Sunday, 3 April 2011

Fifty Things for Fifty Posts

Well it's taken me a year and a half to get this far, but I'm finally, FINALLY up to my fiftieth post. In the unlikely event that you actually look forward to these snippets of my existence, you may or may not be annoyed at their irregularity. But, yaknow, TOO BAD!!!

You could probably lay the blame squarely on the fact that mere days after I started this blog I met my now fiance, Grant, because he takes up quite a bit of my spare time, and, let's face it, before he came along I had quite a LOT of spare time. Add to the fact that there are things I like to do more than blogging (some of which I can multitask - for example, right now at this very second I'm watching Season 4 of Dawson's Creek on DVD... yes, really.). Plus, let's face it, I'm a bit of a nanna, so I'd rather hit the hay than stay up compressing photos and editing text.

Just quietly, though, I'm not entirely sure what my fifty things are going to be. I don't even know if there are fifty things about me that are actually interesting (and tasteful!) enough to share. But I'll give it a crack. This may take a few days to finish, though...

1. I always wanted to be taller than six feet, and the power of the mind made me overshoot that goal by nearly two inches some time before my fourteenth birthday, in year eight

2. A lot of people who meet me describe me as outgoing or confident, but on the inside I can be a blithering mess. This occasionally manifests itself as either talking too fast or saying silly things, or being completely tongue-tied. Dumb things like calling Medicare up and asking them a question, or asking a bus driver whether they stop at a certain place, can really challenge me. But I think being thrown in the deep end at work quite a few times has helped me to get over it

3. I like reading and always have. Legend has it that mum realised that I wasn't just memorising my favourite stories when I brought a new book home from kinder and read it to her. I guess that's what happens when you're read to every night from the time you're a foetus to the time you're about nine years old

4. Back in highschool, when I was a wee bit heavier than I am now (<-- UNDERSTATEMENT), I once ate an entire packet of Mint Slice biscuits in one sitting. Actually, no, it was worse than that. It was an entire packet of HOME BRAND Mint Slice biscuits. I remember thinking that eating three was okay (which, really, it's not), and then deciding that I wanted to eat two more with milk, and by then I figured I was close to half a packet so I might as well get that far, and then after that I figured I'd already done so much damage and was so down on myself that I should finish the entire packet, so I got up and poured myself another glass of milk to help finish the job. I understand how people end up on The Biggest Loser, I really do. I'm just glad that I don't get into that mindset often enough to do the same level of damage

5. I have visited four continents on my current passport and I'd really like to visit North America and Africa before it expires (2014... travel buddies? Anyone??). I kind of accept that I'll never get a stamp for Antarctica.

6. I spent close to fifteen years on the wrong medication, being treated for the wrong disorder. If anyone reading this doesn't actually know me, I have a heart condition called Long QT Syndrome but was incorrectly diagnosed with epilepsy. For some reason, being epileptic kind of felt like a point of shame for me, which I know doesn't make any sense, but that's how it felt. I think it was because I am proud of my intelligence, and therefore anything wrong with my brain detracted from that, somehow. I do know that when I was eighteen and had three seizures back to back, literally overnight I felt myself lose mental dexterity. I guess my brain wasn't getting enough oxygen, and I lost a few brain cells in the process. Weirdly, even though it makes me feel like a cripple at times, and it breaks my heart to think about how I used to be "invincible Ness" and what freedom I have lost, I am actually quite proud of what I have gone through and how I have come out the other side. I am also glad that I went misdiagnosed for so long, because I had approximately fifteen years' more freedom than I otherwise would have and have done some pretty shit-hot stuff with that time, if I do say so myself!

7. I used to like chocolate icecream better than vanilla, but now I think it's swung the other way. Maybe because it goes better on the pies and puddings I cook??

8. I actually really like dissecting animals. Is that wierd? Anyone? The first thing I dissected was a rabbit I had shot with a .22, and I did it with a relatively blunt pocket knife. The rabbit had several kittens inside it, which I then preserved in saline, which I had to throw out when it started to turn - I think the interstitial fluid was seeping out because the water changed colour. Since then I have done a somewhat more professional job on eyeballs, hearts, cockroaches, yabbies, earthworms, starfish, cane toads, rats, sharks, Tammar wallabies, swans, snails and baby chickens (a.k.a. McNuggets - you have to have a sense of humour about things!). But the most recent application for my dissection kit was myself - after three visits to the doctor, I personally removed the last of my "dissolving" stitches from my ICD implantation surgery, and the scar finally healed and went white (instead of being purple and itchy all the time)

9. I have weird feet, which are also quite small for my height. I can blame dad, no question at all - I am definitely not the progeny of the milk man! But, weird though they may be, I kinda like them...

10. When I have a turn (a.k.a. cardiac episode), I'm not actually afraid of dying, even though I really, really should be. No, I'm afraid of making a fuss, embarrassing myself, scaring people, and coming out of it brain damaged, and quite often the first thing I do when I come round is apologise. I guess you could argue that living with that stuff and the guilt of scaring the crapola out of your loved ones is a more legitimate fear than something that may, if all the theoligans are wrong, acually just be an end of being on all levels (although I don't personally have a strong opinion one way or another on the Hereafter)

11. I have never seen a Batman movie

Update: Last weekend the one with Heath Ledger was on TV when I walked into the room, and I watched the bank robbery scene before realising that it would make me a total liar if I kept watching. I had better things to do, anyway.

12. My big brother and I once raided our Gramps' shed (after he had died, so I'm sure he didn't mind) and got one of his golf balls out. It had a crack in it, which inspired us to discover what was inside. I mean, everyone knows what's inside a tennis ball, and most people know what's inside a basketball, but how about a golf ball?? So we started trying to bash it on the concrete, and hit it with heavy things, and the crack got a little bigger and you could see the red rubber but we weren't getting very far. So I took it from Saul's hands, all confident-like and said in a haughty voice "I bet I can do this" and threw it down on the concrete with all my might. He was bent over the concrete on his hands and knees at the time, where he had been trying to penetrate the casing of the ball, so of course the golf ball rebounded at about a million miles per hour and hit him in the forehead. I think I started crying before he did, because I felt bad and didn't want to get in trouble. Must've hurt. Sorry, bro!

13. The first thing I remember cooking/helping mum cook was Christmas pudding. We used to make a wish as we stirred it. The next thing I remember cooking is Anzac biscuits with my dad, and the first savoury thing I was taught was spaghetti Bolognese at the age of around seven or eight. Even so, to this day, when I cook spaghetti Bolognese, mum tries to micro-manage me

14. On the weekend I managed to put my hand into a moving metal ceiling fan. I thought I had broken it because of how much it hurt and also the initial numbness and nausea and adrenaline rush that washed over me (I got ice on it before the pain kicked in, and that was a good thirty seconds or more). My spatial awareness really isn't top-notch when my mind is elsewhere

15. I am fairly sure that my internal thermostat is broken. It was fine until I suffered from pneumonia about five years ago, and since then I have had trouble regulating my temperature. This generally means that I go from being fine to snap-freezing when exposed to cold. I then shivver uncontrollably for quite some time until my temperature rises to what feels like warmer than normal

16. I used to do gymnastics when I was kid. But even when I was six years old I was a head taller than all the other kids, and unable to do cartwheels or lift my own weight or do anything else vaguely coordinated. When the club moved to a more distant gym, I don't think it was a hard choice for me to stop going...

17. I have an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator. It is implanted beneath my right pectoral muscle instead of my left one, because I had a clot in the main vein through my left arm at the eime. I have named it (him) Zappy McPhee and he is worth only slightly less than my house deposit (financially speaking)

18. For my fourth birthday I had that cake from the AWW Birthday Cake Cookbook that is a jelly-filled pool with those malt sticks around the ouside, and little dolls floating in it in innertubes made of jubes, under little cocktail umbrellas. Jealous? Yeah. You know you are.

19. I have two scars on my back. One is from a twig that snapped off in the back of my hip when I stood up under a dead branch whilst doing the weeding, and the other is from climbing through a barbed wire fence. A rusty barbed wire fence, actually. Whilst at work. Did I report it? Hell no!

20. Grant's mother and I both suffer from a bit of tunnel vision when we play Wii-Fit together - she started it by corking me in the bum with her controller which gave me a dead leg, and I reciprocated by cracking her a massive backhand with mine to the wrist. Oops...

(wow. This is hard. This is REALLY hard. Going to take a break for the night and come back to this another time)

... quite some time later...
21. I used to be on the school swimming squad, until my brother left the school and I couldn't be dropped off in time for it of a morning. One time after swimming I drank a can of diet Coke (and don't ask me what I was doing drinking Coke in the morning - I must have snuck it from mum's stash). I must have been drinking the last bit too quickly because it came glugging out of the can and went up my nose. As it turns out, not only do carbonated drinks in your nose hurt, but I also suspect that chlorine reacts with the arteficial sweetener in the Coke. Ouch.

22. Speak of things coming out your nose, I was once swallowing a mouthful of rice bubbles when I coughed suddenly. They went up the back of my nose and I was blowing them out for a couple of days. The same thing happened to me another time with cornflakes. True story.

23. It really and truly gives me the shits when I'm driving along in peak hour traffic - or any traffic, for that matter - and some fucktard in front of me taps his brakes for no apparent reason. There seem to be legions of drivers out there who are completely unaware that if they simply remove their foot from the accelerator, they will in fact lose momentum, no braking required. These are also the people who appear to be physically incapable of allowing a gap large enough for a car to be in to simply exist as is. You know, the gap people like me leave so that you don't HAVE to brake every two seconds and cause everyone behind me to brake (there's actually a theory on this. I think it's called the ripple effect or something, and eventually causes traffic to stop further back). So when they squeeze in, they force everyone behind them to brake, and the ripple begins. These are the same dipshits who will duck in front of a truck, the same truck that has left a gap BECAUSE THEY NEED THAT GAP TO PREVENT THEMSELVES FROM PLOUGHING INTO THE BACK OF THE CARS INFRONT OF THEM AND TURNING EVERYONE INTO A MESSY PULP. For fuck's sakes, people - trucks take significantly longer to stop than cars do. They're bigger and they're heavier. So don't get in that gap they leave, and don't get in mine, either!!!

Haha. Road rage? Me? I don't know what you're talking about...

24. For my height, I have quite small feet and hands. I'm a women's 8.5-9, which is smaller or equal to the size of some of my shorter friends' feet. One of my best friends also has fingers approximately the same size as mine - her rings actually fit my fingers! This friend is almost a foot shorter than me. I think it's more to do with my small hands than her big ones, though - hers seem to be in proportion with the rest of her!

25. I discovered on Friday right that mum was right about something. She was right about Paul Newman being a complete and total spunkrat, hunka-hunka burnin' love, sex on legs, A-grade meat, they-just-don't-make-'em-like-they-used-to hottie.

Not that she would use that kind of language.

26. My favourite movie is The Man from Snowy River, and when I was a kid I wanted to marry Tom Burlinson. I was head over heels in love with him. It was only later, when flicking through the TV channels and happening across Dancing With the Stars, that occurred to me that he was probably gay. Sigh. Fantasy RUINED!

27. Speaking of musicals... sort of... the first one I saw was The Buddy Holly Show. It was awesome! 

28. I have never been clubbing in Australia. The only nightclub I have been to was one in the Ipanema district of Rio De Janeiro, and to say it was memorable is an understatement. If you're ever interested I'll tell you the story, but the long and the short of it is that it was one of those epic nights that would be foolish to attempt to replicate - effortlessly awesome.

28. A few years back I had a suspicious-looking mole removed from my right arm. I watched, fascinated, as they cut it out using a circular scalpel, forceps and a razor blade, then sutured it. A couple of days later I half-tore the stitch manoeuvering a troop carrier in a tight space. Ouch. The mole wasn't cancerous. But to this day, I'm not entirely sure that they took the mole that I was worried about...

29. I am shit at cartwheels. I was at age 6, when I did gymnastics, and I am now. I do this dumb little pirouette at the end of it (I suspect because it carries through the momentum and prevents me from face-planting)... that is, if I haven't already landed on my arse. I plan to blame my high centre of gravity for this one. I'm also crap at hand-stands. The last one I tried unaided was on the school oval in about year ten, and my right elbow collapsed and I landed on my head. I guess I'm pretty lucky I didn't break my neck, actually. But you wanna know the weird thing? I distinctly remember that in year four, I was one of about three girls in the class who could do a roundoff, and aren't they supposed to be a bit harder than cartwheels??? Go figure.

30. One of my favourite holidays ever was a horse-drawn gypsy caravan. We went twice, once when I was about five and once when I was about seven, and both times we had this cranky old clydesdale called Ben, with crazy eyes and weird colouring. He seemed... haha, well, as big as a horse at the time, although I don't think he was actually a particularly large clydesdale. We had the best time - campfires, yabbying, playing in the dirt, running along behind the caravan, playing with the horse, sleeping in our brand-new sleeping bags, watching the stars, fishing (and failing, but that's probably cos dad had NO idea what he was doing), finding empty cicada shells. Halley's comet came around one of those years, and mum decided that because the comet wasn't terribly clear because of the clouds, and because we'd had too big a day and needed our sleep, that she would wake us for it the following night. The following night was totally  overcast. If I live to the age of about 83 (seems likely, given the advances in modern medicine) I will finally get to see it, and I know that when I do, I will think of my mum and that awesome holiday.

31. I'm scared of cooking seafood, and pork, because I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing!!! I'm fine with complicated baked goods, but those totally freak me out. I've decided to be brave and cook pork tomorrow night... wish me luck!

Update: I cooked it! I got butterflied pork fillets (fat free) and marinated them in soy sauce, honey, chilli, ginger and vinegar - I used my imagination and my taste buds, not a recipe. Turned out quite nicely, actually. I wouldn't say that it's my meat of choice but I'm glad it's now in my repertoire.

32. My brother Saul and I had (have!) this massive suitcase of Lego. Most of it was his, so whenever he wanted to build a model he'd let me help find the right pieces. Apparently discerning a specific shaped and coloured block is a talent of mine, and I used to answer to Little Miss Lego Finder.

33. I saw Gladiator 3 times at the movies, surpassed only by Titanic, with 4 viewings.

34. How I eat my Kit-Kats is quite wierd - I bite the chocolate off the end, and then off the top and bottom, and then the sides, and then I bite the naked section of wafer off and split it into layers in my mouth. Similarly, when I eat Malteasers, I kind of peel the chocolate off half of it, then crunch into half of the malt, then suck the malt out of the second half and melt the chocolate on my tongue. I'm special :)

35. I love frogs. They're just so cute with the googly eyes and suckery feet, and OMG have you ever held one??? They're so soft and... well, kind of slippery but I woudln't call them slimy. They're just so... vulnerable and alive. I think I love geckos for the same reason - cute with googly eyes and suckery feet. Aww :)

36. Speaking of frogs, I once won a frog-in-the-pond eating contest. I think it was something like ten of them in eight and a half minutes. The trickiest part was eating the frogs, because when your mouth is cold from the icecream, the chocolate kind of... freezes.

37. I love jonquils - they're not as showy as daffodils, and they smell divine. But my favourite flowers are white roses, or oriental lilies, preferably white also, but I do love the coloured lilies, too. The white is just so simple and pure and clean and... wonderful.

38. Saul and I used to jump off the cubby house and shed rooves. I remember seeing him do it off the shed for the first time, wearing a beach towel tied around his neck like a Superman cape. He always did want to fly. It wasn't very far but he later graduated to the cubby house roof - probably a metre higher - with his mentally imbalanced mate Adrian (wonder what happened to that kid? Wouldn't be surprised if he were in jail... or maybe in IT...hehe). We're quite lucky we didn't hurt ourselves. I only jumped from the cubby roof once, but did the shed roof several times. On the most recent occasion (more than ten years ago) I squashed a shrub upon my ungraceful descent. Oops.

39. I'm never sure whether it's "rooves" or "roofs", and "hooves" or "hoofs". Is it one of those things where the f just makes a v sound? Anyone?

40. Hundreds and Thousands (i.e. sprinkles) are virtually invicible. I know this because my gramps gave me a packet when we went to Healesville sanctury with some English relos (which means that I was younger than nine), and I ate the whole lot. When I vomited it up again several hours later, there were still intact sprinkles there, bleeding their bright colours into the creamy, chocolatey mess.

41. I once saw Tinkerbell. I know you don't believe me but it's true. My cousins Annette and Darren were staying so I would have been about four years old.

42. My cousin Annette was the first person to call me Vanessa the Undresser, on this very same trip. She was several years older, ever so cool (and too cool to hang with us kids - not on that trip, but the next one, when she chose to hang out with the adults and listen to their borrrrrrring conversations) and I desperately wanted her to like me. I guess she did, cos I was the only cousin from her dad's side of the family to be invited to her wedding!

43. I love corned beef. Always have, always will. I particularly enjoy it served with cauliflower cheese, mashed potatoes, carrots and peas. I also like smoked cod baked in a cheese sauce, served with the same side dishes. It's like a big plate of white with a wee bit of colour on the side. I think it was Cameron Diaz who said that all white foods are bad for you. HAHAHAHAHA, awww - you may have a smokin' hot bod, but you're missin' OUT, girlfriend!

44. I once went blonde to see what it was like. I don't think blondes have more fun, particularly as during the year I was blonde (I went from foils to complete dark blonde (= manky) over the course of a year) I would have spent in excess of a thousand dollars on hair dressers, although I was blonde when I started dating my fiance. He never told me he didn't like my hair colour until much later. The day I dyed it back he told me I looked just a little bit more beautiful as a brunette. Awww :) (will he forgive me telling that? Time will tell...)

45. I like sucking the salt of pistachio shells more than eating the pistachio nut itself.

46. Stockings are a massive problem for me. Regular tights, even the X-tall ones, slide down my legs until the crotch is halfway to my knees, and the only way I have found of keeping them up is to wear a pair of those lycra netball bloomers over the top of them. Stockings aren't much better, either - they still slide down, and because knee-length skirts slide up when you sit down, you end up flashing the tops of them and looking like a total ho. Also, the clips keep undoing themselves. I'm getting the distinct impression that stockings are designed nowadays to wear for about fifteen minutes with a nurse's uniform before your partner tears them off with his/her teeth, and not for actual day-to-day functionality, which sucks, because sometimes tall girls have cold legs and want to wear stockings!

47. I play (in descending order of talent and enjoyment - wonder if there's a correlation?) guitar, piano and violin. I can play guitar by ear, which is a blessing and a curse - blessing because I can just pick up what anyone else is playing and join in (assuming our guitars are both in tune), and curse because when I hear someone playing a cover, and they have a cord wrong (or have deliberately chosen the wrong cord, e.g. a 3rd down, because it's easier to play), it drives me ABSOLUTELY AND COMPLETELY INSANE!!!

48. I have at times been known as Camp Mum. This is because I like to do the cooking when we're camping, partly because I get terrible eczema (especially when camping) and doing the dishes is a particularly painful form of torture for me, and partly because I once suffered from gastro whilst camping and never intend to repeat the experience, and the only way I can guarantee it is by being the only one to touch the food. Trust issues? Maybe...

49. I LOVE gardening, and look forward to the day when I'm in one place long enough to have a proper one - I'm talking vegies, and maybe some fruit trees, and I'd quite like to grow pretty flowers that I can cut for vases, too. I had a really good herb garden going at our place in Adelaide, but it all died over summer while we were away :(

50. I love to write, and, in case you couldn't tell, I'm a bit of a rambler. I struggle with the concept that anyone would want to read my blog in the first place, although I suppose I did start it so that my friends could keep in touch with what I am up to. For this reason I will never be on Twitter because between Facebook and this, I think that's enough narcissism for this little black duck. I am incredibly humbled that there are at least twenty regular readers, and would very much like to know who you are (some I can guess, but others, not so much).

So even if you don't have a Google account (choose Anonymous as your profile, and then make sure you put your name in the Comments bit so I know who you are!), leave me a comment  - let me know who you are, what you like and don't like about my blog, and what you would like to see in the future.

Thanks for reading the first fifty, and here's to fifty more!

Ness xoxo


  1. Well done Ness, that was an epic post! I love reading your blogs and makes me feel a little bit less left out being over here cos I can still see what people get up to.
    Laura xxx

  2. I had to wait to injure myself to give myself enough time to sit down and read this (walked into a doorframe and sliced my finger).
    #36: I always thought Frog in the Pond was jelly, not ice-cream... Maybe they tried to make it hard for you.
    #46: I saw an ad for Today Tonight (or Current Affair?) and the headline was "Stockings aren't only for the bedroom"... made me giggle to see your view.

  3. Hi Vanessa,
    So jealous of your "pool cake" at #18. I know the exact cake that you are talking about, always wanted one but never got it. Maybe I'll make one for my 28th birthday!
    Love reading your blog, and its great to hear that life is treating you well :)
    From Erica


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