The Pudgy Woman Muses -Motivation, Memes and Minimising Mummy Guilt.

The internet is a wonderful invention. So much information on so many different subjects and more porn than you can shake a stick at, (in fact there are many niche sites dedicated to videos of people shaking a stick at it. Apparently). It has also spawned the devil that is social media, a devil that sucks up hours of my life as I read articles, look at videos of people icing cakes or stapling Go Pros to their dog’s head to see what they get up to in the day, writing witty posts, showing off about how very interesting my life is, trying to avoid Game of Thrones spoilers and, more importantly, trying to avoid the worst thing – the motivational post-er.

I hyphenate the word for three key reasons:

  1. Post-er – Noun: One who constantly posts motivational posters/memes or messages. See also: annoying arse, sycophant, person who rarely takes their own advice.
  2. Post-er – Noun: A post about how to live your life, which can also be seen hanging in a frame on the wall of a dodgy car insurance office under the heading ‘teamwork’ or ‘success’ or ‘determination’, and which are normally situated in the staff room by the noose from which people hang themselves after staff briefing.
  3. Post-errrr – Exclamation: What one says in response to the phrase ‘Have you seen Collin’s new meme? Yes, another post! Errrrrr!’

 

Let me give you some examples of the most nauseating ones I have seen so far…

 

 

OK – if by it you mean running, the answer to why is probably ‘because the sleeve of my cardigan got caught in an ice cream van window’. The answer to how is ‘reaching for an extra flake’, and any other questions would be met with a ‘why are you still asking questions? Just unhook me, my Mr Whippy is melting!’

 

I am particular nauseated by the motivational post and/or meme that covers relationship advice.

Like this…

bulb

Good advice, as long as the light bulb didn’t shag your sister.

 

Here are some others that actually make me dry retch. You can feel the arrogance oozing off the page…

motivation-meme

 

Ohhhh, right. Thanks for that outstanding piece of advice. Mind. Blown. ‘Don’t’. Brilliant.

 

motivational-fitness-workout-quotes-69_saving-my-life-meme

Bite me.

tumblr_mzy4wuymzi1tpyjvwo1_500

 

Undermines my message.

 

I do like this one though…

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Allow me to move on to my next point – the annoying banality of it all. Look at this phrase…

Always remember.

Yesterday’s today is the beginning of a new today tomorrow.

A load of bollocks, right? Makes absolutely no sense at all.

Now look at this…

meme

I made this meme.

I guarantee that you can take any old bollocks, stick a glacial landscape behind it, and you’ve got words of wisdom to live your life by.


The main problem I have with these posters, truth be told, is that they make me feel guilty, guilty for not running or swimming or dieting or spending less time snarling at motivational posters. I am fully aware of what it is I need to do, and I’m happy for those who do it, I guess I just don’t want a slogan and some clipart reminding me that I have been sitting down for five straight hours, and the Tim Tam I lost an hour ago is nestled and gently melting under my left boob.

Yes, there are lots of things I should be doing – travel, adventure, reading books, progressing my career. There are lots of things I need to do – hoover under the beds, clean the oven, talk to my husband. It’s all a bit overwhelming at times, and the guilt can be overpowering.

So, I have made a decision. I will not feel guilty anymore. I will take a proactive step in getting rid of the guilt. And in order to start that off, I have decided to compile a list. An anti-bucket list.

Now, an anti-bucket list (a fucket list perhaps?) may sound like a negative life draining exercise to some, but to me it has actually been quite life-affirming. I have realised that it is perfectly OK not to want to do things. Not thinking about all the things I really ought to be doing has freed me up to do all the things I actually want to do, and at no point will I be bombarding you with motivational posters about how many Krispy Kremes it is possible to fit into your mouth at once (discovered through extensive doughnut-based research)…

1.The first item on my anti-bucket list follows a conversation I had with the minx (now 7, can you believe), who berated me at Sea World on the Gold Coast for not wanting to take a pleasure flight (an oxymoron if ever I saw one) over the coastline. The conversation went like this…

Minx: Ooooo, Mummy! Let’s go on a helicopter, it will be fun! Shall we go? Shall we? Shall we?

Me: Absolutely not.

Minx: Arrrrrrrrrrr. Why not?

Me: Because I can’t think of anything worse.

Minx: I can think of a lot of things that are worse. Being eaten by a bear, for instance.

Me: Yes, but I would never put myself in a situation where I could get eaten by a bear, just like I would not get myself into a situation where I’m hurtling through the air in a metal ball of death, held up by two rotating, metallic lollipop sticks.

Minx: Are you scaaaaaaarrrrrreeeed? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Me: Yes, yes I am.

Minx: Oooooo look! A seagull!

Thank God for short attention spans.

So, there is number one.

I will never want to fly in a helicopter.

2. The second one is very similar. The thought of sitting in a flammable wicker picnic basket under something that can set fire to wicker picnic baskets, namely fire, weeping uncontrollably as someone points out the hill we’re about to career into is not appealing. Hence, number two. 

I will never want to fly in a hot air balloon. 

3. I never want to sit in a cage and look at Great White sharks. I’m not even going to explain that one.

4. I never want to go to a Robbie Williams concert. In fact, I would rather set fire to my armpits. In a hot air balloon.

5. This next one I have made mention of before, as it comes straight from the eye level shelf of Satan’s Pantry. I dislike a range of foods – marmalade, grapefruit, Camembert, spinach – but at least they are aesthetically pleasing and easy on the eye. But what the fuck was God thinking when he created the oyster? Picture the scene if you will…

St Peter: Morning, God. Fifth morning to be precise. Time certainly does fly. What’s on the agenda today then?

God: Well, Pete, I was thinking that today, I would create all of the birds and all of the living creatures of the ocean – ACHOO!

St Peter: Gesundheit. Well, that sounds delightful. What have you done so far?

God: Well, you see this here? This tiny, winged creature with a long tongue and frantically flapping wings? That’s a hummingbird. AAAAAASSSSCCCHHOO!

St Peter: God bless you. I mean – never mind. That is quite beautiful. What else?

God: Well, here, I have lots of shells lined up to make into crustaceans and other delights of the ocean. Ah-ah-ah- AAAACCCHHHOOOO!!!!

St Peter: God, I’m not being funny and I’m not telling you what to do, you being the creator of all things and that, but I really think you ought to have a rest today.

God: Rest? Rest? If you check my diary, Peter, I think you’ll find that rest isn’t scheduled until the day after tomorrow. Oh, here comes another sneeze. It’s a biggy. Pass me a hanky will you?

St Peter: I don’t have a hanky. Here, use this!

God: AAAAAAACCCCCHHHHOOOOOOO!!!!! Yikes – that was moist. What the hell have I just sneezed into?

St Peter: A shell. Sorry, it was the first thing that came to hand.

God: Blech. That looks gross. It’s sort of swimming in there, like a tiny floating island of phlegm.

St Peter: Ewwww! Throw it away! It’s making me feel sick.

God: Now, now, let’s not be hasty. Want not, waste not and all that. We could do something with this. We could market it as a tasty snack or amuse bouche. It could be served in fine dining establishments all over the world or in shitty seaside food vans on the east coast of England. Just put a lemon wedge on the side of it and voila! We just need a name…

St Peter: OYSTERS!!!!

God: That’s a great name! Did you just think of that?

St Peter: No, I threw up.

 

Et voila, the next one on the list of fuck its…

I will never, ever eat an oyster.

6. I never want to record my life’s activities on a GoPro. Mainly because people don’t want to watch a close up video of my forehead as I eat a Toblerone and complain about the pain of eating triangular chocolate whilst binge watching Geordie Shore.

7. I never want to have a colonoscopy. Or anything with the suffix –oscopy. As I keep telling my husband, I do not want anything shoved down the back of my throat or up my back passage thank you very much. I realise that this is not something that anyone wants to do, but I felt it needed saying.

8. I never want to watch videos of doctors lancing boils or pimples. I mean seriously. What the actual fuck?

9. I never want to trek the Himalayas. If I want to get dizzy and short of breath, I’ll reach to the top shelf for a custard cream.

10. I never want to get a Brazilian. I really can’t think of anything more humiliating. I mean childbirth strips you of any human decency and decorum. By the time the 20th person had ‘examined’ me in the labour ward, I felt like Sooty and, after 48 hours of labour, it got to the point where I was so tired that I didn’t care if they were actually doctors anymore. But at the end of all that, I had the minx, and you do forget all of the cripplingly embarrassing stuff. But with a Brazilian, you have someone buggering about with your bits, pouring hot wax on your foof and ripping it back off again, seeing what God gave you and how much fur he covered it in, and I’m sure there must be an odour. I’m guessing it must be like trying to pluck an otter. Anyway, I digress. I’m imagining that the pain is unimaginable, and at the end there is no baby, nothing to coo and blow raspberries at (I would hope anyway). Just a bald front bottom. And two weeks later, you’ll be sitting in a meeting, desperate to scratch your undercarriage when the hair starts to grow back, attempting to sit in different positions, shifting around in your seat to relieve the insane itching. No thank you very much.


 

So there we go. I must say, I thoroughly recommend this exercise. It is quite liberating. It has also appeased some of the ‘mummy guilt’ I feel on a daily basis. You know the kind, ‘if my daughter sees that I am afraid or I have any kind of negative feelings about anything, then she will turn into a psychopathic serial killer, or worse, an estate agent’. I now just explain to her why I do not want to do something, and I am not afraid of admitting my likes and dislikes – I just try to do that in equal measures. Basically, I try to remember…

 

meme-2

When The Going Gets Fat….

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon as I looked back over the blogs I had hitherto written, and as I reached for another double-coated chocolate Tim Tam, I came to the startling realisation that I don’t ‘alf moan a lot – people are better looking than me, thinner than me, have better experiences at the beach than me, make better pork pies than me and so on. There also seemed to be an inherent irony running through these pieces, an irony that had maybe already dawned on the casual reader but not as yet on myself; on the one hand I moan about Melbourne’s beautiful ones, but on the other I proclaim the virtues of heart attack-inducing fatty foods. Something had to be done to straighten out this paradox.  One slightly obvious epiphany later, it was with a heavy and cholesterol-crammed heart that I decided it was time to join the gym in a vain attempt to make this pudgy woman slightly less pudgy…

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not overly insecure about the way I look – I’m couldn’t care less what people think of me in any respect (I wasted most of the eighties concerned about that), and I’m not vain but, as discussed in my first blog, 40 has made me very aware of what I am, and what I am is, shall we say, plump. It gets to the point where your body refuses to put up with any more and all the muscles in your body scream, ‘I can’t do this on my own man, I need your help.  Put the frickin’ donut down man and throw me a bone here. I’m dying I tells ya…’  (apparently my muscles talk like a detective from a 1970s cop show). There is also that moment of realisation that if you do not start to make some lifestyle changes, there is every chance that you will not be there for your child and you will not get to see those important moments in her life; her graduation, her wedding, the first grandchild, and you of course scupper the chance to embarrass her at every given opportunity throughout her life, just as my father did to me (but we’ll save that for another time).

So, after deliberating, researching, eating marshmallows, gargling with Gaviscon and deliberating some more, I decided to do something about my health and ever-expanding waistline.  Now, there are stages one must go through when deciding to join a gymnasium. Stage one, the visit, which consists of an over-zealous teenager bounding around your ankles, yapping about the virtues of their leisure facilities, like a puppy with a new chew toy.

‘And here we have a steam room and sauna. Do you think you’d use something like this?’

I nod and smile.  Me sit in a steam room, feeling like an over-sized dim sum? I don’t think so.  And I can’t think of anything worse than sitting in a very hot, wooden room, breathing in other people’s sweat and farts.  The last time I went in a sauna, the bench was so hot that when I stood up it had branded my buttocks like a flame-grilled Whopper.

‘This is the class exercise room. We have many classes; body pump, body jam, body move, body shop, body work…’ What about body bag, because that is what you’ll be dragging me out in.

So, her boundless enthusiasm, and my husband’s knowing nods compel me to join, and I am dutifully equipped with a membership card, bag and water bottle. Because that makes it all so much better…

Now, stage two.  Let us imagine the preparation the pudgy woman has to go through to get ready for the gym.  Imagine trying to pour a half set vanilla blancmange into two piping bags – a tricky task full of patience and manual dexterity, quite possibly messy, with a lot of spillage – and now imagine me putting on Lycra leggings.  The two tasks are remarkably similar.  Now, let us stand back and marvel at the results – not particularly attractive I grant you – it’s like looking at two stockings full of walnuts.

Bending over to put my trainers on is a feat in itself as, to paraphrase the great Ronnie Corbett, I have to think of other things I can do while I’m down there, mainly so it is not a wasted trip. God only knows what the view from behind must be like while I am grappling with my shoelaces whilst also trying to breathe in an out – probably like two little boys trying to escape out of a collapsed tent. I then equip myself with the items I presume I will need to join the buff and the beautiful; iPod, logo emblazoned gym bag and water bottle, and of course a portable defibrillator, you know, just in case. There is then the small matter of the necessary paperwork – is my will up to date?  Where is my Medicare card? Have I notified all family and friends of my impending exercise and possible subsequent demise?  And then off I go…

With all the gear and no idea, I trot off to my first session – and when I say trot I of course mean drive.   I have my first session with my personal trainer; let’s call him Dave, because that is his name. He is ten years older than me which is a bonus, the last thing I need is one of Zeus’ minions stretching out my thighs as I sweat like a navvy on a shipyard. He also has a bit of a paunch – ironic, but still oddly comforting. We chat. He asks me about my goals (not dying being the main one), my exercise regime (errr, walking to the car?) and my diet (all the major food groups; pasta, bread, butter, steak and Smarties. I’m one Krispy Kreme away from type two diabetes).  Then he asks me to do some stretches to assess my gait, posture and strength.  The only trouble is that he asks me to do this in the foyer, in full view of the beautiful young things that also frequent this gym. I had to squat and twist, lunge and reach, with one consistent and droning thought passing through my mind – ‘don’tfartdon’tfartdon’t fart’.  In an hour, Dave had made up his mind about me and what I needed in terms of diet and exercise and had convinced me to join him for a late supper and a movie. That last bit is a lie – he instead came up with an eating and exercise plan which I am simply desperate to get started on. My first real session is tomorrow – oh joy.

Oh well, a journey of a hundred miles beings with a single step, fail to prepare, prepare to fail, nothing tastes as good as skinny feels and all that bollocks…

A Pudgy Woman’s Musings – Things I Miss (Part Two)

I love my food, I make no secret of that. I love the taste of it; the salty, the sweet (especially the sweet,) the sour, the unusual, the exquisite, the everyday tastes of everyday foods. I love the textures, the sight, the aromas and even the sound of food. Yes, I love my food – which would of course explain why my bottom resembles two badly parked Volkswagen Beetles.

As ever, let me begin with an example of my love of all things yummy.

Now, many people will bemoan the fact that Easter eggs appear on supermarket shelves only two weeks after said shelves have been cleared of advent calendars.  The majority of the public will spend many unnecessary hours venting their spleens, discussing the advertising and consumption of festive chocolate products. You know the type of thing…

‘Oooooh look Keith, there’s an advert on for Cadbury’s Crème Eggs and you’ve only just put the Christmas tree back in the loft.  What is the world coming to? Do you want to know who I blame for this? Teenagers, swanning around in their hoodies, acting like they own the place…’ etc., etc.

Personally, I don’t want to live in a world where seasonal chocolate is not available in a constant and uninterrupted cycle. It gives me a sense of comfort.  Many things in our world today are transient and short-lived, fast-paced and fleeting, never to be seen again – but not chocolate. One knows that come October, one will be able to purchase chocolate Santas and Rudolphs, angels and Christmas trees. I even saw a Christmas Christ once; complete with manger and full nativity scene however, and despite my negation of God’s existence for the past 35 years, I could not bring myself to take a bite out of the baby Jesus.  Then, in late January comes the turn of the Easter egg, with its polished foil and the promise of many surprises within. Let us not forget Valentine’s Day, where a massive box of chocolates is in order or ‘he of the anal sandcastles’ is treated with a massive box of the grumps. Then it’s my birthday – enough said. Then Halloween; trick or treat?  Well, that’s easy isn’t it? Treat please, and by treat I do not mean an apple or a bloody toothbrush.  Bonfire Night comes along with toffee and chocolate apples and that brings us back to Christmas.  Hurrah!

When I first came out to Australia, I was told by many people that the chocolate here does not taste the same as the chocolate back in the UK as there is a hidden ingredient which acts as an anti-melting agent. I have a suspicion that these people were trying to ward me off chocolate so that I might lose a few (hundred) pounds, however I made the mistake of trying a Twix when I first got here – just to see – and although the aftertaste is slightly different, that is about all. Since then, and only in the name of scientific and culinary experimentation as I am sure you will understand, I have tried every chocolate on the market, and I can now publish my findings under the heading ‘Tastes Pretty Good To Me’.  Chocolate therefore cannot really be classed as one of the things I miss – although I would suggest to Mr Cadbury that he introduces the Giant Chocolate Button to his Australian consumers.

Now, Melbourne has a well-deserved reputation for its fabulous restaurants and café culture and one cannot turn a corner without coming across the drifting aroma of fresh coffee, or a veritable cornucopia of foods from all nations.

Derby, however, is not as well-known for its culinary establishments but there is still one place I miss – Birds the Bakers.  Now, if you are not from the Midlands, you may not have come across this family run bakery, and so I shall spend a little time describing the tasty treats one can procure from this establishment.

The first, as promised, is pork pie.

Now, I like a pie as much as the next man, especially if the next man is Desperate Dan, but pork pies have never been my absolute favourite. Pork pie is difficult to get right. Too much aspic and it is like eating a mouthful of tasteless, gelatinous slop, too little and the effect can be dry and difficult to swallow. The meat has to be spiced, but not too peppery for fear it tastes too much like another favourite of mine, the Cornish pasty. And the pastry must not be too greasy, or else it gives me chronic and crippling heartburn – I’m a martyr to my oesophageal sphincter.  Birds mastered the art of the pork pie decades ago, and there are few households in Derbyshire that do not partake in a Birds pork pie, at Christmas especially.

As well as this delicacy, Birds also make a quite delicious beef paste, presented in a little glass pot and full of beefy goodness. Some people may be put off by the centimetre thick layer of fat which coats the surface as a preservative – or as we people who have arms like a flying fox call it, elevenses. And for dessert – a lovely little strawberry trifle, complete with jammy splodge to embellish the softly whipped cream which in turn sits atop custard and jelly.  My Nan used to deliver one to her neighbour Reg every week.  To a pudding-obsessed 8 year old such as I was, this was a thing of wonder, and a thing which made me just a tiny bit jealous. ‘How lucky he is,’ thought I, ‘to have a trifle delivered to his doorstep every single week.’ The fact that the poor man was housebound seemed to completely escape my attention which was instead wholly focused on dessert.

Finally, here is a list of other things I miss and which my friends in the UK might wish to send me for my birthday;

  • Paxo Sage and Onion Stuffing (you can get stuffing here, but you have to put egg in it which seems wrong somehow, unless I’ve been reading the Paxo packet wrong all this time and have neglected to put egg in, the very thought of which gives me a sort of stuffing paranoia).
  • Walker’s crisps, in particular Roast Chicken, Prawn Cocktail and Cheese and Onion flavour.
  • Marks and Spencer’s meals for 2.
  • Salmon en Croute – salmon in Australia is mind-numbingly expensive, so God only knows how much it is when dressed and wrapped in pastry.
  • Waitrose in general – which I know makes me a middle-class oink, but I don’t care, I miss everything about it, including the air of superiority I get when doing a weekly shop there.
  • Party food – mini sausage rolls and cocktail sausages and pasties and scotch eggs and the like. Aussies do not seem too keen on the ‘mini foods’ concept.

I’m sure that these food stuffs are available somewhere, so like a food-obsessed Captain Cook (excuse the pun), I shall trawl every corner of this blessed country on a search for the things I crave and I shall return like the explorers of old holding aloft the spoils of my search, covered in the ginger crumbs of a half-masticated scotch egg. It will be hard, but I do not mind doing it, really I don’t.