Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Insomnia induced internet-window shopping

Tried to sleep post-Bertie-leaving but no luck so far so I'm up to try and get tired by doin stuff...

So I spent my time finding these on 'Amputeehee' and I really really want them! My empty bank account says no, so I'm waitin till payday (and a budget which will probably still say no):

Haha! Why didn't I think of getting amputee related tshirt humour happening sooner? I have the gay tshirts sporting slogans like 'Queer: don't knock it till you've tried it' and 'Every time you see a rainbow, God's having gay sex', but amputee humour? Eeeeexcellent. Now all I need is a queer amputee tshirt.

On another site here I found these:

Hell yes. I think that's going to be my clothing budget for the next year!
P.S. I'm starting to think of some of my own tshirt slogans I could do:
- 'I visited cancer and all I got was this lousy leg'
- 'I think amputees are alright, but then again I haven't got a leg to stand on'
- 'Amputee benefit #32: less body parts to shave'
- 'See my limp? Yep, I'm a gimp'
- 'I may not have two legs but I can still kick your arse, so stop staring'
- 'My hair grew back. I'm still waiting on the leg.'
And my favourite, for when I'm out on my shiny new tricycle:
- 'Dyke on a trike'

Monday, March 30, 2009

Emotional eating - time to 'fess up, then move forward

Today, Bertie went back to WA for work. Just after she left, I skipped the second half of TAFE - a subject I love, biology - to sit at home sniffling and whining, and changing channels like a daytime TV addict on crack.

Meanwhile I devoured three quarters of a block of organic fair trade chocolate, three cans of coke (plus started on a 1.25l), two slices of greasy pizza, nearly a whole garlic bread, and a quarter of a tub of Maggie Beer's Burnt Fig Jam Honeycomb and Caramel Icecream.

Obviously not my best post-Bertie-leaving-day. Other times she's left I've managed to get myself to TAFE, finish assignments, do chores and even eat a healthy tea. What's different this time?

I think I'm losing motivation to lose weight, which is ridiculous because after losing a fabulous TWELVE kilos and feeling happy and (almost) healthy, I have now stacked back on about four. Why spend all that money on weight watchers and go through all that hard work to eat healthily and exercise, if I just stack it straight back on again? The slump in my motivation to lose weight means I'm quick to allow myself 'a night off' from the regime when Bertie leaves. And not just a night off, but a night where I eat my way through every bit of junk I can find/buy.

Note to self: the pizza-garlicbread-icecream-coke-chocolate binge night left you feeling sick, bloated and unhappy. Maybe this is a good thing, as it might help you reassess the way things are going in your journey to lose weight, get fit, and feel good about your body. Remember how healthy you started feeling when you were on track? Get back to that place!!! Forgive yourself for tonight, and then move on to better things tomorrow...

P.S. Don't EVER try and use Dr Phil to solve your problems. NEVER, do you hear me? I'd rather you eat three pizzas and four tubs of icecream and five litres of coke. Just no more Dr Phil!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gettin' around...

As you can see from the previous post, I enjoyed my first (teensy) riding experience today: a few laps around our apartment block's carpark. Heaven! Dwayne came for a little ride but quickly decided he preferred to walk. Bertie watched and took photos - I felt like a big silly kid with my streamers and bell and little tiny laps around and around, but that's a happy big silly kid right there. A great day for me :D

I found I could use my prosthesis while riding - a few times I stalled and couldn't seem to use the leg to push the pedal down, but the more laps I did the less this happened. We'll see what happens when I get out and about a little more...

Speaking of getting out and about, Bertie and I had a super duper busy week, particularly the weekend part of it that we just got back from: a friend's place for morning tea (she served up some very yummy homemade banana bread, and homemade hummus, both of which I need the recipe for!) then down to Phillip Island for a night of fun birthday shenanigans with a friend (where we celebrated Earth Hour, which I'll blog more about soon), and finally a triple-birthday BBQ in Moe today. We've only just got back to Melbourne!

Obviously I couldn't ride my tricycle from Melbourne to Phillip Island to Moe and back again, so Bertie and I took the car...

Those who know me well know that I have been on my learner license for a LONG time (lots of reasons - extreme nervousness in cars & regular car crash nightmares don't help the situation) but Bertie has been trying to help remedy this. We've occasionally had some lessons, but because of my reluctance they were always too spaced apart. Bertie even bought me some RACV driving lessons for Christmas that I'm yet to use.

Anyway, this weekend there was obviously a lot of driving to be done, and the wonderous, wonderful Bertie convinced me to drive from Elwood to the corner of Springvale and Wellington rd. It was a nervous and stressful half hour, but we both survived. I didn't want to get on the freeway, so Bertie drove the rest of the way to Phillip Island. Then I surprised myself by agreeing to drive from Phillip Island to Moe today. The entire two hour drive. I started out stressed and panicky, but by the end of the two hours I felt a new confidence in myself and in my driving. There were still certain situations - like the first drive on a freeway - which freaked me out, but I learnt, finally, not to panic and lose my cool in these sorts of situations! I even confronted my fear of driving through tunnels and over bridges (though my hands tended to hurt afterwards from gripping the steering wheel so hard, haha).

Despite being exhausted by the day in Moe, I even suggested I drive us back to Melbourne. I did, and the feeling I experienced as I pulled into our carpark at home was one of deep happiness. I feel I have conquered a big hurdle: the massive nervousness. I even started to enjoy myself on the drive home. Now I just need to improve my technique and put in the practice to get my hours up. Next step - now that Bertie is going back to work interstate - is to get those RACV lessons happening soon so I don't lose that confidence.

I hope soon to be able to walk and run on my new leg (coming soon), ride around on my shiny new tricycle, and drive around in Bertie's car when I have to. Welcome to 2009, the year of Jess' multiple transportation initiations :)

My first bike (or technically 'trike') ride, aged 24

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bikey goodness for melbourne

I've been reading this newspaper article about the Victorian state government's new bike strategy - 23new bike paths in 18 months, some linking up of existing bike tracks, 33 bike cages at train stations around Melbourne, and apparently even some safe cycling programs in schools and a "look out for cyclists" campaign. Cool.

According to this article, the plan will also mean Vicroads will have to consider bike paths as part of any new major roads project. Hell yeah! As someone who's about to start getting around on a tricycle, I'm pretty keen to know where the existing bike paths are, and what new options there will be in the future.

One ride I'm keen to do (once I get my trike and get comfy riding it) is the Capital City Trail, a 32km loop around Melb city, going by sights like the zoo, Yarra Bend park, Merri creek, Yarra river, Alexandra Gardens, and the MCG...

An 'insight' into childhood obesity

I'm watching tonight's 'Insight' program on SBS, and am finding it fascinating.

I wish I'd seen all of the episode (I was watching RSPCA rescue before I realised this program was on, and had been tearing up big time at a story about a kitten stuck in a car for two days that had been driven around and even crashed. Thankfully he was ok).

Anyway, back to Insight. I'm so impressed by what I've seen. I love that this show is bringing together industry members, academics, dietitians, 'normal' members of public, government, and the fabulous chef/fresh food activist Stephanie Alexander. The members of the food industry made me feel annoyed or skeptical a lot of the time, but it was good to hear what they had to say. I did feel that Jenny Brockie was quite tough on them, and that the right questions were asked within the time constraints of the show.

There was a lot of talk about various ways of listing nutritional information on packaging, which was fascinating - I liked the traffic light system they described because it's easy to understand and quick to read when you're facing a number of choices at a supermarket. However, it was Stephanie Alexander's comment that if you eat fresh, seasonal food then in her opinion, no food is bad whether it be a bit of real butter or some creme freche. Very interesting, as I like to think this but I do eat a lot of low fat processed foods since I started weight watchers.

The most impressive audience member, in my opinion, was Professor Boyd Swinburn from Deakin University. I'll be making a decision at the end of this year about whether to go to Deakin or Monash to study nutrition and dietetics, so it was interesting to see someone involved in the Deakin program in action. According to the Deakin website, "Professor Swinburn leads a research program in the area of obesity prevention, especially in childhood and adolescence", and he certainly seemed passionate and knowledgeable about this issue.

Apparently you can watch reruns online so I'll be doing that as soon as it's available and making some more detailed commentary about what various people on the show said.

The other fantastic aspect of the Insight website is that after each show, some of the guests are available to chat. I am doing this right now - I asked Clare Collins, a dietitian and consultant on the Biggest Loser - "Hi, I wanted to ask Clare how she got into dietetics, and what advice she'd have for someone wanting to get into this career themselves?" She hasn't answered me specifically yet, but she did write a message to someone else saying, "I love my profession! It is the only thing I wanted to do since age 14. Within Dietetics I have changed directions many times from working in hospitals, doing research, teaching university students, working with the media and consulting to TV show. There is a lot of science in dietetics and a lot of education but if you love working with people you will love it."

It's the ability to change direction within a career that really makes or breaks it for me, I think. I am the most changeable, indecisive person and I need to put myself into new environments and situations regularly to feel happy and stimulated. I hope that the fact that a dietitian can work in government, industry, private practice, hospitals, consultancy, research, teaching etc might mean that I can move around within my career as the years go by to stay challenged and interested.

*yay* since i wrote the above para, Clare Collins has replied to my question, saying: "when I did dietetics you used to have to do a science degree THEN another course BUT now you can go straight into a university course from year 12. It does help if you have done chemistry because you do a lot in the first 2 years of the course. My advice is that if you are keen to do it apply and go from there. Most jobs are still in ospitals helping people who have medical condition modify their food intake so they can improve their health but the areas where more jobs are becoming available is in working with different companies and in private practice." Thanks Clare! I'm glad to hear there's lots of chemistry involved in the dietetics courses as it's one of my favourite subjects at TAFE at the moment.

Phew! What a mammoth post. As I said, I'll write more when I've seen the full episode online :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Zeroing in on the problem...

Still failing on the coke front *sigh*

I'm not only failing to give it up, but I've been drinking about two cans of coke zero PER DAY since I tried giving soft drink up for a second time. What is wrong with me? I'm wondering if the old reverse psychology thing's at work here - since I told myself I couldn't have it, my desire for it has increased tenfold.

I've also started doing the whole 'oh but I'm studying so hard, I'll have one now and then once I've got these three assignments in, I can focus on giving it up properly...' Totally pissweak. If I can't resist it when I'm studying hard, I doubt I'll stop letting myself off the hook when I'm working hard or parenting hard.

I think I'm going to take down the counter, stop obsessing, and try to let it happen a bit more naturally and gradually. Maybe focus on reducing the frequency again. Obviously the hard line isn't working for me here.


P.S. just found this site called The Zero Movement - maybe this'll help motivate me a bit? It also led me to this site...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Inspired and excited...

I went and paid for my gomier tricycle today!!! Should be able to pick it up in about a week *growing excitement*

I was trying to find some other amputees online who ride trikes, and lo and behold I found Sara who just sounds so inspiring and had lots of helpful info for me as I build up to my first bike riding days in fourteen years *ridiculously frenzied excitement*

First, she listed some links to site's about amputees who ride bicycles (not tricycles, bicycles). Put me to shame. But I'm not going to even think about a bicycle right now, I'm nervous enough about the trike. Maybe that's a goal for later when I'm a total free-wheelin, three-wheelin hoon.

I almost got sad when I saw how pretty Sara's blue trike looked - I ended up choosing the red today after being sure all the way to the shop that I was getting blue. Damn libran personality. But though Sara's is pretty, I hope the red will make me a bit more noticeable to the cars around me (because the bright white helmet, the flourescent vest, and the multitude of lights won't do that...)

While Sara wears her prosthetic leg while riding she doesn't use it. I wondered if I could take the leg off and put it in the basket and then put it on at my destination (usually tafe) but like Sara I've realised that would mean putting the leg on in public places and, while I'm a known seeker of attention, it would mean sharing more of myself with the general public than I care to. So it's either wear the leg and don't use it, or wear it and put it to work. When I tested the bike out in the shop's small yard, my prosthetic leg seemed capable of pushing the wheel, but the muscles I was using were weak and after a few minutes started screaming at me to stop 'fourteen years! we were quite happy wasting away here, so leave us in peace to die already, biatch!'). If I want to use the prosthesis to ride, I might have to do some muscle-building excercises for the back of my stump.

After reading Sara's comment, "I'm still trying to decide whether or not to get streamers for the handlebars, or plastic daisies for the rear basket", I have suddenly got all kinds of silly ideas for decorative features swirling around my head, and I haven't even got the trike yet! *jumping-up-and-down excitement with a little mouth-frothing for added effect*

Actually, while writing this post I've started reading some of the rest of Sara's blog and am quite excited by the awesomeness of the current post about her GORGEOUS 'grape popsicle' coloured leg! As someone who has been an amputee for fourteen years but is only now starting to get informed so I can start being involved in decision-making processes about my leg and my health, Sara's creatively designed prosthesis certainly gave me something to think about!

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Riding around on my pushbike honey, when I noticed you... you looked so pretty when you were riding aloo-oooo-ooong"

Once again study has prevented me from blogging as regularly as I'd like... but I have two really positive transport/mobility developments in the last week:

1. Fantastic new prosthetist, and soon a new leg and some physio sessions!
- It seems I'll be getting an energy returning foot, I think it'll be the 1C30 Trias from Otto Bock - my long term goal is to be able to jog and run (it is apparently very difficult for above knee amputees, but we'll see... I'm pretty determined)
- I have a pretty awesome knee but don't really know how to use to its full potential, such as being able to walk up and down stairs more normally; hoping to learn this with the physio.

2. Gomier Adult Tricycle
- I saw a guy riding one of these around thornbury and knew I had to have one! I haven't ridden a bike for fourteen years, so I went to test one out at the Melbourne Bicycle Centre in Clifton Hill today, and it was fantastic!
- Using my government's stimulus package handout to buy it :D
- I have to decide between red or blue... I'm leaning toward red at the moment.

Both of these will be good for my health as I can exercise while doing something I'd be doing anyway (getting from A to B) instead of having to take time out of my busy life to go to the gym etc. Both will also be great for my environmental and sustainable living goals, as my hope is that unless I'm going really far away, I will be able to get to most places by walking, jogging, running, or cycling. Hell yeah!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

too many lits spoil the broth

I've been studying math, biology, chemistry and physics as part of the Certificate IV Science Bridging course at NMIT for a while now and I love it, but with my off-campus literature studies at Deakin at the same time it's all getting a bit much already! I might need to drop one of the semester's lit subjects, though I'm loathe to lose any of them as they all look really interesting. We'll see how I go...

My plan is to get in a nutrition/dietetics course once I've finished this science certificate, though I'm keeping my mind and my options open for now, as I might find something within the four subjects that I love and want to keep studying. Right now I'm feeling pretty turned on by chemistry. My last biology class was pretty amazing too. I can understand and keep up with math and physics (so far!) but they're not as interesting to me yet. It may take time to get a passion happening for them. Today, at least, I really enjoyed the prac we did in physics, which was about the law of reflection.

My feeling is that some of my sustainable living goals I had for the year - learning to sew, cooking more often and more healthily, and learning to live a more environmentally friendly life - may have trouble vying for my time between science and literature. I always do plan too much for each year, and end up feeling overwhelmed. I think if I manage to think about and try to gradually change some of my ways, it'll be easier to fit it all in with the study.

I'm thinking, maybe, of setting aside a few hours each sunday to cook 1 meal type to freeze for the week (eg a vegetable slice, pasta sauce, soup, stew, lasagne etc) and 1 type of snack to have over the week (eg muffins, yoghurt, cake, dips, muesli bars, biscuits etc).

I think learning to sew will depend on making time with friends who do sew to get a bit of help. This, I have discovered, is a hard thing to organise with my busy life and my friends' busy lives. Oh well it's a long term goal.

As for a more environmentally friendly, ethical lifestyle, I am just focusing on reducing water usage until I'm under the government's target of 155 litres per person per day, learning to use my bokashi bin, giving up chocolate except for maya gold fair trade, and cleaning my house chemical free.

Ooh we have a house inspection next weekend - it'll be interesting to see how well my chemical free cleaning does in getting the place spick and span!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Gah! have had two more coke zeros in the last two days. What is wrong with me? I know it's rotting my teeth, I know it's not good for my system, so why would I keep drinking it? I refuse to accept this ridiculous addiction to a not-even-all-that-tasty bottle of liquid poison.

In other news, using my towel two (gasp!) whole days in a row is going well, though I haven't used the shower bucket yet and I even shaved my legs yesterday while under running water because it was 'too cold' to turn the hot water off (where's the guts? I'm sure I used to have guts). Tsk tsk. Come on, it can't be that hard to be good can it?

Goals for tomorrow, Thursday March 5:
- NO COKE, 1 coffee allowed in the morning
- remember to get the bucket out for my shower
- pack a healthy, filling lunch so I don't go to the cafeteria and
a) spend money i don't have and
b) gaze lovingly at bottles of coke I can't drink