A Whale of a Tale – Pt2

It’s been a couple of months since I last posted.  Mum and I are still trying to wrangle everything to do with Dad’s estate to varying degrees of success.

But that’s not what this post is about.  Today a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook that really got me thinking.  I was going to comment on it on FB but as I started to write I realised that this was a much bigger issue and I was going to need some space to vent my spleen.

So here I go…

The article was called A call to action: your fat friend is going it alone.

This is one subject I am ACUTELY aware of and have the permanent bite indentations in my lower lip from how often I have buried my experiences. A person who overeats, feels shit about themselves and then forces themselves to throw up has a mental illness. A FAT PERSON who overeats feels the same guilt and self loathing has no Will Power.

The article highlights many points and concerns this young woman had over the treatment of those of us who are obviously FAT.  Including that ever present Doom of Damocles dangling over our heads, neatly stowed in the overhead compartment – the kick off, or double airfare ticket.

I admit, this is one that does frighten me every time I fly.  I am waiting for that day when someone from the airline just looks at me and says, you need to buy another seat.  and DAMN ME!  if they try it, then I am going to be demanding that I have double the luggage allowance!  As of yet is has not happened, but I have do admit that I have taken somewhat of a sadistic amount of joy walking to the airline gate and watching the faces of the people go ashen as they ponder their impending doom under the rolls of my flab.

No… my body shape will never have people clambering for equality…

Since the 1960’s every new generation has had a previously taboo subject that has been given the spotlight.

60’s Civil Rights
70’s Women’s Rights
80’s Aids and Sexuality
90’s Environmental Issues
00’s The 1%
and now in the Teens we are talking about LGBTI

Yet for all that time, my entire life time, STUFF ALL has ever been done about ensuring that people who are fat are treated as equals or even treated with any form of dignity.

Eat less exercise more… True… that’s fine if you have the correct hormones and genetic markers that allows your body to work that way. Scientist are FINALLY acknowledging that like a St Bernard and a Chihuahua are both Dogs, genetics mean they don’t look a like… much like humans. But until they crack that code, us Fatties have to live with events like the 4 year old in stage whisper yelling “Mummy that Lady is SO FAT” in the middle of a shopping centre. And instead of Mummy correcting the child, she just smiles and says to the fatty… “Out of the mouths of babes” before moving on.

The list of Fat Shaming events in my life would boggle more than a few of you reading this I’m sure.  I’ve seen it all.  From the glorious “Yoli Poly Puddin and pie, rolled over the boys and made them DIE!” in Primary School, to “Yo!  Landmass” at High School there isn’t a weight related barb or jibe I haven’t experienced, all under the watchful eye of bystanders and ‘friends’.

Our media obsession does little to assist this blossoming culture, as very rarely are men and women of size (and I’m talking size 20+) are held up in shows to be anything other than comic relief or victim.  When you look at TV juggernauts like  Game of Thrones, Three of the four plus sized characters that spring to mind are either feeble-minded (Hodor), insipid (Walda Frey) or timid (Sam Tarly).  The fourth and ONLY character who shows any grace, mettle, or real strength of character is Varys – though I will admit that Sam is starting to come into his own!

And it doesn’t end there.  If you REALLY think hard, there are very few fat characters who are held out as “Hero” TV stereotypes.  Camryn Manheim (Ellenor Frutt) in the Practice showed that plus sized lawyers could win cases, while NBC thought it would be funny to show uber neat-freak-Friend Monica’s ‘awkward fat phase’.

While I applaud someone like Kathy Kinney for playing Mimi Bobeck (Drew Carey Show) with such gusto and obvious disregard to people’s opinions, the show still managed to denigrate and belittle the character by making her so clownish in her wardrobe.  Could they not have had the character without making her ridiculous?

Even in the world of cartoons, Fat = Dumb/sub human.  Homer Simpon, Barney Gumble, Chief Wiggum in The Simpsons.  Peter & Chris Griffin from Family Guy… a show made worse by the fact that the female character of Meg gets a nice side of backhand with her “Fatness”, in casting Mila Kunis as her voice.  Seth McFarlane has said that it was the ‘joke’ to get someone as lovely as Mila to do the voice of such a reviled and mocked character.

The only cartoon character who seems to break the stereotype was Fat Albert.  But even then, despite the fact that he was a caring, understanding, intelligent character, they still had to give him the Monika of “Fat”.

Where do we go from here?  I don’t know… I think I will be dead and buried a long time before we see a us Fatty’s get the same attention of the other causes I mentioned.  And until we start getting a generation of culture makers (Film, TV, Books) who are willing to stand up and write/create positive plus sized role models for the next generation to look up to, the fat kid at school will always been the butt of the joke… every mouthful of food a fatty puts in their gob will be analysed and tsked over… every airline passenger will look at the blubbery overflow and not the person quietly dying inside.


A Whale of a Tale – Pt I

For those of you who have been following this for “A Skippers Tale” I will preface this to say that I understand if you no longer follow it as I transition to ‘post Dad’ posts.

I have seen this show on Foxtel and it always staggers me.


This show follows each week a person who has reached the 600 pound mark and is opting to lose weight through bariatric surgery.   Sure… I’m now 41 and FAR closer to being eligible for this show than I would ever want to admit, but until about three days ago, I couldn’t define one thing that made me the way I was. Yes, I do eat crap at times, and yes I do eat large meals (or whatever is put in front of me)… but I would never blame anyone else for my mistakes.
LifeStyle YOU. recently screened a show called “What Diet is Right for Me”  that has made me rethink and reassess how I will look at losing weight. Commissioned by the BBC the show took 75 people (split into three categories) and looked at the underlying facts in their weight.

They did a series of blood, psych and hormone tests to see what was happening with each person, and came up with these three core groups.

The FeastersThese people lacked gut hormones that most people have that trigger the brain to say, stop! I’m full. These people don’t know when to stop eating.

The Emotional EatersPeople who have an underlying psychological reason to eat with common triggers being stress, sadness, bombarded emotions.

The Constant CraversThese people can’t stop thinking about or grazing on food. These people have a ineffective gene that tricks the body into thinking that it stores less fat than it actually does causing them to constantly be grazing or craving foods.

For the first time these are quantifiable conditions that have been identified. They know what the hormone and genes specifically do and what they cause if they aren’t in the right balance.

Listening to the show I had a fairly good idea where I was going to come when I went to their page to do the test… Yup… I’m a 55/45 girl 55% Constant Craver and 45% Feaster.

I had often talked myself out of Bariatric surgery for one reason… I like the act of eating… the idea of food, the smell of food, the sensation of eating is something I enjoy, even if at the end of the meal I didn’t actually like it. The idea that I would have surgery that would limit me to effectively a cup of food a meal made every cell in my body scream.
Having said that the constant nag of hunger even when I know logically I don’t need food is staggering.  One of my most mortifying events happened in our local Coles.  I was standing, staring at food in the ‘naughty aisle’ having a verbal argument with my inner craver.  I’m not kidding… It must have looked like I was channeling Steve Martin in All of Me as I went through something like this…

“You don’t need it”
But you know you want it
“It’s not good for you”
But it looks sooooo goooood
“You’ll only hate yourself if you do”
<<salivate>> But think of how much you will enjoy it

I was all but holding my hand down at my side having this discussion with my brain when a woman came up and asked if I were okay.  She had seen me and wondered if I was in trouble (or at least needing to be on medication).  I laughed sheepishly… explained the argument (to which she nodded that sagely/pitying half smile nod) and moved away quickly.  The only good upshot is the fact I was so mortified I left quickly too.

My other big fault is the fact that I do get fixated on a particular type of food at times and normally the urge doesn’t go away until I have satisfied it… for example.  I can go weeks without touching milk, but then get such an over-powering urge that I will consume three litres in a day (if not an hour).

So what does this mean for me… well… at least now I have a place to start.  At least now I can identify ways of helping me break the mold… plus I now have names of people who are researching something I know instinctively known for years and who are trying to do something to help others like me.

Are there medico’s in Australia doing the same sort of research?  I don’t know… but I’m looking to find out… because one day they might need a lab rat to test a new gene therapy or hormone replacement drug… and as long as I am still waddling I’m your girl!


A Skippers Tale XCIV

It’s been three months since Dad left us, and as much as things change, things stay the same.

Mum and I have decided that Christmas this year will be a bit of a non starter, which considering everything it’s to be expected.

We manged to get our week away… After a false start at the Esplanade in Fremantle (wow has that gone down hill since the Rydges took over) we ended up staying a week in a “Loft Suite” at Crown Burswood.  Much good food and resting was had.

Mum has started proceeding with seeing if she is eligible for a War Widows pension and I am gearing up to fight the bureaucratic juggernaut that is DVA.

I can’t remember if I had previously mentioned that Dad’s claims were pretty much dismissed by the assessor who looks after the VEA side of things (read everything from 1978 onwards) but that the SCRA officer (Pre 78) accepted that Dad’s chronic bronchitis was service related.

Okay… so the up shot is that I needed to appeal against the VEA ruling and send it off to the Veterans Review Board (VRB).

Yesterday we received a small forrest of paperwork pertaining to the claim.  First and foremost we noticed this one the front cover page



Well someone screwed up!

So… I called DVR who advised that yes they had the records for Fred Lawrence as serving in the Army.  If it was a typo then it had to be fixed by DVA, you need to call them…

Called DVA… and again… “Yes, your father is listed as being in the RAN from Jan 61 to 7/12/72 when he then moved branches to the Army until he was discharged in 1982”

I explained that this was interesting that the Army would commission a person to get officer training in the UK at Dartmouth in 1975 then!

They suggested that we contact the military records office… I did try but like my of my brethren they are in Christmas shutdown mode!

So guess what I will be doing after the 4th of Jan!

How the bloody hell has this SNAFU occurred?

Government Departments… what *would* we do without them… this also however may explain why they are dragging their heals a bit too!

So to all Have a Safe and happy festive season full of love, life and family.

Much Love

Yoli & Barb

A Skippers Tale XCIII

Land Ho

This is just a brief interim post to say thank you to all our wonderful family and friends who joined Mum and I today to see Dad on his final journey.

As you can probably guess… I’m a little knackered right now and I want to get my thoughts into place before the final post.  With any luck it should be tomorrow.

But I couldn’t close out the day without letting you all know how much we appreciate your kindnesses.

Much Love

Barb and Yoli

A Skippers Tale XCII

By The Numbers

It’s been brought to my attention that my last post might have given an invitation to Dad’s funeral and where… but not when.

To fix this error here are the FULL details.

WHERE:  Fremantle Crematorium, West Chapel
WHEN: 10am, Wednesday 7th October 2015.WAKE to follow at Fremantle Navy Club.

Sorry about that…

A Skippers Tale XCI

Final Berth

Barbara and Yoli invite you all to come an join us to farewell our beloved Husband and Father.

The service will be held in the West Chapel of the Fremantle Crematorium with the wake to follow at the Navy Club in the City of Fremantle.

In Iieu of flowers we are inviting donations to be made in Fred’s name to the Cure Brain Cancer organisation.


Please come and help us celebrate the loving, joyful life of a true Gentleman.

A Skippers Tale XC

Change of Course

Okay.  Small amendment to last nights post.  Shortly after posting things I was heading to be when a startling and worrying thought crossed my mind.  Saturday October 3 might NOT be the best date to have a Fremantle Funeral.

For those of you not up with Australian Culture, the last Saturday in September (or near enough to) is considered by some, to be a holy high day… else wise known as the AFL Grand Final.

This year both Western Australian Teams run a chance of getting into said final, depending on how they play this week. (The VFL supporters reading this can just grind their teeth someplace else for the night <grin> )  Anyhoo, having a funeral on a grand final Saturday could be problematic – especially if Freo gets in.

That and coupled with a couple of people not being able to make that Saturday, Mum and I seemed to have settled on Wednesday the 7th of October now.  This is still to be confirmed with the Funeral Directors tomorrow.

Anyway… I must push off as the relaxants I have taken are starting to kick in and I need a good nights sleep.

Your many wishes of condolence and love are really appreciated by Mum and I, even if we don’t get back straight away.



A Skippers Tale XXXIX

Permission to come aboard sir?

There is no easy way of putting this.  This evening we had a call from Bethesda just after 8pm to let us know that Dad had passed away.

Ever the free spirit, it appears that Dad had decided that it was time to pull up anchor and set his course on new and heavenly horizons.

As much as it was expected, it still came as a shock as we had, only a couple of hours earlier, spoken to the Nurses who gave no indication of an imminent demise.  From what the nurse said, they were settling Dad for the night making sure he was clean and comfortable when suddenly he was no longer with us.

A decision had to be made.  Did we want to come in and say goodbye, or did we want to come in tomorrow and collect his things.  I decided that I would go in.  This was for two reasons.  1) I could tell Mum wouldn’t be able to, and 2) I wanted to get some paperwork into the hospital before the funeral directors arrived.  When this happened back in February (32 weeks to the day) Mum, Dad and I had discussed an option that was available that could help other people.  Dad has decided to donate his brain to the National Brain Bank.  As ghoulish as it sounds, our reasoning is – this insidious little shite that set up home in Dad needs to be studied.  There is not very much information as to how and why they form.  The research may not have helped Dad, but perhaps Dad’s donation might help someone else in the future.  So I needed to get the consent forms into the hospital so that the funeral home knew what to do.

When I got there Dad was in the bed, looking for all intents and purposes like he had just drifted off.  I sat with him for a moment and told him that we loved him before i had the opportunity to play a couple of pieces of music that meant something to me and my faith and gave me a chance to say good bye in my own way before collecting his things and heading home.

I did mention it last night, but now it’s happened I can expand on things.  All things being equal the service for Dad will be held at the Fremantle Crematorium on Saturday 3rd October 2015 (time TBA).  There will be a wake following at the Navy Club in Fremantle itself.

Mum and I have set up a fundraising site for the Cure Brain Cancer in Dad’s name


So for now I will sign off, and thank you for following this journey we have had.


Yoli & Barb

A Skippers Tale XXXVIII

Festina Lente (Hasten Slowly)

Many of you may have heard through the grapevine that Mum and I are waiting for *that call*.  Having the event hanging over our heads like the Doom of Damocles is just plain tiring.

We went and saw Dad yesterday and were stunned with what we found.  Dad has basically slipped into a coma an is sleeping 100% of the time now.  The Nurses were telling us that Dad hasn’t had food or water for a about 3-4 days now, so the possibility of his body shutting down any tick of the clock is very very real.  At one point I put my hand on Dad’s thigh… it was horrifying for me to find that his thigh is now about the size of my forearm.

But the good thing is, he’s not in any pain.  The nurses reassure us ever times they move him there is no indication that he’s in discomfort of any kind.  Before we left both Mum and I said our ‘good-byes’ just in case something had happened over night.

The other day Sid and Franco the Navy Chaplin came out to see us about what we would like from a service.  Mum and I both agreed that Dad would want something simple and tasteful rather than windy and frothy (can’t you just hear him bellowing GET ON WITH IT!).  Franco did ask us if we knew anyone who might want to say a few words in eulogy for Dad… so if you are reading this and would like to, please message me on my home email rimsey@iinet.net.au and we can chat.

The service is going to be held at the Fremantle Crematorium, dad obviously to be advised.  In lieu of floral tributes I will be setting up a page on the “Cure Brain Cancer” website where donations may be made in Dad’s honour.

Like I said, my sleep is really screwy at the moment so I am going to go and sack out for an hour or so..

PS – Thanks to Todd for the quote today…

A Skippers Tale XXXVII

Sunset Beckons

I haven’t posted recently because in the grand scheme of things until the last 48 hours nothing of any real importance has occurred…  We have been battling the usual tidal wave of paperwork whilst trying to keep our heads above water.

WE seemed to strike it lucky for a bit with Dad’s super… until they told us that they weren’t going to accept our Power of Attorney because we didn’t send an acceptance letter (which nobody else has ever asked for).  We finally got that sorted and are waiting the funds which should arrive by the end of this week.

We wanted that in place for two reasons.  1) we still have a place pending at a care facility and we needed the funds and 2) I had booked a couple of days in Brisbane.

That was until 5.30 yesterday morning.

Those early morning calls are never what you want to hear.  It was Dad’s nurse to tell us that he had suffered a severe seizure that ultimately took them about a hour to get under control and the use of three lots of anti convulsion drugs to settle.

Feck Arse Shite

I woke Mum up and we headed into the Hospital post haste.  By the time we had gotten there Dad was sound asleep – they had expected him to do that for most of the day as the seizure would have taken a lot out of him.  They also expressed the fact that there is no way of knowing what affect this seizure is going to have on him.  As it was for the past week Dad has been so weak that he has been unable to bear his own weight for showers and the like.  Even raising his hand to pet Coco when we have taken her in has been damn near impossible.

Mum lasted about 20 minutes before the situation started to get the better of her.  This is incredibly hard for her because the man she has been married to for nearly 50 years has effectively left the building already.  Even when Dad’s eyes are open he seems to stare through you.

So we came home and discussed what was going to happen next.

Obviously the first thing I did was arrange to cancel my trip.  I had only decided to go when I was under the understand that Dad was going to remain stable.  There’s no way I would have considered it if there had been the slightest inkling this was going to happen.

I have been very lucky.  Qantas have been great about refunding my ticket and the guys from Oz Comic Con have said that I can hold my pass over until the next one (which will be Perth next year)… great to see that some people are still in the customer service business.

I have decided also that I am going to pull out of my Uni units this semester… it is too much for me to handle even the small amount that was required.

Anyway, it seemed we are just over yesterdays hurdle when another one has been tossed onto the course today.  I was up at my dentist having a scrape and clean when Mum got another call from Bethesda.  It would seem now Dad has developed pneumonia on his left lung!

We were given two options. 1) they could treat it with antibiotics and hope that Dad responded to it.  Or 2) they could give him a morphine based suppressant that would help the cough and just manage pain without ‘treating’ the infection.

Realistically we have had to look at the longer term.  If they treat it because Dad is bed ridden, the likelihood of it coming back is pretty good.  And it would prolong his life/suffering for how long?  We have decided to go with the second option.  Keep him comfortable and let him know we love him.

So that is where we stand right now… I feel a bit like a wet dishrag so I am going to bed.