I Need Another Holiday

Once again I find I must begin with an apology. I missed Fiction Friday again this week, for the same reason as last time. My day was spent saying my goodbyes, flying home, unpacking and spending time with my family. I had neither the energy nor the inclination for blogging anything, let alone a story that was likely to take me an hour to write.

I should, hopefully, be able to post something this week. Unfortunately, I am unable to make any promises. It depends on how busy I am with cleaning out my home. You see, I have returned from holiday to a plethora of problems. Continue reading

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A Series of Unrelated Snippets

Butterfly and Annie have been watching an anime called Food Wars recently. Since I have been reading and writing in the same room as the television, I have caught several glimpses of the anime. The food on this show looks divine. I mean, anime food always looks particularly delicious, but anime devoted to food, such as Yumeiro Patissiere or Food Wars take it to a whole other level. I would dearly love to try some of the dishes I’ve seen in these two shows. I wonder if there is an English language cookbook featuring the recipes from the show available? Continue reading

Supersizers and World War Two

The Supersizers...

The Supersizers… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My children and I have been watching a lot of Supersizers episodes lately, and we are all absolutely fascinated by the dishes that were considered normal in times past. Many of the dishes that past generations considered to be delicacies seemed very strange to us, though I am quite sure that they would feel the same way about some of today’s favourites. Continue reading

Open Letter To America

Sketch of Torn American Flag

Dear America, I am writing to express my concern over the direction in which you seem to be heading. You used to be ‘the home of the brave, the land of the free’, the cool kid who the rest of … Continue reading

Books I Read in February 2012

February 2012 Books

The Red Dahlia by Lynda La Plante Hush Little Darlings by Judith Kelman Rough Justice: Unanswered Questions from the Australian Courts by Robin Bowles Dinkum Dunnies by Douglass Baglin and Barbara Mullins Letters of an Indian Judge to an English … Continue reading

1 Million Kilo Challenge

I am gearing up to get started on the 1 Million Kilo Challenge. I am starting a week later than everybody else, because of the initial cost of stocking up on groceries.

Tomorrow, I will be shopping, using the grocery list provided multiplied by 5. But you are a family of 6, I hear you cry! True, but I have been seeing people on the challenge forums commenting that they are struggling to finish their meals. Therefore, I figure I can probably get away with giving half serves to Yasmine and Storm. After all, if an adult can’t eat a full serve, an eight year old surely won’t!

While we are shopping tomorrow, we will actually be starting the challenge on Sunday. This is because Saturday is the big day of the Toastmasters Contest. Lunch will be provided and the day will be finished off with a social dinner. Rather than blow the challenge before it even properly begins, I decided it would be best to simply wait until after the conference to begin the challenge.

And a challenge it will be! I am used to skipping breakfast and eating a late lunch, and don’t generally eat again until dinner. Looking at this menu, I will be eating breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper. Granted the portions will probably be smaller (and will definitely be healthier), but eating so many meals will definitely take some getting used to!

Have a great evening, and don’t forget to support the Kids Helpline here:

http://www.everydayhero.com.au/inner_beauty_thinner_me

Fertilization

Why does it take 4 million male sperm to find and fertilize an egg?
Not one wants to ask for directions.

— Allan & Barbara Pease in Why Men Lie and Women Cry

Interview

After sending out tons of job applications, I was finally offered a job interview. My interview was at Woolies in the Northside Plaza for a checkout chick position. I am pretty confident about it. In fact this interview brings home exactly how far I have come. Even before my agorophobia I would have been very nervous with an upset tummy and stumbling over my words, speaking in a near whisper. Today, though, I felt normal, as though I were having a conversation with a friend. No butterflies, no stuttering, speaking in a good clear voice – no nerves at all in fact. I’m sure my confidence must have come across to the interviewer and will work in my favour. Fingers crossed!

Nervous

Nervous Cats

Nervous Cats (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A while back, I suffered from anxiety, depression and agoraphobia. I have come a long way since then, but there are still some remnants of this in my life. There are many things that still make me nervous – I have simply gotten better at controlling it. There are things that make me nervous, which would make anybody nervous. Most people are nervous when they are called upon to speak in public, for example. Most people are nervous at job interviews or when meeting new people or learning to drive a car. It is normal and natural to feel nervous when doing these things.

However, as a result of my illness, there are many things that make me nervous which most people take for granted. Walking outside, for example, or visiting a shopping centre can be very draining for me. Not knowing where my husband is or being unable to contact my children if needed makes me quite nervous. Visiting people (even friends) or having them visit me is a nerve-wracking experience. Being in an environment or situation where I cannot simply leave if I wish (such as work, or jury duty) is very hard for me. Rental inspections, bills, official looking mail and hospitals all give me butterflies in my tummy.

Nobody has ever physically harmed me during an argument, yet conflict makes me nervous to the point that I actively avoid it. Loud noise also makes me feel nervous. Though I have reached the point that I can tolerate it for a while, I still sometimes duck into my bedroom for a bit of peace in the afternoons or avoid lingering near work sites. Hell, even just tying this makes me nervous.

Having said that, I have improved. A few years ago, I could not do any of these things at all. Now, I have learned to control my mind to the point that, though I still feel nervous inside (and maybe always will), I can now visit these places and perform these tasks alone. I may be nervous but at least I can live.

What Would You Say?

If you had the attention of the entire world for two minutes, what would you say?

microphone

microphone (Photo credit: TOM81115)

Personally, I would do whatever I could to avoid being in this situation. Think about it. Suddenly you are so famous that everybody in the world knows who you are. Unfortunately, you don’t have the money to go with this fame. How do you protect your family from the crackpots whose attention you have also caught? I have three daughters and a small son. Do I really want to put them at risk in this way?

If there was absolutely no way I could get out of the situation, I would probably spend the entire two minutes making small talk or remain silent. Why? Because, no matter what I say, nobody is going to act. And no matter what I say, somebody will be offended. And there are people in this world who you really don’t want to offend.

Many people might think this is a copout, and I suppose, in a way, it is. To be honest, though, I really don’t care. There are few causes I feel strongly enough about to die for, and even fewer that I am willing to risk my family over. These causes do exist, but unless, and until, there are enough others who support them, our deaths would serve little purpose.

The truth is, I do not want fame or fortune. I simply wish to grow old gracefully with my husband and children and future grandchildren, and to be comfortable enough that I don’t have to worry where our next meal will come from. That’s all I ask of life.

Thumbs Down

…to caffeine withdrawal. I feel absolutely miserable right now!

Cassie in ‘How to Kill Your Husband (and other handy household hints)’ by Kathy Lette

“I read this article that said the typical symptoms of stress are eating too much, impulse buying and driving too fast. Are they kidding? That’s my idea of a divine day.”

~Cassie in ‘How to Kill Your Husband (and other handy household hints)’ by Kathy Lette

Third Speech Missing :-(

Tonight I was going to publish my third speech from the Competent Communicator Manual. I gave this speech on 13 April 2010. The exercise is ‘Get to the Point’. The title is ‘Would You Survive?’ and the time is meant to be 5-7 minutes. I went way overtime at 8:24. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my only copy & for some reason, it is the one speech I didn’t back up. So, I’m afraid you will all just have to wonder ;-).

Kathy Lette in ‘How to Kill Your Husband (and other handy household hints)’

“It’s a mystery of parenthood that your son can give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to stray, worm-riddled dogs, share a piece of re-chewed gum from a kid with bronchitis and pick his nose and eat it on a regular basis, yet won’t sit next to his sister because of ‘Girl Germs’.

~Kathy Lette in ‘How to Kill Your Husband (and other handy household hints)’

Withdrawal

Bingo Cola or Coca Cola??

Bingo Cola or Coca Cola?? (Photo credit: Erwin Bolwidt)

I admit it. I’ve gone on health kicks before. I even managed to last a couple of weeks once. But this time is different. This time it’s serious. This time, I’m in it for the long hall. This time, I’ve promise my kids.

My kids are worried about my health. They are want me to be able to wear pretty clothes and look like a princess. They want me to be able to play zombie tig for more than a few minutes. They don’t want me to die. It’s emotional blackmail. But it worked.

So, starting yesterday, I now eat breakfast. It isn’t much (I’ve never been a breakfast eater, unless coco-pops or bacon and eggs are involved) – just a banana, or an apple, or a bowl of yoghurt, but it’s enough to kick start my metabolism.

Apparently, I have to wait half-an-hour before exercising. I fill this time with little details like swallowing my meds, making my bed and getting dressed. Then it is time for the brand new beginning of our home school day – group excercise. The kids figured I was more likely to stick to it if they came along for the ride.

I don’t mind the excercise – who doesn’t love to feel half-dead? I don’t mind the breakfast – it actually makes me feel better. I don’t mind the healthy lunch – ham, lettuce and tomato sandwiches are way tastier than plain bread and butter (and far more filling!). I can live with one chocolate bar a week – it means I can afford better quality!

No. The one thing I am finding hardest about all of this is the lack of cola. Yes, I know it’s full of sugar. Yes, I know how many calories are in just one glass. Yes, I know caffeine is bad for you. But I miss my cola. I don’t drink coffee or tea. I’m not fond of fruit juice (except a cold glass of OJ in the morning). So I’m reduced to water.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love water. I drink copious amounts of water every day. But, let’s face it. Water is no dinner drink, is it? Who likes sitting down to a steaming plate of Spag Bol and water? How many people tuck into their delicious char-grilled steak and water?

I think maybe I’m having withdrawal symptoms. My head aches. My hands shake. My feet involuntarily move towards the door which leads to the road which leads to the local Foodworks.

Give me back my cola!!!

Sibling Rivalry

"The Princes in the Tower"

Have you ever had one of those days where the kids just won’t stop bickering?

You know the ones – when the house is filled with whingeing and whining and ‘Stop That!’ and ‘Leave me alone!’ and ‘That’s mine!’ and I was playing with that!’ and ‘Give that back!’; when every 30 seconds the dreaded ‘Mu-u-um’ rings out from children keen to dob their siblings in; when no-one seems to find their own toys as interesting as those being used by a brother or sister; when each individual peanut is counted to be sure nobody was shortchanged; when children’s hands and feet seem to take on a life of their own; when, no matter what solution you come up with, everybody feels hard done by.

One of those days when you throw your hands in the air and wonder what you could have been thinking of, having kids.

Have you ever had one of those days?

Me neither.

Yes to Female Circumcision?

FGM shown on a 21-year-old Sudanese patient, d...

FGM shown on a 21-year-old Sudanese patient, described as a “karyotypic male presenting as a female with delayed puberty”. See Ellaithi, M et al. “Female genital mutilation of a karyotypic male presenting as a female with delayed puberty”, BMC Women’s Health. 2006, 6:6. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it a good idea to fight against female circumcision? Not neccesarily according to Sierra Leonean-American anthropologist Fuambai Ahmadu.

In an interview in Anthropology Today (available free as pdf here), she attacks Western feminists, media and anti-Female Genital Mutilation campaigns and accuses them for presenting a one-sided, ethnocentric picture of female circumcision.

A great deal of what is regarded as facts is not true, she explains. Many people think circumcision is a “barbaric tradition” and “violence against women”. But Ahmadu does not see circumcision as mutilation. Circumcision is no notable negative effects on your health and does not inhibit female sexual desire either.

Full Story: http://www.antropologi.info/blog/anthropology/2010/female-circumcision

*************************************************************************************************************

Hmm. I’m sorry, but circumcision is genital mutilation whether performed on boys or girls. And there is NO MEDICAL REASON to do it. Smelly? Try washing once in a while!

Maggie Hamilton in ‘What’s Happening to Our Girls?’

“In one ‘Girlfriend’ survey 28 percent of girls who participated had caught sexually transmitted diseases and a staggering 58 percent had regretted their last sexual encounter.”

Maggie Hamilton in ‘What’s Happening to Our Girls?’

Breast augmentation: cross-sectional schemes o...

Breast augmentation: cross-sectional schemes of a subglandular breast prosthesis implantation (1) and of a submuscular breast prosthesis implantation (2). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Increasing numbers of parents are ‘treating’ their daughters to breast implants and liposuction for birthdays and Christmas or for doing well at school.”

Maggie Hamilton in ‘What’s Happening to Our Girls?’

weight bearing x-ray

weight bearing x-ray (Photo credit: Dean_In_SF)

“Time outside has many benefits, and it’s up to parents to lead the way. One doctor recently expressed his concern about how many children he’s now seeing with broken bones. Although he hasn’t done any formal research, he suspects children’s bones aren’t as strong as they once would have been, because they’re not getting the strengthening that weight-bearing exercise gives them if they play, walk and run outside.”

Mae, kindergarten teacher quoted in ‘What’s Happening to Our Girls?’ by Maggie Hamilton

“There is an emotional abuse of kids. Instead of input they buy them something.”

Caller to a South Carolina radio talk show, November 4, 1994

“The problem is, we’ve been telling women for the last twenty years that abortion is okay. But why is it okay to kill a baby in the womb, but not after it’s born? That’s confusing. Maybe Susan Smith just didn’t know where the line is drawn?”

—Caller to a South Carolina radio talk show, November 4, 1994