Sunday, 13 December 2009

Some Belated Chrissie Treats

I haven't written much while I have been back in Oz. I have been staying for the most part at my lovely family home, upon which two of my brothers with their partners and kiddies have also descended. I haven't been able to duck or weave past all the humans to get to a computer to blog, let alone the overdue catch-ups, trays of mangoes, justify-your-life-choices conversations, beach opportunities, thesis guilt and assorted attempts at writing, Christmas preparations, red wine and DVD sessions, a fabulous book I am reading, and two mammoth (and happy) Christmas celebrations.

I knew I had a draft post sitting in my folder, one I wrote when I had just returned from the health retreat. I thought it worth digging it out and posting it this morning, as it contains some goodies that I would like to share with you in general Christmas/holiday fuzzy love spirit. Here it is:

I am back from luxury boot camp. It involved Tai Chi at 6:30am on top of a hill overlooking rows of wild rosemary shrubs, families of kangaroos and rosellas, and regular patches of eucalyptus trees, separated by small vineyards. Then aqua running at 7am followed by wholesome (farty) breakfast, cardio classes and health and motivational seminars til lunch. The same again til meagre dinner. No sugar, wheat, caffeine or alcohol and restricted carbs. Nuts for treats (nature's goodies!). All organic. Massages, facials and counselling or naturopathy sessions most days. Each evening, zany, self-expression activities such as charcoal drawing in time to music; art guided by your special dancing shapes! (I would love it if Wednesday's blindfolded 'spirit dancing' was secretly recorded and unleashed on YouTube.) May make the retreat seem three water features and two resort-style pools away from being a cult, but it was actually wonderful and hugely beneficial.

Here are some of the messages from the talks and activities and, although they're melty cheese treats*, I think they're worthwhile:

  1. Take time for yourself - actually, you should lock it in at the beginning of the week. See through the eyes of the child within.

  2. Do you appreciate beauty solely when you've planned on and even paid for it? The Joshua Bell story is worth a look at.

  3. Oriah Mountain Dreamer's The Invitation is something you need to ask of yourself before you ask it of a loved one.

  4. Thoughts and feelings affect physical reality. Watch the words you use about yourself and other watery creatures. See Dr Emoto's The Hidden Messages in Water.

  5. Understand that you didn't break them, and you can't fix them.

  6. Don't be too competitive in team sports at a health retreat, especially if you're female.

  7. Forgive and forget anything that would stop an endless river of love and compassion flowing out through you.

  8. Super healthy toasted muesli recipe: 1kg rolled oats, 250g oat bran, 250g unprocessed bran, 1kg buck wheat roasted, 200g linseed meal, 350ml honey, 100ml apple concentrate, 400ml orange juice, 350g peaches dried, 700g sultanas, 260g dried apple diced, 200g dried paw paw (papaya) diced, 180g dried figs, 500g pecans or macadamia nuts. Mix oats and oat bran. Add honey and water, juice and mix. Roast at 85 degrees celsius for three hours. Add dried fruit. Store in airtight container.

  9. ''Just so long as you are trying to make things better. That's what counts." (work philosophy of beautician in response to my question whether she ever feels uncomfortable doing pedis or waxes)

*In other words, only number 6 would count as evidence-based.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Time for a Health Farm

photo by: DaveSag
Am back in Sydney. Blue skies, purple flowers, twisty trees, boat engines and bird screeches are back in my life, as are shouty ads on TV.
Thanks for all those wonderful geek hobby suggestions. Nice to have some options. The metal detector would be vintage.

I am heading off to a health retreat with my Mum and sister in an hour. The evidence for the 'wellness assessment' I have on this afternoon is contained in this blog (shuddering at the sheer indulgence, but I can't feel guilt and shame about everything!). I here provide another piece for the fair-haired, muscly armed, lady in a smart tracksuit.

Extracts from a letter I wrote to a friend on the plane:

Just after take-off. My eyes are dry and tired. I am in an aisle seat, 34D,
but there is no one in the two seats next to me. This doesn't help with the
nerves. I like being in the middle island because it makes me feel part of a
team. Sipping ginger ale. The pilot introduced the customer relations officer
and I happened to see her curtsy to herself. It's dark and grey-blue outside and
my ginger ale is circling from turbulence. We have been rocking since we took
off. Anyway, I don't want to focus on that. I am going back to Julie and Julia.
Needed something cute.

I just went to the loo. There were a couple of people waiting. Under the
lights inside, I noticed I am flushed and tired. Why does it become so awfully
hot on the plane? Healthy glow of first loo trip has turned into mad look,
especially with eye mask on as headband. Looks medicinal. I was going to ask for
the large, English flight attendant to sit with me in the empty seat for a chat, but I

Watched two episodes of 30 Rock. Americans love visual gags, like an old
lady falling over. My eyes are stinging and it's still so hot. Still haven't
managed to sleep yet.

Half way. 1am in my mind, but 9am and humid outside. A passenger's bottom
just swiped my upper arm. But on the positive, looks like I have a spare seat
next to me. That would be pretty mega ace if I could sleep along two seats.
Getting used to the Aussie accent again - that pseudo-posh, Dannii Minogue one.
Some of the Asian passengers are wearing face masks. Not good for my nerves, but
trying to focus on comic potential.

Only two hours til landing. Had three hours' sleep with headphones on
playing Flight of the Conchords. I was so tired that I felt I had to will on my
lungs to breathe - 'C'mon little guys.' They were disconnected to my racing mind
and stubbornly kept a slow place. Then I fell into those trippy dreams that you
get when you're on a plane and knackered - flashes of strangers' faces,
cloloured spots and, the most unsettling, a row of suburban houses with black,
fright trees behind them. The sound of the show helped my mind quieten. Not very
Zen though.

We've started our descent. There is an elderly, English couple
sitting in the window seats next to me. They must be in their late seventies. I
don't know how they do the long haul. Maybe you just don't care so much. Oh,
this must be the most inane, disappointing letter. Makes me realised what a load
of rot goes around my head and comes out of my mouth all day. Cabin crew is
taking their seats. We're shaking because of the rain clouds and we just had a
couple of rollercoaster drops. But I love landings. I smile at everyone around
me. I am pretty much waving at them. There have been a few more drops,
lots of readjusting of wheels or whatever makes that electronic noise.
Babies are crying. The Chinese guy in the lime green rainproof jacket has just
looked at me, grinning with mild panic. But I can see pretty Sydney out the window:
the lights of the CBD, the cars, the roads. We're rocking like a bloody dinghy,
but I don't care. We're about to land. Wow - with a thud and skittle and intense inertia.
Makes me think of how funny it would be if the plane blew up after all that.
The people are relieved and scrounging around their bags and rubbing their foreheads.

Waiting for family at arrivals. No glory for me coming through the gates.
The first to greet you at Sydney, by the way, was a customs dog, right at the
passageway. They love customs in this country. I am wearing too many layers. The
Sydney women are wearing white and blue and the men are dressed like 14 year
olds. The arrivals area is glowing and the orange in the flooring and meeting
point signs are setting off the classic airport blue. Just heard a woman, with a
child strapped to her front, say 'Noi' [this is how urban Australians say
'No'] to her husband. The last thing the customer relations officer on the
flight said was, 'For thoorse taiking connecting flaights within Australia, they
will need to goi toi Terminal Twooii.'