Thursday, August 18, 2011

Food Snobbery

At work eating biscotti.

Which is a little classier than Cheetos.

Wow, I have a class system for food. Is that because I'm English? Do I consider Cheetos a 'working class' snack? And how does that explain my devotion to Pot Noodles? And didn't I just put Pot Noodles in the same category? Am I....gasp!....a culinary snob??

I have often been told that in England we have a class system, and in America we don't. I don't believe that is true. To make a long, boring argument I really don't want to have short, as far as I can see, in England you are born into it, in America you buy into it. Obviously this is a simplistic generalisation with some exceptions which render my ramblings completely meaningless.

I went to a Very Posh School. The kids who went to the local public school would yell at us in the street, recognising us by our strict navy convent girl uniforms. But at school, I certainly wasn't one of the kids who threw pool parties, had discos (it was the Eighties, OK?!) in their stables and turned up at school in a Bentley. My Mum cleaned the houses of some of their parents and sent herself to night classes to learn to be a secretary. My Dad worked nights, or got up at 4am, working thirty eight years for the Post Office. I was proud to pull up next to the posh cars in our dodgy old Viva. My parents earned that parking space!

My point is, I saw snobbery from both sides. Those who have looking down on those who have less, and those who had not making assumptions about those who had. So, when I talk about class, I don't really mean social or economic status. I mean that indefinable something which you can either have, or not, regardless of either.

As for classy food...Sarah, if you're reading this, I'll be there in October. Get in the curry flavoured Supernoodles and a jar of Nutella, make some of our 'creative' spag bol, and see if you can wrestle the Sangria off your mother!

Sorry Diane.

I am in SO much trouble when I get there.


Eating Cheetos in Church....

So. Eating Cheetos in church. Thats probably bad, right? Eating artificial cheese flavoured lumpy orange things made from corn syrup and polystyrene, while the Pastor is talking about 'symptoms of spiritual heart disease' - oh my, so many levels of wrong there!

If I was far more spiritual than I am, I would get a good teaching stylie illustration out of that, but I've lost my edge since my Beach Mission days, when I could throw together a children's talk with three points all starting with the same letter just from someone sneezing.

Ah, simpler times! Better? Worse? Am I more enlightened in my approach now, or have I lost something along the way? And, more importantly, is it all just the result of too many Cheetos?!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Attleboro, Land of the Snowy Snow People

I promised you photos....

To my New England blogees who didn't brave the white outdoors today, you can cheat by looking at my photos, I did the work for you.... (indeed, the workout...its deep out there!) I didn't build my snowman yet. I had a real live one to take for a walk, so I thought he'd do for today. He bought me hot chocolate on the way home, snowmen don't usually bother. But the live one is back at work tomorrow so maybe I will get to it then.....!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Let it Snow.....


Its cold in here! Even under my fleecy blanket and with my very tasteful stripy socks on. This might have something to do with the big snow storm that is due to arrive in town after midnight.

I suppose I have a different perspective from the average New Englander on this. I grew up in the South of England, where, for most of my life, I remember getting no more than an inch or two of snow, if that, and even then we didn't know what to do with it! A slight hint of sun, and we all run squealing into the freezing sea. Rain? We're the world experts at singing in it. But snow? Not so much.

Then I married a Rhode Islander... *insert appropriate incidental music* ... and moved to New England, Snowy Land of the Winter Snowfest. Over here, everything gets shoveled and plowed overnight, people own snow blowers and many a Facebook status claims to be 'excited' at the prospect of a snow storm. Maybe they have the right idea. Remember when you were a child, and looking out in the morning to see a world covered in white was the most exciting thing ever?

Well adjusted as my adopted home is to snow, it does still go SLIGHTLY mad before a big storm. Ask anyone who ventured into the supermarket today. Fighting your way through a store full of people who appear to be stocking up for about three years of living in their cellar, while wearing giant snow boots and forty two layers of clothing (the trick here is to start with your Christmas festive sweater, an essential in these parts, and gradually build layers until January) is all part of the fun!

As for me, I am looking forward to a day at home with my husband, who has a 'snow day' off work tomorrow. I am also hoping it is the right sort of snow for snowman building, a must for any creative type in this weather. I will post photos, watch this space.....

Stay warm, and safe, and don't forget to go out and play!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Trouble with my Whelm....

whelmed, whelm·ing, whelms
1. To cover with water; submerge.
2. To overwhelm.

Middle English whelmen, to overturn

There, see. My whelm is well and truly over. I am overturned and sinking fast! Or to put it a bit it is....I am overwhelmed, tired, depressed and having was it...clarifying my something...yes, thoughts. THOUGHTS. Right.

I do apologize to my blogees for not writing yesterday, and for starting off on such a cheery note today. But if this blog is to be about me, then I think it most likely that it will follow my mood swings too. The up side of this is that sometimes I am funny. When I'm not, you know, having whelm trouble. I hope it all balances out in the end and I don't send you all gibbering under the nearest piece of furniture. (Oh hello, welcome, there was some chocolate under here somewhere....)

It is nearing the end of The Week I Got Fired now, and I am starting to feel it a little. Yes, it is probably a good thing in the long run, and yes, I believe I am supposed to be a writer, ultimately. And YES, I DO believe that in the end, this year will be different because of that. But of course I have also lost that little bit of security that comes from knowing you will get tips tomorrow, and a check on pay day...of having a 'proper job' and a routine. I'm also worn out by the reasons I lost the job in the first place. I had been ill for a while with my diabetes and related issues, and then for the last two weeks or so, in a lot of pain with my arthritis (good grief, what am I, eighty??!) Yes, I can know that I didn't lose my job through anything that was within my control, but on the other hand, that is so frustrating. Though I can't honestly say my poor body doesn't have the right to get a certain amount of revenge for the things I have done to it and ESPECIALLY the things I have said to it over the years....if I was my body, I would have left by now... thank you, and sorry, Body!

So, you know what, I'm just tired. At times when I get like this, and I feel the depression creeping up on me, I often remember the Old Testament story of when Elijah was, frankly, in a right mood. "Oh, Lord, theres nobody else, I have to do this all alone, nobody caaaares......" His whelm, one might say, was over. So did God give him a big old vision and zap him better? No. He sorted him out. Food and sleep, followed by a job to do, a purpose for him to get back to working out.

Tomorrow, I will, as a certain group I was in used to say, 'do the next right thing'. Maybe God will send some ravens to stop me ravin'.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hello, My Name is Ruth, and I'm Scared of Doctors...

Can you hear me out there? Am I loud enough? I'm just checking, because I'm actually hiding under the table at the moment. No, no, theres no chocolate under here, its just that if I stay here he might not find me. Maybe he'll forget that I have an appointment. Maybe that nice lady in the office won't call with a gentle reminder that I get to visit my Doctor at 2pm tomorrow.

Maybe if I stay under here....

Those of you reading this will probably be split equally between two groups...the "Whats the problem?" people and the "can I join you under there? I have a physical coming up.." people. Guess which group I relate to?

Let me explain my Doctor history. I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis at the age of about twelve, which mean't that I spent an awful (and I mean awful!) lot of my teenage years being poked about by Doctors, and I was blessed for much of this time with the most condescending Doctor you can imagine. I dreaded these appointments for weeks in advance because I came out of them every time feeling that I had been talked down to, that I was not being heard, and that I was somehow responsible for having arthritis, not to mention being overweight, which was heavily (if you'll pardon the choice of word) emphasized at every opportunity. At that age, I knew I was feeling these things but did not have the capacity to express them. Nor did I feel I was allowed to question anything. They were the adults, right?

The interesting thing is, if I look at photos now of when I was that age, I was really not that big. Which makes me wonder how much of my future weight issues had to do with being TOLD I had a problem before I ever had one, and being made more aware of my body than a twelve year old should have to be? So, even though I like the Doctor I have now, before every appointment I have that same feeling of dread, like I am being summoned to the Headmaster's office, because I have done something wrong.

This appointment is a follow up to the change in my diabetes medication. It is so easy to feel that way with diabetes, because there are such a load of misconceptions about this disease, and on a bad day I take those on myself. I have often had the discussion with people about how diabetes is not just about people eating too much, living a bad lifestyle and getting it. Yes, you can definitely contribute to it that way, and I believe that most likely my years of eating disorders triggered it. But I also know thin people with diabetes, and people three times my weight who do not have it. I know there is a genetic tendency in my family. I would not be at all surprised if the diabetes actually started before or during the eating disorders and helped to create the cycle that kept me there.

But in a way, that is not the point. However someone has ended up with the day to day struggle that diabetes can be, how does it help to add guilt and shame to their burden? How does it motivate someone to be told if they don't do it perfectly they will have a list of complications as long as your arm? (Oh, actually, you may not get to keep your arms, so PUT DOWN THAT DONUT!!!) How about a little motivation from the other direction?
Let me give you an example....if I learn to control my diabetes....

I can live.
I can stop being afraid.
I can lose weight and feel healthy.
I can have energy and not be tired all the time.
I can limit the scary depression and mood swings.
I can stop the equally scary food cravings that come with high blood sugar.
I can fully participate in my life, and not have to stop when we're out because I can't breath.

Doesn't that make you want to be healthy more than if you were just told "well, you'll probably have a heart attack and stroke and amputations and blindness, and goodness me, all manner of hideous things" ? I am not in denial. I simply believe people work better from a place of love, not negativity. My fear of the Doctor is because I take on all of those things about it being 'my fault'. Its not. Its a disease, and its hard enough to fight without fighting myself. So I will get out of my way, pray (well, I am already down here on my knees!) get out from under the table, and go to the Doctor.

If another type of Doctor wants to come along with a Tardis before then, make it before 2pm, 'k?


Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Resolutions....

Its that time of year again. Yes, thats right, the beginning. 2011. There it is. Like a Monday morning, but bigger.

Now, I know many people say their resolution is not to make a resolution! I understand this point of view. There is nothing magic about the beginning of a year (even less on a Monday morning!) and we all make the same decisions over and over again, and then January 2nd comes and we look up from the Chinese buffet and go.....', well I'll start Monday....its still the holiday, right?'

I have tried this approach, but I am simply not wired this way. Because the part of me that believes in Disney and shooting stars and unicorns and still watches out of the window for Santa's sleigh, even though she knows she is supposed to be a boring grown up now, DOES think there is something magic about it. Magic in the sense of wonder and hope. To express it in terms of my faith, maybe it is that moment when you look up and say, yes God, you ARE there, and things CAN change, and I will begin this year believing.

So, what ARE my New Years Resolutions for 2011?

- To live out my Christian faith from a place of joy and grace, instead of through the filter of anger and fear which I carried through last year.

- To lose the weight. This is one of those 'oh, I say that every year' things, so you won't believe it until you see it. I won't believe it until I see it! But this year, I am done with 'to reach a place of serenity and fat acceptance regardless of.....' Oh, shut up. I only need one chin. I would like, this year, to find the original one again.

- To write every day. This is the year of putting it all out there as a writer. I don't know what will come back, I don't know if anyone will see fit to pay me, or to buy my book. But I will write regardless and not give in to 'I'm not good enough and nothings going to happen therefore I won't try'.

- To keep hanging out with those unicorns. May we never lose our sense of wonder.

Happy New Year x