Monthly Archives: September 2011

Spain again!


I had forgotten how much I enjoy Spain.
These are the reasons:
1. the shoes.
2. The fact that it is cheaper than most of the rest of the EU.
3. The language; using it with aplomb that borders on a piss take. My favourite word at the moment is juego (it means game)
4. The shoes
5. The range of feminine douching products available, should, hypothetically, I need them. I will also have the bag it comes in (heehee)
6. The people watching
7. The wine
8. Did I mention the shoes?

SO I am in Malaga, in the south of Spain, for a conference. It s genteel and refined in parts, but also has a Miami feel to it too. The buildings down by la playa are butt ugly, the rest look lovely.

What I have done so far:
-Malaga is the city where Pablo Picasso was born. Granted, he didn’t visit again after the age of 19, but that is quite beside the point. The city boasts a Picasso art museum, which showcases his lesser known work. Nevertheless, the building itself is a nice example of Moorish architecture, and the artwork conveys (from my humble point of view) his mastery of lines. There is also his birthplace, which is another museum.
-visited the Museo del vino. Malaga, being a hot region, does sweet wines well, and I think (cannot be sure as exhibits in espanol) that Pedro Ximenez sherry comes from the region.
-visited the museo Carmen Thyssen, which houses some beautiful Spanish works, which are reminiscent of the French works from similar times.
-practiced my drawing ( fun, but should stick to day job at the moment)
-went to the beach, watched people from afar. At the beach, bikini tops are optional, I figured out.
-eaten lots of seafood. Lots of omega 3.
-developed an helado (gelati) per day habit. Must. Go. For. Run.
-had a siesta per day. When in Rome etc.
-looked at couture and footwear.
– met up with my old supervisor/ boss and his wife for beer and tapas. He is attending the conference.

I am having a good time. A great time. Mostly, I don’t miss not having somebody to share it with (I have youse). I get happy enough to hum a tango while walking in the sun.

Now, I don’t want to sound like Miss Whiny McWhinge, but there are times when I do get sad. Lonely. Nostalgic. Tonight was one of them.

However, I know these are the times when I need to make a special effort to leave my hotel room. And I do. And, most of these times, I feel better for it. Sometimes, though the tears escape. Not nearly as much or as hard as they did, but they do.

The earth mother in me says “it is quite normal”. Lady Phil says “you are doing fine, better than fine.”

I am. I am.

Oooh. I have another whinge.
I. Have. A. Chinful. Of. ZITS!!!!!!! WTF????

Please check out my tumblr, for photos

Greetings from the V and A Museum.


And a big thanks to them for their Internet.

I am safe, happy and well, thankyou. A little jet lagged still, but good.

I set off on Monday evening, after giving a 90 minute lecture. With my many thousands of saved up frequent flyer points, I managed to get an upgrade to business class.

Free grog ahoy, mateys! Good way to travel if you can get it! No cankles for me! And sleep! Sweet, sweet sleep!

Unfortunately, being a. Alone, b. Tired and c. Drunk makes me a bit….. Wistful, and a bit melancholic. there was ample time to think about things, and plenty of things to think about.

So I did what I have been doing quite a bit of recently. Had a good, long howl. Luckily the jet noise drowned out my sobs. The stewardess, bless her heart, saw me having a howl and brought me tissues and gave me a hug. A hug with the upgrade!

I don’t know quite what I was howling about- a few things probably. Not things to discuss here.

Then I had another snooze, and read my Caitlin Moran book, “how to be a woman”. Piss funny. The stewardess probably thought I was insane, laugh, cry, howl.

addition: written from Spain.
I arrived in London. Mercifully quick run through customs. Then checked into my hotel in Bloomsbury.

I had the pleasure of meeting up with Phillipa the day I got to London. I was quite tangential, moving from stressful topics to topical topics to “oooh, we are in Trafalgar square!”

I love how London, for me, can go to the grandiose, to the comfortable, to the familiar. I love the buzz. I don’t love the crowds.

Some things I did in London
– met with Skinny Latte (philippa) and met her lovely husband Tom. SL is like my sistah from another mister, and it felt like no time had passed since I last saw her. We had dinner at a lovely authentic Italian restaurant (most restaurants are chain ones and the food questionable. The night ended with some ice-cream, quite drunk, and bundled into a taxi.
– met with my friend Sarah, had dinner and a lovely chat. Night ended again with me being bundled into a taxi. Re- acquainting myself with my old mate, Fruli.
– having some beauty treatments at the Aveda spa, the most relaxing facial ever, followed by a healthy but posh lunch in the adjoining cafe.
– going down Oxford st after that, which cancelled out some of the relaxation. Seriously, I got hip and shouldered a few times. Never again.
– seeing my mate Daz and his wife Siobhan in Covent Garden. Having to negotiate the hordes of ugly, badly dressed folk near the station on Saturday night (theatre/pub night). Trying chilli beer.
– going shopping on Kings road in Chelsea, home of my favourite shop, Anthropologie. Parted with some cash. Bought some investment shoes.
– going for a run around the circuit that is Regents park, being distracted by the gentility of the surroundings, and getting lost. Note to self: bring more cash than 3 quid.
– long phone conversations with a special friend back home. There are two people and one canine that I particularly miss.

Anywho, today I flew to Malaga, in the south of Spain. Full of rich people and pommy retirees following the sun. Lots of grey hair on the flight. It is quite fitting that a geriatrics conference should be held here.

Traveling alone can be quite a scary thing. However, what I fear is not what one would think- I am not particularly scared of being mugged/otherwise assaulted/kidnapped or blown up. Perhaps I should be more afraid of these things, but I am a seasoned traveller.

I am most afraid of myself, more specifically, what is going on in my head. There is a great fear of feeling lonely. Of what will happen when I get home. There is guilt. There is anger. Lots of unpleasant emotions that might threaten to send me home prematurely, howling all the way back. I fear being paralyzed by my feelings.

Yet I realize that these feelings pass, and often give rise to greater understanding of myself (shining the torch into the crevices of the hole I alluded to in a previous post). I feel braver for facing them. I am certainly not paralyzed, on the contrary, I am doing a brave and proactive thing.

Tonight, for instance, I was feeling a bit bleh, having been reminded of things at home. I was going to have a night in with the proceeds of the minibar (peanuts and Rioja for dinner, anyone?) but decided to head out instead. I was rewarded with a beautiful night, seeing the grand marble architecture all lit up at night. I found a restaurant, sat down and enjoyed a great (and cheap) seafood paella, eye candy waiters and some wine. While I was eating, a fellow on the street (probably an itinerant gitano) broke into a flamenco song, a capella, complete with hand clapping.

After dinner, I had some home made helado (ice cream), which I ate with aplomb and got all over my face and fingers. I then wandered around the main street and did a big belch in appreciation of my meal. Nobody with me to rebuke me for a belch. I romanced myself tonight. I feel good. Alone, but not lonely. Not now.

The A to Z of me.


Got this from I would appreciate if you all did yours!

A – Age: 32 and a half. Old enough to harness my mojo.

B – Bed size: Queen. Of course.

C – Chore that I hate: Ironing. I am a sweep/mop person.

D – Dog: Candy, the cheeky staffy.

E – Essential start to my day: Coffee. It is the essential THING in my day.

F – Favourite colour: Hmmmm. Deep red, or dusky pink.

G – Gold or silver: Rose/yellow gold. Will wear silver or white gold. Anything precious.

H – Height: 165 cm. Fairly average.

I – Instruments I play: None. Coudn’t afford it as a child. I enjoy singing, though, that is my shot at musicality.

J – Job title: Consultant Physician and PhD student. Sounds very stately, no?

K – Kids: Hmmm, no. Long story. Enjoying being “Auntie Ciwwa” to friends babies.

L – Live: Melbourne. Brunswick. Go Brunswick!

M – Mother’s name: Jill

N – Nicknames: I call myself Cilla. Others call me Cil. Some even call me Cillza, Cilla Billa. I am quite partial to Cilla Gorilla.

O – Overnight Hospital stays: None. A few day surgeries – wisdom teeth, ingrown toenails, endoscopies.

P – Pet peeves: Tony Abbott. People with their heads up their arses. Snobs. Fuckwits. Fuckwits who think they are smart.

Q – Quote from a movie: “Stay Gold”- The Outsiders. Can’t really think of another off the top of my head.

R – Right or Left handed: Right handed.

S – Siblings: Younger sister, Younger brother. Me = black sheep.

T – (Original post didn’t have this)….Training?: Running, pilates type exercises. London Marathon looming in Distance.

U – Underwear: Berlei Bras (Can’t go past them), Cotton bikini briefs. I go for comfort and practical style

V – Vegetable you hate: Don’t hate any vegetable. Even like brussels sprouts!

W – What makes you run late: Everything. Sleeping in, listening to radio, reading things, lingering over breakfast, applying maquillage, arranging coiffure, choosing couture.

X – Xrays: Had an x-ray of arm when younger as I sprained it. Have had a couple of CT scans of sinuses. Had an OPG for wisdom teeth, and they xray my teeth when going to dentist. Oh, and had a fluoroscopy of my bladder when I was younger. I have had my share of rays.

Y – Yummy food I make: Lamb roast, baby.

Z – Zoo animals – elephants, especially baby ones.

Spring into Shape 1 – 8.4km- 58.05


Yesterday’s run was a training session with Val (Girlsup4fit). A warm up, a few drills, then strides, then 4×500 metres with 60 sec recovery. She did not want to flog us too much, as most of us had returned from breaks or were racing the next day.

I had not run more than about 6km since the (fairly average effort of) Run Melbourne 10km. Hence, today was about going the distance. I had hoped to go in at under an hour, and hold fairly even pace. Maybe even to beat my 58 minute playlist – as an outside chance.

The day was perfect for a run, if not a little humid. Overcast, cool, with a light breeze.

I felt fairly comfortable throughout the run. I only walked while drinking water at the drink stations. I managed to power up the hills (there were 2 big ones, one each loop, at the back of Birrarung Marr). Those hill sessions with Carol helped. I used my arms to propel up – I drummed my forearms.

I picked up the pace after about 7km. Or it felt like a pickup in pace – hard to tell at the end of a race.

By my watch I crossed the finish line in 58:05, just as my playlist was finishing. I only had vague nausea at the end; will have to empty the tank a bit better next time to have a full-on near-spew. I crossed the line, put my foot up on the crate to take my timing chip off, and then, d’OH! I realised I had forgotten to affix it with my excitement to get to the toilet (again) before starting. This is not the first line I had done such a thing!

That works out to 6:54 minute kms. I hope to get it a bit faster per kilometre for the upcoming 12.7km events. This works out to a long easy run pace of about 7:30minute kms or so.

Afterward, I got some of the drink they were offering up, and headed off. I was craving carbohydrates, preferably in Pancake form. I headed down to Monsieur Truffe, a new cafe/chocolaterie that has opened up in East Brunswick. I had some ricotta pancakes with strawberries and hazelnut praline. It was yummy, if not a bit small.

Then home, shower, nanna nap.

Tonight and tomorrow will be filled with packing. I am doing a 90 minute lecture tomorrow afternoon, before heading off to the airport in the evening. How exciting! London, here I come!



More random stuff – favourite songs of the moment.


1. Fragile Bird, City and Colour.

I remember listening to this lots of times on JJJ and enjoying it. I have downloaded it off itunes, and had a good listen to the lyrics. Simple, haunting, beautiful – they resonate with me, nearly bring tears.

2. How come you never go there, Feist

Another JJJ pickup. I love the soft voice and big band. I have downloaded this song, and 1234, which you will know off an Apple advertisement.

Random stuff….

  • Did I tell youse, I am off overseas next Monday? UK, Spain, Sweden, Iceland? Heeee.
  • I went for a run yesterday, outside of my normal ‘hood. An out and back, slight incline on the out. Just over 4km in 25 minutes. Great, but need to find my long run pace.
  • A conversation that I had with Man-Cake PhD student today.

                            MC: I am tired, man, I have a cold.

                            Me: That’s no good.

                            MC: No, it’s no good, dude. What do I take for it?

                            Me: A…nice….big…..cup….of….

                            MC: “…harden the fuck up?”

                            Me: Yes.

                            We laugh. He knows me well.

That’s all I got for the minute.

addit 1213 hrs. I have another phrase, related to a recent post.

If you have two diets, you will have two weights, but be stuck at one of them – not the you will be happy with, either.

I used to have a “good” eating plan and a “bad” eating plan. This set me up for failure. Now, I make a mental note if I have really gone off the rails, but mostly I don’t worry about it.

Upcoming Runs


I have a few runs coming up. Should keep me motivated, and be a decent base for Marathon training.

Sept 18: Spring into Shape Race 1 – 8.4km (This is the day before I go overseas)

Oct 23: Spring into Shape Race 2 – 12.7km

Nov 13: City2Sea – 14km

Nov 27: Spring into Shape Race 3 – 12.7km.

I ran today.


My running has been going regularly, but not frequently. I have been getting out twice per week. Good, considering. I went along to training this morning, and there were only the 3 of us. One paced similarly to me, one very much faster. She goes to the Virgin gym in the city and they are having a competition where the person who does the most amount of training gets to have a meeting with Michelle Bridges.

Way to encourage excessive behaviour! This lass was exercising 4 hours per day. There are only a few things I want to do for 4 hours or more per day – one of them is sleep, and the others are not fit to discuss here 😀

Anywho, we did drills (I looked and felt lame) and then hill pyramids. Another patented Carol method of torture.

As usual, I picked up my game later on in the piece – I get better towards the end of the session.

Carol was very perceptive. She said to me “You are looking good, but you must come into these sessions believing you can do them.” I had been feeling a bit bloated and slow and unfit. Negative thoughts. Tsk Tsk.

I need to get the upper body working a bit more, it is very important for running, especially powering up hills. Perhaps an arm and ab session before work regularly might do the trick. Routine.

My moodfoodmouth reflex.


Food, my weight – that took up nearly all of my consciousness. Most of my blog posts, too.

I hated had a deep discontent with the way I looked. This was until recently. I have let it go. Here, as the cliche goes, is my story.

I was a bright child. Bright, and reasonably confident, with a fairly strong sense of who I was. I would not have come this far if I did not have these things. I used to eat a lot, my parents called me “Fang”. They gently ribbed me, but fed us lollies and $2 worth of chips when times were tough. They often were.

I had brains, I had strength. I did not put a lot of stock on physicality – neither physical attractiveness nor physical prowess. My sister – she was the popular and pretty one, the “hot little package”. I was the smarter and plainer older sister. That was fine.

I was picked on a lot at school – being brainy, having acne and being a little on the heavier side (though svelte by today’s standards), it was par for the course. I never thought it got to me, I had succeeded despite all of this, but perhaps it eroded my confidence in my looks. Perhaps.

I never gave a lot of thought to how I looked through medical school – I had little money and had a boyfriend, so I never really tried. I put on quite a lot of weight in my final year of medical school, perhaps peaking at over 80kgs. It never occurred to me until I overheard my nanna say to an aunty “That Cilla, she’s a lovely girl, but jeez, she has put on some weight!” I ate blocks of chocolate and bags of marshmallows, mostly, in retrospect, out of boredom and loneliness. I lived in a share house with international students and did not have much money.

In intern year, 2003, about 5kg flew off in the first few weeks. I barely had time to eat, that was why. I began to go to the gym, because finally, I could afford a gym membership. I could also afford those little $1 bags of lollies they sold at the womens auxiliary at the Austin, I had a 1 a day habit, and this, in hindsight, probably negated the earnest exercise. In any case, I was not particularly weight or food-conscious. I had terrible eating habits, raiding the vending machine rather than having proper meals. My patients’ health and wellbeing came before my own. My weight was stable, as the headless-chook-iness plus a sub-30 year old metabolism cancelled out the terrible eating.

In 2004, my father in law (to be) became terminally ill. I was working in hard jobs (palliative care, then intensive care), plus trying to plan a wedding by myself. In my intensive care job, I did 13 hour shifts, four on, four off, day then night, and my diet was atrocious. I steadfastly refused to lose weight for the wedding, and announced this proudly.

In mid-2005, I went on a month-long trip to Europe. We walked a lot, but ate and drank what we wanted. Despite an increasing and uncomfortable tightness in the pants, I continued this. I made a vow that, when I got home, I would go on a diet, and not drink any alcohol or eat any chocolate for a month. I did this. I lost a little weight, but it was all quite hard.

Late in 2005, I became a registrar for the first time – it was a massive increase in work and responsibility, and, again, the weight flew off. I reached my lowest adult weight. I thought, hey, great, I can eat what I want. I did, and, duly, my weight went right back up over the next year or two. This was exacerbated by studying for my physicians exams – hard work, no time for exercise, comfort food. I felt awkward and pudgy. Have a look at my “Bring on the end of July” poem in my “poetry” section – you will see a link to it.

Fast forward to 2008 – my first bout of depression. A new running habit, ostensibly to help my mood, but a big part of me said “hallelujah, now I will be skinny”.

I ran, then I ate. I ran, I ran. I ran a half-marathon. I ate more. The weight refused to budge. My desperation grew, and with it, my preoccupation with food, with eating, with the number on the scale.

Calories in, calories out – I underestimated one and overestimated the other. I thought – tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow never came.

Slowly, insidiously, a few things became fixtures.

1. I thought about food – all day, every day. I charted my intake. I thought about what I had eaten and how I had done badly, and how I would do better tomorrow.

2. I thought about my weight, all day every day. I weighed myself up to daily.

3. I would only buy things in size 12 – not in size 14 or larger. Hence, I bought a whole heap of clothes that were too small. I stashed them for the day I would fit into them. That day never came.

4. My feeling of unattractiveness, awkwardness increased, and I compared myself very harshly to other women.

5. I started to have the “when I get thin, I will…..” schema in my head. What was “thin”? An arbitrary number. When? Sometime in the future, like an oasis, seen but never upon me.

6. I would regularly eat until I was over-full, but figured it was OK because I was eating at a posh restaurant. I felt stuffed and guilty and resolved never to do it again.

I envied people who were slim, but, even more, I envied people who did not seem to think about their weight at all. It didn’t bother them. “Why can’t I be like them?” I wondered mournfully. I was terrified of blowing out, of spending my whole life worried about what I eat and what I weigh. I felt out of control around food. I realised it was consuming me, that it was a terrible waste of time and energy, and that it needed to stop. I went to a psychologist.

A lady in her late 40s, with sharp blue eyes, looking younger than her years, a cougar. She had a soft voice, but regularly made me squirm in my seat. Good, I thought, I am out of my comfort zone, I will get somewhere.

She bandied the phrase “binge-eating disorder”. On the mild end, but still apparent. I was frightened and appalled. Me? Binge-eating disorder? I checked the criteria, and, yes, it could be surmised.

Even though, at times, she made me deeply uncomfortable, I continued to see her. Sometimes we talked about my eating. Sometimes I talked about my family, about workmates. Sometimes, I smiled and said that nothing was wrong and I was fine.

Pennies started to drop – these pennies turned up on this blog, some of them. I found my mood-food-mouth reflex. The one that was triggered by any uncomfortable emotion. I sat with this awhile.

Then, my second bout of depression. I attributed it all to the cessation of my medication – temporally, this made sense. Perhaps, though, there was an element of being “unpicked”, emotionally. The thing that buoyed me through difficult times was melting away. Food could no longer support me.

Despite being quite ill, and spending the last 3 weeks of my registrar year off work, I got better. I sucked it in. I got on with the job of being a consultant and researcher.

Then other things started to happen. Things that were traumatic and overwhelming, but also some good things.

I forgot about food, unless I was hungry. I felt my feelings, rather than coating them in a double-layer of chocolate and a sprinkle of coconut. The weight came off. I lost weight. More than this though…

I found my inner minx.

I have found that my physical appearance (separate but interconnected to my brain and soul) is far more than the number on the scale or the centimetres around my waist.

It is the way my head flicks slightly when my hair gets in my face. That hair, flat and glossy. It always drew compliments. I have grown it long.

The straightness of my nose. That my cheekbones are high, lips full.

My butt, long hated, is large and firm and proud. It does not fit into jeans well, but that matters less now. (My thighs – meh. Not passionate about them). My waist is small.

That my eyes dance when I am passionate about something, and go glassy when I am tired or about to cry.

I can feel proud about my appearance. I feel attractive. I do not have to wait for my weight to go down. it is now. I do not have to feel inferior to other women – we all different.

Rather than trying to fit into a size, or a brand, I find clothes that fit and flatter me. I wear my makeup, rather than save it for special occasions; every day is an occasion. Indeed there are few better mood-lifters than Christian Dior blush, Lancome Mascara or MAC rebel lippy.

On the other hand, worrying/obsessing over my weight and exercise is about as sexy as (hypothetically) carrying 15 or 20 excess kilos. That is to say, not that sexy at all.

I have also had a few pennies drop about food and exercise. For me, they work. They make more sense than what I knew before.

If I get hungry, it is ok. I used to be afraid of hunger, so I would graze constantly. I realise that I am not in any imminent danger of starving. Now, I do not snack unless I am very hungry.

There is nothing more satisfying than eating when hungry. I eat with passion and gusto and feel guilty much less often.

I have learned to listen the internal whispers rather than the external screams. Portion control? I will eat until full. Not full? Wait. If I am not hungry, I will leave things on my plate. It is more of a crime to stuff myself than to waste food.

I used to think that if one was good, two was better. I am becoming comfortable with one serve, the second, in my experience, is never as good. I will wait before getting seconds and actually enjoy the firsts.

The sense of minor discomfort that gave way to automatic eating now triggers an “ok, what is really going on here”. I search my mind, not the fridge. It is not a comfortable thing.

I do not have fat days anymore. I have days where I feel overwhelmed, inadequate, sad and frightened, but few fat days. Again – less comfortable.

I do not see exercise as a way of expunging calories (it is not really that effective in that sense), but rather an end in itself. I enjoy being fitter, running, feeling free, feeling my muscles pop out. Playing chasey. Being able to kneel and squat right down. Also, my mood can get very low sometimes (the metaphorical black dog somtimes makes a brief visit) – it seems to be very sensitive to the small serotonin/endorphin rush that exercise seems to give.

Most importantly, I do not see myself as somebody who is unlucky, who struggles. I have to work at my eating and drinking, and be careful, but, hey, so do most people. I am learning to accept this, and show caution and be judicious most of the time, just as a matter of course than a burden. My eating has been a bit disgraceful, and wine swilling has become a little excessive of late, but I am conscious of it and will rectify it gently.

Ugh. Tired. Long blog post.