I might just do this…

Years ago (okay, June 27, 2006, to be exact) the delightful Erin who blogs as A Dress A Day published this little file:[credit card graphic, for those reading this in a RSS feed]

with this suggestion:

So write your size (whether it’s larger or smaller than what’s in the store) on the back of the card if you use them. If you would have bought a particular thing, write something like “blue sundress, $100″ too. Make it as real as possible. Turn that vague size-14 statistic into real money, and show them that money walking out of the store. The stores won’t know that they’re not serving your needs unless you tell them.

Given that I’ve just yesterday traveled down to Brisbane to buy bras, there are stores here that will be getting carded. AND followed up with written letters, because as we all know, an Actual.Paper. Letter gets attention these days, more so than an email or a phone call.

Also, even though altering patterns (hell, FINDING patterns) at this size is a total pain, I think I’ll be sewing again soon.

Watch this space…

Down the Hill and up again

The Story Bridge, Brisbane, 15 September 2010.

So yesterday Mr Beloved and I ventured Down The Range to the big smoke – Brisbane.   The aim: visiting Big Girls Don’t Cry Anymore, a bra and swimwear shop in Fortitude Valley.  (I could not buy a sports bra in my size ANYWHERE in Toowoomba, and believe me, we tried!  None of the EIGHT stores we visited had anything above a size 18.)

Anyway, the service at Big Girls was exceptional.  Start with a Husband Parking Area with comfortable lounges, free tea and coffee, and motoring magazines at the front of the shop.  The bra fitter (there must be a better word for that!)  was kind and professional, and I ended up with 4 well fitted bras.  Only one of those is a sports bra, but I’ll be mail ordering/online ordering another now I know which size to get.  The Elomi brand turned out to fit me perfectly, so 3 of the 4 I bought were from them. And meantime I’ll be exercising in some of the non-sport bras, because even though they don’t have the special wicking fabric, they FIT, so I can wear them and not worry about looking and feeling ridiculous.  Well, not in the boobs department, anyway.

Even turns out that I do in fact need a size 18 across the back – but I need a much bigger cup size than the Toowoomba stores are willing to stock.  This just reinforces my belief that there are a whole lot of women out there wearing the wrong size bra!

That took a lot less time than we had budgeted, so we decided to have a quick look at the music stores in the vicinity.  We popped in to the Orchestral store, to ask about the price of bassoons.

YIKES!  Turns out that even student quality bassoons are waaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of my league.  They start at around 5 – THOUSAND, that is!  Since it’s been well over twenty years since I’ve even blown a squark on a double reed, that’s a huge investment in something I’m not even sure I could play.  NOT THAT WE HAVE THE MONEY, you understand, it was just playing with the idea.  To buy the reeds for bassoons, you’re looking at a starting point of around $35 each.

Hmm, what about an oboe, then? I’ve always quite liked oboe, too.  $25 per reed to start on a medium soft one – and about $800 for a student quality, composite (not wood) instrument.  Closer to doable but still out of reach…

Guess I’ll just have to stick with boring old flute then.  $800 would just about buy an overhaul of my flute… Maybe I’ll switch to TUBA, then, how’s that for a bolt out of the blue?  I love tubas!

ANYWAY, we then moved on to the portion of the day which was more about Mr Beloved: a meetup over lunch with some online (and becoming In Real Life) friends from the Atheist group.  This turned out to be at a pub local to one of the members and a jolly good time was had by all 5 of us.  I even had a coupla beers, not something I get to do terribly often (since we don’t tend to go out, and we don’t have the budget or inclination to buy alcohol for home) which meant that I fell asleep as Mr Beloved drove us back up the hill.

Today was a wipeout – I was exhausted sore and achey all over, but I know to expect that after a Brissy trip. Tomorrow is resistance training at the gym (yay!) and then housework.  The house will NOT be as clean as I would have liked for my parent’s visit, but I just have to accept that I can’t do EVERYTHING.  (This is something I struggle with, STILL, after all these years of CFS/Fibromyalgia and mental illness…)

Fatty Fat Fat and I am NOT a fan of Seroquel

One of the *ahem* issues yesterday’s trip to Brisbane raised was that I HATE standing in dressing rooms staring at myself – all the more so since the !@&(^* damned anti-psychotic has caused weight gain around the middle in a pattern (?!) that I’ve NEVER had to deal with before.  Usually I put on weight around my middle pretty evenly – but Seroquel is notorious for developing a blobby pudding of fat that is almost like a separate entity.  F**K I HATE IT!!  And I don’t normally SEE it because I don’t often look in mirrors, especially not for loooong loooooooooong minutes at a time when I’m half dressed.

The psychologist warned me I would have to be gentle with myself in trying to lose weight this time, as it’s a whole different ball game. She was also quite shocked that both my GP and Psychiatrist had recommended wight loss SURGERY as an option, knowing that I was taking Seroquel -that’s just cruel.  At least there are other people out there (Oh, how I LERVE Teh Interwebs!) who recognise this:

Physical activity and diet can help prevent this weight gain, and sometimes reverse it — but simply telling patients to eat right and get exercise as a means of coping with the weight gain medications can induce is pretty close to an insult and generally simply attempts to shift the responsibility for the problem to the patient.  It takes more than this simple advice. (Psycheducation.org)

and more from here:

Weight gain is a common side effect of Seroquel® (quetiapine fumarate). In clinical studies, up to 23 percent of people gained at least 7 percent or more of their body weight. While a small or modest increase in weight is typical during treatment with this medication, some people can gain large amounts of weight while taking it. [bold and italics mine]

GEE, ya THINK?  What really pisses me off is that I don’t eat that badly.  I KNOW about healthy eating – I read news articles about it, I buy magazines about it and read them, I generally don’t buy or eat junk food.  We already shop around the outside aisles of the supermarket.  We hardly ever eat out – and when we do, it’s likely to be a once a month treat of a muffin and a coffee, not a burger-and-fries-and-soft-drink calorie explosion, or an all-you-can-stuff-in smörgåsbord meal.  Hell, I don’t even drink Diet Coke anymore! (I’ve had ONE 600ml bottle in the last 8 weeks.) (I will ‘fess up to drinking Diet Lime Cordial with fizzy mineral water, though. Even that’s not every day.)

And I’ve joined a gym, and now I even have suitable bras to wear to exercise in.  (Resistance training tomorrow, yay, I’m actually looking forward to it!)

But I still have problems with my body, the size I am, and the shape I am now.  I admit to engaging in hours of self recriminations and loathing over eating a chocolate bikkie.  That’s just mad.

I started reading Fat Acceptance blogs because I’d become a fan of Natalie’s drawings.  Then as I read a few more, I realised that while the movement is more about accepting people WHATEVER their size.  And that a lot of these blogs were helpful for anyone with “disordered” eating.  If you really want a primer on what Fat Acceptance is,  go read what Elizabeth of Spilt Milk has written in this brilliant post, “Acceptance is not ‘giving up'”.

See, Seroquel doesn’t just make me hungry.  The horrible, unforgivable thing that Seroquel does is make me RAVENOUS and uncertain of what my head is doing.  I feel like I’ve been deprived of food FOREVER and I can’t eat enough.  The normal “Full” signal seems to either get lost or to disappear far too quickly. Combine that with trying to battle thoughts of “food food FOOD FOOD” and wondering if I’m actually HALLUCINATING about food because I can’t stop thinking of how good some peanut butter would be RIGHT NOW and you can see that it’s a cruel, cruel drug.

Does taking Seroquel actually help the Bipolar? Probably.  I can’t tell, because I’m the one with the mad head.  I know that if I had been left alone with my credit card in the music shop yesterday I probably would have spent around $1000 without even blinking or thinking – and that’s a problem, because we just don’t have that sort of money.  Mr Beloved was with me and sensibleness prevailed, but it could have been bad.  This new (semi) obsession with changing instruments COULD just be a symptom of the Bipolar.  I honestly can’t tell.

Anyway.  More to write later.