Friday, May 27, 2011

Rocking the Vampire Uniform

I'm baa-ack!

Participating once again in the fabulous Brandy's Fat Ass Friday.

You should click on the button and visit Brandy as soon as you've finished reading this post ;)

Goal weight: 57 kg

Current weight: 66.9 kg

Counting down: 9.9 kg to go!

I've been starting to think about the clothes that I'm going to buy when I've reached my goal weight. I'm planning on maintaining and never gaining it back, so I want to buy stuff that I really love and that makes me feel great.

I know exactly the look that I'll be going for. This blog that I've just discovered calls it "the vampire uniform" of fitted jacket, understated tee and tight, dark pants. In other words, I'll be looking like a mixture of Caroline, Elena and Katherine from The Vampire Diaries.

 Here's Caroline wearing "vampire at a picnic"! Love everything except the boots.

Elena wearing "doppleganger at the vampire sacrifice chic".

And Katherine looking "just plain sexy vampire".

And don't get me started on the dress that Elena wears to the funeral.

 I. Need. This. Dress.

So watch out world. Coming soon - Fiona rocks the vampire uniform!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A nifty knitter

I've gone all crafty.

The weather's gone cold and I like a scarf. It's so easy to add a bit of colour and movement to the plainest of outfits by adding a scarf. Not to mention the added advantage of keeping your neck warm.

I've been toying with the idea of knitting myself a scarf for a week or two, but what gave me the final nudge was when Alana got her knitting out.

Alana and her friend had to write and perform a duologue for a school assignment. They wrote a charming and humorous piece featuring two grandmothers discussing how kids have changed since they were young. It featured such lines as "Is that Helen from Bingo?" and "It looks like he won his drivers license in a raffle!". They even had props.

Hence, the knitting.

Seeing the needles and the wool pushed me over the edge. I just had to go and get myself some wool and get knitting!

I will admit, I had to Youtube "casting on knitting" because I'd forgotten how, but I seem to be going swimmingly now.

I'm actually pretty impressed, the brand of wool that I picked up from Big W has a website with lots of patterns. Go here to see for yourself.

Here's the thing. I didn't have the correct size needles at home so I just used the ones I've got. I just figured that when it comes to a scarf, near enough should probably be good enough. Fingers crossed!

The other thing is that the pattern I'm following has me purling and knitting in a pattern which is supposed to make a sort of ribbed pattern down the scarf. It looked good in the picture online. On my scarf, not so much. I'm really trying to count my stitches carefully and I don't think I'm making mistakes. I wonder why I can't see the pattern? Not that I mind too much, I'm not exactly an expert knitter, I'll be glad to have a scarf that turns out the right size and shape! But I am a little bit disappointed that I'm taking the trouble to follow the pattern and nothing's happening. Advice anyone?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

About love and self-acceptance

This post is inspired by the episode of Glee that aired in Australia last night. Episode 18 of Series 2 - the Lady Gaga "Born this Way" episode. If you're in Australia, you can watch it here.

If you're not a Gleek, let me fill you in. The episode was about self-acceptance. It was about celebrating the things that make you unique, and realising that the things about yourself that you struggle with might turn out to be your greatest strengths.

When I decided to join Weight Watchers and set a goal to lose weight, it was not because I did not love and accept myself. It took me a long time to commit to weight loss because I got a little bit confused about the relationship between self-acceptance and wanting to lose weight. I thought for a long time that making a consistent effort to change my body was a rejection of myself. It took me a while to sort it out in my own mind and to realise that I wanted to change not because I hated myself but because I loved myself.

In the Glee episode, Emma struggles with owning the fact that her Anxiety and OCD, rather than being a quirk of personality, is a mental illness that is holding her back from being the person that she was born to be. Loving herself means accepting that she has this illness, but not accepting that she has to stay sick. The best way that she can love herself is by seeking help to get better.

In a similar way, my weight was not just a case of being born "big boned"! I had a high percentage of body fat, making me much less healthy and more susceptible to life-threatening diseases. By getting help to make a change, I am doing the best possible thing to love myself.

I know that there can be a fine line sometimes between self-acceptance and loving yourself by making a change. I understand that sometimes it's hard to the difference. Society often gives us mixed messages about what parts of ourselves are acceptable and which parts need to change. But I'd like to leave you with a special message...

All of you is acceptable exactly the way you are. More than acceptable. Wonderful! If you decide to make a change, do it because you love yourself right now, and know that the change will help you to be the best you that you can be.

I won't love myself any more than I do now when I reach my goal weight. Because I already love myself completely. I am awesome! I'm losing weight because I love myself so much that I want to be as healthy as I can be. I want to be around for a long long time so that the world gets to experience my awesomeness for as long as possible.

If you find this post inspiring, please share it. And maybe you can let someone know that you love and accept them just as they are today. Even if that person is you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mi Casa es Su Casa = My house is your house

Ever since I started working on my crazy plan to take my family on an overseas adventure next year I've been wondering something.

How does the "typical" house vary from country to country?

You see, I'm cunningly planning for my family to live in real people's houses when we travel rather than stay in hotels. And I'm offering that if anyone that I get to know over the interwebs would like to visit Australia, I will happily allow them to stay at my place and will especially enjoy showing them around a little.

Whenever the idea of house-swapping comes up, or the concept of hosting visitors from overseas, everyone starts to get a little bit nervous. What if my house is too small, too messy, doesn't have a nice enough yard, isn't decorated elegantly enough or is located in an entirely boring area totally bereft of interesting tourist attractions?

What if my guests cut their stay short or move to a hotel because they can't possibly live in the hovel that I call my home? What if they cancel their plans to let me stay at their place because one look at mine has demonstrated that I'm "not their sort of person"?

Every insecurity about our homes seems magnified when faced with the prospect of opening it up to people from another country because we're not always sure what is considered "normal" or "acceptable" in their homeland when it comes to living arrangements.

Firstly I'd like to say that when it comes to being hosted overseas my family will be easily pleased. We are excited about the opportunity to see new things, meet new people and learn about other countries and we're not at all fussed about staying anywhere fancy. As far as we're concerned, our accomodation will simply be somewhere to lay our head at night; a "home base" from which to explore our surroundings. We are extremely grateful to the people who have offered to host us, and it is their company and conversation that we are looking forward to, not a king-size bed and back yard swimming pool!

I'll share with you a little bit about my house so you will know where I'm coming from.

I live in a single story house on a 700 square metre (7500 square foot) block of land in a quiet suburb. My house has four bedrooms, one of which we use as a study, a lounge room, dining room, kitchen, laundry and bathroom. Chris has undertaken a couple of renovations, one of which extended the kitchen to give us a "family room" or "eat in kitchen". The other was to convert our garage to a games room in which lives a couple of lounge chairs, a desk and computer, a big screen TV and the Wii and Playstation.

My house is not nearly as big or fancy as some others in my suburb, but it's enough for us. If I had one thing I'd like to improve it, it would be an ensuite bathroom for Chris and I. Also, I wish all our furniture wasn't second hand and that we had new carpet! Also the garden could do with a bit of a makeover! All in all, however, I'm satisfied with what we've got.

I'd love to hear a little bit about your house and how it compares to others in your area. Are you looking to upgrade, downsize, renovate?

I'm not going to bother with a linky because I'm not anticipating a flood of responses, but if you do post about your house then let me know by leaving me a comment.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fat Ass Friday- the fashion edition

I went shopping yesterday. You know, clothes shopping.

I decided to take everyone's advice and go to Target and look for one inexpensive work outfit to wear to my training day next Friday.

Target have really expanded their work wear range. They have pants in skinny leg, boot leg and wide leg; in three or four different fabrics, in about five different colours. Most of them also come in short, regular or long leg lengths. Then of course they have a bajillion different skirts and quite a few blouses. And one jacket. What???

Now bless their little hearts, the Target customers don't seem to be all that careful about keeping all the different items of clothing in the right place. They seem to just put them back wherever they like once they've taken them off the rack to look at them. And I guess Target don't have enough staff to regularly comb through the racks and tidy them up. Here you can see the librarian in me coming out! Imagine if you went to the library and couldn't find the books you wanted because they'd all been shelved out of order? Frustrating, right? was quite a gruelling task to find a selection of items to take to the fitting rooms, but I got there eventually.

I don't have all that much stamina for trying on clothes. All this getting into and out of different items, only to discover that you're not the size you thought you were after all, or that "skinny leg" really does have the emphasis on skinny! So then you have to get yourself all presentable, gather up your items, and head back out onto the floor for another round. Too much of that and I'm losing the will to live.

So I'm in the fitting room and can overhear two ladies talking in the next cubicle.

"That's a great colour on you," says one.

"Thanks. I like it, but I think it's too short," says the other.

"Ok, so you're not happy with the length. We'll look for something longer but I think we'll stick with that colour."

Hmmmm... I've got a great imagination, and I'm thinking that it sounds like someone's got a personal stylist with them.

A little later...

"Do you wear dresses often?" says "stylist" to customer.

"Would you believe I don't have any dresses in my wardrobe in the moment."

See, it does sound like a stylist; certainly not a daughter or friend who would know what her mother/friend wears!

And then...

"I'll just go out and get you a larger size in that."

Where, oh where, can I get me one of those helpful shopping ladies? I'd love one! Someone who could honestly tell me what they think of what I'm trying on and could help me search through the racks. They could also pop out and get me a different size if I needed it. I know you can take a friend or family member shopping with you, but they're not always capable of being honest! And I'd feel mean making them run around after me all day!

So, I guess you're wondering if I had any success.

I did come home with a pair of pants. 

Sorry about the quality of the photo. Needless to say, I didn't get this blouse which looks like a sack!

Unfortunately I didn't find a blouse that I was happy with. I also tried on a couple of dresses.

The top half of this dress was a bit too voluminous!

I thought this one looked pretty good! I didn't feel really comfortable in it, however, so I didn't get it. Maybe after I've lost a few more kilos.

How are you coping with your changing size and shape?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I am a Librarian... almost

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work I go...

Next Friday I'm going to a fabulous library for a training day, in the expectation that, all going well, they will have some work for me in the future. Yay me!

I am not superstitious, so I don't want anyone to point out to me that next Friday is Friday-the-13th!

The library manager rang to personally invite me to come in for a full day of training and is going to be looking after me on the day. She didn't give me much information about the upcoming work that might be available, just indicated that there would be some. I'm taking all this to mean that she wants to get a good look at me in the library environment before she employs me!

Needless to say, this is a great opportunity for me! And just a little bit daunting...

It's exciting to me that the library manager is prepared to put time and energy into training me. I'm thoroughly looking forward to a full day in a workplace that seems to be ideal for me. It will be wonderful to meet the rest of the team and see the variety of daily tasks involved in the job. It will be great to be in a busy, dynamic workplace meeting people. I'm also aware, however, that I will be "on trial". The library manager will surely be watching to see how suitable I am to be employed by her, so I do want to make a good showing.

I'm planning a recon trip to the library to get the lay of the land. I've only been there once before, for an interview, and I didn't see much of the library. I want to walk through the whole place so that I know where everything is. I'm going to watch the library clients to see how busy it is and how the library is used. I'm going to observe the library staff to see what sort of tasks they are undertaking and how much action the reference desk is getting. Can't you just imagine me hiding behind bookshelves eavesdropping on a librarian helping a patron? Just kidding, I would never invade a library patron's privacy that way.

I've also been trying to figure out what to wear.

Of course when I'm on my recon trip I'll check out what the other librarians are wearing. Beyond that, my main problem is that I have nothing that fits me! Having lost 11 kg over the past 12 weeks (yay!), my two pairs of work pants are falling off! I've been on a couple of shopping trips, but I don't want to spend money on nice clothes that might only fit for a short while. I'm still losing weight and figure that I'll drop another couple of dress sizes over the next few months. Advice please!

What else should I do to prepare to wow them next Friday? Any suggestions very welcome.