Remembrance

November 11, 2014 at 10:30 am (Jordi) (, , )

For me, October and November still echo with the anniversary of my ill health.

Perhaps after three years that shouldn’t be the case, but “shouldn’t” doesn’t change emotions. I am still processing the grief. The things I have lost, the way I have changed, the limits I feel constrained by.

In this loop of emotion, to me Melbourne Cup day is still the day that my friend snuck in pizza – my first culinary break from weeks of hospital food.

Remembrance Day is the first day that I went outside, after four weeks of fluorescent lights, recirculated air, and nothing that lay beyond a ten metre radius of my room on the ward. (Limiting my variety of other spaces to two bathrooms, the nurses’ desk, and a corridor.)

This Remembrance Day I am back at the Alfred hospital. (Another test, another worry, another sick day.) And I am remembering three years ago.

Journal entry 11/11/2011:
‘Wheelchair found!
Outdoors!
Surreal – so many people! So many people doing normal, routine things. Queuing in cafes. So much sound and movement, my head swivels everywhere trying to take it all in and my eyes feel huge.

Outside we pass through the sun and Mum parks me in the shade behind a crowd to watch the Remembrance Day service. The breeze is so fresh that every touch of it makes my skin, makes me feel alive and my eyes tear up already.

We sit through the speeches and readings and I people-watch. As 11am draws close more and more people gather ’round …even at the windows of the buildings, looking down, looking on.

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A bugle. And silence.

I’d never really thought about the medical staff in war before. Even in current wars.

I give thanks – for being here in a country with a great healthcare system. For my doctors. For getting better. For my family and friends. I am so lucky. The wind blows and I cry.

Bugle. Bagpipes. My heart aches. By the time the high school band does their swing number I’m light-headed and overwhelmed. We retreat indoors. The dim light feels safe.’

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My monster says I can’t

August 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm (Jordi) (, )

I don’t think anybody likes having to say “I can’t”. They’re certainly words that I struggle with. I say them a lot, and each time they’re laced with disappointment, with embarrassment, with anger and defensiveness.

Our society rewards toughness. We’re a culture of battlers, of perserverance. Take a Codral. Soldier on. Autoimmunes are the opposite of this. They demand quiet, stillness, rest. And the more you fight against this regime, the more sick you get.

My autoimmmune feels like I am carrying a monster on my back. Its talons dig into my shoulders. Its weight bears down on me, making everyday tasks just that much harder, and completely exhausting.

Image by Terrifying (deviantart)

Some days I can sleep for 12 hours and still wake up exhausted. Some days reaching above my shoulders feels like benchpressing 20kilos. Some days my brain is so mired in mud I can’t form cohesive sentences, let alone remember what I did yesterday.

It was this time last year that I first started displaying symptoms of my dermatomyositis. Then, I had no idea what was going on. Now, I am hypervigilant.

Everything is a balance. For everything I want to do, for everything I can do, I must also spend time with my AI monster.

I used to hate it. And I’d be lying if I pretended that every day I’m just peachy about this system. But I have realised that this monster is a part of me. This is life now, and its goal actually isn’t to ruin everything and kick me while I’m down. My monster is my protector. He tells me loudly and clearly when enough is enough. When I need to stop. When I need to rest. Because I sure as hell don’t listen otherwise.

I don’t know how long life will be like this. I am currently receiving IVIg treatment (cheers to all the blood and plasma donors!) which gives me a couple of weeks of feeling almost-normal, of feeling like the well of exhaustion that usually threatens to swallow me is securely sealed over. Maybe one day my monster will completely vanish. But even if he does, I know that hidden deep down in my immune system, he’ll always be a part of me.

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Liebster Award Blog-a-thon

August 11, 2012 at 11:28 pm (Jordi) ()

The lovely Sam of An Online Universe pinged me as part of the Liebster Award Blog-a-thon. Apparently there are rules, for those of you concerned about such things:

  1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the person giving the award has set for you.
  3. Create 11 questions for the people you will be giving the award to
  4. Choose 11 people to award and send them a link to your post.
  5. Go to their page and tell them
  6. No tag backs.

I’m really not such a stickler. So I’m not tagging any people – anyone who reads this is free, welcome, nay – even encouraged! – to respond.

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Here is my Liebster participation (like I could resist a chance to talk about myself)…

11 things about me (and film):

  1. I bought The Lord of the Rings on DVD years before I owned a DVD player. Because I’m that obsessed.
  2. The last film I watched was Away We Go. It was rather gorgeous. I think I need to own it for myself.
  3. The first film I can remember seeing in a cinema was Beauty and the Beast.
  4. I’ve always avoided scary movies. As a child I dragged my mother into a screening of The Silver Brumby while the rest of my family saw Jurassic Park.
  5. The film I watched over and over and over again as a child was The Chipmunk Adventure. Pretty sure I can still quote it word for word.
  6. As a child my access to films was fairly limited and restricted. I didn’t see Star Wars until 2004.
  7. I shelve my DVD collection according to “mood”, refined by cover colour and/or year made.
  8. My favourite “mood” of film is what I call ‘beautifully fucked’ – titles like Little Miss Sunshine, Sunshine Cleaning, (Chomet’s) The IllusionistRevolutionary Road.
  9. Two of the tiny country towns I’ve lived in have ended up on film, in The Dish and Strange Bedfellows.
  10. I believe my seen-in-cinema record is nine times, for The Return of The King.
  11. I generally try to avoid dairy, but a mint choc-top at the cinema is awfully hard to resist. Especially if it’s one of The Astor’s famous choc ices.

11 questions from Sam:

1. Who would play you in the movie of your life?

Do you think I could get Emily Blunt doing an American accent? That’s just wishful thinking. Far more accurate would be Kate Winslet. In a fat suit.

2. What is your worst cinema-going experience?

I have fortunately managed to avoid anything particularly traumatic in-cinema. So my worst experience was when on one occasion a couple sat next to me (in an unallocated-seating and far-from-full cinema), and one half of the couple proceeded to explain the entire film. I asked three times before they actually stopped. By then the film was pretty much ruined for me – it was a comedy and with every punchline I’d tense up, waiting for the impending explanation.

3. Do you own a blu-ray player? If so, is it better? If not, why not?

There’s a blu-ray player in my house but technically it isn’t mine. I appreciate having a range of viewing options, but I’m personally not particularly fazed by resolution so I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy my own.

4. If you could attend any film festival in the world, which would it be?

Toronto.

5. Which three people in the film industry (living or dead) would you have dinner with if you could?

I may be bending the rules a little, but I definitely want Steven Moffat there. Ian McKellen. Hayao Miyazaki.

Image Image Image

6. Which book would you like to see adapted?

The Ghost’s Child by Sonya Hartnett.

7. 3D – A fad or something that could be/is exciting?

Erm – both. I think it is currently a fad but I think it can be exciting… when a movie is actually filmed in 3D, and it serves a story purpose or adds something of value. Most of the time, though, this doesn’t happen.

8. Who or what inspired you to write about film?

I wouldn’t actually claim to write about film. There are so many wonderful voices out there already, a lot of whom I’ve discovered through Twitter, that I actually feel like I wouldn’t add anything new to the mix.

I was inspired to write for film by my amazing uni teachers and mentors – Felicity Packard and Matt Marshall. They introduced me to screenwriting and, more importantly, they made it click.

9. What is your most anticipated film for the 2nd half of 2012?

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. (It is just all about Tolkien with me.)

10. Which actor/actress automatically turns you off seeing a film?

Nicolas Cage is a bit or a warning sign for me. I am turned off by Angelina Jolie. And Kate Hudson.

11. What is the most overated classic film?

I can’t decide between Blade Runner and Rear Window

My 11 questions, for whomever wishes to answer them:

  1. What’s the last film that broke you (in either a good way or a bad way)?
  2. Rita Hayworth or Marilyn Monroe?
  3. What’s your favourite cinema that you’ve ever been to?
  4. Best movie soundtrack?
  5. Favourite Pixar film? (And why.)
  6. Which movie have you rewatched the most?
  7. Who is your favourite director?
  8. If you could rewrite/shoot the ending of any film, which would it be, and why?
  9. Do you collect any film-related merchandise? (If so, which films, and what merch?)
  10. If you had to work full-time at a cinema (anywhere in the world), which would you choose?
  11. Favourite five film blogs to read (besides your own)?

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A Misdiagnosis

December 26, 2011 at 9:31 pm (Jordi) (, , )

In late September my body started doing some peculiar things – specifically, my forearm and thigh muscles would ache a little whenever flexed, and I was getting worse-than-usual neck stiffness and subsequent headaches. This made some activities like typing and standing up a little uncomfortable, but I did some googling, ruled out meningitis, reviewed the OHS layout of my desk, and concluded that my upcoming two-week holiday would likely cure all.

…I say holiday. It was in fact a much anticipated freelance engagement at the National Young Writers’ Festival, with some holidaying and family time built around it. I was burning the metaphorical candle at both ends trying to make the freelance work as perfect as I possibly could. The physical toll that I was under began to seep into my mental space – I started having anxiety attacks over things that usually wouldn’t phase me. I vividly remember at one point, having started to slide into a panic, deciding to do some yoga – maybe a few backbends and a good dose of child’s pose would level me out enough that I could keep working. I lay on the floor but couldn’t pull my knees up into the pose – it hurt too much. This was somewhat worrying, but stress does funny things, y’know? And I had an end in sight – if I just made it to 2 October, everything would be okay.

So I pushed on. I had a wonderful few days’ holiday in Sydney, where I whinged a little to my host about my sore muscles, how my knees were starting to ache if I walked too much, and how I was just feeling a bit fatigued… but this was my holiday, dammit, and I was determined to have a good time. My muscles were probably just taking a week or so to recover from that bout of stress.

We spent a day wandering (albeit slowly) around Taronga Zoo. I walked the streets of Newtown and Redfern.

Holiday! Zoo! Penguins!

I struggled to carry my suitcase to the upstairs seating of the Newcastle-bound train (I just overpacked. No, no, I’m fine. I can manage.)

By the end of September I was in constant pain. It wasn’t a strong pain – imagine, if you will, a headache all over your body – but its persistence against regular doses of ibuprofen wore away at me, and I was prone to a few tears by late afternoon.

On the morning of my last official Festival engagement I noticed I couldn’t see the small bones on the insides of my wrist. Definite swelling. There was more googling, a phone call home where my mother warned me about any ankle swelling being particularly dangerous (no Mum, my ankles are fine. I think it’s just my wrists. Maybe my knees too.) The decision was made that a doctor really did need to be consulted at this point, but as it was a long weekend in NSW… well… maybe in a few days, at my next destination.

The panel went really well.
So did the costume ball.

The next morning I couldn’t get my bra done up. I physically could not reach around behind myself. I cancelled the morning’s plans and took myself to an all-hours clinic. The doctor had no idea what was going on – blood tests were needed to find out, but no chance of getting those anywhere in NSW for two days. Not even at the hospital. He prescribed me a stronger dose of ibuprofen to help with the pain and possible inflammation. The chemist was closed for the public holiday.

I waited. And I festivalled. By the evenings I’d have to lie on the floor to join the household conversation because sitting hurt too much.

An evening at a Newcastle beach. Not a stock photo, believe it or not.

My mother stepped in as the voice of caution and reason. I needed to look after my health. And what if I was contagious? I couldn’t risk moving on to my next destination – my grandparents’ house.

Am I able to change my flight from Sydney to Melbourne on 8 October, to Newcastle to Melbourne for tomorrow?

I’m sorry, on your ticket type you can only change dates, not location.

Okay, I need to cancel my flight from Sydney to Melbourne on 8 October.

<Official Cancellation Speil no refunds blah blah agree?>

Yes, fine.

Is there anything else I can do for you today Ms Kerr?

Yes. Can I please book a flight from Newcastle to Melbourne for tomorrow.

I saw my Melbourne GP the same day I flew home. He told me it was soft-tissue inflammation and that I needed to go the gym at least five times a week. For cardio. Yoga doesn’t count. That I needed to learn to manage my stress. Take stronger anti-inflammatories and they’d run some blood tests just to be safe.

I spent a week in bed. As per medical advice I’d get up and do laps of the house, or go for a walk outside, to de-stress and stop my muscles from atrophying. I tried the anti-inflammatories (diclofenac) for three days because I was so sure if I could just get through the nausea, stomach pain, fever, and sensation of my muscles having been put through a blender & slapped back on my body that they caused, I would be okay.

Again, my mother stepped in as the voice of caution and reason. If the medication was doing more harm than good I should stop taking it and follow-up with my GP. The GP couldn’t explain my painful reaction to diclofenac, but he prescribed Panadeine Forte and another week off work. He said the blood tests were all clear – my vitamin D and iron levels were a little on the low side but not enough to cause problems. There was nothing wrong with me.

My mother moved in with me. Helped me to cook and get dressed. Bought a thermometer to track my fevers. Noted the rash that appeared on my legs with it. Asked the pharmacist for advice. Called the hospital advice line number he gave. Paid the $100 taxi fare to get me to the emergency department at the nearest big hospital.

The Alfred Hospital ran blood tests but they included a very important one: creatine kinase (CK). I returned 36 hours (and two more mega-taxi fares – thanks, Mum) later for the results, expecting a fresh batch of pills and maybe some bed rest. They admitted me straight away under an initial diagnosis of polymyositis and started running other tests – an electrocardiogram, a lung x-ray, an MRI… my CK was 28,000 (around 200 is normal) and they needed to make sure very important muscles that help you breathe and pump blood and generally stay alive were somehow coping.

I have dermatomyositis – my immune system is attacking my muscles. I lost most of my mobility and independence to it. For the better part of a month I couldn’t reach past my knees, couldn’t raise my arms above my shoulders, and couldn’t lift my legs properly. This meant I could not sit up, stand up (especially from low surfaces, like toilets), get into or out of bed, shower, shave, or dress myself without some form of assistance. And every physical action was exhausting. I couldn’t walk more than 10 metres. I struggled to cut up and chew food. Brushing my teeth was a mammoth effort. Flossing was completely out of the question – it required a strength I did not have.

I spent five weeks in hospital and three weeks in physical rehabilitation just to regain a shell of my former physical self. I’ve lost 13 weeks, and counting, of work time. I’ve lost a quarter of 2011.

Lesson: Your GP is not always right – listen to your body and don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion. And if your mother is half as amazing as mine, listen to her too.

I won’t be going back to that GP. Not because of the misdiagnosis – my disease is rare enough I suspect most GPs wouldn’t have had any idea (although a blood test of CK levels would have been a nice start). No, I severed that relationship after I was kindly asked by my rheumatology doctor at the Alfred if the name and contact number I had provided for my GP was absolutely correct. When I confirmed it was, he revealed that he’d contacted my GP to get a copy of my medical records only to be told that they’d never seen me. Never treated me. Never even heard of me.

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Withholding food from bobby calves

January 26, 2011 at 10:05 pm (Diary of a Dairy Addict) (, )

Yes, another dairy post. It’s been long overdue. If anyone is interested – I finished October without any further dairy incidents. I’ve largely stuck with being dairy-free since. I was on holiday in New Zealand for a few weeks and relaxed my expectations of myself, which was just as well because at times there was no way to entirely avoid it (I’m looking at you Interislander Ferry).

I would like to take this opportunity to give a particular shout-out to Fidel’s in Wellington – not only are they the perfect place for second breakfast, but they were the only place in New Zealand to be pro-active in their catering to dietary needs. I mean, they have a flexible menu and some yummy home-baked vegan goodies like all good cafes should, but when ordering their cooked breakfast with no butter on the toast and a soy coffee the staff actually clarified that I was after a dairy-free meal, advised that the sausage in the breakfast has cheese in it, and substituted it for one that didn’t. Bravo!

Anyway, it’s now a new year and the news hitting nerves and angering animal welfare supporters is that Dairy Australia is looking to adopt the standard that:

bobby calves must “be slaughtered or fed within 30 hours from last feed.”

This is the result of study conducted by the University of Melbourne and the Animal Welfare Science Centre (funded by Dairy Australia and the government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) that ‘measured a range of blood biochemical variables in the calves, and the authors concluded that food withdrawal for up to 30 hours and transport for up to 12 hours had no detrimental effects on the metabolism of healthy calves.’

Animals Australia says that Dairy Australia is legalising the ‘withholding of liquid food from these unwanted calves for the last 30 hours of their lives’. Dairy Australia says that the clause ‘will provide assurances … where currently there is no standard in place to ensure a maximum time off feed for bobby calves.’

As I read it, if/when the clause is added to the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Land Transport – bobby calves will legally be starved 30 hours prior to their untimely demise, which could well be a better deal than they are currently getting. That is how atrocious the dairy industry is – that this apparently repulsive standard might be an improvement.

If you’d like to protest the proposed new standard (perhaps propose that a higher standard is needed?), you can do so here.

If you’d like to read Dairy Australia’s side of the story, you can do so here. Be warned, it includes rather scary phrases like ‘The Australian dairy industry works across the supply chain to ensure that calves … are not thrown or dropped or struck in an unreasonable manner’ (my emphasis).

If you know why the practice of withholding food from bobby calves is in place, please let me know.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with P!nk’s latest dig at the dairy industry (among other things):

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A Lesson in Failure

October 18, 2010 at 1:20 pm (Diary of a Dairy Addict) ()

I have failed.

I crashed my way into this dairy-free diet with possibly unwarranted zeal – adamant in my moral superiority, and trusting from my stubbornness and my previous successes in abstinence that this too wouldn’t be that hard once I got used to it. Pride, etc.

Since cocoa powder, and even Cottee’s ‘thick and rich’ chocolate topping is vegan, I assumed that soy hot chocolate would be safe, dairy-free territory. I mentally reinforced this notion with my “home-made” hot chocolates (using dairy-free Cadbury Drinking Chocolate powder and soy milk). I didn’t even think to check when ordering a hot chocolate at a cafe until a friend queried me today. I have had two store-bought soy hot chocolates this month, and I now know that at least one of them was definitely not dairy-free.

So, in spite of all my efforts and good intentions I have been unable to make it one month completely clear of dairy. I’m still going to continue with the trial. And while my failure may be an important lesson in humility, I think it’s also important to recognise that removing any ingredient from your diet is hard. It takes effort, research, constant will, and constant vigilance. Some days, like today, I don’t know how vegans manage. This trial has certainly increased my respect for lifestyle choices of that variety.

I’m curious as to how those that have chosen to eliminate one or more ingredients from their diet cope with a “failure”. Or even with fear of failure. I have found myself getting nervous in restaurants – did I ask all the right questions about the ingredients? Did they definitely hear me correctly? Will I realise if they make a mistake?

This nervousness was not helped by a recent confusing interaction at the otherwise-delightful Le Triskel. I had enquired about dairy-free options upon entering and was assured that the crepes could be made with soy milk (for a $2 surcharge). Our waitress, however, had less of an understanding of English (and I have no understanding of French), resulting in a stalemate where I desperately stared at the menu, not knowing what to say, and she wasn’t sure if I was asking for soy milk to be poured over the top of my dairy-crepe, or a soy latte. We eventually solved the problem with the help of the word ‘vegan’ printed on their menu.

Any tips? Personally, I’ll just be watching this episode of Daria on loop.

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I was promised tea!

October 4, 2010 at 5:31 pm (Diary of a Dairy Addict) (, )

There may have been some whimpering in the tea room today. A plate of leftover catering was sitting on the table – free to all staff in need of sustenance. I was most definitely in need of sustenance. And every single one of those roast beef baguettes, ham rolls, and Mediterranean vegetable pides was brimming with gooey melted cheese or laced with buttery spreads. Sigh.

Work seems to have been the most difficult location for being dairy-free, and not just because of temptations like leftover catering. The general stress (quarterly reporting!) makes me more vulnerable to cravings; yes, whimpering; and affront. On Friday I endured two entirely separate conversations with colleagues that included the handy phrase “As the son of a dairy farmer…”.

I have decided that diets can best be compared to religion – interesting when used as a point of intelligent discussion, rude when used as a way of passing judgment. Great to talk about amongst a community of like-minded people, possibly best kept quiet otherwise. (I’m not sure if these posts are hypocritical, or a reasonable exception under the soap-box clause.) In my offline life I’ve only been communicating the change to people that I dine with, because I feel like they should know why I’m ordering “the bacon sandwich with no cheese, no butter and no… no something else as well”. *

Aside from these incidents it has actually been going well. I’ve discovered that a few of my friends are lactose-intolerant, and dab hands at a rocket, spinach, pear, walnut and cranberry salad. I’ve been assured that the Oreo Cream Pie is well worth making. My daily soy hot chocolate is entirely palatable, if less rich than my old “Choc o’lait”. Porridge made with oat milk is just as delicious as when made with dairy milk. And Arnott’s Raspberry Shortcake biscuits, the closest thing we have to Jammie Dodgers, are vegan. Hurrah!

*actual dialogue from a waitress on Sunday, served with a side of scorn.

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Cheese, cheese, wherefore art thou cheese?

September 29, 2010 at 11:00 pm (Diary of a Dairy Addict) (, )

I’m having a difficult time finding decent (non)cheese. The word on the internet is all about Cheezly for that melty non-dairy goodness, but locating this UK product in Australia is proving to be a challenge.

You can buy Cheezly online from the Melbourne-based Vegan Perfection, or the Sydney-based Cruelty Free Shop, but the idea of having a cheese sit on my doorstep all day, especially in the impending warm weather, is not very appealing whether it’s shipped with a cold-pack or not.

After reading through a lot of vegan forum posts from 2007 about stores that no longer exist, I tried Belgrave Organics. While they don’t currently stock Cheezly they were very helpful and have offered to try and order some in. I’ll be calling them back in 10 days to see if that’s been successful.

Researching dairy free diets has also been more complicated than I would have liked. Coming into it as an omni and not (at this point in my life) transitioning to a vegan diet, I feel disconnected from both. While I might have most in common with the lactose-intolerant, their motivations are entirely different and they have a few lactose-free dairy-laden goodies at their disposal. Although I have more ingredient options than vegans, I have been impressed by their strong communities and wealth of recipes.

The honour roll of sites that have guided, inspired, and impressed me over the last few days are:

Lisa Dempster‘s invaluable series of posts on How to be vegan.

Miss T: Princess Vegan – especially this post, which tests out the vegan Apple, Onion & Cheddar Pizza (from a site that is a delight in its own right – how can you not love a blog with the tagline Recipes that will make you scream with unbridled pleasure?)

– Post Punk Kitchen: vegan cookies. (It’s impossible to feel gloomy about a diet without dairy looking at those pictures and recipes.)

Dairy Free Cooking. If I can get my hands on some Tofutti this weekend, I hope to be able to make the Oreo Cream Pie for morning tea at work.

I’ll also have to visit Vege2go for some take-away nom! Check out that vegan dessert list (with apologies to non-Melbournians)! Tiramisù! Chocolate Mousse! Chocolate raspberry cake! Crumble!

Not long ’til October now. Tonight I had what may be my last at-home dairy dinner, glorified in many shades of yellow…

L-R: scrambled eggs made with milk and butter, topped with parsley and cheddar cheese; King Island Dairy double brie; Tasmanian Heritage blue brie.

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Diary of A Dairy Addict

September 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm (Diary of a Dairy Addict) ()

I had the most traumatic shopping trip of my life yesterday.

You see, a few weeks ago I discovered my belief that dairy cows naturally produce milk all the time, because that’s what dairy cows are, is entirely naïve and incorrect. (And I’ve lived next to a dairy farm!) My discovery of how the dairy industry really works has upset me to the point that I’m contemplating giving up dairy. And I love dairy. I love dairy with a wild joy and reckless abandon.*  I even own a gorgeous brooch that proclaims ‘Just add cheese’. So I’m easing myself into this “dairy free” concept with a 31 day trial – for the month of October, I’m attempting to eat a diet entirely devoid of dairy. If I find this to be reasonably anguish-free, then I intend to evolve into a dairy-avoidant lifestyle.**  If not, well, I guess my conscience and my taste-buds will have to come to some sort of an agreement.

Thus, with heavy-heart, I began the last dairy-laden shopping trip. I nearly cried on the way to the supermarket when I realised I might never eat peppermint ice-cream again. I actually cried when I found myself overwhelmed with choice in the not-milk aisle – soy! Oat! Rice! Tricksy lactose-free, which is not dairy free! Regular! Lite! Extra creamy! Extra vitamins! Extra fibre! Extra calcium! (I eventually settled on the Vitasoy regular soy milk and the Vitasoy oat milk. I have since been (lovingly) chided for not selecting Bonsoy.)

I returned home with some old favourites to bid farewell to:

…and some new additions to get used to:

I am, quite frankly, rather scared. Especially by the soycheese. Over the next few dairy days I’ll be doing some serious googling to find out where and what the best dairy-free cheeses are. With those, some sorbet, some dark chocolate, and some Oreos… it just might be easy.

Any tips and recommendations greatly appreciated.

_______________________________________________
*Except for milk. Flavoured or used in other things, fine, but the taste of pure milk itself has never appealed to me.
**I might be naïve about some things, but not about the chances of me occasionally crumbling at the sight of camembert, and if someone unknowingly gifts me dairy-laden baked goods I’m not going to throw them back in their face or in the bin.

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Archive: Legacy

September 6, 2009 at 7:22 am (Jordi, Lord of the Rings) (, )

Today is Father’s Day here in Australia. The Lord of the Rings is one of the few enjoyments that I share in common with my own father; a fact that makes it all the more personal and precious to me.

Fathers in Lord of the Rings are few and far between. Many of the characters’ fathers are deceased, and those that remain tend to not be featured very heavily – except for Denethor, and we all know how well that turns out. Bilbo and Gandalf make wonderful father figures in their own ways, but to me it is old Hamfast (“the Gaffer”) Gamgee who takes the prize for the best father in Lord of the Rings with his rough-hewn affection and rustic wisdom.

I have mentioned previously that my first reading of Lord of the Rings was from one of my father’s editions. What I haven’t yet confessed to is how, once I’d read the book and fallen madly in love with it, I insisted upon dressing up as a Lord of the Rings character for the movie debut of The Two Towers… and that my dear, sweet, and loving family indulged me by wearing the costumes I had similarly prepared for them. Thus, in the early morning of December 26th, 2002, in a small country town better acquainted with burn-outs than books, two hobbits and a Ringwraith stood waiting outside the cinema. There wasn’t even enough people waiting for the premiere screening to form a queue…

One day I would like to tell my father how grateful I am – how his willingness to dress as a Nazgul, simply because I had asked it, represents a world of love to me. I would like to tell him how treasured this memory is, and how even thinking about it makes me well up with pride. And you know what? I guess now I have.

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