Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Post-bariatric surgery--3 months on!

It is almost three months to the day since I had my surgery. I can honestly say the only down side is that I am ‘feckin’ cold! All that fat; 33kilos to be exact, has melted away and that means my ‘insulation’ against the cold. I don’t mind because I can move faster to keep warm and the nice new cloths I wear keep me warm and comfy. I love getting up in the morning and choosing my ‘costume’ for the day. My wardrobe has had a total make-over and God knows what the spring will bring, knowing my propensity to spend up large!
I think my weight loss is coming to a ‘balance point,’ somewhere between 79 and 84 kilos. I’m not sure.  I seem to have three days of no loss then a drop of about 400gms in a day. Perhaps that’s my body finding where it wants to settle. I am more than happy with that.
I have started some Pilates and increased the walking ---now it’s up a few hills and not having to carry around the tonnage I used to, it’s actually a very pleasant experience. I know my dog; Perdy just loves the more exciting places we go to---hell----all those new dogs to sniff out! That’s for Perdy, not me!
I’m not sure if this is a plus or not but my ‘energy levels’ have transferred to my ‘mouth too. If anyone thought I talked a lot before----well now you gotta see it to believe it. There are many ‘believers’ out there. Yeah, that’s gotta be good!

I'd be a rude bugger too if you gave me $100 note for a $2 bus ticket

There have been reports lately about bus drivers being rude and leaving passengers behind because they didn’t have the correct fair. This brought about a plethora of complaints about rude and sort-wicked drivers. Yeah, we all know about people who hate their jobs and in the case of a career ‘dysfunctionally’ motivated bus driver, it impacts on the start of our day. Who wants a grumpy bad tempered foul mouthed driver taking our very lives in hand? Not me!
BUT---- give a thought for the drivers. They are people too and I bet you would get a bit upset if confronted with some of the antics of todays’ ravelling public. If presented with a large denomination note and then expect an efficient change-giving driver, then think again. You are not only pissing him/her off, you are inconveniencing your travelling mates and prospective passengers. Why the hell should we all wait while you cast about in your pockets for the right change or hold your hands out for the change. He’s a driver, not a bloody banker or a ‘money launderer’ for God’s sake!
Another point: in this day and age, go get modern and get yourself a Hop Card or at least organize yourself to have something that resembles the near-change for the fair---- Got the message? The bus drivers will now be all lovely and friendly and they will welcome you to their second homes and your day will get off to a great start. Leave Brit----OOPS---- THE BUS DRIVERS ALONE!

Japan makes the claim that 'we have long lived with nature.' yeah right!

I know that Australia, support by New Zealand is taking Japan to task re the latter’s continuing to exploit whales, all in the name of ‘scientific research.’ Japan says that Australia and New Zealand’ actions are tantamount to a return to the colonial days of the past whereby nations had a ‘civilizing and missionary like message for the countries they were colonizing. Japan also made the claim that it has ‘long lived in tune’ with nature.
Come on japan! Surely your high standard of living comes at the cost of pollution in those countries you buy your raw materials form. No country is exempt in the manner you claim, so don’t use that argument to justify the continued slaughter of whales. I do not mean to single you out, but your argument is a bit rich, considering the huge holes in the ground and social upheaval that your standard of living (along with New Zealand and Australia of course!) causes third world nations.
I admit that New Zealand and Australia will bring up arguments that are equally galling to you, so I am trying to stay balanced. I shall watch the proceeding with intense interest---that of the whales!

Spying---- yes---we are watching you!

It comes as no revelations that the USA and other countries’ are ‘spying on their citizens. When has it been any different? What is different is the ease with which they can now do it. Every aspect of our lives is under scrutiny, form the mindless carp we do on Facebook to the more serious potentially dangerous national issues around terrorism. For the latte I can understand but even then there is a fine line. If someone is openly accessing and discussing the making of bombs—well they get what they deserve.  I am concerned about other information gathering exercises. Hell at the rate this is happening, why bother doing a census? It’s all there for them without us doing anything. OK, just kidding, I think!
What I find totally hypocritical is the stance some nations take when they criticise others for ‘infringing’ on the rights of the citizens, then that same nation does exactly the same re its own citizen., We all know that the USA has delved into the affairs of other nations and those same nations reciprocate. It does not take a ‘super computer’ to achieve such goals buy possessing one makes the exercise even more ‘complete.’
Of course having said the above, most of us continually provide information about our purchasing habits every time we complete a survey online or just by the very act of using a computer we unknowingly ‘give’ information. It does not take much to take the next step and have more sinister actions enacted upon us.
Cyber war is a reality, be it geo-political or economic. The DDV’s from Hollywood and elsewhere are but a portent of what is possible. Some idiot with megalomaniac tendencies may be much closer to the truth than we realize. Give the enhanced powers that computers and cyber spying offer and add the political gamesmanship that many world government enact upon their people and it is not hard to make the jump between fantasy and reality.
I try not to think too much about what may be happening. I am indeed glad that I do not belong to a fringe group, pushing for radical change in society, even though I believe that change is needed in many areas of our lives and in the way we are governed. It goes without saying that even in little New Zealand---we are watched. I damned glad that I am not in China, Russia the USA and most other countries in the world!

Auckland's beggars--are they for real?

Anyone visiting the 'golden mile' that is Queen Street must have noticed the beggars. Some are 'in your face' while others sit on the sidewalk, patiently waiting for us to drop something into their  box, bag or whatever they use to collect their money. Some have signs asking for money or explaining their 'position.' At times one can feel a bit aggrieved at their insistence that 'life' has dealt them a low blow, but then you can be left wondering at the true situation that brings them to the street. I have heard people yelling at them to ‘get a job.' Others wonder what access they have to our 'benefits system.'
If you look a bit closer and listen for a while, other issues become apparent and it is these people I feel most sorry for. It seems that the 'mental health' system in New Zealand has let down a few of these characters, but whether the system has let them down or the individual has chosen to side step it is a moot point. We don't force people to engage in New Zealand unless they are a risk to others and even then, many slip through.
So, next time you pass a beggar on the street, take a moment to ponder what their real situation is. It is all too easy to pass judgment on a person, especially one sitting on the footpath, looking dishevelled and dirty. The proposal to ban beggars needs to be discussed sensitively and a decision about ‘banning’ them should not be taken lightly. It is a sign of the times (and probably always has been) that some people just don’t fit into our own comfortable confines of what constitutes a good citizen. Then as always there are those who will do whatever it takes to get a free meal card. Just don’t assume that the beggar you are passing is undeserving of your help.

Living on 'takeaways' said to be cheaper than home cooked meals!

It is very possible that some may take offence at the following words. Recent reports that many families is so-called ‘poorer’ areas of Auckland are doing big spend ups at cheap takeaway food outlets because it is cheaper to use these establishments than cook a healthier home cooked meal. The example given to back this us was where NZ$10 could buy enough to feed a family of four. For that amount one could buy 4 pieces of fish, 4 fritters, 4 sausages and some chips. I have seen these ‘offerings and sometimes took advantage of them in my ‘pre-bariatric surgery days. (No wonder I achieved the giddy heights of 120 kilos!) I agree that it is possible to buy a large amount of fat-laden, sugar high and salty food that has been deep fried and a meal the ‘hots the spot’ as we used to say.
I shall try not to use a ‘sweeping brush’ approach when discussing the implications of the above ‘claims.’ Who am I to say that families on a budget should learn how to cook healthier and relatively cheaper options? Families in the south, west or any other area often used to portray the ‘less well –off parts’ of our cities have to make best with what they have. Such decisions are not confined to certain areas. The bottom line is that for a range of reasons, many families are struggling to put food on the table. Add to the mix, unemployment, lack of role models re learning good budget cooking methods and a sense that one can’t ‘do it,’ and you have all the components of a family feeling that it has few options.
There is of course the propensity to have someone else cook your food and if it can be done cheaply then why worry about how healthy it is. That of course brings about a raft of health issues that I can identify with; the difference for me is that I was ‘encouraged’ and came to a decision that ‘things don’t need to be like they have always been.’ What I am saying is that we do have choices and to break bad habits that are not entirely based on economics, then one has to take the plunge.
Can a family of 4 be fed using $10? It may come down to expectations. If one has been fed a diet of the fatty, sugary, salty and deep fried food, there is a type of addiction that traps one into that sort of option. Breaking that cycle takes time and repeated effort. If you give young children sweet stuff form the beginning, they are more than likely to spurn healthier options when they get older. The same can be said for other ‘unhealthy’ choices.
What can you buy for $10? Firstly, you don’t get the items form a local corner shop. Planning ahead is needed and that means going to local markets (most suburbs in Auckland have them now) or use the bug Asian shops or large outlets like Pack and Save. I know I have already lost some readers, because even that is all too hard. Maybe it’s time for a reality check then!
You don’t need fancy cooking implements. If you don’t have a slow cooker, then get one. Wait for a sale when they are 40% or more off or go and get one from an ‘Op shop.’ Failing that, use a big pot on the top of a stove and cook long and slowly.   Buy the cheaper cuts of meat and chuck in veggies. Use what you have and add flavourings like onion, garlic, mixed herbs, curry mixes---use your imagination. It’s amazing what your kids will come up with. Make cooking a family thing that all share in. So, ten bulks buys half a kilo of meat and some veggies. It’s going to be hard getting all the ingredients for the magic $10, but it is possible, like I said---with planning. Don’t be trapped into that---oh it’s all too much,’ feeling and revert to old bad and potentially harmful habits. Yeah, life’s hard, but with effort, the above is doable. Just look around and you will see families coping. Go back to what grandma knew. You might even learn how to make some basic ‘cookies,’ just like she made. For those grannies out there---show your grandkids how to make that ‘stew’ that you used to cook. It was filling and it costs bugger all. Sometimes we need to look back to the past so that we can cope with the here and now.