Monday, April 30, 2012

A cycle and a surprise

Woke this morning with a sense of purpose.  Having cleaned Pete's old room, thought I'd buy a new lock for his window; might also paint the walls and replace the door, a panel of which has been kicked in by petulant Pete during one of his adolescent rages.

No more empty-nester tears; house in pristine condition; day off; no school work to catch up on; fine weather.  Bike ride? Yeah.

Headed off in a different direction: from Moreland Road, Essendon, towards Puckle Street, Moonee Ponds.  And riddle me ree!  What a circuitous quest that turned out to be as I pedalled up and down unfamiliar streets and into dead ends while trying to rejoin the Moonee Ponds Creek bike path after it had suddenly ended.  To the local council I say, how about some freaking signs?  I completely lost my sense of direction!  When I finally regained the bike path, had to look which way the creek was flowing so I'd know which way to go!

Knew I'd gone too far when I hit the Citylink toll way.  Stood on the pedals and cycled up to the overpass to get my bearings and quite a good view.  I'd overshot my destination by at least a kilometre.  However, that led me up some Moonee Ponds back streets to places I haven't really seen since the early 1980s.  Lots of development since then, of course, and some very pricey real estate. New townhouses abound amongst the renovated Victorian, Federation and Californian bungalow styled housing.  Autumn leafy; quite beautiful.  A pleasant mix of old and new, really.

Nearly lost it in Queen's Park as I wheeled the bike through.  Got a bit of a lip wobble happening as I watched a beautiful little boy, about 12 months old at a guess.  He toddled down a hillock, pointed up at an aeroplane, did one of those wide eyed stares at me.  Didn't help that Joni Mitchell was suddenly singing The Circle Game in my head.  A couple of tears escaped but they dried in the breeze.  (BTW if you're a menopausal empty-nester circa mid-fifties, click that link at your own risk!)  Then blow me down, a fountain jetted up out of the middle of the lake as ducks dipped their heads into the water.

After a bit of a wander in Puckle Street, cycled home; a good 14k round trip.

And, ROFL, there's Pete, back home, availing himself of the facilities!  He's busily applying for jobs on-line; has cooked himself some lunch and is ironing shirts for potential interviews.  He's assured me that he hasn't yet got a 'partner'.  He's sharing his flat with two other blokes.  Having neither a TV nor internet facilities, he's actually read The Hunger Games in one sitting and is keen to read the next book in the series - when he can afford to buy a copy.

In fact, what was I worried about?   Should have had more faith in my own parenting skills.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Empty nest syndrome, the day after.

Got this horrible, possibly irrational fear that I'm never going to see my son again, despite him only being seven ks away..

My husband, Al, has probably seen his parents an average of four times a year in the past 25 years, if that.  My two kids barely know their grandparents on Al's side. 

With Al's parents it started way back, in 1984, when Al and I decided to get married on 'Grand Final Day'.  That's The Australian Football League Grand Final Day.  (It's a big deal.  Think Wembley; think Superbowl.) It was a good date for us, it being the anniversary of when we got together in 1979. (Already had admired Al, from a distance, for a few months that year.  He was my gorgeous, tall basketball coach.  He'd probably go on an offenders' register now for dating a member of the club!)

Was also a good date because we could book a venue at short notice.  It being GFD, the date was up for grabs.

When we told Al's parents, on a Sunday evening dinner visit, that we were getting married on that date, Al's dad, Eddie, stood up with such force that his chair flung over backwards.  (Eddie had suffered a stroke a few years earlier so the swiftness of this move was alarming in itself.)

"No one will turn up on Grand Final Day," he pronounced.
"Our friends will," I said pointedly, equally sure.
"Well I won't," he said, and stumbled off to his bedroom.

Al's mum started clearing the dishes, or something.  We left.  Visited my parents, who were ecstatic.  My dad kissed Al on the face, so delighted was he. 

We did visit Al's parents again before the wedding.  I tried, unsuccessfully, to convince my mother-in-law-to-be to attend her eldest son's wedding, with or without her husband.

"You know when people fill in surveys and you have to say what religion you are," she said, daintily, smiling.  She was a tiny, bird-like woman with short, dyed blond hair.  Her knees were drawn up under her.  "Well Eddie always writes 'football'," she said, as if this was a plausible excuse for missing your first-born's wedding.  To me, aged 27, it sounded moronic.

"I can't come to your wedding without Eddie," she went on, still smiling.  "It'd be a slight to him.  I couldn't do it."  And that was it.

We sent them an invitation anyway.   Think my mum still has the card Al's mother sent in reply:  "We regret that on this occasion we are unable to attend."  The stock printed message inside.

The front pew on the groom's side was conspicuously empty at our church wedding.

After that, Al didn't contact his parents for two years.

While we were in Europe for six months the following year, Al's parents sold up his childhood home to make a 'seachange'.  They somehow failed to give Al a forwarding address.  He visited their seaside town one day and sought them out, following his instincts and his brother's vague description of where they then lived.  I didn't go; wanted nothing to do with them.

After we had our kids we visited a few times, but visits were tense and fraught.  Despite all the fixed 'default position' smiling on his mum's part, they didn't seem to enjoy the children.  She'd dash in front of them, lifting tempting objects out of their reach, prompting Pete's frustrated crying.  Why did she have to keep her prickly succulents on the coffee table anyway?  It was clear Pete was going to go for them.

(BTW, when I was 23 and had just started going out with Al, she told me she'd had her four kids and I shouldn't expect her to baby-sit mine!)

What does it all matter now, 25 years later? 

Suppose karma is kicking in.  My son's girlfriend - perhaps I should call her 'partner' now they're living together - doesn't like me - remember the on-line dissing?  And I don't know how I'm going to live without my beautiful boy for the next 25 years.

(Just read this to Al, who's having an entirely different response to Pete moving out.
 "Is this how you remember things?" I asked.  Couldn't bear to hurt Al - the kindest, nicest person.
"Roughly right," he said.)

Press publish.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Empty Nester

My other 'baby' is leaving home on Saturday.  He's 25 and he 'needs his space, okay,' cos I'm 'doing his head in.'  I won't write what my response to that was.

I'm reminded of all those hard yards I - we - have done; the blood, sweat and tears of parenting. And the joy; the love that is so intense it quite often hurts. 

In son, Pete's first week of prep, Al and I were summoned to school by the junior school coordinator to discuss our son's 'anti-social' behaviour.  He didn't fit in.  Can't explain it really.  He's just different.  He always found friends, but they were a bit different too.  Their mothers and I used to commiserate with one another over bottles of chardonnay.

Pete spent lots of time at primary school trying too hard, usually unsuccessfully, to fit in.  He was teased - let's call it bullied - but he fought back.  That was why we were initially called to school during that first week.  He'd been doing his own thing - building something with tan bark - my gorgeous little boy; minding his own business.  He'd been taunted, surrounded, and eventually he retaliated.  He was tall and strong  too so he packed a punch.  Of course kids dobbed on him, called the teacher on yard duty, and somehow it was all Pete's fault.

I understand. Can't have kids swinging punches.  I'd know that even if I wasn't a teacher.

It's hard when your kid's not mainstream; doesn't want to play 'footy' and other team sports. When he wants to read, draw, paint, build, daydream or, at school, entertain himself at the expense of the other kids and his teachers.  Pete, aged seven, thought it was funny when he proved the domino theory on the other kids in his class.  They were all kneeling fronts to backs in a circle. (Interesting lesson plan.  WTF??) Pete thought he'd see what would happen if he gave the kid in front of him a push.  The straight-laced teacher was not amused.  Don't suppose the other kids were amused either, as they tumbled onto the kids in front.  Pete was punished.  He still thinks it was funny.

I couldn't bear to have any other boy than mine.  Goes without saying, so why say it? I'm no fan of team sports either, so thanks for saving me from that, Pete.

On lots of occasions during Pete's primary school years, I had to be his champion and it wasn't just the kids he needed protection from.  What do you do when your kid's fine at home but a misfit at school?  When he won't colour inside the lines?  I used to dread him returning to school after holidays.  He'd be settled and happy, hanging around with cousins and family.  On his return to school, the terrible behaviour would return.  Think he was a nightmare for the teachers until he was in about grade four.  (Probably would have helped if some of his teachers hadn't been so anal and limited, but that's another story.)

Basically, he couldn't keep his head down. An attention seeker, he was oddly attracted to the wrong sorts of kids.  Of course he was picked on, but he couldn't stop asking for it!  Heart-breaking for mum and dad, of course.

It's a long, complex story.  We've had our moments, but really, they all fall within the 'normative' range.  Some parents aren't so lucky.

He's finished uni now but is struggling to find work.  Seems jobs are thin on the ground for junior graphic designers.

Nonetheless, he's moving out.  Clearly, he's downsizing.  Tomorrow he'll take up residence in penury, in a windowless, unventilated 'cell' above a shop on the edge of the CBD.  It's going to be a steep, long overdue learning curve and I have to let him go.

I'm freaking out, man.  But I'll get over it.  In Europe with Al.  My antidote for empty nest syndrome.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dblog: Teaching an old dog new tricks

Started this day off, in bed, with three big mugs of tea and a cleansing sob.  Always have the tea when I'm not working.  Whatever I happen to be reading might prompt a few tears, but not usually the big weep.  Don't do the big weep often.  (When my kids were pre-schoolers, quickly learned that it was unproductive - that's a different story; the one where I sobbed on the vibrating washing machine, but when I'd finished I still had to be a mum and get on with it.)

Today's sobbing session came courtesy of a book, and too many 'light-globe' moments: Ginger Vieira's Your Diabetes Science Experiment.

I'm into my 31st year with Type 1 diabetes and I've muddled along, as one does.  I'm writing this with the proviso that I'm certain that all but one of my former endocrinologists have done their best for me.  When they've given instructions and prescriptions they've no doubt also been assessing my intellectual and emotional capacity to deal with the multifarious demands of my complicated and potentially fatal condition.  Furthermore, insulin is a relatively new medication.  The experts are still learning.  I get it.  I've seen many changes over the past 31 years.  Was testing my urine when first diagnosed in 1981. In a 1996 copy of Diabetes Conquest, the Australian Diabetes Association's quarterly journal, there's no mention of pumping insulin. My own heyday in the 1970s seems like the dark ages to teenagers I now teach.

Had a big cry four years ago.  I met a new endocrinologist who listened to my story and immediately suggested I try an insulin pump.  I had no idea that I could do more to control my 'brittle' - hate that word - condition.  Learning to use the pump I learned, for the first time, about insulin to carbohydrate ratios.  Sure, I'd been using an insulin to carb ratio, but I didn't know that!

This is what I knew. 

1.  Count carbs - lists were provided by a dietitian.  Breakfast: eat 30 grams of carb; morning snack: 10 grams; lunch 30 grams: afternoon snack: 10 grams; dinner: 30 grams; evening snack: 10 grams.  Of course I've varied this and have taken a guessed unit or two of insulin if I've been eating out and estimated that a bowl of pasta, a potato, rice, a bread roll, whatever, had more or fewer carbs.  I've also skipped all the savoury carbs to allow for a dessert. 

2.  Take insulin thus:  Early morning: 4 units quick acting; lunch 3 units quick acting; dinner: 6 - 10 units quick acting and about 20 units long acting insulin.  I had a rough algorithm to follow.  If blood sugar is high, take a bit more insulin, if it's low take less.

BTW, throw in my regular weekday 14 kilometre round trip cycling to and from work, my hectic life as a secondary school teacher, two pregnancies and subsequent demands of raising two kids 16 months apart in age.  During all this, I always tried to get it right. I carefully recorded blood sugar results and discussed these with my endo. (I can see him now flipping through my hand written record books.  For 25 years.)  But with all those variables I rarely got an A1c under 8. 

It's been a bit better on the pump, mid 7s.

This is the thing.  Ginger Vieira, with a background in sports nutrition, provides a formula for working out one's insulin to carb ratio.  Who knew??  Clearly, endocrinologists, diabetes educators and dietitians know this formula.  Why couldn't they have told me??  I'm not even going to try to explain it here, but it all makes so much sense.

And another thing: for 31 years, it seems, I've been going about exercise all wrong:  reducing my insulin dose and trying to keep my carbs low to keep my weight, which I struggle with, under control.  No wonder I started to feel ill on that 100 kilometre cycle in Vietnam when I'd only eaten a small baguette and a banana for breakfast and my blood sugar had crept up to about 15!! (And I had to keep going!)

Anyway, everything I'm writing here is just me venting - further to my cleansing sob.  It sounds vague and unscientific.  If you've got Type 1 and you're reading this, you're probably thinking I'm an idiot because you knew it already.  It's probably explained differently if you're diagnosed with Type 1 these days.  Or perhaps you, too, have an endo who's blaming your fluctuating blood sugars on your 'brittle' condition and leaving it there.

Me? I'm giving Ginger's advice a try.  Hopefully a young woman can teach this old dog a few new tricks.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Please don't delete me. Pitfalls of social media.

Could write all this in my paper journal; keep my demons to myself.  But what's writing for anyway?  Could go off on that track but I'll attempt to stick to the point.

Despite my advanced years, somewhere inside I'm still an insecure kid who hates rejection. Another tangent there that I could go off on, but won't.  I'll spare you.

So this morning, I tapped on the Words With Friends app on my iPhone.  It buzzes and a message pops up.  My friend, my close friend, who I've kept even though he moved on from my school a couple of years ago, has rejected my request to play another game with him.  I did win the last one.  Perhaps he'd been giving me a chance to beat him before he dropped me from his play list?  He usually wins.  He's a maths teacher, but by god he can smash me at Words - let's face it, anyone can - even though it seems he invents words that defy all the resources of The Concise Macquarie app.  Invariably gets these 'gems' on triple word scores as well.

But there was the rejection. Believe it or not, my heart rate increased.  After a few deep breaths to calm myself, tell myself to grow up, I texted Dan:

"What?  No more words with friends?  How come??"

That was at 9:13 a.m.  (Yeah, I'm old.  I play on my iPhone while Al's in the kitchen reading the paper.)

At 10:34, Dan texts me back:

"Pressed the wrong button after too much wine start a new game please".  (Hope that message wasn't copyrighted, BTW, Dan.)

I'm so relieved.

So imagine how I felt when I discovered recently that my nephew's partner had un-friended me on Facebook.  So hurt!   Yet I barely know this woman, having met her only twice.  Can't imagine what I've done.  Only wanted to check out the latest pics of my gorgeous-looking great-nephew.  I try to shrug it off, but it's difficult.  Have I been cyber-bullied?  Am I feeling, albeit in middle age, something akin to what kids these days experience when they're being sent to Coventry on-line?

That rejection led me to check out my meagre list of friends to discover, to my interest, that my son's girlfriend has also 'deleted' me.  From Facebook and Twitter.  WTF??  Probably easy to work that one out, I suppose. Dare say my son's given to 'projection'.  I've been nothing but kind to this person but I can take no responsibility for what my son's communicated.  He blathers, as does his mother.

So by unburdening myself of all this, hope I can stop waking up at 3 a.m. and reprocessing it.  That's one reason I write.  There's so much turbulence in my head.  My brother-in-law described this as a radio constantly changing from station to station.  If I write it down, it fixes it and I can move on.

But now I'm going to be paranoid about my son's girlfriend reading this and being inadvertently hurt.

Think it's time to hit the Saturday market.  Maybe I can lose myself in running to the rescue in another petty crime.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Saturday Market

An ordinary Saturday morning at our local market. Al and I deliberate over which fish looks good, then, as per usual, buy the same rock flathead, prawn cutlets, mussels and calamari we buy every week.

A jazz combo - percussion, double bass, flute -  is playing something funky outside the nutman's shop.  (Love the nutman.  He's heavy set, probably my vintage, middle eastern.  "Here," he says in his seductively attractive accent, proffering a few wasabi beans on his scoop because he knows I haven't bought them before.  Gives me a wink. I could go there.  Sorry, got off track; wrong story.)

The jazz combo is a pleasant relief today.  There's often a bit of music on a Saturday at our local shops.  Last week an operatic female voice was belling out from a coffee shop.  The week before, the trad jazz combo was taking a break at the Lebanese cafe/grocery and I was glad.  Don't like trad jazz.

Just doing our usual shop.  Getting our deli stuff, bit of leg ham, bit of pastrami, listening to the young guy on my right telling some tale of family illness to the woman serving.  She's leaning in over the counter, making the right sympathetic sounds.

Suddenly, a tall elderly, very energetic woman is shrieking, wailing, behind us.  Screaming, imploring anyone who will listen.  What is she saying?  She can't find her shopping?  Someone's taken all her bags?  Everything?

She is hysterical, running around in circles, her arms held out in front of her.  Crying, screaming.  People give her a wide berth and she runs out into the street.

"Take their drugs away, what have they got?"  Huh? "Nothing."  The young guy next to me, early thirties at a guess, knows everything.  "A good thief doesn't need the money," he says definitively to Al and I.  I ponder what that means.

From over the refrigerated glass case the shop assistant pipes in with a bit of racial profiling.  "It's an aboriginal girl," she declares.  "This happens every week.  Last week, I saw her, just over there." She points over to the fruit and veg stall and we look over.  "She was unzipping, taking someone's purse right out of their bag while they were being served.  We were all shouting."  She nods in consternation.

"Yeah, I've seen 'em."  Suddenly there's a mob?  "They all hang around out front of the library."  Bookish thieves?

"Well, it's a first for me," I say, unable, as usual, to keep my mouth shut, "and I've lived around here for 25 years."  They both look at me like I'm some blinkered old fool.

We're interrupted by the return of the victim, who had disappeared for a few minutes.  She's even more hysterical.  It's the same screeched mantra and I get that someone has taken her purse from her handbag.  She runs into the market again, crying, and I run after her because everyone's just watching like she's some mad woman and no one is helping.

"Signora!"  I dodge around a few shoppers to reach her.  Where did signora come from?  I'd considered calling 'madam', or 'lady' - not one of my words - but neither seemed apt at our market on a Saturday morning.  "Signora," I touch her elbow.  She stops and glares down at me.  "Has anyone called the police?  Would you like me to call the police?"

"Yes!  Please!"  Still she's sobbing and declaiming.  A woman in the market sniggers and that sets Signora off again.  "You!  You laugh!  You think it's funny!"  She's crying, and it isn't funny.

And then I dial 999, UK emergency department; the second time I've done that in an emergency, the product of my early childhood in England.  Puzzled to hear that the number is not connected, I dial 000, am transferred to police and astounded that whoever I'm talking to has immediately got my name and address.  Now it does become ironically funny as Signora gets even more distressed and angry now, this time at me.  All I'm doing is asking her questions as per police instructions.

However, she does settle, drawing herself up proudly, folding her hands across her abdomen and spelling out her Italian name, which I must then repeat to the officer.  Inadvertently, I mimic her Italian pronunciation, and I can't stop myself and I feel a bubble of mirth rising and I bite down on it.  The slow process has calmed her.  Her worn beige vinyl handbag swings from the crook of her left arm.  She really must have been a million miles away when someone unzipped it, reached in and removed her wallet.  She lost all her pension money and ID.  I'm on the phone trying to hear the officer over the market racket, simultaneously trying to follow Signora's explanation.  She noticed her bag was lighter - she weighs it in front of her to demonstrate.  When she'd looked in - she splays open the middle compartment and I dutifully look inside - she noticed her wallet was gone.

"No, she's not hurt," I explain to the officer on the phone.  "It's not life-threatening, but she's very distressed and someone needs to help her:"  Isn't that what police are for?.  "I'm just doing my shopping."

"Can she come to the police station?" he asks.

"Can you go to the police station?" I ask Signora.

"Is  better I stay here," she says, somewhat relieved to be telling her story to another Italian woman of a similar age, who agrees to wait with Signora for the police.

I see Al, giving us a ten metre berth, looking at me, one eyebrow raised.  Suppose he's used to me running to the rescue.

A couple of minutes later, I've left them to it and that bubble of mirth explodes.  Have to lean against the wall by the butchers' and let it out.

Later, back home, Al's unpacking the smallgoods.  In all the excitement, it seems, some pastrami has gone missing.

Small price to pay.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Playing solitaire on my bike.

Had a few tears of elation blowing back from the corners of my eyes today as I flew down the Capital City trail and across the bridge at Flemington Road for the second time this week.  Felt so good. Love those uninterrupted free rides down hills on bike paths.  Today was especially good.  Perfect autumn weather.  Twenty-five degrees. Light breeze.

I've been playing solitaire a bit these hols. Haven't done the usual catch-ups with a couple of friends. You might say I'm resting my voice. That, or I have no friends.

The cycling has been terrific; a selfish indulgence.  I don't have to interact with anyone, well, apart from the waitress at that cafe at the marina opposite Docklands today.  (Can I help you? Earl Grey tea? I'll bring it out to you. Nice weather. They say this'll be the last of the warm weather. It's going to be 27 on Sunday. $4.00 thanks.) And that woman coming the other way on the Upfield bike track. (Perfect timing, she called, because I'd pressed the button at the Dawson Street intersection and she could just bowl through.)

Never lonely on my bike anyway.

Two days back I had no intention of cycling so far - 26k round trip.  Was just going to the local shops but thought I'd circle through Princes Park first before weighing myself down with a pannier of groceries.  That's when I discovered that the Royal Parade underpass was under construction.  Too easy for me to keep going down the hill through Royal Park and on to Docklands.  Stopped for something to eat at Fish Bar, or whatever that place is called.

'How much is the fish burger?'  The list of ingredients on the chalkboard looked tempting and why not? I'd cycle it off on the way back.
'The fish burger is off.'  Okay, best not to eat an off fish-burger.
'Two steamed dim sims, please.'  Well, aren't dim sims the complete food?  You've got your 'meat', your cabbage, maybe 12 grams of carb each.
'No steamed dim sims.  Only fried.'
'Hmm. Okay.  Two fried dim sims. And a Diet Coke.'
'Haven't got Diet Coke.  Only Coke Zero.'

Grabbed a table in the shade to enjoy the ambience.  Lots of paunchy balding business men in shirts and ties, singles and pairs, enjoying the sunshine, light playing on the water, yachts in the marina.  One man was on his mobile. (If I'm in the mood, don't mind eavesdropping on those obliviously loud one way conversations.  He was planning dinner - something with caramelised onions - while he ate his fish and chips.) A couple of families.  A grandfather and grandson out for a ride. 

My dim sims, when they arrived in their brown paper bag, were overcooked.  I pronounced them delicious anyway.

My ride continued back along the Yarra river through that very impressive South Wharf, Exhibition Centre, Polly Woodside precinct.  Looks amazing. The river had the glossy, chocolatey consistency of that river in the first Willy Wonka film. 

Cycled through the crowds along Crown, over Sandridge bridge and along the Yarra to Batman Avenue, up Flinders and Spring Streets then along the Nicholson Street 'shared' path. 

One negative. For the life of me I can't understand why one can't cycle through the gardens around the Exhibition Building.  The Rathdowne and Nicholson Street footpaths are invariably busy.  Nearly hit two women on Nicholson today, who at different times decided to throw themselves under the front wheel of my bike.  And there are only ever about ten people in all that park with all those empty paths through the trees.

Back along Canning Street through Carlton.  Had some wedding photos taken on the centre nature strip there, under the old palm trees, back in the day.  Always think about it as I cycle along in the dedicated cycle lane that didn't exist back in the 'eighties.

And back onto the Capital City trail in Park Street to the Upfield Bike Path north and home.

Added bonus on today's ride was my son cycling towards me.  Stopped for a quick catch-up then went our separate ways.  Glad he's got the cycling thing too.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hunger Games and Highpoint

I've just been an extra on the set of the Capitol in the film of The Hunger Games!

Nah.  I'm lying. Though perhaps I was wearing a tad too much Mac Fix to fill the cracks - facial - and I do have this attention seeking menopausal ginger asymmetrical haircut.

But that's how it felt when I emerged from the excitement of the hunger games - bit more of a kick than all your reality TV thrown together - into the foyer of Hoyts, Highpoint.

The thing is I rarely go to the cinema.  I'm a bit of a hermit.  Usually wait for the latest film to come out on DVD then watch it in the comfort and privacy of my own home with my finger hovering over the pause button.  Wine, snacks and toilet breaks.  And I also avoid interacting with the general public.

But I had this need to see The Hunger Games on the big screen.  I feel a certain affinity with it, having feverishly read the trilogy a year ago and then encouraged heaps of students to read the books.  Of course, everyone's reading it now there's a block buster film happening.  But a couple of year 9 boys - my former students - have approached me while I've been on yard duty with their eyes shining to tell me how much they loved the film and how it did the book justice.

Anyway, it's the school holidays.  How to avoid throngs of unsupervised teenagers, some of whom I'll no doubt .know.

It was a no-brainer really.  Not many teenagers are going to be vying for seats at the 10 a.m. session.  So I got up this morning on a mission, and there I was at the box office at 9.50.

This is the other thing.  In all my years - heaps - I've never been to a cinema alone.

Anyone reading who has diabetes knows you have to plan for anything you do.  Didn't want to be caught with a hypo during the film without a support person.  Adjusted my basal rates to keep my blood sugar stable during the film.  Thought I'd be okay but I packed the usual supplies - jelly beans, juice box and torch.  Yeah, torch.  Bit hard to check your blood sugar in the dark on my meter.  Still, didn't fancy gripping the torch between my teeth while I pricked my finger and tried to put it on the spot.

So I was quite the adventurer this morning.  My reward was a near empty cinema and a mind-blowingly good adaptation of a great book.  Casting, sets, cinematography.  Nothing jarred.  Was almost tempted to get another ticket and watch it again.

I remained in the cinema throughout the credits and relished the experience of being the last person to leave; of having all that space to myself.  Walked out in time to the triumphant music, thinking I was Katniss, the heroine.

And then, with a full bladder, I staggered, dazzled, into Highpoint horror.  Teen-filled foyer; cacophony, sloping floors, ascending escalator, kids, parents, Timezone, burgers, shops, lights.  The carpeted floor seemed to be tilting as I set my expression to normal, whilst listing to my left and tripping over my own feet.  (I'd already checked my blood sugar, BTW.  No prob there.)

Walked as fast as I could - slow motion - in my catatonic state, all along the ground floor, up the spiral stairs and along to the 'bathroom' at the other end of the complex.  There, I toppled, somewhat hilariously - well, I laughed -  against a tiled wall while I waited for a free stall.

You know what?  Back for more next week I think.  On a day off, when the kids are back at school.

The Hunger Games, and my little foray into playing solitaire, the only game in town, was awesome.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Me and Ab Circle Pro

Did I mention I'm obsessive compulsive?

Sister, Janey, got a new bloke and thus became co-owner of an Ab Circle Pro.  Best not to think about the new beau soaking up the day-time TV and ordering one, but there you go.

Jane's verdict? It works, she says. Never mind that it's too big for her bedroom and that while she's swinging her arse in time to music she's got her face pressed up amongst the shirts dangling in her open wardrobe.

Jane and I are both secondary English teachers. Apart from that, we're 'sympatico'; two different sides of a coin.  We're often doing exactly the same thing at the same time, albeit with a time difference, depending on daylight saving.  See, she's in the Top End.  I'm in Melbourne.

Anyway, I'm having what she's having. Not a new bloke. An Ab Circle Pro.  Ever since she mentioned it, I was obsessed.

I'd seen the Ab Circle Pro in operation on daytime TV with those impossibly built models and teeth making it look effortless.  As if, I'd thought.

But Jane's got the same Rubenesque build as me.  If it was working for her, there was a chance for me to reduce my muffin-tops.

Got onto Ebay and actually got involved in the bidding for a machine that started at $40.  Was outbid on that, but enjoyed the little frisson of excitement that comes with being a contender.  The happy winner picked it up for $170.

Meanwhile, I told myself not to be so ridiculous and did a few more squats against the wall with the exercise ball.

But I couldn't get that adjectival Ab Circle Pro out of my mind.

Next week saw me trawling the site where I found one locally for $140.  Tentatively sent off an email to see if was still available, the ad having been posted more than a month earlier.  'Yes, my firend (sic)!' came the reply.

Let it go for about another week. Told myself it was a complete waste of money.  Checked out a few mixed on-line reviews. Some raved; others complained of bits falling off and sore knees.  Hoped the bits were falling off the machine and not them.

Finally, I thought 140 bucks was a small price to pay to get over myself.

Bought the machine from an Asian man around the corner.  It was still in its original packing.  The box had never been opened.

"Why you no use?" I asked.  Forgive me, but I instinctively go into this patois when I meet someone who doesn't speak English. It's easier.

"I buy for my wife, but he too lazy; he no want."

"I want look like this!" I said.  He'd opened the box and passed me the DVD.  I indicated the bronzed bikini clad porn star on the front. Haha.  Well, I thought it was funny - and BTW, it ain't gonna happen.

So, all done at $140!

And then Al had to assemble it.  Ikea style, there were a couple of parts left over.  Perhaps that's why the pin kept lifting out while I was mid-swing, causing me to inadvertently do the splits?  Nothing that a thick rubber band couldn't fix.  Not me; the central locking pin.

So far, a few intense workouts later, I'm quite enjoying the ride. All helps with the fitness, but I'm still Rubenesque.