thief of time

Monday, November 29, 2004

Size and Weight and Body Image

I think I’ve read somewhere that wealthy people tend, in general, to be more health-conscious than poorer people. This apparently means they are inclined to make better lifestyle choices, one of the consequences of which is that they tend to be thinner than the average person from the poorer side of society.

I think I’ve read that somewhere, but it may have come from a women’s magazine while I was waiting to go to the dentist, so I can’t absolutely vouch for its truth and I may just have totally made it up.

I’ve recently been shopping for some new clothing and think I may have come up with an alternative explanation for the relative slimness of more wealthy people. My reasoning is totally ridiculous, but it does square with some observations I made on the weekend.

Because one of our leading department stores was having a final “let’s get rid of this end-of-season stuff” sale and also included an additional 25% off to the bargain, I was shopping for a couple of pairs of trousers far above my usual budget because they were within shooting distance of reasonable, though still more expensive than I usually get (I did have some birthday money to play with).

To my amazement, after swimming in my usual sizes, one of the pairs I finally did buy was actually a size six. Now, there is no way in the world that I’m a size six and I confirmed it today when I went to a blue jeans shop and was quite comfortable in sizes 10 to 12, depending on the cut.

It must be a marketing ploy exercised on the well-to-do to encourage them to buy clothing by flattering them on their extremely petite size.

It’s certainly noticeable in ordinary clothing, where the sizing is much smaller than it was when I was growing up, but they obviously carry it above and beyond the call of duty when dealing with wealthier people, because they have far more disposable income to indulge themselves with.

That’s my theory, anyways. I think it only makes sense in a strange alternative universe, but why the difference?

Monday, November 22, 2004


My daughter has a friend who is getting married shortly. When did children start getting married so young?

Nevermind. It’s happening and my daughter, as usual, is getting things done at the last minute.

I knew the wedding was coming up in awhile, but in my mind it was a good while away and I nearly had a fit when I discovered there were only two weeks to go and she hadn’t even bought a wedding present, though she’d been to Myers twice and picked up the list at two widely differing times.

Well, one advantage of waiting till all the good things are picked over is that there’s very little to choose from and since this was one of the reasons she hadn’t made a decision before, it totally did away with any excuse for not making the choice this time. Not only did we get the wedding present, but we got something for the kitchen tea she’d been to and for which she hadn’t bought a present. (The whole group of friends are mostly all the same, thank goodness. It’s nothing for them to give birthday presents months after the event, so the late kitchen tea present would have been quite natural—I hope.)

The weekend before the big day, we spent looking for something to wear. Naturally, it turned out that the only dress she liked was missing part of it, but that there was another dress just like it in Canberra—which should get back to Sydney by the middle of the week, or Thursday at the latest.

Then we had to get shoes to match the non-existent dress, which when she got home were too slippery when she actually wore them with hose, so it was out again today to find shoes that were actually strapped to her feet properly. I’m glad I’ve just started a week of holidays!

I’ve told her that when her time comes I’d actually prefer it if she elopes, because if it takes this much effort to get her organised to simply attend a friend’s wedding, it will drive me crazy to try and get things done on time when she’s the main protagonist.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Getting Rid of a Nuisance?

It’s not always nice living in a big city. I left home very early this morning and as I backed up, I noticed there was a dead magpie in our yard near the garden.

As I backed further down the drive, I noticed that our neighbour had five or six apparently dead magpies in her front yard. My husband told me that one of them, or possibly two, got up and flew away a little later. I’ll have to ask our neighbour, when I spot her on the weekend, how many had actually died. There was one dead, at least, because my husband buried the poor thing.

I suppose it’s possible that they all got zapped last night in the big storm, but the lightening sounded rather far away to me, so the only thing I can think is that either deliberately or accidentally these birds were poisoned.

Now, even though I was chased down the street by a belligerent magpie with malignant intent once, the thoughts of poisoning one of these beautiful birds is really disgusting, though I do have to confess that I did feel like belting that specific magpie. To me they’re every bit as Australian as a kookaburra—perhaps more so, because I tend to hear their song far more often than I do a kookaburra.

I wonder if we have an ill person in the neighbourhood? It’s awfully easy to hide in the big city.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Surviving the HSC

Having a child who is doing his HSC (Higher School Certificate) is very exhausting. I don’t know what I would do if my son was one of these super students that disappeared into his room for hours on end, studying himself into a mere shadow of his former self. Needless to say, my son isn’t at all like that—he never has been like that.

Firstly, there’s the constant “drip, drip” of the water torture of his railing against the injustice of having to study at all. He rants very well. My son’s attitude is that this is all stuff that is keeping him away from real life and since it doesn’t matter a whole lot in the scheme of things, he’ll do what he has to do, but no more.

Then, there’s the problem of trying to keep him on track and making a proper allotment of time for his studying. When I leave for work in the morning and tell him to “study now”, his reply is “I wasn’t going to at all, but now that you’ve reminded me, of course I will”. Idiot child! As if he spends every last minute in his studies. I have no idea how much time he wastes on the computer, but I’m afraid it would scare me.

Not that I doubt that he’s studying—it’s just that his ideas and my ideas of proper amounts of study times vary greatly, so the constant anxiety has been wearing me away bit by bit a bit like erosion.

I never used to worry about exams myself because I was one of those anxious people that super-prepared for everything and having a retentive memory (in those days at least) I never found exams to be very worrying at all.

Now I worry about my son’s exams constantly. In fact, during the first English exam I found myself thinking about it all the time he was writing it—which is ridiculous, because he had either adequately prepared or he hadn’t. Worrying wasn’t going to change anything.

This being a mother is very wearing. I don’t know how much longer I can keep it up, but according to my mother it actually never stops. When I was a teen, it used to annoy me that my mother would worry about this and that, when I was clearly grown up and quite able to take care of myself. Now I know what she was carrying on about. The thoughts of having to carry on worrying till I’m eighty or ninety, or drop off first are rather depressing.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Birthday Celebrations

We’ve just come back from an all too rare family outing--our daughter’s pre-birthday party. She’s supposed to be an adult now. Hmm.

We thought it might be too cruel to make her wait till next weekend, after the event, so allowed her to have her day today. This goes much against my grain. I always feel that waiting for things is better than pre-empting events, but my daughter is exactly the opposite and still rails against the fact that a few years ago I made her wait two extra days for her birthday because it fell just before a major exam. I am a very cruel mother.

We had a hard time deciding on a restaurant, as we found a restaurant rating site on the net and so many of the spots to which we were thinking of going had people writing about crook food, or extremely mediocre food, or horror of horrors—snobbish, superior waiting staff. It would be very daunting to go out for a pleasant Sunday afternoon and having the staff sneering at you. It would sort of take the edge off the day. (I wonder if the owners of restaurants around the city take note of sites like this. If enough people have the same perception, it might be worth their while to take a good hard look at the problem. I certainly don’t accept the “customer is always right” philosophy, since there can be some very disgruntled, easily upset people out there, but a number of people expressing similar ideas might definitely mean there’s something behind their complaints.)

At any rate, after being totally baffled by this restaurant reviewing site, we finally decided on Banjo Patterson Cottage, basing our decision on the fact that the view would be lovely, I actually knew someone that had had a very good meal there recently and I remembered hearing someone else mention it positively and, in addition, it was practically local—so you see, all good logical reasons.

It was a good decision. Everyone seemed to have a great time—the food was good, the staff friendly and accommodating and the stories only mildly embarrassing for our daughter, though I did hear a couple of eyebrow-raisers about a few things that went on in primary that I’d never heard before. It’s always best to keep the parents in the dark apparently and then let us in on things ten years later, when we’re older and weaker and more liable to heart attacks. I suppose we’ll hear the stories from high school in another ten years.

Unfortunately, my daughter received several CDs from her friends for her birthday, so we were treated to a cacophony of sound when we got back home, but at least the day had been pleasant up till then. Maybe what she really needed for her birthday was a sound-proofed bedroom, set up in the garage!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Working Full Time

I’ve been very fortunate through my married life to only have had to work part time. I guess I come from another generation. I probably actually came from my parents’ generation, when I think about it, because it’s likely there aren’t many people of my age that have been able to do that. I worked full time before I was married, of course, but not having a family to run makes it an entirely different affair.

There was quite a good-sized group of us that had children going though the local primary school together fifteen odd years ago, none of us fabulously wealthy (especially me), but we all had taken time out from working to raise the children and even then, I think we all realised how lucky we were.

Then, as the children got older, working started to take over for some of us, but I still was very lucky to be at home a great deal of the time for the kids. We certainly could have used the money and still could use it, as our house is held together with sticky tape and blu-tack in spots—you probably think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not entirely. : (

Just recently, I was hit by a taste of full time work and now I don’t know how anybody manages to work full time and still have a life. I was filling in at the office for two weeks a while ago and have just spent another couple of days there this past week and I feel like a zombie.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it were an eight hour day, but it has a tendency to be a nine hour day or more, minus lunch breaks (sandwich eaten absentmindedly at the computer, while straightening out programs). Work can certainly take over in a very insidious way and to heck with the family.

Another major disadvantage to this office work is that I’m certainly conscious of the lack of physical activity. I guess it would be a good test of whether it’s metabolism or activity that maintains my weight, but I’d rather keep on the move, just in case. It’s better things stay off, than have to be removed.

Of course, it might be the mild panic of not knowing one hundred percent what I’m doing that’s making this so exhausting, but I’m looking forward to getting back in the field again tomorrow.

By the way, this doesn’t explain why I’m still sitting in front of a computer at this hour of the night. No brains, I guess.