anyone who has worked in mental health for any length of time knows, it gets to a point where it takes a lot to shock you, so not all of them are PG 13, but most are guaranteed to make you laugh. A case in point is a recent post by Calling People Names where she describes a shaving mishap with her "bizness" that is both graphic and hilarious. I know there are many out there who would find her topics far too graphic and what my mum would call "naughty", but her skills as a writer far outweigh any shock from her topic choices and I never fail to laugh at the descriptions of a life that is so far removed from my own. For me I like good writing regardless of the topic. Unfortunately you have to search high and low for that these days. Occasionally you get lucky and come across a couple that make you want to actually follow publicly rather than lurk on the fringe so no one finds out your dirty little secret. There are three that I've really enjoyed over the past few months (not that there aren't others I enjoy equally I just didn't feel like doing 15 blog reviews, so nothing personal to those I don't mention and if I can pull my finger out I may write about you another day). I love all three of these blogs for very different reasons and for one very similar huge flashing neon light fact; fantastic, original and creative writing. All three of these blogs make me wish that I could force my flagging brain to reliably create whole sentences, to actually verbalise what I feel and think with some semblance of intelligence. That I could remember all those tedious grammar lessons from my Grade 3/4 teacher, the post-menopausally hirsute Mrs Redfern, who could flagellate your soul at 50 paces with her spiteful tongue, or through the use of a metre long wooden ruler across the knuckles depending on her hormonal load. Basically they make me want to be a better writer.

I don't know exactly how to describe these blogs in any way that does them justice so I'll just say:

Mr London Street: you've gotta admire a guy that can write about Doogie Howser MD, Moomintroll and the joys and pitfalls of amateur wedding photography to make you laugh or think or simply feel. A truly talented writer that makes me want to journey over the pond to experience the Reading he describes so eloquently. (Recently a Blog of Note on the Blogger site, but I like to say I knew him way back when, before the fame and the glory).
My Soul is a Butterfly: In one word, Beautiful. Hannah is more artist than writer. The topic is secondary to words that simply sing. It's the type of writing you can lose yourself in.
The Imaginary Reviewer: I don't know whether it's the brilliantly dry humour of his reviews of imaginary TV shows, magazines, books etc, or the fact that there are so many bright sparks in the world who write asking what channel the shows are on or where they can buy the book, but it cracks me up.

I realised the other day I'd regressed to teenage groupie status. I went to write a comment on one of the above mentioned blogs, stopped, and thoughts racing began to panic. Will they like my comment? Will they think I am a complete loser? Is my comment witty or pathetic and sad? Write delete, write delete. I think the answer is sad loser geek, but what can you do? So there you go these three writers are up there with my 13-year-old pre-pubescent adoration of Wham (oh how I loved George Michael. I spent many a night dreaming of snogging him backstage at one of the concerts. Obviously my finely tuned Gaydar was still in the development stage at that point along with my boobs. Funny how the Gaydar developed but I'm still waiting on the boobs).

So there you go. A few blogs that would help anyone pass the time more pleasurably than my verbal detritus. I do however, apologise for my lack of blogging. Although I do think you should thank me for not boring you senseless with lengthy and incoherent mutterings of "woe is me", which would have been 10 minutes of your life you could never get back. So really my lack of blogging was truly a public service.

The Errant Blogger aka Michelle :)

Monday 7 December 2009

A Word From Our Sponsor IX

Well I'm back from the wilderness finally. I think. Maybe. We'll see. Fingers crossed. Touching copious amounts of wood. Oh lord, I know I've jinxed it now, might as well smash a few mirrors and seek out a couple of black cats. Here puss puss puss.

Thanks to all for the well wishes, they were greatly appreciated. I will get around to answering them but it will probably take some time as whilst the mind is willing it is also beset by a rather thick brain fog at present. So sorry all, but at least you know I'm just brain dead and not being a complete cow and ignoring you. For anyone who has been hanging out for the next exciting instalment of the Adventures of Michelle and Bob, it may be time to get a hobby cause I'm really not that exciting. Actually dull may be the best way to describe my life and mental capacities at present. I do appreciate everyone checking back to see if I've posted anything new (makes my stats look good for very little effort on my behalf), so thanks for the perseverance.

Still on the recovery from my run in with that rather vicious wall. Turns out he brought some friends along and they all decided to play a hilarious game of Stacks On Michelle, which has left me rather bruised and battered.

It's been a long rocky road over the past month. My plan to be in the Guinness Book of Records for the best impersonation of a pin cushion is right on track. I've been poked and prodded, strapped up and down, zapped, scanned and sucked dry through copious amounts of blood tests. I even managed to have needles sticking out of both arms and a leg all whilst attempting to stand. I personally think they strap you down during these procedures so you wont be able to hit them with your pathetically weak arms each time they tell you to relax your muscles. I've also played the less than pleasant game of find the vein with my cardio for about an hour and found that I could still feel pain despite a local anaesthetic. YAY!!

My collection of acronyms is growing with the edition of SFN (I have chosen to rename it SNAFU as that just seems more appropriate at this point) this last week. SNAFU is Small Fibre Neuropathy, yeah exciting I know. Well you can take the girl out of the research but you can't take the research out of the girl, so I went on my usual path of trying to find out all I can about my latest edition. So first article, first line what do I find?, "small fiber neuropathy is increasingly being recognized as the major cause of painful buring sensations in the feet, ESPECIALLY IN THE ELDERLY". That's right "especially in the bloody elderly". Yep, I have added another old chick symptom to my list. That's so depressing. I really have to stop looking crap up. Ignorance really is bliss. Oh yeah, and the major drugs used to treat SNAFU lower you bp, which means I can't use them. I also get to be idiopathic girl again as I don't have any of the known causes of SNAFU. Woo Hoo!! According to my neurologist I'm "such a medical mystery". Well fanbloodytastic, that just makes my day. But wait there's more. I also have the most pathologically abnormal reflexes she's ever seen in someone who hasn't been diagnosed with a serious neurological condition. Surprise, surprise, she has no idea why. Well Merry Christmas to you too lady. I so need a holiday right about now.

I did manage to get out for one night which was a bit of a miracle. One of my physio chicks has made it back to the real world of ballet so we all crammed into a car to watch her performance. Between the four of us we managed to form almost one whole brain and not only picked everyone up, but got there, got a great park, found our seats and got home again in one piece. A triumph for all involved. So a big shout out to Sarah and her pointe shoes. I have no idea how she stands, let alone jumps on those things, especially with such grace and ease. Rather knackered the next day but so worth it.

Speaking of physio, we have recently been forced out of the hospital to a new gym. Our class is lead by a women who I believe is the long lost sister of the Supernanny, complete with the patronising, romper room accent. Well it turns out that we are "unasseptible". We talk and laugh too much, and are wasting her and our time. Delightful. We are also "sneaky", what the hell? I feel like I'm 12 again and have been caught hiding my over-cooked peas under my mashed potatoes! Sneaky my arse. So sorry our neurological and other illnesses mean we can't get into the gym bunny vibe. I am having trouble lifting a half kilo weight because I have a neurocardiogenic disorder (and apparently now SNAFU) not because I'm being lazy! Of course we are rather horrible for trying to make it all a bit bearable by having a laugh! So I must say I am not in the least inclined to make the effort to go back except I decondition at the drop of a hat. Damn it. My bestie Kerri has introduced a new swear word to the world after a recent trip to Ikea, "fargrik" (apparently it means plate, but "plate you"just doesn't cut it ). So I have decided to say fargrik to you nasty gym lady, fargrik to you!!

Well that's about it in a nutshell. There's probably more and I've likely missed something super important that's happened, but its all really been a bit of a blur. I think it's less blurry now but I could just be delusional from lack of blood to the brain. So just read this keeping in mind that I may still be in oxygen depleted fantasy land (it's really quite a lovely land that one).

The recently SNAFUed Michelle :)